Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bruno Heller WTF?

Bruno Heller has brought us some terrific television but I'm continually baffled by what he has wrought with the Mentalist; a show about a sneering, banal sociopath who used to be a fake psychic and now fights crime. (Huh? I know, right?)

Sadly we're supposed to think the protagonist is now on the side of good for the most cliched, lazy reason of all; revenge. His family was slaughtered by a serial killer called Red John, a lackluster name if there ever was one, who was annoyed when he saw the fake psychic on television yammering on about how he was reading Red John.

The psychic, who goes by Jane, or some variation thereof, I've not seen his name written down, appears to be based on Encyclopedia Brown, the middle grade detective who could solve crimes in a couple of pages based on often silly assumptions. I recall one that I read when I was a small girl where Encyclopedia proved that a man was lying about going to Russia because he couldn't pronounce the Russian word for restaurant correctly.

Jane annoyed the living fuck out of me a few weeks ago with a pronouncement that reeked of smugness and a life of pampering. He decided the bad guy was the bad guy because the bad guy was in a wheelchair but the bottom of his shoes were scuffed. Jane said he'd been looking at the bottom of people's shoes for his entire life but only now had it paid off.

This made me crazy. It assumes so much that is WRONG. It assumes that anyone who is in a wheelchair right this second is always unable to ambulate. There is not a single person on the planet living with a chronic condition that flares up, causing the patient to retreat to a wheelchair until they're strong enough to do without again.

It means that every single person on the planet is so wealthy they've never had to wear hand-me-down shoes.

It means nobody ever, not even once, has let a child wear their shoes for dress up or let a sibling, friend, what have you, borrow their shoes for two minutes to run outside and get the mail or take the trash out.

This one assumption seemed to sum up all that is wrong with this show and Jane. Ugh.



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