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, July 21, 2010

Random Question: Bianca Lawson

How long can Bianca Lawson play a teenager?

Not that she doesn't look amazing, but really, she was a high schooler on Buffy and Dawson's Creek over ten years ago!  How is it possible she is on Pretty Little Liars?

Maybe my real question is: who is her dermatologist?

The TV Girl

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fringe: How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

Two friends asked me what I think of Fringe.  Here are a few, not nearly all, of my thoughts, assisted by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

(If you are not finished with Season 2, don’t read this!)

John Noble, I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. 

No, seriously, John Noble as Walter Bishop/Walternate is an amazing performance of an amazing character/s.  I wonder where John Noble's Emmy/Golden Globe/Peabody Award nominations and wins are, but then I remember that award-voting-bodies cannot find their asses with maps and miner’s hats.  At turns vitriolic, self-pitying, brilliant, and endearingly befuddled, Walter is one of the most challenging characters on TV.  Ask yourself if you would do anything differently if your child had died?  Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t go to an alternate version of your reality, take your dead son’s doppelganger back to your own reality, cure his fatal disease and then not fight back when your grief-stricken wife refuses to let you take him back to his real home?  And would you ever be whole again?   The answer that Fringe offers is, no.  As tragically human and complex as Walter is, he is not whole, literally and figuratively.  He kidnaps Peter out of love, but no matter the motivation, such a great violation tears his soul apart, and it is because of the man he sees himself becoming that he asks William Bell to cut out the parts of his brain that contain the knowledge of how to get to the alternate universe.  As a viewer, every time I want to throw my hands up in disgust that anyone could be so selfish the next scene makes me realize that no punishment could compare to that Walter inflicts on himself.  And then there is Walternate, the man Walter would be without Peter.  Mad with power, trying to kill the son he lost in order to punish an entire universe for the crime of one man, and now holding dearest Olivia captive in a dark cell, Walternate is a despot who has lied and bent a world to his revenge driven will.  It would be too easy for Walternate to be a caricature of an evildoer, but John Noble’s gravitas prevents parody.  Faced with our choices is it better to be permanently pshycologically fractured or utterly devoid of human compassion?

But when feeling out of sight from the ends of Being and ideal Grace, then there is Astrid.  And Agent Broyles.  And alternate-Charlie.

The beauty of Fringe is balance. One example of that is that the core-trio (Walter, Peter, Olivia) is balanced by the satellite trio: Astrid, Broyles, and Charlie.  Unfortunately, this balance was disturbed in S2.  I think that the Charlie storyline at the beginning of S2 was handled poorly.  I think it was a mistake to have Charlie killed and replaced by a shape-shifting agent from the other side, but having made that mistake, the show should have explored all the possibilities.  Instead, almost immediately shape-shifted-Charlie is killed off.  But I applaud his return via alternate-Charlie, because now there is a chance that the empathetic but grounded, supportive but tough, and serious but self-deprecating triumvirate of Astrid-Broyles-Charlie can guide where Walter wanders, act where Peter questions, pull where Olivia pushes.

And most of the episodes, I love thee to the level of everyday’s most quiet need.

As I just said, I don’t think every moment of Fringe is impeccable, but for 90 % of S2 I couldn’t rip myself away, like “Brown Betty.”   A drug addled Walter spins Ella a film-noir inspired yarn that he ends as a dower morality tale, but Ella counters with a redemptive fairytale.  Silly?  Yes.  Brilliant?  Yes.  More than meets the eye? Of course.  This whimsical, but poignant episode uses mystery-genera tropes to explore the impact of point-of-view upon narration, to compare the weight of emotion versus reason, and has singing!  By the end of the episode we see that the depth and truth of human failing is accessible to a child, but for the adult, who has lost the faith in mercy inherent in childhood, forgiveness is a continual journey rather than an isolated act.  And it is this blend of the esoteric and earthly that makes Fringe more than a sci-fi show, more than a family drama.

My one major complaint: Fringe is a bit too gross to watch on a full tummy.  But despite that, Fringe, I love thee with the breath, smile, tears.

The TV Girl

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Glee: What I Will NOT Be Watching This Fall

I have to admit a dirty little secret.

The afterglow of my Gleegasm has worn off.

Glee is not a total train wreck: without a doubt Jane Lynch is one of the most brilliant actors working today, (But didn't we all already know that? 40 Year Old Virgin, The L Word, Party Down anyone?); the Hummell family tugs on my heartstrings; and man those musical numbers are (for the most part) magical.  But the exceptional parts of this show do not add up to a cohesive whole.

While I was watching the finale I kept thinking "this doesn't make any sense."  If the penultimate episode was about how New Directions could beat Vocal Adrenaline with a funk number, then why on earth did every single group member (and the faculty advisor!) have a nervous breakdown and then not perform a funk song?  Why is New Directions the underdog when they can pull fully formed professional performances out of thin air with absolutely no rehearsal?  Why, why, oh why would you give a baby to a woman who lied and manipulated her way into the life of the teenage daughter she gave up at birth only to decide that she has no maternal feeling for said daughter?  I think Quinn and Puck might have committed an act of child abuse by handing over their child to such a horrible person.  Why couldn't someone have come up with a better send of for Jonathon Groff than a horribly boring set piece that reduced the "unstoppable competition" to a labored solo?  Why are we beating this dead-horse of Kurt-Finn-Rachel?  (Give Kurt something to do!)  Why is this show so freaking didactic?

I appreciate the over-the-top quality of Glee; there is nothing wrong with abruptly shifting from character to character, using songs instead of dialogue is a bit tiresome but usually executed well, and the intense sincerity of all the characters contrasts nicely with their complete lack of definable principles.  But there is no excuse for a show with continuous storylines where one episode has nothing to do with the one that came before and has no effect on the one that will come next.  I should not come to the end of a season and say "what was the point of that?"

If someone can tell me what the point is, please do.  I plan on hitting up You-Tube for the song performances next season, and skipping the irrelavent plot (or lack thereof) and "character development."

The TV Girl