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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Checking in on Weeds Season 6

Lots of people started hating Weeds after Agrestic burned down, but we’re not counted among that crowd. We liked the way the show kept evolving and re-creating itself. We liked the Mexican drug lord, the season five road trip, the new baby, Andy getting shot down by Nancy, and all the weird tension. When the crew was in Agrestic, the show mostly existed as a suburban satire (which we think the world has had enough of in entertainment) and a way to make fun of Christians. Sure, it was fast-moving and funny, so we loved it just as much then too.

But this season has been truly slow so far. We would like to see the show end before it gets worse. The premiere looked promising, but things have stalled. Nancy is still living in a prison halfway house. Andy is trying to sell some bike device to Doug’s new company (Doug got a real job again).

Silas is still modeling and sulking about what a horrible mom he has. Shane’s new criminal justice class was the most entertaining part of this week’s episode. We like when Nancy starts randomly acting like a mom, like when she told Silas about the day he was born. That was actually really sweet. Silas probably had the funniest part this season- when he was modeling inside a giant bubble that was really a test of human nature.

But it feels, more than ever, like this show doesn’t know where it’s going or what the theme of the season is. The show seems to want us to know that Nancy is the most important person in the lives of the other characters, no matter how many times she messes things up. So there has been a huge focus on the family moving from Amsterdam back to her and building their lives around her again.

We get it. Move on. Bring on some gangsters or cops or substantial drug dealing or something. Because this season is doing the slow burn and it hasn’t been very funny. Some shows can do a slow burn, but this one needs to be witty week-to-week, especially after all these years and the late seasons that some viewers don’t care for. We haven’t been enjoying the show as much and watching it is kind of a chore, but we want to see it through.

Oh, and Heylia? It’s illegal to set death traps, even to protect your property. You have to actually shoot the people yourself to get away with killing an intruder. Food for thought for any would-be imitators who want to make their house a fortress.

Season grade so far: C-

Pretty Little Liars - Save the Date

Emily got an ulcer, supposedly from the stress of A, lying about Danby, and her parents moving away. Boo, hiss. The previews made it look like A poisoned her, and that would have been much more entertaining.

As it was, A only put HGH in her pain cream so that she would test positive for enhancement use that could end her sports career. Emily’s dad told her to forget about swimming scholarships. It really does seem like college would be affordable for that couple.

We don’t like where the Mike story is going. Frankly, we have more important things to worry about than Mike fighting with his mom and being all hurt that she left. We thought he was going to be involved in the main plot in a significant way, but he’s just useless again.

The girls saw Jenna and Garrett about to get it on and were appropriately disturbed. Hanna continues to be awesome, but the people around her keep letting her down. Her mom let her dad go back to his fiancĂ©, and Caleb is being really secretive. Someone is following him and it seems like that someone is related to someone in Caleb’s past. Maybe a long-lost family member? His birth mom or dad? That plotline looks promising. In any case, Hanna should be on every show.

Ezra spent a lot of the episode pining and jealous because of Jason, which is fine with us. Aria is still in contact with him and crushing on him, which is more than fine with us.

Wren is back! Yay. He lurked around the hospital and Spencer’s house for a while. Spencer is getting to be the insane one (with Hanna taking her place as the sane one), so she dressed up as a candy striper (with Aria) and broke into the morgue to look for the file on Ali’s death. The candy striper outfits were probably the most normal thing these two have worn all series. Spencer found out that the weapon Ali’s head was cracked with very well could have been the hockey stick Jason probably buried in her backyard.

Then Spencer and Aria found out that Ali was alive when she was buried. Yikes. Those poor girls did not need to know that. It really seems like Spencer would develop an ulcer before Emily would, but we guess Emily is more sensitive. Or Spencer just wouldn't give her insides permission to get an ulcer. Also, we missed Toby this episode. With Wren back, Toby might have competition.

The best part? The Saw rip-off when A was the dead body in the morgue and he/she sat up.

We liked the creepiness, but this was a pretty average episode.

Episode Grade: B-

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Morning Glory discussion

It’s a trailer’s job to make the viewers want to see a movie, and we think that Morning Glory succeeded on that front. Maybe it was the peppy Natasha Bedingfield song. Maybe it was the cast that included Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, and that child molester from Hard Candy. But we thought Morning Glory looked cute.

Instead, it turned out to be a boring, slow movie with mostly annoying, unlikeable characters and clichés. We liked the ending, but there are many better romantic comedies featuring women in the media. Spend your time on one of those or watch TV. You can just buy the Natasha Bedingfield CD and get the warm feelings the trailer promised.

Movie Grade: D

Monday, August 1, 2011

Decent Plot Lines for All the Major True Blood Characters This Season (So Far)

Surprisingly, this season has been really good so far. There’s been the sex, the shock factor, and the self-aware weirdness we’ve come to know from this show, but there’s also been a relatively fast-moving plot (for True Blood), and the witches have brought it and really mixed things up.

