Friday, November 30, 2007

On the Glowy Box: Fun Times Accomplished

An offer is a step in the right direction, right? Even if it's not a good one? Sigh...

Last Night:
30 Rock: I loved the "Liz dates a younger guy" plot, though it did remind me a bit of the Friends episode where Monica dates a guy whom she thought was a senior in college, but is actually a senior in high school. I'm ashamed to admit that I lead an even safer life than Liz Lemon: I've never been on my roof. That said, my apartment is in a townhouse, so I'm not sure roof access would even be possible. Also, MAD PROPS to the "Gellin' like Magellan" reference, which I'm going to take as an homage to my favorite commercials ever. (Shut up. "Gellin' like a felon, want some melon?" is HILARIOUS!) I wasn't so into the Mighty Ducks-meets-Iraq plot, though it did yield a few amusing lines ("You know at the first practice they asked me what the sun was?"). And I feel like I have to mention Frank's "so weird it worked" gay side-plot. Something about a slob buying a "little peach" a slim-fit sweater is just innately hilarious, I guess.

Scrubs: Hooch is crazy! Read my full review here.

Pushing Daisies: From Wednesday. Yay, Raúl Esparza! (Also, yay, love interest for Olive!) Yay, Mike White! Um...okay, Molly Shannon, who was appropriately cast in an annoying role! Incidentally, I think I can call myself a "Pie Ho" after last week's holiday. Mmm...pie... And oof, Ned, that is NOT the way to break the news to someone that you killed their father. Yeesh.

This Weekend:
Jeopardy: My friend Per is a contestant tonight, so you should all totally watch! Check local listings.

Desperate Housewives: An approaching tornado forces the Wisteria Lane residents into basements, cellars and safe rooms. ABC, 9 PM Sunday.

Man, do I love me some weekends.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Scrubs: I don't wanna grow up

Tonight's episode of Scrubs, while still featuring some of the heavier themes that have been so prevalent this season, had more of the lighthearted playfulness that drew us all to the show in the first place. It also rewarded longtime fans with references to past jokes, which I definitely appreciated. Our life lesson this week was that childhood is important, or growing up is bad, or something. Basically, the opposite of the life lesson a couple weeks ago. Not that I'm complaining, since this lesson was way funnier. And they acknowledge the conflicting advice, so it's all good. I love you, Scrubs!

First, we've got JD, who has an identity crisis (again?) when Dr. Cox calls him on failing to grow up. Happily, Turk is able to show JD that he just needs to continue being more responsible, not to change who he is. Wow, JD is still pretty incapable of learning lessons on his own, huh? Dr. Cox himself seems intent on forcing everyone around him to grow up, even his own son and his adolescent patient with leukemia. Happily, Carla is able to talk some sense into him, and we get to see Dr. Cox making silly voices for Jack. Aww. Finally, we've got Dr. Kelso, who doesn't want to own up to his age (65 years young) when Elliot insists on throwing him a birthday party. Unhappily, his objections make a lot of sense once we find out that the hospital has a mandatory retirement policy for administrators once they turn 65. Oops.

So that's pretty much what we had, plot-wise. Here's a list of awesomeness, in no particular order:

  • JD's son daydreaming, like father, like son. (Not so awesome? The daydream itself. It's going to take waaay too long to clear the image of Kelso breastfeeding and Turk squirting his boob milk at JD out of my head.)
  • Sam and Izzy's playdate. So cute, you guys. So cute! I love that Turk is already planning the marriage, while JD is having Sam mack on other baby girls. This may be the only time I'm on board with Look Who's Talking-style baby narration. And on a related note...
  • JD having Sam make little spanking motions. Best. Ever.
  • The dearly departed Caramel Bear.
  • The World's Most Giant Black Doctor (originally intended for Black History Month, to scare racist patients), complete with giant stethoscope, pencil, and petition to make Sacred Heart more giant-accessible.
  • The return of Hide the Saltine.
  • Rex and three other interns following Hooch around (and the ensuing hostage situation). Hooch is craaazy!
  • The Hanukah decorations for Dr. Kelso's party. Oh, Ted.

So in conclusion: Heavy on the funny, light on the heavy, if that makes sense. And that's the way I like it.

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Project Runway: Ouch. Just, ouch.

Last night on Project Runway, the designers were faced with a challenge that was a long time coming. A challenge I had repeatedly called for. A challenge whose absence thus far was becoming bizarre. And last night on Project Runway, I realized why the producers waited until the fourth season to bust it out. Namely, because it was awful, resulting in literally the worst garments that had ever made their way down the PR runway. Who knew making menswear would be so hard?

Because yes, the challenge is to design an outfit for a man. And not just any man: Tiki Barber, whom Project Runway repeatedly reminds us is a football legend. Yeah, a legend in his own mind, maybe. Anyway, he's now a correspondent for the Today Show, and is looking for an outfit to wear on-air. Preferably something cobbled together in two days by designers with little-to-no menswear experience, with a budget of $150. Because that's how Tiki rolls. Also, he's got a big neck, a skinny waist, and a big butt. Just in case you were wondering.

At first, I was all, "This challenge ROCKS!" High level of difficulty + short amount of time + overambitious designers on their second challenge = great entertainment, right? WRONG. Project Runway is about the clothes first, and the drama second, and this challenge did NOT lead to good clothes. I place the fault half with the difficult challenge, and half with the overreaching designers. Almost universally, our contestants bemoan their lack of menswear experience, and then decide to do extremely tailored three- and four-piece outfits. And that, my friends, is a recipe for disaster. And not so much the "Andrae crying on the runway" variety as the "possibly sending semi-nude models out on the runway" variety.

The most confident designers include Kevin, who has some menswear experience, Christian, who says he's a fast sewer, and Kit, who thinks her experience as a TV stylist will enable her to create something that will work well on camera. The least confident are Sweet P, who is completely lost when it comes to menswear, Cameron, who needs a lot of construction advice from Jack, and Ricky, who has bit off waaay more than he can chew. Jack, it should be noted, cuts up his shorts and allows a couple other designers (and himself) to trace patterns based off of them, which Rami is a bit catty about, though Tim had basically allowed it. Oh, I should also point out that this episode revealed Jack's HIV-positive status, quietly and tastefully.

When the hot male models come in to be measured, the predictable swooning frenzy ensues, followed by some potentially gratuitous crotch-measuring. Tim comes along to critique, with Ginny Barber, Tiki's wife, in tow. She's generally positive (while Tim is generally concerned about time), though she thinks Carmen's outfit is too casual, and her jacket looks very "Member's Only." OUCH. Not only does Carmen lack the fabric to redesign, she lacks the time. At this point, the smart designers, also short on time, begin to scale back their designs, cutting out pieces such as vests and ties. Ricky? Not so much. At the end of the second night, Steven sums the mood up best, calling it "Titanic-like." You know, right before the ship sank. And given the runway results (spoiler alert!), I'd have to agree.

In the morning, Sweet P, Ricky, and Carmen have the most left to do. As in, they're in serious danger of sending semi-naked models down the runway. I've been watching this show since the first episode of the first season, and this is the least finished I've seen any designs. Ricky actually has his model sewing buttons, and is forced to pin the suit jacket together. Sweet P's shirt doesn't fit her model at all, and Carmen, well...Carmen didn't do enough crotch-measuring, it seems. Let's just say, if I were her model (and a dude), I'd be pretty insulted. She also completely lacks a shirt, and ends up draping some fabric around his neck like a damn scarf, and putting the ill-fitted jacket over it. Jesus. This is a fucking train wreck.

Jillian's up first on the runway, and her outfit, while really not to my taste, isn't innately offensive, and she's managed to finish four pieces. Carmen's up next, and it's completely ridiculous. The dude's wearing no shirt, the jacket is way too short, and the pants aren't even close to fitting, but she's perched a little plaid cap jauntily on his head, like that's going to distract from her disaster of an outfit. Christian's outfit is, like Jillian's, not to my taste, but is at least finished and inoffensive.

I thought Kit's outfit was a bit boring, until I found out that the blazer was made of fleece, which just made it seem weird. However, I'd still put it head and shoulders above what we've seen so far. Rami's outfit is pretty great, actually, but too casual for this challenge. Too bad, since the jacket especially was very well-made. Sweet P's outfit has decent pants, I guess, but a totally messed-up shirt, and a tie made for an NBA player, not an NFL player.

Steven was probably smart to do a sweater over a button-down, rather than a tailored jacket, which made his outfit work pretty well for me. However, his model has some sort of silken scarf tied around his neck, for flair, perhaps, which throws the whole look off. Though the white jacket could have been a bit Miami Vice, Victorya pulls off a pretty good outfit, considering the limitations. For the self-proclaimed straight guy of the group, Kevin made a very...lavender outfit. I didn't like the vest-over-tucked-in-shirt look, but it seems well-made overall, and the tie and matching pocket handkerchief were a nice touch.

Chris's outfit has an oddly-cut jacket and lacked color, but isn't too terrible in general. Jack's outfit is very over-striped, and only two pieces, but looks tailored and well-fitted. Ricky's outfit, though boring, actually looks good, believe it or not. However, the illusion kind of falls apart when you realize that it is very visibly held together by safety pins. Elisa fell into the too-casual trap, and it looks like she tried to claw her way out of it with a completely absurd vest. (Yes, I'm anti-vest. Wanna fight about it?)

