Wednesday, May 26, 2010
In tonight's not terrible episode, Kurt spewed the quotable line "I'm different, it's the best thing about me". It's a cute line, sweet really. It's something I could see wonderful people putting on their facebook pages and observing as a personal motto. But it's not really true. Everyone's different. Even those undeveloped football caricatures who were determined to beat him up, they're different. They're certainly different from Kurt. They're different from me, from everyone I know. They're different from one another and from (better developed) jock characters on teen-oriented TV. There is no such thing as normal, therefore "different" is a moot point.
And for the record, the best thing about Kurt is NOT that he's "different". So he's a little more glittery than the other guys at his highschool. So what? The best thing about Kurt is his passion. It's his sense of style, his sass, his determination and his dynamite vocal range. It's certainly not being different- that's not an achievement at all. And it's not that he's brave enough to show that he's different (he changed who he was just to fit in like 2 weeks ago).
I'm actually just going to put it out there, and I know all you readers are evolved enough to know that this is not a reflection on my appreciation of the gay community or my lack of empathy or even my low tolerance for the overly dramatic. I don't like Kurt all that much. I think he's a mishandled character who has all the potential in the world but spends most his time being, frankly, antagonistic.
Finn's an essentially good guy, not a smart one or one who's particularly steady-footed when it comes to his convictions, but a good guy, well intentioned and whatnot. Kurt may be right in his refusal to dilute who he is but he's certainly not considerate of Finn's feelings when it comes to the move and his personal hangups (which are legit, by the way. If Finn was having this reaction assuming Kurt was checking him out just because he's gay, that would be wrong. But Kurt is watching Finn's every move and Finn has every right to be uncomfortable with it). Kurt is selfish and insecure and flat out inconsiderate of others, including his dad and Finn. It really says something when I am defending one of my least favourite characters even after he used the "f" word, but Finn wasn't altogether in the wrong this week. He was definitely in the wrong, but not as much as he was framed to be.
Now Kurt's dad, there's a heroic character. His speech tonight was beautiful. A bit redundant since it basically said everything that an intelligent viewer had to know the guy was about in the first place, but it served to drive that point home to thick-headed Kurt, something that really needed to happen. His father's heroics just HAD to wipe out that ridiculous complex Kurt's been whining about for weeks, this delusional idea that his father doesn't love him as much as he would if he were straight.
So sure, the episode made its point. And it certainly had it's moments of greatness (POKER FACE!!! They CANNOT let Idina Menzel go! That was such a plot cop-out). But its whole "being different makes you better" attitude was just plain backwards. Instead of saying "we're great BECAUSE we're weird" can't the show just admit that we're all weird and greatness has nothing to do with it? These characters are great because they're fun, talented, determined and (sometimes) clever, not because they're any more weird than those strange neanderthals who wear the same jackets every day and beat up complete strangers. It's not about being weird, different or some kind of "freak", it's about all that other stuff that Glee keeps forgetting they've got.
The Survivor and Amazing Race Finales: in both cases the wrong person won and the most deserving competitor took second. As much as I would have liked to see Caite win the race and throw it in the face of all the snobby pseudo-intellectuals who teased her, the title should have belonged to the cowboys, who ran the most consistently impressive race. As for Survivor, the finale was fun because Jeff was super snarky with bitter Russell but the only reason Sandra should have won was if she had actually succeeded in taking Russell out when she tried. This was Parvati's season, she played the best game and really should have had it.
The Lost Finale: I'm generally pro, though I understand why the mythology-oriented fans are left disappointed. It was an emotional, character-driven, spirituality-heavy farewell and if that's not your Lostian focus then you couldn't have been happy. As for me, a super sap who's all about character over plot, I loved that it got me emotionally reacting to Lost again. Despite solid writing, excellent effects and superb acting, the MVP award goes to composer Michael Giacchino for creating iteration after iteration of his iconic "important emotional moment" music for the episode's record breaking number of important emotional moments.
NBC Thursday Finales: Community offered its weakest episode yet (read Rachael's Season Wrap-Up for more, all of which I agree with), 30 Rock's finale was awesome after a really rocky season (again, see Rachael's Wrap-Up) and The Office was hardly noteworthy at all (hence, Wrap-Up still pending) except for the promise of Holly's return.
The Grey's Anatomy Finale: Amazing. A couple minor flaws but generally the best episode they've done possibly ever (after an altogether strong season). I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, even though I knew who would perish/survive because of contract news.
