Sunday, December 18, 2005

So I was watching the latest episode of "Alias" last Thursday night...

... when it occurred to me that I had laundry to do. I think it's safe to say that a show has effectively lost me as a loyal viewer when the thought of washing my boxers is more compelling than their current storyline.

The reasons why I will not be among those mourning Alias's upcoming and overdue cancellation are many and varied. And, naturally, I plan on relating each of them to you in detail. For reference.

1.) For those of you who do not watch Alias, allow me to get you up to speed. First of all, it is a spy show. About spies. Good and bad spies. Sometimes the good spies behave badly. Sometimes, the bad spies behave. Sometimes, the good spies are the bad spies. They all have gadgets. And computers. Laptops, mostly. Flat screens, too. For spies, they spend an inordinate amount of time wearing suits. They travel to many exotic locations to kill people for reasons that no one seems to fully understand, least of all the audience. If they're lucky, they get to wear different suits when "in the field" (this is a spy term you will hear so often on the show that it will quickly lose all meaning to you). If I'm very lucky, Jennifer Garner will wear next to nothing when "in the field."

Anyway, here's the story up to now... The CIA headquarters -- oh, wait. I don't think they're CIA exactly. Okay, the spy-organization-that's-not-CIA headquarters are apparently located in a subway station. The decor is predominantly white and sterile and suit-oriented. Jennifer Garner's character, Sydney, is pregnant (more on this distressing point later). Her father is the head of the spy-organization-that's-not-CIA. Or acting head. Or team leader. Or mailroom supervisor -- you know, I'm not fully clear on that point, to tell you the truth. Mr. Sloane, everyone's sworn enemy, also works with them as, er, um, as a connection to underground... bad guy... type... people? Anyway, everybody hates him and glares at him and wants him dead, but apparently he still gets to come to the Employee Appreciation Day cook-out. Sydney's half-sister is Sloane's daughter -- maybe -- and she's in a coma because of... oh, Christ, don't ask. Sydney's fiance Michael has been killed off because he was mad that Jennifer Garner married Ben Affleck. Three new characters have been added to the show to distract us from the fact that Jennifer Garner cannot do any cool stunts or wear hot skimpy outfits... on account of her fatness, you see. One of these characters is a guy with no personality, which makes him somewhat difficult to distinguish from all of the other guys with no personalities. The other two characters are women who happen to be depressingly ugly. They tried to doll one of them up as a hooker, but that didn't do anyone any good. The other one is French, so the less said about that, the better. There are some new bad guys who keep dying, so now I don't know who the bad guys are. Oh, and Sydney's mother came back because the producers offered her more money, I guess. Now, everyone is searching for... the... mysterious... um...

Um...

There. I have been watching this show since its inception five years ago, and now you know just as much about the storyline as I do. Throughout the years, many people have complained that Alias is simply too confusing to follow. My initial reaction to this complaint was, "Well, no shit. It's about spies. If being a spy was simple, we'd all be fucking spies." As the years passed and I began to realize that I could not honestly tell you the plotline of one single season, my follow-up reaction was, "Hmm, those stupid bitching crybabies had a valid point. What the fuck is going on here?"

But who are we kidding? I didn't start watching this show to brush up on my Rambaldi history. The fact is, Sydney can prattle on about The Covenant all she wants... so long as the writers have her doing it in her underwear. But even that glorious motivation has disappeared because...

2.) Jennifer Garner just gave birth to Satan's spawn. Therefore, the entire season has focused on Sydney's boring pregnancy. I've gotta tell you, nothing stops a spy show cold like having its wet dream-inducingly gorgeous sex kitten lead huffing around an office in a maternity dress. And as if that weren't enough, they even have her wear glasses every few episodes. Glasses? Are you fucking kidding me? I mean, Jesus, were the producers actively trying to get this show cancelled?

