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Playdates With Procedurals!

But first: after scanning Office Tally's Q&A for "Moroccan Christmas," I can definitively say that Justin Spitzer, you are on my shit list as Worst Office Writer Ever.

Among the delightful things we learn from him are that there was an entire plot for Jim and Pam planned, but they PULLED IT because there was apparently TOO MUCH ELSE GOING ON (because whoa, man, having Michael chase Meredith around the street and physically drag her into rehab, that was totally riveting stuff).

Also, according to him, Pam loves porn.  I DON'T NEED MORE REASONS TO HATE PAM, JERKFACE.  And if that was meant to be a joke, it was a poor one.

I think I'd better consider these Q&As as closer to AU fantasies than actual canon insights.  I'm not even going to get into the part where they knew going in that this was going to be a love-it-or-hate-it episode, and apparently the chance of people HATING IT WITH EVERY FIBER OF THEIR BEING makes for exciting TV!  Jerkface.

There's still a good long time before Office comes back, right?  Because I'm just as steamed now as I was a week and a half ago. But let's move on to good things, such as...

NCIS: 6x11, "Silent Night"
Ooh!  So apparently, the solution to making Vance tolerable is to ensure that it's Christmas every day.  *nods* With the family man stuff and the cheerful giving of toys to needy children - I swear, I could almost see him in a Santa hat - I don't know where this strange personality transplant came from, but I like it and I'd like it to stay.  As that seems unlikely, next episode your regularly scheduled Director Hate will resume.

Overall, it was a nice episode - I love holiday themed ones, and the previews for this were especially great - not spectacular, but a nice and understated Christmas gift.  I enjoyed Ziva's mention of Hannukah and her attempt to get Tony to open up, although he really doesn't strike me as the type of guy who's ever regretted not settling down.  Maybe just starting to think about that kind of thing now, but I highly doubt he's spent many holiday seasons angsting about not having kids yet.

LOVED Abby's sneak attack cheek kiss for Gibbs under the mistletoe - full lipstick print! - which was adorable, even if he was in a huff about her recklessly calling the daughter and had it wiped off by the time he got upstairs.  I'll cling to his "Merry Christmas, Abby" hug from earlier, and the adorable idea of Abby trying to find the right presents for everyone.  I would have liked to see some more actual gift-exchanging, but I guess Tony kind of gave one by turning MTAC into a private movie theater screening of "It's A Wonderful Life" (a film which I have never seen, and frankly do not plan to, as I caught a couple of minutes on TV once and it was boring as sin.  "Home Alone" all the way, baby.  Or at least "A Christmas Story").

SQUEE for poor Gibbs, with the most moving line ever - "If I had one wish for Christmas, it would be to hug my daughter;" Kelly angst will never get old, never! - and how just when I was about to curl up in a ball of abject misery and cry foul, he called his dad and I remembered that he does still have some family left.  I'm glad they ended on a warm and fuzzy note after all.

Final thought 1: McGee getting tasered = predictable, but funny.  (but geeze, guys, little help?)
Final thought 2: Loved the grownup daughter, last seen as Daisy Wick on Bones.
Final thought 3: Abby and her picture with Santa = cutest thing ever.  I love that she acts somewhere between half and a quarter her age.

Without a Trace
I've written 7x05 off as a last cause, mostly because a) I can't find it and b) I'd like to see Medina as little as possible, but I finally got around to going back and watching 7x06 - apologies to both y'all and Future Self if you're more into titles than numbers, but I'm working with mass quantities of episodes here, and it's easiest for me to keep track of chronology this way - and so I have some very brief thoughts on that before I get to the more recent one.

Not a very exciting episode - reference points: embezzly woman, trying but unable to get pregnant, angsting about having given up her baby in high school and recently finding out said child has since died - the only interesting part was finding out that Martin was offered Jack's current job but turned it down out of some weird complex about integrity and/or shame about his string-pulling father.  I STILL say he would have done a better job running the unit, and not just because I have an Anyone But Jack mentality.

