Friday, September 07, 2007

“God, you’re rubbish as a human!” – Doctor Who

I’ve actually agonized quite a bit over whether it’s really suitable to have a light-hearted title quote accompanying a recap of Doctor Who’s most heartbreaking episode ever. With ‘The Family of Blood’, writer Paul Cornell pulls one of those favourite writer tricks – after investing the audience in your universe, rip it all apart in the most tragic fashion possible. The difference here, of course, is that we knew from the beginning the norm would end up restored (although not 100% - see below). So instead what Cornell has done is invest us so completely in this new environment that we actually feel sadness when everything is more or less ‘put right again’. Which, considering it’s the usual template of Who which has made it so successful, is a very impressive feat.

What became apparent to me, when watching this episode, is that through all of my desperate attempts to get a grip on what was going on in ‘Human Nature’ I had actually completely missed the point. Where ‘Human Nature’ was more about how the Doctor ended up becoming John Smith, ‘The Family of Blood’ is about the repercussions this decision brings. The thing is, it never occurred to the Doctor that people might get hurt – or if it did, it didn’t put him off his plan. Nor did it ever occur to him that he might fall in love. The Doctor gave no consideration at all to his human counterpart, and throughout ‘Human Nature’ neither did I – my thinking was more along the lines of, ‘When and how is the Doctor coming back?’ Yet as we are shown throughout ‘The Family of Blood’, John Smith is his own man, with his own feeling and emotions completely separate from the Doctor. Basically Smith is an entirely separate character who deserves as much of the viewer’s affection as the Doctor, if not more.

In fact, ‘The Family of Blood’ is something of a condemnation of the Doctor. He saw Martha’s job as simply keeping an eye on John Smith for three months before opening the watch and bringing the Doctor back again. John himself puts it to Martha quite differently: “So your job was to execute me?” Martha herself can be forgiven for not being more sympathetic to John’s plight; after all, she is in love with the Doctor, and with the Family beginning to destroy the village she ranks his immediate return above John’s opinions on the subject. It was the Doctor, however, who first set the whole thing in motion, and who is not so easily forgiven. It is explained late on in the episode that the Doctor chose to hide from the family not out of fear, but because “he was being kind” in trying to spare them punishment. Cornell appreciates how important it is that this be stated, as it casts all of his actions in an entirely different light. In some ways it is heartening to see this proof of the Doctor’s essentially compassionate nature, but as the events of this two-parter show, he may have made the wrong decision. Not only does his presence cause many deaths, but it takes a strong emotional toll on characters we have grown to love: Martha, Timothy and most of all Joan.

Guest stars on Who have gotten the rough end of the stick before, but Joan’s story is the most tragic of all – having already lost one husband, she has to talk her second love into leaving her as well. Once Joan comes to appreciate the reality of the situation she selflessly lets go of her own desires and helps the Doctor return, even after seeing a glimpse of the happy life she might have with John. This makes for one of the episode’s most powerful scenes, as the couple grasp together at the fob watch and are treated to an imagining of what their happy married life might look like. As the images flash by and blissful smiles come to both of their faces, you can’t help feel a tear come to your eye. Well, one certainly came to mine, and not just then either. I felt the waterworks coming again in Joan’s final scene, where she meets the Doctor. Her pain at being forced to see this other man who looks just like John is heartbreaking, and is only intensified by the Doctor asking her to come with him as his “companion”, an offer she must reject. We leave Joan on a hauntingly beautiful image – tears running down her cheeks as she clutches the Journal of Impossible Things to her chest.

While in retrospect it seems obvious that Joan’s role was not going to extend beyond this two-parter, before ‘The Family of Blood’ aired I was genuinely uncertain of what role she might take. It seemed a legitimate possibility that she could join the Doctor as a new companion, or even that they might get married (thanks to misleading ‘Next week’ promo). I now understand Cornell was never going in this direction, but it’s a testament to Jessica Hynes’ performance that Joan comes across this strongly. Though Joan is occasionally a little too good to be true, Hynes overcomes any moments of weak characterisation and is just magnificent.

So too is David Tennant. He plays John’s realisation of who he really is with an emotional honesty that is entirely shocking – even if he’s technically a different character, it’s incredibly jarring to see him crying and full-on breaking down. Tennant’s extraordinary abilities can be summed up by a split-second moment when he holds the watch, momentarily becomes the Doctor and then just as quickly reverts back to being John. What still gets to me about this moment is how much you don't want it to happen; the Doctor’s sudden presence feels entirely unwelcome.

