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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Grey's Anatomy - Start Me Up recap/review

For everyone who already knew about the “bombshell” Callie dropped at the end of the episode (and that should include nearly everyone who reads this blog), this episode was probably a little dull. There were a few humorous moments, but it was nothing to last week’s premiere.

This episode started with Meredith lamenting to Derek that she wasn’t pregnant. Throughout the episode, Meredith took ten pregnancy tests, and they all said the same thing. Is this woman really a doctor?

Chief Weber brought in a bunch of medical students to shadow his surgeons, because he is looking to make one of the surgeons Chief Resident, a position previously held by both Callie and Bailey. Cristina and her med student (Warren, from Buffy), who she chose to ignore, were working with the Chief on Henry’s case. If you’ll remember, Henry is the guy that Teddy randomly married. The Chief found out about the marriage and thought it was highly unprofessional. No poop, Sherlock. Henry needed to have a kidney removed and, during the surgery, Teddy had to make an important call regarding Henry’s medical care. She went with the Chief’s recommendation. Teddy was angry that Henry put her in charge of important decisions. This marriage was just supposed to be for insurance, dangit. Henry told Teddy that all of his family and friends either died or left him to weather his own storm, so he put her as his emergency contact because he considers her to be a friend. They had a cutesy moment of forgiveness and newfound friendship while we retched into our popcorn bowls.

Bailey is still dating that nurse, and he is leaving her dirty notes in patient charts and being inappropriate. We wonder how it’s possible that someone who looks like Bailey gets a shot with that nurse. Shonda Rhimes fantasy, as usual. Chief Weber had the medical students write evaluations for their residents. Cristina got a bad review because she was “heartless,” Meredith got a bad review because she was too caught up in personal issues, April didn’t teach, and Jackson got a bad review because he is useless and pretty much the worse resident there (we made that last one up, but it's true). Alex got a good review mostly because he had a hot, female medical student to teach, so he was nice to her. In this way, he was also able to get the med student home and in his bed.

We saw Arizona trying to move back into the Callie/Mark living area. Callie gave her a particularly mean-sounding speech about how she doesn’t want Arizona in her life. But Arizona can’t take a hint (such as getting a door shut in her face), so we guess it was necessary. According to Callie, Callie was just cranky for a week about the move to Africa, so Arizona dumped her. We seem to remember that Callie was a lot more than a little cranky. She was unsupportive up to the moment they hit the airport for Africa. Arizona worked on a case with Mark, and Arizona tried to get Mark to give her hints on how to get Callie to give her another chance. Mark advised Arizona to take a good look at her faults, admit them to Callie, and apologize. Arizona is not as introspective as most intelligent people, so she needed Mark to tell her what her faults were. He told her, “When things get tough, you bail.” Arizona tracked Callie down to tell her this and apologize. Callie replied with, “I’m pregnant. With Mark’s baby.” Ohh snap. Not really, we knew about it already. This is an opportunity for Arizona to prove that she doesn’t bail. Don’t blow it, girl. The episode ended before we saw her reaction. Typical. This show won’t be back until February 3rd too. Typical.

Worst moment of the night: Callie being pregnant with Mark’s baby. How can this be anything but a stupid plotline? And possibly an opportunity for a cringe-inducing Private Practice crossover when Addison delivers the child?

Other worse moment of the night: The first glimpse we had of Meredith's flat, dull, new old-woman hair. It looks like straw. Can they just get the woman a good hair color and fluff it out to give it some body? We are sick at what seasons 6 and 7 have done to the character of Meredith. She has really taken a backseat and become less interesting. Do we REALLY need to see another TV couple struggle with infertility? We were sick of it back when Monica and Chandler were struggling with it. And now we have Marshall and Lily on HIMYM. It's been done to death. Can't someone on TV ever get pregnant when they want to?

Best moment of the night: Alex Karev’s evil laugh when he found out that he got a good evaluation.

