1. Here's a fun story: on the Friday drive home, I flipped between radio stations to escape that horrendous new thorn in my side, Bruno "Lethally Boring" Mars, and landed on some potentially lovely lyrics featuring "she," with intriguing music. Heart lighting up, I immediately burned the words into my brain so I could look it up later. And then we got to the chorus:
Don't call my name, don't call my name...Alejandro
TRUST ME, THERE WAS SOME EPIC SWEARING HAPPENING IN THAT VAN. But I kept listening, and it was so pretty, and I may have cried a little in frustration, because now I'm hooked on it. Did I mention my inability to understand why Lady Gaga persists in being such a freak when her music is not actually that bad?
2. On my walk with Kym, I saw a blue jay chasing a gray squirrel through a pine tree. It was awesome. The squirrel kept scrambling up and around the trunk and onto different branches, and the jay kept fluttering after it, making more noise with its flapping wings than a chicken, until the squirrel finally jumped into the adjacent tree and escaped. I've heard of jay aggression, but never seen it in action.
A haphazardly watched week's worth of TV viewing.
House, 7x19, "The Last Temptation"
TPTB: Hey, you know how you love Martha but we couldn't convince Amber Tamblyn to stay any longer so she's leaving?
RS: Yes. *cry*
TPTB: How would you like her sendoff to be an entire episode from her perspective?
RS: YES PLEASE.
I have decided that Martha is the best thing to ever happen to this show. Huddy was pretty good, and Wilson is quite an asset, and Death Cat was really pretty cool, but all things considered I mostly want Martha to be here forever? From the opening minute, I was enchanted by the music and deciding that this was going to be a good patient of the week, but then we opened on her adorably childish bedroom and confirmed that this hour was going to be another stellar attraction on the non-stop tour of bedazzlement that is season 7.
I really love how even now, when they decide they're going to limit your perception of events from one character's point of view, you really are limited. I felt like I was her, with only a few month's worth of knowledge about House's personality, and still stumbling to find my footing. And instead of years worth of hatred built up for Thirteen, I got a week's reprieve of feeling like I'd just met her -- and she's not exactly instantly magnetic (never mind that tiny bit of jealousy when everyone *coughChase* jumps up to greet her), but neither is she at all hateful.
I also loved feeling perplexed by the chicken bet. Which, incidentally: CHICKENS. CHICKENS CHICKENS CHICKENS, THIS IS MY FAVORITE DAY. "House" has always been a show with an unusually high number of animals considering it takes place in a hospital, but this is a whole new level of joy. Wilson holding a chicken, even while proclaiming to be disgusted by it, made my life. But not as much as the sight of House with a random Golden Retriever sitting alertly by his feet. Even if the dog did then nearly kill one of the chickens. I appreciated that "nearly," by the way, as I was pretty horrified/betrayed by TPTB's cruelty at getting me all attached to the hens only to have one of them chomped by an otherwise gorgeous dog. Now I can rewatch that moment and find it almost humorous.
You know who I wish we'd seen more of over the course of the series? Martha's roommate and/or Chuck Bass Lite. They are both already more interesting people than the Taubs.
Ended up liking the patient of the week after all (and her really sweet dad -- HAHAHA, I love how I wracked my brains trying to figure out why I knew him until DUH, he's Bobby Dawson of CSI lab rat fame. Why does he look so different and so much more appealing here?), although I'd be pretty peeved to wake up and find my arm gone too. High likelihood of premature death > immediate amputation with no say in the matter.
But while I definitely did not agree with Martha's decision to break the rules the way she did, I didn't hate the way they played it out. They saved themselves with her vaguely ill reaction to it, and as sad as I am to see her gone, I'm relieved, too. That scene with Chase was instrumental in making me OK with it, having him push her to leave because working with House changes you -- and way to reference the divorce, too, "in ways not everyone in my life thought was for the better."
Having her walk out to the triumphant strains of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" helped, too. In sum, there was nothing I did not love about this hour.
