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Friday, March 9, 2012

Last Week in TV #23

I'm running way behind on this post, so things will be a bit more bullet point-y than usual. 

The Simpsons: Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart


I get that this was a parody of Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop, and maybe if I was more familiar with that film I'd appreciate this episode more, but the whole thing seemed odd and kind of toothless. There were some good moments sprinkled throughout (most of the Marge birthday stuff at the beginning, the Swapper Joe's bits ("grass fed lettuce"), Drederick Tatum lining his pigeon cage with Kindles, the sincere hats/ironic hats lines) but for the most part, I'm not quite sure what this episode was trying to do.


Family Guy: Burning Down the Bayit


An odd episode in that there was no B story, the episode instead focusing entirely on Peter, Quagmire and Mort's efforts to commit insurance fraud. The rest of the family barely appeared at all, and then mainly in cutaways. I wasn't terribly impressed by the plot, but there were several good cutaway gags, like the I Love Lucy parody with Peter and Quagmire on the assembly line, the Peter/Lois camel/donkey swap, and Joe's insurance agent refusing to pay for new legs.  


American Dad: The Wrestler 


Not as good an episode as usual, with Stan's obsession with hanging onto his wrestling title somehow less manic than it needed to be. A theme with the animated shows this week, the best stuff was on the margins, like Steve's increasingly inept wrestling matches ("he's so limber!") and Principal Lewis' various bets (and I'm not a huge Principal Lewis fan).


Once Upon a Time: Dreamy
The ever adorable Amy Acker more or less salvaged this episode, as the FTL story of a dwarf falling in love with a fairy and the Storybrooke counterpart of the town drunk trying to help a nun would have been far less appealing without her in the role of both women.

I did appreciate the fact that in  FTL, Grumpy and Nova's relationship was all sweeping romance and speedy declarations of love while in Storybrooke, the relationship between Leroy and Astrid was more about platonic affection, born simply of Astrid not looking down on Leroy. The heightened emotions on display in FTL are perfectly suitable for that setting, but would be totally false in Storybrooke.

While I liked the dwarfs mining diamonds to be crushed into fairy dust, and the "ax gives them their name" bit, the whole "hatched from an egg" things seems needlessly weird. Is that from some kind of story with which I'm not familiar? (Also, at the risk of being insensitive, I continue to find it odd that the dwarfs aren't, well, shorter. But I suppose in FTL "dwarf" just means "hatched from an egg to mine diamonds" and has no connection to any physical state).

I'm 100% sure Regina somehow fabricated the phone records. Also, Mary Margaret should really wash her car.

Nice to see Belle again, presumably post-Rumpelstiltskin but per-imprisonment.


The Walking Dead: Judge, Jury, Executioner 


The end of this episode is what everyone is talking about, for good reason, but the events leading up to it were pretty good in their own right. This episode is still a lot of talking punctuated by a few moments of action, but for the first time, the "what kind of people do we want to be in this world?" conversation everyone has flirted with in the past took center stage. The outcome wasn't terribly surprising (you knew Rick wasn't going to go through with executing Randall, especially once Carl egged him on, but Carol's "I didn't ask to be made responsible for a man's life" comment was a different take on things), but watching it unfold was still entertaining, and it gave the episode a nice bit of structure (this second half of the season has, on the whole, done a nice job of that; whereas episodes in the first half tended to run together, this batch has done a good job of presenting a specific beginning-middle-end narrative to each episode, along with the overarching story. There's still a lot of talking, but the structure helps put it in context. Yes, that's right, I'm actually praising episodic storytelling over serialized storytelling for once). 

Poor Dale. I haven't read the comics, but knew from being aware of them, that Dale would die at some point, but I didn't expect it so soon. It's especially a shame since Dale was one of the most well-developed characters on the show.

This was an episode for sudden characterization. Learning that Andrea was a civil right lawyer means with one line we learned 33% more about her than we knew before, Daryl came roaring back with gusto (I especially liked the fact that he also figured out Shane killed Otis, making that one of the worst kept secrets), Lori apparently has an opinion on the death penalty, and Carl suddenly developed some personality as well.

Unfortunately, that meant that Carl suddenly became a sullen moron. He's been pretty much a cipher through most of the show (a few sweet Sophia moments aside), but this episode he suddenly got all cocky and surly, mouthing off to Carol, stealing a gun, wandering off, hucking rocks at a zombie for his own amusement, then being unable to kill said zombie when it got free, thus inadvertently leading to Dale's death. It's probably wrong to wish comeuppance on a ten-year-old kid, but man, he pissed me off this episode. I know it's rough being the only kid in a zombie-poc, but quit being stupid.

