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Oh snowy ground, where have you gone?

Seriously, it's April. There are still plenty of scattered snow pockets, but the majority of the ground is bare grass due to the continued high temperatures (today: spring jacket, no gloves in late afternoon). Supposedly those will plummet by the end of the week, but at this point, we've vanquished about a third of normal winter.
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Made a 3-day project of it and finished the first season of Castle! All the episodes sort of blurred together in one happy whir, so I don't know if I have a favorite (except that the pilot still stands out sharply) or any comments I can attribute to individual eps, but here are a whole bunch of general, random impressions:

* That was so much fun! Way more fun than I thought it would be. I love how that was just 90% pure, fanciful, lighthearted entertainment (at least until the last episode or two started dropping the heavy backstory setup bombs, to which my brain objected most strenuously).

* I realized today that even though she doesn't have it this way for long, my default mental image of Beckett is with this haircut. Same goes for Nikki Heat. Weird, right? Why does my brain consistently reject the welcome image of her with long hair? (and by season 4, it actually qualifies as long, even by my definition)

* This show wins at the game of Guest Star Roulette, Hosting Division. It was almost impossible to watch an episode without seeing someone I knew, and often loved. Olympic gold: Sarah Drew! Caterina Scorsone! Judy Reyes! Honorable Mention: Jayne Brook! Lisa Waltz! (somehow always evil) [Detective Vartann]! Jillian Armenante! [Uncle Leo]!

* This show also wins at the game of music: they won my allegiance forever with "So What," but I've been noticing that they're very good at using popular music that is also strangely not-terrible (CSI FRANCHISE), even when I don't recognize it -- but what's nice is how often I do.

* And I love how super artsy their crime scene introductions are, especially at the beginning of the season. Again, something at which they kick the CSI franchise's collective tail.

* Oh good grief Alexis is too adorable for words, and her & Castle's relationship is just . . . (insert incoherent happy babbling). Based on what I've seen in season 4, I feel like my love for Alexis might be on a steady decline as she grows up and behaves more and more like a typical TV teenager, instead of me. That's okay. It will be like a tradeoff for Castle & Beckett's relationship growing steadily more awesome. And if I'm mistaken, because I seem to recall being pretty enchanted with her the first time I saw her [near the end of season 2], then so much the better.

Between the pushing her down the hall on her heels and the fencing and the lasertag and her tearful confessions of horrible, turnstile-jumping misbehavior...I'm not sure anyone has ever designed a more precious character, at least not one over the age of 8 or played by Abigail Breslin, so tailor-made for me to adore.

Also highly amused by Creeper!Castle watching her sleep. Adorable at age 5, slightly unsettling at 15! No, okay, we'll go with sweet, because father/daughter relationships are my favorite thing on television and this one is quite literally off the charts in terms of sweetness. This alone was reason enough for the show to get renewed and/or become a hit.  (oh, and I forgot one in the list above. Sudden need for a hug = favorite by far)

* The intro to 1x06 raked across my unsuspecting eyeballs like hot coals. I had to watch this one online because the disc pitched a fit and refused to read at all (hope there aren't any interesting bonus features on that one), and for the longest time I was confused and thought the site had loaded the wrong show. Once I realized what was happening, the only word I had left was WHY?

* That said: WHOA. WHOA. HOLD UP. ALEXIS'S MOM = SHANNON GIBBS? I don't even know what to do with this information; it's too fantastic for words. And maybe there is a strong feeling in my heart that she should have been the ex-wife that Castle hooked back up with for multiple episodes instead of just the one. As long as I don't have to see the more nauseating parts, they are super attractive together. I like the family picture they make. My head is currently full of fanciful notions of the three of them when Alexis was just a little tiny thing. I get everything Castle said about their relationship, and I like how they have managed to create a story of divorced parents that doesn't make particularly sad, but this episode was fun too. I think this is win/win.

* "Kitten." Hee! Still amused.

* Someone on this show really needs to learn the definition of what makes a pretty dress. When Beckett got her special-delivery outfit, I held my breath, waiting to be awed. And what I saw was...just this side of jaw-dropping, in the worst way. Like, if it was part of awards show season, that thing would show up with F grades all over the place.Who the hell designed the front? Newsflash, if you dress is already super low and strapless, it probably should not look like you built two armored boob supports on top of a skirt hiked up to your ribcage. The shoestring back was equally ridiculous. Beckett, I have never taken you for a lady lacking self-respect, but this made me question your judgment.

The necklace borrowed from Martha looked perfect. That's the best I can give you. Not surprising, given that Martha's one redeeming quality is an attractive sense of fashion.

* And then when it came to Alexis's prom dress -- no, please, be more boring. While it beats the hideous pink bowtie dress, and was enhanced by the wrap, her beautiful hairstyle and the still-slightly-too-small-for-the-lack-of-neckline lovely pendant necklace, the dress itself did not really knock me out when I first saw it.

* I am really pleased to have found one of the 17 life saves that YouTube hadn't shown me yet (probably because I wouldn't let it show me anything from season 1). Knocking her out of the way of a gun -- apparently, sometimes he's successful at it! - was something I had to replay over and over.

* In case I have not mentioned it, both Esposito and Ryan (whom I liked the better of the two anyway, but still didn't love on sight) have become more acceptable to me now that they are the film manifestations of "Roach." Esposito is especially more acceptable when he has hair.

* Speaking of Ryan, I love how he is always carrying around a Castle book at the station, and no one ever comments on it. It's great.

* Is it possible to not love Martha and still really like scenes with the three of them at home? So long as there is at least one other family member in the room to act as a buffer, her existence manages to add to the charm of the domestic angle.

