Friday, June 27, 2008

My Boys, "The Shirt Contest": Spike TV

Spoilers for last night's episode of "My Boys" coming up just as soon as I find a tablecloth...

Just when I let myself get fooled into thinking the writers were wise enough to never, never, ever show PJ doing her job, they had to go and devote an episode to it. Razza-frazza...

"The Shirt Contest" had a number of problems -- the storytelling felt very ragged, Brendan's never really been that interesting (other than his D-bag period) to merit his own storyline -- but the biggest was the latest failed attempt to make PJ seem in any way credible in her profession.

I suppose I should be thankful for the small favor that PJ didn't get romantically entangled with Spike, as I feared she would as soon as we got a look at the guy. But even though the relationship stayed strictly professional (or, at least, platonic), it became yet another storyline about PJ being clueless and her having to turn to Jay Tarses (who didn't even get any good jokes) so he can explain to her how the world works.

PJ's not a kid. As she said last week, she's nearly 30. She's the beat writer for one of the most popular baseball teams in the country, for one of the two main newspapers in one of the biggest cities in the country, and she wouldn't somehow know that Spike Upton has left a trail of failed ghostwriters in his wake? I'm sorry, but that just makes her look foolish. I'll grant the writers some dramatic license on the notion that PJ thinks this book will be a big career-changer ("as told to" athlete memoirs are a dime a dozen, but at least PJ would have gotten her foot in the door of the book industry, and those things make nice supplemental income), but it just baffles and frustrates me that the "My Boys" writers don't understand how bad it makes their heroine look that she always has to have her own profession explained to her by men.

The titular shirt-making contest provided a few yuks here and there -- I particularly liked the way that Bobby's relationship with Elsa has turned him into Andy's personal errand boy -- but overall this was not one of the show's better efforts.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Was it just me, or did Mike go from the annoying guy in the group to being mildly retarded? There was nothing in his speech and actions last night that even resembled human behavior.

This one didn't sit right with me, and I think part of the problem was the directing. Rather than doing group shots of the guys cutting on each other, the director went for a lot of cuts from one guy giving the set up to another guy making the joke, and it felt very "Two and a Half Men." The whole episode felt tonally off.

And having Jay Tarses magically appear at the bar to give her the bad news was just weird since we hadn't seem him at all that episode. He was mentioned early on, but so briefly that he was easy to forget.

And a shirt making contest? Really? Shirt making?

This felt like the first episode back after the strike, like they just needed to get SOMETHING out and left in all the placeholder jokes.

LA said...

I know it's only 3 episodes in, but this whole season feels off. Lucky for My Boys it's a summer show and there's not much else on television.

Amy said...

It had more than a few laugh out loud moments, but not nearly as good as last week. There was some funny side commentary, the Zima stuff, a throw away here or there worked, but overall not a great episode. I mean I did laugh while I watched it, but I can't even remember why to quote now.

I am glad you mentioned Brenden, Alan. I have been thinking for at least 10 episodes that he is the one character holding them down. I have always sort of thought the cast of 7 was one person too large but never for sure knew who to get rid off.

They would benefit the most from dumping him. Bobby has so much more personality but is still cute enough to fill the network "hot guy roll". The rest of the guys are much funnier than Brenden and more interesting to watch. If they had one less guy to try and squeeze lines in for they could take more advantage of the stronger actors (the rest of the supporting cast).

I was excited when he said the only radio station was in the southwest....I thought they would write him off the show! Alas....

Anonymous said...

I wasn't crazy about it, but they still haven't done anything to turn me off entirely. It didn't feel as off to me as the last couple (both of which were better upon second viewing), but it does still feel very strange and not like the first season of mostly great episodes.

I know people don't like the narration, the sports metaphors and the frequent locker room visits, but i think that part of my problem with these first three is that they dumped everything at once. There's still a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of PJ narration, but for the most part it's gone and I think the show suffers for it. It seems to me that they should have slowly phased that part (as well as the other parts that weighed it down a bit) and it would have felt like a smooth transition into a new chapter. With all of that missing, a tone change as far as Mike's character goes, an opener where the gang was split up and far less poker than they've ever had and it feels like a different show.

There were some small bits I loved, like Kenny's quote from his old softball coach and Andy's new, weird relationship with Bobby. Plus, I don't hate Brenden (though he's been annoying me since last season when he was being such a dick about the Ferris Fun Day), so actually giving him something to do other than just *exist* was okay by me. I could have done without seeing Wendy again, though and I'm not really looking forward to the new direction. Still, things are actually happening, so maybe that's a good sign?

Myles said...

I don't miss the awful Sports Metaphors, don't get me wrong, but I did feel that they at least kept the writers looking for a cohesive episode storyline that tied things together into something that actually at least somewhat made sense. Episodes had a flow, a purpose - here, as you say, the PJ storyline did absolutely nothing. I was convinced that we were going to get more information on the player (Which, considering their bombardment of antiquing/Project Runway/Clothing Line "zingers," I was convinced was going to be him being in the closet, resulting in the issues with the book being written about his life), but nothing!

Loved the Andy/Bobby interaction, but the entire Project Runway things just felt off. I think that's mainly because, as someone who got addicted to the show the second I started watching it, I can never imagine anyone stopping and thinking "Project Runway: the show where they make shirts." It was such an odd and bizarre connection that felt like a writing room pitch that never got fully researched or thought out beyond sitcom conventions. And, frankly, I could accept that these characters even in their hyper-competitive/beer-loving nature would so quickly embrace this task with such enthusiasm. But, then again, I'm not much of a drinker, and never could relate as such.

Weak episode, hoping it doesn't carry through to the rest of the season.

Anonymous said...

It also didn't really help that I'd just gotten the DVDs and watched the episode where they first went to Mike's apartment and his suggestion for the evening was that they watch "Project Runway". That made his being clueless about it even odder than the rest of his dumbed down personality.

velvetcannibal said...

I don't know, I think the backless shirt reveal went a really, really long way with me. I enjoyed that.

Jeff Martin said...

The shirt contest - both the episode and the actual plot line - felt veeery sitcommy, a trend which I'm not sure I'm excited to continue. It wasn't as smart as "My Boys" usually is.

Anonymous said...

This was the first episode I've watched of "My Boys". I guess I picked a loser, didn't I? Although it had its moments (I too loved the backless shirt, and the tablecloth shirt made me laugh.), I wasn't particularly impressed, and much of that is because I found PJ completely boring. I was happy to see that she's not petulant, whiny and hysterical, which is how most female characters who hang out with guys are written. So that was a blessing. But she just doesn't seem to have much personality.

After reading the comments here, I'll probably give it another try, but that's mostly because of Jim Gaffigan, who always makes me laugh.