Monday, March 29, 2010

The Office - St. Patrick's Day, or More Meredith!

I was so hoping for a Meredith-centric episode this week, as there is no more Irish person in the office than our fair Meredith. And, I think the last episode where she did stuff was the Christmas intervention episode. Or was it the Casual Friday? Hmm, further investigation is needed. Regardless, it's been awhile, and what better way to show the awesomeness of Meredith than St. Patrick's day?

Well, apparently the writers and I disagree on this point, as we only briefly glimpsed Meredith in her St. Patrick's Day finery. Instead, we focused on a long standoff between Jo and Michael concerning how late the staff had to stay. Michael is apparently of the school that each employee has to stay as late as the boss, which is folly, in my opinion. But, Michael didn't ask me.

The one good piece of good news is that our friend Daryl got promoted to Jim's old office after impressing Jo with a new transportation strategy that will save money. Movin' on up, indeed, Daryl. (It's okay - he sung it in the episode)

Jim is feeling conflicted about being at work with a wee baby at home, and is worried that he's missing out. I imagine things will be okay.

Eventually, Michael stands up to Jo (like four hours late) and releases the staff to have a merry St. Patrick's Day. They convene at a pub nearby and everyone has green drinks.

EXCEPT: Andy and Erin, who were scheduled to have their first date! Sadly, Erin fell ill and Jo forced her to go home. Andy, being the sweet and be-kilted man that he is, brought her some chicken soup. What he wasn't expecting was her foster brother, who is now her roommate. They are, to say the least, a bit too close for comfort. But, the night ends semi-successfully, with Andy receiving a peck on the cheek. Awwhhh.

The only thing I could have asked for is more Meredith, and since I did ask for it, so I suppose my job is complete.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

30 Rock - Don Geiss, America, and Hope, or Porn for Women

Hey, Wesley's back! And he and Liz continue to aggressively not get along. After several more random run-ins and failed dates, Wesley takes the bold step of suggesting they get married. Why? Because their of them will do any better. Womp, womp.

But that's not really the story here. The story is that the main revenue source of Kabletown (Comcast) is their wide variety of "adult entertainment" channels that account for 91% of their profits! With nothing new to design and sell, Jack faces a severe existential crisis.

Okay, so knowing that Kabletown is the multiverse version of Comcast, I decided to do a little Googling. Does Comcast really make its money in porn? Turns out it does. Well, that's awkward and eye-opening.

Anyway, back to the "story". Jack mopes about, then realizes that there's a huge, untapped market for porn that Kabletown can exploit: women. But women hate porn! a Kabletown exec says. But no, this is a new kind of porn. Just handsome women nodding supportively while women yammer on and on about their problems. Genius.

Also, Tracey is having a P.R. problem. A tell-all book has just been published that proclaims Tracey has never once cheated on his wife! Scandal! Now, Tracey's in danger of losing all his endorsements with various adultery affiliated businesses. It's supposed to be about Tiger Woods, in case you couldn't tell.

Meanwhile, Liz thinks over Wesley's offer and decides not to take it. She confronts him at a white wine from Scotland tasting, and says she can find someone better. Wesley doesn't buy it, and gives Liz two months to give in. "See you at sweeps!" he cries. "That's what we call spring cleaning in England!" See you at sweeps, indeed, Michael Sheen. It's a date.

Friday, March 19, 2010

House - Private Lives, or The Dangers of Blogging

Well, this is awkward. This week's House catastrophe began with a blogger who's revealing too much of her life online, and pissing off her boyfriend. Suddenly, she develops huge bruises on her face and her gums start bleeding. And bonus! The blogger is Donna from That 70's Show! Groovy! Although she's cuter as a redhead.

Soooo....will this turn into a cautionary tale? Should I step away from the laptop?

But wait - a lead! While scouring the apartment for clues, Thirteen and Talb find out that our blogger is also a lover of animals and the environment. After a neighbor puts down rat poison to scare away the new neighbors after the blogger lets trash sit for composting, the blogger freaked out, and now routinely handles the poison.

Scratch that - they were wrong about the rat poison. One of these days, the first thing they think is wrong with the patient is going to stick, and the episode will be, like, 15 minutes long. It'll be great.

The blogger gives her whole outlook on life, and how it's so important to share things with the world because there's no more accountability anymore, and she's always watching and recording and it builds a sense of community and yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, so they figure out it might be a heart issue, and she'll need a replacement mitral valve, which can be either plastic or from a pig. It's an important decision, and each choice has pros and cons. So, what does the blogger decide to do? Blog about it, of course, and ask for advice from the interwebs.

The interwebs tell her to go with the plastic valve, and her boyfriend gets all mad about her blogging and threatens to walk out. Just as she's about to go into surgery, her appendix bursts, and they find out it was full of cancer cells. Uh-oh. They give her a year to live, unless they try an experimental procedures that will somehow help.

