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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our TV Blogging Plans this Fall

The following upcoming shows will be covered regularly: 
Sept. 11- Parenthood
Sept. 11- The New Normal
Sept. 13- Glee
Sept. 17- Revolution
Sept. 20- Parks and Recreation
Sept. 24- Castle
Sept. 25- New Girl
Sept. 25- The Mindy Project
Sept. 25- Vegas
Sept. 27- Last Resort
Sept. 27- Grey’s Anatomy
Sept. 27- Scandal
Sept. 30- The Good Wife
Sept. 30- Revenge
Sept. 30- Once Upon a Time
Sept. 30- Dexter
Sept. 30- Homeland
Sept. 30- 666 Park Avenue
Oct. 10- Supernatural
Oct. 10- Arrow
Oct. 10- Nashville
Oct. 11- The Vampire Diaries
Oct. 14- The Walking Dead
Oct. 16- Emily Owens M.D.
Oct. 17- American Horror Story
Oct. 19- Community
Oct. 23- Happy Ending
Oct. 23- Pretty Little Liars

These aren't ALL the shows we watch, but these are the ones that get good enough numbers for us to be sure to cover on the blog. The highlighted blue shows are the new ones we haven't yet seen, but we are going to try. Last year, we tried them all, and that resulted in a lot of wasted time since we watched some shows that we knew weren't going to be good. And guess what? They weren't. If you think we are wrong to exclude some things (notice we dropped Modern Family and lazy Ern couldn't get caught up on Castle in time - Leeard will do her best to solo cover it though), let us know in the comments. We can be convinced. 

Currently watching/catching up on: 
Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Sherlock.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Doctor Who season one, episodes 6-8

What happened: A distress signal takes the Doctor and Rose to 2012 (which was in the future back when the show aired). There, they find a businessman collecting rare artifacts, including aliens that he experiments on. He has the last Dalek. All the others were killed in the Time War between the Daleks and the time lords. The Doctor shows his vengeful side when confronting the Dalek and almost killing it. Rose takes pity on it and, without knowing what it is, lets it escape. However, the Dalek takes a bite of her, and that gives it feelings and leads to its ultimate suicide. One of the businessman’s employees, a young British man named Adam, boards the TARDIS with Rose and the Doctor, joining them.

What we thought: We loved the scene where the Doctor first met the Dalek. He sure gave way too much away to the businessman about his history though, didn’t he? The Doctor is always making mistakes like this. You’d think after 900 years, he’d learn to be more careful. The Dalek was an R2D2-lookin thing with a high-tech plunger for an arm. The Dalek was expressionless. We were wishing it were an alien. This seems like a pretty big enemy, and having some powerful alien that could manipulate electricity would be nerd perfection, plus it would have more of a personality. You don’t want your villains stiff. So, we were happy when it opened up and there was some snot-covered squid/intestine being with an eyeball.

This one was actually exciting sometimes. There was some level of gravity to the situation. This was a good story with some nice themes and emotion. Yeah, a great deal of the episode involved people standing there and shooting at the Dalek, which got old. But its suicide was cool. Some of the dialogue in the episode was poorly written, but the actors made it work. This episode was easier to watch than past episodes. It moved quicker. We’re still on C-levels though.
Episode grade: C+

The Long Game
What happened: In the year 200,000, a big nasty aliens has control over humanity and uses the news media to keep humans from asking questions. The Doctor and Rose stop it, with help from a woman named Cathica. Adam is no help and almost gets them all killed in his greed.

What we thought: We love Rose’s outfit in this episode. Well, more than her other outfits, anyway. She always dresses like she’s Kurt Cobain. It sounds like she’s had a few more offscreen adventures and travels. We get that change is hard and the culture shock must be massive, but Adam should know how lucky he is to be able to do this. Adam hints that the Doctor and Rose might have a romantic relationship at some point. We don’t know how we feel about that…maybe it would be alright. We’re not loving the idea though. Maybe we’d be more for it when the Doctor gets a new body. We hear he does that. J

How long did it take Suki to walk to her new position? Too long. A person could get bored. We liked seeing the woman from Episodes in this. Cathica should have replaced useless Adam. Just dropping him off with his mother was the next best thing. We loved the end, where his mother snapped her fingers and his head addition was revealed. Hehe. The conspiracy plot of this really worked for us, as did the commentary on how crappy our news is. This one was fun to watch. Either this show is growing on us, or it just got better. This episode was creepy too and not at all cheesy! But it still had humor.
Episode grade: B-

Father’s Day
What happened: Rose manipulates the Doctor into going back to the day her dad died when she was a baby, telling him that she just wanted to be there when he passed. Once there, she saves her dad’s life. This rips a hole in space and time, and nasty creatures show up to kill all of humanity. On top of that, Rose’s dad is kind of a selfish, cheating loser. The Doctor has a solution to the monster problem that would keep Rose’s dad alive, but the Doctor is eaten before he can carry it out. Then, Rose’s dad sacrifices himself to return things to normal, thus redeeming himself and becoming a good man and father. The Doctor tells Rose to hurry to her dad’s side as he died. Rose sees a young Mickey, and he falls in love with her at first sight.

What we thought: Is that two decent ones in a row? Things are looking up. Rose is such a cute little kid! In the present, they need to stop putting so much mascara on her. It’s looking a bit spidery. This was the first big fight between Rose and the Doctor. Rose made a big mistake. The Doctor was really hard on her, but she deserved it. We found out that the Doctor doesn’t mind changing time on his normal adventures, but doing it selfishly in a planned way is against the rules. We want to know why he doesn’t harm time and draw the creatures when he changes time. It would be really sad to hear that your parents didn’t love each other and your dad cheated on your mom. It would suck even more if you got a bunch of people killed to save that deadbeat dad you should never have known. It’s cool that Rose got the truth AND ended up with a hero for a father.

We love how the Doctor jumped up and down when the TARDIS appeared. He has traits that are like a little kid. Christopher Eccleston is getting tolerable. When he got eaten and the key dropped, we were impressed that the show took the tension up a notch. We should have realized the dad would sacrifice himself, but we didn’t until it was obvious. When the dad said goodbye to Rose, we were touched. We cared. Maybe it was the acting. We didn’t think we were that attached to Rose, but anything with parents loving their children packs some kind of punch. We can’t quite explain why this episode worked so well. It would have gotten a better grade had we had a full explanation of why the Doctor’s antics didn’t bring those nasties. This episode proved that this show could bring the emotion easily, at the drop of a hat, in one hour. That makes us excited for future episodes after the characters are even more developed.
Episode grade: B-

New show - The New Normal, pilot

Pic By Nick Step ( [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

There’s another show up early on! This is a Ryan Murphy show. Oh yay! That means the first season is going to be really good and it will only start sucking next year! On this show, Bryan Collins is like a grown Kurt Hummel. His partner is David Murray, a doctor and sports lover. He’s the level-headed one in the relationship. Nene Leakes is an assistant or something working for them. We’re so glad she’s on this show. She’s surprisingly funny and good as an actress. She isn’t great, but she has an amusing way about her. Bryan is making a videos for his future child. He says, “This video is to show you how desperately you were wanted and how much we love you.” He sells the line and we tear up.

David and Bryan meet Goldie Clemmons, a single mom whose man just cheated on her. Her daughter is Shania Clemons, and they also have a racist grandma named Jane Forrest. The grandma is played by Ellen Barkin, who has really aged since we last saw her. But we should be so lucky to look that good at 58. We loved Goldie’s reaction when she caught her man cheating. We also like little Shania’s reaction to her great-grandmother: “Nana, you’re a bigot. I’m unfriending you right now.” Shania is not annoying at all. She’s a sweet little nerd child. Sometimes she’s too wise for her years to be believable. Like in the beach scene.

Goldie dreamed of being a lawyer before she became pregnant at 15. “I wanted to be a lawyer. Wear expensive suits, be independent, and not need a man.” Oh, honey. Being a lawyer is more work and more stressful than pleasing a man. Fact. If you want to argue with us, Erm will take off her clothes and make a sandwich while you do 40 hours of research and then stand in front of someone, be it boss, client, or judge, who will probably end up yelling at you. At least raising kids gets you JOY. Goldie decides to become a surrogate mom to carry David and Bryan’s baby, much to her grandmother’s disdain. We liked the grandma character. It’s not cartoonish. Honestly, we know enough people like that to be able to say that real bigots are actually WORSE.

We don’t like the show’s title. It’s more of a political point and persuasive phrase than a title. We know this show is making the point that straight people sometimes have babies as an accident before they are ready and while they are still children. Gay couples plan, want, work, and fully prepare for their children. The argument makes a heck of a lot of sense. The show is funny. Remember Sue Sylvester’s best one-liners? Ryan Murphy stopped giving them to her and put them on this show instead. We didn’t like all the jokes about how they don’t want a fat child. Gwyneth Paltrow guest starred as the egg donor who “looks a lot like Gwyneth Paltrow.”

At the end of the episode, Bryan and David wait for the results of a take-home pregnancy test and present Goldie with a present. They want to help make her dreams come true too. They picked out a blue suit for her to wear when she is a lawyer. For court, you want to go for black or grey. Nothing attention-getting or cute. But she could wear the blue one around the office. Maybe. The episode ends on a cliffhanger. We don’t know if she’s pregnant. We know she will be though, right? We can’t believe someone would boycott this sweet show that isn’t a threat to anyone at all. One of us goes back and forth on the homosexuality issue (and the other firmly supports gay rights), but even Ann Romney can enjoy Modern Family, so we can too. This pilot was cute, funny, well-constructed, and not at all awkward in tone.

Episode grade: A-

Ern reads 50 Shades of Grey post 7

Chapters 12-13
Ana is freaked from her internet research on BDSM and goes for a run to blow off some steam. This book DOES know that the contract is legally unenforceable, and so does Christian. I wonder if E.L. James knew that or if the publisher let her know… If she knew, I’m mildly impressed. Mildly. Ana emails Christian a joke: “It was nice knowing you.” He (very reasonably) thinks this means that Ana is rejecting his proposal and comes over. He “uses sex like a weapon,” according to E.L. James, so we see him have sex with Ana, sensing her remaining desire for him. He ties her hands with his necktie again, but this time he ties them to the bed too. He also feeds her wine from his mouth to hers. That’s fine. Is there going to be a sex scene between these two where she doesn’t climax? Probably not, even though I hear that’s not normal.

Ana thinks, “He wants me, and this does strange, delicious things to my insides. Not Kate in her little bikinis, not one of the fifteen, not evil Mrs. Robinson. Me. This beautiful man wants me. My inner goddess glows so bright she could light up Portland.” Once again, you should never question why someone wants you if they want you. You should never let someone treat you badly or not commit to you because you think they are out of your league. You should never let your head get so spun that someone wanting you and feeling desirable makes you feel like you’re in love with that person as a person. You’re not in love with them. You’re in love with how they make you feel about yourself. That’s not ideal.

