Saturday, August 14, 2010

James Callis on Eureka: "Momstrosity"

I'm kinda disappointed in this week's episode. I know, last week was a gushfest of fetishes that probably won't happen again, but I have a legitimate reason to be disappointed here. It is: no Grant and Allison on a date. We were led up to it last week with two awesome flirtation scenes, and this week - they don't really even interact. So. Disappointing. I knew Grant was going to be part of the love triangle - actually, James called it a "horseshoe", and I might wanna steal that term - but I thought he was at least going to have something with Allison first. I was hoping for romantic scenes. He didn't get to do those on FlashForward or Numb3rs or god forbid Merlin, and I realize I've missed that side of his acting. Suave romantic 40's gentleman? Yes please! But alas, it's all "Grant gets in Carter's face".

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy everything he did this week. I loved Grant and Carter's pissing contest, even if it was utterly silly. Both actors were funny. And yes, I want to apologize to Colin Ferguson, because he IS a good actor, he IS funny, and I completely misjudged him before. James said Colin cracks him up onscreen and off, and I see what he means now.

BUT. Here comes my biggest pet peeve with this episode and Grant's role so far: it seems way too much like he's with Allison just to piss Carter off. Instead of spending the weekend in Eureka with Allison, he forces his way onto Carter and Kevin's camping trip. Instead of playing it cool in front of Kevin, he gets all rude and nasty at Carter. It was fun to watch, but character-wise, it's a step backwards for Grant. I worry about what they're going to do with him beyond this, because we still know nothing about his past, his interests, his plans, etc. I get that he's a plot device to get Carter and Allison together, and I don't mind it as long as he's given something else as well. I care about Grant, and I want him to have something when he leaves Eureka. Something like a life in 2010, with or without Allison.

That said: PARKA LOVE!!! (L)

Look how tight it is! His tummy looks exquisite! I want to see him in this parka in every episode.

I guess I can abandon my fat suit (conspiracy?) theory, because they didn't refer to his weight once, and he wasn't shown eating in this episode. Fat suit plots are generally not subtle (see Fat Lee, Daphne on Frasier). So it's probably unintentional. We'll see what next week brings though. Maybe, between this and Gabriel McDow's super-tight coat, we can conclude that James isn't overly vain about his tummy. Which is awesome.

Plot: Carter is going on a camping trip with Kevin and Fargo, and Grant just shows up all "If I know about something, it's the outdoors!" Of course, he's an expert on every topic.

Carter: "Umm, that's.. not.. really.. what I had.. in mind..." See Allison's face; she's clearly telling him: "Be good and play with him." Grant asks Allison if she has plans, and at that, Carter says he can come along. Grant looks suspiciously happy, as if he was only asking Allison to annoy/blackmail Carter. Grr.

They set out in the forest, and Grant decides to annoy Carter again: "Tired already? You should try the Bavarian mountains in December. Now that's a hike." Bwah!! I'm sure he's very outdoorsy and in great shape, and I'm SURE he's been to Bavarian mountains. Judging by Twitter, many people were annoyed by Grant this week, but I loved him. I loved every silly comment he threw at Carter, because it was FUN. And because James sells it so well. I'm not sure if we're "supposed to" like Grant, but I love him. Smugness aside, he seems like a good guy underneath.

Fargo - who is always hilarious by the way; props to Neil Grayston, you are funny! - has brought an AI tent with all the modern luxuries. Kevin is immediately on board with this. Grant says sort of sternly and fatherly: "Kevin? This isn't camping." Fargo, gleefully: "I call it clamping!" Hee. :D (Kevin is played by Trevor Jackson, and I must say he's one of those child actors who don't come across like they're acting. Good job on the casting, there.) Also: the tent's name is BUFFY - "biomechanical unfolding fully automated yurt."

But Carter removes all gadgets from the campers. Fargo has about 20 of them, in every pocket. Hee again! (I wish they'd had more of Fargo this week; he spent most of the episode trapped in his own tent as AI went awry.) Grant - is busy widdling. So Carter doesn't check him. It's really cute to see James widdling! I loved his expression here:

Carter takes Kevin's game console and Kevin asks what they can do here "without being bored to death." Grant thinks they could just marvel at the beauty of nature. Kevin is unimpressed. Grant probably likes being in nature, because that's one thing that hasn't changed in 60 years. I can imagine he feels at home.