But at least it gave Martin some more personal screen time, which he hasn't gotten for a while.  Shame about how he's still so modest, and apparently never going to get over his quest to prove that he's a big boy who's earned his right to the job on merit, not heritage.  Take a chance on one of these offers, sir!  Just because they might be tailor-made promotions doesn't mean you haven't also earned them!  GOD I really want to see Jack put permanently in his place...it's enough to make me miss Medina.

Oh, also there was a moment between Danny and Elena where he held the door open for her with a smile and "Ladies first," which in retrospect I choose to believe was a portent of the golden things that were to come in 7x07.

OK, as for 7x09, "Push Comes to Shove"
Can I just have this review speak for me?  I mean, it has a pro-J/S angle that I don't care for and way more specific qualms than I had, but...I'm impressed by the energy they put into their criticism.  I'm feeling more inclined to pass the ep off with an apathetic wave.

At least they didn't bring up the unholy Jack/Sam relationship at all, and the stupid doctor who rose from from foster care to her current career was pretty because she looked like Shannyn Sossamon, but there was just really not a lot to love beyond the fact that David Gallagher was in it.  (I do so enjoy his latest run of Tough Guy characters.  Personally, he's still Simon Camden to me, and always will be even though I didn't watch that show.)

Also, sorry, am I crazy or did the skeevy white-haired hospital director who shows Martin Erica's locker look a lot like that creepy pedophile teacher from season 1?  It drove me nuts and I had to go all over the internet looking for confirmation as to who he was.  It does seem to be someone different, but yeesh, the similarity was chilling.

Lastly, after forgetting that I still had CSI: Miami on my list of "current shows I need to do minor catch-up on," I dove into my first pile of backlogged TV: Law & Order, SVU.  No particular reason, really, except that it was Saturday night and I wanted a big stack of video I could watch without having to put a lot of thought into it.  I figured SVU wouldn't be too much of a commitment.  I was wrong.  There was MUCH to discuss, react to, be emotionally punched by, rage at, and/or give my sarcasm button a heavy workout.

Children, it's time to bring out a magical device that hasn't been seen since May - the Wayback Machine.  Step into its wondrous depths, push the buttons, and travel back with me, almost two months back, all the way to October 28th, 2008...

SVU, 10x05, "Retro"
A word which here means not a 70's flashback, but having to do with the wide, fun world of the retrovirus as it relates to AIDS, or rather, people who willfully disbelieve in AIDS.

Aw, so it turns out that right after I stopped watching TWoP stopped recapping this show.  This is the last episode they covered - I should have known its golden recussitation from Permanent Hiatus land couldn't last forever, but it's still a sad day.  Now I have to actively work at finding commentary to jog my memory as to what happens in each episode, considering how much ground they cover between the teaser and the final verdict.  Every L&O episode is secretly two stories in one, linked by a tenuous thread.

Issue of the Week: Wait, what?  How are there actually people stupid enough to believe that the AIDS doesn't exist? I thought people who denied the Holocaust were bad, but COME ON.  Or that HIV is harmless? IT'S A VIRUS.  THEIR LIFE'S PURPOSE IS TO HARM.  I mean sure, technically AIDS doesn't kill you - it just makes it a billion times easier for something else to kill you, to use Captain Barbossa logic - but still, it's real!  I think I liked it better when people just thought it was a disease for junkies and gays and/or that you caught it off public toilet seats.  -.-

And how do you not take precautions with your baby, just in case?  How badly does it inconvenience you to not breast-feed your baby when 99% of the world believes that doing so will harm her?  Even if 99% of the world were wrong, this isn't like the drug issue, where you're afraid she's going to have a bad reaction.  Babies survive on milk substitutes all the time.  Did you not learn the phrase "better safe than sorry" when you were growing up?

The stupid, it burns.  But I am at least glad that Olivia finally decided to stop blaming the mother for "negligent homicide" - it's not her fault she's intolerably stupid! - and turned it on the quack doctor instead.  Because, yeah.

Other things I found amusing:
-Quack doctor = Sabrina the Teenage Witch's high school principal, looking exactly the same now as he did then.  Hee, hee, hee.

