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TV shows with excellent fathers named Jim.

This is a depressingly small amount of TV to-do list progress right here. From now on I am telling work I am emphatically not available for mid-month weekends. I can't handle both TV and work being at maximum quantity levels.

Terra Nova, "What Remains"
The age-old dilemma - Chronological Or Categories? A new game show brought to you by The Idealistic Daydream.

Today's winner: Chronological Categories. It's the twist you never saw coming.

Opening Thoughts
Excellent use of enormous dinosaurs with sharp pointy teeth this week! I don't understand why people keep acting like the CGI is terrible. That's the word they use, terrible. Or horrible. Look here, if it doesn't look like it was made by a middle schooler in a 1995-era animation program, it is considered awesome CGI in my book. Plus, no matter how hard I brace myself, every time that mouth lunges at the screen, I jump.

I also want to point out here how much I am enjoying the musical score for this program. I've noticed a few themes come out and I find it really enhances varous scenes where it takes precedence.

Plot Setup
Live viewing note: "Award Points Scale: I am six minutes in and up two kisses. I love this show. Hurray for new shows and the way they have to hurry up and cram in everything they want to deliver, relationship-wise, lest they prove unpopular and get axed early!" But I like to think it's because they're fans of Medium and have decided they're just gonna Bring It every single week as a fact of married life.

Also, hee:
Elisabeth: Stop worrying. Commander Taylor says we'll probably be back before dinner.
Jim: Well, you better be, because that Reynolds kid is coming "courting" tonight.
Elisabeth: Don't make fun. I think it's really sweet he's going about things the old-fashioned way.
Jim: Well, I think it's weird.

And now, an awesome crossover macro that makes sense only to people who have seen Primeval. Or clicked this link:


Yes, it does enlarge! This was for ease of editing/uploading.
(this is also where I started warming up to Malcolm, in his harmless twitchy-science-ferret way.)

Close-up of what I like to call Jim's "You can't have a rover" face



Outpost
Assorted interesting things to file away for future use: 2137, snow up to one's knees, coldest October on record, Detroit food riots "while the city burned"

L'Hôpital:
Live Viewing Note: "Ten minutes, score a +1 moment of child-cuddling. YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW I HAVE MISSED THE THINGS MEDIUM BROUGHT."


Also, let's back up and express my entire delight with:
1) Backstory of Zoe having previously faked sick
2) Maddy awesomely Big-Sistering it up
3) Zoe asking for Mommy, complete with pouty face and hands on hips upon being denied, but promptly placated upon being picked up by Daddy to go home. Followed by the cutest interaction I have ever seen. The more of this show I see, the more I think that whole part where he was left to rot in jail with barely-breathable air for two years is going to haunt me. Now I'm almost glad I shortchanged the premiere; I remember the rush I got when I cycled back to early Off The Map, and I imagine it will be similarly spectacular here.

One more thing:
"Mr. Shannon - your wife's wedding ring."
"Oh, thanks. You didn't have to cut anyone open, did you?"
I wish I could make GIFs of this actress's awesome reaction. You will have to settle for a still.


Boy Teen's Romance
LVN: Now I am down what appears to be one instance of stupid teen drinking. You have lost what little credit you'd built up with me, Josh!  Also, Skye, I want to like you, so please try to hold off on molesting him. [later in this episode: "ugh."]

OTP
+2 for combination backstory and adorableness
 
"What time's Maddy's gentleman caller coming, anyway?"
"I don't know, but she's changed outfits like... (looks around and lowers his voice) three times already."
"I used to do that for you, you know. Be nice to him."
"I'll try."
"I love you."
"Love you too."

Must cut self off and not quote entire episode. (BUT IT IS SO QUOTABLE. Also, have seen it so many times I'm kind of starting to memorize it.)

Girl Teen's Romance
I don't get the explosive fandom love for this relationship, because Reynolds is about as interesting as a wooden plank in both looks and personality, and Maddy is pretty, but not pretty enough to make up for his shortcomings when he brings nothing to the table. That said, I currently have no objections to it. 

This date would have been much harder to watch if it were not for the awesome Lurking Dad in the background, wincing along with us. And then coming out to commiserate and simultaneously assure his daughter it was not the worst first date in the history of the universe, because he already had that one, in the form of Here Is Some More Backstory About Me And Your Mother.
(+2)

Side note: I am beginning to notice just how long Maddy's hair is. It actually qualifies as Long! Her totem pole ranking is rising sharply in response. I believe this makes her #3, behind her sister and father and just ahead of her mother. Don't bother looking for her brother; he's underground in this metaphor.

