gwyn: (pete sdwolfpup)
I got the bright idea to make a new vid for Pacificon, aka [ profile] bitchinparty. I thought it would be fun to make a second Keen Eddie vid, because I've wanted to do this one for years, but it kept being put on the back burner for other things. But it felt like a perfect fit with the con and the kind of show [ profile] sdwolfpup was putting together. She patiently waited for me to finish it, bless her heart, until the last possible minute, since it was a new vid -- and apparently the only one, which makes her patience all the more amazing.

It's really just a bunch of silliness, but with my tendency toward the serious, every once in a while I have to cut loose and just do goofy, and there's really no better show for that than Keen Eddie. But it even kind of makes me smile, and I made it, so I figure that's a good sign. I really want to thank the audience at the con for their wonderful reaction; it made me feel so good to see so many people interested in the series. If you saw it at the con, there's a little change to the ending you might enjoy in the online files.

Don't Get Me Wrong
Artist: The Pretenders
File: QT Divx avi, 37MB
Streaming video here
There's something in the air when Monty's with Eddie.

Streaming Imeem vid also here under the cut )

Site no longer requires a password.


Feb. 27th, 2008 09:59 pm
gwyn: (omar alexandral)
Today I started my very first real honest to gosh freelance job. It means I won't get my unemployment moolah for the week, of course, but I'm much more interested in getting clients and word of mouth. It's not much, just a proofing job, but it's for a coffee-table style niche magazine for guitar geeks published here. I'm about halfway through, just finished the longest article, and it's really a gorgeous book. I looked at a newsstand copy a while ago and was very impressed with what they did, but most important for my music-geek soul, I'm reading about all these guitar legends and the behind the scenes things like building specialist guitars and other fretted instruments, and one of the articles in this issue is on Les Paul. I mean, my first lil' "I'm trying a new career path" job involves reading about Les freakin' Paul!

I've established a domain and email account for business, and am writing blurbs for the various groups I belong to so I can get listed in all the freelance places. I need to prepare copy for a web site and really get the resume in good online order, but overall, with my "do a thing a day" plan, it's going okay. Hopefully I can get some momentum going, though getting ready for spring quarter class will kind of throw a spanner in those works.

Blues and Olive still can't get along. Every time I think there will be a thaw, and Olive starts to lick him (she's a licking kitty), he smacks her, the little doofus. And the rest of the time, he's trying to get her to pay attention to him, so she's smacking, hissing, snarling, and growling at him. I just. Cats. But it's so fun to watch him racing around the backyard like a maniac. He's such a dork, and still growing into his feet. He's utterly fascinated, too, by the computer, and I took some pics of him while I was vidding that I'll try to put up.

Speaking of vidding, my Keen Eddie vid for Pacificon is going well. I like it so far, even though it really doesn't have any sensible storyline or anything. It's just one big goof, a collection of clips that are just silly examples of the perfection of the Monty/Eddie relationship.

And I have been avoiding talking about The Wire's final season, because in some ways it was letting me down, and also, I have been so far behind everyone else that I felt foolish talking about it. I'm only up to 8, and everyone's talking about 9, but I have read most of the spoilers so I have an idea of what's going on.

A season of ups and downs )
gwyn: (painscary  impetus_icons)
Ooo, [ profile] sdwolfpup had a great TV meme today that I am gakking and filling out, because I don't want to think about things like impending joblessness and etc. I'm sure it will contain spoilers because so many people think even your opinion is a spoiler, so you are warned.

Also, there is still time to send me anonymous comments in her vidding truth meme -- you can say nice things or tan my hide, or both, and stay hidden!

TV watching memes are always fun )
gwyn: (monty)
ZOMG, you guys! [ profile] strangefandom Stranger in a Strange Fandom (a community where people watch certain vids of fandoms they don't know, and then post their synposes of what they think the fandom is about based on the vids), has posted their latest round of strange fandoms, and two vids I worked on are included. And they are so fun and interesting to read!!

