Roundtable # 14 – Television Do-Overs: The Big Fat Spoiler Edition

In this edition of the Roundtable we attempt to talk about the things on TV we wish had gone a bit differently.

Kerri: So, I asked you both to think about shows/characters/story-lines, etc. that didn’t work for you on television. In these cases the specific thing was such a problem that you would have wished the creators had never done it in the first place or could go back in time and correct the problem. Would anyone like to begin with one of their picks?

Katie: Friday Night Lights spoiler alert: I wonder how thought-out the storyline with Landry killing that rapist was? It wasn’t that he accidentally killed the man that bothered me; it was how everyone reacted afterwards. “Oh, let’s just cover it all up!” Even his policeman dad. It was so out of character for Landry, and so off the tone of the show in general.

Lots of people have ragged on Friday Night Lights for that storyline. Some mistakes you are like, “meh, the show will bounce back” but that Landry-murder was bad enough to go back in time and fix. The show got better, of course, but it’s such a huge, weird, bloody stain on the show.

Kerri: That specific story was really the basis for this whole question. Why would they 1.) even put those characters into that situation 2.) have them react the way that they did and 3.) clearly decide that the story wasn’t a good idea and essentially do away with it.

Is it even mentioned in subsequent seasons?

Katie: It was NEVER mentioned again.

They needed a reason to get Landry and sexy Tyra together but there are better ways than manslaughter.

Kerri: There are lots of better ways to get two characters together even if they are characters you wouldn’t expect to end up together. That’s troubling. And it happened in Season 2 which, I think, was a season where they were really struggling for ratings (weren’t they always?).  It seemed to have been a story that was thrown in there to try something different but didn’t work on so many levels.

Jane: I would like to throw out there (Girls SPOILER) Jessa’s wedding on Girls. I was just warming up to the show, when for the finale they had the ridicules twist of Jessa getting married to Thomas-John. A random character from a not-so-great episode. It was totally unbelievable. The other characters didn’t seem to fit into the story other than being at the same place at the same time for once. Because Season 1 focused so much on Hannah, I guess it was hard to integrate all the characters into one story. I think they could have come up with something more imaginative and believable.

Kerri: I like that pick, Jane. And, although it isn’t as glaringly messy and…well…dumb as the Landry plot I think you are right to bring it up. None of that wedding felt real to me and neither did those two characters ending up together. That being said, I think they have time to fix it. It seems like a mistake (if it is one) that can be pretty quickly remedied. Don’t you think?

Jane: Totally. I love to watch Jemima Kirke play bored. I think it will be quite entertaining to watch Jessa get restless  and duck out of the whole thing. I will also say that there is a scene between Jessa, Hannah and Thomas-John in Season 2 that is excellent. Hannah tries to hide her doubts about the marriage all the while trying really hard to get along with Thomas-John. Its a neat little scene

Kerri: I’m interested to see that play out.

Katie: I just started watching Girls. I didn’t watch Season 1 so I don’t know the characters too well but I thought that blonde woman seemed perfect for her husband. They are both so vapid and annoying!

Kerri: If I had coffee right now there would be spittage.

Jane: Jessa is my least favorite but I wouldn’t call her vapid. That’s a whole other round table though.

Katie: Hah, I’ve only seen 2 episodes and she wasn’t in much of one of them, so I am probably WAY off.

Kerri: My first choice is the (Downton Abbey SPOILER) Bates goes to prison storyline in Season 2 and 3 of Downton Abbey. It is similar to the Landry plot in that, sure, it is a thing that COULD happen but in this case I kind of wish they had shuffled it under the rug never to talk of it again.

Katie: BATES! Goddamn it. I loved him so much until the whole marrying Anna storyline. Just pop him out of prison already and let’s move on with the show.

Kerri: The whole story is just so drab and depressing and in stark contrast with the rest of the show and I GET IT! It’s supposed to be drab and depressing and in stark contrast with the rest of the show. But, what it ends up doing is taking these two underdog characters that were such a joy to watch falling in love and realizing that they too could be happy and it put them in a place where there is none of that.

Also, I want pretty people wearing pretty clothes doing pretty things. I want catty remarks. I want melodrama. I don’t want whatever that was.

Jane: I have only watched a few episodes but was drawn to Bates right away. I’m sorry to hear he is in the slammer.

Kerri: I think that’s the thing, Jane. Everyone loved him in Season 1 and then he turns into this character you’d rather never see anymore.

Katie: If I could go back in time, I would go to the editing desk of Season 2 and cut that shot of Bates’s post-coital bare chest.

Jane: Ewwwwww.

Kerri: Blerg…thanks for that visual. I’d prefer to believe that Bates and Anna never do it.

Katie: I feel like we need to apologize to Jane about ruining the best part of Downton Abbey Season 1.

Sorry Jane.

Kerri: Sorry Jane.

Jane: No worries. I can tick it off my viewing list.

Jane(Homeland spoiler) In a show I adore, I had some issues with the hit-and-run on Homeland.

Kerri: That’s a good one, Jane. And worth discussing. That’s another case where the creators inserted this big event – this murder – and it doesn’t really work. I think they handled it overall in a better way than either Downton or FNL, but yeah, that didn’t really land for me in the right way. I was very worried about the road they were going down with that one.

Jane: A hit-and-run in any other show would be a huge dramatic plot point, but on a show as crazy as Homeland I got tired of its complications with the other stories. It made it hard to like Brody’s family after that. You just get so sick of Dana Brody halting the action to “whine” about the accident. Morgan Saylor plays her part so well that there are now hate groups about her online.

Kerri: I love Brody’s daughter and I love Nasim Pedrad playing her on SNL.

Jane: Yes!!

Katie: This roundtable should be subtitled the Big Spoiler Roundtable.

Kerri: That’s going in the heading…

Jane: Ha ha ha

Kerri: Game time!

Because I couldn’t think of a suitable game for this subject exactly, I’d like you both to name as many characters that were played by multiple actors as you can, as quickly as you can.

Katie: Eric’s sister on That 70’s Show.

Kerri: That’s not on my approved list but I will accept.

Jane:  DJ on Roseanne.

Kerri: That is correct, Jane!

Katie: Jerry’s Dad on Seinfeld.

Kerri: Correct!

Jane: The aunt on The Fresh Prince.

Kerri: The most famous example I think is the two Darren’s on Bewitched. Looks like the game remains tied. We will have a tie-breaker next week.

Final shout outs!

I’d like to give a shout out to (Justified SPOILER) the horrible Winona steals the money subplot on Season 2 of Justified. Everything else on that show is so great. That is not.

Jane: Daphne and Niles getting together on Frasier.

Katie: My final shout out is the finale of Seinfeld. It wasn’t funny.

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