Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Mysteries of Laura review: The Mystery of the Unknown Caller (S2E15) and The Mystery of the End of Watch (S2E16) Part 1

As with Minority Report, this show sucks too much to deserve an opening review quotation.

What is this? Single-camera "adult" (trust me those quotes are necessary) crime procedural drama, 1-hour (44 minutes sans commercials) run-time
Where did it air? NBC (Nothing But Crap)
Who stars in this? Debra (Debby) Messing, who oddly and coincidentally enough looks like a middle-aged Debby Ryan. And, oh yeah, for these two episodes, actual Debby Ryan too!
Why are we reviewing this? Because it has Debby Ryan in it, who for at least three out of the four seasons of Jessie's run, was as damn literal the Queen (or Top Princess I guess?) of Disney Channel as you can get. Plus if you've been following along you should know I have a rather odd infatuation/obsession with Debby (you can debate how healthy it is all you want but at least I'm not sacrificing significant chunks of personal savings on flowers that will be sent straight to the trash by her publicists anyway). 

Ugh, I can imagine I'm going to get a lot of flak for this one just like the Last Man Standing Review (even though I gave LMS a rather positive review, but whatever, there's no pleasing rabid fans/Trump-ites who think the greatest danger to America is the Vatican, people who look different and taxes on carbon emissions). But yeah, as I flat-out say right where a quippy quote from the show would normally be, this show kind of sucks. There's a lot of background to go through here, especially for the type of intended audience of this blog who might not be familiar with this type of show (although considering that this genre occupies probably 80% of the primetime broadcast/basic cable market, I'm willing to bet there's kind of a fat chance of that).

Before I go into that, let's cover the grounds this blog is supposed to cover and explain what this show is even doing here today. If any of you have seen my tweet about it, then yes, it seems like for whatever reason lately NBC is the network where recently-made former Disney Channel starlets go to have their television careers unquestionably finished off and killed once and for all. Yes, I specifically mean Bridgit Mendler and Debby Ryan (and Miranda Cosgrove as a special case I'll maybe get into a little bit) who clearly, clearly need to fire their current agents. Soon after Good Luck Charlie bowed out with the series finale, Good Luck Teddy, Bridgit booked a starring role on Unwatchable Undateable, a show with such a desperate and troubled history that those aspects alone deserve its own blog post. I've never even heard of Undateable until the Bridgit news grapevine started promoting her role (in fact at first I thought it was a Bachelor-esque parody reality show). Apparently I'm not the only one either. If you've read my review for the Stuck in the Middle pilot, you may remember I talked about how finicky television production can be, and as the format gets simpler (with multi-cam sitcoms generally being considered the simplest next to reality shows) production tends to get even more finicky. The easier and cheaper a television show becomes to make, the higher the expectations are for that show to succeed, at least partially precisely because they're so easy and cheap to make as it's not much effort to throw a completely new one as a replacement together if execs decide the current show just isn't working. Therefore there's something of an underlying expectation along the lines of, you damn well better be what we're hoping for because we can try and try again with new shows to strike gold as many times as we damn well need to do. And keep in mind "expectations" are often independent of actual network promotion - again, because the shows are relatively cheap and easy to make, there's another underlying expectation that the show will do well regardless of what promotion it gets. In some ways multi-cam sitcoms do end up having to proverbially fend for themselves against the wolves that are network execs and the Nielsen Ratings Corp.

