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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

happy holidays

Monday, November 4, 2013

HIMYM: The Lighthouse S9Ep8

As evidenced by the number of times it's discussed on this blog, 'How I Met Your Mother' is one of my favorite sitcoms.

Of course, when I say that I'm talking about the early years; the magic of Robin Sparkles, the joy of the slap bet, the novelty of watching entire relationships unfold and then fail (hey Robin and Ted!) or shockingly succeed (hello again Robin and Barney!).

I can't remember exactly when HIMYM began to lose its spark, though I am completely willing to rewatch the entire series to find the answer. I love it enough to watch it all over again, even as I'm frustrated by what it is today.

I do remember, and I think this is evidenced by my blog posts, that I found season eight very uneven. For me that season was plucked out of obscurity by the last couple of episodes. In particular "The Final Page", the season finale that finally felt like HIMYM again. Barney manipulating people by being simultaneously cruel and hilarious, with just the right amount of heart? That felt like HIMYM. Robin being typically indecisive, torn between her desire and her head and her past traumas? Yeah, that's HIMYM. Ted Mosby whiny and dissatisfied? HIMYM. Lily and Marshall inseparable and ridiculous? Ditto.

But then there was season nine.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

HIMYM: The Final Season S9 Episodes 1, 2 & 3 Recap

Aw our babies are growing up.

And by growing up I mean making horrible life decisions like actual grown-ups do. They're adults now, so the MacLaren's gang doesn't get to go on wild adventures without consequences anymore...

or do they?

Let's recap:

Monday, September 30, 2013

OUAT: Can a new locale save the show? S3Ep1

It's the season of change: colder weather bringing with it the brand new fall TV schedule. Of course, like always the perennial favorites are still there. 'Once Upon a Time' began with a novel idea--what if fairy tales were real? What if an evil queen had cast a curse and forced fairy tale characters to live in our world as ordinary people? What if multiple world exists? All of these questions were sufficient to make the first season of 'Once Upon a Time' an intriguing premise. But last season it seemed like a lot of the same thing. Continued flashbacks to characters' fairy tale pasts made slightly less interesting by the fact that said characters now all remembered who they were. At least the end of the second season had a twist--Henry, the birth son of the Savior and the adoptive son of the Evil Queen, was kidnapped and brought to Neverland.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the series has been the attempted redemption of the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla). This season should be particularly fascinating as 'good' and 'evil' join forces to try and save Henry.

Other ABC shows are trying to revitalize by moving their characters to different locations: in this week's premiere of 'Castle' Beckett moved from New York to DC.

Is a  new locale exactly what 'Once Upon a Time' needs to recover from its sophomore slump? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Transgender Television

I remember the first time I was formally taught the word "transgender". I was sixteen years old and attending a summer writing workshop at the University of Virginia. One of the other students liked to borrow girls' clothing and wear it to class. I'm not sure if he* was the impetus for our session about "Sex and Gender" or if it was already on the schedule but one afternoon someone somewhere decided that it was time for us to learn the correct terminology. We learned what LGBT meant. We learned the difference between sex and gender. We learned about pronouns. Coming from a slightly conservative public high school in Virginia, and a liberal but very sheltered upbringing, all of this was news to me. Interestingly, I took it all in stride. My biggest concern was that someone should really teach him how to dress better, because the skirt and top combo didn't match at all.

Later, when I attended Smith College, these early lessons in terminology came in handy. That's not to say that Smith wasn't a culture shock, because it totally was. During a weekend for accepted students I was housed by Junior who a) had the shortest hair I had ever seen on a girl and b) was openly gay. Interestingly, all the students that she lived with seemed to veer largely toward the Lesbian side of the spectrum. This certainly isn't the case all over the Smith campus, but in that particular house my long hair-polo shirt wearing- one step away from having pearls-high school self stood out.

Three years later I would be leading a session for new students where I talked about LGBT terminology. Full circle from clueless fashion-conscious sixteen year old to more knowledgeable but still pretty clueless twenty-one year old.

