Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Shape of Things to Come

Thanks FOX.

Thanks for all that you do.

Thanks for your commercials that always get me excited for the next week.

Thanks for the time you told me about Ryan and Marissa’s first kiss, for the time you showed Caleb’s first heart attack, and for the time Marissa and Alex kissed.

Thanks for telling me ahead of time that Ryan and Marissa might get expelled, thanks for telling me that Kirsten wasn’t coming home, thanks for showing me that Jimmy was going to propose, thanks for showing me clips of Ryan and Marissa on the Ferris wheel – just thanks.

I mean, if you didn’t tell me these things, there might be suspense in the episodes. I might actually feel my heart pounding in my chest as I wait to see what’s happening. I might actually be able to get emotionally involved.

Seriously, when an episode hinges on whether or not Marissa will come to the carnival and the network has already hammered home the Ferris wheel scene, then I don’t see how I can even remotely remained interested.

I’m just shocked they didn’t show Ryan punching the Dean.

Alas, though, we’re back for another week of ranting and raving about this lovely little show.

It wasn’t a good episode. Let’s get that out of the way early. It had a really strong last five minutes, but almost everything leading to that moment was meandering. I’m not saying that there weren’t good moments throughout, because there were. But I’ve started to worry about this show in one respect…

The episodes are too serialized.

Let’s take a moment and discuss television writing – a generalized discussion. In sitcoms, the writers sit in a room and they come up with episodes. They hammer out jokes and individual story ideas. In dramas, they come up with story arcs. The writers look at the characters and decide where they want that character to end up at the season’s end. Then they decide how to get there.

And that’s fine. But remember when the episodes themselves had storylines that, while furthering the characters, also wrapped up nicely within the hour? The best example is the episode where Luke’s dad comes out. That story is self-sufficient. Sure, you need to know why it’s important for Ryan to help Luke, but you don’t need to see that episode for something twenty episodes later to make sense. It helps, but the fact that Luke has a gay dad really doesn’t do much to make the season any better. The story makes the episode better.

And the series is going the opposite now. I feel like whatever story is in the episode is merely there to push the season along. I don’t want to wait nearly thirty episodes to be satisfied. I want immediate satisfaction for an episode and then a larger satisfaction in the end.

Maybe that’s just me, though.

Sandy and Kirsten…

I’ve seen a lot of criticism for this Kirsten/Charlotte story and I’m not sure if I can agree with it. I don’t really know what to think. I do know that when Oliver was around, fans were clued into what was going on and we all waited for the inevitable blow-out (don’t be fooled, though, by fans of the show who show utter disdain for all things Trask because a lot of fans were pretty into the show at that point – post-Oliver brought changed things). But no one’s clued in now. Everyone’s asking what’s going to happen. And I have to admit that I’m still intrigued. Jeri Ryan’s excellent performance really sealed it for me last night. The way she was able to take the crying face and turn it into such a sinister one is amazing. Still, the story is extremely heavy-handed. Is that really what the show wants? I don’t know. Want to know what I think will happen? Turn over to 90210 reruns on SOAPNet at 5:00. Kelly just left rehab and is living with someone she met.

As far as Sanford goes, there’s not much to say. He’s fighting for Ryan and he’s fighting for what’s best for Ryan. His role is limited at best, but Peter Gallagher just owns the screen every time he’s on it. Last year’s Sandy, a horrible mistake, is gone and the right Sandy is back. It’ll be interesting to watch him play Montague as the Ryan and Marissa story descends into Shakespeare territory.

Jimmy and Julie…

I’ll say until I die that I love Jimmy Cooper in the most homosexual way that heterosexuality allows (see if that hurts your head). But damn, he’s dumb.

I don’t think he even realizes what he’s doing. He’s the person who was handed everything, but when it was his turn to hand, he didn’t know how to do it. His intentions were probably always fairly good. We don’t know what’s happened this time (we only have fragments and I’ll assume that we’ll learn more), but we know that last time, he did it for his family. There’s something honorable in doing anything necessary for your family, even if the act itself isn’t honorable. I’d imagine that this time, he’s in trouble for having fun. He ran through the millions he got from Caleb as he tried to enjoy life.

So the question becomes: is Jimmy just trying to screw his family over?

