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Mom: These cookies are delicious!  Where does all this baking talent come from?
Me: *pats shoulder* Sometimes these things skip a generation.

Talk about role reversal tonight...I'm in the kitchen washing dishes and baking cookies (the latter because Dad specifically came up and begged like a little kid for dessert), and my parents are in the living room, playing a raucous 3-round game of Farkle.  HONESTLY.  ;)  I jest, I jest.  I still depend on them for dinner.
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Now, back on the review track...I really wasn't planning to watch the Law & Order season premiere, but it happened to be there, and I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to watch TV in the living room with various family members.  So...thoughts on that.

I'm not even going to bother trying to round up titles, because they mean nothing to me. 

18.1 (Dr. Kevorkian Lingard)
Give me a minute for a giggle fit at how fitting it is that Grima Wormtongue should be playing L&O's version of Dr. Death.  Okay, I'm good.  [Warning!  Next three paragraphs contain possibly-ill-informed-and/or-supported controversy; skip/skim as necessary]

Next let's get the inevitable morality debate out of the way: This topic is guaranteed to get my mom and I into a huge fight, so I did my best to ignore it while the show was on, but I'm pretty sure I support right-to-die.  My irrational fear of God means it's probably not an option I personally would pursue, but in principle, I would like the option to be there.  Of course, I'm also someone who very matter-of-factly subscribes to the theory that dying is not big deal because life itself is not particularly special, so I'm not qualified to dispense wisdom on the subject.  Am I going to chip in my two cents anyway?  Hell yes.

I mean, when physical pain is so bad that no medication can properly subdue it, isn't forcing people to live crueler?  That's what we say about our dogs and cats; sometimes putting them down is a kindness.  And we can't even get their opinion on it.   I can assure you that my cat's death was, and my dog's eventual death will be, the most devastating event of my life, but in the former's case I still understood it to be the best option.  The only ones that will surpass those in terms of grief will be my parents.  That being said, if they'd had time to consider it and said this was what they wanted, I feel like I'd learn to accept it and say my goodbyes.  Or accept it as much as I'd accept the disease shortening things in the first place, anyway.

Euthanasia-as-an-option put into practice, I understand, leads to a death-happy society full of people like Peter Singer (and despite just placing pet and human euthanasia on the same scale there, I like to think I am still not quite on the same level as him), along with added pressure to nudge over people who might not have considered it on their own, and a host of messy issues that, combined, are probably enough cause to keep it illegal.  But I think I view it more in the "marijuana" category of illegal, and can't seem to find it in me to get all blustery and outraged like our good detectives and lawyers did.

Speaking of our good detectives and lawyers, let's talk about all the changes there.

Cyrus Lupo: I was all set to dislike him, and that was even before I heard his loopy name.  One, I was good and pissed about the loss of Nina, my favorite detective to date (I'm a big fan of the fresh young faces in crime drama.  Sometimes.  When it suits me.  Mostly whenever they're not super-prodigies and/or redeemed moles).  Two, I didn't even see last season's finale and I'm still annoyed that Sisto guest-starred as a different character on it.  I didn't think anyone could top CSI bringing back a former criminal to play a lab rat, but here you go!  Three, while his thick and curly hair is template-perfect, for some reason he just looks scruffy and unkempt.  Maybe if he shaved properly...

But then they just had to go and give him character development right off the bat, in spades.  The shock of such a thing on Law & Order: Original (Plain) Flavor knocked me flat.  Suddenly I'm all intrigued by the apparent dissonance between the brothers and the manner of his relationship to his sister-in-law ...I swear this has nothing at all to do with my previous experience with Caines.  Nope.  None at all.  Anyway, while he's not the worst thing to happen to the detective half of the show... *pause* No, actually, now that I think about it, he might be.  Just in rankings, I mean - I've really liked all the detectives on this series and I haven't seen enough of him to get a feel for his style on the job.  So, not particularly stand-out, but also not horrible.