Necromancers are just what this show needs. For three years, vampires have been the biggest kids on the True Blood playground, but the new Petunia Dursley witch has the means to make mincemeat out of the bloodsuckers. We give the whole witch thing an “A”. Here, we are going to look at where the main characters have been this season and during the last episode.

Jason: Crystal is the freaking worst, so we are glad that he is off of that and back to bonding with his best friend and his sister. In this episode and the last one, it looks like he is developing a crush on Jessica, which could complicate things with Hoyt. His storyline was disgusting at first (what with all the raping), but the way he acting during it showed that he is a decent, normal guy who we can root for, unlike in the first couple of seasons. We are glad he’s not going to be a wereleopard. We need the humans on this show to stay human, for now. Plotline Grade: C+ (We weren’t really digging all the raping, and we don’t want him to steal his best friend’s girl, even if their relationship is really bad right now, because she erased Hoyt’s memory of her cheating.)

Sookie: We aren’t fully onboard with her sudden love of Eric. So she likes him when he is little more than a sweet child? Does she like submissive, immature men? Meh. Maybe she does. And really, we will take any plotline from her as long as it gets her sleeping with Eric, FINALLY. We hooted and hollered at the TV screen when they got it on. We guess that Sookie couldn’t let go of Eric’s selfish past easily, and it took a clean slate to get her to come around to him. We think it’s going to be interesting when Eric gets his memory back and has to reconcile who he has been for hundreds of years with who he has been these last few weeks with Sookie. Maybe he can find a happy medium? Plotline Grade: A (because they finally did it)

Eric: Has had his memory taken by Petunia Dursley witch, and he is so adorable it hurts to watch him interact. On reset, he also has a newfound integrity, sense of honor, and a willingness to take responsibility for his actions. Plotline Grade: A-

Alcide: His is an interesting plot, so far. He’s with his ex, Debbie, again and resisted joining the local pack. But this week, he’s willing to give the pack a try. We love werewolf hierarchy. It’s so dangerous, and it sounds like a great way to get rid of Debbie so that Sookie can sleep with Alcide too. Plotline Grade: B+

Bill: Is so much more useful as King. Even with all the incest, he’s way less annoying now that Sookie is no longer his. He’s been pretty hardcore lately, but he showed his soft side letting Eric go back to Sookie this week, rather than just killing him when he had the opportunity and permission. Plotline Grade: B

Lafayette and Jesus: Are at Jesus’ creepy grandpa’s house in Mexico trying to get some witch info. We don’t really get this yet, but it’s weird and it looks promising, so we like it. Plotline Grade: A- (especially considering most of Lafayette’s previous lame plotlines)

Tara: Her lesbian girlfriend showed up in Bon Temps, they made up, and Tara has stayed relatively sane. But will her girlfriend survive Pam’s attack? Plotline grade: C+. Plotline grade comparing this plotline to Tara’s other plotlines: B+

Pam: Is rotting and hilarious. Plotline Grade: A

Arlene and Terry: Have a pet armadillo?!! We like them a lot more now. They are still being haunted by the ghost of Rene (presumably) and have an evil freaking baby. Their house burned down this week. Plotline grade: C

Andy: Is addicted to V. Plotline grade: C- But he is also interested in Holly and has secured himself a date! Plotline Grade: B-

Sam and Tommy: Tommy is a horrible person. He accidentally killed his mom and her husband, so now he can impersonate people in his family. He started by impersonating Sam and sleeping with Sam’s current love interest, (Luna, another shapeshifter), and then yelled at her to get out when he was done. He also fired Sookie from Merlotte’s. And then he vomited on Sam’s carpet and passed out, looking like himself again. Sam’s pretty much been dealing with this. Plotline Grade: C

Due to quality and reader response (ok, one reader, but that's enough sometimes), we will be talking about this show more during the second half of the season.

Breaking Bad- Open House discussion

So you’re sticking with the slow burn, aren’t you, show? When Breaking Bad tries our patience, we tend to trust it, because we know that it’s building to an unforgettable climax.

This episode focused mostly on Marie’s stress and Skyler’s tenacity. It continued to move things along, but it didn’t give us too much excitement. But the very end of the episode gave us hope that things are going to start snowballing soon.

This episode was into more character development, especially of its female characters, but there was enough plot progression for the fans that require that in every episode.

Walt is really getting on our nerves this season. He wouldn’t do Go-Carts with Jesse! But mostly, we are sick of his “spoiled child” attitude. He seems so entitled and petulant, as if things should just be going his way in this world. This is not the first time we’ve seen this mindset in Walt. He felt so offended that he wasn’t rich like his old friend and colleague who is married to Gretchen.

