How to Spend $20

By David Mumpower

June 7, 2011

Oh my god. Is that Rep. Weiner's wang?

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Welcome to How to Spend $20, BOP’s look at the latest Blu-ray discs and DVDs to hit stores nationwide. This week: attractive, petite teens are duplicitous; a reformed thief works a con for the government; a spy continues to work cons against the government; and the best Coen Brothers movie to date hits home video.

For teens who love drama and adults who love jail bait: Pretty Little Liars Season One

All kidding aside about my being a lecherous old man, I was tempted to watch this since the pre-release reviews were quite positive. I’ve always been a fan of self-absorbed teen drama. Pretty Little Liars supposedly has that in spades and the show itself is a huge hit. In fact, its popularity garnered a batch of book sequels, something of a rarity in the industry. When a television show is so well liked that a canceled book series gets reinstated, you know it’s good. I cannot tell you a single thing about any of the stories, but it’s got a gorgeous cast with a couple of quite talented young actresses in Lucy Hale of Privileged and Ashley Benson of Eastwick. I’m still tempted to give it a try. It looks like much better than average teen fare.

For people who want a less humorous version of Leverage: White Collar Season Two

By the wording above, you can probably tell that I am an ardent supporter of Leverage who finds White Collar less than the sum of its parts. As a huge fan of all heist shows, I still watch White Collar. It just doesn’t move me as much as the impeccably cast Leverage. Still, White Collar is capable of its high points and season two features the finest in the brief history of the show.

In Need to Know, the second episode of season two, semi-reformed thief Neal Caffrey moonlights as a political operative in one of my favorite television episodes of 2010. His disruptive ideas manipulate easily swayed voters in hysterical fashion to the point that I found myself thinking that whoever wrote this episode missed their calling in politics.

Overall, White Collar strikes me as a show that is stuck in neutral, which is why I’m still about four episodes from finishing season two. I like it well enough but it doesn’t move me the way that good television should.


For those who want to see what happens when a trio turns into a quartet: Burn Notice Season Four

I have been watching Burn Notice since the pilot, but I must admit that I was getting a bit burnt out (no pun intended) on the rehashed storylines. The novelty of a James Bond type revealing all of the secrets of the industry had worn off and what was left was a show with only three characters, one of whom isn’t even around that much. New blood was needed and to the credit of the show’s producers, a great new character was introduced in Jesse Porter.

A spy trained in the same manner as the show’s main character, Michael Westen, Porter suffered the same fate when he was burned out of his job. The genius aspect is that Westen was responsible for this turn of events. Porter and Westen wound up working together to unravel further government red tape and also did some good along the way, but Westen never revealed to his new “friend” that he had ruined the man’s life.

The end result was a fresh avenue for storylines that underscored the type of person Michael Westen had to become in order to be a world class spy in the first place. The darkness of his personality was revealed with each fresh new lie. It helps that the actor playing Porter, Coby Bell, had tremendous chemistry with the three other members of the cast, an important concern as we learned from the Dom disaster on Entourage. Bell’s quick indoctrination led to a series of great plot twists including a couple of friends-shooting-friends instances. If only this had happened when Chandler Bing and Joey Tribbiani were around.

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