May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Paper Girls “Weird Al Is Dead”

Episode Two

OK, the pilot episode left me somewhat cold given the frantic nature of, oh, everything about it.  Too much was happening in just a short amount of time, and I just couldn’t get into it very well.  And I was a bit disappointed since I am a fan of the original comic.  But, you know, I never quit a show I write-up here mid-season or anything.  Between seasons, sure.  One or two there.  But after one episode?  Nah.  I’ll stick it out until it’s done.

Besides, good news there:  this episode was a big improvement.  Oh sure, it’s not great or even necessarily something I would go out of my way for.  But this is better.  Now that the four girls have gone from 1988 to 2019 or so, the series seems to be slowing down to allow the characters and the show room to breathe.

It helps that Old Erin and Young Erin seem to have very similar anxieties, and Old Erin has to break it to her younger self that none of her dreams for her future came true.  Yes, Erin will not be a US Senator and a mother of four.  She’s a paralegal with no serious romantic prospects.  Her only real date in a while is a Geek Squad type of guy who can maybe get the weird computer the girls found charged up.

Meanwhile, there’s some good character work with Mac and to a lesser extent KJ.  Mac is doing the tough girl thing, but she’s likewise not all bad.  She’s abrasive, but she’s also able to see when Erin is nervous or that KJ is serious about antisemitism that still exists.  It does suggest that Mac’s toughness may be at least partially an act.  She may mostly just not feel comfortable being like a normal kid her age because that’s not what her life has been like.  So yes, if she feels upset that her school and her house are gone in the future, she’s not likely to show it.

As for KJ, well, the Prioress is looking for her.  A show like this needs a villain.  The time traveling war is probably a little too big to focus on too much at this point, so give the whole thing a human face that the audience can love to hate.  Since said Prioress murders KJ’s parents at the end of the episode just…well, KJ’s parents seem kinda like dull rich people types.  And the Prioress does think KJ murdered one of her people.  OK, KJ did do that, but the wrong people are being punished, it was something of an accident since KJ wasn’t trying to murder anybody, and she shouldn’t have left her field hockey stick behind.

Besides, name a character “Prioress,” and you give the whole thing a religious overtone, and now it looks like something out of the Spanish Inquisition.  And let’s face it:  nobody expects that.

So, better second episode.  Still not something I would go out of my way for, but if nothing else, Old Erin has been a welcome comedic presence.  Probably appropriate she’s played by comedian Ali Wong.  But at this point, the show is going to have to go a long way for me to really wish it wasn’t canceled after season one.