LAST EDITED ON 09-23-02 AT 07:56 PM (EST)
*** OFFICIAL PUSH, NEVADA EPISODE SUMMARY***
Episode 1: The Amount
Pressure? Nah. Why would there be any pressure at all in writing the first ever episode summary for the first ever episode of Push, Nevada? Pshaw.
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky.
The show opens with Ben Affleck and Sean Bailey explaining the premise of the show and giving us some hints of what to watch for.
For those of you who haven’t seen this show yet, here’s how it works. It’s got a lot of Twin Peaks with a dash of X-Files and a smidgen of Picket Fences with a big dollop of Small Town Eccentric thrown in. It’s a game show. It’s a drama show in its own right. Cash is stolen from the safe of a casino in Push, Nevada, and viewers will get a chance to win the money by putting together clues throughout the show’s 13-episode run. It’s also an hour-long free advertisement for other shows on the badly sagging ABC network.
Like a patient etherised upon a table
We open with a scene of a bald man shivering in a bathtub filled with ice with a thermometer in his mouth. I reach for the remote control thinking that ABC has somehow picked up “The Sopranos.” A hand wearing a dishwashing glove takes the thermometer and says “You’re ready. Let’s go.”
Cut to Dennis Franz going through a pipeline in the first of many references to other ABC shows. Oh wait, that’s just IceMan (not to be confused with our IceCat) who’s naked as he approaches a giant safe at the end of the pipeline. It’s a good thing his butt is in silhouette or they’d have lost a lot of viewers – not that there’s anything to see anyway as this guy would have had a major shrinkage.
IceMan then turns the combination lock to break into the safe. We see a security guy keeping surveillance over the scene and badly overacting as he says “What the holy…” as IceMan opens the door and shivers his way in. The body temperature may have dropped enough for him to not be seen on surveillance with the thermal cam, but what about his head – it’s still warm if he can think enough to remember the safe combination! IceMan makes off with a different kind of booty than what ABC viewers are used to by now and disappears into the pipeline while the Keystone Kops come charging in with guns. IceMan makes like Austin Powers with the bags of cash covering up his privates as he approaches a red car with a white hood. As the driver inside the car sees the cash, he yells “Yahtzee!” The mafia, he ain’t.
We then go to a sterile-looking office where we meet our hero, Jim Prufrock, doing his best Agent Cooper imitation. This show is looking more and more like Twin Peaks – Part 2 in the Nevada Desert. Now all we need is Laura Palmer and a dancing midget or two.
We also meet his secretary, Grace, whom Agent Cooper asks if there are any messages for him. Just from his ex-wife who pleads for money to be sent while claiming she didn’t get this month’s check (which Grace said she sent through UPS and was signed for by the ex-wife). There’s another veiled reference to Twin Peaks as the ex-wife mentions she’s at the Twin Palms Motel in Winslow, Arizona.
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
Prufrock is working his magic accounting fingers when a fax comes in from the Versailles Casino. It shows the sender as “Silas Bodnick” of the casino with a phone number on it and there’s a paper outlining some rather large sums.
The number is dialed and Prufrock asks if he has reached Silas Bodnick – we then see a nice shot of hairy nostrils and a lascivious pair of lips asking who wants to know. Prufrock explains someone specifically sent a fax to his office and that there seems to be a sizable accounting error, only to be told that he is a “yahoo” and told not to call again, “end of story.” I hope all these companies are getting something for the constant free advertising that pops up on this show, first “Yahtzee!” upon seeing the money from IceMan and now this. Prufrock growls and says “No, not end of story.”
The screen then zooms to the outside of the building where a sign appears, reading “Internal Revenue Service.” Uh oh. An IRS agent. If it had been any other kind of agent, Bodnick needn’t have worried, but IRS agents are like drooling pitbulls – they never let go or give in. Zoom back to Prufrock and he asks Grace how far away is Push, Nevada. The boogeyman’s coming after you, Silas.
Opening credits… a montage of images including 1040 tax forms dating from 1984 and 1985, the letters of Push coming up one by one, and we also see www.dmvf.com and “you are being audited” during the montage.
During the commercial break, there’s a commercial for SexTV – ah no, that’s just a promo for the upcoming season of NYPD Blue. Can you say… “overhype?”
Back to our hero, Agent Cooper, driving through the Nevada desert. Prufrock the Prude talks to Grace on the cell phone – we’re treated to some riveting dialogue as Grace says “He’s not listed at the casino” and Prufrock says “He’s not listed at the casino?” and then they talk about Prufrock’s numerical ability and whether he should gamble. Our hero won’t gamble and says, “Everyone loses in the end.” Yawn. Somebody go stuff THIS stiff into a bathtub full of ice.
Just then, Prufrock’s phone starts to wear down and then things start to unravel all at once. A Christian station comes on through the radio and the car cries out in mercy and breaks down. The radiator overheats and spews fluid onto the window then the car just rolled over and died on the side of the road. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why Prufrock then stood in the middle of the road as a truck approached, hoping he’d get run over as well so he wouldn’t have to listen to the radio anymore.
The truck stops and the driver gives Prufrock a ride. The truck cab is completely plastered with revealing pictures of the truck driver’s wife. We learn the driver (whose name is B.R.B.) and his wife make love every other night at 9:15 p.m. like clockwork and the driver tells Prufrock that he met her at Sloman’s bar and it is a good place to meet people. B.R.B., I’m not ROFL-ing at this TMI. Ya sure you didn’t meet her online?
Another clue comes up on the highway: Push, Nevada, population 10623 and elevation 1023.
At the roadside service station, Job the “honest mechanic” comes out to meet Prufrock. We see IceMan sitting in the corner, not quite so naked anymore but still shivering despite it being a warm day and fully layered in warm clothing and wearing winter gloves.
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
Prufrock asks where he could spend the night. He’s referred to Martha’s boarding house and is handed a bowl of soup as soon as he gets there. Martha quizzes him, saying she’s selective about her clientele. When asked what he does for a living, he dodges the question saying “good soup, by the way.” Is there a reason why the camera needs to zoom into a close up of the soup? He adds, “Well, I’m employed…” and that’s good enough for the lady to give him a room.
En route to his room, we see a sign saying “No Entry! Off limits!” That’s it? Prufrock’s room is a trailer that is pretty lavishly decorated for a $25 room. 10624A is the number of the room beside the door – way to be really subtle with the clues! When Prufrock leaves the room a bit later, the number has been changed to $1,045.
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets
Our hero decides to go for a walk outside along the streets of Push. More desperate attempts by ABC to hype its shows by placing “Alias” on the TV screen that is visible through the window in one of the houses.
At 11:00 p.m. on the dot, all the lights on the street go off and it’s completely dark.
Prufrock walks over to Sloman’s Slo-Dance bar. The place is packed. In true Twin Peaks fashion, a woman says “you’ll need one of these” and hands him a white rose. A young lady catches his eye sitting on a sofa. In what may be a first on television, Prufrock orders a non-alcoholic beer. The woman disappears from the sofa and magically appears beside him at the bar. They introduce each other. It’s a scene right out of Twin Peaks at the One-Eyed Jack bar with Kyle MacLachlan and Sherilyn Fenn.
Sherilyn… uhh Mary… propositions (I suppose it was one) him by saying it’s $2 to 20 for dance depending on the dance and the conversation. The conversation leads to the subject of Silas Bodnick, Mary denies knowing who Silas is just as we see him laughing it up on the couch with two women a few feet away. Mary’s acting is about as convincing as Bill Clinton’s denials regarding Monica Lewinsky.
Mary: If you’re going to stay here in Push, Nevada, take your time. Take careful steps. … because there’s a secret, Jim. And like all secrets, it’s not quickly told.”
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Prufrock then asks for a dance, Mary takes the white rose and then shoots him down as if to prove her point about secrets not being quickly told by saying “you move too fast for me.” Prufrock has been defrocked, so to speak. Or, to be more accurate and in keeping with the theme of this show, Prufrock is still stuck as ‘The Bachelor’ and there’s no indication this is going to lead to a ‘My Wife and Kids’ situation with Mary. As we go to commercial break, Prufrock is feeling ‘Less Than Perfect.’
Next day, Prufrock arrives at the Versailles Casino, where he’s greeted by a concierge speaking with a sad, pathetic French accent (I’m the king of fake French accents, I should know!). In asking for Silas, the concierge said “we’ll refer you to our accounting department” and then the camera cuts to Silas checking out the safe.
