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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Last Week in Pop Culture #16

Around the 'Net
You can find my review of All New X-Men #22, the first part of the "Trial of Jean Grey" crossover, for Sound on Sight here, and my review of X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters #1 here

Once Upon a Time: Think Lovely Thoughts.


How dumb is Henry? Wouldn't it be awesome if he was just dead now, and we were done with his character? 

I'm fine with the idea of Peter Pan being Rumplestiltskin's dad (they were obviously connected somehow), but the reveal would have been more effective if, once again, it didn't occur in the same episode in which we first meet Rumple's dad. And also if his desire for immortality/childhood had been more firmly established prior to their arrival in Neverland, whereas before then, he just seemed kinda shifty and irresponsible.

That said, I really like the idea that Neverland is just some place Pan dreamed up as a child before eventually going there to rule it, and the casting department once again outdid themselves in casting Rumple's dad and young Rumple.

For whatever reason, old Neverland seemed a lot more wooded/forest-y than the more jungle-like present day Neverland. Maybe Rumple and his dad just landed in a different part?

The Baelfire/Wendy reunion was a nice, an example of the show at its best: touching, but still able to wink and smile at its oft-ridiculous circumstances.

Sleepy Hollow: Vessel
Credit where it's due: the effects work when the demon took control of Macy and was shimmering around the cabin was creepy as hell, especially impressive on a TV show budget.

I still think it's ridiculous that Crane is wearing the same clothes he was buried in, but at least the show addressed it even while making it clear that isn't going to change anytime soon.

Also, Crane and Abbie seemed really wowed about the fact that Washington wrote a date in his bible that was later than the date he died...but anyone can do that. Watch: May 12th, 2387. There. I just did it. Am I magic too? 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Bet
The Peralta/Santiago bet was arguably the weakest element of the show's pilot episode, so I wasn't exactly thrilled to see it come roaring back at the start of this episode (I had assumed the writers had simply abandoned it in the transition from pilot to regular series). Yet I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the result, as it provided a chance to see the two characters interact as regular human beings. I'm not exactly sure this show needs another "will they/won't they" plot, especially between these two characters, but at least within the context of this episode, it worked.

I can't decide what cracked me up more: Peralta pointing out that equine Sergeant Peanut Butter outranks Boyle, or Holt borrowing Boyle's "fake text message" routine to get out of an awkward conversation. 

Agents of SHIELD: Seeds


One of the downsides of being familiar with the show's source material is that it kind of ruins the mystery-of-the-week elements when you hear a character's name and go "oh, he's the culprit" because you know it's the name of a super-villain in the comics.

Thankfully, the case-of-the-week elements in this episode weren't all that interesting anyway. More interesting were the little tidbits of SHIELD mythology we got, like how the different academies are structured, the rivalarys therein, etc. That kind of world building is something this show desperately needs more of.

And while I'm not sure exactly how I feel about Skye being an 084 (and I certainly could have done without her canonization by Coulson's voiceover at the end), the idea of her being some unknown entity people died fighting over has far more potential for a good story than "left at an orphanage by her SHIELD parents".

Top Chef: Po' Boy Smackdown
After last week's controversial elimination, this one gets us back on the inevitable train, as Brian was clearly destined to not make the finals and frankly should have been eliminated already.

And what in the holy hell are they doing still giving elimination this late in the game? I thought it was weird when it was still on the table last episode; now I know it is.

Maybe it's a chef thing, but I had no idea what the hell Roy Choi was lambasting the chefs for in the Quickfire. Like, when they start talking about soul and putting yourself in it and all this ephemeral stuff it just does not compute for me, at least in terms of a dish suffering for lacking it.

Also, call me a plebian if you will, but I don't think that boneless, skinless chicken breast is the devil's anus. I mean, I get the criticism that it lacks flavor relative to other things, but let's not pretend that someone who cooks or eats it (even a chef) is history's greatest monster.

Leaving New Orleans


Well, it took longer than I expected, but Carlos is finally eliminated after skating by on what sounded like consistently one-note but occasionally well-executed food all season long. After sending Stephanie home and his general decline into madness over the last few episodes (yelling to everyone about every little thing) I'm not the world's biggest Nick fan, but the top three has looked to be Shirley, Nina and Nick for a while now, and it's nice to see that realized on a show that all too often seems to get its top contestants wrong.

I share Padma's frustration with Nick's continued seasoning issues (something which plagues many contestants on this show, but rarely, as Padma suggests, this late in the game). I mean, if you've hung around long enough to know you underseason to the judges' tastes, do something about it. Season your food to where you think it's good, then toss another dash of salt on it. It's not rocket science.

