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Saturday, February 11, 2012

R.I.P. Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is dead at 48. She had one of the greatest voices of our age, and she will be missed.

Secret Circle - Valentine recap/review

Happy Valentine’s Day indeed. This is not only the best episode of The Secret Circle’s season, it might be the best Valentine’s Day episode we’ve ever seen. It had just the right mix of recognizing the holiday and continuing on with all the drama and scares. Diana was our MVP of the night, showing off just about every side of her personality. We want to be friends with this girl. This episode was appropriately funny, scary, and eventful. The actresses playing Diana and Melissa have great chemistry together and are talented to boot. Put these two together more, show!

Jake and Faye wake up after their ill-advised hook up, fight, and then have sex again. At school, Cassie talks about how she felt a connection to her father in the basement. Diana wants to have a guy-free Valentine’s Day. Melissa comes up with the idea that they should all go to Faye’s and have a girl’s night and sleepover. Adam asks Cassie to go on a date with him. Cassie points out that it’s Valentine’s Day, to which Adam responds, “What? That’s so random.” Later, Adam moans about the poor decision to say that. Oh Adam. You're so adorable.

When Cassie is getting something out of her car, there is a man in a hooded robe standing behind her, haunting/hunting her. Later, Cassie sees this dude and freaks out appropriately. Jake talks to his witch hunter boss, Isaac, and finds out that John Blackwell killed this coven and stole Cassie’s medallion from them. The medallion contains the power of thousands of dead witches. Now, that coven wants revenge and the hooded ghost stalking Cassie is a part of that coven.

At the sleepover, Melissa convinces Diana to try her witch drug. Hilarity ensues. Diana is in a great, ballsy mood and is even more adorable than usual. Melissa, Diana, and Faye do a spell to bring to bring them a hot pizza guy. Lee rings the doorbell and Diana kisses him. Faye points out that Lee is not the pizza guy and Diana breaks off of him. Lee came over to fix a broken totum he gave to Faye earlier. The totum is supposed to sleep in Faye’s bed with her every night until it sucks away all her weakness, leaving only pure power. The totum looks like it’s made of bits of people. It’s the creepiest thing, but Faye is ambitious and will try anything. The real pizza guy comes later and he is hot. The spell must have worked. Diana kisses him too.

The party is really cute and fun, even though it’s that way mostly because Diana and Melissa are on drugs. Cassie shows up to ruin the fun (as usual), talking about her dead dad and hooded figures. The girls pull out an Ouija board and get a message. It’s just one word and it’s “sacred.” This is useless to them. Cassie realizes that she’s ruining the party and leaves. Jake shows up shortly after, looking for Cassie to warn her about the ghost coven. The girls chase him off. Girls only, cootie-bringer. As she is driving home, the medallion starts choking Cassie and she gets into a car accident. The car flips and it’s pretty sweet. Cassie, you are a moron. You should have hit the brakes when that necklace started tightening around your neck. You can’t fend off choking and drive at the same time. She's probably pretty glad she wears her seatbelt.

Jake gets Adam from the docks so that he can help find Cassie. The boys call Diana for information, and Diana is not happy. She tells them that maybe Cassie found a third boyfriend and is off with him. Diana’s happy high is wearing out, and she’s getting all honest. She tells Faye that Melissa prefers her as a friend and Faye is jealous. Faye retorts that Diana dropped Melissa as a BFF in middle school when Diana started dating Adam. It happens. People dump others when they get boyfriends and girlfriends. It still sucks for friends and family though. Their fight is interrupted when they find Melissa overdosing on the witch drug.

Melissa vomits the stuff up. We guess these girls thought an ambulance was unnecessary? Well, they're witches, so maybe it's understandable. Melissa wants Diana to take care of her sick self, not Faye. Faye looks hurt. Hey, Faye, if you want your friends to like you, stop trying to take their power, stop being mean, and don’t be such a slut. We still like you though, Faye. The girls give Melissa a talk about not taking the drug anymore. It’s like an episode of Intervention only everything is a lot easier! The key to addiction is friendship! Tell the experts!

Cassie gets out of the car after her accident and sees the hooded ghost, who leads her to a creepy abandoned church. Cassie yells at the ghost to come out and face her, even though she is in the creepiest, darkest church ever and should not challenging ghosts. The entire coven comes out in their hoods and encircle Cassie. Of course Adam and Jake get there just in time. The ghosts start to surround Adam. The robes drop to the ground and the spirits go right into Adam, all possessing him at once. They say, “Give us the medallion!” Whoa, Adam is Gollum now, and we like it.

The ghosts start making Adam cut his own wrist with his knife so that Cassie will cave and give over the necklace. Jake warns her not to, screaming that this is too much power to give to dead, angry witches who hate Cassie’s father and would probably kill her for revenge. Cassie looks like she is going to give the medallion to Ghost Adam, to save him, so Jake lamely yells, “I choose you!” and starts to interfere. Cassie uses her magic to toss Jake into the pews like an annoyance. Cassie is no Pokemon, Jake. Cassie crushes the medallion, destroying it. For some reason, the ghosts don’t take their revenge for that. Maybe they don't have the power to do it, now that the medallion is gone? Whatever, it was awesome. The witches leave Adam, and he and Cassie hug while poor Jake looks like he’d rather not be watching this embrace. It was actually a pretty bad-ass scene.

Jake brings the crushed medallion to Isaac who moans that Jake disobeyed his orders, has too much anger, and cannot be helped now. Faye and Diana make up, and it’s sweet and redeems Faye a little. Diana too, because she had her mean moments this week. She was totally entitled to them though. Lee is trying to heal a catatonic woman (probably his old girlfriend), and it looks like he is doing it through the totum. Is he going to steal Faye’s life energy or something? Faye had better watch out. Lee has a master plan, and it’s to heal this catatonic person, not to help Faye. Adam shows Cassie that he set up a Valentine’s Day dinner on his boat. He comforts her after she says that she wanted her father to be good because she didn’t want to believe she was evil like him. Adam assures her that she’s just fine and they make out. On the dock, we see the back of (presumably) John Blackwell and his scarred hand. Finally!

Episode grade: A+

Grey's Anatomy - All You Need is Love recap/review

It’s Valentine’s Day at Seattle Grace, and MerDer are just trying to find a nice, quiet, babyless place to have sex. They try all morning and fail. Rubber duckies are a real mood-killer for these two. At work, Meredith and Bailey get caught up treating a patient with seizures. The spend the day figuring out that there is a tumor on one of her ovaries. They have to sterilize the young woman, and her significant other is depressed about it. Bailey had dinner with Ben planned, but she kept having to push it back. Ben knows Bailey, so he had dinner set up at the hospital, complete with a hired waiter. He anticipated this problem weeks ago. Despite our complete annoyance with everything associated with Bailey’s love life, we smiled. Ben really does have it figured out.

One sad Valentine’s Day case involved a woman whose boyfriend was in an accident after chasing her down. The woman had been dating the guy for eight years, with no proposal. When her boyfriend handed her a little box that contained a locket instead of an engagement ring, she had enough. She vented to Lexie, screamed, and acted like the crazy beeyotch that no one would ever want to marry. Team boyfriend! Also, if he doesn’t propose for that long, girl should move on a lot quicker. The guy ended up dying and the girlfriend learned her lesson about wanting to get married…or something. She was all, “I don’t care about all that stuff anymore.” If only he would live! He didn’t and Lexie opened the Valentine’s day locket, she saw a message that said “marry me.” So if only the woman had opened the locket, the guy wouldn’t have died. Stupid. We already had a “dead guy was about to propose” patient storyline on this show and it was way sadder the first time.

Lexie babysits for MerDer so that they can get some together time in. They even manage to get upstairs to bone while Lexie holds Zola. Richard is not as lucky. He gets home and his wife does not recognize him. We liked Richard’s attitude toward the holiday. “What’s wrong with a day dedicated to the person you love?” Exactly, Richard. We don’t have a whole ton of patience for people who are bitter toward this holiday. Yeah, it’s a fake holiday, but if you are single, remember it’s not all about you. Some people are celebrating what they have and your day will come. Bitterness is not attractive and you are not a lesser person on February 14th or any other day if you don’t happen to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Spend the day with your best girlfriends or buy your cat some kibbles or something. And, yes, this is coming from a single person.

Another Valentine’s Day patient is a little girl brought in because of a peanut allergy. A little boy gave her a cookie with nuts in it and his mom had to bring the girl to the hospital. The little kids are in love and it’s so cute. They are holding hands the entire time. Then the girl’s mom shows up, angry. She doesn’t like the little boy’s mom and thinks it’s crazy that she didn’t know about the allergy. She yells and makes the boy and his mom leave. Karev is all, “They’re cute and in love. Let them be cute.” But no. The moms make the boy go. He tries to refuse, but Karev tells him to write a note for his little girlfriend and Karev will be there when the girl wakes up so that he can read the note to her. The note is really sweet. After reading it, Karev tells the girl, “You picked a good one.” The only thing cuter than these patients is Alex Karev getting all sweet and human when he’s taking care of kids.

Callie has a romantic evening planned for Arizona and Arizona fears that it’s camping, which she hates. Still, she wants the night with Callie, so she tries to get Mark to cancel his evening with Julia and babysit Sofia. Mark loses a match of rock-paper-scissors, which is fine, because Julia had to cancel due to work. Jackson helps Mark babysit and Mark helps Jackson start studying for his boards. They do this with a bottle of wine, which we would think would ruin both the studying and the babysitting. We haven’t done drinking while babysitting (because we are not crummy people), but we have tried drunk studying. That was a fail. Callie and Arizona have a nice night in Derek’s trailer. Lexie nearly admits to Mark that she still loves him but doesn’t.

Of course, most of us were watching and waiting for the fate of our most troubled couple. Owen and Cristina are not speaking. Cristina tells Meredith that she thinks he is going to leave, and that she doesn’t care. She is a surgeon and will not beg. If Owen wants to walk out on her and hate her, fine. There’s nothing she can do about it. The concern on Meredith’s face tells us that she knows Cristina is lying. Cristina breaks the silence by asking her husband if she can go back on Teddy’s service and he immediately agrees to let her. This sort of means that he doesn’t care anymore. He doesn’t want to teach Cristina anything; he just wants to be away from her and not have to talk about it.

As Cristina walks a way, a flower delivery van crashes into the ER and nearly hits her. Owen is able to push Cristina out of the way, and it’s pretty bad ass. He’s faster than the speed of sound. As fast as Edward Cullen, easily. They lie on the hospital floor together and Owen asks if she’s ok. She says yes. He asks, “Are you sure?” She nods, her expression like that of a romantic heroine in a bodice ripper. Owen lets go of her and walks away, abruptly. Worst Valentine’s day ever, ya’ll.

Owen, Cristina, and Teddy have to do surgery together and it’s awkward. Owen and Cristina have to take the elevator together afterward (“I already pushed…. Whatever.” Cristina is so funny.) and Owen tells Cristina that he’s moving out. Cristina says, “Ok,” and manages to keep it together until Owen gets off at his floor. Then she breaks down in tears. We hate when Cristina cries. It always breaks our hearts a little. Owen decides that he needs a friend today, so he tries to talk Teddy into going to Joe’s with him for drinks. He wants Teddy to finally stop hating him. Well THAT’S not happening. Teddy gives him this little gem of a speech:

“Are you done? Are you finished? I hate you. From the moment you decided to put the needs of your hospital over my dead husband, I have hated you. I lie alone at night and I look at the spot where my husband used to sleep and I actively, with every cell in my body, hate you. I wish you were dead instead of him. I think about all the soldiers, good men who died over there in Iraq, and I don’t understand what kind of God would allow you to survive. We are not friends. This is not grief. It will not pass. I hate you! Please, don’t speak to me again, unless it’s work related.”

Whoa. Heavy. Also, WHY? It’s not Owen’s fault Henry died. It would have made no difference if Teddy were told right away. Owen was not the only liar that night; Teddy lied to Cristina about who Cristina would be operating on. We guess Teddy feels betrayed, but we think Owen made a rational decision not to tell Teddy that her husband had died while she was operating on someone. It wasn’t the needs of the hospital. It was the needs of another life. We can’t even… Teddy’s being crazy and that speech was mega-harsh. She said it with extra venom too. It's like back when Jack Bauer killed her husband, only then she actually had a reason to be mad. If Audrey can forgive Jack Bauer and give up her sanity for him, Teddy can let Owen buy her a drink while he rambles about his horrible marriage and dead baby. 

We thought Owen and Cristina were over, for now, but there is still hope for the couple that can’t catch a break. At the end of the episode, Cristina finds Owen in his weird little air duct room, having alone time and looking upset (as usual). She swallows her pride and says, “Please, don’t hate me. I’m begging you.” Then they get close and touch each other a little. Meredith’s voiceover talks about calling truces. The episode leaves us wondering if they will separate a little more amicably (without hate) or if they will give it another go. At this point, either would be logical.

Episode grade: B

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Vampire Diaries - Dangerous Liaisons

While Alaric spends the night in the hospital, presumably under the tender loving care of his new doctor girlfriend, and recovers from the latest Alaric death tease, Elena is nearly being killed by Rebekah. Elijah saves Elena, and we are reminded that we are this close to being Team Elijah. We are sad that he is probably going to die. The next morning, Caroline gets a call from Tyler, telling her that he is going to fix himself as per her dad’s instructions and then come back to her, sire-bond free. Aww.

Meanwhile, Esther plans a ball in the family mansion so that she can get a word with Elena and officially mark her family’s arrival in Mystic Falls. Esther sends an invitation to Elena and on the back it says that it’s time the two meet. Damon vetoes this, thinking that Elena needs to stay far from this ball. He and Stefan will attend without her. Have the Salvatore brothers met this girl? If Elena thinks she can help by going to a ball, she is going to a ball. Her parents and Jenna must have left her a fortune when they died, because Elena shows up in one of the most beautiful evening dresses we have ever seen. We think she should have ditched the gloves though. There was already enough going on with that dress.

Elena gets another dance with Damon (!!!) and there is actually a lot of dance partner switching that night, enabling everyone to have the proper threatening or flirty conversations. Stefan helps Elena ditch Damon’s protection so that she can meet with Esther upstairs, far from the festivities. Stefan breaks Damon’s neck when he isn’t looking, and you know it takes at least a few minutes for a vampire to recover from that. Elena remarks that Stefan doesn’t care about anything anymore, except killing Klaus, and Stefan agrees with her. His facial expression says differently. Elena also thanks Stefan for continuing to respect her choices and let her do her own thing, even after the end (or drought) of their relationship.

Esther lays things out for Elena. She wants to kill all of her children, not just Klaus, because they are abominations. Esther needs a drop of Elena’s blood to put in Klaus, Kol, Finn, Elijah, and Rebekah’s champagne in order to magically bind them for killing at a later date. Elena provides the blood. Oh no, it can’t all be that easy. There has to be some more horrible consequence to this. Besides the death of our favorite Original, Elijah, and the crushing of our favorite new ship (Caroline/Klaus). Finn knows about Esther’s plan and is all for it. That’s weird. Leeard was impressed and liked that Finn knew the Originals need to die. Maybe the linking of the Mikaelson children is not to kill them. Maybe it’s for something else. We pause now to chuckle at how clever their made-up surname is.

Rebekah invites Matt to the ball so that she can kill him in order to hurt Elena, with Kol’s help and approval. But Matt is adorable in a tux and acts a perfect gentleman. Rebekah is completely won over as far as Matt goes and who wouldn’t be? He is adorable and we don’t say it enough. We are too often distracted by Damon. Speaking of Damon: There was a discussion about how Damon is starting to feel too much and it’s becoming a liability. Wow, that guy can’t win. We spent two seasons trying to get him to embrace his humanity, and now that he has, both Stefan and Elena have a problem with it. Not fair.

 Damon tells Elena that he loves her, only to have her respond, “Maybe that’s the problem.” Damon gets all Damon-y again when he sees Kol carrying out the original plan to kill Matt. Right in the middle of the party, Damon throws Kol off the balcony and starts thrashing him. When did Damon get strong enough to completely destroy an Original in a fight. Heh. We liked it, so we won’t question it much. Matt gets off with a crushed hand. Someone feed that boy some vampire blood; he has no health insurance. Rebekah follows Matt to The Grill and he turns her down, even though he thinks she’s cute and fun. The whole crazy vampire family thing is just too much. Damon swoops in and tells Rebekah that she needs a guy who can handle her. That’s how she and Damon end up making aggressive, super-hot lurrrrve. We don’t know if we like that. Well, we don’t like it. Damon belongs to Elena. But we don’t hate it either.

Klaus spends the evening trying to woo Caroline, who shows up wearing a dress Klaus sent her, plus the bracelet, looking like a million bucks. He shows her a horse and tells her a story about his old horse, thousands of years ago. Caroline doesn’t like that Klaus is trying to buy her. She tells him that his problem is that his daddy didn’t love him, so Klaus believes that no one will love him for himself. So Klaus has to manipulate and dagger and sire and buy people in order to not be alone. Caroline stomps off, even more awesome than she was at the beginning of this episode.

When Caroline gets home, she finds a pretty good sketch of herself standing next to a horse. A note at the bottom of the drawing says, “Thank you for your honesty.” Aww. Klaus is a good artist. Love him for that! We do realize that Caroline taking up with Klaus while Tyler is off torturing himself in order to be with her would be the ultimate betrayal. But we can’t help but root for Klaus/Caroline anyway. In a lot of ways, they are a perfect, if unexpected, match.

Episode grade: A-

Alcatraz - Guy Hastings

We are still watching this show, even though we don't usually follow shows with such a procedural format for long (well, Ern doesn't). We figure that once we've seen a couple of procedural episodes, we've as good as seen them all, with the occasional finale or episode that hits it out of the ballpark. However, there's just something about Alcatraz that makes us want to keep watching for now. This week was just OK, despite a few revelations and forward-moving plot. This show could stand to get a little creepier, we think. 

Guy Hastings is the first guard out of the missing 63s. Back in 1963, he’s a good guy and a family man. He loves his wife and has a daughter named Annie. His job at Alcatraz was training new guards. One of the new guards is Ray, the man who raised Rebecca. Young Ray became a guard so that he could get close to Rebecca’s grandfather, Tommy. It was revealed in this episode that Ray and Tommy were actual brothers. Ray changed his last name so that he could become a guard in Alcatraz, because there is no way he would have gotten the job if the hiring committee had known an inmate was his brother. Ray is Rebecca’s real uncle, and now she knows it.

In the present day, Guy Hastings makes a beeline for his old apartment and is surprised by a park ranger. He beats up the park ranger, which gets Hauser, Rebecca, and Doc on his tail. Rebecca and Doc visit the grown Annie, Guy’s daughter who has kids of her own and very fond memories of her dad. Rebecca and Doc ask to see Annie’s father’s old stuff. Annie has a photo of Guy with Ray back when they were guards.  Rebecca then gets a call from a bartender at Uncle Ray’s bar. Uncle Ray is missing.

Guy Hastings grabbed Ray, and Ray was not surprised to see him. Guy is looking for Tommy Madsen, because whoever took the 63s and made them travel through time wants Guy to find Tommy. Ray leads Guy to his old childhood home where he grew up with his brother. Rebecca and Doc figure out the secret sibling-ness and the location of said childhood home. They go there, and Guy grabs Rebecca, holding a gun to her head. Hauser shows up (he has a tracking device on Rebecca’s car) and Rebecca shoots Guy in the leg to keep Hauser from taking him out.

Guy is arrested, but Hauser isn’t as mean to this one. Guy was not a criminal and what happened to him was undeserved. Hauser lets Guy get a glimpse of Annie and her family before taking him wherever the guards are going to go. Hauser says that this is the one look at his family Guy is ever going to get. Sad.

