Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
There was nothing I didn’t like about the latest episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Let’s start with the small stuff:
The B story involving Baber teaching at Layla’s school was both funny and sweet. Baber becoming the cool teacher was an inspired writing choice. It would have been so easy to have the students make fun of him and Leila be forced to take sides, but by pulling a reversal like they did the writers managed to surprise me and the story was all the better for it.
As for the A story, let me preface this by saying that “guy time” Amaar, JJ and Duncan style is priceless! As for the episode’s main action of Rayyan and JJ fighting, I think it was sort of inspired. Playing on a common real-life relationship issue, Rayyan and JJ’s fight was painfully and hilariously relatable. Unable to get on the same page and figure out what they really want, the couple is left on a cliffhanger: will they go through with the wedding or go on a permanent “break”? And with Amaar waiting quietly in the wings, it really is hard to say where Rayyan’s true affections lie.
Also, I'd like to point out that Little Mosque's Eid episode is another fantastic Christmas episode that didn't make Rachael's Christmas list. This is entirely due to the fact that the poor girl's nationality has kept her away from the underrated Canadian gem, something that will soon change (her Little Mosque experience, not her nationality).
Saturday, December 20, 2008
7 awkward hookups
6 moral dilemmas
5 immature doctors
4 preachy sermons
3 yucky sex scenes
2 911 calls
and an hour of moronic TV
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Chuck Versus Santa Clause had everything a holiday episode cliffhanger should: every cast member stuck together (thanks to a robbery/hostage situation at the Buy More) and every important cast member being brought to some sort of new point in their character arc. This has to be one of the best plotted Chucks in recent history, as well as being an all around enjoyable and awesome episode.
I didn't find the twists and turns of this episode particularly surprising (because, hell, on Chuck aren't ALL new characters FULCRUM agents?), but I did find the finale a bit of a shocker. Chuck episodes have, up until this point, always ended on a pretty happy note. But let's take tally at the end of this one, shall we? Chuck's lost faith in Sarah, Morgan's lost faith in Anna, Sarah's compromised her soul for the relationship that's pretty impossible between her and Chuck, and John Casey is sans one toe. Not exactly candy canes and sugarplums.
This is the episode that has officially cemented Chuck as my favorite hour-long program currently on Network TV. As well as being funny, touching, and full of interesting characters (all of whom have come so far this season it's almost absurd), it puts us right on the edge of another half season of awesomeness.
For those of you yet to crack the Chuck code, the show's coming back in February, which gives you about a month and a half to make up for your failings. Most of the episodes are on Hulu or NBC.com (which all you lucky Americans can access, and which I will once more be able to access come tomorrow night), and are well worth the effort. Although I'll be the first to admit it took a good portion of the first season for the show to grow into its promise, have some faith in Josh Schwartz and Co. (or just in me, as a reviewer and avid television consumer) and stick around. It only gets better.
And if that doesn't work, who doesn't need a weekly dose of Adam Baldwin (Jayne, from Firefly, although I suppose if I have to explain that to you, it's not liable to convince you anyways)?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
While watching a recent episode of Privileged, in which the billionaire-playboy-next-door-turned-perfect-boyfriend won the heart of our heroine while her sweet and supportive best friend settled for the next best thing, I began to wonder: With so many shows serving up both the exemplary good guy and the brooding bad boy, is there some sort of pattern as to who comes out on top?
Now I’m not saying that Will is exactly a “bad boy” and lord knows Charlie has his share of flaws, but they serve as good examples of the dichotomy of male television characters. With a few notable exceptions (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce anyone?), Television history is made up of the men who broke hearts, the men who put them back together and the women who had to choose between the two.
The complicated Mr. Big won Carrie Bradshaw’s love while Aidan Shaw (the good guy against whom all TV good guys are measured) got his heart broken. 90210 bad boy Dylan McKay didn’t need any help with the ladies. Rory Gilmore may have moved on from uber bad boy Jess but she spent most of the series with the thrill-seeking rich boy whom she chose over her sweet friend Marty without a second thought. I find myself repeatedly cheering for Grey’s Anatomy’s McSteamy and Alex Karev over dopey sweet George O’Malley and let’s not even start on how much further dangerous vampires Spike and Angel got with Buffy than innocent nice guys Riley and Xander. Felicity never felt for lovely Noel what she felt for irresponsible Ben, there are very few Veronica Mars fans who prefer Duncan to Logan and there’s a reason those guys who broke out of Fox River have such a following.
But then again, on the other side of the coin, geeky sweet Seth Cohen ended The OC by marrying the hottest girl in school while his tortured and tough best friend’s love stories shone much less brightly. By the end of Popular, principled Harrison had both Brooke and Sam fighting over him. How I Met Your Mother’s awkward Marshall and sappy Ted attract a quality of woman out of the reach of their womanizing friend Barney. Kind and supportive Jim won Pam from her rough-around-the-edges fiancee Roy on The Office, Ugly Betty loved nerdy and sincere Henry far more than sarcastic and suave Gio and all 3 of those sweet and silly FRIENDS guys did pretty well.
