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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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BREAKING NEWS: FOX Renews Several Shows

From TV Line, looks like FOX is getting in the renewal mood a little early this year.    Three comedies were just renewed and one drama:

  • New Girl
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • The Mindy Project
  • The Following

I’m always happy for renewed shows because people are keeping their jobs.  I’m even more excited when it means my favorites are coming!!!

The one that has me the most excited on this list is Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  I have loved this show from the minute it aired.  Funny, well written, perfectly cast…this show was tight right out of the gate…which is a challenge for new ensemble comedies.  I was worried because the ratings weren’t good and it was looking bad for cancellation.  Then the Hollywood Foreign Press did me a solid and gave B99 the Golden Globe for Best Comedy.   And they were right on.   Since then, people have checked out the show and if you haven’t, what is wrong with you?  Do you not like sharp, witty TV shows?   Well, I’ll give you a second chance and HIGHLY encourage you to check it out over the summer so you can be ready for the fall.

Of course New Girl and The Following make me happy since those are on my must view list.  I don’t watch The Mindy Project and this renewal surprises me a lot because the ratings are bad and people who I have talked to who have seen the show say it’s pretty bad.  I watched the pilot and 2nd episode and it didn’t do anything for me so it was bumped.   But for those that do, congrats that your crappy show is still on the air!  I say crappy with all due respect of course.

So great news right??   Are you happy about these shows?   Surprised?   Pissed Enlisted isn’t on here?  Worried for Almost Human?    May is a long way away for bubble shows.

 
 

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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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Mid Season Premiere Dates – UPDATED

Make sure you check out the main page for an update on the 2014 Mid Season Premiere Dates.  Game of Thrones, Mad Men, About A Boy, Believe, Survivor, the Amazing Race, and more have all been added.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in AMC, CBS, HBO, Mid Season, NBC, Premiere Dates

 

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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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RECAP & REVIEW: 2014 Golden Globe Awards

I say this every year…I love the Golden Globes!  It’s one of three award shows I look forward to every year with the GG being my favorite (the other two are the Tony’s and the Emmy’s.)   I love watching everyone get all boozed up and either presenting or accepting awards.  It’s fabulous.  Plus, as Amy Poehler put last year, it’s where the beauty of movie stars rubs elbows with the rat faces of TV.  Love her.  AND SHE WON!!!!  Ok I’m jumping ahead.  But I’m starting with her and Tina Fey.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted again this year.  Just when I was nervous they couldn’t top last year’s brilliance, they did.  I honestly believe it has something to do with their friendship.  You’ve seen other pairs over the years host award shows and they are so stiff and uncomfortable with one another because they don’t know each other as well.  This doesn’t happen all the time.  But recently, it seems to be the case.  As with James Franco and Anne Hathaway and Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.  And don’t even get me started on the year the reality hosts “hosted.”  What a disaster.   But Fey and Poehler know each other so well, they work seamlessly together.  They just fit.  They are the female Turk and J.D.  You can’t imaging Chris Turk without John Dorian right?   Just like I can’t imagine with Tina without Amy.  They are perfection and they were again last night.  From the fantastic opening monologue to Tina introducing her “son” Mr Golden Globe Randy, to Poehler making out with Bono once winning her award, they didn’t have a bad spot all night.  My two favorite jokes had to be these two zingers:

  • “Gravity is nominated for Best Film.  It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die then spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”
  • “And now, like a supermodel’s vagina, let’s all give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio”

The only thing you could say that was bad, was that they weren’t on stage enough.  There was probably a good hour to hour and 15 minutes where you didn’t see them at all.  But there are a lot of awards to get through so I can understand that.  I just wish the spacing was better so we didn’t go so long without seeing the dynamic duo on stage.

Favorite Moments

  • Emma Thompson’s Presentation.  She strolled right up on stage with a martini in one hand and her Christian Louboutin’s in the other.   Brilliant!  She was obvious feeling good but was still completely together and absolutely charming on stage.  A+ Ms. Thompson!
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Big Night.  There has been a ton of controversy over this.  I don’t get it.  I think B99 is damn good show.  It’s funny, well written, well acted.  This was a show that right from the pilot was cruising like this show has been on for 3 seasons.  The cast chemistry is fantastic.  They all play off one another so well.  It’s very natural how the dialogue and reactions flow.  B99 didn’t have the yips early on like some comedies do and then hit their stride.  They hit their stride in the pilot and haven’t looked back.  They just aren’t getting the big ratings.  I don’t think Dads as a lead in helps.  But this is a solid show that against that competition deserved the win.  As did Andy Samberg.  Great writer, great delivery, excellent comedic timing, his chemistry with Andre Braugher is perfection.   Absolutely well deserved honors on both fronts.  Season 2 here they come!!!!
  • Diane Keaton.  When I’m 68 years old, I hope to look 10% as good as Diane Keaton.  She.  Is.  Gorgeous!  She gave a beautiful speech last night honoring the disgusting Woody Allen and was gracious, classy, and elegant as always.  I’ve heard a few people are upset with honoring of Woody Allen and by extension, Diane Keaton’s speech accepting the award on his behalf.  I’ll talk about Woody Allen below but I think people need to revisit their hostility towards Keaton.   She was asked to accept an award on his behalf.  What is she supposed to do?  Get up there and talk about what a vile person he is?  Of course not!  And she has a much different relationship with him than many other people do so if she wants to salute her friend, so be it.  Not to mention, it wouldn’t have been appropriate for her to rip him to shreds….and who knows if she would want to.  I don’t know what she feels about him personally.  But professionally, he helped launch her to stardom.  So I can understand if she wants to be very benevolent in her speech.  Plus, this was an award honoring his career, not his personal life choices.  I think she did a wonderful job and looked spectacular in doing so.
  • Breaking Bad and Bryan Cranston.  The final year of Breaking Bad and the show and Cranston got much deserved props (from what I understand.)  I’m one of the few idiots in the world who have not watched one second of Breaking Bad.  However, it is on my Netflix and the husband and I are planning a major marathon this summer because we don’t have one friend who watches this show who has ever said a bad thing about it.  And of course all the national press it receives is off the charts.  And I already know I’m going to love it so I already know how happy I am that BB and Cranston won last night!
  • Matthew McConaughey.  All right, all right, all right!  Love him!  I was really happy for his win last night because he was so good in “Dallas Buyers Club.”   He’s on fire lately with tons of movie and a hot new TV show, True Detective, to boot.  He’s come a long way from Dazed and Confused!!  But man, please put those 45 pounds back on….waaaaaay too skinny still.
  • Speeches: Amy Adams, Amy Poehler, Alex Ebert, Alfonso Cuaron, Andy Samberg, and Elizabeth Moss.  I love heartfelt speeches and each one of these people gave a touching, emotional, real speech that I just wanted to mention them.  Other speeches were good as well but these really stood out to me.  Moss gushing about her talented brother and thanking her mom and hoping she’ll be 1 tenth the woman that she is…wow did I need some Kleenex.  Adams honestly saying she’s was hoping she’d just get a commercial someday….look at her now.  Cuaron explaining that he told Sandra Bullock not that “he was going to give her herpes” but that “he was going to give her an earpiece.”  LOL, classic.  Ebert thanking the production team for “letting him try all over their movie.”  Poehler for just being Poehler.  And Samberg for being so completely surprised and having no speech just winging it and “thanking everybody” including his “team.”   Oh and I also loved Dan Goor, one of the co-creator’s of B99 who said in regards to him not going to med school “that this was way better than saving a human life.”
  • Taylor Swift not winning.  Enough said.

Not So Favorite Moments

  • Jacqueline Bisset’s Speech.  What.  Was.  That?  Seriously, has she stopped talking yet?   You want to talk about being CRAZY uncomfortable watching someone on stage and that was me watching Bisset.  What the hell was she talking about…when she was talking.  It took her 30 seconds just to start talking then when she did, she never stopped blabbering some sort of gibberish.  Wow.  I was happy for her to win but I don’t ever need to see a speech like that again.
  • P Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs, whatever he’s called this week, hitting the Ciroc a little too much.   Diddy, stop.  Just stop.  Not everything is about you.  You were presenting but the night is about the nominees and the winners.  NOT YOU.  So back off and let these people have their moment.   On a side note, U2 totally blowing him off when he came in for a handshake was hilarious!!
  • Melissa McCarthy and Jimmy Fallon’s presentation.  I love both of these comedians but this just fell very flat.   And it went on too long.  It’s disappointing too because these two are talented and funny but last night was bad.
  • Woody Allen getting the Cecil B DeMile Award.  I don’t like Woody Allen as a person.  I think he’s disgusting.  But that’s besides the point.  Woody Allen is one of those directors and film makers that either people love or hate.  You either get him or you don’t.  I don’t like his films and I don’t get him.  I never did.  Maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to appreciate his work (although I can appreciate the longevity of his career) and that’s why I’ve never been able to understand the gushing praise over his films.  But that’s my opinion.  Many others will disagree and that’s fine.

What did you think of the GGs?   What were your favorite or head scratching moments of the night?  Let me know!

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Award Shows, Golden Globes, NBC

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: Revenge “Homecoming” S3 E11

When I first saw the preview for “Homecoming” after the fabulousness that was “Exodus” the first thing that popped into my head was that Emily Thorne is faking her amnesia.  Actually that’s a lie.  When she first said “Who am I?” in that promo, I gasped and said “Holy Shit now that’s the way to press to reset button.”   THEN I thought, no way she’s faking it.  But after watching the episode, now I’m not so sure.

In my mind, one of two things is going to happen (which means neither will) she’s either lost her memory for real and will get it back only to then fake it until she can come up with another game plan.  Or she’s doing a masterful job of faking it now and faking it with everyone until she can figure out what to do next.  At this point, I really don’t think she’s faking.  If she was faking, why in the world would she tell Charlotte that her dad is David Clarke?   And next week’s preview appears to show Emily showing her infinity box to Victoria.   NO WAY she’s faking.  Unless there is some king of CRAZY twist and scheme Emily has concocted she would never show that information to Victoria!    So if she really does have amnesia, which I think she does at this point, how long will she have it and when she does regain her memories, will she tell people?  And whom does she tell?

I love where the show is potentially going with this.  Because let’s be honest, you can only have a show of “revenge on the Graysons” for so long until people start to get tired of the premise because it’s going nowhere.  SO you have to do something to change it up.  I’ve always thought this was a 5-6 season show because of the premise but now with this amnesia and what it appears the Graysons will now discover about Emily, who knows where it goes from here.  It could possibly turn into revenge from both sides…Emily going after the Graysons (once she gets her memory back) and the Graysons going after Emily for lying and deceiving them for so long.   I love it!

And I’m just going to throw this out there….PUT EMILY WITH JACK!  No more Aiden.  No more French girl (although I have come to like her more than I did initially.)   This episode shows that Jack still loves her and I believe deep down, she still loves him.  Plus every scene they are in, sparks just fly!  Emily and Aiden…not so much, at least not for me.  So I’d like to see Aiden go and have Emily, Jack, and Nolan be the team that takes down the Graysons.

What do you think?  Do you like where the show is going with the amnesia angle?   Sound off below!

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in ABC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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NEW PODCAST: Episode 43 Covers Survivor Finale, Parenthood, Scandal, and Revenge

I actually did this podcast a while ago but because of the holidays and being sick, I didn’t post about it until now.  Feel free to check it out here. or download it from iTunes!

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Podcast

 

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REVIEW of NBC’s The Sound of Music LIVE!

Since Nov 30th 2012 when NBC announced that they would be doing a live show of the Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood as Maria, I have been waiting with anticipation to see how it would unfold.   You see, the Sound of Music is my FAVORITE musical of all time.  I love it.  I’m also a HUGE live theater and Broadway fan.  It’s one of the musicals I adored growing up that I’ve never seen a professional production (along with The King and I and Oliver.)   So I was really curious to see how NBC was going to pull this off.  I don’t think it was the bomb most people on Twitter last night were claiming it to be but I also don’t think it was as sensational as others claimed.   It was an ambitious risk that I think if cast a little better and maybe staged a little better, could have been spectacular.   Instead, it was a nice 3 hours of entertainment where some parts were fabulous and others were, well, not so fabulous.

