Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ringer: P.S. You're an Idiot (1.15)

Sorry if these reviews are becoming as predictable as turkey on Thanksgiving, but Ringer rapidly cycles through the same exact problems every damn week. This was another episode in which nothing of huge consequence actually occurred, but ended on a couple of cliffhangers that managed to give the illusion of the complete opposite. Now that I think about it, that's totally this show's routine! The writers flail around the multiple story arcs and tease them out until they're directionless disaster areas, but ensure that each episode is capped by some fake-out plot twist that encourages the audience to tune in the following week, even when we all collectively realize that nothing will actually come of the 'to be continued' shockers. Ringer is all about manipulation, folks, and based on the abysmal numbers it's been getting recently, it seems most people have figured that out.

At the same time, there are people like us, the ones that are for some reason sticking around, clinging onto the hopes that it'll someday improve or, more likely, are just waiting it out until the show's inevitable cancellation in May. I did a double-take earlier when I realized that this was the fifteenth episode of Ringer, and struggled to figure if anything had actually moved forward in the six months that the show has been on the air. Bridget is still hilariously oblivious, Siobhan is still a question mark, and the supporting cast continue to be ciphers circling the drain of mediocrity. It's all crazily disappointing, especially when hopes were so high for this show.

That final revelation about Andrew was just another laborious plot twist that struggles to be convincing. Of course we don't actually know anything about Andrew at this point, every character being so thinly-drawn that it's not entirely implausible for them to be exposed as master criminals, but nothing in his personality ever implied a devious nature. If anything, Andrew was the emotional heart of Ringer, the character least marred by flaws, most rattled by his middle-aged disappointment, determined to set his daughter back on the straight-and-narrow and eager to make a fresh start with his suddenly-sweet wife. It all stinks of the show randomly throwing another game-changer into the pot at the expense of any internal logic. Sure, his orchestration of the Ponzi scheme could be yet another elaborate fake-out, but right now it's a twist that only ensures mass frustration.

It's not only Andrew who suffers as a character here. Only last week Bridget was pledging to somehow wriggle her way out of the 'twin-impersonation' hoodoo, yet here she's initially eager to walk down the aisle with a man that she's done nothing but lie to for the last six months. Similarly, Siobhan changes her entire scheme when she hears about the impending re-nuptials, presumably jealous or bitter over Bridget's ability to form an actual relationship with her husband. But Siobhan is so hard to read and has pretty much only been written as a soapy plot device that absolutely none of her actions make even the slightest lick of sense anymore. Then again, we still don't even know her motivations, so maybe it does all make sense in some twisted way? Eh, who knows?

Ringer is constantly forcing its audience to crawl around in the dark, hoping we'll be distracted by shiny cliffhangers and promo-baiting plot twists, but fails on just about every other level. Last week's episode had a stricter, less erratic script that centered on just one of the numerous subplots currently at work, and it was all the better for it. P.S. You're an Idiot bounced around from Olivia's distrust of Malcolm to Catherine's plot with Mr. Carpenter to Henry's baiting of Bridget, all the way back around to Olivia's shady involvement with somebody named 'Xerxes'.

I liked Ringer when it was about a woman in over her head, the people that wanted said head on a platter, and her zombie sister scheming it up in Paris. It's slowly become this impenetrable mind-screw with a disturbing obsession with Powerpoint presentations, graphs and finance fraud. All great in theory, but about as visually interesting as a box of wigs. Actually, a box of wigs is probably more scintillating than Ringer at this point. Especially if there are some kicky Sydney Bristow ones in there. D

Guest stars Zoey Deutch (Juliet Martin); Jason Dohring (Mr. Carpenter); Henri Lubatti (Fertility Doctor); Mozhan MarnĂ² (Marguerite); Andrea Roth (Catherine Martin); Jaime Murray (Olivia Charles)
Writer Robert Berens Director Allan Arkush

1 comment:

  1. Haha love the Sydney Bristow nod. Indeed she needs to kick some sense into this mess of a show!