Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reckless on CBS: I have some questions

I posited recently that it is perfectly acceptable to watch “bad” or “guilty pleasure” TV shows, as long as for every one of these programs, you watch 3-5 good ones. Only five episodes into CBS’s new “sultry” South Carolina courtroom show Reckless, I am scrambling for my DVD sets of both The Wire and The Shield with a quickness, so guilty is this pleasure. I mean, it stars Cam Gigandet. As an attorney. Doing a southern accent.

Suffice to say, I have some major questions about this show. Which is to say nothing of the general weirdness that goes on, including the bizarre insistence that someone refer to Cam as a “southern gentleman” at least once per episode. It’s similar to the way they refer to Jamie what’s-her-face as a “Yankee” or say something that not so thinly lays on the contempt for her northernness without the word “Yankee” (pretty equal on both sides of the ledger there).
Or of the murky sexual politics on this show. I don’t want to touch those with a ten-foot oar sanded down by an unnecessarily shirtless Cam Gigandet.

Anyway. Here they are, the 5 big questions I have after the first 5 episodes of Reckless (which I assume other people must be wondering about too, if they have enough brain cells to be a productive member of society, but not enough to skip this show entirely):

1. What is your deal, South Carolina court system?

We start off with Cam’s character Roy as a prosecutor, then he’s the city attorney, then he’s doing family law, then he’s a defense attorney annnd what the hell is next? Presumably maritime law, if the insistent usage of aerial shots of Cooper River are any indication.
There also seem to be some clear conflicts of interest too, like that time that Cam was defending a kid accused of killing someone who was Cam’s beloved high school football coach.
And finally, the dress code for courtrooms in South Carolina is astonishingly lax. Most of the attorneys wear suits or other business attire, as I have been led to believe is the norm pretty much everywhere. However, Jamie (oh, that’s right…Jamie Sawyer the Lawyer) seems to be going out of her way to flout the professional dress standards of the courtroom, wearing an endless collection of skin tight shift dresses, miniskirts, and sleeveless peplum tanks. I know she owns at least some blazers; she often wears workplace appropriate clothing outside the courtroom. But apparently all the judges in Charleston have collectively decided that dressing like you’re going out to a cheesy nightclub to present a case is just some quirk of the north. Well, I’ve got news for you, Reckless- I’ve dealt with a whole lot of lawyers up north. They all wear appropriate business attire.

2. How crappy of an Internal Affairs detective is Preston?

Now, I’m not really clear on what is going on with this plot point, either because the show was skimpy on details, or because I was seriously spacing out (the dialogue portion of this program is not its selling point). But apparently vaguely ethnic Preston is supposedly an undercover Internal Affairs detective, trying to get to the bottom of Terry (Shawn Hatosy, playing his exact character from Southland, but with a super creepy and evil edge this time and hey, what, no, YOU’RE OVERACTING, PAL) and his cronies’ dirty cop evildoings. But between the light illegal shenanigans, the gang bang which was probably not consensual and the extremely illegal gun running (not to mention the follow-up evidence locker heist), doesn’t Preston have enough at this point? If he wants to bust these guys, it doesn’t seem like it would be hard; none of them are going out of their way to cover up their illicit activities. Maybe the show knows something we don’t about what the endgame is? I’m not sure I’m willing to give it that much credit for cleverness at this point, considering a character actually unironically uttered the line, “That boy’s so hot you can fry an egg on him.”

3. How badly does Charleston need money?

I know that film production brings money to a city, and I know South Carolina has a decent tax incentive program, presumably because they want to attract film production. However, this show is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Charleston. Sure, the stock footage of the city itself is very pretty, and the show is chock full of attractive people. But every episode piles on the fact that pretty much the entire police department and possibly most of the politicians in the city are not just corrupt but downright evil. Obviously it’s fiction, but it seems a little surprising that they’re all “Sure, come on in, make us look terrible!” Consider the fact that ESPN was preposterously forced to cancel Playmakers because the NFL thought the show made the League look bad. That show gave fictional names to all of the teams and the league. (Yes, I am still bitter.)

4. What other thinly veiled excuses for having shirtless men can the show come up with?

I don’t have any questions about why there are egregious shirtless scenes for the more attractive male cast members here. I understand exactly which demographic this show is aimed at. I also am not willing to rule out the fact that plenty of dudes out there do answer the door and sand boats without shirts. Seems reasonable.

5. Knox’s mustache: what’s up with that?

Seriously, Paul Kinsey from Mad Men. What are you doing with that thing? They expect this guy to run for mayor too, and they have yet to mention that no one will vote for a guy with the creepiest pornstache since Pornstache on Orange is the New Black. I’m pretty sure in real life, that conversation goes like this: “Knox, we would love you to run for mayor! First order of business: shave that creepy caterpillar off your upper lip.” But apparently on this show, Knox and his pornstache are running for mayor. THE INTRIGUE.

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