It was October 20, 2008 when I realized one of my favorite shows, The Unit, had jumped the Shark. It's gone now, but is was this show that made me realize that good shows go bad all the time!
The Unit was created by writer extraordinaire David Mamet... although I feel I must be totally honest and credit him with the ONLY movie I've ever walked out of and demanded a refund! (Glengarry Glenross - five minutes of grown men doing nothing more than shouting "F*&( you!" "No, F*&( YOU!" does not exactly move a plot along in my book. I got my refund, leaving my friends in the theatre and spent my time at Pink's Hot Dogs reading a book!)
The show got off to a promising start. Starring one of my favorite actors, Dennis Haysbert, as the leader of a top secret Special Forces unit based on the book Delta Force. The storyline contrasts the issues of the wives with those of the men who are often away on "save the free world" missions.
The men of the cast include are rock solid and believable and most are known (such as Scott Foley and Robert Patrick) or at least known faces. The women, less so, with the exception of the always classy Regina Taylor, wife to Haysbert's character. The one actor underutilized is Michael Irby. He's very talented but with no female counter-part on the show, he doesn't get as much screen time.
The Unit has been exciting in the first three seasons but this last one really blows! I blame it on the women. I'm sure portraying life on an army base may not be that exciting but the story lines only touched on a few of the problems real women in these positions may face - like how to pay for food for your kids when your husband's check is lost or how to make friends when you can't talk about your husband's job.
From a production standpoint, telling the women's stories is probably way more cost effective. Shot on sound stages, no location fees, no special effects. If the show were all about the men (which would be fine by me), it would cost significantly more to make.
This season (#4), they've created a ruse to get rid of the youngest children in the show and move the women across country under the guise of great danger and every episode has them stretching the truth and getting into more and more perilous situations. Ah, ah, ahbull shitchoo. Excuse me!
If real "terrorists" were after the women of the most elite of our armed forces, I'm certain the powers that be would not ship them across country, off- base and leave them to their own devices. And what of those poor little kids shipped off to grandma's??? Would they really be safe there??? Come on!
And as for plausibility... one of the things I hate most is contradiction. Don't say one thing and do another. Last night's episode had an all time classic - but I'm saving that for another post on things that drive me nuts in films! I'll use another show for an example: Friends. I love that show - for the most part. I try to see at least part of an episode before falling asleep... what's better than going to sleep happy??? But the whole Chandler / Monica love affair thing makes me crazy. While the character of Chandler was never the Lothario that Joey's character was... he slept with plenty of women in the show's early days. But suddenly, he hooks up with Monica and he's some dweeb who's only slept with two women and Monica is one of them! What the f*&(????
Watching The Unit last night really made me sad. They've taken a thrilling show and they are turning it into drivel and there's plenty of that already!