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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Movies that made an impression in 2011

Our top ten favorite movies of the year

10. The Tree of Life - We reviewed this movie here. It was totally weird and not for everyone, but it was original and we loved the message. The first half was laughable and the second half was pretty dang good. The movie rang true to life and was a great visual experience for people who like movies off the beaten path with little dialogue. Ultimately, it was deep and life-affirming, with good performances and lots of guts. 

9. Crazy Stupid Love - There’s a lot here to mock. The public love declarations, predictability, and anything with the cringe-worthy babysitter. But one of us thought this movie was sweet and funny. The performances were also good. Can anything with Steve Carell, Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling be BAD? The answer is no. This was the second-best romantic comedy of the year.

8. Paranormal Activity 3 - Leeard and Ern saw this one together. We feel that it is vastly superior to the first one, where the two most annoying people in the world were terrorized and TOTALLY DESERVED IT. We liked the characters in this offering and thought the movie had enough scares to make it worthwhile. We were creeped out and we left still feeling creeped out/bummed.

7. Bridesmaids - The Hangover this is NOT, and those saying it was a female version of that movie did Bridesmaids a disservice. What the movie actually was: An adult romantic comedy with ample memorable comedic performances from women, along with a mature friendship and one of the tackiest weddings we've ever seen on film. Yeah, there are laughs. But you don’t see anyone’s penis or Mike Tyson’s tiger. Ern didn't like Melissa McCarthy because of Gilmore Girls (whatever, Ern. You're crazy). Ern thought that character was annoying. But Melissa proved herself to everyone in Bridesmaids, and just about no one disagrees.

6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Ern has read and hates the book. The writing is as dry as it gets, and it’s bad writing on top of that. The heart and soul of this story is the main female character, Lisbeth Salander, which is why the movie was better than the book. We got to see a performance worthy of the character. Yes, we’ve seen Miss Noomi Rapace in the Swedish versions, and she was great, but we think Rooney Mara topped her. We also liked Daniel Craig’s warmer Mikael Blomkvist and the simpler, clearer plot. If you can go without reading the book first, David Fincher’s direction and vision elevate the source material. The only thing you should know is that there is a rape scene and those disturb just about everyone. It’s necessary to the trilogy and tone of the movie, though. We both understand why it happened, it's just our opinion that it's better to go in expecting something that violent and graphic - that's not a great surprise to see in a movie. This is dark dark dark, but worth seeing.

5. The Descendants - For a movie with its dark subject matter, this one had enough humor to balance that out. The performances were all great (who knew anyone on Secret Life could act?!! - Sidenote: THE OTHER BLOGGER, SUCK IT ERN.), and this movie was something that we could enjoy with our families who don’t mind a little bad language. Thoughtful family movies with pretty scenery never go out of style.

4. X-Men: First Class- Ern nerded out over this movie so hard. She saw it multiple times and then bought it. This movie made an impact because it let everyone who hasn’t been watching indies know how sexy and talented Michael Fassbender is, especially when you are writing slash fiction in your head featuring his co-star, James McAvoy, who is always hot. It also reinvigorated a franchise that was getting decidedly sucky, movie-wise. The X-Men deserved better, and they got better here. This movie didn’t have the budget of Captain America or Green Lantern, but it had the script, the humor, and the talent, which top special effects for us any day. Our only complaint is that the Xavier/Magneto friendship was supposed to last YEARS, not days. Ugh. Bring back the bromance!

3. Hanna -  Saoirse Ronan is gorgeous, talented, and super weird. We’re surprised Hollywood even likes her. We always enjoy Eric Bana and almost always enjoy Cate Blanchett (Indiana Jones was the exception - that wasn't entirely her fault though). This movie was unique. The script and dialogue were great (“I don’t wear makeup. I think it’s deceitful. This is my face, take it or leave it"). There was plentiful humor and action. It’s a lot better than the trailer makes it look. We really don't want to say anything else about it and spoil what it's like.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - This movie was a joy to watch. We liked the changes, because it made the events surprising even to those who have read the book multiple times (us). We don’t think Alan Rickman is the best onscreen crier in the world, but the rest of his acting was spot-on, which is important because Snape’s backstory is so much the heart of the film. Whether you were disappointed with the adaptation or not, you have to admit that the end of our childhoods was memorable and bittersweet. One of us thought it was perfect; one of us thought it was good enough. Both of us will own it and watch it over and over and over...

1. Drive - This movie showed us that our attention span has been shot to hell. It had pacing that tried our patience while it tried to go for building intensity. It succeeded in building intensity, but we were annoyed waiting for the camera to cut to the next scene while it would linger after the action was clearly over. Don’t let that stop you from seeing this movie, because it’s number one for a reason. The second half was kick-ass and we got to see people killed in creative ways. Ok, that sounded really bad. We just thought the action scenes were scenes that we haven’t seen before. Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Bryan Cranston are great, as always. The opening sequence is pretty widely considered the best of the year.

If we had a top 20, these would be the rest: Moneyball (Brad Pitt brought it this year), Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Hugo, Friends with Benefits, Our Idiot Brother, Limitless, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Help (our favorite performance was Octavia Spencer's), Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska was the best Jane we've ever seen). MI4 was entertaining too.

We still need to see: War Horse, Melancholia, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Muppets, Shame,  We Bought a Zoo, Fast Five, A Dangerous Method, Like Crazy, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Sherlock Holmes 2

These are the ones that we will remember for being bad. We didn’t go see Jack and Jill, Pirates, Transformers, or anything like that, because we try to avoid bad movies. But these are the bad ones that slipped through the cracks of our judgment. Sadly, we saw them. Battle Los Angeles (boring), Bad Teacher (not funny enough), Green Lantern (bland), Captain America (disappointing trailer for another movie), Super 8 (not original enough), Source Code (depressing - we disagree on this one. Leeard really enjoyed it), The Adjustment Bureau (anticlimactic), I Am Number Four (boring AND unoriginal), Unknown (stupid and had January Jones), Arthur (not funny enough), and The Rite (slow and not scary). Actually, we wouldn't say Captain America and Super 8 were as bad as the others. They just should have been sooooo much better.

Overall, we think TV topped movies this year, but there were a few good offerings. 2012 is going to ROCK as far as movies go (Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, The Avengers, The Amazing Spiderman, The Hobbit, Snow White and the Hunstman), so TV will have to bring it.

Ern saw Warrior and would now rank that at #3.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

American Horror Story - Afterbirth

Constance has been babysitting the new baby for Ben while Ben gets his affairs in order and prepares to move out of the Murder House. She cautions Ben to keep himself and the baby out of the house, because the house’s “forces” want to hurt the baby. Ben sees a picture of Tate and blames Constance for all of his family’s woes, tells her off, and peaces out.

Vivian and Moira are getting along as dead people. Moira tells Viv that Ben can’t see them unless Viv wants him to. Viv explains that this would be bad, because Ben would want to stay in the house with them, when he should really get out. Ben sits on the couch, in the house, that night and puts a gun to his head. Viv appears to Ben and tells him to live on and raise the baby. Even though it’s not his, it is Vivian’s (and Tate's), after all. Ben reconciles with Violet and makes out with Viv. The two disappear and Ben grabs the baby and walks toward the front door.

Sadly, and surprisingly, Hayden kills him, making it look like a suicide. Constance ends up with the baby, hiding him. Marcy sells the house to a new family, the Ramoses, who have one son, Gabe. He skateboards and he utters the words, “I don’t believe in ghosts,” so we are really surprised he lived. The Ramos family gets driven away by the Harmons and the rest of the good ghosts, who realize that the family shouldn’t stay in the house, especially since they are trying to have a baby. It’s sweet, in a morbid way. The good ghosts get their scary on and drive the family out, screaming.

Tate tries to apologize to Ben and own up to his sins. Ben counters with, “Therapy doesn’t really work. It’s just for people who can’t own up to their own problems.” We groaned, because we know plenty of people who NEED therapy who think this is the case. It’s not. It’s only if you see a crappy therapist like Ben that therapy is useless. If you’re not getting better, getting good tools, or getting good feedback in a reasonable amount of time, onto the next therapist. We don’t hate Ben, like lots of this show’s fans. We feel bad for him. He had demons and he was trying to fight them. But then he got a stalker and a haunted house. The guy couldn’t win.

Viv’s other baby took one breath outside the womb, so now he will live in the Murder House as a one-day-old infant forever. Wow, that’s really hard luck. Nora gives Viv the baby after realizing that she doesn’t have the patience for motherhood. Moira becomes the baby’s godmother and the Harmons decorate a Christmas tree. It’s a happy ending, while Tate and Hayden sulk outside, rejected. The Harmons have realized the importance of family and died loved. Tate and Hayden are being punished for being jerks. Three years later, Constance has a toddler (Vivian and Tate's demon spawn) who killed his babysitter.

We thought the finale was satisfying, conclusive, and set up a second season really well. We like this show. Ern still has the gripe that this show has never effectively scared, shocked, or creeped her out. They are going to have to try a little subtlety if they want to do that. However, the ratings are great, the show is a hit, and we were both entertained all season. We were glad that Constance didn’t die. We will absolutely be back for next season. This is an easy show to watch, and we want to see how Ryan Murphy thinks he can top this, content-wise.

Those curious about season two MUST read this: One of us is pretty upset.

Episode grade: A-
Season grade: B+

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TV That Made an Impression This Year

 Memorable TV of 2011

The newbies
Once Upon a Time - Arguably the best new network show of the fall season. It brought our beloved LOST writers back to TV and, once again, gave them two worlds to juggle. While we were stunned by the midseason finale, we have to admit it was ballsy and a good episode. Just about everyone loves a good fairy tale, and while critics thought this one was going to be too weird for audiences, the show proved them wrong. This year, this show taught us that viewers want something different and something that the whole family can watch. But not something that infantilizes the audience, like Terra Nova (which one of us likes).

