Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kelly's Week in TV

The Bachelorette finale and "After the Final Rose" special: The finale goes exactly as planned as Jillian chooses an ecstatic Ed and stomps on the hearts of Kiptyn and Reid (who returned to propose and finally declare his love). The "After the Final Rose" special, however, contained one of the more awkward segments I've ever seen. When Reid returned to face Jillian again, the reunion was filled with unasked awkward questions, unbearable silences and a creepily enthusiastic young woman who came to the mic to ask Reid if he would go out with her. As for the Jillian/Ed interview, they seem pretty happy and may eventually turn out to be one of the few couples who actually make it after the show. The highlight of the night came with host Chris Harrison's line "as a talented country singer [infamous bachelor/slimeball Wes] once said, 'you know love, it don't come easy'."

Dirty Sexy Money: I love this show and I'm so glad to have it back (however briefly). Saturday's episode was the first offering of this final batch (that started last week) that reminded me how great this show really could be.

Psych: I have no idea where the episodes that show up weekly on my PVR are from in the chronology of the series but I really love this show. Dule Hill is a god.

More to Love premiere: In theory, I like this show. I like the idea of a show in The Bachelor format that doesn't over-emphasize the need for a perfect bikini body. That said, for a show like this to work, it needs to not dwell on what it is that makes it different. After the first episode, all I took away from More to Love is that all these women, who swear they're looking for someone who can see beyond their exteriors, are inextricably caught up with their own weight; it's all they talked about. Sure the guy's kinda cute but he carried with him a bit of a douchy vibe and I can pretty much guarantee that the couple that comes out of this show at the end is not going to last. In fact, my guess is that some skinny girl watches the show and introduces herself to Luke when all is said and done and he leaves his chosen "big girl" for the prettier one. More to Love just seems like one of those shows that has the exact opposite effect than what it is striving for. I think the only thing the audience will take away from it is that girls who are overweight can be just as vapid and self-involved as the itty bitty ones on The Bachelor.

Better Off Ted: Veridian Dynamics goes green (without their knowledge); Ted invents a fake project called Jabberwocky; Portia De Rossi takes back the lead she lost after last week's SYTYCD in the epic battle of 'who's funnier: Portia or Ellen'; and corporate ignorance, the trend of flashy business presentations, employee fraud and the green obsession all get delightfully satirized.

Triple Sensation finale: Kaitlyn finally impresses, Hailey steps it up, Leah's acting chops (rightfully) snag her the win despite some rough notes in her song and my week brightens when I find that 2nd place finisher and My TV favourite Liam Tobin is sitting behind me during last night's production of BARE at Hart House Theatre. (Here it's worth noting how much I enjoy the fact that an old friend of mine made the top 12 in season 1- super proud to have once shared the stage with him).

Merlin: I'm about 3 episodes in. I'm still making up my mind but I think I like it so far.

Big Brother: Jessie further pisses me off by making exactly the right moves for his position in the game, further harming the side of the house that I was rooting for, perpetuating the Athlete rule and keeping the game's most annoying players around (aka Ronnie and Lydia). He may be driving me crazy but I may have no choice but to become a Jessie fan. Quite frankly, he's the best player in the house right now (though he does have a giant target on his back for when one of the few weak people who can and would put him up gets HOH) and that bizarre love triangle is the most entertaining thing going on this summer guilty pleasure.

The West Wing: I'm re-watching. Season 2 really is perfection.

Dawson's Creek: I'm re-watching. Season 2 is nowhere near perfection. Pacey, on the other hand, comes pretty close to perfection in his best season of the series (remembered fondly by me as 'the Andy season').

The Guild: On the grand scale of Joss Whedon's friendship circle, Felicia Day has never been a favourite of mine. But yesterday I caved after hearing her talk about her web series The Guild for the millionth time in an interview with Michael Ausiello at Comic Con. The sweet little webseries that she created, writes and stars in is a shoestring budget story about a group of gamers. Understated, amusing, boasting a colourful supporting cast and running only about 5 minutes per episode, The Guild is actually a nice way to spend your time. It's available (yes, even in Canada) at

