Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Loop: Hockey monkey in drag

"The Loop" began its Summer Burn-Off Theatre run tonight with two episodes, and fortunately I watched both of these episodes a few weeks ago, pre-"Sopranos" finale frenzy. Spoilers coming up just as soon as I put my Tusk of Aag up for eBay bid...

I dealt with a lot of my issues about the new season in my column from earlier this week, but I'll expand on a few points:
  • I was all in favor of dropping the hottie roommates in favor of more time for Philip Baker Hall and Mimi Rogers and Joy Osmanski (aka Sam's assistant Darcy), but I feel like what's happened is that the scripts are structured the same as before, with the roommates' roles being reassigned at random to Hall and Rogers. While I have no problem hearing Hall deliver lines like, "I've done things you can't even draw!," it makes the show feel more sitcommy to have Russ and Meryl suddenly acting as Sam's wingmen.
  • Also sitcommy: the resolution of the smashed car subplot in the second episode. Once I realized the show was going to That Place where Sam would start smashing up the car that Russ bought him, I had to mute it for about 30 seconds, just because I felt so bad about the show doing something so predictable and conventional. (If it turns out there was some kind of final twist near the end of the scene, I apologize.)
  • While the show's still filthy -- witness Sam getting the Tusk of Aag stuck in a very uncomfortable place -- it feels like a dumber, lazier level of filth, as opposed to the hand job or dog proctology gags from season one that were so beautifully set up.
  • Was there some kind of market research that showed that fans (all five of us) wanted more of Derek The Douche? Was he Peter Liguori's favorite character? I'm baffled by his regular prominence.
On the plus side, there were still some funny gags. Philip Baker Hall's delivery of "You'll be staying in a youth hostel! I hope you like rape!" was a thing of wonder, so vicious and enthusiastic. (And it's that level of venom that distinguishes Russ from primetime's other Politically Incorrect Geezer Bosses; I love Bob Kelso, but even he never goes quite that far.) Bret Harrison's continued willingness to sacrifice his dignity is admirable -- "The Office" recently did its own gender-confused ladies' pantsuit gag, but this was a much more ridiculous outfit, and yet so Icelandic -- and I'm intrigued by the not-so-subtle hints that Darcy has a thing for Sam.

It's still an amusing show, but I liked it better last year (and even then it was a very uneven comedy). I'm of course letting myself be influenced by having seen Harrison in the pilot for "Reaper," which is awesome, but I think by the time this Burn-Off Theatre run ends (and I'll be stunned if all 10 episodes air) and "Reaper" debuts in the fall, we'll all be okay with how things went down.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

The Sopranos = Best Ending Ever

Anonymous said...

What the hell was that Sopranos ending?

Bobman said...

Genius, is what it was. GENIUS.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Guys, Sopranos post will be up in about 10 minutes, if that. Please wait until it is and comment there.

LinGin said...

Well, that's 3 of us who loved the finale. But I think 90% of the audience is going to be pissed.

LinGin said...

Sorry, Alan. Simultaneous posting with you. Will wait.

Anonymous said...

I Netflixed the DVD of "Season 1" a few weeks ago and watched them. That was a very good season. If it had found a better time slot I am sure it would have done well.

Yes these two episodes were still dirty but I agree it did seem forced and I really didn't like the whole car smashing thing.

Yes the roommates and Sully scenes were not as funny as the work scenes in S1 but without them to balance Sully his character is worthless and cliche.

I hope they show the remaining eps just because it is summer and there isn't much else worthwhile TV wise.

How Fox could pick "Til Death" or "War at Home" over this I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

"Let me plug in my R2 unit."

I'm not that much of a SW fan, but right there, I wanted to ask Joy Osmanski to marry me.