Homeland - Arguably the best new cable show of the fall season. The tension, the characters, the acting, and the writing were all top notch. This show proved that people will be engrossed by complicated characters over flash.

New Girl - This show put quirky, “adorkable,” and weird front-and-center and thus garnered lots of young fans. While this show is groan-inducing because Jess SINGS HER OWN THEME SONG and the character is basically an exaggerated version of the already-existing Zooey Deschanel, we don’t care. We love it. She’s bringing femininity back with her clothes and innocence back with her optimistic attitude. Best of all, the show is funny and the supporting cast is good too. Leeard loves this show so much, that she let's Ern know "I love this show" every time she watches it. Ern knows, dammit.

Happy Endings - This was the only Friends copycat in the recent year that survived, and thank God, because the others were terrible. This one has funny writing with lines that are sometimes said too fast. However, you know a comedy is bringing funny back when it redeems Elisha Cuthbert for a 24 fan.

American Horror Story - We didn’t think a TV show that relied on a shock a minute would work. We thought this would be too much. And yeah, we were right. But we were also entertained for weeks. There’s never been a TV show like this, for better or worse. We don’t want to give anything away for people who haven’t seen it, but this show is not afraid to kill. And it’s not afraid to go to the most messed-up place possible in order to make us s*** our pants in fear.

Revenge - We’ve talked to multiple guys who say that this show hooked them. Stephen King even likes it. It’s rare that a soap aimed at girls can grab just about everyone, but this one did it. It has few (if any) haters, redeemed a so-so actress, and brought us Nolan. The lead is likeable, even though she is bent on revenge. We understand her, but we can’t predict her. It’s one of the better primetime soaps in a while. At first, we thought it was going to be a predictable revenge procedural, but then they brought out the real Emily and things started getting crazy good.

The Playboy Club - This show sucked, and the American audience let everyone know that Hugh Hefner and Playboy are gross, not things that we can emotionally invest in. Thank you, American public, for once. Besides, the show was too tame for the people who would be edgy and liberal enough to embrace it. We will remember this show for being lame and being over very quickly. It wasn’t smart enough to be Mad Men.

Charlie’s Angels - This was one of the worst shows we have ever seen, and that’s saying something. It wasn’t even bad in a fun way. It was just unwatchable. We will remember this for ruining Charlie’s Angels for us forever.

Enlightened - Apparently, this show got good after we dropped out and has been renewed. It made an impression as an off-the-wall, female-driven comedy, and we can respect that. The pilot almost worked, so we can see that it might be worthwhile if it got better, which apparently it has. We’ll be checking it out.

The Killing - We were never under the impression that the mystery would be solved at the end of the first season anyway, so we don’t share everyone else’s rage that we didn’t find out who murdered Rosie. And we don’t care what anyone else says: We think that acting was good. But this show provided a warning to showrunners everywhere: Give us answers, or you will become a joke.

The Chicago Code - A good show that got axed too soon.  Good acting, good villain (especially in the first few episodes, when you weren't 100% sure he was bad), and a satisfying finale, for a show that really could have (and should have) gone on longer.

Game of Thrones - Arguably the best new show of the year, Ern even thought it surpassed the book in enjoyability. Shut up, that’s a word. It stayed true to the book, down to lots of the dialogue, and didn’t hesitate to pull off the book’s infuriating, shocking twists. Nerds have been suffering without intelligent science fiction and fantasy on TV these days, and HBO jumped to fill the void. The details and visuals of the world HBO created was admirable. They didn’t half-ass this. And no one will forget the episode “Baelor” that shocked all the show’s fans who hadn’t read the book.

Off the Map - We will remember this show for being decent and for delivering one of the most unsatisfying conclusions to a series of all time. We still miss this show. It had a pretty and talented cast that needs to get hired again by other shows, ASAP. They deserved better. It was just as good as some seasons of Grey’s and Private Practice! Why didn’t those fans jump on this show? Maybe too much of a popular thing is just too much.

Shameless - This show redeemed Emmy Rossum for us after she came out with that hideous music that didn’t show off her classical voice. Seeing her slumming it in this show and taking care of her siblings was a good trainwreck. We loved everyone in this twisted family, and we will be returning for another visit when the show starts up again. This show was very easy to watch and proved once again that remaking British shows works a lot of the time. Unless it’s Skins. That was a bad idea. People don’t like shows that only exist to shock and stir up controversy. There has to be more to it than that. With Shameless, there was.

The Returning Shows
Breaking Bad - This season perfected the slow burn. Just when we thought this show couldn’t get any better, it masterfully crafted a fustercluck for the ages with Tarantino-like crazy moments. The acting, of course, remained incredible. It was probably the most quality TV this year. Sons of Anarchy lost that award with its snooze-inducing finale. Breaking Bad’s finale left us gasping.

The Office - This was the year that we said goodbye to Michael Scott, which is memorable in itself. His exit was perfect. We also think that the show found a way to be decent again, even without him. It certainly isn’t as bad as The Office’s horrific season six, which had no funny episodes even with Michael. We thought this show was dead, but it may still have life.

Two and a Half Men - This show was already bad and creepy. How many jokes about whores and poop can they do? Those seem to be limitless. Now, the show has betrayed even its most ardent fans by ruining John Cryer’s character. We were told that Alan contemplated STEALING from Ashton Kutcher’s character. Now, fans of this show are stupid. But they don’t deserve to have the character they loved for being a stand up guy turn into Charlie Sheen. The show could have thought of a better way to introduce Ashton’s character. The ratings are still good, but we know the fans are disappointed.

Glee - Made an impression by taking a sweet, believable show and turning it into what we saw this year. A hot and cold, uneven pile of crazy with exactly no likeable characters and mostly bad music.

Parks and Recreation - This year in Parks and Recreation was perfect, especially Lil Sebastian’s funeral. This comedy proves that you don’t have to be mean or sarcastic to be funny. In fact, the characters can be sweet and all love each other. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Friday Night Lights - A solid season ended with a perfect, bittersweet finale. We miss that show.

Big Love - A weird season that ended with a finale we really didn’t like. We know the show ended up being about the family, and that whoever didn’t get that just missed the point. But somewhere around season three, it looked like the show was going to be about Nicki’s awakening to love and real independence. Then she backslid and became first wife. Then Bill died and it just felt like they killed him just so that they would have something to do for an ending. We guess the finale scene with the women was sweet though. And we miss this show too. Also, what happened to Joey? Why did this show waste our lives with him and then just have him just disappear?

Community - The Dungeons and Dragons episode and the one with the multiple timelines were two of the most perfect comedy episodes we’ve encountered. Ever. This show stumbled a little in the beginning of its third season, but for the year overall, it produced creative, funny episodes. Oh oh! Also there was the one where Pierce was “dying” and bequeathed gifts to his study group. Classic. Then the Christmas episode happened, and we just had no words. This show is the best, and if it leaves us forever, at least it went out like that. But it better not leave us forever.

The Good Wife - This is the year that it finally grabbed us. It was always good and watchable, but in 2011, we saw Will and Alicia finally hook up, the cases seemed to get better, we got more Eli Gold, and everything just seemed to get more fast-paced and entertaining. Bravo, show.

Are there any shows that you think made a splash this year? Probably Boardwalk Empire. Yep. We spoiled ourselves there, so we know what happened. Wowser. Should the Grey's Anatomy musical episode have made this list?

Dexter Season Six Discussion

Dexter had its finale on Sunday night, so now it’s time for us to look back on the entire season and tell you what we think worked and didn’t work. We think this was Dexter’s weakest season. We don’t think it was terrible TV, because we watched and enjoyed it, for the most part, but last season was better and season four was DEFINITELY better. This season just seemed unnecessary in terms of the show’s growth and the characters’ journeys. At least season five, the Lumen season, stretched Deb and Dexter, even though it was muted compared to the Trinity killer stuff that came before it.

What worked: Debra Morgan as Lieutenant
It’s nice when Deb grows AND has something to do. We liked seeing her in charge, because she always acted like she was anyway. The job fit her and she deserved it. She did a good job. Watching her curse people out while she was in charge made her seem authoritative, rather than whiny.

What didn’t work: That the religion wasn’t edgy enough
The show tried to tackle religion and didn’t say anything new. It didn’t even say something old in a new way. We expected Dexter to push buttons a little more, but the season was just lightly religion-themed, rather than something that could make anyone think. We guess that’s fine if you just want to be entertained rather than be made uncomfortable. We always want people to bring on the discomfort.

What worked: Mos Def
Mos Def’s touching, courageous character and his portrayal added to the show, because it showed the good side of faith. We had the crazy side of faith with DDK, but with Brother Sam, we saw how faith can change lives for the better. It is one of the things, if not the only thing, that can take a hardened criminal or killer and give his heart a 180. We would argue that after Mos Def died, the season took a turn for the sucky. He was keeping the season good. Without him, we were lost.

What didn’t work: Masuka’s first intern
The first one was so stupid. The second one just hasn’t paid off yet. We’re annoyed that we have to wait until the next season to see what his deal was. This season, it just felt like he was wasting our time.

What worked: DDK at the beginning
In the beginning of the season, DDK went all Se7en with their killings, making them both creative and meaningful. Putting the snakes in the man’s belly and recreating the four horsemen was nasty fun. If only all of their killings had been that disgusting and jarring.

What didn’t work: DDK at the end
Neither of those actors are remotely scary or charismatic. They don’t command the screen, and that’s something you need in a Big Bad. Then they had that ridiculous twist that we all saw coming. Ok, some people didn’t, but they obviously haven’t seen enough TV yet. Can we all just put the “HE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME” and “it was all in his head THE WHOLE TIME” twists to bed? It was great (and pretty surprising) when The Sixth Sense did the dead thing. That’s still one of our favorite movies for the jolts, the acting, the emotional depth, and the twist. But it’s over, people. And Fight Club had the best “he was crazy the whole time” twist. If you can’t beat it, leave it alone.