Episode grade: B- or C+

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Modern Family - Our Children, Ourselves recap/review

The Dunphy Clan- Alex was studying too much and doing a stress-related jaw movement (Ern TOTALLY does that), so her parents worried that she wasn’t relaxing enough. They wondered who Alex got the stressed-out academic gene from, and they forced Alex to take trampoline-jumping breaks. Alex got second-place in a test at school, losing out to a kid named Sanjay with overachieving parents. Alex made a crack to Claire and Phil that she wasn’t as smart as Sanjay because her parents aren’t as smart as Sanjay’s parents. This caused Claire to question the Dunphy parents’ intelligence and education level, and both Claire and Phil felt pretty dumb. That is, until they saw that a cheesy 3-D movie called “Croctopus” was in theatres, and they decided they had to see it together. At the theatre, they ran into Sanjay’s parents. To improve her mind and show that she was sophisticated, Claire decided to go see a hoity-toity French movie with that couple, and Phil snuck off to watch Croctopus. Claire fell asleep and Phil enjoyed himself. As they walked out of the theatre, they saw Sanjay’s father having trouble with a parking ticket validating device and went to help him. Feeling superior, they then ruined it by trying to get out via a door marked “not an exit.” This was a cute moment, and this episode showed how much those two work as a couple. Their movie taste is adorable.

Jay/Gloria/Manny- Gloria tried to become friends with a couple they met while vacationing. Jay didn’t like them and decided to be upfront about it. This embarrassed Gloria, so she told the couple that Jay was getting older and losing his mind.

Mitchell/Cam/Lily- Mitchell, Cam, and Lily went shopping. Well, Mitch and Cam went shopping. Lily was stealing things. Mitchell then ran into an old high school girlfriend that he had slept with about nine years ago. He then saw her handing ice cream to a short red-headed figure and assumes that’s his son. Mitchell told Cam about his suspicions and they both acted dramatically (and hilariously). We loved Cam “needing to have his reaction.” Mitchell and Cam stopped by the girlfriend’s house to ask her about the mysterious redhead. Jumping to conclusions, they had bought a boy’s catcher’s mitt that said, “Little Slugger” on it as a gift. They met the redhead and found out that he was Tracy’s husband, a red-headed midget. The gift did not go over well. This was the strongest, funniest part of this episode. The midget thing was unexpected. We just thought he would turn out to be a different man’s child. We also liked the part where Mitchell and Cam lied about sleeping with women, using names of female characters in musicals in their lies.

Not the best episode of this show, but still funny. It was more low-key than last week, and after that frantic episode, a calmer episode was needed.

Episode grade: B-

Southland - Punching Water recap/review

Yeah, yeah. We know it's Thursday. Well, better late than never.

Remember Chickie’s old partner, Dewey? Well, he’s out of rehab and in some 12-step program and back on the force. The bad news is that he’s more annoying than ever. It’s making Josie look like the best partner in the world. In the first scene, we saw the cops walking around at night at a crime scene, and Dewey was talking about how it was a blessing that a poor kid from a bad area was shot. Lydia screeched something like, “That was someone’s CHILD” and pushed/hit his face with her hand. Oh, snap. Yeah, this guy is still a jerk. And Lydia is still passionate. According to the voiceover, passion is part of being a good cop. The episode cut to the past.

Ben was still dating that redhead, Sally. Chickie informed him that Sally had a thing for cops and that Sally had even asked Chickie to join her in a cop threesome. Poor Ben is just being used, but he and Sally are still on.

Dewey got partnered with Cooper and Chickie was partnered with Ben. Cooper was annoyed. We would be too. Lydia and Josie investigated a murder-suicide. Lydia sympathized with the daughter of the dead couple, but Josie seemed happy-go-lucky and concerned with shopping. During this episode, we found out that Josie had been shot in the wrist and married twice, all three experiences deemed “overrated” by Josie.

Cooper and Dewey pulled over a van with 11 people in it. The van was only supposed to hold seven people. It was a Mariachi band late for a restaurant opening. Dewey was actually cool with them, making friends and offering to give some of the members a ride to their gig. Cooper was still annoyed. Then the two were called to come to a hotel to attend to a guy who was tied to the hotel bed. His wife and his two girlfriends had held a gun to him, tied him to a bed, wrote curse words on his stomach, and superglued his penis. Niiiice. That’s a serious tort there, but worth it.

Sammy and Nate investigated the shooting of a guy named “Frosty,” and a witness kept telling Sammy that “Nobody shot Frosty.” Nobody turned out to be the name of an actual person (or at least his street name). Nate found out that Frosty’s cousin was having sex with Nobody, and this started a gang war. The cops were called to another scene, and it turned out that Nobody had been shot. The gang war led to a shooting of a four-year-old. Lydia and Josie were called in to help with this case too. Then just about everybody joined in. The guy who shot the four-year-old did it from the safety of a dark Chevy suburban, with an AK-47. Then we saw the origins of the opening scene. After Lydia and Dewey were pulled apart, Dewey got back in the car with Cooper and ranted about how much he wanted to beat Josie and Lydia, even though they are women. While stopping for coffee with Chickie and Ben, Cooper grabbed Ben and took off, leaving Chickie with Dewey. Someone gave up the name of the guy who owned the AK-47 and the killer was caught in a pretty satisfying/funny scene. We’re foggy on the details of this case (hey, give us a break. We don’t recap as we watch or re-watch anything. We just remember what we remember), but it was entertaining, if a little sad.