Yesterday I was riding a bus through Dorchester, which is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Boston. Two Black teenagers, a guy and a girl, were talking about what drag was, which then turned into a discussion about a family friend's decision to transition. They knew the terminology. Was that because they'd read up on what to say and how to say it after learning of their friend's decision? Of course that's possible. But I also think it's possible that media is playing a role.

Castle Season 6 Premiere & Potential Spoilers

In one short week the sixth season of 'Castle' will be premiering on ABC.

Thinking back over the last four seasons, it's easy to say that 'Castle' is a show that has succeeded in character growth. Beckett and Castle have both made strides and bounds in terms of mental and emotional well-being. Now even bigger changes are coming our way.

Although ABC and Andrew Marlowe (the creator of 'Castle') have been trying to keep a wrap on details of this season's premiere, it's pretty easy to piece together the key points. Stop reading now if you want to avoid potential spoilers (though keep in mind that I haven't seen the premiere and these are merely my best guesses--we'll see if they hold true).

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Downton Abbey Season Four Update & Season 3 Recaps

I'm quite excited (see, I'm already talking like a British person) that 'Downton Abbey' is coming back in January. While I'll miss BLANK and BLANK (names redacted in case you're crazy and haven't watched Season 3 yet) I have faith that they'll give us an excellent show.

Apparently Michelle Dockery agrees.

This reminds me to plug my other blog which features recaps for all of season 3 of Downton Abbey:

Friday, August 16, 2013

OITNB: Can Season 2 Be As Good?

I may be mildly obsessed with 'Orange is the New Black'.

And by mildly obsessed I mean that Netflix should probably start paying me some serious change considering the amount of promotional work I'm doing for their show.

So far I've managed to persuade colleagues, relatives, friends, and the folks I volunteer with at a local homeless shelter to give in and watch the show. And, get this, no one has blamed me yet!

That leads to what I consider to be the big question: now what?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Orange is the New Black: Responding to Yasmin Nair

Race, Class, & Queer Issues in 'Orange is the New Black'

In These Times recently published an article in which the author, Yasmin Nair, stated that while Netflix's 'Orange is the New Black' gets "an 'A' on queer issues", it gets "a 'C' on race and an 'F' on class". While I agree it's important to contemplate and critique the portrayal of queer issues, race, and class in media, there are several points that the author states as fact which in reality rely on her personal interpretation of what is shown on screen.

In full disclosure, I am (as the main character in the show states) a white lady with blonde hair. I'm sure that colored my interpretation of the show, and I in no way claim that my perspective is the right one.

The first point that Nair makes is that 'Orange is the New Black' (OITNB) ensures that white women's nudity is "artfully covered" so that their "placement in the hierarchy of voyeurism" is made clear. To make her point she references a few key scenes; the first being the scene in the chapel where Morello and Nichols are having sex. Nair, rightfully, points out that Morello's breasts remain artfully covered throughout the scene in an unrealistic way. There is also a scene where Chapman gets out of the shower and her breasts are only briefly flashed before they are hidden by a towel (viewers will remember this as the "TV titties" scene). Nair states that in contrast women of color are shown naked fairly often--breasts and all. She sees this as a way to eroticize women of color, while the white women "preserve their putative modesty".

It certainly is true that eroticization of women of color in mainstream media is a major problem. However, I don't think that the examples Nair has given support her argument.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

'The Bridge': Portrayals of Autism Worth Watching

'The Bridge' is great television.

It's a complex thriller with true human emotion and interesting cross cultural perspectives, but that's not why it's great television.

The show is unique because it deals so successfully with Asperger's syndrome.

Detective Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) is a lot of things. She's the quintessential attractive American on the show--slim with wavy blonde hair and blue eyes. Men are clearly attracted to her, as is evidenced by the man who hits on her during the second episode's bar scene. She's very intelligent...a lead homicide detective who is passionate about her work.

She's also socially inept, but unlike shows such as 'The Big Bang Theory', where the character Sheldon Cooper's (purported) autism leaves him constantly clueless about social conventions, and seemingly caring little about the reaction he's provoking, Sonya's reactions seem more accurate.

According to psychology research studies, individuals with high functioning autism spectrum disorders often have high levels of depression because they are aware of the awkwardness their behavior causes, but don't know how to interact with people in a more "socially acceptable" way. Sonya falls into this category, she repeatedly apologizes for her behavior after the fact, despite the fact that it is clear that she doesn't understanding why what she did wasn't socially acceptable.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

'SVU' marathons are the bane of my existence (also, John Mulaney is right for once)

I didn't watch this season of 'Law & Order: SVU' as it aired (I had to work while it was on). I'm one of those weird people who watches the show for character development. The cases are fairly interesting, but I really just want to know what's going on in Benson's love life, and whether Rollins' character is actually straight, and what the hell is going on with Amaro. When you watch a show for character development it typically helps to watch the episodes in order so that you can, you know, observe the characters' development.

One of the main frustrations of my life is that despite the fact that USA seems to play 'SVU' marathons about 70 hours a week, they always have weird themes; "ripped from the headlines", "famous guest stars", "Benson's boyfriends". Okay, I may have made that last one up since it's a marathon I'd actually be willing to watch, but regardless you get my point. Those marathons really don't help someone who cares about character development. They skip from an episode where District Attorney Cabot is no where to be found because she's in witness protection and almost everyone thinks she's dead to six episodes in a row where she's lead prosecutor. Then you see Stabler and Benson solve a case, but the next episode he's gone. Then Benson has super short hair and you wonder if they were trying to make her a butch cop, but suddenly she's all femme and kissing David Haden. This is why I need to watch the episodes in order.

I'm apparently too cheap to pay for Hulu Plus so I've decided that I'll take advantage of their free trial and watch all of season 14 of 'SVU' in one week.

I started two days ago and I'm already starting to notice several patterns. I could probably write this show y'all. Besides that, I've also learned that John Mulaney is totally right: 14 years and Ice-T still has no fucking clue.

Monday, June 10, 2013

SVU marathons on USA are kind of a big problem

Here's why 'SVU' marathon's on USA are kind of a big problem, y'all

1) First you're all: Score! An 'SVU' marathon. I just love watching those sex crime detectives hard at work.

2) Episode two starts and you're happy because Alex Cabot is the ADA and she's your favorite.

3) Then Novak's on and you're all: Okay. Sure. I can deal with her.

4) They play that super dramatic episode where Cabot gets shot and hello Witsec.

5) Episode five begins. Benson wants a warrant so she calls up Cabot cause, you know, she's back or she never left, or something. (Wait, what season is this now?)

6) Benson and Stabler share several dramatic moments this episode. Boy, their partnership is the best.

7) Benson hugs Amarao: "You're a great partner". Oh right, Stabler's gone.

9) This is getting ridiculous. You should probably be able to tell which season this is by the five second still of the gang in each episode's opening credits, but at this point you're 9 hours in and kind of exhausted.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Goodwin Games: Yay or Nay?

Execs at CBS certainly didn't think 'The Goodwin Games' had the "it" factor. After all, the show wasn't picked up the fall schedule, even though CBS chose to pick up four other new comedies.

Now that the show's been relegated to the summer line-up it seems like it's a lost cause. So why watch it?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Thank God for Summer Television

I spent shockingly little time watching television this past year. 


Since we all know that's a blatant lie let me rephrase--my commitment and enthusiasm for watching shows live declined dramatically. The only shows that I watched as they aired were 'Castle' and 'How I Met Your Mother'. Don't ask me why those specific shows won out, because I honestly don't have an answer.

Now, however, it's finally summer and while (since adulthood) that doesn't mean my workload is any less than it is during the rest of the year, the annoying heat and rampant mosquitoes will encourage me to watch more TV as it airs. Lucky you!

What shows am I planning on watching and/or already watching?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Castle Season 5 Finale: Yes or No


In the past 'Castle' has had dramatic finales. Who could forget the season when Beckett got shot mere moments before the end credits? Still, this season's finale offered a blow of a different sort. For a season that focused on the emotional development of its main characters it makes sense that the finale would deal with just that.

