Medium, 4x11, "Ladykiller" (a.k.a Rosanna Arquette guest-stars)
Also, because I finally learned how to make screen captures, I am going to pepper this review with visual proof of its Cute Factor. I do not foresee making this a regular thing because I hate dealing with images, HATE IT, but Medium needs more love than most shows.
One of the things that drove me away from this show in the first place was its penchant for the over-the-top surreal, so this 4th-wall-testing idea of having her character narrate her plan to the camera, even given that this all took place within Allison's dreams, was weird and annoying. Also, in my hypocritical way, I'm cool with the violence and gore but OH MY HOLY LORD, WHAT WAS WITH THE EXCESSIVE SMUTTINESS THIS WEEK?! I am not accustomed to seeing women straddle half-naked men to have their wicked way, and I am certainly not accustomed to hearing moaning (and other assorted sounds) on this show! Disapproving RS does not approve.
Of course, I was pretty impressed by the body with like, 500 nails shot into it. That was cool. And while I thought it pretty obvious that the author wasn't the killer - if only because Bones already explored this idea - I also never suspected the twist being that it was a man using the seduction tricks in the book. That was different. I was going for a much more elaborate angle, where someone had made themselves up to look like the author before going out and killing people. Even looking right at her, I was struck with doubt that maybe "Charisma Kennedy" and the woman from the teaser were different people. I just wish they'd been a little more efficient with the scene where we figured that out - could the guy have rambled any longer? We got it by halfway through his monologue. By the time he actually said "No one's ever lived to regret it," I just groaned and threw something at the TV.
In other news, Devalos is back at full strength, and is as boring as ever. I kept wandering out into the kitchen to check on the progress of my supper during scenes with him. Also, the cartoon-villain status of the current D.A., always on shaky ground, reached full-fledged ridiculousness when he threw a temper tantrum upon seeing how Devalos had given his sneaky underhanded tactics the slip. Unrealistically immature and childish.
And now, for what really made the episode worthwhile: Cute Factor. (Belatedly, I realize that I did a spectacular fail job on sizing, cropping, and my attempts to make images slightly brighter. Because I find images a struggle on the best of days, I am too frustrated to spend any more time fixing them, but also too stubborn to throw them out entirely. So here they are.)
1. Ariel didn't make an appearance in this ep, which is rare, but that's okay because it meant a starring role for Marie! The adorably elfin little toddler has me completely under her spell.
Of course, she also reminded me why I don't want kids...dealing with sick children, no thank you...but from the safety of the other side of a TV screen, this was an excellent subplot. Even though Allison has a tendency to go into histrionics at the slightest hint of illness or injury among her children - even when Joe's just joking about it - she's the perfect mother when it comes to actually taking care of the sick kids. Loved the early-morning drive to the doctor. And tell me you didn't melt all over the place when she was saying goodbye to Marie for the evening.
3. Joe + Bridgette + homework is always fun, especially when the former is being cranky and grumbling about her lack of knowledge about basic spelling rules (actually, this is the part where I decided he was coming down with something. Cases I cannot predict, but domestic storylines, I'm right there).
Joe: I before E except after C.
Bridgette: Can't you just tell me how to spell it?!
His glower is priceless, as is Bridgette telling her mother she's welcome to take him with her. "He's being kinda grouchy anyways."
Love her pulling up his stubborn chin to kiss him goodbye, too. :)
(Sidebar: Is it just me, or does Joe always have a beer bottle in hand or next to him in every scene that takes place in the evening? Not that I think it's a problem, I just think it's interesting. And clearly a bit distracting. Perhaps they could do away with that bit of detail for a while.)
4. Marie sleeping between Joe and Allison may be my favorite use of a bed scene ever.
Joe: Well, this little one was exhausted from screaming...and me, I was exhausted from trying to calm her down.
Allison: Poor thing.
Joe: Oh, I'm okay.
Also, FACT: male characters can always achieve/improve swoon-worthiness by carrying their sleeping daughter to her bed. There should be a picture here, but I'm beginning to get sick of the scene replaying while I try to grab just the right moment - I told you I hate dealing with images - so use your imaginations.
