Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Super Tuesday: House, Veronica Mars & Gilmore Girls

Three solid, unspectacular episodes from each of Tuesday's big shows, but they were all somewhat reassuring in their own ways (even though Ronnie's ratings weren't--cancellation seems likely for everyone's favorite PI). Let's look at them one by one.

House: After the Tritter arc and last week's bizarre "House vs. rape victim" deal, it was nice to see Dr. Curmudgeon settle into a nice old-fashioned bit of formula yesterday with "Needle in a Haystack", which checked all the requisite boxes. Fun B-story? Yes. House becoming wheelchair-bound and bickering with Cuddy over a handicapped parking space was a nice little idea. It even included House donning his moral poker face, falsely admitting he'd stood up to race to an operating theater when in fact he'd foolishly gone down a flight of stairs in his chair. Did he stay in the chair to be stubborn, or to honor his deal? I'm going with stubborn, but whatever.

Other boxes checked included a funny clinic scene, some slightly outlandish patient relatives (with the Amish showing up in Grey's Anatomy and a Romany family here, I wonder which isolationist American subgroup will show up on ER!) and heavier focus on one of House's team, in this case the undersung Dr. Foreman. The episode referenced the team's loneliness, which may foreshadow future plot developments. I assume some sort of development is in place for the latter half of the season romance-wise. Anyway, nice to see the show back on track somewhat.

Gilmore Girls: Mixed bag overall here. I've always tried to be cautiously optimistic about the lack of the Palladinos, but I found it glaringly obvious here. These event episodes really were Amy Sherman-Palladino's forte, and I think she could have handled this episode much better. Wait...don't tell me...she already did! Did anyone else get MAJOR deja vu to season 1 ep "Forgiveness and Stuff"? Richard in hospital, Luke supporting the Gilmores, Emily going a bit bonkers, Lorelai being all squirmy about death? "I'd Rather Be In Philadelphia" definitely took this template and ran with it, so I was a lot more bored than I thought I'd be.

Kelly Bishop got a chance to shine and had no trouble knocking it out of the park, but that's to be expected of her. If anything, her sterling work here just underlined how lacking the senior Gilmores have been this season. Too much time spent on Lorelai and Rory's boy troubles, I guess. Anyway, as good as Bishop was, we've seen this kind of behavior from Emily before--snapping into crisis mode, trying to keep her emotions/fears in check, etc. It was so clear what she was doing, it made her later breakdown a little less affecting. I did, however, like her brusque treatment of Luke. It was in character and not sappy at all.

Speaking of Luke, I do love seeing him in gallant mode. It's been done before and it made sense in this episode. Which means they just about got away with making him the white knight and Christopher the evil spawn, but it seemed a little too sudden to me. It's been clear this is the direction the show's been heading in from the start, but I do feel bad for any Lorelai/Chris fans (I know you guys exist!) who are seeing Mr. Hayden written so bluntly here. Logan's maturity was also obviously underlined, especially when we learned he was laying out most of his trust fund in an effort to expand his internet start-up. I'm still sure I want Rory to be single as the series ends, but Logan's developed into quite a solid guy nonetheless. Anyway, the whole thing was an interesting enough experiment (setting it mostly in the hospital was at least a new twist), but only helped to emphasize the show's current faults for me.

Veronica Mars: Basically the third stand-alone mystery in a row, and it was plenty good too, although not quite as shiny as the last two. I like how they're doing the Dean O'Dell mystery--no reason to have it dominate the plot this early seeing as Ronnie barely knew the guy. Laying down possible suspects & clues and giving Keith some nice solo material is good enough for me right now. They brought back the annoying (in a good way) mystery geek Tim this week, which makes me think he must figure in a major way.

The mystery itself was fine, too. I liked the fair and balanced look at the preacher guy, and there were some classic VM hallmarks, like dumb blonde Veronica ("my parents just told me I'm adopted"!). Plus, nervous guy Doug from Scrubs made an appearance! Wasn't Todd in an episode a while back, too? I'm rooting for Laverne to show up next. I had guessed the mystery's solution simply because there weren't a lot of suspects introduced, or basically any at all, aside from the roommate. Plus, she seemed kinda haughty to me. Still, the whole thing flowed well and has me convinced the show could do fine on stand-alones. If it gets picked up.

The LoVe stuff was less fascinating. I like those two kids together as much as anyone, but I think it's time to put them on a break. I actually admire that Rob Thomas broke them up in a normal manner in "Spit & Eggs" before briefly re-uniting them, because that makes a kind of sense to me--this couple lives for drama, and a simple nullification speech by Logan just wasn't going to do it. Then again, bringing Madison back in to split them apart seemed a little lazy. Although it does give Dick something to do, which I'm in favor of. He's woefully underused at the moment. His little talks with Veronica are always a highlight for me. Anyway, I'm hoping for less LoVe next week. Bring on...Pizonica? Veroniz? Whatever.

Anyone else got an opinion?

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