Friday, December 29, 2006

Afterlife: Not Just a "Medium" Rip-Off

Those damn psychics are so hot right now! Afterlife, a British import currently being broadcast on BBC America (they're finishing up the first season Thursdays at 9), stars Lesley Sharp as Alison Mundy, a psychic who speaks to the dead. The show premiered in Britain in 2005, the same year Medium premiered in the US.

While both shows feature a psychic named Alison (okay, okay, it's "Allison" on Medium) haunted by ghosts seeking some sort of resolution, there are a few differences. First of all, Lesley Sharp doesn't look like Patricia Arquette. She actually looks like - dare I say it? - a real person! Crazy, I know. Alison Mundy doesn't have a convenient job that exposes her to new crimes to be solved every week, with understanding supervisors and an inhumanly patient husband. Instead, she's still struggling to find her place in the world, and constantly challenged by a skeptical psychologist who's writing a book about her.

The tone of the show is also somewhat darker, which may be due to a gloomier Bristol setting (as opposed to Medium's sunny Arizona location). It could also be due to the fact that they cast actors who look like real people, which tends to increase the "it could happen to me!" freak-out factor. But it's not really a scary show so much as a psychological drama, with layers of complexity which belie its X-Files-esque "skeptic/believer" premise.

Although sometimes the interactions between Alison and the psychologist (Robert) seem a bit forced, the show is generally really good, and makes me wonder what else I'm missing on BBC America. So what else am I missing on the Beeb, people? Feed my TV addiction--be an enabler!

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

SNL: Special Uncensored Treat

Saturday Night Live has found one area in which it's still cutting-edge: the internet. Specifically, posting uncensored video. According to The New York Times, SNL managed to circumvent the increasing power of the FCC, that protector of America's innocence, by posting an uncensored version of its censored skit about the holiday treat which Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg have in their pants for you. (Yes, you.) This has been done before - the short-lived, Milo-infested Bedford Diaries posted an uncensored version of its pilot - but it's still rare, and I'm hopeful that this encourages more shows to get around censorship by posting scenes or full episodes as the writers originally intended them. Everybody wins: the viewers who don't want to see the possibly-objectionable material are still protected, because they aren't likely to go searching the internet for it, and the viewers who do want to see the original version have access to it.

Incidentally, this is the sort of on-air dilemma that I wish Studio 60 would have, instead of "we plagiarized a skit, except we didn't" and the Coconut/Fake Snow Hijinks of the Christmas episode. This issue is timely, rich with possibility, and involves censorship, one of Sorkin's favorite issues. Of course, it's also about the internet, so he'd never do it. He hates the internet more than he hates censorship.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Finally, a Show That Doesn't Hurt Mother Earth

Do you miss Ed Begley, Jr. on Veronica Mars? Sure, we all do. Even though we haven't seen an episode without him yet. It's just the idea that we'll never see the cheerfully student-hating dean again, you know? Anyway, Ed has moved on to his very own "docu-soap" show on HGTV, which focuses on his environmental activism. Watch him tool around in his tiny car, powered by his own sense of self-satisfaction! Uh, electricity. That's what I meant. But I kid Ed, because he's one of the few celebrities who really deserves his own show, and this one isn't going to be of the tired "look how drunk I am" variety of celebrity reality shows (Britney and Anna). No, it'll be more "look how green I am," and in these times, there's nothing wrong with that.

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The 2006 Geiger Awards, Day 5

Happy Holidays, everyone! Lori and I will be posting more sporadically until after New Year's or so, but hey, it's all reruns anyway, right? Now that that's taken care of, on to the last day of the Geiger Awards:

The Ross and Rachel Golden Earplugs for Squee Heard ‘Round the World: Josh and Donna, The West Wing. With six or seven years of unresolved sexual tension leading up to it, it's surprising Josh and Donna's hookup didn't cause mass rioting or something, like after the Bulls win the NBA championship (or some more current sports reference...).

CoverGirl Outlast Lipshine Award for Best Kiss: Jim and Pam, The Office. Well-played, The Office. The lead-up, kiss, and aftermath were perfectly done.

Blistex Award for Most Uncomfortable Kiss: Michael and Oscar, The Office. We were actually cringing so much that we didn't even see most of the kiss. The Office has set a new standard for uncomfortable moments on television.

The Inaugural Janice Dickinson Award for Craziest Bitch: Janice Dickinson, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. She'd totally kick our asses if we didn't give this one to her. Which only proves she really deserves it.

The Lone Gunmen Memorial Golden Console for Most Helpful Nerd: Mac, Veronica Mars. Sure, she's been gone most of this season, but she made her return in style.

The Judas Iscariot Award for Suckiest Friend: Wilson, House. You suck, Wilson.

The Joe Friday Memorial Award for Best Narrator: J.D., Scrubs. Unlike certain other narrators, J.D.'s musings actually add something to the show besides simple exposition.

The Captain Obvious Award for Most Expository Narration: Mary Alice, Desperate Housewives. If you can't say anything useful, don't say anything at all.

The Will and Grace Award for Craziest Stunt Casting: Patty Hearst, Veronica Mars. The layers of meta in this casting boggle the mind. Now if only she could act...

Saddest: Buster.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

The 2006 Geiger Awards, Day 4

The Sydney Bristow Memorial Award for Best Improvised Weapon: Veronica, Veronica Mars. Only in Veronica’s irony-loving hands would a lame toy unicorn become a deadly weapon.

The Harsh Realm Memorial Award for Biggest Disappointment: 6 Degrees. This show, like so many dogs with fantastic pedigrees, turned out to be full of congenital defects.

“The Truth Is Out There” Award for Most Overexposed Tagline: Save the Cheerleader, Save the World, Heroes. The only useful thing Peter has done so far on Heroes is to save the cheerleader, thus saving us from hearing this tagline every five minutes.

The “Screw the Ratings” Golden Middle Finger Award: Bill Lawrence, Scrubs. By writing for the fans, and not for the Nielsens, Bill Lawrence has ushered in a new era of creativity on Scrubs. We have happily reaped the hilarious benefits.

The JAG Medal of Honor for "Who the Hell Watches that Show, Anyway?": NCIS. Raise your hand if you know anyone who watches this show. Yeah. Didn’t think so. And yet, it was the most-watched program last week. I blame the elderly.

The Al Gore Golden Beard for Most Improved Facial Hair: The men of CSI. About time, too. We were on the verge of organizing a grassroots campaign to send razors to the set of CSI, since a lack thereof was the only explanation for Grissom's scruff/beard and Nick's horrifying mustache.

The Herman’s Head Award for Gimmickiest Show Ever: Monk. Monk is blind! Monk goes to his college reunion! Monk is a garbage man! Monk meets his father! Monk has to coach a girls basketball team! What wacky situation will that crazy Monk get thrown in next? (Answer: He’ll be in black and white.)

Best TV News of the Year: Futurama is coming back! And hopefully it, unlike Family Guy, will be just as funny upon its return.

Hottest Dental Trend: Snaggleteeth. Joanie from America’s Next Top Model. Elliott Yamin from American Idol. These days, there’s no better predictor of almost-success on a reality show than a snaggletooth.

WTF, World?: CSI: Miami is the most popular show in the world, and David Caruso’s pact with Satan has finally paid off.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Battle of the Ages: Colbert vs. The Decemberists

Sorry for the late reminder, but the Best Thing Ever is happening on The Colbert Report tonight: Stephen Colbert will battle Chris Funk of the a guitar solo contest.

They've been trading volleys for a while now over a viewer-generated video challenge, and tonight will settle their dispute for once and for all. I, for one, am completely torn on whom to root for. One of my favorite bands, one of my favorite TV'll be tough. See it for yourself tonight on Comedy Central at 11:30! (And a mad shoutout to JS for reminding me that this soon-to-be-legendary event is happening tonight.)

UPDATE: Video! Below is Stephen's performance. Go here for Chris Funk's, and here for the final verdict.

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The 2006 Geiger Awards, Day 3

Most Improved Show: Veronica Mars. After a so-so senior year of high school, Veronica has bounced back in her freshman year at college, thanks to some crunchy bite-size mysteries and cool new friends, even though one of her old friends is never around and one of her new friends is dead. We'll miss you, Dean O'Dell.

Least Improved Show: Gilmore Girls. If you've been watching, you probably thought that it couldn't do any worse than last season, and then you were proven wrong by this season. If you haven't been watching, you are a smart person.

Dead Before Its Time: Arrested Development. [Inconsolable wailing...] Yeah, we'll probably never get over this one.

Pull the Plug, Already: 7th Heaven. It seemed as if it was done when the WB went off the air, but the CW invited this undead show into its lineup. If someone doesn't stake it soon, it'll be back next season. If only the WB and UPN hadn't canceled Buffy!