P.S. If I do not see the implicitly promised ferrets sometime before the show ends, I will be v. disappointed.
How I Met Your Mother, 6x21, "Hopeless":
You know, I profess to love John Lithgow, but I'm starting to wonder if I don't just incessantly miss when you could find Third Rock From the Sun in syndication all the time. I miss it. It's not like beloved sitcoms of mine to vanish without a trace.
Where he was the strongest part of his first episode, this time he was the weak point. I didn't hate the Continuing Adventures of Barney's Dad, I just wasn't especially enthused by them. I would like this series to stop focusing on dads, if at all possible and find a new direction.
Mostly, though, it was weaker because I had such a blast with the other parts, including the filling in of some backstory I'm not sure needed to be filled except to stab some Ted/Robin shippers in the heart for no reason.
I'm OK with that, I'm just observing that it seemed mean to have Ted and Robin both shamelessly flirting with and/or fantasizing about other people in the middle of their relationship, even if the origins of the red cowboy boots cracked me up. It seemed particularly mean to bring back the "I would have stolen you a whole orchestra" line and cheapen it in the process. I just saw that episode the other night for the first time since it aired, and I was duly impressed by that scene. It's a pretty profound line across all of fandom; it looks cheesy in writing but in practice, it's magnificent.
I'm Zen about all of the above because the show ALSO tried to remedy the errors of so many past episodes by throwing the Barney/Robin shippers a bone. Well, more like a whole ham baked around the bone. "My dad'll be all, Why don't you marry Robin? You guys are cute together! Deep down you know you were never happier than when you were with her!"
Hey, wait, that was just the appetizer. Here's the ham: "What if you've already met her?"
I have my suspicions that the next episode may, I don't know, try to blow this up by bringing up the hottest, kinkiest girl Barney's ever slept with, or subverting "her" into an inanimate object*, but I'm throwing my whole heart into this. Without his friends around, the Real Boy feelings have a chance to come out. Just to be clear, I am in NO WAY condoning your 7 1/2 episodes of relationshippy joy followed by eternal cruelty just to make this moment work, but I will consider it acceptable partial penance.
[*or Nora. Damn it, internet. I'd successfully forgotten she existed.]
At least Ugly Shirt Guy isn't (quite) as immediately annoying as Don.
Plus, this episode -- or at least the teaser -- got a lot of laughs out of me. Favorite quotes from the first five minutes:
Jerry: Would you like to go fishing with me and JJ on Sunday morning?
Barney: Ooh, hold on, let me check my personality -- oh, no, turns out I would never do that in a million years.
Barney: We're not getting too old for anything!
Ted: Are you sure? I feel like we collectively learn the opposite lesson like at least once a year.
Barney: I've made some minor improvements to your identities. You'll find them on these cards.
Marshall: Improvements? Bro, we are already the four jiggity-jamminest dudes and dudettes this side of... Okay, let's see the cards.
Barney: You and Marshall are in an open marriage.
Lily/Marshall, simultaneously: Woohoo!/GROSS
Barney: Here's a giant pile of topics you should avoid talking about. (handing over a hilariously giant pile of cards)
Ted: Well, this could actually be fun. In fact, I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said, "Man is least himself when he talks..."
Barney: Ted, card.
And then: EPIC FAKE-BAND CREDITS! BEST.
Did not love the tongue twister club names scene, though. It was aggravating and pointless, and I felt sorry for the actors having to learn and perform that giant waste of time.
30 Rock: I have not seen it in months, but you gotta roll up to milestone episodes of things you've had any interest in over the years. I couldn't tell if the flashbacks were clips or not; I assumed they were but everything was new to me. Case in point, I was pretty terrified by the notion of Liz Lemon dating Mayhem. ...whom I have apparently forgotten started off as Raymond Caine, wow.
Anyway, hold the phone, was there a time where Tracy Jordan was off this show, or was he only fictionally off? Don't tell me I missed some prime opportunities to not watch him. Did I miss anything else while I was gone?
