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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vampire Diaries - Heart of Darkness recap/review

What Happened - How are we going to keep this recap short? Oh lordy. This show is always the hardest to sum up. Klaus and Kol know where Jeremy is. Kol is actually posing as a student and friend of Jeremy’s in order to keep tabs on the Gilbert brother. Stefan sends Elena and Damon to go get him, because he thinks they should spend time together so that Elena can figure out how she feels about Damon. Esther comes to see Rebekah and tells her daughter that she is dying. Rebekah is still upset with Esther for trying to kill her, but they have a sort of a tender moment anyway. Esther then collapses. Klaus shows up and Rebekah tells him that their mother is dead.

Caroline gets Matt to distract Rebekah with preparations for the next high school dance. Rebekah has changed the decade theme from the 70s to the 20s, much to Caroline’s fake annoyance. Caroline is secretly spending the day with Tyler. He’s back and he thinks he might have broken the sirebond! They go to the Lockwood dungeon and have sex. Caroline breaks the news to Tyler that if they kill Klaus, Tyler will possibly die too. Caroline assures Tyler that she has no intention of losing him, but they end up fighting after Tyler sees Klaus’s drawing of Caroline and wonders why she didn’t throw it away.

Stefan spends the episode trying to get Alaric’s psycho alter ego to appear and tell him where to find the last White Oak stake. Klaus decides it’s taking too long and breaks Alaric’s neck. Alaric wakes up, still normal, hours later. Stefan then accesses his dark, ripper self and attacks Alaric (with Alaric’s permission), hoping that Alter Alaric will wake and defend himself. It works. Alter Alaric tells Stefan and Klaus that he hid the stake in the cave where no vampire can get in. Klaus and Rebekah hear this and Rebekah takes Alter Alaric to the cave. Klaus tells Stefan that the reason he hasn’t killed him yet is that he is still hoping his friend from the 20s is still in there, ready to come out and play.

Rebekah and Alter Alaric get to the cave. Rebekah waits at the entrance while Alter Alaric goes inside. He finds the stake and turns around like he is going to use it on Rebekah. But…twist! Rebekah tells Alter Alaric that they have a lot in common, then she steps into the cave. She can enter! She’s not a vampire! She’s a witch. She’s Esther, and she is using her daughter’s body like Klaus once used Alaric’s. So now Alter Alaric has a powerful ally AND a weapon that can kill Originals. !!!!!!!!!!!!

Damon and Elena find Jeremy and Kol. Damon beats Kol with a baseball bat and the three heroes go hide in a motel. Damon and Elena ask Jeremy to contact Ghost Rose and ask her if she knows which Original turned her and originated the Salvatore bloodline. Ghost Rose says she will ask around in the ghost world and also discloses that she is rooting for Damon and Elena. Jeremy is horrified by this. Elena finds out that Damon comforted Rose with a dream world as she was dying. Rose tells the group that she was turned by Mary Porter, not an original. Jeremy goes to sleep, leaving Elena and Damon awake and alone in the motel together. Elena watches Damon walk around and drink, shirtless. Damon lies down next to her in bed.

Elena comments on Damon’s comforting of Rose and asks him why he hides his good side. Damon confesses that he is afraid “people” will expect goodness from him all the time if he shows kindness at all. Damon grabs Elena’s hand and she starts breathing hard. She gets up and leaves the room. Damon follows her. Elena turns around and kisses him. They start making out against a wall. Stupid Jeremy catches them and stops the wonderful kissing! He says that Rose told him Mary Porter is in Kansas. They arrive at Porter’s house, but Kol is already there and has staked Mary. Kol tosses Elena across a room and beats up Damon as payback.

Damon wakes up and Elena tells him that this whole trip was Stefan’s idea in order to give Elena an opportunity to sort out her feelings. Damon asks Elena if she has feelings for him. Elena says she doesn’t know and that every time something goes down, Damon freaks and acts like a jerk. Damon basically says, “Well, what if I don’t do that? I’m going to show my good side and remain nice so that you have to make the hard decision. I’m not going to make it easy for you to reject me by giving you a reason to.” On the drive home, Ghost Rose sits in the backseat and tells Jeremy that even though Stefan’s love is pure and he is good for Elena, Damon challenges Elena and makes her question her beliefs. Rose says that Damon will either turn out to be the best thing for Elena, or the worst.

Comments - GREAT IDEA sending Elena and Damon out of town together, Stefan. One of us is annoyed, because Stefan should be fighting for Elena, not making it easy for Damon to steal her. How is Elena supposed to feel when she’s sees Stefan giving up and sadly, almost passive-aggressively pushing her toward his brother? Good call changing the decade of the dance, Rebekah. We’ve been wanting to see more adorable 20s flapper fashion since the flashback episodes earlier this season.

Why is the Lockwood dungeon Caroline and Tyler’s best option for a sex place? Even if they needed to keep it a secret, how about just in the woods? Caroline’s room? Someone’s roof? A motel? Because: gross. We don’t think Tyler was overreacting when he stormed off after seeing Klaus’s drawing. He has been torturing himself so that he can get back to Caroline and safely be with her, and she is flirting with the enemy. Tyler saw right through her attempts to paint Klaus as creepy. Caroline has a small crush, and that’s not okay. It’s a betrayal.

It’s taken Ern a long time to ship Caroline and Tyler, but Tyler doing this for Caroline has brought Ern around. Leeard has shipped them pretty much the whole time. Ern was rooting for Matt and Caroline but now thinks that Rebekah/Matt is cuter. Klaus/Caroline isn’t bad either. Who are we kidding? We love everyone on this show so ANYONE/ANYONE would be a match that would send us into a dither. We should have seen the Esther/Rebekah twist coming a mile away, but we didn’t. This show always gets us.

We are glad we got a reason as to why Klaus hasn’t killed the Salvatores yet. He’s had plenty of opportunity. But it makes no sense to us that Kol didn’t kill Damon in this episode. We understand that he would keep Elena alive for Klaus, but Damon is unnecessary and troublesome. Whatever. Onto more important things - THAT KISSING. We will be youtubing that scene over and over and over and over until the next episode.

