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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reviewing the Grey's Anatomy Muscial Episode & Looking Forward to a Grey's Anatomy Wedding

Was the Grey's Anatomy Musical Episode Bad?
(warning: spoilers!)
Unfortunately, I have to say "yes". Normally I watch "Grey's" sitting on the edge of my seat. Sure, I know that a lot of the drama is completely unrealistic and melodramatic, but I still find myself wanting to know what is going to happen next. Are they really going to take it so far that Meredith Grey is alone in an operating room with her hand on a bomb? Oh, they are? Well, then...
It's things like that which I have come to expect from "Grey's". And I didn't get any of that last night.

The drama surrounding Callie being hit (almost literally) by a truck and going into pre-term labor could have been shocking. I could have been sitting on the edge of my seat. But I wasn't, because every two minutes someone was singing. Singing next to Callie as she lay bleeding halfway through a windscreen, singing as they were in the operating room, singing and 'dancing' about sex (?) while life-threatening decisions were being made. Honestly people, do you want to distract me from the drama? How am I supposed to get sucked into such a melodramatic/improbable moment if you are making it even harder to believe? And, lets be honest, your singing isn't that great either. I wasn't even very impressed with Sara Ramirez (Callie) and she is a brilliant singer!

Shonda Rhimes, the show's creator, suggested that she'd like to do another musical episode. No thank you! I know that you drew a huge audience to this episode (13 million viewers!) but if last night's episode was anything to go by, those viewers won't be coming back.

Now, on to more important things. Is a "Grey's" wedding in our future?

Will Callie and Arizona really get married? I think we could use a wedding. Everyone knows you need at least one a season, and who else could possibly follow Cristina and Owen? I wonder how "Grey's" would handle a lesbian wedding, since gay marriage is illegal in Seattle (where the show takes place). The show has barely touched on political issues (probably for fear of alienating viewers). Sure, Callie's dad was not excited about Arizona, but other than that everyone has been fine with it. Is it really possible that none of the doctors at Seattle Grace Hospital are republicans or religious conservatives? I know Seattle is liberal, but none?? I'm not suggesting that "Grey's" should become a political battlefield (in fact, if it did I would probably stop watching the show out of pure frustration), but I am curious to see how they would deal with a lesbian wedding. For that reason alone I'm hoping the Callie and Arizona will really get married.

The Musical Episode (Grey's Anatomy)

THE Musical Episode

So, I'm super excited about the "Grey's Anatomy" musical episode that's going to start in (about) 10 minutes. I even made pancakes to prepare. BUT what I'm not as excited about is all of the comments that have been posted on the web about how the episode will be "revolutionary".

Haven't any of you heard of the "Ally McBeal" musical episode (S3, ep21)? And what about the "Buffy" musical episode (S6, ep7)?

The "Ally" episode first aired in 2000. Entitled 'The Musical, Almost' it was true to its word. It wasn't really a musical, but it did include enough songs/singing that it reminded you of a musical.

The "Buffy" episode ('Once More with Feeling') was really, truly a musical. The entire main cast sang solos, and there were completely original full-length musical numbers interspersed throughout the dialogue. It aired in 2001, and was even nominated for an Emmy. Unfortunately it didn't win (many speculate this happened because it was accidentally left off of the ballots, see Wikipedia for more details).

Anyway, will the "Greys" musical episode be just as good? Maybe. But will it be revolutionary? No. Not when its been done twice before.

p.s. I just googled it and there are a bunch of other musical episodes too. Check out this blog.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

hating outsourced?

How Racist is "Outsourced"?

Side note: One of us (Sacha Dhawan!) was in "The History Boys".

Lots of people seem to be annoyed about NBC's newest Thursday night comedy. Many of my friends refuse to watch it, citing racism and rampant stereotyping. At first I was also concerned. The show could have easily turned into a comedy based solely on racist jokes. The first episode was really problematic (it showed the workers in India as totally clueless about America, and made jokes about Todd's bad reactions to Indian food). However, I've watched the last couple of episodes, and the show is working hard to actually develop the characters. They've (mainly) moved past the inappropriate Indian stereotypes. And the truth of the matter is that whether racism is overt or not, it's basically present in everything we watch. Check out this study.

For those of you who don't know the premise: Todd is a manager for Mid-American Novelties. The company decides to outsource their ordering service to India, and Todd is told to move there to oversee the switch.

The entire show revolves around Todd adjusting to Indian life. And, honestly, if anyone is shown in a bad light, it's Todd. He is often shockingly stupid about culture in India.

Are there issues with the show? Definitely. Is it racist? I think you can see hints of racism in most episodes. But it also depends on your interpretation. I certainly don't think that the writers are trying to be racist. If anything, they're trying to write a new "Office". Just set in India, with a "fish out of water" experience.

The Americans are often presented as complete idiots for the sake of "comedy" (sometimes this is funnier than others). On tonight's episode (3/24/11) Todd video chats with an American HR Rep. She proceeds to hit on him repeatedly, telling him it doesn't matter because she can just erase what she says:
"In fact, I'm in charge of the tapes...ass, ass, ass, ass, ASS."
Everyone else who is in the United States is also presented in a bad light. Jerry, the owner of the company, occasionally appears via video chat, making ridiculous suggestions while driving poorly or eating whole steaks with his hands.

Sure many of the Indian characters are presented as just as quirky and eccentric as Todd and Jerry, but that's part of what this comedy is about. It's very character driven. If it were completely PC and showed a sensible manager with typical employees it would be boring as hell.

There are also times when aspects of Indian culture are celebrated. Todd and Asha had brief romantic relationship, but she was committed to the idea of an arranged marriage, and she is now engaged in the show*. "Outsourced" is doing a good job of reflecting why Asha wants an arranged marriage, and it should be interesting to see how this evolves.

So, will "Outsourced" be renewed for another season? It's not yet clear. Last week its audience grew by 7 percent (to 3.64 million viewers). Robert Borden, the executive producer, spoke to the LA Times today and expressed his hopes that the show would be renewed.

*I was a little upset when Asha and Todd broke up, but now he's dating Tonya, so I definitely feel better about that. You know, cause she's hot. And Australian.

"Outsourced" is on NBC on Thursdays at 10:30 pm

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Bones" and "Rizzoli & Isles" are the Same Show

"Rizzoli & Isles" and "Bones"
(Again with the spoilers)

...I got a little confused earlier this week when I finished reading several of Tess Gerritsen's novels. Gerritsen is the author of the Rizzoli and Isles thrillers, and last summer TNT premiered a show of the same name that was loosely based on her books. I watched the show when it was on the air, and when I stumbled across Gerritsen's books in the library I decided to try them. There was only one I read I continually tried to compare the books to the television version of "Rizzoli and Isles", and I kept on getting images from "Bones" stuck in my head.

Obviously, I'd expect "Rizzoli and Isles" to be very different from the thrillers that it's based on. When I first started watching "Bones", based on the novels by Kathy Reichs, I had already read all of her books. There were very few similiarities, but I wasn't bothered. Books are books, and television is television.

But what bothers me about "Rizzoli and Isles" and "Bones" is that the two shows are shockingly similar.

Lets list the ways:

*Rizzoli is a hot-headed detective. She's knowledgeable about guns/bad guys. So is Booth.

*Isles is an attractive woman who is awkward in social situations. She works with dead bodies. Brennan does both of these things.

*They all go by their last names most of the time.

*Their relationships with each other are the heart of the show. Audiences want Booth and Brennan to end up together. And many viewers see an attraction between Rizzoli and Isles as well. In fact in the episode "I Kissed a Girl" the producers played with this idea, pleasing many fans by having Rizzoli and Isles mimic a lesbian relationship. In fact, if you search "Rizzoli and Isles" on Youtube all you'll find is videos that are edited to show a lesbian "relationship".

*Oh, and let's not get distracted by the fact that the cases are a bit too similar. Charles Hoyt is the serial killer in "Rizzoli and Isles", and he keeps going after single women. Howard Epps is the serial killer in "Bones" and he, you guessed it, also goes after single women (in his case teenage girls). Both of these men are sexually perverse. And both have bizarre relationships with the women trying to hunt them. Hoyt attacks Rizzoli and becomes obsessed with her, while Epps becomes immersed in the idea of beating Bones at a mind game.

Many of my friends who love "Bones" also thought that "Rizzoli and Isles" was a great show. I can understand why they watch both. It's like getting two doses of the same (pretty good) thing in the same week.

Want to know when 'Bones' Season 7 is premiering? Click HERE
And click HERE to find out when the second half of 'Rizzoli & Isles' Season 2 will air.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Will They or Won't They?

"Will they or won't they? Tune in next week to find out! And next week...and next week...and next week..."
Warning: contains spoilers.

Sometimes I get so tired of that question that I shut off my television, abandon the show, and refuse to watch it again until the characters' relationship is actually going somewhere. I know many producers believe that their show will lose steam once the characters actually get together, but honestly, there comes a point when I lose patience and I just need them to be a couple.

"Bones" is one of those shows. Now in its 6th season it has been clear from the get-go that the two main characters (Bones and Booth) are destined to get together. However, in their case, this destiny is taking far too long to arrive. They've proclaimed their love for each other, and contemplated entering into a relationship more times than I care to count. But nothing is happening. By the end of the 3rd season I couldn't take it any longer. I quit watching the show entirely. At the end of last season they promised that something would happen soon and so now I'm watching it again. Tentatively.
There are certainly other shows which have allowed their characters to get together, and even stay together (gasp!) happily. "Grey's Anatomy" did it with Meredith and Derek, and after having abandoned the show at the end of its 3rd season* (honestly, I couldn't stand Meredith's whining for another second) the show has found a second wind. And Meredith and Derek are happily married.

But seriously, Hart Hanson? If Bones and Booth don't begin a relationship by the end of this season , I may really be turning off your show for good.

*Apparently 3 years of suffering through onscreen sexual frustration is my max, maybe producers should take this into consideration...

"Coming Out"

Coming out to America?

Have any of you been watching "Sister Wives" on TLC? In case you've missed it, it's a reality/documentary t.v. show that lets you glimpse into the lives of a polygamist family. There's a husband, Kody, and his three four wives (Meri, Christine, Janelle, and Robyn). In last week's episode ('Browns Out of Hiding') the cameras followed the family as they made their first appearance on national television ("The Today Show") as a polygamist family.

What I found humorous about the episode was the constant reference to "coming out". I immediately thought about how that term is almost exclusively used for gay people, and how bizarre it sounds when it is used in any other context.

But what makes the use of the term "coming out" in reference to a polygamist family so jarring? I think the largest issue is the relationship between gays coming out and religion. Typical understanding of this situation would suggest that once you come out your place in your religion is threatened (and more often than not this is true, especially considering certain denominations condemnation of the "gay lifestyle"). However, the Browns use religion to justify their standing as polygamists (as Kody Brown essentially says, "I made the decision of this lifestyle because of faith").

The sister wives* discuss the pros and cons of coming out (in the polygamist sense, not the gay sense...see how confusing this is?) throughout the episode. They frame it in many different ways. They talk about how they don't want to be ashamed of 'who they are' anymore, that they want to come out of hiding, that they believe that America has civil rights for a reason, and that they want those rights to be applicable to them. All of these statements could just as easily be said by someone who is gay and deciding to come out to their friends and family.

However, the sister wives are not gay (that we know of) nor are they necessarily accepting of the gay lifestyle. Just because they want their own freedom and safety to 'be themselves' does not mean that they recognize this right in everyone else. Sure, the "Today Show" did touch upon the relationship between their situation and that of gay people (Viera opened the segment by stating that America is full of different family configurations--"What defines a family has certainly changed throughout the years. These days family includes single parents, step-parents, even two dads or two moms"). Okay, so the "Today Show" loosely made the comparison, but why are news outlets jumping on the idea that Kody Brown and his wives are pro-gay marriage?