Inside, Prufrock starts to look for Silas and right at that moment, Silas walked by him while on the cell phone and identifed himself to the caller. Uh huh, you couldn’t have choreographed this sequence any better than that – not even Tammy Faye crying on cue with the camera pointed at her could have outdone this.
Prufrock follows Silas to his office and we see Silas talking to his secretary, Ginger, about the fax that got sent to Prufrock’s office. She insisted she had nothing to do with that particular fax. After Silas went into his office, Ginger told Prufrock that Silas wasn’t in his office, but it didn’t stop our hero from just walking in and confronting Silas. After some verbal sparring, Jim identifies himself as being with the I.R.S. and this gets our villain’s attention. Silas said he’s not going to talk any more and advised Prufrock to go ahead and conduct whatever investigation he thinks need to be conducted. Prufrock says this isn’t good enough and goes into a lengthy spiel:
“I know you’re crooked, Mr. Bodnick. I knew it from the moment I first heard your voice. The money that’s disappeared from those accounting statements. I bet you have it and you’ve cooked the books here to hide it and it’s not the first time you’ve done it, either. But strangely, that’s not what concerns me now. What concerns me is this kind of money could disappear and no one notices and/or cares.”
This is supposed to spook a slimy, greasy Mafia-wannabe that runs a casino?
Silas started spewing that he’s not threatening Prufrock but is “giving advice” and if he won’t take it, he’s going to look back on the conversation and see that Silas was just trying to help him. Translation: Prufrock’s dead meat and his legs are going to get broken if he doesn’t get outta there pronto. Prufrock said he doesn’t take kindly to threats but this only served to light a fuse under Silas’ ass and Silas evoked vivid memories of Jack Nicholson’s courtroom rant in “A Few Good Men.”
Prufrock merely replied, “You know how this country works, how it runs. Money. Yadda yadda yadda. Fraud. You. You, sir, are the reason decent people shoulder the albatross of of an inequitable tax burden. Wealthy, greedy cheats and thieves. I can plainly see you are one of those.” Prufrock’s got a way with words, doesn’t he? He babbles a little more about getting Silas into prison and then hands over a card with his contact info on it.
Silas closed the conversation by calling Prufrock a pathetic bastard and said “You want to know where you can find me? In South America, in a pool. Me and your wife. Yeah. Me and your wife and Consuelo the pool boy. Just in case he wants to have a shot at her.” I don’t think Prufrock would mind terribly if Silas went ahead and had his way with the ex-wife if it’ll get her to shut up about wanting more money. Please.
Back at the boarding house, Prufrock called the office and asked to be put through to his supervisor, Ira. We see two people keeping tabs with 12 monitors in a room where they’re told to record the call and to notify ‘Waller’. Silas also makes a call and the snoops switch over to his conversation. Again, Silas can’t get off his obsession over the fax that was sent to the IRS office. One of the people said, “Bodnick bores me, go back to the Fed” – something I guarantee you probably never expected to hear when we’re talking about a casino boss as compared to a squeaky-clean, play-it-by-the-book IRS agent.
Prufrock explains to Ira he thinks there’s something big happening in Push, and they’re going to need a lot more than just him and the IRS. As he explains to Ira what he’s done in Push, a flashback sequence zips by replaying all of the things that Prufrock has done – including a trip to the library where he dug up some town history. To sum it up, the town was on the verge of collapse until a company named Watermark Consolidated bought the casino, a number of people won over a million dollars in a matter of months, there’s a new sheriff in town, and the town’s per capita income nearly quadruples and new housing starts triples in two years. Then, poof, no more data shows up in the library and has been closed under orders from the attorney general.
Ira said to forget about it and come home, and said in yet another product placement, “We’ll grab an Arby’s or something!” After hanging up the phone, the screen pans back to see two goons facing Ira at his desk.
Exiting the boarding house, Prufrock found his car outside with a note from Job saying it was just a loose hose that had been broken, no charge for the repair. Ok, now this is too much of a fantasy… a honest mechanic who doesn’t charge $700 or whatever for a minor repair? Sorry, lost us there.
See if this makes sense to you – his car is fixed, so what does he do? Yep. He goes for a walk.
