Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

My photo
Washington, DC, United States
I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bones: An Open Letter To Hart Hanson.

Dear Creator/Producer of a show that was once entertaining and touching,

If you don’t mind, would you please get off your frakking socially-correct high horse, get your shit together, and give me back my show that I love.

I go to Mass once a week to get my preaching fix. Quit wasting my time telling me that dog-fighting is wrong and smoking is a poor lifestyle choice. If someone questioned your commitment to such basic (that they are boring) cultural mores, then please address those concerns in private, on your own time.

If this is too much to ask, please be consistent. Wendell should get a lawyer, because, any way you excuse it, that was still sexual harassment and speaking to a (relative) stranger, as well as a student, in such a manner is utterly inappropriate.

More importantly, you made a choice at the end of last season, and even if it was a poor one, you owe it to your audience to deal with it, not back-peddle. I, in no way, enjoy being emotionally tormented, and I doubt that many people do. I, along with the characters, was coming to terms with Zack’s mistaken philosophy and immoral act, so how dare you now tell me “he didn’t actually stab that man.” Slowly reintegrating Zack into the show in a consultant capacity would have been both feasible and plausible, but attempting to expunge viewer outrage by simply negating the event that sparked the fury is utterly disrespectful. And that dinner montage scene didn’t make any sense. None.

I only say all this because there are 2 and 9/10th seasons to prove that you are better than this. I beg you to justify the faith your viewers have in you.

The TV Girl

The Office (9): I Forgive, I Forgive!

I forgive last season!

In my humble opinion there were many problems with last season, but the biggest one was Jim and Pam. So many things about the treatment and presentation of their relationship felt strained and odd. (I actually got in a debate with two friends last night about Jim telling the camera that he bought an engagement ring a week into dating Pam; I found this incredibly off-putting, but I am apparently the only one.) But the real Jim (self deprecating but self aware social commentator) and Pam (slightly awkward but in an endearing way) have returned to take back the show from those smug twats that were impersonating them. Jim’s proposal was sincere and meaningful and totally warmed my heart.

Ryan is back at the bottom of the totem pole where he belongs. The idea of Ryan as Michael’s boss might have been doomed from the beginning; no execution would quite live up to the concept. But what better punishment for fraud than having to return to that company as a temp. Embittered, revenge-list-writing Ryan cracked me up.

The Dwight-Angela-Andy situation is possibly beyond my powers of analysis. What is one to say? Dwight gave a what-up to the camera while leaving the storage closet he and Angela just had sex in, that participation of his singing group in the wedding is the deal-breaker for Andy, and Angela verbally abused Kevin. What does one say?

Will Holly be sticking around? She should, because her dorkiness is supremely preferable to Jan’s, um, tenacity.

Plus, Phyllis stole the Party Planning Committee from Angela, Stanley was a Black Panther, and Toby is in a Costa Rican hospital with a broken neck! Brilliant.

Even the structure of the plot complimented the extended time, so it didn’t seem too thin, the way the long episodes last season did. Congratulations The Office; you have regrouped, rallied, and returned from the brink of disaster.

The TV Girl

How I Met Your Mother (7): More Than A Job….

Marshall needs a haircut. Seriously. Hard to concentrate on anything else. His adorable explanation to Stella that Ted’s first marriage is to Star Wars totally overshadowed by the animal that died on his head.

But, nothing can overshadow Ted’s virtual high-five to his fifteen-year-old self. Genius.

I am not convinced that Stella is actually the future Mrs. Ted, which dampens my excitement that she said yes, because I don’t want to get too attached. But I am excited that she said yes. Especially excited that she didn’t break up with him when he almost killed her.

I wasn’t so happy last season when Ted was acting like Barney, but Barney acting like Ted is hilarious. As his tribute to bimbos illustrates, Barney is not ready for a fundamental lifestyle change, but his foray into mature-relationship-land added a little sweetness to Barney’s character that I think can only help.

And, I predict it won’t be too long before Lily spills the beans to Robin.

The TV Girl

Monday, September 22, 2008

Friday Night Lights: Season Three Promo

Not that I don't think this is ridiculously pretty, and not that I am not unbelievably excited for another season, but is there something kind of odd about this? I mean, that is the cast and everything, but I was unaware that Tim Riggins had superpowers (aside for charm).

I mean, seriously, was NBC (and even though this is an add for DirectTV, the show is still owned by NBC) just too cheap do separate shoots for FRL and Heroes, because that is the same color scheme.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bones (6.5): Awkwardness in the Non-Awkwardness.