The Dancing with the Stars Finale: The right person won and managed to remind me that even if I despise her current band, I loved her first one and she was my favourite when she got her big break on Popstars back when I was a kid who watched Popstars. Also, Derek Hough is a god of choreography and dance and energy. Also, I love Evan Lysacek, he reminds me so much of my friend Chris.
Tomorrow's American Idol Finale: Team Bowersox!
The Bachelorette: I'm still not on board with Ali (she was just WAY too mean to Vienna, who danced on the DwtS finale btw and was beautiful!) but I do love The Bachelorette. I'd watch Chris Harrison do anything and there are already some really promising bachelors (including a cutie from Vancouver who caught my eye early).
Friday Night Lights: It's back and I'm still OBSESSED. I love very few things as much as I love this show.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
3) Death. We've been promised blood and I have no doubt we'll get plenty tonight. Lost has never been afraid of killing off people audiences care about and breaking our hearts along the way. Some of the most poignant moments of TV in the past 6 years have been accompanied by Lost's signature "dum da dum da di da dum di dum" death sadness song. Here's hoping for even more redemption and tragedy-laden demises tonight.
2) Trust in Darlton. Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse may have pissed off some viewers along the way (hey, I didn't mind Nicki and Paolo that much) but I think they've proven themselves trustworthy showrunners in whose hands I'm happy to trust the fate of these beloved characters.
1) Answers! Tonight it will all make sense. 6 years of mind-bending, head-turning, speech-robbing mythology will finally be explained (or, at least some of it will be) and we'll finally understand what it's all been about all these years.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
That was Ron Butterfield (Michael O'Neill), the head of President Bartlett's secret service (The West Wing). That was the same guy who protected our guys at Rosslyn, got the president in the car and laughed off a bullet to the hand. He's the guy who brought Zoe home safe, never took a spec of credit and, in every possible way, stood in front of the bullet.
Oh, the horrifying irony of Hollywood. It's the abusive husband from Dexter becoming the god-like guardian of the Lost island. It's The OC's bad boy showing up as a rookie cop in Southland. It's the golden-hearted/socially awkward David Fisher turning around to be Dexter's charismatic serial killer or Aaron Paul simultaneously playing a devout Mormon and a drug dealer. It's the horrifying irony of careers that do not end with series finales. Sometimes the guy who stood in front of the bullet becomes the guy who fired it.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
But TV is a writerly medium. A brilliant director cannot rescue a terrible script, neither can a standout performer. And that's what Glee is: brilliant performers suffering at the hands of TERRIBLE writing week in and week out.
This week had some beautiful shots that aren't usually there (thank you Joss), a fun new character (I love you Neil), some well-needed musical theatre (Les Mis is ALWAYS a good idea), an unexpected/great dance number (innovatively incorporating real footage from Glee's famous impromptu mall promo dances) and the resolution of a long-speculated mystery (in the most obvious reveal in the world: Idina Menzel is Rachel's bio mom!) but it still sucked. It sucked because no matter how many good elements it had, the characters still said obnoxiously stupid things, the theme was pounded into viewers' brains with a sledge hammer and plot was driven forward by nothing more than plot devices: no character motivation or organic development to speak of. And I'm not saying Glee should be perfect. I'm not saying that it should under any circumstances give up it's fluffiness. I love fluff! I just ask that it be good fluff, the fun kind that doesn't make me want to throw things.
In related yet opposite news, tonight's soon-to-be-iconic "I Dreamed a Dream" duet that paired yesterday's Broadway legend, Idina Menzel, and tomorrow's, Lea Michele, was as close to perfection as this show's ever gotten. For those 2 minutes I was sure I watching greatness. But again, let me stress, ONLY for those 2 minutes. But boy, that pairing, I want them to sing together forever and ever and ever (and Michele HAS to play Menzel's role of Elphaba when movie execs finally clue in on Wicked).
