Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reaper, "The Sweet Science": We want more Nessman, not Les!

As I mentioned earlier today, I'm too overworked today to do a full review of tonight's "Reaper," so I'll make a few super-fast points after the jump and then open it up to you...

1. On the one hand, making Andi the boss at the Work Bench solves a couple of problems, in that it gets rid of Ted and gives Andi something to do. On the other hand, wasn't a key part of Andi's character last season -- and the reason, other than her looks, that Sam was so into her -- the way she was a much more successful, creative loafer than Sock could ever hope to be? Doesn't seem to track, and it also means that we're no closer to my dreamed-for idea of having Curtis Armstrong come back to be the boss.

2. That said, I did enjoy Andi and Sock's feud over the fictional Les Nessman (named after the news reporter on "WKRP in Cincinnati," whom you can watch here in the funniest scene in "WKRP" -- and, some would argue, sitcom -- history), particularly Sock's very real grief when he realized Andi had killed off Les.

3. Sam might have gotten a brief moment of triumph over the Devil by telling him that the boxer threw that fight, but isn't he only going to make the poor guy's eternal damnation that much worse in the process?

4. Ben + demon girlfriend = funny. That is all.

What did everybody else think?


jcpdiesel21 said...

This is the first episode of this season that I've really liked. I enjoyed how the demon-of-the-week case was more complicated than it initially seemed, and how Sam got to know the demon a little bit before capturing him, and getting one over (briefly) on the Devil in the process.

Ben and his demon girlfriend were also very entertaining. I'm glad that Ben has something to do and his own storyline.

Sock and Andi's feud was kind of silly, but at least it was amusing. And there was no dumb Sock/stepsister requisite storyline.

Anonymous said...

I am oddly obsessed with WKRP and Les Nessman (the Something Old, Nothing New blog has been posting unedited eps of the original series), so this was a treat. My personal favorite Nessman moment is his inappropriate-yet-oddly-accurate recounting of black influences on modern rock, which starts with, "If the Beatles are the construct of modern rock, and I use that word, 'construct,' incorrectly...."

Apparently, there was a full-length version of the WKRP theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoVN_0RdQAg It doesn't really add that much to what you've already heard...

Reaper-wise, I liked this ep better than the last few, but I think the show still hasn't quite got it together. Unnerved to see Tyler Labine has a comedy pilot at Fox already...I really hope they bring their game with the rest of the season

Craig Ranapia said...

Reaper-wise, I liked this ep better than the last few, but I think the show still hasn't quite got it together.

Damn it, but that's one for the 'tragically true' file - which is a shame because it was a pretty fun premise, and a basically solid cast. I'm sure this has been said before, but did anyone sit down at the end of season one and do a reality check on what wasn't working and how to fix it? I think the folks at 'Chuck' and 'Burn Notice' did, and their shows were the better for it.

Oaktown Girl said...

I thought this episode was a good one, and can echo a lot of what jcpdiesel21 said up in comment #1.

If Zack Smith (in the comments) is correct, it seems as though Tyler Labine already has his exit strategy in place. That's a bad sign indeed because even if the show's not as good as it could be, I still enjoy it enough to tune in every week and will miss it when it's gone. There's not a lot of shows I can say that about.

I have not researched Zach's news about Labine's pilot for Fox, but I hope he's not going to play basically the same Jack Black-style character he does in Reaper. A little bit of "Sock" goes a long way for me.

Michael said...

Isn't the name "Les Nessman" well-known enough that the guys at Corporate and the grief counselors would have caught it?

Word verification: "temper". I don't think I've ever had a real word before.

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed Ben's demon girlfriend. So much better than Sock and the sister, which I did not miss at all this week.

The boxer thing felt like previous episodes where the soul was sympathetic. Eh... ok, I guess, but it's not new.

What was new: Devil at AA meeting!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think it was horrible that someone would be sent to hell solely for throwing a boxing match? Jeez.

Also, what of the rumors that ABC Family would pick up Reaper if CW didn't?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Did anyone else think it was horrible that someone would be sent to hell solely for throwing a boxing match? Jeez.

It wasn't the throwing: it was that he had made a deal with the Devil to further his career. And the Devil, as he so often does, screwed him, and got his soul anyway.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, re: ABC Family, I'll say what I always say about such rumors: don't hold your breath. The cost differential between a broadcast network show (even a CW show) and a basic cable show is very large, and in general the chances of one channel picking up another channel's discards are so low as to not be worth thinking about.

