Thursday, November 30, 2006

Medium: Hey! It's That Guy!

Last night's Medium featured a return appearance by a total Hey! It's That Guy!, in an above-average episode with a couple good twists.

His name is Mark Sheppard, and I recognized him from a first-season X-Files episode, apparently one of his first TV jobs ("Fire," in which he played Cecil L'Ively, for the curious). His resume contains an impressive number of guest-starring TV drama roles (including the requisite demon role on Charmed), and it's no wonder--he was totally creepy last night as Dr. Charles Walker (18th-century doctor/girl-cutter-upper), and totally relatable as Jack Walker (21st-century regular guy who hears the voice of his 18th-century serial killer relative). Well played, Mark Sheppard.

I liked that the episode showed that Allison isn't totally infallible, although I think the show could probably stand a little less of the "if only the police had listened to Allison, that girl would still be alive" stuff. It's sort of like on The X-Files (since it's in my head already), when Mulder was pretty much always right, and there was something supernatural afoot. It's not as interesting if the protagonist is ALWAYS right, guys.

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How I Met Your Mother: BEST EVER

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal perform "Confrontation" from Les Miserables on the Megan Mullally Show. It's pretty much the best thing ever. Something about the ridiculous drama of the song in combination with Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal's actual singing talent is just...magic.

Thank you, TV Tattle. Without this video, my life would not be complete.

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ScrubsWatch '06: Happy ScrubsDay!!!

It's here! It's finally here! Season Six of Scrubs will premiere tonight at 9 PM on NBC, surrounded by three of the other best comedies on television. Life is as it should be. Now, I realize it's up against Grey's Anatomy, which will be tough for some of you (and me), but that's what DVRs and VCRs are for! It's an embarrassment of riches! NBC has a mini-preview of tonight's episode (click on "featured video"), and from everything I've read, it's gonna be action-packed!

There are about a million articles today about Scrubs and the new NBC comedy block, and most of them source the same interview with Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff, but these two contain several tidbits from tonight's episode, for those of you who don't mind knowing a couple of the jokes in advance. The second article does criticize the show a little, but I'm not going to let that ruin ScrubsDay for me! Nine hours and counting!

UPDATE: USA Today has a GREAT interview with the producers of all the shows on the new NBC comedy block tonight (Greg Garcia-My Name is Earl, Greg Daniels-The Office, Bill Lawrence-Scrubs, and Tina Fey-30 Rock). It offers both insight and hilarity. Sample excerpt:

Despite the praise and awards, most of these shows have struggled to attract viewers. 30 Rock is going through that now. How has NBC responded?

Lawrence: One of the greatest things that happened with The Office was that NBC wasn't on top of the world, and had an executive like (entertainment chief) Kevin Reilly who could stand up for it and take chances. ... Who's to say that four years earlier when Friends was pulling in ridiculous numbers that they wouldn't have pulled the plug quicker?

Daniels: What do you think, Tina? The Office was pretty low rated in the beginning, but I never got the feeling (NBC) was panicking.

Fey: I feel like they've been very supportive of us. They kind of know what the show they bought is about and are not all of a sudden trying to change it.

Lawrence: But Tina's character does have superpowers from now on.

Fey: I do have superpowers. And a briefcase full of money. My character is going to give away up to $100,000 every week.

Lawrence: Otherwise, it's the same show.

AWESOME. Go read the whole thing!

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America's Next Top Model: You Can Dance if You Want To

Last week on America's Next Top Model, Michelle took one for the team, even though she and Amanda don't technically play for the same team anymore...if you know what I mean. Amanda's grief is manifesting itself unusually, though: it appears to have destroyed her sense of fashion. CariDee and Melrose aren't helping, either, as they "help" Amanda pick out a horrible, hideous outfit. It involves a silky magenta camisole and a flouncy purple, white, and red-banded skirt. Yeah, red and hot pink. So bad. Amanda and the other girls, by the way, are fully aware that Michelle sacrificed herself so that her twin could continue in the competition. They all think Michelle is the best sister evah.

The girls head out to meet a short Spanish dude named Nacho, who's a flamenco instructor. Man, I've always thought of "Nacho" as the name the class clown picks in middle school Spanish class, not a legitimate Spanish name. My bad, I guess. Nacho brings out some male dancers, and Amanda is nervous already. I really feel for her, 'cause I'd suck at this, too. Eugena says the dancing is easy for her, 'cause she's got rhythm. She's also got music and her man. Who could ask for anything more? This flamenco business looks really hard, and Amanda's trying, but struggling. Poor Amanda! That would SO be me.

The girls meet Miss Jay for dinner, and CariDee immediately starts brainstorming the best way to put her foot in her mouth in front of a judge again. Miss Jay asks them how they ended up in the competition. Eugena simply says she saw it on a website, and Melrose interrupts to tell her entire life story (too tall and skinny to fit into clothes as a kid, got into fashion design, blah blah blah). CariDee interviews that Melrose is great at maintaining different personalities depending on who she's talking to. The bitch is manipulative. But we're onto you, Melrose, and you shall never be Covergirl of the Week--not now, not ever! Melrose, for her part, tells us she feels like a pro and is ready to win. Girls like you NEVER win, Melrose.

Amanda and CariDee practice, practice, practice, while Melrose and Eugena go with the not practicing strategy. We see Amanda practicing late into the night in grainy black and white footage through the creepily labeled "surveillance cam." Yeah. I sort of hope the "surveillance cam" is hidden in the eyes of one of those giant Tyra photos, so she's always watching you. Tyra is totally The Man.

We get lots of footage about how it's down to the final four, blah blah blah, and then a new day dawns in Spain, and CariDee invites us and Eugena to admire the smoothness of her armpits. Weirdo. She and Eugena are getting closer (armpit-touching closer), and neither of them wants Melrose to win. CariDee and Melrose diss each other in interviews for a few minutes. Highlights: CariDee gets on Melrose's nerves because of her "vulgarity," and "Melrose is so fake. She's like WWF wrestling. They perform well, but there's really nothing there." Ha!

The girls head to some Spanish villa, where they get into awesome flamenco dresses. The challenge is to dance the flamenco with their partners in front of a group of people, while being photographed. CariDee gets the sensual part down, and Eugena looks like she's really having fun. Amanda looks really awkward, but gets props for working hard, at least. Melrose looks really confident at first, but when her guy goes off-script, she totally messes up. HA.

The dancing instructor chooses Eugena as the winner, who picks Amanda to share in her prize. CariDee says she would've picked Amanda too, since she hasn't won one yet. The prize is Custo jackets, with a bonus shirt for Eugena. Melrose has a total crying freak-out about not being perfect. Eugena, an expert at losing sorely, pegs Melrose as a fellow sour grape connoisseur.

And we get ANOTHER "My Life as a Covergirl" spot about the commercial with Queen Latifah in which "Dani" was an extra. Either this is the third one, or they've run out of "cool stuff" "Dani" has done, and they were forced to repeat one. Either way, her life as a Covergirl sounds reeeal thrilling.

The girls meet Jay Manuel at the set of their shoot, and he introduces their on-set coach, Tyra! The shoot will take place in a swimming pool, where the girls (in evening gowns and with long hair) will be floating in the water, "ethereal nymph"-style, in pairs. Melrose and Eugena are up first, and the water is really, really cold. Melrose takes it like a pro, but Eugena has some trouble staying afloat. And also keeping her teeth from chattering.

CariDee is also having problems with the cold, but she and Amanda seem to be doing okay. Okay, that is, until CariDee starts shaking violently and has to get out of the pool to be warmed up and checked by medical guys. Jay Manuel says that as a model, CariDee needed to say when she was past her limit before it went too far. Yeah, right. If she had hopped out BEFORE she was hypothermic, Jay would've been all, "As a model, you need to be able to withstand difficult conditions to get the right shot." It's totally a lose-lose situation. Melrose basically calls CariDee an attention whore. To be fair to Amanda, Jay and Tyra let her finish up the shoot alone, and will digitally put her shot in with CariDee if one of her solo ones is best.

Someone's going home tomorrow, and Melrose obsesses about her flamenco mistake. CariDee and Amanda are more worried about the photo shoot results. At judging, Tyra greets the girls with, "You are the top four finest...chicks." Nigel: "Is that what you really wanted to say?" Tyra: "No, I wanted to say 'bitches.'" HA! The theme of this week, by the way, was learning to work with someone else. Whatever you say, Tyra.

They bring the girls up in their pairs, and Eugena and Melrose are first. Melrose's flamenco picture looks ridiculous to me - I think she may have a touch of the white boy underbite - but Twiggy likes it. Eugena's flamenco picture is also lame, in my opinion. Nigel has them do the dance they learned, and they fail to direct it sufficiently at the judging table/"photographer." Fair enough--that's probably why their pictures sucked. Their water shoot photo is pretty good, and the judges even call it beautiful. Eugena isn't really floating, though, and her film wasn't as consistently good as Melrose's. I'd also say the photo would be a lot better if they were both looking in the same general direction.

