Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Reaper: Hey guys... wonder joints!

Spoilers for the latest "Reaper" coming right up...

True story: my father at one point owned three different 8-track players (possibly four, now that I think about it), and his brother owned a Betamax. (This in turn made the Sepinwall brothers very paranoid about adopting new entertainment technologies; my dad wouldn't buy a CD player until the mid-'90s.) So between the white elephant AV tech and the presence of childhood hero Curtis "Booger" Armstrong as the hopelessly retro Russ, I was probably going to have good feelings about "Love, Bullets and Blacktops" even if the rest of the episode was a retreat back to the "Reaper" formula after last week's Halloween outlier -- which is pretty much what it was.

The dead muscle car enthusiasts were as lacking in personality as most of the escaped souls, but the episode around them was pretty funny: Sock attracting the bachelorette party with his funky (albeit -- sorry, Tyler Labine fans -- very Jack Black-esque) dance moves, followed by the guys all wussing out on doing a striptease; Sock literally beating down Ben each time he got too friendly towards Russ, the Devil touching Sam's earlobe, Russ' swingers pad, and Andi's secret hideaway. (Overall, Missi Peregrym is being wasted, but I like that the writers have made Andi by far the most creative and ambitious of the Bench slackers; see also her shopping cart retrieval scam from a few episodes back.)

No movement on the arc about Sam's contract, but if the show's going to do its predictable thing, at least it can be funny about it, which this episode mostly was. On the other hand, the previews made it look like some kind of homage to the Quentin Tarantino half of "Grindhouse" -- minus all the foot fetish stuff -- and the episode really didn't feature any driving. I know the budget's low (for example, see how the wall Sock knocked the female soul through seemed to be made of tissue paper) but a Prius vs. muscle car chase could've been fun. Ah, well.

What did everybody else think?


Andrew said...

Easily the funniest episode of the season. Ray Wise was, to dust off a recurring chestnut, dynamite, with his trying to get Sam laid. Loved the opening, too, with the bachlorette party.

And dear GOD, Curtis Armstrong still brings it. Please tell me he is going to be permanent. "What kind of a host am I? Let's do some peyote." "I don't want to watch this movie until we are all four deep..." He is easily the greatest sidekick in the history of history.

And Andi. Dear, lovely Andi. The biggest problem I have had with this show, aside from the generic demons, has been that Andi is not worth pining for. Aside from being hot, she hasn't got much personality. So I loved the hidden living room which, like the note on the bosses car from a few weeks ago, made me finally see something worthwhile in her.

Plus, the Devil telling his top bounty hunter about his new gals "many, many errogenous zones..." Let the plots be mediocre. Just keep the laughs coming.

EzekielRawlins said...

Maybe it's just me but I got the feeling at the end that maybe The Devil has/had a thing for Sam's mother...?
Overall, it feels like the show is coming together nicely.
I really like how Sam is growing into his role as a bounty hunter.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And dear GOD, Curtis Armstrong still brings it. Please tell me he is going to be permanent

Fienberg had a brilliant suggestion when we talked earlier today: fire Ted and install Russ as the new Bench manager -- a Michael Scott type who wants everybody to be his friend. Writes itself, gets rid of a character who isn't working and provides regular exposure to the brilliant Armstrong.

Edward Copeland said...

What an homage to beloved shows past: the always present Ray Wise, bringing in Bert Viola from Moonlighting and tossing in Harmony from Buffy and Angel.

Brandon said...

Don't forget the ultimate homage to Terrence Malick's Badlands with Kitt and Holly. A few scenes from the fake movie were clear tributes to/parodies of (?) Badlands.

electricia said...

Best line of the season so far: As the Devil is apologizing to Sam for pushing Taylor on him, "I wasn't aware you were a homosexual." The delivery was just. so. funny. My husband and I stopped the DVR to laugh for a solid 5 minutes, and rewatched it a few times, giggling like maniacs each time. I thought it was up there with slutty Mandi Moore asking Barney if his tailor left extra room in his pants for his huge vagina.

I'm glad to see Andi have a bit more personality, too. When she offered Sam a beverage and pulled the beer out of the "Fridge", Steve turned to me and said "Ok, Andi's awesome."

I wish Sock would go away. I really hate the character type of the jackhole sidekick who honestly believes that he's awesome, that chicks dig him, and that all of his friends are losers because they're not as obnoxious as he is. (Note that I don't put Barney into this category because he actually IS awesome.) I even find Chuck's Morgan to be more tolerable than Sock (although I think they should kill off Chuck's shrew of a sister.) But really, why would anybody want to hang out with that guy? They wouldn't, and neither do I, especially not when I'm watching TV.

Karen said...

-- sorry, Tyler Labine fans --

ARE there any Tyler Labine fans?

He's one of the main reasons I stopped watching the show. SO TIRESOME. (I'm only reading this review because I needed me a Sepinwall fix....)

Alan Sepinwall said...

When I called him Jack Black-esque in my pilot review, several people jumped in to defend Labine, saying the comparison is unfair and cheap and made only because of their similar builds.

Andrea said...

Karen - yes. Sock may not be to everyone's taste, but for my money he's definitely funnier than JB, who I never "got".

EzekielRawlins said...

Argh--I would rather grab a beer with Sock than Morgan.

Iffer said...

few thoughts

-"aside from being hot" ummm what else would 21 year old slacker need-- she is hot and likes beer and finds ways not to work PERFECT

-the show is funny but more than the low budget-- the editing bothers me most weeks-- Sam went from trying to listen to the tape on new equipment to Andi inviting him over to being Llyod Dobler in a parking lot-- i missed something

-i loved the devil's homosexual line and at the end of the episode- i got my hopes up for a show direction i instantly thought would be fun-- and even if they waited a while to slowly do it-- sam is another "Job" bet between Satan and God-- Satan gets x amount of time to turn Sam to the darkside-- while God ( not sure who since George Burns is dead) occasionally checks in to torment him how it is not working-- it would explain the silly tasks that seem unneeded and the gentle nudging--- just a thought

Maura said...

-"aside from being hot" ummm what else would 21 year old slacker need-- she is hot and likes beer and finds ways not to work PERFECT

But Sam has shown that being hot isn't enough for him. Otherwise, He would have had sex with Taylor. I think it's a combination of Andi's hotness and her cleverness that he loves.

I want to like Sock, but really, I have to agree that he's tiresome and one-note. Why would anyone trust him with something important? Loved the dancing though.

Nancy said...

When I called him Jack Black-esque in my pilot review, several people jumped in to defend Labine, saying the comparison is unfair and cheap and made only because of their similar builds.

Guilty. :) I just don't think it's fair to label him JB-esque just cause he's a "wild and crazy *chubby* guy". Besides, I really think it is Jack Black who is Tyler Labine-esque. Labine was the funny sidekick to Ryan Gosling's character on Breaker High a decade ago. His "Jimmy" character back then was pretty much the same as his Sock character on this one.

P.S. Am I the only one with a soft spot for Canadian teen melodramas from the 90s?

dez said...

Sometimes I want to smack Sock around, and sometimes, like in last night's ep, I like him. My fave part of the ep was the "homosexual" line, too--well, that and seeing Booger again.

bill p said...

I'm late watching this but I would like to add something. When they had the escaped souls driving around in a Pinto I thought it would pay off with rear-end collision explosion...even if nobody under 35 would get it. Guess I'll have to rent Top Secret to get my fix.