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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rules of Engagement

WGN had this on 12/12:30 and then 11:30/12, good end of the day watching, but recently took it off. Have some sort of mini-marathon tonight. Pops up other places too. This was one of those shows the lingered on, usually airing mid-season (the first season was only seven episodes, starting right after the Super Bowl, which long term you think -- hey, this was a pretty good show overall.  Not quite Wings, which used to be the king of syndication on certain channels, but something like that.    
Two couples and their single friend deal with the complications of dating, commitment and marriage. It looks at different relationships in various stages, starring Patrick Warburton and Megyn Price as a long-married couple, Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich as newly engaged sweethearts, and David Spade and Adhir Kalyan (the latter added in season 3) as their still-single friends. They often gather to enjoy a meal at "The Island Diner".
That's the Wikipedia summary. Patrick Warburton (lovable big doofus) and David Spade are familiar faces playing familiar roles (Spade is more of a sex crazed sort here, but his asshole qualities with some implication that deep down he is not totally a jerk is pretty standard). The other guys are good too, Oliver Hudson (Goldie Hawn's son) over time having his character get more and more stupid.  I have noted here and elsewhere that the women, especially Bianca Kajlich (playing Jen), in time was just not given enough to do.  The women in effect played straight roles to their goofy mates, but when given a chance, are good actresses too. Megyn (Audrey) particularly has some moments where we see perhaps why she hooked up with Jeff.  AK as Spade's assistant also was good. As were a few guest stars, though a gay friend story-line didn't work too well.

The series was pretty good thru its run though it had some off episodes. Re-watching some of them (just watched S1 on DVD, with some extras), there are some pretty risque bits. Adam confusing "anal" for "annual" is but one of various sex jokes or a great episode where Spade's girlfriend kept on saying double entendres, apparently without knowing it.  The clip I found is one of the "you are being bad" episodes (probably shouldn't be seen as too representative, but the show has its moments*).  Given the length of the run, that engagement is pretty long. As is the trying to have a baby story-line, which pops up in S1, eventually involves a lesbian surrogate and is completed in the series finale where not only does she give birth, but it is announced that Audrey herself is now pregnant.**

 It is a sign of a good (and comfortable) show that you can watch the same episodes again and again while still enjoyable them. You see this, e.g., on shows like M*A*S*H and the like. This is one of those shows.  The last episode of The Fosters, e.g., is one I probably could watch again. Felt that way about the first batch, not so much the next few.  I plan to watch this show straight thru on DVD (the last season isn't available at my library, but it might be soon), though I might skip an episode here or there in the process. Enjoyable, not profound, but enjoyable, things should be honored from time to time.  Kudos ROE.

And, happy Lincoln's Birthday


* Another bit that you might think would not get approval has Audrey going along with it when her co-workers think she is pregnant, the show ending with them thinking she had a miscarriage ... which she goes along with as well. The episode btw gives the actress a chance to show her chops.  She also was good a few years back in Grounded for Life.

** A few of the final episodes are a bit weak though they have nice touches, like one when Timmy's parents come to visit, the show ending with the whole cast involved in a typical Bollywood musical number, in traditional garb.  The finale is overall nice, but has a stupid bit that is more so because it ignores that Timmy already is a citizen. It was the subject of an earlier episode.

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