Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Republic of Doyle, Season 3, episode 1

Contrary to popular belief, I did not resurrect the blog just so I could have a go at Republic of Doyle once a week for a few months. It just happens to be one of the perks.

For those who recall I wasn't exactly wowed with the finale of season 2 of Doyle. It seemed to me a lot of flash and thunder to try and hide just how spectacularly stupid the plot and writing was. Which has always been one of of my beefs with the show. There's clever dialogue, but dear Jesus, some of the character development and plots are enough to make your head explode. Also, Doyle has a tradition (as much tradition as you can have in two seasons) of really bad season premieres. It normally takes a couple of episodes for them to get into a season.

So how will this season start off? You might have heard something about Russell Crowe starring the episode. I swear to God, the only advertising on CBC the last month have been ads for Doyle, Arctic Air and Redemption Inc.

You know wasn't bad. I mean, the ending flopped a bit (the scene in the car between Jake and Mal giving the address to draw out the bad guy....oi) and try not to think too hard about exploding cars not drawing any attention. But really, the best part of the episode tended to be the one-liners and weird character interactions. It's charming, if nothing else.

So when last we left the crew, Jake was being shanghaied into being a cop, Leslie was fired, Mal and Rose went on vacation, Tinny headed over to England and Des was, well, being Des.

Now, six months later, Jake is being an...interesting cop ("You scared a police dog into retirement!"). Mal and Rose took one damn long vacation, not to mention bring back a hell of a lot of rum. Des is going to a fake university (Memorial University's southern campus. All right then). And, in what might be the single greatest story idea in the history of the show, they made Leslie the traffic cop on Prescott and Duckworth Street.

For non-townies, there is no cop there anymore. But there used to be. They got rid of it, oh, 15 years ago, which I always thought was remarkably stupid and short sighted by city council. But seeing Leslie deal with the drivers downtown and screaming at people for "barmping" their horns, that might have been her best moment in the history of the show. Anyway...

Oh yes, and no Tinny. We probably won't be lucky enough for that to last, but enjoy it while you can.

So yes, Jake is up to his usual things, which is causing trouble. Oh, and being assigned to cover a mob guy who has top secret information, conveniently in a big silver brief case handcuffed to him, which might implicate who murdered a federal officer. Meanwhile, Russell Crowe and Alan Doyle and the rest of the Merry Men (literally. They all starred in Robin Hood together) look on ominously. And scheme...

Thus begins the "For the love of God, don't think too hard about this" section of the show. It's Three's Company plotting when you start to. If only one character would show another character a lick of common sense and explain what's going on...but then, the show would have been about 30 minutes long. But yes, lots of fooling around, running around, smacking people in the face - and leg - plus a car chase involving the brief case and the secret discs they contain within.

As I said, entertaining, just for the love of God, don't divert any brainpower to it. That way lies madness.

As for Russell Crowe, well, I don't foresee any major acting awards for this roll. But, you know what, he looked perfectly comfortable as a guy hanging out in St. John's, with his buddies, having a bit of a lark. Which is what this episode was. Nothing wrong with it. Although they clearly spent all their money on blowing up a mini van and getting Crowe to star, which might explain his wardrobe.

And honestly, the guy who played Jimmy really stole the episode from everyone. He was pretty funny.

Oh yes, and that was quite the reset on the show in the last five minutes. Not really a surprise, but really, the last six months of Jake's life as a cop sounded like a lot of fun. More of watching Jake trying to be a cop, at least for a few episodes, would have been entertaining. Instead, back to square one. More or less. I guess we'll see what happens next. Although going from special guest star Russel Crowe to special guest star Shannon Tweed is surely one of the largest swings in acting quality ever seen on Canadian television. But I digress...

And now, the ever popular quotes of the week

"How's the vantage point now?" - Jake hanging Jimmy off the parking garage next to City Hall. Note to non-Newfoundlanders, our city hall really is that ugly.

"If Jake comes over, hide the rum." - Mal, showing good common sense.

"You scared a police dog into retirement!" - Copy guy, as part of the traditional "You're a disgrace to the badge, but we need you" speech required in all cop shows.