And then you have NBC, which for a few years struggled to post greater ratings then its own sister network, Telemundo - yes, the all-Spanish channel. Now, granted, people of various backgrounds who are fluent in Spanish are making up an increasingly large portion of the population - but guess what people who are fluent in Spanish also enjoy English programs too. Even FOX, another struggling broadcast network (well, let's face it, except for CBS they all are) that recently has displaced NBC as the absolute bottom-feeder has been able to do better than that, at least when NBC found themselves distanced by Telemundo. NBC's ratings have been so dismal and moreover so dismal for so long (starting roughly at the turn of the millennium when they were still a strong, if not the strongest network) and their fall from grace so hard that it's simply created an incredibly desperate network willing to try all sorts of gimmicky things to remain relevant or even in existence. Granted, they've found beaucoup success with The Blacklist and The Blindspot and the Chicago Insert-Emergency-Service-Here series, and the final Law & Order series, SVU, is limping along out of sheer inertia and network desperation for what will seem like forever, and Shades of Blue seems like it may be another success that might also indicate that NBC might actually have their dramatic series shit together again finally, but the network's had a decade and a half of painfully blatantly obvious desperation before those successes. Not the least of which is probably The Event, such an unashamed blatant ripoff of Lost that only got the mystery element and nothing else about what made that show compelling, that it got called out extremely early even down to its very title. What helped The Event do itself in was that the show creators themselves barely had an idea or even care about what "The Event" even was, instead hoping that audiences only cared about the mystery and the build-up and not for any actual payoff - which is also the same exact reason why there's a 15-year gap in between The X-Files Season 9 and Season 10 (incidentally another "off-market" show we'll review in the near future). Or in other words - yeah, these guys had no clue on how to script and plot a television series, and The Event was an easy call for being a one-season wonder. And then you had Revolution, or Lost with an eco-message - that managed to last two seasons! Independent of being a favorite punching bag for the type of crowds that really get into Last Man Standing, Revolution had the exact same problems - all style, no substance, and the creators focusing too much on and becoming obsessed with what they misinterpreted made Lost "cool" rather than the actual storytelling reasons that compelled audience to bother to watch the damn show. For that matter, Lost itself made the same mistake in its final seasons, and then ABC repeated NBC's mistakes in full with V - but that's neither here nor there, if you want to know more about that you'll have to look up The AV Club's archives.

Anyway, NBC's success with its sitcoms hasn't nearly caught up with its recent dramatic success, so NBC's sitcoms currently reek with the same stink of desperation as their dramatic series had a few years ago (especially the sitcoms that still date back to "old" NBC, including Undateable). Simultaneous with the announcement that Bridgit was joining Undateable, they also made the incredibly bizarre announcement that Undateable was going to be live - as in, every single episode was in effect going to be a stage play simulcast through TV. Yes, I know, this is literally what a multi-cam sitcom is to begin with, except multi-cam sitcoms are taped which means you can film as many retakes as the shooting day will allow. You can make mistakes. And I cannot over-emphasize how critically important it is to allow your players to actually make flubs and mistakes beyond just making for a nice blooper reel. After all, we're all only human, and if there's one thing you should take away from my long ramblings in both this and my Stuck in the Middle review, it's that being an actor and a member of a TV production crew is incredibly demanding and stressful, and just being allowed to make mistakes (and being able to laugh at yourself) is a major component of basic on-the-job stress relief - perhaps even the most important one. I highly encourage you, for example, to go on YouTube and watch some of the leaked outtakes and bloopers for Good Luck Charlie or Jessie or I Didn't Do It, or any multi-cam show you happen to like for that matter. Bloopers and mistakes are actually a major component of how the cast and crew even manage to bond together to form a working production and filming mechanism. The reason why Bridgit and Debby are so well-liked by their costars and crew has as much to do with how they handle outtakes and other demanding aspects of production as it does away from filming. Doing a live performance on television is the equivalent of 30 hours of overtime per week - for just standing there and reading off cue cards or memorized lines for 24 minutes, it's actually pretty taxing. And there's all sorts of extra behind-the-scenes needed to make sure everything works on live night - again, a lot of this becomes very obvious when you watch the BTS vids for Good Luck Charlie and Jessie (or Undateable itself, as Bridgit, Phill Lewis - yes, the exact same Phill Lewis, he's another Disney Channel castaway stuck on that show too - and other cast members looove to Periscope in the Undateable draft room). It's much easier, for example, to do blocking when you know you don't have to worry about getting it perfect for one very specific performance. For that matter, you can film different blocking directions for even the same exact scene out of order if it seems like you're getting a better performance out of your players for some specific movements over others. That's the magic of post-production - it's like being Harry Potter (or Alex Russo to keep it Disney) and your magic wand lets you arrange and fix absolutely everything needed to make the episode not look like a hot mess. Oh, and that's another thing - congratulations on your live production because you've also now severely limited what you can do with special effects (not that Undateable really is the kind of show that would justify special effects in its "universe" to begin with).