Community: Basic Intergluteal Numismatics
Honestly, while Shirley's announcement that Pierce died was touching, I was too confused to properly process it, as I had just assumed he was dead already (and everyone knew it) when Jeff bumped into his hologram (I mean, those holograms are for dead people, right?).

Cooperative Polygraphy


Oh man, you guys, I am going to miss Troy so much. I really hope he comes back, at least for an episode, before the show ends, having attained his fortune and turned into the man Pierce saw him to be (and while Pierce leaving all his money to Troy was clearly a convenient way to write Troy out, it does make sense given the bond they established during the time when Troy lived with Pierce, something I'm glad was left unsaid in the episode itself).

Parks and Recreation: New Beginnings
The tag, in which Ron cut up, burned and buried the ashes in Illinois of (across the state line) his Employee of the Month plaque just about killed me, I was laughing so hard.

I was expecting Ben's flustered attempt to prank April and Donna to be a ruse designed to disguise the actual prank, but nope, the show just wanted to let Adam Scott hilariously flail around for awhile. Which is fine too. 

Other Shows I Watched
Mom "Hot Soup and Shingles", New Girl "Bastketsball", The Goldbergs "You Opened the Door", Trophy Wife "The Punisher", "The Tooth Fairy", Modern Family "Under Pressure", "Three Dinners", Suburgatory "No Me Gusta, Mami".

Quotable Quotes
Sleepy Hollow
Crane: One sign of the appending apocalypse is surely skinny jeans.

Agents of SHIELD
Skye: 'Bad seed’ isn’t a SHIELD. term, Ward. Just a term.

Trophy Wife
Diane: I have the peripheral vision of a hammerhead shark.

Modern Family
Manny: You’re the Greatest Generation, but why can’t you feel?

Community
Dean Pelton: If you wanna make trouble, go work for Parker Brothers!

Parks and Recreation
Ron: This is an elk hair.
Leslie: Yes, it’s the most effective hair for binder security. You know that Ron!

3 comments:


  1. Once Upon a Time: Think Lovely Thoughts

    // the reveal would have been more effective if, once again, it didn't occur in the same episode in which we first meet Rumple's dad //

    Yeah. I'm not always actively thinking "Who (or who else) is this character?" the way some folks do — although the show makes it hard not to. And like you've noted in previous posts, this phenomenon isn't limited to identity-twist reveals; we also get stuff like the fact that mermaids can travel between dimensions introduced just when that fact needs to be taken advantage of. So it's less a lack of suspense or misdirection than it is plain ol' sloppy long-form plotting.

    Sleepy Hollow: Vessel

    // Crane and Abbie seemed really wowed about the fact that Washington wrote a date in his bible that was later than the date he died...but anyone can do that. Watch: May 12th, 2387. //

    My thoughts exactly. Just weird. Plus he could've fudged the date he died to throw the forces of evil off the scent for whatever reason — "The history books say George Washington died on..." is not the same thing as "George Washington died on...".

    Agents of SHIELD: Seeds

    // the idea of her being some unknown entity people died fighting over has far more potential for a good story than "left at an orphanage by her SHIELD parents" //

    True dat. I hope it doesn't make her some kind of messianic Mary Sue, though — and I really hope that whoever or whatever she is ties into "real" Marvel Universe lore in some way, instead of something needlessly invented for the show, be she an Inhuman whose parents didn't want her exposed to the Terrigen Mist or a Skrull made to shapeshift and locked into that form to be secreted away on Earth or a dud new-generation Celestial or whatever.

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  2. holy eff! Blogger ate my entire comment! *RAGE FLAIL*

    I've got Anne watching Parks and Rec now. And I laughed so hard at the elk hair line

    We gave up on sleepy hollow

    And i really hope the top chef finale is between Shirley and Nina

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  3. @Blam: So it's less a lack of suspense or misdirection than it is plain ol' sloppy long-form plotting.

    Sloppy and lazy, frankly, which is just inexcusable.

    . I hope it doesn't make her some kind of messianic Mary Sue, though — and I really hope that whoever or whatever she is ties into "real" Marvel Universe lore in some way

    Ditto and ditto. I don't need her to turn out to be a character (or related to a character) from the MU, some connection to an existing MU concept, as you suggest, would be appreciated.

    @Sarah: We gave up on sleepy hollow

    Guh? Buh? I'm sorry, was it somehow not batshit insane enough for you? Did you not like the chemistry between the leads, and the way the show was building its mythology in a smart, methodical way? I mean, it even had two best friends swordfighting each other; what more could you want?

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