5. On second thought, this is still the best use of a bed scene. #1 reason to watch this show: because they do this all the time. I've actually forgotten the specific context; I've just been staring at this and going "aw."
7. Third-place finisher in the 4.11 Cute Olympics goes to the final scene, where Joe's finally caught Marie's ear infection (you knew that was coming too), and Allison has another baby to take care of. How cute was he with his head literally pillowed in Allison's lap, watching TV at the end there?
In retrospect, none of these pictures are nearly as good as the video. I guess you'll just have to go watch it for yourself. NBC is kind enough to put them on their website in full. Or you can go to That TV Website. (if I don't name it, I can't jinx it!)
American Idol - Top 8 Contestants
Theme: Inspirational Songs. This has the potential to go very badly.
Michael - "Dream On"
AWESOME. I didn't recognize it at first, and then I heard him get into the chorus and "dream until your dreams come true" and squealed all over the place. I LOVE this song! (or its chorus, anyway, which is the best part both in general and in this performance) I could have done without the screaming - there are reasons I dislike Aerosmith - but even so, Michael earns my love for another week. *cheers*
In a related note, Randy, shut up. I'm so tired of people trying to define what this show is or isn't about. It means different things to different people. Pursuing dreams is a very valid definition for the contestants, methinks. I just wish Michael hadn't been forced to explain his own dream three times.
WAIT, RYMON. Was that dirty somehow?
Simon: I actually don't have any Chihuahuas, Ryan.
Ryan: Take a tight shot, you'll see.
(Simon: *blank face*)
Syesha - "I Believe"
Oh, God. Syesha, when I told you not to go to that Melinda place, THAT PLACE USED TO BE CALLED THE FANTASIA PLACE. And Idol, when I said that "songs by previous contestants" would be a great theme, I didn't really have Fantasia in mind, since I spend almost as much time trying to forget that she won as I do trying to forget Taylor Hicks. Anyway. To her credit, Syesha was not nearly as irritating as Miss Barrino singing this, but alas, I just do not like this style. I think we should all rally about and get rid of her this week, not because I especially dislike her, but because in comparison to everyone else, I'm increasingly disinterested.
Jason - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
I hate this song. I have hated this song ever since I was 7 years old and listening to my AWESOME Reggae for Kids tape, and this slow, boring song would come on and bore me to tears. The only thing I dislike about Katharine McPhee is her adoration for this song. How did Jason do? Um, he made me forget that I'd ever heard this song before, that's how he did. I didn't OMG LOVE IT, or anything, but the soft, hushed tone of his voice was beautiful and the lilting little melody carried me along. Paula says he has "the most definitive sound," and for one, she is speaking in completely coherent English and not crazy talk. I am beginning to think that if he doesn't make top 2, or at least top 3, my life will be ruined.
Kristy Lee - "Anyway"
God, she's so pretty. I'd kill to look like her. And I will never stop loving her endless supply of sparkly gold/silver tank tops. (Not sure of the color since I'm being forced to watch this on YouTube and the quality is terrible. Stupid group project last night.) "Anyway!" Didn't love the song, but she gave a tender and emotive performance, and then really brought it to life when she cut loose and moved to the front of the stage. This is one case where instead of being hokey and stupid, the song really did sound inspirational. Simon said she looked like a star, and took the words right out of my mouth, because I was about to say that she sounded like she was singing a finale song.
They come back from a commercial break, and one of those Satan executives is sitting in Simon's lap. I think. It makes no sense at all, and makes me wonder if I'm seeing things. What the hell is in this Diet Coke Plus?
Porky Pig - "Innocent"
His hair looks clean in that video! They must have forcibly washed it in the hospital. I am now making myself smile by thinking about him being laid up in hospital beds, because my feelings of violent loathing are back in full force. This song is stupid and dull and I HATE IT when they come to sing in the audience/right in front of the judges. Voluntarily pimping Idol Gives Back does not help.
