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Nostalgia for 2004: Television's Golden Year. I love this article for illustrating what I've been saying for some time now -- the 04 (-05) pilot season was full of magically good stuff.

That was the year I started college so I didn't pick it all up right away, but look at my lineup now and see how many of the episode numbers start with "7." There would be more if Numb3rs hadn't died; I AM JUST SAYING. I'm glad somebody else realized it. The only thing the article got horrifically wrong was that '04 brought in CSI: NY, not Miami. I would still argue that that's what made CSI a franchise, though, rather than just a show and a spinoff. 

I particularly like what they pointed out about all the shows ending, because I remember that too, watching the long-running things fold up their eras the same way I was leaving high school. Although the only thing that really registered on my non-obsessed-with-TV radar at that point was Friends, and only because everyone around me was pitching an epic tear fit while I was like, "Huh. I think I saw an episode or two once."

Direction change!
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Private Practice, 4x04, "A Better Place to Be"
Pete, you son of a bitch.

If I can just throw logic to the winds for a minute and analyze this solely on the factor of "what would be enjoyable for me as a viewer," Pete & Violet adopting Betsy would have solved all of my problems. Namely: the pain of missing Dell, the lack of Betsy, and most importantly, my hatred of Pete/Violet. Oh, and also, my hatred of Violet. Because in one instant of connecting with Bets, everything I've found annoying about her over the past year melted away and was replaced by a flood of admiration and appreciation.

How great would this have been?  They were so sweet, and she was so much better with Betsy than she's ever been with Lucas. And why not?  Homeless, helpless little elementary-age girls are far more appealing than baby/toddler boys. In my ideal world, Pete and Addison are still together and yet somehow people are still willing to grant Violet custody as a single guardian.

But in lieu of that, a Pete + Violet Insta-Family (just add a quickie marriage license and an orphan, and watch it grow!) would have made my LIFE. Betsy and Lucas watching cartoons together? Crazy cute. Betsy imprinting on Violet without a moment's hesitation? Beautiful. (Here I was waiting for the muteness, the bedwetting, the setting fire to the house while they slept...but she seemed remarkably well adjusted and behavioral-problem free). I have not been this happy watching Violet in months and months. Don't even try to BS that she was just looking for a "do over." She got that when she married Pete. This is something new, sprung on them by outside circumstances.


DO WANT.

Granted, adoption maybe seemed a bit quick, but they couldn't have even provided temporary care for a while to see how things went? Or at least until Naomi came back and had a say? Because. I mean. Adorable as she is, I think 7/8 is pushing high on the age prospective parents seek when looking to add a kid to their life.

But Pete shoots it all down, and nobody else in the whole entire practice wants to intervene either. I somewhat understand why they averted their eyes, because none of the other couples are really set up for kids in their current romantic entanglements, but at the same time: bitches!  You did a bad thing here today. Violet is better than all of you. In fact, Violet is now the only doctor I respect. (Besides Amelia, who is yet exempt from all responsibilities.)

In conclusion: bite me, Pete. We can go back to season 1 hostility if that's how you want things to be. Unless Naomi comes back and rights this mess, I have no hope for any of you.


In my head, this moment is because Social Services wouldn't grant them custody.
 --------
The Office, 7x03, "Andy's Play"
It's a pity I was so behind on this, because for something with "Andy" right in the title, that was spectacular in a surprising number of ways.

* I WILL BUY SEVENTEEN TICKETS TO THIS PLAY RIGHT NOW. Viral marketing of win. I have never had any desire to see this production, not even after it was turned into a Johnny Depp film, and yet I have also never heard any of the music from it. That opening song? Convinced me I need to make this a part of my life. Specifically, however, I am pretty sure I want to see it at a live community theater in which Ed Helms is playing this exact role. Along with the rest of this specific cast. Don't tease me with things I can't have, show! I am embarrassed to tell you how many times I have rewound the cold open, or how starry my eyes are as I admire Andy's voice for the first time since he was roasting Michael in song.

* In other words: you see Michael's enthralled look of joy?  Me. Totally me. Can it, Disapproving Stanley.

* I am going to be singing this song all day, aren't I? Not even Erin's idiotic interruption can ruin this for me.

* "My plan is to make Erin fall back in love with me tonight."
Oh good.  Here I was afraid your plan might be stupid.

