Common Law: Shacking Up

Common Law S01E09: “Odd Couples”

The concept of having an entire episode dedicated to the idea of Travis and Wes as an “odd couple” seemed pretty redundant given the fact that the entire premise of Common Law hinges on their conflicting personalities and yet... ”Odd Couples” was oddly satisfying. When the partners ended up forced to room together during a stake-out, every insignificant personality quirk mutated into an overwhelmingly insufferable, all-encompassing pet peeve. It was hilarious and in the end, it was even touching.

A man who spent the last decade in prison for robbery, the $5 million haul still unaccounted for, escaped during a work detail and made his way to Los Angeles and also to the woman who wrote a bestseller about his exploits. Wes and Travis (correctly) theorized that there might be a connection to the author, who had spent a considerable amount of time interviewing the thief for her book. They convinced the captain to set them up with a nice place across the street from her apartment where they could easily run some surveillance and chaos ensued.

Oh, it started out well enough. Wes turned out to be a pretty fantastic cook. Travis complimented him on their awesome-looking dinner and a confused Wes claimed that he’d cooked for Travis in the past and didn’t understand why this particular time was so special. Travis explained that he always thought Alex cooked and Wes just took credit for it. Careful, Travis, Wes is what I like to call “a keeper” and if you want to keep noshing on those good eats, well...it doesn’t matter because between that little prank with the microphone and Captain Mike dropping in for some brewskies, Wes was in a bad place. He’s the anal retentive one and Travis is the chaotic one, and while those dynamics often make for a difficult working relationship, they made for a disastrous living arrangement.

Raise your hand if you’ve experienced a similar problem? I bet there are quite a few palms up out there in Internetland, mine included. I like to think that I’m like Travis, but I know deep down, I’m more of a Wes, right down to my inability to communicate effectively with roommates. It’s a politeness thing, for me, and I think that fits Wes’s personality as well. Deep down inside, we know that leaving a dirty plate out isn’t a world-shattering thing, but it’s still something that bothers us. So we clean it up, because to harp on our roommate to DO IT RIGHT THIS SECOND, even though it isn’t really hurting anything, would be rude. But after repeatedly doing “the polite thing,” Wes and I are, understandably, sick of being the only person doing the dishes. So we get passive-aggressive about it, because still, to flat-out demand that the dishes be done would be rude.

And then we freak out because, well, we’re freaks.

Wes chose to lash out at Travis’s “laziness” in therapy, in a rant that was funny, sure, but still sincere. Wes was clearly bothered by his perceived “taken for granted” status with Travis. Meanwhile, Travis seemed genuinely hurt by the fact that Wes called him out for something he didn’t even realize was bothering him (much) without first talking about the issue in private. Welcome to my freshman year of college, guys.

“This is why you and Alex didn’t work—nobody knows what you’re thinking.”

Cue the stunned silence. However, this is not the cathartic moment you’re looking for. Move along.

At least when my freshman-year roommate and I decided that we hated each other, we could still basically function without acknowledging each other’s presence. Unfortunately for Wes and Travis, they still had a stake-out to finish, despite their disastrous counseling session. They went on to break the thermostat while arguing over the perfect ambient temperature and Wes decided to cook Travis’s favorite dish... and eat it all by himself. Or at least, he tried to. Never get between a man and his chicken parm, Wes.

Meanwhile, the author across the street revealed her involvement with her subject matter’s escapades by gunning him down in her apartment. Upon arrest, she claimed self-defense, and without any evidence to the contrary, the police had no choice but to let her go. Travis and Wes had words when Travis played the “instincts” card and claimed that he had a gut feeling that she was involved. Somehow. For once, I was actually kind of concerned that Travis was walking into a confrontation without backup, especially when it was revealed that not only was the crime writer indeed a criminal, but she had roped one of the prison guards in on her plan as well.

But luckily, Wes showed up to save the day and made amends by complimenting Travis’s instincts and promising to support them better in the future. Travis reciprocated with an apology about being a pig and an explanation that hinged on reminding us all that he was a foster kid because I think the writers forgot to pay that detail lip service last week.

Anyway, minor complaints and initial apprehension aside, I thought “Odd Couples” was good fun. It reminded me of an episode of Starsky & Hutch, an influence that I think Common Law often tries to emulate with limited success, but this time around, might have just gotten something right.


Case Notes


– Aw man, Captain Mike’s B-story about trying to set up a nice dinner for his wife, only to have her cancel on him, was sad. C’mon lady, I’m sure you guys had your issues in the past, but nowadays, the man is a giant teddy bear. Give him a chance, if only so we can skip the sad panda scenes at the fancy restaurant in the future, okay?