Season five wasn't as edge of your seat high stakes as the seasons before it, but it definitely allowed us to watch Castle and Beckett's relationship develop while still providing us with some tricky cases.

In tonight's episode we all knew what was coming; as had been pretty clearly established last week, Beckett was going to interview for a job in DC and she was going to get it. What was most surprising about this week's episode was the fact that it was half way done before Castle even discovered she'd interviewed which left scant time to focus on their argument after her secret had been revealed. In a way that made the finale all the more powerful.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's Time for a Parks & Rec Family Hug...

...Because the show was just renewed for a sixth season!

That's right, Parks and Recreation will be back on NBC for Season Six this Fall (2013). Get ready America.

Castle: How Much Hitchcock is Too Much Hitchcock?

 "How Much Hitchcock is Too Much Hitchcock?" is clearly a ridiculous question--the answer is obvious. There is no such thing as too much Hitchcock.

I don't think it's plausible to not get something out of a Hitchcock film, regardless of whether you're watching it for the first time or the 22nd.

However, it is definitely possible to overuse Hitchcock allusions. Case in point? The current season of 'Castle'.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing (Trailers & Release Date)

I'm not the biggest fan of Joss Whedon out there*, but I definitely appreciate most of his work.



'The Avengers'?

Like, like, and like.

So I'm obviously excited about his newest movie that's coming out (not 'Arrested Development' excited, but pretty close).

Monday, April 29, 2013

HIMYM & Castle Give Us the Same Episode: Bro Mitvah vs. Lives of Others

Barney’s bachelorette party and Castle’s birthday party were basically the same event...


‘How I Met Your Mother’ is known for often over the top comedy, while ‘Castle’ is a mix of crime, drama and comedy. Apart from the comedic link, the shows normally couldn’t be more different.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dear Arrested Development, Please Hurry the F*** Up.

Dear Arrested Development,

I've been obsessed with you since 2003. Many would say that's borderline pathological, but I say it's just good taste. For the most part my friends agree with me, so either we're all in some sort of weird symbiotic relationship (not out of the question), or my obsession is just good commonsense (let's go with that, shall we?).

When I found out that an Arrested Development movie might be happening I was as excited as the next fan. I was also as patient as the next fan, which is to say--not at all. When your creator Ron Howard repeatedly assured us that a movie was happening and nothing happened I began to lose faith with the rest of America.

But then in November of 2011 something magical happened. Netflix officially announced that Arrested Development was coming back. Nope, not back on our TVs, but back to our eyes in a way that was (to be frank) even better: a 13 episode order that would be released all at once directly on Netflix instant.

To recap your own history for you (because seriously its been so long it's doubtful even you remember), there will be a six year gap between the last time you aired on TV (2006) and your release date on Netflix (2013).

But don't worry. We'll be watching.

May 26th, 2013 please hurry the f*** up.

-A Fan

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Tension Filled Relationship with 'Once Upon a Time'

Why I'm (Now) Watching 'Once Upon a Time:

Let me preface this by saying that I'm pretty much in love with Jennifer Morrison.

I recently went on a 'House MD' viewing marathon which led to me Googling Jennifer Morrison and lamenting her break-up with Jesse Spencer (because seriously, I learned that they dated/got engaged/broke-up in the span of five minutes). Then I remembered that her personal life was none of my business and decided that IDMB would be more useful and ethical.

Which is the first time I realized she was in 'Once Upon a Time'.

Friday, March 15, 2013

How I Really Feel About 'The Big Bang Theory'

Or Why Pseudo-Intellectualism and Laugh Tracks Annoy Me

I've been anti-'Big Bang Theory' since...well, pretty much forever.

