Two guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Last Week in TV #19

How I Met Your Mother: The Burning Beekeeper


This was clearly an episode meant to play with structure and tell a simply story in a structurally complex and interesting way. And in that regard, it succeeded. I'm a sucker for these kinds of episodes, and HIMYM has a history of doing them, and doing them well. The only problem is that this episode wasn't very funny. It elicited a few laughs, but I'm an easy mark. For the most part, any reactions I had to the episode were to the reveals created to the unique structure ("oh, that's why Ted was so eager to fight Martin Short", "that's why Lily stomped the Gouda") instead of to any of the jokes. And while HIMYM has certainly had episodes intentionally light on the laughs before, in most of those cases the laughs were replaced with significant character development; here, we didn't get much of that aside from Lily's realization about being a parent, and even that seemed less important that the structural wackiness. Like I said, I like these kinds of episodes that manipulate the traditional time/space elements within a show, but it only works if that manipulation is done in service of big laughs, good character moments, or both. Here, it did neither, and we're left with nothing more than an episode with a unique structure.

Other Thoughts
I do not like Chris Elliot on this show, no matter how hard they try to force him on us.

Barney's fake identity of Special Agent Gary Powers was particularly good, and did make me laugh a couple times. I also liked Robin misappropriating Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest with Sun Tzu. 

Barney: If I could kiss it I would, and don’t think I haven’t tried

Ted: You called her a whore.
Robin: Who wears that much makeup?
Ted: Old ladies.
Robin: Who trade sex for money!


Alcatraz: Guy Hastings


It wasn't perfect, but this was easily the best episode of the 'Traz yet. After a string of three solid case-of-the-week episodes, this show desperately needed to spend some time on its mythology, and while "Guy Hastings" didn't hand everything over to the bigger, ongoing picture, we still learned more about the ongoing mysteries and, more importantly, the relationship between Hauser and Madsen than ever before (turns out he does specifically need her around, which answers a big lingering question from the pilot). We also got a nice break from the "convict is caught because he does things based on his childhood experiences" routine, due in large part to the fact that this week's case involved a guard. The case-of-the-week structure was still there (we got a pretty ridiculous bit where Soto extrapolates architecture), but it bodes well to see that the show is willing to shake things up even a little bit this early in its run.

Other Thoughts
The reveal that Rebecca's "uncle" is actually her uncle wasn't all that shocking, but the idea that Hauser had earlier approached Ray and that Ray knew about the 63s was genuinely surprising (as was the fact that he'd been in contact with Tommy in the present), and a nice explanation for why Ray wasn't more surprised to see Hudson. It also allows Rebecca to talk to Ray about her cases, which helps make things less awkward moving forward (and means we'll hopefully see more of Robert Forster). 

The fact that Hauser had earlier recruited Ray suggests either that he knew the 63s were coming back, or they've been trickling back for longer than we thought.

This is problematic on most cop/action shows, but Emerson sure made it from Alcatraz to Tommy and Ray's old house awfully fast. 

We've yet to see someone from the past "arrive" in the present, but both this episode and the pilot seemed to show us two people just moments after they arrived in the past.

Hudson attacking that ranger at the beginning is more evidence of the suggestion that something about the time travel makes people more angry/homicidal than usual.

Also, the fact that pictures and a gun were stashed in his old house suggests that Hudson knew he was going to be time traveling, but his later dialogue with Ray suggested it was a surprise to him. So did someone else stash that stuff? 

Seismic activity, huh? Emerson clearly knows more than he's letting on...


Smash: Pilot


Originally, Blam and I intended to do a joint, standalone review of the Smash pilot, with Joan Crawford offering color commentary along the way. Then both Blam and I watched it, and neither of us felt terribly compelled to write about it (we both expressed the sentiment that we hoped the other had some strong reactions to spark discussion). Which isn't to say this was bad. Rather, it was probably one of the better pilots I've watched this season, tremendously well put together, making very clear who the various characters are, what they want, what obstacles are in their way and what ground the rest of the series is likely to cover. Heck, I could see this episode being taught in film school in a "TV Pilots 101" class.

But "well-constructed" and "interested to see how the show series plays out" doesn't inspire a lot in the way of discussion. My only other real notes consisted of the fact that of the cast, the standouts for me were Debra Messing (I was never a big Will & Grace watcher, but I've liked her more reserved turns in various rom coms I've watched my wife watch) and Jack Davenport (who I know from a variety of things but somehow has gotten unfortunately stuck in my head as "the dad of the autistic kid who inappropriately hit on Penny in Flashforward), but everybody else acquitted themselves well, with only the hired/fired/re-hired assistant grating on me, and that I largely enjoyed the big baseball musical number (though Mrs. Teebore thought it was perhaps a bit oversexed).

