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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #12

Short one this week, as I'm holding the Christmas episode of stuff I've watched for next week's "all Christmas" post. 

Top Chef: Like Mama Made


The timing of this episode worked out well: down to nine chefs, we can finally start to get know them a little better, and this challenge allowed us to do just that.

Anthony Mackie made for a surprisingly entertaining judge. He was funny, but seemed to know his stuff. I wouldn't mind seeing him back.

Even though Travis stepped up in the last episode, his elimination was another "head nod" elimination (in that it made sense as he seemed like the weakest remaining chef). Not many surprise eliminations this season: everyone seems to be leaving more or less at the seeming right time.

Giving It the College Try
And then this episode comes along, and we're back to hamstringing the chefs with all kinds of crazy stipulations (cook for 500 people, cook for college kids, limited resources, stay overnight in a dorm). With eight chefs left, I just want them to be asked to cook good food with fewer gimmicky parameters.

Also, Bravo pimped the hell out of the drama in this episode (between Nick and Carlos and the oven), but it all amounted to nothing: Carlos didn't realize how his comment came across, apologized, and neither contestant won nor lost as a result of "ovengate". Nice try, Bravo. 

This was the first episode where there was only one person in the bottom whom I wouldn't have minded going home, though (and that person did indeed go home, much to his consternation). For the record, I feel like Carlos and Brian's time is limited, and after that, we get into the group of contestants I actually want to see make the final. I can also see Stephanie not making it (heck, she could easily be eliminated in the next episode), but I hope she sticks around as long as possible - she cracks me up.

Justin says that college kids probably like chicken tenders and mac & cheese - they're college students, not ten-year-olds. 

Glee: Movin' Out


I was predisposed to liking this episode, since I'm a big Billy Joel fan, and it was indeed fun watching an episode featuring nothing but his music (even if some of my favorite songs didn't make the cut - but with a catalog that deep, it's no surprise).

So are they setting up a Rachel/Sam romance, as Santana's OMG face during the last number suggests, or will that just be yet another of Glee's "one-and-done" plot points?

So Rachel and Kurt's NYADA auditions were this big honkin' deal, and Kurt didn't even get in the first time (and Rachel had to beg and plead and win Nationals to get a second shot) but Blaine gets to audition offscreen and gets in, no fuss, no muss. That doesn't seem quite right, but I do like the idea that Blaine could get in on his first try while Kurt couldn't, which is consistent with those episodes where Kurt was a Warbler and they made it clear Blaine was the better singer.

Artie helping Becky realize she really does want to go to college comes dangerously close to the "well-meaning white guy helps minority realize their potential" trope, but I do appreciate how much time the show is willing to invest in Becky, who's an important part of the show but certainly not a main character (hell, Sue wishes she could get the kind of development Becky's gotten over the years).

Only in the world of Glee...does Blaine buy Kurt a piano as a thank you gift. A piano! 

Favorite Song: "Innocent Man", mainly because it's my favorite Joel song of the ones featured in this episode (though "My Life" is a close second), but also because I kind of like the idea of the song getting twisted into an ode to the nice guy who always gets picked over for the bad boy the ladies always seem to fall for, even if Ryder's singing of it was a little creepy.

Puppet Master
Take away the Muppets (which was just weird, and felt very "Muppets for the sake of Muppets"), and this becomes a retread episode: Blaine is acting like a diva (something the show has dealt with multiple times), Will and Sue are at it again (which they are every time they aren't working together for some reason), and Jake is dealing with a pregnancy (a plotline this show already did before, also with a character named Puckerman). 

As a result, the best stuff was on the margins: Sue having a crush, the flashback to '86, Marley actually not taking Jake back even though Jake has decided not to be a man-whore, and most of the New York stuff, which adds to the show's increasing feeling that it might be best to leave the high school trappings behind entirely.

Oh, and I appreciated Sue's crack about how these kids must have a secret bullet train to New York, given all the times they go out there.

Quotable Quotes
Glee
Sue: When a woman of my stature needs a makeover, she rings up all her best gays. But unfortunately Porcelain, the sassy toothless elf, is in New York

Sue: Little known fact: McKinley saved a bundle on new lockers by using recycled metal. These lockers are actually Kalashnikovs, that were melted down during the war in Chechnya.

4 comments:

  1. I was predisposed to liking this episode, since I'm a big Billy Joel fan, and it was indeed fun watching an episode featuring nothing but his music (even if some of my favorite songs didn't make the cut - but with a catalog that deep, it's no surprise).

    It was strange to me that, with a catalogue as deep as Joel's, they found it necessary to repeat "Piano Man," which they'd done in a previous episode.

    Take away the Muppets (which was just weird, and felt very "Muppets for the sake of Muppets"), and this becomes a retread episode: Blaine is acting like a diva (something the show has dealt with multiple times), Will and Sue are at it again (which they are every time they aren't working together for some reason), and Jake is dealing with a pregnancy (a plotline this show already did before, also with a character named Puckerman).

    Agreed. The "Sue has a crush" and "Sue needs a makeover" points are also reminiscent of some of her Season 1 stories.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Michael: It was strange to me that, with a catalogue as deep as Joel's, they found it necessary to repeat "Piano Man," which they'd done in a previous episode.

    Me too (I meant to mention that). Also, as you say, with a catalog that deep, there's a ton more songs I'd rather see them do before "Piano Man", as much as that is a classic. But I suppose they felt like couldn't do a Billy Joel episode without it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We like Brian on Top Chef and even though he seems to really do well in quick fires, he always seems to eff something up on the elimination challenge. But, if he could get that crap under control, he might stick around a bit longer. Chances are, though, he won't. And yeah, i think Stephanie is walking a thin line of "this could be awesome or terrible and there's no gray zone". I hope she sticks around, too, but i wouldn't be surprised if something doesn't work and she's off.

    But, if she does get kicked off, i could see her dominating in the last chance kitchen (or not. You just can't tell with her)

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Sarah: i could see her dominating in the last chance kitchen (or not. You just can't tell with her)

    Ditto on both. She seems to be her own worst enemy: she gets down on herself, then doubts what she's doing.

    I could see her doing well on LCK just because she wouldn't have as much time to second guess.

    ReplyDelete

Comment. Please. Love it? Hate it? Am mildly indifferent to it? Let us know!