They discuss Mrs. Robinson, the older woman who seduced Christian. That’s Ana’s nickname for her and Christian thinks it’s very clever. Ana doesn’t want Christian to put a collar on her like Mrs. Robinson did to Christian. During the discussion, Ana becomes really jealous and tells Christian to leave. Ana has what she calls a “paradigm shift.” In context, it was the wrong phrase to use. Anyway, Ana starts to consider that Christian can’t give her what she wants: An actual relationship where he could love her forever. Since this book is a female fantasy, I can only guess that later in the trilogy, Christian comes around and decides that Ana is so amazing, beautiful, strong, and unique that she is the woman who will change him into the monogamous type.

It’s normal for Ana to want this. In reality, he probably wouldn’t change. And guess what? Once Ana became familiar to him, he would get bored and leave her or cheat. Call me a pessimist. I don’t care. But people don’t become faithful or get character overnight, just because they want to sleep with you or think things are different this time. Ana cries and Kate comes in to comfort her, stating that Ana never cries. Oh, she’s so perfect and strong. Kate brushes Ana’s hair. That’s not really the type of roommate relationships I’ve had…and I was close with my roommates. Ana sends Christian a pretty firm email about her questions and the parts of the contract she would reject. This is admirable. She shuts down the possibility of both fisting and genital clamps.

Ana finds out that her mother can’t come to her college graduation, but her stepdad and father figure, Ray, will be there. Ana goes to work, tells Paul she has a date with Christian Grey, and then comes home to get ready. She thinks, “I rarely wear makeup- it intimidates me.” What is intimidating about makeup? She wears a dress for a change and does her hair. Kate says she looks hot. When she meets Christian, he approves too. Christian keeps telling Ana to stop biting her lip. It happens like three times per chapter. WE GET IT. She turns him on! She’s innocent, unbelievably sexy, and a rich, handsome man wants to consume her. They discuss the contract. Ana thinks Christian is a control freak gone mad for drug testing his employees. Actually, Ana, that’s normal and smart.

Christian makes it clear that Ana can walk away from him at any time. Then why even HAVE that part in the contract? Later in the dinner when Ana rises to leave early, he says, “I could make you stay.” Those are some mixed (and scary) messages. In real life, she should run. In these books, it’s probably going to all turn out perfectly. I actually learned something from this book: You aren’t supposed to chew oysters. That’s what I was doing wrong the one time I tried them…bleck. Ana thinks, “My head is swimming with all his words…there is so much information, so much to process.” Um, not really. There is hardly any info in this conversation. She’s just befuddled with lurrve.

Christian says, “If you were my Sub, you wouldn’t have to think about this. It would be easy. All those decisions, all the wearying thought processes behind them. The ‘is this the right thing to do? Should this happen here? Can it happen now?’ You wouldn’t have to worry about any of that detail. That’s what I’d do as your Dom.” Can I kill him now? Is that appealing to people? I know lots of women want to feel safe above all else, and most people are unhappy when they have many options, as opposed to just a few, but MAN. I know free will and decisions are a heavy responsibility, but it’s part of life and learning wisdom. I don’t even know what to think of those lines. I’d love to ask the author why she put them in there. What was she trying to get at? Was she trying to make Christian look bad? Or was she trying to make him sexy and strong?

When Ana’s car pulls up, Christian is appalled that it’s so old and not very nice. Ugh, I HATE when guys criticize a girl’s material objects. Like that matters! It makes guys come across as shallow, petty, materialistic, rude, snobby, and creepy. I had one guy criticize my makeup. I thought it was so gross. Also, he was wrong/that makeup is awesome. Then he was fired from his place of work for telling kids about his sexual history and threesomes. I was not surprised. One date made fun of my sunglasses, which don’t matter to me. I just wear the sunglasses my family buys me, and I only care if they block the sun. Also, I am told that Raybans are cool. It’s not manly to criticize this stuff, and it isn’t polite. It makes the guy look like he was wonky priorities and poor manners. So yeah, I hate that so much. She likes her car, Christian. Screw you.

Ana cries the whole way home. She’s really stressed about this situation. On the one hand, Christian isn’t promising a real relationship, but months of role playing and lots of sex. On the other, Ana loves feeling desired, she likes sex, and she’s very attracted to Christian. At one point, Ana thinks, “Elizabeth Bennett would be outraged. Jane Eyre too frightened.” Ana, those are two of the greatest female role models in the history of fiction. If Elizabeth Bennett would be outraged and it would offend Jane Eyre’s mighty integrity, walk out the door. That should be a life motto. I also balk at the idea that Jane Eyre would just be scared. She would be outraged too. She just wouldn't want anything to do with someone who valued her so little. Ana mentions her “inner goddess” several times in these chapters. I think I’m going to start counting them. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Doctor Who- season one, episodes 4-5

Aliens of London
World War Three
What happened: These episodes go together, as a two-parter. It’s all one story. Rose and The Doctor try to return to the present to say hi to Rose’s mom, but they accidentally show up a year in the future. Jackie has put up “missing daughter” posters all over London and accused Mickey of doing away with Rose. Jackie is livid, but then everyone is distracted by an alien ship’s crash landing. The Doctor investigates and finds out that the ship and its inhabitant were just distractions. The real aliens have been on Earth for quite some time.

The Doctor and Rose get taken to 10 Downing Street after a phone call and internet search alerts the government to the Doctor’s presence, but it’s a trap set by the aliens to get all the “alien experts” in one room, so they can kill them. The aliens reveal themselves as the Slitheen, but have trouble killing the Doctor. There are fights and chases. We find out that the Slitheen are here to make a profit by impersonating the Prime Minister, nuking the Earth, and selling the rubble to planets where it would be valuable. With the help of Mickey and Jackie, the Doctor launches a missile into 10 Downing Street, killing the Slitheen.

Rose and the Doctor are also helped by the female future prime minister, a caring, bumbling, self-sacrificing woman named Harriet. The Doctor asks Mickey if he would like to join them, but then rescinds his invitation after Mickey displays cowardice at the idea of always being in danger. He doesn’t do it in a mean way though. The Doctor also gives Mickey a computer virus that can destroy all references to the Doctor and his TARDIS on the internet. Jackie says goodbye to her daughter and allows her to board the TARDIS.

What we thought: We haven’t yet mentioned how much we like the opening credits and theme song, which is a lot. We also haven’t mentioned how much we like Rose Tyler. She comes across as a real young girl, not some female stereotype, and she’s not at all annoying. In short, she’s not her mother. It’s crazy how the Doctor sometimes doesn’t get the time and destination right, but it’s funny. Actually, so far he usually doesn’t get the time and destination right. The beginning was great. We liked that the Doctor and Rose revisited her home, mother, and boyfriend. You guys know how much we enjoy continuity. It helps us get into the character, big picture, and overall story.

Our mothers would be so livid if we ran off with a old guy for a year, with no word. We wouldn’t be sitting with them and watching the news that night, that’s for sure. They would demand an explanation. Jackie cried a little though. We liked the emotion there. So, the Doctor travels because he wants to witness history? That would be a good enough reason for us to do it, but for a TV show, we sort of wish he had more of a purpose. The fart jokes sometimes interfered with the intensity and obviously the seriousness. Once again, the special effects leave a lot to be desired, but points for effort and design.

We like the Slithens’ voices and names. So rarely in life do we get to see alien villains with demon voices AND English accents. Don’t even get us started on their awesome laughs. We like when Mickey calls Jackie “Jacks.” We also like typing the word “TARDIS.” Our main problem with this episodes is that we’re not sure that this really needed to be two hours. It dragged out what should have been a fun, entertaining romp. The show is still a little silly for us. There needs to be more mythology and more seriousness. 

Episode grades: C- for both

New Comedy - The Mindy Project, pilot review

NoHoDamon [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This pilot is on hulu nearly a month early, so you can check it out. Going into this, we had high hopes. Not only were Mindy’s episode of The Office comedy gold, her book was funny, and she wrote and performed a hit stage play about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. With two women playing those actors. We thought, “If she can make that work, she can do anything.” We were anxious to see what she would do with her own TV show. 

Mindy plays Mindy, an OB/GYN who is unlucky in love. Her boyfriend left to marry someone younger. At his wedding, Mindy gets drunk, gives an embarrassing toast, and then rides away on her bike. She crashes her bike into a pool, trying to take a shortcut. Er…we’ve all been there? This gets her arrested. Mindy is bailed out by her friend, Gwen, who reminds Mindy that her life is not a romantic comedy. Mindy then hangs out with her male coworkers, deals with potential patients, and goes on a date. Bill Hader and Ed Helms guest star.

The show has potential. Comedy pilots are usually weird and shows require time to get a good tone. This one plays like a romantic comedy, and we think that’s intentional. It reminds us of Bridget Jones' Diary. But there is something about the tone and show that doesn’t work. There’s something that feels forced and icky. Maybe it’s that it’s almost demeaning to Mindy, mildly anti-feminist, and possibly stressful for single women who don’t look perfect. It’s like she thinks of herself as a heartless piece of meat, and so does everyone else. The show needs to not be so mean to Mindy. It needs to love her so that we can. 

Also, it feels like a show that would have been great fifteen years ago. Is this still where women are and what they find funny? We know Mindy loves romantic comedies, but she needs to keep her character from becoming a cliche, clumsy, and successful woman like in all those movies. She needs to keep that dark streak she's got going, and only take what WORKS in rom-coms, not what annoys us and makes everyone hate women. Whatever weirdness we are sensing will hopefully get worked out in later weeks, because there were clever moments.

For a doctor, Mindy isn’t very pulled together, plus there are the chubby jokes. A few of the jokes worked, like the Downton Abbey and Elton John ones, as well as her date prayer. We dream of the personality of Jon Stewart and the penis face of Michael Fassbender as well. Good taste, Mindy. We also liked when she rushed to a patient because the person had insurance. On that note, the Mindy character was really selfish. That might wear on some nerves, but we thought it was funny. We also liked that it wasn’t politically correct and there was some cursing (bleeped out, of course).

Mindy’s impression of her fellow doctor was funny too. She’s obviously going to end up with Danny, right? We didn’t think it was fall on your face, smack your ass hilarious or anything, but we want to see a few more episodes before we make a decision. Mindy is good in the pilot. She has good comedic timing, she’s relatable and self-deprecating, and the character is a lot like the real-life Mindy.
Episode grade: B

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Doctor Who- season one, episodes 2-3

The End of the World
Okay, it's time for us to play some major catch up because this show is starting soon. We probably won't be ready by the premiere, but maybe we can be ready by the third episode of the new season. This blog will be spamming you with Doctor Who for the next couple of weeks, but we will try to post about other things too.

What Happened: In this episode, the Doctor lets Rose choose their next destination, Rose picks “the future.” The Doctor wants to impress Rose, so he takes her five billion years forward to the Earth’s scheduled end date. The humans have all left, and the last living on is just stretched skin with a mouth and eyes. Her name is Cassandra and she’s a real bitch. 

