Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Middleman, "The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation": Noser gets Puppish

Quick spoilers for last night's "The Middleman" coming up just as soon as I hit somebody with a roller skate...

Even though I wasn't crazy about it, an episode like "The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation" makes me appreciate the series all the more, because it shows how hard it is to combine all these random elements into a cohesive whole. An episode that provides us with some Noser backstory, and that features more of the amusingly loathsome Pip, and that has a vampire puppet bad guy sounds like it would be one of the best of the series. Instead, the pieces never quite added up -- we get too much Pip, not enough Noser, pop culture references (like Wendy quoting the "Man, I don't even have an opinion" line from "Pulp Fiction") that called too much attention to themselves, and another climax (like in the Titanic episode) where the bad guy gets taken out way too easily -- and it was a disappointment compared to most of the season.

That said, puppet bad guys are inherently funny. (Is the "Angel" puppet episode Netflix'able? Because I may need to stick it in my queue ASAP.) And the Sexy Bossman/Lacey love story takes an interesting turn when Wendy decides to give Pillow-Lips permission to date her roommate and he admits that he's in love with more than one woman. I'm going to assume he's not talking about Wendy herself, but about the woman who inspired his transformation from profane military badass to squeaky-clean Middleman badass. (At least, that's sort of how I interpreted Javier Grillo-Marxuach's comment about the never-to-be-filmed 13th episode from the end of our interview.)

What did everybody else think?

20 comments:

Jefferson said...

I agree with your post about the episode yesterday.

And yes, "Smile Time" is available to add to your queue. It's Disc 4 of Season 5. Enjoy!

AarontheBaron said...

I liked this episode. I thought it was a hoot, especially when Vladdy turned into a bat and slowly flew away. But I do agree that the bad guys were taken out way too easily, I was expecting a bigger fight. And yes, more Noser would have been good, too. But, all-in-all, I really dug this one.

Eric said...

I enjoyed this episode a lot-and when Vladdy popped up at Middleman HQ, my wife actually jumped!

The Middleblog has confirmed that the "other woman" isn't Wendy.

R.A. Porter said...

I appreciated most of the Pip storyline, particularly Lacey's dreams where Pip was dressed in the Eisenhower jacket. I'd agree overall that it wasn't one of the strongest episodes in a lot of ways, but I don't know that I'd agree about the pop culture references calling attention to themselves. No more than in "The Manicoid Teleportation Conundrum" I'd say.

Plus, anything involving Lacey and Bossman is gold. There's something very old-fashioned and chaste not just about the way he acts toward her, but she toward him. It's pretty refreshing.

If I had to pick one thing that could have improved the episode a lot, I'd say more Ida. But that improves every episode.

Oh, and as a basketball fan, I would have loved a Vladdy-taking-a-flop joke.

Karen said...

I agree that more Noser would have been awesome. That guy is comedy gold.

But I also think it was the right choice not to show his actual competition-killing ventriloquism routine. It fits nicely with the way he plays Stump the Band (possibly the funniest joke in the entire series).

It was odd to me that Lacey wouldn't have picked up on Pip's outfit in her sex dreams. But I thought the Lacey & Boss Man true love reveal at the convention center was nicely done, and Keeslar played it beautifully. That guy is an amazing actor, by the way, in my opinion. I was struck again, last night, by how he Middleman, as written, could so easily go the Adam West-Batman route, but Keeslar manages to keep the character human and likeable and sympathetic.

Mary Ann said...

I want to know what you should do if a vampire offers you soup!

Anonymous said...

It was odd to me that Lacey wouldn't have picked up on Pip's outfit in her sex dreams.

What do you mean by that? It was made pretty clear that Lacey normally has sex dreams about the Middleman, in uniform, but that this particular dream was different because Pip was in the Middleman's uniform this time.

Andy said...

Andy Reaser here...

Lacey was totally aware that Pip was wearing The Middleman uniform in her deram. That's why, when Wendy asked how a sex dream about Pip could possibly start normal, Lacey flashed to the beginning of the dream (The Middleman at the door) and then quickly backpedaled away from the subject, not wanting to open THAT can of worms with Wendy.