Male Posturing
I love how Jim uses "Elisabeth's in trouble" like a magic password. And it totally works.

Malcom: This is a medical emergency. What are you gonna do, shoot them back to health?

Boy Teen Romance, part II
Skye really is very pretty, but man, I cannot take any more awkward dating-type things tonight, certainly not awkward kissing. This does not count in the award points total, show! A smaller but still fair number of people are wigging out on this ship, and I am just not getting it. However, Skye has the Pretty Factor that Mark Reynolds does not, so I will reluctantly allow it if I don't have to look at it. Or if it stays very tame like that. Geeze, this show promises family-friendly drama and it delivers. The lighting was extra pretty in this scene as well. She adds, clumsily.

Outpost/OTP
+3 for my favorite thing I've never before been able to make happen in canon without introducing irreversible Alzheimer's: what happens when your spouse doesn't recognize you? This set of points includes the inital shock and concern, the dread of whether or not it can be fixed, and getting pissy with a would-be rival.

Jim: So you're gonna tell her it's 20 years later than she thinks it is, and she's gone back in time 85 million years, but you think a husband's gonna confuse her?

Serial Plot Advancement
"A guy who can get stuff here." Potentially interesting, now moving on. Biggest thing I took away from this was people now thinking of Josh as "the cop's son." And also, that you can never get bored with this show because there are like fifty thousand storylines at once and they whip back and forth between them, doling out little bits at a time designed for short attention spans.

OTP
Elisabeth: I'm so old.
Jim: No you're not, you're beautiful.
I love that he just blurts that out, not to reassure her, but because it's his gut reaction.

Oh Awesome, More Backstory From The Future (Futurestory?)
What we learned:
-Commander Taylor is a scary mofo
-There is a terrifying-sounding war in our future involving psychological human experimentation
-Award points: +1 for unexpected missing-or-dead wife/child angst! Terra Nova is determined to cover absolutely everything, isn't it? One of the Shannons is so getting torn up by a dinosaur by season's end, if not the midway point. This is season 1 of Glee all over again.

Dominance Establishment
I am literally speechless with joy at the sight of Jim hurling Malcolm backwards/off his feet and getting his territorial attitude on.

"If you can remember that, remember this: that's my wife. So keep your hands to yourself."

I have finally figured out what it reminds me of -- it is exactly like watching a seasoned herd stallion effortlessly knock a punk young colt back in his place.

Girl Teen Romance, part II
We only get a glimpse of it here, but I feel like there is just SO MUCH MORE we could do (in fic) with Maddy's stress about both her parents being missing (especially as this will probably not be the last time they're both in potential danger). I don't really care about Reynolds objectively being white-knight-ish over here and checking on her all the time; I can only concentrate on family dynamics right now. It is a wonderful place for my headspace to be.

Male Posturing, Part III
"Of all the times you could have flashed back to, did it have to be when you were dating my wife?"
Have I mentioned how much I love that he will not let this go? I'm guessing the internet is complaining, but come on -- it is irksome what he's sitting through, and Malcolm has opened himself up to an easy blame target by being entirely too pleased with the situation and doing a poor job of hiding it.

OTP
After the satisfying "Malcolm gets punched" moment (+1), this episode goes into wild overdrive.

Prelude:
Elisabeth: But we're more than just acquaintances, aren't we? ...we're friends.
Jim: Yeah. We are.
+1 point for HIS FACE while allowing this inadequate recognition,

Appetizer:
"Maddy...that's your daughter's name."

Main course: Thiiiiiiis entire, beautiful, beautiful sequence o' resolution (now even prettier and fully animated on Tumblr!).

"Jim."
"Your husband."
"I don't remember."
"I know. But you will."

Also!
"What if I don't? What happens if we both forget?"
"What I feel for you is more than just a memory."
On paper: cheesy
In practice: (flail)

Danger, Will Robinson!
THIS EPISODE AND ITS NEVER-ENDING LIST OF AWESOME INGREDIENTS. "Dear RS, how would you like one of those situations where somebody gets held hostage with a knife to the throat in front of their powerless-to-do-anything significant other who is freaking out? WELL, HERE."


Whenever this kind of face happens in my fiction, you know it's something good..

+ Taylor's wife (Ayani, the prettiest name I have ever wanted to immediately steal for a sim horse) is dead and apparently, his life is not worth living without her. Interesting. I think I can use this. (no, internet. Not the shipping way you're going. Honestly, it's painful watching you jump to that particular ship conclusion; please stop.)

