WHITE COLLAR: Hard Sell - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


January 20, 2010 by  

Sorry it took me so long to write about WHITE COLLAR. I fell asleep watching the show last night and had to finish watching it this morning before rushing off to the office. My inability to stay awake had nothing to do with the quality of the show and more to do with the fact that I am a clearly an elderly woman.

But there’s much to discuss about Neal, Kate, Peter, and the hot guy from THE BLACK DONNELLYS.

You know what I love most about WHITE COLLAR? No, not Matthew Bomer’s eyes (which were clearly an inspiration for a Debbie Gibson song).  WHITE COLLAR is total escapism TV. It’s quite easy to get lost in the world of Neal Caffrey. The show doesn’t feel like any other criminal procedural on television today. It has an old school charm about it that you don’t find in some more of the gritter whodunit shows. I mean the lead character wears three pieces suits and fancy chapeaus. You’re not going to find that on LAW & ORDER. The stories are sometimes a bit uninspired for my liking, but Matthew Bomer and Tim DeKay are so dynamic together on screen that you just can’t help but pulled in by their magnetism.

Neal Caffrey is the guy every guy wishes he was, and the guy every girl wishes she had. (You know, apart from that whole ‘I’m a convicted felon who lies and deceives for a living‘ thing). It’s his overall desirability that allows him to slip into another role and become someone else instantaneously. Most don’t question him because he’s the type of guy that just seems like he always belongs.

Such was last night’s case ‘o the week which found Neal infiltrating a shady Wall Street boiler room hell bent on ripping off innocent investors. Knowing next to nothing about being a broker, Neal used his natural charm and appeal to not only get the job done, but to make sure his new found friends were eating out of his hand by the end of day one.

The plot was way more convoluted than it needed to be. I’m not sure all the layers of goons were necessary. But I will give a golf clap for guest star, Boston boy Jonathan Tucker.  I’m still bitter about the cancellation of Tucker’s show THE BLACK DONNELLYS (loved it!). Although the character seemed a bit too young for being involved in such shady business, he did have one kick ass comic book room. I couldn’t help but wonder if Matthew Bomer saw his CHUCK and WHITE COLLAR worlds colliding while filming that scene.

The case was secondary to the larger plot but it served as a catalyst for Neal to express his anger and disappointment in Peter who he believed was keeping Kate under his thumb. Despite his facade, Neal Caffrey is a much more sensitive soul than he would ever want anyone to know. He’s lived his whole life lying about who he is and what he does, all in the name of the con. There’s a part of Neal that needed this gig with the FBI because it was the only chance he would ever have of going legit. Striking the deal with Peter wasn’t about getting out of jail as much as it was of freeing himself of the chains of his criminal life.  As much as the show focuses on Peter’s struggle to trust Neal, I think it’s really more about Neal’s need to trust Peter. Living his life as a con artist (emphasis on the artist), he’s never really been able to trust anyone. So the thought that Peter, the man he made himself so vulnerable to , the only man he’s every really trusted, would betray him was more than Neal could handle. His teflon exterior was cracked to the point that he couldn’t keep his emotions in check, even when it meant blowing his whole cover.

Watching Neal deal with his feelings of betrayal made the whole scene in the comic book room that much more satisfying. Despite all the evidence stacked against Peter, Neal still trusted him to do right by him when his life was on the line. He quite literally put his life in Peter’s hands and hoped that he wasn’t wrong about his friend. And he wasn’t.

The fall finale cliffhanger which left us wondering if Peter was the one controlling Kate was resolved before the end of the episode. Was the man with the ring really Peter?  Had he betrayed Neal this whole time?

Yes, Peter did have the ring, however he wasn’t the only one as it was FBI issued.  We all know that Peter did in fact meet with Kate, but in tonight’s resolution we discovered that his encounter was meant to fire a warning shot her way – stay away from Neal. There’s never been any doubt that despite being on the wrong side of the law, that Peter respected Neal. But to intervene in such a way, in the name of friendship was quite touching. Peter doesn’t believe that Kate really cares for Neal. He wants her to stay away because “he’s a friend” and “the smartest person [he’s] ever met.” Peter knows that Kate is the one person that can make Neal betray his alliances and turn back to his life of crime.  He wants better for Neal.  As for Kate, Peter is convinced that she just wants something from Neal.  The same something that the guy keeping the pressure on her wants – an amber music box.

