Tuesday, March 31, 2009

simply goes to show that all workplaces endure their share of soapiness

finally, "grey's anatomy" has turned a corner. it's as if the whole "i see dead people" kick the show was on has been put out to the curb. my biggest problems with the ferry boat episodes and then the dead denny walking storylines have been with the fact that this show deals in realities of a type that don't translate well into the supernatural. grey's takes place in a world where life happens, so when it would leap to the other side it didn't feel true to the story and seemed to be a way to cheat and seek out some cheap emotional depth to the story.

the last two episodes have been fantastic. the fallout of izzie's illness coming out has given us some bravura storylines for all of the cast members. finally this is a story that means something. it affects everyone, even if they aren't close to izzie.

alex karev has always been my favorite grey's character. seeing him deal with the knowledge that izzie is sick, that she might be dying...well, you can see for yourself, it just leads to just an amazing scene between him and meredith:

i love scenes between alex and meredith, i think that beyond all the other friendships on the show, alex and meredith get each other in some intrinsic way. they are similar in spirit, they both come from dark places and somehow manage to survive. that is why i find them so interesting.

and it's clearly why derek loves her:

they are engaged! it's finally happened. i love it. hopefully the show continues to show them growing as a couple.

meanwhile, owen and christina continue to be grey's hottest couple. the scenes between them are fraught with emotion, with heat. as his ptsd burgeons out of control, christina is given every reason to abandon him, but she stays by his side, until she realizes that staying by his side also means that she has to live with the fear that he will hurt her. as he seeks treatment from derek, we can only wonder how the two of them will find their way back to each other. and i really hope that they do, because they are such a hot couple.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

simply namaste and let sawyer run the show

i'm still totally squeeing over sawyer. i just love the guy. he's too cute for words and he's crazy hot, and i have an insane crush on him.

ok, so now that i've gotten that off my chest, here are my thoughts on the latest episode of "lost." first of all, i wonder why sun and locke and ben remained in the present, when everyone else went back 30 years? oh my god. i've just realized that sawyer, jack, kate, and hurley, were all chosen to appear before the others when michael was trying to free walt. could their presence on the island 30 years before have been a factor for being chosen as special? is this why ben wouldn't let juliet leave?

just considering the fact that the castaways have probably played some kind of role in their own past blows my mind. but clearly the fabric of their lives is intricately tied to the island. picking apart the threads in order to weave together a clear picture is likely to be the basis for the remainder of the series.

and what role will dan faraday play into all of that? we can guess that he may have used the orchid station to travel through time and space, but where would he have ended up? i think that the day where all the characters connections to each other will be revealed will be a mind-blowing one.

amy and horace have a son named ethan. we know ethan survived the purge, and he must have grown up on the island. why is he special and what is the significance of his birth. is he the last child born on the island before the incident? and are we going to witness the incident next week? those previews were seriously intense.

one of the great things about having the oceanic six come back to the island, is that three years have passed. and the island that they've returned to, isn't the same island they left. and the three years that the left-behinders shared together on the island, means more than the three years that the oceanic six spent apart and away from the island. this is sawyer's island. i think that the rest of them are going to have a hard time having his back.

my favorite moment of the episode: when jack goes to sawyer's cabin. first he sees juliet face to face for the first time since returning to the island, and he's blindsided by the realization that sawyer and juliet live together. he then confronts sawyer about what the plan is. it's a powerful moment, because now sawyer really is in control. he's changed in the intervening years, he's established a role for himself, and he's protected the people that he cares about. jack needs to trust sawyer, but because jack can't forget and has proven to be really bad at forgiveness, this will be a challenge. especially since their leadership styles are so different.

obviously, my opinion is biased because of my insane love for sawyer, but i love this show best when it is told from sawyer's perspective. i love his reactions to the events. i love that he is this guy who most likely grew up in a trailer park, who had nothing but revenge in his heart, and who is one of the smartest, most well-read characters on the island. he's changed from the guy who was only thinking of himself, going off half-cocked. he's the guy who wants to protect the people around him, protect the life that he has built for himself, and reunite with his friends. he's a guy who has made mistakes, and who has learned from them. i really love this guy, and i love how well the story flows when it is told with him as hero.

i don't think "lost" is jack's story at all. i think it's sawyer's story. because being on the island, and everything he has gone through, the sacrifices he made, the blood he has on his hands, all of that is a story of redemption. jack has always seemed to be searching for the path of the righteous, but i'm not sure that this is where the show belongs. i'm just interested to see what the show does with the character dynamics. i really think that sawyer is the guy to watch. i trust him to get them all out of this, or at least get them to where they need to go for the next piece to fall into play. and who knows where or when that might be.

screencaps courtesy of abc.com.

simply unable to stop obsessing about all the things wrong with gh

i love kirsten storms and her portrayal of maxie jones as much as anyone else, but i definitely do not love this:

or this. (also, it's a lot frightening to see how little her arms are, especially if you think about how the camera adds 10 pounds.)

i know that there are a lot of maxie-spinelli fans out there, but i'm just not entirely sold on this pairing. maxie has definitely made spinelli a more bearable character, since brad anderson tones down some of the spastic tics and expresses himself (albeit in a slightly more shakespearan manner) with a modicum of normality when spinelli addresses maxie. (note that it spins out of control when spinelli and winifred talk to each other. gh needs to seriously consider adding a health warning when those two are in scenes together: may cause fits of rage or hysteria when consumed for intervals longer than 20 seconds.

i could post a youtube video of some of their moments, but i will spare us all. instead i will focus on my original point, which was that while i do not mind that maxie and spinelli are friends, i still don't want them together as a romantic pairing. he doesn't need a clone of himself, but perhaps someone nice and wholesome, who he isn't obviously attracted to, but with whom he has good chemistry and who's forgiveness of his quirks makes a lot of sense...oh yeah, he had that...with georgie. so all these scenes where maxie essentially manipulates spinelli by confessing her attraction to johnny were a little on the absurd side. because if he is her essential person, then she should want to do what is good for him. and though she is selfish and self-whatever to the core, she also has a knack for seeing the truth of a situation, and it doesn't really fly that she would be so blatantly manipulative and hurtful. she isn't that oblivious.

now here's the thing, i actually really like johnny. i've liked brandon barash from the get-go. my problem with his storyline is that being with lulu makes him the most boring and miserable human being. mostly this is just due to the fact that lulu is the worst character that ever lived. to think that she was such an adorable baby and has turned into a shrill harpy...tsk tsk. anyway, johnny and lulu suck the miniscule amount of joy this show has right out of the screen. not to mention the fact that brandon barash and julie marie berman often look like they would rather swim in dog poo than share the screen together. so it's not surprising that i get a kick out of this:

but, i also really enjoyed this brief flirtation between matt and maxie, and think that a doctor is more appropriate for maxie than another mob guy. i mean, there is some serious soapy goodness that could come from a matt and maxie pairing. the connections between their families, her health issues, both of them have been neglected by their parents, and they are both legacy characters. here's the last time they shared the screen together:

and then the ball gets dropped in favor of the hospital crisis and neither of them have been on screen together since. why won't gh commit to any one storyline these days? especially love stories, am i wrong in thinking that the love stories is why most people start watching soaps in the first place? gh is all guns and misogyny and violence and the mob, it's about damn time we got some romance. and it's past time the show appropriately took advantage of its wonderful cast.

i know that a lot of people disagree with me, but i'm glad that carly and jax have found their way back to each other. i really think the writing for carly has shown a lot of growth for the character. she's actually behaving like a grown up, and has been significantly less shrill. if you ask me it makes sense that carly and jax have found their way back to each other, and i'm genuinely glad that they get to make another go of it. and it was very romantic.

screencaps courtesy of laurieluvsliason.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

simply speculation

hmmm, so apparently helena is swinging back by port charles to wreak vengeance on her darling grandson, nicholas. i wonder if resident "bad" girl rebecca, figures into her plan. here's hoping that emily quartermaine is being brought back to life.

though, i am enjoying rebecca and lucky together. and i enjoyed today's confrontation between lucky and nicholas. it's at least something not related to the mob. i'm kind of hoping that emily comes back to life and she and lucky have a thing and we delve into how elizabeth and nicholas have to deal with it.

i think i like this storyline so much because when i started watching "general hospital" lucky, liz, nicholas, and emily were the 4 musketeers. and i really enjoyed watching them all interact. here's a little reminder:

youtube is a wonderful thing.

simply getting together with the five families

i have a confession to make. i watched the godfather trilogy for the first time this weekend. (ok, well, i'd seen pieces of it before on television, but it was re-edited for tv and aired the saga chronologically, which funnily enough was pretty confusing and completely off-topic.) i really enjoyed the movies, and i now understand why so many people rate at least the godfather or the godfather: part ii in their top ten movies of all time lists, and perhaps because i had been warned that the third one was terrible, i even enjoyed that one.

watching the story of a family that is built on and then ultimately destroyed by the mob, could only bring into relief how pathetic "general hospital"'s attempts to portray the mob have always been. i caught up with gh yesterday and could only chuckle at claudia and sonny's plan to have a cocktail party with the five families (why are there always five families in mob stories on television and movies? i don't understand. i suspect that they are all influenced by the godfather.)

but it got me thinking about the way the mob story is told in port charles. clearly we are meant to see the parallels between michael "sonny" corinthos and the corleone family leaders: vito corleone, santino "sonny" corleone, and michael corleone. obviously, sonny is in some way meant to be an amalgam of the three. i personally think sonny is most like sonny--irrational, misogynistic, volatile, concerned with power and preserving the family's place in the world. jason, i think, is most like michael--more deliberate, more tortured. and based on the movies, the guy you really want in charge is the michael character.

in the godfather trilogy, being the godfather, having that power, came at great cost. in some ways michael and vito had to sacrifice some of their humanity to take on the role of mob boss. sure they were the movie's heroes, but that didn't mean that every decision they made was to be applauded. the fact was they couldn't escape the mob. it was encoded in their dna. gh's greatest flaw in this whole mob storyline is that the characters lack the depth of feeling to pull it off in a believable way.

jason and sonny have talked about the cost of their choices to their loved ones, but they never really internalize those costs. coming back to the mob could have been a powerful storyline for sonny, imagine this...sonny is in love with a woman who refuses to have anything to do with the mob, his son is shot in a mob hit gone bad and left in a permanent coma, he leaves his position as mob boss to protect the rest of his family and his new love, sonny struggles in keeping his distance from his old life, he visits michael regularly and is reminded and resolved on his path to go legit, another "botched" mob hit guns down his prospective bride and he goes on a warpath, however this time he has no power base to rely on and must rebuild things from the ground up, marrying into another mob family putting him at odds with everyone from his former life, he gains the revenge he seeks and continues on his path to power, making enemies of old friends...

i mean, i'm not deviating too wildly from the actual events as they happened. i just think that there could be more heft to his motivations, and i think that jason giving sonny back everything he had given up is such a cheat. that after all this time, and all these things, we end up back at square one is such a waste. if jason were to give things back to sonny, have it happen for better reasons. for example, the fbi storyline forces him to work on the right side of the law and he finds he has a knack for it and wants a chance at a normal life where he can kill the bad guys without prejudice and in doing so sonny wrangles control of the business. or, while trying to work both sides of the law he suffers another head injury--this one wiping out his memories of jason morgan. adjusting to life as jason quartermaine, he struggles with the knowledge that he did some very bad things when he was jason morgan, he can't bear to even speak with sonny or anyone from his life as jason morgan, giving sonny back control of what was once his.

i don't know. i think these things would actually be interesting. but sadly, i'm just a tortured viewer and have no sway with the writing staff. especially since no matter how i complain, i can't seem to stop myself from watching.

