Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You Don't know Jack...or Jack.

I care far more about one Jack than the other. Jack Bauer was one of the kings of adult angst. His life was ripped to shreds season after season and it was fantastic. Jack Shepherd was a little too stuffy to ever reach the heights of angst that Jack Bauer got to. But Sawyer – he wins the LOST angst war.

So – what I really want to know is – what happens to Sawyer? How did he spend his life post island and post Juliet? Do you think he and Kate ended up together only to go back to their true loves in the churchy purgatory of light? I hope the plane didn’t land and then Sawyer and Kate get off and they're just like “Well, nice reconnecting with you. Glad we made it out of the seventies in one piece.” And then Kate walks off with Claire whose all “MY BABY! MY BABY!” and Kate’s all “All right, crazy lady. I’ll take you to YOUR BABY!”

Maybe they all went out for coffee? Kate and Sawyer make tentative plans to meet up again in a few days – once he finds some money and a place to stay? I don’t know. I’ll never know.

Now on to the other finale – the one that got WAY less play but deserved just as much.

Jack Bauer. Screwed over – as ever – by the lameo president who doesn’t realize she’s being played until it's way too late. Who remembers, long ago, when the season began and Jack was planning to go live with Kim and his granddaughter in Los Angeles? He was going to go be the happy family man he started as back in season one. But alas, the fates curse Jack Bauer again and again. He’s pulled back in – and death and destruction follow him as he goes. Then he goes OFF THE RAILS, killing anyone with a Russian accent and leaving behind a gutted man and trail of Russian guards. Oh, Jack.

The finale was pretty standard – wrapped up the season's arc and made it clear that Jack needed to flee, setting up the international setting Keifer Sutherland has promised for the movie.

My fingers are crossed that when the movies come and go, Jack gets a happy ending - not the depressing, perhaps sacrificial death that may be more the Jack Bauer way. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Dead Shows

With great sadness, today I have moved both LOST and 24 from "Current Shows" to "Dead Shows." Soon - I'll post a comparison recap on the angst levels for both finales. For now, I'm happy to report that at least one Jack made it through.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Diet Angst

There are a few shows that have angst characters but have to go light on the angst. Let’s talk Finn and Cappie. Glee and Greek – dramadies with an emphasis on the edy part – give their main boys an issue or two but the tones of the shows don’t allow for the angsty actions we all know and love. But what if they did?

Finn and Cappie. Together at last.
Two Glees ago, Finn was all upset about his mother dating. What if, out of fear of losing his mother and becoming second fiddle to Mike O’Malley (GUTS! Do you have it?), he had started cutting – just to feel something. Surely this would have gained mama’s attention and she would have told Mr. O’Malley, “It just isn’t the right time. My son needs help. Help I have to make sure he gets.”

Or Greek. A moment before the season finale, Cappie’s parents showed up and announced they’re splitting. Oh no! So Cappie rushes off to the Kappa Tau house, finds Beaver’s hidden stash of coke, and snorts a bit too much, landing himself in the hospital. At which point, his parents decide they can’t split right now. “It just isn’t the right time. Our son needs help. Help we have to make sure he gets.”

These are some angst rewrites I would kill to see.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Vampire Diaries: Baby Brother's Big Decision

Last night’s The Vampire Diaries finale was a big one. Damon’s running around feeling guilt for wrongdoings, apologizing left and right, thanking people for various good deeds. Man! And Stefan, worrying about Damon and Elena – does she love me? Does she not? Will my much hotter brother steal her? Will he not? And the kiss! Damon thought it was Elena – so that’s pretty hot. All of that – as steamy and angsty as it was – pales in comparison to Jeremy’s big decision.

After Anna dies (poor Jeremy!!) Jeremy decided to take the plunge and vamp himself. And of course, to do this, he must commit suicide – the ultimate angst action. Now here’s the thing. Before last night, I had a problem with The Vampire Diaries’ method for turning people. Usually there’s some sex appeal there with the biting and sucking and exchanging of fluids and whatnot. In this case – all a human has to do is find a vampire, lick an open wound, and jump off a cliff. Not necessarily sexy – and interestingly enough – not necessarily in the hands of the vampire.

Anna gives Jeremy a vial of her blood (hot!) and it becomes a loaded gun. It’s all on him after that. So even though it’s Anna’s blood – Jeremy essentially turned himself (if he does in fact turn). It’s weird – right? I don’t think it’s my favorite method of transformation but last night, The Vampire Diaries used it to its fullest potential.

