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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bones - The Doctor in the Photo recap/review with help from Hatts

Turkey dinner at Brennan’s house apparently includes a blow-by-blow analysis of the main course’s final moments in the slaughterhouse. Her guests, the whole squint crew (plus Hannah and Booth), were less-than-charmed by this party trick, but we found it adorable. Fortunately, they were saved from choking down their dinner by a call from Cam.

This week’s murder happened in a bad neighborhood about 11 months ago, and the body was found enmeshed in the roots of a growing tree. The female victim was a very sophisticated heart surgeon whose weight and height matched Brennan's. This might not have been enough to creep Bones out had she not found a dolphin ring identical to her own on the victim’s skeletal hand. The rest of this highly anticipated episode followed Brennan's decent into a delusional obsession over the similarities between her and the dead surgeon.

Brennan spent sleepless nights in the lab trying to solve the murder while listening to the victim’s recorded medical journal entries. But when Lauren (the victim) spoke in Brennan’s head, she spoke in Brennan’s own voice. As the episodes progressed, Brennan conducted imaginary conversations with the voice, because she felt that because of the similarities she shared with Lauren, she knew Lauren enough to do “her side.” Brennan was visited by the night guard (played by the same guy who was Keith Mars). This episode was a treat for Veronica Mars fans, because two V-Mars actors graced this Bones episode. The night guard quoted all the free Smithsonian lectures he attended to steer Bones deeper into her self-reflection. One of us thought this was a nicely written, sweet part for the absolutely loveable night guard. The other blogger thought it was weird and out-of-place.

It turned out that, in order to survive the emotional toll of the death of young patients, Lauren had become emotionally detached. Whenever she was under great emotional strain, yet felt numb, she would engage in dangerous activities “in order to feel something.” Her death was the result of a car accident in a bad neighborhood where Lauren was buying heroine from a drug dealer, just for the thrill of it. There was an airplane pilot who was in love with Lauren, and being closed-off emotionally because she was fragile, she rejected him. Brennan told the pilot that not giving him a chance was Lauren’s biggest regret. It was around this moment that Brennan realized that she had made the same mistake when she didn’t say yes to Booth last year.

DUH. Oh Brennan, if we didn’t love you so much….

Brennan hurried to the neighborhood where the murder occurred and bent down to check out a road reflector that had possibly tripped Lauren. Lost in the task of blindly following her intuition (a first for Brennan), she didn’t notice a car racing toward her in the pouring rain. Fortunately, Booth appeared to pull her out of harm’s way. He said he was “following her into a bad part of town and saving her life, you know, the usual.” On the ride home, Brennan told Booth that turning him down was something she regrets. A pained Booth quietly insisted that he had moved on, Hannah was not a consolation prize, and that Brennan would get over the pain, because he did. Brennan burst into tears, which isn’t common.

If you like the quippy, “git r done” Booth a la season one, he was back in this episode. This Brennan-centric episode had most of the side characters benched. It looks like Hannah is sticking around, so those of you who have grown fond of her despite her DATING BOOTH WHEN HE SHOULD BE WITH BONES are lucky. This episode had a different tone than most episodes, but it was a long time coming. Brennan reflected at the end that, during the time covered in the episode (three days), the world turned upside down. It was a strange one, that’s for sure.

It left us really sad, because Lauren helped us understand Brennan, and they are both pretty tragic figures. Plus, we really want Booth with Brennan. We can’t believe she reached out and then got her heart broken. UGH. We like a Bones episode that pays attention to the Booth/Brennan imminent love relationship though. This was less of a procedural episode, and more of an intrinsic, character-driven episode for longtime watchers of Bones. We think Brennan's realization and admission will, in the long run, propel the two closer toward a relationship, so we are happy, overall. Even so, that was tragic.

Episode grade: B. We missed the humor and side characters.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Office - Classy Christmas review

Be still our hearts. That was an actual good episode of The Office last night. Last week’s was about a B, and this week raised it to an A-. Can the show keep this streak of decency up? Here's hoping.