Daryl torturing Randall reminded me of Sayid and Henry Gale in the second season of Lost, another situation where an ostensibly good group of people do bad things for fear of an unseen "other". While Randall is no Henry Gale, the revelation that the people he's with aren't the greatest human beings was chilling, and did a nice job of raising the stakes on the debate over what to do with him (though I wonder if he wasn't exaggerating the size and strength of his group; if a heavily armed group of thirty rolled up to Hershel's farm, I don't think there's anything Rick and company could do about it).

I feel like we missed a chapter in the Glen/Maggie saga; last we heard, he was pushing her away because she was making him a less effective member of the group; now he's accepting dowries from Hershel.

The last shot of the episode, with Daryl staring down the barrel of a gun at Dale was, as Baroness Van Bitzenhofer said on Twitter, very Boondock Saints-esque, for obvious reasons.


Alcatraz: The Ames Bros. 


I only watched one of the two episodes which aired this week, which was the 'Traz's first bottle show (taking place almost entirely on Alcatraz) and also the first that showed us multiple 63ers coming back at once (and working in tandem with a 63er who returned earlier). It worked pretty effectively as a bottle show, and also offered up some more mythology bits (Past Archer is determined to find out what's happening to Madsen, Hauser doesn't know how involved the warden is in the time traveling).

Once again, I'm curious why some cons seem to be on some kind of mission after arriving in the past, while others (like the Ames Brothers) just go about their business.


Top Chef: Finale


While I'm happy that Paul won, as it's been clear he's the best chef out of this group from about the fourth episode on, I'm even more happy this fairly lackluster season is over. And honestly, that's about all I have to say about this episode. Okay, two more things: I thought the editing worked way too hard to make it look like Sarah might win, to the point where it had the opposite effect on me and Paul's win felt assured just because they were playing the "danger" music for him all the time. Also, I find Tom's claim that the food they had at this finale was the best they've ever had dubious. Not only because Tom seems to say that a lot, but because I find it hard to believe that any of these contestants, as presented, could best some of the other past finalists in that regard.


Saturday Night Live: Lindsay Lohan & Jack White 


This was not a terribly good episode, though surprisingly enough, Lindsay Lohan had very little to do with that. Yes, she flubbed some lines especially hard in the sketch she was asked to do the most in, and her reliance on the cue cards was pretty noticeable, but SNL has had better episodes with hosts who had similar problems. But for the most part this episode suffered from some pretty uninspired sketches that weren't terribly funny.

Cold Open: A stronger-than-usual Romney-based open. The robotic sons were a nice touch (who was playing the fifth son, in the background? It wasn't a regular cast member). 

Monologue: Kudos to the show for addressing the elephant in the room and not shying away from Lohan's more recent persona (someone constantly in trouble with the law). Also, kudos for not featuring a song.

The Real Housewives of Disney: A pitch-perfect sketch, and the clear highlight of the night. Just about every princess got in a nice gag, and Kristen Wiig was funny!

The Psychic Awards: After a solid opening, a strong monologue and that excellent Disney sketch, I thought we might be in for a great night, but unfortunately, that third bit of the night was when the episode peaked. This sketch, which started the downward slide, wasn't awful, but wasn't particularly inspired either. It got a few laughs, but just kind of existed.

Sacred Straight: It's the same bit every time out, but it's usually pretty funny, and this one was no exception. Lohan had the most trouble here, the sketch she was asked to do the most with, but just the fact that she was playing herself was more or less worth it. Also, Jason Sudeikis slamming down on the desk and making EVERYONE break at the end was priceless.

Weekend Update: I mentioned it on Twitter, but any Weekend Update segment that features both Hader's whacky James Carville ("it doesn’t matter why, but I’m friends with some alligators") and Moynihan's Snooki is a winner in my book.

The Delinquent Teen Girl Gang:  Another sketch that seemed kind of aimless, and went on a touch too long. Again, I chuckled a few times, but nothing to write home about.

