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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Casting the Next Hunger Games Movies - A Few Options

Whoever they pick will probably be perfect and better than any of our choices, since they did a pretty good job casting the first movie, but we thought it would be fun to try it.  For heaven's sake, don't read this if you haven't read books two and three of the Hunger Games trilogy. You won't know who these people are and there are spoilers.

Annie Cresta
In the books: Insane Annie was in her early 20s. She had dark hair, sea green eyes, and good, but messy, looks. Possible actresses: Troian Bellisario plays Spencer Hastings on Pretty Little Liars and wanted the part of Katniss, but she couldn't get an audition. She has the small, waif frame that would fit someone in the Hunger Games series and we think she'd be a better Annie. We've already seen Spencer act all kinds of crazy and vulnerable on PLL. Since she's such a fan, we think she should be considered. Another option we liked when we saw it suggested was Alison Brie. Carey Mulligan wouldn't be a bad choice either. She's got the innocent, cute, and bewildered look down. Rooney Mara from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo could also do this part. Really, just about anyone could do this part. Annie probably won't have lots of lines. Hollywood is full of young, pretty girls who can look a little crazy.

President Coin
In the books: Alma Coin was in her 50s with grey, shoulder-length hair. She has “eyes that can see right through you” even though she is plain looking. Possible actress: We're going with a safe bet and picking Emma Thompson as our first choice for this one. This actress is good in everything she does, so we think she can nail Coin too. She's the right age, she has charisma, and she doesn't look like a bitch. In the books, you weren't quite sure whether to trust Coin for a while. Thompson's likability can trick new audiences into wondering if she's just another Snow or if she's a good, strong female leader. 

Commander Paylor
In the books: Paylor is in her early 30s. She is young looking, with dark eyes and very dark hair. Possible actresses: What about How I Met Your Mother's Cobie Smulders? She fits the physical description without looking too girly or weak. We'd believe her as a commander because we believe Robin Scherbatsky could kick our arses. She comes across as strong and assertive. We'd believe Natalie Portman in this role too, but she is probably too pretty and too famous.

In the books: Mags is 80 years old. Possible actress: The only choice is Ellen Burstyn. We saw a site suggest her and haven't been able to ditch the suggestion. She was in Requiem for a Dream and she was perfect. Also, Ellen is 79, so she is the perfect age. It's not like they would be taking a 60-year-old, dying her hair white and trying to make it pass. We really can't think of anyone else, unless they decide to go with an unknown.

Johanna Mason
In the books: Johanna is in her 20s with wide-set brown eyes and short, spiky hair. Possible actresses: There are plenty of actresses who could do this. They just have to pull off snarky. The queens of snark right now are Brie Larson and Emma Stone. We are huge Emma Stone fans, but after watching Brie in both Rampart and United States of Tara, we know that Brie can pull off Johanna's attitude without depressing us too much. And hey, she's already worked with Woody Harrelson. Brie may actually be Johanna, in Ern's opinion. Leeard has only seen Brie in kid's shows. If you've seen her, it was probably in Scott Pilgrim. Another option is Emelia Clarke from Game of Thrones.

In the books: Wiress is in her mid-40s with ashen skin and black hair. People are saying Helena Bonham Carter, and while we like her, we've seen her do crazy a thousand times (which she does very, very well). She did this in Harry Potter. We don't need her overdoing it in The Hunger Games series and stealing too many scenes. We saw Helena do something different in The King's Speech and we liked it. We think she should do that for a while, just for something different. Our Wiress pick is Parker Posey. She's equally crazy and equally good at acting. She's close enough to the right age (43), and we think she'd be fun in this.

Finnick Odair
In the books: This is the guy that really has to be hot, more so than Gale or Peeta. He is tall, with a good body and tan skin. His hair is bronze-colored and his eyes are green. He is 24. Possible actors: We have a mutual friend who is adamant that it should be Garrett Hedlund, and Leeard admits that he is the best option she has seen on Tumblr. Ern doesn't think she cares for Garrett as an actor, and Finnick carries some emotion in the books. The actor needs to bring something to the table. Would Zach Roerig from The Vampire Diaries be good? It might be time to find a soulful, good-looking unknown and make his career by putting him in these movies, because there is no one out there right now that we are crazy about. We doubt we will be happy with anyone in this role.

