Apparently Pre-Upfronts are in full swing. Things that have had an effect on me so far:
-Consider this a "4 for you, Bill Lawrence" nod of detached approval at Cougar Town swinging over to TBS for 1/possibly 2 seasons. Get back to me on whether you're allowed to be more vulgar, so I can confirm whether I should revoke my support now.
-Check mark that Grey's Anatomy is the first confirmed contender for Longest Running Series Of The Class of 2004-2005.
-Yes! Private Practice safe. Any other year this would not be as great a news as it is right now, but I've got significant emotional investment in Benjamin Bratt's storylines that cannot be compromised.
-Boom, down goes Awake. Good riddance?
-SON OF A BITCH, GCB cancelled and that is the first really awful news I've gotten. Except then I remembered "Whitney" got renewed, so...I guess it was the second piece.
-More Castle! More The Middle! *party dance* Look, the second one of those things was not certain.
-Not enough time for Community, BUT I WILL TAKE IT.
-Except 13 episodes now looks a damned miracle next to Gossip Girl's order of "10 or 11." Ten? TEN? Screw you. My sole positive comment is that now you have no excuse at all to break up Dan and Blair ever, if the sum total of their relationship lasts less than one season's worth of episodes. Er, despite anything I may have said about the promo for the finale. Someone get me intel on this new EP, stat. Where are her priorities re: shipping as compared to the current guy in charge?
-Surprised to see Secret Circle get cut. Not sad, as maybe now Britt Roberts can go back to being in watchable things. Moderately annoyed that Hart of Dixie got renewed. My interest in watching that show has dropped with each passing month until I'm pretty sure I'm going to ditch it without even giving it a chance this summer, but if I do, then it's just one more chain for next year.
-Genuinely worried I will not be able to resist the Carrie Diaries Sex and the City prequel. Even based on the books rather than the series, in the tame-ish hands of the CW (tame compared to HBO), who knows?
The main thing I'm taking away from this is an intense dislike for all these shows getting shortened seasons, and while I can excuse all the ones that are on their last year, I'm really worried that networks are going to use this as an excuse to trend toward shorter seasons overall, and that is the worst possible thing I can imagine. Short seasons are literally the worst thing Britain has ever done. Henry VIII's beheading addiction was less offensive. Okay, that was a tasteless comparison, but I feel like I need shock value to properly emphasize what a bad, horrible idea this would be.
You can't even get anywhere in 13 episodes. By the time you get going, the end is in sight and it's just not in depth enough. Chuck's last season, Primeval, Pushing Daisies, all of Doctor Who, everything that has ever had less than 16-preferably-18 episodes a year. The only shows that could arguably benefit from being shorter are crime shows, who would be good with a denser concentration of personal moments on screen vs. crime-solving. And even then, depending on how much I like the characters and how good TPTB are at balancing it already, that's not a sure thing.
Plus, and I don't know why more people don't focus on this problem, people only talk about shows when there are new episodes in the near future. Only hardcore sections of fandom keep the stories coming, and even then discussion of the source material is pretty much dead. The shows disappear entirely from general pop-culture commentary except during their runs. And I don't know about you, but three or four months out of the year is just not enough time to spend thinking about my favorites.
Community, "Curriculum Unavailable"
I didn't especially love the "new flashbacks" trick last time they did it, but this time I was head over heels in love with it. Pretty sure I just sat there and laughed the whole way through. I also loved that they got John Hodgman to play the psychiatrist. What I am really head over heels in love with is the idea that "Greendale" is actually a collective hallucination happening within the walls of a mental institution. IT MADE SO MUCH SENSE. Got quite a kick out of all of them in their hospital patient gowns, reliving various significant moments -- even better than the new flashbacks.
I am not 100% sure that this is not the real story in an alternate timeline somewhere. I would have absolutely respected it if this, minus the last five minutes, had been a series finale. There is a way to plug every gap in this fake logic if you try hard enough. (there are lots of places called Greendale; someone could have printed it on a backpack for kicks. Shirley, your children are part of the hallucination. Etc. If we accept this as reality, then all they'd have to do is drive by wherever the study group thinks the campus is and show an empty field)
Oddly interested in watching this whole Dean/Fake Dean/Chang Power Play battle play out.
P.S. Season 4: The Pint-Sized Bitchslap Sendoff is a go! Yeeeeees! I think the obvious solution is to have them all graduate a semester early, rather than trying to actually stretch an entire important senior year over 13 episodes. I'm just grateful we get a season 4. Not giving a show like this 4 years, once it got renewed the first time, would have been as senselessly cruel as drowning kittens.
Grey's Anatomy, 8x23, "Migration"
Everything appears to be getting up-ended next week, so just for a minute let's pretend this was a series (or at least season) finale. You know what's funny? I made my peace with all the doctors who want to leave leaving. I loved our quick shot of The House (which did not at all look like a set design, nope), which had quite a nice woodwork interior, but I didn't even realize until now that it was supposed to be our Big Reveal At Long Last -- that's how much its significance has faded since Derek started working on it.
