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Archive for June, 2009

by Judi

Oh, gee I don’t know. How about throw in a not-at-all scary gang (who apparently drink out of brown paper bags. Or were they just very angry hobos?) and settle it with AN AWESOME GYMNASTICS FIGHT?

I haven’t done this much delighted giggling (with a slight tinge of horror and embarrassment for all those involved) since I saw the ORIGINAL ending for the movie Love Actually. The one that apparently involved that little pixie boy flinging himself all over the airport DOING GYMNASTICS AND FLIPS AND TWIRLING ON A BAR I CANNOT MAKE THIS UP.

I officially love Make It or Break It. I am also officially concerned that DJ and Aunt Becky are slowly turning into the same person. The Summerland effect is out of control.

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by Judi

sandwich-day-liz-red-dress Show: 30 Rock

Character: Liz Lemon

Actor: Tina Fey

Basically: The intrepid Liz Lemon, introduced perkily in the 30 Rock pilot as this generation’s That Girl, is the creator and head writer of Friday night sketch show TGS with Tracy Jordan, formally The Girlie Show starring her longtime friend Jenna Maroney.

As the series moves into its fourth season, we now know a little bit more about old Liz Lemon. Actually, we know a lot more. Too much, in fact. In brief, the show is pretty much her entire life. Her love life is a disaster (see Dennis, Conan, Wayne Brady, Floyd and Jon Hamm), she has the appetite of a greedy trucker, and everyone around her is either crazy or a complete mess. Oh, and her best friend/mentor is her arrogant, ultraconservative boss Jack Donaghy.

A few other things-

-Will throw a trident if you steal her food.

– When she was eight, her name was on the scoreboard at a Phillies game but they misspelled it as Lez Lemon.

– She was rejected by two men who later went to clown college

– She reads the newspaper every day (“Yeah, suck it- I DO read the paper.”)

– Allergic to dogs because she got bitten by a dog on the day she got her first period.

– Went to elementary school with Sheryl Crow (“Oh, I’m a kidney!”)

– Speaks remedial German.

– “Liz is generally pretty racist.”

– Enjoys Star Wars (to the point of dressing up as Princess Leia to get out of jury duty, which works in Chicago but, sadly, not in New York)

Why We Love Her: Old Liz Lemon represents a new kind of modern woman- the woman who throws herself completely behind her career, wakes up and realizes she’s now thirty-five and most likely missed her window to marry a cute boy and have lots of babies (“I’m going to buy the dress, have a baby and then I’m going to die and meet a super cute guy in heaven.”) Instead of handling this all gracefully, Liz is kind of a mess- grappling with the stress and daily crazy of her nonstop work life by inhaling greasy sandwiches, fastening her bra together with tape, forgetting to go to the dentist until her tooth falls out during a meeting, and then somehow pulling herself up and vowing, once more, that this will in fact be her year.

She’s also purely lovable for her outward geekiness- her Star Wars and Sims references, her awkward clothing choices (“Those shoes are definitely bicurious”), her habit of being caught in humiliating circumstances in front of a room of men, getting lettuce stuck in her hair, enjoying a bird museum in Germany, studying Theater Tech etc etc.

Favorite Moments: I honestly don’t think I can pick just one. Liz loping down the hall just like the muppet version of herself, her reaction to everyone watching her phone sex commercial (“I’m lizzing! I’m LIZZING!”), her hiss and recoil when ex-boyfriend Floyd makes an unexpected appearance at her door in the morning (“CRONE!”), her strange robot-dancing for Dr. Spacemen.

Check Tina Out In: For some reason, E! sometimes plays Saturday Night Live episodes but only the same six SNL episodes. So be sure to check out some of Tina’s Weekend Update work on the Steve Martin, Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Olsen Twins, Ashton Kutcher or Christina Aguilera episodes on E!. Mean Girls is also a classic- definitely a notch above when it comes to standard teen entertainment fare. And if you haven’t seen Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, well. Welcome back to planet Earth, friend. I’m sure you’ll enoy what you see.