Friday, March 13, 2009

seriously romantic: all head and no heart

sometimes romance novels are surprisingly well-written. thought-provoking. intelligent. i've read a ton of romance novels in my time, and find that the writers i truly enjoy are really good writers first and foremost.

stephanie laurens is a great writer. her stories are often very intelligent, and at times the writing is truly lyrical. she has developed the long-running cynster series, of which there are about 14 to 15 semi-connected novels. where the men are dominant, protective, fiercely intelligent, hot, and have not only the ability to recognize love, but the ability to recognize that they are in love with the heroine within the first 100 pages of the novel. and the women are independent, headstrong, beautiful, fiercely intelligent, extremely competent, and who struggle to accept love can be freeing with the right man.

every romance writer has a template of sorts. especially the prolific ones. and the only problem with that, is that the more you read their novels, no matter how well-written they are, they start to get kind of boring. i just finished reading where the heart leads and as much as i wanted to like the novel, i found myself wishing that the characters would break out of the mold.

i wanted them to think a little less about their feelings and instead act on them. there's this difficult balance between showing and telling when you are writing a story. spending as much time as we do in both barnaby and penelope's heads takes away some of the romance. and then what is the point of reading the book in the first place?

i think there are highlights and lowlights in every long-running series. as wonderful as it is to catch up with characters you know and love from previous books, there is also the danger of falling into a rut, of repeating yourself accidentally. i think the cynsters are reaching the end of the line. and according to stephanie laurens' website there are 5 cynster females remaining, and hopefully that will close the series out and allow laurens' to shake up her formulas a bit.

in any case, my three favorite books of the series are on a wicked dawn, the perfect lover, a taste of innocence. i think in part because these books do alter the formula a bit. the pairings in these novels act on their emotions, they do a bit more than rationalize and think so much about everything. besides luc, simon, and charlie are all just swoonworthy heroes.

one of the best things about this series is that almost all of the novels stand on their own. and you don't need to read them in order, or even read them all to enjoy the stories. so i recommend reading the descriptions and picking up the ones that interest you the most, and putting aside the ones that don't. maybe pick those up on a rainy day where you have nothing else to read and no plans to go anywhere.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

simply an absurd way to behave

so the other day on "general hospital" robin brings emma to kelly's and runs into elizabeth. elizabeth says hello, asks mike for her grandmother's order, and just starts taking emma out of her stroller...

who does that? i'm not a mom, but i'm telling you right now, it doesn't matter if it's my closest friend, they're not picking up my baby without asking me first. meanwhile, this whole ppd storyline needs to be resolved. robin is never fun to be around when she's strident, unreasonable, and defensive. it's not surprising that patrick is walking on eggshells around her, since she is so unpleasant when she gets that way. but at the same time this storyline needs to make some progress.

also, what is sonny thinking? what kind of person, especially one who has witnessed some tension, asks a wife to keep a secret from her husband? i mean, robin and patrick have enough to deal with in their own lives, why do we need to involve sonny and carly in their marital drama? robin isn't okay. and she may end up seeing something that helps michael, but at what cost to her? patrick? emma? ugh. i'm so annoyed with the whole thing. on top of that, he knows how carly feels about robin...why would he decide to go behind her back on something so important, with someone he knows she won't appreciate?

here's the thing, and i am ignoring carly's irrational behavior as to robin's hiv status, i've always understood why carly doesn't like robin. when robin told a.j. that michael was his son...i just remember not being okay with that. first of all, it wasn't her truth to tell. and though to some degree i understood her reasoning, i also thought that it was the cruelest thing she could have done to jason and michael. and ultimately, no matter how she whitewashed it, she did it because she was jealous of carly. considering how things ended up, who knows what might have happened had she just minded her own business.

ugh. rewatching that...i just hated robin then. i also really hated that haircut.

but boy, gh was so juicy back then. there was real drama, even if it took a while to get to a conclusion there was always tension, and people made complicated decisions that had emotional heft. there were love triangles that were actually complicated. there was some real soap opera magic. so it's tragic to see all that history be squandered and killed off willy-nilly by this writing staff.

one last thing...i'm kind of digging lucky and rebecca. natalia and greg have some pretty good chemistry. and i like the potential problems it will create for liz and nicholas, who have a harder time separating rebecca from emily.

