White Collar

Woo hoo, new show! After getting so many shows in such a short period of time, I was starting to miss having something new to try every day.

Think Catch Me If You Can if the movie continued in tv show form. Four months shy of his release, expert white collar criminal Neal (played by Brad from Chuck) breaks out of jail. The reason: his girlfriend is leaving him and he wants to catch her. But his escape will earn him extra jail time unless he can do something about it, namely, he helps Peter, the officer who arrested him catch another criminal.

So far there’s only been one episode, which I watched on my iTouch (free from iTunes right now!) but it was a lot of fun. They’ve managed to mingle a few different story lines together within the pilot (rather than just give us formula like so many shows do in the beginning) including the actual criminal capture, Neal’s release details (and escapes), Neal’s criminal contacts, Neal’s accommodations, searching for Neal’s gf, Peter and Neal, Peter and his wife (Tiffani Thiessen). This just goes to show you, I only like police shows that don’t revolve solely around a standard police groups solving the cases.

I can’t think of the last USA Network show that I really liked but with such a good pilot, I can’t wait to see the rest of the show.

The Ruins

Pluses:

  1. this is the first season where it is a girl who gets sent home for fighting (Veronica taunts Tonya until she gets violent)
  2. the elimination challenge no longer involves picking from a set number of challenges (last season we had the same elimination over and over again)
  3. lots of drama (there’s a sort of Evelyn, Kelly Ann, Wes, Johanna, Cohutta mesh of issues, not to mention the whole Wes vs Evan and crew)
  4. the elimination nominations are a little bit more sensible (the buddy system last season was annoying)
  5. Veronica manages to sneak out of the Ruins which just goes to show you how coordinated they all are

Minuses:

  1. the teams are so unbalanced it’s kind of ridiculous (Challengers have lost virtually everything)
  2. Evelyn got “sent” home early because the champions are made of jerks
  3. Susie is a hot head (if someone could set up a challenge between Evelyn and Susie or Ruthie and Susie I would be thrilled)
  4. Wes is kind of an idiot (sure, Evan and crew are jerks but if you threaten them before they do anything wrong, of course they’re going to hate you) and so self-righteous that it’s hard to sympathize with him
  5. it’s such a popularity contest, it irritates me that the elimination nominations are not done strategically most of the time
  6. the challenges are almost always men oriented to the point where the women are always looked at as burdens

Despite all of it’s problems, I enjoy it. I kind of want to do it myself…

Gossip Girl: How to Succeed in Bassness

I love the way they incorporated everyone’s story lines into a single, larger plot. Well, mostly.

First to the extraneous stories-
Lily and Rufus- once again the dullest part of the show, the parents adjust to their first Halloween in the rich side of town. What Rufus doesn’t know: they don’t get trick or treaters there. But no fear, Lily hires kids to come to their door multiple times in different costumes so Rufus would see that he hadn’t let everything he knew behind. Even though he did.

Jenny and Eric- I’m actually kind of glad we got back to his plot point, even if Jenny’s annoying and stupid. (I like Eric, he’s the only person on the show who is genuinely nice in every part of him and doesn’t do scheming.) Now Jenny is having a Plastics moment here
Jenny: You know I had to dump yogurt on you. I had to pretend to be plastic.
Eric: Hey, buddy, you’re not pretending anymore. You’re plastic. Cold, shiny, hard plastic.
Or a cookie monster moment. “Looks like plastic, feels like plastic…” You get the point. So much for making things better. Why does she care about maintaining her crown if she can’t do anything with it?

Now this is where things get complicated because the plot lines are all convoluted:
Dan and Olivia- Dan finally watches a movie of Olivia’s (despite Nate’s warnings) which includes a sex scene with her boyfriend of the time. Rumor has it the sex scene was real, not acting. Dan gets upset so Olivia tells him it was a relationship staged for the publicity. This is of course a lie.

Serena and…- Well, Casey wants Serena to break up Dan and Olivia and get her back together with her former co-star. Good publicity and all. Serena refuses but she has an idea of how she can prove herself to Casey.

Blaire and Chuck- Chuck doesn’t forgive Blaire and refuses her help in opening his club. Instead he turns to Serena and asks for help planning the opening by getting celebrities to come (of course, Casey finds out and is none too pleased but Serena says she will be bringing Olivia and the ex–Peter?–together there so Casey relents). Serena convinces Olivia to come to the club and pretend to be with her ex. Blaire is upset about Chuck not confiding in her but seeing that Chuck is having difficulty getting a liquor license, she contacts Uncle Jack for help. Chuck finds out about Jack’s involvement and gets upset, Serena sides with Chuck on this one. Chuck and Blaire call the cops to break up the party, thereby getting publicity for the club. The only problem: it also puts Serena on the spot, getting her Casey’s celebrity list on the news with negative press. She then gets Dan and Olivia photographed kissing and then kisses Olivia’s ex herself, thereby getting publicity for all of them and pleasing Casey. But she doesn’t forgive Blaire for screwing her over.

Does this mean we’re back to the Serena vs Blaire war of early season one? That could be exciting. I’m very annoyed at Blaire at this point. For a while it was like, her mom is awful maybe we should feel bad but not anymore. To screw over Serena (twice!!) and say “well you chose Chuck and so did I” is totally uncool.

So You Think You Can Dance Top 20

Hurray competition. This week there is no results show, the judges will be making cuts at the end of the night. Considering that I’d prefer the judges choosing in general, I’m happy about that. The tap dancing sounded so off with the music when the top 20 are announced. I do like that the dancers actually did some different and big moves.

Cat Deeley looks a little old today with the old fashioned hairdo and the covered up dress. So with Adam Shankman as a permanent judge, does this mean that there won’t be other guest judges? Still an empty chair for Paula but Nigel says Paula told him she’s interested. He announces that Billy Bell is out of the competition and Noelle hurt her knee and can’t dance tonight. Her choreographer will replace Melanie. If Noelle is ready next week she can stay in the competition if not she will go home. I’m excited to see a choreographer doing the dance (though how awesome would it have been if they’d brought back Jeanine?).

First pair of the night: Channing and Phillip. Channing is a tomboy and Phillip is a poet. They will be doing the Jive with Jason Gilkinson. Phillip says his tap experience helps with learning the routine. There are a couple moments where it seems like they’re paused for too long and it seems like they could use a bit more energy (but that could just be that Rockin’ Robin isn’t so fast). Adam says Phillip was great and Channing was elegant and surprised him. Mary says not bad, good but she wants more from them. Lazy legs not enough energy. Channing got it as it went along but Phillip got lazier at it progressed. Nigel agrees that he expected Phillip to do well, Channing needs to adjust because of the heels. They could have been sharper and that maybe they ran out of energy. More chemistry. I’m not a huge fan of this pair, I don’t love Phillip. I don’t know why.

Time for couple number two: Ashleigh and Jakob. Is it problematic that she’s not dancing with her husband? Ashleigh couldn’t dance for six years due to injury and illness. Jakob is less interesting. Dancing sultry Broadway with Tyce. Will Ryan be jealous or excited? Broadway is not my favorite Tyce genre but nice flip Jakob. Jakob seems to get the cooler moves here. Adam says they found chemistry and smart choreography Tyce. God put Jakob on the Earth to spread the gospel of dance. Ashleigh needs to work on finishing her lines but she was amazing too. Mary says phenomenal. Everything Jakob does is perfect. Nigel says Ashleigh was a surprise in the top 20 but for two nights in a row she’s proved why she deserves it. He would have loved to see Jakob vs Billy because they’re two of the most gifted dancers both technically and performance wise.

Ariana and Peter now. Ariana is from the country and lives on a farm. Peter is Italian. They’ll be doing Tabitha and Napoleon’s hip hop routine about emotionless androids that have chemistry when around each other. Awful costume for Ariana. The dance is really cool but they don’t quite capture the roboticness of it. Maybe they’re not sharp enough? Adam says they didn’t dance alike and the choreography was more evocative with them, not enough action and reaction from the dancers. Focus on their musicality (he does a Lil C imitation which earns a buck from Cat). Mary thinks it go sloppy midway through. Nigel didn’t feel like we ever found “it.” Both were out of their element. Peter did a bit better than Ariana, surprisingly. This is the first tiem he’s been disappointed with either one. (Does that mean Channing is safe? I hope so!)

Fourth comes “Noelle” and Russel. Wait, let me guess, Russel is the first Krumper to make the top 20? Noelle is a southern girl. Noelle knew nothing about the foxtrot style which is choreographed by Melanie and Tony Meredith. Melanie does the routine with him. She’s not so fit so despite her being an expert her lines look so off. Russel is so cute in his totally hitting it dancing. It’s so not the sexy dance it might have been. Adam says Russel defies explanation. He’s so gifted, it was an untested partnership and he just did a smooth foxtrot which is so unlike Krump. Mary agrees, he has an it factor. He has some things to work on. Nigel says Russel is living proof of why he wants kids to experience dance. He had things to fix but his lines were good.

Bianca and Victor
are partners. Bianca has sacrificed things for her dance–she moved alone. Victor is from Miami. YES, TRAVIS WALL CONTEMPORARY! He has to be indifferent to her in the piece. Now this one is actually very sexy and sultry. And almost graphic. I’m not a huge fan of the music for it but it was pretty cool. Adam is impressed by the choreography. Bianca was at a disadvantage because of her tap style. She needs to drop her shoulders and point her toes. Victor is a revelation. Mary is thrilled with her making the top 20 and her passion really showed through. Their chemistry was great and Victor took it to another level. Nigel says they have the best chemistry of any group yet.

Meet Karen and Kevin. Karen is from Venezuala. Kevin was a model. They are doing a cha cha with Tony and Melanie. There’s something off about her wearing that sequinney dress and dancing to Push It. But it still feels a little tame for me, not enough chemistry, a little too steppy. Adam says to Karen “yikes” it was hard to watch anything but Karen. Kevin did a great job too but the lift series was a little awkward (it was, I don’t know why people are booing, I agree). Mary loves cha cha, Karen was sharp, sexy, rhythmical, and she goes on the hot tamale train. But Kevin was rhythmical and sexy but needs to work on the sharpness. Nigel says Kevin danced very well though he does need some improvement. Good performance. Karen is a vision.

Ellenore and Ryan. Ryan loves working out. Ellenore’s parents were dancers too. CONTEMPORARY JAZZ WITH SONYA! Angelic creatures, one pure one overbearing. Ryan is the evil one. Sonya says she’s never felt so inspired. A lot of hype for this one. Ellenore thinks it will be the best piece of the entire series. Ryan’s costume is great and Ellenore’s kind of looks like a diaper. It really distracts me from the piece. Adam says Sonya rocks his world. Technically, he would never have put them at the top but they just became the most exciting dancers. Beautiful, unique. He wished there was more abandon within the dance (AGREED, I think this dance could have been amazing and maybe a few weeks in would have been better). Mary says she loved the chemistry. They were totally in character all the time. Nigel finds it amazing that Sonya’s style changes with everything she’s doing. This was a new style. So far all the dancers have successfully broken out of their own styles.

Brandon and Pauline are next. Pauline does photography. Brandon is a hip hop dancer. They will be doing a smooth waltz with Jason Gilkinson. Meh. There’s something really off looking about them, he’s kind of stiff her lines are just missing it. I don’t know, something is off. Adam says that given the difficult situation (he joined in a day and a half ago). They did a good job in a difficult task. Mary agrees, but they’re really cute. The chemistry was believable but the dancing was not great. Pauline was elegant. (Well how was Brandon supposed to be good?) Nigel says he loves them both. He has to critique it based on the performance and nothing else. They looked heavy, not strong enough. Pauline expects her to expand more. He doesn’t know if they’re good enough for this year’s competition.

