[Ed. note: I would like to introduce the latest edition to the Videogum Street Team. Monsters, please welcome Joe Mande. He's a stand-up comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central and Best Week Ever, and is the creator of the popular blog, Look At This Fucking Hipster (soon to be a popular book!). Now, he is going to do to ABC's reboot of V what he did to skinny jeans and kafias (make fun of it on-line).]
Weeks ago, Gabe asked me to write recaps of the new ABC show FlashForward for Videogum. I really wanted to do it, because I tend to only watch TV shows that are advertised on the side of buses. Unfortunately, I’m a very important person living a very important life, so important things got in the way. I was forced to tell Gabe that I was unable to write jokes for his blog. Naturally, I felt guilty about this, because I feel guilty about everything, so I forced myself to keep watching FlashForward despite the fact that I wasn’t writing recaps. As the season went on, I felt less and less guilty, because FlashForward is a terrible television show that no one but me is watching (more like “FlushDownward,” …you know, like a toilet?).
Anyway, my life is a little less important these days, and thus I’ve agreed to recap ABC’s other new, big-budget series, V.
Now, I don’t know if ABC has big hopes for V, but speaking strictly in terms of theme songs, this show is just as good as Lost.
V is a show about sexy alien (yes, alien) “visitors” who come to Earth in a bunch of giant spaceships that hover above all the major cities in the world like a bunch of District 9‘s. The Visitors (or, V’s) announce to the world that they come in peace. Then they offer us humans a deal: In exchange for all the water and minerals they need to get back to their home planet, they will give mankind a bunch of their super advanced space-knowledge. For free! Uhm…that seems like the easiest deal to make.
If my friend was on that show, I’d be like, “SPACE KNOWLEDGE!! TAKE THE SPACE KNOWLEDGE!!!”
So…what’s the catch? Oh, the Visitors might actually evil lizards or something.
V is actually a remake of a 1983 mini-series of the same name that I had never heard of (sorry, nerds!). The SyFy Channel (so glad they changed to the phonetic spelling) played reruns of the original series over the weekend. I watched a couple hours of it, and although it was very dated, I liked what I saw. There’s something to be said for character development and aliens wearing Jay-Z sunglasses.
Sadly, the producers of the 2009 version of V decided to do without both. This time around, we’re introduced to the main characters in the most hectic way possible: while spaceships are invading Earth and literally everything is shaking.
This is Erica (played by Juliet from Lost). She’s an FBI agent. Her house is shaking.
She’s on the phone with her daredevil son Tyler. He’s in the hospital because of a minor motorcycle accident. His hospital is shaking.
This is Ryan (played by The Inkwell’s Morris Chestnut). He is a black man trying to buy an engagement ring. His jewelry store is shaking.
This is his Latina wife-to-be, Valerie. Her coffee is shaking.
This is Father Jack Landry (played by National Treasure: Book of Secrets’ Joel Gretsch). His church is shaking.
And this is Chad Decker (played by White Squall’s Scott Wolf). He’s Emily’s ex-husband and Tyler’s father. He’s also a self-obsessed cable newscaster. His shower is shaking. (I felt a little gay making an animated gif of that, so this is still frame only!)
The shaking, of course, is due to the fact that a giant spaceship is parallel parking on top of New York City. (By the way, can I just say, if you’re not going to shoot a TV show in New York City, then don’t set that TV show in New York City. Everyone on this show has a huge house with sunlight pouring in the windows. Where do these people all live, Ditmas Park? And the tallest buildings they can find are, like, 15 stories tall. Just have the aliens attack Burbank if that’s easier. No one gives a shit.) The bottom of the spaceship begins to shift and move around and people in the streets below start to freak out, because it’s like 9/11 all over again. Which reminds me, can we quickly talk about the first ten seconds of V real quick?
Hmmm, where was I this morning? Let’s see…I woke up, brewed some coffee, and then made a couple flippant references to national tragedies to make myself seem important. Oh, and then I played Xbox.
So, anyway, the bottom of the spaceship starts to shift and move around, and people in the streets below start freaking out. But, not to worry, you guys. That’s just how the spaceship turns itself into an iPod. This is when we finally get to meet Anna, the leader of the V’s.
Ha! I love that. Aaaaaaaaand polite golf clap. Right, that would probably happen. Because New Yorkers aren’t cynical at all. The Kid From Brooklyn would be like, “Well, if that fuckin’ beeyootiful alien broad on that floatin’ jumbo-tron says she’s truly anguished by the turmoil she’s caused, then fuhgettaboutit!”
You know, for some TV shows, that could be enough for the first episode. But not V. This all happens in the FIRST NINE MINUTES. There’s still 51 minutes left. And the episode never takes its foot off the Whaaaaat pedal. If anything, it pushes down harder.
So much crazy shit, I just need to burn through it:
The next day (which, I guess is today, right?), Father Jack is told by his Priest-boss that the Vatican wants all sermons to be pro-alien. Father Jack is uncomfortable with this. The church is packed for the first time ever, because most people turn to God in times of aliens.
Emily, however, is not most people. She’s not going to let terrorists use this aliens thing to their advantage. She calls her partner, Dale, and tells him she wants to investigate a suspicious terror cell. He’s says okay.
Anna, the V leader, addresses the world again, this time from the UN Building. After her speech, Chad Decker chastises his peers in the media for asking disrespectful questions. He then asks Anna why she’s so good looking. She answers by telling Chad he looks good too. Everyone laughs. Then later on the spaceship Anna is watching Chad’s news story, and she says she “wants him.” Does that mean for sex? For dinner? No one knows.
