Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review - Republic of Doyle, Season 2, ep 3

The last five minutes of this week's Republic of Doyle were easily the funniest bits of the show. To get there, you had to struggle through some deeply uneven stuff.

The Doyle lads are called into investigate a stalker of JJ, a Newfoundland comedian of the now defunct Cad Fud who made it big 20 years ago when he went to the States. Someone wants him, if not dead, then at least pretty scared. Given how obnoxious he is, Jake appears to be more than a little tempted to help the stalker out.

Among the suspects, JJ's biggest fan, a blogger/reporter, a bitter former Cat Fud partner and another member of Cat Fud who is missing.

Meanwhile, Tinny is being stupid on multiple levels, Jake is trying to flirt with the hot crown attorney and bombing in a charmingly idiotic manner and Leslie is getting nervous about why the Mayor is keeping their relationship quiet. Her partner isn't too thrilled about the company she's keeping either.

The problem with the episode is that we're introduced to JJ who is not only an asshole, but not funny. At all.  Jake sees this, but everyone else seems to find him amusing. I was having a flashback, believe it or not, to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in which everyone is suppose to be awesomely funny, except they aren't. At all. So I spent some time wondering if that was the case here, that they were writing him as being funny, but he really isn't. It was a bit weird.

It panned out later, but at the start, it's just awkward because the guys are supposed to be trying to help an arrogant, primadonna, unfunny asshole. Well, it's a bit hard to really get into a show with a character like that kicking around. So the first 20 minutes or so of the show drag something fierce. Once the mystery starts kicking in full force, it gets a little bit more interesting. However, there are still two more problems.

1. It's kind of obvious who the stalker is. It's the problem with shows like this and the economy of characters rule. You can burn through who is the likely suspect is pretty quick. Although the reasons why were a nice touch.

2. Unless I'm missing something, I think there was another significant plot hole this week. A big deal was made over the fact there was a video tape showing that JJ had robbed much of his material from one of his Cat Fud partners and used it to make it big in the States. Except it was never made clear - was the tape just of a rehearsal or was the material done in public? If the later, wouldn't he have been busted a long time ago for robbing material?

It's continuity errors like that which drive me nuts. It's just sloppy writing.

Having said that, the last five minutes are brutally, gloriously awkwardly funny. Plus a rare good usage of Nicki. Being invited to supper at your ex-wife's house. Awkward. Showing up with a date, extra awkward. Having the ex invite someone to fix you up with and having to sit between the two of them....that's a whole new stratosphere of awkward.

So yeah, that was funny. The scene outside with the cell phone, that was just icing. However, it's also what I mean by inconsistent. That whole scene was brutally funny, but it almost felt tacked on and rushed. There are plot holes and a few too many in-jokes. I really was hoping it would be a little more polished at this point. The show is getting by on charm and funny bits, but it really should be stepping up its game a bit more by this point.

Although, I will note, in a rarity, Jake doesn't get punched in the face or take his shirt off in this episode. Madness! One suspects he'll make up for it in coming weeks.

And now, the one liners:

"Nothin' says 80s like a Mount Pearl Curl, wha…" - Jake, speaking of in-jokes.

"Take your ball and go home, son. She's way out of your league." - Mal

"Those how to inspire your family tapes are really paying off." - Jake

(To the mayor after saving his life) "You can blow up Atlantic Place, we'll call it even." - Jake. (Funny, probably incomprehensible to anyone outside of Newfoundland)

"Call me Tin-Tin once more and you're gonna need more than a cup to protect you." - Tinny

"I have to take this. It's my husband." - Hot Crown Attorney. Ooops.

Next Week: The return of the long lost brother. You know, the one who up and vanished.

Last Five
1. Lay it down - Cowboy Junkies*
2. Since I've been loving you (Live) - Corinne Bailey Rae
3. Just the way you are - Billy Joel
4. Cold hands (warm heart) - Brendan Benson
5. Trip through your wires (Live) - U2


Jerry Bannister said...

I suspect that the final scene will feed into a future plot-line.

Here's a theory: the attorney's husband is the mayor.

This is why the mayor wants to keep his relationship with Leslie under wraps. The other cop and then Jake will find out that the mayor is jerking around Leslie, which will give the writers a chance to get Leslie and Jake back in bed for an episode.

The fog actually looked good in the scenes, though everything looks good from the penthouse suite at the Hotel Newfoundland (or whatever it's called these days).

Adam Snider said...

Yeah, perhaps a few too many in-jokes in this episode. The girlfriend loved the Atlantic Place joke but had to explain it to me. But, then, part of the charm of the show is that they're not afraid to make it a show about Newfoundland. It's not just a generic bit of CanCon that happens to take place in St. John's. St. John's (and Newfoundland more generally) is treated almost as another character in the show, which is nice.

I have very little to say about this episode, really. The ending was the funniest part, for sure.

Frankly, I'm more excited about next week, seeing as they've actually decided to bring Christian back and maybe try to wrap up that whole "your brother is the prime suspect in a murder case" story. Seeing as Jake helped him get out of town at the end of last season, I really expected this story line to be picked up right from the season premier this year. When that didn't happen, I figured they were just going to pretend like it never happened. I'm glad to see that I was wrong.