It’s hard to say. As I mentioned, we only have a fragment of what’s going on. But remember that he did say he’d fallen back in love with Julie before he left. Unless his money problems had already begun and he somehow caused Caleb’s death, I say that he did once care for Julie and that he does now, too.

Tate Donovan’s playing the role very well. His facial expressions make him hard to read. What is he worried about? Himself? His family? What? It’s really intriguing stuff. I hate to see Jimmy turn “bad” but at least it’s got a precedent. I have a feeling this is going to really pick up over the next few weeks before we probably so goodbye to Tate once again.

As far as Julie, there’s not much to say. I’m not sure how bad I feel for her. If Jimmy is screwing her over, then that’s terrible. At the same time, she has it coming to her. She’s a bitch, albeit one that I love. She does horrible things to people and she does them for the most selfish reasons. There aren’t enough bad things in the world to happen to her, but still, she’s almost got a heart. And she does love Jimmy. I’ll give her that. So it should be interesting to see where this goes and how Julie reacts.

Seth and Summer…

In season one, I would have said, without any hesitancy, that Adam Brody was Emmy material. Even after the first episode, he showed charisma that hadn’t been seen on a teen soap, well, ever. Now, though, I figure he should get a Razzy, the award given to the worst performances. Could he be any more uninspired? He was slightly better this week, but still, he just went through the motions. He says the words and while they’re funny on their own, they lack the tone that Brody had in the first season. There’s no real timing. It’s sad.

But it could be the material. He’s getting nothing to work with. Adam and Rachel have good chemistry, but I want to see Seth and Summer have chemistry and that’s not going to work unless they’re given primo material to play off of.

Not to say that I didn’t like watching Seth play Summer’s lackey. That’s where I think he should be. It’s where I think he could shine because it puts him in that position of being socially awkward and removed. But the writers have to do something – I don’t know what – to liven up the character. Seize this opportunity.

And, really, this Summer/Taylor story is just already unbelievable. This is the kind of thing that hooked me on the show: over-the-top portrayals of elite members of society. She’s an exaggeration, of course, but she’s fun. And Summer’s finally getting her own story. She’s always kind of ridden the coattails of everyone else, but now she has her chance to shine. And I have a feeling Rachel Bilson’s going to take this role and run with it.

I think the most important thing is that Seth and Summer seem happy. For the first time since in a long time, they seem happy together. Sandy and Kirsten are the rock of the show, the moral foundation, but Seth and Summer are the heart of the show. Go back to the first season and skip through every scene about those two. I almost guarantee you’ll be turned off to the show.

Ryan and Marissa…

They’re growing on me. I don’t know if it’s something welcomed like the goatee that every teenage boy tries to grow or if it’s something that I need an ointment to get rid of, but they’re growing on me.

They’re really not good for each other. They cause each other to do stupid things. They cause each other to make mistakes. But like I said about Jimmy, there’s something noble in the things they do. Shooting someone is generally a horrible thing, but when you do it to save your boyfriend/girlfriend’s life, it’s pretty cool, no?

I think it’s important that they addressed the Trey issue early. Granted, it’s been three months in “real” time, but still, it’s better to do it now than wait another three months. The emotional ramifications cannot be erased, but they are out there. They know how each other feel and that’s important. Things would have gotten bad.

As for Ryan punching the Dean at the end, it’s a mixed bag. Certainly he knew that bringing Marissa would cause an uproar (kudos to uber-bitch Taylor for being an uber-bitch) but he did it anyway. It’s not on school grounds, I know, but if you’ve ever dealt with an aggressive, authoritative school figure, you’ll know that technicalities mean nothing to them. It’s true.

Still, he shouldn’t have put his hands on Marissa and Ryan did what he knows how to do: fight. And that’s pretty cool, in my book. Chivalry isn’t dead, I suppose. I wonder if any girls would think I was chivalrous if I went back to my high school and punched my principal. It’s possible.

I think the most telling scene in the entire show came when Ryan took Marissa and put his arm around her and walked off. There was a shadow that cast over them as if to separate them from the rest of the society. It’s an “us against the world” stance and really, I like that. That’s what the show was founded on – the idea that these four main characters were outcasts in their own way. Somehow it became that they were outcasts who happened to be popular despite the fact that everyone hated them for being outcasts. Yeah, try to think about that one after you think about my Jimmy comment.

