"My new cat has lymphoma"
Yeah, maybe I'm just a sick puppy, but that's the deadpan dark, out-of-nowhere line that marked the point where I decided to just relax and have fun with HEIST, the new NBC caper show. It's uttered by a LAPD officer on the shooting range to the female detective (Michele Hicks) beside her, who's convinced a major robbery is about to take place somewhere in town. And she's right.
The show's about a group of thieves (the usual mix of oddballs) assembled to hit three major Beverly Hills jewelery stores during Oscar week, when they'll presumably be full of all sorts of goodies (the stores, not the thieves).
Now, this show is NOT gonna change anyone's life, but it's clever enough and entertaining enough, visually and musically cool enough and the pilot promising enough that I watched the second show, only to feel that the show was already beginning to run out of steam and that the producers were pumping up the schtick as a cheap fix.
And then I realized that what had appealed to me in the first place, beyond the typical caper machinations of the pilot, WAS the schtick -- the slightly irreverent black humour and the cartoony quirkiness of the Oprah-ready characters (EVERYONE has major issues with something). In other words, it's SUPPOSED to be funny. And once I realized that, I began to REALLY enjoy it.
I think. Watch tonight's episode turn all po-faced gloom and doom and glum and dumb now that I've announced it's a comedy.
It stars Dougray Scott, Steve Harris (the black lawyer from THE PRACTICE , who's really good here as the second banana of the gang), Seymour Cassel, Reno Wilson, Marika Dominczyk, David Walton and Billy Gardell and a bunch of other people nobody ever heard of and is supposed to run for 13 episodes.
I like it, so it'll probably be canned. In fact, I just found out they're (already) moving it around the schedule, placing it at eight o'clock, up against mega-hits AMERICAN IDOL and LOST. In other words, the bastards are planning to kill it off deliberately.
But what do you expect in a universe where the brain-dead LAS VEGAS is a hit? Is it just me, or does James Caan wandering through that sorry ass show remind you of Bob Dylan scowling through those Victoria Secret's ads? Is this a new trend, presenting respected talent and arguable genius (in Dylan's case) against a backdrop of boobs, a way to put intelligence and art in its place in the new Age of Dumb?
But I digress...