Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reaper, "To Sprong, With Love": Stop. Hammer time!

Quick, belated spoilers for Tuesday night's "Reaper" coming up just as soon as I build a robot suit...

Usually, when the creator or creators of a show like "Reaper" pen an episode, you expect it's going to be packed with mythology and other things to move the major story arcs forward. Instead, "To Sprong, With Love," written by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, was one of the least arc-driven episodes of the season -- but it was also one of the funniest, so I'm okay with that.

In addition to a great guest turn by Michael McDonald from "Mad TV" as the evil (but not demonic) Mr. Sprong, we saw Sock get so caught up in his fame as Wrenchy Bench that he wound up brawling with an old lady (albeit an old lady dressed as a hammer) in the Work Bench parking lot, we saw Ben put on a robot suit (in a nice callback to those early season one episodes where Sam and Sock would arm themselves with gear from the store) to fight a demon to protect Nina's honor, we saw Satan be particularly evil to that couple in the jewelry store, and we even saw Andi be funny on several occasions, notably in the arm-wrestling match pictured above. (Though no way, no how, does Tyler Labine have a chance against Missy Peregrym in an actual contest like that.) Taking Andi out of her leadership job at the Bench, and sending her out on soul-hunting missions again is a much better use of the character, even if she and Sam still have little chemistry together.

Meanwhile, Fox's pick-up of Tyler Labine's new show, "Sons of Tuscon," doesn't automatically signal a death knell for "Reaper." Technically, "Reaper" still has first position for Labine if the CW brings it back. But I have to assume Fox felt reasonably confident that that won't happen when they ordered "Tuscon."

So we might as well enjoy these last two episodes, and hope they're either as amusing as "To Sprong," or as well-plotted as the two before it. If the show somehow comes back next year, great. If not, it's been fun.

What did everybody else think?

14 comments:

Alan Sepinwall said...

Or perhaps "Reaper" might live on in syndication.

Callaghan said...

I'm really going to miss Reaper. Sure, it will never be mistaken for high art. But honestly, with FNL, Mad Men and BSG all off the air at the moment, I look forward to Reaper more than anything else on TV (for now). It's more fun than anything else on TV, including (sorry Alan) Chuck.

And the hammer gag this week made me laugh every time.

dez said...

That whole "souls don't bleed" thing killed me. I would love to see it hit syndication, but by that same token, I'd hate to see Tyler Labine lose out on a potential hit show. Eh, screw him, as long as Ray Wise devils up my screen, I'm happy :-D

And how fitting, given my last comment above, that my captcha is "tween"!

Karen Ann said...

I originally watched Reaper because it was one of only a few new shows during the strike. (If I remember correctly). Now that there is more choice for what to watch, and the story has a zombie, a demon 'channeling' from heaven, demons in heat, a new church, and had a crazy half brother, all with less of the devil and sock... Reaper has been delegated to the bottom of the DVR list.

Zack Smith said...

The plot with "Wenchy Bench" reminded me of an old WRKP episode where Herb was dressed as the station mascot (a carp) and got into a fight with the WPIG pig. Combined with Sock's "Les Nessman" identity a few episodes back, perhaps the writing staff are fans?

Perhaps Ted will try promoting the Work Bench for Thanksgiving with a helicopter. "As God is my witness..."

Again, an enjoyable episode, but I'd like to see the show tying up loose ends. Hope Jenny Wade gets another gig; Nina has been a great add to the show.

Not sure syndication is the answer...would a lower budget and the loss of the creators really make the show better? 'specially if there's no Sock. His stories haven't always been great, but Tyler Labine always brings it.

Kevin said...

Hey, when did they Chuck-Cunningham Andi's best friend/Sock's ex? The lawyer chick? I don't think she's been on all year, and I hadn't noticed.

Edward Copeland said...

I too have wondered about Sock's ex, the lawyer, as well as Sam's mom. Would he not try to talk to her about dad? Compared to recent weeks, I found it a real letdown, especially since Ray Wise only showed up twice.

Anonymous said...

Why do people worry about the peripheral characters? Dissapointed because Sam's mom hasn't been incorporated? Wondering where Josie the useless DA went (she was more or less written out 2/3 of the way through season 1)? Really? Two characters who added exactly NOTHING to the show? I know this is the internet, the ultimate repository for people's complaints about EVERYTHING, but come on.

I would like to coin the word "Horberger-ers" named after Scott Adsit's character on 30 Rock, who is probably the fifth or sixth funniest character on the show, yet nearly every week people are asking "Where was Pete?"

Learn to revel in the glory you have rather than focus on the absence.

Evamarie said...

I love Reaper - I'm sad to see it go.

The demon humping Ben was such a cheap joke, but the show really pulled it off. Nina and Sock at the window and the way Ben delivers everything.

plus it saved them continuity issues - demons can punch through concrete - how would the robot suit stop them?

ReaperDMV said...

Always enjoy your reviews, Alan. We're hoping this syndication idea takes hold, and asking people to write to your CW affiliates to support them picking up the show. Reaper Fans! Write your CW affiliate and say there's a fanbase in your area and it would be a ratings boost for them on Sunday nights! Look up your CW affiliate here: http://www.cwtv.com/stations. Also write to ABC Studios (abc.com) encouraging them to keep promoting the syndication of Reaper! International viewers, write your affiliates/networks too. Draft emails and other ideas at reaperdmv.com. Come on, folks! This is our chance!

Oaktown Girl said...

A better question for anonymous: why do people worry about people who "worry" about peripheral characters?

Mike F said...

loved the armwrestling match...good stuff

Tracey said...

Actually, the character I've missed most this season is Gladys the DMV Demon. As for the limited use of Ray Wise in this ep... how can you complain when the devil had one of his best scenes ever in the jewelry store? Evil! Evil!!!

I love the idea of a high school science teacher who is so very evil that his former students simply assume he's the escaped soul and never question it. I had a high school teacher like that...

Reaper in syndication: Naturally, I would rather see it picked up properly, but I'll take syndication over cancellation any day! This is one of the few shows remaining on TV that I go out of my way to either watch or record. (yes, I will admit, Krod Mandoon was another one, but you have to give that series props: they had a story arc that *gasp* actually played out!)

Edward Copeland said...

While anonymous might have a point about Sock's ex (though they did reconcile toward the end of season1), I think the disappearance of Sam's mom was headscratcher in terms of continunity since she was the one in the cliffhanger who dug his dad out of his grave and was in on the selling of his soul only to adandon Sam's dad in his zombie state and never to be heard from again. It's like forgetting not to discuss things in a circle where the Devil can't hear. I like the show a lot, but continuity is not a strong point.