Rebecca figures out that there is something unique about Tommy, and that Hauser needs someone connected to Tommy in order to succeed. Hauser admits that he offered her Uncle Ray a similar job, years ago. Rebecca realizes that she has leverage over Hauser by her very cooperation. Finally, Tommy comes into Ray’s bar. Ray tells Tommy that he needs to stay away, because he is putting Rebecca in danger. In fact, if Ray sees his brother again, he is going to shoot him.

Episode grade: B-

The River - Magus and Marbeley

We watched both hours of this creepy little show, and at the end of those episodes, we still aren’t sure if we like it. It has a lot of elements that we enjoy. We like the horror and supernatural elements, the mystery, most of the cast, the Blair Witch Project-y filming, and the speed at which answers are dispensed. The story was decent. We think the failure of the characters to grab us in the first two hours is what made this show tedious to watch at times. We just didn’t enjoy watching it as much as we wanted to, even though we decided that it was objectively pretty good. We are going to keep watching. It’s different than almost anything else on TV, and the first season will only be seven episodes (eight if you count these as two, even though they aired the same night), so we should probably give it the full season. Maybe the characters will become people to us soon. We admire this show's weirdness.

Dr. Emmet Cole, a TV naturalist, disappeared in the Amazon and was declared dead. His wife, Tess, gets a deal with the network to fund her journey to find her husband, as long as they get to tape everything…and as long as the Cole family’s only child, the grown Lincoln, goes with them. Lincoln is estranged from his father (because all the long trips into the wild for TV took the father away from his family) and would rather stay home and finish medical school, believing his father to be dead. He can’t refuse his mother’s pleas and finds himself on a boat, on a river, in the Amazon, looking for his father.

Our first complaint is that Lincoln could definitely be hotter. The actor needs to eat some cheeseburgers. Our second complaint is that Tess (generic widow name) is played by Leslie Hope, who annoyed us as Jack Bauer’s wife in 24. She does a fair bit of screaming in The River and we don’t appreciate it. She is also too thin to really be attractive, but at least she has hair on this show.

Along for the ride is a produce, Clark, that Tess probably boned and a camera crew. Clark is played by another 24 (and Lipstick Jungle!) alum, Paul Blackthorne, who used to be decent looking, but age isn’t doing him any favors. At least he still has his British accent. At the last minute, the gang is joined by Lincoln’s childhood friend and daughter of the cameraman who went missing with Dr. Emmet Cole. Her name is Lena, and she’s a pretty blonde. She does not annoy us, as you might expect. Nope, all that is saved for screeching, manipulative, cheating Tess.

There are two more players on this boat who need a mention. There is the Captain, Emilio Valenzuela (pretty last name). He worked with Dr. Cole in the past and has a psychic daughter named Jahel, who is also beautiful. Jahel speaks no English. The network and Tess have hired a professional bodyguard named Kurt Brynildson. He is very German, and yet his accent doesn’t come across as gay, like most German accents. If we had to do any guy on this boat, it might be him, quite frankly.

Lena helps them find Dr. Emmet Cole’s abandoned ship, the Magus. Inside, they find a mysterious force that tears Lena’s leg. She needs stitches. Through psychic Jahel and the examination of the evidence on the boat, they decide that the force is the ghost of Emmet Cole’s last producer, Cam Travers. The ghost destroys the group’s rafts and engines. Uh oh. Sh*t just got real. Everyone panics, and it’s funny. They figure out that the reason the ghost was encased in the Magus was because Dr. Emmett Cole trapped it in the ship in the first place. That was their solution, so our crew decides that they need to do a blood ritual and re-trap it.

During the ritual, Tess screams at the ghost, asking if her husband is still alive. She gets a reply: Yep. Dr. Emmett Cole is alive. Lincoln changes his tune of reluctance and is ready to plunge forward in the search for is dad. Lena brought 104 archive tapes of the mission that brought Dr. Emmett Cole to the Amazon anyway. He was looking for a) real magic and b) something called The Source, and the journey involved shamanism and magic and other weirdness. The German bodyguard has orders to take Dr. Emmett Cole out if the doctor has found The Source. We don’t know who the orders are from.

In the second hour, one of Dr. Emmett Cole’s trained dragonflies goes into Jahel’s mouth so that the doctor can use her as a mouthpiece to talk to his wife. Dr. Emmet Cole tells Tess that she needs to give up the search and go home. Something bad happened to him, but he wants his wife out of it. One thing we do like about Tess is her determination to find this guy. The gang goes into the jungle and finds a tree covered in dirty, creepy dolls. Of course, they move a little. There’s also a really great shot of a small monkey holding a doll face in front of its own. It turns around, removes the doll face, and makes its monkey noises. That was kind of a scary moment, even though it doesn’t sound scary. Dude, the dolls are creepy. We’re telling you.

The group decides that this is the perfect place to set up camp. This tree has to do with a spirit and the dolls are gifts to appease its anger or whatever. Lincoln sees his old teddybear hanging from the tree and we get a flashback to Dr. Emmett Cole giving his son a serious…and creepy…talk. The gist is 1) there’s a pendulum of life and death, 2) someone might stop it from swinging, and 3) Lincoln might be the child strong enough to do something. Then Dr. Emmett Cole gives Lincoln a necklace, but we see later that Lena might be the person destined for this vague, mysterious greatness.

Lincoln takes his teddybear back and this angers the tree. The spirit tries to steal Lincoln’s mommy by pulling her into a muddy stream. Lincoln and the others try to put the teddybear back, but it is rejected and falls off the tree many times, even though they tie it on securely. Lincoln hears the legend of the spirit of the tree and figures out what he has to do, which is dig up a corpse and throw it in the river. Tess is pushed back from underground, alive. This whole tree thing was pretty entertaining and just the fun kind of scary that produces a few jumps and a few good laughs. It’s not campy enough that you can’t take it seriously enough to watch, but you can tell the show isn’t taking itself too seriously either. It's nice to see a horror show that doesn't just go right for shock and is building to something.

Episode grade (for both): B

Parenthood - Politics

Over the course of this season, Parenthood has been more about the nice little moments and dramatic arguments than furthering storylines. Actual plot movement have been slow. How long have we been rooting for Sarah and Mark and wondering if they will have a baby? How long have we been waiting to see if Snarky Coffee Girl will actually give her baby to Julia and Joel? Jasmine and Crosby have been circling each other, on and off again, since the start of the series. This episode had some substantial plot development though.

Sarah meets Mark’s friends and his ex-girlfriend. She’s pretty and she dated Mark for six years, through high school and college. Her name is Camille and she climbs mountains or whatever. She kept asking Mark if he was gonna “do Machu Picchu.” Some people can’t take a year out of their lives to train to climb mountains, Camille, because they are real adults. Sarah freaks, feeling old, and also doesn’t want to put pressure on Mark, tie him down, or keep him from climbing Machu Picchu. Mark tries to make Sarah feel included and tells her that they should take a trip and have an adventure. Sarah has a mini meltdown and has to get out of the car, on the highway, walk away from the vehicle and cry.

Sarah turns around as Mark follows her. “Look, I’m 40. My eggs are drying up and they might already be duds. We can’t climb Machu Picchu if you want a baby. We have to start fertilizing now. Get your swimmers in here, or find a younger woman who can gallivant with you now and breed with you later.” Yeah, we put that into our own words. Mark says he doesn’t want any of that. He wants a baby with Sarah and if it has to be now, then it’s going to be now. Awww. Well, then make it already! And please let it succeed. After Sex and the City, Friends, Julia on this show, Grey’s Anatomy, LOST, and Desperate Housewives, we’ve had enough infertility issues. We know. It’s important and it happens to lots of women. It’s heartbreaking. But, for this couple, having a baby will be more interesting to watch than trying to have a baby and failing.

Zoe moved out of Julia’s home, leaving a note, because Sid asked awkward questions like, “What should the baby’s name be?” Sid also asked where the baby will stay in the house. In Zoe’s room? We get Zoe moving out. It was bound to happen after the baby came, because who would want to live with the baby they are giving away for weeks on end? How heartbreaking would it be to live with a family, as part of it, and then have to leave and leave your baby at the same time. We totally get this and actually think that Julia should have foreseen it and gotten Zoe an apartment right off the bat. Zoe can’t express this, so she tells Julia over the phone that she just needed her space.

Julia freaks, wondering if Zoe will continue with the adoption. Joel goes down to Zoe’s cruddy neighborhood and tells Zoe that he needs to know her final decision. Is she still going to give them the baby? Zoe says that of course she is, but she feels that she should have had a closed adoption and really can’t handle all the emotions and the awkwardness of living with the family. We really feel bad for this girl and fear that this story can’t have a fully happy ending.

UGH, Jasmine is still so obviously in love with Crosby that she even knows it. Dr. Joe asked Jasmine to move in with him and she says yes, after talking with Crosby. Crosby tries to keep his cool, but he gets a little snarky. He really should have gone sincere, apologized again for cheating, and asked her to give him another change. By the look on her face, she might have this time. Crosby and Adam go get drunk, and this ends up with Crosby lying wasted on the floor, talking to Lily about Jasmine. Lily doesn’t say anything…yet. But now she knows that Crosby is still in love with his ex. That’s gonna kill Crosby/cello girl. We don’t care that much. She’s a nice girl, but this isn’t a romance for the ages.

We are rooting for Bob and Amber. She’s young, but he’s not married and they are totally adorable. This could come off as creepy or as a powerful man taking advantage of a situation, but Bob seems to sincerely like Amber. They are both adults. There is nothing wrong with it. Bob promoted Amber to be his assistant and then they kiss when they stay late to work, alone. At first, Amber is upset that she was promoted seemingly because of Bob’s crush, but he convincingly tells her that he promoted her because she was smart and he kissed her because he liked her mixture of toughness and vulnerability. We will accept it. You're on this ice, Bob, but we are loving the adult storyline for Amber now that she's out of the house.

Episode grade: B+ for plot progression. Yay!

