1. Dean Winchester sweeps the 2009 Fandom Steel Cage Match March Madness championship by a relative landslide.
2. Mother Nature shows up with a gift to celebrate.
By the way, I found this campaign poster in the recycling bin. I have no idea how it got there or where it came from, although by the looks of things, at least three people had a hand in it.
Secret Life of the American Teenager: 1x21
Losing patience with this circus by the week. Only the knowledge of the light at the end of the tunnel is keeping me going. Once the season ends and I fall out of the weekly watching habit, that'll be IT.
I was not so impressed with one Jergens woman's attitude about attending the baby shower, however: "And that will fulfill my obligations as the child's aunt for the child's lifetime?" THE HELL, child. Aren't you the one that's been throwing fits for weeks about how this is your nephew and you don't want him living with strangers? I can't even get into how she's planning to live with her dad and thus won't be living with the baby either. Way to show you care about raising him.
I wasn't real impressed with how they attempted to paint Ricky, either. Like watching him vaccum, fold laundry, and have a baby doll on which he's practicing diaper-changing is just going to maaaaagically make me forget he's a manwhore/compulsive asshole. Also, Ricky's foster mom? LAME. Stop ganging up on Ben behind his back.
I admit it was kind of fun to see his backed-into-a-corner panic come out as defensive hostility when Jack came barreling down uninvited to the basement, but that's all. And that was mostly because I loved the underpriveleged kid's hysterical laughter of "Am I in a basement with two guys playing with dolls?" and "Oh, I'm telling EVERYONE."
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go forget the sight of Ben and Amy making out on his bed, with his dweeby friend in the room, oblivious to the sound of his dad entering the room and clearing his throat. I'm thinking that's the end of Amy hanging out in Ben's room, since clearly neither a chaperone nor an open door deters their adolescent hormones. Although I shouldn't be surprised, given that an open door never stopped him from blurting out personal things in the counselor's office, either.
Medium: 5x06, "Apocalypse...Now?"
You know what I love about this show? It frequently uses its teasers - in the form of Allison's first and most surreal dream - to provide visual representation of my wild and crazy daydream scenarios, free of the pressure to conform to canon/reality or work it into an overall story. You just get a snapshot, but you get to see the characters in those situations rather than having to imagine it. Like, say, what it would be like several days, or weeks, into a world where their family members (or most of them) are the only survivors in the area of a natural disaster/apocalypse-type scenario.
In what other world can you get the visual of a worn and defeated Joe, asking over ham radio if there is anyone else out there and if they've seen Allison DuBois, trying to reassure Ariel that they'll find her? Or her admission that the food is gone, and the fear in her eyes at his hug goodbye, and promise that he won't go far to salvage some and will return soon? My brain will be good with this scene for WEEKS.
I think it's the Allison-being-missing part that gives it a more chilling and realistic edge than just imagining a deserted neighborhood. Torn between hope and closure, and Ariel on the brink between a child needing reassurance and stepping up to take care of her sisters. *shivers* Ooh, the layers are too many and too rich with possibility to spend any further time on just now.
And I almost forgot - just in case that wasn't enough, immediately after that we got a real earthquake. Nothing major, just enough to call for parents jumping out of bed, running to fetch children, and hanging out in doorways. And for Lee to steady Allison during an aftershock.
As far as the case goes, for ONCE, I immediately figured out the meaning of the dream - he was merely lying about the whole apocalypse thing, because he was a creepy old pervert. A pervert with impressive dedication to elaborate and complicated brainwashing schemes, but a creepy old lying pervert all the same. I did not, however, manage to figure out how it connected to the Donlin murder case until that part was explicitly spelled out for me - he killed the family to take the girl, disposing of the bodies in one messy group so that no one would think to look for her. It might have helped if I'd thought harder about how he managed to get that first girl.
Speaking of the Donlins, once again, that is an impressively complex and elaborate scheme. It really makes me wonder how he could be so stupid as to step in wet paint and fail to clean up the BRIGHT YELLOW FOOTPRINTS leading straight to his little hidey-hole room. *headdesk*
But you know what, that's okay, because SOMEONE FINALLY WENT TO JAIL, HALLELUJAH!!!! Better yet, it was the worst villain of the season, so it just would have been depressing if he'd gotten away with it. I swear, that even made up for Allison's utterly ridiculous "We need to buy a gun for protection!" rant, just because a salesman convinced her so in about ten minutes flat. At this rate, I'm surprised Allison doesn't have a couple of time-share condos and/or is in financial negotiations with several Nigerians by now. And man, I really hope she and Joe have separate bank accounts, considering the shopping sprees she's been going on lately.
Oh, and randomly - I THOUGHT young Sarah looked familiar, and upon using the magic of IMDB, realized it's because she's Marki from "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader."
Finally, glad as I am that we don't have to watch Ariel date yet, I still hate watching her be awkward around boys she likes (who inevitably reveal themselves to be losers). Speaking of which, I can't believe she didn't turn that kid in for cheating. Did he actually try to threaten her by implying that it would immediately make her years of good grades suspect? REALLY? Because I'm pretty sure that would work in her favor, and that if she really wanted to punish him, she could tattle and the teacher's response would be to let her take a different test while failing the boy.
Personally, I would be torn between not wanting to take a test over for a (probably) lower grade, and PUNISHING A SMARMY JACKASS, but I assume Ariel's better at math than I am. And yet she just takes it and goes home in tears (though she did at least flatly reject his attempt to smarmily set up a date with her anyway). Huh. I'd complain about this more, except that it led to a good heart-to-heart between mother and daughter about their psychic gifts. I never think Ariel and Allison get enough scenes with just the two of them, so this was highly welcome.
