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Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
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Other TV 29 November - 5 December

Posted by The TV Critic on 5 December 2009 | 0 Comments

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Dexter - 410 - Lost Boys
I have read on Alan Sepinwall’s blog the argument that Dexter’s character has changed in a negative way. So here in “Lost Boys” he is concerned with the victim of Trinity’s cycle rather than merely concerned with his own desire to kill. I don’t have a problem with it. I think the writing made it clear that Dexter was able to see the link between his own son(s) and Trinity’s young victim.

What I do have a problem with is how much these last two seasons have built up a traditional nemesis for Dexter. Both Trinity and Miguel Prado were given so much air time yet were so obviously destined to be killed and dropped into the sea. This formula is starting to make Dexter feel more like a cop show than a psychological thriller. The reason I don’t review procedural shows is because I am not interested in the idea of the procedure (whatever it might be) being more important than the characters.

I did enjoy this episode for the majority of the story. Like the first episode of this season, the narrative feels dramatic and tense when Dexter is in a hurry. His emotions drive the show forward and so when he is in a rush the show feels gripping. But in the end Trinity escapes conveniently in order to die another day. Moments like that just remind me that this is a TV show and make me less interested in the story. Christine as the accomplice also felt like a letdown. A predictable familial accomplice also destined for a sticky end.

Scrubs - 901 - Our First Day of School
Scrubs - 902 - Our Drunk Friend
This is the last time I will write about Scrubs though I will keep watching it because I’m a completist. I am thankful to read that Bill Lawrence wanted to change the name of the show to “Scrubs Meds” in order to differentiate this version of the show from the previous eight seasons. That’s all the excuse I need not to continue with the episode guides. I have two reasons for doing this. The first is just that my time is running short and so I need to cut things out where I can.

The second is that Scrubs has been telling the same stories since season two and I am tired of pointing that out. I did it all of the last season when they kept recycling ideas from the show’s early seasons. For old times sake though I will point out that Cole is very similar to a med student who appeared in season one to irritate Elliot the way Cole does to Denise (117). Lucy is of course a surrogate J.D. albeit in female form. The way she comes across a corpse in the first episode is similar but far less effective than the way J.D. did in the pilot. The story of the alcoholic in episode two is the same basic moral message as Elliot’s struggle with addicts (317, 404).

But that is my basic point about Scrubs. Season one was a superb season of television. I will one day get round to writing about its greatness. But as season two unfolded I began to realize that that was all the show had to say. Life is short and we will all die. Being a doctor is a noble and tough profession. You need your friends to get through it. The show continues to rinse that basic message and uses more bizarre comedy to try and cover up the fact that we have heard it all before.

But enough Scrubs bashing. Perhaps a new generation of fans will enjoy hearing that story told with these new characters. Lucy plays the role just fine so far. Denise is excellent as she was last season, conveying strength and vulnerability in believable fashion. The idea of a Dr Cox actually choosing to mentor one of his students is a nice twist. And of course Dr Cox himself is a major plus for the show. His relentless ability to convincingly break with social norms is a tribute to acting\casting\writing\directing all wrapped up in one magic package. Good luck to him and his new students. 

Community - 111 - The Politics of Human Sexuality
Community really is clicking at the moment. It’s not the funniest comedy around yet but its plots are really enjoyable. They make the best use of their ensemble cast and here the STD fair is a perfect backdrop to some character development. I’m assuming Jeff isn’t going to develop into a sensitive modern man just yet but a step in that direction was enjoyable to see. Although the Dean is a good actor who plays the role with conviction, he could use more definition. Right now they are throwing a couple of jokes his way each episode which don’t always seem to land. Characters always need some demonstration of competence if they hold such a job. Still the giant failure of the STD fair was fun to see and for me Troy trying to come up with a joke about crabs was the best joke. I always laugh when someone tries to be funny and fails, it feels very true to life.

Parks and Recreation - 211 - The Fourth Floor
Another decent episode. Tom continues to be humanized and that makes his sleazy moments far more enjoyable as a result. Leslie’s horrified look upon walking into the strip club was pretty funny. I thought the Andy story was a step backwards though as he crossed to the wrong side of believably stupid when he thought that he could win Ann back with a pool game.

 


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