Being Human - I Loathe You (For Sentimental Reasons)

Aidan is having trouble with his cravings and goes to visit the old donor lady again. She opened the door and the sight of her really bummed us out. She looked drained. Sickly. Aidan had to leave, because if he sucked on her nasty-looking, cut up, scarred arms again, she would die. Suren met a local mob boss who wants to be turned into a vampire. In exchange, he will provide access to all the corrupt politicians and cops in the city. He will also provide security, hunting down the last of the orphans. Aidan is against turning this man, even though he is not all bad. He provides protection for some citizens and brought a rogue orphan to Suren’s doorstep for her to stake.

Aidan goes back to the old donor lady’s apartment and a child answers the door, clearly being offered as food. To his credit, Aidan doesn’t just leave, he bolts. He decides to turn the mob boss for Suren but loses control and kills him. Suren joins in to feast and gets what she really wants: Aidan, romantically.

We got to see some 1930s flashbacks of Aidan and Suren, and the nature of their relationship. Sexual, obviously. Aidan had an underling that he turned. The underling was unsatisfied with the perks of being a vampire, because he had to serve under Aidan, and Aidan was charged with babysitting Suren. Mother was in full control over Suren, and Suren wanted to run away with Aidan. Aidan refused, so Suren slept with Aidan’s underling. Aidan tried to kill the betrayer, but Suren stopped him, saying that Aidan made his choice. We hope that’s the last we see of Aidan’s awful little mustache.

Josh’s plot this week was interesting. He met two werewolf siblings who were Born This Way, baby. Brynn and Connor are a little wild, and Connor ends up in the psych ward after getting into a fight. Brynn spots Josh in the hospital, is able to tell he is a wolf, and convinces Josh to help her break Connor out. They couldn’t have him turning into a werewolf in a few days, after all. It wouldn’t be safe. They take Josh out to party, revealing that because they were born wolves, they always felt the way he does on the day of a full moon. That’s why Connor is so aggressive.

Connor has to use an herb called wolfsbane to keep himself calm. It wasn’t really his fault he got into a fight if you take that into account, but Josh still doesn’t like Connor. He thinks the siblings are spoiled, because they party and are rich. Josh tells them that he is looking for a way to cure lycanthropy, and they offer their support…and money. Josh refuses at first, because he doesn’t like the siblings. Aidan tells Josh to get a grip and take their help.

Josh calls them into his storage unit lab and explains that he is looking for a trigger, so that he can turn it off. The siblings get excited, because they realize that if Josh finds that trigger, he will be able to turn it ON for them all the time. They don’t want a cure to be human. They want to be permanent wolves. Brynn explains to Josh that she feels wrong inside 29 days a month, while Josh feels bad for one day a month. Josh sympathizes. Brynn is drop-dead gorgeous and might cause a love triangle between Josh and Nora. Both women are likeable, but if Josh abandons Nora at this point for someone so unpredictable and clearly animalistic, we will have a hard time forgiving him.

Sally still wants to reincarnate, and Zoe invites her to a ghost support group meeting. There, Sally sees her dead ex-date, Nick. When we last saw Nick, he was really obsessed with his own death and relived it by drowning every day, in order to feel something. Sally gave him the boot. Nick is now dating Zoe, and he has stopped drowning himself. He is a lot better. This upsets Sally, because she can’t understand why Nick could get better for Zoe and not her. Sally thinks that she should have a shot at healthy Nick, seeing as they are both dead.

So, yeah, Ern doesn't think Sally was making any sense this week, but Leeard felt really bad for her and could fully relate. Breaking up with someone because they won't change, and then finding out that they changed for someone else really hurts. Sally sees a couple kissing passionately and saying gushy stuff to each other. Ripped apart by jealousy and loneliness, Sally loses her damn mind and possesses the woman so that she can continue the makeout session. This guy was not even hot and not worth risking your existence over.

This was a fine episode, but it wasn’t as intense as other episodes, and it didn’t suck us in as much as previous weeks. We enjoyed the Jack Bauer/Chloe/24 reference by Josh though. This show has been renewed for a third season, so that’s good news.

Episode grade: B

Glee First Listen Friday - Heart

Reviews of next week's Glee songs

"Cherish/Cherish" by Quinn, Sam, Joe, and Mercedes - Joe is Samuel from The Glee Project, the winner who will finally be appearing. You know, the guy with the dreds. This song is ok. You know we like Quinn, Sam, and Mercedes’ voices. It is possible that Joe will be romancing Quinn. Grade: B- and possible download if we like the performance and the song grows on us.

"Home" by Rory - It sounds like Rory will be moving on. If this is true, we are not devastated. Glee doesn’t know what to do with him, so it’s best for the show to let him go. Michael Buble is a good choice for this kid to cover, but we find this song boring. It’s a nice cover, but Rory was always lovable for his personality (which the show ruined), not his singing. Grade: C and no download

"And I Will Always Love You" by Mercedes - This is clearly the Whitney Houston version rather than the superior, original version. You know Mercedes can handle this song vocally, but her version lacks a certain passion and oomph that Whitney was able to pull off.  You all know this song, so you tell US if it’s good or if you would want it. We don’t want it, because we are bored with that song after decades of hearing it. Still…good job, Amber Riley. You should be a superstar. Grade: B and no download. The original is better and we have it.

"L-O-V-E" by Mike and Tina - This is a cute song and these two are cute too, but it’s not exactly something we have to have. The Asians been pulled from isolation to do this number and remind us that they are still together and that they exist. They are our stable couple on Glee, haha. Hideous background music on this track, but we liked that they turned it into a duet. However, might this have been the perfect song for Rory rather than boring old "Home"? Grade: B- and no download

"Let Me Love You" by Artie - Ughhhhhhhhh. Just when we were starting to worry about the music this week, they confirm our worst fears with an Artie song when Rachel doesn’t have one yet!!! This song is good, but Artie is singing it. Grade: C- and no download. We’ll stick with the original here.

"Loveshack" by Mercedes, Blaine, Kurt, Rachel, Santana, and Brittany - "Loveshack" isn’t the kind of song that we’d sit and listen to, because…it’s crazy and slightly cringe-worthy, but this is a fun version. It fits the voices and the performance is probably going to be a hoot. Kurt isn’t as good at the speaking portions as his boyfriend is. We’re afraid Blaine is the only person on Earth who could pull that off right now. We have to give this a good grade, even if we won’t buy it. Grade: A- and possible download.

"You’re the Top" by Leroy and Hiram Berry - Rachel’s dads are even weirder than she is! It looks like they are going for humor here, but you can tell they can both sing. You can’t beat a boy/girl Broadway version of this song, and we already have it. Grade: B- and no download

"Stereo Hearts" by Sam, Mercedes, Quinn & Joe- We have a song with rap with NO ARTIE OR WILL SCHUSTER! That’s a win all by itself. We love the harmony in this song and the addition of the ladies, and then the background voices in the last chorus. Samuel Larson does a good job here. He wasn’t a fan favorite for this role, but his voice fits the show. Everyone is sick of this song, but this version is deserving of a few listens. Grade: A- and possible download.

Overall, we are disappointed and miss Rachel Berry, but anything is better than last week.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Revenge - Perception recap/review

More goes down than usual in this episode of Revenge. Daniel and Amanda have sent out their Fire & Ice engagement party invitations, so we are reminded that answers about the possible murder will be answered soon when we get to see that party episode.

Conrad Grayson’s father comes to town after hearing about his son’s impending divorce. Grandpa is played by guest star William Devane, who 24 fans will recognize as the Secretary of Defense and father of Audrey Raine. That guy who chopped Jack Bauer in the throat and lived to tell the tale. We had a love/hate relationship with that man. Grandpa Grayson doesn’t want his son’s divorce to tarnish the family name and hurt the company he started, like the David Clarke thing did.

Conrad suddenly needs Victoria to play nice and tell Grandpa Grayson that Conrad is doing things well. Victoria agrees to keep things running smoothly, as long as they settle the divorce out of court and Conrad continues being a father to Charlotte.

Jack finds the tape of Mason Treadwell’s interview with young Amanda Clarke and gets Nolan to play it for him. It requires archaic devices like a VHS player for small tapes. Whatever those were called. In doing this, Nolan strays from Amanda’s wishes and instructions. He really came into his own in this episode. He decided that Jack deserved answers, since he got his heart and ribs broken, and chose to be a good friend to him. This was a big move on Nolan’s part. We wonder if and how Amanda will respond.

Jack loses his shit after seeing the tape. The tape showed him that Amanda was just a poor little girl that everyone gave up on, and that Victoria didn’t come clean to protect her. Jack goes to Emily’s hotel room and begs her to open her door to him. He tells her that he saw the tape. Emily does not open the door. At this time, the Graysons are having a fancy dinner with Grandpa Grayson, Declan, Charlotte, Daniel, Amanda, Conrad, and Victoria all in attendance. Jack storms in to confront Victoria for hiding her affair with David Clarke and keeping Amanda falsely imprisoned so that she wouldn’t talk.

Amanda just watches all of this go down, silently, even though she was the catalyst for all of it. We loved that. That’s the best revenge. No one suspects her. No one. She does look concerned for the Grayson children though. Everyone freaks out. Conrad stands and reveals that Charlotte is David’s daughter and that Jack is telling the truth. Daniel counters that Victoria was raped and soon realizes that his mother lied to him. Conrad tells everyone that the affair with David Clarke was a long one. Victoria leaves the table, not even trying to defend herself.

Conrad walks out of the house, but Grandpa Grayson catches up with him. Grandpa Grayson says that maybe Conrad’s days as CEO of Grayson Global are numbered. Since he coldly treats his family like it’s just another business, perhaps Daniel should take over. Conrad counters that Daniel is only a child. Grandpa Grayson points out that when he was Daniel’s age, he started the company. When Daniel marries, he will get controlling shares of the company too. Oooh. Charlotte is devastated and goes back to the bar with Declan. She starts drinking. Oooh, rebellious. Emily chases Jack’s car away from the hotel as he drives off and clearly loves him, or at least feels bad for putting Jack through all this.

When Amanda returns to her house after the dinner, she finds that her secret compartment for the infinity x infinity box is open, its contents gone. Inside is an RSVP card for the Fire & Ice party. The “will attend” box is marked and the name on the card says, “Emily Thorne.” Dun Dun Dunnnnn. Does that mean it was Emily Thorne who left the RSVP? Or is it someone else? Some are proposing that it is Ashley, and that Ashley has her own master plan. 

We think this has merit. After all, there were plenty of victims on the flight and many could be related to anyone on this show, and why else does Ashley exist? Maybe the thief is Lydia. We kind of hope it’s Jack. Or that David Clarke is somehow alive. We also have to wonder who is going to shoot Daniel soon. Is it his dad, who needs to keep his company? Any of the aforementioned people? Is the body even Daniel?Will Tyler make a reappearance, this time with a loaded gun? Unlikely.


  • This episode gave us some shirtless Jack, which we appreciated. A fisherman indeed.
  • Amanda’s fake Boston accent was hideous, but we actually thought her nerdy, brown-haired incarnation, complete with glasses was adorable. We were probably supposed to note that Daniel didn’t notice her before she was blonde and had good clothes, but we really can’t blame him, due to the hat. A hat like that just screams, “Don’t notice me! I will turn you down, because I’m a hippie and I’m studying.”
  • We had a moment where we saw how old Conrad Grayson looks. He looks nearly as old as his father. Victoria is waaaaay too hot for him, even if her hair and lips aren't looking too good in this episode. 
  • We have waited a long time for the Fire & Ice episode. We deserve to see it, especially after all the recent hiatuses this show has put us through. This episode went a little ways into making up for it. 
Episode grade: B+

The Voice - Season 2, Week 1

We have decided that this is the most tolerable of the reality shows searching for singers. First of all, there is less time wasting on this show. The overall running times are reasonable, unlike worst time-sucking offender The X-Factor, which asks us to dedicate several hours per week. The Voice also has less spectacle and shock value. It’s less annoying. There are fewer bright lights flashing in our faces and overeager hosts. We like that this show doesn’t make fun of people or bring through all the rejects. Nobody buys that Simon and Randy screen all these people first, and yet the Idol and X-Factor formats are designed to make us think they sit through everyone and have the biggest say on who gets picked. They don’t.

One thing that makes this show great is that they offer downloads of the singers’ covers on iTunes from the start, rather than just when the people hit the top 12 or so (and that it will eventually count in the voting). We also like that the singers pick their coaches and that only one judge has to like you for you to get a shot. It’s kind of annoying when the singers say, “This is such a tough decision.” MANY of them say that, and you roll your eyes, because you know these people have researched the judges, their connections, and their credentials, and they know who they want, for the most part. The show DOES begin with the highest level of talent, but it’s a little lame that the show claims to judge people entirely on their voices.

That’s just not true. The producers and showrunners screen these people for looks and sob stories. Only the judges evaluate these people on voice alone, but they only get to evaluate from a pool pre-selected and probably even screen tested by the producers. This method does serve to make the show classier and it reduces the focus on looks, but it shouldn’t claim that it goes for voice alone. We love that all the judges have different sounds and do current music. Simon is still looking for Celine Dion 2.0. These judges are looking for something different. Yeah, they tend to favor their own genres and voices like their own, but since they all sound so different, that results in variety.

Let’s get right into the contestants we saw this week on Monday and Superbowl Sunday.
  • RaeLynn was the first. We loved her. She did have a little Miranda Lambert going on, and that’s fine. Ern is not a country fan, and even she enjoyed this performance.
  • Jesse Campbell started out bashing his ex, saying that she left him because he couldn’t provide the lifestyle she wanted. Uh…yeah. Relationships are usually more complicated than that, and that sounds like one side of the story. He should have kept that tidbit to himself. Bashing exes on TV is immature. We do like how committed to his daughter he was. He had a good voice AND a sob story (homelessness) so you knew he was getting on this show. He’s not one of our faves, but the voice is there. We're pretty sure all of the judges thought of Javier Colon when Jesse started singing.
  • Daniel Rosa was our first crier of the season. His voice was too breath-y due to nerves. The ending was ok, but the beginning was way too rough for him to have a chance. No one picked him and the judges told him to work on pitch and control. This is something else we enjoy about The Voice: we feel like the coaches are actually helping the people they don't choose, and still encourage them to pursue their dreams.
  • Juliet Simms had a little of what Ern calls goat vibrato, and we are starting to get tired of singers who can only get character in their singing by growling. The judges, however, loved her “gruffness” and “dirt.” Leeard liked her, overall, and Ern admits that her riffs were right on and, underneath the poseur rock raps, she had a nice tone. We loved Christina making fun of Adam during this round. We also like that Juliet walked out of there feeling “accepted for who she is.” That’s always nice.
  • Chris Mann came in with just the right sob story. Cancer mom. But he also came in with a risky song choice. Opera people coming into these things singing operatic songs in other languages? That makes it rough for the judges to see them making modern music. Lots of classically trained singers have put their voices into powerhouse pop, like Pat Benatar. We thought this guy would be shown the door, but the judges proved they want variety. We like that Chris had the guts to go in as himself, rather than “shrink his voice to fit popular music.” If Cee Lo can dig opera, anyone can.
  • Tony Lucca was Christina’s former Mickey Mouse Club castmate. The producers had to tell Christina who he was, and she gave him some very belated info - Britney Spears had a crush on him. She went a tad crazy years later, but we have a feeling Tony is still regretting not having these facts earlier, haha. As a singer, he was good, but one of us didn’t like the way he snubbed Christina by not telling her who he was and by not picking her as a coach. It came off as jealousy. One of us is completely fine with his decisions; he chose the coach he thought would help them the most, and he didn't make her feel bad in front of the audience by basically calling her out on not remembering him.
    • The second hour started with the judges performing. Man, Christina is a great live singer. Cee Lo is pretty good too. Blake was a little too different than the others, so he didn’t fit as nicely into the performance with his country sound (side note: shut up, Ern. He was awesome). Adam was a little too quiet in front of all that loud background music. We would like to thank Christina for not dressing like a hooker who only has access to clothing three sizes too small for her. We think Christina has a great body, but no matter what size or shape you are, you have to know how to dress it to your advantage. It's not just for curvy girls like Aguilera. It's the same way if you are a skinny stick who just goes straight down. You don't want to be wearing long, slinky dresses that will just emphasize your lack of hips. Christina seems to have learned her lesson after last year's famous short shorts. Ladies, retire the short shorts after the age of 28. Now if she would just lose the rings. She could also use a different hair color. We don’t think that’s the right shade of blonde for her. The best thing might be a light brown, frankly. The performance was nice and short. Again with the no time wasting. There are also a reasonable number of commercial breaks on this show.
  • The duo The Line was nice, but we were unenthused, overall. Together, they sound fine. We thought it was funny how pissed Blake was when the rest of the judges turned around so that they could horn in on his country duo.
  • Jamar Rogers, you had a good voice and were rightly chosen for this show. Sorry about the HIV, bro. One of us immediately remembered him from Idol (like 3 years ago) and is glad to see him again.
  • Neal Middleton, why wouldn’t you tell us how you fell off that building in the first place? That sounds like a part of the story we need to hear. We loved his sweet, supportive wife, but this guy needs to give up the rock star dream. He is 33 and needs to seek his health insurance elsewhere. He picked a great song ("Heard It Through the Grapevine"), but he had a butt-rock/Creed-like voices we didn’t care for. There is no way he would have won the show, because his sound is not unique. We completely agreed with Blake, too: he shouldn't have started (and stayed at) 10.
  • Country crooner Gwen Sebastian had to choose between using her drying up eggs and making it in music while the face is still good. Ahh, the challenges we women face. Gwen picked music over babies and tried out for The Voice. One of us thought she had an annoying voice at first, but through her song, the tone got more appealing. We are happy to see her succeed and like her, overall. We don’t think she will make it far though.
  • Pamela Rose was so attractive that she would have been picked if the judges could have seen her. Roll on over to Simon Cowell, girl. He’s the patron saint of hotties who can’t sing. Pamela’s earrings were obnoxiously large and her voice was shout-y and pitchy. The song she chose was appropriately titled "Already Gone".
  • Kim Yarbrough had great skin, especially for a 50-year-old woman. We agreed with her that if you say old people aren’t allowed to sing, you are depriving the world of something. That something is probably more substantial, wiser lyrics. However, the industry panders to teens, and teens want to see young people. Kim had a decent alto. We want to hear her sing a different song before we make our minds up about her.
  • Angie Johnson was next. She was the military chick and THIS is the story that got Ern, stalwart backstory hater. Just give us the singing! Here, Ern got chills, because there’s something about all this Band of Brothers business that melts her a bit. We preferred Angie’s voice singing "Rolling in the Deep" on the youtube video, but she was still pretty good in her audition. "Heartbreaker" was a bad choice. We think she is better at clear-voiced pop than rock. Christina was starting to annoy us with the fake-presses. She lets her hand hover and then jerks it away. Attention whoring. We’re rooting for Angie and we want to see her sing something else, soon. That song made her sound too generic. Good job hitting your button, Cee Lo.
  • Dez gave up on Yale to move away and pursue singing. MORON, wait until after graduation. You will look and sound the same, and there will still be a singing competition show. Probably the same ones. You were in YALE!!! The judges were angry when they saw that they gave up on a cutie. Everyone thought Adam would feel his sound and style, sing it was high pop, like Adam sings. But Adam’s face let us know immediately that he would never have pushed the button for this kid. He was firm in his decision. Dez did not do well and was rightly booted. We're pretty sure he'll be one of the singers they bring back in a few weeks for second chance auditions.
  • After that, we saw our current favorite, Lindsey Pavao. Her version of "Say Aah" was so much better than the Trey Songz version. It actually had a melody in her version. Her jazzy version made the song and lyrics sound almost haunting/eerie. When she told the “shorty” to say aah and that she knew he was thirsty, it sounded like she was some sort of unique-voiced vixen dragging this “shorty” right to the bowels of debauchery. We mean that in the best possibly way. It’s always a good idea to bend the gender on songs, meaning that guys should cover girls songs and the other way around. It instantly makes it more unique and more your own, and it’s harder to compare you to the original singer. We both downloaded this performance and it’s even better recorded. Good call, Christina. Adam, you are crazy. Although maybe he was able to foresee her crazy hair. It was a HALF BUZZCUT. Good lord, why?
  • Hoja Lopez followed, covering "Teenage Dream". She had weird pronunciation and bad pitch. Was she trying to do some sort of accent? We agree with the judges for not picking her. These judges didn’t let good people slip away and knew when not to push the button. They didn’t make a mistake once, through all the different genres, styles, and ages. They really know their stuff. We frequently scream at our screens during American Idol auditions when good people are let go.
  • Jermaine Paul, friend of Alicia Keys, picked a bad song to audition with, but his voice came through anyway. And WOW, Alicia, way to make a good luck recording that sounded totally insincere and rehearsed. Bleck. Also, stop growling, people. We understand that it can be appealing, but it’s overdone lately.
  • We left off with Angel Taylor, our second favorite. We would have liked her better if she hadn’t picked an ADELE song. That version is hard to stand up to. Also, everyone has heard it so many times that we are a) tired of it and b) so used to ADELE singing it that any other voice just sounds wrong doing it. Except for Glee’s Santana and Mercedes, maybe. Angel sang the word “heard” weirdly too. It distracted us. This girl had a record deal before and was dropped from her label (as happens frequently on this show). Ern actually had her album, years ago, and her voice was decent on it. It was the songwriter who should have been chucked, not her. Check out the song “Chai Tea Latte.” It was probably the best song on that CD. Angel has a really nice voice and a sob story that tugged our heartstrings enough that we would call it “effective.” We think she should do well in the competition and we like that this show gives people second chances. Several great artists needed second chances. We also loved her family’s reaction during the audition. They seem like a riot. More of them, please! In this day and age, if Angel makes it big, we might have a reality show with this crowd to look forward to. Any family has to be more entertaining than those boring-ass Kardashians.
 We will likely cover this in the following weeks. It deserves it, and we don't cover reality TV enough (because most of it sucks). Drinking game: Take a shot every time we are forced to use the phrase "sob story."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gossip Girl - The Back-up Dan

