Thursday, February 26, 2009
"general hospital"'s what if barbara jean jones had lived, and maxie jones had died episode, got off to a somewhat painful start. having maxie provide commentary while surrounded by some weird white background was bad enough, but then to have her talk on and on about how lulu and johnny were supposed to be in love? what was that about? maxie has always said that lulu and johnny weren't right for each other, and in her heart to heart with johnny during the blizzard what she said made a lot of sense. the blizzard JUST happened, so how did she change her mind so completely??
what's ironic that by having the episode center around kirsten storms so completely, you realize how she is a chemistry magnet and how amazing this show would be if it focused more on the scorpio-drake-joneses instead of mob golden boys sonny and jason. it was funny to see johnny playing owner of the paradise lounge, it's always good when they can work in a jab at sonny's seedier beginnings.
i also enjoyed the nod to carly's history--having her interact with b.j. and acknowledge her homewrecking ways--was great. it's a little weird that this is the second alternative reality episode where they've paired her with patrick, but the actors look good together and i'm not going to complain.
emo spinelli is a sight more enjoyable than regular-flavor, mostly because he is able to turn down the spastic effusiveness that characterizes regular spinelli. i don't mind spinelli when he tones it down, above all i think that should be something the powers that be should keep in mind. though it is irritating that even in maxie's alternate dreamworld, he still is her white knight. because i think that maxie can do better than spinelli. even if i do enjoy them together.
Monday, February 23, 2009
1. max & milo counsel diane on her heart health. i fast-forwarded through this, and i recognize that this is a ridiculous thing to share, but this scene sums up how awful and ridiculous and incompetent the gh writing staff is, and does an admirable job of showcasing the tawdriness of the product placement:
yes. it really is that bad. and what's worse is that this lasted for three days. i'm hoping that today we saw the last of the heart healthiness, though we do apparently have a "it's a wonderful life" alternate reality episode coming up with maxie tomorrow.
if the above scene was awful, the scenes below might be even worse, i actually sat through these the first time too. why would max sit on the bed that carly and jax had just been having sex on? who does that? why do i watch this?
2. why didn't kate just do us all a favor and die one of the two times she was shot? her revenge plot makes no sense. she wants to wait to tell sonny about claudia's role in michael's shooting until the moment it will hurt him the most, and then she'll tell him. oh yeah, SHE'LL TELL HIM. if only sonny were a rational mobster. to be fair he is remarkably consistent in his irrationality. everyone in his life betrays him. doesn't kate realize that by not telling him immediately she is BETRAYING him? he isn't in love with claudia, he'll probably just kill her (what a lovely romantic hero he is, isn't he ladies?) when he finds out that she was behind michael's shooting.
to be honest, i'm still wishing the show hadn't ever gone there. but with half the town knowing that claudia was behind the hit, it's only a matter of time before sonny finds out. the thing is, i don't really see how the michael getting shot in the head thing is her fault. she may have hired ian devlin, but the target wasn't michael, it was SONNY. and michael wasn't supposed to be in the warehouse, SONNY brought him there without his mother's permission. beyond that, SONNY had just kidnapped johnny and had threated to kill claudia multiple times. what is the common thread there i wonder...um, yes SONNY!
this show is so messed up, it has me rationalizing children being shot in the head. the thing is we all know that this was a ploy to get dylan cash off the canvas so that they could eventually soras michael to a teenager. i just hope that morgan doesn't get soras'd too.
but back to my original point. kate was a smart career woman who didn't take shit from anyone, didn't condone sonny's lifestyle or his choices, and wasn't about to be pathetic over a man. how sad that all she is now is a whiny, shrewish waste of air time. please megan ward, go back from where you came from, you and your fabulous hair deserve better.
(just another aside, but the claudia/kate scenes were kind of funny to watch because you can see how much taller megan ward is that sarah brown. since sarah brown and maurice bernard are about the same height (or at least the same height when she's wearing heels and i don't believe she suddenly took off her heels in her scenes with megan ward) i can only imagine that mo was standing on crates or megan ward was in ditches for some of their scenes together, because the height difference wasn't always so obvious. just look:
i'm not making this up.)
