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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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Mondays:

CBS: How I Met Your Mother (8 pm EST), The Big Bang Theory (9:30 EST)

NBC: Heroes ( 8 pm EST), Chuck ( beginning in March 2010)

Fox: House ( 8 pm EST), Lie To Me ( 9 pm EST)

CW: Gossip Girl ( 9 pm EST)

ABC: Dancing With The Stars ( 8 pm EST), Castle ( 10 pm EST)

Mondays are again cluttered with good TV and fan faves. Expect Castle to see  ratings to increase as NBC replaces scripted TV with Jay Leno, Fox and CW go local,  and CBS airs the aging but still popular CSI: Miami.  Also, Big Bang will likely become the most watched scripted show on a Monday by May. Yes, it will surpass lead in Two and a Half Men. HIMYM  at 8 pm, as well as it’s 100th episode, may seal this sitcom’s fate. I predict that unless there is a serious ratings bump and it does a better anchoring job than in the past, this will be HIMYM final season. Heroesis in turmoil after two seasons of disappointing stories and uneven episodes, and the fans are leaving in droves. Only a section of diehards are here, and we’re holding out hope that Tim Kring turns it around. Introducing a new villain, as much as we all love Sylar, will help. CW still has the corner on the youth buzz market, but One Tree Hill  is past it’s prime, and Gossip Girl  needs less shock value, more actual story telling. All the whispers about the House  season six premiere being amazing leads me to believe House’s break down is going to revive the aging series and give Hugh Laurie something new to do.  Lead out Lie To Me still has two things going for it- an intriguing premise and Tim Roth. The biggest disappointments are the fact none of NBC’s one hour dramas, including Monday night entry Trauma, seem to be worthy of my time, and Chuck  won’t be back until March. Unless, of course, NBC’s entire fall sked falls apart. Which it will.

Tuesdays:

CBS:  NCIS ( 8 pm EST), NCIS: Los Angeles ( 9 pm EST), The Good Wife ( 10 pm EST)

NBC: forget it.

Fox: So You Think You Can Dance ( 8 pm EST), American Idol ( January 2010)

CW: destroying the happy memories of my youth.

ABC: V (November 2009), DWTS Results show ( 9 pm)

Frankly, I’m not a huge NCIS  fan, I refuse to watch the new CW revivals of early 90s Fox shows, so outside of Fox’s dance and singing programs and the very promising looking CBS drama The Good Wife, the only thing I’m waiting for is V. I’m a geek, yes.

Wednesdays:

CBS: Criminal Minds ( 9 pm EST)

NBC: Nope.

Fox: SYTYCD Results Show ( 8 pm EST), Glee ( 9 pm EST), Idol Results Show ( January 2010, well, more like February 2010)

CW: America’s Next Top Model ( 8 pm EST)

ABC: Modern Family ( 9 pm EST)

I have faith that Criminal Mindswill find its way back after an uneven season that has given us a couple of classic episodes and several clunkers, but I’m such a Gleek that for the first time I’m really compelled to watch something besides my favorite BAU gang. Fox has put so much money into the musical dramedy that picking up the back nine is a good bet. NBC has nothing new to offer, really, just SVU and the disappointing looking Mercy. Modern Family  is the most interesting looking sitcom not on NBC Thursdays.

Thursdays:

CBS: The Mentalist ( 10 pm EST)

NBC: Community ( October 2009), Parks and Recreation ( 8:30 pm EST), The Office (9:00 pm EST), 30 Rock ( 9:30 pm EST)

Fox: Bones ( 8 pm EST), Fringe ( 9 pm EST)

CW: neither show is on my radar.

ABC: I’ve stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy.  No George, no me.

It’s either indulge my Comedy geek or indulge my science geek. Right now, I’m leaning to the science geek, as rewatching Fringe over the summer has reminded me that this is a really good show and deserves my patronage. And I’m still a Bones  fan. But giving up NBC’s one solidly good night of TV is a tough one. This may be the night I’m grateful for reruns. At least there is no Sophie’s Choice at 10, where I can watch Simon Baker’s charming performance on The Mentalist  all I want. I’m not into vampire love triangles and I’ve never been an avid Supernatural fan, and ABC’s soapy line up leaves me cold.

Fridays:

CBS:  I don’t watch any of them.

NBC: Or them.

Fox: Dollhouse (9 pm EST)

CW: Never watched Smallville.

ABC: Ugly Betty ( 9 pm EST)

Push comes to shove, it’s Dollhouse. I would follow Joss Whedon to the grave and I refuse to give up on this interesting but not yet great show. If it proves to infuriating, I’ll let the Betty gang continue to crush my heart with it’s continued downward spiral.

Saturdays and Sundays:

CBS: The Amazing Race ( 8 pm EST), Three Rivers ( 9 pm EST) ( both on Sunday)

NBC:  nada

Fox: The Simpsons ( 8 pm EST), the Seth McFarlane 90 minute block ( 8:30 pm EST)

CW: literally nothing. CW has dropped weekend programming.

ABC: can someone tell me why these shows are all still on?

ABC’s very tired line up of warm-hearted sob stories and drippy soapy dramedies has gotten boring. CW has nothing on. NBC has football. There is literally NOTHING on Saturday nights, and only CBS and Fox have anything worth watching on Sundays. Fox’s two hour comedy block is solid entertainment, still amusing, even if The Simpsons, entering it’s trillionth season, is creaking a bit ( it can still knock an episode out of the park once a season though). I’m not the biggest fan of Seth McFarlane’s work, but I certainly don’t begrudge him his phenomenal success. When I do watch The Family Guy I do laugh quite a bit. And The Cleveland Show is rumored to have more heart in the mix. CBS has the always reliable 60 Minutes,  and I love The Amazing Race, but launching Three Riverson Sundays is a bit of a gutsy move. CBS has a lot of faith in this show. I’m an Alex O’Loughlin fan, but I’m a bit worried about it.

Other shows to watch over the season:

HBO: Real Time With Bill Maher ( Fridays), Curb Your Enthusiasm (fall 2009)

ABC: Lost ( presumably Wednesdays, January/February 2010)

AMC: Mad Men ( currently airing on Sundays, with reruns throughout the week), Breaking Bad ( 2010), The Prisoner ( 2009/2010)

FX: Damages, Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

TNT: The Closer

 NBC: The Olympics ( February 2010)

 

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On Emmy night ( September 20, 2009), I will be doing my Emmy commentary live through out the night. You’re all invited. Seriously.

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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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First, the good news.

Best Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Years of Devotion to How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs has been painful at times, as both of these hilarious but criminally under watched shows suffered from time slot shifts and near cancellation more than once. But HIMYM‘s fifth season was all but assured this year as it experienced a small uptick thanks to it’s new lead in. Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady’s superior Friends meets Seinfeld meets SciFi convention multicam sitcom has quickly become the most reliable funny show on the boob tube.

Best Comedic Performance- Male

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

The lanky actor with a slight lisp and a gift for comedic OCD reactions has been the breakout  star on a solid ensemble cast. A virtual unknown before the show, he has quickly become the front man for the cast, doing more press than all the others four combined. And if anyone has seen his spots on Craig Ferguson, he is charming, funny, and Un-Sheldonlike. But nothing tops TBBT Christmas episode, in which Sheldon hugs Penny ( Kaley Cuoco)- that is physical comedy at it’s best.

Best Comedic Performance- Female

Jane Krakowski as Jenna on 30 Rock

She has always been funny ( look at her character on Ally McBeal), but this year, Jenna has been inspired, even profane ( black face? Seriously?). Jane and Tracy Morgan are making a brilliantly idiotic comic team. Jenna’s vacuous presence makes up for a more uneven season.