The episode’s final coda, revolving around the character of Timothy, redeems the Doctor somewhat. Timothy paints a deliberate contrast to Joan in that the Doctor’s intrusion into his life has proven a good thing (the fob watch made him previously aware of a moment in battle when he would otherwise have died). It’s a coincidence, sure, but it shows that wherever the Doctor is responsible for death, he is also responsible for death being averted. The difference in ‘Human Nature/The Family of Blood’ is that he sets off all these events for the sake of mercy to a villain who evidently deserves none, and not with any consideration towards humans who might be caught in the crossfire. As Joan puts it in her final scene, “John was braver than you, in the end. You chose to hide, he chose to die.” Now, I don’t mean to suggest that the Doctor should have killed himself, and I don’t believe Cornell is saying this either. But once again this revived Who has tapped into a new, disturbing facet of the Doctor’s character which proves difficult to shake off.


"My brother is 20 years old, he’s made it through war - I can make it through this house.": Big Brother

he only way Daniele is not going to win this game is if she somehow contracts a super fast-acting flesh eating virus in the next week and her body eats itself first.

We last left the houseguests in the midst of a brutal HoH competition involving seemingly interminable water transfer, a silver ball and slippery floors. It’s sort of a metaphor for life, really. I don’t know what that means. Sorry. I think watching this show is making me dumber by the second.

All four competitors (Eric, Zach, Daniele and Dick) were neck in neck at the end of Thursday’s live show, but time has favored the long-legged and Zach is now solidly in the lead. Eric is clearly terrible at this game and falls down constantly, much to my delight.
Watching people fall down is always funny – it’s why America’s Funniest Home Videos has been on the air for 100 years and counting – but watching people you hate fall down? Pure magic. Fall, assholes, fall! Give me a few moments of pleasure in this hour of pain!

Big Brother decides to
shake things up by offering a temptation: the first one to neglect the HoH competition and fill a smaller container with water wins a phone call from home. Eric, knowing he has no chance of winning HoH, immediately goes for the call and wins it. He later acts like he might give the call to Jameka because she hasn’t had any contact with home yet, but since he’s trying to have sex with Jessica he gives the call to her. The next temptation is an offer to use two extra cups to transfer water. For every extra cup a competitor takes, the house goes on cold water for one day. They all take two cups, even Eric (which, why?), meaning the house has nothing but cold water for eight days. Nothing much comes of that storyline. Great producing, show.

Dick makes a good run of it in the end, but Zach wins HoH easily. Everyone…just sort of stands there and gives him a half-hearted “Good job.” Later, when he asks them if they want to see his HoH room, he is met with dead silence. Poor Zach. They reluctantly ogle his pictures, and I am just fascinated that he got a Creighton University t-shirt as a reward. He already wears Winthrop University and Florida State University clothing. What is the deal with wearing so many different school’s paraphernalia? Did he just point at a March Madness bracket one year and randomly pick three schools to root for? If he’s really an FSU football fan he’s going to wish he spent the entire fall in Big Brother seclusion after he gets a look at this year’s offense. I say this with love as a devoted FSU alumnus: it sucks a big fat turd.

What, this isn’t a sports blog, you say? The bored houseguests flee Zach’s room one by one and Daniele, apparently the only houseguests with a functioning brain, stays behind to get in Zach’s ear about his nominations. They bond over how horrible Dick is, and then Daniele turns right around and uses Dick’s fury as a veiled threat to Zach if he comes after her or her father. She’s a sweetheart. Later, she tells him “in confidence” that unless he puts up Jessica and/or Eric this week and one of them goes home, he’s definitely going home next week. While Jessica and Eric play kissy-face in the bedroom or something instead of playing the game (well, Eric kisses and Jessica just sort of blandly goes along out of boredom, as far as I can tell), Dick and Daniele offer Zach a deal to work together if he doesn’t put them up this week, which Zach obviously accepts. It’s like Jessica and Eric didn’t even try, y’all. Sigh. As promised, Zach puts up Jessica and Jameka with the goal of getting Jessica out.

