Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Glee - Hell-o, or Irony Overdrive

It's baaaccckkk!

So, this is how much I love Glee - I actually sat down and watched the episode on the TV as it aired. Normally, I'm a Hulu devotee, preferring the freedom of the pause and the rewind, especially for a show like Glee with such delicious one-liners. But I made this sacrifice, and what did I get in return?

Irony. So much irony.

I loved the subtle snark of the first 13 episodes, but the writers were laying it on especially thick this episode, with a wink-wink, nudge-nudge every other minute. Finn announced an impending musical number with, "Oh, so that's why the band's here. Do you think I could find myself and do my glee assignment at the same time?"

Yes, Finn, you can. What happened to the segue-less musical numbers of the first half? We really don't need an excuse to sing here, folks, just give us the goods. That being said, there was a huge uptick in musical numbers, as promised. And two new delightful characters to boot!

I was especially charmed by the debonair Jesse St. James, whose initial critique/flirtation with Rachel bordered on the absurd. "I've got a full ride to a little school called the University of California in Los Angeles. Maybe you've heard of it. It's in Los Angeles." Perfect!

But, of course, Rachel can't get a frickin' break, and everyone accuses her of being a Benedict Arnold just because of the teensy fact that Jesse happens to be the lead singer of Vocal Adrenaline, New Directions' main competitor in sectionals. Man, can that girl get a break?

So, she has to pretend to break it off all while starting a secret romance (yay) with Jesse - BUT, he might be just getting close to her to sabotage New Directions from within, ala Sue Sylvester. So many layers.

But you know what? I have hope for my girl Rachel. I know that Jesse will truly love her for the wack-a-doo she is with no ulterior motives. Why? Because she deserves it. She really, really deserves a break.

Also, Idina Menzel is there! She's the coach of Vocal Adrenaline, and I swear, if she doesn't sing a number, it will be the biggest waste of talent in all of television history. Don't let me down, Glee.

Idina and our boy Will Shuster end up making out randomly, which is super awkward, since he's dating Emma now! Oh no, you didn't, Will! But Emma ends up breaking things off with him anyway, because she's convinced he's not over Terri, which is probably true. P.S. - Emma's a virgin, we find out (not a huge surprise, and not that there's anything wrong with that), which sets up very nicely for the Madonna episode next week. "Like a Virgin"? Yes, indeed.

There's also a weird subplot about Finn and his vacillating emotions about both Quinn and Rachel. He also manages to go on a date with Santana and Brittany (yes, both), which is totally worthless except for the line, "Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?" Oh, Brittany, how I've missed you.

Let's talk songs: kind of unimpressed. Most of the problem was that, since they're trying to shove in so many more numbers, we see about half of each song. We heard snippets of "Hello Goodbye" by The Beatles, which should have been a full show-stopper, let's be honest, and about a verse of "Highway to Hell". Although I'm okay with the abbreviated version of that one, since I was sincerely concerned about Jesse St. James' vocal chords. We got full earfuls of "Hello" by Lionel Richie and "Gives you Hell" by The All-American Rejects. Really, Glee? You're going to shorten The Beatles and AC/DC in favor of Lionel and The Weepy Boys (yes, that's my pet name for them)? Really? It's a good thing you're ramping up to the Madonna episode, and those best be full versions, because that's what we're coming to see.

As a little teaser, Chevy sponsored a music video of Sue singing "Vogue" and a recreation of the iconic music video. Man, she is not a good dancer. But it was cute, and I'm sure everyone will watch it on Hulu and get excited for next week.

Let's cut the overt irony by half and up the musical quality by the same, and Glee, you'll be back in the saddle.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

V - Welcome to the War, or Let's Break it Down - Quote Wise

Hey guys, so remember that show about aliens who were lizard people and trying to do something bad to humans?

Yeah, me neither.

But guess what? It's back!

Luckily, V started off with a heavy dose of "last time on...", which promptly reminded me just how ridiculous this program is, and how, on its best days, it crosses the valley between bad, and so bad it's good. This episode, folks, was one of the latter. Let's break it down based on some of my favorite quotes:

"He can only have one family..."

So, Tyler is trying to mack on the blond girl, and is chilling on the mothership. His mom is mad, because, well, V's are terrible lizard people who are trying to rule the world. Anna responds by crafting a plan to separate Tyler and his mother with the aforementioned line. See, it's great because we instantly realize that the V's are his family now, not his mom! But it's so subtle! Uh oh, what are those ellipses doing there?


DAMMIT, V. We all know you meant yourself! Why do you have to insert unnecessary explanations?!

Anyway, so Tyler is fine, but Erica, his mom, freaks out. Eventually, they hook Tyler up to some sort of memory machine that allows to V's to access all his emotions and feelings. Creepy, but he seems okay with it. They're harvesting something from his brain, but it's unclear what it is. It looks pretty empty to me, frankly. Hey-o! They suggest that Tyler make amends with mom and come clean about being a Peace Ambassador. He does, and Erica freaks out, but on the inside, since with his new fancy uniforms, the V's can see and hear everything Erica says.

"They told us we could not procreate with humans."

But they were WRONG. Ryan's girlfriend is pregnant, and man, is this a doozy. She has crazy, intense cravings for weird things, like dead mouse (disgusting) and thinks she feels the baby kick. Mind you, she's only six weeks pregnant. Well, guys, it looks like we have a Jack (Man, that was a good movie) situation here. Look for that baby to be born in a convenient two weeks and grow to full size in another three weeks.

