When a show introduces a new star to there is an obligatory episode or two early on that focus on the new character and reveal something about his past. Usually I’m less than pleased with having to watch such episodes. However, with Tom Selleck being the new star and the enigmatic Cooper being the new character on Las Vegas, I was quite happy to watch. My happiness turned to frustration very quickly though.

Mainly, I was quite disappointed by this whole Cooper used to be a part of some black ops for the military thing. Did they have to really go down the Ed Deline road again? It seems to me that if you were going to introduce a new character you would want him to be somewhat different from the old character, especially when the old character was played with such forcefulness by James Caan.

The fact that they want Cooper to be mysterious is just fine with me. Mysterious works well for a boss, it keeps the minions on their toes and the audience guessing what is on the boss’s mind. I see nothing wrong with they producers wanting him to have an army background. A lot of people have been in the military, so giving Cooper one is fine, too. Add to this the fact that it’s Las Vegas, they’re going to want him to have the ability to throw a punch, so military still works well (the other obvious choice is retired boxer, but I’ll go for military). But, the black ops thing is going too far. That’s the step that the producers ought not to have taken. All that does is draw more of a comparison with Ed. Maybe though Ed and Cooper are friends from way back when, some cross-US Government branch black op. Maybe Cooper’s taking over the Montecito was planned with the help of Ed. That’s actually something I could accept, and it makes Cooper’s black ops background more palatable. However, we didn’t see any hints of an Ed/Cooper tie-in tonight, and I’m going to need to see one soon if I’m to be comfortable with Cooper’s background.

As for Cooper’s confiding in Danny about his plan and Danny acting in front of everyone else as though he had no idea — I think that’s kind of a toss up. As long as Cooper was going to be a black ops guy, were I a producer, I may have had him go and actually prove that he wasn’t the murderer all on his own. Instead, the show went with same trope they used repeatedly with Ed. But, on the other hand, Danny is the number two guy at the Montecito and does have the right background to help out on such a task. Or, maybe Ed told Cooper to confide in Danny right after Ed told Cooper to buy the Montecito.

Finally, at the end of the episode, rather than explaining why it only looked like Cooper had figured out how to hack the security system and the other myriad of details that made no sense, they went with the old "I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you" line. I have no good reason for this to have happened other than the producers got to the end of the episode and couldn’t figure out why they would have Cooper do what he did. His avoiding explaining on purpose gives them a loophole. It’s a weak loophole, but it’s there. Or, maybe Ed told Cooper that the minions like it when their boss refuses to explain things right after he told Cooper that Danny is good on covert ops which happened after Ed told Cooper to buy the Montecito.

Elsewheres tonight, I was really disappointed with the Bar Mitzvah story. I didn’t mind the well-worn beauty making over the nerd bit (even if he looked just as bad after the makeover as before), it was the Sam and the Lipshitz parents (mostly the mom) conversations that got to me. Every time the mom appeared she did nothing but spew Jewish stereotypes (the Dad managed to get in the word "shtup"). Eventually Sam got into the act, offering her own Yiddish words back to the mom. In the end, Sam only made the mom happy by offering her free stuff for her party. Yup, they went for the "cheap" stereotype beyond just throwing out commonly used Yiddish words. The show even made sure to include the fact that there would be a brisket setup at the Bar Mitzvah. Because, after all, what Jewish event doesn’t have a nice brisket.

I’m in no way suggesting that the show was purposefully pushing a negative stereotype. I think that the producers thought the characters were funny, and the joke was a good one. Sadly though, they weren’t and it wasn’t. This is most likely because the mother, who most exemplified the stereotypes, came off as being wholly unlikable. Stated simply, there was nothing redeeming about her. Plus, as religion is not a topic the show covers in any great depth (I for one could not tell you with certainty what religion any of the characters are), to have the only religion portrayed tonight be Judaism, and to have the most Jewish of the characters been unlikable is problematic.

Enough of that though, Ed wouldn’t like the conversation turning its focus for too long onto such things. What Ed would want though (and I know this because he told Cooper to tell me to tell you) is for you to go and visit The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews.

Posted by:Josh Lasser