Who knew that an Iraqi could walk without a torso? Granted, the insurgent's legs didn't get very far without the rest of his body but still it's a first for TV. Unlike previous war dramas (e.g., Combat, M*A*S*H), Over There explores a conflict that's still unresolved, and that alone qualifies Steven Bochco's series as one of the most provocative experiments in TV history (I'd love to see how it went over in the Oval Office). Politics aside, these boys and girls were caught in some serious s--- last night. No wonder Erik Palladino's Sgt. Scream is in a fury. First his tour of duty is extended, then he's stuck with a bunch of combat "virgins." As machine-gun bullets kick up the sand around his greenhorns (four men, two women), one of them Smoke brags he's not afraid because a) he grew up in a "combat zone" and b) he's stoned. Scream, whose forte is yelling, isnt impressed. "If a mortar lands on your head they won't find enough of you to fill a condom. Now shaddap!" For that retort alone, Palladino deserves some recognition. Clearly, Scream's sands of Iraq are a far cry from John Wayne's Sands of Iwo Jima. The ensuing firefight at the mosque wasn't glorious because the Americans behaved ignobly, but because it was a terrifying waste of humanity. Dim's point about the honor of putting one's life and morals at risk to achieve (hopefully) a greater good is well taken, even though Bo wound up screaming on a desert road with his leg blown off after his truck ran over a land mine. Will he recover? Will Iraq? Will America? That's up to the future. For now, I'm digging in alongside my new comrades. I might even buy that Delta Force: Black Hawk Down video game that FX advertised (twice) during the broadcast. Then I can pretend I'm in hell, too.
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