Thursday, November 20, 2008

Life, "Badge Bunnies": Young officers in love

Spoilers for last night's "Life" coming up just as soon as I swap guns with a friend...

Much better. Much, much better. This is the first one since the Stanford Prison Experiment episode to live up to how brilliant the show was towards the end of last season.

The focus on police culture -- and the badge bunny subculture -- was interesting, particularly as Crews and Reese are both outcasts within the department, and Victoria Pratt did some particularly nice work as the bunny-turned-wife-turned-fellow-outcast.

The shooting range scene was the first time I actually enjoyed the Reese/Tidwell thing, and not just because it then led to the hilariously awkward scene where the two of them arrived at the drug dealer's house at the same time as Stark and a glitter-faced Crews and none of them wanted to talk about what they had just been doing.

It was a really funny episode, in general, with the return of Reese's "Did you just say (sexist jargon)?" running gag, and the introduction of a new one about Reese's "superpower" for identifying fellow addicts.

My only real complaint comes from the Ted subplot. By most objective standards, I should always be happy with a story that puts Christina Hendricks on my TV set, but it's clear the writers have no idea what to do with Ted and keep trotting out these various subplots (Ted's a teacher, Ted's in love with Crews' future stepmom) just because they have Adam Arkin under contract. If they're going to keep bringing Olivia back, I'd like to see her have some more interaction with Crews, if for no other reason than that it's rare to see multiple, unrelated redheads in a single scene on television. (I'm all about hair color diversity.)

What did everybody else think?

18 comments:

hazmatzak said...

Some pretty funny stuff in the middle, ending with the sheepish gun swap.

It took me a while to recognize Victoria Pratt. I really liked her on Cleopatra 2525, for very shallow reasons.

Dizzee said...

While I thought the payoff at the drug dealers house was funny, am I the only one thinking why was it that Charlie or the sister didn't already know each other from from when Crews was Stark's partner. I know it's been I guess 13/14 years at this point since he may have last seen her but come on.

Does anyone know of a website that explains the overarching conspiracy going on within the show. I'm confused. Charlie and his wife were business partners in a bar with the murdered couple. There is money missing from a Bank Robbery where Stark provided crowd contorol. And how did Papa Reses fit into all this that made him want to frame Charlie? And now the rich ex cop that is kidnapping Charlie?

I get to the end of these episodes thinking I liked it in and of itself, then they pull a scene that brings the bigger plotline back into it and I am confused again.

amysa said...

Oh, yeah...it was so weird to me that Charlie didn't know the sister that I had to run the show back to catch the two minutes I missed while internally debating the issue. The more I think about it, I'm totally okay with him not recognizing her after all these years, but I do recall a party at Stark's house last year that would seem to have been the jackpot for any badge bunny. I'll just pretend that she was out of town.

I've never gone to the official website, but they're always pimping nbc.com during commercial breaks with some line about the conspiracy, so I'm pretty sure they break it down there. I don't really think the conspiracy, wrt the info we already have, is all that complicated, but I also can't be bothered to think too much about it. I enjoy it and I'm okay with it being the thread that ties everything together, but I prefer watching them work the cases and watching Crews and Reese together. And, of course, a little Ted on the side, even if I agree that they have no clue what they're doing with him.

And speaking of that storyline, are we finally going to meet Charlie's Dad or are we going to conveniently have anything related to a wedding happen off screen? I'm going to just assume that Ted and Christina Hendricks aren't destined for one another what with her regular job interfering with "Life", but I still can't help but enjoy the weirdness between them.

Rachel said...

I too loved the whole sequence in the middle. Was really enjoying the Honeyhoney song "My Little Toy Gun," but thinking it was kind of a non-sequitor -- then the gun swap gag becomes the payoff of the music, too!

Alan, you've talked many times about how this show often does the visually stunning crime scenes. This time it was nice to see the beautiful "action" tableau with living models, with the four cops facing off against Fluffy and the drug dealer.

Maybe instead of "Life" this show should have been "Still / Life"!

I agree they should figure out what to do with Ted. What a waste of casting if they can't get somewhere with this!

bill said...

Loved the episode...except for the great unexpected ending that was completely ruined by the "coming attractions" showing Crews driving around and not kidnapped nor looking particularly worried.


Is it true that for the season 1 DVDs they dumped all the great music originally used and replaced it with generic music?

Anonymous said...

Amysa, apparently some decisions about Charlie's father have been made. Television Without Pity has information if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved the fact that the badge bunnies were teachers! Teachers and cops both are civil servants, so it's romantic and debaucherous and the same time.

kenjim said...

