Saturday, November 14, 2009

White Collar, "Flip of the Coin": A hip, modern antiquities thief

Quick thoughts on last night's "White Collar" coming up just as soon as I have a round of drinks and Parcheesi...

I didn't write about last week's episode, and I don't think "White Collar" is a show that, as presently constituted, is going to get regular blog treatment from me. Like "Burn Notice" in its first season, it feels too slight. I enjoy watching Tim DeKay and Matthew Bomer work together - and in this episode I liked seeing Moz get pulled into the case and come face-to-face with Agent Burke - but the stories seem barely there, and they aren't doing much with the guest stars so far. (How do you get Garrett Dillahunt and only use him for two scenes?)

But it's amiable enough, and maybe in time it'll make the same creative leap that "Burn Notice" did between seasons one and two. In the meantime, I'll watch, but unless there's something I specifically want to write about, I won't be writing.

What did everybody else think?

22 comments:

TV Obsessed said...

I kind of have the same feelings. The characters are great, but the stories are kind of boring. Maybe it's me, but from the 4 episodes so far, white collar crimes just aren't interesting.

Emily N. said...

Yep. I agree. The show has loads of potential and Matthew Bomer is a charismatic leading man, but they need to amp up the action, intensity, and/or humor. Perhaps more focus on Neal and Moz would help. To me, the con artist lifestyle is inherently fascinating.

Phil Freeman said...

(How do you get Garrett Dillahunt and only use him for two scenes?)

It's Garrett Dillahunt. He probably only had a 15-minute break from the six other guest appearances he was filming that week.

Seriously, I kinda agree. I like the idea of this show, but as of now it's tied with Royal Pains for being the runt of the USA-original-drama litter.

DarthRazorback said...

I really like the characters and the actors are all doing a good job. But I agree, these stories are very safe. I actually think bringing the wife unit into more of the episodes would make the show a bit better.

tony libido said...

The most marked thing to me about WC is the incredible drop off from the witty, intense, stylish pilot and the episodes that have followed.

The rat pack wardrobe, the intense play btwn the leads, it's all gone. Blanded out to nothing. I do wonder whose bright thinking that was but for now, not worth my time. A pity really...

Ben said...

Could not agree more! There is something there, but the "thin" comment describing the overall production is a great call. I am not one for noticing editing issues, but there was a blatant voice over that seemed incredibly amateurish.

Anyway, hopefully the stories become better, but I might just let a few episodes stack up on TIVO and see what happens.

Thanks Alan for updating us on your thoughts!

Hatfield said...

I agree. I enjoy it (at least episodes 1 & 3; didn't care much for #2), but what are you going to analyze exactly?

Last week's episode did bring to mind a few things:

Kirk Acevedo is not good at being an asshole. Maybe a tough guy, but he felt miscast.

Artie Bucco finally got to be a wiseguy! And when people discuss the supposed poor supporting cast of The Sopranos, why does he come up? Always enjoyed him.

Tim DeKay continues to make me love him. His thing with the shell game--"Make Mrs. (I forget) the salt shaker!"--was a hilarious bit of random.

I do hope it gets better though.

Perry said...

The two leads in White Collar are fantastic performers, independently and together. But the writing and plotting is second-rate and wholly unconvincing. The sub-text of Bomer's character's fixation on a vanished girlfriend is not merely dreary and distracting, but just plain silly. The bit with the wine bottle made me wince. Just get on with the buddy crime solvers and be done with it.

NoMoreVegas said...

They seemed to make another change from the pilot that I noticed - the junior African American lesbian agent became a bland Caucasian girl, and they've conveniently had no more scenes with the benefactor or her sexy daughter (though that seems to mean more Willie Garson - never a bad thing). I figure USA executive notes killed those aspects, along with the Rat Pack wardrobe.

White Collar is still enjoyable fare, but I'm hoping it also makes "the leap."

Nicole said...

I don't know if Natalie Morales considers herself Caucasian, but I did notice the lack of Diahann Carroll, which is weird if they are hanging out at her place when not at the agency.

