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Monday, April 25, 2011

Last Week in TV #31

Getting caught up. Expect some Community and/or Parks and Rec reviews next week.

How I Met Your Mother: Hopeless

A nice rebound after last week's not-so-great episode (in short, for a series that is as concerned with its own continuity as this one, I was bugged by some of the continuity glitches on display while the Barney subplot was too over the top). Definitely an episode that was more heart than humor, it still generated some solid laughs and showcased more solid performances from NPH and John Lithgow.

Though, and at the risk of making this sound like a Lost post, Dr. Bitz and I recently discussed how the whole "Barney becoming a real boy" episodes can be problematic. Generally, I like those episodes, but at the same time, I don't think anyone wants to see an extended run of episodes where Barney is, for lack of a better word, normal. Barney being Barney is funny, and Barney struggling to grow-up can be entertaining, but Barney BEING a grown-up would probably be pretty boring. In many ways, HIMYM is more closely related to a serialized show like Lost than most sitcoms. In this case, if the show had a projected end date, I would feel more confidant in the gradual evolution of Barney's character, but as is, one has to wonder for how many more seasons we're going to have to watch Barney grow-up and then randomly revert to form, like in last week's "exploding meatball sub" subplot (which may get repetitive/tiresome) or worse, how many seasons we'll have to watch him be thoroughly un-Barneyish. 

Other thoughts:
I'm a sucker for almost any pun related humor, and consider the "Who's on first?" bit to be one of the pinnacles of comedy, but the extended club name riff on it in this episode didn't work for me as much as it should have, for some reason. I did like the "it's hopeless" cut to the Hopeless club, though.

In an episode that repeatedly brought up the idea of misdirection, the internet is abuzz with ideas about what misdirections this episode might have been displaying. Nothing stood out at me, but I'm the guy who totally missed the countdown to Marshall learning about his dad's death in that episode, so...

Barney: We’re not getting too old for anything!
Ted: I feel like we collectively learn the exact opposite lesson at least once a year

Marshall: Many of my plays are about the bourgeois… and ennui… and one rock opera about a frozen yogurt shop. (I loved Playwright Marshall).

Glee: A Night of Neglect

As Glee episodes go, this one had a fairly straightforward, self-contained plot (put on a concert to raise money for the trip to nationals) with a handful of subplots tossed in (Sue attempting to stop the concert, Mercedes feeling unappreciated, Will and Holly relationship junk), and it was nice to see episode that didn't stretch the boundaries of reality or logic and just tell a story (with the show's characteristic touches, of course).

I'm not a huge fan of super-villain Sue (the character works best when she has SOME human characteristics) but I can't deny the whole "League of Doom" scene wasn't hilarious. That seems to be my reaction to most of the Sue stuff lately: not really liking it even while I'm laughing at it.

I don't mind Mercedes, who, other than Tina, has been the most overlooked and marginalized character this season, getting her own plot, but did it have to be one where she was an enormous bitch? While I'm glad she came around by episode's end, I hope she doesn't just fade right back into the background again.

I shouldn't be, but I'm little surprised that Will and Holly's relationship ended so soon (I thought they might stretch out Gwyneth Paltrow's appearances a bit more). I frankly have no strong feelings on the matter, but Will is (Rocky Horror episode aside) generally the most likeable when interacting with Emma, so it's probably a good thing in the end.

The whole "neglect" theme seemed to have fallen by the wayside from what we saw of the concert, but that's Glee, I suppose.

Nice of Kurt and Blaine to show up in support of their friends, and the whole simmering Kurt/Karofsky subplot is one the few bits of continuity/subplotting the show seems to handle consistently well. 

What are the odds we never, ever see or hear of the Brainiacs again?

Things I Shouldn't Worry About: So who pays for the jazz band/orchestra that accompanies the glee club to go to Nationals? Are the glee kids raising money for them, too? And speaking of money, I get that Sue having the Cheerios money locked up in offshore accounts was a throwaway line intended to create conflict for the "run up to Nationals" episodes (the glee club needs to raise money!), but seriously, HOW is she still employed by this school? And NONE of the kids' parents showed up for their concert? Not even Kurt's dad or Finn's mom?

Favorite Song: Eh, probably "All By Myself"; it's song with which I'm most familiar, and Charice sang the hell out of it. But I did really like Mike Chang's dance number (and I'm not a huge dance guy). 

Sue: I bet you're all wondering why I called you here in the dead of night when I'm normally out bow-hunting for hobos.

Sandy: You’re hunky and I’m what they call predatory gay.

Santana: Oh, and also: I have razorblades hidden in my hair.

Holly: Tomorrow we have Catherine the Great and her pet stallion Fred, so come early. 

Top Chef: Reunion
Not much to these reunions, so let's take this with some quick hits.

First of all, Andy Cohen is still a giant douche, and I really wish he'd stop "hosting" these things.

Once again, Gail, we get it: you loved the pepperoni sauce. Let it go...

Easily the highlight of the episode was Padma declaring her desire to go on a date with Jen and Casey, and to motorboat Antonia. Bravo, Padma, bravo.

And then there was the whole Tom/Elia thing. I'd read about Elia's "Tom's a sellout!" interview 'round about when it was first published, and think pretty much the same thing now that I did then. Tom's stance regarding endorsements is pretty fair, and let's not forget, there are few shows more blatant about product placement than Top Chef, and Elia didn't have a problem appearing on it (twice). So mostly, her stance struck me as being born of bitterness. The whole "he doesn't serve grass fed beef/yes he does/he doesn't support local farmers/yes I do" conversation devolved into little more than he said/she said, and frankly, I'm more likely to believe Tom than Elia.

