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(plus a few other things, because I'm starting to perfect the art of speed-reviewing.)

Insert: HEY, GUESS WHAT'S NEWLY UP ON THE INTERNET?  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Condensed.  Go, read it and be euphoric!!  And/or laughing so hard your ribs break.

A. The Office: 5.04, "Crime Aid"
OK. I have reached a calming point about my feelings for this episode by the following statement: this was a pretty good episode of Office Lite - a show which is clearly inferior to the usual one - but adjusting for automatically lower quality/standards all around, there were enjoyable parts. Better than the last two weeks of Office Lite, anyway.

(nevertheless - you know, this time last year we were watching "Money." Money. You understand now, don't you, why I might be vaguely upset about the current state of cute-lacking affairs?)

The Good
1. I love when they acknowledge the camera crew. I live in eternal hope that we will actually see them someday - in fact, my favorite part of the s.4 blooper real is when another camera guy trips over something and knocks a couple of things off the wall near Pam's desk. Come on, we could totally incorporate that into the actual show! It couldn't be any worse than Dwight birthing a watermelon.

2. Dwight. My heart broke for him so many times, I lost count. Loved his stubborn, sulky refusal to talk to Phyllis, only to seek her out later and do exactly that. But when he opens he conversation with that despondent lament, "She introduced me to so many things...pasteurized milk, sheets, monotheism, presents on your birthday..."

PRESENTS ON YOUR BIRTHDAY, PEOPLE. I know the list is supposed to be sort of funny, but I have this huge lump in my throat thinking about the sentimentality of Angela giving him a birthday present for the first time. (Write me this fic now) I literally choked up at this part. He just sounds so lost. And when he asks "Why is she marrying Andy?" in a tone of legitimate bewilderment and looks like he might actually cry, I get dangerously close to tears myself. Go to hell, Andyla.

(I do understand the rationale of Andy being "not being a risk." I even like the rationale, because Angela is such a very proper 1950's woman, for the most part, and this is a very 1950's choice to make. It still makes me sad.)

3. The part where Angela lifts her chin and pointedly looks away from him when her time for the ultimatum runs out, and he just slowly turns around in his seat, completely destroyed? Killed me. The part where he complained about Phyllis trying to help him, and then abruptly realized what he'd said and looked a little bit ashamed? Killed me more. Bidding all the way up to $700.01 and then abruptly deciding "Nah, not worth it"? Priceless.

4. Dwight referring to Andy, with no small amount of disgust, as "that singing buffoon" was THE SINGLE GREATEST PHRASE HE HAS EVER UTTERED. Be still my heart! I think I spontaneously fell in love a little bit.

5. Vindictively whittling a wooden knife. Yes.

6. "Nobody steals from Creed Bratton and gets away with it. The last person who did that disappeared. His name? Creed Bratton." I think I speak for all of us when I say whoa, and leave it at that. (well, except possibly for "Creed dressed as the Joker next week is now whole new levels of scary.")

7. "You know what, I would appreciate it if people would stop storming off the stage." HEE.

8. Ryan ducking low in his seat and covering his face to hide from David Wallace! So there's one person he's afraid to flaunt his shameless lack of apology in front of...I guess it's a start.

The Bad
1. I don't care how many time's I've mentioned this already, Pam's overly crisp and professional wardrobe makes me want to cry. And if I watch the cold open one more time, I'm just going to want to cry even more about Pam saying she "ran out of money." Missy, I'm taking a sociology class focused on "family and society." I'm deep in tales of woe about how debt and/or not having sufficient savings does more than anything to screw up marriages; I don't need to stress about the state of your financial affairs!

2. Particularly in the first scene, Michael and Holly sound exactly like Jim and Pam. In a way that makes me angry and grouchy and wanting to go all Interview Lady's "Cody" on their asses shouting about copyright infringement. I'm trying to take solace in the bemused and almost fond smile on Jim's faces as watches the proceedings, but it's difficult.