They used I Remember, the Charlie Jade vid [ profile] feochadn and I made, and [ profile] keiko_kirin's wild Lack, for the Charlie Jade signup, and they also had one for Keen Eddie, with my Too Bad, one of the funnest vids I ever made. The vids are linked at the communities above, and it probably helps to watch the vids if you haven't seen them, just to understand what the strangers who write the synopses are looking at. Some of them are just so funny. There were ten (!!!) strangers synposizing the vids for Charlie Jade, and OMG, I had tears in my eyes from laughing. It's amazing what people come up with -- watermelon drinks! drains in the ocean! yay! Really, I just could not be happier, and I can't wait to see who wrote them.

And the Keen Eddie ones are great at picking up the tone of the series (although, sniff, someone called Monty Fugly Guy, which hurts my Monty-lovin' heart -- see icon), and I can't believe eight people were willing to write the synopses.

This really came at a good time -- I've got a cold, I'm depressed (it's November, I hate it now), I'm lonesome without my sister, and I needed such a pick me up. You Stranger mods, you are my heroes. Thank you so much for allowing me to participate.

And the rest of you, go read! Fun! There are a bunch of other fandoms, too, and I can't wait to read the rest of the synposes.
gwyn: (sam details stoffel)
Min, you are so totally right -- these are like little crack Pringles. I can't stop! (though both crack AND Pringles would probably be very bad for my poor innards right now)

5 things Eddie misses from the States (Keen Eddie) )

5 times Sam Tyler really really wished he had his cameraphone with him (Life on Mars) )
gwyn: (pete sdwolfpup)
Getting all 13 episodes of Keen Eddie on nice shiny DVDs is a little like those classic choice scenarios where you really have no choice. You can have the episodes on disc, preserved in beautiful picture forever (or at least until new technology becomes standard and/or laser rot proves to be more than an urban myth), but you have to accept them without the original music in many of the best scenes, and you have to watch them all out of order. So, cake or death? Which will it be? Of course any true fan chooses to have them even without the music. But for anyone who's already fallen in love with the show, it becomes painful to watch some of the episodes. And it's impossible to review the discs without focusing on this.

Review of Keen Eddie Complete Series DVDs )

ETA: I believe this is the original order of the episodes as they were conceived:
Horse Heir
Keeping Up Appearances
Citzen Cecil
Who Wants to Be in a Club That Would Have Me As a Member?
Sucker Punch
Black Like Me
Inciting Incident
Achtung, Baby
The Amazing Larry Dunn
Sticky Fingers
Eddie Loves Baseball
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite

Meta slash

Mar. 23rd, 2004 10:32 am
gwyn: (monty)
For some reason, Bravo didn't air Keen Eddie last week, but they've started showing the ads for this week's episode, one of the unaired eps. I feel a great vindication: the asshats who commented that my vid at Escapade wasn't slashy enough, and that it wasn't a "correct" fandom to pimp at a slash con? Hah! Even the Bravo advertising folks know that the real romance in this show is between Eddie and Monty. The ad offers the usual quick clips from the rest of the main story, and then the announcer intones, "and the romance you've all been waiting for." A quick shot of Fiona. Music swells, and we get Monty staring up at Eddie, saying, "I think I'm attracted to you." Sound of record needle being pulled off abruptly. Eddie fixes him with an annoyed stare, and says "Shut. Up."

I'm telling you, the slash on this show is at meta level. The characters themselves know about it and comment on it. Right before the con, we had an episode where Monty was pissed at Eddie and wouldn't talk to him. At one point in the car, Eddie says, "Come on, give us a kiss." Monty turns away, but Eddie says, "Kiss?" Then a few weeks later came another totally new episode (one of the unaired six), and in frustration with strange things happening in his life, Eddie says, "Maybe we should just move in together." Monty leaps up and asks eagerly, "Really?" and Eddie, realizing what he's said, answers, "No!" to which Monty responds by sitting down and looking crushed.

I don't know how a show where two male characters are often sleeping on each other and having conversations like this could possibly not be considered slashy enough. I guess it's just that it doesn't have 12-year-old pretty boys. But I'll take Monty and Eddie over the rest of them any day. Wednesday at 10 now, on Bravo -- it's the slashiest!
gwyn: (monty)
No time, no time, aiiieeee... but I did squeeze in time to say this on an email list I belong to, and want to encourage folks here, as well. If you're one of my fellow Keen Eddie fans who tuned in to Bravo last night for the pilot, you might have noticed that they didn't clutter it up with pop up ads and banners -- almost unheard of for cable these days. And if you'd seen the original, you'd also have noted they didn't cut a moment out of the original show, also unheard of on a cable pickup.