As soon as I hear Underwood was cast as Maria, my heart stopped, and not in a good way.   No I was not one of those people comparing her to Julie Andrews.   NO ONE CAN BE JULIE ANDREWS.   To try to compare Underwood to Andrews is like comparing Joe Montana to A.J. McCarron.  It just isn’t fair.  My concern was, could she act the part?  I was pretty sure she could sing it but is she any sort of actress?  And if she isn’t, that’s a pretty big role to thrust her in, LIVE, for her first acting gig.   So I was skeptical.  Also, with a million brilliant Broadway actresses out there, why not showcase one of them?   Simple, NBC felt they needed a “name” to get young viewers to tune in.   I think who would have been perfect is Laura Osnes.   She a big Broadway star right now, she’s been nominated for Tony’s and it’s all due to a little reality show on NBC a few years back called “You’re The One That I Want.”   She was the girl who won the reality show and landed the role of Sandy in Grease on Broadway.  How cool would it have been for NBC to bring her back on the network that gave her her big break and have her star in this show and showcase how well she has done since the reality show.   Win-Win.   But I guess they felt they needed a really big name to sell it.   Unfortunately, my fears were confirmed last night.

Underwood did a great job with the songs.  I still feel she’s a bit nasally for me but she pretty much nailed every song and note.   And those are not easy songs…especially The Lonely Goatherd.  Singing is about breathing and there are some points in that song that it’s hard to find a place to take a breath to hit a note, especially when you’re jumping around on a bed and running around a room.  Add in the fact that your adrenaline is pumping and it’s a lot more difficult than it appears.   I was worried for her with Do-Re-Mi because when she skipped into the courtyard, you could hear she was out of breath and couldn’t sing so much as she needed to speak some of the song.  And this is right before the money notes at the end of the song where she really has to hit a few high notes and you need your breath to do that.  But she was able to compose herself and smartly toned it down while everyone else was singing so she could catch her breath and hit those notes.  But that’s where her experience with concerts and events helps her because she’s used to singing a couple of hours a night and she knows how to take care of her voice.  So I would give her thumbs up for a pretty great job vocally.

But the acting, wow, that just, wow.  It wasn’t good.  It was pretty bad.  The line deliveries were so flat and you could tell it was very unnatural for her.  Maria is a sweet and loving but feisty and fun young woman desperate to find her place in the world.  I got none of that last night.  What I got was a singer who can’t act desperately trying not to screw up on live TV by trying to remember all of her lines and blocking to the point where the acting part had to go out the window.  And to be fair to Underwood, I don’t blame her.   Acting is not her forte.  It isn’t.   But she was given the chance to do the role of a lifetime so of course she’s going to do it.   At first I wanted to blame the director for this partially because it’s her job to work her and teach her who this character is and how she needs to bring that to life.  Maybe in rehearsals she was better but when the live show came, she got really nervous and went into a shell.  It happens.  But you could see it was very staged…”this is when I need slam my hands on the desk, this is when I should kick my feet, this is when I should put my hand on Liesl’s shoulder.”    It just didn’t work.  I also didn’t sense any chemistry with her and Steven Moyer (Captain Georg von Trapp.)  He had more with Laura Benanti (Baroness Elsa Schrader.)  In fact people were actually rooting for the Baroness to win Georg’s heart this time.  I’m serious.  On Twitter there were #TeamBaroness hashtags everywhere!   You know it’s bad when the audience wants Georg to choose Elsa instead of Maria.  I felt bad for Underwood because when she was in scenes with Benanti, Christian Borle (Max Detweiler), and Audra McDonald (Mother Abbess) she was blown away.  She couldn’t come close to their abilities and skills to command a stage and a scene and it was painfully obvious.  I mean for the love of God McDonald has 5 Tony awards.   FIVE!!   I could spend all day talking about Underwood’s lack of acting chops but I think you get the point.   So overall I give Underwood a lot of credit for taking a role she shouldn’t have been given in the first place and for singing the hell out of it and giving it her best shot.  She did the best she could and I applaud her for that.

Moyer was serviceable as the Captain.  He certainly looked the part and he could sing but he seemed uncomfortable on the set at times.  Moyer has been a theater actor in London so being on a stage is nothing new to him.   But I think what people don’t understand is how much theater actors feed off the audience in their performances.  Because you act very differently in front of a live audience vs. cameras on a set.  Blocking is different, the projection of your voice is different, deliveries are different.   So here is a stage production happening with no audience on a TV set with cameras.  So you have to act as though you’re on stage in front of an audience yet there isn’t either and there are cameras everywhere.   So I can see how that takes getting used to and Moyer took a while to feel comfortable with it.  And since Moyer has been doing TV for a while now, I think he forgot at times that projecting your voice doesn’t mean you have to shout at people.  But he was fine as the Captain.  And it’s hard when your leading lady isn’t really giving you much to work which is also why he came across better in scenes with Benanti and Borle than he did with Underwood.

As I think everyone would agree, the highlights and standouts from the show were McDonald, Benanti, and Borle.  When they were front and center, it was like everything went to a new level.  My jaw is still on the floor from McDonald’s rendition of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and I knew it would be.  That was the one song, I couldn’t wait to hear and a box of tissues later, I wasn’t disappointed.  Even Underwood couldn’t keep herself from crying at the glorious sound that emanated from McDonald’s vocal chords.   She is just genius.  And leave it to Benanti and Borle to make two characters I never cared about, my favorites in this rendition.  I’ve been fortunate to see both of them on stage.  I even got to see Benanti’s Tony winning performance in Gypsy.  So when my husband turned to me a said “hey isn’t that the chick from Go On?”  I said, wait until you hear her sing.   Then he says to me “oh wait, she was in The Playboy Club too…I heard her sing there.”  I just shook my head.  Then she started her number.  By the end, my husband’s iPad was down and his mouth was agape. “Holy Shit.  She can really sing.”   It made me chuckle.  But when Benanti and Borle were performing you could tell they were at a different level.  Even when Benanti went to speak to Moyer in another room, someone was stepping on her dress and it halted her movement.  She gracefully and without skipping a beat, asked the gentleman to excuse her, grabbed her dress, and spoke her line again.   Total pro.  Borle, as usual, had great comedic timing and worked well off everyone he was around.   He was great.

Finally, we have the kids.  I loved them.  From Liesl to Gretl, they were all wonderful and did a fantastic job!  The only one who seemed slightly nervous and awkward was Michael Nigro who played Fredrich but nothing that took away from anything and really I’m nitpicking.  He was fine and had a very good voice.  Michael Campayno  (Rolf) was also a nice standout.   I believe he’s a senior at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and showed very well.  Plus, what a voice.  I hope to see him on a Broadway stage someday!  Same with Ariane Rinehart (Liesl.)  She had a very pretty voice and was a beautiful dancer.  That young lady might have a future on the stage!

As for the show itself I think the big problem the audience had was that people were expecting a live version of the movie.  All throughout Twitter last night people were ranting and raving that My Favorite Things should be in the bedroom and that there was no puppet show and what are these random songs that Max and Elsa sing, why were they put in the show, and why did they take out I Have Confidence?   It’s because this wasn’t the movie!  This was a reproduction of the original stage production from 1959 starring Mary Martin.  The only addition was Something Good which was written for the movie and added to stage productions later on (it replaced at song called No Ordinary Couple.)  Although I will say the 1998 Broadway revival (which marked Benanti’s Broadway debut at 19 years old and eventually took over the role of Maria from Rebecca Luker) did add I Have Confidence to the show and some stage productions will do that.  But last night, they chose not to. But all the song placements and staging were based off the original stage production.  So I think that was hard for people.  I also saw a lot of comments on “no one is better than Julie Andrews so why try.”   That’s ridiculous to me.  While in my opinion, Julie Andrews has the best voice I ever heard and is one of the best leading ladies of stage and screen, to say no one should ever do a show again because someone was that good is absurd to me.   I applaud NBC for doing something different and trying something new.   I loved the idea.  I think we all agree the casting of Maria could have been better but besides that, I thought it was a great idea.   Have an issue with the casting but not with the idea.   I think another issue that while the sets were beautiful, some were very busy and dark and hard to see the actors.  I’m thinking mainly about the mountain/hillside scenes where it was dark and way too many trees and the angles the camera had to go at times blocked the vision of the actors.    And can someone please tell me what the white noise sound was in the background?   Was it a fan to keep the actors cool?   It was really prominent at times and very distracting so maybe next time NBC can get fans that are a little quieter.

After having said all that, what did I think?   I think it’s the Sound of Music and therefore I enjoyed it.  Does casting the wrong Maria really throw a monkey wrench into the performance, yes.  But does the casting of others and their performances make up for that a little, yes.  And is it still The Sound of Music?   Yes.  Would I buy the DVD, no.  But you better believe I’m downloading Audra’s “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from iTunes today!

What did you think?  Did you love it?  Hate it?  Find a middle ground like I did?   I’m curious to hear what other people thought.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2013 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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