There is a party for the end of the world, attended by many aliens. Cassandra releases spider robots that almost kill everyone, but the Doctor stops them. There’s a nice tree person who dies helping them. We learn that the Doctor is the last Time Lord, and his planet and people were destroyed in a war that they lost. This upsets him.

What We Thought: We liked the commentary where Rose said that because Cassandra has altered her body so much cosmetically, she’s not human. Strangely enough, we can imagine a future where women value being completely flat. We liked the use of the “Traditional ballad.” It was Toxic by Britney Spears. HA! We appreciated finding a little more out about the doctor, and we liked him a little more in this episode than in the pilot. We also thought this episode was pretty funny. 

We loved Cassandra, especially her snooty voice and racism. Of course that would still be a fixture in humans billions of years from now…of course. We preferred this episode to the plastic pilot, but we’re not hooked yet. The middle of this episode was slow. We know this show gets good though. It has to. You don't get this level of nerd obsession from something lame.
Episode grade: C

The Unquiet Dead

What Happened: The Doctor and Rose travel to Cardiff 1869. They immediately run into a zombie old woman whose corpse escaped from the local funeral home. The corpse went to attend a performance of The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and ruins the reading. Rose is taken to the funeral home by the owner, Mr. Sneed, and his assistant, Gwyneth, because they think Rose has seen too much. They have a problem with corpses getting up and leaving, and they think the place is haunted. The Doctor and Charles Dickens track them down just in time to save Rose from some Zombies.

The Doctor checks things out and finds that there’s a rift in time and space somewhere on the property. Meanwhile, Rose and Gwyneth bond by talking about boys and how they both hated school. The Doctor gathers them all for a séance. Gwyneth, who has some psychic powers, connects with the beings making the trouble. They claim to be the Gelth, aliens who lost their bodies in the time war. The Doctor pities them and pushes Gwyneth to open the rift, letting the Gelth come in and use the bodies of the human dead. Rose doesn’t think this is respectful, even if it will save a race.

Gwyneth stands in the rift and the Gelth use her as a channel to come through. The Gelth decide to kill all the humans and take all the bodies. Sneed is killed and his body taken. The Doctor realizes he made a mistake and apologizes to Rose as they back away from the zombies. Charlies Dickens finds out that gas sucks the Gelth out of the bodies, so he turns on all the gas jets in the house. Dickens, Rose, and the Doctor escape right before Gwyneth blows up the house by lighting a match, thus saving the world.

What We Thought: This episode is another C, but we liked it. The best thing about travelling back in time is Rose is going to get to wear lots of cute outfits like this. We love the fashions of yesteryear. We liked when Dickens said, “What the Shakespeare is going on?” because he’s not the saying yet. Actually, there were a lot of clever little lines. It’s cool that the Doctor can make mistakes and has twice now. It makes him more of a character and less of a demi-god. This one wasn’t as funny as the last one, but it had a better story. It suffered from a lack of Lady Cassandra though. We think this show has pretty good villains so far. Well, except for the plastic thing in the pilot. This one was dark and possibly a little scary. You know, if you’re easily scared or a child.
Episode grade: C

Pretty Little Liars- The Lady Killer

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

The episode opened with a disturbing scene for everyone who loves people who are close to Hanna Marin. It’s full of ambulances and body bags. Spencer and Aria are comforting Hanna, who is crying hysterically. IS IT CALEB? Or her mom? A cop is questioning Emily, who looks like she’s in shock. She tells the cop that she knew the deceased. Hopefully it’s Nate, since the cop is talking to Emily, and Hanna is just crying so hard because she was in danger or saw something awful. Is it Ali’s body in the bag? Two days earlier, jury selection for Garrett’s trial is going on, and all the reporters are stalking Emily because she dated the victim.

Spencer, Aria, and Hanna are planning to tell Emily about the earring. Aria is wearing a blue skirt that looks like half of a tacky Halloween costume. Emily arrives and doesn’t take the news well. Paige and Spencer confront each other in the school hallway. What we wouldn’t give to see those two physically fight. It’s an important finale and all the girls should be focused on A, so naturally, Aria has some Ezra drama to deal with and steal her away from the main plotline. Maggie confirms that Malcolm is Ezra’s baby. Aria needs to tell Ezra immediately. No amount of money from the Fitzgeralds is worth a kid not having his dad, first of all, so how could keeping the secret be good for the kid? And second of all, Aria should be loyal to her boyfriend, not his ex.

When we saw Caleb’s gun, we thought Hanna was crying in the future because Caleb was arrested for having it and possibly shooting Nate. As much as we don’t think Toby and Spencer should be together much longer, their reunion was pretty sweet. YES. Spencer and Toby sexytime. Spencer loses her virginity. It was sweet, overly romanticized, and probably not a healthy message for the tween audience watching it (that having sex when you are high-school aged is acceptable and normal), but we liked it anyway. Kids, it’s not really like that. The guy you sleep with probably won’t have that bangin’ of a body either. His job won’t be to work out 24/7. It's just TV. Hot, blessed TV.

Emily decides to escape her friends and the reporters by going to an isolated cabin with Nate. Emily, why would you go on vacation with Nate, a boy who likes you, but you don’t like back? Putting aside the fact that he is creepy and clearly not Maya’s cousin, that’s just a bad position in which to put yourself. Emily’s mom should have insisted on coming. She doesn’t know this guy and her daughter is still a teenager! Holy Moly, the phone call Emily got was scary. That night in the cabin, Emily realizes that Nate is actually Maya’s stalker/boyfriend from camp. We knew it! We bet a whole lot of other people did too. Nate has concocted a long-running plan to kidnap Paige and kill her in front of Emily. And lesbians: that’s why you should never suddenly turn straight on your girlfriends.

The other girls are distracted by a text telling them to meet A by Ali’s grave. No one shows up, and they realize that they need to find Emily. Who else was surprised when Emily stabbed Nate in the lighthouse? During their fight, we thought Caleb would come in and save her. But clichés die on this show. Well done, PLL. That was bad ass. Maya is avenged! Then gunshot. WHAT?!! This show is so good. Nate shoots Caleb with his own gun right before dying. Caleb is going to be fine; we know it. Thank the Lord the Maya and Nate storyline is over.

The A team had a plan to frame Paige, but Nate foiled it. Mona escapes from the mental institution. The creepy A lair is back! We can’t believe Toby was the betrAyer, but we love it and it makes sense. He’s always been a little weird. For some reason though, we keep thinking that Toby isn’t really with the A team. He is infiltrating them for information. He seems to really love Spencer. Maybe we’re just in denial. We think the whole lesson of this show is that parents need to keep a better eye on their kids. We’ll see this show again in October!

Episode grade: A-

Monday, August 27, 2012

Re-watching LOST season 1

Due to the surprising success of the Gilmore Girls posts (they have good numbers), we’re going to do the same thing with one of our other all-time favorites, LOST. We are also going to make the remaining Gilmore Girls posts even better and pay more attention to making them worthwhile. Before we start LOST, we want to have a disclaimer: The LOST episodes will be graded compared to other LOST episodes. We can’t give them all A+s, or that wouldn’t be any fun. Except for Stranger in a Strange land, which would get a C- when compared to regular TV.

That means we will give some episodes Fs and Ds, but know that we think every episode of LOST is better than 99% of the other stuff we’ve seen. We kind of tend to do this with all the shows we watch. We grade them against themselves and the other shows that WE watch, not all shows out there. Assume that we think all the shows we watch are As and Bs compared to other shows, because if they drop below that, we just stop watching them. Just know that nearly every episode of this show deserves an A. The same with Gilmore Girls (well, until seasons 6-7, anyway).

Pilot Part 1/Pilot Part 2
Oceanic Flight 815 crashes on a deserted island on its way from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles. There are 48 survivors. Surgeon Jack, friendly Kate, and ex-rock star Charlie go into the jungle to look for the cockpit and find the pilot (Greg Grunberg alert!), who is soon killed by some unseen force. They bring the transceiver back to the beachfront, and Iraqi Sayid tells them that they need to get to higher ground to send a distress signal. Kate, Charlie, Sayid, redneck Sawyer, spoiled Shannon, and eager Boone go inland, but the signal they attempt to send is blocked by a French woman’s ominous message that has been playing on a loop for 16 years. Doctor Jack stays with a wounded federal marshal, who wakes up and asks about Kate. Via flashback, we find out that she was a criminal being escorted back to the states by the marshal. We also find out that Charlie is a heroin addict.

Leeard always emphasizes the brilliance of this pilot. It may be the perfect start to a show, especially one this difficult to begin. The pilot had to establish its ensemble right off the bat, as well as give us mystery. It was worth every dollar spend on the crash. It was exciting and gave us the show’s first surprise because who really expected Kate to be the fugitive? On any other show, it would have been Sawyer. We also see our first polar bear. Did you know that the writers intended to kill Jack at the end of the pilot? The network wouldn’t let them because they felt it would alienate viewers. Game of Thrones, eat your heart out. LOST tried to do it first. We kind of wish the show had let them...Even if we were Team Jack in the Kate/Sawyer/Jack love triangle. Ern wasn’t yet addicted, but the first Locke episode would take care of that. While this isn’t the best episode of LOST, for a pilot, it was a triumph.
Episode grade: A

Tabula Rasa
In flashbacks, we see Kate living on an Australian farm until she is betrayed by the farmer and captured by the federal marshal. She forgives the farmer and wants to make sure he receives his reward. On the island, Jack is unable to fix the federal marshal, and everyone wonders when Jack will put him out of his misery. Jack doesn’t want to euthanize him, in case rescue comes, and because that’s just not Jack. Sawyer shoots the marshal, but he only punctures his lung. An angry Jack smothers the marshal to finish the job.

If you are wondering whether to catch up on this show, you should watch this episode just to see what we’d give a “D+” to in comparison to the other episodes. You’ll be thinking, “What the heck? I was entertained.” That’s how good the A episodes are. We get to see that Kate is a good person, despite doing something really bad. We don’t get to know what she did yet, because this is LOST. That’s one of the weaknesses of the episode. It leaves viewers frustrated and thinking they will know her crime soon. Not so. Once again, this is LOST, and we must wait for answers. We love the title of this episode and the show’s theme of second chances. We loved the Marshal’s death. It’s the first truly dark moment on the show. Kate episodes are hardly ever good, and this one has too many slow spots to put it up with the greats.
Episode grade: D+

In flashbacks, we find out that Locke was in a wheelchair before the crash, and after landing on the island, he was able to walk again. He was in Australia trying to go on a walkabout, but he was sent home due to his handicap. The plane’s wreckage is penetrated by wild boars, so Locke goes boar hunting. He succeeds and brings back meat. He sees the monster that killed the pilot, but he doesn’t tell anyone about it.

