Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a... guy in his pajamas?

Superheroic feats -- or, in some cases, just costumes -- abounded on "How I Met Your Mother," "The Class" and "Heroes." Spoilers, in that order, coming up right about now...

One of the many things I love about "How I Met Your Mother" is the way it's only nominally a three-camera sitcom. Yes, it's shot on video and has a laughtrack, but every week the writers come up with some new storytelling twist, whether it's subtitles at a noisy club, flashbacks shown twice with different meanings or, last night, Barney going all Marlin Perkins with his analysis of how to identify and bag The Cougar. Bonus points for finding post-"Malcolm" employment for the genius that is Bryan Cranston and for picking up the baton that "Wedding Crashers" dropped after 20 minutes and making good use of Jane Seymour's, um, attributes. After "The Office," this is the best comedy on TV right now...

...which makes each episode of "The Class" suffer even more in comparison than if it aired after, say, "Old Christine." After this one, I think I'm out. I like many of the actors, and there are occasionally funny bits (last night it was the FDR costume), but the bad stuff is just so grating, and six episodes in, it's obvious that Crane and Klarik aren't getting the memo about Holly and her husband. Somebody let me know if they ever get around to punting about half the cast and I'll give it another go.

The first "Heroes" without an OMFG cliffhanger, but the circularity of Peter passing Future Hiro's message back to present Hiro was cool enough to compensate. The characters continue to come together nicely, whether it's Hiro's fanboy encounter with Nathan at the diner (and for series TV, the effects on Nathan's supersonic flight were pretty nifty) or Ando showing up at Niki's doorstep. I even don't mind her and Peter anymore, so they're doing something right. Plus, Jack Coleman (Claire's good/bad dad) just got made a regular castmember, cementing one of the more unlikely TV second acts in recent memory. (He was Gay Steven #2 on "Dynasty," then spent the last two decades doing mostly anonymous guest star work.)

A few minor problems: 1)Present-day Hiro's grasp of English took a major leap forward from last week to this one. If he's able to carry on even a clumsy conversation with Nathan, why can't he leave a semi-coherent message for Isaac?; 2)Don't really care about Officer Matt's marital problems and would like to get him integrated with some other main characters, and soon; and 3)While Niki's ex-husband and Claire's father's sidekick don't look exactly alike, there's enough of a resemblance that the fact that neither one has spoken so far is confusing. Get them both talking, or put one of them in a rainbow clown wig. I don't care. Just do something.

What did everybody else think?

24 comments:

Kristin said...

I think that Niki's ex WAS the same guy. I mean, the little clips for next week show him doing some super stuff. That has to be the same guy. Or they are twins. Could it be that one twin is Sylar and the other is the dad's helper? Good twin vs. bad twin???

I liked the flying brother so much better this week. I was extremely pleased they didn't make him fly like Superman, but rather like a supersonic jet. Very cool effects indeed.

Also, wimpy, annoying little brother was much better this week. Now that he is starting to get a grasp on his abilities to some degree, I find him a lot more watchable. And that milky eye thing when he (or Isaac) is painting the future is freaky!

Mind reader Greg Grunberg needs to get integrated into the group for sure. He seems very isolated in what he is doing. I was waiting for the wife to get a little weirded out by his abilities to anticipate everything she wants. Maybe that will never happen, since he went nutty at the convenience store.

I'm still trying to figure out if Claire's dad really *is* bad. Maybe he's trying to find all these super people for good reasons. I don't know. Could it be that he has been monitoring them like this for years? Wiping their minds each time? Keeping track of their abilities before they even knew they had them? He is so sweet with Claire, it's hard to imagine he would harm her after doing so much to protect her in the hospital from her almost-rapist.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Different actors. D.L. (Niki's ex) is played by Leonard Roberts, who was Riley's sidekick in The Initiative on "Buffy." Claire's father's sidekick is played by Jimmy Jean-Louis.

Jon said...

Have I overlooked something in a previous episode, or is this the first time we knew/suspected that D.L. has a power? (To teleport? To be invisible? To cloud men's minds? Whatever, don't tell me, I'm spoiler-shy.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

In the show? No. But in terms of publicity materials, D.L. has been mentioned from the beginning, since Leonard Roberts is a castmember, is featured in all the group photos, etc. The actual press notes aren't very specific about his powers, though, just saying that he continually baffles authorities with constant successful escapes.

undercover black man said...

Where's the "Studio 60" thread?? Sorkin delivered a good one last night... Emmy good. I can hardly hold my tongue...

Alan Sepinwall said...

Patience, grasshoppers! Patience. I only got around to watching it a few minutes ago and have other stuff to watch/write for work. Feel free to post about it here for now, and I'll weigh in this afternoon.

undercover black man said...

I'll wait.

If I start talking about "D.L." here, it'll only confuse people.

jim treacher said...

Okay, that IS the gay dude from Dynasty! I've been going "Is that...?" for weeks now. Do you think there's more than one of him running around? Or can he teleport or something? Because he's in Las Vegas and west Texas apparently at the same time.

I care about Officer Matt's marital problems as long as his wife keeps wearing tops like that one.

Based on the previews, it looks like D.L. can walk through walls like Kitty Pryde from the X-Men. Which would explain how he "pulled a Houdini" out of prison, and how he's hiding out in Niki's house without being seen. He was probably in there the whole time.

DonBoy said...

I can't get over how much The Class has sunk in the last 2 eps, since the reveal of Sara Gilbert (not seen this week). Many questions, mostly meta:

-- how could they have undercut the Sara Gilbert business by following it up immediately with the fact that she's a horrifying bitch? (On the other hand, is Ritchie really a whistleblower?)