3. robin seemed to have a breakthrough with emma during the hospital crisis. but as soon as patrick is back on the scene she suddenly can't stand touching emma again. it started off subtly, but in an effort to drag out her diagnosis the show is stretching the storyline too thin. patrick and robin have the same conversation every day. he says something really sweet, she attacks him. he questions why she's changing her mind about the length of her maternity leave, she calls him a sexist pig and yells at him for insinuating that she has ppd. dude's a doctor, he should know who to call to get help for this.
i understand the idea that people avoid dealing with their emotional and mental health until something breaks, but the fact is that patrick is concerned about this, and even if it pisses off robin, shouldn't he, for his daughter's sake try harder to get robin the help she needs. even if (sadly) that means having the oh-so-competent drs. lee and winters get involved in helping their so-called friend.
i understand that plot contraivances are often created to draw certain events out, but i really hate when characters behave somewhat out of character in order to make a certain plot point work or to extend the timing of the "big reveal." we all know robin has ppd. let's move forward.
4. ok, so i actually kind of adore maxie. her scenes with johnny were so cute, you could tell that the actors were enjoying themselves. once johnny and lulu were alone together, it was all misery. and then maxie went to see spinelli, who toned down the geek and was actually really adorable and heartfelt in his declaration of love. except that...oopsies...maxie suddenly developed narcolepsy on top of her heart condition and that begins the "it's a wonderful life" story break. so awesome, i can hardly bear it.
thanks, gh for giving me something to look forward to...oops, i meant FAST-forwarding to.
screencaps courtesy of laurieluvsliason.
Friday, February 20, 2009
here are a few thoughts on what grey's should do to improve things:
1. spend less time in surgery
i know they are surgical residents, but the surgery scenes are challenging to watch because the actors all have their surgical masks in place and are stuck emoting with their eyes. it gets boring to see meaningful glances exchanged over the body being cut open.
2. when focusing on patients don't line up each patient so perfectly with the doctor's own story line every single time
having the events in patients lives echo what is going on for our main doctors is okay sometimes, but it's getting repetitive and obvious. instead of making the patient storylines seem like anvils foreshadowing what the doctors are feeling and where their stories are going, it would be fun to see them mix up the doctor/patient dynamics. so maybe grief-stricken woman gets assigned to meredith and a commitment-phobe gets assigned to izzie, have a scene with the doctors talking about their patients. the lunch room scenes are some of the best moments of the series because all the characters are there together.
3. have the characters spend more time together
honestly i don't watch "grey's anatomy" for the medical stories, yes these should be interesting, but more than anything, we should be seeing the characters interact with each other. the relationships are the heart of the series, and so far this season the scenes away from the hospital involve 2-3 of the characters and are about thirty seconds long. the cast works best as an ensemble, and they've lost a little of their magic, but can get it back by spending just a little more time at joe's.
i love that meredith and derek are a committed couple, but for a couple they spend such a small amount of time on screen together that it's hard to remember why there was so much magic and chemistry in the original pairing. this episode, when addison finally prompts meredith to speak to derek, it highlights the fact that we only ever see them together for brief glimpses. they are the show's anchor couple, they can spend more than two seconds together on screen, and it would be even better if they actually had conversations. sometimes it feels like all they do is talk at one another.
meanwhile "private practice" winds down from the crossover madness by not really going anywhere. addison is back in los angeles and cries about her no-good brother a lot. pete continues to ignore violet. sheldon takes a small step forward with violet in the couples therapy group. cooper continues to be a baby stealer, but finally makes progress with charlotte after she confesses to sleeping with addison's no-good brother. it didn't make sense, but i was happy for it.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
here's the thing. i'm not a big jack fan. his hero complex, his need to fix things, his idea of what is right, i find it all so annoying. i don't understand why everyone is so willing to follow his lead, because most of the time i wish he had just died the way the original script intended. most of this is due to the character, but some of it also has to do with matthew fox and how i couldn't stand him on "party of five" because he just had to be right and keep the family together.
kate is a more complex character to understand. i can never fathom her motivations. i'm never sure what her true feelings are. which makes her interesting to me. (it's no surprise to anyone here that i love love love sawyer and because he loves kate i want them to end up together, but if he decided he was in love with someone else, namely me, i would be so happy.) i've been thinking about the sex that jack and kate presumably had. and i wonder if kate is chancing pregnancy to "recreate" the original circumstances of flight 815. with no aaron there, there is no claire, and no pregnant person. her anger and coldness toward jack indicates that there was something darker at play, something that provoked kate's behavior. i can't wait to find out what that is.
