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My 2 Cents on Moss
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Bilbo67
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Joined: Fri Oct 27th, 2006
Location: The Daisy Hill Cluster Lizard Farm
Posts: 469
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 Posted: Mon Mar 1st, 2010 11:56 pm

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My 2 Cents on Episode 4.16: Moss
(3/1/10)

 

And a good day to you sir/madam/spambot. Been a while since we’ve done this, hasn’t it?

So I bet you’re all wondering to yourselves, "What lint-brained excuse for failing to crank out reviews in a timely manner will he roll out this time? Let’s see, he’s used the work one, the vacation one, the computer problems one, and the "oh woe is me, I almost bled to death on a bathroom floor" one. He can’t possibly expect us to believe that he was snowed in, because that would mean more computer time, and goodness knows, no one will ever love him unless he makes out like a bandit at the roulette wheel or falls ass-backwards into a cushy, high-profile political office…that can only mean that he’s been incarcerated. Bilbo, what the hell did you do to wind up in jail, and is it true what they say about the showers? (you know…that there’s never enough hot water?)"

Bit jumpy with are conclusions, are we? But it’s all good, ‘cause you’re close…closer than you might think…but close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and judicial restraining orders. No, the real reason I’ve been so quiet lo these past two months and change (aside from another customary bout of near-crippling laziness) is because I’ve decided to audition—on a (clipped) wing and a (sacrilegious) prayer—for a bit part in a movie.

…sides still aching?

…still? It’s cool, I’ll wait.



Righty-o, so here’s the skinny on my latest disembrained endeavor:

Shortly after unleashing my photoshopped Halloween abomination (it’s posted here somewhere) on the world, the stumblebums I work with decided to have a little fun at my expense by signing me up for a modeling/casting agency, ostensibly so that I would have to wade through even more junk mail every morning. Long story slightly shorter, their little rib worked, guffaws were had by all, and I thereafter dismissed the matter. But since I never could figure out how to get my name off that godforsaken mailing list, I continued to receive the occasional feeler, which I was content to dump alongside platinum credit card offers from the First Bank of Honduras and bargain-basement offers to enlarge body parts that I wasn’t even born with. But then Dame Fate lost a bet with her suitemates and was forced to toss me a freebie. I accidentally opened one of those feelers and was at once smitten by a casting call looking for big, muscular, dumb mook looking types. On any given day I’m at least two of those things, so I decided to take a chance and scheduled a photoshoot with a local photographer. She said she could shoot me in a week, after which I immediately went out and—on the advice from my sister, whom I must have deeply wronged at some point in the past—joined a tanning salon. "Just six or eight minutes a day," she told me, was all I would need to build up a killer, definition-enhancing base tan. Says her! Turns out, one six minute session was all I needed to transform myself into a blistered radioactive lobsterman. Such is the plight of the hopelessly fair skinned. It did fade, by ‘n by, and though I was still loofha-ing epidermal cornflakes off my chest the morning of the shoot, the gal nonetheless managed to make me look half human, which in and of itself is up there with hanging the moon.

(I didn’t say anything at the time, but I felt so sorry for that girl. Oh, you should have seen the poor thing…sitting huddled in her nice, heated car between shots with two coats and a pair of gloves on while I stood around shirtless in twenty-seven degree weather chiseling frozen tears from my cheeks and praying for the quick, cozy embrace of the grave).

Now obviously I’m not sitting up nights waiting for the phone to ring, and if this whole ridiculous venture amounts to nothing, then meh. But, if by some minced miracle the stars align and the Hollywood honchos decide to go slumming…why then you may one day find yourself disrupting dozens of other theatergoers by boisterously blurting out "Hey…I know that corpse! Oh Lordy, and the camera really does add ten kilos. Gah…good thing I skipped lunch…"

And scene.

Back to reality…

 

In what might be the ultimate sign that I desperately need to get out more, this episode—more specifically, the dull, Lexxless lull that directly preceded this episode—will forever stand as something of a personal milestone for me. For it is at that point, after many a month of nervous lurking marred by innumerable yields to my hopelessly flaccid interpersonal skills, that I finally ginned up the nerve to register a wholly unoriginal user name with the Skiffy board and share my thoughts about the show, the very first of which went something along the lines of "Hey, I just noticed the last episode is called ‘Yo Way Yo.’ I bet that means it will be about Kai." Such depth.

A scant couple of days later I watched Moss, and while the post that followed principally consisted of more harebrained theories about how the series was going to end (those of you who were around for that run-up can surely recall what an epidemic that blossomed into, thanks in no small part to yours truly), I eventually got around to addressing the episode itself (one or two disjointed sentence fragments that can basically be summed up as "So, like, had they met that guy before or something?"), thereby starting the epidemic ball a-rollin’.

Whether said epidemic is a positive or negative force for change will be for the second and third generations of review readers (no doubt encountering them in a graduate level academic setting) to furiously debate until their respective factions take up arms against each other in the Third War of the Second Bilbonian Reformation.

Might think about cashing out your IRAs before then…

Solright...much as I dislike the term, I’ve accused the last couple episodes of drifting into "filler" territory. A wishy-washy charge to say the least, considering disjointed, standalone adventures were pretty much this show’s m.o. until season 3; but in my defense, it would appear the pre-show recap agrees with me, as it completely omits the previous episode, and indeed, barely acknowledges anything that took place between the end of 769 and the start of this ep. Call me a cynic (just don’t call me by my middle name...its embarrassing), but this just feeds my belief that they ordered too many episodes for the final season. I’ve little doubt that Salter/Alliance/whoever more or less told the beans "sure, do whatever you want" (after jingling some keys to distract Hirschfield, of course), and that they settled on two dozen episodes in order to ensure that no round, tumescent stone went unturned. And while all of the filler eps have at least a few moments—little or otherwise—that make them worthwhile, the beans probably could have pared the final season down to a nice, tight little 12-15 episode run if they’d trimmed some of the fat.