Keep in mind here that I'm being very kind with my descriptions, because the disastrousness of the worst looks can't be appropriately expressed if I'm as critical as I usually am about the rest of the outfits. Just imagine a very low bar, with several outfits somehow managing to limbo under that ugly, ill-fitted baseline. Seriously? Worst. Ever. No wonder this show never does menswear. Jillian, Christian, Rami, Steven, Victorya, Chris, and Elisa are all safe.

Kit gets praise for the look of her outfit and her smart fabric choices. The judges find her outfit versatile and unique. Jack's outfit gets props for its fit, its simplicity, and the fact that it's actually finished. Heidi points out that it's better to have two finished pieces than three awful ones, though Michael thinks by playing it safe the outfit lacked a third piece that would have given it a twist. Though Tiki doesn't wear a lot of vests, he likes the tie on Kevin's outfit. The judges aren't into the purple, though they say the look would definitely make a statement.

Sweet P get criticized for her disaster of a shirt collar and the terrible tie proportions, though she gets a few props for style. Ricky totally gets called out on his safety-pinned jacket, with Tiki saying that there's no way he could wear something that sloppy on the air, and that it looked like a five-year-old made it. Ricky also gets criticized for his boring color choices. Carmen gets slammed the most for her unfitted pants, too-short (and unfinished) jacket, and total lack of shirt. Basically, the judges think it's unacceptable. Heidi sums up the worst of the pack with an extremely cutting, "I guess they all thought that they were better than they really are." SNAP!

Kevin and Kit are in, but Jack gets the win. Hmm...I would've gone with Kit. Jack played it too safe, and Kit did more. That said, I guess Jack's looked better. I bet if the judges got to choose, rather than Tiki, they would've chosen Kit. Sweet P also makes the cut. Carmen and Ricky both get a tongue-lashing, but Carmen ends up getting auf'd, and fair enough, dude. That shit was AWFUL. She's bummed, but accepts it. And wow, I have to say, I can't believe that Nick was cut from the second season after making Daniel a suit that was a bit too puckered around the seams, given the menswear results this crew came up with. Just sayin'.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

America's Next Top Model: Covergirl of the Week only gets you so far

This week, America's Next Top Model continues a time-honored rite of passage: the Go-See, where aspiring Top Models must try and make their way in the (usually unfamiliar and non-English-speaking) world, pimping themselves out to fashion designers located all over whatever confusing metropolis the models happen to be located in. It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect, based on past seasons cycles, but the final elimination is a whole 'nother thing.

Our top five are very excited for the challenge, and meet up at PT Models, a Shanghai-based agency. Saleisha, she of the bubbly personality, is incredibly excited about the Go-Sees. not. As usual, they have to run all over the city, meet with a bunch of designers, and make it back on time. NOT as usual, they get a translator to go with them, and a cab. Is Shanghai that much more difficult for a non-Chinese speaker to navigate than Tokyo, or Bangkok? Saleisha still claims that "you're on your own trying to find the designer's location." Heather, sadly, manages to get lost. Like, completely lost. Uh-oh.

Chantal, hilariously enough, has to wear a sheer dress while wearing hot pink underwear. She doesn't get great reviews for her walk, since the underwear is rather distracting. The first designer finds Saleisha dull, while Bianca impresses with her personality and her walk. So clearly, China is Bizzaro Land. Oh, and Heather? Still lost. When she finally makes it to her first (and only) designer, she gets praise for her look, but not her walk. Jenah's walk also gets criticized, along with her personality. China is harsh, yo. Saleisha, for her part, refuses to point Bianca in the right direction to her next location. Oooh, the claws come out! And then Chantal slams Saleisha for sucking up to the designers. (Before doing the exact same thing herself...thanks, editors!)

Heading back to home base is difficult, to say the least. Traffic is terrible, and Saleisha and Bianca are the only two to make it back in time. Wow, that may be the fewest ever. Heather, of course, beats herself up about being late. The other girls try to keep her from being so hard on herself, and even allow for a little primal screaming. That night, they all head out on the town, and are met by the lady from PT Models, who names Bianca the winner of the challenge. She lands a very unimpressive billboard for the Beijing Olympics ad campaign.

At the photo shoot location, the girls discover that Nigel will be their photographer (no pressure!), and Chinese lions and dragons will be their co-models, competing for attention in the photo. The styling is an odd mix of East-meets-80's. Jenah busts out the cocky sarcasm with Nigel, which is a bit risky, considering CariDee's experience in the past. She also privately criticizes his style of directing her, which she says threw her off. And it apparently did, since her shoot was way worse than usual. Her final shot is good, because she's apparently incapable of taking a bad picture, but she gets a talking-to from Nigel about her sarcastic sense of humor, and from Tyra about her arrogant attitude. Saleisha, on the other hand, completely rocks it. China IS Bizzaro Land! Nigel says she was his favorite to shoot, and she came up with a really interesting final shot.

Bianca only does an okay job at the shoot, but gets praise for her Go-Sees. Her final photo is strong in the body, but weak in the face. Chantal has a trouble with her posing, and gets criticized for being 20 minutes late back from Go-Sees, and for the aforementioned pink underwear. The judges love her final photo, though. Heather does well in spots, but second-guesses herself. She gets gasps of horror for being so late and making it to so few Go-Sees, and gets a mini-runway tutorial. Her photo gets great reviews, but Nigel says she was too stiff during the shoot. I'm a bit worried for Heather, to be honest, even though she's continued her neverending Covergirl of the Week streak.

In solo deliberations, the judges are all over the place on Bianca's picture. Heather gets praise for her amazing look, but not much else. They love Saleisha's improvement, but criticize Chantal's lack of confidence. Jenah's personality, of course, gets slammed. And now it's time to find out which models will be continuing on to Beijing ("The Fashion Capital of China"), and who will be going home. Saleisha gets the first photo, followed by Bianca and Chantal (what?!), leaving the two most photogenic girls in the bottom two. Wow. If you had asked me last week, I would NOT have seen this coming. In fact, if this were The Bachelor, I'd call this the Most Shocking Elimination Ceremony Ever.

Tyra acknowledges that Heather and Jenah take the best photos, but brings up their communication and attitude issues. Jenah finally gets the photo, leaving Heather out in the cold. I know you guys might yell at me for this, but between the two of them, I think it was the right call. They both took fantastic photos, but Heather really had difficulty functioning in the Go-See and Covergirl commercial environments, and had a weaker walk. Still, tough, tough call. And were it not between the two of them, I absolutely would have sent Chantal home.

And Heather's elimination isn't all we have to cry about tonight--Twiggy, the judge lending the most credibility to this crazy show--will be replaced next season by "international supermodel" Paulina Porizkova, whom I've never heard of, due to "scheduling conflicts." Well, nuts. While I miss Janice for the utter insanity and unpredictability, I thought that Twiggy often had well-thought-out comments, and was far more level-headed (and nicer) than the other judges. We'll miss ya, Twiggster!

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Still Speechless

Here's another fantastic video from the Speechless Without Writers campaign--this one more humorous than the last, but still absolutely making its point. A big tip of the hat to all the participating actors.

Negotiations were reportedly unproductive yesterday, so keep sending in those pencils and calling in!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On the Glowy Box: Woo-Hoo!!!

NBC has picked up Chuck and Life, two of my favorite new shows (especially Chuck), for a full season! Of course, "full season" could mean a number of things, given the strike, but it's still nice to have the vote of confidence! And these were definitely the pick of the litter as far as NBC goes. Well-played, NBC!

Last Night:
Chuck: Well, Chuck more than earned its full season pickup with last night's fantastic installment. I'm semi-ashamed to admit that I totally geeked out on it (in the "yelling 'Hell yeah!' and 'No way!' at the TV" sense of the phrase, not in the "understanding Klingon" sense of the phrase). I mean, damn! Just goes to show that holiday-themed episodes are the greatest of all episodes. And I have to say, Casey is really growing on me. Not that I disliked him before--he just sort of faded into the background with Chuck and Sarah commanding the most attention. But how great was he at Thanksgiving dinner, with his suit and cosmo, refusing to say what he was most thankful for? There's a lot of potential with that character, I'm telling you.

How I Met Your Mother: Plus side: Fun new slang (here's hoping I never catch the blogging Yips), Heidi Klum (legen-wait for it-dary!), more validation for the fact that I don't belong to a gym, flashback to hippie Barney (and semi-hetero Barney's brother). Minus side: About a third as funny as the Slapsgiving episode. Ah, well. They can't all be genius.

House: House assigns the candidates to the particularly challenging case of an uncooperative, over-the-hill rock star with a history of drug abuse and civil disobedience; Cuddy orders House to hire the members of his team. Fox, 9 PM.

Reaper: The devil dispatches Sam to do plumbing work for Mimi (Melinda Clarke) who, he discovers, is the devil's girlfriend; Mimi's daughter attracts Sam. CW, 9 PM.

Here's hoping the negotiations continue to go smoothly today!

