Monday, August 27, 2007

Busting loose

Spoilers for, in order, the "Kill Point" finale, "Flight of the Conchords" and, extremely briefly, "Entourage," coming up just as soon as I swap clothes with somebody who's not really my size...

Not a bad ending to "The Kill Point," I thought. There were some characters and set-ups that never really went anywhere -- Omar the sniper felt particularly wasted, as did the couple locked in the closet -- but there were so much else going on that I felt I got a reasonable amount of pay-offs. Mr. Wolf finally had to step in and deal with one of the psycho brothers (though when did Rabbit start acting crazier than Pig?), the writers faked me out on Cali's reasons for helping the escape (at first I assumed he had realized the only way to save the hostages was to get Wolf away from the other cops), and Leguizamo and Wahlberg got one more strong scene together at the end. I'm not saying it was perfect, but on the miniseries' own modest level, it got the job done.

(Also, for those wondering about the dedication card to the late "Shield" director/producer Scott Brazil, Brazil was supposed to direct most of "Kill Point," but died before production began.)

As I recall, last night's "Flight of the Conchords" was supposed to air sometime earlier in the summer, but it got pushed back to be the season's penultimate episode. As the show doesn't really do ongoing plotlines (when I interviewed them, the guys implied that after the Coco/Sally stuff was over, they were glad to be rid of any arc responsibilities), it's not a big deal, but it does have me thinking about why. As we've discussed before, the plot's kind of besides the point on this show, yet this episode felt a little overwhelmed by its story, which is one of those stock sitcom plots -- The Lie That Goes Too Far -- they've been doing since a few days after Philo T. Farnsworth invented the TV.

As such, this felt the least "Conchord"-y of any episode so far, even though I found it funnier than, say, either of the Sally episodes. I liked both songs, though the ode to Murray was the smarter of the two (the "Lord of the Rings" tune was largely carried by the video elements), and there were the usual brilliant little moments, like Dave's story about the five women who wanted to marry him, Murray not understanding why Mel was speaking Elvish, Murray insisting on calling roll at the impromptu band meeting, or Will Forte turning away from the guys without actually walking away. (His character, by the way, reminded me a bit of an old Alec Baldwin "SNL" sketch called "The Mimic," about a man who can only do three or four voices, all of them terrible.) It was unexpected but not off-key to have Jemaine be the more sensible member of the band for once, and Murray's explosion at learning he had been fooled was great, as was the revelation that he was bottomless for the entire final scene.

Finally (sigh), "Entourage." Well, at least the writers had Vince acknowledge that everything always works out fine for him, but it wasn't funny the way it was when Jerry Seinfeld did it in "The Opposite." Unless the Cannes episode features some amazing uptick in quality -- a practical impossibility, I think, since comedy road trip episodes invariably stink -- I can't imagine wanting to watch this show again next season, even if it's again the lead-in to "Conchords." Life's too short.

What did everybody else think?


David J. Loehr said...

The story in this week's Conchords is straight out of one episode of their BBC radio series, transplanted almost as-is. I wonder if they decided to put it off later in the season because of that.

There's also an episode from that series involving a dinner with an intense fan and a proposed threesome, but the tv equivalent was very different.

The whole radio series is on iTunes, for anyone who might be curious.

Anonymous said...

I think I know one of the problems with Entourage now (aside from them never having any real problems that can't be overcome by the sudden appearance of a rap superstar): They don't do anything anymore. In the first season, there were scenes with them playing golf and shopping and going to the gym. Now, every single scene is either them leaving a restaurant, or sitting around Drama's condo, sitting.

And how bad was the Drama and Turtle hunt Terrorists sub-plot? When Drama announced he was going to root the terrorists out himself, I just knew we were in for a cringe-worthy couple of scenes.

And I didn't make the leap from Ari wanting to have a boys weekend to suddenly wanting his wife with him just because they said he was part of the team. Was I the only one who didn't feel that ring true?

Lloyd was funny, though, as usual.

As to the Kill Point, it was a decent finale, but I was expecting something bigger, but I was satisfied for the most part. The bald guy was a bit over the top and rediculous (What was his plan if Wolf didn't agree? He had a policeman's wife, but no idea what bank the money was at.) and the never ending supply of bullets for Calli went beyond the pale of credibility. All in all, though, there are certainly worse ways to spend 8 hours of TV time.

Anonymous said...

The other thing I have noticed about the order of the Conchords episodes is that they seem to have been keeping the darkest episodes for last. Last week, Mel's dinner party established a benchmark for discomfort, but this week's storyline was almost depressing, albeit still very funny. Poor old Ginger Balls has turned into a genuinely tragic figure.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else find Drama's "I'm always ready to roll" line a little offensive? 9/11 jokes can exist at this point, but shouldn't they serve some kind of purpose?

Also, if that's the end of the Anna Faris story (which I assume it is), that is the worse non-arc ever. Did they just not have time to write an ending?

Susan said...

