And thus have I finished last week's reviews. Plus a bonus. And a little booster to prod me into this week, where so far I've hardly even watched any of the shows, although I've spoiled at least half of them for myself...but that's neither here nor there. Review time starts right now.
Private Practice: In Which Sam Receives an Unexpected Visitor (1x2)
Who is a stripper named Ginger, but that whole subplot is less significant than the title would have you believe.
Nevertheless! She *was* really adorable in her futile attempts to chase the other three doctors out of her house in the teaser, and she has a point...what makes it okay for them to randomly show up and burst in like that? Perhaps the co-op practice has negatively affected their understanding of appropriate sharing. Oh well, not arguing, it was funny. And while I wait for my Addison-love to achieve its previous levels, I'm enjoying all these new people. For example, even though she's not Merrin Dungey, I still kind of like Naomi, and fully expect her to get back together with Sam at some point. Their divorce honestly doesn't seem real; it's like they're just pretending to be broken up, for whatever reason, and I can't believe it's real. It's more like a forced contrivance so the writers have a goal to work towards, i.e. material to write about for the next several dozen episodes.
Random note - I am indebted to Sam for coming up with THE definitive quote about Cooper: (watching him be generally adorable while examining a baby) "How is that guy and the guy who hired me a stripper the same person?"
I am loving Violet & Cooper, which is not to be confused with Violet/Cooper. There is no shipping whatsoever going on in my brain, because NO. They are *awesome* best friends, but absolutely no romantic connection there AT ALL. It's not even brother-sister, really, it's just a friendship all on its own. I like that he looks out for her, and I like that she provides verbal smackdowns when he does something particularly stupid. There was a lot more of the former in this ep, though, and I think the bit where he puts his arm around her shoulder and she hopefully asks if he'll help run the ex's bike over in the car may prove to be one of the best-ever moments in the series. I was trying to come up with a complex animal allegory to explain their relationship, as I am wont to do, but for once in my life I think a picture says it all:
Really, just the whole scene where she dissolves into a weepy mess because "he told her the bike story" when it took him three years to tell her the bike story...broke my heart. Not because I think they actually *had* a great and epic romance with the guy, but because Violet is just SO INVESTED in everything, and takes it so hard, that it just tears me apart.
I am going to ignore the part where Dell eagerly but in vain tried to get Naomi to speak at his class, and then totally brushed off Addison when she volunteered to do it instead. Because the only explanation for such a ridiculous action is that he's interested in Naomi herself, which is a problem because I thought it was understood that there were certain storylines from the crossover pilot that were to be DROPPED FOREVERMORE AND NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN EVER FOR ANY REASON.
Thus far I've avoided discussing the main case of the week, and that's because every time I think about it, I swell up with inexplicable anger. I mean, really, setting aside the fact that this is all fictional, I should not care about any storylines that involve babies. And yet, I do! Sometimes! For example, my blood gets in a boil over custody laws. I just...the ugliness of forcing the mothers to swap the babies they've nurtured and mothered and bonded with for months because of a lack of biological ties? That leaves me feeling very disturbed. Really, once they stumbled on the truth, the kindest thing to do would have been to collectively look the other way. I know that doctors would never DO this, because doctors are horrible busybodies, but that would have been ideal. The parents with the healthy baby were happy and could have been so forever; the mother of the sick baby loved her anyway, and the father of the sick baby would only have been cold and distant for, what did Cooper say, 5 years? Shut up, I know I have a heart of stone.
"A mother never leaves her child behind" - PAH. What a horrible line. That might apply if you're an animal recognizing her baby by scent and raising it out of instinct. But there is no reason that a mother would consider a baby more "hers" just because they're related by blood - adoption would never work if women weren't completely capable of loving someone else's child. If anything, that line was proof of why they shouldn't have switched the babies back.
No, I am *not* going to get all fired up and angry at the OMG HORRIBLE INDECENCY of the father "trading in" his sick daughter for a healthy one. Because that's not how I feel. As expanding further upon this thought would cause 99.8% of the population to rise up against me with pitchforks and torches, I will not do so. Suffice to say I would sympathize with my husband if he'd done such a thing, not look at him in horror as if he'd just admitted to stabbing my mother.