And as if that's not bad enough, they're doing two different live performances per airing back-to-back so that the East Coast and West Coast can have true "live" performances. A number of critics have praised this creative decision but c'mon, this is gimmicky as hell and completely unnecessary. It's a massive strain on the players to the point where I actually feel sorry and worry for Bridgit (towards the end of Good Luck Charlie it was pretty clear Bridgit was being taxed just by that show - just watch the GLC/Jessie crossover and see how much fresher and much more energetic Debby seems to be compared to her - and Debby had been on Disney Channel longer than Bridgit even by that point, even factoring in WoWP). 

The point being, Undateable is perhaps the most desperate example of a show being desperate as I had ever seen in my whole life, and it's all about the live taping gimmick. When a show starts reaching that deep for obvious gimmicks it's a Hail Mary to try to remain on TV at all and make sure the cast and crew still have jobs to return to. And just like a Hail Mary during the Big Game, the raw statistics say it's exceedingly not in your favor. Undateable is stuck in a very deep crater and it has to scavenge for and tape together enough step ladders to make it out, and hope and pray that there are even enough step ladders and tape mysteriously lying around inside the hole to let themselves out. For most shows that struggle this much, the amount of tape and step ladders left lying around inside that hole is exactly equal to the amount you'd actually expect in real life - that is to say, every week as soon as taping day is done, the actors are busy logging onto Indeed and tweaking their resumes. I have to admit to my surprise, it seems like the live taping gimmick is working out ot be a very tall stepladder, but it remains to be seen if it's tall enough as Undateable supposedly sits right at the bubble (and again, as part of a big virtue of it being on Friday night, a complete no-hoper as far as primetime programming goes which actually sets a very low bar and set of expectations for Undateable. Even for NBC if it were on a non-weekend night Undateabout would be finished, pronto, and Bridgit would have all the time in the world to brush up on her nascient singing career and uh whatever the hell else a Bridgit Mendler is supposed to do.) we finally get to The Mysteries of Laura. Just like Undateable, Mysteries of Laura represents "old NBC" despite being newer than The Blacklist by a season and Chicago Fire by a slightly more comfortable margin. Which is to say it's doing it's best just to rise up to being mediocre. When the Mysteries of Laura first premeired, it was slammed hard by critics. Really. Like Chuck Liddel in his prime vs. Dada 5000 if you forced Dada 5000 in a room with no means of exercise and nothing to do but watch reality TV and eat pizza and drink beer for a month - which, come to think of it, is also an appropriate analogy for the network itself. For the most part not quite as bad as how critics have just unaminously and unilaterally agreed that Fuller House sucks right out of the gate - but in some cases worse. Take this review from Gawker's Morning After which outright says The Mysteries of Laura actively represents several massive backwards steps in favor of the anti-progress conspiracy against feminism - and I'm not even going to say that they're wrong in that. Or this other Morning After review which much heavily favors instead a PBS documentary about sloths. Caroline Framke of AV Club wanted to be much, much kinder - she tried her darndest, by God, but still ended up giving the pilot a D+. Again, she's not wrong. Then again, this is just for the pilot episode - as I said in SitM and with LB:EF, pilots are unavoidably wonky and shows tend to improve by the second season. Does that pan out for Mysteries of Laura?

...not really. In fact if anything it probably got slightly worse. 

