I’ve been a fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar since the second season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I thought Nestor Carbonell’s Richard Alpert was one of the strongest, most interesting characters on Lost. One of my favourite genres is Film Noir, and I have a sweet spot for Dallas thanks to its sheer excess and over-the-top storylines.
In short, Ringer should be a perfect show for me. And yet, each week I’m finding the show harder and harder to defend against naysayers. Last night was a frustrating breaking point as all of the show’s goodwill (however little there was) dissipated in one of the most stunningly non-dramatic episodes of television I’ve witnessed in some time.
As you’ll recall last week we ended with two very juicy cliffhangers: Bridget (Gellar) was due to have an ultrasound to check on the health of the baby and it was revealed that Charlie (Billy Miller) worked for Siobhan and had gotten rid of Gemma (Tara Summers). It felt like the show was finally gaining traction and moving into a more interesting phase.
Then this week’s episode, ‘Maybe We Can Get A Dog Instead’ aired. And the show slid back into abysmal schlock.
So what went wrong? Well, it turns out that our two cliffhangers were complete non-starters. The ultrasound immediately revealed that Bridget isn’t pregnant and with one quick fib about spotting, the nurse declared it an entopic pregnancy and we all moved onto the grieving stage. Except that the grieving stage involved Bridget brushing off Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd) and prancing around the city visiting sponsors old (Mike Colter’s strung out Malcolm) and new (a duplicitous Charlie). The only person who truly seemed affected by the miscarriage was Juliet (Zoey Deutch), who immediately used it as an excuse to hit on hot prof Mr. Carpenter (Jason Dohring). Sidenote: You know we’re in firstworldproblem territory when Juliet is upset because she can’t seduce her teacher with offers of Of Mice and Men.
Oh sure, Andrew was upset, but it wasn’t the miscarriage so much as the promise of a marriage saving baby that he was attracted to. So when he overheard Bridget confessing to Juliet that she didn’t think they’d try to get pregnant again (less than 24 hours after miscarrying), he immediately threw it back in her face as though her pregnancy was the only thing keeping their relationship together. A) That’s douchey and completely unfair B) If we’re honestly considering factors contributing to the downfall of their marriage, how about the complete lack of intimacy? Seriously…last week’s chaste kiss is the only display of affection they’ve had weeks. Forget the baby – try bumping uglies.
This all provided the set-up for Bridget to crash the work dinner that Andrew was having with Tyler, the small headed-hot bodied lunk who’s harbouring the real Siobhan in his Paris hotel room. As soon as Tyler confirmed he would come to NY to discuss a promotion, we knew that he and Bridget would meet and dramatic sparks would fly (the show even confirmed it by immediately plunging us into an adbreak because the fact was so OMGWTF-worthy). And yet, when the moment finally arrived, what occurred was a dramatic sham: Tyler, mistaking Bridget for her twin sister, bitterly complained that he didn’t realize that he was sleeping with the boss’ wife, prompting Bridget to exclaim “Excuse me?!”
And then we dramatically cut to…Bridget and Andrew in the back of the limo, driving home, as though our appetite for drama has been satiated by Tyler and Bridget’s two line exchange or that the rest of the dinner wasn’t worth viewing.
Oh yeah, CW, that was OMGWTF-worthy. But in completely the wrong way. How could ANYONE think that this was a worthy dramatic payoff? We didn’t even get to see Bridget try to squirm her way out of it, or Andrew’s super bitch business partner Olivia (Forever Lila from Dexter, Jaime Murray) become suspicious.
No, instead we cut away to focus on incredibly engrossing stories about…Malcolm’s struggle with drug addiction. Riiiight…because THAT makes sense. You’ll recall that last week, I was excited to finally see Malcolm Ward brought into the fold so that he could do something. Of course, being the dramatic equivalent of a “woh woh” wasn’t quite what I expected. Everytime he was one screen, it was blah after blah as the show confused Bridget’s interest in helping him overcome his addiction for genuine character development. For weeks now we’ve been listening to her diss Bridget at every turn, as though she can only truly leave behind her shady past by tearing herself down (and implicating herself in the disappearance of her twin’s best friend). The showrunners want us to know the fact that she’s starting to care for the people in her faux life is meaningful – it’s progress, see? Except that I’m not buying it, because Bridget is still as stupid and desperate as she was when she woke up in front of that awful green screen in the pilot. And if she truly cared about these people, she would be more candid with them, like telling Juliet that it’s not appropriate to wear 80s inspired work-out fashion around the house.
But I digress. I’m just floored that the show honestly thought that focusing on Malcolm and the tired drug addiction storyline was more interesting for audiences than the real threat that small head-hot body would blab all about how he was schlepping his boss’ trampy wife in a Paris hotel for the past few weeks.
- Despite my vehement hatred for about 98% of this episode, I did enjoy the few comedic moments in the episode. Bridget’s quip about their gorgeous Manhattan condo needing more doors (after Andrew admitted to eavesdropping on her conversation with Juliet) was chuckle-worthy.
- For the second week in a row Juliet delivered the episode title in conversation. In last week’s He Said/She Said, TVangie suggested that the titles acknowledge the show’s awareness of its trashy, pulpy, Lifetime-esque status. After this week, I just think they like giving the dumb teenager with the crap storyline the best lines.
- When last week I indicated that the show should promote Forever Lila to resident mega bitch, I didn’t mean giving her a few lines about ordering the fillet mignon. And yes, we all noticed that she and Andrew ordered the same meal. Clearly they’re the same person and she’s a lady slut who’s going to try and steal Bridget’s man. Claws out, ladies.
- The other big development was Bridget delivering Malcolm to Charlie at the end of the episode. What does this mean for Siobhan’s plan? Do we even care anymore given that we average one Siobhan-on-the-phone scene each episode and she never does anything but tell people to “Take care of it”?
Seriously Ringer writers: step it up because these tedious, non-dramatic arcs are really wearing thin.