Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
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Getting in The Loop

Filed under: Television — folkcat at 2:43 pm on Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Am I hitting a March doldrums? I knit barely a half inch on Gryphon’s second sock yesterday. My energy levels have simply been miserable this week – I can barely gather enough power to change the channels with a remote control! I hope to make more knitting progress today, though, as I’m taking a personal pajama day, and planning to watch the second disc of Season One of Veronica Mars. The NetFlix envelope has only been sitting here for oh, I think two and a half weeks now. Good thing I didn’t bother paying for a level that gets me more than one disc at a time, huh?

The Loop (Fox)

I’ve mentioned a few times in the last week that I was sent a DVD to review. After the delays of having a DVD player die, then rise from the grave to become an undead zombie, I have finally finished watching, and can tell you all about it.

The show in question is The Loop. It’s a sitcom that aired on the Fox network about a year ago. If you’re as confused as I am (I didn’t remember the series at first), it may be because Season One consisted of only seven episodes that aired in March and April of 2006, and we’ve heard little of the show since then. If you blinked, you might have missed it.

Cast of The Loop (Fox)
The Cast of The Loop

The first season has been released now on DVD, and you know what? I wish I hadn’t missed this show! Season Two is currently scheduled to premiere on June 9th, and I plan to have my Tivo ready to catch it.

The show is about the balance of work and play in the lives of 20-somethings. Our main character, Sam Sullivan, is 23 years old, fresh out of college, but working in an important position at a major airline in Chicago. Meanwhile, he’s still sharing a house with his brother and two female friends, all of whom have more casual “jobs” (if any at all), and can afford to take the time and energy to party regularly.

So there’s our primary conflict – Sam wants to do well in his job, but he doesn’t want to leave behind the more carefree lifestyle of his roommates (one of whom is his own jobless slacker brother; and he’s had a crush on one of the women since they met as college freshmen). How Sam handles this juggling act is the basis of every episode, and he does it with luck, bravado, and more than a little bit of ability at spinning a bad situation into a good proposal for the airline.

Oddly enough, I was strongly reminded of another, classic, sitcom as I watched The Loop. Like The Loop, it had a protagonist who was juggling a straightlaced job with a wild home life. Like The Loop, the main character kept getting caught up in the crazy antics of friends and relatives at home, trying to keep them from affecting work, but always getting caught and having to create a clever explanation that saves the day.

The classic series? Bewitched!

Think about it – Darrin worked at an advertising agency, one of the most straightlaced careers one could imagine at the time Bewitched began. His wild homelife was populated by his wife, Samantha, a bona fide, magical witch, and her friends and relations. As crazy things inevitably happen at home, Darrin unwillingly gets caught up in them, all while trying to create an irresistable new ad campaign for the latest client.

In the end, he usually gets caught by Mr. Tate and the client, and having to explain why there’s a donkey in the living room, or a monkey on the roof, or why…you get the idea. With Samantha’s help, the situation almost always winds up spun as a clever advertising concept that completely wins over the client. And once again, the day is saved, and Darrin gets to keep both his job and his wacky home life.

The same thing happens in The Loop, only in this case, our main character, Sam Sullivan, gets to be both Darrin and Samantha. He gets caught up in his roommate’s schemes and games, and winds up in freaky situtations, often dressed oddly. His bosses at the airline catch him looking or doing something weird – and he has to explain how it’s actually his clever presentation of his proposal for whatever project the airline is working on at the moment.

I really enjoyed watching this series, and I look forward to more. The stories are fast-paced, the setting of the executive offices of the airline industry feels fresh. There are several actors in the show that I respect. Bret Harrison (the lovestruck kid next door on Grounded for Life) stars as Sam Sullivan, our main character. Grounded was one of my favorite shows, and I’ve been delighted to see their alumni appearing in several programs this season. Mimi Rogers, who always gives strong performances, is an executive who supported hiring the young college grad, and who frequently, and humorously, skirts the edges (heck, dances on the edges in roller skates, even) of sexual harrassment towards him.

There is a quirky visual style to the show that I enjoy, too. Frequently, instead of expository lumps of dialogue, we are given instead a freezeframe with a small caption. (Reminds me of the captions with genus and species that would appear beneath the Roadrunner and the Coyote.) The captions give us a context for what we’re seeing, and help to move the story along quickly – for instance, the first time we see Sam and roommate Piper in a bar together, captions below each reveal to us that he has a crush on her, and she has no clue. It’s a storytelling shorthand that is used with wit, but fortunately, not overused. Frequently, I’d find myself chortling at the captions before the scenes themselves made me laugh.

Bottom Line?

The Loop, in my opinion, is quite worth watching. No, it won’t appeal to everyone. But I enjoyed the characters, and I liked the storytelling style. And it clearly borrows intelligently and well from the grand tradition of classic sitcoms.

My advice? By all means, pick up the Season One DVD and get caught up on this series if you missed it the first time around. Or watch it again and refresh your enjoyment of it before the Second Season begins on June 9th. Even though I only just discovered it, I just might do that myself!



Comment by Karen in Wichita

March 21, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

Completely unrelated to the post, but I ran across this today (okay, that sounded like a spam post):

What happens when you tickle a rat?


Comment by Elspeth

March 21, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

I agree. I really liked The Loop, and only saw about 3 episodes before it ended. The theme song was pretty catchy too!


Comment by Sam

July 19, 2007 @ 11:33 am

I fell in love with this show in the first season, but I was disappointed after watching the second season. They kick out two of Sam’s roommates and focused on the office more. I think it is pointless to call this show ‘The Loop’ anymore because he doesn’t balance work and play anymore…there is no more ‘play.’

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