Friday, 9 July 2010

White Collar 1.12 'Bottlenecked' - Review

When I first saw the teasers for White Collar when I was out in Vegas last September I knew it looked like a fun show but I never thought I’d become as much of a fan of it as I have.

I also never thought for one minute that it was the type of show that a UK TV channel would pick up, but hats off to Bravo for picking it up and bringing this top notch show to UK audiences.

White Collar is by no stretch of the imagination reinventing the wheel and if you like your hard-hitting, gritty dramas then you’ll be disappointed if you tune in expecting visceral TV. But if you enjoy an hour’s escapism once a week full of charm, wit and good-looking people then this might just be your new favourite show.

White Collar reminds me a lot of the now cancelled Las Vegas in a way – glossy, fun and not taking itself too seriously, with a dashing leading man, a jaded older partner and a bevy of beautiful women.

It won’t win any Emmys but you can’t help but be entertained.

The most recent episode to air in the UK was ‘Bottlenecked’ which saw Neal pitted against a former rival of his in a competition to impossibly forge a years old bottle of wine.

It was a very Neal-centric episode this week with Tiffani Thiessen disappointingly absent from proceedings again as Peter’s wife Elizabeth (I don’t know if the last two episodes coincided with Thiessen’s recent pregnancy or something?) and very little screen time for any of the other FBI agents like Jones and Cruz.

So instead we were left with plenty of Peter, Neal and Mozzie as they matched wits with Neal’s blue collar counterpart Keller.

The episode was fun but forwarded the season long ‘where’s Kate’ arc little and it all felt a bit like filler before the final push towards the finale.

That said there was plenty of comedy from Mozzie and a nice role reversal with Neal kind of taking the lead on this case with Peter as the reluctant sidekick almost.

Putting Peter in awkward situations is one of the show’s go to moves to forge humour and this week was no exception as the cantankerous old FBI agent was forced to play a wine connoisseur whilst wearing a skinny tie.

Bad guy Keller was slightly cartoonish and a little overcooked by Ross McCall but still made a formidable adversary for Caffrey – it’s not often you see Caffrey duped. In the end, obviously Caffrey had the last laugh and Keller chose to have his ass hauled to jail rather than test the patience of the Russian mobsters he owed money to.

As I’ve alluded to, not the finest episode in the show’s first season but an entertaining romp nonetheless.

‘Bottlenecked’ was worth watching for the in-joke relating to Tim DeKay’s Seinfeld appearance as ‘Bizarro Jerry’ Kevin alone though. Referring to Keller, Burke calls him the ‘Bizarro Caffrey’ a nice little nod to probably Tim DeKay’s best known role prior to White Collar.

The second season of White Collar is just around the corner in the States so it’s obviously found itself an audience; and with 2 episodes of season 1 left here in the UK I’m looking forward to seeing if, and/or how, they wrap up Neal’s hunt for Kate before the season is out.

White Collar airs Wednesdays @ 9pm on Bravo (UK)


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