by DICK CHENEY
I have so many things to say about the portrayal of mental illness on television and only 20 percent of it is thinly veiled jokes about Matthew Fox's acting ability. But first I have some pertinent questions, all of which you must answer without delay.
1. In We Bought A Zoo, was Matt Damon's character supposed to be slightly less than all there?
2. Chris Pine in everything, same question.
3. Norrie on Under the Dome....what's happening there? She just makes some dude be her boyfriend? I don't think that's allowed.
4. Have you guys seen Diane Kruger on FX's The Bridge? She makes Matt Damon look like the guy in Plano performing an all-cowboy version of Glengarry Glen Ross. (She's incredible, reminding me of myself were I a lithe blonde woman.)
My apologies to Chris Pine's family. Before now, if you did not know all the pertinent elements of Aspberger syndrome, you could be mistaken for thinking that Sonya Cross, a homicide detective investigating a series of murders by a serial killer called the Beast, was simply eccentric.
A prevailing lack of social skills is the pervasive factor in Sonya's life. When the son of her Mexican colleague approaches her romantically and she finds herself unable to deal with it, she turns her entire body to face in another direction. In another scene, she meets a junkie mother who cannot care for her children. In a matter of seconds she has alerted everyone else in the room to this state of affairs. Sonya's illness does not limit her very much as a police officer, for the simple reason that police are always saying the obvious.
Set in El Paso and Juarez, The Bridge pairs Sonya with a Mexican cop named Marco Ruiz (the awkward Demián Bichir) to investigate the murder. He is slightly more ethical than other Mexican police, but not very. He cheats on his wife with great frequency, but at least he does not outright lie to her when she accuses him of it. He and Sonya make a good team because he is sorely in need of a person in his life who accepts him for who he is, and she has no other way of understanding the world.
Sonya has made me realize how often I do not say exactly what I am thinking, for example that I think all barbers are arrogant pricks, or that Chris Pine looks like he got his face smashed in by a car door. The violence that runs through El Paso and Juarez is extreme, but no more than the smaller violences Sonya has to conquer simply by existing. The Bridge reminds us that these horrors are equal. It also suggests, like no other show on television, that most people who do destructive things do them for entirely valid reasons, and that makes their crimes all the more repulsive.
Repulsive is a word I never use lightly. I guess in my heart I was really upset by Norrie because she blamed Joe for the death of her mother the same way that Lynne once blamed me for the death of non-combatants in Iraq. Joe should have told Noreen what I told Lynne then: "Eventually you'll thank me."
Under the Dome is truly running off the rails now as the showrunners desperately find ways to extend painfully thin premises now that it's a hit. It was funny when Big Jim killed one person, but now that he's basically a serial killer I have a lot harder time taking things seriously. This week he killed Mare Winningham; it would have been emotional except she had been introduced to Under the Dome twenty minutes earlier. Then again, all he did was dump her, handcuffed, into the middle of a lake. Possibly she could breathe underweather like the semen of Hugh Jackman.
Big Jim's latest adversary is Mare's daughter Maxine (Natalie Zea), who is running some kind of fight club where she sells drugs and other vices (presumably the GoT DVD sets that are all the Domers have left). Maxine has threatened both Big Jim, historically a questionable move, as well as Dale "Barbie" Barbara with the secrets she has on them. Now that her mother is swimming with the fishes, this plan may well have been put in jeopardy.
The women of Under the Dome are the forgiving sort. Angie got over being kidnapped and imprisoned in an underground shelter within the space of a single episode. Norrie lost her mother and returned to the boyfriend that inadvertently caused Mom's heart attack without a second thought. Maxine was betrayed by Dale Barbara (military customs dictate he must be referred to by his full name or playstation handle, Brbie420, at all times) and in the very next scene she was shoving her forked tongue down his throat.
The magically gorgeous Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre) found out this week that the Dale Barbara she had been sleeping with, because why not, lied about killing her husband. Since she discovered that her husband was just trying to set her up with a sweet life insurance policy, she forgave Barbie his lie. He was incredibly surprised by this, but since there are very few Jewish-American ingénues imprisoned under this dome, he was unable to contain his excitement for what she may allow him to do in the bedroom next. Most likely both are suffering from an undiagnosed case of narcissism.
Has no one ever thought of touching their penis to the dome? In my experience, doing that makes a lot of things go away.
Finally, Breaking Bad. All this Walter White backlash is starting to get to me. The greatest man alive was threatened by a DEA agent who didn't know there was a criminal mastermind in his own family? Pssshtttt. The confession video Walt made was a hilarious stroke of genius, and the first true surprise of this final season. Hank's resigned look and ensuing, "You killed us Marie" was a fantastic callback and twist.
The reason I can't abandon my feelings for Walter is this: he never, absolutely never, destroys those who respect him. The things that Jesse Pinkman said to him, the things that his brother-in-law said to him...when he never did a single thing to disrespect either man. This means that whatever Walt decides for them is righteous and correct. Some vain and immature people think they can control others, even those they know are powerful, because this is just their way of life. Walter White is the end of their fantasies, and they must wake up to survive.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location and will be manning a F-15 to take care of this Syria problem personally in the very near future. He's thinking Tuesday. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. OK see you guys
"Until I Am Whole" - The Mountain Goats (mp3)
"Until I'm One With You" - Ryan Bingham (mp3)