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We had a blizzard today!  It was awesome.  They shut down the busses in the middle of the afternoon and everything.  A feat which would have been greater had it happened on a non-weekend day, but...still, the piles of snow were delightful.  Plus, since it was a Sunday, that meant only the main paths got plowed and so for most anywhere you wanted to go, you had to make do with a semi-tamped-down footpath through half a foot of snow.  

And now, to discuss what I did yesterday:

'How I Met Your Mother: 4x10, "The Fight"
(*insert long session of rocking, howling and sobbing in mourning for Marshall's hair*  Nooooooo!  I TOLD you not to let it get so delightfully long; I would never be able to give it up!  And I can't! I want to the overgrown mop back; give it back!  Give it back to me and take away this sad shorn sheep!)

Damn it, I want Marshall's fights with his brothers to have involved tickling and breaks to demurely sip cocoa with marshmallows!  Although it is nice to know he can throw a good punch to help his friends.  As much as it vaguely disgusts me to have anything in common with Robin, I think I...might sort of agree her take that fighting is sexy? 

I mean, for very specific reasons, obviously.  "Fight Club" is the dumbest thing I have ever seen in my life, boxing and wrestling are the dumbest non-animal-torturing sports known to mankind, and generally bloody fights are not a thing I need to witness.  But, you know, when it involves coming to a woman's defense (of her physical safety or honor, either way; please note *not* the same as fighting over a woman), or taking out a bully?  Violence solves some problems.  And I see the appeal of the scar and/or the black eye, though am probably more likely to coo over the guy who got it and lost.

Also, FACT: Barney + rumpled look + black eye = dead sexy. 

Anyway.  Um, you know, it's funny - for having a really terrible premise, here defined as "Doug is so gross it hurts to look at him, and also I thought we over this Stella crap" - I really enjoyed a lot about this episode.

Little Gifts
sddsddsdd
* Doug popping up in a variety of classic scenes.  WIN.

* Barney's hysterical attempts to impress Robin with his subtle bicep flexing, tales of missing wisdom teeth ("Outpatient procedure, local anesthesia; whatever, it ain't a thing"), the seductive drawl about how he's a maaaaaaan, he likes to FIGHT, being hardcore enough to punch himself in the eye, "Everyone is gonna think we're great, and everyone is gonna sleep with me again!", the subtle glare at Ted when the latter catches Robin's eye,

* Damn it, I still think the "big sandwich" metaphor gag is stupid, but I was proud of myself for noticing it

* All right, with the way they've been playing it up, this story of the goat had better kick my ass, Halpert-proposal-style

* The throwaway quip about how, with his swollen nose, Ted's gonna look like Owen Wilson

* Barney & Ted's imitations of "cocoa break."

* Everyone staring at Robin in thinly veiled disgust after "Wowww...surprised to see you had it in me. You!  Had it in you."

* SPOILERS MUCH for the Sex and the City movie!  Damn it, guys.  You're just lucky I actually saw it in theaters and didn't wait until I could rent it at the library, like I do with most movies.  Otherwise I would have hunted you down, Carter and Bays.  Hunted.  You.  Down.

* Ericson bedtime snuggling!  With upset!Marshall still raging about idiotic immaturity (also: "I'm serious, woman, put it back in your pants!"), and Lily reassuring him that he's the guy every boy should become, and every girl should marry.  Awww.

* Marshall fully enjoying his position of power in dangling potential prison time over their heads long enough to make them confess to the truth.  And then vindictively telling Robin to cap it off!  WIN.  (Except for the part where I feel bad for Barney)

* And then taking it a step further by having a good laugh about making the assault charges go away by revealing Ted & Barney's rather more feminine/wussy qualities.  Qualities both of which are completely proud of, which just makes it even greater.

A Stockpile of Quotes
Ted: ...he wants us to fight?  Like - with our hands and stuff?
Marshall: And feet, maybe?  I don't know what the rules are!

Ted: Oh, I forgot - she thinks fighting is sexy.
Robin: NO I DO NOT, a lot! (plus: Barney's sharply raised eyebrow upon hearing this)

Robin: Look, I come from a culture of hockey players.  If a guy can throw down, it's...somewhat way hot.