Best Drama Series

Chuck (NBC)

Okay, it’s one of the funniest shows on TV. But this spy dramedy mashup is also one of the most affecting shows I have ever had the privilege to watch. The Josh Schwartz /Chris Fedak run show has vastly improved in it’s second season ( and it’s first, strike shortened season wasn’t bad to begin with). Wildly inventive while being almost religiously devoted to geek world references ( plus a deep love of the 80s- the show adores Spies Like Us to the point of ridiculousness, but you love every minute of it). Bonus- an awesome soundtrack. Well, it is a Josh Schwartz show.

Best Dramatic Performance- Male

Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski, Chuck

We in the know and who loved Less than Perfect  remember Levi as being comically gifted ( and a great singer- ” Luck be A Lady” was a series highlight for me). But his portrayal of the Nerd Herder with a government computer in his brain is a gentle mix of comedy and pathos. He breaks my heart as often as he makes me laugh. And now that he knows kung fu, I’m all agog. Brilliant.

Best Dramatic Performance- Female

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olsen, Mad Men

As the girl who walks into the mean manly man world of advertising, she delivers a subtle, heart breaking performance. She has suffered tremendously for her ambition on both a personal and a professional level, but do not mistake her for a pushover. Moss, so winning on The West Wing as Zoey Bartlett, has really grown into a spectacularly nuanced actress.

Best Series Finale- Till it wasn’t

Scrubs (ABC)

In perfect cohesion with the rest of the series. Everyone was there. Hooch really is crazy. Beardface, Snoop Dogg Intern/Resident, Gloria, even those who have passed. A sweet sentimental moment where J.D. ( Zach Braff- still so good here) sees his future. Small cameo by Bill Lawrence himself. Then ABC ruins my deep affection for this perfect episode of a much beloved network cannon fodder show by bringing it back for a ninth season. It still is a moving show, but I can’t imagine Scrubs without J.D.

Best Series Finale That Is Actually A Finale

ER (NBC)

The Thursday night lead out for fifteen seasons, ER  stopped being the big focus of NBC somewhere around the time George Clooney left. Lord knows I barely watched it in the last decade. But I tuned in all the same. And it, too, was a perfect finale. In fact, it really wasn’t a finale at all. Yes, old timer cast members came back for a visit, but it felt organic, not forced. The episode mirrored the pilot in many ways, yes, but it felt like it was true to the show as a whole. It was special because it wasn’t special.

And now the bad:

Worst “Comedy”

Kath and Kim ( NBC)

Just not funny. Too bad. I love Molly Shannon.

Worst ” Drama”

Knight Rider ( NBC)

This show wasn’t that good in the 80s when Hasselhoff was the MAN. Did Silverman and co. really think it would work now?

Moments from the season that should be remembered:

  • Adam Lambert’s gorgeous version of ” Mad World”, Kris Allen’s stunning rendition of ” Falling Slowly”, Allison Iraheta ‘s exquisite ” Someone To Watch Over Me”, and whatever that note was that Danny Gokey let loose at the end of ” Dream On” which wasn’t even human. ( American Idol)
  • An injury plagued season of Dancing With The Stars that was more entertaining than it had any right to be.
  • Barney Stinson is in love with Robin Sherbatsky!
  • While we’re on the topic of HIMYM, damn, they did the lamest/coolest job of hiding Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders pregnancies.
  • I cannot reiterate how hilarious the hug Sheldon gave Penny in the Christmas episode of The Big Bang Theory is. Just genius.
  • Chuck Bass says ” I love you”. Twice.
  • The entire second season of Chuck. This show is so much better than Heroes.
  • House losing his mind. Kutner’s suicide. Amber. Huddy sex that wasn’t real.  ( House).
  • The performance of Harvey Keitel in the short but glorious run of ABC’s Life On Mars. yes, I was the person watching.
  • Barack Obama elected to the office of President of the United States of America. ( every network imaginable).
  • The Daily Show
  • The White Stripes showing up to sing ” We Are Going To be friends” on Conan O’Brien’s last Late Night
  • Jimmy Fallon not totally sucking as he took over Conan’s slot.
  • Jimmy is still no match for Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show.
  • The Colbert Report
  • Hugh Jackman hosting the Oscars. The Theater geek in me died a glorious,rapturous death. I loved most of it.
  • Gray Gardens
  • Almost everything on the Food Network’s prime time sked.

So this lead me to the question of the day. What was your highlight of the 2008-2009 TV season?

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Idol and standards weeks has previously delivered some great performances- Kelly Clarkson’s ” Stuff Like That There”, Fantasia’s ” Summertime” immediately come to mind.  But it’s a week that always worries me, because there might be a desire by the Idols in the effort for relevance to strip the melodies of classic, beautiful songs to sound newer.

The mentor tonight is Jamie Foxx, who can nail a standard like no one’s business ( I love his version of ” Georgia On My Mind”, while his R&B leaves me kinda cold despite his obvious musical gifts).

Kris begins the night with a lovely, tender version of ” The way You Look Tonight” ( one of my all time faves) that turned into a gentle swing at the end. I loved it, his voice was superb, and I felt it. The judges seemed pleasant but overall underwhelmed. Shove it up your asses.

Allison comes out with ” Someone To Watch Over Me”, which she kept simple. The attitude all came from her natural tone. It was amazing and worthy of high praise that she didn’t get. Bite me judges.

Matt did ” My Funny Valentine”, one of the hardest songs to sing of all time ( it’s another one of those songs that on the surface seems easy due to a simple sounding melody, but the song’s phrasing is incredibly difficult). It was fine, nothing spectacular, and I think he’s bottom two.

DWP- I just- I am pissed off about that. He sounded angry and snarling at points, and then he screamed the last quarter of the song, and he was praised to high heaven for it? Fuck them all. It was the worst performance of the night, not that ANYONE CARES!

Adam- I really like Adam personally. I do. I think he’s swell and there is an open invite to come party with me. But I didn’t like it. I’m sorry. I thought it was screamy at points,  a little wild vocally, although this was the first time in weeks he did an upbeat number that I watched without feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer force of personality he brings. But I just didn’t like it.  I didn’t hate it, but I do not think that is was the best of the night ( that goes, once again, to Kris).

This is an interesting season for me. I’m learning something about my music tastes, and it turns out I like theatrical artistry when they know when to let go and when to reign it in. Freddie Mercury was a master at this  , and I’m sorry, Adam is no where near Freddie level in balancing the theatrical and the artistry, although he shows promise in learning. I enjoy Kris’ controlled, singer songwriter vibe, but I always dug the folkie thing. And Allison- well, I love authentic rockers, since most are fakers to begin with. That voice is genuine. DWP and Matty are interchangeable with dozens of other artists. If Adam, Kris, or Allison wins this year, I consider it a victory that America really wants interesting artists in their musical landscape instead of the crap labels keep trying to feed them. But I am not at David Cook level passionate level for any of those three, and Adam keeps aggravating me with the overblown theatrics ( I’m also not a fan of Allison’s clothes or Kris’s monkey face).

Bottom two- should be Danny and Matt, will be Allison and Matt and Matt’s probably going home.

Fave of the night- again, it’s Kris. I love that song and I loved the fact he kept it simple and sang it well. Allison’s my second.

Adam is where he usually is for me, in the middle, sitting beside me on the fence, asking me what he could do to win me over.

Be up against Danny in the finals is the easiest way. Harder will be to show me that he can rock without the insanity.

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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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Chuck Mini Post of the Day

Just reminding everyone if they missed Monday’s episode, go to NBC.com or Hulu and watch there. They count those, you know.

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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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In continuing with the web world’s ” Save Chuck” week, I have added yet another article I’ve written about the NBC spy dramedy.

