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Well, Undercovers Is Fucking Terrible

As New TV Week continues, it hits its first major stumbling block with J.J. Abrams’s show Undercovers. CAREFUL, NEW TV WEEK! YOU NEED TO BE MORE CAREFUL! Did anyone watch this show? Let me rephrase that: did anyone who is still alive because they did not Vanilla Sky their car into the river after watching this show watch this show? Yiiiiiiiikes. It would be hyperbolic and sensational to claim that this is the Worst Show Ever Made. It’s not. But that’s certainly how it FEELS. The show centers around Mr. and Mrs. Bloom, a husband and wife who run a catering company together with the help of Mrs. Bloom’s sister. But one day there is a knock at the door from some old man who says that he knows who they are. What is that supposed to mean? Oh, it is supposed to mean that in addition to being married to each other and running a catering company together, they are also both spies. The old man “activates” them, and now they are on some case, trying to find another spy (who used to fuck Mrs. Bloom back when her Facebook status was set to “it’s complicated”) who may or may not have turned rogue and may or may not be selling American secrets to a bad guy of indeterminate accent/origin. I guess it’s a fair enough premise, although kind of boring. I love spies as much as the next person who LOVES SPIES. I saw all the Jason Bourne movies opening weekend (ladies!). When I answer the phone I don’t say “hello,” I say “GET ME BOURNE!” (That is a lie, but it is a funny lie.) But as much as I love spies I will tell you what I don’t care about: married people, catering, lazy plotlines, bad acting, awful “comedic relief”, and poorly staged fight scenes in front of lazily green-screened Paris backdrops that look like they were put together by someone at the Learning Annex. This show is like Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets Ratatouille meets Joey Tribbiani’s Acting Class meets Bruce Villanch’s garbage can. And the cliches! When they are doing things like running through a subbasement, trying to chase down the bad guys and get back the important files, but simultaneously fielding calls from the catering company about an upcoming wedding party, I just desperately hope that one of those bullets they are so cavalierly firing into the emptiness accidentally ricochets off a heating pipe and strikes me right between the fucking eyes. (Although there are a couple of good “ENHANCE!” scenes, obviously.) And at the end, when the field director tries to hire them back as CIA spies full-time, and they insist that they’ll only do it if they can keep their catering company, and then they get into a lively marital dispute that the Field Director has to interrupt because you know how once you get these two going they just won’t stop, I hope that someone hammers all of the teeth out of the mouth of my bullet riddled body and then rolls it into the ocean so that I decompose so thoroughly it will be impossible to identify me.

Can I tell you about one REALLY weird part?

In the very beginning of the episode when we think that Mr. and Mrs. Bloom are just two regular caterers (because we’re idiots?) and the Field Director shows up for the first time, he knocks at the kitchen door and Mrs. Bloom answers it. “Hi,” she says, “are you here for the Chan/Finkelstein wedding?” The Field Director looks at her and says “Do I look like a Chan? Or a Finkelestein?” UH, WHAT? WAIT, SERIOUSLY, WHAT? I think that is the weirdest line of dialogue I have ever heard on a television show, and that is NOT hyperbolic or sensational. For one thing, LOTS OF PEOPLE GO TO WEDDINGS WHO ARE NOT IN THE FAMILIES OF THE PEOPLE GETTING MARRIED? But while it seemed kind of unnecessary to point out that this old white man didn’t look Asian, the part where also made sure to suggest that it was ridiculous and offensive that someone might think he was JEWISH, well that just really did it. Two minutes into the first episode and already the fishes are eating out my eyes and crabs have made my ribcage into a reef.

So, yeah, terrible show! (Although I do like that the two main actors names are Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Those are such intense names!) Mostly I just feel really bad for J.J. Abrams, who only has millions of dollars and dozens of much more successful projects concurrently in production. He should have a cupcake, poor guy. (You can watch the first episode of Undercovers here, but don’t.)