The first half of this episode was slooooow. Dair did NOT happen, as we might have thought they would, since Blair ran away from her wedding reception with Dan. No, instead the two hung around the airport, trying to get Blair a flight to the Dominican Republic, which is apparently a country where a bride can get a quick divorce without the groom’s signature. What about an annulment, Blair? Louis married you under false pretences. He pretended to love you and then said horrible things to you right after. You’ve only been married for hours. There’s no judge in the world that wouldn’t give you this, and prenups are void when there is an annulment. UGH! Stupid!

Blair spends a long time in her wedding dress when she and Dan totally could have dropped by a store to get her a change of normal clothes on the way to the airport. When Blair can’t get a flight because she didn’t bring her passport, Dan takes her to a hotel. Blair moans and groans about Dan’s poverty and inability to fix things for her. Dan retorts that he’s been a good friend. That’s RIGHT Blair. Bad hair boy is not your servant. Blair apologizes, and the two hug. That’s really all we get from the two of them. We don’t really blame Blair, because Dan is such a sexless little creature. Who would bone him at this point? Serena, but that’s it.

Blair is reminded that she signed a prenuptial agreement that says if she doesn’t stay married to Louis for a year, her family will have to pay some extravagant dowry mentioned in the agreement. Blair’s mom would have to sell her business to raise the funds. Call. A. Lawyer. Oh my God, this is KILLING Ern. Blair got into an Ivy League school and her mother owns a very successful BUSINESS. Why can they not do rational things to get Blair out of a sham marriage and a bad, archaic contractual obligation?

Nate and Lola/real Charlie almost started hanging out, but Nate heard her lie to her mom. Apparenly Aunt Carol thinks this girl goes to Michigan State, but she is in NYC trying to be an actress and going to Julliard. Wow, Real Charlie is a master of lies. Nate forgives her once he hears that her mother is overprotective, but Real Charlie is hesitant to enter Nate’s rich world, especially after he joked about his rich cousin trying to kill him. She needs to stay drama-free, what with the secret life and all.

Georgina runs around trying to make trouble and we find out that she has not been Gossip Girl for the last five years. Georgie took over after the Chuck/Blair accident, filling in for the real Gossip Girl, who is MIA. We feel lied to by the show and the showrunners who gave interviews about the Georgina twist last week, but we are glad Georgina isn’t Gossip Girl. No one was a fan of that reveal, we think.

Serena, Chuck, and Georgina show up at the hotel where Blair is and Georgina tells everyone that it was Serena who sent the love confession video that ruined the wedding last week. Blair is angry at Serena, but Serena just walks out, feeling like they are even because Blair whisked Dan away, knowing how Serena feels about him. After hours of getting no response from Dan, Serena feels like he has answered her question. She is rejected. Good! Stop stalking him, girl.

Later, Serena tells Chuck that she took the blame for the video so that he and Blair could be together. She didn’t send it. Chuck tells her that he didn’t send it either. Only Georgina knows the real sender. Yawn. It’s Dan. We don’t know why Serena and Chuck don’t just decide it’s Georgina and call it a day. The wedding is ruined, no one wanted to see it happen, and whoever did it deserves a medal. Who cares who did it guys.

Chuck offers to save Blair, buying her out of marriage with Louis by paying the dowry. We LOVE good Chuck. Blair decides that they must be equals if they are ever going to work and doesn’t want to go into a relationship with Chuck owing him anything. Ugh, there’s that girl power again ruining Chuck and Blair. Besides, Blair doesn’t want Chuck buying her from Louis. The buying and selling of Blair is what ruined them in season three. Eleanor tells the mean queen that her daughter is not for sale and that she too is willing to pay the dowry. Blair tells her mother no too and goes off with Louis on their honeymoon. It’s only a year, right? Gross, but this is way more believable an obstacle than Blair’s deal with God.

Good lines:
Chuck: “Why would she be on the roof?” Serena: “I don’t know, maybe I’ve seen The Hangover too many times.” Plus 2
“You think I’d be insulted by somebody who carries a Samsonite?”
“That’s not a Dorota knock. She’s a stickler for ‘Shave and a Haircut.’” So is Ern. And Leeard's dad.

GUESS WHAT WE JUST REMEMBERED? Cyrus, Eleanor’s husband and Blair’s stepfather, WHO LIVES WITH THEM is a DIVORCE and entertainment attorney. We are going to strangle these writers.

Episode grade: B-

New Girl - Landlord

Sooooo Julia’s final episode is still to come, eh? Good. Has anyone else noticed that the name “Julia” is getting a lot of use on TV? That’s the in-name right now, we guess. This week could not top last week, but last week set the bar higher than ever, not just for this show, but for all comedies. However, this episode continued the trend of explaining and defending Jess. She is positive because people have treated her well. She’s cute and innocent, and people respond to her as if she were a woodland creature. She lives in a bubble of kindness and sincere warmth. How nice for her. Nick comes along to represent everyone else.

Since the doctrine of Original Sin came into being, and possibly before that, a debate has raged: Are people good deep down inside or evil deep down inside? One of us suspects that the answer is “both.” There is a leaning and possibility in both directions, for everyone. They both come from inside. Most questions in life can be accurately answered by blending the two opposing viewpoints, but if people did that, how could Democrats and Republicans fight and hate each other all day!?! So the debate rages on. This part of the plot reminded one of us of the Debate 109 episode of Community. On New Girl, Jess believes that people are fundamentally good, because she is an optimist and people treat her nicely. Nick thinks people are evil inside, due to his own life experience.

The episode started with Nick and Jess pulling into a parking space, only to be cut off by a guy in a truck. Nick yells at him, and the guy pulls a gun. Nick ducks, but Jess starts being nice to the guy through apologetic expressions and hand gestures. As Jess tells Nick, this guy must just either be having a bad day or doesn’t know any way to respond to conflict except for violence, due to the cruddy way he’s been treated all his life. The guy backs down and gives them the parking space. Nick is flabbergasted.

After realizing that lots of things in the apartment are broken, Jess wants to ask the landlord, Remy, to fix them. The guys have nothing to do with Remy, because he is the scariest guy ever to set foot on a show this cute. Jess brings him cupcakes and tries to soften him with compliments. “I like your bucket of…gasoline. Super practical.” Jess accidently tells Remy that there are four people living in their apartment. There are only supposed to be three! Remy storms up there.

Jess gets there ahead of him, so the guys pull off their plan to get rid of the fourth bedroom, pretending they use it as a library. Schmidt pretends to be a foreign visitor. It’s all very strange, funny, and hard to recap. Remy does not buy any of it, but Jess charms Remy into being ok with the foursome living there. Remy only wants them to paint over the “sexually charged zero-gravity tea ceremony” Schmidt had painted on Winston’s wall when Winston was gone/Schmidt had Winston’s room. Good Lord, YES, please paint over that.

Jess also gets Remy to fix the apartment, but Nick sees that Remy is only doing all these nice things because he wants to sleep with Jess. YES. Remy is not unselfish inside but is acting out of lust. After Nick warns her, Jess denies that this is the case and thinks she and Remy are just nice, new friends. She invites Remy to have dinner in the apartment and Nick joins them, to protect Jess. Thank God. It was at this point that Ern starting feeling really uncomfortable. Nothing bums Ern out more than a well-meaning guy going after a girl who is going to (and should) turn him down. When Ern has to do it in real life, it’s ugly. She’s no good at it. In fact, she should be shot for her inability to turn a guy down in a classy, courageous way. Thankfully, the rest of the episode proceeded with hilarious awkwardness, rather than crushing awkwardness.

Jess briefly gets Remy and Nick to like each other, and even embrace, by bringing up that they were both victims of being dumped after long relationships. Remy goes to the bathroom and returns with no pants. He thinks they are all going to have a threesome. Nick admits he did not see this coming. Jess isn’t ready to admit to Nick that Remy is a bad person. Nick says he is totally going to do the devil’s threesome, trying to get Jess to admit she is wrong and expel Remy. Jess is all, “Oh, no. I’m totally gonna do this threesome.” The three go into a bedroom where Remy puts on “Send Me on My Way” by Rusted Root. This song is so fun that even this creepy scene didn’t ruin it.