What worked: Debra Morgan finding out that Dexter is a killer
That last scene was incredible and so was Deb’s face. After the Lumen season, we knew that Deb was going to find out Dexter’s secret eventually, but we didn’t see it coming in the last seconds of the finale. What a cliffhanger! We’ve really been waiting for this, so we’re elated that the show finally delivered it unto its fans. Granted, it should have happened at the very end of the Lumen season. We felt like we were treading water through this whole DDK season. Here’s hoping Dexter’s secret will kill off that pesky crush. Speaking of…

What didn’t work: Debra loves Dexter
UGH. We’ve been over this, but as people with siblings, IF OUR SIBLINGS TOLD US THEY LOVED US, WE WOULD FREAK THE F OUT. Gross gross gross. And it wouldn’t matter if it somehow came out that we weren’t blood related. Just growing up as siblings ruins it. Deb should know this, the skanky, twisted ho. The icing on the worst cake ever was when Deb screamed overdramatically to her therapist, “I finally told my brother that I love him and he said he loves me back!… I’m in love with him!” This just doesn’t fit the show. They already had a neat sibling relationship, and now that’s ruined. This whole plotline would have to have been handled perfectly for it to work, and it wasn’t. It came out of nowhere and wasn’t hinted at in previous years (or even in the first half of THIS season). We could have gotten behind it if the writers had the sense to make it believable. But they didn’t. And we are just disturbed.

What worked: Keeping the side characters on the side
Hey, guess what this season didn’t waste our time with? Batista’s love life. We felt like all the characters we didn’t care about didn’t get huge plots this year, and that’s awesome.

What didn’t work: The psychology
This never works on Dexter, but watching Dex about to sacrifice himself for his son in the finale had us rolling our eyes. What makes psychopaths what they are is that they are unable to really love another person. Dexter often pushes this. He’s like a guy with Aspergers who kills, not a real sociopath. It’s just…such a fantasy. Obviously we don’t know what psychopaths can feel or whether they can care about another person to a significant level, but we are pretty sure that Dexter Morgan crosses a line of reality. In the first season, it was believable. Maybe the future seasons, procreation, and marriage to Rita/dating Lumen stretched him? Meh. We’re not fully buying it, and that’s a problem.

What worked: The devil on Dexter’s shoulder and passing light to Trinity’s son
One of the effects of Brother Sam and Dexter’s brush with the light of faith was that he was able to help Trinity’s son and tell him to forgive himself. We also liked the brother coming back to push Dexter further toward the dark side. It was a nice contrast to the angel on Dexter’s shoulder, Harry. Now we are glad it only lasted for one episode, but it was a good idea for the season’s theme. The religion thing also reaffirmed for Dexter that he has a purpose in the world and that he brings light to it, in his own way. Dexter giving some grace to Trinity’s son was great for us to see, because that’s what Christian faith is all about.

What didn’t work: The rest of that Trinity episode
It sounds like a revisit to the Trinity stuff would be great, but it really wasn’t. That episode, overall, was one of the series’ worst. We liked about two scenes and felt like they needed to happen (the things described above), but the rest of the stuff needed to be more interesting. That whole episode just needed to be retooled.

What worked: Crazy Quinn
Quinn going all drinky and crazy in the aftermath of his breakup gave him something to do and made us feel bad for him. Clearly, he is still part of the show even though he is not linked to Deb anymore. For all you Quinn haters, don’t you wish he had ended up with Deb now? Anything is better than Deb and Dexter.

What didn’t work: Batista didn’t die
We hate Batista. He’s just a waste of time.

What worked: Some of Dexter’s lines to Travis before Travis’ death
“You used God. It’s not the other way around.” Can someone please say this to Rick Perry?

What didn’t work: Most of that exchange
Before Dexter killed Travis, they had a hokey theological discussion that was too preachy, too cheesy, too weird, and about three minutes too long. At some point, we thought, “Are they STILL talking?” Pithy this was not. “I am a father, a son, a serial killer.” That was the ever-loving WORST.

We will still be watching next season, because we don't give up on a show that we've watched for six years easily. But we hope that next season is better. After all, season two annoyed us and what happened to Doakes was just SO WRONG, but we kept watching, and eventually we got the Trinity season. Hopefully the show learns that the strengths of Dexter lie in its main characters and its Big Bads and casts accordingly.

Finale grade: B-
Season grade: C

Monday, December 19, 2011

Homeland - Marine One

The finale starts with Brody recording a video for the media to play after he suicide bombs himself. It very helpfully elaborates on his motivations for terrorism. He thinks that the politicians in America are enemies of America, because they are corrupt, and he really loves his country. We really can’t argue with that… Mixed with the killing of Issa, we are really buying Brody’s defection from sanity. The night before the big bombing extravaganza that Brody and Nazir have planned, Dana catches her dad praying to Allah in the garage. Dana tells her dad that this is a little freaky and that he’s been acting hella weird. Brody and Dana have a nice little talk and agree to keep the Islam a secret. Oh, that’s healthy (sarcasm).

Carrie is going through the depression phase of her breakdown and is on “administrative leave” from work. Saul informs us that this means Carrie is effectively, permanently fired, but no one is going to press criminal charges. Although Carrie would probably handle prison well. She’d cut one bitch and none of the other bitches would ever mess with her again. She’s so smart, she’d be running the place, crazily, in mere weeks. Carrie hitches a ride with her dad and goes to the rally were the vice president is set to announce that he’s running for president.

Maybe you remember this from previous episodes, but we totally missed that the Vice President is Brody’s biggest nemesis and the main culprit in the whole Issa thing. So, yeah, Brody is at the rally, ready to bomb. Walker is there too, ready to kill Elizabeth Gaines so that Brody and all the politicians will be herded down into a bunker for safety. Because of all the chaos, the metal detectors were going crazy from everyone just rushing through them, and Brody’s bomb went undetected. This was a pretty smooth plan from Abu Nazir, but we still don’t like him, because he’s a manipulative terrorist.

After the gunshot and the bunkering of the politicians, Carrie realized that Brody really is a terrorist and that this is all an elaborate plan to help Brody kill big cheeses. She calls Saul, but Saul just sends some goons out to subdue her. Carrie escapes and goes to the Brody house. She gets Dana to let her in, tells Dana that her father is about to blow the Vice President up, and tries to convince Dana to call her father and talk him down. Needless to say, this was a splendid scene. We were shaking our heads at Carrie, but at the same time, we were thinking, “Great idea! This kid is close to her father and has been noticing weirdness.”

Dana is the coolest teenager on TV (well, this week anyway). She doesn’t swallow Carrie’s story and calls the police instead. Carrie is arrested on the front lawn in front of an hysterical, useless Jessica. Meanwhile, Brody is in the bunker, nervous as heck, getting up the courage to flip the switch. It takes him forever, and it’s pretty intense. He pushes it and we are shocked that he actually did it! But the vest malfunctions. Brody goes to the bathroom, sweating balls, and fixes the bomb. He goes out again, and just as he is about to set the bomb off, he gets a call from Dana. Dana tells Brody that she is freaked out over Carrie coming to their house and saying that he was a terrorist, but Dana assures him that she knows it’s not true.

Then Dana starts to make Brody promise to come home. It’s emotional and it totally works. We have Dana, who really intuits that there is a problem here, and Brody, who actually listens to this kid. He doesn’t push the trigger. Very soon after that, the bunker is opened and the Vice President leaves, with the parting line to Brody that Brody “looks like crap.” He didn’t really say it in a nice or joking way either. Gosh, we kind of wish Brody had killed that guy. How rude. Brody was locked up before and doesn’t like it. That was his explanation as to why he was so nervous and sweaty. You’d think people would be nice about that, but nooooo. Wait. Why are we defending a terrorist and his feelings? Because this show is so good that it makes us want to.

The Vice President uses his wife’s death as a catalyst to announce his candidacy. Saul comes to the VP later and blackmails the VP into telling Saul why Nazir started getting all revenge-y. Then Saul goes to David Estes, who was in the room when the order was given to bomb, and confronts him. Saul threatens to tell the New York Times, but Estes tells Saul that would do more harm than good. It would also help the terrorists recruit. Brody meets with Tom Walker in, like, a culvert or something. It’s at night, and Walker has Nazir on the phone. Brody tells Walker and Nazir that the bomb malfunctioned. Then Brody lets Nazir know that he will be able to do more damage as a congressman.

Nazir buys this, but tells Brody to kill Walker in a show of loyalty. Brody does, and we are glad, because Walker needed to be put out of his crazy-eyed misery. We don’t see why it was a show of faith for Brody to do that though. If he was against Nazir, he would have no problem killing one of Nazir’s terrorists. But whatever. It looks like Nazir was just sick of Walker. Brody goes to meet Carrie when she gets out of jail. Carrie has changed her mind about Brody being a terrorist again, since no bomb went off, and she apologizes and promises to leave him alone. Brody is all, “I’ve heard that before” but accepts it at the end.

Carrie checks herself into the hospital and agrees to have electroshock treatment, which is something that actually works a lot of the time and isn’t the torture it’s portrayed as in the movies. It CAN cause some memory loss though, so we have that to look forward to next season. Ugh. Saul comes to visit and tells Carrie about the death of Issa. Man, he could totally get fired for that. Carrie gets sedatives before the electroshock and goes into a stupor where she remembers her good times with Brody. You know, those two days that made her fall in love with him, even though she thought he was evil during those two days. She remembers Brody murmuring Issa’s name in his sleep.

But she won’t remember the Issa thing when she wakes up next season, probably, and we will have to watch her put it all together again. Lame. We don’t like when we know something, but we have to sit and wait too long for the characters on shows to figure it out. However, these characters are so interesting that we are willing to give the next season a chance. It was an eventful and satisfying finale that left enough loose ends open for us to start season two in pretty much the same place we started in season one. Only Brody will be in Congress and having sex with Jessica. And Carrie will have to find some way to be working in Homeland Security again.