Neal is relieved that he can still trust Peter, and that he has his back when it comes to finding out why Fowler is using Kate to get to Neal and the music box. A music box that Neal has never been in possession of (shhh….he doesn’t want anyone to know that).

All this angst to get us to what appears to be the arc for the second half of the season. Neal on a mission to find the box while discovering the non-monetary value of it for Fowler. Our boy still doesn’t believe that his precious Kate has been con’ing him the whole time.  I on the other hand don’t trust our girl Kate as far as I can throw her.

A few other random thoughts while I wait for Neal to pick out a new hat.

  • I’m sorry if I’m a bad WHITE COLLAR fan, but can someone please explain to me just how Fowler is controlling Kate? He’s not holding her hostage. She seems to be able to come and go as she pleases, so what gives? Has he threatened her life, her family or perhaps Neal if she disappears? Color me confused. The less I know about how Kate is involved in all this the more I think that she’s the bad guy girl.
  • I wonder if the writers are ever going to call out Peter Burke’ obvious man crush on Neal Caffrey.  Go back and watch this episode again.  Watch the way that Peter looks at Neal. He’s in awe. He wants to be him. Peter can’t hide his man crush from taking over his entire face when he’s in the presence of Neal. I can’t blame him. The boy is pretty.
  • Still not enough of Elizabeth Burke to satisfy me. She’s such a strong, smart and sophisticated woman – can’t the writers find something worthwhile for her to do?
  • I find it hard to believe that in an hour long episode the writers couldn’t find any way to get guest star Jonathan Tucker to strip down to his tighty whities and hose himself down. BLACK DONNELLY fans know exactly what I’m talking about. (And no, I can’t find that scene on YouTube anywhere. Believe me…I’ve looked.)
  • Early on, before the show’s premiere, I turned down an opportunity for a WHITE COLLAR set visit.  Although it wasn’t possible at the time, I’m so disappointed I didn’t go. Although it was a bit of a back burner show for me last season, I really enjoy it. Plus, I need to meet me some Matthew Bomer.

Please tell me that some of you are watching WHITE COLLAR this season. If not, you’re missing out of a really fun show.  Plus, I hate when I don’t have anyone to talk with about my shows.  Thoughts on last night’s episode? Neal and Peter’s relationship? What Kate is really up to?  And why Jim Carrey’s best friend from “The Truman Show” is so hell bent on screwing Neal.

Filed under #1 featured, White Collar


20 Responses to “WHITE COLLAR: Hard Sell”

  1. Steph on January 20th, 2010 8:25 pm

    Great blog post. I was part of the media tour back in the fall, and I’m hoping USA schedules another one so we can be on set rather than “on location” –> which happened to be all over NY, though we really didn’t get to see the principles filming.

    As far as your question about Kate/Fowler, they haven’t explained it yet. My guess is that Fowler wants his hands on Neal’s stash and thought getting to Kate was the way to make that happen. Being FBI, he probably threatened her if she didn’t comply (arrest as an accessory/accomplice?) Is he holding her hostage? If he can bug Peter’s phones God knows what he’s doing to Kate. Maybe she’s also got a tracker somewhere on her so he can keep tabs on her location?
    I’m holding out hope Kate isn’t the baddie Peter believes her to be, but we may not know until the season finale.

    And the Burke/Caffrey man crush? You are so right. Although it’s not hard to turn into mush around the ‘blue eyes and charm.’ 🙂

  2. Teresa on January 20th, 2010 8:40 pm

    I”ve watched White Collar from the beginning and I love it! I agree with you that Neal is an old-fashioned softie at heart. That man-crush Peter has on Neal has been evident since the first episode, and Peter even made comments to Neal about his good fortune leading him to a charmed life Peter could only dream of.
    I don’t think Kate is being held “hostage”. I had my suspicions about that ever since the episode where she and Neal talked on the phone. Then, I had a bad feeling about Fowler, and now I’m convinced that Kate and Fowler are partners in some shady deal. I think Kate knows exactly how crazy Neal is for her and that he’ll turn himself inside out to have her with him again, so manipulating him into giving up that amber box in exchange for her freedom seems like an excellent plan. I already feel bad for Neal when the day comes that he finally realizes Kate was conning him…

  3. John on January 20th, 2010 8:49 pm

    Although I guess we are supposed to believe Peter, based on what we saw I still don’t and there is no guarantee Neal does either.

