I still think that the Cheney thing was way too obvious, way too in your face and way, way unneccesary. I still think that the chemistry was excised out of the Logan/Veronica scenes as much as Rob Thomas/John Kretchmer could manage (and I'm remembering now how most HATED the Pieta shot in Normal is the Watchword because of its awkwardness and that only after the switched places of Logan and Veroncia appeared in Not Pictured did people love it). Oh, yes, John Kretchmer's direction. In fact, going back to my review of the Logan/Veronica moments for NitW (written by Thomas/directed by Kretchmer) I wrote this about the X-Terra makeout/machine-gun-rampage scene:
Quote:And whaddya know? The same thing happened here ... IN A SCENE WHERE THEY ARE NAKED IN BED NO LESS!!!! Sigh, so I've decided to withhold my frustration over the portrayal of Logan and Veronica and see it if gets better because clearly neither Thomas nor Kretchmer knows how to sell the chemistry these two have. After all, according to those in the know, the script didn't say Logan and Veronica sit that far apart on the bench all the way to the lean-over kiss, that was direction. Yeah. Great. This plus NitW makes it clear that John Kretchmer just doesn't know how or doesn't choose to direct Logan/Veronica in a way that highlights their physical chemistry and intimacy. (Lord, please give us Nick Marck -- he who made the hallway scene in Driver Ed the most combustible moment of the first half of the season -- or even Martha Mitchell -- who managed to sell the extreme hotness of L/V even with Logan's head half-cropped off in the I Am God flashback). So I can live with how L/V came across in this episode and not think it's some grand conspiracy, it's just the crappy combination of Thomas/Kretchmer downplaying the LoVe as only they can do.
We actually have a similar scene from season one to compare this one to. In Meet John Smith, Veronica had a making-out-in-a-car fantasy, and it was about 20,000 times hotter in terms of direction, execution and action (definitely, not in terms of chemistry with the guy). I mean, really, that scene was S-T-E-A-M-Y in the execution. This one, in comparison, is just sad. In this scene, the sexual heat and steam were barely non-existent. Maybe the show was just going for romance, but the steam should have been there as well, I think.
Now, of course, I'm not saying that it's because Jason Dohring and Kristen Bell are incapable of generating that heat (I mean, we saw plenty evidence of their heat-generating abilities with one another onscreen last season), but the direction of this scene did its damndest to deny them that capability. Their lips were fused together for, oh, about three seconds upon lying down, and two seconds later both were kissing the side of the other's mouth, and then we got motorcycles revving and then the gunfire. There was no necking, there was no making-out, there was no french-kissing, there was no open-mouth kissing. Damnit!
It was about as asexual as a scene like that could possibly be. I don't know, maybe the idea was that if they actually played fair with their chemistry, it would contrast too sharply with Bell and Teddy Dunn's lack. I don't know. I just know that the execution of the sexual element of this scene actually seemed to be done in such a way as to dampen the sexual heat between these two as much as possible. Double sigh. And double damnit!
The rest of the episode? Much better on second viewing. I really enjoyed the Keith/Veronica scenes, found things of interest in the Keith storyline, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Parker even more. I'm not a huge Mac fan (never will be), but I enjoyed her in this; I liked the little Wallace I got and (in a small minority of one, no doubt) was happy to not see Lamb. Also, I don't hate Piz or think Chris Lowell is god-awful -- I DO hate his haircut and think it is godawful -- but I CAN'T STAND how RT is positioning him as the guy to root for in the already set-up triangle of Logan/Veronica/Piz (because, yes, folks, this episode totally set up a triangle). However, I'm holding out hope that the downplayed Logan/Veronica will not continue when it's not Thomas/Kretchmer at the helm of each episode and that the LOOKEE! LOOKEE! LOOKEE! at the crush of Piz was really only so THERE because they were introducing whatever this "triangle" is supposed to be.
It wasn't The Pilot (and, I agree with Wendy that the Pilot was all kinds of awesomeness and one of the best season opener episodes EVER!), but it wasn't even remotely anywhere as bad as NitW which was (except for the Logan/Veronica good-parts version of the flashbacks) pretty much unwatchable again for me. I'd give The Pilot an A+, NitW a D. This? I'd give it a healthy B and for a show creating a "second Pilot," introducing itself to new viewers and trying to keep old viewers happy alike, that's not bad.