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Week 3, Review Pile 3 (CSI: NY + Thursday)

I will, at some point, have something more personal to write on here than straight reviews.  It's just that sometimes I get really fixated on a goal, and can't think about anything else until it's done.  I'm very close to finally reaching that goal, though...just 3 shows from last week + 3 shows from this week, and I'll be caught up!  And maybe after that I'll write a paper before the night before it's due, because all-nighters on Thursday really suck.   Okay.

1. ER: Officer Down

…yeah, I didn’t really pay attention to anything involving the title. 

I spent all episode waiting for the nervous intern to ask Abby out, just because I couldn’t wait to see her smack him down…and in that respect, I was not disappointed.  I am disappointed by the internet, which is beginning to speculate that she’s going to end up having an affair with him anyway while Luka’s lollygagging in Croatia, especially after that frustrated phone call (she should know by now not let him out of the country).  I would really prefer that we not go down this route, because I think we’ve pretty much done to death the theme of Abby’s love interests, especially when they’re named Luka Kovac, ditching her while they globe-trek.  I’d prefer to consider that phone call a realistic portrayal of marriage, with arguments and compromises/concessions that have to be worked through.  Stupid people reminding me that this is TV, where the short-term solution to 90% of relationship problems is to sleep with someone else…I will not think about that.  Shiny happy optimism is my new rule of thumb.

SARAH!  So glad we got to see her; I was worried they’d use the summer-in-Wisconsin excuse to leave her there permanently and never mention her again.  I worried further when Tony started his song and dance about making mature decisions, and was right there with Sarah’s accusatory “You changed your mind, didn’t you?!”  I was almost positive he had come to the conclusion that it would be more beneficial for her to live on a farm with her grandparents than in a city apartment with a single guy working long and erratic hours.  I was ready to hit him for it, until he finished with ‘I’m trying to make it so we can live together forever.’  Okay, I’m placated.  After all, while I admire her running away as a statement to her grandparents (as in “I’ve been here all summer, and guess what?  STILL HATE IT.”), staying gone for any length of time after that is not the best way to convince the courts that Tony is a fit legal guardian.

However, I would be more placated if Tony didn’t appear to be getting so close to Cancer Kid and/or his mother.  You already have an adopted ragamuffin, Tony.  You don’t need to be gaining another one.  But if Cancer Kid appears in more than one future episode, I am making the declarative statement right now that he will be dead just in time for February sweeps.

I didn’t need Pratt’s storyline.  Not that I ever need Pratt’s storyline, but this one was particularly unwanted.  I also ignored Sam’s storyline because the cop bores me.  And I wanted to ignore Archie’s storyline, but unfortunately he has this intensely miserable little face and I found myself…feeling bad for him.  And wanting Hope to appear and make him feel better.  And then hating the fact that I miss Hope for any reason.  He just looked so forlorn…the world is out of alignment when I pity Morris.  

And finally, umm…I may kind of be on board with Neela/Dubenko.  I KNOW.  But he has this irresistible air about him, and damn if he didn’t win me over with his yoga charms tonight.  And between Neela and the baby, you could just see his fantasies spinning out…I do not believe his lies of apology about confusing his feelings with professional respect.  I believe he has convinced himself that he merely mixed the two up, but really?  So loves her.  Now, if I could just get my head to come up with a scenario in which she might reciprocate, I’d be set.  

2. The Office: Launch Party
I know everybody else has already mentioned the cold open, but I have to throw my appreciation in as well.  I cannot tell you how many hours I passed in social studies watching the screensaver on the teacher’s computer bounce around, just barely avoiding the corner (it actually did go in with some regularity, though, as I recall).  I love that everyone here is so invested in it, though, that they are unabashedly ignoring Michael and reacting to it out loud.  And I love that Michael is just clueless enough to not notice that everyone is staring just over his shoulder rather than actually looking at him.

Not a lot on the Jim/Pam front; while I enjoyed the little date on the roof, I do not enjoy the odd canon it set up, implying Pam started working here first.  I don’t know why, but that timeline just doesn’t seem to fit in my head, thereby negating the cute factor of knowing when he first fell for her.  Can we pick a different moment?  I like the description of Pam’s much better, although that sounds like it happened early on too, and I refuse to believe she really knew any earlier than season 2.  I guess that’d fit with her words on Casino Night, but it causes me retroactive pain to think she’d stay with Roy against her better judgment for such a long time.  In fact, I think I’m just going to forget that Roof Date, Redux ever happened, and go with fanfic instead.   