Eric is seriously devastated about Jessica’s nomination because he knows it’s entirely his fault. The hilarious part is she knows it too, and she’s openly pissy to him. Eric opens up to Jameka about what a hard time he’s having right now because he has obligations “beyond the scope of the game,” meaning his feelings for Jessica and America’s Player, I’m assuming. He even cries a little bit (OK, a lot). I can’t feel sorry for him, however, because even though he has America messing with his game he still allowed Dick and Daniele to get this far in the game and he deserves everything bad that arises because of that huge error. The only way to ensure their alliance remains intact is for Eric to win the veto and take Jessica off the block, so he will be fighting extra hard for the veto. With his history of past dominance of Big Brother competitions, I’m sure he has this one all sewn up!

Past contestant Janelle arrives to host the veto competition, and the more I see her now the more I realize I only really liked her in season 6 because everyone else was so horrible and I respected her veto dominance. She’s actually kind of icky. Eric, not knowing she’s hiding behind the veto set waiting to come out, immediately insults Janelle once he sees her picture calling her things like “fat.” Shut up, Eric. I do not know why he needs to continually cut down attractive women, but I have a feeling it has something to do with how he is a five-foot-nothing insecure dweeb who is still angry the pretty people wouldn’t talk to him in high school. Ass. He eats major crow when he sees her walk out, and I get a large amount of satisfaction seeing the uncomfortable expression on his face. The veto competition is one of those scrambled picture puzzles where you have to guess which houseguests are pictured, and I immediately know Daniele is going to win. She does and doesn’t use the veto, pretty much sealing Jessica’s fate.

I’m going to skip over Dick and Janelle’s disgusting/sad little flirtation because it makes me dry heave.

Somehow, Eric is convinced Dick and Daniele are going to stick to their alliance and vote out Jameka. For someone who is a purported student of the game, he’s really not very good at it. Jessica hopes they will return the favor and keep her since she kept them last week, but because she has at least a little bit of a brain in her head she doesn’t look convinced. Oh, Jessica. If only you could have had more confidence in yourself to go out on a limb and not listen to Eric last week. He would have forgiven you immediately because he wants to sleep with you! He would forgive anything you did at this point because of the lure of your nether regions! Please be more sexually manipulative next time!

I’m so sad.

Dick decides to trick Jameka into making a deal with them by telling her she’s going home, and then right before the live vote offering her a deal to stay. She takes the news of her eviction gracefully, and immediately tells Jessica she’s safe. They both don’t believe Dick, though, because who would at this point? I know – Eric! He double-checks with Daniele to see if Jessica is going home, and she so obviously lies to him about Jessica’s safety, and he believes every word. He is killing me.

Thursday’s live show is Big Brother Fast Forward, a magical episode where an entire week’s worth of activities are crammed into one night and two houseguests are eliminated. It’s a beautiful thing. The first task of the night is for Dick and Daniele to evict Jessica with a vote of 2-1. Eric is sad. Fuck off, Eric. Jessica’s exit interview reveals that she still wants to have a relationship with Eric outside of the house. I think that relationship will last until about 45 minutes after the hubbub dies down at the end of the wrap party and she sees herself standing next to him and says "wait...what?" In her goodbye message Eric tells her he LOVES HER, which dude. That’s personal and totally weird. Wait until the jury house for that!

In the HoH competition, Eric sucks it up yet again and loses to Dick. I used to think he was throwing these HoH competitions, but now I know he is just completely incompetent. Dick makes his on-the-fly nominations and puts up Eric and Jameka exactly like we knew he would. We go immediately to the POV competition, which involves lots of blue balls flying at the houseguests’ heads. I wish I was exaggerating. Eric knows he has to win in order to be safe but still manages to do horribly. I am so ready for this wanker to leave, honestly. Zach wins, and I immediately start screaming at Eric to get in Zach’s ear and tell him to veto his nomination and put up Daniele so they can vote her out and break up the unstoppable Donato alliance. All he has to do is tell Zach there is NO WAY he can win the game if he’s in an alliance of three with them. What does Eric do instead? Ask Zach for a “fair chance” to play and pull the “everyone on the jury hates me” card. Yep, that’s gonna work. Good God, boy, fight for yourself! Do SOMETHING! I don’t even want you to win, but I don’t want the Donatos to win more. Argh.

Here’s where I need to take a Dr. Evil Will Kirby sidebar. Remember last year on the double live eviction show when Janelle won HoH and he immediately grabbed her and talked her ear off making sure she made the nominations he wanted, knowing that she had a different agenda? And got exactly what he wanted but still made her feel good about it like she was doing what was best for her game? That was Big Brother magic. This is…stupid. I know I talk about him a lot, but it’s because he is good at this game and made it so exciting to watch. I bet if he came back again he’d still make it to the final four. Call me, Will! I have a tattoo that could use removing!

Back to the idiocy. Zach, who apparently simply came on this show to hang out with abusive morons and hand Daniele the money on a silver platter instead of fighting for it himself, keeps the nominations the same. Zach and Daniele vote out Eric, 2-0. Eric is at peace with his eviction, as am I because I’ll never have to hear that awful America’s Player theme music again.

Next week: Justin takes over recapping duties because I’m off to Austin City Limits to stalk Jack White and eat pounds of Mexican food and Texas barbecue. I’ll be back in two weeks for a recap of the finale and (hopefully) the wrap party.


"Toothpaste doesn't solve anything.": Mad Men

I usually try to start these reviews with a little pseudo-intellectual babble about the various things I think about the show and the emotions it instills in me. But this week, I'm going to open with hobos. Because I like hobos. I like the whole culture of the rail-riding vagrant and the hobo signs and the bag over the shoulder and the whole hobo kit and caboodle. Part of this is my latent fascination with having a life with as few possessions as possible (which requires you either be very poor or very rich -- too scared of the former and finding the latter hard to pull off). So when the hobo (played by Father Phil from The Sopranos) showed up as Don's true father here, it was pretty great.

Let me back up there and qualify that statement. The hobo, of course, was not Don's ACTUAL father, but he did lay down the viewpoint that Don would adopt as his own for his life to come. When things get hairy, it's time to hit the road. Obviously, Don hasn't abandoned his wife and kids entirely, but when he finds himself in a situation that throws him off (as he did in episode three when that guy called him Dick Whitman), his inclination is to run from the ordinary and go on some sort of massive, escapist blender. Don's a modern-day suburban hobo, escaping the only way he can -- through hiding away or drinking himself into a stupor.

Hobo fascination aside, the flashbacks weren't as good as some of the other stuff in the episode. I found them better than the earlier flashbacks (which felt a little too weird and pleased with themselves for their weirdness), but they still traded in some weird cryptic moments that seemed to be there just for the sake of being cryptic (like when Dick described himself as the whore's son). Still, I liked how the flashbacks continued to fill in the story of how Dick Whitman became Don Draper, and for once, I'm invested in this storyline.

The rest of the present day storyline was really quite well done, particularly the story of poor Sal, who was simply unable to deal with his closeted homosexuality. It seemed as though the storyline might make Sal too forward, but, instead, his date was, and Sal couldn't even begin to comprehend acting on his urges. One of the central themes of Mad Men seems to be that dishonesty makes the world a lonely place. Don Draper is lying about himself just as much as Sal is (just as much as Pete is). And they're all unable to move in their world to some degree, even when they project the confidence that makes it seem as if they might.

Pete and Peggy made up much of the rest of the episode. I see why some are finding Elisabeth Moss offputting, but I find her virtually unreadable performance fascinating. I love that it feels like you have to watch an episode five or six times to even make a dent in what she's doing. ("Why's she getting a DANISH now? Is she TURNED ON?!") The scene where she and Pete finally re-consummated their simmering attraction was surprisingly sensual, and I liked the way it moved up to the point of what could be shown on basic cable and then cut to a surprisingly graceful sillouhette.

I'm also liking the way that Vincent Kartheiser is playing Pete's inner turmoil over his attraction to Peggy. At first, I thought he might have just used her for an easy lay in the pilot, but he seems genuinely interested in her and her dimly realized streaks of independence. Some of this just may be his realization that marriage is not what he had hoped it would be. Some of it may be that he likes that she's a capable woman who also has a bit of a submissive streak to her (I liked her reaction to having her hair tugged at). But he's also struggling with how he doesn't like things about her. It's a hard thing to watch, but Kartheiser and Moss are playing this strange dance in a way that's endlessly fascinating.

And Peggy's ad copy killed with the lipstick guys, but it took a while. It was good to see Draper finally land a big sale by manipulating the client in the room just as he wanted to. He's been undercut so much that it's good to be shown just how good he can be in the room. He may not be the most creative guy at the agency, but he's definitely good at working people.