Deus Ex Dinotopia
"All I have to do is identify the serotype, and we should be able to manufacture a treatment!"
"I think I know a faster way."

+5 points for pretty kiss and the tamest, most unfairly short sequence of additional kissing.

p.s. I love the way this show's science-related problems are fixed with magic. I mean, pretty much. "Hey, we need you to invent some sort of
cure out of nothing for a disease you've never heard of. Work by yourself with completely unfamiliar research. You have 48 hours. Also,
you're suffering from the disease too. GO."
(less than 48 hours later)
"All done! And for funsies, I threw in a cure for the common cold."

Cut for Time
Malcolm waking up or any other follow-up in the outpost, precisely how they put together the cure, how they got back in touch with Terra Nova and got everyone back to the compound, Elisabeth *actually* getting her memory back, and what in my opinion was the most important part: coming back to the kids.

Poor show. It's not its fault that it's trying to cram roughly 2 full season's worth of storytelling into 13 episodes. Or, well, it is, but I'm very impressed with its ambition anyway. And I'd much rather make sure we save time for ending scenes like this one:

Evening In The Shannon Household
Including:
-Jim The Incredibly Chill Dad* apologizing for interrupting Much Better Date #2
(*or just a dad who's lucky enough to have a well behaved daughter and a boyfriend who seems about as sexually threatening as a neutered dog)

-Josh and Skye over younder, because this is apparently Teenage Hangout Central tonight.

-Jim avoiding both sets of teenagers by seeking refuge in Zoe's room. EXTREME PRECIOUSNESS ensues, revolving around handmade floppy cloth dino toys. Elisabeth joins in to complete the picture.


Awwww.

Also, this is Jim's "flipping off the government and having our third kid: totally worth jail" face.


Oh, and Some Plot Advancement
I am interested in everything this show has to offer, including this part, which was a nice setup for next week (and thank you kindly for revealing the insider to us already -- TPTB have already promised they will answer what they set up, and sooner rather than later). I just don't get why the internet has their panties in a twist and is complaining that every scene should be like this one, when they were just given an hour full of peril and illness and adorable children and tragic backstory and punching and husbandly territory-defending and heartache and pretty kissing and feelings that are more than a memory. I mean, come on.

In conclusion, Tumblr has brought me a wonderful new GIF to express my feelings about this episode:

I'm calling it: favorite of the season. We've got a lot of episodes to go and there is theoretically room for improvement, but boy, this is a shiny high standard. I love when those come early!