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Phone Blitz to Support the WGA

Rumor has it that negotiations are going well, so let's keep up the positive momentum! The wga_supporters Livejournal community has organized a phone blitz in support of the WGA. I kind of missed the boat for Monday, but it's still going on Tuesday, so I encourage everyone to call in to all or one of the following numbers during normal business hours expressing your support for the writers:

1.818.560.1000 (Anne Sweeney, ABC, ABC Family, Disney)
1.310.369.1000 (Kevin Reilly, Fox)
1.818.954.6000(Bruce Rosenblum, Warner Bros.) (Phillipe Dauman, Viacom)
1.818.777.1000 (Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal)
1.212.975.4321 or 1.212.975.4545 (direct line) (Les Moonves, CBS)

For more information on what to say, head here, or click below to expand this post for a sample script provided by the wga_supporters folks (for those of us who dread calling strangers on the phone).

Hello Mr./Ms. [their name].

My name is [insert name].

I fall into the [insert demographic information] bracket and my local affiliate is [insert local affiliate’s name].

I am calling on behalf of the writers of my favorite show, [insert show].

I wanted you to know that I intend not to download any episodes from official sites; and, not to watch streaming “promotional” video online; and, not to watch any replacement television, unscripted reality or game shows, and nightly news programs until the WGA writers receive fair compensation for their work. When the new episodes stop airing, I will be joining my local book club.

I hope this week’s negotiations are successful. I really want production on [insert favorite show] to continue.

Thank you for your time, [your name].

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Speechless Without Writers

This video made me want to stand up and cheer. Here's to everyone sticking together! For more information and videos, visit speechless or United Hollywood.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

On the Glowy Box: Negotiation Time!

The writers and studios are going back to the table today, so here's hoping AMPTP sees the light and gives the WGA a fair deal sooner, rather than later. Because I really, really don't want Farmer Wants a Wife to be the only thing on TV this winter. And also, obviously, because good should triumph over greed.

Over the Weekend:
Not too much, actually, but that's because there wasn't much on! Read my review of Desperate Housewives here.

How I Met Your Mother: Barney gets an invitation to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show after-party, where he can mingle with all the models. CBS, 8 PM.

Chuck: Chuck's nemesis, Bryce (Matthew Bomer), returns despite having been declared dead, and he wants Chuck to help prove to Sarah that he is not a rogue agent; Buy More leaves Morgan in charge as it prepares for the biggest shopping day of the year. NBC, 8 PM.

How psyched am I for Chuck tonight? SO psyched!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Desperate Housewives: When stale isn't necessarily a bad thing

Sometimes on TV shows, you can predict what will happen almost every minute of the way, and yet still enjoy the spectacle. Tonight's episode of Desperate Housewives was one of those times. While I always enjoy being surprised, sometimes it's comforting when plots turn out to be just as scandalous as expected. And, of course, we got another taste of the Katherine/Adam mystery, which Marc Cherry is doling out in appealingly bite-sized pieces this season.

Gabby, Carlos, and the Maybe-Dead Husband: Ah, Gabby and Carlos. So marvelous in their predictability. Carlos wants to go to the police and confess what happened to Victor, and Gabby doesn't (especially after it becomes clear that the police aren't buying the whole "he was on the boat alone" story (has she never seen CSI?), so Gabby doses Carlos with sleeping pills (of course) to prevent him from talking. This is all essentially a moot point once the police find Victor. ALIVE. (Of course.) And even though I knew that Victor was going to tell Gabby that he remembered everything, despite his supposed amnesia, his little speech to her about needing to "rest up to get [his] strength back" sent chills down my spine. That dude is totally an evil mastermind, mark my words. Or rather, he's a jealous husband, and Edie is an evil mastermind. Okay, okay, between their two minds, they can muster up mastermind status. And wow, can we discuss Gabby's terrible, terrible lying skills? How has she carried on two (semi-)successful affairs?!

Mike, Susan, and the Very Cute Drug Dealer: What could be more Susan than accidentally setting her daughter up with Mike's preppy drug dealer in an attempt to keep Julie away from a skeezy-looking (but probably straight-edge, knowing Julie's generally good judgment) boyfriend? And wow, this whole drug plot went through impressive levels of blackmail, even for this show! Let's count: Barrett trying to blackmail Mike into letting him see Julie, Mike blackmailing Adam into writing a prescription based on his not telling Katherine about Adam's visitor, Adam blackmailing Orson into writing Mike's prescription based on his delivering Danielle's baby... Impressive, that's all I'm sayin'. And all for naught, since Susan not only saw Mike taking pills again, but knows that Orson prescribed them. And I loved that little bit where Mike was all "Man, if some jerk hadn't run me down with his car, I never would've gotten hooked on these pills!" to Orson. Awk-ward! And also unintentional emotional blackmail to get Orson to continue writing the prescription, if you think about it...

Bree, Orson, and the Reformed Psychopath: This plot had several facets of awesomeness. First, we've got Bree going to Tom to try and solve her and Orson's, er, marital troubles. That's hilarious on a number of levels, and yet incredibly smart on a number of levels. Second, we've got a Bree Seduction Scene, which doesn't top the one where she surprised Rex at his motel, but is still pretty awesome. I mean, she surprises Orson at the office as a patient with "a cavity that needs filling." Quality stuff, that. Third, we had more Andrew than we've had in a long time! Oddly enough, he had a pretty sentimental story as he moves out into his own place (leaving Bree to her perfect little family of three), even thanking Bree for forcing him to grow up when she left him on the side of the road. So...he's not a psychopath anymore? What's going on here?! I mean, I'm happy for them and all, but...he used to be so interesting!

Lynette, Her Mom, and the Heretofore Barely-Mentioned Step-dad: Riiiight...I didn't care for this plot at ALL, so I'm going to be brief. A tearful reconciliation between Lynette, her mother, and her former step-father (played by Richard Chamberlain, who is gay in real life too, which is the only cool thing about this plot) gives us a convenient end to the "Where will my mother live?" guilt-fest. Whoop-de-do. This had better turn into something more interesting really fast, or I'm just going to start fast-forwarding through Lynette's scenes, great actress though Felicity Huffman is.

Adam, Mike, and the Mysterious Visitor: While Mike is visiting Adam, a certain Sylvia from Chicago comes a-knockin', much to Adam's dismay. Hmmm. So what do we learn? She apparently ruined his life in Chicago. According to Adam, she's an ex-patient with mental problems whose presence in Wisteria Lane would best be hidden from Katherine (good luck with that). According to Sylvia, if she and Adam had told the truth, "none of it" would have happened. She reads a little crazy, but I'm assuming she's more than your basic stalker. This could get very interesting, very fast! And yay for Nathan Fillion actually getting something to do!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Grey's Anatomy: Don't die on me, Grey's!

I'm just going to get this out of the way right now: tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy was to be continued. In two weeks. Now that's just plain mean, ABC, writers' strike or no. (Also mean? Airing a new episode Thanksgiving night. There was almost a fistfight between the Grey's fans and the football fans in my household. Thankfully, we were all so stuffed that it fizzled out pretty quickly.) So okay, tonight was chock full of drama, melodrama, a painfully cheesy death scene, and about a million plotlines. Put on your running shoes, because this is going to be an exhausting recap!

The Ambulance Crash: Our main cases this week came from the aftermath of a collision between two ambulances right outside the hospital, caused by one of the paramedics having an unexplained seizure while driving. Thus, they have to drill into her skull to figure out what's wrong (after she has another seizure on the operating table), but the equipment goes dead while Derek's probe is in her brain. Of course. As if this episode weren't dramatic enough already. I'd call it overkill, but we've only just begun...

Trapped Paramedics: Two paramedics are trapped in one of the crashed ambulances. The cherry on top of this drama sundae? One of them, whose wife is an X-Ray tech at the hospital, is crushed, and will bleed out as soon as they move him. As if THIS weren't bad enough already, his partner gives him a pep talk consisting almost entirely of incredibly cheesy, overused lines. He's all, "Talk to me, buddy. You're not dying on me, dammit! Remember the night you met your wife? And you used that cheesy song on her?" (Cue an "I Can See Clearly Now" singalong, with the "I think I can make it now/The pain is gone" line spoken with comical gravity by the Chief.)

The whole thing is a) Absurdly clichéd and cheesy, and b) Rather similar to the whole "pole through two people, one of whom will die once you remove it" episode. But way, way less emotionally affecting. Stop trying to make me cry, Shonda! Or at least, stop trying so blatantly. Blah, blah, he says goodbye to his wife, his partner is now also in danger, an emotionally-invested Meredith crawls into the rig to do what Addison would call "crazy MacGyver surgery," much yelling of "YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE TODAY!" ensues.

Neo-Nazi: One of the other injured paramedics insists to Bailey that he have a male doctor. And by "male," he apparently means "white." Oof. Turns out he's got a giant swastika tattooed on his stomach, and "didn't want to offend" Bailey. And by "didn't want to offend," he apparently means "didn't want to give her cause to actively hurt, rather than help, him." He needs surgery, which George has to participate in because the supremacist won't consent without a white doctor in the operating room. I loved the little moment in which Bailey refuses to pass the surgery off to someone else, because it would make her like the white supremacist. Bailey rocks, y'all. Unfortunately, the surgery causes her to miss an important "state of the marriage" lunch with her husband (which seems like it's been a long time coming, from the hours we know she keeps), which leads to the line of the night: "S'posed to be having lunch with my husband, and I'm elbow-deep in Nazi gut." And wow, completely fair that she doesn't want to be called the "Nazi" anymore.