* Jim's manic-gleeful "Yes!" made my life. There might have been a touch of sarcasm to his voice, but I would have gone to a lot more college plays if people had marched into my classrooms and livened them up with costumed singing.

* Pam, why is your hair so sad and wave/curl free lately?

* Ryan pretentiously brings his not-at-all-conspicuous iPad everywhere. Of course he does. (that is an iPad, right?  I don't know these things. I'm still confused by texting)

* Gabe was sick and Erin brought him soup? Ugh, stop hitting all my squee buttons. I can't stomach how much I enjoy the idea of this couple given that Erin makes up half of it.

* So, on another note, JIM/PAM. It felt like there were great gaps in their storyline, like they just disappeared from one scene and popped up in another and nobody explained how they got from point A to point B (how did they go from smirking in the lunch room to turning up in the lobby? why were they sitting in the wrong seats? why were they not at all surprised when they got kicked out of those seats? how did they go from anxiety ridden to chilling in the car with oddly mixed drinks?), but I don't really care because JIM/PAM + CECELIA. ALL THE TIME, ALL NIGHT. *happy daze*

Specifically: Adorably check-in call, adorably OMGWTFCECE mode upon hearing her in the theater, an awesomely rare sighting of angry!sarcasm!Jim and Pam right there on the mark (Team Parents vs. Incompetent Erin all the way!), "Well, we're never leaving the house again." // "Not TOGETHER!", and an even rarer sweet, quiet moment with just the two of them. *sigh* You see, this?  Is why she show needs to survive as long as John & Jenna are willing and able to be part of it.

* Erin: "I've been trying to get into the babysitting game since forever." Argh!  STOP BEING ME. STOP SUCCEEDING WHERE I HAVE FAILED. OK, not that I have actually been trying to get into the babysitting game, but I went out of my way to avoid children as a teenager and then at age 22 when I graduated from college with no skill set or job prospects, it was like, "FML, I would be ridiculously suited to nannying."

* Let's just not even get into the part where she gets to babysit Jim and Pam's kid. I would get over my extreme dislike of babies for a chance like that. Thankfully, she managed to muck it up and ensure she'll never be invited back again, so at least she fails at some things.

(On a related note: Jim? Pam? You've worked with her for over a year now, right? And at no point did you notice how exceptionally awful she is at anything that requires a modicum of common sense or critical independent thinking? What part of your brains thought she could handle babysitting?)

* It just made me really happy to have everyone come out to watch the play. It feels like it's been ages since there was a real sense of camaraderie outside the office without anything particularly excruciating or cringe-worthy happening. I was giggling like crazy during the Endless Fall of the Wine Bottle/Balloon Shotgun/Crying Baby suite.  I didn't even hate Andy bumbling through "I Try" while forcing me to listen to an endless montage set to his voice as much as I normally would have.


--------------
The Office, 7x04, "Sex Ed"
In sharp contrast to the preceding wonder and awe, it is astonishing how many minutes of this episode I had to skip.
The few things I pulled out --

* Oh my God, Jan's sane again!  JAN'S SANE. CHECK IT OUT. Pam might one day return to the... and she just started humming a commercial jingle about bacon. Which will not be the only time she breaks into random song this episode. So close.

* Is Astrid some kind of secret genius? How is she in school when she was born in the summer of 2008? Office, you're better than this. Not much better, given how confused you were about the concept of a 12-week art program, but I thought a little better.

* Night's Best Line: TIE
1) Kelly: Can we please talk about how gross Meredith is?
2) Angela: This is what you get when you treat your body like an outhouse.

* Winner Of All Lines: Kelly
Erin, on consequences of sex: Unplanned pregnancy.
Kelly: Like Jim and Pam, whaaaat?

And as much has her immature taunting itself amuses me (amusement: the way in which I keep my May 2009 rage balloon from flaring up over the memory of how Pam was a pregnant bride), I mostly like how this launches them both into defensive and slightly offended mode. With awesomely identical poses:


Pick your caption:
BITCH PLEASE. // (OH) HELL NO. // OH NO SHE DIDN'T.
(Darryl: Word.)

Please also note their lovely shades of blue and pink, respectively. I love when they color coordinate like that. As they often do, I'm just saying, I never get tired of it.

* Erin is so adorable perched on Gabe's desk.  You know what?  I would love her unabashedly if she just dated Gabe forever, and perhaps mysteriously lost her voice. Not to mention their adorably awkward handhold in the conference room.