Also, like various episodes towards the season's end, I thought the whole Tom/Elia sequence was oddly edited, with some pretty obvious cuts and jumps. And I was kinda surprised at the chefs (like Puffy Dale) who appeared to be defending Elia. Not that her position is indefensible (I mean, if she thinks Tom is a sellout, fine, whatevs), it just struck me as kinda odd. Again, maybe it was just the way it was edited.


  1. The issue i had with the Tom/Elia thing is, she said she went to his restaurant and was surprised they didn't serve grass fed beef. He then tries to bully her into telling him which one of his sous-chefs told her that and she won't tell him. Later, then, he goes on to say that of course they sell corn-fed beef in his restaurant since it's a steak joint.
    So then why the hell did he care who told her that they serve corn-fed beef? He just agreed with whoever told her that!
    Drove me effing crazy. I mean, she was clearly bitter when she gave the interview (and i kind of argue rightfully so, but tevs. SHe decided to serve the exact same dish) but she's entitled to her opinion and i wasn't really keen on Tom's mild threat/patronization of "you young chefs have to watch out what you say in interviews" cuz it kind of had an "or else" feel to it.
    Also, why didn't Andy Cohen stop the whole conversation like minutes earlier? It was clear everyone, including Padma, wanted it to stop and yet, he just lets them get into it. What a capital douche.
    We were also surprised they didn't really talk to marcel, or mention his new TV show. At first i thought it was because it's on Sci-fi, but i notice they play it on Bravo too, so it seems a bit of a dropped ball for a station that loves to promoted itself.

    As for Glee, i'm reminded again that i love lauren, but the whole "Mercedes being a diva" thing was stupid and irritating. And we commented on the missing parent's bit throughout the whole episode.

  2. @Sarah: So then why the hell did he care who told her that they serve corn-fed beef? He just agreed with whoever told her that!

    Well, what I got from it (and I could be wrong; it WAS shoddily edited) is that she was saying he served NO grass fed beef, and Tom was simply saying they serve both: grass fed beef (presumably for burgers and whatnot) and corn fed steaks, and that he wanted to know who it was that told her they serve ONLY corn fed beef, cuz that's wrong.

    cuz it kind of had an "or else" feel to it.

    Well, it did. Or run the risk of sounding like an asshat/tarnishing your reputation/putting your foot in your mouth/etc. (not saying Elia did those things, just that those are the "or else" consequences of not being careful when talking to the media).

    And by no means am I trying to say Tom isn't a sellout on some level. Top Chef is one giant sellout, to some extent, and in that regard, all the contestants are sell outs too (or does Elia somehow make sure none of the fame/recognition she's received as a result has no bearing on the success of her career?).

    It just smacks of sour grapes to me when Elia was apparently cool enough with Tom to appear on the show again, but in the course of one episode (during which, oddly enough, she was eliminated...) he became a sellout for which she has no respect.

    But I dunno; I've never been a big Elia fan, so there's that, too...

    What a capital douche.

    Agreed. He clearly really wanted to poke that bear, and keep poking it.

    so it seems a bit of a dropped ball for a station that loves to promoted itself.

    That is odd. I didn't know Marcel's show was being aired on Bravo. Nobody likes to pimp itself more than Bravo.

    damn that was a long comment...

    Nothing wrong with that.

  3. well Sarah said pretty much everything i was going to say.
    The Elia/Tom thing was immensely uncomfortable. A host should be fired when multiple participants are asking him to move on and he just keeps prodding along

    I'm still angry about the glaring problem of no parents showing up for the Glee fundraiser. Hell- what about the friends/family of the orchestra? or the the congregation of the Church choir? Seriously! Not a single person is supportive in that community? I'm having more and more problems suspending disbelief with Glee recently

  4. @Anne: The Elia/Tom thing was immensely uncomfortable. A host should be fired when multiple participants are asking him to move on and he just keeps prodding along


    Hell- what about the friends/family of the orchestra? or the the congregation of the Church choir? Seriously! Not a single person is supportive in that community?

    Well, I've always considered the orchestra and the various background choirs to be imaginary spectacles; like, they're not "really" there, but added for dramatic purposes.

    It's the same way I approach some of the crazier effects we get in some of the performances. For example, I find it hard to believe a school that can't afford a handicap accesible bus for Artie to ride to Sectionals could afford that stage rain effect we saw during the "Umberella/Singin' in the Rain" mashup, so I just assume the rain wasn't really there, and we were just watching it the way the performers imagined the number to look.

    That's how I keep myself from being driven crazy by the unreality of it all...

    And while I can buy that none of the students could give a toss about the glee club, I find it hard to believe that no other teacher/parent/community member would show up to support them.

    I mean, Vocal Adrenaline is clearly a top notch, successful glee club and they are (at least according to last season) in the same region as McKinley, so it isn't like the entirety of Central Ohio is anti-glee club, even according to the show's reality.

  5. now i'm pissed off about glee magic even more. I mean, even Emma couldn't come? She supports the Glee kids

  6. hmm, that may be a valid tactic to take when becoming enraged at Glee in the future...

  7. @Sarah: I mean, even Emma couldn't come? She supports the Glee kids

    Yeah, but that would undermine the the point they were trying to make it that episode, and past continuity is ALWAYS secondary to the needs of the immediate episode. :)


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