Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dexter - The Getaway, or Seriously, When Does Next Season Start?

We start right where we left off last episode, with Arthur and Dexter having an epic showdown in the homicide department. He leaves, after threatening Dexter's family if he doesn't leave him alone, and Dex follows in hot pursuit. He corners Arthur in a parking garage and injects his magic sleeping potion. Unfortunately, he can't complete the kill, because the law has caught up to Dexter for careening into a car and snapping off one of its side mirrors. Dexter hides the massive piles of cash that Arthur has on him, as well as his keys and wallet. Dexter does not keep his cool with the sheriff's department, and is jailed for fleeing the scene of a crime.

Rita picks him up and is strangely okay with the whole thing. They decide to reconnect and have the honeymoon they never got to have. This works out well for Dexter, since he knows that Arthur is tracking him. The safest place for his family to be is not at their house.

Arthur then off to find Dexter's home address, but is foiled by bad record keeping in the post office when he goes to Deborah's apartment, which is still under Dexter's name. He then goes home and takes all his family's valuables hoping to flee while he still has a chance.

At the police department, they've figured out the ruse of the truck driver, and are able to nail down that the real killer is Arthur based on the testimony of the little boy who survived his abduction. A full commando swat team descends on Arthur's house while Dexter is questioning the family as to Arthur's whereabouts. The police cart the family away.

Deb also has some news for Dexter. She's been snooping around their dad's past and found out that Ms. Laura Moser was one of Harry's paramours. She also found out that, at the time of her death, Laura was survived by her two sons, Dexter and Brian. Deb knows that Brian was the ice truck killer, and figures out Dexter's true origins. She breaks the news to Dexter, and he does a convincing job of pretending not to know.

Dexter then descends into a pit of self-pity and worry for his family's safety, being that he's a serial killer and all. He doesn't want them to end up like the Mitchells, terrorized by their father and appalled when they find out the truth. But it's different! His family loves him, and he's not a jerk!

So, Arthur has definitely skipped town in his vintage Mustang, which he recently had repainted black. He rides off into the sunset with the police left scratching their heads. Will he get away with it all? NO! It's Dexter the Vigilante to the rescue. He'd somehow secreted himself into the backseat/trunk (it's unclear) of the tiny convertible and engineering a breakdown from said hiding spot. Dexter is magic, apparently.

And now, finally, FINALLY, Dexter can get to the business of taking care of Trinity once and for all. They have a heartfelt chat about the life of a serial killer, with Arthur repeating over and over "It's already done." Yeah, it's done...FOR YOU! Dexter kills him with the same hammer he used to kill that dude in the office building, just for old time's sake. He dumps the body, and is filled with a heretofore unknown sense of serenity, content that his family is safe and sound in the Florida Keys, and looking forward to joining them.

When he gets back to the house, he gets a message from Rita that she forgot her ID and had to catch a later flight. Oh well. He gives her a ring, but her cell phone and purse and sitting on the kitchen counter. Then, he hears Harrison cry. He follows the sound into the bathroom to find Harrison sitting on the floor, yowling and covered in blood. Rita has been killed in the bathtub, in the ritual way of all the young women Trinity kills.

So, wait, what? What's the chronology on this? Trinity leaves his house, goes to get his convertible, makes a pit stop at Dex's house (how did he find out it was his house if he was still listed at his apartment??), then rides off into the sunset (but not really)? Or was it SOMEONE ELSE?! Well, those questions, as important as they are, are now moot points. Dexter is now the sole custodian of three children, something that will certainly preclude his "working late" and "spending the night at the office". These kids need him, not some of the time, not when he's not dealing with the dark passenger, but always. At the end of the episode, before the Rita reveal, Dexter hoped and wished that his dark passenger would soon leave him free to a normal family life. Will he be able to repress it for his children's sake? Will he want to? So many questions! I want to know what happens! When is the next season?! So much excitement, but so much waiting.

Dexter - Hello, Dexter Morgan, or Multiple Choice

First off, I want to let everyone know that I am filled with sadness today. My long-awaited, yearly two-week trip home has been brutally shortened by the DC phenomenon known as Thundersnow or DC Snowpacolypse. I was supposed to make my triumphant return to the home land today, but weather said NO. So, I have until Tuesday to sit around, play some Wii, and, of course, cover the latest TV escapades. Speaking of which - Dexter!

Things are getting crazy for our man Dex after he found Arthur trying to pull a Han Solo on that poor little kid. Arthur tries to track him down, or track Kyle Butler down, and give him the old what for. The old what for in this case is, of course, murder.

The detectives, meanwhile, interrogate old Christine about her relationship to Trinity, and she stonewalls. She is really devoted to her awful father, apparently. Dexter sees how close they are to finding Arthur, so decides to throw them off the trail by framing a trucker with a history of killing prostitutes. He finds him, murders him, and plants Arthur's DNA (handily stolen from the Mitchell household) all over the trucker's house.

Arthur has also been calling Dex, trying to figure out who he really is, and Dexter turns it around, saying he'll go to the police with the fact that Arthur is a pedophile (not actually true) if Arthur doesn't give him $50,000. Of course, Dexter doesn't really want the money - he wants Arthur's blood.

Christine is released from the station, since they don't charge her, and she frantically calls Arthur, looking for help and guidance. Arthur tells her to never call again (Father of the Year!) and Christine is distraught. She calls Deb over, confesses to killing Lundy and injuring her, then shoots herself. Yikes.

Dexter is trying to catch Arthur in an amusement park (no doubt trying to abduct another little boy), but when Deb calls him away, Arthur sees him and follows him back to the police station! After some detective work of his own, Arthur figures out that Dex is in the homicide division, and wanders up there with a stolen visitors' pass. He meanders into the Trinity room, where all his victims' pictures are laid before him. Arthur laughs maniacally.

Let's pause for a second. Imagine you are a police officer in Miami. You see a strange man who fits the exact profile of the Trinity killer (based on the DNA evidence gathered) laughing maniacally while surveying all the evidence. Do you:

A) alert the head of homicide while subtly blocking all exits

B) walk into the room and inquire what exactly this dude is doing

C) stroll casually by and not take any action

Apparently, Miami Metro protocol is C, because no one did ANYTHING. Eventually, Dexter catches sight of Arthur, and they have a confrontation in the middle of the homicide room. Again, there are several things Dexter could have done in this situation, but his motivations for not doing them are clear. If Arthur is accused within the frames of the law, Dexter cannot exact his justice, and there's a chance Arthur will get away with his crimes. So, paradoxically, it's better for Dexter to protect Arthur from the long arm of the law. Anyhow, they meet in the middle of the homicide area, Arthur reads Dex's badge, and the last line of the episode is, of course, "Hello, Dexter Morgan." The end!

And now we're all set for the finale - all the pieces are set in motion, everyone's secrets have been revealed. Oh, and Angel and LaGuerda are married now, as if you cared. Next up: finally killing Trinity? Let's hope so - because somebody is going down in this battle, and if it's Dex, this show will become a whole lot less watchable.

Monday, December 14, 2009

30 Rock - Secret Santa, or Why Is YouFace Not a Real Thing?

It's Christmas at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and the hi-jinks have a bittersweet aftertaste this week. Kenneth, full of Christmas cheer, tries to organize an insanely complicated Secret Santa Fun Swap, much to the dismay of Frank, Toofer, and Lutz. To get out of it, they make up an equally complicated religion that precludes their inclusion in Secret Santa.

Meanwhile, Jack is reconnecting with friends on the cool new social networking site YouFace, and his first crush fingertaps him to say she's in town for the weekend. With a relationship status of "weirdsies", Jack figures he has a shot at his long-lost love, who turns out to be Julianne Moore sporting a wicked awesome Boston accent. Sounding like she just left the caahhh ovehh at Hahhvahhd yahhd, she and Jack reconnect over their shared past.

