Friday, September 09, 2005

TV: Reunion

Last night saw the debut of Reunion on Fox. If you haven't heard about this, it's the show that follows six high school buddies through twenty years of their lives, with each episode being one year. And in the first episode, we learn one of them has been murdered by one of the others.

I've only watched the first ten minutes so far, so this is a little unfair. (As if that's ever stopped me.) But based on that, I think Monty might want to add this show to his new Clumsy Exposition site. Wow, was that some awful, awkward writing.

We open with the funeral of the dead friend, with some guy giving a eulogy. And he's laying it on thick. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but he says something like, "Whoever thought it would end like this -- a brutal murder at the hands of an unknown assailant?" First of all, way to comfort the grieving parents. Secondly, what are you, Detective Sipowicz? Leave the cop details out of the eulogy. Or, wait -- was that for the benefit of the viewing audience? I had no idea, it was done so subtly.

Then he goes on to talk about how great the whole group of friends was, and establishes how long they've known each other, and gives all their names. Dude, I hope when I die, some jackass at my funeral doesn't talk about all my high school friends instead of me. There's a coffin in front of you, man! You might want to restrict your comments to the person who's actually inside it.

And then we go to the flashback. (Cue Wayne and Garth: "Diddle liddle lit! Diddle liddle lit!") It's just after high school graduation, in 1986, so there's one girl in a Madonna-be outfit, and then a Robert Palmer song plays, and one of the friends bellows, "I love this song!!" All right, calm down there, jerky. I hope I wasn't such an idiot in 1986. (I was 16, so... yeah, I'm sure I was.)

Anyhoo, then the Robert Palmer-lover proposes a toast. A toast -- to clumsy exposition! He reels off every character's name again, and announces just exactly what their life plan is after high school. So we get a personality trait for each character, too! This one wants to be an actress, this one is gonna be a townie. But which one is going to be a murrrrrrrderer?

I mean, I know this is a first episode. I know there are a lot of characters to introduce, and I know a lot of information has to be conveyed quickly because each episode will be jumping ahead one year. But it's just done so badly. I find the idea of this show interesting, in a 24 kind of way, but the execution is instantly lacking. We'll see how I feel after I finish the episode, but right now, I hardly even want to finish it. Sometimes, it only takes ten minutes to tell -- this ain't working.

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