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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dropping Two New Comedies: Whitney and Free Agents

You may have heard that Whitney is awful. Well, it’s true. Unless you love gender stereotypes, the oldest jokes in the book that you have heard a thousand times, awkward dialogue that sounds completely scripted and fake, unlikeable characters, and laugh tracks, stay far, far away from this show.

Additionally, while Free Agents is NOT as bad as some people say it is, this week, the show continued to be “meh,” and we don’t think we will be watching it anymore until we hear differently.

Whitney Grade: F
Free Agents Grade: C-

Comments on some dramas this week: Ringer, Sons of Anarchy, Parenthood, The Lying Game

Ringer was a little better this week. It made a little more sense. Not much, but a little, and it slowed down a bit. What we really liked was the scene where Bridget comforted Siobhan’s stepdaughter and Andrew saw it. Andrew and Bridget are going to fall in love, and we like the idea of that a lot better than the idea of Bridget falling for Siobhan’s best friend’s husband, who is clearly a douchebag.

The ratings for Ringer this week were low, so it may not stay on long enough to continue improving. At this point, we have stopped hating Bridget, Andrew, and Juliet, and we still want to know what happens and what Siobhan is up to.

Sons of Anarchy was very character develop-y and quiet this week, building to something bloody, no doubt. Clay is a liar, but at least he saved someone from being devoured by flesh-eating ants. Ahh, mercy killings. Have we mentioned that we love Tara? We definitely have.

Parenthood continues to be real and sweet and totally enjoyable. There were few surprises this week, but we loved watching Max trying to fit in at his new school. We liked when he indignantly yelled, “I looked you in the eyes!” after being shunned by classmates, as if following the social rules set out by his mother should be enough to absolutely earn friendship. And poor Julia. We think there was a better way to ask the coffee girl for her baby. Not at work, first of all. We think she will get that baby yet.

The only thing we have to say about The Lying Game is this: We hate unnecessary breakups. But we were surprised at Justin's secret. We thought he was evil or devious or something. Sure fooled us, show.

Ringer: B
Sons of Anarchy: A-
Parenthood: A-
The Lying Game: B

Unforgettable and Person of Interest Pilots

Unforgettable was mildly entertaining, but nothing special. It’s another cop procedural where one of the detectives, Carrie, has a cool talent. Granted, Carrie isn’t back on the force yet, but she’s going to be working on cases with her ex-boyfriend, or there would be no show. You might stick around to see if she gets back together with him or to see if she finds out who killed her sister, Rachel. Carrie’s gift (curse?) is the ability to remember everything she encounters perfectly for further analyzing at a later date. This gift would come in handy with school.

Anyway, Carrie is the coolest thing about this show. With her interesting accent, red hair, sweet-yet-spunky personality, and street smarts, Poppy Montgomery’s Carrie charmed us. Unfortunately for this show, it’s not unique enough to grab us. We will stick with Blue Bloods and Southland when it comes to our cop procedural needs.

Person of Interest had Jesus and Ben Linus teaming up to save innocent lives. We’re not yet sold on Jim Caveziel, and not because we bear a grudge against him for starring in Mel Gibson’s controversial project (it was a risk, but we respect that he took it before he knew Mel would go crazy). We don’t like him because his voice always makes him sound like he’s depressed, whining, and a little creepy. There’s something about it that makes him sound choked-up and too serious at all times. We aren’t sure if we will be able to connect with his character enough to either feel sorry for him or think he is cool. He just sounds so pathetic.

Michael Emerson is the same old Michael Emerson that we loved and lost in LOST. Readers, you should start a drinking game with this blog where you take a shot every time we mention LOST. Still not over that show. The show is worth us watching for a couple of weeks just to listen to Michael's Ben voice, which also sounds depressed, whining, and a little creepy, but in a way that works and feels mysterious. We also like Tariji P. Henson. She seems like a cool person in real life too.

This show is also shaping up to have a procedural feel (which at least one of us almost never likes), but the talent involved makes us want to stay tuned. Unforgettable has a character we like, but Person of Interest has a premise we like. We were more entertained by the case-of-the-week in Person of Interest than we were in the Unforgettable case. Stopping crimes before they happen is also more interesting, as is not knowing who the victim and who the perpetrator are going to be, just who is going to be involved. It might not last long on our list, but Person of Interest earned a pass this week. Let us know if Unforgettable gets good enough for us to tune in next season.

Unforgettable Grade: C
Person of Interest Grade: B-

The Vampire Diaries - The Hybrid (spoilers)

Better late than never, eh?

After that phone call, Elena is not giving up. She decides that tracking down a huge pack of werewolves in order to find Stefan (and probably Klaus, since they are nearly always together) is a good idea, even though she is a little human with almost no skill. Now that’s love. At least she got Alaric to come with her. But first, she asked Tyler where to find packs in the wilderness. He told her about one in Tennessee, in the Smoky Mountains. Alaric and Elena set out to check things out, and Alaric told Damon to meet them there. Damon was surprisingly cooperative. His only act of rebellion against this stupidity was pushing Elena in a lake, which was hilarious.

Tyler and Elena were right. Klaus and Stefan were in the mountains, bringing Ray back to his pack on the day of the full moon. After being fed human blood in front of his pack, Ray starts to transition to full vampire (hybrid). He bites Stefan and runs away, so Stefan is tasked with tracking him down. His reward? Klaus’ healing blood. While Stefan is gone, Klaus starts force feeding his blood to the pack and killing them so that they can become vampires.

