Monday 21 November 2011

The last time I checked my watch, it still said America

Watching: Charlie's Angels (2011) 1.4. Hey, did you know that Charlie's Angels is great? This is an actual exchange from the last episode I watched that takes place between Bosley (who is a buff playboy super-hacker and globe-trotting womaniser) and Lois Lane from Smallville (who is a dreadful actress):

Lois Lane: The last time I saw you, you were a hacker playboy who spent his days penetrating the firewalls of European banks, and spent his nights doing the same to European women.
Bosley: Until I met you.
Lois Lane: We did have a good time, didn't we?
Bosley: A blast... until I discovered you were CIA.

And then it goes and becomes even more awesome by being a plot about rapes, which I liked because other shows would get sidetracked with being goofy and trying to entertain their audience without being a total downer, but Charlie's Angels brings a bit of heavy realism to the table, and in a show about bikini-clad private detectives that is exactly what has thus far been missing and exactly what I and many others clearly want to see in a programme about multi-ethnic demographic friendly casts who infiltrate fashion shows and sea cruises for plot-related reasons that also require white tank tops to be worn when it's raining.
The plot sees evil, corrupt Cubans - not communists, mark you, but the actual Cuban people as a whole who are to a man portrayed as corrupt, on the take, totally okay with torture and counting the days until Castro dies so the Americans can come and give them money - are framing American tourists for crimes and then locking them up in prison where they're farmed out as prostitutes by an American businessman. Now... a lesser show would probably address why these girls were being framed and sent to prison in stitch-ups since their whereabouts are unknown to their families and the American authorities because, you know, if you can make them disappear, you don't actually have to go to the bother of framing them for anything, and likewise, a lesser show would have someone point out that actual prostitutes would be much cheaper, easier to organise, willing, and unlikely to kung-fu your guards and shoot you to death, and that is why other shows don't last a season - they're so hung up on signposting every bit of illogic and tripping over themselves to write in a rebuttal or an explanation that makes sense that they forget to be Charlie's Angels. Charlie's Angels makes no such mistakes, I assure you! It never loses sight of being Charlie's Angels and it never forgets exactly what it thinks of its audience - that Charlie's Angels' audience want mentally traumatised women - in this instance practically a child - screaming and twitching onscreen as they flinch at the touch of their sneering rapists, but also wearing sexy dresses as this goes on.
When all the women in sexy prostitute costumes were fleeing - one shot during this actually framed by an actress' legs - I remember thinking when they make a game of this, they should absolutely call this level 'The Great Rape Escape', because I was very disappointed that this was not the title of the episode.
And surprised.

I also watched the melodramatic and overblown American Horror Story, which is daftly entertaining in its own way, though it doesn't feature rapes so I'm on the fence about the makers' commitment. A couple undergoing a difficult patch in their marriage blah blah new house, blah, history of violent events, blah, angry teen daughter, blah blah, jump cuts and flashbacks, blah. It is unsubtle like you would not believe, and I think that's a big part of the charm so far (two episodes in), though where once the season-long story arc was once greeted as an innovation in television storytelling, nowadays all I can think of is shite like Terra Nova and how it's a risk investing in a show as a viewer of late because there's no guarantee that you'll ever see a payoff to the threads sewn throughout the early episodes of even really good shows. This is still worth a gander, I'd say, as it entertains without being completely unpleasant, try though it might to be the latter.

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