The End of the Affair

good-byeOnce I’ve decided that I like something, I tend to be pretty loyal. That’s even more the case when it comes to people. But hate is very close to love; both are very strong and persistent emotions — they just have opposite polarities. The true opposite of love (or hate) is indifference.

And it does happen that, sometimes a single event that gets on the wrong side of me instantly flips the polarity of my feeling. Sadly, it’s always been from positive to negative. I’ve never had the movie experience of hating and then loving.

Recently two things have flipped my switch, and a third one is tugging at it.

NCIS-LA-0The first and worst is a television show: NCIS: Los Angeles. It’s been just over two weeks since I wrote a rant about a particularly stupid episode of this show. I say “particularly” because the show seems to have gotten stupider over time, so most of the episodes this season have been stupid.

In that last post I mentioned the scene where Hetty Lange collapses while appearing in a Congressional hearing and how obvious of a trick it was. That’s part of what’s been bugging me — obvious plotting is painfully obvious. In other words: stupid.

Another big complaint involves how, for an action show, the writers and directors don’t seem to know much about how the world actually works. It’s one of the least authentic action shows in my lineup; a lot of the things they don’t make any sense at all. It’s just stupid.

Deeks and Boobs

Die! Die! Die!

And then there’s Marty Deeks and Kensi Boobs. I really hate those two. They’re like high school kids. Dumb ones. For me the show comes to a screeching ugly halt every time they have one of their romantic-cute interactions.

I wish the show would take a leaf from George R.R. Martin’s book and kill off those two. They’re just too… what’s the word?… oh, yeah: stupid.

[I can’t help but wonder what the other amazing female characters in the Bellisario Universe think of Boobs McGee there. She doesn’t hold a candle to great roles like Sarah MacKenzie, Jennifer Coates, Ziva David, Abby Sciuto, Meredith Brody, or Loretta Wade. And Caitlin Todd and Jenny Shepard must be spinning in their graves.]

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid show. The last episode — and it is the last episode I plan ever to watch — was another particularly stupid one, and it was that final back-breaking straw.

Callen and Hanna

Let’s go shoot some people!

As with the last episode, the stupidity starts in the first scene and then never stops. Sam Hanna and ‘G’ Callen are meeting a supposed defector from India along with her escort, who turns out to be Jemadar Thapa, the Nepali Gurkha agent they met last season.

The scene is shot to generate maximum conflict and tension, but it’s all artificial. Supposedly the CIA… Oh, geeze, you know what? It was just too stupid to waste time describing all the things wrong with it. I’ll try to just touch on some lowlights:

¶ Sam is shot by a sniper (using, one assumes, a high-power sniper rifle), but lives after being taken to the hospital and operated on for a long time. At the end of the show, Jemadar gets shot with a pistol (in about the same part of his body) and dies pretty much immediately after uttering a nice exit line.

¶ Much earlier in the show, when Marty and Jemadar have that “expiration date” conversation (which the episode is named after), I knew right then that they would kill off the character.

¶ Speaking of obvious, that nurse in the final sequence? I knew right away she was suspicious.

¶ They also kill off the doctor Hetty brings in to work on Sam. And the nurse who was replaced by the killer nurse. Both men have families, and nurses are really important people, so fuck you NCIS:LA — I loath your casual violence. You make me sick.

¶ Killer nurse bursts in on Sam lying in his hospital bed and throws scalpels at him. He blocks the first with a meal tray, and she just keeps throwing more scalpels at a bed-ridden unarmed man from twenty feet away. Throwing them in the same spot.

Hetty Lange

Hetty Lange is pretty cool, but the character has gotten a bit over the top and unbelievable.

It’s only when Jemadar bursts in that she pulls out a pistol and shoots him. Oh, she had a pistol all along. Good thing she was too stupid to use it on Sam!

What makes this such a bummer for me is that I loved JAG, and I love NCIS. The latter is in its twelfth season and still cranking out interesting, quality shows. It’s my favorite show currently airing. The new spin-off, NCIS: New Orleans, is following in that vein and doing great by me.

But this Los Angeles one is some kind of bastard child with sickness in its bloodline. (All the more heart-breaking because I loved living in LA.)

I watched for five seasons and a goodly chunk of the sixth, but I’ve had enough. We’re done.