SETH GREEN!: SETH GREEN!!! He's a patient of Sloan's who's just had a neck tumor removed, resulting in a virtually exposed carotid artery. Which could burst at any minute. And eventually does, while he's flirting adorably with Lexie. Um, yeah, Lexie should totally date Seth Green if he lives, especially given the Alex/Ava situation...

Alex/Ava: Okay. So Ava's back, and wants to see what Alex does while he's at the hospital, refusing to let him blow her off. Good on ya, Ava. Seems totally necessary with this guy. That said, it's pretty awkward when she and Lexie meet, even though Lexie denies knowing Alex once Ava says they're involved. Which, okay. Ava? You aren't exactly "with" him, since he's basically done nothing but blow you off. And Lexie? I don't think you can agree with Seth Green that Alex is your "boyfriend," since he's pretty much made clear that that's not the case, and since you refused to talk to him even before the Ava thing. Dude's clearly a lone wolf, at least for now. Just sayin'. That said, I'm totally rooting for he and Ava. (Yeah, I'm a closet romantic. Shut up.)

Other thoughts:
  • At this point, I seriously couldn't care less whether Meredith tells Derek that she hates his dating while they're breakup-sexing, or whether Derek dates Rose, the formerly-engaged (and full of relationship goals) surgical nurse. Seen it, tired of it, ready to move on.
  • Wait, George and Izzie are still together? What, are they platonic lovers now? SIGH.
  • Hitting on someone when they're trying to get your help on a major surgery is just not cool, Sloan. Leave Hahn alone until after she removes the nice father's chest bone.
  • I loved Derek's exchange with George when he asked what the deal was with his and Izzie's relationship, and George totally called him on being clingy and missing Meredith. These are the moments that made this show great--not the moments that try and force tears out of me (which is like blood from a stone, at this point).

Overall, I applaud the return of second season-style action and the lack of focus on Gizzie, I frown upon the cheesy attempts at being tear-jerking, and I demand more Dr. Hahn. (Whom everyone in the world is clearly split on. I, for the record, come down as solidly pro-Hahn. In case you hadn't noticed.) I humbly request that we return to the clever Grey's Anatomy dialogue that we all know and love, and ditch the tired Private Practice dialogue that we all know and are disappointed in. Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving! (I would totally win an apple pie bake-off against Izzie, by the way. And not just because Izzie is fictional. My pie today rocked.)

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On the Glowy Box: Happy Slapsgiving!

I've got two tasty vegan pies in the oven, and I'm ready to stuff myself silly (before watching Grey's Anatomy of course, 'cause I'm just that dedicated to you, fair readers).

Last Night:
Pushing Daisies: Okay, so now Emerson and Olive are fighting it out for the spot of my favorite character. It's such a tough call! Tough detective who knits and makes pop-up books in his spare time vs. tough (and singing!) romantic who helps someone else's eccentric aunts in her spare time. I'm still leaning towards Olive, but it's a close one! And how impressive is this show at coming up with crazy ways for people to die? I mean, an exploding scratch-'n-sniff book? Really? That might just be pure genius. That said, I kind of wish it had been a Thanksgiving episode. I mean, the dude runs a pie shop! It would've been so easy!

America's Next Top Model: Those Covergirl commercials have been the downfall of many a prospective Top Model. Read my full recap here.

Project Runway: SJP!!!!1 Read my full recap here.

Ugly Betty: A Wilhelmina-induced crisis causes everyone to scramble to re-create an issue by deadline; Daniel and Betty try to break the wild-child cover girl (Eliza Dushku) out of rehab for a re-shoot; Alexis tries to charm the printer into extending their time. ABC, 8 PM.

Grey's Anatomy: An ambulance crash endangers the lives of the paramedics involved; Bailey treats a patient who refuses her help; Ava returns for Alex and meets his other girlfriend. ABC, 9 PM.

Enjoy your Slapsgiving!

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Project Runway: Sex and the Runway

Last night on Project Runway, we had our first pairs challenge, which was disappointingly lacking in the "cry and cut" variety of conflict. In fact, the most mismatched pair ended up (gasp) actually complimenting each other's strengths and weaknesses! Yeah, I know. But since this is Project Runway, which is all about the quality competition, rather than the drama, I was totally into it anyway.

We begin, after a few half-hearted "I miss Simone" comments, with The Choosing of the Models. This week it's the original style, with last week's winning designer (Rami) picking whomever he wants, and the rest subject to the mercy of Heidi's velvet bag 'o buttons. Several designers choose new models, and Ricky's model from last week is eliminated. The challenge, we find, is to design an outfit for a "fashion and pop culture icon." Whom I imagine will be another total disappointment, like Kim Kardashian, or a Cabbage Patch Kid. But in the workroom, Tim introduces the designers to none other than...

SARAH JESSICA PARKER!!!1! Holy crap! A real fashion icon, for once! (Not that I didn't constantly mock everything she wore on Sex and the City, and rightfully so, but still!) Everyone is suitably excited. Because, you know, WOW. Chris actually cries, which may be a bit much. Rather than actually design an outfit for her to wear, as Heidi implied, they'll be creating a two-piece look for "Bitten," her new clothing line, which focuses on stylish but affordable sportswear--less than $40 retail. Which makes their budget $15. Yikes. this by default another "make a dress out of garbage" challenge? SJP will choose seven designers based on their pitches, who will then pick partners from the losing half of the group.

Pitch standouts for the worse are Chris, who is painfully nervous, and Kevin, who leaves SJP hanging on the handshake. On the other hand, Kit has a really fun design, Rami has a great line about his outfit fitting women of all sizes, and Christian (he of the side mullet) has a great sketch. SJP chooses Elisa (really?), Kit, Victorya, Marion, Ricky, Christian, and Rami (of course). She also announces that the winning design could be sold nationwide, at some store I've never heard of. This only adds to the excitement.

The winning designers select their partners in random order. The pairs are: Marion/Steven (Really? Steven is the first one chosen? Didn't see that coming...), Ricky/Jack, Victorya/Kevin, Kit/Chris, Rami/Jillian, Christian/Carmen, and Elisa/Sweet P. Rough on Sweet P, though Elisa does do her the service of claiming that Sweet P would've been her first choice anyway. At Mood, $15 buys you about enough nice fabric to make a napkin, so the designers have to make do.

Time is tight as well as money, so the pressure is really on. Steven, in particular, is worried that Marion's design is too involved for the time they have, as is Tim. I am worried that Marion's design is being constructed out of what appears to be burlap. But that's a whole 'nother thing. Elisa's process, as we might have guessed, is a bit...unusual. As in, it involves saliva. To "imbibe the fabric with energy and essence." And also to mark spots to cut, or whatever. Is "spit marking" seriously a thing? Because if so, GROSS, fashion people. Gross. Dude, Elisa is CRAZY. And Tim agrees, since she's doing insane amounts of hand stitching. Elisa, in the face of Tim's and her partner's concerns, caves and decides to listen to Sweet P a little more. Good call, Elisa.

Ricky, it should be noted, is a total crybaby in interviews. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Rami, to his credit, is making a real effort to have his dress fit all body types. On Christian's end, Tim is worried that the design is too retro, though Christian thinks it's totally perfect as is. Ignore Tim's opinion at your own peril, Christian! Many a young designer has been eliminated for failing to follow Tim's advice. On the other hand, Tim is really into Victorya's design, which I'm going to wait to pass judgment upon until I see the finished product. Though the plaid already bothers me.

The morning of the show, the usual "finishing everything at the last minute" craziness ensues. Sweet P struggles to make Elisa's unfinished, hand-stitched style work. However, they end up really pleased with their design. Christian and Cameron are already done (another potential portent of doom, if you ask me), if by "done," you mean, "done making their size 2 model look chunky." Marion's garment is way too big for the model, requiring some massive cinching, Gap Girls-style. Though the cinching doesn't help the fact that it looks like she has an afghan or something wrapped around her waist. And that's really being charitable. With some moccasins (which I assume simply weren't available on the Wall o' Accessories), she'd be perfectly costumed for a "First Thanksgiving" pageant.

Kit and Chris are up first on the runway, and their outfit is very cute, but nothing new. Elisa and Sweet P are next, and though it's "interesting" in a way that I would never wear it (a cape with a "polymorphic" dress, which sounds like some sort of evil creature that looks like a dress before it comes to life and strangles you with those strappy things wrapped around the model's neck), I can say that it looks really cute and chic on the model. Rami and Jillian, on the other hand, have veered too far towards frumpy on the top in their effort to be multi-size-friendly. I'm pretty sure multi-size-friendly doesn't entail putting a plus-size shirt on a stick-size model, guys. And really? Leggings? That's as inappropriate as the top, but in the opposite direction! A top that would fit a size twelve and bottoms that would fit a size 0 do not an average of size 6 make.

Marion and Steven are next, and, well, you've already heard my thoughts on the matter. As for Victorya and does everyone love this outfit so much? It has a horribly misplaced (and simply horrible) plaid vest, and a giant crazy bow on the shapeless dress! I really, really don't get it. Or fashion in general, apparently, since everyone else loved it. Christian and Cameron are next, and the outfit as a whole is kind of unfortunate. It has a completely out-of-place jacket (which actually would be cute on its own), and looks extremely 80's in general (which is in style now, yes, but a bit too overboard in this case). Were the jacket and dress separate, I might actually be a fan, but here? Not so much. Last but not least are Ricky and Jack, who made a really cute dress that really shouldn't qualify as a two-piece outfit. Unless you count the belt.

On the chopping/awarding block are Elisa/Sweet P, Victorya/Kevin, Christian/Cameron, and Marion/Steven. SJP loves Victorya's outfit, and thinks it goes with the collection very well. (WHAT?!) Elisa's outfit also gets mad praise from everyone, though "spit marking" makes an unfortunate appearance during the discussion of how she and Sweet P worked as partners.

Michael thinks that Marion's outfit is rather Pocahontas (AGREED), and SJP finds it unwearable, and less sophisticated than the sketch. Heidi, even harsher, thinks it looks like a rag, while Nina slams the proportions. Christian's outfit is criticized for being too retro, and SJP found it to be more severe in person than on paper, as well as too short and too snug. Fair enough. The judges ask Carmen who in her pair should go, and she doesn't want to make a choice until Christian tells her to have him go, since it was his design. She tearfully agrees. Marion also falls on his sword, while Steven obnoxiously hedges.

In deliberation, the judges absolutely love Elisa's and Sweet P's creation. They call Victorya's and Kevin's "versatile," "beautiful," and "simple," which is wrong on all counts, if you ask me. They universally slam Marion's and Steven's dress, especially its baggy length. They find Christian's to be way too retro, which proves that you should always listen to Tim.

The winner, in a MASSIVE miscarriage of justice, is Victorya. SJP thinks that the vest has "charm," irritating me even further. SJP, you have confirmed every nasty thought I ever had about your clothes on Sex and the City. Elisa, Sweet P, Steven, and Carmen are in. The judges found Christian's to be too 80's, and too inadaptable to larger sizes. They thought that Marion's was poorly-constructed, and had terrible fabric. Christian is in, and Marion is auf'd, which is about as fair as the choice of winner was unfair. And I'd just like to add that these eliminations are waaay easier to take when you aren't emotionally invested in the designers yet!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

America's Next Top Model: Rough week, yo

Tonight on America's Next Top Model, the remaining six gals head to China! Because, you know, we really want to be promoting China, what with their great record on product inspection, sweatshops, and massive human rights violations. This would SO not be cool with your hero Oprah, Tyra. How about the girls all dress like jailed political or religious dissidents in their first photo shoot?

The girls, of course, are completely psyched for their trip (as they should be, since going to China is totally awesome...I'm just saying we probably shouldn't be going out of our way to promote the place). They arrive in Shanghai, and Chantal (wow, is she still here?) compares it to The Jetsons. Heather compares it to Las Vegas. Fair enough--there IS a lot of neon. The Jays welcome them to China, and send them to their fancy pants penthouse to unpack. Which is when they notice that the room only has five beds. Heather notices last, sadly, and Saleisha refuses to share the one giant bed. Uncool, Saleisha. Heather is obviously a sensitive gal (and probably jetlagged, like the rest of them), so she starts crying with frustration. Bianca, of course, finds it hilarious. Bitch. However, she does agree to share a bed with Jenah, after some prompting for volunteers by Chantal.

The next morning, they head over to the biggest film studio in Shanghai, where their "tour guide" gets into a fight with a martial artist. Or martial arts artist. Or whatever. Seems they'll be learning some martial arts this morning, so that the next time they get into a bitch fight, they can knock their underfed, coked-up model opponent out cold. Their challenge is to do the martial arts poses they learned earlier while up in the air on wires, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style. It's pretty hysterical, I'm not going to lie.

Bianca, afraid of heights, starts to freak out, and Heather of all people tries to give her a completely undeserved pep talk. Bianca ends up going up, but then begs them to let her down, and is disqualified from the challenge. They all looked pretty crazy up there to me, but Heather is the winner of a $500+ shopping spree, which she shares with Chantal. As Heather points out while they're shopping, they're about a foot taller than the people working in the shops, which is comical, to say the least.

The next morning, the models are instructed to bring outfits describing their personality to the set, where they will be shooting their Covergirl print ads and commercials. The theme is about showcasing their personal inner and outer beauty (hence wearing their own clothes), and they'll have to improvise a bit about themselves in the ad. This should be good. (But not for Heather...yikes.)

Saleisha's up first, and she does a great, super-adorable job in the commercial. The judges agree, but don't love her photo. Bianca? Not so great. She has trouble with her lines and her delivery, though she seems to pull it off the end. The judges call her out for bailing on the challenge, and don't love her commercial. The photo is really nice, though. Heather has even worse problems with her lines, predictably enough. And can't even get the job done right with Orange Jay feeding her the lines. Sigh. Tyra is disappointed, and makes a point of not being easy on Heather because of her Asperger's. Her photo, however, is great. As they point out, it doesn't even look like her, what with the bubbly smiling and all.

Jenah performs well, but the judges found her uncharismatic. Here photo is unusual, in that it's not a typical beauty shot, but really great, as always. Chantal looks great, and brings a nice perkiness to the part. The judges find it cute and charming, though her photo is a bit pedestrian farmgirl. Lisa tenses up enough that we can see the tendons in her neck, and completely forgets the lines as soon as they turn the camera on. She tears up a bit, which makes things even worse. The judges call her on her panicked, verging-on-tears performance, but absolutely love her photo, and rightfully so. It's fantastic.

The guest judge this week is Jeffrey Chu, the director of photography from their commercial. In deliberation, the judges slam everyone's performance in the commercials. Tyra again criticizes their poor performance this week when handing out photos, but gives Chantal the first one, followed by Saleisha. Bianca and Jenah also receive photos. Uh-oh. It's down to Lisa, one of my early favorites, and Heather (who is yet AGAIN Covergirl of the Week). Lisa's out, sadly, which I think was the right call. And was also very predictable (as always) given all the interviews with her early in the episode. Next week: Go-See's!

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The Mighty Pencil

Here's a funny (and impressively well-produced) video by Will Forte and Kristen Wiig on how fans can support the WGA and get their voices heard by sending pencils in to media moguls. (Which you can do by using the form on my sidebar, or by clicking here.)

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On the Glowy Box: I love me some chillaxin'

Sleeping in is awesome. So is supporting TV writers.

Last Night:
House: The twists! The turns! The thongs! The total lack of Cameron and Chase being awkwardly inserted into the C-plot! Steve Valentine! The MRI of Doom! LUPUS!!!1! (Is the series over now? What other ailment will they guess in the first five minutes of every episode, only to be quickly proven wrong? I guess there's still vasculitis...but it somehow feels like the end of an era.) But as great as that episode was, I mostly just found myself wondering who the hell goes to magic shows in their time away from work. I mean, really--magic shows? That's quite the man date.

The Bachelor: There was a disappointing lack of ass-kicking. Sigh. Read my full recap here.

Pushing Daisies: An exploding scratch-and-sniff book kills the assistant of a famous scent specialist, and Ned and his team must discover the intended target of the deadly missive. ABC, 8 PM.

America's Next Top Model: Tyra takes the contestants to China for a martial-arts-themed stunt lesson; the women must let their personalities shine through in a photo shoot and commercial for a cosmetics company. The CW, 8 PM.

Private Practice: Cooper gets surprising results with online dating; Addison has a date with one of Violet's patients; Naomi and Sam make a house call at a convent; Addison and Pete help a teenage mother as part of a Safe Surrender program. ABC, 9 PM.

Project Runway: Designers are surprised by a workroom visit from a fashion icon who becomes the subject of their challenge. Bravo, 10 PM.

Yeah, I'm done with Dirty Sexy Money, at least until it's out on DVD. Wednesdays are busy enough already, and it still wasn't grabbing me 100%. Or even 75%, really.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Bachelor: The Most Dramatic Post-Finale Reunion Show EVER

Last night on The Bachelor: The Most Shocking Rose Ceremony Ever in the History of the Universe, which resulted in the WORST FINALE EVER. It was a total slap in the face for everyone who's been bothering to watch all season, and fairly cruel the way Brad led Jenni and DeAnna on. (And I'm not even going to get into the crazy rumors floating around about his ex-girlfriend.) Thus, I'm hoping that tonight's post-finale discussion will turn into a Brad Womack Beat-Down, the likes of which reality television has never seen before.

We begin, however, with "a little surprise." Apparently, former Bachelorians Trista and Ryan are making their first primetime appearance as a family (ah, the age-old rite), now that they have a little baby boy. The kid is cute, but I'm pretty much completely uninterested, given the drama that will hopefully be ensuing as soon as Brad, Jenni, and DeAnna head out on stage. Chris then trots out what may be the only other Bachelor "success story": Byron and Mary, from season 6. So...this is clearly ABC trying to prove that this show isn't a total fraud. I'm far from convinced. Two couples in eleven seasons (plus one season of The Bachelorette) is hardly something to crow about.

