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Thursday, April 12, 2012

South Park - Butterballs review

This episode was better in the second half. The point throughout a lot of this episode was that those who are anti-bullying are bullies themselves. We don’t know if that rang true, but there were a few observations in this episode that hit things on the nose. The first half left us puzzled because we couldn’t see what was funny about having Butters’ grandma be the bully. It made us think too much about kids getting abused by older family members, and that just bums us out.

The plot ended strongly with Butters confronting his grandmother with a few perfect words, but the Grandma thing was still the weakest spot of the episode. We like when Butters stands up for himself. He is the best new character this show has ever added. He is both funny and sweet, an uncommon mix in comedy.

The first thing that made sense to us was the slam of the movie Bully. The episode asked the question, “If it is so important that people see it and if the reason you are making the movie to stop bullying, then why don’t you put it online for free?” It’s a good point. Bully’s main goal is to make money, get attention, and get accolades. It’s working on that front. But South Park puts all its episodes online for free because Matt and Trey want people to be able to see them. And South Park doesn’t even claim to be a show that eradicates social evils.

We still want to see Bully, but more for voyeuristic reasons than anything else. When you are anti-something and make a video about it, you need to make sure that you and your video are squeaky clean and that you aren't exploiting anyone (including bullied children) for profit. There is a trend nowadays that revolutionaries and socially conscious people are self-righteous liberals with their heads up their bums. We think it is great that anyone is trying, even if the attempts aren't perfect, but you can't expect South Park to ignore hypocrites or do-gooders. They are prime targets.

The episode also attacked the Kony 2012 campaign. The point there is that the creator of the Kony video, like Stan, made it all about himself and then went crazy. Stan's music video (interspersed with segments of Cartman in drag singing about his vajayjay) was clever and catchy. It was probably the funniest part of the episode. We also liked the original song about jacking off in San Diego.

If The Book of Mormon didn’t prove that the South Park creators have a way with music, then surely the South Park movie and plenty of episodes showcase that talent well enough. Trey Parker has a strong sense of melody. If you are up on the Bully, Jason Russell, and Kony 2012 information/news, this episode will be a treat for you. Otherwise, you will miss the more childish, less preachy, and more Cartman-filled episodes. The moral of this story? Don't do anything good and call yourself a world-rocker unless you are doing it for free and at the expense of no one but yourself.

Episode grade: B

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Girl - Normal review, Cougar Town - You Can Still Change Your Mind review

New Girl - Normal
Someone watched this episode and wrote down/deciphered all the rules to True American! Thank you, tumblr! Ern and Leeard are totally playing next time we are together, which might be on our cruise to Europe. Yeahhh, we are going to get thrown off the boat. In this episode, Jess proves she is no longer the new girl. She has inside jokes and traditions with the boys and fits right in. They should change the name of the show to New Boy Man, because it’s Russell who is the odd man out now.

The best part was possibly Nick reciting the words to "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. We are falling in love with him and don’t know why Jess isn’t….yet (obviously). Winston finally has a storyline: He has a new job with a  horrible boss, prompting Winston to seek revenge by quitting and dipping his nuts into his boss’ milkshakes. We wish we could make up a There Will Be Blood reference, because of the milkshakes, but we can’t come up with a good one. “We ball all your milkshake. We nut it up!” No? Ok.

It was funny when Jess taped a napkin to Russell’s bleeding hand. Our favorite line this week was, ““If you wanna get with me, you’re going to have to get with my friends, and that is a Spice Girls song.” We love this show.

Episode grade: B+

Cougar Town - You Can Still Change Your Mind
Nearly every episode of this season so far has been flawless. This one was fine, but it wasn’t the show’s funniest.  Still, we don’t know what’s wrong with people that they aren’t watching this show. We’ve decided that it’s way cuter when Grayson has a daughter than when Luke did on Gilmore Girls. With Grayson, we already knew he was sleazy. Ern thought the illegitimate love child was sleazy with Luke, and it was also a suprise. But here, Jules’ reactions were so priceless that it saved it. We don’t really want a pregnancy storyline with her. This show knows how to keep the kids out of the picture when they aren’t needed. When’s the last time we saw Ellie’s child? Exactly.

We like that everyone is still calling the baby “Tampa.” We also liked that Ellie was kind of nice to Laurie at the end. What she said was true, too. We're relatively intelligent human beings, but there are things that make us feel dumb. Leeard just found out today the proper pronunciation of the word "solder." We hope that Ellie soon accepts Laurie and starts teasing her affectionately, rather than cruelly. It’s a shame Angie is already gone. We liked guest star Sarah Chalke and we also liked seeing Bobby date someone. Hopefully she changes her mind later in the season and makes a comeback. Leeard and Ern often compare their friendship to that of Jules and Ellie, except we are both Ellie.

Episode grade: B-

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

We read this book because it was advertised as “a more adult version of Twilight.” Lots of Ern’s complaints about Twilight stem from its stupidity, so Ern was anxious to see how that story would go down if it were written by someone with a brain. We also like the genre of urban fantasy and enjoy vampire books in general. Leeard even enjoys Twilight. Sadly, this book bored the pants off of us. The only reason we finished it was that we got it on audiobook and didn’t want to waste it, since audiobooks are expensive. The book then left us without resolving most of the story arcs.

That was the most excruciating listen of all time. It felt about ten times as long and took about a month to listen to, since we didn’t want to listen to it. The weakest thing about this book is that the romance was not romantic. The appeal of romance novels is that they get our lady minds in a dither and put butterflies in our stomachs. Maybe the main male character was too controlling. Maybe he was just too French. But he didn’t do it for us. The main female character was a Mary Sue to the max, and we got sick of hearing about how brilliant, gorgeous, and talented she was. We just weren't rooting for this couple or living vicariously through the female character, and that's what romance novels are for. 