Elena has a hard choice to make and we can’t wait to watch her make it. One brother is going to be heartbroken. Which one is endgame? We also like that Stefan is coming around to his dark side. He needs to learn how to use it in moderation and for the greater good, like he did here. At this point, it could be either. This episode was so good, you guys. We’re nearing the end of the season. Who wants to start making death predictions? Esther and Kol have to go, right? But will Klaus and Tyler?

Episode grade: A

Community - Virtual Systems Analysis review

Thursday night, Community aired an episode that’s just like the ones we like to see from this show (the high-concept and deep ones). The week before, the episode was normal (which some viewers prefer). The week before that, the episode (Pillows and Blankets) was incredible and high-concept (the type of episode we prefer). Virtual Systems Analysis was more thoughtful than funny, and it gave us an unusual pairing: Abed and Annie. Annie helped Abed work through his insecurities and develop a skill called empathy.

Abed helped Annie realize that she’s not actually in love with Jeff; she’s just in love with the idea of being loved. Paired with the last episode, we can see that Community is really trying to make people think about their insecurities, the way they let people treat them, their true motives, and why they have feelings for certain members of opposite sex when those people are bad for them. Community is inserting wisdom along with humor.

In this episode, Annie set Troy and Britta up for a lunch date and had to entertain Abed in his Dreamatorium. At first, Abed was upset over possibly losing Troy to Britta. He also found Annie to be a poor, overly British assistant. Abed figured out that Annie was trying to set Troy and Britta up partly because Annie wants to be with Jeff. Abed simulates all his friends, showing that he knows them pretty well. In the end, both Annie and Troy are better off.

Overall, this episode was adorable. We don’t understand how anyone didn’t get Inception though. The weakness of this episode was its lack of laughs. We don’t think this show always needs to be hilarious though. Certain episodes squeak by in quality through insightfulness and charm. The episode’s strength was its depth, sweetness, weirdness, and originality. It wasn’t the strongest of this season, but we will take it. It was touching, innocent, and character-driven. 

Episode grade: B+

The Secret Circle- Crystal recap/review

What happened- A lot. The circle and John Blackwell decide that they need to find all the crystals. Well, Diana is sort of out on this plan. She is just trying to have a date with Grant, but the circle keeps interrupting. Finally, she has to ditch it altogether. Jake, Cassie, and Faye go to Jake’s grandfather’s house to ask if he knows anything. Callum follows them, because he has a crush on Melissa and hates Jake for telling him to back off of her. At Grandpa’s, Cassie sees a piece of paper with the names and birthdays of circle members and Jake’s grandpa tells them that the circle is going to die. He said that there are two other circles in the East and that John Blackwell was interested in having multiple children with magic so that he could corrupt future circles from within. Jake tells Cassie that Isaac said there was more than one Blackwell child in the circle. Faye reads her mom’s diary and finds out that John and her mother were boning at some point.

Jake asks Grandpa for his crystal and he tells them to go pound sand and that he hid it in the mines. Grandpa spelled the mines so that no one with dark magic can get in. Cassie takes a picture of Grandpa’s crazy board and snaps an image of a map that leads to Grandpa’s crystal. Callum breaks into Grandpa’s house and takes the real map.  

Cassie sends the picture of the map to Melissa and Adam so that they can go to the abandoned iron mine and get the crystal before Callum does. They do, but then Callum shows up with a gun. Adam and Callum struggle and the gun goes off. The rest of the circle has finally shown up and they hear the gunshot. Melissa takes the crystal from Adam and gives it to Callum to stop him from shooting Adam.

Callum runs off and attempts to leave on his motorcycle. Faye, thinking she is Blackwell’s other dark child, tries to stop him alone and nearly gets run over by the bike. Diana pushes her out of the way. Cassie tries to enter the mine but can’t, because it is spelled. Cassie runs after Callum and stops his bike. He takes a fall. The circle marks Callum and tell him to leave Chance Harbor.

John tries to get Charlie to help him defeat the witch hunters. Charlie is all, “I hate you” and then goes to Jane in order to team up with her to kill John. Jane invites John over to “make peace,” but really paralyzes him in order to kill him with a spell. Jane first wants to know if John killed Amelia. He says no, and her crystal confirms that this is the truth. Jane backs out of the murder plan. Charlie tries to go through with it, but the spell kills Jane instead.

Yeah, John was one step ahead of them. He messed with the spell because he remembered how much Jane hated him. John tells Charlie that he still has use for him and won’t kill him yet. Faye asks John if he is her dad. John says that Dawn was just obsessed with him but they never boned. Diana tells Cassie that she needs a break from the circle and also mentions that she wasn’t able to enter the mine. So THAT’S the other Blackwell child.

Comments- Are we crazy, or did Adam and Melissa have a moment in the mine? Will that lead to anything? Diana being John’s child too was a good twist. She is probably our favorite character on this show, so giving her dark power and a bigger part is a good thing. There’s no way she’s getting that break from the circle now. We hope Grant comes back soon. It will be interesting to watch Diana eventually have to tell him that she’s a witch. At this point, Melissa is the only one without a real storyline or issues that put her front-and-center. Callum’s obsession with her gave her a brief spotlight, but something else needs to happen to that girl.

We liked Jake’s crazy grandpa and his crazy wall of information. Does this mean that we are going to see two more circles in subsequent seasons? That sounds cool. Maybe there will be hot guys in those circles too. Who are we kidding? It’s the CW. OF COURSE there will be hot guys in the circles. We don’t know if Callum will be back, but we trust that the show will bring him back for a good reason if it does. We were surprised to lose Jane right after she got back from the mental health ward. John is definitely shady. It sounds like he was sleeping with all/most of the women in his circle. This show hasn’t had a bad episode yet. The quality is consistent. It’s very cool. If it keeps this up, it will be a favorite of ours for a long time.

