I’m not one of those people who watches TV and movies ironically. There was a period of time — specifically high school — when I delighted in saying, “It’s so bad it’s GOOD,” but since then I’ve more or less moved on to things that I think are good on their own merits. However, that’s all pretty much gone to pot with the arrival of Ringer on the CW. It’s not so bad that it’s good. No, the word “good” couldn’t really be used in any context with the show. However, it is wonderfully campy. With clunky writing, cheesy special effects, and plots twists that are at once hilarious and, er, engaging, Ringer has all the makings of the next pulp disaster.
Just start with the names alone: there’s Bridget; there’s Siobhan (also known as “Shiv” — or is it SIOBH?); there’s Gemma; there’s Juliet; and there’s Henry Butler, who is neither British nor a dandy. All that’s missing is a Poppy, a Hortense, and perhaps a Nigel.
Now, in case you haven’t been watching this cerebral series, fear not: I will hold your hand through the first two episodes. There’s plenty of information to take in, but I think I can guide you through it…
We start off in Wyoming. Actually, no. We start off in a loft in New York City. Sarah Michelle Gellar is wandering around while ominous tones from The CW Casio Synthesizer of Doom play on the soundtrack. Wouldn’t you know it? She’s being stalked by a masked man with a weapon of some sort — I believe it was a crowbar, but really any large, lethal weapon will do. There’s lots of running and hiding, and for no good reason (aside from perhaps at attempt at artistry), some old standard begins playing throughout the loft. Think of Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” during the violent shootout in Face/Off, but less amusing.
Anyway, the attacker eventually pins down Sarah Michelle Gellar, and for a moment, I fear our heroine is toast before the series can even get underway. Silly me. She yells out, “You’ve got the wrong girl!” and then we travel back in time a week or two to Wyoming where we meet Sarah Michelle Gellar again, looking dumpy and all — there’s no easy way to say this — POOR. I mean, she’s wearing flannel, and that alone is Hollywood’s way of saying she’s made some bad decisions in her life.
Turns out SMG is a recovering addict. Oh, and her name is Bridget. She has a friend named Malcolm in her AA group (shhh! He’s a black!), and he is totally crushing on her. Bridge, however, seems slightly oblivious to this, despite Malcolm’s longing stares and a penchant for introducing pregnant pauses into conversations about cookies and the weather. Anyway, Bridget is in a whole lot of trouble, and I’m not talking about her addiction to the L.L. Bean fall line. She apparently witnessed something bad (think murder, immolation — that sort of thing), and now she’s about to testify against a notoriously dangerous mobster who looks not unlike a gaunt, scary version of the “Crying Indian” that wishes to Keep America Beautiful.
Anyway, despite the reassurances of her FBI handler Agent Victor something-or-another, Bridget totally freak the eff out and flees from protective custody. This makes her a fugitive. It also means there’s a mistrial and that scary mobster is now free to spend the rest of the next two episodes popping up in parking lots and staring down our old friend Malcolm. Why? We’ll get to that in just a second.
Well, that wily Bridget knows she has to get away; so where else to flee but East Hampton, NY! Listen, Bridge may not make smart decisions, but her taste level is unparalleled. I mean, if you’re on the run from the mob AND the Feds, you might as well do it in style. You just know that Anna Pump at Loaves and Fishes is running some sort of underground railroad for fugitives.
Nevertheless, aside from the Spielbergs and Ina Garten, East Hampton is also home to Bridget’s twin sister Siobhan, who has a knack for wearing giant sunglasses and delivering frosty lines. You see, while Bridget is a poor who understands the value of life thanks to her many hardships, Siobhan is a wealthy bitch stuck in a loveless marriage. She has everything she could ever need (including MANY symbolic mirrors), and yet is she happy? UhhhhNO. Hahaha, wealthy people: will they EVER find joy?
Anyway, the two sisters meet up, and we learn that a) they haven’t seen each other in about six years, and b) Siobhan is so embarrassed by Bridget that she’s never told her husband about her existence. Clearly these are people who don’t use Facebook, and quite frankly, based on the new redesigns, I can’t blame them.
Well, this sisterly reunion seems to be going quite swimmingly — Siobhan announces that she’s happy to have her sister back, there’s talk of apologies, and for all we know, these two are about to waltz back into Manhattan and give everyone a Big Business post-bathroom-scene heart attack (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, rent the movie. You will be happy you did).
So in honor of their rekindled relationship, the girls go on a boat ride on Long Island Sound. This results in the most ridiculous scene in the show’s brief history as the CW clearly refused to offer up any money for a special effects budget. As a result, we have a sequence that is so poorly rendered on a green screen that it actually became a small viral hit in the day after the pilot aired. It’s bad:
I don’t know what’s worse: the special effects, the acting, or the writing. Either way, it’s all sort of glorious in its own cheap way, and in many ways, this scene typifies the entire series thus far.
Anyway, as you may have seen from the above clip, Bridget falls asleep on the boat, and when she awakens, Siobhan is gone! All that’s left is her wedding ring. Nooooo!!! They were just about to write a new chapter of their lives together [shaking fist at poorly timed maritime suicide].
With no other options (except for the wide variety of options that would have existed in real life), Bridget decides to take on Siobahn’s identity. Let the fun begin!
Next thing we know, Bridget is wafting into Siobhan’s expansive (yet loveless — lol THE WEALTHY) apartment on the Upper East Side. She immediately calls her sponsor / would-be lovah Malcolm and tells him EVERYTHING she’s done. It’s not a smart move because inevitably, the bad guys are going to torture him until he gives up her location (hence, the quiet stalking in the parking lot), but I suppose the writers need Bridget to be able to talk to someone as her real self and not Siobhan. Nevertheless, this relationship feels UNWISE.
Soon we begin to meet the various awful people in Siobhan’s life. There’s her husband Andrew, who is bossy and demanding. No wonder why Siobhan wanted to kill herself. She’s married to a dick. AND he’s British. The only way he could get colder would be to actually carry around a tray of ice with him at all times. When we first meet Andrew he’s fussy and dismissive. The writers have a fun time making Bridget look like an asshole with all her assumptions of him. For instance, when he tells her he just lined up another investor for something or another, Bridget congratulates him, causing Andrew to seethe, “Are you being sarcastic?” Hahaha Bridget — you’re an idiot. Clearly investors are BAD. Right? I dunno.
But is Andrew really so bad? As the show progresses, he repeatedly tells Bridget, who he thinks is Siobhan, that she seems warmer and nicer than ever before. Oh, and SKINNY. Yeah, apparently Siobhan was a real heifer. Literally everyone compliments Bridget on her weight loss. Nevertheless, one gets the impression that perhaps Andrew isn’t so bad — he’s been merely turned off by Siobhan’s rampant bitchiness. These things happen.
As for that weight issue, there actually is a reason for it. Late in the first episode, Siobhan receives a call from her doctor. The results, he says, are positive. Dunh dunh dunh!! Bridget immediately panics, but once again, she’s assumed incorrectly (IDIOT). This is good news. She’s pregnant!
“I’m pregnant?” she announces out loud JUST as Andrew walks in the room. D’oh! Now he knows, and now she can’t hide it! Oh, and this particularly problematic because Bridget isn’t pregnant. Open those legs girl — time to get BUSY.
Oh but wait, there’s another problem! We don’t know who the daddy is. Yup, that slut Siobhan was banging not just Andrew, but Henry Butler, who happens to be married to a peppy redhead named Gemma. Oh, and Gemma happens to be Siobhan’s best friend. Oh, and Gemma is totally convinced that her husband is having an affair. But with whom??? It’s no wonder that after receiving this pregnancy news, Bridget ambles into a bathroom, stares at herself in the mirror, and then very seriously asks, “Oh Siobhan, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”
Cut to commercial.
I think it was at this point that I realized this was going to be the next great campy disaster.
Anyhoo, Bridget now has a nice mess on her hands, and in the middle of it all, she’s still carrying around a gun she stole from a cop back in Wyoming. It’s the sort of damning piece of evidence that should have been discarded days ago, ideally somewhere between Wyoming and East Hampton — closer to Wyoming. Instead, Bridget keeps the gun close to her, and every so often, she pulls it out of whatever drawer she’s currently stowing it in, looks at it, and then puts it down. It’s The CW’s way of saying, “Hey, don’t forget about this gun, America.”
There is a close call though. Someone nearly finds the gun in the drawer. I don’t remember if it’s Andrew or his bratty, drug-addled daughter Juliet, whose very presence threatens to knock Bridget off the wagon. Every time this girl appears, we’re treated to a silly flashback of the Wyoming Days when Bridget was a drunken, belligerent mess — downing shots of tequila and giving BJs to any bored trucker that happened to be passing through (I just assumed that last part of the story).
Anyway, with it being too dangerous to keep the gun at the apartment, Bridget needs a new hiding place. Luckily for her, she and Andrew are about to move into a cool new loft that Gemma is helping her renovate. Why not bring the gun there?
“This seems like a smart place to be.”
That’s exactly what Bridget does, and it’s so convenient too because at the end of the episode, Gemma demands that Siobhan meet her at the loft at 9 PM. Seems awfully late to discuss construction, but Bridget heads over there anyway, and OH NO! IT’S THE MASKED ATTACKER!
We’re now where we began with all the tussling and somber music. This time, however, we know there’s a gun inexplicably wrapped in a newspaper (great hiding place). Bridget grabs a hold of it, shoots her attacker, and then sits back in shock.
MEANWHILE IN PARIS…
Yes, this is happening.
Guess who is alive and well? It’s Siobhan! We see her reclining on a couch next to a mirror (get it? Mirrors? Ringers? Twins? This show has so many levels) when a call comes in. A man tells Siobhan that there’s been a problem with a plan. Instead of asking for details, Siobhan merely hangs up the phone and grazes the mirror with her fingers. Heck, that’s what I would do.
This is where the first episode ends. Are you still with me?
Episode two features less intrigue, but our girl Bridget still faces plenty of problems, namely the dead body that’s now stuck in the loft. What’s a girl to do? First things first: leave a voicemail for Malcolm wherein Bridget announces that SHE’S MURDERED SOMEONE. Not so smart, this one. Luckily, she thinks to erase it before hanging up. Phew.
As for that deadbody, it’s late at night, which means there’s plenty of time to dispose of the corpse and clean up the mess, right? Nope. Because no sooner has the gunpowder dissipated in the air that Gemma of all people shows up. Yup, let’s not forget the whole reason Bridget was at this loft was because Gemma had summoned her there (hmmmmm…).
Well, Bridget flings a tarp over the body just as Gemma ambles into the construction site. CLOSE CALL. And what does dear Gemma need to discuss? Oh, just girl stuff. She’s still convinced her husband is having an affair, but she still has no idea who it could be. Why this needs to be discussed after hours at a construction site is beyond me. Nevertheless, Gemma soon spies a giant hole in a wall (a hole that Bridget had created just moments ago when tussling with the attacker) and freaks out. Gemma assumes this is the shoddy work of the contractor and announces that she’s going to fire him, which in turn means that for 48 hours, there will be no construction crew in the loft. What a perfect window to dispose of the body!
The next day, Bridget heads to the loft with an industrial-sized container of bleach presumably from Costco and gets to work cleaning the floors. She also momentarily contemplates hacking up the dead body with a buzz saw that’s hanging around, but just as she’s holding up the device in the most ominous of ways, there’s a knock at the door. A knock?!?! This better not be Gemma again. She is WAY too intrustive.
Turns out it’s Agent Victor. He’s been poking around, and while Bridget-as-Siobhan told him in the first episode that she hadn’t seen her twin sister in years, Victor has found evidence to the contrary (a letter in a locker in East Hampton, specifically). Well, now Victor is at the loft to get some answers, but this poses a minor issue, given that there’s a dead body in said loft. And it’s right out in the middle of the room.
Well, Bridget doesn’t let Victor into the loft but instead huffs out, refusing to give him the time of day. It’s what you call classic guilty behavior. Hey, no one said Bridget was terribly smart. Note her boozy transgressions in Wyoming.
With everything closing in on her, Bridget decides she needs to see Malcolm, who proposes they meet in the middle of the country. Y’all just know he’s showing up with a bouquet of flowers and a boner at the airport. In order to fund her flight, Bridget must go to the bank where the teller eyes her down as if to say, “I KNOW YOU ARE NOT SIOBHAN BUT IN FACT A RECOVERING ADDICT WHO WEARS FLANNEL IN HER FREE TIME.” Ah, but that suspicious eye is but merely a ruse. Turns out the bank LURVES them some Siobhan. The manager brings her into his back office and basically gives her carte blanche to do whatever she wants with her funds. Bridget asks for all the cash in her checking account. There’s nothing really there. But what about the special account he set up for her just last week in case of emergencies. Sure!
Meanwhile, dumb Bridget doesn’t even think how odd the timing is that her sister would open an account just days before committing suicide. Don’t do drugs, kids. It will destroy your brains (as will this show).
Well, Bridge clears out the emergency funds and is off to the airport whhhhhhhen….
The phone rings. It’s Andrew. A pipe has burst. A hotel has to be shut down. Bridget, like us, has no idea what any of this has to do with anything. Turns out Andrew and his business partner — a foxy, territorial, man-stealing, British lady — are hosting a huge cocktail party at said hotel that evening, and now they’re out of a venue. So what better place to host 300 people than AT THE LOFT.
WITH THE DEAD BODY.
First of all, Bridget is an idiot for attempting to skip town while there’s still a dead body wrapped in a tarp in the middle of her VERY ACCESSIBLE LOFT.
Second of all, who hosts a cocktail party at a construction site?
Third of all, why am I still watching this?
Anyway, Andrew then informs Bridget that he’s already hired his event planners to go make the loft look pretty. They’re heading over there now! Well, we all know what this means: STOP THE GODDAMN TAXI. Yes, Bridget must forgo her trip to Malcolm to tend to this dead body. Poor Malcom. We all know he’s standing at the motel with drooping flowers and a box of melted chocolates. Eh, he’ll be killed off soon enough.
Well, Bridget zooms over to the loft only to find it teeming with construction workers and decorators. And there, in the middle of the room, is the tarp, inexplicably untouched. UNTIL THE MOMENT BRIDGET WALKS IN. Two workers reach down, Bridget yelps, and guess what: fake out! There’s no body in the tarp. Just some miscellaneous items. No, as it turns out, the tarp-wrapped body is now over in the corner. That’s right: this design crew came in, moved the body, and never bothered to open the tarp despite the fact that a) it must have smelled, b) it must have felt like a dead body, or c) the event planner probably would have liked to have known exactly what was in this loft space.
Nevertheless, Bridget needed to get all these people out of the loft; so what does she do? She uses the cash she had withdrawn for the plane ticket and buys all the workers lunch (on the caveat that they leave the loft for twenty minutes). Sure enough, everyone exits, and now Bridget can form a plan. What to do? As it turns out, the design team has installed all sorts of party furniture, including an oversized, chest-like ottoman.
An ottoman, you say?
Why, that’s the perfect hiding spot!
And so Bridget finds a temporary answer to her problem, but still, when it’s time for the cocktail party, she’s still nervous. Making matters worse is that Henry is there, lurking in the shadows like a sullen romantic. He’s in love with Siobhan, you see, and he wants her to leaves Andrew. That’s his baby, dammit, and they BOTH know it. Gemma, meanwhile, is a drunken mess, which is neither here nor there — just something amusing to observe.
Yes, everything seems more or less okay, but when a fat man sits on the ottoman / coffin, Bridget hones her inner T-1000 and sprints on over to him, demanding that he place his butt on a folding chair instead. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t she be better off having some dude sit on the ottoman? Less chance that anyone would actually open the damn thing up.
Well, if only that were the end of Bridget’s woes that evening. Making matters worse: here comes Agent Victor. Oh, and if that weren’t bad enough, the damn ottoman begins to bleed. Yes, never mind that this body has been dead for twenty-four hours — apparently the blood is still flowing, which is impressive considering that it had clearly stopped when it was in the tarp. Late onset postmortem bleeding — I’ve heard that can happen…
Luckily, Bridget spies the bleeding ottoman and manages to take care of the situation with some spare cocktail napkins, but she faces an even bigger challenge later when that British bitch is giving some yammering speech. A cell phone rings out, and it proves to be so distracting that the British bitch asks if it can’t be shut off. But lo! The ring seems to be coming from… THE OTTOMAN! How dreadfully awkward! In other news, I want to know what sort of phone this hitman has because I would kill for his battery power.
Anyway, disaster is averted for the umpteenth time when Bridget quickly opens the ottoman, finds the phone, and shuts it off. Phew!
And so the cocktail party comes to a close, but not before the British bitch privately announces her intentions to steal Andrew away from Siobhan. Seems rather rude, if you ask me.
MEANWHILE IN PARIS, the real Siobhan continues to be up to no good. Her cryptic plans are being ruined by Bridget (“She’s ruining EVERYTHING!”) and so she heads to the bank to withdraw some cash, but uh oh! It’s all gone! I can only imagine Siobhan’s horror if she knew her nest egg had been used to feed lowly workers.
Back in New York, Bridget returns to the loft after the party to do away with the dead body once and for all. She opens up the ottoman, and… it’s GONE! Plus, whoever removed the body did a hell of a job cleaning up all that blood because it’s spotless in there.
So… wait. Who took the body? My money is on the shifty-eyed stranger who showed up at the cocktail party. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: a shifty-eyed stranger showed up at the cocktail party.
Tonight, Bridget has the killer’s phone. What will she do with it? Charge it, hopefully. She may need to go to RadioShack though to get the charger. And what if while she’s there, she finds… A DEAD BODY???
There’s so much potential.
Have you been watching Ringer? What do you think about it?