EPISODE REVIEW: Generator Rex: “Haunted” (Season 2, Episode 8)

Republibot 3.0
Republibot 3.0's picture

Ok, I’m way late with this review, and still playing catch-up from stuff I missed when I went away last weekend, but let’s get this out of the way. In my review for the most recent episode of Ben 10 ( http://www.republibot.com/content/episode-review-ben-10-ultimate-alien-%... ) I noted that even though I’m tired of the show, and the concept, and pretty much the whole thing, the series as a whole tries really hard to hold on to me - and the rest of the audience - by trying new things, and just being so darn energetic and likeable. Ben 10 seems to realize that a franchise has a halflife, and if they want to keep going, they need to keep re-inventing themselves. As hackneyed as it is, aimed at a late pre-tween audience as it is, the fact is that they’re not taking their audience for granted. They put a lot of energy into holding their interests and, yes, even challenging them a teeny bit.

Conversely: Generator Rex doesn’t.

Rex started out strong, a good premise, interesting animation, a surprising amount of gross-out and gore, good voice acting, nice direction, terrible music, and - intriguingly - a subtext of loneliness and emotional vulnerability in Rex himself. Almost all of that - excepting the terrible music - had evaporated by episode 7, and after some diverting attempts to find itself, the show discovered a lazy groove where it’s sat ever since. They don’t challenge, they don’t intrigue, they don’t really thrill, they don’t amuse much, mostly they’re just there.

So we’ve got two shows I no longer care about: One which is dancing around desparately trying to find a way to rekindle my interest, and another that honestly doesn’t seem to give a crap, and is only there to sell toys, then quietly disappear into aftermarket syndication once it ceases to be profitable. One show manages to continually get me to give it more and more chances - which mostly it deserves - and the other makes me wonder why the heck I’m still wasting my time with it.

PLAY BY PLAY

Rex and Noah attempt to hook up with the girls from the prom episode, who are now inexplicably super-smart and not murderously clumsy. They attempt to scare one of the girls into a cuddle with Noah, but it keeps going badly since Noah is a disposable character the writers themselves appear to forget about for months at a time, while Rex is the start. Rex keeps getting both of the chicks.

With Caesar’s help, the hatch a crazy scheme to go ghost hunting in an abandoned hotel downtown (What town is that again?) in which they’ve planted some various technogeegaws to make the place seem all spookified. This goes badly, then goes predictably worse when the place really turns out to be haunted. Then it gets predictably resolved when the ghost turns out to be an Evo, and Rex takes it down.

Meanwhile, trapped in an elevator, Noah gets a little face time with his potential girlfriend.

The end

OBSERVATIONS

Plot: Predictable and deadly dull. Animation: Same as always, except they ran it through a filter to make it darker. They didn’t actually animate it to be dark and spooky, just took the lazy-assed way and dialed down the color, so it looks like crap. Voice acting: Pretty good, as always. Music: Terrible, as always. Humor: Moderately amusing in the first act, cringe-inducing afterwards. Overall effect: Meh. This is their second real clunker of an ep in a row.

On the bright side, the scene in the movie theater was genuinely funny, and it’s nice to see Caesar again. I figured they’d backburner him like they did Circe and (more or less) Noah, but he appears to be part of the principle cast now. He does add a lot.

The girls were really annoyingly changed from their previous iterations. Granted, their first appearances were taken by some as sexist (I don’t see that at all: one was a normal girl, the other was a klutz. How is ‘average’ sexist?), but they’ve overcompensated here by taking away the klutziness and turning ‘em both into brainiacs. It’s completely unconvincing, and Noah’s girlfriend, in particular, is now not at all sympathetic and likeable (Whereas previously she was just kinda’ forgettable)

On the sexist angle, it actually kind of bothered me that the whole thing revolved around making the girls feel vulnerable so Noah could get a smooch. Granted, scaring hell out of them is intended to be goofy and way over the top for comedy’s sake. Still: trapping an agoraphobic in a broken elevator and then insinuating yourself in the crisis to get a little bit is just wrong. And while the former is presented as screwball comedy, the latter is presented as sweet and honorable.

Whaaaaaaat? Not a really good message there, moms and dads of America.

I dunno. Maybe I’m in a pissy mood these days. I used to cover these shows because I liked ‘em, and I was watching them with my own kids anyway. Now my own kids have mostly lost interest, and I find it increasingly tedious to keep following ‘em. In the wake of the cancellation of “Sym-Bionic Titan,” easily the second-best show going at the moment, and being forced to watch/review the increasingly irritating “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” a week or so back, eh, I dunno. I’m just wondering why I bother. I’m thinking I need to let one or two of these shows slip.

I’m thinking I should probably start with “Generator Rex.” What do you guys think?

Of course it goes without saying that if anyone reading this wants to take over reviewing this show for Republibot, I’ll be very happy to let you do it. Drop me a line at three@republibot.com and we’ll hammer out the details, ok?

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

Mostly we'll just be bored by it. Why not just cut your losses, avoid the ep, and settle for this song instead?

It's pretty good, and it has the same title.

Tags: