We conclude our Writing Communities series with a look at White Collar, a smart, likable series with two great central performances. Thanks to everyone for listening, commenting and being a part of the conversation. PopD will return after the summer hiatus!
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Story Analysis & Ratings:
Lucy says: 4 Pops ~ Lucy’s comments are coming soon.
Lucy’s rating breakdown: Protagonist: 5, Main Cast: 4, Supporting Cast: 3
Alastair says: 4 Pops ~ A fun, engaging show that is much smarter than it needs to be. Peter and Neal are great characters, their relationship is fascinating, and their world is one of sharp lines and gorgeous cinematography.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Protagonist: 5, Main Cast: 4, Supporting Cast: 3
Poll: Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Story: A white collar criminal agrees to help the FBI catch other white collar criminals using his expertise as an art and securities thief, counterfeiter and racketeer. Creators: Jeff Eastin
5 responses to “Ep. 58: White Collar”
This is one of my favorite shows, and I’ve watched it from the very beginning. I’ve never cared for Kate. I never thought of him as a stalker, and over the course of the first season, they make it clear that she was coerced into leaving Neal, so that’s not really an issue for me. I just never felt like I knew anything about her, or what they were like together. They do sort of address his relationship with her in a flashback episode (Forging Bonds) but it’s much too little too late. If they’d established their relationship at the beginning it would have been different, but there are times when I think of her more as the MacGuffin than as his girlfriend. As far as giving Neal a love interest that is his equal, they did it, they just did it in season 2 (which is why I was disappointed we didn’t watch Unfinished Business as originally planned, but the spoilers would have been enormous). I love Mozzie, especially later on, when you get to see stories that center on him. I find it interesting to watch Peter push Neal towards reforming at the same time Mozzie encourages his illegal activities (although that’s mostly in the current season).
Almost everyone I know had similar issues with Kate. I do think, from Neal’s perspective, she did disappear in a mysterious way so I never saw him as a stalker. However, the writers didn’t do a good enough job showing us WHY Neal would be so sure she wasn’t betraying him. Instead we all wondered why he couldn’t see what seemed obvious. Perhaps if Kate had been established as an innocent intially we would have been more inclined to believe Neal? (Or if they had cast someone as equally charming as Matthew Bomer in that role…)
Can’t agree on the Beard of Sorrow as it’s pretty clear he only grows it to aid in his escape. Though I do think he wants people to assume it’s a Beard of Sorrow.
I do think Mozzie has become more of essential player as the series has progressed. I’m not sure a lot of what he does is something Neal can’t do so much as sometimes a con can’t be run by just one person and Peter can’t be that partner for him (he won’t actually do anything that breaks the law and t would slowly corrupt that character for us viewers if he did).
The cast and crew themselves have said they consider NYC to be character on the show as much as any of the people so I think you nailed the head on it being part of the supporting cast.
I haven’t been commenting on the other podcasts but just wanted to thank you guys for doing this series. I’ve really enjoyed it. Plus it gave me an excuse to go back and revisit the beginnings of each of these shows. Will miss PopD during the hiatus!
I *finally* got a chance to listen to the podcast… much like I *finally* got a chance to participate in the live chat – lol!
The Kate Issue: the main problem, as I see it, is they show us that *She Leaves Him*. I think they needed a reason for Neal to jailbreak – which shows us immediately how good he is and brings in Peter to catch him (again) showing us how good Peter is – but they wanted it to be an emotional rather than “business” reason. Ta da! Insert Troo Wuv. Unfortunately, they give us no reason to understand or believe Neal’s Kate Mania – no pictures of her in his cell, no tattoo, nada. Keeping the same opening, they could have had Neal pick up some cryptic clue from the abandoned apartment/wine bottle, some code in her manner during the last visit, *something* that tells him (and SHOWS us) there’s more going on than meets the eye. I don’t think it’s even set up that they’re married… they’re just a couple. By trying to force the audience into a sympathetic link with Neal – he is, after all, a crook and not at all remorseful about it – they fokked themselves in the ear. I agree with Alastair – the lesson learned from White Collar is you only get one chance at a first impression and Kate leaves a very bad taste.
The Mozzie Connection – Mozzie (and by extension Elizabeth) has a very important role in the series – he is Neal’s B-Story. In Save the Cat lingo, the B-Story is the moral center of the story… or in this case, the character of Neal Caffrey. While the protagonist struggles with the main plot, the B-Story helps to shape his decisions either directly or indirectly. It just so happens that Neal’s moral center is… askew. When you watch them, Mozzie is always pushing Neal toward the old life, and Neal is forced to walk the razor’s edge of Right vs Want (he is also able to run errands for Neal that are restricted by the leash held by Peter). Elizabeth serves the same purpose for Peter, but in a more traditional way. Watch how often they will be discussing something non-case related and alight goes off for Peter. Both of them are there solely to serve as terrestrial consciences to Neal and Peter. And they are excellently played if not always excellently used.
I love White Collar, but I’m not devoted to it like Leverage. Honestly, Leverage came first and so I’ve always compared the two and found WC… lacking, somehow. It’s one of those shows that works best for me in DVD (or digital season) format, where I can watch it all in a marathon and come and go at my leisure. Leverage, like Castle, I watch every picking week. And then again and again on the DVR until it gets too full and I have to make space.
I gave it 4 Pops – close but not quite *there*. Also, Matt Bomer is PRETTY. Nuff said. ;P
I’m finding Leverage unwatchable this season, and White Collar getting better. Leverage has lost its bounce, there was such an irreverent flavor to it last year, and this year the writing is heavy-handed and sloppy. White Collar, though, really stepped up its game.
I see the Kate issue in a different light than others. I don’t like Kate. I want to shake Neil his behaviors motivated by Kate.
But, I don’t think it was a mistake or bad writing. I think it is intentional. Kate is both where Neil is flawed and an aspect of his best characteristics. When Neil loves and trusts, he loves and trusts completely without reservation and his love comes with an wavering loyalty. No risk or harm to his personal well-being is a mitigating factor.
Others might suspect Kate but Neil loves her so he trusts that she has a good reason for her actions. Just dumping him doesn’t fit in his image of her the love he trusts her to have. He can’t move on until he understands what happened. His loyalty demands that he gives her the benefit of doubt. Even with so little time to serve, the way and depth of which he loves demands escaping asap to find answers and do what ever he can no mater the personal consequences.
I believe as the series plays out Peter will gain the same devoted loyalty and while Neil might not agree and take direction from Peter, Neil will protect and back Pater and his wife from danger and harm etc with his life. This is who Neil is.
Neil is so beautifully handsome. intelligent, suave, his perhaps blind loyalty and love makes him vulnerable, flawed, and more human.
That’s my take anyway.