Middleman Wrecks Genres, Smashes Genders

Last night's Middleman episode was pretty much pure genius, with only one or two dud moments. It kept the crazy ideas coming at a faster pace than ever, but also found time for some huge leaps forward in Lacey and Wendy's all-important relationship. It was pretty much the perfect example of why this show rules, and would be a good episode to show to your hypothetical curious postmodern drama-adventure-comedy-loving friends. Spoilers, and pics, below.


"The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation" had a weird spin on the common science fiction trope of science and gender mashups. For starters, we had the fratboy in drag, who could see ghosts thanks to his recent brain surgery. (And was it just me or did he look much, much cuter the second time we saw him dressed up? Did Wendy give him a makeover or something? I have suspicions.) And then we had a bitchy sorority girl/physics genius inhabiting the body of the Middleman and using it to open up a can of catfight on Wendy's ass. And finally, we had the Middleman's awesomely weird "think of me as your girlfriend" speech to Wendy at the end. (Middleman star Matt Keeslar may have told me he thinks of his character as Wendy's older brother, but I'm beginning to think Wendy's the big brother in this equation, what with all of MM's boyish aw-shucksness and her staunch pragmatism.)

But the main plot, about geeky girls having their brains implanted into the bodies of five sorority girls in order to bring down the Greek system, was sort of gender-smushy as well. The geek girls get found out because they're incapable of doing all the dumb sorority girl stuff, like the chants and the secret handshakes. They're "in drag" almost as much as the brain-damaged frat boy, because they're trying to pretend to be this super over-the-top version of femininity that isn't who they really are.


(Although I would have welcomed more geek-girl appreciation in this episode. But at least we got our second evil female science genius in the span of three weeks. First the teenage boy-band hunter and now Eleanor the physics whiz. Which, yay.)


I almost wished we could have had more Lacey in this episode, but we had almost the right amount. We got the many sides of Lacey, from the sorority-cheer/childhood damage version to the staunch vegan activist version. Although, was that a hint of passive-aggressiveness from Lacey at the end of the episode? Seriously. It was painfully obvious to everyone that there was no chemistry between Lacey and Tyler, the guy whom Wendy had bonded with before his untimely bout of amnesia a month ago. Tyler and Wendy are clearly meant to be together, and it was just an accident that he ended up with Lacey. So why does Lacey make such a big deal out of her noble self sacrifice at the end? Are we beginning to see a more manipulative side to our favorite idealistic spoken word artist? It can't be!

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