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SERIES PREMIERE RECAP & REVIEW: Black-ish “Pilot” S1 E1

I’m going to try not to get too deep in this review.   After all, this is a sitcom.   But I watched Black-ish and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  I loved the trailer and laughed out loud when Dre’s son Andre (Andy) came home and wanted to have a bar mitzvah and change his name to his hebrew one (either Shlomo or Shmoole…which I’m probably butchering the spelling.)   I loved the instant chemistry between Anderson and Ross.  In a 2 minute trailer, I totally bought them as husband and wife.   So I was very excited for this premiere.   But then I watched it all and for the most part I liked it but I do have a bit of “Mike and Molly” fear for this show.

Shows like this, where they push racial and cultural boundaries, are always interesting because it can insight passionate responses from viewers…both good and bad.  I’ve already seen lots of comments on this about how “white people won’t understand the humor” and “this show is racist and offensive” etc, etc.   I think everyone needs to take a deep breath.   In the simplest of terms, this show is about an African-American family living a hugely successful life (Dre is a SVP of his company and Rainbow is a surgeon) in the suburbs yet still trying to stay true to their roots…at least Dre is.   Now he has to remind the rest of his family how important that is as well.   The cast is led by Anthony Anderson, Tracey Ellis Ross, and Laurence Fishburne.  But my favorite so far is Marcus Scribner’s Andre Jr.   That kid had the best lines and best material in the pilot.  First with the bar mitzvah.  He also wants to be called Andy (because it shows he’s edgy yet approachable), play field hockey, and hold onto his first boob (vs. holding onto his roots.)  I loved that kid.   And like The Goldbergs last year, I instantly felt like this was a family.  The chemistry between all of them was evident right off the bat.

This could be a groundbreaking show.    The kind of show that families can watch and have a great discussion about afterwards.   There are many people who argue, that shows like that don’t work on network TV any more.   Well, maybe not.   Unless it’s a well written, well thought out show that has the abilities to push the boundaries with humor to bring real conversations to the forefront.  And Black-ish has the potential to be that show.  I already have tons of questions.   I can’t directly relate to the internal struggle of an African-American man who came from a tough background to raising his family in the type of environment that was better than his and how he balances raising his children in a color free world yet staying true to their cultural heritage.  There is no way I can ever completely understand that.   But I’d like to understand it better than I do now.   And I’m curious to watch it and learn more about it.   For example, the one part of the show where I raised my eye brow was when Dre was upset that his daughter didn’t want to hang out with the only other black girl in the school and that she didn’t even refer to her as the “only other black girl in the school.”  His daughter responded by saying “I don’t know.  When I hear Liza Jackson I think of meatballs and turkey burgers.”  Isn’t that a good thing, that she didn’t see the color of her skin?   Why was Dre so upset?  I don’t understand.   I feel like the way his kids were talking about Liza is exactly the way you want them to talk about her…as a little girl, not a little black girl.   I would think so.  Look at how upset Dre was with his promotion.  He was hoping to break down barriers at his company by becoming the first black SVP.   But not the first black SVP of the “Urban Division.”  It took something away from the promotion for Dre and I do understand that.   But if your goal is to break down barriers then why drive the “blackness” so hard at home with your family?   It’s that the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve?   It’s confusing.    So I hope the show explores that a bit more because while I’ll never fully be able to relate because I’m not African-American, I could certainly be more informed and have a better understand than before.    I want to know why someone who wants his family as far away from the way he was brought up as possible, also wants to make sure his roots are still very prevalent in their everyday lives.   What specific parts of your roots are you referring to?   I really want to know.

But my “Mike and Molly” fear is that I don’t want the show to be all about “black” jokes.   With M&M, I didn’t want the show to be all about “fat jokes.”  Initially it was and then it toned down and went to everyday comedy with the fat jokes coming every once in a while.   The pilot of Black-ish was very heavy-handed with the jokes about fried fried chicken being too black for Rainbow (who is mixed race) and “if I’m not black enough can someone tell my hair and my ass.”   That’s all well and good but I hope they tone it down and it’s more background humor than the front and center humor.  I know that’s kind of the premise of the show but I think that humor can still be part of the show maybe not just every joke….like M&M was with the fat jokes.  It gets old after a while.  And I think this cast deserves to be more than one trick ponies because they’re pretty fantastic.

I enjoyed Black-ish and will continue to watch.   Not only because I find the show incredibly interesting but it’s also really, really funny!

DVRs: 3+

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SERIES PREMIERE RECAP & REVIEW: Gotham “Pilot” S1 E1

We are a little superhero crazy right now.   Last year we had Arrow (in its second season) and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (first season.)    This year we have four more coming…The Flash, Constantine, iZombie, and now Gotham.  Is it too much?   I guess we’ll have to see.  Like anything, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.    We really didn’t need 3 different CSIs, 3 different NCISs, 2 Criminal Minds,10 different reality talent competitions, etc.   So will the comic/superhero genre be too much?    We’ll see.  In my opinion as long as they are good shows, it makes so difference to me.   And I would argue Gotham isn’t in the same realm as the other comic book shows.    Gotham is an origin story.  This is not a Batman story, in the present form as we know Batman.   In fact, Bruno Heller (the man behind The Mentalist and others) has already come out and said, we not see the Caped Crusader.   That makes me happy.  There are so many movies about Batman, I don’t need a TV show about him….unless it’s different.   Gotham is different.

As I said before, Gotham is an origin story.   What does that mean?   It means we get to see characters we are familiar with (and some we don’t) before we really knew them.   A prequel if you will.  But this isn’t the story of how Batman becomes Batman.  At least not directly.    This is the story of the man who helped define the future Bruce Wayne and the city that Batman fiercely protects.  In a way, Gotham is very much the central character of the show the way New York City was for Sex and the City.   But Gotham’s central protagonist is rookie Detective Jim Gordon (future Commissioner James Gordon) played by Ben Mackenzie who’s first real crime to solve is the murder of Tom and Martha Wayne, parents of Bruce Wayne (our future Batman.)  The Waynes are the wealthiest family in Gotham (so I’m not sure why they were walking down a dark alley at night but that’s another story.)   So when Gordon and his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) are sent to the crime scene, Bullock wants no part of it.   Gordon goes over to talk to Bruce, who witnesses the crime, and connects with him instantly.  Scenes like this are why I love origin stories so much.   You know how this relationship eventually evolves and what their relationship is in the Batman world as we know it today.  But we’ve never seen how it all started.  We were told, but hearing it and seeing it are so different.   It’s a great look into the history of this friendship.   Gordon opens up to Bruce to let him know he knows what he’s going through because of the death of his father at a young age.   He promises him he’ll find out who did this and bring them to justice.   We are introduced to a plethora of characters throughout the pilot most of whom we already know…..Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman (Camren Bicondovra), Oswald Cobblepot AKA The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Edward Nygma AKA The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Ivy Pepper AKA Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), Barbara Kean AKA Mrs Barbara Gordon (Erin Richards), and is it possible the stand up comedian at Mooney’s establishment is the man we will come to know as The Joker?   Maybe not.   But Mooney spent a little too much time (as did the camera) paying attention to the stand up.   If he was just background for her scene with Cobblepot, why bother giving him so much screen time?   Just something to think about.  While I love seeing all the people as their original selves vs. their pseudonyms did we really need to meet EVERYONE in the pilot.    Couldn’t we have saved some for later?   Just seemed as if the show runners were trying to pack 10 pounds of poop into a 5 pound bag.