So, thank Bravo -- mostly, we only write to people when we're pissed. Having served as an editor at some magazines and newspapers, I know from experience you will almost never hear an attagirl for a good issue, but you will always hear hate and a "you suck" for something someone didn't like. If you can spare a few moments, thank Bravo for picking up the show, and airing it uncut, and especially for the no popup ads. For a vidder, this is a godsend (I wish I could have had such clean copies when I made my vid earlier last year), and I really believe Bravo should be thanked for giving such attention to this show. Their contact page on their web site is here:
gwyn: (monty)
I'm probably not going to be able to update much for a while here, so I wanted to take the chance to pimp a show while I had it. I'm having a really trauma-filled week, and am working 9-10 hour days right now, and starting tomorrow will be working 10-11 plus about two hours' commute time, and weekends, for the next few weeks. Busiest time I've had in about three years here, and my boss, who's even busier than me, is going on vacation for two weeks. Plus I'm having a hellacious time trying to get the Escapade vid stuff to work for me (and suddenly my iDVD acts up just when I need it most), and on top of that, something's wrong with my left eye, which is now swollen up and red and itchy and nearly closed. I tell ya, I'm loving life.

And for some reason this makes me think of Keen Eddie. Fox ran this summer show last year for a brief time, and then killed it after seven episodes, without airing the last six. Bravo has picked up the rights for it, and beginning next Tuesday, Jan. 20, they'll begin airing the repeats and the new eps. There's even talk about a DVD release. Keen Eddie is a comedy/drama about a NYC cop who screws up a major drug bust with some British dealers, and ends up being assigned to Scotland Yard to find the dealers and manufacturers, in one of those typical, ridiculous setups common to TV. It relies far too heavily on the Guy Richie style of filmmaking in the pilot, and it's got elements lifted from shows as various as Dempsey and Makepeace to Starsky & Hutch. Yet, strangely, all this borrowing and homaging and whatnot worked to make a really funny, quirky, endearing show, with some of the most unusual characters I've come across on TV.

The humor is frequently childish and unsophisticated and often downright vulgar and repulsive, and it's not for everyone, but it's also often very snappy and witty and hilarious. The second episode that aired on the original run, Horse Heir, was unfortunately the first one a lot of folks saw if they missed the delightful pilot episode, and it's probably the series' low point in terms of the vulgarity -- horse-wanking jokes, body function and semen jokes, you name it. But even in that ep there were some really delightful touches, including a Matrix-style spoof on two bickering pub owners. Most of the episodes were less potentially disgusting, I think.

What makes the show work so well is that it has a really interesting mix of American and British humor (this is a world where Eddie can remark on his flatmate's "pants" and no one bats an eye or corrects him to say trousers or jeans), and Yank/Brit speak, and customs, and all of that. It's made by Americans but using a mostly British cast, except for Mark Valley, who plays Eddie, so there's this fascinating and fun mix of Brit and Yank styles that works perfectly to frame Eddie's fish out of water experience. He comes in all guns-blazing and makes an ass of himself, but nobody really holds it against him, and he views his surroundings, with the English tendency towards distance and politeness, with a kind of zen humor.

His partner is one of the most hilarious characters I've ever seen, and the two guys have a wonderful slashy rapport that Monty (Pippin, who is the one dancing in the icon) even remarks on on a couple of occasions. Eddie calls him a walking shell game at one point in the pilot, because he's just so baffled trying to figure out what Monty really is. My long-time fave Colin Salmon plays their boss, and his arched eyebrow, wryly amused delivery makes a perfect foil for Eddie's brashness. I didn't even hate Eddie's flatmate, even though she's the standard icy blonde UST love interest, ostensibly. But truth to tell, the love interest here is Monty and Eddie -- they are a perfect couple.

Nearly everyone on the show is quirky and odd, but the show has a niceness about it -- it never really condemns even the bad guys, and finds humor and sweetness in all but the worst folks. Eddie is often kind and gentle to people he arrests, even while his Scotland Yard compatriots expect him to do some Dirty Harry-style interrogations. They overplay his lack of knowledge about British culture and customs, but once they get settled in to the series, a lot of that becomes more about fitting in than just showing a loud boorish American in London. It's often beautifully filmed, with a rich color palette (one of my favorite episodes took place largely inside a posh stylish hotel, with all these blue and white and purple neons and walls and bar lights, and it was just gorgeous). But most of all, it uses some of the coolest music as background -- it's impossible for me not to love a show that uses Madness's One Step Beyond as chase music.