Episode grade: A-
Season grade: A-

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homeland - The Vest

As requested and better late than never.

If this was the penultimate episode, we are anxious to see the finale. Brody, you rat fink! You told! It was the smart move for him, with Carrie closing in on the truth. We finally got to see manic Carrie, since she was off her meds, and she is so much crazier than regular Carrie. We loved it! Obviously great acting from Claire Danes, which is something we feel dumb saying, because who needs to even say that anymore? Her quest for the green pen had us laughing so much. Of course Carrie would throw out a Shakespeare reference when she was losing it.

Saul showed up at the hospital and saw Carrie working, as usual, but acting absolutely insane, which was less usual. He quickly found out about her condition when Maggie showed up with drugs. They took Carrie home. Carrie continues to work, and she’s like a dangerous savant, because she’s right about everything she’s working on. She puts a puzzle together for Saul to figure out, and he does, which made us love him a little more. Carrie’s craziness was never too much. It was perfect.

Carrie plots Nazir’s movements, actions, and state of mind. She figures out that there was a turning point for Nazir, and that he wants revenge for something. We know it’s the death of his son, but Carrie doesn’t know that. Carrie also shoots down the theory that there is only one sniper, because Abu Nazir doesn’t work like that. He does things bigger and gets lots of people both involved and dead.

Do you guys think that Brody’s daughter will be the one in his family to first find out that he’s a terrorist in training? We always prefer Carrie’s scenes to Brody’s, because they are usually more interesting and Claire brings a certain intensity. Even when Brody is confronting Nazir or doing something equally interesting, it just can’t top Carrie doing … anything. This episode was the same way. Whenever we get to Brody, it’s like “break time” from being completely sucked into the show. We kind of need those breaks.

This week, Brody took his family to Gettysburg and told the story of deeply religious men who held the line of battle in the face of greater numbers. We actually liked the way he told the story. Brody goes and picks up a bomb while he is there, and his daughter notices him acting very strangely and putting something in the car. Brody and Jessica are about to have sex like normal people too, so it’s kind of sad that things are getting so great for this family when things are really, really bad underneath.

Carrie calls Brody and asks him what Nazir is angry about. Brody has had enough of Carrie’s digging and figuring things out, so he calls Carrie’s boss and tells him that Carrie has been harassing him, bugging his house, and sleeping with him. Estes comes to Carrie’s house with agents and takes everything (all her intelligence that Saul organized) away.

This was a good episode of the best new show of the fall. Once Upon a Time is a close second though.

Episode grade: A-

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pretty Little Liars will reveal A's identity by the end of THIS SEASON

So, we obviously had to share this, tests or no tests.

On March 19th, we will know who A is.

And we thought the show would drag it out for years! But it looks like the show is going with the books' multiple As thing. Also a "beloved character" will die, but it won't be one of the four, and someone will be arrested for Alison's murder in the finale.

Side note: in the books, there have been multiple A's. Does anyone think they'll do that with the tv show, or will we have only one A?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dexter- Ugh

Why did we have 500+ views today, lol? What are you people here to read? Once again, there will be nothing substantial until the 15th.

But since you're already here: Is anyone else so mad at Dexter for this new Deb thing? We think it's bad enough to ruin the show. That dream made us want to die.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Once Upon a Time

We know we said there would be no posts until the 15th, but....



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blog on Hiatus until the 15th of December- and some ANTM thoughts

Things just got real, schoolwise. So we are going to have to not be watching TV/addicted to the internet for about a week. There will be no need for you guys to come back until December 15th. Go! Live your lives! Take notes for which episodes you would like to have reviewed, and we will do them late/when we get back. Put the requests in the comments, and we will do "better late than never" posts.

America's Next Top Model broke our hearts last night by not picking Allison, but Lisa is a good second choice. We actually really like Lisa and think she deserves to be the "All Star." Allison just should have won her first season, period. Why was Angelea disqualified? The internet is saying that it's because she revealed the competition results on Facebook. Does that mean Angelea originally won? We don't know, but we think that would have been a mistake. Lisa and Allison were our top two. Allison is a strong model and a cool person, but it's an extrovert's world, especially on reality TV. We hope Allison gets some real jobs. Lisa needed this win to continue her career. We don't think Allison does, with those eyes.

Tyra knows nothing. Her ridiculous Pot Ledom, Tookie, and stupid ideas this season proved that. Our favorite never wins and usually gets runner up or top three. The fact that Tyra didn't pick Allison means that Allison is the best.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Glee - Hold Onto Sixteen

In this picture, Artie should totally be saying "TIMMY."

Quinn is cured! By Rachel, of all people. Yes, it was “redeem Rachel week,” which we are all for. But let’s back up. At the beginning of the episode, Quinn went up to Rachel and told her that Shelby and Puck had a root fest. Rachel agreed that Shelby was wrong for doing that, but she countered that Puck was 18 and that Beth loves her mom. If Shelby gets deemed an unfit parent, it will “ruin Beth’s life.” Sweet little point there, Rachel. Quinn seems to listen, but she is resolved to get Beth back and probably get revenge on Shelby for doling out all those harsh truths about life and then acting with no wisdom in her own decisions.

McKinley High is hosting Sectionals this year, but New Directions is still nervous, despite the whole thing happening on their own turf. That’s a decent psychological advantage. Having lost their star, Rachel, the club feels that it needs Sam Evans back. Rachel and Finn go to Kentucky to retrieve him, because his new town actually isn’t that far away from Lima. Sam is working as a male stripper for all the middle-aged ladies who hang at a place called “Stallions.” These are probably the same people who are The Twilight Moms. We weren’t aware that Sam was 18. Although, that’s Kentucky, armpit of America, so they probably don’t care one way or another. Heh. If you’re from Kentucky and you’re offended by that, go get that cousin you married to comfort you. We’ll wait.

Rachel gave Sam a dollar that she got from Finn (way to perpetuate the “Jews are cheap” stereotype, Rachel), and Sam meets them in his dressing room. He says that he made $60 in 15 minutes, which is a lot more than he can make for his family at Dairy Queen. The three then went to Sam’s parents’ VERY NICE, BIG house and talked them into letting Sam go back to Ohio and live with them. Sam’s parents realize that this is what Sam really wants and they let him go. One less mouth to feed? How will they get by without the Stallions income when they clearly spend everything they get on a big house anyway? Oh whatever. These are the times Glee never makes any sense, and we are happy enough to have Sam back, that we will excuse a lot.

Meanwhile, Kurt and Blaine go to their gay little coffee shop and Sebastian shows up to hit on Blaine again. When Blaine leaves their immediate vicinity, Sebastian and Kurt have a little fight where Sebastian makes it clear that he thinks Kurt is unattractive and that he, Sebastian, is after Blaine. As if that wasn’t clear before. It totally was. Kurt counters with, “You smell like Craigslist.” Kurt FTW. Everyone meets back at the rehearsal room and sings Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” with Sam. That was a weird song. It sounded like it came from Kentucky. We’ve decided that it was so bad it was good.

After rehearsal, Quinn met up with Sam and said that she didn’t appreciate him before, and that she wants him back. Yeah, that’s very attractive to a guy, Quinn. Sam is over it. He tells Quinn to enjoy her youth, which came out of nowhere for us, but we quickly got used to it, because that turned out to be the episode’s major theme. Mike Chang and his dad are back! We thought that storyline was a one-time thing, but it keeps coming back. Mike caved and only applied to Stanford for pre-med. Tina is concerned that Mike is giving up his dreams and voices this concern. Mike is really mean back.

Kids reading this: we would like you to know that your parents don’t have to know your major until you graduate and it’s too late. You can minor or double major too. Your parents don’t have access to your grades and generally are NOT THERE to see you doing whatever the hell you want. That’s the beauty of college. Take advantage of it. It’s your life, and college is when you get to do whatever you want. Also, colleges don’t have “pre-law” or “pre-med” majors. Major in whatever you want, get good grades, blow the standardized tests out of the water, and then apply to the graduate school you need to go to.

Sam’s plan to win Sectionals involves swiveling pelvises and air-sexing. Blaine really hates this. We mean really hates it. He goes into a rage and says that he’s “not for sale” and basically calls Sam a gigolo. The two nearly fight, but Finn breaks it up. Blaine is in the gym, punching a bag. He would have looked sexy, but he still has his head all lubed up. Finn tracks Blaine down and Blaine explains that he took up boxing after being bullied at his old school. Then he says, “I started a fight club at Dalton, which, obviously, I can’t talk about.” We loved that line, because we love Fight Club more than most things in life. Finn fixes things by admitting to Blaine that he’s been jealous of Blaine, and that now he just wants to win or something.

Sam finds Mercedes and tells her that he’s coming after her, no matter how big her boyfriend is. Mercedes is clearly charmed. Tina visits Mike’s dad with a video of his son in West Side Story, and she tries to make the dad see reason. Way to overstep, girlfriend who is not part of the family. She ends her plea with, “You know, you’re always talking about honor, Mr. Chang. Help your son honor his gift.” Honor? Who is this? The dad from Mulan? Speaking of which: when are they going to perform "I'll Make a Man Out of You"?

At Sectionals, the Unitards perform first. Sadly, they do not wear Unitards, so we have no idea why they are called The Unitards. That group features Lindsay Pearce and she sang “Buenos Aires” from Evita. She sounds fantastic. It’s a perfect song for her voice, even though it’s not a winning number. The Troubletones are next, with a mash-up of “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child and “I Will Survive.” They do weird arm movements that must count as a dance. New Directions go for Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and the Jackson 5, singing “ABC”, “Control”, and “Man in the Mirror.” Those were ok, but not at all winning material, we thought. Mike Chang’s dad shows up to see his son perform.