I'm done with Entourage. I'll watch the season finale just to finish it up, but then I'm done. (Unless they totally shock me by having Medellin actually bomb at Cannes.) Every promising subplot gets dropped. The writers spend every episode putting Turtle and Drama into ridiculous situations just to have something for them to do, when they could have made comedy gold out of Turtle's relationship with Sneaker Girl and Drama's role on a tv show. (He got the role, we've seen him on the set of the show once, and then... never again.) And *everything* works out for Vince. Medellin is brilliant. Billy tanks the script for Lost in the Clouds, but his new script is brilliant. Ari works out a brilliant studio deal so they can actually film Billy's script. They can't get to Cannes, but now... they can. Brilliant. Ugh. So done.

Anonymous said...

Entourage was pretty lame. The Ana Farris plotline was dropped incredibly abruptly, so much so that it made me wonder if Farris bailed on the show or something and they had to edit around that.

afoglia said...

I didn't have a problem with the couple in the closet storyline from "The Kill Point" going nowhere. It just became a red herring. It was a possibility that went nowhere, but it's not like a lot of time was spent on it really.

I'm concerned what the second season will be like. This worked because it was so short, because the writers knew they were going to end it in a few hours. The problem with most good shows is they have to stretch everything out, but "The Kill Point" writers didn't have that requirement. But they did use a lot of material, so much that I can't see how a second story could be told that won't either cover a lot of the same ground, or is terribly stretched, or both.

"Flight of the Conchords" was great. Being a fan, as soon as I heard the LotR idea at the record signing, I knew "Frodo" was going to be the next song. "Frodo" is okay, but it's really just one joke. I'm pretty sure "Cheer Up Murray" was a new song though, and it was great. Great video. Great lines. (Including the reference to "Ginger Balls" from a few weeks ago.) Also, was that Sally on the T-shirt Bret was wearing while performing at the bar? One tiny jeer for ruining the surprise end-credit cameo by flashing the actor's name seconds before.

Tom said...

Yep, "The Kill Point" had a formula and, for the most part, executed it very well. Which is why I was a bit disappointed with the firefight-in-an-abandoned-warehouse climax. I was expecting something a little more original. ("Where are the doves?" asked my girlfriend.) (She's a John Woo fan.)

I loved the final image, though: the surviving robber gathers his ill-gotten gains, and we pan up a flagpole, slowly, slowly, and just as I'm ready to groan at a predictably "ironic" shot of Old Glory -- we see the Canadian flag.

If only the entire episode had been that clever.

Anonymous said...

I didn't have a problem with the couple in the closet storyline from "The Kill Point" going nowhere. It just became a red herring.

True, but I wish Dana Ashbrook had been given a bigger role than sitting in a closet and having no impact on the storyline.

I loved "The Kill Point"--the remaining two eps had me really wound up (so much that I did an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill, heh). I didn't realize there would be a second "season"--is it going to star Donnie as Horst again? Also, Alan, do you know if they are going to release TKP on DVD? I tried recording the marathon on DVR, but as they didn't start and end the eps within the confines of the stated times, it all got screwed up (freeze-frames in weird places as the "Do you want to keep or delete?" message pops up). Bah.

Anonymous said...

Oops, meant to say I though "Conchords" was hilarious, mostly because of ol' Ginger Balls and the LOTR video (silly lyrics, yeah, but the video was awesome).

Abbie said...

Oh, I thought it was a good end-credits cameo, especially with the name flashing right beforehand. I was all like, "What? Where was he in that episode?" and then he pops up.

par3182 said...

murray's delivery of "in the courtyard of the king" may well be his finest moment thus far (which is saying a lot, because everything he does is genius)

Anonymous said...

What was so clever about the Canadian flag? When they got the bank guy to divert the funds, they said the pickup would be in Canada.

Chris Littmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Loyal Entourage Fans will be back for Season 5. Doug Ellin has promised fresh writers with fresh new ideas.

Ideas for Season 5:

1- Billy Walsh goes into seclusion after Cannes
2- Harvey's studio is able to recut Medillin and it becomes a hit. People go at first out of curiousity, but it ends up begin great.
3- Vince makes Clouds instead of Silo or another big budget movie.
4- Turtle's girl comes back, as does Jacqueline (Drama's girl) - both of these are confirmed facts
5- Eric will take on new clients regularly - some he will keep and some he will lose
6- Vince meets a girl- either a rock star or tv star - who isn't blown away by him. They have a love/hate thing going on in the beginning
7- Eric and Vince complete over a girl who Vince used to date when he first went out to Hollywood. She is Ari's cousin, and she actually is the one who told Ari to check Vince out in his commercial
8- Vince and Eric decide that, in the interest of their friendship, Vince should get another manager.
9-Turtle's music management business takes off
10-Drama gets nominated for a People's Choice Award for 5 Towns

Anonymous said...

The Anna Faris scene had technical difficulties. Eric was fired and, no, they did not hook up.