Jeopardy: Last week saw the reign of the most engaging champion in a very long time: a young video game tester/camp counsellor with long blond locks and a goofy grin. Against all expectations, Stefan won game after game with some seriously impressive skill. Not only is he surprisingly brilliant, but this nonchalant dude is always cracking jokes (adorably bad ones), never takes the game too seriously, often comes from behind to win big and has proven himself to be a big better on Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy questions (which always keeps the game interesting). Multiple times he bet between 4 to 6 thousand dollars on a single Daily Double question in the first round; and during one game he bet more than $20,000 on a Final Jeopardy question about food (which he then got wrong but had a score high enough to still win the game). He'll be back soon to kick off the show's 26th season as reigning champ, keeping things interesting. In the meantime, the Teen Tournament has been very boring.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Brief Note on Amazing Casting

Cheers to Hung for casting the two most perfect actors for their series. I'm finally at the point where I officially love Hung (insert inappropriate jokes here).

There are two reasons I love this new HBO series:

1/ Anne Heche:
Heche's Jessica started of as the somewhat annoying ex-wife of Ray who seemed like a total bitch. She rudely left her husband after having an affair and jumped at the opportunity to take in their children after Ray's house burned down. Jessica has no chemistry with her new husband and it's clear his money was her motivation. But after a few episodes, Jessica slowly turns into a multi-layered intriguing character. She becomes easily aware that her children dislike her and what follows is a few interesting attempts to win them over. Jessica's good nature is shown when she adopts a dying/sickly dog in what was originally part of her plan to woo her children but ends with her decision to just do something right for a change. Sure the kids would have loved a new puppy, but the dog needed her and Jessica needed a soul. I'm positive there isn't a single actress who could pull off these character who needs to be both extremely loved yet slightly detested. Kudos to Hung for latching on to Heche.

2/ Thomas Jane:
It's seldom that the main character of a series also coincides with my favorite character. When this does actually happen you have to give a lot of credit to the actor for doing such a damn good job. Playing a male prosititute with a huge penis sounds easy but there needs to be a certain charm, charisma, and sex appeal involved. For some reason, I can't see anyone else in the role of Ray other than Thomas Jane. Maybe it's his deep voice, subtle dramatic skills, or burly hunky mainly looks (a mini-crush may be developing) but Jane pulls off Ray Livingston with an unprecented ease. I for one will continue tooning in each week simply to see him act his ass off.

Early, I questioned whether or not Ray would have a love interest in this series. I thought for a minute the first big one could be Lenore (and it still very well could be) but I'm beginning to wonder if Ray and Jessica will reunite in the future. The two are far too likeable not to get back together. I suppose the casting of a bigish name like Anne Heche is kind of a big clue that she will play an integral part of the story, but I'm definitely routing for a little loving between the two. Although, after Jessica's brief introduction to Lenore on Sunday's episode I have a feeling Jessica may just be a client of Ray's one day soon.

Danger in Dallas

After a 3 episode slump, True Blood is back to on the hot tamale train (don't judge me...I'm far too excited for SYTYCD tonight). Everything is about to blow up in Louisiana and things aren't looking to great down in Texas either. The entire season has been leading up to a confrontation between Sookie the vampire-loving girl and her brother Jason the born-again-anti-vampire-fighter-in-training. Now, we didn't actually see the two come together yet but Sookie goes undercover at the Light of Day Institute and it seems as though the two will finally come together within the next few weeks. Also, in an amazing ending (SPOILER) Daphne seems to show a darker side as she delivers Sam to Maryann's massive orgy where the goddess/whatever is vibrating....and we still don't know exactly why she vibrates. This of course all happens right after Tara and Eggs are finally suspecting something fishy is going on in Bon Temps.

Hands down the greatest part of the episode was a brief moment between Jessica and Hoyt. The show has done an amazing job of pairing these two remarkable actors and creating an adolescent feel toward their entire relationship. Hoyt travels all the way to Dallas after his mother cancels his phone service and he worries Jessica will be mad he isn't texting her back. Now, this is pure genius. All adolescent lovebirds have probably experienced this all-too-human moment of worry when their loved on isn't responding to a text. It's such a little, ridiculous thing but it really makes you angry. Just as Jessica awakens to see no new messages and is on her way to order a man for some dinner, Hoyt appears at her door with flowers and his boyish charm. This entire scene was literally 2 minutes, if that, but it stole the show.

Now Emmy's I know True Blood didn't sit so well in your stomach for season one but maybe you need to mix it up with a different blood type. And if you don't vie Deborah Ann Woll a nomination next year, you are seriously mistaken.

