C

Reaper: Greg, Schmeg



Remember Greg? You know, that guy Andi dated for an episode or two earlier this season? Yep, I kinda sorta remembered him, too. "Greg, Schmeg" brought back a forgettable cog in the late, great "will they or won't they?" Sam-Andi storyline in a somewhat novel way: he sold his soul to the Devil to win Andi's heart, using "Jedi mind tricks"–just in case you forgot about Kevin Smith's involvement in Reaper--to trick her into loving him. Only it didn't work because, according to Reaper, The Devil can't control the human heart. (This seems to contradict at least half of the world's greatest blues songs.) Instead, Greg got really mad and unleashed his inner chainsaw-wielding maniac (?), which stood in for the soul of the week.

Sam's solution? That pesky Get Out Of Hell free card, which Sam used to let Greg's soul off the hook and bring everything in the Reaper universe back to normal. So there you have it. Was Sam really given a Get Out Of Hell free card way back in episode eight so it could be resolved this way? Was it really an excuse to bring Greg back? Greg? How about Michael Ian Black? Or Patton Oswalt? Or somebody at least mildly interesting? Maybe I'm still feeling sour after last week's screeching halt, but "Greg, Schmeg" felt, at best, like only a minor improvement from the season's low point. And now I'm in crisis mode. Reaper has just been such a frustrating show to watch this season, with glimpses of greatness in an overall sea of nice but average TV. And now, honestly, I do not care anymore.

Again tonight, we had some potentially interesting drama go absolutely fucking nowhere. When the Devil was pushing Sam to kill Greg, perhaps to draw him closer to the dark side, I perked up, my malaise suddenly snapped into clarity. But it was yet another dead end, resolved in ho-hum fashion. Deep sigh. There was also nothing about Tony this week or the demon rebellion. At least if Reaper were still funny the stop-and-start elaboration of the show's mythology would be easier to take. But Reaper lately has been merely amusing, not laugh-out-loud funny. And, man, that's not even close to being good enough.

Here's what I wrote about episode eight back in November: "Watching TV shows on DVD has made us both more patient and less patient as viewers. More patient in the sense that we are willing to forego the instant gratification of a self-contained episode for the payoff of a season-long story arc (which can still be fairly instant if you watch a season in a marathon weekend binge), and less patient in that we start twiddling our thumbs if a season-long story arc isn't immediately set into motion. Such is the case with The TV Blog discussion of Reaper, a show that for all its considerable charms seems to be making fans based more on potential than it what it has actually delivered so far. I'm on record as a big Reaper fan, and I've defended the show's light (some might say slight) comic tone so far because I've found it pretty damn engaging for the most part. But while I enjoyed "The Cop," that same nagging feeling in my stomach from the previous two episodes persists: Reaper just ain't goin' anywhere."

Here we are, nearing the end of season one, and I still feel the same way. I'm still waiting for Reaper to realize its potential, only now, for the first time, I don't give a shit. The CW could cancel Reaper tomorrow and I would not care. At this point I'm pulling out my fork and raising it above my head. Who else wants to stick it in?

Grade: C

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