Tread Perilously — Burn Notice: Bad Breaks

Tread Perilously celebrates its third anniversary with a month of treading safely and inaugurating a Hall of Fame of shows that faced the perilous test. The first inductee: Burn Notice.

In “Bad Breaks,” Michael Weston and Jason Bly find themselves held hostage in a private bank at the hands of professional bank thief Prescott (everyone’s favorite guest star, Mark A. Sheppard). Forced to fight the bank robbers “like a spy,” Michael sets out to make “acts of man look like acts of God.” But will Bly make his task harder? Meanwhile, Sam Axe tries to set up a long-term fling with a beer millionaire who owns multiple houses across the Caribbean and who wants nothing more than to relax.

Erik and Justin almost immediately get sidetracked by a discussion of Legends of Tomorrow. Erik discovers the black mold of geopolitics while Justin praises Sharon Gless’s role across the whole of Burn Notice. Erik mistakes Antigua for a fictional country and Justin learns about Silicon Valley’s hot tub culture. He refuses to believe “Jock Ewing” and “Digger Barnes” are real names from the TV show Dallas. Mark Sheppard’s presence in the episode leads to another Battlestar Galactica discussion. Erik learns the real conflict between Michael Weston and Bly and attempts to do a Sheppard impression.

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Tread Perilously: Special Review Unit — The Good

Tread Perilously returns to the case files of the Special Review Unit for the episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent known as “The Good.”

When Detectives Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Carolyn Barek (Annabella Sciorra) get tasked with rounding up a young man for car theft, they find themselves in Nassau County where the man’s parents are found beaten to death in their own home. He immediately becomes the prime suspect, but Logan and Barek suspect something else is affot — particularly when they discover the victims’ business ties of the Nassau Country deputy (Transformers‘ Kevin Dunn) investigating the crime and local painter Wallace Kenter. Did Kenter’s plans to expand their retail store empire lead to murder?

Captain Charlie Wright returns to discuss the nature of Criminal Intent and Logan’s skinny ties. Justin keeps getting distracted by the presence of guest star Elisabeth Moss. Erik namechecks Exiled: A Law & Order Movie and reveals the importance of Barek’s collection of hoodies. Charlie makes a key connection in the plot; proving why she’s the captain. Justin reveals rich interior lives for Sciorra, Kevin Dunn, and Moss’s character. Christopher Meloni gets praised as one of the greatest actors of all time and Justin pitches a Meloni/Garrett Dillahunt series called “Manhattan House of Detectives.” He also refuses to acknowledge the existence of actor Jamey Sheridan while Charlie lays down some business truths which make the episode’s plot thoroughly unbelievable.

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Tread Perilously — TalHotBlond

Tread Perilously concludes its TV Movie month with a real treat: the Lifetime movie TalHotBlond.

When former marine and abrasives factory worker Thomas Montgomery (Garrett Dillahunt) learns about online poker from his friends, he quickly meets someone new: a young woman named Katie who uses the screenname “TalHotBlond.” Despite being married to the wonderful Carol (Laura San Giacomo), Thomas begins an online affair with Katie which takes up more and more of his time. Oh, also, Thomas told Katie he is a 21-year-old marine sniper about to ship out to Afghanistan. Will all of his lies hold up once Carol figures out the password to his laptop computer? And what will happen when Katie starts talking to one of Thomas’s work pals, who goes by the screenname “Beefcake”?

Erik and Justin fall over themselves to praise the work of director Courteney Cox as they dissect the subtext and themes, make new connections about Thomas’s past and discover how Cox made the best Lifetime movie ever. Erik is convinced that certain fantasy scenes are meant to represent Thomas’s psychotic breaks. Justin outlines the formal conventions of a Lifetime movie and reveals the truth about Michigan’s CHUD population. Erik reveals his antipathy toward the film version of Ordinary People and both explain why Catfish had to be a work of fiction.

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Tread Perilously — Legends of the Superheroes

Tread Perilously braces for its toughest assignment yet with the 1978 duo of specials collectively known as Legends of the Superheroes.

In “The Challenge,” Batman, Robin, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, The Flash, Green Lantern, Huntress and lame-ass Hawkman face the doomsday threat of a distinctly not Legion of Doom composed of Mordru, Dr. Sivana, The Riddler, Sinestro, Solomon Grundy, Weather Wizard and Giganta. It leads to several fights at the Calabasas, California gas station. In “The Roast,” Ed McMahon hosts a literal roast for the superheroes at the not Hall of Justice featuring appearances from Pat Carroll as lame-ass Hawkman’s mother Esther Hall, Ruth Buzzi in two different roles and Mordru’s villainous filking of “That’s Entertainment.” Also, there’s some terrible comedy.