Here's the thing about True Blood. The writers know how to write a damn good cliffhanger. This entire season has had the best cliffhangers I've seen on television in a long time, whether it's a simple question of whether Bill is going to kill Jessica's family, the revelation of Daphne's scars, or this past weeks (SPOILER ALERT) apparent sacrifice of Sam. But here's my main problem with these cliffhangers: the suspense lasts for about 30 seconds until we see the preview for next week's episode. The first clip shown is Sam talking to Daphne about Maryann, showing that he doesn't actually get sacrificed after all (not that I thought one of the main characters would die so suddenly). So here's my plea to HBO, the readers, and anyone who cares: STOP WITH THE PREVIEWS. If you must show some they should reveal nothing about the cliffhanger. This is what keeps us watching week after week and while I'm still desperately waiting to see what happens to Sam, I'm less excited knowing the outcome.

A Mature Mother

The latest episode of Weeds took a turn for the serious...and it was a homerun. For the first time in 5 seasons, I did not laugh out load once. Sure, there were amusing sub-plots focusing on Celia's make-up sales and Doug and Silas' confiscated pot. But "Distinctive Horns" was an amazing episode due to maturity...something we don't see a lot from Weeds.

We finally see Andy stick up for himself to Nancy. Not only did he help her run away from Esteban to have her baby on the record, but now she requests he pretend to be the father. Granted, Nancy was forced into pretending Esteban has no relation to the new child, but she knows how Andy feels about her and it's downright selfish for her to assume he'd be okay as the stand-in father. The whole situation becomes all the more heartbreaking when Nancy breaks down and says, "Andy I don't have anybody else." Andy leaves Nancy, and the audience, with a quote we all wish Nancy would have heard years ago: "Whose fault is that?"

At last, Alanis Morissette gets her story line expanded past the delivery doctor arc. Andy takes her out on an awkward date after he shaves off his beard and decides to move on in life. The date goes horrible wrong and ends with the doc taking Andy to stop playing doctor and be one. This finally brings Andy to the realization that he too isn't perfect. He may have grown up a lot but he has not quite reached his maturity yet. Thus, our fun-loving, childish Andy puts aside his feelings for Nancy and takes on the responsible role of father to the latest edition of the Botwin clan.

The episode ends with Esteban storming in to find Andy holding his child. In a moment of clarity and extreme maturity, Nancy (for the moment at leas) chooses Andy over Esteban when she tells the biological father why Andy is so much better than he will ever be: "that pendejo sticks around, he fights for what he loves, and he's not a coward." Nancy explains that she is doing the best thing for her child by kicking Esteban out, and he reponds by telling her to do what's best for herself. Oh dear Esteban, if you knew Nancy well enough you would know she's been thinking about herself for five years now. This is the first time she clearly puts a child before anything (money, drugs, and especially men). So congrats to Nancy Botwin for learning exactly what it means to be a mother, for once.

On another sidenote, it seems like Lupita is back for good. No only is Lupita a great houskeeper and chef for the Botwins, but she provides a much needed sarcasm to the show. It's nice to see one of the best original castmembers return and I hope it sticks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Geeky Convergence of Semi-Epic Proportions

Dollhouse just got even geek-tastic-ier. Jamie Bamber, aka ab-tastic Captain/Major/Admiral Lee Adama, is joining the erst-while Helo, Tahmoh Penniket, on Dollhouse. Which means Whedon language coming out of the prettiest member of the awesome Adama family.

I'm trying to avoid the BSG-centered pun, but...

Oh frack it.

So say we all!

Star Pitchers and their TV Taste

Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle brought some insight to David Letterman tonight with his list of
“The Top Ten Things That Went Through Mark Buehrle’s Mind During His Perfect Game
[on Thursday]”

Why is this at all interesting?
Number 5 on the list was:
“Did I remember to TiVo So You Think You Can Dance?"

That's right men, even sports superstars love a good Mia Michaels contemporary number. Your macho excuses are no longer relevant, hop on the hot tamale train now!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Absurd Story of the Week

The strangest love triangle ever: Big Brother's Lydia vs. Natalie for the attention of Jessie.
(we predict that the winner of Jessie's affection will be Jessie, for he can love no one as much as he loves himself).

That said, we're giving the self-obsessed body builder points this season for seriously stepping up his gameplay from last year. So far he's been seeing right through the suck ups, staying out of the drama as best he can and generally doing what's in his best interest in the game.

