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RECAP & REVIEW: Parenthood “Let’s Be Mad Together” S5 E5

Parenthood is having another great season.  This is the type of show that can go for 10+ seasons because there is always something new and real going on with each of these families and I’m invested in all of them…even Zeke and Camille’s storyline is great.  So let’s jump in.

Kristina/Adam/Max

Max has really been flourishing working with Hank and learning how to become a photographer.  And as it turns out, he’s really good.   As it also turns out, not surprisingly, he’s not always appropriate when snapping photos of people.  Max is now on the yearbook staff and he’s role is to take pictures for the yearbook.   The problem is, Max doesn’t want to take traditional yearbook photos.  He wants to get real moments with real people.  And I can’t disagree with him.  And you can do that for the yearbook but maybe he could be a little more subtle.  And maybe he can pick better moments.  While the picture of the crying girl was a beautiful picture, it wasn’t appropriate because of the way he did it.   And she asked him not to do it and he kept doing it anyway.  This resulted in the parents calling the school and the head of the yearbook having to bring in Kristina and tell her that Max is being moved to layout.  It results in lots of back and forth over what’s right and wrong, feelings are hurt and it ends with Kristina telling Max he’s being moved to layout and that it sucks.

It’s always hard to comment on stories about Max and his behavior because I’ve never been around a kid with Asperger’s and it’s slightly unfair to make judgments and assessments without that knowledge.  And I certainly don’t want to be ignorant or disrespectful but I will try to comment without sounding like a jackass!   You all know how much I love Kristina and specifically Monica Potter.   But the one time Kristina gets under my skin is when it comes to Max, she thinks he should be able to do whatever he wants because of his condition regardless of how it impacts other people.   I think, she thinks, Max deserves exceptions and I take an exception with that.  Again, this comes down to me not understanding Asperger’s very well and as such, I don’t know what Max can and can’t control.  I don’t know how much leeway he should be afforded.   I know that Asperger’s kids have a hard time with social connections.  But from the little I do understand, they can read clues that can reveal how people around them are feeling.  Max knew this girl was crying and upset but that didn’t stop him from taking her picture even though she asked him not to.  So when he was moved to layout from photographer Kristina wasn’t happy and thought that because Max was so good he should get to be the photographer.  She even called in the principal to back her up regarding how good Max was on student council.   Unfortunately that backfired on her as well because the principal confirmed that Max was very hard to deal with and made the experience not as fun for the other students.  So he backed the yearbook supervisor and Max got demoted.

It has to be tough for the parents.  And I love Kristina for wanting to fight for her kid.   And she should.  But that doesn’t always make it right.  And I think part of it comes back on her.   She always fights so hard for Max to get to do what he wants to do, I’m not sure if he’s learning that whether he likes it or not or whether he thinks it’s fair or not, his actions have consequences.  He has to use what he’s been taught to assess situations to make better decisions.  It’s can’t always be that he gets to do what he wants when he wants.  Kristina was trying to explain this to him when Hank started butting in.  Hey Hank, mind your own business!  Let Kristina handle her son.  I think he gave her horrible advice because he told her how good he was and that’s what he should be doing.  All that did was fire up Kristina to keep pushing for Max and I don’t think this is a fight they should win…and they didn’t.  How about, no one said Max could stop taking pictures.  He just can’t take them for the yearbook any more.  Ok Hank, then you hire Max and you have him take pictures.   Find another way.   But Kristina likes to push the square peg in the round hole when it comes to Max, regardless of how it impacts everyone else.   Remember the vending machine?  Ugh.   But you can tell how hard this is on her.  You can tell that she hates if Max is negatively impacting other children’s experiences.   But I think it also kills her that Max can’t have those experiences the way other kids can.   So what’s the right answer?   I have no idea.  But in this instance, I think the school was right and Max will have to find another way to channel his new-found talent.

Joel/Julia

When did the second strongest couple on the show become the most fragile?  I know, I know it’s been happening for a little while now when they adopted Victor, Julia lost her job, Joel went back to work, Sydney and Victor aren’t always getting along, Victor is struggling in school, Julia is struggling to find her place again, Joel’s trying to re-enter the work force again.   Yep, it’s all building up.  And I think you see each person judging how the other person is handling their former role and it isn’t going over very well.

Joel does comment on the way Julia is handling the kids or he says nothing but has a tone and exasperated look on his face.  Julia meanwhile is trying to tell Joel how to stand up for himself and he’s not being strong enough with Pete and how she would see people like him get taken advantage of.    So neither one is really appearing to be there for the other.  And the thing I hate most about this, is that it’s all leading to either Joel or Julia cheating with Penny from Lost or Roy from The Office.  Or maybe they both cheat.  Although it would be an interesting story.  Not that I’m rooting for one or both of them to be unfaithful, but it would be fascinating to see how it all plays out.

I think they biggest problem is, they aren’t taking care of each other.  They are so worried about Victor and Sydney, about Joel getting this business off the ground, that neither of them is taking the time to talk about how all this is impacting them.  I think Julia is being so driven about helping Joel because she feels like she isn’t contributing anymore.  She had a major career at a law practice, on the partner track, and now she’s packing lunches and settling Windex fights, and it isn’t enough for her.   There are many people where being at a stay at home mom is completely rewarding and fulfilling…it’s one of the hardest jobs out there.   But for Julia, she needs more, and she isn’t wrong for feeling that way.    With Joel, he has the stress of this start-up company and being the only person bringing in a salary right now, I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself to make sure this works.  But instead of each of them putting the kids to bed, grabbing a glass of wine, and talking about this, they are keeping it bottled up and everyone once in a while, like last night, sometimes it spills over and out.  Eventually, it will just explode.   Explode meaning affair.   It’s coming people.  It’s just who’s it going to be and when.

Zeke/Camille

You all know I’ve never liked Zeke’s character.   But this season I’ve felt a little better about him (he’s been so great with Victor), except when it comes to Camille.   I think this is such a great storyline.  You have two people who have been together for a really long (I’m guessing at least 40 years) and now they are looking for their “Act 3.”   Actually Camille is looking at that and Zeke is perfectly happy living out his life doing what he’s doing in their home.   But that’s not enough for her.