Me, later on: Maybe if I just shut my eyes, pretend it's actually Jim and Pam during those early days of their relationship we never got to see, and DON'T HEAR THINGS LIKE "ARE WE HAVING SEX TONIGHT"...

Michael: I'm a crazy 8! Go crazy!
Holly: "Go crazy!"
Me: OK, and I officially can't watch this anymore.
*skips forward*
*lands smack in the middle of secret!stairwell!s[omething I will totally not acknowledge is happening.]
"EWWWWWWWWWWW! OH GOD, WHY, WHY."
(on the bright side, I laughed my ass off at the next shot being of a police car outside the building. Their love is so wrong, it's literally illegal!)

Everything else about Michael/Holly disgusts me equally much.

3. Oh, no! Someone must have let Halpert play with a Time Turner; how else is it that he gets up to go with Darryl, yet a few seconds later during Creed's auction, he's right back in his seat like he never left?

4. Oscar's laptop was stolen? :( :( :(  I find this a particularly upsetting blow. It's not just a piece of hardware, you horrible thieves! It's years of irreplaceable, priceless documents, pictures, files...computer thieves deserve to burn in a special circle of hell.

(and by "computer thieves" I am clearly projecting and mean "people who create viruses that result in permanent hard drive failure," but whatever, I feel his pain all the same).

5. So Angela sounds kind of upset when she storms away from Dwight without answering his ultimatum (but only, I'm convinced, because she's so uptight about not letting the camera see anything), and all of a sudden I got this horrible image in my head of her unexpectedly crying in front of Andy later that night while refusing to say why, and him of course being really sweet and doting and comforting while she felt horribly guilty and damn it. Damn it all to hell, I kind of like it. I still won't accept any of this nonsense on my screen, but when I start accepting certain scenarios within the context of my daydreams, it tends to be a downhill slide. Grumble.

The Office
1. "The future mother of my children." SQUEEEEEEEEEEE! I'm just going to roll that sentence around on my tongue for a few hours before I get into the part where I'm annoyed.

*3 hours: pass*

OK. In case you are not fully versed in my feelings about defining "having fun" as going out to the bar with your friends and getting drunk, in a nutshell they are that I think it is the stupidest thing in the world, and cannot imagine why anyone would find either part of that even the slightest bit appealing. Especially someone in their late 20's who should know better by now.

Furthermore, the next person who hypothesizes that Pam feels like she missed out on that part of her life, and is now taking the opportunity to cut loose, will be slapped with a fish. Because I'm pretty sure you are fully versed in my feelings about ways Fancy New Beesly has changed and become more outgoing/independent.

No, I don't think Pam is going out and partying wildly every night. No, I don't think there's any reason to worry that she's going to go tripping into Lame Mad Men Dude's arms and kissing him on the lips. Neither of these stops me from hating every second we have to overhear of her sounding like an idiot. I miss Mousey Receptionist Pam from season 1! The one who was always looking down and quietly folding into herself! Drunk Pam is only cute when Sober Jim's in the room to be amused by her antics.

2. I almost forgive Pam's near-total absence in this episode just to see Jim out with the guys at the bar. He's just so at ease, fits in so naturally - it's nice to see him lose that expression somewhere between mild amusement and disdain that seems to have settled in permanently since Pam left. I like that the warehouse guys aren't crazy and Jim can actually joke around and have fun with them. Speaking of which...

3. ROY. He's the entire reason I was looking forward to this episode, and dude did not disappoint. (Though the previews did, dressing it up even more faux-dramatically than I expected - way to cut together completely separate reaction shots there)

Turns out, whatever animosity I once had toward the man is long gone. I've spent the better part of a year trying to read into seasons 1 and 2 and figure out how in the world she stayed with him so long, or indeed why she fell in love in the first place, but every so often I get little glimmers - like when he asks how Pam's doing and the first thing he does is verify that she's happy (aww). But there's a note of sadness about it, that she really is doing just fine without him. I think he still misses her. Aw, crap, now I feel the tiniest bit bad for him.