Worst Storyline: The Applewhite saga, Desperate Housewives. What a waste of Alfre Woodard.

Best Music: Scrubs. Zach Braff won a Grammy for putting good music together, so he and everyone else on that show know what they're doing.

Best Reason to Suck it up and Pay for Showtime, Already: Weeds. Trust us, the pot-dealing suburban mom premise isn't too good to be true. And for the still-skeptical cheapskates, we hear Dexter's pretty good, too.

Most Awkward Set: Grey's Anatomy. Onscreen, everyone's having sex with each other, crying during said sex, cutting each other's LVAD wires, having slap fights with each other, etc. Offscreen – well, if you don't know what happened offscreen, I'd advise you to crawl out from under that rock. Sure, Shonda says they're still a big happy family, but didn't you ever wonder why Doc the dog is gone? Isaiah Washington probably choked him and then outed him.

Biggest Shock: Irina was evil the whole time!, Alias. See, Jack was right to kill her that one time!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Writers Guild of America Has Lost Its Collective Mind

I announce that the Writers Guild of America West plans on honoring John Wells with an award for excellence in television writing.

John Wells, who coincidentally used to be president of WGA West.

John Wells, who single-handedly killed the spirit of an outstanding television show after Aaron Sorkin left The West Wing.

John Wells, who sent a tank down the streets of Chicago on ER.

John Wells, who freaking crashed a helicopter down on (previous helicopter victim) Dr. Romano's head, also on ER.


Sigh. Supposedly, the award is given annually to "writers who have advanced the literature of television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer." If by "outstanding contributions," you mean, "giant explosions during sweeps," then right on, WGA West. Right on.

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The 2006 Geiger Awards, Day 2

Best Comedy Character: Barney, How I Met Your Mother. Eminently quotable and dripping with awesome.

Best Drama Character: Hiro, Heroes. If you hate Hiro, you must also hate kittens, rainbows, and Christmas.

Best Sidekick/Hero Support: Ando, Heroes. Not only is he a good, snarky foil to Hiro, but one gets the impression that without Ando, Hiro would probably have died in some stupid way, like preparing his own fugu, long ago.

Most Deserving of a Spinoff: Kenneth the Page, 30 Rock. In five years, we'll all be watching his show or dead by his hand.

Character We Most Want to Kick in the Teeth: Kirk, Gilmore Girls. The last time Kirk was funny was when he made that short film. That was four years ago. Shut up, Kirk.

Best Heterosexual Life Partners: J.D. and Turk, Scrubs. It's guy love, between two guys.

Who Knew?: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock. Did you have any idea, in January of this year, that Alec Baldwin would be picking up a sitcom every week and walking off with it? Put your hand down, Tina Fey, you don't count.

Foxiest Silver Fox: Tim Gunn, Project Runway. Yeah, we're in the Tim Gunn Caucus.

Best Reality Contestant: Daniel V., Project Runway. Smart, friendly, funny, talented, and he gave us those immortal words, "It's a motherfucking walk-off."

Worst Reality Contestant: Jade, America's Next Top Model. The undiscovered supermodel for a reason. Girl is crazy, and not even the awesome Janice Dickinson kind of crazy.

Person We Most Love to Hate: Santino, Project Runway. The sort of reality villain you can actually feel good about hating, because he doesn't seem to be in desperate need of a psychiatrist. He's just loud and cocky. But tremendously entertaining as well, as his eerily perfect Tim Gunn impression and subsequent Red Lobster Saga demonstrate.

Best Death: Jack Bristow, Alias. We always knew that if Jack was going down, he was going to take someone with him. He didn't disappoint.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Tyra Banks: Quasher of Dreams

The America's Next Top Model website has an application up for Cycle 9, and it looks like my dreams of becoming a supermodel by submitting to verbal abuse and humiliating challenges on national television may be over. Number 8 (of 27) on the list of eligibility requirements: "You must be at least five feet and seven inches (5'7") in height." Hmm. That puts me a solid five inches below minimum supermodel stature. And I'm not sure dressing in stripes and buying a Chihuahua would make up the difference.

Interestingly, there's no maximum weight requirement, even though anyone who's ever seen the show can tell you that if your body mass index is above the "starving" level, you're probably not gonna make the cut. I guess the network would rather weed out the healthy girls behind the scenes, rather than making painfully visible ribs an open requirement. Sure, they claim they're looking for "a variety of models including plus size models," but I'm not buying it. How many cycles has it been since we've had a real plus-size contestant? And no, Anchal doesn't count.

I suppose, though, it's generous of Tyra to publicly discriminate against us shorties (apparently "short," and even "of average height," do not fall under the "a variety of models" umbrella) and save us the trouble of filming an audition tape. But must my supermodel hopes and ambitions end so abruptly, in a tiny item buried in a legal document? WHY, Tyra? WHY?!?!

On the plus side, I guess this means I can have cake this afternoon.

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The 2006 Geiger Awards, Day 1

'Tis the time of the year for awards and year-in-review stuff, and we here at Glowy Box are jumping into the fray with the first annual Geiger Awards. Over the next five days, we'll be rewarding our favorites of the year in television (limited to the shows we watch, but that's what makes them our favorites). We're trying to give some love to those shows and actors who don't always get noticed by the big, bloated Hollywood awards, but who deserve recognition for making television great. Without these shows, we would have nothing to blog about. Well, we would, but it probably wouldn't be pretty.

Best Comedy: Arrested Development. Its hilarious final episodes only reinforced the fact that Fox cancelled the funniest show on television. From the brilliantly meta "S.O.B.s" to the triumphant return of Franklin the puppet, the last five episodes embodied everything that made Arrested Development great, and everything the remaining sitcoms on television should aspire to be.

Best Drama: Grey's Anatomy. How many other dramas have us crying and screaming at the TV? It's soapy goodness.

Best New Comedy: 30 Rock. It's already proven that it belongs with My Name Is Earl, The Office, and Scrubs, thanks to great writing and Condi's squeeze, Alec Baldwin. (See, Laura? She does have the support system to become president!)

Best New Drama: Heroes. With such compelling characters and a fascinating premise, we can almost forgive them for casting Milo.

Best Reality Show: The Amazing Race. We just barely gave it the edge over Project Runway because Phil could take Tim easily in a fight. Not that we want them to fight; we're just saying.

Best Show We're Not Watching: Battlestar Galactica. Even Veronica Mars is telling us to watch!

Best Cable Show: Project Runway. We couldn't not reward Project Runway just because Tim doesn't want to wrinkle his suit.

Best Cartoon: Frisky Dingo. A newcomer to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim slate, it has already set itself apart with clever writing, relatable characters, and storylines that actually go somewhere (no offense to other Adult Swim shows). With animated stalwarts like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and even Aqua Teen Hunger Force growing stale, Frisky Dingo dares to ask questions like, "What would happen if an English-accented space villain with plans to annihilate the Earth had to deal with an insurance company?"

Guiltiest Pleasure: Justice. I mean, have you seen the previews for this week's episode? Victor Garber didn't order a baby, people!

Best Comedy Actress: Jessica Walter, Arrested Development. Lucille Bluth, the matriarch of the Bluth family, might be an over-the-top character, but Jessica Walter played her with a remarkably subtle, dry genius. She even managed the seemingly impossible: stealing scenes from co-stars like Will Arnett, David Cross, and Jeffrey Tambor.

Best Comedy Actor: John C. McGinley, Scrubs. Some of the best line readings on TV, bar none. But we're still waiting for that $12 he owes us.

Best Drama Actress: Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy. So she didn't cut anybody's LVAD wire, nor did she… do whatever it was that got Ellen Pompeo nominated for a Golden Globe (aside from the obvious Squint-Off she's having with Renee Zellweger), but she makes Cristina an enjoyable and even likeable character, which is much tougher.

Best Drama Actor: Hugh Laurie, House. Hugh Laurie's not exactly starved for love, given that he's won approximately everything, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his role as Dr. Gregory House, but there's a reason for that: he's very good at his job.

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Watching Television 101

The Nielsens have finally realized what everyone else has always known - college students watch a lot of TV. Variety reports that Nielsen is now going to include college campuses in its ratings, and, speaking as someone who watched a lot of TV with friends in college, I can tell you that this is a great idea. College students are probably the most loyal TV watchers there are, because they usually have the time to watch, they know what they like, and for them "appointment TV" means an appointment with friends too, so they're less likely to miss an episode. If you can get them watching your show, you're in good shape. Among other shows, this is good news for Scrubs, which has always had a strong college following. And if only they had been rating colleges when we were there, maybe NBC wouldn't have treated Scrubs like the annoying neighbor kid and would have given it the prominent place on the schedule that it deserves.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

ScrubsWatch '06: Smokaccino!

