Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. The image of oil-company stooges gets slapped around but good when Scream and the boys are assigned to protect pipeline workers in a story line swiped from Fahrenheit 9/11. After complaining about how guards in a private security firm make $30,000 a month doing the same thing they do (oddly, there was no mention of Dubya's cut of American troops' combat pay), the squad enters a village where the inhabitants don't really care for Western types, especially if they're oil drillers. These folks would fall over themselves to shoot J.R. But that doesn't deter an oil-company stooge from trying to impose democracy on them, which only serves to turn an imam's wife intp an outcast. Goaded by Mr. Oil Stooge, the woman has the nerve to suggest that the Americans should build a school for their village rather than a mosque. That's when Tariq's BS detector starts to go off. He quotes Jake Gittes from Chinatown ("You think you know what's going on, but you don't"), but neither Mr. Oil Stooge nor Dim listens, and the latter lands the imam's poor wife in even deeper camel doo when he volunteers to carry water for her son. The road to hell is paved with good intentions just ask any Vietnam vet. If that plot thread wasn't heavy-handed enough, there was Mrs. B the Midnight Cowgirl. In a scenario apparently inspired by Hardcore, Mrs. B moves to Hollywood, adopts the name Norma Jean Baker and gets seduced by a lesbian prostitute who steals her money. Alone and penniless, she scams a meal from a bartender before owning up to being a soldier (though not to being AWOL). Of course Mr. Bartender takes pity on her, gives her a slice of apple pie (dig the symbolism) and tells her "not to get killed." A few weeks ago, I received a complaint from a viewer who couldn't believe how bad Over There made soldiers look. After watching Mrs. B's insane antics, I can't blame him. I'm flabbergasted that a series with so much going for it would put a character through such insipid paces. At least Vanessa managed to lift her hand to admit she was an alcoholic (liked the name of that women's meeting, too Sobriety Goddesses). At the end, it suddenly hit me like water-soaked Nerf football that Chris Gerolmo's closing theme song really sucks. For a guy who (usually) pens such honkin' dialogue, Gerolmo writes lyrics that are nearly as bad as Bon Jovi's. Check out these gems: "Boys leaving all their favorite toys"; "Ours is not to reason why"; and my personal favorite, "Fathers just say 'a-huh.'" Please note that these lines make even less sense in context. G.J. Donnelly

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