Now the technicalities. Jeremy took pills – lame! – and curled up in a little ball to wait for death – aww. But – say his heart stops beating for three seconds while he’s in a hospital. Will he be vamp? What if they shock him back to life? Does his momentary death count? How long does he have to be dead?
I haven’t read the books and I don’t want to be spoiled but I’ll be shocked if we’re given a vampy Jeremy next year. I guess we’ll see. The Vampire Diaries has surprised me before.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"I have never been more alone!"

Let’s look at Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman – shall we? (Again, spoilers!)

Over the course of the series:
Drug Problem – check
Dead Girlfriend – check
Being Beaten – check
Feelings of Inadequacy – big check.
Daddy Issues – check (mommy issues too)
Humor/Charm – double check

Pinkman’s got the Angst thang going on! Two episodes ago (S3E7) he got an Angst speech du jour. I haven’t wanted to jump into the TV and hug him so much since that really sad scene where he kept calling his dead girlfriend’s phone just to hear her voicemail pick up – you know? And his Angst hasn’t had this much screen time since she died last season.

Let me give you a snippet of this speech:

“Ever since I met you, everything I have ever cared about is gone. Ruined, turned to shit, dead…I have never been more alone. I have nothing. No one…You don’t give a shit about me. You said I was no good. I’m nothing. Why would you want me, huh?”

And I’ll just add that he gives this speech from his hospital bed, through tears that fall from his one not swollen shut eye.

The character of Jesse got me into this show. I have to admit – I hated the pilot and was sort of eh about episodes two and three. But episode four? When Jesse goes home and you see his normal parents and his normal brother living their normal lives, happy that he’s gone – and then he takes the fall for baby bro’s marijuana! That was the moment when I decreed I would watch Breaking Bad.

So well done writers and Aaron Paul. The angst shines through. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Zedus Lapidus!

LOST spoiler alerts galore so if you aren’t caught up, go catch up.

This past week brought much sadness but was it angst? What does a character need to qualify as angsty? Surely he must do more than just die. Things that put a check in your angst box include: drug habits, awful diseases, pining for a lost/dead/doesn’t-know-you-exist love, being physically tortured or beaten in some way, feelings of inadequacy, daddy issues, and ultimately, a tragic death doesn’t hurt. But there’s something else. A certain jen e sais qua. Call it charisma, call it humor, call it good acting (Faraday), but some got it and some don’t. So who in the land of the Lost qualifies for Angst status?


Richard (but really only in Ab Aeterno)

Angst Status has been denied Jack, Sayid, and Jin. Yes, they have a few daddy issues amongst them and a problem here and there with cupid, but who would want to hang out with any of them? They just don’t have IT, man.

Anyway…back to the angstlessness of this past week. We saw:

The death of Sun
and Jin.
and Sayid.
and Lapidus.

It was a high death toll for one episode, and the death music played as Jin and Sun drowned in a confined space – a favorite executioner weapon for the writers of LOST. But how much did you really care? This flash sideways has got us all a flutter. I can’t help but expect that with so many dead in one reality and so many alive in the other, the show will ultimately wind its way to the reality where things are okay. Or – end on a monumentally depressing note. Good news? We don’t have to wait too long for the answer. Bad news? We don’t have to wait too long for the answer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Friday Night Lights vs. The Vampire Diaries


Which type of teenage boy angst is hotter? Realistic parental issue poverty induced angst? Or fantastic unending torment because we’ve sucked people dry angst? It is a tough tough call.

Here’s the thing, though. The guys on The Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder in particular, must have been given the direction “act hotly.” And they interpret beautifully. They stand hotly, they walk hotly, they talk hotly, they take their shirts on and off hotly, and Mr. Somerhalder has mastered the directive smirk hotly. The angst is an added bonus. One that enhances hotness, yes, but does not create it.

FNL, on the other hand, has a different breed of boy. There are some fine looking young men, characters new and old, but they are real world attractive. I hate to admit it, but they don't quite meet the Gods of Hotness standards. (I must exclude Taylor Kitsch. That boy could jump the Texan ship and head over to Mystic Falls as a broody blood sucker and he’d fit right in. Assuming – of course – he could mask that Canadian accent of his).

Thus, I conclude, Friday Night Lights wins the Angst Smackdown simply because their hotness depends on it.

And that, my friends, is the first ANGST REPORT.