So yeah. I'm enough of a musical theater nut, as well as a fan of the dying workplace drama sub-genre and shows about the creation of other shows (and I did enjoy the pilot enough) to stick around and check out the series. Plus, there's the fact that the success of this show has been both positioned and carefully not-positioned as being instrumental to NBC's ongoing viability as a legitimate broadcast network, and it'll be interesting to watch from that perspective (in fact, The Voice, which is reportedly doing quite well for itself, ratings-wise, so far early in its second season, is more firmly in that position). But chances are I won't write about it regularly, as it doesn't seem like the kind of show that will inspire much reaction from me or talking points for us. But we'll see. If I do end up with something to say about it as we go along, I'll be sure to share it.

(Okay, one more random note: for some reason, I can't help but see Katherine McPhee's supportive boyfriend as Maulik Pancholy, late of 30 Rock before leaving for the horrid Whitney, for some reason).


Glee: The Spanish Teacher


Much like "Yes/No", knowing this would be another episode that heavily featured Will, I went into this fearing the worst. But like "Yes/No", this turned out to be not awful, mainly because the focus on Will was pretty much about what a dick he is. Don't get me wrong: this episode had some issues. Aside from a couple scenes, it did little to advance the ongoing plots nor tie in with the ongoing themes, it featured greater leaps of logic than usual, and the musical numbers felt a little low energy to me. But this was a solidly constructed episode, with a clear A plot and a manageable number of subplots. More importantly, for the first time, we got an episode that seemed to view Will the way most of us have viewed him for at least a season-and-a-half: aside from doing an admirable job of inspiring the glee club, he's not a very good teacher, and kind of a self-centered dick.

What most impressed me about this episode was Santana's discussion with Will following his awful Matador routine. Everything she said was on point, and it was impressive that the show allowed, not only for Will not to use his authority to shout her down, but for Santana to win the argument. I never would have expected the show to let that happen last season. Here's something else that impressed me: Will walking in on Emma and Bieste's conversation, responding to "it's unbelievable" with "What? My set list for Regionals?" In past episodes, that kind of thing would have been played straight, with everyone at home rolling their eyes at his obnoxiousness. But here, it was clear that show intended for that remark to be obnoxious, that it was making a point about Will's self-centeredness. Even though the sappy ending suggests this might be a one-time examination of Will's failings, the fact the show even took the time to do it once is still remarkable.

Other Thoughts
Some of those leaps of logic: So Will really lasted this long teaching Spanish without knowing/teaching it? How did he even get the job in the first place? Or the history job, for that matter? Also, tenure is suddenly a thing, suggesting that McKinley actually is overseen by some kind of school board, whereas past episodes suggested teachers' jobs existed at the whim of Figgins and/or whatever nutjob/rich parent was in a tizzy in any given week. And I'm no expert, but I'm not sure Emma, who is a guidance counselor, not a teacher, as far as we know, should have been eligible. For that matter, isn't Sue just a coach? Does she actually teach a class during school hours? In which case, how is she eligible for tenure? And if Sue is only at the school to coach the Cheerios, why can't Will just be the glee club coach? I can't that teaching Spanish also means a certain degree of teaching the culture, and it's good that Will stepped aside so that someone who actually knows the language can teach it, but as a history buff, I'm none too excited about the prospect of Will taking his "don't know it, don't care about it" teaching style to history. But apparently, no one at that school is as impassioned about history as Santana is about Spanish to call him out on it.

Let's just get this out of the way: the whole "Sue wants a baby" plot line is ridiculous, but it's the kind of ridiculousness you get with this show, and it's better than Supervillain Sue. Ridiculousness aside, I liked the way Sue was handled this episode, once again with a nice mix of Crazy Sue and actual human Sue.

In that same vein, I appreciate any Sue storyline that doesn't involve her inexplicably running for Congress or plotting to take over Metropolis, but this whole conflict with the synchronized swim coach is pretty lame (though I do love how the swim coach is constantly bragging about her bronze medal, which is exactly how I envision all Olympians to act). 

So after spending the first half of the season refusing to share the spotlight and forming her own splinter glee club, now Mercedes is suddenly buddy-buddy enough with Rachel to have a slumber party? I suppose you could chalk it up to teenagers being whacky and inconsistent, but as with most things Mercedes, it rang false.

The ongoing Rachel/Finn engagement plot got touched on, as well as the whole "graduation" theme, in the episode's best scene, between Kurt and Finn. The two of them need to get more scenes together (and I really liked Kurt's observation that while Finn made not be Broadway bound, he could do very well for himself in a theater program because he's a traditional leading man type who can sing and kind of dance. Also, ha!).

So Emma makes all her pamphlets herself. That's awesome, and kinda helps explain some of the logic holes surrounding some of them. 

I loved the subtitles that made clear Will's awful Spanish.

Blaine is still recuperating from his eye injury, presumably because Darren Criss is busy replacing Harry Potter on Broadway. 

When was the last time an episode didn't end with a musical number of some kind?