The season has a sense that the storylines of this show are coming together toward a greater purpose. I'm hoping the resolution we're moving toward is worthy of everything that built toward it.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I loved this show when I was a kid!

Boris was the smartest cat of them all! Ward Anderson Productions should really consider pursuing legal action against whoever writes those books about the cat that solves mysteries.


"This is like a Kyle convention. Kyle 101. A symposium on all things Kyle. KyleCon.": Kyle XY

I find that after watching most season finales, I can usually sum them up in one word. Examples from last season include: Lost = sensational, Heroes = terrible, Friday Night Lights = powerful, and Supernatural = troubling. Season finales tend to crystallize everything from the entire year in a way that either compels my immediate allegiance for the upcoming season or makes me question the status of my Tivo Season Pass for good. What does one do when the only way to sum up a season finale is, "well, that was kind of good but kind of boring and I'm not sure if I care what happens next, because the only thing I care about is the family stuff?" I'm not sure what the one word for that emotion would be, but I think "uh oh" (Fail! 2 words!!) is the best I can do.

The episode picks up right where last week left off, with Kyle and Jessi wandering through the woods together being angsty, while the Trager family is on lockdown at home and Foss is still being held captive at Madacorp for like the fourth episode in a row now. I know in Kyle-land it's actually only been a few days, but every time I look at Foss all I can think is "dude must be rank." Nicholas Lea shower scene! That's all I'm asking! Emily gives Foss a neat little speech where she tells Foss Madacorp has gone too far in their quest to get the information in Kyle's head and gives him a handcuff key to escape, then immediately goes to Ballentine and reveals to the audience it was all a scheme to set Foss free and have him lead them directly to Kyle. Foss is too smart for this amateur play, though, and only contacts Kyle to tell him "the ring is all he needs" and it will tell him what to do. ARGH. I'm over the cryptic mystery aspect of this show completely, I think. Just tell him where to go! Or where exactly to find the map to where he needs to go! Why does everything have to be so tedious and difficult? Kyle tells Foss to protect his family and Foss agrees. Aw.

Here's where I have questions. Does Foss know about Jessi? I think he saw her at the Zzyzx compound right before he blew it up at the beginning of the season, but does he know she survived, and that Kyle is with her? He's been incommunicado with Kyle so long, and it has me confused. I think he would be very suspicious of her if he knew she was alive and programmed with memories.

Kyle shows Jessi the photo of Baylin and Jessi's mystery doppelganger and when she reads the inscription "the light will show the way," Kyle realizes he needs to shine light through the ring in order to find his way. When he does this it reveals a map to a location in the woods, which is cool but annoyingly cumbersome. What if you need to find your way in the dark? On the way to the location, they pass the diner in the photo and stop to check it out. An older man recognizes them, but he is apparently senile and is remembering them as if no time has passed. He tells them about the song they always played on the jukebox, but when they check the record is missing. They leave the diner and follow the map to a cabin in the woods. In the cabin they find a mysterious locked room that can only be opened by entering a code on a keyboard-like security gate. Kyle, figuring it is the song from the jukebox, calls Amanda and has her help him by playing the tune. He replicates it and the door opens, and they see Adam Baylin all hooked up to a bunch of machines. He's alive, and it's sort of soapy and awesome!

Kyle assumes they can communicate with Baylin using their superpowered minds, but Jessi is reluctant because she doesn't want to be evil and feel compelled to take the information from Kyle's brain that Madacorp wants. Kyle convinces her to help him and they start to get somewhere but are broken up by Baylin saying "Kyle, stop. She's betrayed you." Oh, that Baylin. He delivers messages at the most convenient times. Jessi runs away, devastated she couldn't help herself from betraying Kyle. Kyle chases her and they get in a decent fight scene, but Jessi will not be stopped and throws herself over a cliff next to a giant dam. Does anyone thinks she's actually dead? Doubtful.