Next Week In 2 days: The show introduces ANOTHER adorable small child for the Shannons to interact with, because two daughters apparently weren't enough, and that's the way this show rolls: every week, it outdoes itself in the Things Which Delight RS department.
~~~~~~~~~
Every time I see a promo for an Office rerun, as soon as they show Michael I feel this sense of "ugh" and cannot make myself watch it (which is weird. I used to be able to at least rewatch seasons 1-4 no problem). Then I think about season 8, with only Andy's face, and a sigh of relief relaxes my shoulders.
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Office, 8x03, "Lotto"
There were so many rage-inducing flaws in this episode, I didn't know where to start:

-Anyone who utters the phrase "Vick did his time" is dead to me. You never finish your time after you hurt animals.

-Don't tease me with Kevin dying unless you plan to deliver.

-I never feel anything but dislike for Phyllis. I got kind of pissed on her behalf in this one. Telling you anything yet?

-Jim is part of the gang who finds a dog in a parking lot car, and after failing to stop the insanity of window-breaking, the idea is brought up that someone needs to take the dog so it doesn't escape. JIM DOES NOT VOLUNTEER. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY ASSUMED-PERFECT TV HUSBAND?

And seriously -- no one? They leave the dog in the car? Obviously it has an air and heat-venting source, that's not the problem, but who does not jump at the chance to take custodianship of a dog for a day?? Especially a dog who is bigger than a purse and incredibly cute? The only acceptable excuse for not taking the dog is fear of having criminal charges pressed against you because the police would assume anyone with the dog would also be the person who broke the window. But nobody even tried to PET IT! I am overthinking this. I just. It pains me.

tl;dr: Jim, present yourself as an animal lover immediately or you are dead to me.

-Pam's idea of a dream life is moving to New York City. New York fucking City. In a townhouse. Lady, at least Jim is trying to make up for his shortcomings by envisioning life on a big piece of land in Maine where he could bike to work and build a house. Which, incidentally, is the only scenario (barring the inheritance of a horse ranch out west) in which I would allow you two to move away from Jim's childhood home.

The worst thing about this is that if they did win the lottery, her dream place to live is the one that would happen; Jim wouldn't think twice**. I saw his face when she mentioned the terrace, and I can't get this horrible picture out of my brain, especially when we later saw her reseraching lofts. It is one lottery ticket and a show cancellation away from being canon.

**I might get him to win her over with the theory that children should have yards to play in. But that only makes me fret about them in retirement. I AM OVERTHINKING THIS TOO, but really, I was a boiling cloud of rage last week and extremely unpleasant to be around.

But Ultimately!
They compromise with a really sweet talking head about their imaginary compromise of a dream home and I could more or less pretend none of the preceding parts happened and/or did not have even a grain of truth to them. Except Jim's. Jim's was 95% serious. 

Also:

+ Jim pointing out "I thought you liked Maine" = fanfic writers, get in here and talk about that vacation they obviously took.

+ This:
Pam: And then every morning, my handsome husband --
Jim: Which, ideally, would be me...
Pam: -- would bring me a flavored coffee.

+ Jim effortlessly antagonising Dwight into helping with nothing more than the casual claim that he (Jim) is the strongest person in the office.

And in other news,
+ Greatly enjoyed Pam smacking down Ryan like the hand of God. WHILE WORKING THE RECEPTION DESK.

+ Jim and Dwight realizing that cameras are around to record their disparaging comments about warehouse workers (could Jim come off looking like a worse employee in this episode?)

+ The Flenderson Files. ♥

+ I stood up and applauded when Andy stood up for himself, stared Darryl down, laid out exactly why Darryl didn't get or deserve the promotion, and acted like an effective boss. Like when Michael used to surprise me, but so much better. Was...possibly favorite part of episode? (WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME) I just feel like that's going to the first thing that comes to mind when I hear this episode title in the future.

-Most of me is really unhappy that Jim got roped into the warehouse insanity, and died a thousand deaths of secondhand embarrassment when Andy somehow managed to look rational while Jim looked like a complete moron. What is happening here! But a small part of me burst out laughing at "Senor Lodenstein" (porque es muy rapido).

Despite all the hatred in this post, ultimately, I do not remember especially hating? Lowest of the season so far, of course, but I'm telling you -- life without Michael is magic. I will never cease to be in awe.

8x04, "Garden Party"
While I am extremely disappointed in your severe underuse of Josh Groban -- I think I learned more about Walter Bernard Jr. from articles leading up to this episode than I did from canon -- I am extremely happy with your epic subplot of a Jim prank. Stars in my eyes!

(side note: there was an article that mentioned Josh being a certified fanboy of the show, which made me ridiculously happy, even though people who are certified fans of this show are usually suspect since 78% of the time they are fans for the wrong reason)

I can't believe how quickly Jim cobbled together the existence of that book; I can only conclude that it looked like the version on the NBC website, with big font and maybe pictures (Pam's illustrations?) taking up the pages. Or maybe he left like 20 blank pages in for every one with text, featuring instructions to use them as a log of how the events at your party went. Either way, though, this furthers our lightly-supported-by-canon theory that Jim is a writer at heart.

Anyway, doesn't matter, since it was a never-ending joyride of Jim proudly reading excerpts and then flashing "mission accomplished" signs at the camera guys all day long. BEST. He should take pride in it; this is by far his best Dwight-pranking work to date. I can't even remember the last time I laughed multiple times at an episode of this show.

And on the other end of the spectrum, I adore Stephen Collins, even when he is playing a horrible father instead of a perfect one. Maybe especially when, if his horrible-father-dom is going to include saying that he's not proud of his son for being a mid-level manager at a failing company. GO FOR THE KILL, SIR!!

Too bad I had a stupid and highly inappropriate flash of shipping Andy/Erin in that moment, solely because in that very specific and fleeting moment I wanted him to be happy and have someone who thought the world of him. Even if only because that person was too stupid to know any better.

Speaking of better, oh, Gabe, your tortured life where everything inevitably goes wrong for you just kills me. Where is the awesome lady I demanded be conjured out of thin air for him already?

I haven't decided how I feel about "Phillip Halpert," so I'm obviously not loving it, (thanks, Angela, for pointing out in a deleted scene that if they're going for nicknames, "fill" is something you do to a hole), but I am enjoying the continuing War of the Pregnant Ladies.

To end on a downer note: I could do with less Robert California. I really, really could.

But overall? Excellent work, show. Excellent.

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