Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 7/8/09

It would be too easy to create a list of “10 Things I Hate About 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU,” but I will limit myself and boil it down to three points:

1. There are no characters on this show, only stereotypes. A beautiful, snotty Head Cheerleader. The Geek who worships with the social-climbing Pretty Girl. The requisite Bad Boy who literally rides a motorcycle. Really?
2. “Empowered” sister Kat immediately sees through Patrick’s broody B.S., yet falls for his act anyway. Clichés win out every time — what kind of “empowerment” message is that?
3. The tasteless wheelchair punishment.

To be fair, I will include two things I liked the show:

1. A few good lines of dialogue.
2. It was only about a half-hour long.

Sci Fi .. .um, I mean SyFy’s new series, WAREHOUSE 13 fares a little better in the “Can we please shoehorn in one new idea?” sweepstakes (but not all that much better). The idea is that there is a warehouse in South Dakota that holds all the mysterious relics and weird objects collected by the U.S. government over the years. Think of it as the facility where the Ark of the Covenant was sent at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, or the place you’d store the freaky stuff Mulder and Scully found on THE X-FILES. Two Secret Service agents were assigned to joined eccentric Artie as caretakers of the repository, and retrieve any magical articles that somehow go missing and cause havoc in the outside world. It certainly is derivative of any number of other TV shows (including the old FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES), but perhaps the-powers-that-be were shooting for “homage.” I was bored by the pseudo Mulder/Scully dynamic; honestly, you two, just knock boots next week and get it out of the way. And the “mystery” of the relic was waaaay to slow to unwind in the second hour (yes, the second hour). But eccentric Artie (Saul Rubinek) started to grow on me, and I loved the steampunk aesthetic of the warehouse’s technology. Artie’s computer keyboard, the bulky two-way video box and Tesla’s electric gun were all brilliant strokes. If TPTB can dig more Victorian tech out of “America’s Attic,” then WAREHOUSE 13 might avoid being shelved.

As usual, there was no shortage of original thinking on RESCUE ME, thankfully. The guys brought the ladder truck and Suburban to the hospital to cheer up the cancer kids. But Tommy ended up getting into a heavy conversation about life, death and the nature of hope with one of the kids, who was convinced he was going to die. The kid appreciated that Tommy didn’t try to sugarcoat his grim reality. Leave it to RESCUE ME to handle the specter of death in such an off-kilter manner. Death + kids is not always a crowd-pleaser, but it sure made an impression. But before the scene got too depressing, one of the other kids hijacked the rig and set off a merry chase, with poor Lou clinging to the outside of the cabin as the truck careened madly down city streets. Hmmm, was that a metaphor for life itself?

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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