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If Television Was Reviewed By Tabloids

October 7, 2008

I’ve booked my hotel room for the AWP Conference in Chicago. It hit me for the second time yesterday that I will be going to Chicago in February. I love Chicago, I think it’s an amazing city, but the weather frightens me. I’m going to freeze to death. And for that reason primarily I elected to stay in the same hotel as the conference – the less time spent out in the cold, the better, even if it is more expensive.

Television was either light or mediocre last week – and I’m still two weeks behind on my Supernatural. Still, there were certain moments that just cried out for commentary.


Chuck – Chuck Versus the First Date

Casey catches Chuck when he falls.

Casey catches Chuck when he falls.

Casey Loves Bartowski Almost As Much As Reagan – Definitely More Than Bin Laden or Hitler! Casey’s destruction of the fireplace rather than Chuck’s grinning headshot earned an ‘Ooh,’ from the audience at the Paley Center. We knew you were just a big softy, Casey. Hopefully one day soon Casey really will be torn between his orders and his feelings, and we’ll find out just how deep those feelings run. In the words of another Adam Baldwin favorite, “That’ll be an interesting day.”

‘Call of Duty’ Saves Secret Agent Charles Carmichael! Proving once again that Morgan Grimes’ friendship is more valuable than a Stanford diploma. Never underestimate knerd-knowledge; from the Demova Virus to ‘pineapple,’ the writers manage to surprise me again and again with the myriad of ways they apply Buy More life lessons to the spy world. I’m still waiting for the answer to be 42.

Did Sarah Say Auf Wiedersehen to the Weinerlicious? It was a sad day in Burbank when the local sausage hut closed its doors. What was the cause? Maybe it had something to do with the deep fryer full of high-tech spy gadgets instead of fat – or maybe Agent Walker just wasn’t pushing the corn dog hard enough. The fro-yo uniform doesn’t lend itself to comedy quite like the Bavarian barmaid, and soft-serve isn’t as phallically funny as hot dogs on sticks, but like the sign says, there’s yogurt and fun.

How I Met Your Mother – World’s Greatest Burger

Regis Philbin sinks to a new low.

Regis Philbin sinks to a new low.

The Mother – Where the *$&@ is She? Enough is enough, folks. We all know the Mother is the brunette who bumped into Ted at the St. Patrick’s Day party – why else would the writers spare precious seconds on a palpable connection between two strangers? Stop wasting time with Dr. Stella (Sorry, Sarah Chalke!) and burger hunts, and get with the meeting already. I don’t have a problem with non-Ted storylines, but typically those episodes do something in terms of character work, or, you know, humor. Marshall’s desperate hunt for the best burger in New York was just that – desperate.

NCIS – Agent Afloat

"I think Tony and Ziva are finally going to hook up, McGee."

"I think Tony and Ziva are finally going to hook up, McGee."

David Becomes Pin-Up Girl! Yes, Tony’s a horndog, and there was no way he was going to let those bikini pictures get destroyed, but the fact that he had multiples pinned up in his home-away-from-home and only one fully-clothed picture of Abby begs the question: just how much did Tony really miss Miss Mossad? Ziva obviously missed him, what with her wistful glances towards his desk and attempts to discuss him with an oblivious McGee. We saw Tony’s adult, romantic side when he was undercover wooing Jeanne – so we know he’s capable of real feelings. According to the producers, “The slow dance continues,” which is great, but I think you can step it up. While I don’t want to lose sight of the class clown we all know and love, I miss the depth of character DiNozzo had under Jenny Shepherd’s command.

Assistants Are the #2 Cause of Deaths! First it was Chip, Abby’s lab monkey and Tony’s nemesis. Then Junior Agent Lee was revealed to be Double Junior Agent Lee. So was anyone really surprised that the doctor’s assistant aboard the air carrier turned out to be the bad guy? Apparently the new trend is to always watch your number two; no one wants to be second rate forever. I guess you get what you pay for.

House – Adverse Effects

Can you believe he gets paid for this?

Can you believe he gets paid for this?

Private Eye Found in House’s Closet! Surprising everyone, but especially myself, Lucas’s continued presence at Princeton Plainsborough is not unwelcome. With a frankness that endears him to the curmudgeonly House, and an unexpected genuine side that seems to have attracted Dr. Cuddy, the fact that he has no emotional stake in this world (yet) allows him a sort of freedom that Wilson never had. Maybe House should pay more people to be his friends. I think it’s working.

Kutner Crawls Ahead in Personality; Taub and Thirteen Still Boring! Stop holding onto the past; let the old ducklings go and embrace the new ones. Keeping Chase and Cameron around for cameos is cruel to both the actors and the audience, while Foreman does nothing but suck the air from the room. Cut them loose. Then maybe Taub and Thirteen will develop into characters worth caring about instead of shoddy reproductions. Kutner, who’s already evolved from the walking disaster who once blew up a patient, not only has legitimate diagnostic opinions, but his very own quirks, like a world record in crawling. The other two are still handicapped by the problems that plagued them last year. Move on.

Fringe – The Arrival

Can you hear me now?

Can you hear me now?


Creepy Hairless Dude Pulls Man and Child From Sinking Car!   Finally, a mystery I can get behind! Who is this bald man with damaged tastebuds and no eyebrows?  The victim of some early nuclear bomb experiments?  Whoever he is, I look forward to more of his visits. It’s a decent revelation, but I had so hoped for Walter to reveal that the real Peter Bishop drowned in that accident, forcing the distraught father to clone his son.  Maybe during sweeps.  

Boyfriend Back From the Dead!  In a move that surprised exactly no one, Mark Valley has returned – after being credited in several episodes for playing a corpse.  Was there ever actually any doubt?  Hopefully he’s not looking for commitment, as the palpable connection between Olivia and Peter is about the only thing keeping this show’s heart pumping.

Bomb Burrows Towards Bethlehem.  It worries me that despite the fact that Walter discussed the project to develop missiles capable of traveling through the earth’s core to any destination, and the fact that they witnessed one explode, no one seems to be concerned with the cylinder that got away.   

Project Runway – Nature Calls

Kenley's father was a tug-boat captain and somehow this explains her attitude problem.

Kenley's father was a tug-boat captain and somehow this explains why she's a bitch.

Kenley Gets Trampled on the Runway! Jerell, Korto, and Leanne, at the same stage in the competition, are still capable of admiring one another’s designs and respecting one another as people, so it should have come as no shock to Kenley that no one wanted to take her to Bryant Park. Of course, no opinions matter to her but her own – including the judges’. Despite missing the entire point of an evening gown, not wanting to make something “elegant” or “pretty,” the non-elimination round means she’s still in the game. Proof that there is no God, folks. Clearly the judges see something in her that the rest of the world doesn’t. She’s just not that good, and she’s completely incapable of taking direction. She should have left the runway two challenges ago.

Bones – The Crank in the Shaft

At least he got a Kirkegaarde t-shirt out of the deal.

At least he got a Kirkegaarde t-shirt out of the deal.

Depressed Intern Brings Everyone Down! You know, as amusing as the constant Circus O’ Interns is, what exactly are they doing that gets them fired? A few personality quirks are actually a job requirement for working at the Jeffersonian, and every intern that has passed through so far has offered some important insight to one or more of the crew. Yet every week there are two new bodies – one on the table, and one in a lab coat. Zack wasn’t exactly a ray of sunshine either, you know.

Angela Seeks Psychiatric Help! This episode only served to highlight the fact that there was absolutely no reason for Hodgins and Angela to break up. I’m forced to conclude that the break-up is merely an excuse to pair the admittedly bi-sexual Angela with a woman, as promised later this year. I’m fiercely protective of my favorite T.V. couples, but I can be persuaded to accept a break-up if it serves the story. This is just sad.

CSI: NY – Page Turner

Rock 'n roll and Bardo Thodol don't mix.

Rock 'n Roll and Bardo Thodol don't mix.

Maroon 5 May Cause Death! I know it’s not the first time a music group has decided to play themselves for free publicity, but usually the writers do a better job of integrating the concert with the plot. In this case, death by radiation poisoning had absolutely nothing to do with the band in the park. I would have much rather seen a killer targeting groupies, or a murderer who worked as a roadie. Nothing about the opening five minutes explains why the girl with graffiti on her face spent time in the New York City Public Library’s flood zone, reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Sanctuary – Sanctuary For All
Helen Magnus and Will Zimmerman are amazed that two hours of monsters could be so boring.

Will Zimmerman and Helen Magnus are amazed that two hours of monsters could be so boring.

Daniel Jackson Reincarnated! It’s only natural, given how many times he’s died. Still, the similarities are downright eerie. A geek with brown hair and glasses, who suffered some parent-related trauma as a youth, and who went on to preach theories about things that couldn’t exist only to be recruited by a mysterious older woman (sorry, Amanda!) for the greatest adventure of his life? That movie was called Stargate. You’d think the minds behind that tv show and Sanctuary would realize that. Too bad whats-his-face doesn’t have James Spader or Michael Shanks’ acting abilities.

There’s No Such Thing As Monsters! None that we can see, at any rate. The entire world is CGI, but we don’t get a single look at the scary beasts we’ve heard so much about. Oh, mermaids, sure, Bigfoot, and the mostly human deviants, they’re cheap, but everything else is just out of sight. Blew the budget on that kid’s extra appendage, huh? Sadly, Sanctuary lacks the wit and warmth of some of SciFi’s other shows, like Eureka and Atlantis, and waited way too long to introduce its most interesting characters. It’s tough to watch a show when you’re distracted by the leading lady’s wig and accent.


Quote of the Day:

Terence: Should we go in there and get an ice cream?
Sarah(sarcastic) Yeah, babe. ‘Cause we’re sightseeing.

-The Newly Dating Couple from The Amazing Race  (It’ll never last)

Link of the Day:  Saturday Night Live takes on the VP Debate – this is too funny not to share, though many of you may have already seen it.  They missed an opportunity with Palin’s pronunciation of ‘nuclear,’ but maybe after eight years of Bush, they’ve driven that joke into the ground.

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