This week, Holly came back, which was great, but she re-broke Michael’s heart. Fortunately, Kelly and the girls planted the idea of an ultimatum to her boyfriend in Holly’s head, so Michael might get her later. We loved Erin not understanding what the big deal about Holly was. Michael’s idea of a classy Christmas party was funny, and Michael had a lot of good lines.

Another great thing about this episode involved a (long) snowball fight between Dwight and Jim…that Dwight absolutely won. We love it when these two go up against each other. Also, Jim absolutely deserved it. He started it by pelting Dwight right in the face with a snowball while Dwight was working. A) Battery, and B) Ouch. We loved how Dwight has a wig to help him impersonate everyone in the office.

Rainn Wilson should direct more episodes. And episode writer Mindy Kaling can just go ahead and write them all as far as we are concerned because, judging from the rest of this season, she's the only funny writer left.

Episode Grade: A-

The Vampire Diaries - By the Light of the Moon review

Stefan got out of the tomb, and Katherine didn’t even get to kiss him. She barely got to taunt him. And, as much as we loathe getting into body talk, does anyone else think that Katherine’s body would have looked less awkward with five-to-ten more pounds on it? She’s so long that her bones can make her look too harsh and angular when they stick out from being a stick. If this is Nina Dobrev's natural weight, then fine. But if (as we suspect) she has to kill herself to have it, she shouldn't work so hard. She'd look better with some LBs. Not worth it. We saw another reviewer compliment her "curves." Sorry, but hip bones are not curves. Hip bones are hips, and most women have them.

During Tyler’s transformation weren’t sure if we wanted Caroline to leave or for her to stay as long as possible. The transformation scene was about as hard-core and satisfying (no, not that way, even though Tyler has a great body) as one could expect from this show. The end of the ordeal, where Tyler cried and Caroline held him, hammered in the fact that these two are going to get closer after this episode. We know the rift is going to be when he finds out that Caroline has been lying to him about being the only vampire in town and about the death of his uncle. Jules is going to tell him. There, show predicted.

Speaking of Jules, we both hate her. But if her bite kills off the annoying English Rose, we will start liking Jules more. We like seeing Damon have to wrestle with his feelings, and Rose dying would bring more of those to the forefront. As far as the two newest love triangles go, we are still shipping Caroline and Matt (mostly). And Jeremy is much hotter (and more well-intentioned) than Luka. And also hotter.

We will have until January to wonder what Elijah is up to, how he can slither through the loopholes of his verbal contract just enough to wreak havoc without breaking his word, and get really excited for the second half of this raucous season.

Episode grade: A-

The Best Christmas Episode of 2010

We’ve decided that Community had the best Christmas episode this season. If you haven’t seen Community yet, we don’t recommend this as your first episode, unless you love stop-motion animation, but everyone else should feel free to watch it. We know some people will object to the show’s conclusion about Christmas, but we don’t. Jesus is about as much the reason for the season as Mithras is, because, yes, he wasn’t born in December.

The most depressing Christmas episode? Bones. Was that even a Christmas episode? Probably not. But still. Bleak.

We Hate Misleading, Out-of-Context Promos.

One of us usually doesn’t watch promos at the end of the episode. Why? Because they are cheap advertisements trying to get you to watch the next episode. They take footage out of the context of the next episode and make you think something is a) going to happen or b) that something is going to be a big deal. You should never trust someone who is trying to sell you something, and promos are no exception.

Sure, we are glad that promos don’t give away the next episode, but we don’t think they should mislead us. The most recent culprit is The Vampire Diaries promo (see previous post). Even WE were fooled on that one, but it was a cop-out. Even the blogger who said that she hoped it was a dream sequence or prophecy was disappointed. Grey’s Anatomy is another culprit. Remember the promo that showed Owen catching Cristina giving a lap dance? We thought that was going to be a big relationship issue by the look on his face. But, in context, it was next to nothing, and Owen didn’t run any drama about it at all. In fact, the real aftermath is pictured. (Realistically, would any guy react like this if he had any nut sack whatsoever? No wonder we believed that promo.)