This was the show’s first jaw-dropping moment. Everyone wondered about the strange Locke, especially after he started hunting. To find out that he lived a sad, un-mysterious existence befriending phone sex employees and working at a box company defied our preconceptions. But, again, that’s LOST. This was the episode that sucked us in. The show kept the secret of Locke being in a wheelchair from us until the very end of the episode. The reveal and flashback to Locke’s healing was accompanied by music that perfectly matched our feelings when watching for the first time. Locke episodes are never bad or boring. This episode also established that this island has some kind of magic…and possibly a purpose for the crash’s survivors.
Episode grade: A+

White Rabbit
In flashbacks, Jack looks for his father in Australia and finds that he has died. Jack must bring his father back to L.A. for burial. On the island, panic sets in when the water supply goes down. Rage sets in after someone (Boone) steals the last bottles in an attempt to ration it. Jack is sleep deprived and hallucinating (?) his dead father in the jungle. Jack follows his father and discovers caves with fresh water. Jack officially steps up as the victims’ leader.

This is the first appearance of daddy issues on LOST. Lots of people on this show have daddy issues, including the writers, and this affects the show greatly. This is an important episode, but after the great episode last week, it wasn’t as entertaining. Also, viewers don’t know how much of the episode was real, so it might seem like a waste of time to them on first watch. Jack episodes are sometimes dull and repetitive. Jack’s famous “live together, die alone” speech at the end of the episode is a great, powerful moment that’s often referenced later in the series. Overall though, the episode is a little “meh” compared to other offerings. Sidenote: Jack is hot. A lot of guys on this show are hot.
Episode grade: D

House of the Rising Sun
In flashbacks, we see that Jin had to work for Sun’s father in exchange for his blessing on their marriage. After they are married, Jin comes home covered in someone’s blood. Sun doesn’t like the man her husband has become and secretly plans to run away from both Jin and her father. She learns English and decides to move to America, but she changes her mind right in the airport when Jin does something sweet. On the island, a rift grows between the survivors as some decide to move to the caves, because they are safer, and some want to stay at the beach, to wave to possible rescuers. Locke finds Charlie’s guitar for him and uses it to get Charlie to give up his heroin. Korean-speaking Jin attacks Michael because Michael accidentally stole his watch. Sun tells Michael what happened and asks him not to tell anyone that she can speak English.

The first romantic episode of LOST was touching and totally worked. We spent five hours of this show thinking that Sun didn’t love Jin, that he was controlling, that she was uneducated, that she was trapped, and that he was a monster. This episode showed that they once had a healthy, respectful relationship, but a controlling, criminal father poisoned them. There’s still some love there, but there are also secrets. This is the most complicated backstory so far, and it’s even incomplete, as we will soon see. That’s a weakness, but it’s also impressive that the show managed to make the abridged version work in this episode. It’s a different backstory than what the show has given us as of late and shows LOST’s diversity.
Episode grade: B-

The Moth
In flashbacks, we see Charlie beg his brother Liam to start up their band again, with no success. Liam is a normal family man now, shocked to find out that his little brother is still an addict. We find out that Liam is the one who got Charlie hooked on drugs. On the island, Charlie suffers from withdrawal and asks Locke for his heroin. Locke tells Charlie that he must be sure he really wants it, and that it would be better if Charlie chose to give it up rather than eventually run out of it and be forced to. Jack is trapped in a cave-in, and Charlie saves him. Charlie then asks Locke for the heroin and throws it into a campfire.

This episode loses points for being totally cheesy. Thank the Lord this show cut that crap out after season one. Did we really need to know how a rock star got into drugs? We being insulted by your addict brother really a reason to throw your life away? The cave-in thing seemed contrived. The whole thing was overly manipulative and beneath this show. We see too many moths, and it all comes across as heavy-handed. The only plot-advancing thing was Sayid getting hit over the head by an unseen attacker, destroying Sayid’s chance to send for help. Also, the Kate/Jack/Sawyer triangle is touched on a little, as Kate is obviously panicked when Jack is buried.
Episode grade: F

Confidence Man
In flashbacks, we see Sawyer try to con a husband and his wife (who Sawyer is sleeping with), but Sawyer drops the scam when he sees that they have a young son. On the island, Shannon’s inhalers are missing and everyone thinks Sawyer has it. Shannon has a series of asthma attacks, so Sayid tortures Sawyer, with Jack’s help, to get the location of the inhalers. Sawyer offers the truth in exchange for a kiss from Kate. After she kisses him, Sawyer tells her that he doesn’t have the inhalers. Kate punches Sawyer. Kate finds out that “Sawyer” is a fake name. When Sawyer was a kid, a man with that name conned his parents. When his father found out what happened, he killed Sawyer’s mother and then himself. Sawyer wants revenge on the man who ruined his life. Sayid, feeling shame over what he did to Sawyer, leaves the camp to be alone.

We can’t decide if it’s contrived or poetic that Sawyer became the man who ruined his life. We like that Sawyer walked away from the con after seeing the kid though. This episode hugely developed the Sawyer/Kate relationship, and it shows Jack and Sayid make a grave mistake. The cheesiness of last week is gone, so that’s good. We liked seeing Sun’s healing abilities present themselves early so that when she becomes Jack’s nurse, it feels natural. We liked Kate protesting the torture and Jack saving Sawyer’s life, even though Sawyer growled that if the tables were turned, he’d let Jack die. We’re not torture fans, but this was a good episode to precede Sayid’s backstory, which comes next week.
Episode grade: C-

In flashbacks, Sayid is with the Republican Guard in Iraq and must torture a childhood friend, Nadia. When he is ordered to execute her, Sayid helps Nadia escape. On the island, Sayid follows a cable into the jungle and is caught in a trap set by the French woman, Rousseau. Rousseau tells Sayid that she was part of a science team that crashed on the island. She tells him that there are Others on the island and says that her team caught a sickness from them and died. Sayid escapes and hears whispering that Rousseau talked about and said came from the others.

This episode is great because Sayid’s backstory with Nadia is nothing short of epic. Also, it introduces the idea of the Others and Rousseau. The whole thing was a great way to get the audience emotionally attached to Sayid while moving the show’s mythology forward. We like the actress they picked for Nadia, and Rousseau is appropriately crazed. This was an entertaining, dark episode that could have been awful, but pulled off everything it attempted. The golf stuff provided much-needed levity.
Episode grade: B-

Raised by Another
In flashbacks, Claire finds out she is pregnant, and her boyfriend convinces her to keep the baby. Later, frightened of the responsibility he has taken on, Claire’s boyfriend leaves her, and she decides to put the baby up for adoption. Claire visits a psychic who says great danger surrounds the baby and is adamant that Claire not let another raise her baby. On the island, Sayid returns to camp and tells everyone about Rousseau and the Others. Claire wakes up screaming, thinking that someone is stabbing her in the stomach and trying to hurt her baby. In response to these attacks, Hurley starts a census of the survivors and discovers one of them, Ethan, wasn’t on the plane. Jack thinks Claire’s attacks are all in her mind. Claire realizes that the psychic orchestrated events so that she would end up on the island and have to raise her baby. The episode ends with Ethan standing in front of Charlie and Claire, looking creepy.

This is our favorite episode since Walkabout. It’s the scariest so far. The psychic portions and the flashbacks were eerie, and Ethan is like a monstrous Tom Cruise. When Hurley realizes they’ve been infiltrated by one of the Others, the audience is like, “Well, s*** just got real now.” It was all appropriately spooky. Also, it was high time for Claire to get her own flashback. We had no idea that it was going to be this good. We also got to see Sawyer being helpful, for once, and found out that Hurley’s name is “Hugo.” It’s about time for a backstory on Hurley, right show? Anyway, this one was thoroughly entertaining. We love when this show tries to creep us out. It usually can, with just a line and some music. 
Episode grade: B+

All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues
In flashbacks, Jack rats his father out for operating while intoxicated. On the island, Charlie and Claire are taken by Ethan, so Jack, Kate, Locke, and Boone go after them. Jack catches up to Ethan first, and Ethan kicks his ass. Jack and Kate find Charlie soon after, hanging by his neck from a tree. Jack performs CPR, and just when it looks like Charlie is dead for good, he regains consciousness. Boone and Locke find a metal structure buried underground.

At the time, this was episode was thrilling. In hindsight, the chase didn’t matter much and there were better hunts in the show’s future. The Charlie character annoyed us so much in season three that it’s tempting to wish he had died here. The flashback was necessary to show why Jack and his father parted ways. Jack did the right thing. We would have done it too. A pregnant woman died because Jack’s father made a drunken mistake. Family pressure is real, and Jack was strong enough to stand up to it. The fight scenes and chase were pretty good. This is the first of many Claire disappearances and the introduction of the hatch. We like that the show gave Kate tracking skills so that she could be more useful on hunts. We actually don’t hate Kate. She’s brave, nice, motherly, and played by a capable actress. It’s not her fault Kate backstories are often ridiculous. Boone works for a wedding planning company. Tee hee. Man, Ian Somerhalder is so much more likeable, more confident, and hotter on The Vampire Diaries.
Episode grade: C

Whatever the Case May Be
In flashbacks, Kate robs a bank in order to get a toy airplane. On the island, Kate and Sawyer go for a swim and find the Marshal’s locked case. Sawyer wants to know what’s in it, so he and Kate spend the episode fighting over it and trying to get it open. Inside, there are guns and a toy airplane. The toy belonged to a man Kate loved and killed. Shannon helps Sayid translate Rousseau’s maps that Sayid stole. They get no useful information.

This is the most skippable episode of the season. It started the Shannon/Sayid connection, which felt so forced and inauthentic. We don’t think anyone shipped them. It wasn’t exactly rewarding to spend a whole hour wondering what was in the case, only to have it be a keepsake. A toy. Kate’s backstory raises lots of questions and eventually delivers answers like these: answers that aren’t worth the wait. All you need to know about this one is that there are now more guns on the island.
Episode grade: F

Hearts and Minds
In flashbacks, Boone tries to pay Shannon’s abusive boyfriend to leave her, but he finds out that Shannon has been using bad boyfriends to scam him out of money. Then they have sex. It’s okay though, because they are not blood related. No, it’s not okay. It’s still creepy. On the island, Shannon and Sayid grow closer, making Boone jealous. Boone wants to please Shannon by telling her about the hatch, so Locke drugs him. Boone goes on a drug trip and hallucinates Shannon’s death. He feels relief when she is fake dead and lets go of his attachment to her, much to Locke’s approval. Locke feels the island gave Boone the experience he needed to have.

This one was just weird. We don’t much care about Shannon and Boone and are left wondering why Locke is sometimes so psychotic and odd. Did the show not realize that Claire is still missing? Aren’t there more important things to be worrying about than almost-incest? Most of the episode was a hallucination to boot, making it even more of a time waster. We hate the “it was all a dream” reveal. With such a useless episode, it’s surprising and impressive how entertaining and satisfying it actually is in the execution. Still, it was time for this show to speed things up.
Episode grade: F

In flashbacks, Walt’s mother separates him from his father in order to take a lucrative overseas job and start a new relationship. Years later, she dies and Walt’s stepfather doesn’t want him because Walt is “different.” Michael comes to Australia to get his son. On the island, Michael doesn’t want Walt spending so much time with Locke, so they fight. When Walt is trapped by a polar bear, Michael and Locke team up to save him. Michael decides to build a raft. The episode ends with Locke and Boone finding Claire walking out of the jungle, looking dazed.