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
and then the crazy chick from Center Stage showed up and shot two of the main characters and we were left on a stupid, overdramatic, unnecessary cliffhanger that came out of nowhere from a storyline that should have been dropped ages ago. I know, I know, that kind of crap is intrinsically a part of the fluffy show I love so much but it would be so much better without it and sometimes I find myself thinking that they'd grown out of it. With highschool over and Dan gone, it seemed like maybe the drama didn't have to be shootings and car wrecks any more. Maybe it really could be about an insecure kid's struggle to come out, a new artist finding his legs, and a young couple balancing their life with a kid and another on the way (also a finale revelation). Sure there'd be movie stars, multi-platinum recording artists, NBA pros and fashion icons in the mix but they'd get human stories too. Oh well, I suppose I've got to accept the crazy that comes with my love of One Tree Hill because to ask it to change now would be even more absurd than the last couple minutes of that otherwise lovely finale.
*FORMAL SEASON WRAP UP STILL TO COME
A little Love Actually of course.
In this week's romantic comedy-skewering yet still knowingly cheesy How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby got the perfect backup: the beautiful (and easily identifiable) score from one of the most famous romantic comedies of the decade.
Marshall's tiny B story was fun, Robin's "also, a bit cheesy" one liners were great and the whole baggage metaphor was really pretty sweet. Oh, and Judy Greer: always fantastic.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Here's the schedule (with helpful links to articles about the new series):
8-10 p.m.: The Biggest Loser (Boo)
10-11 p.m.: Parenthood (glad it's back, I'll be watching season 1 over the summer to prepare)
8-9 p.m.: Undercovers (new)
9-10 p.m.: Law & Order: SVU
10-11 p.m.: Law & Order: Los Angeles (new) (what was the point in cancelling the groundbreaking institution to create another copycat? STUPID)
8- 8:30 p.m.: Community (BEST NEWS EVER!!!!!!!!! not that it's news, but still!!!!)
8:30-9 p.m.: 30 Rock (yay)
9-9:30 p.m.: The Office (less yay but still good)
9:30-10 p.m.: Outsourced (new)
10-11 p.m.: Love Bites (new) (most anticipated new NBC show of the season!)
8-9 p.m.: Who Do You Think You Are?/School Pride (new) (reality. blah)
9-10 p.m.: Dateline
10-11 p.m.: Outlaw (new)
7- 11:30 Football
8-9 p.m. – Minute to Win It (Don't Sundays demand better than this? There's such a Sunday TV legacy!!!)
9-11 p.m. – The Celebrity Apprentice (Point proved).
Parks and Recreation, Friends With Benefits (new), The Paul Reiser Show (new), Perfect Couples (new), The Cape (new) and Harry’s Law (new).
Thursday, May 13, 2010
NBC will be announcing its full fall schedule, sans L&O, at their upfront presentation on May 17th but here's what we know already:
- Thursday night comedy will return 100% in tact with full season pickups for next year already doled out to The Office, 30 Rock, Park & Recreation and (most excitingly) My TV's favourite new comedy Community. That said, reports say that Office star Steve Carrell is looking to move on after his contract is up at the end of season 7 (next year), which leaves the show in tricky "do we retool or cut and run" territory.
- Hour-longs Chuck, Parenthood and Friday Night Lights will all be making another appearance next season. Chuck just got a 13 episode season 4 pickup this afternoon to the cheers of avid fans everywhere. The "we desperately want to be Brothers & Sisters" ensemble family drama Parenthood will also be back next year for its second season, so I suppose I should actually watch more than the pilot. And the tiny-but-brilliant Direct TV gem Friday Night Lights was picked up last year for its final season (#5), which will air on NBC next spring.
- The network already has 6 new shows on the roster for next season: The Event, a conspiracy thriller starring Jason Ritter (a My TV favourite actor); something called Outsourced which is apparently about a call-center in India and a charming-looking sitcom called Perfect Couples (I'm going to predict that neither of these will go far); JJ Abrams' spy comedy Undercovers, which I'm sure will do pretty well; a new Jerry Bruckheimer vehicle about US Marshals called Chase, which I don't think I'll like very much; and one of My TV's most anticipated shows of the new season, Love Bites starring My TV obsessions Becki Newton (Ugly Betty) and Jordana Spiro (My Boys).
- The Dermot Mulroney reboot of The Rockford Files, produced by Steve Carrell and House's David Shore is off to a shaky start with an ill-received pilot, according to NY magazine but still seems poised for a possible pickup.
- Things aren't looking good for ratings-challenged current series Heroes, Trauma and Mercy either, so I wouldn't expect them back. But I'm sure you can place a safe bet or two on the return of The Biggest Loser and The Apprentice, though no announcements about any of these 5 series have been made yet.
Check back throughout the week as the 2010 upfronts roll around.
