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October 6, 2015

The Middleman: The Manicoid Teleportation Conundrum

by Paul Goebel, posted Jul 8th 2008 8:41AM

The Middleman and Wendy(S01E04) One thing that really pleases me about The Middleman is how the show walks the line between outrageous fantasy and realistic technology. While Lacey was rattling off all the places on the internet where Wendy's breakup could be seen, I was trying to catch something that sounded made up but it all seemed very reasonable, especially the girlfriend revenge site.

On the other hand, I wasn't too crazy about Dr. Gil. Clint Culp is a guy who I see quite often at auditions and he's very talented, but why would the writers do something as lame as a Dr. Phil parody? If the show were being produced 20 years ago would the character be named Alfredo Riviero or Horton Downer Sr?

Gallery: Middleman

It's interesting that tonight's offering has the word conundrum in the title because I seem to have found one in every episode so far. Are there any two images more opposite than a man who says "Darn tootin'" after drinking a glass of milk and a sexy Latina in a leather cat suit?

Another conundrum came right after the credits when I was horrified by the surgically altered shopper and then immediately sent into a geek frenzy when I recognized the Vasquez Rocks where she was blown away. I laughed out loud when Middleman identified himself as Emmett Brown and then Buford Tannen, but my favorite had to be the BTTF studios. Brilliant!

The fact that The Middleman makes a point to insert such cool sci-fi references without letting them get in the way is a prime example of how well the show is written. I can watch with my kids who like Wendy because she's pretty and the monsters because they're cool and all the while chuckle at every Back to the Future name drop in the show.

Another conundrum is the way this episode unlike others before it, was mainly focused on Wendy's personal life, while the alien storyline was relegated to the background. I consider that to be a bold move for a sci-fi series that's only aired four episodes.

As much as I like the idea of an alien race who blends in with humans because they look like freaks, I really didn't enjoy the the revelation that Dr. Gil was hunting them. It seemed a little cheap and I thought they could have come up with a more interesting explanation.

I really liked the final showdown between Wendy and Dr. Gil and I have to admit I didn't see any of it coming, especially the kick-ass retro spaceship. Again, the show gives us another example of the two forces that make it work; futuristic gadgets designed to look like something out of a 1950's space movie.

I really can't wait for next week's episode. I mean zombies and rocket cars? What's not to love?

Who is your favorite character so far?
The Middleman38 (28.4%)
Wendy62 (46.3%)
Lacey13 (9.7%)
Ida9 (6.7%)
Noser12 (9.0%)

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I enjoy the Middleman's duplicity. He seems squeaky clean, but is clearly undressing Lacy everytime he sees her and he appears simple almost moronic, but it quite intellegent and witty.
Can anyone explain the Dub-Dub/Dubbie nickname. I apparently missed where this came from.

July 08 2008 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to clgbutterfly's comment
Patrick Wynne

"Can anyone explain the Dub-Dub/Dubbie nickname. I apparently missed where this came from."

Try sounding out Wendy Watson's initials.

July 08 2008 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought she got back together with Ben at the end of the pilot... did I miss something?

Also, last night, ABC Family HD was really messing up so I kept missing small moments as I flipped back to regular ABC Family. Sucks for me.

July 08 2008 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really wish ABC Family had an HD channel.

July 08 2008 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really want to like this show but I don't yet. The quirkiness just seems too written, rather than natural. They're in no way similar, but another quirky show was Wonderfalls and that just worked for me, the things felt organic, here they seem to often be ticking boxes as to what would be quirky and cool and offbeat.

July 08 2008 at 9:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Also Wendy was referred to as Clara Clayton (Doc's love interest) and Strickland (Marty's principal)

I'm also claiming that them claiming to be from The Department of Fish and Wildlife, is a shout out to the Invisible Man tv show claiming to be from Fish and Game.

July 08 2008 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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