But hey, sometimes a touch of gristle adds a world of flavor.

For once it’s smooth sailing when we drop in on our heroes, although with every state and local law enforcement agency scrambling to deal with the rampaging nymphozombie upon whom we all secretly hoped this episode would be based for one thoroughly sordid reason or another (take stock of those glass walls afore you go flingin’ stones at me, gals), something as comparatively benign as three defenseless, slow moving multiple murder suspects making a clean getaway is bound to get bumped to the bottom of the in-box. Disaster having reared its legume shaped head yet again, the time has come to let fly the finger of blame, and boy, do they ever, thrusting that damning digit at everyone and everything to cross their path in the last fortnight; and while it never once dawns on them to readjust the rearview mirror that they might cast a disparaging glance at the parties responsible for their being back on Earth in the first place, I can’t really find fault with them this time. After all, I’m willing to bet the bulk of us have, at some point in the past calendar week, gone off on a teeth-gnashing, drawer-thrashing, spittle-splashing unholy-vengeance-swearing tirade in which our eyes roll back into the inner recesses of our skulls and we cut an indiscriminate path of flustered destruction through every room in our home, kicking over priceless dime store heirlooms, arbitrarily pinning our frustration on everyone else who ever walked the Earth—past, present, and yet-to-be-conceived-in-the-backseat-of-a-rickety-Trans-Am-while-it-works-its-way-though-an-automated-carwash—and cursing the primeval singularity that gave rise to all the universe in language so vile that it causes our teeth to rot on contact and all the birds within a five mile radius to change course and intentionally fling themselves into the nearest available jet engine…only to idly run our hands through our hair and discover that our sunglasses have been perched atop our head the entire time. Now, the crew haven’t quite reached that pivotal point of no return yet, but Xev is very much on the verge of driving angry, and had the story been allowed to develop differently I’ve an inkling that tempers would have boiled over and much unmediated high-volume opinion sharing would have ensued. Hard to fathom the fallout…but I think it’s safe to assume that Xev would take it as sufficient grounds to withhold sex from Stan.

Alas, before it can so much as halt play to cut away to the first regularly scheduled innuendo-laden beer commercial, the World Series of Buck Passing is suspended indefinitely (pending a lengthy, Senate-sponsored hearing on performance enhancing rhetoric) by a "Men Working" sign buttressed by a few road cone partitions and the traditional absence of anything that even remotely resembles men working (your tax dollars at work…hey, whatever works!). Now then, ask anyone who’s done a fair amount of overseas travelling and they’re likely to tell you that failure to adopt—or at least acquaint yourselves with—the customs of the country can occasionally lead to sticky situations ranging from mild embarrassment to the removal of one’s tongue (ol’ Bilbo’s not much of a globetrotter, but I did share a long, awkward moment with an Aussie classmate in college who offered to knock me up for a cram session…crikey, guess the concept of "dinner first" was alien to that bloke). Xev’s situation is little different. Had she but known that the customary response to shiftless roadside teamsters is to roll down the window and shout "Get back to work ya bums!" while swerving hard to the right to splash water on the sign holder, our heroes could have left this week’s danger in the dust and spent the remaining forty-seven minutes of this ep playing I Spy and fighting for control of the AC. As it happens, she pulls over for a little chat, anxious to ask the sign guy if he’s working hard or hardly working (can’t blame her for thinking she came up with that pun on her own if she’s never heard it before) and damn near ends up choking on a seven hundred mile-an-hour lead breath mint. The ever-ready Feds have succeeded where the dear departed dyspeptic Deputy Dogmeat failed (both here and on the treadmill), scoring a textbook collar with a practical little sting operation that only ran a few hundred million dollars over budget! Huzzah!

A further round of applause for Xev, and her flawless gun removal technique. Somewhere Jackie Chan is nodding approvingly. Bruce Willis, on the other hand, is cringing and massaging his temples in disgust, because she neglected to engage in the traditional follow-through: swerving hard to the left and splattering her would-be assailant about the asphalt like a hundred and eighty pounds of tomato marmalade while making potentially slanderous conjectures about the recently deceased’s relationship with his mother. Come on, Xev, when in Rome, damn it!!!

Except they’re not in Rome. They’re in trouble…heap big trouble to be precise, because our lately neglected cop on the edge is back, and he’s looking to stake his claim. In the grand tradition of his strung out forebears—Murtagh, Mitchell, McGarnagle—he introduces himself as Moss, and if his craggy, angular profile seems familiar it’s because he is familiar…so familiar that Stan makes hushed, disinterested mention of his familiarity all of once and then never brings it up again. That cynic in me wants to assume that Stan’s essentially channeling the beans here; that is to say, handwaving a potentially massive plot element that is only really given the touch-and-go treatment. Then again, if I were on my way to my own execution and happened to notice that the head trigger man bore more than a passing resemblance to my creepy old nine-toed swim teacher, I’d probably be too busy pestering Kai to save me and hurriedly wringing what we’ll assume for dignity’s sake is merely excessive sweat out of my socks to pay the cosmic coincidence much heed. Leave it to Stan to show us the way once again.