Liz has decided that she wants to exchange gifts with Jack this year, and finds out from Jonathan that Jack is a notoriously amazing gift-giver, probing deep into your soul to grant you your greatest wish. Someone, the portrayal of Jack as a modern day Santa doesn't jibe with his character, but I'll let it slide. Liz becomes increasingly anxious about what she'll find for Jack, so they agree on exchanging gifts without monetary value.

Kenneth, of course, has fallen completely for Frank, Lutz, and Toofer's fake religion, catering to their every religious need, especially free sausage pizza. Tracey breaks it to Kenneth that it was all fake, which shakes Kenneth's belief in all organized religion.

Jack and Nancy (Julianne Moore) have a wonderful evening together, and, after some tutoring in the ways of social networking from Suri, he decides to take her out for dinner. They have a wonderful time, but she has to return home with her boys and her husband. They share a chaste goodbye, and Jack bemoans what may have been.

At the taping of the TGS Christmas special, Jack presents Liz with a framed ticket of a high school, gender-neutral production of The Crucible, in which she played John Proctor. Liz doesn't have anything for Jack...or does she? It turns out that Nancy's train was cancelled, and after being stuck in New York, gives Jack the goodbye he deserves. And why was it cancelled? Because someone called in a bomb threat. It's a Christmas miracle!

Liz's illegal actions make another's Christmas more merry, since Frank, Toofer, and Lutz are arrested in her place (Liz dialed from their phone). Because they've been punished for their lies, Kenneth once again believes there is a vengeful God out there waiting to judge us for our sins. Christmas is saved!

The most important part of this episode is, by far, YouFace. I really enjoyed the elaborate and ridiculous vocabulary assigned to the social network, and as part of the first generation of Facebook, I feel similarly out of touch with the young kids and their new-fangled contraptions, while still in enough to get the references. Here's a tip, 30 Rock: if you put out a YouFace beta right now, you'll be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Here's hopin'!

The Office - Secret Santa, or How Michael Stole Christmas

It's Christmas time at Dunder Mifflin, and, despite looming bankruptcy, the gang decides to take an afternoon off and have a Christmas party! Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Phyllis steps into the role of Santa Claus, showing that anything a man can do, Phyllis can do better. Michael, however, decides to spoil Phyllis's feminist joy by insisting that he's the real Santa Claus. Jim eventually persuades him to put the choice to a vote, and the office overwhelmingly goes for Progressive Santa Phyllis.

In retaliation, Michael dresses up as Sulky Jesus, who ruins all the Secret Santa gifts, including revealing Andy as Erin's mysterious gift-giver. That would be fine, except Andy went characteristically over the top and gave Erin all the items described in the 12 Days of Christmas. Needless to say, having 30 birds in your house is not as nice as the song, and Erin was really upset. After being banished by Jim, Michael calls David Wallace to whine. Instead of the comforting news that he could be Santa again - "She uslurped my position!" he cries - Michael finds out that Dunder Mifflin has a buyer, and that they're going to clean house after the takeover. The entire board will be out on the streets, and no one knows what's in store for the other employees.

Michael spills the beans, of course, and everyone is aghast. They manage to get David back on the phone, who reveals that it's only executives getting the can, and the new company bought Dunder Mifflin only for the distribution. Everyone at Scranton is safe! It's a Christmas miracle! Hooray! The enjoy the rest of the party, and Andy redeems himself with a private drum line serenade for Erin (12 drummers drumming, get it?).

