Thursday, March 27, 2008

Judy Greer's Leading Lady Spotlight... finally

Miss Guided (airing back to back on Thursdays on ABC) is an average sitcom. It is good for some laughs (the second episode in particular is very funny) though it is also a bit too broad and predictable to really make an impact. What Miss Guided does do, however, is give a leading role to a most deserving funny lady. The hilarious Judy Greer has played more sidekicks and minor roles than someone as talented as her should have to. Like her 27 dresses co-star James Marsden, Greer has had some show stealing performances in her years and is often the most memorable person in a movie or TV show but is almost never the star. With Miss Guided, that is changing. She is the obvious star and her portrayal of misguided (get it? it's clever, no really it is!) guidance counsellor Becky is thoroughly charming. The rest of the cast is fairly good though Chris Parnell is over the top as the narcissistic vice principal. The highlight of the first 3 episodes is most definitely Ashton Kutcher's guest role as a substitute Spanish teacher who falls for Becky- it's really worth a watch. 

Here are some photo highlights of some of Judy Greer's standout supporting performances in Arrested Development, The Wedding Planner, Elizabethtown, 27 Dresses and 13 going on 30

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Math, Science, History, Unravelling the Mystery: it all started with a Big Bang"

"You have about as much chance of going out with Penny as the Hubble Telescope has of finding that at the center of each black hole there's a little man with a flashlight trying to find the circuit breaker" said Sheldon to his friend Leonard in the pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory. One of many in a spectacular batch of new sitcoms this television season, The Big Bang Theory continues to amaze me with its spectacular writing, pitch perfect performances and stellar pacing. Sheldon is priceless and perhaps even more quotable than the one and only Barney Stinson, spouting out such classic one liners as "oh gravity, thou art a heartless bitch". The show also has an awesome theme song sung by The Barenaked Ladies. 

This week's episode, entitled "The Loobenfeld Decay" was no exception to the rule of awesomosity that has been this show so far. Concerned that the lie Leonard told to get them out of having to go see Penny sing would be discovered, Sheldon concocted a convoluted plan that he called "un-unravellable" to ensure that the new lie he made up was flawless. 

Packed with amusing Sheldon-ness and great lines such as Wolowitz's "it's your millennium falcon, you and chewbacca do whatever you want", this episode was just another example of how The Big Bang Theory has joined Samantha Who and Aliens in America to make the best new sitcom season in a VERY long time. 

Ted is Back, but his friends are gone

Last night's episode of How I Met Your Mother marked, as predicted, the return of the sweet, determined and hopelessly romantic Ted that we all fell in love with. His 10 week pursuit of and diligently planned 2 minute date with Stella were perhaps some of the best Ted moves since he searched out Victoria at her bakery and made it rain for Robin. 

The episode was sweet, funny and wonderful- even Britney Spears couldn't ruin it. Sarah Chalke was very charming as the alluring dermatologist
being pursued by Ted (ps: they've been planting clues in case the show doesn't get picked up so it will make sense if they decide to make her the mother). AND we got to see Wendy the Waitress- who's always great!

But where was the rest of the gang? I'm not complaining... since, overall, this season's B story lines have been a massive disappointment, but a complete lack of one was a little strange. The writers were clearly trying to give Robin as many lines as possible since she's been mostly ignored since her breakup with Ted, but Marshall, Lily and Barney should be counted on for a couple more laughs than they delivered last night. 

That said, this was definitely one of the best episodes of the year and I'd trade in a B-story for a Ted I actually like any day. 

Monday, March 24, 2008

BB9- Natalie: more impressive every week, James: PLEASE don't let this kid win.

yet another Big Brother update: 

- Natalie is kicking butt in Matt's absence. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and James was up to some serious scorning last week. Now he shall pay. She turned Adam
around on his stupid idea to nominate Sheila with strategic numbers talk, performed well in the luxury challenge (and it was a mental challenge!) AND figured out the week's twist without a single prompt. This woman will win and if she doesn't it will be yet
another example in a long tradition of undeserving winners. 

- James needs to 1) buy pants that fit and 2) buy pants that aren't purple 3) try not to be a hypocrite and 4) learn not to be an idiot overreacting idiot and just play the game 

- Chelsia needs to 1) adhere to parts 3 and 4 of James' advice and 2) lay off the self-tanner

- Ryan is kinda cool. I'm sad he didn't win the prize pack- he was great in the competition. 

