Monday, May 14, 2007

Comfortably Numb

I guess I didn't think Chase would do it... I really thought he would just keep letting his characters get away with their evil ways.

Sunday's episode proved me wrong... I am sick - Chase has spun everthing and everyone around on me... This is what you wanted to see!!! Right?!?!




Damfino said...

If you post here please don't spoil anything for anyone who has not seen it (i.e. Sheriff).

Matty J said...

Yeah. I hated last night's Sopranos, but LOVED Entorage.
And I guess I should charify the statement of hate. I thought the episode was really well done. I hated the actions done in it. I really dislike some characters in the show right now.
The Numb part accuratly describes my feeling towards nearly all of the Soprano's cast. Sil is the only one I give two shits about now.
HOWEVER, Entorage is the best show on TV.

Kern said...

Hey all. Ultimately, I am finding this half season really frustrating, though I've been kind of frustrated for a while now.

Let me tell you why: it's quite maddening to see episodes that are as Matt said, well done pieces of individual work, only to see that they have not allotted nearly enough space to let these new conflicts breathe. Perhaps I am wrong but usually when you look at the overall structure of a large piece of work, the final season or two should begin feeling like an actual denouement and conclusion. I feel we're still being fed new stuff that they will never hope to explore properly with three episodes left.

As a writer(admittedly amateur writer), one of the things I look for in any piece of work is how well it's structured. Disregarding my feelings about any of the more recent seasons I didn't like very well, I was really hoping that there would be a really strong cohesive arc that drove us to the finish line. I'm not suggesting that every little thing in the series that was ever left dangling be answered, but at the same time it would seem prudent to revisit and work some of the longest running plotlines to logical conclusions rather than start a bunch of new ones that will ultimately leave the viewing audience unsatiated and disappointed.

But that's just me.

I did, however, really love Entourage last night. In a way, this "split season" of Entourage has accomplished structurally what I think the Sopranos failed at in splitting its season. With Entourage, I felt like there was a natural stopping point before the boys came back a few weeks ago, and that the lapse in time was handled very well and plausibly. I also enjoy the way I feel that all the characters are really having honest to God character arcs as the seasons progress. Vince and the boys are growing up every season, which totally negates some of the negative comments of some that the show is a vapid glorification of empty headed excess and greed.

Good for the boys.

Damfino said...

Whoa doggy - ok guys, I must protest. First, I need to flat out argue that these episodes are "disappointing" and "unsatisfying." This show has consistently contained stunning uses of images and ideas while peaking in on a very dark area of society. The series strives to be hour long art films without being too flashy - yet it also comes off as poppy fun with mob plot lines and dark intriguing stories.

The balance has worked 95% of the time with a few allowed mis-steps (lingering on Vito is one).

Last night's episode stunned - if you want to talk about arcs look at... damn... this is tough to be spoiler free. I guess just look at character arcs from beginning to end. Last night was a major moment for two characters - a sad yet all to obvious moment... that really sickens the viewer.

Matt obviously dislikes the decisions of the characters - but I don't feel that should infect what you think of the show. Sometimes a character's choices can be seen simply as a writer making some mistakes... but here, one character's choice is simply the final reveal of the darkness that lies within.

It is amazing that as an audience we allow movies and characters to do such dispicable things - watching John McClane murder 100's of thugs... I am not sure why Die Hard came to mind but I can't seem to come up with any good comparison... anyway, since we know these characters so well... it is frightening to watch them become something truly evil... it is sickening to see that you as a viewer once identified with this monster of a human... you cheered for the character... wanted to see the character move on and succeed (in whatever way he wanted).

Chase has absolutely spun this show on the viewer - really showing them what kind of characters they have come to love.

I think this is some of the best artistic work I have seen.

A few more strokes with the brush... and I can begin to relish how unbelievable the journey has been and how fascinating the dark trip was.


p.s. as far as plotlines connecting - remember, the dude never got his rug back.

Kern said...

Jed-Point taken. I agree that even at its worst, this show has set the bar so high for other television shows it's difficult for them to ever catch up. So I would like to clarify my disappointment by saying that I felt more like early days captured a lot of that magic for me, but I started feeling less love after season 4.

I also understand where you're coming from in terms of not letting one's morals and values influence the show. I also really dig yr assessment that things happening now are a way to really turn off the flattering light cast upon these characters and allowing us to really see them in all of their naked, selfish ambition. In a way it reminds me of the way we feel about the characters in Das Boot in a sense.

That is to say, fundamentally we know Nazis are the enemies in WWII, and therefore one would find it very difficult to root for these characters that we know are working for a terrible cause. Yet, once things go to hell on the U boat, ideology goes completely to the wayside and we focus completely on these people's human plight, hoping that they succeed in saving their lives. However, they do survive, and while we rooted for them during their darkest hours, watching them celebrate as they come home to cheering and adoring onlookers reminds you so abruptly of what these guys are really about.

Essentially, you are very right in that it's interesting to see how an artist can do so much to make unsavory people so human to us that we are willing to overlook their inhumane acts and nature until it's practically shoved in our faces to remind us.

While I don't think I'll ever share the same enthusiasm for the show, it was an undeniable turning point for television in which we as viewers realized that not only is it ok to have depth and challenge an audience, but there are more of us out there who crave that kind of material than anyone imagined, and one that opened the door for a new generation of harder, smarter shows that can dare to take chances with less fear of reprisal.

On cable, anyhow.

Damfino said...

Fantastic comparison with Das Boot (which I watched this weekend in HD) Alex!!!

That is exactly right - we get absorbed into the plight of the character... like Norman Bates in PSYCHO - it is so wrong that he is cleaning up Marion's body after the murder... protecting his mother... but you are identifying with him... worried that car won't sink to the bottom of the lake!!

What an uneasy feeling it is watching Das Boot when they come into harbor to the cheering... then are abrubtly killed by Allied planes. Perfect example of turning the audience identification on its head and pointing out how easily we can be manipulated and tricked into our emotions.

That was great Kern!!

Kern said...

Ahthankyou! I must say I really dig that perspective and what it lends to the show. When we are able to see men's actions without the somber shroud of subjective empathy that has been around their shoulders for years, we can see the harsh, monstrous form they truly take in plain sight.

Kern said...

Jed-Also I meant to ask, did you ever get a chance to read my full length piece on Grindhouse? I kind of expanded on some of the things in the email I sent you and cleaned it up a touch. I'd be interested in your response.

Sheriff Officer Greg the Bunny said...

Can't wait to see all of season 6 part 2 on netflix dvd.


ps: anyone see "The EX" this weekend?

Kern said...

Sheriff-Can't say that I saw the EX, but the reviews have not been kind. I think that it will be a fine Netflix movie, though.

Oh, and belated Happy Mother's Day to BC!

Ain't Right said...

Alright, so I realize I'm not part of the "in" crowd anymore and my opinions are therefore subject to relentless mocking, but I have to say, I was not shocked or appalled by this episode. In fact I wanted it to happen, I cheered for it to happen. There have been a thousand flashing neon signs this season that it was going to happen. Of course sometimes neon signs on Sopranos end up being a distraction to turn your attention away from the actual events that are about to happen, but that wasn't the case this time. Maybe it was the foreshadowing that took the edge off the evil for me but it was very anti-climactic in my opinion.