    The big problem with Peter’s story to Neal was how did he (Peter) get hold of Kate so he could talk to her. Since she is hiding from Neal and Neal is really looking for her, how did Peter know where she was? If he knows where she is and he feel she is bad for Neal, why not bring her in and let Neal and Kate, talk after Peter lets Neal know his concerns? Also, this would show either she was or wasn’t under someone’s thumb.

    Also, I could see Neal letting Peter have the breathing device even if he doesn’t trust him. Whoever is controlling (or working with) Kate wants something (The Amber Box?) from Neal and not just want him dead. So even if the bad guy is Peter, Neal could be fairly certain Peter wouldn’t let him die.

    As I said, I guess we are supposed to believe Peter, but right now I don’t.

  4. Stephanie P. on January 20th, 2010 8:52 pm

    I don’t have much to add, but I’ve been watching White Collar since the beginning and I’ve liked it more with each episode. I am glad you are covering it here at GMMR!

  5. Juliahez on January 20th, 2010 8:54 pm

    I didn’t watch a single episode of this show when it originally aired. I caught the 1st episode of the marathon USA ran yesterday, when I was looking for the Tuesday SVU marathon. I figured I’d leave it on while I cleaned up after my nephew left for school, and by the end of that first episode I was completely hooked. I set my DVR for the rest of the day’s episodes in case I missed anything, and basically lost my entire day! I got the rest of my household hooked on the new episode last night!
    I love the relationship between Neal and Peter. Their battle to trust each other without trusting each other is so fun to watch! And I agree, Peter is smitten with Neal. But I am also going to need more info about how Fowler is controlling Katie. You will be able to knock me over with a feather if she isn’t intentionally involved in all this! And I hope Neal continues to cultivate his friendship with Elizabeth. I think she’s good for him, she’s like a calm in the storm. Plus it’s really funny to watch how it bothers Peter!
    And THANK YOU for mentioning that Fowler is played by Jim Carrey’s best friend from The Truman Show, that was driving me nuts!!
    Can’t wait til next week!!

  6. Nicole on January 20th, 2010 9:06 pm

    I just finished watching the episode, and I thought it was great. I completely agree with you that the cases sometimes feel a bit thin, but that the interaction between Peter and Neal more than makes up for that. I’m so glad that we as an audience don’t have to go through weeks wondering if Peter is screwing Neal over, and that they further cemented their trust in one another in the vault. Loved that whole sequence – I thought it was really well done.

    I’m inclined to think that Kate is working for the Dark Side, but who knows at this point? But she was pretty cold in her meeting with Peter – is it possible that she could be just as good at lying as Neal is?

    When Neal walked into the boiler room for the first time, I was so wishing that the head guy would be played by Pacey’s boss from Dawson’s Creek – he was such a perfect douchebag and it would have been so hilarious. But yeah, I know that the likelihood of White Collar shouting out DC is pretty slim. That’s okay, as long as Bomer’s around, I’m not complaining.

  7. Patty on January 20th, 2010 10:32 pm

    Oh the power of Twitter! I got up off the couch to come read your recap!

    I have been a fan of this show since it started. I was really excited when I read about it even not knowing who was in it because I liked the idea. USA is the best at coming up with quirky characters and dropping them into cool scenarios and hooking me in. Way to go USA Network!

    That said, love Matt Bomer! Both he and Tim DeKay are great together. Now that Neal is doubting Peter it’s even better. The chess game at the beginning was almost pitiful with Neal all pity party.

    Kate is evil and I can’t wait to see how they play the TOTAL heartbreak I see coming. I think Neal will be crushed that Kate was good enough to fool him in a con. Just the the small amount of anger/pain we saw last night when he thought Peter had betrayed him? Oh this is going to be good!

  8. samsmom on January 20th, 2010 10:54 pm

    I have been watching from the beginning and I love this show. As you said, it is so different than all the other procedurals.