Friday, March 21, 2008

One Tree Hill's 100th episode

I would first like to chastise The CW online because they are the only network that posts new episodes of shows almost a full week after they air. I am never fully caught up on One Tree Hill, Aliens in America or Gossip Girl until well after they've been spoiled. Smarten Up CW. 
That said, today I was finally able to access this week's 100th One Tree Hill episode. It was everything a One Tree Hill episode should be- beautiful people doing ridiculous things as if 
they were normal things to do and every once in awhile making big, inspirational speeches to one another. This episode centered around Lucas' wedding that everyone and their dog knew wouldn't happen. There was something to do with his second book, a comet and Peyton's car that somehow resulted in Lindsay running away after Lucas said "I do". So basically it's a countdown to when Peyton and Lucas officially go for it. Lucas' mom Karen also returned. Apparently she's back together with Andy, the cute Australian guy she broke up with a couple seasons ago, and everyone in Tree Hill couldn't be more excited to see her. The episode also featured what seems to have become a weekly staple while Nathan and Haley are on the rocks- a Jamie crisis. The evil nanny kissed Nathan, OK get to the point, Haley kissed Chris Keller- why is this such an issue? It seems, however, that the writers of this show are not content with anyone being happy so they had to make Haley overreact and be crazy. How do they explain her crazy amount of crazy? SOLUTION: Throw Jamie in the pool face-down and have her blame Nathan. But the audience loves Haley and Nathan together so they have to get back together... SOLUTION: have crazy evil nanny kidnap Jamie and have the crisis bring them back together. Turns out Jamie's not a character, he's a plot device. Unfortunate really, he is awfully cute and has had some lovely moments when paired with the right cast members (he works incredibly well with Brooke and Skills for example), he shouldn't have to be just a plot device. Anyway, evil Dan saved Jamie from evil Nanny so now everyone needs to like him again. Nothing special. Then again, it IS One Tree Hill and I'm OK with it so long as they keep Chad and James hot, Jamie cute, Brooke in great clothes and Peyton producing great music. 

Lost- Meet Kevin Johnson

I'm not sure what the buzz is on last night's episode of Lost but personally I was bored. I couldn't care less about Michael and I think bringing him back was a bad idea. It was no surprise to anyone that he turned out to be Ben's guy on the boat (his name had been in the credits for weeks) and his flashback story telling how he'd gotten there and what his mission was didn't have a single surprise in it.
Question: who do you think is the real bad guy? Charles Widmore or Ben Linus? Which one staged the crash? 

As per the deaths of Rousseau and Carl? meh. We never see them so it's not that big of a deal. I thought it was a little unfair to Rousseau, who's been with us since the first season, not to give her a flashback at all or any kind of real screen time before she died. And Carl? I saw him 2 weeks ago in Spring Awakening on Broadway so his departure from the show was somewhat inevitable. 

Overall I was bored. I haven't been bored while watching Lost in a very long time. Needless to say I'm disappointed

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Aliens in America- Community Theatre

I've officially decided that Aliens in America is the sweetest show on the air. It has more heart packed into its 22 comedy-filled minutes a week than most shows have in an entire season. This week's episode was perhaps the best one yet.
Desperate for time with her son, Mrs. Tolcuk (the hilarious Amy Pietz of Caroline in the City
familiarity) convinces Justin to sign up to work on the community theatre's production of Rent. Justin takes on the part of Roger when a cute college girl (Zoe) introduces herself as the actress playing Mimi. When Zoe quits at the last minute, Justin ends up playing the part opposite his mother. It was incomparably awkward and very very sweet. 
Meanwhile, Claire has signed up for the school hot-line but isn't receiving any actual calls and her family believes she can't really help people. Raja (the greatest character of all time), who cares very much about Claire, calls in pretending to be someone named Doug who needs her help. They talk for hours over a couple 
of weeks and really start to bond until Raja is caught in the lie. Claire is hurt, she told him things she has never told anyone else and feels exposed. She eventually forgives him when she realizes why he did it and that most of the things 
they'd talked about had been real. He tells her that she's more than she seems and that her family was wrong. This story line may sound cheesy when I recount it but this show manages somehow to be sweet, sentimental and touching without ever being actually cheesy; this storyline is a perfect example of that. The way Claire almost cried and how wonderfully innocent and caring Raja is is just so lovely. I'm glad they're exploring that relationship a little bit more and seeing the influence Raja can have outside of his friendship with Justin. 

This show is truly remarkable. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BB9- That's enough James

