Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Review: Republic of Doyle, Season 3, Episode 4

I've made it pretty clear over the past couple of seasons of Republic of Doyle that there is no character I hate more than Garrison Steele. I mean, Jake's ex-wife Nikki is just awkward because it's no easy thing to write an ex-wife as a regular character of a TV show because most men don't have much interaction with their ex-wife. And Tinny is just being screwed by the writers who have never been able to figure out what to do with her.

But Steele is just such a....douchebag. Which is fine. You want to introduce a reoccurring pompous douchebag as a character, go crazy. But the problem is, the main character knows he's one, the audience damn well knows he's one, but no one else on the show can spot the blindingly obvious. Which makes them deeply stupid. And it's kind of hard to like anybody on a show with a douchebag and a cast of idiots.

Even if he got some kind of punishment at the end of the show...maybe. But no, he walks away smelling like roses and leaving the lead, who we like, frustrated and annoyed. I can only assume Victor Garber is a drinking buddy of the producers, or has incriminating photos, or possibly a summer home in Newfoundland, which are the only conceivable reasons they keep brining him back.

As it stands, this was the least annoying appearance on the show, which is pretty much the way of saying I've just had my least painful root canal. I guess the advantage is that at least he got punched a bunch of times. He didn't die, though. Pity. Maybe next season, and I'm sure they'll torture us again with him then.

Steele is back and is, well drunk. He's drunk pretty much most of the episode, actually. He's also in trouble with two different groups of people trying to kill him. And rather than doing the sensible thing like stepping out of the way and letting them actually do it, Jake agrees to help Steele...for a cut of his next book.

What follows involves more drinking, something rotten in the state of Denmark...literally as it turns out, and an angry porn producer. On the upside, at least the plot wasn't riddled with holes. On the downside, it wasn't very funny, and unless I missed something I have no idea how Jake knew where the stolen item was and, of course, Garrison Steele was in it.

In subplot #2, we have Jake dealing with the fall-out with sleeping with his ex. Again, no idea why this story was introduced, at all other than for a brief scene with Mal reminding Jake that the ex is not the one he's in love with, and to get his act together. Fine enough, but I'm not really sure why we had to drag back the ex, who was so nicely barely around in the second season.

In subplot #3 Tinny's mom returns from Alberta. Now, as likeable as Mal is in the show, and he's kind of the heart of the beast, there really is something to be said for his parenting skills when Jake is clearly the one who appears to not be a total fuck-up. Christian fought a drug problem and lies like he's breathing oxygen. His daughter appears to have shitty taste in men, had no problem abandoning her daughter for a couple of years, and is carrying around a gun.

If nothing else, they finally might be able to make Tinny sympathetic and give her something to do. I guess we'll find out what's happening next week.

Despite Steele not being as annoying as he could have been, I'd still call this a miss. Four episodes in and the show is batting 500.

One of the comments on my review last week indicated that I might be too hard on the show and I should just roll with it and accept it for the genre show it's aiming for. Which I understand, really. I'm not comparing this to The Wire or The West Wing or anything. The acting and production values of the show are pretty good, all things considered. The problem is the really inconsistant writing. It's always been my problem with the show.

I don't understand how they don't see the massive plot holes in some of the episode's this season. I fail to see how they can't grasp just how bad a character Garrison Steele is (note, I'm not shitting on Victor Garber who is, by all accounts, a hell of a nice guy and unfortunately a really good actor, because he succeeds too well in making Steel so annoying).

It's the deeply erratic writing, which is capable producing belly laughs one moment, and head-smackingly stupid ones mere seconds later, which is really stunting the show. Maybe if they brought in some outside help. Nothing to kill the local flavour or humour, but perhaps just point out when they've done deeply off the rails. Which seems to be happening again.


Quotes of the week:

"You love? Like a human?" - Jake to Steele

"It would be different if she was the one, but we both know she's not." - Mal, to Jake about Nikki

"I'm like the Banksy of Newfoundland."
"More like the Bellhead from Outer Cove." - Des and Jake

Last Five
1. You don't see me - Keane
2. Picadilly sand farewell - Ron Hynes
3. Hold my hand - Gramercy Riffs*
4. Runnin' with the devil - Van Halen
5. When I grow up - Garbage


Harry Statesider said...

I actually thought Steele was pretty funny last night. It seems like the actor was going for the Dudley Moore "Arthur" vibe, which I think he pretty much nailed. The scene where he offers to help Leslie out of her dress with his "one free hand" especially brought "Arthur" to mind.

It was a bit annoying that they had Tinny's Mom return and really left it up to us to figure it out who she was. Little mention has been made of her, and I can't remember if they ever explained why she left in the first place. Hopefully we'll find out soon.

I thought Ranger Gord was funny in his role last night. I laughed pretty hard at his line about the "awkward prose" in his manuscript when he gave it to Steele for review. Looks like he's making the rounds on the CBC this season as I see he'll be in "Li'l Mosque..." this week also.

Anonymous said...

Could you not write an episode or two to show themn how it's done?

Maybe not even an entire episode; just a scene or two that would put paid to the characters of Nikki, Tinni, and Steele all at once.

You wouldn't have to kill them (although you could). Tinny could get a job teaching Newfie English in South Korea; Nikki could lose her mind and her medical license and end up in the Waterford; Steele could discover psilocybin and disappear into the jungles of Mexico.

Adam Snider said...

I fail to see how they can't grasp just how bad a character Garrison Steele is.

They're writers. They probably see Steele as a charming asshole who everyone loves because he's such a good writer. He's their Mary Sue.