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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ern’s picks for Twop’s Tubey Awards Finals Round 4

Leeard's post might be late or she might have to skip this round. Gotta work for a living.

Best Late Night Talk Show- The Daily Show, Jon Stewart
I’m not a late night talk show person, but I used to be into politics. Law school ruined that by showing me that both sides are equally wrong, so now I don’t want to play anymore. Still, when I liked political commentary and current events, I used to watch Colbert and Jon Stewart. Stewart is funnier, more likeable, and a better interviewer. Colbert can get loud and annoying, and he interrupts everyone on his show. Stewart wins for me. The other shows? I haven’t seen them. (Leeard shakes her head and mutters for the 1,934,583rd time, “Ern, you’re the worst.”)

Neverending Subplot that Needs to Be Resolved- Who is the mother? How I Met Your Mother
While the on-again-off-again relationships do need to come to a close, we most want to meet the Mother, and we think just about everyone agrees with us. We need to have a season with her. The shows with almost couples should look to Monica and Chandler on Friends. You CAN have a funny, stable relationship that doesn’t ruin the show. In fact, after season five, Monica and Chandler were arguably the only tolerable thing about Friends. They kept it alive. Writers need to figure out how to keep a relationship sweet, funny, romantic, hot, and entertaining after the happily-ever-after. I think the world needs to figure that out too, but one problem at a time.

Most Wrongly Underused Character- Jaime Lannister, Game of Thrones
Again, I understand why he wasn’t on the show that much, but it sucks that his character was sidelined for that whole second book, and thus the second season. He gets awesome, I promise you. And he’s hilarious. The other ones I missed this year were Castiel, Elijah, and Katherine. The Vampire Diaries just has so many great characters. I don’t think Alex Karev, Caroline, and Donna were underused. I didn’t miss Bonnie, Ken, or Tina.

Most Redemptive Character in a Sucky Show- Daryl Dixon, The Walking Dead
First, I eliminated all the shows that are NOT sucky (Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time, and, I guess, Supernatural). Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl was eliminated because she’s starting to suck as much as her show, and I’m tired of watching her go off and on with Chuck. I love Leighton Meester though. Coach Beiste and Santana are cool on Glee, but I actually prefer Rachel to both of them. I know, I’m tasteless. I don’t like that Ivy slept with Dev. Ivy sleeps with EVERYONE. I don’t watch SNL. The Walking Dead is full of stereotypical, annoying characters who fully deserve to die by zombies. Daryl is at least interesting sometimes. And don’t try to tell me The Walking Dead isn’t a sucky show. I mean, it’s a good show, but the fact that it could be a GREAT show and continues to choose to be boring with stupid characters offends me more than an actual sucky show.

The Most Disappointing Season of a Previously Awesome Show- Supernatural
I almost picked Dexter for this one, but I was more disappointed by Supernatural because the season was so shockingly bad and the show can be so addictive when it’s on point.

Most Appalling Reality Star- Abby Lee Miller, Dance Moms
Fortunately, I stay away from this scheiste and don’t have to see these people. I have, however, seen Abby on Dance Moms and Tyra Banks from America’s Next Top Model. Abby wins because she dresses little girls up like adult prostitutes and yells at them. Anyone turning sweet, talented kids into a pedo’s wet dream gets my ire. At least the contestants on ANTM knowingly subject themselves to Tyra’s unbearable crazy. I’m so glad I dropped ANTM…

Most Appealing Reality Star- Kari Byron, Mythbusters
I’m not really qualified to pick in this category, since I don’t watch most of these shows. Mythbusters is at least intelligent, for the most part.

Best Bad Ass- Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation
Chuck Bass and Kalinda Sharma are not that badass. What is it with people and Kalinda? For me, it’s between Dean Winchester and Ron Swanson. Now, Dean is hotter, but Ron was on the better show this season. Good TV trumps all. Plus, if I’m anything political these days, it’s libertarian. You have to stick by your brethren. Or almost brethren.

Best Performance by an Inanimate Object- Creepy Dolls, Pretty Little Liars
How do you even judge this? I like all these objects. I have to watch Sherlock, dammit. I’m eliminating the Impala because they hardly even drove it on Supernatural this season. Pretty Little Liars wins because it got the biggest reaction from me. Those dolls were perfect. Honorable mention to Cougar Town and all the stuff on Community. The douchebag jar gets enough attention.

Most Cringeworthy Moment- April, Grey’s Anatomy
I heard about The Office’s Andy janitor moment, and thank God I didn’t see it. Dropping that show was a great decision. The Deb/Dexter thing is the worst, but I don’t remember cringing. Probably just rolling my eyes and yelling. I think I picked Jim Bob Duggar last time, but on second thought, the April thing was worse. I actually physically cringed during April’s test. It was awkward April mixed with a meltdown mixed with a loss of virginity mixed with RELIGION mixed with sweating. In no way could that have been more awkward. Maybe if she had started dancing. That scene stresses me out just thinking about it. Honorable mention to the Glee singing. So wrong.

Worst Candid Reality Show- Keeping Up with the Kardashians
To be fair, I’ve only seen half an episode. It’s just boring. They sit on their phones and computers while someone is filming them. If someone were filming me, I would get off my duff and entertain. I get enough of watching people watch screens at home with my siblings.

Worst payoff- Klaus in season three, The Vampire Diaries
I loved Klaroline, but it seemed like Klaus did nothing after the first half of season three but sit around and make threats. This show is better than that.

Most Deserved Cancellation of the 2011-2012 Season- Work It
All of these shows deserved cancellation. Literally all of them. It’s almost not interesting to pick Work It, but it might have been the worst TV show of all time. Worse than Two and a Half Men even. I would rather watch anything else. Golf. Bad, amateur porn with no hot guys. Teletubbies. Anything.

Most Egregious Product Placement- Disneyland, Modern Family
As funny as it is that people are picking Game of Thrones stuff for this category, I’m gonna take it seriously and pick the most deserving show. There was a whole Disneyland episode, complete with the family members going on rides. It made me want to go. Then again, it’s not hard to make me want to go to Disneyland.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ern Reads 50 Shades of Grey post 6

I hate this book. I hate these characters. I’m 100% certain that I won’t be reading the sequel. I've learned my lesson: If the milk smells rotten, don't drink the whole gallon to make sure it is. I can probably plow through the rest of this one, and I should so that I can diss it with authority. So if you have been enjoying the posts, don’t worry about me just quitting halfway through the book. It’s just two chapters at a time. I sat next to a woman on an airplane earlier this summer, and she was talking about this book. She had to be around 60 and a cute little old lady. She was telling this woman about how shocking the book was and how she didn’t know that people were into this sort of thing.

Maybe this says more about me than it says about the book, but nothing mentioned so far is outside my area of knowledge. Secondhand knowledge, of course. It’s so strange how things can change in a generation (note the 40-year difference between us). Through the media, our generation is flooded with sexual images, messages, and options, and it would be hard to stay ignorant even if you wanted to. I was trying to sleep and this woman said, “One of the reasons my husband liked me when I was younger was that I was so innocent and naïve about this sort of thing.” Of course that’s why he liked you. Ugh.

Chapters 10-11
Ana meets Christian’s mom, who is delighted that he isn’t gay. Apparently, Ana is the first of his girls she has met. Number 16. Christian gives Ana a full copy of the contract she is to consider and sign, and he tells her to do internet research on the sex acts he desires. She says she doesn’t have her own laptop and uses the computers at school or borrows Kate’s. WHAT?!! She’s graduating college and she doesn’t have her own computer? How has she survived? How has she entertained herself? I’m at a loss. I didn’t have internet for a week once, and it about killed me. Christian says he will send her one to borrow. Christian’s servant dude, Taylor, looks at Ana with pity. He probably knows Christian is odd.

Christian takes Ana to lunch and tells her that when he was 15, he was seduced by one of his mom’s older friends. This woman made him the submissive to her dominant, so he knows firsthand what Ana is going to feel. This is supposed to explain Christian, I guess. Since he was “abused” (as Ana puts it) in his teens and never had regular sex, his appetites were set early. What’s weird is that he still sees this woman and they are friends. His mother doesn’t know. Dear Lord, I want to meet this woman. I like having an explanation like this. My mom once told me that an older woman can really mess a younger guy up. We also find out that Christian is always monogamous in his “relationships.”

When Christian drops her off, Ana tells him that she’s wearing his underwear. His jaw drops and Ana’s “inner goddess is thrilled.” I wish you guys could see my facial expressions as I read this book. I cringe outwardly. Ana is allowed to tell Christian that she slept with him, but not much else. Kate is in love with Elliot. Ana has interviews for intern placements at two publishing houses, due to her good GPA. Of course Ana has a good GPA. She didn’t have the internet to distract her! Also, lest you forget, she is perfect. Kate’s brother, Ethan, comes up in Ana’s mind. Ana inwardly describes him as “such a lovely guy.” Do I smell a Jacob? A triangle?

Jose calls Ana and asks her about Christian. “Is it about the money?” he asks. Ana: “Jose, how dare you!” Of course not. It’s about the hotness. That’s one reason I can’t like this book. The reasons Ana and Christian like each other are as shallow as they get. She’s hot and he’s hot (and rich and mysterious and powerful). Now, that’s fine for a first attraction, but I firmly believe that you should love the other person for who they are before you sleep with them or put that kind of trust in them. Call me old-fashioned. Ana goes into her room to read her contract, which I cannot take seriously. This contract is unenforceable because its enforcement would violate public policy. I love when a law degree helps me hate 50 Shades of Grey….

The contract covers monogamy, STDs, and repeats the food, clothing, and exercise portions we saw before. Why we needed to see those again is beyond me, although I couldn’t help but note that Christian didn’t make the changes Ana requested on the exercise bit. The contract says, “The Dominant shall take responsibility for the well-being and the proper training, guidance, and discipline of the Submissive.” You know what submission probably is? Mommy and Daddy issues. I don’t know much about why BDSM people do what they do, and I can’t prove jack diddly, but I’m thinking it’s because there was something in their childhood that hasn’t yet been worked out. It’s been said before and I totally agree that romantic relationships bring up your childhood trauma and issues you didn’t know you had.

This kind of relationship is a sexual relationship mixed with a parent-child relationship. It’s like these people need to relive portions of that, including the spankings/corporal punishment parts. For the Dominant, it’s as simple as power and control. Dear God, I hope Christian never has kids. The contract also says, “The Dominant reserves the right to dismiss the Submissive from his service at any time and for any reason. The Submissive may request her release at any time, such request to be granted at the discretion of the Dominant.” So yeah, a) unenforceable, and b) messed up. The Dominant can flog, spank, whip, or corporally punish as he sees fit in order to discipline the Submissive or for no reason at all, provided he doesn’t leave permanent marks or injure her to the point that she would need medical attention.

I think the craziest part of the contract is that the Submissive can’t look the Dominant in the eye and must address him formally. Her eyes must remain downcast. What. The. Eff. Wow, this would not be for me. I’m all about eye contact. Eye contact and actually knowing someone are so much sexier than games and control. Ana must “maintain a quiet and respectful bearing in the presence of the Dominant.” Aw HELL no. Ana also has to take birth control, which is funny, because birth control has hormones that can change who you are attracted to and make you want more sensitive men. In reality, the birth control would make her less attracted to Christian. Also, Ana can’t masturbate or touch Christian without permission. MY TORSO IS MY OWN. There are safewords, which is good.

Then there is a list of sexual acts that Christian wants. They include genital and nipple clamps. AHHH. Let it be known, throughout the world, that Ern will never have anything to do with clamps. Ouch. How is that sexy? No freaking way. Not no way, not no how. No spanking either. I already had a dad, thanks. I don’t want to sleep with one. Ana is understandably shocked and disgusted, but an email and new computer from Christian the next day changes her mood. Christian’s flirtation is truly awful, in that it is nauseating and stupid. Maybe it’s just that I hate ALL flirting though. Just be genuine. I hate coyness. Ana starts with Wikipedia and looks up “submissive.” She’s thrown by the results. I’m always so glad when two chapters of this book is over. It’s not even a good STORY, even if you took out the sex stuff. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pretty Little Liars - Single Fright Female

By JJ Duncan (Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This was a good episode with lots of delicious flashbacks and just enough CeCe to please us. Let's get right to it. In Hanna’s room, Hanna hides her “open wound.” When Wren calls, Spencer asks Hanna what’s going on with her and “Downton Grabby.” Haha. Get it? Because he’s British. Does this mean Spencer is over him? Ted comes to tell Ashley that he found a thumb drive in the church with a video of Hanna on it. It’s the thumb drive that Jenna wanted kept secret. Hanna sneaks downstairs to take it, but her mom catches her. Hanna tries to convince her mom to get rid of the thumb drive so that the cops don’t move Mona away. Ashley doesn’t much care for Mona, so she’s in favor of more evidence against her.

At Ezra’s apartment, Aria is watching him get depressed over possibly ruining Maggie’s life. What if Ezra just went back to Maggie? How great would that be? Maggie, prepare to be the new Slut of Our Dreams. Come back to Ezra hotter and less pregnant than ever, and lure him away! Aria is always at Ezra’s place. It’s like Ella and Byron have just completely given up on her teenage daughter, letting her spend every waking (and probably sleeping) moment there. Great example for your little bro, Aria.

Of course Emily comes clean to Paige about the Nate kiss. There’s no way Emily could fail to be a saint for longer than an episode. Paige was cool about it, because she a) already knew and b) rationalized it so that she was convinced it was all about Emily missing Maya and not about actual feelings for Nate. Spencer wisely tries to talk Aria out of contacting Maggie, but Aria is all, “It’s MY relationship, Spencer.” Um, is that why you are always telling Spencer every detail? Spencer sees CeCe, who wants Spencer and her friends to help her with a fundraiser. CeCe sees Emily with Paige and asks Spencer what Emily is doing with “Pigskin.”

Words cannot describe how much we love that nickname. Oh Ali, Bitch of Our Dreams even in death. CeCe says that Paige and Ali were enemies. Ooof course they were. We get the first Ali flashback in a while. Those are always welcome. Ali has a bruise on her back and blames it on a “Pigskin” kicking her in soccer. Paige sure gets violent in sports. Ali vows revenge on Pigskin. Ali steals a shirt from Spencer because Spencer is boobless and it looks better on Ali. Ha, that’s how Ern steals her mom’s clothes that are flattering on people with hips. Ern’s mom is the hipless wonder.

Caleb and Hanna are in computer class, flirting over chat and discussing the thumb drive. No one needed to have the chats read out loud in voiceover though. Ugh. It would have been cuter without it, and God knows everyone who is watching this show should be able to read. Also, they didn’t even read all of the chat. Just parts of it. Jenna kicks Hanna off the computer. It’s her turn. Nate asks Emily out. Oh God, Nate. We know she’s pretty, but do you really think you’re gonna get some from Emily? Nate doesn’t take the rejection well, but few guys do. Guys, here’s what you say, “I appreciate you being direct, and I’d love to be friends.” Rephrase as you will, but keep it short and cool. Boom, done.

Arguing with the girl isn’t going to change her feelings. It’s just going to make things hurtful, awkward, and make you look like a chump. If you react in the suggested way, the girl will be impressed. Nate just talks about what a bitch Maya was and how she led guys on, just like Emily led him on. We weren’t digging Nate when he kissed Emily, getting to her through her grief over her dead girlfriend, but in one scene (this one), we’ve gone from “not digging” to loathing. Unadulterated loathing. For his face, his voice, his cloth- Sorry. That sort of thing happens to us a lot more than you guys would realize.

Spencer has all of the sudden remembered that Paige tried to drown Emily. Spencer talks to Emily about how crazy Paige is, but Emily isn’t digging the intervention. It’s so sad that Emily’s girlfriends keep being terrible, while Hanna and Spencer get these awesome love interests. Maya died, Samara left for a better show, and Paige is such a creeper. Still, she’s thinking, “Maybe this time, I’ll be lucky. Maybe this time she’ll stay. Maybe this time, for the first time, love won’t hurry away.” Anyhoo, someone is watching this conversation, but we don’t get to know who yet. Hanna goes up to Jenna while Jenna is snacking. Hanna: “That footage of you raping Toby is going to the police, but I had nothing to do with it, and you should just believe me, even though I’m not going to explain how it was found and how I know about this.” Jenna puts her sunglasses on.