Episode grade: A-

Friday, April 20, 2012

Grey's Anatomy - The Girl with No Name

What Happened - The residents are interviewing for jobs at hospitals around the country. Cristina is receiving all sorts of bribes and treat baskets from hospitals, because, as she puts it, she is a god. Teddy freaks out and wants her to stay. Teddy tries to get Owen to make Cristina stay, but Owen is all, “Um, we aren’t friends. Don’t you remember that time you gave me that really harsh, uncalled for speech where said you wish I had died? So, you make her stay and don’t talk to me about my wife ever again.” April’s annoying personality grates on prospective employers, Jackson is only being courted for his last name (which upsets him), and Alex is taking interviews at crummy hospitals until he finds out that Arizona is sabotaging him to make him stay at Mercy West Seattle Grace. Alex makes her recommend him to some good places.

Meredith gets a great interview opportunity but is forced to postpone it when a teenage patient, Holly, is admitted and bonds quickly with Meredith. Meredith has to stick around so that the patient feels safe and in control, because Holly was kidnapped at age six and has been tortured and raped for the last couple of years. She escaped her captor and ended up at the hospital. Dr. Bailey is traumatized by this, since she’s a mother, and has a total meltdown when Tuck is out of her sight for about three minutes. Owen has trouble handling the press and the girl’s family. When a stranger takes a photo of Holly that ends up in the papers, Owen blames himself for not handling the security right. Cristina tells him that he’s doing fine and lets him have the apartment until she’s done studying for her boards.

In the end, the handling of the Holly situation is a success. There is hope that she will be able to bond with her parents, she is physically healthy, and no other public relations disasters occurred. Everyone claps for Owen, including Cristina. She gives him an apple from her fruit basket after he inquires, sadly, about her job prospects. Owen looked hopeful during the applause, but soon after seemed to realize that Cristina is disconnecting. Cristina is determined to leave Seattle for the best hospital she can find. Meredith has her eyes set on Boston and Derek is down for moving. Richard finds out that Adele has fallen for another Alzheimer’s patient at Rose Ridge. She even slept with him. Richard realizes that he can’t stop the relationship and has to give her space.

Comments - We liked Owen’s response to Teddy regarding Cristina. It’s about time she got told off for that rant. We also liked that Alex wasn’t mad at Arizona but just made her change her actions. Jackson and April were annoying this week. Dr. Bailey has been annoying us for a while, but we weren’t irritated by her this week. Even though she was not tough and seemed to be making the tragedy all about her, we liked the level of empathy she had with the parents and how much she loves Tuck. The episode name was dumb. The girl has a name: it's Holly.

How is it possible that Owen and Cristina are cuter when they are separated then when they are married? We missed the season five-esque pining between these two. It’s similar: Owen wants to be a better man/get over his issues/prove himself and win Cristina back. It worked three years ago, so why not remind the audience why this is a couple they used to root for? We were mad at both of them (but mostly him) for ruining their marriage with selfish decisions, but they behaved well in this episode. They treated each other with kindness, not anger, and that’s something hardly ever seen in real marriages about to end. Cristina is probably able to do this because she is leaving. She wants to end things on a good note.

The whole “residents looking for jobs” plotline is a great way for some of the actors to end their time on this show once their contracts expire after this season. We could lose all, some, or none of the original cast members. We’ve been loving Meredith lately. Her warm, secure, adult side has blossomed. We’d hate to lose her, but it’s very possible that she and Derek will leave the show. We could stand to lose whiny, self-righteous Derek, but he and Meredith come in a pair, so we would accept him. Cristina should absolutely stay, since she’s our favorite character on the show and it makes more sense for her growth as a character to have her choose personal friendships and love over career success. Still, the storyline is going to take a backseat to actor's contract negotiations. Whatever they decide, the show will have to write around it.

Alex is our second favorite character and we love his dynamic with Arizona. Bailey can go, but she won’t since she’s Shonda’s Mary Sue and would likely get little work elsewhere. Richard is fine. Keep him. This is a good opportunity to get rid of April. It’s unrealistic that she would be the only one to leave. The ones we absolutely need to stay are Cristina and Alex. Richard’s storyline was interesting to Ern. Ern had to pause the episode and think about whether Richard could successfully sue Rose Ridge for allowing two patients not in their right minds to have intercourse. (Conclusion: Ern does not know and needs to study more.) We liked the case with Holly. We don’t know if the show got the psychology right or wrote her character believably, but it was entertaining and touching.

Episode grade: A-

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Best Friends Forever - our first impression

We’ve had three weeks of this NBC show, so it’s time to weigh in. Leeard liked the show from the start. It’s very cute, we like the topic of best friends, it’s easy to watch, and there are some funny moments. Ern thinks it’s okay. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny and sometimes the friends can get a little loud and scream-y. There’s also a question of whether one friend is taking advantage of another and whether the friendship is more co-dependent than supportive. But without the closeness, there would be no show. 

One of the likable things is the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship depicted. It’s one of the least annoying romantic relationships on TV right now. It feels real, and it’s one of the show’s most entertaining features. The acting is good and the Braveheart references were impressive/amusing. The show plays us hot and cold. Sometimes it has really good moments and sometimes it’s unimpressive. For the most part, we like the writing and characters, but it's not original enough or funny enough to stave of a bleak fate. The show needs some time to grow and develop, but it probably won’t get it. Best Friends Forever is likely to be canceled, so don’t get too attached.

Pilot grade: B
The Butt Dial: B-
Put a Pin in It: C+

Divergent - book review

 Spoiler free

Back in January, two of our readers recommended that we check out Divergent, a young adult book by Veronica Roth. We eventually DO get around to almost all recommendations, it just takes us a while. We have school and lots of TV to watch. One of the recommendations said, “Have you read 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth? It has all of the following elements to guarantee its awesomeness: kick a** teenage heroine (if she and Katniss were in a fight, they would probably just punch each other in the face over and over until someone punked out), extended training montages, fun with personality types, swoon-worthy male lead, and a completely unrealistic dystopian Chicago. It's all kinds of great.”