With all the characters we met that we have some familiarity with, two of the most interesting to me was the one who I knew nothing about and who was brand new….Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith.)   Maybe it was the way Smith was playing her but I found her to be sinister, hard ass, a bit terrifying, and incredibly enjoyable.   Mooney is one of the big crime lords in Gotham and is fortunate enough to have some of the cops (like Gordon’s partner) in her pocket for protection.   But when Mooney thinks Gordon and Bullock didn’t fall in line with her way of doing business, she had them scheduled to be killed.   Not to mention, when she finds out the Cobblepot snitched on her, she comes down on him with a violent fury, just short of killing him.     Don’t pee in her Cheerios.  But someone even scarier with stronger, more powerful ties in Gotham saves their lives.    That man is Carmen Falcone, head of the Gotham City mob with a connection to Gordon’s father.   We learn that Falcone and Gordon’s father (the former DA of Gotham) were actually friends.   I wonder how much of that is actually true vs. Falcone’s interpretation of their arrangement.  But this scene (among others) is where we learn why Jim Gordon will have a rough go in Gotham and why the Caped Crusader is eventually needed.  Falcone has everyone in his payroll….cops, lawyers, politicians, you name it.   Falcone runs the city.  In his own twisted way, he loves the city and vows to protect it at all costs.   Protect it from whom?    I would say from naive, doe eyed cops who want to “clean up” the city from crime and corruption.   “You can’t have organized crime without law and order.  I love this city and I see it going to hell.   I won’t let it go without a fight” Falcone informs Gordon.  In Falcone’s mind, the cops are a necessary part of his business model.  However, he expects those cops to fall in line with HIS sense of order and justice.   Falcone being as smart as he is realizes that Gordon is a good man, like his dad.  He’s honorable, a straight shooter, and someone who will do the right thing.   So in order to keep him in line, he orders him (through Bullock) to kill Cobblepot.  It’s an incredible scene watching Gordon walk Cobblepot to the end of the pier while Cobblepot pleads for his life.   And just before Gordon pulls the trigger he tells him “don’t ever come back to Gotham.”  He shoots and dumps him in the water.  Now, Gordon doesn’t actually shoot him ( you can’t kill The Penguin in the pilot) but from Bullock’s vantage point, Gordon did what Falcone wanted.   In the end, Gordon goes to Wayne Manor to see Master Bruce (Alfred of course is with him) to let him know that the man arrested for his parents’ murder wasn’t the right man.   That person is still at large and Gordon intends to find him.   But the key is Bruce keeping quite about what he knows in order for him to do that.  Bruce agrees.   You can already begin to see a transformation in Bruce from the scared, crying child, to the methodical, vigilante he will become.

While a lot happened in this episode, the big thing that stood out to me was how well cast this show is.  Mackenie is perfectly cast as Gordon.   He has the rugged toughness you need to be a top cop in a tough town but he also has the righteous, superior aura that certainly divides the good guys from the bad and highlights the ones in the middle, like Bullock.   But how long can he hold onto these high ground morals while trying to clean up the city from the inside of a department wrought with corruption and fear?   Will it break him?   You have to think no because we know he does become the Commissioner.   But just because he rises through the ranks, doesn’t mean he hasn’t had to change who he is to some degree for the greater good.   So I’m looking forward to seeing that evolution over the course of the series.   Another standout from the show was Robin Lord Taylor as Cobblepot/The Penguin.  He was brilliant.   He was pathetic and creepy and sad and murderous.  You watched him transform from a weak, desperate to be accepted henchman for Fish Mooney to disgraced outcast with an ax to grind against all who wronged him.   When you have a show based on a hugely popular comic story and as well a massively successful movie collection over the course of many years, people can have preconceived notions of how characters should look, sound, and act.  I try very hard not to have those when I go into a show like this and for the most part it’s easy because everyone is so much younger in Gotham from when we come to know them in Batman.  But for characters like The Penguin, The Riddler, possibly The Joker who are old enough to still have early insights into the characters they will become, that we already know, I think it’s much harder for those actors vs. Selina Kyle who is really just a baby at this point.  Taylor pulls it off superbly.  Logue’s Bullock will be the one to watch for me in the sense that I’m not sure what to make of him.   He can easily come across as the prototypical disgruntled veteran cop who hates everyone and life in general.  I don’t think that’s the case here.   You see signs of him where he may have been very much like Gordon when he started out.  But because of certain situations and possibly life altering decisions he’s had to make, he’s become the shades of grey cop who has been sucked into the corruption way of life more so as a means of preservation rather than conscious choice.   It’s probably why Gordon angers and frustrates him because he sees himself in him.   Someone who once wanted the same things Gordon did but wasn’t strong enough to see it through.  He probably sees Gordon as some who has the stones to fight the good fight and I think that makes him proud yet thoroughly embittered at the same time.   Maybe none of that is true and I’m looking for a deeper meaning that isn’t there (wouldn’t be the first time.)

Having said all that, in the simplest of terms, Gotham is a cop procedural with a cast of characters we are well aware of.   I really don’t think of this as a superhero show the way I do Arrow or probably will when I watch The Flash.  This is a cop show…like Castle.  Except instead of a precinct and villains we don’t know, Gotham has a precinct and villains we mostly do know.  However, we don’t know them in these current forms.  We know what they become.  The fun part will be watching how they get there!

DVRs: 4

 

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SERIES PREMIERE RECAP & REVIEW: Madam Secretary “Pilot” S1 E1

CBS’s opening night of the new TV season kicked off with a bang with the series premiere of Madam Secretary (MS) and the return of The Good Wife (TGW.)    I’m just going to throw this out as a suggestion CBS.   Instead of saying Madam Secretary starts at 8pm and TGW starts at 9pm and then the DVR sets it up for 8:30 and 9:30 and then CBS puts up the ticker at the bottom saying they are starting at 9:04 and 10:04 respectively, how about we do this instead.  When the NFL games on CBS are over, run a quick post game show on CBS.   Run it until 8pm.   Maybe it’s 45 minutes, maybe it’s 15 minutes.   Just run it and then start 60 minutes at 8pm, MS at 9pm, and TGW at 10pm.   It’s pretty simple.  That way, you aren’t messing with people’s shows or DVRs.   I’m just suggesting…and I think it’s a good one.   But even though I had to wait over an hour for the premiere of MS, it was well worth the wait.

Madam Secretary showcases the return of Tea Leoni to TV as Dr. Elizabeth (Bess) McCord, a former CIA analyst and current professor at the University of Virginia.  When the current Secretary of State’s plane goes down and is killed, McCord’s former boss at the CIA (and current President of the United States, played by Keith Carradine) visits her at her home and offers her the position.   POTUS trusts McCord because he hired her and trained her so he knows how she thinks and she won’t be anchored down by the politics of Washington.   She has no political aspirations so she’ll just come in and do the job while bringing a different viewpoint to attack situations.   Hence we get our first ridiculously cheesy line of the series….”You don’t just think outside the box.   You don’t even know there is a box.”   Oh boy.  Alright I can forgive that one.   But let’s keep the eye rolling clichés to a minimum ok?