CariDee and Amanda are up next, and CariDee's flamenco photo is actually good. Twiggy helpfully point out that CariDee really looks like she's dancing. Um, yeah, maybe because she WAS dancing. Thanks, Twiggy. I can always count on you to add something useful and not at all obvious to the conversation. Amanda's face looks good in the photo, but her legs are all askew and awkward. Like, to the point where it looks like she may have dislocated a hip. She and CariDee demonstrate the dance, but Amanda misses a couple steps and gets flustered.

Then, the best thing ever: Tyra shows a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show clip where she's supposed to be a flamenco dancer as an example of faking it with confidence if you forget your moves. She looks RIDICULOUS, you guys. Her formula for flamenco success: Big dramatic flourish, shake arms violently around chest, move arms into another big dramatic flourish, shake arms violently around chest, repeat. Then, Miss Jay and Tyra dance fake flamenco. It's...amusing. And Tyra loses a shoe. Props to her, she doesn't miss a beat.

CariDee and Amanda's water photo is great. Nigel doesn't love Amanda's face, but Tyra loves that Amanda basically learned how to float during the shoot. She thinks that Amanda's hands and elbows were too awkward in the film, though. CariDee rocked the floating, and never looked cold in her frames. Tyra chastises her for not knowing her limits, though. Of course.

The judges deliberate alone. Nigel thinks Melrose can pretty much do no wrong, but she still irks him because she tries too hard and isn't natural. Also, she wears a stupid pink Barbie beret. Her look isn't as unique as Amanda's, but she's consistent. They find Eugena's constant withdrawal (personality-wise, not drug-wise) worrisome, but think she's got great potential. They think CariDee can take great pictures, even when she has hypothermia, but fear she's a bit high-maintenance. Amanda lacks coordination, but the camera loves her face. Plus, she has a fresh, inspirational look. Unfortunately, her body is horribly awkward.

Melrose and Eugena's crappy personality are in. Sucks to be Amanda. And she knows she's out. No worries, dude, you and your sister will have no trouble getting signed. Too bad Michelle's sacrifice was for naught, though. Tyra thinks Amanda and CariDee both have strong potential. Amanda is edgy and high-fashion, with beautiful pictures, but is too awkward, and too meek. CariDee might have a bit too much personality, and may not be able to handle difficult conditions when modeling (TOLD you it was lose-lose). CariDee's still in, and Amanda's out. Duh.

Amanda's bummed that it's over, but pleased with the experience and what she's accomplished. Aww. She seems at peace with her elimination, probably because she knows she'll do well after this. And ha, she says ANTM broke up with her. Those twins were actually pretty cool. Ah, well.

The next episode is the finale! Stay tuned for Covergirl commercials (complete with the requisite line-flubbing) and a runway that looks like a cave or something (complete with the requisite creepy little cave girls?).

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ScrubsWatch '06: One Day Left!

We are a short thirty-two hours away from the season premiere of Scrubs, and I am crazy psyched. Onward to the Scrubs news!

MovieWeb has posted a candid interview with Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff, in which they discuss the Year of the Babies, how they pick music for the show, Zach's next movie, and the multitalented awesomeness that is Masi Oka, among other things.

Hollyscoop points us to an eBay auction, organized by Johnny Walker Blue, which features hospital scrubs decorated by the cast of Scrubs. The auction will benefit the New Orleans Museum of Art's Katrina Fund, and runs through December 8th. Which is, incidentally, my birthday, so if you're looking for a present, I like the one decorated by Neil Flynn (Janitor) the best. Seriously, it's awesome. Ken Jenkins (Dr. Kelso), on the other hand, has produced a Go check 'em out, and start bidding if you can afford it! They're all just $50 right now, and it's for a great cause!

Finally, The National Ledger has an itty bitty interview with John C. McGinley (scroll down), in which he talks about the upcoming season and his latest movie, Ice Cube's aptly named, Are We Done Yet? Yeah, JCM has never really been one to go for quality in the movie scripts he chooses. Happily, that's not the case for television shows!

UPDATE: Donald Faison was on the Megan Mullally Show today! He talked about the new season, and how his experience with his own four kids is coming in handy on-set now that Turk has a baby. They also discussed the awesomeness that is Zach Braff, and how Donald and Zach are totally pals (despite their J.D.-and-Turk-like differences), and even lived together one summer in New York! Oh, and some basketball thing he wants to win. There's a very expensive ring involved.

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House: Before He Sputters Out...

Great episode last night. There was so much going on! Detective Tritter, sticking with his "keep applying pressure until someone cracks" philosophy, freezes everyone's bank accounts and proves himself to be even more like House by duplicating House's ability to poke at each individual's biggest weakness with a sharp stick. All sorts of genius House/Tritter parallels abound, especially in conversations between House and Cuddy and Tritter and Cuddy.

House, in the meantime, has become very, VERY mean now that Cuddy has reduced his pill intake. Like, meaner than usual. Cruel, even. It's hard to watch, especially when he makes Cuddy cry by snapping that it's a good thing her pregnancies haven't taken, since she'd be a terrible mother. Harsh, House. Harsh. Oh, and he punches Chase when Chase makes a correct diagnosis.

So, with everyone abused by House more than usual and with Tritter playing all kinds of mind games, who ends up betraying House? Wilson, of course. I knew he had it in him. Even though what he did was fairly understandable given the circumstances, I can't help hating Wilson a little. Or maybe a lot. And hoping that House runs him over with his motorcycle.

The case of the week, by the way, is a little girl who turns out to be allergic to the sun. It reminded me of two things. First, a Lifetime movie about two cute little blonde sisters with a deathly sun allergy. Their neighbors are less than understanding, spray painting "GO AWAY VAMPIRES" on their garage, and burning their house down with a Molotov cocktail. Yeah.

Second, it reminded me of an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, also featuring kids with sun allergies. The team puts a huge canopy up over the swimming pool, so that the kids can go swimming "whenever they want." Um, yeah, team, as long as "whenever they want" is at 12 noon or the middle of the night, since the sun doesn't shine straight down at any other time of the day, and thus the pool wouldn't be totally protected. Sigh.

House will be back in two weeks, when House and Cuddy will face off regarding a plea bargain in which House would go to rehab. Can't wait!

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¡Vidas de Fuego!

If, like me, you've been intrigued by the tiny, spicy tastes of Vidas de Fuego on Ugly Betty (the telenovela they're always watching, the one with the priest and the rich lady and the woman with the soccer ball up her dress), you are afortunado. ABC is making mini-episodes of the delightfully wacky, over-the-top show-within-a-show, which they are streaming online. This is an excellent idea, not just because Vidas de Fuego is genius, but because it's a smart marketing ploy. Although I don't recommend that other shows follow their lead. Sorry, Studio 60, but I have no desire to see Peripheral Vision Man: The Series.

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Veronica Mars: Some People Never Learn

And so the first big mystery of the season has wrapped up. Mac is back, alive and well, but remembering nothing about her harrowing multi-week ordeal (although her "Ask me about my STD" shirt may give us a clue as to where she's been), which I suppose is just as well for her mental health, and – oh, right, the campus rapist. Right, right.

First things first: Logan breaks up with Veronica, stating correctly that the two of them don't work together. Thanks for listening, Logan. Maybe you can do something about that mumbly delivery, too. The Greeks are back on campus, setting the stage for a big Pi Sig party, which the campus rapist has already promised he'd hit. Veronica recruits the V Squad (Mac, Wallace, and Piz) to be on the lookout for any girls dumb enough to go to a frat party that a rapist has said he'd be at and drink something she's taken her eye off of for at least one second. Um, I mean possibly drugged girls. They find one who's already gone back to her room, so Veronica swaps out for her in the dark, and – dum! – Mercer's the rapist after all! There's some stabby stabby with a unicorn, Veronica runs, and Moe the RA comes to her rescue, sitting her down with a nice cup of tea. Oh, Veronica, and you were doing so well. Because Moe is the procurement guy in this whole scheme, and he just slipped her some GHB. Twice in three weeks? Worst detective ever, Veronica. Fortunately, Parker is the Lassie of rapes, hearing Veronica's whistle and bringing the entire dorm out to face Moe and Mercer. When Veronica opens up her own Hearst detective agency (and I hope she does), there should be room for Parker on the roster.

But as one mystery ends, another begins, and this time it's the murder of Dean O'Dell. No! Not the student-hating, Mars-friendly dean! We'll still see him in flashbacks, right? Right?

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kevin Bright Won't 'Be There' for Sitcoms

Apparently Kevin Bright, former Friends executive producer, thinks sitcoms these days are unoriginal:

"We're in a bad place," he said. "Since Will and Grace I haven't seen one original idea on network TV."