This was a decent episode that set up things that didn’t pan out later in the series. Walt was supposed to have more of a role on the island, but the kid playing him shot up like a weed and ruined the writers’ plans. The Walt character was pretty much written out after season two, except for a few appearances later. The whole part where Locke and Michael save Walt was boring and felt like a way to fill the episode and give the present an arc. Plus, the special effects were horrid. The episode was really all about the flashback and the relationship between Walt and Michael. It was cool to see that Michael really wanted to be a good father. This episode made us hate Cam on Bones. We liked when Walt made the bird crash into the window, but we never got attached enough to Walt and Michael to love this episode years later.
Episode grade: D+

In flashbacks, Charlie steals from a rich girl to get drug money, but he ends up sort of liking her and trying to get a regular job in order to continue courting her, with disastrous results. On the island, Claire has no memory of anything after the crash. Ethan goes to Charlie and threatens to kill one man every day until Claire is returned to him. He makes good on his promise, so Jack, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, and Sayid use Claire as bait to catch Ethan. They use the guns from the briefcase to trap Ethan so that they can take him alive and question him, but Charlie steals one and kills Ethan.

A great episode is ruined by a poor ending and stupid flashbacks that make us start to hate Charlie. He put his rage and desire for revenge above everyone else’s safety and need for knowledge. Plus, it wasn’t fun watching him con that nice woman for drugs. This episode was supposed to lead to something, like the revelation of more of the Others or information about them. Instead, it abruptly closed off the Ethan arc. We get that the show didn’t want us to know about the others yet, but this stalling for time after such an exciting episode beginning is frustrating. The flashback stuff was never again mentioned.
Episode grade: F

In Flashbacks, Sawyer mistakenly shoots the wrong man when he tries to get revenge on the person responsible for his parents’ deaths. He also briefly meets Jack’s father in a bar. On the island, a boar raids Sawyer’s tend, so he enlists Kate’s help in finding it. When they catch the boar, Sawyer decides not to kill it and instead gives his gun to Jack.

The best things about this episode are the flashbacks and the scene where Kate and Sawyer play “I Never.” Sawyer’s meeting of Jack’s dad in the bar pays off in a great emotional way at the end of the season. The boar metaphor is okay, but we hate when season one of LOST does stuff like that. The flashbacks here are better than the last Sawyer-centric offering.
Episode grade: C

…In Translation
In flashbacks, we find out that Jin planned to take Sun to America to get away from her father and start fresh. We also find out that the reason he was covered in blood was that he had to beat a man up in order to save his life after Sun’s father ordered his death. On the island, Michael’s raft is getting pretty big and has one available spot left. When the raft burns in a fire, everyone thinks Jin set the fire. Michael beats Jin up, and Sun stops it and reveals to everyone that she speaks English. Blame is then placed on the Others. Michael restarts building, and Walt tells Locke that he burned the raft because he wants to stay on the island.

So Jin isn’t such a bad guy. Okay, show, we believe you. We guess that’s kind of sweet and necessary in order to further this romance that some viewers got really attached to. We weren’t as into it. We were Desmond/Penny people, and we were also into LaFleur’s romance. We still don’t know everything there is to know about the man Jin beat up in the flashbacks, but that will come. We kind of don’t like that full story and wish it didn’t happen, but we’ll get to that later. It was so sad when Sun yelled to Jin, in English, “I was going to leave you!” We liked the burning of the raft and the reveal that it was Walt. We don’t want the castaways to leave the island just yet either.
Episode grade: C+

In flashbacks, Hurley wins the lottery using numbers that a fellow patient in a mental hospital muttered over and over. The money brings him terrible luck. Hurley traces the history of the numbers and finds that they came from a man who overheard a radio transmission. He had bad luck too. On the island, Hurley sees the numbers on some of Rousseau’s papers and sets off to find Rousseau. He finds her and she tells him that her party was drawn to the island by the same radio transmission that was sending out the numbers. Hurley is gratified that Rousseau believes the numbers are cursed. She is the first to believe him.

This is one of our favorite episodes in season one because of the flashbacks. They are light, yet just as creepy as Claire’s psychic backstory. Hurley is one of the most beloved LOST characters, and his first flashback episode really delivered. We had no idea he’d be this interesting….or a millionaire. We wondered why he was ever in a mental institution. The numbers are one of the most fun things about being in the LOST fandom. Most of us can recite them on command. The numbers are frequently referenced in the series and obviously have some sort of magical or energetic connection to the island. The whole idea is just cool and well-executed. It was the perfect, crazy introduction for them. We never get an exact explanation of what the numbers are and why they are that way, but it’s one of those things we don’t feel like we need spelled out for us. They are probably cursed. That’s good enough for us. When an episode can be funny, twisted, and spooky at the same time, you know you have a winner.
Episode grade: A-

Deus Ex Machina
In flashbacks, foster care-raised Locke meets his birthparents for the first time, and his father cons him out of a kidney. On the island, Locke’s legs start reverting back to their useless state and the island gives him visions. Locke and Boone find a small plane on the edge of a cliff, and Boone climbs up to find a radio. Using the radio, he contacts survivors from the tail end of the plane. The plane falls, seriously injuring Boone. Locke regains the sue of his legs and carries Boone back to the camp. He lies about how Boone got hurt and then takes off back into the jungle. Locke bangs his fists on the hatch and screams at the merciless island, his god that hurt his friend. A window on the hatch lights up.

Obviously, the kidney incident is important to the show and Locke’s story. Locke’s daddy issues are the worst of all. This episode is a gamechanger, because it shows that there is probably someone living underground in the hatch, and it also has a major character critically injured. The visions were spooky and right on. This episode foreshadowed the fact that Locke will see the hand of fate where fate is not actually acting. Locke thought that meeting his father was meant to be, but it led to great loss and suffering. We also got to hear that Rose was right about there being other survivors. Yep, this pretty much confirmed that Bernard was alive. Exciting, dark, scary, tragic, emotional, not cheesy, and plot-advancing. What more could you ask for?
Episode grade: A-

Do No Harm
In flashbacks, Jack marries a former patient named Sarah. On the island, Boone tells Jack about the secret hatch. Jack tries for the whole episode to save Boone, but is finally forced to let him die. Shannon and Sayid have a romantic picnic dinner. Jack tells Shannon about her step brother’s death and she cries. Claire has a baby boy, with Kate and Jin’s help. The episode ends with Jack angry at Locke for lying about the hatch and Boone’s injuries. Jack blames Locke for Boone’s death.

Okay, it’s kind of lame that when one person on the island dies, another is born. The whole circle of life/exchange thing is cheesy. But we loved the contrast of Aaron’s birth and an emotionally traumatized Jack putting Boone through hell because he won’t let him go. Aaron’s birth was so emotionally effective. Boone’s death was mildly horrific, especially for Jack, but we are glad it happened. He was a dead weight character, and his death really got things going on the show. This is one of the only episodes in season one where the on-island action is better than what’s going on in the flashbacks. There are a lot of Jack flashbacks in season one. Watching Boone get medical attention is a heck of a lot more exciting than watch Jack and Sarah play Heart and Soul. And how cheesy were his vows? “I didn’t fix you; you fixed me.” BLECK. Other than that, this was a season highlight.
Episode grade: A  

The Greater Good
In flashbacks, Sayid works with the CIA and the Australian government to investigate a terrorist cell, because Sayid was once friends with a member, Essam. The CIA promises to disclose Nadia’s location in exchange for Sayid’s help. Sayid betrays Essam after the CIA threatens Nadia, convincing Essam to become a suicide bomber after Essam was having doubts. When Essam finds out, he kills himself. On the island, Jack attacks Locke and Kate forces Jack to take a time-out. Locke apologizes to Shannon, but she wants revenge. Sayid prevents Shannon from shooting Locke and then orders Locke to take him to the hatch.

Sayid’s flashback was effective in that you felt for both him and Essam. On this show, it’s not black-and-white who the good guys and bad guys are. We like the start of the rift between Jack and Locke. Locke is kind of a liar, but that doesn’t stop him from being our favorite character, bar none. It’s no surprise that Shannon failed to kill Locke. She really can’t do anything. We wanted her to die since day one. We like the actress though. Shannon is just annoying, and she screams and cries too much. Is she just there to make Kate look good? The on-island plot dragged this episode down by postponing the raft launching. Still, it’s a LOST episode, so we love it.
Episode grade: D+

Born to Run
In flashbacks, a fugitive Kate goes to visit her dying mother in the hospital, with the help of her childhood friend and doctor, Tom Brennan. Tom is married now, but the two share a kiss. At the hospital, Kate’s mom starts screaming for help when she sees her daughter. Tom and Kate have to run for it, but Tom is killed in the chase. On the island, Sayid and Locke show Jack the hatch. Walt warns Locke not to open it. Kate tries to take Sawyer’s spot on the raft, but Sawyer reveals to everyone that Kate is a fugitive. Michael is poisoned and everyone thinks it’s Sawyer for a while, but it turns out to be Sun trying to stop Jin from leaving on the raft. Walt tells Michael he set the fire.

This might be our favorite Kate flashback. It’s a lot better than the last two. Still, it comes at an unwelcome time. The season is about to end and the raft is about to launch. That’s the time we care about Kate the least. Tom was pretty cute and didn’t deserve to die or be left like that by Kate. He shouldn’t have gotten involved with her. It’s cool that we got answers about the man she loved and KILLED early, but she didn’t really kill him, now did she? Sawyer was a real ass, outing her like that. Just when we were starting to tolerate him too. We were surprised that Michael took the news that Walt poisoned the raft so well. He’s a decent father, even if he is willing to go too far for Walt. Yes parents, there is such a thing. Some things take precedence over your kids, believe it or not. This was filler, but the finale and hatch opening came next week.
Episode grade: C-

Exodus Parts 1 and 2
In flashbacks, we see the passengers of Flight 815. On the island, Rousseau warns the losties that the Others are coming. Rousseau also tells them that they can get dynamite to open the hatch at the Black Rock. A team follows Rousseau to the Black Rock, a slave ship that crashed centuries ago, gets dynamite and carries it back. Arzt explodes. They are attacked by the monster, which turns out to be a column of black smoke. They make it to the hatch and blow it open. They look down on a deep hole with a broken ladder. Rousseau steals Aaron, and Sayid and Charlie get him back from her. They find the drug smugglers’ plane and it’s full of heroin. The raft launches and comes across a boat. The boats crew turns out to be Others who take Walt and destroy the raft. Sawyer is shot.