Plutarch Heavensbee 
In the books: Age, unknown. No physical description that we can find on the internet and we forget from the books. If you forget who this is, it's the new head gamekeeper and rebel against Snow. Possible actors: Aw man, any older guy who looks suspicious and intimidating. We think he's a bad guy at first, then we don't, and then we leave the series thinking ill of him. It has to be someone who can make us like or dislike him at the drop of a hat. Christian Bale and Viggo Mortensen can both do this. We're going with Viggo, since we've seen him play undercover possible villain before in Eastern Promises. Also, he seems like a nicer guy in real life and would be more fun on the set than the ever-serious Bale.

In the books: He’s in his 50s or 60s. He has ashen skin and black hair. He is also small. Possible actors: We wanted to go with John Lithgow or Gary Oldman for this one, but we wouldn't call either of them small. Especially Lithgow. Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Rob Roy) always comes across as tiny, and he's certainly weird enough for this part. Since Lie to Me is off the air, Tim needs something new to do. We don't much care who gets this part though.

Dr. Aurelius
In the books: We don’t have much information on his age or appearance. Possible actors: This is a nice guy. He gives mental health treatment to a couple of the main characters and covers for Katniss once. We need someone comforting and nurturing who comes across as having both integrity and the ability to break stupid rules. We saw James McAvoy drinking and playing around in X-Men: First Class, but we also saw him being a mentor to kids, as well as a kind friend to an angry Magneto. Plus, we love him and think he's hot. We'd take an excuse to put him in anything. We also wouldn't hesitate to choose Joel Edgerton, who exuded kindness, maturity, and likability in Animal Kingdom. If you don't know that name yet, you will.  

In the books: Mid-40s. Close-cropped grey hair and blue eyes. Possible actors: We can see Jason Isaacs doing this well, and he is a more appropriate age than our other option. But we think it would be fun to have Sean Bean in the role, because he is his own spoiler alert for people who don't read the books and don't know Boggs dies. They deserve to be spoiled by the mere presence of Bean, who usually dies. Plus, you can't turn down a guy who was in Game of Thrones AND The Lord of the Rings. This guy is destined to be in good franchises. And die in them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Don’t trust the B---- in Apartment 23 - Pilot

This episode is on hulu to watch before the actual premiere, so we went ahead and gave it a try. This pilot has the most buzz for a comedy this year, and now we know why. First of all, James Van Der Beek plays himself in it and that is a magnificent thing. Second, Krysten Ritter is funny, unique looking, and has deserved a main role for a while now. She always plays the friend…or the druggy girlfriend. Thanks for giving Krysten something to do, Breaking Bad! Krysten’s Chloe is incredible. She’s the super bitch of our dreams, and her character is what’s going to keep people coming back.

In Apartment 23, an innocent business school grad, June, moves to New York City for her dream job. The day June walks into her new workplace, she finds that the company has gone under. Not only will June have no job, she will have no company-provided apartment. June gets a job at a coffee shop and meets super bitch Chloe. Chloe has “the morals of a pirate” and offers June a place to live…with her. Then Chloe starts acting out in order to get June to move out. Chloe would get to keep the rent.. But June has more pluck than Chloe imagined and starts fighting back.

We are eager to see more from this comedy, since the pilot was decent and weird. It wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny and it showed us too many jokes in the preview, which we saw last fall. But we really think subsequent episodes are going to rock. We are going to tune in when the second episode airs so we can see if this show improves and figures out how to avoid being a rehash of Two Broke Girls. The downside of having this new sitcom is that we will lose Happy Endings for a while, and we already know Happy Endings is funny. Bottom line: We’re not hooked yet, but we are interested. Leeard will give this show an A for all time, since they used a Childish Gambino song in the first scene of the series. Awesome. Ern will give it a B+ (and all subsequent grades, since Leeard really will love this show forever, no matter what, because of that song). 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Once Upon a Time- Hat Trick

What Happened- In the Enchanted Forest, we meet Jefferson, a hatter who can make magical hats that transport people to another location. He has stopped making these special hats and spends all his energy on his adorable daughter, Grace. Queen Regina convinces Jefferson to come out of retirement for one more hat. She does this through trickery and manipulation, obviously, because she’s the worst. Wanting to provide for Grace, Jefferson takes the supposedly high-paying job.

Regina wants to go Wonderland to steal something from the Queen of Hearts. Jefferson makes a hat that takes them to a room between worlds. The room is full of colorful doorways. Jefferson points out the one that is actually a looking glass and tells Regina that since two people are entering through it, only two can leave. Regina and Jefferson hurry to the Queen of Hearts’ castle, where Regina finds and rescues her father. Jefferson is upset that Regina intended to leave him in Wonderland. Regina doesn’t care and goes through the looking glass with her father.

