Friday, November 12, 2010

Shoddy Writing III: Brothers and Sisters

Oh boy, how does one of your favorite shows become a show you hate? It’s called shoddy writing and for part III in my series I’m focusing on Brothers and Sisters. What is wrong with this show? Shall I count the ways? Let’s start with the very first episode of the new season. The season started with advancing the story a year forward. This was to allow the youngest son Justin to go off to war and come back. He came back to Robert, Kitty’s husband in a coma, Scotty and Kevin owning a restaurant with Saul, Sarah unemployed but dating a hot guy, and Holly suffering with memory loss. Ojai Foods and politics were the core through line of Brothers and Sisters. It was what made the show unique as well gave it more depth than a typical family drama. With the new writing regime these things have been decimated. Characters are fighting over ridiculous things and the stories have been the most uninspired piece of shoddy writing I have ever seen.

First off, my biggest problem is the Holly storyline. I loved seeing Nora and Holly in scenes together. How often on a show do you get the other woman and the wife being forced to run a business together? I guess giving her memory loss was a way to give her some relevancy on the show, but it led to one of the most dumbfounded, shaking your head in confusion moments I have ever had. If your mom was suffering from memory loss would you take a job on the other end of the coast from her? On Brothers & Sisters that’s exactly what Holly’s daughter Rebecca did! The quick resolution to Rebecca and Justin’s marriage just didn’t feel right especially with the time leap forward. We’re supposed to believe that a year went by and this couple never talked about their relationship or considered divorce? I believe a fatal mistake was made a season ago when they undid Rebecca’s paternity. One of the reasons why they did this was so Rebecca and Justin could engage in a romantic relationship. The problem with putting these two in a relationship was the lack of complications and obstacles. What kind of challenges could you throw at them if their families got along? This is a show about family after all, and most of the central conflict is within or revolving around the family.

Another problem I have with is a declawed Kitty Walker. At the end of last season she was running for assembly, and now she just sits around her house. Don’t you think a woman of her caliber would want to be kicking butt and taking names? Why would she just drop out of politics? There have been several women politicians who have lost their husbands and ended up running in their place. Why would she not continue on as a way to honor her husband and his legacy? I think it would be interesting to have a woman who is widowed with a baby trying to balance her career and personal life.

I also have the same issue with Sarah. I do not buy her sitting at home sewing costumes for her son’s school play. She’s her best when she is wheeling and dealing. Why was Sarah not involved in business operations for Saul and Scotty’s new restaurant? Heck, why didn’t they start a new kind of family business and include everyone in the family? I also, don’t feel the chemistry between her and Giles Marini. His acting is pretty flat, and he is way too perfect. He doesn’t seem to have any flaws and that could eventually lead to one thing—a character that will bore us to death. I wish they would bring Steven Weber back, because he had a lot of heat with Rachel Griffiths. I would have enjoyed a story between them where they would be in competing businesses.

This begs the big question can this show be saved from falling off into the abyss? At this point, I think a mercy kill would be in order. The writing is lazy, the characters have become a shell of themselves, and I’ve basically removed the show from my DVR. I think the only way to resuscitate this show is to bring back Jon Robin Baitz. Have him refocus the show around politics again and give the characters their backbones and imperfections back.

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