It’s been awhile, but I’m back with a new TVEye looking at this past weeks FRINGE, COMMUNITY, and BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Outcasts ended last week, and although I raved about it a few weeks back, I found myself quite disappointed with its end. Turns out it was cancelled all together, so good Sci-Fi TV continues to be an allusive genre. Except for Fringe of course.
FRINGE (Ep. 61 “Bloodline”) Before I dive into last Friday’s episode, I want to go back briefly a couple of weeks to episode 50, “Os,” which opened with John Noble and Jorge Garcia striking up a bong. How awesome was that? Hurley and Walter Bishop, a classic JJ Abrams TV duo. Anyways, “Bloodline” was another in a season of stellar episodes. An alternate universe episode, “Bloodline” followed Fauxlivia’s abduction during which her kidnappers accelerated her pregnancy. In the mystery of who took her and why, Walternate finds it necessary to brief the Fringe team on the Olivia/Fauxlivia universe swap that took place earlier in the season. He also tells them that the baby she is carrying is his grandson, a result of the dishonest affair between Peter and Fauxlivia. The dramatic timeline of the episode plays on the fact that Fauxlivia has VPE, a genetic defect that would kill her and the baby if she were to give birth. Because of the accelerated pregnancy, the VPE doesn’t have any affect, and Fauxlivia gives birth to what is sure to be the first biuniversal (concieved in one born in another) baby ever born. Turns out (not a huge shock) Walternate was behind the kidnapping, a ploy to prevent her from terminating the pregnancy. It looks like Walternate has a plan to use the child as a replacement for Peter in the season’s mysterious doomsday machine, which only Peter can control. Perhaps the baby is a genetic match. I can’t wait to see what this machine actually does. I think it makes everlasting gobstoppers. Let me just say, Anna Torv deserves an Emmy for her role(s) on Fringe. Not only is she playing Olivia and Fauxlivia, two contrasting molds of the same person, she’s also taken on the role of William Bell whose soul entered hers in last week’s episode. Torv’s cadence when playing the Leonard Nimoy originated Bell is so spot on that every time she speaks it creeps the hell out of me. She’s really a strong actress with a great skill in playing subtlety. Fringe won’t be new for another three weeks, so I implore anyone who has missed this season to take this time to catch up. After all, it was just renewed for a fourth season, and it looks like TV’s best (current) Sci-Fi series isn’t done yet. Thank God!
COMMUNITY (Ep. 44 “Critical Film Studies”) It’s Abed’s birthday, and Jeff plans a pretty awesome Pulp Fiction themed party to celebrate the occasion like a bunch of Bad Mother Fuckers. In fact, the first gift Jeff gives Abed is a BMF wallet straight from the film. This was another Community doing that which it does best; spoof, I mean satire (sorry Abed) our pop culture world. Imagine if you will Chang (Ken Jeong) as Butch Coolidge, Jeff (Joel McHale) as Vincent Vega, Britta (Gillian Jacobs) as Mia Wallace, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) as Jules Winnfield, and Pierce (Chevy Chase) as the Gimp. You heard correct, Chevy Chase spent the episode in a leather Gimp outfit complete with zipper mouth. Imagine some sort of National Lampoon’s Eastern European Sex Vacation film if you will. Creepily awesome! Jeff’s real gift to Abed was the actual (turned out to be a fake) mysterious briefcase from Pulp Fiction, which Troy and Chang obsess over for the entire episode until accidently causing the light inside to ignite the case in flames. Abed meets Jeff at a fancy restaurant, and Jeff plans to take him to the surprise party. Abed has another idea, staging the fancy dinner as his own spoof (I mean satire) of My Dinner With Andre. Here, the episode went to some pretty poignant and very well acted discussions between Jeff and a very strong performing Danny Puddi as Abed. The conversation within the parody is in a sense a parody of Community itself, a discussion on relevance and pop culture that touches on some great points about the nature of conversation. Pretty brilliant writing expertly performed by an underrated and fine-tuned ensemble. Abed persists as his cold disconnected self in the end, relating his emotional foundation to Data from Star Trek TNG, Johnny Five, Mork, and Hal. In the end, pop culture is what allows many of us to relate, and that’s the genius of Community. Also genius, Chevy Chase in a Gimp outfit.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (Ep. 53 “Battle of the Superheroes”) I’ll admit, this is a Cartoon Network show aired on an hour where kids are most likely its intended audience. That said, I still enjoyed the hell out of it. The Brave and the Bold is a total spoof, part Mad Magazine (literally), part Adam West Batman, all hilarious satire of old school DC. “Battle of the Superheroes” had it all, Mister Mxyzptlk, Metallo, Toyman, Braniac, and even the shrunken city of Kandor. If you’re a comic nerd you’ve guessed by now that the episode is set in Metropolis, with Superman and Batman teaming up to fight a rising crime wave. When Superman comes into contact with some red kryptonite, he turns into a violent egomaniacal nightmare, taking down Metropolis and turning its people against him. Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane have a hilariously underhanded conversation about Superman’s mood swing with Olsen remarking that he’s “turned in to a real di…” and Lois finishing “frent person.” This brand of humor is peppered throughout the series, a show that playfully pokes fun at the iconic and ridiculously cheesy past of a comic character that has of late become the most serious and dark. It’s quite refreshing. Krypto, Superman’s superhero dog was even there to fight alongside the duo. The inevitable Batman vs. Superman fight ensued, and Superman even told Batman and an on-looking crowd to “kneel before King Superman.” Zod would have been proud. Everything works out, and all ends well in Metropolis. The inside humor of the series is boundless, a comic fans dream. It’s the comedy that really raises this show to the caliber (albeit a different breed) of Batman cartoon fans are used to. The opening scene with Batman and Robin dressed as mummies fighting Pharaoh was funnier than most shows that claim to be comedies nowadays. Robin explaining that their mummy “wrappings are covered in buttermilk, the one thing that repels Pharaoh rays” is just the level of lunacy I adore.
The next few weeks are pretty weak for good TV, so I’ll probably be back with a Clone Wars finale TVEye next week that also previews some of the new shows in the works for later in the year. After that, it might be a couple of weeks until a new TVEye, perhaps when GAME OF THRONES finally lands on our TV’s. Stay Tuned!