Jim/Roy interaction delights me, though, now that the latter's no longer a threat. I love that Jim pretty much cringes in anticipation, and then tries to pretend he's all nonchalant about it. And oh, the reveal of the engagement! YAY. I don't even mind that Roy felt the need to get in his dig about "I thought you were a friend." It's actually kind of a valid point to throw out there, especially from his perspective.

Besides, it gets me an insecure!Jim face. And then I remember why I don't mind that he is always the one throwing out these sweeping romantic gestures, because at heart? There will always be this little insecure part of him that's afraid this is too good to last.

5. I'm torn as to how I feel about Jim making the U-turn. I knew he'd end up doing that, and on the one hand, I was a little uncomfortable with his jumpy agitation on the way up. On the other, I was holding out hope for a cute scene! He could have made up an excuse about just wanting to see her, and it would have been sweet, in a needy way! The first hand volleys back that it's a good thing Jim is making a conscious decision not to go down the Jealous Boyfriend path, and trust each other above all else.

But the second hand wins out, because in his overzealous efforts to be the exact opposite of everything that Roy was, he's building up frustration for himself. Work is clearly horrible, he only sees her on the weekends at best, and their separation keeps mysteriously extending itself, but he's so focused on wanting her to live her dreams and enjoy herself that he's stuffing it all inside. Probably has another ulcer by this point.

(However, I have decided that I'm enjoying this angst immensely, so far as it provides daydream fodder and I don't think about how it's wasting time on TV.)

Deleted Scenes
#1. First, we're just going to ignore the twin horribleness of Pam in corporate clothes + Michael TH. Second, oh my god, those last few seconds delight my soul. I understand that it would have been hard to work this light-n-fluffy tone into the darker framework of the episode, but this is so gorgeous as a next-day bonus snippet. Jim & Pam watch DVDs together on the phone! My only complaint is with the choice of "West Wing." Come on, guys, "Doctor Who" would clearly be a better compromise. You'd get Jim's sci-fi and Pam's...Britishness. OK, maybe it seems slightly lopsided in his favor. BUT COME ON. THERE'S ALSO ROMANCE AND A VERY ATTRACTIVE MAN IN A SUIT. [edited 10/29: The irony.  It burns.]

Speaking of their TV show choices, there is a whole world of awesome in Jim choosing Battlestar Galactica that I can't even begin to mine. (someone, please, write me this backstory fic where he tries to convince her it's of dire importance for pranking Dwight, and she teases him mercilessly because that's an outright lie). But Pam choosing "Cranford" is -- OK, my first reaction was "What the hell is Cranford?" And then I looked it up on Wikipedia and ZOMG! That looks like something I'd enjoy too, and is definitely the kind of show that Pam in her Finer Things culture would appreciate.

I also love that Pam is holding her toothbrush in a cup while she films this segment. Like, why is that there? Was she on her way to the bathroom, and the crew's just been parked outside her door waiting for her to come out? It's such a random thing to have in the shot!

But I really love her determined, "Next we're gonna watch Cranford" followed by Jim's equally incredulous/even more determined "Cranford? No. We will never watch that." I may have rewound this snippet a couple dozen times; his smirk at the end of that is devastatingly attractive. Especially because Pam is so going to get her way.

#2. First, why are all these scenes of Jim and Michael's interaction about the latter's dating ideas constantly being cut? I would like to see these, please. More than Michael and Holly giggling about doing it twice.

Second, "Our first date was at the Anthracite Coal Museum. We had both been before, but we pretended like it was our first time so we could get all the extra information." *squeals* Nooooooooo! Stop killing me with your ridiculous cuteness, Dwangela, I HURT! (and, er, possibly I should have listened to the whole story before I started my sad whimpering, but whatever, it's still cute. Because they would demand to know the safety information! And take unholy glee in correcting the guides when they were wrong! SOUL MATES, PEOPLE.)