* The only part of Andy's presentation that was not excruciating was him going for a pencil to demonstrate, causing Stanley to howl with glee and Oscar to direct his OMGWTF bitchface of ridicule toward someone appropriate for once.

* ANGER MANAGEMENT ANDY STRIKES AGAIN. Gross. Erin, you'll want to stay far away from that creep and in the safe harbor of your new Tall and Charming Gentleman. He's so charming he even asked Andy before approaching Erin. Oh, of all things to hate about the new arrangements in the office, I will never regret the arrival of Gabe.

-----
House: 7x05, "Unplanned Parenthood"

(edit: fixed the spacing with a carriage return. weird.)
House: finding ways to make everything look grosser since 2004. Newest frontier: women in labor.

Moving on from the horrific teaser. Ahh, Rachel has suddenly grown into something cute! Theoretically.  In practice, kids that age are weird. Why do they stare like that? It's creepy. It's better than crying, but it's still unnerving. I've actually had some recent encounters with a 2-year-old, and I just have no idea how to handle them when they come up to you. Do you talk to them? Do they understand speech? Can I just pat them on the head like a puppy? Because they act a lot like puppies. AWKWARD. 

Kind of like watching Wilson interact with Rachel, because he apparently has even less idea than I do of how to handle them, and it's a painful, painful sight to behold. You know, I think we're okay if his woefully unstable romantic life precludes him from ever having kids. That said, while my brain is still having problems adjusting to the idea of House being a semi-permanent or at least long term figure in her life (DNW! I want him and Cuddy to stay together, and yet...thanks to Rachel, not entirely), it finds him the world's most awesome grumpy babysitter. SO MUCH PRECIOUSNESS.

Bonus: Wilson continuing his finely-honed craft of sneaking through windows.

Meanwhile, we're still playing New Hire Roulette -- thank goodness I knew not to get to attached to anybody until Amber showed up -- and while I don't really understand her reasons for declining the job, I enjoyed the pediatric-doctor-who-hates-kids as much as it's possible to enjoy a 1-episode character. Did not enjoy the patient and her elder daughter, with the weirdly heavy attention drawn to their backstory that was never explained or made significant. I disliked the mother so intensely that I was actually pretty OK with her convenient death.

-----------
NCIS, 8x05, "Dead Air"
For no discernible reason, especially given the lack of any significant Gibbs/Abby, I really enjoyed this episode.
.
I don't think it had anything to do with plot, which was pretty basic and uninteresting as far as plots go (then again, they didn't talk to any Marines, which was a refreshing change of pace), it was a shift in my attitude. Maybe it's because I'm well rested for once, or because there wasn't a new episode of Raising Hope that I was impatiently waiting to get to.

Or maybe it's the pure nostalgia factor of having been reading my journals last night from fall 2005, my first year in the fandom, and fondly remembering those nights in my big empty dorm room, curled up with the highlight of my TV week and the 20-oz. bottle of pop I'd been saving specially to combat the mouthwatering effects of the Caff-Pow visual. Studying the characters on screen tonight, newly appreciating them each in turn and the way I might not love them all, but at least I don't specifically hate anybody (rare!), I felt tempted to bust out a Grissom musing: "I haven't seen you in a while, have I?" (Cue Sara: "You see me every day.")

If I had to guess, I'd pin it on the nostalgia, since that's what this episode focused on.  Ziva, the Five Years Ago Ziva, who was wilder and more unrestrained and...I don't really know if I'd use all the same words Tony did, but she was definitely different. I do miss her. And this episode decided to tempt out all my latent (I would have used the phrase "charbroiled and dead") Tiva feelings. It felt very meta, in that moment where Tony was reminiscing about Under Covers the episode, when they still had sizzling spark and sexual tension instead of the comfortable sibling rivalry they've settled into as a result of waiting too long. Particularly liked McGee's increasingly OMGWTF responses of "but that was just for show, right? Right?? RIGHT????"

Was it especially indulgent to have her tackle Tony out of an exploding bomb's debris path and land on top of him, then follow it up with an unusually long bit of face-to-face smiling? Oh, sure. Some might even call it cheesy. But I will take it at face value and just enjoy the moment of very close proximity. Mixed with quasi-heroics.