Alan: Thanks for all the great attention you're giving the show!

Alan Sepinwall said...

My pleasure, Andy. And since you're stopping by, what should one do if a vampire offers one a bowl of soup?

Tracey said...

Glad to hear that Wendy isn't the "other woman." I cringed at the possibility when that line came up, because I am so sick and tired of TV shows that don't have enough imagination to conceive of a platonic relationship between co-workers.

I love the Lacey/Middleman stuff, so I was glad to see it in this episode. I really liked the Ride Lonesome business, where they seemed to actually be heading toward a relationship, where they made it abundantly clear that their feelings were mutual (there were some who thought it was only Lacey). I was annoyed that they threw it away at the end of that episode, so I was glad to see them bring it back here, to see again that their feelings are mutual, and that they are real.

As for who the other woman is... my money's on Ida. ]:^>

kwigibo said...

I like that 'flower power' was the skeptic, and threatened Dub Dub with Carl Sagan (Demon Haunted World I'm guessing). It was a nice trope subversion.

barefootjim said...

Depends on the soup, of course.

Maybe what Alan was reacting to was that how this episode telegraphed that one of them was going to be bit, and when it was the Middleman, that he and Lacey were going to be the true lovers.

Which, BTW, was still awesome.

I'm continually amazed at how this show is able to balance the MOTW with ongoing character development.

Kevin said...

I thought this was one of the strongest episodes of the season. Bad guy puppets rule.

The one thing I did think was strange was how the prophesy of "Little Noser will be rent limb from limb" was never actually shown.

I wonder if they cut out a scene where Dub Dub was the one who actually had to do the rendering.

Bobman said...

I'm such a dork, but I love the cheesiest lines in this show.

In particular in this episode, when the insane ventriloquist was telling his story, and the Middleman "gasped" with his hand.

Also, I thought Dub-Dub's Bon Jovi reference was really clever... "You give love a bad name" including the line "shot through the heart...", of course.

dez said...

I wonder if they cut out a scene where Dub Dub was the one who actually had to do the rendering.

Noser is the type of guy who would rend the limbs himself, I reckon. It didn't bother me that they didn't show it, though, since I figured Noser wouldn't have a problem helping Dub Dub out.

Andy said...

Hey Alan, Reaser again -

Unfortunately our deal with A. Dixon limits the amount of content we're able to use from his book, "Bitten By Vampires: A Coping Guide." We could only afford three questions and two answers. If you'd like to know what happens when a vampire offers you soup you'll have to hunt down the book. I can't afford the lawsuit. :)

dez said...

What does the "A" in "A. Dixon" stand for? I can't find a thing on Google or Amazon (unless it refers back to this post, lol)! Thanks!

Nicole said...

How could I not love an episode where Dub-Dub mentions her familiarity with three syndicated Canadian vampire television series? Unfortunately, I am blanking out on the third one. Forever Knight and Blood Ties are the first two, but I am racking my brain on the third one.

The Lacey and Middleman stuff is getting better and I also don't think the other woman is Dub-Dub.

dez said...

I wonder if the other woman is Lady Liberty or Justice or some other abstract concept? Either that, or someone who looks a lot like Lacey?

Tracey said...

I was just watching some of the Javi-casts on ABC Family (Javi and the writer discussing the week's episode), and it seems like every week somebody submits the question, "When are MM and WW going to get together?" Javi's reaction is always, "Ew!!! Ew!!! PMGO!!! Puke my guts out!!! They'll get together when they pry the keyboard out of my cold, dead hands"

THANK YOU JAVI!!!

Save that 'shipper crap for fanfic. And while you're dwelling on your fanfic cliches, how about some MM-Noser slash? Or maybe MM-Pip?

I like MM and WW's relationship the way it is, platonic, MM hooking up with Lacey, WW hooking up with Tyler (although, as others have said, I'm a bit worried that Tyler is too perfect and may turn out to be a villain!)