We agree with all of that. The other reader who recommended it said, “I couldn’t stop thinking about it.” The same here. We roared with rage when we realized that the sequel isn’t out until May. We think the Veronica Roth has some depth to her, since she said this in an interview: “We can make even something as well-intentioned as virtue into an idol, or an evil thing. And that virtue as an end unto itself is worthless to us. I did spend a large portion of my adolescence trying to be as ‘good’ as possible so that I could prove my worth to the people around me, to myself, to God, to everyone. It’s only now that I’m a little older that I realize I am unable to be truly ‘good’ and that it’s my reasons for striving after virtue that need adjustment more than my behavior.” We like that.

But onto the book. It’s thoroughly entertaining, it has great characters, it’s well-written, it’s thought provoking, and it is just screaming to be made into a movie (or a really good video game). Fortunately, a studio has picked up the rights. If it’s done well, it will be a good movie and possibly the next big thing. It should appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. There is something similar to the sorting ceremony in this book, only more awesome. We don't want to tell you too much about it. If you’ve read the book and are wondering what our factions would be, we’ll tell you. Ern would want to be a Dauntless (the Pottermore sorting hat rightly put her in Gryffindor), but she is absolutely a Candor. A Candor who grew up in an Amity family…so…yeah, that was fun. Leeard would be an Erudite. (She has no idea what that means, but she has a feeling that she should be offended.) <-- Paranoia strikes again. Erudites are basically Ravenclaws, only more ambitious. Check the book out. Recommended.

Grade: A

Revenge- Doubt recap/review

What happened- Daniel is still in a maximum security prison on Riker’s Island. The Graysons, their lawyer, Ashley, and Amanda gather to think of a defense for Daniel. They plan to pin Tyler’s murder on Emily, but since they can’t find her, Victoria decides to set up Jack in order to plant doubt in the future jury’s mind. Amanda advises that the Graysons contact Mason Treadwill to help them frame Emily, since she figures he will want revenge on her for burning down his house.

Victoria pays her hoodlum independent contractor to have some inmates at Riker’s beat Daniel up so that the judge will reconsider bail. Daniel is hurt after the beating and gets to come home, under house arrest of course. Victoria is miffed that the inmates did such a good job hurting Daniel (breaking some ribs, fracturing a face bone, and giving him a concussion), but she pays her henchman anyway. Amanda follows Victoria and sees the exchange. At the bar where Victoria paid her henchman, she meets an old flame named Dominick Wright, a painter. They go to his loft and have sex.

Mason stops by the Stowaway to accuse Jack and get his side of the story. Declan overhears this and tells Mason that Charlotte was high on the night of the engagement party to discredit her testimony that she saw a hooded man. Mason puts Declan’s information on a blog and destroys the Grayson’s defense case. Charlotte tells Declan to get out of her life. Victoria tries to get Mason to post a retraction, but Mason is over her. He doesn’t think she has any more power.

Nolan suggests that Jack go to Montreal to find Emily. Conrad knows that Victoria is having an affair and asks her to keep it discreet. Victoria goes back to Dominick and sleeps with him again. Amanda goes to the bar to flirt with Victoria’s hoodlum. She records him telling her all the Grayson secrets, leads him to a back alley, and then beats the crap out of him for attacking Jack and having Daniel beat up. Victoria plants seeds of doubt in Daniel’s mind about Amanda.

Comments- This episode was quieter than the last couple, but it was still awesome. FINALLY this show is back, seriously. That hiatus was way too long. It’s a testament to how good the show is that it got good ratings last night. Even being off the air for more than a month won’t make viewers forget this show exists or that they care. This show is the series that Ringer wanted (and failed) to be. We love that it stopped being a revenge procedural and turned into an ongoing serial. 

We loved the scenes where Victoria slept with Dominick and where Amanda beat the criminal up in the alleyway. They are both such powerhouse women that they are perfect enemies and perfect entertainment. Dominick turned out way hotter than Conrad, Victoria. Dayumm. Yeah, he failed as a painter and Victoria was more into money and power, but she had to regret that a little. Now she’s getting her cake and eating it too (literally).

We didn’t have much of Nolan this week, which is a shame. We don’t really care about Charlotte and Declan, but it stinks that he had to throw her under the bus like that. He did the right thing. It was true that she was high and it is true that Jack isn’t a murderer, but that was quite a burn. We knew Victoria had Daniel beaten up immediately. We like that Amanda did too. One of the things that makes this show good is that its characters are not stupid. 

We love the addition of a real love interest for Victoria, who isn't completely inhuman. We know that Daniel is going to get his heart broken, one way or another, but we hope he continues to stick by Amanda anyway. He's a good guy and really the only person that Ern is rooting for on this show. Okay, maybe Nolan too. But Daniel is the real victim in all of this. It seems like Amanda's revenge will hit him the hardest. Leeard is obviously pulling for Amanda. In sum, this was a good return for a strong show that we can’t wait to see more of.

Episode grade: B+

New Girl, Cougar Town, South Park, and The Voice

New Girl - Kids
“I want to rub my face on his face!” is the best line in recent memory. The little girl was well-casted, and we are glad that CeCe isn’t pregnant. We loved Nick’s reaction to Russell’s daughter, Sarah, having a crush on him (“But I look like an old man!”) Nick, you’re perfect, and Jess is going to see that one day soon. We liked seeing Jeanne Tripplehorn getting post-Big Love work as Russell’s ex-wife who is definitely not over him. We are hoping to see more. Jess needs another archenemy. This show is the greatest in that it is consistent. It’s never horrid. It spans from pretty funny to hilarious. If it brought Lizzy Caplan back for another try at love with Nick, it would be perfect. We still haven’t seen the extent of her rage!
Episode grade: B+

Cougar Town - Ways to Be Wicked
We have to agree with the conclusion of this episode that if a family member just continues to be harmful and disrespectful, there is a point where you can cut them loose. There’s something to be said for unconditional love and seeing family members through hard times, but it benefits no one to let a family member continue to hurt you…especially that family member. We loved that Grayson is helping Laurie start her cake business! And that the security guard was bribable! This episode made us like Ellie more and gave her some well-needed softening. The episode was pretty funny too. Overall, we loved this one.
Episode grade: A-