Why on earth was there an entire episode (“The Man in the Outhouse”) where Hodgins and Angela where walking around like nothing happened?

I should probably be more forgiving since the focus of the episode’s personal aspect was the impossibility of simply replacing someone you have lost with another who is capable of fulfilling the same function. I am still not happy about Zach’s absence, but I do appreciate that his previous presence is being respected.

Back to my point: the this-is-the-part-where-we-normally-kiss moment seemed overdue. Hodgins and Angela should have just been kept out of scenes together if the producers where going to delay recognizing how uncomfortable it should be for them to work together. And now that I have that gripe out of my system, can I just say how much I love angry-Hodgins! I missed the conspiracy-theory-spouting-and-tirade-prone-Hodgins, because he was way more fun than happy-Hodgins.

But how unfortunate that Mac’s last boyfriend Max (from Veronica Mars) went on to be a dog-fight-organizing murder. At least when Beaver was a guest on this show he wasn’t the murderer.

I got choked up when Brennan started crying for Ripley. I was already a little teary-eyed about Booth telling Parker than when it is for yourself you walk away but when it is for someone else you stay and fight.

The TV Girl

Prison Break (6): This Shit Has Gone International!

I can’t say that I really think “Shut Down” and “Eagles and Angels” rank as the most exciting/intriguing episodes of this series ever, but I am a fan of the way this season is progressing. Apparently, the Company is not contained to the United States, but at least encompasses Turkey, and China knows about it. The boys and Sara have a way of tracking down the other five card-holders, and already have a copy of a second one, so only four more to go. FBI dude has proved himself to be willing to give as much as he expects from Michael and Co. They are now aware of T-Bag’s presence, thereby integrating the two storylines. There is plenty to be pleased about.

Including, addressing my earlier concern, I am pleased to find that Lincoln does have a heart in there; his compassion towards Mahone upon finding out that his son (but not his wife, I apologize for assuming so) has been murdered restored my faith in Linc as a character.

Also, methinks that when the Chinese assassins arrive looking for “Cole Pheiffer”/Whistler and find T-Bag that his little charade will come crashing down soon after. I wonder if he knows what happened to Jack Bauer when he fell victim to such hostile enemies? (Do fictional characters know about other fictional characters?) While I enjoy T-Bag as Michael’s nemesis, I cannot imagine a punishment appropriate enough for him. I mean, he ate some guy two episodes ago!

While it was painful to watch, Sara’s brush with falling off the wagon was something I have thought was missing so far. Considering what she has been through, there needed to be either a vocal recognition of her fortitude in resisting her previous coping patterns, or she needed to turn to the bottle. So happy she resisted though. But, as a female, I have to wonder what there is to hesitate about when asked to run off into the sunset with such a beautiful man?

But, on the side of things that do not please me, is the progression of Michael’s “mystery illness.”

The TV Girl

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Suggestion: Gavin and Stacey

If your life is missing ridiculous cuteness and unimaginable accents, then I would highly recommend this show. Light, adorable fun. And it stars the girl from the body-double-couple in Love Actually. OnDemand and iTunes have the first three episodes, and more will be available as they air on BBC America.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Top 5: Bromantic Chemistry

Continuing my series on chemistry, I am moving into the non-sexual realm (sort of). The bromance as a term is something new to our culture, but as a phenomenon it is as old as time: close male friendship that is very loving but not necessarily sexual. So here is my ballot of the men of recent TV who have that special something that makes their bromance look effortless.

Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester: Supernatural
I am not cheating. Yes, Sam and Dean are brothers, but they also have a fantastic bromance. And these two actors are perfectly matched to their characters. Of course I know they are not brothers in real life, but these guys click so well on screen, I have to believe that they really are friends. The fact that the terms of their interaction is more bromantic (jokes at each other’s expense, occasional pranks, moments of confrontation) and less mushy, emotional sharing-ness (the way TV land seems to think brothers act) highlights how well these two play off of each other. Jared/Jensen don’t ever change.

Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson): The Office
Dwight might be more invested than Michael reciprocates, so this might be an almost unrequited bromance. But it is a joy to watch two masters of awkwardness inflict their special brand of bromance on those around them. Carell/Wilson make the Michael/Dwight bromance watchable; in lesser hands it would be impossible to watch one man give another his urine.

Jeff Murdock (Richard Coyle) and Steve Taylor (Jack Davenport): Coupling
What can I say about the genius of Steve and Jeff that you cannot see with your own eyes? Well, for those of you who haven’t seen this britcom you are missing a fantastic bromance. Either bonding over videogames or discussing the most inappropriate terms for a girlfriend who won’t stop stalking you, Jeff and Steve bring a life to this show that is distinct and tone-setting. They are so in tune as actors that over the course of the show it is possible to see how the other actors start taking their cues from this dynamic duo. Netflix it, you won’t regret it.

Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and Burton Guster (Dule Hill): Psych
Shawn and Gus are so great together they merited cartoon shorts that run during new episodes of Psych. While they are an example of opposites-attract, Gus allows Shawn to drag him into trouble, and Shawn insists on doing so, because they are essentially inseparable. And Roday/Hill are flawless together. Their chemistry makes it possible to believe that such a relationship could actually be sustained for so long. Please, please watch the scene from “Bounty Hunters” where Shawn and Gus list synonyms for the word briefcase while trying to convince Kevin Sorbo (yes, you read that right) to exchange said briefcase for an escaped con; it is truly magical chemistry.

Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard): House
According to my current Entertainment Weekly “the bromance is over for House and Wilson,” but be that as it may, House and Wilson’s scenes are really the gems of this show. Their hilarious and devoted bromance is executed with a precision and grace by these two men that I would almost be willing to accept entire episodes that are just them; get rid of “the team” and give me middle-age bromance.

Making this list I began to realize just how much of television is preoccupied with exploring male friendship. I ended up with four alternates that need to be acknowledged, even if I think they are not quite as special as the above.

Honorable Mentions:

Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie) and Seth Cohen (Adam Brody): The O.C.
My (emotionally) favorite bromance. I still heart Ryan and Seth.

Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) and Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris): How I Met Your Mother
While this is a bromance for the ages, NPH outshines Radnor just slightly (sometimes a lot), therefore throwing off the chemistry balance, just a bit.

Bertie Wooster (Hugh Laurie) and Reginald Jeeves (Stephen Fry): Jeeves and Wooster
Amazing actors, but the whole employer/employee situation makes it a debate whether this is a true bromance.

Barney Gumble and Moe Sizlack: The Simpsons
Bromantic as all get out, but can cartoon characters really be said to have chemistry?

Yes, No, Maybe So? Tell me if you think I missed the mark.

The TV Girl

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gossip Girl (6): Nate Pimped Himself Out!

Literally. I mean he actually took money in exchange for sex. From Blair’s new boyfriend’s step-mom! I am all flustered with shock and awe. And the little sad look on his face when he got off the phone with Vanessa was too much for me. He should have just let Chuck take care of things so that he could have gone and had Chinese food with Vanessa. (I was super excited that they graced the cover of my Entertainment Weekly on Saturday.)

Oh wait, and Blair knows that Nate is doin’ the Duchess. Catherine is in for a rude awakening if she thinks that she and Blair are square now. It seems pretty clear that Blair isn’t going to do anything to Nate. Even if she is disappointed in her former beau’s choices, she has bigger fish to fry. I love their amicable-but-defensive interaction, because it makes for an interesting contrast to Nate and Chuck’s blaze discussion of Chuck’s intentions towards Blair.

And anyone who has seen the preview for next week’s episode knows exactly what Chuck’s intentions are. So. Ridiculously. Hot.

Sorry, getting ahead of myself. It is kind of interesting the expression of the “best friend” relationships on this show. Serena and Blair hug each other when one has done something stupid. Chuck sells his club to save Nate from loosing his home. Of course, friendship is in both the day-to-day customs and the large gestures, I am not trying to say that on this show one gender is given a more realistic treatment than the other. Rather, I appreciate that these more human elements are not completely forsaken in the midst of all the sex and scandal.

But Dan is willing to forsake his introspection for sex. Is he a teenage boy by any chance? I couldn’t stop laughing about the fact that Serena just happened to be traveling with a box of chocolate dipped strawberries. Too funny. I give Dan and Serena two more episodes before their return to spits-ville. He will give into his happiness-crushing desire to over-analyze soon. So my question is, does Dan rise to jealousy the way everyone else does? When he sees Serena with a totally new guy will he discover his inner Chuck?

So glad Rufus isn’t going back out on tour. I adore the parent drama, and desperately need Lily back too.

(This post is out of control incoherent. Apologies. Like I said, flustered.)

The TV Girl

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bones (5): I Always Find Tiny Car Jokes Funny.

I know, it makes me kind of lame, but really I do. Totally obvious jokes about the frustrations of small vehicles make me laugh.

I have had multiple requests to comment upon the season premier of Bones. I watch Bones; I have seen every episode (since I own the first two seasons, I have seen most episodes multiple times) and I immensely enjoy it as a show. It may have been ten years since Angel suffered a burn from a cross on the chest in order to kiss Buffy, but I cannot help but love David Boreanaz. I just never write about the individual episodes as they occur, but I do write about it in Top 5 lists (for example, see below). Yet I will break with tradition, since I am a slave to my readers.

Angela and Hodgins break-up was dumb. I mean, really really, dumb. If they had come to the realization that they were concentrating too much on their wedding and not enough on their actual relationship, then I could have seen devoting airtime to such a storyline. Aside from Angela’s ex throwing Hodgins into the garbage truck, it all just felt like a waste of scenery.

Cam needs to decide if she is a boss or a friend. I have no idea when she developed Michael Scott syndrome.

I was sorry to see Clark go so quickly, I liked him (as much as was possible to do so). Even though I think meta-metaphor should be used sparingly (if ever), Clark’s desire for a “regular” lab was the best way for the producers to warn any viewer looking for a strictly clinical/procedural show about what Bones is. The personal relationships and internal struggles of the characters are what balance this show; the specific crimes that designate the episodes are so grim that it would be un-watchable without the human (for lack of a better term) “drama.”

Speaking of crime, the second dastardly deed in London was much more interesting than the first. The-American-heiress-who-accidentally-had-an-incest-love-affair just fell flat for me. I didn’t care. Would have been so much better if her brother/lover had killed her. The-grad-student-killing-her-slime-ball-professor, now that was interesting. There were enough people with a motive, and the London detective who could have been either helping or harming made for an entertaining mystery.

Booth’s compulsive need to protect Bones from being exploited was so incredibly sweet, that I want to forgive almost anything about this premier. How refreshing to see on TV a man truly want a woman to know her own worth and live her life accordingly.

Essentially, I wonder if there is anyway for this premier to be more than so-so. Because of Zach turning out to be a murderer (a choice on the producer’s part that I still struggle with) the entire dynamic of the show is distorted. The atmosphere of the show, the combination of the particular characters played by particular actors, is now distinctly different than the three seasons that have proceeded; therefore the show will feel strange and awkward to the viewer. We will have to see if that feeling persists, or if Bones can adjust and mend itself, thereby (returning to) continuing to be one of the funniest mystery shows.

What did you think?

The TV Girl

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Top 5: Sexual Chemistry

A show fails without chemistry; you have to believe that the characters feel the way about each other and their situations that the dialog dictates. When a cast doesn’t click you can tell, and we all suffer. Asian KP and I end up talking about cast chemistry all of the time (she has a passion for proper casting), so I decided to do some Top 5s on chemistry, and the first up is the couples with the best sexual chemistry.

Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), Gossip Girl
As I wrote in my post below, Chuck and Blair give me chills. Their antagonistic romance has both incredible intensity and inevitability; they are so undeniably drawn to each other that it lights up the screen. I can’t describe it.

Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) and Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies), Prison Break
Michael and Sara’s first kiss was extraordinary: the prefect combination of lust and sweetness. They are probably one of the most messed-up couples (can’t even tally up all that baggage) but they are so naturally compatible that there is no way that (if alive) they could be apart. Even when they are being mushy their interaction shimmers with sexual tension.

Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly), Friday Night Lights
Granted it would be difficult not to have sexual chemistry with the hotness that is number 33, but be that as it may. The scene where Tim kisses Lyla in her bedroom in Season One would be almost creepy if it were not so drool-worthy. His determination to fluster her at every opportunity, and her inability to prevent him from doing so, is amazing to watch.

Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), Bones
This show gets a place on my list simply for the brilliance of highlighting the sexual chemistry between the leads by having those characters in denial about it. It isn’t a case of combative-attraction; Booth and Bones respect each other, care about each other, and acknowledge so to each other. Furthermore, they discuss sex, but neither has gotten around to seeing what everyone around them sees, namely just how into each other they are. They are an excellent example of a show using every means possible to make the most of what the actors bring to the characters.

Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstien), House
It always baffled me that Cameron thought for a second she had a chance with House considering the R-rated interaction between House and Cuddy. They flaunt their mutual attraction, displaying it for all around them, and by doing so are saved from having to take the step of actually doing something about it. But you never have to worry about forgetting that House and Cuddy are hot for each other, because as soon as they are in the same room they will inappropriately talk about what is plain as day. Fantastic.

Honorable Mentions (because I can’t resist):

Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) and Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), Veronica Mars
Stunning. First. Kiss.

Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) and Kara Thrace (Katee Sackhoff), Battlestar Galactica
One word: HOT.

Well, that is what I think. Anyone disagree? Alternatives? I am open to suggestions as long as no one mentions Justin and Rebecca on Brothers & Sisters, I find that all too gross.

The TV Girl

Gossip Girl (7): Just Like That…

Dan and Serena are back together? I call shenanigans. At least Dan had the decency to look ashamed when he was caught being a hypocritical bastard. I really wonder in his head how he justified righteous indignation at seeing Serena kissing Nate when Dan was hooking up with as many skirts as he could. It won’t last (and not simply because everyone knows that a new love interest for Serena has been cast). It can’t last because it was too easy for them to get back together.

And no I-survived-cancer-and-am-now-a-saint transformations for Grandma; I much prefer feisty old drunk bats, they are way more interesting.

I love that Jenny and Eric are friends again. They very much need each other (mostly to keep their characters from getting lost in the shuffle), and Jenny shouldn’t loose everything because of her wandering on the dark side. If her social networking prowess is any indication, she has learned how to get what she wants in the long run without becoming bitchzilla. Also, Eric might be the funniest character (“that look is not your friend” and runs away), and every good melodrama needs comic relief. (Hint hint One Tree Hill producers.)

Someone should suggest to Nate that Season Two of Veronica Mars might serve him well as a cautionary tale for where his extra-marital relationship is headed. That is since it didn’t seem to be enough to be tossed out a window in only your boxers and then almost hit by a car that your fake-girlfriend is riding in. (So funny.) But it is refreshing to see Nate being naughty. I like that he is a tad more levelheaded than the rest of them, but he shouldn't miss out on all the fun. In my heart I am still pulling for Nate and Vanessa, and it appears that Dan didn’t want her company over the summer, so maybe she will be inclined to give Nate another shot. Or maybe she won’t be so cool with him being all cougar-bait. (Or with that sweater. What was the deal with that?)

As interesting as all these other people are, let me get to the best reason to watch this show: Chuck and Blair! How fantastic was it when he called her BS flat out and then proceed to make dinner as uncomfortable as possible for everyone. (Again Eric: “How- well-do-you-know-Blair-Waldorf is kind of boring for people who know Blair Waldorf.”) His Lordship is obviously the product of aristocratic inbreeding since it took him so long to figure out that Blair was using him to make Chuck jealous. And Chuck jealous is a sight to behold. It brings out all his dastardly inclinations and it gives me chills (in the good way). I slammed my hands down on the table when he didn’t just grab her and kiss in their final scene. But I am not ready for Chuck to say, “I love you” to Blair, and she is obviously not ready to hear it if she can’t say it to him. I say bring on the battle for Blair, we should be in for some particularly juicy Chuck Bass scheming.

The TV Girl

Prison Break (8): Extra Points Because Sara is Alive!

The sap-tastic reunion of Michael and Sara made my heart just burst. (They have inspired a new Top 5 list.) I don’t care if it is completely ridiculous that they killed her and now have brought her back to life; I was devastated when she died and I am overjoyed that she is alive and with Michael again. Not that either of them are actually okay. Sara is obviously traumatized by her kidnapping and the torture she has subjected to, and Michael will feel guilty about that no matter what kind of “clean slate” bargains they make. Damaged isn’t dead, so I am happy.

All in all, based on the first two episodes I think that this could be a good season for Prison Break. My friend KP mentioned to me that the first episode felt kind of rushed, and I agree with her. In many ways it was mostly just getting the right characters into the right places without much importance as a individual episode. That said, it was paced well enough to keep me interested without being confused. I appreciated the little recap at the beginning of the first episode (and you know you are in for a treat when the first minute of a show has the word “avenge” in it); after three seasons of a very complex (or maybe just convoluted) show it gets tricky to orient yourself with the pertinent plot points. The main story arc seems much more focused, the way it was in the first season. Now instead of simply trying to save themselves from the Company, Michael and all are actively trying to face their collective enemy. On the other hand by having Michael’s tattoos removed (which I think is sad in the sense that he won’t have his shirt off as often as in the first season), it seems to be an acknowledgement that they can still produce a quality show that is not simply trying to chase the high of the first season.

I was completely shocked when Whistler was shot. I thought that they would keep him around a bit longer. I think it was a good choice to keep Gretchen. It will be interesting to see how her part plays out.

Considering that his wife and son were murdered I have had about enough of Linc’s animosity towards Mahone. It is tired. But for no reason that I can quite pinpoint, I still laugh every time someone reminds Linc that he was not the most upstanding of citizens even before he was framed for murder, as our new FBI friend did. (Side note: I always think of when he was on Friends when I see that guy.)

The TV Girl