In the woods, Damon, Alaric, and Elena encounter Ray. Damon wins the little fight and they tie Ray to a tree. He turns into a wolf and gets free. Damon lures the wolf away from Elena, and Elena and Alaric are able to run back to their car. Elena freaks out for Damon and his safety. Stefan saves Damon from Ray by pulling Ray’s heart out of his chest. No matter how many times we see someone do this, it’s still cool. Stefan tells Damon to take Elena home and keep her from coming after him.

The three return home, and Damon is amused with how worried Elena was about him. Damon tells Elena that he is teasing her about her concern because “when I drag my brother from the edge and deliver him back to you, I want you to remember the things you felt while he was gone." This is so perfect. Now Damon is committed to getting Stefan back, because even at Stefan’s worst, Stefan is still in Damon’s corner, protecting him. With both Damon and Elena so committed to Stefan, yet so clearly hot for each other, Stefan is probably going to have to make a HUGE mistake to get them to even temporarily hook up. Which, by the way, one of us is MASSIVELY rooting for.

Alaric moved back into the Gilbert House of misfits with no family, and Klaus’ plan to turn all the wolves into hybrids failed when they all died in transition. He healed Stefan with his blood and then exclaimed that he didn’t know why his hybrid army was a no-go. After all, he killed the doppelganger and everything! Concern registers on Stefan’s face and he and the rest of us realize that Klaus can never find out that Elena is alive. Only, Klaus will, because it’s Elena and she will keep following. And this will probably happen soon, since it is this show.

Meanwhile, Jeremy finally gets Matt to hear him about the whole ghost thing. They attempt to contact Vicki, who tells Jeremy that “they can bring her back.” OMG DO IT, SHOW. She would make an excellent villain. We just know she would be after Stefan and Damon, for revenge, and probably Elena, too. After Vicki’s ghost leaves, Anna shows up and warns Jeremy not to trust Vicki. We think Anna is more trustworthy and less selfish than Vicki, so that might be smart advice to take.

Finally, Carol Lockwood gets a front-row seat to Tyler’s transition at the full moon, because this is his tender way of breaking the news to her. Effective, but couldn’t he give her a little warning? Mean. After realizing that her son is also a technical monster, Carol has a change of heart and promises Tyler that she will not have Caroline killed. She phones the guy she had gotten to do it and tries to call the whole thing off, but he believes it’s still necessary.

Jack Coleman from Heroes is the guy for the job. Carol has Caroline locked in one of the plentiful dungeons on this show. Jack Coleman shows up, opens the door, and says, “Hello Caroline.” Caroline replies, “…Daddy?” Oh snap. This is the gay daddy that left Mrs. Forbes? Can he kill his own daughter? If this show kills Caroline (which we don’t think will happen, but there is always a risk), we are going to hate it a little.

Episode Grade: A

Friday, September 23, 2011

Grey's Anatomy - a tale of two (almost) mothers, "Free Fallin" and "She's Gone" (spoilers)

Ok, after nearly a day of sitting on this one, we are ready to share our mixed feelings about that Grey’s Anatomy premiere. It really bummed us out. Full disclosure for those of you who missed the last Grey’s Anatomy episode where we mentioned this: We would not make abortion illegal, had we the power. But we personally dislike it and would probably never get one ourselves. We can’t say for sure without sounding like douches, because we’ve never been in that position. But from where we stand, getting an abortion for convenience, especially when you are married and have a job, is a lame move. We're not into preaching personal beliefs, but since the show brought it up, it would be weird to ignore the issue. Maybe we’re wrong and the unborn aren't humans yet. But the chance that it might be makes us want to avoid that mistake at all costs.

So it was sad for us to see Cristina go through with it. The scene where she and Owen are with the doctor, about to have it done, was really hard for us to watch. These two have been through enough as a couple, and this was devastating, no matter what your political and personal beliefs. A huge part of us really wanted to see Cristina come around to being a mom. It was nice to see her hesitate out of love for her husband. Women all over the world are probably bemoaning this abortion. One of our friends who we watched it with exclaimed, “Are you ****ing kidding me?” when Cristina gave the doctor the go-ahead.

Before we defend Cristina’s (and the writers’) decision a little bit, let’s recount Cristina defending it to Meredith: “I wish I wanted a kid. I wish I wanted a kid so bad, because then this would be easy. I would be so happy. I’d have Owen and my life wouldn’t be a mess. But I don’t. I don’t want a kid. I don’t want to make jam. I don’t want to carpool. I really, really, really don’t want to be a mother. I want to be a surgeon, and please—get it. I need someone to get it, and I wish that someone was Owen. I wish that he would show up and get it, but that’s not going to happen. And you’re my person. I need you to be there at 6 o’clock tonight to hold my hand because I am scared, Mer, and sad, because my husband doesn’t get that, so I need you to.”

(Note: the blogger who hasn't watched this show since season 3 just teared up while editing this post. She still doesn't agree with it, but wow is that such a hard decision.)

The plot decision fit so well with who Cristina is and what the writers have been doing with Cristina and Owen as a couple. Their whole thing is that Burke didn’t get Cristina or love her for who she was. He tried to force things on her and when he realized that’s what he had been doing, he walked out on the wedding. Even though Owen and Cristina have had super big issues to deal with, Owen has been trying over and over to accept Cristina and succeed where Burke failed. This was Owen’s test, not Cristina’s. And with a little help from Meredith (who gave him a few of the many good lines of the night), he passed. This was a huge surprise for us. We didn't think that's where the storyline was going. We didn't know that the point of all this was for Owen to be in Cristina's corner no matter what.

Even if you are staunchly pro-life, you must admit that we are operating in the world of the show, where abortion is completely Cristina’s choice, there is no one around to question that (because the show is chock-full of “progressives”), the child not a technical life yet, and, apparently, it’s worse to be born unwanted than to have no life at all. In the world of Grey’s Anatomy, the choice made sense. Owen decided to just “put it behind them.” We hope it works for him. That wouldn’t realistic, but we still hope that. As viewers, we kind of want to put this whole thing behind us too and forget about it. For God’s sake, Cristina, get your tubes tied if you’re that freaking sure. This is the second unplanned pregnancy. Sheesh. Despite it all, we were touched when Owen “understood her” and Cristina burst into tears. She is (and has always been) our favorite character on this show.

Moving onto the couple that most people care more about: Derek and Meredith. Derek was very cold through most of the episode. We find it interesting when his righteousness turns into self-righteousness. There’s nothing more boring than a perfect character. We aren’t sure where they stand now. We assume they are still separated and Derek is still angry that Meredith ruined his trial. But he did defend her to the social worker, saying, ““If there’s a flaw,” he said of his wife, “it’s because she loves people so much she’ll do anything for them.” The Chief taking the fall was predictable. And welcome.

The sinkhole was ridonkulous, but very Grey’s. One of us visited Seattle last summer and was shocked when no disaster occurred. It’s a nice, quiet, pretty, safe city with no flaming ferryboats or mass shooters in sight. April is tried to bring the comic relief, but she was annoying instead, as usual. Alex Karev brought it better. We like Lexie with bangs. Overall, this episode was pretty good, but sometimes slow, and it was not one that we would watch again. This was a pretty mature episode. Gone are the days of Meredith's one-night stands. It's about hard marriages now. The writers were so intentional and careful with everything that happened through these storylines, and most of the dialogue was so good, that it's hard not to be impressed.

We rolled our eyes when Meredith “kidnapped” Zola. These people are doctors. How dumb can you be? It was good in that it led to a reconciliation between Meredith and Alex Karev. The double whammy of bumming us out came when they took Zola and Meredith’s voiceover said, “You think that true love is the only thing that can crush your heart, the thing that will take your life and light it up or destroy it. Then, you become a mother.” That’s a perfect line right there.

Episode Grade: B

Comedy contest: Premieres of Community, Parks and Rec, and Modern Family, plus the second episode of Up All Night

Up All Night continued with an episode that wasn’t as strong as its opening, but it still had a few laughs. We loved when Will Arnett’s phone went off at the cool neighbors’ party (Hey Soul Sister, haha). Christina and Will are still working well together, and the plot/premise was solid and entertaining. This show just needs more jokes per episode.

Modern Family’s premiere was hilarious. We love talking Lily! Phil finally called Jay out for disapproving of him, even though he is a good guy. Dylan and Haley are over (just for now or forever?). Julie Bowen might have had the funniest storyline, disapproving of Dylan and trying to keep Haley from marrying him. We feel like Gloria was underused, because the premiere just had her yelling loudly and not being able to hear. We liked the names for the group. One thing we weren't digging? Alex's first kiss. In real life, that would have been creepy and harass-y, not charming and cute. Alex deserves better. And hotter.

All-in-all, this was a successful two-part first episode of season three. The change of location gave things a new feel, which is what this show needs. There was a lot of plot development too, especially for this show. It’s usually heavy on jokes and light on plot. This episode had both, especially with the revelation that Cam and Mitchell are ready to adopt a boy. This show needs new recurring characters. Haley can find another boyfriend (or Alex can?). Maybe the adults can get a few recurring friends that are weird. We think that just about everyone feels like this show needs to shake things up and make some changes. Some actual plot arcs might be nice.

Community’s premiere is not as strong as we have come to expect from this show. The musical opening was fun, but the bulk of the episode wasn’t that funny. We wish we could have had a two-parter. Pierce got back in the study group a little too quickly for our tastes, since we went through so much with him as the villain last year. That should have taken some time and significant steps.

Parks and Recreation was good, as usual. We love that Ron’s nightmare wife works for the IRS. We are so sad about Leslie’s break-up, but it was as sweet as it could possibly have been. If you liked the show before, you will like this episode, but it’s not an episode we would start a new viewer out with. New viewers of this show should read a summary of season one and then start with season two.

Up All Night episode grade: C+
Community grade: B-
Modern Family grade: B+
Parks and Recreation grade: B

Winner: Modern Family

Saying Goodbye to The Office (and a request for our readers who will still be watching it)

We are officially done watching The Office. Our Thursday night schedule is too full for a show that had one of the lamest premieres we have ever seen. We didn’t even think about laughing once. The show really had one post-Michael-Scott chance to come out of the gate with a bang and show us that it still cared. Instead, we got an opening about “planking,” which is sort of old news, and a plot about Robert California making a list of winners and losers in The Office. Then Andy saved the day by telling Robert that everyone except for Gabe was actually cool. Both Pam and Angela are pregnant. Andy is branch manager and Robert is CEO.