Jefferson is captured by the Queen of Hearts’ men. Back at her castle, he is beheaded. He survives this and continues talking. He agrees to make a hat for this new queen if she will sew his head back onto his body. This is done, and Jefferson spends what looks like the next several years (or at least months) making hats, none of which are magical enough to take him back to the Enchanted Forest. In this state of limbo away from his daughter, Jefferson loses his sanity and becomes the Mad Hatter.

In Storybrooke, Emma goes looking for Mary to find her before her arraignment. Emma meets Jefferson in the forest, and he invites her home for a cup of tea. The tea is drugged and Emma is captured. Emma is able to untie herself and finds Mary also being held captive. Jefferson finds them both trying to escape and recaptures them. Jefferson tells Emma why he wants her around. Jefferson remembers everything and knows Emma is special. He believes that Emma can make him a magic hat to take him and his daughter away from this world.

In Storybrooke, Grace has new parents and goes to school with Henry. Her name in this world is Paige. Jefferson can only watch Paige through his window, missing her. He does not want to ruin his daughter’s reality by telling her the truth. Jefferson sits Emma down to make a hat. Emma thinks this guy is crazy, but she plays along. Emma tells Jefferson that Mary is her real mother. It is said with enough emotion that we almost believe Emma is starting to buy into Henry’s stories. But at her first opportunity, Emma hits Jefferson over the head and runs into the other room to get Mary.

Jefferson wakes up and follows. The girls fight Jefferson and Mary kicks him out a window. They look down onto the lawn and see nothing but a hat and broken glass. Emma tells Mary that she can run, but that she knows from experience that spending a life running is miserable. Emma calls Mary her “family.” Whaaaa? Is she actually starting to suspect the truth? Emma quickly changes the word to “friend,” but she finds Paige and Jefferson’s pictures in Henry’s book and then asks Henry if she can borrow it. Mary decides to go back to her cell. At the end of the episode, we learn that Mr. Gold planted the key in Mary’s cell on Regina’s instructions.

Comments- The room between worlds reminded us of C.S. Lewis’s forest between worlds in The Magician’s Nephew. In that book, there were no doors, but there were pools that you could jump into in order to be transported to different worlds. We love the idea of using multiple fairytale worlds in this show! That’s just what Once Upon a Time needs: parallel universes. This means anything can happen and anyone can appear on the show.

Jefferson getting beheaded was totally morbid and awesome. His Enchanted Forest story was sad, and it doesn’t look like he will ever get his sanity back. Perhaps he will attain some relationship with Grace? We liked how unsettling and weird this episode was. It really grasped the tone of Alice and Wonderland, which is the creepiest thing ever, if you think about it.

Just because Gold is working for Regina doesn’t mean he is working against Emma. He likely has his own goals. He is double crossing one or both of them, and we can’t wait to see his eventual plan. What is it that Gold wants? Ugh, we love him more every week. Roger Daltrey, lead singer of one of Ern’s favorite bands, The Who, guest starred as the voice of the caterpillar. He asks, “Who are you?” which made us chuckle.

This episode was mature, intense, creepy, macabre, action-packed, and fun. It opened up more world and plot possibilities and made us even more interested in Gold, which we didn’t think was possible. The show has remained consistently good for weeks now and seems to have found its footing.

Episode grade: A

Shameless- Just Like the Pilgrims Intended

What happened- Marco arrives and finds out that Steve slept with Estefania. Steve convinces Marco not to kill him in exchange for Steve’s identity and apartment. This means that Steve can now throw Lip out of his place without ticking Lip off. Steve goes to Fiona and tells her the news, and he gets a thank you kiss (a long, passionate one that almost leads to sex). Steve must now fall back on his real identity: Jimmy. Fiona lets Jimmy sleep on her couch.

Lip goes to Mandy’s for a place to sleep and is forced to assume a bigger relationship with Mandy than he would have liked. There, he makes a video for his baby. This video contains “useful” life information. Lip also tells the baby that if he ever wants to meet Lip, he is welcome to come find him. Lip has convinced Karen to give her baby to the couple that offered her the second-most amount of money, because he thought they would be better parents. Later, Mandy and her brothers try to involve him in a robbery, so Lip ditches them all.