Two months later, the McCord family, including husband and fellow university professor Henry (Tim Daly) and her two children (there is a 3rd in college who we’ll see in episode 2) move to D.C. and McCord works to insert her “non political” self into a very political world.    Many current White House personnel aren’t so happy to see her including White House Chief of Staff Russell Jackson (the ubiquitous Zeljko Ivanek) and McCord’s Chief of Staff Nadine Tolliver (the brilliant Bebe Neuwirth.)   Not sure why there is tension between Tolliver and McCord out of the gate but I guess we’ll learn more about that later.   It appears though, the real tension over the course of the series will be between Jackson and McCord.  He’s obviously the Chief of Staff because he’s good at his job and there is a trust factor with the POTUS.  Or, maybe there is something more sinister there, a little Frank Underwood/Doug Stamper-ish.    But more on that later.   In addition to Tolliver, McCord has her personal aide Blake (Erich Bergen) and communications team Matt (Geoffrey Arned), Daisy (Patina Miller), and Jay (Sebastian Arcelus.)

Her first major crisis is the rescue mission of two teenaged boys who accidentally crossed over from Turkey into Syria and are about to be executed by the Syrian government.  Already you see McCord wanting to handle the situation one way with Jackson wanting to handle another.   I’m not sure if it’s because he believes his way is the right way to handle or because he wants to send a message to the SoS that he’s the final decision maker in these matters, not her.   Based on a conversation that happens later in the episode in the oval office, I wouldn’t put it pass Jackson to have some collateral damage as a result of making his point to McCord and sleeping just fine about it.  Until we learn more about him, it’s too soon to prognosticate.   They go with Jackson’s idea and it fails.   So McCord enlists a gentlemen she has connections with to go in through back channels to get the kids out.  It works and the kids are brought home safe and sound.   Before she pulls this trigger, she goes around Jackson right to the President to lay out her plan (only giving him as much information as he needs to give the go ahead) and he tells her that she better be right or she’ll be fired.   At the end of the episode, she receives a visit from Jackson obviously aware she went around him to secure the rescue of the kids and he isn’t happy.   He “forgives” her but he warns her that he only forgives once and that he isn’t the type of enemy she wants to make.   “I make a better ally than opponent” he warns her.  “Same here” she suggests right back.

As McCord is getting up and running, one of her former CIA colleagues comes to her house to discuss what happened to the former Secretary of State, Vincent Marsh.   George finds out Marsh was laundering drug money in off shore accounts and was by all accounts a pretty shady, bad guy.   However, what scares George is that the plane crash was an orchestrated attack on Marsh, not an accident and that the directive came from inside the White House.   McCord isn’t sure what to make of this little revelation and George leaves.    It’s almost a forgotten about conversation until after the King of Swaziland dinner, McCord goes back to her office to find Henry there.  He informs her that George was killed in a one car wreck where his car ran into a tree.   Immediately, Elizabeth knows this isn’t an accident and I think she’ll start taking what George said more to heart.   What does all this mean?   Someone inside the White House isn’t playing nicely with others.

The reason why this show works for me right away, is that this isn’t a “case/disaster of the week” show.  Sure there are going to be situations McCord and her team will be dealing with, otherwise what’s the point.   But it works because this show highlights a strong, intelligent woman who is managing an intense department in a highly political environment while she, herself, is the furthest person from rank and file.   You also get to see the self-conscious side of McCord where she questions if she’s doing right by the people in her life, both professionally and personally.   So many times in shows like this, the strong, sharp woman is a bitch on wheels with no care for anyone or anything.  But not McCord (or her Sunday night partner Alicia Florrick.)   McCord is very respectful of her husband’s career and her children’s well-being.   She realizes the sacrifices they are making for her to take on this responsibility.  I respect that.   It would be very easy to highlight McCord’s “fierceness” by blowing off her family’s concerns and basically rank her situation ahead of theirs.  But she never does that.  The writers and Leoni do an excellent job of showing how tough McCord can be without making her unreasonable or cold.   You also see this in her work life where she needs to stand up to people in a much higher rank than her and she’s trying very hard to be respectful of those circumstances yet convey her beliefs in a firm and unyielding manner.  I like that while there is no doubt of McCord’s intelligence and self-confidence, she also is apprehensive and vigilant at times when she isn’t quite sure when to hold back and when to push.    It shows a vulnerability that many women like McCord face.    Just because you’re the best at your job or you excel at each responsibility you undertake, doesn’t mean there aren’t times when you don’t question yourself and your decisions.   Especially when making life and death decisions!   The interesting part for me is how long McCord will be able to hold onto her morals and her vision on how the position should run in an environment where so many things are out of her control and there could possibly be people specifically plotting against her demise.   Speaking of which….

Conspiracy time!!!   Let’s start with a baby conspiracy item first.  I don’t think Henry is the loving husband we are being led to believe.   Do I believe he loves his wife and family?  Yes.   Do I think he maybe doing something (or someone ) else on the side?  Yes.   I think the scene where Elizabeth goes to see him in the library talking to a bunch of students is very telling.   Henry is holding court and one of the female students is taking special exception to Mr. McCord…in the creepy context of a jealous girlfriend when his wife shows up.   Why show what should be a pretty innocuous scene?   Because I think this is going to lay the ground work of McCord being so wrapped up in her work that she isn’t seeing what right in front of her and that is her husband’s affair.   And maybe it’s not one affair but many.    Maybe I’m reading too much into it but I don’t think you show the jealous student for no reason.   The second, more larger conspiracy…I think POTUS will end up being the Frank Underwood of the show.    I wouldn’t be surprised if he was behind the murder of Marsh and puts McCord in the role because he thinks he can control her and because of her lack of political ambitions.  The only reason why I can’t call this a stone cold lead pipe lock is because POTUS knows how smart McCord is.   He also knows that because of her lack of political ambition, there is nothing to hold over her should she start figuring things out.   So why would he put someone as sharp as she is, who could potentially figure out what’s going on, in this role?   It could backfire hugely for him.    So I haven’t quite figured that out yet.   Right now, we’re being led to believe Jackson is the man we have to watch out for.   And you know what, I felt that way about Cyrus Beene and it turns out that yes, in fact, he is a monster.    But I’m not sure Jackson will be the boil on the butt of the White House.  I think it’s too obvious.  He could be the red herring with POTUS being the “Keyser Soze.”

What did you think?   Are you all in on Madam Secretary?  I am.   This cast is stellar, the story has promise and has tons of room to go in many directions, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to The Good Wife on Sundays.   Because the story can go in many directions, I hope it doesn’t spiral out of control.  But since this is from Barbara Hall, who is the same person who brought us the amazing Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia, I am willing to be patient and see where this goes.  Will you continue watching with me?

DVRS: 5

 
 

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SEASON FINALE REVIEW: True Detective “Form and Void” S1 E8

WOW.   What a season.    This show brought story telling and acting to a whole new level and the finale certainly didn’t disappoint.   I know there were so many wild and crazy theories out there about how this was all going to go down.   Ultimately, I didn’t care.   And I don’t say that in a dismissive sense.  I say it in a respectful sense.   Nic Pizzolatto has told such a glorious story from start to finish that I wasn’t concerned with where it was going because I trusted that it would end as it should….and it did.

With so many people speculating as to who the Yellow King was and how all this tied together, it’s easy to get caught up in the prognosticating.  But in my humble opinion, the point of the narrative is lost if people only focus on the “who done it.”   This show is not Criminal Minds or CSI or even Castle.  It’s not about solving who’s the killer at the end of the arc.  It’s not about trying to put the pieces together to figure it out.    It’s about the story of these two dark, broken men who are solving this crime and how this case has impacted their lives and their journey together as partners and eventually, friends.   Now don’t get me wrong, I still wanted to know who the damn Yellow King was and why/how this all happened.   But I wasn’t as curious about that as I was to see how the resolution impacted Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey.)   I wanted, more than anything, for this story line to come to a resolution for their characters.   To wrap up their characters’ arcs.    See, when you look at this show, they could have been anything….truck drivers, CPAs, tennis pros, salesmen…it didn’t matter.  Whatever their profession, the story revolved around how these two men came to be both as individuals and as partners.   It just so happened that they were detectives solving a crime that personally connected with both of them (for different reasons) and that was the catalyst to help them work through their inner demons and move away from the darkness and towards the light.   And they needed each other to do it.

Marty’s biggest issue was trying to be, in the most benign of descriptions, “the man.”  Both at work and at home, Marty wanted to be everything to everyone.   Master of his domain.    And the harder he tried, the more he went in the opposite direction…whether by his own doing or as the result of someone else’s decisions.   At work, he was the guy everyone liked, but maybe not always respected.   When he partnered with Cohle he wasn’t happy about it but to appease him, he was told he was the lead, the point man for all cases.   Eventually, after several years, that really just became a title with no meaning behind it because everyone knew that Cohle was the one solving the crimes, getting the confections, making the arrests.   Marty was just the paperwork pusher.  Instead of being the lead dog, he was the ultimate  lap dog.  Reduced to nothing more than administrative assistant to Cohle.   At home, his daughters couldn’t stand him and didn’t want to be around him and his wife (because of her own frustrations at being married to a man with such little inner strength) could be quite the ball crusher when she saw Marty asking and speaking in ways that were less than authoritative.   He could be meek and timid and that frustrated her.   Marty’s solution?    Start banging all these younger versions of his wife to make himself feel like a man again.   In the end, albeit way too late, Marty realized that he pushed away the one woman he really loved, destroyed his relationship with his daughters, and is now left with nothing.   Or is he?

Rust is the complete opposite of Marty.   He never cared about being “the man.”    All he cared about was justice.  No one liked Rust.  No one understood Rust (no one cared to.)  And Rust didn’t care.  He was on a mission…to seek justice for Dora Lange and the other young children who were kidnapped, raped, and murdered.   And he could go after these thugs with reckless abandon because he doesn’t care if he loses his life in the battle for truth.   It was that way when he was undercover (and probably why he stayed as long as he did), it was that way when he went undercover again with the Iron Crusaders, and it was that way last night when he went after Eroll Childress.   Why did he value his life so little?   Because that meant he would be closer to his daughter.   If he dies, he’s back where he belongs…with her.   I think that’s why Rust was moving around like a breathing corpse because nothing mattered without his little girl and her mom.  His soul and spirit died the same day his daughter did.  And even though it’s pretty much assumed that’s why Rust is the way he is, you never really understand his level of grief and pain until last night when the walls come down and the vulnerability shines through and we get our first look at the real Rust Cohle.

The best part of watching this season, was watching the partnership/relationship of Marty and Rust evolve into what it became…friendship.   These were two men who really didn’t like each other.   Actually, I would say Marty didn’t like Rust.   Rust’s feelings were buried so deep I don’t think he felt anything.   I think it would be fair to say that these were two men who didn’t understand one another.   But over the course of the season, as each man grew to know the other better (whether they wanted to or not), an understanding developed.   Eventually, that understanding grew to kinship.  Because at the end of the day, all they have is each other.   They came to learn that the only people who really understood them, were each other.   These were two dark, broken men.   Whether they were broken at someone else’s hand or their own, their inner selves were destroyed in such a way, it was no wonder they couldn’t have a normal life.   Marty and Rust both suffered losses.   Rust lost his daughter to God and his wife to grief while Marty lost his daughters and wife due to negligence and self loathing.    Either way, their families were gone.    What was left?   A lot of shattered pieces to be picked up and put back together and inadvertently and painfully, that what Rust and Marty did for each other.  Now they needed to shatter those pieces just a little bit more (with Rust sleeping with Maggie) and those pieces were left there for a long time before someone picked them up.  But this case brought them back together and as mad as Marty was and as guilt ridden as Rust was, they teamed up to finished what they started.   Years later, even when Marty was forgiving Rust, in his own way, Rust wouldn’t have it.  He would let Marty let him off the hook.   Hell we knew Rust hadn’t let himself off the hook because he never fixed his tail light that broke when they fought in the parking lot.  It was his reminder of his weakness and betrayal.  And I think that’s how Marty was able to start to forgive him.   But once they had their man and they went after him to finally get the justice those victims deserved, you really see how these men grew to trust, respect, and care for each other.    When Cohle was being gutted by Childress, Marty came in to stop it and save him.  Then when he turned his attention to Marty (after throwing an ax into his chest) Cohle mustered up all his strength to kill Childress.   Then Marty crawls over to Rust and holds him in his lap until help arrives.  He never leaves his partner’s side.    Even in the hospital after he wakes up and Rust is banged up but ok, Marty is still by his side.   And even though Rust doesn’t show it to Marty, after he kicks him out with his one finger salute asking him to never change, a smile comes over his face.  The kind of smile you get when your friend has made you laugh over something that should be painful.  That comfortable acknowledgement that no matter what, they are there for you.   That satisfying feeling that you have someone in your corner.   It’s confirmed even more so at the end of the show when both men are outside and Marty gives Cohle a present (his Camels) and then rolls him away to enjoy them.   We see Rust, not just break down his wall, but throw grenades and set off bombs to bring it down.  After everything they’ve been through, he lets Marty inside.  He beautifully and tearfully gives Marty what Marty has wanted since the day he met Cohle…and understanding behind the psyche of a disturbed man.  And boy does he paint a clear picture.  You see it in Marty’s face as he watches him explain how he never felt like he should be here because with each dangerous scenario he put himself in, it was one step closer to reuniting with his little girl.  Because at the end of the day, Rust wants happiness and peace.  And in his mind, for the longest time, only death could bring that because he would be with his daughter again.   But as Marty explains to him that while there is much darkness out there, there is also great light, he lets Rust know that he can find the inner peace he so desperately seeks if he focuses more on the light than the dark.   For the first time, since probably his daughter passed away, Rust believes him.    As such, he makes Marty take him away and arm and arm they go off into the darkness to seek their light….with one another.

What did you think of last night’s finale and the season overall?    Will you be back next year because I sure will!   And who would you like to see as the two main leads next year?    Let me hear from you!

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: Parenthood “The Enchanting Mr. Knight” S5 E16

There are very few episodes of Parenthood that I can say annoy the crap out of me.   In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever thought that about Parenthood.   But last night’s episode had me spitting nails.   Decisions that were made, conversations that were had…..UGH.   So much bad in 42 minutes.    Let’s start with what got my blood boiling the most shall we?

Crosby and Camille

Words cannot describe how much I wanted to punch Crosby in the face between last week’s episode and this week’s episode.    At one point, I was listening to his incessant rambling with my mouth agape.     I couldn’t believe the things he was saying.   Who the hell do you think you are Crosby?   Yes you grew up there but it’s not your home, it’s your parent’s home.   I mean of course your childhood home is your home when you’re a kid and you live there.   But guess what?   When you’re married and have a family and have your own home, it’s not your home anymore.   And unless you’ve paid a penny towards the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc on the home, IT”S NOT YOUR PLACE TO SAY ANYTHING!!!   How DARE he get in the middle of this.   This is the Crosby I thought we sort of grew away from…the selfish, nosy, screwed up, self-centered jerk that thought the world revolved around him and every decision made in the world needs to be made in a way that makes him happy and his life easier.    Well he is back.

First he goes to Zeek to tell him that he knows he doesn’t want to sell the house and asks why he’s letting mom push him into something he doesn’t want.    And after Zeek very directly and beautifully tells him that it’s because after all his mother has done for this family, she deserves to have something she wants.   She wants to travel and if that means selling house to make her happy, Zeek is going to do it because she means more to him that anything else.    Then, since apparently that wasn’t good enough for Crosby, he goes to his mother and whines like a 7-year-old about selling his childhood home.  Notice he never talks about his siblings….it’s HIS home and HIS room.   By the way, since when do grown children say to their parents “when were you going to paint my room without telling me?”  I’m sorry Crosby, did you leave your wife and children and move back with your mom and dad and become 12 again?  As Camille reminded him, it hasn’t been his room in years.    And then the granddaddy asshole comment of all, he tells Camille she is selfish for selling the house.    SELFISH!!   He told his mother she was selfish for wanting to sell HER house.   Is he for real?    He actually made that comment with a straight face?    Well after losing my voice screaming at my TV, Camille responded better than I ever could:

Selfish.   Ok let me put this into some perspective for you.  I spent over 30 years of my life taking care of four kids.  Some of whom are still living in my house and coming home for lunch.  And I spent most of my adult life, compromising myself and what I want for your father.  I’ve always put myself second.  Or third.  Or fourth.  Or fifth or sixth.   I have cooked your dinners.  I have packed your school lunches.  I have driven you to play dates and practice and done your laundry well past when I should have.   And now when I assert one thing that I want, one thing, you and your dad and everyone else can’t take it.   So.  If that’s selfish, excuse me.

ROUND OF APPLAUSE CAMILLE!!!!  I seriously stood up (actually I was already up screaming at Crosby through my TV) and starting clapping and crying.    Good for you Camille.   You put your ungrateful, inconsiderate, rude, SELFISH, son in his place.   The worst part about it, it didn’t sink in with Crosby at all.  I don’t think he really listened to Camille and he got a little too much joy out of listening to his parents fight about this when he’s the cause of their fighting and pain.   And for all the times over the years Jasmine has scolded Crosby and given him a hard time, NOW all she has to say is “I told you not to get involved.”  Really Jasmine?   That’s all you can muster up?   Unbelievable.

I sincerely hope this storyline does not go down the path of Crosby getting what he wants and the house doesn’t sell.   Or if it doesn’t sell, I hope Camille leaves Zeek and her ungrateful son behind and goes on an adventure of a lifetime and do something just for her….because she deserves it

Sarah, Carl, and Hank

I used to like Hank.  He was weird and quirky, but I liked him.  Which surprised me because I HATED Everybody Love Raymond.   I found the show and Ray Romano, very unfunny.   But on Parenthood, I really liked his character and how Romano brought this character to life.    But this season, since they seem to be going down the “Hank Has Asberger’s” story line , it seems as thought Hank’s behavior has reached a new level of annoying.   Sure he was odd before but it was charming and sweet.   Now, he’s just a dick.   And I’m not sure if the Aspie suggested diagnosis is supposed to make us accept his rude/bad behavior or if his behavior is getting worse and we’re going to use an Aspie diagnosis to hopefully make people more understanding of Hank.  I know I’m saying the same thing but I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m not sure which came first….the new ugly Hank or the Aspie story line.   And with all due respect, I’m great with one Asberger’s story line because I find it fascinating, I don’t need another.

This was another story that had me screaming at my TV.   Sarah was going to go away with AMAZING Carl to Zimbabwe, a once in a lifetime trip, and decided not to go after a nasty confrontation with Hank.   Her reason for not going….it’s the year of Sarah.   Really?   Year of Sarah huh?    So if it’s the year of Sarah, why did you let a man make your decision for you?    Isn’t the reason you’re now staying the exact reason Hank yelled at you for going in the first place….a man was distracting you and dictating your decisions?    Because when she decided to go to Africa, that was HER decision.  But her decision to stay was based off of being bullied by a man.   How exactly does that conform with her idea that it’s the year of Sarah?    Also it’s the YEAR of Sarah.  Not one week in the year if Sarah.    What is going to Africa with an amazing, smart, philanthropic, sweet stud  have to do with it not being the year of Sarah?  Is Sarah not allowed to go away during that year?   Can she not have fun?  Can she not have an outstanding experience both personally and professionally?   Because those seem to be the types of things you’d want to do in a year for yourself.   Am I wrong?    So instead, she’s going to let Hank bully and berate her into feeling bad about herself to stay because he’s jealous she’s going away with Carl.    Because let’s be honest.  Hank doesn’t care about Sarah being true to herself.    He cares that Sarah is going away with another man other than him.    Because if Sarah was going to Africa with Hank, I’m sure there would not have been a problem.   While Carl has always seemed to have Sarah’s best interests at heart, Hank only cares about himself.  Which is why I hope we haven’t seen the last of Carl because he’s a really good guy and I think he’s great for Sarah and I hope Hank goes back to wherever his daughter is and leaves the show.   Jason Katims, DO NOT put Sarah and Hank back together.    Carl was good for her.   For someone who always struggled to find herself and make her way in the world, Carl not only gave her support but self confidence, strength, and belief.  I don’t think you could have found a better guy for Sarah.   But what do I know.

Julia, Joel, and Ed

Oh Julia.  What are you doing girlfriend?   I know this is a brutal time for you.   But why, WHY would you go to Ed’s house…wait back up.  Why would you make Ed dinner, THEN bring it to his house, then decide that it’s an even better idea to stay and have dinner with him!    Seriously woman?   What are you thinking!   I have no problem with what Julia said to Ed at the sustainability garden (which was basically back off because you’re no good for me.)   And I can understand her back being up when Ed shows up at her home unannounced and uninvited to want to talk.   Ok Ed, what do you want to talk about with the woman you kissed and assisted in putting her marriage on the hot seat?   What made him think that was a good idea?    Just because Joel moved out, doesn’t mean he might not be at the house because of the kids.   Wow, talk about really dumb or really inconsiderate.

But in fairness to Ed, Julia was out of line in her verbal beat down.   Granted, she was probably pretty peeved he just showed up without warning, but that doesn’t mean her comments were accurate.   Her tone, however, was completely understandable.   While Ed kissing Julia (and Julia kissing him back) certainly didn’t make Joel more secure about his marriage, it was far from being solely his fault the marriage is on the rocks.   Ed was right to tell Julia to dig deeper to find the real reason her marriage is in trouble.   Eventually, our little Julia does realize he’s correct.   But you know what?   THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU MAKE HIM CHICKEN MARSALA AND BRING IT TO HIS HOUSE AND EAT IT WITH HIM!!    I mean was Katims just handing out stupid pills this week?   Sheesh.

I want my J&J back together.   They are both at fault and they both need to suck it up and work it out.  I know Julia wants to try but Joel needs to pipe down already, move back in, and work on his damn marriage.

Drew and Natalie

First things first.  Drew.  We need an intervention.  For your hair.  Have you never heard of scissors?   A barber?   A flowbee?   Get that mess under control.   You are an attractive young man but we wouldn’t know it because we can’t see your face behind your out of control Beiber.

Now, it’s time you kick Natalie to the curb.   You almost did last night.   You did put her in her place and tell her what I have been yelling about for weeks….you can’t have it both ways!   A little history.   Natalie and Drew connect at first and they’re hooking up and hanging out so obviously (because Drew’s adorable) Drew wants to give her his pin and go steady.   But Natalie, being a current woman of the 2010s, tells Drew to go pound sand.   They can be friends with benefits but nothing more.  After Drew tells her the benefit part has to come with something more, she says they can only be the friend part.   Ok, no problem.   So then why is Natalie going all Glenn Close/Alex Forrest on Drew?  As he reminded her last night, you’re the one who wanted to be just friends and now that Drew is trying to be just that, she disses him.     What is with people in this episode?

Like with Ed, I have to be fair to Natalie.  I didn’t like the way she treated Amy.   She has no right to be bitchy and dismissive when you’re the one who told Drew you’re just friends.   So because he’s not pining away for you, he’s the jerk?    Whatever.  But where Natalie was right was in telling Drew that when Amy’s stay was getting to Jennifer Jason Leigh levels, it was time to do something.   Drew wasn’t living his college life.  He wasn’t doing anything and experiencing things, both socially and scholastically.   He was missing out because Amy was going through a hard time.   And while it’s noble of Drew to want to be there for her and help her, he’s hurting himself and Amy by letting it go on as long as he had.    Time to cut the apron strings.   Couldn’t agree with Natalie more.   But where Natalie is wrong is making Drew feel bad for being exactly what she told him to be…a friend.  If you like him, speak up woman!   If you don’t, then shut your pie hole.   Either way, make a decision and stick with it because right now, you bug the crap out of me.

Adam and Kristina

I really have nothing to say on this front other than, I love them.   Best couple on the show.   Love the school they are trying to build and I hope it works out for them.   Oh and SUCK IT CANCER!!   You’re not going near my girl again!

That was a lot of anger for a Parenthood post wasn’t it?    Wow.  That’s so not like me.  Except for Crosby.  He usually brings out the worst in me even though he hasn’t lately.   So I guess he was due for a whopper.   And I get so frustrated because I’m an idiot and have a tendency to forget these aren’t real people.   But that’s why I love the show.  Katims, the writers, the actors…amazing.  I feel like I’m watching a real life family so when things happen I tend to react, strongly.   I’m uber attached to this family the way Max is attached to bugs and photography.   But I need everyone to wake up and get back on track.  No more calling your mom selfish or not going on sex trips with hot guys or having dinner with men you shouldn’t.   Let’s pick up the pace Bravermans.   I have big expectations as the season comes to an end!!!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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POST SUPER BOWL REVIEWS: New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I really enjoy both of these shows.  I’m still beaming over the fact that B99 won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy!    These post Super Bowl shows are always so hyped up although this year, other than New Girl (which was truly the post SB spot) showcasing that Prince was going to be on, it wasn’t as pumped up as in year’s past.   Maybe the people at FOX knew how bad the game was going to be.   But it appears both had pretty decent ratings and while I really enjoyed New Girl, I was a little disappointed in B99.   Not because it was a bad episode (it wasn’t) but I was hoping for something bigger.

New Girl has been having an up and down season in my opinion.   I’m still torn on whether or not I like having Coach back.  I always felt like the show wasn’t quite sure what to do with Winston but that they were just starting to develop his character a little bit more.  Then Coach came back (since Happy Endings was canceled).   Now I feel like it’s worse.  They don’t seem to know what to do with Coach and Winston.  The funny thing is, Lamorne Morris (Winston) was originally in the running to play Coach and I believe would have been cast had it not been for other commitments and the fact that Damon Waynes Jr. raised his hand for the pilot believing his show “Happy Endings” would be canceled.   So the show runners went with Waynes.  But Morris’ other project fell through and “Happy Endings” was surprisingly renewed so Waynes went back to HE and Morris was brought back as a new character.  Then HE was finally canceled and New Girl brought Coach back.   Now, I think, we have a problem.  It’s as if the show wants to respect the fact that Morris/Winston has been with the show from the beginning and therefore doesn’t want to cut the character but they have their original man (Waynes) and character (Coach) back and don’t want to let that go either.  So what do they do?  Well, up until last night, neither has really done a whole lot of anything.   That’s why seeing them work together to try to get into the Prince party (and it worked) and also trying to score with some Vicky Secret models was hilarious.  I WANT MORE OF THIS!!!   I want more Coach and Winston together.  I’ve always felt like Nick and Schmidt were friends and Winston was there as their punching bag.  Kind of how I felt watching Friends, where Rachel and Monica were friends and Phoebe was just there to be strange.  To me, Jess and Winston were better friends than he was with any of the other guys.  And we haven’t had a chance to see Winston and Coach really do stuff just the two of them until last night….and I loved it!!  I certainly don’t want the show to segment Nick and Schmidt as friends and Winston and Coach as friends.  I want all four of them interacting together and mixing it up.   But I have to say, I thought Morris and Waynes worked so well off of one another, I would like to see that friendship explored more.

As for the other parts of this episode….Loved It!!  Nick tells Jess for the first time that he loves her…and not in a planned way…in a very matter of fact way.   Like when you tell someone who’s about to go out driving in the snow to be careful and safe.  And Jess’ reaction, double finger gun action!!!  Priceless.   The reaction of the guys, with them wanting to die for Nick at her lack of “I love you too” and Jess freaking out in the car with CeCe over realizing she gave Nick a finger gun response at the first time he tells her he loves her was so incredible I couldn’t stop laughing and wanting to run through my TV and hug Nick.   So what do they do?   The men put on their best suits (Schmidt’s suit was, of course, $2,000 while Winston’s came with free socks clipped to the lapel) and go to the party at Prince’s house so Nick can’t recant his I Love You.

When they all meet up (including Schmidt who had to sneak in and declared how bad Prince must be at Frisbee because there were 10 in the bushes) Jess and Nick ask for some alone time so they discuss I-Love-You-Gate.  But their alone time was soon disrupted by, you guessed it, Prince.  Prince allows them ample time to react which proceeds with Jess freaking out and Nick screaming like an 8-year-old girl and then fainting.  Once awake, Prince asks for time with Jess and he takes her on an adventure that includes trying on clothes, playing ping-pong, admiring Prince’s pet butterfly, and learning to say “love” in a candlelit room.  It.  Was.  Awesome.   Eventually, Nick and Jess reconnect and screams to the whole room how she loves him and then they join Prince up on stage to sing one of his songs.   Such a great episode from top to bottom!   Which is why B99 disappointed me.

B99 has been one of my new favorite comedies (The Goldbergs is up there as well.)  I love the cast and the writing.    But this episode felt like just another episode that would air on a regular Tuesday night.   Nothing really felt special about it.  And maybe that was the point.    The show is so good, it doesn’t need a gimmick.  But for a show that’s been struggling to get ratings and viewers, this was a time you were going to get 10-15 million people to watch your show (14.8 million to be specific) where you normally average about 4-5 million.   I was hoping for a “wow” episode so that everyone would finally see the brilliance of this show.  And maybe that’s what is so unfair.   The episode itself was great.  But I feel part of what makes it great is because I have context from earlier episodes.  I know why Jake doesn’t want Amy to go to the Vultures of Major Crimes.   Because in the last new episode, we learned that Jake is starting to fall for Amy.  And yes, a new viewer can easily pick that up, but it doesn’t pack the same punch.   I know why Jake hates Dennis from 30 Rock.  And I know why the Captain is so set on making the office more efficient.  But without his back story, the plot could come across as really silly and forced.   As a regular follower of the show, I loved the episode.  But I’m thinking of those extra 10 million viewers the show got.  Did it grab new viewers with last night’s episode?    I think “The Bet” would have been a better post Super Bowl episode because it would have given you enough history and background on the characters to understand what was going on, it would have paid off a season long running bet between Amy and Jake (which would have been perfectly explained to new viewers), and it really would have showcased this crackpot group of characters and how well they work off of one another, so much better to a NEW audience.   Remember, I’m thinking about this in the scope of “how can we get more people to watch this show and will this post SB episode do the trick.”     I just think “The Bet” would have worked so much better than last night’s episode for a new set of viewers.

But even though I was hoping for a better post SB episode, I still love it.   Seeing Jake trying to get the confession out of the perp before the vulture takes over and enlisting all of the 99 to help stop the vulture was great.   The Serg and the Captain plotting to make sure the office is more efficient by putting Rosa near the bathroom to discourage bathroom breaks, giving Gina a mirror to preoccupy herself, and eliminating the Lost and Found box so Boyle wouldn’t steal anymore hideous clothes (although not before he steals the jacket worn by Cindy Mancini in “Can’t Buy Me Love.”)   Of course, the episode wasn’t complete without the cameos from Adam Sandler and Joe Theissman playing themselves at an antiquities auction where Jake proceeds to break Theissman’s other leg with gross sound effects (though mercifully not showing the break) and ripping Sandler for putting Kevin James in yet another one of his movies.     All in all it was another great B99 episode.   Just wish it had a little more oomph for the SB.

What were your thoughts on New Girl and B99.   Did they live up to the post SB hype?

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in FOX, Recaps and Reviews

 

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Catching Up With…Parenthood

It’s dumb to say that Parenthood is having a good season.  It ALWAYS has a good season.  But there are a few story lines that really hit home with me so I’m going to touch on the big ones.

Joel and Julia

This was the couple that historically was kind of on the back burner in regards to the Braverman crew.  There is always Sarah’s drama (and Amber and Drew have had lots of story lines.)  Crosby and Adam are always front and center.  Then there was Julia.  Granted last year they got more juicy material with them adopting Victor after trying to have another baby, Julia losing her job, Joel going back to work.   They were getting more into the Braverman story line flow.  But no matter what was going on with Joel and Julia, like Adam and Kristina, they were solid.   Then this season hit.   What was once the second strongest relationship on the show (behind Adam and Kristina) is now disintegrating before our eyes.

In the last two episodes, Joel has become more suspicious of Julia’s relationship with Ed.  It got ugly last week when Joel punched Ed at a school function because Julia was trying to calmly ask a very drunk Ed to leave her alone and he wouldn’t.  So Joel stepped in and not so calmly took care of it.  It led to a painful exchange where Joel asked Julia if they were having an affair and she said no.  Let’s discuss that for a minute.  Do you guys think what she had with Ed constituted as an affair?  I don’t and here’s why.  While I do believe you can have an affair that doesn’t have any physical component whatsoever, I don’t think that totally happened here.  Julia and Ed really started as just friends.  That’s all.  And becoming a good friend with someone of the opposite sex (or same-sex if you’re gay) does not automatically mean you are having an emotional affair.  Let’s clear that up.  But I do think that it was starting to cross a line and may have crossed (I’m taking before the kiss) that line but I think as soon as Julia started to realize what was going on, she stopped it.  Granted I wouldn’t have done it the way she did, going over to his house I think sends a confusing message, which resulted in a kiss, but I think her intention was to cut it off.  See to me, an affair is something you choose to do over a period of time even knowing what you are doing is wrong.  Whether it’s physical or not, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it doesn’t happen over night.  It’s a long process with two willing participants.  Are there jerks who cheat for no reason?  Sure there are.  But I think there is a difference between cheating and an affair.  Cheating is solely physical.  An affair is emotional, physical, spiritual…it’s a complex issue signifying a greater problem in an established relationship.  I know it may sound like semantics and for some people whether you call it cheating or an affair it’s the same thing and I understand that.  But for me, I think it’s two different things.  In this case the Julia/Ed thing hasn’t been going on that long.  They were just friends at first.  I don’t think it was until the last month that Julia felt something more.  And while she liked being around someone she could talk to and someone who understood exactly what she was going through, once it started to become more and that Joel was making an effort at home, she decided this had to stop.  I also think she was confused and alone and made some very bad judgement calls that I’m sure she’d like to take back.  But I don’t think I’d call it a full-blown affair.  I think it was a friendship that started to turn deeper because of her lack of connection at home as when it did, she ended it.   She should have ended it without a kiss but once that happened, she completely blocked Ed from her life.  And to be fair, she wasn’t completely honest with Joel when she said Ed kissed her and there was nothing back from her.  I don’t think so girlfriend!  You kissed Ed right back for a little while so don’t pretend it was all him.  But hey, at least she told Joel the truth in that the kiss happened.

Joel and Julia have had many gut wrenching scenes this year but her telling Joel about how unhappy she’s been and what happened between her and Ed and how the friendship evolved, was so sad.  But the worst was when she told him about the kiss.  You can tell this was killing her because she knew she was going to break her husband’s heart.  She looked like she was going to vomit all over the table and I was right with her because I knew what was coming.  It was awful.  And then to see Joel and how crushed he was and then how angry he was…it was devastating.  And I don’t blame him.  For the hurt he’s feeling, for the anger he has towards Julia, if I were in his shoes, I’d be the same way.  I can only imagine that nothing can prepare you for hearing your spouse tell you they kissed another person.   So what happens now?  Julia wants to go to counseling and Joel has said he’s done and that their marriage isn’t worth saving.   Ouch.  I really believe at this point he’s just so hurt and angry (and rightfully so) that he doesn’t want any part of Julia or their life together, except for the kids. I have to believe (or maybe it’s my wishful thinking) that they will work this out.  It won’t be this season for sure.  But maybe next season by the end, they are working their way back to one another and they’ll be stronger for it.  Fingers crossed!