It’s not fair to call it creepy though, because it was really funny. Nick was deemed the underpants captain and Remy suggested that Jess and Nick get everything started. They go in for a kiss and before contact, Jess admits she is wrong. They refuse the threesome and Remy accepts their refusal gracefully, recognizing that cold feet are not uncommon. Winston looks into the room at that moment and Remy runs off, saying that he isn’t ready for a foursome.

Schmidt has this whole plot where he can’t tell if his boss is trying to get him to make a move. Cece tells Schmidt that he should just nut up and go for her. Schmidt grabs her in a parking garage and starts kissing her. She loves it, but the security guards think it looks like an attack and jump on Schmidt. Later, Schmidt shows her his list of 2007 New Year’s Resolutions. They say, among other amusing, embarrassing things, that he is going to only masturbate to the hot new CFO every other time. Schmidt admits that this was not a resolution he could keep. His boss tells him to go into the conference room and dial him into the Tokyo call. This is not code, but Schmidt thinks it is. He ends up being broadcast in his underwear to a room full of Japanese businessmen. This is probably ok. Have you seen Japanese entertainment? It’s zany. In other news, Leeard is falling in love with Schmidt (but still prefers Nick) and can’t get over the way he said “chutney” last week. Ern prefers Winston.

Episode grade: B+

Glee - The Spanish Teacher

Will gets a complaint from one of his students for the way he teaches Spanish - with sombreros, tacos, and renditions of “La Cucaracha.” He finds out later that it was Santana. She tells him, "This is my education and it's not a joke to me, although it seems like it is to you … Why don't you just dress up like the Taco Bell Chihuahua and bark the theme song to Dora the Explorer?” Word. The principal tells Will that a tenured teaching position has opened up, and if Will wants it, he should probably learn Spanish. Oh God. Will doesn’t speak Spanish and he’s a Spanish teacher? That is seriously messed up.

Will starts taking night classes from David Martinez, played by Ricky Martin. David is a former tooth model who likes to sing, so Will invites David to the Glee club. If his Glee kids are singing in Spanish by the week’s end, Will is sure to get tenure, right? Will announces that this week will be Latin-themed. David walks into the room. The girls and Artie swoon, and David launches into a half-Spanish rendition of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” which is a funny song. This episode reached for the funny this week and hit the mark maybe twice.

Will has to defend his Spanish teacher honor by performing "A Little Less Conversation" dressed as “an authentic matador.” It makes us want to die. Ricky Martin knocks it out of the park with "La Isla Bonita", a duet with Santana. Unlike the other performances, this one wasn’t stereotypical and was by far the best of the week. A mash up of "Bamboleo" and "Hero" was performed by Sam and the Glee guys. It was ok. We didn’t get the shoes. Mercedes sang "Don’t Want to Lose You", because she is still torn between Sam and Shane. Girl, pick Sam already. He's adorable.

Will is mean to Emma about her pamphlets, but they end up becoming huge. Emma gets the tenure. Ha. In the end, Will realizes that the kids need a real Spanish teacher and that it was never his dream subject. He takes an opening in History and tells Figgins to hire David as the daytime Spanish teacher. David is so grateful. He starts talking about his immigrant parents’ history and the American dream. He actually gets to teach students during the day and not just racist jerks wanting to yell at their maids! Decades of civil rights movement stuff later, people in the entertainment world still write stories where minorities need whitey to lift them up. Usually, we don’t find this offensive, because it’s still about people helping other people, but in this episode it was so blatant.

The ridiculous subplot of the week was Sue deciding to have a baby with improperly frozen eggs she has saved up. She is looking for a sperm donor and goes right to the high school children. She also wants Will to contribute, because she wants a positive child with plentiful hair. Um. Ok. Upon hearing the news that Sue intended to have a baby, Santana and Nene Leakes asked, “With whose vagina?” Out of nowhere, Becky betrays Sue, but they make up and Sue takes it well. Not good.

Kurt had words with Finn about how Finn only asked Rachel to marry him because he was giving up. We liked everything Kurt had to say. Maybe Finn ISN’T talented enough to make it in show business (but, hey, Cory Monteith is, so who knows?), but he is still only 18 and shouldn’t give up. Who finds their niche in life before 18? Hopefully Finn and Rachel mutually decide to break off the engagement. We thought it was realistic and slightly funny that Mercedes, Rachel, and Kurt were watching Twilight together, and we liked Kurt’s line about getting their period.

This show forgot why its remaining fans are still watching. We are Broadway/music enthusiasts looking for big Rachel numbers, good dancing, hits made better, and singing. We are not looking for sweet moments between Will and Emma anymore. We are not looking for the adults on the show to succeed or better their lives. It’s too late for that, Glee. You have ruined every single character on this show, except for maybe Santana, so just give us our one-liners and songs and call it a day. Weeks that focus on this show’s adults are always going to be weird, because these people are not real adults. And yeah, we thought this episode was weird. 

Ricky Martin was the bright spot in this episode. He was charming and loveable. It was nice to hear some Spanish, but aren’t there BETTER Spanish songs? We assure you, there are. That was a missed opportunity to give some great Spanish showstoppers, rather than just throw around stereotypes and then condemn them. On that note, Glee always has its cake and eats it too with politically correct morality. The show mocks, bullies, and perpetuates stereotypes all day long, but it’s ok, because at the end of the show, a character says this is wrong. But the show invites us to laugh at the name-calling, costumes, and jabs. This has to be the most hypocritical show of all time. We guess because Ryan Murphy is gay, he can get away with this. We’re not PC, so we are not offended. It’s just an eye-roller of a contradiction.

This episode made us hate Will more than ever. Just as regular commenter, CurvyGirl hates Finn, we hate Will Schuster. Will Schuster is our Finn. We hate him much more than Artie. We just wish Artie would stop singing and rapping. It seems like this show has a pattern: Around two good episodes and then one really bad one. Maybe that means next week will be good? Nene was funny. But this show needs to give us what we want and stop being crazy.

Episode grade: C

Stat searches - This one takes the cake

We look in the stats to see what people searched on Google to get to this blog. 
Apparently, someone got here by searching- 
"Walter and Skyler sex scene complilation." 
Who would WANT to see those two do it? You've got some interesting taste there, friend. We aim to please, so we tried to look for this, but we couldn't find it. Better luck next time???
Good job watching Breaking Bad though.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How I Met Your Mother - The Burning Beekeeper

Despite the similar title, this one is not to be compared with “The Sexless Innkeeper.” That was actually funny. This episode had a more slapstick, goofy feel about it. It didn’t seem like the same show, quite frankly. Ern tried to defend this show to her mother, and this episode is not helping her case. Leeard will continue to watch and love this show no matter what, but no one can say that this episode is one for the ages. In fact, it is without a doubt the worst episode of the season, despite a Galaxy Quest reference. This show needs to remember that it is not a farce. If they are going to do an homage to farce comedy, it needs to be better and retain the tone of the show. Leeard didn’t hate this episode, but she found it boring.

Sidenote: Lots of young people (people in their 20s) love this show and lots of older people just don’t think it’s funny, yet they watch Two and a Half Men. I hope we can all agree that show isn’t funny at all. We think we have figured out why Ern’s mom, who has a perfectly serviceable sense of humor, does not like any episode of How I Met Your Mother, even the ones in the earlier season. It’s the same reason she doesn’t like Mean Girls (We know. She sounds like a cyborg. Go ahead and trash her in the comments; she doesn’t read the blog). Mean Girls is what high school is like NOW. Clueless is what high school was like THEN. It’s because the magic of How I Met Your Mother lies in jokes that our generation would appreciate and it captures the experience of being in your 20s today. It feels authentic. However, this episode did not have any of that familiarity.

The episode had three different storylines happening at the same time. Lily and Marshall are having a housewarming party. Ugh. These two moving is not helping the show at all. Each story happened in a different room of the house, in the first five minutes of the party. Before that though, Marshall and Lily were planning their party and discussing with Lily’s dad Mickey how he needs to not ruin it. Mickey tells them that he’s been beekeeping and there are ten thousand bees in the basement. Marshall is understandably concerned.

Ted and Robin arrive at the party, fighting and carrying a kugel they bought, since Robin couldn’t cook one. In the living room, Lily is freaking out about the party and Marshall is telling her that it’s the “party of the year.” We’re pretty sure any other party is topping it, at this point. The best thing about it is that Lily got a wheel of gouda cheese off the internet. She’s pretty proud of that, even though, as Barney pointed out, ordering things off the internet is not hard or unique. It just means she put way too much thought into the cheese.

Even though Marshall has been working long hours, this is his first night off in a while, and he is currently throwing a housewarming party, his boss, Cooter, shows up and tells Marshall that they will be going back to work in 45 minutes. Wow, Cooter is a jerk. We may care about the environment less just to spite that guy. Lily informs Cooter that she made him vegan spring rolls and he went to look for them. Mickey comes up to Marshall to inform him and Lily that the bees are keeping the mice at bay, a thin silver lining to a cloud of crazy. GET RID OF THIS MAN. Lily’s father is only funny in very, very small doses.

Ted enters the living room and Mr. Cootes confronts him for eating all the spring rolls, since Ted isn’t a vegan and could have eaten anything else. Ted breaks the tradition of his character instantly and completely when he challenges Cootes to a fight, outside. This is explained later. Lily breaks things up when she tells Cootes that she also has hummus and veggies available. Barney runs in, takes people’s wine, and chugs the glasses. This will also be explained. He goes into a monologue about how much he loves his penis, how it is a girl, and how he has tried to kiss it but couldn’t reach. Robin comes in with the gouda and Lily throws it on the floor and stomps on it. This too will be explained. Lily moans that the party is ruined. Robin denies this just as a man in a beekeeper suit runs through the living room. On fire.

