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Old 04-19-17, 08:53 PM   #1
boonian androphile
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boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

I know I'm two seasons behind, but with all of topcat's new Lost threads popping up I was inspired to create some other path of masochism (because full-fledge Lost Revisited will just make me angry and I mean volcanically). So The Leftovers is the winner. A potential Love to Hate it dance that a person sometimes requires because sanity just isn't good enough. I mean, I have heard commentary from other places in the ether that this show has the capacity to destroy mental faculties. Any and all Don't Do It You Idiot! or Go Back Before It's Too Late! warnings would probably be warranted. But I'm going to try. What I'll do is just post about each episode after viewing and comment. If anyone wants to post episodic commentary along with, that's fine. And if not, I'll pop back to the regular thread and read episodic commentary there. So here goes.



Episode 1 aka the pilot:

I like the mystery and execution of the opening disappearances. I like that while we follow mother and child several disappearances happen in the immediate area: the father; the driver(s). But we see the baby by the symbolic half-open window, and hear the baby noises until a pause and then some baby noise and then nothing. And then pandemonium. Including all the 9-1-1 calls.

Then we cut to three years later. People in this town (and beyond) have found some bizarre ways to cope: cults; dog shooting; spin the cell phone; extra rough field hockey; bad taste parades and statuary; perhaps hallucinations. Some serious ptsd. I guess this all makes sense, in that people's responses to the perhaps tragic and certainly unexplained would be varied and likely dysfunctional.

I like the police chief. He provides a good centerpiece of grief, anger, loneliness, and a lingering reliance on order. I like the very angry and go for the guts profanity daughter. I even like the dog shooting guy, because he has an in the face of the screen presence that's essential to this kind of show. And I like the dogs, believe it or not.

But everyone else, my god there is some serious lack of directing, acting, writing or what, because most everyone else is boring boring boring. Oh my god. So boring. The boringest boring on earth. Or what's left of it.

Let's start at the top. The chain smoking cult. Even if they did talk I couldn't imagine them more boring. Wrong! They're all just a bunch of Moonies Mormons Hare Krishnas Witch Coven Tobacco Executive Lifeless Beings who deserve to be attacked just so that they won't take up some screen. Perhaps they have some mysterious purpose. But if their purpose is to be boring, they've succeeded. Even the police chief's wife is boring. And she insists on carrying out a house stalking! Nice standing at the driveway.

Next: the out of town cult. So the police chief's son has to drive those wanting to be "unburdened" across many a road while blindfolded. And their final destination: Club Med. The pool is nice. And the women are pretty. But the leader is some black dude with some sort of accent who is supposed to be scary but can only be described as lame. I mean I guess polygamy and money and power are his ambitions, but so what? And automatically we're supposed feel sorry for the police chief's son who has innocently wandered into this nightmare? Please. The dude's only there to swim naked and not to answer his dad's urgent phone calls because his dad needs to talk to someone other than his deeply angry daughter and absent cult wife. boring.

Borderline boring is the teen-age cult of self-destructive behaviors. I was actually intrigued here, except that we needed more detail. They're just engaging in clandestine nihilism that no adult knows about? Gee. The adults must be too focused on the parade! But the police chief's daughter's there, and through her we get some energy that this scene benefits from. I'm with her, because she may be angry but she has life. In the spin the cell phone game, she draws choke. So she and some dude go off to a room and she mechanically chokes him while he mechanically masturbates. Okay. Good for him I guess. But way more interesting is where she wanders around the house alone, interrupting the dude she likes performing oral sex and the chick she said okay follow through on the cell phone spin, and walking in on two similarly looking naked dudes in the bathroom, one in the tub, the other on the floor by the sink. What cell phone directive did they draw? Or are not part of the organized playtime and have actually sought each other's company independently? I think the former, because they seem like mannequins more than human beings. But the discovery of all these people in their places by the daughter proves the most interesting element of the party.

And then there's the town planning and carrying out the parade and commemorative statue. OMG what a disaster that all is! Both in concept and in writing/acting. There is more life and truth in a pillow than in these people. At least when the voiceless cult shows up holding their signs, there's a fight. But that seems haphazard and on the underrealized side.

What I like later is the police chief wondering if he is hallucinating and then is talking to the deer (seems very Twin Peaks). Then all the dogs show up and too easily catch up to and take down the deer. The deer seems a little sacrificial. But the dogs at least present life and purpose and I found myself kind of rooting for them a little. I wish they'd take out the mute cult and the "unburdened" cult and leave the wildlife alone. But I like when the dog shooter arrives with his gun blazing and proclaims: These are not our dogs. That's interesting.