"You might be an arsehole and a disgrace to the badge, but I know you would never turn to the darkside." Cop guy, giving the Newfoundland version of the above speech. Also, if you took a shot for every time arse was said in this episode, you were well and truly hammered by the time the final credits rolled.

"You are technically my superior, but if you don't move on I will kick the shit out you." - Leslie, who has some entertaining anger management issues. Also, who knew you could say shit on a CBC show at 9 pm?

"Let's just say if there's corruption on the force, I can't seem to access it." - Jake

"I'm just saying, it's a bit cold. You can get me a sweater if you don't feel like turning up the heat." - Des, actually being amusing and not too annoying. And not scared at all while being grilled by the RNC (who could not have looked more stunned if they tried in this episode. Although the concept that the RNC has snipers and sniper rifles was one that put a cold chill down my spine).

"Nothing funnier than a bayman with a tan." - Jake to Mal

"Does this bag have nuts, because I'm allergic to nuts."
"Hey, me too!" - Des and Jimmy. I have the feeling Des might grow up to become Jimmy.

"You're a tad brighter than your son." - Russell Crowe's character, whose name escapes me.

"I'm half blind and jacked up on whisky and pain killers. Who am I supposed to be pointing this at again?" - Jimmy

"Good to see you again, dicksmack." - Alan Doyle. The CBC censor was apparently passed out from doing shots every time arse was said by this point.

"Do it again and I will douse you in lamp oil and make a tiki torch out of your scrotum." - Crowe. Which is a fairly awesome threat, really.

Anyway, back for more of the madness next week...

Last Five
1. Doesn't have to be this way - Allison Kruass and Union Station
2. Brackett, WI - Bon Iver
3. If there's a rocket tie me to it - Snow Patrol
4. Worried about - Lissie*
5. Katherine kiss me - Franz Ferdinand


Harry Statesider said...

I was actually excited about the prospect of Jake being a member of the RNC this season. I thought it might breathe a bit of new life into the show. It makes me wonder if it was the plan all along to have his stint as a copper be such a short one, or perhaps they realized in retrospect that the Malachy character was too valuable to be relegated to subplot? Must say McGinley is a genius, if you've ever heard his natural Irish accent he really tones it down quite a bit to sound convincingly Newfoundlander. The show is and has always been campy and silly, so I wouldn't expect a sudden shift to "Shakespeare on the Rock" for Season Three. I noticed Tinny is still in opening credits, so I look forward to her return. She's adorable.

Anonymous said...

The closed captioning munged Leslie's 'barmping' to 'barking'. "Oh, the humanity!" :(

Good to see you blogging again.


Adam Snider said...

No surprise that they reset everything so quickly, but I agree that it would have been nice to see Jake the Cop for a few episodes. I imagine we'd get a lot of "Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon" moments, but without the darkness. So, maybe Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 2, where suddenly he's not deeply troubled but just kind of comically insane.

I wonder if Harry's right about the reason that they rebooted things so quickly. As much as it would have been nice to see a few episodes of Jake in the RNC, not having Malachy as a major character would have been a major detriment to going in that direction. It's always been the Jake and Malachy show, not just the Jake show.

Also, as a side note, having visited St. John's for the first time not long ago, having a traffic cop at Prescott and Duckworth would have made a lot of sense.

On the MUN note: I wonder if they were pissed that Des called it MUN instead of Memorial (what with their attempts to rebrand and all).

towniebastard said...

I should mention that I have no problem with the actress who plays Tinny. I think she does the best with what she has. But as has been rightly pointed out, this is really the Jake and Mal show...all the other characters suffer because the writers really struggle on what to do with them. Tinny, in particular, has really suffered through some crap writing.

I'm curious as to why they didn't film at MUN. Perhaps it might shatter the myth there's parts of town past Elizabeth Avenue.

And I still think they could have done Jake as a cop for a few episodes. They choose not to.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just two quick notes --

My friend who teaches at MUN told me that they wee filming on campus at the time that it was going on. Whether it was for this particular episode or not, I don't know, but they did do location shooting there.

Also, Allan Hawco has said in response to several similar comments that Crowe shot the episode as a favour, because they would not have been able to afford him otherwise.