A Blast from the Recent Past: NewsRadio

Despite my love for the genre, I'm well aware that I came into pop culture consuming prominence during the wane of the golden age of the sitcom. Consider Seinfeld and Friends its death gasp, and the intervention of single-camera, laugh track-less half hour comedies its replacement (thanks a lot, critically acclaimed, brilliant comedies!), and it's not exactly a deep or unique television reflection to say that (despite a couple*of still-around good shows) the sitcom as a format has pretty much died. The laugh track spewing, pratfalling, awesomeness that was so popular for the 80s and 90s is pretty much restricted to How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory (at least as far as quality television is concerned), and both of those are semi-successes because of the unique spin they bring to the genre (HIMYM is very acutely aware, and often comments on in a meta-kind of way, the sitcom conventions it embodies, and often tries blatantly to subvert them, and the genius of Big Bang Theory is the way that it is 100% your typical sitcom while not seeming at all like your typical sitcom). With those two exceptions, sitcoms just aren't considered the artform they once were.

I am saddened by this. The sitcom is awesome. But re-watching a lot of old sitcoms feels odd now, the beats far too ingrained in my psyche to feel intriguing, the storylines too reused since then. It's kind of like watching Casablanca and feeling like I've already seen it because of how often I've heard most of the lines. So it was with great joy that I re-discovered NewsRadio on Hulu in the past few weeks. NewsRadio was a pretty decent sized hit for NBC in the mid-90s, starring a pre-ER Maura Tierney and the post-Kids-in-the-Hall Dave Foley, and I'd seen reruns before on television. But nothing prepared me for the intense love I felt for this show upon rewatching.

Most of the greatness of NewsRadio is courtesy of its amazing cast. The aforementioned Foley and Tierney are both great as the screwball romantic core at the heart of the show, and they're propped up by Phil Hartman as radio personality Bill McNeal, Khandi Alexander as awesomely understated Catherine, a last-time-he-was-ever-funny Andy Dick as office goof Matthew, also-the-last-time-he-was-funny Joe Rogan, Vicki Lewis as quirky, and mostly not annoying, assistant Beth, and the incomparable Stephen Root as station owner Jimmy James.

But NewsRadio is also great for the way that it, like HIMYM after it, plays with the typical sitcom conventions while simultaneously glorying in it. Take, for example, Dave and Lisa's relationship. On another show, it would have been a slow burn of sexual tension and furtive glances. On NewsRadio, they're a stable, mostly functional couple (for the most part...). They're also consistently hilarious and great together and apart, and Lisa is never relegated to the annoying girlfriend role. She has her own storylines, her own personality, and her own hilarity. It's amazing. It's a great show that unfortunately came a little before my time. Until the magic of HULU. Which means that not only is it available for me to love and enjoy, but for all of you. So check out the first four seasons on HULU (occasional episodes ARE missing, but one of the glories of sitcoms, as opposed to serialized dramas, is that you can watch them semi-out-of-order without losing any of the awesome).


As you may have noticed, I've been posting a lot less this summer, due to a ridiculous life schedule that has cut my sitting at my computer reflecting time to a minimum. But I haven't been a stranger to television**, and that's entirely thanks to a wonderful invention I like to call The Internet.

Maybe you've heard of it?

Seriously, folks, I love the internet, specifically for its ability to bring me a constant influx of awesome shows on demand. Between Netflix and Hulu (not to mention the network's own sites), the entertainment (as long as you're in a US state or territory) never ends.

* Literally, two.

**It is my personal life theory that neither television nor movies are a luxury, either time-wise or money wise. I mean obviously food and shelter come first, but television is not something I watch because I'm bored and have nothing else to do. I make time for television. I love it. I believe in its inherent value and therefore believe it is an important addition to my life. So when this summer brought me the most busy, stressful five weeks of my life, television was not something I was willing to "give up" along with sleep and real food.

Jason's Last Dance

Yet another one of my favourite dancers was sent home this week in lieu of the obnoxious and overrated Brandon.

(As for the women, good choice America! Now there's just Melissa to take down next week before the final 2 women are exactly who they should be: Jeanine and Kayla)

In memoriam of Jason's time on So You Think You Can Dance, here's the clip of his best routine on the show (though I am also partial to his earlier contemporary pieces, the foxtrot, the Bollywood routine and that weird one with the alien).