The episode ended with Sammy coming home to find Victor, the guy teaching Tammy photography, at his house. Victor informed Sammy that he is in love with Tammy and that everyone needs to be an adult for the baby’s sake. Sammy turned around and saw Tammy. Tammy apologized.

This was a good episode of a good show. Lots happened, and it moved faster than a lot of episodes of this show. It would be a good one for people to start out on, if they haven't ever seen the show. So roll on over to amazon video on demand, pony up two bucks, watch this, and then start watching the show on Tuesday nights on TNT. If you like cop shows, that is.

Episode grade: A-

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

V - Serpent's Tooth recap/review

Let’s face it: V is probably the stupidest show on TV right now (The Hills was cancelled). Very little about this show is working lately. There are no characters that we care about. For a show that talks so much about human emotion, it’s been failing to generate human emotion in the people sitting in front of the screen. The premise has a lot of potential, but we’ve lost all hope that the show’s writers will be able to squeeze that potential out. And NOW, to top it all off, Anna is looking for the human soul to rid the world of emotion.

The face-off between Anna and Diana was a letdown. Nothing happened except that they bickered about whether Anna could find and destroy the human soul. Actually, it was revealed that Anna overthrew Diana because Diana developed human emotions. Diana has been in a creepy room in the ship for 15 years and this is the first time Anna has gone to see her. Diana figured out that Anna can’t lay eggs and the procreation job is all up to Lisa. Diana told Anna that in order to destroy emotions, you must destroy the soul.

Lisa told Erica that Joshua survived, but he doesn’t remember anything, including being in The Fifth Column. Anna put him in a memory chamber so that she could see who destroyed her eggs. All she got was Erica shooting Joshua, which Anna already knew about, obviously. This episode also included Val’s funeral. Ryan didn’t cry, and Val’s parents were disturbed by this. They also blamed Ryan for her death. This should have been sad, but it wasn’t. Father Jack comforted Ryan and told him he had a soul. Oh, priests. Even trying to turn aliens to God, haha.

A group that met on the internet developed a terrorist organization that is having suicide bombers blow themselves up near Visitor buildings. Everyone thinks it’s The Fifth Column, but it’s not. In fact, Erica was angry that there were human casualties in these sloppy bombings. She figured out that the target of the bombings is Chad Decker. Kyle found evidence that led to a base for the terrorist activities. Malik found the same spot, and she and Kyle fought. Kyle punched her, and we saw Malik pull out a large alien tooth. Kyle found another clue, prompting Erica and Malik to take a road trip together. Malik was onto Erica, due to Erica’s sloppiness. She pointed a gun at the driver, Erica, and Erica crashed the car. That’s how it ended.

Anna used Ryan’s new daughter to try to lure him back to her side. She put skin on it to make it cuter, and that didn’t help much. The show has a suffering baby now, but we don’t care that much because Anna is so cold with it and Ryan’s reaction doesn’t convince us of his grief. Also, that is one ugly baby. Anna started torturing it and tempting Ryan with an offer of her bliss for himself and his daughter. Ryan cried and then told Anna to go ahead and bliss the daughter. We guess Anna’s plan worked. Stupid Ryan…

Of course, the whole episode was worth watching to see Anna eat a mouse. That was terrifying and hilarious, so points for that.

One of the stupidest things about this episode was the assertion that the soul is the equivalent of human emotion. Umm, hello? Have the V’s and the humans missed out on the fact that there are chemical sources of emotion, as well as portions of the brain that produce and control them? Has anyone heard of an amygdala? Frontal lobes? There is an actual scientific source for feelings, and Anna could just give people some brain surgery and be done with it. Many scientists deny the existence of a soul, due to their inability to physically locate it. WE aren’t denying the soul, but to dumb the soul down to “feelings” is shallow. Maybe the soul has something to do with intuition (but our subconscious minds do a lot of that), and there is a decent argument to be made that the soul is important in explaining humans’ extreme level of consciousness. Mostly, the soul is supposed to be the spiritual part of us that lives on. It’s what we are aside from our physical material. It’s the core of us. Most of our emotions and thoughts are just parts of our bodies (the brain is part of the body). Maybe the soul has deeper emotions and a deeper voice (who knows?), but getting rid of the soul, even then, wouldn’t stop the amygdala and frontal lobes.