§

Papa Johns

Can you hear me, Papa?

The second break up involves Papa John’s. This affair has been fairly brief. I decided to give them a shot after the Pizza Man place near me disappeared. We’ve been together less than a year.

I liked being able to order pizza online, that was kinda nice, but the website doesn’t always work quite right. It’s one of those sites that tries to do so much that it runs afoul of differing browsers, pop-up blockers, and Flash versions.

But that’s not what upset me.

I’m on their email list for deals; which they send out almost daily. Recently one offered a deal that I liked, and it’d been a while since I’d had pizza, so I went to order, but the site wouldn’t accept the promo code. Even clicking the email link didn’t work.

pizza

Damn. Now I want pizza!

But that’s not what upset me. At least not much.

I sent a complaint to their Customer Service email address. That was on February 18. Today is March 4, and I’ve not heard a word. Not a peep.

That’s what upsets me.

Pizza is a commodity, we can get it anywhere, so about the only thing you can really offer is convenience and service.

And this ain’t that.

So bye-bye Papa John’s. Your pizza is okay, but I can do without it.

§

Target storeThere’s a new Target store conveniently near me, but some of the checkout gals have been surprising new and incompetent at their job. One of them recently tried to ring up a six-pack of soda as six individual bottles!

And just about all of them have had pretty bad attitudes. Some even seemed a bit surly. When did we stop believing in service with a smile?

Target is in the grocery business these days, and for a while they had a fresh salsa I liked (Jack’s Specialmedium because I’m a salsa wimp these days). But they haven’t had it in months, so there’s one less reason to go there.

You’re borderline, Target. Really pushing it.

§

The thing that’s upsetting about all of this is: Do you think they really care about one person getting pissed off and spending their money elsewhere? I don’t. It seems obvious they don’t.

But at least I have a blog where I can get it all off my chest.

Jacks Special salsa

Best store-bought salsa I’ve found in a long time!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

29 responses to “The End of the Affair

  • reocochran

    Okay, this is really good material and you need to go on tour, W.S. Seriously, funny. I have to first admit, I quit the show you panned way back when it was just beginning: Do you remember Fall Season Premiere of “Scorpion?” Why, oh why didn’t I listen to you?

    I quit it due to similar themes you had mentioned in the very first place. I liked the actors, so held on for awhile.

    I never got used to “NCIS: Los Angeles.” (I like the one woman who got an Academy Award, Linda Hunt, for her portrayal of a male photographer in “The Year of Living Dangerously.”

    I have stuck to “NCIS: New Orleans,” though. Just because I like Scott Bakula, also they gave up his personal life. I was concerned they were going to stay focused on his recent break-up but they must have had a session of “fine-tuning” and it is back in a good place.

    I feel bad about Target and Papa John’s bad experiences. Not sure if this is any comfort, but they are letting go masses of employees, maybe just in our area. The company had a ‘bad’ year financially, so they are cutting back. I prefer Donatos’ then Domino’s and our local Marco’s Pizza. Not sure if any of these are ones you may like?

    I came by to check on you, found you are perfectly fine, normal goings on, no complaints right now. Take it easy and I like hummus, red pepper flavor for my corn chips. Not sure if this is any info you would like to hear, but also try to dip my veggies in this. I don’t get enough protein in my diet, supposedly this means my brain cells may be dying. Alas!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      “Do you remember Fall Season Premiere of ‘Scorpion?'”
      Heh, yes I do. I can understand liking the actors, but a show does need a bit more than that, doesn’t it. I think you also mentioned a bar, named Scorpion, that you or they (?) hung out at? I remember you mentioning a bar…

      Linda Hunt is one of the reasons I kept watching NCIS: Los Angeles. (I just realized today that Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion in Game of Thrones was key to keeping me watching that show — which I quit after two seasons.) It’s not that I have a thing for short people… really, I don’t! But they’re both wonderful actors! 😀

      You’re right about Bakula’s personal life on NCIS: New Orleans. His “daughter” has been on the show a number of times, but we haven’t seen the ex-wife in a while. Shows definitely do fine-tune. For example, on Forever, that other immortal, Adam, was prominent in the first episodes, but other than a few reappearances we haven’t seen much of him since. Also, Henry hasn’t “died” in a long time.

