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

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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.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top 5: Favorite Christmas Episodes

Everyone has fond childhood memories of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. And most series that run for any extended amount of time have a “special” Christmas episode. These episodes tend to be sappy and completely miss the actual point of Christmas. But some shows do it right: Christmas episodes that actually spread joy throughout the world. But since there is no way to avoid a bit of schmaltz around this time of year, I fully disclose at this time that I am, in many ways, guided by emotional attachment in making my choices.

“A Very Supernatural Christmas,” Supernatural
I have no joke watched this episode three times in the last two weeks. This episode is not just an incredible episode of a fantastic show; it might be the best understanding of the meaning of Christmas in a secular world. In S3 Dean decides that for his last Christmas he wants to do it right, an idea Sam is less than enthusiastic about. But what we see through both the flashbacks to the Christmas when Dean told Sam the truth about monsters, and the present story, is that the truly powerful aspect of Christmas is that it rises above the difficulties of life by embracing them, by impressing upon us the necessity of our families, broken and frail as they may be. Dean and Sam’s Christmas is not an escape from reality, it is a momentary reprieve and a loving celebration in order to fortify themselves for the tragedy they know lies ahead. Oh, and their terrible rendition of Silent Night is hysterical.

“Christmas Party,” The Office
I feel kind of awkward picking S2’s Christmas episode for this list consider how amazing the episode that aired two weeks ago was. But I stand by my choice. Thank you Jim Halpert for reminding all of us that a gift in and of itself means nothing if it does not speak specifically to the person to whom it is given. “It’s the thought that counts” is usually what we say when we feel we have given/received a less than thrilling gift, but as the journey of Pam’s teapot explains, it is the truth behind the best gifts.

“The Best Chrismukka Ever,” The O.C.
Seth’s holiday combining his Protestant and Jewish heritage lives on in my heart every year. Even when The O.C. sucked hardcore, Chrismukka was worth looking forward to, and that first one was so perfect. How could you help but want a happy holiday for beaten down Ryan, and it might have been Marissa’s redeeming moment that in the midst of all her selfish ridiculousness she at least tried to do the right thing for him. The battle-of-the-presents for Seth between Anna and Summer still remains as one of the funniest moments in a love-triangle in TV history. And as much as I love traditional (European/American) fare, who doesn’t dream of a little Lo Mien on Christmas?

“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” The Simpsons
This is the first episode of The Simpsons. This is the origin story of Santa’s Little Helper. This is like eggnog: MANDATORY TRADITION. No further comment necessary.

“An Echolls Family Christmas” Veronica Mars
It was a toss up for me, “An Echolls Family Christmas” (S1) where Veronica foils the poker-cheating plot, or “One Angry Veronica” (S2) when Wallace returns to her and the world of Neptune is set to right (er) again. But then I remembered that S1’s Christmas episode ends with Aaron Echolls being stabbed by the totally looney-tunes waitress that he had the one night stand with. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever. And it contains one of my favorite lines of the whole series: “Annoy tiny blonde one, annoy like the wind.” (TV you are a sadder place lacking Logan.) While in contrast to the earned peace of “A Very Supernatural Christmas” this ends with the cynical pain of a world unredeemed, but I wouldn’t love it at all if it tried to shove some inorganic sappy crap down my throat (like other lesser shows attempt at this time of year).

Honorable Mentions:
“Gus’s Dad May Have Killed An Old Guy,” Psych
This is really just a funny episode. Gus’ parents are adorably overprotective, and Shawn and Henry’s can-you-guess-what-I-got-you game looks like it would be a lot of fun.

“Amends,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Poor Angel, tortured by the Devil into almost believing that he can never do good and trying to kill himself. Poor Xander and his abusive family. Poor Willow thinking Oz rejects her. But it is all worth it for Buffy and Angel’s walk in the snowy daytime.

“The Balance,” Roswell
I mention this because I have relied on this episode to teach me how to deal with overzealous Christmas enthusiasts (I won’t name names but you know who you are). I try to channel Michael when I encounter my own Isabel-esque Christmas-Nazis.

I would recommend any of these episodes as a welcome addition to your own Christmas traditions. Dean and Veronica, Michael and Bart should have their place next to Frosty, Jimmy Stuart, Bruce Willis, and Ralphy.

Merry Christmas all,
The TV Girl

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All I Want For Christmas

The TV Girl, just like everyone else, has a wish list; things (be they physical or karmic) that would brighten her already fantastic holiday.

New DVD Wishes
My shelf is looking awfully bare. So if anyone wants to send me My So Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, The Office (Season 4), Gossip Girl, Dexter, Chuck, 30 Rock or Coupling (Seasons 1-3) I would be eternally grateful. Promise.

Cancellation Wishes
I would truly know that the Christ child was born if the following shows were cancelled immediately and furthermore stricken from the human record: Grey's Anatomy, Desparate Housewives, Two and a Half Men, Lost, all reality dating shows, Gary Unmarried (Jay Mohr is Satan and don't let anyone tell you different), CSI and CSI Miami (CSI NY can stay).

Storyline Wishes
To never ever ever ever see, hear, or have to hear about, Anna Milton on Supernatural. If Dean starts pinning for angel-whore I will personally fly to Vancouver and cut someone.
That Battlestar Galactica will end with a)Lee and Kara together for the long term, or, b)Lee and Kara both dead. No more alternate spouses, no more being afraid, no more excuses; if they are not really together as that last episode goes to black they better have both stop breathing.
That Roslin is the last Cylon.
Progress on the Barney/Robin romance and all its perfection.
A giant Chuck Bass romantic gesture, after his total set-your-lawn-on-fire meltdown.

Personal Wishes
To at least make the attempt to care about Heroes again.
To try and not be so angry that The Mentalist is a rip-off of Psych.

Anything Santa could bring you?

The TV Girl

What A Year It Has Been: Shows I Am Thankful For

It is too easy to be a total crank about the failures of TV, too easy to look for the faults and ignore the joys of the small screen. So, while I am snowed in at my familial home, I have decided to share my optimistic view with you. Here are the shows that have brought me so much hope over the last year.

Yes, yes, my obsession with this show is kind of sick, but it is completely warrented. Depiste the giant mistep of "Heaven and Hell" (which I will deal with in Jan. when my amazing show returns), this season has been a wonder to behold. I have the utmost respect for Erik Kripke, both for his willingness to address the atlternates of evil and for allowing his characters to grow, question, and maybe oneday believe that their struggle is more than a pyric victory.

Battlestar Galactica
Most shows are cop-outs; unwilling to make the truly difficult choices that would allow them to tell real stories about the human condition, they inevitably disappoint. Not so for the remnants of the 12 Colonies and their Cylon allies. Earth is a scourged wasteland rather than the Edenic resting place. The gray-toned landscaped that closed the first half of the last season established with viewers who may have forgotten that this show with always challenge, always demand more, and always (ultiamtely) satisfy.

This little show is so easily overlooked, and it is a shame. Charming and clever, the perfect mix of ridiculous action and ridiculous comedy all wrapped up in endearing relationships, this show is neither deep nor shallow, but is a comforting companion to end a long day with. How refreshing to watch a show about an Everyman, who is more and yet not, and it actually be a person you wouldn't want to punch in the face.

I watched this show on YouTube in a 48 hour marathon, all except the final episode of Series 2 (which is the final episode for the original cast, so as far as I am concerned, the series finale). Those of you out there wringging your hands over the wayward children on Gossip Girl would have no interest in this show, and as a thinking girl, I should write a separate post to discuss objectively the cultural comments this show makes. But I leave any offense to my American-Purtian sensibilities that may or may not have been done. In contrast to the majority of American shows about teenagers, Skins potrayed people you could not help but love. Passionate, determined, and often mistaken, they are rarely self-pitying and ultimately neither selfish nor cruel. The death of one of the characters in the penultimate episode (I won't say which one here) felt more real than almost any death I have seen on TV. Feel free to stand back and judge, but you will miss out on some spectacular people. "I always loved you the best Sid."

Mad Men
I am in no mood to kiss this show's ass right now, I will leave that to the rest of the internet. All I will say here is that maybe my favorite part of this show is that women larger than a size 2 get not only screen time but storylines.

How I Met Your Mother
The Naked Man. Enough said.

The Soup
I know that I rarely talk about anything but scripted series, but I in the spirit of Christmas, I do have to mention that Joel McHale is one of the brightest lights of my life. I don't know what I would do without his recap of the week's events on Tyra and The View.

Please don't think that I have not immensely enjoyed and am eternally grateful for all that Gossip Girl, The Office, 30 Rock, and Prison Break have given me, but in all honesty, I admit to moments when my faith has wavered in each. Above are the shows that have held my heart, even in the times when they were less than they should have been.

For all its problems, 2008 was a good year.

The TV Girl

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gossip Girl: Just A Comment

Every Tuesday I search YouTube and piece together the previous night's episode of GG, and while I know there are much better uses of my time, this morning I have been rewarded for my dedication.

Ed Westwick Frakking Rocks!

Bless this boy for totally channelling Robert Pattinson but not making it look like a parody. I actually shed tears when he reached up to take Blair's arm and accept her hug. (Yes, I am a sap.) I can't get over it.

The TV Girl

P.S. Who hadn't figured out that Lily's "secret?" Now the question is whether le-love-baby is currently in corporeal existence?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What A Year It Has Been: Huge Disappointments

Nothing is truly perfect, and TV is no exception to this rule, but sometimes the line between acceptable flaw and major problem is crossed (and/or crossed back and/or crossed again). In my opinion TV, and faithful viewers, took some heavy blows in 2008:

1) Marshal Erickson's hair: How I Met Your Mother
I adore this show, but it physically pains me to look at Jason Segel's head. Where is the hair of Season One? Where is whomever who is being paid to pay attention to things like the total style nightmare that has grafted itself atop his noggin and looks like any second it is going to spring to life having sucked out his brain?

2) Cancellation: Pushing Daisies
Everyone who saw this show is upset by it's cancellation. But it is all the more disappointing when total crap like Desperate Housewives continues to pollute society.

3) Preaching: Bones
I gave up on this show. I have what I have on DVD and I am content to get my fix that way. I don't know when Hart Hanson and Co. decided that they no longer wanted to produce a show that balanced the points of view of the main characters, but I have no interest in tuning in for Bones/Emily's soapbox. Boring. And ungrateful to your audience.

4) The wasting of Jessica Walter: 90210
I cannot believe that a show producer that has the opportunity to be blessed with the genius that is Lucille Bluth could be stupid enough to make her second banana to a bunch of wooden, dull, and horrifically skeletal teenagers. Have Grandma take Annie under her wing and the whole show could get an infusion of personality. It still would suck, but at least it would be alive.

5) Hiatuses: Battlestar Galactica and Supernatural
I just feel so adrift and aimless when I lack new episodes. Okay, so this is a problem contained neither to these shows, nor to 2008, but this year with these shows it all seems like a vast conspiracy to make my life miserable.

The TV Girl

Wait, there are more!

I thought of something I had to add.

6) Passion-less Sex: Supernatural
Don't get me wrong, I think Dean Winchester is like the hottest thing on the block. But his sex scene with Anna Milton in "Heaven and Hell" (the mid-season finale) completely and totally lacked chemistry. Sadly, it looked like what it was; two strangers doing it (for pretend) because they were supposed to. And in the Impala: BLASPHEMY! Considering how many problems I have with this particular episode, maybe this is a minor quibble. Except, it's not. You couldn't find a girl who could manage to look like she wanted to have sex with him? I find that hard to believe.

What A Year It Has Been

2008 is coming to a close. Writer's Strike, summer slump, my extended fall vacation; it has been quite a year. Even though I have so much catching up to do (watching and reviewing) I think that a few moments of reflection are completely necessary during this season of peace and joy. So keep your eyes open, small presents from TV Girl are on their way.

The TV Girl