“Over There” tonight at 10 EST. The new television series about the Iraq war. I’m skeptical. So I’ve decided to live-blog it. If you’re watching, too, send comments.
2201 Sex in the kitchen for starters? Oooh. That’s subtle.
2209 Women in combat already and we’re not 10 minutes in!
2210 Squad is digging in (Ranger grave). She says: “Jesus I can’t do this.”
Two male soldiers rush over to help the damsel in distress. “Hey Dan, let’s give her a hand.”
“I can do it myself. . .” she whines.
Scene interrupted by combat action. (Badge to follow.)
Very interesting. And surprising. I can’t imagine that Steven Bochco wrote this to underscore the problems with women in combat. But hey, there you have it. Of course, PREDICTION: I’m sure by the end we’ll have Amazon Woman enter the scene. Wait. I bet this very same woman will turn out to be mega-warrior. Bet on it.
2217 “Praise in public; reprimand in private.” Captain in charge berates the lieutenant in front of sergeant and men, undermining chain of command. Hollywood always get military leadership wrong.
2220 Closeup of the chick. Nice eyebrow pencil.
2227 Okay. Where are they going with the women in combat issue? This I was not expecting. Synopsis: girl wanders off in search of privacy to answer the call of nature (whatever). After finding just the right spot and dropping her drawers and flack jacket, an Iraqi sneaks up, pears over the berm and spies her. He is momentarily flummoxed, then regains his senses, and tries to shoot her. (Just like all the bad guys in the movies, he has terrible aim in close quarters with an automatic weapon. . . ) Again, combat action ensues. . .
2236 “She’s alive!” Of course she is. Note: he carries her off the field.
2238 Commercial break. Question: could she have carried him off? With all his gear? Shoot, even without his gear?
2246 So now one of the women is doing a video for her kid at home . . . woah, the women in combat issue is a huge theme in this show.
We just had a scene where a bunch of Iraquis were dragged away and thrown into a truck while hollering about Abu Ghraib. . . were we supposed to sympathise with them?
2249 UnderArmour (product placement – cool though)! Milblogs, is this standard issue now? The Dude would love that! He’s mad that I wouldn’t let him watch this with me. . .
2255 Is that the football player who just lost his leg in the roadside bombing? Man I hate when they set you up like that. Oh is this the end? More reax in a minute. . .
2301 It was the football player. Previews tell us that they’ll be following him through coping with his loss and rehab. I felt emotionally manipulated when he was the one who got hurt. (I wish I’d written down my prediction that he would be the one who died — it was so obvious that they were setting us up to care about him.) But, having said that, if this story line resulted in people appreciating the sacrifices and suffering of our military, then it would be a good thing. . .More on another angle in a minute.
2327 The intellectual character from Cornell said in his video home: “We are savages; war turns us into monsters. . .” Victor Davis Hanson would like this part. He says democracies are the most vicious/brutal fighters and that when we go against other cultures it’s a slaughter. Hanson views that as good though. Hard to say completely from this single episode, but I’m guessing this show will go the other way — it seems like all Hollywood renditions of war turn into anti-war screeds. They’re going to focus on the angst of the individuals in order to tell the story. They won’t take the time to portray grateful Iraqi’s, or mention Saddam’s brutalities. . . and the character who says he “loves the Army” will be portrayed as a doofus.
I hope I’m wrong. But it’s not really worth watching. . . and our soldiers deserve better.
UPDATE: Swanky Conservative live-blogged, too. He had much the same reaction I did. Here’s one observation he makes: “After a firefight, do troops loll around staring at the dead enemy?” Well, exactly! What was that about? Went on forever. Check it out; he picked up on a couple of funny things that I missed.
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The Milbloggers are fighting back! Check out Blackfive‘s report — great comment thread.
And Eric’s Grumbles Before the Grave gives us his negative reax, but also a list of good war movies. It’s short!
1 August, Ballon Juice has an update.