HEY, IS IT JUST ME, OR ARE THE DESCRIPTIONS OF MOLESTATION GETTING A LITTLE MORE SPECIFIC THAN THEY NEED TO BE? Because it was starting to veer into "Smut" levels of uncomfortably graphic, only with words instead of video.
Otherwise, although I only know Alex through old reruns, it was still really nice to see her back. I always get her mixed up with the fired "Is it because I'm a lesbian?" lawyer, so I didn't think all the mentions of Witness Protection and "you didn't call" were as heavy-handed as other people might have. I really like her, though. Especially if it gets Kim unceremoniously written out of sight with one line (I may honestly never forgive them for breaking a franchise-wide streak of amazing female attorneys with her).
I also really loved the storyline - right up to the point where the title came into play, where the story took a OH NOEZ, CHINESE LEAD PAINT turn, which just reminds me of all the wonderful children's toys that have been recalled, or vintage ones destroyed, on even the *suspicion* of lead paint. (grrrr)
Speaking of which, what parents wouldn't be alarmed if they noticed their kid compulsively licking paint off cars? Paint is not that easy to remove with saliva alone! And how could they not have even suspected pica at any point up to now? Why was Huang the only one who even reacted to the guy CHOMPING OFF THE END OF A PENCIL on the witness stand? Talk about plot holes big enough to drive a truck through...
But at least a pedophile's dead, nobody's being seriously punished, even the defense lawyer's happy, and it was mostly a really compelling case with a truly sympathetic killer. And there was a really sweet scene or two with his parents, especially his dad, and the family wasn't torn apart at the end, yay! Plus I got to worry about Huang for a half second there, with the head crack and the pool of blood that apparently wasn't even serious enough to warrant a hospital visit.
Did't love the grim, grainy flashbacks at the beginning, though. And when Munch said "While you threee were entertaining the rat squad, Fin and I were actually working," I couldn't help but wish we'd gotten to see that instead. I'll take phone calls and interviews with Munch over IAB v. Benson And Stabler any day.
Reward: OK, that looked really fun. I don't often say that I want to participate in challenges, but I think I would like being spun around like a semi-literal top, and then trying to orient myself enough to race across a low balance beam to a finish line. I think I saw one of the guys trying to focus the way you're taught while learning pirouttes - fix your eyes on one point and snap your head around only when you have to - but I don't know whether or not it helped at that speed.
I do know it was hilarious to watch everybody stagger around like newborn colts afterwards - this applied doubly well to Sierra, with her stick-thin body and gangly legs - and to hear Spencer say it was "like wearing beer goggles" as opposed to "being drunk." I also continue to be fascinated by the endearingly, awkwardly clumsy sight of Stephen running. (or I'm just fascinated by Stephen in general. I CANNOT CONFIRM OR DENY)
It was really exciting to watch them take on the beam, too, especially when Jalapao figured out that when you started to wobble, your best bet was just to start charging ahead as fast as you could and hope you got to the end before you fell off. It seems counter-intuitive, but it's amazing how often speed is as much or more crucial to staying upright than having a firm center of gravity.
In fact, my only complain with this whole reward challenge - besides the "Charmin Cafe," which, REALLY, SHOW? Is it your personal challenge to come up with a more obnoxious form of product placement every season? - was that Stephen got locked out of it. I was annoyed by this just on principle...and then part of the reward turned out to be letters from home, which of course elicits instant tears from everyone who is not made of steel and circuits, and I wanted to see Emotional Stephen, damn it! That's it, I demand that he still be here when it's time for the Family Challenge. DEMAND IT.
In the meantime, I will make do with misty-eyed J.T. talking about how his mom's only told him she loved him about three times before in his life. (what kind of steel-emotioned mother doesn't tell her son she loves him? Dads, I can understand being more reticent, but MOMS?)
Immunity Challenge: I am getting seriously fond of JT, in case this fact is not obvious yet - third fave, easy - and this challenge just cemented it. Games that involve nets and balls are officially my new favorite challenge, and watching him perform epic, nigh-superhuman feats to catch all the shots for his team was amazing. Until Tyson somehow became a superpower for the other team, and won. And then I just felt bad for J.T. looking on the verge of tears in anger and frustration, because he gave 150%, including playing through a damn BROKEN TOOTH, and they still lost because Spencer couldn't cover his guy.
I'm not real thrilled about Spencer being the one voted out, understand, because I was kind of starting to like him in an innocent, non-threateningly cute kind of way. See, this is how you accomplish being both gay and likable, as opposed to gay and FREAKISHLY IRRITATING BECAUSE OF IT like a certain Nathaniel on American Idol. I even felt kind of bad for him when he talked about feeling like it was prudent for him to hide his sexuality, and not being able to have anyone ask him stuff like "hey, what kind of guys do you like?" I'll talk about cute guys with you, Spencer! Meet me at the campus coffee shop!
In conclusion, I'm sad because I liked everybody left on Jalapao, with the exception of Joe, who is one of those boring, bland Typical Manly Guys. *yawns*
In other news, I continue to find "Coach" hilariously entertaining in his own horrible way, and take a lot of glee in Erinn repeatedly calling him a "jackass" during her confessionals. Man, I want her to make it to the merge before the jackal-like rest of Tempura devours her.
And I remain worried about the fact that as great as it is to have my two favorites (Taj and Stephen) allied together, unlike Bob and Sugar, it's never good to have all your eggs in one basket. I mean, I did branch out to J.T., but even so. BE LESS CHUMMY/GOOD-NATURED WHEN YOU GO TO EXILE, YOU GUYS. Tyson's a freak, but he's a damnably scheming, subversive and potentially dangerous freak, too.
P.S. Only 5 episodes in, we started late, and we're already on an unprecedented 2-week break?!