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Also featuring mindless reality show fun, but that's in the second half.  First up, drama.

Numb3rs: Primacy
OMG *SQUEEFWAMBLOWSUP*

Imagine going into a small, enclosed room and slamming a superball as hard as you can against the ground.  It would shoot up and hit the ceiling a couple of times before pinging crazily off the walls, right?  Well, that was me at the end of Numb3rs last night.  I was a superball of energy, and at various times I may have skipped circles around the room, hopped up and down like a kangaroo, done chorus-line kicks, and spun myself dizzy in a spinny chair. Or I might have just imagined all that while glued to the TV screen, quietly squeaking and squealing while watching that half minute Scene of Gold approximately 27 times in a row.

I honestly could not have asked for anything better.  There is absolutely no possible way to improve upon my most self-indulgent fantasies of Amita in danger more than this episode did.  She was out on an FBI task, there was Charlie Panic (and anger!  don't forget the snarling at Don for putting her in danger; that was important), and a desperate reunion scene with tears, soothing, hugging, face-cradling and hair-stroking (Checklist of Cute: *explodes*) and otherwise PURE, UNADULTERATED SQUEE.  With the possible exception of Jim/Pam, this is like, the happiest I've been all season.  It even eclipses the GSR engagement.  I cannot even keep talking about this scene because I just keep watching it over and over, and every single time I nearly explode with delight and am reduced to a babbling and incoherent mess.  Icons need to be made from this episode.  So many icons (especially a moment around 2:35, which I realize is not from the end scene, but the lighting is perfect.  And it drives me mad that I can't use the 'print screen' option to grab that image and save it).

Ooh, and how much did I love Don guiding her steps through the meeting?  "All right Amita, don't go in that building until I tell you to, all right sweetheart?" He has this whole protective brother-in-law attitude, and it's officially my new favorite non-romantic relationship dynamic.  Although, come to think of it, if Charlie were to die in some horrible accident, I would fully support her getting together with Don.

As for the whole question of her moving in, allow me to quote Alan: "Oh, you're getting married!"  I don't mind the fact that she's over there all the time, but her actually living there doesn't sit quite right with me.  (and despite his hippie past and his casual acceptance of the idea, I bet Alan would also be happier to see her move in as a wife than a girlfriend)  I can't really explain why I'm not comfortable with people living together before marriage, but it just seems like a weird, commitment-phobic step. [edit: to me. at age 21. Past Me doesn't get to have opinions on older people anymore.] In the case of these two, however, I mostly worry because I feel like this could easily derail them.  I'm not sure how, but there's a bad feeling in my gut that it's too easy for her to back out.  Like this new closeness might spur arguments between them, and there will be no real incentive to work through them. [edit: lol, you're cute]

Ack!  I'm depressing myself, and I don't want to detract from what was a really  great episode.  I didn't even mention all the other kisses peppered throughout.  I am getting so spoiled...they have to be the most physically affectionate couple in the history of television.  And they were terribly cute at the end when she agreed to move in, although it would be very silly if they downgraded to a shared apartment, and even though I don't think living with Alan would be impossible, my favorite option is the same as Charlie's: Alan gets that condo he was talking about, and they live in the house together along with their curly-haired mini math geniuses and the dog or two said mini-geniuses begged for.  (SORRY!  I know the fandom is already throwing fits about losing their Eppes Men family scenes, and I do like them, but not as much as I like my rapidly expanding future fantasies)

Let's see, what else...I appreciated the fact that "Primacy" was less Second Life and more World of Warcraft as far as online gaming platforms went; I'm growing tired of the former.  The idea of Amita as a gamer chick amuses me somewhat...but I like it, because it definitely seems like something she'd be into.

Megan's reaction to Amita accidentally killing the guy's avatar was one of my favorite parts of the episode...as was Colby nearly getting swept away by water.  I love him as the babysitter shepherding the naive mathematicians through the field, and then ending up being saved by one of them in the end. Charlie and his "deceptive upper body strength" were great.

Lastly, Amita's pink cardigan at the beginning of this episode was gorgeous, and I want it almost as much as I want the gray sweater she wore later on.