      “I prefer Donatos’ then Domino’s and our local Marco’s Pizza.”
      I haven’t had a Domino’s in a very, very long time! They’d be worth trying again. I looked up Donatos, but they seem to mostly be an Ohio and Indiana chain with some in states south and east of you. None anywhere near me, though.

      “I don’t get enough protein in my diet, supposedly this means my brain cells may be dying.”
      Well, that’s not good news! Are you a vegetarian, by any chance? If not, eat a lot more chicken and fish!

  • Doobster418

    I agree with you that NCIS: LA is the worst of the breed that goes back to JAG. But it hasn’t yet gotten to the point that I’m ready to bid it adieu, as I have for Person of Interest, for example, which I found to be too silly and too repetitive. I’ve recorded on my DVR a couple of the new early March series, but haven’t had a chance to watch any of them yet. But at this point, if the first show doesn’t grab me and impress the hell out of me, there’s a slim chance that I’ll ever watch it again.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Person of Interest is pretty low on my totem pole (although technically, the lower on the pole the higher the status). I like the characters and their values, and I like the machine intelligence aspect. I started watching in the second (?) season, so I’m still trying to figure out who the heck “Root” is and where she came from.

      And unlike Kensi Boobs, who I just can’t stand, I like both the woman characters on that show (I do hope they bring back Sameen eventually). And I like Bear. Any show with a dog gets extra points in my book. 🙂

      I’m with you; the first episodes of a new show need to grab me and grab me pretty good. (There’s a new CSI show coming… CSI: Cyber. The promos I’ve seen for it are already suggesting to me that I’m not going to like it. Filled with cliche lines and other nonsense. But then I’ve also gotten fairly tired of CSI and its tendency to be ultra-lurid. It’s just really hard to stop watching after 15 freakin’ years!)

      • Doobster418

        I’ve never gotten into the CSI series, but I will try CSI: Cyber because it’s all about, well, cyber stuff. I had been watching Person of Interest since the very beginning and used to enjoy it. In fact, it was one of my favorite shows. But has just gotten a little too far out there for me.

        Of course, the whole original premise of a small group of people receiving a directive from some sort of supercomputer to help out only one potential victim each week out of all of the people who are victims of homicide day in and day, was kind of silly, but I let it go because I liked the characters. Now there are two supercomputers battling each other through all of these cyber warriors. It’s lost its edge, I think.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’ll certainly give CSI: Cyber a shot, but it’s already got some counts against it, so it’ll have to be really good to get on my list. One thing for me is that, as a computer programmer for four decades, so much of that “computer stuff” on TV is idiotic beyond description. I am so sick of this meme that a good enough hacker with good enough gear can hack anything and make it do anything. Computers seem to be the new magic. 😡

        As an aside: Prior to Sputnik people reported “sightings” of demons and angels. After Sputnik: Aliens and UFOs.

        Totally agree on the premise of PoI! It’s pretty silly. And I think you might be right about the show going downhill since they brought in Samaritan. But let’s face it: the original premise was pretty weak and hard to sustain.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Oh, I forgot: As a counter-example, The Librarians on TNT. The promos made me think it was a silly show for the younger crowd. But one evening I was caught up on my usual shows and thought I’d see what it was all about. First episode hooked me and I power-watched all ten episodes (with a nap between #6 and #7). Turned out to have John Larroquette in a supporting role, so that was a bonus.

      • Doobster418

        Hmm. I haven’t seen it. Maybe I’ll check it out on On Demand. Thanks for the tip.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I love TNT for not (repeat: not) disabling fast-forward in On Demand! At least once a show has been out for a while. About a week for their new shows; immediately for stuff they’re re-running, like Castle and Grimm.

        And I’m indebted to them for re-running Castle, which allowed me to catch up — I didn’t start watching that one until season three. Now they’re re-running Grimm which I was also late getting into. I really like both those shows!

        TNT Rocks! 😀

      • Doobster418

        I have been watching Castle from the beginning, but I’ve never seen Grimm. Sheesh, Wyrd, where do you get the time to watch all of the TV shows you watch? My DVR has a bunch of shows that I regularly watch that I haven’t caught up with because I don’t have the time. Of course, I still work full time, so that might be a factor.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’ve been meaning to list the ones I watch just to see how many there are. At a rough mental count, maybe 15? I tend to power-watch Friday and Saturday evenings to catch up on the previous week and on Sunday to catch up on comedies and Jon Stewart (I have a policy of not watching violence on Sundays). Fortunately these days most series don’t crank out new episodes every week, so that helps. Sometimes I get behind and have to watch on other nights to catch up.