Friday, March 6, 2009

simply why i am madly in love with sawyer

ok. it's no secret that i love sawyer.

this scene made me love him all the more:

how dreamy is he?? i actually really like him and juliet together. the episode did a great job of filling us in on what happened to the left-behinders and moved us to a point where all the stories can come together. i wonder how the stories will be told, though i'm not entirely positive that everyone is in the same time, so there will probably still be some flashing between timelines. we shall see. anyway, back to my original point...

what i really liked about the episode is how it developed sawyer and juliet's relationship. showing her having his back, even if she thought whatever it was he was planning was stupid. that's more than kate ever did for him. here's the thing, i've always been a fan of kate and sawyer, but i've come to realize that it has less to do with liking kate and more with just how much i love sawyer.

this episode really showed us how much sawyer has grown and developed as a character since season 1. i think it's part of what makes him so fascinating...he is so complex. here is a guy who is capable of really horrible things, and yet underneath it all he's just a big softie. i absolutely love that about him. compared to kate and jack who have remained the same in essentials--jack is still the guy who needs to fix things and kate is still running--sawyer's character development really makes him the show's heart. at least in my mind...and apparently doc jensen's.

i know, i know. i'm obsessed. i just can't help it. and i really can't wait to see what happens next. and of course i have to wait two weeks.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

simply inexplicable

i bet you all are thinking that this is another lost blog post, but it's not. it's actually about the hot mess that is "general hospital." i'm embarrassed to admit this, but i'm actually traveling for work and have been catching up with the episodes online, via abc's full episode player. in any case, sometimes i wonder why i bother catching up with episodes i've missed instead of just skipping them over. i suspect it's some sort of masochistic tendency on my part.

here's the thing, i think one of the biggest problems gh faces is that the writers have continued to write themselves into corners that they can't wriggle out of and they relentlessly cling to storylines that do not work while refusing to take the tired stories in newer, possibly interesting directions.

i've been doing a lot of lists lately, but it's the best way to highlight all the things wrong with this show.

1. claudia zacchara
in all honesty, i like claudia. i think sarah brown is fantastic, and i think that the writers have made a mess of her character. the one night stand with sonny that brought her back on the canvas didn't bother me, it was the misogynistic behavior that resulted from every quarter in port charles that did. somehow claudia was wrong to sleep with sonny, when he was the one who was so in love with someone else. how was she to know that he was in a committed relationship (even if kate and sonny were totally on a break)? granted they made her behave like a stalker when they ran into each other again, but sonny was really awful to her.

she made some horrible choices too, and putting out the hit on sonny that resulted in michael's shooting was a bad idea. but at the same time, i don't see her as responsible for the shooting. she didn't pull the trigger and michael was never the target. he wasn't supposed to be at the warehouse. i think i'd be a terrible mobster, because i just don't get mob justice and accountability. i don't see how claudia behaved any differently than jason or sonny, only that her actions had really bad consequences for an innocent party.

i also think that in some ways the people who do know about the hit, must think like me. here's the thing, sarah brown excels at playing claudia's vulnerable side. she cries A LOT, but she's also been treated like crap by all the men she's ever loved--even johnny flip flops on his treatment of her. every woman in town treats her like she's the town whore, rather conveniently forgetting their own poor choices in the sleeping around department.

when claudia interacts with nicholas, spinelli, jason, and johnny, she's surprisingly great. during the hospital crisis her scenes with carly were fantastic. and now that sarah brown has extended her contract for another year, there is no easy way out of the "who ordered the hit that resulted in michael's shooting" scenario. so they're trying to redeem her, but when you make someone behave irredeemably, that is impossible. and nothing makes sense.

i like claudia, i really do. and i think that claudia and sonny together are more interesting than sonny and kate ever were. as much as they like to put sonny in triangles with the angel/whore dynamic, what they seem to forget every single time is that it never works out with the angels. sonny is into whores--see lily/brenda, carly/emily, kate/olivia, kate/claudia, etc. sarah brown and maurice bernard have fantastic chemistry too, it's amazing to contrast it with the snoozefest that was kate and sonny.

what's annoying about the claudia zacchara situation is that obviously at some point the truth will come out. and it sucks that she'll have to pay for it. especially considering how much jason and sonny get away with, how much blood they have on their hands.