Anonymous said...

This was probably the first time Sock was as funny as he was unforgivably irritating. His Les Nessman con, which make me think of Captain Tuttle from MASH, was a riot. But I'd be happy to see him gone. I find it hard to believe Andi would fall for his "alms for Les Nessman" act. She'd be more likely to kick his ass than give him money.

Aww, Ben has a girlfriend. Or maybe she's a girlfiend. Either way,I love it.

The best episode so far this season. The Devil running 12-step programs was both sick and hilarious.

Anonymous said...

The show is definitely getting its groove back.

Re Alan's #3: You know, I thought that the soul was going to get redeemed for throwing this fight, and I thought it might be interesting if this season developed with Sam pursuing Steve's method of fighting the devil, turning escaped souls good, finding himself in conflict with the devil for it.

@Michael: They may recognize the name, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not a real name. I know a Diane Chambers (Cheers) and I have a distant cousin named Stuart Markovitz (almost a character name on L.A. Law).

FYI: My favorite part of the Thanksgiving episode is Mr. Carlson's line at the end: As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FXSnoy71Q4. My favorite Les Nessman bit was his phonetic pronunciations of Spanish: golfer "Chai Chai Rodrigwez" and little Mexican dog "Chi-who-uh-who-uh", but I can't find that on YouTube.

Edward Copeland said...

That's the way we roll in H-town, baby.

fgmerchant said...

Don't assume the name would have been recognized. Granted I am probably younger than most people, but as far as CW's target demographic, I don't think we were around when "WKRP in Cincinnati" was on the air. I know I certainly wasn't!

I was kind of disappointed we didn't get to see Sock and his Sister this week. I didn't realize it was missing till someone mentioned that in the comments, but I always found those scenes to be incredibly hilarious, albeit very uncomfortable.

The fact that all demons look exactly the same (male/female/tall/short) is a little unnerving.

Does Sam need a reason to like Andi? They were friends before, they get a long well, she makes him feel good, all reasons that he already has. Does there really need to be some overt reason?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Does Sam need a reason to like Andi? They were friends before, they get a long well, she makes him feel good, all reasons that he already has. Does there really need to be some overt reason?

If we want to root for the relationship as much as the show wants us to root for it, there has to be some deeper connection than simply being longtime friends, or simply the fact that Missi Peregrym is really pretty. She's for the most part a very dull characters the writers don't know what to do with, and the few times she sparked last year -- and the few times I felt strongly about the Sam/Andi coupling -- were when she was demonstrating to an awe-struck Sam one of her elaborate slacker plans.

Making her the boss, and the one who now has to constantly scold Sam and Sock, takes that aspect of her character away, and I'm not sure it introduces something better in its place. We'll see.

fgmerchant said...

I have to say, I dont remember any of those "elaborate slacker plans" from last season. Probably because it has been so long since last season, I just accept that they are together without questioning it.

Anonymous said...

What I remember about Andi from last season was not the slacker plans, but her restarting college and leaving the bench (although she quickly returned). I can't see her as the boss working, assistant boss maybe. Sam, Sock and Ben never work, so how will it not end up with her trying to get them to shape up.
And I liked the Ben/Demon girl thing, only wish they hadn't broken up so fast, would have been fun to have her around a while. Demon girl had a recurring role on "That 70's Show" and I really enjoyed her then.
Any reminder of the great WKRP in Cincinnati is fine by me.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... The hero's sidekick gets a kooky demon girlfriend who looks like a hot blonde but is grotesque in real life, and may or may not pose a danger to everyone in the future?

I guess there's no way for a show like this to avoid it, but... "Buffy" did it.

Anonymous said...

Well, if the show can't go to ABC Family, how about Sci-Fi? Sorry, syfy.

Same problem I assume. A bummer. It always makes me smile.

Strongest episode of the season so far.

Anonymous said...

Part of me wonders if the demon-of-the-week storyline was meant to open a possible plot thread on redemption. Even for a comedy, there is the underlying drama element of consequences for failing to act righteously.

I don't want this funny show to morph into a morality play, but it could be an interesting counter-balance if Red didn't go to hell because of his final sacrifice. It may open an escape angle for Sam's contract