Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ringer: “Maybe We Can Get A Dog Instead?”

Illustration for article titled Ringer: “Maybe We Can Get A Dog Instead?”

Another Tuesday, another episode of Ringer. If that sounds a bit defeatist, it should, because I sort of feel defeated by this show right now. Everything about this episode was basically fine. Storylines inched forward. Old plotlines long forgotten were picked up again. Logistical problems were solved. A few nice character moments shone through. Throughout it all, however, I couldn’t shake the feeling that nothing was happening, and perhaps nothing—besides Gemma’s disappearance and possible murder—had actually really happened since the pilot.

It doesn’t help that the episode revolved around Malcolm and his arrival in New York City. Since the beginning, Malcolm has been the least compelling recurring character and the one whose continued presence seems the least essential. What purpose does he serve beyond being the catalyst for Bodaway to find Bridget? He certainly isn’t a very interesting character on his own, especially since we literally know nothing about him independent of Bridget and Narcotics Anonymous. It’s obvious he’s just a story tool at this point, which becomes a problem when you spend half of the episode focused on him.

Bringing Malcolm into the picture raises another big problem, one Malcolm brought up himself: Why the heck is Bridget still playing house in New York City when she should have cleaned Andrew’s bank accounts and hightailed it for a tropical island weeks ago? I’ve harped on this before, but I feel like I am going to continue to harp on it until a reasonable solution is established. Bridget herself had me screaming at the television when she told Andrew “I want this marriage to work, baby or no baby.” Do you, Bridget? Um, WHY? How is this the smartest option for her? Why is she so willing to do the absolute hardest thing possible when there is an easier alternative staring at her right in the face, especially now that Malcolm is there to help her run away? I’ll say it again and again until they do it: We need a better reason for Bridget to stay. If the show isn’t going to give us a better reason, well, that’s fine, but they have to stop calling attention to it or else that story wound will never close. Stop picking the scab, Ringer!

The final thing causing concern was how the writers dealt with ending Bridget’s imaginary pregnancy. It had to be dealt with and soon; it was just disappointing they chose the easiest, least-soapy manner possible for the resolution. This is an insane show at its very premise, full of twin switching and secret babies and affairs and murderous mob bosses. Why not go a little bit insane with a secret pregnancy plot? Maybe have Bridget plot to get pregnant with Andrew’s baby on her own to really sell it? Or even continue the charade ala Glee with ridiculous pregnancy pads? If you’re going to be a crazy soap, be a crazy soap. I’m not sure Ringer is sure what it wants to be, which is causing it to sort of be nothing at all. The only good thing to come of this story was Andrew’s reaction, even if it did feel a bit schizophrenic of him.

This brings me back around to my first point and the biggest thing I noticed tonight: that not much has happened since the pilot. This was especially noticeable with the reoccurrence of Siobhan’s dalliance with Tyler, which happened episodes ago but not all that long ago, plot-wise. A condensed timeline is fine. The first two seasons of The Vampire Diaries took place in less than a year. Each season of Sons Of Anarchy is a matter of weeks in club time. Those shows, however, have a ton of inner momentum and churn a heck of a lot of plot in that short period of time. Ringer seems to be taking the opposite approach, stretching the story out for as long as possible, yet not filling in the beats of the story enough to make it narratively interesting. There’s just not enough there.

Listen, I know a lot of you are enjoying the show just as it is. I want to like it, which is why watching it do so many things so wrong—and if not wrong, certainly at least mundanely—is so frustrating. I like these actors. I love a good soap. I’m just not sure the writers know how to take the tools they have and make a good soap out of them. Until then, I’ll be watching, waiting, and hoping.

Stray observations:

  • The only part of the episode I legitimately liked was Siobhan getting busted by Tyler. I hope this leads to something good, like a clue to the reason Siobhan is doing anything she’s doing.
  • So what is Charlie going to do with Malcolm? Why does Charlie care about Malcolm at all? Is it just because he knows Bridget isn’t Siobhan and Siobhan hired him to take out all people who know this? Also, why the heck is Siobhan doing this? I feel like we need to have an inkling to the answers to at least one of these questions, and soon.
  • Obviously, Juliet wants to get with Logan Echolls, high school teacher. Who wouldn’t? I just really, really hope the show doesn’t go there.
  • Sometimes I think of what Kristoffer Polaha got to do on Life Unexpected and what he gets to do here in comparison and feel very sorry for Kristoffer Polaha.
  • “Maybe we can get a dog instead?” Juliet’s lines are always going to be episode titles, because her lines are the best lines.