Carly - "Show Must Go On"
Is it just me, or has there been a particular preponderance of Queen songs this year? I feel like one pops up at least once every other week. I've never heard this one before, before but I am mesmerized by how alluring she looks when singing. Some people who are great singers look really weird and/or awkward when they sing live, JOSH GROBAN, but she just looks amazing. The gross, gross, gross, horrible carnie tattoo ruins the effect every time the camera pulls back, but when it's close-up on her face, she's mysterious and enchanting. I love her performances. In saying that, I'm sure I just jinxed it all.
David - "Angels"
He's still 100% High School Talent Show, and not very interesting overall, but he was channeling Clay Aiken in his best ballad mode for this one, so I have to admit that it was one of his better performances.
Brooke - "You've Got a Friend"
Oh! I am being struck with unexpected waves of nostalgia; I think this is one of those songs I heard when I was a wee little child, prior to middle school. This is important because we didn't have a lot of pop music around the house then; Mom didn't listen to the radio much and Dad always had it tuned to public radio, and I didn't have a radio of my own so I didn't really know what pop music was in elementary school (I had tapes of kids' music and Disney soundtracks). But there were some songs my parents played off CDs that sank into my consciousness. The Taylor version of this, I think, was one of them.
So, anyway...wow, that was so boring I forgot to write about it, and skipped straight to the next section.
In retrospect: Nobody blew me away this week; Michael and Jason were probably the best, and Jason and Carly are still my favorites overall.
Tomorrow Ten minutes from now, Idol Gives Back inexplicably tries to start half an hour early rather than just, I don't know, either cramming it into 2 hours or pushing back the news, and I try not to throw up at any point as I force myself to watch it for...reasons I'm not actually sure of, but probably involve Miley Cyrus.
Firstly: I hate Idol gives back. I want to make this very clear; I hate Idol Gives Back. Charity demonstrations like this do not emotionally move me, the way all the reviewers claim it does them. I don't care how many poor, sad, soulful children give testimonials and cry on camera. I don't care if their little chins wobble in a valiant effort to put forth a brave face. Nor do I care how many shell-shocked celebrities turn their Very Serious Faces on in abject horror at these terrible, terrible living conditions that they just couldn't imagine until they saw them firsthand. Ostentatious charity demonstrations will always leave a bad taste in my mouth. They will make me roll my eyes. They will make me arch my eyebrow skeptically, going "Really? REALLY?" as I question the actual severity of some of the various Tragedies.
I bet you thought that paragraph was a prelude to the part where I ate my words and admitted that part of tonight deeply affected me, right? Well, you would be wrong.
This was just as unbearable as last year...in fact, it was worse, because this is exactly the kind of crap I've been putting up with in Miserable Class of Death all semester. I am sick of thinking about whether we have an ethical obligation to help other people, especially people in foreign countries. I am particularly sick of hearing about Africa, a continent which I am rapidly beginning to wish would just sink into the ocean so as to take its endless and seemingly unfixable problems with it. I never want to hear the word "global" again. In short, any time I am forced to think about other people, I find that I hate them. That part is just me being bitchy with a cold, cold heart of stone, but honestly, charity drives gross me out.
Why did I watch it? Because it's Idol, and it amuses me. Because it promised several hours of events, and like the Grammys and the Oscars, I enjoy multi-hour extravaganzas. It's kind of like going to a party. And because, not unlike the Grammys, I was interested in maybe seeing some good song performances. No matter how awful the overall tone, there are always a few golden nuggets. Let's get those out of the way first.
The Good/Mostly Good
1. Allow me to quote myself: "SYTYCD OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PASHA LACEY BENJI LAUREN NEIL TRAVIS DONYELLE HOK AND HIS CREW, OH MY GOD!" Literally, I just could not stop squealing. I was jumping up and down and clapping my hands as each new person came out; they covered all three seasons in there - mostly the latter two, but year 1's winner Nick got some prominent center-stage spots. I am SO GLAD that I realized the show was starting early, because this far and away the best part of the entire night. Everybody, please watch SYTYCD with me this summer, because you can see performances like this every week, and it is SO MUCH MORE AMAZING than the show you're watching now.
