About Last Night…

April 13, 2010

I feel like something bad is about to happen...

Alright, I’m just gonna jump right in on this one. Last night’s 24 had an ending that I 100% didn’t see coming. But, before we talk about the ending, let’s talk about what took us there. We opened the hour with everyone involved recovering from last week’s shocking Hassan murder.

President Taylor was preparing to abandon her peace treaty, as she was staunchly told by the Russian douchebag emissary that they would be withdrawing from the talks. Jack was all wounded and apologetic to Taylor, as he felt he’d let her down. (You think this was bad, Jack? You ain’t seen nothing yet.) And in a stunning twist, the ineffective and downright idiotic Brian Hastings (I mean, seriously, how did this guy get this job?) was removed from command over CTU, in light of all the failures.

But, wait! Things could be repaired! Taylor and the IRK Prime Minister were able to talk Dalia Hassan into assuming her freshly dead husband’s role. Chole was given provisional command at CTU (finally!). And Jack could finally go get it on with Renee, but, this being 24, it all fell to shit again.

The Russians still won’t talk, leaving Taylor no choice but to look to Charles Logan for help. (What is this leverage he has over the Russians? Doesn’t sound good.) Samir, barely clinging to life from Jack’s gunshots, is poisoned by a Russian goon posing as a paramedic, before Cole and Chloe can get any information from him. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the Ruskie recognized Renee from her undercover days and decides she and Jack need to be eliminated before she can link him to anything.

So, he follows the lovebirds back to Jack’s, watches them, you know, do it (ick), and pumps Renee full of lead. Jack tries to get her to the hospital in time, but to no avail; she’s a goner.

These last six hours should be exciting stuff. With Jack in revenge-mode and Logan muddling the peace talks with his wicked ways, 24 looks posed to go out with a bang.

Will Tom's death be in vain?

Another show looking ready for a dynamic conclusion, last night’s Damages. The penultimate episode was chock full of twists and turns; so much so, I can hardly think of a proper way to summarize them. So, I won’t.

But, by the end of the hour, we’d learned: Tom leaked his financial information to the judge, specifically to have him removed from the case, so he could publicly resign from the firm, so that he could earn the trust of Leonard Winstone once he’d successfully flipped him against the Tobin’s. Terry met with Patty, casually letting her know of Frobisher’s near-admission of guilt of murder, which led Patty and Ellen to Gates, who now plan to look into the cop Frobisher hired, who was killed, but was once partnered with Wes (Timothy Olyphant), which leads Ellen to call Wes (!), which leads to next week’s preview of the finale showing Wes visiting Ellen (!!). Ellen delivered Joe Tobin the evidence they’d found that Leonard wasn’t who he said he was, prompting Joe to go ballistic on Leonard, effectively turning Leonard against the Tobin’s, leading him right into Tom’s trap.

Phew.

I don’t know where this show is going. And it’s only got 90 more minutes to get there. But what a hell of a ride it’s been getting there. I only hope it’s not the last ride we’ve got with Hewes & Associates.

Where is the love?

After so much heady drama, I desperately needed to end my night with some laughs. Luckily, one of my favorite comedies, How I Met Your Mother, had returned from hiatus. Boy, do I love this little show. A sitcom that relies less on the snark and more on the heart and romance, HIMYM is always a winning half-hour when it’s focusing on the show’s core mythology, i.e. Ted’s pursuit of The Mother.

Maybe that’s why last night felt like such a letdown. One of those in-between episodes that steps away from the central storyline, probably to give the writers a chance to figure out where to go next, last night was kinda boring. The A-story centered on Marshall having been mugged, which led Lily to want to get a gun, which led Marshall to lie and say he was actually mugged by a monkey. Or was he? When Robin wanted to interview him on that bunk news program she anchors (the B-story being that she felt like she needed to find a good story to salvage her wasted career), Marshall balked, saying he’d made it all up because he didn’t want Lily to get a gun and didn’t want to lie about it on TV, but didn’t want Lily to know he’d actually been mugged because she was finally feeling safe and not as worried.

Things only got worse when Marshall showed up for the taping and learned that the monkey he’d (maybe) falsely accused would be sent to a wildlife sanctuary and separated from the love of his life. Marshall couldn’t stand for this, being the big, lumpy romantic he is, and just left, never telling anyone the truth (including us, the audience). It all led up to a fantastic sequence with the monkey getting loose in the studio, stealing a whackjob’s doll (don’t ask), and scaling Ted’s model of the Empire State Building. To complete the King Kong visual, the cameraman threw paper airplanes at it. Pretty inspired bit from a pretty lame set-up. I’m hoping next week gets back to the romance, which is really this show’s bread and butter.

What do you think? Did you see Renee’s murder coming? Are you as breathless watching Damages as I am? And was How I Met Your Mother kinda lame last night, or am I totally off-base? Sound off below!

Treme: A Gut Reaction

April 11, 2010

New Orleans was always a city I’d wanted to visit. Beyond the simple appeal of Mardi Gras, I’d always been fascinated with the vibrant culture associated with the gulf city. The food, the music, the history; it all seemed so spectacular and so wildly different from my Southern California suburban upbringing. But, then a few years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit and I selfishly lamented the fact that I’d never get to experience the city the way so many had before the levees broke.

But, tonight, watching Treme on HBO, I couldn’t help but think that maybe I want to see the city even more now. The show, created by David Simon (The Wire), is shot on location and takes place three months after the flooding. The city and the its inhabitants are beginning to rebuild and that indomitable New Orleans spirit is strong as it ever was. People are searching for family members, trying to salvage business’s and homes; and yet, a sense of celebration permeates throughout, as if the city is singing “We’re still here! It’s gonna take more than this!”

Which isn’t to say that the show diminishes the devastation. No, there is still a very palpable sense of loss and frustration, a layer that is hidden directly beneath the celebratory skin. But, these are a resilient people.

The show itself is terrific. While it would have been foolish to expect anything less, considering its pedigree, Treme does not disappoint. The writing is superb, incredibly naturalistic and authentic. With a subject matter that could have easily led to political showboating and righteous indignation, Simon and his team eschew this for a more pared down focus.

The cast is brilliant, with three TV favorites back on our screen. Khandi Alexander is poised to be a revelation, finally unshackled from the prison that was CSI: Miami; this is a woman who can act and deserves this sort of material. John Goodman, a personal favorite of mine long since the days of Roseanne, plays the only character who speaks on a political level, but he handles it with his typical humor, so as to make it palatable to even those who don’t agree with him (though, for the record, I echo all of his character’s sentiments). And, finally, Kim Dickens, late of Deadwood, is back in the HBO wheelhouse, where she firmly belongs.

A show about a culture and a community that can’t be stopped, with some really outstanding musical performances, Treme looks to be a true joy. I can’t wait to make my weekly visits to the neighborhood. How about you?

About Last Night…

April 8, 2010

Last night, the TV gods offered up a vision of a show that I’m not so sure I want and brought me to the end of one I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of. Let’s talk, shall we?

Let's forget this even happened and just go get some dim sum.

On CBS, Criminal Minds presented us with the backdoor pilot for the proposed fall spin-off. For those unfamiliar with backdoor pilots, it’s a device producers use to present a spin-off show through an episode of the show it’s being spun from. Backdoor pilots have a varied track record. On the successful end of the spectrum, there was the introduction of Horatio Cane and his Miami wackiness in an episode of the flagship CSI and the trip Addison Montgomery took to visit L.A. in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. On the unsuccessful end, that episode of Gossip Girl last spring that attempted to peddle an 80’s-Los Angeles set story of Lily’s life, starring Brittany Snow. Don’t remember it? That’s because the CW nixed it after the episode aired.

Anyway, last night we were introduced to Sam Cooper, an FBI agent with ties to both Hotchner and Rossi. As the heavy-handed dialogue told us over and over again, Cooper doesn’t do bureaucracy, doesn’t follow the rules, and always follows his gut. He’s played by Forest Whitaker. I’m not sure if I would have ever liked the character, regardless of the actor playing him, but I really don’t buy Whitaker in his shoes. I don’t know, maybe it’s just my totally shallow inability to look at Whitaker for too long without being creeped out by his face. I know, it’s awful, but that lazy, droopy eye really freaks me out. I’m not sure I’m ready for him to headline a show.

So, CBS, take my advice: Your primetime landscape is already a bounty of riches. I understand the need to hedge costs and end some long-running programs in favor of cheaper, newer series. But, your network is already clogged with franchises. Between the three CSI’s and two NCIS’s, we do not need another franchise. Take a chance on some originality and let this pilot quietly go out the backdoor it came in from.

Best Moment: Blech. None.

Gayest show ever? You say that like it's a bad thing...

What a sweet little hour Ugly Betty was last night. In fact, this entire fourth season has been completely charming. After a bungled third season that saw a massive ratings decline, ABC effectively cut the show off at the knees by moving it from its cushy Thursdays-at-8 timeslot to the coffin known as Fridays-at-9. The show creatively rebounded, finding the heart and charm viewers remembered fondly from the first season, but ratings continued to landslide. A faint glimmer of hope was offered when the network moved the show to Wednesdays to close out it’s burgeoning comedy lineup, but the damage was already done; viewers just did not follow and ABC cut the episode order short and cancelled the show. One has to wonder if ABC isn’t kicking themselves as Betty’s replacement on Thursdays, the much-hyped FlashForward, has halted both creatively and ratings-wise.

But, back to last night, what an episode it was. We saw the return of Christopher Gorham’s adorable Henry Grubstick. We saw Hilda and Bobby finally marry. We saw Mr. Dunn come to New York to offer Betty her dream job, only in London. We saw Marc realize he actually can be a good person. We saw (I think) Daniel realize that (maybe) he’s in love (perhaps) with Betty. But, most importantly, we saw Justin finally come out.

I’m so glad we were given the opportunity to see this story line actualized before the series ended, and with such authenticity and grace. The scene between Betty and Justin at the wedding had me in tears and was, I think, some of young Mark Indelicato’s best work on the series. By the time he was offering Austin his hand to dance, I was sobbing. It was just fantastic. And how about Hilda and Ignacio’s hairbrained Surprise Coming Out Party?! Hysterical.

I expect more tears next week, as Betty finally decides to put herself first and takes up Mr. Dunn on her offer. I’ve enjoyed the walk down memory lane the show’s provided us with visits from Gio, Christina, and Henry. My only regret is that we weren’t granted one last visit from Rebecca Romijn’s Alexis, but there’s always the possibility of the next week’s finale, I suppose.

Best Moment: With more than a handful of heartfelt scenes last night, probably the lightest, most comedic moment came when Wilhelmina and Claire had a total Dynasty-Alexis-and-Krystle-in-the-pool rumble at the photo shoot. Hilarious.

About Last Night…

April 7, 2010

Last night’s TV was a night all about conclusions. Whether it was the true beginning of the end on Lost or an end that was meant to only be a middle on Southland. Uh, let me explain…

Yea, I'm gay, but I can mess you up.

The truncated second season of Southland ended last night on TNT. This handful of episodes that were aired were only the first six of an abbreviated 13-episode order from NBC, before NBC cancelled the show early last fall. This sixth episode was in no way meant to act as any sort of finale, season or otherwise, and it was evident. There was nothing spectacular about the episode; the two cases were rather rote and the attention paid to Sal and his insufferable daughter Kimmy (possibly the worst characters on this show) felt lame. We were provided with a little closure regarding Regina King’s Lydia and Tom Everett Scott’s Russell, luckily. It was rather unsatisfying on the whole, though.

I’m hoping TNT gives this little show another chance and orders at least six more episodes to really wrap things up. Too much of this season’s focus was placed on Shawn Hatosy and Kevin Alejandro’s characters, and the true heart of this show, the triumvirate of Michael Cudlitz, Ben McKenzie, and King, fell by the wayside. If the season had been longer, it probably wouldn’t have been as noticeable. But, as it stands, what we got felt rather stilted. On a happier note, though, how awesome is Michael Cudlitz’s Officer Cooper? Probably the best gay character on television, who’s just shown as a real guy and not a caricature. If this is the end of Southland (and I fear it is), he’ll be missed.

Did you miss me?

But, on to the the main event of Tuesday night, Lost. Wow, what an episode. With only six episodes left including the two-hour season finale, I feel like last night was the night that truly set everything into motion. For weeks now, we’ve been wondering how these Sideways stories came into play. Are they examples of what could have been? Is it an alternate universe? Is there some connection to the Island story? Hell, is there any connection to the Island story?

Well, as it seems from last night’s Desmond-centric hour, they are very connected. Without pretending I really understand (because I don’t), it appears that the two storylines are running parallel to each other, with the possibility of crossing back and forth. With Sideways Desmond now on a mission to find all the Sideways Castaways and help awaken them, as it were, it begs the question: Is the endgame of Lost going to be all about each character choosing which reality to live in, with Desmond as their shepherd? And, if so, how the hell do Jacob and Smokey figure into all that?

I get the feeling, though, that however Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have chosen to end Lost, some people aren’t going to be happy. A lot of comments I’ve read out in the Interweb seem to indicate a demand for more answers. While that’s always been the case with Lost, I think loyal viewers will be doing themselves a great disservice if they cry foul over unanswered questions. For me, Lost has always just been about the ride. Speculating on what it all means is a blast, but if I don’t get answers to everything, I won’t let it color my unending love for this show. I trust the creators to steer us in the direction they see fit. So, my advice to fans: let go and enjoy. Accept the answers you’re given and cherish the opportunity to spend years re-watching DVDs, arguing with friend over answers to questions you didn’t receive.

Best Moment: Not really a moment, but just getting to spend some time with all of my favorite peripheral characters last night was such a treat: Charlie, Daniel Faraday, Eloise Hawking, and Penny. The love story between Desmond and Penny has always been a favorite of mine and the opportunity to see Faraday again literally made me squeal. I don’t think I’ve ever loved Jeremy Davies more than I have in this role. And any chance to see Eloise, with that glint in her eye that says she probably knows more about what’s going on than anyone else on Earth, is a real fun. The re-appearance of all these fan favorites is a real gift from the writers to the dedicated fans.

