Monday, February 27, 2006

The Heavy Lifting

I bet you never thought you’d hear from me again, did you?

Well, the truth is, I’ve been incredibly busy. I can’t even begin to say just how busy I’ve been, but trust me, it’s pretty damn busy. Books, plays, writing, etc. And I had a birthday thrown in there and once again, thanks to everyone who wished me a happy one. It was. I’m now 20. And how weird is it watching this show where people who are older than me are playing people who are younger? Okay, not too weird, I guess. But yeah, I’ve been busy. So busy that I thought about quitting this all together and just reviewing every episode over the summer, but that would give me hindsight, and hindsight wouldn’t quite work with this type of review.

So I decided that while I had a few minutes – and really, I don’t because I should be watching a Russian film for my film class (and I promise, I’m not playing woe is me with all the school work I have; I’m just trying to justify my lateness) – I’d write this up. The film is silent and luckily, I can type without looking at the screen too often, so I can keep an eye on the movie, and my fingers on the keys, and though I don’t know what’s going on in this movie, Potemkin, I figure that’s okay. But the big catch is that this review is going to be very Cliff’s Notes in style. There just isn’t time to write my usual six page spiel about every little detail. Instead, I’m just going to run over the big issues in bulleted format. I expect that you’ll see this format often throughout the rest of the season, but rest assured, the finale review will be tons of in-depth analysis, so for those of you who like what I have to say, just wait and you’ll get more me than you’ll care to know what to do with.

- The writers were in a bit of a quandary, I know, since fans hated Johnny, the characters more-or-less liked him, and the writers obviously masturbated to him, but I felt that they should have appeased themselves and the characters here and not the fans. The characters, minus Marissa (mostly), ignored Johnny’s death. The adults were the worst, particularly Julie, as they showed absolutely no concern for their kids. Julie, generally an overprotective mother, was completely ignorant to her girls’ emotions, saying only to Kaitlin that she’s sure the trip didn’t go as well as she would have liked. Bad parenting and horrible characterization. Kirsten and Ryan had a nice time together, but that was completely undermined by Sandy’s eagerness to spy on Matt. Kirsten, of course, earns shitty parent points for saying Ryan has a lot on his mind “as usual.” Yes, that’s right, because I remember all the other times people fell off cliffs while Ryan watched. Very usual. I give Mischa Barton some credit for acting somewhat disturbed at the end of the episode, though.

- Marissa is still the most annoying character on television. Picking Johnny’s bracelet at the end was disgusting. She’s sad, I get it, but she made no effort to try to relate to Ryan. Everything that happens, she turns it back to herself so she can throw herself to the middle. It’s annoying. I’m glad that Sadie’s here to try to put a stop to all this, though we all know it’s going to be short-lived since all non-core four relationships are short-lived, but still, it’s a nice change of pace. Sadie’s not well defined at this point, but she obviously appealed to Ryan and I’ll withhold any judgment on her character right now. It was a very good idea to have Ryan come to her house at the end. Ryan is usually so quick to forgive Marissa, and she really doesn’t deserve it here. She’s been a terrible girlfriend for pretty much their entire relationship. She’s far better with Ryan when they’re friends trying to make it work. That’s when the romance actually shines through. But once they’re together, it’s stupid. As for Sadie’s relationship to Volchok, I don’t know what to think. It could be good considering that it’ll definitely lead to a little violence, but it could be horribly contrived. I’d love to see Ryan get his ass kicked by Volchok actually. The Volchok in “The Anger Management” was a one-off character, for sure. He was vulnerable. That’s not a good villain. If they want to reintroduce him and expect us to take him seriously, he needs to be a hard ass. Plain and simple. And seriously, if they want to put Volchok with Marissa, then fine, but for the love of God, don’t put her with Matt. What a creepy scene.

- I don’t even remember what happened with Seth and Summer this episode. I think Seth got hit. Yeah, probably so. Seriously, one day when Seth actually hits Summer, it’s going to become a “very special episode.” Actually, I’d kill to see one of those with this show because I think they could really do an awesome spoof. Man, that would be so much fun. As for the pot stuff, I hope it’s not over. It’s too fun. The underwear switch was fun, too, although it felt too sitcom-y for this episode. And it didn’t develop far enough to really reach all comedic potential. I liked the attempt to callback to season one’s Valentine’s Day episode with Seth and Sandy having a conversation at the table, but the horribly dark lighting and quick nature of the conversation kind of ruined it. What can you do, though?

- Sorry to see Kaitlin go. Not much else I can see. Willa Holland’s pretty good, so I hope she comes back. Yeah, that’s really all there is to say about that. Who else predicts that the little dopey, lovesick kid who looks like one of the young guys on American Idol (go Taylor and Chris!) will have gotten her pregnant by the finale? Just me. Bleh.

This was a very solid effort but a step down from previous efforts. It just tried to do too much and did so incorrectly. Kudos to the writers putting some funny things on Johnny’s surfboard (“sux 2 b u”) in a nod to fans. Too bad it took them so long to get the message: Johnny sucked.

Okay, so that’s really it. I know it’s not in-depth. It’s very shallow, but really, it’s all I can do. I’ll be around still, though. Just have patience. People who know what’s coming up say the rest of the season is really good, so here’s to hoping that’s true.



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