Robert California (James Spader) was funny in the finale, but he’s seemed to have lost some of his great weirdness. We still think the character was a strong choice for this show, but it’s not enough to keep us watching. After seven seasons, we are ready to check out. We have Community and Parks and Recreation to make us chuckle on Thursdays. The last funny season of this show was season five. It should have ended there.

Michael’s send-off was the good, and last year’s Christmas episode was pretty funny, but for the most part, we leave this show disappointed more often than not. Michael brought a much-needed sweetness and joviality to the show. Now, we are left with weird people and cynics. Michael's love for life and optimism, mixed with his naivete, gave the people he worked with a reason to react. This show needs a new centerpiece, and he needs Michael's attitude, even if they go without his now-trademark buffoonery.

We may stop in for the occasional episode if someone tells us there was a funny week. So, seriously, please tell us if there is an episode that is back to form that we need to see. We enjoy Dwight/Jim rivalries, pranks, heartfelt moments, Creed, Robert California, Kelly (and most episodes written by that actress), and anything to do with beets. Keep that in mind, and keep us posted.

Seasons 1-5: A+
Season 6: D
Season 7: C+

The Secret Circle - Bound (spoilers)

In the opening, Cassie sits on her bed, re-reading the note from her mother that she found in her mother’s Book. It warns her not to trust people and that some will come for her power, which is the only thing that can protect her. Cassie gets up and tries to light a candle by saying, “Give me light.” Instead, she opens her bedroom curtains and light spills in. What kind of witch doesn’t have to learn any spells? She doesn’t even use any Latin.

The two most mundane members of the circle, Nick, and Faye’s sidekick, Melissa, have secretly hooked up in the adjacent house. Nick insults Melissa by saying that he would never brag about sleeping with her, as if that’s not impressive at all. As Melissa gets dressed, Nick stands shirtless in his window, staring at Cassie. Cassie tries to close the curtains with magic, but she just breaks Nick’s window. By now it is very clear that Cassie’s problem is that her magic is too big for her. It’s a problem that the others share as well, especially Faye.

Faye’s paternal grandfather, Henry, is in town, visiting. He says hello to Faye on her way out of the house. When Faye is gone, Faye’s principal mom, Dawn Chamberlain, asks Henry if everything is alright, and he says, “If it’s not, I’ll let you know.” He doesn’t say this in a joking way, which lets us know that he’s wise to the magical goings-on of the town. After Dawn invites him to stay, Henry rudely reminds her that he owns the home. Dawn called Charles Meade (Diana’s father who killed Cassie’s mother, remember?) and asks why Henry is in town. We find out that Henry blames Dawn for his son’s death.

Class President Sally Matthews reaches out to Cassie at school, in the halls, and invites her to a fair. Faye catches up with Cassie and asks her to not let Diana bind the circle, because then their powers will be shared, and they will have some measure of control over each other. Faye is fine with her own powers being enhanced and doesn’t want “a fascist circle.” We get that. If you had cool powers, would you want five other kids controlling what you did with them? Cassie comes back with an “I don’t know you; I don’t want to know you; I don’t want any part of this.” Dial down the aggressiveness, girl. You aren’t Lux anymore.

Cassie enters chemistry class. Adam and Faye are in the class too. The teacher kind of looks like Barack Obama. Faye uses magic to cause Cassie’s beaker to explode, so Cassie sets Faye’s on fire and then causes it to explode as well. Shocked that her anger caused her to accidentally retaliate, Cassie runs out of the classroom and Adam follows. Adam informs her that she can’t stop her own powers, but he can help. After school, Cassie and Adam meet in the abandoned house the circle uses. Adam discusses the accident that killed Diana’s mom, Faye’s dad, Adam’s mom, Melissa’s mom, and both of Nick’s parents. And, allegedly, Cassie’s dad, but for some reason, we really think he’s alive.

The official story is that "kids" were all partying on a boat and a fire killed some of them. We are wondering why all six couples in the circle had children at such a young age...Clarification is needed there. Diana thinks that the parents died because they didn’t bind the circle and the magic got out of control. Adam tells Cassie that each witch is born into a circle and that their circle consists of six families. Binding a circle limits individual powers, but strengthens the group. Adam gives Cassie a magic lesson. Cassie says, “It’s like I’m living in a Harry Potter movie.” Psh, we like this show, but it isn’t nearly awesome enough yet to invoke an HP reference.

Meanwhile, Adam’s dad, Ethan Conant, meets with Henry and tells him about Charles Meade’s drowning scare. We found out that Ethan called Henry and brought him back into town. At first, Henry declares that this is impossible, because everyone in the parents’ circle was stripped of their power. At the fair, Cassie wears a belly-baring shirt with a cute jacket. So belly baring is back? Huh. Cassie helps Sally sell tickets and Diana tries to talk Cassie into joining the circle. Cassie resists again.

Henry spots Faye using her powers to win a carnival game, then catches up with Dawn, tells Dawn about Faye’s powers, and tells Dawn that Ethan was threatened with magic by Charles Meade. Bad move, Henry. She’s in league with Charles. Dawn points out that none of her generation has any power, because Henry’s circle took care of that. Sooo, the senior circle stripped the parents’ power after the accident? Dawn goes to Charles Meade and asks for “the crystal,” which is, apparently, the source of all the power they have left. Charles Meade gives Dawn the crystal.