Three weeks go by…(minute 17)
Emily is still investigating that terrorist cell. She tells her partner, Dale, that they’re going to Long Island to search for a van with trace elements of C4 inside. He’s like, “I don’t want to go to Long Island.” But they go to Long Island and Emily finds a shack next to the van. She tugs on a rope inside the shack and that opens a door to a secret passageway that leads to dark bunker, where they find a mutilated dead body and comically large pile of C4.
Ryan, the Black guy, gets a phone call from a shady dude named Georgie. Georgie says he needs help. Ryan says, “I’m not that guy anymore,” and hangs up. His soon-to-be Latina fiancée, Valerie, is like “Who was that on the phone?” And Ryan is like, “Don’t worry about it.” Because he’s not that guy anymore. What guy? No one knows.
Meanwhile, Tyler gets tickets to go on a sightseeing trip up in the V spaceship. Score! Inside the spaceship, Tyler meets Lisa, who puts the V in cleavage.
Lisa gives Tyler literature about joining the V’s special Peace Ambassador program, which is a sort of a galactic Sea Org. Tyler is interested, but says he can’t join because he’s not 18. Lisa says it’s fine, as long as he gets a parent’s signature. Because you know how aliens are: always afraid of getting sued.
So Tyler really wants to sleep with Lisa, because duh who doesn’t. To make her happy, he starts filming himself spray painting the letter V onto walls and yelling, “V’s rule!” But then his mom sees the video on youtube and is like, “Tyler, I’m so mad at you about your new tagging hobby.” And Tyler says to her, “What you call tagging, the V’s call spreading hope!” He really says that to her. Because he’s inspired by all the “Change.”
I don’t know if I’m making this up or not, but I sensed a very weird and not very well thought out anti-Obama element to the show. Anna is all about hope and peace and change, but there’s something clearly evil about her. Then, near the end, Tyler’s tipping point for forging his mother’s signature to become a Space Scientologist is when he sees Anna on TV promising to build facilities around the world that will provide free medicine for all humans, or as we call it “universal health care.” That’s the V’s crafty way to get young people to adore their politics!
Am I reading too much into this? Probably. But check out the design of Tyler’s favorite new homepage, VisitMothership.com:
It has a blue motif similar to my former homepage:
Ryan the Black dude keeps ignoring that creepy guy Georgie’s phone calls, so Georgie meets Ryan in person. Creepy Georgie tells Ryan that “the group” needs him now more than ever. But Ryan tells Georgie he can no longer be part of “the group” because “the group” too dangerous. He explains that he wants to get married to a Latina woman and he can’t be a part of “the group” without putting her in danger. No one knows what “rhe group” is.
Emily finds a very convenient FBI clue about a secret meeting in a different dark scary room. She thinks the meeting is for her Long Island terrorist cell, but once inside, we realize it’s a meeting for creepy Georgie’s “group.” Wait, is Georgie a terrorist? Probably not, because his name is “Georgie.” Also, Father Jack is there and he looks conflicted about it.
Georgie explains to “the group” that Visitors have actually lived on Earth for decades. They’re really lizard people with cloned human skin over their lizard bodies. And the only way to tell if someone is a Visitor is by cutting a hole in the back of his or her head and seeing if they have scaly skin instead of a skull bone. Because lizards don’t have skull bones. Science.
Georgie goes on to explain that the reason there is so much war, economic ruin, and religious tension in the world right now is because “over the last few decades” (there were no religious wars a few decades ago, by the way) V’s posing as humans have infiltrated every facet of our society, manipulating things to make them terrible. Open your eyes, Emily! It’s a vast il-lizard-nati out there!
Chad goes onto the spaceship for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Anna. She’s the new Sarah Palin. Chad wants the interview her like Katie Couric, but Anna says he can only interview her like Greta Van Susteren. Chad agrees, but only because the interview will make him more famous.
Back in the dungeon, shit is getting really crazy. A weird silver soccer ball floats into the secret meeting room and starts taking pictures of Emily and Father Jack. Georgie sees the floating silver soccer ball and yells for everyone to duck, because he’s seen a lot of fllaoting silver soccer ball cameras, so he knows that they self destruct after taking a picture. The soccer ball explodes, sending shrapnel across the room. Then, out of nowhere a bunch of people–lizard people, presumably–break in carrying a whole lot of guns and machetes. They start hurting Georgie’s “group” real bad. Then Dale, Emily’s partner, comes in and you think it’s to save Emily. But no! He tackles Emily. Because he’s one the secret V Illizardnati agents. Emily hits Dale in the head with a pipe, and sure enough, underneath the wound is lizard skin. AHA! That’s why he didn’t want to go to Long Island after all! Emily stabs Dale in the chest and he dies.
But it’s still very bad for the “group”! The V’s are very good at fighting. Then, out of nowhere, Ryan the Black dude shows up and starts kicking V ass. He really saves the day! The V’s all flee the weird dark meeting place. Georgie is happy to Ryan has joined the group. Ryan is happy to join the group, but sad because now he can’t get married to Valerie. It’s too dangerous. Georgie looks at a deep cut on Ryan’s arm and holy shit! There’s lizard skin underneath! Ryan’s not a Black dude, he’s a V! He’s one of the good ones! And he didn’t need a head wound to prove it. Science.
Emily and Father Jack decide to join the V resistance. It’s clear they’re probably going to do it with each other. Meanwhile Tyler gets his new Peace Ambassador jumpsuit from Lisa. It’s clear they’re probably going to do it with each other.
What a fucking mess. I feel like I just recapped an entire season of television.
Did anyone watch this show but me? Did anyone like it? The only show I watch on a regular basis is Intervention. Is this what television is like? Is anyone out there? I feel so alone.