Apparently, this title, like the rest of the episode, was anvilicious. Personally, I did not even faintly begin to suspect anything involving drugs until Alex started sniffing the kid's hair. But that may be because I a) don't know the titles until later and b) have perfected the art of tuning out Meredith's voiceovers so that I never hear a single word.
You know what I loved about this episode? How, after giving Bailey the first crack at it last week, everybody (unintentionally) ganged up on Callie and continued to make her life as Chief Resident a living hell. I found it quite glorious. It's about time she learned that she's nowhere near as cool nor as capable she thinks she is. Hah! Try Izzie's insecurity on for a while!
...I still cannot believe I am actually defending Izzie, especially since I very nearly had to withdraw my newfound love for her and George. Honestly, if they'd gone running upstairs in the teaser, or even if they'd so much as kissed after their little chat in the hospital hallway, that would have broken the deal right there. Sneaking around behind Callie's back is beyond pathetic. Have the spine to admit you were wrong (George) and that you aren't ashamed of who you love (Izzie), I complained. Fortunately, despite Izzie's proposed immaturity, it appears George will be growing a spine after all! Probably! I hope! I was rather proud of him for saying they couldn't do anything until he told Callie.
Look, I'm not defending adultery here, and normally I think that divorces should be approximately 98,000 times harder to obtain than they are now, in the interest of forcing people to think more carefully before making promises. But their so-called marriage is meaningless. They ran off to Vegas, for chrissakes, while George was not capable of making clear and rational decisions. Saying "I am your WIFE" counts for nothing, and strikes me as vaguely pathetic that she'so invested in this while he is clearly not, and more importantly, never has been except for maybe the three or four weeks immediately surrounding the "wedding." Before that they were casual and fighting all the time - he really should have broken up with her, rather than proposed - and after that he spent more time running interference with Izzie, so I don't know what foundation of love Callie is basing all these declarations on. If ever there was a time to say "a piece of paper proves nothing"...
In sum: I enjoy Callie getting bitched at by the chief, getting unfairly blamed for things beyond her control, walking around in tears, and being on the verge of divorce. I enjoy it on a level some might even call sadistic. I call it vindication after years of being more or less alone on my small island of Callie hate.
But even more than the Callie abuse, I LOVED LOVED LOVED Bailey verbally tearing Alex a new one. I LOVE Bailey when she rants. And that was one glorious rant. Especially when she hit him. And punctuated her closing remark with "Fool!" And you know, it's not just that Bailey was yelling, it's that she was yelling AT ALEX that made it so great, because I really dislike Alex. Especially with his new facial hair, which makes him look like Satan. I would not be surprised to learn that he is, in fact, the devil, wandering the operating rooms and saving people from mortal injuries in exchange for their eternal souls.
Speaking of swapping, how much do I love Cristina trading cookware for cool surgeries? Almost as much as I love panicface!Cristina trading one in exchange for being hidden from Mama Burke for an extra few hours. Actually, I was really surprised with how Mama came off in this episode. From the spoilers, I had expected her to be the same hell-on-wheels bitch she's been every other time we've seen her, only this time armed with an additional arsenal of hate for breaking her son's heart, or something. She ended up chewing out Meredith much worse than Cristina - which I must admit, I considered the icing on the cake of Callie abuse - and I was knocked speechless when I heard what she had to say to her almost-daughter-in-law. Was I crazy, or did she end up saying that she respected Cristina? I thought, at the very least, there would be arguing over the wedding gifts - that Mama would demand to have them all back and Cristina would dig in with "I got dumped, I keep the loot." No, instead she ends up apologizing for the fact that Burke left her, and praising her strength, and...I'm confused by her sudden sympathy! Now pardon me, I need another minute to cry over the permanent destruction of my Grey's OTP. And then go live in AU fic.
Finally, I'm starting to like Lexie just a tiny bit more each week, which is due partly to her being an eager and devoted puppy, and partly to Meredith being more sullen and lifeless than usual (and having bedroom scenes in every episode). I don't WANT to like her, and it brought welcome relief when Meredith turned on her and flat-out said "no way in hell" to the idea of having a close, sisterly relationship (or even having conversations at work), but...for the most part? I kind of like Lexie, especially as she's not hooking up with Dere - anybody! Not hooking up with anybody. That's important. I wonder how long that will last?