Connie Rubirosa: If they were going to get rid of a woman, I'm glad it wasn't her.  I mean, Alana de la Garza = gold standard of female beauty, though the effect is somewhat severely lessened by that horrible haircut she was sporting last year.  So imagine my delight when she appears in the premiere sporting, in the apt words of TWoP, hair that "appears to have improved about a thousand percent."  It's no Marisol wave, but it's a start - volume and life and some actual style!  Give the woman some backstory/personal investment/emotion, and I might even start to care about the character.  (Alternatively, give me fanfic with any of the above and I'll count it even)

Michael Cutter (right?): You know, I've been reflecting - for as cut-and-dried as this show is, I have always enjoyed all the regular/recurring characters.  Until now!  I just find nothing likable about this guy.  This is all your fault, Fred Thompson!  Cutter is bland-looking and supremely uninteresting, except when he's annoying me by being a smug, cocky know-it-all.  It's only OK when Jack McCoy does it.

Jack McCoy: Okay, I already kind of miss his courtroom speeches, but it's interesting seeing him in this role, too.  He's more amusing.  Mostly because he's bitchier than I remember...and cranky!Jack amuses me a whole lot.  Also, he seems to find Cutter as annoying as I do.  *nods approvingly*  (I think they're trying to portray that the two men are very much alike, and yet...the Cutter hate/Jack love stands)

And now, let's talk about the actual plot!  Or...let's not.  Law & Order plots are the kind of thing you watch for entertainment and then promptly forget.  The only thing I really remember is how annoyed I got when Cutter crucified the sweet-tempered Mila on the stand by attacking her with her anti-death-penalty stance and getting her to admit that she's against it because "it's inhumane."  Because...really?  That's your reason for being against it; REALLY?  All this time, you never made the connection between the two manners of death until it was pointed out in court?  How about "I'm against it because life in prison is a better punishment."  Or even better, since you're pushing the idea of choice and personal rights, how about "I'm against it because prisoners don't want to die; it's an imposition on their will"?  Honestly.

18.2 (abduction-for-ransom, energy conspiracies)
Much more entertaining plot this time around, even though I promptly broke Rule #1 (maybe I should call it the Golden Rule) and fell in love with the opening characters.  You'd think even I would have understood that at least one of them was marked for death before the teaser, or there wouldn't be a crime to investigate...and yet!  After that did indeed happen, I thought maybe we'd at least get by with only losing the housekeeper, and keep the family intact (Rule #2: families never stay intact).  I was irrationally bitter when the mother wound up dead.  But that wasn't even the worst part of the episode.

Oh no, the worst part was the very end, where the lawyers somehow - in the stupidest turn of events EVER - manage to convince the daughter, Katie, that her mother's killer will go free unless her father testifies to his illegal activities.  This is true.  Also true is the fact that once said father testifies to said activities, he will most likely ALSO BE THROWN IN JAIL.  And when he points this out, in a rather rational manner, said daughter flips the fuck out and starts raging that she doesn't care; she'll hate him forever and ever if he doesn't testify; justice > all!  Including any semblance of a normal family life, and probably the well-to-do lifestyle to which she has been accustomed!

Time out.  I know teenagers can be stupid and irrational, but when you've just lost your mother and apparently have no siblings, wouldn't you want to cling to your father instead of basically making yourself an orphan?  (10 to 1 says she regrets her hasty decision within a few months of living with relatives) I mean, even if he wiggles out of jail - which I doubt, even if it's not for too long - I have to believe he'd not only lose his company but be slapped with fines left and right.  I somehow do not foresee fancy houses and hired help in their future.  I'm only focusing on the material aspect of it because it is something to consider, and also because I can't quite wrap my head around what sort of child demands that her father SEND HIMSELF TO PRISON in the name of love and justice.  It's not like he's a serial killer or something who's better off behind bars.  I mean, seriously, if the lawyers had given me that song and dance, I would have looked at them like they were certifiably nuts.  And then I would have turned all my ire on the ugly one for bungling the search warrant in the first place.  Hey, it's at least as rational as what she did!  (and if I were the father, I think I would have hedged my bets and chosen not to testify, on the theory that my daughter would eventually realize the error of her ways, or at least forgive me anyway.)

Speaking of that warrant (man, I am jumping all over the place here), isn't there something in the law about not needing a warrant if you have reason to suspect someone is in imminent danger?  Didn't they...sort of have that?  At least enough so that a good attorney could have spun it that way?  And if not, then couldn't Cutter have thought a little more quickly on his feet and given the judge an exact address?  Even if the patient did have Alzheimer's, I thought memories of decades ago were supposed to be fairly clear.  ALSO, can you really claim expectation-of-privacy if the place you're living in isn't supposed to be a residence?  So many things about this section of the storyline bother me.

