We Have Opinions: TV Edition #5

House of Lies s05e10, “No Es Facil”

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This show has had episodes built around a flashback/flash forward structure before, and even if I’m not sure it was necessary then either, at least it served its purpose of creating curiosity - and it worked stylistically. This time it’s confusing and takes us out of the story too many times, especially for a half-hour show and especially when it’s a season finale which is supposed to finish the season’s story arcs in a satisfying way. One exception is the very first flash-forward, with Jeanie and Marty lying on the beach, which is quite beautiful and made me expect a much more interesting episode than what followed. In fact, most of the flash-forwards kicking off the episode created some type of expectation (be it of quality or just drama) that didn’t lead anywhere. There’s a lot of time wasted on cheap laughs and the same old antagonistic banter we’ve seen every season, before getting to the good stuff: Jeanie and Marty and screw capitalism. I really enjoyed how Jeanie just slowly stops paying attention to Marty during the scene with the wedding party (bullshit volume turned down to zero), and the look on her face as she wanders further into the crowd. The idea of Cuba as a place where everyone is spontaneous and happy is a bit cliché, but the payoff in changed perspectives and actions of the main character’s is great. It also makes sense that the people Marty and Jeanie meet on Cuba are happier than them, because they haven’t all made careers out of selling their souls to the devil. The realization that Marty doesn’t want to fuck over Cuba is satisfying to watch, as well as the big fuck you to Skip and Monica but, as it has been throughout the show’s run, it’s the combination of Marty and Jeanie and a good helping of bottled up feelings that steals the show. I don’t even care that it’s a cheesy ending - I loved the proposal scene and I love that those two kids have finally worked it out. If the show had gone on, we would see them mess it all up again, but now we get to imagine them living happily ever after instead!
Tova Crossler Ernström

BrainDead s01e02, "Playing Politics: Living Life in the Shadow of the Budget Showdown - A Critique"

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Tax Prom drinking game. Take a big gulp if: A Republican opens his mouth.

Holy shit, why hasn’t anyone thought of doing the “previously” on for a TV show as a song before? Not that this one is particularly amazing (and it doesn’t really work with the show’s tone) - it’s just such an obvious and perfect idea. As is the basic plot for the show: Alien bugs are eating politicians brains and turning them into mindless drones, but no one notices because they already kind of acted like mindless drones before. No, it’s not a complex or fresh analysis of American politics, but it’s perfect for a sci-fi/political drama/satire/comedy show. I would personally have preferred if the bug people were exclusive Republican, but the show seems to be going for a slightly more balanced view of politics. They’ve even got a love interest who’s a Republican! And yes, I’m having major trouble accepting this fact. The guys is charming (or at least smarmy), but it’s just… It’s just not okay. The show clearly acknowledges Trump’s existence and candidacy, and Ritter never expresses any disgust at this possible presidential candidate for his party. Still we’re supposed to be invested in his and Laurel’s romantic tension? Skeptical face, right here.

Tova Crossler Ernström