Friday, October 10, 2014

The Flash

The pilot for The Flash begins with the line (in voice over, because fuck you), "To understand what I'm about to tell you, you need to do something first: you need to believe in the impossible."

This is a nice sentiment, sure. But it foreshadows basically everything wrong with this episode of television. I can believe that a man bitten by a spider or struck by lighting can suddenly get super powers (and abs). I can even believe that dressing up in a unitard and fighting crime is a remotely reasonable thing to do with your abilities, but that doesn't mean you have carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want, all the time. For example, if you are running at 200 miles per hour and you catch someone falling off their bike, you are essentially hitting them at 200 miles per hour. You're not helping. And it takes only the slightest thought to deduce this fact. And there are so many others. You should watch this episode, seriously, as a sight-seeing tour through stupid ideas. 

And it's not just geek-thought problems. There are so many TV sins in one episode, including, but not limited to: secret wall of newspaper clippings connected by red yarn (as if people still get information from physical newspapers), endless tedious voice over, beginning the episode with mom dying (why must everyone's parents die?), ostracizing nerds for being smart ("in English please!"), and so many more. Actually, let me follow up on that last sin. I don't understand why people keep writing the interchange in which a smart person describes in vaguely technical terms what something is and then someone else demands they explain it in less "sciencey" terms. Especially when what they are saying is only confusing to a ninth grader who's never read a Wikipedia article. This scene is lazy, and cliche, and more importantly, inaccurate. People, especially young people, do not ostracize intelligent, attractive young men nowadays. Geeks are chic and everyone loves Sherlock. It's so very late 90s to assume that nerd is a bad word anymore. In fact, this whole pilot is very late 90s. Look at this guy's hair:

I kept expecting this guy to whip out his heart ring
 and summon Captain Planet.

To be fair, The Flash is not all bad. There are some funny jokes, some decent character building, mostly strong performances, and just enough self awareness to keep you from throwing up in your mouth. All in all, it could be worse (it could be Gotham). I think the biggest mistake the pilot made was in that opening voice over I mentioned. It should have been, "To understand what I'm about to tell you, you need to do something first: you need to believe we are still living in the 1990s."

There. Fixed.


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