OK, it's one thing to be an evil manipulator. You can lie, cheat, steal and stab people in the back all you want in Big Brother and chances are I'll love you all the more for it. But you CANNOT do all that and preach honesty and loyalty the rest of the time. From the first week he had power James has been lying to people (he told Matt he wouldn't put him up the second week in the house and did anyway). Whenever he doesn't have power James spouts on and on about how people have stabbed him in the back and lied to his face, etc... James, first of all: SHUT UP. No one cares if your feelings were hurt and second of all: WALK THE WALK. You are exactly everything you say you can't stand in everyone else. Those are the worst kind of people. Putting Matty on the block after you promised the honest hearted Natalie that you wouldn't was a despicable move. Especially since it was Natalie you promised (the person who is responsible for you being back in the house and who would never hurt a fly) and not Matt himself. 
If Matt goes Ill be incredibly mad- he amuses me. and Natalie (my favourite player) will be heartbroken. I like Ryan but I suppose he'll have to go (idiot James has provided no alternative). Big Brother: why are my favourite players always gone? Why, by the end of the season, am I stuck watching the likes of Dick and Daniele? Especially considering that if your twists ever worked the way they should James would have been gone a long time ago, it would be people like Chelsia, Sharon and Josh on the block and Alex would be back in the house (I wouldn't complain at all about the stupidity of the house guests or the unfairness of the game if that were the current situation). At this rate Josh (devil incarnate) will win the game- what? or perhaps Sharon, the most boring player EVER. Or maybe hypocrite James will win and use the money to start up his own porn empire or open an inappropriate-for-network-television tattoo parlor. 
This season sucks. Someone PLEASE get James out of power. As Matt would say "never trust a kid with pink hair". Wise words Boston, wise words. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008




How I Re-Met Ted

How I Met Your Mother returned tonight with the first new post-strike episode. It wasn't one of their best but it served a very important function. In HIMYM's first season I loved Ted. He was the hopelessly romantic, extremely picky, cute, sweet, laid back best friend of a perfect couple who was looking to find a similar happiness. In season 2 he was Robin's boyfriend. He was still the guy from season 1 and that was fine. Season 3 came and, after his breakup with Robin, Ted has had multiple one night stands, had a three-way, forgot the name of a girl he met on the Internet and dated for awhile, pretended to be from out of town to get girls and done much more to make him not the Ted I loved. Tonight's episode topped them all: he ditched Marshall and Lily, he ditched his date, he kissed a married woman, he even ordered champagne on someone else's bar tab. At the end of it all though, he came home and, over breakfast, Marshall showed him who he'd become- another Barney, "we don't need another Barney". It seems as though Ted has finally found season 1 Ted again and the chain of events that will lead to his meeting the mother has begun with him picking up a yellow umbrella. This episode leaves me with the hope that by next week we will be re-introduced to the sweet and sentimental guy who would steal a girl a blue french horn and who once believed in love so strongly that he convinced the sky to rain. 

Monday, March 17, 2008

BB9- Natalie shows even more muscle, James HOH

Alright that's it. She make talk like an airhead, she may have funny googly eyes, she may have big fake boobs and no self respect when it comes to men but BB9's Natalie's got guts and guns. The girl has proven in the past that she's a tough one to beat in competitions but this week's HOH competition revealed her to be perhaps a tougher competitor than even All Star Janelle... and she's fiercely loyal. Natalie always thinks twice before going back on her word and would do anything to save her ally Matty. That's going to be a big coup for her since this strategically dumb house places such a value on honesty and loyalty.  

I've said before that Matt is the best player in the house because he's the only one showing any semblance of strategy. He may, in fact, still win, but not on his own merits. If Matty gets to the end it'll be on the heels of the girl who's puppy love is more powerful than his strategy. In fact, at this point, Natalie's my pick to win it. Matt's basic strategizing combined with her competition prowess and intense loyalty might get them to the end (if they manage to avoid the big target that's perpetually on Matt's back). Natalie might even make it to the final 2 on her own (she's below the strategic radar, a fierce competitor, a good ally and easily swayed when it comes to voting- they'll keep her in a good long while). If she does make the final 2 I think Natalie's got the prize sewn up. Her selfless strength that she showed this week has the whole house on her side and she's never going to royally screw anyone over- an inspiration for Bikini Barristas everywhere!!! God help us all. 

As for James (the recently evicted, stupidly voted back in, vengeful HOH), he's nominated Ryan and Sheila for eviction after he promised Natalie he wouldn't put up her or Matty (every word out of James' mouth that isn't a curse word has something to do with honoring your promises, though he'd already stabbed Matt in the back by week 2). Ryan successfully backdoored him so that's understandable (though it was actually an excellent show of game play on Ryan's part, the unfair twist just screwed him over a bit) and Sheila's proven she's not to be messed with. That said, I need the veto to be used to save one of these 2 somewhat entertaining players and someone to PLEASE kick out Adam or Sharon (they irritate AND bore me to tears) or Josh (who is the devil). 

And now for my traditional Alex lament: ALLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEXXXXXXXXXXXX!!!
Why oh why do they let these people make decisions? BB is the least fair game in the history of unfair reality television games. 