[a/n: since this hour-long ep will get split up for purposes of reruns, I am going to split the review into two halves, for the sake of posterity]
Oh, MAN. *is dead from squee*
That amount of PB&J in two minutes, let alone the first two minutes, should be...well, it should be illegal, is the conclusion I came to. I also decided it was very inconvenient to be watching this show with my roommate, because she's a big fan but not a fandom fan, and also not really the kind of fan who openly gushes over things which are cuter than puppies, so I had to content myself with grinning madly. As opposed to what I really wanted to do, which was whoop and shriek with glee. And raise my hat to picking the absolutely perfect time to join this fandom.
Let's count the beginning moments...cute conversation in the break room, followed by Pam's sneaky cheek kiss - which, how *adorable* was that? I've rewound that action about 500,000 times, and cannot think of a way in which it is not absolutely perfect. Then there are Jim & Pam's raised eyebrows over the memo, just before the reveal to the whole office - I love how you can see all the gears turning in Jim's brain as he tries to figure out if there's a way to deny this, decides there isn't, and comes up with "Ummm...yyyyep." I love Pam's shocked-but-ecstatic face in the background. This would all be slightly greater if it didn't come at the expense of Toby's heart being ripped out and stomped upon, though.
Oh, Toby. Your never-ending crush makes me need to go hunt fanfic, right now. I mean, his FACE after the whole office erupted in congratulations for the lovebirds...and then later, when he turns around all bright and happy at the sound of Pam's voice, and then his expression just FALLS at the sight of Jim next to her...this is exactly how Jim used to look. It was torture then. It is slightly less torturous now because Jim & Pam are soulmates and there is no room for a third party, but a little part of me still dies every time Toby looks wistful. What happened to the pretty date he had at Phyllis' wedding? DAMN IT, SOMEBODY DATE TOBY! The man deserves a little happiness!
Still, for the most part, I was so busy reeling over the JAM flood that I was totally unprepared for an onslaught of EVEN MORE CUTE, in the form of a real, live, furry tabby cat! Unfortunately, poorly named! But still, CAT! Plus, matted fur and all, he's cuter than Sprinkles of the squished face ever was. And feral or not, he's letting Dwight hold him without trying to claw the man's face off, which is...more than I can say for myself, if I were a cat in Dwight's hands, so. He's friendly! And best of all he's a replacement cat for the one Dwight destroyed.
Angela: Her NAME was SPRINKLES.
Dwight: And his name IS...Garbage!
I cannot lie, I felt myself be swayed a little by Dwight's eagerness right there. He's just *so* proud of himself, and so *sure* that this is exactly what will put things right and make Angela happy (also, he's nose-to-nose with the cat and playing with its paws, which is as close to babyspeak as Dwight probably ever gets) He's still classically insensitive about it, treating Angela's attachment to her cats as identical to that of a woman to her jewelry, or something, which can OBVIOUSLY be exchanged for something of equal value, but...but he's so [I WILL NOT USE THE WORD CUTE IN CONNECTION WITH A SCHRUTE] about it! But, I'm still furious with him for killing her cat in the most inhumane way possible. He does not deserve forgiveness. He deserves to be shunned and yelled at for a good long time. Unfortunately...I think there might possibly be a glimmer of hope for him. Far away, in the distant future, but it's there. In the meantime, Angela should still give the tabby cat a home. Because the tabby is cute, and should be fed regular meals of healthy cat food.
You know what else amazes-slash-horrifies me? The fact that when Dwight was practically in tears begging Angela not to leave, I felt *sorry* for him. WHAT IS THIS RIDICULOUSNESS?! And not only that, I think I might be invested in Dwangela. This is wrong on so many levels. SO. MANY. Yet all of a sudden I care about their sad and quirky but oh-so-devoted relationship. DAMMIT, DWIGHT! WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME CARE? I think I've even instantly warmed up to the "Monkey" endearment. Oh God, I'm two steps away from daydreaming happy endings for them. Stop it! Bad brain!
[random] Best Dwight Quote: "What if we don't want to use a Blackberry because they are stupid and pointless?"