Also, Ryan dancing along with them at the end was a thing of much LOL.
2. Ah, Miley Cyrus. I'm afraid I can't muster up quite the same unequivocal love for her that I do for Hilary Duff; she's much less interesting and more irritatingly hyperactive, but I still like her. The fact that I wasn't actually too enthused with her first song means nothing - there are plenty of great singers who only have one song I like (and that song would be "See You Again," so I'm glad she did that one too). It's all about the personality/personal characteristics. This is what American Idol is about.
Specifically, though I would like to point out that the girl is 15. FIFTEEN. And you people whine about their youth when contestants are 16 and 17! Miley was the most entertaining performer they had booked for the entire night, and thus makes a perfect example of why I tell Idol to knock it off with raising the age limit all the time and demanding "more mature" sound. In my world, the best acts break out in their teens.
Oh, and as for the second song - I killed "See You Again" with overplay, as I do because I can only seem to fall in love with 5 or 6 songs I want to listen to at a time, but I sure loved it while it was there. And, okay, the performance was a bit strange, the way she kept trying kind of seduce the camera, and then she randomly grabbed her ass at one point? I...wasn't aware this song was excessively sexy. I keep focusing on the line "My best friend Leslie says," so the only mental picture I form is of, like,12-year-olds giggling and blushing when their crush talks to them. I'm not sure what all the intense staring into the camera was for. Still. Good song.
3. I really dislike Jimmy Kimmel; however, his monologue was funny. Unfortunately I accidentally deleted all the quotes I had, so I'll leave it at that.
4. "I don't think I've ever heard Gloria Estefan sing before. She's vaguely familiar OMG PASHA DMITRY JESSIE FLAIL FLAIL FAIL!!! *is promptly distracted by SYTYCD dancers*"
Why yes, my squealing probably could be heard in the apartment above. I was giddy with delight, and completely tuned out the rest of Ms. Estefan's song to focus on the glorious twisty waist spins and other assorted ballroom glory going on in the background. I was glad to see them once; twice was amazing.
5. SEASONS OF LOVE!!! ALL IS FORGIVEN. *ADORES BEYOND MEASURE* And, er, actually it wasn't as great as it sounded at first. The addition of a gospel choir just made it one big mess of noise, and even some of the Idols in the beginning sounded way too low for the song, but I ignored all the bad in favor of the fact that I adore this song, and it was just the most perfect and amazing group song they could have picked.
6. Um...I kind of want to visit this place in Kentucky now. This was the only Let's Visit the Poor People segment I liked, and I swear not just because it was Miley's bit. Impoverished it might be, but it doesn't incite seething irritation like the pictures of ravished Africa or filthy inner-city ghetto suburbs. This rural place, it is more rustic than anything. The scrubby yards and trailers - or sometimes even old houses - with hilly woods behind them intrigue me. I'm fascinated. I kind of want to write a novel set in a place like this; not that I have ideas, but it's the kind of place I inexplicably want to immerse myself in until I get a feel for what life there is like, and then set about creating characters to play with there. Somehow I doubt this was the video's intended message, but at least I didn't stomp out of the room like I did during every other video package. Clay County! It intrigues and fascinates me!
7. Man, I think I support the building of those homes in New Orleans. Much less ugly than most of the cookie cutter homes here.
1. Why is Teri Hatcher singing? No, seriously, why? I do not understand. It is stupid and ridiculous, and even though I do love "Before He Cheats," Teri just sounds awful. Why is this not in the "bad" section? Because JESSE FREAKING SPENCER was playing violin. At least, I think he was. I was not aware he possessed this talent, but it's hot. And it reminds me how much I miss Chase.
2. ...how sad is it, exactly, that this is the fiist time I've ever seen the U.K.'s Prime Minister? (And, um, possibly the first time I learned his name?) World leadership is complicated. Blair and Chirac were in charge of their respective countries when I gained consciousness of other governments (and...those were really the only two I ever heard about anyway), and those are still the only names I am able to keep in my head.