-- why did someone decide Lina should be wheelchair-bound for what sounds like mst of the season? (I'm assuming that the actress didn't happen to get injured just after shooting a pilot in which her character got run over by a car.)

-- in-story, why do Ethan and Kat think they hang out all the time? (I mean, we know why, but what do they think?) Two weeks ago they were suddenly such pals that she was setting him up with other women.

-- why is Sam Harris, who AFAICT from Googling does gay pride work, in this Stepin Fetchit of a role? (And is it as obvious as I think that the idea is that he and Kyle's boyfriend will eventually run away together, leaving Kyle and Holly "together" in rejection?)

Kristin said...

Thanks, Alan, for the IMDB references. They *are* different men after all! But why would they cast two similar looking men for parts in this show?? To confuse us?

The least they could have done was give one guy a goatee or something. Anything to distinguish them would have been nice....

rick said...

With each passing episode, I find myself fast-forwarding through less and less of Heroes, which is likely a good thing. That being said, I have yet to listen to anything the Prosessor's Son has said, as his horribly-fake accent (and cheesy pseudo-intellectual dialogue) makes me want to jam glass in my ears.

Sidebar: how great would it be for NBC to have a comedy spin-off featuring the cheerleader, where every episode ends with her getting mangled somehow and then coming back to life. It would have an all-tuba soundtrack.

Anyway, Heroes: growing on me.

Lindy said...

Jane Seymour as the tough-grading "cougar" on HIMYM was absolutely hilarious; finally, Barney met his match! (And how sweet that his friends rushed to the hospital when he dislocated his hip -- in spite of everything they really are fond of him.)

Another solid installment of "Heroes," and even though they left out the cliffhanger this time I think there was still plenty of momentum leading into the next episode. But I agree about Officer Matt and his wife -- they're boring. Put Officer Matt back on Sylar's trail! I wonder how much of his memory has been wiped? He clearly remembers working with the FBI, but does he remember his encounter with Sylar?

Matt said...

Actually, rather than an all-tuba soundtrack, it should be done at double speed with Yakety Sax in the background. THAT'S comedy.

jim treacher said...

"That being said, I have yet to listen to anything the Prosessor's Son has said, as his horribly-fake accent (and cheesy pseudo-intellectual dialogue) makes me want to jam glass in my ears."

What's fake about it? According to his IMDb page, he's done British TV. And he's married to "Fiona Carter" from Spooks/MI-5, the lucky devil.

R.A. Porter said...

Since he's not talking about Sah-sage and Da Bears, it's a wee bit fake. :)

dez said...

"What's fake about it? According to his IMDb page, he's done British TV. And he's married to "Fiona Carter" from Spooks/MI-5, the lucky devil."

She's a lucky devillette! :-)

I love love LOVE "Heroes"! And I can't recall if it was this week or last, but I noticed that Ando and Hiro came out of the Montecito casino in Vegas. Nice bit of cross-promotion there, NBC. Speaking of which: Why was the premiere of "Las Vegas" pushed back a week? Because no one told my newspaper TV guide people and they have the summary for the second ep in their guide for this week (not that there was really a question how certain cliffhangers would resolve, but at least give me a little suspense here, newspaper TV guide!).

Matt said...

Las Vegas was pushed back a week due to the unexpected success of the "Deal or No Deal" and "1 vs. 100" pairing, which they wanted to use for one more week.

BF said...

And that milky eye thing when he (or Isaac) is painting the future is freaky!

I could have sworn I had seen that effect before. And this morning, I remembered where. Caught a few seconds of "Angel" this morning and whenever EvilCordy went into vision mode, her eyes went white too.

Taleena said...

Nikki is finally not irritating, but I think that both she and DL are bad news. I can readily see Nikki's character as the conflicted "bad guy", while Claire's dad is the red herring.

When he didn't kill the rapist football guy but mind wiped him, I came to the conclusion that he monitors "specials" and dependant on what he finds releases them to do good or deals with badness.

Claire's dad is trying to stop Sylar also.

AndyW said...

If you check out the latest "Heroes" graphic novel on nbc.com, they make it clear what DL's power is AND that he's really a good guy after all. Both bad ideas -- the powers are more interesting when they're unclear and Niki is more interesting if her hubby was a bad, bad man.

dez said...

Thanks, matt!

BTW, is anyone besides me still watching "Prison Break"? I'm curious to know what people think of this week's big reveal (not to mention my theory that Mahone's little pills are of the anti-psychotic variety) :-)

Anonymous said...

So we haven't actually found out Peters power yet have we?... he can fly when with his brother, he can see the future when with the artist.

Also does that mean that by saving the Cheerleader, they save themselves as they beccome invincible. If so, quite a clever achilles heel - not having them all invincible all the time. The show just gets better and better

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dez, I think "Prison Break" has dropped off my radar. When nothing else is on, it's a passable diversion, but there are too many other, better shows on right now and my time each week is limited.

dez said...

"So we haven't actually found out Peters power yet have we?... he can fly when with his brother, he can see the future when with the artist."

He appears to be like Rogue of the X-Men, absorbing others' powers and being able to use them temporarily. Alan made a conjecture about this a few weeks ago and it seems like he was right!

Alan, you have GOT to watch PB now. Turns out Mahone is working for the Pres via Kellerman (and it appears he's being blackmailed into it somehow) and his job is to kill every single one of the escapees, not just Michael & Linc. Plus I'm telling you he's taking anti-whackjob pills. It's fun! Come back to us, Alan! :-)