Abridged Quincy: Deadly Arena

Bloggified by Jake on Friday, April 4, 2014

Every four years for the last several decades, Americans have to endure listening to soccer fans remind us that "futbol is the most popular game in the world," implying that our apathy toward it is somehow wrong. (I understand the previous sentence implies "Americans" and "soccer fans" are separate entities and that no person can fall into both categories. I understand it and still didn't rewrite it, so you know where I stand.) Bear in mind that pederasty was hugely popular in Greece for centuries and Jerry Lewis is considered a comedic genius in France. One of those things is so disturbing the very mention will make stomachs turn and kill any conversation and the other is having sex with kids. So let's just agree the rest of the world is stupid for liking soccer.

However, because soccer fans are a vocal minority and Hollywood loves to cater to those, the 21st episode of the fifth season of "Quincy, M.E." tried to grab a slice of that hot World Cup excitement. One might expect to see some recognizable soccer stars like Pele or... well, I'm pretty sure there were some other ones. Perhaps a plot where a soccer player dies on the pitch and Quincy has to figure out why? Maybe we'll get a murder at halftime. Can't you just picture the hijinks as Quincy tries to interview some players at practice and they give him a hard time, juggling the ball around him or making him play goalie?

Well, "Deadly Arena" offered none of that. Instead we got botulism, a kid whose hair composed half of her body weight, meandering back story filler, and a romantic subplot between Dr. Pulaski and Oscar Madison.

Let me reiterate. Someone looked at

and said, "Dear me, is the air conditioner broken? My goodness, it's getting hot in here." Then, they peppered their flirty dialogue with discussion of the ideal environment for botulism to spawn. Also, at no time is anyone shown playing soccer. There is a girl who kicks around a soccer ball in the parking lot--where she hangs out literally every day and night for a week without her parents noticing--but at no point do we see any on field action.
This episode was particularly high in filler. As I was breaking it down, I started to realize how much pointless character backstory is used that has no bearing on the plot whatsoever. Arthur wants to start his own chili brand and retire to a tropical island. The truck driver loves baseball. And a woman who serves no purpose other than to be a third victim of botulism so Quincy can connect some dots gets roughly 45 seconds to jabber on about her husband, her anniversary, her ignorance of soccer, and how many times she's been to this empty stadium instead of the zero her character warranted.

Worst in all this was the fact the Cousin It-haired soccer fan who spends day and night hanging around the stadium parking lot without any adult supervision spends no time explaining that away. Instead, when she winds up in the hospital, the actor playing her father clumsily says, "We thought she was at her aunt's!" completely out of context and gets cut off while delivering the line. No one asks and no one responds, almost as if the character is dead and hasn't caught on yet that no one else can see or hear him because he's a ghost.

How much pointless backstory do the characters yammer on about without contributing anything to the story or the plot? To find out, I edited it all together and found it takes up roughly two minutes less than the above compilation of every pertinent moment of the episode.

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