Thus, Bright will devote himself to teaching the next generation of sitcom directors, because those who can do, teach. Wait, that's not quite right... (Sorry, teachers, it was just too easy.)

Seriously, what the hell, man? I'm sorry, but "Six white, middle-class urbanites hang around a coffee shop and date each other" isn't exactly reinventing the wheel. Yeah, it was clever and hilarious, but it was anything BUT original. Come on, just this Thursday night on NBC there will be THREE shows more original than Friends (I'm not counting The Office, since it's a remake), with nary a laugh track or "will they or won't they" to be found. And that's not even mentioning Arrested Development, possibly the funniest, most original sitcom EVER.

So in conclusion, suck it, Kevin Bright. Aside from Friends, your resume is embarrassing, and the sitcom medium has moved on without you. Enjoy obsolescence.

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Studio 60: B12 is Mmm-Mmm Good

I really enjoyed last night's Studio 60. Heavy on character drama, somewhat light on polemics (okay, not really, but they didn't stand out as much), and a return appearance by Christine Lahti!

It's raining in LA, and the whole cast has a death virus which requires a magical Hollywood curative: a shot of vitamin B12 in the keister. Fab.

Unfortunately for Jordan, when it rains it pours (couldn't resist). Not only is she probably getting fired, but when she tries to save her job with an interview in Time magazine, she ends up calling the reporter a hairdresser/gossip-monger. She later writes it up to hormones (yep, for those of you who were spoiler-free, Jordan's pregnant), but Sorkin Jordan makes a fair point about reporters basically writing their own news by creating rumors out of thin air. I'd find that frustrating, too.

Sorkin Danny later expresses his frustration with the fact that newspapers can quote the opinions of random people from the internet instead of, I don't know, a carefully selected focus group or something. Oh no, wait, he hates focus groups too, remember? So...yeah, okay. I guess only Aaron Sorkin and highly qualified professional critics are allowed to have opinions. Noted.

The two new writers are totally growing on me, and they almost get to have a sketch on the air this week! If only a hostage-taking murderer hadn't made it in bad taste, and required a last minute sketch about spit-takes. Charming. Now can anyone tell me who played the depressed veteran writer helping them out? I totally recognized the actor, but can't place him for the life of me. It's Mark McKinney from Kids in the Hall--thanks, Joe R! Apparently Mark's a writer/story editor on Studio 60, in fact.

Next week looks like some Matt/Harriet holiday drivel, so let's just power through and look forward to the New Year!

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Barney Is Now Legendary

TV Land has compiled a list of the 100 greatest TV catchphrases (to be ranked in a special), and one of the newest to make the list is "Suit up," made famous by Barney of How I Met Your Mother fame. Although the list skews heavily toward the 1970s, there are enough from more recent years (such as HIMYM, and "Denny Crane," from Boston Legal) to show that they're not completely ignoring current TV. One glaring omission, however: "Seriously," from Grey's Anatomy. I mean, they make mugs with that catchphrase on it. Seriously.

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Heroes: You've Got Questions, They've Sort of Got Answers

This week is not about advancing the plotlines. All the cliffhangers from last week's episode, with the exception of Hiro's, are still in play. This week is about answering questions, no matter how small they might be. This is the week in which we learn why Eden was sent to New York (to take Claire's name off the Suresh list) and why Matt keeps failing the detective exam (dyslexia). But there are some big questions that get some answers, so let's go through it.

What's up with Nathan's accident? His car is run into some onramp water barrels by Linderman's goons, but he's not hurt because – you guessed it – he flies out of danger.

What happens to Hiro? He ends up six months in the past and gets Charlie to fall in love with him, but just as they're about to kiss, he teleports over to Tokyo. He seems to come to the realization that he can't control his power and he can't change the past. However, this would negate the purpose of Future Hiro, so he must be able to do both.

Who is Jessica? She was Niki's sister who died at age 11, choked to death by their father. So Niki's possessed by the ghost of her fiercely protective sister? There has to be something more here. Isn't the show going to provide a quasi-scientific explanation?

Who is Sylar? He's a watchmaker from Brooklyn named Gabriel Grey. He has two abilities: diagnosing and fixing mechanical objects and having vivid delusions of grandeur. When Chandra tells him that he maybe isn't so special as Chandra thought he was, it sets him off. He takes a name from the Suresh list, a telekinetic (played by the aptly nicknamed Super Dave from CSI) and kills him. Unfortunately, they didn't answer the real question I had, which is how Sylar gets from removing the skullcap to acquiring his kill's ability. I assume there's a step in between.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

The Nine: Ouch, ABC. Ouch.

Well, nuts. ABC is pulling The Nine from its schedule starting this week. I saw it coming from the ratings, but it still smarts. I guess this is what I get for getting hooked on a serial drama with low ratings. I've learned my lesson, though. Never again. NEVER AGAIN!

And now I'm getting all bitter at America. What's so great about Howie Mandel and babes with briefcases that zillions of people will watch them, but only 8.6 million will watch a smart, introspective, well-acted show, with fleshed-out characters that actually grow and develop as the show goes on? Now I'll never know what happened in that bank! Oh, I'm sorry, of course I will, since ABC says The Nine will come back later this season. Yeah, I'll believe that when I see it. Prove me wrong, ABC!

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The Amazing Race: They'd None of Them Be Missed

This week's theme: everyone hates the beauty queens. Which is odd, because they're not having a particularly good leg. They miss their connection to Morocco, they get frequently lost, and they come in last (it's non-elimination, of course). The team the others should really be hating is Lyn and Karlyn, who have crazy good navigation skills and manage to finish in second place after being Yielded. They spend their three-hour layover in Paris studying a map of Morocco. Now that is a team to be reckoned with. I'm still not sure they'll win, but they'll give Tyler and James and Kandice and Dustin a run for the million. Rob and Kimberly, I'm assuming, will be gone next week, undone either by a complete meltdown or by their horrible, horrible carma (car karma; another one of their cars gave itself a flat this week).

Me, I hate the clues. When we see the Detour clue about how there are only three workstations available at either Detour option, the clue reads, "First Come. First, Served." I'm an editor, so this sort of thing bothers me much more than it should, but even so, clue writers: didn't you ever hear of this book?

There's also a piece of TAR news about the upcoming season: Variety reports that the spring season, taping now, will be an all-star season. If we take Variety's word for it that it will include Rob and Amber, Uchenna and Joyce, and David and Mary, but not Chip and Kim or Jonathan and Victoria (thank God), who will fill out the rest of the roster? I've got a few guesses:

  • Rob and Brennan (season 1): You can't have an all-star season without the first winner(s) of the game. It's not done.
  • Kevin and Drew (season 1): They've already guest starred, so I'm sure they'd do it again.
  • Kelly and Jon (season 4): They yell at each other enough to bring the drama, and yet they don't hate each other.
  • Colin and Christie (season 5): Broken Ox II: Electric Boogaloo.
  • Mirna and Charla (season 5): I'd love to see Charla back, but can we have her back without Mirna?
  • Kris and Jon (season 6): Pretty much the only likeable team from season 6. Although I'd like to see them give Lena and Kristy another chance.
  • BJ and Tyler (season 9): Mostly everyone loved the hippies. Mostly.

I never saw seasons 2 or 3, so I couldn't say who the representatives of those seasons would be. If you've got ideas, feel free to share them.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How I Met Your Mother: Sneak Preview

Had to add-- Wayne Brady as Barney's brother (yes, really) on How I Met Your Mother. Legendary!

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David Caruso is Thankful for Sunglasses

Here's a Thanksgiving present, from me to you. It's a hilarious video compiling seven minutes worth of David Caruso's pre-credit one-liners on CSI: Miami. All the hands-on-hips, dramatic sunglasses application and removal, and overly dramatic line delivery action you can handle! [via Popwatch]

I, like Lori, will be away until Monday. In the meantime, go watch some Arrested Development. There will be a quiz when I get back.

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House: The House/Wilson Ship is SUNK

Having watched about a million Scrubs reruns in the past week (yaaay, syndication!), I couldn't help but notice last night that Dr. House is like Dr. the extreme! He's mean, he's antisocial, he's cynical, he has a substance abuse problem, and he loves making fun of people. He's just...a lot MORE all those things than Dr. Cox. Thus, I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that Scrubs paved the way for House, and so all you House fans should watch Scrubs next week to express your appreciation. Awesome.

Last night on House, Patrick Fugit looked a lot less adorable than he did in one of my favorite movies, playing an 18-year-old orphan tasked with taking care of his two younger siblings. Unfortunately, his having about twelve deadly infectious diseases is getting in the way of his early parenthood. Well, that and the fact that even when House figures out what's wrong (genetic immune system disorder) and offers a cure (bone marrow transplant), Patrick tries to stay sick so he won't have to stay a father at 18. The adorable siblings get carted off with social services. Rough.

