Saturday, January 21, 2012

Grimm "Of Mouse And Man" Review

Grimm desperately needs an over-arcing story, whether it involves the ancient history between Nick and the creatures from fairy tales, or Nick's desire to open an ice cream shop and then franchise it. "Of Mouse and Man" created some forward momentum. There are mustard seeds of a significant arc planted. The front-nine of Grimm's completed, so hopefully the rest of the season is different from its first nine episodes. Grimm's told effective creature-of-the-week stories, though not consistently. The story about Marty, the meek mouse who learns a mighty roar, is horrible. The previews for the episode spoiled the twist a week earlier. The time wasted on red-herrings sunk the episode.

As always, the problem with Grimm and procedurals in general, is the amount of story given to the least interesting story in the episode. I understand the reason the least interesting part of procedurals are given the most time, because the main character's profession dictates he/she and his or her team spend the bulk of the episode doing their jobs, impressing the audience with their ability to get the job done, especially if the main character plays by his or her own rules, which describes 99.3% of the protagonists in procedurals. The character stuff's relegated to the bench. Maybe 10 minutes, at most, is given to character development scenes, or relationship development, or any kind of development, including the development of an arc.

Monroe and Nick's fiancĂ©e, who's so forgettable I need to research her name on Google, are involved the development of the over-arcing story for a run of episodes, if not the rest of the season. The stories are different. Monroe's attacked by a group of reapers. Nick's fiancĂ©e’s freaked by an ugly truck parked outside of their house. A man and a woman sit inside with a camera and binoculars. Once they see Juliet watching them, they drive off. Later, Juliet sits outside the couple's house. The woman is playing with her two children, sees Juliet, and immediately rushes into the house and closes the blinds, frightened. Word about the presence of a grimm in town’s seemingly spread in town since the refrigerator repairman opened his mouth in the bar. Nick's been identified as a threat. Monroe's stated the facts about the various creatures: most are harmless but there are groups who are dangerous, like reapers and lausenschlange. Juliet's story isn't about any immediate threat to her or Nick. The voyeurs are curious and cautious. Juliet's story offers the certainty that Nick's two lives will merge, sooner than later. And that is good.

Monroe, on the other hand, is involved in the story that involves violence. Monroe's been breaking the mold, going against the grain, not playing by the rules set centuries ago, etc, and he's not interested in changing his lifestyle or decision-making just because a couple of tough and scary group of reapers sent him a message about the mistakes he, a Blutbad, made working with a Grimm. Monroe tells Nick this when Nick offers Monroe an out. Nick smiles and the unlikely partners drink a beer together. The reaper business isn't the only potentially intriguing plot point up in the air. The Capt. Renard angle hasn't been re-visited in months. The 7-10 minutes of episode devoted to serialized plot/character moments are actually interesting and compelling enough to keep me around week after week. I trust David Greenwalt tremendously, as well as the talented group of writers working on the series, even when they break a story as bad as this week's creature-of-the-week tale.

Basically, the creature-of-the-week story was a reversal of the underdog story. The tropes of the underdog story were used. Marty, the Mausehaut (or mouse), is a weak and timid individual. Other men bully him. Marty's been taking care of his ill father while pining for the woman across the hall. His biggest bully is Mason, a lausenschlange (or snake), a bigwig lawyer who treats people terribly. Marty realizes that he needs to create the change he wants in his life, so he murders his father. Another twist happens in the final act. We learn that Marty murdered other people because he kept seeing his father's face, haunted by a dead man. Before that, though, Marty had the moment-of-triumph has in every underdog story, except it's darker because of the whole murdering thing. It's the moment in the episode when we learn the truth about Marty. I appreciate what the writers tried to do. It's refreshing when a show tries something different with a story that's been told many times before, but it didn't work. The concept itself was different but the execution wasn't original or interesting.

Grimm's actually a series the American public should embrace. Procedural dramas are the most popular TV shows on television. I truly hope Grimm aims to be more than a procedural. I hope Greenwalt and Kouf and the writers have an excellent narrative up their sleeves for these next run of episodes. I'm never invested in any of the tertiary characters introduced in these one-off stories. On rare occasions, I am invested, but the storytelling and characterization needs to be masterful e.g. "Let Your Hair Down."

In sum, the good parts were far and far between, and the suck was widespread.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


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About The Foot

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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.