I have to say, the way the writers have handled this is brilliant.  It’s not your typical cheating, soap opera story line.   This is how it goes down in the real world.  And in the real world, good couples and good people make bad choices and then have to deal with the consequences.  Some work through it with a lot of hard work and dedication and find a way to rebuild their marriage.  Others, it’s too painful and too hard because the trust is broken and they just can’t get it back.  So they have to move on.  And that happens.  I just hope in the case of J&J, the former happens instead of the latter.  But I’m scared because Katims seems to be the kind of guy that wants to take a hard road in a story line if it makes sense.  He hasn’t yet.  When Crosby and Jasmine had their issues and broke up, they got back together (ugh.)   When Kristina had cancer, she beat it and survived.  When Amber spiraled out of control, an accident happened but not too bad she couldn’t recover.  Nothing catastrophic has happened…yet.   So why do I have a bad feeling and J&J might be the first big casualty of Parenthood?  I hope I’m wrong but I just have a bad feeling.

Max

The story lines that focus on Max’s Aspberger’s Syndrome (AS) are so hard for me because I don’t have a family member or friend with that condition and the last thing I want to do is to come off ignorant or insensitive.   But I do want to discuss the handling of Max from Adam and Kristina’s standpoint.   But it’s hard because I can’t figure out if how Adam and Kristina are handling the situation with Max, is the correct way or not.  I understand that when Max does something awful (like he did with Micah) it’s because he doesn’t understand the emotional impact of his actions.  But his parents do.  Is trying to fix it with tickets to basketball game really the answer?  Isn’t it better (although harder) to explain to Max that when he is so honest, he can then hurt someone’s feelings or offend them greatly because not everyone sees things the way Max does.  And as a result, he could lose friends.  I mean I don’t want the boy to be afraid to try to make a friend again, but can he intelligently understand that point?  I don’t know.   I’ve tried to find some forums and blogs of parents with Aspie kids who may watch Parenthood to see what their take is.   Mostly I find that these parents hate the show and think that what Adam and Kristina are doing with Max is wrong.  That wasn’t always the case, there were some sites where people were very positive on the show and EVERYONE raves about Max Burkholder’s portrayal.  The big issue is Adam and Kristina and quite frankly, that’s always been my question.  Not being a parent I can only assume that parenting a child with AS is much different from parenting a neurotypical (NT) child (a child without a form of autism.)   But, if you’ve read any of my other posts on Max, Adam, and Kristina, I always question just how forgiving parents of Aspie’s should be when it comes to behavior.  Because I don’t know.  I watch the things Max does and says and I wonder how Adam and Kristina allow him to behave that way.   Some I understand he can’t control but does that give Max the right to behave however he chooses?   According to some of these sites I’ve read, it doesn’t.

In the case of last week with Micah, Max told him basketball was stupid and that Micah was an idiot for wanting to play because he’s in a wheelchair so he can’t play.  Adam’s resolution was ok then apologize and invite him to a basketball game and it will all be ok.  What?   Is he kidding?   I understand he wants to protect his son.  I understand he doesn’t want to see Max lose his only friend.  I get that.  But like Kristina told him, they can’t always clean up his problems for him.  At some point he has to realize there are consequences to his behavior and I don’t think Adam and Kristina have always taught him that.   Adam has to realize that Micah, who is a NT, isn’t going to be willing to forgive someone who was so rude and offensive to him and that bribing him with tickets to a Warriors game, isn’t going to cut it.   But instead of teaching Max this lesson, he tries to just make it go away.   How is this good for Max?   How is this going to set him up in the future to be able to cope with more challenging circumstances…like if he has as job and says the wrong thing and gets fired.  Then what?  He won’t have the coping skills to work through it.

It’s also why I think this relationship with Hank has to stop.  I used to think it was good for Max and now I don’t think it is.   When Max was telling Hank about the situation with Micah, Hank agreed with Max.   That is not what Max needs to hear right now, especially not from an adult.  Max needs to understand that you cannot speak to people who way.  But Hank is basically telling him that he’s right and Micah’s wrong.  NOOOOOO!!   Not the message that should be sent!  But we’re starting to see Hank tangle with his own inner demons wondering if he’s a long-lost Aspie himself.   And with all due respect, while I think it would be fascinating to see an undiagnosed adult learn about having AS 40+ years later, I just don’t want to see it.  I don’t.  I don’t mind Hank as a fringe character but not as a character with his own story line.  I just don’t need that right now.  And Max doesn’t need Hank right now.   I think Adam and Kristina need to get Max back with a one on one counselor (like they had with Minka Kelly’s character) and get him back on the right track.    Because if things keep going this way, Max is going to be a very lonely person one day.  If Adam thinks his heart is breaking now, try watching your adult AS son that you didn’t help, that you didn’t give coping skills to, struggle in his adult life because you didn’t handle him in the way that was best for him because it was too hard for you.   That will be a tough pill to swallow.

Other Stories

In other news, Amber initially wants nothing to do with Ryan anymore and coldly (but understandably) shows him the door and asks him to go as fast as he can.  After Ryan and Zeek talk, Zeek goes to Amber and tells her that while she’s hurt, she does love him and should at least say good-bye to him.  Eventually Amber does just that and we have a very tearful good-bye to a character I liked very much.  He isn’t ready to be with Amber right now and this whole wedding thing was happening too fast.  But it sucks it had to end like that.  I guess it could have been worse.   Just please, please, PLEASE…don’t kill him over there.  I don’t think Amber could survive that.

Sarah got a job as a photographer with Surf Shop, or something like that, with a little help from hottie Dr. Carl and from the fact that Hank was so obnoxious in his interview that the contact for Surf Shop didn’t want to work with him.  Problem is, she has no equipment, studio, or experience.  So she goes to Hank for help and he’s a real douchbag about it.  He makes her admits she’s in over her head and makes her pay him 50/50 of the job.  I understand he doesn’t do charity work but you know what, you lost the job because of your attitude.   At least the person who got the job has a connection with you and has asked that you work together so you’ll be getting something instead of nothing for the gig.  Sarah hasn’t always been my favorite character because of her choices and the way she handles things drive me crazy, but she’s been much better this season and I think she’s really trying to make a career for herself.  So what that it’s a bigger job than she’s ready for and who cares how she got it.  She has a chance to prove herself and make a name for herself.   And Hank made her feel bad about it.  Screw you Hank.   If I were Sarah, I would have gone to another photographer and worked with them instead.  Or, spent some money and got the equipment and started studying hard to get as prepared as possible for the job.  Nothing beats experience but she doesn’t need Hank.

That’s pretty much the big stuff.  What are you thinking of Parenthood?  What do you think about this whole J&J story line?    What do you think about the way Adam and Kristina are handling Max?  Are you sad about Amber and Ryan?  Are you hoping Sarah succeeds?   Sound off below!

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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