Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Garrulous Go-Between and The Dodging Domino

Well, I epically failed at getting any post up right on Halloween. I was running extremely late, and I’d gotten a burst of inspiration for working on The Malevolent Mugging. Since other projects have been claiming my attention a lot lately, I wanted to seize that inspiration while I had it. But I consider the Halloween season to technically run through All Souls’ Day, even though I don’t observe that, so I feel I’m still on time. But I apologize to anyone who was looking for a post yesterday. I didn’t get so much as a chance to make a post saying the main post would be delayed, in between everything else.

To be honest, I’m kind of fired up about The Daring Decoy and would like to examine its unique structure and squeal over its main guest star, but I’ll try to keep all that for the weekend post and finish up the Halloween episodes series first, as promised.

I watched The Garrulous Go-Between on Monday, and remembered why I’d never considered it one of the paranormal episodes. There is a fortune-teller, true, but just the fact of her worshiping Isis for the giving of fortunes certainly isn’t enough to push this into paranormal or even just eerie status.

It’s generally accepted by the other characters that the fortune telling is a fraud, although she never wanted harm to come to the main girl and did not deliberately participate in any scheme to make her believe in the fortunes. Therefore, I suppose it is possible that she really did see something. Either that or since she knew that the bad guys were out to get the girl, she was trying to deliver a warning masked as a fortune. I don’t recall that either way was actually made clear.

The main disturbing thing happening in that episode is the main guest star’s canary ending up dead, following a fortune that someone the girl cared about would die. And actually, I don’t remember that ever really being explained, either. But I would assume that one of the bad guys killed the canary, as Perry speculated, in order to make it look like the fortune had come true.

Meanwhile, The Dodging Domino has a very intriguing title. A friend of mine mentioned she wished there would have been an episode taking place at a masquerade party, and to be frank, that’s the image I had in my mind of what The Dodging Domino must be about, before I saw it again last year. I was kind of disappointed by the main plot revolving around ownership of a song, with Halloween mainly as a backdrop. The day only becomes important during court, when Perry proves that the killer was a short man who hid among the trick-or-treaters dressed in costume himself.

I do like the resolution scene and concept; it’s unique and clever. And Hamilton’s reaction to a group of trick-or-treaters coming into court is priceless.

The method of death is rather chilling—electrocution by a heater being thrown in the bathtub. I don’t think that sort of thing was used much. Andy even comments on the heater as an unusual murder weapon. Most of the time we see guns, knives, and poisons as murder weapons. It’s a bit of foreshadowing of the present-day shows, perhaps. It seems much more common these days to try to have strange methods of death in mystery shows.

This is the only episode written by Charles Lang, and while he definitely makes it stand out with the concept, and writes the main characters well, I’m not sure what to make of his cast of guest characters. Some of the dialogue feels absolutely cringe-worthy. I know I’ve heard people say Perry is cheesy, but I thought usually that applied solely to the crooks so often breaking down and confessing. (And probably also to how Perry almost always wins.) Other than that, dialogue is usually spot-on and feels real.

In this episode, however, I’m often not sure whether to laugh or wince at some of the conversations between the guest cast. The entire opening scene with the eventual murder victim and his girlfriend comes off so strange, particularly as they’re discussing costumes to wear to a party. I’ve especially never cared for the girl’s “Da-dum” and her introduction of her cigarette girl costume. It feels extremely cheesy. The fellow also is often overdramatic and silly throughout the scene and the episode, although I attribute that mainly as confirmation that he is, as he’s told, “a clown”.

(I do like that he’s so fond of the kids and wants to have trick-or-treat stuff for them. He’s not a very nice fellow, but he’s not as horrid as some of the victims, either.)

Then you throw in the actress Mona White’s overdramatic agent, Mona playing pranks on her “friend” Alex by completely scaring him into thinking she’s getting him into a plagiarism suit over that blasted song (which, by the way, sounds about twenty to thirty years out of date, but that could just be me not caring much for those types of showtunes) and then later completely denying any such intentions, and Mona’s off-the-wall insults. Alex’s goatee beard is a pair of earmuffs temporarily out of place? Um, okay. I snicker at that while groaning at the same time. That is just weird. In fact, Mona is just weird. Perry seems to think she’s rather kooky himself (albeit he’s at least somewhat amused).

I should mention, while I'm not familiar with a lot of the guest actors (other than Maureen Arthur, whom I've liked for several years), my disparaging comments are based only around the characters they're playing and the way those characters were written. It's not meant to be any reflection on what I think of the actors' talents. I believe the actors worked the best they could with the material they were given, and that the material itself was cheesy from the start.

This episode takes the prize for some of the strangest dialogues throughout the show’s entire run. And while I do like how Halloween became important to the plot, I really wish that there had been another episode specifically set at Halloween where the holiday was a central point throughout, perhaps with the masquerade party idea, perhaps something else.

I think overall, my favorite Perry episodes for Halloween are Samuel Newman’s, with The Meddling Medium in first place and The Fatal Fetish in second place. (In general I like The Fatal Fetish more overall, but this is solely describing its appropriateness as a Halloween venture.)

No comments:

Post a Comment