Moving on to the meat of the episode (13 minutes in), Jenni heads out on stage to chat with Chris. We confirm that she was stunned, crushed, devastated, etc. when Brad rejected her, before getting a montage of Jenni and Brad's greatest hits. Half of which we saw just last night. The audience, it should be noted, boos when they show the clip of Brad dumping her. Right on, audience. Right on. I mean, he obviously shouldn't have chosen to stay with Jenni if he wasn't feeling it, but he certainly could have avoided leading her on like that. And Jenni confirms that she felt a little misled.

Fascinatingly enough, Jenni thought that Brad was with DeAnna until she saw the finale last night. Wow. And it made her even sadder to discover that he didn't choose either of them. Of course, she points out what I've been wondering: Why not stay with one of them just to see how it works, rather than go all-out with a proposal? On a sadder note, Jenni's super-awesome grandmother passed away a couple weeks ago. We get a great montage, which is actually pretty sweet, and very sad. But not enough to distract me from how lame last night's finale was, ABC. Nice try.

Next up: DeAnna, who is still confused as to what the heck happened. ABC, helpfully trying to clear things up, shows us another painful montage. God, it's the worst. He completely made this girl think that he was going to propose. Why tell her that he just dumped Jenni? And even more so, why even sign up for this show if you're not the kind of guy who can fall in love at the drop of a hat? Brad was clearly the wrong kind of romantic for The Bachelor.

Back in the studio, DeAnna explains that it felt like she laid her heart out on the table for Brad, and he stabbed her right through it. She says she knew when he started pacing around during the rose ceremony that something was wrong, and is angry that she put so much of herself into their relationship without any reciprocation. Plus, there's the understandable confusion that he wasn't able to choose anyone (not even just to date), and the difficulty of living with that fact for the past two and a half months. She still has hope for their relationship, which is a bit sad. This whole thing is a bit sad, yo.

Chris confirms that this is the first time in the show's history in which the Bachelor chose no one, and Brad enters the stage to a solid mix of applause and boos. He claims to be more disappointed than anybody (unconvinced murmuring in the audience), and that his heart was also broken. He spouts some junk about DeAnna deserving more than somebody saying "let's see what happens," when he wasn't really in love with her. However, apparently the production company flew DeAnna's father out at Brad's request, because he wanted to talk to her father before proposing. Okay, so I guess it would have been DeAnna (called it!), though he says he knew when he was shopping for rings that it didn't feel right. In one fell swoop, he addresses and denies the rumors that he has kids, is gay, is dating, etc. He doesn't quite seem to be winning the audience over. And for good reason, the jerk.

Jenni heads out to chat with Brad, and it's uncomfortable. She asks him why he didn't want to take a chance on someone, which he hilariously answers by saying that he didn't want to take a chance when he had feelings for both of them, and didn't want to mislead. She basically calls it as a load of garbage, considering he really led them on throughout the show. So...he liked both of them...but neither of them enough? And so didn't choose anyone both because he couldn't choose between the two of them, and because he didn't want either of them? This is all kinds of ridiculous.

DeAnna joins Brad on stage next, and they share a hug before she sits down nervously. She starts off by asking him how he couldn't have chosen either of them, and totally calls him on leading her on, even telling her that the day of the rose ceremony would be "a good day." She refuses to believe that there was nothing there for Brad, and she's pretty freaking awesome, to tell you the truth. He admits to not being perfect, and says that he just couldn't stay with her at all without having the same feelings she had. He claims to be a romantic, and to be heartbroken, and it's pretty freaking obnoxious. I mean, figure out what you're going to do before you get the girl's hopes up, dude.

DeAnna really gets angry when he says he still thinks about her every day, and wonders why he'd say things like that and yet still walk away from her. He repeats that he still didn't feel like there was something between them, and DeAnna gets even more upset. He's basically just jerking her around, if you ask me, and poor DeAnna is completely confused and heartbroken. Especially since she clearly hoped he'd change her mind upon seeing her again. Brad is the WORST, you guys. The worst. I mean, Jesus Christ. He seems to think his choice was the noble one, but he's handling this terribly. He heads off to work on his "issues" before receiving the ass-kicking that I'd been hoping for, and Chris hauls out the successful Bachelor couples to rub them in Brad's and our faces.

It's been an...interesting...season, you guys! And according to Chris, The Bachelor will be back in the spring. And it'll be missing a number of viewers thanks to this debacle of a season, I'd imagine, including myself. Clearly, having the Most Dramatic Rose Ceremony Ever isn't necessarily a good thing. Ugh.

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On the Glowy Box: Don't Mess Around with Chuck

Check out the latest funny 'cause it's true video from United Hollywood--it features photos of many writers enjoying the imaginary fruits of their imaginary new media residuals.

Last Night:
Chuck: Oh, man. This show started out great, and has improved tenfold from there after taking a few episodes to find the perfect balance between characters, and the perfect combination of stand-alone plots and overarching themes. I love it! And just when I was worried that they were blowing their wad too early with the Chuck/Sarah thing, the writers bring Bryce back into the picture! Bananas! I'm even beginning to like Morgan a little. Applause all around, Chuck. This could have easily been a formulaic "watch it if I'm home and bored" show, and now it's one of the shows I most look forward to in the week.

How I Met Your Mother: FINALLY, an episode worthy of the show that brought us "Slap Bet." Of course, it's a Slap Bet-related episode, so it's still using the same genius idea, but I'm going to ignore that, since I was laughing out loud for pretty much the entire half hour. Even the word "Slapsgiving" is hilarious! But most hilarious of all is this video, the official music video for "You Just Got Slapped," which is officially the BEST EVER. Though it is sadly lacking in Barney's harmonizing. Seriously, this episode was all kinds of fabulous. There's really nothing more that can be said.

The Bachelor: Worst. Finale. Ever. He didn't even choose anyone! I was far from invested in this show, and I still feel ripped off. Consider my experiment in watching The Bachelor officially over. ...After tonight's "After the Final Rose" episode, in which Brad will hopefully get the ass-whooping of a lifetime. Read my full recap here.

House: House encounters a magician whose heart failed during an underwater escape act and suspects he is a scam artist faking his ailments. Fox, 9 PM.

The Bachelor: "After the Final Rose." ABC, 10 PM.

Slim pickings tonight!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Bachelor: Finally the finale...sort of

Well, we've reached the end of the road here on The Bachelor. Kind of. Tonight is the fake-out "finale," where he chooses his girl, but somehow they all come back tomorrow to rehash everything (again), just when you think you're rid of the whole bunch. Sigh. Don't call it a "season finale" if it's not the season's finale, ABC. Tonight, Jenni and DeAnna (both "almost perfect," according to Brad) will be meeting Brad's family and having final dates with Brad before he makes the big decision.

DeAnna's up first, and Brad's mom and brothers are happy to hear that she's from Georgia, and that Brad liked her family. His mom observes that Brad is really affectionate with DeAnna. (And he really, really is. More so than before they had the overnight date, if you catch my drift.) She asks DeAnna if she's in love with Brad (yes), if she's expecting a proposal (yes...well, hoping for one), and if she wants a large family (three, perfect for Brad's mom). Okay, this is, like, the easiest interview ever. What a bunch of softball questions! Brad and his brothers chat about how tough it will be to make a decision. In a not-at-all staged shot, the brothers push each other into the pool. DeAnna felt great about the family visit, and says she'll be crushed if she never gets to see them again. She and Brad kiss goodbye, and she tells us again how in love she is with Brad. Yeah, I think she'll probably win. Though I have to say, this was such a lame bunch of contestants (and such a lame Bachelor) that I don't really care either way.

Brad acknowledges to his family how hard DeAnna will be to beat, and Jenni pulls into the driveway. She's super excited (as always--perkiness is clearly a cheerleader stereotype based on reality), and she and Brad share a long hug before he tears himself away to introduce her to the fam. This may be closer than I expected. Jenni tells everyone that it's tough being down to the final two girls, and Brad's mom busts right out with "Have you told Brad that you love him?" Wow. Just rip the Band-Aid right off, why don't you? Jenni says she hasn't, and there's some awkwardness. Jenni answers that she didn't want to feel pressured into saying it, but Mom doesn't seem convinced. When they sit down to talk, Jenni and Brad's mom discuss the importance of family. His mom asks if Jenni is in love with Brad, and Jenni dodges a bit, finally saying that she's falling in love with him, but only after a little hemming and hawing. Then, she says that she'd totally accept his proposal with a big "I love you." So...her feelings grew stronger just today? ...During that conversation? I'm getting a whiff of fake, here.

We get a few interviews about how torn up Brad is, and he tells his mom that saying goodbye to either one of the women would break his heart. His mom doesn't have any advice for him, and likes both of them. She says she found DeAnna easier to talk to, but thinks that it could be the other way around had she met Jenni first. She interviews to us that he's really confused about having feelings for both women, since he's never dated two girls at once. She seems like a really nice lady--I wonder what she really thinks of his being on this show...

