I’m in the midst of an exhaustingly thorough life/housecleaning. Today, I decided to take a break and grab lunch at Fable Kitchen (in the premises formerly occupied by Refuel, and Fuel before that).  We came in on Dessert Master (and Stargate fan) Curtis Luk working his confectionary magic:

Spinning a web of liquid sugar that, once hardened, will figure into that day’s dessert.

We said our hello’s, grabbed a table, and enjoyed a casual lunch of:

A green herb salad and quinoa salad for Akemi. Bonus points for the use of shiso which is rarely used in anything outside of Japanese dishes.
The chicken salad sandwich and house potato salad for me. The sandwich was great, but the pulled chicken with the tomato jam I had the last time was outstanding!

And, of course, what lunch would be complete without dessert(s):

The chocolate pudding uses five chocolate variations and offers a variety of tasty textural contrasts. I could have had three of these.
Peach Melba with vanilla-raspberry swirl ice cream and that spun sugar we saw earlier. Akemi LOVED this dessert.

And then, it was back to work – into the crawlspace, hefting boxes, looking through old files and financial statements.  To be honest, it’s a pleasant break from all the business-related phone calls of late.

Yesterday, Paul and I were on a call that, as far as we knew going in, was going to be all about on one of our pilot scripts.  Instead, it turned out to be a pitch call.  “Your agent says you have some other ideas?”we were asked – at which I scrambled to bring up my file on the series ideas Paul and I discussed the other week before launching into my sales pitch.  We’ve got a drama, a procedural, a fantasy series, and an SF offering.  I’ll freely admit that we are better on paper and wanted to say “Why don’t we just wait and you can read the script in a couple of months?” but pitching/spinning is part of the business.

I didn’t think anything was going to stick UNTIL we were asked “Anything else?” and I considered, then realized: “Yeah.  We do have one more.” at which point I launched into the pitch for the series we’re developing with Ivon Bartok and Robert Cooper.  To be honest, Rob is A LOT better at pitching than any of us and I would have preferred to defer to him – but he wasn’t on the call.  And I didn’t know if he would be talking to these people anytime soon so I went ahead and made the pitch.  Happily, they ended up liking the idea and asking for any materials we had on the proposed series.  And, double-happily, Rob is in L.A. this week and next and he’s scheduled to meet with them Monday morning.

Speaking of calls, I’ll be doing a phoner with the gang at Wormhole Riders this Sunday night.   I hear the topic of conversation will be fairly open.  Comics books?  Chocolate? The last episode of Master Chef?  I think I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Continuing our trip down Stargate: Atlantis memory lane…

IRRESISTIBLE (303)

One of the great things about working on Stargate was the freedom it gave us when it came to scripting a wide variety of episodes.  For instance, the season opener, No Man’s Land, is a big, splashy visual effects-laden affair that touches on some of the major threads woven over the show’s previous seasons.  The season’s second episode, Misbegotten, also touches on some of these same big arc elements in a story that is more human, character-centered and, ultimately, quite tragic.  The season’s third episode, Irresponsible, switches gears in delivering a lighter, more humorous episode that presents Atlantis under threat from a most unlikely source – a seemingly affable, simple fellow named Lucius Lavin.

In playing the role of Lucius, actor Richard Kind becomes one of a handful of actors who guest-starred in both the series and the original Stargate movie (in which he played the part of an archaeologist).

Eagled-eyed viewers will also notice a familiar face among Lucius’s village admirers – namely Julia Anderson (now Julia Bensons) who would go on to play Lieutenant Vanessa James in Stargate: Universe.

Some memorable bits of dialogue:

LUCIUS: “The sick have been cured, the lame can walk again … well, some still crawl, but they crawl a lot faster than they used to.”

and

LUCIUS: “How do you get your hair to go like that?”

also

SHEPPARD: Well, what about Beckett?

McKAY: Oh, he … now, he can walk on his hands. Did you know that? Yeah, he was showing Lucius just before he left. You should have seen it. He was down on his hands …

– Which was actually a reference to Paul McGillion’s reputed background as a wrestler and his ability to, yes, walk on his hands.  Ask him to show you next at his next con appearance!

And finally:

LUCIUS: Mess hall. Blue jello. Just a little bit of whipped cream.

– Yet another reference to Stargate’s famed blue jello.

I remember that we shot this episode in late April, around the time of my annual chocolate party.  Richard Kind was in the office across the hall, making travel arrangements while I was in my office, making arrangements for incoming chocolate shipments.  He happened by and I invited him to join us that Saturday night at my place.  He ended up having a great time and, even years afterwards, would drop me an email or note about some heavenly dessert place he’d discovered (like Graeter’s in Cincinnnati, OH).  Very nice guy.

Kudos to Carl Binder on the script!