Second to last comes Katherine and Legacy. Kahterine loves being outdoors. Legacy used to be a street performer. Hop hop routine with Dave Scott about cavemen. Good for Legacy. This might be my favorite routine of the night. It’s really clever and comedic. Despite Legacy being the only hip hopper of the group, Katherine does well (also, this isn’t quite Legacy’s style either as he’s a B-boy) Adam says it’s hot. Chemistry was fantastic. They have a great opportunity to learn from each other. Mary says Yabba Dabba Doo. Pebbles and Bam Bam were bustin’ a move in the cave tonight. She says to Legacy that he did a great job. It was everything. And Katherine’s popping was right on. Nigel says it was the hip hop version of the search for fire. Legacy brought it to life. Katherine had a couple things to improve on but her musicality is excellent.

The last couple of night is Mollee and Nathan. The young ones. Nathan plays piano and trumpet. Mollee is a goofball. They will be doing a disco with Dorianna Sanchez, inspired by Mexican wrestling. In the practice Mollee hits Nathan between the legs…Well, I think they had a few off moments but Molly certainly can’t be told she danced too young. Adam says they’re so adorable. (Nathan looks ridiculous in his costume.) They’re energy is great (agreed) but they did some very sexy lifts that didn’t seem dirty. Despite not being a fan of disco Adam was a fan. Mary says the routine was hard and they pulled it off with charisma. (Dubbed the dream team.) She predicts they’ll be around for a while. Nigel says their energy brought it to life. Disco celebrated the 70s and is uplifting. They bring the fun to the competition.

Two guys and two girls will dance solos and one guy and girl will be cut. In danger tonight are…(judging is based on everything not just the solo)…Ariana, Brandon, Pauline, and Russel. Surprise after Pauline, boos after Russel. I’m surprised about Russel (what about Peter?) but the rest I expected. I don’t think Russel will be going, (Considering that they will be judging on everything they know, they know that Brandon wasn’t supposed to make the show and despite not having enough time to really perfect the routine, he didn’t do so well. Billy couldn’t rest for a week and come back next week like Noelle? (I wonder what’s wrong with him.)

Read about the Top 18’s Performances.

Greek: The Wish Pretzel

Rebecca is leaving with a billion things. She and Casey banter back and forth about Rebecca being the label whore and Casey preferring vintage. Casey reveals her intent to catch up with an ex, saying she won’t be hooking up with him just because Rebecca would. When Casey asks Rusty if he’s ready, he says they’re not going home. Mom and Dad canceled because they’re going to Maui 9well, who can blame them?) but that explains why he and Dale are going over cookie making schedules. Casey missed this because she skips her mom’s messages (which tend to be long and ridiculous). So she’ll be joining Dale and Rusty for dinner.

Evan will not be going home and neither is Cappie. They should hang out and play golf but Cappie has a turkey hunt. Evan convinces Cappie to skip.

Dale is applying for a grant so he plans to work over break. Rusty isn’t applying. Casey finds ZBZ empty so she does a Bring It On style sing and dance into a hairbrush on a bed. In comes Rebecca to be rude. Her flight was canceled so she’s home. Just the two of them.

Rusty invites the KT’s to Thanksgiving dinner. Cappie reveals being unable to come because he has a “charity golf thing.” Rusty gets an idea for his science project. He tells his teacher and…it sounds plausible. If it works he might have a shot at the grant. But Dale is going for the grant, is it ok to go for it too? There are no friends in the lab!

Casey is alone doing her nails and hears something creepy. Rebecca, is that you? Creepy music, heavy breathing, creaking…Casey finds Rebecca at the door. It’s like the Shining in ZBZ and Rebecca is freaked out so she’s going to camp out with Casey. Casey would rather not but Rebecca guilts her into it, just for the night. She has a rain machine to make her sleep soundly (or makes you have to pee).

Dale gets up to find Rusty dressed and ready for the lab. Rusty reveals that he might go for the grant. You can’t call grant dibs (right?) so Dale reluctantly says he can do it. And then decides to join him in the land.

Rebecca decides not to sleep in Casey’s room again because Casey snores. Casey decides to volunteer in the hopes of good karma. Rebecca is writing a $10,000 check. Rebecca is going to volunteer with Casey (why has she suddenly become her shadow?).

