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The following will be happening in whatever order I can convince myself to watch the stragglers of the week. There will be no coherent order whatsoever. It will also end up three times longer than originally planned because I ALWAYS do this to myself -- I start off going "nah, that's not enough for a post," so I watch one more thing, and then I decide to watch another thing while I finish writing about the previous thing, and then I think, "Oh, but now I'm just missing one part of that day's lineup; I should finish it off..." and next thing you know, we're in this mess.
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It occurs to me that, much like in the case of any show that is abruptly canceled, I'll need to provide some closure-wrapping plot points for myself in order to finally put Grey's Anatomy to rest. So:

1. Owen kicks Cristina out of the firehouse for good, serves her ass with divorce papers, barely acknowledges her as long as he's still forced to work with her, and ultimately bounces to go work at a hospital that doesn't suck.

2. Teddy/Henry plays out as it does in your canon, assuming that your canon ends in either a) their happily ever after, or b) his tragic and untimely death. Either/or, I'm not fussed.

2b. Option B will result in an Owen/Teddy OTP, which will ultimately lead to a family of Major McBadass/Combat Barbie hybrids. I should never have believed there was an exception to the "best friends make the best relationships" rule.

3. Zola's adoption permanently and irreversibly falls through. Derek comes crawling back anyway, remembering that he loves his wife for better or worse. They can adopt a cuter baby later.

4. Cristina can crawl off to an alley and die, for all I care. She has no lines in this play.

5. April, in addition to being the world's best Chief Resident, loses her virginity after a seemly amount of time while in a committed relationship with someone awesome. Someone outside the hospital would be best, but working within the confines of Shondaland reality, possible contenders are Jackson, snapped out of Lexie's temptress mode, or Robert Stark, with heavy emphasis on the "seemly amount of time" business while I get used to the idea of linking them romantically instead of just for kicks and the basis of actor love.

6. Alex gets eaten by a bear. (I've just always wanted that to be true, and now it can be)

This is the future and there is nothing more. People who were not mentioned are irrelevant, and/or I'm content to let their stories play out as they do in your canon. I should capitalize that. Your Canon, to signify its unreality. My way is truth! And whew, I feel so much better now that I have that down on paper. I may not be able to undo the horrible circumstances of canon in my head, but at least I can cope.
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CSI, 12x01, "73 seconds":

NOTE: first attempt of the new year at a review for a show that interests me. Results: totally unnecessarily rambly!

That was a fairly clever way to set us up -- having the new lab head already in place while throwing us all unsuspecting alongside Nicky in a bewildering "here's what you missed, catch up" crash course of orientation.

I'll admit, the first thing I thought when I heard Fishburne wasn't coming back was, "Aw, man, and after all that hard work they put in getting him cleared of cold-blooded murder last spring!" I haven't decided how happy I am with the implied Maybe Eventually Happily Ever After storyline, but I can certainly live with it. Good job on that front, too. So, as we look toward the future...

I want to like Ted Danson. I mean, as far as I know, I love Ted Danson himself. I deliberately avoided all the press and/or spoilers so as to go in with a fresh slate. But one taste of DB's "Look at me, I'm a quirky weirdo!" routine, and all the walls and hackles went up. Let's remember how I reacted to Langston, shall we?

Dr. Langston isn't nearly as bad as I was expecting him to be. I was fully prepared for another overly smug, arrogant know-it-all to come in and suddenly take over as the new supervisor. . . . Instead Langston was, truly surprisingly, very laid back, subtle, understated. Far more like Grissom than I was expecting, and I know that's what the producers promised, but they also promised that RIley would be a fresh new face, and that backfired horribly. If they handle his transition well, and don't unexpectedly take Catherine's supervisor position away and hand it to him because he's older and a man, I might not have to storm away from this show after all.

I can't decide whether to laugh or cry at the irony of the bolded statement right now. Langston worked because he wasn't a supervisor. He wasn't full of himself. Sure, it was nice to have Nick be my mouthpiece all hour -- Ray screws up, they all pay the price? --  but this is not starting out on the right foot. I haven't completely written Teddy-boy off Riley style yet, but he's got a lot to make up to me. Every time there was a glimmer of something endearing -- like mispronouncing county names, or just asking questions about the unfamiliar new area -- it would be ruined by him usurping Nick's kid-whispering powers, or getting weirdly passive-aggressively threatening about his new Boss status.

In conclusion: CATHERINE DON'T LEAVE ME. Oh, thank goodness, you're giving me until January to adjust. I'm so going to need it.