Nate runs up to Hanna to ask her why Emily shut him down. “Um, Nate, she’s GAY.” We love Hanna so much. Hanna lets slip to Nate that Jenna was pretending to be blind when they were dating. Uh oh. We wonder what Jenna saw Nate doing. Nate, you’re doing nothing to cure our newfound hatred of you. First of all, he’s not wearing his glasses and he needs those to be cute. Second of all, he’s still being weird, angry, and creepy. His yell to Jenna was creeptastic. They really deserve each other. What is it about her that makes him want her? What is it about her that turns him pale? Something in her hair, so soft so fair so fin-. Sorry. Moving on.

Aria visits Maggie at work, where she teaches little kids. ARGH. Maggie is old, laying emphasis on how old Ezra actually is, even if guys age better. She’s played by 31-year-old Larisa Oleynik (Alex Mack and the girl everyone thinks is cute in 10 Things I Hate About You), who looks older than 31 because she has this really short hair that isn’t good for her face. Also, short hair tends to scare guys because of gender stereotypes and such. Not the Slut of Our Dreams. “But wait!” Maggie says to us. “I have something better than hot sluttiness. I have Ezra’s son! Boo ya.” Poooooor Ezria fans. A surprise illegitimate child is the ultimate TV heat killer. It’s like a fire extinguisher on TV love. Maggie named the kid Malcolm. Bleck.

Well, now we know why Paige is crazy. Ali drove her crazy. We get a flashback, courtesy of CeCe, of Ali writing secret love notes from Emily to Paige and then intercepting Paige’s lesbian reply. “I own you know,” Ali says, forcefully. Ali runs back to the car with Paige’s note and tells CeCe, “Drive Drive,” sounding scared. CeCe drives this point home to Spencer, telling her that Pigskin scared Ali. That flashback scene was incredible. We got to see Ali acting like a nervous wreck, a showdown, and Ali hanging out with CeCe, who seems to have been training her in bitchiness.

Emily asks Paige about Ali, and Paige denies knowing her. Paige tells Emily she shouldn’t trust her friends. After all, Emily trusted Mona, kind of. So then we had a thought. Remember how Maya had this obsessive boyfriend who wouldn’t leave her alone? The only evidence we have that Nate is Maya’s cousin is Nate telling Emily he was Maya’s cousin. He’s not acting like a cousin, and he was really offended on the behalf of the men Maya teased. He’s the obsessive boyfriend. You heard it here first. And THAT’S our new philosophy. Unless we’re wrong, in which case we never said it.

At Ezra’s apartment, Aria is moping on the couch and Wesley comes up to make nice. What the hell, Aria? Telling Wesley before you tell Ezra about his possible son? Bad move. But then again, you can’t expect a high school girl to be able to handle a relationship that just got this complicated, even if Aria has been acting a lot more mature this season. We want to comfort her. Mother isn’t here now (wrong things, right things). Who knows what she’d say? Nothing’s quite so clear now, fear you’ve lost your way, but you are not alone. Spencer is in a dressing room, texting Hanna, when ATTACK. That snake thing was pretty scary and great, especially when it was trying to bite Spencer. We would have screamed our lungs out. We loved when CeCe just went at it with a mannequin leg. She’s a bad ass. Can CeCe never leave the show, please? What a shocking change from her first episode, right?

Spencer and Hanna wonder whether Paige or Jenna set the snake in the box. Hanna’s phone rings and Spencer nearly yells, “Is that Wren?!” Please be getting jealous of this, Spencer, we beg of you. It’s Emily, and she is missing the knife from the Kahn cabin. Everyone except Aria goes to CeCe’s fashion fundraiser. CeCe tells Hanna to fix her hair and try on a dress. Dry shampoo! Product placement is hardly ever seen on this show. That’s a quality product though. It smells nice. Caleb meets Hanna in the dressing rooms and kisses her. Back at Ezra’s, Ezra gets home in time to see his girlfriend and brother making him a cake. He’s in a good mood because he called Maggie and everything seems cool with her. Wesley tells Aria that his mother probably paid Maggie to keep Malcolm a secret from Ezra.

Spencer and Hanna look through Paige’s purse at the fashion thing, trying to find the knife, when they are caught by Paige and Emily. Emily defends Paige and walks out with her. Uh oh. Spencer says Emily will get over it. Hopefully, because we don’t want a rift between the Liars. Back at Emily’s house, Paige tells Emily about her history with Ali. Alison bullied and hurt Paige pretty bad. Paige fought back until she realized what she was up against. She had no one to turn to. She was on her own, pretending Emily was beside her. All alone, she walked with her ‘til morning. (It’s a sickness). We felt for Paige here.

At Hanna’s house, Ashley Marin is looking great in a cute, sleeveless blue dress. Help your daughter with her fashions this season, Ashley! Ashley watched the thumb drive videos and then destroyed it, partly because there was stuff of her and Wilden on the drive that she didn’t want Ted to ever see. The doorbell rings and it’s Ted. Hanna covers for her mom, telling Ted that she destroyed the thumb drive so he can’t give it to the police. Ted says, “Well, I guess that’s that,” and takes Ashley out on their date. As it turns out, Spencer found something in Paige’s purse: Ali’s other earring. Spencer thinks Paige dug up the body and might even be A.

Spencer goes to Aria to share her suspicions and then we cut back to Emily’s house, where Paige and Emily are still sitting on the porch together. Paige leaves to wash her face, and Jenna walks up to Emily. Jenna: “I need to talk to you about your friend.” Then Jenna realizes someone is in the house and tries to leave. Emily follows her, asking questions, and Jenna says, “Be very careful who you spend time, with Emily. Very careful.” Jenna out. Paige goes back to the porch, sees Emily’s cell phone ringing, and declines a call from Spencer, smiling creepily. The episode ends with A at a jukebox, picking a song. Another A comes up to the first A. The first A hands the second A a pair of keys. Multiple As, all dress in black with black loves. Gotta love it. Next week looks insane!

Episode grade: B+

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gilmore Girls Season One

By ucruci2 (originally posted to Flickr as [1]) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

We’re re-watching Gilmore Girls (even though we should be watching shows we’ve already seen) because we love Gilmore Girls and we often have to re-watch it. Leeard, especially, re-watches this show far more than you’d think. Ern re-watches it about once a year. So why not give some quick reviews we might have given back in the day?

Episode 1 - Pilot
We meet mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. We also meet Rory’s crush, Dean, and her best friend, Lane, as well as Lorelai’s blue-blooded, rich parents, Emily and Richard. The pilot is really wholesome and maybe a little slow, but it’s nice. The show is still working out the kinks, like Drella the harp player and the weird first design for Luke’s diner, but all of that gets fixed soon. In this episode, Gilmore Girls shows promise…to either become the great show it is known to be now or to become a lame, girls-only version of 7th Heaven. We immediately liked Lorelai. It took Ern YEARS to like Rory too. Ern will never love Richard (it’s so great when he goes out of town), but will always love Emily. One time in the series, Richard almost died, but he lived. Sigh. Leeard loves them all.
Episode grade: B

Episode 2 - The Lorelai’s First Day at Chilton
Rory starts Chilton and meets her archenemy (for a while, at least), Paris Gellar. We love Paris Gellar and always have. Keeping Paris on the show for so long was one of the best ideas this show ever had. This one is a little slower than the pilot, due to the tedious fighting between Lorelai and Emily over who will provide Rory with stuff she needs for school, and the Inn scenes start to wear on the viewers’ patience. Drella the harp player HAS to go. However, we catch our first sight of Kirk, arguably the funniest townsperson to be weird on the show. We also meet Tristan, a rich, bad boy who crushes on Rory. Sadly, he expresses his crush immaturely, by taunting Rory and calling her “Mary,” as in “Virgin Mary.” This means that Rory will never love him. She’s not into the bad boys…yet. Ern really liked him and thought something would happen there. But he had to go be on another show.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 3 - Kill Me Now
We see why this episode had to happen because it showed Rory bonding with her grandfather and Lorelai feeling threatened about that. But an extended golfing trip to Richard’s club? Mega snore. The redeeming parts of this episode were the irrational fight between Rory and Lorelai and the “doublemint twins.” Overall though, if you are trying to get into the show, one of us feels like this episode will just slow you down and make you wonder when it’s going to get addictive. The good writing, pop culture references, and humor are still on display, but this isn’t one that we love to re-watch. While you should hardly ever skip a Gilmore Girls episode, if you were going to, this would be one we wouldn’t mind you skipping.
Episode grade: C-