Favorite Song: Either "La Isla Bonita" because, well, Santana, or "Little Less Conversation", because it was terrible, but for once, it was supposed to be.

Finn: Mr. Schu, what's with the shiny coat? I thought you were Kurt.


Top Chef: Mentors


Once again, the least complicated challenge (cook something) results in the better food, and the best glimpse into the chef's various styles and personalities. In general, this season has featured a crop of rather uninteresting chefs, but we also got surprisingly few challenges like this, and that might be why, going into the finals, even the final four seem largely ciphers.

While the elimination challenges have been ridiculously gimmicky this season, the Quickfires (which is where the goofy gimmick stuff belongs) have continued to impress with some fun new ideas, and the Quickfire in this episode was another clever new idea, making the chefs stumble around blindfolded, choosing their ingredients (much to Tom's apparent delight). The wrinkle of choosing a car or a guaranteed spot in the finals was also inspired, even if Sarah should have chosen the car (always take the guaranteed money), though the fact that Sarah landed in the finals off so gimmicky a challenge is unfortunate (maybe save that offer for a more straightforward Quickfire next time).

Integrating the chefs' mentors into a challenge isn't anything new, whether its pairing them up in the finals or cooking for them, and while it was kinda nice to see the chefs get all emotional (and to hear some of their stories), we've spent so much time listening to Lindsay have a lady-chubby for Michelle Bernstein this season that my eyes started rolling as soon as it became clear the mentors were coming out. But we've got our final four now, and we're heading to British Columbia (sure, why not?) and hopefully the chefs will be given more opportunities to just cook.

Other Thoughts
Bummed to see Ed go, mainly because Lindsay and Sarah bug me, and I appreciated his laid back demeanor. He was also one of the few contestants this season with some semblance of personality.

I'll miss Grayson, but I'm glad Beverly came back to freak out Lindsay and Sarah. I've gone a weird roller coaster ride with her: first she bugged the crap out of me, then I felt bad for her, then she bugged me again, and now I'm glad she's back.

Nice of Paul to win the car. Now he has something to carry all his money home in. Seriously, let's just skip the finals and give him the title already.


Parks and Recreation: Operation Ann


I'll say this: pairing up Ann and Tom is certainly an idea I didn't see coming, but I probably should have. The show desperately needs to find a place for Ann now that her relationship with Chris is over and she's sharing time as Leslie's voice of reason with Ben, and Tom, in the wake of Entertainment 720's demise, is in a similar position (though he's been rudderless less longer than Ann). Their pairing makes a certain amount of sense within the context of the show as well. Ann, from the beginning, as shown a certain patience with man-children like Tom, while the right woman tends to dial down the sleeze inherent to Tom's charms, making it believable that Ann could be attracted to him. Parks and Rec has yet to lead me to astray, so I'm curious to see where this going.

This was a particularly strong episode all around (I don't think any show does Valentines Day as well as this one), but the clear highlight was Ron's uncharacteristic glee at helping Ben solve Leslie's laborious and byzantine sequence of scavenger hunt clues, in what was probably the best Ron Swanson story since the Tammys episode earlier in the season. This little reveals of Ron liking things everything about him suggests he shouldn't are part of what makes his character so great, and the show does a nice job of trotting them out sparingly.

Other Thoughts
Another nice "April is human after all moment", as she helps pair Ann (the person she loathes the most) with Tom.

Loved the look Ben shot the camera which made it clear he still had no idea why Leslie is so infatuated with Lil' Sebastian. No one does those camera looks better than Adam Scott.

Also hilarious: Andy about to shatter the case holding the stuffed raccoon, only to realize the back is open, only to end up shattering it anyway. Comedy gold, right there. 

Leslie: Oh Ann, you beautiful spinster. I will find you a man.



30 Rock:  Today You Are A Man


By all accounts, the long-rumored departure of Alec Baldwin from 30 Rock following this season has been scuttled, with Baldwin agreeing to return to the show for an additional two seasons. It's a good thing, because the idea that this show could exist without him at this point is unbelievable. All of which is my long-winded way of saying that once again, the Jack/Liz story carried this episode, as Liz attempted to negotiate a new contract with Jack using his own negotiating tactics, leading Jack to represent both Liz and himself in the ongoing negotiations. It allowed Baldwin to play Jack at his most Alpha Male, which is always a recipe for success.

Tracy and Jenna ended up in their usual funny-but-slight plot, forced to entertain a surly teen at a Bar Mitzvah in a story that suggested personal growth for the characters, but given both the show and the characters seems unlikely. Kenneth's unexpected resignation from the page program, however, seems like a legitimate, albeit likely short term, change, as I believe Kristen Schaal is slated to hang around for a few more episodes. And as much as I like Kristen Schaal and am happy to have her around, the Kenneth story fell the flattest for me. For one, Kenneth has never done much for me, for another, only last week Kenneth argued vehemently for the existence of the page program, and now he's walking away from it. His motivations for doing so are sound, but would have rung less contrived had this episode not aired so close to "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell".