Things are even less sunny on the David Morse front. Aside from pressuring Chase, Cameron, and Foreman to tattle on House, he's impounded Wilson's car, taken away his ability to write prescriptions, and basically forced him to close his practice. House is...less than sympathetic, even when it comes to loaning Cameron to Wilson to write prescriptions for his patients. At the end of the episode, Wilson is waiting for a bus and House drives by on his motorcycle, pauses, and zooms away. I know I've said it before, but House and Wilson are SO broken up. This show and I, on the other hand, are together forever...or at least through next week's episode, which looks sweeps-tastic.

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Veronica Mars: And Starring Patty Hearst As Herself

MacWatch '06 Update: Confirmed Mac sighting! She definitely appears in the previews for next week's episode. The drought is almost over! But first, this week's Macless episode.

File this under "Guest Stars You Never Thought You'd See": Patty Hearst on Veronica Mars. She plays a socially conscious Hearst heiress who gets kidnapped. Which must have been quite a challenge. Although, to be fair to her, she does a nice job. With some notable exceptions, you can always count on Veronica Mars to stunt cast people who can act. Patty's the swing vote on the board of trustees, who are deciding the fate of the Greeks, and everyone thinks that's why she's gone missing. In reality, her husband is blackmailing her to stay hidden until after their tenth anniversary so he can get half of her considerable wealth. Once the Marses spring her, she votes to abolish the Greeks. Expect to see Dick crying into his beer next week. Why, dude, why?

Case number two – uh, I mean, the other case – involves the president of the Pi Sigs found shaved and in his underpants, with an Easter egg where the sun don't shine. A scrap of paper in the egg points to the attempted suicide three years earlier of a Theta Beta pledge who was humiliated by the Pi Sigs. Because this pledge was Claire's best friend, Veronica realizes that this was Claire's motive for faking her rape, and then asks the question I've been asking for a while: were any of the rapes real? My guess is that Parker's was, but that it was a copycat crime, as Parker couldn't have been in on the Great Feminist Conspiracy.

And last week's attack has left Veronica jumpy, which would make sense, if it were anyone else. Veronica's been in the P.I. business for over two years, she's nearly been killed at least twice and raped once. She really should be inured to this sort of thing. However, she's not paranoid, because someone really is following her: the bodyguard that super-protective Logan hired to keep her safe. Veronica and Logan fight about it, and just as I'm yelling "Break UP!" at my television, they admit that they love each other. They say they love each other, but they still don't act like they even like each other. Oh, whatever. The CW women have never shown good judgment in boyfriends, so I don't know why I'm getting myself all worked up over this relationship.

Finally, a programming note. This being Thanksgiving and all, I will be away for all TV-blogging related purposes until Sunday. Happy Turkey/Tofurkey Day, depending on your personal preference. And to our Canadian reader, happy Thursday.

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Work It Out, Paul Adelstein

I'd like to take a moment, if I could, to appreciate Paul Adelstein. He's the hardworking actor who plays the cheerfully manipulative, pie-loving, Extremely Secret Service Agent Paul Kellerman on Prison Break. Kellerman is, of course, a bad guy, and he's done some evil, evil things, including murdering his partner, leaving a man to die in a well, and torturing a woman he used to be friends with and leaving her to drown in the bathtub. But you don't love to hate him, the way you do with T-Bag, the hardcore criminal. You hate to love him. Or, more accurately, love to love him, because he's a charming bastard, and there's nothing that's not funny about him squeaking, "Mmm, that's good pie." (Adelstein was also on Scrubs, which, of course, earns him major points.)

At this point, Kellerman is my favorite thing about Prison Break. He's got a good storyline and he's rocking it. I even feel bad for the poor guy, getting an iron to the chest and then getting dumped by the vast conspiracy. But he'll get over it; he's young and evil, and he can probably take on the entire conspiracy himself. In fact, I hope he does. Go Kellerman!

Incidentally, Paul Adelstein was considered for the role of Burke on Grey's Anatomy. And how different things would have been if they had taken him on. (For one thing: probably no choking.)

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm Thankful for Arrested Development!

This Thanksgiving (or, for you America-haters/Canadians, this Thursday for no reason), you have something to add to your list of things to be thankful for. Arrested Development streaming online. For free. According to Broadcast Newsroom, three new episodes will be added every three weeks for the next year, until all 53 episodes are streaming online. For free. (Can't stress that enough.) The first five episodes are already up, playing on a new MSN video player made specially for longer videos. Plus, they'll be adding DVD-style extras, and interactive features for fans such as message boards and RSS feeds.

Hear me now, those of you who haven't seen Arrested Development: GIVE THIS SHOW A CHANCE! It is, without a doubt, one of the funniest shows that has ever existed (and certainly the funniest I've ever seen). Arrested Development shows an incredible attention to detail and continuity which rewards regular viewers with jokes that sometimes reference moments from seasons earlier, so start watching and keep watching! In my opinion, it gets even better in the second season!

At least check out the first five episodes, and if you don't like them, we can no longer be friends. (I'm really only half-kidding. And by "half-kidding," I mean, "not at all kidding." Sorry, Lori. I know you'll like it, though!) You have NO EXCUSES LEFT, non-watchers! It's online, it's free, and it's on your computer just a short click away.

So, in conclusion, spend your Thanksgiving break with the Bluth family. Your family will seem AWESOME in comparison.

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ScrubsWatch '06: Now I'm a Little Nervous...

Kristin Veitch has a must-read post on her blog, Watch with Kristin, about the new season of Scrubs. You should definitely click through to read the whole thing, but here are a few tidbits from her chat with the cast and crew (SPOILERS AHEAD):

[We] don’t want to be the type of show that has people in high school when they are 40. We try and make things move along. We’re going to kill someone, and I haven’t told him or her yet, so it's mortifying to me. [-Creator Bill Lawrence]

Ack!! Man, now it's just going to be a nervous waiting game until the guillotine drops. As for the musical episode:

Ted's barbershop quartet makes an appearance, and Neil Flynn says that the Janitor crashes the party. As for the leads, Zach Braff reports, "Donald and Judy, I would say, are the best singers. They could genuinely be on Broadway—they have beautiful voices. Sarah Chalke..." Sucks? "She can break windows."

The more I think about it, the more I feel like a lot of them must have good voices. Neil Flynn has sung a little (remember his acapella band?) and sounded good, John C. McGinley hasn't sung much, but from his "Wrong wrong wrong wrong" bit (the one they show in the Comedy Central promos), he has a nice voice as well. And don't forget--we once heard a tape of Dr. Kelso singing bluegrass! This episode is gonna ROCK.

In other John C. McGinley is Awesome news, he apparently tried to get the writers to make Dr. Cox's and Jordan's new baby a special needs child, to "address some stuff." (His son has Down syndrome.) What a great guy!

Oh, and Zach Braff exhibits a shocking lapse of judgment:

I asked Zach about J.D.'s love life and his prospects for happily ever after, and he said, "I want it to be with Elliot, but Bill Lawrence hates the 'Will they, won’t they?' Sam-and-Diane thing that makes every other show have great ratings...But I’m a romantic, so I would love that."

Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew. Zach + Elliot Forevah= Bad Road. Thank God for Bill Lawrence!

Seriously, go read the rest of the post--it's worth it just for the picture of JD with the Blue Man Group, and the story about Ted holding Turk's baby is icing on the cake.

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Studio 60: It's a Wonderful Restaurant!

This post is brought to you by Allstate: Are you in good hands? apparently this week is "Product Placement" week on NBC. The Office had their Staples shredder bit, 30 Rock had the "pos-mens," and now Studio 60 has pretty much the exact same plot as 30 Rock: network higher-ups need more ad revenue, and so are pressuring producers into increasing product placement. Does anyone else get the feeling that NBC execs held a meeting a month ago in which they pressured producers into increasing product placement? Yeeeah...

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30 Rock's Snapple bit managed to be clever and funny, again worthy of an Arrested Development comparison, since the "Burger King: It's a wonderful restaurant" bit with Tobias and Carl Weathers set the benchmark for all self-mocking product placements to come. Studio 60 similarly (although far less hilariously/cleverly) managed to increase product placement simply by talking somewhat negatively about product placement, so the NBC executives should be happy campers. Among the brand names bandied about: Samsung, Sony, and Nokia. Oh, and Jordan actually has the line (speaking of the show's audience), "They like iPods, and so do I." I'd call that a "pos-men," wouldn't you?

In other news (brought to you by the Ford F-150: Built Ford Tough), Ricky and Ron leave the show to work on a Peripheral Vision Man sitcom for Fox. They take all the writers with them but the British chick and the stand-up comedian guy. As Matt points out, it's not a big deal since he was writing all the sketches anyway. Which apparently sucked this week, but we didn't have to see them, so I'm not going to harp on that point.

