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Television Rundown: Crushing Under The Weight of Parallel Universes

The line between serial television drama and the sporting events that fill many minutes of my life is indeed a thin line. Two weeks ago, in the midst of dealing with the immediate trauma of seeing my beloved Minnesota Vikings get so damn close to making it to the Super Bowl for the first time in my lifetime and the first time in 33 years only to be denied the invitation in a you-can't-make-this-up fashion that Vikings fans seem to think can only happen to them (although Bill Simmons of ESPN comfortingly shows fans like me the reasons why that's just not true in this ultimately cathartic column), I wrote about how Margene from Big Love ultimately helped me get over their crushing loss. Two weeks later, I watched the actual Super Bowl, and realized that I still had repressed anger and sadness over the Vikings and, ultimately my, loss.

But serialized television has, if not completely healed, then, partially healed those wounds, especially with last week's (final) season premiere of Lost. I may be relatively new to the world of Lost, but the season premiere was nothing short of mind-bending, action-packed, and a helluva lot of fun. And it got me thinking, naturally, about the theories of parallel universes. In a parallel universe, Minnesotans were celebrating on Hennepin Avenue on Sunday night, Brett Favre announced his "real" retirement, Joe Mauer signed a 12-year contract, the groundhog did not see his shadow, and Minneapolis inherited the climate of San Diego, CA. Thanks, Lost, for opening up the possibilities.

So, along those lines, here is the status of the five recently premiering shows that I'm obsessing about, as compared to the alternate reality in which the Vikings didn't totally flop.

An Alternate Dimension In Which The Vikings Beat The Saints in the NFC Championship = Lost
Note: please see #87 running to the sideline for the Vikings, wide open. In the alternate reality, Brett threw it to him, he ran for another 3 yards, and Ryan Longwell hit a 45 yard field goal to put the Vikings in their first Super Bowl in 33 years. So, assuming that happened, the crushing, long-lingering feeling of disappointment didn't happen, and the party at our place two weeks ago ended thrillingly, with great joy amongst the people. That, friends, is how great the season premiere of Lost was last week. The opening scene, finding our heroes in a "flash-sideways" type of situation filled me with the long-sustaining joy that I can only imagine a Super Bowl win for our Vikings would have made me fee. Of course, assuming there truly are two worlds going on, perhaps in a dfferent universe the Vikings did win. Oh well...

Second-year Cornerback for the New Orleans Saints Tracy Porter, Again, Ruining A Potentially Huge Drive For The Opposing Team By Intercepting A Key Pass
Both of these shows,Damages and Big Love, have occasionally left me in a lull. For Damages, it was the entire second season, which meandered into plot twist after plot twist without actually making me care at all, a shame because of its breathtaking first season. For Big Love, it was the first few episodes of the newest season, which whipped through seven or eight episodes of plot in a condensed three episodes (for shame, HBO, for cutting the episode order of this season down to nine!) But then, much like a Tracy Porter interception that killed any hope at winning (like the NFC Championship) or tying the game (like the Super Bowl), sudden and welcomed momentum shifts took place. Big Love found its footing in the heartbreaking fourth episode "The Mighty and the Strong", which culminated with Bill Hendrickson giving his son the boot, and the season premiere of the third season of Damages, which brought the Grisham-on-crack vibe of the first season back with a bullet. And its stronger focus on Tate Donovan is a nice change. Which reminds me...

The Animated Half-Hour Sitcom Version of Damages Co-Star Tate Donovan...
is FX's new Archer. Sure, I much prefer Adam Reed's animated work on the Cartoon Network, most notably his Sealab 2021. And it's a little weird to hear the voice of H. Jon Benjamin as a handsome secret agent when I've mostly heard him as the hilariously sweaty and disgusting gym teacher in Home Movies. But, like Damages / The OC co-star Tate Donovan, Archer is, what I would call, a "capable" series. It's not gonna win any awards, nor will it be as prestigious as, say, the Glenn Close of animation (The Simpsons), or as under the radar as the Rose Byrne of animation (The Life and Times of Tim, which, as a side note, I'm really excited for its return!) but it'll do the trick, much like a Tom Shays / Jimmy Cooper rant about how he lost all his money in his investments or whatever.

That Unbelievably Corny New Ad For the Twins New Ballpark
I don't really have a TV show equivalent here, but I just wanted to highlight how embarrassingly bad this ad, which aired on Super Bowl Sunday, truly is. Seriously, if you ever wanted to know why the rest of America thinks of Minnesota as flyover country, just look at this commercial.

The (Kinda Existential) Realization That, Even If The Vikings Had Made It To The Big Game (In Our Reality, Not The Alternate Reality), The Exciting Journey Would Still Be Over Right Now
Sadly, though, Nip/Tuck seems to be the reflection that, even if the Vikings had made it to the Super Bowl and won, we would still today be February 11, and the season would be over, and we'd all move on with our lives. Okay, so the "final nine" episodes of Nip/Tuck truly are amongst their better hours and, while not quite living up to the heights of the first two seasons, are a reminder of what's past and what will soon be left behind. Face it, there's absolutely no buzz surrounding these last episodes, which seems to me to be a shame. The opening episode of the final nine, written and directed by series creator Ryan Murphy, was a succinct retelling of the show's initial mission statement, all on the vanity and subsequent attempts at redemption of the human spirit. Yet, in just a few short weeks, the final episode will air, and Ryan Murphy's only contribution to the television landscape will be Fox's Glee, which, based on recent casting news, seems headed toward the inevitable fizzle-out that Nip/Tuck faced after its slam-bang first two seasons. Yes, like that 2009 NFL season for the Minnesota Vikings, everything you love some day ends. Sometimes, those things are over even while they appear to be still living, like Nip/Tuck.

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  1. Blogger DoktorPeace | 5:28 AM |  

    I warned you about Glee. That show was designed to descend into populist crap, because it already is.

    And get over the Vikings already. My Orioles got robbed by the single worst umpiring call in baseball history, and do you hear me complaining about it? Yes, and that's why I'm stuck hanging out with whiny Vikings and Packers fans, when I should be on a beach somewhere drying off with my 1996 World Champion Orioles towel.

  2. Blogger chris | 2:17 PM |  

    Just think. There is an alternate reality (or should I say "additional reality" so as to not imply the other possible realities are not lesser than our experienced reality) where DoktorPeace doesn't hate Glee.

  3. Blogger DoktorPeace | 5:05 PM |  

    Does that also mean there's an additional reality where I'm not gonna punch you in the face?

  4. Blogger Papa Thor | 10:05 AM |  

    I watched that Viking clip about 40 times and it still comes out the same, I keep thinking you were going to "Adobe Premier" it so that Favre does the right thing.
    Plus I want my alternate reality where we can afford HBO and Showtime.

  5. Blogger qualler | 10:08 AM |  

    You could afford HBO on Dish Network if you went down to the "Top 200" plan and added HBO! That'd be about the same price, I believe!

    I don't know anything about Adobe Premier, can you fix that YouTube clip so Brett does indeed run it out of bounds? I actually dreamed last night that it was the 2010 NFL season and the Vikings lost a game to put them out of contention for a first-round bye, and I kept going back to the clip to try to see if I could change the reality, like I would like to for this clip.

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