Last stop: an abandoned rock quarry (the recession hit Mr. Slate particularly hard), where our heroes happily acquiesce to their soon-to-be executioner’s orders to step out of the van and proceed to the rockface in an orderly fashion instead of deliberately making things as difficult as possible for them (i.e. going completely limp, sneezing uncontrollably, or shanking some passerby to trigger a riot). I can’t speak for Kai, because he’s halfway to New LaLa Land at the moment, but Stan trots right along like a good little lemming, which means he’s either packing a mithril man-girdle beneath that unflatteringly baggy onesie, or he’s comfortably certain that Xev will pull his shiny shorts out of the fire by doing "that Cluster Lizard thing."

Ah, careful there Stan, don’t count your lizards before they…do…whatever it is that they…do. Not only are Xev’s hands lightly bound, thereby rendering her incapable of performing a standing somersault, but she’s been drugged! Probably, anyway…how else do you account for the fleeting Scottish brogue ("Oy’m toyed oop") that even Xenia herself looked surprised by? Still, drugs or no drugs, single easily broken strand of rotten twine or no single easily broken strand of rotten twine, I’m supposed to believe that Xev can’t outflank one guy in his late 50’s with a safetied, poorly-sighted semiautomatic pistol still secured in its holster when on more than one heavily-fatigued occasion we’ve seen her exfoliate the hard way and slaughter big, goopy circles around Natasha Henstridge? That’s asking a bit much. Methinks the curvalicious carnivore is still a bit pissy because Stan wouldn’t let her stop and pick up a commemorative shot glass on the way out of town.

(Speaking of pissy, if you’ll permit me this brief aside: *Ahem* Paul, Lex…Jeff—if you can hear me inside that ether-filled neon beige hyperbaric chamber—do you guys know the precise dictionary definition of the word "surprise?" Here’s a hint: it’s the opposite of name-dropping a previously deceased guest star in the opening credits. A small screen, post-title variation of the classic Star Trek III [or Eddie and the Cruisers II] crap-up…better not let it happen again!)

Lord Have mercy, I need to get out more. Book club, sewing circle, pyramid scheme. Something…

…preferably something other than a shifty, easily duped firing squad. But since I can pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time (provided I carbo-load the night before), I figure I’m way overqualified for that job anyway.

You’ll never get rich working as a functionally insane, homicidal faux-civil servant. But at least fellas like Moss can put head to mealworm-infested bedroll at night knowing that the movers and shakers perched atop the Federal food pyramid are working every bit as hard. Why just look at the most powerful man in the world (no, no…I mean the President!...but thanks all the same, I’m flattered). So immersed is the Feeb in Chief in his latest, most pressing bit of business (which appears to be a marathon game of "Who Wants to Have a Stroke?" with First Lady Bunny, the outcome of which could have a lasting, multigenerational impact on the nation’s squeegee industry) that he can barely find time to thoughtlessly chisel his X on any of the vaguely worded, bacon-laden, Constitutionally questionable piles of Stephen King-sized legislative word salad weighing his desk down, let alone read them, thereby discursively curtailing wasteful government spending and easing the fiduciary strain on Mr. & Mrs. John Q Taxpayer (of the Steubenville Taxpayers).

I know what you’re all thinking, and I’m with you…deteriorating infrastructure and randomly disintegrating chunks of the world notwithstanding, things seem to be running a lot smoother without Prince gumming up the works. Score one for Kai, and his grassroots "blunt force term limits" policy!

All business all the time…that (along with hefty kickbacks to the tank top union) is why I pulled the lever for him. But like many a poor, overworked schlub (yo!), Priest occasionally pines for the carefree halcyon days of yesteryear. Baseball…apple pie…church strippers…?

Ok, setting aside for a moment the fact that "Church Strippers" would be an awesome name for a band (I’m thinking I might co-opt it if I ever get around to finishing the Lexx song that I’ve been tinkering with for far too long now), I must confess that this exchange provided one of the episode’s biggest laughs. Bunny’s stone-faced, thoroughly genuine reaction: "You had naked women in your congregation?" had me slapping my desk and hunting for the rewind icon. Everything about Patty Z’s delivery of that one line—from her facial mannerisms to her incredulous-airhead-who-thinks-she-like-totally-might-be-on-to-something tone of voice—was a dead-on perfect three second distillation of her character as a whole (not to mention smirk-worthy throwback to my high school days when some vacant-faced peroxide princess started laughing and called me an idiot for using the word "incredulous," which she assumed I had made up). I must have rewound that scene three or four times just to appreciate that one line. Hardly a patch on the untold dozens of times I rewound Bunny’s most infamous season 3 scene (don’t blame me, the dialogue was muffled and I hate missing lines!), but worth mentioning.

Does Bunny still have the key to the Lexx at this point? There’ve been so many plot halts, zany side adventures, and mood-killing nudity-discretion-shots since the last time we visited the bridge that even if I was still watching the show on a regularly scheduled weekly basis, I doubt I would remember. Whatever the case, Bunny still wants Feckless Leader to think she does which—you womenfolk have got to admit—will route even a dense man’s biological B.S. detector far more successfully than the time-honored, "I have a headache," "I had a huge fight with my mother today," and of course "I haven’t shaved my legs in four days, so unless you fancy getting it on with a cactus…" This, I suspect, is one of Bunny’s recurrent "stupid like a fox" moments, while Priest…well hell, he’s still waiting for someone to explain to him where the world goes when the Speaker of the House covers his eyes and says "peek-a-boo," so it probably never dawned on him that so long as the participants stick to the abridged Kama Sutra and don’t get too rhythmic, two people could technically pass the key back and forth to each other until one of them runs out of electrolytes.

