too much typing—since 2003


complain, complain, complain...

It's been a somewhat disappointing week for the TV shows I watch. I'm one of those people who only watches a handful of shows (as opposed to people who watch TV: whatever's on), but I make up for that small handful by paying too much attention to the shows I do watch.

To start with the most disappointing: at one point in last week's episode of Angel, Angel says something to the effect that he doesn't do parties well. What's true of Angel the character is apparently true of Angel the show. First, I love Andy Hallett's character - but I think I'm realizing I may like him better in smaller doses, and certainly a head-clattering disco soundtrack, however appropriate to both the character and Lorne's situation last week, was a loud reminder of that fact. Second, the main plotline was a straight ripoff of a Buffy plot from a few seasons ago (geekazoids can supply the episode number and title, I'm sure), in which everything Willow said literally came true. Third, the manifestation of Lorne's subconscious just plain looked stupid - and if the Hulk movie hadn't been a Universal product, I would have strongly suspected Big Green of being an embarrassingly obvious cross promotion for the DVD release of the Hulk movie. It would have been far more effective, I think, had Lorne's subconscious manifested non-corporeally. Finally, the offstage reconciliation between Lord Goathead and the Angel crew was just weak: do we really believe they just shook hands and made up? (And was the blood-slave a nod to the only decent part of David Lynch's Dune - the heartplugs?) I had serious doubts about the whole Angel-takes-over-Wolfram-&-Hart plotline when it surfaced last year - and it just isn't providing much in the way of motivation for this season's plots, and the constant crisis-of-conscience rap is getting as old and dead as Angel himself.

A little less egregious was last week's episode of Gilmore Girls. I will note that writing for these characters, in the style the show's established for itself, requires precision balancing so as not to make them just plain annoying (cuteness helps...). But nearly every character this week was pitched just a bit too high, to the extent that I just plain didn't like them. I mean, an episode where one of the most sympathetic characters is Kirk? The subplot with Rory and the tree was particularly lame - I mean, yeesh, use the other damned side of the tree. And the guy reading trucking magazines (I suppose there are such things): is he supposed to be a Yale student? I got the impression he wasn' which case Rory's offering to buy him off the spot would only confirm for him the worst stereotypes he might hold of Yale students, that the only solution they ever see to anything is to buy it. The worst, though, was the ending. Okay, let's see...Lorelai finally sees how much the cancellation of the party hurts Emily, and is properly chastened at having assumed that everything revolved around her. So at that point, she's about as sympathetic to Emily as she ever is in the series. So why then would the writers make a point, five minutes later, of having her actually consider going out with Slime Jr. - solely because it would make Emily angry? I don't think she'd do that in any event: Lorelai may consider angering Emily to be a fringe benefit, but she's not going to do something unpleasant, like spend an evening with a creep, solely to do so. She likes herself too much to put herself through that.

Finally, a couple aspects of the season premiere of 24 were, shall we say, highly dubious. Okay, I know - lots of 24 is highly dubious - but usually they at least give us a few weeks to get into the plot before asking us to suspend our disbelief by a narrow thread from a scraggly twig sixty feet up a sheer cliff wall. First: Kim as an intelligence agent? I mean, I'd normally avoid puns on the two meanings of "intelligence" - but Kim's character in the first two seasons strongly established her claim to be pictured next to "clueless" in the dictionary. And what, they have a special accelerated three-year degree at Nepotism U. she graduated from? Even if she were eminently qualified, no way would they have her in the same office as Jack - that's just crazy stupid, especially knowing the extent to which Jack will bend, break, and explode into tiny pieces any rule that gets in the way of his family. Also, did you notice? The Mystery Disease, featured on the season premiere of 24, which has 24 episodes that take place over 24 hours, develops over a 24-hour period! What a coincidence, that! Do you think the writers might use that fact for, say, suspense? At least they could have saved that bit of Plot Convenience for a few episodes in, when it wouldn't have been quite so glaring.

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