When he flipped a bird to Gus’ cameras, in a rage, we thought, “Seriously? The bird can be funny, but here it’s just immature.” Walt needs to grow up and realize that if he wants things to go his way, he needs to be competent and deserving.

Victor is watching Walt whenever he isn’t in the lab, which is ominous, but exciting. Fortunately, Walt has made the smart decision to not go after Gus for the moment. Skyler is proving to be the better criminal of the married couple, securing the car wash in an impressive fashion. She’s a business and negotiating genius and Walt is lucky to have her, at this point.

We can’t believe there was a time in the show where we thought Skyler was just an annoying ball and chain and every single guy’s worst nightmare. However, if she had been working this whole time, maybe Walt wouldn’t have needed to start cooking meth in the first place. A good business mind is a terrible thing to waste…

The real meat of this episode was the resurrection of Marie’s kleptomania. Hank is still being a complete jerk, so stress drove Marie to go to open houses, make up an identity and back story, and leave the house with some little trinket. A fat real estate broker woman catches on and Marie ends up arrested, but Hank’s connections get her off. How funny was the fat lady?

And how sad was it when Marie broke down crying because she had to go home to Hank? This is the first time we’ve felt for Marie during one of her kleptomaniac episodes. We thought it was just a random dark spot on the character from season one, but we are glad the show brought it back now that Marie is sympathetic.

Jesse is still in his dark place. We saw comments on another site where viewers recommended to Walt that he ditch Jesse. WHAT? We think, at this point, Jesse is Walt’s only redeeming quality. When he killed the gangsters with his car and saved Jesse’s life, we started liking Walt again, a little bit.

Jesse is also the show’s main source of humor and sweetness. During this episode, we got to hear Jesse yell the word “bitch” in victory and throw a big pile of cash on top of a mob of sleeping drug addicts so that he could watch them crawl after it, Walking-Dead style.

The episode ended with a fellow cop bringing Hank a folder found in Gale’s apartment. The folder contained his lab notes. We just know that Hank is going to see Heisenberg all over that method and product detailed there, and he is going to go berserk. We can’t wait. All of his rage needs to be directed from Marie and toward Walt.

One thing we would like to see: We want Walt Jr. to get mixed up in the badness soon. He’s just irritating as it is. What if he died? That would be interesting. Just DON’T. KILL. JESSE., show.

Episode Grade: B-

Sunday, July 31, 2011

New show: Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite
Fox. Midseason.

Starring: Jon Heder and everyone else from the movie as voice actors

Plot: This Wikipedia summary says it all: “Napoleon Dynamite is a 16-year-old boy convinced that he is blessed with unlimited "sweet abilities." His hobbies include practicing his ninja moves, dancing, drawing, and bragging about his "girlfriend in Oklahoma." Napoleon's brother, Kip, is an unemployed 32-year-old who lives at home, and continually attempts to meet girls online. The two live with their grandmother, who is often found four-wheeling with her friends at the local sand dunes. Napoleon's friends include Pedro, who has recently been elected class president, and Deb, a girl who sees the good in Napoleon and dreams of someday becoming his girlfriend. Napoleon's uncle, Rico, lives in an orange van, where he obsesses over his failed high school football career and dreams up ways to become rich and famous.”

Why We Are Excited: Well, Ern is currenty wearing a Napoleon Dynamite T-shirt, so what does that tell you? That movie was funny without being dirty and became a total cult film phenomenon. There are also going to be some new characters. As a cartoon, this could become the new Beavis and Butthead. Ern gives this a “ten,” but realizes that this type of humor is not for everyone. Ern’s mom didn’t get it at all.

Why We Are Not Excited: Leeard gives this a “one,” saying, “It was stupid when it came out an infinity ago.” (Which strikes Ern as something Napoleon would say. Seriously, read it with his voice in your head.) But we both agree that it may just have been too long of a wait between the movie and the TV show. Also, it’s a cartoon.


Anticipation Score: 5/10

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New Show: Revenge

ABC, September 21, 2011. Wednesdays at 10.

Starring: Emily VanCamp (Everwood, Brothers and Sisters)

Plot: Emily Thorne is a mysterious woman seeking revenge on the people who destroyed her family. Apparently, all of those people live in the Hamptons. This show will be very loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas.

Why We Are Excited: The preview and concept are good. Who doesn’t like a good revenge story? Even Ern (who will talk your head off about the unique wonders of grace and forgiveness if you’ll sit still long enough) enjoys a good, direct revenge story in entertainment. This looks like it could be a more violent, more interesting version of the first season of The O.C.

Why We Are Not Excited: We think there is a chance it will turn into The Gates or something, a show that looks good on commercials but isn't actually good in execution, and we are unsure of the main actress’ ability to carry the show. She didn’t come across as very charismatic in the preview.


Anticipation Score: 8/10

Be sure to click on the "##Upcoming Shows## link in the cloud so you can stay apprised. And let us know if you think you will be watching any of them!