Carter wants to talk to Kevin about how his little robot filmed Jo in the shower today. "I know, you're 13, you're curious about the female .. form.. and what it does to your..form.." :D :D :D This is so... Of course, Kevin is embarrassed and wants him to stop, and Grant agrees. Carter says he thinks people should be open about this stuff: "In fact, I think you're showing your age!" (Um, but they're the same age. I get the joke but wouldn't it be risky to refer to his "age" in front of Kevin who doesn't know?)

Kevin says Carter is lame. "What happened to you? You used to be cool." Awww. Grant takes him aside to build a fire. He may be trying to stop them from fighting, or it could be a "see, I'm Kevin's buddy and you're not!" moment. It's hard to tell with him.

And now: the great Carter/Grant pissing contest! It starts as a "making a fire" contest, as Grant can't get anything to happen with the firewood. (That was how they spent time in the Bavarian mountains: hours upon hours of trying to make a fire.) Carter shows up with his fire gun and says he thinks gadgets are just fine, since it's so much cooler than the 40's.

He gives Kevin a new game. Now it's Grant's turn to get fatherly; he says Kevin was supposed to finish his "EMO project". (It's a cute little robot named EMO. Sadly, the plot around it is just stupid.) Kevin doesn't get all "Aww Grant, you're lame." I think maybe he should, for consistency's sake.

Tummy!! (L) (L) *drools* Also - I like the way his butt looks in these pants. Oy, hormones. Maybe I need a talk with Carter about James' FORM.

Carter says: "I think Allison would trust my judgment on this, like she's trusted my judgement on many things. Long history of judgement-trusting with Allison." I love the way he says that line, one word at a time. Hilarious!

Grant says that on their DATE, Allison told him what a "remarkably chaste relationship" they have.

Wow, James making a meanface! You don't see that very often.

"How you're friends - but without the benefits." Um, why does he say this in front of Kevin? He'd probably know what "friends with benefits" means, and be horrified.

Carter says Grant is "a distraction".
Grant: "Distraction! Is that what the kids are calling 'boyfriend' these days?"

Carter says soon she'll see Grant for what he is: "A smug, selfish Einstein-wannabe with no moral compass and only one functioning kidney." Heee!
Grant: "Both of my kidneys function fine, thank you."
Carter: "Day's not over yet."
Grant: "You want a piece of me, sport? Say the word."
Grant: "The w-ord..." and now he realizes Kevin is gone.

Grant is annoying in this scene, but I don't really think he's doing anything wrong with Allison. Carter hasn't told Allison he loves her; he hasn't tried to take her out on a date; it's not Grant's fault that the writers think Carter+Allison= match made in heaven. In fact, Grant has every right to be interested in Allison, to woo her, even marry her and have children together. It's Allison who has to pick one - or as the case may be, neither - of them. They won't be able to fight it out amongst themselves. So this is male machismo bullshit, but very entertaining to watch. I'm not really complaining, just saying that I'm not automatically on Carter's side here.

(Hey, wasn't the parka buttoned just now? Mystery parka that flies open within seconds! Woo! Sorry for focusing on this so much, but it's always nice with some chub visuals.)

And now, I'll pause for another pet peeve. Unlike some tweeters, I enjoy "sport" and the other 40's phrases. What I don't enjoy is that they keep putting TV phrases in his mouth, ones that sound pretty new and not even like things people would say in real life. This was already happening in last week's episode, but I was gushing too much to care.
Some of the phrases they've had him say:
"Call me old-fashioned but".
"I need [x] like a hole in the head."
"I'm full of surprises."
"Have a heart."
"I'm with [x] on this one."
"Oh, is that what the kids are calling [x] these days?"
"You want a piece of me?"
"Say the word."

I'm not a 40's phrase expert, but this just seems really off. Even if he were a 2000's person, who talks in TV catchphrases? I would love to see more of Grant's personality, and we won't get there with these; he needs his own language, his own frame of reference. I realize James wasn't given this trite stuff in BSG; the show had some annoying tics perhaps - overuse of "frak" sometimes just because they could - but there was something of its own to the dialogue. Eureka is just packed with reference upon reference upon cliché. Which doesn't mean it isn't funny or fresh in some ways. But perhaps, because it IS funny and fresh in other ways, I feel like they could have done better on some dialogue bits.