Not every ep is perfect, of course, but if you're looking for something fun and sweet and quirky, and you love British actors and British humor mixed in with a nice dose of American humor, I'd really recommend giving the pilot a try next Tuesday. It's not for every taste, I know, but I found it well worth my investment, and it became quite a fandom for me over the limited time Fox aired the eps. They'll be repeating the episodes quite a bit, so you'll have plenty of chances to catch it.
gwyn: (Default)
I'm working on this vid that's turning out to be way... well, way everything from what I thought it would be. I knew it would be hard and that I would be using a lot of super fast cuts, which I haven't done much of yet in my nascent computer vidding experience. I knew it would need to be funny, and so would tax my ability to be funny, which I've always thought was pretty shaky anyway, and I knew it would also have to be accessible because it's for a show few people saw, and uses a film style that many people don't like. And it's had me thinking a lot about comedy vids, and why I rarely ever make them.

Comedy vids are, more than any other vids, probably the hardest to sell to an audience even while they're more popular with audiences -- comedy is even more subjective than any other style, so whatever you're presenting, you have to know that someone, somewhere won't like it. So the process of presenting it for viewing is going to mean you'll get skewed responses, even moreso than for any other vid (which are always going to engender different reactions, anyway, as all art does). And when you're working in a vacuum, by yourself, sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, you (meaning me) have to constantly second-guess yourself about what's funny, because after a while, you've looked at the "funny" clips so often that you can't always be sure you're assessing things correctly.

At this point, I'm starting to lose my sense of what's going to be funny to anyone else but me, and I'm also wondering about what's funny to me. A clip I thought was hysterical in the show, and when I first was putting it into the vid has, by now, after spending nearly an hour trying to edit it so that it fit, hit the punchline right, and made any kind of sense at all, has become highly non-funny to me now. I think that a beta who shares your sense of humor has to be the most vital part of making a comedy vid, unless you're lucky enough to have a vidding partner -- partnering or working in a group makes comedy easier, I think.

The only two comedy vids I've made without being part of a group were both very different, stylistically, than this Keen Eddie vid. And one I'd argue might not even be comedy; it was more of a follow-the-actor vid for David Duchovny juxtaposing Mulder's girlishness with DD's role as Denise on Twin Peaks, and a few other things. The other comedy vid I've made, an X-Files one, seems to either make people laugh or feel pain because it's kind of tragically funny for Mulder. Both vids I made with [ profile] sherrold, and I think the process overall was easier because you're having a regular dialog with someone, bouncing ideas off them. If they share your humor, then it's a cakewalk.

I remember reading an article interviewing a famous comedian, and I can't remember who it was, but he/she was saying that the writing process can be difficult because at first, you're writing by yourself usually, putting down the ideas that you think are funny. As you refine it, you start second guessing yourself. And I remember Eddie Izzard once saying about how he crafts the bare bones of his "routines," which change so dramatically with each audience, and a lot of his humor is based on how audiences are reacting, what kind of feeling he has about them on a given night.

Vidders, obviously, can't do that. The best you can do is show it to an audience "unfinished" at a con, which many of us would be reluctant to do, or get a beta whose opinion you trust. So you have to, even more than any other type of vidding process, rely mostly on yourself and your sense of what's funny or what's not, and funny can wear thin more than most genres. I remember last year getting myself into a lot of trouble by commenting on how I didn't find any of the "funny" vids on the Vividcon premier tape to be all that funny -- nor did the friend I watched it with. Those vids that didn't work for me on tape, though, might have had more positive responses from the audience because it's often easier to get caught up in others' laughter around you. Sometimes, things just work better in a large group. Some of the vids people thought were clever and hilarious I found unbelievably agonizing to watch. And I've noticed that in the past few years, I've kind of gravitated towards humor that's quiet and subtle and character-based, which means context is going to be really, really important -- and if I don't have that context, then I could be in trouble as a viewer.