PS on the 100th episode: It was lovely to see all the former contestants again. I think the episode could have stood being 2 hours long with more favourite routines being performed. And even though I'm re-watching Dawson's Creek this summer so am very pro-Katie Holmes at the moment, it has to be said that that wasn't so much dancing as it was strutting.

Actor Obsession: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is not only the incomparably engaging (and beautifully dimpled) star of my new favourite movie of the summer (500 Days of Summer) but he is also the star of my favourite sports movie of all time (Angels in the Outfield) and my favourite teen movie of all time (10 Things I Hate About You). Oh, and he was on a little show called 3rd Rock From the Sun, you may have heard of it.

The super talented and artistically-minded Gordon-Levitt started out his career at the tender age of 7 with a guest stint on Family Ties. He then established himself as a child star and transitioned seamlessly into a teenage leading man, spending 6 seasons on the beloved sitcom 3rd Rock in the process. After an acting hiatus that saw him studying French at Columbia University, Gordon-Levitt's artistic tastes led him down the independent film road. Now, with his lovable performance in the sweet yet purposely un-sentimental indie 500 Days of Summer, he is reemerging as an audience favourite.

Gordon-Levitt can next be seen in a completely different role for him: in a big blockbuster action film. He plays Cobra Commander in the upcoming GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (out in August).

(500 Days of Summer kudos also to Zoey Deschanel for brilliantly conquering a very tricky role, to screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Webber for a lovely and fresh story that was quirky but not annoyingly-so, and to director Marc Webb for brilliant visuals, great pacing and the casting of lovely TV ladies Rachel Boston and Minka Kelly. See this movie- it's lovely).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fun Semi-Spoilers Buried in Comic Con

In the Dollhouse panel this week at San Diego Comic Con, Joss Whedon confirmed one rumor we've all long suspected: freed from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Summer Glau will be showing up this season. Much more interesting, and surprising to me, or I may have just been out of the loop, was the news that none other than Kelly favorite and Alyson Hannigan impregnator, Alexis Denisof.

Maybe it's a Buffy-verse crossover, where Wesley as Wolfram and Hart liason (you'd have to read the comics, but yeah...) has to purchase one of the dollhouse branches? Whoa... I think I just discovered the secret of Dollhouse. The big parent company behind all of it? None other than Lilah's old bosses! Who needs to watch now?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Goodbye Samantha

If you choose to ignore the final 30 seconds or so of tonight's final Samantha Who episode, you can really delude yourself into thinking that the series had a proper sendoff.

One of the more painful of this season's many painful losses (Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money, Privileged, Kings and Valentine), Samantha Who is most definitely an example of a good show being punished for network mistakes.

When the Christina Applegate sitcom premiered last season it was the highest rated comedy on the air and soon earned 2 Emmy nominations (including a win for supporting actress Jean Smart). A strike-shortened season, a lack of summer re-runs, an extended hiatus, time slot changes, another hiatus, casting changes, a lack of promotion and a large number of episodes run out of order (making the through-lines incredibly hard to follow) were just some of the obstacles thrown in front of the charming comedy.

News of the series' cancellation left fans hoping for many things in the July 23rd finale: a resolution to Andrea's loveless engagement storyline, good things for Dena, amusing and sweet hijinks from Sam's parents, and (most importantly) a happily-ever-after for Sam and her epic love interest Todd.


The series wrapped tonight with a sweet and funny episode (after a very confusing batch of summer aired out of order installments) that wrapped up the love stories of all three central friends wonderfully. We were left with a satisfying, if a little ambiguous, ending for Andrea, her gay fiancee and the man who's really in love with her. Dena was whisked off her feet by her long-time boyfriend and Sam and Todd finally found each other and completed their tale with one of the more unique proposal stories I've seen.

In fact, if you turn off your PVR as Todd carries Sam into the apartment and her voice over about fairy tale endings comes to a close, the episode will make a lovely series finale. Unfortunately, those fatal 30 seconds, if you choose to watch them, ruin the show by revealing that Sam's mother has left her father, thus putting to rest one of the sweeter middle-aged marriages on TV.
Couldn't the producers have just cut that and let the audience bask in a happy ending?

