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Category Archives: NBC

SERIES FINALE RECAP & REVIEW: 30 Rock “Hogcock” & “Last Lunch”

Series finales are always tricky.  You invest so much time into the characters and their stories that when it’s going to be the last time you ever see them all together, you want something amazing.  You want something special.  You want something that make sense.  You want something that stays true to the characters.  You want closure.   You’ve all heard the shows people list as the biggest disappointments, in terms of series finales…St. Elsewhere, The Sopranos, Seinfeld, Lost, Chuck, The X-Files, Roseanne, Life on Mars.  Most of the time, your feelings on the finales are subjective.  Depending on what you wanted to get out the finale, you may have loved it while others hated it and vice versa.  However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard one person out there say the St. Elsewhere finale was wonderful.  Universally, it was hated.  But you have very divided camps over the Lost finale.  So you never know.  And depending on the type of show, you may be looking for resolutions to storylines and mysteries while on other shows, you may be looking for a sentimental farewell.  I would say that 30 Rock falls into the latter category and in terms of last night’s finale, it hit some home runs and in other areas, it struck out completely.

I always felt that this was a cast that truly loved working with one another.  Yes there were some things that happened with some of the actors off the screen during its run but all that insanity aside, the 30 Rock team was a family.  I loved reading all the articles leading up to the finale where you heard how hard it was for some of them to say good-bye and how emotional the final episode was from the table read to the final airing.  The cast also agreed to get together and watch the finale together.  They loved what they produced just as much as we loved watching it.

I didn’t watch 30 Rock right out of the gate.  In fact, I hated the show.  Not because I had ever seen it, but because it was the Modern Family of the Emmys back in its prime.  It won all the awards, it got all the great reviews, everyone buzzed about how this is the greatest comedy since Seinfeld.  I don’t know if it was because I felt like I was left out of the club or it was just over exposed, but every time I heard about 30 Rock, I would cringe with disgust.  But then, about 3 years ago, I took a trip to Italy.  Anyone who has ever traveled a significant distance knows that in addition to movies on the plane, there are now episodes of TV shows that you can watch.  On my flight to and from Rome, the NBC comedies were playing.  I was already over in Italy for business when my husband flew over to meet me.  All he talked about the whole time was this episode of 30 Rock that he watched and that we have to start watching this show.  He was laughing so hard, he could barely tell me why it was so funny.  When we get on the plane to come home, he was giddy with joy that the same episode is airing on the way back and tells me we have to watch it.  I begrudgingly agree.  The episode was from Season 2, Episode 5: Greenzo.  For you die hards, you know this one immediately.  This is the episode where so many hysterical things are happening, you lose count.  First you have David Schwimmer playing Greenzo, this energy conscious, superhero that teaches kids and adults how to be more green (complete Jack Donaghy idea).  I’ve never been a huge fan of Schwimmer’s but he is fabulous in this episode.  Then you have Pete and his wife Paula who are sneaking around having sex in Liz’s apartment.  And to top it off, you have Kenneth throwing, what will come to be, his very last party.  That scene is Jack’s office, the day after the party. maybe one of the funniest things I’ve seen on TV.  Basically, Kenneth throws the worst parties and the only person who ever had the stomach to go, is Liz.  But all of a sudden this huge rumor starts floating around about who will be there (from rappers to foxy boxing) and it gets out hand.  It gets to the point that the people who started the rumors (I think it was Grizz and Dot Com) start believing it’s true when they hear how it has spun.  It’s insane!!!!  And after watching that, I was hooked.   My husband and I put it on the Netflix season pass, or whatever you call it, and watched it from beginning to end.  It became our Scrubs.  So when we’d have a bad day or just are exhausted from everything, we’d pop in some 30 Rock, and all would be right with the world.

I’m a huge Tina Fey fan.  And no, it’s not just because she’s a local Philly girl who grew up 10 minute from me, and constantly put Philly sports teams in her episodes.  Ok, so that’s part of it.  But it’s because she’s so smart, witty, funny, and fearless.  She created and performed one of the most layered and interesting characters of all time.  Liz Lemon is a mess but yet so together at the same time.  While her love life was a disaster and she always had some sort of food in her hair, she was anything but a ditz.  It would be so easy to set up the funny for the ditzy leading lady who can’t get out of her own way.  Instead, you have a woman who’s very good at her job, incredibly talented, and in many ways, so incredibly sure of herself, and she can’t get out of her own way.  When you really break down Liz, she’s someone who knew exactly what she was good at and what she wanted to do and therefore made herself a very successful career.  She was a loyal friend to a fault (which I always admire in a person.)  She wasn’t afraid to be the geek that she was.  She never tried to hide it or apologize for it.  It’s why her relationship with Jack worked so well.  It’s why her friendship with Jenna lasted as long as it has.  It’s why she could handle that crazy group of misfits she called a writing staff.   Liz was very well aware of who she was.  And even though there were times where certain parts of her life confused and scared her, at her core, she was still the sharp and sassy girl who just really loved Cheesy Blasters.   I’ll really miss seeing her on my screen.  Liz Lemon showed that even though you’re the tops in your field, you don’t always have it together and it’s good to have people you can count on to get you through those tough times.

Speaking of layered characters, one of my husband’s all time favorites in history is Jack Donaghy.  When we first meet him, you think he’s going to be one thing.  But over the course of the series you realize he’s not just the stiff, one-dimensional, pompous ass you expected.  Like Liz, he’s very layered with his own demons that he fights, just like everyone else.   And the more you learn about Jack and the more he opens up to us, the more you completely get him and is some ways, admire him.  Talk about fierce and determined.  But when it came down to it, in many ways, he was just like Liz…a strong, smart, successful career man, who’s strong in his convictions,  with a screwed up love life/personal life.   But how he handled it and approached it was so different from Liz.  And it was this approach to life that made his business and personal relationship with Liz so amazing and wonderful to watch.   Plus, he had the best lines on the show.