The fair turns into a dance on the pier. Melissa sadly watches Faye and Nick dance with each other. Nick starts groping, and Faye pushes him off, smiles, and says “Do you honestly think I would get with you?” We love Faye so much. She wasn’t looking great in this episode. We like her hair down. Faye finds Cassie and makes some wind and thunder, challenging Cassie to stop it. Sally comes up to the two of them, and Faye pushes Sally hard enough that she goes through the pier fence and onto some rocks. Faye looks shocked, because she obviously didn’t mean to push Sally that hard. Out-of-control power again…

Everyone at the fair notices what’s happened and watches as Dawn rushes down to check on Sally. Henry sees this. THIS MAN SEES EVERYTHING. He realizes that Dawn must have used a crystal to save Sally. Charles Meade chastises Dawn for “wasting” the crystal’s power. He’s the worst. We cut to Faye who is NOT the worst. She can feel remorse! She is crying and saying that she didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt, but she just thinks things and they happen. This event is exactly what is needed to get Faye and Cassie to agree to bind the circle.

At home, Henry confronts Dawn about having a crystal, even though he thought all the crystals were destroyed. He says that he is going to a group that must be witch/warlock “higher-ups.” Dawn uses the crystal to give Henry a heart attack. We are sad, because he was cool. He was a little controlling, but it seems like he needed to be, because Dawn is diabolical.

Cut to Diana and Adam in the car. Diana shows insecurity about her own magical knowledge and her relationship with Adam, now that Cassie is in town. Adam comforts her and they kiss and say that they love each other. We really like Diana and we are going to be sad when she gets her heart broken in this love triangle. The main character always wins, especially when she has literal destiny on her side. The circle meets on the beach, around a fire and Diana binds them. The fire gets really tall when the deed is done.

This show is turning out to be as quickly paced as The Vampire Diaries. Two episodes in and we've already had two deaths and the unification of the circle. We have a few more answers about the past, and the heat is still on as to Charles and Dawn's plots against the children, particularly Cassie. This episode shows that Dawn loves Faye, so Faye is probably safe. If it came down to it, which side would Faye choose? The circle or her mother? This fledgling series is showing signs of becoming one of our favorite new teen shows.

Episode grade: B+

Revenge - Pilot (spoilers)

One thing we didn’t like about this show was its flash-forward. We’ve said before that we think flashforwards to tease the viewer are cheap, especially when they aren’t that intriguing. LOST is, of course, an exception, and one of us thinks it's because by then, we care about the characters - in a pilot, we don't know anyone, so the flashback means nothing. We saw Emily’s fiance’s dead body on the beach on the night of their engagement party. The fiancĂ©, Daniel Grayson, has a mom, Victoria (who is totally gorgeous and from The Last of the Mohicans). Victoria seems to suspect Emily of foul play when she realizes her son is missing.

We don’t know the dead man yet, so his death isn’t yet shocking. Wouldn’t it have been more fun to wonder if he would die and how, as we were watching him live and interact with the main character? Maybe this show has something more interesting up its sleeve than a mystery of whether this character was going to die.

It looks like Emily is responsible, even though she was at her engagement party when Daniel was shot on the beach. The engagement party has the theme “fire and ice,” with all the guys wearing white and all the girls wearing red. Everyone looks great and we really love that theme. After that, we got a flashback to Emily renting a house on the beach in the Hampton’s, right next to Victoria’s home. The house Emily rented was be her childhood home, where she lived with her father.

Then there were a lot of character introductions, pretty people gossiping, and walking on the beach, along with a few flashbacks of Emily’s memories. This all set in a serious, ominous tone, but it felt ordinary and probably went on too long. We found out that Victoria’s best friend, Lydia, was going through the beginnings of a divorce, and she didn’t want people to find out that she wouldn’t be able to afford her beach house in the Hamptons anymore.

Lydia was also sleeping with Victoria’s husband, Conrad. Emily knew about this. We find out in the end that Emily donned a wig, went to Conrad and Lydia’s favorite Affair Hotel (not the real name, but that would be awesome), posed as room service, and poisoned Conrad to give him heart attack symptoms. This was a pretty cool way to end the episode.

Victoria found out about the affair (because Emily made a crack about seeing Lydia’s ailing husband outside of the hotel - a serious "OH shit" moment that is so very difficult to explain) and announced at a hoity-toity auction that Lydia’s beach house will soon be on the market. Both Emily and Victoria are delightfully bitchy and ballsy so far. It’s great that Emily has a strong female nemesis that is similar to herself in temperament. Also at the auction was Daniel, a guy we are not supposed to feel sorry for, because he presumably killed someone while driving drunk years ago. His parents bought everyone off to keep him out of jail. Emily started wooing him.

Emily was (possibly) recognized by an old childhood friend named Jack. He has custody of Emily’s old dog from back when she was a kid (and we almost got teary when she was petting him for the first time). Jack was planning to take a boat to Haiti to work out with the Red Cross, but then he had to sell his boat to help his dad with financial troubles. Jack is clearly too good for someone who wants to murder a bunch of rich people for revenge, but we’re pretty sure he is going to be the main love interest. It’s going to be fun watching Emily actually fall in love while she is tricking another guy into fake love with her.

The man Jack sold his boat to was Nolan Ross, who absolutely recognized Emily. Emily is actually Amanda Clarke, and her father, David Clarke was framed for funding a terrorist organization. The framers? Residents of the Hamptons, including Victoria, her husband Conrad, and Lydia. David Clarke was Nolan Ross’ first investor who met Emily on her 18th birthday to give her a box of evidence that her father left behind, plus the money her father left her. Nolan told her that her father was innocent, but dead. David Clarke left a message for Emily, asking her to forgive the wrongdoers, as he had. But there would be no show if she chose forgiveness, would there?

