Lance and Landis Show episode 4. Betsy and the Onion!
Holy mackerel, we’re covered in goose bumps so big our old Kelme lycra jersey barely fits.
Yes, we’re talking about the latest developments in the best episodic show in or out of Hollywood, with or without an Emmy. The Lance & Landis show is the finest dramedy — that’s a genre splitting mix of drama and comedy — to every pedal into our entertainment world.
As previously noted, the casting of this show is beyond stellar, from stars to walk-ons. We’ve got the dynamite combination of cancer survivor and seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong versus the mad Mennonite and loose cannon Floyd Landis. Corporate monster versus country boy wise-fool. This is conflict the way the masters write it.
Then throw in this blender mix of characters: There’s BALCO bad boy investigator Novitzky, damage control spin master Fabiani and his salmonella defense, the bankrupt Michael Ball with the designer jeans and cocaine and defunct Rock Racing team.
Then there’s the Samuel Jackson, bad muthafuka Rahsaan Bahaiti keeping us ghetto and gritty and UCI president and buffoon Pat McQuaid spouting nonsense from afar and accepting bribes or gifts and the loyal Armstrong friend and Stars & Stripes jersey man George Hincapie. There’s not one character in this show that doesn’t rock so hard your head explodes with dramatic possibilities.
And let’s stop right here, kneel on the floor, put our hands in prayer and give thanks to Floyd Landis, the original creative force behind this amazing show. Most shows begin with a vision but all Floyd needed to kick this monster story into high gear was a few leaked emails — he’s a true and original talent.
This show covers all bases, characters and locations which is why we’re so excited about the crazed mad woman the show creators just threw into the show like some jabbering witch from a Shakespeare play. We’re talking about Betsy Andreu, wife of old US Postal rider and former Lance buddy Frankie Andreu.
Anyone who’s ever heard her nasal Michigan accent as she rants about Lance’s use of PED’s is in for a dramatic treat. Novitzky is taking down her testimony and you can’t shut her up with a ball gag and two miles of duct tape. An awesome and exciting new character because, L& L fans — Betsy aint’ Hollywood — she’s unscripted reality TV. A fantastic addition to what is a ground breaking, Must-See-Doping-Contro-Ver-See.
Betsy functions as that Greek chorus, saying the things that heroes and villains dare not utter. She is a skewed conscience, a voice of suspicious yet transcendental truth. Characters who dare contradict her monologues should be wary. No amount of payola, intimidation or just plain good sense will shut her down.
Episode four brings back one of our personal favorite characters, the bad-ass Rahsaan Bahati, into tighter focus and a bigger role. The show hints at the Boss himself calling Bahati for intel on the secret plans of Landis. Yes, the deadlocked Rahsaan taking midnight calls from the Texan. This is dark and beautiful and so clandestine.
Now great drama is like killer real estate: it’s all about location, location, location. The Lance & Landis show has already taken us all over the world and then in episode two brilliantly added the Los Angeles party scene of Rock Racing’s Michael Ball and the gritty inner city landscape of Bahati’s Compton ghetto. This is a sprawling and richly textured landscape that underlines the moral dissolution of the main characters.
Now, the show takes us to the backwater of Idyllwild, California where Landis keeps a home. On his training rides in the deserted hills he felt a menacing presence — yes, Livestrong vigilantes watching his every move — and felt compelled to put some emails in place as protection in case his health suddenly went murderously downhill.
Idyllwild, folks, could you write a more symbolic town name for the mad Mennonite? Just one of those little touches that cram hot peppers in your orifices and demand you pay closer attention. The Lance and Landis show could sweep the Emmys and grab a few Oscars without even trying. This show doesn’t know when to stop blowing our minds.
Now, we at Twisted Spoke were thrilled when spin-master Fabiani was brought on the show with his Washington DC political dirty tricks. This character has not let us down for an instant, jumping out the gate and stealing his first scene with his aria about tainted eggs and salmonella poisoning.
Episode four gave him more tremendous scenes — Fabiani is the kind of character a writer dreams of creating. He’s a language twister, a fabricator, a spinner — you can put all sorts of crazy crap in his mouth. Audiences groan and cheer, they hate him, they love him, but you can’t take your eyes off the man. Witness his latest classic creation: ” Floyd-brications.” You can’t make that stuff up, people.
The very definition of a blockbuster drama is that you have no idea where it’s going next. Each week the Lance & Landis Show tricks and intrigues us with subtle clues and strange coincidences and flat out bizarre tangents that may or may not mean everything. Even twitter’s FakeFloyd is following Twisted Spoke in an attempt to figure out where the show is headed next and what it all means. Welcome, buddy.
Witness this weeks’ freak curve ball that we’re still trying to figure out. Suddenly there’s a bomb-scare and a gunman killed after a hostage standoff at the Discovery Channel building. Okay, conspiracy theorists: was that Lance and Johan Bruyneel trying to pull attention away from US Postal with a genius Discovery Team switch or Floyd Landis sending a coded message only he and FakeFloyd could understand?
Even fans of the Lance & Landis Show who are deep into the story wonder how much crazier the show can get? Way crazier is your obvious answer. This show smacks you in the face with hard knocks legal drama and then pulls the Pinarello right out from under you with black comedy. You have painful road rash and yet you cannot stop laughing.
Episode four ended with what appeared to be nothing less than the sinking of the Titanic, “the Armstrong Confession” with the boss at at large press conference with a big announcement to make. Many viewers literally stopped breathing and several rabid Livestrong supporters had to be airlifted to nearby hospitals even before he’d made his climactic admission.
Whew, we died several times but what we discovered — and again, massive kudos to the shows’ creators — was that the confession was a hoax, a dream sequence, a fake admission scene put on by the Onion magazine. A masterstroke that had us hyperventilating more than Diehard 2 or Inception. You can stack any scene from Mad Men or the Sopranos against Lance & Landis and what we’re calling the “Betsy & the Onion” episode.
How high is the creative bar? When the Feds faked the Hincapie crash in the Tour of Utah to spirit big George away to testify in episode three, we thought the story-telling simply could not get any more brilliant. Then Betsy Andreu starting squawking and the Onion blew up.
We didn’t deserve a show as good as the Lance & Landis Show. But it’s ours to revel in and we can barely stand to wait another week for the next thrilling episode.
Disclaimer: Twisted Spoke makes no claims of guilt or innocence or the validity of legal testimony or arguments. This is strictly a wildly imagined piece of creative writing. No actual events used in the making of this post. We’re just enjoying the best show that isn’t on TV.