Turkey hunt time. The guys are idiots and clearly need Cappie’s help to solve the clues. Evan texts saying he’s running late.

Rebecca and Casey show up to volunteer but they’re full. So Rebecca writes a check.

Rusty does his science experiment. It works. Or does it? Dale gets nervous and keeps butting in. Rusty’s adviser tells him to keep the project more secretive. Meanwhile Dale’s project sets on fire. Rusty keeps working while Dale has to restart. Dale looks like he’s going to cry and his adviser calls and tells him to make up the work anyway. And then, Rusty’s light bulb seems to be working. At least slightly. Dale leaves dejectedly.

The search continues. Beaver is disappointed to learn that Cappie doesn’t know everything (namely, that Heath was graduating in a few weeks and moving out). He hasn’t been around lately so they started the going away party without him. Cappie cancels on Chambers to continue the game (plus, the next clue is at Omega Chai).

Casey is desperate for good karma. Rebecca gets her to admit that it was a booty call. Rebecca admits she dreaded going home so she canceled. Along comes Evan and Casey invites him to the dinner. Rebecca invites herself over too.

Tense moments for Dale and Rusty as they prepare dinner. Dale cancels dinner. Now Rebecca asks what to do now. Casey notices how many people are still on campus for Thanksgiving so she invites all the volunteers to the ZBZ house for dinner. Can she even do that?

Dinner is microwave pizza. Meanwhile the hunt comes to the Omega Chai house. Cappie finds the next clue but they want to prank the house before they leave. They suggest pranking Evan and Cappie turns down the idea. Cappie pretends they’re not allowed to prank anyone on vacation. What’s going on with Cappie? He’s different. Why would he want to go through the pain with Casey all over again? To be with the love of your life?!!? They do leave a KT RULES sign.

Rusty finds his professor who talks about how his friend screwed him over in the past and when going for the same result, both can’t win.

Casey is shocked that she and Rebecca are getting along. Casey wants to invite Cappie. Rebecca wonders if Evan had seen her flirting with someone. A guy puts on Ashleigh’s shirt and it’s time to end the meal.

Rusty catches Dale reading Rusty’s notes. He should be honored, now he sees him as competition, no longer the anchor. Rusty is hurt to hear that Dale looked down on him all along. Casey gets a text from Rusty about dinner at the KT House. Evan leans in to kiss Casey but she turns him down. She wants more than a booty call (so does he) but not with him. They agree to go to KT’s dinner, even Evan. Rebecca flirtatiously pulls him over.

Cappie finds Spitter on the roof and comes to talk to him. What’s wrong? What’s going on with Cappie? Well, it involves his sister…she’s not just some girl. Evan talked him out of it. Maybe this friend is only looking out for himself. Rusty tells him about his project, the little wire that could. He, like the wire, won’t give up. Anchor or not. What will Cappie do? Have dinner with his brothers. The KTs don’t want to let Evan in but Cappie sticks up for him. They agree (after all, the cowboys and Indians could do it and he’s got tons of beer).

The meal is…interesting. It has jelly beans, spaghetti, popcorn, sandwiches, pretzels, and now time for the Turkey which is really alcohol. Cartwright tradition break the wishbone (pretzel) and Casey wins. She intends to leave and Cappie offers to walk her home.

Rusty in the lab finds Dale at work with his project. No talking! Rusty’s finally works but when he turns to tell Dale he remembers they’re not speaking.

Casey and Cappie get to the ZBZ house. Cappie has something he needs to say…He’s been thinking about stuff (Casey interrupts nervously about hair coloring) he’s nervous. He wishes thinks worked out with them. That was Casey’s wish too. Casey says he should have come after her at the end of the world party. He knows, but he’s here now and…FINALLY A KISS. Well, that was years in the making. He wants to try again.

