Friday, November 19, 2010

Medium, Mediocre, Meltdown 11/19/10

So, CBS has cancelled Medium. And not a moment too soon.

While I find myself compelled to watch whatever ludicrous storyline on offer each week, I have become increasingly worried about poor old Joe (British actor Jake Weber), who hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in over five years (check out the brilliant Weber as the baddie in Meet Joe Black, by the way).

The show is based upon the real life experiences of psychic Allison DuBois, who chats to the dead (who sometimes inconveniently inhabit her or her children’s bodies), and receives vital information to help the police with their enquiries.
Indeed, so brilliant is Allison in this, you have to wonder why any state in the US even bothers to employ any officers.

But back to Joe. Now, what happens every night, is that after perfecting her hair and make-up and adjusting the low-level lighting, Allison (Patricia Arquette) ensures that when she wakes up in the middle of the night with one of her disturbing, prophetic dreams, she looks very beautiful. I can’t help wondering whether the real life Allison, never getting an hour of shut-eye, would not have woken up looking more like a distant cousin of the Addams Family, but that’s telly for you.

For Joe, however, it’s not such a barrel of laughs. There he is, after a busy day’s work, doing whatever he does with that briefcase (anyone any ideas? No, me neither), and, just as he’s nodded off, the blonde lying next to him jumps up.

Yes, it’s another damned dream in which someone has been stabbed, strangled, dumped their spouse in a freezer, and Joe has to listen to it all yet again. At the start of this series, he said that he wasn’t sure he could take it anymore. Me, neither, and clearly CBS felt the same.

Psychic phenomena is big in US drama, although Medium is the only one that takes it seriously. Psych’s resident expert, Shawn (James Roday), is just merely good at spotting details and using it to pretend that he has supernatural abilities; likewise, The Mentalist’s Patrick (Simon Baker).

But with Allison, we are supposed to believe that virtually her every waking moment is spent being in touch with the Other Side, which can be difficult when you have three children, not to mention a husband who has had three hours’ sleep in five years.

The web information about the series says that it was “initially” based upon the experiences of the real life medium who “claims” to have worked with law enforcement agencies across the US. That’s long way from being a full endorsement of the almost extra-terrestrial powers of the character, who can see into both the past and the present, while still finding time to visit the hairdresser to get that oh-so-perfect haircut (and it really is perfect).

One thing has worried me from day one, though: when do Joe and Allison ever get to have sex? It’s hard to believe that with their lack of sleep, they ever had the energy to do it the three times necessary to produce three kids; as for doing it purely for pleasure, it’s highly unlikely they have ever managed it.

Why did they just not opt for separate bedrooms? Why has Joe not pursued that sexy piece who gave him her business card? Why did he not just tell his wife to shut the hell up, stop telling him about her dreams, move cities and work for the CIA?

Still, they are problems I will no longer have to worry about, now that the show is ending.

I’m just happy for Joe. Eight hours, Joe; eight hours.

Bet you can’t even remember what that felt like.

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