By Amy Nicholson
By LA Weekly critics
By Zachary Pincus-Roth
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Anthony D'Alessandro
|Photo by Sam Jones/Fox|
Keen Eddie, the new policier — yeah, right — on Fox (Tuesdays, 9 p.m.), is the kind of hopped-up Guy Ritchie knockoff that pulsates with so much energy it will make Ritchie himself, should he ever watch it, feel like an old man reared on the classics. Such is the fate of the contemporary trendsetter: One minute you’re the idol of the Maxim lads, the next you’re metaphorically rubbing Rogaine through your thinning hair. Anyway, he probably won’t watch it. I hear Madonna’s quite down on television these days, now that she’s made her millions off MTV.
Since it’s one of the few dramatic series to get onto this summer’s schedule, already being swamped by a reality-show tsunami bearing everything from Surf Girlsto Average Joe’s to American Juniors, one is tempted to be kind to Keen Eddie. It would be helpful, though, if the writers didn’t treat viewers like morons who’ll fall asleep if they have to listen to two lines of dialogue without something startling happening. What do I mean by this? Well, if Eddie (Mark Valley, Pasadena) eats a shrimp, it has to be a bad one so we can see him throw up. If he turns a doorknob, it must fall off in his hand. If he opens a bedroom door, there needs to be a couple behind it having sex. And if his dog meets a cat, he doesn’t merely have to chase it (as dogs do), he has to fuckit (as dogs don’t).
But then, Keen Eddieisn’t really a drama, or a comedy — it’s a cartoon. There are human beings in it, but they bear no more relation to actual humans than Bugs Bunny does to a rabbit. Something about London, where the show takes place, makes American TV writers nervous. Confronted with all that history, all that old gray stone, they jazz everything up instantly lest viewers think they’ve wandered into an episode of Masterpiece Theatre. You may recall last year’s short-lived The American Embassy, also on Fox, in which a young vice consul gets a job across the pond. On the way over, she has sex on the plane and loses her luggage. Then, when she gets to her apartment, she finds out her roommate is a nymphomaniac and her next-door neighbor is a transvestite. Well, things turn out pretty much the same for Eddie: He’s sick on the plane, he loses his luggage, and it turns out that the apartment he’s sublet is already inhabited — by Fiona (Sienna Miller), a cute blond boutique owner who’s bound to go nympho on him soon. (Yeah, but where’s the transvestite? — ed.)
The story is as follows — or perhaps I should say, as I was able to follow it: Due to a botched drug bust, NYPD Detective Eddie Arlette has to go off to London, where the drugs have ended up, hidden inside miniature replicas of Big Ben, all replicas of Buckingham Palace being sold out. Before you know it, he’s been set upon by gangland freaks, hoodwinked by an actor pretending to be a criminal (comedian Alexei Sayle) and given a stern dressing down by his stuffy black British superintendent (Colin Salmon). He’s also got himself a partner called Monty Pippin (Julian Rhind-Tutt), a sort of aristocratic David Spade, who knocks off work at 6 on the dot and, despite being single, goes in for wife swapping in swanky sex clubs.
Needless to say, it’s all completely absurd, a carnival of hokey writing in a kinetic blur of jump cuts, slo-mo and sudden fades that make the average network cop show look like something taking place in a retirement community. The idea that interest and suspense should be generated by narrative and character is far too old hat for this crowd, which deals with all that stuff in the editing room. Still, I’m told the 13-part series calms down later on, and if you close your eyes and listen to the music (Madness, the White Stripes, etc.), you may think you’re in a bar with a decent jukebox. Or you could just go to a real bar and forget all about it. Of course, you won’t be able to smoke, and you really shouldn’t drive if you’ve had more than two drinks. What to do?
Maybe you should go abroad. Like Eddie. Or like the 24 contestants in The Amazing Race 4 (CBS, Thursdays, 8 p.m.), spinning madly around the world in a bid to win a $1 million prize. They started out somewhere in L.A., from where they had to drive through freeway traffic to the airport to catch a flight to Milan; then it was on to the Italian Alps, trudging through snow and dangling above chasms before making it to Venice (two contestants had been eliminated by then), where they dashed around the streets and alleyways, rode gondolas, and generally acted like bewildered tourists in fast-forward mode.
The competitors have been chosen with care, though not, perhaps, with quite enough of it to make them memorable — not yet at least. There’s a gay married couple, a straight married couple, a lesbian couple, a virgin couple, a wives-of-NFL-players pair, two clowns, two air-traffic controllers, etc. . . . Watching them hotfoot it around Venice is like seeing a parody of the most abysmal form of travel, in which bickering lovers are always staring at maps, peering frantically at street signs, asking questions of uncomprehending locals, taking wrong turns, getting lost and never, ever, relaxing for a second.
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