The Mysteries of Laura is one of those procedural shows, which is yet another thing I talked about in the SitM review. Procedural shows are basically the dramatic counterpart to multi-cam sitcoms - again, their success rises and falls as much on formula as it does actual plot and characters, and it tends to show in how not only predictable, uniform and consistent each episode tends to be but even across the entire genre with most shows almost being interchangable for each other, for almost any random given episode. In fact The Mysteries of Laura comes off as an almost "The Event"-like ripoff of one of the most popular shows on basic cable, TNT's Rizzoli and Isles (as I've seen many episode of R&I, yeah, the similarities are pretty damning even beyond the usual genre consistency). It's pretty much just R&I but without the I (in that show, Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon, plays an actual detective while Isles, played by Sophia Loren's daughter whose exact name I forgot, plays her "tagalong" medical examiner). Supposedly The Mysteries of Laura is based on a Spanish show whose title literally translates to, well, The Mysteries of Laura, but I'm willing to bet the idea was developed in-house and then people panicked when they discovered there's practically an identical show overseas, so they just licensed the same name to avoid any possibility of a copyright infringement lawsuit. You have a detective, Laura, obviously, duh (played by Debra Messing - yes that means there's two "Debbys" in this episode, both redheads no less - and as we'll see that's no accident) who is trying to balance her work life and her private life of being both a single mom and romantically attached to some dude with some name played by some guy named Josh Lucas who based on my determination isn't really worth learning about as a character, but as these shows are wont to do the latter part of the formula gets all of maybe 11 minutes of actual screen time devoted to it. The meat is overwhelmingly concentrated on the murder mystery, and again, it's extremely formulaic as it is across the entire genre to the point where, after you've locked him up in a room for a month and forced him to do nothing but watch TV and eat pizza and drink beer, Dada 5000 can probably very accurately describe an episode of The Mysteries of Laura even though he's only been allowed to watch Castle. If you're looking for truly compelling drama, characters, and plot, you've most certainly come to the wrong show.

Although this is supposed to be a heavily "character-focused" episode particularly with the arrival of Debby, yeah, that ain't the case at all. It's still the exact same episode, exact same procedural formula, and it would be the exact same if it were Debby and her character or if NBC really went full-on in stunt casting and brought Kim Kardashian to play herself as the murder suspect, the only difference is that a lot of lip service is paid to the case being "personal" (*yawn*) Not to mention that lip service represents some extremely tired, hackneyed and flat out awful scriptwriting. Ewww. Debby - both of you - Morning After is right, you can do a lot better than this. NBC as a network can and should do better than this, and quite frankly it's a shame that the show had to last long enough to drag Debby (Ryan) in like this.

In the first episode of the Debby Duology I guess, there's a guy running around, he breaks into some shop thingie (don't care) to hide but the killer finds him and shoots him, he makes a phone call to Laura and uh stuff happens. It's intentionally done in a broken, "Dutch"/"Memento" manner but at the same time in a lame and hackneyed enough fashion that I just do not care to try to follow along, not that there's much point in doing so as all you need to know is that some dude got offed and of course Laura's involved because that's the whole damn show right there, it's right in the frickin' title. And something about a meter maid (I'm sorry, uhh, traffic enforcement technician? Whatever I'm done) assisting in preserving the crime scene, blah blah meh meh. Debby (Messing) gets surprising mileage out of some one-liners here and there which only proves she's too good an actress to be stuck in this. Her best delivery is in how flippant Laura is in her attitudes surrounding the case and how tired she is of the BS and how ready she is to just throw up her hands and walk away at any given moment, which for all I know reflects Debby (Messing)'s actual attitude about being stuck on this show for another season. Anyway, they manage to pick up a few leads on who the dead guy is, although as we'll soon see Laura already has her suspicions including why he called straight to her desk instead of 911 - they find dead guy's wallet in a hotel room and confirm that dead guy is the boyfriend of Laura's half-sister - which is where Debby (Ryan) enters.

At this point I might as well mention some things about NBC's new and bizarre stunt-casting  strategy of seemingly propping up failing shows by casting recently done Disney Channel starlets. We've seen it with Bridgit Mendler and Undateable and now it's Debby's turn to dip into the NBC shallow end of perpetual fail. We've (almost) seen it with NBC reaching into the Nickelodeon side by casting Miranda Cosgrove in a central role for a "dramedy" pilot about a comatose woman waking up and discovering for the first time that she has a daughter (the latter being Cosgrove's role) that ended up dying on the vine, probably because that's a pretty tasteless plot for a "dramedy". What's interesting is that both Debby and Bridgit have outright said that NBC reached out to them, specifically, because Debby and Bridgit are "hip" and "cool" and "reach out to a more youthful, more energetic demographic" and other TV marketing/focus group buzzwords that are so cliched the word "cliche" is actively embarrassed to be associated with them and is seeking legal consultation for a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit.

