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The Good Guys – The Dim Knight

Right now, we're in the middle of a Matt Nix summer. Between both The Good Guys and Burn Notice, two of Matt Nix's shows, there is an abundance of explosions, hilarious moments, fight scenes that would've put 24 in its heyday to shame, and the occasional poignant moments that remind us the writers are capable of drama.  In my previous reviews, I've praised the show for its tendency to stick closely to a specific format and ability to blend comedy and drama effortlessly; something rare for procedurals nowadays (every new police procedural seems to try and be as gritty as possible). However, after the latest episode, I'm worried that the show's predictability will begin to hurt its chances of evolving beyond its simple premise. Sure, The Dim Knight had plenty to offer in the way of humor, but its clear that the supporting characters in the show are weak and the guest stars offer nothing but a few chuckles here and there. If the show wants to continue to grow, it needs to figure out what to do with its weaker characters and not hinge simply on the antics of Jack Bailey and Dan Stark.

The Dim Knight began the same way every episode thus far has began, with a section that takes place halfway through the episode.  We're given a random scene that makes no sense, an explosion, a witty Dan Stark quote and voila -- you have a Good Guys episode.  Unfortunately, The Dim Knight, despite its good qualities, was anchored down by a weak plot and even weaker guest characters. The basic premise is that a father is blowing up meth labs around Dallas as revenge for his daughter becoming addicted to the drug. He believes that by diluting the meth with a special chemical he bought, he's doing a service to the great state of Texas.  However, the chemicals he uses to dilute the meth causes the meth labs to explode in a fiery inferno. Add to the mix a Chinese assassin and his translator, a couple of angry meth distributors and some firearms and you have all the ingredients for yet another typical Good Guys episode.
The case begins after Bailey and Stark learn that dogs around a specific neighborhood are being poisoned. Stark seems more distraught about the idea of dogs dying than actual human beings and so begins the case of the poisoned dogs. We're slowly introduced to all of the characters and by about halfway through the episode, there is no tension remaining, since we already know who the bad guys are. There are some more uninteresting developments in the relationship between Bailey and Liz, but it's nothing we haven't seen already. Bailey continues to try and win Liz back, even though we're not given any reason as to why he's still caught up over her. Perhaps if the writers give us some backstory on the relationship, it won't feel like such a waste of time.

The episode also paid homage (in a way) to Breaking Bad and Weeds, by focusing on the idea of men and women in suburbia distributing drugs, but since The Good Guys has such a care-free attitude, the idea of drug dens in local neighborhoods didn't really feel that dangerous. In fact, the show suffers from this problem on a regular basis. They take characters and story ideas that could be potentially dramatic and then dumb them down for a quick laugh. For instance, the father who diluted the meth had a tragic backstory involving a daughter who was addicted to methamphetamines. In revealing the reason for what he's been doing, the show should've simply let the drama unfold. Instead, however, they make his character sob uncontrollably and have Bailey and Stark tease him for it.  I'm a fan of comedy and drama mixing together, but just as the father's chemicals diluted the meth, the comedy seems to always dilute the drama in the show.
Luckily, the lead actors in the show are good enough to almost make me forget about the problems The Good Guys has. Colin Hanks has slowly grown more charismatic with time and while his plot with Liz drags him down sometimes, he's begun to hold his own against Bradley Whitford. However, it's still a David and Goliath relationship. Hanks has a long way to go before he matches Whitford's insanity and perfect comic timing. At points, Whitford can grate on ones nerves, but it's difficult to complain, especially when its that same attitude that makes him so enjoyable to watch.  

In a way, The Good Guys is like an old relationship. When you first meet your new girlfriend or boyfriend, things are exciting and mysterious. You're intrigued just as much about the things you already know about them, as you are about the things you don't know. You're willing to overlook major character flaws. However, as time goes on, the same endearing qualities that made them enjoyable begin to grow irritating. The same flaws you once overlooked become things that bother you. After all the cards are laid out, you can make the decision to cope with the person, knowing all of the good and bad things about them, or you can dump them and leave them by the wayside and search for somebody who makes you happier. The Good Guys is quickly turning into one of those shows. You can either accept the show for what it is (a comedy/action television show with excellent lead actors, bad supporting characters and episodes that are impossible to tell apart), or decide its not worth the trouble of watching.

None of this will matter if the show's ratings don't improve. Right now, they're teetering around 4 million, which isn't anything to be excited about, and if it weren't for Hanks and Whitford, the program would be nothing but another failed summer show that goes straight to the bargain bin after a few episodes. I still have hope though  and I'm clinging to the notion that the show will improve after the fall season begins. I guess that means I'll be staying in this relationship for a little while longer.


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