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Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Huff 'n Puff Days Are Over: Things That Happened on Last Night's Grimm

Posted by Joe Streckert on Sat, Dec 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM

You know the Customs House? That historical building in the North Park Blocks that no one knows what to do with? The makers for Grimm have found a use for the 1897 building: fill it full of fake cops and make mediocre TV. The Customs House got a fair amount of screen time in last night’s episode of Grimm, both inside and out. Oddly enough, the makers of Leverage have also packed the place full of pseudo-cops. Apparently there’s something about late 1800s renaissance revival architecture that screams “cop shop.”

So how was last night’s episode? Mediocre. Hit the jump for angry pigs and exploding geodesic domes.

Last night’s episode dove into the magical world of mediocrity with a big bad wolf (in the show said wolves are called “blutbad,” but whatever) drinking schnapps and living in a geodesic dome. (Portland, as you well know, is nationally known for its dome-based housing.) The dome explodes into a raging fireball, but the schnapps-drinking lupine (whose name is Hap, if you care) survives. Cut to the Customs House/police station, where our unexcitingly mop-topped hero Nick is consoling the newly homeless Hap. Hap tells him that shortly before this, his brother’s place also exploded. Two exploding homes. One dead wolf. A mystery is afoot! Then, enter Monroe.

Monroe, so far, is the best part about Grimm. He’s a reformed big bad wolf, who keeps his predatory urges in check with a strict regimen of cello playing and pilates. Also, he collects clocks. Monroe basically has the role of being Nick's reluctant sidekick, and is the only person who seems at ease on screen with the show's goofy genre elements. Unlike the other characters which are mostly just blocky, generic TV cops, Monroe actually has a little bit of life to him. He seems, more than anything else, a refugee from Buffy or Angel who has been plopped into a much worse show.

Monroe, it turns out, is an old friend of Hap’s, and agrees to put him up. They hang out, and Odd Couple type banter ensues. Monroe says "don't touch my clocks," and Hap suggests they order out from 24/7 Pork, a dining establishment that will apparently bring all manner of pig bits to your door. I checked, and unfortunately no such business actually exists here.

Yet another wolf shows up- Hap’s sister, and Monroe’s ex. Unlike them, she enjoys being all wolf-tastic, and likes to kill people for fun. After some groan-inducing attempts at sexual tensions, and she tempts Monroe into briefly giving into his wolfy side. The two wolves run around a park at night having slow-motion heavy-metal nocturnal werewolf hate sex. After that, they kill a bunny rabbit.

Stuff continues to happen. Someone tries to blow up the wolf lady’s house. A pig man shows up and shoots Hap in the chest, killing him. There’s a nice shot of the Fremont Bridge. The sexy wolf lady takes her shirt off for some reason. The whole thing turns out to be the result of a family feud between wolves and pigs.

The guy who exploded the dome, killed Hap, killed his brother, and tried to kill sexy lady wolf is, in fact, a pig dude who lives in a house appropriately made of bricks. A while ago, wolves killed his two brothers, and he’s fighting back. While everything’s getting wrapped up the pig man loudly proclaims “the huff ‘n puff days are over!” In a better show, that could have been a great line. In Grimm, though, it just kind of sits there and doesn’t do anything. There's potential for whimsy and fun, but the show is weighed down by it's own overwhelming self-seriousness, and never seems to have fun being itself.

That’s a huge problem. The previous episode had a fair amount of self-aware humor and cheesy jokes. That's good. If a show about a cop who fights evil fairy tale beasties is going to be at all bearable, than it needs to own its inherent absurdity. Grimm only kind of does that. Part of it wants to be a Buffy-style supernatural action/comedy. Another part of it wants to be a serious cop show that just happens to have werewolves. The heavier it tries to be, though, the worse it is. A bit of lightness and levity could do wonders for the show. If anything, it would make slo-mo wolf sex a bit easier to take.

But hey, how about that Customs House!

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