DeAnna has Brad over to her place for a solo date, and impresses him right off the bat by cooking a great lasagna. DeAnna interviews that she's terrified that he won't choose her, and that she really wants to be his wife. Wow, she sure fell hard and fast, huh? They discuss how great it was when she met his family, and he tells her that he has "very strong feelings" for her, and that she'd be "an incredible wife, and more importantly, an even better mother." She says it made her feel like she was the only person in his life, and I have to say, it kind of did seem like that. He may have crossed the line into cruelly misleading her and getting her hopes up, if he didn't intend to choose her. She tells him that she's falling in love with him, sees herself marrying him, and is scared that he won't choose her. He's pretty impassive at this point (wisely, I'd say), but they share a kiss at the end of the conversation.

At Jenni's place, Brad finds a very different, Asian-themed meal awaiting him. With edamame! Nice! She, like DeAnna, feels less confident at this point than she has the entire competition. She starts to tear up when she's telling Brad that he doesn't have to be scared about her, and cries that she thinks she'd be worth the work that their relationship would entail, and would do whatever it takes to make it successful. She gives him a journal with her thoughts about the experience, including a statement about how she's falling in love with him, which she reads out loud. She seems to think that his choosing her would entail "taking a chance," like DeAnna's the safe bet. I'm assuming this is because it would be a long distance relationship. Otherwise, framing herself in that way is probably a terrible strategy. At any rate, she does the whole tearful "I love you" thing, and this whole episode is honestly just really painful to watch. It seems like both women are really invested in this, to the point where it almost seems mean to mock them. Not that that's ever stopped me before, I guess.

The morning of the final rose ceremony, Brad goes shopping for an engagement ring, and agonizes over the decision he has to make. He says he can see both of them as his wife: DeAnna as loyal and supportive, Jenni as laughing and fun. However, he says he's certain of his decision, difficult as it will be. Jenni gets escorted up to see him, and I'm not actually sure what that means at first, having never watched the show before this season. Apparently, it means she's not getting the proposal, after a bit of a fake-out. Their relationship just isn't deep enough. Crying ensues, of course. He begs her to say something to him, and she finally says that she now feels embarrassed that she told him she loved him. Well, that's totally valid. How humiliating! This show is kind of mean. After a long and tearful (on Jenni's part) walk to the limo (and more crying in the limo), Brad heads back to the site of the ceremony.

After an interview from Brad about how DeAnna is his ideal wife, DeAnna is escorted up to see him. She interviews about how excited and scared she is, and that she'll definitely say yes if he proposes. After a sweet speech about how perfect she is, he tells DeAnna that he just said goodbye to Jenni. She smiles, and he tugs his collar nervously, tells her to hang on, and paces around the garden. Uh-oh. He tells DeAnna that he has a lot of feelings for her, but can't tell her he loves her and make a promise that he can't keep. Thus, he tells her goodbye as well, trying to make himself out as gentlemanly in the process! OUCH. They hug, and she almost angrily says she doesn't understand. Man, does this happen often on this show? No proposal? 'Cause it's rough. Are they not allowed to just date? Because now it just seems like this entire season was pretty much pointless. When he asks her if she knows how much he cares about her, DeAnna says that she doesn't, which is completely fair. This is WAY HARSH, you guys.

Brad walks her back to the limo, and we get a shot of the single remaining rose, lying lonely on the pedestal. DeAnna cries in the limo, and actually says that it's tougher that he didn't pick either one of them. She's really angry, and doesn't understand, since he kept saying she was the perfect person for him. Yeah, that was really uncool. Brad sits alone with the engagement ring, teary-eyed and contemplative, as we fade to black.

Tomorrow night, hopefully Brad gets his ass kicked. Because that would be completely fair. Valuable lesson, boys and girls: Don't lead people on.

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SERIOUSLY? No money from new media?

Last week, I got an invite to log onto Hulu, NBC's new video sharing website, as a private beta tester. I'd signed up a while back, before I even knew that writers weren't getting paid residuals for new media. Yesterday, for the purpose of research only, I logged on, and was amazed to see that NBC has full episodes streaming for more than 100 shows, at least 30 of which are currently airing new episodes on TV. If NBC wasn't expecting this to make truckloads of cash, why put so much effort into developing the website?

The one episode I watched, last week's installment of Life, had five commercials for Chrysler, plus a helpful intro reminding me that they were sponsoring the episode. I'm kind of assuming that Chrysler didn't sponsor that episode out of the goodness of their hearts. In fact, I'm betting they paid NBC a substantial amount for those ads. And I know for a fact that the people who wrote that episode, and the hundreds of others on NBC's site, are essentially being robbed of their portion of that money.

Don't watch shows online, guys. Don't stream, and don't download, until NBC and the rest see the light and give the writers their fair share of the money that is obviously coming in. Below the cut is another great video from the WGA about the hypocrisy of big media claiming to writers that new media has an uncertain future, while crowing about their huge profits from new media to shareholders. Unbelievable. Have you sent in your pencils yet?

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

TV Blog Coalition: Last Week in TV Blogs

Below is the TV Blog Coalition's weekly posting of our favorite entries. Enjoy!

Glowy Box: When she wasn’t on strike to support the WGA, Liz shuddered over a pencil in the eye on Grey’s Anatomy and enjoyed Tyra’s attempt to overshadow the Project Runway premiere on America’s Next Top Model.

BuzzSugar: This week, we debated the greatest TV icons (no Sesame Street or Saget?), felt a little underwhelmed by the new Lost mobisodes, and wondered if late-night shows should have guest hosts to save jobs during the writers' strike.

Daemon's TV: Sandie welcomed everyone to the Chuck train after watching Gossip Girl. Araya realizes what it’s like to feel things after watching Friday Night Lights. And after watching Heroes Araya wished he had a power.

Give Me My Remote: It broke our hearts to recap what could have been the last episode of The Office this season (a moment of silence). At least we still have Pushing Daisies to make us happy, at least for a few more eps. And before hitting the scene this weekend, check out our Cocktail Party Primer and be in the loop on the latest TV soundbytes.

Mikey Likes TV: IFC's bizarre role-playing documentary, Darkon, premiered this week, and Mikey wishes more reality TV would explore characters who are that uniquely crazy. He also lamented the premature (and seriously depressing) season finale of The Office.

RTVW: On the strike side of things, we wondered how fans would feel about episodes penned by scabs and offered up ideas on how fans can support the writers. After watching Prison Break, Rae questioned why some of the shows she enjoys fail to leave her anxious to see the next installment.

Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green: Now that the new shows have a few episodes under their back Scooter has gone back and reevaluated the best new shows of the season. It hasn’t been the best year for music, but could Alicia Keys be the first to get the coveted Severe Terror Alert Rating, check out the review for As I Am. And with the holiday earlier this week, Scooter pays tribute to current and future Veterans.

Tapeworthy: Vance was guest blogging on another site and refreshed his current TV Top 10 List to introduce himself. After the TV bloggers strike, it was nice to see Pushing Daisies again to brighten up the day and to prove why the writers deserve better compensation in the first place. Finally, there were a lot of THAT GUY this week, on Bones, on House, from Gossip Girl to Heroes (which, has completely lost/confused Vance at this point) and the CBS comedies (the good ones with long names HIMYM and TBBT).

Televisionary: This week, Jace was pre-occupied with the WGA strike but his spirit was buoyed by the fantastic news that FX's Damages was picked up for two more seasons, the return of Bravo's sartorial showdown Project Runway, and a kick-ass episode of Chuck that featured Rachel Bilson.

TiFaux: This week, TiFaux had more than a little Project Runway on the brain. After giving a preview of all the contestants, Dan gave a rundown on the first episode including thoughts on the contestants’ fascination with the celebrity of being on Project Runway. In other news, we plotted various male characters (from Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Dirty Sexy Money, etc) on a chart based on their annoyingness and machismo.

TV Filter: Kate tried to figure out who Gossip Girl is and Raoul interviewed Ambreal from America's Next Top Model.

The TV Addict: Fell in love with Wednesday's PUSHING DAISIES, took bets on when the WGA Strike would end and posted some incredibly sexy pics of new TERMINATOR on the scene Summer Glau.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Send in pencils to support the writers! Just $1!

The WGA crew over at United Hollywood has done a great job furthering a campaign for TV fans to send pencils to media moguls. They've set up a system with an (environmentally sustainable!) vendor so that all you have to do is contribute $1 (or more!) via Paypal, which buys a box of pencils. The vendor will pool our purchases and ship the pencils by the truckload to the media moguls!

How easy is it? I just bought 5 boxes of pencils in support of 30 Rock (you get to name a show, if you want), with the message that I wouldn't watch internet content or replacement reality shows until the writers get a fair deal. It took me about two minutes, so no excuses! It costs less than a cup of coffee, can be done in the same amount of time it takes to check your email, and could send a huge message.

With AMPTP agreeing to come back to the table on the 26th, it's essential that we fans stand up and insist that writers get a fair deal. So get pencil-ing!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Project Runway: Finally back, and making it work!

In fashion, you're either in, or you're out. And I'm in, all the way. (Okay, not so much with fashion. But definitely with Project Runway.) I've been waiting for this season premiere for what seems like forever! (And forever isn't that far off, actually...this season has been a long time coming.) So let's skip the pleasantries, and get right down to business!