About Last Night…

April 6, 2010

Welcome to 3FING3RS newest TV feature: a daily look back at the previous night’s offerings, or proof that one TV addict really needs to get a life.

Boy, was this week’s Damages a doozy. I must say, I always feel that this show is at

Do you really want to try and fuck with me?

its best when it’s making me totally uncomfortable; and last night was a shining example. With Tessa Marquette’s detention by Ellen’s D.A. boss, everyone was scrambling; like paranoid bees after the nest’s been knocked over. Patty, feeling powerless with the idea that she’s lost her only opportunity to put weight on the Tobin’s, turned first on Ellen and then on Tom, after he confessed that Ellen had covered for him with Patty and it was he who had recklessly approached Tessa in the first place. Meanwhile, the Tobin’s were panicking that Tessa would spill what she knew and Joe was determined to prevent it, at all costs. A shocking reveal came via Leonard this evening. [SPOILER ALERT] As he was pleading with Marilyn to appeal to Joe and ask him to leave Tessa alone, we learned that Tessa was in fact Joe’s daughter, and not his father’s. (I’ve gotta gloat here: I totally called this the minute we learned that Danielle and Joe had a history.) Marilyn later informed Leonard that she’d spoken to Joe and convinced him to call off the goons, but as that final, jarring scene in Antigua proved, she did no such thing. These Tobin’s really are wretched people. I can’t wait for Joe to learn the truth, though.

Still confused on how these two subplots are going to play into the grand scheme of things, but enjoying them, nonetheless: The Frobisher story and Ellen’s botched adoption. It’s always lovely to see Ted Danson anywhere on television, as he’s really enjoying quite a well-deserved career renaissance. And this week, we learned that the dark underbelly of Arthur Frobisher hasn’t gone away. His shadowy almost-confession of murder in the car with Craig Bierko’s Terry was unsettling, to say the least. Like I said, not sure where this is leading or how it pieces in, but I like it.

Now, about the Ellen subplot. We got a little clarification this week, as we learned that Ellen wasn’t adopted by her parents, but almost given away by them, instead. Turns out her mother couldn’t handle kids and an asshole husband and almost gave Ellen away to someone who actually wanted to care for her, but changed her mind at the last second. I don’t even know how to speculate what this means to the season as a whole, but I loved that it provided us with that really nice scene with Rose Byrne and Noah Bean in the snow. Too bad the Damages writers weren’t involved with Grey’s Anatomy when Izzie was dealing with Ghost Denny because this scene with Ellen and Ghost/Memory David is how to do it right.

Only two episodes left (maybe ever!) and there is so much left to learn. Not sure if you’re apprised of the goings-on at FX, but there is talk that a fourth season won’t happen if they have to foot the bill alone. There are reports that the network has reached out to DirecTV to propose something similar to their arrangement with NBC for Friday Night Lights. Here’s hoping something can be worked out, as this show is one of the richest, most engrossing adult dramas in the television landscape currently. It would be a shame to lose it.

Best Moment:  “I see you. You’re a climber, a parasite, and you’re ruthless. I want you out of my apartment. I want you out of my life.” – Patty, to a visibly stunned Ellen.

That boozy confrontation between Ellen and a noticeably drunk Patty, with the latter’s paranoia on full display; wow. This is what viewer’s of this show have come to love: the small, but meaty scenes between Glenn Close and Byrne. Their bizarre relationship (mentor/student/mother/daughter/sister/friend??) is tempestuous and rife with tension and has always kept us clamoring for more.

I'm Jack Bauer, motherfucker!

Meanwhile, a show that we’ve just learned is, for sure, leaving us this season finally stepped up its game tonight. I must admit that I’ve never watched much of 24 before this year, save for a handful of episodes of season two that Jordin made me watch, like, five years ago. So, with that, I feel unqualified to comment on the show’s quality level when compared to prior seasons. The Internet is rife with commentary that the show has been particularly snoozy and/or ridiculous this year, but, I’ve gotta say, as a newbie, I’m loving the ride. Sure, the early scenes dealing with the Dana Walsh subplot were terrible, but I feel like turning her into the mole really turned it around. I know that this is, like, CTU’s eightieth mole, but it was still fun. And it’s continuing to be enjoyable, as I feel like Katee Sackhoff is finally being given some material and direction to work with.