2. emily quartermaine/rebecca shaw
killing emily bowen quartermaine was possibly one of the stupidest things this show has ever done. i'm not a natalia livingston fan, but i have always been a fan of emily. so when natalia decided to leave, i'm not sure why emily couldn't have been recast. or at the least terribly injured and sent away to recover for the 10 months it took natalia to reconsider her employment status on "general hospital." if she really wanted to change her look, you could always say she woke up from her coma feeling like a different person. jason did that, why couldn't emily?

i don't care about rebecca shaw. everything having to do with her is boring. and her eye makeup couldn't be more terrible. it reminds me of when amber tamblyn first started wearing makeup as emily, when she went through a little rebellious period with lucky, and i don't think that it is their intention to remind me of that.

in any case, if rebecca arrived on the scene with a nefarious purpose, they need to get to it. because it's so boring watching everyone react to her doppelganger status. especially since nicholas had a doppleganger while he and emily were together and this was a major storyline for both characters. and the thing is, i can't warm up to rebecca really, because i don't understand why they just can't bring emily back from the dead. maybe helena kidnapped her during the black and white ball and had a minion who looked exactly like emily killed and this emily who has come to town is brainwashed much like lucky was when he was kidnapped by helena.

having rebecca around is ultimately less soapy and creative than if they had found a way to bring emily back. and they need to do something to make this character a bit more interesting and way less annoying.

3. jason and sonny
why are we reverting back to everything the way it was before?

ugh. just ugh. i can't even use words to explain how annoyed it all makes me. because michael's shooting was supposed to have consequences, it was supposed to change everything. but it hasn't because jason and sonny are the same as they have always been. and even though the story has been more interesting having them on separate teams, i can't believe we're going back.

and if ultimately the consequences of michael's shooting aren't long-lasting. and if they do bring michael back--which is clearly what they are planning to do then what is the point in having claudia take the fall for the shooting in the first place?

it's just so wasteful. so many potential storylines. all of them going to waste.

and that's the theme on "general hospital": wasted potential. i watch because i fool myself into thinking that they'll catch on and tell a good soapy story the way they did in the 90s (when i first got hooked) but it's not going to happen. especially not as long as there is no change of leadership in the writing and producing staff.

simply all about locke

oops, i know that the latest episode of "lost" has already aired, but i wanted to write about my thoughts on each episode, so here is what i think of "the life and death of jeremy bentham":

1. i enjoyed how this episode explained locke's journey to speak with the oceanic six. and the less than successful results he had with each of them. except, unltimately he did succeed, and clearly his journey wasn't in vain.

2. charles widmore is about 71! man is looking good. i am more confused than ever about the power struggle (maybe even the war) going on between ben and widmore, and i'm not sure that having that power struggle be the series raison d'etre works. we know our main cast is important to the island for some reason, but it seems to me that the reason should be more mystical than "they are key players to the war between widmore and ben in trying to gain control of the island." i often think that maybe we shouldn't get an explanation for "why these people? what is so special about the lostaways?" because there will be no satisfying answer. though, i do trust the producers to do their best, and they do have a chance of being successful.

3. no sawyer. i miss him.

4. what did kate mean when she asked john if he'd ever been in love? that scene is so filled with subtext, except that i have no idea what the subtext seems to be saying. sometimes watching this show makes me feel stupid.

5. and then i ask questions like what was up with ben? why did he pull john off the ledge of suicide and then kill john himself? is that the way it needed to happen to get them back to the island? i can't wait to see how ben explains himself to john when they next see each other.

in the end, this episode simply filled in the blanks and gave us some background as to how the existence of jeremy bentham helped propel the oceanic six back to the island. but i am glad we are now back on the island. i can't wait to see what happens next. and i'll leave you with the following graph:

Song Chart Memes