Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cupid: Well, Isn't This Clever!

I am having a love affair with Cupid, and you should be, too.

If you haven't been watching, let me tell you a little bit about it--why it's a good show for everyone, but especially fangirls.

First of all, it's totally adorable. The colors are amazing, the cast is fantastic, and even though it's clear they're still trying to find their footing, the original concept and set-up is flat-out brilliant.

Cupid is a reboot of a 1998 ABC series of the same name, which starred Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall at the time. I've never heard of this happening before (have you?), and it gives me hope that ABC might take a look at another late-90's series of theirs and consider putting a revamped version on their schedule again: Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night. But I digress.

The plot is one you've heard before: there's this guy with these arrows.

More...The mythological story of Cupid is one of love--his ability to magically matchmake and the ultimate love story of the God of Love himself, with the mortal Psyche.

On the show, Cupid/Trevor Pierce (Bobby Cannavale) has been cast out of Mount Olympus, forbidden from returning until he has made 100 true-love matches. He finds himself taken in for psychological evaluation after a particularly public (and illegal) matchmaking activity, and is put in the care of Dr. Claire McCrae (Sarah Paulson). She runs a no-nonsense singles support group, where she works to help her patients work through their problems and find reasonable, rational mates.

The brilliance of this show is in its format. Cupid plays like a procedural--only instead of gruesome crimes, we have matchmaking.

Trevor and Claire are forced to see each other, as she is studying him for her report "Cupid: A Case Study," and they butt heads and join forces to help both friends and strangers alike find true love.

I think it has the whimsy of Pushing Daisies but with a stronger foot in reality. It feels a little less like Wonderland, which is a good thing in this case, because otherwise the story, an overt allegory of a Greek myth, would feel far too fantastical.

Of course, we're supposed to be rooting for Claire and Trevor to get together. It's certainly obvious that she herself is the counterpart of Psyche. Interestingly, when Dr. McCrae brought up Psyche to Trevor in the Pilot, he expressed ignorance to the story. (Is this because Trevor is really a deranged psychopath and not really a Greek God, or because he is Cupid and, obviously, having just met the psychiatrist, he's not yet lived that part of the myth? We don't know.)

I'm quite impressed by whomever in the writer's room decided to name the characters Trevor and Claire back in '98. Let me make something clear. If I ever create a television show, you will know which of the characters are meant to be together by the portmanteau you can create from their names. Like, for instance, let's say I've set up in the Pilot a pretty compelling little love triangle. (Of course I would. But don't worry, it'll be resolved by mid-season two.) The three characters are Elle, Henry, and Spencer. If you want your couple to end up together, you'd be shipping "Spelle," not "Helle." A terrible example, but if I actually had my own show, I would spend considerably more time thinking about that.

Anyway, intentional or not, "Clevor" has to be the best ship portmanteau name I've ever heard. Snaps for you, Rob Thomas.

You should give it a try. Like I said, it's still working on finding its footing--I'm not sure how I feel about any of the supporting cast yet--but I'm in it for this initial six-episode period and hoping for a full second season. It has serious potential, and the ratings reflect that.

And, hey, if this does well, I'm seriously going to start lobbying for Sports Night: Redux.

4 Responses to “Cupid: Well, Isn't This Clever!”

Breda said...

Funny story: my cousin, whom I saw for the first time in about a year for Easter, was telling me how awesome this show is just yesterday. I may have to watch (once I drop chem, breathe a sigh (laced with tears) of relief, and give Dollhouse and Castle a shot, too).

My only problem with a Sports Night remake (watched thanks mostly to you, by the way, and I LOVED it, though the second season left me violently unsatisfied and bitter, because they were so plainly just setting up plot arcs and then had to make that crazy ending and I was just kind of angry all 'round) would be that they'd use a different cast. And I don't think I'd be ok with that. Especially Peter Krause and Felicity Huffman.

Um, I will watch almost anything if they revived Sports Night, providing they kept the same cast...

Anonymous said...

I watched the first episode and I'm not feeling it this time around. It could be my bias towards Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall the original Trevor and Claire, they played the parts very well and I was firmly on that clevor ship. But I'll continue watching and give Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson time to grow on me.

Unknown said...

@Anonymous--I didn't watch it the first time around. I would now, except I don't want it to inform my viewing of the new series... I really like the chemistry btw BC and SP--I think the show deserves a second season pickup to give it a little time to breathe and develop.

@Breda--I influenced your decision to watch Sports Night??!@!! Two years of blogging has finally paid off.