BF108 Radio: This sketch wasn't bad, but I spent the whole thing being really confused about what it was trying to lampoon. Early morning radio? How cold and dark it is in Minnesota? Other Minnesota stereotypes? The fact that no one listens to radio at 5 AM? Between that and wondering who on the writing staff is from Minnesota (Shakopee, the setting of the sketch, is a real place, but relatively obscure on a national level), I had a hard time getting into this sketch.

Digital Short: That was just kind of...odd. 

Crank Calls: The typical Kristen Wiig showcase: it goes on too long, she's not funny, I don't laugh.

Rude Buddha: I probably shouldn't have, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit (easily the most of any of the sketches in the back half). It wasn't great or anything, but it was better than Wiig crank calling herself.

Jason Sudeikis by the fire: A couple odd little half sketches to end the night with. Nothing great, I chuckled once or twice, and it was over. But the end of the show was rather odd, between this and two repeated commercials that suggest something more significant was cut at the last minute.

Favorite Sketch: Real Housewives of Disney, hands down. Brilliant stuff.

Keenan: I’ll save you the trouble. I’ve been stoned since Good Burger.

Cinderella: I heard he used his last wish for a lap dance...with me. 

James Carville: Romney looks Presidential, but we don’t always get the job we look right for. If we did, I’d be king of the snakes!

Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 5/16
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 7/16

16 comments:

Anne said...

did you watch the reunion for Top Chef yet (or are you planning to)? if not, it's actually pretty good (and hilarious), and tehre's some delicious info i want to chat about.

Walking Dead was great, but did a good job of murdering one of the few likeable characters and making an ass out of another. My math says there's only Daryl and Glenn left. Pretty soon i'm going to hate the characters so much that i'm not sure i'll be able to enjoy the show.
I think Dale's suggestion of everyone voting for execution bearing witness to be a fair suggestion- if you can't bear to watch, then maybe you should be reconsidering your vote

Teebore said...

@Anne: did you watch the reunion for Top Chef yet (or are you planning to)?

Not yet, but I will. Probably write about it next week.

My math says there's only Daryl and Glenn left.

Yeah, and I find Rick generally likeable, in a stoic hero kind of a way. But that's about it. Shane could be an interesting character as a villain, but the show seems reluctant to commit to that.

I think Dale's suggestion of everyone voting for execution bearing witness to be a fair suggestion- if you can't bear to watch, then maybe you should be reconsidering your vote

Absolutely. Everyone that wanted him dead should have been there. That's the least they could do after sentencing him to death.

Sarah Ahiers said...

what anne said.
We also called bs on Tom's whole "best food evah!" comment. I mean, really? Better than the voltagio's? Or Richard?

Also, how are you not a Principle Lewis fan?! I mean, come on! "I'ma crash into you!" is classic.

Teebore said...

@Sarah: Better than the voltagio's? Or Richard?

I know, right?

Also, how are you not a Principle Lewis fan?! I mean, come on! "I'ma crash into you!" is classic.

I'm just not a HUGE fan. I like him fine, especially in smaller doses like this. I just don't automatically love him every time he appears on screen.

Phantomas said...

I was also pretty surprised to see Dale go. Like has been said he was a pretty well developed character to just die at a random moment. And also like you said he makes it much farther in the comics, but then again so does Sophia. It makes me wonder if he is the actor that asked to be released from his contract when Darabont was booted from the show.

Carl annoyed the heck out of me as well this episode. A friend of mine liked him because he said he acted just like a kid would in those situations. That may be but to me he just came off as a little brat for the most part. I really thought he was going to shoot Randall when he showed up in the shed though. He had kind of a creepy vibe to him in that scene and it fits with something I can't say without spoiling the comics for people who haven't read them.

The moral conflict that took up most of the episode was pretty well done I thought. The reaction that everyone had to it was pretty well in keeping with how they have been portrayed so far I thought and also managed to be different with each person even if by just a little bit.

They really need to do something with T-Dogg though. It was pretty conspicuous that he was the only one not approached in the episode or that gave his opinion later. He just seems to get ignored most of the time except for random comments and background appearances. The writers need to figure out what to do with him soon because it is getting pretty blatant now that we are at the end of the second season and we still don't really know anything about him or seen him do anything other than screw up.

Dr. Bitz said...

On the Walking Dead, I think the problem with Carl, as you brought up, was he was pretty much a blank slate for the entire series and then suddenly he develops this asshole personality. It's tough to like him when there's really nothing good he's ever done.