From the get-go the show just annoyed me. Sheldon's annoying quirks, Leonard's annoying quirks, Kothrappali's annoying quirks...there were a lot of quirks and I couldn't find the humor in it. Or rather, I couldn't deal with the "humor" being pounded over my head with an increasingly grating laugh track.*

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Pretend You Watched the Oscars (2013 Edition)

 A 10 Step Guide


The Oscars weren't really that great this year. At least, I'm saying that they weren't, and so is this writer, and this writer, and this writer, though this writer liked them so who knows.

Regardless of how you felt about them (or more specifically, regardless of how you felt/feel about Seth MacFarlane) the Oscars happened and people are talking about them. Don't feel left out, here's all you need to know!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Horrible Things on Downton Abbey: Season 3 Episode 7

In the never-ending story of misery that is 'Downton Abbey', more horrible things continue to happen to the Crawley family.

Season 3, Episode 7*:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Horrible Things on Downton Abbey: Season 3 Episode 6

In the never-ending story of misery that is 'Downton Abbey', more horrible things continue to happen to the Crawley family.

Season 3, Episode 6:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Horrible Things on Downton Abbey: Season 3 Episode 5

In the never-ending story of misery that is 'Downton Abbey', more horrible things continue to happen to the Crawley family.

Season 3, Episode 5:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Horrible Things on Downton Abbey: Season 3 Episode 4

In the never-ending story of misery that is 'Downton Abbey', more horrible things continue to happen to the Crawley family.

Season 3, Episode 4:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Horrible Things on Downton Abbey: Season 3 Episode 3

In the never-ending story of misery that is 'Downton Abbey', more horrible things continue to happen to the Crawley family.

Season 3, Episode 3*:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Watch Dexter Season 7 Without Watching Prior Seasons

 spoilers for seasons 1-6. No season 7 spoilers.

Season seven of 'Dexter' was brilliant.

It may have seemed less brilliant if it weren't for the massive failures of seasons four through six, but regardless, it was a strong season.

When I first watched the seventh season I had only watched seasons one through three and part of season four. I got so frustrated after Jimmy Smits that I had to give up on the show.

But then I heard wonderful things about the seventh season and I caved. I watched it. Without watching any of the seasons inbetween.

And believe it or not that worked just fine.

Most of the back-story referenced this season took place during the first three seasons, and the major plotpoints (i.e. Rita's death) I had already learned about through watercooler conversations.

Although it wouldn't be quite as fun I think it would be relatively easy to watch season seven as a newbie without having seen any of the prior seasons. All you'd need would be minimal knowledge:

HIMYM: "Band or DJ", Season 8 Episode 13

Last night's 'How I Met Your Mother' gave us a little bit of reassurance: Barney and Robin make it to their wedding reception.

Prior flash-forwards have suggested that both Barney and Robin freak-out right before their wedding. There was also a suggestion that Robin would climb out the same window that Victoria climbed out of on her wedding day.

However, the flash-forward at the end of last night's episode showed Robin dancing at her wedding, and Ted casually leaning against a bar while he watched the mother (okay, the mother's hand) play the bass.

 But how did we get to this point?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Amy & Tina at the 70th Annual Golden Globes

'The Golden Globes' were on last night. The ceremony dragged on a bit (okay, kind of a lot), but I just have to say...

love me some Tina & Amy

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Horrible Things on Downton Abbey: Season 3 Episode 2

In the never-ending story of misery that is 'Downton Abbey', more horrible things continue to happen to the Crawley family.

Season 3, Episode 2*:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unaired '30 Rock' Pilot

Most people love '30 Rock'. Or at least love to hate it.

Other people, my mother included, are completely crazy and don't "understand" the show.

Regardless, I think everyone will agree that the show in its current version is far superior to what it could have been. Watch the original, unaired pilot with a (slightly) different cast to see what I mean:

link will open in a new window

'Bones' is Back and...Back

'Bones', the hit show produced by Twentieth Century Fox (and airing on FOX), is returning from winter hiatus on Monday, January 14th 2013.

But don't fear, that's not all...the show has officially been renewed for a ninth season. 

Lucky 'Bones' fans, you get a minimum of another year and a half of the anthropologist/FBI crime solving duo.