If the siter is 25 now (couldn't really tell her age) and Charlie hadn't seen her in 14 years...she may have changed just a little so as not to be recognized

dvlman said...

What was the thinking behind making Donal Logue look as much like Triple H as possible? It's very distracting.

Iffer said...

Wow. I disagree I thought this was the weakest Life in some time. I was bored that has never happened for me during this show before.

hazmatzak said...

Bill, yes they changed all the music. They only had rights for the TV run. So it's different not just on the DVDs, but iTunes and Hulu. I wouldn't say they blindly replaced it with generic music (didn't really pay that much attention), but some of the original music fit so well, it's a shame.

Anonymous said...

alan please dont complain about christina hendricks showing up

please

i beg u

T said...

"multiple, unrelated redheads"--This is too funny. If not a band name, this should be the subtitle to a decreasing-returns-afflicted second sequel of something, like "Chinatown 3: Multiple, Unrelated Redheads".

Loved this episode. As noted, the glitter/gun-swap moment as the climax of that whole montage was great. "This is a kidnapping"--with its not-fruit, not-cake echoes--and, "No, THIS is a kidnapping" was also pretty nifty.

[insert some punny comment here based on the show's title, preferably involving successful defibrillators or Frankenstein's monster]

Anonymous said...

I realize most people know Christina Hendricks from Mad Men these days, but I keep expecting "YoSafBridge" to betray Charlie's father to the death. The character seems almost as nutty as she was on Firefly...

Buster's Juice Box said...

This ep was definitely an improvement over the holiday/mall one. But yeah, what's up with Crews suddenly driving around not looking very kidnapped? It feels like there's going to be a big hole here. And...who was that guy Crews drove away?

I love the Christina Hendricks/Ted dynamic. Hell, I just love the Ted character. "Am I Robin?" Or that ep where he was afraid of a coyote. The best was when he gave that presentation for a new bar to Crews and the schwavoed guy. "All the drinks will be fruity..." OK, so schwavoed isn't a real word. My fiends made it up in the 70s and no one knows how to spell it.

Did Sean ever shoot Alex? They cut from him pulling a gun on Alex to...was it Crews picking up the anonymous guy at the anonymous bar/restaurant?

Lane said...

when I saw the guy who kidnapped Crews, I expected Crews to say: It's true. This man has no dick.

Anthony Foglia said...

Good episode, but I'm still not buying Reese and Tidwell. He came off very condescending and sexist towards her at the firing range, and unless Reese is using him because she thinks he'll be a bad choice, and she can't choose alcohol, I still don't get her choice.

I'm glad they're using Stark more in the past few episodes. He was missing the first few episodes.

Dizzee said... I'm confused. Charlie and his wife were business partners in a bar with the murdered couple. There is money missing from a Bank Robbery where Stark provided crowd contorol. And how did Papa Reese fit into all this that made him want to frame Charlie? And now the rich ex cop that is kidnapping Charlie?

Okay, here it is as I understand it. In the early 90's, the Bank of LA was robbed. "Coincidentally" Jack Reese was leading a SWAT exercise nearby, and got to the scene first. Somehow, he stole the money from the robbery and got it away from the crime scene. He then was laundering it through the bar that Crews was a partner in. (Crews did not know about this.) The partner in the bar started skimming some of the money. Jack sent his CI to rough up the business partner at home. Things turned violent, the business partner and his wife and son were killed. Crews was framed.

Now, that's where the first season ended. But we still don't know how Reese was "coincidentally" near the robbery, and why Crews was framed. Crews knows Reese is getting pressured by other people to find Rachel and make sure she doesn't lead to other information. In a huge leap, he thinks it's related to the death of another cop, officially a suicide, unofficially not, and five(?) people with Reese at the funeral, of which the rich ex-cop is one.

Ariadne said...

Coming to this episode late but I was very pleasantly surprised by how clever it was. When Charlie was about to jump in the pool and the doorbell rang, I was sure it was going to be his ex-wife. How nice to find out it was Bobby, and it lead into the glitter comments. The scene where Charlie, Bobby, Reese and Tidwell arrive and figure out what's up with everyone was delightful comedy, just before the tension of the showdown with the cops.

Also very nice to find the badge bunnies weren't bimbos, they were smart and they were savvy.

I can't believe a House repeat beat this episode in the ratings, it's better than a first run House these days. There's no justice in the ratings world.