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Return of Jezebel James

Amy Sherman Palladino's new Fox sitcom The Return of Jezebel James premiered this week with back to back episodes. The show was pretty good. It was no Gilmore girls and certainly had its failings (some of the comedy was a little forced, Parker Posey is a little too much in the lead role of Sarah) but overall the first 2 episodes made for an enjoyable hour of TV. Lauren Ambrose (Coco), in particular, is wonderful; you could really see her theatre background coming through in the sitcom format more than you could on Six Feet Under. She was the best part of the show in my opinion (though I came into the show a big fan of hers and may be a bit biased). Scott Cohen is also a lot of fun. While he is playing a very Max Medina-like character so far, he's thoroughly charming and I hope we get to see a lot of him. And Diane Wiest (playing Sarah and Coco's mother)... I love her. Sarah's assistant shows a lot of promise as a character as well. Overall the show is good (just not great): charming, sweet and clever in a Gilmore girl-less world. I'll continue to watch until Fox prematurely cancels it (come on, it's FOX, you know it's coming).

Television Greatness: A Look Back at "The West Wing"

The best Christmas present I ever got was a navy blue file folder with the seal of the president. Inside that file folder were seven files. Inside each of those files were 22 episodes of the greatest show of all time. The Christmas that my dad got me the entire series of The West Wing on DVD was the day our father/daughter time changed forever. Ever since, we've been making our way back through the series a couple episodes at a time whenever I'm home. My mother's gotten into it, my brother's gotten into it... it's become a family phenomenon.

As we progress through the series it has become abundantly clear how important Aaron Sorkin was to the series. His rhythms, comedy/drama blend and character development are unparalleled and the final 3 seasons without him really yearn for his genius. The stories move slower, the comedy falls flatter, the characters on occasion will say something completely inconsistent with their previously established voice, there's too much campaign-centered story, there's no character balance and Santos is freaking annoying. That said, we are currently 3/4 of the way through season 6 and in the time since the simultaneous loss of the show's creative force (Sorkin) and one of its strongest characters (Sam Seaborn, played by Rob Lowe) at the end of season 4, we have seen the occasional ray of hope in certain characters and in one particularly brilliant episode.

Season 5's Ryan and Rina came in as small, comedic characters who gave the show a little vibrancy at a time when the writers were really struggling to find comedy in the drama. Ryan in particular (played by Jesse Bradford) was a really important character to the tone of season 5 in that he was a great parallel to Josh and served as a bit of a foil to Toby in the recent absence of Sam. He was intelligent but casual which was an important dynamic to hold on to.
In season 6 relief came in the 4'11 form of Kristin Chenoweth as the quick witted and cheerful deputy press secretary Annabeth Schott. Kristin Chenoweth can infuse even the driest material with a necessary bit of spunk, and while Annabeth is no Ainsley Hayes (perhaps the greatest of all minor recurring characters), she keeps the show fun and upbeat, or at least attempts to. We also are introduced to a wonderful new character in Arnie Vinnick, the Republican candidate for president. Vinnick is a liberal Republican who is as idealistic and amazing as Bartlett is- just on the other side of the party line. The incomparable Alan Alda plays him with such vigor and honesty that even I, the most liberal of liberals, would have voted Republican if I were voting for him.
Season 6 also marks the return of a season 3 favourite, Cliff Calley (Mark Feuerstein). Cliff (like Ainsley Hayes and Arnie Vinnick) is an example of a sympathetic and good Republican character in a show that is often criticized for its dehumanization of Republicans. Cliff was the hero of the hour when he saved Leo from unnecessary character attacks and inquiry into his alcoholism during the congressional hearings about Bartlett's MS during Christmas of season 3. He disappeared for a couple of years until he returned in season 6 as a replacement for Josh's position in the White House. Presented as a very classically Josh-like character, Cliff is a welcome character addition at a time when Josh himself is being taken out of the white house, away from the grounding of the character foils Sorkin built for him and made into a somewhat too intense form of himself.
The final saving grace of the show since Sorkin's departure is a single episode in season 5. The only post-Sorkin episode to be included in my top 10 West Wing episode list. "The Supremes", written by Debora Cahn, isone of the best of the entire series. The episode is a comedic look at Josh's alternative proposal for nominating 2 supreme court justices (a brainwave inspired by Donna's mom's cats). Glenn Close and William Fichtner make spectacular guest appearances as the two nominated judges (one extreme liberal and one extreme conservative). The episode features bright and lively dialogue, intelligent and fast-paced debate and interesting character moments. It almost seems like, for 43 minutes, Aaron Sorkin is writing the show again. Debora Cahn, a then somewhat new writer who went on to do more great work on The West Wing then write some of the best episodes of Grey's Anatomy, hit one completely out of the park with "The Supremes", an episode that gives hope to a somewhat disenchanted viewer struggling in a post-Sorkin West Wing.

Now, I realize that I may sound down on something I earlier called "the greatest show of all time". To call a single episode and a couple minor characters "saving graces" of an otherwise depreciated show may sound negative, but one needs to remember that the final 3 seasons of The West Wing ARE terrible in comparison to the unimaginably brilliant first 4. That does not, however, mean that they are bad. In fact, they are still some of the best TV ever produced. A bad episode of The West Wing still trumps a brilliant episode of Prison Break, it may even equal a pretty good episode of Grey's Anatomy. When I say "the greatest show of all time" I'm not kidding around.