The best thing about this finale is Walt being taken by the Others. It’s scary and surprising. The second best thing is the dynamite suddenly blowing up Arzt. (Arzt means “doctor” in German.) The smoke monster disappointed a lot of people, but we never hated it. Its most magnificent appearance is in season four though. Whether it comes across as stupid usually depends on whether it appears at nighttime and how good the special effects were. The most disappointing thing about the finale was the cliffhanger ending where we didn’t get to see what was in the hatch. We also thought Rousseau stealing Aaron was a waste of time. The launching of the raft was really cool and touching. The story really begins here. Season two changes things and doesn’t waste as much time as the first season did. Season two is nerdier and full of Others and violence and experimental episodes. We love it. But season one wasn’t bad.
Episode grades: B+ 

Ern’s picks for the Tubey Awards Finals Part 5

A short version this time, sans commentary. Laziness wins again.

Best Comedy- Parks and Recreation
Runner-up pick- New Girl

Least favorite actor- Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl
RU- Ashton Kutcher, Two and a Half Men

Least favorite actress- Jennifer Morrison, Once Upon a Time
RU- Katharine McPhee, Smash

Worst New Show- Work It
RU- Charlie’s Angels

Worst Returning Show- Two and a Half Men (always)
RU- The Office

Best Reality TV Moment- Melanie wins So You Think You Can Dance
RU- Juliet’s Roxanne performance on The Voice

Worst Realty TV Moment- A woman dresses her daughter up in Julia Roberts’s hooker costume (Toddlers and Tiaras)
RU- The children dance in the style of Las Vegas showgirls, complete with nude-colored bras and giant pink feathers. (Dance Moms)

Reality TV Star Most Deserving of a spin-off- Zach Woodlee, The Glee Project
RU- Twitch, SYTYCD

Best Musical Moment on a Scripted Show- Kiss from a Rose, Community
RU- Rumour has it/Someone Like You, Glee

Best Musical Moment on a Reality Show- Lisa’s “Like Whoa” music video, ANTM
RU- Tony Lucca’s Baby One More Time, The Voice

Most Painful Series Cancellation- The Secret Circle
RU- Fringe

Best Imported Show on US TV- (UGGGHHH Too many good choices) Being Human
RU- Downton Abbey

Most Improved Show- New Girl
RU- Parks and Rec

Breaking Bad- Say My Name

By Vince_Gilligan_and_Aaron_Paul.jpg: Tomas N. Romero from Burbank, USA derivative work: RanZag (Vince_Gilligan_and_Aaron_Paul.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Walt makes a deal to cook for the methylamine buyer, Declan, and have Declan handle distribution. Walt announces that he is both Heisenberg and the guy who killed Gus Fring. Ye gads, that ego is out of control. Can we get a slow clap for Jesse Pinkman? Last week, we thought, “Well, Jesse’s conscience isn’t big enough that he’d leave Walt without his money, and Walt will never just give it to him unless Jesse is sucked back in.” But then Jesse just leaves. With nothing. No college education, family, legally marketable skills, or $5 million, because a kid died and he doesn’t want to do this anymore. Redemption almost complete! Something has to go wrong, right? Walt replaces Jesse with Todd.

Most of the episode focused on Mike getting out. He gets rid of his guns, gets Walt to remove the DEA bug from Hank’s office, and gets his safety deposit boxes all set to pay his granddaughter and nine guys. So when Hank shows up at his house with a search warrant, Hank finds nothing and gets a slap on the wrist from his boss. Hank is forbidden from following Mike, so he tails Mike’s lawyer instead. Mike’s lawyer isn’t Saul, and he puts Mike’s money in the safe deposit boxes for him. When the lawyer is caught, he gives Mike up. Walt is in just the right position to hear about this, and he warns Mike. That was quite the lucky coincidence. Come on writers, don't be so lazy next time. We guess it's possible, so we'll let it go.

Mike escapes and meets Walt in an isolated area. Jesse offers to bring Mike his getaway bag, complete with passports, guns, and money, but Walt wants to go. That way, Walt can ask Mike who his nine guys are. Now that the guys aren’t being paid, they won’t keep quiet. What does Walt intend to do with these guys? When Walt meets Mike, Mike yells at Walt about his ego and says that if Walt hadn’t screwed things up with Gus, they’d all be safe and making money right now. Mike refuses to give Walt his guys’ names. Mike tries to leave, but Walt shoots him in the stomach on a rage-filled impulse. Walt had taken Mike’s gun out of the bag before they met. Mike keeps trying to get away, but he ends up dying (after telling Walt to shut up and let him die in peace). Walt realizes that he could get the names from Lydia.

So what do we think of Walt killing Mike? We guess the show has built toward this. Walt has been killing from afar for a while. First, he makes meth and turns his attention from considering who might be using it. Second, he stands by and lets Jane die, Third, he almost poisons a kid and blows up three men with a bomb. He’s worked his way up to outright murder. But why would he shoot Gus when he thought only Gus could give him the nine guys? Was his pride so hurt by Gus’s words? We guess Walt didn’t plan Mike’s murder. He probably took the gun as a precaution, knowing Mike was dangerous. We were thoroughly entertained by this episode, but we don’t know if we were fully convinced by it. We appreciate this season picking up the pace though. 

Episode grade: B+

Weeds- Saplings

Nancy and Silas visit the south at the invitation of a man with Big Tobacco who wants to get things ready for the moment weed becomes legal. We never thought about that. It makes sense that when pot is legalized, Big Tobacco will sweep in and take it over. They are in the best position to do so. This season has partly been about the future of weed. Keep in mind the pharmaceutical usage and how it was turned into a pill. It’s crazy that the old man and his son haven’t spoken in two years, even though they live in the same house. Nancy should really let Silas do what he wants, but she should express her reservations. That’s all you can do when your kids are grown. The Silas/Nancy plotline was sad and less fun than the other stuff in the episode.

 There wasn’t a whole lot of Shane in the beginning of the episode, then he shows up in just the stupidest car to pick up Angela. Things go very wrong when some friends of the crook whose car was impounded steal that car from Shane, along with Angela’s gun, while Shane and Angela park to have sex. Everything in this season has gone well for the Botwins. There’s been some soapy Andy drama, and Nancy’s recovery hasn’t been perfect, but other than that, there haven’t been any moments where we have been like, “Oh no, what now?” So when Shane’s ride was stolen, we caught a whiff of the old Weeds. In seasons past, there was tension. Lately, it’s been all peaceful and nice. Doug actually has to take care of real homeless people. HA!

Andy has been dumped by Jill, and he has lunch with Rabbi Dave and one of their snarky students who hates his new stepdad. Dave feels bad for sleeping with Nancy and rumors of their tryst are circulating. But when he sees Nancy again, he starts kissing her. Yay! Andy meets Joanna with the Frankenfingers at the restaurant. Yeah, we really wouldn’t pull out the fact that we’d had two fingers reattached right away. Of course, with Andy it worked, especially since she shares his love of bikes. She’s Jewish and, at first glance, perfect for him. So Andy marries her immediately. This just confirms Miranda Hobbes’s theory about guys and romance. “The one” isn’t fate; it’s just dumb luck. Guys are like cabs. When they want to get married, their light goes on, and the next girl he dates…BOOM…she’s the one. Andy wants kids and a family. Boom, Joanna’s the one.

Episode grade: B

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Re-watching Gilmore Girls: Season 2

By Ed Schipul from Houston, TX, US (Erica and Alexis Bledel) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Episode 1- Sadie Sadie
Lorelai says “yes” to Max’s proposal, Lane’s mother is sending her to Korea, and Rory brings Dean to grandparents’ dinner, with disappointing results. All Richard does is interrogate him about his education, ambitions, and how he’s not good enough for Rory. Emily finds out Lorelai is engaged when Sookie unknowingly tells her. We loved Rory in this episode, the way she stuck up for Dean when Richard was berating him. Richard was so rude and snobby, and that whole scene was electric. We also loved when Emily told Richard to apologize to Rory, because Emily found out Lorelai was getting married and didn’t tell her. So sad. One of us completely understands keeping a guy from your family for as long as possible though. That’s one of the worst, most awkward things ever. Look what happened to Rory when she brought a guy over! Everyone has an opinion, but guess what? Once you marry them, your family has to love them…or at least pretend to. Elope! Elope! We liked the scene where Lorelai told Luke about the proposal and he tried to poke holes in the situation. Poor Luke. Rachel left because of his obvious Lorelai crush, and then Lorelai gets engaged. Also, Lorelai has really great hands. They are perfect.
Episode grade: A-

Episode 2- Hammers and Veils
Lorelai tells Emily about her engagement, and Emily has very little reaction. Hurt that her mother didn’t show excitement, Lorelai moans and groans about it, until she finds out that her mother already knew. Lane takes off for Korea, and Sookie throws an engagement party for Lorelai. Rory volunteers to build a house and finds out that she doesn’t have enough extracurricular activities on her resume to get into Harvard. We loved when Lorelai marched Max to her parents’ house to a) meet them and b) ream her mother. Max was cool through all the drama, even trying to be nice to Emily after the fight. It was in the next episode where he gets a little weird and gives Lorelai the gut feeling that this relationship isn’t right. The end with Emily’s veil opinion was cute, but we don’t think Lorelai’s head is too big for a veil. This was a good mother-daughter relationship builder, and it was also a good reminder of Rory’s Harvard aspirations and the hard work it will take to get her there. It’s filler, but it’s necessary. It’s fun to see Lorelai happy and planning for the wedding.
Episode grade: B

Episode 3- Red Light on a Wedding Night
Max and Lorelai have their bachelor’s and bachelorette parties, and something Emily says makes Lorelai think twice about whether she’s marrying the right man. Luke builds Lorelai a chuppah as a wedding present to make up for his crotchety remarks about marriage. Dean tries to talk to Max about how to treat the Gilmore girls, but Max ends up calling Lorelai selfish and complaining that he has no role in the house since he can’t parent Rory. Bad move, bro. Lorelai wakes up in the middle of the night, grabs Rory, and runs away with her, ditching Max and the wedding. We agree with Lorelai that the Long Island Iced tea IS a fickle friend, and no one should have more than two, under any circumstances. Fair warning to you people. Three is the absolute limit. More than that has never, ever, ever turned out well. We also agree with Luke that marriage must be better than “say, being hobbled.” Haha, he’s so funny. Luke’s concern that people don’t evolve together is valid. You have to learn to fall in love with the new person. Or if it’s you who has changed, wait patiently for the other person to grow too, or find a way for your new self to love and enjoy their old self. It sounds hard, and it is. Lorelai’s ditching of responsibility was wrong, but it was better than getting married. She should have had a breakup talk and then left town.
Episode grade: A

Episode 4- The Road Trip to Harvard
Rory and Lorelai stay at a B&B and visit Harvard. Rory fits right in, being an annoying gunner in the class she sits in on. Lorelai feels some pain over her missed opportunities. When the girls return to Stars Hollow, Lane is back from Korea, and she actually had fun. The Harvard stuff is dull. After the great, exciting episode last week and the crazy cliffhanger, watching Lorelai avoid adult compassion and decentness by taking a trip to a university we don’t care about killed the season’s momentum. It would take something big (Jess) to get that momentum back next week. The B&B stuff was funny, but all the Harvard stuff was pointless, especially in light of season four. Also, Christian rock is possible. It usually sucks, but there are a few Christian bands that really, actually rock, rather than water down and copy popular music. Hint: It’s not on the Christian radio most of the time. Exceptions to that rule are Jars of Clay and Switchfoot. They are good and make the radio. So, that diss wasn’t welcome. The Captain Corelli’s Mandolin diss was right on though. Nick Cage ruins everything with his ugly face and terrible acting. Except for Kick Ass. He did good work there. We loved the scene where Luke found out that Max and Lorelai were over. There was some plot progression where Lorelai decided to take real steps toward owning her own inn. That starts the excruciatingly dull inn-starting story arc. Sorry, Lorelai. You have the more entertaining personality, but Rory has the more entertaining life.
Episode grade: C