The bar scene right before the dog shooting is interesting. The brief conversation between the chief and the grieving mother.

Finally, one thing I do like is the motif of the four elements here and there in the episode. The open baby window and the choking: air. The party burning and cigarette smoking: fire. the swimming pool and the party house bathroom and the description of the laundry room flooding: water. And of course earth being earth was everywhere, but particularly in the statue that tried to fly off into air but was clearly weighted down by its heavy composition, and I suppose when the daughter and the twins bury the dog and very visibly handle the dirt as though it's almost sacred.
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Old 04-20-17, 02:59 AM   #2
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

Episode 2:

Felt like a bad hangover.

The only part I really liked was the conversation between the sheriff and megan. Sort of sweet.

The further adventures of the two cults left me just as unfulfilled as in the first episode. The shooting up of the Wayne cult, for instance, had no importance because the Wayne cult's not worth caring about. And everyone who made it out alive, well, good for them. As for the Silent Cult, we learn that the veterans of isolation are the ones who wear drab fashion and don't talk except by pointing or paper. What a rise to the top! The talking in Orientation House seemed unnecessary, mainly because the whole cult's unnecessary.

The dog shooter appears now to be what? Some help that the sheriff's insane father refers to? Okay. But they are getting together later to hunt fidos. Enjoy. That story turned disappointing. As did daughter Jill and her friends interrupting what was a strangely more interesting questionnaire session between the woman who lost everyone and the couple who lost their adult son. I wanted to hear the 150 questions to see how seemingly absurd they are. Sounds as though it's a bureaucratic attempt to determine why those who disappeared were "chosen" if indeed they were.

So far much of the show is filled with more moments I could do without. It needs to forget about a traveling point of view and settle on the sheriff for instance and his strange tripping through life. The show's best what it's about or involving him. But even his moments are mired in the depressingly mundane. And the people around him aren't all that compelling.
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Old 04-20-17, 07:53 AM   #3
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

You actually make me want to rewatch the first season again. I'm glad your sticking with it Boonian or at least trying too. I say it's well worth watching. Though like you I found it quite depressing and borderline morose at times. A lot of it has to do with the book which really is a journey into the frustrations of the soul in the face of the uncertain miraculous and mundane. Season two is much better.

I found a lot of the show quite intriguing, but like you I had to warm to some of the elements. Particularly Holy Wayne and the Remnant (who turn out to be the best thing in it after awhile).
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Old 04-20-17, 09:34 AM   #4
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

Quote:
Originally Posted by boonian androphile View Post
Any and all Don't Do It You Idiot! or Go Back Before It's Too Late! warnings would probably be warranted.
Damon Lindeloff
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Old 04-20-17, 06:30 PM   #5
boonian androphile
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

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Originally Posted by jaystao View Post
You actually make me want to rewatch the first season again. I'm glad your sticking with it Boonian or at least trying too. I say it's well worth watching. Though like you I found it quite depressing and borderline morose at times. A lot of it has to do with the book which really is a journey into the frustrations of the soul in the face of the uncertain miraculous and mundane. Season two is much better.

I found a lot of the show quite intriguing, but like you I had to warm to some of the elements. Particularly Holy Wayne and the Remnant (who turn out to be the best thing in it after awhile).

Jay I would actually go for more of the miraculous and the mundane, if the story so far was better told. For instance, I was more interested in the spinning cell phone party because teenagers nearing adulthood is already a process loaded with variables. That the party went further into nihilism you have to ask is this a sign of the future because of the Oct 14 event or in spite of the event. The cults are way duller because we're shown way too much of them. Their leaders and hierarchies have no character vitality. Their followers---if their goals are to become mute or ruled---have little flexibility so why bother. Megan's crisis in belonging would have more muscle if the silent cult had any worth. Just showing up places means to me a poor usage of time. If that cult however has more importance later, then perhaps later should come soon.

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Indeed.
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Old 04-20-17, 07:12 PM   #6
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

Ooooh, subbing for later.

This show is maddening, but very worth watching.
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Old 04-23-17, 06:03 AM   #7
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

episode 3:

I don't know. I thought Christoper E. was really good as the desperate man of the cloth, but the story itself while loaded with dreams and numbers and trials and tribulations fell flat the second time at the casino. And the final outcome was so obvious that seriously I want all these Guilty Remnant doofs to disappear not because they're becoming nouveau vulture capitalists but that they're the poorly garbed personification of clichť.