That was weirdly heavy, but also kinda more enjoyable than usual as a result. All things considered, it is one of the better episodes I've seen. You know what my favorite part was? How the hundredth episode spent its time having the fabulous partnership (of sorts) squabble all hour and threaten that they were better off without each other...but ultimately come to a relatively fuzzy happy ending instead of destroying the chemistry forever. BONES.
Having said that, I reaffirmed that this show is at least 78% unwatchable at all times and has no purpose except to showcase Tina Fey, though. This isn't a bad thing (anymore), I'm just saying, there's way too much idiocy and not enough of her. Which is a shame, because their NBC meta is witty and sharp as a knife. You wish there was a better vehicle to deliver it.
But I did get quite a kick out of Tom Hanks calling up George Clooney to take Tracy off the A list.
Community, "Paradigms of Human Memory": I think I need to come back to this one another time, because I feel like I have no idea what just happened. The Pulp Fiction episode apparently broke my love for this show, because I'm feeling pretty "meh" about it right now, even though this episode has many elements of awesomeness in it. Let's talk through them and see if it helps.
SECRET JEFF/BRITTA HOOKUPS ALL YEAR, YES!!! I don't even care if they were 100% casual and are over now that the fun of sneaking around has been taken away. Apparently I can advocate friends with benefits now! I always wondered how and why anyone would ever do that, yet suddenly it makes sense. I really, really hope there are some season 2 Jeff/Britta fics that just got validated. What's the fandom-word antonym for "jossed"?
I also howled with laughter at the fanvid(s). Howled. "Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off" funny, because that is exactly how YouTube rolls, especially for non-canon pairings! (especially ace going with Pierce/Abed, show. Although I fear what you may have unleashed) I mean, usually the looks are based on something real, but no matter. I feel like I just got roasted, but whereas actual comedy roasts are always horrific and I can never see the "good nature" in the mocking, as opposed to wanton cruelty, this was the best. Big, solid round of applause from this cheering section.
This in no way affects my Jeff/Annie perception, of course. Note for the record: this is the longest I have ever successfully, simultaneously sailed two ships between three people without getting invested in my need for longterm monogamy. It's GREAT. Keep feeding both sides forever, show.
Greased-up Chang: EW. But a hilarious sort of "ew," based on the group's reactions.
Side note: can I just say, as much as I want to be all, "Oh yay, a monkey!" on my pro-animal grounds, when you stop to look at that creature's face, it is one of the ugliest mammals in existence. It creeps me out. They say it's a Capuchin, but without sufficient white around its face, it looks morel like the embalmed corpse of a Capuchin.
HOW HAPPY AM I with the Christmas episode flashback?? Even just a few seconds of the non-claymation version thrilled me to no end.
I really, really want there to be fic detailing the haunted house/1800's town adventures. Those meager glimpses were not enough.
Excellent skewering of "The Cape." I almost wish I'd watched it just so I could appreciate the jabs a little more, but then I remember that my dismissal was even more severe than Jeff's.
DEAN PELTON'S CARTOON TAG. I have never, ever found him a worthwhile character or found him entertaining in any way, but his existence was almost justified for that. Do you think, when the show ends, that it could live in this form indefinitely on Cartoon Network? Please?
Glee, 2x17, "A Night of Neglect"
Oh gosh. Despite some misfires, that was all kinds of wonderful. Where do I start?
1. SUE'S LEAGUE OF DOOM. Absolutely one of the greatest things in Glee's history. I have never loved Sue quite as much as I did this hour, calling her secret midnight meetings and creating supervillains. My favorite is Honey Badger, obviously. Both because Terri is fantastic, and because that is a highly appropriate nickname. I'm glad she wasn't part of the club's fail in this episode, and really want to see her shine at some point before she inevitably flames out again.
2. THE PINK DAGGER. SERGEANT HANDSOME. I have never found Sandy as useful or entertaining as I did this week in his actual Pink Dagger costume, and while I had no use for Dustin prior to now, suddenly everything he says is wonderful/hilarious. Can I watch him ineffectively hit on Holly forever? At least he got them to break up. So what if it was amicable and sort of had nothing to do with him?