* Relationship wise, I was afraid I would not be able to enjoy season 1 since they are so far from their Googly Eyed Feelings phase, much the same way season 1 of Bones tests my patience at times. NOPE. I got zero need-for-canon shipping going on at this point. Flirty fun, maybe (enough to make the book make sense); certainly friendship, but I find I like them very much when free of any flying sparks.

* This does not mean it's OK when Will gets his boring, lurker, Beckett-seeking sights on, though. BLECH. Get this thing out of my life. You know who never wasted time on outside relationships? Mulder and Scully. More of that perfection on television, please.

* Aaaanyway, I am now intensely curious as to how 2x01 shakes down -- how does she respond to the publication of the book? Is the main question in my head, which you could tell me here, if you want -- but forcing myself to sit on my hands because I've got a brand new episode to deal with in a couple of hours. Which, if you're reading this, is more like two seconds from now after this brief interruption to talk about...

Bonus Features:
1. Oh heyyy, Jason O'Mara, your hair is much more acceptable than I remember it being in the previews back when they were on TV. Life On Mars and I may need to hook up at some point. When Terra Nova is inevitably canceled, expect this feeling to increase substantially.

2. THE WRITE-ALONG WITH NATHAN FILLION. I am going to murder this DVD set because this disc crapped out on me too (despite cleaning) and would only let me see the first 7 of 9 minutes -- is it online somewhere?? -- but that was delightful. Until it was eclipsed by:

3. OK, short as they are, this show's outtakes are hereby declared The Best solely for the one with Nathan swearing upon flubbing a line in response to Alexis, and her fantastic quasi-scandalized jaw drop.
NF: "(%#*&! *covers mouth* I mean... I owe you a dollar."
Off screen: She's a minor!
NF: I said I owe her a dollar!

(I kind of just want a camera to follow the two of them around all the time on set and make a 20-minute mini documentary. Any chance one of the later seasons managed to make this wish come true in some capacity)

4. Here is another reason these outtakes are the best: thank you for this.

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Castle, 4x11, "Til Death Do Us Part"
Not especially memorable, but cute. A little [edit: lot] peeved at how much fat they didn't trim from the case, deciding instead to go with, "Hey, WHO NEEDS WEDDING KISSES AND STUFF? It's not like their relationship has been around since the first season or anything. Or that this a character-oriented show. We built you a wedding website, what more do you want?" Look, you can't just throw in some gross Gyrating Jughead Jenny backstory and expect me to be okay with it just because Ryan doesn't care, and then not even show me their actual wedding. If you upload a boatload of photos to the website post-haste, I will let you off with an option of ten slaps immediately or five slaps at times of my choosing. I have decided to care about this relationship ever since discovering that the actors are married in real life, and I get peeved when I am made to care and then given no good reason for it. For example, you know who I don't care about at all? Esposito & Lanie, so you should feel free to kick them around aimlessly as long as you want.

*grumpy* Look, they were about to have a church wedding. Do you have any idea how rare perfect church weddings are in my TV circles? THEY ARE SO RARE. Sometimes even when couples mean to have a church wedding, things happen like the groom doesn't show up in time or they run away to get legally hitched on a boat first and/or the bride is already pregnant. It's really hard to make the stars line up just right for a church wedding and I wanted to see it, okay? Maybe I also wanted to have time for the reception so Castle & Beckett could dance together.

Cue me realizing yet again that I have got to stop having positive expectations for this show. The only reason it works is that it continually surprises me with the unexpected. As soon as I want something, it's gone.

I did like what little glimpses we got, though, once we left the boring exes. Everything about the exchange with Jenny + Castle & Beckett's agreement to be each other's +1 was lovely and pitch-perfect. Third time's the charm + one and done = a conclusion I expect to see put to work in Tumblr graphics immediately.

AS FOR THE OTHER SCENES:
-In response to Jamie Ray Newman: YOU AGAIN! You are getting extremely well versed in Guest Star Roulette, lady. I'm not sure I like it. While you are gorgeous and I love seeing more of you, it's making you much less believable as Claire Taylor, which makes me sad.

-Esposito's indignant outrage over Lanie's doctor date made me laugh, as did his constant food-taunting.

-Castle's description of his +1, and Beckett's entire reaction to it = A+

-Every time I see Beckett's perfectly curled locks, I am both newly surprised and induced to sigh dreamily.

-I see we still have not learned how to hit the bullseye when it comes to pretty dresses. Beckett's wedding attire was just fine, especially with the excellent invention of these things called "sleeves" and "appropriate neckline," if a bit plain (there's not outshining the bride, and there's blending into the scenery), but as for Alexis...I like the simple cut, love the midnight blue (and was it velvet? because that would be perfect), but the giant ruffled straps were ridiculous. I wanted to just take a giant pair of scissors and shear off the extra material until they were spaghetti straps. I also would have gone with less push-up bra action, or at least clamored for four extra inches of material up top.

-Also, furthering my downhill-slide theory on her: a private Lady Gaga concert? Really? Honey, normally I would applaud efforts to duck out of a wedding, especially when they're not relatives or personal friends of yours, but there is only one appropriate response to attending an event like that: to quote Elliot Reed, "Is anyone in more hell than me right now?"

P.S. Ahahaha, I love this so much: Shipper Reactions To This Episode, GIF Style
(text version:
Caskett fans: I'M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION.
Esplanie fans: *giggle*
Ryan/Jenny fans: ANGRY.)


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Finally, since once a year or so I page through old tags and am reminded of this show's existence...surely Secret Life of the American Teenager reached the pinnacle of insanity in season 3, right, when it decided to let kids get married and/or live together prior to high school graduation? Mostly right, but also, according to Wikipedia here's what season 4/part 1 chose to best that with: surprise, Ricky is the class valedictorian. Sure. That's in line with every scene ever shown. Apparently everyone on the show is somehow even stupider than previously assumed. 

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