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August 28, 2015

The Unit: Stress

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Mar 15th 2006 12:42PM

Dennis Haysbert; The UnitI really want to like this show, but Dennis Haysbert and Co. are making that as hard as possibly can be. I honestly can't decide which episode I liked less: last week's series premiere or this one.

I think I'm going to lean in last week's favor because I had trouble keeping my eyes open for last night's episode. I kept catching myself as I started to nod off. I'm fine with that because I'm certain that the four of five minutes that I missed due to my temporary narcolepsy had nothing of importance in them.

Actually, I'm re-evaluating that last sentence. I'm not fine with it. If I'm going to doze off for a few minutes during a show, I don't want to wake up and feel all right about it. I want to wake up and feel worried that I've just missed the best two minutes in television history. This show doesn't give me that sensation.

At least in last week's premiere, the team (Yes, "team." I'm going to go nuts if I have to type "unit" again.) had a fairly intense case when it came to dealing with that airplane in Idaho. But this week? The major focus was a stand-off between the Unit (arggh, I can't avoid it.) and a wounded terrorist lying behind a jeep in the African desert. After they caught him, he jumped out of the plane they were transporting him on. Then everyone just kind of shrugged their shoulders.

We still got too much of the wives. Anyone else terrified of Molly Blane and her eyes of death? She stares at people as if she were one of the zombies from 28 Days Later. The wives, Molly mostly, are just so conniving and I hate it. I actually kind of felt bad for Bob's wife because she's getting jerked around so much by Molly and her neighborhood crew.

Now Bob, the new guy, didn't go on this African mission. He was purposely left behind so that he could deal with some suit from Capitol Hill who was convinced that laws were broken during the Idaho incident. All the lives that were saved didn't seem to matter. Surprisingly, I bought Scott Foley as the "voice of The Unit." He knew what to say, although he was coached a little, and he didn't take any crap from the guy. He was more convincing as this type of guy as opposed to his attempt to be Rambo, Jr. last week.

So my curious readers, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm not really high on this show. It just hasn't grabbed me. So here's the situation. I'd like to hear some arguments for why I should stick with it. Let me preface that by saying that I am going to watch next week's episode because the previews looked very good. Maybe the third time is a charm, but if it isn't, I'm pulling the plug on The Unit. One more chance, then I'm out.

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I couldn't agree with you more on your summaries of this overrated p.o.s. I think the only way to watch it is to make a drinking game of it as you mentioned in your review of the pilot.

If they say "team", "shoot", or if Bob's wife gets flustered- one sip

If Molly stares at someone, half the bottle- well, maybe just a sip. About half the show is her getting in a staredown with someone- either the Doc, or the Colonel, or Bob's wife, or her mirror.

Bob's wife is gonna snap one day if Molly keeps messing with her furniture.

Oh, and when one character repeats what another one just said- finish your drink.

March 16 2006 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Slightly OT: Anyone know the artist of the song playing during the last 10 minutes or so of epipsode 2? Sounds kinda like Bob Dylan only an octave lower.

March 15 2006 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
adam wong

Dude, given how much you hate the show, just stop watching it. There are those of us who enjoy it, and I'd much rather read commentary by people who feel likewise than someone who trashes it at every moment. No hard feelings, everyone's entitled to their own opinions. To each his own.

March 15 2006 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Acutally, and I can understand why you would think it was, the hijacking was extremely plausible. They mention that it was a trade mission charter - charters in general, and these specifically, are a huge weak spot in aviation security. Charters do not have the same screening practices (despite requirements) or tarmac security practices as general aviation. It is entirely plausible that with ground help in the foreign country that a terrorist crew, with arms, could stow aboard at trade mission flight (particularly one without a Service protectee involved) and carry out the mission in question.

It is unfortunate that this is the case, but until the folks who use these foreign charters learn that they are not above the rules it is a weak spot in the new aviation security regime.

March 15 2006 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoy military-themed programming, but I find The Unit a bit disjointed -- especially when scenes flip from the team to the wives, then back to the team. Also, actors say their lines so quickly that I have difficulty understanding them. Last night's episode left me wondering what the mission was about and why the team was in that particular location.

March 15 2006 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Morgan beat me to it: Haysbert can't do Mamet. I said this very thing to my wife as we watched the repeat of the premiere this weekend. Kilmer had the intensity to pull it off, Haysbert doesn't. There were a few times where he clearly didn't understand how the lines were intended to be read and screwed up their impact.

I won't bother complaining about the implausibility factor, particularly with respect to the plane hijacking in the first ep. I've learned, thanks to 24 and Lost, that it's hopeless to wish for realism in these sorts of shows.

March 15 2006 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morgan at Spot Cost

I'm going to watch a while, I just believe in Mamet and Ryan. I think it'll build something good, but so far, eh. Not great.

If you watch the movie Spartan, you'll see the writing is very similar in cadence and style, but the problem is (and I love Haysbert) Dennis Haysbert. He can't pull off the dispassion like Val Kilmer. he's always kind of smiling. I think he was a poor choice, but I'd probably watch a half hour Allstate commercial with him in it, so I'm conflicted.

I will keep watching, because as much as it hasn't overawed me, it hasn't insulted my intelligence yet either.

March 15 2006 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jonathan - I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. I have to say, I've read some negative reviews of The Unit, but have absolutely no idea why The Unit might be seen as "boring" - it's slower-paced and dialogue-heavy, and doesn't have the non-stop pace of one of my favorites, The Shield. But I have to admit, I am a huge fan of David Mamet - while the dialogue has been toned down so it isn't as stilted as his films (especially compared to "Spartan," which might have served as some inspiration for The Unit). I don't expect something to have to happen every few minutes - I imagine actual operations are long periods of boredom punctuated by fleeting moments of action, and I think The Unit gives a little taste of that.

Oh, but then again, I can see how people are irritated by the wives. That I could buy.

I suspect that if you don't like The Unit so far (and assuming that its ratings hold up - puts you in the minority) there's the possibility that it may not grow on you. There's two kinds of people in this world, people who like Mamet-like dialogue, and those who don't. Don't know if a taste for it can be acquired, and probably not within three one-hour eps...

March 15 2006 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allen Mendelsohn

While I don't the show is genius or anything, I do think that it's at least an entertaining hour of television. Here's at least one reason you should watch - Dennis Haysbert. He could read the phone book and entertain me. Also, instead of dissing the wives side of the story, you should embrace it. I actually found that part much mroe interesting last night. The Stepford Wives vibe they have is just warming up, with Bob's wife stuck in the middle of it.

So you can fall asleep for 2 minutes and not miss anything. I think you should look at that positively. After all the hard thinking you have to do for an ep of Lost, 24, Sopranos, etc. (all of which I watch and love), it's actually a nice change of pace to be able to just sit there and watch and not have to pay 100% attention looking for Dharma logos. You can read while you watch, or do the dishes, or some Tai Chi. That's a good thing for change. Embrace it!

March 15 2006 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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