I love a good gag vid, a type that seems to be increasingly popular -- the kind of one-off type vids that have a powerful joke at their core, that anyone can laugh at, but for me, they rarely have staying power. Once I've laughed, I'm done; there's no burning desire to rewatch. Vids like these -- such as the Smallville Green Acres theme, or the Stargate alien love vid to Something to Talk About -- work more in their immediacy than in a long-term rewatching feeling, at least for me. I like 'em, but I don't find myself drawn to them much or to making them.

Timing is everything in a comedy vid, just as in stand-up. You not only have to have good editing skills, but you have to know how to hit the punchline and make the song work for the humor. If it's a gag, you have to know when to get in and when to get out. One of the reasons a vid such as [ profile] sisabet's Cowboy works so well for me is that there's more to it than just the joke of Angel as pimp -- underneath the obvious humor there's a nice little joke about Angel's power over other people in his life, how he kind of directs others and influences their lives in a rather pimptastic way. The timing is exquisite, and everything hits his character issues with acuity. So there's a built-in rewatchability beyond the clear surface jokes that I enjoyed (and of course, I could be talking out my ass about it and in no way did she mean anything besides the obvious with the vid, and she'd think I was insane for saying this!). It all coalesces in a way that makes it, perhaps not knee-slappingly funny, but that kind of layered humor that plays well on further viewings.

It was interesting finally getting a chance to see that Mulder comedy vid, Nobody Takes Me Seriously, with an audience. I'd never had the chance to hear reactions to it beyond my Media Cannibals group who put out the tape it was on; and I've had little feedback (pretty much: one person found it hilarious, the other found it kind of sad because it was so tragically true). I was sitting in the front at the comedy show, and I heard one laugh at one point in the vid. So clearly it isn't a laugh out loud vid, which is okay, because I'm not sure I'm a laugh out loud person, anyway. If you asked me, I'd say no one found it funny, but sometimes outright laughter isn't the best way to judge, which makes it much harder to know if you've done your job. I love to be made to laugh loudly, but I'm not sure I'm capable of doing it-- I never "see" those gag vids that have become so popular, they just wouldn't occur to me as ideas for vids to make, so clearly my humor forte is going to be somewhere else.

Which is what keeps bugging me about this Eddie vid. It made [ profile] feochadn sputter loudly, and my other friend who watched it said it was very funny, but after all this time spent on it, trying to force myself to cut brutally short and wondering if I got enough in to make the punchline, and just rewatching each clip over and over, I'm not sure I can even figure out where my humor is. It's sort of strange, when you think about it -- here we are, hunched over a computer, cutting and trimming and trying to create punchline after punchline, keep something funny throughout its timeline, and we're doing it all alone, rewatching clips until they've long since lost their effect in our eyes. And then guessing and hoping that what we thought was funny initially will remain funny once the vid is done.

Sometimes I watch my progress and laugh like a drain. Others, I just shake my head and say, well, this is sure demented. A few times I've thought, this is going to tank. Since I'm making this to show at a con, the audience is definitely a factor -- while it's important to make a vid we like and that satisfies ourselves, when you plan to show others, you do have to at least think about how audiences view things and how your humor may or may not fit in with others who will see your vid. It's definitely reminding me why I so rarely do comedy, and why drama and angst make more sense to me, are easier for me to identify with creatively. I love a good comedy, but it really is true -- creating comedy is far, far more difficult than creating good drama.
gwyn: (monty)
So we just got our fourth episode of Keen Eddie and I'm waiting for the axe to come down -- it's usually in the 4-7 ep range wherein I lose my shows; Firefly held out for a valiant ten so we'll have to see. I am just really liking this peculiar, often annoying show. It gives me something else to really look forward to on what was TV night for so long; now that Buffy's gone and 24's in hiatus, it makes Tuesdays a bit more enjoyable, especially followed immediately by Lucky on FX.