Erik and Justin face the heart of darkness as Legends of the Superheroes proves once again that there is nothing worse than bad comedy. Justin admits he was cheering for the bad guys ten minutes into “The Challenge.” Erik outlines why Hawkman looks great on the page, but fails everywhere else. He also calls Hal Jordan “a different kind of creep.” Bat-credit cards come up as we learn Bane doesn’t take American Express. Also, Justin is pretty convinced Dr. Sivana got the superheroes to drink his urine and Erik champions the comedic talents of Shaquille O’Neal.

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Tread Perilously — Bad Ronald

Tread Perilously continues its month of TV movies with the infamous 1970s network TV movie Bad Ronald.

When the socially maladjusted and bath-averse Ronald Wilby (Scott Jacoby) kills a local girl on his birthday, his mother (Kim Hunter) devises a way to hide him in the disused downstairs bathroom. Thanks to her great fear that a conviction will imperil Ronald’s medical career, she tells him to stay in the bathroom until she can spirit him out of town. Unfortunately, her gallbladder acts up; requiring surgery. Providing him with plenty of canned goods, she goes into the hospital and promptly dies. After the home is sold to a new family, Ronald begins to obsess over youngest daughter Babs, whom he observes via a number of peepholes he drilled into the bathroom walls.

It’s both more innocent and terrifying than you might expect.

Erik and Justin discuss the late 70s stock character known as “The Questionable Guidance Counselor.” They also immediately trade the names of the daughters for Marcia, Jan and Cindy. Erik admits he makes the Eve Plump connection with a number of 70s TV actors. He also makes a case for Nick Cave scoring a remaking of The Night of the Hunter. Justin takes Ronald’s fantasy world concept of “Atranta” to task. Erik keeps a list of things Ronald is bad at and Justin chooses the wrong position on canned cranberry sauce. They also celebrate local busybody Mrs. Schumacher.

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Tread Perilously — The Spirit (1987)

Tread Perilously begins a month of TV Movies with the ill-fated 1987 pilot film for The Spirit.

When Armfet, Oregon police officer Denny Colt (Flash Gordon‘s Sam Jones) comes to Central City to investigate the death of his mentor (Philip Baker Hall in a well-received cameo), he ends up the target of corrupt art thieves. Left for dead, Denny wakes up in a graveyard and adopts a new identity: The Spirit. Now freed from the chains of due process, Denny punches all the goons in town to avenge his own “death” and the death of his mentor. But Commissioner Dolan’s daughter Ellen (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Nana Vistor) keeps getting involved in the Spirit’s investigation. Will he get that filly in line before the real art thief makes themselves known? And will he save a group of special needs kids from a bomb planted in the museum?

Erik and Justin admit neither has read a Spirit comic, but Erik still has an opinion of Will Eisner’s art style. Visitor’s presence leads to a discussion of Star Trek: The Next Generation casting choices. Poolboy Ricardo becomes an instant favorite while both Erik and Justin trip over a character named “P’Gell.” Manimal and Black Partner make a cameo appearances thanks to the 80s production values. Justin imagines the products at Pier 10 and Erik remembers Darkman as a quality film.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: The Unicorn and the Wasp

Tread Perilously concludes a topping month of Doctor Who with the 1920s themed “The Unicorn and The Wasp.”

When the Doctor and Donna land in the English countryside, they find themselves guests of Lady Edison, whose quaint weekend party features a really special guest: Agatha Christie. But the frivolity is cut short when Professor Peach is found dead in Lady Edison’s library. Soon, the Doctor assumes the identity of a Scotland Yard inspector with Donna as his plucky girl assistant. Their suspect list is large and the whole thing feels like one of Christie’s novel. Is she the reason why the professor was killed with a length of lead piping?

Erik and Justin enjoy doing their terrible British accents while Justin explains that the titular Wasp is not a WASP. Although, the character is definitely passes for a WASP. Erik reminds Justin about the subjugation of India by the British Empire. He also predicts that people will mistake Johnny Weir the way they mistook Liberace. Justin believes all vicars participate in a boxing mach with Satan every Saturday. Erik reveals his appreciation of Tolkien’s Ungoliant and coins the term “Mistress of the Kitchen.” They also make another plea for a film based on the Ministry of Ungentlemenly Warfare.

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