Episode 4 - The Deer Hunters
This is the first good episode of Gilmore Girls. The normally academically perfect Rory gets a D in English, so she spends a week cramming for a Shakespeare test. Sadly, she ends up being late, so she is not allowed to take the test. The good news is that Rory has a moderately good-looking English teacher who takes a liking to Lorelai, so Rory gets to do extra credit. We loved Rory’s little meltdown, Lorelai’s speech to “Il Duce,” and Lorelai telling Rory that Harvard doesn’t have to be her dream. It was all adorable, and while Luke is the obvious favorite for “love of Lorelai’s life,” Max Medina is a nice diversion until that can happen. This is the first episode that didn’t suffer from a slow pace. The thing with a deer running into Rory’s stopped car was fun too. Who would have thought of that? That seems like something that would have to have actually happened in order for the writers to think of it.
Episode grade: A-

Episode 5 - Cinnamon’s Wake
Lorelai agrees to date Mr. Medina, and Rory feels weird about it at first, but allows it. Rory lets Dean know that she’s as interested in him as he is in her. The neighbor’s cat dies, so the whole town holds a wake. This is a fine follow up to the events of "The Deer Hunters", and it brings much-needed development to the Rory/Dean relationship that was almost completely ignored since the pilot. Dean is the perfect first boyfriend for Rory. He moves at the right pace for an inexperienced girl. He’s also polite, sweet, open, and just ballsy enough to make things happen. The cat wake stuff might sound annoying, but it isn’t. In that town, it makes sense. It is around this time that viewers will probably wish to see more of Luke, the diner owner who is obviously in love with Lorelai, but this show is good for showing that sometimes there is Mr. Right and sometimes, to prepare you for the best guy, there is Mr. Right Now.
Episode grade: B+

Episode 6 - Rory’s Birthday Parties
Emily throws a 16th birthday party for Rory and invites all the Chilton kids without asking. Rory and the Chilton kids don’t get along well yet. Rory tries to go along with it, since Lorelai and Emily seem to be getting along for the first time in a while, but in the end, it’s too much. Rory ends up embarrassing Emily with a refusal to give a birthday speech coupled with some loud honesty. After Rory apologizes, Emily and Richard attend Rory’s real birthday party at Lorelai’s house, where Emily discovers that she doesn’t know Lorelai at all. It’s a little sad and probably the first time we feel for Emily. We have mixed feelings about this episode. On the one hand, the character development and humor are great, and there is some good stuff between Emily and Lorelai. On the other, the show’s slowness is back. The plot can really screech to a halt during these relationship-oriented episodes. We like that Rory isn’t perfect. She snapped under the pressure, like a lot of 16-year-old kids. While older people or more confident youngsters might think, “She should have just faked it, made the speech, sucked it up, and got out of there,” teens aren’t perfect and this show knows that.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 7 - Kiss and Tell
Dean kisses Rory in a supermarket (to which she responded "thank you"), and Lorelai has to find out from Rory’s best friend’s mom, Mrs. Kim. Lorelai then invites Dean to her house for pizza and a movie (Willy Wonka), much to Rory’s horror. The whole town seems pretty interested in Rory’s new romance, adding embarrassment to the awkwardness. It works out in the end though, with the movie night going splendidly. It’s all pretty perfect. Rory makes things right with her mom by telling her about the kiss. We loved the scene where Luke and Lorelai stalk Dean together. Lorelai and Rory’s humor is on grand display during the movie night, and if viewers didn’t already love Dean as a good first boyfriend for Rory, they will now. This episode is pretty Rory-centric, eschewing long Inn scenes and grandparent drama, which is a good thing for now. We also like seeing Lorelai fumble and become an awkward, real mom. The episode is cute, funny, entertaining, and perfect.
Episode grade: A-

Episode 8 - Love and War and Snow
Max Medina and Lorelai have their first date, and Rory spends the night with her grandparents, making them frozen pizza. Lane touches a boy’s hair and finds herself with no Rory to vent to. This episode is good if only for the Revolutionary War re-enactor dispute. And this Luke quote: “Tradition is a trap. It allows people to stick their head in the sand. Everything in the past was so quaint, so charming. Times were simpler. Kids didn't have sex. Neighbors knew each other. It's a freaking fairy tale. Things sucked then too. It just sucked without indoor plumbing.” We loved Lane needing her best friend, but Rory being consumed with Dean. It’s realistic. We’re pretty sure everyone in the world has been abandoned by a best friend who fell in love. It’s a good reminder to keep being a good friend, even when your life is temporarily perfect. Boys come and go, but Lanes remain forever. It’s so weird how older people can still hang onto old embarrassments and hurts so many years later. One thing we didn’t like was Lorelai talking to Lane and making it all about Lorelai. Then Lane said that Max has nice hair. He doesn’t. That’s the worst thing about him. Besides him not being Luke.
Episode grade: B

Episode 9 - Rory’s Dance
One of the reasons Rory is hard to relate to is the fact that her life is perfect. Perfect Mom, loving grandparents, quaint little town, smart, emotionally stable, surrounded by good books, Mom who sews her perfect clothes, perfect school, bright future ahead, wit, cool best friend, good taste in music, beautiful blue eyes, beautiful face, beautiful thin body and ability to keep it despite eating like a hog, tall, perfect guys wanting her all the time, problems that are quickly solved, and perfect first dance experience. Our first dances were more rap/hip hop and watching people grind on the dance floor, standing on the sideline, with no Dean on our arms. Ern’s dad actually WENT to her dance to spy. She saw his laughing head peeking through the window. Horrifying. Lorelai is the relatable Gilmore Girl, we think. Yeah, the dance night didn’t end perfectly, but it wasn’t Rory’s fault. This episode contains the first gut-wrenching, emotional scene on the show. It’s so perfect. It leaves you devastated and touched at the same time. It’s one of TV’s most perfect fights. We loved hearing Lorelai defend her daughter and her own life to Emily.
Episode grade: A

Episode 10- Forgiveness and Stuff
Richard has heart problems at the Christmas party Lorelai has been uninvited to by Emily. Lorelai meets her parents and daughter at the hospital, with Luke, leading to forgiveness and stuff. Sadly, Richard lives, but Lorelai and Luke spend quality time together, and Emily sees the obvious sparks. It’s a fine episode. Not as funny as most Gilmore Girls episodes, possibly because of all the heart problems. It’s sad that Lorelai feels like she has no good memories with her dad. That’s what happens when dads are more focused on business than daughters. We also liked watching Lorelai and Rory make up after their fight last week. You can also spot a younger, less funny Jane Lynch as a nurse who wants Emily to fill out forms. Hilariously, Luke “doesn’t like hospitals” and freaks out when the sick people are wheeled by.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 11- Paris is Burning
A Richardless episode, yay! Lorelai wants to break up with Max because she’s getting scared of how much she likes him, so she goes to Parents Day at Chilton. When Paris sees Lorelai kissing Max, she spreads it all over the school in order to deflect attention from her parents’ divorce to Rory. This leads Max to ask Lorelai to take a break, since the headmaster is upset with him. Lorelai is crushed, as are we. So yeah, in this episode, the Max Medina relationship is finally revisited. He gives her Proust to read. Dear Lord, why? Because he’s secretly the male version of Rory? This is Paris’s lowest, most-unlikeable episode. Generally, our love for her cannot be stopped. At least she was sorry. We liked seeing Lorelai’s imperfect side, losing her mind over a guy and insulting Sookie. We also liked the way Max didn’t want to take being dumped lying down. We also liked Rory insisting that Lorelai not blame her cold feet on her daughter, as well as Rory confronting Paris and reaching out to her. Rory is so mature and kind hearted. Dammit. Also, Sookie asks Jackson, her fruit vendor, out on a date, and he says yes. One of us is NOT a Sookie fan at all. Melissa McCarthy has done other, less annoying work. But her relationship with Jackson is bearable and gives her something to do besides be neurotic and noisy.
Episode grade: B+