The book focused on unimportant details like what the main characters ate and drank, mundane tasks like hair brushing, putting clothes on, yoga classes (seriously. We nearly died of boredom), napping, studying, whining, and daily errands. It didn’t just do this once or twice but throughout most of the book. If we were to cut this book down to the intriguing parts, it would be 80 pages, not 592. The peeks into the main character’s mind/prose/narration was uninteresting. There were some well-written parts, there was great world building, and we appreciated the author’s knowledge of history and biology, but she just didn’t do anything thrilling with it.

There was absolutely no humor in this book anywhere. There was little action. The girl is a damsel in distress, despite being very powerful. For most of the book, she doesn’t use her powers (for no good reason). She faints and has panic attacks and shakes a lot. Each panic attack takes about 10 pages of the book to get through. What's funny is that while she's just as big of an affront to feminism as Bella Swan, the author takes great pains to try to convince us that she is strong, modern, and independent, despite her fragile actions. We liked the ancient gods, knights, and time travel, but by the time you get there, you will have to slog through 14 hours of NOTHING. This book was also pretty shallow and cold. 

When you read a book about vampires, it’s usually a guilty pleasure thing, not a highbrow, enriching thing. There is no reason for urban fantasy to sacrifice being entertaining for being scholarly and grounded. This is the first book of a trilogy. The biggest insult we can give a book is that we will not read the next one. Maybe it would have been more enjoyable if we had read a physical copy, since we could have read it faster and skimmed the boring details. But alas, we had to listen to every dull word. 

We kept thinking it was building to something by being slow. But, spoiler alert, nothing exciting ever happens. What a waste of our lives. It’s a very typical romance, only it’s not a very thrilling one and it drags enough to make even Ern miss Twilight. We don’t have short attention spans either. We enjoy classics and one of us read the unedited version of The Stand by Stephen King. But hey, those were good, so they were worth it.

Book Grade: F

Glee- Big Brother review

Comments- Finally, Glee is back. We missed this show more than it deserves, because it’s often kind of a crappy show. Still, we are on the Glee train until it crashes. Thank God Rachel and Finn didn’t marry. The burning question of whether they went through with it was answered in the first line of the episode. What relief! Now we can breathe again.

We liked Quinn’s positive outlook and gratefulness at being alive, but we didn’t trust it. There’s no way Quinn could end up in a wheelchair with no drama. Sure enough, she's in denial about how long it's going to take to heal. I’m Still Standing was cute, but the lyrics were so on-the-nose and unintentionally hilarious. This is the way Glee always handles stories about the handicapped.  To hammer the PSA home, Glee had Quinn say, “Don’t text and drive. Texting and driving was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, besides sleeping with Puck.” Um, what about trying to steal Shelby’s baby?

We are glad that Quinn has a chance at a full recovery. Sue coaching the Glee club is a hilarious idea. Could Cooper BE any cuter? No, because it’s Matt Bomer from White Collar, one of the best-looking guys in history. It came as no shock to us when he came out of the closet. No guy that pretty is straight. He makes the usually adorable Blaine look homely by comparison.

Of course when Quinn doesn’t bring drama, Rachel provides it on Quinn’s behalf. Quinn shut it down nicely. Puck wants Finn to go into business with him for his BRAINS? Oh, Puck. Cooper is such a douche. Saying “Namaste” in a non-yoga setting was the clincher. Of course Matt Bomer would be able to sing too (at least we think/it’s tough to tell what these people actually sound like with all that autotune the show uses). One person should not be so gifted. It isn’t fair. Hopefully he’s stupid in real life, like Finn. We prefer Blaine’s voice though. Rio/Hungry Like a Wolf was a good mash-up in that the songs went well together.

Ern’s brother tries out new accents in public all the time, haha. We loved seeing baby Blaine and Cooper. Blaine was being too sensitive about his brother’s advice at dinner. Older siblings criticize and that’s that. He means well. When someone who means well criticizes you, you should take what’s helpful and ignore the rest without getting upset. We were really scared that Quinn was going to slide backwards off that ramp Artie made her climb. We disagree that it’s hard to go to a theme park in a wheelchair. Ern knows, because Ern did that once. No, Ern was neither injured nor handicapped. Ern was just a bad person when she was younger (and possibly now too.)

When you are in a wheelchair, they sometimes rush you to the front of lines and you get to remain seated the entire time. You don’t get tired. Someone in your family has to push you. Clearly, the writers of this show have never done this. Cooper’s acting lessons were so bad. We are starting to see why Blaine is annoyed. The man is an idiot and arrogant at the same time. During his acting lessons, we started to really loathe him and wish that he was off the show. “When a choice feels wrong, it’s actually a good sign.” Haha.

The thing about arrogant people is they don’t realize they are arrogant. It’s a blinding trait. They have no idea. They think they are the best people either. Blaine being mad at Cooper for being arrogant is like me being mad at Helen Keller for not being able to enjoy The Dark Knight. You just hope they one day seek therapy because they can’t form lasting relationships and let a professional break the news to them in a convincing way. Also, you realize that we are all a little arrogant and/or self-centered. Some people are just better at hiding it.

Blaine should never throw punches again. That’s not his forte. Fighter was ok. We like when the show has someone of one gender singing an original song by someone of the opposite gender. It’s hard to top Christina Aguilera though, and that’s one of her best songs (and creepiest music videos).