I think the part that’s most upsetting to me is how disrespectful Zeke is to Camille.  Camille has brought up the idea that it might be a good idea to sell their huge house and downside and maybe take some trips together.  Zeke basically said no and walked away and wouldn’t talk about it.   Then he goes out and buys a car, without speaking with Camille, and the car needs to be completely rebuilt, it’s a year-long project, and it’s a complete slap in Camille’s face.   How can he do that to her?   How could he be so disrespectful of his wife’s feelings and so dismissive of her feelings?   My heart broke for her.   When she opened up to Julia about how she feels like she lost her voice in their marriage and she doesn’t know how to get it back…that was awful to me.

I’ve heard of people who have been married, 25, 30, 40 years getting divorced after all that time and I never understood why.   After seeing these last few weeks, now I get it.   Camille is still young and there is a lot she wants to see and do.  She should go do it.  If Zeke is going to be like this, then if I were her, I would plan a trip, pack a bag, and go without him.   Maybe take Sarah or Julia with you.   But I would go and leave him behind with his damn car.    I just don’t understand how he can hurt her like that.  And I’m sure it’s tough.  That’s his home and there are so many memories there.  I can understand not wanting to leave that.  But it will happen at some point.  Don’t you want it to be on your terms?   Maybe he doesn’t.  Maybe he wants to spend the rest of his life in the home where he and his wife built their family.  I completely understand that.  What I don’t understand is not telling your wife how you feel and not having a conversation with her about it and then slapping her in the face buying that car so it forces her hand.  Especially since it’s such a great project for Victor.  She’ll look like the bad guy and that’s not fair.   But I wonder if she leaves him.  Again, I think that would be another great storyline.

Sarah/Amber/Ryan

Not a whole lot going on here except that Amber is still mad at Sarah for not supporting her.  Ryan is mad with Amber for not cluing him in.  And Sarah is still walking around looking miserable.   Seriously, this woman needs some happy in her life.

I see both sides to this.  I can see Sarah being concerned for Amber.  And instead of being pissed at her, Amber should understand that her mom is only looking out for her.  Amber, historically, has not made the best decisions in her.  In some cases, they’ve almost been catastrophic decisions.  So for her to be so angry at her mother for wanting her to take a step back and really make sure this is what she wants to do, seems ridiculous to me.

On the flip side, one of Sarah’s concerns is Ryan’s lack of family and his zero desire to have any of them there.  How is that any of her business?  She can ask the question, but if Ryan says no and he has his reasons why, then respect that.  It doesn’t make him a bad guy.  It just makes him someone not close to his family.    Although the one thing I will say, I think Ryan should be more open with Amber about his family.  She is going to be his wife so I think she does have a right to know what’s going on.   So he should at least clue her in.   The fact that she didn’t know his father passed away, is a bit strange to me.   Sarah doesn’t need to know that, but Amber does.

Eventually, Ryan goes to see Sarah and gives her a brief history on his background….father is dead, mother remarried a guy 6 months later that beat the tar our of him while still grieving over the death of his father.   So he said good-bye to that abusive situation and started his life anew.  And he tells Sarah “not everyone has a family like yours.”  He’s right.  And I think that’s one thing the Bravermans don’t get is that they think they have this great family and either everyone wants to be a part of it or everyone else has the same type of family life.   No and no.  But I think this is the wake up call Sarah needed.  Although it appears next week she is still pushing Amber to cancel the wedding.

The Lunchonette

They are starting their new label with the douchbag lead singer of the band whose former label dropped them.   They were having creative differences but Crosby worked it all out and now they are good to go.   And that’s really it for that story.  Oh and Jasmine and Crosby are still crazy tired and worn out keeping up with their new baby girl.

What did you think of Parenthood this week?   What did you think about Max?   Was it completely unfair or justified?  What do you think will happen with Joel and Julia?   Camille and Zeke?   Let me know!

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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: The Blacklist “The Courier” S1 E5

It’s a toss-up for me for favorite new show of the season with Sleepy Hollow and The Blacklist.    Both shows are very different and both fabulous in their own right.   Overall there isn’t a lot I don’t like about Sleepy Hollow. However, there are some parts of The Blacklist that make me raise my eyebrows.   Such as, don’t you find it interesting that all this elusive, dangerous, highly sought after criminal just make it so easy for the FBI by always having business in DC?   They never have to go anywhere!  Also, why is everyone so angry all the time?   I get why Lizzy might be on edge, what with her husband being, whatever dangerous entity he is.   But why is Ressler and Malik always in a bad mood?   Seriously these people always look like they are ready to rip each other’s heads off.   But finally we got a smidge more insight into Ressler that might explain that a bit.

Every single episode has been really interesting and I love the different types of madmen and women they have been coming up with.   That must be a fun time in the writers’ room….sitting around thinking “what can we have this person be that’s just really sick and twisted.  I KNOW!   Let’s have this middleman be the human version of a woman’s handbag!!  He’ll feel no pain and have everything from keys to flash drives to Burt’s Bees lip gloss in there!”   Seriously though coming up with these criminals has to be awesome.   And so far, they have been doing a tremendous job.    Between last week’s The Stewmaker (and knowing what he did, that name is beyond disturbing) and this week’s The Courier, these criminals have been down right creepy, scary, and very dangerous.

The Case revolved around The Courier who is a middleman hired by two parties to complete high-end or dangerous transactions.   The Courier’s insurance, if anything goes wrong, on either end, he kills both parties.  So you take a huge risk using him but you know the job will be completed to 100% satisfaction with no worries of him coming back later.   Since Red knows he’s in town to do another job (kidnap a NSA agent for an ex-French intelligence agent) you know the exchange won’t go smoothly.  And it doesn’t.  Now it’s a race to find Seth (the NSA agent buried alive by The Courier) before he dies.  Since the one party is dead and The Courier isn’t talking, their only option is the French agent turned club owner.  Ressler goes undercover as The Courier to get the location of Seth’s body.  She wants proof he’s who he says he is so he slashes his arm with cut glass (which looked really painful) with wincing once.  But it’s not enough.   She knows the deal with the Courier and if he was really him, she would be dead already.  His cover is blown and a shoot out ensues with Ressler getting away.   Eventually, Superman, I mean Red, goes to the club and gets the info Ressler couldn’t in exchange for saving her life and getting her away.  In the end, they are able to save Seth’s life, the Courier is killed, and another name is checked off the list.