Karen knows about Jody and Sheila sleeping together. Karen gives them her blessing. Frank stops by to get some medication for Monica, and Karen’s water breaks. Sheila and Jody jump up and down, excited to be grandparents. Lip gets a call that Karen is in labor and runs to the hospital. He meets the adoptive parents and gives them his tape. Then he enters the delivery room, where Karen is angrily cursing.

Ian goes to a gay club and spends the night with a grown man. He seems to enjoy it very much. Meanwhile, little Hank puts two ducks in the Gallagher’s pool and then shoots them with his rifle to take home for Thanksgiving. …Hunting? Carl wants a go, but Little Hank doesn’t let him shoot. Fiona has no turkey since her parents stole all her money. Fortunately (?), Carl gets his hands on a gun and shoots a bald eagle. The family prepares to cook and eat it, but Jimmy brings over a turkey. Fiona is grateful. Kevin freezes the bald eagle for later. Debbie invites a homeless friend to dinner.

Monica sinks into a depression and Frank does not give Monica her bipolar medication. Frank tries to get her up and out (with the help of drugs) so that she can seduce his brother into sharing some of Peggy’s money. Frank’s brother refuses Monica, so Monica decides she is undesirable and gets even more depressed. At Thanksgiving, Monica goes to the kitchen and slits her wrists. The family runs into the kitchen and finds a bloody scene. Frank leaves the family to call 9/11 and go to the hospital. Jimmy takes charge; Frank goes to the bar. Monica pulls through, but is put under psychiatric evaluation until her medications even her out. She’s sure to leave the family when she is released.

The family gets the news that Lip and Karen are upstairs, and everyone bolts to the next floor to see the birth. Shameless showed so much. The baby comes out and the nurses go silent. The baby has Down’s syndrome and he’s Asian. Lip goes out to tell the adoptive parents and they leaves, giving Lip his tape back. Lip is upset with Karen for leading him to believe he was the father. He storms out and destroys the tape. Karen intends to give the baby to social services, but Shelia and Jody sneak into the hospital and steal him.

Comments- What an eventful penultimate episode. How exciting is the finale going to be? This episode was crazy and wrong, even compared to other episodes of Shameless. This might have been the saddest episode of Shameless to date. Between Monica’s suicide attempt in front of her kids and Lip’s sadness over the baby, we were pretty bummed by this one. That’s not to say we didn’t like the Thanksgiving special. We did. It was highly entertaining. We just felt way too bad for these people. We love the way Fiona didn’t take Steve back right away. He still has work to do.

Lip’s video to his baby was heartbreakingly sweet. Lip is one of our favorite characters because of that heart and his brilliant mind. It’s too bad that this season has seen him spiral in a toilet of bad decisions, crazy young women, and self-destructive, overemotional behavior. The only good thing about Karen, the biggest psychopath on TV, was her reaction to Jody and her mother getting together. They are so clearly made for each other. They are such fun doofuses when paired. Was anyone else surprised to see Sheila leave the house to go to the hospital? Jody and the baby are good for her and make her happy.

The beginning of the Thanksgiving dinner was adorable. The bald eagle thing was a nice touch. We liked seeing the big, raucous family bonding and trying to get Monica’s spirits up. As for the birthing scene: Ugh. We are never having children after that. If you think Knocked Up showed too much crowning, wait until you see Shameless. Our hairy, stretched vagina quotient is filled for the year, entertainment-wise. Oh, Showtime. Just because you CAN show it doesn’t mean you should.

After Lip’s yearlong devastation via Karen, he is either going to go even crazier or give up the craziness and go back to school. We are hoping for the latter. We want Lip to be ok. We think it’s a great idea for Jody and Sheila to raise that baby. Because he has Down’s, their lack of intelligence can’t even hurt him by making him dumb. They need something to take care of that isn’t a drug addict or dying criminal. They are both nice and nurturing. Now they have a family. Let’s hope the cops don’t come take him away. It was hilarious to see them riding away with the child on their motorcycle. Like messed-up Hagrids.

Episode grade: A

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mad Men- A Little Kiss parts 1 and 2

Welcome to our first Mad Men review. Last year, we got caught up on this show, despite all the adultery, which you know we don’t like. The truth is, there’s nothing else on TV like it, and when it’s good, it’s great. Most of the time, it can be a tad dull. Overall, it’s worth watching.

