With Apologies to Nathan Fillion

Filed under:Reviews,Television — posted by Anwyn on April 15, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

I didn’t expect much out of Drive, the new Nathan Fillion-led, Tim Minear-written/produced “drama” on Fox. The premise–a secret, illegal, cross-country race, as the cast of tonight’s premiere kept reminding us in those exact words–seemed weak and the previews were not promising. Unfortunately my suppositions were correct. Though I love me some Fillion, he alone can’t rescue the show from insipid, repetitive dialogue, a sinister but meaningless premise, and weak costars.

Briefly, the main characters are all in the race for a reason–Tully (Fillion) because the race’s backers have kidnapped his wife, his partner because they kidnapped her when she was a child and she watched as her parents’ car, racing to reach her, was forced off the road and over the edge of a ravine, killing them both. Others’ reasons have yet to be revealed, but Tim Minear, sick imagination that he is, saw fit to include the one thing that turns me off any show faster than anything else: endangerment of an infant. We know that “Wendy Patrakas’s” husband was abusing her and that she escaped into the race, leaving her newborn in a safe-haven care facility. But previews for coming episodes show that somebody, one presumes the abusive husband, is zeroing in on the safehouse to get to the baby. My first thought is not that the race backers will do anything to help Wendy save her child. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I can tolerate the show long enough to find out.

Like reviewers have said of Studio 60, which by the way looks to have held its last after-party at this point, it’s just too hard to accept the premise as seriously as its characters do. Like most of the TV audience seems not to care if a comedy sketch show gets produced properly, I can’t make myself care about the race as such–it produces instead only a healthy portion of, ahem, road rage at the kidnapping of Tully’s wife and the endangering of Patrakas’s baby. Not to mention the killing of “Corinna’s” parents. Though there are a few indicators–a few–that the race backers have some humanity about them, still, they are putting the “contestants” through a rat race of their choosing. One supposes that we will eventually see that these people might have something up their sleeves that makes them worthy of being “punished” in this matter, a la Lost, but unlike that erstwhile trial/judgment drama, the show’s already made me angry enough not to care about the ultimate ends and altogether disinterested enough not to bother finding out for sure.

In a nutshell, if a show makes it that difficult to see how they’re going to make sense of it all, and that boring along the way (we really need four or five scenes per hour of the cars zipping in and out of traffic as they try to outdo each other?), it won’t be long before a lot of the audience stops trying. Even dedicated Firefly fans like me.

Minear as a writer really seems to have something of a split personality. I’ve seen him put together a really incredible show, and I’ve seen him put together some junk. Come on, Minear, where’s the guy who wrote “Out of Gas”? Get him back, fast. Because, with apologies likewise to Adam Baldwin, the guy who brought us The Inside never did it for me either.

How Long to Become “Long-Standing,” Justice Scalia?

Filed under:Abortion — posted by Anwyn on April 13, 2007 @ 8:46 am

Justice Scalia tells audience at University of Portland, a Catholic school, that when it comes to interpreting the Constitution, it is the Supreme Court’s duty to follow long-standing tradition rather than challenge it. His choice of quotations was illuminating:

Scalia used the same quotation to open and close: “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’ ”

He pointed to what some consider its original source, a George Bernard Shaw play called “Back to Methuselah.”

But the quotation is often misinterpreted, he said. In the play, a serpent says it to a woman named Eve.

But after thirty-plus years, the same principle will be used to bring pressure against any future Court considering the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Let’s hope the presiding justices have longer constitutional memories than the abortion activists.

Bonus Portland: Abortion clinic as “urban renewal.” Because they’re mostly about “education.” Are we to believe that in a crowded city where the suburbs are being squashed by an “urban growth boundary,” Planned Parenthood was actually the highest bidder for the city’s vacant lot? Maybe somebody should ask the City Council that. Wow, if only we had an organization who would ask questions and find things out for the public, how great would that be? Maybe The Oregonian should try to find an organization like that and let us know how it goes.

What I Learned Over Spring Break

Filed under:Children's Books,Church of Liberalism — posted by Anwyn on April 5, 2007 @ 11:29 pm

Dr. Seuss apparently believed that Soviet communism differed from American capitalism no more than eating one’s bread butter-side-down differs from eating it butter-side-up.

I believe that’s what Allah would refer to as nuance.

He Wouldn’t Have Been There

Filed under:Language Barrier,Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn @ 11:25 pm

O’Reilly and Geraldo lose it, big time, over the illegal alien drunk driver who killed Alison Kunhardt, 17, and Tessa Tranchant, 16, last week in Virginia. The red-faced loss of control was startling enough. But in all the yelling, O’Reilly somehow failed to use the words that would get his point across–not to Geraldo, he was deaf to reason–but to any viewers who may have been wavering towards Geraldo’s side:

If the law had been followed, that man, Ramos, would not have been where he was at the time he was, drunk, sober, or in any other condition. And those two girls would still be alive. Geraldo can scream all he wants about the thousands of fatalities from drunk driving. How would he like to stop them? Seems to me about the most effective way, if you can manage it, is to prevent the presence of the drunk driver altogether. Seems to me that the government, not being able to foresee all ends, might want to consider that as a general policy, following the law will probably lead to better ends than not. Seems to me that Geraldo’s “17,000” don’t matter a whit right now to the parents of those two girls. Stats don’t, when it’s your kid.

Whatever Geraldo thinks, Bill was the farthest possible from making a political point. He was making a personal one, though he was too angry to use the right words. For those girls, for their parents, if Ramos had been deported for his illegal status, two dead girls would be alive and their parents spared the worst kind of grief. Yes, 17,000 other Americans may have lost their lives to 17,000 drunken American drivers in whatever fiscal period Geraldo was babbling about. It’s entirely irrelevant to the point that these two deaths need never have happened, had that man, Ramos, not been there. Liberals love individual life so much, as long as it’s in the body of somebody “disadvantaged.” It doesn’t get more disadvantaged than death for those two Viriginia girls.

Update: Patterico with the analogy that makes my point. Two extra “drinks” that would have been unspilled, had this criminal been removed from this country.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace