Because I don't want to come across as a curmudgeonly curmudgeon, otherwise you'll demand I stop watching it, and it's not that, it's just that I was brought up in a corrective, Calvinist household, and that's how I turned out, corrective and Calvinist, and, while I adore White Collar, I feel it gets by too easily on the many charms of its dashing young lead. I feel it 'could do better' (a statement I have a more than passing familiarity with, cf corrective and Calvinist).
I also couldn't watch it on Saturday after an evening's encore screening of Sherlock. It did kind of show up White Collar's lesser budget, or less innovative use of said budget, anyway. It did rather show up poor old White Collar's general lack of innovation all round. Poor old WC is still waving phones at the screen, where on Sherlock I liked (unlike the furious Telegraph reviewer) the clever use of onscreen captions (something that's been in the film lexicon since 1906, so not that innovative) for text messages, etc.
Ditto White Collar's insistence in the press that they've invented pointing the camera up, something the makers of Hustle were crowing over nearly a decade ago, for the very same purpose and reason (presenting a sunnier, glittery, less gritty depiction of London). Oh well, points for trying, I guess. You know what they say about imitation and flattery.
See, told ya? Grumpy as. And I haven't even gotten onto the huh? moments, like how on earth did Neal not get any blow back from the dye packs, aside from the fact that the man is supernaturally scotchguarded? Dear Mythbusters... (who have been dismantling Burn Notice lately, to my great delight).
Oh, yeah, the Peanut Gallery wanted to know who Gabrielle Anwar was, watching Press Gang as he is right now. Much eye rolling on my part but then I saw her and I could understand the confusion. I mean, I remember thinking she's had a lot of work done, but you see her in Press Gang and she is completely unrecognisable. Until she did a flouncy pissed off snitty sulking flop into a chair and it was 100% pure Fiona. It was so hilariously wee Fiona. Oh dear.
Other folks in Press Gang are disturbingly young pert and perky versions of themselves. Hell, even Sadie Frost turned up as a bitchy posh girl - so instantly recognisable. Dear Sadie.
Speaking of 'before they were old and grumpy', a very young, very and instantly recognisable Kurt Russell turned up for angsty teen angst in High Chaparral on Sunday night. And that's all I'm saying because I don't think his voice had broke yet. The episode also featured Steve Forrest, aka The Baron (what is it with amoral chaps and antiques?), so it was a pity it was one of those singing narrative episodes so beloved of Westerns. And before you start, even Doctor Who did one, with Hartnell, and I think sitting through that one (when it was repeated in '03) was what made me snap.
Speaking of amoral chaps and antiques, I read somewhere that White Collar was going to be even more macguffin friendly this year. Hell, if they're going to turn it into the Antiques Roadshow why don't they just try and get Ian McShane for a guest spot? Harumph.
And did I mention we also wallowed in Adam Adamant on Saturday night? Kind of felt like it after Sherlock. Bliss.
Though the army episode was more than a bit Avengers, but never mind. Bonus pre you-know-Who Patrick Troughton, too.
So, White Collar. I am so madly fond of this show. I just wish, I just wish the boys were as close on screen as they are off. I'm not going to the RPS place, I'm just saying it's a pity we don't see Neal and Peter like this, this, or this (and at this point I'd add in one of
I wish they would. There's such a great deal of natural chemistry and banter there. An intuitive show runner would just stand back and let the boys have at it. Such a shame they don't. Such a waste of natural resources.
You just never see the boys on screen like that, demonstrating a close and affectionate friendship, and it's a damn shame. They're always off working seperately or worse, against each other. I really hate that. I think it's all wrong for the show, but clearly it is the show, but I still don't like it. I'd rather the threats and tension came from outside, and sure, it could play on Neal and Peter's crazy Montague/Capulet crooks vs cops thing they've got going, but I'd rather boys against the world than boys against each other.
I hated it on Supernatural, and look how that turned out. Straight to hell. In a handbasket.
Maybe it's a country of origin thing, because, boy, Sherlock sure wasn't afraid to draw big glitter hearts around the whole bromance thing. Now there's two boys as a unit. Sure they annoy each other, but they'd never deliberately hurt each other. Sigh. Though that said, Sherlock has been known to keep the odd secret back from John, like the whole not being dead thing (and the way he just pops up again, so cruel, and so totally like part four of my fic, I suddenly realise, oops). Okay, bad example, but you know what I mean.