Also, if feelings come from the soul in this mythology, how does fake human skin for a long period of time create a soul? Does God give a soul to creatures who have been on Earth for a long time or who LOOK like humans? Whatever. We give up.

Episode grade: C-

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pretty Little Liars - Salt Meets Wound recap/review

Well, you know from the title of this episode that the girls are going to be hurting. “A” definitely won this round, especially with Spencer and Hanna.

It turns out that Jenna was the one who turned Toby into the cops. Emily told Toby that she didn’t do it, and then Jenna told him the truth after he was released on bail. The bail for murder must be really high… Anyway, Toby turned down her offer of further incest, but he still got screwed because the cops confirmed that Jenna’s blood was on his sweater. Toby has a tracker on his ankle, so he can’t go anywhere. He was trying to pick it off though.

Spencer’s boyfriend, Alex, got recommended for a summer tennis clinic that could help him go pro, but he chose not to apply in order to work and save up money for college instead. Spencer, understandably, did not support this decision, thinking it was crazy to turn down such a great opportunity. She let it go though (we wouldn’t have). But “A” submitted Alex’s application electronically, behind his back. He was accepted. Because Spencer was the only person Alex told, he dumped her, thinking she did it.
Spencer was also still upset that her sister had eloped with Ian. Spencer’s mom (Mrs. Hastings) shot Spencer’s complaints down, saying that her sister had a hard year, partially due to Spencer. Mr. Hastings agreed with Spencer (we were surprised, too).

Emily had Maya over for dinner with her parents. Did anyone else go to a dirty place when Emily said that Maya “eats everything”? What about when it turned out that the one thing she doesn’t eat is fish? HA. Emily’s mom decided that Maya’s accounts of her parents were weird (we thought that sharpie story was adorable) and then spotted Maya playing footsie with Emily. Emily’s mom ran off to the kitchen and cried. Were we supposed to feel bad for her? Because we didn’t. It’s hard when the only tragedy is that a parent’s daughter didn’t grow up to meet the parents' expectations. It was just awkward to watch that. We love Emily’s dad though. Too bad he is shipping off again. Emily thanked her mom for the dinner, and Emily’s mom told Emily that she was not ok with Emily’s relationship. Emily’s mom said that it made her physically ill. Yikes.

Noel started sneakily blackmailing Mr. Fitz to get better grades in a way that no one could call him out on. Jenna is also aware of the inappropriate Aria/Mr. Fitz relationship. Aria and Spencer figured out that “A” is trying to make the four main girls on this show into enemies. We saw a flashback where Alison broke Noel up with his girlfriend so that Aria could have him. Noel knew she had done it, too.

Hanna found her mom’s stolen cash in a cupboard while she was looking for pop tarts. “A” sent Hanna text taunting her about it right away. “A” MUST have hidden cameras in people’s houses, because that was just too instant and accurate. Hanna’s mom told Hanna that she was just borrowing it from the bank client, Mrs. Potter, and that she would pay it back by the time Mrs. Potter made her annual trip to the bank next year. Mona threw a surprise party at Hanna’s house to welcome her back from the hospital. Even Lucas was invited. He started baiting Hanna’s boyfriend, angrily and drunkenly. Hanna took him to the outside porch to talk to him, and Lucas admitted that he destroyed Alison’s memorial, because Alison treated him badly. Hanna told Lucas that she wouldn’t tell. Lucas acted like a complete butt this episode, but we still love him. When he walked off, we were still rooting for him to get the girl. Come on, he knew how long it took to get to his house from Hanna's! While that could be extremely creepy, we choose to think it's cute. It seems that “A” was invited too, because she stole all Mrs. Potter’s money. “A” left a note saying that Hanna would get the money back if she did what “A” said.

Episode grade: A-

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Cape Pilot Review

Hint for watching this show: Just turn your brain off. Grab a kid or a pre-teen and just enjoy this show as you would a show on the level of a cartoon. It was decently enjoyable and the first hour moved quickly. It’s never going to be your next nerd addiction though. It’s extremely uncomplicated and devoid of mythology. Whether you like that or not, it means that the show moves quickly and isn’t taking itself seriously at all. It’s also pretty funny. It makes zero sense, but it’s great for anyone missing the 1960s Batman show. It’s not that original either. We probably aren’t going to keep watching, unless we are truly bored on a Sunday night. It's disappointing, because some elements and characters worked really well. When it was good, it was excellent, but moments like that were rare.

