I completely blame my mother for this, since tied with American Idol, this is her favorite show. Back when it originally premiered, the crime-solving/psychic premise sounded good to me, but I immediately found myself bored to tears and never watched it again...until she started dragging me into it last spring while I was home. The story arc of the last few episodes last year was pretty compelling, and gradually I stopped being all "I hate her stupid boring family" and instead became "Squee! Can I have a Joe?" There's something refreshing about the fact that her children - 2 beautiful girls and one putzy, bratty girl - fall outside of the usual demographics for TV kids; they're neither babies nor late high school/college teenagers. (currently in preschool, elementary, and 9th grade...I think) In other words, aside from Allison's regular psychic dreams about crime scenes, they are about the most accurate representation of a normal suburban family as you can get.
Also: as previously mentioned, her husband is pretty much everything you could ask for. Handsome, devoted, loving, funny, and a fantastic dad. They don't look it on the surface, but he and Allison are really quite adorable together. Oh! In addition to many, many a conversation taking place in the kitchen during breakfast/the getting-ready-for-school rush, which satisfies all my craving for domesticity, since she wakes up at night from her vision-mares at least twice per episode, there are actually enough spooning/cuddling/snuggling scenes to satisfy even me.
4.1 "And Then."
Pre-show: I did not think there could be anything more annoying than a narrator recapping important segments of last season. I was quite mistaken: you can go interview random people on the street and ask THEM to recap it. Worst idea ever. Other than that...
Firstly: ARIEL'S HAIR. Oh God, what beautiful princess (or perhaps in her case, mermaid?) hair she had. I feel like this is inevitably going to end up with her chopping into an unholy bob, or something similarly soul-crushing, but right now she has beautiful blonde Renaissance waves past her waist. I just sat there in a hypnotic trance for her entire first scene, possibly making small purring noises like a cat at its beauty and dreaming of getting my hair back to that length. See, this is what long hair is. Anything much shorter is simply "medium" (and 'short' covers anything that doesn't touch the shoulders) And yes, yes, I have a Thing about hair; we all know this.
The rest of Ariel's storyline was much more annoying. I loved her trying out for The Sound of Music, desperate to be one of those apparently rare freshman to land a lead (accomplished!), and her cheerful friend with the pretty red hair is my new favorite minor character, but I did not love Ariel being all WRACKED WITH GUILT that she got the part over a girl who technically sang better. I particularly despise the fact that, after spending the whole episode raving about how she was just born to play this role, she decided that Brooke "really was" Maria. (Me: Yeah, Maria from 'West Side Story.' SORRY. BUT ALSO TRUE) and basically relinquished the part. And why she did she relinquish it? Because she stumbled upon Brooke, in the most obnoxious and contrived scene ever, ever-so-conspicuously sitting alone in the darkened auditorium (instead of, you know, home), playing sad piano and singing a most pitiful version of "My Favorite Things."
Yeah, like she wasn't just waiting for someone to come along and discover her. I swear I could almost see a spotlight on her, and was just waiting for to start delivering a soliloquy - "Oh, Woe is Me! I am but a poor, heartbroken young starlet! For alas, my dreams have been crushed, extinguished like a dying star, insignificant in the vast galaxy - oh, hello! Didn't see you standing there!" Dude. I acknowledge that she was a better singer, but that doesn't mean Ariel wasn't good. It's Brooke's own fault that she let herself get psyched out; parts don't always go to the very best people, or Kirsten Dunst wouldn't be ruining "Elizabethtown" for me. She was only a sophomore anyway; she'll still have two more chances to beat Ariel for a musical lead before she graduates.
Oh, and rest assured I will have Things To Say about the weird editing sequence with that song at the end of the episode. I'm just holding off.
Aside from that, I loved it. Is it stunt casting to hire a big-name movie star for your series? Whatever; I don't care, because Anjelica Houston is a fantastic actress and I already love her as Cynthia here.
I don't like the new D.A., but Devalo is not one of my favorite characters either, so his only having one small scene = two thumbs up.
The case was gripping and compelling - starting with a clown puppet lure was creepy enough, but never has a shot from the knees-down of some odd dancing-in-place, followed by the simple dropping of jeans to the floor been so sinister or so sickening. True, it was helped along by the fact that there was a little boy being held in a cage was simultaneously grinning and apparently enjoying the music and dancing, no idea of what was in store. The power of this scene is all in its undertones; there's nothing to see except in imagination, and that works beautifully. But when Scanlon later finds the little boy's body...that works too. The macabre image of Ben's gray form, bloodied around the mouth, stuffed into a doll box and buried behind rows of other (seriously eerie) doll overstock was stunning - literally, in an I'm-too-stunned-to-move way. The internet has apparently exploded with outrage over how brutal, graphic and unnecessary that sight was, and SHAME on NBC for being so callous, and yada yada yada, didn't we just have this discussion about dogfighting on CSI?
