The Racialicious Roundtable For ‘Flash Forward’ 1.9

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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By now, dear reader(s), you’ve probably heard that ABC has given the turkeys at Flash Forward an extra-long Turkey Day hiatus in order to give the writing a punch-up. Of course, if you read this space, you know we could solve the problem for the creative staff in four words: MORE CHO, LESS FIENNES. And it’s not just us who are off the Bedford bandwagon. As AfterEllen notes:

But honestly, Joseph Fiennes gets annoying after awhile, with his one-note performance (the one note being angst) as Mark Benford. How can someone be as grim as he with a wife like this?

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Still, perhaps we’ve all been too hard on Captain Non-Charisma; as the Roundtable’s own Andrea points out, one of the men behind the scenes of Flash Forward is Brannon Braga, who helmed Voyager and Enterprise, the two Star Trek properties that don’t, ah, get mentioned as much as their sister series.

Ok, back on a regular sched now. Hope everybody’s doing well and avoided the Twi-hordes
Mahsino: I just watched the original Twilight a couple weeks ago. To put it in perspective, it’s somewhere between Heroes and Dollhouse: bad, but entertaining enough that you can’t bring yourself look away. It’s a decent clean-the-house and fold laundry movie.
Diana: I was sucked in, but survived. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a theater with so many women, even compared to when Sex and The City came out. But for hangin’ with my girls, I probably would have waited to see it on Netflix.
jen*: Successfully avoided. I’m more of an Angel fan.
Andrea: Here’s me, not giving a f-ck about Twilight and the latest vampire trend in general. I work in a commercial building that containing a shopping mall; I’m more worried about the Black Friday/Christmas hordes.

Is it possible, or even plausible, that Mark becoming even more of a jackass this week – witness his misguided questioning of Stark and Wedeck – is a purposeful attempt by the creative team to let us see him “hit rock bottom” before redeeming him at the end of the year? (Mind you, he wasn’t very likable to begin with …)
Mahsino: I dunno, it seemed reasonable to question his frienemies even if he wasn’t subtle about it. Stark and Wideck both seemed to exude fake outrage though- I’m willing to pin it on either one o them.
jen*: He still bothers me, but I can understand asking. I don’t know why he can’t imagine that there is more out there when they’ve just experienced a freaking mass blackout. But he does seem to lack imagination.
Diana: You were reading my mind, Arturo. He was a total ass to everyone. He could have had the message traced rather than being such a prick.
Andrea: But, Diana, Mark only functions on prickiness. If he behaved any other way, we’d scream that he was acting out-of-character. :-D My beef with Mark is the creatives have no imagination: they are still deluded in believing that having a straight white (cis) male character would create instant relateability, even in his prickiness–no matter how poorly drawn this character is. (I think they’re counting on the years of folks seeing white men leading as heroes, mavericks, and anti-heroes, and sympathetic alcoholics to guarantee this.) Like I said in my initial review of FF, the creatives needed to switch the leads. Mark isn’t compelling enough, and Joseph Fiennes isn’t the best actor to lead this show. Not every pretty white man is instant lead-actor material, Hollywood..and everything white people do isn’t inherently interesting. Proof? Heroes.

keiko1It’s worth noting that Keiko moved to L.A. to build her own life and, presumably, pursue a musical career – Bryce doesn’t seem to figure into it much, if at all. Compare that to Bryce almost short-circuiting his own flash-forward and having, in his eyes, nothing else to live for.
Mahsino: It feels like their 2 minutes don’t synch up. Bryce basically spent most of it waiting for her in a restaurants while she was running around doing her own thing most of the time. Either way, I don’t care about their storyline, or Starks’ or Mark’s.
Diana: I’m with you, Mahsino. I wished they had spent more time on Demetri’s storyline of finding his killer.
jen*: I’m wondering if we shouldn’t have waited to Roundtable this show for a lil while, I only care about Demetri, now, and wouldn’t mind seeing Ms. Union again, either. But everyone else [except for maybe … Janis and Wedeck] can go the way of the birds.
Andrea: The Keiko-Bryce storyline kept my head on the desk, y’all. The show’s music director seems to think it’s an excuse to continue to play some half-ass “Asian” accompaniment. Bryce dying of cancer (and reason-to-live-for flash-forward) is no justification for damn near invading Keiko’s mom’s home. (I almost threw my laptop across the room watching that scene ’cause it recalls times in history when white men could pull that ish with impunity–and on the threat of death to any PoC who tried to protect their female loved ones.) And Keiko whole story arc thus far is a pile-on of Asian stereotypes, like the person trying to get free of her cultural strictures of sameness (the managers frowning on her liking Hendrix and salsa dancing, the exchange with the tattoo artist, her mom introducing her to eligible Japanese young men and blocking Bryce’s entry (though totally justified)), Asians lacking creativity (her discussion with her mom about finding someone with imagination), and Asian men’s sexism (the manager’s not hiring her but demanding that she serve the tea). The final side-eye was when Keiko came to the US to get her individuality on. That’s when I quit Keiko and Bryce.

On the one hand, it doesn’t make much sense for NSA to not notify Dem’s superior officer about the phone call from Hong Kong (other than to establish the NSA as dicks). On the other hand, Dem in Hong Kong = more screen-time for Cho, no?
Mahsino: No. More time for Mark to throw around wild theories under the guise of helping Demitri. Let’s not get our hopes up.
Diana: Obviously, not in this episode.
jen*: I’m just hoping no one expects him to speak the language just because he’s Asian.
Andrea: I can see Pricky Mark coming at Demetri like that while they’re chasing down Shoreh in Hong Kong: “What do you MEAN you don’t speak ASIAN?!?” But we also know Dem would regulate with a single snap. I’m hoping it’ll start with, “Look, you Hong-Kong-colonizing motherf-cker…”

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Open Mic!
Mahsino: As much as I like Cho and Vance and want them to stay employed, I just want this show to resolve itself already. It’s hit that Grey’s Anatomy level of melodrama.
Diana: Maybe the show would be served better if they actually narrowed the cast and only focused on the agents and their immediate flash-forwards. Dr. Death and Keiko, McDrinky and his daughter, the babysitter, and the kangaroo can all get the boot.
Andrea: I agree.
Jen*: Actually, I’d like more kangaroo exposition. Where does that even come from? What does it mean? Oh, and I looked up FF on wikipedia last week for some reason, and it kinda looks like the book might be more interesting than the show…
Diana: According to this week’s Entertainment Weekly, they will be explaining the kangaroo at some point.
Andrea: And, like Twilight and the vampire trend, here’s me, not giving a f-ck about the kangaroo.