Wednesday, 26 August 2009

In the Loop

Ok, over the last couple of weeks I started watching Fox’s “The Loop” staring Bret Harrison (before he was in Reaper) and I’ll be honest, after watching the first season (7 episodes) I knew I snapshot(9)wasn’t going to write about it because it just didn’t deserve it and here is why:

Primarily because it was made in 2006, there were only 17 episodes, total, across 2 series, Bret Harrison has gone on to do better things, Fox cancelled the show before the second season even aired and there are a ton of better examples of this kind of show.

If you don’t know the show, Bret plays a young airport exec called Sam. He has a crush on a girl called Piper, she doesn't realise. He attempts to balance his homelife, lovelife and worklife and succeeds with a miraculous 100% track record.

Each episode follows the same format. A problem is presented, Sam makes it worse, then he pulls it out of the bag at the last snapshot(11)second. This format grew exceptionally tedious!

There are many more things to hate about the show. Phillip Baker Hall is straining so hard for laughs that you just want to feed him laxatives. His character is a poor imitation of Dr. Kelso from Scrubs, right down to the gay son. I don't think I laughed at him once. Amanda Loncar, who plays Sam’s love interest is terrible in snapshot(13)this show. Even Bret is bad at times, with the show often relying on bad slapstick comedy for laughs.

There is however one saving grace and that is Joy Osmanski who plays Sam’s deadpan assistant Darcy. She is truly inspired and her character definitely needs supplanting into a new sitcom.

Now I watched the first seven episodes so it couldn’t be all bad and it isn't. There are plenty of laughs along the way but as I said, the love story thing and the young exec trying to succeed have all been done before and done better. Ross and Rachel, J.D and Elliot, it’s old hat but it’s old hat that has learnt to say “Bi-atch” and is wearing a gold medallion and that just doesn't work.

So, I said I wasn’t going to write about it, but clearly I am, why? Because something exceptionally strange happened to season 2.

They cut two of the main cast for a start! Piper and her room mate Lizzy, both gone, with no explanation. This takes a little while to adjust to and you find it hard to forgive the show for this, but it was the right decision, effectively they scrubbed the 1st season snapshot(10)and pretended it never happened and it’s all the better for it.

With Piper gone the show shifts its focus to Sam’s job at the airport. Little changes here, except that Darcy gets a bigger role (she is awesome, pitch perfect every time.) and a whole new cast of office characters are introduced, including Sikander the muslim-esk character who is constantly pounced on by security despite working at the airline. The character of Sam’s brother Sully is relegated to the sidelines as the show attempts to work snapshot(12)out exactly what to do with him, coming up with improbable ways for him to be involved in Sam’s work life.

The show still suffers from “Playing for Laughs” syndrome and it fails to get away from the slapstick element but it does begin to take brave steps in other directions. The copies of episodes I watched had to be censored for language and hand gestures with a viewer advisory notice before each one. The jokes become quite cutting and edgy (but not, unfortunately, cutting edge.) and you feel your politically correct centre welling up on the inside screaming “You can’t say that.” but on outside you’re laughing your socks off.

And that is the problem, the writers and producers took a standard “Boy Likes Girl” comedy and tried to turn it into something else. They make jokes about Tv Networks, even Fox, (the guys paying the bill). They make incredibly racist remarks. They make jokes about religion and sexual preference. It’s all very brave and some of it is quite funny, but in the end it is just too brave in all the wrong places. They would have done better to snapshot(8)start over with a totally new concept, rather than use an existing platform and try and re-write it.

And so, while it remains an enjoyable 17 episodes, The Loop was always destined to end before it could take off. My recommendation? Watch season 2, have a laugh, worry if it’s PC. then consign it history and go watch Reaper…

This has been My Two Cents… keeping you in the Loop!

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