Here’s the official Fear Itself review for Den of Geek. Well, actually, it’s an explanation of why there is no review of this week’s Fear Itself at DoG, not a review itself. My original review, which you’ll find below, was a bit too… virulent, I suppose, for publication. I don’t blame them for not really itching to put it out there, as not only is it a little too controversial for what they’re trying to accomplish, it’s also completely disorganized.
That said, controversial and disorganized sounds like a blog entry anyway, so I figure I’d throw my 15 readers a treat. Instead of promotion something I wrote for Den of Geek here, I’ll give you something I wrote for Den of Geek that they thought best not to use. I don’t blame them; they have enough trolls over there without me adding to it by bringing up pedophilia and child abuse. I had my doubts as I was writing it as to whether or not it would end up publishable, and I figure they made the right call.
Disclaimer: It goes without saying that the views expressed below are my own (and those of the state of California). They don’t reflect back on anywhere I write at, nor do they reflect the views of any organization, past, present, or future, that may employ me and blah blah blah, covering my ass. Furthermore, nobody do anything fucking stupid and blame me for it. Further furthermore, don’t fuck little kids and tape it.
One of the problems I have with reviewing TV shows is that you pretty much have to make a snap decision right then and there about your thoughts on the matter. For example, if I go out to the movies, I can take a little time and chew on things a bit more, but when it comes to television (and getting my TV reviews in before the Den of Geek posting deadline), time is of the essence. If I don’t get right to work, the review will be old news by Monday morning, and I’ll feel like a slacker. Of course, I *am* a slacker, but it goes without saying that I like to pretend I’m not while in public.
I’m conflicted about this week’s episode of Fear Itself. That means this review is going to take me forever to write, because I’m still not quite sure what to think about it. There’s nothing bad about the episode at all, but there’s nothing really good, either. After last week’s excellent episode “The Family Man,” this episode feels more like the flavorless, workmanlike first episode “The Sacrifice.” I’d have expected more from John Landis, except I’ve seen his Masters of Horror episodes, and most of his movies, so I will no longer allow myself to be swayed by American Werewolf in London.
Anyway, that’s a bit of a digression.
Fear Itself seems to get a lot of mileage out of TV guest stars. From Friday Night Lights’ in the opening episode, to Eureka’s Colin Ferguson last week, the show’s casting seems to lean heavily towards TV experienced actors for the bulk of its casting, and they seem to find fun in casting actors outside of their traditional roles. This week finds Maggie Lawson and James Roday from Psych stepping out of the comedy vein and deep into the horror/suspense mindset as a bride and groom on their wedding day. Of course, since this is Fear Itself, it won’t be a good wedding.
The entire time I watched this episode, Maggie Lawson seemed really, really familiar to me. Not just from her work on Psych (because I don’t watch the show), but from somewhere else. After the episode, I hit up the IMDB and looked up her profile. As it turns out, Ms. Lawson and I share a hometown. The reason why I recognized her was because for six years, she was on the local kids show during my elementary school years (she’s a year older than I am, roughly). So the entire time I was watching the show and distracted by trying to figure out why she looked so familiar, I was remembering one of the faces from the interstitial pieces showing between episodes of Animaniacs.
But that’s another digression.
The episode was… acceptable, I guess. I’ve watched a lot worse, but this is definitely one of the worst episodes of the series. It’s too dark and bland, and very clichéd down to the twist ending. John Landis manages to make t adequately suspenseful, but after the incredibly well-written episode by Daniel Knauf last week, this week’s script seemed weak by comparison. It was only after a glance at NBC’s website that I realized why it seemed… off. This episode was written by Victor Salva. He did Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers II, and has a history of child sexual offenses (with a 12-year-old boy who starred in his first film major film, Clownhouse). Had I known about it at the time, I wouldn’t have watched this episode.
Knowing what I know now after Googling the show to find the name of Lawson’s character in this episode, I can’t adequately review In Sickness and In Health without my objectivity turning into a hate-filled screed against a person guilty of one of the worst crimes known to humankind. To me, there’s absolutely nothing more sick and disgusting than harming a child, and whatever prison time Victor Salva served, it’s not nearly enough. I can forgive (or at least overlook) any number of crimes, but not that. I don’t care that he’s paid his debt to society; he’s still a horrible, evil being who should probably be castrated to protect others from his libido. That might be a bit excessive (though not as excessive as smashing his testicles with a meat tenderize), but considering the high rate of recidivism amongst child molesters, I’m not sure how else the world could be protected from his sick urges.
If you want to watch it yourself and leave your comments below, that’s fine. I’d rather no one watched this episode, so as not to support the career of a horrible scumbag, but it’s your call as a viewer. Unlike me, you’re going in forewarned and forearmed. I feel dirty now. That’s what I get for researching this episode for the article AFTER watching it.
I’m looking forward to next week’s episode. Stuart Gordon was the only consistently good Masters of Horror director. Even better, it seems like he’s gotten away from the Lovecraft adaptations with what looks like a very weird supernatural tale. Anything’s better than the way I feel now.
I’ll see you back here next week, gang.
Ron Hogan is now disgusted with himself for having accidentally supported Victor Salva. He’ll have to shower with bleach to feel clean again.