Sunday, April 8, 2012

TV Report: Week of 4/1

Looking back on this past week of TV, it seems I skipped watching as many shows as I actually did find the time to watch. The list of shows I didn't get to see included Castle, Ringer, Big Bang Theory, Grey's Anatomy, and Fringe as well as the season/series premieres of The Killing and Scandal. In any case, onwards to those shows I actually saw...

Game of Thrones

As I had already mentioned briefly elsewhere, I loved the season premiere. Unlike the premiere last year when I had no idea who anyone was or where anything was, this episode felt like coming back home and seeing old friends. We do get caught up on the lives of most everyone in Westeros from Jon Snow traveling beyond the Wall to Dany traversing the great desert. We spend lots of time in King's Landing seeing how that rat bastard Joffrey is liking being the king. We actually begin and end the episode seeing just how far Joffrey would go to fulfill his blood lust. More entertaining are his mom Cersei and his uncle Tyrion by his side especially with both of them getting the best scenes of the episode. Rather than the episode feeling disjointed and schizophrenic, it actually flowed quite well together and a lot of the scenes were held together by the red comet in the sky signaling dragons. We do meet new people and see new places, but for the most part it was more of the same from the first season only so much better. If anything this show is just tempting me more and more to pick up the books they are adapted from.

Once Upon A Time

This was a big episode for the series since it presumably explained just exactly why Regina hates Mary Margaret so much. It turned out Regina had an Evil Mother herself when she was much younger who was even more overbearing and magically powerful than her and so deliciously played by Barbara Hershey. Regina's mother wants her to marry the King aka Snow White's father, but Regina has already fallen in love with their stable boy. Young Snow White, played by Bailee Madison (who really was cast perfectly to play a young Ginnifer Goodwin), finds out about Regina and the stable boy and while sad for her father was actually okay keeping Regina's secret to run away with the stable boy because of True Love. Of course Snow was manipulated by Regina's mother and that was all she wrote. Stable boy dies, Regina's heart turns dark, and young Snow's mistake may mean the end to Mary Margaret's life in the real world. As a showcase for Hershey and Madison, this was a great episode. As an actual explanation to the Evil Queen's evilness? I still don't buy it. Yes, having your True Love die because of your mother will mess you up, but to that extent and to blame a little girl? Katherine showing up at the end will hopefully mean things are moving forward with that interminable storyline.

Mad Men

It's very easy to not like, or even straight-up, hate Betty. She is pretty pathetic and the writers on this show seems to relish on this as evident by the weight gain the character went through to signal how depressed and unfulfilled she has been. In truth they were just trying to deal with January Jones real-life pregnancy, but the fat suit and make-up were still a touch comical even as it signified something deeper. I wished more people appreciated Jones' performance though. Her phone call with Don or the very last scene with her eating Sally's ice cream were just so well done. Also I'm a bit jealous of her new gothic house. Elsewhere i.e. inside the offices of SCDP everyone is aware of a change in the air. Don has a new (and black) secretary hilariously named Dawn. Peggy hires an obnoxious, but very talented new copywriter. And Roger plays into Pete's hand over the Mohawk Airline account. A slightly less successful episode than the 2-hr premiere, but still a good solid hour.


We say goodbye to the Gallaghers yet again and at least this time they all seem to be in a roughly good spot. I'm actually surprised we ended on such a happy note after a season full of setbacks and drama that I really thought SOMETHING horrible was going to happen in those last few seconds. Yes, Frank is still his miserable self and he is drunk outside in the snow with no one to give a crap about him, but it's quite difficult to feel sorry for him after all of the stunts he pulled this past season. Okay, my heart went out to him a little bit after Monica left him especially since he has been the most human around her these last couple of episodes. But Fiona and Jimmy (not Steve anymore!) are together, Lip is back home where he belongs, and Ian has a new sugar daddy who is... SHOCKING TWIST... Jimmy's father. As soapy and insade as that development was I still give them kudos for going there. It also means we will hopefully get more of Jimmy's whole crazy clan next season. Karen, like Frank, is off into the cold by herself after leaving home when her mom (and Jody) picked her baby over her. Sheila really grew into herself this season and at the end finally stood up for herself and for what she wanted. That's a big as step for her as it was leaving the house last season. And finally, Emmy Rossum. There's nothing to say really. She's just wonderful here as she had been every damn episode of this show. Stay warm, Gallaghers.

Happy Endings

Gay wedding season finale episode as the gang gets together for yet another wedding this time for their friend Derrick's wedding with his partner Eric (so are they Derric or Erick?). Plus the Year of Penny ends with her feelings for Dave almost out in the open if it weren't for her now maybe boyfriend in the shape of Brian Austin Green. Her single status was a joke throughout but it really paid off when she had to dance with a laptop. I'm okay with them dipping into the Dave/Alex well again. There have been small (and big) moments this season regarding them and Alex in general has blossomed into a great character that I see them working even if it isn't endgame. As for Brad/Jane, they're always a hoot as they have been all season. Brad freaking out about being laid off and Jane taking the wedding into her own hands were great. Plus Jane's replicating Jolie's Oscar leg right after the show coined "Dujardin" as "being dressed sharply" was my favorite part of the night. Or was it Max's performance of "Like a Prayer" with the band Mandonna? I don't know! I love this show.


This show has delivered out of the box episodes before and have done them well such as the paintball episodes and the documentary episodes. So an episode that mixes the best parts of those episodes has got to be amazing right? In this case, yes it was. "Pillows and Blankets" had the look and feel of Ken Burns-narrated war documentary. I almost don't have the words to express what an amazing episode it was. It's TV storytelling at its best. Yes, it was super weird, but it also had a lot of heart. When Troy and Abed were hurling insults at each other or Jeff had the realization that he'd do anything for his friends, it all felt sincere, earned, and affective. But it was damn funny too like Britta's terrible photography, Annie's and Jeff's texts, or the Dean's apt question of "Do people go to classes?" Brilliant. Poignant. Nuts. Pretty much this show in a nutshell.


Despite its low ratings which pretty much guarantee its cancellation, it's episodes like this past week that keeps watching until the bitter end as Britten gets more than he can handle as he is forced to negotiate with a mental patient just as he starts experience hallucinations himself (that penguin was hilarious). All the while he is trying to convince everyone, both his therapists especially, that he is okay even as he's starting to realize that he is probably lying to himself. It's a twisty episodes with lots of turns which gives the episode some needed suspense and differentiating it enough from episodes prior, but the heart of the episode, Britten's relationship with his wife in one world and his son in another is intact. Again, the show will get cancelled with the ratings it's been getting, but if anyone wants my opinion on whether or not to still watch the show then my answer would be YES.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

The title of this week's Smash episode was "Hell on Earth" and really the jokes write themselves... I'm very glad that the Cece/Schmidt relationship on New Girl is now out and I quite liked how the show handled it... It's been years since I've seen an episode of One Tree Hill but I wanted to give it a quick shout-out for its series finale this past week... I laughed way too hard at seeing Jenna as a Smurf on 30 Rock this week... Touch had an above average episode but I'm still pretty lukewarm to the series... And finally Sofia Vergara on SNL was good though it all depended on the skits with half of them close to brilliant while the other half absolutely horrible.

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