Ah, but Prince already thought of that one (hell, he penned that very page of the Encyclopedia Disgustica). Never one to succumb to a little setback like having a fleshy donut hole blown out the back of his torso, ol’ Izzy pops up (can’t say that he "surprises" us, because somebody already chewed up that chance) on the Mamie Eisenhower flat screen to throw cold water on the luckless lovebirds and inform them that he’s been making the most of his early retirement by engaging in his oldest, non-jumpsuit-bedecked passion: narrating grainy, stock-footage-laden documentaries for the History Channel. (Prince piloting a Northrop F5 = the single most badass four seconds in the history of television)

So what do we learn? Plenty! For starters, despite a steady diet of government cheese, Izzy still fits into his season three digs (though he’s missing the welding shades and that Jurassic ascot…thing). We also learn that the "truly dead" are sent to low rated educational programs to work off their sins for a time. Bust most importantly, we learn that a flippant, sexually frustrated Bunny is friggin’ hilarious! A girl after my own pathetic heart…

A’ighty, what say we blow the beltway and get to know Moss a little? To the degree that one can know a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a cabbage flavored acid trip. "Prepared" is certainly one way of describing him. Not so much in the "Hmm…it’s a little overcast, I’d better throw a coat in the car just in case I need it," sense so much as the "If the lizard men who secretly fund the Trilateral Commission with Pesos laundered by the transdimensional pasta people of Numbara 7 ever attempt to stage a coup on the front steps of the Montana state courthouse, we have enough assault weapons and freeze dried rice flour to drive those six eyed bastards back from whence they came!" sense. Brains of the operation though he apparently is, he’s got a rugged, slightly psychotic streak running through him, very much like a poor man’s Michael Ironside crossed with the "I want some butts!" guy from Top Gun. Personally, I downright cherished Stephen McHattie’s enthusiastic interpretation of the character. But a tiny part of me wishes that they could have gotten Michael Gross to play him instead. I know, I know, that’s wishful thinking of the "Nice to meet you, Bilbo, my name is Xenia…could you please help me with this troublesome zipper?" variety (I mean, let’s face it, Burt would never make the kinds of mistakes this guy does!)

One short, awkward, David-Koresh-fawning, non-air-conditioned van ride later and Moss, his pea shooter, and our heroes meet up with a group of militant Swamp Thing enthusiasts (hey, I miss you guys like crazy, but let’s face facts: it all went to hell after Alan Moore left), who wave the whole mess of ‘em into the showerless, tick-infested world headquarters of the American Freedom Rangers, a tight knit secret society of pistol packin’ patriots hellbent on taking down the beast once and for all (I suppose somebody has to pick up where Gaston left off). And to splick with starting at the local level by circulating a petition to get the newly instituted fifty cent Twinkie tax repealed; revolution of this magnitude calls for a complete top-down scrubbing…the White House, the Congress, and most importantly, the ATF. That last part comes as beautiful, inharmonious music to Stan’s ears, prompting him to dig deep into his fanny pack and screw on that oft-neglected set of marbles he occasionally dusts off when talk of sticking it to Prince and co. comes up (…do it…I dare ya…I’m beggin’ ya…)

Sweet…sounds like we’re gearing up for some action!

Right after math class…?

Yes, no sooner is Stan issued a new hat (hussie!) than Moss sits his new power trio down and regales them with a series of mathematical anagrams related to the number of the beast: 666 (I just don’t have the heart to tell him that in some translations of the Book of Revelation, the number is rendered as 616…I’ll wait until he’s mellowed out a bit…after he’s punched out for the night and gotten some nice, piping hot swamp rot soup in him). I can’t even begin to parse this section of the episode; in part because it ascends to what I’d previously assumed to be an uninhabited level of insanity, but mostly because Stevie McH starts to lapse into an unintentional Christopher Walken impression. I’d really like to think that that element was entirely absent from the table reads, and that when the beans first caught wind of what he was doing they shot a googly-eyed glance at each other then whispered, "Dude, keep rolling, keep rolling!"

Of course the real scary part is that while Moss makes for a delicious parody of all the fringe nutjobs out there, much of the half-digested babble that spills out of his mouth hits closer to home than you might think. As someone who had to read The Turner Diaries and a number of related documents for a college sociology project, I can assure you that the beans poured more than a couple measures of real-world crazy into Moss’ character. In fact, that old project was the second thing that popped into my head when I revisited the ep for this review.

The first was a profound wish for Kai to say, "That Iron Maiden song with the thirteen second scream at the beginning" when Xev asked him what the number of the beast was. m/

Elsewhere: remember Gordo and Skankita, the suspiciously well groomed crack-addled veterans of the Battle of Prime Ridge? Given how frequently the beans resort to clearinghouse endings to keep from having to remember supporting characters’ names for more than seven days at a time, the fact that these two somehow slipped through the reaper’s fingers must certainly mean that Paul and the boys had big—dare I say, Princely—plans for them, eh? Eh?

Or not. Before the two actors can so much as phone home and say "Hey, guess what, I got a recurring gig on this sci-fi…comedy…porno…thing…yeah, I don’t think Grandma would like it…" their characters are sent packing by way of the American Freedom Rangers’ arch nemeses, the American Freedom Rangers (Idaho Coonvention of ‘94). Not much to say about this ballistic bait-and-switch. Except, did anybody notice that Gordo seemed to be looking slightly off camera when he said "Drugs are legal in Canada, right?" How much you wanna bet that line is nowhere to be found in the teleplay?