The show moves to the dining room where we found out that Barney ate the spring rolls! Shocking. He is chatting with Lily and Marshall’s neighbor who just loves her cats and also loves talking about them. Barney doesn’t care, because her boobs outweigh her crazy. Barney told her that he is Agent Gary Powers in charge of intercepting asteroids. No woman is this stupid. The neighbor pretty much throws her snatch at Barney, giving him two minutes to make it to the upstairs guest bedroom. Before Barney leaves to bang the neighbor, he pins the spring roll eating on Ted when Mr. Cootes approaches.

Marshall goes to the dining room to get Robin to scream at him. He wants to be prepared for a fight with Cootes when he confronts him about not going back to work. Robin is offended that Marshall thinks she gets angry at the top of a hat. Then she proves him right. Meanwhile, Mickey tells Lily that the bees have escaped their enclosure and that he doused his suit with kerosene. Of course these things happened. Mickey leaves then returns without the suit. Soon after, a man in the suit runs through the dining room in flames.

We move to the kitchen, where many fires start. Ted and Robin are arguing about how Robin called an old lady a whore when they were trying to buy the kugel. Robin reams Ted for avoiding conflict and Ted thinks it’s better to be nice and not pick fights. Show, you have established Robin as a strong woman and Ted as a lovable wuss. Why do you have to a) hammer it home with no subtlety or humor and b) ruin it? Robin has never been that mean. This was entirely out of nowhere and a disservice to the character. Yeah, she’s had some anger issues, but this was too far and it’s been too long since they’ve reminded us of Robin’s anger issues. When does she freak out about little things? Barney enters and Lily follows soon after. Lily warns Barney that her neighbor, with whom Barney is about to copulate in two minutes, cut off her last one night stand’s penis with a cheese knife.

Then Lily accidentally knocks her gouda on the floor. It is swarmed with mice that fled the basement to get away from Mickey’s bees. Marshall comes into the kitchen with Cootes and tells him he’s not going back to work. Cootes protests and Marshall quits. Cootes thinks it’s crazy that Marshall would quit, since this was Marshall’s dream job and Marshall cares about Mother Earth. Cootes takes the moment to ponder his life and consider taking up a hobby. Enter Mickey, recommending beekeeping.

Mickey gives Cootes the suit and Cootes puts it on. The timer goes off and Cootes has to take the kugel out of the oven. He catches on fire and runs through the dining and living rooms and jumps out in the snow. The fire is put out. Cootes, exhilarated, realizes that he needs to party for the night and gives Marshall his job back, as well as the weekend off. Robin and Ted make up. Marshall opens the house door to find that his house is swarmed with bees. Barney is trapped upstairs with the neighbor, due to the bees. Maybe Marshall and Lily will move back now?

We think that we can all agree that the show needs to have Cootes and Lily’s dad leave the show. They ruin it and make it too slapsticky and weird. No laughs.

Episode grade: D+

Smash - Pilot

We’ve seen this show advertised to freaking death for MONTHS. We confess that we saw the pilot ages ago, because they had it on iTunes, amazon, and hulu. If you thought your only option to see the premiere was last night on NBC, allow us to introduce you to something called the internet. We waited until today to post on it though.

The first thing you need to know about this show is that it’s nothing like Glee. It's not a Glee rip-off. It's just as original as Glee was. We don’t know if it topped the Glee pilot, but the episode easily topped most of the other Glee episodes we’ve seen. The show isn’t stuffed with too many plots and characters, like Glee, and the characters are more well-rounded. That’s not a high bar though.

We didn’t see much from the pilot that we didn’t see in all the previews and sneak peeks. If you remember, we loved the preview and got really excited about it, so we liked this material the first time around. We are a bit miffed that we didn’t see much that was new, but that shouldn’t get the pilot a bad grade. We wish the premiere had included two episodes. That way, TV enthusiasts would see something new, and people would get hooked deeper into the show the first time they tuned in. It would have been a good idea. Alcatraz did that, and they are doing alright.

The episode opens with Katherine McPhee singing her signature American Idol song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". She is wearing a pretty dress that would look better on a child, she appears to be on a stage, and there is a starry backdrop. She's a star! Pysch. It's in her imagination. Kat is not performing on a stage before adoring fans. She is auditioning and it doesn’t look like she got the part. This was a perfect joke for people who know Kat from Idol. It's time to forget that she's Kat, who already had great moments on the Idol stage and is known for the Judy Garland song. This is Karen, struggling waitress trying to break into Broadway. And her resume is thin.

A girl named Ivy follows Kat’s audition. She is played by Megan Hilty, Broadway vet. Ern saw her in Wicked during a trip to New York City. Megan played Glinda and was great and hilarious. Almost as good (if not as good) as Kristen Chenoweth. Her voice is less…pretty than Kat McPhee’s on this show, and Kat’s character is, overall, more likable. We will be shocked if Kat doesn’t end up as Marilyn, because the actress playing her is more well known and the character is the underdog. Still, Ivy is likable too. Anyway….

Debra Messing (!!!) plays Julia, a woman who writes and creates musicals. She has a working partner named Tom (played by Christian Borle, whom Leeard loves unabashedly). Tom has an assistant named Ellis, who Julia seems to hate right away. Julia’s newspaper informs her that a My Fair Lady revival has just gone the way of a turd in a toilet, and Julia complains about how no one does new musicals anymore. Ellis suggests that someone do a musical about Marilyn Monroe. Julia says it’s been done and that musical tanked too. Then Tom comes back with, “You could do a baseball number.” This changes everything.

Julia has a nice apartment, a teenage son, and a husband. Julia and her husband are going through the adoption process. Indeed, they meet with a social worker who loves all the musicals Julia has worked on. It looks like they've got the adoption in the bag, so far. Julia mentions the Marilyn idea and her husband basically tells her, “No. You are taking time off to do this adoption.” Oh well, we guess that’s the end of the series. Naw. 

Karen vents to her cute boyfriend, Dev, about how she isn't getting anywhere with this whole acting thing. We know Dev won’t last. Karen’s goals will get in the way, Devil Wears Prada-style. Karen and Dev have dinner with Karen’s parents, who are there to crush her dreams. They think Karen should get a real job, give up the dream, and stop being a waitress.

We see Tom meeting Ivy in a chorus dressing room. Ivy has the experience, credentials, talent, and ambition to star in a musical, but she has been in the chorus for years. She finds out that she didn’t get the part she auditioned for and confides to Tom how sad she is about the way things are going. We sympathize immediately. Ivy is going to be a rival to Karen, but she’s also going to be a person as well. We will be sad when Karen gets Marilyn, especially when it is Ivy on all the demos.

Yes, Tom and Julia cut a demo for Marilyn. It's just a demo, Julia tells her husband. The musical will be years away. Um, at this pace it will be ready in a month. They use Ivy as the demo singer. Ivy should totally get the part, based on her looks and voice. She has Marilyn’s body and hair. That’s more than Kat has. Ellis leaks the demo tape when he sends it to his mom and his mom sends it to everyone else. Julia wants him fired, but Tom keeps him on after Ellis talks about how blessed he is to get to see the behind-the-scenes of a musical. Julia is mollified when a prominent critic hears the sample and raves about both the idea and the songs.

Tom and Julia meet with Anjelica Huston’s producer character, Eileen, who wants to produce Marilyn. We find out that Eileen is going through a divorce. She recommends Derek Wills as the director, but Tom hates that guy. Tom comes around to the Derek idea when he finds out that they will have Derek audition for the part. Groveling is just what Tom wants to see.

Derek is played by Jack Davenport, the guy who tries to marry Keira Knightley in one of the Pirates movies. He was also in Flashforward. He is cold and British and decent-looking. Despite being a prominent theater director, he is straight. He choreographs the first number. They get Ivy to sub in for Marilyn, singing the song about baseball. It’s called “The National Pastime,” and it’s very fun and Marilyn.

Next, they hold auditions for the lead role and Karen shows up. She is the only girl who didn’t come dressed as Marilyn Monroe. We don't know if the show was trying to get us to think that she was being herself, not trying too hard, not oversexed, innocent, or a rube. She sings “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, and it’s nice to hear a version of that song that isn’t oversung to death. As usual, Kat’s voice is nice. She gets a callback, because she didn’t overplay the sexiness. But now they want to see that she CAN do sexy. Derek sends Karen a message, asking him to meet him in his apartment at night.

Karen goes to meet him. Dumb. She doesn’t sleep with Derek, earning her approval from every woman watching this show, which is important to have, at this point. Nice strategy, Smash. Karen goes to the bathroom and cries. Then she puts on Derek’s shirts and proceeds to sing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” sexily, while getting close to him. Before the kiss moment, she says, “Not gonna happen,” and walks out, smoothly. During callbacks, Karen and Ivy sing “Let Me Be Your Star,” an original song for this musical. It’s a legitimately good song! The showrunners have a hard decision to make. Until next week!

The show had lots of short scenes, designed to snatch the attention of the popcorn-brained among us. We both enjoy Broadway shows and soundtracks, so a behind-the scenes show about that sounds good to us. One of us doesn’t admire Marilyn Monroe much at all, so the fact that the songs are going to be about her might suck for that blogger. We like the mix of pop and good original songs on the show. Leeard really wants to like this show and thinks the episode was good for a pilot. She adores Katherine McPhee. Ern thinks Kat’s voice sounds woefully damaged and prefers the belting Megan, however Kat is a good actress and has a likeable air about her. Overall, we are more than pleased with the cast.

Ern also thought the pilot was too normal, as if it didn’t want to scare anyone off by being too musical-y. Hopefully, subsequent episodes bring on the Broadway. We read that Julia’s husband is going to start singing, so the character might do the thing where they just break into song. Ern loves Brian D’Arcy James’ voice, so we’re fine with that. We’d like to see the show take some risks and spend more time with the musical numbers. We are fine with three per episode though. You don’t want to overdo it.

Our advice is that you watch this show, if you are at all interested. The pilot was good and this is the sort of show that will get better from there. NBC deserves our support for Community, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, The Office’s early days, Parenthood, and the upcoming Awake, which we are pretty sure is gonna rule. We should at least give this one a shot. The show is smart and grounded. We look forward to more.

Episode grade: B+