Ted: What are you doing?!
Barney: What I should have done a long time ago.
Ted: What?
Barney: I don't know, I just hit myself in the eye!  I don't even know what I'm saying!

Marshall: I hate those guys!  Acting like they're the manliest men in the universe, like they're Crocodile Dundee and David Hasselhoff.
Lily: Those are the manliest guys in the universe?

Ted: Wait, so now they're only suing Doug?
Marshall: Affirmative.  (Barney starts doing a victory dance)
Ted: Angry, irrational, violent Doug, who now knows we were the ones who threw him under the bus.

Ted: And so, I learned that fighting is bad, and you shouldn't do it, ever.
Lily: Any questions?
Kindergarten Kid 1: Where do you find these people?
Kid 2: I know!  Was there a big sale at the wuss market?

Robin: Marshall looks good...has he lost weight?
Lily: Bitch, don't even.
---------------
Survivor Gabon: Penultimate Ep
That's it, I'm declaring BEST SEASON EVER.  Started slow, but the second half has pretty much doubled the squee factor every week.

I mean - I mean - SQUEE!!!  Up to this episode, I was still biting my nails because the Final 3 could potentially all be composed of people I disliked.  But Crystal's ousting takes care of that nicely, and now I'm guranteed at least one nice person no matter what.  Better yet, there is a chance (albeit a slim one) that for the first time ever, I could not only like all 3 finalists, they could be composed of my favorite contestants.  Seriously, if we somehow got it down to Bob/Sugar/Matty, I would probably die of happiness before the actual winner was revealed.

But let's back up and reflect on how we got this far.  I was sure it'd be Bob's turn to go this week, and I started chomping at my nails in fear when he promised to make it up to Kenny by giving him the next immunity necklace he won.  No!  Bob, NO!!  I know you didn't see last season, but you should still know that is always a Really Terrible Idea!  Bob's  been getting some flack - not a lot, just some - about how doesn't have as much integrity as he thinks he does, with the way he keeps flipping alliances/breaking promises, but honestly I think he's just trying to keep pace with all the changes happening around him. 

And this week, in particular, I think that by taking Kenny on reward, he sort of made up to him in the same way that immunity necklace would have made it up.  I particularly loved how he got Kenny, of his own accord, to back down on the gurantee and make it a need-based deal instead.  BOB FTW.  I'm so happy he won reward - clearly loved the gorilla sanctuary, and he totally deserved it - and I love that he picked Crystal right away, who hasn't had very much go right for her in this game.  And Kenny after that, of course, was a no brainer.

(can I mention, again, how I love that Bob won even though he was taking his sweet time going through the course, pacing himself so as not to get completely exhausted?   Smart man.  Plus it was nice to see that layer of dirt get scrubbed off; I swear he's a whole shade lighter now)

AND THEN!  Then things somehow got even more incredible, because just when it started to look like Bob was safe, all the sharp little teeth turned to Matty, and I was almost as sad about that - I felt so bad for him, clumsily trying to get Sugar on his side after realizing that he was alone, and being gently but firmly shot right down.  UNTIL!  Until Crystal decided to try too hard, and ultimately dug her own grave by inadvertently unnerving Sugar in her half-cocked rant at Matty.  And if you get on Sugar's bad side, man, you're done.

I'm pretty sure I started screaming and squealing when she pulled Matty off to the side and completely reversed her former position to align with him, and talked about pulling Bob in too (finally!  I have only been waiting the entire game for my favorites to line up on one side), and was just like "You're not going.  You're not gonna go."  I cannot lie, I was a touch scared of Sugar when she put her foot down like that.  Spoken with all the certainty of a princess with a royal army at her beck and call.

Also, if I was not previously in love with Matty, I am now: "If Sugar really is telling me the truth...I have hope, and I can play this game.  I might have to go to the end with Bob, and Bob will dominate, but at least good will prevail."  I don't even think it's overwrought, I am just that ecstatic about deserving people (deserving in the sense of being likable, not just stupid good strategists, which is all the boards at TWoP seem to care about) getting rewarded for it.

