Memphis Beat: Run On

E: I’ve been worrying about this show a bit, turning it over in my mind.  This is the best written show on summer tv.  The acting is good.  The location is amazing.  The music is amazing.  It’s smart and fun.  There was a lot to like about this episode.  Really quite a lot. `So why don’t I like it more?  I think I have an answer.

All I can figure to explain it is this: when I watch a tv show, I want to empathize with the lead character if she’s a woman, and fall a little in love with him if he’s a man.  And I’m just not in love with Dwight Hendricks, not even a little bit.  I’ve always liked Jason Lee, and I thought I was going to fall for Dwight, but I haven’t.

Every week, we get a case that matters to Dwight.  Like crusty British detective Morse, it’s all personal.  His favorite dj, the pageant world his ex-wife used to be involved with, his favorite restaurant, his favorite country singers, the famous boxer he happens to know through charity work.  And yet, how vulnerable is he? When things matter to him, shouldn’t they matter to the audience?  I feel like all we’re getting is sleek surface.  I thought, back in the first episode where he pretended to be a Ken doll to coax information out of a shy 9 year old witness, that he might have that something.  Patrick Jayne has it.  Rick Castle has it.  Chuck Bartowski totally has it.  Don’t even get me started on the entire cast of The Good Wife. I’m in love and sympathy with them all.  And yet, I’m not getting it.

The mystery was nice enough.  Who beat up recently retired boxer Honeyboy?  Was it the promoter who’s in love with his girlfriend and in need of his money?  Was it the girlfriend?  The old sparring partner?  Some thug with a grudge?  I don’t for a million years believe young girlfriend Billie would sleep with that slimey (married) promoter.  Gross!  Every single kind of gross.  Not only is she half his age, she’s gorgeous and has a sweet gorgeous boyfriend.  Sorry, he’s just too obvious a shyster for me to buy that whale tale.

I was taken, however with the subplot which involved Officer Sutton and his little quarter-life crisis.  We first get wind of this when he asks Dwight the meaning of life after a really funny bar fight.  (Seriously, the singalong and resulting fight actually made me want to hang out in a Memphis bar.)  His approaching tenth high school reunion – and the random death of a guy who wore the same sort of shoes – shakes him to his core.  That shoe thing is so Meredith Grey it’s a riot.  He decides to hunt down Julie, his old crush, and declare his love.  That’s somewhere between adorable and creepy, I think.  Anyway, once he ends up in her family home, it turns out that his real crush is Stacy’s (er, I mean Julie’s) mom, who was always kind and thoughtful.  She told him his skin wasn’t pasty, it was alabaster.  I’m married, the very motherly looking mother says in disbelief.  He takes a deep breath.  If you ever want to stray, you will always have the opportunity.  Oh my.  Then he leaves with a beatific grin on his face.  Somehow, I have to tell you, DJ Qualls made that work.  It’s utterly unexpected, but it’s ridiculously adorable.  You just want to hug him for being brave enough to say such a preposterous dreadful thing, and for the cute cute way he said it.  No question what the highlight of this episode was. If I’m even the tiniest bit in love with anyone on this show, you know who it is.

But I don’t want that to be the highlight.  I want to like everyone more.  Come on, show.  Make me fall in love, or I’m going to have to leave you!

Top Chef: Palm Power Lunch

M: We’re going to skip to formalities this week and get right down to the question at hand after a very strange episode in which unusual people ended up at the top and bottom in the elimination challenge.  If you have to ask what the question is, you clearly didn’t watch the episode.  However, for the sake of proper etiquette, I’ll say it.  Did Alex steal Ed’s English Pea puree? Continue reading

White Collar: “Copycat Caffrey”

C: Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.  And boy is Neal flattered when, in this week’s episode of White Collar, he discovers that he’s not only featured on the syllabus of a college criminology course, but somebody in the class seems to be copying his most famous (alleged!) crimes.  He’s so chuffed, in fact, he’s driving Peter crazy. Not that that’s unusual. Continue reading