Running out of my allotted review-writing time here, so: solid A+ of an episode, even without Megan/Larry interaction or David.
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ER: Blackout
Okay, I have no idea what's going on with NBC's "Green Week" since this was the only night this week I watched it, but I got sick of it after half an hour.  I read a little bit about it afterwards, and I can say with some confidence say that it is the stupidest thing I have ever seen a network do.  Trying to force all its programs to include that theme just made for very awkward writing, especially on this show.  Is ER's timeline not caught up the current calendar month?  Because I'm 99.5% positive that Chicago does not experience heat waves in November.  Late September, maybe, but not November.  And it was highly unappreciated - it was just gross watching everyone run around in sweat-soaked clothes.

You know what else was really gross?  ABBY AND MORETTI OH MY GOD MY EYES THEY BLEEEEEEED!!  Seriously, what the hell was that?  I did not see that coming at all.  At all. There was nothing in previous weeks to indicate that - Abby had the same vibe of dislike aimed at him that most people had for Romano back in the day, and despite what he may have wanted from Elizabeth, nobody hopped into bed with him, so why should I have expected hate to turn into sex here?  I didn't read anything between them at the bar, either.  In fact, this was so unexpected that when she first woke up in his bed, after my momentary panic, I assumed that she had passed out in her intoxicated state and was having a drunken nightmare, especially given the way everything seemed sort of hazy.  That's how surreal the scene was.

The incomprehensible horror of reality slowly began to sink in when she started getting dressed and then barreled back into her apartment way too late, snapping at the half-hysterical babysitter.  When Abby had her dirty flashbacks of the unholy event, I only needed a glimpse before I started dry-heaving.  What in God's name was the matter with you, PTB?  Was it really, truly necessary for her to cheat on her husband?   Weren't her breakdown in the ER over Joe's fall and her relapse back to alcohol enough to show that she was hitting rock bottom without Luka around?  And if she was going to cheat, why not at least with the cute intern who was infatuated with her? The whole thing just makes me sick to my stomach.  If she admits it to Luka, I suspect very ungood things will happen because she honestly had no excuse at all, and you know he'd never do that to her, but if she doesn't, it's always going to be a thing between them, and her hyperawareness of it is going to push them apart.  For the sake of my sanity, I need to pretend this did not happen.  Okay?  NEVER HAPPENED.  Oh God, I need next week and the Luby reunion like whoa.

(Digression: A lot of people have been complaining that Abby seems like she's losing her spine, being unable to function without Luka, but I can't say agree.  Her romantic life has never been stable, and there's been a lot of stress in the past year, but now finally she's started to  have some semblance of normalcy.   And then Luka up and leaves for an indeterminate amount of time, as he is wont to do, especially to places that make it hard for her to keep in touch.  Strong and independent or not, when you're separated from the person you love, especially when you're raising a young child and work is not exactly roses and sunshine, you're going to start to feel the strain.  I think what's really pulling her apart is the uncertainty in all of this - his lack of communication, his vague promises of return.  She doesn't have any control over this.  And when control in one place slips, especially for an extended period of time, it doesn't take much to become overwhelmed.)

Aside from that debacle, drunk!Abby is pretty amusing, although I can't believe that not one single person, not even Neela, seemed to realize that the fact that Abby was not only drunk, but a drunk former alcoholic who has recently been in a not-so-good mental/emotional place, and that perhaps this ought to have raised some red flags.  Sigh.  I LOVED Chuney's almost-meta comment about how strange it was that Pratt and Morris were the top attendings now (*pause* They are?  Oh, hell), because she could remember when Dr. Ross and Dr. Greene were running the place.  OMG FLAIL ME TOO!  Well, not exactly firsthand, but those were good days (if not the best days), and I love how the nurses are the heart of this show.  And it was equally amusing to hear Sam go "Who?"

Even though I'm delighted that Hope is gone and I always hated her and Morris, despite my all-consuming hatred for the twitchy little man, I feel strangely sorry for him, because I bet in another six months or so he probably would have proposed.  Stupid in love with her, he was. 

DUBENKO NO THE HAIRCUT WHYYYYYY?  *boots him back out of favorite character circle*  You know my trademark Dubenko phrase, right?  "The love is contingent upon the awesome hair."  Soon as he whacks off the curls, he looks like a dope and I can't stand the sight of him.  Thank God he at least waited until after the adorable scene with Neela & Joe to do so (I'm still cooing over those screenshots).

