Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday Stuff - Prison Break, Heroes and Bad Comedy

So Prison Break finally returned tonight, and it's still an awfully frustrating show, one part action thriller, one part conspiracy mystery, one part completely useless exercise in piling pointless complications one atop another until I almost want to scream. I still watch the show, but unlike Lost or Heroes, which seem to end too soon, when an episode of Prison Break ends, I'm ready for the break.

Heroes, on the other hand, seems understuffed rather than overstuffed. Like last week's episode, this week's ep seemed to spend an awful lot of time advancing the story by an infinitesimal degree. Call it "The Wheel of Heroes." A couple of comments:

One of SuperHiro's powers is apparently learning languages. In the first few episodes, he seems unable to say anything in English but a few standard loan words. Last week, he mentioned that he needed to learn how to say a particular phrase in English, and his buddy Ando offered to teach it to him phonetically. But when we meet FutureHiro, not only does he speak English, but he pronounces it without an accent, like a born American. And when he meets The Flying Politician, he carries on quite a long conversation with him in English, without his translator buddy Ando around to help him out.

As to the long term arc of the show, it's becoming apparent that it's not just about good guys versus bad guys, as much as it's about very flawed people making a conscious decision to do the right thing. The Flying Politician is a corrupt adulterer, StripperHulk is both a stripper and a killer, TelepathiCop has marital problems (and somewhat creepily uses his mind-reading ability to seduce his unsuspecting wife in this week's ep), SuperHiro cheats at gambling, the Indestructible Cheerleader is a serial suicide attempter, Heroin Boy is an addict, the CopyCat (the younger Petrelli) is just a whiner. None of them is particularly noble, but these very flawed people are the ones who have been chosen, almost at random, to save the world.

There are some really interesting questions to explore there, viz. inner character vs. outer deeds. Can we be evil and do good? Or conversely, can doing good make us good? It looks like the action is going to ratchet up next week; it's about time.

And, of course, Studio 60...

Okay, first, a note about my car. My new car, bottom of the Chevy line, does not have power locks. The first time I got out of my car, I hit the lock button, held up the handle and shut the door. When I came out later, I found my car unlocked. When I tried to lock the door again, it unlocked as soon as I shut it. Frustrated, I checked the owner's manual and discovered that the lock wasn't broken. It was purposely designed to lock from the outside only with the key. What I thought was a defective lock was in fact a design feature to keep me from locking my keys in thte car.

So tonight on Studio 60, we discover that the unfunny comedy is apparently also not a flaw, but a feature. Matt and Simon go to the Improv to scout for a new writer. Turns out the guy is a hack, a generic black comedian whose material was old ten years ago. But as they're about to leave, they see another guy on stage who bombs horribly. He's flop-sweaty, his timing and delivery are awful, and his punch lines are weak. He's not funny, you see, but his material is original, at least. So they hire him.

See, the comedy's not funny because they don't intend it to be.

Oh, and there was only a little bit of preaching this week - body armor for soldiers and the Hollywood Ten, if you're keeping score (maybe I should).

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