Jack: Jack Donaghy: playing with himself. It’s a Jack-off!

Tracy: How Jewish is everyone here? Because I may need to change my act.

Tracy's Accountant: How Jewish is everyone here? Because I may need to change my act.


Saturday Night Live: Channing Tatum & Bon Iver


Well, that was pretty rough. Again, Channing Tatum seemed game for anything (and was deployed quite a bit) but unfortunately it seems like all he was asked to do was dance a lot. I get that he used to be a stripper, but still. Meanwhile, everyone else seemed to be phoning it in, with only a couple of memorable sketches and moments. 

Cold Open: One of the better cold opens recently, I loved the mash-up of Gingrich's proposed space policies and the style of those crappy old sci-fi B movies to create a world where there would be open marriages for all. And Hader's Reaganbot was pretty awesome.

Monologue: Another annoying "pretend the cast members in the audience are different people" bit.

"The Cee-Lo Green Show": I wasn't a huge fan of this the first time around, and wasn't exactly thrilled to see it back so soon. But Tatum's Mathew McConaughey was pretty good, and Nasim Pedrad and Vanessa Bayer were quite fetching in their black dresses. Still, if we're going to have Keenan hosting a talk show while barely doing an impression, I'd rather have "What's Up With That?" back instead.

Spike TV's Downton Abbey: I haven't even watched the show, and this was probably the best sketch of the night. Samberg's narration really nailed it.

NFL Promo: The sketch with the most promise that was the least realized, as those annoying pop up promos are rife for mocking, but we pretty much just got "goofy, goofy, goofy, look up at the camera" a few times before the truly funny "everyone is drunk now" pop up at the very end.

Secret Word: And this again. Oy. Any episode featuring "Secret Word" is going to have to work that much harder to win me back, and this episode didn't.

Weekend Update: Per usual, a bright spot in the episode. The Lana Del Rey bit was actually really well written for how it both made of fun of her and made fun of people who make fun of her, as though being bad on SNL or wanting a singing career makes her history's greatest monster. And a solid impression by Wiig. Also, while I can easily kill a random half hour with an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Guy Fieri bugs the piss out of me, so I always appreciate it when Moynihan shows up to mock him. 

Bat Mitzvah Dance: One of the few standout sketches of the night, mainly for the cutaways to Abby Elliot, though again, "hey, it's Channing Tatum, let's make him dance".

Tom Brady: And now we're in the dregs. A sketch predicated on the notion that Bobby Moynihan as a crass older woman being attractive to Tom Brady is funny.

Go-Techs Flex: I get what they were going for here, but it just didn't work for me.

Bongo's Clown Room: I remember liking this sketch the last time they did it, but this time out, I was just bored, and wondering what happened to this episode.

Favorite Sketch: Either Lana Del Rey's appearance, or the Downton Abbey (aka Fancy Entourage) commercial.

Gingrich: Not all of America is as forward-thinking as South Carolina!

Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 4/13
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 5/13

18 comments:

Sarah Ahiers said...

I think we've given up on Traz. Just too much other stuff to watch.

Also, what the hell is Smash?
And did you catch The River? We've only watched the first hour so far.

Glee: So, whatever. Not great, not horrible. I actually really loved Sue vs. the Swim Coach. I really think the way to handle Sue well at this point, is to give her an arch enemy like the swim coach, so we can see her do some of the crazy Sue stuff which is funny, but then keep her human around the main cast.
And Sue having a baby doesn't seem that ridiculous to me. It seems pretty straightforward for her character.

I wonder if RM is going to be an occasional cast member now?

Love Kurt this episode, especially his reaction at the sleepover to the engagement and his discussion with stupid Finn.

And Will being a shitty Spanish teacher made me really miss King of the Hill and Peggy's terrible Spanish abilities.


Top Chef: I'm really pissed that the episode before the finals they gave someone a golden ticket to get to the end. I call BS. If they wanted to do that, they should've just fast tracked the winner of the LCK to the finals, then.
And mostly I'm mad because effing Sara won and took the easy way out. What a shitty contestant. And I was really hoping that Lindsay would go home, and it seemed the editing was pointing in her direction, and therefore was sad when it was suddenly Ed.

So, what it comes down to is Paul had better win and Bev should come in second, otherwise I will be piiiiiiissed

Dr. Bitz said...

I'm a sucker for stories structured like that How I Met Your Mother episode too. But, like you said, it was light on laughs and part of me felt that How I Met Your Mother has gone to that well too many times. It feels played out.

Also, I like how Ted said the best way to tell this story is by going over what happened room by room even though that's, in fact, the worst way to tell the story to someone.

Teebore said...

@Sarah: Also, what the hell is Smash?