Poor Dale. I'm worried this series is going to degenerate into humans simply acting like animals and doing whatever it takes to survive. I know that's the moral dilemna of the entire show (how far should you go to survive in world without rules) but I'm feeling the need for the show and the characters to move a little bit back towards the "let's be civilized" side and actually have that side be the right course of action for a change.

I guess the show kind of did that last episode, except I'm unsure if going back to save Shane is really the right course of action.

Saturday Night Live: I think it largely was Lindsay Lohan's fault. In most of the skits she was dry and stumbling over her lines. And I think part of the reason the skits weren't more inspired was because they were hand cuffed by Lindsay Lohan's combined lack of acting ability (which she used to have) and charisma.

Other hosts may be bad at reading lines and acting but at least they're likable!

@Sarah: "I'ma crash into you!"

HILARIOUS!!!

Blam said...

The Simpsons: Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart

the Swapper Joe's bits ("grass fed lettuce")

Ha! I like Trader Joe's, but it's certainly ripe for parody.

Family Guy: Burning Down the Bayit

Was there some kind of Israeli or Jewish theme to the plot? 'Cause "bayit" is Hebrew for "house". I'm just wondering.

Once Upon a Time: Dreamy

Amy Acker! I hear she guest-starred as a (literal) black widow on Grimm but I'm super-way-behind on that show.

While I liked the dwarfs mining diamonds to be crushed into fairy dust, and the "ax gives them their name" bit, the whole "hatched from an egg" things seems needlessly weird. Is that from some kind of story with which I'm not familiar?

I had the same reaction all around. And I'm with you on the dwarfs' height, too; I wonder if it has anything to do with it feeling suspect for Storybrooke to have such a high population of "little people" (at least if all the dwarfs from FTL, and not just the seven best-known, made it over).

Ever since we first saw him in the rescue of Snow White during which Stealthy was killed, by the way, I've thought that Grumpy/Leroy = What if Billy Joel was Puck from Alpha Flight?

I gotta hand it to Once Upon a Time in terms of it casting its ladyfolk. If PA announcements in Heaven aren't made in Emilie de Ravin's voice then it's not living up to its name.

Quick time out for baseball: Did you see that there's a three-game Phillies / Twins series in June? Thome's gonna have whiplash.

Blam said...

The Walking Dead: Judge, Jury, Executioner

So Carl inherited his mama's stupid gene. I know he's young, but geez.

Learning that Andrea was a civil right lawyer means with one line we learned 33% more about her than we knew before,

Ha! Yeah. I've decided that I really want Shane and Andrea to go off together like they flirted with doing at the start of the season. On their own, I think, their harsh, badass outlook doesn't strike me as inappropriate for the world's new normal, but it sure doesn't work in the dynamic of the larger group — which I mean from an in-story perspective, as obviously from a dramatic perspective there's a reason for the writers to want their constant abrasiveness to cause tension, although even that has become hard to put up with as a viewer because they probably would have left or been sent packing by now.

So do we know what the others did in life before the world was walkerized? I'm still waiting for confirmation that Carol used to be a spokesperson for Activia.

Daryl torturing Randall reminded me of Sayid and Henry Gale in the second season of Lost, another situation where an ostensibly good group of people do bad things for fear of an unseen "other".

The groups also both had/have an outsidery member in that regard to whom they let fall the most barbaric handiwork out of an assumption that it will stain his soul less than it would theirs.

Alcatraz: The Ames Brothers

Rebecca: "Just what this place needs — creepy lighting."

My thoughts went straight to the "bottle episode" association too, although if that was the motivation then the scenario of being trapped there with some '63s certainly made the best of it.

I also couldn't help but wonder about all the power that computer / monitoring room must take and how the FBI or whomever's funding it would surely want multiple redundancies built into the system given the sensitive nature of the operation, the usual weather around there, and the fact that Alcatraz is a flippin' island.

Was Lucy's life-support in jeopardy?

Once again, I'm curious why some cons seem to be on some kind of mission after arriving in the past, while others (like the Ames Brothers) just go about their business.

You and me both. I hope you get to see the other ep soon (a comment not necessarily associated with the previous sentiment).

Blam said...

Saturday Night Live: Lindsay Lohan and Jack White

I wondered who played that non-cast son, too, and then assumed it was Jack White, but another look confirms that it wasn't.

The Real Housewives of Disney was indeed far and away the best of the night, mostly living up to the great concept.

