Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"K…either he won the lottery or he’s going to tell us that the McRib just came back.": My Boys


I’d love wax eloquently about my disapproval of that horrible cliffhanger, but BOO is all I can seem to come up with right now. As the final minutes approached and it became clear they weren’t going to reveal who P.J. invited on her trip to Italy, my anger grew more intense by the second.

Cliffhangers can be a wonderful thing. When done well, they feel earned and keep the audience talking about and excited for the reveal in the upcoming season. This doesn’t mean they aren’t still frustrating, but a well-executed cliffhanger is a wonder to behold. (A few of my favorite recent cliffhangers: Felicity season one, when you don’t know whether the cab brings her to Ben or Noel; Veronica Mars season one, when you don’t know who is at Veronica’s door; and The Office season two, when you don’t know what happens after Jim and Pam’s kiss.) On the flip side, a poorly executed cliffhanger just makes the audience angry and disillusioned, which is exactly how I feel right now.

Let’s back up and see how it all went down. Both episodes dealt with P.J. and Stephanie’s upcoming trip to Italy and P.J.’s search for a date to bring along. She starts dating botanist Evan from the barbecue, but things quickly go wrong when she invites him to poker night and the guys all actively ignore him and make him feel unwelcome by repeatedly forgetting his name and excluding him from the conversation. It doesn’t seem like they do it on purpose, but good goddamn is it rude. He leaves the party early and later tells P.J. he is swamped at work and can’t make another date at this time. She is rightly concerned he isn’t into her, but three days before she is scheduled to leave for Italy he shows up at Crowley’s and tells her he was out of town on business and wants to get together with her. She tells him about her trip and, having decided she will take the Italy adventure alone, promises to call him when she returns.

The next day at a Cubs press conference she runs into the cute Cubs pitcher Matt, who just learned he is being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have a really cute retro logo. And that’s all I know about the Brewers. Matt claims that this clears up their ethical issue (which seems wrong to me because don’t the Cubs play the Brewers?) and they can start dating. He’s really cute about it, and when P.J. tells him about her trip to Italy he tries to invite himself along. She also tells him she’ll call him when she returns.

To complicate matters even more, on her way back from the press conference P.J. runs into Thorn (a.k.a. Straight Man Sisto) on the street. Ooo…Thorn shaved his ugly beard. Pick Thorn, P.J.! Despite his assy name! He tells her he broke off his engagement and acts delighted to see her. He also manages to invite himself along to Italy, and somehow P.J. refuses despite his sexy, sexy voice and cute, stubbly face. Ahem. Sorry, I got distracted there. Perhaps she refuses because he was in Chicago and didn’t bother to call her, and that’s kind of a dick move? Perhaps.

The boys also throw their hat in the ring to be P.J.'s date, with Mike saying he'd be a wonderful valet and Bobby claiming his language skills will come in handy. This leads to a hilarious dream sequence when she imagines herself sleeping in the same bed with a shirtless Mike and a Sopranos-coiffed Kenny. I love the continued canonization of Kenny's Sopranos impersonation.

In the end, P.J. shows up on the plane
last minute and woefully declares to Stephanie and Lance that she actually decided to put her heart on the line and invite someone along and he didn’t show up. At that very moment, a flight attendant comes and informs P.J. her travel companion has arrived and has upgraded her seat to first class. And then…nothing. BOOOOO!

The reason this cliffhanger doesn’t work for me is I am not invested in any of P.J.’s potential relationships. I think the show wants us to be rooting for Brendan, but they so thoroughly dropped that storyline at the beginning of the season I can’t muster any sort of excitement for a potential pairing. Also, it’s hard to get excited about a big cliffhanger when the show itself so easily swept the last cliffhanger under the rug when it spent the season premiere tap dancing around P.J. and Brendan’s big kiss.

I’ll be back next season because everything other than the romantic storylines on this show is still very good, but I honestly believe the cliffhanger was very ill-advised. It’s too bad it happened, because otherwise these were two solid episodes loaded with hilarious moments (the Ferris Bueller's Day Off homage, Andy’s “Metaphor” boat, “Capitano di Cruncho,” and making fun of Michigan, to name a few standout moments) but ultimately was not successful at all.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I totally think it is Bobby. Umm I have become slightly obsessed since the finale. The stewardess called her "Penelope". None of those guys would know her real name. A friend would know her real name. Brendan is poor therefore can't afford a first class upgrade. Bobby is rich and could.

They have a ton of unresolved issues from last season. And the storyline could go so many places if it is him. Plus I think Kyle Howard is adorable.