TV continues to offer the most varied and satisfying entertainment for people who are willing to invest some time learning what they like. This variety of quality programing can be found either on demand or on DVD – all you have to do is make the effort to look for it.
One show to look for is the USA drama “White Collar.” Now in it’s third season, “White Collar” is a traditional procedural drama that resolves itself by the end of every episode. Seasons 1 and 2 were driven by a second plot thread that provided some flimsy momentum through the arc of the season. This thread has been wisely abandoned in season 3 in order to focus more on character development.
Season 3, now airing on USA and available through many on demand services, maintains the high bar set by previous seasons delivering another solid set of pure-entertainment television. What “White Collar” achieves is rare and in direct contrast to much of today’s “heavy does it” critically lauded shows. “White Collar” simply entertains. Imagine that!
“White Collar” offers no commentary on anything happening in the world today, no shocking or explicit scenes of violence, and no pretentious aspiration for edginess. “White Collar” is the epitome of a guilty pleasure – succeeding at being merely entertaining. It is like a delicious piece of non-nutritious yellow cake with chocolate frosting – and just as satisfying!
This is because “White Collar” owes more to “Gilmore Girls” than “Law and Order.” It’s witty, often zippy, dialog is checkered with obscure references that will send you to Wikipedia during the commercial break. There is even a white collar glossary website to help viewers understand them. This smartness is what makes the show so much fun.
It’s obvious that creator and producer Jeff Eastin is a writer writing for himself and having a blast doing so. Penning the majority of the episodes himself his scripts never dumb down plots or dialog. Clearly he assumes the audience is smart and paying attention.
For those who don’t know “White Collar” tells the story of the impossibly-charming former-conman Neal Caffrey (played by appropriately impossibly-handsome Matt Bomer). Caffrey is released early from prison to the aid the FBI, under the guidance of Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), thwart the weekly parade of fraudsters by outwitting them in the midst of their various schemes. Burke tries to keep Caffrey’s formidable skills in check and on track, but finds himself falling under his spell questioning what Caffrey is really up to.The excellent ensemble is rounded out by Caffrey’s former partner-in-crime Mozzie (Willie Garson) and Burke’s wife Elizabeth (Tifsani Theissen).
The shows energy and drive is primarily derived from the relationships between these four main characters. There is a warmth and sincerity in these relationships that seems authentic and something new to TV. The relationship between Burke and Caffrey, agent and criminal. is interesting in the mutual respect they have for each other. In a similar but lesser degree Mr. and Mrs. Burke successful marriage has real warmth and a sense of fun toward each often not seen. It’s a credit to the cast that these and the other supporting players never stray into camp or silliness.
The real star here is in the character of Neal Caffrey and the irresistible turn given by actor Mr. Bomer. If you ever scratched your head when your parents retold the virtues of Cary Grant, watching Caffrey might help you understand what they were talking about. With Caffrey you will see the closest embodiment to Grant in a very long time. Caffrey/Bomer is suave, sophisticated, smart, confident, and handsome – the kind of person who would typically piss you off. Yet in the the hands of Bomer you somehow like him.
So if you want some pure entertainment, and you want to be charmed – you should check out “White Collar” – you too may be surprised to looking forward to the next episode.