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by Beal

5. Desperate Housewives – Bree’s Pretend Pregnancy – Season 4 (2007)

Choosing which plot line on Desperate Housewives is the most ludicrous is like trying to decide which former child star is the most fucked up:  They’re all strong contenders. Still time and time again the Van de Kamp family sets themselves apart from the usual ridiculousness that goes down on Wisteria Lane. When Danielle gets knocked up by Julie Mayer’s boyfriend, Bree and second husband Orson Hodge (Trey McDougal from SATC) decide to revert to the 1950’s and hide Danielle away at some pregnant teens facility. In the mean time, Bree fakes a pregnancy so that when Danielle’s child is born, all the neighbors will think it is her and Orson’s natural born son. Things get zany when super pregnant Danielle shows up at a Halloween party (her costume, a real hit, is pregnant Bree Van de Kamp) and goes into labor. Less than a season later, everyone knows the truth and I’m still annoyed that Marc Cherry and his team covered up Marcia Cross’s real life pregnancy with this completely asinine plot point.

 

4. The X-Files – Scully’s Pregnancy/Birth of Baby William – Season 8 (2001)

I guess when Agent Fox Mulder left the show and the T-1000 stepped in it was only to be expected that things were about to get (more) ridiculous, enter Scully’s mysterious pregnancy. The show established early on that Agent Dana Scully was barren. (Did she give birth to a baby Emily at one point? Thats a whole other story, but it might have happened).

At any rate, around Season 8, career driven single gal Scully decides she wants a child, approaches Mulder to donate sperm and proceeds with in vitro fertilization, which failed and was never re-attempted. Of course Scully is abducted shortly thereafter and bam, now she’s knocked up. From here it’s so absurd that I’m not even going to attempt to chronicle it properly, but basically William’s conception is mysterious at best. He might be the result of Mulder and Scully finally sleeping together (which, ratings-wise would have been best if actually aired), a standard alien spawn or ya know, a fucking “organic” Super Soldier created by a secret government syndicate that would be used as a slave race for colonization. 

As a baby, William was “cured” of his telekinetic powers, and then, to protect him, Scully obviously sent him off to live with some Christians in Wyoming. In the latest tragedy that was The X-Files: I Want to Believe, William was alive and well, living with Mulder and Scully as his parents. Go figure.

 

3. Roseanne – The Connors Win the Lottery – Season 9 (1996)

I don’t think I’m alone in pretending that the ninth season of Roseanne doesn’t exist. Everything that made the show funny (and it was damn funny) was eliminated entirely when in the final season, the Conners and Jackie won $108 million in the Illinois state lottery. So all of a sudden this relatable family we’ve watched toil through mundane scenarios for eight years, comically exemplifying the plight of the American working class,can afford pretty much anything money can buy? Oh wait, but so that the show doesn’t alter too much, we’ll have them remodel the INTERIOR of their shit box house and all live in the crowded splendor of this three-bedroom home with modern decor. Get right out of town! If I want to watch what white trash does with money, I’ll flip the channel over to Bravo and catch up with the latest happenings of The Real Housewives of Orange County. And also, hold on just a darn minute. Jackie dates a prince? Fine. I’ll buy that. The prince is played by Ernest P. Worrell? You’ve gone to far.

 

2.  Melrose Place – Kimberly Comes Back from the Dead/Blows up Melrose Place – Seasons 2/3 (1993 – 1995)

Michael Mancini and Kimberly Shaw’s (Marcia Cross, whose double appearance on this list is likely her greatest accolade) affair becomes legitimized when Michael proposers to her at dinner, she rejects and he gets drunk. In the car, Kimberly reconsiders and accepts, the couple kiss and wouldn’t you know it, they veer right off the road. The car hits something at a high enough speed to paralyze Michael and kill Kimberly, or so we think. This was not a cliffhanger moment, we don’t think that Kimberly is dead and when the new season begins, it turns out that she pulled through. No! KIMBERLY COMES BACK FROM THE DEAD! (I don’t think I need to remind you of the wig scene). And thank god, because who else would have blown up that apartment complex of iniquity they were all co-habitating in.

 

1. Beverly Hills, 90210 – Kelly’s Rehab Roommate Tries to Kill Her – Season 6 (1996)

Picture 1Any fan of Beverly Hills, 90210 knows that Kelly Taylor’s really been through the ringer. During the course of the show she was raped (more than once), sucked into a cult, burnt up in a fire, shot in a parking lot (which resulted in amnesia) and been addicted to both diet pills and cocaine. She’s good people though, so when her cocaine addiction takes over her life, she seeks help in the form of inpatient rehab, where she rooms with a young and ugly junkie called Tara. After completing rehab, Tara moves into the beach house with Kelly. And here’s where an already absurd plot line becomes completely preposterous. Long story short, ol’ Tara goes completely Single White Female on Kelly, which in no way creeps her out. Next thing you know, she’s wielding a gun, and rigging the car up for a carbon monoxide poisoning back-up plan as she and Kelly sit hand-in-hand in Kelly’s car, overlooking the canyon the car is about to plummet into. I submit, Aaron Spelling at his finest.

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by Judi

(*Note: Everyone is clearly dying all around us. Run for your lives.)

I basically came up with today’s Top Five topic and immediately, I was hit with WAY too many possibilities. Seriously, there have been some bat-shit crazy plot twists over the years. It was tough to narrow down the list to just five but pretty easy to distinguish what made the list- any time I sat on my couch, eyes wide, and the words, “What the HELL just happened?” And not in a good way.

5. Friday Night Lights– Landry and Tyra Kill Her Rapist- Season 2 (2007)

I’ve been a big-time supporter of Friday Night Lights for a while now and let me just say that it is REALLY hard to promote a show that you’ve been hailing as “realistic”, “gritty” and “so so GOOD” when the second season gives us THIS- nerd Landry and reformed-hobag Tyra kill her almost-rapist. And then they try to cover it up. And then they hook up. And then they forget about it. What?

I’m not the only one who considers Season 2 a giant blunder of epic proportions (and now, as a devoted FNL supporter, it is my solemn duty to inform you that Season 3 was AWESOME and please watch the next season, please please please- ahem), largely due to this LUDICROUS storyline that sought to turn Dillon, TX into the next Genoa City.

4. Bones– Zack is a cannibal’s apprentice in “The Pain in the Heart” (2008)

To their credit, the powers behind Bones tried to warn us early on in season three about the dangers of the “completely rational person.” Because, as they explain, the completely rational person is not moved by emotion but by pure logic. Give them a convincing reason to kill and they could kill, without remorse.

Yeaaaah, ok. I kind of get it. But explain to me how we went from “kill” to “becoming a cannibalistic serial killer’s APPRENTICE”? In the third season ender of Bones, we learn that Gormogon, the serial killer who likes to kill and eat your nibbly bits, actually had help inside the Jeffersonian lab. And that would be- Zack. Precocious boy genius. Temperance Brennan’s favorite student, so like her in intellgence and rational thought, adored by all as something akin to the class mascot. Who suddenly was INSANE.

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That overwhelming sound you heard two years ago? That was a gaggle of Bones fans yelping, “WHAT? Seriously?! Aw, does that mean Zack’s not coming back??”

3. Dawson’s Creek– Dawson’s dad Mitch bites it while eating an ice cream cone in “Capeside Revisited” (2001)

Just like people always remember where they were when Kennedy was shot, I will always remember where I was when Mitch Leery died by ice cream cone. I was sitting in my dorm room and I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging over. Almost immediately, I heard a chorus of, “What the FUCK?” down the hall (which was pretty typical for a Wednesday night- Dawson’s Creek episode but louder than usual) and my phone rang. It was my sister, who immediately launched into, “Um, did they just kill Dawson’s dad WITH AN ICE CREAM CONE?”