The blindfolded challenge was really boring - I hate blindfolded challenges; it's just dumb and not interesting at all - but hey, Bob won, and it made for an awesome finish.  For a little while I actually felt bad for Kenny, but when he started gloating about how he had cooked up a lose/lose plan for Bob - either be exposed as a dishonest liar, or get voted out - it was like "Aw, hell no.  Your rat ass needs to go NOW."

Loved that Sugar was able to bend Bob's ear to her plan as well, even though it was kind of painful to watch her dissolving in tears that he was plainly unimpressed by (come on, Sugar.  He's a high school teacher.  Do you know many female students use tears to get penalty-free extensions on assignments?  ...was that just me?  I mean, um, I never did such a thing, I'M JUST SAYING).  The sentiment behind the tears was nice. 

I have no idea what's going to happen a few hours from now, aside from being almost 80% sure that Susie is going to slip into the final 3 by being completely innocuous, and it's going to annoy the hell out of me.  Most times I don't mind UTR women, and I never understand why they don't get more credit for being nice and not ruffling feathers, because it seems pretty hard not to get attention focused on you at any point.  But most former UTR players have been really nice and sweet, whereas Susie is just boring, She's not especially attractive and nothing about her stands out at all.  I don't want to listen to her every answer at the final TC. 

I'm also massively confused by how there are still 5 players in the final 2 hours...how fast are they going to whip through those last days to give people the boot?  They usually have a lot of focus on the final 3, so...it must be totally throwing them off schedule, not having anyone get conveniently injured this year.  
-----------
The Office: 5x10, "Moroccan Christmas"
What the hell was that crap, TPTB?  *flings show out the window*  As of right now, WE'RE ON A BREAK.  It's a good thing you've got that hiatus coming up, because a solid month is about how long I think it's going to take to get over my irritation and look forward to a new episode again.

It's times like this that living in the MTT bubble is bad.  Because the boards there were all "Christmas episodes always have something for Jim and Pam, remember?" and "Oh, the writers know we got robbed of Jim and Pam's first Christmas together, they're definitely going to make up for it!"

HAHAHA.  FALSE.  ON ALL COUNTS. 

Effing seriously, show, three scenes?   Three scenes, two of them under 20 seconds, encompassing some of the most boring interaction Jim and Pam have ever managed?  I mean, on principle I'm cool with anything they get, because I've been very emphatic about how I'd rather watch them wash dishes, for example, than see Andy or Michael or Kevin on screen at all.  But when it comes to Christmas episode standards, especially in a pathetic half-hour episode, that is not gonna fly.  And there was so much frustrating potential!  They're in all these scenes, standing next to each other and making eye contact or observing with frowns (well, mostly Jim) in ways that make you think surely, one of those wordless conversations is going to get picked up and expanded later on.

And then nothing.  Pathetic.

At first, I thought the whole ep was just going to be a plotless observation of the Christmas party ,and I was cool with that.  It seemed like a pretty unique idea, actually, and a good way to get back to their documentary roots.  But no, then Meredith's hair caught on fire, which was funny for 2.83 seconds until it became this weird, lame waste of time - I mean, did we really need all that footage of Michael chasing her around dark alleyways like some kind of creepy mugger/murderer/rapist?  Really?
 
This is a classic example of where show vs. tell needs to go in the opposite direction. Because yeah, she does need help, but I feel like I'd rather just find out that she got in some kind of trouble over the holidays and was court-ordered to rehab, or something.  Then we could focus on how she copes (or fails to cope) with a new, alcohol-free life.  An addiction to chocolate liquers, for example.

In other news, *explodes with hatred for Phyllis* THAT IS IT, WOMAN.  I've had it with you.  I've gone from feeling vaguely sorry for how pathetic you were (season 2) to neutrality with increasing aggravation (seasons 3-4), and now?  I completely despise you.  Get thee to a circle with Andy and Michael and Kevin, because YOU HAVE REACHED THAT LEVEL OF CHARACTER HATE.  Completely disgusting watching her get off on ordering Angela around - not even funny.  Just sickening.