I loved the randomness of the clips with Sudeikis towards the end, but they'd have been funnier if there was only one and they didn't call attention to the fact that he asked the questions rhetorically and just turned back to the fireplace.

Anne: My math says there's only Daryl and Glenn left.

Teebore: I find Rick generally likeable, in a stoic hero kind of a way.

I like Maggie, but I'm willing to concede that she's still pretty much a cipher and that my affection for her is due to knowing (and liking) Lauren Cohan from Supernatural, Chuck, and The Vampire Diaries. Also, Hershel has fascinating depth in his own way; I actually hope they explore a bit more what it must feel like to be older in this zombpocalytic world and not have the prime of your life radically altered, a very different perspective from what Carl or Maggie & Glen or younger parents Lori & Rick must have. Or are we just talking about the initial band of protagonists?

Dr. Bitz: I think part of the reason the skits weren't more inspired was because they were hand cuffed by Lindsay Lohan's combined lack of acting ability (which she used to have) and charisma.

I have to agree. I just watched the Disney Housewives sketch again as well as the behind-the-scenes reel (nothing special); Lohan cracks up for no reason in the latter and her lines just lay there overall.

Teebore said...

@Phantomas: It makes me wonder if he is the actor that asked to be released from his contract when Darabont was booted from the show.

Ah, I bet you're right. Like the gal that plays Andrea, Harry Dean Stanton is a recurring Frank Darabont player, so I could see him asking to be let go out of respect to Darabont.

I really thought he was going to shoot Randall when he showed up in the shed though.

I wondered about that too. There was definitely a weird vibe in that scene.

It was pretty conspicuous that he was the only one not approached in the episode or that gave his opinion later.

Yeah, I read a review that pretty much said the same thing, and pointed out that his one line during the "do we kill Randall?" scene in Hershel's house was interrupted.

It's tough to like him when there's really nothing good he's ever done.

Exactly. And look, I get that a zombie is not a puppy, but hooffing rocks at one just seems...wrong, for a kid. Like, there's no reason to not kill a zombie, but just kill it. Toying with it just seems wrong and dangerous.

I'm feeling the need for the show and the characters to move a little bit back towards the "let's be civilized" side and actually have that side be the right course of action for a change.

Agreed. I really hope Dale's death (and Carl's bloodlust) act as a catalyst to move people away from Shane's mentality once and for all.

And I think part of the reason the skits weren't more inspired was because they were hand cuffed by Lindsay Lohan's combined lack of acting ability (which she used to have) and charisma.

That could be. I know the writers tend to write to the strengths of the host when they can, so they probably were writing down to her current abilities.

@Blam: Was there some kind of Israeli or Jewish theme to the plot? 'Cause "bayit" is Hebrew for "house". I'm just wondering.

Yeah, the plot Peter and Quagmire helping their Jewish friend Mort burn down his failing pharmacy to collect the insurance money.

Amy Acker! I hear she guest-starred as a (literal) black widow on Grimm but I'm super-way-behind on that show.

Ditto.

I wonder if it has anything to do with it feeling suspect for Storybrooke to have such a high population of "little people" (at least if all the dwarfs from FTL, and not just the seven best-known, made it over).

Could be, though I'm not sure if I'm ready to give the writers that much credit yet.

What if Billy Joel was Puck from Alpha Flight?

Haha! Now I can't NOT see that.

Did you see that there's a three-game Phillies / Twins series in June? Thome's gonna have whiplash.

I did! It's apparently a fairly big deal since the teams haven't played each other in a while. I'd be more excited if not for the fact that it's very likely your Phils will walk over the Twins, and just because that's how MN sports work, Thome will probably have a career series against us.

Teebore said...

cont...

So Carl inherited his mama's stupid gene.

Ha! Apparently.

although even that has become hard to put up with as a viewer because they probably would have left or been sent packing by now.

Well said. It feels like at this point, the only reason they haven't left or been asked to leave is because the writers need them there to create tension, and having the seems show like that is never a good thing.

I'm still waiting for confirmation that Carol used to be a spokesperson for Activia.

Ha! I think Glenn may have mentioned his pre-zombie-poc life once, but I can't remember what it was. And...that's about it, I think, sadly.

Was Lucy's life-support in jeopardy?

If memory serves, Neo Alcatraz isn't on the island, but in some random forest. So she was probably fine (and, of course, the scene set in Neo Alcatraz means this wasn't entirely a bottle show, unless you extend the definition of such things to include anything shot on a standing set and not just in one location).