3. Daughtry came on. I left to go buy a soda.
1. Snoop Dogg? Really? REALLY, CHILDREN + RAP? That is the hardest recipe for fail I have ever seen in my life.
2. OH GOD, REDNECK MURPHY. Guys, when you watch SYTYCD, I apologize in advance that she will be there every week, doing that. Just...use the mute button. And as you can see, Nigel will be there, and he will be adorable and make up for everything. Even the deafening screaming. In a related note, do you even realize how much that made me not want to give money? I just started thinking "We do not negotiate with terrorists." *snaps wallet shut*
3. Did they actually make the Idols man the phones? Wow, that is...that is some forced volunteerism right there, and I don't care how smiley and happy they looked while doing it, I am infuriated on their behalf.
4. Sometimes I think I might not hate Fergie if she'd broken into the music scene with songs like this. Unfortunately, no matter how hard she tries to redeem herself as a serious singer, she will always be that stupid tramp who's proud of being able to spell multisyllabic words, and I will always HATE HER. Not to mention that the NOISE she made on that infuriating scream of a ntoe that went on for like 8 seconds made me want to hurl my remote through the screen.
5. Some band/female duo. I think that might have been Heart? Weird. Never seen them before. Never even heard of them except when people sing their songs on this show. They look old and sad. Like moms who climbed onstage during their childrens' high school talent show. Having Fergie join them...made things worse.
6. I tire of Africa. Stupid cultures and attitudes; no wonder they're dropping like flies from AIDS. (these are things I gleaned from Miserable Class of Death; definitely not the intended points of the readings/videos we've covered, but those are the points I heard). Stop visiting prostitutes! (and wait, if you're all starving to death, how do you have money for prostitutes?!) Stop shunning people who have the disease, which makes them not tell people and sometimes not even get tested, and keep putting everyone else at risk!
I don't understand how anyone in Africa thinks it's safe to have children, honestly, given that these campaigns are always about the orphans, and every family has like ten of them. Yep, I'm getting bitterly sarcastic again, and I freely admit that I am poorly informed on this subject, but these the conclusions I'm drawing from what's being shown.
Wait, I'm sorry, now Annie Lennox is weeping all over the place and sobbing about how these poor children shouldn't have to deal with this, "they should be carefree"! Oh, for goodness sakes. If they didn't have disease and poverty, they'd be like me, crushed under the pressure of schoolwork and future career choices. Everyone has reasons for misery, and in context they are equally valid. Besides, the U.S. has its own problems, and I don't just mean the poor section. It's not like Africa is the only country with orphans here, dammit. We have murders and car crashes and people dying left and right from complications due to smoking and obesity. Nobody has to die from those either, Annie. THE POINT: Just because they're dressing it up that way doesn't mean Africa is the biggest tragedy to end all tragedies in the history of time. FOR EXAMPLE, my ethics textbook just told me that smoking causes more deaths worldwide than any communicable disease, including HIV/AIDS. CHEW ON THAT.
(you can tell I'm hot under the collar because those two paragraphs were actually written in full while I watched the show. Normally I can only concentrate on long stuff after the fact. The next one was, too)
7. It always pains me to see Simon visit the starving plebians; it's more uncomfortable than anything else on this show and ARE WE GOING TO GO ON ABOUT HEALTH CARE AGAIN? We are, aren't we. If not right now, the internet is going to erupt in renewed passion for it's just OMG AWFUL that we don't have a national health care system, and look what happens without it, and seriously. We have free/greatly-reduced-cost clinics. He's visiting one right now. Nobody gets kicked out to die on the street. If you have an imminently life-threatening illness/injury, you will get help. I am ill informed on this subject too, but I know enough to know national health care? Do not want.
Anyway...God, this is annoying. (Also, at one point someone ended their plea for money saying "You're giving to the children!" That was the part where I actually did something between a laugh and a retch, by which I mean that I found the statement so stupid I started to laugh outright, and then I was overcome with nausea and gagged).
