Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
2007-08-07 09:29
by Jon Weisman

The third episode of Damages airs tonight on FX, which means we'll get to see if the show can match last week's standard for forced product placement.

Now, I'm not philosophically against product placement at all. Shows have got to pay the bills, people fast-forwarding through commercials with their TiVos forces producers to find other options. The Office and 30 Rock do product placement, but they do it so cleverly that half the time I don't think about it, and the other half I'm laughing at it.

But it didn't fit so well with Damages last week.

Forgive me for not transcribing this to the letter, because I deleted episode two after finishing it. But there's a scene where Ellen (Rose Byrne) is about to receive a birthday present from a family member or friend. The buildup to the present is lively enough that you're seriously expecting she's going to get a car or the Hope Diamond or something, you know, jawdropping.

Instead, this newly minted lawyer at the highest caliber firm in the city is blown away to receive … a gift certificate to the Olive Garden.

"When you're there, you're family," the gift-giver explains.


* * *

Lyrics from one of the newest Flight of the Conchords songs, "Foux da fa fa":

Je voudrais une croissant
J: Je suis enchante
J: Ou est le bibliotheque?
J: Voila mon passport
J: Ah, Gerard Depardieu
B + J: Un baguette, ah ha ha, oh oh oh oh
B: Ba Ba ba-ba Bow!
B: Foux da fa fa
Foux da fa fa fa fa
Foux da fa fa
Ah ee ah
B: Foux da fa fa
Foux da fa fa fa fa
Foux da fa fa
Ah ee ah
B: Et maintenant le voyage a la supermarche!
B: Le pamplemousse (grapefruit)
B: Ananas (pineapple)
B: Jus d'orange
B: Boeuf
B: Soup du jour
B: Le camembert
B: Jacque Cousteau
B: Baguettte
J: Mais oui
J: Bon jour
F: Bon jour
J: Bon jour
F: Bon jour, monsieur
J: Bonjour mon petit bureau de change
B: Ca va?
L: Ca va.
B: Ca va?
L: Ca va.
B: Voila – le conversation a la parc.
B: Ou est le livre?
J: A la bibliotheque
B: Et le musique dance?
J: Et le discotheque.
B: Et le discotheque
J: C'est ci, baby!
J: Un, deux, trois, quatre
B: Ba ba ba-ba bow!
All: Foux da fa fa
Foux da fa fa fa fa
Foux da fa fa
Ah ee ah
Foux da fa fa
Foux da fa fa fa fa
Foux da fa fa
Ah ee ah
F: Ou est le piscine?
J: Pardon moi?
F: Ou'est le piscine?
J: …Uh… F: Splish splash
J: …Uh… F: Eh...
J: Je ne comprends pas.
F: Parlez-vous le francais?
J: Eh?
F: Eh? Parlez-vous le francais?
J: Uh .…No.
F: Hmmm.
B: Foux da fa fa
Foux da fa fa fa fa
Foux da fa fa
Ah ee ah
Ba ba ba-ba bow!

2007-08-07 11:51:03
1.   GobiasIndustries
1984 Labyrinth Bowie says he likes it!
2007-08-07 12:50:14
2.   Bob Timmermann
Why would a woman who has a good friend who is a gourmet chef get a gift certificate to Olive Garden?
2007-08-07 13:51:14
3.   Jon Weisman
Because until she marries the chef's brother, they're not family. Not like her family at the Olive Garden.
2007-08-07 22:47:52
4.   Bob Timmermann
Maybe the Olive Garden card will turn out to be the murder weapon. The Statue of Liberty bookend is just a red herring.
2007-08-08 08:02:05
5.   Mike J
I have another problem with a recent trend. Channels like TNT and Discovery keep a constant, large ad for an upcoming show in the corner of the screen at all times. It's at least 2-3 times the size of the normal TNT logo, and it's annoying as Hell. Then, they periodically do the now-standard popup animated ad. Kyra Sedgewick walking across the screen with a flashlight or whatever. Those are annoying enough, but I'm used to them. The large, constant ad in the corner is no good. Eventually, that's going to be animated, too. Constant animation drawing your eyes to the corner of the screen. I guess the next step is a constant scrolling ticker, followed by a complete shrinkdown of the screen to constantly display full-sized ads. What's next, I only shudder.
2007-08-08 10:15:47
6.   Fletch
I thought last night's episode was very good and did not notice any forced product placement. Unless that was a real- child reform company I missed.
2007-08-08 11:18:25
7.   Jacob L
That Conchords number is a send-up of Jacques Demy's "Girls of Roquefort."

I was so proud of myself that there was an obscure cultural reference that I actually got right away. Big Demy fan (if by big, you'd allow that I've seen a couple of his movies, one of them - Umbrellas of Cherbourg - more than once).

2007-08-08 12:30:16
8.   Jon Weisman
6 - I didn't notice anything either. I'm still on the fence about the show. The plotting is fine, but I think Close is starting to bother me. She's manipulative and calculating and yes, even the slightest bit vulnerable - though mostly brittle - but I'm not sure she has any soul (in the emotional sense of the word). I'm not feeling her or caring about her still. And Ellen's character isn't very multi-dimensional. I'm not sure the show itself has any soul.
2007-08-08 15:45:08
9.   underdog
7 I loved the Demy reference, too, Jacob. I loved how it switched to cheery old color - and even the grumpy croissant girls change to cheerful, too. I also like how purposely clumsy the editing is. That whole sequence was tres magnifique!
2007-08-08 19:57:42
10.   Bob Timmermann
The problem is know I want to know why the fiance was murdered and who did it.

I think the character of Patty is an attorney who could not exist in the real legal system. But we never like our lawyers to be like real ones. Because real ones aren't that interesting.

(With due apologies to any lawyers reading this.)

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