I’ve had kind of a cruddy month so far on all levels – physically, mentally, academically… After I finished class today, and wrapped up a few loose academic ends, I declared the rest of the day and evening a no-homework zone. It’s been at least two weeks since I last took a chunk of time off from homework, job stuff, or job application stuff. I figure I’ve earned it. Weirdly, I’m having trouble with the “relaxing” concept.
In an attempt to remember how to relax, I started watching EUREKA. And I am enjoying it tremendously. I often find that my sense of humor is, shall we say, difficult to communicate. People find me funny, it seems, but usually it has something to do with my phraseology. Anyways. EUREKA is totally my style.
I’m about halfway through season 1, which only gives me a few episodes to go on, but it seems to me that EUREKA achieved what THE MIDDLEMAN tried to do. They’re both science fiction shows with an oddball sense of humor that relies on understatement, deadpan affect, and a willingness to accept the totally unlikely as the actual situation.
THE MIDDLEMAN was a single-season show on ABC Family that functioned on the proposition that comic book evil actually does exist, and is counteracted by an individual simply known as “The Middleman.” In the pilot episode, said Middleman, whose name we never learn (though we do know he was a Navy SEAL), recruits aspiring artist Wendy Watson as his assistant/apprentice/successor. Every episode deals with some supernatural/alien/bizarro situation, like an alien boy-band that feeds off of the screaming of teenage girls, or ventriloquist dummies of Vlad the Impaler and his witch-wife who come to life.
The thing that I love about this show is the understatement. The characters know that at some level their situations are both unlikely and exceedingly ridiculous, but also real threats in their world. Wendy in particular tends to react with a dry exasperation that’s just this side of an eye-roll.
EUREKA does something similar, and since they got six seasons instead of one truncated season, they clearly did it better. So far, there are fewer aliens and more mad scientists, but it’s the same principle. Exasperated sighing and eye-rolling, then getting on with whatever threat is currently on the table. It’s a balance of accepting the ridiculous and acknowledging that it is in fact ridiculous.
An excellent way to spend my afternoon off.