Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Citizen Joe"

“Citizen Joe” is the last clip show I will have to suffer through for Stargate SG-1. It probably is not the last blatant lift of a movie plot, but the story of an ordinary guy from Indiana alienating his family because of strange, other worldly visions is pretty much Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I do not want to sound down on “Citizen Joe.” It is much better than one might suspect at first glance. The enjoyment is largely due to Dan “Homer Simpson” Castellaneta as Joe Spencer.

Seven years ago, Jow was dragged to a yard sale by his wife where he found a stone that allegedly originated In Egypt. It is actually a goa’uld device which inadvertently connects Joe’s mind with Jack’s. Joe begins seeing visions of the SG-1 team’s adventures through jack’s eyes. He begins telling these stories, which he at first claims he has made up, to amuse family and friends, but as he shifts from telling the stories to his friends to attempting to publish them, he becomes more obsessed with them being real. During seven years of suffering these experiences, he loses his family and business. The losses put him over the edge until he feels compelled to confront the real Jack. As it turns out, both have been in proximity of Goa’uld stones, which are communication devices, and have been sharing each other’s memories. Jack offers to help patch up Joe’s fractured family by telling them the truth--Joe is not crazy.

“Citizen Joe” is a direct answer to many fan gripes over the years. Weak past episodes are mocked. Dangling plot threads like who killed Armin Selig and is Laira pregnant with jack’s child? Jonas Quinn is killed with faint praise while gushing over Daniel my favorite is the complaint by Joe‘s wife that his stories are becoming stale because the SG-1 team does not work as well together now as they once did.. Someone had spent some time reading blogs and the gate world forum before banging out the script for “Citizen Joe.”

Castellaneta’s performance makes “Citizen Joe.” There are not many shades of homer Simpson in Joe, save for a brief scene in which he is wearing a white shirt and jeans that hint at homer’s usual attire, but Castellaneta has lots of comedic talent beyond playing Homer. Joe is a likeable guy even at his most hapless and/or crazy. I suppose there is one similarity between Joe and Homer: As I said above, “Citizen Joe’ is more enjoyable than it has any right to be. I am never thrilled to see a clip show. I am usually not thrilled to see the main cast take a backseat to a bunch of one off guest characters, either, but Castellaneta soothes that irritation in a hurry. The eighth season has had an unusual number of guest stars--Steve Bacic, Erica Durance, Charles Shaughnessy, Jolene Blalock, Brandy Ledford, Claudia Black, Wayne Brady, and now Castellaneta. They have been a mied bag, and one that feels strange for what was assumed for the longest time to be the final season. At least the guest stars part of the season ends on a high note. As high as can be expected for an episode so out of place, at any rate.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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