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Posts Tagged ‘matthew gray gubler’

To future husband number four Matthew Gray Gubler, who is a gorgeous, sexy 29 today. I still want to feed him colcannon and Guinness. Or something else.
Catch Matthew’s wonderfully complex role as Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds, Wednesdays on CBS/CTV. Also, he is in the upcoming films (500) Days of Summer and The Great Buck Howard.

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  1. The Big Bang Theory– a bit of a let down considering the glorioski ending of the Christmas/Saturnalia episode, but still, nothing better than Sheldon running down the hallway shreiking ” Don’t hurt us! Don’t hurt us! DON’T HURT US!”. BTW, the guy who plays Kripke- yes, I know people who are pissed about the ” speech impediment”, but whatever, I laughed, I’m a huge bitch and some Brits may even call me that other one I really hate- but anyhoo, I came across his Livejournal blog in my daily email reading, and he’s a crack up there, too.
  2. How I Met your Mother– will somebody hand Neil Patrick Harris the motherfucking EMMY ALREADY! God damn it, people, he was amazing this week.
  3. Criminal Minds– well, it was okay. C level for me. Wasn’t as taken in as I was on other episodes. WTF was up with MGG’s hair?
  4. 30 Rock– I wanna be Tina Fey. Still. Really, really badly. I am nowhere near that funny. Or that pretty. Damn it. I’m gonna eat another three giant M&M Chocolate chunk cookies…
  5. No House means no House and Cuddy sex watch this week. And apparently Chase and Cameron are still alive, although you could never tell from their screen time.
  6. Kevin James has the number one movie in America this week and it took in over $34 MILLION. WTF, America?
  7. Joaquin Phoenix used to be on my husbands list. Now I’m afraid to run into him in a dark alley. Come back, sexy man who played the Man In Black, and get rid of that wooly mammoth you’ve become.
  8. Obama rules.
  9. Obama will be president on Tuesday, and I’m taping MSNBC while at work. Oh, yeah, I upgraded to digital cable so I could have MSNBC, KTLA, WGN, and HBO Canada.
  10. Oscar Noms will be out on Thursday.

Anyone want to add anything. Comments are open. And yes, I avoided the news about the DC-KC breakup because- well, whatever.

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”It’s very simple. Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and, as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”
—Sheldon (Jim Parsons), explaining his new game of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, on The Big Bang Theory

” I never have any normal fans.”

Dr. Spencer Reid ( Matthew Gray Gubler), lamenting the fact yet another serial killer is a fan of his work, on Criminal Minds

“I hate New York! I’m sorry, but it’s true! Today, I was walking around PriceCo. Have you been there? It’s huge! All the stores in New York are so cramped! Every time I turn around I knock something over. I’m like some huge monster that came out of the oceans to destroy bodegas! …I’m too big for New York, okay! I’m always trying to fit into cramped little subway seats, or duck under doorways that were built a hundred and fifty years ago. “Hey, people are bigger now! Build bigger doorways! What the hell is wrong with you?” …And it’s so loud. All the time. Yes, I know it’s the city that never sleeps, but guess what? I like to sleep! I’ve been tired for eight years! Tired and scared, with black and blue marks on my elbows from trying to fit into all these tiny elf doorways! New Jersey’s great! It’s got huge stores, and lawns, and you never have to carry a cup again! For the rest of your life! I’m not afraid to say it: I love New Jersey! ”

– Marshall ( Jason Segel), ranting after spending time at Stella’s New Jersey home, on How I Met Your Mother

” I can see Russia from my house.”

-Sarah Palin ( Tina Fey), giving a press conference with Hillary Clinton ( Amy Poehler), on  SNL

”I am Shiva the destroyer and your harbinger of doom for this evening.”—Kym (Anne Hathaway) in Rachel Getting Married

Penny: Sheldon, it’s me.
Sheldon: You’re in my bedroom.
Penny: I need your help.
Sheldon: People aren’t suppose to be in my bedroom.
Penny: Well, can we talk in the living room?
Sheldon: I’m not wearing any pajama bottoms.
Penny: Why?
Sheldon: I spilled grape juice.
Penny: Well, can’t you put on other pajamas?
Sheldon: I can’t put on other pajamas, these are my Monday  pajamas! Penny, people really aren’t supposed to be in my bedroom!

– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), after she enter’s his room in the middle of the night for game playing advise, on The Big Bang Theory

Penny: I know this is none of my business, but I just… I have to ask — what’s Sheldon’s deal?
Leonard: What do you mean, “deal”?
Penny: You know, like, what’s his deal? Is it girls…? Guys…? Sock puppets…?

– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard ( Johnny Galecki), after witnessing a girl fawning over an oblivious Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), on The Big Bang Theory

Penny: Sorry the napkin’s dirty, he wiped his mouth with it.
Sheldon: I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy?!
Penny: Well…yeah, I guess. But look, he signed it!
Sheldon: Do you realize what this means?!?! All I need is a healthy ovum and I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy!
Penny: Okay, all I’m giving you is the napkin, Sheldon.

– Sheldon ( Jim Parsons) and Penny ( Kaley Cuoco), after Sheldon opens his Christmas gift, on The Big Bang Theory. This is followed by Sheldon giving her a half dozen gift baskets and the funniest hug in the history of television.

” I kissed a girl and I liked it/ the taste of her cherry chapstick.”

– Katy Perry ” I Kissed A Girl”

 “Denny is my best friend. I love him with all my heart. If I could yank that horrible disease out of his body, I would fight it and I would win. I would use every ounce of my strength and I would win, if I could — but I can’t.” 

– Alan Shore ( James Spader), in front of the Supreme Court, on Boston Legal

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Amy Poehler

Let’s face it. Amy was the best thing on SNL for years, but this year, her Hilary Clinton was as spot on as Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin- but in some ways, funnier, because Hilary appears to be totally humorless while Palin- well, she didn’t seem to mind the joke so much. ( I have not crossed over to the dark side, I’m making an observation- Dems forever…) But Add to that the fact Amy made Baby Mama really hilarious and that Palin rap ( above) was a gem in a lackluster SNL season… and she did that mere hours before going into labor, I swear. Plus,  as my friend Rose pointed out, she and husband Will Arnett ( forever Gob…) get massive cool points for naming their son Archibald. Archie. We’re living in Riverdale, too? Awesomeness!!!!!

( President-elect) Barack Obama

We Liberal types hoped it never had to be said, but we knew it would have to come. And when Obama stood on a stage and gave his speech on race in America, he gave the speech of the election cycle. You would have to be hard hearted and possibly the worlds greatest cynic if there were not moments in that speech that moved you. Racism isn’t over, but there was a huge victory in the desire to see it diminish even more.

Ari Graynor

When you have Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in a movie, you already have a good start. But Ari Graynor’s role as the lost drunk best friend- that was priceless. And the scene with the gum- I never laughed so hard while trying not to throw up before. There’s even award buzz.

Robert Sean Leonard

What does he have to do to get some Emmy love? House is an easy role- it’s loud and obnoxious, and easy to see. Leonard’s Wilson is the more difficult role- you put up with such insanity, you are a martyr. But when he gets the story he deserves, he delivers, and breaks your heart in the process. His performance in ” Wilson’s Heart” was devastating.

Hugh Dillon

To us Canucks, Hugh Dillon is a legend- front man to the Headstones, awesome mohawk, and the lead in the cult classic Hard Core Logo. But in Flashpoint and Durham County, he proved himself more than capable as an actor- he was the heart of the former, the indisputable star. Astonishingly understated and moving.

Anne Hathaway and Bill Irwin

She plays against type as a destructive, self absorbed, vicious creature who comes home from rehab for her sister’s wedding. He’s a loving, placating, nurturing, heartbroken father. She’ll get an Oscar nod, he’ll be overlooked ( shame, Academy, shame!) But they are both absolutely luminous.

Tom Bergeron

The man makes DWTS bearable. Quick on his feet funny always wins.

Jane Lynch And Matthew Gray Gubler

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Matthew Gray Gubler just gets better and better as Dr. Spencer Reid, and the popularity of Spencer-centric episodes among CM fans means we can’t get enough of him ( many fan fave lists include Spencer-centric episodes). But the occasional appearance by Jane Lynch as Diana Reid lifts the show up even further. Emmy chances for Gubler in a crowded drama field seems unlikely but that’s a shame, as his performances in ” Elephant’s Memory”, ” Minimal Loss”, ” The Instincts”, and ” Memorium” ( above, top) were astonishing. Lynch, though, deserves an Emmy award for underplaying ( and there by, giving a true performance as opposed to award bait) the schizophrenic Diana, and if she doesn’t get one, CM enters my list as shows that Emmy voters will never get ( with Gilmore Girls and Buffy- seriously.)

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Emmy.

That’s my word and I’m sticking to it.

Jane Lynch deserves a freaking Emmy.

Those of us who spend way too much time watching movies by… say… Christopher Guest… are very familiar with funny Jane Lynch, who was delightful in Best In Show and A Mighty Wind ( one of my top twenty movies of all time- I should post that list…) and I love her. I adore her. And her turn as Diana Reid is one for the ages. I commented last week on how she’s not portraying Diana as a stereotypical TV schizophrenic. She doesn’t appear troubled. She just is. And I love that about her on Criminal Minds.

Oh, and what an episode we got this week. Our beloved genius Dr. Reid has a huge chip on his shoulder, and as brilliant as he is, he still allowed emotion to color his investigative skills. Top that with an exquisitely raw performance by Matthew Gray Gubler and you have what is the best episode of the series. Bar none. Kudos as well to writers Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie for crafting an amazing script that allows for character growth of the highest calibre mixed with the psychology and crime fighting we love to see.

This episode picks up the day after the previous. The team has stayed in Vegas a night. Prentiss is paying for it with a hangover. Reid informs the team he would like  to stay and ” visit his mother”. Yeah, right, we know Reid avoids Bennington Sanitarium like the plague if he can help it. Morgan knows better, but plays along. So Reid treks to the local precinct and asks to see all the files on Riley Jenkins. He meets the cop who responded to the scene. The family was the original group of suspects, but the detective never liked them for it. Reid has an alternative theory, but doesn’t share it with our neighborhood Friday. He instead takes the files back to his hotel room- where Morgan and Rossi are watching Y&R on the TV ( thank you, Ed, for that cookie! For those in the know, the producers like to leave little fan pieces called cookies- Reid driving is a cookie, the inside to any team members house is a cookie, the name Andy Swan is a cookie, and the fact Shemar Moore is watching Y&R- major cookie. Mrs. Fields cookie worthy). Morgan can’t believe that Reid keeps trying to get away with lying to profilers who see him every day. Rossi insists that they are here to help Reid sort out his subconscious mind scrambles and if they had a suspect. Reid informs them that he has one- his father.

Truth be told, I actually feel very little sympathy for William Reid, but my own father issues may have something to do with that as well. Spencer has every right to be pissed at the man. Who abandons their ten year old son and schizophrenic wife?  Who abandons their ten year old son with their schizophrenic wife? But those scenes in Revelations now make more sense.  But William Reid is surprised to see Spencer ( Spencer seems ready to punch his father when they meet up, but instead lashes out with arcane facts- the best way to fight is to say you can’t possibly resemble someone you haven’t seen in nearly two decades). But he is not shocked by the fact Spencer would see him as a murderer in a dream. ” I stopped being surprised by Spencer’s mind a long time ago,” he admits. Spencer is unimpressed by anything William has to say.

Spencer Reid started out in season one a quiet, meek human computer, good for exposition and facts. His emotions ranged from A to C.  It wasn’t till ” L.D.S.K.” we got a little something from Reid,  and he grew a bit in the last two thirds of the season. ” Sex, Birth, And Death” was a real gut kick of emotion, and the one that proved how conflicted Reid was. Reid has a tendency to identify with the unsubs more often than not, and to be that brilliant with that much internalized anger must make for one troubled angry young man. You know everything, but try to deny feeling anything. He’s a walking example of a John Osborne character is Osborne wrote CBS crime shows instead of kitchen sink dramas. Here, Spencer is a boiling cauldron of fierce emotions. He seems willing to sacrifice anything and everything to nail the person who hurt him the most in this world, even as everyone around him keeps saying that William Reid doesn’t fit the profile. The arrival of a possible real suspect doesn’t faze Spencer. He plows ahead, and in his determination to prove his dream the truth, he sends his mother over the edge, causing a spastic freak out. Jane Lynch ( glowing here) does the most graceful melt down on TV. Even here, in the most stereotypically crazy moment, she somehow underplays it, and seems lucid enough to recognize the truth in the face of her son’s painful accusations directed at a man she still feels a connection to ( is it me, or does she still wear a ring on her left ring finger?).  Spencer, even as the evidence mounts to point the finger at Gary Michaels, is convinced everyone is trying to protect William Reid by producing a more obvious, and therefore convenient suspect. When Michaels turns up in CODIS as a murder victim, and the real truth about the bloody clothes William Reid burned in the backyard BBQ pit comes out, Reid is almost shell shocked by it. He admits to his momentarily reunited parents that he was wrong about everything. William admits that he left because the secrets were too much to bear, no matter how hard he tried to keep it all together. I suspect, due to ” Revelations” scene moments, that Diana Reid went downhill after the incident. And then, sounding like the sad ten year old he seems to still be at moments, Spencer looks at his father and says ” You could have come back.” Even a genius can believe in the myth of his divorced parents somehow getting back together again. Even when he’s now twenty seven.

The B story this week was about JJ. JJ had her baby, folks, a boy named Henry. Poor Jordan lost out on two weeks of training as JJ went into labor early. But JJ had her baby. Thing I love about CM- even the woman going into labor scene was atypical of TV story telling. No one panicked ( except JJ- she was in labor, that should happen). Hotch, Prentiss, and Garcia were family, talking her through it and aiding her without freaking out. When Reid finally gets home, he visits JJ, who asks him to be Henry’s godfather. Reid is hesitant- babies are not his thing, he has believed- but he takes one look at Henry and the emotions run high. One call, and Henry is in CalTech, although Yales pretty good, too. It was Spencer’s safety school.

Overall- amazing. So good. Performances all around were great, but again, the show would have fallen apart if Matthew Gray Gubler and Jane Lynch do not play with the levels of subtlety they do. Understated performances by these two anchor the story, and they both shine. Jane Lynch right now is the front runner in my upcoming annual Pedalicious awards. Just so you know. There’s still… six weeks left to try and stop her, you know. And Gubler- he keeps impressing me as an actor. He’s always been charismatic and charming, but these last two episodes show his astonishing range and his control of that range. Blow me out of the water, Gubes. You deserve a shot at Emmy gold yourself. And I thought you deserved a nod last year for “Elephant’s Memory”.

Grade- A+ ( A++ for realsies, but I really shouldn’t be ridiculous with my grades, you know).

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The only episodes I have trouble with on CM are the ones featuring children. ” What Fresh Hell”, ” P911″, ” Seven Seconds”- each of these episodes deals with a missing child, and as a mom, it freaks me out. ” Seven Seconds” was particularly frightening- my middle daughter was six at the time it aired.

So needless to say, ” The Instincts” really got to me. Even the fact that Reid was the central force in the script didn’t make me cry an ocean full of tears.

And Reid. Oh, my Reid. You have grown since season one, and the hell they have put you through has created quite the conundrum. All the torture from Tobias, the abandonment by Gideon, the fact you cannot stop the bad memories in “Elephant’s Memory”- you are finally breaking down walls, and it’s honestly going to make you a better profiler. Really. Trust Hotch in this.

We open on Reid, Hotch, and Prentiss searching a house, guns drawn. Reid wanders down a hall, and discovers a basement. Down they go, to discover the body of a six year old boy. Sad. Both Prentiss and Hotch are almost deferential to Reid… and then a baby shows up. Turns out Reid’s dreaming on the plane. Now why Reid is asleep on the plane at this moment is not clear ( late night Babylon 5 marathon, perhaps?), but whatever, it allows for some Emily ribbing and some Reid deflecting ( turns out Reid doesn’t believe in Freudian dream analysis- although he points out later in the episode ” Jung still has his merits.”) We are going to Vegas, folks- Reid’s hometown. Mom’s still there, locked up at the hospital. But Reid’s working, so mom’s not at the forefront of his mind at the moment. It’s the five year old boys- one who was discovered dead after missing for a week, and the other one who disappeared the day before.

Mom and Dad are reacting ” separate”. Dad is freaked out, emotional, a wreck, what one would believe is the stereotypical reaction of a parent of a lost child. Mom is amost catatonic- what I’m sure is another reasonable, realistic, but not nearly as stereotypical reaction. Both are struggling, but Mom’s not wanting to engage much. Dad will do anything the FBI says.

Reid and Morgan hit the M.E.’s office, and discover that the boy was smothered, his digestive system shrunken, but no signs of malnutrition. No I.V. marks leaves them all puzzled. Rossi and Prentiss, at the dump sit, try to figure out how the child was left in an obvious place without anyone seeing the vehicle ( I love the swipe CM writers took at yhe CSI phenomenon- it is Vegas, baby, and Grissom’s team apparently left a mess for the FBI profilers, making the job a little more difficult).

Ina a particularly touching scene, the mom points out to JJ that she does blame her husband for the kidnapping being allowed to occur ( he encouraged  her to allow their son to walk to a friend’s house alone) and that she’s frozen. She had discovered a chocolate bar under his pillow- strictly against the rules, but she left it. ” I don’t want him to think he’s in trouble for breaking the rules,” she says. She asks JJ if she knows the gender of her baby. JJ’s having a boy. Mom chokes up.