(And ugh, of course Dwight makes fox meat sandwiches. Of course. I retract my earlier offer to bond over mutual dislike of that singing buffoon.)

B. Pushing Daisies: 2x04, Frescorts

I liked Emerson's backstory more than I thought I would, actually - I'd rather see Young Emerson than Young Ned or Young Chuck any day - but I don't have time to dwell on that because I have to headsmack Ned with a stapler.

ARGH. I was so thrilled, you guys, so thrilled that I was squealing out loud when Chuck said she was moving back in with him. Such a relief! Such exquisite relief that those Spoilers of DOOOOOOOOOOM were only temporary, three-episodes-temporary, and now we could get back to bedtime and Cute Moments and -- I'm sorry, WTF, Ned just told her she can't??

"We might not like it, but it's the truth."

*fumes* SO? WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT TRUTH?! I want none of this nonsense! Chuck finally screws her contrary new head back on her shoulders and quit this newfangled independent streak of hers, and then Ned of all people decides to kick his into gear? SO ANGRY. SO, SO ANGRY. Ned, you can work on being okay by yourself when Chuck's dead. Until then, you will please not deprive me of your adorable domesticity, argh, THIS SHOW MAKES ME SO IRRATIONALLY FURIOUS I DON'T KNOW WHY IT'S STILL MY SECOND-FAVORITE.

CAPSLOCK OF RAGE BREAK: AL;SDKJFALS;DJFLAKSJDFLKASJLDKFJALSKDJFASDFASDF RAGE.

And how dare Randy of all people bring the one to bring this atrocity into light. I was liking Randy. He was played by David Arquette! I love David Arquette, and have been ridiculously excited for months about him being a recurring character on this show, and I was even all excited by the idea of Ned wanting to be his friend! AND THEN. HE SAID HORRIBLE THINGS THAT MADE NED REFUSE TO LET CHUCK COME HOME. I feel so betrayed.

(I really liked the taxidermied animals, by the way. The banjo-playing Golden Retriever disturbed me a little, but the other ones in crazy poses, that's straight out of Victorian fancy! And because I am in love with all things Victorian (especially the decor), I was pretty darn enchanted by it all. I don't know. I have a thing for taxidermy specimens; I think they're neat. Even pets. I don't know if that's how I'd like to preserve my pet, but I'm cool with other people doing it. And that is the only time in my life I've been cool with other people doing something I personally wouldn't.

Yeah, I thought the taxidermied football QB was the best dead body this show has ever had. Ultra creepy, but SO COOL at the same time.)

You know, this show is doing wonders towards propelling me down the path to Ned/Olive over Ned/Chuck. For example, loved the angry locker conversation between Chuck & Olive, and when the former was complaining "If I were to have a nickel for every single time the three of us are together and I unexpectedly and accidentally catch you looking at him? And you have this little sad pining look on your face, 'Ooooh, oh Ned, why can't you love me?'..."

You know, I'm starting to ask myself the same question. He clearly can't function around Chuck anymore! And Chuck's been thumbing her noise at his clingy gestures of devotion lately anyway! So maybe we should give Olive what she wants, and he'd have someone to touch, and we could all just go home happy, damn it. Maybe shove Chuck into Ned on the way out so there's no risk of them rekindling any of those old feelings.

(I HAVE GOTTEN HORRIBLY BITTER. WHERE IS MY PROMISED INVENTIVE-SPOONING SCENE? I MIGHT FEEL BETTER IF I GOT THAT.)

And, OK, maybe I will work on relieving a *tiny* bit of my bitterness for the ending scene. Well, first the part where Poor Still-Needy Ned politely requests that she hug Digby, "tighter," and I desperately need to believe in a future where she can hug him properly. (GUYS. How does Bryan Fuller work? Is he evil, like that Joss Whedon dude, or is he generally kind and benevolent?)

