Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Cape

Okay, I can't hold off on talking about this train wreck any longer. NBC's The Cape.

I mean look at what this show is about: A good cop is framed for a crime he didn't commit and left for dead, then trained in special abilities by a circus ringleader, which he uses to protect his wife and son with the hell of a special suit with super powers, while also vowing vengeance on those who wronged him, as well as cleaning up the crime and corruption in his city. A city is under siege from crime, where the police force has just been privatized by a mega-corporation.

It's actually rather impressive how many genre cliches they've managed to fit in there/rip off from other sources. I mean, look at what you've got:

- Framed for a crime he didn't commit: Count of Monte Cristo, The Fugitive, etc...
- Left for dead: Lone Ranger, High Plains Drifter, Robocop, etc...
- Trained in secret arts: The Shadow, Batman, etc...
- A powerful weapon with special abilities and a legacy: King Arthur, Green Lantern, etc...
- Vowing vengeance and seeking justice: Every superhero backstory ever. Robocop.
- Father decides to honor his son by imitating his fictional hero: Robocop...?
- City being run by a corporation: Robocop, Robocop, Robocop!

And even with all that, the cliches and unoriginal ideas, it would be fine if the show was done well. But it's a mess! The show runners rip through the storytelling as though it's a rough draft on cocaine. I'm not a big fan of excessive exposition either, but this guy gets framed for a crime he doesn't commit and left for dead within the first 3 minutes! And the first 1 1/2 minutes of that is him snuggling with his son in bed. (Who, by the way, is cast ever-so-slightly too old for The Cape to be snuggling with him.)

The training sequence is perhaps the most hackneyed training montage I have ever seen. It shows him trying to master three skills: Vanishing with his cape, hand to hand combat (with a midget), and hypnosis. He tries each of these things once and fails miserably. Then they immediately show him trying each of these skills again, and he's mastered every single one of them! And again, this "scene" lasts a grand total of maybe TWO MINUTES. Absolutely awful.

In fact, later in the episode, he tries to train himself how to dodge knives by loading them into a baseball machine (don't get me started) and he fails and cuts his hand. Then, after never actually showing him improving at this, he catches a knife in the air. What? WHAT?

The whole show is like that. There's no character growth or real plot development - story points are just hurled at the camera one after another, like someone just decided to read the script aloud to the audience.

The most infuriating thing is perhaps the slightly better than mediocre reviews this thing has gotten. How can anyone believe it's even REMOTELY good? It's a groan-fest start to finish. It's a shame that, while television has achieved new heights in the past decade with shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire and most of Lost, the bottom has dropped so far with the scourge of reality television, CBS sitcoms and Jay Leno, that the average quality of narrative TV has actually lowered to the point where reviewers actually think The Cape has redeeming qualities.

Check your standards!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stupid Heartbreak and Sickness!

If you don't know or haven't been able to gather, I broke up with my girlfriend of 2+ years last week. Long story, not going to talk about the why of it all right now.

What I will talk about is how I allow my emotions to get in the way of my creativity and productivity. I'd been planning, for months, to shoot a video for Elvis' birthday on January 8th. Nothing complicated, just a simple little karaoke thing with a wig, just for fun because I happen to like Elvis and I've had one of his songs stuck in my head for months. And I forgot. I just plain forgot... because my mind, soul and body are so depressed at the moment over that breakup.

And this has happened for years. I allow my relationship drama to paralyze me, to stall me from being productive, creative and healthy. It's a pretty awful pattern. Seeking the love from others I don't seem to give to myself. I'm not sure I know how to break the cycle other than just one small step at a time.

But that first step... man...

Hey Scientists! Hurry Up and Perfect String Theory...

... so I can go back in time and stop myself from ruining my life. 2010 sucked so badly it's spilling over into 2011, and will probably go right into 2012. I'm in desperate need of a do-over on the last 9 months.

I know, I've tried not to be overly emo on this blog, but it's past 4 am, snowing outside and I just can't help myself. It's both soul wrenching and rare when you can trace all your problems back to a single, regrettable decision. The trap is wasting so much more additional energy in wishing you had that choice to make over again. It's hard; it just seems so unfair that we silly humans are trapped in this linear river of time, unable to swim against the current to go back to a bit of calm water, or to follow a different stream than we did before.

Still, as I lay here, awake in the middle of the night, I can't help but close my eyes and dream of a life lived differently. The choices I made a year ago, or ten years, or even, now, twenty years ago, have led me down this seeming dead end alley I call a life. I just hope there's a light somewhere at the end of this labyrinth. And, of course, that there's not a giant bull headed monster waiting for me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Secret Blogs...?

I wonder how many secret blogs are out there? How many silent cries in the virtual dark have been started by people, alone and depressed in the middle of the night, or fed up and frustrated in a fluorescent-framed cubicle at 2:45pm, crushed by love, life and lacking?

I wonder this, as I've often used the internet as my own storm to scream at in the past. But because I now fool myself into thinking people actually follow what I occasionally scribble, I resolved last year to try to reduce the amount of emo I allow to filter out through my various bits of social networking apparatus. That said, I do still find the need to shout into the darkness, to no one in particular. There's a not so submerged part of my subconscious that perhaps sees a sort of magic in this; somehow, if I cast these stones into the water, their intent will reach those people and things that may have caused the burning need to rant in the first place.

It never happens of course, unless you're incredibly passive aggressive about posting things in plain sight. Like this post, for instance. The ex never finds your Missed Connection, your former boss never comes across your rapier-sharp Tweet, and your partners never find your Secret Blog.

And it's probably for the best. Writing on the internet can be therapeutic; like a psychiatrist's exercise cribbed from a cheap self help book; write your problems on a piece of paper and then burn it. Or post it.

Anyway, I was just wondering how many dozens, hundreds, thousands, etc... there might be out there conducting a similar ritual.

P.S. You'll never find it.