Episode 12- Double Date
Lorelai and Sookie double date with Jackson and his cousin, who hates Lorelai (his blind date for the evening). Rune! Ruuuuune! He’s one of the funniest things in the first season. Sookie and Jackson do pretty well together, after Sookie’s nerves calm down. Lane thinks Dean’s friend, Todd, is dreamy, so Rory sets them up. Todd turns out to be an idiot, so when Lane is caught by her Tiger Mom for dating an unauthorized boy, the grounding is barely worth it in our eyes. The devastating thing about this episode is that Luke was this close to asking Lorelai to go out with him, but Mrs. Kim interrupted them at the worst moment, and then Luke chickened out the next time he saw her. Now, this is one of our favorite shows and we love the Luke/Lorelai relationship, but we also believe that, in real life, a guy would absolutely go for it if he liked the woman enough. This years-spanning wait for this couple to happen is weird, as are most will-they/won’t-they couples. In reality, it either happens pretty quickly, or it’s just not meant to be. Grown men aren’t that shy if they are remotely normal. Ugh. But, if we learned anything from this episode, it’s that Lorelai is a babe.
Episode grade: A

Episode 13- Concert Interruptus
There are a lot of dull shenanigans with Lorelai helping out with a charity rummage sale, but then the girls go see The Bangles live, taking three of Rory’s schoolmates, including Paris. This leads to Lorelai in full Mom Mode when two of the girls take off to hang out with hot, older guys. Rory and Paris are neither of those two girls because they are smart, nerdy, obedient, and not into looking “cool.” Plus, they are in love with Dean and Tristan, respectively. This experience bonds Paris and Rory a little, which is the point of this episode. The show knows that they need to become friends. Friends with occasional crazy, irrational fights, maybe, but friends nonetheless. It’s kind of a relief, at this point, to see some of that ice thaw. Props to Lorelai for getting some friends for Rory using concert tickets. Heck, we’d be friends with the nerdy girl too, if she provided us with free tickets to see live music. If you look carefully, you will see a young Brendan Routh (Superman Returns) as one of the hot guys Madeline and Louise hang out with. The Bangles are there too, obviously. We also hear about Luke’s ex, Rachel.
Episode grade: B

Episode 14- That Damn Donna Reed
After helping him re-paint his diner, Lorelai calls Luke over to “look for a baby chick.” To his surprise, Lorelai actually needed his help looking for a baby chick from Rory’s science project. Lorelai can’t admit to Sookie that she has a thing for Luke, even though they are about ready to make real moves on each other. Of course, Rachel and Christopher’s returns force them apart again. Rory and Dean fight about whether a woman should take care of her husband (including making him dinner) like Donna Reed in the 50s. Basically nothing material gets resolved or meaningfully explored, but Rory does dress up in a ridiculously cutesy outfit, make Dean dinner, and learn that Donna Reed was actually a businesswoman profiting off the backwards views of her time. Cool! The episode ends with Rory’s father, Christopher, rolling into town on his (of course) motorcycle. This episode was a nice time sucker. Did we really need an entire episode devoted to these events? This is the only show that can waste our lives with this much charm and entertainment value.
Episode grade: B

Episode 15- Christopher Returns
Rory’s dad comes home for a visit and tries to get Lorelai back. Since he’s in financial and personal ruin, Lorelai sends him packing. One of us has always had a special place of loathing in her heart for this episode and almost every episode with Christopher. He’s almost always annoying, whiney, and a letdown. He’s not evil or a bad father or anything, but he certainly tends to put distance between Luke and Lorelai, and he’s unreliable as a human. Yeah, it’s about time we met Rory’s dad. This episode had to happen. We also love the sweet high school memories that come up, as well as the childish fights he has with Lorelai. The Offspring v. Metallica moment where she rejected his proposal and told him to grow up is one of the show’s most perfect handlings of a serious, soapy situation. Also, The Offspring DOES have one chord progression. It was also great to see Francine and Straub, Christopher’s parents, who clash with the Gilmores and let the audience see how realistic and raw the discord in the Gilmore clan is. We know why Richard holds such a grudge against his daughter. We see the dashed dreams, failure to control teenage offspring firsthand, and hurt from Lorelai just running away from them. If we didn’t get to see it eventually, we would start thinking the Gilmore grandparents are dumb to act the way they do toward Lorelai.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 16- Star Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers
Hey, Rachel IS kind of an “Elle Macpherson kind of pretty.” Rory and Dean celebrate their three-month anniversary, but Dean dumps her after she doesn’t return his “I love you.” Luke’s ex, Rachel, returns to stay with him, and Lorelai realizes she still has feelings for Max. The worst thing about this episode is that Rachel is cool. And beautiful. And nice. And impossible to hate with a passion. Things aren’t easy, cliché, and clear-cut on this show. You see why Luke loves Rachel and why Lorelai welcomes her as well. The Dean/Rory breakup is the perfect thing to happen to this show at this point in the season, and it’s the perfect surprise after their enchanting day together. You don’t see it coming, so it’s effective. Also, Lorelai and Richard have a nice moment, which is a long time coming. He’s so distant with her and she’s not great with him either. Richard covers for Lorelai when she sneaks away from a boring blind date Emily set up for her. He was very wrong for Lorelai.
Episode grade: A+

Episode 17- The Breakup Part 2
When Rory finds herself unable to grieve, she decides to focus on getting work done. Lorelai tries to get Rory to wallow and keep the whole town off her back, since they know about the breakup and have demonized Dean. Rory goes to a Chilton party with Lane, where Lane meets a Korean future doctor she actually likes and Rory kisses Tristan. She immediately starts crying, leaves, and goes home to let her mother teach her how to wallow properly. While Rory is at the party, Lorelai reunites with Max and sleeps with him. The party portion of the episode and what followed it was great, but it was a little boring watching Rory avoid dealing with her emotions for about a half an hour. We loved when Luke tried to get into some sort of slap fight with Dean, and it was good to bring Max back at this point. The relationship has been moving at a glacial pace throughout the season, but it speeds up (and goes possibly too fast for viewers to get invested) after that.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 18- The Third Lorelai
Richard’s mother, the first Lorelai, comes to stay and sends Emily to crazytown. Emily can never get this woman’s approval, and Grandma Lorelai is pretty darn rude, bitching at every opportunity. Grandma Lorelai offers our Lorelai a way to finance Rory’s tuition without her parents, but Emily and Lorelai ruin it by acting like babies, so the offer is withdrawn. Meanwhile, Paris and Tristan go out on a date because Rory suggests it. Sorry Rory, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t make a guy be attracted to another girl, even if it makes more sense, when he really wants you. We dislike the first Lorelai. While she brings humor, she is the worst kid of unaccepting snob who certainly doesn’t teach her son and daughter-in-law how to be flexible and kind. Part of the reason this episode doesn’t reach A level is how disappointing and pointless it was that Lorelai lost the financial opportunity. We hate when TV shows dangle gamechangers in front of our faces and then snatch them away. We like that Emily has her daughter’s sarcasm, sense of humor, and mischievousness. No wonder they clash. While this was nowhere near the best episode of season one, it was the most-watched episode when it aired.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 19- Emily in Wonderland
Emily spends a day in Stars Hollow with Rory and sees the Inn, as well as the cottage Rory and Lorelai lived in when Lorelai was a teen mom. Emily has to leave immediately, hurt that her daughter would live in that little shack rather than with her. It’s just sad. You’d think that after 17 years, Emily’s wounds wouldn’t be so fresh, but they really are. We all know people who can’t move on from family drama, emotionally, so it’s cool to see it depicted realistically on a TV show. Why don’t parents ever understand that sometimes you need to be away from them, for your own sanity, and they can’t fix that? “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just make my mother hear me…just hear me…for one second.” Yep, a lot of us wish that about family members who either don’t understand on the level we want them to or can’t communicate that understanding. We loved Emily making Rory her own room, complete with an NSYNC poster. Aww, she doesn’t know Rory at all. This one’s a little slow, and not only was there a lot of Rachel, she is both getting closer to Luke and staying for a little while longer. Ugh.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 20- P.S. I Lo…
We love playing the game “One two three, he’s yours.” Ern likes to call it, “One two three, hit that.” Marry bang kill is by far the best of those kinds of games though. We loved Mrs. Kim pointing at Rory and Dean and saying, “I. See. All.” She is one of the funniest characters on this show, even now that Kirk is starting to appear more. Lorelai is fed up with not knowing why Rory and Dean broke up and why Rory is crabby. This leads to a fight, especially once Rory finds out that Lorelai is still secretly seeing Max. Rory goes to her grandparents’ house to get away from Lorelai and Lane, who Rory sees as overprotective. In the end, Lorelai talks to Rory about her inability to say those three important words. It’s been a while since the mother-daughter center of the show conflicted, and this is the first time it’s really felt welcome to me. It also shows that Rory is getting a lot closer to her grandparents than we would have anticipated at the start of the season. They are really family now because they are a safe place. It was really crappy of Rory to take off without telling her mom though.
Episode grade: A