Other Bits
* This whole episode was Ziva's time to shine, and she owned it, from her alluring undercover mode to the wistful musing about how fathers make mistakes that need a lot of forgiving to her general interaction with the daughter (I loved the daughter. This actress should become a frequent-flyer guest star if she's not one already)

* ...is McGee now skinnier than Tony?

* Very much enjoyed everyone taking a turn to mildly torture Tony after he received orders not to speak for 24 hours. And his tiny squeaky voice whenever he did try.  Hah!

* Awwww, Gibbs & Ziva tossing the baseball at the end. My heart is so full of feelings I don't know what to do. Odds are next week I will be back to sleep deprivation and Rawr, Crankypants mode, but for a little while it was nice to feel grateful - grateful! - that I can still come home to this familiar place for new material all these years later.

There's something ironic there when contrasted with the fact that I got so fed up with every CSI show last week that I either stopped watching or fell asleep halfway through all of them. These lessons of gratitude are non-transferable!


NCIS: LA: Whoa, when did they trade in The Creeper for Scruffy Vaughn?  And who is the spunky young redhead?  I could almost find this show bearable if they would just divest themselves of that awful Hetty woman.

P.S. Argh, I was all cheerful about a new batch of Grey's Anatomy spoilers until I saw this:
"
"A new love triangle will be revealed in a November sweeps episode: Lexie, Alex and April."

WHAT? NO. No, for the love of everything, April, I like you! I was prepared to put aside my principles and let you fall for Jackson, even, if it was inevitable, but MOTHER OF GOD, WOMAN, WHERE IS YOUR BRAIN. ALEX????????????? I believe the appropriate response is DIE IN A FIRE.

I told you this show can only last so long before it drops off a quality cliff...

[Edit: Truthiness level of this spoiler is now suspect. PLEASE BE WRONG.] [Iiiiit is not really wrong.]

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
crackers4jenn
Oct. 20th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC)
A love triangle between Lexie, April, and... ALEX?!?!?!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

I know you hate Sloan, and probably I should hate Sloan too, but lately I have been rooting for the Sloan/Lexie relationship to get back to being a thing, and now... ALEX IS BACK IN THE PICTURE?!?! Ugh. Why. WHY DOES THAT DUDE MESS UP EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD ABOUT THIS SHOW? IE; GEORGE/IZZIE.

And why does there even need to be a love triangle? Can't Alex just keep it in his pants and mourn over Izzie for the rest of the series? Is that too much to ask? Can he just be a doctor? Sigh. THIS SHOW. THIS SHOW. It's a test of my sanity.
crackers4jenn
Oct. 20th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
ps; reading your words on "Andy's Play" makes me SO SAD I missed it, because if you are praising it up? It must've been JAW-DROPPINGLY AMAZING. Why, self, why!?
rainbowstevie
Oct. 20th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
muzzy_olorea says she saw Shonda deny this on Twitter, so I don't know. It could be wrong! There's hope! And that said...regardless of my feelings on Sloan, of the limited option available, even I would prefer that. She makes him slightly better.

WHY DOES THAT DUDE MESS UP EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD ABOUT THIS SHOW?
I would love an answer for this, as his skill as legendary.

As for The Office, confer with dollsome, but I am pretty sure you would have liked it a lot. There was much Poignant Andy. Also Singing Andy.
muzzy_olorea
Oct. 20th, 2010 11:00 am (UTC)
Dude, where did you get your GA spoiler from? Because I swore I just saw Shonda deny this on Twitter yesterday although I could have misread her tweet?
rainbowstevie
Oct. 20th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
My spoiler came packaged secondhand via TV Squad. It is entirely possible that it's wrong, and now I really really hope so.
aries11
Oct. 20th, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC)
While I'm definitely frustrated that it's taken this long for there to be a significant Tiva development, I haven't lost faith in their chemistry. It's still there, and I certainly would not downgrade them to a sibling rivalry. If anything else, I think Tony might finally be realizing his true feelings for her! It only took him five years. You don't just pause like that over questions like "It was all for show, right?" Of course, that could also mean there are still things to learn about "Under Covers", just like there are still things to learn from "Jet Lag"!

Oh, and honestly, as a solo character, I like Ziva better now than I did back then.
rainbowstevie
Oct. 20th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
Well, it feels like sibling rivalry from my perspective as a viewer. That said, I certainly thought the pausing was indicative of A Big Realization, or at least the start of a feelings confrontation.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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