Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Middleman, "The Flying Fish Zombification": Dubby does the Devil Dance!!!!

Quick spoilers for "The Middleman" coming up just as soon as I assert my musical knowledge...

That's more like it.

After last week's misstep (which was apparently produced as the second episode, and which ABC Family and the producers were wise enough to recognize should be buried a few weeks into the season), we get an episode more in line with the quality and quirkiness of everything else that came before. I'm in a hurry to get to the "Mad Men" set visit, so I'm just going to rattle off a few things I particularly liked and then open it up for discussion:
  • Noser's version of Stump the Band consisting of nothing but Noser declaring, "Yeah, I know that one" -- and still amazing all the art school kids;
  • The fact that they were able to do an episode about Sensei Ping without ever showing Sensei Ping -- and with almost all of the action implied rather than shown -- the sort of budget-saving measures that would be really annoying on a lot of shows but are pulled off with style and wit here;
  • The use of the theme song during the climactic fight scene with the !!!! spokesmodels, and the way we just heard "Middleman!" when Middleman punched out the one girl still standing after the fight was over.
  • The sheer heinousness of the God monologue ("Hey God... have you heard of... the INTERNET?!?!?!?!!?")
  • The repeated gags (the full title of Lacey's mom, the !!!! dance/wave) that somehow don't get tired -- yet, anyway.
What did everybody else think?


R.A. Porter said...

Sheer awesomeness! Plus, all this week's hidden zombie references weren't the obvious Romero-type refs but to the '60s band The Zombies.

I loved Dubby's line about Kissinger, too. "That guy! Cambodia, Chile, now Art Crawl?"

Anonymous said...

I was a big fan of the chyrons this week, particularly the times. Three-quarter time, quittin' time, hammer time... How can anyone not fall a little bit in love with a show content to be this kooky.

And I am enjoying the roommate a lot more than I was in the earlier episodes. Some of the uber-self aware lines were dynamite, like when she said flat out about how she was preparing to sublimate her anger about her mother towards those that love her.

Middleman keeps finding new delightful little ways to surprise me.

Karen said...

I was struck by how much the !!!! logo resembled that of Budweiser Select (http://www.budweiserselect.com/). The serendipitous timing of this episode on the heels of the sale of Anheiser-Busch to the Belgians (as Stephen Colbert uproariously noted last night: http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/videos.jhtml?videoId=176176) just made that even funnier.

Myles said...

I keep falling behind on my early-week cable fare, so I just caught up on the last two episodes of this...and I'm kind of in love. Just a lot of fun on all fronts, and even if this episode was stronger than the last they still both played well.

Between the witicism of the dialogue and the genius of some of the execution (I'll agree that Stump the Band was utterly fantastic). These episodes made my night - combined with finishing off The Wire Season Three and Dr. Horrible, a most enjoyable television day.

Eric said...


Anonymous said...

I adore the show. But I'm trying not to get attached, because I saw the ratings for the pilot (524,000 viewers) and I can't think of any possible way to put a good spin on those numbers.

Maybe I read the ratings wrong . . . maybe the timeslot change helped . . . but when a network premieres 2 shows in the summer, and one has just over half a million viewers and the other has 2.8 million viewers, it doesn't look good for a show's future.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this was really delightful. I really appreciate you giving this some attention, Alan.

Anonymous said...

This one was definitely back on track, and we'll dismiss last week's ep as an unfortunate anomaly. (grin)

OK: what is it with SF and energy drinks? The pilot of the Sarah Jane Adventures also had a plot to take over the world that revolved around energy drinks. I mean, I know that energy drinks are inherently evil, but...

Love the idea of a product that has an unpronounceable name, and you just gesture it with your fingers.

I confess, it took me a while to get the "stump the band" thing. I kept thinking that he was going to do them all at the end or something, thinking that maybe this was how Lacey would stall for time (and what a torture that would be for the art students, Noser playing drivel...) Of course, my denseness just made it funnier when I finally realized what they were doing!

I actually liked the unseen fight scenes. What you don't see is often vastly more impressive than what you do, and the Devil Dance looked rather sloppy. The River of Pain, on the other hand, is brilliant: here it comes... and then they're all tied up and very cooperative!

And just the whole idea of zombies who want trout instead of human flesh is just... so wonderfully bizarre.

Sarah said...

I'm glad your covering this show, Alan! Its really fun and exactly what I want to watch during the summer. I hope it finds viewers, because its definitely a unique fun show.

barefootjim said...

There is nothing funnier to me right now than "Middleman!!" at the end of the opening credits, so when they did it -- twice! -- at the end of the fight scene, I fell off of the couch.
And my wife, who usually rolls her eyes at this type of epic silliness, is laughing right along.

Anonymous said...

i work on the show. just got word today that ABC family cancelled it. they're not gonna let us shoot the final 13th episode. lame lame lame.

R.A. Porter said...

@anon: Damn it!