Tonight’s two hours sped along, mostly focusing on President Hassan turning himself over to the terrorists and Jack and all of CTU attempting to rescue him. The stuff with President Taylor learing that General Brucker and Rob Weiss had betrayed her was fascinating. (Fun Fact: I once met Chris Diamantopoulus, who plays Weiss, when I was working front desk at the Sheraton Universal. He was really gracious when I complimented him on an episode of Nip/Tuck he’d appeared in. Plus, he’s a total babe.)

[SPOILER ALERT] The climax of the second hour was particularly heartbreaking. To find Hassan dead, and for the satellite feed to have been a recording, was intense and a twist I didn’t really expect. I’m not really sure where we go from here, though I guess the rest of the season will be dedicated to President Taylor grasping to maintain her peace treaty, as we’ve already learned that the Russians won’t play ball now that Hassan is gone. It should be fun to see Gregory Itzin’s Charles Logan, though I can’t imagine that anything would be bad enough for President Taylor to actually turn to him for help.

Best Moment: The final words between President Taylor and Ray Weiss. Just an awesome moment that finally let Cherry Jones bring a little bad-ass to her mostly subdued role. The slap across Weiss’ face led to a cheer in many homes tonight, no doubt; or, at least it did on my couch.

You know, I didn't believe it before, but now that we have video evidence, I can't deny it. Everyone is right, we are totally awful.

This week’s Gossip Girl played out like some game of The Good, The Bad, and The Boring. Let’s tackle The Good, first. The Chuck/Blair storyline was pure vintage G.G., if Indecent Proposal-lite. Jack approached Chuck and told him that he would give him his hotel back, if he allowed him one night with Blair. It seemed like Chuck rebuked the offer, so Jack tried another avenue, appealing to Blair herself. Blair dismissed the truly disgusting proposal at first, but as she continued to see how distraught Chuck was over the loss of his empire, err, The Empire (subtle, Schwartz), she relented. So, she went to Jack, having drafted a contract (!) that stipulated that he could never tell Chuck. After signing and only kissing Blair, Jack announced that he got what he wanted and it wouldn’t go any further. Blair was understandably baffled, so Jack further explained: Chuck knew about it all, and had actually agreed to “hand” Blair over. Blair was repulsed and hearbroken. That final scene between Chuck and Blair was devastating, though, I’ve gotta admit, I’m a little excited to see them apart. I’ve got a feeling Chuck is going to realize he made the colossally wrong choice and try to win Blair back. If so, that cat and mouse game should be a delight.

As for the bad, this whole Serena-Nate-Jenny thing is almost as ridiculous as that “game” they played at Nate’s party. (Seriously, did you believe for a second that any of these UES-ers would willingly participate, sober?) I don’t believe for a second that anyone in their right mind would even consider heinous J over Serena. This story seems like a fast train to nowhere and I want off.

And, the boring. Danessa. Vaniel. Whatever. This is the worst coupling in the history of the universe. And now we get to watch these two pretentious blowhards compete for the same spot at Tisch? Joy. Honestly, if Dan Humphrey were real, I would punch him in the face. Hate.

Best Moment: Eric is back! Though in desperate need of a haircut, our favorite little G.G.G. (that’s Gossip Girl Gay, duh) returned from his heretofore unmentioned trip to Japan (seriously, does anyone else remember ever hearing about this?) and it looks like he’s gonna get a new BF! Bonus points for the new boy being 150% cuter than that mess that was Jonathan. Excited for this. Also, what the hell was Eric up to in Japan? That first scene where he was talking about his Japanese rebound being into group sex and pictures! I want to hear more about this, and fast.

Alright puppies, it’s late, I’m sleepy, and I’ve got an early meeting in the morning. So, like Liz Lemon bellows in Pete’s Ken-mare: Let’s do this.

The Top Lines:

I met him on KDate, the personals section of the Kraft Foods website. – Liz, describing her date to Jenna

It’s just an honor to be nominated in the same category as Sir Dave Coulier. – Danny, on his Juno nomination

No, no goatee, just chola eyebrows. – Floyd, who hasn’t changed much

I get all my news from Dick Cheney’s website, DickViews.com. – Jack

I never said that Liz banged her way to the middle… – Danny, reacting to the story Frank, Lutz, and Twofer planted in the NYT

He didn’t speak a word of English, like all Dartmouth men. – Jack, about the real-life Indian mascot he sent to Mexico City

If my grandpa hadn’t gotten on that train that day, he never would have met his wife…’s murderer. – Kenneth

They’re Boston Irish Catholic, they mate for life, like swans. Like drunk, angry swans. – Jack

So much of my life I’ve wasted putting things on hats! – Frank, during Jack and Danny’s prank

I was in a re-enactment on America’s Most Wanted once, playing a lady strangled on the toilet. – Liz, attempting to compete with Floyd’s fiancee

Wait a minute! All my teeth are loose, so we’re good, it’s real. – Tracy’s litmus test for reality versus dreamscape

You want to squeeze in one last ride at Six Floyd’s Amusement Park? – Floyd, drunk off salmon

How are you still single Liz? There’s so many guys out there that want to be poisoned and yelled at. – Floyd, who got sober for a reason

Unbelievable. It’s way too early for this, guys. I haven’t even had my first cup of wine today. – Pete, always tasked with babysitting Tracy and Jenna

So go, get married, love each other, and if you go on a cruise for your honeymoon, may it be free of pirates. Outie5000. – Liz, with what is,perhaps, the best line to give away your true love, ever

Anything else you LOL’d at that I neglected to print? Sound off, below!

