Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Riches (8): It Has Turned Into The American Nightmare.

Season finales usually try to hit hard to increase viewer interest in order to encourage networks to renew the series. The cliffhanger is a staple element. I am avoiding using the word cliché, because I think that it can be used very effectively, like on Tuesday’s episode. It is hard for me to accept that after only seven episodes the season is over and now I have to wait some indeterminate amount of time before any new episodes. Structurally, though this season has been short, it makes sense. Season One was about the attempt at a “normal” life and the pitfalls thereof, while Season Two has been the fallout when some accept that “normal” isn’t working and others do not. To prolong this later phase would be repetitive and dull: the fragmentation of focus among the family members and the evil skulking in the shadows could only last so long before the show as a whole lost focus. I want more new episodes, but I am pleased with the choice on the producers’ part to shorten the season.

What we may have lost in quantity was more than made up for in quality.

The three Malloy children are in tiered sequence of interpersonal situations. Sam has either a girlfriend or a stylist, or maybe both. His little smile when he looks at her says more than I ever could about how innocent and precious this relationship is. The young wonder so beautiful contrasts with the painfully decimated landscape of Wayne and Dahlia’s marriage.

Di Di slept with the security guard, loosing her virginity in a bed that belongs to neither of them (I happen to think that is a indication that the relationship will not last, but I may be wrong). Witnessing the animosity between her parents and especially loosing faith in the goodness of her father must make Di Di think that another’s fake house is interchangeable with her own. It is not surprising that she takes refuge with another person who seems not to question her, but also does not seem to be expecting her to play some kind of role. The fact that the security guard is a nice little guy tempers how sad Di Di’s situation is. She has now officially begun to turn away from her traditions by having sex without a blessing, but a huge factor in that choice has to be the disillusionment of seeing her father abandon their traditions as well.

Cael may or may not be aware of just how badly he got played. I think he genuinely cares about Rosaline, but she has to be in on it, has to be. And I think it will kind of crush him when he figures it out (next season). He is caught between his love for his family and his anger at his father; the former is stronger but not sharper than the later. His discomfort at standing by the side of his father’s enemy was evident, but his completely understandable indignation prevents him for seeing any option but to bond with the one who gives him shelter. Furthermore, he has mistakenly acted as if trust is automatically associational: he trust her, she trust Quinn, so he wants to trust Quinn also. While we are more inclined to trust those trusted by those we trust (could I say that word more?) but it is a simplistic way to approach the world. Brilliant ploy on Quinn’s part, by the way, to praise Wayne, the irony of course being that he does see Wayne as a “visionary” of the Travelers.

Too bad Wayne’s vision entirely excludes his family at this point. (Okay, continuity thing. We saw Cael call Dahlia, but not Wayne, from Quinn’s phone. Quinn is able to call Wayne after Cael fell asleep. Therefore Cael had to dial his father’s number, but obviously didn’t speak to him. Interesting.) The cliffhanger, the question, is what will Wayne do now that he knows Quinn has Cael? (And “has” is the word Quinn uses, Cael is a prisoner.) Is Wayne too far gone, too wrapped up in his lies and his ego, to save his son? Is there a point beyond which your ability will frustrate the best of your desires?

Dahlia may turn out to be the more reliable parent, so it could be that the Malloy children are doomed. No, I jest. There is still hope, because at her lowest point Dahlia turned away, turned back to her family. I don’t see much hope for reconciliation with Wayne; that would be a little naïve of me at this point. The problem is that Dahlia has as many problems as her children; in some ways they behave more maturely than she does. Her future depends on if she can take Nina’s advice and face the truth. There is a lot of truth for her to face, what with her husband being a dick, and her parole officer kissing her, and all of her lives falling apart, but if she can and realize that she will have to be caregiver to her children (not vice-versa) then the Mallloy’s might stand a chance.

Nina has my undying respect. I have been to a few funerals in my day and I have always wanted to pitch a big shit-fit and then go get stoned like she did, but I always restrain myself. Portraying the messy, undignified side of grief (not the sympathetic tears and fond memory side) was a realistic element I was not expecting. Everyone admits that death is difficult, few acknowledge that it is ridiculous and makes the bereaved act ridiculously. Plus, she told Wayne that he is an ass who has forgotten the distinction between his wife and Doug’s wife. Lady has some balls, and I love her for it. I cannot imagine how Season Three could actually take place in Eden Falls, but I hope Nina stays a significant character.

And, Dale is alive. Dag nab it.

The TV Girl

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