So, other than all of the above, I really liked it!  Lots of exciting twists and turns. The detectives having to work without electricity made for interesting viewing, even though I've never experienced a power outage that lasted more than a few hours, much less going off in late afternoon and staying off until sometime the next day.  Okay, I enjoyed watching them struggle, as well as the "WoooooOOOOO - AWWwww" reaction to the lights flickering on and then off again.  The power went out once during high school, and I can assure you that our response to light-flickering was exactly the opposite.

But the absolute highlight?  The opening with Lupo, sister-in-law-whose-name-I-have-yet-to-learn, and his niece and nephew.  WAY TOO CUTE.  Both the wide-eyed kid asking if the guy in the holding cell was a bad guy, and then wondering the same about Dt. Greene, and Lupo's general demeanor with them.  MORE SCENES OF THIS NATURE, PLEASE.  See how easy, how little time that took?  Wonderful.

Quotes of the Week--
Jack: What do you do for fun, juggle chainsaws?

I guess that's about it.  I would like to say that I"m not going to watch this season religiously, but once CSI: NY burns off the remainder of its episodes...well, it's a possibility.  Man, the strike was supposed to take away my TV in semester 2 so I could focus on my classes, and instead I'm just finding replacements.  I'm already planning to tune into Medium's premiere on Monday, and possibly Law & Order: CI once it's on network TV...NBC, stop owning my soul!
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Finally, climb into the Wayback Machine...because I just realized that I never saw the final pre-strike episode of How I Met Your Mother, "The Platinum Rule."  How ridiculous!  Setting a course for December 9th, 2007...

Miracle of miracles, the thing was still on the Inner Tube.  Having finally watched it, I don't know that I agree with TV Squad about it being one of the greatest episodes ever, but it surpassed "The Yips" by leaps and bounds.  It had a very "classic HIMYM" feel to it, even if the repetition does get a little old and "The Ironman" killed any appetite I might have had on sight.  (I do not understand how he held any appeal at all.  I know there are such things as cute hockey players; my high school was full of them.  Keith does not fit the bill).

Barney's Platinum Rule ("Love thy neighbor, but never ever love thy neighbor") was great; I love when he comes up with one of his random catch phrases and then launches into a long and vividly illustrated explanatory story about its origins.  Somehow I feel like 2030 Ted fails to capture the awesomeness in his retelling of the scenario, so I'm glad we get to hear it firsthand.  Especially loved Barney desperately throwing himself against the door to keep Ted from leaving before he's finished, and when that doesn't work, resorting to the much more failsafe method of - gasp! - messing up Ted's hair!  That is, in a pattern that he did not specifically and painstakingly pull out of place section by section. 

Good to hear that Ted's going to get rid of that tattoo - which I flat-out refuse to call a "tramp stamp" because prior to this episode, I'd always been under the impression that a lower-back tattoo was one of the better places to get one; sort of flirty and feminine but also easily covered by normal clothes, unlike an arm chain or something - but I have to raise an eyebrow that he wouldn't even stop to consider possible non-Barney-related reasons that dating your current doctor might be less than okay.  Maybe he's been watching medical dramas.  And despite that, I'm confused as to why the doctor herself would assume he was asking her to the movie as a friend, since - unless I'm deeply mistaken - he only met her recently.   Ugh, details.

Marshall & Lily's frustration with the new neighbors was hysterical, especially when said neighbors always managed to pop up just as they left the apartment.  Marshall: "It's freakin' supernatural!"  Words cannot express how hard I laughed when they finally climbed down the fire escape to avoid them, only to turn around and scream as they turned up in the alleyway too.  However, the best parts of the episode were:
1) "Don't kill the bar" (really, it was the bevy of voices all pleading simultaneously in varying tones that made this so great...it was like odd sort of choral piece)

2) Marshall calmly handing Barney a napkin to wipe off his hands after messing up Ted's hair.  Hah!  I do not understand why guys slather product all over their hair, anyway.  It doesn't look cool (I personally hate spikes, no matter how small), and obviously it feels gross, thereby destroying your date's desire to get anywhere near enough to touch it.  Now that I think about it, any guy I should date in the future is hereby expressly banned from using anything except shampoo and rinse-out conditioner. 
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