First off, CONGRATULATIONS to Zach Braff, who has been nominated for a Golden Globe in the best comedy actor category! Scrubs deserves much more awards recognition, but hey, we'll take it!

Last night's episode mixed some classic Scrubs (the Janitor's talking muffin puppet, the Smokaccino, the return of Cabbage) with some serious character plotlines that could shape the rest of the season. Elliot may be moving into private practice, although still at Sacred Heart, and Kim (J.D.'s baby mama) may accept a job in Tacoma, Washington.

NBC is really ramping up the product placement, too. After what was essentially a giant (although admittedly hilarious) commercial for the Sandals resort and Benihana's on The Office, I was really proud of Scrubs for naming their coffee shop "Coffee Bucks" instead of Starbucks. It didn't last long, though, as they definitely fit in a lengthy plug for Corinne Bailey Rae's CD. (Incidentally, Corinne was also featured as the musical guest in an episode of Studio 60, also on NBC. What a coinkidink!) Ah, well. If that's what it takes to keep these great shows on the air, I guess I can swallow it. Just...try to keep it from standing out like a sore thumb from now on, okay, NBC?

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It's the Most Dysfunctional Time of the Year

The holidays are here! Traditionally, it's a time for family, which means that, traditionally, it's also a time for dysfunctionality. There's no way around it. Which is why I've compiled this list of some of the most dysfunctional Christmas episodes. Watching any of these episodes will instantly make you feel better about your Christmas – or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, for that matter – because at least it's not happening to you. Nothing like schadenfreude to fill you with holiday cheer, right?

  • Studio 60, "The Christmas Show": It's new, yes, but it's already reached heights of Christmas dysfunctionality that many shows will never reach, thanks to Darius, Lucy, Simon, Tom, and Andy bringing the Christmas buzzkill. Proving that Santa can't really go around the world in one night isn't a huge surprise to your audience when said audience is composed entirely of people who already figured out that Santa's handwriting looks an awful lot like Mom's. And who then decided not to care, because a present is a present.
  • Futurama, "Xmas Story" and "A Tale of Two Santas": Killer robot Santa has decided that everyone is naughty and has the firepower to enforce his view. Kwanzaabot, save us!
  • NewsRadio, "Xmas Story": Like the Futurama "Xmas Story," this episode also revolves around a killer Santa. Ripoff! (I mean the other one; this one came first.)
  • The X-Files, "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas": If there's anything less Christmasy than a suicide pact, it's discovering your own corpse moldering under the floorboards. Awkward!
  • Alias, "The Indicator": When your dad says he's "taking care of Christmas," he means he's getting you a puppy. When Jack Bristow says it, it means he's dealing with the brainwashed moppets who are being molded into future spies. Jack doesn't do puppies. Or kids. Or anything cute. (Which is why he never really hit it off with Marshall.)
  • Seinfeld, "The Strike": How can I leave this episode off the list? There's no more dysfunctional December holiday than Festivus. For crying out loud, the holiday isn't officially over until the head of the household is pinned to the ground. And if that really is your holiday tradition, have you considered Scrabble?

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The Amazing Race: More All-Stars Team Spoilers

If you've read the title of this post and are continuing to read, I'm taking that as tacit spoiler consent, because I did warn you. So anyway, two more teams have been identified, thanks to the message boards (Warning: Do not click on the link if you only want to know who is racing, and not how they fare). They are Danny and Oswald (season 2) and Dustin and Kandice (season 10). Really? Dustin and Kandice? All-stars? Why do I get the feeling that someone on the race staff really wants them to win the whole thing? The boards also mention a team they call "Eric and Danielle," which confused me completely until I read that Eric (of "and Jeremy") and Danielle (of "and Dani") started dating after season 9, so that's our first hybrid team. This brings the total number of teams that we know about to ten: Bill/Joe, Danny/Oswald, Jill/John Vito, Colin/Christie, Mirna/Charla, Rob/Amber, Uchenna/Joyce, Eric/Danielle, David/Mary, and Dustin/Kandice. If I had to guess, I'd say that there's at least one more team out there, but I'm not looking up any more spoilers, because I don't want to know how the race ends. It would be like ruining Christmas morning.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Arrested Development Episodes Online

MSN has posted episodes 6, 7, and 8 of Arrested Development on their streaming video site (if you haven't finished the first five, they're still available--just move your mouse down the episode list and they'll appear). Some of the descriptions are an episode off, so just ignore them.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go watch 'em here! Enjoy!

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ScrubsWatch '06: Don't Forget to Watch!

In tonight's episode of Scrubs, entitled "Getting to Know You,"

J.D. spends time getting to know the future mother of his child, Kim, and finds that they are surprisingly compatible. Meanwhile, Turk gets nervous when Carla starts contemplating returning to work now that the baby is born. Thinking he won't be able to support his family he begins giving medical advice on the side for a quick buck. Elsewhere, Elliot contemplates moving into private practice while Dr. Cox finds new ways to torture her sensibilities. All the while the Janitor leads a strike of the support staff to convince Dr. Kelso that they need dental insurance.

Sounds good! And since Grey's Anatomy and CSI are reruns tonight, and Scrubs will be jumping off of a new, supersized Office Christmas special, I'm hoping the ratings will continue to be great. According to NBC, last week's episode ranked #7 among all programs in the 18-34 demographic! And a rising tide lifts all sitcoms, or something, so hopefully Scrubs will help keep the increasingly hilarious 30 Rock afloat--it seems to be working so far.

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Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: A Crazy Bitch "Christmas"

UPDATE: Janice was injured in a hit-and-run accident Tuesday night. "Unknown driver," my ass--come back here and face her like a real woman, Tyra!

Um, did anyone else watch Christmas with the Dickinsons last night? Janice is back, people, and she is crazier than ever. Also, it's possible that the human to silicone ratio has shifted so far towards silicone that she's dishwasher-safe.

Words cannot do justice to the magical Christmas spirit I felt as I watched Janice talk about how she'd model even if she were bleeding out of her ass. Courier and Ives have nothing on the quintessential holiday image of her models going Christmas caroling in their underwear. The fact that they probably filmed the whole thing before the holiday season even started merely serves to showcase how much Janice loves Christmas. As the reformed Ebenezer Scrooge did before her, Janice is honoring Christmas in her heart and keeping it all the year.

And don't feel left out, Jews! There was a very touching scene in which Janice, careful not to leave out their father's religion when celebrating with her children, sang "Hava Nagila" while lighting a menorah.

Oh, Janice. You are one of the things for which I am most grateful this holiday season. I'd say "never change," but you never will, thanks to Botox, silicone, and collagen. God bless them, every one.

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Ellen Pompeo over Kristen Bell? Seriously?

Well, this year's Golden Globe nominations are a mixed bag. Lots of love for Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Weeds, among others. No love at all for How I Met Your Mother or Veronica Mars. And Bill Paxton's ass-baring on Big Love finally paid off, with nominations for him and for the show, because his milkshake brings all the Foreign Press Association voters to the yard.

Some of our favorite freshman shows did pretty well, with Heroes garnering a best drama nomination as well as a best supporting actor nomination for Masi Oka. Alec Baldwin scored a best actor nomination for his hysterical work on 30 Rock, and Sarah Paulson received a supporting actress nomination for Studio 60. Ugly Betty got a best comedy nomination, as well as a best actress nod for America Ferrera.

Scrubs was largely ignored yet again, although Zach Braff managed to grab a best actor nomination. My Name Is Earl scraped by with nothing but a best actor nomination for Jason Lee to its name--I guess Desperate Housewives' return to glory left no room for Jaime Pressly.

Congratulations all around to the deserving nominees! And here's the full list. Including those long things you have to travel and pay ten dollars to see. "Moving pictures," I think they're called.

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That's Okay, Bill Lawrence Doesn't Care About Awards Anyway

The Writers Guild announced their nominees yesterday, and 30 Rock, surprisingly enough, snuck into the best comedy category. I say surprisingly not because it's not hilarious, which it is, but because it's aired a paltry amount of episodes so far. But hey, I'll take it. Also getting a well-deserved nomination is Studio 60 for its pilot episode, which ranks right up there with Alias as one of the best pilots I've seen. Getting no love from the WGA: Scrubs. Isn't there some sort of award for writing for the fans that they can get?

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: Janice's Christmas Gift to Us

Tonight, as I'm sure you've already marked on your calendar in giant red sparkly letters, is the premiere of Christmas with the Dickinsons, Janice Dickinson's Christmas special on Oxygen. For those of you who can't wait until 10 o'clock, here's Janice's "12 Days of Christmas" (Spoiler Alert! On the fifth day she gets fiiive naaaked men.):

Wow. I think my favorite part is when the two huge aluminum balls representing her "two giant breasts" swing down and hit her. It's just so many levels of funny! And yeah, the singing? Extra-special. Oh, Janice. How I've missed you and your crazy drunken lunacy.

