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A jump-the-shark episode, 6 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What was doubtless intended as a coming-of-age story for Jarrett, sabotages itself from the outset with Jarrett being a complete doormat, Mark being such a jackass that Roy looked down from Heaven and said "dude, not cool", and in my opinion the single most ridiculous and arbitrary delivery condition yet seen on the show.

Partial spoilers follow.

The episode started with the unique premise that the same customer was taking both featured deliveries. Where the show went with that premise is where the trouble began. Under threat of complete nonpayment (something customers on the show are apparently allowed to do in later seasons), the customer requires that Jarrett's delivery arrive, not by any specific time, but before Mark's delivery. And this despite the fact that Jarrett has considerably further to travel on his route.

Jarrett, trying to make this work, calls up Mark and asks him to arrange it so Jarrett can arrive first. Mark, recognizing the clearly unreasonable demand for what it is, agrees... in the real world. In the world of reality TV, that doesn't provide for enough drama, so instead Mark says "screw you, rookie" and pushes on.

This would be when Jarrett displays the "iron will" of the episode title, goes back to the customer and tells him where he can stick his precious order of arrival... again, in the real world. But again, this would mean an abrupt end to the drama, so Jarrett has to be a complete doormat, load up the shipment and hope it all somehow works out.

As the episode continued I held out hope that somehow this was a joint setup by Mark and the customer just to mess with Jarrett and see how much crap he would take. But no, the whole thing was played straight to the end.

A certain amount of suspension of disbelief comes with the territory in watching shows like this one, but this one rather broke it for me. A good reality show should make the viewer want to be a part of the world being portrayed, in this show's case either as a driver making good money while seeing the country, or as a customer, getting to meet one of the interesting characters on the show, and a moment of one's own on TV to boot. But I don't want to be part of a world in which people act the way they do in this episode. And after it was over, I pretty well could not bring myself to watch any more, dreading what the show might do to try to top that.

The Astronauts (1982) (TV)
Post-"Hello Larry" McLean Stevenson. Enough said., 13 October 2008

American adaptations of British comedies invariably lose something in the cultural translation. So, when the source material was nothing special to begin with, you've got a real loser on your hands.

My recollection of the plot goes like this: you have three co-ed astronauts in for a long-term space mission. The catch is that they agreed to the mission only on the condition that they go unmonitored for several hours every day. Why NASA couldn't just go find some astronauts that didn't have so many privacy hangups I couldn't tell you.

At any rate, given that they're up in space and all and anything could happen, NASA rather sensibly decides to covertly monitor them anyway, but then dopey Col. Booker (McLean Stevenson) spills the beans and outrage ensues. Comedy, alas, does not.

8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Mild disappointment for die-hard fans (Mild spoilers), 30 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's not so much a matter of what was left out of the movie adaptation of Douglas Adams's "The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy", as it is what was thrown in by way of extras to make it a self-contained movie, that will probably be most off-putting to die-hard fans of the classic five-book trilogy.

The expansion of the role of the Vogons from bureaucratic construction crew to all-around galactic enforcers whose presence permeates the entire film (as opposed to leaving the story about a third of the way in, as per the book) rings a little false. Somewhat less annoying is the expansion of a throwaway joke about religion in the book, into an entire scene.

But far more jarring is the end of the movie, which, for the sake of producing the standard "happy ending", has one event most definitely not in the first book, which totally undercuts the fourth book, should the movie version of the series ever get that far. It also throws an extra character into the primary mix who will be out of place if the obvious sequel makes it to film.

As for the more familiar portions, the opening bits on Earth come off as kind of dull, and a few of the classic segments (such as the one involving the whale) gets a bit tedious when taken verbatim from the book, but in general the pacing is reasonably good and bulk of the story is faithful to the books, which is a lot more than a lot of movie adaptations of novels can say.

Overall, not the ground-breaker the books were, but a good, if potentially confusing introduction to anyone not yet familiar with the series.