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An Embarrassment of Riches

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Like OMC once sang — how bizarre, how bizarre. A 24 episode that goes extra-light on the helping of Jack Bauer. It’s just weird. It was a good episode, but weird. And, I can’t be the only person that wants to see Charles Logan die, can I? I’d be sorry to see Martha go down for it, but if that’s what it takes to get rid of Charles, that’s just how it has to be. I’m also incredibly curious about the number of near-coups in the White House over the course of this series. Aren’t we getting perilously close to the season two bit where the other Palmer brother was locked away (and was guarded by Aaron Pierce, if I recall correctly)? 

You know, despite the fact that it was explicitly pointed out to Jack that he was repeating old mistakes when he broke into another nation’s embassy, I feel like they are just rehashing old stuff this season and hoping the viewer doesn’t figure it out. Sure, at least they acknowledge it on some levels, but there are tons of old things happening again that they don’t discuss the past precedents for. We’ve already had nuclear bombs going off, Muslim terrorists, a Palmer being removed from power, and Jack breaking into an embassy. I get a huge sense of déjà vu watching every week. They need to come up with something new and different (I swear, if a young blonde girl is hunted by a bobcat in an upcoming episode for absolutely no reason whatsoever, I’m done). At least partially I still watch based on my love of the first season (I know this because at the beginning of every episode, when Jack gives the hour that the episode takes place I still say “on the day of the California Presidential primary”).

As for The Riches, because I promised I’d discuss The Riches… I just don’t know how I feel. I think that as a dark comedy the show has great potential, but the pilot really seemed like they didn’t want to tend towards the funny (except for the opening scene, which was fantastic). After that though, the whole thing really got bogged down. You’re just plunked down into the middle of a story, terms are thrown around (“traveller” for one, and why that’s spelled with two Ls instead of one I couldn’t tell you) that aren’t really explained (though some meanings are clear anyway), and things rapidly become muddled. 

And then, the episode ended and we were treated to a preview of what was going to happen this season on the show. Guess what? They promoted the hell out of the funny, not the serious. It looked good. It looked enjoyable. It looked like it really had the potential to be clever and wonderful and great. I’ll tune in next week (as will many others presumably from the numbers generated from the premiere), but I’m absolutely and completely convinced that there will be one or two small funny things, but then they’re going to go ultra-dark and serious on me. 

Plus, it must be said, I don’t like Minnie Driver’s accent. I just don’t. That, and another drug storyline. Sigh. I just get through telling you about how I don’t like this on The Black Donnellys, how I think these things get drawn out and ruined and simply aren’t engaging, and at the exact same time that I’m watching it happen on Donnellys, it happens on The Riches. It makes me all the more convinced that this sort of hurdle for a character is tired and worn and represents a complete lack of creativity. 

Want to know the rest? Hey, buy the rights.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • santadog

    I thought the Riches was absolutely fabulous. Minnie Driver nailed the Louisianna accent, and Eddie Izzard is just plain brilliant. It’s smart, funny, and compelling. It is billed as a dark comedy/drama.
    Oh those confusing terms. They are in an RV, and they are gypsies. Can’t make the connection as to what a traveller could be?
    And finally the drug use. Dahlia was in jail. Bad things can happen in jail, like being introduced to heroine.
    Perhaps it’s just too real for some people.

  • TV and Film Guy

    santadog, To clarify… 1) I didn’t say Driver’s accent was off or bad, simply that I didn’t like it, it may be the most perfect regional accent ever done, I simply don’t like it. 2) The common spelling of “traveler” is, as you’ll see in my writing in with one “l” not two, and that was just a single term (and the one I noted in my piece as being clear anyway). 3) It’s not an absolute that Dahlia started taking drugs in jail (though that is certainly when the problem became bad), just that she does now. I also said that one of the reasons I find it so problematic is that an exceedingly similar storyline is taking place across the dial at the exact same time. 4) “too real” really? You’d argue that a show about a Gypsy family witnessing the death of a couple that they are, partially, responsible for killing and then stealing their home (because oh so many people buy a house unseen and have movers pack their stuff without ever meeting them) “too real.”

    Thanks for your thoughts though, it’s always nice to get feedback.