Michael was obnoxious, but it was a nice Christmas episode. It managed to be uplifting and advance the plot, which is a nice combo. But who's the new company? Will this be another merger situation, where Michael systematically runs out new employees? Most importantly, what will the new office name be? Let's hope The Office kicks off the new year with more hilarity, less Michael ruining things, and of course, the Halpert baby!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Office - Scott's Tots, or Michael Scott: Life Ruiner

I knew almost immediately that I would detest this episode. For reasons previously mentioned, the sight of Michael Scott systematically ruining lives does very little for my funny bone. Watching those sweet kids get all worked up about their free college tuition broke my heart. But, thank goodness, Michael got his comeuppance and couldn't avoid telling the kids the truth. They, of course, were outraged and appalled, and Michael felt serious guilt. Good! After trying to buy their sympathies with laptop batteries, Michael finally gives in and agrees to pay one of the kid's book fees for the four years of college. Well, it's something.

On the way back, Erin tries to console him with the high graduation rate of the class, and that these kids now have a better shot than they would have without Michael's false promise. Even Michael realizes how little this makes up for his huge transgression, and shuts her down. But, they share a strange moment of closeness where Michael vaguely agrees to give her a raise because he has a "feeling" about her. And who else has he had a "feeling" about? None other than Kevin Malone, ladies and gentlemen. And we all know how well that worked out.

Meanwhile, Dwight has a multi-step plan engineered to get Jim fired that revolves around an Employee of the Month award. To Dwight's credit, he really makes things tough for Jim, rigging it so that Jim unknowingly picks himself as the winner, collecting money for a cash prize, and doing eerily precise imitations of his co-workers on the phone to David Wallace. Unfortunately for Dwight, the whole plan backfires to due David and Jim's newly close relationship. At the end of the episode, when all looks lost, Ryan outs himself as a fellow Jim hater, and Ryan joins Dwight's diabolical plan to get rid of Jim. Duh, duh, duuuh!

So, not only did Michael (self-admittedly, even!) ruin lives, Jim looked back. It was a tough episode for those of us who dislike both situations on The Office, but gratifying to see Michael get his just desserts. And, of course, to see Jim finagle his way out of another managerial disaster. At some point, however, we're all going to have to face up to the fact that Jim just isn't great as co-manager, and that will truly be a sad day for all. Until then, like the hijinks ensue!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

30 Rock - Dealbreakers Talk Show No. 001, or Liz the Hag

Well, there's nothing like pressure to make a good thing go bad. It's finally time to start taping Dealbreakers when Jack gets a threatening call from one Devin Banks. If NBC loses any money on Dealbreakers, the show will be over for Jack. So, in a frenzy to prepare, he criticizes everything about Liz: her glasses, her clothes, her smiles. Pretty much everything except her hair, which is fine. How can they trust her to perform? "She's a writer with zero performance experience!" Jack exclaims. Of course, this whole episode is a riff on the real Liz Lemon's foray into acting on Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, it looks like Tina Fey's alter-ego will have a more difficult time.

While Liz is gone, she arranges for Frank to assume control of TGS. Frank unhinges, starts nagging, wearing cardigans and glasses, and turns into Liz. But, the Liz he's becoming is no longer the Liz we know.

After getting a terrible haircut and faulty lasik surgery, we see a painful scene of Liz shooting the opening credits for her show. She's unimaginably stiff and unlikeable, and Pete has to constantly coach her into acting normal. "Now wave!" he shouts from behind the camera. "Like a human!" he has to clarify. The worst comes when Liz steps in front of the high definition camera, which makes her look...let's say, not great. (A quick and delightful sight gag if you missed it - when Jack stepped in front of the camera, it showed him during his Hunt for Red October days - the camera is sure good to him!) Even though both Jack and Pete console Liz and tell her she's doing a wonderful job, she collapses and locks herself into her dressing room. Suddenly, Liz has become another neurotic actress like Jenna.

Jack succeeds in taking the door off its hinges and getting to Liz, who's in the middle of a psychotic breakdown. She's developed a whole other personality, Performer Liz, who threatens to take control and usurp the kind, warm Liz we all know and love. Writer Liz wins the day, but Dealbreakers is over. Luckily, it wasn't a complete loss, as Jack was able to sell the opening credit footage to Sheinhart Wig to use as TV footage in the background of all their soap operas. So, anytime anyone on those program is watching TV, Liz will be there. Plus, it has the added benefit of keeping Devin on Jack's back for another day.