After a week off, Modern Family was back with a new episode tonight. And what a good time it was. What I’ve come to love about this charming little show is the nimble way it balances slapstick, wit, and heart. On a lot of other shows, any attempt to fuse these elements together often comes across muddled or stilted. One aspect always rings untrue. Thankfully, this isn’t so with Modern Family. I don’t know if it’s owed to the writing, the direction, or the performances (or, even more likely, all three), but this show never feels false or forced.

At the Dunphy’s, Phil and Claire were butting heads over which parenting technique ruled supreme: Claire’s tendency to hover or Phil’s insistence to just let the kids be. Phil was tasked with monitoring Luke’s work on a Van Gogh project and Claire was helping Haley make some cupcakes, while Alex insisted that Luke had ADHD. Some of my favorite bits came from this story line tonight, between Alex reading the indicators of ADHD between cross-cut clips of Phil in the garage exhibiting them all, Claire and Phil fumbling over that one faulty stair, and the family reacting to Haley’s finished cupcakes.

Meanwhile, Mitchell was impatiently awaiting the arrival of his father so the two could embark on their yearly meteor shower watch. When Jay arrived with Manny, Mitch was a little put-out, which was only made worse by Manny’s constant ribbing of his step-brother. Mitch gets skunked and winds up having to wear Gloria’s dress, a gag I saw coming, but enjoyed nonetheless. Back at home, without Mitch, Cameron decided to take Gloria out to dinner. Cam was determined to repair their relationship after a series of faux pas (the scene of which was the single funniest thing all night), so he readily agrees to Gloria’s suggestion of dinner in her old neighborhood and insists on eating the same Carnitas Diablas as her. As they were walking to the car after the disastrous meal, Gloria is telling Cam that the neighborhood is poor, but the people are nice. They arrive at the car and she is instantly proven wrong, as the car is on blocks.

Funny, funny stuff all round, but let’s get to the good part, the best lines of the night:

You never hear of anybody being sfathered to death. – Phil, to Claire, while explaining that smothering is in a mother’s nature.

It’s where the planet Geek passes through the Nerdy Way. – Cam, about Mitchell and Jay’s meteor shower

Every year, Mitchell and his father go out and enjoy one of these showers together. – Cam, not quite explaining it properly.

I mean, look at us: one spicy, curvy diva– Cam                                                                          …and Gloria. – Mitchell

Honestly, I wish that tart would go back to Columbia and take her little Brown friend with her. – Cam, about Mitchell’s snobby friends, unknowingly in front of Gloria and Manny

Hey Dad, it kinda looks like Uncle Mitchell. If Uncle Mitchell were insane. – Luke, holding up a picture of Van Gogh.

Oh, were you there Mitchell? Cuz I think I would have recognized the only other white or gay person. – Cam, when Mitchell accuses him of over-exaggerating the mess of the restaurant Gloria took him to.

I’m just saying, if you were that type of a gay, you’d probably do alright for yourself. – Jay, failing miserably at making Mitchell feel better in Gloria’s dress.

Why did he paint A Starry Night? Maybe because the sky is beautiful and everybody likes looking at it. And it reminds us that something’s up there watching over all of us. Aliens who could be here in a second to liquify us and use us as fuel, so, wake up people, we’re next. – Luke, practicing his Van Gogh presentation with a horrified Alex.

My mouth is asleep, like at the dentist. – Luke, after eating one of Haley’s cupcakes.

Well, there you have it. Any lines you loved that I missed? Sound off below!

So, in the past couple weeks since I began this column, I’ve ragged pretty heavily on our beloved Gossip Girl. It’s not like I wanted to write a weekly scathing critique, but it just sort of worked out that way. This week, however, I told myself I was going to try to find the good in the episode. Thankfully, the hour was a surprisingly fun one, making my plan a lot easier than I’d expected. Here are some takeaways:

1. This Chuck Bass storyline just got a whole lot more exciting.

When the episode began, we learned that Chuck’s female employees at The Empire were planning to file suit for sexual harassment. Right off the bat, Chuck plans to settle, under advisement from his lawyer. Blair was dismayed, offering up perhaps the best quip of the night: “Settlements are for the guilty: celebrities who run people over, the Catholic Church. It’s not fair.” She asserts that Chuck is really settling so as to avoid Elizabeth finding out and Chuck doesn’t do much to deny this.

