Time for another ever-unpopular grab-bag post, in which I attempt to briefly address the latest episodes of, in order, "Life," "ER," "Entourage," "Crusoe" and "Easy Money," just as soon as I tear the nameplate off my locker...
Not one of the better "Life"s of the season, I thought. The image of the guy crushed inside the car wasn't as disturbingly pretty as the show usually goes for, and Bethany's lookalike mom (who's also playing a nasty mom on "90210," I believe) was the obvious killer at least 20 minutes before they revealed the truth. Not a very engaging major case, and my interest in the conspiracy isn't very strong at the moment. Other than some isolated moments like Ted's students being impressed by his real resume (which I assumed would have come up back when the class was full of laptop-wielders) or Charlie's ex messing with his head at the storage locker, it was forgettable, and a real comedown after the great Stanford Prison Experiment ep the week before.
I wasn't wild about Maura Tierney's "ER" farewell, either. I've always loved Tierney, though my like for Abby has waxed and waned over the years. The period when she was just a black hole of misery -- I want to say around the time she got beat up by her neighbor and started drinking again, but all the mishaps of that era all blend together, which is part of the problem -- was what led me to kick the "ER" habit for a while. But I recognize that she's a terrific actress, that she has one of the longest tenures in the history of the show (I'm guessing, though I haven't done the math, that only Noah Wyle and Laura Innes put in more time at County) and that, once the writers let Abby smile now and again, she could be a very appealing character.
I just prefer the less-is-more approach to "ER" character exits. I was always fond of the way that Jeannie just walked out of the ER one day, or how what was supposed to be our last glimpse of Peter Benton (until some executive decided to make Eriq La Salle earn every cent of his contract) was him jogging away from Carter after cracking a joke at his protege's expense. For that matter, I really liked the first of the two Mark Greene exits -- Mark's last day in the hospital, which was also Pratt's first day -- and if that had been Anthony Edwards' final appearance (before the flashback he's doing later this season), followed by the episode where the ER got the letter about his death, people might think more fondly on that story arc.
So doing a whole hour of Abby unfiltered, and of every single character getting an individual goodbye scene with her, seemed a bit much. I liked several of them individually -- particularly the bit with Haleh and the nameplates(*) -- but I think the writers needed to pick just one or two and scrap the rest.
(*) If you freeze-framed the nameplates, you'd see not only the name of every former regular character, but most of the show's long-time former producers, like Lydia Woodward and Jack Orman. The entire thing works better as a meta moment than an actual in-character bit -- it's hard to imagine the nurses caring enough to put Dave Malucci's name up there, for instance.
I really don't have anything to say about "Entourage," but I know a lot of you are like me and can't stop watching. Other than being amused that Alan Dale now must play every high-powered CEO on television, there wasn't anything worth laughing at, and Ari's job offer mainly seems like yet another excuse for the writers to put Vince into "Smoke Jumpers" -- which, for some reason, is the only project of interest to him in all of Hollywood.
I also don't have much to say about "Crusoe" other than what was in my initial review, but since I did have a surprising amount of fun watching it -- and since nobody had much to say on the initial post, I thought I'd bring it up here. I can see this one taking a steep dive off a cliff (much like both Crusoe and Friday did at various points in the pilot) starting with episode two, but this one played like a higher-end Robert Halmi production.
Finally, I'm not even sure there's much point about writing about "Easy Money." Even by the historical standards of how both the CW and the WB previously did on Sunday nights, this outsourced lineup is a ratings catastrophe. All the shows are well under a million total viewers, and "Easy Money" got a zero share of the 18-49 demo. Zero. Both "Easy Money" and "Valentine, Inc." have already shut down production in a move that's billed as "temporary." Uh-huh.
But I bring it up because three episodes in, "Easy Money" is one of the few newbies still holding my interest. Laurie Metcalfe is doing really strong work as the conniving Bobette (as soon as the blonde showed up, you just knew Bobette was going to lop off that braid, didn't you?), and this world continues to interest me enough that I'll be disappointed but not surprised when the episodes run out.
What did everybody else think?