And while they are trying to give Tiffani Thiessen's character more to do, it still feels shoehorned in there, and not really plausible that an FBI agent would involve his wife so much in the investigation. I think they need to stick to the leads and Moz and create fun capers from there. There hasn't been that much in the crime that would really require the expertise of a con artist.

MM said...

My friend, B, loves Dillahunt. I left her a message this morning on her phone telling her that the producers of White Collar are morons because who hires Garret Dillahunt and then gives him Absolutely Nothing to Do? I mean, yay for Dillahunt for scoring a super easy paycheck but what were they thinking?
That said, DeKay, Bomer & Garson are great together but the writing is much too lightweight. They need to ramp this baby up because it definitely should be something more than whipped egg whites.

M.A.Peel said...

I'm with the pack. It's slight and so "mainstream" in its slick view of NYC.

The big thrill for me in "Book of Hours" was that the church they were in is my parish, Ascension, on 107th street btw Broadway and Amsterdam. Then the go to talk to the guy with the sick dog, and they are in Straus Park, which is geographically correct, it's also 107 and Broadway (named for Isidor and Ida Straus, who died on the Titanic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straus_Park)

Ariadne said...

I'm trying to like it because of my love for Bomer and DeKay but it seems very "been there, done that". Am I the only one who remembers Robert Wagner in It Takes A Thief?

The plots themselves are unmemorable and even the dialogue is used. "Where do you carry your gun?" from the second episode was better on Castle last season where Stana Katic actually looks like a model unlike Natalie Morales.

Audrey said...

The episodes so far are boring, frankly. Little character development and the case of the week have been thin. It has been such a let down since the wonderful pilot.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's suffering from "cable budget"

Anonymous said...

Theory: Garret Dillahunt only got two scenes because they were afraid he'd kill the cameraman, like he did on "Life".

cgeye said...

I'd say "cable budget", too, except the most work needed lies in the scripts.

They sure as hell ramped down from the 'thinking one step ahead' flashes of brill we saw from both Bomer and DeKay, and they're playing it safe by not having their criminals be from FIRE city. Con artists and forgers are pretty; wartime profiteers (not punks stealing Iraqi gold, but the contractors throwing footballs of cash around) and looters of banks are boring, and non-photogenic.

DeKay's Fed seems to be cordoned off from those meatier investigations, as if his boss said, "you can handle the quirkier thieves, we'll handle the big guys". I wonder if they'll ever deal with that explicitly.

As for Neal's B-story, *yawn*. Like I care for a con artist's moll who's suffering whatever white slavery peril Neal couldn't save her from, but at this point it's as tacked on as Royal Pains' "Luke, I am your swindler" B-story. Neither Neal nor Hank seem the type of guys willing to pull the trigger against their Big Bads, so why set them up as men capable of ruffling the smooth, handsome fabric of their lives with real conflict? Their shows aren't built for that.

And as for the women, yeah, I've noticed how that world of difference went away with a quickness during the second episode. That and everyone noticing that Neal has a big-ass monitor on his ankle, which his slimline suits only emphasize.

Beth said...

I'm just so happy to see Natalie Morales again after the tragic cancellation of The Middleman, that I'm along for the ride, at least until Leverage comes back, or this show ends, whichever happens first.

OldDarth said...

Mark me down as another who enjoys the characters but find the stories weak.

Anonymous said...

Also irksome is the fact that like most TV writers, these have no concept of criminal procedure or the legal consequences of certain actions by law enforcement officers. That's to be expected, of course, since TV writers are so lazy on that front. However, if you're not going to do the research, don't have your character read a treatise on warrants, for god's sake! Yet again, another show where the writers only know about constitutional criminal procedure from earlier bad TV writers. That said, I still home for the return of the slick pilot, and Natalie Morales is welcome.

jengod said...

I watched this husband on Friday night and after it was over he told me, "The only character you like is Mozz. He's the only one you laugh at." And I realized he's right. So far I can only watch this with a skeptical eye not with anticipation and enthusiasm.

And to the person who said that Royal Pains was a runt of the USA litter I would say (1) What about In Plain Sight? and (2) The parts of Royal Pains that didn't involve Jill were perfectly watchable.

Anonymous said...

I cracked up when I realized the blonde journalist was played by Keitha from Flight of the Conchords.