It doesn’t much matter, as the next time we see Chuck and Elizabeth together, they’re bombarded by press, looking for comments on the scandal, which has obviously been leaked. And just as Elizabeth agreed to attend the Historical Society’s dedication of a gallery in Bart’s name. She doesn’t look bothered much by this, much to Chuck’s relief.

Just then, he received a phone call from a newly-goateed and always-devilish Uncle Jack, who’s back in town and, we’re lead to believe, is the one behind the story leak. Jack later visits Chuck and explains that he didn’t leak the story (which I don’t believe for a second) and is back only after having heard about Elizabeth. He plants doubt in Chuck’s head regarding Elizabeth’s true identity and leaves, not before being totally creepy to Blair. (Did we ever find out what, exactly, happened between them? Or is that something that we think is yet to be revealed?)

Later, Elizabeth presents Chuck with a purple bowtie to wear to the dedication, saying she remembered it as Bart’s favorite color. Chuck, beginning to believe Jack’s BS, tells her the only reason he ever wore purple was because Bart loathed it. Elizabeth looks uncomfortable at this, quickly attempts at a cover, and we’re lead to wonder if Jack is telling the truth.

Further complicating things, Elizabeth bails on the event after hearing Jack is in town, telling Chuck she has an ugly history with him and isn’t sure if she can handle meeting everyone else and having to deal with him at the same time. Chuck, clearly with a plan, obliges and asks her to stay for a drink.

We next see Chuck as Blair walks in on him placing Elizabeth’s glass in a plastic bag, leading us to Blair’s second-best quip of the night: “Are you kidding me? A DNA sample? You’ve been watching too much CBS.” As Chuck begins to explain his misgivings towards Elizabeth, she overhears. She claims she was coming to tell Chuck she had changed her mind and actually wanted to attend the dedication, but instead calls him his father’s son and storms out. Blair looks pretty repulsed and follows suit.

Things get worse at the dedication, as Chuck’s lawyer informs him that they’re now being attacked by Christian conservatives, prompting Chuck’s best line of the night: “We have those in Manhattan?” Yes, apparently, the Family Travel Council is issuing a boycott and they’ve got some major pull. The lawyer thinks it would be in Chuck’s best interest to hand over control of the hotel, at least temporarily. Perhaps to a family member? Conveniently, Jack walks right in, and offers his services. Chuck tells him, in no uncertain terms, that this will never happen. Before leaving, Jack restates that he didn’t cause this fiasco, but that he certainly plans to reap the benefits from it.

Just then, the results of the fastest DNA test ever are sent to Chuck. It appears Elizabeth is who she says she is and Chuck has another option to save his hotel. He goes to see her at her hotel, as she’s packing, and apologizes, asking if she’d allow him to sign control over to her. She appears concerned, but eventually acquiesces.

Chuck goes home to Blair, relieved. But we know that can’t be all. This is Gossip Girl, after all. Elizabeth has another knock on her door. She opens to find Jack and Chuck’s lawyer there. Jack asks “Do we have ourselves a hotel?” And so, it’s made abundantly clear that, even though she is Chuck’s mom, she’s a rotten she-devil working with Jack to take Chuck down. I’ve got to admit, I was genuinely surprised by this, and by the fact the the lawyer was in on it too! Poor Chuck.

2. I didn’t totally hate the Dan/Vanessa (Danessa? Van?) storyline tonight.

I thought the bit with Vanessa showing up at the dedication in that smoking dress to piss Dan off, after he’d declared his loft, Lily’s house, and the entire Upper East Side “friends-only” zones, was actually fun. Vanessa looked great, for the first time in a while, and I finally bought these two as something more than just friends. Of course, the playfulness was quickly resolved by episode’s end, nearly guaranteeing more boredom from these two. But, it was a nice respite this evening.

3. Rufus and Lily just can’t get it together.

Well, at least we learned that Rufus, though he wanted to exact some revenge on Lily, didn’t do anything with that other woman. It was nice to see them begin to mend fences. That is, until Cici called and told Lily that six months had passed and it was time for another visit with her ex, the whole reason this problem started in the first place. Of course, Lily says she’ll leave right away and, when telling Rufus, leaves out any mention of William. They make an agreement to a clean slate when she returns. But Lily knows, as well as we do, that that ain’t happening anytime soon.