Their statements can certainly be construed to mean that:

"I really believe that something that works for somebody should work for somebody and it's nobody else's buisness."-Ellen Degeneres
"So do we."-The Brown Family

"I actually believe the state should never be involved in marriage. That is a religious choice, or it is a personal choice. It should not be something that the state is dictating."-Kody Brown (said in 'In Touch' magazine).**

I'm really not sure how I feel about this. In many ways I couldn't care less. If Kody Brown and his wives are okay being in a polygamist relationship then let them be in a polygamist relationship. Legally he is only married to the first wife, so really it is just a lifestyle choice to introduce three other women into the relationship. It's not bigamy since he is not claiming to be legally married to his second, third, or fourth wife. He is "married in faith" by their church. But that's not breaking any laws. If they ever argue that polygamist marriage should be legal I'm sure I'd be forced to take a real standpoint on the issue, but right now I'm okay with what they're doing. It's their life.

I do care slightly because I do believe that the polygamist faith can be built in such a way that it is demeaning to women, and although they could "just leave it" in many ways they can't. They don't have the resources, they aren't educated enough, etc. The fact that the Brown's dress in modern day clothes (unlike these polygamists) and are allowing their children to go to public school makes me feel better. But I'm not sure if any of those feelings are justified, or if I can really even hold such a oxymoronic opinion.

I also care slightly because I think it undermines gay marriage. Many Americans are definitely bewildered by polygamy, and I think a large majority would outwardly condemn it. Sure, we are willing to open our homes to it for an hour on Sunday nights, but it's highly unlikely we're willing to offer it legal protection. Aligning gay marriage with polygamy is problematic for this reason. Do we really want gay marriage to be lumped in with something that is (potentially) even more controversial. We've been arguing for so long that gay marriage should be legal because gay couples are in many ways just like straight couples. Everything in gay marriage (the depth of the relationship and the way that it functions) is similar to its heteronormative counterpart. The only difference is that in gay marriage there are two men or two women. Isn't it slightly problematic to link this argument with one that says that the number of wives/husbands can be endless? What I do know is that legal support of gay marriage is happening, but legal support for polygamy? I think that's a long way off.

*opps, if you don't watch this show/"Big Love" you may not know that all the wives married to the same husband are called 'sister wives'.
**I should point out that even if the Browns do support gay marriage, their church as a whole does not.

Here's another article that sort of agrees with me.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Well, I started off writing about "Sister Wives", but right now I'm too tired to write an eloquent (or even vaguely comprehensible) post on the subject, so you're just going to have to wait until tomorrow. I do, however, promise that it will contain the word "heteronormative".

Speaking of which, I'll leave you with this fascinating website I just came across: 'I Want My Gay TV!'. Check it out, it's pretty awesome*.

Cause we maybe, kinda, sorta said we support gay marriage! Wait, did we?

*I just had a really strong compulsion to write awesome-sauce. If you don't watch "Parks & Rec" you won't get that reference, so I'm clearly choosing to be a tad less crazy and am mentioning it in the footnotes instead.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

reality tv doesn't really make you famous. really.

Remember how I said that last post's photo would relate to this one? Well this is why.

I almost never mention reality/documentary television. For one thing, it's really not applicable since one reality television show is rarely going to launch a television career. Unless, of course, you count something like being a bachelorette on "The Bachelor" and then being cast as the lead on "The Bacchelorette". But come on, that's not real acting. Anyways, before I get distracted by ranting about that subject, let me rant about something else instead:

"Toddlers and Tiaras"...I'm somewhat obsessed with this show. There's something horrifically fascinating about mothers pursuing their dreams of perfection through their children. For those of you who don't know, every episode follows a similar formula:

"Toddlers and Tiaras" introduces us to a particular pageant theme (for instance, the 'living doll' pageant, or the 'rodeo' pageant). We then are introduced to three children who are going to be competing in that pageant. We see some b-roll footage of their hometowns, a shot of the front of their house, and some shots of the children practicing/preparing for the pageant. This includes some really problematic decisions on the parents part (i.e. spray tanning your two-year-old? of course. acrylic nails on your four-year-old? who doesn't do that).