interesting too will be seeing if lapidus, the marshall accompanying sayid, and the guy who offered jack his condolences will be making further appearances on the island. and i also wonder if all of them landed on the island at the same point in time. if perhaps because the circumstances weren't exactly the same, and they were different enough that as the blinding light took them from the airplane they landed in different time periods. (considering that sun isn't with kate, jack, and hurley, who have just run into jin, i think there will be some very pissed off koreans making appearances on our television screens.)
one last thought. when ben left to run his errand, i couldn't help but think that he had gone to kill penny. did he succeed? how long will we be kept in suspense? and if desmond wasn't on the plane, will he still find his way back to the island?
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
anyway, i finally watched all the episodes, and have to say i'm glad i did. the show seems to be settling into it's formula, and the characters are interacting together more naturally, more organically. i still think anna torv as olivia dunham can be a little to dreary (a major problem is her voice/speech and this is likely due to the fact that she is masking an australian accent, unfortunately i think her american voice is a little too flat and i also think she has a hard time maintaining it. to me she often sounds canadian), and i 'm having trouble getting past the fact that she's a two-face. but by introducing her sister and niece, and by giving her some story outside of loving john scott, i think olivia is actually developing a personality. the more she interacts with pacey (yes, i know his name is peter on this show, but peter-pacey=same difference), the closer the characters get to each other and the more the fringe division becomes a unit, the better the show is.
i am amused at how much of "alias" i see in the show. it's strange, because "fringe" has less personality, less character in it than "alias" but is the more successful show. the latest revelation that olivia had been part of a secret pharmaceutical trial on a military base just reminds me of sydney discovering her father had put her through some tests to develop her spy sense. i'm intrigued to see where this goes, and what kind of effect this knowledge will have on olivia.
on the other hand, i keep hoping they ramp up pacey's involvement with the cases. i like that he is the guy they turn to for his special contacts in the less legal markets, but he still does little more than help out at the lab. i want to see more of him, all the time. he manages to lighten up olivia in a way others don't, and having them work together more frequently can only help the show avoid some of the dreariness.
anyway, i'm all caught up now and get to wait until april before they air the remaining 7 episodes of the season. i wish i had known i didn't have to stress about catching up. (i still do need to read ian's manuscript.)
i was very sorry to have charlotte die. i thought that there was more for her to reveal, particularly as a dharma dweller. i actually think it's likely that we will see her again, and that daniel will try to protect her from the island. a mistake that will exist on an endless loop, since you can't stop the island from getting what it wants. i imagine that charlotte's mother left the island to protect her.
i wonder what happens to the lostaways now that locke is gone, and the closest thing they have to leaders are sawyer and juliet. sawyer starts the series not really caring about his fellow survivors, but over time that's changed. what happens now, when he is their pseudo-leader. and how soon do we think jack will be back to take that power away from him?
so we know that eleanor hawking is faraday's mother. is she also ellie from the 1950s? i think this theory is very plausible and hope that the mystery isn't dragged out too long. ben's face when he discovered that she is related to faraday was interesting. i don't think he knew that. and i wonder what the information means to him. what is mrs. hawking's relationship to widmore?
what are ben's motivations at all? we had him professing to be working for the good of the oceanic 6 and the remaining survivors of flight 815, but i think that the caveat there is he is working to their good, only in the sense that their good is in his best interest too. christian shepard tells us in this same episode that listening to ben never does anyone any good, in particular locke, who has been bitten in the butt several times for listening to ben.
i wonder if we get any closer to a reunion this week? we do get a kate and jack kiss, which i will say i am not at all happy about. kate belongs with sawyer, not jack. and nothing anyone says or does will change my mind on that.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
but i also read a lot. and one of the reasons i read a lot is that i read a lot of trashy romance novels. the thing is, i don't think of them as trashy. there's a lot of stuff being published, and some of it is real crap, but some of it is really well written and entertaining. and well, i've decided to track some of them here, in my new feature: seriously romantic.
this week i'm going to cover julia quinn's bridgerton book series: the duke and i; the viscount who loved me; an offer from a gentleman; romancing mr. bridgerton; to sir philip, with love; when he was wicked; it's in his kiss; and on the way to the wedding. the series covers the romantic pairings of the bridgerton siblings--anthony, benedict, colin, daphne, eloise, francesca, gregory, and hyacinth.
quinn's style tends to light, warm-hearted fare, with humor and tragedy/suspense delicately balanced in order to create emotional resonance. the books vary in mood and atmosphere, taking into account the characteristics of whichever sibling's story it happens to be. i didn't read the series in order, but it doesn't really matter what order you read the books in, since the stories standalone for each sibling. i started reading the books with romancing mr. bridgerton, and then read the original three, and the rest as they were published.
though i think most people would list the duke and i or the viscount who loved me as their favorites, i actually prefer when he was wicked. it's the darkest in tone of all the novels, but was the book that evoked the most emotion in me, and the passion, the desperation that the two character's felt for each other as you read seeps from every word, every page. i've read it at least ten times and do not get tired of francesca and michael's story.
i actually think that writing when he was wicked may have taken quinn to a darker place than she intended, since the remaining two novels in the series are so fluffy light and almost silly that they are undoubtedly the weakest links in the entire series. [and yes, i am aware that on the way to the wedding won a rita award, i just think quinn has published more deserving books.]
i don't know, maybe i think romance books shouldn't really go over 4 in a series. i think that as great as it is to have this little universe to visit, ultimately staying with the same characters for so long inhibits the authors and they get stuck in a rut, albeit unintentionally. [speaking of ruts makes me think of next week's subject, stephanie laurens and the bar cynster novels.]
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
so last week's 3-D episode was good, but also a bit of a let down. i thought that the tension between chuck and sarah after he witnessed her shoot a fulcrum agent in cold blood would hold over a few episodes. instead they address it after a few scenes of chuck behaving oddly in sarah's presence. while chuck is still uncomfortable in his spy role, he's been playing a larger part in the missions and as the end of the episode shows us, is clearly committed to the work that they do.
how i met your mother
this show is so brilliant. i'm really loving the robin-barney love connection. i think they've been able to mine a lot of great comedic material for barney, and it's been fun watching the other characters realize that barney has the hots for robin. right now lily and ted are the only other people aware of his feelings, so it will be fun to see marshall find out, and what happens when robin realizes what's going on. i love this show because it is the one show that i can empathize with. though obviously a television show, the show often has scenes/bits of dialogue that resemble moments i've shared with my own group of friends.
grey's anatomy/private practice
it's the big crossover event. and the first two episodes of said crossover event were pretty ho-hum. there was a bit too much setting up the groundwork for the crossover event that i think the abc promo department should have held off those promos until this week. though apparently "private practice" did better than ever before so maybe those promo guys know what they're doing.
on grey's i'm loving the lexie-sloan hook-up. i just think the chemistry works and that lexie has shown an attraction to bad boys (see karev, alex) that it makes sense for her to be attracted to mark. she makes him a better person, we already knew from his affair with addison that he was capable of deeper feelings. and what makes the pairing work is the fact that he geniunely fought his feelings for her, he wanted to be good for derek's sake. and when she told him that the only way they could continue this relationship was for him to admit that they had one to derek and meredith, he actually tried to tell derek. but the timing wasn't exactly right, you don't really want to piss off a guy who's trying to go all out when proposing to his girlfriend.
that's right. derek is ready to propose to meredith. and even though he was interupted by addison, we know that it will happen at some point. the emotional growth these characters have shown this season has really done wonders for the show. instead of being stuck in a constant rut the characters have been able to move forward in a manner that doesn't compromise who they are. that is key. i've broken up with shows who are unable to do this for that very reason.
finally, owen and christina live out their victorian romance. the scene where they walk together and their hands barely touch. pure sex. it was all hot glances and heavy sexual tension with them this week. and judging from the promos, things are about to get juicier for this pairing.
meanwhile on pp, i'm not that interested in violet's baby dilemma. and am annoyed that this is the latest stumbling block to charlotte and cooper. i love those two together and think it is mega-annoying to keep them apart for this reason. they are always taking one step forward and two steps back. grr.
flight of the conchords
last week, jim gaffigan made a hilarious cameo as murray's friend jim. this season has been pretty good so far, although i am still a little surprised when other characters get their own musical sequences. i think "sugar lumps" is a fantastic song. i'm still really enjoying these wacky new zealanders.
Monday, February 9, 2009
"On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
[One cannot see well except with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.]"
i don't know how many times my high school french teacher, mme. alio, repeated this line to us as we read antoine de saint-exupéry's le petit prince. so when i found out the latest episode of lost was named "the little prince" i couldn't help but think that by choosing to name the episode after a book about two castaways, the writers/producers we giving us a critical clue to understanding the story that is unfolding on my television screen every week. i think, perhaps, that john locke, richard alpert, and benjamin linus, are the only characters who have ever been able to understand the island without questioning it. and the struggle to understand what the island is asking for is what has dogged the lostaways since they first crashed there in 2004.
and maybe as the island skips through time and the oceanic six struggle to live normal lives off the island, the lostaways are finally beginning to understand the things that they couldn't comprehend earlier. once you are directly faced with the past, how do you best respond to it? sawyer witnesses the moment of aaron's birth and chooses not to intrude, telling juliet "what's done is done." he's devasted by his vision of her, the one person sawyer loves above himself is kate. on a show where everyone's motives are suspect, it's nice to know this. locke realizes that they are at a moment in time where he is questioning the island, and because he believes he needs that pain and doubt to get where he is now, he chooses not to alter anything.
daniel did warn not to change the past, but he's also not the most consistent person on this subject, since didn't he alter the past and future by speaking with desmond when he was still in the hatch? i'm fascinated by daniel, because though he seems empathetic and lovestruck, he's a bit squirrely, and i'm not sure he should be trusted. when he says to juliet that he's glad that the "time travel jet lag" is happening to charlotte and not everyone else? him? he's not clear in the sentiment, but all the same it seems a rather callous statement for someone who claims to be in love with the person suffering.
we do learn a little more about the "time travel jet lag," in particular, that onset relates to the amount of time spent on the island. from charlotte we know that she believes she was born on the island, and she is the first to experience the nosebleeds. miles and juliet follow, and though we know juliet has been on the island for about 3-5 years, miles' previous life on the island has not been alluded to, unless we are to believe that he is marvin candle's/pierre chang's son--and we do know that he had a baby back in his filming days with dharma.
meanwhile, off-island, getting the band back together is a little bit harder than it looks. kate and sayid are not at all inclined to trust ben, especially since he gleefully admits to being a manipulative bastard. and then we have sun, whose agenda is completely unclear...though we do know that she is in possession of a gun sent via box of chocolates and that you should never ask her to babysit...poor aaron!
speaking of aaron, does kate know that jack is really related to aaron? or does she think when he says "aaron is his family too" that he is either referring to her words when aaron was born "this child is all of us" or the fact that they were almost married? she cries, but any of those things could have provoked tears. i guess the ambiguity is fine in this case. i just don't like being reminded of the jack and kate connection. especially when i've just witnessed some awesome sawyer pining.
sawyer probably had one of the best lines this episode. "thank you god" when a flash occurred to get them out of a sticky situation involving a shootout on a canoe. and then "i take that back" when they end up in a bad rainstorm. it was just a brilliant moment of comic relief, and so utterly true to sawyer.
the skips of time into the future and then back to 1988, were pretty dramatic, and i can't wait to learn more about the island in both time periods. for example, who is chasing the lostaways in the future? is it versions of themselves? is it the oceanic sixers who don't realize that is who they are chasing? clearly there are some new castaways if the ajira airlines water bottle is to be believed. i love how time has moved differently for the lostaways and the oceanic sixers, when they meet up again, if they meet up again, it will be very interesting to see how the series moves forward.
and let's dwell on 1988, the year the french expedition lands on the island--before rousseau has her baby stolen and becomes the crazy survivorwoman of 2004. having her and her team save jin was simply a great moment. and yes, jin is alive. now all we got to do is get him back with some of the original crew. it's time to start threading things back together.
i can't wait.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
don't they have holsters??? the police don't have a monopoly on holsters.
