Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Defense of The Mentalist

The Mentalist - Red Hair and Silver Tape, Red Tide, Ladies in Red, Redwood, Red-Handed, Seeing Red, The Thin Red Line, Flame Red, Red Brick and Ivy, Red John's Friends, Red Rum, Paint It Red - Eps. 102-113

I liked the pilot more than I thought I would but The Mentalist is still a procedural. On CBS. And is the number 1 new show. And in December, was the number 1 show overall for that week.

And yet I'm here to defend the show because I'm actually enjoying it. A lot.

Okay, I'm enjoying seeing Simon Baker's blond tresses and his adorable smile, but the show itself, while not brilliant, has transcended some of the other procedurals and roped me in with some backstory and nice character development. It's no Bones yet (which defies all procedurals by somehow elevating itself from simple crime-solving procedural show to become one of the most romantic and funny shows currently on the air) but The Mentalist has sort of become a modern day version of Sherlock Holmes with Simon Baker as Sherlock and Robin Tunney as the bumbling Dr. Watson.

Robin Tunney is no longer bothering me and I'm actually enjoying her performance for probably the first time ever. Her Watson sidekick with an exuberant and jolly Baker is really fun to watch. Even when they start pointing out every little clue to lead you into the right direction.

The show makes you feel smart because it cleverly guides you through the paces. Normally I would hate this. I usually criticize show for dumbing things down, but The Mentalist does it at the right level and manipulates things just enough to make you think you've just cleverly figured it out yourself.

I still think the excellent ensemble of Amanda Righetti (The OC), Owain Yeoman (Kitchen Confidential) and Tim Kang are totally underused but they've been getting more air time and the team is getting more involved and more fun to watch.

Simon Baker seems to be having a grand ol' time as the inquisitive Patrick Jane and its his performance that makes the show so much fun to watch. I mean, he's pretty and all but his natural charms, alongside the childlike curiosity Jane's character has, makes it like a modern day version of those old creeky mystery shows (hence the Sherlock reference).

I also recently watched Baker's movie Something New, the "black" romcom with Sanaa Lathan (and current Oscar nominee Taraji P. Hensen as one of the girlfriends!) and loved it. Again, much to Baker and Lathan's charms. Again, the story of the black woman who ends up falling for the white guy despite her initial objections plays by the numbers but it was still immensely enjoyable.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i am surprised about how much i actually like the mentalist. let's just hope, that cbs does, too :)