Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thoughts on recent episodes of TV

Or. . .how your friendly blogger learned to COAST.

How I Met Your Mother, "Zip, Zip, Zip" (originally aired 2/6/06): Everyone sort of agrees that the weak link of the Mother ensemble is Ted (though the Boston Globe argues he's the show's Charlie Brown and Linus rolled into one, which is an interesting perspective). Still, his quest is what motivates the show, and he has great chemistry with Ashley Williams who plays his latest girlfriend, Victoria. The show makes what could be a fatal error at the top (Victoria places a "when we can have sex" constraint on the relationship, which is a plot line so old it was actually invented by the Greeks), but then it jumps three weeks into the future, skipping what we think will be an episode where Ted whines about not having sex. Instead, that's constrained to ONE SCENE. The show then proceeds to focus on the supporting characters and then MAKES FUN of its central conceit! Ted's lovey-doveyness is played for LAUGHS. I didn't think it was the funniest episode, but the show's elasticity is surprising me. There may be more gas in this one than I originally thought.

The Office, "Warehouse" (originally aired 2/2/06): The more I watch this show, the more I'm fascinated by the ways they take the conceits of the original and mix them up for an American milieu. I'm also becoming convinced this is the true heir to Seinfeld. While it has a bigger heart that that show, it's also somewhat bleaker. Because of the fact that it's a sitcom, no one can ever really change, but because of the fact that it's filmed realistically, this fact is eventually going to enter something approaching existential despair. It's going to be interesting to see just how far they'll push it. This week's episode, featuring Pam's breakdown at being offered the life she's wanted and having to turn it down, was masterfully done. Bonus points to Steve Carrell for toning it down JUST a smidge, making his character that much more believable.

Supernatural, "Scarecrow" (originally aired 1/10/06): Here's another show that may have more gas in it than I initially thought. I've been watching it closely as I'm writing a spec script for it to enter in various contests and fellowships. The structure is almost ALWAYS the same thing time after time, but they do such tiny variations on it that it feels like a new episode every time. They're also starting to increase the tension in the overarching mythology story (which will likely be wrapped up this year) and bringing in recurring characters to drive the narrative. And this episode featured a really, really scary scarecrow. Good stuff.

Scrubs, "My Half Acre" and "Her Story II" (originally aired 2/7/06): Mandy Moore is almost always better than her material. This is one of the few times the script has met her halfway, and she was magical. I hope she comes back. Better yet, I hope she gives up on being a movie star (and starring in terrible melodramas) and gets a good TV vehicle. She would be a force.

Grey's Anatomy, "It's the End of the World, Part 1" (originally aired 2/5/06): This show is doing what ER used to do and mixing it with what Ally McBeal used to do and making BOTH of those things work somehow. The post-Super Bowl episode was a little over-the-top (and it relied a bit too much on that old chestnut. . .the death that's waiting to happen if someone shifts just a little bit). I could have done without the lesbian shower fantasy, but it roped in millions of viewers, so what do I know. Still, this had some of the series' finest writing in scenes like the "Pink Mist" scene. And I can't wait to find out what happens next.

And is it just me or are Super Bowl commercials overrated now? While awards show commericals are underrated (the Oscars and Grammys always have some nice, appropriately themed debuts)?

Anyway. . .if you've seen an episode you'd like to see me comment on, drop me a line!

1 comment:

Jacob said...

Friday Night's Alright For Fighting!