Again, maybe it's that country of origin thing. Their reality shows are all 'every man for himself', ours are more about teamwork, trust and friendship. I guess they just don't have that whole 'mateship' thing enshrined in their culture, so I'm missing the cues I expect, and become distressed when Neal and Peter break essential social taboos re friendship. It's either that or White Collar is the most ironically phobic show where it's okay for girls but it seems the lovely sparkage between the two main characters has them terrified. What a shame. It's like they're squandering a natural gift. Oh well.
Merlin is much the same, where the on set photos are lovely, and promise a sweetness that is never really delivered in the series (unless Arthur has taken a leaf from the Gene Hunt book of seduction where a punch means 'I love you' and a slap means 'I care' and a kick up the arse means 'meet me behind the bike sheds').
Anyway, White Collar (and THANK YOU). First off, man, but Matt is pretty. He's just lovely to watch. A walking, talking pin up. But I digress.
We start with a hearing where Peter is forced to recap the entire last series as penance. Fortunately for Peter there were only fourteen episodes. Then we're onto angsty Neal, and if he's gonna get all moody on us, can we at least have the chick flick Winchester moments? Please? No? well, what's the point, then? I think I mentioned before (having seen quite a bit previously) that I wasn't sure I bought Neal being that shaken, but I guess Kate was an ideal and dreams die hard, so I'll give the boy that. It's probably not often that he suffers such reverses, aside from the whole four years in a federal prison thing, and nice of Peter to make a joke about that, too. So Peter makes all these jokes about Neal cracking up on him, which I can only assume were bluster on his part, and we see some moody staring off into the middle distance from Neal, but that's pretty much it. So immediately both boys are putting up a front, saving face, that sort of thing.
Peter is concerned because he tells us, via meetings with Moz and Elizabeth, but the show is still doing that tell, not show thing. Also, way too much Mozzie. I know I'm the only person on the planet to find the character (and actor) annoying in the extreme, but, oh my, I'm grinding my teeth through every scene he's in. He's the Jar Jar Binks, as far as I'm concerned. Yes, that level of pointlessly annoying. And I know it's just me, but he sure is a burr in my saddle blanket (okay, put down the box sets of tv westerns, yes, even the ones with Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood in them, and back away with your hands in the air, Missy).
It was cute how snappy Neal is with Mozzie though, this year. Yes, it's meant to show the lad is under great strain, but I hid a smile of vicarious pleasure.
It really is like watching two different shows at times, like when there's a wildly extravagant British thesp in something usually a little more low key. You know, like Brian Blessed (whom I adore) gate crashing the ball at Netherfield. Actually, there's a thought. No, I must not digress.
And Neal, dear Neal. We'll assume, since we're told it is thus, that his giddy moods are the poor wee lad smiling through the tears, but still. If I were Peter, I'd be really, realy worried. But that's just me.
Now, does the white collar unit do bank robberies? Fraud, yes, but I thought, or maybe I'm just confused with Brits and their armed response units. Never mind, a bank heist is a bank heist and at least we got to see Neal in action, though, weirdly, the whole stepping out of a boiler suit thing is featuring currently in bank ads here, and the whole thing with the business card, I think I mentioned my dad also used a fancy A on his, from Albrecht Dürer in his case, so not quite so ooh, wow, from my point of view (though thanks for reminding me, and yeah, my dad was that much of a narcissist, why, wherever did you think I got it from). Too bad they couldn't set up The Architect as the nemesis for the season. Would have been so much better from that bloody music box (and dare I presume from the amount of eye rolling at Comic Con that the bulk of the cast are over it too?).
Interesting comment about the whole thing about Peter keeping his enemies closer, as in keeping Neal, master criminal, close by his side. Yet another throwaway line that speaks against the friendship between the two boys. Damn, and I was hoping those crazy kids would make it work. Here's hoping it was just a line and not anything about Neal going dark side or anything (though that would be interesting, but not the forcibly chipper viewing we're told to expect from tptb).
Eppy the second. What was it again? Oh yeah. Well, I'm gonna have to be circumspect about what I can say about the plot, but can I just say, is that your idea of a corrupt politician? Oh, children, children, amateur hour, trust me. Funds fiddling? Really? Is that the worst you can think of? Okay, moving on...
