Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Having fun being hot? I am.": Reaper



I've read complaints the third episode of Reaper was as 'disappointing' as its second, but while this wasn't the knockout that Chuck's third ep was, I think this laid out how pleasant this show's gonna be week-to-week. Now, I said in my review of the pilot that monster-of-the-week only does so much. Still it's a formula many a successful show had adopted, so I'm happy to have some laughs, some will-they-won't-they and some Ray Wise for now. If Reaper gets a back nine pickup, I'm gonna want more, but now I'm satisfied having fun.

Yeah, the weakness of this episode was definitely the villain. The fakeout reveal that it wasn't the creepy-looking guy but a sultry woman is nothing new and barely registered. And there was next to no explanation of why, or how, although the guy's little monologue about how he really was just in it for the sex was kinda funny. Still, I'm glad they've gotten the Sam-doesn't-want-to-be-Reaper thing out of the way now. I was worried there'd be more and more of him wrestling with his position as bounty hunter, which really isn't necessary unless you add a new dimension to it. I'm also glad they're not having him wrestle over his future and working at The Work Bench either. One thing Reaper has over Chuck, I think, is that it has a cooler setting. Chuck's nerd-herd is a lot of fun but there's something very eerie and alien about those vast, colorless Home Depot places where there's all those high shelves and no attempt at layout or design or anything. At the core of Reaper (it seems) is this malaise at the reality of 21st-century America, and these warehouse places, in their way, emphasize what's so creepy and lazy and soulless about it. Like, Sam and Sock and Ben (especially the latter two) are all really excited to have these crazy fantasy adventures, without really thinking about the fact that they're in league with the King of Evil and, hell, that SATAN exists and all of the celestial and spiritual ramifications that has. I'm babbling, and I dunno if this show is thinking like I am, but I reckon it might end up doing so, if it lasts long enough. In conclusion, I think the Work Bench is a cool setting.

Anyway, Sam isn't wrestling about his future because he knows he doesn't have one, he's doomed to hell for all eternity anyway and he's kinda got two jobs going already. So the writers make Andi the focus of this storyline, and she's all the better for it, cause like, Andi being smart and motivated just makes her all the more appealing. Still, we know she can't leave The Work Bench, but I liked that they had her wrestle with it and I liked that they're filling in her backstory a little bit. Cause she's awesome and it's cool that she's all sarcastic and hanging out at the Bench, but they do need to address why she's in the funk she's in, so...it's all good. Peregrym's chemistry with Bret Harrison is good, but she's so appealing you reckon she'd have good chemistry with most anyone. Anyway, I like that they're giving Andi a bit more depth, because she was almost TOO perfect, with the lazy charm and forgiving Sam's bizarre Satan-related foibles. They need to integrate her more, though, let her in on the secret (ugh, you just know they're gonna get her and Sam together and then have the secret split them up!) and, yeah, get her and Sam together.

I'm hearing complaints about Tyler Labine. Have at thee, complainers! Cause he's great. I said it last week but I'll say it again, Harrison/Labine/Gonzalez have had instant magic together from episode one. Ben bickering with Sock over wanting to order a salad, or Sock and Ben acting like dismayed parents when Sam told them he'd been offered an assistant manager job--it's great. Almost all of it. I'll admit Sock's rambling cancer story to his ex could have been funnier. And the brief breakup where Sam wants to go it alone before they get back together five minutes later was kind of a weird diversion that must have just been hasty padding. Still, it's all good here. And how about Ray Wise? All the guy needs is three scenes a week. Setup, conflict, resolution. That's what he's there for and he does it so well. Plus, seeing Satan grin and give a thumbs up was funny. I like the idea that he's on Sam's side in all things, and maybe not even for some ulterior motive. He just wants to see his guy get the girl, cause he's Satan and he's competitive.

Anyway, not much to say again this week, but keep it up, Reaper, and aim high! The back nine will come. Also: apologies, my internet was down all weekend and is still being a bitch, so I'm gonna have to hit some of my shows with two-week reviews. But it'll all be there soon.

No comments: