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I grew up in a series of small towns, each one depressingly smaller than the last, until I hit a school in which my graduating class was a mere 27 people. It’s a town where everyone has to at least leave to go on with their education, but since the nearest community college was a half hour away ( I took my last two years of theater there under the tutelage of a now famous award-winning playwright and actor), most never escape beyond the three hour Saskatoon and Edmonton area from this town. I’m sure many kids I went to junior high with are still in the Calgary area as well, but at least Calgary has developed into a more cosmopolitan center. After all, I ended up back here.

I recognize much of the teen age angst of Glee because it was my teen-aged angst. I had grown up with parents that valued an education above all else. They didn’t care what kind of education, just get one. I’m sure my vast knowledge of popular culture wasn’t their first choice, but I’m sure they appreciate me having something I love in my life. But even in the confines of these small rural outposts, I could find what I needed to stave off the boredom and quench the thirst for French New Wave and the discography of the Clash I developed in my teenaged years. It was better than going out and getting drunk like many of my classmates did. I’m pretty convinced that’s why my classmates didn’t talk to me.

But growing up in small towns with a more progressive personal mindset often got me in trouble with my peers. I never sat idly by as they tossed around bigoted terms that growing up in a 99% white town in the middle of the Canadian Bible Belt, and my reputation as a Commie loon follows me to this day ( I kind of wear it with pride). Which is why I clearly identified with ” Preggers”. I knew many of the blonde pretty cheerleader types who ended up pregnant by the eleventh grade, usually after wine coolers or beer at a party. I knew the slightly femme guy in the back who had a fondness for sequins and introduced me to his father as his girlfriend, and then I’d sit and listen to his father beg me to convince his son to rejoin the hockey team, despite the fact the last time the poor guy was on the ice, he executed a perfect double axel in the middle of a power play. In hockey skates no less. I was one of the kids so obsessed with my creative life that I was deeply offended when I didn’t get the part, or the assignment, or the song.

Watching last nights Glee was at times, for me, emotionally wrenching. I clearly identify with Kurt in a profound way. Not the coming out as gay part, but trying so desperately to maintain a relationship with a parent who disapproves of your passions. I had my brothers and mom as a buffer between me and my father. Kurt, an only child of a working class single father, has nothing. The fact that Kurt feels compelled to lie is heartbreaking, but it is like that across the world for gay teens. Ryan Murphy said in a recent L.A. Times article that a little of his own life made its way into his characterization of Kurt, and I can see it in the tender way Murphy laid out Kurt’s scenes with his father, played by a surprisingly good Mike O’Malley. Chris Colfer, in his scenes tonight, was both hysterically funny, touchingly sad, and devastatingly true to life. When Kurt comes out to his father after joining the football team in a bid to cover up why he was dancing around in black sequined lycra, it’s a pure moment. More shocking and pure is his father’s reaction- it’s kind of hard to deny your son may be gay when he asks for a pair of sensible heels when he’s three. Or has a hope chest. Which is full of tiaras. O’Malley plays it as a matter of fact, not deeply profound or overly emotional. It is what it is. He’s not overjoyed about it, but he certainly isn’t going to erupt into a homophobic screed.

The Quinn-Finn-Puck story line was a little more Degrassi conventional. First, this show does a great job playing off of Cory Monteith’s naive portrayal of Finn. He’s blank, he’s clueless, but he knows what he is and he is trying to figure out how to make it out without being enormously gifted at things that are more obvious paths of freedom. He plays on a losing football team, and he doesn’t have the grades to make it on academic scholarships. But he knows enough to realize he must get out of Lima. Quinn, pretty and perky, on a championship cheerleading squad, probably would score some sort of athletic scholarship at the very least,  but the news of her pregnancy leaves her in the lurch. She can’t escape with a baby on her hip.  Her telling of the “conception” to Finn was ludicrous to us in the TV audience, but would it really seem ludicrous to Finn? Think of all the guys you went to high school with who still insist you can’t get a girl pregnant if you have sex standing up. It turns out, though, Quinn has been naughty. She got drunk, and feeling particularly fat that day, she slept with Puck. He is the real father of her baby. Puck, never having a real dad, wants to do the right thing by Quinn, but Quinn also realizes that Puck, despite his good intentions, is never going to escape being a “Lima Loser”. She sees Finn as her way out of this hell, and even he isn’t a guarantee.

Meanwhile, we have the corresponding “pregnancy” of Terri Schuster, who now has her sister in on the scheme. Terri is a woman so obsessed with keeping her man that she’s not taking the more reasonable track in this sad situation, instead forcing herself to create an elaborate lie with padding and all. The news of Quinn and Finn’s little predicament gives Terri an idea. There is a sense of the illogical here ( how did Terri get into Quinn’s car? Why don’t we ask the ref’s at that football game that didn’t hand out that delay of game penalty when the team does the ” Single Ladies” dance?), but Murphy always brings in the more soapy elements with a dash of humor. Quinn is bewildered by the woman handing her prenatal vitamins, but Terri is oblivious to Quinn’s wary demeanor.

The ” D” story of Sue’s continued revenge on Will was probably the most laugh out loud funny in the episode. Sue’s minor celebrity gets her a slot on the local news, where she advocates caning and littering. But she’s told she is only as good as her last championship, and the affiliate boss knows her Cheerios are defecting to Glee. So Sue, in her own special Machiavellian way, gets Sandy Ryerson back on staff. He is in charge of all the arts programs, including Glee. ( Note: Figgins, played by Iqbal Theba, played a memorable villain of the week in the first season of Chuck. He played a guy nicknamed ” Wookie” by Chuck. And when you see that Mumbai Airlines video, you can kind of see why. Now imagine him without a shirt. Yeah, now you see it). They design a plan to steal away an increasingly frustrated Rachel, who loses her shit over not getting the solo ” Tonight”. Will is trying to teach her a valuable and much needed lesson- that Glee is a team, and all members of that team need a moment to shine. This is proven by Tina’s sweetly compelling performance of ” Tonight”, and Will pointing out that with greater confidence, her stuttering is diminishing. Rachel then tries out for this version of ” Cabaret” Ryerson is putting on. If there is one truly crushing moment in the episode, it’s the fact Lea Michele’s gorgeous version of ” Taking Chances” is only a mere twenty seconds of screen time.  Rachel and Will later confront each other about their perceptions and their goals. When Will still refuses to hand over ” Tonight”, still giving Tina a moment to shine, Rachel impulsively quits Glee. Meanwhile, Will’s work with the football team to help loosen them up ( leading to that fabulous dance on the football field), and garners him three more Glee club members. He’s now got eleven.

Last night’s episode was the first truly great episode since the pilot, and I certainly hope it’s the blueprint for the rest of the series.  Murphy’s previous high school show, Popular, had moments of complete camp and whimsy at first, but ended up becoming completely ridiculous a lot of the time ( it’s still genius, but it’s massively flawed genius). This show could go off in a million different directions. But this is what I have noticed:

  • The show is a musical, but not every episode is going to be heavy on the musical numbers. I think this helps it from turning into a version of Fame- The Later Years.
  • It’s got a massive ensemble cast, and there are lesser characters, like the Cheerios and Footballers who help make up the show choir, that will get a bit of screen time without having much else to do. But if Murphy remembers to keep focus on one kid a show, it will get better.
  • The pacing was better on this episode, and it will continue to get better. Anyone familiar with Murphy’s previous shows knows he is a guy who fits a lot into episodes, and sometimes the timelines don’t add up. But he does somehow make it work.
  • The cast is winning, but I am beginning to think where the writers are taking Rachel is dangerous territory. I know she’s supposed to be a self absorbed spoiled brat, but she was at least likable. I found her disturbingly unlikable this week. I know it was a set up for next week’s episode, but be careful.

Quoteworthy:

“All you need is some limed corpses beneath the floorboards.” – Sue to Sandy at his very creepy house.

Grade- A-

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I spend more time in the fandom of this show than I do for any other.  I also admit that in a perfect world, I’d be writing it and the Leonard-Penny relationship would have never been an issue. 

But I don’t write it. I’m also not a fanfic writer or even much of a fanfic fan ( though I’ve read some doozies in my life for various fandoms). But I am a WRITER, so even if I might prefer Penny showing Sheldon the ways of the world, it’s not my place to question the writers of this show about their choice. After all, it annoys me when a world I have crafted so meticulously over time gets ripped by a vocal group of fans without knowing what the ultimate endgame is. While I believe I know what the endgame for this show is, I really don’t have a clue. Plus, Chuck Lorre surprises me more than most sitcom writers.

The guys have returned from the arctic looking like wooly mammoths ( except Sheldon, who looks like Evil Spock from ” Mirror Mirror”). They settle in at home, and Leonard goes to tell Penny he’s home. Broken sitcom convention # 1: Normally, there would be some give and take, with the couple’s kiss coming towards the end of the episode ( see: Ross and Rachel, Friends, ” The One Where Ross Finds Out”). These writers have Penny and Leonard making out before the credits.

Turns out, Sheldon believes he has proven String Theory at the North Pole. Also turns out that his comrades have fudged the results to make him happy ( seriously, Sheldon in close quarters for three months? I’m in love with Sheldon, fer chissakes, but I would have gone along with the sled dog plan myself). This has Sheldon confronting the very happy at the moment Leonard, who admits to it quickly, and also admits to the plots they came up with to murder Sheldon ( really did like the idea of tying someone to four different sled dog teams and yelling mush). Heartbroken, Sheldon retreats to his room, where Penny attempts to cheer him up by first singing ” Soft Kitty” ( ” I’m not sick.” ” I don’t know what your sad song is.” ” I don’t have a sad song, I’m not a child!”), then trying to relate a story about losing out her spot as head cheerleader. She also manages to spoil a bit of Star Trek, which causes Sheldon to cry even harder.

After suffering the humiliation of informing the Physics department that he did not, in fact, prove string theory, Sheldon is mocked by Kripke at work- twice. Devastated, Sheldon resigns and takes off to Texas, where Mom is. Penny insists that Leonard goes and bring him home ( all S/P shippers together- awwwwww). It doesn’t take much- Mary Cooper just insists that evolution is an opinion, which sends atheistic Sheldon into a tizzy, and he heads home, where this will promptly be forgotten by next week.

The show ends with Leonard and Penny in bed together, where, let’s face it, it’s really weird.

Jim Parsons can do no wrong. The show always works best when Sheldon is the center of the episode and we are forced, along with the rest of the cast, to try and balance Sheldon’s unique world view with the structure of ” normal” society. This took it one step further. Sheldon is a character very much in control at all times, and it was fun to see him breakdown a bit. Everyone has their breaking points. We just discovered Sheldon’s.

As for the other story, Leonard and Penny- I’m curious to see where this is going to go, I admit it. I want to see how this idea, so unpopular with a segment of the show’s fandom, plays out. I know a lot of people complain of the lack of chemistry between Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, especially since the chemistry between Parsons and Cuoco is electrifying. But I find they do have chemistry together. I enjoy their scenes together. I find their chemistry quieter, less intrusive than non-existant. It’s atypical of the sitcom standard to put the less explosive couple together.  The fangirl in me may be disappointed, but the writer in me is curious to see what the writing team has in store for us.

Grade- A-

PS- I could handle a spinoff of just Sheldon’s mom. Laurie Metcalf is a genius.

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The talk sucks.

This little nugget from Barney explains the relationship talk so well, don’t you think?

See, Barney and Robin’s kiss at the end of last season caused Lily to a have a ” woo” moment, but they played it off as neither of them really wanting to take it forward. Except they have sex all summer long. That info makes Lily crazy, and she begins to pressure them into having ” the talk”. Robin insists they’ve tried to have ” the talk”, but neither of them likes “the talk” , so whatever. Why do they have to define it? Lily can think of one reason- you don’t end up going to a hockey game with built like a Mack truck Brad ( ” Wow, there are really six of them…” Robin exclaims after seeing his six pack) and having Barney going to the game to punch Brad in the face. So Lily tries the next logical step- lock them in a room until they have ” the talk”. And when push comes to shove, they decide to lie. Except the only people they’re lying to is themselves. Barney and Robin are a couple. Just don’t tell them that.

The other story, Ted, starting his new job at Columbia as an adjunct professor ( ” P-R-O-F-… F?”) gives us a schizoid douche Ted, as he changes his mind about what kind of professor he is going to be thirty times in ten seconds ( “You can call me Ted. Professor Mosby. T-Dog. Don’t call me T-Dog”). Turns out his ” class” is really Economics 305.  But as we know, the mother is somewhere in that Economics 305 class.

The show was uneven all through its fourth season, with some really great moments in between totally suck ass moments. This episode is a smashing return to form. It plays with the concept of relationships needing specific labels while admitting that the labels help the rest of the world know what you are. The show, for all it’s comedic brilliance, has been one of the best examples of the masks we place on everyday to impress a society that judges. Barney and Robin refuse to label their relationship for themselves out of fear and past mistakes, but in their own way label themselves as the iconoclasts they pretend to be. Lily’s obsession over the Barney and robin dynamic fits with Lily’s desire to be perceived as New York Typical ( even her double dating couples fantasy was oddly Americana- camping? Can you see Lily camping?). Even a woefully underused Marshall was complicit- he sees Professor Ted as Indiana Jones, and gets him a fedora and bull whip. But it’s Ted, so worried as always of what people really think of him, that learns a lesson. Late for his class, he doesn’t have time to think about a persona. He just talks about architecture.

Grade: B+

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I was one of those people last year who was on the fence about Fringe. I found the first half of the season unbearably slow and antiseptic. That all changed as the season went on, and the last two episodes sealed it for me. I even placed the series on my One Hundred Greatest Television Series list. So I was eager to see what the season premiere would hand us.

What it handed us was a wallop of emotionally charged story telling with a dose of “Ohmigod did they just do that?” horror.

It turns out that this show is a worthy successor to my beloved and late X-Files.

We start with the piercing sound of metal on metal, and then a guy staggering out of a car crash, bleeding from a head wound. He runs off as a crowd gathers. He gets access to an apartment building and promptly kills a man. He then takes out a contraption that seems  to plug into the soft palette of the mouth, causing shape shifting. He takes on a new body, leaving the old one on the floor. Then he leaves.

Meanwhile, Peter and Walter are having one of their cute moments at a grocery store. It’s Peter’s birthday on Friday, and Walter has it in his head that Peter needs a birthday custard. Peter insists he hates custard. Walter, in his permanent state of self loathing psychosis, neglects to register this. Seems alternate universe Peter adored custard. This world’s Peter just wants to get the hell out of the grocery store. He gets his wish with a phone call.

This is where we meet Agent Jessop. She’s been assigned to find out about the car crash. Seems the shapeshifter  has crashed into a FBI issued SUV. Peter arrives with Walter, angry and panicked. Jessop tries to get some answers about Peter’s relationship to the FBI, but Peter is having none of it. The SUV belongs to Olivia, who is nowhere to be found. Jessop and Peter argue about what she needs to know ( apparently, nothing, it’s classified) while Walter fiddles with the SUV. Suddenly, Olivia crashes through the windshield, unconscious and bleeding.

This all happens before the title card.

Olivia is rushed to hospital, clinging to life, Peter and Walter on her tail. the doctors inform our beloved Bishops that Olivia won’t make it. Walter refuses to believe this information, and we get a beautiful scene of Walter, helplessly and lovingly standing over a shattered Olivia, with Peter mournfully observing through a window.

 Jessop heads off to FBI headquarters, where Broyles confronts her. It’s a routine accident, and she is ordered to sign off on the report. Broyles then crashes Peter’s pity party, and informs him that he is off to Washington. seems that the government wants to shut down Fringe division. Peter himself then questions the existence of Fringe. We then see Jessop at a computer, trying to get into the Fringe files. She uses a stolen password to get access.

Rachel ( the fabulous Ali Graynor) shows up to execute her sister’s living will, and she tells Peter to say good bye. Peter does so, only to be shocked by Olivia suddenly waking and speaking in greek. She cannot recall anything that happened to her, but knows instinctively that she is in danger and begs Peter for her gun.

Peter returns to FBI Boston to discover that his credentials have been revoked. Jessop then rescues him, taking him with her. She gives him the file on the accident, but expects answers about FRinge. Peter tells her that they do nothing. Jessop is going after a guy she believes is involved with the accident, but discovers a dead body. Peter calls in Walter, who gets into it with an M.E. Jessop gives him the body to take to his lab.

A new guy walks into a shop. He asks the man at the counter for a Selectric 251. He is informed it never existed. The new guy insists. The counter dude tells him it’s been six years, and he won’t be waiting forever.  The new guy sits at the typewriter and types in that he has finished his mission and asking for extraction. Then, in a mirror, he sees his answer. His mission is not over. Finish it. And kill her.

Charlie shows up, and gives Olivia a story about his days as a police officer in which he was shot and hospitalized in the line of duty. He also tells her that she now has a gun under her pillow. Olivia finally admits being afraid, and that she cannot load her gun.

Walter has Astrid making custard as he performs an autopsy on this mangled body. Turns out our dead guy was a victim to a shape shifter.  He then shows Jessop and Peter a video of experiments he and William Bell did on a girl a while ago. They were trying to make her see God. They got a tale of the shape shifting mercenary.

Broyles in front of the senate is a hoot. He refuses to be talked down to by Senators who know jack about what he does, and tells them that he has spent his whole life protecting them from fears both common and strange. Unimpressed, they pull Fringe Divisions funding. Broyles meets Nina outside, where she tells him to save the day. And they kiss ( nearly died at the kiss).

Jessop and Peter are called into a mortuary with a body matching wounds that Astrid has red flagged. Jessop informs him that her father was a soldier and that he was adamant that he always finish his mission. Peter then clicks on the fact that the shape shifter’s mission was Olivia, and he flies out of there like a bat out of hell.

The shape shifter, though, has now taken over Olivia’s nurse, and is asking leading questions to Olivia, who really cannot remember a thing about the accident or anything else from that time. Disappointed in getting no new information, the shape shifter attacks Olivia. Jessop arrives and shoots the shapeshifter, who takes off through a window. Peter, Jessop, and Charlie all head to the hospital’s underbelly. The shapeshifter gets behind Charlie, who shoots. Jessop and Peter both run to where Charlie is, and he’s standing over the dead body of the nurse, broken contraption beside them.

After a nice Olivia and Peter moment in which Peter brings her flowers and they talk, Peter hand Broyles the shape shifter gadget, and tells him to use that to save Fringe’s funding. Our last moment is Charlie in the hospital basement. He’s lugging something to the incinerator. Turns out- it’s Charlie. Charlie is no longer Charlie, it’s the shape shifter.

Overall, a thrilling, quick, tight episode. I’m still unsure about our new agent, Jessop. She’s shown with a bible at the end. Is she looking for something to confirm end of days? Our regular cast is in good form, and the story is now taking real shape. I’m not much for mythology shows, but I’m totally getting wrapped up in this one.

Grade- A

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5:50 Going for a quick cigarette outside before awards begin.

6:00 Opening spiel, then NPH singing in a white dinner jacket. Yummy.

6:04 ” I grew up on television.”

6:05 Shaiman and Whitman wrote the song. Knew it.

6:07 Tour of the Emmy set.

6:09 Funny Emmy clip reel.

6:11 Jon Hamm ( sigh) and Tina Fey ( sigh). Supporting Actress in a comedy.

6:12 WTF Chenoweth?

6:13 The winner is… Kristin Chenoweth (stunner shocker but happiness!) She sobs her way funnily through her speech. I wanna hug her.

6:08 Comedy categories first. I’m suddenly very nervous for hubby Jim Parsons.

6:21 Some Neil and Hodgman funnies, then a convenient plug for HIMYM.

6:22 So surprised 30 Rock won a writing award. (Sarcasm)

6:27 Jon Cryer wins. Why?

6:28 One very pissed off NPH/30 Rock fan right here. ARGH!

6:33 I’m very worried about the rest of my picks. I’m 1 for three. The one- writing.

6:35 Justin Timberlake presenting Actress in a Comedy series. And he’s funny and charming.

6:36 Toni Colette wins. I’m way off tonight. I’m trying to figure out what tonight is gonna be. Watch Charlie Sheen win in a couple of minutes.  This is turning into a nightmare show for me 9 although I like Toni and Kristin, I like their shows, but I honestly thought they wouldn’t win).

6:39 NPH asks Cryer to show the envelope. It really does say ” Jon Cryer”.

6:41 The GG girls turn it over to Tina and JT, who thank Lorne Michaels for their Guest Actor wins. Then the GG girls present  Best Comedy direction to The Office’s Jeff Blitz.

6:48 Rob Lowe presenting Actor in a comedy. He mocks himself.

6:52 I’m gonna drink an entire bottle of wine right now and drown ,y tears because Jim Parsons did not win.

7:29 I have spent the last forty minutes trying to fix a computer crash. Rundown- Reality shows no surprise, mini/TV movies are pretty ho hum. Dr. Horrible- hilarious! Love the buffering jokes. And Captain Hammer to boot. Jessica Lange beats out Drew Barrymore.

7:59 Apparently Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco were on stage with Jim Parsons when he presented. I didn’t notice as I laid at the foot of my TV stand staring worshipfully at a comedy God who was robbed of his Emmy. Really, I need a life.

8:01 I do not have a problem. All of you shut up.

8:02 Jimmy Fallon won as a member of the SNL writing team, right?

8:03 Jimmy is making me laugh. He hasn’t done this since he was on SNL.

8:05 It has to be “Motherlover”. Seriously.

8:05 It’s the Oscars team. Are you kidding me?

8:06 Ricky Gervais. Worshiping at the feet of the king.

8:07 ” Me, again.” HA!

8:08 Gervais present best comedy variety show to The Daily Show. Never disappointed when TDS gang wins. As I am also much in ,love with Jon Stewart. Have been since his MTV talk show in the mid 90s.

8:16 Prezzie time. But no Prezzie speech. Thank God.

8:17 Drama time. Great. Night should be ending soon. Crushing disappointments tonight. Cryer/Baldwin just took me out.

8:19 LL and Chris O’Donnell not funny at all. Supporting Actor goes to… Michael Emerson. My best friend Rosie probably just screamed with joy. I still couldn’t tell you what role he played.

8:21 Chris and LL also doing Supporting Actress. And that award goes to Cherry Jones.  Who is a theater goddess, so we are delighted.

8:23 In Memorium.

8:33 Hot vampires!

8:35 Ellen Burstyn and Michael J. Fox present directing for drama.

8:36 The award goes to the E.R. dude.

8:37 Now they present drama writing. I’m guessing… Mad Men.

8:38 Yeah, shocker again (Sarcasm).

8:39 Yeah, I’m one of those guys at Starbucks with a computer or notebook, writing away.

8:40 Simon ” Hot accent” Baker is presenting the actress drama award to Glenn Close. I am WAY OFF  with these damn acting awards this year. WTF?

8:44 Right now I’m kinda hoping Hugh Laurie wins and makes me 0-for-eight for acting awards.

8: 48 Dana Delaney presents Actor in a drama.  Bryan Cranston wins. This is the one I get right. And he rightfully deserves it. His performance is searing.

8:52 Bob Newhart presents Best Comedy. And drones on a bit.  But has some good lines.

8:54 30 Rock. Which is about as surprising as me eating peanut M&Ms.

8:56 I have never been so unhappy to see Cat Deeley in my life. I want my final award.

9:00 Emmys are going over.

9:00 I’m actually looking forward to Criminal Minds.

9:01 Sigourney Weaver presents best drama to Mad Men. No effing surprise.

That is it for the night and the year. Early surprises in acting awards turn into a night where many repeat winners come along.  Still crushed about Jim Parsons losing. May never be okay again…

Can’t wait until The Big Bang Theory premieres tomorrow night.

Till the next one ( Golden Globes in January, everyone!)

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Glee Episode 1-3 ” Acafellas”

The beginning of every new series is going to be rough. The chances of choppy waters increase when said show is ambitious and epic  like Glee is. That is not to say that “Acafellas” was bad. On the contrary, it was a delight in many ways. But after the genius of the pilot and the solid second episode last week, I was slightly disappointed with this week’s Gleeful outing.

The show has the potential to collapse under its massive ensemble cast- there are at least twelve significant roles on this show. That is a lot of people to try and work in to a show, complete with individual story lines and moments to shine. And this episode ended up feeling overstuffed and under developed simultaneously.

The valid question off the top, asked by Cheerleader Quinn, was whether Will had even tried to fulfil his performing dreams. After shop teacher Henri returns from his cough syrup induced thumb amputating shop accident, a sad round of ” He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” with Will, Ken, Sheets and Things’ Howard, Henri, and Sandy ” Stay 50 Feet Away From Children” Ryerson leads will to form an a cappella group, launching into a really fun version of Montell Jordan’s 90s classic ” This Is How We Do It”. This plays into Will’s B story, where he bonds with his dad ( the fabulousity that is Victor Garber- alas, no song), who admits his failings with ease. Fathers on television are routinely maligned, often absent and mean. It’s nice to see a father-son relationship that is rather warm and friendly.

The other story of the episode, the Glee kids hiring that annoying prick Dakota Stanley, honestly didn’t go anywhere. I get that they were trying to create a bit of tension between Finn and Rachel, and allowing Quinn and her minions try to disrupt Glee quietly, but it just felt… ugh. With no Glee performances this week, the show felt kind of empty.

The one thing that did work well this episode was the “C” story between Mercedes ( Amber Riley, so fantastic on ” Bust The Windows”) and Kurt ( Chris Colfer, a TV star in the making). Mercedes instincts were right on the money, but she allowed insecuirty and fear ( and a couple of ne’er-do-well Cheerios) to get her hopes up about Kurt, who was being a supportive friend. Ryan Murphy said in an interview that he wanted Kurt’s coming out to echo his own, so the one real moment of the entire episode was Kurt tentative telling to Mercedes, followed by a tear and an acknowledgement that he really wasn’t as brave as Mercedes wanted him to be.

Overall, there were some good moments, but over all, the cluttered, scattered tone left me wanting( and too much Terri- I really dislike her). Rumor has it next week is going to be a hum dinger of an episode, focused on Colfer’s delightful Kurt. I certainly hope all the love I’m hearing is legit, and not just a bunch of TV critics trying to sell me snake oil.

 Quoteworthy:

” I have no thumbs!” Henri, in a game of one ups-manship

” The parents discovered we’re feeding their kids prison food”.- Figgins

” Josh Groban likes a blousy alcoholic.”- Josh Groban, cementing my belief he’s a singing comedian.

” Is cliche a bad thing?”- Finn

” I’m going to ask you to smell your armpits.”- Sue to the Cheerios

” If you blow this for me I’ll shove my arm so far down your throat you will be able to taste my arm pit hair.”- Ken to Puck.

” I told Figgins we’d end up with a bunch of pansies if we didn’t get some hot wood in their hands.”- Sandy

Grade- C

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I could go on and on about the technical flaws I saw on last nights episode ( the musical numbers were way to polished and the AV was out of sync), but I’m not. No. Because I am in love with this show.

The fact I love this show should be no surprise to anyone, as I am also deeply in love with Ryan Murphy’s previous high school dramedy Popular  (Mary Cherry forever!). Glee in many ways hits similar tones comically and dramatically as this late 90s cult classic, and the struggles the students face are also similar. The slightly awkward, overly ambitious girl crushes on the cool jock boy who dates the pretty blonde cheerleader. There are kids with speech impediments and disabilities, and they aren’t all a size two. Murphy creates a real high school feeling. Then he throws on show stopping musical numbers.

Now, the audio of ” Gold Digger” is amazing, but it was hampered last night by poor mixing and editing.  In fact, that was an issue with all the musical numbers last night. If this show is going to work over the long haul, they have to fix it. Off sync is distracting.  And the “Push It” number was amazingly cringe worthy and hilarious at the same time. I watched it mouth agape and sniggering the entire time. That was right on the edge of appropriate and Murphy probably knows it ( the man also created Nip/Tuck, which has been crossing that line for years).

But there were some really great moments in the episode- Will and Emma’s chalk dust on the nose, Finn and Rachel bonding over their mutual love of music, Finn making the angels cry with that popping balloon, Rachel’s speech on teenage sexuality that made her a hero to a certain faction of horny teenage boys, every moment Jane Lynch and Jayma Mays were on screen, and the realization that Quinn and the Cheerios can kind of sing. As the Cheerios go in to spy for Sue Sylvester, expect high jinks to ensue.

The flaws,  though, have the potential to be too distracting. I like Jessalyn Gilsig a lot as an actor, but her character Terri is shrill and shrewish. I honestly wanted to punch her at various moments ( though I did snicker when she pointed out the children’s bedroom as the room for ” their daughter or gay son”). The Cheerios are still way into Mean Girls territory and have yet to be really fleshed out as characters. The same thing can be said about the jocks. There are those sync issues and they need to dirty up the vocal tracks as well ( last night was a little too polished and studio for my liking- only ” Take A Bow” came close to any real emotional connection, aside from Jayma Mays’ Emma sobbing through ” All By Myself” in her car).

Then there are the highs. The appealing youngsters are delightful as the ” island of misfit toys”, as Sue called them. Matthew Morrison ( Tony nominee for Light In The Piazza and the original Link in Hairspray)  is charming as Will, who only seems to come really alive when he’s at the school, doing Glee and interacting with the students. The incomparable Jane Lynch is clearly delighting in playing the vindictive, spoiled, entitled cheerleading coach, who gets the school to pay for European dry cleaners and for some reason has seen an elementary school production of Hair. There is sharp humor and commentary about relationships, the high school caste system, and the general malaise of education systems in North America.

After the completely charming pilot, this was a good follow up episode.

Pilot received an A from me. ” Showmance” gets a solid B+.

Quoteworthy!

Rachel: I guess I don’t have a gag reflex.

Emma: Years from now you’ll find that a blessing.

***

Coach Tanaka: I’m a minority so they can’t fire me, I’ll always be able to provide for you.

***

Kurt: Wait! One day you will all work for me.

Other things of note:

  • Figures guys would join the Celibacy Club to try and bed their chaste girlfriends.
  • Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt, is going to get a big episode coming up that Ryan Murphy has said is based on his own high school experience. If you know anything about Ryan Murphy, you can probably figure it out.
  • I tend to hate cheerleaders in TV world. These ones take the cake.
  • Quinn and Finn. I hate cutesy couples with rhyming names.
  • Amber Reilly has a voice and a half!
  • I do not remember the disco revivial of 1993. Anyone else?

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My life got complicated as soon as my kids got out of school, so I’m sorry no posting for the past two weeks. Accept my humble apologies and allow me the opportunity to smash my head against the wall repeatedly. Thanks.

But now, back to the task at hand. We have said goodbye to Vitolio and AsukaAuskaAlaska, and the other two that I completely forgot the names of… Jonathan and Jessica? Jack and Jill? Cheech and Chong?… since I last wrote something on the subject of So You Think You Can Folk Dance. In the time it took for these people to leave, I had decided that the dancers this season were far superior than usual, but that didn’t make them interesting. At least the right dead weight is being cut. Dancers that are clearly weaker in both talent and personality have gone the way of the hustle, and I’m okay with that. My early faves are all still pretty much here. Nothing shocking, as Jane’s Addiction would say.

So I entered this week without feeling the jazz hands feeling I usually get when my favorite reality shows are on. And as Cat the Amazon Goddess meandered onto the stage, I smiled. Not because I have a huge girl crush on said tall Brit blonde bombshell, but because she was wearing a dress I would actually wear myself. Which made me love her more. Which made my kids go, ” Mom, you have that weird look on your face again.”

Our dancers, bless their tired, blistered feet, have the task of doing two-TWO!- dances this week. Twice the awesomeness, or twice the disaster? Worse- it could be twice the mediocrity, and that just won’t do.

I loved Melissa and Ade’s pas de deux last week. En pointe ballet on a televised dance show? On a channel that isn’t PBS, no less? Mon dieu, quelle surprise! But it showed that Ade lacks foot technique, and i felt some of his personality was sapped by the serious nature of the BALLET! mentality. So when he and Melissa hit disco, I had hopes that it would soar. And Ade did. Melissa… not so much. She was sloppy, and it ended up making the whole dance sloppy. Her fall at the end basically confirmed to me she wasn’t on her game ( dancers fall all the time, but Ade stopped her from a giant ass pound on the ground). And those costumes- Melissa looked like she was wearing a rejected proto type for Rainbow Brite, and Ade clearly raided Huggy Bear’s finer threads. Shiny, was all I could think of. Needless to say, I was not as amazed as the judges were saying, and I honestly think Melissa is the weakest lady left.

Kupono and Kayla luck out with a Mia Michaels contemporary piece about addiction. Mia is a genius, we have clearly established that the only person I love more on this show than Mia is Adam, who tweeted at one point that he will not be on the show again till the finale ( cue bawling in the corner). But I digress… Kupono is totally compelling in this dance as addiction, and Kayla, with her impeccable feet and gorgeous lines, is emotionally wrenching as the addict trying to escape. Contemporary dances dealing with difficult themes are prone to pretension. Not this dance. It was jaw droppingly great, powerful and heartbreaking. Then Nigel bitches about Kayla’s hair. Are your FREAKIN” kidding me?????

Caitlin and Jason are stuck with couple killer the foxtrot, and it was- fine. Jason was way to stiff ( he was desperately trying to maintain his frame and just came off looking like he had a pole up his ass). It felt slow and joyless. Not enough actual foxtrot, to much acrobatics and lifts ( although the lifts were great). It could have been a moderately quick waltz for all the lack of fun ( and the foxtrot can be tremendously fun if you have the right partner). And then the judges were a little too kind in their critiques. I know people feel like they were throwing Caitlin and Jason under the bus. I don’t.

Philip and Jeanine ended up with Russian folk. Wha’? I know nothing about Russian folk, but it looked wildly out of place on the show and so all I can say is… Wha’? I hope that Philip and Jeanine manage to hang on, but they will be one of the bottom three couples.

Randi and Evan, who are both still so friggin’ cute, get a Tabby Nap ( I am NOT calling them Nappy Tab ever) hip hop routine that suits them. No one will ever mistake those two sweet people for gangstas. And the dance itself was fine. But the point of hip hop is the rough side of it. Sweet doesn’t bring out the best of hip hop. In fact, it wasn’t hip hop, it was Prep Hop. Sweater vests? Really?

Brandon and Janette have become my favorite dance couple despite the fact I can’t really stand Brandon. But a good dancer is a good dancer, and he’s a great dancer. They get the always difficult Argentine tango and blow my mind. Her salsa dancing back ground helps her with the strong lines and sharp angles of the dance, and his strength makes their lifts larger than life. Not only is it the best dance so far, it’s one of the best of the season. Nigel says nothing off the top of his critiques, but gives them a standing ovation.

Cat, still looking scrumptious in her classy dress, then tells us next week is the partnership trades. No one will be dancing with the same person. Poor Evan is all I can think.

Melissa and Ade return with a waltz. And she’s better than him this time. Her rises and falls, her extensions, her lines are all superior. He is a great base for those stunning lifts, but his actual waltz steps are very flat footed and not as elegant as they need to be. But he does do a flawless pirouette.

Kayla and Kupono are given the most recognizable dance music form a Broadway show in the last fifty years with ” Dance At the Gym” ( West Side Story), but it seems wrong somehow without the traditional Robbins choreography. But Joey Dowling’s new step are in keeping with the Robbins tradition and I adore her. Too bad Kupono couldn’t find the right emotional beats on this one.  It’s ultimately sweet and light, but lacking any urgency or heat.

Jason and Caitlin get a Mandy Moore lyrical jazz piece that was gorgeous but empty. I never felt compelled to watch a dance by a choreographer I usually can’t avoid immersing myself. That wans’t the choreographer’s fault, as stylistically the dance was one the superior numbers of the night. Caitlin and Jason just don’t do it for me. She’s an ice princess, he’s a wooden block.

Philip and Jeanine score a jive, and it’s pretty friggin’ awesome. Sloppy, but awesome. It’s cheeky, sly fun, and Philip, even with the slip and some foot work errors, is clearly learning. Jeanine is frankly carrying them when they aren’t doing hip hop, but both are so tremendously likable, even with a plac ein the bottom three, I don’t think they’ll go home ( Philip’s place as the last of the hip hoppers probably solidifies him, too).

Evan and Randi got the samba, choreographed by former contestants Pasha and Anya. And the choreography was strong and unique. But Randi and Evan both seemed timid dancing the sexually aggressive dance, and I never bought it for a second. The lift transitions seemed awkward and slowed the dances down significantly, the extensions were weak, and there was little ass shaking. A disappointment all round from this charming and sweet duo.

My notes on Brandon and Janette’s Wade Robson jazz routine is a mere four words: precise, smooth, synched, flawless. It was all these things and more. It was fun, charming, modern- Robson’s name in the dance world is at the point it’s whispered in hushed, reverent tones, and routines like this is why. The dance of the season.  That is as close to perfection as it gets, folks.

The partner trade next week worries me. There are couples who have ridiculous chemistry together right now. I’m scared that some of the great from this week will be lost again as they search to settle into their new relationships.

Overall:

Brandon and Janette

Kayla and Kupono

Melissa and Ade

Philip and Jeanine

Caitlin and Jason

Evan and Randi.

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And we have our top nine couples. Last week’s elimination of Paris and Tony was the right call.

Lil’ C is this weks guest judge. ( Adam Shankman tweeted earlier today he won’t be back till the finale- *sob*).

Evan and Randi are up first with the jive. I thought they would nail it. They didn’t. Their flick kicks were surprisingly weak. But it was a solid routine danced well ( Louis Van Amstel has slid into the role of  SYTYCD choreographer like I do into love with guys name Zach… easily and with style). They had good synchronization and I did love Evan’s split jump.

Ade and Melissa were given an odd Sonya routine. Sonya is always an odd choreographer. I love her as much as I hate her. And I thought that Melissa and Ade were strong, fierce, and perectly in sync with each other. I love Melissa’s feet. Ballerinas always have perfect points.

Caitlin and Jason, neither hiphoppers, are stuck with a Shane Sparks hiphop routine. They did fine with it, but it wasn’t typical hiphop and it lacked a certain ferocity. Jason was better than Citlin, who was clearly out of her element.

Brandon and Janette are saddled with a couple killer damce for the second week in a row with disco. And they were solid, save for a small trip towards the end by Janette. It was fine, with some great lifts that showed off Brandon’s strength and Janette’s flexibility. But was it worthy of the over the top judges praise? No.

Asuka and Vitolio get the waltz as their dance, and it’s lovely. The waltz is rarely an exciting dance, so you have to step it up in the elegance and emotional departments, and they did. Too bad Vitolio is such an ass. The steps were a little off at times, but I love that death spiral.

Oh. God. Bryan Friedman.

Max and Kayla get “pop jazz” ( fer chrissakes, that’s not a style, and they can’t make it one). But it’s the strongest routine so far, expertly danced by two very talented dancers. Both Max and Kayla are extremely charismatic while they dance, and it was hard to take my eyes off them.

Jonathan and Karla are up next. Stacy Tookey is from SYTYCd Canada, and she did some of the best routines last year. Glad to see her hit the mothership. And her contemporary dance was exquisite. It was emotional and gentle, with gorgeous lines and lifts. Jonathan was great ( not as great as Mary thought, but whatever, he was better than he was last week) and Karla shone. Wow.

Phillip and Jeanine are doing a tango. Poor Phillip. Hope he’s okay.

And he is not. Those lines were weak, the steps were simple but careless, the lifts were awkward, and they dropped frame numerous times. Sad, really.

Ashley and Kupono have to wow us in hiphop ( stank faces on, everyone!). And while it was better than the first hiphop routine, it was not at all fantastic. Stong step, but the dance didn’t seem to go anywhere.

Top three: Jonathan and Karla, Max and Kayla, and Asuka and Vitolio.

Bottom three: Caitlin and Jason, Phillip and Jeanine, Ashley and Kupono.

See you tomorrow night.

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So the voting rounds of So You Think You Can Dance has begun and I’m back!

The prelim rounds gave us some great stories and one great dancer to watch ( I’m a huge Evan fan, but I cannot do what he does). So I enter my annual SYTYCD love fest with the hope that I will see great, Hot Tamale train worthy dancing.

Tonight’s third judge is personal fave- Mr. Adam Shankman.

And we start off well with Phillip and Jeanine’s hiphop routine. I love the story, and Jeanine surprised me with all that ballet training by being a credible hiphop dancer ( I knew Phillip would shine). It leads to Mary’s first scream of the season.

Asuka and Vitolio disappoint with their dull, humorless Broadway dance. Not good.

Jonathan and Karla’s cha cha was really unpleasant. It lacked any significant cha cha steps.  Jonathan had the hip action but no real spice. Don’t get the judges love at all.

Randi and Evan’s jazz number, though, was steamy, sexy, HAWT. Those feet were perfect, the lines spectacular, and I loved every second of it. Evan remains my fave, and Unitard girl Randi has bumped up a few notches.

Paris and Tony do another hiphop number. For being a hiphop dancer, Tony disappointed me. They both hit the steps, but the rebound didn’t exist.  The dance came off as amateurish and slow.

Caitlin and Jason get Bollywood this week. Bollywood is counter intuitive to dance too for Western style dancers like Caitlin and Jason. It requires flat feet and wonky hands. But they nailed it. Fun, vibrant, charming.

Janette and Brandon pull the contestant killer Foxtrot. The lifts were divine. But the actual foxtrot step- mediocre. Brandon did show much more personality than he did at any point of Vegas week. Janette is a saucy thing, too.

Ashley and Kupono score a Wade Robson “jazz” number ( it looked more contemporary). It was a high concept dance, and I’m still processing. The dancing was stellar, I must admit. But the character and theme was odd and distracting to me.

Melissa and Ade have contemporary. And it’s gorgeous, fluid, pretty, stunning, romantic. I loved it, loved it, loved it.  The judges point about quiet power resonates. Strong male dancers sometimes forget to take it down a notch when in a quiet dance like this one.

Kayla and Max are stuck with the samba. The samba has always been my least favorite dance, as it can look like a train wreck when done incorrectly. But Max ( trained in ballroom) and Kayla ( not trained in ballroom at all) not only nailed it, they threw down the gauntlet and told everyone to come and steal it if they want it. Stunning.

Top three couples:

Max and Kayla

Randi and Evan

Caitlin and Jason

Bottom Three

Paris and Tony

Asuka and Vitolio

Jonathan and Karla

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Idol is being self congratulatory again. I know it’s a ratings powerhouse, but this is ridiculous. It’s not like Simon Fuller has discovered the cure for cancer.

Gwen asks why they are wearing white. Oy.

I’m looking forward to tonight. All the pressure is off. But can Kris and Adam sing together without sounding totally weird?

Kris was leading on Dial Idol this morning, but by negligible numbers. Kris also barely won the TV Guide poll. I’m just passing this on for info sake.

Kris and Adam’s mics don’t work. Ha!

The top thirteen launch into a haphazard version of Pink’s ” So What”. The thirteen sound atrocious together. They always have. ” And you’re a tool” made the cut. Snickers. Awful off key notes left and right. Last year’s top twelve were truly much better as a collective.

RyRy=smarmy ass.

David!!!!! ” Permanent”!!!! Whoot! And he sounds great. God, I’ve missed him on this show. And everyone buy the song.

Idol Awards- a moment of levity. Some awful performances. Everyone laugh at the deluded.But we get NickNorman again. God, I love the guy.

Lil sings with Queen Latifah, and The Queen sings circles around the Lil one.

Jason Mraz!!! With Alexis and Anoop. I love this song. I love Mraz. I love Alexis and Anoop. I love this. Best of the current Idol performances so far.

We get a Kris tape piece. We found him in Kentucky, remember? He’s such a sweet guy. And he sings ” Kiss A Girl” with Keith Urban. He sounds good on the song. I’m not a big fan of this Keith song, but whatever, they sound great.

The girls are now singing Fergie’s ” Glamorous”. Are you kidding? Fergie can’t sing either. Jasmine is heinous. There is no melody to this song. Fergie comes out and “sings” “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. Ugh. Now the Black Eyed Peas come out to join there wayward girl and launch into whatever this song is ( I’ve been immersed in Green Day’s new album- it’s a classic. I’ve been avoiding BEP at all costs). Why the sudden cut to the Idol sign and no sound?

More Idol awards. Best Attitude. And Bikini Girl is on the list. The only moment all season I liked Kara. And then Kara joins Bikini Girl on stage and sings circles around the girl. ( Kara can sing. Not spectacularly, but she can.)

Ally!!!!! Singing “Time After Time” with Cyndi Lauper. Awesome. Allison loses the lyric a bit. They both sound good in their quirky way. The chorus is gorgeous. I love you, Ally Cat.

Danny is singing “Hello”? SACRELIGE!!!!!!!

But Lionel Richie… well, he’s cool in a cheesy ass way. Too bad he’s singing with DWP. I don’t like this song at all though. Just like DWP. Now some ” All Night Long”. DWP sucks donkey balls.

Now we get Adam’s tape piece in San Fransisco. He kept his promise, indeed. Adam is singing with …, wait, what the fuck is he wearing? He launches with ” Beth”?  KISS!!!!!!!!!!!! KIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! ” Detroit Rock City” is my fave KISS song, and then we get ” Rock And Roll All Nite” and I love Adam right now. Awesomeness.

Still prefer Cyndi and Ally. Just saying.

Carlos Santana is awesome.  Some ” Black Magic Woman”. Loving it. Some Matt Giraud who sounds pretty good with the man. Little off in the lower register. Now some ” smooth”. Love this song. It’s ten years old, you know. Adam joins in. Jorge… this must be the guy song. Kris really sounded good on his line. DWP sucks still.  Nope, the girls join in.  The thirteen together still sound shitty.

Ford video. Whatever.

David gives Adam and Kris cars. I love that. All three seem so nice.

Steve Martin, who is my comedy hero. He’s joining Sarver and Megan. WTF? This is the weirdest thing ever on Idol. Megan still is bizarre. Total surrealist moment.

Gwen has informed me we are watching SYTYCD. Oh boy.

Um… The guys are singing ” If Ya Think I’m Sexy”. Why?  I’m not even a Rod Stewart fan and I feel sorry for the dude. Rod does come out next, and he begins  “Maggie May”, the only Rod Stewart song I believe is perfect. Rod’s voice hasn’t been the same since his surgery. The grit’s there, but the power he had is gone. Sad, really. The song is still awesome, though.

Another Idol award. Oh, shit. Shriekianna. SHIT! I was hoping to avoid the drama queen. Shit. This is bad comedy but I can’t help laughing at the absurdity.

So we are now twenty minutes out of the scheduled end time of Idol. I’m expecting an Adam-Kris moment.

And we get “We Are The Champions”. Queen on Idol. Awesome. Adam is in his zone on this song. Gwen just saw Brian Mays and screamed. Awesome vocals by our top two. I am loving this more than I really should. The swaybots are annoying, but that’s not new. Fucking awesome.

Idol finale returns with Kris and Adam. RyRy goes to Simon and tells Simon to give advice. Simon is not snarky at all. A rare moment. The dude comes out with the results. Almost 100 million votes cast. Dim the lights, here we go. And the winner is… KRIS ALLEN!!!!!!!!

The dark horse actually won the thing? Holy shit!

Off the radar for most of the series, Kris Allen just won American Idol.

He looks stunned and flabbergasted. He can barely form a sentence. Adam looks genuinely happy for Kris.

Wow.

Too bad Kris has to sing that bullshit song again. Poor guy. I forgive the pitchiness and everything right now.

It was an interesting season of Idol, too be sure. And I’ll be back in January to do it all again. Because Idol and I will never break up despite the hell it puts me through.

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Today I got a record number eleven spam comments. Oh, and about 65 people read my essay about the modern sitcom. But I digress. Idol never gets me major hits, Chuck and The Big Bang Theory do. Which reminds me- look for upcoming posts on DTTMOT about the finales for all my faves. It’ll just take some time. Chuck will be first. I’m still waiting on my renewal news ( increasingly positive, increasingly looking like Fridays). I was afraid to write it lest my favorite super spy be cancelled out of my life, making me sad. But I am clearly completely off topic here. I’m just writing till the show starts. And promptly beat the 100 word mark by talking about nothing.

So the show begins with a Ben Stiller/Hank Azaria/Bill Hader/Jonah Hill product placement shill crapfest that is honestly the funniest thing to happen on Idol this season ( intentionally funny, I mean. There were many unintentionally hilarious moments). Time waster.

RyRy descends from the glowing steps of death. He informs us 88 million votes came in and 1 million separated first and second ( now I’m really worried about Kris).

Katy Perry is a crappy live singer. A train wreck not involving the Idols tonight in the making.

The Ford video sucks yet again.

Alicia Keys is now onstage.  Another Idol Gives Back moment.  Love her. Noah, the kid she has been talking about, comes out and sings. I can’t do anything but smile. Bright bouncy world music.

We get the hometown journeys tonight. God.

So the trio are backstage and Danny gets called out first. We go with him back to Milwaukee ( Schlemiel… Schlimazel… Hassenpfeffer Incorporated…). I get hometown visits are biased propaganda pieces, so I ignore it and read Tweets instead. ( Collin, I need to find you…). Then the lights dim and RyRy talks… do we need to be reminded about Simon’s insulting to Elliot Yamin “Master class” comment.Then off to the couch.

Kris goes home to Conway (Twitty) Arkansas. ( Sorry, but Conway Twitty really took his stage name from the town). OHHHH…. one of my all time fave songs!!!! “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” for  Kris. Awesomeness!!!!!!!!!! I’m loving it.  I got misty eyed with his mama. RyRy gives the rundown. Then to the couches.

Jordin Sparks and Adam’s tape are up next.  Jordin looks like she’s sparkly stripper dress. But she sounds good, if a little screamy. Not liking the song that much, though.

Adam puts on a crooked smile as he’s called out, and they talk about San Diego. A streaker?  He has insane screamers and a pretty diverse crowd. He goes back to the theater he performed with as a child (aaaaawwwwwww…). We do see the streaker, and a lot of screaming. RyRy dims the lights ( not awashed in blue this time). He recaps the critics and announces Katy Perry. Prepare to be nauseated.

Katy sings her new song, “Waking Up In Vegas With A New STD And A Bad Hangover And Prime Rib In My Teeth”. She’s awful. Terrible.

Please end my misery. No. Commercial. Assholes.

And the lights finally dim, and the first in finale is… Kris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the person going home is… DANNY! WE DID IT!!!!!

No more Gokey!!!

It’s not my perfect final two ( I miss you Allison…), but it’ll do.

I’m gonna now slam back the rest of my Marg and party.

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Fucking Idol had to remind me of Paula’s “sexy” comment for DWP last night? Why does Idol hate me so when all I do is love snark it?

Anyhoo, tonight’s Idol will be interrupted as I will watch part of the East coast Letterman feed- one of my future husbands is on, and the EC feed of Letterman coincides with the WC feed of Idol. And the mid part of Idol sucks. But it serves me right for having a nap after dinner and falling asleep.

Choreographer Paula is my favorite Paula because she was really meant to be that choreographer. She looks focused and- well, normal.

The Idols launch into their very VERY canned version of ” Shake Your Body Down”. Matt’s falsetto had been sweetened to the point of being on key. And for all of Paula’s efforts ( she really is a great choreographer- let’s give her credit where it’s due, people), the Idols CANNOT dance. Except for Adam. That theatrical training helped him a lot there.

And this week’s Ford video sucks donkeys.

This episode of Idol will now pre-empted so I can watch Jim Parsons on Letterman. Be back in ten.

I return to Idol to catch the end of KC and the Sunshine Band, and we launch back into commercial.

I discover that Lil Rounds has ( thank God) been eliminated. Whoo, one down.

Kris- safe.

Adam- safer than safe.

DWP- please kill me now… he’s effing safe. Damn it.

Anoop- silver chair of doom…

Allison and Matty-  Matt is safe.

My Allison!! Noooooooo…

David Archuleta… he’s back… Jason style…

Archie does ” Touch My Hand”.  He sounds vocally tired. I like the kid, despite all my mocking last year.

I’m bored. So bored.

So we come down to Anoop and Allison and the one heading home is… Anoop.

Kinda sad about that, I like Anoop. But Slezak called it- Anoop in about sixth place. Yeah.

Next week, folks.

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Wow, we’re moving quick this week. Did Fringe fans threaten Seacrest’s life? Or did Fox execs? (I’m betting it was the Fringsters).

Lil Rounds goes with Chaka Khan’s legendary ” I’m Every Woman” and completely butchers the modulation of the chorus, goes sharp constantly on her big notes, and is a general train wreck. That was awful. And someone muzzle her, damn it!

Simon calls it. Horrendous. Bye bye, Lil.

Kris- whom I am beginning to adore ( his version of ” Falling Slowly” is my number one song on IPod last week)- chooses… ” She Works Hard For The Money”?????? WTF?????

Wait.

Artistry, everyone. That is called artistry. He sounds good vocally and I’m kinda digging the Bedouin Soundclash-ish vibe with the music. ( I am a Bedouin Soundclash fan). Kinda cool. Like it? I think the verdict is yes.

Is Paula off her meds again?

Next up- “September” by DWP, who is wildly pitchy off the top. Why does he always go flat?  I now hate this song because Gokey is singing it. Sorry, Earth Wind & Fire.

Enough about that.

Allison sings a totally awesome, rocking version of Donna Summer’s ” Hot Stuff”. Her vocals kick ass. That may be my favoritism peeking out. And I’m a little disturbed a sixteen year old is singing this song…

Adam is next… is he gonna be crazy boy Adam or amazing singer Adam? (Some would argue they are one and the same, but I maintain he’s schizophrenic in his performance style).

He goes with ” If I Can’t Have You”. Saturday Night Fever, everyone. Finally. And it’s one of those disco love songs. And he’s just singing. And it’s a great vocal. Controlled. Even. Till the chorus, he is a little shrill. But overall, impressive. And I love the shout out to Michael Orland, who helped with his arrangement.

Matty. I have a love/hate relationship with Matty. I love him when he gets it right. He crushes my soul when he doesn’t.  Chances are he’s heading home tomorrow night, regardless ( perfect world would send DWP and Lil home, but it”s never a perfect world where Danny Gokey is concerned). Matty goes with ” Stayin’ Alive”. Ooh… iconic song… but I like it sooooo much more than those two people I hate. He’s on key, he doesn’t really try to reach Barry Gibb level falsetto. Until the end. He kept it in the Robin range. Good call.

Um, now Paula’s bowling.

Anoop looking a little less frat boy, more something with the scruff.

My baby, Emma, would just like to say ” Amoo, Amoo, Amoo it aw fyah”.

Anoop goes with yet another ballad beginning.  Seriously? He goes with ” Dim All The Lights”, which does pick up, but is still midtempo. His vocal though, is on pitch and pretty good. Brave dude to wear neon and pastels, I must say.

Randy’s hyperbole is ridiculous. Better than last year? Really?

So yeah, Top three tonight- Kris, Allsion, Adam ( in no particular order).

My bottom three- Anoop, Lil, and DWP. But the bottom three will be Anoop, Lil, and Matty, with Matt and Lil heading off home.

This bites.

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Oh. My. God. Has Idol now become a UFC grudge match? WTF is up with that opening?

RyRy looks smirky and smarmy.

Looky, the Idols did a Ford vid to J. Geils Band’s 80s cheestastic ” Freeze Frame”.

“Maniac”? Really? Idol couldn’t clear a better song that?Oh, and it was painfully live, not canned. I’m in agony.

Adam looks vaguely embarrassed.

To quote Idolatry- put the Go in Gokey. I hate the dude so much.

RyRy asks the Idols about working with Quentin last night. Coolness from Adam. I love how teenaged normal Allison is. Too bad they had to go watch a Zac Efron movie.

Time to dim the lights.

Allison- safe.

Adam- safe.

Anoop- Bottom three ( WTF? He delivered one of the best vocals all night last night). Off to the silver stools of doom.

JHud!!!!!!!!!!

My feed is all fucked up.

She looks gorgeous. She sounds great. I adore her.

Paula says she’s surprised by Anoop’s inclusion in the bottom three. Simon- not so much.

Kris and Lil- Simon gets a word in for Kris- brilliant. Lil still gets to natter on. Shut. Her. Up. RyRy does one of those stupid switcharoo things, and Lil ends up going to the silver stools of doom.

Matt and Danny- I just hate DWP sooooooo much. ” Sing it how it’s supposed to be sang”? Are you kidding?  Danny needs to GO AWAY! How the fuck do you give an edge to ” Endless Love”? That’s like saying you can give edge “My Heart Will Go On”.  Danny is safe, I’m dying, Matt goes to the SSOD.

Paula still can’t say who she thinks will go home.

Anoop gets to stay. Relief.

Miley Cyrus.  Never a great live singer, but a surprisingly competent songwriter. She sings ” The Climb”, from her new movie, and it’s a pretty good little pop song. She annoys me so many different ways ( and she’s so nasally). I give her props though for not being a wreck so much on stage like when she did ” Fly On The Wall” at the AMAs. Oooh, those big notes kinda fall flat, don’t they?

Lil and Matt. Matt and Lil…Simon would consider the save.

Love live TV when it fucks up like that.

RyRy… get the fuck to it.

And the person to go home is…Lil is safe? Fuck. Matty?No…

Shit, dude.

He starts off better than he did last night. Could it really be better than last night?  Really? Oh, hell yeah! Soooo much better. If he sang it like that last night, he would be fine and Lil would be going home. Still didn’t like the bridge shrill thing, but two lines doesn’t make it bad.

Save or not save? Come on, Simon, tell me… is it safe?

Hell yeah!!!!!!! They saved MATTY!!!!!!!!!!!!

But that means a double elimination  next week, keep that in mind.

And next week is disco week?

Oh. God. No.

That is my own personal hell.

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Quentin Tarantino, all-round pop culture geek, is this week’s mentor. I know some people have issues with this development, but I don’t. QT was a guest judge in season three ( he was a Fantasia fan), and every single one of his critiques were more spot on than any of the judges. In retrospect, he’s even more sane now while the judges are even more ridiculous.

Simon apologizes for last weeks overrun, which pissed of Fringe fans extremely ( I don’t blame them- it’s a good show, even if I don’t watch it often). Simon, ever the class act, blames the girls.

Allison tackles the legendary ” I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”, and Quentin points out her performance flaws. DC did this memorably last season, so I’m nervous for her ( it has a gigantic chorus). But she sounds so fantastic in the verse I immediately relax. She runs into pronunciation issues in the chorus, and there are a couple of bum notes in the bridge, but super solid. I hope cursed at first doesn’t apply this week. Simon finally tosses my girl some love. Yay!

Anoop to do ” Everything I Do ( I Do It For You)” and Adam to do ” Born To Be Wild”, I gather from Ryan’s throw away.

Quentin recs to Anoop to rough it up a bit, which I whole heartedly agree with ( the song is pap, let’s face it). He sounds really good, a few bum notes, but surprisingly strong vocally. He messes up the melody just enough to make it more interesting. He really is a great balladeer. The girls screamed through out. That’s what it’s about.

Adam takes on the huge classic ” Born To Be Wild”, which has always been popular on Canadian Idol ( Steppenwolf being a Canuck band and all).  I don’t like this vocal as much as ” Mad World” last week, and the arrangement seemed messy to me. The boy can sing, we have established that, but I strongly dislike it when he doesn’t control his vocals and goes all over the place. He doesn’t service the song that way, he distracts from it. This song is legendary and doesn’t need the embellishment.

Matt’s doing ” Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman”. I hate that song. Matty, you are making it really tough for me to keep championing you. QT’s advice to enunciate is valid. Matt drops sounds when he sings, and gets a bit mushy mouthed. I still hate the song. But he did it just fine for what it is.But  the bridge fell apart, and was all over the place. Man, that bites.

RyRy didn’t give me a Danny clue. DWP is a mystery… I kinda want him to do something ridiculous, like ” The Trolley Song”, because, as we know, I HATE GOKEY. ” Endless Love”… ridiculous DWPing song, right? Gawd. I hate this song as well. I feel gross right now. Missing notes, DWP. Kill me now. Kill me now. Kill me now. Kill me now. Kill me now. Kill me now. Kill. Me. Now. Please.

I need to go bathe in Lysol. Followed by bleach.

Kris does the unimaginable- he picks something NEW and INTERESTING and INDIE!!!!!!!! He goes with  the Oscar winning love song ” Falling Slowly”. He decides against the guitar, and the vocal is imperfect, but so beautiful at the same time. I’m aching at the moment. Gorgeous. Love the chorus… stunning and emotionally perfect. Welcome back, Kris.

Randy is the biggest motherfucking moron in the history of mankind.

Is Lil singing ” The Rose”, or a different song from The Rose? The problem with ” The Rose” is that it is deceptive to sing. It’s a very simple melody, but it needs to be infused with a certain emotion or it’s a massive fail. I’ve seen good singers brought down by this song, and Lil isn’t that good a singer.

There is a difference in making a song your own, people, and destroying gorgeous melodies.  The Rose, a sad love song, is NOT a gospel song. Not even close. And I think it’s not pleasant to listen to at all. And her vocal isn’t strong enough to make me feel it helps her at all. FAIL! Not good, girl. Not good at all.

It’s still running over. They do all these modifications, and they STILL go over.

Top three: Allison, Kris, Anoop.

Bottom three- Danny, Lil, Matt.

Adam- confusing the hell of me.

Shut up, Fringe is supposed to be on!!!!!

See you tomorrow tonight for the elimination, folks.

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Frankie Avalon? Really? Although he is the Teen Angel. And Allison’s hair looks as though it was done buy Frenchie. Beauty School Dropout indeed. ” Venus”, fine, whatever.

That is the worst group sing ever.  Oh. My. God. Just awful.

That was also a really bad Ford vid.

Adam, Kris, and Anoop stand up, and the judges are allowed to give their Adam critiques ( praise from all). Adam is safe.

Anoop and Kris stand there waiting, and DI had Kris at the very bottom, but he ekes it out as Anoop is in the bottom three ( to be fair to Dial Idol, Adam was the only green button, and everyone else was deemed capable of being bottom three).

If I seem a little scattered, I’m pulling a double posting duty tonight, as I am desperately trying to save Chuck from cancellation. Just so you know. Anyone want to help? Go to NBC.com and watch Chuck episodes, write to NBC, sign the petitions, and generally make a ruckus. Before we all decide to start sending pineapples. ( Chuck fans will know…)

Flo Rida comes out to “sing” ” Right Round”. This song annoys me. Loved ” Low” though.

DWP is safe. Ugh.

Matt.  Safe ( oh, thank God.)

Scott. Bottom three ( rightfully so.)

Allison and Lil.  Allison is safe, and Lil heads to the silver stools of doom.

Kellie and her little girl voice comes back to the stage and I still am not a huge fan of the girl.But her clear confusion after her song means she’s still Kellie.

Lil is safe. Mean trick on Anoop, RyRy. Fucker.

Anoop and Scott stand there, bottom two, and… Scott has the lowest number of votes. Anoop is safe ( what is up with that?)

Truthfully, it was slightly better than last night, but he still couldn’t hit that high note.

It’s a split panel, Simon tells us. They are actually discussing it. And Simon pulls his veto power out and send Scott packing. That was the right choice, he went as far as he could.

See you next week, everybody.

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An Idol favorite indeed, RyRy with the buck teeth.

Danny does a version of  “Stand By Me” which is cheesy and stupid, just like DWP himself. I’m sorry, I don’t get the appeal. Why is he number one every week. Gwenny says it’s a different version of pimping the DW type of song. He wasn’t in key for half of it. And it’s terrible. Ugh. Somebody shut him up, he pisses me off so much.

The judges are apparently still do not want their jobs back, as Randy, Kara, Paula and Simon praised that shit. Please, cursed at first, be in effect.

Kris is charming in his interviews. He tackles a good song with Don Henley’s ” All She wants To Do Is Dance”. I think it’s a bit of risk, and it doesn’t quite work for me. He’s never off key during the song, but he lacks the dramatic flair Henley himself brought to the song.  It’s to dance-rock for him, frankly, he’s much more of a singer-songwriter folkie. But I like it soooo much more than DWP.  Kara’s assessment is right in it’s jazz funk exercise vein. Kris, you may be in trouble, darlin’. Simon and Randy were unnecessarily mean to the guy. Kris at least took it well.

Lil goes with Tina ( correct on artist I am!!!!), but instead of the more aggressive ” Better be Good to Me”, she goes with the overdone ” What’s Love Got to Do With It”. There are massive pitch issues through out the song, but it’s her best performance in weeks.  The judges are mean to her, and I’m feeling very protective.

A couple of weeks ago, the judges sneered at artistry ( albeit bad artistry), but now they’re complaining the singers aren’t being artistic enough. The judges are idiots and will be fired for the rest season if they continue the damn hypocrisy.

Anoop is going with ” True Colors”? Nononononono… that song is sacred to me. Cyndi Lauper’s voice is one of those singular voices that owns the songs she sings. Don’t do that to me, Anoop.

Anoop admits he’s a jackass a bit, and he’s excited about the Tarheels win last night (Booo…).  He needs to learn to enunciate better as he sings, but he actually sings it well, if some what samey.

Scott’s version of “It’s Over ” was horribly pitchy through out. And he’s on guitar!!!!!!! ( that seems odd to me). Not even liking it at all.

Allison, I adore you. She tackles ” I Can’t Make You Love Me”, which I left off my list for two reasons- it’s been overdone, and I wasn’t sure she could pull of the maturity it requires. But her vocal was awesome, soooo much better than last week. I might buy this one on I Tunes ( for the record, this is one of my all time favorite songs).

Matt is next, and I’m worrying, as he is hit or miss.  He tackles Stevie Wonder’s ” Part Time Lover” ( shortlisted but discarded).  He’s all over the place vocally, and he’s crushing my soul.  ( For the record, this is one of my least favorite songs of all time). Not good, Matty, not good.

What were the judges listening to?

Adam is next. My friend Magicalbeck and I over on the BBAC boards have had long conversations about Adam. She’s a die hard fan who appreciates the flair of the dramatic he has, while I… don’t. I don’t mind drama, but he’s prone to overdoing it at times, and as someone who worships those who could barely eke out three chords on beat up Telecasters singing  about sniffing glue, I prefer my melodrama minimal. When Adam just sings, I love every minute of it ( ” Tracks Of My Tears” was so beautiful). I even liked ” Play that Funky Music” last week, even if it was more wacky, because wacky is fine as long as he maintains control over his voice and his stylistic choices. I must say, he has been learning quickly. Magicalbeck and I come at the Idol experience with loads of musical experience of our own  ( she in voice, me in classical piano and punk rock guitars). It makes for an interesting dialog about what constitutes good music and the subjectives of taste and style.

And Adam’s glorious version of  “Mad World” ( the Gary Jules version of the Tears For Fears Classic). I didn’t think he needed to go up in his register in the second verse like that, but it was up there with Allison for best of of night, even with the vocal shake on the last note ( truthfully, it was the first time I’ve heard him miss a note for weeks). He got a standing ovation from Simon on behalf of the judges.

Adam, Anoop, and Allison were the best of the night, everyone else was mediocre. I pick Scott, Kris, and  Danny as the worst, but I suspect Danny will be just hunky dory and poor Lil may work her way into the bottom three, with Scott heading home.

See ya tomorrow.

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We get another idiotic opening montage ( does Idol think it’s now a CBS procedural?), and a Ford Commercial that was really heinous, before the Idols launch into a halfway decent group sing. Now, I love me some ” Don’t Stop Believing”, and the opener with Allison and Kris was amazing ( they are clearly my new top two, with Matt pulling third after last night). Yes, the group sings are canned vocals, but at least this week they were decent canned vocals. And Adam’s last note- that’s what I wanted from him singing this song, which is why I wanted him to sing it last night. I am always right, and the sooner the Idols realize that, the better off they’ll all be.

This is followed by a lame ass video thing, and then RyRy divides the Idols into three groups of three. Megan, Matt, and Kris are first, then Allison, Adam, and Lil, then Danny, Scott, and Anoop.  God, are they doing this shit again?

Then, what we all have been waiting for since it was taped-

❤ ❤ ❤ DAVID COOK!!!!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

He looked FIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNE and sounded fabulous. That is all. Love the song. Mommy Beth was singing along. Then RyRy brought out some leggy blondes to hand SBF his platinum plaque. Le sigh. I miss him every focken week.

After the goodness of DC, RyRy starts the thinning of the herd.

Kris- safe

Matt- April Fools, you ain’t bottom three, you is safe!

( Ryan, you’re an asshole.)

Megan caw caw’s her way to the silver stools of doom.

Lil- safe.

Allison- bottom three ( Everyone all together now- NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!)

Collin’s future husband- safe.

Danny- safe ( Everyone all together now- NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!)

Scott- safe.

Anoop admits he deserves the bottom three slot he now has.

Next, we get a fog machine, a Lucite piano filled with bubbles, and Lady Gaga singing a bizarre version of ” Poker Face”. How’d she get away with the line ” Bluffin’ with my muffin” on the TeeVee?

RyRy begins to send people back to safety with Allison ( huge sigh of relief).

Down to Anoop and Megan and- Megan is heading home. As it should be and was decreed by me.

Simon didn’t even bother to waste time by saying there was no way in hell Megan was going to be saved. Thank God.

Megan does her weird spazz dance thing while singing, eff’s up the words, and that is the end of cool crazy chick.

RyRy announces that next weeks theme is ” The Year They Were Born”. Allison is seventeen. 1992- dudes, 1992 was an awesome year for rock!

Thank God that nightmare is over.

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Top Downloads turned out to encompass every Tunes list in the history of I Tunes. So… we got the music world on a string. What did our Idols come up with?

Anoop tackled Usher, and his ” Caught Up” was competent, but pitchy. He also lacked a certain swagger in the vocals. Simply too smooth for his own good. He is a masterful balladeer, for sure, but balladeers do not a career have anymore.

Megan, god bless her heart, tried to do Bob Marley’s ” Turn The Lights Down Low”. and failed. I really love Megan as a person, she looks like a blast. But that was horrible. Bob Marley verges on an untouchable artist ( not quite there). Very unhappy with that.

DWP came with Rascal Flatt’s ( I called the artist!!!!!). “What Hurts the Most” is a song about losing the love of your life. Yeah. Dead Wife PIMPER. And whatever the judges  are smoking needs to be banned of the planet. it may be good shit, but it’s causing them to lose their minds.

I felt gross after watching DWP sing, so I did a tequila shot in the thirty seconds Allison’s tape was rolling, and then stood stunned as she massacred ” Don’t Speak”. That was not pretty. I love her, but it really wasn’t that good. I hope the borderline positive  reviews the judges gave her singing will save her ass from the bottom. But after last week’s revelatory performance, such a let down.

Scott came out with a better haircut ( thank God), his piano, and some Billy Joel ( thank God). I knew he’d gravitate to Billy if he had the chance, and he would knock Billy out of the park. He sounded his best since the audition- confident, on key, and mellow. He knew this song backwards, and the piano was great.

Matt went with The Fray. I do not like the Fray. No. Matt needs to knock it out of the park, and he sounds off pitch immediately. On the electric piano this time, he got better vocally as the song continued, but  I’m disappointed. I really wanted him to take a real risk with Kings Of Leon or something bluesy soulful rocker style.

Lil had to go with Celine, didn’t she? Come on. That is the most ridiculous song choice ever. ” I Surrender”? It’s not even a decent Celine song “decent” and ” Celine” is an oxymoron). She has some pitchy moments. No, not feeling it. What the hell is wrong with Lil? She was awesome in her semi-final performance. This is getting to be a huge train wreck.

The judges crack pipes must have been in use during the commercial break.

Adam does Wild Cherry? He’s doing ” Play That Funky Music”? Are you KIDDING ME?????????? Adam, nonononono… I was just starting to like you. This is insane, dude. No. No. No.

But then the music starts. And it’s bass heavier, not so disco like, and a pretty interesting revision of a disco classic. He allows himself some shriely moments, but I kinda enjoyed it against my better, music cool judgement.  It’s at least new and interesting. Everyone else has been so safe.I guess I am coming around.

Did Kara just say Studio 57? Studio 54, you moron. 54.

Kris closes the night with ” Ain’t No Sunshine”. Perfect song choice for the folk dude.  He’s on piano, not breaking out the funky Bill Withers guitar licks. And I am really loving it. ” Ain’t No Sunshine” is one of my favorites songs of all time. He even does a bit of the funk on the break. Love it.

Top Three- Kris, Adam, and Scott.

Bottom three- Megan, Matt, and Danny, but I bet Danny’s safe and Anoop will be bottom three ( cursed at first).

Megan, I adore you, but it’s time to go home.

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