In all seriousness, Debby and Bridgit legitimately are "hip" and "cool" and they carry serious cred amongst tween to young adult (and older) women (plus a healthy amount of similarly-aged guys too, and not just "oh well guys just like staring at them" as some IMDb commentators accuse but also that they legitimately resonate on the same level as they do with girls/young women). They're not quite as popular as SelGo, Demi or Miley, at least during the height of their careers on Disney Channel, but they still left behind very much beloved careers on Disney Channel with huge fanbases in what would now be the exact demographic NBC is trying to court with both Undateable and Mysteries of Laura. Yeah, sure, back on Disney Channel everybody now is in love with Dove this and Sabrina that and Laura (Marano) such and such but unless Laura, Dove and Sabrina can parlay their careers into major recording successes ala SelGo, Demi and Miley, it's highly unlikely they'll exceed the same popularity as Debby and Bridgit. Especially way back in 2013 people were talking about Debby and Bridgit the way they talk about Dove, Laura and Sabrina today and I don't think people should underestimate the star power Debby and Bridgit still have (unless they keep squandering it by being stuck on NBC).

And of course there's the fact that the two Debbys happen to very coincidentally have a rather strong resemblance to each other. The same face and body type, the same hair color (at least for Debby [Ryan]'s most strongly associated role) - hell, they both literally have the same friggin' first name! So I guess it's natural that Debby (Ryan) attract attention towards being cast as Debby (Messing)'s sister - only problem is that Debby (Messing) is twice the age as Debby (Ryan) - so they have to invent some incredibly convulted, headache-inducing rationale about Debby (Ryan) being Debby (Messing)'s half-sister, which opens up its own tired and cliched can of worms.

It seems to be an unwritten rule of television that the main character's sibling has to be a total loser and a shining example of what failing at life looks like. It's absolutely a staple of comedy but dramas have taken the cliche road too. There is a storytelling...I don't want to call it a "convention" or "trope" because it's just a little bit too broad and nebulous to be defined as such a solid, blueprinted and recipe-repeatable concept - about siblings being foils for each other. It's certainly popular and ancient enough that some people can define it as a "convention" or "trope" but again it's not quite as solid a concept as how we tend to look at narrative "conventions" and "tropes" today. The central idea is that siblings serve as foils, but what being a foil looks like is intentionally very nebulous and case-specific, dependent on which sibling is the main focus (and especially if both happen to be the main focus) along with what the intent of that foil comparison is. Perhaps the most classic example in all of narrative history is King Lear's Prince Edgar and Edmund the Bastard - their titles outright tell you how they foil against each other. Or for a more modern and quite frankly much, much better example, how Jaime and Tyrion Lannister foil against each other. Physically Tyrion is very much the obvious loser, but when it comes to having an actual character, moral and otherwise, Tyrion stands head and shoulders above his brother. Of course what makes Jaime ultimately brilliant as a character is that he more or less goes through Hell to emotionally and mentally grow up to Tyrion's level (and then immediately throws it all away by arbitrarily raping his own sister right in front of the dead body of his own friggin' son, way to go writers), but that's another blog post. Or how Jon Snow contrasts and foils with Robb Stark in an overturned version of the Edgar-vs.-Edmund trope - Jon Snow takes pride in his bastard-status to find nobility and down his true path of destiny as more or less king of the wildlings (or that's what he would be if, you know - the literal backstabbing) and is extremely contemplative and methodical in his processes to the point where having Ygritte's impulsiveness rub off on him results in actual self-improvement while Robb is, albeit ruled by a very strong sense of justice, ruled by a very impulsive sense of justice that not only ultimately brings about his own downfall but the entirety of Winterfell and the North to the Lannisters and Boltons in the process. 