anyway, of course sam shot jason. the fact that sam and jason are in the hospital is so ridiculous. and i get that it's all about reuniting sam and jason and lucky and elizabeth. but really sam trying to be helpful is so irritating, and the fact that she's there trying to help but instead getting in the way is just such a disservice to the character. i admit that sam mccall has never been my favorite character, but when her life got away from the mob and when she was spending time with lucky and maxie, she was actually someone i got a kick out of. we'll have to see what happens now that jason is shot. i'm sure he'll persevere. that's what jason does, at least that's what he does other than squint and stare at a speaker blankly.
i may be alone in thinking this, and i know a lot of people really hate the character of carly, but lately i've found that the writing for the character has really shown some growth. instead of flying off the handle all carly style and making it all about her, she's really been acting like an adult lately. and i've really been enjoying that. i do think laura wright brings a lot to the character, and when they're writing her more rationally, she hits it out of the ball park. what is so continually frustating about gh is that there is some truly exceptional talent on the show, and it is so often ruined by the writing and the characters the writers choose to focus on.
for example, kimberly mccullough and kirsten storms as robin and maxie just energize every single scene they're in. it doesn't matter who their co-star is. for example, steve burton and brandon barash aren't the most dynamic of actors, but when they are acting opposite to either one of these actresses they come to life in a way that makes you wish they could do that all the time. it's so frustrating that we are stuck with mobsters and lackluster pairings sucking the joy out of everything in port charles.
ah well. in other news the "incident" death toll stands at 3: earl bragg, evildoer; andy, drug-addicted anesthesiologist from the night shift; leyla meir, original night shift turned day shift nurse and one-time ruiner of patrick and robin.
so far i was right about one of the deaths. gh was terribly obvious with the "i'm so happy and engaged" foreshadowing. the writers think they are so clever, and that somehow this would raise the stakes in her death, but really it just makes the whole thing a little bit sadder. this show has bungled every single major character death in the last two years. killing alan, only to have him reappear as a wise-cracking, track-suit wearing ghost? killing emily, only to have her continue to appear for six months as nicholas' tumor and now have her return as a mysterious character named rebecca? killing georgie? killing logan? killing cooper? all useless deaths, and the ones that could have been meaningful and weighty, all of that was squandered, and it's all on the writers and on bob guza and on brian frons.
i don't know what i'm ranting about anymore. sometimes i think, well, at least i feel something when i watch this show. that's something. right?
so "jughead" takes place on the island as it skips through time and desmond's quest to find faraday's mother. it also catches us up nicely with what desmond and penny have been up to, and provides a touching moment honoring the fallen lostaway, charlie.
anyway, here's the thing about time travel, because the lostaways are skipping through time, do they have any direct causal relationship with the events that brought them to the island? as they skip through time, it looks like they stay in each time period for a bit longer, will the skipping stop somewhere specific? are the lostaways in some way connected to the others or dharma. the season opener showed us a scene where daniel was clearly interacting with dharma folks.
what is daniel's endgame by the way? in "jughead" we learn that he had a girlfriend he abandoned who was rendered a vegetable from his time travel experiments. he also claims to love charlotte who is exhibiting signs of time travel sickness. is he sincere? i'm not sure if i believe him, but i am enjoying the chemistry between dan and charlotte. i'm not sure why i like daniel faraday, i think jeffrey davies is doing a great job of making him both empathetic and mysterious. how connected is he to charles widmore?
speaking of charles widmore, how old is he? he's at least 18 in the 1950s, so that makes him at least in his 70s in the 2000s. but if faraday has been working on time travel, then perhaps charles has done some of his own time traveling. i am so curious to learn more about the connections between these characters.
i think that the characters and their connections really drive the show. i loved all of the stuff between sawyer and juliet. i think that they have an interesting dynamic, especially as lostaways who had strong romantic feelings for oceanic sixers that they presume dead.
and speaking of oceanic sixers, this didnt't really come up in "jughead" but i'm worried that sun is now evil, i mean she seemed friendly while talking to kate, but for some reason i don't believe she was being sincere. there was so much tension in that final scene. although i'm confused as to why she would be mad at ben linus and not charles widmore, since charles is the one who owned the boat that blew up.
hmm, that's a scattered look at my thoughts on the latest "lost." really i'm just loving it.