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RIP Peter Boyle

Peter Boyle, famous for his curmudgeonly role on Everybody Loves Raymond, died last night at the age of 71. Although I hated Everybody Loves Raymond, I very much loved Peter Boyle, whose role as Clyde Bruckman in the X-Files episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" won him a much-deserved Emmy for best Guest Actor.

"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is definitely one of my favorite X-Files episodes, and beyond that, one of the best hours of television I've ever seen. TV Guide agreed, naming it the number ten best television episode of all time in 2001. Peter Boyle's incredibly human portrayal of Clyde Bruckman, the insurance salesman who foresees people's deaths (including his own) deserves a huge amount of credit for making the episode as outstanding as it was.

So thanks for the great times, Peter. We'll miss you.

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Ratings Roundup: It's a Christmas Miracle!

Last week's Scrubs managed a 4.0/10 with 8.38 million viewers, and matched its highest 18-49 target demographic rating in more than two years! [Cue Christmas-appropriate "HAAAAlelujah" singing] Bill Lawrence might be writing for the fans, but I'm in it to win it, baby!

As an added bonus, 30 Rock followed with its highest rating yet, 3.2/8 with 6.84 million viewers. Keep it coming, guys!

In more perplexing news, so far this season CBS is besting ABC in the 25-54 demographic, and while ABC and NBC came in first and second respectively in the 12-34 demographic, I still feel like ABC should be beating CBS with 25-54-year-old viewers. What the hell? Is this just CSI's influence? Because aside from CSI and How I Met Your Mother, what other shows do youngish people watch on CBS? Not NCIS, I can tell you that. Eh, whatever. I'll just bask in my Scrubs-y victory.

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House: He's Not an Addict, It's Cool, He Feels Alive

Oh, House. House, House, House. How is it that I love you even when you're lying on the floor in your own vomit, a bottle of pills by your side? God, I'm like freaking Cameron, or something. In last night's excellent episode of House, House hit rock bottom, reached out a little, and got bitch-slapped for his troubles.

You see, Wilson has ratted House out to Detective Tritter. He tries to justify his betrayal by explaining that he got House a plea bargain deal (rehab), but Cameron and Cuddy aren't buying it. Cameron thinks he did it to save his own ass and won't own up to the fact, and Cuddy thinks he had to have known there was no way House would take the deal, and thus Wilson basically sacrificed the hospital's best doctor. Wilson has forced Cuddy's hand, though, since now House HAS to take the deal or go to prison, so they agree to cut House off Vicodin until he's sick and detoxing and forced to take the deal. Unfortunately, that doesn't bode well for this week's patient.

The case of the week is a young dwarf (whose mother is played by Meredith Eaton, of Boston Legal) whose entire body is pretty much shutting down. Wilson and Cameron go back and forth about whether it's cancer or an auto-immune disease, and Cameron and Cuddy both beg a very sick House for help. I loved the scene between Cameron and House, where she's bandaging up self-inflicted cuts on his arm as he grudgingly helps her with the case. And trust me, I'm NOT a Cameron/House person. After essentially stealing a bottle of Oxycontin from a dead man, House is sharp enough to figure out what's really going on--a combination of cancer and an autoimmune disease. Oh, and the girl isn't really a dwarf, by the way, but simply lacking in growth hormone.

The fact that House was able to cure a dying patient when none of the other doctors could figure out what's wrong makes Wilson realize that House is a "positive force in the universe," and will save far more lives at PPH than he will damage with drugs. More lives than Wilson, even, who tells Tritter he's willing to go to jail for interfering with an investigation rather than have House sit in jail while patients die. Wow, this is actually pretty interesting on a philosophical level--Utilitarianism, or something. But I'm no philosopher, so on with the recap.

House goes home to drown his sorrows in alcohol and more pills after leaving his parents a "Merry Christmas" message on their machine. Cut to presumably the next day, as Wilson bangs on the door only to find House semi-conscious on the floor next to a bottle of pills and a puddle of vomit. Wilson leaves.

Upon recovering, House, having realized he's hit rock bottom and possibly needs some help, goes to Tritter to take the deal. Unfortunately, it turns out that Tritter's not interested in helping House get better, and only interested in punishing him. The deal's off the table, since Tritter got new evidence that House stole the Oxycontin pills. Well, nuts. But I'll be damned if this isn't Hugh Laurie's Emmy episode.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Class: Free at Last

I have a small, embarrassing confession to make: I've been watching The Class pretty much all season. Yes, I knew the acting was largely exaggerated and unfunny (aside from Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who is actually pretty great as sad-sack Richie Velch). Yes, I knew the writing sucked and the jokes weren't clever, or even good. Yes, I knew the plots were getting increasingly ridiculous and annoying. Yes, I knew the show wasn't going to get any better.

So why keep watching? Extreme laziness. The Class is on CBS at 8:30 Mondays, after How I Met Your Mother. Nothing else that I watch regularly is on at that time. It was just so easy to keep watching CBS for a half hour rather than find something else to do or watch for that short amount of time. Shameful, I know. It wasn't even a guilty pleasure, just...guilty slothishness, or something.

Well that ends now. Or, more accurately, last night. You see, The Class is one of those new shows that manage to attract enough viewers to hang on to their slots while far better shows struggle. The people who watch such shows are enablers of bad television. I'm done being part of the problem, and I'm ready to be part of the solution. From now on, I will watch no crappy shows save to mock them. From 8:30-9 on Monday nights, I will read a book instead of watching The Class, as I did last night. No more secret bad shows! It's quality television or heavy snark all the way from here on out.

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America's Next Top Model: Get Your Very Own Pocket Melrose!

In "I kind of can't believe this isn't a joke" news, the CW has announced that they will pair up with Artificial Life, Inc. to launch a cell phone game based on America's Next Top Model. Oh, that's right. Because what could be better than Melrose on your TV but Melrose on your cell phone, too?

To play the "America's Next Top Model" game, players select a virtual representation of his/her favorite and least favorite contestants from the show. The main task is for users to interact with these selected virtual characters -- known as avatars -- as if they were real participants of the TV show. This means players must foster their avatar's modeling career through training and various challenges. The selection of the least favorable character allows players to play tricks on her.

Tricks, eh? Intriguing, CW. Intriguing. Even better, though, would be a little "feed me" button, where you could make the models eat pizza and fettuccine alfredo until they looked like healthy human beings. Oh, and then a little Janice Dickinson avatar to call them fat and worthless. That would be the true America's Next Top Model experience, and $5.99 well-spent.

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How I Met Your Mother: Ouchie in my Mouth!

CLASSIC How I Met Your Mother last night. How was I not watching this show before now?! I right in interpreting that Ted called Lily the c-word? (I'm assuming "bitch" wouldn't have caused such a ruckus.) 'Cause that's really never cool, Ted. But hey, it's the Christmas season, and there's a whole marvelous Winter Wonderland-decorated apartment for me to marvel at/lust after, so let's forgive and forget and laugh at all the awesome coming out of Barney's nose. It was legen-wait for it-...zzzzz...dary.

Sorry for the short post - I just wanted to give HIMYM its rightful props for almost making me snort vegan soy nog out of my nose last night. True story.

UPDATE: I just placed Ted's mom's boyfriend, Clint. It's Harry Groener, the evil mayor on Buffy. Phew--that was bugging me!

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30 Rock: There's No Greater Gift Than the Gift of Fear

If you've been looking for a way to send your friends holiday greetings, exhort them to watch 30 Rock, and scare the hell out of them all at the same time, your oddly specific hopes have been realized. From the show's website, you can send a personalized message from Alec Baldwin that will stay with them long after the holidays are over. I don't know if the unrelenting earnestness in his voice makes it better or not, but I think I'll go with "not." Thanks to Test Pattern for the link.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

The Year Without a Santa Claus

Tonight at 9, NBC will be airing their remake of the Christmas "classic," The Year Without a Santa Claus. Since the original (made by Rankin-Bass Productions, creators of the legitimate classic Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer) aired years before I was born, I watch it more for the mockability than for the nostalgia.

For those who haven't seen it, it revolves around Santa having a cold and refusing to do his one-day-a-year job, thus requiring that a couple of elves leave the North Pole to show him the spirit of Christmas, or something. In reality, it revolves around the awesomeness of the Heat Miser and Snow Miser characters. Check out the Heat Miser's song (sorry 'bout the bad's the best one I could find):

Is that the best thing ever, or is that the best thing ever? It totally is. He's too much! Snow Miser also has an extremely similar song, which is somehow made less awesome by his lack of crazy troll hair. In the NBC live-action version, Heat Miser is played by Harvey Fierstein, and Snow Miser is played (to excellent effect) by Michael McKean. The two songs are, regrettably, combined into one:

Not bad, given it's a live-action version of an incredibly simplistic stop-motion animation movie. However, TV Squad points out that NBC updated the premise, making it all modern and angsty. Lame, NBC! LAME. It has a pretty impressive cast, but I think it might hit in that deadly zone in between "so bad it's funny" and "actually good," making it simply boring.

Incidentally, I caught another Rankin-Bass "classic" this weekend for the first time: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. It pretty much has two themes (plus a super-sweet psychedelic song). First, Santa must deliver presents beyond the iron curtain to poor children in Burgermeister Meisterburger's town, since toys are outlawed there. Second, Santa is totally a pedophile. Seriously, there's one song that's all, "Sit on my lap and give me a kiss, and I'll give you a present!" It's not even subtext. It's supertext: SANTA WILL BREAK INTO YOUR HOUSE AND MOLEST YOUR CHILDREN!!! I'm not sure if that's what Rankin and Bass were going for, but it's definitely pretty clear. Thanks, ABC Family, for the awesome PSA!

Now all I need to make this holiday season complete is to catch Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, which may be the most ridiculous holiday special in the history of the world. It involves a circus, an ice cream man in love, and Frosty and his family risking their lives to watch fireworks. Pure magic.

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The Amazing Race: The Million-Dollar E-Z Pass

It's the finale! Who will win a million dollars and Phil's approval? Who will win second place and Phil's pity? Who will just be taunted and booed until Phil's throat is sore? Find out!

In honor of the final leg, the producers bring out a bunch of hint clues, perhaps in the hopes that one team will get discouraged and say, "We don't know what this means," while looking frustrated, so they can run the footage in slow motion before going to commercials. However, because the teams ask locals about the church that's been under construction for 124 years, and they can recognize the Eiffel Tower on sight, the producers don't get their Christmas wish. The teams then make their way up to Caen, where one member of each team is pushed out of a plane onto Omaha Beach. I mean, they do a tandem skydive. And skydiving is cool and all, but I wish they'd had to storm the beach. While being pelted by tomatoes. It's not like it would be hard to get the French to pelt Americans with tomatoes. The producers probably wouldn't even have to ask them.

After liberating Normandy, the teams are sent back down to Paris for a Detour in which they must construct a jacket. Oh, if only Santino and Andrae were running this race. Apart from the dead-on Phil impression ("Andrae, you really embarrassed me tonight at Red Lobster. This relationship has its own pros and cons.") and the hours and hours of crying footage the two of them would undoubtedly provide, they'd rock this Detour. Unfortunately, they are not racers (yet!), but we do have models, and Tyler and James make it look easy.

And then, the airport. If you're an Amazing Race watcher, you know this is the most important part of any finale episode. You need to make it on the first flight to the U.S. or you're not getting any money. So as the teams arrive at the airport, inquiring about flights to New York City, they learn that there is a flight leaving early the next morning, but it's full. Thanks to a friendly agent, Rob and Kimberly manage to wangle seats on the flight, but the other two teams have to get on the waiting list. And this is where the show wants you to think that the other two teams aren't going to get on the flight. But, again, if you're an Amazing Race watcher, you know that the producers will do anything to make sure that it's a close finish, so at least one other team had to get on that flight. And, indeed, Tyler and James make it as well. Lyn and Karlyn, and women everywhere, are SOL.

Veteran Race watchers will also know that, once racers make it to the final city, the little things decide who will win. In this season, it's an E-Z Pass, and the fact that Tyler and James' cab driver has a better idea of how to get to the Daily News Building than Rob and Kimberly's driver. Once the models lose Rob and Kimberly in the toll lanes, it's all over but the jumping on the jumbo-sized mat, which Tyler and James do in Garrison, New York, of all places. They ran a good race, so I'm ultimately pleased by the outcome, although I swear I've seen them win before. Or at least come in second. Are we sure they're not Eric and Jeremy?

Once they've won, whoever they are, Phil does something very nice for them, whipping out a phone and allowing them to call their parents. Tyler's mom proclaims it "a miracle" that they won, because she hasn't noticed that her son and his friend are buff young models. You always bet on the buff models. James' dad, meanwhile, has some serious eyebrows going on. They're like little horns. Work it out, James' dad, I guess.

And that's it, except for a teaser for the all-star edition. CBS is being all super-secret about it, but they have reckoned against the power of the internet. (Warning! Season 11 cast spoilers ahead!) According to photographic evidence on this message board, season 1's Guidos, Bill and Joe, will be on the race, and this article reports that Colin and Christie and Charla and Mirna from season 5, as well as Jill and John Vito from season 3, will be on it. Teams that will not be on it: original winners Rob and Brennan, and dirty hippies (and season 9 winners) BJ and Tyler. The hippies are, in fact, extremely sore non-all-stars about it, calling themselves "the most popular and amazing team of all time," and implying that no one would want to see Brian and Greg race again. The hell I wouldn't!

Anyway, nice try with the secrecy, CBS, but you can bet that the message boards will have already determined the roster by the time you see fit to release it.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

ScrubsWatch '06: It's a Girl!

Welcome, Isabella! No "boy boy boy very tall boy" for Turk this time around, I guess. Does anyone else wish they had a giant toy unicorn to sit on when they had tough decisions to make? I'd name mine Starlite, after Rainbow Brite's horse. I'd be all, "Starlite, what do you think? Pancakes or waffles?" It'd be sweet.

I'm kinda bummed the "band" wasn't Ted's band (they could sing the "Chili's Babyback Ribs" jingle again, and it would be even MORE inappropriate!), but I'll settle for a drumline, I guess.

How impressive was it that J.D. and Kim actually had a (semi-) serious discussion about abortion? Most network shows try to get street cred by bringing it up, even though they mostly just talk about scheduling a "procedure" or making "the appointment," and then cop out by giving the character a miscarriage or something (Grey's Anatomy, I'm looking at you). Even though it doesn't look like J.D. and Kim are going to go that route, which is obviously fine, I think it's great that they acknowledged the option, the reasons for it, and the fact that Jordan had an abortion years ago and still considers it a good decision. The writers even let the pro-life side of the debate in with the talking Jesus! I'm all for a thoughtful, real conversation while maintaining the funny, irreverent Scrubs sense of humor. So much love for this TV show right now!

UPDATE: Even with My Name Is Earl instead of The Office as a lead-in, Scrubs improved over last week's overnight ratings (4.9/7) with a 5.1/8 for last night. It probably didn't hurt that Grey's Anatomy was a rerun, but I'll still consider this a Scrubs victory. Not that we care about ratings, anyway.

And now, the Best Thing Ever: Holiday Edition. It's A Charlie Brown Christmas, performed by the entire cast of Scrubs! You just...REALLY have to watch it. Really. Words cannot describe its greatness. It's HYSTERICAL. A very, very special thanks to Televisionary for the tip.

I'm incredibly impressed with how well they matched up the dialogue with the characters' mouths! Also, best use of weird character movements ever: "But I like urinating my name in the snow. [Charlie Brown rummages around in pocket] Almost as much as I like touching myself!" Ah, fabulousness.

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CSI: Kentucky Fried Cruelty

Although I haven't been watching CSI this season, DawnWatch gave me a heads-up that last night's episode would feature a murder at a chicken slaughterhouse, and would air actual footage taken at chicken slaughterhouses. Since I'm a vegan and an animal rights activist, it was enough to get me to tune into CSI again. Plus, Grey's Anatomy was a repeat.

CSI has been honored by the Humane Society's Genesis Awards for a past episode which exposed the cruelty behind canned hunts, and an earlier episode in which Sara investigated gorilla poaching. Last night's episode, while using an...interesting...PSA by a murdered rock star played by Danny Bonaduce (to be clear, I personally do not equate eating chickens with eating starving African children), did a GREAT job of showing the actual conditions chickens are kept in and the cruel ways in which they are treated and killed at slaughterhouses. The investigation shown on the show actually mirrors a real-life investigation of a KFC-supplying slaughterhouse in West Virginia, and the video footage they used definitely came from that or a similar investigation.

Mad, MAD props to CSI for having the guts to air disturbing slaughterhouse footage and highlight the issue of animal cruelty. Plus, it wasn't that bad an episode, either. (Sorry 'bout the preachiness. But it's my birthday--I'm allowed!)

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30 Rock: NewsRadio for the Aughts

30 Rock just gets funnier every time I watch it. With every new episode, I laugh a little bit longer and a little bit harder at the jokes (my favorite this week: "Past Pete is going to kill Future Pete!"). And it just makes sense, because, as I've realized, 30 Rock is what you would get if you put Scrubs and NewsRadio in a supercollider. From NewsRadio, my favorite show of all time, you've got the basic dynamic: staff of nitwits, insane sensei of a boss, semi-straight man caught between them. And, like Scrubs and pretty much all of the best comedies on TV right now (including every other NBC comedy in its block), there's the completely surreal, off-the-wall humor. NewsRadio was zany in its way, too, but compared to the current trend of madcap sitcoms, it's practically Veronica's Closet. Not even the space episode had the same nonstop insanity of blue shmoos, "mind grapes," and Dr. Spaceman. So well done, 30 Rock, although you have a long way to go before you can pass NewsRadio in my estimation.

