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

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Own Worst Enemy: Breakdown

It’s easy to dismiss My Own Worst Enemy as derivative and while that’s true, it doesn’t mean the show doesn’t have value. How many times have great songs been completely derivative of other songs that came before them? This series unfortunately didn't survive. It stars Alfre Woodard and Christian Slater. It’s also slick, fast paced, and action packed.

Christian Slater plays Edward, a highly trained secret agent sent on various sorts of missions around the world. Slater also plays Henry, an identity created by the covert agency Edward works for. Henry is a mild mannered guy who works a job where he must travel all the time. Henry isn’t aware that he has an alter ego but he is aware that something is wrong because he’s started seeing a psychiatrist to discuss some very vivid dreams, so vivid in fact that he dreamed he was in Paris and he found a matchbook from a Parisian hotel in his pocket. Henry is literally turned off when Edward is needed and a fake story about Henry having to work late or travel for work is added to Henry’s profile. The only problem is that the chip in Edward’s head that controls all of these functions is failing and without going too far in spoiler-ville, Henry becomes aware of Edward. Once this happens, the two men find some entertaining ways to work together and exist in each others lives when the chip malfunctions causing that to happen.

While the action is fun and well executed and the characters are well portrayed and entertaining, there are several questions must be answered in future episodes for this series to work. First of all, why do this to Edward? It seems that he lives this other life as a really deep cover, a place for him to hide from his enemies until he is needed. If that’s the case then the cover, with all of its extreme measures, is a failure. Also, if the agency seems to be very detail oriented in its planning of Henry, down to shaving accidents, but they leave a stray matchbook in his pocket? Also, why would the agency allow Henry to go to a psychiatrist? Wouldn’t that jeopardize the cover potentially? Are they just so confident in their system that they aren’t worried about what might happen in the sessions?

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