South Park - I Should Never Have Gone Ziplining
This episode spoofed “I shouldn’t have…” reality TV programs. We weren’t feeling the first half. We were confused that the boys weren’t having fun. One of us went ziplining in Colorado, and it was super fun and scary. There were all sorts of steep drops and everything. Those boys picked the wrong tour. We liked the Shaka Bra thing, but the episode really picked up when they did a “re-enactment” of Kenny’s death. They had what looked like a bunch of douche-y frat boys play Kyle, Stan, Kenny, and Eric. We got a taste of what it would look like if South Park were not a cartoon. We liked that Kenny died of boredom and it was a great way to bring back the Christmas Poo himself.
Episode grade: B

The Voice this week
Christina should NOT have gone with Jessie Campbell. Growth and “Christina’s heart” are all well and good, but she wasted a good contender and just had to end up sending Ashley home the next day anyway. She should have gone with America’s vote and booted Ashley. That said, we prefer Chris Mann and Lindsay Pavao. Chris has a great voice and Lindsay has a unique one. They both just need the perfect songs that will fit them. Lindsay’s record is the one we would buy, so we are rooting for her. We thought Erin Willett did a great job with the ADELE song, but ADELE songs should not be covered anymore. We are glad RaeLynn went home. She wasn’t good. But that leaves Blake with no country artists, which is unexpected. Generally, the right people have been going home on this show. No one on the show blows us away, but we still have some dogs in the race. 

Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23 - Daddy's Girl

Even though it has been up on Hulu for people to watch since the beginning of April, Wikipedia tells us that the second episode of Apartment 23 aired on televisions last night. It's been a while since we saw it, but we remember liking it and thinking that it added some depth and feeling to Chloe. She needs to not be one-note, but she always needs to be a sociopath. This episode was perfect for that. And don't worry, June. That was a hot dad. We would have gone there too. Van Der Beek continues to provide laughs and we really need a third episode already. The wait for internet watchers has been long. Parent Trap airs next week on Wednesday night, and if you haven't tried the show yet, head to Hulu where the first two episodes are waiting. We think it's a pretty funny show.

Episode grade: B

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Glee - Saturday Night Glee-ver review

Alex, how we didn’t miss you. He plays a Mercedes and Kurt fan named Wade. His real name is Unique, and she is hilarious. Of course Ryan Murphy wouldn’t miss an opportunity to let this kid do his drag thing. Will needs to leave or die, and Emma needs to take over the Glee club. She would be so much better and cuter at it. Sue and Will’s number was painful at first. Will’s high voice didn’t even sound like a person. When the kids joined in and started dancing, "Night Fever" got better. Finn’s dance moves looked like Ern’s.

Will singled out the kids who didn’t know what they were going to do “for the rest of their lives.” Um, who does? Maybe 2% of kids and 20% of adults. Mercedes’ "Disco Inferno" was pretty fun. She maybe growled a little too much in it. She was looking good in this episode. That red dress was her best outfit ever and it made us believe that Sam would want to be with her. “The cream always rises to the top, Mercedes.” Oh, Mr. Schue, how we hate you. No, it doesn’t. Haley Reinhart lost American Idol and Ashlee Simpson had a number one single. When he interpreted Santana’s love song as political and told her to go to law school, we barked a laugh. We agree with him that fame isn’t something to aspire to, though.

We are so over Finn and Rachel. How are they remotely believable as high school seniors? Finn, competitive eating champion sounds about right. "How Deep Is Your Love" was probably the best disco song for Rachel to solo, but we are annoyed that her first solo in FOREVER isn’t a belted powerhouse like "My Man". It was a little dull, too. Oh Finn, you artard. College-aged is still young. This episode is mildly painful for at least one of us. Who doesn’t have an artsy-fartsy dream they gave up because it wasn’t practical (besides Leeard)? Will Schuester talking about living your dreams and how it’s terrible if you didn’t dare to dream it makes us roll our eyes and bums us out. In high school, everyone’s dream is to be famous or be President. How many people will actually get there?

Wow, this post is getting bitter. Moving on. The Brittany/Santana storyline was a way better lesson. Alex did a pretty good job in his song, and Jesse St. James’ face made the dress storyline worth it. He looks better as a girl. If we want this though, we prefer to just watch Kinky Boots. Rachel looked the best she’s looked in a long time during Finn’s hideous song. We like the side-swept bangs and the soft curls. Ern tried sweeping her short bangs to the side and it just made her look like Hitler. We would watch Sue’s sex tape with Oliver North. We're not buying any of the songs, but we don't think Glee butchered disco. Their voices fit the songs and they were fun and happy. We'll call this a musical success. The episode was ok. It just served to remind us how little we care about these characters and their futures. 

Episode grade: B

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Smash- The Movie Star

What Happened- It turns out that, like most movie stars, Rebecca Duvall isn’t Broadway material. She can’t sing. She also has plenty of ideas and wants to make the musical have more dialogue and fewer songs. Tom and Julia are offended, Eileen is worried, and Derek is mortified. He gets Ivy a job in Bombshell’s chorus, just in case Rebecca doesn’t work out and Karen turns out to still be too green by that time. Rebecca offers to take voice lessons and manages to breathe out a decent song.

Eileen breaks reads Ellis’s report on Bartender Nick. She meets with Nick and they talk about his past financial arrangement with criminals. Eileen gets over this, for some reason, and they kiss again. Tom and Sam go on a real date after Julia makes them. She is sick of watching them just flirt. Tom is upset when he finds out that Sam isn’t as into casual sex as he is. Sam believes in God and believes that sex is holy, so he wants to take it slow. He calls Tom out for his intimacy issues and constant singleness. Leo is struggling in school, so Frank and Julia have to meet in order to talk Leo into doing his homework again.