It’s about time we address Sue’s pregnancy, because that’s still happening. Oh show, why do you do these things to us? Leeard still refuses to believe this is a thing. She will not believe it until she sees the baby pop out of Sue, and she might not even believe it then. Apparently, the baby girl is going to have Down’s Syndrome. This is realistic, since Sue is old. But it’s not going to be funny. We fail to see how it will add anything to the show. We already have Becky.

Kurt’s solution to Blaine’s brother problem is that they sing it out. A) Stupid and B) Good, because it led to the best cover of the night. The song is just fantastic, so anyone singing it can make it nice. It was cool to apply the breakup song to the brothers’ relationship. Cooper, those Transformers movies suck anyway. The first one was ok. As for the final Rachel/Finn fight, we are past caring. But Team Rachel.

Episode grade: B

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Voice- Live performances week 2

Last week, we liked Erin Willet, Jermaine Paul, Lindsey Pavao, and Chris Mann, so eliminations night was good for us. This week, the performances were mostly meh. They need to stop letting these people pick their own songs. ITunes downloads are votes, people! Don't pick "Walk Like an Egyptian." No one wants to own that song.

Katrina Parker “Tonight Tonight”: We weren’t impressed with her in her first audition or the battle rounds, and this episode did nothing to change our minds. It wasn’t terrible, we just didn’t enjoy it and weren’t impressed. We think it was a good song choice though and we wish someone else sang it. Cee Lo was right that she didn’t connect with the song the way the Smashing Pumpkins singer did. B-

Cheesa “Don’t Leave Me This Way”: We are so sad that Angie got sent home instead of Cheesa, because we preferred Angie as a person. But Cheesa did better in the battle round. We agree that she earned it. Overall though, Cheesa is only here because she is loud. Her voice isn’t special or pleasant and neither was this performance. C+

Tony Luca “In Your Eyes”: This guy takes himself way too seriously for us to like him. His performance was pretty good though, so we don’t hate him. B

Kim Yarbrough “Rolling In the Deep”: We are rooting for Kim because she has a great voice. Lots of people think she is just a typical church singer, but we think she’s a little better than that. Sadly, she has no chance of winning because she is 50. We don’t like that she picked Rolling in the Deep. That song has been done to death and we are sick of it. Kim didn’t do it justice either. B-

James Massone “Don’t Know Why”: We hate him so much. This teen heartthrob type doesn’t hold a candle to most of the other singers. His thin, young voice just doesn’t bring it. C+

Juliet Simms “Roxanne”: We generally like her, even though she does the growl too much. This performance was on key and enjoyable. We agree with Blake that we actually heard her voice for the first time. She let a little of her good tone out beneath the growl. She reminds us of Juliette Lewis, looks-wise. B+

Mathai “Ordinary People”: We think she oversang this one a little. There were too many riffs, and she did look too happy considering the subject matter of the song. We didn't really like the song either and agree that it was "lounge-y". Vocally though, we don’t have complaints. Good job, Mathai. Lovely. B

Tony Vincent “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”: Tony is a strong player in this competition, but this was his weakest performance so far. We don’t think the song fit him well. He needs to stick to stuff like Queen. We wish he had hair. He’s so tall and skinny too. He recalls Voldemort. We advise that he pick more rocking songs and never wink at the camera ever again. B-

Karla Davis “Airplanes”: We like that she tried to do an all-female, no rap version of this song, but her voice wasn’t strong enough to make it work. This turned into a disaster, but we enjoyed the surprise and the risk. Her voice WAS too whispery though. C-

Erin Martin “Walk Like an Egyptian”: Believe it or not, we like Erin. She seems sweet and we like her breezy, dumb manner. We think her voice could really work with the right songs. This wasn’t the right song and the performance was average. C

Pip “When You Were Young”: Shockingly, we don’t hate Pip either. He is adorable, and this was a solid performance, even though he is better with different genres. He’s vocally better than almost any of the guys American Idol has had in the last couple of years. B

Jamar Rogers “Are You Gonna Go My Way”: We love this guy’s attitude, and his performance was good. B+

How I Met Your Mother - Trilogy Time recap/review

What Happened - Barney complains to Lily and Robin about a fight he had with Quinn. Barney and Quinn are living together, and Barney has to go out on the street every night to fart. He also refuses to replace his coffee mugs with hers, because he “needs to assert his dominance as a man.” Lily and Robin are not amused by this. The girls tell Barney that his refusal to use Quinn’s things shows that he sees the relationship as temporary. He needs to keep his mugs because her mugs will be gone soon. This actually makes sense.

Later, Marshall, Barney, and Ted sit down to watch the Star Wars trilogy. This is a tradition that started in 2000 when Marshall and Ted were in college. They decided that they would watch the trilogy every three years, no matter what. They think about what they will be like in 2003 and decide that Ted will be a successful, long-haired architect with a hippie girlfriend (played by Robin in a blonde wig). Marshall envisions himself as a mustached lawyer married to a pregnant Lily. The show then cuts to actual 2003, which was a disappointment. Marshall was not even in law school yet, and Ted could not play the guitar.

In 2003, Marshall and Ted imagine 2006. In that reality, they are wealthy and married to Lily and Robin (respectively, not as a foursome). In the real 2006, Lily has left Marshall and the boys are upset. They leap ahead to 2009 in their imaginations. In the real 2009, they are still watching Star Wars, but their lives are not what they wanted them to be. Robin is sleeping with Barney and is forced to hide in Barney’s storm trooper suit in order to keep their affair a secret. She stands in the outfit during the entire trilogy viewing that year. Finally, Marshall and Ted imagine and appear in 2012.