New Directions win, even though we think they should have gotten third. Mike Chang’s dad caves and tells Mike to do what he wants. Rachel comes back to school. Quinn tells Shelby that she knows about the nasty Puck affair. Shelby complains about being old. Quinn is supposed to cherish her youth and not crave her baby, or something. Rachel tells Quinn that if Quinn rats Shelby out, Quinn will regret it forever. Quinn listens and becomes a nice human again. Quinn gets Rachel and Mr. Schue to agree to let the Troubletones sing one solo number per competition, so the two groups merge again.

They sing “We are Young,” which was sweet enough that we downloaded it. We actually liked all the unity and Quinn/Rachel being friends. The episode had a nice season-one tone. This was definitely a good one. We are glad that the crazy Quinn and Troubletones plotlines are over. This episode loses points for the three lame New Directions songs and "Red Solo Cup". It was relieving to see everyone acting like normal humans and not making insane, mean decisions. We like when the good guys on this show occasionally act like good guys.

Episode grade: B+

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How I Met Your Mother - Symphony of Illumination

The How I Met Your Mother midseason finale was funny, emotional, and exactly where we wanted to go, plotwise. Leeard would like the world to know that Ted is her soulmate. She honestly thinks she might be The Mother. Even Ern has a newfound love for Ted after his sweet act to cheer up Robin and his voiceover. When Robin cried, it made us teary-er than this show has ever made us. There is something about seeing her break down that gets us.

The episode started off with Robin talking to her future children, telling them about their father, who she says is Barney. This is significant. And awesome. Robin was telling the kids Barney’s reaction when she revealed her pregnancy news. He made bad jokes and got punched a couple of times. Robin told Barney that she was a week late, that she was never late, and that she and Kevin had not yet engaged in the nasty.

We loved Barney’s initial reaction. He was excited and ready to have a baby. That is, until he sees one of his old drinking buddies as a miserable family man. Insane Dwayne (now “Sane Dwayne”) has four kids, drinks but doesn’t visit bars, and is shushed by his wife in public. Barney and Robin go to the doctor, where they find out that Robin isn’t pregnant and do a funny celebration dance. Very cute, but probably stolen off of Maury. Later, Robin receives another call from her doctor and is informed that she can’t have children. At all. Ever.

Robin never wanted kids, but she realized that she had always relied on the possibility that she could if she changed her mind. Robin becomes visibly depressed, but doesn’t want to tell her friends why. Good friends that they are, they notice. They try to figure it out, not fully buying Robin’s “I discovered I am too tall to be on Canada’s Olympic pole-vaulting team” story. As Robin wanders the winter streets, she reveals that the children her voiceover addresses are fictional. We literally gasped. Fooled us, show.

She gets back to her apartment to find a Christmas light show set to “Highway to Hell,” crafted by Ted, whose job it is to always cheer his friend up. Too sweet. The weird, lamer B-plot involved Marshall decorating his house in Long Island but getting trapped on the roof by a neighbor boy who wants a free house to party in. What a waste of Jason Segal, and what a bratty, child porn-making bratface. Overall though, we really enjoyed this episode. We are glad Robin isn’t having a baby. Now we wish she would gain her weight back and grow her hair out again. Her face is still looking haggard. She needs that extra 15 pounds.

Episode grade: B+

Gossip Girl - Riding in Town Cars with Boys

The Gossip Girl midseason finale sort of repeated old storylines. There has been a cliffhanger where we wonder if Chuck is dead before. The show would get major points if they actually killed him off, because it would shock us. We truly doubt that he will die. But will physical therapy, being in critical condition, and Blair’s grief over (inevitably) losing her baby push him back to the dark side? The car accident’s main purpose, we believe, is to end Blair’s pregnancy, because a pregnant Blair just doesn’t jive with the show’s glamour vibe.

The show dangled Dan’s baby in front of us, and just when we started to think it was cute, the show took baby Milo away. We think watching Chuck and Blair become parents would be adorable and entertaining. They are the endgame, and it’s getting tiresome watching them break up and get back together, only to break up again. With just the two of them in bliss, things get boring, as we saw in season three. They had an unhealthy relationship too, and it was still boring. If the show threw in the wrench of a baby, it might bring the couple the storylines they need for the show to sustain this relationship.

Let’s go back to the beginning real quick. Charlie has a debut party, but she can’t enjoy the planning process because Max is still in town, calling Charlie and trying to get someone in the press to publish his story about how she’s not who she claims to be. Nate turns him down. Tripp returns, upset that Grandpa Vanderbilt has chosen Nate as “the future of the family,” which is totally creepy. Get out, Nate! Get out! Tripp meets up with Max and they plot together. Then Max leaves town.

The paparazzi are consumed with tracking down Blair and confirming the status of her relationship with Louis. Blair can’t wear her engagement ring, because pregnancy blew her fingers up like a balloon. If the paparazzi see her without her ring, they will assume the worst! So Blair goes to Dan’s apartment to hide out. Dan has prepared to confess his love to Blair to get his feelings out and get closure, but he realizes this is selfish. Serena, who has started having feelings for Dan again, yells at Dan for even considering adding himself into Blair’s mix, when Blair’s choices are already difficult.

Meanwhile, Serena plots to bring Louis to Blair so that she (Serena) can have a shot at Dan. Dan decides to help Chuck and Blair reconcile, so he brings them both to a secret room at Charlie’s party. Chuck tells Blair that he will love her child as much as he loves Blair. For about a half an hour, Chuck and Blair are happy. Even though we knew there would be a twist to ruin everything, we took that small second to scream "FINALLY" and be satisfied. We love them so much. Serena is impressed with Dan’s selflessness, but Dan is too hung up on Blair and busy reflecting on the meaning of his life or something to notice Serena’s puppy-dog eyes.

We would like to congratulate the show for allowing Serena to do something selfish AND for allowing her to realize that she needs to be with Dan. The Dan/Serena relationship was one of the healthiest ever to grace our televisions, and we would like to see them as endgame. We will also settle for Nate and Serena, but we think that’s the poorer choice. Serena just isn’t in love with Nate enough. In our wildest dreams, they would bring Jenny back and Nate would end up with her. But we know THAT isn’t going to happen. That little brat, Taylor Momsen, burned all those bridges. She’s a better singer than an actress anyway.

Sidenote: We’d also like to mention Lily’s sweet moment where she tells Chuck that she will love him unconditionally and that if scotch and partying aren’t enough to comfort him, Lily will be there. That moment made us forgive Lily for sending an innocent man to prison and failing to get properly punished for it. Lily has grown up. Her marriage with Rufus is stable, she is with Rufus in the first place, and she is finally acting like a real mother.

But back to the main plot. Charlie worries that Max is going to spill her secret to one of the reporters at the party, so she ruins her own party by tipping off Gossip Girl to the fact that Chuck and Blair are there, together. The paparazzi swarm, no one cares about Charlie anymore, and Chair have to run for it. They don’t want Louis to find out that his engagement is off through paparazzi pictures. They decide to go find Louis and tell him that the wedding is off in person. Three motorcycles chase them with cameras and their driver can’t handle it. We watch as art imitates life, and Chuck and Blair end up in a car accident.

At the hospital, Nate, Serena, Charlie, Rufus, and Lily tensely await news of Chuck and Blair’s fate. Blair wakes up, but Chuck… Lily couldn’t finish her sentence. She just cried. It’s a coma or critical condition or something. Uncle Jack hears about Chuck’s accident and calls Diana Payne, and they agree to meet in New York City as soon as possible. We guess we will find out what that is about. Charlie blames herself for the accident and realizes that she doesn’t want to fool these people anymore. She almost comes clean to Rufus, but she is interrupted. Instead, she just decides to leave New York. She calls Carol and tells her that she is done pretending to be family.

We know that Charlie/Ivy will be back very soon, and we are a little happier about that than we would normally be. Her conscience and willingness to give up the sweet life humanized her and made her more sympathetic to us. We are ready to see where she fits onto this show as an honest person. Also, her dress was fabulous in this episode, as was Serena’s. Blair’s? Not so much. So it’s bye bye to the show until January 16th. Hopefully all of the Diana/Nate/Uncle Jack/real Charlie mysteries pan out in the coming year.

Episode grade: B+

Monday, December 5, 2011

Homeland - Representative Brody

Carrie’s lead that she got from the Imam’s wife led her to a Saudi diplomat, Al Zahrani. This guy is a both in debt and a secret gay. The CIA got bathhouse photos and this is major leverage against a respected Muslim man. Carrie and Saul then experienced opposition from the State Department, which didn’t want to violate a diplomatic immunity agreement with Saudi Arabia. David Estes told Carrie and Saul to interrogate Zahrani anyway, and he wants Carrie to do the actual interrogating. Saul tells Carrie, “Eviscerate the mother***er.” We find this to be a bad-ass phrase.

The vice president visits Brody and asks him to run for Congress. When Brody tells Jessica that the VP came over, her first reaction was, “But the house is a mess!” Haha. Brody doesn’t even really have to think about it. He really wants to do it, however Jessica does not. She has good reasons: the media will dig and find out about their affairs. That’s what happened to Herman Cain recently. And pretty much every other politician who ever had an affair. The family just started getting along again and if he took this offer, Brody would not be able to spend enough time with them.

We aren’t sure how Jessica knows about Brody’s affair with Carrie. Either he told her or Jessica figured it out when Carrie came to visit early that one morning. Brody calls Carrie and asks to meet with her, because he wants to talk her into keeping her mouth shut when he runs for office. Carrie misinterprets the message and starts preparing for the “date.” Poor Carrie!