I hope you get to see the other ep soon (a comment not necessarily associated with the previous sentiment).

I watched it this weekend, so it'll be covered in the next post, though I'm not sure if I'll get to this Monday's episode as well.

...but they'd have been funnier if there was only one and they didn't call attention to the fact that he asked the questions rhetorically and just turned back to the fireplace.

Agreed.

Also, Hershel has fascinating depth in his own way; I actually hope they explore a bit more what it must feel like to be older in this zombpocalytic world and not have the prime of your life radically altered

Yeah, I think I would include Hershel in the list of interesting characters, at least post-barn slaughter, and I too would like to see more of his perspective on the state of the world, especially now that's accepted no one is coming back from being a Walker.

Blam said...


Teebore: Harry Dean Stanton is a recurring Frank Darabont player

It's quite possible I missed something, but Dale were noway nohow Harry Dean Stanton.

Phantomas: I really thought he was going to shoot Randall when he showed up in the shed though.

Teebore: I wondered about that too. There was definitely a weird vibe in that scene.

I actually said "Oh, no" out loud. And I was the only one in the room.

Phantomas: it fits with something I can't say without spoiling the comics for people who haven't read them.

I'm grateful for your discretion; I'm still on the fence about reading the comics — time is tight; I'm not sure how the conflicting narratives will feel; I've never liked Charlie Adlard's art in the least — but whether I read them or not, whether the TV show is roughly tracking them or not (which I gather it mostly isn't) I'd like to remain unspoiled.

Teebore: If memory serves, Neo Alcatraz isn't on the island, but in some random forest.

I can't recall anything that suggests that, and I'm only in fact remembering context that has suggested to me that the '63s were being kept on a part of the island that Rebecca didn't know about, but it's much more likely that I didn't catch what makes you say what you're saying than that you're wrong here.

Teebore said...

@Blam: It's quite possible I missed something, but Dale were noway nohow Harry Dean Stanton.

Yeah, I meant Jeffrey DeMunn. I even realized I had that wrong at one point yesterday and meant to come back and correct it, then forgot.

Not sure why I mixed them up. Maybe because both were in Darabont's Green Mile.

I can't recall anything that suggests that

If I'm remembering it correctly, when we first saw Neo Alcatraz (at the end of the pilot, I think, as Hauser brought Jack Sylvane there), there was a shot of him pulling up to a building in the woods, and a cut to the facility.

Which isn't to say that something else I'm forgetting didn't contradict that in a later episode, as can happen in the transition from pilot to series.

Matt said...

I'll miss Dale. But on the plus side, Walking Dead pulled a quick 360 and became a "must watch" series for me again with the past couple of episodes. I'm really looking forward to next week's season finale!

I also read the speculation that Dale was killed off because Jeffrey DeMunn was extremely outspoken on the subject of Frank Darabont's firing. I hope he shows up in Darabont's new series, L.A. Noire, on TNT.

Teebore -- "I know the writers tend to write to the strengths of the host when they can..."

I fondly remember Lindsay Lohan's first SNL apperance, when the "Hermione returns from summer vacation" sketch was indeed written to showcase her two biggest strengths.

Blam said...

Teebore: If I'm remembering it correctly, when we first saw Neo Alcatraz (at the end of the pilot, I think, as Hauser brought Jack Sylvane there), there was a shot of him pulling up to a building in the woods, and a cut to the facility.

Like I said, I take your recollection of an actual scene giving us an off-island setting for the facility over what I had thought was general context suggesting that it was part of Alcatraz. I have a great memory and attention for detail except for when I don't.

Teebore said...

@Matt: . But on the plus side, Walking Dead pulled a quick 360 and became a "must watch" series for me again with the past couple of episodes.

Me too. Starting with the mid-season finale, it's really amped things up. It still has its issues, but it's harder to get hung on them when things are humming along like this.

I hope he shows up in Darabont's new series, L.A. Noire, on TNT.

That would be cool. I'm looking forward to that show.

I fondly remember Lindsay Lohan's first SNL apperance, when the "Hermione returns from summer vacation" sketch was indeed written to showcase her two biggest strengths.

Oh man, that sketch is great, for a variety of reasons. :)

@Blam: I have a great memory and attention for detail except for when I don't.

I know what you mean. My mind boggles sometimes at how I can completely remember every cast member and their corresponding character on one show and then only recall characters by vague descriptions on another.