And now back to your regularly scheduled, boring programming, because television is getting ready to kick it into high gear and I need to get acclimated to the grind.
"Chuck Vs. The Baby" (5x08)
Noted: this show responds well to threats.
It's like everything that was good about the previous episode, times two and better. Actually, it's like somebody saw the seventh episode script too late to correct its problems, and decided they would just fix all the issues on their own time. Sarah knocked out & captured? Check. Tied up? Check. More blows to the face that make me cringe in my own seat? Check. Chuck rescue? CHECK AND MATE. While you're up, don't forget to take home your goodie bag full of the post-danger quiet times AND a whole second post-danger reunion. Wait, don't pass out from the excitement yet! There's still a giant wheelbarrow full of domestic moments completely separate from all of the above.
I just. This was some unusually quality, high-octane shipper fuel. It's exactly what I signed up for. I assumed I would hate both the flashbacks and any reference to Sarah's mother, for example, because neither of these things are relevant to my life. And I did hate the opening minutes, because, again: not a side of her I can stomach. (Although I do foresee Tumblr having entirely too much fun making .gifs of her firing machine guns in both hands with a baby strapped to her chest. That's a certain kind of badassery James Bond wishes he had)
But beyond that, damned if Sarah didn't manage one of the rare (rare, so rare) instances in which a female cuddling a baby produces all kinds of explosive fireworks. I just loved how completely awkward and ill-equipped to handle it she was, yet so very determined to try. Especially loved the washed-out coloration and the atmospheric thunderstorm. To my great surprise, I even formed an instant attachment to her mom as soon as she called her in a panic for babysitting advice. And damned if I didn't ultimately go all starry-eyed and handclaspy when they welcomed her mother into the fold at the end. I may or may not have taken all my cues here from Chuck's face, but then again, Chuck has done very little to convince me to like anyone else on this show, so that's saying something. More on this later.
(side note: I jumped to attention when I heard the words to "We Are Young" start, as always happens when I hear music my ears associate with Glee even before my brain has pinpointed why I recognize it, and then a few seconds later the dissonant "this doesn't sound right" realization kicked in. HOLY CATS, THIS SONG IS AWFUL. Thank heavens Glee saved it from itself, because...honestly, my ears, my ears. Is there a way I can surgically correct a copy of this episode to put the good version in? Because it goes on forever, and it would be really fitting if they'd just put the emphasis on female voices.)
As for The Further Adventures of Chuck's Face: see...basically the entire beginning right up until the rescue, between the hovering and the sideline anxiousness and the "hey, remember that whole deal we made like two episodes ago where you temporarily disowned me for abandoning you to go on a fool's errand? This seems like that" part. Turns out I quite like Chuck being torn between trusting her very competent self to take care of herself, and natural tendency toward fretting.
Below: RS Turning Into Physical Bubbles Of Squee, one of many instances.
Chuck: Can't we just set aside the whole CEO-of-Carmichael Industries thing, just for a second?And no matter how many times I watch it, I still giggle when Ryker pushes the waiter backward down the stairs. There's just something about how he falls straight back like a board that tickles my funnybone.
Sarah: No, Chuck, that wasn't part of the deal.
Chuck: Yeah, except that I'm your husband who would do anything in the world for you, and I'm worried.
Let's just assume I am a massive ball of squee about everything related to Sarah waking up, starting with the noticeable bruise on her cheek (what is "things that were missing from the previous episode?") and straight through her crushing the bug between her fingers, and leave it at that. I still can't process all these things that I am feeling. (short & spastic version: Chuck's face! "I think it was a mistake" and "You're right." Trust declarations! "Babe, I love you." Hug!)
Plus: (insert extended fight scene, yadda yadda yadda, other than Sarah getting hurt this is not really why I show up for things)
Barely-post-danger kissing! Yes, yes, yes! Justifying your season 5 renewal all over the place.
Pit Stop: In unnecessary subplot news...just in case I needed fewer reasons to like Ellie & Awesome, they did their best to bail on Game Night. Game Night. While playing Life. As someone whose New Year's Eve expectations to play Life -- with her brand new old version of the game from this year's garage sales, even -- were recently dashed, this stings extra hard. Doesn't make me like Morgan any more, because GROSS, and Alex, what happened to your eyes and the part of your brain responsible for identifying annoying personality traits, but I'm happy to spread more dislike. And furthermore, Mr. & Mrs. Whitcomb? I have had enough of your dirty roleplaying games to last me a lifetime and require approximately seven showers to get the ick factor off my skin. WORST MARRIEDS EVER.
Devon is allowed a redemption pass for cornering Alex, though. His motivations are terrible, his logic is so flawed there's not even a word to describe it, but remember how we were just talking about how much I like guys interacting with their friends' female love interests? So, so many points on the win column right here for siphoning these two off into a scene of their own. Now I just need someone to cut the scene together in such a way as to remove all the cutaways with the irritating pair out of it.
Babygate, per Past Me: I am expecting clear-cut explanations of misdirection, because if there is one thing I hate above everything else in fiction, it is when secret half- or mostly-grown kids pop out of the woodwork.