Upon Brody’s arrival, Carrie figures out that Brody’s intentions are less than romantic. The bright side? We get to see Claire Danes’s excellent crying skills. Brody also goes to Mike and convinces him to talk to Jessica. Jessica is weirded out by this, but in the end she tells Brody that he can run for Congress, as long as she never loses him again. He promises that won’t happen, and they smooch. The next day, Brody dresses up in uniform and publically announces his candidacy. Carrie, you should totally rat.

During the interrogation of Zahrani, Carrie comes through by threatening to have his daughter deported back to Saudi Arabia to “get fat and wear a burqua for the rest of her miserable life.” Zahrani has been enjoying Western culture and the opportunities it affords his children, so he admits that he is an information source for Nazir. He agrees to set up a meeting with Tom Walker in Farragut Square. But things in the square don’t go as planned. Walker doesn’t show up.

Instead, a homeless guy was sent by Walker with a package that turns out to be a bomb. BOOM. The blast blows Carrie back and kills several citizens, including Zahrani. Carrie lives, naturally, but spends some time in the hospital. This convinces Saul that there is a mole in the agency, because there is no other way Walker would have been prepared. Of course there is a mole. Anyone previously involved with 24 can’t make a season without at least one mole. The mole is totally Saul!

This episode had a good ending and we liked the surprise violence on an otherwise talky and moody show. But this episode wasn't as interesting as previous entries and a lot of the mystery is gone. Also, the first half of the episode was a little slow. This could have been 30 minutes, not 47. Now it's all about catching a mole and a terrorist, which is a lot like what 24 was based on. And we've already seen that show. We need more Carrie and Brody face-offs. Maybe an affair relapse is in order?

Episode grade: B

Once Upon a Time - The Shepherd

Prince Charming/David Nolan takes center stage after his release from the hospital. Henry informs us that the curse isn’t working on him yet. Because of his amnesia, he can’t remember his Enchanted Forest life, but the false Storybrooke memories aren’t there either. Emma’s appearance blocks them for the time being. Can he lose his amnesia and figure out who he is before Regina’s curse can sink in? No. Because it’s this show, and they aren’t giving us the happy endings anytime soon. One of us is bummed by this tradition (as is a commenter) and the other of us is fine with it. As long as good wins out EVENTUALLY, and it will, it's fine.

Regina and Kathryn bond at David’s homecoming party. Kathryn states that she is Regina’s friend, whether Regina likes it or not. As ominous as this is, we were a little happy. Regina needs a friend. We know we are supposed to feel bad for her a little bit. It’s going to be harder after this episode though. David ditches his homecoming party to find Mary Margaret. Mary Margaret gives us one of the best lines of the episode when David says, “Don’t tell me this is one-sided.” She says, “You’re married. It should be no-sided.” Ha. Mary Margaret can’t deny her feelings though, so she asks Emma for advice. Emma says that if you think something you want is wrong, it probably is. That's great advice.

The next day, David leaves Kathryn and tells Mary Margaret to make her decision. Swoon. We wouldn’t have been able to resist. He tells Mary Margaret to meet him at the toll bridge at eight at night if she wants to be with him. Emma tells Mary Margaret that David is fair game now, because he made a clear choice by leaving Kathryn. Umm, what happened to our family show? The ratings have been good partially because parents are watching it with their kids. It is a moral quandary. Is “clear choice” the highest law? Would it have been right for David and Mary Margaret to be together if things progressed as they expected?

The moral grey areas were sidestepped when David bumps into Regina. This sends him to Mr. Gold’s shop where he sees a windmill replica that once belonged to his Storybrooke self. This triggers the curse and David remembers loving and choosing Kathryn. He goes to Mary Margaret and says that while he has feelings for her and doesn’t know whether he loves Kathryn anymore, he has to honor his choice. He says it’s the right thing to do. Mary Margaret replies that the right thing to do would not involve leading her on in the first place. Word. So Kathryn is not really David’s wife, because all of his memories of her are fake and planted by the curse. He didn’t marry Kathryn and she didn’t marry him, although she thinks he did. There is no choice to honor, but our heroes don’t know that.

Mary Margaret goes to the diner to cry. Dr. Whale shows up to buy her a drink and be debonair and whatnot. Mary Margaret gives Dr. Whale another chance. This was probably smart of Mary Margaret, because it seems that Dr. Whale is the only available man in town. Even Sheriff Graham is taken…by Regina. Emma catches him sneaking out of Regina’s house and Emma is ticked. It’s pretty clear that Emma wanted Graham for herself. Understandable. All-in-all, sad goings-on in Storybrooke. Curvygirl will not be pleased.

In the fairytale world, we found out Prince Charming’s backstory, and it was interesting. It turns out the king and queen couldn’t bear children. Rumpelstiltskin made a deal with a farmer (to save the struggling farm) and took one of the farmer’s twin boys and gave it to the royal family. King George raised his fake prince, and the boy grew up to be a dragon slayer. The other twin grew up with his parents on the farm and his dad passed away after a few years, from guilt, apparently. The grown up prince dueled a brute and killed him to prove to King Midas, who was visiting King George’s kingdom, that he could kill a dragon ravaging Midas’s kingdom. In return, King Midas would save King George’s kingdom from financial ruin.

Yes, we did say King Midas. He isn’t really a fairy tale character, now is he? How do we feel about the inclusion of any kind of mythical character in this show? We’re not sure yet. It could provide an opportunity for more interesting characters and lesser-known stories. The prince seemed to kill the brute, saying, “Next time make sure I’m really dead.” Which makes no sense, because there would be no next time. BUT the brute wasn’t really dead and stabbed the prince in the back when Midas wasn’t looking. Take your own advice, prince dude. We were not sad that fake prince died, because, clearly, he was stupid.

King George (who is Alan Dale from LOST, Ugly Betty, and more) freaks out, because his deal with Midas includes a live son slaying the dragon. King George sends for Rumpelstiltskin, who is unable to speak without raising and moving his creepy hands most of the time. This actor might be having a little too much fun with the character. Rumpelstiltskin reveals that there is an identical twin somewhere on a poor farm that he can go fetch. Rumpelstiltskin goes to the other twin, who is a shepherd as well as a farmer, and persuades him to take the prince’s place. The farm is still failing, so the shepherd takes the job on. Also, he wants to save the kingdom as well, because he’s nice. From shepherd to royalty. It's all very "King David."

The shepherd (who is the real prince/David/guy who falls in love with Snow White, duh) goes with the king’s men to slay the dragon. The king’s men are told to kill the dragon themselves, because the new prince is untrained (and needs to stay alive). The prince is supposed to be the one to bring the dragon’s head to Midas. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us. If one of King George’s men slays the dragon, that should fulfill the deal, right? Because the shepherd turns out to be as brave as his dead brother and quite a bit smarter, he actually kills the dragon. With a sword and not a slingshot.

Midas is impressed and offers his daughter’s hand in marriage. She is the fairy-world version of Kathryn, and her name there is Abigail. She’s a way bigger jerk when she was raised as a princess. In Storybrooke, Kathryn is nice. Maybe. So far. The shepherd wants to marry for love and choose his own bride, but King George threatens the shepherd's mother. The shepherd agrees to the marriage and goes to say goodbye to his mother for the last time. We would have been sad, but that mom is a monster who gave away one of her children for money. So…yeah…we weren’t sad. Farm Momma gave the shepherd a ring and told him true love would always follow it.

The shepherd and Abigail set off to Midas’ kingdom where Snow White was ready to ambush them. And that’s how it all happened, we guess. We are miffed that, once again, we don’t know the prince’s fairytale name. James is a fake name. And we’re not calling anyone Prince Charming anymore. We’re annoyed that the Midas deal didn’t totally make sense. Why did it have to be a replacement prince? For the kingdom’s morale? Some sort of exposition was needed there. But, overall, we liked the prince's twisty backstory.

Episode grade: B

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gossip Girl - Rhodes to Perdition

Proving that we listen to commenters and we take requests, we took a study break long enough to write about the last Gossip Girl episode. We’ll probably go ahead and throw in this Monday’s finale too, because Gossip Girl finales are usually eventful.

Less eventful was this penultimate episode. It dealt with Charlie a lot. This show is trying to make her a little sympathetic, because she wants a family and had no dad or something.

But it’s really hard to forgive the fact that she is stealing and tricking everyone. Plus, what kind of psycho wants someone else’s family. And what kind of psycho wants THE RHODES-HUMPHREYS, one the worst, most dysfunctional families on TV.

So it’s hard to care about all the Charlie stuff. We don’t think she is going to be a permanent fixture on the show and we don’t care about her. It all seems like a distraction or a waste of time. It was more interesting to see Blair trying to figure out the secret of Chuck’s newfound mental and emotional help. When Blair finds out that Chuck started making real progress when he dropped the ring off at Harry Winston, Blair assumes that she was the reason for Chuck’s darkness, rather than the other way around.

Because he's awesome now, and he won't torture Blair just for the sake of it anymore. Chuck makes it clear that she is wrong. Then Chuck commiserates with Nate over how he has become the man for Blair just in time for her to marry someone else. He says he can’t imagine a time when he won’t love her. This was so beautiful. Our hearts grew three sizes that day….

Dan goes on Twitter pretending to be a random fan of his book. A Dan lover. Pathetic. Of course Dan is his own number one fan. He's alienated the other contender for that title: his dad. Dan goes online to do this in response to a Twitter hater who turns out to be his agent, Alessandra, trying to get him talked about. It works when Katy Perry retweets their online feud.

One of Nate’s reporters finds out that Tripp’s deceitful wife, Maureen, is cheating on him. Nate figures out that she is faking an affair in order to win Tripp sympathy and bolster his career. Nate finds a classy way to address this on his news site but keep everyone anonymous at the same time. We like Nate, but having him be classy AND run a gossip site doesn't really make sense. What gossip can he print and still be classy? Is he going to just be a regular news site? There aren't really a lack of news publications in New York City.

