Most of my recent visitors are still people who've misspelled the name of The Teen Missing from The Island. My pride precludes me from mentioning it again simply to drive further traffic, but I suggest multiple manglings of popular subject names as a strategem for those seeking to increase blog hits, especially from abroad. Alas, I want readers, even an intermittent acquaintanceship with people enjoying these kind of somethings to capture or divert their attention. My last NH post still has a working link to the topical Yahoo News Feed for persistent seekers. But with all that's happened in the world since then, I don't know why the unflagging interest in the absence of dramatic new developments.
Speaking of drama, in my role as nibbler of the dry rind of culture after better writers and thinkers have cored out the good bits, I documented a show from TiVo to prove that not all British mysteries deserve automatic esteem. Can I say I live blogged it when it was only live as I watched it from TiVo and I'm posting it here a day later?
BBC America's rebroadcasting this series called Murder in Suburbia which involves a pair of detectives. The hook is they're both women, but of very different types and surnames, though I get who's Ash and Scribbs confused. The website says that "instinctive, chaotic and street-smart Emma teams up with meticulous and often stubborn Kate," but I never heard them called that. Anyway, one has blonde hair with hanks that fall around her face and the other has dark hair swept up into a tight, French twist. One's in jeans and tees, the other in suits, get it? And they're in Suburbia! The entry's already long, and I promise I've trimmed down to the silliest, most illogical aspects. You may assume the depth of characterization by my substitution of types for names.
:00) Pretty blonde teen being pursued, hides behind gravestone to chant something unEnglish right out loud so that her pursuer can easily sneak around and.. Spiky knife, she's a dead girl.
:01) Blonde detective accidentally bloodies her boyfriend's nose after he asks her to play-struggle before sex. Might be the performance, no hilarity ensued for this viewer.
:02) No one comments on pentagram necklace or the athame for stabbling which was conveniently left behind. In this scene and most to follow, acting consists of the two detectives looking at each other, wide eyes versus narrowed squint, after everything IMPORTANT.
:03) Odd girl who found the body is your standard-issue, unpopular high-schooler tormented by all. She's in a chimp suit which, again, reads better than it played. When will the fake costume party ruse stop working? Never on TV.
:04) Drunken, postcoital teen party where dead witch girl was earlier. Meet school's rich bitch, dead girl's best friend until becoming her rival for the wimpy naked boy tangled in the sheets.
:06) Strange choirmaster at school's impromptu floral shrine to the fallen student. Missed the bandages on his hand? They'll be highlighted every time we see him just in case.
:07) Steely headmistress at school day after daughter's murder. Dialogue more wooden than the Ark. Locker produces pentagram-decorated journal full of numbers and a twiny doll pierced with a pin. Why stashed in searchable locker? Not smart but Boo scary!
:011) No forensics or boring cop stuff. Detectives ferry evidence to local priest who knows about hex dolls. Gotta watch that competition! Map from dusty tome shows witches' presence for 500 years. Enlightenment drove them from cities, but they secretly flourish here. IN SUBURBIA! Seeing the journal, priest pulls numerology book from shelf. Unusual for Christian clerics to have comprehensive occult knowledge with accompanying library?
Spooky Minute :13) Black cat on church gravestone and Blonde feels watched.
:14) Overbearing police superior arrives. She's an older, hard-nosed, fuzzy-haired, smokin-drinker who barks how she thought they saved murder for weekends in suburbia. Also how city folk don't get their milk delivered daily, so they're more attached to facts. Huh? Blonde likes the Dragon Lady, Brunette doesn't. Because they're different, see?
:16) Might forget the setting until the high school choir sings a song with the unforgivably heavy-handed refrain ".... in suburbia." Wimp boy's an Olympic-caliber track star (of course) with undiagnosable knee ailment "the specialist" can't figure out. Seems plausible.
:18) Odd girl dreamily tells Brunette about killing witches on hallowed ground to send them to Limbo (why not Hell?) for eternity.
:19) Detectives approach the choirmaster as we hear him singing "....in suburbia" to himself. Detectives flash around evidence bag with hex doll to attract attention.
:23) Choirmaster makes lecherous intimations about rich bitch and dead girl, "one blonde, one brunette." GET IT? Detectives ask to see beneath bandage simultaneously disclosing more evidence. Dead girl had self-inflicted hand wound, perhaps part of a spiritual bonding ceremony. Wha? Remarkably, this causes the choirmaster to show them a jagged, unspiritual-looking cut.
