Wednesday, October 19, 2011

'Ringer's' Constant Red Herrings Warrant It A Final Warning...

Remember how fans of LOST used to get frustrated, and somewhat angry, about the show unraveling so many mysteries without entirely paying them off-- even by the series end? Well, Ringer is way worse. There is something to be said for "duplicitous" (series co-creator Eric Charmelo's seeming favorite word) characters, but it's a whole other story to slowly (very slowly!) start to peel back layers to characters, only to throw in a "gotcha" moment at the end. Of every single episode. That many red herrings not only makes it really hard to attach to characters-- because at any given moment when you think you know about them is completely threatened by yet another twist, most of which seem to come out of thin air-- but it also makes it seem like the writers are having fun at the audience's expense by saying they can just do whatever they want. And the last time I felt that disrespected by a showrunner, I quit the show. Ringer should consider itself lucky I so love its cast...

Ringer's characters don't seem to have a handle on who they are, and that means the show itself doesn't, either. Sometimes there are elements of camp, sometimes elements of noir. Both could co-exist-- if they were consistent. When they're not, it just seems like the creative forces behind the show aren't always on the same page. And honestly? I just want someone-- anyone!-- to acknowledge the fact that Siobhan (Sarah Michelle Gellar) isn't acting like herself and is wearing her fear on her face in just about every scenario. Even in the self-centered world of socialites, she is (was?) important enough for people to pay attention to, and Bridget is really not doing a good job of blending. Is she being over the top for the audience's benefit? Because that, too, is a little bit insulting. If you have a high concept show, you have to commit to it and not dumb down. And if she isn't intentionally being over the top but if everyone just thinks that's the best way to go, well, I guess I can chalk that up to creative differences between me and them.

I know the show got its full season order from the network, and it's great to see them throw their weight and marketing money behind a show that, on paper, is smart enough to be the direction The CW, and television in general, should be headed. But we're in episode six, and the execution isn't living up to the hype. A cool final thirty seconds of every episode is not enough to sustain. And a final thirty seconds that negates everything we were thinking for the past forty-three and a half minutes is even worse. I can't trust anything the show tells us, and quite frankly, I'm losing faith that will change any time soon. Right now Ringer is all flash and gimmick and not a lot of substance.

Unless you count Kristoffer Polaha's sad puppy eyes. Which, actually, I do.

Final warning, Ringer. The CW may be giving you over a dozen more episodes, but you and I may be dunzo soon.

1 comment:

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