Mishandling by the network and a strange finale decision by the writers makes for an extremely bittersweet sendoff for Sam and Co. At least Ms. Applegate received a final Emmy nomination to remember the series by.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Must Say More: Obsessions 2.0

Brian Williams is the funniest guy that most people assume isn't funny. He tells Jon Stewart that he looked up to Walter Cronkite like Jon looked up to Carrot Top.

The Hangover unexpectedly stands up to a second viewing- who knew I would love this movie? Not me, that's for sure. But my love of Bradley Cooper DOES extend all the way back to season 1 of Alias.

Laura on Big Brother may be eliminated tonight but I REALLY REALLY hope she isn't. Her IQ seems to be as high as her plastic surgeon's salary.

Leah Cogan and Liam Tobin are tearing up Triple Sensation. Have you heard this man sing? If not, you need to be watching this show!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Violation of the Spin-Off Rules

The conceit of a spin-off is that the new show and its predecessor exist within the same reality. For Private Practice, this means that the woman who, in our reality, is Kate Walsh is actually Addison Montgomery within the reality of Grey's Anatomy and all its descendants. She is Addison Montgomery whether she is in Seattle, LA, Alberta or Auckland. Were Kate Walsh to play a different character within the world of Grey's Anatomy (which includes Private Practice), it would mean that Addison must have a long-lost twin walking around somewhere.

This rule, if broken, has the power to undermine the credibility of the world that the writers have created.

So imagine my surprise (or lack thereof, considering how much faith I have in Shonda and co.) when I finally get around to watching the season finale of Private Practice and find that Tessa Thompson is guest staring- as someone completely different from her role as the Chief's niece Camille on Grey's Anatomy. Oh well, Addison's always so caught up with her own drama maybe she didn't notice that Naomi's patient Zoe was identical to an important person in her life back in Seattle.

Obsessions: Photo List Edition

The Petulant Children Tell All

There may have been some standout moments in tonight's The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All episode (like Michael coming to Jake's defense, Jillian commending Juan on his composure in dealing with David and the musical montage of Wes' least likable moments), but the whole affair was overwhelmingly childish.

Hot-headed David, despite a genuine-seeming apology to Jillian for making her uncomfortable, spent most of the evening defending his outrageous behaviour on the show, attacking Juan yet again and explaining the ins and outs of something called "man code". The rest of the former frat boys of the group spent much of their time getting on the cases of those who were simply different from them. Early eliminated sweet heart Mike explained it best when he described how most of them shared background and interests, leaving sappy gentlemen like Juan and Jake as outsiders of sorts. Quiet and calm Mark explained why he was one of the few men to come to Juan's defense on the show and surprisingly funny Tanner F called Jake out on "pulling a Mesnick" (leaning over a hotel railing and crying hysterically).

The standouts of the evening were (not surprisingly) Michael (who sat quietly for the most part, made the occasional good-natured joke, spoke his piece when the others were out of line and made a lovely speech to Jillian about his new approach to love) and Jake (who dealt with the abuse from the other guys with a smile, explained his potentially off-putting intensity and his controversial return to the show, expressed his hurt over the sudden coldness of Jillian after their first date and let it be known that he was perfectly fine with how everything turned out, even Jillian ignoring his warning about Wes). More surprisingly, the other highlight of the night was Tanner P (whom I think was really a pretty normal and funny guy, the editors just chose to show the one really weird thing about him incessantly). Those who painted a less flattering self-portrait were Jesse (who seemed to be a passive supporter of the misguided "man code"), Sasha (who swore at Jake for absolutely no reason) and (obviously) David (who is simply a cretin).

But despite how the guys came off, the true revelation of the evening (apart from the bizarro world pronouncement that Molly and Jason have every intention of getting married some day) was how truly cool host Chris Harrison is. I've never noticed before, amidst all his formulaic questions of "how do you feel about so-and-so?" and announcements that "this is the final rose tonight", that Chris is one of the few hosts with an opinion. In tonight's episode he played fast and loose with the Wes jokes, flat out arguing with the guys who defended him, saying "he used Jillian"; he challenged the foundations of the so-called "man code" and demanded to know where "respect for women" factored into it; and he shut down the absurd argument over Juan's behaviour by asking "who gives a crap?" about whether it was right that he only took half a shot and didn't confess to it. This was the first time I have ever seen Chris be the guy that Trista Sutter has always insisted that he is (on her Eonline blog), and I really like him, I hope he shows himself more often.