Ryan's freaking out and consults a V doctor friend of his, who's all like, "Well, this is unexpected. Good luck with that." She's slightly more helpful on the question of the mysterious R6, a compound the V's were putting in the flu supply. Turns out it's a tracking device that will number all the humans who receive like cattle. Oh no!

"I'll make my own army."

When Anna and Co. realize that the Fifth Column is acting starting to mess with their shit, they decide to kick it up a notch. But what will they do? All their fighters are back at the home world? Not to worry, Anna is going to...wait for it...make her OWN army! But how? I am SO GLAD you asked. There's a big line of burly dudes all lined up with Anna inspecting them while wearing this floaty, kimono thing. She picks one, and then we're transported to a giant silver room with fog totally obscuring the floor. It's like an 80's video. Then, we see the burly guy she chose reclining in a basin of sorts. Anna arrives, sheds her Kimono, and slowly, with no preamble mounts him. All the while, there's this zen, Enya-like music playing in the background. She emotionlessly thrusts about four times, then dismounts again.

BUT THEN, she pulls a black widow and is all like, “My eggs need nourishment” then giant, horrible fangs grow out of her mouth sort of like that scene in the woods in Jennifer’s Body (don’t judge me, it was good) and SHE EATS HIM. End of episode. Oh lizard people, you are growing less and less likeable with each passing hour! It's almost like you're the villains, or something!

Whew. So, those are the highlights. Other random stuff happens, but it's all peripheral to terrible, mate-eating Anna. I find myself having suddenly high hopes for future installments, if only we get to see more of this crazy, whacked out fever dream.

The Office - New Leads, or How My Parents Are Like Michael Scott

So, this episode has gotten some flack for the characters being unusually mean-spirited and nasty, which isn't believable. I, on the other hand, am happy that these poor, beleaguered souls are finally lashing out at their colossally inept boss. Honestly, why didn't this happen earlier?

The inciting incident for all this anger has to do with the new commission rates under Sabre, which have a much higher cap. The sales stuff has suddenly become motivated, and Michael doesn't know what to do with it. The non-sales employees are about to mutiny, due to being treated like second-class citizens. Everything comes to a head when Michael reveals that he's received new sales leads from Sabre, and instead of distributing them to sales, he hides them around the office, leaving clues, and also giving them to non-sales staff.

Let's pause for a moment and talk about hiding things and giving clues to where to find them. This is a time-honored tradition in my house, and pretty much defines the Easter tradition. My parents would set out one plastic egg for each child in an easily findable place, with a written clue to where to find the next egg. This continued for, oh, about 7-8 eggs, resulting in the discovery of your awesome Easter basket. Hence, I have some pretty strongly positive feelings about Michael's strategy here, and I just wanted to let you know that it's totally and completely based in personal bias.

ANYWAY, Jim immediately figures out Michael's thin logic and finds the leads. Others are not so lucky. After Kevin accidentally throw the leads in the garbage, which is then taken to the dump, Michael and Dwight go on an adventure to find them, during the course of which, they make some pretty deep discoveries about each other...and themselves.

Turns out Dwight resents Michael, Michael resents Dwight, they have a garbage fight (it's like a food fight, but with garbage. Yes, disgusting), then all their differences are worked out in the end.

Back at the office, Jim has to navigate a mutiny from the non-sales staff, who are refusing to work with the sales people. To be fair, they had it coming - they were being jerks. Jim proposes to the sales staff that they will give everyone in the office a 2% cut of all their commissions each month, to spread the wealth around. They buy pastries and spread them out in the conference room, ready to make the big announce. But, the non-sales folks are duped into believing that it's the pastries that are the gift, and sales doesn't even get into the 2% kickback. Oh, Jim and sales, you are a wily bunch.

So, I thought this whole thing was great. I was really glad that they were showing some human emotions and frustrations, rather than the sighing, silently contemptuous looks we're used to from this bunch. It makes sense that they would get pissed and have confrontations. Also, the bonus at the end of the episode was Andy and Erin looking for the leads in the dump and sharing their first kiss. A-rig-a-dig-doo, indeed, Andy.

30 Rock - Floyd, or Whither Art Thou, Jason Sudeikis?

First off, let me just say that I, like Liz Lemon, have always harbored a deep and secret hope that they will get back together and be happy forever. Sadly, both our dreams were crushed with the revelation that Floyd is marrying a blond bimbo and moving back to New York.

Liz passive-agressively makes Floyd regress into alcoholism and annoy Kathie Lee on the Today show when she hears the news, which is definitely the appropriate reaction. But, she feels bad about it later, and agrees to read a Bible passage at their wedding. Oh, Liz, will your trials and tribulations never end?

Meanwhile, we learn that Jack was a member of the secret society Twigs and Berries (hee-hee) during his college days, and that whenever someone says the name of the society, the member has to leave the room immediately, citing a ridiculous reason. Frank finds this out and sets about torturing Jack (and also Danny, because they're jealous of his good looks - duh), so the handsome men of The Girly Show decide to strike back at the foul writers. They concoct an elaborate ruse that results in them stripping down naked and being laughed at by attractive women. So, all's fair in love and sketch comedy.

Overall, a meh episode. I'm just so distraught that Liz and Floyd won't ever get back together! I really fell in love with Jason Sudeikis during the 2008 campaign when he showcased a mean Joe Biden impression. And it looks like Michael Sheen as Wesley Snipes is over for the moment as well. Ah well. Such is life. Let's hope that a new, equally alluring prospect is in Liz's future.