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Happy Liz Day!

Today is the birthday of my distinguished co-blogger, the smart, outspoken, fabulous Liz! She'd be a terrible teammate on The Amazing Race, what with her crippling veganism and her unfortunate tendency to be kind to animals, but as a co-blogger, she's the best. Happy birthday, Liz!

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

ScrubsWatch '06: It's Baby Time!

Tonight on Scrubs: "My Best Friend's Baby's Baby and My Baby's Baby."
From NBC's description:

Carla goes into labor and an excited Turk strikes up the band -- literally -- while escorting her to the hospital, but he still feels upstaged by Elliot's attempts to make Carla more comfortable. A scheme to make himself look like the hero backfires and Turk is in jeopardy of missing the birth of his child. Lucky for him the whole thing is mistakenly being broadcast over the hospital's closed circuit TV. Meanwhile, J.D. and Kim (Elizabeth Banks) contemplate their future and the future of their child.

"Strikes up the band," eh? I hope that means Ted's band will be in the episode!

In other Scrubs-related news, the ratings for last week were pretty positive: a 3.6/9 in viewers aged 18-49, which is up 9% for the key demographic from NBC's season average for the timeslot. There were 7.7 million viewers total, which makes last week's episode the highest-rated Scrubs for the key demographic AND total viewers since February 28th last season. Yay! And hopefully NBC will stick with this timeslot for a while, and give Office-lovers the chance to get into Scrubs, too.

Lisa de Moraes, however, isn't feeling the love. She named Scrubs among her losers for the week:
NBC's much-moved sitcom continues its slow, sad descent into irrelevance, with just 7.7 million watching its return to the lineup on Thursday. That's its smallest fall debut ever, beating the previous low of 8.5 million in '04 when the show returned early, allegedly to bask in NBC's Summer Olympics ratings halo.

Um, yeah. First off: Is she really counting this as a "fall debut"? It was NOVEMBER 30TH--after sweeps! Come ON! Just because the weather was freakishly warm doesn't make it fall...viewers are already pretty set in their schedules by now. Eh, you know what? I'm not even going to bother. If being part of the best block of comedies in years is "irrelevance," then I hope Scrubs revels in it. The quality of the show has only gone up as the writers have stopped writing for ratings and started writing for the fans, anyway. So there.

Last but not least, Sarah Chalke is engaged! She'll be marrying her longtime boyfriend Jamie Afifi, an entertainment lawyer. Congratulations, Sarah! That's all for today, but don't forget to watch Scrubs tonight at 9 PM on NBC!

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America's Next Top Model: Bitches Never Prosper

It's finale time! And just one hour this year, which hopefully means less rehashing past bitchery and more flubbing lines in commercials and trying to look fierce on a ridiculous runway. Last week brought the elimination of the only girl left who could realistically have a high-fashion modeling career, leaving a bitch, a bore, and a goof still in the running. Can you guess who's who?

We're still in Barcelona, and the FINAL THREE meet Jay Manuel at the set of their CoverGirl photo shoot/TV commercial. It's for some lip gloss with a ridiculously adjective-laden name. Long-Lasting Extra-Awesome So Shiny It'll Blind You Lip Gloss, or something like that. The winner's ad will be in a national magazine, and Danielle, the reigning Top Model, is on hand to "coach" the girls. Jay points out that her agency has renamed her "Dani," but ANTM refuses to accept that fact, and "Danielle" she remains in the on-screen label. She gives the finalists the obligatory "don't suck, and oh yeah, be a role model" speech. Your amazing work standing in the background as Queen Latifah talks about mascara has certainly inspired me to do things with my life, "Dani."

The girls go into makeup, and start practicing their lines. They're wearing what seem to be cute, brightly colored polka-dotted skirts paired with white tank tops and ENORMOUS belts that go from, like, their hips to halfway up their ribcage. Seriously, they're ridiculous. Fashion is ridiculous. Eugena and Melrose bitch about each other in interviews. Melrose is fake, Eugena doesn't want it, blah blah blah. This is why a one-hour finale rocks, everyone. Waaay less of this crap.

Jay will be directing the commercial, and CariDee is up first. She has the predictable trouble with her lines, and thinks the pressure is getting to her. Then, she loosens up a bit. And by a bit, I mean a lot. As Jay says, "It's hard to pull back the reins with CariDee." I think there's even some singing of the lines at one point. But, she ends up doing a great job, so it's all good.

Eugena starts out low-energy, but Jay gives her a pep talk to pump her up. In my opinion, it made her line reading a little creepy and intense, but Jay says it was "so good!" Whatever you say, Jay.

Melrose is actually NOT PERFECT, which is awesome. First she flubs her lines a bit, and then she starts Hitting! Every! Word! Really! Hard!, enough so that Jay has to tell her to stop making her energy so fake. She ends up doing fine, but totally obsesses about it afterwards and even tears up a bit. Get a grip, bitch. After the rocky commercial, Melrose is nervous about the photo shoot. The photographer thinks she's over-thinking it, and being too technical. It looks like she shakes it off, but it's kind of hard to tell.

CariDee seems to do a really good job, although her attempt at "blissful" seems "half-asleep" to me. Eugena tries like mad to avoid the 'ol Dead Eye. Luckily for her, she's modeling lip gloss, and not mascara. Finally, the girls all have to pretend they love each other for a final "Easy, Breezy, etc." shot with the three of them, where they all fall on a couch giggling fakely.

They return to the apartment to find Tyra mail--someone's going home tomorrow! I'd like to take this opportunity to say that CariDee is back on my good side this week, after a couple weeks in the doghouse. She just seems so fun!

At the judging panel, Victorio and Lucchino are the guest judges, since the finalists will be wearing their dresses on the runway later. Yeah, it makes perfect sense to have judges for this round who haven't worked with the girls at all, and probably have no experience with commercial fashion. They don't even speak English! How are they supposed to judge the ads? Unless...the judges are actually just figureheads and Tyra's making all the decisions. Hmm...

We get to see the ad they shot all cut together, and it seems really manic and creepy to me. And do they try to rhyme "fiesta" with "vista"? Yeah. But Tyra loved it, so whatever. Melrose's take is really good, and Nigel points out her great smile. Her photo, however, kind of sucks. The lips seem rather thin, and her face looks tight in general.

Eugena's commercial take seems bad to me--her eyes are crazy wide, and she seems really fake. But the judges are all, "All of a sudden you're great!" What the hell? Are we watching the same ads? Eugena manages to do the mythical "smiling with her eyes" trick in her photo, and the judges say her photos have gotten a LOT better.

CariDee's commercial is very...act-y...but good, I think. Fun. The judges think it's pretty good, but say she frowns a bit, and gave it a bit too much energy. Her photo is awesome, and the judges agree--apparently her whole film was the best. She also gets props for looking like a model in person.

"Dani's" "Life" as a "CoverGirl" segment is a freaking recap of everything she's done in the past year. THRILL, as you relive her first pitch at Camden Yards! YAWN, as she shoots a commercial with Queen Latifah! FROWN SKEPTICALLY as she goes on go-sees and poses on the red carpet!

The judges deliberate alone. They think Eugena's photo is her strongest yet, but the personality problem is still there. CariDee has a ton of personality, but it makes her unpredictable. They don't love Melrose's photo, but thinks she has passion and has consistently taken good photos up until now. Nigel points out that Melrose isn't a natural, but works hard. Eugena IS a natural (first I've heard of it), but doesn't try hard enough. So...I guess CariDee's in, then, since he doesn't even mention what the problem is with her.

And yes, she's the first name called. According to Tyra, Melrose has been consistently good, but sucked hardcore this week. Eugena started off weak, but improved recently. The judges, however, aren't sure she really wants it. That, of course, is the kiss of death, and Melrose is in. There's nothing the judges hate more than girls who don't throw themselves at their feet begging to be America's Next Top Model. Hugs and crying all around, and CariDee promises Eugena that she'll win it for her. I'm sure that makes Eugena feel totally better about losing.

CariDee is bummed that Eugena's gone, and finds a note from her at the apartment. "Walk your ass off on the runway, 'cause a natural blonde needs to win." HA! I love Eugena a little, now. CariDee calls it the Battle of the Blondes.

The girls head off the next morning to shoot what will be their Seventeen cover if they win. Um, Melrose is like a million years old, and photographs a billion years old. Somehow, I don't find it believable that she would be on the cover of SEVENTEEN magazine. The Seventeen lady is into CariDee, probably because she doesn't want an old lady on her cover. All she can come up with for Melrose is that she has a "unique look."