Friday, May 07, 2010
Thursday, May 06, 2010
- Stefan. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a hater of the brooding supermodel. In fact, back when he was dealing with his human blood addiction and dancing around in a drunken stupor, I kind of loved the guy. But this episode asked Paul Wesley to do nothing more than glower and make glances at Elena and Damon's ridiculously close bond at this point. Even his episode ending confrontation with Damon, while a showcase for Somerhalder's ill skills as Damon at his most manipulative and defense mechanism-y, felt almost perfunctory. It was like he's the guy the girl is with at the beginning of the TV show (think Luke on The OC or that floppy haired dude on Smallville, or even to an extent Duncan on Veronica Mars) who you just know she's going to dump for the more alluring badboyishness. But... that's not supposed to be his role. He's Stefan... he's Angel... he's Edward... he's Bill. He's not Luke.
- Elena. I actually dislike her a lot less than I did back in the day, but at the same time, I don't buy that she's Damon's epic love. The thing that makes these relationships so engaging is feeling like the back and forth is worth it. Veronica and Logan's sparkle, Spike and Buffy's sexy wrongness, Phoebe and Cole's* demonic tet-a-tets. Although I can totally see why Elena finds it all so alluring, I find it hard to fully understand why Damon finds her undeniable outside of the rules of television that say that he should. I also didn't need the words, "He's in love with you." Said so early into the television show.
- Katherine. Can she ever really live up to what we've heard of her? Especially with Nina Dobrev playing her? I don't think she's awesome, but I just don't know if she has the sparkle to pull of what Katherine should be outside of her petticoats.
However, moments when Ian Somerhalder says shit like, "Me too. She's a very good friend. In fact, she might qualify as my only friend," in a way that makes it seem simultaneously manipulative, sincere, and like the idea just hit him makes me think that the show can navigate these waters well, if it does so carefully. As for all the bombshells the show dropped in its last five (the device is still 100% vampire-killing-goodness, John is Elena's father) could hardly top the Damon-osity. In fact, this show is in danger of becoming too Damon-reliant, like the way a bad episode of Gossip Girl is only saved by how amazing Blair and Chuck are on an ordinary basis.
*yeah that's right, I name dropped Charmed.
- The questions are significantly easier, I could answer most of them (something that's just not true about the regular episodes of Jeopardy).
- Though I'm mad at him for beating the adorable (and apparently incredibly competitive) Neil Patrick Harris, I have to say that Cheech Marin is absurdly good at Jeopardy. Which surprised me, because he's mostly famous for being stoned, not being smart, not that the two are at all mutually exclusive.
- Jane Kaczmarek is entertaining. I like her, even if she is divorced from one of my favourite actors out there (Bradley Whitford).
- Just goes to show: comedians really are the smartest guys around. SNL's Michael McKean rocked his semi-final round against fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi and British actor Charles Shaughnessy and tonight's superb showdown featured 3 comedians toe to toe: Neil, Jane and Cheech (a strange mix of awesome).
- I'm sad to see you go Neil, you were surprisingly intense about the whole thing, but man Cheech is worth the watch.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
You read this blog, you know I'm not a Lost fan the way most Lost fans are Lost fans. I've loved the show's high points and resented its low ones but never really gave two hoots about it. I cried when Charlie died, I cheered when Hurley reconnected with Libby, I believe that Desmond and Jack will save these people in more ways than one. But I'm not sure Lost has ever left me speechless, at least not since Charlie, that one hurt.
But this week's episode,... wow.
The ticking clock is showing on Lost like never before. They're moving mythology left and right, pushing these characters at break neck speeds towards their fates. We're caught up in two parrallel realities and for every triumph we can celebrate in one, tragedy lies in the other. I'm left not knowing quite how to feel. There is always a surviving version of oneself; the audience doesn't know who to mourn. There's redemption where we thought there could be none (Sayid); where we thought heroism had forever taken over, a spec of former destructive pride shows through (Sawyer); and when people come together in one reality, they turn their backs on each other in the next (Claire).
All I can say is this week's episode toyed with my notions of mortality and network TV heroes in ways that Lost hasn't since the unexpected demise of Boone and the tragically foretold death of Charlie. I saw performances this week from Terry O'Quinn, Daniel Day Kim, Matthew Fox and Yun Jin Kim the likes of which I'd never seen before. And for the first time in a long time I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see what the man in black does next.