But, the experiment doesn't go so well, and she breaks out into a terrible fever. They figure out it's not actually cancer, but liver failure. They tell her that, unless they figure out what's causing the failure, she only has three of four days to live.

Wait, what? Why can't they just do a liver transplant? Those exist nowadays, right? But it's more dramatic if Donna the blogger is faced with certain death.

Miraculously, at the last second, House realizes that her new semi-vegetarian diet is to blame (thank goodness it wasn't incessant blogging) and prescribes something to clear her gastrointestinal infection. Donna's going to be okay, everyone!

Throughout the episode, there was this bizarre subplot with Wilson accidentally being in a porn movie. How does that happen, you ask? Good question. Apparently, he acted in a friend's college art film that was later transformed into a porno using different actors. So, Wilson's the plot guy, then someone else takes over for know. House manages to get a hold of a copy and gives it to everyone in the hospital, makes huge posters of Wilson in this crazy get-up, and generally is a jerk. Wilson, of course, is desperate to get back at him, and finds out House is secretly reading a book of sermons. So, he distributes that to everyone in the hospital, and the tables are turned. But, later Wilson finds out that the author of the sermons is House's biological father, so he feels bad. Pretty unnecessary, frankly.

Oh, and Chase has also just realized he's hot and is having an identity crisis. Blah, blah, blah.

The Office - The Delivery Parts 1 and 2, or BABIES!

Oh man, I am so glad Pam didn't have that baby in the office. I was so worried they were going to pull that stunt, especially after her contractions starting coming every two minutes. Having a baby born in the main set of a sitcom is pretty much the oldest '80's sitcom trick in the book. So, good work guys, for avoiding that.

Also, Dwight and Angela are going to have a baby? And why did she acquiesce to weaning it at 6 months in favor of vegetable mash? I guess Dwight's baby clock isn't the only one that's ticking.

But, little Cecelia made her way into the world in a hospital, thank goodness. I'm equally glad they didn't indulge in any delivery scenes, preferring to let the magic be portrayed through Pam's screams and Jim's supportive noises. Much classier that way, The Office.

I am shocked, shocked, though, that Jim and Pam let Michael hold that baby. Have they not been around these last, what, 5 years? But, again, the writers did not indulge, and Cecelia emerged from Michael's arms unscathed.

After some mishaps, including a very friendly lactation specialist and a brief baby mix-up, the 3 Halperts were ready to get home.

What awaited them, however, was their kitchen in the middle of a surprise makeover, courtesy of Dwight. After discovering mold while looking for Pam's iPod (don't ask), he decided to gut it and start over. Interestingly, he was also using it to broker the final deal between he and Angela on their own baby-making adventure.

Meanwhile, Michael's attempts to spark more office love almost derailed the blooming Andy/Erin relationship, but he FINALLY asked her out, via fax, which is kind of adorable, I must admit.

Wow. So they had the baby. Now, we have an army of revolving child actors to look forward to, as they play the part of Cecelia. I also think the hand-off to Andy and Erin as the new "it" couple in the office is appropriate, but I am far less interested in if they make it or not. Oh well, we'll see. And what will happen with a possible Dwight/Angela baby? That whole thing sort of seemed to come out of nowhere.

But for now, let's all bask in the glorious glow of a new baby and make our best cooing noises.

30 Rock - Future Husband, or Kabletown, It's a Fine and Generous Company

Well, they finally did it. Kabletown (Comcast) has taken over NBC (NBC) in the parallel universe of 30 Rock. Jack finds out through Avery, his girl of the week, that it's all downhill from here for ol' NBC. Jack protests, and vows to stand by his old friend and mentor Don Guise, who's always been against the merger. But, bad news, Jackie boy, Don is dead, and the deal is going through.

Hold on! No more Rip Torn guest spots on 30 Rock! Where else will I get my weekly crotchety old scratchy-voiced man allowance?

Anyway, Liz does her trademark breaking of the 4th wall to call Kabletown "...a fine and generous company," and concluded with a pleading smile at the camera. Of course, no brand names were used, but it's abundantly clear that we're all talking about the real-life Comcast/NBC deal. Which makes me wonder, did 30 Rock have to get the OK from their new overloads on this script? This is the type of thing that almost, almost makes a person want to study patent law.

The future looks grim for Jack, but then, Avery saves him from executive oblivion by quoting various "sources" saying he's the only person being considered to head up the new conglomerate. Ohhhh.

Meanwhile, Liz has recovered from her root canal for the most part, but with a little lingering problem. Her phone now holds an entry titled "Future Husband", and the owner is a mystery. She's ready to write it off and delete the number, but Kenneth, convinced that he's got to be the one for her, persuades her to deceive in the name of love and impersonate her dentist's nurse to get them back in the same room. Then, to show his commitment to the idea of destiny, he throws his wallet out the window! It made sense at the time.