I did love their wordless conversation over the party tickets, though…especially when promptly followed by their “Not it!” showdown.  And I could have sworn there was an odd little pause after Pam claimed “tie goes to the girlfriend,” like maybe that’s not a word either one’s thrown around a lot yet.  Ah well.  Their real magic in this episode came from getting back into the pranking groove, which is a form of cute almost more welcome than standard Cute scenarios.  (speaking of which, I’m going to stop reading the comments at TV Squad.  It’s been three episodes…maybe 6, depending on your point of view…and already people are whining about how boring they are now that there’s no UST.  The general public is composed of idiots.)

I appreciate Pam’s hesitance to start it off, feeling sorry for Dwight, but luckily the air horn (oh, sorry, “bear horn”) put a quick stop to that.  Honestly, as soon as Jim started feeding her lines for the DunMiff/Sys IM, I started laughing and couldn’t stop.  Brilliant.  (best line by far: “While you were typing that, I searched every database in existence and learned every fact about everything.  And mastered the violin.  Oh, and sold more paper.”)  All the same…her finally taking pity on him with “You beat me.  You are the superior being” message was very heartwarming.  Aww.  Even I can’t hate Dwight when he’s crying at his desk.  

It was great seeing Angela in top bitch form again.  These are the kinds of things I wish I could get away with saying to people.  And I loved Angela further tearing Phyllis to shreds for using such utterly foolish techniques as “I messages,” as anyone who attempts such foolery deserves.  It will probably come as no surprise that instead of quietly cheering for Phyllis bouncing a wad of Post-It notes off Angela’s head, I was merely indignant on the latter’s behalf.     

Andy is a freak; there is no other word for it (actually, “spastic” might work), and after this episode I have officially reached a point where I wish that Karen had been the last Stamford Member Standing.  Furthermore, I cannot believe that fandom speculation is coming true with regards to Andy being a potential love interest for Angela (who’s the office mattress NOW?), and I find myself suddenly and inexplicably coming to the defense of Dwangela.  This means I am defending DWIGHT’S right to happiness.  Can anyone explain how this happened?  Anyone?

Michael kidnapping the pizza boy was considerably less cringe-inducing than the lake/gift basket incident.  I chalk this up mostly to the fact that it did not rely on Michael’s idiocy alone to bring the funny, but rather on normal workers reacting to his idiocy…by which I mostly mean I enjoyed Jim’s very calm insistence that he needed to let the kid go, as this was rapidly developing into a situation where one could use words like “hostage” and “random” and “felony.”  He did not include the phrase “insanity plea,” but I’m sure that wasn’t far off.  Anyway, for whatever reason I liked that sequence.

Other things:
-Every time I think Kelly has reached the highest level of adorable, she does something like get all excited over the online paper store, and I am forced to reevaluate the scale.
-Darryl/Kelly is not the worse thing that could happen to this show, but they lack visible chemistry, and they don’t even have the pretty-people factor going for them that my preferred Kelly ‘ship does.
-Poor Ryan, getting chased out of offices…*pats*
-Jim looked fairly traumatized after his encounter with Meredith and her diaper cast.  There’s a joke to be made in here about his and Pam’s inappropriate older coworkers, but dammit, I can’t seem to find it.

3. CSI: NY: You Only Die Once (alternate title: All Flack, All the Time.)
Still trying to figure out how the actual episode title applies…wait, I got it!  It’s reminding me that I do not actually die of squee, no matter how many times Flack appears in increasingly wonderful scenes.

Objectively, I know I should appreciate the really hot scene of Flack stripped down to a ribbed tank top.  I want to, I really do, but the girl he’s with just looks so vapid and immature and BUBBLE-HEADED that not only could I swear they plucked her right out of a Miami nightclub, I’m positive she could pass for a high school senior.  It kills the whole teaser for me, and my proposed plan to blur my eyes and envision a better character didn’t work any better than Abby’s attempts to visualize her lab overseer out of existence on NCIS.  WOE.  (And her name is Devon?  They can’t even give her a pretty, feminine name?)  Same thing for any and all subsequent girlfriend scenes.  For example, the whisper of “I think spies are sexy” looks really good on paper – especially when his fancy tux proves very true – but out of her mouth, it loses all its flair when I keep wanting to ask her if she has a curfew to follow on school nights.

Not to mention…2 weeks?  Really?  This is where you’re at after 2 weeks?  Stop disillusioning my idealized Flack love!  However, this whole idiotic development is almost worth it just to hear Danny tease and Flack toss it right back.  “Hey, how’s that new girlfriend?” “Keep walkin’, Messer.”  Heh.  This is the best possible format of banter.  For the win!  And then…

Double win!  Mac/Flack conversation, over The Tale of the 3:33 Phone Calls.  Flack even, gasp, has the wherewithal to be concerned about Peyton  (I am studiously ignoring the part where Mac declines to give any further insight as to why she declined to come back with him).  I’m tempted just to focus on how good Flack looks in this scene, but I also really love any time Mac asks for a favor, so…this may be my favorite scene of the whole episode.