The B-line this week was Tracy trying to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, after seeing a piece of bling with the word EGOT. His crack team of researchers (Kenneth, Dot Com, and Griz) find out that most EGOT winners are composers, so Tracy sets out to write the perfect song. It fails, of course, but Tracy gets some life lessons from EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg on how to succeed. Her advice is that it has to come from your heart. Aaaahh, heartwearming.

Overall, it was a cute gimmick having Liz move into the performance world just as Tina did, and it was definitely foreshadowed with all the impending noise about the talk show. Of course, it would be far less hilarious if Liz succeeded as brilliantly as Tina has, so some missteps were definitely in order. It's still upsetting, though, to see Liz constantly portrayed as an ugly hag (see: high definition camera gag), even though she's absolutely gorgeous. I suppose I can suspend my disbelief, but please, Tina/Liz, let's have an episode where everyone realizes that you're a smokin' hot babe. Thanks.

V – It’s Only the Beginning, or Welcome Back, Wacky Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories!

Continuing its experimentation with different cinematic styles, this week’s V starts with a cliffhanger, which could have been really cool, had it not been a total letdown. *Sigh* We see Ryan ominously pointing a gun at Erica, who looks completely baffled while cradling Georgie’s bloody body. End scene. A black screen then directs back to 14 hours earlier, where we will hopefully figure out how we got to this craziness.

Through another Scott Wolf-Anna interview (does he do anything else these days? Is there anything else on TV anymore?), we find out that Anna has some very special news! No, we’re not all getting new cars, but we are getting cures cancer and aging! The crowd goes wild!
But, of course, it’s too good to be true, and Ryan the Traitor V knows that that wily Anna is up to something. So, he calls an emergency meeting of the V Team to discuss. Apparently, a few years back, the V’s were putting together some sort of shot to give humans as part of a larger annihilation plan. Well, what’s the plan, Ryan? Of course, he declines to share. They decide to try and track down the V scientists known to be working on the project and politely ask them to explain what’s happening, since Ryan has clammed up. Georgie would rather capture a V, skin the human-suit off it, and show it to the world. So, when they find and tail one of the scientists, instead of calmly observing the license plate, Georgie runs up, gun blazing, and threatens the scientist-man. Of course, Mr. Scientist also has a gun, and promptly shoots Georgie. Erica runs up, cradles him, and Ryan slow-walks toward the scene, gun drawn. It’s like from the beginning, you guys!

With the help of a different camera angle, we realize that Ryan is really pointing his gun at the V standing right behind Erica, and shoots him. That was it, V? Really? You just pulled the “It looks like he’s shooting one person, but he’s really shooting someone behind them” trick? So disappointing. I was really hoping that the V’s had secretly made a V-skin of Erica, and she was an informant. Not the case.

Meanwhile, Anna has been spying on Tyler, Erica’s son, via the super creepy jacket cams, and decides that he really is “the one” and invites him up to the mothership. They have adventures, and we still have no idea what “one” Tyler is.

We see some scenes of Scott Wolf checking out the healing centers, and all the miraculous, free health care they provide. It’s universal health care, everyone! And America has not been destroyed! But, there are definitely long waits and rationing, so it’s not quite utopia.
The V Team somehow finds the warehouse where all the “vitamin supplements” are being kept, and break in. They find desiccated human remains and stockpiles of the vitamins. But – shocker – it’s not the vitamins that have the secret, evil ingredient. It’s FLU VACCINES housed at the same facility! Oh, snap! So, now, in addition to buying into crazy birther theories about how charisma destroys everything, they’re now reinforcing the ridiculous idea that flu vaccines were manufactured to kill great swaths of people. Awesome job, V. Anyway, the V’s are putting something in the flu vaccine, and we still don’t know what it is.