We liked seeing Emily with dark hair, and it makes sense that she was in a juvenile detention facility. She was hardened by that and turned into the conniving main character we saw in this pilot, with her only soft side so far being her memory of her father. We had reservations about the main actress before, but now we are loving her. She does serious and vindictive well. Even though she is a cold-blooded killer, we are rooting for her/don’t hate her, and that is quite an achievement for this show. So far, this is fun, if melodramatic and soapy, and we want to know what happens.

Episode Grade: A-

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Glee - The Purple Piano Project (Spoilers)

So many people are happy that Kurt and Rachel got knocked down a few notches on Glee last night. These two were sympathetic in the first season (particularly the first half) but seem to have lost something in the second season. Rachel was always ambitious, yes, but she lost some of her sweetness.

Good job bringing Jacob’s season intro and summer recap back. It’s a good way to fill us in on what’s happened. Oh Sam, we miss you and your dorkiness. You should have been a regular for your Sean Connery impression alone. We loved hearing Kurt and Rachel’s aspirations for the future, but Kurt is going to have a hard road ahead of him. Sure, he will probably be able to legally marry by 30, but a musical college might not work out once he realizes that autotune won’t be available.

We hope that Lauren is still on the show, because she is funny. We will have both Artie and Tina next year, because they are juniors. Ugh, more Artie rapping. We like that the show is tackling not knowing who you are and what you are going to do at the age of 17, a problem that confronts most teens, because how are you supposed to know any of that before you can legally rent a car? Finn may be the relatable one this year on the show.

Just when you thought Glee couldn’t get any gayer, Will brought out the purple piano project. Fortunately, it didn’t take Sue long enough to start destroying them. If Glee is going to be this positive, loud show, it needs its villain terrorizing the glee club. Sue is currently losing a political race, so she decided to hate on something to get voters. We suspect that’s why many politicians join hate bandwagons. She picked opposing the arts in schools.

Wemma is finally on, but for how long? It is this show, after all. While Will and Emma are sharing a bed, they have not yet copulated, so maybe we should separate their names for a while. We’re team Will here, but Emma gets points for handing Kurt a “Me and My Hag” pamphlet. One of us died laughing at that. That said, we love that Rachel and Kurt are still friends.

What’s up with Quinn? We kind of like the hair, but joining a group called “The Skanks” seems a little self-destructive for one of the smarter (intellectually at least) characters. We guess she's finding herself. She’s like Rizzo now, fully embracing slut-itude and eschewing the Glee club in favor of black nail polish, leather, and cigarettes. Heh. A part of us likes this. Also, note that Rachel is probably the wrong person to try to talk Quinn into coming back to the Glee club. Also also note that if Quinn was actually turning into Rizzo, she would be singing more. Just saying.

Sixteen minutes in, we got the first musical number, “We Got the Beat” originally by The Go-Go’s. We liked the use of Brittany, Santana, and Rachel in the performance, and this song fit the show. There was fun execution, even though we wondered at how annoyed we would be if we were trying to eat lunch and people started dancing on our tables, especially when Brittany was lying down on one. This was our favorite song of the night, but it wasn’t one we’d like to buy. It’s just too familiar of a tune.

Will this show ever adequately explain how, if the Glee club members are so uncool, they get hipster guitarists and other good musicians to play with them? Or cheerleaders to dance behind Darren Criss (ok, that really doesn’t need an explanation)? We’re getting sick of this “misfit” theme that Ryan is trying to put on this show. The theater kids are usually cool. Maybe not in a small town? Still, we think that in reality, most of these kids would be the cool kids. Just because Ryan wants to merge his own life themes with music doesn’t make it believable. As usual, no one clapped. Unrealistic. People aren’t that mean, even in high school. The misfit thing feels forced at this point, with these pretty, talented people getting shunned all the time.

Then there was a food fight. After the Britney Spears sex riot, we thought a food fight would be tame, but the look on Rachel’s face was worth watching the clichĂ©. It was an especially vicious food fight, funny in its darkness, not a happy, kids-gone-wild one where everyone is enjoying themselves as they are covered in food. After that, Sugar Motta tried out for the club. It’s about time this happened. There are plenty of tone-deaf kids who want to sing, and lots of them are in high school. We love Coach Beiste’s pig squeal and the advice she gave to Will. It does no one any good to encourage a delusion.

The next musical performance was “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” by Kurt and Rachel. This was one of their most unbearably obnoxious moments yet. Maybe it was the choreography and maybe it was their overconfidence. Part of it was Rachel’s flashy attempt at cuteness. She does not do cute well. She does powerful fantastically. Cute? Not so much. We just wish that Rachel could turn into a character we can like again by graduation. We have a fondness for her that we developed in the first season, and we want the writers to do a once-relatable character justice in the end.