A lot of the stylistic quirks on Keen Eddie should annoy me enough to stop watching, but it's just so funny and odd and filled with British actors I love that all the rough spots are smoothed out. And it's hard not to love a show that features a "40-year-old filthy slut who'll do anything" who's hired to jack off a horse for its prize-winning sperm and everyone subsequently refers to her that way, even her boyfriend/pimp. It's also impossible for me not to love a show that uses Madness's One Step Beyond as chase music, or puts Ian Dury and the Blockheads on the soundtrack. And Monty Pippin may just be the best British TV character ever -- he is, as Eddie pegged him, a walking shell game. It's fun watching him adopt looser mannerisms as his contact with Eddie increases, becoming sort of Americanized in some ways, with his "dude"s and his sense of humor coming out. I loved the slashy little bit with him and Eddie in the opera star episode last week; this week I adored him being annoyed with Eddie over missing his "sex lunch." He's just so very, very odd, and I adore him.

They've also done a really good job of taking fairly familiar plots and tweaking them just a bit for a little more zest; I especially admired how they handled the randy opera star with her crush on Eddie. When she climbs into his bed to seduce him and he tries to get her out, her long monologue about how she acts the parts of women who get love and experience great passion seemed like yet another setup for a joke. I was waiting for the punch line, but then it turned out to be serious, and Eddie kindly slips into bed to hold her and she's content with that. A nice surprise -- which is what I think they do best on this show. People act like people. Very weird and quirky people, but they do things that real folks do. They make bad judgments, make mistakes, are stupid and funny and stubborn and foolish, rise above it, everything we all do every day. Eddie himself is frequently wrong and has made a blowhard ass of himself in being wrong, but he admits it and moves on. It's refreshing to get people like the character in last night's ep, who just don't always know what the right thing to do is, and who stumble through life till they figure it out (and it didn't hurt that I love the actor, either, most recently seen as Jules's dad in Bend it Like Beckham).

And Keen Eddie makes a nice lead-in to Lucky, which I'm sorry to see will be ending its first season next Tuesday, and there's no certainty whether it will come back. I've really enjoyed watching these people try to get their lives in order. A few clunker episodes like the one where Lucky gets amnesia and thinks he's dead or the one with the duelling dates, but overall it's been a zippy mix of comedy and drama, and made it fun getting to know these people. Lucky's moronic friends Mutha and Vinnie are adorable, total low-lifes and losers but of course have hearts of... well, maybe nickel, and the guest stars have been incredible, especially Giancarlo Esposito as a flaming and vicious hairdresser with the hots for Lucky, and Dan Hedaya, who is always wonderful and strange.

I remember way back when, all the networks were putting out dramedies, and they all failed miserably, too (my favorite was probably Days and Nights of Molly Dodd). No one seemed to know what to do with comedies sans laugh tracks, or dramas with humor. It feels like cable drama viewers are more sophisticated these days, but if enough people haven't watched Lucky for FX to bring it back, maybe there really isn't a lot of hope for that style. The show's veered wonderfully back and forth between pathos and laughter, and it's honest to how people in Las Vegas would act and talk (FX being the only cable network that lets people actually swear and stuff), but maybe they just haven't found the right way to get viewers into the show. I don't know.

Out of the whole cast, Lucky's girlfriend Theresa stands out (played by Ever Carradine)-- a really broken spirit who just can't quite get a handle on her addiction to gambling and in last night's succumbed to temptation again. Which Lucky ought to answer for, since he "sponsored" her in GA by lying and telling her he was trying to go straight himself. When she found out that he was still gambling and had been lying, instead of the usual result of fighting and losing faith and all kinds of melodrama, it actually brought them closer together and they began their romantic relationship instead. A very nice twist on the expected story.

Both shows (along with the adorable Monk, now back for the summer) are a lovely change of pace from all the angst and drama I'm usually drawn to. They're odd and filled with unusual characters, and while the stories and styles are often fairly derivative, they put a good spin on them anyway, and bring something fresh and lively to the screen. Considering how much of a loss I've felt without Buffy, that's saying a lot. Now if we can just get all the eps of Keen Eddie that were filmed, I'll be happy.
gwyn: (monty)
Review of Keen Eddie, pilot episode

There used to be great summer replacement shows that you could count on to get you through the dog days, when nothing else was on. It seems like more and more it’s reality TV, which I loathe with the white-hot passion of a thousand burning suns, and I fondly remember the days when such series as Northern Exposure and Seinfeld (when it was good) and a few others showed up and even survived. Last year we got the delightful Monk (coming back soon), and there was a kind of spring/summer hybrid series before that called the American Embassy that I really enjoyed, but which Fox did not stick with. A favorite a few years ago was the peculiar and wonderful G vs. E, which later went to Sci-Fi and was called Good vs. Evil (who can resist the delicious Richard Brooks with a full ‘70s ‘fro?).