In case you missed it the first time around, he wasn’t assaulted by Butter Pecan or anything. No, happy-go-lucky Mitch Leery was driving his car, munching away on his cone and singing along to the radio when he dropped his delicious tasty treat on the floor. He then bent down to get it and his car got hit by a truck. Commence flash of light. Commence this expression for three subsequent episodes. Commence “What the FUCK?” everywhere.

If you want to see something amazing, Google search "Dawson crying" and you will be hit with a WHOLE WALL of this exact photo

If you want to see something amazing, Google search "Dawson crying" and you will be hit with a WHOLE WALL of this exact photo. It's INCREDIBLE.

Pacey’s right. It was clearly the ice cream cone’s fault. (In an unrelated note, I really miss the old WB promo voice.)

2. Robin Hood– Here’s an idea- LET’S KILL MAID MARIAN in “We Are Robin Hood” (2007)

Ok, first of all- let me just say that I am still so ANGRY about this little development, that even looking up the episode on TV.com filled me with the kind of rage I usually reserve for the likes of Donald Trump and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” newsletter. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the most recent atrocity so the BETRAYAL is still fresh in my mind or if it has something to do with my somewhat pathological obsession with the Robin Hood story ever since I was a little girl.

Whatever the case may be, the decision to kill Marian in the second season ender? I was deeply, deeply infatuated with the BBC’s newfangled “Robin Hood” series- it was so, so BRITISH and like slightly campy but a bit closer to HBO’s Carnivale than those shows like Hercules or Xena. In other words, I was completely hooked to the point of downloading episodes onto my ancient laptop to watch on a cross-country train trip when I moved to Chicago. This is the type of show-obsession where I used to sit anxiously on the edge of my couch, waiting for it to come on, pillow clutched in my lap, DO NOT CALL ME RIGHT NOW. We’ve all had shows like this, you know you have too, and I was ENTRENCHED. So, when the big reveal of “who dies in the season finale” turned out to be, well, HER? I was furious. I threw things. I sat there, gaping, too stunned for swear words. I vowed never to watch the show ever ever again in my life. I’m clearly still not over it. HOW DO YOU KILL MAID MARIAN IN A SHOW ABOUT ROBIN HOOD? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE? Ok, I’m done now GOD.

I don’t even want to show a picture or a video or anything. Let’s move on- still SO ANGRY.

1. Roseanne– The entire last part of the show was a LIE in “Into That Good Night (2)”

roseanne_cast

Oh, Roseanne. Few shows jumped the shark as neatly as Roseanne (I have to tread carefully here. We’re in Bealtown now and I’m pretty sure there’s a statue of the Connors in the town square. Them’s fightin’ words) in its latter seasons. You can actually mark the dividing line of When Roseanne was very good and When Roseanne was unwatchable at “The Connors win the lottery.” As soon as I see that it’s one of those gauzy, leather chair-episodes, I change the channel immediately. Maybe Seinfeld was right to go out on top after all.

I’m a big believer in epilogues. I think the ending to a long-running show is important and not to be glossed over. After all, we the viewers have stuck with you, the show, for almost a decade, if the show is lucky enough to live that long. Give us closure, give us a satisfying end. Sure, ok, make Bob Newhart wake up in bed with Suzanne Pleshett. Cute. Clever. Precious. We all preferred Suzanne anyway.

But no. Do not sit in a basement and tell me that the last few years have been a lie. Don’t mess with my mind and tell me Darlene was with Mark and David with Becky. Don’t reveal that it was Jackie was gay, not hilarious Bev (though seriously, I think we all knew Jackie was gay right?). But there’s one point, in particular, where you simply do not go.You don’t kill Dan Conner. No, you can’t. That’s a seriously heartbreaking twist right there and one we pretty much, as a NATION, rejected immediately. No, no, no, no.