The only good thing Ted Danson did all hour -- oh yes, I've decided not to let him have a character name until he earns it -- was pair off Greg and Sara for the first case. THAT is how you start a year out on the right foot. I do so enjoy watching chemistry explode off the screen when they work together. If they happen to be investigating the accidental death of a stupid hunter (Sara had to be at least a little amused by that, right? If only because he was poaching, or maybe because they didn't make sure the poor deer was dead first!), and Greg takes the opportunity to assure all the anxious ladies named RS that the long line of hunters in the Sanders family stops with him? So much the better.

Morgan was a nice breath of fresh air, too; I am now fully on board with the idea of Greg tripping over himself every time he tries to talk to her. It is mostly because I like the forbidden air of her being Ecklie's daughter.

And while I'm not HAPPY about it -- because like I said, still super pissed about Catherine getting demoted; that was just not necessary -- I suppose I liked the fight at the end. If only because there was a lot of passionate anger, which draws me like a moth to flame, and so far this week I have experienced a significant dearth of emotional attachment to my shows. I was down with Catherine venting her frustration at someone not entirely blameless, and I was down with Nick fighting back at what was kind of an out-of-the-blue blowup.

I was not down with the lame team breakfast ending the fight. Let's look at the irony of season 9 once more:

Best part of the episode?  NEW-TEAM BREAKFAST! Do you know how nice it was to see them all laughing and smiling together at the diner and just feel...content, rather than like I was having a knife stabbed through my heart?

Aw, 2009. So unlike the world of today.

Final words: I did not need to hear the implication that tentacle porn was a real life thing. NO. Just, no.
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Law & Order: SVU, 13x01:
Seeing Olivia's face was the first time it really registered that the great and unstoppable Benson & Stabler unit is no more. And while I can't say I missed Elliot at all, especially not if Munch got to have a few lines and extra screen time instead, Olivia broke my heart at the end. Regardless of the real-life constraints involved, or however they want to explain it within the storyline, for him to just up and leave without saying a word to her first is a decidedly dick move, or at least a thoughtless one. Twelve years! Best friends. And just gone.

Meanwhile, I was over the moon about Alex Cabot (courtroom scenes! oh, how wonderful they are), and bored stiff when what's-her-face showed up for the action. I literally had to keep shaking myself awake whenever she spoke. How is it even possible for a person to be that boring? Even her complexion is washed out, like she's fading into the background. So irrelevant. And just too weird to see her wandering around like a junior officer in training, worshiping at the unaware altar of Benson, who awesomely has no time for her. Sorry, folks, too many years of Olivia being the only woman in the squad room. Cannot cope with newbies. Professionals only, please.

Then Cutter showed up for some reason. Connie did not. You have it backwards, show! If it's because CSI: Miami had already stolen the actress for its premiere, that's acceptable, but please don't tell me you willingly wrote a scene bringing back just him.

The case was fine. As always, no matter how carefully they word things, I am squicked by the images their non-explicit words about rape paint, but I thought the victim did a good job of tugging on the heartstrings, while her assailant was practically cartoonish in his guilt. I'm also not clear how the jury didn't convict him of rape after he all but spelled it out on the stand, going, "I could tell she didn't want me to stop! Regardless of the words! There was a certain look in her eye!" Oh, well, in that case, sure. The Look is ironclad proof of consent, everyone knows that.
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Guys, I watched an episode of Modern Family!

And contrary to the exclamation point, I did not have an epiphany of loving it.

The following 5-6 paragraphs will be devoted to hate. After that, you will find the positive things.

At best, I decided that I loathed the Phil/Claire Emmy-winning combo a little less, and if the show was only about their family, I would hardly hate it at all (probably because it would no longer be called Modern Family). I especially liked Claire humiliating her lesser daughter out of love and disapproving of her loser boyfriend a lot. Meanwhile, Phil seems like he might be kind of an amusing husband and father to watch sometimes. Every time I think one of these things, Eric Stonestreet's character shows up and I understand why hate crimes are a thing.

Or worse, Gloria shows up, and OH. MY. GOD. I couldn't understand why no one pushed her off that extremely convenient cliff. It was right there. Of course, I would really prefer to slowly strangle her to death in order to exact slow and deliberate revenge on her vocal cords; her voice makes me wish I could have Fran Drescher dub over her lines.

I wouldn't mind throwing her son off the cliff, either.

And oh, oh my God, the poor good daughter, "that's assault! That is assault!" (wait for it...) What a horrifying and gross thing to watch. I feel even sorrier for the actress. What an awful thing for a script to ask of you, and then have casting not give you even a slightly decent-looking boy to make out with? I have not had to fight a gag reflex that strong in a long time.