Don't let NBC hear you ask that; they'll think their massive blitz marketing campaign didn't work. :)

Smash is a behind-the-scenes show about the production of a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway. It's been described as Glee for adults, though it features a mix of original songs (from the musical they're producing) and covers of pop songs (like Glee).

I'm watching it because A. I'm a musical theater nerd. B. I like shows about the making of other shows. C. It's the zeitgeist-y show of the moment.

And did you catch The River? We've only watched the first hour so far.

We've got it recorded, but we haven't watched it yet.

And Sue having a baby doesn't seem that ridiculous to me. It seems pretty straightforward for her character.

I meant more that her approach was ridiculous (talking to the glee club guys about donating sperm, seriously petitioning Will, etc.).

I wonder if RM is going to be an occasional cast member now?


I haven't heard one way or the other. But I wouldn't mind it if he popped up again. He did pretty well.

And Will being a shitty Spanish teacher made me really miss King of the Hill and Peggy's terrible Spanish abilities.


One of my favorite episodes is when she accidentally kidnaps the little Mexican girl and gets put on trial, where her shitty Spanish makes it clear she meant no harm.

So, what it comes down to is Paul had better win and Bev should come in second, otherwise I will be piiiiiiissed


Agreed. I've never been big Sarah/Lyndsay fans, but I'm so done with them now.

@Dr. Bitz: Also, I like how Ted said the best way to tell this story is by going over what happened room by room even though that's, in fact, the worst way to tell the story to someone.


Ha! Good point. Someone online pointed out this seemed like it was just clever for the sake of being clever, not because the story NEEDED to be told that way, and when all you've got is cleverness, it had better one well-executed story, and this wasn't.

Sarah Ahiers said...

hmm, well clearly we should be checking out Smash then. And we don't watch A) a lot of NBC or B) commercials in general so it makes sense we missed that marketing scheme.

Joan Crawford said...

I like The River, there is a background story that I am vaguely aware of and they do spice it up with Creepy Little Weird Things. Stuff just sorta seems to happen (smoke monster who lives in a gross old egg thing for whatever reason? Check!) and I think they are just going to have people run around the Amazon for a long time (looking for "Professor Distant Dad" who is now a wizard of some sort, apparently)and have random ghosty type things occur. Creepy dolls were involved in hour 2 of the premier, so I think Falen will like it! There is a "is he really bad or just sexy, misunderstood bad?" guy who is easy on the Olde Peepers.

Alcatraz - I half-watched it; I have a way big crush on Hoyt from True Blood! Does anyone else here watch True Blood? Can we talk about why it is that sex is all, umm, stunted, for Hoyt and Jessica but Jessica and Jason were able to knock boots like they were trying to generate a renewable energy source? Because remember when Hoyt was all unforgivably horrible and threw the whole "you're a virgin forever" thing in her face? It sure didn't seem to stop the parade in the back of the truck...

Sorry, Teebore, for rambling about things you weren't even talking about!

Anne said...

what sarah said

@Joan- hecks YES we watch True Blood!! That was one hell of an unexpected cliffhanger season finale. Now they've gone far enough away from the books that i don't know what the hexk to expect! But i really like Jessica- she's my favorite original character

Blam said...


How I Met Your Mother: The Burning Beekeeper

We're so on the same page (again) regarding the neat structure but lack of actual laughs. I usually love it when they throw in an episode like this, and/because they usually do it so well — funny or dramatic or just so fascinating it holds up as a creative exercise alone. This one was a real letdown.

Robin's bright royal-blue pants are so loud I don't have a joke for them.

The interstitial music was "Flight of the Bumblebee". Get it?

Blam said...


Alcatraz: Guy Hastings

I really liked this one for all the things you mentioned.

The biggest shock to me, not for the plot point itself but the fact that they revealed it, is that we now have confirmation that the shift to the present happened almost literally overnight. You could qualify that with "at least for Guy Hastings" but I suspect that it's true for all of the guards and inmates who are pawns in this game, if not necessarily for those higher up pulling the strings (assuming they can travel too).

Do you think that "the Room" is maybe a locus point / decompression chamber on Alcatraz between today and 1963 (and perhaps other times) — a magic box, if you will? It looked like some of the techies there could be from the past. And that would explain how the prison doc got from 1963 to now as well as how Lucy got from now to then (not that we actually know which time they're native to).

So did someone else stash that stuff? 

I took that to be the case, although you're right that here as opposed to in previous episodes it did seem like he was going back to recover old stuff of his. When he pulled out the photos, I figured that he was just getting mementos, but when the gun came out too I assumed that unless it was also something he'd stashed away for protection (and I don't recall if it was era-appropriate) it was put there for him like other things had been squirreled away for the inmates in previous episodes.

It took me most of his opening scene to place Hastings as Hoyt from True Blood, because his voice sounded so different.

Blam said...