If I go through every character on this show, I’ll be here until Community premieres next week (side note….yeah!!)  So I’m not going to do that but I had to talk about Liz and Jack. As for the episode itself, as I mentioned in the beginning, it had some good moments and some not so good moments. The fact that The Rural Juror was brought back into the mix, was fantastic. And not only did Jenna get to sing one more time, but she did a song about the Rural Juror that no one could understand. It was awesome!!!! And by the way, you could tell that Jane Krakowski was crying during that entire episode. Even in the scenes where she wasn’t actually crying, you could see that her eyes were completely bloodshot and puffy. Don’t get me wrong. She still looked amazing. You could just tell this was really emotional for her. Especially in the scene where they take her mirror away from her. Classic Jenna! And the small montage of Jenna through the years looking at herself in that mirror was a fitting recap for her character. I like that they got to do one more show of TGS before shutting everything down, to keep Tracy from getting $30 million dollars. The best part was at the end of the show (meaning TGS) all the people who worked on the show, were brought out on stage for the curtain call. I can only assume that was all the crew for 30 Rock. While I haven’t been on board with Criss as Liz’s man, the best part of the whole storyline was when the newly adopted kids arrived and they were basically a mini Jenna and mini Tracy. How perfect was that!! Probably one of my favorite moments was Liz’s scene with Tracy (which had come full circle back to where it all started with them…the strip club.) Liz gives Tracy the “hardcore truth good-bye.” She tells him what most people don’t have the guts to say. That they were only friends because they worked together and that they probably won’t stay in touch. That she won’t call on his birthday and he’ll invite her over but not really mean it. But the best line was when Liz said to Tra “because the human heart is not properly connected to the human brain, I love you and I’m going to miss you. But tonight might be it.” That one line perfectly sums up what this series was about. People who would NEVER be friends outside of the environment they were forced to be connected by, grew to love and care about one another. I loved it and it was a fantastic moment for those two characters. And I just have to say, I love that they poked fun at the worst series finale in TV history (that just so happened to be on NBC) when the last scene was Kenneth with the snow globe making it seem like it was all in his head (or the head of the writer sitting in front of him.) Please look up St. Elsewhere finale to get the reference.

While there were those moments I loved, a few things bothered me. First, I hated the way they used Salma Hayek and Julianne Moore. What a waste of returning characters. I read they weren’t going to do much of that because they wanted to keep it about the core cast, and that’s fine. But if you’re going to bring someone back, I would much rather have seen Dennis Duffy or Devon Banks. But Moore and Hayek were not used well at all. Also, I hated the “Kenneth is President of NBC” story. I know that was really from the previous episode but it certainly carried over and it’s absurd. I would rather have seen Kenneth being a NBC page forever, because that’s what he loved to do. Finally, I hated Jack leaving NBC, once he finally gotten what he had always wanted, to be CEO, because he wasn’t happy and he needed to find his bliss. What? The man who has been nothing but ambitious and ruthless about getting to the top now doesn’t want it? What? This seemed so out of character. I hated it. However there were two saving graces. One, that he discovered the idea for the clear dishwasher and promptly turned his boat right back around. And two, his moment with Liz. He was trying so hard to find the words to let her know how he felt about her and used so many ancient anecdotes that she finally cut him off and said “I love you too Jack.” And he smiled that awesome Donaghy smile at her. It’s just a shame they wasted the entire finale episode having Jack Donaghy not be Jack Donaghy.

In the end, I liked the finale and thought it was a great sendoff for what was, in its prime, the best comedy on TV. It was certainly time for 30 Rock to go. It just hasn’t been the same the last season and a half. But I’m glad, like Liz Lemon, it went out on its own terms.

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SEASON FINALE RECAP & REVIEW: Parenthood “Because You’re My Sister” S4 E15

I hate that it’s Jan 25th and Parenthood is over for the season.  But I’ve said it before, I’d rather have a 15 episode season of Parenthood, than no season at all.  So if 15 is all I get and it keeps Parenthood on the air, so be it.  But I’d still rather have the full 22…it has to be said!

Adam and Kristina

It’s been a pretty emotional season.  Kristina’s cancer storyline has really dominated the tear factor, with a handful of other stories vying for their Kleenex moment, so you knew there was going to be a decision at the end of the season…was Kristina going to be in remission or was she going to die?   I’m not going to lie.  I was worried Katims was going to kill Kristina off.  Because the storytelling that would happen in the build up to her death and in the preceding episodes dealing with her passing would be so incredibly powerful and interesting, I thought Katims might go that route.  At this point, luckily, he has decided not to go in that direction.  Although I fear seeing her friend Gwen might have been a foreshadowing of things to come.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am by no means wishing for this to happen.  NO.  WAY.  I’m just putting on my forecasting hat and, as usual, reading too much into everything.

Kristina had one more scan to make sure that the cancer hadn’t spread because something looked off in her test.  But the doctor was just being cautious thinking it was probably just her body reacting to all the treatment.  Turns out that exactly what it was!    Yeah!!!  Now he did warn her that she can’t use the “C” word (cured) for 5 years but at this point, she is cancer free!!!

I’m so happy for her and for Adam.  This whole storyline was told so beautifully.  It showed how scary and lonely it can be for a cancer patient.  But it also showed how difficult it is on the spouse.  And it showed that both sides can be flawed in their actions.  There were times Adam was trying to be supportive but in his quest to support (like with bought Kristina the trip to Hawaii to celebrate her clean health), it pushed negative buttons in Kristina.  Likewise, when Adam was doing his best to be supportive (like when he bought Kristina the wig) Kristina really overreacted to what her husband’s intentions were.  Showing the side of the cancer patient in a supportive light is a dangerous and tricky storyline to go down.  You never want to show a patient unfavorably because of what they are going through but if you are going to show this as real as possible, then you have to cross that line.  But Katims did it so well that it was never disrespectful or insensitive.   But it was a perfect ending to a very well told story from start to finish.