Finally, I really wish ER would go two  episodes without having little babies wailing their heads off throughout half the scenes.  It makes me want to stab things.  Things like the babies.  That little brat, especially combined with Joe later, was so much worse than the volunteer folk singers.
---
Time to regroup with mindless reality fun.

Survivor: YES!  Jean-Robert is gone, and you know what that means?  I like every single person left on the show, and would be satisfied with anyone winning (with the possible exception of Denise).  I do believe it's time for my mid-season re-evaluation of the players, now that I've finally gotten a sense of their personalities.

Amanda: Same as I've felt all along, she's my favorite player.  Even though she's built in the Parvati mold, she seems considerably smarter, and looks like someone I'd meet in classes, so.  I like when contestants feel like real people.

Courtney: I've gotten used to how skinny she is, and I actually think she's sort of pretty.  For as thin as she is, she doesn't look like a walking skeleton - there's a world of difference between her and the frighteningly anorexic.  And even though she's coming across as somewhat apathetic and occasionally whiny, I like her.

Denise: There's nothing really wrong with her, except that she's so incredibly blue-collar that I tend to feel uncomfortable when she talks.

Erik: Yep, still adorable.  Still my second favorite.  I wish he had more camera time, and wasn't part of the doomed underdog team.

Frosti: I keep forgetting that he's the 20-year-old baby, because he seems smarter and more mature than most of the players here.  Has definitely earned my favor recently.

James: Even though he started out as one of my faves, he seems to be getting both dumber and cruder as the season rolls on, and I find myself not wanting him to go, exactly, but thinking I might not be too sad if that happened. 

PG: Is it bad if I'm sort of rooting for her?  I know I said I like everybody, but I like some people more than others, and now that most of the fat from her original tribe has been culled, I like her I'm-a-survivor attitude and kind of want her to scrape together a new alliance that blindsides someone like...Todd.

Todd: Even though his spastic scheming and planning are amusing - he's like a hyperactive little Border Collie; has to be running around constantly and doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff, whether or not it's necessary or even beneficial - his overconfidence is beginning to wear on my nerves.

As for the episode, thoughts in bullet-point form:

  • I thought it was incredibly mean-spirited to have a schoolyard pick for teams that not only prevents the most unpopular person from playing - seriously, you couldn't have saved this challenge for when there was an even number of people? - but further punishes that person by making them ineligible for the reward. That was COLD.  I thought for sure Denise was going to get some special bonus as consolation for being, what's the word, humiliated...but there was nothing.  That leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth.


  • Definitely loved the immunity challenge, just because it was amazing to see Courtney sit without moving an inch the entire time.  Seriously, not even a slight lean one side - it was just a little bit unnatural and unnerving.  It was like she and the barrel had fused into a single item and then turned to stone.  Pretty amazing to watch.


  • It was incredibly silly of Todd to be all indignant and put out that James didn't offer to give one of the idols back.  Boy, you were stupid enough to give them away and increase his power; why would he choose to reverse the process?


  • "American Immunity Idol."  If that's not proof of FOX's horrible pervasiveness, I don't know what is.

---
Oh yes, just because I feel like it, I'm going to talk about America's Most Smartest Model. I stalked VH1 all week trying to randomly catch the most recent episode, the one with the fetal pig dissection/cold shower commercial, and finally found it on Friday night (after ignoring about FIFTEEN AIRINGS of I Love New York 2, yeesh).  It ended up being quite fun.

The episode opens with 9 models left, and even though they all bring the entertainment factor, I only like less than half of them.  Angela, Brett and Daniel make up my top 3, and I can't even choose between them.  Angela still seems like the most normal person on there, like someone I'd befriend.  Brett's looks are very, very sharp, and he seems like one of the nicer and more personal people there...he started off as my favorite guy, and he might still be there except Daniel has that whole working-on-his-doctorate thing going for him (oh, smart is good), in addition to a charming smile and fantastic wavy hair.  Strangely, his hair always looks shorter and more lifeless during his interview segments, but that magically goes away during the regular segments.  Anyway.  [edit: someone mentioned that he looks like Josh Groban.  *snaps fingers* That's it.  Aaaand, that officially makes him my favorite.  Especially after someone else mentioned that Angela has a smoker's voice.]