The important story was Rev. Matt's hyperimportance of self following the inexplicable disappearance of the good and the bad and the many. Rev. Matt goes on a vendetta against the imperfect, which of course implicates himself. That's all obvious Elmer Gantry. There's all this commotion about publicizing bad souls, as though he knows their destination? There's pride for ya'. I'm with Matt's sister Nora: I would just be missing my family. Let God sort out the rest. And it was the scene between Matt and Nora that I liked most in the episode. After this conversation, she has to wonder if she wasn't shafted not only in that the wrong members of her family left but that the wrong one stayed. Who wants to hear that I'll keep your secret for a price of a church and the financial continuation of zealotry? I'm glad she told him to get out. I hope she never answers the door again.

As for Rev. Matt, the answer is obvious. The church closes, another one opens. A church is a building. Buildings are everywhere. Voila. But people in this story seem to running to the cults because the patterns of their lives have been shaken. Well, Matt, don't you think you might have more of a following if you too prove to everyone that your life is shaken too? That you're not higher than everyone else? Hell, churches have been held in attics. I'd start there. One baptism at a time. Let the moneyed buy up the temples. Most people are too shattered to care.

More animal visions. Pigeons seem obvious: Matt's his own pigeon. So was the Chief the deer torn up by dogs? And what were the dogs? Probably himself as well.
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Old 04-26-17, 06:35 AM   #8
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

episode 4

the best of the episodes so far. the GR rose from tedious to downright infuriating and just plain evil. but at least the episode gave them a better rhythm in that they fit into the story as written. they didn't seem as much like poorly dressed statues staring into the night. as for the other cult, the two members we see had a better story as well. although the woman pretty much irritates me. my favorite scene in the show involves both cults where tommy's waiting at the bus stop for wayne to phone and there as well are two GR lackeys, one with an injury similar to the rock incident in episode 3. they hand tommy the physically empty message and he mocks the pair. but the phone finally rings with some robo-call about the departed (or is it code from wayne?) and tommy laughs like a fool but doesn't opt for the bus out of town.

meanwhile, in upstate ny, jill steals a baby. but before that even we get a mixture of the movie bubble and a song from the black keys. i enjoyed that entire opening. but the whole world knows jill stole the plastic manger baby and a big production is made to have it returned, even though any energy spent doing so is clearly misplaced. but even where the police energy was spent, any encroachment by the GR was merely a ruse to conceal their genuine but definitely horrible and evil plan of stealing photos of the departed from grieving households. this is so heinous that all the GR can die and i wouldn't shed one tear. but as i say, the GR works way better in this episode, so i guess my deep hatred of them for this act is a necessary tradeoff from their earlier dragging the show to the very depths of boredom.

one interesting scene was the chief's car losing all power followed by his applying the emergency brake. symbolic i suppose.

also a lone dog runs across the road. dogs are new black cats.

the gathering at some water's edge to set the stolen plastic manger baby on fire doesn't go off as planned. mainly i think because the kids got their bible stories crossed and what they did instead was moses in a basket meets a viking funeral pyre. schools, these days. what do they teach?

i liked the nostalgic and rather raw meeting between the chief and nora and in the hallway. lockers were discussed. also infidelity. and i wonder in the scheme of things is it worth worrying about certain imperfections when so many people just disappeared.

another similarly good scene is where the chief's wife brings her verbal representative to read a note to the chief. the note tells us some info about paternity and messed up adulthood (like that's changed...) but of course divorce and goodbye are the real contents. i liked how angry the chief got over this absurd meeting where the wife insists she's not only doing the right thing but has to do so in person via a novice messenger. okay. im glad he told her to leave. im glad the daughter's angry. i mean i get it that people are shaken by events three years ago and chase after strange ideals but grow the bleep up.

rev matt supplied a replacement baby which has way more plastic hair and looks more cherubic and less factory anonymous perhaps. but i think the new baby is really the old baby with new hair and the rev is using this moment to regain some of his lost pride and position from episode 3. the chief of course sees the absurdity of placing any kind of credence in a factory clone and tosses the rescued fake baby out the window. i can accept this act by the chief. at least his kids didn't truly disappear so that he has to come home to see the truth of his life ripped off the fridge. this reminds me of all the photos in the police station during the meeting between the chief and her royal silenceness. the show has some nice moments with symbols and storytelling echoes.

so an obvious improvement.
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Old 04-26-17, 10:39 PM   #9
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

This is fun.
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Old 04-26-17, 11:18 PM   #10
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Re: boonian's first watch of The Leftovers

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