TALK ABOUT EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS. There was like a 15% chance of them pulling this off in a way to which I would not object, and they found it. Sure, they were most of the way there once it turned out to be Sarah's protective instincts kicking in for a helpless random infant, but there was still the question of how exactly they were going to introduce the family dynamics. Of course, Sarah has a sister! Yes. Although it will be more like a cool-aunt-and-uncle situation, and basically I am way more excited for this part of Chuck and Sarah's future than I am for their actual kids. My brain is already on a search-and-retrieve mission to dig up all the YA novels in recent memory that featured a girl's relationship with an aunt, so that I have all the ingredients required to envision Future Sarah / Teenage Molly. (reasons to keep current with YA literature, #3523)
In the meantime, Molly is the cutest thing I have ever seen on this show, and I also really liked the short but meaningful meeting between her mom & Chuck. I am already more fond of this relationship than I am of his relationship with anyone he's related to by blood.
Also: I got very squeeful when the end of the flashbacks came full circle and let us know this was the mission right before Chuck. I don't even know why, it just made me extremely happy. Someone on Tumblr tried to argue something about "How does Bryce Larkin fit into this timeline?", but that name is both foreign and irrelevant to my interests so we're ignoring them.
And because I have deliberately saved the dollop of whipped cream with cherry on top for last...
Chuck/Sarah vs. The House: Just picture me collapsing to the floor as I rapidly melt. Chuck, continuing his quest to succeed Jim Halpert as the perfect husband and doing a fine job of it. I love that we get not one but two rounds of the candlelight indoor picnic. But not as much as I love Sarah turning down the CIA offer for them. I told you, despite the many wrong with season 5, them being free of that collective cesspool (Beckman excluded)/reason I harbored such a strong prejudice against the show in the first place has been the best part. I never wanted them to go back, and apparently now I can have my way.
Really, the whole speech at the end was one of the most romantic things I've seen in a while, and not just because I perceive the show's subtitle to be "Operation: Fix Sarah Walker" and consider its entire objective to have been transforming Sarah into the wonderful human being we see today. ...okay, maybe that is the reason. But it was still incredibly validating to hear "I'm different now. Things have changed; you've changed me."
Even the part I didn't think I would like, Sarah skipping off to commit petty vandalism, got to me.
Me, skeptical: That's really not as romantic as you think it is.
Chuck: *kisses the back of her hair*
Me: (high pitched noises of ecstatic screeching audible only to bats)
I can has series finale curtain? I don't think there need to be episodes after this. They'll probably just ruin it. (am I being facetious? Even I don't know.)
How I Met Your Mother, 7x13, "Tailgate"
I was not looking forward to this one based on the promos/episode summary. Perhaps this show forgot how intensely I dislike Marshall's dead dad? I have never met a character who was more annoying dead than alive, but there you go. It is at the point where when he shows up in old reruns on TV, I shut the entire episode down and write it off. The highlight of this storyline was Marshall's incredible response to the news, but one more reference to this and I'm going to consider that one positive moment not worth it.
Failtastic Minnesota** and Robin storylines aside, Ted & Barney's bar!! I just saw the rerun where they initially mention Puzzles, and I assumed the execution of this idea would be a terrible as the paragraph above, but no. It was even more wonderful than their initial attempt to run a bar. Nothing, nothing, is greater than Pretentious Ted. (except Ted in dating-Zoey mode) I laughed forever and ever at their constantly-changing price of drinks. I love that they worked in both a website and a song this week.
I loved that they brought Doug up as their bouncer. I almost briefly didn't hate Kevin, especially when he crash-landed on their first songwriting attempt. Anything and everything related to this plot was perfect. It should have been at least 95% focused on this part.
**For Lily & Marshall's flashbacks, I did like Marshall's Intense Announcer Voice while reading from the book. I remember a really sweet hug in there at one point. And I couldn't stop focusing on the adorable door with the angled corner in the doorframe of the nursery. The best part, though, was the gargantuan teddy bear her dad brought. It looked so ridiculous. I must have one.
2 Broke Girls
First, I decided to make a game of how long this show could go without making a sex joke, and while I got distracted almost immediately, I feel like it was so focused on talking about tampons and periods (which do not quite qualify) that it forgot to be gross in any other way. Is that right?
Plus, the entire episode revolved around Max wanting to go see Chestnut. Total surprise; I thought for sure once they got rid of him they were just going to say he got sold to a dude ranch off screen, or something. The more they built up this reunion, the more sure I was that it wouldn't happen. But it did! And I managed to find a whole new level of how just how much I adore Max as a result.
In other news, Caroline turned into a crazy coupon lady, and it was THE BEST. Just the best. Not sure how I feel about Max making her cupcakes from boxed mix, because...sadface of basic-character-trait betrayal, but I'm going to temporarily allow it and see where this goes.
NCIS, 9x12, "Housekeeping"
Because I was just saying to myself, "You know who I miss? EJ. When's she coming back?"
My reaction to this episode can basically be summed up like so:
1. Score, first cheek kiss of 2012. "That's something. Just like you, Abbs." With a bonus gift of sandwich to make up for her working through lunch.
2. LOL, FIGGINS.
3. That awkward moment where you desperately want Scott Wolf to blow up the house just to make EJ stop shipping Tony/Ziva
4, Followed by: that moment where he does, and you realize with immediate rage that he's been set up.
5. And later: that awful moment where, since he hasn't been blown up, Tony WILL NOT LET IT GO. Oh, my god, just shut it down, shut it down forever; you effectively neutered this ship long ago anyway.
6. I enjoyed Tony going off on EJ and unleashing a flood of hurt and pent-up rage, though. "You left me lying on the ground!"
7. I don't know what the promo for the next episode actually said, because all I heard was it laughing at me and openly mocking my unfettered love for Ziva/Ray. Like there is a way for this to turn out well.