Episode 5- Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy
Jess, Luke’s troubled 17-year-old nephew, moves to Stars Hollow. Lorelai swoops in and invites them both to dinner. After Jess is hugely rude to Lorelai, she gives Luke parenting advice, which Luke doesn’t take well. Luke thinks he can handle the kid. Guess what. He can’t. So Luke and Lorelai make up. Jess takes to Rory immediately, but Rory is consumed with being on the school newspaper staff with a still-angry Paris as her editor. Paris has Rory interview Mr. Medina. FINALLY we get to see him after Lorelai ran out on him. We are still sore that we didn’t get to see the scene where Lorelai told him they were over. Supposedly she did give him a proper breakup at some point? That’s what we choose to believe anyway. Max was completely cool. This episode really brought the humor with the “This is hell” song when Jess was surveying Stars Hollow for the first time, as well as Luke pushing Jess into the lake. That might be our most rewound TV moment of all time. Jess’s arrival somewhat believably shelved the possible romantic relationship between Luke and Lorelai. We think Jess is adorable and worth it though.
Episode grade: A

Episode 6- Presenting Lorelai Gilmore
Emily wants Rory to formally come out to society, so Gilmore Girls has a cotillion episode. We usually dislike cotillion episodes, but this one is ok. It’s a great excuse to bring Christopher back to the show. It’s looking like he’ll actually have a chance with Lorelai this time. He’s cleaned up his act, gotten a job, cleared his schedule to be there for his daughter, bought Rory that dictionary, and traded his motorcycle in for a car. We’re sure Rory enjoyed seeing them show off their ballroom dancing skills at Ms. Patty’s as much as we did. But when Lorelai makes a move, Chris tells her that he has a new girlfriend: Sherry. He got his act together for her, and they are living together. Richard and Emily are fighting because Richard has lost all interest in social activities now that he is being phased out of his job. One fight was public. And embarrassing. Speaking of embarrassing, once when Ern didn’t know how popular this show was, she mentioned to a friend that her grandparents were a lot like Richard and Emily, and that Ern was more like Lorelai toward them than a Rory. Ern mentioned this in front of her grandparents, trying to explain the stiff dynamic that was going on before the friend’s eyes. Ern’s grandma’s reply? “I watch that show sometimes.” Oh dear. It was never spoken of again, naturally, but Ern’s opinion of her grandma rose. The coming out party was hilarious and cute, especially the fan dance in the background. Rory looked adorable and so did Dean, who agreed to wear an over-the-top tux and gloves in exchange for Rory watching something called “Battle Bots” with him for the rest of her life. Battle Bots sounds like a stupid show. We’d probably love it.
Episode grade: B+

Episode 7- Like Mother, Like Daughter
Headmaster Charlston is concerned that Rory isn’t social enough at school because she reads during lunch hours and isn’t in any clubs. Girrrrl, we’ve all been there. Sometimes reading is just better than the blathering of your peers. Rory gets into a secret sorority organization, the Puffs, and gets caught trespassing at school after hours. Rory gets out of trouble though, with a rant, and makes up with Paris by getting Paris into the Puffs as well. Lorelai and Emily model matching outfits in the Chilton school fashion show, which Lorelai hosts at the inn in an attempt to be more involved at Chilton herself. The fashion show stuff isn’t as exciting or funny as the Puffs storyline. Plus, the friendships Lorelai made and the Chilton goodwill was never again touched on. It just proved that Lorelai is a good organizer and can put on a successful event. We already knew that. There was some Luke stuff that also advanced nothing between him and Lorelai. We’re with Rory: Barry Manilow = ew. We too are sticklers for punctuality, barring the occasional deer. The little vow the Puffs take is not that far off from the stupid stuff real sororities make you do and say. All that was missing was the floating head (we’re not kidding, and we can’t really explain because we are bound to secrecy on all traditions and passwords). Nice Ya Ya Sisterhood reference. We actually liked that book, but we preferred Little Altars Everywhere.  
Episode grade: B-

Episode 8- The Ins and Outs of Inns
Sookie and Lorelai tell their employer, Mia, that they are going to try to own their own inn and can’t work for her indefinitely. Mia, in response, says that she has been thinking of selling the Independence Inn. Lorelai, stressed that she won’t have a job if she doesn’t make the inn thing work with Sookie, starts to rethink going into business with her unreliable, spastic friend. Their plans also hit a setback when they find out that Fran Weston owns the Dragonfly, the property they want to turn into their inn, and won’t sell. All of this is time consuming and boring. The best parts of the episode involve Emily meeting Mia. Emily is sore at Mia for not sending 16-year-old Lorelai back home. Mia took Lorelai in and gave her a job back when Rory was just a baby. We loved meeting Mia. She’s pretty much the sweetest person on TV ever. This episode is important for inn-building plot advancement, but that doesn’t mean it’s one of the show’s best. It’s saved by the “chalk outline” prank Jess pulls on Taylor Doose. Come on, Rory, that was funny. Anytime Taylor is mad, it’s funny. We liked how Jess fixed the toaster too. So cute.
Episode grade: C+

Episode 9- Run Away, Little Boy
Chilton is teaching Rory Shakespeare (AGAIN. Wasn’t that the big test she missed from Max last year?), and Rory has to play Juliet in Act 5 of Romeo and Juliet. Paris, the director, assigns Tristan the role of Romeo. Dean isn’t happy when he finds out, and he skulks around acting all jealous. Rory makes Tristan promise not to tell Dean about the kiss. Tristan breaks into a friend’s safe and ends up having to go to military school, so Paris fills in for Romeo and either kisses or stage kisses Rory. Rory won’t kiss and tell. Meanwhile, Lorelai dates a young classmate from her business school, much to Luke’s annoyance and the town’s amusement. The Tristan storyline didn’t go where we thought it would and amounted to much ado about nothing. Dean never did find out about that kiss, and Rory never gave Tristan a chance. It was all buildup and no climax. Now we have Jess, so we don’t need a second bad boy. We like Jess better anyway. We’re glad that there was closure to the Tristan story. He and Rory parted amicably. We loved the lines, “Doogie Houser isn’t real.” “How sad for you.” We think it’s stupid that Paris wanted to do Act 5 “traditional Elizabethan.” It sounds like part of the assignment was the creative interpretation and opportunity for fun. We think you’d get a lower grade for just doing it straight, but what do we know? And how is that 50% of a grade? What a fluff class. The Lorelai story was funny, but it sort of cemented Luke as a reliable friend and nothing more…for now.
Episode grade: B

Episode 10- The Bracebridge Dinner
A Chicago snowstorm strands guests who paid to stay at the Independence Inn and also ordered a great, themed feast and horse-drawn carriages. Since everything is ready and paid for, Lorelai invites her parents and most of her town to the feast, including Jess and Luke. It’s really cute and funny, until Richard tells Emily that he quit his job. Emily is upset by that. Lorelai admits that Chris invited Rory to visit him and Sherry during Christmas break. Lorelai didn’t tell Rory because she wants her daughter during that time of year and she’s jealous of Sherry. Rory takes it all pretty well. Jess and Dean clash after Jess takes a swing at Dean, because Dean tries to break up a fight Jess is in with a classmate. We loved the snowman Rory and Lorelai built. It’s so funny and much better than the “ringer” Jess destroyed. Of course, we enjoyed Luke and Lorelai sharing a carriage, as well as Rory sharing one with Jess. Luke’s “secret of parenting” was hilarious crap, haha. That whole carriage ride was hilarious, as was Lorelai getting Kirk to break character.
Episode grade: B+

Episode 11- Secrets and Loans
Lorelai’s house is infested with termites and it will take thousands to pay to repair it. Rory tells Emily, much to Lorelai’s frustration. Emily offers to loan Lorelai the money, but Lorelai doesn’t want to be in even deeper debt to her mother. In the end, Emily cosigns for a loan. Rory’s storyline involves Lane becoming a cheerleader. Rory thinks this is stupid and the two fight. Rory finally comes around. This episode is boring boring boring. The termites are never mentioned again. The cosigning leads to nothing. The episode isn’t all that funny either. It’s probably the worst of the season, and heck, we’d say skip it, if you are inclined to skip episodes to save time. Also, never cosign a loan. In this TV situation, it wasn’t a disaster since Emily had the money and would be fully prepared to pay. But a professor once said to one of us, “A cosigner is a fool with a pen.” When the person with the loan doesn’t make the payments or the item is repo’d, the cosigner is NOT NOTIFIED, but their credit is hurt just the same. We could go on and on about this, but we won’t. Instead, we will move onto loans. Nothing can mess up a friendship or family relationship like loaning money. Don’t borrow or lend. If you want to help someone, just give them the money and tell them to pay it forward. If they are too proud to accept it and you still want to help, give it anonymously or have them trade something to you immediately so that the debtor/borrower relationship isn’t prolonged. If you learn nothing about money from us (and chances are, you won’t, because this is a TV blog), let it be this: pause before cosigning or lending.
Episode grade: C-

Episode 12- Richard in Stars Hollow
Richard is driving Emily crazy being home and in her business all the time, so Lorelai agrees to hang with him for the day. Richard goes to Stars Hollow, watches Lorelai work, and gets critical about how she conducts business. Lorelai calls him on it and Richard reveals that he’s upset to feel useless. Meanwhile, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. While the Richard/Lorelai relationship does need to be occasionally developed, as we said before, Richard isn’t a favorite and neither is inn stuff. Rory’s plot involves Paris going to Stars Hollow in search of its “seedy underbelly.” She wants to write a story about the corruption and secrets of small-town life. She finds “censorship,” because Taylor Doose put movies in the video store behind a curtain. The Rory tribute Taylor put up was great though. That picture is so goober-y.
Episode grade: C