At the Trager camp, Stephen and Nicole put their heads together and realize something is really, really wrong with the Kyle situation. If I may quote Stephen: "Well, we can't just sit here. Our former security guard is locked up at Madacorp by Kyle's parents' lawyer!" Indeed, Stephen. Josh and Lori pester them until Stephen and Nicole decide to have no more secrets in the family and proceed to tell them everything they know about Kyle. They use Josh's "Kyle file" to pinpoint every strange occurrence since Kyle came to live with them. It's quite fun and continuity-filled, rewarding long-time viewers. They become increasingly suspicious of Kyle, which distresses Josh immensely and causes him to give an impassioned speech about how Kyle is his brother and their son, and they know he is a good person and can't turn their back on him. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Josh has had the most interesting character arc this season. His relationship with Andy has allowed him to mature and the actor has taken the material and run with it, putting in some pretty solid performances. He chokes me up a bit here, that's for sure.

The Tragers find out that Declan knows more than he is letting on, and pump him for information. He declines to give details, but lets them know Kyle is not the bad guy. When he refuses to tell them what's going on, Stephen says he is going to call the police but when he goes to use the phone he sees Foss in his kitchen! Creepy. Stephen freaks but Declan assures them Foss is there to help. Foss is similarly reticent to reveal all of Kyle's secrets, but tells the Tragers he has looked after Kyle since he was a baby and will continue to do so. Stephen tells Foss to go "take care of their son" and says he can protect his family at home. Aw, he called Kyle his son! Stuff like that is why I still love this show. Next season: Kyle is ready to tell the Tragers "everything." Yeah, right.

As a whole, I believe this was a solid second season. It had a completely different feel from the first season, which was all about Kyle learning how to be a teenager and fit into society, and because of this had a much lighter tone. They did a great job this year maturing Kyle's character yet still maintaining what makes him quintessentially Kyle, and most of the relationship drama (aside from the Amanda relationship, which is quite boring) was very well done. The part of the show that is making me weary is the mytharc. The fight against evil Madacorp is not nearly as compelling a storyline as Kyle's search for his true identity in the first season, and the show has suffered because of it. I can't seem to bring myself to care about Jessi's fight to keep from being evil and Madacorp's quest to rape Kyle's brain. He doesn't even know what knowledge he has that they want, so the fact that they are willing to kill him for it doesn't compel me as a viewer. As long as Kyle XY continues to feature such heartwarming familial relationships, however, I think I will be in for the long haul.

Random thoughts:
- Sour Patch Kid sightings: 0

- Pet peeve: I hate it when characters
on TV shows and movies order fountain sodas and there is no ice in the soda. It's not Europe. Americans put ice in their drinks. When you don't put ice in there, the straw just looks all funny and distracts me.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"He’s a Bobbleganger.": My Boys

What do you do when you lose your passion for a show, yet you must write about it every week? This is the challenge My Boys is starting to present. Ostensibly, nothing about the show has changed: it still features a fine cast with great chemistry, relatable situations, and a few genuine laughs per episode. Why, then, do the last several episodes feel so uninspired?

Monday night's episode, "The Estates of Hoffman," centered around the gang's first trip to Andy's house in the suburbs, a premise rife with possibilities. It started out promisingly enough, with a decently funny carpool where Stephanie, Mike, P.J. and Brendan crammed into Kenny's little compact car. After debating the rules of calling shotgun (Stephanie called it via text message first thing in the morning), Stephanie starts the ride by asking, "Shotgun picks the music, right?" No, dear. Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole. Her "music" of choice is an Italian language instruction tape, tying in nicely to the "who will Stephanie and P.J. take to Italy" theme they've been shoving down our throats the past few weeks. The gang objects, but after enduring Stephanie's endless ramblings about her new boyfriend Lance, they lament and listen to the tapes. When they arrive, Kenny is the only one who can speak Italian with any sort of proficiency. Hmm. Foreshadowing? Will Kenny accompany one of the ladies to Italy? I've always suspected there was some love behind Kenny and Stephanie's animosity.

Once they arrive at Andy's house, the boys immediately meet a total MILF and the chase is on. Strangely, they are very competitive and cutthroat in their attention-grabbing tactics, undermining the other guys any opportunity they get. We've never seen this side of them before, and I don't know if I buy it. I might buy it more if it was funny, but unfortunately it is not. In fact, when Brendan tells the MILF Mike is an alcoholic, it just seems kind of mean. (One amusing side note to this storyline, though, is the sighing of Bobby's doppelganger, dubbed "Bobbleganger." Hee. They could have run with that joke a bit more, but the two mentions we got were hilarious.) Once the actual Bobby arrives, the hunted MILF immediately makes a play for him and leaves the other three men in the dust. Apparently Bobby got the "vouch" from Andy's wife Meredith. That's what you get for being competitive, boys.
P.J. also has a little bit of luck at the party, meeting a cute botanist named Evan. The next day he calls her and asks her on a date, and she accepts.