CeCe (oh, hey, another person who don’t care about at all) came to town with cancer again (the only way to keep this woman interesting). Ivy finds out and gains CeCe’s trust by keeping the cancer a secret. She uses all the new trust to run Max out of town and get the whole family to back her against him and believe her crazy stories. Serena now believes that Max was just using her to get to Charlie, and she is all grateful to Charlie for trying to protect her.

Blahblahblah. We hate Charlie, CeCe, and Aunt Carol, although we do want to know what really went down with the real cousin Charlie. And CeCe is looking good lately. What a pretty older woman. We also love CeCe's insistence on calling Charlie "Charlotte." But why does CeCe get to have a nickname? Should she go by Cecilia, since she is so traditional she can't use "Charlie"?

We have high hopes for the finale. Once again, watching Chuck heal is just as fascinating as watching him get hurt and be a bad boy. We love when TV characters experience growth. That was one of the things we loved about Sex and the City, for example. The four girls started out a maniac, a shallow one-night-stand addict, a workaholic, and a woman who was only interested in living out romantic, perfect fantasies rather than finding a real person. If you’ve seen that show, you know how drastically those women changed and it was a very deliberate journey for each of them, crafted carefully by the writers.

We really want Gossip Girl to do something like that with all of its characters. These kids need to grow up. Having Nate classily running a business and Chuck facing his demons is a great start. Now what about whiny/self-righteous Dan, naïve/victim Serena, and jealous/shallow Blair? Let the journeys progress, even if yoga masters must be included.

Episode grade: B-

Friday, December 2, 2011

Drew and Astro Leave The X-Factor

We mourn for Drew. She was one of our favorites. That was a shocker. Melanie is better though.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

American Horror Story - Spooky Little Girl

Oh this stupid show. So entertaining, yet so bats*** insane. It’s what gets Ern up on a Thursday morning. The alarm rings, and Ern doesn’t want to get out of bed, because there is studying to do. As a compromise, she turns on AHS and gets back in her bed. By the end of the episode, Ern is usually fully awake and sometimes pretty annoyed. The antichrist stuff has GOT to go. We were all wondering how this show was going to top itself since it started being outrageous from the get-go. Everything needs a grand finale. What, is the house going to cave in and reveal the mouth of hell? Ryan Murphy said we shouldn’t necessarily trust that what a character said is true. We hope this is one of those cases.

We hope there is an endgame for this show that is worth it. We recently read that, in the next episode, we will find out whether Violet is dead, so we are looking forward to that. We will also get to find out Larry’s whole story and why Tate shot up his school, including what influence he was under, if any. So next week is not a week to miss for this show’s fans. We count ourselves as two of them.

The episode opened with a flashback to 1947. Mena Suvari, playing the Black Dahlia (hereafter known as BD), walks up to the murder house to get a cavity filled. Yep, a creepy dentist used to live in the house, played by Joshua Malina. The dentist puts BD under and has sex with her unconscious body (classy). She ends up dead, and the good doctor Frankenstein ghost helps the dentist chop BD up. The dentist disposes of the body in a yard.

Moira has upped her slut game but Ben continues to resist her, even with Vivian stuck in the psych ward. Moira lets Constance know that Tate impregnated Vivian. Constance is upset by this. She wants Ben to get her son his mental health back, even though he is dead and that ship has sailed. Can ghosts heal their crazy? Travis and Constance argue, sending Travis straight into Ghost Hayden’s arms/bed. Hayden wanted to see if she could still have sex with someone who is alive. Hayden’s sister arrives with a cop, looking for her Hayden. Hayden shows up at that exact moment to get Ben out of trouble and suspicion (temporarily). When the cop and sister leave, Hayden tells Ben that she is back in her right mind, that she got an abortion, and that Ben need not worry anymore.

Ben gets a visit from BD, who informs him that she needs a shrink but can only pay in sex. Vivian’s doctor calls Ben and tells him that Vivian’s twins have two fathers. This is a real thing that can happen. It’s very rare, but if a woman has sex with two different men in a 48-hour period when she is ovulating, she can conceive two babies, one for each father. So one baby is the Tate/Demon baby and one is Ben’s. Moira and BD start making out on the couch in order to seduce Ben, which doesn’t work. He fires Moira (yeah, like that’s going to keep her out) and sends BD away.

Ben visits his wife and reads her the riot act for cheating and then acting all self-righteous. Vivian is drugged, so she can’t respond. Back home, Ben tells Hayden that they “weren’t meant to be” so Hayden makes up a story that Vivian slept with the hunky, black security guard, Luke. Well THAT theory will be effectively disproved when both babies come out white. For now, Ben buys it. He calls Luke over. Luke informs Ben that his sperm can’t make babies. Ben starts to believe that Vivian is telling the sane truth about being raped, and he asks Moira about it. As Moira exits the house, in the doorway, she lets Ben see her “old woman form” and congratulates Ben on “finally beginning to see things as they are.” Yay!

Constance asks Travis to marry her, telling him that his acting career will never happen. He gets angry and runs back to Hayden’s bed. Hayden gets stabby on him, murdering him after sex. That’s what he gets for not taking care of Hayden’s needs and running off. They are even now. “Would you mind finishing yourself?” is never an acceptable question to ask after sex. The ghosts get Larry to dispose of Travis’ body, all cut up like BD’s. We guess that Ryan Murphy is an equal-opportunity butcherer. He will maim a man’s body along with a woman’s. We respect that, in a weird way.

Constance goes to visit Vivian, and Vivian tells her that she was raped, but she is trying to pretend that she doesn’t believe she was anymore. Vivian wants out of the nasty psych ward. We would too. Constance goes home and asks Billie Dean the Medium what happens when ghosts and humans mate, just to see what sort of grandchild she can expect. That’s when Billie Dean tells Constance about a box the Catholic Pope has. Inside the box are details about the antichrist. Apparently, he will be born of a human and a spirit, like Jesus, only the wrong version. This child will usher in the end of times. Ugh.

Episode grade: B-

Back to studying...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Glee - "I Kissed a Girl"

Ugh. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH. This show is so insane. We can only watch one or two Tuesday night show, because of exams (which end December 14th, by the way, in case this is annoying you and you want to see the light at the end of our blog-slacking tunnel), and we chose Glee. We should have picked Parenthood, Ringer, New Girl (which one of us will be watching), or Sons of Anarchy, because Glee just hacked us off anew.

What we liked:

Sue's booty call list.

Burt Hummel won the election. He should win everything. The nicest things should happen to Burt Hummel. We should make him king. Of the world.

Santana’s Abuela rejecting her. Santana’s parents were cool with it and Burt was more than cool with Kurt’s sexuality. But the reality is that a lot of really old people are whack and care more about appearances than truth. At least the Abuela was honest about her real reasons for throwing Santana out. When Santana said, “I am the same person I was one minute ago,” it broke our hearts a little.

While Santana’s meanness was a little too much last episode, it was well-placed and understandable in this one. Santana was never going to react well to kindness from Finn and the others. She has been mean to them. They call it “killing them” with kindness for a reason. It’s heaps of burning coals.

We like any P!nk song, really, so covering “Perfect” was fine, even though the boys butchered it. We also liked that they slowed down “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and that Santana melted a little during it.

Shelby realized her mistake in sleeping with Puck quickly and threw him out. It’s hard to hate her.

“Fetus Face.”

"While there's nothing I'd love more than having two pretty ponies serenade me, I think we'd get further staging a gel-ervention for Blaine than singing lady music." … "I'm trying, but your hideous bowties are preventing me." Thank you, Santana. Why is Blaine’s style icon Tucker Carlson?

“You're higher maintenance than Berry and pretty much the most selfish person I ever met in my life. So, thanks for the offer but I'd rather raw-dog a beehive." – Puck

"The advantage of a relationship with a younger dude is that I've still got four more rounds in me before I need a steak sandwich and a Coke Zero."- Puck, again

What was insane:
Once again, Damian McGinty was on this episode, but they only showed him for about two seconds. Way to cheat a kid out of his seven episodes rather than write him a likeable, memorable character.

We’re sick of Kurt’s autotuned harmony ruining perfectly good Blaine solos. Give them each their own songs from now on. We enjoy Kurt’s solos, for the most part. We don’t think they go well together. Just look at last season’s “Candles.” Bleck.

Rachel is not that stupid. She would have known that she had to empty some ballots from the other box in order to succeed.

PUCK YOU IDIOT. Why would you tell Quinn about sleeping with Shelby. And on that note, YOU SLEPT WITH SHELBY. Puck knew Quinn was crazy and still told her a secret that could hurt the person that QUINN IS TRYING TO HURT. Honestly, all of these characters are so stupid sometimes that they deserve to die.

We’ve gone so long without a substantial, powerhouse Rachel solo that it is physically hurting us. West Side Story was too high and sweet for her. Give her Babs to sing and call it a day. When Rachel announced that she is banned from Sectionals, she might as well have said, “Hey Ern and Leeard, there is now no reason for you to tune in for Sectionals.” Leeard has already been disliking this new season; this development doesn't help.

While one of the five best female voices we’ve ever heard in our lives is sidelined, Finn gets a solo. With harmony from Artie. This is hell.

Finn’s sincerity was just too much. His campaign to stop Santana from killing herself felt patronizing and after-school-special-y. His support came out of nowhere and his speech about how awesome she is just felt manipulative.

Must Glee cover every Katy Perry song ever written? We get that they are popular, upbeat, catchy, and rife with opportunities for harmonies, however there are other songs like that. The Glee writers need to get Pandora and just listen to it 24/7 for a month. We'll pay for the upgrade, even.

We couldn’t care less about the Sue/Cooter/Beiste triangle. That’s the least titillating or romantic triangle of all time. The Cooter thing was cute when he was into Beiste, but that’s one of the storylines that just should have gotten dropped after that. We wanted to think of them as just dating, forever, until there was a wedding. That way, Beiste would be happy and Will would never have to pity kiss her again.

