LB Sees LEVERAGE Season 5 Episode 3

by Larry Brody

Something’s wrong here. It’s been wrong all season, but I brushed it aside. Now, though, I’m forced to face this unpleasant fact:

I love the LEVERAGE characters and their interaction. It used to be the main reason I watched the show. Now it’s the only reason because as far as the plots go – I don’t get ’em.

Specifically, I haven’t been able to follow the endings, to see how what I’ve seen on the screen in the last 10 minutes of the show has led to the resolution in the last two minutes. This week’s episode, “The First Contact Job,” took my problem to a new extreme. I have absolutely no idea what happened at the end even though I rolled the episode back and re-watched half a dozen times.

Nothing computes. I know what should have happened. I know what was intended to have happened. But the only way I can make the ending work is if I pretend those necessary ingredients were on the screen even though they weren’t.

Was it a big fail in the editing? Even bigger than usual? Or was it a script failure? Network notes about losing difficult complexity killing the crux of the scam? I have no way of knowing, but I do know this: Next week is LEVERAGE’s last chance to make me love it. I mean it this time.

Speaking of LEVERAGE, and of scam/heist shows in general, last night’s big fail also pointing out something else to me: In this, the Computer Era/Information Age, teams doing big cons and/or elaborate thefts simply aren’t needed anymore. All that’s been needed to solve any of the problems the LEVERAGE team has faced since its inception is:

The character called Hardison, played by Aldis Hodge.

He’s the computer genius, see, who provides the underpinning and special effects for everything Nate Ford/Timothy Hutton and Company do. Only – why? In the real world, if you had a guy who could change interweb reality the way Hardison can, he wouldn’t be just one of your guns – he’d be the whole armory.

With a few lines of code, this guy can bankrupt any corrupt business baddy and reward any needy victim. With a few more lines, he can undo any damage to any victim’s career and reputation and put the blame where it belongs: Yep, on the baddy again. He can even create computer orders that release innocents from jail, and make any Mr. Evil look like an escaped lifer who has to be picked up and locked up again…forever.

So why do it any other way?

munchman’s MD Sees THE MOB DOCTOR

I’m a Family Physician from Chicago. I just finished watching the pilot of THE MOB DOCTOR.

They got the Mob part wrong.  The mobsters’ attitudes were ridiculous.

Worse than that, they got the Doctor part wrong. The medicine was embarrassingly off.

Oh, I’m also a woman. They totally missed what it’s like to be one of those too.

In a word:

Ludicrous.

This is a “Don’t Miss” series for me. I won’t watch it and I won’t miss it.

munchman, please…now can I have my stethoscope back?

Robin Reed Wonders: Where’s Perry?

Time to stop being so serious. I want to mention something that even the most jaded adult secretly loves: cartoons. Not just Adult Swim either, where you can feel hip and ironic about watching cartoons with swearing and violence. No, I want to talk about cartoons actually meant for kids. Specifically, I want to talk about “Phineas and Ferb.”

This show is so strange, so creative, and so damn cool that I can hardly stand it. And it’s on the Disney Channel, not usually a hotbed of actual goodness. (Though I was also fond of “Kim Possible.”) Hard core cartoon fans remember the 1990’s Warner Brothers TV shows, from “Tiny Toons” to the immortal “Pinky and the Brain.” I haven’t heard anyone raving about anything on the Disney Channel.

The story of each episode is always the same, with some variations. Phineas and Ferb are two boys trying to make each day of summer vacation special. To do so, they build something huge in the back yard, from a roller coaster to a soccer stadium to a recording studio. Their teenage sister, Candace, believes that these are activities that their mother would disapprove of, so she spends all day trying to get their mother to see the amazing colossal whatever, therefore “busting” her brothers.

In the meantime, the family’s pet platypus, Perry, leads a double life. When called upon, he dons a fedora and becomes Agent P. He is briefed on the nefarious activities of local mad scientist Dr, Doofenschmirtz, and goes off to defeat the evil plan. Dr. D introduces an evil machine, the name of which usually ends in “inator.” Dr. D’s evil ambitions are limited to the tri-state area.

Perry’s defeat of Dr. Doofenshmirtz triggers the “inator” to in some way make the contruction in the back yard disappear just before Candace can show it to their mother. Perry reappears as a an ordinary pet platypus and someone says, “There you are, Perry.”

I can watch this show any time I come across it when channel flipping, and for some reason that is often in the wee hours of the morning. There is no real bad guy. Even Dr. D can be sympathetic because he tries so hard to be evil and can’t quite cut it. A neighborhood boy who is drawn like a traditional bully and started out acting like one has mellowed and joins in the day’s activity. The only fighting is comical secret-agent-vs.-evil-scientist-fighting.

Since this site is about writers, let’s hear it for Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, who pitched this for sixteen years (if I can trust Wikipedia) and kept at it until they got a trial on Disney. They also worked on shows as diverse as “Rocko’s Modern Life” and “Family Guy.” This is a big hit for Disney, so to them I say, don’t make writers with original ideas wait sixteen years.

A platypus but not Perry