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Harriet wants to do a lingerie spread for some magazine to increase her marketability, but Tom and Simon are pretty sure the magazine just wants to brag about getting a religious chick semi-naked. Um, duh. Jordan may or may not be getting fired soon, and I may or may not be writing an angry letter to Aaron Sorkin soon.

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Overall, I think the show is starting to find its sea legs, even if it's not quite there yet. Fewer sketches, less harping at Middle America, more character-created drama, and more Christine Lahti next week (I don't know why I love her on this show, but I definitely do). Well-played, Sorkin. Oh, and I seriously, SERIOUSLY covet that fiber optic cactus from the scene with Matt and Harriet. It would go so well with my fiber optic palm tree!

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Heroes: She may have lost the popular vote, but she won the geektoral college

Okay, so there are other plotlines this week. Mohinder, through the help of Dream Kid, the Human Fortune Cookie, decides that his destiny is to go back to New York and find the heroes. Jessica shoots at D.L. But come on, what you really care about is Claire, right? Well, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up:

Nathan gets the painting from Linderman, and it shows Peter dead outside the high school at 8:12. He destroys it, ostensibly to save Peter, and just as he does, he gets a supremely evil look in his eye. Hey, maybe he is going to turn out to be a supervillain after all. Because all the really good supervillains get into supervillainy thinking they're doing the right thing. I mean, I can only think of Darth Vader right now, and that was a stupid, O. Henry-ripoff reason, but… I'm sure there are others. Dr. Evil, maybe? Anyway, Simone kept a picture of it, which she shows to Peter, who immediately flies to Texas. On a plane, you guys.

Over in Texas, Zach is the best. He organizes the nerd vote to get Claire the homecoming crown, gives her Chandra Suresh's book, digitally throws rocks at her window, and comes to her house armed with a ladder to break her out of her grounding. The greatest proof that Claire is superhuman is that she's still not in love with him after all this. Perhaps the dance will change that?

So now Claire's at school, and so are Peter and Sylar, who get thrown off by Jackie's big "heroic cheerleader" display case and think she's the one. Sylar corners and kills Jackie, but realizes his mistake when Claire heals herself. Peter realizes his mistake too, and helps Claire get away before Sylar takes a dive off the bleachers with him. Thanks to Claire's proximity, he survives, but the cops arrest him. Sylar, meanwhile, doesn't get far before Eden and The Haitian neutralize him.

(Takes breath) Oh, yeah. This was an exciting episode. But I have to say, out of everything, my favorite part was… Claire. I liked her already, but in this episode she displays more confidence than I think we've ever seen from her, and she's finally accepting her abilities. And, of course, her relationship with Zach is endearing. She's a great, complex character who's easy to root for, whether she's saving someone, punching out Jackie, or greeting her new subjects as Queen of the Geeks. I'm glad it's her at the heart of this storyline.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

ScrubsWatch '06: Ten Days Until Liftoff!

Access Hollywood attended the Season Six party for Scrubs (scroll to the end of the article for a great video containing short interviews with the cast), and scored a bit of a spoiler from Judy Reyes (Carla):

I actually like where she's going this season," Reyes said of Carla's ongoing transitions. "I don't want to give too much away, because it's gonna be airing soon. She's having the baby and dealing with real life issues that women deal with when they have their children. And [she's] dealing the emotional turmoil of actually bearing a child and what real women deal with and the sadness of dealing with child birth and the turmoil."

Ah, Scrubs. I knew I could count on you to bring the real. In happier Scrubs news, has more info on the musical episode! Looks like it's scheduled to premiere on January 18th, and will be called "My Musical." As we've heard, the episode centers around a woman who hears everything as singing. That woman will apparently be played by Stephanie D'Abruzzo, who got a Tony nomination for playing Kate Monster in Avenue Q. Makes sense, since the episode's songs are written by the guys behind Avenue Q, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. Man, this episode is SO gonna rock hardcore!

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Desperate Housewives: If a moron gets arrested in the woods, and no one's around to hear it...

In last night's slightly weak episode of Desperate Housewives (sweeps sets a high bar, Marc Cherry), Gabby gives a bunch of little wanna-be models eating disorders, Susan faces off with Ian's butler and ends up with a drawer, Lynette obsesses over a possible child molester, and Bree tries to deal with Orson's mother. That is, until said mother lets slip that Orson cheated on Alma with Monique.

That's right, the Monique whom Orson pretended not to recognize in the morgue on his and Bree's wedding night. Awk! Ward! Also: Monique really got around in that neighborhood--damn! Needless to say, Bree kicks Orson out. Oh, and Andrew finally reverts to his true self, selling his alcoholic grandmother a bottle of wine. Nice, Andrew. Nice.

In Desperate Househusbands news, Carlos crashes with Mike, whom he calls his best friend. Ha. They have Tom over for a football game, where Mike asks the guys what he was like before the accident. They answer honestly: mysterious and stand-offish. Incidentally, Mike lost more than his memories in the accident--he also lost any criminal smarts he once had. Knowing that the police were looking for his toolbox, and knowing that they had been staking out his house, Mike thought it would be a bright move to drive out to the woods to bury the toolbox. Yeah, busted. Dumbass.

Oh, and what the heck happened to Kayla? Didn't Nora make Lynette promise to take good care of her? I'm pretty sure that doesn't entail ditching her at the local orphanage, or her mysterious grandmothers' house, or IHOP. I'm assuming I missed something here, because I didn't see her hanging out with the Scavo kids last night, but I don't remember her being sent anywhere else. Eh, week's holiday episode looks like a good one!

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The Amazing Race: Chickens in Kiev

The producers, apparently deciding that the teams have had it too good for too long (and really, they have – for multiple seasons), mix things up this week. Their clue (which, as you'll recall, they get when they've finished the rappel in Helsinki) mentions Chernobyl and tells them to go to the capital city of the country where it's located. It's a lucky thing that the teams run into an intelligent travel agent at the airport and then share that information among them, because, of course, geography is the beauty queens' Achilles heel. Too bad, because I really, really wanted to see Rob and Kimberly go to Moscow, and Dustin and Kandice end up in, say, Michigan. ("Is this Chernobyl?" "No. It's Cheboygan.")

Once the teams get to Kiev, the producers cruelly/awesomely provide them with a clue in Cyrillic script, which I assume is Ukrainian, and a Russian-made car. If you didn't see the cars, just think of the car that Homer Simpson got from the country that no longer existed. Put it in H! Rob and Kimberly actually break their car – again – which is either the fault of bad driving or cars just commit suicide around them. Or a little of both.

And finally, finally, the former Six-Pack alliance is dead, because Lyn and Karlyn, fed up with how the Chos stop for directions every ten minutes (why would they want to know where they're going?) strike out on their own. Good for you, ladies. This is indeed a race. The Chos, however, due to slow progress and getting detained by the police, are last and eliminated, but are happy that they ran a "clean" race. Which is nice, but look at where it got you guys. Nobody's saying that being mean is the only way to win a race, because it isn't (see: Chip and Kim), but you really can't win a race if you're constantly holding yourself up so you can stay with another team. Especially when you are the last two teams. That's just stupid racing. Still, I'm glad that you're happy with yourselves, and you had your moments, so I'll miss you guys.

By the way, Dustin and Kandice are running a very good race, and it would be nice to see an all-female team win, but it won't be this one. The show has recently gotten into a "there's a test at the end" kick, and, well. See above about geography. Shame, but there it is.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Neurotic

The Good: Veronica Mars has been picked up for almost a full season! They got a back seven instead of a back nine, but a 20-episode season is still definitely great news for VM fans. Yay!

The Bad: Fox has committed to a full season of 'Til Death (barf), and yet NBC has yet to renew one of the funniest shows on television. Last night's episode of 30 Rock was hilarious, showing an almost (dare I say it?) Arrested Development-like subtle hilarity with the running "Muffin Top" song gag. Start watching, people--it's getting funnier in leaps and bounds, if you ask me.

The Neurotic: Monk is returning tonight for a holiday special, in which he meets his estranged (and probably also just plain strange, since he's related to Monk) father. Yay, Monk! Although I have to say, the show seems to be in a bit of a glut with the gimmicky episodes. "Monk coaches girls' basketball!" "Monk's college reunion!" "Monk is blind!" Etc., etc. How about "Monk solves a mystery interesting enough to merit an episode without a gimmick!," eh, USA?

Update: Justice fans also got a reprieve--instead of killing the show altogether, Fox will be banishing it to Fridays starting December 1st.

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Grey's Anatomy: Bright and Shiny Only Last So Long

In this case, "Bright and Shiny" Meredith only lasts about half an hour before her spirit is tarnished by a patient's mom who's taken straight out of The Nanny Diaries. And it's just as well, because as annoying as "Dark and Twisty" Meredith is, the perkiness was starting to get to me.