Ted is upset that his dreams have never come true. He decides that since he is 36 and unmarried, there must be something wrong with him. Don't worry Ted, Leeard doesn't think there's anything wrong with you. He imagines that in 2015, he will be a hoarder with no hair, calling frozen food company representatives to chat. Ted envisions Marshall as a cool, mustached boat owner with three kids and two on the way. Robin is married to a douchebag because it turns out she can commit, just not to Ted! In all this episode’s imaginings, Barney is sleeping with a different woman. Barney decides that he doesn’t want that to be the case in 2015. He wants to be with Quinn three years from now. So Barney goes home, smashes all of his mugs, and farts freely (as does Quinn).

At the end of the episode, we get a glimpse of the real 2015. Ted’s voiceover tells us that Ted is happy in 2015. In the future, Barney and Marshall are complaining that Ted brought a girl to trilogy time. Ted walks in with his newborn daughter. That means that Ted has to meet the mother by 2013/2014 at the latest!

Comments - What’s this? A How I Met Your Mother episode that we didn’t hate? We didn’t love it, but we will take what we can get. The last three seasons or so have been just awful, including this one. This is episode 21 and we don’t have many memorable moments from this year. This episode at least had a super precious ending. But fart jokes? Really, show?

We thought it was funny that some fat man was scoping out Barney as he farted every night. We were surprised that Star Wars was the trilogy of choice. The year 2000 was the year after The Phantom Menace came out and disappointed fans everywhere. Don’t get us wrong, we love Star Wars (Leeard more than Ern), but there are stronger trilogies (Leeard disagrees - there's little wrong with the original trilogy). We fully expect the last of Chris Nolan’s Batmans to give us a trilogy for the ages. Star Wars features a stock plot, stock characters, weird incest, and only one really good movie (Empire, duh). Trilogy time for Ern would be Lord of the Rings. This episode had a good idea. Sit down and imagine the future and have a trilogy marathon every three years? We like it.

Someone needed to tell college version of Marshall that law school takes three years, and he would not have graduated law school by 2003. Everyone knows that. The stormtrooper stuff was funny. We don’t know if we like Quinn after the last couple of episodes with her. We liked her first appearance, but she seems like a bad person. We still want Barney and Robin more. Quinn isn’t terrible and we like the actress. We also like her attitude, but we want to LOVE who Barney ends up with.

The ending finally set a deadline for meeting the mother. We will have to meet her either next year or the year after. When Marshall and Barney mentioned that Ted brought a girl to trilogy time, we thought it was another “mother tease” and that the mother was in the other room. When Ted walked in with a baby, it was so cute and surprising. And baby girl, yes Han shot first. The gang is already parenting Ted’s child well. Wise counsel this is.

Episode grade: B

(For once we agree on the grade and didn't have to average our two grades. Look at us. On the same page. Leeard was surprised Ern thought the ending was cute, but it's a little-known fact that Ern loves babies almost as much as she loves dogs.)

Being Human season 2 finale- It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To recap/review

What Happened- Josh is still mourning Julia and blaming himself for her death, naturally. His sister tries to comfort him to no avail. Nora tells Josh that if he kills Ray, everyone werewolf Josh has made will be cured. Since Josh promised Nora that he would save her, he is now determined to kill Ray. Even though he promised Nora that he wouldn’t kill Ray. Sally possesses Ray’s wife and calls him, telling him that her car broke down. When Ray shows up on an abandoned road to help his wife, Josh jumps out with a gun and takes him to the woods shed. Josh bungles the situation and Ray ends up holding the shotgun on Josh. Nora shows up with a handgun and holds it on Ray. The screen goes black and we hear two gunshots.

Aidan plans to meet Josh at the shed and help him kill Ray, but he got sidetracked. He decides to kill Mother and asks Henry to give him a signal when Mother is asleep. Henry bungles the situation and Mother manages to trap Aidan. Mother tries to get Suren to kill Aidan in order to prove herself, but Suren refuses. Mother kills Suren and pits Aidan to ground in Suren’s old grave. Mother keeps her victims hanging from meat hooks in her cellar, which is disgusting.

Sally wants to go to limbo to rectify her misdeeds. She can either get shredded or take another ghost’s door, which she doesn’t want to do since she might make the other ghost go crazy like she did. Sally asks her mother to shred her, but Mom won’t do it. Mom says sweet things to Sally and then Mom’s door appears. Mom tries to get Sally to take it, but Sally isn’t willing to hurt her own mother. Sally shreds herself. At the end of the episode, we hear Sally trying to contact Josh and Aidan through a radio frequency. We hear her tell them that she needs help and that she made a mistake.

Comments- Last week, we were too busy to write about the episode that killed Julia, but that was a great one. We were sad when she died, and it has to be hard for Josh to realize that if he was just honest in the first place, Julia would have loved him enough.

This show couldn’t go out without showing us Aidan’s doofy mustache again. The vampire party disappointed. Hundreds of years of life and the best thing a vampire can play is Fur Elise? Ern could play that song at one point, and Ern is known for being pretty lame at the piano.

Josh and Aidan are incapable of screaming words like straight men. Josh yelling at Ray to get down on the ground was the gayest thing we’ve ever heard. We are not sad that Suren died. She was crazy and a bad influence on Aidan. She took this season to a dark place. Sally is awesome and brave for shredding herself.

We can’t believe this is how they are ending things this season. Cliffhangers always bum us out. At least there will be a season three. This season, overall, was a little too dark for us. We love dark, but there need to be moments of levity and friendship. The humor in this season was good, but there was far too little. We need more roommate boding and fewer meat hooks, thanks.

Episode grade: B+
Season grade: B

Make It Or Break It- Time is of the Essence recap/review

What Happened- When Payson is interviewed by a reporter, she fails to talk up Coach McIntire and is embarrassed when the reporter asks her about kissing Sasha. Kelly Parker has her mom find out which person from The Rock leaked the video of Payson kissing Sasha to the NGO. It was Lauren, if you forgot (how could you forget). Jordan hears Kaylie and Kelly Parker talking about it. Payson and Rigo struggle to find the time to catch a date, but Rigo is still able to get a first kiss from Payson.