We got to see Neal taking another smoko break (it's wrong, but it's sexy). We got to see Peter lie to Neal. For his own good, of course, but, oh Peter, you know what they say about the best intentions (ask the Winchesters where that ends up). We got to see Neal in full flight as a spin doctor, which was kind of fun, but again, so benign (the ones I've known look like Neal but talk like Malcolm). Honestly, Neal, the nicest spin doctor in the world. Yeah, right. But it was cute. I can just imagine him turning it and being the right little Iago I know he can be. Imagine if he started whispering in Peter's ear. Fortunately, there's none of that, just Neal being slick and oily and oh so pleased at his own cleverness (pride goeth Neal, but again, it ain't that kind of show).
Seriously, though, if one's life were more, say, The Thick of It and The West Wing, one might regard this episode as, well, sweet, and then pat it on the head and say something cutting as one gently steered it out the door. Sorry, I just couldn't help doing that Buffy harumphing at Kung Fu movies thing.
Speaking of which, I got the Peanut Gallery onto the subject of art fraud yesterday and took notes. I particularly liked the bit about the dog hairs. I just have to use that. Neal would know about the dog hairs.
Damn, digressed again. Anyway, not a lot of Peter/Neal interaction (for my satisfaction, anyway - I swear they've made Peter the Lestrade), though the bit where Neal was a bored kid in the van was cute. Cuter still was Peter's parental rebuke. And yes, everyone loved the scenes with Diana (diplomat's daughter? really?) but I am sad that Neal's moment of truth was with her and not Peter (still, Peter has it all on tape, I'm sure, but it's not the same as a face to face heart to heart now, is it?). Neal might say he's never lied to Peter, but he doesn't share, either.
Not that we need to know everything about the enigmatic Mr Caffrey, heavens no (I'm holding off watching Lewis S4 for that very reason), but it'd be nice if those moments were with Peter and Peter only, to demonstrate their special friendship (that appears only to exist in my head, but never mind). I suppose it's more saving face, that Neal doesn't reveal this inner life to Peter. Oh well. At least Neal was cute, playing the room service game. And apparently so loaded that a spare ten grand isn't a problem.
Surely Peter should be on that, or filing it away for further attention, but no. Using questionable funds from his crimnal pal's secret stash for a sting operation is fine. Confiding in Neal (and vice Versa) is not fine. You can so tell this show was written by men, can't you. It's like this close to reaching a Coupling level of dysfunction and misunderstanding, I swear.
Anyway, pleasant little episode, Kate blah blah blah, music box, blah blah blah.
Locations: spotted one of my favourite pitt stops, that park down near the Woolworth building (with the Starbucks). I just adored that fountain and the flaming lamps. Less keen on the slightly agressive squirrels.
Not sure if we can count old Prometheus, on account of blue screen work more rubbish than Pertwee era Dr Who (ie, not good), but I hope El didn't order the salad. Yep, that's the one that came out like a great pudding of mayonnaise with a few bits of greenery on top for decoration. Screamingly gay waiter was a sweetie though.
Anyway, I've tried to put together a map, which contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate.
View White Collar in a larger map
Not that I was stalking them or anything. In fact I think you can put me down as the most woeful and incompetent stalker in history. And I only knew, vaguely, of two locations before I went over, so I had no idea of where I was going, I just wandered from sight to sight, gallery to gallery, cafe to cafe, park, to park. That I managed to wander past a great many streets that later pop in White Collar (to my begrudging bemusement), and entirely miss them filming the whole time I was in NYC, adds a certain pathos, or pathetic, like, extreme loser cred to the project.
But not as much as Lewis and Oxford. Now Oxford is a bit of a gimme, because if you spend your time wandering in and out of colleges and pubs you've pretty much got all the Lewis locations down. Nevertheless I set off one day with my camera and a map from the tourist office, which I carefully marked as I went, jotting down all the locations I recognised, fully intending to do a google map. Only I lost my annotated paper map somewhere along the way (the pubs may or may not have had something to do with it) and I was gutted. I could probably try and recreate it, but the memory is fuzzy (cf pubs) and somebody has probably already done a better job. Ah well.
Deadwood is on telly. This is most excellent and will tide me over while I wait for Justified, and I probably shouldn't hold my breath on that one. Oh, when our boy flicked back his coat, meaning business, it was enough like Raylan to make me squeal with delight. (And I should not love Raylan, but I do. Talk about yer flawed characters). Oh yes, this'll do nicely, especially as it slides into the schedule after Supernatural on another channel, kinda makes a nice night of it. Shame I was typing away through the bulk of it, but I know when to look up, mostly.