-Am curious as to how Tommy was HIV positive for, what, 14 years?  Without showing any symptoms of illness whatsoever, apparently?  Well, I guess if you wondered how the intolerably stupid mother found it so easy to believe in HIV's harmlessness...

-I did enjoy the sweeping fury that came with Quack Doctor declaring that Warner had a personal bias because she's black, which apparently means she has boatloads of dead/dying relatives in Africa.  Which, incidentally, if he really believed that were true, wouldn't that just be proof of how deadly AIDS is, as opposed to fluffy and harmless/non-existent?  Point-making through racism fail!  Or is he implying that all those people really dropped dead of malaria and just don't want to make Idol Gives Back seem useless, so they're blaming it on other things?

-Aw, and I also liked the Gambian couple.  They seemed like nice people.  Sadly ignorant, but with hearts in the right place.

-I want to know what kind of school district is paying 7-figure sums to bribe AIDS-denying HIV-positive teachers into early and lawsuit-free retirement.

-I don't often complain about the detectives being painfully clueless, but...when they VERY CLEARLY heard the school bell in the background of the anonymous call, and they all stood around going "Wait, I thought I heard something!" and then had to clean the sound up before they could identify it for sure?  Hearing fail!  I may have discovered Fail Blog recently, yes.

-One of the nicest things about taking an extended break from this show was being able to forget that ADA What's-her-Face, it starts with Gray, right? *Wikipedias things* GREYLEK - existed.  Ugh, she's so unpleasant.  So wooden and sneering all the time.

-Elliot and his broken ribs...sure glad you didn't complain about that much, because that's only a taste of what's to come, buddy.
10x06, Babes
[Pre-review note: Ooh, seems that Recapist swept in to save the SVU-recapping day immediately after Television Without Pity dumped it.  I love when they do that!  Nova A's taking over...I know that name, but I don't know why.  She seems pretty good at it.  Yay for not having to hunt all over the internet for a new memory-jogging source!]

Oh goody, we get to explore that stupid teenage pregnancy pact (possibly even stupider than the issue from the previous episode!  I'm beginning to think the "special" in Special Victims Unit refers to the mental ability of said victims).  Naturally, the school chastity club is ultimately responsible for at least one death.  Because as everyone knows, teens who deny themselves release through sex get wound up so tightly that their hormones ferment into pent-up rage until they explode in violently homicidal ways.

But back to the stupid girls.  I just...it takes a special kind of brain fail to think having a baby at 16 is cool.  Fine if you want to be a young mom, but why exactly can't you wait until you're at least 18 and have a diploma?  Why would you want to give up your last years of being completely obligation-free?  HOW do you not realize how much work babies are?  Worst of all was the one girl shouting about how "that vice president lady's daughter can have a baby, why can't I??"

Unless this is a special fake-VP, why would you choose her as your role model, like nobody is criticizing Bristol Palin at all?  It would have been a much better choice to bring up Jamie Lynn Spears, since she got support for her bravery from all the media rags.  But then I guess we wouldn't have gotten in an underhand jibe at Republicans.

I still haven't really addressed the baffling stupidity of the teen pregnancy pact itself, and I don't think I'll be able to do so because my brain violently recoils from the notion of its existence.  I deny its existence!  I am a teen pregnancy pact denier!  Something that ludicrous has to be purely fictional.

My favorite character was the tough-talking mother of the nice pregnant girl, last seen as Delko's crazy ex Gloria, whose claws-out defense of her kids was by far the most charming part of the episode for me.  You think I'm being facetious, and I'm totally not.  I admire her ability to rage at both of her kids' dumb choices but still stand by them 100%, and also go after people she believes have hurt them.

