'The New Adventures of Old Christine' - 'Somehow, Subway' Recap
by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 11th 2010 11:33AM
(S05E16) Ah, the beauty of farcical theatre. The simplest of tasks laid to waste by the outrageous shenanigans and outlandish responses of one brilliant comedian. In this case, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She needed help from no one in the cast to make her extended stay on the subway platform funnier and funnier to watch as the episode progressed.
That's good news because Richard, Matthew and Barb were pretty busy back at Christine's place ... doing stuff. At least the writers bothered to give us a reason that Matthew is still hanging out and eating at Christine's as if he lives there. The catfighting between Richard and Matthew about all their roommate annoyances with one another certainly brought me back to my roommate days. Man, do things get annoying.
Barb's role this week was to spread the message that texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. No matter where you are. I certainly didn't expect her to come flying into the scene when she did.
I'd chide Richard and Matthew for sexting Barb back when he accidentally sent her own little dirty message to Richard (by the way, I loved his response of "There are words on my phone," when he got the message), but I think we've all done a thing like that at least once in our lives. Barb flying into Christine's backyard in response was something I was not prepared for. Later, when she got distracted again and failed to put the car in reverse? Saw that one coming a mile away.
It was good to see Ritchie and the meanie moms more integrally involved in the events of the episode. The quick shot of them all on the subway field trip just laughing and having a great time while Christine was stuck on the platform without her purse and no ticket was brilliant. Hell, the opening sequence with Ritchie overwhelmed at school because he couldn't find his way home was filled with such humor ... and horror. Have I mentioned that Ritchie reminds me more of my son than I like to think about sometimes? Yeah.
The episode continued to surprise me throughout. I was convinced Christine was going to leave the clarinet on the platform or have it stolen out from under her, but she remained true at least to her responsibility to Ritchie's instrument ... though I'm not sure why he was bringing it on the field trip in the first place. When she did leave it on the platform, it allowed Louis-Dreyfus to work in some excellent physical comedy as she squeezed her way out of the subway doors. Luckily (*snicker*) for her, that train stayed on the platform with its doors closed probably three to four times longer than any of the other ones.
I was even impressed when she had the ingenuity to use the clarinet case to sing for spare change, though it was more than a little creepy when she was told twice to "lose a button." But, as she said, she survived on her own with just her wits about her, and apparently hanging out and showing a bit of wipple, too.
Not much was accomplished in the episode, but we did learn that Christine's friends and family are simply horrible to her. And I mean worse than the way they pick on her constantly. They out and out lied to her about the state of her yard, after trying to repair the damage Barb had caused, causing her to question her own sanity and drown her confusion in wine.
Suddenly, I'm wondering how many of Christine's issues have been brought on by her so-called family and friends. We already know her mother didn't do her any favors over the years. It was a bit of a dark ending for the characters tacked onto an otherwise very solid episode.
If CBS does drop this show, as it's ratings haven't exactly been up to the standards of their Monday lineup of comedies, I'd love to see ABC snatch it up and air it in this exact same timeslot, kicking off their ABC Comedy Wednesday. That's already how I watch the night, anyway. Then I won't have the arduous task of changing the channel.