Smash: Pilot

Well, I liked this enough to come back to, as you know, but it was far from perfect.

Heck, I could see this episode being taught in film school in a "TV Pilots 101" class.

I'm not quite with you there, unless you're saying so somewhat ironically (which doesn't seem to be the case). As the episode went on it felt to me like we were given bits of everyone's backstory so dutifully, by the numbers, that I could practically feel the show being written. Yet at the same time I thought that it ended rather abruptly; I don't know what the next episode brings yet, but I think that NBC — or at least the viewers — would've really benefitted from a two-hour opening on this one. I'll sit on the rest of my comments for now since it's late, my cat just spit up, and I actually left this spot blank while moving on to reply to everything else; I haven't written up my own post yet and there's no point in doing twice the brainstrain.

though Mrs. Teebore thought it was perhaps a bit oversexed

What part of "Marilyn Monroe musical" does she not understand? 8^)

Yeah, I'll admit that the number was a bit over-the-top, but it was also a fantasy sequence of how it might play on stage, and I suspect that the boys being hunks of meat is a play on savvy-or-vapid sexbomb dichotomy of Marilyn herself.

Blam said...


Glee: The Spanish Teacher

OMG! Focus on the pamphets!

we got an episode that seemed to view Will the way most of us have viewed him for at least a season-and-a-half: aside from doing an admirable job of inspiring the glee club, he's not a very good teacher, and kind of a self-centered dick

I don't think that the show set him up that way at first, though, and if it doesn't want him to be that guy it should just backtrack / forget about all his kooshball moves — hell, it ain't like Glee doesn't know how to drop plot threads. Now that it has kind-of embraced that it's stuck with Dick Will Platypus. Regardless, too, I think that the scenes with Emma and the pamphlets at home were seriously harsh.

The Santana confrontation surprised and mostly delighted me as well. I like that she's moved believably (in the context of the show, anyway) from being the outright bitch for bitchiness' sake to a "hey, gang, but she's our bitch" character with grudging respect for the others whose job now is mostly to call folks on their bull, Will included.

Holla on the tenure nonsense. I forgot to ask my dad, who was a teacher and whose wife still is, but according to a very quick Google search guidance counselors and perhaps coaches are eligible for tenure as well. Although I doubt that they'd be up against teachers for the same kind of tenure slot, I admit to wondering if Will and Sue would be at odds for it as soon as Figgins mentioned it just because that's what happens on Glee; really, though, I had the same kind of "Now they're bringing in real-world stuff again?" reaction that you did.

the whole "Sue wants a baby" plot line is ridiculous, but it's the kind of ridiculousness you get with this show

Yet it's almost worth it for Santana's line "A baby? With whose vagina?!?" I don't love the fact that we've apparently so numbed ourselves to euphemisms for man-parts and lady-parts that the new trend in shock value is apparently using the actual words with as much clinical incongruity as possible instead of being clever in some way, like HIMYM did this week and 2 Broke Girls did to the hilt with frequency, but I actually found the above much funnier for it's frankness than I did 30 Rock's "It's a Jack-off." I'm pretty sure that Santana and Brittany are now officially my favorite characters on the show — not that there was ever any question with Brittany, but she was more like a favorite element than a favorite character, or elements, even, since her mad dancing skills and her dialogue were such wildly different character traits. More Santittany, please!

I loved the subtitles that made clear Will's awful Spanish.

Same here. "Who is more macho of/from Will Schuester?" was gold.

Blaine is still recuperating from his eye injury, presumably because Darren Criss is busy replacing Harry Potter on Broadway. 

I suspected that he was written out for a reason, but I'd totally forgot that I knew why — and I hadn't made the connection of irony until now, what with him rising to fame thanks to A Very Potter Musical.

Either "La Isla Bonita" because, well, Santana, or "Little Less Conversation", because it was terrible, but for once, it was supposed to be.

Yes to both.

Mercedes: "Sam just tweeted that I smell good."
Sam: (seductively) "And I won't stop 'til it's trending."

Sue: "Have a seat, Ladybird Hollow-Pelvis. And be careful; those seats are hard. I know how fragile your bones are."

Finn: "Wow... Lift and scrub. Who knew?"

Blam said...


Parks & Recreation: Operation Ann

Their pairing makes a certain amount of sense within the context of the show as well.

I don't think so, and that should be all that matters.

That came out wrong. 8^) What I mean is that working within the context of the show should be all that matters, not how to do something new with characters who need fresh storylines at whatever cost, and I don't think that it does make sense to pair them up as "people" — so I really appreciated (what I think was) the show taking us there, making us debate internally whether this did make sense, and then haveing Ann write it off as a bad idea very soon into their date. There have certainly been relationships and other character arcs from out of the blue that have worked, like the Monica/Chandler romance on Friends, but in general it comes off as artificial.