What Happened- Months after the season four finale, Don and Megan live together in a large, nice city apartment.  Megan has moved into the creative department of the ad firm. Shockingly, Megan knows that Don is really Richard Whitman, and she is totally ok with it. Don’s children visit and Sally gets a glimpse of Megan’s naked, sleeping back when she opens her father’s bedroom door. Don drops them off at their mothers, instructing them to “give Morticia and Lurch my love.” Joan had Roger’s baby and took some time off of work. Joan’s mother came to help her out and pressure her to be a stay-at-home mom.

Executives at rival agency Y&R dropped water balloons on civil rights protesters, leading Draper’s firm (SCDP) to run an ad in the paper that said they were an “Equal Opportunity Employer.” The ad was a snipe at their less progressive competitor. They didn’t really want to hire anyone, but a bunch of black people show up, looking for work. Lane collects their resumes.

Megan threw Don a surprise 40th birthday. Now, we’ve seen every episode of this show, so we know that Don does not like that sort of attention. It makes him feel out of control and too scrutinized. Megan should have known better, especially since Peggy warned her against it. Peggy gets a little drunk at the party and has words with Don about how hard she works and how Don is slacking now that he is “happy.” Don does not care, but Megan got upset about it.

Harry gives Don a walking stick as a present, rubbing in the fact that Don is old. Stupid Harry. Megan does a burlesque performance of a French song, “Zou Bisou, Bisou,” which means “Oh Kiss, Kiss.” This is probably the tie-in to the episode’s title. After the party, Don lies in bed and whines while Megan tries to talk to him and possibly have sex with him. He makes it clear that he didn’t enjoy the party, the waste of money, the embarrassment, or the recognition that he is old. The next day, Don gets the silent treatment.

At work, Roger screws Pete over by stealing a lunch meeting with Pete’s clients, so Pete gets all ambitious again. Pete is upset that Roger has seniority when Roger doesn’t do as much work as Pete. Pete demands Roger’s office in revenge. The partners tell Roger that Pete could use a bigger office, so Roger pays Harry to trade offices with Pete. Pete takes the office, but is unsatisfied. Pete then puts a fake meeting on his calendar for Roger to steal. Roger ends up going to a fake breakfast meeting at 6 a.m. on Staten Island. Nicely played, Pete.

Lane Pryce finds a wallet in a cab and keeps it, hoping it will help him meet a woman to distract him from his financial and personal stresses. It doesn’t work. Megan overhears Harry talking about her dance and having sex with her. When Harry is caught, he spends the rest of the episode freaking out that Megan will tell Don. Megan reveals that she is upset to Peggy and Peggy apologizes for her words at the party. Megan tells Peggy that she doesn’t feel well and goes home. Peggy goes to Don’s office and tells him what happened.

Don goes home to find Megan cleaning up after the party. She is doing it in her underwear, since she doesn’t want to get hot and sweaty. She tells Don that he is old and that he shouldn’t look at her while she is cleaning. Of course, Don keeps looking, since he is talking to her (and since her body is bangin’). He goes over to her and Megan tells him that he can look while she cleans, but he can’t touch. We know this sounds crazy and sexist, and it’s supposed to. Megan is having a mini meltdown. Don solves the situation with sex. They end up lying on the carpet, talking.

Comments- Question: Did this really need to take two hours? The recap we did is just as long as, say, a recap of Once Upon a Time or Pretty Little Liars, and those shows were only one hour. Mad Men takes a lot of time to get somewhere and started slow last night. Megan was the star of the episode and it’s about time, since we don’t know her very well from last season and Don proposed. Megan is a little crazy and conniving, but maybe she is good for Don. Betty stayed when Don cheated, but as soon as she found out that he was Richard Whitman, Betty had a problem. Megan knows everything and is still into Don.

Megan’s performance of the French song (which can already be found on iTunes) was sexy and pretty good, but it was awkward. We were so uncomfortable watching it. We knew what Don was thinking, we knew that all his stupid pig work friends were watching, and we knew this was the 60s. Ladies don’t do sexy dances in public in the 60s if they want to be taken seriously at work the next day. Don was probably starting to realize that the hip, modern advertising couple act might wear him out just as much as the perfect family act he had with Betty. Also, Megan invited all of his coworkers into his home and safe place.

We don’t know where the show is going with Megan. There are hints that she is a nice person with everything Don thinks he wants. Megan is fun. However, she doesn’t seem smart or emotionally stable enough to take on a thing like Don. She’s no Faye, in other words, and Peggy isn’t sure about her yet. We think this character is one that people will either love or hate. Some people might love to hate her. We can’t help being fans right out of the gate, since she is so accepting, different from Betty, interesting, and free-spirited. The age difference might be a problem. Don wants to relax, not have a surprise party. Megan can’t imagine such a thing, since she and all her young friends would love one. We guess the show is saving comparatively dour Betty for another episode because we didn’t see her in the premiere.