I would have been incredibly disappointed if, after all that ominous leadup in the creepy, creepy storage attic, we hadn't gotten to see the final result. It was horrifying, but in the way a good horror movie is horrifying. If this makes me evil, I apologize, but part of the thrill comes from being confronted with the worst in human nature. And you have to admit that the way the creep hid the body - presumably planning to dispose of it when he came back to collect the dead rats - was a stroke of genius. Cruel and sadistic genius, yes, but still. Or maybe it was obvious to him once he got up there, and I should be praising the writers for coming up with something that complex? No wait, that's right, in a show of solidarity with the non-whiners, I refuse to credit writers with any sort of praise as long as they refuse to work.
Oh, and speaking of that stupid song - why, exactly, was she singing it like a dirge? I was, strangely enough, under the impression that this was a happy song. And it was irritating as hell the way they kept cutting back forth between her singing (looking intensely angry, I might add - also annoying) and the slow reveal/capture of the Evil Exterminator. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And that doesn't even take into account how eBay commercials have ground a deep and permanent hatred of the song into my soul.
Bah, enough with the case; back to family! The putzy, bratty girl (Bridgette?), she did get in a couple of good lines - a wonderfully sarcastic "Yeah, it's tough looking like you" directed towards her older sister, and waking up her parents by alternately poking them in the shoulder with Eeney Meeney Miney Moe to see which of the unemployed would drive her to school - but there is a reason I can't stand her, and it has to do largely with the fact that she's always stuffing her face. Literally. (this episode, it was peanut butter smeared all around her mouth with more heaped liberally on her toast - leaving none for her poor waif of a little sister) It's blatant and obnoxious, and I wish it would stop.
To close this on a happy note, the bit I rewound incessantly was bedtime after their respective terrible days collecting unemployment and having credit cards declined. Although interrupted by the disturbing boy-in-cage dream, which is less fun to see over and over again unless you close your eyes and pretend it's just music, the scenes immediately preceding and following it are the best of the night. Mostly because I will just never not love the routine climbing into bed, pillow talk, and nestling down to sleep, things I dream about on all my other shows where bedroom scenes without sex only happen once in a blue moon...but here I specifically love the kiss, her pulling his arm around her before closing her eyes, and the sleep-roughened voice asking what's wrong when she jerks awake with a gasp (so routine by now that he barely opens his eyes, but always soothing - also, arm touch and tucking hair behind ear. These two take on the Checklist of Cute like it's a weekly to-do list. *loves*)
Also, today I read my first fanfic and then hunted YouTube videos for an overdose of never-before-seen DuBois sweetness (oh so many moments, made all the more tempting by the fact that I only get silent glimpses in music videos and have no dialogue to match up). Does this mean I'm toying around the idea of entering the fandom? Does the fact that I fully intend to watch this next week and save CSI: Miami for later tell you anything about how hard I've fallen for it?
ALSO! Filed under "things that were not part of my original plan last night," in a desperate attempt to flee both "The Biggest Loser" and finishing the above review, I headed over to FOX and watched the pilot of Bones, an episode which I had never seen. It is is amazing! Booth's practical joke at the beginning was hysterical. Angela's less compelling than usual, for some reason...less snappy banter, maybe, and I could swear her voice is different - softer, younger? Then again, I've really only ever seen her as Hodgins' girlfriend, so maybe she's just one of those characters I find useless unless they can bring me Cute Scenes.
-Booth's appearance has not changed one bit in the past three years (we're sure he never called himself 'Angel', right?)
-where the strong side support for Angela/Booth shipping comes from
-Goodman was capable of funny lines ("What's the rule?" "You only talk to PhD's." That's right, Zack.) but in general was actually as annoying as Cam (for different reasons...mainly, he was boring),
Also, Bones says "I don't know what that means" WAY too often, and the close talking between her and Booth at the end was...unsettling, and killed my B/B shipping tendencies. But overall, the case was compelling and I really wish that this show hadn't premiered before online streaming was implemented, because if there hadn't been a timeslot clash, I would have watched it and I bet if I'd seen this, I would have been hooked from the get-go.
Some of the new things I learned were:
-House really did hire Cameron in part because she was good-looking, and that conversation was not just an element of bad!fic (which just goes to show you how bad some fic can be, when it can't even novelize a canon conversation in a realistic manner)
-Foreman really did have a record (...right?), and that House's constant jokes about crime are not entirely grounded in racist stereotype.
-Why they break into peoples' homes instead of nicely asking for permission and/or a key (I still don't see why they can't ask as a courtesy, and then go behind their back if the answer is no. It's not like the person can do much from a hospital bed)
-Cuddy should never wear glasses again, at least not THOSE glasses, because they instantly transform her from "hot" to "frumpy grandma"
-Chase was really, really ridiculously good-looking in a way I don't quite remember from season 3. It was either his hair or the fact that he didn't have Cameron attached to his face. Not sure which.
-After an hour with the Ducklings, and then seeing a preview for "new episode in 3 weeks!" featuring the Gang of Fools and immediately feeling crushing disappointing, I realize with EXTRA dismay that I officially miss the Ducklings. Bah. If you'd just hired 13 or the vet and Cole and Brennan like I wanted you to...
NH Primary Results: I'm sorry, I cannot seem to get my thoughts beyond DAMN IT.