    I still don’t trust Peter. I know it was for the sake of the cliffhanger, but if he was meeting Kate at the hotel, why did he feel the need to wear the ring that he normally doesn’t wear and get all fancy with the hair and wine? I do think Kate wants something Neal has and is just using him.
    As for your random thoughts:
    – Peter totally has a crush on Neal, as do I.
    – I agree they need to find a way to incorporate Elizabeth into the show more, but they will probably be hindered by the baby belly this season.
    – I Netflixed The Black Donnellys based on your description of it. Yummy.

  9. Give Me My Remote on January 21st, 2010 12:21 am

    “I’m so glad that we as an audience don’t have to go through weeks wondering if Peter is screwing Neal over, and that they further cemented their trust in one another in the vault.”

    Nicole – So with you on this one. I actually meant to make that point in my review. The writers could have easily built an entire season around the trust issues between Peter and Neal. I’m so glad they didn’t. It’s been done before.

    I am thrilled that so many of you are into the show. I sometimes take a while to come around on a show. And while I liked WHITE COLLAR from the beginning I never watched it on Friday nights. It was a Saturday morning show for me, and then I went about my weekend and never wrote about it. But if you guys are in for a weekly discussion then I’ll be here too!

  10. Melissa on January 21st, 2010 12:45 am

    Hey, Kath! Great synopsis/analysis of this show (as usual). I actually haven’t watched the ep yet (I know! I’m terrible), but your analysis of the elements of the show are totally spot on. I love the interaction between Neal and Peter; Bomer is stunning…and can actually act; and I don’t like or trust Kate – she doesn’t sound like someone who’s afraid for her life. She sounds like someone who wants something, and is manipulating Neal to get it for her. Boo!! Neal and Peter’s relationship is developing nicely; I like the way they depend on each other, almost without realizing it, and definitely without admitting to it. The show is fun, has great eye candy, and gets better each week. Love it!

  11. Linda on January 21st, 2010 2:14 am

    Like all of you, I love this show. However, I think that Kate IS a baddie and that she (and perhaps Fowler) had a scheme going WELL before Neil was arrested, maybe even from before she and Neil met. If she didn’t have a scheme going, why is there a map on the bottle that she and Neil used to drink cheap wine out of while dreaming of a better life? (although, I guess she could have made that label while he was in jail.) And if she did love him at one point and then become greedy…..why not just wait the next 4 months. He’d get out and she’d have him and his loot. Anyway…..I think she’s a baddie and that she is in enough control of herself that if she wanted to stop or go to the police, or go to Neil and explain, she would.

    As for the man crush. Sure Neil is gorgeous, he would be to anyone, but I think Peter is extremely jealous of how intelligent, quick witted, caring and friendly Neil is. (he’s a criminal “and a good man”) It’s almost as if Neil’s brilliance and personality make up for his criminal behavior. (he seems a bit like Leonardo DeCaprio’s character in the movie, “Catch me if you can”. In fact, I wonder if this show wasn’t inspired somewhat from that movie/story?) Anyway, while talking with my son about this just now, I realize that I’d rather use the word admiration than call it a man crush. I see no physical attraction between the two, but that Peter admires just about everything Neil does…..and not because Neil is so lovely to look at. THAT is a superficial point. An important point for their crime solving escapades, but I think looks have very little to do with Peter’s admiration for Neil.

    As for the music box……the rest of the story is important to me is the “music box” and that it came from the “Amber Room”. A room created from Amber that was once located in Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Room. This room really did exist and it is believed that it was rummaged and stolen by the Nazis during WW II and moved from it’s original location. The location of the Amber Room is currently unknown. I think that the Amber Room has MUCH more to do with this story than it seems. Nowhere in any articles could I find anything about a music box or a jewelry box located inside or affiliated with the Amber Room. However, in this article: http://www.forbes.com/forbes-life-magazine/2004/0329/048.html I found this sentence: “I wonder what improbable passions drove the creation of this monumental jewel box,” This description of the Amber Room makes me wonder if it is really a music box that they want. Since Neil doesn’t have it, could they (through more refined research) find that really it’s a Jewelry box that Kate and Fowler et al think is missing. And upon further research, could they find that since the Amber Room has been referred to as a “Jewel box” and that the location of the original Amber Room in it’s entirety is unknown…….could it be that, in the end…..Neil will actually end up looking for the original Amber Room itself? It’s kind of hard to think of a jewelry box or something IN that box that would be worth all that Kate and Fowler et al are going through, but to recover the amber panels of a whole room as amazing as this one….THAT would be worth the risks they are taking. Anyway…..I think the mention and explanation of the Amber Room in the show was more than just a few sentences at the end of the show. I think the Amber Room has much more play in the mystery…….I know I certainly hope it does.

