Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Barrell Full of "Meh"


Each week, my two most hotly anticipated shows vary. But this week, after two weeks off, they were 100% Gossip Girl and How I Met Your Mother.

Both of which had pretty "meh" episodes, with sprinklings of the brilliance we normally see.

Gossip Girl this week told us the tale of Blair's seemingly-apocalyptic quest to bring down the inappropriately informal new Constance teacher, Rachel. At the end of last week, this seemed to be a takedown that would consist of fire, brimstone, and all manner of bitchy remarks, bringing the show to new heights of lunacy and awesomeness. What we got instead was a rushed week of furtive glances and posts to Gossip Girl.

Blair got expelled over the stupidest thing I've ever heard (seriously, the school that let Chuck off for smoking Hash IN FRONT OF THE PRINCIPAL and let Serena off with community service for breaking into the schools after hours where a student almost died decided that an inappropriately bitchy gossip girl tip regarding a teacher and a student should be punished with expulsion sans trial and despite the fact that Blair has tons of money and prestige, and rules the school with an iron fist?).

Dan and Rachel really DID act inappropriately, because, as Rufus pointed out, just having dinner with a student (especially a student of the opposite sex) was grounds for investigation.

Serena, with very little motivation or emotion, as it turned out, brought her third try at a relationship with Dan to an end. Mostly, I've been a fan of Dan and Serena, but it seemed after last week that it had become obvious that they were over. So it was incredibly anticlimatic to watch them hem and haw over it for a week, and it felt like a disservice to the legitimacy of their past relationship to have it end so (and I hate to keep using this word, but...) stupidly. In fact, much of this episode seemed to be trying to tie up the loose ends of previous stupid plot lines.

So let's talk about the new stuff, shall we? Well, at the end of this week's offering we got Dan and Rachel making with the practically-jail-bait copulation, and while it was nice to see Rachel do something other than make judgmental, innocent girl faces, it doesn't change the fact that Rachel illustrates one of the biggest Gossip Girl weaknesses: the complete inability to write new characters that are meant to be with either Dan or Serena. Rachel is basically the female equivalent of Aaron: she's dull, judgmental, older and can't act her way out of a paper bag. I was hoping that like Dan's last, incredibly boring love interest, Amanda, she would turn out to be an evil operative in someone else's scheming. Alas, she's just a horny 23 year old ex-idealist bunkering down with our Brooklyn everyman. Blah.

And you'll notice that in a grand change of pace for me, I haven't even mentioned the Chuck storyline. At first I thought it was the kind of goofy sordidness I love from Gossip Girl, but now I think it might just be dumb. I hope the investigation into Bart's past gives Chuck some kind of closure, and I hope this storyline doesn't turn into a melodramtic tale of Chuck's obsession with this new girl. But we'll see.

There was definitely good stuff in this week's episode (Dorota, dorota, dorota!), and an off-week for GG is still better than a lot of other stuff, but after two weeks of anticipation, I wanted more explosions, and less Rachel.

As for this week's How I Met Your Mother... blah. Like Gossip Girl, the last new episode of HIMYM was one of the series' best. And like GG, this week's outing felt like a place holder for other, better episodes.

Robin finds out that her VISA's up thanks to her unemployment. She now has seven days to find gainful employment or it's back to the frozen north. The "well maybe you should just marry Barney" idea thrown out relatively early by Marshall as impractical (does anyone else find it funny that the king of the anti-marriage lobby was jumping up some exuberantly at the chance to be Mr. Scherbatsky?) , she resolves to get a job. And she thinks the best way to do this is by letting Barney take new footage of her and make a ridiculous, Michael Bay-esque video resume. Okay...

At first I hoped this would lead to the line straddling goofiness I occasionally enjoy in my HIMYM (see also: the Best Burger in Town, The Bracket). But instead it jumped the line over into just goofy and unbelievable, to the point where I didn't blame Robin for running out on the shooting process, and found the final outcome a little unbelievable for a show that normally errs on the side of reality rather than exuberant sitcommy fiction. They were letting Robin off easily, getting her a great job despite everything else, and it felt like the writers had just decided that Robin's unemployment had given them all it was going to. Still, I loved the satisfied look on Barney's face after he saved Robin from deportation and paved the road for her to see him differently, and I'm grateful the show didn't go full on cliched and have her kiss him in gratitude.

On a completely extraneous note, how much fun is it to watch the creators try to hide the pregnancies of Alyson Hanigan and Colbie Smulders? Especially Hannigan, whose stomach they gleefully took advantage of in a Daphne-goes-to-the-fat-farm Z-story about her winning hotdog eating contests.

3 comments:

Dorv said...

I find it very ironic how polarizing How I Met Your Mother is. I've gotten to the point that with certain reviews from certain sites that we might sometimes contribute at, I can with 100% certainty tell you how they received.

I've heard many die hard fans say that The Best Burger in Town was the worst show of the season (I thought it was in the middle), and I've heard that last week's showing was either the best, or pretty dern bad.

This show is insanely popular with its fanbase. Most people who like it seem to love it. What's funny to me is that for such a relatively straightforward show, that there is such a wide dynamic of what turns us on about this show, and what does not.

For the record, I thought this show was pretty good. I personally don't think that they've had a 'tentpole' episode this season, but there's been stuff that I really liked out of most of them. The only episode I didn't really love was Happily Ever After (and some swear by it).

I love this show, though, and its the one I look forward to all week :)

Tim said...

I confess to being a complete idiot:

I totally didn't even notice the pregnancies once throughout the entire episode. At one point I even thought to myself: "Wow Lily's fat suit looks more like a pregnant belly".....sometimes I wonder where my mind is...

Kelly said...

Also interesting is how polarizing the show is just within "My TV".

Rachael, who wrote this week's review, is a big fan of the zany episodes like "best burger in town" whereas Im much more partial to sweeter ones like "three days of snow". We both love the show but, for the most part, on alternating weeks.

This week, however, I agree with her wholeheartedly. I was disappointed with Monday night's TV all around (though I havnt gotten to chuck yet). But I'll watch anything HIMYM offers me.

and tim you're not dumb for not noticing the pregnancies- I almost always completely forget about them, Im so glad that they're ignoring them instead of writing them in.