On the other hand, I still haven't seen Season 2; I watched the truncated Season 1 (I think it was just one disc) as Season 3 was starting, to get some background, and have been watching on TV since but not yet found the time to catch up on the missing year. And I do see your point about Ann's "patience with man-children"; more salient even is trusting the show, so if this does continue I'm willing to let it play out. I just wish that it didn't feel so much like pushing them together because they're cast members.

No one does those camera looks better than Adam Scott.

So true. I love how Leslie's tend to be "I think I just proved my point," Ron's are exasperation at any infringement upon a libertarian lifestyle and/or the eating of red meat, and Ben's are, like, "Am I living in the same world as whatever just happened?" (which given the skewed reality of this show is certainly a healthy permanent perspective).

Leslie: (texting) "Dear Congress... It's Leslie again..."

Most of the words in Leslie's "EFFERVESCENT" anagram were pretty normal, but I love that for N she came up with "Not pigeon-toed".

Leslie: "It is a cryptex, like in that movie The Da Vinci Code, which was the first movie that you and I ever watched on Starz HD."
Ben: "Wow. That's... specific."

Andy: "April hates Valentines Day — and brunch — and outside — and smiling. [laughs with attempted good humor] She's weird."

Tom: "It kind-of sounds like the music at the end of a movie about a monk who killed himself."
Chris: "It is."

Leslie: "I love passionate speakers and Italian men. Doesn't mean I love Mussolini."
Ben: "You love Italian men?"
Leslie: "Not as much as... Irish... Scottish?... White. Whatever you are."

Blam said...


30 Rock: Today You Are A Man

And as much as I like Kristen Schaal and am happy to have her around, the Kenneth story fell the flattest for me. For one, Kenneth has never done much for me,

I like him because he's one of the aspects of the show that can get just about the most absurd, but that very fact means that it's rather unbelievable to ascribe any real-world emotion or reasoning to him. Kenneth experiencing character growth is a risky proposition since you can't really fall back on his mythical hillbilly background after that. Although I'll admit that writing off contradictions by saying "hey, it's 30 Rock" without doing so in an eye-rolling way (i.e., "the show is just strange, so take it all in stride" as opposed to "we don't expect any better") is a welcome strength of the show.

Jenna: "Getting paid to help a boy become a man? It's kinda my wheelhouse."

Kenneth: "After all, when a dog goes missing everyone's upset 'cause there's no dog milk for the bablies."

Marty: "If you don't help me out here, maybe the IRS finds out that your nine dependents are vibrators."

Suze Orman: "How much have you saved?"
Kenneth: "Do you mean saving squirrels from hawks? Zee-ro."

Adam: "It's just... Everyone expects me to dance with a girl today. And I don't know about girls. I mean, I've played this Japanese videogame where you slap prostitutes to death, but you only ever dance with this penguin named Yamagiku."

Tracy: "I'm gonna tell you the same thing I tell my son: Put money in the girl's mouth. Also my friend Darryl is your real father."

Jack: "I used to be a winner. Men wanted to be me, women wanted to sleep with me... bisexuals wanted to watch."

Blam said...


Saturday Night Live: Channing Tatum & Bon Iver

I'm with you on pretty much everything here, again.

The Lana Del Rey bit was actually really well written for how it both made of fun of her and made fun of people who make fun of her

Yeah. I kind-of admired the show and Seth Meyers particularly sticking up for her, more than I admire (or, I should say, care) about her, although it was a little weird that she didn't come back for the bit herself. Maybe she wasn't available, or maybe they couldn't have got in the couple of mild digs on her if she was there, but since this was really more of a dig at the brouhaha it felt like a stand-in undercut the message a bit.

The Downton Abbey clip was my other favorite part of the night, too, and I've never seen it either.

VW: schail — Kristen Schaal fail?

Blam said...


Dr. Bitz: I like how Ted said the best way to tell this story is by going over what happened room by room even though that's, in fact, the worst way to tell the story to someone.

Yeah. It might've been annoying to hear "and while that was happening" over and over, but far better than "Now remember when...?"

Joan: Can we talk about why it is that sex is all, umm, stunted, for Hoyt and Jessica but Jessica and Jason were able to knock boots like they were trying to generate a renewable energy source?

Can we stop you from talking about it?

Sorry; reflex action. I find that interesting too, Joan.

But now I'm flashing on Horny Teenage Joan pulling up to the high school and shouting, "Yoo-hoo, boys! Parade in the back of the truck!"

Anne: she's my favorite original character

Mine, too, except that I haven't read the books and she's also my favorite character overall.

Joan Crawford said...

Ha! And then all the boys jump up musical-style and start singing "I Love a Parade!"

Teebore said...

@Sarah: And we don't watch A) a lot of NBC or B) commercials in general so it makes sense we missed that marketing scheme.

Count yourself lucky. I'm impressed you managed to avoid the internet ones; I seemed to get blasted by those...