NGO representative Marcus visits Coach McIntire to observe how training is going. Marcus is unimpressed with how Coach McIntire handles training girls for the first time. Payson goes to Marcus and tells him that she is concerned with the coach’s training methods. Marcus tells the coach that a girl came to him, complaining that Coach McIntire was employing arbitrary methods and failing to inspire the team.

Coach McIntire responds by inviting the girls to his home to bond, watch training videos, and watch Remember the Titans. He leaves the room and the girls take the opportunity to fight. Payson finds out that Lauren leaked the tape, but she pretends that she knew all along so that Jordan wouldn’t get the satisfaction of telling everyone the news. Payson tells Lauren that they are no longer friends, but they make up later. Lauren tells Payson that she is still having dizzy spell and the two agree to go see a doctor together.

Coach McIntire returns to find the girls have turned off the awesome football movie. He comes clean, asking to know who went behind his back to complain to Marcus. Lauren takes the blame. The girls tell the coach that he needs to approach training them in a gentler, more positive way. The coach tells the girls that his pairings and rankings are not arbitrary, but necessary. The coach is able to turn things around and treat the girls better, and Marcus notices.

Comments-  Rigo has so much game. So much more game than the guys in our schools. That’s right, a teen boy on an ABCFamily show has better moves than 25-year-old law and business guys. That was the perfect first kiss. This guy is smooth. Too smooth. There has to be something wrong with him, right?

We love the coach saying, “An athlete is an athlete. Gender doesn’t even play a part.” Of course, the episode would prove that wrong, but we like that the way Coach McIntire thinks. We love Payson, but she really should have threw in a good word for her new coach in the interview, even if just to be classy and grateful. Later, her confession that she doesn’t think the coach knows what he is doing illuminated that she was just trying to be honest and nice at the same time, reserving judgment. But still, it wasn’t smart.

Payson feels like the kiss is going to haunt and embarrass her for the rest of her life. We feel her pain, because we remember the sting of humiliating moments from our teens. Teens reading this: You will always remember how miserable you were, but everyone else will forget and won’t care. Your bad moments won’t follow you unless you let them and keep thinking about them. In five years, the worst thing you ever did will be long gone even if it doesn’t feel that way now. If you don’t let mistakes define who you are, they won’t shape your life.

We like the girls getting along with Kelly Parker. We also liked Lauren saying, “Jordan, you’re dead to us.” The worst thing is when girls pretend to be your best friend when they don’t like you. We will take an upfront bitch any day over that. We totally forgot that Kaylie and Payson didn’t know that Lauren released the tape of the kiss. We have been waiting for Lauren to get her due for that!

We didn’t like when Payson stupidly talked to Marcus about the coach. Bad idea and very cowardly. Always go to the person you have a problem with first. We like Coach McIntire and will only accept a replacement if it’s Sasha. We wish they could coach together, but we do not run this show. Remember the Titans is an awesome movie! Why don’t the girls want to watch it? After watching this episode, WE want to go watch Remember the Titans.

Lauren’s apology worked for us, for the most part. It veered off into Excuses Land when she started talking about how much she wanted to keep Summer and how nobody stays in her life. Lauren kind of made things up for us by lying for Payson. We still don’t love her, but if she really is a new person, then maybe we will come around by the time they put her on the Olympic Team though. We hope karma kicks in and boots Lauren out of the running though.

The girls are upset because the coach criticizes them and doesn’t compliment them. Well, tough titties, we say. Being able to handle and enjoy getting good criticism from a knowledgeable person is one of the keys to life. One of us took eight years of Japanese karate, going three to five days a week for two hours a day. You know how many compliments that blogger got from her sensei in eight years? Four. That’s life and that’s sports. If you need someone to baby you, get off the gym/sparring floor. So the lesson of this episode is that guys are tough and professional, but girls need a bunch of coddling. Nice.

Episode grade: B

Smash- Understudy recap/review

What Happened- Celebrity hire Rebecca Duvall is in Cuba when she should be in New York rehearsing for Bombshell. Eileen’s investors start to waffle, so Eileen’s bartender Nick connects her with an old rock star named Randy Cobra. Randy agrees to finance the show, since he’s wealthy and insane. However, there are hints that both he and Nick have been involved in something illegal in the past. Nick kisses Eileen at the end of the episode.

Julia is melting down due to her marriage troubles, so she is mean to Tom, Derek, her son, and a reporter. Tom and Julia celebrate their professional anniversary every year by seeing a show they wrote together called Three on a Match. Even Tom and Julia admit the show is terrible. Julia ruins the anniversary with rudeness, but Tom forgives her once she tells him the news about Frank moving out. Tom and his Republican boyfriend break up when Tom’s crush on Sam gets noticeable.

Ivy and Derek are strong this week. They were actually good for each other. Ivy encouraged Derek to be kind to Karen during rehearsals. Derek picks Karen to by Rebecca Duvall’s understudy. Karen plays Marilyn during rehearsals in the celebrity’s absence. Karen is doing well at work, but Dev is not. He did not get a promotion, but he is offered a job in Washington D.C. But Broadway is in New York City and that’s where Karen needs to stay.

Dev loses is when he finds out that Derek sexually harassed Karen in the pilot. Derek comes to Karen’s apartment to tell her that Rebecca will be arriving soon and that she did a good job filling in. Dev sees Derek leaving and the two get into a physical altercation.  At the end of the episode, guest star Uma Thurman arrives to play Marilyn Monroe. Better late than never.

