A Eulogy for Grimm – Part 1

A eulogy is supposed to be praise spoken over the deceased at his funeral.  It literally means “good speech” in the Greek.  So technically I suppose this should be called a kakology* because I won’t be saying too much good.  Maybe what this should be called is a post-mortem.

I started watching Grimm when it premiered in 2011.  When it began I thought it was fun.  The special effects were alright and the conceit that just about everyone in Portland Oregon was a monster (called Wesen) hadn’t yet become a reductio ad absurdum.  Also, I hadn’t grown to despise most of the characters yet.

I’ll give my analysis for what went wrong with Grimm.  I think the problem with any of these urban fantasy TV series is the open-ended aspect of weekly TV.  While it is possible to advance the “mythology” component of the show toward some long-term plot line in a way that can be sustained for several seasons, the single episode plot component needs to have some interesting writing each week to prevent the show from seeming repetitive and boring.  I mean, how many ways are there to have the protagonist (Nick, the Grimm) skewer the monster du jour with a sword or a pitch fork or a lawn dart?  Eventually the look of boredom starts showing up even on the well-paid actors’ faces.  This is similar to the problem that occurs on all long-running TV shows but it’s especially dangerous to these fantasy shows because the action is already incredibly close to ridiculous from the get go.  It doesn’t take much to achieve the reductio ad absurdum I mentioned earlier.  After all, hiding the prodigious body count of terminated monsters (who revert to human form upon being deep sixed) is kind of hard to justify over the course of years.  And with just about every individual introduced in the series being a Wesen it seems laughable that they haven’t already taken over Portland and massacred Nick and his friends.

Another problem is the lack of likeability of most of the main characters.   Nick’s girl-friend (Juliette) becomes a Wesen and eventually murders and beheads his mother.  And after Juliette is killed (and then re-animated as an emotionless zombie named Eve) Nick becomes intimate with the Wesen (a hexenbiest or witch named Adalind) that was responsible for Juliette becoming evil.  Her ex-lover (Sean who also happens to be the chief of police and Nick’s boss) goes from being an enemy to an ally to a mortal foe of the good guys,  He is also the step father of Nick’s son.  Basically it’s hard to really take any of the relationships seriously or even remember how we got to where the story stands.  However, over the course of the series, the only character that I didn’t come to despise was Monroe.  Regardless of how idiotic the script that this vegan werewolf clock repairman was given, the actor managed to inject humor and interest in the character.

And finally, the biggest reason Grimm stinks is because the plots are all the same.  The variations for why Wesen were murdering the few humans that exist in Portland or each other were wholly unimportant and extremely boring.

I stopped watching the show a year ago.  When I heard it had been cancelled and only a half season was being produced this year I started watching again.  I wanted to see if a short span allowed the writers to sharpen up the plots and give us something worth watching.  So far it hasn’t.  This Friday (March 31st) is the series finale.  I’ll report back afterwards to document whether they could even salvage that.  I’m not very hopeful.

 

*I prefer transliterating the Greek letter kappa into English with the letter k instead of c.

 

A Eulogy for Grimm – Part 2

Trump vs the Urban Fantasy Debate

Scene 1: Trump Campaign HQ. Two nights before the First Debate.

 

Campaign Manager Steve Bannon (SB):  Mr. Trump, you called for me?

Donald Trump (DT):  Bannon, I need your help preparing for the debate.

SB:  Certainly sir.  Do you need someone to stand in for Mrs. Clinton or the moderator?

DT:  Well sort of.  I need someone who’s the same height and weight as Hillary.

SB:  Uhhhh …… why?

DT:  I need to practice some fighting techniques for when she vamps out and rushes me.

SB:  Mr. Trump, I must assure you that there is absolutely no possibility that Mrs. Clinton is a vampire.  And despite what occurred in Louisiana, you are most definitely not a werewolf.

DT:  Look Bannon, obviously you’re just not as perceptive as I am.  You know, with my werewolf senses and stuff.  Trust me.  It’s completely certain that she is some species of undead and 83% certain to be a vampire.  The science is settled on this point.  You either have to lead, follow or get out of the way.  I intend to lead.  My plan is to replace the drinking water on the stage with holy water and when she drinks it her face and throat will burst into flames.  At that point I intend to stake her and pin her to the podium carpet.  Then I’ll  explain to the Secret Service the importance of decapitating her and stuffing her mouth with garlic as soon as the debate is finished.  My only problem at this point is whether I should go after Bill next or hold off until the full moon.  I believe he is the senior vampire and his strength may be too great for me to take him down without my werewolf power.

