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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I admit it, I'm watching 'Hart of Dixie'

If you're read my blog for a while, you know that I went on a bit of rant about 'Hart of Dixie'. A lot of things about the show annoyed me to no end. And yet, after all of that complaining, I've watched every episode this season. I don't really care about watching it live (it's not that good), but I'll put it on in the background when I'm doing other things.

The more you watch it, the more interesting the characters become. I'm not enjoying it more because the writing has improved, in fact it's pretty standard fare, but the characters are likable people, with surprisingly realistic problems.

Zoe, the main character, is trying to find her place in a new town, get people to like her despite her cultural differences, and deal with estrangement from her father. Wade is dealing with a crush on Zoe, which he fears she will never reciprocate, and an alcoholic father. Lemon is thrilled about her engagement to George, but worried about how he'll react when he finds out about her past relationship with the Mayor, Lavon. Oh, and Zoe wishes that she could date George. And Lavon wishes that he could date Lemon. In a perfect world this would all work out, but the nice thing about 'Hart of Dixie' is that the world is never too perfect.

Unfortunately, many viewers seem to agree with my original assessment. The show has repeatedly had low ratings. On February 20th the show ranked 0.6 among viewers 18-49, with a total of 1.57 viewers and February 27th it was slightly lower at 0.5 among viewers 18-49, with a total of 1.41 viewers.

If (when?) the show gets cancelled at the end of this season, I sincerely hope that the writers will wrap up some of the many storylines.

(L-R) George, Lemon, Zoe, Wade, and Lavon.

Castle: Once Upon a Crime

Everyone seems to be getting on board the fairy tale wagon. This week's 'Castle' decided to join in the fun, and managed to make an episode that was all about fairy tales without being about fairy tales at all.

Let's recap:

Castle was less than thrilled to discover that his mother had hired a young guy to help her write a one-woman show. And that they had decided the most "creative" space to work in was Castle's own office. Oh, and that the show was full of white lies, including made-up stories about Castle's own life. Before Castle could start yelling at his mother, he got a phone call from Beckett; murder time!

At the crime scene Castle complains to Beckett that he doesn't want someone (his mother) poking into his life and rewriting it. She scoffs at him (um, maybe because that's exactly what he has been doing to her for the last three years!).

The murder victim is a young woman, and she is wearing a red cloak. Oh, and it looks like she has been mauled by a wolf. Castle points out the obvious, which apparently Beckett doesn't see; the woman is dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. In the morgue Lanie discovers actual wolf hair embedded in the claw marks. Don't worry yet, 'Castle' hasn't gone completely 'Once Upon a Time'. Instead, the wolf hair is a red herring. The woman was actually killed with a combination of ketamine and oxycodone. Oh, and it turns out she took a really odd amount of money out of her bank account (I know, I know, I should have written down the amount while I was watching the episode. Total fail on my part. Just believe me when I say it was a weird amount of money).

Before you know it, another body has turned up. It's another young woman, and she is dressed as Snow White. She even has a poison apple. Castle and Beckett realize that the murderer is following the traditional Brothers Grimm fairy tales. This relates nicely to the theme of this episode, which is that fairy tales are stories which are made up to make us feel better about reality (after all, in the original stories the girls are often saved, even though they have to use violence to do so). I wonder how this is going to relate to the fact that Castle is hiding reality (about her mother's murder) from Beckett.

Ryan brilliantly (he really has been coming up with smart ideas the last couple of episodes) suggests that they track the costume manufacturer, and see where the costumes were shipped. It turns out that someone (presumably the murderer) ordered 3 costumes. Because they know there is another victim out there, Castle and Beckett start to race against the clock. They send Ryan and Esposito to the address where the costumes were shipped. When no one answers their knocks, they burst into the apartment. It is filled with dolls. Everywhere. Ryan points out that it's as twisted as he thought it was going to be (and that he has been terrified of dolls since 'Chucky'). But then a little old lady appears. It turns out it's her apartment. As she has no idea why the costumes came to her address, or how someone got her credit card number to pay for them. The building is not at all secure, and so there's no way of knowing who picked up the package. Basically, it looks like a dead end.

Ryan and Espositio find out that both the murder victims disappeared for about an hour on the same day, at the same time (1 pm). They are able to trace the women to a restaurant. Despite the fact that their families claimed the two women had never met, the waitress says that she saw them together. She also saw a third woman with them. Perhaps the potential third victim?

Meanwhile, Beckett discovers that victim #2 withdrew the same bizarre amount of money from her bank account. Castle realizes that banks have to report withdrawals over $10,000, and they pull up information about all recent withdrawals over that amount (don't they need a warrant for this?!). They quickly figure out who the victim is. The fact that she matches the description from the waitress makes them positive they have the right person.

Everyone races to her apartment to try and save her life. When they get there the door appears to be kicked in, and they cautiously enter the apartment. They find the woman dressed as Sleeping Beauty, lying on her bed. She has been dosed like the other two women, but she is still alive. She is rushed to the hospital, while the detectives search the apartment. They find a large photograph which includes the three victims and a man. Each of the women are dressed in fairy tale costumes. On the back there is an order to pay up "or else", and the amount of money they paid matches the time stamp on the front of the photo.

They identify him as Ethan, a hit-and-run victim who died with ketamine and oxycodon in his system. His death was never solved.

Victim #3 survives, and they question her about Ethan in the photo. It turns out he was a friend of theirs. All of them attended a rave together, and they all took ketamine and oxycodone (the exact drugs that were used to dose all three women). She tells Castle and Beckett that as they were driving away from the party Ethan started to hallucinate and freak out in the car. She says that they dropped him off at the side of the road. When they found out the next morning that he was dead they all freaked out, and decided to never tell anyone that they had seen him. They were worried the scandal would hurt their college acceptances.

The story seems to be coming to an end when Beckett realizes that the sister of the first victim is married to Ethan's brother. He is clearly the perfect person to want to avenge his brother's death. They soon have video tape surveillance which proves he is the one who developed the photos. He cracks in interrogation, and admits that he blackmailed the women. He adamantly denies that he killed them. Beckett refuses to accept this, and they arrest him for the murders.

His wife is devastated that he blackmailed and murdered her sister. Beckett and Castle watch from a distance as they scream at each other. Beckett compares keeping secrets to holding onto a bomb, and warns that they will always explode. Castle looks a tad guilty (oh, I don't know...maybe because he is holding onto a massive secret regarding Beckett's mother's murder). I'm very, very concerned that Beckett's statement is foreshadowing a massive falling out between Castle and Beckett. Why can't everyone just be happy!? I know it would be boring TV, but I'd be pleased.

Castle and Beckett go to his house to watch his mother's one-woman show. He goes to see his mother before it begins, and she asks him to help her tie her bow. As he is tying it, Castle has an epiphany. He realizes that with the first two victims, the bows were horizontal, whereas with the third victim the bow was vertical. He grabs Beckett, and they go to interrogate the third victim. She committed the murders to cover up the fact that she was driving the car that night, and that she accidentally hit and killed Ethan. Eventually, faced with all of the evidence against her, she admits that she is the murderer.

