Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lacey Thornfield at the Gates of Dawn

The Middleman (2008)
created by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
rating: 4 out 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

The Middleman, it must be said, is true to the spirit of Special Agent Cooper without being an imitation of him. Cooper preferred coffee to the Middleman's milk, and surely there's no comparison between those two dietary affectations. Milk, frankly, is flatter, and too obvious, and dear Cooper's terrors were altogether worse than any nightmare ABC Family could dream. Cooper, more than comics, westerns, or a dynamic Latina lead, is clearly the starting point here; still, it's enough just to state it, as the Middleman's bright, colorful, and silly Silver Age fantasy is sweetly and absurdly its own.

Better than the eponymous do-gooder played by Matt Keeslar *, though, are the twenty-something roommates who work with him (Natalie Morales) and fall for his straight-down-the-line charm (Brit Morgan). Wendy has a boyfriend of her own, but Lacey's smitten heart is just enough romantic yearning to spark the kind of quiet confessions and acts of noble unselfishness that I, for one, almost never see on television or in the movies anymore. And that, as all of you would guess by reading half a minute's worth of plot synopses on Wikipedia, is exactly why I love this show. You can check out Jack Kirby from the library, but sometimes you still need to hear and see someone tell you and show you the tale.

"Crack wise all you want about my Eisenhower jacket, Dubbie. But I wear it because it’s named after a man who led soldiers through harsh times against the darkest of evils. This jacket says something about... about me. The man I choose to be."

As James Coburn said when asked what Stella Adler meant by style, "Style."

* AKA Assistant District Attorney Josh Neff, vis a vis Whit Stillman, apparently a man ahead of his time.