Joel and Julia

Speaking of a well told story, this story had some mixed emotions over the course of the season.  I didn’t have as much of a problem as some people did…until the last two episodes.   Now I am going to chalk up the fast turn around to only have 15 episodes to work with and wanting to wrap this story up on a happy note this season and not drag it out into the next one.  But is that the fastest turn around you have ever seen in a kid?  He went from being really nasty and mean to Julia and Sydney to now begging Julia to adopt him and asking Sydney to show up at his adoption ceremony because she’s his sister.  This from the kid that just 2/3 weeks earlier was saying Julia wasn’t his real mother.  It didn’t make sense to me.  And there seemed to be no explanation as to what caused him to have this major change of heart.  That’s the only part that really disappointed me.  But my assumption is that Katims really wanted the adoption to happen in the finale and there was only so much time between certain episodes to make that happen.

Other than that, the adoption was wonderful and classic Braverman.  Of course the ENTIRE family would be there to support J&J.   And I LOVED how each one of them stepped up to say how they now related to Victor and how there certain areas in life where he should reach out to them for advise.  (Oh and really Sarah, YOU’RE going to suggest relationships for your area of expertise.   Ugh.)   But the best part was at the end of the scene when they were running out and Victor said to Julia “Mom can we get ice cream?”   The look on her face when he called her mom was priceless.  I love it.

Crosby & Jasmine

I still don’t agree with Jasmine on how her mom should have been handled.  Are there some sensitivities to the situation that should be respected because of who Renee is and what she has been to Jabbar?  Absolutely.  Does that give her the right to tell Crosby and Jasmine how to parent their son?  No.  And Crosby had every right to be upset with Renee interfering with their way of raising Jabbar.  Renee wasn’t happy with their routine (Crosby getting in late and having dinner as a family when he got home.)  so she just changed it.  That isn’t right and Jasmine should have put her foot down more.  She was just as much to blame in this for putting Crosby in the position of having to be the heavy and that’s why it became worse than it needed to be…because she didn’t have his back, even though she agreed with him.  Ironically, I think Renee was right that Jabbar shouldn’t be eating dinner at 8:00pm during the week.  That should be closer to a bedtime than mealtime.  But you know what, it doesn’t matter what I think or she thinks.  The only thing that matters is what his parents think because it’s their decision.  And quite frankly, I think it’s nice that they try to do what they can to have dinner as a family, no matter what time it is.   But because Jasmine didn’t have the guts to have an honest, but respectful conversation with her mother, the situation and the tension built up and exploded when it didn’t need to and Renee’s feelings were hurt.  And somehow Crosby had to apologize, which was wrong.  If anything, Jasmine should be apologizing to Crosby and her mother, because this whole thing is her fault.

I forgave Jasmine very quickly though because I LOVE the way she told Crosby she was pregnant.  Even more, I love the fact that they went to see Renee and let her be the first one they told.  And the way Crosby told her was so sweet and adorable, it just melted my heart.  So it looks like all if forgiven and another happy ending for another Braverman sibling.

Sarah/Hank/Mark

Thankfully, this storyline is over.  Sarah finally made up her mind and decided to give it a go with Hank only to have her heart-broken by him when he told her he was closing the shop and moving to Minnesota to be with his daughter.  I have to say, I can’t blame him.  But he did tell Sarah that he loved her and wants her to move with him to snowy, icy, Minneapolis.  I say, go.  I’ve said this before, I love Lauren Graham, I don’t like her character.  Sarah isn’t bringing a whole lot to the table and her stories, quite frankly, haven’t been that interesting.  So I wouldn’t mind seeing her haul off and follow Hank to Minnesota.  But that won’t happen because LG isn’t going anywhere.  I also had a MAJOR problem with how she told Mark.  Are you kidding me? You walk into his classroom and stiffer than a board, tell him you’re going to make a go of it with Hank and good-bye.  Could she have been more cold?  For God sake he was her fiance.  Didn’t he deserve a little more warmth and respect than what she gave him?   Take him for coffee, take him for a beer.  But don’t do it at work and don’t be so cold and unfeeling that we’re wondering how you two were ever together in the first place.  I assume  she was trying to play it as awkward, which I’m sure it was.  But it came off as bitter and rude, than awkward.

Amber/Drew

A quick note on these two.  I’m glad Drew got to wrap up his story with Amy and we got to see her one more time and they were able to resolve their break up in a satisfying way.  What they went through was so hard and difficult for teenagers.  For anyone really but especially teenagers.   I’m also thrilled to see his moment of joy learning he got into Berkley, after all the sadness he’s had the last few weeks.  The only thing that was disappointing is that there is still no fallout from his moment with Sarah when he fell into her arms crying after it happened.  Does she know?  Did he tell her?   We still don’t know.  My assumption is that he did because when she was congratulating him on getting into Berkley, she told him “I told you everything would be ok.”  Now was that the gentle nod to let us know that she knew?  I’m still not 100% sure.   Either way, I’m happy for Drew and I’m very excited for him.   I’m going to say something cooky, crazy now.   Is it possible Amy didn’t go through with it and is still pregnant and that we’ll see her two seasons from now where Drew bumps into her with a kid in a stroller?   I’m just, throwing it out there.  My guess is no, but you know how my mind works!

Amber and Ryan are back together…yeah!!  As they should be.  I love this relationship and it’s so nice to see how far Amber has come from when we first met her and how mature she is being.  She is getting her life together and she is being very responsible and respectful to herself and Ryan in regards to making this relationship work the right way.  The chemistry between Whitman and Lauria is incredible so I hope Ryan will be a permanent fixture on the show moving forward.

So that’s season 4 of Parenthood.  Did you love this season?  Are you sad it’s over so soon?  I hope NBC does the right thing and brings it back.  I think they will.

 
 

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QUICK REVIEW: Criminal Minds, Castle, Revenge, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods

Criminal Minds

This is not a show that needs recapping every week but every once in a while, an episode or string of episodes happen that warrant discussion.  Last week’s episode broke my heart.  In the early days of Criminal Minds, I rooted for JJ and Reid to get together.  A big part of me, still does.  But I’ve moved on from the idea of those two getting together.  As a result, I was 100% on board with this romance between Maeve and Spencer.  And before you start referencing Manti Te’o asking how can you have a relationship with someone you’ve never met, this show handled it very well to the point I totally believed it.  Matthew Gray Gubler and Beth Riesgraf did a fantastic job selling this relationship that up until this episode, only existed via cryptic phone conversations.  The reason for this, she had a stalker.  So she was in hiding until the stalker was caught. Unfortunately, the stalker found her and kidnapped her and as a result, Reid, who is a very private person, needed to out his relationship to the team and ask for their help in finding her.  Turns out it was someone applying for a PhD and Maeve denied her application and therefore Diane (Michelle Trachtenberg) flipped out and murdered her ex-fiance and ultimately murdered herself and Maeve with a bullet to the head.  It was such a sad scene for so many reasons.  First, Spencer had never seen her face.  Even when Garcia had her picture, Reid refused to see it because he wanted the first time to be face to face.  He also wanted to tell her that he loved her because the last time they spoke, she said she loved him and he didn’t respond.  When he finally saw her, it was with her strapped to a chair with Diane pointing a gun at Reid’s head and Reid pretending to love Diane and not her so he could get her free.  Instead of telling her that he loved her, he had to tell her that he didn’t love her so he could protect her.  Unfortunately, Diane saw through all this and while holding Maeve against her, put a gun to her own head and pulled the trigger, killing both of them.  I told my husband I was afraid she was going to die but then I thought, there’s no way CM would do that to Reid.  Yep, well, wrong again!   Maeve is dead and Reid is crushed.  It was brutal to watch and I’m really curious to see how this will impact him moving forward.  Reid is so private and doesn’t open his heart to many people.  And for him to be ready to make a committment to this girl, only to have her murdered in front of him, will completely damage his already fragile psyche.

Castle

Still one of my favorite shows on TV and I’m loving this season.  The last two episodes were great.  Seeing Meredith (Darby Stanchfield) around making things tricky for Castle and Beckett was priceless.  But it was also a nice change of pace to see Meredith and Beckett go to dinner together and really get along.  Unfortunately before she left, when Kate asked why they didn’t work, Meredith told her the truth.   Castle knew everything about her but she really didn’t know much about Castle.  He’s fun and romantic and sweet, but he never let her in, especially when it came to his dad.  And she couldn’t handle being in the dark.  It really resonated with Kate because she’s in the same situation…to some degree.  Castle knows everything about her darkest time…her mother’s death.  But Beckett knows nothing about, what appears to be, Castle’s darkest period…his father.  And I know there were people who thought Meredith did that maliciously, I don’t agree.  I think she was honestly answering Kate’s question without trying to sabotage anything.  I also think that Kate’s relationship with Rick is VERY different from Meredith’s.  Yes, she is just in the dark about Castle’s history with his father as Meredith is, but she has seen so many different layers to Castle that I’m pretty sure no one else has.   They have been through so much together and she has been around some very vulnerable sides to Rick, that she can’t compare her relationship with Castle to his relationship with anyone else.   She has seen a deeper side to him.  But I think this issue regarding his father, could be a driving wedge between them.  I hope it isn’t but I think it’s inevitable.

I just quickly wanted to mention how much I enjoyed last week’s episode which focused on Esposito. I like when the show puts focus on another character (especially Ryan and Esposito) because I care about them just as much as Castle and Beckett.  Ok maybe not AS much, but it’s close.  Esposito is such a great guy.  I love seeing a hard-nosed, tough guy get hit in his heart (figuratively) because he has no chance to avoid showing his soft side.  I hope the show brings Joey back.  I know cop shows always have those episodes where the cop gives the troubled kid his card where the cop says to call anytime and the cop promises to keep tabs on the kid.  Well I would like to see that.  Not all the time, but I think twice a year wouldn’t be out of the question.

Revenge

I would have to agree with everyone else…this season of Revenge isn’t as good as last season.  I liked the simplicity of last season with a target of the week under the umbrella plan of taking down the Graysons.  Now we have Aiden involved and his story.  Then you have the Initiative involved.  And there’s the Ryan brothers going after the Porter brothers.   It’s too much.  I don’t know why things need to go to this massive levels of story telling.   Sometimes, less is more.  I’d rather go back to last season’s methods with twists and turns complicating matters along the way.   But having said that, I still love the show.  If we can cut down on the side stories (mainly Aiden and the Initiative) I would be ok.  I’m not a fan of Aiden would rather him go away and just have Emily do her thing.  I also don’t know why we needed some major secret group being behind some the Grayson’s decisions.  I would rather have had the Grayson’s be responsible for all their own decisions without having to drag this secret society in.  But if the show can wrap those two things up and go back to business as usual with Emily driving everything and Nolan being there to help her, things will be good again.

The Good Wife

Alicia and Peter sitting in a tree.  F-U-C….whoa!!!!  I’m not going to go there.  But how about that trailer scene? AWESOME!!!   If the show continues down this path with Alicia and Peter doing their thing and Will possibly working on a relationship with Laura (Amanda Peet) I would be very happy.

The second half of the season is already cranking.  They got rid of Kalinda’s God awful husband storyline, the firm is slowly starting to pick itself back up again, the case of the Justice Department going after Eli (headed up by Wendy Scott Carr) resulting in bringing in George O’Malley is fantastic, and Louis Canning is now one of the firm’s creditors which should be an interesting wrinkle.  My biggest complaint?  Cary Agos.   Can we PLEASE find this man a storyline worthy of him?  I’m so tired of him being on the back burner.  It’s time to bring him to the big front burner and let him dominate a storyline.

Blue Bloods

I know I’m really late to the party in commenting on this but I think it’s really shitty the way Jennifer Esposito and her character were handled on the show.  If what she is saying is true, then it’s horrible.  The short version, Esposito had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  It went misdiagnosed for years and her form of the disease is pretty severe.  I know people with Celiac and there are varying degrees with some leaving people down right ill for weeks, especially when you don’t know what’s wrong.  Esposito was violently ill but when she finally was diagnosed properly her doctors suggested she have a reduced work load on the show to accommodate her illness.  According to Esposito, CBS didn’t grant the reduced work load nor did they release her from her contract.  She was put on medical leave without pay but because she was still under contract, she wasn’t able to seek employment with another network TV show.   She could do theater, film, or cable TV (as long as it didn’t air at 10pm) but she was pretty much stuck.   That’s the part I don’t get.  You won’t grant her request because it isn’t fair to the cast and crew, that’s fine.  But then let her go so she can find other work.   And they wouldn’t do that.   So she went on medical leave and now she’s gone for good.   I hate it because I thought she was fantastic and her chemistry with Donnie Wahlberg was amazing.  I think it’s a big loss for the show.  Having said that, I don’t think the new replacement, Megan Ketch has been bad.  I actually like her.  Not as much as Esposito of course, but Ketch is doing a good job.  It’s tough shoes to fill and I think no matter who it was to fill them, fans weren’t going to like her.  Now apparently Ketch is moving on and Megan Boone is set to replace her for 4 episodes with an option to be picked up a series regular.  Guess we’ll see how she does.

In terms of the season, as always, I love this show.  I know people can get annoyed at how the Reagan family always does the right thing and makes the right decisions.   But I don’t care.  I like the fact that they are good people trying to do the right thing.  What’s wrong with that?  They still have flaws.  They still struggle with decisions.  But if they always try to go the right way, I’m ok with that.

 
 

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SERIES PREMIERE REVIEW: Deception “Pilot” S1 E1

I’ve read a lot of reviews on the series premiere of Deception.  I had a conference call this morning and I was bored so I read reviews!   Just kidding boss…(not really.)  It was fascinating to see the early reports.  People either all out hated it or loved it and thought it was better than Revenge.   My opinion, somewhere in the middle.  I didn’t think the show was awful or incredible.  It’s a decent show that has potential.

The basic premise is Joanna Locasta (Meagan Good) is an NYC detective who was informed by her old partner and current FBI agent Will Moreno (Las Alonzo) that her best friend Vivian Bowers (Bree Williamson) has died of a drug overdose.  Since the FBI was already looking into the Bowers family for other crimes, he wants her to go undercover and infiltrate the family to see if she can find out what really happened to Vivian (both think she was murdered.)  He asks her because Joanna grew up with the family because her mother was the Bowers custodial manager and she and Vivian were best friends.  She agrees and the story begins.

We meet the Bowers family, the patriarch Robert (Victor Garber), the step-mother Sophia (Katherine LaNasa), troubled son Edward (Tate Donovan) and his “estranged” wife Samantha (Marin Hinkle), playboy Julian (of course he’s named Julian) (Wes Brown), and youngest sibling Mia (Ella Rae Park.)   Basically, everyone is a suspect (except Mia in my opinion) and they all have issues…drug, sex, something creepy and mysterious.  They’re nuts.  Who can you trust?   Absolutely no one!   Last night on Twitter, I went out on a limb to say that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn, eventually, that Sophia and Edward were the “good guys” on the show because they are coming across as the biggest asses right now.  However, if Sophia stayed deliciously nasty, I wouldn’t hate it!

There were many twists and turns for the pilot!  With the big one being that SPOILER ALERT……Mia is really Vivian’s daughter not sister……….SPOILER OVER.  And it confirmed the idea of something more sinister happening to Vivian when we see the close up of a wicked bruise on her check that has a distinct imprint on it and at the end of the episode we see SPOILER ALERT…….Julian hunched down and crying on the docks with a ring in his hand that matches the same pattern on Vivian’s face.  He then hurls the ring into the Hudson River………..SPOILER OVER.   We also see that Edward and Samantha are having issues.  I would go out on a limb to say they are separated over something Edward was alleged to have done.  They have their typical soap opera type cryptic conversation that leads to much speculation as to what the hell they are talking about. He also grabs her quite a bit, which I don’t like.  But she’s very afraid of him and he’s very aloof about life in general.  So what’s going on there?  The big question is can Joanna keep her secret about who she is, other than “Who Killed Vivian” of course!  We did have someone find out that she’s really a cop but he was killed before that storyline could have gotten really interesting.  But who killed him?  Is it the same person/people who killed Vivian?

What did I think?  I liked it.  Was it the greatest hour of TV I ever watched?  Nope.  Was it the worst?  Nope.  I was surprised how harsh some other critics were on the show.  It’s a nighttime soap so it’s going to be campy and silly at times.  I mean seriously?  Tate Donovan is Victor Garber’s son?  Did Garber turn 75 and I didn’t realize it or is Donovan really 40 years old?  I think not.  Garber’s 64 and Donovan is 50.  You do the math.  But this is not the first nor the last time there would be age issues on TV shows (see Kelsey Grammer and John Mahoney on Frasier.)   The one comment I saw in a few reviews that I agree with is that if you’re going to be a nighttime, campy soap, act like it.  Don’t try to be a serious show when you clearly aren’t.  And Deception does seem caught in a little bit of that “are we a serious show or a soap?”  Except LaNasa.  She got the memo.   And she’s great!  If Deception can realize who/what it realize is, I think the show will be fine.  I’m still not sold on Good as the leading lady yet.  She doesn’t command the screen the way Emily van Camp, Kerry Washington, Jada Pinkett Smith, or Kyra Sedgwick can.  But I’m willing to give her a chance.  She’s good but not as dominant as I’d like her to be.

What did you think of Deception?  Will you keep watching?  Did you hate it as much as some of the critics did?

DVR Rating: 3 DVRs

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: Parenthood “Keep On Rowing” S4 E12

Happy New Year everyone!!  Wow did I get blindsided not realizing new shows were airing this week.  I wonder if there’s a place where I can look up premiere dates for shows?   Oh that’s right!  My very own blog has that information.  Christ if I don’t read my own blog, no one will.   But I digress!

One of my Top Shows of 2012 is already off to make its mark on my Top Shows of 2013 list…Parenthood.  But I’m sure you’re completely shocked to hear about my ongoing love fest for this show.  And I’m not kidding, I will seriously dump ice water on someone if Monica Potter isn’t nominated for an Emmy this year.  Come on people, you knew it was coming!  It should be a drinking game.  How soon into Heather’s Parenthood post will she mention how Monica Potter deserve an Emmy?  Once you start reading, drink until I say it!  I guess I should have put it lower in the post then.  So let’s break down starting with the must be Emmy nominee…

Adam & Kristina

I think the writers have done an excellent job with this story.  As well as everyone acting the hell out of all the scenes.   There were two scenes this week, just revolving around Kristina’s storyline, that blew me away.  And you’ll be shocked to hear that when they happened, I was not happy with how Kristina handled it.  The first was when Kristina first shaved her head and woke up Adam to show him.  I thought his reaction was perfect…shocked.  Even though you know it’s coming.  Even though you don’t want to make the person feel self-conscious.  You can’t help but take a huge deep breath when you see someone with beautiful blonde hair, completely bald.  Especially when it wasn’t gradual.  One minute Kristina is out with the girls, the next she’s shaved her head.  That had to be hard on Adam.  And we saw how hard it was for her in the tearful scene where she decided to shave her head after a huge chunk of her came out at the bar that night.  It must have been very empowering for her by her choosing to go bald, rather than let the cancer/chemo do it for her.  It was sad and powerful for her at the same time.  So I can understand her being upset with Adam’s reaction but I was surprised how upset she was.  She woke him out of a sound sleep and surprised him with what she did.  I think Adam just needed some time to adjust and take it in.  Kristina already had that time to process it, Adam didn’t.   But his resulting actions were very sweet.   Which leads me to scene #2.

Adam takes Sarah out to buy Kristina a wig after he noticed her researching wigs on-line.  I would have brought Julia for this one but that’s another story.  Adam picks out a wig that looks NOTHING like Kristina’s hair other than the color.  He brings it home to her and tells her he has a surprise for her.  She lights up at the idea until she sees it.  Then she completely breaks down and tells Adam that he must be embarrassed at how she looks and that the gift is more for him than her and she yells at him to return it.  By the way, that wig was $250???!!!!  Well I’m in the wrong business!!   Anyhoo, Adam is devastated that he hurt her feelings and tried to explain that he only got it for her because he thought it was something she wanted after seeing her webpage up with wigs on it.  But he apologized and promised to return it.

I really felt bad for Adam here and I thought Kristina was being unfair.  I can completely understand why she would feel that way but she has to know that Adam would NEVER buy her the wig because he was embarrassed by her.  And after he explained why he did it, I’m surprised how she continued to go off on him and break down the way she did.  I really was heartbroken for him.  He was just trying to do something nice for her and it didn’t go how he planned at all.  And that’s the hardest part to get your arms around….while spouses want to be patient with their significant others for what they are going through, it still has to be taxing on them when they feel unappreciated for when they are trying to be supportive.  It’s another way I think Parenthood has done a tremendous job of not only showing this from Kristina’s perspective but from Adam’s and toll her illness has taken on him.   And I think many times, the immediate support teams (whether it’s spouse, life partner, parent, sibling, or friend), get forgotten about in terms how this also impacts their lives as well.  Of course the patients are always thought of first and foremost, as they should.  But I think there are too many times, the support teams get left behind.  Where’s their support system?

But she really makes up for it later and again causes me to break out the Kleenex when she lures Adam outside the Luncheonette (with the help of one Miss Amber Holt) to apologize for how she treated him.  Did she look fantastic or what?  She rented a limo, put on a beautiful dress, had a stunning red wig, and a little sparkling wine to toast all her husband has done for her.  And to top it all off, she had a suit for him and a hotel room set and she asked him out on a date.  I.  Flipping.  LOVED IT!!!!   It was so sweet and I loved every minute of their date.  Even when she mentioned about going to Funkytown yet looking like her perfect evening was watching the back of her eyelids.  It was perfect!

Crosby & Jasmine

I have mentioned how I’m back on the Jasmine bus right?  Well I’m still on.  Each week I’m loving her more and more and this was a tough week for her.  She’s basically put in the middle of a difficult situation that many couples in this country are faced with right now.  Her mother lost her job and can’t pay her bills.  So C&J either have to pay the bills for her or she needs to move in with them.    As you all know, Crosby’s relationship with Renee, his mother-in-law, has been…..challenging, to say the least.   So I can see how Jasmine was nervous to even ask him and Crosby wasn’t really jazzed about the idea.   But to Jasmine’s point, it’s family and sometimes you have to put your feelings aside and do the right thing.

It’s such a tough situation.  I can understand how this is over and above the call of duty…bringing someone into your home who has a very different value system from you, where you can’t really be yourself, where you always have to walk around with clothes on, where you have to be on your best behavior.  It can be really hard.  But you know what, suck it up.  My husband and I have an open door policy (and luckily a guest bedroom with its own bathroom) to anyone in our circle of family and friends that need assistance.  We’ve already had two people stay with us for different reasons and we were happy to help them out.   And we’d do it again in a heartbeat.   Because to us, our friends are our family.  And if family is in need and we can help, that’s what you do.  I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back or expecting praise from readers (but I’ll never stop you!)  I say it to give my comments context.  I think Crosby, as usual, was being an asshole.  A selfish, child.  Her mother needs help, you suck it up and help her out.  And you have every right to lay down ground rules.  It is your home.  But you need to help out your mother-in-law.  If you don’t want to do it for her, then do it for your wife and child.   What if that were Jabbar some day?  Wouldn’t you want someone to help him?  It’s what drives me nuts about Crosby.  Everything, always, has to be about him.  And I have a feeling this situation is going to explode before it gets better.

Joel & Julia

Speaking of exploding.  Wow.  Where did nasty Victor come from?  I know Victor still isn’t 100% comfortable with his new living situation and it’s still a work in progress but I didn’t see this coming.  Where did the kid who walked down the steps to see Julia learning Spanish for him, where he smiled in appreciation, go?  Where did the kid who appreciated when Julia spent her whole day sitting in the parking lot to make him feel safe go?  Where did the kid happy to learn baseball with Joel go?   This is a situation very foreign to me so I don’t know if this is normal or not.  I mean, common sense would tell you that a foster child or an adopted child, especially one as old as Victor, would start to question where his “real” mother is and start to ask to see her.  But are these mood swings common?  I guess each child is different and it would depend on the situation.  Compounding the situation is Sydney.

Now, there have been people out there critical of Sydney.  I’ve heard people call her spoiled and selfish and bratty.  And to be fair, she has been all those things.  But she’s, what, 8 or 9 years old?  She’s a child dealing with her parents adopting someone older than her, someone who has different rules that she does, someone who’s been taking up much of her parents’ time and attention, and someone who doesn’t know where she fits in now.  So I would say Sydney is handling herself like any normal child her age would in this situation.   But, she did fuel the fire when she had her little chat with Victor outside.  The meaner he was to her, the more she pushed his buttons.  The culmination of that conversation was a metal bat hurled in her direction through their sliding glass door.  Sydney, rightfully so, started screaming and crying out of fear in Joel’s arms and Julia was livid with Victor and punished him.   The next day, she made Victor pancakes and he refused to eat them saying he wanted Burger King pancakes.  Julia told him he’ll eat what she made him or nothing at all.  He proceeds to tell her that his “real” mom let him have Burger King pancakes everyday.  Talk about knowing what buttons to push!

This has been another amazing storyline this season.  If it wasn’t for Kristina’s cancer story, this story would be the best of the season.  It’s fascinating to me.  Seeing this couple, who was so wanting another child, bring this boy into their home and struggle with making it work.  It’s so incredibly hard.  I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is but how rewarding it can be once it starts to work out.  But are we going to get to a happy ending with the Grahams and Victor?  I’m not sure.  Katims doesn’t always take the easy way out so who knows where this storyline heads.  But Erika Christensen has been remarkable.  As has Sam Jaeger but Christensen has had the slightly more emotional path this season.  When the series first started, Julia was the driven career woman while Joel was the stay at home dad.  Now the roles are reversed and we have seen Julia struggle with that this season.  That’s a challenging enough transition and now add in raising a newly adopted son where the transition hasn’t been as smooth as you’d hoped and I can’t believe she isn’t walking down the street mumbling to herself.  J&J have really gone over and above to make Victor feel loved and a part of the family.  But I think he’s starting to test their generosity and uncertainties by behaving in ways he knows isn’t appropriate.  I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Sarah & Hank

I hate to say this because I love Lauren Graham, but I couldn’t care less about Sarah.  Compared to the other storylines this season, this one is dull and boring.  I don’t care if she’s with Mark or Hank.  I’m pretty much tired of all of her drama so it really doesn’t matter to me what happens with Sarah.  She could go on tour with Seth for the remainder of the series, and take Drew with her, and I would be fine with that.

Only three more episodes of Parenthood until the season finale.  That pisses me off.  This should be a 22 episode a season series where I get to see more episodes!!!  However, if only having 15-17 episodes a season means Parenthood keeps coming back year after year, I’m ok with that.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

QUICK REVIEWS: Parenthood

I really thought I was going to get through an episode without a tear shed.  Then the scene with Camille and Kristina happened where she gave her the sweater that was worn by 7 other cancer survivors curing Chemo.  Earlier there was a scene where Camille walked in and heard the tail end of Kristina’s conversation with her mother where her mother just told her she couldn’t come see her because someone else in her family had kidney stones.  So later when Camille showed up with the sweater she tells Kristina’s that she isn’t her mother and would never try to take her mother’s place but that she loves her so much and would always be there for her no matter what.  Are you kidding me?  I was a mess!!!  I love Camille and I love when the writers give Bonnie Bedelia these chances to shine.  It’s what Parenthood is so good at.  It was such a simple scene but it was so moving and beautiful and it was exactly what Kristina needed to hear.  I loved it.