In other news, Bailey is a good singer, George is totally sly to Christina and Burke's injury-hiding ways (and it's a good thing, too, since Burke was going to operate on George's father, who has cancer), Callie gets along with George's family, Izzie isn't ready to do the McNasty with Alex, the Chief "leaves" Meredith's mom for Adele, and Addison tosses her wedding rings into the Puget Sound. Oh, and Meredith is a total and complete moron for basically telling Bailey that women can't have a child and a career. I know she's speaking from experience with her mom, but bad move, Meredith!

And was anyone else uncomfortable watching Isaiah Washington and T.R. Knight's scenes together? If I were a gay man, I'm not sure I could stand acting in such close quarters with someone who had basically publicly called me a faggot and forced me out of the closet. And it's funny that both Isaiah Washington and his character have been damaged in my mind at about the same time--Isaiah for the aforementioned slur, and Burke for the whole "putting people at risk just to hide his injury" situation. Isaiah and Burke--you're on notice (best link ever, Lori!).

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Ugly Betty: Marc's Wonderful Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada!

Perversely, Ugly Betty aired its Thanksgiving episode this week, even though they're airing a new episode on the real Thanksgiving. Silly ABC. No one's in the Thanksgiving spirit yet. From the time Halloween is over, everyone's in the Christmas spirit, and the only day anyone is in the Thanksgiving spirit is on Thanksgiving itself. According to IMDb, this episode was originally supposed to air on Thanksgiving, so I can only assume that next week's episode is so exciting that they had to air it in the thick of November sweeps.

In the best tradition of all Thanksgiving episodes on any show, pretty much everyone has a crappy Thanksgiving. This includes Daniel, who gets into a pissing match with Salma's perfect boyfriend, who is so perfect that you know something has to be wrong with him. And there is – he's really Darren Wells from Studio 60! Salma, haven't you noticed him writing his number on everything in sight? Anyway, this subplot is worthwhile only for Betty's salsa dancing lessons over the phone to Daniel, a scene which is very cute ("Are you biting your lip?" "No." "Yes, you are. Stop it.") and put together quite nicely. Of course, Daniel salsas in much the same way that Elaine would, which is to say, dorkily, with much elbow flailing.

At the Suarez table, Hilda learns that the true meaning of Thanksgiving is not giving all your money to a shady lawyer who just ends up stealing it all and running out on you. As for the Slaters, what they should learn is not to eat a turkey that Wilhelmina cooked, because it'll probably kill them. Wilhelmina also needs to learn not to trust Martha Stewart as far as she can throw her – not about turkeys, not about anything. If you need help with a turkey, call the Butterball hotline. It worked for President Bartlett.

I give real thanks, though, for Marc and Amanda, who have the funnest Thanksgiving ever, alone in the Mode offices, wearing couture gowns and swigging champagne. But not before Marc makes an Avenue Q reference. He says at the beginning of the episode, before this plan is hatched, that he's going to go home and tell his family all about his girlfriend who lives in Canada. It's sort of a shame that he didn't go home, because I would have loved to see Marc belting out at the kitchen table, "She couldn't be sweeter, I wish you could meet her, my girlfriend who lives in Canada!" Liz, are you watching this show? Because they really, really want you to.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Medium: Psychics and Robots!

So I watched the two-hour premiere of Medium after having watched the show intermittently last season, and I'll probably keep watching this year. To be honest, I was a little disappointed last night given that it was a two-hour premiere during sweeps, which sets the bar very high, but it was generally a pretty good episode.

I will say, though, that Joe Dubois is way, way too unbelievable as the best husband ever. I mean, what kind of person is THAT understanding? At first I thought he was going to get crazy jealous when Allison's ghost ex-boyfriend showed up, but noooo, he was all reasonable and cool about it. I'm pretty sure he's a robot or something, which just goes to show how useless Allison's psychic powers are. Figure it out, Allison--no flesh and blood human would be that cool about everything!

Also, I'm loving Bridgette, the psychic daughter, more and more. The actress is great, and not just because she isn't a Dakota Fanning look-alike (although I do love that). And I really appreciated the writers' efforts to make her powers childlike by showing her death premonition dreams as cartoons--it was a great touch, beyond being an important plot point.

The episode also painted a fuller picture of the non-Dubois characters. D.A. Devalos is suddenly vulnerable as a diabetic who hates going to the doctor, and Detective Scanlon, after putting himself out there with his girlfriend only to have politics get in the way, falls into bed with someone else.

Oh, and I really hope that when NBC does its announced schedule-juggling, it puts Medium on after Heroes. The combo makes much more sense than Heroes/Studio 60, and Studio 60 isn't exactly flourishing in the timeslot. I'm just sayin'.

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America's Next Top Model: ¡Las Perras Flacas Van a España!

Last week on America's Next Top Model, Anchal whined and half-assed her way out of the competition. Hooray for rightful eliminations!

We rejoin the girls in the house, where Michelle has BREAKING NEWS: She might not want to model. Sigh. Jaeda, however, has found something new to whine about: She's sick of living in a house with a bunch of chicks. Way to sound less like a dude, Jaeda. Are you even making an effort to pass anymore?

The girls head off to the Los Angeles Repertory Company, where they meet Tasha Smith, an actress/acting coach, and apparently the person who inflicted crazy "actress" Tyra upon us. Thanks a lot, Tasha. Also, can I just say right now that CariDee is SO gonna rock this challenge? First, the girls have to go onstage and act really silly and ugly, or something, and it reminds me of why I hate doing improv.

Next, they do an exercise appealingly titled "Dump," in which they have to let all their feelings out onstage. And wow, it's a freaking train wreck, where they all take turns ranting and crying and stuff. Michelle "goes for it," i.e. has an onstage freakout. Melrose tries to let it all out, but instead seems SO FAKE and crazy in her unintelligible screaming rant about pictures. See what happens when you're taught by the acting coach that taught Tyra how to "act"? Jaeda whines MORE about her new look. She hates it, no one feels sorry for her enough, etc., etc. HATE. This whole thing is pretty painful to watch.

CariDee, in the middle of a crying rant about how no one understands how hard modeling is, and how much she wants it, accidentally reveals a secret: she's attempted suicide before. Happily, she now feels like she's doing something right for the first time in her life. I really like this girl. CariDee, one of the twins, and Tasha hug it out, and then they get back to the actual challenge: to act in an improvised silent movie. The fabulous prize? A role on One Tree Hill. Finally, The CW justifies its existence. Long have I awaited an ANTM/One Tree Hill crossover.

The girls basically have to act out various directions and emotions which Tasha yells at them ("There's a knock on the door, and you're hopeful. Run to the window, you're sad! You suck, you suck! The Kool Aid is SO GOOD!"). She makes them do crap like eat whole lemons and drink prune juice (which makes one of the twins barf). And CariDee wins!!! I knew it!!! And (ha!) they made the scenes into a hilarious little silent film, in which CariDee's boyfriend leaves her for a horse. Tyra guest stars, and tells the girls to pack their bags...(Tyra runs into the room in a flamenco costume)...'cause they're going to Spain! And, a bullfighter appears from nowhere and starts dancing with everyone! Rockin'.

"Dani" is at fashion week in this episode's installment of the increasingly boring "My Life as a Covergirl." Yeah, that's about it.

CariDee goes to the One Tree Hill set, where she'll be playing a model who comes into town and "stirs things up a little bit." It looks like she does a great job! Did anyone actually catch the episode, for some confirmation?

The girls pack their giant, giant suitcases and head to Barcelona. Lucky bitches. One of the twins (yeah, I still can't tell them apart) says that as the competition goes on, "it feels just like before, but with less people." With that level of insight, I can't believe they say models are stupid.

Upon their arrival in Spain, the girls get a Tyra Mail that says the competition is getting too easy, so Tyra has added local models into the mix to keep things interesting. Local male models! They all head out to dinner, which is rather awkward due to the language barrier. It's about to get worse, though, since the girls receive a Tyra Mail that says they'll be reading from scripts with the guys tomorrow...IN SPANISH. Oh, and there's a makeout session written in. The girls are rightfully worried, but the guys would rather eat than practice.

At this point, Jaeda's partner tells Jaeda he doesn't want to make out with her because he doesn't like black girls (not, as one would expect, because he doesn't swing that way). Yikes. Jaeda starts to panic, and it really does suck. They have nice, niiice digs to make up for it, though. CariDee, as the challenge winner, gets first pick of the beds. Go, CariDee!

The next morning, Melrose tells us she stayed up two extra hours studying lines. Good thinking, Melrose. I still hate you, but that's very, very smart. And damn, the script isn't even in Spanish--it's in Catalan. That's pretty freakin' rough. CariDee can't roll her R's, Michelle's worried about kissing a guy for the first time, and Jaeda's pissed that she has to kiss a random racist guy when she's loyal to her boyfriend. I'd call the first half of her complaint justified, and the second half a little silly, given she wants to be a model. Models make out with random guys on camera all the time! Or at least that's what Tyra and Janice have led me to believe.