The unsub calls- he likes to taunt the parents. And he does a good job. Garcia is unable to triangulate, but discovers the unsub is in city limits. Thank heavens for small miracles- it at least keeps the search focused in the city. Reid and Morgan take over for Hotch and JJ, in case the unsub calls again.

Reid wakes up in the night, and walks downstairs to the basement. He finds a small body behind the dryer. Rossi and Morgan come up behind him. There’s no forced entry. ” Why does that matter?” Reid asks. No forced entry means he knew his attacker. All of a sudden, Reid rips his shirt open and he’s covered in leeches. He screams for Morgan to get them off. Turns out Reid’s dreaming again, and this time, he scared the crap out of our couple with his screams. Morgan manages to calm him down, but Reid knows he didn’t help the situation.

Hotch asked the parents of our new victim to go to the funeral of the previous victim to try and draw the unsub out of the woodwork. Dad is all for any plan, but Mom is angry about having to watch a child being buried. The profile is pretty basic- white male, middle class, focused on the parents, four wheel drive vehicle, remorse- usual babble.

Reid is in the missing child’s bedroom, observing. Reid mentions that he had no dinosaur toys- just books, notebooks, filled with poem and songs. He confides in Morgan that he has had a variation of this dream since he was a young child. Morgan suggests to take time off. Reid actually seems annoyed by the suggestion.

At the funeral, mom uses her natural fear instinct to feel the presence of the unsub watching her. Reid, though, gets the distinct impression that he has been there before. Rossi and Prentiss notice creepy guy filming the funeral with his cell phone. They move in. He is forced to quietly leave as to not to disturb the service. Rossi and Prentiss tear into him at headquarters. Reid is obseving when Morgan brings in a file- Riley Jenkins, a six year old boy who was assaulted and murdered when Reid was four. Riley was the name of Reid’s imaginary friend as a child. In the meantime, our creepy guy turns out to be a preferential sex offender, but not our murderer.

The unsub calls again. He knows the FBI is there now, and demands to speak to them. Hotch takes over. The unsub finally gets to mom, and she steals the phone back and begs for her child back. REid, reading the transcript, deciphers something- the unsub is actually a woman, and possible institutionalized.  A new profile- but unalbe to break into complete psych files leads Reid to his mother’s doctor. While the doctor goes to help by talking to various administraors, he gets to see his mom ( the luminous Jane Lynch- genius casting, CM).  I love their relationship- he’s brilliant, as is she, but she’s crippled by schizophrenia, and he fears it. The are intellectual equals, but he’s always her baby. He can’t lie to her, although he tries. Mom’s just know. ” We’re animals, Spencer, we feel things”, she tells him.  The doctor can’t find specifics, but informs him that release is sometimes predicated on whether they stay medicated. Diana Reid tells Spencer that she went off her meds while pregnant. The Reid clues in. Women overwhelmingly kidnap newborns. If the psychosis is deep enough, a woman might kidnap a child. And she’s breast feeding them.

The rest if the team uses good old fashioned police work and Garcia to use the video tapes of the funeral and find our girl- who had been institutionalized and had just had a baby, who was taken by social services. She’s recreating the loss of her baby. They go off after her, but she’s set a fire with what appears to be a child in her arms. Reid drives up ( Reid drives! Whoot!) and follows the team into the house, and discovers Michael (and how adorable was he picking up that kid!).  She throws the bundle into the fire, but it’s baby toys in a blanket. Our unsub goes back to lockdown. Our kidnapped child goes back to mom and dad. Reid asks to stay in Vegas for the night ( leading Hotch to ask Morgan ” Can you think of anything to do in Vegas for a night?”). Reid has decided to stay with his mother for a visit and a sleepover. But he’s dreaming again. This time, he’s alone, no team to back him up. There is a man bent over the body. Reid demands to see the man’s face. The man slowly turns around. Reid, gun drawn, pointed at our unsub, looks stunned as he whispers ” Dad?”. Willaim Reid has popped up again.

Excellent performances by Reed Diamond and Kari Matchett as our victim’s parents. They were toanlly perfect. Jane Lynch, as always, is amazing. Her Diana Reid maybe crazy, but she doesn’t play her as a whack job. The woman has a doctorate, is clearly intellegent, and even years later, can realize her illness needs to be managed by medication, and can recollect that being without it can terrorize her. But I was moved this week by Matthew Gray Gubler- genius he may be, our Spencer Reid, but he’s more complex than geeky beginnings allowed us to believe.  And certainly more troubled. Gubler is growing as an actor as well, and his eyes are amazingly expressive. The last shot of him is etched in my memory- the perfect balance of fear and disbelief. Next weeks resolution should be stunning.

Grade- A

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reid and morgan

reid and morgan

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Confession time:

A) I bought all three episodes of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog– Neil Patrick Harris, how I wish you were straight, but I’ll settle with you being my GBFF- but… I haven’t found time to watch them yet. I am a horrible, horrible person. Whedon fans, throw me out of the club. I deserve it.

B) Criminal Minds and House are airing opposite each other tonight. I’ll be watching CM. I am aware it’s on tomorrow, too, but damn, I love my show. But no recap review till after tomorrow. There are spoilers and there is giving away entire episodes.

C) I bought two Miley Cyrus songs on I Tunes, under the guise of buying them for my daughter ( Happy Birthday, Sweetie!) but they’re really for both of us. I’ll get my music geek card pulled for that.

D) Speaking of which, the most played song on my I Pod last week was the Jonas Brothers’ ” SOS”.

E) I have officially given up on Fringe. It breaks my heart, because I love Joshua Jackson and JJ Abrams, but I am not getting into it the way I got into Buffy or X-Files. I’m sad. Where is my slice of network sci-fi heaven?

F) Currently reading my screenplay, which I finished in first draft and am now editing. Stuff not mine?  Richard Brautigan. I bought a collection that includes In Watermelon Sugar and I’m going to tackle the Joycean labyrinth.

G) But I’m also reading a book called I Hate Myself And I Want to Die, which is about the most depressing songs of all time. And is hi-fucking-larious.

H) Yes, I am watching Dancing With the Stars, as I have no life.

I) I will be watching So You Think you Can Dance Canada on Wednesday because MARY’S ON!!!! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

J) FAvorite song this week is – duh duhn DUUUUUUHHHHHN!!!!- tHe Isley Brother’s ” Shout Parts 1&2″. Awesomeness.

K) I am starting to prep various year end lists. I will also take suggestions for any type of list you’d like to see. I do the typical Song, Album, Movie, TV Show lists. I’d like to know if there is anything else you want me to talk about. Drop a line in comments or whatever.

L) Some eye candy:

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Checking my blog traffic today, I notice spikes every time I mention Criminal Minds, Matthew Gray Gubler, and David Cook. So, in order to keep you coming back, here are my gratuitous mentions of Criminal Minds, Matthew Gray Gubler, and David Cook. And for good measure, I’ll throw in Jason Segel, even though you really can’t have him, he’s mine.

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I’m trying not to die of joy due to recently released spoilers about episode seven. Reid- William Reid… you have some explaining to do…

I guess it’s safe to say that any episode that features Dr. Spencer Reid gets an automatic love note from me, seeing as I adore Matthew Gray Gubler. But the truth is that the Reid focus episodes are among the strongest written of the series. From ” Somebody’s Watching” through to ” Sex Birth And Death”, ” Revelations”, ” Jones”, and ” Elephant’s Memory”, they remain among my favorites.  This one is also high up on my list. Of course, Reid episodes also have some of the strongest unsubs- and some surprisingly great performances. James Vanderbeek gave his single best performance in his life as Tobias in ” Revelations”. Luke Perry proves to be a revelation of a kind in ” Minimal Loss”. As someone who spent way too much time watching the original 90210 as a teen, I never thought much of Perry as an actor. This ( and his creepy turn on L&O SVU earlier this season) proved me wrong. Perry is quite compelling as Benjamin Cyrus. It’s easy to see him as a charismatic wing nut. He is charismatic. And quite scary in his quiet way.

Reid and Prentiss show up in Colorado to interview children with Children’s Services after a call is placed about child molestation and underage marriages. At first, Cyrus is cautiously welcoming, but when he is tipped off about a raid, the heavily armed cult he leads enter a shoot out with state police. This gets the actual child services killed, and Reid and Prentiss are de facto hostages of a cult with heavy duty weaponry and a leader with a deep messianic complex. The team freaks out when the news hits national networks, and they all head to Colorado.

Hotch decides to let Rossi lead the hostage negotiations ( and then a swoon worthy Hotch pissed off moment with the Colorado AG- awesomeness and sexy). Rossi and Hotch present the minimal loss scenario- try to save as many as possible, but they cannot save them all. The team know they not only have to profile the cult, but Prentiss and Reid as well. Rossi begins slowly as to build trust- being told that Prentiss and Reid are alright ease some anxiety momentarily. The one thing I noticed about Perry’s performance at this moment is the eerie calm he exhibits. Some actors miight be inclined to play it rougher and crazier. The thing about Cyrus is that he doesn’t ever appear crazy even when he clearly is a bushel short of a load. He is pleasant, obliging, even while being unco-operative. A tricky balance.

Trust needs to be earned, and Rossi tries his best to get the children out. But Cyrus instead decides to keep the kids as protection, and Reid and Prentiss observe the wine ceremony, the calm of Cyrus, the body language of Jessica, the girl that they were called to interview, and Jessica’s mother, and then the bomb drops. Cyrus announces that they have drank poison, but Rossi, seeing Cyrus’ calm, and Reid, seeing Cyrus’ reaction to the followers fear or anticipation, both call it as a bluff.

One small quibble- Jeff Fahey in a single scene? Indelible in that scene. Wish there had been more. As the former leader of the group, he was astonishing.

Our cult leader was born Charles McGrew, and has a record of child molestation. He was a ” model prisoner” after discovering God. Bad news- child molesters who survive general pop in prisons will never give up. And then the news breaks- there is an undercover FBI agent on the compound. Cyrus points a gun at Reid, who never breaks character, and Prentiss gives herself up. She gets beaten severely, nearly sending Rossi and Hotch over the edge, but Rossi’s rationality and Prentiss’ coded answers prevent the team from going in. Separated, Prentiss and Reid begin their specialties- Prentiss, being tended by the mother, begins to hint that she knows that the mother placed the call, and Reid uses his intellect to get into Cyrus’ good graces. Reid influences Cyrus’ decision making by playing the hostage negotiation handbook against Cyrus, and the bugs planted by the team allow them in on the plan. Rossi holds up his end of the bargain by playing along, and one child is set free. Trust is earned, after all.

Cyrus rounds up those who are not the true believers and frees them. Reid realizes that he needs to get a message out to the team to warn them of when they will go in, and tells Prentiss to wait for that signal. The team uses the food delivery to tell Reid when it happens. Prentiss uses the knowledge of bugs to get a message out to tell her when it will happen. Morgan uses a laser scope to tell her, and Reid gets Hotch’s written message on the food. Prentiss than confronts the mother and tells her that there will be a violent end and the only hope to save her daughter from Cyrus is to listen to her. The mother agrees to help after seeing the men prepping explosives, and gets the women and children out. Reid uses his eidetic memory of the bible to try and stop the insanity, but fails, and gets a couple of slams to the gut as payment for his actions. Fortunately, the team gets in and takes the men out before they can set off the explosives. But Jessica, a true believer, runs back in, and seeing Cyrus dead, she picks up the detonator. Reid and Morgan barely escape as the building explodes in a huge fireball.  After, on the plane, Prentiss makes a point of telling Reid that her beating was not his fault, that it was her choice and she did not regret it.

Overall, one of the best episodes of Criminal Minds in the history of the series. Strong performances by Gubler and Paget Brewster, and stunning ones by Perry and Fahey, make it a keeper.

Grade- A+

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I have been mocked relentlessly by TV snobs about my deep affection ( alright, outright obsession… so what?) for this dark cop show. And really, in the scheme of things, Criminal Minds is just that- a cop show. Is it really all that different thematically from Hill Street Blues and Dragnet?

But back to the mocking. When the show debuted in 2005, it slipped through my radar for a few months. I adore Mandy Patinkin, but even he couldn’t drag me away from the American Idolization of television at the time.  I got hooked in summer reruns, and by season two’s premiere, I was an avowed Reidaholic.

There is the immediate critical derision- the show is violent ( really? I find it less gruesome than the CSIs and the L&Os. Nothing compares to Dexter, but comparing cable to network is like comparing a Les Paul to a crappy tourist shop ukulele). The show is misogynistic ( again, I take issues with this claim. The show itself is NOT anti-woman. The show takes it’s inspiration from real life. It’s the unsubs who are misogynists. And then why aren’t people harping on the OTHER shows of the procedural genre? SVU deals exclusively with sex crimes, which are almost always perpetrated on women and children. CM is only mirroring the world we live in, folks. Change the world, change the show). The show is so dark and dreary as to be suicide inducing ( I find the show dark and disturbing, but never, ever, dreary. Save for the ridiculous ” Honor Among Thieves”.) Critics may not get the show, and frankly, they rarely get the most populist of TV shows. But the fans are devoted, to the point of religious fervor. I know. I’m one of them.

