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Eureka!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Since Vicky started watching Sherlock (insert high-pitched **squee**ing here), I decided to rewatch Watson… I mean Martin Freeman chase Zooey Deschanel across the galaxy in a bathrobe and towel.

The movie could have been so good.  Stephen Fry is The Guide.  Alan Rickman voices Marvin (and Warwick Davis is inside Marvin).  Bill Bailey is a one-scene wonder as the whale.  (Actually, can I just have the QI cast do a radio play of THHGTTG?)  And Martin Freeman plays a severely put upon Arthur Dent.

While it has a fine cast, the movie does not live up to expectations for at least three reasons: 1) Ford and Zaphod are not interesting, and Trillian is another Hollywood MPDG.  That’s suicide when the main cast is only four characters.  Ford is supposed to be a streetsmart journalist for The Guide.  Zaphod is supposed to be brilliant when he can give a damn.  In the movie, they spend a lot of time with blank stares and awkward silences, forcing Arthur to take charge.  ”Woo!  Go America… I mean humanity.  You show them foreigners… I mean aliens.”  That’s not Arthur Dent.

2) Some of the humor of THHGTTG doesn’t translate.  The guide entries were good, but movie humor runs on plots, visual gags, and dialogue, not the narrator’s dry witticisms.  3) They turned a story about a normal human trying to make sense of an insane galaxy into a love story.  Why must Hollywood take something special and unique and turn it into the same old formula?

Community 4x05

You know why Jeff & Britta was awesome in season 1?  The UST lasted all season.  You know why Jeff & his dad & his half-brother is lame?  It was introduced 4 episodes ago, ignored, then developed and resolved (more or less) in one episode.

Community 4x04

I dub thee, Continuity Porn episode.  The Germans are back.  So is Oktoberfest.  Call backs to the lost pen bottle episode and D&D.  Troy and Abed’s song.

You know, I thought it was a decent episode.  It has some laughs, a decent storyline.  Then it suddenly ends: short Winger speech over a montage and they’re forgiven.  Oh, sitcom amnesia.  Hit the reset button so episodes are interchangeable.  Go continuity.

Community 4x03

I previous posts were too long-winded.  Let’s just hit the highlights:

Okay, now Abed is Jeff.  I know this is just Abed being meta (coolcool), but the fact that Abed could only simulate but not understand Jeff in season 1 is why he’s Abed.

Annie, that’s pretty creepy.  And Jeff just lets it slide.  I don’t know if it’s because this is a new, softer Jeff, or if the writers don’t quite have the character, or they had to find a way to end the episode on time.

To all US adaptations of British shows: boo-yah.

Community 4x02

Rating: It’s no ABBA and zombies, but it could have been worse.  Let’s do the run down.

Jeff - Might as well get started on Jeff’s other storyline.

Britta - Congratulations, you’re now just a plot device.

Abed - I’m pretty sure Abed is too genre savvy to split the group.

Shirley - Shirley actually got some laughs in, trying to avoid explaining Pierce’s dungeon.

Annie - A cross between referential humor (playing the pretty, innocent horror victim) and meta humor (saying she hates horror movies and referential humor).  Or is that just irony?  Iro-annie?

Troy - Except for the scene playing the naive one across from Shirley, played Mr. Exposition for Pierce’s mansion.

Pierce - Up to his old tricks.  Called it.

Community 4x01

With the announcement of Dan Harmon returning, I decided to actually watch season 4, if only to understand the continuity next season.

Overall verdict: it’s not terrible, but no where near season 2 great.  It’s like a Bangkok knock-off Dan Harmon.  Sometimes you look at it and it appears to be genuine, then you see a detail that obviously shouldn’t be there.  Since it is an ensemble cast, let’s go through them in credit order:

Jeff - I liked the Jeff storyline.  This time, instead of being the selfish one that has abandon his plans for the good of the group, he’s the kinda selfless (in a douchey sort of way) that has to abandon his plans for the good of the group.

Britta - Let’s face it, Britta has been Flanderized beyond the point of no return.  Now she and Troy are an item.  Two scenes later she’s ruining it.  At least they’re continuing the Britta-the-psychologist storyline, giving her something to do.  By which I mean continually find ways to screw things up, like breaking…

Abed - This was the most heartbreaking of all.  Abed may be the face of “meta,” but without Dan Harmon in the driver’s seat, this was just random and not deep.

Shirley - What did Shirley do again?  Act as a sounding board for…

Annie - If there’s one thing that’s not in short supply, it’s writers who can write UST.  Annie’s little neurotic anxiety attack was pretty Annie, actually.

Troy - Wherever the air conditioning repair storyline was supposed to go, it’s gone.  Now he’s mostly there to setup Troy & Abed or just Abed moments.  Too bad the Abed plot flopped.

Chang - It’s the season opener.  There wasn’t time for him anyway.  The WTF scene is probably the best way to deal with it.

Pierce - Are you sure Dan Harmon didn’t write this bit?  Because Chevy Chase is reduced to a blithering fool with one joke that went on several lines too long.

The Dean - I forget where he goes in the order, but he’s also been Flanderized to the point that he can enable whatever hijinks the plot demands and it’s normal.  But I think we all knew that the whole sitcom in a community college thing has been dropped in favor of a sitcom long ago, and I don’t really see anyone complaining.

Rating: Okay, let’s watch the next episode.