I love the fact that this episode dealt loosely with the fairy tale phenomenon, but that in the end the murder had nothing to do with fairy tales at all. I didn't enjoy the fact that Beckett seems to be becoming increasing jaded. Season Two Beckett would not have been completely convinced that their first suspect both blackmailed and killed the women. She would also have had more sympathy, because she would have related to the years of not knowing who had killed Ethan. Even if he had been the murderer, while she would not have agreed with his decision to go after his brother's killers, she would have related to him on some level. Yet in this episode she takes the first solution presented to them, and accepts it. Castle is the one who repeatedly questions the arrest, and he is the one who eventually figures out that they sent the wrong man to prison. Perhaps this relates to Beckett's mothers murder: Beckett is no longer investigating the murder (as far as we know) and she is learning to accept that she will never know what happened. Castle is actively pursuing an answer, and thinks that a large cover-up may be involved.

Monday, February 27, 2012

'Bones' Moves to Mondays!

Ugh, FOX, why must you ruin everything perfect.

FOX announced tonight (shortly after David Boreanaz sneakily mentioned it on Twitter) that 'Bones' is moving to Monday nights.

I already have 'Castle' to watch on Monday nights, and I really don't need another show. But, I guess I'll add 'Bones' to the mix.

'Bones' is now returning on Monday, April 2nd at 8/7C.

HIMYM: Karma

I was thrilled with last week's episode for one reason: Ted and Robin did not get back together. Thank God! I could maintain the illusion that Barney and Robin were going to rekindle their relationship. Unfortunately, that illusion was short-lived. In tonight's episode Barney moved closer to a serious relationship with Quinn (Becki Newton), and further away from Robin. No! Say it isn't true!

Oh, wait, look...they're kissing. Okay, so it's true. For now. My guess is that the Quinn/Barney relationship will continue during the rest of this season, but that it will by over by the time the season ends. After all, Becki Newton is one of the lead roles in the new FOX comedy pilot 'The Goodwin Games'. Take that, Quinn! I suppose it should be said that the creators of 'HIMYM' (Craig Thomas and Carter Bays) are also the creators of this new show, so they never designed Quinn to be long-term. I hope this also means that they didn't design her to be Barney's wife (remember that flashback from earlier this season, where we found out that Barney was tying the knot?). Finally, I hope that if 'The Goodwin Games' gets picked up it is less circuitous and irritating than 'HIMYM'.

In tonight's episode, Barney found out that Quinn was a stripper. Not only that, but she was a stripper at the strip club that he frequents.

WHAT?! Eh, it makes sense. I never look at their faces.
"Everywhere I go I see her...I see her dancing on that pole!"-Barney
"I see her dancing on that pole too"-Ted

Quinn manipulates Barney into paying her for multiple lap dances ($900 worth!), while he impatiently waits to see if she will go out on a real date. He refuses to see the manipulation, even though Ted sees it (and come on, it's Ted. He never notices anything). Instead, Barney emphatically states that he is "in love" with Quinn. Ted's a tad shocked, mainly because Barney is stealing his line, but also because Barney has never openly admitted to loving anyone. In his shock, Ted manages to break a chair. But it's all good, because he can probably make the empty bedroom into a woodworking shop. See, ever since Robin left he has been trying to come up with another use of the room...he's already steamed meat, so maybe woodworking is the next logical move.

Barney believes that he is dating Quinn for most of the episode, despite the fact that she pulls almost every move from his own playbook. At the end of the episode, they run into each other at a coffee shop, and have their first real date.

In other news, Robin is living with Lily and Marshall now, since she had to leave her former apartment since she isn't actually in love with Ted, and living with a guy who loves you that you don't love? Awkward. 

Despite the fact that Robin hates Long Island, she feels herself trapped there. Mainly because Lily and Marshall are doing everything in their power to keep her there. Turns out they really hate Long Island, and they just wanted a friend to move out there with them. Robin points out that she'd rather set herself on fire.

At the end of this episode there actually is a twist that will make the whole series look different: Ted moves out of his apartment. But don't worry, the apartment isn't gone! Instead, he gives the apartment to Lily and Marshall, and sets Robin's old room up for their baby. Pretty adorable.

Huh, guess that girl I slept with really is a stripper!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Girl: Bully. Play By Play.

Minute one: Did Schmidt just have sex with Cece and call her a canoe? Oh good, I heard right: apparently she's the canoe on his "body river". Good to know.

Minute one: Is Schmidt still taking? And did they really have sex at least three times? Yes and yes.

Minute two: "Oh my God, you slept with the same girl two nights in a row? ...did she wear a disguise?"-Jess, re: Schmidt's repeat sleepover guest (Cece!).

Minute two: Is anyone else supremely grossed out by the fact that Jess just unwittingly referred to her best friend as a "ho"?

Minute two: Schmidt doesn't parade his girls around?!

Minute two: So Schmidt does parade his girls around like trophies. That makes way more sense.

Minute two: Hitler comments are always awkward. And never funny. Even in this context. Sorry, 'New Girl' writers.

Minute three: Jess is not a good liar.

Minute three: Those horizontal stripes are not attractive. They wouldn't look good on anyone.

Minute four: "Did the cactus tell you that?"-Winston, re: Julia breaking up with Nick by mailing him a cactus

Minute five: Junk mail, get it?

Minute five: Does anyone else think that Cece is faking Schmidt out, and doesn't really want to sleep with him again?

Minute six: WTF, who allows children to use cell phones in a classroom? To videotape? Or do anything?

Minute seven: Huh. Maybe Cece is serious. She is very confusing.

Minute seven: "I'm like a sexual snowflake."-Schmidt, re: not having sex in a car.

Minute eight: I don't buy for a second that Jess would be that excited about a crescent moon. Winston, maybe.

Minute nine: This is awkward. Also, I don't understand why Julia sent Nick a cactus to begin with.

Minute ten: Schmidt is now using cheese references as foreplay. And it's working. Huh, I guess he and Cece are the perfect couple.

Minute eleven: The little girl Briana has the same haircut as Paige from 'Brothers and Sisters', and it's distracting me. I know they're not the same person. At least, I think they're not. (Googled: definitely not).

Minute twelve: "Are you barren, Ms. Day? And why is your voice so deep, like a man's? Your happiness seems like a mask."-Briana, re: Jess' problems.

Minute twelve: I really don't think that Nick should bring up babies right after he accidentally left a voicemail telling his girlfriend that he loved her. Haven't they been dating for like, two weeks?

Minute thirteen: Oh look. They broke up.

Minute thirteen: Jess accidentally broke Briana's robot arm, and now she is fixing it. Maybe.

Minute fourteen: Nick just said "sad face". In a sentence. Man has more problems than just a break-up.

Minute fifteen: Cece won't let Schmidt into a party with tons of people, but she'll eat breakfast with him? Seems suspect.

Minute eighteen: Jess admits to breaking the robot arm, but the principal doesn't care because now Jess is one of them: "a kid hater". Segue, Rachael Harris who plays the principal is in that new movie "Natural Selection", which looks kind of good. She also has dark-rimmed glasses in that. Does she always wear them? (Googled: looks like she wears them a lot).

Minute nineteen: Cece makes Schmidt take her to a random dim sum place for breakfast. I know she wanted to keep hiding it!

Minute twenty: Cece does let Schmid tell the restaurant. He goes a little overboard with that attempted wall flip.

Minute twenty-one: Jess gives Nick a real plant. Is this a symbol of things to come? You just both admitted you're weirdos. Hook up now please.

Minute twenty-one: I love that Jess wrote multiple comments on her own video. I also love Nick's facial expression when he hears the comment "I'd like to grade her a curve", because I think he kind of agrees. Come on, people, why else would he care so much and Jess dropping a hundred condoms in front of Schmidt's room last week?!

Jess admires her own comments

'Community' Hiatus is Over!

We can all breathe a sigh of relief, this has been a good month for television. 

Not only is my beloved 'Cougar Town'* back on the air, and ‘Bones’ finally has a release date, but now ‘Community’ is coming back too. February really has been a great month.

When is ‘Community’ back? March 15th, 2012. 

Catch 'Community' Thursdays at 8/7C on NBC.

Thank goodness we're not called 'Cougar Town'

* Bad show, good title, yada yada yada. Watch 'Cougar Town' on Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30C on ABC.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Castle: Linchpin


Last week, 'Castle' ended with a cliff hanger. Worse than that, it ended with a potential reconciliation between Castle and his ex-muse, CIA agent Sophia (Jennifer Beals). Luckily, by the end of tonight's episode we knew one thing: Sophia was gone, and she was never coming back.

The episode picked up exactly where the last one left off...Castle and Beckett were trapped in a car that had just been pushed into the river. Not only were they unable to find something to break the window in order to escape the sinking car, but Beckett's seatbelt was stuck. Castle dived into the water within the car and managed to find Beckett's gun, he shot out the windows at the last minute and they survived (I know you're shocked).

Clearly, Beckett and Castle were happy to have escaped their ordeal. Sophia, on the other hand, was less than thrilled. She was okay with them surviving (Well, kind of. More about that later), but she was annoyed that they had continued to investigate after she had ordered them off the case.

Sophia yells at Rick that he can't always rewrite the ending, like he did with them. Kate's expression shows that she is disturbed by the confirmation that they had a relationship.

They agree to stop investigating, and leave the CIA offices. Of course, it's Castle and Beckett, so they're lying.

Sophia, who does seem to know Rick remarkably well, is sitting in Castle's bedroom when he gets home. She tells him that she knows he won't ever leave a case alone until the end of the story is discovered, and she gives him a list of bank routing numbers that were found in the suspect's apartment.

The next morning Castle brings the list to Beckett. When she hears how he got it (Sophia. Rick's house. Middle of the night) she is obviously annoyed and slightly hurt.

Basically this whole episode illustrates how well Stana Katic (Beckett) can play annoyed and hurt. Someone give that woman an Emmy.

Anyway, Castle and Beckett follow the clues and find the dead professor's house. They find a room which includes his linchpin formula--and they discover its ultimate goal: World War III. They also find out that the linchpin is a little Chinese girl. All they find is her photo, they don't even know her name.

Suddenly they are interrupted by Gage. If you'll remember from last week, Gage is the rogue CIA agent who is involved in Pandora. Or is he? He saves them from a bomb, and pulls them to safety. He hurriedly tells them that he is being set-up, and Kate seems to believe him. They are interrupted by a team of CIA agents who take Gage into captivity.

Sophia and her fellow CIA agents try to interrogate Gage, but he keeps saying that he was set-up.

Castle and Beckett have turned over the photo of the girl, and they have run her through face recognition, but can't figure out who she is. They're in a hurry, because they suspect that Pandora is going to happen in the next 24 hours. Castle suddenly has an epiphany, and suggests that they run recognition software on the mountains in the back of the photo. Sophia admits that it's a brilliant idea, and briefly kisses Castle on his cheek. Stana Katic has another Emmy moment.

As the techs are investigating the photo, Sophia approaches Kate, and starts talking to her about Rick. Kate asks what went wrong. And Sophia responds that they had sexual tension for months, but once they finally gave into it, they didn't have anything left. All that was left were all their little annoying personality traits. Of course, Sophia is just listing the concerns of 'Castle' writers. She's also making viewers everywhere yell "shut up!" at their TV screens. Must she really put more doubts into Kate's mind?

The techs figure out who the girl is! She's the daughter of a Chinese official in the financial sector who is the main supporter of China helping with US debt. Through some super fast talking Kate, Sophia, and Rick explain why this is bad. Basically, if his daughter is killed by "CIA" it means China will no longer help the US financially, which = ruin.

This means there must be a mole in the CIA. The techs run a trace on all the agent's computers to discover who the mole is. It points to Sophia's partner, Mark. He escapes.

But there's no time to run after him, because they have just realized that the little Chinese girl is in the United States, and may be killed that day. Sophia, Kate and Rick run to save her. Sophia insists that no one else come with them, because she doesn't trust her agents anymore. She has contact with another CIA cell, and says that they will help instead.

But Sophia leads Kate and Rick into a parking structure, and points a gun at them. She's the real mole. Her agent from the other CIA cell is actually her partner in crime, and she orders him to go and kill the girl, while she murders Kate and Rick. Sophia taunts Rick, telling him that the only reason he ever had access to the CIA was his father (rather famously, Castle doesn't know his father). She also speaks in Russian, insinuating that she is ex-KGB. Right as Sophia is about to shoot Castle, while Beckett screams "no", Sophia is shot in the head. It's Mark, the framed CIA guy, who isn't really a mole. (Yeah, the plot was convoluted this week).

Mark, Rick, and Kate go to save the girl. And they do. Yay!

At the end of the episode Castle is clearly upset that Sophia may have known something about his father. He asks if Kate thinks she was telling the truth, and she tells him that she thinks Sophia told "a lot of lies" (Maybe she no longer trusts the relationship advice Sophia gave her! We can hope).

Kate expresses sympathy for Rick regarding Sophia's death, as well as the death of his muse from his Derek Storm novels. He tells her that his female main character in those books may have started out based on Sophia, but ultimately they grew into someone more like Kate: brave and caring. He says that's one of the reason he was first attracted to Kate (he quickly adds "as a muse", but it's clear Kate knows what he means).

Next week 'Castle' will return to it's frothier murder mystery background, as Castle and Beckett investigate a killer who is framing his murders after fairy tales.

Kate, I love you, but I refuse to believe your hair is that perfect after a near-drowning.

HIMYM: No Pressure

On tonight's 'HIMYM', Marshall agreed with me (first time I've ever written that in a sentence). He explained to Ted that his big 'platonic friendship' gesture with the Christmas tree lights was really an admission of his love of Robin.

And Ted did admit to both Lily and Marshall (and to a certain extent even Barney) that he really did love Robin. Of course, Robin found that out too, because he told her.

But by the end of the episode we'd learned a couple of things:

1) Marshall and Lily have been betting on their friends' lives for years. Writing bets on pieces of paper like, "Marshall bets Lily Ted will go bald and he'll pull it off", or "Lily bets Marshall that Ted and Robin won't end up together".

2) Marshall and Lily made a sex tape one time, and even though Barney found it, he couldn't decide if he wanted to watch it or not, so the obvious answer was to break Ted's VCR.

To the sex tape!

3) Robin told Ted that she doesn't love him, they ended their "if we're still single at 40 we'll get married" pledge, and she moved out of the apartment.

4) Ted told Barney that Robin was in love with him. Barney admitted the heartbreak he'd experienced (how he broke up with Nora for Robin, and then she stayed with Kevin). Ted told Barney that Robin and Kevin broke up, but he didn't react with a lot of emotion. I think that goes to show how much Barney really does care about Robin, and how hurt he was. Barney then even went so far as to tell Ted that if Ted ended up with Robin, it would be all right, because he just wanted her to be happy. (Or as he said, "Bros before Hos. And Robin's my bro"). Ted tells Barney he has really grown, and he's right.

5) Robin clearly still cares about Barney too, because when Ted confronted her and stated that she loved Barney, she protested a little too abruptly.

6) The worst part of this episode was the end. Ted, in voice-over, made a statement about how he was glad to be able to permanently close the door on any possiblitiy of ending up with Robin. And I thought to myself, thank god that potential plot is gone. But no, the writers/producers have to never ever make anything concrete, and the episode concluded with Lily trying to get Marshall to pay her because of the bet ("Lily best Marshall that Ted and Robin won't end up together") and he states: "not yet".

Seriously, writers? At a certain point you need to stop playing with loyal fans of the show. It is legitimately getting to the point where I may stop watching. Allow us some progression, you seem to always make small promises regarding plot development and then snatch them back. Stop it. Thanks.

Oh good, we're not getting back together.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Girl Play By Play: "Valentine's Day" Recap

'New Girl' Play By Play: "Valentine's Day"

Minute one: Schmidt has already said "holla".

Minute two:  First dates on Valentine's Day are a bad idea. Even Schmidt knows this. Get a clue, Winston.

Minute two: Is one night sex the new one night stand?

Minute three: Did Jess just refer to her vagina as "little Jess"? Huh.

Minute five: "Bombing emotionally" is not good one night stand material.

Minute six: Schmidt and Cece make a great team. They both like the Phantom Tollbooth! Clearly they're soulmates.

Minute eight: Cece's boyfriend is high on magic mushrooms. Time to break up?

Minute eleven: Schmidt doesn't trust the youths in Jess' potential one night stand's sketchy neighborhood. He kinda has a point.

Minute eleven: Does anyone else think Schmidt has been suspiciously insightful this episode?

Minute sixteen: Everyone is fighting. Everyone. (Except not Julia and Nick, cause they have some weird/not so important B-story going on)

Minute nineteen: Schmidt just carried Cece out of the fight over his shoulder.

Minute twenty-two: Making out while someone is eating tacos is pretty tricky.

Minute twenty-three: That random hook-up guy isn't a web creator, and Jess isn't a player. Boy, what a surprise.

Minute twenty-three: Is Nick going to work for Julia's law firm now? Because that is not a good idea. Ever.

Minute twenty-four: Does anyone else think that Jess and Julia are looking more and more like each other with each new episode? Boy has a type.

Minute twenty-five: Now this is getting depressing (re: Winston and potential girlfriend).

Minute twenty-five: Depression resolved (re: Winston and potential girlfriend).

Minute twenty-six: Sometimes I actually want Schmidt and Jess to get together. Weird.

Minute twenty-six: And now she is actually thinking about having sex with him. Is this actually going to happen?

Minute twenty-seven: Oh wait, here's Nick. Ugh, I actually kind of wanted that to happen. Now I feel guilty saying that.

Minute twenty-seven: Oh good, Cece is having sex with Schmidt. The fact that Jess and Cece have similar taste in men is vaguely disturbing. I mean, they both wanted to sleep with him cause he smells good?!

Minute thirty: Jess calls Cece on the phone. She's telling Cece that she almost slept with Schmidt. But Cece is in bed with him. Awkward.

Apparently at some point Jess is going to make out with this guy.

Castle S4Ep15: Pandora's Box is Full of Jealousy

"Pandora"--Season 4, Episode 15. Henceforth to be known as: the episode where Beckett gets super jealous and shows it.

I loved "The Blue Butterfly" last week, but I was still excited to step away from themed episodes and back towards a more traditional episode  of 'Castle'.  I didn't want 1940s flirting, I wanted present day flirting.

We didn't get a lot of flirting in last night's episode ("Pandora") but we may have gotten something better, a jealous Beckett. Proof positive that Kate really does care about Rick.

The episode began, as 'Castle' episodes often do, with a body that had fallen out of a window. I wish they'd come up with other ways to introduce the dead, because at this point I'm becoming concerned that it's actually one big serial killer conspiracy, where they've all agreed ahead of time that pushing people out of windows and onto parked cars/wagons is the best way to kill.

Sorry, I got distracted.

Anyway, this guy isn't just dead, he's dead dead. As in, he was killed in multiple different ways, just to ensure that he was really and truly dead. Castle and Beckett and Lanie examine the body, and then suddenly Alexis pops-up. Turns out her newest internship is shadowing the medical examiner. I can only assume that the writers wanted to utilize Molly Quinn more, because there's no way that this is: a) a legitimate internship or b) that anyone in their right-mind would let a high school around murder victims where she might compromise evidence. Then again, this is a world where Castle is allowed to accompany an NYPD Homicide Detective on cases, so I guess I'll let the whole Alexis improbability issue slide.

Castle is less than thrilled with the addition of Alexis, because he says it will compromise the integrity of the team. I think that in reality he's worried for two reasons:
1) He's worried that it will distract/interrupt his flirting with Beckett.
2) He knows that he is mixed up in something with the mystery man and Beckett's mother's death that may become dangerous, and he wants to protect Alexis.

His apparent jealously of his own teenage daughter seems less childish now, doesn't it?

Beckett and Castle arrest a man who was almost definitely responsible for the murder. But he doesn't seem at all worried, even insinuating that all of their evidence will soon disappear. Shortly after this, Castle and Beckett wander down to the morgue and discover that the body is missing. When they return to the precinct, the murderer is missing too!

They look up information on both men, but no data exists.

Castle and Beckett pursue a woman who is apparently connected to the two men. When they enter her apartment they find her dead on the floor. Beckett orders Castle to stay put, while she checks that no one else is in the apartment. When she enters the kitchen, she notices a steaming cup of tea, and realizes that someone else was just there. She calls for Castle, and reenters the living room, only to find Castle standing there with a bag thrown over his head and a gun pointed at him. She is forced to drop her weapon, and her head is covered with a bag as well.

Beckett and Castle are driven to a secret location, and then the bags are removed and they are handcuffed. They are place in an elevator and taken deep underground. Once there they are greeted by men in black suits and tons of technology. A woman approaches them, who Castle immediately recognizes.

It's Sophia Turner, a CIA agent who he shadowed while he was writing his first book. As soon as Kate hears this, you can literally see the jealousy in her face. She is not happy.

It doesn't help that Sophia Turner (Jennifer Beals) and Castle have some sort of weird/intense eye-contact thing going on. Or that Sophia insinuates that she and Rick slept together. Or that basically their relationship mirrored the one that Kate and Rick have--he shadowed Sophia, he wrote a book about her, it appears he fell in love with her--the only difference being that Sophia one-upped Kate because she actually had a "real" (read: sexual) relationship with Rick.

Anyway, I was so busy interpreting all of this that I almost missed the rest of the case. Luckily I regained focus, because there's a lot more:

Turns out Gage (the murderer) is a rogue CIA agent, and the man he killed was a current operative. Gage is involved in some sort of terrorist plot. Turner makes Beckett and Castle promise that they will keep this classified information secret, and that they will share any leeway they make in the case. Castle immediately agrees (with puppy dog eyes), while Beckett tentatively does so.

Turner gives them special buttons on their phones so that they can contact her direct line. Castle's is big and round and simply says "PANIC". Kate is less than thrilled, admitting that Sophia really does know Rick.

Anyway, to cut a long story short (too late, I know) Beckett and Castle find a briefcase filled with surveillance equipment that is linked to the dead woman. As they are retrieving it, Gage finds them and locks them in a trunk (I'd think a guy like Gage would just shoot them, but then the show would be over, so...). Castle makes a funny reference to when they were handcuffed together, and how this is better, but Beckett points out that they're going to run out of air. She manages to break out of the trunk, but as she is doing so she sees Castle's face and realizes that he pushed the panic button. She is clearly upset that he asked for Sophia's help, rather then having her do the rescuing. This shows how deep her jealousy goes, because obviously she should just be happy to be alive.

Sophia uses her fancy spy equipment to triangulate who was making phone calls to the dead woman, and it turns out that it's a former CIA asset who everyone thought was dead. They get super freaked-out at this point, because he is known for his complex math problems where he would find one catalyst, one linchpin, that could set off a series of catastrophic events. They are able to figure out what he was saying during the phone call, but it makes no sense, it's all chess moves.

Beckett and Castle are ordered to leave, and Beckett does so happily, she just wants to get back to solving murders. Castle is more hesitant, and Beckett interprets this as feelings for Sophia. Beckett and Castle fight.

He goes home to try and solve the chess puzzle, she goes to the precinct. Castle actually cracks the code, and he takes it straight to Beckett. It is clear she feels a little better when he tells her that she is his partner, and he is not bringing the information straight to Sophia.

Rather stupidly (jealousy can make you do stupid things) Kate and Rick go to the meeting place that was indicated in the code, and meet the former CIA asset. He drags them to a dock, saying it is a matter of life and death, he also admits that he accidentally released information about the linchpin that would cause total economic ruin in the United States.

Suddenly, the asset is shot. And Beckett and Castle's car is pushed forced off of the dock and into the water by a black SUV.


That's a lot of eye-contact, Castle. Stop it.

Cougar Town Wasn't Cancelled!? (It's new tonight & you should watch it)

If you're a fan of 'Cougar Town', you know that the show initially got off to a slow start. The beginning of season one, wayyy back in September of 2009, revolved around Jules (played by Courteney Cox) and her attempt to date younger men. Unsurprisingly, people didn't really find this an enjoyable half hour of television. I actually abandoned the show after two episodes.

But about a year later, I saw an episode of 'Cougar Town' on an airplane. I was shocked. The show was smart and funny and I wanted to watch more. So I did. I re-watched all of the episodes I had missed, and I grew to love the show.

In the middle of the first season, the show stopped dealing with Jules' "cougaring", and instead focused on friendship-dynamics, and the dynamics of a new (age-appropriate!) relationship.

Unfortunately, the show is still called 'Cougar Town', even though it now has nothing to do with women dating younger men or actual cougars. Everyone involved with the show's production recognizes how ridiculous the title is, and they poke fun at it during each episode's title sequence:

Despite the fact that the show is now an incredibly enjoyable half-hour of television, people weren't watching it. Whether it was the unappealing title or the fact that they thought they knew the premise is hard to say, but the numbers just weren't there. Even now, when I mention how excited I am about the show coming back, people know nothing about it (I enlighten them, of course).

Earlier this year, ABC finally decided that season three of 'Cougar Town' would air (almost 9 months after the second season finale). Focused on its other, more popular shows, the network hasn't been doing a lot of promoting. Bill Lawrence, the show's creator, and the rest of the cast decided to use a grassroots campaign to try and garner more viewers.

Using Twitter as a way to reach the show's fans, Lawrence and the rest of the cast tweeted about viewing parties that would occur around the United States. These parties would be attended by members of the cast, and would offer fans a chance to see two unaired episodes from the upcoming season, drink free booze, and generally have a good time. Limited tickets were available for all the viewing parties, and were awarded based on who emailed first (this may be the first time that Gmail has been used to promote a show).

Even though I didn't initially win a ticket, I was luckily enough to be able to attend Boston's party, thanks to a person I had never met before offering an extra ticket via Twitter (Thanks Christine!). I got to talk a little bit with Ian Gomez and Brian Van Holt, and I saw the season three premiere.

I absolutely promise you that the show is just as funny (if not funnier) than ever. While it may be a tad confusing for brand-new viewers, you should watch it even if you've never seen the show before.

Jules (Cox) is told by her boyfriend, Grayson, that she is "predictable". This leads her to do everything in her power to prove that he's wrong. Her friends, of course, side with Grayson.  Oh, and there's also a marriage proposal in this episode! And a scary kid wielding a hammer!

I ran into a friend of mine at the bar where the viewing party was taking place (long story), and she watched the episode with me. Even though she'd never seen an episode of the show before, she thought it was hilarious and agreed that she'd watch it again.

Basically, what I'm saying is that you should watch it too. Watch it tonight, and then catch up later. Give the show the numbers it needs so that it doesn't get cancelled. Please?

'Cougar Town' airs tonight, February 14th (Valentine's Day!) on ABC at 8:30/7:30C.

Monday, February 13, 2012

HIMYM: The Drunk Train

Tonight's episode of 'How I Met Your Mother' wrapped up loose ends and introduced new characters. In other words, it was pretty damn important.

Once again, Marshall and Lily were relegated to the sidelines. I can only assume this is because once the baby comes they will be the central characters in several episodes. The show normally does a good job of focusing on a few members of the gang at a time, and this week definitely belonged to Barney and Robin.

Unfortunately, it didn't belong to Barney and Robin. (I'm really never going to get over wanting those two to get together).

The Robin storyline wrapped up loose ends. We all knew that Robin and what's-his-name (just Googled it: Kevin!) played by Kal Penn were going to break-up soon. After all, Penn had only signed on for a limited number of episodes. The storyline dealing with Robin's infertility was brought up again too.

Kevin proposed to Robin, and she told him about her infertility. He told her he wanted to marry her anyway. But then Robin explained that it wasn't just that she couldn't have children, she didn't want children. Even though Kevin had always wanted children, he said he wanted to marry her anyway. However, Robin was sensible (for once!) and after some coaxing Kevin admitted that he did want children. So, they broke up.

Meanwhile, Barney and Ted decided to ride the drunk train together (aka the last train from NYC back to the suburbs). The only reason Ted agreed to accompany Barney was that he had made Barney go on a double-date with him, and Barney claimed it was horrible. He could not stop complaining about a girl named Quinn.

It turned out that Quinn (Becki Newton) had noticed all of Barney's normal tricks and shot him down every time. Eventually, though, she had agreed to sleep with him. Barney was clearly obsessed with her, especially since he complained about her often (much as he used to complain about Robin).

So, the Barney storyline introduced new characters: We've been told all season that Barney will have a new love interest who will be as much as a player as he is. Quinn is clearly that person. If we were in any doubt, the fact that it turned out she was a stripper at Barney's favorite strip club (a fact that she had hidden from him, and that he still doesn't know) highlights it.

The Robin storyline concluded with her being depressed in front of Ted (this is becoming a bit of a pattern). She was upset, and admitted to Ted that she wasn't sure she would be able to find anyone who wanted to be with her. Ted then told her that he wanted to be with her, and that he loved her.

Ugh. Okay, so I've actually seen this coming for a while. I even suggested it during my long rant about the episode that cruelly told us that Robin wasn't pregnant and could never have babies. Ted was the only one Robin told about her infertility during that episode, making him her person. He also did a big gesture (decorating the apartment with lights), and in Ted's world big gestures always seem to be romantic.

Even if Robin and Ted do get together for a bit this season, they clearly won't last. For one thing, Ted's children always refer to her as Aunt Robin. And he has two children. Unless, of course, the whole series has been a fake-out like Robin's pretend children were.

(Please no, I want Barney and Robin together! Ted is my least favorite, so he can end up with whoever).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In 'Glee' Winning is Everything

A Critique of "Michael", Season 3 Episode 11 of 'Glee'

There are two major problems with the Michael Jackson 'Glee' episode.

First, having Artie walk in a fantasy maybe, sort of works. But having Artie stand up in the real world before the musical number switched to black and white fantasy mode stuck out like a sore thumb. For a split second I actually thought, "He's walking?!". Also, Artie spent a lot of time early on in the series battling against his diagnosis, and eventually learned to be happy with who he was. So, why does he have to walk? It just lessens the show's prior message.

Speaking of messages, I think we can all agree that Sebastian purposefully throwing rock salt in Blaine's face was wrong. He knew it was going to hurt someone. And he did, he damaged Blaine's eye to the extent that Blaine needed surgery. He's quite the little psychopath. So, why does said little psychopath get away with his crime? Santana didn't resort to any horrible punishment against the Warblers, she simply got Sebastian's confession on tape. A confession that absolutely should have go to the principal. Sebastian purposefully hurt another student, and has no remorse. But instead the show makes high and mighty Kurt say that turning in the tape is not going to help them win against the Warblers, and he only wants to beat them with Sebastian. True, the tape may not help them win...but for once maybe 'Glee' should focus on something other than winning. Stop equating beating someone in a competition with doing the right thing. The right thing would be to turn Sebastian in so that he doesn't hurt anyone else.

The show likes to have their characters say that winning isn't everything, maybe they should show it in their actions as well.

These issues are exactly the reason that I stopped watching 'Glee' at the end of last season. Now that I've seen this episode I don't think I'll be back any time soon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Zooey Deschanel is on SNL Tonight!

In case you've been completely cut off from pop culture for the last week, Zooey Deschanel is hosting SNL tonight.

If you're willing to drag yourself away from the new baby photos of Blue Ivy, check out Deschanel's earliest TV appearance ('Veronica's Closet', 1998).

Oh, and I guess you might be interested in watching her SNL promos as well:

Zooey Deschanel will be hosting 'Saturday Night Live' for the first time tonight (2/11/12) on NBC at 11:30/10:30C.

Friday, February 10, 2012

'Bones' is Back!

'Bones' is coming back on the air in April. Or, to be more precise, on Thursday, April 5th at 9/8C on FOX. New episodes will air for at least seven weeks, although it's possible that it will be expanded to 11 weeks.

UPDATE: FOX has revised its Spring schedule, and 'Bones' is going to be on Mondays! The season returns on Monday, April 2nd at 8 pm.

Get excited!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

'House' is Over

FOX hasn't renewed 'House' for a ninth season. The current season, season eight, will be the last.

I loved 'House' from the very beginning, and even loved it as the cast lost Jennifer Morrison (Cameron), and gained Olivia Wilde (Thirteen).

This season, the loss of Wilde and of Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy) hurt the show a great deal. The cases have still been interesting, but the show has lost its tempo.

That being said, it's the end of an era, and I'll be sad that I won't have new episodes of 'House' to look forward to every week.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'New Girl' Play By Play: "The Landlord" Recap

'New Girl' Play By Play: "The Landlord"

Minute one: Jess and Nick seem to spend a lot of time driving around in cars. By themselves. This episode is no exception.

Minute two: Schmidt believes that the world is trying to seduce him. What else is new?

Minute three: Nick's 'pouch' is mentioned again. Which is weird, because Jake Johnson is sexy.

Minute four: Does this scene in the basement remind anyone else of when Emily Deschanel went to see her creepy janitor friend in the 'Bones' high school reunion episode?

Minute five: Jess references four roommates when only three are allowed. Does this remind anyone else of the 'Friends' episode where Jennifer Aniston let it slip to her landlord that she was living with Courtney Cox?

Minute sixteen: Remy (landlord guy) and Jess decide they are going to have dinner together. Nick interjects that he'll come too. Clearly someone's not happy sharing his future gf.

Minute twenty-three: Three-some, anyone? (See, even Remy thinks that Jess and Nick are doing it)

Minute twenty-six: "So this is happening, with...this guy. This is happening, Jess". Three-some time!

Minute twenty-seven: "US two...getting it started". Jess feels awkward about kissing Nick. So, that doesn't happen.

Minute twenty-nine: Schmidt is kind of, sort of right about the whole boss/crush thing. Except not really.

Read a more thorough description of tonight's episode HERE.

Eh, not so sexy in this photo.

'New Girl': "The Landlord"

If we're learned anything from 'New Girl', it's that Nick is often right, and Jess is often wrong. That's why they're perfect for each other! But, I digress.

