Spoilers for last night's "Reaper" coming up just as soon as I grease up a chair...
First, I know the photo above wasn't in last night's episode, but A)the CW press site didn't have any pictures for this show, and B)Michael Ian Black trying to sand off his demon horns is a funny image.
If you've been reading me for a while, you know there's always a risk, whenever more than one alum of The State appears in something, of me going off on a long tangent about my love of the group. To save time, I'll just link to a handful of State sketches (featuring Black and/or Ken Marino) that have yet to be pulled off of YouTube or MySpace TV: "Pants", "The Barry Lutz Show", "Porcupine Racetrack" and "Father-Son Race" and express my frustration that MTV has once again delayed the release of the DVDs (which is the whole reason all the other sketches have been scrubbed off of YouTube).
Beyond any college age nostalgia for the likes of Louie or Barry and Levon, I was glad to see Black and Marino show up last week because "Reaper" has been badly in need of a comedy injection for a while. To keep alive the "Chuck" comparison a little longer, "Chuck" was able to get by a lot of weeks with iffy plots and guest villains simply because it was funny. "Reaper" has tried to be funny, but most of the time the jokes felt exactly like that -- someone trying to be funny, and not succeeding.
Sam and the guys' interaction with their new gay/demon neighbors carried last week's otherwise forgettable invisible soul storyline. So those scenes were added to an episode like last night where things actually happened, you got a show that sort of resembled the one we all liked so much way back when the pilot aired.
Part of the problem with "Reaper," other than the low laugh quotient, is that Sam is such a passive, sad sack character. The idea that Sam is somehow special to the Devil, and that there are other Hellspawn who might want to take advantage of that link to get back at Ol' Scratch, gives both the character and the show some actual direction. We know Sam's not going to get out of his contract before the finale, but this other story idea could be promising. (Plus, it suggests that Black and Marino will be around for a while.) And the writers needed to get off the pot already with Sam and Andi; the Peter Parker, "Anyone I get close to will be in danger" approach isn't the most original, but at least it should (I hope) put a moratorium on all those lemon-sucking scenes where Sam pines after her.
What did everybody else think?