Which brings me to next week's finale. Ever since the beginning, we've been promised the return of some mysterious person who proposes to Jillian before her chosen guy has a chance to. Anyone who was paying any attention at all to last week's episode should have figured out that it would be Reid returning (not only because of his exit interview where he took all the blame on himself and regretted not telling her he loved her, but because of her reaction to his departure, it was too intense, like Jason's goodbye to Molly- it needed more resolution). So then when Reid doesn't show up for "The Men Tell All" and Chris tries to pass his absence off with some excuse about "a prior engagement", the astute viewer should have it all figured out. So why, then, did ABC think it necessary to ruin my fun by confirming my brilliant theories with a shot of Reid holding a ring in the preview for next week? It took all the joy out of my (not actually all that impressive) detective skills. In any case, I'll be glad to see Reid again and sad to see his heart broken when she chooses either Kiptyn or Ed instead.

Sound off in the comments section:

Who do you think Jillian will choose (Kiptyn, Ed or Reid)?- my guess is Ed, it should be Ed.

And who do you think should be the next Bachelor (Jake, Michael, one of the 2 guys who'll get their heart broken next Monday or someone else)?- my vote is for Reid, because I love him.
(Scott, if you are reading this, know that Alyssa and I are nominating you and there's nothing you can do about it- ha!).

Double Sensation

He may not be a born dancer, but Triple Sensation's most recent cast-off could really bring down the house with his tremendous singing and
acting skills. Glen Mills, a 22 year-old from Alberta with the stage presence to tackle Titus, was one of my main reasons for tuning in each week.
Congratulations on making it so far Glen. I'll miss you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Farewell, My Funny Valentine

Tonight was the last ever episode of Valentine on The CW. It's not as if I didn't know this was coming, every additional episode that showed up on my PVR was a posthumous gift from the darling show. But what I didn't expect was to already miss the show so much.

It was always a sweet, sugary 60 minutes of happy, but it wasn't until this final batch of episodes that I considered Valentine to be great television. Watching these final 4 episodes that aired this summer, I realized that Valentine was really a lot more than it seemed.

Characters that are superficially perceived as archetypes are actually interesting and endearing people once you get to know them. Danny's inner hero was hidden by his smarmy and sarcastic exterior; Leo was a loyal softy, despite Herculean strength; and Ari really was just trying to keep his family safe. Kate even grew on me (though the mortal remained unimpressive next to the gods).

Despite a pretty weak mystery arc about someone trying to destroy the gods, the stories of Valentine kept me interested and invested in the show. Though the final episode offered some sort of milestone in both major "will they or won't they" relationships in the series (Kate & Danny and Phoebe & Leo), my greatest regret about saying goodbye to the series so soon is that we won't get to see those play out (particularly the lovely relationship between Leo and Autumn Reeser's delightful character Phoebe). Mystery-wise, the last scene left the series on a cliffhanger that is also a deal-with-able ending point (SPOILER ALERT: Ari gets killed).

Though its series through-lines developed into decent stories as the episodes wore on, the most impressive thing about Valentine was at the beginning and still remains the weekly client romances. The premise of the show being that the gods of Valentine, Inc are responsible for uniting a new set of soulmates each episode, it was easy to imagine that they would soon begin to repeat their love stories. In fact, I wrote an article to that effect last fall (click here to read it). But Valentine proved me wrong. In each of its 8 episodes, the show told me a new and interesting story of soulmates. There were couples whose families were standing in the way of their love, old friends falling for each other, enemies learning to love each other, college roommates realizing that the love they shared was true, divorced couples reuniting, smitten neighbours overcoming what stood between them, childhood sweethearts fighting for each other and shy singles battling their fears of rejection. We saw couples of all ages, spanning socio-economic backgrounds, with diffrent religious affiliations and romantic histories, homosexual, heterosexual and cross-cultural. Because, after all, Valentine was just about love; and, as Grace would say, love doesn't follow rules.

Valentine was everything that the current definition of "good TV" is not. It wasn't gritty and dark like the uber popular CSIs or critically lauded The Shield. It wasn't sexy like Gossip Girl or Grey's Anatomy, hip like Dexter or True Blood or cult-y like Flight of the Conchords- but I still think it was good TV. It was sweet and happy and optimistic. Valentine kept me guessing, kept me laughing, kept me caring about the characters, and, most of all, it always left me a little happier than it found me.