Saturday , March 2 2024
"Saving the world so you don't have to?" That's pretty cool.

The Middleman, Top Gear and a Little 007

You know what we don't discuss often enough?  Okay, there are plenty of answers to that, everything from politics to my hopefully nearing an end quest to find my daughter a preschool to the merits of a good hybrid golf club.  But, none of those are what we're going to talk about today, today we talk about (among other things) The Middleman

For those of you who don't recall from the last time we talked about the show (which, I'll grant you, was a while ago), it features this superhero, The Middleman and the Middleman organization, which, as the saying goes, is saving the world so you don't have to.  That slogan by itself should give you a pretty good idea of how much the show is. 

It's a comic-y show (and is based on a graphic novel) which features the Middleman training his eventual replacement, Wendy Watson (who, I gather will become the Middlewoman should she one day step into the Middleman's shoes).  Not only do they battle really weird villains (last night the villain was a man who had a ray which melted everything like candle wax), but they do so armed with pop culture references (and references that aren't pop-y at all).  The references don't tend to be in your face, when needing an alias Wendy will come up with something like "Clara Clayton," or perhaps someone will live on a Ray Parker Junior Ave (the references are usually tied into the weekly plot).  Last night special guest star Kevin Sorbo played a card game which he bought into with "the missing 18-and-a-half-minutes."   They're not going to explain these things they're just going to throw them out.  It means that even if you don't like that week's plot (and they're not all winners) you can just spend your time looking for that sort of thing.

The dialog tends to be fast and funny, the performances strong, and there's always some sort of foolishness present (last night Kevin Sorbo played an ex-Middleman from the late 1960s with the requisite 1960s tropes).  It's really the foolishness that saves the whole thing, the only thing that the show takes serious is the foolishness, and I respect that.  Plus, last night, they referenced James Bond (Wendy wore an Ursula Andress-Honey Rider bikini).  And, as you may or may not know, anyone who references James Bond is okay in my book (until they make fun of my personal favorite superhero). 

Switching gears (but only slightly), you know who else referenced James Bond last night?  Jeremy Clarkson.  Jeremy Clarkson referenced James Bond on a show that I like to refer to (because it's the show's name) as Top Gear.  Clarkson was driving an Aston Martin DB5 (James Bond's car).  It seems as though that car was not all Aston Martin promised it was and that Bond probably couldn't catch Goldfinger's Rolls Royce with it.  I think that Clarkson probably missed that Q would have suped up the car so that it could easily handle anything Goldfinger or anyone else threw at it, either that or he was simply talking about a standard model.

I might suggest that both shows were gearing up for the upcoming James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, except that the Top Gear, while new in the U.S., was filmed a few years ago.  Wendy Watson though… she might be getting ready. 

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.

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