10. Awesome Guest Star

This was confirmed on Monday with Chevy Chase playing a Steve Jobs- type Ted Roark and Scott Bakula playing Stephen Bartowski, Ellie and Chuck’s long absent father. The show has used high profile guest stars in very clever ways. Tony Todd played a CIA operative in season one ( he got blown up in the season two premiere). Jenny McCarthy and Andy Richter showed up in an episode playing Stepford style neighbors when Chuck and Sarah were undercover in suburbia. Melinda Clarke, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jordana Brewster, John Fleck, Iqbal Theba,  James Hong, Kevin Weisman, and Nicole Richie have all shown up to cause some havoc, Tony Hale has recently joined as Chuck’s new Buy More nemesis, and there have been inspired turns by John Laroquette as a Bond-like spy, Gary Cole as Sarah’s con man father, Rachel Bilson as a momentary Chuck distraction with a fondness for sandwiches, and the inspired casting of Bruce Boxleitner and Morgan Fairchild as Captain Awesome’s awesome parents. The show has never gotten it’s guest casting wrong. Ever.

9. Cool Gadgets

Product placement means everyone has a I Phone in Chuck’s world, but whatever. It’s the bugs, the watch, the Nerd Herd mobile in place of an Aston Martin, guitar pins, and of course, the coolest of them all, the intersect in Chuck’s brain. Close second would probably be the Intersect 2.0. It looked awesome.

8. Cool action.

The pilot had Sarah driving the Nerd Herd mobile backwards down a fight of stairs, Sarah nearly getting run over by an SUV, a close call with a bomb that was disarmed by a death knell computer virus named after a Serbian porn star, an awesome foot chase by CIA agents, the original Intersect exploding- in on 42 minute episode. The action hasn’t let up much. So far Chuck has flown a helicopter, disarmed more bombs, been chased through Stanford among other locations, been poisoned, stolen nuclear codes, stolen a diamond, escaped exploding vehicles, turned a Chinese spy to save her brother, lost his sister’s engagement ring, stopped a massive biological warfare tactic, pulled a massive con to obtain terrorist bank account info, saved everyone in Buy More from a hostage situation, partied with a drugged out rock star who is wanted by terrorists, has had three separate intersects downloaded into his brain and is still somehow managing to walk around, escaped a Predator, and we can’t count how many knives and guns have been near this guy without managing to kill him. I sometimes feel like I’m the one running from the bad guys.

7. It’s a Nerd Heaven show.

As it Rush loving, video game worshipping, comic book collecting, vinyl searching Nerd Heaven. It’s referenced almost every major sci-fi film and TV show ( including having Adam Baldwin on the cast- and the sly little Firefly references that brings).  This show is almost like a graphic novel type of story come to life on our TVs every Monday, and it’s clever working in of Nerd knowledge makes geeks everywhere ( like myself) feel all warm and happy inside. Best of all- they had a sandworm from Dune! Who thinks up that shit?

6. Smart and Smartly written.

There does seem to be a new movement among a certain group of TV writers not to dumb down the material, and Chuck never does. It throws around very heavy ideas of national security and the constant danger we are never aware we are. It actually grounds the show, which could easily spin off into wild and wacky, original Casino Royale territory. In the millennium we are now in, where the public knowledge of terrorism is so acute, it could be easy to turn something that is a loving comic homage into an outright spoof, but it never does that.

5. Zac. Adam. Yvonne. Joshua. Sarah. And the rest.

Yes, my simultaneous crushes on Zachary Levi and Adam Baldwin compelled me to watch the show in the first place. But the cast is so winsome, charming, funny, and the chemistry is so great that you just can’t help but love every one of them.

4. It says something about family.

As someone who barely speaks to her father and lost her mother even before I physically lost my mother, the sibling relationship between Levi’s Chuck and Sarah Lancaster’s Ellie speaks to me deeply. I often felt during my teen years while my mom was sick that it was just me and my brothers alone in the world. We are not as crazy close as they are now, but we always fight it out for each other. It’s a realistic relationship between siblings that is warm and nurturing instead of the usual snarking and underhandedness seen in today’s TV families.

3. ” It’s Complicated”

This is the mantra of the show, used to explain almost everything to everyone. There is no easy way out for anybody, not from their emotions, not from their jobs, not from their relationships. There is no real fix. It allows the show to be even that much more clever than the average show.

2. It’s as funny as hell.

It’s smart funny. It doesn’t rely much on dumb laughs ( it has it’s moments, but hey, everyone loves a good “sitting on an exercise ball in an office makes fart noises over your CIA issued listening device” joke, right?), but on worplay, physical comedy, and cultural references that makes almost everyone smile. Levi was on the sitcom Less Than Perfect a few years back ( and was, frankly, the best thing on it). He has amazing comic chops.  And again, let us remind everyone that a show that nicknames a character Captain awesome with no cynicism is truly awesome itself.

1.The mythology is intriguing.

As someone who loves comic books, you would think I would love those mythology heavy serial shows like Lost and Heroes. The truth is- I don’t.  I like Fringe, but I ended up being so exhausted after Buffy and X-Files both ended that I just never tried again. Until Chuck Bartowski opened that email from Bryce Larkin.

The show requires enormous leaps of faith by the audience, since some of the things done in the context of Buymoria is flat out ridiculous. But I never doubt the computer in Chuck’s brain, the sudden rise of Fulcrum, the fact that a Nerd Herder fro the local Buy More may be the most important intelligence asset in the world, and the fact Casey and Sarah can apparently kill everyone and anyone with a wood skewer. I’ve watched every episode multiple times and I learn something new every single time. It’s been a while where I have felt this much passion about a show that requires this much involvement. God, I’ve missed it.

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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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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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I know it’s late. Busy week.

We open with paintball. Finally we get to see the guys play paintball. And typically, Sheldon is anal retentive and insane. Physics team paintball strategy meeting? Stargate episodes as strategy? Poor Howard, though, still forever a mama’s boy. Leslie Winkle is back, and she and Howard, trapped in a shack, talk about the difficulty of war ( she killed her team in a hail of friendly fire). Dialog lifted out of every classic war film ( including Raj’s tribute to Robert Duvall). Leslie and Howard start making out. Leonard calls to Howard, who replies ” war is hell” and continues to make out with Leslie.

TBBT universe is also in an economic crunch, and the boys are complaining about cutbacks. Sheldon’s theory is that they should all be fired to fund his research ( our Sheldon is full on back!!!!!) Leslie, though, tells Howard his request for new equipment is approved, leading to a discussion of quid pro quo in which the boys suss out Howard’s reason for failing to cover them in the paintball has to do with his hooking up twice in the shed with Leslie. Bombarded with opinions about how unfair it is that he’s getting rewarded for sexual favors, Howard points out that it is indeed unfair, but he was also having sex while they were not, and that’s merely delightful.

Howard, though, gets a taste of Howard’s own medicine when it becomes clear that Leslie is only using him as a bought and paid sex toy/arm candy when he almost is disinvited to Geneva on a field trip with Leslie after refusing to go to her sister’s wedding. Leslie insists she would be uncomfortable without using quid pro quo as then they would disintegrate into a real relationship with ” feelings and crap”. Howard accepts this and asks his mom to rent him a tux.

The actual A story involves Penny accidentally shooting Sheldon’s ” spot” on the couch with a paintball gun, causing Sheldon a few uncomfortable days in which he sighs incessantly during Halo night’s Chinese food meal. Leonard though, throws himself in the line of fire at the end of the show by admitting that he had actually been buying Sheldon’s cashew chicken from a different restaurant and putting into the bought containers from a now closed favorite. For two years. Sheldon goes into an existential crisis, but insists the cushion, recently cleaned and brought back, still isn’t right.

Overall, the episode had very funny lines, and real out loud laughter moments ( the look on Howard’s face after sex with Leslie- priceless). The story was a little repetitive ( how many times can we talk about Sheldon’s spot?), but as long as one can wring humor from it, I guess the writer’s will continue.

Sheldon line of the night- ” They don’t talk incessantly for no good reason?” in response to Leonard’s query about what makes a good friend.

Grade- B-

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SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DO NOT LOOK IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THE BIG BANG THEORY’S MARCH 2ND EPISODE! GO AWAY RIGHT NOW!

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I’M SERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fine.

Regarding the March 2 episode, here are a few more details. Spoilers below. (more…)

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