Wow, Moss is still talking! Something about attaching the two halves of the "1" to the two "0’s" in "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" to get "666 Pennsylvania Avenue," (working title of the Church Strippers’ first hit single and subsequent world tour…see ya at Wacken!) which is simply absurd! How can this yammering basket case possibly spearhead an entire paramilitary operation when he can’t even do remedial math? I mean just look at that scribbledygook…he completely neglected to factor in the requisite curve that must be applied to each of the 1 halves…otherwise you wind up with "6bb Pennsylvania Avenue!" Come on, Moss, get with the program! I know you’re better than this…hell, you’re the first person to call attention to half a dozen of this season’s most catastrophic plot points, which proves that you’re the detail-oriented sort (or that you get kickass TIVO reception in that abandoned guano mine you call home). What say you dispense with the sloppy work and start earning that corner office?

*sigh*

Why do I even bother? Here I am, dispensing the best free advice money can buy, and does Moss even pretend to listen? Noooooo…he’d rather change topics—conveniently, I might add—and rail on and on about Isambard Prince having "truck" with Stan (who’s bored out of what is left of his mind and far too preoccupied with breaking in his new hat to pay attention, much less nervously pop off, "WHO TOLD YOU?!? LOOK, NOTHING HAPPENED, I FELL ASLEEP ON HIS COUCH, OKAY!!!) Typical men…minds always knee-deep in the briniest end of the gutter.

Now, as to Moss’ follow-up assertion that Prince is not to be trusted because he’s English, all Engs are homosexuals, and all homosexuals are liars: while the beans are owed a brief golf-clap for foregoing the temptation to rely on the all-too-obvious citizenship jokes, this is an out-and-out fallacy. For starters, you’ll never convince me that the tall, leggy, sundress sporting brunette with an Adam’s apple the size of my right deltoid who poked his head into my work asking to borrow the phone was being anything other than genuine when he opined that my natural highlights really compliment my eyes (honest to God true story there…been catching hell about it from coworkers for three years!). Need further proof? All right, let’s wind that frilly lavender clock back a few turns: Oberon, Puck, Farley (pour a couple nectarinis down his throat, compliment his neatly trimmed treasure trail, and watch that "coy" act lift like a fog), the "girls," Brother Smiley, Feppo/Smoor, and depending on what kind of equipment he’s hooked up to, certain incarnations of 790…sure, a couple of them beat around the bush, but lisp-induced underdeveloped social skills aside, every last one of these people were open, honest, and back-and-forth-and-back-and-forthcoming in their belief that Stan’s too sexy for his jumpsuit. Prince…a liar!? Bollocks! When he said "Number 4 on the hat, number 1 in the sack," you can bet your pappy’s chaps he meant it.

 

Road trip! Once more, through the magic of the jump cut we are instantly whisked several hundred miles, sparing the casual viewer the tedious conventions of over-the-road driving (I guess focus groups just failed to appreciate the appeal that is seven hours of Stan, Xev, and an increasingly whacked out Kai triple-stacked in the back of a Suburban with Moss and the last remaining eight-track player in the northern hemisphere). We can only assume that things went by the numbers: escape attempts, intermittent pistol whippings, longing anecdotes about Ted Kaczynski’s ribbon-winning grits, and the inevitable "What do you mean you have to go NOW, we just pulled over five minutes ago...well I’m not stopping...well you should have thought about that before you tossed your Gatorade bottle in the trash...don’t make me turn this car around!"



Short-staffed, overburdened, and underdeveloped though he be, Priest clicks his binary brain cells together three times and manages to shave, feed himself, and change into his formal toe socks mere moments before receiving what he believes to be a high-ranking ambassador from the Federal Bureau of Intoxication (which I hereby decree shall be the Strippers’ second hit single...or, if that idea falls through, a crate full of cheaply printed T-shirts and tank tops that I will sell outside of airport terminals boarding flights to Cancun every March…holy crow, I’d better get to work!)

Gotta say, the crew certainly made the most of the drive time when it came to schooling Moss on how to act like Prince. Every subtle, condescending, grandeur-embossed nuance is played to the hilt (though we are left wondering if a certain someone bothered to fill him in about Izzy’s ankle fetish and habitual cover hogging), and after one poorly telegraphed "gotcha!" attempt (Priest’s first season 4 mention of Water/Fire, about which Bunny seems to be genuinely out of the loop), President Puddin’head buys the ruse wholesale, breathes a sycophantic sigh of relief and resumes tongue-shining his erstwhile overlord’s scratchin’ hand.

There’s much work to be done and no time to yank the Senate away from their bimonthly constituent-funded water balloon jamboree, so Moss—acting as Prince—instructs the Prez to whip together an Executive order naming him the new acting head of the ATF. With apologies to my old A.P. Government teacher, I have no idea if the President is actually allowed to do that (particularly on a simpering, finger-licking whim). Ergo, having drifted so far into unfamiliar waters that I’ve all but lost track of the horizon, I’ve decided to try something new: shutting up and going with the flow (a head-on collision between "The road not taken..." and "Bilbo, you dolt..." that is certain to saddle me with a lifetime of ideological child support payments). Many a learned scholar has, after all, cited the Constitution as a living document, subject to updates and reinterpretations...but more importantly, Moss taking the reins at the ATF serves as a rock-hard throbbing pretext to revisit that badass underground bunker! I love everything about that place...the practical locale, the tastefully subtle decor, and oh my stars and garters, the dimmer switches!!! Take note Messrs. Wayne, Stark, and Blofeld...this is how it’s done!

First order of business: swiftly eliminate any ATF officer overheard speaking with an English accent. (Here here! For the last time, it’s a bathroom, not a loo; an elevator, not a lift, and I hang my hat in a low-rent, ramshackle, sanitationally-questionable apartment, not a freakin’ flat! Good Lord, where did you people learn to speak English!?!?!?)