Comments- Poor Ivy! Her one mistake at Heaven on Earth is going to get her blacklisted until one of her friends can hook her up with a second chance. We’d feel worse for her if she didn’t do a cover of Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson. That was such an unnecessary cover. As much as we complain about Glee, that show makes much better song choices, overall. Still, Glee autotunes the crap out of everything, even the perfect Lea Michele. Smash doesn’t do that as much.

The second number (the one Tom sang) had cute lyrics that were on-the-nose about how Hollywood sees actresses. It was also fun to watch due to the choreography, dancing boys, and old-style Broadway flair. There’s no way we are downloading it though. Karen belts a boring original ballad at the end of the episode.  Ivy was cool this week. Derek really is verbally abusive in rehearsals and needed to tone it down. He became a little more human this week after his Marilyn mirage. We were so pleased when he apologized to Karen for trying to bang her on the first day they met.

We already hate Rebecca Duvall for being late. Let us tell you something about being late: It shows that you don’t respect the people you are meeting or working with. Look at how much trouble it caused with Eileen and the investors. It’s a breach of your word and integrity. It’s selfish. Late people are the worst.

It was hard for us to like Julia this week. We know she is going through a hard time, but she brought it on herself. She was a raging bitch to the NYU reporter, and we always judge people on how they treat those they don’t have to treat well. Julia also put her son in the middle of her divorce and stole his cell phone. She shouldn’t be surprised that Frank doesn’t want to talk to her. What do you think happens when you cheat on someone with self-respect, Julia? They stop talking to you.

Is anyone liking Dev at this point? We need a real love story on this show. One that involves neither cheating nor Derek. Get rid of Dev and free up Karen to meet somebody cool. They still have to cast Marilyn’s male co-star since Michael is gone. Maybe Karen could hook up with the new guy? Dev should know that battery won’t help his career in politics. He’s a misogynistic stereotype at this point. Karen handled the harassment and didn’t need Dev to save her.

We actually don’t hate the scheming assistant, Ellis, on this show. He brings drama and cattiness, and we think that’s necessary for this show to become guilty pleasure fun. This episode is all about how directors and showrunners see women as objects. The lesson is that this supposedly caused Marilyn to have a tragic life. We want to like Eileen’s raucous friends, especially after they burned the contracts in front of the old investors. They seem really fun, but the show has made it clear that this is going to come back and bite Eileen. We were surprised when Nick kissed her. It’s unrealistic, but kind of awesome.

Uma Thurman isn’t the best choice for Bombshell. She is beautiful in her way, but she doesn’t have the more traditional beauty that Marilyn had. Her features are all wrong for the part. We can’t wait to see her on the show, since she was decent in The Producers. Overall, the episode was enjoyable and eventful enough to satisfy us. We still don't like most of the characters, but at least they are keeping the characters busy. We are rooting for Karen, Ivy, and (shockingly) Derek at this point.

Episode grade: B

Monday, April 9, 2012

Game of Thrones- The Night Lands recap/review

What Happened- This episode is notable for putting Theon Greyjoy front and center! “Who is Theon Greyjoy?” asks everyone. He is the guy in the picture. Need more? Theon was a hostage of Ned Starks who grew up with Robb Stark. He is the son of Balon Greyjoy, the ruler of the Iron Islands who once rebelled against the iron throne. King Robert and Ned Stark won this war and allowed Balon to remain lord of the Iron Islands, but they kept his only surviving son. 

Theon travels to the Iron Islands to ask his father to back Robb in this new war. During the whole voyage, Theon bones the ship captain’s unattractive daughter. Theon hits shore and a young woman offers him a ride to the castle. On the way, Theon gropes her. When Theon asks his father to help Robb, Balon is all, “Dude, I hate those Starks. Do you remember nothing?!” Balon decides he doesn’t like Theon because he’s too Stark-loving and also too fancily dressed/feminine. Balon puts his daughter in charge of his armies instead of Theon. The daughter is the girl who gave Theon a lift to the castle. Her name is Yara (changed from the books), and she seems cool. Theon declares that he plans to be king. Of course he does.  

Let’s get to Ern’s favorite character, Tyrion, the new Hand of the King. Tyrion sends Janos Slynt, leader of the city watch, to the Night Watch. Tyrion wants to get rid of him since he killed many baby bastards and betrayed Ned Stark, the last Hand. Tyrion only wants loyal and trustworthy people working with him. Cersei is upset by this and tells Tyrion that she wishes he had died during his birth rather than their mother. Tyrion makes his hired sword, Bronn the new head of the city watch.

Tyrion is still trying to hide his favorite hooker, Shae, from his father. His father told Tyrion that he wasn’t allowed to bring Shae with him and Tyrion disobeyed. Varys threatened Tyrion regarding this secret and Tyrion told Varys, “I’m not Ned Stark. I understand the way this game is played.”

Soldiers catch up with Gendry (Robert’s bastard with the bull helmet), Arya, and Yoren, so Arya freaks out, thinking that Cersei has found her at last. Gendry sees this and Arya comes clean about who she is. It’s just as well: Gendry had already figured out her gender. It turns out that  the soldiers were looking for Gendry so that they could kill the last of the bastards.

Yoren is a bad ass. He takes the soldier’s weapons and tells them to leave, so Gendry and Arya are safe, for now. The soldiers tell Yoren that they will return with more men. We meet Jaqen H'ghar, the guy in the rolling cage asking Arya for water. Remember this guy, because he is yet another key player in this show. He is caged because he is a dangerous criminal. There are two other crazies caged with him, and they are significantly ruder than Jaqen, so Aria starts poking them with a stick.

