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Monday, January 24, 2011

Now that We've Seen Two Episodes...Here is the Off the Map review

Oh great. A show for those of us who want another Grey’s Anatomy, only with fewer characters and more wilderness. We were nervous immediately when the beginning of the show informed us that it takes place “Somewhere in South America.” Pull out your maps. This continent is huge. This tells us nothing. You never hear “somewhere in Asia” or “somewhere in North America.” We guess the show’s writers consider this continent to be unvaried/not special. Even if they don’t, that’s a stupid way to start the episode. Just have a character make a crack about being in South America, and you would tell us all you want us to know without making us question it. Duh. Also, did they just use a “jungle noises” sleeping sound maching to make the background sounds?

Then, the first episode was super self-conscious. It kept dogging white people coming to third-world countries to help. The title was “Saved by the Great White Hope.” We guess that the show had to make fun of itself in a politically correct way to stave off the critics doing it. We don’t think this should be a thing. No one should make fun of Americans (or anyone, really) going to help others. If you scoff at that just based on the principle of white people helping ethnic people, you’re racist. It’s people helping people. What, only Spanish people are supposed to help their own? Rich, young Americans SHOULD help poor people, so why is it PC to scoff at them when they do? Unless they are doing a bad job or adding to the problem, we don’t see why this episode gave so much lip service to the mocking of it. The first episode had a whole character devoted to judging the gringos (Zee). Funnily enough, we would have guessed that she was white until she started speaking with a Spanish accent. We hope now that the show is done covering its arse, it can get down to business.

The cases in both episodes were good though. A few of them had us genuinely concerned for the fictional patients involved. It was weird how so many of the young doctors didn’t know Spanish. There are plenty of Americans who know Spanish. They could have gotten some recruits that knew it out of hundreds of applicants. Heck, both Leeard and Ern speak more Spanish than these people, and they're the ones actually going to South America. You can’t throw a rock in either of our towns without hitting people who speak more Spanish than this. Unrealistic.

We could have guessed it was a Shonda Rhimes production as soon as a guy had his shirt off. Or how about when the frat guy (formerly Matt on Friday Night Lights) made a dramatic speech about his need for redemption to a guy who didn’t speak English. Call us softies, but we kind of liked the theme were the people needed redemption and new starts. It grounds the characters into some kind of story arc right away, even if it is heavy-handed and cheesy.

In the end, we decided that most of the problems with this show are going to fade away as soon as the introductions are in order and the show goes on. People with medical knowledge might scoff at the coconut transfusion or the flimsy attempt at CPR by one character (that’s supposed to be able to break RIBS, woman!). But we don’t care. We are already asking, “Will Lily get with Dr. Ben or will the redhead from Twilight get to keep him?” The second episode was already better than the first one. We are going to stick with this. It could turn out to be enjoyable. And who doesn’t love that Caroline Dhavernas is on TV again? Wonderfalls was way too long ago.

Grades for the episodes combined: B-


  1. There is a MAJOR cheese factor that needs to disappear fast. Not super impressed with the acting either. And most of it seems wildly unrealistic. I'll keep watching, though.

  2. This got posted? Better put it a picture....

    Oh, for sure. We don't know how much some of the acting will improve, but the cheese factor has GOT to be reduced after the introductions are in order. There is also still an "Oooh, we're in the jungle" factor. When the jungle becomes every-day for them, we think some of the cheese will go down.

    And it can't be more wildly unrealistic than Harry's Law. That was HORRIBLE. Our bar for realistic got significantly lowered by that show.

  3. NICE REVIEW! worth waiting for :)

    i hope that you'rE right and this show getting better, as it stands I'm not sold on it at all. Remember the Pilot episode of greys anatomy? it was awesome from day one!

    the really problem for me with this show is that I feel like I'm watching watered down versoins of Alex, Izzy, Meridth, Derek, and Burke- now tell you don't know INSTANTLY which Off the Map characters relate to each of those greys characters ???

    its a little irritating. maybe I'll skip a few weeks and then marathon it- marathon viewing helps me buy into characters...


  4. Thanks :)

    We see a watered-down Cristina as well. It IS probably a good idea to marathon it. That's how one of us got into TV, period. If they hadn't started putting it on DVD, this blogger would probably be reading right now. It helps to watch many in a row.

    We thought the Grey's pilot was ok. Definitely better than this. The best pilots we've seen are Life Unexpected, Friday Night Lights, LOST, and Arrested Development.

  5. I don't remeber the west wing pilot, I'm going to watch it now....

    FNL and Lost pilots for the win!