Dr. Sweet Coat also made his triumphant return this week. After Anna finds out about Dale’s death, she becomes obsessed with finding his killer. Dr. Sweet Coat and Dr. Assistant Guy have an obvious conversation about their activity in the 5th Column. They’re so loud that you can hear their conversation echoing in the long, circular halls. But, apparently, the other V’s are so stupid that they don’t hear it. Anyway, Dr. Assistant takes the fall for the murder, and as punishment, has his human-suit ripped off. Yowch.

The other important part of this episode was the revelation that Ryan’s fiancĂ© went to one of the healing centers for a possible cure to her heart condition. Turns out they can cure it! Hooray! But that pales in comparison to the fact that she’s...preggers! Alien-human baby! I totally called it! But, that disproves my Tyler-Lisa mating theory.

So, what is Tyler “the one” for? If it’s not an impregnation scheme, I’m all out of ideas. Thoughts? Predictions? What you wish would happen but know can’t because of indecency laws? Share them all in the comments!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Glee - Mattress, or Unanticipated Gravity

I don't remember yearbook pictures fraught with such anxiety, but maybe it was a Montana thing. The central conflict this week centers around the impending yearbook photos, and all the glee club members' concern that they will be defaced for their participation in such an uncool club. Principal Figgins declares that there will be no glee club picture, partially to spare their delicate feelings, and partially because there's no room in the budget (typical). Will has a hissy fit, and spends upwards of $300 paying for an ad in the back of the yearbook. The catch? Only two people can fit in the mini-ad , so the glee club must elect co-chairs to represent them. Rachel jockeys hard for the position, mostly to cement her role as most involved person at school.

Will insists that Rachel must have a co-captain, so after a string of rejections, she appeals to Finn's sense of leadership, who agrees. After a pre-emptive football hazing as the new co-face of glee club, Finn backs out, leaving Rachel to pose all by her lonesome. Sadness.

But, during her photo shoot, Rachel finds out the yearbook photographer is casting for a mattress store commercial in town. She signs up all the glee clubbers, who are strangely enthusiastic about this opportunity at local stardom. Mind you, I would have been much more embarrassed to appear in a hokey local ad than in my high school yearbook, but I don't know the rules of McKinley High.

So, the kids perform an awesome cover of "Jump" and bounce around on mattresses for the local warehouse. As a thank you, they're given a pile of mattresses that sit in the choir room.

Will, having no idea that the commercial shooting took place, stumbles upon Terri's fake pregnancy belly and puts two and two together. He confronts her, then storms out. Luckily, there's a pile of mattresses right by his office! Hooray! He breaks one open and sleeps on it.

Sue, while performing her segment on local TV news, sees the mattress commercial and realizes that it disqualifies the New Directions from performing in sectionals. She really knows that rule manual, as any activity resulting in payment immediately disqualifies any school from the amateur competitions. Unfortunately, since Will opened one of the mattresses given to the club, they can't return or donate their "payment", effectively ending glee club (since the original deal was that they had to place at sectionals in order to continue - remember?).

BUT, miraculously, it's Quinn to the rescue! She's desperate to get back on Cheerios and into the cheerleading yearbook photo, so she blackmails Sue into letting the glee club compete at sectionals and have a full page spread in the yearbook. It seems that the girls in Cheerios are showered with complimentary swag, which they sell on eBay for a profit, and if Principal Figgins knew, they'd be banned from competing as well. Sue compliments Quinn's ruthlessness, and sends her away.

Will figures out that if he recuses himself from glee club competition, the team will be intact and able to go to sectionals. He is sad, of course, but the show will go on for New Directions. At the end of the episode, we learn that all the efforts of the club has been in vain, as the football losers still deface their photo in the yearbook. Womp, womp.