We meet Rami first. He's originally Israeli, and has designed for Jessica Alba on the red carpet, but is still looking to find a larger audience. Next up is Chris, a flamboyant costume designer. (In this case, though it's a tough call, flamboyant refers more to the costumes than to the designer.) Christian, who possesses what I like to refer to as a "side mullet," is a recent grad who studied in London. Carmen, who's sporting a rather asymmetrical hairstyle herself, used to model, which she feels gives her an intrinsic understanding of the business. I wonder if she'll still do that thing where designers say they loved "watching [their] dress walk down the runway," rather than "the model wearing [their] dress." Seems like if you've actually been a model, you'd be less likely to totally ignore their existence.

Our next designer is Jillian, who has been working at Ralph Lauren. And is "Not. Going. Home." Kevin, a successful jeans designer (they have jeans on the cover of Victoria's Secret catalogs?), wants to get back into making collections. Steven works at the Museum of Science and Industry, sewing for various exhibits. Fascinating! And yet, somehow, I'm kind of doubting he'll get much respect from the other designers. Poor Steven. Elisa, an "accidental fashion designer," got into fashion while making marionettes. Seriously. Like, giant, terrifying, monstrous ones. And her bio is so impressive that it makes one wonder a) why she needs Project Runway, and b) whether it's even fair to the other contestants to have her on the show. Project Runway has officially gone pro, y'all. Olympics-style.

We don't hear much from Marion, whom the screen titles tell us is a boutique owner. Is it an ugly hat boutique? Because if so, he's doing a great job advertising it! Ricky, clearly a customer at Marion's boutique, is a lingerie designer whom we also don't get to meet. I'm assuming he vowed to try out for Project Runway and do lingerie designers proud the day Santino unleashed his ruffly German monstrosities upon the world. "Sweet P," whose nickname comes from her time in an all-girl motorcycle club, needs some money to keep her business afloat. She has matching "Sweet P" and "Mean P" tattoos. Hells yeah.

And now there's no more time to meet the rest of the designers, because we (and they) are on our way to Bryant Park! Simone, who is very taken with her "vision," is thrilled to be in Bryant Park: Home of Fashion Week. The designers pop open some bubbly and toast to their good fortune. Aah, and it now becomes clear that Marion owns a flower shop, not an ugly hat shop. He simply sells designs (possibly including ugly hats) out of the shop as well. Jack, an activewear designer, is thrilled to finally be designing for himself, and not an employer. Victorya considers herself a competitive overachiever, but stops short of saying she's there to win, not to make friends. Kit "Pistol" designs really funky clothes, and would love to have her own line. Ricky, for whom ugly hats unfortunately seem to be a trademark, tears up over the enormity of the opportunity.

Now that we've met the designers, it's time for Heidi and Tim's long-awaited return to television! (Yes, I'm graciously ignoring Tim Gunn's Guide to Style. Deal with it.) Heidi looks just as beautiful as always as she reminds the designers of what prizes are at stake. Oddly, Tim thanks her gratefully for saying nothing but "next to me is Tim Gunn." Maybe merely having your name spoken by Heidi's beautiful lips is an honor worth thanking her for? He reminds the contestants that they were selected from a huge pool of designers, which only makes me miss "Road to the Runway" more. Sigh. He gives them the usual "you are the strongest group ever" speech (which very well may be true, given the resumes), and Heidi drops the completely expected first challenge bomb.

This year, the first challenge is NOT to create an outfit using unconventional materials, according to Tim. But I'm assuming he was joking (he's so deadpan it's hard to tell!), because their challenge is to turn cheap white tents into outfits that express who they are as a designer. But wait! The tents are lined with $15,000 worth of premium fabrics! This is actually kind of interesting. I like that they're shaking it up a little, and letting us see what the designers can really do. Though I have to say, it's a little less interesting than corn husk and coffee filter dresses. As the obligatory Race for Materials begins, Elisa wishes Heidi a happy birthday and hands her a flower. Suck up. Chris, who is a bit tubby, doesn't make it to the tents until the fabrics are pretty well picked-over. Happily, his choices are still available. To everyone's bemusement, Elisa takes a fancy silk chiffon and rubs it all over the grass, "imbuing it with a natural element." Riiight.

At Parsons, everyone gets down to business (but not before Tim leaves them with his inaugural "Make it work!"). The lack of constraints is intimidating to some designers, but Ricky gets right to work with a lingerie-themed babydoll dress. Elisa, who is officially this season's kook, starts sewing her "mythical, magic gown" right on her body, using herself as a dress form. You know, if she didn't have such an impressive background, I'd be very skeptical at this point. As it stands, I'm just somewhat amused. Christian, out-gaying even his side mullet, interviews that Elisa reminds him of a rain goddess in the Himalayas, or something.

With four hours to go, Tim pays the designers a visit. Rami, clearly one to watch, has managed to freestyle drape an amazing gown that Tim pronounces "stunning." Christian, on the other hand, has made the ugliest thing in the whole wide world. Possibly due to the hideous black and tan fabric he's chosen. Tim, perhaps blinded by the hideousness, chooses to criticize the asymmetry, which...dude. That is SO the least of this outfit's problems. Simone has chosen to pair peach, white, and bright yellow. And is also falling a bit behind. Elisa's dress, already finished, is very high-concept, with a colorful, deconstructed train flowing from a very fitted body. Tim expresses some reservations with the finishing of the train, which is totally raggedy, but Elisa decides to nap rather than compromise her concept, even though she's got plenty of time left. Everyone else, of course, runs around frantically down to the last minute.

The next morning, it's Judgment Day, as Jack puts it. Many designers have work left to do, but first it's Model Time! Measuring, hair styling,, and dress-finishing ensues. Simone actually has to sew her model into her dress, because she didn't have time to put in a zipper. Elisa has her model practice walking with the train, and it gets completely tangled at her feet. Elisa feels like she should probably chop it right off, but doesn't do it. I'm guessing that may end up being a bad call. Just a hunch.

At the runway, the designers get another speech from Heidi on the prizes and judges--the guest judge is "acclaimed designer" Monique Lhuillier. The first outfit is Elisa's, and the model, of course, gets tangled in the dress. DUH, Elisa. Chris's dress is very classy, but a bit boring. Kevin's is enormously fabulous, if you ask me. Cute, edgy, and well-constructed. I'm going to peg him as another one to watch. Sweet P's looks like an ill-fitted gunnysack to me, but that could just be a matter of taste. Simone's dress is so simple that I can't believe she didn't have time to sew in a zipper. Simple, and fairly ugly. Definitely NOT expensive-looking.

Jillian's dress looks fairly chic, but turns me off for some reason. Christian's is just as ugly as I remembered, but looks a lot more high-fashion on a model. Victorya's dress is stylish and fun, though it has a big ugly metallic flower in the front that just throws the whole thing off. Rami's dress is just as impressive on a model, and looks very sophisticated. Ricky's dress is way too simple and trendy-looking, like something you could buy at the mall. Also, too shiny. Jack's dress is super-cute, and I absolutely love it.

is unusual, but probably really high-fashion in a way I don't get. Steven's is very "sexy executive," which...okay. Interesting choice. Carmen's is a horrifying combination of an '80's-style gold lamé vest, big flowy genie pants, an out-of-place orange scarf thing, and too many accessories. Carmen, oblivious to my hatred, is thrilled with her creation and completely confident that she'll make it to the next challenge. Kit's dress is fantastic, and pulls off a similar cute/edgy aesthetic to Kevin's (and in a similar color palette).

Heidi moves Chris, Kevin, Sweet P, Jillian, Jack, Marion, Steve, Carmen, and Kit to the next round. What?! Three of my four favorites were in that group! Kevin, Jack and Kit: You were robbed! (Sweet P: You were very, very lucky.) Apparently, Christian is in the top. Sigh. Though to be fair, it really does look better on a model. Simone, clearly, is NOT in the top. The judges are unimpressed with the construction and with the jacket/dress combo. They absolutely love Rami's dress, of course. Ricky's dress gets criticized for being too safe and boring, which is completely fair.

Victorya's dress gets praise, as does the horrible metallic flower. SIGH. Michael points out the short hemline, but then points out that he knows women who are willing to bleed for fashion, so... Okay, what? Fashion is so messed up! Isn't he the same guy who once said that all the women he knows cut the pockets out of their pants to make themselves look thinner? What is with his female friends?! Moving on to Elisa, she describes the cut as "haiku," which, what? Nina criticizes the heaviness of the train, the fact that the dress isn't walkable, and the big, clashing boots. (Okay, just kidding. I'm the only one criticizing the boots. But it needed to be said!) The judges seem to like the dress, but not the train.

In deliberation, the judges are torn between Christian and Rami, though they also really like Victorya's design--especially that stupid flower. Simone gets the harshest criticism, though Heidi says what I've been thinking all episode: Elisa's model "looked like she was pooing fabric." HA! Ricky's dress gets praise for being well-made (as did Elisa's), but the judges can't get over how boring it was. This seems like a pretty clear choice to me, as far as the loser. And the winner too, actually, when given these choices. Victorya is in, but Rami wins. Right on. Christian is also in, of course, as is Ricky. Okay, between Simone and Elisa? This is no contest! Simone is out, out, out. And rightfully so.

And there you have it--the first episode of what will hopefully be a fantastic season of my favorite reality show! Can't wait for next week!

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