Talk about a mixed bag. Revolution rumbled onto my television set late Monday night and left me with a big pile of questions, annoyances, and a middling stack of tepid interest. I want to like it, okay? I’m also prepared to see it canceled quicker than quirky stewardesses prancing around in the friendly skies. We’ll see NBC, we’ll see.
All the electricity is out, and it’s been like that for about 15 years. The government has been replaced by a big scary militia. People walk around with crossbows and swords and gaze longingly at postcards showing the electric yesteryear. It’s like the zombie apocalypse – except without zombies. Or like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – except people smile every once in awhile and don’t mind wearing shades other than gray.
- Dad Ben knows something, but he’s not sharing it with viewers at home. Oh, and he dies about nine minutes into the episode. Of course.
- Mom Rachel has major sci-fi cred. She had big parts in both Lost and V, but she sort of seems to be dead already as well.
- Their daughter Charlie hardly smiles, knows how to identify an asthma attack (“You are having an asthma attack!!), and wields a bow like the long lost love child of Legolas and Katniss.
- Danny, Charlie’s younger brother, has one distinguishing feature: he has asthma (“It is his asthma!!”).
- Miles is Ben’s brother. His coolness is sort of forced on viewers, but it more or less works. Watch as he drinks all the whiskey! Watch as he kills all the men!
- Someone not named Nate is a militia man. He’s Charlie’s complicated love interest.
- Maggie is Ben’s British girlfriend.
- Aaron is comic relief.
- Sebastian is Dean’s former (?) friend. He’s also the big bad villain on the show (spoiler alert).
Where Are We Now?
The quality quad of Charlie, Aaron, Maggie, and Miles are off to rescue Danny from the militia men who killed Ben. Not-Nate has reunited with his militia brethren, but he seems to be harboring complicated feelings for Charlie because she’s the only pretty girl he’s seen since all the lights went out – or some other equally romantic reason. Sebastian, head honcho of the evil militia, is hanging out at his evil villain compound (a green lawn with some crisp white tents).
The “Wow” Factor
So I like a lot of things about this show. I’m always down for a high concept science-fiction tale, and this pretty much fits the bill. Complex characters bouncing around in complex settings boosted by an injection of post-apocalyptic shenanigans, tyrannical militias, and sword play is where I live (in my mind). I appreciate strong female characters, and I assume Charlie is supposed to be that based on her decidedly un-girly moniker. I’m also a sucker for anti-heroes that are a little rough around the edges – which I assume the Miles character is aiming for. Add a little intrigue about the fall of electricity and the people who may or may not be able to restore it? Sure, why not?
The “Ick” Factor
On the other hand, this episode felt like a recipe for cookies made out of only chocolate chips and flour. Yeah, the big ingredients were there, but everything else apparently got thrown out the window. Where are my multi-dimensional characters? Danny could literally have been played by a llama if you could teach a llama to have an asthma attack (a very serious and proper use of the word literally). Where is the interesting exposition? I have no idea why Revolution’s America is so empty. Zombie apocalypses conveniently deal with that problem by eating everyone, but without that gross luxury, I don’t understand how the entire country emptied to the point that Charlie has to ask if “there are other towns like ours.” Like other towns with people in them or other towns with beautiful, air-brushed people who have no personality? Because I’m doubtful about the latter.
So far, so good. Over ten million people reportedly tuned in. Let’s hope Revolution can keep up the ratings (and fix a few character and story problems while they’re at it).
Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.
Previously on Community: Virtual Systems Analysis
I decided to stage a 1-person boycott against Law and Order: SVU at the end of season 12 after Christopher Meloni left the show. No matter how dreamy I find Mr. Harry Connick Jr., there was no way I wanted to enter a parallel universe that left Benson without Stabler. Basic Lupine Urology gave me the opportunity to revisit a show I once loved and enjoy a show I’m currently obsessed with, while holding steadfast to my outraged, yet silent boycott.
I avoided any potential spoilers because I didn’t want anything to ruin the perfection I was imagining when they first announced that this episode was in the works. However, I spend at least half my
days week on the Internet, so it was inevitable that I’d stumble upon some teaser from Community‘s homage to Law and Order. Fortunately, it was nothing more than a few stills from the opening theme. No biggie. Avid (and bored) fans set the stage for this months ago (Arrested Development and Buffy were my personal favorites). But I found myself wondering…would Steven Zirnkilton provide the opening narration (“In the criminal justice system…”)…could I depend on Troy and Abed to give me some Tutuola and Munch-style back and forth….and most importantly, are Annie and Jeff going to resurrect that Stabler/Benson sexual tension or did last week’s realization that she only loves love and not Jeff ruin any hopes of that?? The short answer(s): No, yes….kinda?
Typical Annie wants to save the group’s grade when their yam (Pam the Yam) experiment is destroyed, while typical Jeff wants to catch the culprit quickly, utilizing the least amount of morals possible. Shirley uses her familiarity with procedural crime dramas to send Troy and Abed on the hunt to catch the perpetrator. Pierce was…well, Pierce was absent (did anyone else think for a moment that this is what the show would be like without Chevy Chase?) and Britta was pretty much MIA as well.
In what has been consistent of the second half of a pretty amazing season, Community has yet again managed to be funny and attempt a themed episode that would be a complete fail for (most) other comedies. Without further delay, here are my favorite parts of tonight’s episode:
- Professor Kane is a fan of Mama’s Family. Vicki Lawrence was HI-LAR-IOUS.
- “We can’t both do the zinger” -Abed
- “Youth! Scatter!” -Leonard
- Given his last interaction with the group and Annie practically making him cry on the witness stand, is it safe to assume Todd will play a villain on the next paintball episode?
- Britta’s brief appearance portrayed her as the Instagram specialist; however, as a psych major she would have done quite well filling the “George Huang” role.
- Abed can’t tell time, but it’s fine because he’s gifted in other ways.
Magnitude cameos, while brief, are ALWAYS appreciated. Pop! Pop!
- When Troy was dressed in the cardigan and glasses during the “sting operation” was anyone else, just for a moment thinking he would mention pooping his pants and skateboarding? Just me then? Fine.
- I believe Shirley was Captain Don Cragen.
- Troy’s tie? Yet another lovely nod to ‘Donald Glover for Spiderman’.
- Were we all that shocked that Star-burns was building or had something to do with building a meth lab? He’s never really kept his side gig as a drug dealer a secret (See: Introduction to Statistics and Introduction to Political Science)
- The Miranda warning should now, and forever, end with a polite “please and thank you.”
- Did you ever think you would hear Omar Little utter the words, “I’m upholding the pinky swear”?
- The word ‘pedophile’ has now been used twice in the last three episodes. That’s not interesting, just something I noticed.
- Codette: The girl version of the man code….according to Jeff.
- Neil boiled the yams for Vicki, so they could have sex during the warm summer nights. However, Neil loses his keymaster position and has to go to summer school, which negates the whole point of the crime….still a better love story than Twilight (some might say).
- “I fell asleep in a sun beam” -Pierce
“Likely story” -Abed
“Actually it is. I used to live with him. It’s sort of adorable” -Troy
Star-burnsAlex is dead. There’s that “oh wow, didn’t see that coming!” ending Law and Order has perfected over the years.
- Where does the word ‘bunk’ come from? This could be the wrong answer, but it sounds pretty good.
Troy and Abed off to dreammm-land. Sweet Deans everyone!
Nicole is a TV junkie and TVDM helps her feed a lifelong addiction. She can be found here, providing biased commentary (sprinkled with a few Pop Up Video-esque insights) on her favorite shows, every week.