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October 10, 2007

Third-episode verdict: Chuck

Posted on October 10, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Carusometer for Chuck 3-Minor-Caruso

In a season that's typically been characterised by pilots - both poor and good - that have been quickly followed by better second and third episodes, it's almost refreshing to come across a show with a good first episode that's quickly gone on to squander goodwill with its second and third episodes.

Chuck, in which a common or garden computer repairman gets all the NSA's spy data dumped into his brain, had one of the better pilots this Fall. A mixture of comedy and action, with a good cast, its only problem seemed to be having Charlie's Angels director McG as one of its exec producers. Certainly, you can see his telltale fingerprints all over it, from the kickboxing blonde babe in a short skirt to the high explosion count per episode.

But episodes two and three have been somewhat lacklustre and unexciting. The comedy has been pretty insipid; the action has been pretty… insipid. It's still fun. It's still relatively enjoyable and there aren't many dull moments. But the show lost its mojo before it even really found it.

Oh well. If you have an idle hour on a Monday, you can tune it, but Chuck is now unfortunately on a par with the other slacker dramedy of the moment, Reaper.

So The Medium is Not Enough declares Chuck to be a 3 or Minor Caruso on The Carusometer quality scale. A Minor Caruso corresponds to a show “in which David Caruso might guest star as a technical support operator. He will ask everyone with a computer problem whether they've 'tried shooting it' and will pile up laptops to stand on them, when faced with potentially taller actors.”

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October 10, 2007

Third-episode verdict: Journeyman

Posted on October 10, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Carusometer for Journeyman2-Partial-Caruso

Journeyman - aka Quantum Leap: The Next Generation aka The Time Traveler's Wife for People Who Can't Read or Don't Like Highly Pretentious Characters - started off with a relatively promising first episode. It wasn't absolutely gripping and suffered from more than a few cliché s, but it was relatively engrossing and had at least a few intriguing concepts.

Trouble is, since then, it's done nothing to accentuate the positives and has mostly pushed the negatives. We're three episodes in now and we still don't have a clue why Dan the man is doing all this 'travelling' as the other traveller he bumps into from time to time calls it. We don't know why she's doing it either. None of them do. Are we just going to watch him saving idiots every week, or are there going to be answers coming any time soon? No idea and there are no suggestions we're ever going to know.

While the producers are now taking the trouble to flesh out the secondary characters, are veering away from making Dan have second thoughts about being with his wife, and are making her even more like a certain wife of a person who travels in time, there's still no one to really identify with, like or generally care about. If everyone weren't so serious about everything, you know, maybe cracked a joke or was a little less sombre – hell, I'd settle for a smile, rather than the wry grins that are all the cast seem able to muster - it might be more appealing.

So although it's all well written and I'll probably stick with it, it's just hard to actually enjoy it and want to stick with it. It might get better, there might be answers, but I suspect it'll be cancelled before anything worthwhile happens.

So The Medium is Not Enough declares Journeyman a two or “Partial Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Partial Caruso corresponds to “a show with two walk-on cameos by David Caruso as a time traveller. Trying to speak in an English accent because 'everyone spoke with an English accent in the past', he'll find other actors unwilling to interact with him, pretending that 'he left a second ago'.”

October 10, 2007

Third-episode verdict: The Big Bang Theory

Posted on October 10, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Big Bang Theory4-Major-Caruso

Ah, what a week. It's the busiest time of the year for The Carusometer. So many verdicts to pass, so little time. But it's going to do its best, because slacking off is what Losers do and The Carusometer has no time for Losers.

Let's start with The Big Bang Theory. Episode one was about as bad as being stomped on by a stampeding herd of bison wearing clogs. And while it has improved slightly since then, the emphasis in that sentence would have to be on the 'slightly', rather than on the 'improved'.

Ultimately, this is a comedy of stereotypes. Nerds/geeks have no social skills; attractive women will be lusted after/stalked by nerds/geeks and fail to be wooed by them; attractive women have the IQs of tropical fish. Continue ad infinitum à la Two and a Half Men.

While the second and third episodes didn't quite have the mean-spirited sneering of the first episode, they did demonstrate, yet again, the problems with the show's format. With such poor opinions of both groups of people, it fails to explain

  1. why the attractive lady wouldn't have the geeks arrested for their scary behaviour
  2. why the geeks are interested in the attractive lady who has the personality of a rubber plant, apart from the fact she's an attractive lady

There's no internal logic to it beyond the next one-liner. There's no real understanding of either groups of people. The geek humour is almost funny, but is sufficiently off base that it just irritates, while the laughs originating from the female side of the equation seem only to be about her cluelessness about life, men, and anything that requires more than a third-grade education.

Seriously, if some geeks were going to have a great big argument about whether Superman can fly because he's really strong or because of some other reason, they wouldn't look through all the back issues - they'd use a far more efficient algorithm such as Google or Wikipedia first. And everyone knows it's because he has a forcefield, anyway. Duh!

If you're drunk or use your finger when you're reading, The Big Bang Theory is probably pretty entertaining. In all other eventualities, stay away.

The Medium is Not Enough hereby declares The Big Bang Theory is a 4 or “Major Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Major Caruso corresponds to “a show that David Caruso might exec produce or star in. Despite the show supposedly being about some loveable nerds, he'll change the scripts so that each episode involves a panel of people all laughing at someone in glasses, reading a book or watching a channel other than CBS, while a group of models all praise Caruso for his manly prowess, enormous muscles, great height and street smarts that you can't get from no book.”

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