[Not saying I personally endorse her immature decision to harass Fidelia - HAHA, THE IRONY OF THAT NAME ONLY JUST HIT ME - over IM, but even if it actually had driven her to suicide, let's just say...one thing I really don't believe in is cyber bullying.  You change your IM and e-mail address and that's that; it's not that hard.  Even before that, you don't have to accept IMs and you certainly don't have to open e-mails from addresses other than your most trusted friends.  Why Fidelia kept chatting with her abusive correspondent instead of closing the window and blocking her, I do not understand. Yes, I blame victims sometimes.  The stupid ones.  It's refreshing, you should try it.  ]

I was, in other words, ecstatic when she was found not guilty...only to be promptly devastated when she got arrested 5 seconds later for attacking the bitchy ADA.  Come on, strangling Greyleck would have been a public service!  At least she made her bleed.  That was vicariously satisfying.

OH!  But what made this episode totally worthwhile - and I totally forgot this, because remember what I said about there being at least 2 stories in one all the time?  I can't be expected to automatically recall a story that starts with an castrated/immolated homeless guy and ends with pregnant teens - was Munch going undercover as bait in the form of a whackjob homeless guy, strolling up and down the streets with crazy hair, yelling about government conspiracies.  Greatest thing ever.  Let me quote Recapist: "The best part?  Munch doesn’t need to do anything to sound like a total paranoid nutjob - he just spouts his usual conspiracy theory lingo.  Except pumped up to shouting volume.  Hee!"

Other Stuff
-Ooh, look what I found whilst poking around the internet!  This might possibly be more interesting than the episode itself.  Exciting stuff.

-Other things I found whilst poking around the internet for episode chatter include this golden block quote from here:

This episode seemed crammed full of predictable “ripped from the headlines” story lines, various puns, and dark humor. It was as if it couldn’t decide whether it would be serious or funny. It was also filled with veiled and not so veiled commentary about teen pregnancy, Benson’s biological clock ticking, and the big, bad Internet. If I didn’t know better, [I'd say] the writers at Law & Order SVU use some kind of “headline randomizer” where they take the news headlines for the last year, put them into a computer, ask them to spit out 3 random headlines, and then base the episode on what it spits out.

BWAH.  POSSIBLY SO TRUE!

-There are health risks to babies born to teenage mothers?  Really? I might need to research this a bit, because I was kind of under the impression that, for as much as it might be societally frowned on, the later teenage years were sort of a prime time, biologically speaking, to give birth.

-Aw, the ending was kind of heartwarming, with the murdered kid's dad (remember the immolated guy from the opening scene?  I know!  I can't believe they ran a connecting thread through the whole episode) taking in the newly-alone girl carrying his grandchild, despite the fact that her brother killed his son.  (this kid's family history is going to be so scarring, she'll have to hide it from him until he's 21)

-Wait, Jesse McCartney, what?  Huh?  Where was he?  Oh, apparently he was the jilted/murderous boyfriend.  I tend to get him mixed up with Aaron Carter's face in my head (don't ask why), so that might explain some things, but still.  And I can never remember why he's famous, either...is he the one that sings "On the Way Down"?  No, damn it, that's Ryan Cabrera!  McCartney sings...something similar but slightly more bland...I know this one...*gives up and Wikipedias things*  "BEAUTIFUL SOUL."  I haven't heard that one in a while.  I'm going to get off my musician tangent now.

10x07, "Wildlife"
I heard a couple of different rumors about this one, both of which sounded too good to be true, so I tried to put them out of my mind and managed to avoid hearing any specific details about the episode after it aired.

The first rumor I heard was something about a bear, which was accurate if by "bear" you meant "tiger," but it doesn't matter because HEYYY, LOOK AT ALL THOSE ANIMALS!  *is instantly in love with episode*  Always, always, this is how you will get to me.  Bring in the animals.  And no, I had no real idea this was coming, because I didn't even have episode titles to work with here.

The animal-smuggling ring was a totally unexpected but wonderful surprise. SO much more compelling than anything else the season has had to offer so far.  Between Gotts Money's pet tiger, the considerably more vicious caged tiger (poor eaten baby...*sniff*), the hearbreaking sun bear, the blood-chilling and blood-soaked hyena laughing as it was wheeled out of Gotts' newly "vacated" apartment in its cage - and yikes, death-by-hyena-pack is possibly the new scariest way to die - the poor suffocated parrot with its sewn-shut eyes, and the poor baby gibbon* (SO CUTE cuddled up in Cragen's arms once liberated from the basketball), I was more than satisfied on all animal fronts.  I also approved of SVU finally highlighting an interesting and truly worthwhile social issue for once.

