Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Late morning links

Posting schedule may be erratic for a while, as I cram for the start of the fall season with more revised pilots and second episodes. ("Studio 60" would-be fans might want to check my comments in the Best of the Best post for a brief thought or two on the second episode.)

I wasn't particularly fond of "Men in Trees" (and I refuse to write the title in all-caps like ABC is insisting on) and got to work a few of my "Rock Star" musings from here into the All TV column.

"Prison Break" spoilers comin' right up...

R.I.P., John Abruzzi. I had already made peace with your death after T-Bag slit your throat, but I'll miss your wacky intensity and the potential for future unintentional "Big Lebowski" homages. (If Abruzzi had ever threatened someone with a marmot, or if he had pretended to fix somebody's cable, I would have automatically granted the series Watch Until Canceled status, dammit.)

I'm getting pretty tired of the constant head-fakes: the feds going to the wrong location in the premiere, the "who's dead" mystery last week, the misdirection about Mahone going for Tweener when he was really on Abruzzi's trail, etc. It's a good device to use occasionally, but it gets old fast when you trot it out in every. single. episode. I could have also done without the cheesey '70s-style car chase between Bellick and Linc, a reminder of what TV action used to look like pre-"24" and "Alias." On the plus side, Dell got perhaps the greatest product placement of all time with the suggestion that Michael's hard drive would be recoverable after sitting at the bottom of a river for more than a month. My three nightmarish years with a Dell machine led me to believe that they would fry if you sneezed anywhere near it.

Also, I had the same reaction to T-Bag's scenes with the gullible dad and daughter that I did to his dispatching of the veteranarian: I totally believe that this is how T-Bag would behave and appreciate that the writers aren't trying to soften him up, but at the same time I feel like the show is enjoying him killing innocent civilians way too much, y'know?

What did everybody else think?

19 comments:

dez said...

I'm also glad they aren't softening up T-Bag, but I'm starting to hope he either meets his maker or gets caught soon. Hopefully, he'll get killed by his ex-girlfriend and her kid (the ones who put him in prison, I think).

I would have "felt" this ep more if I hadn't accidentally been spoiled about Abruzzi's demise. Still, I'm gonna miss the psycho mob boss with the wandering accent. He never even got to put Fibonacci in the woodchipper!

caitie said...

I think I loved T-Bag when he was in jail because he was just messing with other cons and that's okay. I find him with the one hand the bleached hair a little too creepy for my liking.

Lindy said...

As a grammar nerd, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for not writing "Men in Trees" in all caps.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Caitie, I think you just hit the nail on the head about T-Bag: he's not any more sick or violent now than he was in Fox River, but now he's torturing and killing complete innocents, and the scenes are presented in the same tone as when he was going after fellow cons. (The one time he killed a guard, it was presented as a huge deal that horrified Michael and everyone else.)

dez said...

If the show is called MEN IN TREES, what's the big deal about typing it in all caps? Sure, the grammar is questionable, but it's what the show is called, so aren't you supposed to write it that way? It's like when journos take the periods out of R.E.M. and write it as "REM." That's *not* the name of the band, dammit! Okay, so AP Style gives me a headache %^)

Tosy And Cosh said...

I'm with Alan. Washington Post copyeditor Bill Walsh, in his book Lapsing into a Comma, makes the point that logos, trademarks, etc. often feature distinctive colors, fonts and, yes, capitalization, to stand out visually, but that it's not a writer or editor's job to replicate those visual tics in plain English writing. So it's "Nike" not "NIKE," K.D. Lang" not "k.d. lang," and "Thirtysomething" not "thirtysomething." And, yes, "Men in Trees" not "MEN IN TREES."

Jeff said...

"On the plus side, Dell got perhaps the greatest product placement of all time with the suggestion that Michael's hard drive would be recoverable after sitting at the bottom of a river for more than a month."

I missed the ep, so I don't know if Michael just fished out the laptop and turned it on, but I will say that a drive sitting underwater for a month is probably recoverable.