Misleading promos make some viewers lose respect for the quality of the show. They come off as desperate. And The Vampire Diaries and Grey’s Anatomy are both having good seasons, so they shouldn’t have to stoop to that level.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Glee - Christmas episode

Nothing happened in this week’s Glee, except Brittany still believes in Santa, Sue was “The Grinch,” Blaine and Kurt sang a romantic song together, and Artie got a creepy contraption that enables him to walk…slowly. There was one really funny part: when Sue gave Will shears for Christmas so he could shave off his sheep hair.

It was too cheesy, cliche, and childlike for us, except for the obligatory holiday romances, because TV often tries to turn Christmas into a less-lame Valentine's Day. We had to hear Wham!'s "Last Christmas," and the boring "Merry Christmas, Darling." Then Will pointed out that Christmas isn't magical when you are an adult, and we got depressed. There might have been some good lines, but how are we supposed to catch them with all the mumblers on the screen?

With the exception of two or three charming moments, the Glee Christmas episode was icky to watch. This episode was one big excuse to sell us a Christmas album, which one of us bought, so the joke's on us.

Episode grade: Somewhere between a C and a D+ (one might say a C-?)

Watch it here, if you wish:
Glee will be on hiatus until February 6th. It's going to be a theme episode (ughhh), because it's the Super Bowl opener.
Too many more theme episodes, and at least one of the bloggers will shun this show for good and just download the singles from iTunes, story be darned.

Okay, the other blogger had to comment on this now, because she just watched the episode last night. She liked it a LOT more than the writer of this post did. Christmas episodes are always different, and since Glee didn't do one last year, this blogger is a lot more willing to allow this particular theme episode. Also, the duet between Blaine and Kurt is probably her second favorite moment this whole season.
Her grade: B+

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Quick Thought On the Boardwalk Empire Finale

Pretty well-done. We liked the reconciliation between Nucky and the widow, since that's what the whole show is about. And we like the new Jimmy/Eli betrayal of Nucky. We wish there had been some action and a little of the riotous, dark tone of the pilot.

We don't think we will follow the show live next year. This is a good show, but it would be easier to get/stay into on a DVD binge. We will watch it, but we will wait until we can see many episodes at once. So, goodbye BE weekly recaps. You have been a pain in the neck to write anyway. (Some shows are easier than others to write about. Easy shows to write about: Glee, America's Next Top Model, Grey's Anatomy, Dexter, Breaking Bad, and LOST, which we are still writing about, even though it's over. South Park, Bones, and HIMYM are surprisingly difficult. The Vampire Diaries is difficult for one of us to write about, but we both love it too much to stop.)

Episode grade: B

How I Met Your Mother - The Mermaid Theory recap review with help from Hatts

Zoey is hanging out with the gang now (collective sigh from everyone who dislikes her), but they are all creeped out by her husband, The Captain. Zoey is the only one who wanted to join Ted on a trip to an architectural exhibit (which proves that she’s attracted to him), and that brought up the subject of whether married people can spend a significant amount of time alone with a single person of the opposite gender. (Ern’s vote is decidedly no, in almost all cases, as is Leeard's.)

Marshall and Robin realized that the two of them never hang out, and they decided to go out to dinner together. Lily decreed that Ted had to become friends with The Captain if he wanted to hang out with Zoey. That left Lily and Barney, and they supposedly got into a fight, the cause of which narrator Ted said he could not remember. Marshall and Robin's dinner went terribly, as they have nothing to talk about together. Marshall revealed that the reason they don't hang out is because of Barney's “Mermaid Theory.” It stated, "Every women, no matter how repulsive, has a mermaid clock - the time it takes for you to realize you want to bang her." According to Barney Stinson's history of the world, when sailors are deprived of feminine company for long enough, even the manatees at sea start to look like attractive mermaids. Marshall was afraid Robin's mermaid clock would start if they hung out to much. This explains powerful men and their unattractive mistresses, we guess.

Ted went out to sea with The Captain but was terrified that The Captain was jealous and was taking him out to sea to kill him. He wasn't; he just wanted to bond with Ted, because he usually can't connect with his wife's younger friends. Ted and Zoe agreed that since neither of them had any romantic feelings for the other it was ok to continue hanging out. At that moment, we heard Zoe's Mermaid Clock start ticking. This neither surprises nor especially pleases us. Heck, Stella was cooler than Zoey. We hope she is not the mother, and we might be rewarded, because older Ted kept calling her “Zoey” in his narration, not “the mother.” And we don’t think Zoey recently lived with roommate Rachel Bilson. Zoey has been married for a while, right?