Second order of business: discretely install small closed-circuit camera atop mini fridge in break room so that the Bag Lunch Bandit can finally be brought to justice, discard and replace Prince’s pre-set XM stations, pencil hilarious Sharpie "unibrow" on Kai’s forehead, begin process of gradually forging new ass groove in expensive imitation leather chair.

Third order of business: serve a double helping of chunky, pre-heated justice to the wayward, tyrannical, freedom-hating splitists (song!) at the AFR IC ‘94 (I thought about calling them AFRICans, but that didn’t sit well with me. So, after much careful consideration and a couple rounds of high speed channel surfing that culminated in my nine-hundredth viewing of the "Diplomatic immunity!" scene from Lethal Weapon 2, I decided to go with AFRICaners).

Seems like an awful lot to tackle first day on the job, but then Moss is a tire-kicking young go-getter with everything to prove, filled to the brim with piss, vinegar, and four decades worth of pickled bomb shelter preserves. He’s also loo-rat insane, as the ensuing AFR court martial will soundly demonstrate.

You may recall that in past instances when one or more of our heroes found themselves on trial, Kai was always quick to step in and talk the prosecution under the table and/or convince them to hurl the accused from the highest window on the planet. Under what tenuously passes for "normal" circumstances on this show, Moss (or, barring that, Moss’ digestive tract) would be putty in Kai’s hands in a matter of minutes. But the silver-tongued stiff is down to his last thimble of go-goo, thus, his pre-trial arraignment consists of a Goldblumian blank stare, some psychedelic moaning, and a heavily slurred "Would it kill you to lick me?" I know, I know...most Lexxians would respond with a weak-kneed "Court’s adjourned" while attempting to dolly Kai’s freezer into the judge’s chamber for a special closed-door cross examination. Moss, however, refuses to take the bait dangling in front of him because he’s:

a) obviously a dude (...that we know of)

b) obviously not "English" (although those caves can get mighty drafty at night, and, let’s face it, we’re all prone to the occasional "running/falling" dream)

c) obviously a Farscape fan (hey, their show definitely had its moments—when it comes time for me to get flung to the ass end of the galaxy, I can only hope to take it in the same smartassed stride as Crichton—and heaven knows they’re every bit as anxious to see Bonnie Hammer roasted on a spit...that said, there’s simply no coexisting with some of those folks...)

 

Bail is set at three thousand Sugar Crisp boxtops (which the AFR intends to install as our new global currency following the insurrection), and Stan and Xev are stuffed in cages pending a formal trial (storyline be damned, Xenia could have shot down my criticism of her dance moves by frugging throughout the course of this scene). After taking a moment to straighten out his formal flak jacket and commission a Weird Flying Taskforce to shoot down any approaching moths (and maybe wing one or two of those snooty paragliders while they’re at it), Moss bangs a gavel and the trial gets underway. Thrifty...efficient...expedient...this new director’s hitting for the cycle so far.

Once again, what follows is nearly impossible to summarize, let alone make light of. For as much flack as season 4 may (sometimes rightly) catch for its overreliance on boorish slapstick, this scene alone is worth gutting it out through a dozen misfires and provides one of the watershed examples of how deliciously inane the beans can be when they decide to just pin their ears back and go for it. I speak of course, of Moss’ one-man Gregory Peck retrospective, aka "Body Odor in the Body Politic" (song!).

I would love to get my greedy little muttonhooks on a copy of the shooting script for this episode, simply for the sake of reading along with this scene in order to find out how much—if, I say, if any—of Moss’ psychotic Foghorn Leghorn-inspired ramblings were ad-libbed. Stephen McHattie’s so-far-over-the-top-he-can-see-the-curvature-of-the-Earth delivery is a joy to watch, and you can tell the guy is having the time of his life, gleefully chowing down on every inch of scenery and very nearly supplanting Jeff Pustil—who retains his spot only because he hung around longer—as my favorite guest star (watch this scene back-to-back with Stephen’s performance in Watchmen as a temperate, wistful, down-to-Earth old timer and you’ll be hard pressed to believe that it’s the same guy). That the three leads managed to keep straight faces the entire time is a testament to their professionalism...but I’ve got to imagine more than a few production-halting belly laughs piled up in the cutting room.

"One thing that probably wasn’t a planet anyway." Once again, the beans are a step ahead of the NASA geeks when it comes to bitch-slapping Pluto...whatever the hell that misshapen ball of ice is supposed to be.

So the prosecution’s case is...flimsy...to say the least. Too bad Xev, self-appointed mouthpiece for the defense, isn’t doing her side any favors. Let’s rundown her counterarguments:

* "I have not done anything to you" - isn’t that the strongest argument for keeping Xev around?


* "All we’ve ever wanted is to get off this planet" - says the girl who’s repeatedly needled her easily led friends into going back down to the planet mere hours after narrowly escaping a messy death and leaving an F5 trail of devastation in their wake

* "You are unstable in the head" - unstable? Then just how does that Jenga tower of a hat stay in place when he switches characters?

Love ya much Xev, but I’m sorry, your arguments are specious at best. And what’s a nuthead?

 

It’s looking grim. Mighty grim. But no worries fellas, you could always hold out hope for a Presidential pardon. That is if the President can spare a minute to pull himself away from what appears to be the Dirty Old Man Shopping Network (boy howdy, but do they cut corners when it comes to shipping...do yourself a favor and take your business to a reputable degenerate). As it is, he can...and just a Brazilian second before Prince pops back up on the tube amidst what looks like an industrial version of the long-gone bellows of Princetown (a plot kernel that I really wish they would have explored in depth). With his target audience off in search of a can large enough for Prince Albert to get stuck in, PTV is forced to establish a line of communication with Bunny. It’s a painful, self-defeating process; an icy, inch-at-a-time uphill journey fraught with dead-ends, cul-de-sacs, and Olympic sized potholes (the equivalent of Lassie trying to talk Timmy through disarming a bomb), but eventually PTV manages to convince her that the ersatz head of the ATF is up to no good, and that the President (*coughandStanandXevcough*) is in grave danger.