4. Jenny lies about sexy time and I don’t get why.

I mostly enjoyed tonight’s Little J antics. They brought everyone together, like some well-coifed Super Friends, with a singular mission to save Jenny from the evil clutches of Damian, the Virginity Thief. Despite their best efforts, Jenny still winds up in bed with him, but she surprisingly comes to her senses and calls it off. What I didn’t understand was why, when she got home and Serena went in to talk to her, Jenny lied and told S that she did it anyway and that it wasn’t a big deal.

All in all, it was an enjoyable episode. What did you think? Are you looking forward to William’s imminent, surely dramatic arrival? Do you think we’ve seen the last of Damian? Were you shocked by the discovery of the evil triumvirate: Jack, Elizabeth, and nameless lawyer? And are you as excited as I am for the inevitable showdown between the evil adults and the ingenious team of Chuck and Blair?

Sound off below!

Life: A Gut Reaction

March 21, 2010

Ibex kid

Tonight, the 11-part series, itself a follow-up to Planet Earth, Life premiered on Discovery. Airing in two-hour installments every Sunday, this is nature porn at its finest. I had the great fortune of watching tonight’s episodes in HD, and honestly, I pity anyone who isn’t able to. Shows like this are the reason why HD was created. Here are a few things I learned from the first two hours:

1. Ibex kids are the cutest animals on the planet and I want one now.

These little guys, pictured above, are ridiculous. Scaling the cliff face where they live, the constantly put themselves in the dangerous path of the red fox, in the need for sustenance. The chase between the ibex kid and the fox was the most harrowing things I’ve seen on TV in weeks. I would have been devastated if the little guy didn’t survive.

2. The courtship of the Western grebe makes me lonely.

The Western grebe is a gorgeous bird that practices monogamy every mating season, before parting ways and courting another, in time for the next season to begin. The courtship that ensues was the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen in the natural world. The birds, declaring their partnership, participate in an act of mimicking each other’s movements, an act that tells the others “Stay away! We’re in love!” And if that wasn’t enough to make you look sideways at your boyfriend and regret the corndog date he first took you out on, the birds then perform a gorgeous dance of flight across the water, in perfect unison.

3. Capuchin monkeys are awesome and their babies rival the ibex for “Cutest Animal Ever” supremacy.

The capuchin loves to eat nuts and has developed an awesome skill of hammering them open with rocks. The ingenuity displayed is incredible and watching their babies mimic the act, much like an infant mimics their parent, was adorable.

4. Reptiles and amphibians make me feel weird.

The second hour focused solely on these creatures. (The first was much broader: Challenges of Life) These animals are cool to watch, but they are not cute and a full hour of them was kind of gross.

Did you watch? What were some of your favorite moments?

Tonight’s 30 Rock was a really terrific episode. Liz and Wesley tried to uncover what led them to declare each other “future spouses” while under anesthesia. Tracy’s world was rocked by a former nanny’s tell-all book that revealed him to be a faithful husband, betraying his piggish public persona. And Jack readied himself to bury Don Geiss, while dealing with the reality that Kablevision was a company that didn’t produce anything, an idea that went against every fiber of his being.

It was a pretty prescient episode, touching on the ridiculousness of celebrity reputation and the media frenzy that occurs when such reputations are challenged or tarnished, while also making some pretty insightful statements regarding the consumerist economy currently dragging America down. Oh, and it had a ton of funny lines. Here’s the ten best:

1. I had a thing where I kept running into Michael Douglas, but then I realized it was just some old lady who lives in my building. – Jenna

2. I feel like I’m back at school, learning about the dangers of book-reading. – Kenneth, reacting to a mess of text on Jack’s desk

3. I got a lot of flack after I ate the pig that played Babe. – Jenna, relating to Tracy’s current PR fiasco

4. Settling Soulmates? That is grim. And I’ve played Monopoly alone. – Liz, after Wesley suggests they just get married, though they hate each other.

5. It’s a Lizaster. – Liz

6. I wish I could help you, but I can’t sleep with a black guy. I’d lose my endorsement deal with Nascar. – Jenna, who’s not unsympathetic to Tracy’s need to bed a floozy, but her hands are tied

7. You know what I have? A Sims family that keeps getting murdered. – Liz, to Tracy, explaining why he should be grateful for his family

8. These are all hookers. Pick one. – Don Geiss’ first words to Jack

9. Are you ready to settle and become Mrs. Snipes? – Wesley, who argues that it’s truly the name for the pale English guy.

And 10. All the spoof porn titles on the Kablevision channel guide:

– Ass-Atar

-The Lovely Boners

-The Hind Side

-The Pert Knockers

-Sherlock Homos

-Horny With A Chance of My Balls

-Fresh-Ass Based on the Novel ‘Tush’ by Assfire (my personal favorite)

What did you think of tonight’s new episode? Any lines you loved that I left out? Tell me, below!