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Whiplashed

Note to self: Now that White Collar and Southland are on again and at the same time, DO NOT WATCH them back to back. It will only make WC look more ridiculous when watched against the superb gritty realism of Southland.


It's kind of like drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth. While I was really happy to have White Collar back last night (OMG they brought the pretty so hard), the sheer unadulterated ridiculousness of it made me cringe in many spots, and I partly blame Southland (I also blame the writers, but that's another story). It's entirely possible that after spending so much time mainlining the absurdity that was Prison Break, I'm more primed to be cringey over stupid plotting, but I thought that the WC script was pretty sad and lame last night.

It just seemed to bounce from one idea to the next, filled in with the actors clearly loving being back in the room with each other. While I feel curmudgeonly for complaining about that bouncing quality (Look! Peter is on a horse! Nazi dishes! Neal wears pretty hats! The hospital has the largest atrium in the known world for patients to convalesce in and their rooms have torchiere lamps! Peter's on the wrong side of the law again! Burke's seven!), it pains me when there's no cohesion to the stories. The thing that hooked me on the show was how incredibly smart Peter was (the rest of it was cherries on top), but when the stories are that dumb, I feel like Peter is not that smart. Latex fingerprints, anyone? Fractals!

Not that I'm complaining about the pretty, because they certainly gave us that in spades, and it was great to see Elizabeth participating, even if it was small. I think Neal should stop thinking about Kate and just get it on with the insurance lady because hate sex is always more interesting anyway (and they'll never give us a canonical slash or three-way scene).

But I think I have to pick one show to watch, and then the other show gets watched muuuuch later. Because when Southland brings its A-game the way they did last night, it's very hard to turn your mind off and accept Nazi dishes as a plot point. Not that Southland doesn't stumble at times -- it was so obvious when Ben let that guy keep the illegal gun that it was going to be used in a shooting and it would all be so tragic... that kind of plotting pains me, but they handle it so superbly I can't grumble much. John's acid comment to Ben that if they'd known about the gun beforehand took it to another level, and for that I'm grateful.

I'm still really on the fence about Ochoa with Lydia. But I think a lot of my reactions to her come from something personal; she's very much like some people I've worked with who were pretty miserable to work with and she gets my back up with the way she treats Lydia. Maybe now there will be some kind of air-clearing. I too wonder why she would leave Robbery Homicide Division, so there's got to be some kind of story there that needs telling.

I loved how everyone's partnership issues were unraveling, even among former partners like Lydia and Russ. And all while their lives were unraveling as well. Ben's often been an enigma to me, but his near-crying fear at confronting the rapist the first time in the car was just... amazing. He was hardly keeping his shit together in that situation, and then to have John go off on him in the car later... you can just see each thread coming off him. It was heartbreaking. And everything John said to him at the end was right, but at the same time, you could turn that around on John about his addiction, so there are huge layers of deep, deep fucked-upness there between them. I cannot wait to see what happens with them this year.

And poor long-suffering Nate. (I was happy to have a glimpse of Kevin Alejandro's ass last night, btw, Powers That Be, thank you!) What a clusterfuck that's turning out to be, and I think Nate always kind of knew it would happen, which makes it harder for him. He wants to support Sammy, but it's pretty impossible when someone is that out of control. I have a feeling there's a breaking point ahead soon, and it could ruin everything for them. I think that Nate values being a good cop above almost everything else (because he clearly doesn't always value being a good family man!), and Sammy is not being a good cop right now. I don't really care about Sammy on his own so much as I do about him with Nate, so this could be very interesting.

Awesome, awesome TV. Just don't watch them close together.

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Comments

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jackiekjono
Jan. 19th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
Niow that I have watched all of the Sheild - SEason Three, I am ready for my white collar.

YAY!
destina
Jan. 19th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
I think I like White Collar on the same level I like H50: look! Pretty people! Being snarky and funny and pretty! I enjoy not having to use higher brain functions for that hour, unless I really want to. I like it for what it is, you know? And I'm very fannish about both H50 and Southland, which could not be more polar opposites in terms of realism and depth even if they tried.

Re Southland, I'm really interested in hearing about Josie's reassignment, and all the baggage she's hiding, because that's going to be fun. *g*
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