I still can't wait for that daughter to go to college and never see anyone from her family except her mother again. Yes, this is still my head canon; the only thing that has changed is that I'm now also willing to allow her to speak to her father.

Jesse, you are better than this show.

Positive Things!
But regardless of all that...first the beautiful Wyoming scenery (best location shooting idea in television HISTORY!), and then the incredibly beautiful horses. If anyone knows where I can get screencaps for this episode, I am so making a collage of them (I'm disappointed no one on YouTube has yet re-cut the episode to feature all the horse scenes and nothing more. Here is some awesome stock footage shot of the ranch, though!). Now that I've found out Lost Creek is a real place, I'm devoting all my energy to finding out more information about the featured horses, namely whether they were actual ranch horses (in which case: I want names, at the very least) or trucked in from an agency. Why is the entire internet not researching this? Why aren't people even talking about the horses at all?

The one Phil rode is still the best -- I kept watching his scenes over and over, because that white-faced, one-blue-eyed piebald was beautiful in the promo stills and UNBELIEVABLY gorgeous in motion -- but Gloria's pinto in the latter half was really pretty too. Buttercup was perfectly endearing; you never objectively think chestnut is an attractive color but then you meet an individual chestnut and it's immediately as pretty as anything, just because it's on a horse. I saw a gorgeous buckskin tied to a rail in the background of one shot, and Claire had a really pretty roan as well.

I think the next episode should feature one of the family winning the lottery and then moving back out to buy the ranch, and then we could focus on their general ineptitude at managing the place while Hank does all of the actual work, incessantly hitting on Gloria, and everyone rides horses all the time. All talking heads will take place from the saddle. Alternatively, we could give Loser Boyfriend his own show and then just watch him work on the ranch all the time. I will make the sacrifice of watching him for the horses. Failing that, maybe the CW could create a show about a horse ranch that's set in Wyoming! (OH WAIT.)

Voice: Heartland is out there waiting for you.
RS: That's...that's different.
Voice: You forgot it existed, didn't you.
RS: Absolutely...not?

Anyway. The cattle they were working with were cute too, but really what I want to see a lot more of was Phil riding out on the search. If a guy can handle a horse, especially in a cowboy hat and Western saddle, it's somewhat...way hot. And while I just threw up in my mouth a little at the notion of applying this paraphrased Robin quote to Phil Dunphy, you know what I mean.

This was clearly the best episode Modern Family has ever made, or ever will make. I desperately wish the dude ranch scenario had gone to a better show -- even Cougar Town would have been a vast improvement -- but at least it happened, so now I'm going to spend the evening mentally applying this setting to every single other show I can think of. It's going to be especially fun when I hit the crime & medical series, because then the missing person will be in actual danger of hypothermia and/or dying, and the horseback search will add an element of rescue and go on a lot longer while we're at it.
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I also watched The Middle. Oh, this show! Its existence just makes me so happy. I love everybody, but I think Mike consistently, just barely, wins out over Sue as my favorite. I love that there is nothing at all that reminds me of the Janitor in this character, and yet Neil Flynn brings all the same personal likability to the table.

I thought it the vacation crossed the Ridiculous line with the bear, but prior to that point, it was very funny. The honeymoon flashbacks weren't quite as fantastic as I'd hoped, but I did love the accidental making out. It took me a second to get the "In an alternate universe, you and I could have been very happy together" line, but then I cracked up.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go invent various daydreams about the less-sucky portion of their honeymoon, because for at least a day or so I can see camping being romantic, and apparently I am so ship-starved that I will pick up anything and everything I can find around the networks these days.
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The Office, 8x01, "The List"

Rainn Wilson is first in the credits now. I am not sure how to feel about that.

You know, considering the first five minutes of this episode contained two pregnant women, I'm amazed at how depressed I felt by the time the credits rolled. Angela is suddenly married and having The Senator's child? Really? REALLY? You know, when I originally asked for this, there was no indication of him being gay. Don't twist my wishes, writers. You're not a genie.

And given that it will inevitably explode, it's cruel and unusual to do that in a way that leaves the mess of a child behind. I never quite forgave Scrubs for the little broken-family trick, and the only reason it was tolerable was because I don't care about Elliot or JD's relationships, separately or together. But this, this would ruin any attempt to placate me by, say, getting her back together with Dwight in the distant future. Ergo, the only solution is to forget about that gay seed you planted and let the matter drop forever.

Look at me, so outraged I didn't even remember that the second pregnancy was supposed to be a huge surprise reveal. I'll get better in the upcoming weeks, I promise.