        It’s tough in the summer with baseball, because I try to watch every Twins game. But there are as many new shows in the summer, so that helps. And I multi-task. I do other things while watching TV.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Plus, if I watch TV into the “wee hours” — which I often do — I have the advantage of being able to take a nap during the day, so, yeah, being retired has advantages that way.

  • siriusbizinus

    Thank you for posting that rant about NCIS: LA. I was complaining about the guy dying in the hospital when Sam was just fine. The gun thing I didn’t notice because I was already upset at obvious terror attack in a hospital. No police or anything showed up. Terrorists apparently can go wherever the hell they please.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      They do that kind of stupid stuff all the time. A few episodes back Sam and G were in Mexico, but the bad guy was about to take off in a helicopter from a San Diego facility. Somehow Sam and G made it back to San Diego before it took off. I know Tijuana and San Diego are close, but there’s just no way they made it the few minutes suggested.

      Or in that last episode, once Sam regains consciousness he wants to tell them he saw Ella plant a GPS chip on Jemadar (who I guess, in a day (or two?) never noticed it and its red LED). But Ella was never near Jemadar, so how did Sam see anything? Makes no sense.

      Besides, Jemadar makes me think of the Jem’hadar from Deep Space Nine

      • siriusbizinus

        Oh, I miss DS9. I really never could get into NCIS: LA. There’s always something I’m finding awful about it. Like when they use the word “intel” way too much. Seriously, they are supposed to be law enforcement.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, that’s another thing that’s annoying. “Naval Criminal Investigative Service” my ass! I’m really glad the new show, New Orleans, follows the original idea.

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    I’ve watched NCIS on and off for years but was never able to get into NCIS:LA. Everyone in it, except for the boss, seemed like formulaic placeholders. Admittedly, I only watched one or two episodes. Also admittedly, I find most TV to be hopeless tripe.

    I currently shop at Walmart, where the employees are much friendlier. (Not really.) In truth, while I buy groceries from them, I’ve learned that just about anything else I buy from them will eventually piss me off due to its poor quality, so I try to avoid it.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, “formulaic placeholders” is pretty much the case. Linda Hunt’s character was pretty good, but she’s kind of evolved into Super-Hetty who can do anything, who knows everyone. Indeed most TV is tripe — it really only exists to provide some space between the commercials.

      I do shop at Walmart as well, but as you say, other than groceries (or DVDs or other name-brand stuff), their brand is pretty cheap. I bought a dolphin-themed toothbrush holder and soft soap dispenser and had to take the dispenser back because it leaked. So did the replacement. The third one didn’t.

  • dianasschwenk

    Ok, saw that pic of the candy heart and it reminded me that I have a whole bag of them. I bought them so I could stick a couple handfuls of them into a Valentine I sent to my daughter. I’m not a candy eater, but when I saw the picture, I got up and grabbed a few. Then I read your post.

    Target came to Canada. 133 stores. Canada was excited thinking it would be like Target in the States. But they weren’t. And they were really expensive. And most of the time they had a lot of empty shelves. Long story, short, they’ve had to close all their stores and move out. We all said, b’uh bye Target, don’t let the door hit you in the @$$ on your way out!

    Finally, I agree with your NCIS evaluation Smitty! ❤
    Diana xo

    • Wyrd Smythe

      It was the picture of the pizza that got to me! (I can take or leave those hard candy hearts, but I will eat them if put in front of me. I’m more a candy corn or jelly bean kinda guy. And my all-time favorite candy? Maple sugar candy from Canada. I used to buy some every time we went camping at that Canadian lake.)

      Wow! Target messed up in Canada! I wonder if that’s why I’ve been seeing so many Target commercials lately… they’re trying to recoup on their losses.

      NCIS — Great!
      NCIS: New Orleans — Really good!
      NCIS: Los Angeles — Dead to me.

  • Chika Efobi

    OMG… what a rant this one and you really made me laugh. Funny man. I am a stickler for good service and I have recently said good bye to a clothing store and my former gym. Well done you

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