Thursday, September 29, 2011
* The Glades * Season 1
The Glades is an A&E Network drama series starring Matt Passmore, who is an attractive fellow. His character, Jim Longworth, is anything but attractive, but actively dislikeable. At least this was so in the first episode. So much was he dislikeable that it's kind of a surprising I continued into the second episode. They'd immediately dialed his arrogant self-centered selfish assholery waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down. Nevertheless there remained a lot of blanks here -- it took at least until the 5th episode that I actually learned his name and about that long until I learned the name of the romantic interest, and I'm still not sure how it is spelled -- Calley? Kelly? Cali? Callie? I don't know what her last name is either (ah, Wiki says Cargill, which for me, midwesterner born, means the eviLe grain and commodies family monopoly), and can't remember the name of her son (Jeff). Yes, she's a mom with a husband in prison, who works as a nurse while in medical school. She has a dragon MIL, who guards Callie and her grandson from the utterly charming and obviously besotted (alas, MIL seems to have gotten lost along the way) Jim Longworth on behalf of her convict son. This loser husband's name was the first one I ever got -- Ray, since the name of his prison contains Ray's name -- Raiford.
Not the best television series by any means, but entirely shot in southern Florida, the locations are delightful eye candy, particularly as winter rolls every closer up here. Even walk-ons and generic passersby are mostly young, glossy and very pretty. What I do admire is that while keeping this show light entertainment the writers center each episode on a subject or activity that is endemic to Florida – Seminole casinos plus Seminole racism keeping Seminole-African descent peoples out of their tribe so they can’t collect the $7,000 a month stipend from said casinos – sunken treasure, -- golf --, paranormal practioners (Seance was weakest episode, even weaker than the first one) a high school reunion during a hurricane -- Big Sugar -- golf.
The other thing I truly admired about The Glades is that Callie's rival for Jim's affections is a pretty, very rich blonde, who works as a pharmaceutical salesperson. She is not a bitch -- Callie's the bitch here --. She's nice. She's fun. She's a cool person. Even though they named her Heather.
Whatever they are they center around, the focus is a murder, which Jim Longworth solves, with the noble support system of Callie, Colleen his African American Regional Director (who in the first episode was a hardass you didn't like anymore than Jim, but by the second ep they'd also dialed all that waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down too), a young Jewish grad student intern named Daniel, who functions as Willow does in Buffy, and my favorite character, Carlos Sanchez, a latino (though they carefully do not individualize of which background – Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Central American – who is the forensics guy.
And here are the verisimilitude problems. Carlos would not be a homicide detective's partner in the car. In fact, the entire organization and behavior of the FDLE (Florida Department of Legal Enforcement) makes a farce of the real FDLE, as well as providing surely much prettier faces. Like Raylon Givens in Justified (located in Kentucky), Jim Longworth operates as a lone wolf, skirting and breaking law and rule as he pleases. Unlike Raylon though, Jim never has reprecussions for his behaviors and always gets his man or woman. Both of them feed into the bottomless appetite of the U.S. audiences to see our police state portrayed as invincible supermen who are always right, who can be as violent as they please. But it is much lighter and more fun here in The Glades, which is clearly a fantasy world, without angst.
As Callie and Jim gave the audience what the writers surely believed the audience wanted in the last episode I'm not sure their relationship is going to be interesting any longer. I will check out the second season when it's available with no effort on my part, but I'm not expecting it to hold up as well as this first one did.