Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tales from the DVR - The Problem with Undercovers

Finally got around to starting in on Undercovers. The S/O's pronouncement? "I keep waiting for it to get, I don't know, better."

And he's right, it's not very good. It's not horrible, but it's definitely a disappointment. In fact it's becoming one of those things that I'm now watching out of some absurd sense of duty. (Yes, I know there must be medication for that.)

 On the positive side, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is adorable. (Or as I think of her in my head, Martha Jones' sister, because if something can be related back to Doctor Who, my brain will do it.) Boris Kodjoe is pretty, pretty, pretty, although I prefer him with a hat, because sometimes I find the vast expanse of smooth cranium distracting. Carter McIntyre (who may have a future career as a Seann William Scott impersonator) gets most of the funny lines. And Gerald McRaney seems to be saying, "I'm a professional, I show up and do my job, why isn't this working?" 

It's not the actors that are the problem, they're doing a great job with the warmed-over hash they were handed,  and I wish them well after the coming inevitable cancellation. The problem is this show is neither fish nor fowl. It wants to be a lot of things to a lot of different people, and hence is just a ridiculous mishmash that connects on no level. It's like taking the premise of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, rounding off all the sharp edges, adding some heartwarming real drama, and putting it on ABC Family.

They're sexy spies! But they have small business troubles just like real Americans!The can speak 56 languages and are experts in free-climbing, parkour, interrogation, and making french toast! But they worry about staying grounded in their marriage and not taking each other for granted!

If you're going for over the top, you gotta go for it. And they are Not. Going. For. It. They are bogged down in all the sort of meandering, pointless, crap that everybody deals with. Who's going to feed the dog? You painted the bedroom without consulting me on the color! My sister ordered pork for the Levenson-Chang wedding! Waaaah!

What I want to know is, they say their business failing, yet they have a fancy-shmancy workplace, this ginormous house, and a fancy-shmancy car. Was their business at one time not failing? Did they inherit money from a wealthy relative? We're they also secret diamond smugglers? Does the CIA have a fabulous severance package that nobody knows about? It's like everything is an afterthought.  Recovering alcoholic sister? Afterthought. It's the old throw-the-dart-at-the-spinning-wheel-of-character-traits. Veiled reference in the first episode to the "real" reason the spies were reactivated? Who cares anymore?

Maybe with a defter hand one could blend what is basically a comic book with "thoughtful" drama, but that hand is nowhere in evidence here. The fun isn't fun enough, and the drama is saccharine. If you're going to make me invest in something totally implausible, you're going to have to sell it. Undercovers unfortunately isn't worth buying.

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