Last season’s strike shortened series created a few episodes that felt like they were two story lines mashed together. The whole season suffered from violent up and downs, from the choppy ” Doubt”, which was the third season opener. The episode had been shot for season two, but was pulled after Virginia Tech. Than the whole Patinkin thing went down over the summer, and the show was edited to tell a different type of story, and Patinkin was allowed to go off and do Shakespeare. The loss of their fearless leader, and the Catch-22 they were in, created some interesting dynamics. Jane Atkinson showed up as an FBI director, only to raise the ire of fans because she dared to question our team and their methods. Fortunately, she left them alone. Joe Mantegna showed up as David Rossi, infuriating some fans until it became clear Rossi had some issues… and he would not eliminate our new( and for me, always the true) leader, Thomas Gibson’s Aaron ” Hotch” Hotchner. Episode Seven and eight showed the writers getting their mojo back, then the powerhouse episode nine, ” Penelope”, made everyone a believer again ( Penelope Garcia, played by the perfect Kirsten Vangsness, has been a fan favorite since minute one). The show had a hit ( ” Penelope”, ” Children Of the Dark”, the exquisite and painfully close to home ” Elephant’s Memory”, and the slam bang closer ” Lo-Fi”) and miss ( ” Doubt”, ” About Face”, ” True Night”, ” Damaged”) moments.

Season four is highly anticipated. The season three finale had our teams getting into identical black SUVs, and then- BOOM!!!!  What we do get is a hint that there is a terrorist cell attempting to do something ” big”. And that they know the BAU team is there. Season four picks up with our fearless leader Hotch standing, bloodied, his hearing fuzzy, as he stares blankly at a fiery SUV. In shock, he doesn’t even comprehend what has happened, even as a guy stands there asking him repeatedly if he was alright. When it dawns on Hotch that NY FBI head Kate Joiner is seriously injured, bleeding and unable to feel her legs, Hotch moves into fixer mode. When the first responders stop yards away, Kate has to remind him. The profile read that the terrorists’ targets are first responders. No one can come and help till after the area is cleared by the bomb squad.

Meanwhile, the rest of the  team is frantically trying to track each other down and find out if everyone is alright. One by one, Rossi, Reid, Garcia, J.J., Emily, and Morgan are accounted for, but Garcia and Lisa in the CCTV room find the footage of the explosion and the flying bodies of Hotch and Kate. Morgan arrives on scene and Garcia finally gets a call through and tells him that the kid who had been talking to Hotch was the bomber, and Morgan goes after him on foot.

Kate is unconscious and bleeding to death when an ambulance finally comes up to the site, and a lone EMT helps Hotch get her into the ambulance. The ladies finally make it back to Reid and Rossi, and Garcia is finally able to tell them the news.

Morgan chases our man down into the subways, where he confronts him ( yes, the ” show your face, you son of a bitch” dialog going on is cliched, but seriously, what would you say in this situation?) This is a moment that rings utterly true and has been mentioned before, in both real life and in fiction- the bomber points out that our side is afraid to do the one thing that his side is willing to do- die. Then he electrocutes himself on the subway cables.

As the team left in the office tries to figure out what the cell’s next step will be, Hotch drives the ambulance to St. Barclay’s, which is under bypass by the secret Service. Hotch manages to get in due to Kate’s grave condition, and then he collapses at the nurse’s station.

The team is running in circles, and both Hotch and Rossi point out the facts- and that the profile was wrong. The team convenes at the hospital, where they discuss terrorist cells, the motives of the one they are profiling, and the events leading up to that moment. That’s when it hits them- the hospital is the target, and Hotch delivered the bomb in that ambulance. The team is now in motion, and they go off for our bomber. Morgan heads off first, to get to the ambulance before our bomber. He takes the ambulance and burns rubber out of there, the bomber shooting at him fruitlessly. Failed at his mission, surrounded by FBI agents, the bomber slits his own throat after remote detonating the bomb. Morgan has gotten the ambulance to Central Park, where it explodes after he jumps out. After the mayhem, we learn that Kate has died in surgery.

The show ends with Morgan and Hotch, discussing the potential for Morgan to be transferred to the NYC field office. Hotch informs Morgan that he cannot give him the recommendation because Morgan shows signs of being unable to trust anyone, even if his loyalty is to the team. Seeing that Shemar Moore is not leaving the show, it’s safe to say that Morgan doesn’t take the job.

As far as season premieres go, this one is my favorite this season. Leave aside the hot factor of Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, and ( in my view, particularly) Matthew Gray Gubler. The performances are strong, the writing good ( despite moments of cliche and a somewhat telegraphed plot, it was still entertaining and a bit of a thrill). The show looked cinematic ( it often does- I’m convinced that this show gets an awful lot of it’s budget on the screen).

GRADE- A-

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