Let’s talk about Tom.  I have no idea where this is going…and I love that.   I see this thing with Tom going one of two ways, which means I’ll completely wrong about both.   Option 1: Tom is being set up.   All evidence points to Tom being a bad guy or at the very least a big fat liar.  Lizzy found the box containing the gun used in the murder in Boston, money, and about 10 different Passport IDs.   The more she uncovers about the case, the more she turns skeptical of Tom and who he really is.  The last thing we see “linking” Tom to the crime is a surveillance picture of him leaving the scene of the crime and him being listed as the potential killer in the report Red was able to get for her.  Usually when things are that obvious they scream that it’s too obvious therefore it can’t be true.  Plus, when he found the box, his first call was a panicked phone call to Lizzy wanting to talk to her.  He called her over and over again and then waited for her at home with the box laid out.  Why do that if you’re guilty?   Wouldn’t you run?   Or kill her?   He appeared freaked out by what he saw so that indicates he didn’t know anything about this.   How does this relate to the surveillance team, who could be the people setting Tom up.  Who they are and why they are doing it is still a massive mystery.  Could they be part of Red’s team?  Could they have something to do with Lizzy’s father?   Could they be government agents?   I have no idea at this point.  Option 2: Tom is a deadly bad guy.  Sometimes we have a tendency to over think what is clearly right in front of us.   And right in front of us is a lot of evidence showing that Tom isn’t who he says he is and might be a little bit scary.  I think this could be all part of his act to make Lizzy think he has no idea what the box is and to put her mind at rest that he isn’t this double agent she might be starting to think he is.  Why would he do that and not run?   Maybe because his assignment is not complete.   Maybe he’s being blackmailed into doing whatever he’s doing.  It make sense why the surveillance team is there.  They are watching him to make sure he holds up his end of the bargain or to make sure he’s doing his job.   The flip side of that argument though is that they just put the equipment up recently.  Wouldn’t it have been up the whole time?   Unless something changes recently causing the surveillance to be necessary.   I’m hoping it’s option 2 because I think it would be a lot more interesting if he’s duplicitous vs. the good husband being set up.   And if he is a double agent or something else entirely, who is he?   Who is he working for?  How does Red know so much about him?   Remember when he asked Lizzy what she knew about her husband in exchange for more information about the Courier?  He thanked her for telling him the truth.  How would he know that?   He would know because he already knows who her husband is and the whole story behind him.   Could he be #1 on Red’s Blacklist?  Is that why he’s so obsessed with Lizzy?   So many questions!!!   And I’m ready for them to be answered slowly.  I like that each week we get more and more layers of the onion peeled back.  I just hope it doesn’t go too quickly.  Quite frankly, I’m surprised the box reveal happened this soon.

One crazy projection I have and I’m just going to go out on a limb and say it….Keane and Ressler will fall in love.  They hate each other right now.  They don’t trust each other right now.  She’s married to someone who could be on Red’s list.  It’s a perfect romantic story!!!   I’m telling you, you heard it here first.  At someone point in the series, those two will get it on and be in love.

How are you enjoying The Blacklist?  The ratings are strong, the writing is strong.  The acting could be a teeny bit better but with James Spader stealing every scene he’s in every week, it really doesn’t matter.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: The Blacklist “The Freelancer” S1 E2

I didn’t get a chance to blog about the premiere yet and unfortunately, episode was here before I had a chance to talk about it.  There are three shows so far this season that I have fallen in love with…Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Sleepy Hollow, and this show, The Blacklist.    I’ve never been the biggest James Spader fan but this show looks right up his alley and mine.   But how would the rest of the cast be able to hold up to Spader.   Time would tell but so far most people are holding their own.  Some could use some work but I’m not sure if that’s acting related or writing related, yet.   But overall, I love the premise of this show and the mysteries surrounding its top cast members.

Last week we were introduced to Raymond “Redd” Reddington.  A former government agent turned traitor, criminal, and FBI most wanted.  So right off the bat I want to know what happened their.   Redd is a genius and doesn’t seem to hate the USA….just maybe some of the bureaucrats in Washington…so what is his side of the story?  He has turned himself in to help the FBI bring down some of the worlds biggest criminals that the US Government isn’t even aware they exist.  His catch, he will only speak to rookie profiler Elizabeth “Lizzy” Keene.  The easy assumption…she’s his daughter.  But I don’t think the show will go quite that simple.  There has to be a bigger story here.  Keene is married to Tom who is attacked by one of the men she is hunting and is almost killed.   While in the hospital she goes to Redd furious about how her husband was attacked and Redd tells her that her husband isn’t what/who he appears to be.   Later she finds a box hidden in their floor boards that contains money, guns, and more passports than the entire House of Representatives.   So who is Tom Keene?

Last night’s episode revolved around an assassin called The Freelancer, whose crimes are set up to look like accidents.  The assassin’s next target was a humanitarian, Floriana Campo (guest star Isabella Rossalini), and the FBI is working with Redd to save her life.   This is the part that drives me crazy about casting departments.   As soon as you cast a guest star that big and everyone else is no names, you know that person ends up being the Big Bad.  Otherwise, why cast them?  So as soon as I see Rossalini on-screen, I knew she was the baddie.  I wasn’t sure how because she couldn’t be the Freelancer but I knew she couldn’t be good.  Especially once Lizzy started talking about how she was so inspired by her and wrote her thesis on her works….yep, baddie.   So while Redd made the FBI think this was all about getting the Freelancer who, in his own right, is also a pretty dangerous criminal, this was about getting Campo.  Campo hides her criminal activities in plain sight.  She is a human trafficker who’s charitable works involve freeing enslaved children.  The same children she brutalizes….nice lady.   Redd hates Campo and sets her up to admit to her involvement in the sex trafficking of young girls and she proceeds to die from a poison Redd gave her, however it’s set up to look like a suicide in the press.

So right now, here are the overall questions I have:

  1. Who is Raymond Reddington?   What’s his history?
  2. Why is Redd doing all this?   Sheer revenge?  Trying to make amends?   Does he have a terminal illness and this is his swan song?
  3. What is Redd’s connection with Elizabeth Keene?   Why is he so “obsessed” with her?  Is this more about his past with Tom than with her?   Is there a family/friend connection?
  4. What is the deal with Tom?   Bad guy?    Good guy?   Does he have any ties with Redd?  Is he Redd’s end game?
  5. What is Lizzy’s history?   What happened with her family?   The fire?

So many questions!!!  I love it.   I am so enjoying this show right now.   I think Spader is spectacular at being sinister and creepy yet warm and engaging.  He’s not scary in the way that someone like Hannibal Lecter or Jigsaw would scare me.  I don’t think he’s going to eat someone’s face or lock me in a room with someone who I either have to kill or will kill me.   But his intelligence his scary.  He’s very hard to read and it’s hard to get inside his mind to see what make him tick.  He’s always 10 steps ahead of everyone else and you have no idea what his motive or end game is.   But because he’s charming and slightly aloof, he can be very disarming which can be one of the scariest things about him because you can let your guard down.  Characters like his fascinate me.

What are your thoughts on The Blacklist?  Do you love it?   Hate it?   What are some of your questions and what do you think is Redd’s end game?   I’d love to hear what you think!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in NBC, New Shows, Recaps and Reviews

 

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SERIES PREMIERES: THE COMEDIES

With me being away most of last week and just now getting caught up, I’m doing all the new comedies that I watched in one recap.

Mom

This was probably my favorite comedy of the week.   This was one I actually forgot about until I was going through the grid and saw it on there.  I’m so glad I taped it because I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Anna Faris was delightful as Christy, the single mom and recovering alcoholic who is struggling with her relationship with mother (Allison Janney) and her daughter (Sadie Calvano.)  As hard as Christy is trying not to be her mother, she can’t help but fall into the same patterns.  Faris and Janney had fabulous chemistry as mother and daughter.   I haven’t seen Faris in a lot but when I have I’ve always enjoyed her.   But the one thing I noticed was how great her delivery was.  It was so natural and effortless.   Even the simplest lines had me laughing.  French Stewart was terrific as the owner of the restaurant Christy works at and stole many scenes he was in.  Nate Corddry rounds out the main crew as Christy’s love interest who is the GM of the restaurant and is also still married.

The one knock on this show, it’s a big cast.  Between Faris, Janney, Corddry, Steward, and Calvano, you also have Matt Jones (ex-husband), Spencer Daniels (Calvano’s boyfriend), and Blake Garrett Rosenthal (Christy’s son.)   There are a ton of people on this show and I worry it might be overkill.   Also, let’s keep the Christy crying to a minimum.    But the show was funny, the cast was strong, and I’ll be watching each week.

DVRs: 4

Back In The Game

Starring Maggie Lawson, James Caan, and Griffen Gluck, BITG follows the Gannon family.   Terry (Lawson) has moved back home with her son (Gluck) after a nasty divorce and moves in with her dad (Caan.)   Terry and the Cannon have a pretty salty relationship with their only real connection being a love of baseball.  Terry’s son tries out for the local team and doesn’t make it so Terry decides to coach a team of rejected kids and turn them into ball players.

I liked this show probably more than other people did.  It did make me laugh at times (Ben Koldyke and Leona Crichlow were great as Terry’s antagonist and new BFF) but I’d like to see Caan’s character toned down a bit more.  I mean really, who beats on someone’s car because their kid/grandkid is being bullied?   Really, a conversation with the parents would have been too much to ask?  That type of stuff drives me crazy because it doesn’t work.   Just give me some funny moments, some heartfelt moments (the scene where Terry sees all her college softball games on tape in Cannon’s basement made me tear up because my parents have the same thing) and let the show and the cast do it’s thing.   There isn’t a need for that type of over the top craziness.

DVRs: 3

The Goldberg’s 

This was another show I didn’t hate.  I guess not the best way to start a review, but it’s true.  I enjoyed parts of The Goldberg’s.  I’m a sucker for 80’s themed TV shows because there is so much nostalgia for me.   And overall, there were parts I really laughed at.   This show is loosely based on creator Adam Goldberg’s real family which includes mom Beverly (Wendi McLendon Covey), dad Murray (Jeff Garlin), pops (George Segal), sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia), brother Barry (Troy Gentile), and himself (Sean Gamrbione.)   There is a lot of yelling, a lot of name calling, and some nice warm moments.  Was it a bit goofy and silly, yep.  Were some of the characters a bit annoying, sure.   But it was an enjoyable 30 minutes.   I don’t think I’ll make a point of seeing it each week, but if it’s on, I’ll watch.

DVRs: 2

Trophy Wife

I love Malin Akerman.  All the props to her about this show were dead on because she is absolutely charming and delightful.  Akerman stars as Kate who meets Pete (Bradley Whitford) after breaking his nose at a karaoke bar with her BFF Meg (Natalie Morales.)  In the hospital she meets his ex-wife Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) and their kids Hillary (Bailee Madison) and Warren (Ryan Scott Lee.)  But then it gets better, she then meets ex-wife #2, Jackie (Michaela Watkins) and their son Bert (Albert Tsai.)  Instead of getting scared off, she marries him!  Hilarity ensues.

This could be one of the best ensembles on TV.  Between Akerman, Whitford, Watkins, and Harden, it’s hard to go wrong.  Luckily, they all work very well together.   Sometimes you throw a bunch of big names together and it doesn’t work at all.  But that’s not the case here.  You can see how Pete would have fallen for each one of these women but how he would have broken up with Diane and Jackie.  And as a result, you can see how he would have also remained friends with them.

The thing I like most about this show is the fact that this is not too far away from the norm for many people.  Many couples have to deal with ex spouses and kids from previous relationships.  So how does the new couple deal with all of that?   I have so many friends in that some boat and believe me, there are TONS of funny stories that come out.  So I have no doubt this show will work and will probably be of my favorites of the season.

DVRs: 4

The Michael J Fox Show

I was so looking forward to seeing MJF back on TV in a starring role and on a sitcom.  I couldn’t wait to see it because the early previews weren’t bad.  Plus, I have loved MJF since his Alex P. Keaton days on Family Ties.  How could I not love this show?  It pains me to say it, but I didn’t like this show at all.  The cast didn’t seem to work very well off of each other (except for Fox and Wendell Pierce.)  I love Fox and I love Betsy Brandt but I didn’t buy them as husband and wife at all.  Katie Finneran as Aunt Leigh was over the top, as usual.  I have yet to like that woman in anything yet.  And the kids were blah.  Although I did warm up to Eve (Juliette Goglia) towards the end of the pilot.  And don’t get me started on the crying, puking producer Kay (Ana Nogueria)…ugh, she’s awful.

Fox stars as Mike Henry, a former local NYC news anchor who is now a stay at home dad who is annoying the hell out of his family and in turn, they are bugging him.   He has a “chance” meeting with his old Boss Harris (Pierce) who begs him to come back.  Henry eventually decides to go back to work and both he and the family are thrilled.

My biggest worry going into the show was that the Parkinson jokes would be a little too much.  I was wrong.  The biggest problem with the show is the writing and the casting.  Not that the actors are bad….let me make that clear….they aren’t.   But, they don’t work well together.  All their scenes feel forced and unnatural like they are trying too hard to be this quirky family.  I doesn’t work.  I’ll watch a few more to make sure it wasn’t just a bad pilot, but I don’t see myself making it through the mid-season break with this show.

DVRs: 1

The Crazy Ones

Here’s another one I had high hopes for because of the cast and here’s another show I didn’t like at all.   Again, my worry was Robin Williams being too much.   Not the problem (at least not in the pilot.)  It’s the material and the fact that this cast is a bit stiff.  Although James Wolk and Williams played very well off one another.  I love Wolk and Hamish Linklater but this show doesn’t work for them.   Then we have Sarah Michelle Gellar.  I’ve heard before that SMG is a product of her material….if the material is good, she’s fine.  If it’s bad, she’s not.  She can’t transcend bad writing because she isn’t very strong.  I always thought that was a bit harsh because she was so good on Buffy.  But when Kelly Clarkson (who isn’t an actress at all) can put you to shame in a scene, it does make me raise a few eye brows.  SMG didn’t come across well in this pilot at all.  It was almost as if she shrunk back into landscape being around the powerhouse of Williams instead of trying to command the scene and hold her own.  The material wasn’t very funny and I was pretty bored halfway through the pilot.  I don’t know if I can follow this ad agency and their “clients of the week” each week because I’m not sure I care and I think the entire cast deserves better.

DVRs: 1

 

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2013 Fall TV Preview: NBC

RETURNING SHOWS

  • Football Night in America (9/8)
  • Sunday Night Football (9/8)
  • The Voice (9/23)
  • Chicago Fire (9/24)
  • Revolution (9/25)
  • Law & Order: SVU (9/25)
  • Parks and Recreation (9/26)
  • Parenthood (9/26)
  • Dateline (9/27)
  • Saturday Night Live (9/28)
  • The Biggest Loser (10/8)
  • Grimm (10/25)
NEW SHOWS:
  • The Million Second Quiz (9/9)
  • The Blacklist (9/23)
  • The Michael J Fox Show (9/26)
  • Ironside (10/2)
  • Welcome to the Family (10/3)
  • Sean Saves the World (10/3)
  • Dracula (10/25)
SHOWS I AM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO:
  • Parenthood
  • Grimm
  • Parks and Rec
  • The Blacklist
  • Dracula
SHOWS I AM LOSING INTEREST IN BUT WILL GIVE ONE MORE SEASON TO:
  • None
SHOWS I COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT:
  • Chicago Fire
  • Revolution
  • The Voice
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Law & Order: SVU
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
  • Parenthood First Full Season.  Parenthood has NEVER gotten the respect it deserves and anyone who reads my blog or listens to my podcast knows, I have been screaming about people shunning Parenthood for years.   From the lack of Emmy love to the weak scheduling of the show, Parenthood  was the best show nobody gave respect to.    But finally, some love has been throw Parenthood’s way!!!   It received a full 22 season pick up and thankfully won’t be off the air by February.   Last season was so amazing but the last few episodes were slightly disjointed because I think the writers didn’t have enough episodes to wrap up everything the way they needed to.   Now they do and it sounds like we have some very juicy stories coming our way this season.   I can’t wait!
  • Grimm Very Late Premiere.   So last year, Grimm actually premiered in August right after the Olympics and had a massive mid-season break before it came back.  Which I won’t lie, had me very nervous for the show but luckily has a solid following on Friday nights and was easily picked up for a 3rd season.    This year, Grimm isn’t coming back until Oct 25th.  I’m not sure why it’s coming back so late (although being paired with Dracula is a great idea for the new show.)   So hopefully it won’t hurt the show.
  • The New Shows…Will This Be The Year They Stick?  NBC has had a rough go of it.   Last year The New Normal, 1600 Penn, Go On, Infamous, Do No Harm, Guys with Kids, Animal Practice all failed. I’m still stunning about how badly Go On crashed and burned after the mid-season break.  The season before it was the disasters of Free Agents, The Playboy Club, Whitney, Prime Suspect, Are You There God, It’s Me Chelsea, Up All Night, Awake, Bent, and BFFs.   Although I think both Bent and BFFs were given raw deals by not premiering until April and were much better shows than what premiered in the fall.  In 2010, only one show made it to a second season (Harry’s Law) and that got canceled the next year.  It’s amazing how bad it’s been.   This year could be better.   The Blacklist is buzzed as the best (or one of the best) new shows of the season.   Dracula has some good buzz behind led by the amazing Jonathan Rhys Meyers.   Michael J Fox is returning to NBC and a full-time TV role after some Emmy nominated seasons on The Good Wife.   So can NBC finally get some shows to last?
EARLY THOUGHTS ON NEW SHOWS:
  • This is the year I decided not to watch any new shows ahead of time.   It lost a little something for me when premiere week came around so no more early watching for me!  However I did view promos for the all the shows so based on that limited scope and some reviews I read from people who did watch the pilots, here’s what I’m watching and avoiding….
  •  #1 NBC new show: The Blacklist.  I’ve never been the biggest James Spader fan.   I can’t deny he’s a very good actor but he’s never done anything for me.   This may be the show that gets me on the James Spader bandwagon.  At first glance, The Blacklist reminded me of Silence of the Lambs…world renowned criminal uses FBI rookie in a battle of wits to solve crimes.   But I think The Blacklist will be more than that.   Especially since this is a TV show and not a 2 hour movie, there is room for the writers to really dive into these characters.   Raymond Reddington (Spader) is a former government agent turned FBI most wanted criminal who turns himself into the FBI to help track down some of the world’s most elusive criminals.  His one request, he will only work with FBI rookie profiler Elizabeth Keene (Megan Booth.)   Why turn himself in?  What’s his end game?   What is the connection with Keene that he only wants to work with her?   Many series arcing questions that should make this show strong for many seasons to come.   The other big question is can Megan Booth hold her own with the big presence of Spader?   Can she be the leading lady the show needs?
  • Also looking forward to: The Michael J. Fox Show, Dracula, and Sean Saves the World.  I love Jonathan Rhys Meyers.  If you’ve never seen The Tudors, Netflix it and watch it because it’s awesome and he drives the show.   So with him as Dracula, there is no way I’m not watching.  Plus I loved the book!  I’m also a big Michael J. Fox fan.  I have been since Family Ties.  The clips I have seen of this show have been funny and entertaining.  I like the premise and that they are incorporating the Parkinson’s into the show.   My only fear is too many Parkinson jokes and leaning on that crutch too much.   There have been mixed reviews about Sean Saves the World.  Some people haven’t liked it and some people have been indifferent about it.  I don’t think anyone has said they loved it.   But I’m giving it a chance.  I love Sean Hayes, Linda Lavin, and Echo Kellum.  They reshot the pilot and now Megan Hilty is part of the cast.  We’ll see what happens but I’m going to give the show a chance.
  • No interest in: Ironside, Welcome to the Family, and Million Second Quiz.   Mike O’Malley deserves better than this show (Welcome to the Family), I’m already tired of the concept of rebooting old shows (Ironside), and who cares about a quiz…not me!
 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Fall Preview, NBC

 

SERIES FINALE REVIEW: The Office “Finale” S9 E23

“Christmas Party” was the first episode of the The Office I’d ever seen.   Followed by “The Injury.”   Both were Season 2 episodes.  I only started watching The Office because my husband saw “The Injury” on a plane and thought it was both bizarre and funny at the same time but that I had to watch.    I watched these two episodes thinking this is the dumbest and strangest show I’ve ever seen.  But we both thought, to be fair, let’s watch it from the beginning to understand what the hell is going on.   So we bought Season 1 and spent an entire Saturday watching this show and laughing our asses off.   By then, we were hooked.

Over the course of 9 seasons, The Office has had some amazing episodes and some not so great episodes (as many series do.)  It created one of the greatest, most realistic love stories ever in TV…Jim and Pam.  It gave one of the top 50 characters in TV history…Michael Scott.  It made us care about this wacky group of people in a way I never thought I would.  I remember watching the finale thinking that I was so happy to get confessionals from every character on the show.  Even fringe characters like Meredith and Creed, I loved hearing how their stories wrapped up.    Not many shows can pull that off where you honestly care about each and every person.   Even annoying Kevin!  I was so happy to see that after he was fired he ended up buying a bar and having a really happy ending!  But over 9 years and 187 episodes, these people became part of our family, our TV family.   Even as characters came and went, other than Michael, our core stayed through to the end and it was nice to see everything wrapped up so beautifully.

Series finales are hard to do.  Especially when the show has been on as long as The Office has.   There are huge expectations.   You want story lines wrapped up.  You want people who deserve happy endings to receive them and people who deserve to be punished to get their comeuppance.  You want questions answered.   You want people who should be together, finally together.   You want something momentous, rewarding, and sensational but yet still stay true to the nature of the show and the characters.  And most of all, you want closure for you but also to know that the characters you leave behind are still doing well and moving on in their lives, even though you are no longer there to witness it.    For me, that’s a quintessential finale.   And it’s so hard to do, especially when you have very little time to do it.   The Office finale was probably the BEST series finale I’ve seen in a long time.    It had everything you want to see and nothing felt rushed or forced.   For a comedy, it had its goofy, silly moments, but in true The Office form, it had its heart-warming moments as well. It was, dare I say, perfect.  I laughed, I cried, I cried harder, I laughed again.   At the end of that show, I was so content with what I had just seen because it was exactly what I wanted.   And because I got a little taste of everyone, I didn’t feel cheated.    But the hands down, best moment of the show, was seeing Michael Scott return as Dwight’s best man.  Even now I’m tearing up writing this because it was a phenomenal moment.  And not just because I really didn’t think Steve Carell was coming back.   It was because John Kransinski, Rainn Wilson, and Steve Carell knocked that simple scene out of the park.  It was so touching to see these men, who have given each other such grief over the years, come together as friends and be there for one another…it was amazing.    There was so much talk about whether or not Carell would or should return for the finale.  The last I read, he wasn’t because he felt he already had his send off and didn’t want to distract from the rest of the cast. Class act as always Steve Carell!   But I stopped reading about the finale because if he did show up, I didn’t want to know about it.   And I’m so glad I made that executive decision because it made his reveal that much sweeter.  I literally gasped out loud when he was standing there and burst into tears….especially seeing Dwight’s reaction and getting one last “that’s what she said!”   And it was perfectly handled because it wouldn’t have been right to have the finale without Michael Scott but he was also understated enough so that he didn’t overshadow the cast, but we got just enough Michael to be completely satisfied.    Again, perfection.

There were so many relationships that developed on this show.  Some were more front and center like Jim and Pam, Dwight and Angela, Darryl and Jim’s friendship.  But it was some of the unspoken friendships that developed that was so nice to see highlighted.   For example, Stanley and Phyllis.  Here were two people who worked together for 15-20 years.  They sat across from one another for 15-20 years.   Even though we didn’t see it every week, these two were great friends.  To see the genuine embrace between them when they hadn’t seen each other in over a year, was so nice.   To watch Phyllis sit with the new rep in Stanley’s chair and feed him baked goods so she could fatten him like, like she did with Stanley was great.   But what got me was parlaying the hysterical idea that Stanley now lives in a shack on the Everglades in Florida carving birds out of wood, into this touching moment where Phyllis bursts into tears because he made a wood carving that looked exactly like her.   It was simple moments like that which really highlighted the connections between these characters that developed over the years.  Was it something we watched week after week….yes and no.  Yes and no because it was so subtle, we didn’t realize we were watching it until the finale.   The same could be said for Oscar and Angela.  They both drove each other crazy over the years and talk about two completely different personalities.   Highlighting the fact that Oscar was having an affair with Angela’s husband!   But strangely enough, that experience brought them even closer together.   In the penultimate episode, Oscar could see how broken Angela was and in a beautiful moment of kindness, extends his home for her and Philip to live in until she can get her feet under her again.   And when she reached out and put her hand on top of his, I lost it.   It was just that simple gesture that spoke so loudly about her feelings for what Oscar was offering to her.   I loved it.  And I loved seeing that continue even after Dwight and Angela were married with Oscar being Philip’s godfather!

But I think the friendship that was most beautiful to see come full circle, was the friendship between Jim, Dwight, and Pam….mostly Jim and Dwight.   Jim explained it perfectly.  He never hated Dwight.   He never wanted anything bad to happen to him.  He razzed him the way you would razz your brother.  And when it came down to it, he loved Dwight for who he was.   Dwight, we always knew, secretly had a man crush on Jim and even though he hated when Jim got the better of him, which was most of the time, he loved him for it too because he felt like he was in with him.  Over the course of the series, we saw their true feelings towards one another pop out because when something serious was going down, they leaned on each other and protected each other.  I think it’s also why Dwight considers Pam his best friend.  Because even though Jim would play countless tricks on Dwight and Pam would be complicit, she never wanted to hurt Dwight.   And when Dwight was going off the deep end really annoying his counterparts to the point no one liked him, Pam always stuck by him.   There were many times Pam believed in him when no one else did and he knew that.  Just as Michael always wanted to be their best friend, so did Dwight.   And in many ways, he was.

I can’t wrap up this review yet until I’ve spent some time on just Jim and Pam.   We watched their relationship grow over 9 years from best friends, to unrequited feelings, to an awkward but beautiful first kiss, to the beginning of a relationship, to an engagement, marriage, and children.   They were America’s ideal couple.   Then we hit season 9 and Jim and Pam hit a rough patch.   He was working for a start-up company in Philly and commuting back and forth from Scranton.  She felt all alone and abandoned at Dunder Mifflin and raising their 2 kids.  I really wasn’t sure where the show was going with this…especially with Brian the camera man lurking around and having obvious feelings for Pam.   I hoped they weren’t going down the affair route.  It wouldn’t have felt right.   And I hated watching Jim and Pam fight and be angry with one another.  I hated it.   Most especially, I hated seeing this couple who could have entire conversations by just looking at one another and knowing exactly what the other was thinking, being reduced to therapy speak.    “I appreciate” this or “to speak my truth” that.   What?   Are you kidding me?    This is what Jim and Pam is going to be reduced to?  But then a light went off.   We are getting to watch Jim and Pam remind, not only each other, but the audience, why they fell in love in the first place.  We get to see them fall in love all over again.   And because they have been the most real relationship on the show from day one, it would only make sense that this new job opportunity for Jim would put a strain on them.   It wouldn’t have made sense if it didn’t.   So we got to see that angst and then we got to see the payoff.   We got to see Jim and Pam flashbacks in the smartest way possible, in a video tribute to her so Jim could show how she is not only enough for him, but his everything.   It was a perfect way to be able to give the fans those flashbacks to our favorite moments yet still keep it within the context of the show.  In the end, Pam decided there is no way Jim is giving this up for her and sells their house without telling him (because, well, he bought the house without telling her) and they decide to move to Austin so Jim can work full-time for Athleap.   She finishes her mural, which is the story of the people of Dunder Mifflin, and Jim and Pam will live happily ever after….as they should.

In the end, all is right with the world.   Michael Scott is still married to Holly and they have lots of kids (which he needs two phones for all the pictures), Jim and Pam are together, happy, and moving to Austin to work with Darryl, Dwight is now regional manager of the Scranton branch (as well as the assistant to the assistant to the regional manager) and is married to the love of his life Angela and we officially learn that Phillip is really his son, Oscar is running for State Senator, Stanley is retired and divorced and living in Florida, Phyllis is still at Dunder Mifflin and still married to Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration, Erin found her birth parents and is still together with Plop, Andy is working for Cornell University, Meredith got her PhD (which she was going to school for the whole time), Toby is living in NYC with 6 roommates, Kelly left her pediatrician boyfriend to run away with Ryan (who by the way left said baby with the pediatrician,) as a result Nellie, takes the baby back to Poland with her and she now has the child she was always searching for, Kevin owns a bar, and Creed is going to jail!

Finally, I loved the way they wrapped up the documentary element.  I always wondered how they would do it.   I like the fact that they were smart enough to know that since the viewing of the documentary was in the penultimate episode, it wouldn’t make sense for the camera crew to be there for the finale.  It’s actually the first thing I said to my husband.  But they got around it by doing a time jump and saying they were there for a follow-up and retrospective with the Dunder Mifflin crew on being a part of the documentary, which they’re filming for the DVD.   And because the series was filmed this way, it was great for the cast to be able to say what they really feel about their show and do it in the context of speaking about the documentary.    I think the best line of the finale was when Andy/Ed Helms said “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days while it was going on instead of after they were over.”  You could see the way he was getting choked up that it was probably more an Ed Helms comment, than Andy Bernard.

I will miss The Office.  I know the last few seasons weren’t great and the show really went down hill after Michael left, but I don’t care.   I will miss The Office and all the people involved in the show.  I also want to commend the cast for heading out to the real Scranton, PA and spending time with the people of Scranton and thanking them for their good-natured sense of humor and their support of the show.   I thought it was awesome that they would all do that and take the time to not only say goodbye to us a viewers, but their second community of Scranton.     From top to bottom, the end of the series was handled magnificently and I can’t wait to watch The Office on Netflix, on syndication, on my DVDs, for many years to come.

What did you guys think of The Office series finale?

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in NBC, Season Finales, Series Finale

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: Smash…The Season So Far

I’ve made it pretty clear before that I am a musical theater/Broadway junkie.   I love it.   So when Smash premiered last year, it was right up my alley.   Of course, what started out as a great premise and show slowly deteriorated into an unrecognizable mess that didn’t know what it wanted to be.  The Golden Gate Bridge at daybreak was more clear than the direction of Smash.   But after the major changes in the off-season, I had high hopes Smash would pull it itself together….and it has!   The worst part, no one has stuck around to see it.

Right now I’m invested in two things…Bombshell and Ivy’s career path.  The biggest miss right now (and my biggest disappointment) is Hit List and the storyline with Jimmy and Kyle.   I was so excited to hear Jeremy Jordan was joining the show.   He’s fantastic.   But this character is awful.  I’m actually more interested in Kyle than Jimmy because there is this sweet vulnerability to Kyle and this green, ideological, passionate spark to him that is really fun to explore.  But Jimmy?  Does nothing for me and therefore, other than the fact that he’s adorable, what the hell does Karen see in him?  He was rude to her, condescending, arrogant, and a jerk.   Well if that doesn’t scream “I must be with this person” I don’t know what does.  Her taste in men is truly atrocious.   And can I throw something out there?   Why in the world are Kyle and Jimmy treating Karen like she’s Patti Lupone?   The last I check, no one has ever heard of her, she’s never been on Broadway before, so why are they treating her like some huge Broadway star that’s going to help them get their break?   Because she knows Derek?   A guy whose reputation on the Great White Way is marginal, at best right now?   It doesn’t make any sense to me.   So I wish Hit List, and everything revolved around it, would just go away.   And Karen can go with them.

I know I’ve been hard on the character of Karen and Katharine McPhee, but it’s so easy.   I’ve said it before, I could listen to McPhee sing the phone book and love it.   But the acting?   Wow…not good at all.   It’s why I’ve never been able to believe in her for this part and I’ve never really been able to believe in Derek if he sees this “something special” in her.   Really?   She has something special over Ivy/Megan Hilty?  Really?   I think it’s another reason I’ve never been able to buy Karen.  Ivy blows her away.  Her singing, her acting, her stage presence….she’s the whole package.  It also doesn’t help that I’ve actually seen Hilty in several Broadway shows and she’s magnificent every time!   Hilty is a bona fide star.  So next to McPhee, it’s not even close.   I also don’t like the way the writers started write Karen as a pretty big bitch.  I know she had every right to hate Ivy after all the horrible things she has done to her and if I were her, I’d probably be as cold to Ivy as she has been.  But it’s not just Ivy.  In the rehearsal room she’s short and testy.   If she’s given direction she refutes it snobbishly.  I’m sorry, when did she win all her Tonys and become worthy of telling people what to do?   Wait, let me back up.   When did she even act on a Broadway stage?   Oh that’s right…NEVER.   She had a tiny bit of success in out-of-town tryout and that’s it.    Yet she’s acting like she’s been on a Broadway stage for 20 years (and not in a good way.)   I’ve never been a fan of the Karen character and this season, I like her even less, and I didn’t think that was possible.

But what I’m loving is how this show is getting back to the behind the scenes of musical theater.  I’m a fan of the Hit List storyline, no.   But what I do like is that we are seeing two young people with a passion for music and theater, trying to make a go at their dream.  We see two very inexperienced kids who are trying to figure out how to make it in this business.  I look at it as we’re seeing Tom and Julia before they were Tom and Julia (and with a lot less charisma.)  Speaking of T&J, their storyline is great.   We’re seeing Tom and Derek bond in their own twisted way to get this show to Broadway.   We see Julia doubting herself more than ever wondering if she really is as talented as she thought.  Instead of her BFF helping her get her mojo back, it’s a dramaturg who Julia hated and wasn’t sure she could trust, that set her straight.  Now we’re to the point where Julia’s new draft is amazing and Derek thinks will win every award in June (when the Tonys are) but Jerry, who is now the producer because he’s a douchebag, and Tom think the original draft is better…Jerry thinks it will sell more tickets, which as the producer is his job to decide, and Tom thinks it tells more of the story of Marilyn instead of the men who created her (which is more the focus of the new script.)   All four go to Eileen to decide which script they are going to go with.  It’s an interesting dynamic for the Tom and Julia relationship.  We’ve pretty much seen them on the same side always having each other’s back at every turn.   So now to see them on opposite sides is quite the shift.   I certainly don’t think their relationship (personal and professional) is in any danger but it is fascinating to watch how this project is dividing certain people and bringing others closer together.

I still say when it’s all said and done…Ivy will be Marilyn.   Karen will become so attached to this new project that she will leave the show and Liaisons will fall apart and Ivy will be asked to come back and be Marilyn.  That’s my guess.  And secretly, my hope!   It’s just a shame this will be the last season for Smash.  It’s really found its groove this year and is a much stronger show.   But too many people walked away and haven’t come back so I don’t think NBC will have any other choice but to cancel it come seasons end.   I just hope we get the finale we deserve as fans or maybe we get an 8-12 episode pick up to wrap it up next year.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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