On tonight's episode, initially Nick was once again right, and Jess was once again wrong. See, the gang has this really cranky landlord man, and Nick realizes a friendship with a person like that is pretty tricky to navigate. Jess, on the other hand, who likes polka dots, and singing, and playing with glitter, finds it pretty difficult to accept the fact that someone won't like her. Which is funny, because last week's episode was all about someone (Julia) not liking her.

Despite the fact that she didn't try very hard with Julia (don't tell me that passive-agressive crocheting really resolved anything), Jess is apparently determined to get curmudgeonly old landlord to like her. Mainly because she's a MPDG. But also, she is kind of a nice person (for the most part, except when she may possibly steal Julia's boyfriend in the future).

Weirdly, by the time the first 10 minutes of the episode has passed, Jess already has the landlord eating out of the palm of her hand (that sounds weird, I just mean that he's willing to fix things for her, but not for Nick).

Except, he really has a crush on her, and apparently things that Jess and Nick's joint attention means that they want a threesome. Which they don't. Except neither one of them is willing to admit this, because it would also mean admitting that the other person was initially right about the landlord.

Eventually, when Nick is about to kiss Jess to get the threesome underway, she caves and tells him that he was right.

He always is.

All right, so he's not really that old (see man on left)

When is 'Bones' Returning from Hiatus?

Update 2/9/12: 'Bones' will be be airing all new episodes on April 5th at 9/8C.

Update 2/27/12: FOX has revised its Spring schedule, and 'Bones' is moving to Mondays! The season now returns on Monday, April 2nd at 8 pm.

People keep messaging me, asking me to tell them when new episodes of 'Bones' (Season 7!) are going to air. I have no affiliation with FOX, so the short answer is: I have no idea. That being said, I do know a couple of things:

Yes, this season will be short, but there are going to be a minimum of 17 episodes. Only 13 are officially scheduled, meaning the season may drag into the summer, or (if renewed for an 8th season) return earlier than normal in the fall. They're still filming now*, so if things go incredibly, remarkably smoothly there's even a possibility that there might even be more than 17. But...let's say there will be 17. Six episodes have aired, which means that we are not even half way through the season, and there are (hopefully!) 11 more episodes to look forward to.

The network hasn't officially set a release date for episode seven yet, but actors/producers etc. have alluded to the fact that the show will be returning in the spring.

When 'Bones' finally does return, we'll be watching the seventh episode of the seventh season (there is a kind of eloquence about that), entitled "The Prisoner in the Pipe". According to various internet sites, baby Booth/Bones will be born during the episode! And Brennan will go into labor in a prison!

While you're waiting for 'Bones' to come back, if you're looking for shows in a similar vein to watch, you might want to try 'Castle'. Several die-hard 'Bones' fans are pushing people to watch 'The Finder' (created by Hart Hanson, the man behind 'Bones'). While 'The Finder' is a completely decent show, and needs more viewers in order to be signed for a full season, its tone is not at all similar to that of 'Bones'. In fact, the only similarities I can see are the occasional character cross-overs (John Francis Daley guest-starred in the show's second episode).

I will update this post as more information becomes available from FOX, the producers, and the rest of the cast and crew.

*I'm not entirely sure what episode they're working on now, but they've finished through episode 10.

Monday, February 6, 2012

'Castle' Does Film Noir

Let me just say this: 'Castle' does special theme episodes way better than any other show I've seen (sorry, 'Grey's Anatomy', you lose).

Tonight's film noir episode was much anticipated, and it almost lived up to its hype. To be honest, I'm not sure what else they could have done to make it better, but after all the built up anticipation it was impossible for them to achieve complete perfection.

That being said, check this out:

Real Film Noir
Castle Film Noir

The episode centers around the story of a present-day treasure hunter who is found murdered during his search for a necklace in the shape of a butterfly. Castle and Beckett discover a journal with his body, and it turns out it was written by a PI in the 1940s. Throughout the episode Castle imagines events from the journal, envisioning himself as the PI, and Beckett as the PI's love interest/a gangster's moll. The episode shifted back and forth between these distant flashbacks and the present day case.

The journal parts of the episode used a lot of film noir tropes, including a vaguely femme fatale character (Sally, who in an interesting twist is played by Molly Quinn, who normally plays Alexis), a controlling gangster, and plenty of traditional voiceovers and repartee. Even the use of the journal as flashback is a play on the use of time within traditional film noirs. Many film noirs play with temporal shifts, using both remembered and real time...and this episode of 'Castle' certainly did that.

My favorite part of the episode may have been near the beginning, when the writers gave film noir enthusiasts a laugh. Present day Castle started verbalizing his thoughts, like an onscreen voiceover, and suddenly interrupted himself, asking, "why am I narrating?".

Molly Quinn as Sally
 Boy, those 'Castle' writers clearly did their film studies homework.

Now that I think about it, you know what I could have used more of? Innuendo. After that visual innuendo (hand stroking) last week, you'd think they could have given us a little more verbal innuendo this week.

Perfect inneundo:

Come back tomorrow for my complete summary of "The Blue Butterfly"

'Castle' is new again...

...and all film noir-ish. Tonight!

I was a little concerned that the much anticipated film noir episode was going to turn into some horrible mistake (a la the 'Grey's Anatomy' musical), but luckily, it looks like much of the episode is actually based in present day. The film noir moments are Nathan Fillion dreams (aka daydreams that Castle is having, not dreams about the actor Nathan Fillion, though that would be pretty sweet too), and they relate to the present-day murder mystery.

Can't wait? Watch the first 11 minutes right now.

Watch Castle Monday nights at 9/10C on ABC'

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Rant: Hulu Plus

Now that we lost the Super Bowl (and no, I won't talk about that...this is the last time it will be mentioned), I feel like ranting about something. After a recent discussion with my friend (who luckily feels exactly the way I do), I've settled on a topic that I could complain about endlessly: Hulu Plus.

I'm annoyed at Hulu Plus. And not for the usual reasons. Sure, everyone agrees that having to pay to watch certain TV shows is annoying. And being forced to endure a minute and a half of the same commercials over and over again, after having paid to watch said TV shows, is particularly annoying.

You know what's even worse? Having a Hulu Plus account and being told that certain content is only available "on the web". For goodness sake, we already paid, didn't we? We're enduring the financial burden, and your annoying commercials, and you're telling us that we can't stream all of your content to our televisions? Also, how is my Roku player not "on the web"'s connected to my wireless internet. So is my computer. How is this any different?

Sometimes, a girl just wants to sit down on a Friday night with a couple of friends and watch '30 Rock'. But no. Evidently that content is only available "on the web", so streaming it onto my TV is impossible. I'm sorry, but for $7.99 a month I'm not willing to huddle around a laptop.

P.S. Yes, I know this has to do with licensing agreements. Sure, originally signed agreements to only stream on computers, and when they branched out to Hulu Plus they had to get new licensing to stream on all devices. I get it. But it's been 585 days since they first rolled out Hulu Plus. Also, why are all other NBC shows available except '30 Rock'?