– I really think that Travis’s storyline could benefit from a “show” approach, rather than the current “tell” approach. If I hear something openly blamed on foster care ONE more time…

Comments (15)
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I agree that the "foster care" excuse is getting old. If it were really the cause of every one of Travis' glaring faults, he would be the one who didn't see it. Travis is not the most self-aware individual, and I wouldn't say he's spent much time on self-examination. It just sounds like his default excuse, and he expects people to fall for it just like the ladies are supposed to fall for him. He's more of a pet than a partner, and at least he's potty trained.
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Good episode, better than the previous couple of episodes. Again, there isn't much to say about the case. This show is at its best when the humor is strong, and this episode was kinda funny.
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My fav part was when Capt Spikey Hair started mind-viewing a happy outcome, Wes and Travis escaping while the Capt's eyes were closed, then Capt Spikey Hair peeking and smiling when they were gone.
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I loved this episode. Once I stop looking for this show to be anything more than a feel good type of show, it's very enjoyable and I actually look forward to it.



I loved the classic bickering while living together scenario. There is nothing original about that concept, but it still made for prime entertainment. Living wise I'd be somewhere in the middle of those two. A healthy medium. I'm soo not a pig but I'm far from those anal, cleaning freaks..but God do I know those people well. In general...as much as I adore my Travis I know I'm a Wes. LOL



Travis does need work as a character. It's nothing wrong with him or Michael Ealy's portrayal...the writers just need to give him more depth. As someone said he has to operate as his own character and not just the foil to Wes and a quick way to write away a predicament by bringing up his foster care stuff when it's convenient. It's evident to the viewer that Travis is the way he is because of his past and his childhood, as is the case with people in general. It explains a great deal...but I agree that they need to work on showing it and peeling back those layers instead of just actually mentioning it in lines. Although it did work this time around with Travis coming right out and saying that his home is permanent.
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Does it seem to you that Wes is making some progress in therapy (although he'd never admit it) and evaluating his life, but Travis isn't? Travis seems to just use the therapy sessions to exhibit his puppy-cuteness before others and occasionally dig at Wes in public. One way to advance Travis' character would be for him to actually learn something about himself.
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YES.I concur. Although...the therapy thing in general is so vague. If not for the mentioning of Wes pulling a gun out on Travis, I'd say there was nothing fundamentally wrong with either of them enough to force them to go to couples therapy. On one hand it's amusing that everyone makes Wes out to be the grumpy one in therapy and he plays it up quite nicely..just like Travis plays up the lovable buffoon. But on the other hand it's almost overhwelmingly redundant. They keep joking about Wes not making progress when clearly he is. He's the only one that's ridiculed into analyzing his life. They always seem to imply that he's the only one with the problem. I mean their therapy sessions turn into a whole let's rag on Wes.



Then there is Travis. God bless him. They tell us and show us that he's the way he is because of the foster care thing. They pummel us over the head with his being in foster care...but they fail to acknowledge that he actually needs to make changes or evalute himself. They stick to him being the fun loving one and Wes being the one who needs to make these changes. I think until they explore a darker side of Travis perhaps or show something in enough of a negative light where the viewers and everyone else can see that he too needs some growth and change...he'll keep coming off as only a foil for Wes. In therapy they've yet to get on Travis' case about anything... So yes.. Travis would have so much more depth if we not only knew more about him beyond the obvious...but if he actually learned things about himself as you said. But that's probably why I clung to that serious moment when he explained the housing thing to Wes. For once it was something real, honest...deep.
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Travis just is whatever the writers need him to be to act as a foil for Wes, which makes him really inconsistent as a character. They need to flesh him out more and give him some consistent traits other than sexual-harassment suit waiting to happen.
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I too loved this episode!!!! But honestly Wes is so Anal...how in the hell can anyone live with such a person day in day out without committing murder!

Travis last speech was such BS , how does having been a foster child make you not clean up after someone else has done the cooking.

Still loving the show though

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I don't think Wes would exhibit such anal characteristics if his child-partner wasn't pushing buttons constantly.
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It was a good episode. They are really settling into their sweet spot. They further the overall arc of the story a little bit and have fun annoying each other.



Case Notes: Now up until the phone call for Captain Mike, I was thinking that his wife was actually deceased. But maybe Mike is the only one that is trying on his marriage, or maybe she is cheating on him. Either way I think it is going to be something we are going to see again.



Travis' storyline does need a little bit of broadening. We have a slight Idea about Wes, he was a big time lawyer, who screwed up a case or was shocked by a case, or got someone off that shouldn't have been. And it changed him and because he doesn't like to share his feelings he bottled that up and thought that the only recourse is to become a cop and put baddies away. But has internalized his issues so much that he starts to alienate and push people away. That is a given. But Travis is still largely an unknown. Mostly because the writers either don't want to get in depth with his story, or they are saving it for a later time. it might be the former, because it gives them a natural in to something with some of his step family that they can pull out of their arse when they are stuck. So it might be a while before we get any depth from him.
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I really enjoy this show, surprisingly. It has it's quirks but it is over all typical USA goodness :)
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Thought this episode was funny.. kinda like the show

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a work detail. really? did you watch the show? idiot
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You know, there are ways of pointing out an error without being a dick.
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Agreed.
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