For more on the Jim/Pam front (a section so huge it has to be split up for this writer's own sanity), loved them wandering over to Toby's desk to ask about signing the dating contract. Pam's all starry-eyed and flushed with happiness, and Jim looks so pleased with himself that he *might* possibly be floating a couple of inches off the ground. It's a good thing they're both so wrapped up in their happiness that they fail to notice Toby's increasingly passive-aggressive DOOM PREDICTING OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP. Which is kind of a mean-spirited thing to do, but I'll chalk it up to Toby being so wrapped up in his own unhappiness that he can't stop himself.
Jim & Pam each sharing their respective secret about Dwight & Angela's relationship was fantastic. How had that not happened already?! Still, I loved it, especially the way Jim was so excited at the prospect of telling her he could barely even get it out. And then his face when he found out she already knew?? I actually thought he had a right to be a little more ticked off than her; I mean, when he found out, they still weren't really talking the way they used to. But when SHE found out they were still best buds, and he really ought to have pried further into why she wouldn't have come running with that news. Speaking of awkward things...when Jim offhandedly says "We should have started dating a long time ago." Well, DUH, Jim, you've always thought that, and furthermore Pam is aware of it. You are also both aware of WHY you weren't dating a long time ago, and it's been a source of much contention between the two of you. Really, that seemed like the kind of place where Pam would suddenly get very quiet and change the subject, and instead they just rolled with it like it was no big deal. So does this mean they've dealt with the weird fallout of Casino Night off-camera, or are they just doing like me and avoiding the issue by pretending season 3 didn't happen? Because I think option #2 might lead to a blowup at some point. I'm just saying.
You know what else I'm saying? PHYLLIS, BAD FORM! Since when do you disguise nasty, petty remarks behind your sweet and effusive smile? And why is everyone acting like Pam morphed into Office Slut Barbie overnight? She was engaged to one guy who happened to work for the same company for YEARS, and now she happens to be dating a coworker - a coworker who is already her best friend; everyone is aware of that even if they DIDN'T pick up on any of the pining looks before now. Since when did 2 guys in considerably more years turn you into a bedhopper? I think maybe Phyllis is confused by the difference between "hitting on" and "hitting" when it comes to the long list of men who've shown interest in Pam over the course of the show.
Although Jim's expression in the TH afterwards was pure gold. "Aaaaand, that is why we waited so long to tell people." -.-
On to more bits of squee: RYAN (TEMPORARILY) CAME BACK TO SCRANTON! *tackle-hugs her favorite former temp* I don't care what everyone else is saying about him being a douche this year, he's still up there near Jim and Pam in my list of favorites. Even though the ugly stubble-scruff ALMOST negates the cute factor, it can't obliterate it completely, and I still think that no matter how ambitious he becomes, he will always remind me of a cuddly teddy bear (Kelly and I have a lot in common that way). Only...how much did I love him when he finally had a violently angry outburst to Michael's sexual harrassment? I was so proud of him. I think he actually scared Michael into silence, if only temporarily. (On that note, I love how Michael then goes on about how Ryan may have snapped at him, but there was a twinkle in his eye that said it all. As he proceeds to reel off a long list of what "all" included, my roommate commented, "Wow, he really gets a lot out of that twinkle.")
His confrontation with Kelly was the most amazing thing ever. Seriously. It reaffirmed all the reasons that I adore Kelly beyond all rational measure. It also provided me with ample fodder for my daydreams, because I am more invested than Ryan and Kelly as a couple than ever. They have a very specific and screwed up way of going about it, but I like to believe that under the right circumstances (circumstances accurately depicted by dollsome, who is currently my definitive Office fanfic author for all things not Jim/Pam related, and which I shall talk about someday), Ryan really is capable of caring about her.
See: exhibit A. "Oh, I never cared about you? Six months ago Karen Fillipelli sent me an e-mail asking me out. I said no, because I was committed to our relationship." Until everyone ruined my squee by pointing out that this was an outright lie and in fact exactly the opposite of what happened, I was really enjoying his tone of voice there. And I really DO love his total panic face and look of being on the verge of tearing his hair out (if only it weren't a $200 cut!) when Kelly tells him she's pregnant, which is exactly how I would have expected him to react. Plus, I love how Kelly twists this into an ecstatic grin and "We have a date!" But I especially love the fact that, resigned sigh of obligation or not, he does lead Kelly out by the hand at the end of the day. We have a handhold!