Lily and Barney had the best story of the episode. In classic HIMYM form, Narrator Ted kept telling the story differently as he tried to remember what really happened. In the end, he realized that the whole fight had actually happened a few years later when Lily was pregnant and Barney told her that pregnancy had changed her from a mermaid into a manatee. Yeah, we would be mad at him too. There were hints dropped in the "wrong" version of the story, and it was a cute way to announce that Lily would be pregnant.

If you’re a loyal follower of HIMYM, you'll want to know that at the end of the corrected/ future Lily-Barney fight scene, Ted marched into the bar in a lovely green dress, and said, “Ha! Now we're even" and Narrator Ted promised that he will explain that story later. We can’t wait for that one, but we will have to, because this is HIMYM, where we have to wait forever for anything to happen.

Ern really liked this episode, and Leeard thought it was average, so it averages out to:

Episode grade: B-

Gossip Girl - The Townie recap/review, with help from Hatts

Gossip Girl's mid-season finale was full of reveals…and lots of exposition, starting with Blair and Dan walking and recapping Juliet’s misdeeds. Seriously, there were so many back stories, explanations and recaps in this episode that it was distracting. The clumsiest one was when Lily and Chuck recapped a meeting with a member of the media while sharing drinks. It felt so forced. And is Chuck 21 yet, Lily? Never mind, because we found out that Lily has much bigger problems than allowing an underage boozer to drink more. Lily is a slimy, cowardly elitist who feels entitled to let others suffer for her own comfort. We’ve always liked Lily, but this will be hard to forgive.

At the beginning of the episode, Blair and Dan were on the hunt for Juliet. Serena was in the Ostroff Center, reliving her past in therapy sessions, and Nate and his mother were dealing with his father's most recent betrayal. It looked like The Captain was only pretending to want to reconcile with his wife to get parole.

In a nice little twist, Dan and Blair turned to Gossip Girl for help locating Juliet. This was Dan's idea, by the way. Gossip Girl was none too happy with Juliet's persecution of her girl, Serena, and the fake photo she was sent. She emailed the unholy alliance an address, and they headed out of the city to track it down, bickering all the way. We ship Chuck and Blair forever, but, as we’ve said before, we wouldn’t mind a brief Blair/Dan hook up that would leave the pair mortified and still enemies...later. Their trip took them to Cornwall, Connecticut, the town where Serena went to boarding school just before to season one. The address was the home of Damian. Remember the drug dealer that used and abused Jenny a while ago? That's Damian. Yeah, we forgot too. Apparently, he sold Juliet, who is a Cornwall 'townie', the drugs she used on Serena. We guess it never hurts to bring an attractive, recurring character back for the finale, no matter how forgettable he is.

While Dan and Blair and Damian visited with Juliet's mother, learning half of the story, Serena's therapy sessions sent us into flashbacks from her boarding school days, and the full story of how Serena wronged Ben and Juliet was revealed. Here's the gist of it - Ben was Serena's teacher (this is something everyone had already figured out). They started hanging out a lot and developed feelings for each other, and here is where we were surprised by Serena’s story. When Serena tried to move their relationship into a full-on romance (oh Serena, you would), Ben declined, because it would have been inappropriate (take note FNL, Pretty Little Liars and Life Unexpected). He was the first and only man to turn her down (besides her own abandoning father, of course). After that encounter, Serena was so embarrassed that she headed back to New York City, but the rumors that there had been an affair and the record of her wild behavior were enough to keep her out of all the best Manhattan prep schools. When Lily went to Cornwall to try to rectify the situation, she overheard gossip about a possible Ben/Serena affair, and she used the information to force the school to stop badmouthing Serena. She forged Serena's signature on an affidavit claiming the affair was real. That was the paper that Juliet and her family saw when Ben was fired, prosecuted, and sent to jail. Lily only meant to bring it up to the school as leverage, but the school got the law involved. The next time Lily could have stopped it was at the time of the forgery, and she chose not to.