Will topped the gayness of the purple pianos by glitter bombing Sue. We think it sullied the creativity and hilarity of gay rights glitter bombing by stealing it. Blaine transferred to McKinley and sang “It’s Not Unusual.” This was alright, but we don’t like Darren’s hair gelled down like that. We love Les Mis shout-outs on this show, and having a flamboyantly gay competitor for Kurt named “Gavroche” had us chuckling. The Glee Project fans got a treat when they saw Lindsay, the fourth runner up, sing "Anything Goes"/"Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better". Did anyone else think that she looked angry when she was singing? She did a good job on her songs though, and the show runners gave her one that was perfect for her voice. It was fun to see her and she was well-placed in the episode. If the other Glee Project contestants are used as smoothly, we will be pleased.

Kurt and Rachel, if you were intimidated by tap dancing, you are not tough enough for this business. Was the number really better than what Rachel and Kurt are capable of? It looked like it was just bigger. Rachel has a better voice than Lindsay on Lindsay’s best day. The greatest threat was the fact that Rachel and Kurt’s looks and personalities were similar to their competitors. It was a nice lesson for them to learn at this point and it should help them to work hard this year, hit the Broadways songs hard, and drive our group to a Nationals win. If they should fail, well, we don’t think there is anything wrong with doing community theater as long as you are enjoying yourself.

In the end, Rachel decided to try to bring West Side Story to McKinley, with herself as Maria, of course. We raised our eyebrows, because Maria’s songs are higher than the ones Rachel has been rocking for the last season. Does she still have those notes? That will be interesting to see. If they do West Side Story, we know a great part for Santana…. And now one of us is hoping this happens ASAP. Kurt is running for senior class president (and what is he thinking? Is he popular? No). Then Santana was thrown out of the club for treason- piano burning. We get that Mr. Schue was sick of her being disloyal to the club. It’s about time he nutted up and forced her to be a team player.

The last song was “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” and when you listen to the track without watching all the dancing and smiling, you might notice that the Glee version lacks energy. It just doesn’t have the oomf and “bring down the house” factor that other recordings have. Everyone had ridiculous facial expressions too. What was that cross-eyed look, Britt?

We have finally accepted that this show is never going back to its season one tone. Season two tone has won out. We are just going to have to like the show for what it is now. A show with plotlines, romances and characters that are dropped quickly. A show with too many main characters. A show with characters who act in unexplainable ways. A show with what one writer called an “angry undercurrent.” A show that’s constantly on a soapbox. But we will keep watching, because even at its worst, Glee is fun. And there’s always the music.

Good lines: “Why is the dinosaur eating the Jew?” “That (chopstix) might be the national anthem of your country.” What this show needs now is some fresh meat for the club. We need the new characters to be good and to stick around. The show has done all it can with its existing Glee club members, we think. Oh, and bring Sam back.

Episode Grade: B

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two Broke Girls and The Playboy Club - pilots (Spoiler-free)

Two Broke Girls

The main thing we were worried about with this show was Beth Behrs’ heiress character, but we shouldn’t have worried. Caroline is a sweet character who has a point about her nasty uniform. She’s likeable. Of course Kat Dennings is likeable too. That makes two leads who pull of their characters in a way that rises above the “types” they are playing and bring laughs. They had good chemistry.

The woman Max nannies for was really funny too, and she was the exaggerated rich girl we thought Caroline was going to be. Fortunately, she’s a side character and not one of the main twosome. A little of that goes a long way. There were some good one-liners. We like the way the leads tease each other. Of course we didn’t like the laugh track. Why do they keep making laugh track comedies? If we need to be told where to laugh, the show isn’t funny. If we need other people laughing with us in order to get us to laugh, the show is not that funny. This one was, for the most part, so it should have ditched the laugh track.

The Playboy Club

The Playboy Club is a dumb version of Mad Men. However, it wasn’t as bad as we expected it to be. One thing we liked was the fact that this show has '60s musical numbers and will feature musical guest stars. Adele would fit in just fine. Also, it features Simon Tam as the husband of one of the bunnies! (Ok, when your reviewers recognize Simon Tam, and call him Simon Tam, you know they are the wrong audience for The Playboy Club.) Lastly, it’s nothing to get our panties in a twist about. It got low ratings, so it will probably be canceled soon, and it’s just a lightweight soap.

Hugh Heffner’s voice narrated (just for the pilot) and he called the place he created “perfect” and “a place where anything could happen to anybody.” Well, as a woman, that just sounds like someone’s getting raped. At the end of the episode, Heffner said, “Bunnies were the only women in the ‘60s who could be anyone they wanted, because they had no last names.” That makes it all ok then! If the women enjoy it! (Sarcasm, obvi.) Bah haha. About six minutes in, the mob already got involved and not in a good(fellas) way. In a stupid way, even though it was smart to go for girl power early by having the main chauvinist pig get killed by a Bunny’s stiletto.

We don’t like Eddie Cibrian either. He’s supposed to come across as mysterious, but he really comes across as stiff and uncharismatic. (He should have just told Carol-Lynne the truth about what happened, right? She’s supposedly smart and in love with him, so she could probably be trusted.) Speaking of Carol-Lynne, the resident “aging bunny” with issues about getting old: Her storylines make us laugh, because she could pass for 25. She’s the best character on the show so far though.

This show is about flirtation, a glamorous men’s club, and the girls, who have secrets, schemes, and significant others. Also, it’s about the guys who ride in like white knights to save them, try to marry them to lock them down, admire them, or just try to sleep with them. It’s not horrible, but we are dropping it, because we just aren’t interested.

We really aren’t digging the main plot with the mob, the lawyer, and Maureen. We also think it will be a waste of time to watch a show that premiered to only 5 million viewers and will probably be off the air soon. It's like a Lifetime movie: A crowd-pleaser for the mainstream. It's not good enough to make us forget that we don't like the Playboy brand.