Comments- This episode wasn’t as eventful as last week’s, but it wasn’t a disaster either. We love Uma Thurman for being a good sport and proving that while she can still dance, she isn’t much of a singer. The funny thing is neither was Marilyn Monroe. The breath-y, range-challenged sexy voice actually fits the icon better. The real Marilyn couldn’t belt it like Ivy and she didn’t have Karen’s pleasant tone either. But in order to have a good musical, you need to have numbers that bring the house down and the voices to carry them. With the right side characters getting all the best songs, Tom and Julia could make this work. They’d have to scrap the best song so far though (Let Me Be Your Star, obviously).

Once again, we weren’t thrilled by the songs this week, even though the Rebecca Duvall one was fun to watch. We liked seeing Karen and Ivy hang out, even if Karen ditched her at the end. We agree that Miss Iowa was being way too touchy. We also liked seeing Derek stick up for Ivy. Ellis was pretty lame this week, and after we defended him in our last Smash post! We think it would be unrealistic if Julia gets Frank back. Dev needs to go. Overall, this episode was quiet and mostly pleasant. This show isn't the greatest, but we are weirdly addicted to it. 

Episode grade: B- 

How I Met Your Mother - Now We Are Even

What Happened - Ted is enjoying living alone, but Barney keeps trying to get him to stay out and party with him. Barney wants to make each night crazy and memorable by doing outrageous things, sometimes involving a camel. Barney makes sure everyone knows and remembers that he is awesome enough to be dating a stripper. In reality, Barney is feeling jealous because he is in love with Quinn and doesn't like that she is a stripper. Robin is upset that she still isn’t famous, even though she is a newscaster. When she gets stuck in a helicopter with a pilot having a stroke, Robin has to land the helicopter. This makes her famous. Lily has a sex dream and Marshall is determined to find out who was in it. It turns out to be Ranjit, the limo driver. Marshall freaks out for a little bit but then realizes that Lily is having dreams about good fathers. This isn’t exactly the real trend of Lily’s dreams, but it’s enough to get this dumb storyline behind them.

Comments - Man, that episode was rough. Ted’s reaction to living alone was Ern’s exact reaction. Living alone is the BEST. THING. EVER. Ern and Leeard have roommates for financial reasons, but living alone cuts out all the inconveniences that tend to prevent you from relaxing fully at home. The opening where Ted describes living alone was the high point of this episode. It was all downhill from there. There wasn't anything funny and the plot did not advance at all. Also, it feels like Lily has been pregnant forever. Of course they are probably saving the birth for the finale or at least later in the season.

Barney’s plan to make every night legendary would be a great plan for the show to adopt. Yet, this show has had a few un-legendary episodes this season that would make Norbit look like prime comedy. Well…ok…maybe not that bad. But still! We will be complaining about how much better the first four seasons were than the later seasons for a while. This episode was particularly bad. Even when this show isn’t funny, it’s usually not a chore to watch. Last night’s was hard to get through. It was kind of cool when Robin landed the helicopter, just because we love when she is bad ass. Ted in a dress is very fitting. Ted in a dress was referenced earlier in "The Mermaid Theory," so here is our full story on that one. Joy.

Does anyone but Barney like Quinn at this point? It looks like he is going to end up marrying this girl, but we aren't nuts about her. She's a fitting woman for Barney, but we preferred him with Robin. Or, hell, even Nora.

Episode grade: D+

Make It Or Break It- Growing Pains

What Happened- The US Training center hosts a weekend exhibition open to parents of the athletes. Payson’s dad, Lauren’s dad, Kaylie’s parents, and Kelly Parker’s mom show up. No one shows up for Jordan, so Coach McIntire makes sure to give her extra support during Parents Weekend. Kelly Parker’s mom tries to brive Coach McIntire into not only putting KP on the Olympic Team, but making her team captain as well. The coach tells her where to stick it and KP’s mom leaves.

Payson takes Lauren to a doctor’s office to check out her fainting spells. Lauren comes out of the testing room telling Payson that it is nothing; she only has to eat more Potassium. Payson is smarter than the average bear and stealthily calls the doctor posing as Lauren. Payson discovers that Lauren has an irregular heartbeat and needs more tests.

Kaylie and Austin have dinner with Kaylie’s parents, and Alec starts planning to market the two as an Olympic “golden couple.” Kaylie is annoyed by this…and she is further inconvenienced when her parents sleep together but still decide to remain apart. Kaylie does not return Austin’s first “I love you” until her mother gives her a talk about how love is never perfect but it is worth it anyway. Payson hears that her family is moving and that she will have to live with Kaylie when she trains at the Rock after the training center stuff is over. Payson comes around to it and asks her dad if she can live with Lauren instead. She is still mad at Kaylie for not telling her about the doctored video.

Comments- We guess we just have to accept that Lauren is growing as a person and we are not allowed to hate her as much anymore. We have Kelly Parker’s mom to hate instead. She is absolutely hideous. She’s like one of those moms on Toddlers and Tiaras, only she’s playing with higher stakes. We’re glad Kelly told her to take a hike for her managerial, lame tactics. Then Coach McIntire told her off as well. Our lives are complete. Now we never need to see her again…right?

This week gave us a return of the rest of the parents from The Rock, yay! We’ve been missing the adult characters from the first two seasons. We guess Peri Gilpin is either too busy or too expensive to appear in this episode as Payson’s mom, but we missed her. This episode made us like Kaylie’s parents more. It takes a lot for a divorced couple to be friends, eat together, and treat each other with respect, rather than the normal sidelong glares and snide, passive aggressive comments. Most divorced couples shouldn’t have sex after the divorce, but the overall sentiments were nice.

We were really annoyed when Lauren lied to Payson about her prognosis and thought that it would be weeks before we would find out what is wrong with Lauren. But Payson proved awesome this week when she called the doctor, posing as Lauren/Rachel. Payson, it’s time to call Lauren’s dad. We loved the way the coach handled Jordan in this episode. The girls on Make It Or Break It sure get the best coaches. Payson needs to forgive Kaylie. This rift is new, but it’s already annoying. One thing we liked is the news that Payson will have to train at The Rock just before the Olympics. Does that mean we will get to see more of the parents AND Sasha and Summer? We can only hope. That would make the season perfect.