Cue that dye-job determination that’s been lying in wait beneath her candy-coated exterior. In what might just qualify as her crowning moment of awesomeness, Bunny contacts a contingent of mothborne AFRICaners (God knows how), narcs on Moss’ location, and delivers a sassy, no-nonsense, "give-’em-one-where-the-sun-don’t-shine-for-me" pep talk. Girl’s track record at card reading has been kinda spotty up until now...mess with her man, though, and she brings her A (for asswhoopin’) game!

Priest now uselessly in tow, our heroes are lined up for their state sanctioned perforation. Stan—who should know by now that he’s going to make it out of this, since they’ve already aired the preview for the next episode—hopelessly prevails upon Xev once again to "do that Cluster Lizard thing." Why she refuses this time is a mystery, but perhaps Stan should have made clear just which of her "Cluster Lizard things" he is talking about. If it’s the "Wally West barrel roll thing," then she has no excuse for refusing (what...is the frisky little exhibitionist suddenly afraid that someone might catch a glimpse of her unmentionables while she’s spinning around at a million miles an hour?). If it’s the "‘No blood, and no Dallas’ full-body metamorphosis thing," then perhaps she has a bit more of a case. It could be that the transformation causes great pain (the only time we actually saw her do it she was near death, drifting in and out of consciousness), or that she may be unable to change back and would prefer to die with her humanity intact. Heck, perhaps she is flat out incapable of morphing unless most of her human side is dead or traumatically incapacitated. We’ll never know, because it’s not like the beans to revisit riveting plot points...but it’s mighty interesting to ponder what could have happened if Vlad had inflicted a slow acting mortal injury instead of killing her instantly. Perhaps something...perhaps nothing...perhaps they would have laughed off their differences, kissed, and...made up...

"Any last requests?" Doesn’t it just bug you how nobody ever thinks to say, "Ooh, I’ve got one, can I fire your gun?" You know that would have crossed Digby’s mind...and what’s more, you know he would have done it too! And while we’re padding this review out with pointless questions, I’ve got one to toss on the pile: who’s the Vice President? Because whoever it was that helped Priest balance out his ticket sure knows and embraces the limitations of his duties: cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, show up clean-shaven and sober enough to stand up and clap several dozen times during the State of the Union, kick back and wait for the President to get sick. I imagine right now he (or she) is already picking out curtains.

Looks like our heroes may truly be in for it for the second and/or third time. But Xev’s got one last ace in her hole (which reminds me, I’ve been thinking about changing my nickname...): kill Kai first! Brilliant gambit? Or a grudge she’s been privately nursing ever since the whole "There’s nobody in the castle" fiasco? Either way, it works, as the time it takes Moss and his goons to punch six new crazy straw holes in Kai’s chest is all the opening the AFRICaners need to crash the party and take out the trash. Cue the strategic retreat by everyone with more than three episodes under their belt, and at long last we’re heading back to the Lexx (again), never to return to this awful, misbegotten little blue disaster area (again) until Stan gets horny (again), Xev gets itchy feet (again), or Kai decides he wants to do something in full spite of his continual insistence that the dead do not want anything (again).

We must do this (again) some time.

No doubt about it, this was a great episode. Much better than the one that preceded it, and easily one of the best offerings from the second half of seson 4. The guest star ROCKED, the pace moved at a nice, brisk clip, and the humor came in spades and clicked a lot better than in previous outings, which I honestly believe is a consequence of this episode not being a straight-up parody/send up of any one existing story (as Prime Ridge, Mort, and several forthcoming eps are). At the same time, this episode managed to reestablish the darker tone that will continue to ebb and flow throughout the course of the season. Despite being firmly grounded on Earth, it was the the most "Lexx-like" offering we’ve seen in a while…and the best of the best is still to come.

"Remember Leester!"

 

Cheery bye.

 

 

COMING THIS SUMMER

WOULD IT KILL YOU TO LICK ME?

THE GROIN-GRABBINGLY GARGANTUAN DEBUT FROM ICKYLICKYSTICKY RECORDING POWERHOUSE

CHURCH STRIPPERS



FEATURING:

Truly Dead
666 Pennsylvania Avenue
Have Some Truck
Federal Bureau of Intoxication
Splitists
Would it Kill You to Lick Me?
Body Odor in the Body Politic
Punksicle (Instrumental)
Plutocracide


*Japanese bonus tracks

*Six Holes
*Woman is a Different Kind of Man (Brother Randor and the Gunny Sack Six cover)



____________________
If you're normal, the crowd will accept you. But if you're deranged, the crowd will make you their leader.
— Christopher Titus
Ketana
Divine Assassin


Joined: Wed Oct 25th, 2006
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 Posted: Tue Mar 2nd, 2010 11:21 am

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Huzzah? Huzzah, Bilbo? Really? *sigh* time to up the meds gals..he's losing it..

Mr. Slate..okay Bam Bam..I hear ya..time to Pebble up peeps, ol' Bilbo is getting real creative.. 


Bust most importantly - LOL YOU MEN..ALWAYS THINKING OF THE FUN PILLOWS!

Drugs are legal in Canada, right?"   MAYBE HE WAS TALKING ABOUT MOTRIN?