When we finally reach "Tomorrow", the series finale, we will get to begin again. We'll get to see everything from "tell your friend Potus he has a funny name" to "you idiot, I'M Joey Lucas" to "when the president stands, nobody sits" all over again and we will love it, all over again. And when I finally get there, I promise I'll review the show with every bit of enthusiasm it deserves, at least for 4 seasons. Until then, I shall criticize the seasons that could be better, even if they are brilliant.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lost- "Ji Yeon"

Another brilliant episode this week from the geniuses over at Lost.
Finally some Sun and Jin. They're some of my favourite castaways and their stories are always so beautifully told (and acted by these two pros).

That said, I totally saw the twist coming that they weren't in the same time period. I had a hunch it wouldn't be that simple and when they weren't showing them together ever my suspicions grew. Once the Oceanic 6 were mentioned in Sun's scenes and we got a glimpse at Jin's cell phone I was sure that he was in the past and she in the future. I also had a feeling he had died. Tragic. Absolutely tragic. I am, however, very proud of myself for figuring it out before the big reveal.

Now the questions we are left with are: how does Sun get off the island without dying like the other pregnant women? does that mean they are rescued in the next month? does Jin get off the island alive and is included in the Oceanic 6 then dies of other causes or is there another survivor we need to know about? and why doesn't Hurley get his hair cut?

also: it seemed as though the captain of the ship was being pretty straight up with Sayid and Desmond. Is he really not to be trusted or is the "secret informant" secretly not a good guy. And speaking of Ben's "guy on the boat", I can't stand Michael. Even under another name, I see Harold Perrineau's face and I know a good character is getting hurt because of Michael's idiocy/selfishness. Everyone's better off with him gone. And anyone who didn't see the reveal of Michael on the boat coming a mile away clearly has not been paying any attention at all.

Overall: Spectacular performances once again from Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim. I completely approve of the direction their story is taking and the method in which it is unravelling. Loved the combined flash forward and back. Adored the reconciliation between the two on the island. I still trust Juliet even after a bought of questionable behaviour in the last couple episodes and think Sun should too. I enjoyed the little almost-cameos of Bernard fishing with Jin, Jack checking up on Sun, Kate showing them the map and Hurley visiting Sun in Korea. I'm curious about the boat though wary of anything involving Michael.

Also, I think its about time for a little Sawyer. Yes? I think so.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Boston Legal

Boston Legal is not a show I watch on a regular basis. I watch every episode but not week to week as one would with Brothers & Sisters and certainly not as soon as it broadcasts as one would with Lost. Instead, I tape every episode and watch them pile up on my PVR until I have nothing else to watch and I sit and have a marathon. This works well. I enjoy the show but don't care enough about it to put any effort into keeping up with the current episodes. That said, I like a lot of the characters, the legal cases are often interesting, its always good for a couple laughs and the overarching plots are usually pretty well developed.

Here's my view on the season so far and the changes they've made since last season:

- I really like Katie Lloyd. I think she's a very good addition to the show as the recent graduate who has enormous potential, is extremely quick and witty and encompasses a compassion and kindness that allows her to befriend Jerry and believe in the innocence of her clients. Her Joseph Washington murder trial multi-episode arc at the beginning of the season was excellent. It really established her as a character. Her friendship with Jerry is also a great dynamic to add to the show and her almost romance with the AIDS victim was heartbreaking. The establishment of Shirley as a kind of pseudo parental figure for her was also a nice dynamic. I hope we continue to see a lot of her.

- in the same vein, I do enjoy Jerry. He can be a little much, which is why his friendships with Alan and now Katie are so important in grounding him, but he can be very endearing. His closing argument in the episode with the sleazy lawyers who were advertising divorce was awesome, as was his defense of ex-girlfriend Leigh when she was fired for hugging a student.

- Shirley. This season she's been getting some great character stuff. Her relationship with Carl Sacks and their breakup paired with her encounter with her law school beau was brilliant- very humanizing. This season has also made a point of giving the audience a couple Shirley/Denny scenes that have been truly touching such as them singing "You are my sunshine" and his comforting her after her breakup and her saying "that's why it was your office I came into".

- Denny and Alan. The coast guard thing was completely over the top but the episode where Denny tried his own case without any assistance was remarkable and completely made up for it. Their fight in that episode gave voice to years worth of building resentment and helplessness on Denny's side which was both necessary and helpful in keeping the audience invested in Denny despite his many flaws. The fact that Alan was so happy when Denny won without him showed such selflessness as can only exist in a really true friendship. He showed no signs of feeling unneeded or undermined, he was just happy in his friend's triumph. When Alan represents Denny against false solicitation charges the two also provide a ton of laughs.