This blog’s resident film critic, Cookie Monster, urges you to join our Supermovie of the Week Club.  Every week, we’ll be screening and discussing a different superhero movie.  We’ve been working our way chronologically through Hollywood’s superbest and superworst and have finally reached 2000 and Monday’s entry, X-Men.  Cookie Monster is confident we’ve turned the corner and that, from here on in, it’s super smoooooooooooth sailing.

All of Cookie Monster’s past film reviews have been archived here: Film reviews by resident film criti…

24 thoughts on “August 3, 2012: A Fablelous lunch break! Phone-spinning! Wormhole Riders! Days of Stargate: Atlantis Past! Irresistible!

  1. Well, you didn’t touch on the controversy over this episode so I won’t either. Needless to say this one has generated A LOT of comments over the years. Wish you ‘d left in the scene where Sheppard uses the handkerchief when Beckett blows his nose from crying (I think).

  2. Irresponsible, or Irresistable? Now, I’m confused!

    Anyway, lunch looked awesome. That chocolate pudding, especially. Yet another place to go when I’m in Vanc!

    I know what your mean about the therapeutic effects of purging junk. You’d think I would do it a lot more often!

  3. And I forgot, one of the good things about this episode is the absolutely beautiful shots of Sheppard in his shades with that long piece of grass. *Sighs…..*

  4. Season Three was when I finally started watching Stargate: Atlantis regularly, so I’ve got some opinions to share. You’ve been warned. 😉

    While I do realize that Irresistible was meant to be fun, I found it kind of offensive and hard to watch. I thought that Lucius pushed his misuse of power to the point of abuse and couldn’t appreciate any of the cute and clever dialogue in the rest of the script because of that. Sorry to be so negative, but that’s how I felt.

    I didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday on Misbegotten. As you might guess, I’m completely in agreement with das on that episode. Okay, I’m a Wraith sympathizer, so you can ignore my comments on that basis if you want to. I just think it is wrong for the Atlanteans to think it is acceptable to kill off the Wraith prisoners. I know it’s war, but shouldn’t our heroes be held to some kind of ethical standards? I think they should, and for me, that was an issue through this season and parts of the following seasons as well.

  5. Graeter’s! We have one in town now. Of course, I worked for their rural rival for years so I can’t get too excited. Okay, fine, it’s great. My husband always gets the raspberry with chocolate chunks.

    I can’t find X-men on Netflix, but I do remember being out of my gourd in enjoyment of it back in the day. I better stop saying “back in the day”, not so far back anymore.

    We skipped Blade. That was decent. Blade II was, too.

  6. @Das – Yesterday:

    Thanks for the plug for a Tokyo trip with Joe, but I don’t know if I could keep up (although I am a fairly adventurous eater). Maybe someone younger, like Ivon?

    Still I would have tried the Horse Sushi and would have at least tasted the Cod Sperm; after all I do like Ikura (Salmon Roe).

  7. Yes, like bailey, I think I’ll just step around that big pile of dung in the middle of the room and say Irresistible was a silly romp. Richard Kind was great and some of the team’s moments were hilarious. Dr Beckett seems to bare the brunt in the writer’s room with Rodney kissing him in Duet and literally crying for Lucius’ attention in Irresistible. Can’t help laughing at him, he’s so cute. Fly Lucius, fly.

    Up next . . . why I love Robert C. Cooper.

  8. Actually, I found this twisted version of the classic “love potion” motif rather creepy. On the surface, it was shot in a lighthearted way that made fun of the situation and the people who had fallen under Lucius’ spell.

    But beneath that it felt – yeah, creepy. There was the lingering sense of vague danger slowly crawling closer – Richard Kind was really brillant in portraying that – on the surface – overly friendly, double-faced slimeball Lucius and providing us with insights on his true egoistical, cowardly and unscrupulous nature.

    The moment Sheppard got back to Atlantis and the whole crew turned against him on Lucius’ word? That send chills down my spine. A nightmarish situation – the place you feel at home with your “family” turns against you and into a place where your life is threatened by the people you trust.

    Given what we saw of Lucius we can assume a lot about the life of the “love-(potion)-stricken” “wifes” of Lucius. They may have felt great when under the influence but I can vividly imagine how they felt after they were over the effect and the withdrawal. Punishing Lucius by delivering him back to exactly those women, yes, I thought this was an appropriate punishment. And again – it rings funny on the surface but if you think a moment about it and picture the situation in a more serious way, oh yes. Nothing laughable about this.

    This episode was a double-edged sword that showed the underlying serious topic through the highly visible holes of the funny surface.

