Las Vegas

Episode Report Card
Sobell: B- | Grade It Now!
Danny's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Ah, Las Vegas! The brightly-lit city that's gonna set your soul on fire, populated by a thousand pretty women with a devil-may-care attitude. All you need there is a strong heart and nerves of steel.

A pulse might help too -- something that the young man upon whom the camera is focused seems to lack. If this were the other Las Vegas-based show I recap, we'd be about at the point where a pack of Cub Scouts comes tearing over the hill while some kid lisps, "Is this part of our outdoors skills badge?"

But we're not: we have only the body, which is lying in a sandy culvert at the side of a road running behind the Strip; we can see the shining tower of Mandalay Bay in the waning light of day. The music pulses slowly and electronically, and as the daylight dims and the neon flares up to send the shapes along the Strip into sharp relief, the music speeds up. Jet engines roar -- the body must be somewhere near McCarran International Airport -- and the camera shifts up away from the body in time with the rising whine of the turbines. The music kicks into high gear and the camera races along a runway toward the Strip.

We zoom past the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, and tear down Las Vegas Boulevard. The camera glances off the lit towers of my beloved Tropicana, loops around New York, New York in visual mimicry of the roller coaster that threads around the casino, hurtles down to the Aladdin and onto the rear window of a pup truck, where five quasi-hot women in bikinis beckon in simulated arousal. The camera then swoops out, rests on the neon hot-air balloon outside the Paris, zips down the street to rest on the lurid neon flower at the Flamingo's entrance, then continues down the Strip. The focus blurs just enough so we can't identify any specific casino, and then hurtles along a ribbon of neon light leading into the unnamed casino's interior.

Yes, all of that happened in under a minute. Are you feeling sufficiently immersed in the Las Vegas atmosphere?

We continue zooming along with the camera -- back outside, hurtling along a straight line of hot pink lights, and then further down the Strip. The camera lingers on the creepy-ass clown fronting the Boardwalk -- if I were a clown, I'd be picketing that monstrosity -- and continues at breakneck speed toward the Stratosphere. A crumpled copy of the Las Vegas Review-Journal flies up for a moment; the headlines read "Montecito team nabs ring of slot cheats," "McCoy Construction wins bid," and "Expository headlines up 30 percent." I notice that this is quite possibly the only newspaper on the planet that doesn't use caps in their heds. The newspaper whips out of view, and we're at the Mirage, with the volcano belching water (something that must irritate vacationing geologists to no end) and palm trees all over the place.

And now we're at the Mandalay Bay's parking area. I know this from having negotiated it several times over the weekend I was married. The camera goes into remember-this-guy mode. Not to spoil the suspense or anything, but it's trusty valet Mike Cannon. Then we zoom past all the nicely-dressed people milling around -- yeah, this is totally fiction -- and then into the Mandalay Bay lobby. The camera lingers in another introductory moment; this time, it's "events coordinator" Mary Connell. She gives the camera a flirtatious glance. We then zoom into the casino and past the slot machines to cool-as-a-cucumber Nessa.

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Las Vegas




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