I love Amber and Ryan.  Zeek and Sarah better not find a way to screw this up.  I’m getting a bit concerned since Sarah asked Zeek what he thought of Ryan and he told her that he’s a great kid but vets coming back from war have major struggles ahead of them.  The look on Sarah’s face scared me a little.  I hope it’s just a mother concerned for her daughter in not wanting her to get hurt than the “Oh My God I have to break them up because Amber deserves better” face.  I hope Zeek doesn’t go to Ryan and tell him he shouldn’t be in a relationship until he gets some direction and tells him to break up with Amber.  I want Zeek and Sarah to respect that Amber in now an adult capable of making her own decisions, as is Ryan, and that if they want to give this a shot…LET THEM.  If it doesn’t work out, fine, but let them make the decision for themselves.  I will be beyond pissed if Sarah and Zeek find a way to screw this up.

I love the effort Julia is making to make Victor feel more at home.  From going to get his friend Miguel to learning Spanish, she rocks.  And it didn’t go unnoticed by Victor who is old enough to understand what Julia is doing when he came downstairs and heard her practicing Spanish.  Between what Julia did for him at school and getting Miguel to come over and learning Spanish, I think Victor and Julia are going to have an amazing bond.

Parenthood people.  Time to get on board!

 

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in NBC, Quick Reviews/Recaps

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: Parenthood

I think the people from Kleenex and Johnson and Johnson should give the producers of Parenthood a nice portion of their incremental profits from this year due to all the tissues and Tylenol I’ve been using during each episode.  I don’t know if I can take much more.  Oh who am I kidding….of course I can!!!!!

This season is really defined by Kristina’s cancer storyline and I couldn’t be happier with putting Monica Potter front and center.  Maybe now she’ll get some Emmy love.  Wait who am I kidding, she’s not on Modern Family.  Anyhoo, last week Kristina went in for her surgery only to find out that while the cancerous lump was removed successfully, the doctor still had some bad news.  The cancer found was a more aggressive form than previously thought and one of her lymph nodes also had cancer in it.  So Kristina is still up for quite a battle.

There has been a lot of discussion out there about how Adam and Kristina handled telling Haddie.  I’m torn on this one.  On one hand, how do you lie to your daughter about something so serious?  I know they don’t want her to worry, I know they want her to go to school.  But come on.  She’s an adult.  You can’t expect your daughter to act like an adult and then you treat her like a child when it really counts.  On the other hand, if that’s how Kristina wants to handle it, that’s her right.  And if they want to insist their daughter go to school that they are paying for, they have that right.   I have to imagine if things got really bad, they would tell Haddie to come home right away.  But if I had to pick one side or the other, I would have to go with they made a mistake and should have told Haddie.  What’s delaying college one semester or even a year if it means being around your mom and family if, God forbid, something happens to her.

As weird as this sounds, I love to see how this has impacted the extended Braverman family…more so Amber and Crosby.  I never really thought of Amber and Kristina as close.  But then I remembered her working for Kristina and all the times Amber was there for Max and I realized that they are pretty close.  It was painful to watch Amber on her first date with Ryan not be able to hold it together as she was thinking about her aunt.  (More on Amber and Ryan in a bit.)   But what really struck me was Crosby’s response.  Crosby and Kristina, to be kind, haven’t always seen eye to eye and gotten along.  In fact, there were times they down right disliked each other.  But Crosby was one of the first people to jump at the chance to help.  Even though in typical Crosby fashion, it had to be all about him.  When he asked Adam for something to do to help, Crosby didn’t like the task Adam gave him and wanted something more important to do.  Finally after whining for a while, Adam gave him the responsibility of getting Kristina her last meal before the surgery…which she had to eat by a certain time.  I really thought Crosby was going to be late and miss the food cut-off time but he showed up just in time and Kristina was really very sweet about it.  But the sweetest part was when Crosby hugged her, he couldn’t let go of her.  Oh, it was so touching!

I wonder where this storyline is going to go this season.  Do you think the writers would actually go down the path of killing Kristina?  Most people say no, but I don’t know.  This show has always done what’s in the best interest of the story and I think it would be an amazing story to see what would happen after losing Kristina. Not that I want ANYTHING to happen to Kristina because I would be devastated if Monica Potter was no longer on Parenthood anymore.   But you know what?  I’m not ruling it out as a real possibility!

Can I just say that Sarah’s character is really annoying the crap out of me this season?  I hate to say that because I LOOOOOOOOOVE Lauren Graham.  But I just want to drop Sarah off the side of a cliff.  What a terrible parent she is sometimes.  I really don’t understand how anyone with any morsel of a brain cell would think moving in with Mark after what happened with Hank was a good idea.  AND, not only do you rush this moving in thing, you do it with your 17-year-old son and without thinking a lick of how it would impact him.  Actually, she had already thought about how it would impact Drew and she knew it would be bad.  That’s why she originally told Mark she didn’t want to move forward with anything until after Drew graduated.  So much for that.  All because of one kiss.  If that doesn’t send off warning signs and alarms, I don’t know what will.  But Lord is she driving me crazy.

I’m going to go on record right now and say that I am 100% fully on the Amber/Ryan band wagon.  I love this storyline with her.  Amber has always had MISERABLE luck with men.  And now we know why…because Matt Lauria (Ryan) had to come along with his amazing smile and looks and sweep her off my feet….oops, I mean her feet.  Amber really deserves a good guy and a good heart and even though there’s a big back story with Ryan (I think) and more layers of him to peel back, I think he’s going to be a keeper for Amber!!!

The only thing I ask the writers…please give us a little more Julia and Joel?  This is shaping up to be a really fascinating storyline and I want it to be given the respect it deserves.  So please, more J&J and less Sarah and her insanity.   Thank you!

So what are your thoughts on Parenthood so far.  And where do you think this storyline with Kristina will end up?

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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