Aussie Rachel is in a solid second-tier spot behind them; there's nothing outstanding about her, but she seems like the kind of person who should win this competition.  Everyone else is varying degrees of horrible - I kind of liked VJ at first, but as time goes I'm becoming more and more aware of gross, smug attitude, and there's something about his face that doesn't look quite right; sort of plastic-y.  It's like an alien mask.  Pickel is just not attractive at all, Lisa's incredibly bland,  Andre is revolting, and Blonde Rachel is too ditzy (and horny) for words, and she reminds me of Natalia Boa Vista.  Now, on to episode specifics.

Back in those lovely days of high school, I did NOT enjoy fetal pig dissection at all, and I only survived it because we got to do it in groups, and I made sure to pair myself up with a couple of girls who loved this kind of stuff, meaning I got to mostly just observe.  I can't imagine having to do all the work myself.  It doesn't matter how many times you tell me "these pigs were never alive, they never breathed or felt pain," because like Blonde Rachel said...they LOOK like they were alive.  They look exactly like little baby pigs, the same way human babies are fully developed weeks before birth.  I loved her for not only crying that she was a vegetarian, but that they reminded her of her pet pot-bellied pig.

And after all that, I was incredibly proud of her for not only getting through it, but earning herself an A-, because that's probably more than I could have done.  I have generally not been fond of Blonde Rachel and the pile of cotton fluff where her brain should be, but in that moment I cheered for her.  I was glad for Angela too, because science stars kick ass, and anyone who majors in animal science has my undying love and respect.  True, I am terrible at science in general, but the one branch I always loved was biology, where we had the chance to learn about my favorite subject, animals.  I couldn't pursue it too much because I despised the inevitable dissection part, though.  I could never understand why we only got to study their insides, rather than their habitats and behaviors.

Um, anyway...then Daniel won the edge challenge, and I was quite pleased, both because he's clearly the smartest and because I was just happy that it didn't go to the guy praising his years working in a butcher shop (especially when that guy is VJ).  Ew.  It's one thing to get  your experience in school for some educational purpose; willingly associating yourself with animal slaughter & consumption is quite another.  (for the trillionth time, no, I'm not a vegetarian.  Also for the trillionth time, I feel properly ashamed of and guilty about this fact, and so usually claim I am when around others at meals)

I was less fond of the commercial challenge, because even half-nudity, when it involves girls, is not okay in my book, even if by making it about bodywash, they managed to thwart my usual defense for raging at America's Next Top Model about how being naked does not help you advertise clothing (and correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought ANTM was about finding fashion/runway models).  I have to admit that it was pretty funny seeing people Brett yelp and jump backwards at the first splash of cold water.

I'm incredibly annoyed that nobody cared about VJ's blatant cheating, though - it's good practice for the real world?  Don't try to apply "real world" principles to a tightly scripted and choreographed reality show.  Do real companies have challenges and weeks of elimination rounds in order to select their desired star from the pool of applicants?  Yeah, didn't think so. If you're only going to provide one copy of a script, you obviously want to see who can do the best job with minimal rehearsal time.  Allowing him to sneak extra practice is just...stupid.  He shouldn't have won, anyway.  I liked Aussie Rachel's presentation much better.

The "smart-off" at the end was much more entertaining than the usual format where the judges stand around and rehash all the weaknesses we've already seen.  As fun as it was to watch Lisa stare blankly on such challenging questions as "what century was the Civil War in?" and "Which Democrat did George W. Bush run against in 2004?", I didn't burst out laughing until after she got eliminated, and her indignant interview was all about how she doesn't need to know stupid things like facts and definitions!  How is knowing stuff going to help her in the REAL world?!  I swear I couldn't stop laughing for 5 minutes.

However, does anyone else wonder how the judges keep a straight face when they inform the contests that they need to step up their intellectual game, because this is "America's Most Smartest Model?"  Because I don't know how they manage it.  I just dissolve into giggles over the absurdity every time they say it.

Next episode, I am 99% sure that Blonde Rachel gets kicked off, and after that there are no more easy/predictable choices and I actually can't picture who would be the next logical elimination choice, although it would be excellent if it were Andre or Pickel.

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