In fact, they trashed her character so much that when she kept the "North African king" out with the lamb/elephant/camel in the nativity scene, my first thought was that she was making a racist statement about how black people were on the same level as animals.  It didn't even surprise me.

And no, I do not consider anything Angela has ever done to Phyllis to be just as bad.  Double standards, I have them, and I am completely OK with Angela's superior attitude, because Angela is superior.  Nyah!  She has very rigid standards, does not stand for people of intolerable stupidity who cannot follow her standards ("Phyllis, these are spoons. Spoons have rounded tops and are used to scoop things. What we need are forks, which have prongs, or tiny spears, on top." = greatest line ever), and is all about simplicity and tradition.  If that requires being judgmental of people who do not share her beliefs, well, she's justified because she's right and they're wrong. In other words, YEAH, SHE'S ME, AND THAT'S ALL I NEED TO DEFEND HER TO THE DEATH.

Besides, if your skin wasn't crawling after Phyllis' creepy "Oh, I don't consider it blackmail" speech, you've clearly already sold your soul to the devil.

I'm so glad Angela's out from under her thumb - you don't even know how thrilled I was to see her trembling with vindictive, pent-up rage as she figuratively spat tacks at Phyllis.  Soon she'll be out of Andy's horrible wedding trap as well, and things will be right and  good with the world again.  Maybe she'll even find a relative of Sprinkles' to get her back on her feet.  My poor, broken, frayed Miss Martin.  If only you had never accepted the singing buffoon's overtures!  I feel nothing but pity for the ways in which she tangled herself ever deeper into that web of deception (self and otherwise); I'm sure she could see it snowballing out of control but once you work yourself in, it starts to seem impossible to get out.  Here's hoping 2009 is better for you, dearie.  *pats*

As for you, Mr. Bernard, go play in traffic.  Or at least let me pluck a couple strings out of your sitar.  Close your eyes and sit tight, the strangling won't take long.

(On a related note: I really didn't need Andy's drunken Cornell babbling.  Show, if you seriously want me to stop spinning AU tales of an abusive 50's Mr. & Mrs. Bernard marriage, you can't do things like add 'possible alcoholic tendencies' to his previously documented rage-o-holic tendencies.)

Last thing: What...why would any little girl want a Princess Unicorn doll?  It's the height of mutant deformity, like something your brother might do to your Barbies to torture you/them.  A product of Sid's Room, perchance.   And what the hell does "My horn can pierce the sky" even mean?  It sounds either dirty or like a good way to destroy the ozone layer.  

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to wash the memory of Poor Luckless Toby out of my head, and deny that anything happened after Sasha screamed his ear off in excitement over getting the doll.  DADDY WAS A HERO, END OF STORY.

Tiny Nuggets of Good
-Judging by the first two minutes alone, this would have made the greatest Christmas episode ever.  The wrapping paper fake desk/chair was golden on so many levels that it's easily among my top 5 Jim Pranks of all time.  In fact, part of me thinks that if they'd shown the cold open + 25 minutes of commercials, overall it would have been better than what we got.

-Sasha('s voice)

-"Do you take requests?  Please stop."  *hearts Jim* 

-Michael matter-of-factly taking credit for Jan's mental breakdown (ZING!  Or is the word I'm looking for BURN?  Either way, I laughed myself into a fit) 

-Micahels' Christmas tie, which was twice as magical as Princess Unicorn

-I'm going to pretend Pam's wish was not for Jim to stop rubbing that lamp in that creepy way, but something wedding-related.  You know, just to remind us it's still happening.  Or isn't going to be another 3-year engagement.  I don't think it's too much to ask.  It's not like I'm asking you to have a slightly drunk Jim sneak off with Pam somewhere, produce a piece of mistletoe to hold over her head, and initiate a lovely round of making out.  Or that I've thought about that in detail at all.

In Sum:
Dear Santa Claus, what did I do to deserve this lump of coal in my Office-shaped stocking?

