BrainDead: The Good Wife creators make a self-aware, allegorical B-movie

5 months, 4 days ago

With its army of ants invading Congress members brains, the gags could hardly be less subtle but its wit and low-rent esthetics make this lots of fun

Whats the name of this display ? BrainDead

When does it premiere? The first of the 13 -episode limited series airs on CBS on Monday 13 June at 10 pm EST.

What is it about? An asteroid lands in Russia and its full of ants. They take over the brains of members of Congress and lead to a complete government shutdown in Washington. Oh, and people brains start explosion.

Who on earth would come up with such an idea? Robert and Michelle King, the husband and wife squad behind The Good Wife.

Seriously? That prove was so safe and this seems, well, weird? Yes, The Good Wife was a sort of super-intelligent procedural drama, the various kinds of thing that CBS is known for. This is certainly not that. It seems more appropriate following the newest Sharknado movie rather than reruns of Scorpion and 2 Broke Girls. That its on conservative CBS is its own special kind of head trip.

What happens in the first episode ? Laurel Healy( Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a down-on-her-luck documentary film-maker who is the member of a Democratic political dynasty. Her former senator father( The Good Wifes Zach Grenier) persuades her turning now to DC to work for her current senator brother, Luke( Danny Pino ). On her first day on the job she begins investigating people whose behavior changes when theyve come into contact with a Russian meteor that was shipped to the Smithsonian to be studied. Because the Republican and Democrat in Congress cant pass a budget, the government shuts down and theres no money to guard the meteor. All of the crazy ants that live in the meteor escape, infesting the mind of unsuspecting Washingtonians.

One of the objectives of the is Republican senator Red Wheatus( Tony Shalhoub) a former drunk who has given up booze and womanizing in order to demand increasingly conservative terms for the budget bargain, inducing the congressional stalemate even worse. Laurel is also falling in love with his aide Gareth( Aaron Tveit) and dealing with a scientist whose brain explosions right in front of her.

What do these alien bugs definitely sounds like ? Exactly like ants. I was hoping for a bit more exotic space bugs, but apparently the CGI budget isnt as big as it is on Game of Thrones.

How can you tell when peoples brains are infested? The aliens seem to have a kind of hive intellect and all of the infected are working toward generating political gridlock. The victims behavior becomes more intense so if they were liberal before theyre now like Bernie Sanders reading Leon Trotsky and if they were conservative before theyre trying to resurrect Ronald Reagan by reading Ann Coulters tweets. They also hate liquors and sexuality, dress immaculately and have a strange fondness for the Cars song You Might Think.

This is obviously a political parable and most in Hollywood are liberals. Let me guess, the liberals are always right? The genius of this show is that it isnt virtually that simple. The problem isnt ones political faiths; its the sort of misplaced radicalism that leads to days-long filibusters and actual government shutdowns. The Monarches are poking fun at the Republicans and Democrats who cant work with one another and the atmosphere that led to such an impasse. There are sane characters that are both red and blue, its when the alien glitches get them and they refuse to see the other side of the argument that things get messy.

Honestly this all seems stupid. Is it any good? I suppose the fact that it knows its stupid is what makes it so good. More than anything else, BrainDead is a self-aware TV B-movie. Theres no mystery about what is causing the mind control and theres no subtlety about what the parable means. The campy cheapness really comes through when one person who is recently infected taps his head and an incredibly fake-looking chunk of grey matter oozes out on to his pillow.

Because of this dedication to the low-rent esthetic, the Kings are just having a great time with the story. Its fast-paced, funny and a little bit suspenseful as we wait for Laurel to figure out what is really going on.

While it is sort of stupid, its also incredibly astute, with a keen eye on exactly how Washington runs and how everything from the news channels we watch to the social media we follow is helping this invasion of mind-snatching insects. With references to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, it is also shockingly up-to-date.

Is there anything wrong with it? A few of the gags are lazy, like the old line that DC is just Hollywood for ugly people. Also the love story between Laurel and Garrett seems a little obvious and tacked on. Oh, and there arent two humen alive who seem less alike than Laurel and her brother Luke. They have about as much household similarity as a duck and a bowl of pasta.

Is there anything else to love? The recap of previous episodes is a silly song that is delightfully self-referential. Be sure not to fast-forward past it if youre watching on DVR.

Should I watch this demonstrate? Utterly. The jokes are good, the characters are likable( if a little bit stock ), and the irony is sharp and unlikely to offend no matter what your political affiliation. Since everyone is obsessed with the election anyway, we might as well watch something that is going to make our political messiness something we can laugh at.

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