Monday, January 2, 2012


After the season two finale of “Rizzoli & Isles,” I felt the need to expand on my previous comments a little more.

Why? Because when you care enough about something, whether it’s as grand as another human being, or as trivial as a basic cable show, you should always communicate your feelings instead of letting apathy dictate the demise.

And because I hope that beating a dead horse will one day become an Olympic sport.

This series is about two, not-super-young, unmarried, childless, female professionals who live in Boston. Now, could someone please explain to me how any part of that sentence even remotely courts a conservative fan base? Do they really expect this show to be the New England version of “Army Wives?” Really?

And that’s not just a Jane really, that’s a Seth & Amy one, too!

Especially, after the powers that be rode subtext as its favorite two-dollar whore for the entire first season. R&I deliberately played that card, it sure did.

If you don’t believe me, feel free to borrow my first season DVD and pick an episode, any episode. Oh, and the blooper outtake where the talent groped and almost kissed each other (playfully so, but still). That never had to see the light of day. And the speed dating promo could have easily ended before the across the table, doe-eyed toast. It didn’t.

You see, I highly doubt Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander sat in a Starbucks one day and said, “Hey, you know what would be totally fun? Let’s flirt with each other like crazy on camera and see what happens!”

The producers, writers, directors, talent, publicists, and network were all complicit in this. Any director without cataracts saw exactly what we saw and could have easily said, “Whoa, ladies, that came off more than a little lezzy, you might want to bring that down a bit.”

Instead, they ran with it. And so did we.

Does anyone truly believe that Hollywood wouldn’t capitalize on an opportunity to spike a new female lead series with subtext/lesbian innuendo in order to generate buzz and build ratings? Please, say yes to that with a straight face. I love it when smoke is blown up my ass while staring into a funhouse mirror.

However, it’s ultimately up to each one of us if we want to participate. Tiptoeing around the terms “flack” and “shill” and then suddenly screaming j’accuse at the top of our lungs is a circle jerk that has already been played and it’s pretty pointless.

R&I’s magic lies in the chemistry between the two leading ladies when they interact. And it’s simply not projecting when even the hetero crowd picks up on it. As I have mentioned before, there are tons of cop shows, more than a few female friendship shows, but zero girl-on-girl versions of “Moonlighting.”

This show had the unique potential to be that. Instead, any traces of tenderness or caring (forget flirting) have vanished and it makes me wonder if the actresses have had some kind of falling out in real life and it’s coloring their performances? If so, ladies, get over it quickly. There’s a reason it’s called acting and not neurosurgery.

There were a couple of recent winter episodes where our leads could have done some serious dancing together. We know these women know how to walk/work a rhythm and there is nothing on TV more entertaining than that (hold on, Sarah Palin as a guest star who is held captive in the Old North Church by a designer of Kwanzaa cards could be fun). But the show stayed away from that possibility on purpose.

The character of Jane has been downright grumpy this season and mean to the character of Maura – not cute bickering, not sexy bantering, but belittling bordering on berating. Of course, it didn’t help that the show reduced the sophisticated yet quirky Dr. Isles of season one into more of a nine-year-old girl encyclopedia this season. It’s rote and ridiculous.

A friend of mine suggested that maybe the show was deliberately making Detective Rizzoli hostile because she was coming to terms with her homosexuality. I seriously considered it for a nanosecond and then I laughed heartily for a minute. There’s no way this show is capable of being that deep, sorry! But, I’d love to eat crow -- I have a lovely chutney recipe to go with it.

Unfortunately, so many of us were elated over Maura’s, “…I love you” proclamation that we forgot a very important preposition: in. ‘I love you’ is said all the time without real meaning. In fact, I said it to last week to the bakery dude when I was three cents short and he comped my custard tart.

To those who keep harping on the, “They were never gay to begin with” argument, well, there are more than a few fictional characters and real people who started out straight and then saw the rainbow. I’m one of them. And I am demanding more of this show. If we don’t demand it here, where or whom do we exactly demand it of? The backyard fence? The grocery store checker? It’s 2012, not 1995.

Season three will make it or break it for me and a more than a few others. There might be a way to salvage this show if it is brave enough to go there. I propose split custody of Jane and Maura. The straight audience, Tess Gerritsen, and the GOP can have Jane/Angie. We’ll happily claim Maura/Sasha.

I think the TPTB were shrewd enough to appoint the adorable Ms. Alexander/Mrs. Ponti as LGBT ambassadeur extraordinaire et plénipotentiaire for the show based on her tweets alone. All that time in Geneva is paying off in spades, sweetheart!

I also believe a graduate of the prestigious USC film school knows how to separate her personal life from her professional one and would have no trouble playing gay (see Greg the Bunny). This chica even made Tom Sizemore likeable in a film, now that’s beyond Oscar worthy.

With the demise of the Jane/Maura pairing, it’s time for Dr. Isles to get an honest-to-goodness girlfriend. Not a one-off dinner date but a serious, multi-episode romantic arc with another woman. It’s essentially the only way to save this show for me and I'm pretty sure Sasha would be able to handle it -- I know the rest of us would, too.

My personal nominees for Maura’s girlfriend: Michelle Forbes as a firefighter who would out-butch Jane with her big hose and Megan Follows as the boarding school bosom friend turned BCU linguistics professor… okay, I need to stop now. You get the idea.

If the show is unabashedly using this rift to end R&I as we know it and send both characters separately skipping off down the road to Straightsville, then may this be a two-pronged lesson:

1. To future producers tempted to press the subtext button because it’s cheap and easy and the internet absolves you of all your social responsibility, please don’t! There will be consequences and there will be backlash. We might not burn down a carport but our time and money will be better spent elsewhere.

2. To future producers tempted to make the absolute gay version of this show, please do! It’s not only a clarion call, wake-up call, booty call, whatever kind of call you want to call it, it’s the smart thing to do. Save your vegan restaurants (we’re meant to be carnivores for a reason) and put pride for the cause before profit for the corporation.

I apologize if this comes off as incredibly shallow but I’m going to say it anyway. If we wanted to watch ugly people doing it, we’d all be gathered around the windows of the local Motel 6 every night instead of our TVs.

All we genuinely want are two interesting characters portrayed by smoking hot actresses who have mad romantic chemistry, a half-assed story, and then be allowed to act upon that chemistry on screen. It is an insanely simple formula but everyone treats it like multivariable calculus. Stop it!

Finally, let me end my rant with one more peeve. This show is set in fucking Boston. It’s fucking cold in Boston. I haven’t been back there in a few years but I recently spoke to my cousin and it is wicked fucking cold in Boston. I know this show doesn’t have much of a budget but maybe Toyota could pony up for a couple of fucking coats and a couple of fucking scarves.

Thanks for reading; )