Deleted scene 1:
Has Kelly desperately begging for attention, saying she's happy to light her hair on fire if that's what it takes to make people notice her, which I felt was a very meta statement.  Not to mention an ironic one, given how it was slated for deletion.

Deleted Scene 2:
OMG, WHY WAS THIS NOT LEFT IN??  Angela, if it didn't violate your fundamental religious belief, I'd ask you to marry me right now, just for this quote:
"Movies always make alcohol look fun.  'Oh look, we're four fabulous ladies living in the city, and having sex and drinking Cosmos!'  Well, here's the reality: Carrie would be in rehab right now, and Samantha would have AIDS.  Or at least herpes."
TRUER WORDS: NEVER SPOKEN.

-------------
'ER: 15x10, "The High Holiday"
Oh, whoa, hey, no fair slipping a depressive turn in there!  Especially no fair making me sad about something I've been asking to happen for the better part of a year!! 

Yes, I'm talking about the Sam/Gates breakup.  THAT'S NOT RIGHT, I TELL YOU.  (on the bright side, it's good to know that I can keep on justifying my Sam hatred)  Honestly, she is blowing this way out of proportion.  It's not like he took drugs or drank himself to death at the party.  I mean, yes, the crash was indirectly alcohol-related - he wouldn't have been driving if that stupid girl hadn't been drunk - but a crash could have happened anywhere, any time.  And yes, I know Sam forbade the Friday night party, but as previously discussed, it was a reasonable request on the kids' part!  They finished their homework, they walked, they were planning to be home by 10.  

And I know I should be happy about this; a large part of me is (although it's weighed down by the certainty that the timing of the Big Conflict is juuuuust suspicious enough to hint that they'll get back together by finale time), but the other part is just all, "But - but - but - sad Tony!!"  He's always so earnest about trying to save all his relationships, it breaks my heart.  And he was so proud of having agreed to watch Jake and beaming about how Alex would get to come home to a dog...and then Sam pulls the plug and says she and Alex are staying with Chuney until they find a place of their own.  Ugh. 

Plus when she was bitterly asking "Why do you do that?  Take the other side?" I couldn't help but think, "Well, because you're a hysterical, histrionic mess and he's not so much 'taking their side' as he is 'being the voice of calm and reason that you need in order to access your un-crazy side.'"

Aside from that debacle, though, and perhaps also aside from Morris' waste of time story (oh noez, everyone is buying his dad's stuff!  BUT HE HAS A SENTIMENTAL STORY TO GO WITH EVERYTHING!), there was a whole lot to love.  Such as:
* JERRY!!  (Greater than Frank by approx. 8 billion times)

* Interns accidentally high on special brownies!

* Sam carrying around the baby in the reindeer suit, which I have to admit, against my will, was sort of adorable

* References to last year's Christmas party!  (poor Neela, having her ass pinched by Morris.  Ugh.)

* This year's Christmas party!

* Did I mention Jake?  Cause THAT DOG IS ADORABLE.  And on the bright side, now Sarah doesn't have to share him with Alex!  If Sarah loves horses, she surely loves dogs, too?  And she's not one of those stupid girls who trades in horses for boys after she develops hormones, is she?  Please say no.

*On macrame pieces with giant central eyeballs: "It's like no matter where you go...it's staring at you."  Have I mentioned lately how much I love Daria?  I'm not sure I have, let me repeat myself some more.  I don't think I've been this delighted by an intern since...since Neela showed up.  Or possibly Carter.  I'm feeling like I desperately want to watch this whole crop of interns grow up and become attending doctors, but nobody more so than her.  Can there be a spin-off about her?  I feel like she has all these crazy adventures no one ever pays attention to.  I want to see life in the ER through her eyes!  Come on, we still have a few months left, make it happen!

And, well, maybe that was it, since I especially hated the two main patient storylines this week.  Still.  I like Christmas at the ER, and it's a touch heartbreaking to realize this is the last one we'll ever have.  :(

----
Survivor finale in an hour!  CANNOT WAIT.

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