And then Pam....I know, I know, I'm CRAZY glad you are letting real life dictate working a second child in, and there was no way to slow the timline down, but at the same time I can't help feeling a little cheated. "Yeah, we're already way far long. Everybody's known for weeks. Even know it's a boy. Been there, done that."  I guess I'm just sad that the second pregnancy isn't going to get the same razzle-dazzle treatment as the first one. Far as I'm concerned, Jim and Pam could have six kids and each storyline would be just as breathtaking and brilliant as the first.

(as to the boy thing: sigh. Logical, but with such a small age difference I accidentally started banking on sisters, and can no longer remember my 2010 list of pros for them having a boy. Big sister/little brother is a boring dynamic. Hope I come around quickly).

BUT THEN, THINGS GOT AMAZING. Like when we found out that "everything" makes Pam cry (awww, way to go referencing the doggy insurance commercial!). You can't even imagine how much mileage I'm going to get out of that by envisioning the past few months, especially before Jim got used to it. And even now, there were no fewer than three instances of soft tones to calm her down. Music to my ears!

You may have noticed me bemoaning how I have, like, zero ships left in regular season prime time. It's true, I got next to nothing that even qualifies as a canon ship I sail, much less any that I adore. So it was just the most beautiful thing in the world to see an OTP in action with brand-new dialogue. I can't even remember why other people pushed Jim and Pam out of the spotlight in my heart for as many months as they did. Favorites forever! Including but not limited to:

* "Right here, little Michael Scott!"
"Nope.  I told you, I don't like that joke."
Oh Jim. ♥

* Hand on her back during the first meltdown over the video.

* Love the beckoning gesture battle. It takes basically nothing to make me happy at this point, but just LOOK AT ALL THE SCENES THEY ARE SHARING.

* "Maybe it's a list of people he's going to fire." (which of course sets her off)
"OK, it's not that, Pam."
^ *has rewound this moment of reassurance an insane number of times*

* My brain doesn't like that Jim left for the lunch without stopping to drop a kiss on the top of her head first. I'm adding one to my version
of canon.

* Jim's jaw dropping upon the pronouncement that people not on the list are people Robert thinks of as losers

* Jim looking more concerned about Pam not crying than when she is

And then this happened, and I immediately swooned, fired every other ship from the daydream roster and awarded Jim the Grand Champion of Signant Others award for all eternity, or at least the rest of the week.



Sure, there was still stupid stuff. Like planking, Kevin, Erin, and any time Robert spoke; ugh, I don't understand why they hired him (and by they, I mean TPTB in real life). However, Andy as the new boss was such a watered-down version of Michael -- hell, of Andy -- that he barely bothered me at all. It even made perfect sense. Don't the most inept people always manage to fall into supervisory promotions?

Plus he gave that beautiful speech standing up for people, and by "beautiful speech" I mean he said nice things about Pam that made her smile and caused Jim to authoritatively shush Dwight for trying to trample on the moment. WONDROUS.

Other Stuff
* True story: I had just innocently taken a sip of water when Dwight was ordered to take care of the planking problem, and I almost spat it all over the screen when I saw him take a fire extinguisher to Meredith. YES!  That is the appropriate way to deal with behavioral deviants!

* Little Pregs & Big Pregs. Oh, Angela. Your unholy joy is so...unholy. I love it.

* Dwight's lists!

* Pam moaning about how she used to be young and cute and likable and now she's just a fat mom

* Gabe's amazing face of empathy reacting to that speech

* Jim's face, just all the time, in general. It seemed prominently featured.

* Ryan: "OK, not to point out the glaringly obvious, but doesn't the fact that I'm in this group make everyone feel just a little bit
better?"
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

* Would you like to see my list? I think everyone in the fandom should be required to make a list after seeing this episode. I was going to handwrite it and scan the image, but turns out that would take too long, so here is a quickie Paint job instead:



In conclusion: Miles beyond last season's premiere. I can't even compare the two, that one looks so average/bland by comparison. Ooh, and it turns out I can give 100% of the credit to BJ Novak! Awesome. Let's do that.

P.S. Deleted Scenes!
1. Haaaaahahaha, Ryan's trending flow chart. And "owling." Hysterical!
Not hysterical: turfing Gabe from state to state on a daily basis. At least he's still around, but on the other hand...bitches, appreciate. I will stay unreasonably defensive of him for life!

2. In lieu of paying attention to this one, let's read Jenna Fischer's adorable blog entry. There are benefits to being a little behind the live airing...

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