It’ll be interesting to see how the school changes affect the two of them. I’m sure they’ll both be back and soon. I don’t see Ryan leaving. I see Sandy fighting his ass off so that Ryan can stay and that will be awesome. Marissa’s gone but she’ll be back in time for graduation, I’m sure. Maybe even before. It’s just the nature of the genre. Convenience plays a bigger role than you or I could imagine.

Other Thoughts…

I really like the stripped down version of “California” that played at the end, though I’m still wondering why they chose to use it. I’m hoping it’s a signal that the show is returning back to what it once was. I could be wrong.

Jeri Ryan is hot. Just plain hot.

Was anyone else really shocked at how dull Charlotte’s cottage looked despite Kirsten’s praises?

What does Sandy tell the boys about Kirsten?

And aren’t you glad that Ryan is referred to as a son now?

I really like the new title credits. The new font is a nice change.

The title of this episode is entirely too long and not catchy. Thumbs down, writers.

No one’s contacted me about writing for the show or doing DVD commentary for the season three set. I’m waiting.

It’s a good thing they uttered the word “college” though it’d be nice if they would go ahead and tell us what the name of the fictional college they’re going to create is.

Soup in a shot glass? That sounds pretty freaking stupid, actually. Not cute at all. Summer loses major social chair points for that brilliant idea.

What good is FOX News is FOX is going to pre-empt its network shows? Seriously, if you care enough about politics, you’ll have extended cable and you’ll pick up FOX News. I need my Reunion fix.

And that’s all I’ve this time around. It’s 1:37 A.M. on Saturday as I write this. It’s been a long week and I’ve got a big weekend ahead so I had to churn this out fairly quickly. I apologize if there are any mistakes, any stupid, incoherent points, or anything that might make you think I’m worth reading. I hate when I make excuses for sorry reviews, but I do it often. Maybe next week will be better. Actually, I know it will. I’ll have a little more time and time is every man’s friend.

I’ll be back next week with more fun comments on the show, but until then, hop over to and leave some comments for me or email me.

Enjoy the week ahead.



At 7:43 AM, Blogger gnarlykitty said...

keeping fingers crossed for drew and his season 3 box set commentary :D

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Rodrigo said...

Hey Im Rodrigo and i love your Oc reviews... They're the best and the only ones i can read.

I'm actually loving that Summer is gonna have a big storyline and that we'll see more of her house Xd but i agree with you with Seth and her lak of "feeling" in those 2 eps.. I mean, he's my all time favorite OC caracther along with Summer and i miss him.. i really do so i hope Josh does something about it.

Im still loving the way this season seems to be going.. ots better, a lot better than season 2 beginning.

And I can totally see Charlotte keeping our dear Kiki locked up on that House On Haunted hill... creepy.

Keep up the good reviews, Drew. I reed them here from Chile :)


At 6:04 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Ah Drew I think you were a bit tough for this early in the season. They are building foundations -My fav 90210 never wrapped up episodes clean as a whistle after say the 3rd season...We did get a conclusion about Trey in the first epi although feelings are lingering, so perhaps every episode doesn't end with all the i's dotted and the Ts crossed, but some do!

I for one can not wait to see who gets what in the will...Here's to hoping it all goes to someone random TV style like Sandy! Or perhaps...maybe there is nothing left! And the fact that M/R are going to finally take their relationship to the next level - ooooo hoooo!

I do agree that Fox gives everything away with the exception of last season's finale...Please stop!!!

While I don't necessarily agree, excellent always!

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Jon said...

When I saw the opening of your review I thought, "come on Drew, the episode wasn't that bad" but your review ended up being nicer. I think you were just upset about the previews giving everything away (which is why ever since halfway through season 2, I don't watch the previews).

In your previous review, you asked whether Charlotte was an Oliver or an Alex, well after this episode I think she's definitely an Oliver. Kirsten's in over her head, and she doesn't even know about the shooting yet.

Personally, I think Julie won't receive much, if anything, from the will, I don't think he had much left (although she said she has 3 million from the prenup but I don't know how all that works). We were never given a complete view of his financial picture, but it seemed like he was in trouble, and it would be a very Caleb thing to do. Then what happens? Julie needs money, Jimmy needs it to payoff is debts, Marissa needs it for college. This seems like the option that has the most fallout.

And as for college, I am curious to see how that plays out. I'm hoping for the best.


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