Angel From Hell Lacks Angelic Glow
By Erin Valentine
With the debut of the pilot for Angel From Hell being pushed back a few months, my hope for the show just kept rising. As a fan of Maggie Lawson from Psych and a respect for Jane Lynch’s brand of comedy, I was pretty excited. The finished product, however, has left me a bit dejected.
Lynch plays Amy. An ‘angel’ who is a bit knocked in the head, she is honest, quirky, and aggressively straightforward. Amy is the guardian angel to Lawson’s character, Allison. Allison is a type-A perfectionist and an almost painful cliché as a hard-working career woman.
The show’s premise is one we’ve all seen before: two very different people become unlikely friends and change each other for the better. It’s the classic mixing of the uptight sensible and the crazy unpredictable.
Watching the show, I really wanted to immediately fall in love with it. But it just kept hurting itself.
The dialogue was hard to follow and the pilot’s plotline lacked any interesting traction. The casting is lacking in diversity. And by that I mean I saw one person of color in the entire episode, including a populated party scene. Plus, the concept of the show is a bit hard to buy. I would be calling the cops and getting a restraining order against this woman following me around.
My real issue was that these two women could have utilized their characters to empower women. Instead, as a viewer, I felt I kept having to defend my gender while watching the show.
First, Allison is berated by her boyfriend, friends, and by Amy for being a hard worker concerned about her career. Lawson’s character is constantly criticized for working too much while her cheating boyfriend is glorified for being “chill” and unemployed. There is a constant focus on Lawson for needing to relax and be calm. This shows the unfair standard against women that if they work long hours, then clearly they must reevaluate their priorities. I was frustrated with the fact that the show could have applauded Allison for working hard. Instead, it felt like the fight for women’s equality stumbled back a few steps.
Secondly, Allison’s emotions after her breakup with her boyfriend are called a pity party and immediately pushed down by Amy. Why would she not be allowed to grieve finding out that her long-term boyfriend was cheating on her with her best friend? I personally think that’s a damn good reason to have a pity party, at least for a bit. This ignorance of emotional care seemed more like a need to move the plot along than to embrace the need to grieve one’s losses.
Past those issues, the rest of the show had the overall sense of ‘meh.’ Lynch is not the typical “easily lovable” guardian, like from past shows such as I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched — but no one expected her to play that role. Her character is portrayed as “eclectic,” yet the most abnormal thing about her is the amount of mousse in her hair. Lawson plays the same character type she has in past roles and seems bland in her character.
Hopefully, this is just a bumpy pilot. The show could have a chance if they find an interesting way to steer the plot, and if they can use the show to uplift women. But, the show’s feeling of ‘been there, done that’ could be its quick undoing.
Overall impression: Not a fan. But let’s hold on to hope for next week.
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