So, Debra Messing’s new show, The Mysteries of Laura, began this week. Or did it? The show was originally scheduled to start next week but ran as a “Special preview.” It was the pilot episode, so why wasn’t it called that? Those darned networks. They do the craziest things! So cute.
Your two recappers, Veruca Salt and L.T. Milroy, decided to give the show a try and discuss our impressions. Sort of a recap, sort of a conversation. A reconvo, if you will. Here are some random thoughts we had while watching the pilot. I mean, “Special preview.”
V: Who directs this thing? What’s with the shaky camera work and the close-ups? This isn’t Blair Witch Project. I was nauseated for the entire opening sequence.
L.T. I enjoy watching a female character kick ass, and the character of Laura certainly does that. In the beginning with the standoff between Laura and the bad guy, Laura wins by blowing off his ear at point-blank range. Pretty badass.
V: Yep, I like that aspect of her character as well. The minute the bad guy said, “Bite me, bitch”, I knew she was going to shoot him.
After blowing his ear off, she cleaned the blood off the hostage’s face in order to get the perp’s DNA. That part was nice as well.
Between the messy car and the trench coat, I got an immediate Colombo vibe from Laura.
And what is it with showing healthy, thin women who supposedly eat nothing but junk food all of the time?
LT: This is the second time around for Ms. Messing in that regard; it always annoyed me that Grace Adler was constantly stuffing her face with junk food and weighed about 100 pounds.
V: They managed to get the hard-nosed detective, who supposedly has no sense of style, into a designer bathing suit in the first episode. Yay. I was afraid we’d have a show with a sexy woman where they didn’t go for the obvious. Suddenly I’m in an episode of Charlie’s Angels. Yeah, she looks like she eats stale burritos and cheesecake all day long.
LT: The swimsuit scene was cheesy, but I did like two things about it: the way Laura removed the suit Flashdance-style, and that she had the nerve to wear it, swim in it, question a perp in it, and then return it!
V: Yes, that part did save the scene a little, but still, they really did a lingering shot of her in the suit. That part had a Miss Congeniality vibe.
L.T. Loved her singing along with Scandal in the car. It’s kind of precious that she digs totally uncool music. The way she handles a character’s little touches like this bolster my argument that DM is an underrated actress.
V: The scene of Laura singing The Warrior is possibly the best in the show, and the kind of stuff they should have gone with. It plays to Debra Messing’s strength, which is that she is willing to make a total fool of herself for a laugh. She just goes for it. I also think she’s underrated.
Okay, so the way they choose to introduce daddy is to show he has no parenting skills AND to tell Laura how much more important his job is than hers? What part of that was supposed to endear me to him? Do I usually love Josh Lucas? Yes. Do I love him here? No. This is a likable guy with great dimples they’ve managed to make unlikable. Good job, show!
LT: For me, the biggest drawback of the show is Laura’s family, definitely. The husband, soon to be ex, is a tool. It was so obvious to me, once I found out the ex-hubby was a cop, too, that they would end up working together. And it’s unfortunate it had to happen at the expense of Enrico Colontini (who will forever be Keith Mars to me!). I was pleasantly surprised when he showed up, and he’s already gone.
V: Enrico Colontini is one of my favorites. I would have looked forward to him being a regular. What a shame.
L.T. And I. HATE. THE. KIDS. Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to make the kids two incorrigible brats with no redeeming qualities whatsoever? They’re the polar opposite of cute.
V: The only way to make those kids likable was to drug them with cough syrup.
LT: We can only hope that will happen every week. And earlier in the episode.
V: Yet they still were able to wake up long enough to be obnoxious. At the end, they’re sweet darlings, as if we’re supposed to forget what came before. And it seems they do know how to be respectful and good and appreciate their mom. So earlier, why couldn’t they be good boys for five minutes for her? It would have worked better for them to shoot that thing at the lady’s head AFTER she acted like a self-righteous jerk. Then it would have had a purpose.
LT: Yeah, when the kids kept saying “I love you, mom”, all I could think was, then show it, you obnoxious little trolls! Talk is cheap; the earlier kids learn this, the better for everyone. Sorry, but the relentless brattiness of those kids doesn’t reflect well on Laura, and it affects my opinion of her.
