So the question becomes: why aren't you watching The Middleman? Hasn't your entire flist been talking about it for weeks? I didn't think I needed to say anything more. I liked it at first but thought it needed to improve, and then it did improve, so now I love it. I love its wacky imagination and its chyron humor and its pretty girls and cleavage and its deadpan humor and its snappy exclamations and its constant stream of pop culture references. I love that it doesn't take itself seriously at all except when it does, and it manages to have it both ways.
This week's episode was called "The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation," you guys. That's right. It was about VAMPIRE PUPPETS.
Monday night, 10 o'clock, ABC Family. You've only got a couple episodes left this season (which may or may not be the only season), but I know you can catch up. You have the technology.
Then check out themiddleblog, where Javi, who is a cool cat, annotates the dozens of references in each episode, most of which center around a theme. This week's, of course, was mostly Dracula and other vampire stories. The ghost episode had a bunch of Ghostbusters references. For no apparent reason, one week they threw in a ton of Back to the Future references. This is a fun show, people.
But this post is not actually about the show. You're already watching the show, surely. I am here to pimp the comic. You see, Javi initially did pitch this show as...a show, but when it was rejected, he turned it into a comic instead.
The Collected Series Indispensability contains all three volumes of The Middleman so far, and it's definitely worth checking out. There are some minor differences that may cause a little cognitive dissonance, but nothing huge. Wendy is Caucasian with red hair rather than Cuban with black hair, the Middleman is blond, and Noser is white. There's less Lacey and no Tyler. But other than that, the first volume (The Trade Paperback Imperative) is almost word-for-word, shot-for-shot the pilot, and the second volume (The Second Volume Inevitability) is almost identical to "The Sino-Mexican Revelation." There are still some great lines and moments that didn't make it into the show, however (at least one because the show is quite clearly—and endearingly—low-budget). It's pretty neat to see the episodes in comic form (their original form!), as it gives you even more appreciation for the people bringing them to life on TV. Unsurprisingly, the show is very much in the spirit of its source material, given that Javi is behind both.
The third volume (The Third Volume Inescapability), however, is where it's at, as it's a story we haven't yet seen on the show (although one line/moment did appear in modified form last week), and I'm anxiously awaiting the integration of some of the elements of that storyline into the show, if it lasts. Obviously, reading the third volume may spoil you for the show, but it's a good story. It's a good comic overall, actually, as it doesn't adhere to any one panel structure, simply using the medium however is best to tell the story.
You even get "The Alternate Ending Paradoxicality!" Which is...what it sounds like. It features, um, well...I won't tell you what it features because it must be seen to be believed.
Finally, you get Legends of the Middleman, which is a few stories—drawn by different artists—featuring the adventures of Middlemen past. They're very amusing, and I think they're basically AU since they break continuity and they're too ridiculous (yes, even for this comic) to be true.
All this, for a mere twenty dollars! The online retailers appear to be confuzzled, so I recommend walking down to your local comic book store and picking it up. Ask them to hold a copy for you behind the desk, and you might have it handed to you by an extremely cute girl with glasses and cleavage and hair and everything.