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The Devil's Reject: 'Reaper' Season 1 Review

December 23rd, 2007 12:12pm EST
ReaperBuffy 2: The Hellmouth Strikes Back?

Due to the supernatural element of the show and its deft mix of horror and lighthearted comedy, "Reaper" has been compared to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" by critics and couch potatoes alike. While Joss Whedon's masterpiece is often referenced when discussing new shows, the comparison actually makes some sense in this case.

Sam is an ordinary youth who one day is thrust into a supernatural world and presented with a quest. His life is suddenly anything but mundane. He has to keep the mission a secret, although he does have several trusted friends who are in the loop and assist him in his adventures. Sound familiar? It should (and if it doesn't then go buy the complete series of "Buffy" on DVD). That being said, "Reaper" is far from being a simple "Buffy" clone. Not only does the Sam work for the other side, but it is also much lighter in tone than "Buffy" was, at least thus far.

"Reaper" is the story of Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison), a 21-year-old slacker who forgoes college in order to pursue an unfulfilling career at The Work Bench. The Bench is a freakish amalgamation of Home Depot and Best Buy. On anabolic steroids. It makes Mega-Lo Mart from "King of the Hill" look like a bodega in comparison. It seems to have become one of those "carries everything convenient to the plot stores," although the jury is still out on whether this is a running joke or lazy writing. (Side note - 2007 seems to be the year of massive chain stores. Fictional behemoths also play prominent roles in fellow freshmen offerings "Chuck" and "Cavemen.")

Sam maintains his sanity with the help of his friends Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez). They are all truly horrible employees and in reality they would have been fired by manager Ted (Donavon Stinson) many times over... although bull riding on a paint mixer does look pretty awesome. However, this is TV and not reality (and not reality TV), so the guys do not lose their jobs. Instead, they are forced to partake in inconvenient and sometimes humiliating tasks - such as dressing up in a pumpkin suit in order to hand out coupons. Seeing the three friends being constantly punished and humiliated is actually strangely satisfying in a guilty pleasure sort of way.
Reaper
Also part of The Work Bench team is Andi (Missy Peregrym). Andi is the obligatory 'good friend' with whom Sam would like something more. Their relationship is about as awkward and endearing as that type of confusing pairing tends to be on network TV. They are like Dawson and Joey without the angst. Added bonus: Missy Peregrym had a recurring role on "Heroes" last season and "Heroes" connections are always cool.

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