Is filled with considerably less squee than part 1, but it's still pretty good, at least at the beginning.
Loved Ryan blowing up at Kelly, while the latter has no idea what's wrong with pretending you're pregnant in order to get a guy to go out with you. And I love how her demeanor can switch instantly from shouting to submissive and wheedling. :)
Also, for further proof of my shiny Ryan/Kelly optimism, I thought he was trying to argue *against* Kelly's job being outsourced, trying to save her. I remember thinking what a sweet guy he was for looking out for her despite everything she'd just done. And somehow, even after realizing that once I again I heard the exact opposite of the truth, I just can't think of him as the bad guy. :P
I did not see Ryan asking Pam out at all. I was just excited by, yes, ANOTHER EXAMPLE of Ryan being awesome and kind-hearted. I mean, yay for opportunities for Pam's art! Ulterior motives, what?
The rest of the episode was devoted to Michael being weird. With Dwight in tow. And Michael + Dwight weirdness just drags on forever and is horrible. Driving into the lake was incredibly stupid, which I know everyone else has already mentioned, but I have to say it again because things like this are why I refused to get into the show any earlier. How hard is this, though, really? There's a ROAD, and then there's a LAKE. I can only imagine that Michael's thought process must have been something like "Well, my dealer never said this wasn't an aqua car..." And shockingly, that wasn't even the worst part. A decidedly DERANGED and soaking wet Michael screaming for the whereabouts of the missing chocolate turtles was just...gross and very much beyond sad.
However: the entire half-hour was totally worth it just for Jim's smug grin after Ryan makes a fool out of himself by trying to ask Pam to dinner. "I guess he can't get *any* girl he wants." I like season 4 Jim. He looks happier than he's ever been in his life. Probably because he is.
Final Note: In case this wasn't obvious from the length of the review, The Office wins this week's "Best Episode" award. Wins it hands down, without any competition, no matter how valiantly CSI fought.
Apparently Charlie's going to be going with the beach hobo look for a while. Okay then. Long as he continues to be cute by cleaning fish tanks, trimming shrubbery, and organizing attics & garages. (Side note: that's what procrastination looks like in the Eppes household? I wish I had that kind of motivation; mine involves a lot more sitting and staring at screens.) Such domestic prowess! I'm just saying, the man has potential-husband-material stamped all over him, and if you need me I'll be over there planning the Ramanujan-Eppes wedding I've been fixated on since about the middle of season 2. Why yes, I *was* rather delighted that he gave her a key, although I am not sure why Alan looked disgruntled over this fact...he does remember it's not his house anymore, right? Charlie is free to give round-the-clock access to anyone he wants.
Anyway. Another kiss! I...cannot remember the last time I watched a show that had my preferred couple not only in a happy relationship, but in a relationship that involved cute contact for two episodes in a row. I'm kind of dizzy just thinking about all the material there is to play with now. More than the kiss, though, I delighted in the simpering smirk he throws her when she says...something. Alas, I failed to describe this further in my extremely shorthand as-it-happens notes, and have since forgotten why. I just know the smirk was awesome.
I really do pay attention to other things on this show. For example, now that he's getting snubbed by David, I not only feel sorry for Colby, I am 100% certain that he is my favorite Fedcake. I cannot resist his big, sad puppy eyes. Or the occasional urge to headsmack David with a file folder and/or stapler. Then again, perhaps I am just reacting badly to the fact that it's not just David - Colby's stuck hanging around the fringes of the team, to the point where the only one willing to interact with him is LIZ. Which is just sad. But all joking aside, while part of me understands the distance brought about by the fact that triple agent or not, he was lying to the people he was closest to...the rest of me is impatient and wants them to get over this fact, and realize that said triple agency was rather isolating in and of itself, so he doesn't need to be pushed further away. Besides the earnest, personable side of him is as honest as it's ever been - and he's also actually more intelligent *and* Caring than previously suspected. I know Don has trust issues, but...big picture, Don! Big picture!
Speaking of said trust issues, is it wrong that I sided with Liz in her indignation that he was hoping to pump her for info about Colby's behavior? There are certain things that one should not say when in a relationship with a coworker, especially when said coworker is already paranoid that being in this relationship will damage her professionally.