3. THE HECKLING CLUB. Hahahaha! Azimio was by far the best part of that club. I don't know why we don't all love him way more; he is a Grade A Heckler. And he only showed up because he thought he was getting extra homework help! Guy has layers. I'm a little sorry Becky was in the club, though. I don't like seeing her quite so corrupted by Sue's evil influence. It feels, to use a tasteless comparison, sort of like watching a child soldier groomed for war.
4. You know who I've missed while Off The Map has been eating my brain? Sam and his fantastic hair. Just having him announce all the events was one of my favorite things.
5. The Brainiacs. There are so many adventures of this club I would rather see than the various stupid subplots on this show. Appreciated the peek into their world, even if it was full of way too much Brittany and not nearly enough Tina.
6. Mike Chang's dancing! Was pretty cool, although it would have been cooler if they'd had a club member singing, instead of using an original track, which seemed to defeat the purpose of holding a benefit for the glee club.
7. Blaine and Kurt continuing to be ridiculously cute. I was poised to skip that scene, because I will never trust them to stay as perfect as they have been, but when I skipped forward I landed on #8, so I quickly rewound and was pleased as punch with Blaine's "Awww, you miss them."
8. Karofsky! ♥ Something about his delivery always makes me laugh until my stomach hurts. I'm sure most people focused on Santana in this scene, but my response was more along the lines of "Ugh, crawl back to the ghetto from whence you came, ho. Now, I believe we were insulting Kurt?"
9. OK, my actual favorite part of this scene was Blaine, after some deliciously piercing comments, needing barely half an excuse to charge Karofsky. Hot.
10. Holly/Will is over, hurrah! I can't believe this never clicked for me, but it didn't. Not even over dinner. Especially not after referencing a "date" in the janitor's closet, which I am going to believe was absolutely, 100% merely a discussion about the benefit set list, hence why he was unsure about its date status.
11. I did really enjoy Will interrupting the mockery of his "tiny baby hands" with "Big enough to knock your teeth out," though. So much threatened violence in this hour! All so appealing!
12. Tina crying while Mike tries to comfort her. Awww. (Way to fail at being a caring teacher, Mr. Schue. He's been so inconsistent this year, I need some kind of meter that measures my appreciation for him in a given episode. I could probably grade entire episodes based on this reading.)
13. Rachel's black top patterned with white horse silhouettes. ♥
14. The return of Ms. Holiday's hilariously inappropriate in-costume history lessons.
Pieces Of Fail
1. Mercedes and her stupid demands for "respect," as influenced by super stupid (and greedy) Disgusting Girl. Can she just die? I am trying so hard to rein in the cheap shots I want to take at her, but it is getting more difficult by the week. I don't understand why anyone talks to her. Her character sends a very dangerous message about self esteem. It is entirely possible to have too much of it, especially if it comes at the expense of self-awareness; girls, do NOT follow her lead.
2. Mercedes and her sad-sack "Why are you a bigger star than me?" moping. Am I supposed to feel sorry for her? That's not happening. I don't care what Rachel says about earning the spotlight because she cares about it more than anything else, including being liked; Rachel is the bigger star in my heart for two reasons. Do you want the gentle truth or the harsh one? The gentle truth is that she has a better voice by virtue of choosing better songs and not sounding like an R&B singer/Aretha Franklin. The harsh one is that she's prettier. That's not even Mercedes-specific; Rachel's prettier than everyone. The only one who can give her a run for her money is Quinn. And we all know music is 50% about looks, as hammered in through many, many seasons of American Idol commentary.
3. The music -- all of it. I couldn't even listen to Sunshine or Mercedes and ultimately just wrote everything off. The only songs with any potential were Tina's and Holly's. I might still give the former's a whirl ("I Follow Rivers"?), it had a kind of cool electronica vibe, but the latter had more lyrical potential than anything -- I'd like to hear the original; Holly made it bland, even if she tried to inject with all kinds of meaning.