I know why everyone hates me. I'm fat and ugly and aggressive and selfish and mean and I never do what 'm supposed to do.
Like last weekend. I was supposed to be at a family wedding, though I'm fairly sure I was only invited for appearance's sake. Certainly it was impossible to get to without a car, nor could I afford any accommodation, and I'm fairly sure that it's usually good form to offer assistance when plotting marriages in the middle of freakin' nowhere, like Cars That Ate Paris nowhere, but whatever. No such assistance was forthcoming (hence my deep and abiding suspicion I was neither requested nor required).
Nor did my sense of duty involve cleaning out the last few dollars of my bank account on their behalf and starving and walking to work for the next month (though it'd do wonders for the waistline). Not for the people who let me stand for hours in the dark, rainy cold at the bus stop outside the hospital where my Mum took her time dying, waiting for the last bus back to the train station, week after week, while struggling to keep a job in an abolished department, and, oh yes, with a broken ankle. Hmm, yes, I still hate them for that. Not that they had any obligation, but I'll see their lack of obligation and raise them an extreme disengagement and resentment.
So no, didn't go. For my sins I did the usual scrubbing, washing and weeding but come 4pm I was on the couch with a hot chocolate and watching giant depressed teddy bears blow their brains out on Supernatural. And loving it. So there.
This is why I don't fit in either. Aside from the fact I still carry a great number of smouldering resentments (okay, fiery hatreds that could power a thousand suns), I'm screamingly weird. I did love that episode of Supernatural, though.
Also couldn't help myself yesterday, re being a complete dick. Somebody I rather don't like was bragging about having been to a film premier that Susan Sarandon attended. They looked to me for suitable astonishment. And I just could not help myself (nor did I want to as it was a gift, this moment). Oh yes, I said. I too had once been to a film premier that featured Ms Sarandon in attendance. In New York.
I know. The Calvinist part of me was screaming at me to shut up and stay meek, but I'm afraid the chancer side leapt out and danced about. Tsk. No wonder no one will talk to me. I am a bad, bad person. I know it, I try to help it, but it will not be repressed.
I really should be far more understanding of poor Neal and his predicament, being requested and required to be a better person, struggling against his impulses to be selfish and wicked. I should appreciate the rock and hard place of his dilema. Instead, I judge him harshly. I expect far better of a fictional character than I expect of myself. Ain't it the way?
And yet I find myself operating under a much more opressive set of circumstances. When I show up at the bus stop everyone else moves away. When I board the bus they point and laugh and slam their bags on any rare vacant seat. When I walk the streets I'm yelled at, pushed and spat on, and at work the strong silent treatment, the extreme exclusion and the occassional bursts of violent verbal abuse have me shaking by the end of the day.
I wish I was pretty. I wish I was good. But I am not. I wish I could really do something about it. I've tried. I really have. But I have failed. Sucks.
At least there's hot chocolates and the odd Ben Edlund penned episodes to keep me warm, or I'd lose all hope. I truly would. TV, you don't know what it means to me.
Brian Clemens and the lost art of great TV writing
Portrait of the Anzacs: deserters more interested in booze, brawls and sex
Maths solves sperm movement mystery
Why do men cheat?
Antiques dealer jailed over stolen Shakespeare folio
Concerns about the tension between Peter and Neal
Time out boosts brains
Lie-ins are 'good for your health'
F.B.I., Challenging Use of Seal, Gets Back a Primer on the Law
The film posters that lost the plot
Mads Mikkelsen, Anna Mouglalis ('Coco & Igor')
Timothy Olyphant to guest-star on The Office next season
Timothy Olyphant to guest on 'The Office'
Supernatural Honcho: We're Gonna Get You, Suckers!
Shades of gray in the 'noir' new season of 'Supernatural'
Supernatural' to reference 'Twilight'
Who is the next Superman for CW?
List of White Collar episodes
Get Under Matt Bomer's White Collar
18 Sharp-Dressed Men
Matt Bomer: Shooting Scenes in Soho!
TV Review: White Collar - "Copycat Caffrey"
Comic Con 2010
'White Collar' Pops in at Comic-Con
Comic-Con 2010: White Collar
The hunted becomes the hunter
White Collar at Comic Con: Is Kate dead?
SDCC 2010 EXCLUSIVE: White Collar Season 2 Cast Interviews (vid)
Scoop: ‘White Collar’ Landos Billy Dee Williams
Matt Bomer: Crest 3D White's Breakthough Actor!