Thursday, October 10, 2013

Breakdown of Random TV Shows: Dads Part 3 [Spoiler-heavy]

Part 1
Part 2

My husband (I somehow roped him in) and I are breaking down the Dads episode "Funny Girl." This show is about two sons who live with their respective fathers. It takes place at their homes and at the sons' company which seems to develop video games.

Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of this show, and I don't hide that. However, that doesn't mean that I think that this show is irredeemable or that I can't learn something about television writing from it or anything like that. I don't like it--it's as simple as that. This may be entirely about my personal preferences rather than objective standards about what is good or not. Consequently, what follows is my opinion...I hope that's obvious.

I'm trying to approach this as a television viewer who just happened to tune in so I didn't look up actor's names or anything like that.

Plot: [Spoilers]

The way the main story progressed wasn't very logical. First, Eli's trying to be intimate with his date without his father around. Next thing you know, he's locked in a argument about whether his father is right about another date's annoying tendencies. Two stories have been stuck together here.

This reminded me of animated shows like The Simpsons or Family Guy. The first act rarely had anything to do with what came after and was just an excuse to waste time with random jokes before they got to the actual plot.

That doesn't work here. I'm being asked to genuinely care about the plight of these characters. How can I do that if what's happening in the story doesn't actually matter? If there's no cause/effect relationship, then the characters' actions don't really mean anything. If that's the case, then why would I stay engaged in the story? I'm not able to follow along and participate and anticipate what will happen.

Also, at some points, the characters just kind of act and react without rhyme or reason, just because the plot says that a particular thing needed to happen. For instance, Eli bemoans the fact that he'll never get to have enough privacy in his apartment to have sex. Veronica, out of nowhere, announces that that's too bad because her friend has just broke up with her girlfriend. Why would she offer up a friend (without asking the friend first) to someone she doesn't seem to think much of? Why would she do that when he seems to be just after sex? How does what he said prompt her to say what she said in the first place?

Another example: Eli is established in the beginning of the episode as caring more the sex part of a relationship. Yet later, he's acting as if the only thing keeping him from wanting a relationship with Ann is her bad comedy.

Okay, one more: Anne just agrees to move in with Eli because...well, that would make things more complicated, you know?

I struggled trying to figure out the character's motives for what they did. Because of this, the events just didn't seem to connect as well as they should have.

Moreover, there were many times that the plot just stopped so that the characters could deliver a joke that didn't tie into the story at all. But, at least the story lines came together at the end there, right?

Here's the Plot Breakdown. I only focused on the story and left out the jokes or character work if it was irrelevant to the plot.:

ActA StoryB Story
OneScene 1 - Location: Eli's Home
  • Eli and date are on his couch kissing.
  • Moans are heard off screen, followed by David, Eli's dad, coming downstairs.
  • David makes a big production about going to get his paper while Eli looks unhappy.
  • Eli confronts Dad about always ruining his dates.
  • The date overhears discussion about his many other dates and leaves.

Scene 2 - Location: Work
  • Assistant Veronica asks Warner about replacing the business person  voice on Wall Street game.

Location: Work
  • Eli comes in looking sad; Warner knows what likely happened.
  • Eli mentions that the presence of his dad means that he'll never have sex in his own place.
  • Veronica mentions her friend who's newly single because she's always doing tired bits and got dumped.

Scene 3 - Location: Eli's Home
  • Eli arrives and announces to David his father that the father will have plans out of the apartment because Eli has a date.
  • David offers advice but Eli rejects it, stating that his father is never right and knows nothing about women.
  • Eli pays David off so that his date won't be interrupted.

Scene 4 - Location: Warner's home
  • Warner comes home and wife asks him about work
  • Warner tells her about needing a person who can do a business man voice to make progress on his game.
  • His father Crawford comes in talking business which is revealed to be about mint-flavored Girl Scout cookies.
  • His wife insists that Crawford can do the voice for Warner
  • Warner doesn't approve but gives in, and his father agrees to do it.

Scene 5 - Location: Eli's Home
  • Eli arrives with Date Ann.
  • David is still home, but Eli reminds him to leave.
  • Eli introduces date to David.
  • Ann makes a terrible joke to which David reacts with silent anger.
  • David decides to say home instead.

[Commercial Break]

TwoScene 6 - Location: Eli's home
  • Eli enters from his bedroom, and Edna his maid asks how he slept.
  • Eli: Alone
  • Eli asks his father why he didn't leave.
  • David retorts that he saved Eli and that being in a relationship with someone like Ann will end in Eli's death

Scene 7 - Location: Work
  • Crawford is preparing himself in the recording booth, which annoys Warner.

Location: Work
  • Meanwhile, Eli and Veronica are watching Warner work with Crawford.
  • Eli talks about his father's interference and gives an excuse why he couldn't take his dates elsewhere.

Scene 8 - Location: Anne's Apartment
  • Anne's making bad jokes as she and Eli walk in.
  • Eli assures her of how funny she is, but also says she can be herself without joking all the time.
  • She thanks him and they kiss, but she interrupts the intimate moment with another set of jokes.

Scene 9 - Location: Work
  • In the recording studio, Crawford is speaking stereotypical businessman-type lines.
  • Crawford notices that the business people sound like they're the bad guys.
  • Warner mentions that the object of the game is to kill the business people in horrible ways.
  • Crawford objects out of principle and locks himself in the booth.

Scene 10 - Location: Eli's home
  • David asks about Eli's date as Eli walks in.
  • Eli pretends it was good even though he didn't stay overnight.
  • David guesses that Ann's bad jokes killed the romance.
  • Eli insists that, on the contrary, they are getting serious.
  • David baits Eli by suggesting that Ann should move in with them.
  • Eli reluctantly takes the bait and calls Ann who is still doing her old routines.
  • Ann agrees to move in.

Location: Work

  • Veronica clarifies that Anne is moving in.
  • Eli admits that it got out of hand, but he still wants to win and prove his father wrong.

Scene 11 - Location: Work
  • Warner has been trying to force Crawford out of the recording booth with Democrat speeches.
  • His wife shows up and brings in the Girl Scout with Warner's cookies and tells Crawford he has to honor his contract.
  • Warner provokes his father by saying that all business people are liars.
  • Crawford comes out to show that business people are good and honest.
  • However, when he looks at the cookies, he sees they aren't the kind he ordered and refuses to pay.
  • The Girl Scout backs Crawford in the booth and attacks him, with Warner recording the resulting things that Crawford yells out for his game.

Scene 12 - Location: Eli's home
  • Ann's things are all moved in.
  • Ann is still doing bad bits.
  • Edna the maid doesn't like her.
  • Ann goes to unpack.
  • David points out how bad the situation is.
  • Anne comes out and makes another joke.
  • Eli breaks down and pleads with his father for help.

TagScene 13 - Location: Eli's home
  • Eli and David carry an unconscious Ann who's dressed as a clown.
  • David has hypnotized her.
  • Eli admits that he should listen to his father every once in a while.
  • They hug awkwardly while still carrying Ann.

Scene 14 - Outside of elevator
  • Warner and his wife carry a passed out Crawford to the elevator.
  • Elevator opens to reveal Eli and David holding Ann.
  • Warner and wife enter elevator with Crawford.

Next up: the jokes and funny business.

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