The main theme of the episode is the fear of turning into your parents, a fear I can totally relate to as I fear I'm turning into my mother at least once a day. It's inevitable, I suppose. When P.J. points out that Andy bought a house exactly like the one they grew up in, Andy realizes he may be turning into his father. This fear is confirmed when Andy's mother forces Meredith to announce her pregnancy to the whole party before she's even told Andy. He reacts like his father, sitting on a deck chair with a drink and staring blankly into space like their father has been doing for years, but tells P.J. at least he is turning into their father and not their mother.

The main problem with the show right now is it feels very generic. Things are generally sort of amusing, but the show feels like it is moving in slow motion. The jokes are slower and the one-liners are few and far between. I think I'm waiting for them to knock one out of the park and hit the home run I know they are capable of delivering
(note the tie-in sports analogy there).

Next week is the season finale and the whole episode appears to be centered around the big trip to Italy. P.J. and Stephanie have three days to decide who to bring as dates! It's supposed to be the most shocking last two minutes EVER! Although I feel very apathetic about the show as a whole right now that definitely peaked my interest, and I sort of can't wait to find out what happens! I'm so easy.


Monday, September 03, 2007

"She has the best cans in Cannes": Entourage

Boy oh boy, am I glad Entourage is over! Gotta say, even though that was an extremely dull episode, the ending was terrific. Still, terrible episode. Also, considering they shot this at Cannes this year, I got the slightly sneaking suspicion that maybe the reason this whole season has been an incredibly slow crawl towards the most minor plot developments was cause they had to gear it towards their authentic filming on location?

If so, WORST USE OF LOCATION FILMING EVER! Cannes was presented as a string of coke-fuelled parties with topless women and Arab oil magnates. How wonderfully original. The problem was, Entourage has only two kinds of episodes. There's the episode where the gang gets up to meaningless hi-jinks, and there's the episode where Vince, Ari and E try to cut a movie deal while Drama and Turtle...get up to meaningless hi-jinks. This was sort of a combination of the two--basically, Ari tried to jack up the price of Medellin before it was screened, but instead of endless cellphone conversations, the gang yakked with the irritating guy who wanted Vince to sleep with his wife from last season and that recurring Universal girl who Ari keeps saying he slept with. On a motorboat, and by the beach. Egh. The whole thing was really boring--although they did manage to keep us guessing as to whether Medellin would be a hit or not until the very end. Still, because they were doing so well the whole ep (getting big offers out of both Arab dude and slept-with-Ari chick), you could just tell it'd go all screwy by the end.

I'll spend a moment talking about Drama's story. It's barely worth mentioning, really, cause it was really just the typical Drama story (he is egotistical, he almost sleeps with a beautiful woman but instead is humiliated). He was even more of a jackass than usual, but in the end, he and his French paramour declared their love for each other and fornicated on the beach in front of everyone. I really have nothing to say about this. So now Drama is successful AND he has a girlfriend? And yet he remains the idiot he's always been? I guess they're having fun putting Drama's star on the rise and Vinnie's in decline, but it doesn't work if you don't change either of their characters AT ALL, what's the point? Vinnie's still easygoing, and Drama's still a freak. Egh, again.

So, the ending! Well, they'd been hinting at it, but Medellin was a bomb! Ari falling asleep and then going "I loved it" at the ending was hilarious. Billy Walsh screaming epithets to the departing crowd was pretty funny too. The idea of Vinnie being in real trouble is an interesting one, no doubt. However, the writers gave themselves an irritating number of outs. For one, it was STILL hinted that with editing, the movie could be good. Even though it obviously sucks. So that means we're going to have another whole season of Medellin stuff? Plus the scary imitation Harvey Weinstein guy? Jeez. Also, we get Vinnie making ANOTHER weird movie with Billy Walsh. So, two Billy Walsh movies will dominate the whole of next season? And we know how slow plot moves on Entourage! We might be stuck with Medellin and "Silo" for the next ten bloody years! Agh!

Still, I guess the ending vaguely made up for a very, very lackluster season. Incredibly lackluster. Basically bad. Thank God it's all over and the real TV season begins again soon! Feel free to bash below, peeps. I'm out.