 It was really funny when Joan brought her baby into work and even funnier when Roger met it. He didn’t seem impressed and cracked a few jokes about how unremarkable the child was. We also liked the scene where Lane assured Joan that she had a job at the firm and that she was indispensible. We like Lane, overall. Still, Peggy is clearly the nicest person on this show. It was funny when Roger ruined the surprise party (and when he asked his wife why she didn’t sing like that, and she replied, “Why don’t you look like that). Ern tried to do Megan’s eye makeup from the party to herself. The results were disappointing.

Episode grade: B

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Which Shows Will Get Renewed or Cancelled

Since Terra Nova just got cancelled (sad face from Leeard), we thought we would troll the internet for all the best predictions on how the primetime shows are doing. Rejoice or worry accordingly. We've underlined the shows we are rooting for.

These shows are in huge trouble
A Gifted Man
Body of Proof
The River
Breaking In
Harry’s Law
Are You There, Chelsea? (Leeard is rooting for it, anyway)

These shows are in a little trouble
The Finder
Cougar Town

It’s looking pretty good for these shows
Private Practice
Last Man Standing
The Secret Circle
Gossip Girl
Raising Hope
Touch (Ern STILL hasn't seen this. She's the worst.)
30 Rock
Up All Night
Community (We may be delusional with our wishful thinking here. But HOPE! Clap if you believe in the study group!)

It’s looking great for these shows
Two and a Half Men (ugh)
The Middle
Happy Endings
Once Upon a Time
Grey’s Anatomy
Modern Family
The Vampire Diaries
New Girl
Parks and Recreation
The Office
Law and Order: SVU

We don’t know about these
CSI: Miami
Rules of Engagment
Hart of Dixie
Fringe (We know you are shocked this isn't underlined, but we think it might be time to let this one go)
Napoleon Dynamite

Already renewed
Blue Bloods
Castle (it was renewed on Saturday! yay!!)
The Good Wife
The Mentalist
Hawaii Five-O
NCIS: Los Angeles
Person of Interest
Criminal Minds
Mike and Molly
How I Met Your Mother
Two Broke Girls
Big Bang Theory

Already cancelled
Pan Am (another sad face)
Charlie’s Angels
Work It
Man Up!
Terra Nova
I Hate My Teenage Daughter
Prime Suspect (*sob*)
The Firm
Free Agents
The Playboy Club

Other shows we saw this week

Shameless - A Great Cause
We shouldn’t be surprised that Fiona’s mom spent all the family’s money on coke. What with the addict Sheila took in and everything else, this episode should be shown in public schools to discourage kids from doing drugs. Sheila’s drug addict was so awful but so funny. We felt twisted laughing at it. We feel bad for Kevin and Veronica. It was hilarious when Steve lost Marco, Estonia’s love. No good deed goes unpunished. Ian wasn’t allowed to join the military until he finished high school, but we think they should make an exception. War might actually better for his mental health than living with his family. Jody and Sheila need to get together, officially. They are so dumb that they are made for each other. It was nice to see Fiona planning for her future, getting ambitious, getting herself a good job in management, jogging, and considering business school. Obviously, it was never going to last. These kids are her quagmire. Steve tried to get her away last season, but nothing is going to work. If Lip isn’t going to take his opportunities, then he should take Fiona’s place at home for a while. We feel bad for her. We feel even worse for Mandy. We are surprised Mandy isn’t getting an abortion. At least Monica made a lot of cookies while she was having her mental breakdown. 
Episode Grade: B+

Alcatraz - Webb Porter
In this groundbreaking episode, an inmate from Alcatraz reappears, kills people, and is caught by Rebecca, Doc, and Hauser. Ern thinks this show needs some sort of love story that’s actually romantic, and Ern never says this. She likes things that are based on themes bigger (or at least more unique) than romantic love. This show needs some romance though, and Lucy/Hauser isn’t cutting it, mostly because Hauser is old and kind of an A-hole. Lucy is really sweet though and we are glad this week's inmate could help her. She needs to learn that it’s laughter that’s the best medicine, not music. What kind of doctor is she, not knowing the basics? Webb Porter gives some truly bad haircuts. We like how hard his first victim fought. If you have to go out, that’s the way. There’s a lesson in this, and it’s “don’t abuse your kids” even though they smell and probably deserve it. This episode dragged a little, but it was otherwise ok. This show may get cancelled anyway. We won't be devastated, but we won't be happy.
Episode Grade: B-