Fewer and fewer good drama or comedy series seem to be getting that summer treatment, though. EW used to devote a whole section to summer shows, which I notice I haven’t seen yet, so I wonder if they’ve abandoned the concept since it’s all reality, all the time. Which is why I tuned in eagerly to Keen Eddie last night on Fox, even though I’d heard somewhat negative things about it. It’s about a NYC detective named Eddie Arlette who screws up a major drug bust with some English characters, and so they send him to England as punishment and to finish the job. He’s abrasive, stupid, annoying, and often funny as of course all American cops have to be (I’m suddenly in mind of that horrid show set in Britain with the American guy cop and the blonde chick cop... what the hell was that called? It had a short life in syndication over a decade ago). Naturally I had to watch it since it was set in London (I don’t get BBC America so my quotient of Brit TV is far lower than I would prefer, and PBS these days seems to only show crap like inspirational programming), and was rewarded with a number of my favorite second-tier character actors making appearances, a funny script, and some really nice cinemtography that while not original, was put together in a lively, engaging style.

Despite knowing better, I really enjoyed this pilot. It was derivative in the extreme, shot in a total Guy Ritchie circa Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels style — all fast-zoom, flash-cut, slo-mo, camera-whip style. It used the flashing, micro-edited interstitials that Angel uses. It had dialog straight of a Ritchie movie too, just without the swearing, but keeping the peculiar, hilarious criminals. Every cop show cliché, and every fish out of water, ugly American cliché as well, not to mention the love-hate sexual tension between him and his reluctant flatmate, another icy blonde chick. But the thing is, it still made me laugh out loud a number of times, and despite the embarrassment factor (Eddie really is often stupid beyond words, and arrogantly so, which makes me cringe in horror), I enjoyed him as a character (he has the most startlingly green eyes I think I’ve ever seen, they border on freaky). His dog Pete is funny as well, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s an English bull terrier, my favorite kind, even down to how they get him out of the lengthy British quarantine. All the secondary characters are either hilarious themselves, or great straight men for the funny stuff.

When he set his matchbook map of Manhattan on fire in the opening set, I burst out laughing, and that really felt good considering how down in the dumps I’ve been over Buffy being gone. The characters have a nice flavor — one scene has Eddie being hung from a meat hook in a van, having a lengthy discussion with a crime boss who clearly can’t find good help, and it’s just a great little set piece where you get to know the crime boss just from his exasperated reactions and the way he and Eddie chat like it’s another day at the office. Eddie’s “partner” is truly one of the most peculiar and freakish people I’ve ever seen presented on an American show, which was was simply sublime and wonderfully risky From the moment he takes Eddie to a swinger’s club and starts dancing in his black leather underpants, you know you’re in for one seriously deranged guy, although a guy who happens to look like a woman in drag and who is also a protector of small animals, not to mention a really savvy cop. I think I’m going to like DI Monty Pippin a lot. Their “boss” is one of my favorite character actors over there, Colin Salmon, and it’s so lovely to see him in a role with some authority. I loved it when Eddie asked Pippin if the guv was gay, and Pippin responded with “He’s just going places.” I have no idea what would motivate an exchange like that, but it made me laugh at its delightful non-sequiturishness.

Sometimes I get a little weary of Americans always being stupid about Brit culture, and one would think that if Eddie’s superiors were sending him over to clean up his mess, they might have at least given him a guide book and a backgrounder on how the English police system works, but that’s a fairly minor quibble overall. Not all the dialog sparkles and not all the set-ups work, but overall, it gives me something to look forward to on Tuesday nights. There will be the usual huge-lipped babes like last night’s, where their lips arrive in the room before the rest of their bodies; and probably more straight-outta Ritchie film tricks showing up, but if they keep up the teasing tone and the mix of drama and humor, and allow Eddie to learn a few things now and then (not to mention the British cops learn from him), it should be worth 13 weeks of my summer (plus, I think it’s going to be a very viddable show). If only Fox will show all 13 eps — judging by their lack of support for... well, anything not reality or 24, and the way they treated the American Embassy, I’m not sure we’ll get to see them all. Tune in while you can.

October 2017

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