Monday, May 14, 2007

"My family didn't get this excited for anything I did until my first HBO special.": Everybody Hates Chris

You know what? This whole cliffhanger thing is overrated. It's fine for serials and soaps to have cliffhangers, I suppose, as they're sort of built into those shows' structures, but I don't see why every single show needs a cliffhanger now. What good does it do when, say, Criminal Minds has a cliffhanger? Is there any way that the show is going to come back fundamentally altered by such a thing? Of course not. So it just becomes an exercise in narrative wheel-spinning.

That's why I kind of admire Everybody Hates Chris for just doing a regular episode for its finale. Granted, the characters are all happy to be having school winding up (and Drew is graduating from elementary school), which is a very finale-y plot to have, but the episode was little more than the usual Chris antics -- albeit with some pretty slick direction and some of the funnier business of the season. It was a good way to send us into the hiatus, and I look forward to seeing how the dynamic shakes up next season (presumably, Drew will join Chris at Corleone, only making Chris' life MORE difficult by being more popular than Chris). The only thing I would have liked would have been more for Tichina Arnold's Rochelle to do.

The weakest plot was Julius and the funeral director trying to fix a sink. It was sporadically amusing (and the global warming crack made me think of Peter Singer's One World -- look it up because I'm tired of linking you), but it couldn't really compare to the two storylines involving the kids this week in a reversal of the usual case. Still, the extended duct tape montage was funny, and I liked the growing disgustingness of the concoction in the sink.

Drew's pride at his graduation robes was a funnier plotline, especially the various ways he lounged around the house in said robes. I also liked the family's pride at seeing him graduate and Rochelle's solution to the stained robe. One of the nice things about Chris is that the family members are always supportive of each other. Too many other family sitcoms forget that family members may make fun of each other, but they also have a central core of love that they default to most of the time.

Chris' plot to get Caruso back after two years of being the butt of his jokes (and a season when nothing he wanted to go his way did) was the highlight of the episode, particularly the final gag with all of the cats in the school (which was actually pretty well-filmed, what with the shot of the cat scampering along the hallway to all of the other cats). And it was nice to see Chris get the better of someone who's given him so much grief. In this case, I didn't mind that he ultimately "lost" because he had gotten so far ahead to begin with.

Anyway, that's another season of Chris, a season when it seemed like the show dropped off the face of the critical earth. What did you think of year two, and what would you like to see in year three?

1 comment:

Libby said...

Agreed.
Except I don't agree with the final 'getting' of Chris. I realize that the whole show is based on Chris getting got, but I mean, not to go to logic town, but, wouldn't we know that Chris was having trouble in Science. And additionally, won't his mom beat the living bejesus out of him for it?
Eh.
I just didn't need that particular twist.
Other than that, a good episode!