Liz goes to the dentist's office, and lo and behold, "Future Husband" is there. Turns out that not only does his phone say "Future Wife" when Liz calls, he's also Welsh dreamboat Michael Sheen! Swoon!

Sadly, their coffee date goes awry, all the way into the land of severe awkwardness and Liz loses faith in Kenneth's aggressive optimism. Just then - Michael Sheen shows up to return Kenneth's wallet, and they agree to give it another shot! Hooray!

Also, Tracey gets the Will Ferrell bug and decides to do a one-man show to win the T of his EGOT. Yeah, I was surprised they're sticking with this storyline too, but we'll see. The first show is a huge hit, and Tracey's ready to pack it in and wait for the Tony to roll in when Jenna tells him there's an 8 performance minimum to be in the running. She tries to teach him acting, it doesn't work, but the show still kills. Ta-da!

I'm glad Liz and the gang confronted the Comcast takeover head-on, and it will be interesting to see how they portray it going forward. It was also good to see Michael Sheen as someone other than Tony Blair, so there's that too. But let's get real for a second: is it just me, or is 30 Rock getting blander? It used to be there were so many plot points and twists that I couldn't even describe it to a friend, and now it's falling into the sitcom trap of two to three stories per week, and everyone laughs at the end. I would imagine it'd be difficult to keep up the absurdist pace of seasons past, but I'd hate to see 30 Rock go the way of a safe, boring sitcom. Maybe they're just having a rough arc, and things will perk up. Or maybe I'm totally off-base. Let's hope for one or the other.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mid-Season Replacement Roundup - The Marriage Ref

I'm about as big a Seinfeld fan as you're likely to find, spontaneously blurting "The Moops!" when a friend discusses an upcoming production of Othello, so I was hesitantly excited about Jerry Seinfeld's return to TV as The Marriage Ref. But, on that first account, I was wrong. You see, Jerry isn't the marriage ref at all! In a weirdly retro opening cartoon segment (you read that right), we're introduced to how the show came about, with Jerry and his wife having an argument, and a friend of theirs serving as the ref. This mystical referee comes with the name Tom Papa, who is also a comedian, or so I hear. He'll be the official in these marital games, with Alec Baldwin, Kelly Ripa, and Jerry serving as his...deputy referees? Apparently, they'll make arguments for one side or the other, then Tom Papa will make the final call. Thankfully, they preface all this nonsense with the disclaimer that this is not a perfect system. Let's meet our first feuding couple!

Kevin and Danielle have been married for 14 years, and every day is an adventure! It was love at first sight! The only problem? The Fonz, Kevin's beloved Boston terrier. The Fonz is no longer with us, having gone to that country farm in the sky, but still remains. Literally, his remains are the issue. Kevin had The Fonz stuffed, and wants to display him in their house. He's built a shrine (!) for The Fonz, and describes having him in their house forever as "his dream come true".

Okay, so I'm going to go ahead and say this isn't much of a contest. There's no way this panel can side with Kevin on this freak show. If they're all this clear-cut, why do we need a ref?

Our judges clearly see this as well, and waste some time hemming and hawing about the relative merits of different positions the dog could have been stuffed in (attacking, barking, standing valiantly, etc.), just to stall.

As if that wasn't enough wasted time (Danielle! Danielle is the winner, people!), Tom tosses to their "Just the Facts" reporter, who will give us such valuable information as how often people stuff their deceased pets and put them on display. How is this helping? I don't need to know how many people are freaks out there - just because more people do it doesn't mean it's any less weird!

So, Natalie from NBC news tell us that, last year, roughly 1,000 people stuffed their pets.


Unsurprisingly, all the panelists side with the wife, and Tom Papa goes that way as well. He delivers the news to the couples, who then fade off into the satellite feed sunset.

Next up: a husband who wants a stripper pole installed in the house. And you thought it couldn't get any worse.

The husband makes a case that it's not really a stripper bole, but an "exercise poll" and Natalie confirms that there are, in fact, erotic dance classes that people take.

Alec makes some arguments for the pole, but then relents and votes for the wife. Kelly agrees, and Jerry, in a surprise move, votes for the husband and his pole. Why? It's unclear.

Tom Papa brings the couple on, and makes the call for the wife. Not because she's right, but because "who wants to see a resentful, sulking pole dancer?" Well, that is a good point.

So, yeah. That's the show. Needless to say, I'm not sold. I have a terrible feeling it's just going to be ridiculous husband requests on parade, and really, don't we all get enough of that in real life? Ladies? On this one, I'm going to have to side with...not watching this show.