It's the drive recovery guys who deserve the props in the world --
Ontrack, DriveSavers, etc. -- they really can work miracles, and a waterlogged drive is probably the least of them.

Entertaining war stories about drives you'd swear were goners:

http://www.drivesavers.com/museum/index.html


These guys really can work miracles, and

Alan Sepinwall said...

Mahone has his people trawl the Chicago River in search of the hard drive Michael dunked back in the pilot, and we're told in this episode that, so far, the computer people have recovered about 13% of the data.

jim treacher said...

Abruzzi will be fine. He just needs some unguent.

Who sees Tweener and Girl Gone Dumb going out Bonnie and Clyde-style?

Daniel said...

Part of the problem with T-Bag's behavior last night is that the character has always been presented as a something of a sociopathic genius. He'd gotten away with years of criminal behavior before he was finally jailed and what helped him escape prison was probably a certain awareness of decorum -- i.e. he was able to "normalize" for his relationship with the woman who eventually turned him in. He knew that sometimes restraint could serve as a survival mechanism. But here he is one of the 8 most wanted men in America and he can't contain his lust for a teenage girl for more than five hours with his freedom and millions of dollars at stake? That's ridiculous. Plus, making him into an unbridled animal makes the character a good deal less interesting. The idea that he can turn it on and off is scarier than the idea he's just nuts. If that's the case, he's just Haywire.

And where the heck *is* Haywire?

-Dan

Philip said...

I didn't read this because I haven't seen this week's or last week's Prison Break yet. But I may have found a big spoiler for tonight's rockstar Supernova. I've got it up on the blog if you want to comment on it.

dez said...

Interesting, but I've definitely seen it as "k.d. lang" and "thirtysomething" in almost every article I've ever read about them. Must be a regional preference, I guess.

Dark Tyler said...

Just saw it, I'm pretty much covered, I just wanna comment on something re: T-Bag. When he killed the girl's father, what was it that stopped him from raping the girl anyways? Perhaps he got his thrill pill by killing the veteran, so he was fine for the moment. But I still think that he would have gone for it.

The reason he wasn't able to contain himself initially? Well, he was in prison for, um, what exactly? The show's timeline is confusing to me, but anyways, the fact is he was in for a long time. It felt very true to his sociopath character that he would grab the opportunity the moment it presented itself. Only he didn't, eventually, which kinda confused me.

So-so episode, in general.

CG said...

Aside from the first moments of the first ep of this season, it seems that they've jumped the shark. There's just a lot of running around and nothing's really happening. I mean, really, how long are we going to wait for Patricia Wettig's new series to be cancelled so we can get back to the conspiracy?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Do you honestly want to get back to the conspiracy? To me, if we never see Wettig again on this show, it'll be too soon.

jim treacher said...

They didn't shoot Veronica in the head for nothin'.

dez said...

I only want to see Patricia Wettig at the end and that's only to see her arrested so the new prez can pardon Michael and Linc. You know, if that's how they decide to end it. Otherwise, I'm fine with the only conspiracy stuff being Kellerman stalking Sara so he can find Michael & Linc.

And don't forget: they didn't just shoot Veronica--they dismembered her!

Alastair said...

I am really starting to like this show less and less. I think the actual 'ingenious prison break' mechanic was what engaged me in season one, and now that's gone all the elements I could ignore (weak acting, viewer-insulting headfucks/cliffhangers, absurd plot developments etc.) are all too apparent.

three big shark-jumping moments this year off the top of my head: the spraypainted gun/silly struggle in the lift, faking their deaths with pig's blood, Holly Valance's freak-out this week

and who could forget 'I'VE BEEN TO HELL, NOW I'VE JUST GOTTA GET TO VEGAS'

Dan Coyle said...

Well, as last night's episode revealed, T-bag just beat that girl's father up instead of killing him.

Which I sort of buy, oddly enough. If he wasn't going to take that girl with him, he wasn't going to leave her fatherless either.