But then for the coming over to thank Ned, wrapped up in a duvet, and ceremoniously dropping said duvet to reveal one completely-in-the-buff Charlotte Charles. Oooh! Now that is how you gradually bring me on board with them having some sort of se -- EH HEH HEH, no, my brain isn't ready to go there yet - love life. Not with fantasy sex dreams. Just, this, right here. Where he turns into a whimpering puddle of worship, and she just beams sweetly and enjoys the effect she has on him.

...on second thought, I just re-watched Ned's rejection, and God, Chuck is completely bewildered and her near-tearful expression of hurt pains me. Part of me thinks it's good for her semi-spoiled ass not to have something automatically go her way for once, but the rest of me thinks the end of this episode would have been a lot more enjoyable if she had left in a bitter huff and refused to speak to him for a while. See what good reconciling with Olive would have done if she simultaneously started feuding with him!

============
C. Law & Order: SVU - Lunacy? Is that what this one was called?
Oh, SVU. I can't even remember your randomly twisted plotlines anymore - I started reading the recap and halfway through I was still going "wait, what episode is this? Am I on the right season? How did a cabbie impersonator and Olivia strutting around in a blonde wig to bait a rapist lead to the astronaut story?" (speaking of which, how did she just volunteer herself up to be the bait? One traumatic near-rape experience not enough for her? And even if it was much safer, this situation didn't trigger any sort of stress at all? WHY WASN'T THIS ADDRESSED)

But then it turns out the episode's really only interesting in the last quarter anway, when Dickie Stabler shows up. HEY, REMEMBER HIM? ME NEITHER. But it turns out he's like the most/possibly only well-adjusted Stabler in the world - or was until this episode happened; next month we'll probably find out that witnessing a murder (plus finding out the guy he's named after is also a murderer) has caused him to start stealing cars and robbing old ladies or something - and seriously, I'm blown away by how polite and responsible and mature and ridiculously good-looking he is. I think he might secretly be adopted, or switched at birth.

Could we possibly see more of him, please? And not like we see Kathleen, but maybe because he wants to become a detective like his dad, and so he comes up with lots of excuses to trail his dad to work and maybe volunteer as a go-fer or something just to soak up the atmosphere? I LOVE THIS KID A LOT, IS WHAT I'M SAYING.

Also, we learn delightful facts like Elliot knocked up Kathy when he was 19, before they got married, and he accidentally lets this carefully-guarded secret slip to Dickie (whom I will not call Dick because I loathe that name and no one should ever want to be called by it). However, because Dickie is awesome, just takes this in stride and finds it faintly amusing). And we hear some more of Elliot being a gushing family man (I like to pretend all those marital problems and separation didn't exist), which is always nice.

Now, you know what else would be nice? If "long time close friends" could start being cast on crime shows for purposes other than ultimately being the murderer. I think I pegged Dick as the killer by the second time he offered helpful information.
--------
And now I'm doing mini-reviews. Ones where I restrict myself to no more than three paragraphs of whatever most pressing points I can remember, having watched the episodes while cleaning/getting ready/etc. and pointedly not allowing myself to take notes. There is no exhaustive detail here, but just a brief sketch to put my Future Self at ease, who will be extremely distressed if she goes back to see what she thought of a particular episode and finds nothing at all.

D. NCIS: Nine Lives
Second episode in a row with no Director Vance!! EXCITING. Or, you know, not so much because prior to the appearance of Vance, Fornell was my least favorite recurring character - no matter how hard I try, I just can't get the appeal - and the fact that I absorbed this episode mostly by audio, with headphones in my ears as I fell asleep and still had to watch the last 15 minutes when I woke up in the morning, didn't make this much more exciting. I mean, it was entertaining enough - not a bad episode, exactly - but not much about it to grab my attention beyond Abby being delighted by the study of mold on a rope.

