"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Soup of the Week & Damages: Jesus, Mary & Joe Cocker

It's been a while since I made a pot of soup, so I was ready to try something totally wild. This is an excellent example of how convenience foods can be combined to make a tasty entree. Ready in minutes, this soup will remind you of eating Stuffed Peppers - one of my favorites meals.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

1 pouch (8.8 oz) ready-to-serve long grain and wild rice
1 lb ground beef
2 cups chopped green peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 jar (26 oz) chunky tomato pasta sauce
1 can (14 1/2 oz) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 oz) beef broth

Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large pan, cook the beef, green peppers and onion until mean is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the pasta sauce, tomatoes, broth and prepared rice; heat through.

Damages: Jesus, Mary & Joe Cocker

I gotta be honest. I'm just blown away by this show and I'm only two episodes in! I mean... how does FX do it? This is what? The third legitimately good show they've pumped out now that I watch (Rescue Me and The Riches)? Not bad for a basic cable network.

I think what has me so impressed are the characters themselves and how much they're already developed. The characterization that's been achieved here in two episodes is something that other shows often don't reach over the course of an entire season. I know motives, vices, and whats drives all the players involved. Yet at the same time... I still don't know who to trust. If Damages preaches one truth, it's that everyone lies.

Take Frobisher for instance. I love this character, even more so than Patty. Arthur is quickly becoming one of those guys you hate to love. Throughout the whole episode I kept seeing these glimpses of his dark side. Some were in my face (the prostitute and the cocaine) and some were far more subtle (when he fed the omelet to the dogs rather than letting his chef enjoy the meal). He values his family, yet at the same time he's prepared to lose it. He's back and forth on everything. Kill Katie... or don't kill her. That scene where he discussed the "solution" with his henchman was phenomenal. Danson owns this character.

Patty, while I'm not as enthralled with her as I thought I was, is still fun to pick apart. It almost seems like the more callous she is, the more people respect/trust/believe in her. She's mean and people flock around her. Katie is a prime example. She played right into Patty's game and now she's fully invested. The question remains... what does she know?

I know she was late to work that day because of a one night stand that resulted in an abortion. I also know that she had virtually no interaction with Frobisher in Florida that weekend. So how could she possibly know something? It has to be tied to this guy (Greg) that she slept with. What's his involvement? Katie catered and cooked the meal. Is Greg a waiter? Did he serve the meal, thus giving him an opportunity to overhear something from Frobisher and his broker? If that was the case though, why wouldn't they be trying to keep him quiet too? He's plays into this whole mess somehow. Now that Katie signed Ray's confidentiality agreement, it's going to be tougher though.

Moving on, I'm finding Tom's involvement to be odd. He genuinely thought he was fired until he got his new marching orders. Even Uncle Pete said that the whole office thought Tom was canned. Was Patty tracking him only to find out he had a friendship with Ellen and then decided he was worth keeping? I guess my point is that Tom seems like a genuinely smart guy. So why is he so dedicated to Patty? Can't he see that to some extent, he's being used too? It's clear he's good at what he does, but considering the circumstances, why isn't he doing it somewhere else? Is it the money?

OK, enough with the characters. Once again, I loved the flash-forwards. The way they're used and integrated into the episode is flawless. I especially like the little running motifs as it bounced back and forth. The pigeon. The bathroom itself. The Statue of Liberty bookends. Somebody killed David. I know how he died. Bludgeoned repeatedly by the crown that Lady Liberty wears. But who swung? If it was Ellen, what's the motive? By the end of the season, will she become so much like Patty that she's willing to kill to win a case? And if that's true, why was David the necessary victim? Unless he knows something about Florida too. It's all one big question.

One more thought. Patty set up Ellen's new apartment. It's probably safe to say that the entire place is bugged and wired with the tiniest of devices. Does that mean Patty has a recording (audio? video?) of what really happened?

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