Episode 13- A-Tisket, A-Tasket
Stars Hollow has a festival that involves women making picnic lunches and men bidding on them. The winning bidder gets the lunch and to have lunch with the woman who made it. After Sookie misses Jackson’s hints about moving forward in their relationship, Jackson fails to bid on her basket and Kirk wins it, bidding for the great food a chef would make. After the communications problem is rectified, Jackson pays a lot to get it back and then proposes to Sookie. Henry breaks up with Lane because he’s tired of hiding from her mother. It’s just getting too complicated for him. Good riddance because her next boyfriend is the greatest. Patty has given Lorelai’s picture to several strange guys in an attempt to set her up, and they’ve arrived to bid. Lorelai runs to Luke’s diner and begs him to buy her basket. He does. The food Lorelai has in the basket is unsurprisingly nasty, so Luke provides diner food for their lunch. Jess outbids Dean for Rory’s basket, sending Dean into a rage. Jess has more money, apparently. Lorelai is concerned that Rory is starting to like Jess and Emily agrees with her. This makes Lorelai think that trying to keep Rory from hanging out with Jess is a bad, controlling idea. Rory drops her Dean bracelet and Jess pockets it without telling her. The whole basket bidding thing is the cutest idea for an episode, but we are so glad we’ve never had to participate in this in real life. Let’s just say there probably wouldn’t be a bidding war for either of our baskets, and even if there was, we don’t like any of the guys who like us, and so we wouldn’t want to eat lunch with them. Also, neither Leeard nor Ern are known for their cooking skills. Especially Ern. At least Leeard can follow directions. This episode was entertaining and funny in every way, and it has our OTPs (Jess/Rory, Luke/Lorelai) forced to spend time together.
Episode grade: A

Episode 14- It Should Have Been Lorelai
Christopher visits and brings Sherry, who really wants to get to know Rory and keep a good distance from Lorelai. Emily is hopping mad at Chris, thinking it should have been Lorelai. Lorelai tells Chris that she is happy he has found someone because now that frees her up to do the same. She says that he’s the reason she probably destroyed all her dates and relationships and engagements. She was likely thinking, in the back of her mind, that she was waiting for Chris. Chris is irrationally, instantly furious after hearing this theory, yells at Lorelai, and leaves. The conversation in the kitchen between Sherry and Lorelai was super weird. Sherry made it more awkward than it needed to be, and it’s bitchy to make it VERY CLEAR that they never had to be friends. The only thing weirder than that conversation was how mad Chris got after Lorelai told him that he might have affected her relationships. We get how he would be kind of annoyed, but his blowup seemed out of proportion to what she said. Sherry was incredibly annoying in her introduction. And forever. The woman was practically demonized on the show.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 15- Lost and Found
Rory realizes her Dean bracelet is gone, and Lorelai figures out that Jess stole it. Lorelai also spends a lot of the episode helping Luke look for an apartment. Jess plants the bracelet under Rory’s bed so that she finds it. Jess and Lorelai’s constant fighting pretty much kills any chance that he and Rory could have been a thing while she was living at home. What kind of 17-year-old kid knows who Euell Gibbons was though? We’re not good at small talk either, Jess. Lorelai is the social wizard on the show, and even she falters around certain people. Weirdly, we only like Dean when he’s being jealous and possessive. That’s probably because the rest of the time he’s being sweet and boring. Soon, he will go onto Supernatural, where he will be sweet and boring, unless he’s possessed by the devil or something. It happens. We get why Jess couldn’t turn over the bracelet right away. He should have given it to Rory on the bridge because after that, it was too late to fess up and have Rory not be mad at him. Yeah, he’s a jerk, but he’s young, awkward, and he has a crush. We can understand keeping the bracelet. The end where Luke enlarges his apartment and repeats Jess’s sarcastic dig is one of the funniest moments in the show’s history. We also liked when Lorelai pretended to be married to Luke in front of the realtor.
Episode grade: B+

Episode 16- There’s the Rub
Lorelai and Emily go to a spa together, and Lorelai wishes Emily would shut up and leave her alone so she could relax and enjoy it. They can’t find a way to bond until Lorelai convinces Emily to steal bathrobes they love. Rory is enjoying her alone time until Jess and Paris come over. Dean, who was supposed to leave Rory to her night alone, is upset when he surprises Rory and finds her hanging out with Jess. Paris covers for Rory, bonding the two girls further. Every time Paris is nice to Rory, we like it. Whenever they fight, we’re like, “Ugh, not again.” Paris can get really irrational, but here, she acted like a normal teen covering for her friend. This was the episode where Dean really started to lose Rory. He shouldn’t have yelled, and he shouldn’t have been clingy. Then again, Rory hanging out with another guy isn’t right either. We love the relationship between Dean and Lorelai. We also like the storyline where Luke buys his building and enhances it, because it leads to him being Taylor’s landlord. We get how Lorelai was annoyed by her mother on the spa trip. She wouldn’t shut up. But Emily as also pretty funny in this episode, and we enjoyed the “vicious trollop” jokes.
Episode grade: B

Episode 17- Dead Uncles and Vegetables
Luke is upset when the town won’t participate in the funeral against his anti-social uncle. Luke worries that he is just like his uncle. Lorelai helps him with the funeral and attends, and in the end, the town shows affection for the uncle. In the Stars Hollow weird way. Emily helps Sookie plan her wedding, but all the stuff Emily picks out is crazy and expensive. This one isn’t much for plot advancement, but we think it’s sweet and funny, so we like it. The Sookie and Emily stuff isn’t has good as the Luke and Lorelai stuff, but anything that mentions possible dwarves at weddings is fine with us. Emily should be a wedding planner. She’s not doing anything else! We’d love a Romanov-themed wedding. Uncle Louie sounds hilarious, but it’s funnier to hear people talk about how awful he was than to actually see him for a couple of seasons. Seeing Luke without a baseball cap never fails to throw us. We can never decide if we like it or not. There’s a bald spot in the back there, but it doesn’t totally ruin things. Sidenote: Does anyone else remember Luke from Seinfeld? He was spongeworthy.
Episode grade: B

Episode 18- Back in the Saddle Again
Richard helps Rory with a school project, enjoys it, and decides to start his own company. Michel’s mother visits and Lorelai ruins their carefree, secret-filled relationship by telling Mama Michel that he hardly ever eats. SNOOZE. The scene at the diner after the credits, where Rory recognizes Jess’s handwriting on the new specials board was alright. Sookie yelling at the wedding invitation printers for misspelling her name was one of the most annoying, stereotypical, and rude things she ever does on that show. Sometimes they just have to make her too crazy to believe. Days later, she is still yelling at them. Lane SHOULD do sales. We’d buy something from her. Did anyone else wish Lane and Dean would have ended up together? They are always so nice when they get together and talk. It’s sad watching Rory avoid a clingy Dean, but we’re glad we saw it. It made the deterioration of the relationship seem even more natural. All the stuff with Richard was good for the advancement of Richard’s fascinating career storyline, but did we really have to see the blow-by-blow of a school business project? Did this show forget why we watch TV? Chilton is a crazy school. We kind of wish we had gone there. Our high school programs (we were in the same one, at different schools) were notoriously hard too though. Dean is so frakkin tall. We loved the end where he said, “She likes Jess, doesn’t she?” and Lorelai didn’t even respond. He walked away, towering over Lorelai. As much as we prefer Jess for Rory, it’s sad to see a nice guy get treated badly.
Episode grade: C

Episode 19- Teach Me Tonight
Rory tutors Jess at Luke’s request, but Jess doesn’t concentrate. He just wants to hang out with Rory. He drives Rory to get ice cream in her car that Dean built for her. They get into a car accident. They are alright, but Rory has a broken wrist. Lorelai is absolutely furious, and Jess is nowhere to be found. A worried Luke looks for Jess, and that makes Lorelai even angrier. Luke and Lorelai get into the worst fight they’ve ever had. Luke sends Jess back to live in New York with his mother. Not only was this one eventful, it featured the Kirk directorial debut. His love interest in the video is none other than Chloe from 24, who we will never stop loving, ever, even if they make a 24 movie with her in it that’s as dumb as 24 season six. The Kirk video was one of the top 20 funniest moments on this show, and that’s saying something. This is a funny show. We were so bummed that Jess left though. Ern has never seen The Yearling. We liked that Chris and Lorelai finally made up. It was cute how they watched over Rory. Jeez, it’s just a broken arm. Parents can get so dramatic when their babies are hurt. We’re so frustrated that Jess is flunking out of school when he’s smarter than everyone there. There’s no way to fix an attitude problem. That person has to decide to change it himself. Luke really put Lorelai and Rory in an unfortunate position, but Lorelai should have spoken up about her reservations in a clearer way. Lorelai was awful when she was telling Luke what happened, screaming at him, and looking to kill Jess.
Episode grade: A-

Episode 20- Help Wanted
Richard starts a business and Lorelai acts as his secretary for a few days. Shockingly, it isn’t boring. Richard wants her to stay on, but that’s not exactly Lorelai’s dream job. She helps him find a replacement after some awkwardness. Lane starts her love affair with the drums. We like how Rory told Dean about the Jess incident and his reaction. Dean was just happy his competition was “really gone.” Psh, dream on Dean. Of all the storylines that develop Lorelai and Richard’s relationship, we like this one the best. We also liked the fight between Rory and Lorelai about Jess. We loved Rory for wanting everyone to know that Jess wasn’t totally to blame for the accident. That shows her integrity. Her integrity falters once, in a couple of seasons, but Rory is a good person, overall. Luke takes a fishing trip, and when he gets back, Rory is able to find the one person who will listen to her about what really happened with Jess. This one was filler, but it started Lane Kim’s rock career.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 21- Lorelai’s Graduation Day
Rory visits Jess in New York, missing Lorelai’s business school graduation. Richard and Emily make it though. We liked this episode because it was unexpected. We were surprised to see Jess so soon, and we were shocked that it was Rory who went to see him. Definite filler though. It’s nice Lorelai graduated, but was anyone waiting with bated breath to see that subplot pan out? Jackson is a morning person like Ern’s brother is a morning person: He’s not really himself for about an hour after waking up. We loved when Lorelai said, “I despise academics,” because one of us has always felt that way about school and felt like she could never say it. This is the second time Rory has gone over her mother’s head to her grandmother. That’s not right, even if the effects are good. The thing where Rory called her grandparents by their first names wasn’t cute. Cool tassel hat cake, Sookie, but Chris’s sweet present basket stole the show. We don’t blame Rory for missing the graduation. It wasn’t her fault, and we’ve done things on impulse before too.
Episode grade: B-

Episode 22- I Can’t Get Started
Sookie and Jackson get married. Christopher and Sherry break up, so Chris shows up in Stars Hollow to sleep with Lorelai. They decide to be together, and everyone, including Rory, is very excited. The next day, Chris finds out that Sherry is pregnant, so he leaves Lorelai to do the “right thing” with this new family. Lorelai tries to make friends with Luke again, but he’s still “Mr. Freeze.” He should have chilled earlier. Lorelai wrote him a note. Jess crashes the wedding, and Rory kisses him. She runs away and tells him to keep it a secret. The Rory/Jess first kiss was perfect. We loved how hesitant and cute they were. We would like to thank this episode for introducing us to that Ella song, but yeah, does Sookie even like Jackson? This episode also brought us “oy with the poodles already.” How does Paris have a likeability problem? She’s hilarious. School kids have no taste. Darn you, Christopher, and your condomless ways! Quit getting chicks preggo. Fun fact: Alexis Bledel, the actress playing Rory, dated the actor who played Jess for more than three years.
Episode grade: A