Wednesday, July 27, 2016
How many romantic comedies have you seen where the two leads supposedly fall in love and you say, “why?”
Because the writer needs them to is not a good answer.
It’s like those idiotic teen slasher movies. Why on God’s green earth do those kids go back to that summer camp? Every summer? You'd think one year they'd go to the mall.
A more recent example comes from last Sunday’s BRAIN DEAD. I better explain it since, according to the ratings, no one watched it. And if you did, after this week, you might never again.
Okay, here’s the backstory. Ants from outer space have landed on earth and crawl into peoples’ ears, turning them into zombies. They become political extremists. It’s a satire on Washington.
So there’s a big buy to begin with.
Over the last few weeks our heroine, Laurel, has noticed that people around her are turning into these Stepford senators. She’s learned what the cause is and can’t get anyone to take her warnings seriously.
First, she’s not convinced her beefcake is actually infected. He could just be acting a little weird. Except that all the signs are there and she’d have to be an idiot not to instantly recognize he’s now “one of them.” And Gustav, the ADD genius spearheading the campaign to alert the public of these creatures from outer space and inner ear TELLS her she escaped their clutches by sleeping on the couch.
So let me ask you? Would YOU go back to that apartment the next night? Might you instead, oh, I dunno, check into the 80th floor of a hotel and spray RAID wherever you go instead? If you think bed bugs are bad, ants that eat your brain are way worse. Or is it just me?
But nope, plucky Laurel returns to her apartment that night. No residual ants hanging around. You’d think fifty or a hundred would linger. If nothing else they could bring an apple back to the mother ship. But no, the apartment appears to be clean. By the way, not too smart to keep the window open, Laurel… in your first floor apartment.
So she’s back in her cozy apt., seemingly unconcerned, when zombooty call calls again, bearing gifts – a pizza and bouquet of cherry blossoms. Even terrestrial ants know to hide in cherry blossom bouquets. Instead of being freaked, Laurel lets him in. Huh??? Why?
Because the writers want her to.
He begins to molest her. She hits him nine times with brass knuckles. (Gustav conveniently provided them. You never know when infected souls like Margo Martindale might want to fight back.)
The bloodied guy leaves. I’m screaming, “Laurel! Get the fuck out of there!” But no. I guess she paid the rent for the month so by God she’s staying.
Gustav arrives. Tells her to leave (like any sane person would). Not a chance. She’s staying. He says at least put up this mosquito netting he brought along with five dollar headphones to cover her ears. Somehow it doesn’t feel like a very satisfying science-fiction story when the space invaders can be thwarted by Radio Shack.
So Gustav leaves. Laurel goes to bed. But first, decides to put up the mosquito netting. She climbs in. It’s not sealed very well. She brings the headphones to bed but decides they’re not necessary. Moments later she’s fast asleep. Could you fall asleep wrapped in mosquito netting knowing that just the night before ants got another victim right where you’re lying now? I’d need an Ambien the size of a manhole cover.
So Laurel saws ZZZZZZ’s and guess who crawls out of the cherry blossoms making a beeline for the girl with ears. Yep. They don’t stop for kitchen crumbs, they head right to the bedroom. Mosquito netting is only good for keeping out earth ants it seems. This is definitely a defect. Obviously the manufacturers cut corners and didn’t bother to test their product on Mars.
The episode ends with an ant going into Laurel’s ear and Laurel waking up startled.
I have no problem with the producers deciding to infect Laurel. Or it was one ant that she removes with a Q-tip next week. Whatever. But the ants could get her anywhere. It’s not like the ONLY place they were was her apartment. These aren't the Oakwood Gardens. The whole sequence made absolutely no sense.
On a Robert & Michelle King show I’m very surprised this scene got through. I’m guessing they were concentrating on THE GOOD WIFE when this episode was being fashioned down the hall.
Laurel had other choices. Laurel is not stupid. Hell, the ants are not stupid.
Look, when characters make idiotic choices the audience stops rooting for them, stops caring about them. If Laurel is such a nitwit she goes back to her apartment then she deserves what she gets.
I’m giving the show one more week. But if she expels the ant, then still stays in that apartment I am throwing a shoe at the television screen.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM