What started off as a charming episode of Being Human spiraled right back down the toilet of soap opera cliches and Grey's Anatomy "if we play the sad music really, really loud then the audience will have to feel something, right?" TV making. How can a show with so much chemistry turn stale so swiftly?
I think I've found the problem — check out two clips that illustrate perfectly both the highs and the lows of this series, in one problematic episode. Spoilers ahead...
The first half of this episode was a clever distillation of this series at its absolute best. Josh comes up with the brilliant idea to host a double date dinner party at the monster house. Sure! Why not? This will totally smooth over the fact that his best friend was unknowingly shtooping Josh's ex-fiance — but whatever, it works. And the next thing you know, we're treated to a dinner party starring two ravenous and highly unreliable vampires, a werewolf, a human and a ghost. The writing, delivery, hell even blocking (is that still a term?), with Sally stretched out like the unamused house pet chiming in in the background, was completely charming (the clip is above).
Right here, right now, Being Human is playing to its strengths. Sally's cute, Aidan is dashing, Josh is desperately trying not to piddle on the new carpet and the Princess Vampire (Dichen Lachman) is crushing it with her mystifying delivery. Who even knew Lachman was capable of this? We certainly don't mind watching her writhe around in a blood orgy, but this is infinitely more enticing (and she's telling a story about a fucking plant). Sell it lady, sell it!
Watching these monsters do human acts is why we tune into this series. Will the Princess Vampire find out that Aidan used to date Josh's ex, and cut her open on their dining room table? We don't know, but it's fun to watch everyone else nervously buzz around the big "What if," while desperately trying to maintain some bit of normalcy. Plus the chemistry among this ensemble is just fun to watch. This series hits its absolute stride when it's not trying to be over-the-top dark, dramatic or ridiculously gloomy.
Speaking of, here's the other clip:
Is this the most cheeseball exit we've ever seen in the history of characters exiting a room? Let's break it down to be sure.
• Sappy music, check.
• Upon hearing the news of Aidan's exit, Josh turns to anger, ends with a hug.
• There is a Flashback sequence (even though this show has been around for one season).
• Aidan strokes Sally's ghost cheek.
• Sally cries a single tear.
• Josh looks away staring into the distance of their apartment.
• The most masculine character admits his love for the other characters.
• But pauses with his hand on the door, before letting them know.
Was anyone worried that this was the end of the group? Sorry, but with The Chin goes the entire female viewership Syfy so desperately needs. And it's not like they're going to find another magical singing toad to capture and demand wishes from to get another creature as good looking as Sam Witwer. So yeah — we know he's not going anywhere.
It's all just too much — TOO MUCH, PEOPLE! I already care about these characters, stop trying to force me to emote with these scenes. When this show isn't zooming in on a single tear, it's ripping off all of the skin from a character. Which I admit the whole "bloody baby in bed" plot was awesome — but deep down inside, I want more of the actual attempting at being human stuff.
Is there any possible way we can spread the chemistry and heart from the first clip into the rest of the show? Could we show character growth inside the skin flaying? It felt like it started out that way for Henry and Aidan, but now Henry is a dick all over again? What happened to the vampire he was when he was protecting the orphans? Every character has a big damn dramatic moment, but then everything is wiped clean and they start all over again. Josh turned his girlfriend into a monster who killed her ex-boyfriend? No worries here's a new lady! Sally killed a bunch of ghosts? No bigs, it was just her split personality, Keanu Reeves-light! All she needs to do now is undo all the bad she did, and poof no more inner personal damage! Aidan doesn't want to kill... well I actually don't really believe that anymore.
I won't give up on this series, because I love the hell out of The Adventures of Chin and Cowlick, with their sidekick adorable girl. And for the little moments and surprising twists the liven things up from time to time. But to get to the depth that was this show's British predecessor achieved, it's time to give these character more human problems — with actual consequences.