For the record, Jennifer Garner is my number one girlfriend. Unfortunately, nothing will be more likely to get you booted from my List of Perfect Women than the deadly combination of marriage and motherhood. And nothing will make me more likely to show you the contents of my day's devourings than the combination of marriage and motherhood at the hands of Ben Affleck. Still, I am essentially a romantic at heart, so I allow Miss Garner to remain atop my Gorgeous Goddess list, unmolested, in the fervent hope that Ben Affleck will soon get very, very sick and die. If this beneficient event fails to crystallize, however, Jessicas Biel and Alba need to be fully prepared to oil wrestle for the vacant number one spot.

3.) The show's writing makes me sad. Well, not so much 'sad' as 'really damned bored.' To give you an idea of how exciting this spy show isn't, the following is a reproduction of a scene taken from last week's episode. In it, Sydney is talking with her dead fiance, Michael, during a hypnosis-induced flashback (seriously).

______________________________________________

(SYDNEY and MICHAEL are in a room, staring at one another.)

SYDNEY: I miss you.

MICHAEL: I miss you, too.

(They continue staring at one another.)

SYDNEY: I'm in a trance right now.

MICHAEL: Oh. Bad guys again?

SYDNEY: Yeah.

MICHAEL: Oh. (Clenches jaw. Looks to the right, then back at SYDNEY) I love you.

SYDNEY: I love you, too. (Staring continues.) I miss you.

MICHAEL: Yeah, you, uh, you already --

SYDNEY: Did I already say that?

MICHAEL: Yeah.

SYDNEY: Oh, geez. Sorry.

(More staring. SYDNEY quietly coughs into her hand.)

MICHAEL: What?

SYDNEY: What?

MICHAEL: Oh, I thought you said something.

SYDNEY: No, I didn't say anything.

MICHAEL: Oh.

(Both look briefly at feet, then back at each other.)

SYDNEY: I've gotta go.

MICHAEL: Right. Bye.

(Staring continues for three minutes. Cut to commercial.)_________________________________________


Not convinced? Here is a scene from the same episode that took place between Sydney's stoic father and the equally stoic Sloane (that guy everybody hates yet continues to work with). (Author's note: I should point out here that the men portraying these characters, Victor Garber and Ron Rifkin, are two of the most skilled actors alive today and my mockery of the show should not in any way be taken as a slight to their impressive talents. Also, you are surprisingly unattractive. I felt that fact bore mentioning.)

____________________________________________

MAN IN SUIT: We need to find Sydney.

OTHER MAN IN SUIT: I agree.

(Grim looks are exchanged. No one breathes.)

MAN IN SUIT: Can you help me find her?

OTHER MAN IN SUIT: Yes.

(MAN IN SUIT narrows his eyes.)

MAN IN SUIT: How?

OTHER MAN IN SUIT: I will call people I know.

MAN IN SUIT: Underground people?

OTHER MAN IN SUIT: Yes. Those people.

(MAN IN SUIT takes a quick breath, then holds it again. OTHER MAN IN SUIT scratches nose.)

MAN IN SUIT: I grudgingly appreciate your help in this matter.

OTHER MAN IN SUIT (under his breath): I have a secret...

MAN IN SUIT: What?

OTHER MAN IN SUIT: Nothing. (EXTRA IN SUIT walks past office door.) May I go make my phone calls now? To underground people that I know who will help us locate your daughter?

(MAN IN SUIT glares at OTHER MAN IN SUIT for two minutes.)

MAN IN SUIT: Yes.
________________________________________________

Apparently, staring at people and wearing suits both play a very crucial role in the life of a secret agent.

Hmm, I guess I said I had many and varied reasons to look forward to Alias's permanent removal from my TV screen, but seems it's just the three. Still, nonsensical storylines, ugly women, uninspired writing, a dreamgirl who can no longer see her own feet... I think I have belabored my point in typical unforgiving, heavyhanded fashion.

In closing, no, you are not on my List of Perfect Women.

CURRENT MOOD: Gassy. Kinda gassy.

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