The girls meet Tyra, who tries valiantly to justify Barcelona as a fashion destination. Jay Manuel runs in and tells them they'll be filming a commercial for Secret deodorant. In Catalan. Daaang. The commercial involves the girls going around to the male models and whispering secrets like "Sometimes I ride the bus for an extra stop if there's a cute boy on board" to them. And then they kiss one guy at the end after whispering something creepy about wanting to have his babies. In the final version, the director cut all the girls' performances together into one commercial, which is definitely a good call. He used Eugena a lot, for what it's worth.

Michelle's first to film, and she tries to convince us she's more worried about the language than the kiss. They get phonetic cue cards, but that's still pretty rough. Michelle does fine, though, even with the kiss. Unfortunately, Jay's a hater, and he thinks she gave the camera the cold shoulder. The judges tell Michelle she was tough to listen to, and didn't relate to the boys enough. I somehow doubt she'd be receiving that specific criticism if she hadn't come out as questioning her sexuality.

Eugena also does a good job, but says she didn't enjoy the kiss. The judges think Eugena was good, and say she did a good job ad-libbing when she lost the lines. Amanda...has trouble with her lines. The judges also think she didn't commit to the kiss enough. Luckily for her, she looked gorgeous before she lost the whole thing with the line problems.

Jaeda does NOT want to kiss her racist jerk. And it throws her off her game. Man, I hate her, but that really does suck. She starts crying and says she can't do it, although in the end she half-asses her way through. The judges think it was like watching a car crash, and Nigel calls it "appalling." Jaeda tells the judges that she's angry with herself for not being able to do it, and the judges agree that even though the guy was a racist, Jaeda should've been able to buck up and get the job done.

Melrose does a really good job, and knows it. She manages to renew my hatred when, after her shoot, Jay tells her that "for the day, that was probably one of the best reads," and Melrose lets out a totally fake-surprised "WHAT?!" Her take is pretty funny 'cause she keeps laughing during it, but the judges think she did a great job interacting with everyone and reading the lines. She mentions that she stayed up an extra two hours to memorize them.

CariDee has big trouble with the lines and the language, and is not at all herself. Jay and I both found it painful to watch. She tries to make up for it with an extra-enthusiastic kiss, though...daaaamn. But she knows she bombed, and the take is really hard to watch. The judges think she looks almost drunk, and Nigel says it was like a train wreck. Miss Jay says CariDee was lost in translation (yuck yuck), and Tyra thinks she looked amateur, and that it cancelled out the challenge win. The word "unforgivable" is also thrown around. Yikes.

While the judges (the commercial director is the guest judge) deliberate alone, the girls turn on Melrose because of the "extra two hours" comment, pointing out that she couldn't have known how late everyone else stayed up, and call her fake. Ha! In the commercial break, The CW shows the same Secret commercial (with our girls!), but in English. Yeah, it's a lot less awkward in English. Oh, and incidentally, Nigel isn't looking as hot as usual tonight. Just an observation.

The judges were pleasantly surprised by Eugena, and think she finally stepped it up. They think the extra studying really helped Melrose, and call her perhaps the greatest Top Model actress evah. Now there's a low, looow bar. They agree that Jaeda can't act, but a few judges think she could model. Michelle gets resoundingly criticized for looking and sounding bad, although Tyra disagrees and says that Michelle looked great, but can't act. Apparently the camera loves Amanda, but she totally tanked the kiss. Much as Melrose is the best ever, CariDee is the worst ever, and even gets called "shockingly bad." That's sad, because she definitely is the best actress--it was just the language thing.

Tyra calls the girls back, and Melrose, Eugena, Amanda, and Michelle are in. At this point, I start muttering at Tyra that Jaeda had better freakin' be out, OR ELSE. According to Tyra, CariDee was basically insanely awesome until today, while Jaeda has struggled throughout the competition (including today), but has a strong (cough*male*cough) face. And CariDee's in, thank goodness. Yay!

Bye, Jaeda. Go home and get some extensions. Incidentally, most of Jaeda's photos had her in wigs anyway, so what the hell was she talking about when she said she didn't feel as sexy with her short hair? It didn't even matter! Oh, and CariDee is Covergirl of the week again! Nice choice, America. Next week is go-see week, so get ready for mass lateness, lost-ness, and confusion!

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Day Break: Go Back, Taye, Do It Again

He's Taye Diggs, and today is the longest day of his life.

He's framed for murder. His girlfriend dies. His partner dies. His sister is being abused by her husband. And his day is lasting for… well, days. You've probably seen reviews comparing this show to Groundhog Day, but what the show most closely resembles is this episode of The X-Files, because 1) he has to figure out how to play the day exactly right so that the minimum amount of people die unnecessarily, and 2) Mitch Pileggi is in it. Pileggi actually does a great job; his casual menace is extremely entertaining. The other cast standout is Victoria Pratt, who looks and acts like nothing so much as a badass Kate Winslet.

The show is a big puzzle, and it's fun to see all the pieces come together. Of course, I may be getting more enjoyment out of it because I have faith that the writers actually have some sort of plan. They've got to wrap it up before Lost comes back, so they have to be going somewhere; they can't afford to just throw polar bears in there to mess with the fans. So I recommend giving it a watch (if you missed it, you can see the episode here), and on behalf of Liz, keep your televisions on for The Nine.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

ScrubsWatch '06: Hiro!

The Scrubs news just keeps getting better and better! According to Kristin Veitch, Masi Oka (whom we now know and love as Hiro on Heroes) may be stopping by to pay tribute to his humble roots as Franklyn the lab worker on Scrubs. Best of all, Bill Lawrence wants Masi to keep his Heroes powers! AWESOME.

And in other Best Sitcoms Ever news, Mitch Hurwitz and Richard Day (previously of Arrested Development fame), have gotten a pilot order from ABC for The Thick of It. From Zap2it:

The original series, which won two BAFTA Awards (the British version of the Emmys) earlier this year, including best comedy, focused on a harried member of Parliament and the inept staff members and bureaucrats he dealt with on a daily basis (it aired on BBC America in this country). ABC's version will transplant the action to Congress.


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House/3 lbs.: Battle of the Brilliant but Antisocial Doctors!

Wow, is it just me, or was last night's House surprisingly deep and meaningful? Through a game of quid pro quo between House and John Larroquette, we learn why House became a doctor (basically so that everyone HAD to listen to him), what House would want to hear from his father ("You did the right thing"), and, in the end, that House really does value Wilson's friendship.

While House and Wilson deal with John Larroquette, who was woken up from a coma vegetative state for just one day so they could cure his dying son, House's minions are being interviewed by David Morse, who's trying to nail House. And not in the good way. It looks like they all stick together and defend House's pill-popping ways, but Morse won't be defeated, and freezes Wilson's bank accounts in an attempt to get him to admit that House stole his prescription pad and forged prescriptions. Oh, and Morse? Is totally House. Right down to the thinking everyone is lying thing. Of course, in this case, he's totally right (also much like House).

After House ended, I changed the channel to CBS, where they were airing...a really crappy episode of House. Oh no, wait, it was 3 lbs., their new show about brain surgeons.

It stars Stanley Tucci as Dr. House Douglas Hanson, a misanthropic genius doctor with a medical problem (in his case, something in his brain causing hallucinations). His sidekick, a new fellow in the neurosurgery program, is played by Mark Feuerstein, whom I immediately and inexplicably hated. Inexplicably, that is, until I realized that he was the star of Good Morning, Miami, and therefore represents all that I hate and revile in this world. Plus, his character is ridiculously earnest. And there's nothing I hate more than earnest (I'm looking at you, William H. Macy).

The show itself was average bordering on cheesy (the "Calling All Angels" theme music didn't help), and left me pretty cold. I'm out, but if anyone keeps watching, let me know if it gets better. I'm not holding my breath, though.

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So let's just say, hypothetically speaking, I'm a murderer...

In what can only be described as an awesome premise for a sketch on Saturday Night Live, FOX is going to air an interview with O.J. Simpson at the end of November. Wait for it, wait for it... The two-part special is entitled, "O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here's How It Happened." I just... I... There are no words. From Zap2it:

Publisher Judith Regan and Simpson will have a no-holds-barred interview in which he, among other things, "tells for the first time how he would have committed the murders if he were the one responsible for the crimes."

Oh, and it gets even better:
The special is perfectly timed around the release of Simpson's book "If I Did It," which will be released on Nov. 30.

That's right, the man famously acquitted of murder despite considerable evidence to the contrary is doing an interview and writing a (hilariously titled) book about how he WOULD HAVE committed the murders IF he had done it. This seriously sounds so much like an SNL sketch that I feel like (hope?) we're all being Punk'd or something. Oh, man. How much do I love America right now?

UPDATE: Cancelled. :(

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Veronica Mars: Enough With the Excuses!