Anyway, if you want to be completely drawn into a show that will in all likelihood disturb you, then you should probably watch "Toddlers and Tiaras".

So, why, you may ask, am I mentioning the show on this particular site? Well, mainly because a while ago "The Talk" (CBS) had a 'special' guest. Eden Wood, a four-year-old pageant competitor, who sang a song that was horrific in its own right. And not the fun side of horrific that "Toddlers and Tiaras" falls into, but rather the disturbing/turn-off my TV right now/WTH side of horrific. Watch the clip, as you can see the hosts of the show basically agree with me.

Anyway, the child went from "Toddlers and Tiaras" to "The Talk" so I suppose she climbed somewhat up the TV tree. Kind of.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Arrested Development did it first...

(Left) Cera & de Rossi sing on "Arrested Development"

(Right) Mays & Michele sing on "Glee"

Dear Glee,
Yes, "Afternoon Delight" is a surprisingly sexual song. You know who made this joke first? "Arrested Development". Back in 2004 (28th episode). Seven Years ago.
Just thought you'd like to know...

Shawkat & Bateman sing on "Arrested Development"

Here's the hilarious clip from "Arrested Development".

As 'E! Online' states, "During last week's show, Emma performed "Afternoon Delight" with members of her abstinence club. But when substitute sex ed teacher Holly Holliday tells her that that the song is actually about having sex, a flustered Emma explains she thought it was about enjoying a piece of pie".

Glee, this whole thing would have been a lot funnier if you'd done it first...

p.s. Another fun connection: "Glee" was created by Ryan Murphy who also created..."Nip/Tuck".

Friday, March 4, 2011

why didn't you watch it? see what you did? now it's off the air...

"Arrested Development"
aka: why didn't you watch it? see what you did? now it's off the air...

"Arrested Development" is one of the smartest shows of all time, and if these guys ever get their documentary released I will definitely watch it. Let me just point out that it would be a GENIUS move on their part to release it right around the time that the "Arrested Development" movie comes out. You know, if that ever happens.

Now, let me just point out another lovely connection: In Season 2 of "Arrested Development" (which began in 2003) they mention "Nip/Tuck" ('Hand to God').

George Michael: "And Anne's off with her religious group trying to get 'Nip/Tuck' taken off the air"
Michael: "They don't like 'Nip/Tuck'?"
George Michael: "Well, they don't like anything..."

And who was in "Nip/Tuck" in 2007 as a guest actor (come on, you know this, I've mentioned it before...)? One of the leading actors in "Arrested Development", Portia de Rossi. She discusses her first ever role as a lesbian HERE.

Portia de Rossi & Joely Richardson

is it just me, or do they look a little too similar?

Phyllis Smith
Please note: this image is perfectly related to the next post's discussion/rant about "Toddlers & Tiaras"

Phyllis Smith is now very well-known for "The Office". But her first ever part was actually on "Arrested Development". She didn't even have any lines, but she did get to sit in on a Bluth board meeting. And that's something.

all of these images were found on a basic Google search using the keywords "Arrested Development cast", "de Rossi Nip/Tuck" & "Phyllis Smith". I do not own copyright for any of these images.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

So, I'd already started writing about "Friends" when Charlie Sheen started hitting the headlines. Actually...that probably happened a long time ago. What I mean to say is, his interview on CBS and the temporary potentially permanent cancellation of "Two and a Half Men" inspired me to investigate their television family tree. Turns out that not only is the show failing to start any careers right never has done. As far as I know, every supporting actor who appeared on "Two and a Half Men" was quite successful (or had at least appeared in numerous similar shows) before landing the role. And the show did nothing to change their trajectory. If they were landing good parts before "Two and a Half Men" they kept landing those parts, and if they were landing mediocre parts, well, you can see where I'm going with this.

Regardless, one person seems to have landed a plum new job! Lets try to move past the Charlie-Sheen-drugs-custody case-rant-on-CBS issue and give a little more focus to Jon Cryer.
(See that...up there? I promise it's not a link to anything that ever appeared on CBS).

Think I'm wrong about any of this? Let me know!