- the cases are fun. Everything from a company that lost a woman's remains and replaced them with a fake diamond to Denny's constipation being interpreted as solicitation; a woman suing her pastor for breaking up with her after their affair; a man asking for a court ordered abortion after a crazy woman stole his sperm to get herself pregnant; preventing the opening of a nuclear power plant in a small town; a woman suing her daughter's high school for putting so much pressure on her that it caused her to fall asleep at the wheel and get in a fatal car accident; a teacher getting fired for hugging a student. and so many more. The cases have a balance of drama and comedy. Many bring about debate of current and important issues. Many argue sides of arguments perhaps never examined (a father's say in the abortion discussion for example). The episodes are topical, make specific references to the world and its current state and make the audience think. For the most procedural aspect of the show, the cases are far from boring.

- I also like the judges. The recurring guest star aspect of the judge rotation is fun. They may be very small parts but they are fully developed and add a lot to the courtroom aspect of the show. The homophobic gay judge is a particularly fun one in front of whom Alan often has to argue cases somehow pertaining to prejudice and equality. Loretta Divine is also always fun, as is Debra Mooney and all the others that often appear. I also enjoy the similar approach to prosecutors. We see Brad every once in awhile and its always a blast to hear from Bethany again.

- we need more Clarence. I like Clarence. I want more of him. That is all.

- I don't like either of the other new girls- the one with the long neck or the one with the snarky attitude. They are both incredibly annoying and bring nothing to the show. Lets bring back Jeffrey Coho and Constance Zimmer's character instead. I can live without Denise and Brad though.


For once, in the history of voting on reality TV shows, America does exactly the right thing. Alex is voted back into the Big Brother house with Parker coming in second place. Perfect choices. Both were strong players with a lot of charisma and potential as strategists who were voted out because of their partners. Excellent choice America.

Now, in an interesting approach, Big Brother gives the house guests the opportunity to vote for either the evictee of the week (James) or the mystery person voted for by America to return to the game. Not a bad twist, if you trust the house guests to make it interesting.

But making the right choice is not a strength of this particular lot. They are perhaps... no, scratch that, they are DEFINITELY the most idiotic group of players all to be assembled in one reality TV house EVER. Instead of voting for the mystery house guest (who was just as likely to be an ally as an enemy and who definitely would have less fresh eviction wounds) to return, 5 out of 8 voted to have James return though they had just lied to him, stabbed him in the back and voted him out 5 to 1. They also put ZERO thought into who America would choose to bring back. Sharon wanted James back so her ex wouldn't come back instead (Jacob being the most hated player in BB history, she clearly thinks America is sinister) and Josh was scared it would be Allison even though the general consensus was that she was crazy. It seemed blatantly obvious to me that America would bring back one of the cute, charming, interesting boys instead of a villain who would wreak havoc on their evictors. The House guests, evidently, couldn't see that and thus decided to bring back James (who CLEARLY hates them all). Oh YAY!!!!

PS: SOOOOO unfair to Alex!!! They need to find a loophole and bring him back. I just need someone I like back in that house so I don't throw things at the television set.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Duo Duel

OK, lame title, I know. But I've been catching up on all the Boston Legal Ive missed this year (review to come) and felt the need to write a post about TV's best platonic teams. The best friends, the siblings, the odd combos that make TV even more fun.

Denny Crane and Alan Shore (Boston Legal): these best friends are the center of Boston Legal. They are not only hysterical together but the heart of their friendship is truly lovely. How far Alan will go to protect Denny is remarkable.

Christine and Matthew (Old Christine): sibling squabble is always fun. Matthew knows how to push Christine's buttons better than anyone and his interaction with her son Richie and ex Richard is also priceless. Hands down my favourite dynamic in the show.

Buster and Lucille Bluth(Arrested Development): as mother/son relationships go this one couldn't be less healthy. Attached at the hip, Lucille and her youngest son are miserable together and lost without each other. Their banter is hilarious and there's nothing better than a good mother/son costume competition.

Amanda and Mark (Ugly Betty): I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention this infamous bitchy duo. Clawing their way up the fashion ladder and making Betty's life miserable, Mark and Amanda couldn't be more fun. They are one of (if not these) strongest aspect of the show and Becky Newton and Michael Urie's chemistry could not be more spot on. In season 2, Mark and Amanda are expanded as characters and have become not only a brilliant pair but strong characters individually as well (Mark's coming out to his mother was a definite highlight of season 1)

Jed Bartlett and Leo McGarry (The West Wing): When speaking to the minister of agriculture about becoming president, Bartlett asked "do you have a best friend?... is he smarter than you?... that's your chief of staff". The relationship between President Bartlett and his chief of staff Leo McGarry is, in many ways, the heart of the show. The White House staff of the show is often described as a family... these two are the parents.