Next, the girls meet with "Dr. Michelle," a life coach from Tyra's show. Hmm...this is new... She's there to make them cry and talk about how much the show has helped them. Boooooring. Bring on the crazy runway!

Ah yes, the crazy runway. I believe it is located in Park Güell, a lovely complex designed by Gaudí, and made to look like a spooky haunted cave by the Top Model producers. Yeah. The theme is "ghost brides." Yeah. "Dani" will open the show, which will start out sedately and become more and more theatrical, until the models get totally crazy and run around screaming. Um, this is insane.

It's nighttime, and the "runway" (which seriously does look like a long, skinny cave, except open on one side so people holding candles can see the show) is dimly lit. The show starts with little girls walking down the runway to calm opera music, doing the flower girl thing. Then, crazy death opera music comes on, and the girls scream and run away. The obligatory runway techno starts up, and Dani comes out. All the girls are wearing ornate white dresses, and have white face paint on with extreme amounts of blush. It looks somewhat ridiculous. Melrose, CariDee, and a bunch of other models follow, sometimes doing this crazy thing where they stop and stare down the other models passing them.

And here we go with the overly dramatic opera music with loud drums. This is truly the craziest thing ever. Melrose and CariDee do a reeeeally long staredown, and CariDee accidentally steps on Melrose's dress and RIPS IT. Oops. I guess the tattered look works for this? Melrose completely freaks out about it backstage, and almost starts crying. CariDee is like, um, yeah, accident. Melrose is SO not accepting her apology. Dude, Melrose, you're changing dresses ANYWAY. Calm the hell down.

Finally, it's time for the spooooky last scene, and MISS JAY starts it off dressed in black, running around the runway and screaming dramatically, and then walking it for real. It's SO RIDICULOUS. Or is it...SO RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME? Melrose is first to do her crazy screaming running bit, and the audience laughs a little, rightfully so. The judges seem to like it, though. CariDee really hams it up to the point where she seems more like an actress than a model, unfortunately. Not attractive. For the finale, Melrose and CariDee face off and strike a pose at the end of the runway, and then the lights go out and they disappear. Oh, the spookiness of it all!

We're down to our last judging, and Jay Manuel is the guest judge. They all think that Melrose managed to look like a real model on the runway, even when she was doing the screaming bit. She was photographable, she was graceful, she didn't look totally ridiculous. Not so for CariDee, who wasn't even that good in the first part of the show. Tyra thinks it even looked like she was holding her breath. I can see how that would be easy to do if you're nervous, but yeah, it didn't look good. And oh, the screaming part. She looks totally absurd, she's clutching at the dress so we can't see it, and her face would NOT make a pretty photograph.

Time for the portfolio review! Supermodel stereotypes: CariDee rocked it, Melrose didn't. Celebrity couple: They both did an awesome job. Fabio shoot: CariDee did a great job looking vulnerable, and Melrose managed to look sexy, not raunchy. Scary eye shoot: CariDee rocked it like crazy, Melrose's was weaker. Matador shoot: CariDee did a great job, if a bit pinup, and Melrose could've done better. CoverGirl: CariDee did a fabulous job, Melrose less so. So CariDee's photos were clearly stronger, including her final CoverGirl photo. Fashion show-wise, Melrose kicked CariDee's ass.

The judges deliberate alone. They think Melrose takes great pictures, but lacks the "wow" factor. She studies, which is good, but may be hard to get along with. Then again, she may just be intimidating to the other girls. She also may lack the passion CariDee has. Well, that's the first we've heard of that, and it can't spell good things for Melrose. CariDee, on the other hand, sucked on the runway, but can make the judges laugh. She may be a loose cannon, but the fashion industry loves it some crazies.

Tyra calls the final two back in. She says that they both have strengths, and they both have weaknesses. CariDee and Melrose tearfully explain what the competition means to them (they love modeling, they now better understand themselves, blah blah blah).

And America's Next Top Model is....CariDee!!! ROCK. Suck it, Melrose! I knew you were the Yaya of this season. Melrose doesn't take it well. She's sad, misunderstood, crying, etc. "It's just bum city right now." Ha. CariDee is so happy she's sobbing. Yay, CariDee! And that wraps it up for this cycle. Thanks for reading, everyone!

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Don't Go, Zach!

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Thomas Dekker, who plays the nerdy, cool, recently Haitianized Zach on Heroes, has been cast as John Connor in the pilot The Sarah Connor Chronicles, based on the Terminator movies. It's just a pilot, so it doesn't necessarily mean he's leaving, but what with the Haitianizing and now this, things don't look good for Claire's BFF. Which sucks, because Zach was one of the things that made Claire one of the best characters on the show, if not the best. He kept her grounded, he had her back, and he was the only person she could confide in who wasn't up to something. Practically everyone on Heroes has a foil to bounce off of and conspire with - Hiro has Ando, Matt has Audrey, the Petrellis have each other - and Zach was that for Claire. So while I'm happy for Thomas Dekker, I'm secretly rooting for this project to fail, so he can stay with Heroes. Sorry, Thomas.

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24: If You're Not In It, You Will Be

Zap2it is in no way exaggerating when they say that 24 is attempting to find work for every single member of the Screen Actors Guild. At this point, I don't know how they're going to cram all these people in. We've got Rick Schroder, Peter MacNicol, James Cromwell, Regina King, Kal Penn, Marisol Nichols, Alexander Siddig, Harry Lennix, Chad Lowe, Powers Boothe and David Hunt on the new side, and old favorites Jayne Atkinson (Karen Hayes), Tzi Ma (Cheng Zhi), Glenn Morshower (Aaron – yay!), DB Woodside (Wayne Palmer), Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe), Roger Cross (Curtis), James Morrison (Buchanan), Eric Balfour (Milo), Carlo Rota (Morris), Jean Smart (Martha Logan), and Gregory Itzin (Charles Logan). And now that The Nine is in hiatus, Kim Raver (Audrey) may be showing up later, too. Oh, and you've got Kiefer Sutherland, of course. This essentially means that everyone appearing in season six, right down to the redshirts, is going to be a recognizable actor. With so many new characters to meet and old characters to check in with, how are they going to have time for all the explosions and the torture and the hoarsely screaming "Tell me what you know!"?

Mercifully, I don't see Elisha Cuthbert (Kim) popping up anywhere yet. I'm crossing my fingers for a Kim-free season.

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Day Break: There's Got to Be a Morning After

Things don't look good for Day Break, as ABC is filling its time slot with comedies in January and hasn't announced any other place on its schedule for the show. It looks like Day Break's on the slow boat to The Nine-style hiatus, which is why you should check it out while you still can. The show was intriguing from the start, but now it's hitting its stride, with a mystery that just gets more interesting as more pieces are revealed. Hopper's dad's cold case, the fingerprint on the hourglass, what Chad is doing with the case file, the crazy biting guy in the police station – I don't know what's going on with any of it, but I hope the show lasts long enough that I can find out.

And as for Chad, the slimy IA ex of Hopper's girlfriend revealed a secretly awesome side this week. Yes, he saved Hopper's life, but he also got all quantum physical on him and hit him up for the nearly $150 in coffee money Hopper owes him. It's another point in Day Break's favor: the great supporting cast. If you don't like mystery, at least watch for Adam Baldwin (not one of those Baldwins), Victoria Pratt, and snarky, snarky Mitch Pileggi.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

American Idol to Other Shows: I'm the Juggernaut, Bitch!

NBC has already moved Friday Night Lights to the relative safety of an 8 PM Wednesday timeslot in anticipation of American Idol's return. Now, ABC is moving Lost to 10 PM on Wednesdays for the same reason.

I guess props are due to NBC and ABC for protecting quality dramas, but isn't it sort of embarrassing that good shows need to dive out of the way of American Idol in order to succeed? If this keeps up, I'll be forced to watch American Idol this year because the only other things on at that time will be game shows and people eating bugs! Or I suppose I could read a book or something...desperate times, right?

Aw, who am I kidding? I'd probably watch American Idol even without the lack of competition in that timeslot. Sigh. Paula is just such a funny drunk!

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Boston Legal: I Do Love Me Some Shat

Oh, how to describe last night's Boston Legal? We've got singing white supremacists (twin girls, no less), the Pro-Ana movement (and the amusingly punnish - yet scary in actuality - term "thinspiration"), Adele Webber trying to sue God (and failing at that, a cell phone company), and Clarice/Clarence (now working for Claire Simms). Awesomeness all around.