The pilot is available all over the place online if you want to watch it, and I'm pretty sure NBC has been rerunning it in various times too.

@Joan: I think they are just going to have people run around the Amazon for a long time (looking for "Professor Distant Dad" who is now a wizard of some sort, apparently)

Something tells me the show as you describe it is better than the actual show, but I still plan to check it out at some point.

Sorry, Teebore, for rambling about things you weren't even talking about!

No worries. If you, Sarah, Anne and Blam want to discuss True Blood here every week, knock yourselves out!

Teebore said...

@Blam: The interstitial music was "Flight of the Bumblebee". Get it?

Sadly, I completely missed that. I knew it was "Flight of the Bumblebee" but never made the connection until you pointed it out.

You could qualify that with "at least for Guy Hastings" but I suspect that it's true for all of the guards and inmates who are pawns in this game

Yeah, I suppose that as the mystery deepens, it's possible we learn about some exceptions, but I'm taking that reveal to mean that the transition is instantaneous for everyone, until told otherwise.

Do you think that "the Room" is maybe a locus point / decompression chamber on Alcatraz between today and 1963 (and perhaps other times) — a magic box, if you will?

I hadn't thought of it, but I am now!

It looked like some of the techies there could be from the past.

I didn't catch that; I'll have to pay closer attention the next time we see them.

As the episode went on it felt to me like we were given bits of everyone's backstory so dutifully, by the numbers, that I could practically feel the show being written.

That is pretty much what I meant by my "Pilot 101 comment": the whole thing seemed very well-constructed, in that there was a very deliberate "here is a character, here is one quirk about that character, here is what that character wants, here is another character, etc." structure to it.

Which didn't make for the most dynamic or engaging pilot, but left you with a basic understanding of each character, their place in the story, and their goals.

So I think we both agree, in that the actual writing of the episode was very apparent, which doesn't make for a very engaging pilot, but is workmanlike in getting the job done, if that makes any sense (or to put it more glibly, this is a pilot I could see being taught in class to show how to accomplish the objectives of a pilot, but not in a class about writing a pilot that does that and also sucks in its audience, which is, of course, the other job of a pilot). I also agree that it could have benefited from a second hour.

What part of "Marilyn Monroe musical" does she not understand? 8^)

That's what I said! :)

Teebore said...


OMG! Focus on the pamphets!


As much as I enjoyed that, I enjoyed it even more knowing YOU would enjoy it.

I don't think that the show set him up that way at first, though, and if it doesn't want him to be that guy it should just backtrack / forget about all his kooshball moves

I agree; at first, the show treated Will like a saint, and for the most part, depicted him as such. Then at some point (I think it was after the first half of the first season) he started doing some less-than saintly things, but the show still treated him as though he was awesome. And now it's finally caught up to us and realized that he hasn't been the same character he started as.

Honestly, as much as I liked this episode for addressing that, my preference would be to have NO Will-centric episodes. I know it wasn't presented this way at first, but the show should be about the kids, and only rarely, if ever, about Will (or Emma, or Sue, etc.). The adults should all be supporting characters. He shouldn't perform with the kids, except in practices, we should only follow his personal life anecdotally, he shouldn't be asking Finn to be his best man, etc.

The one thing the show has been consistent about in its portrayal of him is being a good coach/mentor for the glee club, and that's where I think his stories need to come from.

That said, if the show wanted to backtrack and bring back the Will Schuester of the first dozen or so episodes, that'd be fine. That was a character I didn't mind the show spending time on. Not this kooshball. ;)

"Who is more macho of/from Will Schuester?" was gold.

That was the line I loved!

and I hadn't made the connection of irony until now, what with him rising to fame thanks to A Very Potter Musical.

Ha! Neither had I.

Finn: "Wow... Lift and scrub. Who knew?"

I loved all the lines you quoted, but that was definitely my favorite.

I just wish that it didn't feel so much like pushing them together because they're cast members.

I'll grant you there definitely is some of that feeling to it (and I'm definitely don't want this to turn into a show where everyone has dated everyone) and it will ultimately, as you say, come down to execution, but I can see a case for Ann finding something attractive in Tom, in terms of Tom being someone who can both make her laugh (after relationships with the relatively humorless Mark and Chris) and who would temper his antics with much more appreciation of her than Andy ever did.

Again, all your quotes are lines I really should have put in myself. I read some speculation from Alan Sepinwall that the line from Andy about all the stuff April dislikes might be the start of a subplot where the two of them head down a breakup road.

I didn't give it nearly that much weight (chalking it up to Andy just knowing his wife really well), but that could just be because I'd be devastated if the pair did split.

Although I'll admit that writing off contradictions by saying "hey, it's 30 Rock" without doing so in an eye-rolling way...is a welcome strength of the show.

Agreed. This is definitely a show where I expect little in the way of character development, and am more than comfortable with that expectation.

That video game joke just about killed me...