When you watch this show, don’t ask stuff like: “Where is CSI when everyone thought this guy was dead?” “How ballsy was it for this guy to go peak out from behind a tree yards away from his family at his own funeral?” “What’s with the gang of circus people, complete with a midget, who just hang out underground, looking for hurt cops?” “And when is the last time you spotted a Carnivale-esque troop of carnies in this modern age/in America, running around with a circus NOT run by a large company?” “The main character couldn’t send a quick message to his wife and tell her not to speak of it for her own safety?” “What happens to his family if his cape hood is ripped off mid-fight and then he loses the fight?” “What kind of fabric is that cape made of?” “Doesn’t he need a mask too, because we can still see his face?” “Isn’t it true that you can’t hypnotize the unwilling?” “Why can’t I decide if Summer Glau is stunning or homely?”

Just watch the show. It’s just dumb fun for nerds in training. Yes, we are talking about that young cousin, son, little brother. Grab him and have some quality family time. Superheroes are GOING to be unrealistic. It’s a fun superhero show. One un-fun part was the second-to-last scene where he went to see his kid. That was SO LAME. We think even the child actor was thinking, “What’s up with this fool?” Oh, and also, the lead actor has zero charisma or depth to his performance. Cute though … And who thought James Frain was scary? Not us.

Pilot Grade: C+

The first two hours are up on

Episodes Pilot Review

We love that Matt LeBlanc can make fun of himself! We saw that from the “upcoming” previews at the end of this episode, because he’s not in the pilot much. That’s a shame, because people just trying out the show last night won’t see all it has to offer until he takes a more prominent place in the show.

This show might be funnier to people who have worked in television, because it’s a satire of the behind-the-scenes stuff. The show is looking to chronicle how TV shows can go wrong in a satirical way, so true fans of TV might get the inside humor. So far, it skewers Americans remaking British shows (on a network that is currently airing a remake of a British show, Shameless). The writing is clever and amusing. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny yet, but what can you really do in a 25-minute pilot?

If you enjoy British humor, there is some there. Two of the main characters are British. There is some American humor too, and we expect that Matt LeBlanc will bring more of it. There are only going to be seven episodes in this season, so go ahead and watch them. The show is enjoyable enough to warrant three-and-a-half hours of your life. We will be watching it.

Pilot Grade: B-

Shameless Pilot Review

This is a remake of a British show about an alcoholic father of six kids whose mother left long ago. Together, this dysfunctional family of enablers and partiers take care of each other and get into trouble. It premiered on Showtime last night, and it stars William H Macy, Emmy Rossum, and Joan Cusack. It's some great voyeuristic entertainment about poverty, but it needs to have a little more humor. Dark humor, of course, but still.

We haven’t seen the original show, so we can’t judge this remake based on that. The pilot moved fast, gave a good introduction of all the characters, and kept a sense of humor with some grittiness. None of the characters are flat, so far. It has a wild and fun tone, even though a lot of the subject matter is sad. Many families live this way, but this family makes it look at least a little thrilling. The show is loud and dark and energetic. Shameless is a little different from anything that’s on right now, in a good way, and the pilot was entertaining and enjoyable. Why did Emmy Rossum straighten her hair though? She looks way better with the natural curls. Good performance though, from her and the others. We want this show to settle down a little, find some focus, and get into some touching or bleak moments, like the one with the dad on the floor and Emmy Rossum doing his voice. This show feels like it’s on speed. It needs to have some quieter moments mixed in.

There’s nudity, bad language, and exploitation of poverty, but it all feels human. It's got a child torturing an animal as a joke and white trash stereotypes. It certainly won't win any awards for being tasteful or fair to its subjects, especially because anyone who has Showtime is relatively wealthy in comparison.

We hear the British version is better than this (because the British tend to respect the intelligence of their audience and let stupid people fall to the wayside, rather than dumb stuff down for the masses), so it makes us want to check that out. Plus, James McAvoy is in it. We will keep watching this American version, but we would guess that the true gold might be found in the original. If you’re interested in this though (and have Showtime) watch it, because we think it has loads of potential (unlike the lives of the people in Shameless). Who knows? Give it a season to brew and it might become a good show in its own right, separate from the British show, like the American The Office.

Pilot Grade: B