On Alias

Geek Chic

By Tracy S. Morris

I blame my coffeemaker.

That’s my excuse.

It’s a complicated little gadget. It’s supposed to turn itself on and off, brew my java, do the dishes, walk the dog and make me lose fifty pounds.

Well, it is!

But I can’t even get it programmed, and frankly, that’s a little embarrassing.

That’s why I like Marshall. I realize that I should love Alias because of the butt-kicking action, that somewhere down deep, I should feel proud that there are strong female leads in dynamic blah de blah blah. Been there, done that. Buffy anyone?

Marshall. The slightly goofy, ever-so-smart technophile who designs those easy-to-use, friendly-yet-lethal gadgets that Sydney employs each episode to overthrow third world despots in her quest for Rambaldi artifacts and Kool-Aid hair dye.

I’ll admit Marshall wasn’t my favorite character at first. With an ensemble cast, it’s hard for everyone to get face time. Between wincing at Sydney’s accidental adventures in dental hygiene and keeping up with the scorecard of new characters, Marshall was barely a blip on the radar.

However, by the second episode, Marshall made me sit up and take note with his introduction of the sleeping disk: “I accidentally touched this the other day, and I fell and knocked my head on the desk and was out cold for twenty minutes. You guys should see this.” At which point he pointed to a bandage on the back of his head.

More great moments like that followed: Marshall’s inflatable couch, his conspiracy theories linking Eliza Doolittle and Dr. Doolittle, his casual mentioning of monkey  …

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