Cake Boss: Candy, Crash, and Crisis

Buddy has a surprise. He is pulling out candy. They have to do a cake for Dylan’s Candy Bar (daughter of Ralph Lauren). The Candy Bar is celebrating their anniversary with Candy Land. They have characters that they want included. Candy Land road will cover the board along with characters and candy. They crush up peanut butter cups for filling. The girls are artists, creating the characters with modeling chocolate in intricate detail.They even make homemade gummy bears.

Downstairs things are crazy. Buddy has a ton of calls but he doesn’t pick up. He’s too busy looking at  cake he made. The women are annoyed and want to talk to him “calmly.” They think it’s time for him to hire an assistant. He doesn’t think he needs one. He’s hesitant. They yell at him until he agrees. They’re thrilled.

He’s also hired for a wedding cake.

They get 50+ special order cakes a week and they do them assembly line style. In comes the women with Tom, the new assistant. Buddy does not look thrilled though they look proud of themselves. They think Tom is cute and innocent. He wanted a counter position really. They tell him to give him a chance so he agrees to give it a shot.

There’s lots of work to do when in comes Buddy’s nephew. He wants to eat the candy but is told no. He doesn’t understand why he can’t have any. He sneaks some anyway when no one is looking.

Buddy gets Tom to get him lunch. Buddy thinks maybe he’s right. The sisters bully him into doing other things and he doesn’t know how to say no so he never gets a chance to get the food.

They roll gumballs. Downstairs Tom keeps trying to go but they keep not letting him. Buddy begins to wonder where Tom is. Buddy yells and the sisters say they needed help. Buddy said too bad, he’s his personal assistant. They fight in front of the customers. His sisters don’t really care.

Half the time I expect Anthony to drop the cakes the way he carries them. But then Anthony gets into an accident and the car is totaled. Buddy is surprisingly calm. Meanwhile, the cake is untouched.

Time to deliver the candy cake. The road is so crazy that the cake begins falling apart. They have to rush back to the bakery to fix it up. The figurines were okay but the top two tiers were destroyed. They have an hour to remake the whole thing. I’m impressed by how quickly they manage to put it back together again. Dylan loves it.

Cake Boss: Plants, Pranks, and Proposals

Team meeting: botanical gardens wicked plants tour inspired by the book of the same name. They want to make the cake for the author who will lead the tour. The plan is a huge venus fly trap surrounded by poisonous flowers. They use a pipe for the curvature and stability of the venus fly trap.It takes 3-4 hours to make a bunch of flowers.

Meanwhile, Buddy meets a customer to make a proposal cake for a guy who always comes in with his girlfriend. He wants to propose to him there: an oversized bling ring in a ring box. Don’t forget the real ring. He entrusts Buddy with the ring. Diamond out of sugar with a mold.

In comes Mary who doesn’t believe the flowers are poisonous and eats one. She says it tastes good. In comes his mother to yell at him for making Mary eating the flower. Mary says she’s tough and nothing will happen to her. Their mom discoveres the truth though.

While Buddy works on the engagement cake, someone sneaks over and takes the real ring.

In walks someone to order a cake. Buddy wants to punish Anthony for dropping a cake last season. They had a girl pretend to come in for a cake and have him flirt with Anthony meanwhile. Anthony is kind of awkward.

Buddy finished the diamond, makes a band, paints the box to look like the ring box (which he doesn’t realize is missing still).

Time to finish the prank with Anthony. They send him out and then have her plant him against the wall to get spilled all over. He asks her out and she goes toget her phone, leaving him in the perfect place to get dumped on. Anthony says they’ve got it coming. His mother comes out to yell at him. She tells them to apologize. It is unacceptable, she’s the real boss.

The venus fly trap reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors. FEED ME! Buddy opens the box with the ring and it’s empty. He asks who has it and he’s “not kidding around now.” He’s pissed. They tear everything apart but in walks his sister. She has the ring. She just took it to clean it. She just wanted it to look nice.

Transporting the botanical garden cake proves stressful as it has to be taken from New Jersey to Brooklyn. It gets there safely and the plant people are impressed by how realistic the flowers are.

Then there’s the engagement. Everyone watches anxiously. It’s sooo cute. Such an awesome proposal. Of course seh said yes!