Two Broke Girls Grade: B+
The Playboy Club Grade: C+

How I Met Your Mother - Season 7 Premiere. (spoiler warning)

Last night, we had a two-part How I Met Your Mother episode, complete with Punchy’s wedding and Barney trying to get Nora back, even though Robin has feelings for him. And chemistry. Although, was that chemistry or a just a really good dance routine? (One of us absolutely thinks the couple has chemistry and both of us hope they end up together.) Not digging the song they chose for the dance routine though.

Obviously Barney is marrying Robin. Why would the show bring back their crush if they weren’t going to end up together? As cool as Nora is with Barney, the show has to know that we love Robin more. It would satisfy a lot of viewers if Barney married Robin. He actually likes her as a person and respects her (“You’re your own daddy”…remember?), so that would be someone he would marry. Of course, Nora is forcing him to respect her too. But we really think it’s Robin, because why would any other bride of Barney’s ask to see Ted before the ceremony.

The show mocked itself by having Future Ted tell his kids that the story is long and not even close to being over. We got some flash forwards and flashbacks, and not in a cool LOST way. In a “messing with us” way. Can we please meet the mother and have a season with her?

We really enjoyed “Beercules,” Marshall’s streaking alter ego. We actually chuckled out loud at Ted being all over youtube (complete with a remix!) for breaking down while giving wedding toasts. Poor Shmosby. He realized that he’s become more cynical about finding his true love. Ted, as people who know the name of the show you are on, we have a song for you.

Robin and Ted both had strong speeches this episode. Serious tones are not this show’s forte, although it did alright with Marshall’s dad’s death. Most people have felt Ted’s pain at some point in their lives, thinking that maybe they won’t ever find the right person. Robin telling Barney how she felt under the guise of helping him get back with Nora was sad. And stupid. She shouldn’t have done such a good job! Barney was striking out with women on purpose, and according to Lily it was because he still likes Robin. Oh Barney. The fake fingernails were disgusting (almost as nasty as real long ones).

We would totally play Edward Fortyhands if forty’s were sold in our state. In the end, Victoria came back. She was a sweet girl that Ted really cared about and one of us loved. One blogger screamed when she came on TV. The other blogger has trouble remembering Victoria, and it feels like she is the only one. Most other people we’ve talked to are really excited. It looks like a re-watch is in order. We know she isn’t the mother though, so don’t get too attached.

This premiere was sooooo much better than last year’s. We love when the gang flashes back to their crazy college days of sandwiches, and now, apparently, streaking and forty’s. We like where this season is going so far, and it’s Jennifer Morrison-free! (Come on, nobody liked her on this show.) One more thing: We don’t like Robin’s haircut. And she looks better with a little meat on her. Her face was too harsh last night! It's like Up All Night said, "There comes a time when you have to choose between your face and your ass." (If you don't know what we're talking about, go watch Up All Night, because it's worth 22 minutes.) Robin, that face is too good to lose.

First episode grade: A-
Second Episode grade: B

Overall: B+

Monday, September 19, 2011

Breaking Bad- Salud

It’s amazing that we forgot that Walt was bloody from his fight with Jesse. When we saw blood on his counter, we thought that Walt’s cancer was acting up again or something. We found that Walt was just dealing with the aftermath of getting his ass beat. And it looks like this was exactly what Walt needed to be woken up to what a crazy douche he’s been this whole season. Walt Jr. got to see his cry and show remorse for his actions (even though Walt Jr. got a cover story as to what really happened). We were touched when Walt accidentally called his son “Jesse.” This was a good relationship moment in Walt Jr.’s eyes, but Walt doesn’t like that his son saw him in that moment of weakness.

It’s funny that Walt Jr. couldn’t get excited about his new PT Cruiser, when one of our sisters spent years begging and hoping for that exact car. She was sorely disappointed one Christmas when our father got her a toy one. Walt Jr. would be lucky, in her eyes. Ted, oh Ted, you dimwit. This is why you are in trouble in the first place: needing instant gratification and lacking wisdom. Of course Ted would buy himself a Mercedes with Skyler’s money. He decided to lawyer up and fight the government, rather than pay back what he stole. Skyler had to tell him that she forwarded him the cash to get him to stop being an idiot. We didn’t get to see how that turned out.

Gus actually took Jesse to Mexico. Man, that was fast. Jesse was able to pull off Walt’s cook on the first batch. Well, ok, he only got it 96% pure, but that was good enough. We were shocked. Not only that, but he wasn’t intimidated by the rival cartel members. His speech to the other chemist was fantastic, if possibly too risky. That wasn’t Jesse’s finest moment though: He turned out to be an unlikely essential ally to Mike and Gus. He saved Mike’s life and is now driving both Gus and Mike to a hospital (probably), because they might be dying. Mike is at least hurt. Oh yeah, and Gus managed to poison all the leaders of the rival cartel.

Jesse has come a long way this season. And with Walt’s remorse, he might be heading toward a redemptive end to the season where he gets a little of his old self back….maybe. We have friends who think that Walt will yet redeem himself, but we aren’t so optimistic. Isn’t this story about a downward spiral? This episode was eventful, funny, intense, fast paced, and it helped develop the characters even more. We think Ted needs to die. Just throwing that out there.

Episode Grade: A