* = Speaking of the gibbon, it takes a special kind of asshole to eat endangered animals, or baby animals, but most especially baby endangered animals.  Not that anyone taking part in this trade ever really has good personality characteristics, but that seemed especially heinous.  That explains why SVU was involved, right?  (Sexually mutilated murder victim, what?  *furrows brow* That was so long ago...)

The other rumor I heard was Elliot getting hurt, again, some more, which...I don't even know how to react to anymore; I feel like I should give a woot and a cheer on principle, but then I can't remember if my default principle on this show has altered from "injury squee!" to "boo Benson and Stabler drama, boo."

Mostly I found myself wondering if Elliot ever maxes out his health insurance, and/or if with all those hospital visits, there's any insurance left to cover his family should they have the audacity to get sick or injured too.  Does Kathy work?  Maybe he saves on costs by refusing overnight stays, since that close-range bullet to the chest barely seemed to phase him.  I guess the "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger" principle applies doubly well to him.

That, and I was slightly bitter that, like the animals and the shooting and the nudity (oh, we'll get to that) weren't enough, we had to throw in marriage troubles, too.  I thought we were over this!  (Of course, I also thought Elliot was over being selfish and impulsive and putting the job over home life, so joke's on me)  Why wasn't Kathy at the hospital?  I thought potentially fatal situations were supposed to spur people into reaffirmations of love!  Maybe it's just happened so many times that she's grown jaded and her first reaction was to grumble about crying wolf.  Nevertheless, I'm going to take that anvil-sized smack upside the head, about how the undercover cop "lost his family a long time ago," and take solace in Elliot coming home and cuddling fussy Eli.  Kid's still just as ugly as when he was a newborn, but he'll do for plot-device-serving purposes.

As far the nudity, I'm just going to go over here and HEADDESK, HEADDESK, HEADDESK.  Yes, because that's what I've been dying to see!   Benson and Stabler half naked, with her climbing all over him!  You know, just in case there wasn't enough gratuitous Stabler Shirtlessness to be found elsewhere.  Come on, even I have my limits on that.  And I definitely have limits on Olivia shirtlessness, the limit being "none is plenty." 

Still.  I'm pretty sure I loved this episode to pieces, just for the fantastic animal stuff.

Little Details
-Only one Greyleck scene tonight!  I appreciate the fact that they appear to be committed to doling her out in small doses; it keeps my spite and loathing and Casey-missing to a minimum

-Turns out Nova A. is an E/O shipper with little to no patience for the actual Elliot/Kathy marriage.  That is seriously detrimental to my enjoyment of the recaps.  I am not down with adulterous shipping.

-Unexpected FACE FULL OF LEAPING TIGER was not so unexpected, actually, but was still pretty great watching Fin yank Elliot out of the way.

-Have to admit, the many "Gots" jokes being thrown around were amusing.

-I am finding many an interesting thing in my internet travels tonight; here, have the official production blog post about the on-set animal wrangling.

-Whoa, all that and I didn't even notice until reading it elswhere that Munch was missing?  If an episode can distract me from that, I'd have to say it's worth my time.

As always, if any of you talked about any of these episodes (or the subsequent three; I'm watching those next) at some point, you should hook me up to said posts, even if they're short.  I love reading your reactions.
-----------------------
P.S. QUESTION. I finally caved to pressure and got myself a Gmail account (everyone has one.  I hate it on principle), because I need something for professional purposes to replace my school e-mail.  Since the school one is where I had my LJ comments sent, I changed those over as well, except for some reason Gmail turns my comment notifications into a pain-in-the-ass conglomeration, nesting all the replies for a particular entry into one e-mail that says it's from the first person who commented.  ANNOYANCE FACTOR: HIGH.