Episode grade: B

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mad Men - Signal 30 review and The Good Wife - Pants on Fire review

Mad Men - Signal 30
Pete is such a child. Of course he needs to take driver’s ed. He gets a ridiculous crush on a high school girl who fortunately ends up falling for an attractive schoolmate. That girl dodged a bullet. Ern has never liked Pete. When Pete wrongs Trudy, Ern gets offended because she is Annie from Community. Leeard likes him. It’s nice to see some growth in Don, however long it lasts before he probably relapses. We are still loving Megan unabashedly.

It’s great to see Joan back to work. She is so perfect and her tact has no end. She always knows what to do, as evidenced by how she handled being kissed by Lane. Is it possible that Lane/Joan might actually happen? Lane had the best line of the episode.“You’re a grimy little pimp.” Wow, did you see Pete’s girly, sideways punches? We think it’s safe to say that either of us could beat Pete in a fight. How great was it to see Pete get punched in the face after an episode (and possibly series) of him deserving it? We are rooting for another fight on this show. We are also rooting for Ken and his writing.

Episode grade: B-

The Good Wife - Pants on Fire
Holy moly, this one was eventful. What a bunch of politicians this show has. It also gave us hope that Cary might come back to work with Alicia. They are getting along and Cary is unhappy at his current job. Kalinda did her usual Veronica Mars act and solved the case for Alicia, but most of the happenings were personal and political. Thankfully, the episode opened with Alicia confronting Jackie at the beauty parlor. Jackie is so creepy! She wants to move into the old house with Peter and the kids, replacing Alicia as the family matriarch. Gross and tacky. Is that stroke real?

It was sad when Eli slept with Vanessa but then had to stop working on her campaign. We get why he had to do it, but it’s still less than admirable. We will miss Vanessa. It’s nice seeing Eli’s romantic side. Matthew Perry’s character, Mike Kresteva, gets slimier every time we see him. He tells outright lies to make Alicia and Peter look bad, because he is running for governor and doesn’t want Peter to. Threatening Peter’s family was a low blow, and we look forward to seeing this guy try to take Peter down through Alicia. We guess we needed someone truly evil to replace Wendy Scott-Carr. Alicia is flabbergasted that someone could be such a shameless liar. We can't wait to see Peter run for office with Alicia's support. We’re glad this hiatus is over.

Episode grade: B+

Game of Thrones - What Is Dead May Never Die

What happened - There was almost no consequence for Jon Snow after following Craster into the woods. Craster just told them all that they had to leave. Lord Commander Mormont already knew that Craster sacrifices his sons to the eerie residents of the far north. Samwell gives a keepsake of his mother’s to Gilly, telling her to hold onto it for him until he comes back. Tyrion uses a scheme to find out who is leaking information to his sister. It turns out that Maester Pycelle is the spy, so Tyrion arrests him. Varys gets Shae (Tyrion’s hooker) the position of Sansa’s handmaiden. Bran thinks that he is having magic dreams where he can go inside the heads of direwolves. He is told that there is no more magic and his dreams are just dreams.

Theon Greyjoy sides with his father and doesn’t warn Robb Stark that the Greyjoys are about to attack the North from the sea. We see Renly Baratheon and his new bride, Margaery Tyrell, who was part of a deal to get Renly the support of the Tyrell family. Renly watches a large woman named Brienne win a duel and gives her a place on his Kingsguard. Catelyn meets with Renly and he promises that he will get Joffrey’s head for Catelyn. We are reminded that Renly is secretly gay, but his new wife is alright with it as long as he is able to impregnate her. She offers to have her brother join them in bed to get Renly started. Yoren is killed when the Night’s Watch recruits are attacked by Joffrey’s men. The recruits are captured. One of the recruits is killed and Arya tells the attackers that the recruit was Gendry. She did this in order to protect the real Gendry. 

Our Comments - Samwell giving the thimble to Gilly is only cute if he actually does come back. We thought it was hilarious when Renly’s wife was completely understanding of his homosexuality. She should win the Most Accommodating Wife award. She tested her theory with her boobs first, naturally. In the books, it is only hinted that Renly is gay. When there is potential for a gay love scene, HBO is going to take it. This is subtext no more.

We were happy to finally see Brienne the Beauty because she is awesome. How perfectly cast was she? She was large and masculine without being really ugly. We liked Yara’s reasoning for fooling Theon last week. She wanted to see what sort of man he was. If she had been revealed as Theon’s sister, he would have been respectful. But Theon showed himself to be crass toward people he considers beneath him.

Theon does get one ship from his father. It’s called “The Sea Bitch,” which is obviously the best boat name ever. We loved Tyrion this week, but we aren’t getting what he sees in Shae. She’s starting to bug us. Hopefully the show uses her new position as a way to give Sansa more to do. Sansa is so cool looking. Shae was not Sansa’s handmaiden in the books, but we are digging the change so far. Sansa needs a crafty, worldly ally.

We liked Tommen this week. Prince Tommen is Cersei’s youngest son, also a product of incest (note: aren't all of them?). He said he wouldn’t like it if Sansa’s brother were killed. That is nice and shows that he is not as much of a brat as Joffrey. Who is? Seriously, who? Can you think of another kid in entertainment who so deserves to be slapped in every scene? We are sad to lose Yoren, but it’s not a surprise. We are shipping Arya and Gendry harder than ever. Since she protected Gendry, we’re sure he will try to keep the soldiers thinking she’s a boy.

We liked this episode better than last week’s, but not as much as the premiere. We didn’t get to see Danaerys, Robb, or Jaime this week.