Triple win, D/L!  Damn, this is like “Comes Around” in terms of rolling one sweet scene after another in a continuous stretch.  However, the flirty D/L banter would have been cuter if I found comic-book banter anything more than eyeroll-inducing.  There is cute geek banter, and there is stupid geek banter.  Batman debates fall under the “stupid geek” category.  *closes eyes* Will not jump on the “RST is boring” train, will not jump on the “RST is boring” train…
Voice: You spend a lot of time avoiding trains these days, I notice.  Trying to find your way back to the ship?
RS: Metaphor can only take us so far, Voice.  Anyway, I DID like him calling her
Montana…and later, when he stopped her at the elevator to make a date with evidence, and she was all giddy about it; that was cute too.
V: But?
RS: But my initial reaction to her huge “YES!” and throwing her arms back to the sky was more like “PIPE DOWN, LOUDMOUTH.  *smacks*” It’s amazing how quickly I am remembering my hate from season 2…no!  Not going down that route! They were 100% cute, and that was all!

And despite my lack of patience for Batman and/or James Bond, I have to admit that the super-sekrit spy technology, especially the magical self-healing car, was by far the most awesome thing I have seen on the CSI franchise this year.  I want a jacket that downloads personal information! (…wow, that didn’t come out right.  Apparently, I have not matured from when I was 9, and wrote on an assignment that if I could be invisible for a day, I would be a thief and steal whatever I wanted.  *facepalm*)  The point is, I was utterly fascinated by the case, which is always rarity while watching crime shows.  

There were a lot of scenes competing for “best” tonight, but Stella & Flack undercover at the party was definitely on the list.  We’ve already established that the latter in a tux causes me to die (okay, FAUX-die) of squee, but the former’s dress was flat-out STUNNING.  I thought Devon had a pretty number on in the beginning, but Stella knocked it out of the park.

And finally, I am continuing to love the 3:33 storyline, and am glad it’s getting continually referenced rather than being shelved for weeks at a time and pulled out whenever it’s convenient for a ratings grab.  (*cough* Without a Trace)  I’m sure I missed about a hundred other great things I wanted to talk about, because this was by far the best episode of the season – I watched it twice straight through, and considerably more for certain scenes.

Oh!  I didn’t even realize it until someone pointed it out, so hypnotized was I by the glee-inducing bits, but apparently there was a total lack of Adam in this episode.  Ahhh, bliss. 

4. Survivor: 

As much as I don’t want to like the hyper little chipmunk, I’m being slowly won over by Todd’s enthusiasm as a longtime Survivor fan.  It’s about time we had someone like that – enough of these contestants who never watch the show!  People attempting to apply the knowledge gained from observation in the living room towards actually succeeding in the game seems a lot more relevant at this point than people pretending it’s all about learning how to live on an island with the vague knowledge that it’s also a “social game.”  …that was an incredibly long sentence.  I feel like there should at least be commas in there, but at the same time, there aren’t any natural pauses.  This is irrelevant.

And as much as I hate Jean-Robert – more than Dave at this point, actually, just because I can’t stand those droopy eyes that make him look perpetually hung over – him randomly knowing how to speak Mandarin was pretty amazing.  Although somehow I doubt the notion that Survivor would actually send over people who didn’t speak English without an interpreter, had Jean-Robert not been available.  Loved that challenge, though – at first I was all “Why have I never heard of using fishing birds?!  That’s freaking awesome,” but then once they started talking about the band around their throats, and pulling the fish out of their mouths, a vague memory drifted back to me.  I think I read a story about it in Highlights or something.

OH!  No I didn’t!  I just did a quick Google search to see if I could verify the Highlights thing, and now I want to smack myself on the head – it’s from The Story About Ping!  DUH.  I only didn’t recognize it because Ping’s a yellow duck and these people were using black cormorants, but…that is one of my most beloved childhood books.  I’m going to stop now before I get on a giggly nostalgia trip, but the bottom line is that I like this show a whole lot better when they’re using birds as helpers rather than as food.

The challenges would be more fun if they didn’t take all the suspense out of it by freezing and going to gray screen every time something crucial was about to happen.  Time to quote TWoP again: "You can just tell this was some particular person's idea -- "After fifteen seasons of success, you guys really need to change up the show by using more stupid-looking visual effects, because we have editing software that we paid good money for, and we should be taking advantage of it!" It was probably the same guy who took over CSI: Miami’s visual effects department.  Or maybe CBS just has an evil guy in charge of this kind of thing – it would explain CSI: NY’s remixed theme song…

On the bright side?  Dave is gone now.  YES.

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