8. The part where they started talking about malaria caused me to erupt in long strings of Caps Lock (and Bolding) Of Rage, so let me condense it: stop talking about malaria nets. Just shut up about it; people do not live their lives beneath nets; this is not the most effective solution. Get some DDT and kill the effing mosquitoes in the first place. As a bonus, you'll be able to stop freaking out about the lack of sufficient medication for the infected people.
9. One semi-niggling point of complaint about Clay County: what is this nonsense about families not being able to afford books? The hell; you don't have libraries in Kentucky? How about at school; does your school not have a library? Are you the only place in the country that doesn't have thrift stores, garage sales and the like, where used books get sold for a quarter or two? New books are ridiculously priced; even I can't afford them on my budget. But books in general are ridiculously, amazingly, ludicrously cheap and frankly rather easy to come by. I don't understand why you need them provided by charity.
10. Also, it saddens and worries me the way all of the poor-U.S. segments kept blathering about how education was key and we needed to hurl more money at schools. Because...REALLY? All the tax money we funnel towards schools, and they're still totally failing our kids? I am saddened and worried about the state of our country.
11. Man. Do you remember when Robin Williams was funny, instead of just a sad little old man trying to be funny? :(
12. Was Mariah always that skinny? Holy crap. I didn't even recognize her. The point, though, is that she is really dull and boring, and I still do not understand how she sells records out the wazoo. Then she just got even worse; she not only had a freakin gospel choir, SHE STARTED SCREAMING. I hate when people scream into microphones. SCREAMING: IT IS NOT SINGING. Sucktastic!
13. I hate when they dress the Idols in all white. It makes them look like cult members. And that last song was really boring.
Some Celebrities I Like
Aw, Maria Schriver. She's like Laura Bush, a ball of sweetness and sunshine who makes me smile every time I see her.
I like Celine Dion. So it's too bad she is this year's Madonn, stiff and robotic as all get out while reciting her lines.
Aww, Ellen, I wish you'd been able to host again. I love you. *hugs*
Whoopi Goldberg: made of win.
More Celebrities I Do Not
Explain to me why George Lopez is doing his announcement in Spanish. *punches*
Hello, Kylie Minogue. I look forward to watching you die aboard the Titanic.
That guy from WWE? Is the grossest human being I have ever seen in my life. He makes me regret eating dinner every time I see him.
Ben Stiller sucks, and is not funny. ("And I see a schmaltzy video montage of poor people is starting now, so I'm walking out of the room.")
Jonas Brothers, what? Why? *does not understand* (despite the fact that they are teenagers and should thus theoretically win my approval)
Billy Crystal? Really? I still can't figure out why he's famous when he's so frickin' irritating. And all I know of When Harry Met Sally is that scene, said knowledge of which makes me wonder why it is not considered the biggest piece of crap ever produced in Hollywood.
Oh look, the Beckhams. I feel I should applaud the longevity of their celebrity marriage. But they lost me sometime around that gross photo shoot.
Annie Lennox creeps me out a lot. Also, she freaked me out with that "HIV positive" shirt. Is she HIV positive? Why don't I know this? Or is she just one of those really irritating people who wears crap like that to draw attention to their cause?
Sarah Silverman is very pretty; I hate that she's such a gross person. And this is actually the first time I've heard her speak. Her voice is much whinier than I expected, nasally, like Fran Drescher. I guess it matches her personality.
Tyra Banks is Satan.
IN CONCLUSION: So You Think You Can Dance contestants were amazing; a handful of things were mediocre; and the majority of the two hours and forty minutes were a big fat waste of time.
Also, once it crept past 9:05 (I just couldn't tear myself away from The Suck), I was officially too late to watch CSI: NY as it aired, which meant that the last of my spoiler resistance reserves ran out, and I cracked and had to go find out how the Danny/Lindsay thing went down - damn your early airings, Canada! Damn you! - and now I don't even know what to say. I foresee wasting the rest of the night waiting for it to pop up online, because I've got to see this thing for myself. After that, I don't even know how I'm going to begin wrapping my brain around it.