Episode grade: B

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thursdays Aren't The Same Without Our CW Shows, But At Least We Had These Four Episodes

Community - Origins of Vampire Mythology
This was one of Community’s more traditional, normal, and season one-esque episodes. We prefer the high-concept spoofing episodes like the Christmas specials, the one with the alternate timelines, the World of Warcraft episode, and last week’s pillow fight documentary. This episode was more about the crazy characters, their solid friendships, and their neuroticism and insecurities (particularly Britta and Jeff’s). We loved the advancement of the Britta/Troy pairing, which was hinted at earlier and needs to happen eventually. Jeff’s speech at the end might have been less than subtle, but it’s a speech that most women who love bad boys need to hear. Heck, it’s a speech we should all take to heart.
Episode grade: B

Touch - Entanglement
This week, one of the random characters Martin needs to help is a young Muslim woman fighting an arranged marriage. This is a country where it’s against the law for women to drive, so we actually think she should marry the guy, seeing as he is college educated and traveled the world. You could do worse. Maybe he’s cultured? That story got even more interesting fast. Halfway through, we see the most intriguing random character: a girl bent on revenge. We love revenge stories! We loved what Martin said to her even more. He shouldn’t have moved her after she was hit by that van though. Never move anyone after an accident; you could hurt them more and then get sued.

 It was weird that when Martin looked up the Bible verse Exodus 22:22, he read the words next to a number that clearly said four (not 22). He got the words of verse correct, but what kind of funky Bible did they use for a prop? Someone berated a girl for breaking a rule and used the phrase, “If you take out one brick, the whole wall will fall out.” We say that if your beliefs or way of life rely on each piece being concrete, they are too flimsy to stand. Things came together more smoothly this week, and we didn’t see any people from previous weeks, so things were less confusing. This is the kind of episode we want to see from this show. It was emotionally satisfying and not too complex.
Episode grade: A-

Awake - Ricky’s Tacos
We liked the opening with the fast food drive-through. It raises more questions. We also liked the new, big conspiracy that might provide more overarching plot. The cases were decent too. Fat Neil from Community was on this episode! This show is still extremely likely to be cancelled, and we are upset about that. Still, keep watching, telling your friends, and spreading the word on the internet that it is a good, original procedural. Talking to the kid without a lawyer or parent made us raise our eyebrows. How would that fly? Not that we hated it. They needed to get the little girl away from her father. Something has to stop Michael from moving to Portland, right? Question: Say Michael was actually living in parallel universes and each were equally real. If he hooked up with another woman/married her in the universe where his wife was dead, would that be morally wrong?
Episode grade: B

Grey’s Anatomy - Support System
After some bickering and cutesiness, Bailey, Teddy, Arizona, and Callie have a girls night together. The residents panic over their boards and use Lexie’s memory to help them study until Meredith takes over and teaches them Callie’s method. Mark takes over as chief of surgery in Owen’s absence. There are patients, blahblahblah. One of them teaches Meredith that even when a friend says they don’t want comfort and support, they are lying and you should always be there. Obviously the real drama in this episode was Owen moving out after Cristina guessed his subconscious motive for cheating on her. It was to hurt her like she hurt him when she aborted his baby. Owen didn’t deny this, and that’s why he got the boot. He left with some “I’ll always love you” speech, but Cristina is over boys for now. She needs to study for her boards.

This prompted a lot of debating with our friends over whether we would keep a husband around if he cheated (if he is anything less than husband, it’s not even a discussion; it’s automatic). Cristina seemed offended that it was just a one-night sex thing where he didn’t even remember the girl’s name, but we think that’s less offensive than a relationship or long-term mistress. We all agreed that we would never let a husband cheat twice and stay with him. We also debated whether it is more hurtful to cheat or to abort a baby the other spouse wanted. Cristina’s crime is more of a grey area, and she does have the woman’s right to choose on her side. Owen’s is always wrong to most people. We are really surprised he did that. Despite all the drama and the sad outcome of last night, we think these two are endgame. They’ve spent three seasons fighting for this relationship. It had better not be a waste of time.
Episode grade: B+

The Cabin in the Woods

This review is spoiler-free, but there are spoilers and a discussion for those who have seen the movie in the comments.
So yeah, if you haven’t seen the movie, read what we write here in this post, then go see the movie without proceeding to the comments. If you HAVE seen Cabin in the Woods, you may proceed to what we have written in the comments section. One of us has a policy of trying not to watch movie trailers. Ok, it’s Ern. We’re done keeping secrets from you guys!! Haha. Anyway, Ern likes to walk into a movie knowing as little as possible.

Since Ern likes all genres, it doesn’t matter what it’s about. It just matters that people and critics have been saying it’s good. It is also a draw if good writers, producers, directors, and actors are involved. With this movie, you have everything you need to know. Stellar reviews from the critics for a horror movie is rare. Also, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard brought us this movie. Joss Whedon made Ern a Browncoat (Leeard still hasn’t seen Firefly; she’s the worst. At least she's caught up on Game of Thrones this season, and she'll be watching all 14 episodes of Firefly this summer.) and Drew Goddard’s projects include writing several LOST episodes. After seeing this movie, Ern has never been more pleased with her “blind screening” policy. It was great to know nothing for this one.

For those of you who like to know the background, we will give you this: Five students go to a cabin in the woods for a weekend in order to have a good time. Horror ensues. That’s really all you need to know. Yeah, it sounds like countless other horror movies, but trust Whedon (Buffy, Dollhouse) and Goddard to make it worth your while and make a different movie than you have seen before. The horror genre (at least commercially/in this country) is pretty dead and played out, but this movie brought freshness.

If you like horror, go see this movie. If you can stand blood and intensity, but think the horror genre is sick and depraved, go see this movie. Whedon describes the film as a "very loving hat letter" to the modern horror film genre. He uses what he likes and riffs on what he doesn't. If you hate what horror has become and are tired of the clich├ęs, go see this movie. Goddard said that bad things in horror are students acting stupid and the genre just turning into torture port culminating in "a long series of sadistic comeuppances." We agree. Hopefully this movie is enough to kill those trends by pointing out their foolishness. If you are squeamish or don’t enjoy dark romps in the woods, avoid it. Still, Cabin is more witty, funny, and entertaining than it is scary. 

Movie Grade: A