SB:  For God’s sake stop this insanity.  You’re running for the most powerful office in the world.  If anyone heard you talking like this you’d be locked up in a nuthouse within an hour.  When I took this job I knew you were goofy but I didn’t think you were bat-shit crazy.  Look I should probably drop a dime on you myself but so help me I need this gig to work.  So come on, snap out of it and try to act sane.

DT:  Bannon, I can’t work with someone so stupid. You’re fired. Now send in Kellyanne so I can get going on this debate prep work.

SB: Goodbye and good riddance you psycho.

Scene 2: First Presidential Debate.

BBC Correspondent (BBCC): Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the BBC radio coverage of the 2016 First Presidential Debate between Democratic Party candidate, the esteemed former First Lady, United States Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Party candidate, the eccentric failed businessman and reality show personality Donald Trump. The candidates have met for a decidedly tepid handshake and now have taken their places at their podiums. Mrs Clinton is looking decidedly hale and hearty and not at all like the frail elderly person that the Trump campaign has presented her as. As you can now hear Mr. Trump is making some decidedly sophomoric opening remarks about mexican payment for masonry or some such rubbish. Now it is Mrs. Clinton’s turn and as you must hear her diction and elocution is masterful and might I even say delightful. Why it seems entirely possible that Mr. Trump may retreat immediately and vacate the stage in the face of such commanding eloquence. Mrs. Clinton has finished and the studio audience is standing and applauding quite spontaneously. It’s an amazing sight. I think I can be forgiven for saying that a second debate will be completely unnecessary. I feel I must go on the record to congratulate Madam President for this amazing victory. Well done, oh well done.

Trump looks dumbfounded he’s just looking at Hillary as if he expects more punishment from her. Mrs. Clinton is basking in the glow of her still cheering audience. Now she’s reaching for her glass of water for a well deserved beverage. The moderator has asked Trump his first question but the oafish challenger is so overwhelmed by the intellectual beating he’s just taken he hasn’t heard a word of it. He’s still staring at the First Lady as if she will further abuse him while drinking her water. Does he imagine her to be a ventriloquist?

Wait a minute something terrible has just occurred! An enormous flash of light and flames have erupted around the face of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Was the water in the glass actually some kind of incendiary material. A horrible shriek is going up. Oh the poor woman! The secret service is converging on her. They’ve encircled her. Oh help her, help her! She’s on the floor now. But wait the agents are scattering away. All but one. He is holding the First Lady. No she has him. Now he’s screaming. Something unbelievable is occurring. Mrs. Clinton seems to have increased in size and metamorphosed somehow. She is ripping out of the delightful powder blue pantsuit and is taking on a decidedly bat-like appearance. She seems to have exsanguinated the secret service gentleman and is approaching the moderator. This is taking a decidedly unexpected turn and it appears that the moderator feels that Mrs. Clinton has exceeded the already very generous bounds of allowable debating technique at this juncture.

But hold on, Mr. Trump is charging at Mrs. Clinton and appears to have a large pointed wooden implement in his hand. Although this also seems outside the bounds of allowable debating etiquette it appears the moderator is not going to object. Mrs. Clinton must have noticed his approach because she has pivoted away from the moderator and is facing Trump. But alas she is too late. He has implanted the wooden object into Mrs. Clinton’s thoracic region right up to the hilt. And he calls himself a gentleman! Shocking.

Mrs. Clinton has landed on her back and is thrashing about spasmodically. Mr. Trump is standing back. He’s saying something. I can’t make it out. I’m looking at the program feed that we provide for the deaf viewers and it has transcribed his words as “suck on that Bannon.” Well that strikes me as entirely cryptic.

Well Mrs. Clinton appears to have expired and is beginning to deflate down into a dessicated pile of detritus. Mr. Trump is returning to his podium and appears about to speak. Let’s move in for his comments.

DT: Good evening my fellow Americans. Tonight we have witnessed the ultimate proof of the greatness that is Trump. I have saved America from the undead and also higher taxes. Because of the short window of opportunity to select a new democratic candidate I have instructed the Democrats to leave Hillary’s name on the ballot. Let’s face it, anyone they picked at this point is probably also undead and I’ll just have to stake him too. Because of the shocking events of tonight and also because I myself am now a werewolf, I’ve decided to end my campaigning activities and will just wait for your acclamation in November. So go back to your lives and don’t worry about anything. Werewolf Trump has got your back. After my inauguration I’ll be using my special werewolf senses to root out injustice and corruption wherever it exists in the federal government. My summary judgement will be brutal but fair. Also I’ll be taping these events for my new reality series “Vigilante Werewolf President.” It will be hard-hitting but classy. Very little nudity. I predict it will last eight seasons or more. Trump out.