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by Judi

Yes: The Philanthropist

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Ok, NBC. You got me for now. Though I had my doubts on what this preachy rich-man-feels-guilty-gives-back drama was really going to give me, I was pleasantly surprised. Though far down on the list of the Best Pilots ever (not even on the list, in fact), this show is promising. Disconnected billionaire seeking connections, in rather unexpected places. I can just see the Craigslist ad now.

I’ll give you the rest of summer to improve, Teddy Rist, because there were many, many stupid things about your first episode (paging ghost of your dead son who leads you to the village so you can deliver the vaccine). But it’s summer and the pickings are slim anyway, so you win. For now.

No: Merlin

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Lord. Why do all of NBC’s fantasy shows/movies look EXACTLY the same? That movie about Jason and the Argonauts or whatever it was called, the 10th Kingdom series… all of them have this same look to them. It’s very distracting. Anyway, I was bored after about ten minutes of viewing and I escaped into the bowels of my TiVo Suggested Picks instead. Merlin is homely and a bad actor, Giles from Buffy– ugh, I think I preferred you in those old coffee commercials.

Yes: Make It or Break It

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Let’s just all admit the first point right now- gymnastics is the best part of the Summer Olympics. In agreement? Ok, if you agree, then keep reading. If you’ve started going on and on about swimming (boor-ring), then you can make yourself busy elsewhere.

I can usually take or leave ABC Family’s original programming (Greek- yes. Secret Life of An American Teenager aka from the creator of 7th Heaven whose idea of television programming has all the ingenuity and taste of Wonder Bread– no.) but I was totally sucked in by the promo for this one- “The girl they found on the playground?” Oh, hell yeah. Let’s go. Take a gaggle of tightly wound, teenaged gymnasts. Toss in Candace Cameron-Bure (who at first I thought looked amazing and then I thought she looked kind of cheap and now I can’t decide), a string of overbearing parents who are basically looking at said gymnasts with dollar signs in their eyes, obligatory kid in a wheelchair and Meg! from Sunset Beach! and you get… a shockingly entertaining family show.

Don’t get me wrong- there’s definitely a lot of trite cliches at work here. What’s refreshing is that the show takes SOME of those cliches and turns them on their head, which you’re not expecting at all (because this is a cable series. On the Family channel.) For example, Emily (poor girl with K-Mart unitard) has a trashy mother who forgets to pick her up from practice… but instead of going the usual Lifetime Movie route (Mom’s a selfish bitch, a drunk etc etc) we feel instant sympathy for Chloe (Meg! from Sunset Beach), who is also super tough and trying desperately to stay on top of everything so that her kids (including a wheelchair-bound son) get everything they need. And superstar Payson (what the hell kind of name is that?) is the most tightly wound kid in history. She’s also incredibly quiet and focused- she’s acutely aware of what’s riding on her and the fact that in this sport, you can blow years of training in just a few minutes. You just know this one is going to snap and it’s going to be awe-some.

Bottom line- kids are going to LOVE this show. And since I basically have the same taste as a fourteen-year-old girl organzing video tapes in the AV room, I loved it too.

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by Judi

Oh, Chelsea.

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by Judi

Thanks a lot, NBC, for providing me with a promising new show with a name that I have to spell-check twenty-seven times.

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I’ll confess that I’m mainly checking out this drama at 10/9C (given a surprisingly positive review from Entertainment Weekly) because Neve Campbell is in it and I have a bizarre sentimental investment in all of the former Salinger children‘s careers. I applaud you, Gretchen Weiners. I’m happy for you, Jack Shephard (even though I find you a little bit insufferable). I  cheered you, Scott Wolf, when you were not terrible in Saturday Night Live (oh my God, that was in 1998) and it seems you’ve got a role in the new pilot V, I’ll probably watch that too. I wonder what baby Owen’s been up to?

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