V: They did the same thing with trying to redeem daddy. He acts totally jerky all the way through, is late for important meetings regarding his own children and fails to discipline them, puts his wife down, and leaves before he has to do any actual parenting. Then at the end they make him the hero and poor, poor harried Laura has to just stand there with her mouth hanging open.
LT: They’ve already shown him to be a crappy dad, and I think it’s safe to assume he was a crappy husband, as well.
V: Those rich people. Is Mr. Rich Guy wearing an ascot? Is that what they think rich people wear nowadays? Scooby and Shaggy will be by to pick that up. Fred misses it.
The woman wasn’t stereotypical at all. That is to say, she was a caricature who totally missed how openly hostile and sarcastic Laura is.
LT: How cluelessly rude was that woman to say to Laura, “A middle-aged police woman, just like on TV. It’s clear your face has seen so much!” I can’t believe Laura resisted the urge to pop her one.
Incidentally, I also get cranky when interrupted in the middle of wine and chocolate cheesecake. Just a warning.
V: Ditto. But I did find it weird the extreme personality change she went through after her husband died. Whereas in the beginning she seemed clueless and shallow, only thinking about herself, suddenly she’s got all of this depth as a character and seems truly heartbroken about her husband. She also comes off much smarter.
LT: So, what did you think of the supporting characters?
V: The “Investigative Aid” is cool, but the other chick who is only there to give Laura dirty looks and make snide comments, will get old REALLY quick.
LT: You mean Janina Gavankar, Papi from The L Word? She’s called Meredith here (and she’s been quite busy the past few years, appearing in The League, Arrow, and True Blood, among others) and, yeah, she was a total waste, even though she looks great in a tank top. She’s just snarly and sour, disapproving of everything Laura does, which is unwise, because, you know, Laura is Never Wrong About Anything. Ever. That will get old quick, too.
I liked Laura’s hunky, studly partner, Billy. But he must get tired of being outmuscled, outmaneuvered, and pretty much bettered in every possible way by his amazing partner. He had a pretty zen quality about him, considering what he has to put up with.
V: That I didn’t even know Meredith’s name should say a lot.
LT: Well, I confess I had to look it up on Wikipedia!
V: And her partner didn’t do much, did he? Except use his Spanish, which in the end meant nothing, because the woman with the secret spoke English, and Laura was the one to figure out the clue.
LT: I suspect that Laura will always be the one to figure out the clue. She’s brilliant and tough and sexy.
V: And, yeah. Like, “Oh, I need a search warrant for the car!” No, wait! Laura acts cutesy for five seconds and gets the keys. If all valets are that stupid, I’m never going to valet my car again. They have to lay off the clichés, especially when they don’t have anything new or inspired to add. Eddie Murphy did that scene better when he got the bananas from Damon Wayans.
LT: Agreed. I ain’t falling for no banana in my tailpipe!!
V: So, my overall impression is this: I think they could have had something really special here. They’ve got some fine actors who could do something with good material. It’s unfortunate there are only moments of good. The overall feel of the show just isn’t right somehow. It seems a little too wink-wink, nudge,nudge.
LT: And I’m not crazy about the direction they’re taking. Since I think Laura’s family is the weak link here, the last thing I want is to have to endure the loser ex both on and off the job. I guess we’re supposed to find him goofy and endearing, but I just think he’s a huge jerk. They could have made him goofy and endearing but didn’t, for some reason.
V: They also made him a cheater, which I’m sure for the largely female audience, will endear him even more. Oh, wait. He got the cheating out of his system, just like he got the parenting out of his system. I just know they’re going to get these crazy kids back together.
In closing, here’s the quote of the week, said by Laura to Meredith, who looks disapprovingly at Laura’s clothes and comments about how it’s not casual Friday.
“No, it’s douchebag Tuesday, but I assume you already knew that!”
We’ll be back next week, if this show is. Look for reconvos of other shows to come. And those who don’t think that’s a good made-up word, come up with a better one. Let us know your thoughts. Spread the word! Tell your friends!