If You Ever Want A French Lesson…

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: B+ | Grade It Now!
An(other) American In Paris
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

I was talking to my friend Heather, yesterday. I've known Heather online for ten years, anyhow. We met thanks to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom. She works and occasionally writes for another media outlet, but since I didn't clear this with her first, I won't out her, completely. Anyhow, we were checking in to see if we both still like Ringer. Heather said, "I still like it, but I told you where its baseline is for me."

I don't know that Heather and I have had an in-depth talk about Ringer since the premiere, but I've known her a long time, and we consume a lot of the same media, so I could guess: "Two Buffies, no waiting. Pretty clothes. Pretty men. Soapy soapy soap." Our mutual Buffy-friend Theresa is of the same mindset, and we all love Sarah Michelle Gellar (SMG) in this role. From checking in here and there around the web, that all seems to be the key to enjoying this show. I don't mean you have to have watched or been a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to enjoy Ringer. My mother is watching and enjoying it, too (hi, mum). But you have to have a place in your heart and mind that enjoys TV junk food. And SMG? She is the savory MSG on our Tuesday night snack. And unlike actual MSG, she never gives me hives or migraines. (Man, I miss Chinese food and Cool Ranch Doritos, although not together, because that would be gross.)

If Ringer really goes all out in the soapy soapy soap direction, it might make something of itself. Right now, while it's still establishing itself, it sometimes seems like it might want us to take it seriously. We can't do that, Show, because you're telling us a story about an ex-stripper/recovering-addict twin, on the run from the law and the lawless, who has assumed the other twin's life, in part because the second twin never told anyone in her circle (including her own husband) that she has a twin. You have la Gellar, who not only gives good hair, makeup and wardrobe -- she excels at angst and boo-boo faces, and she has enviable comic timing and delivery. Exploit the heck out of it all, play it over-the-top, and I think you could become a hit by CW standards. I wish this was a CBS nighttime soap with a CBS nighttime soap budget, but it is what it is. The sun is shining in your little CW corner of the world, Show, so go make some hay. Meanwhile, I'll get to my weecap.

The show opens almost the same this week as it did last week. I did not have time to re-watch last week's opening, but I am pretty sure there are two notable changes. This week, a Bridget voice-over still introduces Siobhan's people: "Her husband. Her lover. Her best friend." But this week, instead of adding, "her step-daughter," we get a shot of Malcolm and the voice-over tells us he's the only man she can trust, a line that will resonate throughout the episode. Also this week, the writers are CHEATING. And hey, I'm not going all Kathy Bates in Misery. These sort of shenanigans are the cherry atop the froth on my guilty pleasure TV sundae. You see this week, the opening ends with that shot of Siobhan, sitting in her Paris digs and getting the phone call. You know the one. But, unlike in the pilot, where the male caller simply tells Shiv, "We've got a problem," this time he says, "We've got a problem. Bridget's still alive." Wheeeeeeeeeeeee.

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