Speaking of BSG, there were two references this week: Fargo saying "Holy frak!" and Lupo calling a robot "toaster". Nice touches.

They're looking for Kevin, and Mr Bavarian Outdoorsman is out of breath and several steps behind Carter. But Carter doesn't take this opportunity to quip back: "Tired already?" He does, however, tell Grant that he would have run off too if somebody bragged about being on a date with his mom. "OK, I'll make sure to never tell you," Grant comebacks. Hee! He's really going out of his way to be annoying, but a moment later, he admits to something personal. He was hurt Carter didn't ask him on the camping trip: "Being a man out of time - not as much fun as it sounds."

Look at him all genuine and touching! Awww, my heart melted here. (Not that it was icy before, but he's a bit of a cad.)

Carter: "Whose fault is THAT?"

Grant's face goes through a change: hurt - upset - hardened. (Edit: I think I got the screenshots in the right order now. Beautiful and subtle!) He tried to share something genuine there, and Carter just shot him down. He's clearly disappointed. I feel for him, although I also know where Carter's coming from; he's the one almost stranded in the 40's because of Grant's selfish "I wanna see the future" trek. So maybe he has a right to remind Grant of that.

It's getting dark and they're still looking. Grant says they're getting near the camping site, and Carter's annoyed by his show of outdoor skills. Except when he looks back and realizes Grant is using a GPS device. Hee!

LOL! :D Mischievious little boy look right there. (L)

And we apparently jump ahead in our picspam, because they find Kevin and then AI-gone-awry finds them and tries to kill them. But what it really wants is its baby, the EMO robot. This was a bit silly. The point: Kevin is angry with Carter, and doesn't want him as Allison's boyfriend. Also, Grant is obnoxious again: "Look on the bright side, sport: you get to keep your friendship, and Kevin isn't so bothered by the idea of me dating his Mom. So, all's fair in love and war!" I'm not sure what his motives are here; maybe he's trying to be nice, but it comes off as "All's well that ends well - for ME." Hee! Cue Fargo shouting and plot moving on.

The AI plot is all kinds of silly this week. BUT: It brought Carter and Grant together, trying to save Kevin's life. Nice moment, but the screencaps didn't work out. (I'm starting to hate the quick cuts of this show.)

Afterwards, Carter says he's lucky Grant was there.

..and there's their male bonding: a sweet, natural moment of gratitude. They're both good guys, I think; they care about Kevin and Allison, and they don't really wish each other harm.

Back at Café Diem, Carter meets Kevin and they have their male bonding moment. Carter admits that he loves Allison, and Kevin says it's OK, but Carter better not hurt her. It's a cute moment, but it's also macho bullshit. He should be telling this to Allison, not her teenaged son. Why not drive over to Allison's parents' house while he's at it, and ask her father for her hand? Sometimes it's hard to believe Grant's the one from the forties.

Sitting behind a newspaper, it's Dr Bavarian Mountains, back in his suit. Carter tells him that he's going to fight for Allison. Once again, tell Allison. "Okay, sport?" he says and leaves. Hee!

"May the best man win," says Grant. (OK, I'll give him a pass for macho bullshit, because he's from ye olden times. Also the phrase seems accurately old.)

Not sure how to read this look. Concerned? Or sinister? (I'm not sure James can do sinister.)

Non-James this week: Henry tells Grace the truh about time travel, and she's broken hearted that he doesn't remember her. And - she leaves him. That was some intense stuff from Joe Morton and Tembi Locke, and I hope we see her on the show still. It'll be interesting to see if the others end up telling about the time travel.

Next week: hopefully Grant gets a plot of his own that doesn't circle around the horseshoe of Carter and Allison. I wish we could see the parka again too. Maybe Grant could go camping/dating with Allison? Moonlight! A chaste kiss! Marshmallows roasting on an open fire! Allison remarking on how fattening marshmallows are! Yeah, I'm just dreaming here.


Anonymous said...

Also: the tent's name is BUFFY - "biomechanical unfolding fully automated yurt."

Wouldn't that make it BUFAY?

Deniselle said...

You're right - or BMUFFAY, if he's counting both parts of compounds.

I think that's part of the joke, actually: Fargo wants to justify the use of "Buffy". His password in the second episode was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", after all.