P.P.S. I realize that some parts of this rant are nonsensical, it wouldn't be a good rant if they weren't.

All right, Will Arnett, I guess I won't hold it against you.
(But only because you were in 'Arrested Development').

Friday, February 3, 2012

'Grey's Anatomy' Proves that Hair Really Matters

I've already posted about last night's episode of 'Grey's' (S8, Ep13: "If/Then"), so I won't bore you with the details here.

What I want to talk about instead is hair styles. Namely, how crazy it is that simply changing characters' hair styles immediately changes their whole personae.

For instance, I loved Callie's new hair-do, but it certainly made her look way more suburban mom:
Meredith's lack of volume showed how deflated she was with her mother ordering her around:
Bailey's hair-style was a little juvenile, and didn't fit with the harder personality she has in current reality. In alt-reality, where she was under Meredith's mother's thumb, it was perfect:
Cristina's harsh bangs also suited her alt-reality persona, where she was considered unapproachable, and slightly evil:

Hair styles aside, the rest of the costuming was also very well done:

Meredith's day-clothes were almost exclusively pink, signifying how she is still very much a little girl who is controlled by her mother. Her pink watch, and shiny black shoes, reminded me of a suburban child, while her cardigan and button-down screamed preppy: 

 Alex was also screaming preppy with his belt, polo-shirt, and glasses. If they were trying to make Justin Chambers less attractive, they succeeded. If they were trying to make him match Meredith? Yep, that happened too. I think it was particularly well-done because he looked a little over the top, like a boy playing dress up. Considering the fact that he was faking his affection for Meredith (presumably, in part, to please her mother) this outfit makes sense.

Finally, I have to touch on those hideous scrubs. I worked in a hospital for two years, so I know what normal scrubs look like. And no, they don't look like the ones that normally appear on 'Grey's Anatomy'; those are clearly tailored for each specific actor. Still, these ones are especially ugly. And different scrubs for the men and women? That would never fly at any hospital I've ever worked at. Also, why do them at all if you clearly need to outfit Sarah Drew (Kepner) in the normal scrubs due to her real-life (hidden on the show) pregnancy? This is the one costuming decision I don't understand.

photos from

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grey's Anatomy's "If/Then" Universe Mimics Reality

"...nothing is turning out the way I thought it would, it's like I don't even recognize my own life."-Meredith

Last night 'Grey's Anatomy' pulled a 'Fringe' and handed us an alternative universe. The writers clearly had fun coming up with if/then scenarios: Meredith was engaged to Alex, Dr. Webber was her step-father, Bailey was completely over-powered by Meredith's still-living mother, and Callie was married to Owen (with three kids!).

That being said, a lot of the alt-reality scenarios weren't that different: Addison and Derek, while still married, were on rocky ground throughout the episode. Mark Sloan even showed up at the end, admitting that he was the father of Addison's baby. Basically it was just a slightly alternative version of what happened in the First Season of 'Grey's'.

Other very familiar scenarios? Alex cheating on Meredith with Kepner. He's always been portrayed as a bit of a hound-dog, and having sex with colleagues in hospital rooms? Very 'Grey's Anatomy' Season One. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been wondering for a while if Alex and Kepner will get together, so seeing them making out wasn't a real surprise. They certainly have more chemistry than Meredith and Alex who, we all now know, should never, ever get together on the show for real. Seriously, no chemistry. At all.

Avery flirting with screwed-up/drug-addict/alt-reality Lexie was clearly a throwback to their relationship earlier this season, while the scene where Mark Sloan tried to save her life just made me wish harder for a Lexie/Sloan reconciliation.

At the end of the episode, we were left with the distinct feeling that lots of things were going to change, and that current reality wasn't too far away: Cristina knew Owen's secrets, and Callie was clearly attracted to Arizona. Also, Meredith and Cristina did shots of tequila at a bar (again, hello Season One!), and even quoted verbatim from the pilot episode. Oh, and at the very end of the episode, drunk Derek met drunk Meredith in a bar, and we all know where that led.

The episode concluded with Meredith's voice-over:
"Some things are going to work out as though they were destined to happen"

And that's fine. But, while the hour was fun for die-hard fans, I'm not sure what the purpose of this episode really was. Unlike on 'Fringe', this alternative reality is going away as quickly as it came. I do know one thing though, if the pilot episode of 'Grey's' had been this episode, I still would have watched the show.

British People Have Television Too

I'm English. And American. I have dual citizenship, and I was raised in both countries. This means that I don't just watch U.S. television shows, but British ones too. Doubly important, I can understand all the accents!

What I've noticed recently, that I somehow managed to completely miss as a child, is that there is a stark difference between British shows and American shows, even after you remove locale and accents. That difference is attractiveness.

American television stars are, more often than not, attractive. Sometimes they're really, really attractive. Plus, even when they're not traditionally 'good looking', they still get perfect make-up, and proper lighting, and intense post-production. This happens even when the show is trying to show that the character is slovenly. Take 'The Middle' for instance, Patricia Heaton's character doesn't have good hair or good clothes, but damn does she look good on film.

If you don't watch a lot of British television you'll have no idea what I'm talking about. Because for people raised on U.S. television a character like Doug Heffernon isn't 'attractive'. I hate to tell you all, but you're missing out on what real on-air unattractiveness is. Maybe that's a little harsh, what I mean is that American television's version of a normal person is horribly skewed.

In the U.K. television shows are often filmed with a more realist approach (I use the word 'realist' in the loosest possible sense; I'm not trying to relate to Ray or Rosellini, because luckily this isn't a film class). What I mean by 'realist approach' is that everything looks more...real. Their lighting isn't as good, their actors aren't always chosen because they looked best in a screen test, and their post-production isn't as snazzy. The closest thing that American TV has are its soap operas. But, that's not to say that those British shows aren't brilliant.

Which is why American television ideals sometimes make me sad. There are so many great British shows that I want my U.S. friends to enjoy. A lot of them are even on Netflix Instant (so you don't have to suffer through a six-hour plane ride!). My favorite, slightly-older British show at the moment is 'Gavin & Stacey'. It's absolutely brilliant; it's funny, it's heart-warming, and it's just as quirky as 'Arrested Development'. Unfortunately, when I tried to persuade a group of American friends to watch it with me, it was quickly rejected because "no one in that show is attractive". Are we really at the point where we can't watch a show if the main characters aren't hot? My British friends are able to easily acclimate to the gorgeous Americans on their screens, but my U.S. friends can't see the beauty in the British-style of TV. The sad thing is, they don't know how much quality television they're missing.

So, if you're American (or any nationality, I'm really not picky) go to Netflix Instant and give a British TV show a try. Accept that the accents are different, and the footage is often grainier, and enjoy the quality of the plot. I promise, it's there.

I highly recommend: 'Gavin & Stacey', 'Peep Show', and 'Doc Martin'. 

The cast of 'Gavin & Stacey'