Episode 21- Love, Daisies, and Troubadours
And the season ends with happiness and a cliffhanger. Max Medina proposes with a thousand daisies, Rory says “I love you, you idiot” to Dean, and Dean takes Rory back. It’s all very sweet and yellow. Our favorite scene is the one where Rory scares Dean’s little sister by interrogating her at Dean’s front door. We also liked the troubadour controversy and Rory’s speech. This is the episode where Max starts to seem less than perfect. There’s just something weird about him, especially during his fight with Lorelai about how they had slept with other people during their break. There’s just something off that might have cropped up later in the relationship. Plus, as you know by now, we are Luke fans. Finally, season two can start now. Season two is an improvement on season one. More happens, the side characters get more interesting, Kirk becomes more of a funny town fixture, and Jess Mariano comes to town, bringing plot advancement, humor, angst, and cuteness.
Episode grade: B+

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ern Reads 50 Shades of Grey post 5

Chapter 8-9
It's's business time. If anyone cares, that video is gonna be my facebook status on my wedding night. So, yeah, sex advisory warning. They are going to bone, and I am going to talk about it. Nothing too weird yet. It's just hipsters being boring and not all that sexy. If you thought Ana being a virgin would make Christian throw her out so that she could get to know a more normal guy for her first experience, you thought wrong. Instead, Christian decides to make an exception for this virgin beauty and have sex without all the kinky stuff. He’s training her, you see. They do it normally. I’ve read sex scenes in books that got my rocks off. This ain’t it. I just can’t forget how dumb this book is long enough to enjoy it. We find out that Ana has never masturbated. What kind of human is this?!! Christian says, “You’re very beautiful, Anastasia Steele. I can’t wait to be inside you.” Ana thinks, “Holy shit. His words. He’s so seductive.” YEAH, that’s just brilliant. He’s a regular Casanova with poetry like that.

Sidenote: Remember how I called Ana a hipster? Well, Christian wears Converse shoes. A match made in heaven. Also, how does that match the rest of his wardrobe and character? It really doesn’t. Ana is wearing them too, until Christian takes them off. Anyway, they mash against each other. Ana thinks, “I feel his erection, which he languidly pushes into me.” According to the dictionary, languidly means “lacking energy or vitality; weak; Showing little or no spirit or animation; listless; lacking vigor or force; slow.” That is one sad peen you’ve got there, Mr. Grey. He goes to town on her nipples, trying to see if he can make her orgasm just stimulating those. Apparently he can?? After that, she gets fingered. Then he takes his pants off for the actual devirginization of Ana. (I know that’s not a word. This book is getting to me.)

Christian is, of course, a man of “considerable length.” He doesn’t take his shirt off. Aw, come on. That’s not right. I’d make him take it off. He’s such a freaking jerk. He says, “Do you really want to do this?” Then when she agrees, he’s all, “I’m going to f*** you now. Hard.” Then he “slams into her.” OUCH. It’s her first time. Jeez. Seriously? I know he always says, “I don’t make love. I f***,” but couldn’t he have made an exception for a girl’s first time. That hurts. Arschloch. She’s more than okay with it though. “He pounds on.” That’s in quotes because the book actually says that. She has another orgasm. When they are done, she can’t stop grinning. He finally takes off his shirt, after she asks why he’s still wearing it. She wants it again. He takes her from behind this time, saying, “You are mine. Only mine. Don’t forget it.” I think I’m gonna spare you the play-by-play of this round.

The next morning, Ana is “sore, deliciously sore.” Christian seems sad this morning and doesn’t like his naked torso touched. This is so far from the weirdest thing about this guy that I wouldn’t even be fazed if I didn’t get an explanation of why this is. Doubtless I will though. Ana’s “subconscious” has awoken and it is chastising her for giving her virginity to a man who doesn’t love her and wants to make her some sort of kinky sex slave. I don’t know what Ana thinks the word “subconscious” means, but I’m gonna go ahead and call that voice her “common sense.” She texts a worried Kate, puts her hair in pigtails, puts on her iPod, and starts cooking breakfast while dancing. Christian comes out in time to make innuendo and insist Ana finish her breakfast, since he has a problem with wasted food. He said today will be oral training, since she’s sore.

They go take a bath together and Ana gives her first BJ. Since she’s perfect (ugh), she does it great the first time, swallowing and everything. Christian marvels that she must not even have a gag reflex! Yeah, she’s not human. The blow job bath scene was kind of boring to me. Then Christian takes Ana to his bedroom to return the favor. He asks her to say “yes” to his arrangement, and she nods. He ties her hands with a silver tie and…well…returns the favor. He licks her feet a bunch first though. THAT’S SANITARY. Alright, I guess they did just take a bath. Ana calls the feet licking “too erotic.” When it’s all over, Christian hears his mother’s voice outside, arguing with one of his servants. Clearly, Christian has some weird childhood or past issues involving food and his torso. Believe it or not, I’m curious to know what they are. I’m gonna have to wade through a bunch of porn to find out though. At least we get to meet his mother now. 

Bunheads - A Nutcracker in Paradise

By The Huntington from Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Sutton Foster) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
We’re going to be generous with the last episode of this weird first ten. Bunheads won’t be back until January. It’s such a hot mess with odd scenes like the whole last five minutes of the episode, but we’ve decided to understand it. We will root for it and allow it to be eccentric for as long as it entertains and makes us care about the characters. We actually care about Michelle and the girls. Fanny is going to take a while. This episode left us bummed, but it was good. In this show’s odd way. One of this week’s strengths was all the dancing. We saw a lot of ballet and even some musical theater dancing from Sutton Foster. We also liked the crazy, single white female ringer. We loved when she stood over Sasha and took her bow.

Sasha is Ern’s favorite character on this show; Melanie is probably Leeard’s. Charlie is no one’s favorite character. We are so happy Boo and Carl made up, even if their dancing moment and Boo’s public confession were crazypants. We liked the use of "The Rainbow Connection", even if the dance didn’t fit it at all. The song fit the mood, not the dance, and it was realistic that their dance wouldn’t fit the song that happened to be playing in the restaurant. Of course Sasha is going to take up with Roman and they will have equally stupidly named children. Ugh. At least she has a love interest though. Amy Sherman-Palladino does well with bad boys in her shows, so it might be good. We like what she’s doing with the bad girl too.

If you’ve seen the show, you know Michelle makes three mistakes. The first is telling Michael about Fanny’s secret desire to live with him in a cabin over the summer. Michelle is old enough to know that this would scare a lot of guys away. Also, if you interfere in someone else’s romantic relationship for the better, you must do so with informed advice and try not to give away secrets or exactly what the other party has told you, even if it would make your argument more convincing. What Michelle should have said was, “Oh, hey, I know this isn’t in your normal relationship habits, Michael, but maybe you should invite Fanny up sometime this summer. I can take over the studio while she’s gone if that’s something you want to do. Just let me know. It might be nice to surprise her.” And that’s how it’s done. Michelle’s second mistake was the pepper spray. Why does she even have mace?

To quote Tracey Thoms in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof: “Look, I don't know what futuristic utopia you live in, but the world I live in, a bitch need a gun…  Uh, motherf***er tryna rape me? I don't wanna give him skin rash! I wanna shut that n**** down…Look, if I ever become a famous actress, I won’t carry a gun. I'll hire me a do-dirt n****, and he'll carry the gun. And when s*** goes down, I'll sit back and laugh. But until that day, it's Wild West motherf***er!” Couldn’t  have put it better ourselves. We could, however, have put it cleaner. But that’s beside the point, which is that pepper spray is not infallible. A man can fight through it, most sprays aren’t strong enough, and you have to make sure you spray it so that the wind doesn’t blow it back in your face. Also, if it’s in the air, it’s going to hurt your eyes too, most likely. If you're not a gun person, get a powerful taser and a concealed weapons permit, and get trained to use it. Nobody mistakes a taser for a pretty spray either. Michelle’s third mistake was kissing the young Australian guy in public. Actually, that wasn’t her mistake at all. People are judgmental and should get over it.  