Most modern, mainstream (i.e. lazy) broadcast and basic cable shows, however, take all that nuance and distill it into repeatable, solid and formulaic "conventions" and "tropes" in the worst manner almost physically possible. Instead of having actual foils, now you have a sibling that's worth little more than to point and laugh at and go, haha, that brother/sister sure sucks hard at life! I don't know if it's the result of intellectual laziness on the part of the writers or if most if not all Hollywood writers just have major issues with sibling rivalry (since I tend to believe the worst in people...ah hell, I'll simultaneously believe both). I guess a lot of it also happens upon the fact that since the main character needs to be as much "relatable" to the lowest common denominator possible, it means the main character has to have a relatively stable home life - and since again most Hollywood writers prefer to contrast in the most blatant, ham-fisted and laziest way possible it means the sibling also has to be a massive loser (or an even worse loser than the main character). The only two subversions I can really think of off the top of my head are Homer Simpson/Herb Powell (because Homer's already such a massive loser it would just be kicking the dog with Herb - something they eventually do anyway - not to mention the Homer/Herb relationship like most of classic Simpsondon is done very brilliantly and satisfyingly anyway) and in Justified with Raylan Givens given (ha!) that 1.) Raylan is an only child to begin with, so the show has to force a "surrogate" sibling on to him and 2.) Raylan is such a massive asshole to begin with it's kind of hard to come up with a loser foil to serve as an even bigger asshole without eclipsing the actual bad guys of the show like Boyd and the rest of the Crowder gang (though Dewey Crowe ends up serving a more straightforward surrogate sibling loser foil to Boyd himself, and Dewey's siblings to Dewey himself) so Raylan's surrogate sibling makes Raylan himself look like the loser in comparison.

...but anyway, the whole trope of the loser sibling of the main character is getting to be extremely cliched, tired and lazy, and borderline offensive at this point as, like many of you, someone with a sibling. Jeff Garlin's Maury Goldberg on The Goldbergs had one in all the Thanksgiving Day episodes so far, and it was tiring enough to sink the whole damn episodes (even Jalopnik - a car review blog - had to get into the action of how awful it was, mainly because of how Maury's brother "invested" in a pre-time machine conversion DeLorean). Jeff Garlin himself is likely most famous to you guys as Uncle Kelbo(/Shakira), Jerry Russo's loser brother in WoWP who absolutely fits this trope to a T. When this trope is done in most lazy fashion as it typically is on modern broadcast/basic cable comedies and dramas, the "foil" represents little more but to either derive humor directly from how much of a loser the character is, or in the case of dramas to point a big massive giant red herring to see, our hero's own brother/sister may just be a killer! OOoooOOOooooOOooooohhHHhhhhh!!!!!!1111oneonethrowinatwoandotherleetspeekthatwentoutofstylebytheendoflastdecade

Given that this is a procedural drama, yeah, obviously, Debby (Ryan)'s character falls squarely in the dramatic subcategory of this incredibly annoying trope that deserves such a painful death but will. Never. Ever. Go. Away, goddammit. Not only that, but her character simply comes right out of the blue, literally having never existed before, and even her friends and co-workers are befuddled by her sudden existence out of nowhere - again, more lazy writing-as-convenience-to-allow-the-writer's-jobs-to-be-as-easy-and-effortless-as-possible. Here is an exact quote as I'm watching the episode pulled from the episode itself, with closed-caption assist:

Some random lady who's a co-worker/fellow detective or whatever of Laura, I don't care: Did you know Laura has a sister?

Some other random person-guy who may or may not be this Josh Lucas guy who's supposed to be Laura's love interest, again, I just do not care: Laura mentioned Lucy? That's a surprise. (if I didn't have closed caption on and if I wasn't paying attention to this part specifically for this transcript, I wouldn't have even cared enough to learn that Debby[Ryan]'s character is named Lucy. Also, nice sibling alliteration there, lazy-assed writers). Also while he's saying "that's a surprise" he's taking off his coat with the most smug look I'm sure this actor can muster, and it makes me hate this episode even more, already.

Random lady I don't care about: Why is that?

Random person-guy who may or may not be Josh Lucas but I just don't care: Well, when Laura was 17, her dad had an affair with a paralegal (I should point out that this is also a cliche).

