A long time ago, CBS featured a comedy series about a young man living in New York City, enduring relatable ups and downs of adulthood with his clique of best friends, all the while furthering his journey (be he aware of it or not) toward the eventual union with the love of his life.
Somewhere along that line, How I Met Your Mother tossed out the slanted realism, quirky but honest situations, and devotion to character and story development, and instead opted to have Joe Manganiello take his shirt off in a courtroom. Now, that’s not in and of itself a problem — nobody is here to make that claim. It’s the reality surrounding the toplessness of Alcide Herveaux with which issue should be taken.
Last week, Manganiello revived his recurring character Brad, a law school buddy of Marshall’s who seemed to have up the ante in douchebaggery since we last saw him. Brad went undercover at Marshall’s law firm, using his old pal’s sweet nature against him to muster up some info on the firm’s case against a pharmaceutical company that has been polluting Frog Lake (which exists where in the New York metropolitan area, exactly?). Brad is actually representing the defendants, and faces off with Marshall in a trial featured on this week’s episode.
Where Marshall comes to court prepared, earnest, and ambitious, Brad opts to channel his god-given physique, wooing the jury of, as Marshall (and the title of the episode) will have viewers understand, “12 horny women.” This is where the eye-rolling becomes face-palming.
One dozen adult women, determined by the judicial system to be fit to stand as members of a jury, all systemically fall like helpless victims to the every wink and muscle bulge of a manipulative Manganiello. The judge, as well — whose homosexual urges are played over and over as one wacky punchline — is powerless when Brad struts his stuff. The case is his to lose.
Of all the cheap, thoughtless, idiotic, and lazy ways to give Brad the upper hand in this episode, nothing beats “Brad flexes his bicep and every woman in the room melts into a stammering puddle.” The idea that nobody with two X-chromosomes is safe from the smarmy grin of this unshaven behemoth… it’d be downright offensive if it weren’t so… stupid.
In the end, Marshall manages to prove the lake dangerous by prompting Brad himself, who has admitted to swimming in the polluted waters, to remove his shirt and reveal the skin rash resultant of the chemicals. However, while Brad’s company is found guilty, it is only ordered to pay a small fraction of the desired fee toward cleaning up the natural grounds. However, the silver lining of this story: Marshall’s good nature reminds Brad of why he got into law in the first place and convinces the confused traitor to leave the “dark side” and find his way back into environmental law. It also convinces Marshall to begin upon his own new path: at the end of the episode, Marshall files an application to become a judge for New York State.
He’ll probably get it.
Meanwhile, the Barney/Robin romance (if you can call it that) takes a minor step forward when, in a scene shafted to the last two minutes of the episode — do the writers even care about these people anymore? — Barney admits to wanting to move past his and Robin’s history so they can just be friends. This candor seems to spark something in Robin, although we won’t quite see what it is just yet. Hint: there’s a wedding, eventually.
And finally, and most notably, a reference to The Wire: a flashback reveals teenaged Lily to have been her neighborhood’s Omar Little, whistling “The Farmer in the Dell” whilst sauntering down the alleyways of New York City, emotionally manhandling a frightened young Scooter into joining up with her (little did she know…).
And that’s about the size of it. Marshall a judge, Barney and Robin a couple-to-be, Lily a Michael K. Williams of her own, and Ted… was Ted in this episode? Was he looking for a wife, or something? Is he still on this show?
[Photo Credit: Richard Cartwright/CBS]
Cory and Topanga Are In! 'Girl Meets World' Pilot Nabs Danielle Fishel, Ben Savage
'Revolution' Midseason Finale: We Want Answers Before the 4-Month Hiatus!
Blimey, They're British?!? Can You Guess TV's Most Surprising Accents?
You Might Also Like:
Cory and Topanga Are In! Big ‘Boy Meets World’ Spinoff News
12 Hot (And Horrifying) TV Nude Scenes
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.