joy magnetism: Let's be honest

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Let's be honest

Magnet #363 - SoapNet Liar

This is the perfect magnet to talk about two shows that I've been following, Trust Me and Lie to Me. I haven't checked the ratings for either, and it's been a while since I read any reviews on them. So it's absolutely possible that I'm the only one in America still watching them.

Trust Me is that "not-like-Mad-Men-at-all, trust-me" TNT show with Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh as Chicago ad guys, with Monica Potter and a host of lesser-knowns rounding out their Creative group.

The bulk of Trust Me is just stereotypical advertising agency roles and situations. You can almost tell that the ad guy creators come from the Creative side - all the clients are unreasonable, all the account people are idiots and exist just to gum up the works, and the Creatives are running around going to extreme measures just to live up to some high-stakes overpromise they've made to the clients. And they don't care about the media or production groups as evidenced by the amount of mentions they've been given in the last several episodes.

If you're not in the ad business, I haven't a clue why you'd even watch this bunch of neurotic crazy folk trying to solve their usually self-inflicted ad agency problem of the week. To tell you the truth, I don't know why I'm still watching - though I'm guessing I'm just a glutton for punishment while I sit and watch plenty of my real world agita get acted out (in hyperbole, of course) on screen.

But I haven't really been made to care about any of the characters, and I think that's where the show is lacking. Were it not for my fondness for Eric and Tom, and how well they play off each other, I'd have given up several episodes ago. As it is, part of the reason I keep coming back is the part where they show me previews where it looks like Monica Potter leaves the show. And I get disappointed every time. She's not sympathetic - no matter how much they make her cry - I could give a hoot about her. Plus, speaking of stereotypes, I keep thinking her quite annoying character reads more like an account person, than copywriter. (Full disclosure, I'm an account person.)

But, there must be something there, because I still spend my 44 minutes alternatively laughing my ass off and yelling at the screen. (Yes, I fast-forward - three arrows - through the commercials, too, but didn't manage to escape last week's Dove product placement or this week's Facebook product placement.) And on that sad fact...moving on.

Lie to Me is that FOX show with Tim Roth (being allowed to use his accent - yay!) and Kelli Williams as the team that people bring in to figure out when people are lying or not.

I'm not going to lie, I really love this show. A lot of the body language stuff I've heard before from books and documentaries and stuff, and it's true, at some point, I'll probably get tired of them expositioning every. single. microexpression. for every. single. situation.

But for now, the show, with its odd characters (most notably, the boyfriend from ABC Family's Middleman, Brendan Hines - yay, new gig! - who has taken a vow of truth), and dialogue that makes me giggle from the cute (though probably wasn't meant to be), keeps me entertained. A caveat - I'm not entirely sure where they're going with the characters, and their relationships to each other, but they've dropped a few nuances along the way to keep me tuning in.

I am a little worried, because there's a part of me that wonders if everyone in the world will start watching the show, and learn how to lie effectively, without getting caught. The other part of me wants to write down and/or commit to memory every trick that they tell me, because some of that stuff has already been helpful.

Oh, there's even a small part of me that worries for their clearances guy - someone has to clear all that editorial footage they keep using - I haven't looked at who they're crediting at the end, but dang, you have to wonder how Bill Clinton feels when they bring up that Monica footage constantly.

Anyway, check out both shows - I'd be interested to see what other folks think. Honestly.
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