Before we get into today's post, I want to update on Plans For The Next Review. I do intend to have the BTVS, S9 - Issue 14 posted late Saturday or early Sunday. I'll then follow up with BTVS, I15 on Sunday or Monday.
But this post is in our series of "Best Of / Worst Of Character Moments". Our subject today is Buried Alive, the 1939 story of the prison bound love between inmate Johnny - who ends up wrongly sentenced to death, and the prison nurse - Polly Pureheart... uh, I mean Joan.
Our characters up for review:
The Warden: He's a decent man who wants to give Johnny the benefit of a doubt, but he's there to do a job - not save wrongly sentenced inmates. But he is pulling for Johnny's name to be cleared.
The Preacher: He's a decent man with a crappy job, doing the best that he can. He's also pulling for Johnny, even though his heart belongs to Joan... unrequited love, that's called.
Over-Acting Ernie: He's a whiny, overacting, self-involved executioner who hates himself over his job. He wants Johnny to beat his wrap. He's also in unrequited love with Joan.
Doctor Bob: The prison doctor also believes in Johnny, and wants him and Joan to have a real chance. This, even though (yes, you guessed it!) his heart belongs to her in an unrequited love. And also, after having been dumped by guy-magnet Joan for Johnny.
Joan: Prison nurse, and slave to her heart. She loves Johnny and can't bear to know he's going off to the death chamber for a crime he didn't commit.
Johnny Martin: A small time criminal who has done his time. But just as he's ready for the big parole hearing, circumstances go pear-shaped and he ends up (very quickly) convicted of a murder he didn't commit. He's just an all-around, swell guy -- putting that original charge for which he was imprisoned aside.
Our Heroes Are Just Aw-Shucks Swell:
The Warden: The Warden's best moment is when he stands before the Governor and refuses to back down from his insistence that Johnny be given his parole, despite the recent flack over Report Manning's trumped up story. Despite the weight of the Governor's office being put to bear to keep the Warden's mouth shut so the "scandal" will fade, The Warden refuses. I'll give up a KUDO for his integrity.
The Preacher: The minister does his job quite well, but I can't give a kudo just for that. Sorry, Ira.
Ernie, the Executioner: Ernie gets himself a Half-Kudo for his intention to resign on the spot, if it'll help out Johnny's chances of parole after the bar brawl flap. He offers it up several times, and he testifies his own role in the brawl that lead to the trouble.
Doctor Bob: Well. Bob is a kind-hearted man, but it isn't quite enough to earn a kudo. Sorry, Bob.
Joan, the nurse: I'm going to give Joan a Half-Kudo, because she's much, much more patient with Ernie than I was during the latter's whine-a-thon, even when the subject was Johnny's upcoming and unjust parole denial.
Johnny: Johnny's earnestness is a bit too cloying, but I'll give him a Half-Kudo for being so concerned with others in the harsh circumstances he is in -- this is especially true of his relationship with Big Billy and his sympathy toward Doctor Bob for the latter's being turned down by Joan for himself.
Our Heroes Are Irritating:
The Warden: The Warden, in addition to being generally ineffective in getting anyone to listen to a word he says, takes far too much disrespect toward the inmates in their final moments from the Obnoxious Reporter. There is zero reason ever given for why the Warden has not banned this unpleasant man from the prison. I give him a Half-Demerit for not doing so, even if only to make a temporary statement until the governor's office butts in.
The Preacher: While I do think that Ira had an obligation to bring up Joan's preparing Johnny for the bad news about his parole hearing, in order to make sure the young man was ready, I won't issue demerits to him.
Ernie: OMG. Shut-fucking-up, Ernie. I dislike this character throughout, but is he deserving of an actual demerit? I'd say, yes... at least a half-one. I'm going to issue a Half-Demerit to Ernie for taking extra money to perform the executions, and then to selfishly make it all about his guilt over doing it... even though, he apparently makes a habit of this. I'd call this Hypocrisy. And whiney, self-involved douchebaggery.
Doctor Bob: Well, other than being a dullard and really not getting that Joan just wasn't that into him, Bob doesn't seem the bad sort. I'll not issue demerits for him.
Joan: Ugh, Joan. I must issue a Half-Demerit for being ultra-tacky. Please, do not break up with someone via letter sent to them while they are on vacation by telling them that you've decided to pursue a relationship with somebody else. I don't think salt in the wound by ruining somebody's vacation with the bad news is a good option.
Johnny: I have nothing to issue a demerit to Johnny for. Although he obviously did something wrong to end up in the joint, he's paid his dues by being a model prisoner. I'd say that wiped his slate clean.
I want to issue two special DEMERITS. The first is a Half-Demerit, which goes to Obnoxious Reporter for taking his obnoxiousness up to 11. He's an extremely unpleasant person.
But the real DEMERIT goes to The Barkeep, who actually perjured himself at an official parole hearing by claiming that Johnny was drunk, when in fact he a) wasn't and b) the barkeep had no reason to believe that he'd been drinking at all and c) had every reason to believe the exact opposite, being a prisoner and not having any freedom outside of being supervised. There is no reason given for this blatant lie.
And, that's it. Our list of KUDOS and DEMERITS for "Buried Alive". Until next time, folks.