Meanwhile Juliet snuck into Serena's room at Ostroff. She was planning something terribly bad (we don't know what), but when she told Serena who she was and why she was trying to destroy her, Serena knew immediately that it must have been her mother who gave the false report and forged her signature. Ahh, the classic “villain monologue.” Although it would have been nice to know Juliet’s plan. Was she going to hurt Serena? “Finish the job?” It makes little sense that Juliet would just go confess everything to Serena. There had to be more to that…because that would just be unbelievably stupid, even for this show.

And so the season drew to a close with a classic Gossip Girl party scene, complete with Serena calling out Lily in front of all the guests. Post-party Rufus revealed to Chuck that Lily was trying sell Bass industries behind his back, and the whole GG cast started a van der Woodsen-Bass-Humphry showdown. Even Rufus was short on forgiveness for her. Lily turning out to be the big bad in the Juliet plot? We were not expecting that....And we don’t know if we like it.

It turned out that Nate's father's house purchase was for a romantic vacation for him and his wife, not a getaway plan. Unfortunately, by the time this was revealed, he and Ms. Archibald both realized that they were not going to get back together. A sad Nate was left watching TV in jail with his father. Feeling guilty for wrongly accusing his father of betrayal, Nate invited his dad to stay at the empire in his suite when he gets out of jail. We wonder how THAT’S going to go. Poor Nate, you need to learn that you just can’t save people. (We would like to take this moment to defend the unappreciated Nate Archibald: sure his stories have never managed to be very gripping, but the fact is, short of Dorota, unless Dorota is Gossip Girl, which we maintain is possible and likely, Nate might be the nicest, and most honorable, of the Gossip Girl crew, unless we are forgetting some unflattering plot from years past? Oh yeah…the married woman affair.)

Chuck headed off to New Zealand, with a very disappointing comment about finding loose women, made right in front of Blair. Can you believe that? He chose to make a callous "man-ho" comment rather than a Lord of the Rings reference, and he is going to NEW ZEALAND. This is why Chuck isn't cool. Blair, however, was more concerned with the fact that Jack Bass is in Australia, and she rightly accused Chuck of looking for his help. Heedless of her warning, Chuck left with a fairly cold farewell to her. Why? Why, Gossip Girl writers, can't you just let B and C be together? There is no Moonlighting syndrome , we love them as an on-screen couple, as long as you give them decent plots! Sadly, “good plots” usually don’t involve Jack trying to take the empire or Blair playing second fiddle to Chuck’s business affairs. Even worse (as far as we are concerned), Dan declined to join Serena on her road trip to rectify Ben's situation. This left him alone in the city with Blair, and we are afraid that the last scene between Dan and Blair was a teaser for the fans who are 'shipping' these two as a couple. It’s too soon, it’s too awkward, and it needs to just be funny, not a real thing, if it happens. Well, at least it's surprising, at this point. Who else thinks that Serena is going to get another shot with Ben after he is released?

This episode barely made sense at times, and it felt clunky. But there was plot development. Hopefully next year we will see a different plot, now that the Juliet scheme has fizzled and died.

Episode grade: B-

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire

The Sunday night recapper only had time for one of these shows (her first exam is tonight), and when the rubber meets the road, Dexter isn't road kill.

This is a strong statement, because the Boardwalk Empire episode was the finale. Don't spoil it, we're going to watch it later in the week and bring you some thoughts.

Why Dexter? No, it's not because the guys on Dexter are better looking (not hard, with uggos like Steve Buscemi populating BE), but if you guessed that, you are paying attention. We've just been following Dexter longer, this season is more intense than BE's season (we feel more of an urge to find out what happens on this show), and we care more about the characters. Ok, just Dexter, Lumen, and Deb, but that's two people more than on Boardwalk Empire.

As for Dexter, it was a great episode, but the cliffhanger ending left us spitting and unsatisfied. Dexter season finale next week.

Episode Grade: A
Dexter has been renewed for a sixth season.