“Jolene” is one of the best songs of all time, so ruining it is nearly unforgivable. "Constant Craving" was boring (even if it was the best song this week), and so was “I’m the Only One.”

It just seemed like they were back to throwing crazy plots against the wall and seeing what sticks. It should set up a bunch of stuff, but it drove us crazy. Please, show, use Rachel before you lose her. Make her sympathetic again. Let her sing a big song at least every other episode. Make her gain a little weight so that her face is pretty again. Force her to grow out those harsh bangs. Get her away from Finn. We think a certain commenter's Finn hate is rubbing off on us (well, one of us).

Episode grade: C

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pretty Little Liars renewed for a third a taste of what's to come

Pretty Little Liars has been renewed for a third season, consisting of 24 episodes. The second half of season two starts on January 2nd, and an official description gave us the following info:

  • The story will pick up one month from the events in the summer finale (there's a one-month time jump since the four girls were arrested)
  • Emily "has been iced out completely"
  • The girls are no longer "the mighty four best friends" and they are at each other's throats
  • "A lot has changed in Rosewood"
And yayyy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dexter, Homeland, Once Upon a Time

Homeland - Crossfire
We are so glad that this show finally addressed a reason for Brody turning traitor. That has been the weak spot of the show for us. Do terrorists really have arguments that would turn an American soldier? Could it really be just because a terrorist was nice to Brody? Was it just religion? No. It’s because they killed his pupil, the cutest little kid in the world, and covered it up. Nice play, show. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was never so adorable. We're not mad that Brody's allegiances have been revealed so early. The show has built up enough goodwill that we trust it.
Episode grade: B
Once Upon a Time - That Still Small Voice
What happened in the fairy world was touching and felt like a real fairy tale. There was even some morbidity (with the dolls) that the show has been missing thus far. We loved the Jiminy Cricket backstory. But why couldn't he get away from his parents? The real world storyline was less interesting. It was a tamer version of what happened to Jack and Charlie in LOST’s early episodes. Mehhhh. The Prince Charming/Mary Margaret stuff was really sweet though, and we like that she resigned from volunteering. He will have to chase her down. It’s always nice to be able to root for a woman who isn’t about to steal someone else’s husband.
Episode grade: B
Dexter - Get Gellar
OM MY GOODNESS, WE CAN’T BELIEVE IT! Oh wait, we totally can, because we called that ages ago. We are disappointed in the writers for doing something so unoriginal and something that was so easy to call. Even the blogger who never guesses things guessed this one. Ugh.
Episode grade: C-

The Walking Dead has its midseason finale

The Walking Dead has been boring nearly everyone lately. Sure, there are some people who think this is one of the best seasons ever. But there are others who realize that if you skipped any one of the past five episodes and then just jumped back in, you wouldn’t even notice that you had missed anything. There are too many stretches of this show where people walk and look grim. The pauses between dialogue are too long. Speaking of dialogue, the show could get better at that. The dialogue is hardly ever interesting on this show.

One thing we like about the first half of this season is Hershel and his creepy theory that the Walkers aren’t dead, just diseased. The fact that he was keeping a bunch of Walkers in his barn in order to wait for them to be healed is just psycho. It’s probably a realistic response for someone to have though. Obviously, the best thing about last night was dead Sophia, which shocked a good number of viewers and effectively ended the “meander around looking for Sophia” storyline, which could have been done in a lot less time. Hershel will probably order everyone off of his farm now, for good. We think that the gang should steal the farm from him, but that’s just us. We’re brutal.

Shane and Daryl are the season MVPs so far, with Shane making things interesting and Daryl showing some depth. These characters are mostly pretty flat, but giving Daryl a good side gives us hope for this show. We also like Maggie. We really only like Rick because he’s a good guy and he’s hot. His character could get better as a character. We are annoyed by horn-dog, comic-relief Glenn, when before we respected him for being brave. Lori … ugh. The fact that she didn’t know that the morning after pill won’t abort her WEEKS OLD FETUS made us hate her. Possibly forever. What a dumb ass.

Andrea needs to quit looking anguished and Dale needs to leave her alone. We’re glad that Rick knows that Lori slept with Shane. That needed to not drag that out. Will the gang be mad at Hershel for keeping Sophia in the barn and allowing the gang to go out in the woods looking for her all the time, endangering themselves? This show is about to lose real-time status with us and become a DVD show. We think it would be better if we could watch all of these slow episodes in a row. We still want to watch the show, but if this is the way it's going to be, we want to binge it in a day, not stick with it for weeks.

Episode grade: B+
Grade for the first half of the season, as a whole: C+

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pan Am and Man Up! Effectively Canceled

Tvbythenumbers is reporting that Pan Am and Man Up! are really close to being canceled, which is not unexpected news. Leeard is truly (and unexpectedly) bummed about Pan Am.

UPDATE: Karine Vanasse tweeted- "Well, we received THE call. Pan Am is only coming back for one more episode after Christmas. But up to the end, we'll give it our all.

Later, it was revealed that the show will actually have 14 episodes total for its first season. ABC ordered one more. Things are looking grim for a season 2 though.

Go here and scroll down to the chart for the status of your favorite shows.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Revenge - Suspicion

The whole “Real Emily Thorpe” thing is going to wreak havoc on us as recappers, because we were used to being able to use both names to refer to one person. We will just call the duplicitous ladies by their real names. Amanda is the one seeking the revenge, and Emily is the little viper who stole her life, which is a twist that finally pulled Ern onboard with this show. The show would be so much better if Charlotte and Declan weren’t on it, but the show is mostly awesome, so we will accept it.

Emily, who knows Amanda’s attachment to Jack and their history, started seducing Jack. We were all, "NO NO!!! You two-bit whore!" This works alarmingly quickly. Is a brother on the rebound or something? They take Jack’s boat out for a while and then Emily tells Jack that she is his old friend, Amanda. This is the clincher Emily needs to make Jack fall head-over-heels, introduce Emily to Amanda, and show Emily “her father’s” old house. Emily really wants a home and is enthralled by Amanda. But Emily feels betrayed that Amanda wanted to send her to Paris. Amanda is less than pleased with all of this. Emily refuses to leave.

Amanda calls in the big guns - another mentor. It’s a Japanese man who flies in immediately and sees Amanda at Grayson party. Surprise, Daniel! Your girlfriend speaks Japanese. This only makes him love her more, because all men love when women are mysterious and full of surprises. Actually, Daniel might have a little too much of that where Amanda is concerned.

Victoria has been trying to keep Lydia under control with medication, but Conrad takes Lydia away during the party. Conrad is over the whole marriage thing. Daniel is still angry at his mother for having Frank investigate Amanda. Victoria, meanwhile, tries to pay Declan to stop seeing Charlotte. Declan refuses her, and while this was expected, it does help us like him more. Charlotte does the smart thing and tells her mother that Declan dumped her. That was really, really not true. She sneaks out for a romantic night with Declan almost immediately. Ashley sets a lunch date with Victoria in order to give Victoria a little dish on Amanda. Uh oh.

Daniel is back to working for Daddy, and Conrad pits him against Tyler in a race to close an investment deal. Tyler, ever the villain, steals Nolan’s credit card to buy clothes for himself and Ashley so that they can look good at the party and impress the investors. Tyler also asks Nolan to invest in the Grayson business. Nolan finds out that Tyler has that copy of Lydia’s speech and sees that Tyler is looking into David Clarke. Amanda tells Nolan to give Tyler an investment so that he can be distracted with that while she and Nolan figure out a plan to deal with Tyler. At the party, Nolan takes Tyler aside, and Tyler kisses Nolan. Ashley sees this and freaks. Tyler covers by saying that he was just doing it as part of his ambitious plans.

This episode was the show at its twisty best. The Emily/Amanda stuff is particularly inspired. Plus, we’ve found out that Amanda has been trained in the art of revenge, or something, but a Japanese man. This just turned into Kill Bill, in a good way.

Episode grade: A

Parenthood - Mr. Honesty

Kristina, stop crying. You cry just about every week. That said, the fact that Adam didn’t fire his young employee would be hard for a wife to get over. It’s not so much that this girl is an actual threat or that there is anything going on. It’s the fact that he would consider Rachel’s feelings over Kristina’s. She is seriously overreacting though. If Adam is guilty of anything, it’s stupidity. He should have talked with Kristina about giving Rachel another chance and told Kristina about the threat he made to Rachel (if anything like that happens again, you’re fired). He really shouldn't have told Kristina he would fire Rachel without discussing things with Rachel and Crosby.

Adam really couldn’t fire Rachel, because Crosby has been flirting with Rachel enough to give her a wrong idea of the work environment, right? Adam also shouldn’t have walked Rachel to the door after she had been drinking. She is obviously insecure, because of the way she dresses, and Adam could have watched from the car. Adam did a good job in telling Kristina about the kiss in the first place, though. Kristina also has the right to go back to work. She seems really unhappy with being a stay-at-home mom right now. Kristina needs to work out her insecurity, and going back to work will give her an identity boost. The family probably needs the money anyway.

The biggest shock of the night is that Crosby and Jasmine had sex! Dr. Joe doesn’t deserve this treatment, but we are happy for Jabbar, who is still the most adorable little boy on TV, ever. We’re so glad that Amber is asking her mother for help in forming a life plan. Working at a coffee shop and drowning financially sounds like a one-year thing, tops. After that, anyone is going to need some direction in which to go. We also miss seeing Amber on the show more. We suggest a student loan, a better job, and community college.

Poor Joel and Julia. And poor, stupid Zoe who lets her boyfriend, Troy, run the show. Julia and Joel handled the situation perfectly (they didn’t even consider paying for Zoe’s baby). With the new addition of this twist to the storyline, we’ve decided that this whole affair is too soap-y. Granted, this whole show could be seen as a “soap done right.”

Episode grade: B