Will and Grace (self explanatory): the pilot episode says it best when the pair is playing the pyramid game. Will gives hints: "a railing, a fence post... (grabbing grace's hand) each other", "things that you lean on" grace shouts, jumping on Will as they win the game. 8 seasons, multiple significant others and a major parting of ways later, the show ends with them toasting their friendship as Freddy Mercury harmonizes "oooh you're my best friend". If there's one TV dynamic that revolutionized modern platonic friendships, it was Will & Grace.

Ross and Monica Geller (FRIENDS): two words: the routine. these uber competitive siblings served up some of the best laughs of the show. From their football rivalry for "the Geller cup" to revealing each others' secrets to their parents on thanksgiving to Ross' transition from rage to joy when he finds out that his best friend is in love with his sister, the Gellers were always my favourite aspect of FRIENDS.

Frasier and Niles Crane (Frasier): an example of perfect casting, Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce fit flawlessly together as the snooty Crane brothers. Classic moments include opening their restaurant "les freres heureux: it's friendly and just hard enough to pronounce to keep the riffraff out" and singing Gilbert and Sullivan songs with their pseudo father (David Ogden Stiers)

Dan and Casey (Sports Night): a long term friendship, a working relationship, excellent casting, Sorkin speed banter... pitch perfect best friends. Its as simple as that.

Veronica and Keith Mars (Veronica Mars): no one writes Father/Daughter any more. It's too bad because Veronica and Keith were the perfect duo. They never had to finish a sentence when they other was around. They always knew when they other needed help. Is Veronica trapped and about to burn alive? Keith'll save her, even if it means (literally) running through fire. It was her dynamic with her dad that allowed viewers to see the "marshmallow" side of the persnickety and defensive private eye. A more important and flawless relationship couldn't have been written for the show.

Willow and Xander (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): she didn't destroy the world because he reminded her that he loved her, always had and always will. Hyperbolic metaphor? perhaps. A friendship ideal that makes us all wish we had someone who could save our lives with a yellow crayon? definitely.

Dawson and Joey (Dawson's Creek): Joey asks "Do you think every Joey has a Dawson and every Dawson has a Joey?", Dawson answers "for their sake I hope so". A little ruined by their own romance but as friends who sit and debate the Oscar snub of "ET" and whether ideals of beauty are culturally imposed, Dawson and Joey were pitch perfect friends. He's the person who knows her best , her soul mate and without each other they wouldn't be who they are. Sappy, I know, but lovely and true.

Ephram and Delia Brown (Everwood): Ephram could be the biggest jerk in the world and Delia would give him perspective. They were very a very honest and believable brother/sister combo and good for some of the sweetest character moments in all 4 years.

JD and Turk (Scrubs): over the top? yes. but this hilarious "guy love" is the center of the show and a "must include" for this list. "this is the man with whom you'll be competing for Daddy's love" said Carla to her daughter... so true. Funny and true.

and... of course, the be all and end all of dynamic duos...

LORELAI AND RORY GILMORE (Gilmore girls): at a rate of 300 miles a minute, this mother/daughter team conquered the world from the small Connecticut town of Stars Hollow. Though this show was home to some of the best relationships on air (Sookie/Lorelai, Emily/Lorelai, Rory/Lane, Rory/Paris), the central mother/daughter dynamic was what made the show special and is completely unique in its awesomeness.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Lost- The Other Woman

JULIET!!!!! she's one of my favourite castaways. I was sooo happy to see her get an episode this season. We know so little about her, its fun to find out more about the island and the others and what they were doing pre- Oceanic 815. Tonight's revelation that Ben's in love with her was awesome (not to mention how awesome was that kiss- her and Jack sizzle... "he thinks I'm his and he knows how I feel about you). I'm glad they haven't abandoned flashbacks completely. I'm excited to find out what happens off the island in the future but there's still so much back story we havnt learned yet that I was worried we may never find out once they introduced the new flash forward format.

On another note: DON'T TRUST BEN! Locke is being an idiot- Ben's always SEEMED trustworthy and never has been, why trust him now?

and Penny's dad's the big bad? OK then.

next episode had better be Sun & Jin, we haven't seen them substantially in forever.

Also... Hurley: "I'm just lucky". THIS COMMENT IS IMPORTANT, don't ignore it! Hurley's been specifically unlucky since he won the lottery. Darlton (executive producers Damon and Carlton) did that on purpose- pay attention.

PS: I hate Charlotte. The "rescuers", in my opinion, are the weakest cast additions since the tailies (except Farraday- everyone, me included, loves Farraday). Lets off them and move on!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Little Gem on the Prairie

"Little Mosque on the Prairie" may be a little show but it's got a ton of heart and serves up a ton of laughs. This clever CBC sitcom features some of the greatest sitcom characters on TV (and because it's Canadian, its second season wasn't at all affected by the WGA strike).

