In the classic "Simpsons" episode "Day of the Jackanapes," Sideshow Bob is released from prison with only one thing in mind: Revenge [in this case, against Krusty for erasing all of the tapes from their classic shows together].
Sideshow Bob is monomaniacal and in one scene, he plunks himself down on a TV studio catwalk and observes, "Ah, the catwalk. The perfect vantage point... for revenge."
He then pulls out a bag of savory snacks and opines, "Ah, kettle chips. The perfect side dish... for revenge."
Finally, as a brainwashed Bart moves in the direction of Krusty with a bomb strapped to his chest, Sideshow Bob caps the joke.
"Well, Krusty, this is your Waterloo. Soon, you'll be Napoleon Blown-apart," he says. A crew member objects, but Bob adds, "It was the perfect pun... for revenge."
In its perpetual and near-infinite wisdom, "The Simpsons" was poking fun at the convention that when fictional characters determine that it's time for revenge, they almost never go out and just get revenge. Instead, they talk about it endlessly and portentously. They won't freaking shut up about their need for revenge. And finally, you're all, "Oh my God. Just get your revenge already!"
"Day of the Jackanapes" and kettle chips came to mind several times while I watched the first two episodes of ABC's new drama "Revenge," in which the main character spends so much time talking about her need for revenge that an "Oh my God. Just get your revenge already!" reaction is almost inevitable. And while the character does, indeed, slowly begin to get said revenge, it's an almost joyless endeavor.
Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but there's a difference between "cold" and "emotionless and dull," a distinction "Revenge" is unable to make in the early going.
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