The audition dream was sobering and kind of deep. We liked Michelle’s rendition of "Maybe This Time". Obviously, she can sing. The whole time though, Ern just couldn’t stop thinking, “God, I’d kill for her arms. Dear Lord, do I really have to become a dancer and get off the couch to get those arms? Ugh.” We got to see Hubbell as her judge, who finally showed up. Hubbell told her that she was in Paradise to shake things up, that Fanny would have liked a daughter, and that Michelle has changed things. Michelle has bonded with the girl dancers and probably kept Fanny from falling into loneliness and despair. We loved that Sasha was the girl to start the Dead Poets Society thing. We’re glad other people stood up because for a moment we thought they wouldn’t. There was emotional payoff there and a little closure until January. Depending on how full our TV and occupational plates are, we may watch the rest of the season. The show has problems, but ain't it sweet?

Episode grade: A-

Three decent movies. None of them must-sees, but you can't go too wrong with them

The Bourne Legacy
One blogger is in the minority here, but after trying the first Bourne book and all three original movies, she wasn’t that impressed. There would be a lot of boring, mildly technical talking, and then they would catch up with Bourne for a few minutes, there would be a cool fight, and then it would be slow again. They were also needlessly complicated. For fun action movies, they really required you to have a brain. Guess what? Most people don’t. When we watch something like The Bourne Identity, we want to be entertained, not to have to think as if we were reading a book. They are technically “good” movies that underwhelm this blogger. Surely ardent fans and lovers of the genre will disagree. The Bourne Legacy is not as good or realistic as its predecessors, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun. Rachel Weiss is a better heroine than those of the franchise’s past as well. She's the appropriate age for her character, and her acting is good. Jeremy Renner is no Matt Damon, but he’s fine and believable as a man of action. We've liked him since The Hurt Locker. The pace is swifter than the last three movies. It would be cool if the franchise could get Damon back and make him team up with Renner’s Aaron. If you’re hanging out with a group of people and want to see a crowd pleaser, we can assure you that you won’t regret going to this one. It’s not a complete waste of time. Our whole group left happy and without complaint.
Movie grade: B

Blue Like Jazz
Let’s face it: Christian movies suck. Courageous made this blogger want to convert to something else. Don't even get us started on The Ultimate Gift, a movie with a stellar premise completely ripped off of Jewish stories. Blue Like Jazz didn’t suck quite as hard because it benefits from both honesty and the fact that it’s a comedy, not a heartfelt, moralizing drama. It’s a coming of age story about Don Miller, a freshman fed up with the hypocrisy of his Christian mother, church, and Texas community. He resolves to start fresh at a very secular party school for the intellectual elite. At first, all he cares about is fitting in. Later, he comes to terms with his own faith, learns to forgive, and rejects the pride that led him to look down on people of faith who “make him look bad.” Plotwise, there are better common of age stories and it’s not that original, nor is it eventful. As a meandering comedy about hipster life on a Portland campus, it works, even if it’s uneven in tone. Parts of the script fall super flat, like one of the lines in the confession booth scene and when the lesbian character tells the main character to stay in the closet about his Christianity. No atheist actually says that to a Christian. 

We enjoyed seeing Rebekah from The Vampire Diaries and Alex from LOST. The movie’s greatest strength is its wonderful treatment of homosexual characters and openness about issues of faith. It directly addresses topics prevalent in the world at large, but almost completely ignored by movies, while managing to stay away from offending nearly every possible person who could ever sit down to watch it. Good taste and manners are on display. We didn’t like the actor in the main role, but he didn’t ruin it. The character was hard to like, and it would take a charismatic, cute, self-effacing kid to pull it off and still charm us. This guy wasn't it. Still, the movie wasn’t cheesy or preachy, making it one of the better Christian movies out there. It could have been a lot better, but from what we’ve seen about movies made by Christians, it could have been a whole lot worse. If you like the movie, check out the book Blue Like Jazz, as well as books by Phillip Yancey and Rob Bell. Regarding Bell, if you’re a Christian, don’t start with Love Wins. You might shut out helpful things Bell has to say if you go right for his most controversial book. 
Movie grade: B-

This is an old one that we finally saw, and it’s another coming of age story. It's about a weird high schooler (Jason Schwartzman) who loves school and being involved, but isn’t academically gifted. He’s a real go-getter, but he’s weird. In a lot of ways, he’s a genius. In even more ways, he’s a mess. When he falls in love with a teacher at his school (Olivia Williams) and makes friends with a local millionaire (Bill Murray), things get funny. This comedy is strange, existentialist, and cult-y, in a good way, so the fact that Wes Anderson directed it shouldn’t surprise you. It’s one of his best. Whether you like it will come down to personal taste, but for what it is, it’s quality. The movie maybe overstays its welcome, time-wise, but that doesn’t ruin it. This is the only time we’ve ever liked Jason Schwartzman. If you look closely, you will see Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) as a random student. God, was she ever not pretty? One of the best things about this movie is its soundtrack, which uses classic rock to foreshadow, set the tone, keep the pacing steady without sacrificing the quirky humor, and keep things smart. We also liked the ending and the Scottish kid. It’s not your usual comedy.
Movie grade: B+

Monday, August 20, 2012

Awkward Season 2, episodes 4-8

One of us has to watch a dog 24/7 so that it doesn’t scratch itself. Long, gross story. But hey, sitting next to a dog all day for a few days will give us the chance to watch more TV. Awkward. is a good choice. This show is too clever for most of the idiots watching MTV. This is the same channel that has those canned lines fed to the "real people" on Parental Control. Those digs are not funny. Awkward. is.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Jenna
Jenna blames herself for her parents’ separation, so she goes with Lissa to church camp. Unfortunately, Lissa invited Sadie too. Needless to say, things do not go too well. Val tells Jenna that “religion is all about preying on the weak.” Sad, but true, especially among high-school students. Because high school is also about preying on the weak. Put them together? You’d better be strong, cool, and about to look perfect, or don’t apply. The gay Christian is the best one, obviously, and Jenna bonds a little with Lissa. Our favorite part was when Lissa said, “If people have different interpretations of the Bible, Christianity will never survive.” The show clearly doesn’t approve of that philosophy and neither do we. Splitting hairs splits up people. The episode got a lot of things about Christianity wrong (Adam WAS with Eve when she talked to the snake, and Jesus spent a lot of time with Mary Magdalene), which is fine because the inaccuracies were for humor’s sake. Meanwhile, Lacey adjusts to spending time alone, with Val’s help. Jenna’s stalker seems to fixate on Tamara instead, but really she’s just delusional. Matty still pines for Jenna, but when she sees him checking out another girl, Jenna doesn’t like it much. This episode could have been funnier, but we still enjoyed it.
Episode grade: B-

My Love is a Black Heart
Valentine’s Day comes to Awkward, and Jenna’s jealousy of Matty’s new relationship threatens to ruin her night with Jake. Jake says, “I love you,” and Jenna doesn’t return it. Awwww. Ricky is in love with Sadie! Hahahaha. The episode played "Der Holle Rache Kocht in Meinem Herzen" at the beginning. Ha! Okayyy, this is an MTV show. We’ll dial down the nerdiness. Sadly, Matty’s new girl is unbelievably beautiful. No high school freshman girl looks like that. We feel like Sadie is losing weight. We don’t approve. We thought it was hilarious that the school “fat” girl was the bully. Does everyone have to conform to that same TV size? Stupid. Jenna’s dad! Oh, we missed him. This breakup is truly bumming us out. They were so cute together and one of the reasons Ern liked the show. If they get divorced, that will be hella lame. The actor playing Jake does not do “nervous” convincingly. It’s 100% certain now that Matty is endgame. Ern isn’t happy about that, but she gets it. Leeard loves Matty. Jenna stole our move. When a guy says “I love you” and you can’t say it back, just pull them in and kiss them. It’s still bad, but it’s your only option. You definitely shouldn’t say “awesome” afterward though. Ugh.
Episode grade: B+