So, Will's out of glee club - again. He's also out of his marriage, potentially, which will create an interesting decision for Emma (who's back - hooray!), about to impend on her own disappointing union. Will she decide to hold out for the newly-single (maybe?) Will? The most devastating scene of the episode was by far when Will discovered Terri's treachery, a moment of unanticipated gravity in the usually light hearted series. He was both heartbroken and infuriated, which isn't an easy combo. More evidence that Will is more than a pretty face. Does this mean the end of Terri? No more ruthlessly screwing up Will's life? Maybe. But wouldn't it be perfect if Terri got for-reals pregnant right now, and Will didn't believe her? I smell impending irony!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Office - Shareholder's Meeting, or RECYCLOPS

Can we please talk about how wonderful that opening segment was? I want Recyclops to come to my work every Earth Day. And the montage of how Recyclops evolved over the years, complete with different receptionists to match the year? Priceless. Just. Priceless. Also, it served the important purpose of setting the episode on April 22nd, just in case you like to know these things. It doesn't make sense for them to do themed episodes this year (like Thanksgiving) because they have to keep a constant timeline, what with the Halpert baby on the way.

The main event this episode revolves around a shareholder meeting in New York, to which Michael is invited, as the manager of the highest yielding branch. But, when he arrives, with Oscar, Dwight, and Andy in tow, the mood is far less celebratory than Michael anticipated. The mood only worsens after Michael reveals that he was driven up in a limo and treated to free food before the meeting. Needless to say, this did not go over well with all the workers faced with the prospect of losing their jobs. After being hounded by boos, hisses, and shouts of dismay throughout the first half of the meeting, the board motions to take a 15 minute break. Unable to take it anymore, Michael bursts forth with a string of empty promises, including a 45-day plan to turning the company around. Of course, there is no such plan, and Dunder Mifflin is headed for bankruptcy.

Back in the board room, Michael calls Oscar in to come up with a plan, since he had vocally expressed his dismay with the foolishness of the company, and how he could run things more efficiently. Faced with an opportunity to shape the future of the company, Oscar balks, mumbles something about "being in the best of hands" and leaves. Poor Oscar, normally the pinnacle of honor and forthrightness, reduced to a servile grunt in the face of the Dunder Mifflin board. If anyone was going to show them what's what, I knew it would be Oscar, and the fact that even he was powerless shows just how poorly Dunder Mifflin is faring.

After calling the president of Dunder Mifflin an idiot, Michael is run out of the board room, and he, Andy, Dwight, and Oscar made a mad dash to their limo and ride back to Scranton.

While they're away, Jim is forced to deal with his sub-par managerial skills and his reputation as an ineffectual office clown. Ryan refuses to do data entry work, Phyllis takes a two hour lunch, and no one listens when Jim reprimands them. Jim, in a show of power, decides to set up an office for Ryan in a storage closet as punishment, until he does the work that Jim has prescribed. Not the most mature of approaches, but at least he now garners a modicum of respect.

Well, things still seem to be headed down for old Dunder Mifflin, which I did not expect. The ominous last shot of DMI's stock plunging downward suggests that no miracle cure is in the future. But I still don't know how they can pull off the continuation of the show without Dunder Mifflin. Perhaps the writers are planning a finale at the end of this season, which would be fitting. We're grown a lot with these guys over the years, and with Jim and Pam together, what office angst is there left to plumb? Although, I should know better. There's almost more workplace drama, and if it's anywhere to be found, it's at Dunder Mifflin, Scranton.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Glee - Hairography, or Sad Clown Hooker

This week marked the return of two of my favorite love-to-hate-them characters, Sue and Terri. Sue is back to her diabolical scheming against the glee club, and Terri is growing more and more desperate for a baby. But let's start with Sue.

Turns out our gal Sue has been spying on the Glee club, using poor, sweet Brittany as her spy - a truly unfortunate choice. Trying to clear things up with the rival team, Will makes a visit to Jane Adams Academy, a correctional high school for girls. The singer Eve, who is looking quite lovely, makes a guest appearance as the glee club coordinator, who complains that they don't even have a gymnasium in which to practice! Will generously extends William McKinley's auditorium as a rehearsal space and the sight of a quick scrimmage between the two glee clubs.