So I suppose the jury’s still out. Maybe the distinction isn’t even a fair one; after all, while McSteamy set his friend’s broken nose, George was completely ignoring his friend’s feelings and while Ted was flinging himself at the wrong girl, Barney was honest to God falling for the perfect one. Personally, I think the true winner of this epic duel will be revealed when Kate FINALLY chooses: Jack or Sawyer.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This week's BBT featured a guest spot by none other than Michael Trucco. Don't know who he is? You clearly haven't been doing your nerdy homework. Trucco is none other than dream-worthy sometimes-Starbuck-love-interest Samuel Anders from Battlestar Galactica. And that's a big deal for a lot of nerds, from me to Dwight Schrute. Here he pops up in a cameo on the geekiest show currently on television NOT featuring aliens. And yet somehow his cameo felt forced and awkward, mainly because it was pretty hard to believe that Trucco spends time in between tequila shots and gym visits working on advanced particle physics.
Despite this, I've got to say I loved this week's BBT, mainly thanks to the Sheldon storyline. I never cease to find it funny how difficult Sheldon finds normal person tasks, and add to that the fact that it REALLY is difficult to gage what type of present to get for people on the cusp of friendship, and well, I thought the B-story this week was top notch. I really have enjoyed watching this season the relationship between Penny and Sheldon be explored more, especially since I never really adored last season's emphasis on Leonard and Penny. But even that relationship worked for me this episode, and I was genuinely touched by their near-end-of-episode commiserating gin drinking.
The end of episode kicker, with Sheldon so grateful for his Leonard Nimoy DNA/autograph that he risks physical contact, was like the culmination of all that I love about BBT this season. Penny's reaction is real, hilarious, and touched, Leonard is allowed a witty kicker line, and we get some fantastically awkward acting from Jim Parsons.
This episode also illustrates one of my television viewing theories: more than sweeps, more than season ending cliffhangers, holidays make for the best episodes. Think Thanksgiving on Friends, Fashion Week on Ugly Betty, or Chrismukkah for the Cohens. And I must say the Christmas special, since it's the most common, is probably my favorite. These episodes occasionally see fruition on a frustrating love story, but more often than not serve as mediums to amp up the drama on shows, or to allow the characters to interact in a new light (as was the case, within reason, here).
So without further ado, here are three of my all time favorite Christmas Episodes, all with varying degrees of sweetness, but all definitely turning points in their respective series in the relationships between the characters. And I invite you all to share your thoughts, too!
An Echolls Family Christmas, Veronica Mars, 2004: Aw, poker games and cheating husbands. Just like Christmas back home. Oh wait, no, this is Christmas Neptune-style, where no one is ever telling the truth, especially if their last name is Echolls. Still, this episode marks a major turning point for Neptune's own Resident Psychotic Jackass, Logan Echolls. Not only do we get a whole episode's worth of him and Veronica shooting verbal barbs at each other before either had any idea what a good kisser the other was (including one of my all time favorite lines, "Annoy tiny blond one, annoy like the wind!"), but we also get a well plotted mystery-of-the-week, and a healthy dose of foreshadowing that only seems more poignant once you've finished Season One. And like all good holiday episodes, it takes our usual characters out of their normal situations, and keeps them together for the episode. Weevil, Duncan, Logan and Veronica are forced together for the duration in the mystery of the disappearing $5 grand, and the final super awkward holiday party (in which Logan's parental dysfunction, Veronica's anger at the Kanes, and the socioeconomic issues that defined this show all come to a head) is one for the record books. Add to that the super ironic fake snow Christmas display provided by Lynne Echolls for her holiday revelers, and this is the Christmas episode by which all other Christmas episodes should be judged.
The Man in The Fallout Shelter, Bones, 2005: This episode of Bones was the first one in which we really got to know the supporting characters who would come to define the show, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. But it's the first time we really got to take a look inside the lives of Angela, Zach and Hodgins outside of their aptitudes for art, bones and bugs (respectively). Plus, it features a very high on medicine Booth tweaking out and half naked. The show takes what I just described as the Holiday-episode-formula (take the main characters, put them somewhere new, keep them there for uncomfortably long) to a literal extreme: all the main characters are forced away from their normal Christmas plans when an old set of bones causes them all to get quarantined in the lab. The result was enough pain, comedy and genuine affection to help bump Bones from a show I kind of enjoyed to one of my favorites. And it's the perfect example of all the TV show has going for it, from the witty writing, the engaging characters, to the fun to decipher mystery-of-the-week. Plus, as aforementioned, Seeley Booth (Boreanaz) half-naked.