Apparently this review only covers the first half of the episode. How odd. Nevertheless, I shall conclude on the observation that CSI: Miami's annoying editing tricks have apparently bled into Charlie-vision, thus making them even more painful to watch than usual. I am ill-pleased.
Yep, last week, I was channel-flipping and I happened to catch the second half of the SVU season premiere! It was every bit as good as I'd imagined it, partly because I apparently now think everything Cynthia Nixon does is genius, but...really, I was completely fascinated, so even though I knew everything that was going to happen, including the part about her faking the whole multiple-personalities thing (that was a good twist though), I still found it chock-full of suspense, and was glued to the screen. Didn't see a lot of Munch, but what I did see was better than I've seen in a while, so. And I enjoyed Fin telling Lake about the time Munch got shot. Question: were WE here when that happened? That sounds like it would have made a fun episode...
I even got a Kathy-hostage scenario to populate my speculative daydreams, although in retrospect, I am slightly disappointed that it happened so early in the season. Seeing the sight of the knife that crazy-[Cynthia] was holding, it occurred to me that abdominal stabbing would have been a fantastic and very SVU-type way to get rid of the Stabler fetus once its usefulness as a pregnancy plot point drew to a close. (I am always cheering for pregnancies to occur. I am rarely, if ever, cheering for said pregnancies to be carried to term. The fun of the plot device is really in how various people react to the woman in that condition). In lieu of that, I once again offer to donate that list of ideas I had for the Cohen baby over on O.C.
Why yes, in case you were wondering, I am totally and completely on the side of Kathleen's utter disgust that her parents are having another baby at their age. Their CURRENT kids aren't getting enough attention (as proven by her current community service role); they don't need more. Oh please let Stabler baby go the way of the Jack/Anne lovechild...please let that be the best thing you can come up with for sweeps...
'Cold Case: "Running Around"
Oh no, Lily is bottling up her emotions and doesn't want to discuss the Shooting That Totally Didn't Affect Her For Even a Minute! Wow, I've never seen this before. Ever. On any crime show where a main character is involved with a shooting. /sarcasm. Honestly, this has to be the most cliche set of reactions to a shooting I've ever seen - first the IAD investigation, and now the "I don't NEED a shrink!" routine. Do TV characters *ever* go into their mandatory counseling with, if not an open mind, at least not open hostility/defensiveness? And I kind of doubt that anyone in real life can get away with walking in and sitting for less than two minutes before demanding that their paperwork be signed so they can get on with their life. In fact, if anything, I would think that would send up a red flag to assign you *more* counseling hours.
Moving on from that, I was rather looking forward to this episode, because I have a deep fascination with the Amish, particularly where it concerns Rumspringa. Blame Lurlene McDaniel. For whatever reason, despite my occasional irritation with this business of "shunning," for the most part I am just genuinely interested in such storylines whenever they appear. I think I identify with a lack of love for change. For example, my favorite quote of the night definitely went to the mousy friend hissing "I LIKE rules!"
Naturally, of course, the cable decided to fail and die about 20 minutes from the end, and not come on for another half hour. Which drove me crazy, because I really wanted to know who murdered the girl, and with Cold Case's level of fandom appreciation, it would probably be days before I found the answer (true). Last I saw, they were suspecting the mother after having already suspected the mousy friend. "Wouldn't be the first Christian to kill," Scotty notes at one point. Yeah - she wouldn't even be the first Christian this MONTH!
I meant that as a joke, because surely - SURELY - this show wasn't going attack Christianity two weeks in a row, especially not after its last one got a considerable amount of bad press for going a step too far (and not just from me. There were published articles. Really.) But sure enough, it was the (previously banned) Amish kid who killed her in the end. Why? Oh, she was turning her back on the Pure and Wholesome community of the Amish in order to live in the English world for good, and that was just Unacceptable. Um...okay.
However, there were things to love about this episode. Well, one thing anyone. Vera being awesome as, after initial derision, he became intensely caught up in the wood-whittling experience. He keeps this up, he's going to knock Valens down a peg on my totem pole of characters...
On a completely unrelated note, Vanessa Carlton's new album is amazing, further enhanced by the performance with Stevie Nicks, and illustrates with 11 solid examples why she's one of my favorite musical artists of all time. I shall be buying it the second I have a spare bit of cash. Which probably means I'll get it as a Christmas present, but still.