The girls turn out in revealing outfits and belt out "Bootylicious", that Destiny's Child favorite, complete with serious hairography. What's hairography, you ask? Well, luckily Rachel is here with the answer: it's a distracting ploy wielded by sub-par groups to distract from their mediocre vocals and singing. Will, unnerved by the impressive Jane Adams Academy ladies, decides to steal the strategy and have the kids sing a mashup of "Crazy in Love" (Beyonce theme, today, apparently) and the theme song from Hair. Sue is dead set against this plan, saying that Will is distracting from the kids' talent, and it's an embarrassment. Will doesn't care. They invite (or, rather, are forced to invite) their other competitors at sectionals, the local deaf high school. Crazy in Love/Hair is mediocre, and the hairography is unimpressive, and the representatives from the deaf high school know it.

When it's their turn, the kids sign a heart-warming rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine", and Mercedes decides to start singing along with them. Eventually, all the New Directions folks are up there singing with their new friends, and the result is a lovely song. Also, all the New Directions members conveniently know/pick up sign language, so are able to sign along with the other choir. Personally, if I were performing at a rival high school, I'd be a little miffed if the competition stole my thunder and butted in on my performance...but, it seemed to work.

After seeing the glorious simplicity of no hairography, Will realizes he's been a fool to mask the kids' talent with theatrics, and concedes that Sue was right. In her usual fashion, Sue still decides to give the setlist over to the two rival schools, and what do they do with them? We'll have to see.

Meanwhile, let's talk about Terri. But to talk about Terri, you first have to talk about Quinn, who's vacillating between keeping the baby and giving it to Terri. She's also having second thoughts about disowning Puck, so gives him a second chance while babysitting Terri's sister's awful demon children. They connect, sing a soulful "Papa Don't Preach" (something I didn't think was possible) and Quinn goes home convinced that Puck will be a great father. Unfortunately for Quinn, it turns out that Puck spent the entire night sexting (if you don't know, you don't want to) with Santana, that other perky cheerleader in the glee club. She reneges, and decides that she'll still give the baby to Terri.

Terri is growing ever more nervous about her fake belly and about Will finding out, so she buys him an old sports car to repair as a distraction. But, in a fit of responsibility, Will realizes that a sports car is no good for a growing family, so he sells it and buys a minivan instead. Oh Will, when will you stop being so adorable?!

But wait, you may be asking yourself, if Quinn was hanging out with Puck, where was Finn? I'm glad you asked! Corralled by Quinn, Kurt performs a makeover on Rachel to make her more alluring to Finn, thereby distracting him from Quinn's growing feelings for Puck. Rachel dolls up and does her best Olivia Newton John impression for a duet of "You're the One That I Want", only to be rejected by Finn for looking...too dolled up. Best line of the night: "You look like a sad clown hooker."

Turns out that Kurt, growing more Machiavellian by the episode, set Rachel up to be too over the top, telling her that that's what Finn liked in a girl. She's pissed, as you may guess, and figures out that Kurt has equally strong feelings for our leading man. After Quinn and Finn reconcile at the end of the episode (they'd been fighting, apparently?), Kurt and Rachel share a knowing look, realizing that neither of them will get the prize. Sigh.

Well. I was glad for the return of the two delightfully nasty ladies in Will's life, but I'm always annoyed when they focus too much on Quinn. Her breathy, girlish voice does nothing for me, and her entitled whining grates much more than Rachel, the supposedly grating one. I know, I know, she's newly homeless and abandoned, but they chose not to discuss that plot point this week. The most exciting part of the episode was by far when Sue revealed that "Don't Stop Believing" was part of the sectionals set list. I'm really, really hoping for a recap performance.