We do not see Rob, Catelyn, or Jaime this week, but Daenerys gets a couple of scenes. One of Daenerys’ riders was killed. His head and his horse were sent back by enemies who aren’t thrilled that the Dothraki are being led by a woman. Daenerys vows to do something about this. We also see a little of Stannis. Davos the smuggler and his son team up with a pirate, Salladhor Saan in order to help Stannis become king. Saan wants sex with Cersei as part of his payment and he wants it to be willing. Stannis’ witch wife tells him that if he wants to defeat his brother Renly in open war, he must “give himself to her god.” The ritual to do this involves Stannis having sex with Melisandre on his map table. Stannis obliges.

North of the Wall, Samwell pities one of Craster’s extremely young wives, Gilly, and wants to take her away from Craster. Gilly wants to escape before her baby is born in order to save him. Jon Snow shoots Samwell down. When the baby is born, Craster takes the baby into the woods and sets it down in the snow. Jon follows him and sees something/someone pick up the baby and take him away. It could be chupacabras or monsters or zombies or men. We don’t know yet. Craster sees Jon and hits him over the head, knocking him out. We will find out his fate later.

Comments- This episode was way more plodding than the last one. Gendry is really the rightful king, not Stannis. We have around a thousand guys trying to be king, but there could be another at some point. Gendry doesn’t know his father’s identity, so it may take a while. The soldiers who came to capture him are surely going to lose the game of thrones. They TOLD a man they were going to attack him. Nice. Very smart.

We ship Gendry and Arya, at least when Arya is old enough to have boobs. That day will come, and we are sure the series will show them, for this is Game of Thrones. The man who wrote the books, George R.R. Martin, is really into boobs too. He was writing from the perspective of a woman (young Daenerys) when he said, “When she went to the stables, she wore faded sandsilk pants and woven grass sandals. Her small breasts moved freely beneath a painted Dothraki vest ..." This episode just hit our point home. This show is all about boobs.

Varys should NOT be threatening Tyrion. A) He’s awesome and B) He’s a smarty. He has all the best quips. Our favorite this week happened when Cersei was complaining about all the threats she is under. “It's all fallen on me," she says. Tyrion replies: "So has Jaime, repeatedly, according to Stannis Baratheon." Haha, nice. We find out that Joffrey is the one who ordered the bastards to be killed. He. Is. The. Worst.

This is a change from the books and we like it. It makes more sense. Cersei is a little more sympathetic on the show and we think that’s a strong choice to make. Joffrey is the one who would kill babies without blinking. Cersei is such a bitch to Tyrion. That’s why Tyrion prefers Jaime. Jaime is the only person in the Lannister family who is kind to Tyrion, and that’s Jaime’s redeeming factor at this point in the series.

Samwell is growing on us. When Jon Snow told him that they couldn’t steal one of Craster’s women, Samwell replied, “I can’t steal her. She’s a person.” Swoon. If only he were hotter. But that’s not the point of Samwell, is it?

MAN there was a lot of sex in this episode. Too much, we think. This was the most sex-filled episode, and none of it was particularly titillating. One of the sex scenes proves vital to the plot in the future, but we won’t tell you which one. That was the only one that was necessary. We don’t mind sex if we enjoy watching it, but Thrones sex is usually just gross and/or incestuous. We got off lucky there though. There was only an incestuous grope. What is with George R. R. Martin and incest?

Episode grade: B-

Mad Men- Mystery Date

What Happened- Megan and Don run into Andrea, a woman Don once slept with. Megan is severely annoyed by this and makes it known. Don is sick, so he goes home. Andrea shows up at his apartment and Don sends her away. Later, he has a dream/hallucination where Andrea comes back, they have sex, and Don ends up strangling Andrea to death. He wakes up to Megan smiling and bringing him food.

Several student nurses in Chicago were raped and murdered, and Joyce comes to work with exclusive crime scene photos. Everyone is very interested, except for Michael (the Jewish new hire), who is disgusted. Sally reads about the massacre in the news and gets scared. Sally and Henry take a road trip, leaving Sally home with Pauline, Henry’s mother. Pauline gives Sally extra information about the killings and then gives her half a sleeping pill so she won’t be up all night, frightened.

Greg comes home from war and meets “his son.” He also has plenty of sex with Joan until Joan finds out that Greg is only staying for ten days. Greg volunteered for another year as a military doctor. Joan tells Greg to leave and never come back. She tells him that she is glad the military makes him feel like a man, because she is stick of trying to make him feel that way. She tells him that he is not a good man and wasn’t even before they were married. This is a clear reference to the rape. Greg leaves.

Roger forgets to get Michael on a campaign for Mohawk and tries to fix it by paying Peggy to work up a campaign. Peggy ends up getting $400 out of him. When working late, Peggy finds Dawn (the new black secretary) sleeping in the office because she’s afraid to go back to Harlem due to outside chaos. Peggy invites Dawn to stay the night with her. Peggy gets drunk and confesses that she doesn’t know if she really has the talent to be a good copywriter. Peggy ruins the budding friendship by momentarily hesitating to leave her purse alone with Dawn. Peggy wakes up to find a thank you note from Dawn, but Dawn is gone.

Comments- Alrighty. Back to the adventures of America’s classiest scumbag. What’s this we saw? Wait, what? Whoa. Don didn’t cheat. How is he still Don if he doesn’t cheat on his woman?!! Does Don love Megan more than he did Betty? Is he scared of Megan? Is it just that Megan is hotter than Andrea? Is he still in the honeymoon phase of marriage and uninterested in cheating? We doubt that last one is the case, since he hallucinated sleeping with Andrea. We loved Megan from the last two weeks, but now we love her even more. Megan doesn’t seem like the type of woman who will take cheating lying down. She’s got some oomph and gumption, and not in a passive aggressive way.