[edit: "Turning Tables" is by Adele? Oh, forget that. She's even more boring than Paltrow; apparently that's just how the song is.]
4. Carl left Emma. D: D: D: Screw you, show, you and your stupid gross Will/Emma endgame. And way to wriggle out of my warning not to manufacture a second divorce by making this one an "annulment." -.-
5. I really didn't understand why Holly tried to make the heckling club feel bad about making the glee kids feel bad, though. Like, duh? That is the whole point? I appreciate Azimio being all, "Nah, no thanks," but was disappointed that he merely went home instead of heckling with renewed vigor. Your continued attempts to be meta about internet reviewers grow tiresome, writers. I would be happy to have a face to face meeting with you about all the things that have gone wrong this season. Call me to set up a time.
6. Did I mention how nauseating Will/Holly is in general? It wasn't nearly as bad as last time, and didn't destroy this episode the way an alcohol-filled party or an hour of the Poor Little Kurt Show does, but it did make me grimace a lot.
7. Sunshine is the most unnecessary character ever, though. Nearly worse than Kurt.
Next week: According to the promo and title, Glee tests my patience again. I am frankly not sure I can handle a supersized episode of that crap. When do the promising spoilers kick in?
The Office, "Michael's Last Dundies"
The Dundies were, once again, a fine blend of entertainment and horror. They were actually more entertaining this time than last time, though -- I particularly loved the introductory video clip. Sure, any time Elf spoke I was staring at the TV with a numb, blank gaze of despair, waiting for it to be over, but I thought it was mostly watchable. Some specific things I liked about the episode in general:
* Michael running up to everyone's door at 6 AM. All of it was hilarious (Meredith's house looking like Katrina! Stanley yelling at them to get off his property before he calls the police!), but I am particularly delighted that they went to Jim & Pam's (witness Jim's multiple attempts to save her from unnecessary morning idiocy, heh). Plus, the phrase "Pam Halpert" written out, such as on an award nomination, will always make me giddy.
* Only Ryan could get offended by people who have not tried crack having the audacity to compare things to crack
* Actually, Ryan was one of the best parts of the episode. Getting into a verbal war about the above with Pam, pretending not to care AT ALL that Michael gave the Office Hottie award to someone else (in fact, he's totally relieved. It's so subjective. Whatever.)...all of it, wonderful.
* Things I am more interested in than anything Elf does or Dwight's temper tantrum: the context for Jim's anti-sweet-potato-fry-pushing.
* "I've fallen and I can't get up" was hysterical. Phyllis has thoroughly earned all of her mockery at this point by generally being hateful and petty.
* Jim's Best Dad award. Pam's lack of a matching award and generally offended reaction to how much he's enjoying it.
* I did not think I would love their Michael-specific version of "Seasons of Love," especially when it became mangled to such a point that the melody was nigh-unrecognizable, but I enjoyed Jim & Pam's parts (can Jim sing more?), and I got a small lump in my throat. And by that I mean, I was nodding along without being especially enthused until you saw it really hit Michael what he was leaving behind -- and Holly's woth it, but it's going to be so much harder than he imagined. Aww.
I'd be sadder if not for the knowledge that life will be so, so much better without Michael around, as it has been for the past 7 years whenever he's not around, and that this is merely a rare and fleeting moment in which he is sympathetic.
On the extremely negative side, I've been moaning ever since I saw this part of the episode description: Meanwhile, Erin deals with her dislike of her boyfriend, Gabe.
And that went down pretty much as awfully as expected, including a public and humiliating breakup. I'd call her a bitch, except I think she's too stupid to be capable of bitchiness, so fortunately I am just as harsh on pure stupidity. Where's my Dwight ringtone? "Idiot. Idiot. Idiot." At least now Gabe's free of her. Find an awesome new girlfriend, hopefully one who will laugh with you about all the dumb things your last girlfriend said/did. It'll be cathartic. Especially for me.