How I Met Your Mother - The Broath
This episode had a promising title. We liked Barney’s Broath, his robes, and his monk-chanting CD. We can’t believe Ted Evelyn Mosby broke the broath. He's the worst. Marshall and Lily sound like they have a great sex life…we did get to see the downside of only ever sleeping with one person though. One clever moment in this episode had Ted confronting three college kids that resembled Marshall, Lily, and Ted when they were in college. Anything with an intervention or ninjas is usually a win with us, but this episode wasn’t as funny as it could have been. This season has been really average. Things got too dramatic when Quinn broke up with Barney, even if it did turn into an evil plan. Also, one of us has a huge problem with women slapping or hitting their boyfriends or husbands in entertainment (and in life). If a guy did that, he would be a total monster in the episode or movie. If a girl does it, it’s still abusive. Why did the evil plan even happen? Why is that funny? Oh wait, it’s not. This is turning into a soap opera. We had to watch Ted and Robin fight emotionally in the hallway. What happened to our lighthearted comedy? Then we had homophobic and fat jokes. Original! At least Robin got a promotion. Finally. Maybe we are being too harsh, but we just miss this show being one of the best things on TV. It has fallen farther even than The Office. All of the characters were awful this week. They were dishonest and, worst of all, not funny.
Episode Grade: D+

Being Human - Dream Reaper
This whole episode was about Sally losing it and the guys dealing with it. We love Sally with her straight hair. She looks good with either curly or straight. It was funny when Josh was talking to Sally about how Julia has gotten hotter. Where did they find those creepy pillows with the eyes on them for Sally’s dream living room? The whole color scheme (purple and grey) of that fantasy was pretty cool. Of course this happened on the full moon so that Josh, Aidan, and Zoe were trapped with Sally in the house. It was sweet that even though circumstances were dire, Josh and Aidan refused to consider shredding Sally. It was scary when the Reaper spoke through Sally and told Zoe all the secrets. Josh’s idea to change in the fridge was freaking hilarious. We thought Josh would be the first one to lose it and were surprised when it was Aidan. It was cool to see Aidan and Josh fight, even if it was short-lived. Some guys can still come across as masculine when they cry, and Aidan is not one of them. It was funny when Josh fed Aidan…up to a point, obviously. The episode was cool, but it solved almost nothing.
Episode Grade: B+

New Girl - Fancyman Part 1
Nick’s credit score is about like Ern’s, haha. We liked Dermot Mulroney as Russell and seeing a mature guy interested in Jess. He looks a bit older than 42 though. Just googled it. The actor is 48. Jess’ commitment to art and creativity in the classroom wasn’t funny, but everything else about this episode was. We really loved how impressed Nick was with Russell’s office. We were impressed too. We liked the way Jess delivered the line, “Bidet if I do.” The whole Bidet thing was a good idea. Russell is definitely too together for Jess. 
Episode Grade: B+

South Park - Cash for Gold
You may suck our collective balls, sir. This episode took aim at the home shopping network and their overpriced stuff. What is it with old people and getting swindled easily? Of course Cartman gets in on the home shopping business, because he sees it’s lucrative, and that’s all he needs. If Stan could have just worn the gay bolo tie and shut up, Cartman wouldn’t have found a source of income. The world needs for Cartman to never find his own source of income, other than his mother. Asians never come out well on this show, but at least it’s always funny. Also funny were the parts where Stan and the old people kept calling in to tell the salesman to kill himself. We knew he was going to. When they showed the cycle of how the jewelry was made and sold, the a cappella was a nice touch.
Episode Grade:  B+

America's Next Top Model - J. Alexander
This episode was the best of the Cycle so far, but we really aren't digging this cycle. We don't particularly like any of the girls, even though Ashley has the cutest accent ever. The photo shoots, especially the "toddler" one, have been stupid and unfunny. They had Kris Jenner on the show too. Say what? It was funny when that British model couldn't take criticism and left. It was also funny when Tyra told us she graduated from Harvard. That's important. Tyra spent a lot of time two weeks ago promoting Modelland. She gave the girls superhero model nicknames. One was "Illuminati." Dear Lord. We like this show half high fashion and half hot, dramatic mess. However, this Cycle has been all mess. This episode was a little tamer, but it didn't entertain us.
Episode Grade: C+

Missing - Pilot
We were not impressed by this show. It isn't hideous, but it isn't good either. It's Taken with the genders swapped and it's not as entertaining as that movie was. It makes no sense, and there is too much action with too little character development. The action scenes are fun, but they came before we cared about the people fighting. We love Ashley Judd, but we have no time for a show that's this generic and dull.
Episode Grade: D+

We are still watching and enjoying this show. It's avoided being uneventful and focuses on the characters more than the weekly mysteries. We like that.