Amends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1998: Season 3 of Buffy is my favorite season of (possibly) my favorite series of all time, but that's not why I love this Christmas episode. I love it because it's impossibly corny, and hope-filled and beautiful for an episode that also features scary eyeless henchmen that continue to give me nightmares to this day. Not only that, but it's a solid Buffy episode. It semi-answers the question of Angels miraculous return from hell, and (although it will take four more seasons for this to matter) introduces the hugest of huge baddies. Although I never went full throttle on the Angel/Buffy-shipping (being more of the mind that Buffy had yet to meet her soul mate, pun intended, by show's end) this episode alone could probably convince me of the epic awesomeness of their love. It features a haunted (even more so than usual) Angel being brought to the brink of suicide by a malevolent force called the First and his creepy eyeless henchmen who claim responsibility for his recent miraculous return to Earth. It's up to Buffy to defeat the First and stop Angel from killing himself. When all that fails, it ends with a miraculous snowfall in (sunny) Sunnydale that keeps the sun at bay long enough to save the flammable Angel and prove that there's some force out there, other than the First, that wants him back on Earth. On top of all that, it's a Joss Whedon episode, which is all fans of the show know, means it brings each and every character to a new high point in their character arc and features witty dialogue the likes of which not heard since, well, the last Whedon-written episode. Add in solid B-stories featuring Willow and Oz considering sleeping together, Xander dealing with breaking up with Cordy and his continued family problems, and Giles having to put away his animosity towards Angel, and stir to get a perfect holiday confection. And this also features a half naked David Boreanaz.
So what have we learned from all this, kids? Well, apparently David Boreanaz is various degrees of undress is the cure for all manner of Scroogey-ness.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I've decided to do my first blog post as an addendum to Kelly's earlier Crush list, because there's some tv-shows that even the great Ms. Kelly hasn't gotten into and I think there are certainly dream-worthy boys deserve some crushing-love.
So without further ado, my TV Crushes (in no particular order):
First and foremost, one of the most glaring and sad-making holes in Kelly's TV repertoire: Chuck. When Chuck started last year, it was a by the numbers tv action-comedy with a strange-sounding premise. But this season, it has advanced into full-fledged must see tv goodness. And most of the reason for that is the eponymous Chuck, Zachary Levi. Not only is he consistently funny, goofy, and noble, he manages all this while in Buy More uniform and without any notable demonstrations of physical dominance of any kind. He's an unrepentant geek who'd get along with the stunted boys over on Big Bang Theory better than he gets along with his hottie super-spy love interest, Sarah. And he's 100% dreamboat.
There's really no excuse for my love for Mac (Rob McElhenney), one of the four truly awful human beings that run Paddy's pub over on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Here's a guy whose closest friends think that it's likely he's a serial killer, and who once banged his best friends Mom. But something about his earnest evilness wins me over every episode. Add in a real life romance with show costar Kaitlin Olson, and you'll have to forgive me for this truly deplorable TV crush. Plus, as my ongoing Logan Echolls fascination can attest, I have a bad boy problem.
Special Agent Seeley Booth is every girl's dream, whether or not she knows it. He's a devoted dad who thinks sex should be reserved for those you love, who's witty and sexy and reads comic books in the tub. He spends his days catching murderers and practicing chemistry with his sexy, in a nerdy brilliant kind of way, partner, Temperance Brennan. And he's got just enough of a dark past and troubled soul that he's got that extra spark without being an actual badboy. Plus, he's played by David Boreanaz.
Conrad Shephard (Romany Malco) is probably the closest thing to a good person on Weeds. And he's still a drug dealer who carries a gun and occasionally sleeps with married women. But his (somewhat undeserved) devotion to Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker) and the fact that he is smoking hot earns him his place on this list.
Cappie (Scott Michael Foster, from Greek) is another guy in the bad boy mode, but what college girl doesn't dream of that elusive frat guy prankster who's basically a character from Animal House but who's also smart enough to pass, dare I say ace, all his classes while still hung over from last night's kegger AND have series of monogamous relationships with interesting and intelligent female protagonists? Sure he stole Zac Effron's haircut, and for the first couple episodes was little more than a one note cool guy, but as the show has progressed (as far as a TV-show about fraternity and sorority dealings on ABC Family can progress), Cappie is the rock, both morally and comically. And his kindness to uncool Rusty is as much as an advertisement for awesomeness as I've ever seen.
Captain, General, Attorney Lee Adama (Jaime Baumber, Battlestar Gallactica) on top of looking super dreamy is often the heart of the series constant moral dilemmas. He sticks by his guns, even when that means laying his guns down and going into politics. In his personal life, he's rarely so stalwart, but his romantic entanglements with Starbuck (only the all time coolest and most badassiest female in cable TV history) are probably the sexiest thing I've ever seen. Although in the past season we didn't get the intense privilege of seeing our boy in his flight suit as often, he rocked the suit and tie lawyer look just as hard as any of those boys over on the Practice.
My ultimate TV crush is also the only one I took from a show Kelly also gave crush'ed love to. But Malcolm Reynolds is the TV crush that defines all the others. Sure, I love me some Seth Cohen, but would I take him over Malcolm Reynolds? Not if you paid me. Malcolm Reynolds is and will remain my semi-silent, often-nude, pistol carrying space cowboy love, and the romantic saga (made only more romantic by the fact that it never comes to anything resembling fruition) between him and Inara will remain one of my favorite all time epic love sagas.
Looking forward to future blogging goodness, and for all things movie related, check out I Watch Movies and Then Talk About Them.