Kudos to the talented troupe of magic makers over at the George Lucas special effects house Industrial Light and Raging Boredom, who were obviously retained at some great cost by the increasingly apprehensive folks at BMP to, for once, impose a blue sky on the opening montage of a city that has lived its entire run of this season so far in the ominous shadow of slate gray desperation. And what a radically inventive montage it is: Generic skylines! Nondescript buildings! Uh, more nondescript buildings! Trains! Passing! Each other! A group of schoolchildren -- bundled to the gills in the latest in asbestos-lined, NASA-approved tundra-wear necessary for a stint any longer than the amount of time it takes for your average crusty New England curmudgeon to walk outside his rustic clapboard cabin and comment, "A-yuh, it's still cold" -- skate on an icy pond in an essential reminder that, a-yuh, it's still cold. In hopes that the previous montage will have so compromised our collective perception of what constitutes "visually interesting" (Didn't. Work.), we come to rest at a bleak-looking brick building which we learn is the "East Boston Social Centers." And then below it, vexingly, "Central Square Center." Three times. Center. We get it. All the while, Hanson's mildly disappointing "Mmm-Bop" follow-up ditty "Where's the Love" rages on as the soundtrack, an equally bleak reminder that the band's gold-card membership in the teen-pop milieu was as close to expiring as my dwindling patience with the seven tedious self-obsessives who lurk inside of this unadorned edifice a good twenty miles outside of center city Boston, no matter how many times the building's front tries to assert it as being in the "center." Poor Hanson. Middle of nowhere, indeed.
Someone's gonna end up in the major shithouse this week, because the happy images of the housemates dancing and playing merrily with the children is a contrived attempt to endear us to someone, anyone, in the hope that we will emotionally invest in their plight and actually take sides for once. Allow me to be the first to express my radical allegiance to any of them with an emotionally invested and staunchly loyal "feh." Anyway, we zero in on Syrus, having a time of it with the kids, and he VOs us right into a confessional with the resurgent "I'm a social butterfly. I'm gonna meet people no matter what. If I got both my feet chopped off and had one arm, I'm still gonna meet people." Yeah, a truckload of paramedics and the better part of the Boston Police Department wondering wildly, "Dude, where the HELL are your FEET? You say someone CHOPPED off your FEET? You must meet a lot of people! People who hate you." Cue montage of Tiny Tim meeting and greeting numerous women at the center, and we learn from a Genesis confessional back story that "there was a mother who has a crush on Syrus at the community center." Doesn't she mean the Center for Center Center? ["Is that like the Foundation Foundation [tm xixax] from 90210?" -- Sars] Cut back to said center, where Genesis and Syrus talk quietly about the single mother Syrus has been talking to, who Genesis agrees is "really cute," and Genesis makes it all about her in observing, "It kind of pissed me off that she'd want to date you instead of me," because we didn't know Genesis was a lesbian. We learn from that hip white scrawl that periodically appears on my television screen to introduce new characters that the cutie in question is named "Luetta." And ordinarily I would point out that she's cute, if by "cute" you mean "haggard," but she's a single mom so I'm cutting Luetta some major slack here. Because if there is one thing that poor used Luetta does not need in her life, it is the lecherous comings-on-to of a self-proclaimed "playa" who has already dated, slept with, and tossed away the collective lowest rung of Boston's fashion ladder and the TJ Maxx personal shoppers they rode in on. Save yourself, Luetta! Before you find yourself wearing cheesy costume jewelry and tapered jeans! Ruuuuuuun!