Community - Contemporary Impressionists
Jeff took medication for his anxiety and got rid of all his self-doubt. Britta worried that without that self-doubt, Jeff would turn into a monster. It’s true that getting rid of self-doubt would make a narcissist more obnoxious. However, self-doubt does not tame the ego. Self-doubt is another manifestation pride, it’s just more unpleasant and makes you down on yourself rather than overtly arrogant. In this society, we say that to cure low self-esteem, we need high self-esteem, and to cure arrogance, we need to think badly of ourselves. The reason we are mainly writing this and not focusing on the actual show is that we believe this is a common confusion that hurts people struggling to be both more secure and more humble. Thinking badly of yourself or feeling shame won’t make you more humble; it will just make you depressed and more focused on yourself. You don’t want high or low self-esteem, you want NO self-esteem. You don’t want to always be thinking of yourself and how you are measuring up/looking. Spending time comparing yourself to others or evaluating your abilities (whether you decide you’re making out well or not) is taking time away from getting to know other people or actually doing something you love for its own sake, rather than how it makes you look. You should say what you think is the right thing to say, not what will make you admired. It’s best to take the mind off the self altogether, if possible, because that’s the ultimate statement that it’s not all about you. That’s the anti-ego. Jeff did not get this advice and pulled a Kanye in this episode. It was pretty funny. We loved Shirley’s fake Oprah Winfrey and Britta’s Michael Jackson. The Chang stuff was actually funny this episode. They are learning to use Chang sparingly. However, this episode wasn’t as good as the last one and was merely ok. We still think this is one of the best comedies of all time though. Stay weird, Community.
Episode grades: B-

The Vampire Diaries - Break on Through
Poor Alaric. But is the real problem gonna be Jeremy? We’re with Damon on Stefan’s eating habits. Stefan keeps falling off his wagon, so he needs to ditch the wagon and find a new way to deal with his hunger. Moderation sounds good. Sage showing up a mere episode after she was first mentioned was awfully  convenient. It’s also a little too convenient that there was another White Oak Tree, but we’ll go with it. This show has earned our suspension of disbelief, especially since the many Alaric deaths turned out to be important. Rebekah, you are an Original. Don’t let Damon treat you like this. You could own him with a swat. It’s really too bad that Abby bit Jamie, and not only because he is hot. Klaus, someone might be moving in on your girl… When Sage bit into a human’s arm, it sounded like she was biting into an apple. We don’t know if biting into a wrist would make that same noise. Who wants to try it and tape it for us? Sage looks a little like an older version of Elizabeth Banks. Dancing is foreplay for Damon. He shouldn’t dance with his arms over his shoulders if he wants to appear straight. That’s the rule, most of the time. Unless it’s ballet. This show is so crazy. We never thought we’d root for Meredith over Alaric in a scene. It’s hard not to see her as crazy Melissa from PLL. The third way too convenient development was Abby and Bonnie pulling an herbal cure for Alaric out of their asses. It’s nice to see Stefan and Elena both communicating and working together. We miss that couple. Thanks to Damon, the Original-killing game is finally back on!
Episode Grade: B+

We watched Take Shelter, which was a very good movie that we ended up not liking. Sometimes the critics go nuts over something well-made and meaningful, but when it's over, we think, "So what?" We guess it reflected our modern sense of stress and doom pretty well. Certain scenes really grabbed us, there were some definite scary parts, and the lead actor was good. But we got to the ending and felt like we didn't get a proper resolution to all we had sat through. It's easier to be impressed with the quality of this movie than to actually like the movie. Movie grade: C+ Then we watched Attack the Block, which was fun and hilarious. Americans will need to watch it with subtitles because nearly all the dialogue is British slang. It's really funny if you can pick it up, but if you are just listening, we guarantee you will miss most of it. This is in our top three alien invasion movies. Movie grade: A-