  9. Irresistible had all the right elements to be a great episode, but for me they didn’t quite jell. While it was fun to see the characters out of their mi ds, I don’t seed how Lucius could have gotten t everyone and Sheppard was the only person with a cold? Lucky coincidence. And Lucius just didn’t pull off the Harry Mudd imitation successfully. I know the writers intended for Lucius to be a fun/funny character, but alas, it didn’t work out. For me, it wasn’t even the sexual issues that sunk the episode. Once Lucius sent our heroes out on a near suicidal mission, he moved from bumbling but lucky idiot to malicious villain. All in all, a rare misfire for the show.
    That food does look incredibly good. You need to clean house more often, so that you can have reasons to eat out more often… Thanks for the daily posting. Now off to play security guard for awhile…

  10. Lunch looks great! And now I’m craving peaches…

    Good luck with that series pitch, Joe! And keep up the good work with the crawl-space cleaning. You are an inspiration to us all.

    @ bailey, Ponytail and everybody: Sorry, but I just couldn’t ignore the elephant in the middle of the room.

  11. Mmmmm, chocolate pudding…five chocolates?

    I’ve seen Richard Kind guest star in many shows. He seems so natural and easy in whatever character he plays. Lucius was another one of those characters that had many layers. It was an excellent casting choice because it shows how charming/likeable a bad guy can be.

    Thanks for the memories, Mr. M. 🙂 .

  12. @Joe I was watching a movie the other night and the phrase “rocket surgeon” made it through the final cut dialogue…firstly-did any cowpatties such as that slip through the cracks in your Stargate tenure? secondly-whose job precisely would it be to spot that, scriptperson? was there someone specifically in charge of continuity? I thought it was funny and sould see how the brain surgeon/rocket scientist terms could get juxtaposed…

    The food looks so good, oh this may be low-brow but nonetheless the only instance I have heard of its presence here in east Tennessee…the new Publix in Knoxville is featuring a gelato bar!

    Cheers!

  13. Joe, what Sparrowhawk said the Wraith.

    Now you have heard from both the scholar and the crazy person. I’ll let you decide who is who. 😉

    das

  14. Even if you were caught off guard in the sense of not having your agenda updated and the right folder open, somebody timed that call brilliantly. You don’t just BE a broad source for ideas and prove yourself a smart stop when someone goes on a shopping trip out of coincidence. Somebody whose job is timing didn’t announce your grand opening too early, and maybe even matched you up with someone excited to be an early bird.

    When you put on a yard sale, early birds show up in that hour before your Craigslist ad says you’re open, when half of your stuff is still in your garage and untagged. That person who shows up in a truck before you put up your street signs knows perfectly well the rest of the world is still sleeping. I ignore the etiquette advice that I’m perfectly justified to ask him to come back later. Later, I won’t have what that individual stuffed his pockets with cash that morning for – stuff that hasn’t been picked through.

    I don’t think you should feel that time it took to open your folders counted against you. It may have been a sign to your shopper that he showed up just at the right time.

    Your early bird was bouncing while you dug in your neighbor’s garage for that “Anything else?” For these early pitches, maybe you should purposely put one or two ideas in the “Anything else?” folder. “I may have something just arrived in the back” – an age-old sales technique.

    I love watching Lucius. The gourd was brilliant. Over the top tacky and un-deserving of diplomatic courtesy,

  15. My favorite bit in the episode was Sheppard checking that Ronon’s weapon was on stun before provoking him into firing.

  16. Re: Tomato jam — Meant to say something earlier, but my family loves tomato jam. My great grandmother once made it, and my mom has made it since we were kids. It is plenty sweet, to combat the acid. Cool to hear that restaurants are serving it, too. 🙂

    Irresistible — Glad I’m not the only one who had problems with this one. Out of all the Atlantis episodes, there are only 3 that were real clunkers for me. Can’t re-watch them. Irresistible and Irresponsible are 2 of them. Aside from the exploitation issue, the premise is so creepy and improbable. Am sorry to say so, but can’t bear the story, the Lucius character, or the Atlantis crew’s fawning attraction to him. And yeah, it made me queasy being a Beckett fan, because, well, I like Beckett. 🙂

    The actor Richard Kind is a wonderful person, and everyone had such a terrific time working with him that they had to ask him back later for a reunion/another episode. Who wouldn’t want to? It’s just the story and character were non-starters for me.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Joe, if you are life-cleaning and house-cleaning, is there big news on the horizon? Also, way to think on your feet during the phone call! I think we all learn quite a bit from you and your good habits of discipline and diligence. Given a surprise request for more ideas, you were already prepared. That was something! 🙂

  17. @IRRESISTIBLE

    Think you’d agree Joe that the best way to describe these 2 episodes involving Lucius is FUN.

    SG1 had Window of Opportunity, Atlantis had this.

  18. @profmadmax: As SGA & SGU’s science consultant, my job title evolved into “Rocket Surgeon.” It was the crew’s method of teasing me for being dangerously gleeful over the insane mathematics and science within the Stargate world. So I don’t think that was a slip of the writers, more a behind-the-scenes peek at the prevalent sense of humour.

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