How do I change this so they're separated again? I really don't want to go back to sending them to Hotmail, because Hotmail hates LJ, but if I can't correct that, I so will.  I require being able to see all my respondents individually, before I open anything.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
lieueitak
Dec. 23rd, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
Am curious as to how Tommy was HIV positive for, what, 14 years? Without showing any symptoms of illness whatsoever, apparently? HIV progresses in a series of stages. The first, Primary HIV infection, lasts a few weeks and is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Only about 20% of people are sick enough to warrant going to the doctor's. So a lot of people go undiagnosed. Furthermore, if an HIV antibody test is done before the immune system has had a chance to produce HIV antibodies and cytotoxic lymphocytes, then the test can come back negative when the person is actually infected with HIV.

Stage 2 of HIV is actually called the "clinically asymptomatic stage." There may be swollen lymph nodes, as that's largely what the HIV is targeting at the time. But for the most part, that period of time - which can last for an average of ten years - is one where the individual shows no symptoms.

Because of that stage, as well as medicine's ability to prolong the lives of HIV-positive individuals, it doesn't surprise me that there are people who believe that it's not a problem. Indeed, if the lack of AIDS awareness as of late is any indication, there are hoards of individuals who feel as though HIV is something you can live with and it's never going to be a problem. Especially if the alternative is to believe that your family member is going to die a slow and pretty horrible death? Yeah, I can see why people believe it, even if they shouldn't. I haven't seen the episode (of course!), but it seems to me that people can convince themselves of almost anything if it suits their purposes.

As for Gmail: it bundles them together, because it's the same post and technically all from the same "user" - livejournal. I don't think there's any way to "fix it" permanently. But if you delete the notification after you get it, it will send you a new email. And even if you keep the old email and it just updates that, you can see that it's a new notification because there will be a (2) or (3) or however many replies there have been by the name of the sender. So it's possible to tell that there are different people commenting (unless you think someone's pinging you a lot, lol), but you'd have to click to see who sent each comment. But that's kind of fun - it's a surprise! :-P
rainbowstevie
Dec. 23rd, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Indeed, if the lack of AIDS awareness as of late is any indication, there are hoards of individuals who feel as though HIV is something you can live with and it's never going to be a problem.
Huh, that's a good point...it was all the rage when I was in elementary/middle school; I was wondering where all the attention had gone lately. As to the rest of your info, I seem to have forgotten much of what I learned back then, so that was interesting. What would I do without you, my dear walking commenting encyclopedia?

So it's possible to tell that there are different people commenting (unless you think someone's pinging you a lot, lol), but you'd have to click to see who sent each comment. But that's kind of fun - it's a surprise!
Bahhhhh, that's what I've been getting, and it's precisely what I don't want. Sometimes I check my e-mail first, and sometimes I check LJ - if the latter, I prefer being able to delete the ones I know I've already seen unopened. And I like read my comments in order of interest - some people tend to leave better comments than others, so I save those for last. Back to Hotmail it is, then!
lieueitak
Dec. 23rd, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
The most recent AIDS awareness thing I've seen as of late is an episode of South Park - which actually makes fun of the lack of attention the illness has received lately. Indeed, after examining the way Magic Johnson lives, the boys and scientists discover that the cure to AIDS is... cash, LOL. But beyond that, there hasn't really been much discussion. Even in terms of "why you should wear a condom," the conversation has turned to HPV and cervical cancer, I feel like.
muzzy_olorea
Dec. 23rd, 2008 11:17 am (UTC)
Hmmm, am surprised to hear that G-Mail is doing that to you because I have all my LJ notifications delivered there and from there all forwarded to my Hotmail account (so I can read them in Hotmail with the rest of my mail) and I get them all separated out like they're meant to be. :S
rainbowstevie
Dec. 23rd, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
Ooh, forwarding, that's a good idea! Even better, I just remembered that I made another, less professional Gmail account some time ago, so maybe I'll have my LJ comments sent to & forwarded from that address. Thank you!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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