It’s now 9:00 p.m., and you know what that means. Time to get the hoochie-mama on. There’s a silhouette of a couple smooching in the window. Prufrock heads on over to Sloman’s and asks for Mary at the bar. He finds her and then does what any red-blooded American male would do… offer to do her taxes. Yeah, that’s it, that’ll make any woman swoon and want to tear her clothes off. She asks him, “You’re an accountant?” and admits she hasn’t reported a cash transaction since 1996, but Prufrock turns into geek mode and blah blah blah he told her how she could cheat on her taxes. Dancing is the only way he’ll shut up, so Mary said she’ll do a dance if he will go home. A cliché-o-rama ensues from Mary’s mouth so Prufrock realizes the only way he’ll get HER to shut up is to leave and go back to the boarding house.
Back at the boarding house, Prufrock calls Silas and get the answering machine. Then we see Silas checking his messages and receiving a message from Prufrock threatening him, “For you to be considered a cooperating witness, I will need to hear from you by 7 pm. You will know it is 7 pm because that will be exactly 11.5 minutes after the sun goes down. Just so there’s no confusion.” Women across America swoon again at that display of mathematical acumen.
Cut to a scene at the Blue Men’s Lodge where we see SurvivorBlows (hey, same initials as Silas Bodnick) pounding back some liquor and screaming, “Monkeyboy, Monkeyboy, Monkeyboy, Monkey-butts, Monkeyboy, Monkey-nuts boy, get out of here Monkey-nut.” Just a normal day at SurvivorBlows.
Back to Silas where he meet the head guy from Watermark, a big guy who’s wearing sunglasses. He becomes a quivering simp, calling him “Mr. From Watermark.” The big man comes down on Silas for his responsibility to manage the casino and how the books are poorly done. The missing money isn’t important to the big guy but the concern to him is the Fed as we find out that Watermark has a delicate relationship with the IRS and the big man threatens Silas to take action to rectify the situation immediately, by 7 pm or the sun will set on his life and career.
We then cut to Silas in his car calling Ginger on the phone, saying it’s over and it’s time to go, now, and he reveals that the money is in a safe in his house. He adds that he has one more thing to take care of, the guy who’s “the concierge at Nut Job Hotel.” Then we see that the big man from Watermark is listening in on the conversation. There’s an awful lot of money being spent on spy stuff for such a small town yet they can’t seem to find a few bucks to remove the oiliness from Silas’ skin.
After a commercial break, we see Silas sitting poolside at his luxury home. He calls Prufrock and said he wants to talk. Prufrock asks how to get to Silas’ place and gets a reply, “If you’re any good, you know how to get to my place.”
Prufrock drives through the desert to Silas’ estate so evidently he IS good. Let me get off on something for a second… we see the same ceramic statuettes on the fence surrounding the property. And earlier, we saw a ceramic statuette beside Mary at Sloman’s when Prufrock first set eyes on her and they were also there in the lobby of Martha’s boarding house – what’s the connection here? Did ABC spend all of their money on advertising other shows that they had to go to the Loony Lizard dollar store to buy props for this show? The statuettes are displayed prominently in each scene I’ve mentioned.
Inside the house, Prufrock sat on the sofa with a stuffed Monkeyboy behind him on display. Silas goes off on a tangent, mumbling about birds and riddles and whatever crap he comes up with. Finally, Prufrock has had enough and threatens to see him in court. Silas pulls out a gun and points it at Prufrock, but a masked man came charging in from outside and stabbed Silas in the stomach. The intruder pours gasoline all around the room, throws a lighter onto the gasoline and then said “Get the hell out of Push, Jim Prufrock.”
Prufrock quickly gets out of there and burns rubber on the road and we are left with a shot of the safe through the flames going up in the living room.
The fuel in the car is low, so Prufrock stops at a gas station that has a TV promoting yet another ABC show, “Who wants to be a Millionaire.” I didn’t realize they changed the name of the show to “Who wants to be a 1.2 Millionaire” because that’s how much Regis said the top prize level was.
After filling up, Prufrock leaves Push and thoughts are being replayed through his mind about what other people have said about him leaving Push. At that moment, he decides he’s not going to give up and turns around to go back into Push.
Next episode… Romance, murder, mystery. Yeah, yeah, yeah… we already got that in the first one, didn’t we?