  12. Becca on January 21st, 2010 10:35 am

    I have loved this show since its inception, watched every episode and was ecstatic when it came back. I think Peter is good, Kate is bad, and Neal is gorgeous, charming, and delusional if he thinks Kate loves him as much as he loves her. Can’t wait for the rest of the season.

  13. Carol Armstrong on January 21st, 2010 11:27 am

    I love the show and I love the relationship with Peter and Neal, Mozzie and Neal, and Elizabeth and Neal. I think Peter is good and I hope Kate is good, but I don’t know why Peter didn’t let Neal see Kate in person. I can’t wait to see the next episode. I had a really hard time waiting for the return. This is my favorite show.

    Does anyone know who died? Neal is putting flowers on a cemetary plot along with Peter and Mozzie who are in the background? I am really curious.

  14. Rhian on January 21st, 2010 11:38 am

    Totally agree with the points made here, Hard Sell was IMO the best ep of White Collar so far. I loved every minute of it. I wasn’t overly bothered by the scam of the week as it was always going to be about the status of the guys relationship for me. I found the tension palpable (and even painful!!) at the beginning particularly during their conversation which was supposedly about the scam but had Neil pointedly redirect everything to reflect on what was going on between him and Peter. That boy has an intent and dirty stare that would unnerve any seasoned FBI agent 😉 The final ten minutes were a joy from their actions in the sealed comic room to their conversation outside the house. Ultimately the episode was proof positive that this show is all about the “odd couple” relationship between Neal and Peter. I loved seeing the conversation between Peter and Kate, to hear such an admission from Peter on how he sees Neal was amazing. I started watching this show because of Peter’s “man crush” and its certainly keeping me hooked LOL

  15. Nicole on January 21st, 2010 1:07 pm

    I just started watching the show when the marathon ran too, but I had been hoping to catch up on the show after some of the local (Pittsburgh) media has been running stories about Matt since he went to college here. If you are interested, he’s the cover story at http://www.whirlpittsburgh.com

    I don’t really have much to add about what’s potentially going to happen in the show, but I can’t wait for it!! Season 2 is going to be harder to watch though…I only get one episode a week?!?!?!? I enjoyed watching hours lined up on my DVR!

  16. Patty on January 21st, 2010 1:11 pm

    Is anyone playing the White Collar game on the website? I got roped in last night because Cougar Town did not hold my interest. It was fun. One of the better tie in games even if it felt a little like a Ford commercial at times.

  17. Nancy on January 21st, 2010 3:06 pm

    How did Peter know how to find Kate? Easy. She was stupid enough to call Neal on an FBI line. He then committed double stupid when he took the call on PETER’s phone! Of course, Peter traced it.
    Amber Room is real, but the details are not complete. Perfect to work in for a show.
    Neal and Peter assume Fowler “has” Kate, but does he really? That remains to be seen. Kate did not correct Peter when he brought up Fowler, which implies to me there is a con going on.

  18. Erik on January 24th, 2010 8:52 pm

    big fan of the show, but just a thought, what if Neal really isn’t that in love with Kate, and that he gave her something that she doesn’t realize is incredibly valuable, and that’s why Neal needs to get back with her? Why didn’t he wait to get out of jail? Maybe he knew something was up with Fowler and he had to make his move early. Maybe he is playing Kate while Fowler/Kate think they are playing him?

  19. brooke on February 13th, 2010 7:11 pm

    I Hated the show

  20. Adele Kaye on December 15th, 2010 1:23 pm

    I love the show! Neal, the con man and Tim, the professional (this could be reversed!) work together perfectly. I bought Season One and the Extras are terrific, like finding out that in one scene Neal jumps in the pool with Alex his suit ends up around his ankles and the water was COLD! I researched the Amber Room, too and it is an amazing story—ruined by the Nazi’s and finally rebuilt in 2001. Yes, those blue eyes could hypnotize me! Waiting for Season 2 on DVD. Also waiting for January 19th!!!! Season 3.