Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: “See”

In which Kim and Shawn use the F-word to describe the series.

Kim: The much anticipated second episode of Preacher has come and gone, and with it, all of my angst about shitty TV that just doesn’t do anything for me. It is June. I generally watch zero TV from now until Fall. However, I’m already pretty sucked in to Preacher and looking forward to Sunday’s premiere of Ride on Norman Reedus. What was that? Oh, it’s not “on Norman Reedus”, but with him, you say? Don’t crush my dreams.

But this is about Preacher and not Norman’s arms, so I’ll stick to my current crushes of Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga. A couple of things struck me while watching this show. The first was that this town has some serious mad mojo attached to it. It seems to be a town full of miscreants with dirty secrets. It’s the appropriate setting for this show and will obviously keep our hot preacher busy. There are things I don’t quite get yet, like I’m not completely sure what that opening scene was about, but I think that’s probably OK. It was sufficiently creepy for a brilliantly fun show. And that brings me to my second point…

This show is fun, with a capital F. There are so many little humorous moments that break the tension in scenes, but only for a second, before I’m drawn right back in to whatever is going on in the moment. It’s so quick and brief, but it adds levity to some very dramatic scenes. It reminds me of the early days of Sons of Anarchy – when they’d make a joke before, or while, killing someone. The reason this works in darker shows is that real life is funny. Some of the funniest things happen at the worst possible moments. You say and do really strange things when you’d least expect to. This is what makes those comic moments in the show perfectly inappropriately appropriate.

Now, I need to go ahead and cop to having a lady boner when Tulip sat on Jesse’s lap. Did you see his hand on her hip? There was so much sexual tension on my couch during that scene, as I sat there with my hand in my bag of potato chips. Now, I do not want these two characters to have a serious romance. If we’re being honest, romances between two main characters with great chemistry ruins shows. You need to keep the near misses running; give the audience something to root for. Don’t put them together and introduce relationship drama to a show that is not about relationships. Put them in positions like they were in this episode and leave us wanting more. That’s how it should be done. Sure, you’re happy if you like the idea of the couple and they finally get together, but that happiness lasts all of two episodes and you want to drive a spike through one of their eyes. Felicity got Oliver, Ross got Rachel, Jim got Pam, and that one dude got that chick everyone thought was hot (even though he never should have stood a chance) in that one show about those things. In every case, those stories hurt the show. Seriously. You know who did it right? The writers who dealt with Buffy & Angel. They had moments, but never anything solid and lasting. They got to bump uglies, and we were all better for it. Even more so when Angel realized that being together would completely ruin the show, so he ran off and got his own show.

Speaking of vampires, Cassidy is a fantastic character in this show and I can’t wait to see what they do with him. He’s brilliantly funny and the scenes he’s in make me pay close attention because I do not want to miss the aforementioned quick quip or witty retort. I’m still trying to figure out the two dudes who were hunting him and no, I don’t want any comic fans to ruin that for me. I like my little slice of the world where this is all fresh and new, because it’s still exciting for me. I don’t have anything to compare it to, so I’m learning as I go. I also don’t have anything to be disappointed about because I don’t have that storyline familiarity. I prefer the surprise and trying to figure it out. I don’t need the backstories. I’m confident the writers are going to feed that to me in bits and pieces and that I will enjoy finding the clues as I watch this entire season, then sit back and wait for the next. Keep ‘em coming. This show is gold.

Shawn: It can be frustrating writing second in this exchange. You seem to grab all the points that occur to me. The biggest frustrating part to me was the lack of DVR coverage for me so I had to watch this On Demand with non-skippable commercials. I think I have everything fixed for next week. So nobody panic just yet.

You said the F-word. This show is fun. I can only think of Fargo as a show that’s essentially a drama that has this much fun. It’s not that there are that many laugh out loud moments for me in the show. It’s more that I just smile from beginning to end. It’s the dialogue and characters and even the choice of camera angles that make me smile. If this was done straight up, I think we’d tire of how dark the show would be. There’s quite a bit going on in the first two episodes. And then again, there’s not much. I think you’d be hard pressed to put together two paragraphs of the actual plot of the first two episodes. The main focus has been letting us have room to breathe and learn the characters. The plot is really secondary up to this point. This really felt like the second hour of what should have been a two-hour premiere.

The most obvious point that this is just a continuation of the last episode is Jesse and his “Word of God” power. The initial manifestation was the man killing himself in front of his mother as the climax of last episode. We get three uses here – the silencing of the animals being a simple first step that makes Jesse wonder how this power works. First it worked out of his sight, then it worked with animals. Next, he uses it directly on a child molester to make him forget his intended target. I liked the way they played out what was a confusing transition without having to just spell it out for the viewers. Once it is successful with a molester, then it’s up to Jesse to bring a girl back from the dead. What other power is more God-like than bringing someone back from the dead? This episode felt like filler while Jesse figures out his powers. And I am not complaining about that. You need to give this story time to ferment. We’ve established the characters and now the beginning of a larger plot.

Tulip. Sweet, sweet Tulip. I’m at full attention every time she’s onscreen. She’s the star of this show no matter what else you want to say. She drinks and fights and has a filthy mouth and even filthier mind. Her flirtation with Jesse is just as you say – it’s aggressive and it’s bordering on painful to watch him try to hold tight. She has more depth per screen minute than any of the other characters. I like having a strong female character. The best part is that she deals with the most stressful situations by using her sexuality or her humor. And no matter if it’s the baptism or her sitting with Jesse, she smolders sexuality and humor. If this show keeps my interest a year from now, it will be just what you say – the interaction between Tulip and Jesse. The other characters, even Cassidy, are much more expendable at this point.

I have no idea in hell what that opening scene had to do with anything. Was it some random lost scene from Hell on Wheels?

I didn’t realize that Jackie Earle Haley was going to be in this series. I’m excited to see him but disappointed to have a character actor that I recognize so much from other projects.

While this was a much less Cassidy-focused episode, the best scene for me, by far was Cassidy and Jesse sitting around drinking some beautiful hard liquor and issuing the “Big Lebowski is overrated” line. I love that movie but I’m a little sick of how hero worshiped it has become recently. Kudos for finding just the right thing to say to needle the viewers and set Cassidy up as the asshole they want him to be.

I can’t wait to see where the next couple episodes take us. This is a freaking fun adventure.

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Shawn Bourdo

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