I am, however, a little uncomfortable with Claire forcing Clarence to be someone he's obviously not. Why shouldn't he be able to be Clarice? And I missed the first episode, but didn't the firm originally meet Clarice when she was suing for sexual discrimination? Wouldn't offering her a job contingent upon her dressing as a man fall under the discrimination umbrella? It'll be interesting to see where they go with this, at any rate, especially since Clarence has passed the bar and appears to have actual legal skills (although come on, like suing the cell phone company is that hard to figure out).

As far as the singing white supremacist case went, I expected to see Shirley in a Playboy bunny suit at the end of the episode from the get-go, because that was a totally winnable bet for Alan. I mean, yeah, it's incredibly horrible to raise your kids in such a hate-filled way (and where do they get off claiming they're not racists?), but damn, once you get the government removing people's children for ideological purposes, things get really dicey. And besides, I don't even think the court is allowed to take away the children of cultists if they aren't being abused or neglected, so it didn't really seem like they would have much of a chance in this case, either. That said, what a couple of creepy little twin racists. Ugh! America is a BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW, bitches!

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House: If You Haven't Seen it, It's New to You!

Last night's House was sadly a rerun, but Fox chose to air "Three Stories" instead of a House episode from this season. Genius! First of all, it's an amazing hour of television, and probably the best episode of House to date. Secondly, it's a repeat that new viewers from this season (and last season, actually) wouldn't have seen yet, and thus would be more likely to watch. Third, it provides new viewers with a glimpse into the Origins of House (and returning viewers with an important reminder).

House had leg issues, put himself into a voluntary coma to ride out the pain with explicit instructions not to cut into his leg despite the risks of leaving it alone, and his girlfriend/medical proxy (Sela Ward) immediately ordered Dr. Cuddy (who was totally complicit) to cut out all the dead muscle, thus leaving House with a useless leg. Why the pain? Because the lame-ass doctors at PPT didn't diagnose House's blood clot, which caused days of damaging lack of circulation and muscle death.

If that's not enough to make a person a bitter shell of a man (and a drug addict), I don't know what is. I mean god, no wonder he can't trust people! He puts himself into a voluntary coma, making his wishes clear and trusting his girlfriend and Cuddy to carry them out, and as soon as he shuts his eyes they start carving into his leg?! Damn. Also? No wonder Cuddy gave him a job and puts up with so much. She's gotta be carrying around some serious House-related guilt. Ah, joy. Juicy episodes like this one are why I love TV so much.

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Standoff: I'm not mad, Ron Livingston. I'm just disappointed.

And so it begins: The month-and-a-half long wasteland between the end of the first half and beginning of the second half of the television season. Get ready for reruns and Christmas specials! Since Standoff was actually new, I decided to give it another shot.

Kym Whitley rocked the house as a recently-fired credit union employee forced into being a hostage negotiator when armed men take over another branch of her credit union. She was believable, sympathetic, and generally awesome.

Matt and Emily, on the other hand, were pretty darn annoying. They sniped at each other constantly, seemed fairly incompetent at their jobs, and made me want to knock their heads together on more than one occasion. Since, sadly, they are the stars of Standoff, and Kym Whitley is not, that's probably the last time I'll be watching Standoff.

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Oh... We're Going to Have to Clean That

Don't fear for Probst, Survivor fans: Yahoo! reports that the military coup in Fiji is not affecting production of its next season. However, that's not to say that Survivor production is helping the situation there, either:

A lot of money will have to be spent to carry on ritual ceremonies to clear the land of any curses left behind by the Survivor shoot, a village spokesman said.

Yeah, I think I'd do that, too. Not because of the show, but because of some of the people who are on it. You've got to get rid of the slime, you know?

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Even the Producers Guild Hates Scrubs

Well, the Producers Guild of America awards nominations are in, and Scrubs is notably missing from the list. Again. ("But it WAS nominated last year," you say. Nope, just a backup nominee once PGA realized Curb Your Enthusiasm wasn't actually eligible, according to Variety. Totally doesn't count.) Another bizarre oversight: The Daily Show was not nominated for the Variety TV award, even though it won the Emmy this year. Hrm. Goes without saying that Veronica Mars got no recognition, I suppose. I guess we're all used to that by now. Although, as with Scrubs, it still chafes a little. (Not that I really know how you can tell a show is well-produced just by watching it. Do they just go by general quality, or rumors of how things work behind-the-scenes?)

In happier news, Arrested Development was nominated for the comedy award! Oh, and one of the producers nominated for The Amazing Race is nicknamed "Screech." Heh. Other Glowy Box favorites nominated this year: Grey's Anatomy and House for drama, The Office and Weeds for comedy, and Project Runway for Non-Fiction TV (up against, among other shows, 60 Minutes. How random is that?). Click here for a full list of nominees.

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Studio 60: The Less-Than-Immaculate Conception

Sweet, sweet vindication. That's what I felt last night when Danny finally confessed to Jordan that he's sorta maybe falling in love with her. Unfortunately, he did it when Jordan's "eating for two" mouth was full of sandwich, so she didn't get a chance to respond other than to stare blankly. Yes, in case you hadn't guessed it yet, I've secretly been a crew member on the Danny/Jordan ship since the show began. Shut up.

I am, however, totally against the Matt/Harriet bore-fest. Thus, I will only say that the "two soul mates find each other at Christmas" crap amounted to Matt kissing Harriet out of jealousy. 'Tis the season to cruelly confuse your ex right before she goes on the air, causing her to blurt out your name instead of her own when she introduces herself! Ah, Christmas.

Jack is endearing himself to me more and more as he struggles with being a network president while trying to have some sort of integrity. Best of luck, Jack. And let me know how that fight with the FCC goes. Not endearing themselves to me this week were Tom and Simon as they fought over Lucy and crapped all over Christmas. Um, guys? Santa and his reindeer ("Dunder," my ass) can carry all those presents because they're magic. Duh!

Oh, and for the curious, those really were New Orleans musicians performing on the show last night. Let's not forget that although Katrina isn't in the news much anymore, the survivors still need our help. The musicians were Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Kirk Joseph, Kid Merv, Roderick Paulin, Bob French, Steve Walker and Frederick Shepherd, all of whom have benefited from the Tipitina's Foundation.

On the whole, I'd have to say best episode yet, or close to it. Also, best sketch yet (Santa being busted by Dateline's Chris Hansen in "To Catch a Predator"). Way to hit your stride, Sorkin!

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Heroes: Like We Said, Milo Ruins Everything

Niki stubbornly insists on keeping her storyline separate from all the other heroes, so we're going to keep her separate from everyone else here, too. She spends her time running around alternately hurting people and telling them she loves them, which, I think, officially makes her an abuser. To her credit, she realizes this, and turns herself in to the cops. Which would be a great idea, if it weren't for the fact that her alter ego is super strong and has a super sense of self-preservation, and so will break out of prison in about fifteen minutes. But that's an issue for January.

In Texas, Peter's in custody, and has developed kennel cough, as well as some weird dreams. And if you've ever wondered what would happen when Peter and Matt met, the answer is: feedback. Painful, painful feedback, as the two of them read each other reading each other's minds. Incidentally, this episode indicates that Matt's ability resembles a radio or walkie-talkie, because we've got feedback, static, and frequency jamming, courtesy of the Haitian. But does he operate on the same frequency as garage door openers?

Mr. Bennet, now officially in on Claire's secret, tells her that no one can know, and persuades her to destroy the tapes. He embarks on a little evidence-destroying of his own, as he sics the Haitian on Lyle, Zach (nooooooo!), and Claire - but the Haitian draws the line at the cheerleader. The Haitian (who speaketh!) tells Claire that he's had to do this many times to her mom, and – do you remember that part in Men in Black where Will Smith is concerned that Linda Fiorentino is going to get permanent brain damage from all the neuralyzing? Yeah, that's what I think happened to Claire's mom.

Eden, meanwhile, is undoing all of Mr. Bennet's semi-evil hard work. She lets Isaac out and gives him a way to contact Hiro. With Hiro's knowledge of the future and Isaac's drawings (now done with less heroin!), they determine that the city is blown up by an exploding man. "How do you stop an exploding man?" Hiro asks, but we never get a punch line. Eden's other brilliant idea is persuading Sylar to kill himself, which, as you can imagine, goes horribly wrong. They end up tussling over a gun, and Eden seems to shoot herself rather than let Sylar get her power.

In the middle of all this, we get a trailer for Rocky 47: Balboa & Son, and it looks like Milo's acting strategy is to do a Stallone impression. He's paralyzed half his face and talks like he's got a mouth full of cheesesteak. Bang-up job, Milo.

Okay, and speaking of bang-up jobs done by Milo: Peter has a dream in which he's standing in the middle of the street in New York, everyone is running away from him, and – oh, yes – he explodes. I imagine this has something to do with Nuclear Ted and the end of the first X-Men movie.

And that's it until January 22. In the interim, if you run into any unexploded Milos, call the proper authorities. Do not attempt to defuse him yourself.

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