OH AND ONE MORE FLAGEANT  POINTING IT OUT TO THE OBLIVIOUS..railing against and to a tv character is a bit..how do you put this kindly..CRAZY!! Moss doesn't hear you Bilbo...he just doesn't.

Wasn't this a good review peeps? I LOVED IT AND THIS IS WHY I AM HIS NUMBER ONE INTERNET STALKER!

BILBO PLEAAASSSEEEEE GIVE ME A BABY!!! I PROMISE I WON'T SELL IT ON EBAY!!!

OH CRAP..HE MUSTA BEEN IN THE BACK SEAT OF THE CAR MAYA!! HE HEARD US! What do you mean you have to go NOW, we just pulled over five minutes ago...well I’m not stopping...well you should have thought about that before you tossed your Gatorade bottle in the trash...don’t make me turn this car around!"

or, if that idea falls through, a crate full of cheaply printed T-shirts and tank tops that I will sell outside of airport terminals  YOU WANNA TAKE AWAY FRANK'S BUSINESS? BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...*COUGH COUGH* snarf..

Go-goo? BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OH THAT ONE TAKES THE CAKE, BILBO! I LOVE IT! Go-goo....:2567: 







 





____________________

Don't sprinkle sugar on your bullshit and then tell me it's candy!
Angel
Divine Executioner


Joined: Tue Oct 24th, 2006
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 Posted: Tue Mar 2nd, 2010 11:06 pm

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"of Moss’ psychotic Foghorn Leghorn-inspired ramblings were ad-libbed."

Oh my gawd!  We are cartoon soul-mates!  That looney tune scene reminded me so much of that crazy old rooster too!   Maybe one of the beans had a chicken fetish.  Anyhoo.... the most I remember about this epsidode was Kai's infamous line.....which either had you swooning and thinking of cold dead lips, a little red wine and a Barry White CD, or you were laughing your ass off.  I was the latter.  As always Bilbo, I absolutely love your reviews!  You are a diamond in the rough or just a big dumb mook, whichever you are, you write your ass off and you deserve a pulitzer prize in Nyuk Nyuk!!




____________________
The dead do not squeeze and please....
veyron
Heretic


Joined: Sat Oct 28th, 2006
Location: USA
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Mana: 
 Posted: Wed Mar 3rd, 2010 12:18 pm

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"Splitists"

I think it was "splitters."

Blessed are the cheese makers.

NoClockThing
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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2010 03:13 pm

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Bwahahahaha! Now that was rather good, as usual :D

BTW, you did say loo-rat and not bathroom-rat, are you on Moss' shoot-'em list? Muahahahaha



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Yo way yo...

The truly committed learned to drool after death.
Bilbo67
Heretic


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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2010 04:35 pm

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Ketana wrote:
BILBO PLEAAASSSEEEEE GIVE ME A BABY!!! I PROMISE I WON'T SELL IT ON EBAY!!!

A fellow Craigslister, eh?



Angel wrote: Oh my gawd!  We are cartoon soul-mates!  That looney tune scene reminded me so much of that crazy old rooster too!   Maybe one of the beans had a chicken fetish. 

Yeah, I don't know where my mind was while I was writing this (I'll thank y'all not to ponder aloud), but I think I set a record for animation references in this review. 

And I like chicken...I plan to continue liking it, but thanks to the mental imagery you've introduced here, I'm going to have to tide myself over with some other other white meat for a while.

 

veyron wrote: "Splitists"

I think it was "splitters."

Hey, nobody ever accused the Church Strippers of being great spellers (especially after they took Gordo's advice and spent a month touring in Canada)

 

NoClockThing wrote:
BTW, you did say loo-rat and not bathroom-rat, are you on Moss' shoot-'em list? Muahahahaha

:shock:

...I suppose I should ditch my bright orange stocking cap for a while

 



____________________
If you're normal, the crowd will accept you. But if you're deranged, the crowd will make you their leader.
— Christopher Titus
veyron
Heretic


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 Posted: Sun Mar 7th, 2010 12:20 am

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhtM8UaqTt4

sheesh Sean Lennon looks funny here. Otherwise this cibo matto verson is a blast.

veyron
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 Posted: Sun Mar 7th, 2010 12:20 am

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I was going with the "chicken" theme.

TravisBean
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 Posted: Sun Mar 7th, 2010 10:43 am

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veyron wrote: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhtM8UaqTt4

sheesh Sean Lennon looks funny here. Otherwise this cibo matto verson is a blast.

Well, I usually go for Hard Rock, Jazz fusion ( Joe Satriani, Vai ect ect), and Classical (Stravinsky), but for some unknown reason, I really liked "Know Your Chicken"

:2567:

 

Edit: Maybe it's the youthful raw energy, Either that, or I'm not awake yet. :c030a:

veyron
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 Posted: Sun Mar 7th, 2010 12:24 pm

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COMWwwv_MTk&feature=channel

Bilbo67
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 Posted: Mon Mar 8th, 2010 03:27 pm

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I hear-tell they used to play music on MTV...but that could just be the elders yankin' my crank...

I see your Know Your Chicken and raise you El Phantasmo and the Chicken-Run Blast-O-Rama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UKlyRSFivc



____________________
If you're normal, the crowd will accept you. But if you're deranged, the crowd will make you their leader.
— Christopher Titus
TravisBean
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 Posted: Tue Mar 9th, 2010 12:26 am

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Bilbo67 wrote: I hear-tell they used to play music on MTV...but that could just be the elders yankin' my crank...

I see your Know Your Chicken and raise you El Phantasmo and the Chicken-Run Blast-O-Rama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UKlyRSFivc

Ah yes...A full moon...Mating season...
When there's a moon like that, every monkey for 200 miles thinks he's Elvis Presley.


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