The Racialicious Roundtable for Undercovers 1.2

Hosted by Arturo R. García

So, based on last week’s open thread, here’s how the tally broke down:

  • Nikita: 6
  • Undercovers: 4
  • Both: 4

Which is close enough for us to keep an eye on both shows for the time being. When it comes to Undercovers, that might not be too long: The Wrap reports that the show’s ratings dropped by 24 percent between its’ premiere and the second episode, “Instructions.” Meanwhile, Law & Order: Los Angeles – starring SKEET FRAKKING ULRICH – looks to be progressing nicely. Seems we can’t win for losing. But does this episode even mark the show as being worth saving? Let’s see what the Roundtable has to say …

Based on a Twitter exchange with Sigrid from Fantastic Fangirls, here’s a theory about this show: is it really a USA Network program that’s found its’ way on to NBC “proper”?
Mahsino: That’s why I’m not into this show. The cheese factor of the show would be perfect alongside Burn Notice, Royal Pains and Psyche. But then again, NBC is still trying to keep making Chuck happen, so I’m not really sure what’s going on since that show is also seems headed to USA character status.
jen*: Oy – it really does feel like a USA show.  Although this ep was in some ways better than the last, I’m still waiting for things to get good.
Andrea: Hmmm, I get the cheese/USA Network critique.  After some thought, I can see how the show could fit on the network.  But this show is selling cute/sweet/happy ending, not the solidly sledgehammer formula of quirky/happy ending that butters USA Network’s bread.  The Blooms are surrounded by “quirky” people, like Mrs. Bloom’s sister, ex, and assistant/Boris stan. (But is flaky recovering alcoholic or a charming alcoholic really supposed to be construed as oddball?  if so, that’s a heck of a comment about alcoholism.  I think the assistant/stan would fit the quirky USA-character mold better.)  But, beyond being Black, in love with each other, having a catering business, and being re-employed spies, they are not inherently weird, off-kilter people.  Also, it would only work on USA Network if Leo was the hero, not the Blooms. Just saying.
Diana:: Boris is sexy as hell.  I’m sorry, what was the question?

O HAI Shirtless Boris! Bikini Gugu! The Purple Dress! It’s the official Sexpionage space!
Mahsino: I’d like to express my full hatred for the word Sexpionage. I generally hate any cutsey made-up word, but that one makes me irrationally angry. As for shirtless Boris and Gugu: meh.
jen*: I’m not really impressed with eye candy.  And I guess I understand wanting to end each show with them in bed, just cuz we haven’t seen a happy black couple in bed on primetime since Claire and Heathcliff, but still.  It’s 2010.  We get it.  They have sex.
Andrea: I don’t care for “sexpionage,” either, but the fact that you, Mahsino, despises it so much makes me giggle and want to use it repeatedly while running down the hallway where you work then break down and do the Dougie in front of your cubicle. :-D Honestly, y’all, I don’t even catch it when they say it.
Diana: Did I say that Boris was sexy as hell?  I have a one-track mind.

I liked Agent Crabbypants noting that the Blooms have been out of the field and are “rusty,” but is anybody else hoping we get an answer as to ::why:: they keep getting work now?
Mahsino: I think they tried to allude to some ulterior motive in the season opening with the ominous voice asking “do they really know why they’re being reactivated”, but I feel like that’s a setup for a season finale “shocker”.
jen*: Somebody, somewhere, is pulling the strings to give them resources and cash for all their missions.  I’d expect the Blooms themselves to be a little more curious about being back in the business.  No official check-in back in Langley?  Some guy they don’t know tells them he’s an agent and they just say ok?  Eh – I don’t want them to be manipulated, but it seems perfectly clear that they are.
Diana: I would be tired of Crabbypants always insulting me.  Maybe they aren’t working for who they think.
Andrea: And the season shocker will reveal that the Blooms are working for none other than Delta Burke, Crabbypants’ spouse in real life.  This development I like.

I’ll just go on the record and say it: The Leo Nash character archetype needs to be taken out, “Goodfellas”-style.
Arturo: This would also include that bag of smarm Matt Bomer plays on White Collar.
Mahsino: Man, did Matt Bomer kick your dog or something? You really hate that guy. I do, however, have to agree that there’s definitely an over-saturation of “lovable rake” characters, one George Clooney is more than enough.
Arturo: I dislike “charming” people as a rule, since their demeanor tends to yell I’M SELLING YOU SOMETHING. Bomer, personally, I have no beef with; he’s just doing his job. But as soon as I saw the ads for that show, I started hoping Michael Westen would have a reason to shoot that character.
jen*: I like Bomer.  Ever since Traveler.  Sue me.  But I *hate* Leo Nash.  His whole character and placement in the show feels forced and unnatural.  Carter MacIntyre doesn’t even deliver his lines well, and the whole dynamic between him and Boris just pulls Kodjoe down.  Can’t they just fight a ‘Big Bad’ with their trusty bumbling sidekick, Hoyt?
Arturo: Sticking Nash into the mix would seem to support your theory that the Blooms are being manipulated. After all, any decent agency would know better than to assign a guy who randomly says things like, “Did sex with your wife” to the team.
Mahsino: A decent intelligence agency would also know better than to trust a known alcoholic to keep going on missions.
Diana: Isn’t one side-kick enough?  I feel like Agent Nash is going to take over, sort of like when Heroes started focusing on the Benetrellis and all the characters of color fell to the wayside.  ::sigh::
Andrea: Yes, Diana! I thought the exact same thing about Nash…though I was thinking of calling that “The Nikita Treatment.” :-P

Open Mic!
jen*: Undercovers is not impressing me.  Neither is Nikita.  And can we talk about how the black guy on Nikita totally didn’t have to die?  I was just pissed about that.  I figure I can go with covering both shows for a while.  But I certainly hope they get better.  They had such potential.
Andrea: I agree, jen*.  I can’t choose between wanting to watch Nikita kick everybody’s asses or the Blooms kicking everybody’s asses.  Decisions, decisions….
Mahsino: The green-screen on this show is a hot mess. Either fully embrace the cheesiness of your show, or invest in decent graphics and lighting.
Diana: Karachi was looking a lot like downtown L.A. to me.  The destinations are not believable at all.  Again, I much rather watch them run their catering business.
Arturo: I just got back from downtown L.A. I can only hope that Karachi’s businesses are open after sundown.