:25) Blonde looks up to see faces including bitch and odd girl packed together, staring from the school's windows. Horrifying if you're frightened by lip gloss and uniforms. Ooops, Fire alarm.
:26) Accident with a tea towel in Food Tech, but during evacuation, detectives' car had window smashed and hex doll is gone! At HQ, Dragon Police Lady is mad. She's moving closer to take charge with her smelly cigarettes 24/7. Oho!
:29) After decoding the journal (snap, done-never explained), we learn dead girl's sluttishness included wimp AND choirmaster who's immediately interrogated and answers in annoying rock song snippets.
:30) Asking wimp about sex with dead girl the day she died, we learn nothing, but get to see his stoned/pouty-lipped portrayal of stripping to shower.
:35) At school shrine to dead girl, rich bitch stomps bouquet from wimp to pieces. Standing mere yards away in otherwise empty lot, detectives are quick to notice and stop her. Rich bitch asserts dead girl's hoodoo magic powers while Brunette mocks on.
:37) At her own door, Blonde gets being-watched feeling again. Candles line the hallway, she reaches for cricket bat. I swear I haven't watched, but I'll guess it's freaky boyfriend with romantic surprise to cause her to accidentally bash him again. Yup. Ambulance. Big ha.
:38) Dragon Lady's swilling Jack Daniels and demanding they crank the heat on choirmaster. Dead girl's phone rings inside evidence bag with text message to meet at school in an hour. But doesn't everyone who'd call her already know she's dead? Never mind. Blonde and Brunette go.
:40) Prowling the school separately, walkie-talkies go dead (never explained), lights go out. Using flashlights, they find each other in basement where red scrawling's on the wall in alien language. Pentagram's on floor with candles a-smoking. They rush through boiler room to find two dangling hex dolls representing them! Eek!
:44) Cue the priest. Purpose of dolls' pin placement was to "blind and deafen the investigation." Unecessary, I'd say. Priest reads graffiti as Romany- a linguist as well as occult historian- saying "the Dark Lord is with you." Our blasphemous man-o-the-cloth says boiler room provides light, heat, and moisture: the Occult Trinity. Spells cast here would be specially effective and detectives should "take care" (no elaboration) when they dispose of the hex dolls.
:45) Odd girl's missing. Dragon Lady talks about her reputation, blah, blah, chance of double homicide. Do as she says, blah, blah, focus on choirmaster.
:46) Choirmaster admits sex with dead girl by shrugging, admits he saw odd girl last night. Odd girl came onto him, garters and lingerie. When rejected (not his type of jail bait?) she blames dead girl for zero-affection curse, and admits she stole original doll from detectives.
:48) Realizing odd girl will need to "take care" destroying the doll in order to null the no-love curse, Blonde and Brunette run again to the priest who indexes exact instructions for effigy disposal at the"spot where the witch died." Why hasn't odd girl broken the spell yet? Because, priest says, "there's a time for everything. Dates are important..." Blonde refers to dead girl's journal she's still carting around for dates. Finds feast of Lupercalia which Father Pagan looks up in his Big Book of Not Christianity. It's TONIGHT!
:54) Sirens blaring, cops reach cemetery before midnight to find rich bitch and odd girl fighting for doll next to small fire. Brunette threatens not to let odd girl burn it, failing to break the spell, unless she confesses what happened to dead girl. Wimp appears, yelling at Brunette not to burn doll. It doesn't represent odd girl, he says, it's HIM! Dead girl convinced him his orthopedic problems were hex-related, told him to meet her. When he arrived, dead girl cut her palm in preparation for handfasting, handed him the knife, and he snapped.
:55) Favorite line: "She said she'd cure my knee so long as we became one person for the rest of eternity." Followed by: "She was evil. She had these powers....I just wanted to be free of her. Even then, my knee didn't get better..." Brunette lets the wimp (who easily squats down by the fire - I did laugh at that joke) say a little rhyme before casting the doll into flames.
:57) Dragon Lady says "Well done. Good instincts....Gimme serial killers and gangland slayings any day of the week." All female police smile at each other. Their dolls hit the fire.
:58) Blonde with battered boyfriend in cast. Starting over. She's made dinner. With mushrooms... She's forgotten he's allergic to mushrooms! Brunette shows up as ambulance leaves for zinger, "One more date and you'd have killed him."
Simply execrable. I'm Leonard Pinth Garnell.