Pauline is fairly awful, but she’s entertaining. We like that the show still gives Sally storylines and things to do. We think she’s a strong character. We love Michael for being disgusted at the victims’ pictures and his co-workers’ voyeuristic, sick reactions. We need another good person in the office besides Peggy. The best character of the night is obviously Joan. The show FINALLY addressed the rape by having Joan stand up to Greg, confront him about it, and end their relationship. Her words were right-on and if anyone is strong enough to be a single mom in the 60s and rock it, it’s Joan. It also frees Joan up to return to work and nab a new, better man. The end of this marriage is the best thing ever. We are glad we watched this episode just for that scene.

This episode was a little slow but nicely subtle. Fans of the show know that they have to wait a while before a secretary dies at her desk, secrets are found out, or feet are overrun by lawn mowers. Overall though, this show is worth the wait and slog through quieter episodes like this one.

Episode grade: B-

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Best Entertainment Deaths Part 1: Inspirational, sad, and/or touching deaths

There are plenty of deaths that should NOT have happened, but did. (see: Pay It Forward, Time Traveler’s Wife, Country Strong, X-Men: The Last Stand). It was also too soon for someone on Once Upon a Time. We will always mourn a hottie. There are also deaths that SHOULD have happened, but didn't. (I Don’t Know How She Does It) There are deaths that almost happened that we are so glad didn’t. (Shadow on Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. If he had died, that would have effectively ended our childhoods.) In this series, we will remember entertainment deaths that stayed with us. In this first entry, we will list the deaths that made us cry.

Spoilers included for Harry Potter, The Big C, Scrubs, and a bunch of books and movies. We really try to hide them so that if you are skimming for things you’ve seen, you probably won’t be spoiled just by that. Still, tread carefully.

Braveheart: Freedooooooom!
The fact that this guy is being drawn and quartered is rough to watch, but he goes out with an attitude all dying people would envy. The death scene is powerful and a real tearjerker.

The Lion King and The Land Before Time
Damn wildebeests! That is a death that still makes us tear up 18 years later. The early death of the main character’s daddy shocked kids all over the nation and instantly made the whole audience root for Scar’s death. Littlefoot lost his mom. YOU KNOW that was sad. We haven’t seen that movie since we were kids, and we still remember how sad it was. That’s how sad it was!

Meet Joe Black: Don’t They Go By In a Blink?
This movie is a tearjerker due to the death of the main character. You know it’s coming, obviously, but what makes it touching was the man’s opportunity to settle all his affairs, say goodbye, and reflect on his life. We were touched by his strong relationship with his youngest daughter, his courage, and his business integrity. But what really got us crying was his birthday speech where he wishes all his friends a good life like the one he had.

Valkyrie and Sophie Scholl The Final Days
It’s rough to watch movies set in Holocaust days when you know the main characters are going to fail in their pursuits and die trying, but we watch them anyway. Still, it’s inspirational and emotional to remember that even in the darkest places or times, there are still people who won’t compromise, stand down, go with the crowd, or ignore suffering. Sophie Scholl’s death in particular made us sob. That was a well-made movie.

The Big C: The end of season two
The Big C became less depressing in its second season and really brought the humor, making it less black and easier to watch than its first season. We were so worried about Cathy’s health that we had no idea someone else on the show was at risk. The way Cathy and viewers found out at the end of Cathy’s race was perfect, shocking, and definitely touching. We didn’t care for that character too much, but his death and the way the news broke were perfect enough to make it a good, emotional death.

Scrubs: Pretty much every time they killed a patient
This show could go from goofy and funny to emotional at the drop of a hat without feeling awkward, losing its overall tone, or feeling false. One moment that really sticks out is when Dr. Cox accidentally gives his patients the poisoned livers and throws a fit after the last one dies, all to the tune of How to Save a Life by The Fray. Another touching one was old lady who died in season one and taught J.D. not to fear death and to smell the roses. We spent mere minutes with the Scrubs patients, but the show knew how to make them count.

Meerkat Manor: Darn flipping snakes!
Meerkat Manor follows an actual family of meerkats, which is a lot more interesting than it sounds. We were pretty sad when the fearless female leader got bit by a snake and died. It was real life, you guys! She really did die. Ern cried like a bitch.

Les Miserables: Jumping in the Seine
This story shows two characters responding to grace. One submits to it, accepts forgiveness, and watches his life and heart get transformed. The other has too big of a pride problem. When his black-and-white world is ripped to shreds and he is no longer the most righteous person around, his identity is shattered and he no longer wants to live. Grace destroys him. Readers of the story and viewers of the musical were relieved when the main character’s problems evaporated after the cop’s suicide. The song he sings in the musical before he jumps is pretty great. This scene inspires pity, so it is sad, but we didn't cry. It's included here because it's inspirational/meaningful. It shows the impact of mercy, one way or another.

The Book Thief
This book killed a ton of people and then took you inside the head of the girl who loved them. Rudy’s death was sad and poetic, but the one that made us cry was the death of the main character’s adoptive father. When she found his body, we just lost it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The Forest Again
These books were a bloodbath, but the scene that left us crying the hardest and respecting the character the most was the part where Harry walks, willingly, to his death. We heard Harry's thoughts on what a miracle his living body was, we saw his dead loved ones come back to comfort him before the end, and we were reminded of other, real-life sacrificial deaths.

Honorable mentions: Deaths in The Hunger Games trilogy, The Lives of Others, Six Feet Under (the finale), The Green Mile, and Hamlet (he WOULD HAVE made a good king).

Did we miss the death that made you cry? Let us know.