Well, plus of course, Tony insisting on making a huge deal about Ziva's secrecy surrounding a flight to Israel, getting more and more agitated by her refusal to say a word, and Ziva only having more and more fun keeping it from him. I don't even know what's going on with these two anymore, I'm just having fun going along for the ride. (why do I feel so irrationally angry at the picture found in her desk, then? I don't actually want her to get together with Tony for a while yet, and still, I'm gonna say the dude in said picture is her...cousin. Yep. Totally her cousin. In conclusion: cousin.)

E. CSI: NY: 5x04, "Sex, Lies and Silicone"
THERE'S the Lindsay I fell in love with!! The spunky, sassy little lady from Montana with a twinkle in her eye and a mischevious streak a mile wide. I knew that whole "You left me for a doll?!" exchange was coming, but I figured it was something they put on for show to get a suspect to talk, or something. I had no idea it would just be Lindsay seizing an opportunity to humilate him in public. Complete with gloriously trashy Brooklyn accent! BEST PART OF THE SEASON, RIGHT HERE.

Maybe she should just be forced to have all her scenes with Flack from now on, because together they are gold. I mean, the visual mismatch is amusing enough, as he's like eight feet tall and she's a munchkin, but they have so much fun together! She seems more at ease around him than anyone else, and he always seems to enjoy what she comes up with. Even when it's at his expense. (possibly because he enjoys planning devious ways to get back at her)

I actually liked the case, because those dolls were ultra creepy, even though with their phenomenal zooming capabilities you'd think they would have recognized something inhuman about the woman in the window's features - the dolls weren't that realistic, and the crime lab always seems able to zoom in with infinite clarity. Meh. I'm also a little bit bored with Mac's endless quest to drag Sinclair down (Gerard not enough for him?), although he makes a good point about poor budget cut choices. Like, Sinclair, hiring three men for the price of one doesn't do any good if those three men are LESS EFFECTIVE than the one man! Geeze, are they hiring people from the same place that staffs Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, or what?

(Breaking my paragraph rule already, I know) One thing I definitely did not like? Adam being a pervy-sounding freak. Because it wasn't enough that he suddenly decided to develop a crush on Stella and wig out whenever she's around, now he's got start drooling over plastic dolls. I don't think that's quite the intent I was supposed to get from those scenes, and it probably wasn't helped by how I was putting away laundry and my computer speakers aren't great, but that's what I came out with. GOD, I HATE ADAM.

In an unrelated note, oh, Sheldon. Sheldon. When will you learn that if you work in law enforcement, old friends never show up unless they're guiltily involved in a murder and/or mean to do you harm and/or want something out of you? When you accept the badge and field work, you automatically sign away your connections to anyone not related by blood who doesn't also in some capacity work with you.

P.S. Danny & Flack arrests: nearly as great as F/L banter. Also, how badly does it speak to my TV addiction that as soon as I saw the teaser, my first thought was "WAUGH, THE FREAKY NIGHT CIRCUS! SOMEBODY CALL TORCHWOOD!"?

[Edit: Whoops, totally forgot to watch the last 8 minutes before I posted this.  Apparently, turns out the off-site security isn't so top-notch either, and now we've got a Secret Flash Drive of Hell and Damnation running around in some nefarious guard's pocket.  Great.]
By the way, when I said I might temporarily scrap TV, I think what I meant was that I might temporarily scrap Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, and CSI. I always leave them til last anyway, because so much goes on in them that I get bogged down, and it might be better if I just let them go for the time being. House, Bones, Without a Trace and ER are circling the drain too, depending on my future mood - I just don't look forward to them enough. 

Comments

eleigh
Oct. 26th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
Was that Flack and Lindsay scene not great? I always liked Danny and Lindsay but as he was such an asshole last season I think I might totally hop on the Flack and Lindsay train without a second thought if it gives me more that.
rainbowstevie
Oct. 26th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
WORD. I get why they paired her with Danny, but it's never taken much convincing to get me to switch allegiances to the F/L side of things. They have all this spark.

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