Daniel Fienberg Flunks BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

…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.

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A majorly damning review. Hats off to Daniel F.


Tell Us Again – Why is This Called BEAUTY AND THE BEAST?

Whatever happened to truth in advertising?

‘Beauty and the Beast’ EPs Defend Handsome Lead, Tout Linda Hamilton Approval – by Michael O’Connell

Technically rebooting the 1987 series, the CW drama’s creative team try to explain the lack of beastliness and draw comparisons to “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

Meeting with reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, the team behind the CW’s Beauty and the Beast reboot had to answer to one very big question: Where’s the beast?

Jay Ryan, who plays Vincent Keller/Beast, is rarely seen in the pilot sporting anything more offensive than a scar on his right cheek. EPs Sherri Cooperand Jennifer Levin chalked it up to going for something more subtle.

“Most of the beasts in our lives don’t look like actual beasts,” said Cooper. “He’s a ticking time bomb.”

Ryan offered a more understandable explanation — albeit one that prompted another line of questioning.

“It’s actually more like the Jekyll and Hyde, like two people,” said Ryan. “The beast is more like a serial killer and Vince is trying to suppress him. You don’t get a lot of that in the pilot, but there will be more of that as the series goes.”

So why Beauty and the Beast and not Jekyll and Hyde? Cooper and Levin were very big fans of the 1987 original starring Linda Hamilton and a grizzly Ron Perlman. Those two characters, names and all, motivated for the reboot.

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Sorry, EPs, but we’re calling “Bullshit!” No matter how you try to spin it, this ain’t BEAUTY AND THE BEAST or DOCTOR JEKYLL. Your title(s) and your P.R. are insulting in the extreme. Here’s hoping your writing is more than just a tad more believable.

Or, as our ole buddy the Toothless Mountain Man might say, “That boy sure is purty. Beast or no beast, I’m a’gonna make him squeal like a pig.”