Thursday, June 16, 2011

The 2011 Summer Re-watch: Everwood "Deer God" Review

New shows produce numerous scripts before the pilot airs--scripts that retain elements of the pilot so new viewers can join the show a few weeks after the premiere. Writers want to generate stories and suchIt's common for episodes to air out of production order if one episode works more than another. The most important thing for new television shows is building an audience through strong storytelling. According to the production code, "Deer God" aired in its intended order but the episode would've worked as the second, third, or fourth one of the series but it'd be a bad choice for a second, third or fourth episode because "Deer God" is the weakest episode of the season so far, and one of the weaker episodes of the season.

The problem with "Deer God" is its repetition--there's nothing new throughout the episode. Ephram's mad at his father for moving them into Everwood. He and Andy fight. Ephram accepts that his old home with his mother is gone, just like the doe's home was ruined by the father. The episode recycled its beats from previous episodes so it's kind of boring and unexciting--like the writer's room just went through the motions while breaking the story.

The A story is worthwhile at its core. Ephram has no sense of belonging in Everwood. Andy forced him to move to Everwood. His life's been turned upside down since the death of his mother. He has no friends besides Amy. When the doe shows up in the Everwood kitchen, Ephram relates to the deer's plight. The animal's as lost as Ephram, and he wants to help bring the deer back to his home. During that journey, Ephram may find what he's looking for--comfort or closure or some sort of stability. But, really, if the doe returns home then maybe Ephram will one day return to his true home in New York City. Father and son argue throughout the hike about the usual things they argue about. Ephram resents Andy's attempts to become his son's friend while remaining an authoritative parental figure. One week they understand each other; the next they don't. It's the formula for the season.

Ephram, Andy and the doe reach the protected wildlife reserve only to find that a fire ruined the doe's home. Ephram cries and yells about how the doe's home is ruined. Andy assures his son that the doe will find a new home and be okay--that he'll be okay in his new home. Ephram sobs and only says that he wants to go back. Andy embraces him and echoes those sentiments but their old life's gone now, and they have to survive and live somewhere else. The moment's actually catharsis for Ephram because he needed to accept Everwood as his new home. My issue with the A story is its heavy-handedness. The stuff with the doe and the burnt forest is overkill. Audiences are smarter than networks think--"Deer God" isn't exactly as Marcel Proust novel so it's unnecessary to hold the audience's hand but, for whatever reason, the hand was held.

Ephram's arc through the episode results in a moment of clarity. He explains to Amy that he needed to climb a mountain to understand that his home's gone forever, and that he understands Colin is her home so his adolescent jealousy won't interfere with his father helping Colin. He asked Andy to look at Colin and Andy will. Ephram and Amy's friendship is in flux yet again because of Ephram's decision to lie but he's in a better place than he's been since the series began, and that's something.

Other Thoughts:

-I'm a huge fan of the C story which finds Harold scheming to alert Andy of the medical award he received from the state of Colorado. The scene of the episode's between Amy and Harold when she accuses her father of having a boy crush on the bearded doctor across the street, to which Harold responds that his issue with Dr. Brown's neither flirtatious nor rivalry. Tom Amandes' delivery of that line is tremendous. It's as good as his line in "The Great Doctor Brown" when he rants about the patients who made up excuses so Andy could treat them. Andy never sees the write-up in The Pine Cone. Poor Dr. Abbott.

-In the B story, Delia tries to find proof that God exists after Magilla laughs at her for believing in God. She tries to find proof through cookies and a glass. Edna takes her to a rabbi but his answer's too theological for a little girl to understand. She searches for God because she worries about where her mom is if heaven doesn't exist. She finds her proof when Edna informs her that they rode 80 miles on fumes. Delia finds a parallel between the Hanukkah story with the oil and the gas tank. Before her proof, Edna assures her that her mother's with her at all times, which brings Delia comfort. It's a nice story.

-Michael Green wrote the episode; Arlene Sanford directed it. Michael Green co-wrote The Green Lantern with Everwood creator Greg Berlanti and two other gentlemen. I've expressed my reservations about Green Lantern because two of No Ordinary Family's creative minds worked on The Green Lantern. Movie could be terrible.

UP NEXT: "The Doctor Is In"--a traveling psychologist arrives in Everwood and Andy seeks her out as he tries to decide whether or not to perform risky surgery on Colin Hart. Delia's forbidden to hang out with Magilla.


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.