The show follows the story of a small Muslim community living in Mercy, a small town in the Canadian prairies. When the entrepreneurial contractor Yasir convinces the local Anglican priest to rent them the church hall, the community finally has a mosque that they can call their own. When their new Imam, the beardless and liberal Amar, arrives from Toronto, local extremist Babar is thrown into hysterics while the devout yet feminist doctor Rayann quickly forms a close friendship with him. Featuring a host of other hilarious characters (Sarah the earnest convert, Fatima the spunky Islamic authority and Cafe owner, Fred the prejudiced radio host and Layla the rebellious teenager among others), side splitting and socially relevant plot lines and whip smart dialogue, "Little Mosque" is one show in the Canadian landscape that you do NOT want to miss.

You'll find a new hero in Rayann, a new comedy icon in Yasir, and a new sweetheart to crush on in Amar... not to mention that watching the show will help fight the ignorance that we all are ashamed to admit we have (though learning something IS just a side effect of enjoying yourself)

BB9-thank god for predictable twists

if you had asked me the first week if they would stay in couples the whole time I would have said no (though by halfway through I was hoping they would just so it would be over faster).

if you had asked me the first week if someone would be coming back in the game who had been previously evicted I would have said yes (in fact Ive said since the second they walked out the door that Parker or Alex needs to back)

so explain to me how these were twists instead of just necessary alterations?

also: Ryan as HOH? weird. but Ill take it, he's one of the least horrible house guests.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

BB9- Matt...the best player playing?

This episode redeemed Matt a little. It showed him clearly playing the game hard. It showed him having a heart to heart with Natalie and taking a step towards perhaps giving her a little respect (since affection seems completely out of the question). He even attempted taking a page out of the Chilltown hand book in Showmancing Sharon (she gained her first points of the season with me for seeing through him but not letting on- she may be boring, she may be useless, she may be unlikeable, but at least she's not letting herself be completely played).

The problem is that he's not a very good player. He's just the best player in the house at the moment. Is this what we've come to? This guy wouldn't have lasted 2 weeks in almost any other Big Brother House. Why is this season so badly cast?

Here's hoping that Sheila and Adam go tonight, Parker or Alex comes back, Allison takes over and is able to show off some of the game play that seems like she might have hidden beneath stupid mistake after stupid mistake.

But more importantly- let's do a better job casting the summer season. Where's the master manipulator Dr. Will (S2,S7)? Where's the covert strategist Danielle (S3,S7)? Where's the brazen and secretly brilliant bombshell Jen (S8)? Where's the competition queen Janelle (S6, S8)?, Where's the cute and confused Nick (S8)?, the hilarious narcissist Jase (S5, S8)?, the Gnome adopting Drama Queen Marcellas (S3, S7)?, the southern belle drunk Amy (S3)?, the sleep talking Eric (S3)?, the evil Alison (S4, S7)?, the lovable BB expert Erik (S8)? WHERE HAVE ALL THE INTERESTING PEOPLE GONE???? Season 8 was one of the best casts yet (Donatos excepted), what happened with Season 9?

Hope for "Lights"

The TV Addict is reporting that according to Deadline Hollywood Daily, NBC has made a deal with another company to bring fans another season of "FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS".

Nothing's official yet but since I had already assumed we wouldn't be seeing our favourite Panthers ever again, even a rumour is cause for crazy excitement.

Particularly the last couple episodes of the show's second season were truly wonderful and the entire TV landscape can really benefit from having such a well produced and intelligent show on the air (not to mention NBC itself, a sagging network that has fallen far from the days when it ruled the airwaves competitionless).

Assuming that both "Lights" and "30 Rock" make it back, NBC will officially have me for at least an hour and a half a week come September (plus "Office" time, though at this point that's more work than play)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

how many Chucks can a wood Chuck Chuck?

you've heard me speculate on there being more than 1 doctors Shepherd and Burke but how many characters with one name can there be? let's see.

This season 4 new shows premiered with a character named Chuck- not exactly the most common name to begin with.

and yes it did take me this long to notice- don't you judge me.

let's examine:

Chuck Darling- "Back to You"
Chuck (Charlotte) Charles- "Pushing Daisies"
Chuck Bass- "Gossip Girl"
Chuck Bartowski- "Chuck"

Crazy? Oui!

New Sitcom Episodes- YAY!!!

feeling the strike blues?

The CW has a new episode of "Aliens in America" posted entitled "Church". It's the Christmas episode that's only just been posted but it's HILARIOUS. Check out the episode on and get into the show if you haven't already, the Tolchuk's are the funniest family on TV and Raja is my favourite new character of the season.

Also, has 2 new episodes of "Back to You". They're both pretty good. Ty Burrell shines as Gary, hands down the funniest cast member, and gets featured heavily in both episodes. Check out my podcast review of the episodes, downloadbable on iTunes (search My TV).

Get excited for the return of other sitcom favourites, coming up this month.