And while before I was all up in arms about the offers to move, when helaid out his "They're giving me a multi-million dollar allowance and I am going to cure Alzheimer's" speech, I caved. Like a collapsed cake. In literally one second, he convinced me that his reasons for going were better than hers for staying, and that they'd be OK anywhere. Maybe it was knowing the new house would be in (relatively) good hands with Mark
Speaking of which, favorite opening moment! Upon her crawling into bed with him: "Hmmm. Not sure if this is leading to gratification...or sex." Answer: the first one. I took a moment to spaz gleefully and offer spirit fingers before she slithered off and disappeared back into the night from whence she came. Still better than their second scene, from which I very quickly had to look away (my tolerance level for this stuff: ZERO). The third one met somewhere in the middle. Because I was very happy with it too, for a minute. And yet...when she said she was leaving, it didn't kill me. Sad blow, but that's what she should do it. Especially if she's coming to Minnesota! THAT IS THE RIGHT CHOICE, MADAM. Mayo has cred.
That said, even when I agree with her I don't like Meredith's incessant badgering that Cristina should get a divorce, and Cristina snapping that Meredith's not her person (anymore)...ouch, my heart, but the perfection of that statement is beyond compare. This is personal growth and evolution, and I very much approve of it. They were everything they needed to be for each other, and that's always going to be there -- see, for example, last week -- but they've phased out of the extreme codependency they once had. So gradually you didn't even notice.
I like how unhappy Jackson looks with Totally Wasted April. I was probably supposed to read that as disapproval that she was using it as a crutch and refusing to deal with her huge issues and/or acknowledge the potential relationship between them, but I chose to read it as general disapproval. Meanwhile, my heart will just be over here breaking as she gets rejection after rejection, and what the actual fuck, Hunt, you giant crapdog. You are losing like fifty doctors, but all you care about is whether she's board-certified? You don't have any room in your hospital for a regular doctor? Really? Not even one you like, regardless of whether she is "best"? I just find it hard to believe it's that important, maybe because I don't understand what the all-important Boards are or what difference they make in your actual level of doctor ability.
Anyway. Very fond of Jackson's repeated and very careful attempts at comforting her, despite receiving his own repeated rejections. Getting into my good graces, you're doing it right. I get why the mess of crazy in April's head is preventing her from accepting any of it, especially while self-sabotaging and deciding that he merely feels guilty, but I hope we get that an extreme amount of patience is required to ride out this wave. She's worth it.
It goes without saying that I would kick Alex's ass across the country in a heartbeat, and it tears me up inside with rage and anguish that April is fired while people are literally paying for the privilege of courting Jackass McSleazy Jr. But I really don't understand why Webber was running around and gleefully helping Alex screw with people. How is it even slightly in Seattle Grace's best interests to pinch its budget and pay one doctor more money if they don't have to? His reasons for staying or going did not appear to be monetarily based. I never did figure out why Ex-Chief kept being such a jackass about it, other than "because he could." You'd think he had some kind of private vendetta against Hunt.
Up next: Holy crap, they are going to rival 2010's shooter-loose-in-the-hospital storyline! SHOW. IMPRESSED.
[I wanted to put that part outside the cut, but the rest is a more detailed description of why.]
I have literally been waiting almost forever for a non-Lost show to throw a plane crash at me. Jeopardizing most of the important doctors at once is just -- miraculous. Every kind of relationship anguish possible is going to be happening. And now if you'll excuse me, I'll be busy assigning these roles to the Glee kids so I can get double mileage out of this.
Private Practice, 5x21, "Drifting Back"
-Storyline highlight: the gay couple, for reasons of obviousness.
(except holy WTF Charlotte, why? I mean, I get that it was absolutely Not Okay for Pete to go rogue*, but this does not seem like an appropriate response.
*I have complicated feelings on the idea of life support. I can understand not wanting to be on it if you want to spare your family the expense in the face of no hope. I can certainly understanding wanting your life to be done when it's done, and I can understand wanting to spare your partner the anguish of having you there but not-there, leaving them unable to move on. I cannot understand, however, why you would fight against it if there was someone who wanted you on it (or what leads to people despairing "He wouldn't have wanted this"). Who cares if someone wants to torture themselves by sitting by your bedside, crying and wishing? Is it really inconveniencing your brain dead self? The boyfriend could have just said his goodbyes with an apology and walked away, instead of emotionally manipulating people into getting themselves arrested).
-The summary for this episode included the line Sheldon and Violet treat a family concerned about the father's new sexual appetite, to which Entertainment Weekly made the comment about being more concerned that the whole family was involved in this. Turns out that is relevant to the plotline, which was sufficiently gross and creepy, but I failed to see why they were talking about getting CPS involved. Violet made some noise about "What are we supposed to do, wait until he goes to the next step?" and it was just like...yes? Yes, you are supposed to wait? Otherwise you are in thought-crime territory. How were they all just overlooking the obvious, that the father should simply move out until they could try a medical cure?
That said, I thought the daughter hugging him was premature at the end. I think I would stay wary and creeped out for a while.
-JAKE RILEY FOR ALL THE AWARDS. I love that he is Amelia's sole pillar of support and stability. I could watch conversations between them and nothing else for a whole hour, but him telling her about his wife was particularly poignant. And her "Everything. Hurts." was somehow the most poignant thing she's said in a while.
-Jake's verbal smackdown of Sheldon was also wonderful.
-Jake/Addison Progress Train: well, at least she's not kissing Sam. That's something. Too bad the brief interruption in this train ride combined with the saddlebag that is Henry has both cooled off the chemistry and rendered Addison fairly uninteresting to me. I'm just waiting until he has a reason to talk to Amelia again.