What Comes First: Sex or Love?
Okay, let’s answer that episode title question first. Love. It should be love. You should love the person you sleep with. Now, having sex can intensify your feelings for a person and make you more attached to them. With girls, a chemical in the brain is released after sex that can create strong emotions for the person. But it’s not the best way to go about love. Of course, this is Awkward, so the question isn’t so easily answered by the characters, who seem to learn by doing. Which is great because it’s entertaining. Jenna and Jake plan to have sex to settle their relationship doubts. Sadie stole the episode, as usual. We are starting to feel really bad for Jake. We love how adorably honest he was about how he would be lucky to last two minutes in sex. We like Jenna and Matty acting like friends. Val/Usher’s “lady in the streets, freak in the sheets” advice has merit. “You know, if you drink enough wine, it tastes like love” does not. Hahaha. We agree with “Every first time is the first time. And it should be special. The end, and Jake’s speech, was so cute and perfect. No high school boy would know the exact right things to say in that situation though. Aw, heck, we’re going to pretend it was realistic, since we liked it so much. Also, never listen to Tamara, Jenna.
Episode grade: A-

Another One Bites the Dust
Aunt Ally gets married on the same day Jenna plans to seal the deal with Jake. Lacey’s ex-boyfriend from high school, Ben, wants to walk down memory lane, but Jenna puts a stop to it. Jake tries to stop Sadie from rubbing her relationship with Ricky in Tamara’s face, so Sadie tells Jake about Jenna’s history with Matty. Just then, Jenna leaves a message on Jake’s phone telling him that she loves him. We love love loved Ally’s wedding dress. It might be a little young for her though. Just sayin’. We liked Tamara saying “Project Bone.” This show is so funny. Ern just found Leeard’s role in her wedding (Flower Bitch). Ugh, that Ringer/Life Unexpected guy playing Ben has got to stop. He’s a clear showkiller and only moderately hot. He just doesn’t have the X-Factor. Who are we, Simon Cowell? We need Kevin back in our lives! We need Lacey to be worthy of him, stat. We are digging Lacey and Val as friends. The side buns looked hilariously awful on Sadie. Ally’s threatening question that cracked Sadie was perfectly delivered. It scared us too. Ally is the best Bridezilla onscreen. In fiction. Does Jenna not remember how bad the sex was with Matty? We guess you never get over your first, but wow, it was bad. Making Tamara the assistant was a stroke of brilliance. Man, we have very little to say about this show that is negative these days. It’s seriously underrated. Okay, we have one complaint: Jake calling Sadie a bitch. We really like him, but when a guy calls a woman a “bitch,” it leaves a stain on our opinions of him. Sadie’s a total bitch though. In the best way. You’re welcome.
Episode grade: A

Time After Time
After Jake breaks up with Jenna, Matty comes over to her house to comfort her and they kiss. Jake sees the kiss. Meanwhile, Lacey gets closer to Ben. This episode made Leeard cry (stuff happened this week, in her defense). Not hard, but still. Ern said before that she wasn’t digging the actress playing Jenna, but Ern has changed her mind. Everything about the pilot sucked and lowered Ern’s opinion of everyone in the show. The subsequent episodes rectified the false impressions. Ashley Rickards is perfect. This is the episode where Leeard liked Tamara the best. Leeard usually doesn’t like either of Jenna’s best friends. Ern likes the Asian one. Jake was being a huge jerk in this episode, but we guess it’s kind of justified. Still, it’s disappointing. This whole situation is very Aidan-Big-Carrie, except without overt cheating. Just LIES. We loved that Jake changed his mind as soon as he heard Jenna’s message. Wait, the Ben thing is still going on?!! What?!! We thought Ben got the message from Jenna! When Jenna caught them kissing, she should have pushed them in the pool. Then Kevin showed up! Yesssss. Just in time to see his wife dancing with Ben, head on his chest, and eyes closed. Maybe we don’t like Kevin that much. He left. Ugh ugh ugh. Thank you, hot mess Ally for ruining it with your near-naked worm.  The end was so good and heartbreaking and predictable. Maybe Matty isn’t endgame. Maybe we finally have a love triangle on TV where the answer isn’t obvious, other than the TVD triangle. Notable line: “I may be drunk, but you’re a dork. At least tomorrow I’ll be sober…for a while.”
Episode grade: A-

Breaking Bad- Buyout

The episode starts with Todd, Mike, Walt, and Jesse destroying the dirt bike and disposing of the kid’s body. Fortunately, we only see the kid’s hand and almost none of the dirty work. Jesse goes outside to smoke, morosely, and Todd has the stupidity to come up and say, “Shit happens.” Jesse punches him in the face. If I haven’t already made this clear: I. Love. Jesse. Todd tells Walt and Mike that he did the only thing he could and that he has prison connections. Todd’s prison connections will probably come up again, methinks. Jesse doesn’t want to work with a guy who killed a kid when there might have been another option, but he’s outvoted by Walt and Mike.

Jesse watches the news and sees a story about the missing boy. He rubs his head and tears up. God, Aaron Paul plays emotionally disturbed so well. Walt sits down to manipulate Jesse into staying the course, but I think Jesse knows Walt’s true feelings because he saw Walt whistling, in a carefree way, soon after the talk. Jesse must realize, on some level, that the kid’s death isn’t hurting Walt like it’s hurting Jesse. Meanwhile, the DEA is tailing Mike, so Mike decides he’s out of the meth-cooking business. Walt tells Mike that he needs to train Jesse on his part of the business so that Jesse can replace Mike, but that he understands. The trouble is, Jesse wants out too. Because he’s the best freaking person.

Walt will not let this happen. We know from past episodes that if there’s anything Walter White is good at, it’s a) science, b) being a dick, and c) manipulating Jesse. Mike wants to sell the methylamine for millions of dollars to a competitor, and Jesse doesn’t think that money is anything to sneeze at. Walt is STILL sore about missing out on the Grey Matter fortune. He checks the company’s worth weekly, and the science corporation is valued at more than $2 billion. Walt sold out for $5,000. Yikes, that was a mistake. Jesse argues that quitting the meth business and quitting a science partnership are two very different things. Our thoughts exactly, Jesse. Jesse just doesn’t want anyone to have to die anymore.

Jesse and Walt discuss this at Walt’s house, which is no longer off limits for Jesse. Skyler walks in and Walt suggests Jesse stay for dinner. Jesse sits in Flynn’s place at the table, in every way Walt’s new son, and tries to make polite chit chat in the most awkward situation of all time. He compliments Skyler’s shopping and “joyous” food, comparing it to his usual microwave dinners. "You know it's like hell yeah I'm stoked for this lasagna. Then you nuke it and the cheese on top gets all scabby. It's like you're eating a scab. It's like what ever happened to truth in advertising, you know? Yeah . . . it's bad." Skyler is giving Walt a death look. Walt is silent. Skyler is pretty upset after finding out that Walt told Marie about the Ted Beneke banging. Marie thinks Ted is hot. Gross.

Mike and Jesse out that the competitor won’t buy the methylamine (a word I can now spell without looking) unless Mike sells ALL the methylamine and gets Fring’s blue stuff off the market. That’s going to conflict with Walt’s plan to keep a third of the methylamine and keep cooking. Mike physically restrains Walt while he goes with Saul to get the DEA off his back. Walt escapes, chewing through electrical wire and burning his wrist pretty badly. Wow. But, come on Mike, you should know that Walt is good at this sort of thing. Never leave Walt alone. That was a job for Todd. Walt steals all the methylamine and hides it while Mike is gone. When Mike gets back, he pulls a gun on Walt, but Jesse is there to stop Mike and beg him to hear Walt out…again. Walt tells Mike that he has a plan to sell the methylamine and still keep some so that he can keep cooking. The episode ends.

This one felt short and quiet after last week's excellent nail biter. The best thing was Jesse's conscience pushing him further toward the redemption we wish for him. But will he get it? Or will he die? We can't believe Walt's pride and devastation over missing out on success is still the driving force behind his determination to continue being a criminal. This episode proved that it's 100% not about his family anymore. He could take millions and walk away from his life, make up with Skyler, and provide for his kids. But, like I've said before, Walt's sickness isn't cancer. It's moral decay, and it's spread beyond even his rationalizations that it's to provide for his clan. Next week's episode looks crazy good. 

Episode grade: B