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July 26, 2004

Season Two starts with a bang!


Dead Like Me literally started with a bang as the group took about 5 souls from a gas explosion at a vegetable market. We get explosions and flying veggies, but despite the smooth look of the show, it's still the dialogue that drives it.

The Second Season picked up the great dialogue where it dropped off. Last night's episode was a treatise on sadness.

Mason, who we find out was sober all summer, drops off the wagon by episode's end after being forced to take the soul of a man at his daughter's sixth birthday party.

Daisy gets little real substantive play in this episode, but we know from last season she is carrying around some secret from her past that consumes and drives her. George said last season "I watch her sometimes. She's sad about something."

George's folks decided, finally, to get a divorce, leaving the already only-partially-stable Reggie to miss George even more as she has to deal with it alone. The pair broke up after neither of them was able to overcome the sadness that last season's hurts left them alone with. This is utterly believable... how often do we deny ourselves what we really want (in this case, reunion) because pride won't let us?

George herself took a soul early in the episode that was eerily similar to her own death just over a year previous. That put her in mind of the fact that she died after squandering her life on hiding in her room and rebelling against her mother. Her death at 18 left her, in her words, "a virgin with a death certificate," and it's pretty clear that virginity won't last forever in this new season. George also got a promotion at work, but just so that her boss Delores could keep her from a relationship with the boss' son. Rube, the head reaper, doesn't want George to take the promotion at the ironically named "Happy Time", fearing she has too much on her plate already. Of course, she takes the money; she's broke. Just the multi-directional tension George needs to drive another full season.

Rube was the only character who seemed changed, all the others picked up where they left off. Rube was always sarcastic but with words of wisdom and an "old soul" in the first season. This time out Rube didn't seem to have any concern for the reapers at all, especially George, and was solely a force for sarcasm and bossiness. Maybe this was necessary to set up the tension with George or maybe he's just had enough of her antics. There was a melancholy allusion to a daughter of his, but just a mention. Maybe that points to sadness of his own that is the root of his change. We'll see.

Expect that happiness will remain possible in each of these cases. George's ray of light in this episode is symbolized by a flower that she receives from a merchant who is destined to die in the market explosion. While she tries to get rid of it (she's too sad to see any beauty or hope?), it appears again later, rescued by the florally-named Daisy. George sees it in full bloom as she gets in from the end of a very hard, very sad day and carries it to her grave, acknowledging her own death and life-cut-short. The last scene is her running from the grave site, hair in the wind and a huge smile on her face. Symbolism, anyone?

Popping Culture's sources tell us Season Two is even better than Season One as a whole. I can't imagine it, but I also can't wait to find out.

Posted by Dan at July 26, 2004 07:43 AM

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I agree that last night's episode was a good start to the season but I disagree with you about Rube. I think he showed concern for Mason in accompanying Mason to the party. I also think his not wanting George to take the promotion was out of concern for her based on the fact that he called her 'peanut.' He seemed to be hurt when she told him not to call her that. Perhaps one of the underlining threads of the show will be that George reminds Rube of his daughter and he's not comfortable with it. It would set up some interesting dialogs between them. Not that there hasn't already been. Some of the best dialogs have been between George and Rube.

I have to also disagree with you concerning Daisy. She had little 'on screen' time but her saving that flower for George showed a depth in the character that was started last season. Also, her trying to talk to George but finally giving up and just saying "I'm sorry you were so young when you died." This was substantive.

I hope they can keep up the level of this show. There are so few shows on these days worth watching.

Posted by: Cindy Preston at July 26, 2004 12:30 PM

Very good response. I meant about Daisy that she didn't have a central role in this episode, a fact that I think will be more than made up for this season.

Good words on Rube. He's my favorite character and I do hope you're correct.

The good news is I find that dialog-driven shows (ie Seinfeld) last longer and do better in the ratings over long periods of time than shows that rely on flash and gimmick.

Posted by: Big Dan at July 26, 2004 04:16 PM

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