…And so do we. But we’ll let him tell it:
The CW’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ fails on every level – by Daniel Fienberg
There’s an easy punchline that a hundred [or more] lazy screenwriters have probably used in movies orTV shows.
A character happens upon somebody who was previously assumed to be deceased. The character nods and quips, “You look pretty good for a dead guy.”
It’s a universally applicable joke, because… not to put too fine a point on it… dead guys generally look pretty horrible. They’re all rotted and stuff. So it doesn’t matter who you are or how you look, if you’re about to breath and receive nourishment, chances are solid that you also look pretty good for a dead guy.
The cliche pops up in the pilot for The CW’s new adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” one of many cliches in a script that seems to be cobbled together from nothing but dribs and drabs of earlier shows. In its “Beauty and the Beast” context, however, the line is elevated (denigrated?) from sloppy mimicry into a flawless illustration of the pilot’s insurmountable core flaw.
Kristin Kreuk’s Cat Chandler, doing for NYPD detectives what Denise Richards’s Christmas Jones did for nuclear physicists in “The World Is Not Enough,” confronts Jay Ryan’s Vincent Keller in a retrofitted warehouse and, having read paperwork on his demise in Afghanistan, she tells him “You look pretty good for a dead guy.”
The problem: Vincent Keller doesn’t just look pretty good for a dead guy. He looks pretty good for an underwear model or for a CW leading man. As Cat devours Vincent with her eyes, we’re aware that she isn’t comparing him to a maggot-infested corpse. We have no doubt that she thinks he looks good by any imaginable standard.
And with that, you cease to have a show called “Beauty and the Beast.” You can still have a show called “Beauty and The Man-Beauty” or “Beauty and The Handsome” or whatever. But you’ve lost what is the most basic and primal thing about “Beauty and the Beast” in every one of its fairy tale and modernized incarnations.
The story is about not judging a book by its cover, about learning to see beyond the surface.
A majorly damning review. Hats off to Daniel F.