Okay, all these excuses they keep making are really annoying. This week, for example, Wallace is gone, supposedly having a marathon study session/Shining reenactment out in Twentynine Palms. I'm actually glad that they've stopped making excuses for Mac, because I don't think I could have stood them week after week. And no, she's not back yet.

So, overall, kind of a slow episode, one that seems to be just buildup for the final act. But we'll get to that. Keith is still seeing Harmony, and the only thing that can dissuade him is Veronica's disappointment. Vinnie, however, tries very hard with some blackmail. He's got compromising photos of Keith and Harmony, uses them to get a payoff, and tells Keith the Fitzpatricks want to know where the money Kendall skipped town with is. Do they not know she's dead? You know, usually I don't care about the Fitzpatrick storylines, but Vinnie somehow makes it worth paying attention to. I still don't care that much, but it's more than I usually do.

Veronica's case revolves around a girl, Meryl, missing her boyfriend, and while Meryl insists that something happened to him, Veronica is sure that he's just run out on her. Veronica is, in fact, very mean on this point, but then, she has that kind of boyfriend. Meryl is right, because her boyfriend has a case of amnesia that sweetly clears up as soon as he sees her. All together now: awww. Veronica's boyfriend? Well, his seeeeecret alibi for Mercer involves a fire at a Mexican motel and some running away. Yeah, he's a prince. He semi-redeems himself by coming to Veronica's aid when she's roofied and cornered in a parking garage. A couple of locks of hair are shorn off, but otherwise she seems to be okay. All right, I will give him points for saving her from the rapist, but all that does is move him up from "terrible boyfriend" to "just plain bad boyfriend." And this is only partly based on Logan as a person. Mostly I don't like the way he treats her - keeping things from her, ditching her to surf/gamble/burn Mexican motels down, asking her to get off his bratty, fratty friends, etc. I miss when they hated each other. Those were good times. Good times.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Scrubs: Can'tWaitCan'tWaitCan'tWait

Is anyone else ridiculously excited for the Scrubs season premiere November 30th? And I'm even more psyched now that I hear Blue Man Group is going to have a cameo! According to Playbill News:

[T]he Blue Man Group will make a special appearance on the season premiere of NBC's "Scrubs" Nov. 30 when Zach Braff's character J.D. finds himself on stage at The Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino.

SWEET! [via TV Tattle]

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Studio 60: Pah-Rumpus

Thankfully, despite Aaron Sorkin's best efforts at being obnoxiously elitist, NBC has picked up Studio 60 for a full season. Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, it looks like my favorite character may not survive sweeps. Stupid, tabloid-whoring ex-husband. You'd better be bluffing, Sorkin!

So does anyone else feel like Studio 60 is getting incredibly meta? And it's not like Sorkin could have intentionally made the show THIS parallel to real life, because it's not South Park--he wrote the scripts way in advance. We've got the show which may be too intellectual/left-wing for the average television audience. We've got a network struggling to get back on top, possibly by becoming a home for more upscale shows--those which may not get huge ratings, but attract higher-income "alpha viewers." Luckily for both Studio 60's, the alpha viewers pull through, and the shows are allowed to continue on their merry, Jesus-bashing ways. Yay!

Let's just hope the cast of the real Studio 60 can avoid landing in a jail cell in Nevada, thrown at the mercy of John Goodman. Because it wasn't THAT entertaining on the show-within-a-show. Although I do appreciate what I assume was an attempt to address the "Hollywood elite looking down at everyone else" criticism (more meta-ness than you can shake a stick at, here).

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Heroes: Hiro, Lost in Time

No Niki/Jessica, no Petrellis, and very little Claire, but the Heroes who are in this episode have excellent material to work with, so overall, it's a good episode. And with a cliffhanger to lead us into next week's barnburner of an installment, you'd better pay attention, because I'm only going to lay this out for you once.

Mohinder: He's back in Chennai, installed in his dad's old office, and soon he's strolling around in flashback dreams (is that his power?) of his dad. There's also a mysterious kid in these dreams who seems to be another hero, because there's a file on him in Papa's desk. Mohinder also learns from Mama Suresh that he had a sister named Shanti, who died when she was five and Mohinder was two, and Papa thought she was special. Damn, does everyone on this show have powers? Well, I know most of them do, but still.

Matt: While interviewing last week's Radioactive Man, Ted, he learns that Ted had a two-day blackout and the little hamsters start running in Matt's brain. They compare notes, // tattoos, and trace it all back to the erstwhile Possible D.L. and Blank Slate, now given a name of sorts: The Haitian. And before Homeland Security ruins everything (as they always do; see 24, season 5), Ted gives Matt a mission: "Find The Haitian." Ted later gets away, so there's another thing Homeland Security ruined. And congratulations, Heroes writers, on finally giving Matt a worthwhile storyline. See what happens when you put Greg Grunberg in a scene with some immediacy and impact?

The Baddies: Eden's got Isaac detoxing in the secret lair that Glasses Man has set up in the paper company where he works. Claire's homecoming dance, and thus her date with Sylar, is tomorrow, and Glasses Man wants Isaac to paint something to help him save Claire, but Isaac can't do it without heroin, and won't shoot up now that he's clean. So Eden has to go and use her super powers of persuasion on him. I know it's weird, but I can't help thinking of Eden as the Mirage to Glasses Man's Syndrome, you know? She's a super working for a non-super and she's uneasy with his methods. It kind of works. Right?

Hiro/Ando: At a diner in Texas, they run into another hero, a waitress with both super memory and super affection for Hiro. But then, who doesn't have the latter? When she's killed by Sylar, Hiro can't do nothing this time, and he decides to go back to yesterday to stop her from coming in to work. He tells Ando he'll be back in five seconds. He's not, but he does show up in a picture from the waitress' birthday party… weeks ago. Gasp!

Next week: Homecoming! They finally save the cheerleader! And I really hope that this is the end of all the "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" commercials. I don't think anyone doesn't get it now.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

I ♥ Dirty Puppets

Anything with the words "puppet" and "uncensored" HAS to be awesome, right? TBS is airing a puppet improv show on November 20th called Puppet Up! Uncensored, performed by the same Henson folks who brought us Sesame Street and Muppet Christmas Carol (my absolute favorite Christmas movie ever, incidentally). It may even end up as an actual TV show on TBS's broadband channel, and is apparently one of multiple adult-oriented puppet projects in the works at The Henson Company.

I'm kind of picturing it to be a mix between Meet the Feebles and Avenue Q. If it's even half as dirty, un-PC, and generally insane, it's gonna be great!

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The Amazing Race: First Five Teams May Get Muddy

Finland, Finland, Finland! The country where the teams want to be. Its mountains so lofty, its treetops so tall. But first the teams have to get there. You will not be surprised to learn that the beauty queens bring out their map again to educate the airline ticketers about geography. I would, however, be surprised if they pointed to the correct country, because they were asking earlier if Finland was the country where they wear wooden shoes. Remember the song, ladies: so near to Russia, so far from Japan. It's the country with the president who looks like Conan O'Brien. You know, that one.

Upon their successful arrival in Finland, the teams are sent out into the countryside for a muddy Detour, introduced by Phil as he is waist-deep in mud and wearing waders. The teams can either run a muddy cross-country skiing course or a muddy obstacle course, and why they didn't have Phil actually run one of those is beyond me. If Phil is just going to stand in the mud, then he may as well be replaced with the Travelocity gnome. Anyway, one part of the obstacle course requires a team member to carry the other, which sparks a moment later on that is both funny and kind of sad. Rob enthuses that he didn't think he could carry Kimberly as easily as he was able to, and Kimberly instantly assumes that he thinks she's fat. Because they really are that couple. They're the bickering, "does this make me look fat" couple you thought didn't exist outside of cliché. You were wrong.

The Roadblock takes them down into a limestone mine to retrieve a block of limestone with a clue in it. Certainly David would have felt right at home here, although I'm sure the limestone mines are a bit roomier than what he would be used to. Incidentally, the remaining members of the Six Pack are mourning their fallen comrades by wearing their clothes; Karlyn has David's U of K hat and the Chos have their "Friends in Low Places" shirts. And Godwin, while going down into the mine, calls on David for help. He's not dead, you know. Sadly, the Chos don't realize that they are now the only people in their alliance, because they keep complaining about Lyn and Karlyn not waiting for them. There are five teams left; it's about time to stop helping other teams, especially when, as they do, they always end up in the back of the pack.

At the Olympic stadium in Helsinki, the teams are instructed to do a face-first rappel down a tower (pictured, and very tall), and if you were looking at your clock at this point, here's where you realized that there would be no pit stop in this episode. And you'd be right, because it's a two-parter. We leave off with Tyler and James just having finished the rappel, Dustin and Kandice about to start, the Chos and Lyn and Karlyn having found the right way to go, and Rob and Kimberly running around the stadium lost and frantic.

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