Random lady I don't care about: (Chuckles - actual closed caption) *makes smug faces like ooooOooooooOOooooohhhhHhhhhh, having a half-sister that up to this point didn't exist before is literally the worst thing in the world ever, literally worse than Hitler and ISIL combined, goddamn fuck this awful dialogue that wouldn't pass muster on Undateable* Oh (yeah, Oh, that's the best you can come up with to the fact that there's a half-sister that magically materialized literally out of god-fucking-damn thin air), so, half-sister, not in Laura's life. (yeah not in Laura's life, the fact that this character was literally invented just for this episode after almost an entire two full seasons with no mention of a sister whatsoever and probably some healthy retcons should've tipped you off to that)

Random person-guy who may or may not be Josh Lucas but I just don't care: Laura tried for years, but Lucy was...let's just say she's Laura but without the moral compass (because we need to establish that Lucy = bad so we can in turn establish Lucy = primary murder suspect, fuck this incredibly cliched dialogue with more cheese than Velveeta, Dear Mysteries of Laura writers you do not know how to fucking write and THIS is why your show is on the fucking bubble with Debby [Ryan] fulfilling all of two episodes of her contract by way of the whole shebang being cancelled before she can do any more)
Random lady I don't care about but now that I've gone through this she's at least more than kinda hot, whatever, I don't care if pointing this out is sexist anymore: Jeez (yes because we need to establish that the sister is a "bad egg" and again having her as a half-sister is literally worse than Hitler and ISIL combined, I don't think it's even possible for me to get through line-by-line without saying god-fucking-dammit)

Random person-guy who may or may not be Josh Lucas but I just don't care:At our wedding she took off with a case of whiskey and a valet parker. She was 16!

...wait. What the fuck.

Is this real actual show dialogue that somebody thought would be good to put into a show as expository dialogue to explain the backstory of a character that didn't even exist before this exact point? Somebody actually signed off on this shit and approved it?

Holy. Fucking. Shit. This is bad guys. This is really, really bad.

I don't think I can go on - I mean, there are starting to be actual physical barriers forming in my ability to type out this awful, shit-sucking dialogue. I don't think I need to, I think you get the point. This is all paint-by-numbers as entry-level scriptwriting, people.

According to The Mysteries of Laura, this is what someone who steals whiskey and fucks wage-earners at weddings while underaged looks like

And then person-guy-I-don't-care-about asks more-than-kinda-hot-chick-who-I-otherwise-don't-care-about how did Lucy come up, and more-than-kinda-hot-chick-who-I-otherwise-don't-care-about responds that she didn't, making the entire thing even more nonsensical.

Fucking shit.

I've now been dinking away at this review for over six hours, it's now by far the longest post of this blog's short history and we haven't even gotten past the first 15 minutes of a two-episode review. Aside from a photobooth roll Laura found in dead guy's wallet, Debby Ryan hasn't even appeared in the episode yet.

Good, Sweet Lord.

Maybe it's just a sign that I really need to learn how to parse and edit, or maybe the episode is legitimately this bad. Either way, I'll see all you guys tomorrow in Part 2.

Next week on The Mysteries of Laura: the face of America's greatest serial killer and mass-murderer of kittens and rainbows. And she's Laura's long-lost daughter!


  1. I saw a clip of Debby and she seems to be prety good in it. she's a lot more down toearth and...kind of sulty, liek in her GMW ep, which i really like. Othwrwise, i know nothing about the show.

    It looks...well, it's not one of htose shows that looks obvliously terrible from frame 1. I had no idea what to think one way or the other, even from the clip i saw. least it's not ...uh...i don't watch enough "Real" tv to know or something bad thats' on so...Dads? That's fox but brenda was in it, so it's relevant.

    (See, as wonky as Debby is, at least she wasn't on a terrible Fox sitcom created by Family guy writers)

    1. Yeah, I should review and watch Dads maybe if I can even find an episode. I'm going to be doing Undateable too, hopefully the most recent episode because it's especially atrocious. Atrocious to Bridgit's career and atrocious to the concept of decency in comedy in general.

    2. As far as Undateble goes, from the one episode i saw, it's...there. seems just typical to me, nothing really noteworthy, but Bridget seems good, and honestly I'm happy she's in a major role in real show, as ...there, as it is.

      Better than being in mediocre disney channel fare, i suppose. She's still doing better than Bella Thorne.


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