The Long Term Issues

Television has changed a lot since its inception. Shows started out simple, but with the advances in technology and advancement of acting, story telling has drastically changed. Shows started dealing with challenging topics such as homosexuality, diseases, unwanted pregnancies, violence, etc in ways that they never had before. But even as they dealt with these issues, they mostly dealt with these issues in quick sweeps. In one episode we would learn that a girl’s parents were having a divorce, she would be upset and angry, and by the close of the episode her parents would have her convinced that it would be all right. In a single episode a boy would find out that his new friends do drugs, they pressure him into joining them, and by the end of the episode he stands up to them. But like so much else on television, these rushed are changing. Some recent shows are paving the way for more in depth looks at tragedy and character struggle:

Glee– Glee has gotten a lot of attention for its story about Kurt coming out, being bullied in school, connecting with his very “manly” father, and finding a boyfriend. This has been a continuing storyline almost from week one and now into the second season, it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, another semi-major character has revealed that she is gay and has only just begun to deal with it.

Private Practice– The rape of Charlotte King has been a major story of this season and it was weeks before the character could open up about her experience, much less be intimate with her boyfriend.

Grey’s Anatomy– the show ended last season with a shooting that left the hospital staff reeling but what it allowed the show to do is spend time looking at how each of the different characters dealt with PTSD. (Christina’s story in particular took a look at how traumatic the experience was, though she was not the only one.) The result was a completely revitalized show.

Parenthood– It is not common to find a character with disabilities on a show. The Secret Life of the American Teenager has a supporting character with Down Syndrome though mostly as comic relief and Grey’s had a doctor with Aspberger’s for about two weeks. Actually seeing these issues play out and how it affects the family is a rarity. One of the most unique elements of Parenthood is that we get to see Max, Christina, Haddy, and Adam deal with all aspects of Max’s Aspberger’s. The most touching moments of the show almost always come out of these families struggles.

Make It Or Break It– A recent plot line of the show has been one characters anorexia. This is the perfect example of a story that typically gets an episode’s worth of time but instead, every time we think Kaylie’s problems are about to be fixed, we learn that more is to come. (If the show is really smart, we will see Kaylie have some very serious side effects, beyond fainting.)

I can only hope this new trend of spending time on issues and letting them be a part of the larger story remains. It adds a new depth and sense of reality that shows were lacking until now. What shows do you think have taken this step in dealing with their character struggles in depth instead of hurriedly? Are there any you feel should have done this and instead have had missed opportunities for relatable, strong stories?

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General Recaps

Dexter– Not much has changed since the last time I wrote about this show. Some people are disliking Julia Stiles’s character, but personally I love it. The relationship that she and Dexter have is fascinating because on the one hand he’s training a protege and on the other he’s trying to shield her. The way he acts with her is some of the most human we’ve ever seen him, even more so than when he was with Rita where a lot of it was about guessing what the right thing to say was. He’s been more honest and open with Lumen than he ever was with Rita (for good reason). Meanwhile, I love the little twist that Deb’s story line has taken. Fired because Laguerta’s trying to save herself! The cop who idolized her turning on her! Can’t wait to see Deb strike back. And with Angel on her side, that should do wonders for the already irritating (and troubled) marriage. I’m still waiting to see how everything comes together between Deb’s story and Dexter/Lumen’s but I’m not seeing how it would. Unless it’s just Deb’s being out of work and her relationship that makes them intersect. Finally, there’s “Quinn’s” investigation and the pictures of Lumen and Dexter dumping bodies. So that’s one more person to kill. Personally, I’m really liking this season though I’m not sure they can really beat the shocker that was the end of last season.

Brothers and Sisters– This week was the first time where Luc’s presence on the show felt like it had a point. Maybe it’s just me, but until now his only point was for Sara to have issues and basically ignore him. For the first time we had an opportunity to learn a little about him and see him have an actual storyline. Justin as sex God was a lamer thing, didn’t he change at all over this series? And what happened to the girl from the hospital? I liked her much better than Scott’s staff members. Kitty’s absence this episode was a definite plus though, I did not miss her at all. I did miss Saul though. Has anyone else noticed that he’s been getting more and more absent as the show continues? Bring him back! Let him have a relationship for once. Meanwhile, I would really like Scotty to get more in the way of storylines. We got a little with the cheating on Scotty and with his parents, but I want more. Also, we get it that Paige is a bratty teenager, but what is Cooper’s story? We haven’t seen him in ages. Nora and her friend/love interest are cute but I’m more excited to see what happens when Sara becomes her boss (finally she’ll be back to storylines that aren’t just about her love for Luc and insecurities because he’s younger).

House– I have to be completely honest, I’m really enjoying Amber Tamblyn’s awkward new character. I’d be happy to see Thirteen return, but I kind of hope we can keep them both. Get rid of Foreman or Taub maybe. I’m sick of them. Even Chase is sort of boring at this point. Maybe it’s time for a new guy. House and Cuddy are still a strange relationship that’s sometimes endearing and sometimes a little irritating. She expects him to tell her the truth, he intends to lie…I particularly loved when Wilson’s new girlfriend/ex-wife says she sees House’s side of things. I’m hoping they do more about them (like the episode with House and Cuddy’s baby, that was great. I can’t wait till the kid is a little older and can have funny/entertaining conversations).

How I Met Your Mother
– We knew that it was only a matter of time before Robin Sparkles returned, but I never anticipated Jessica Glitter. This week had some funny stuff, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite. It was one of those filler episodes where nothing really changes. Still funny, but not quite as exciting as other episodes.

90210– Is anyone else waiting in eager anticipation for the moment when Adrianna is finally outed in front of the entire world? That is all I want. When that happens I will be happy. I’ve realized that the main reason I dislike Naveed is because he LOOKS dirty. Like he hasn’t washed his hair or anything. Silver has been a non-character all season so I guess they’ve decided it’s time to give her a relationship with Naveed which will also bring drama into the girl group. I do wish we’d seen more of Ivy hanging out with the girls (do you think they will get her to be more girly?) but all we got was the precursor. Teddie’s story is one of the most interesting. I like how they’ve finally said that him being gay isn’t just a sudden plot twist (though perhaps some more subtle hints throughout would have been nice) but something from before. On the upside, there was none of Liam’s annoying “girlfriend,” on the downside there was very little of Naomi. No surprise that Aunt Becky and the teacher slept together, it was only a matter of time.

Chuck– There were a few particularly fascinating and excellent things in this week’s episode. For one thing, YAY SUMMER GLAU! Her storyline was pretty hysterical, though I was kind of hoping for a little more. Meanwhile, Chuck was trying to learn how to re-access his intersect and they brought in a specialist who thought fear would be the way to go. He also thought Sarah prevented him from full fear because he could always fall back on her. Why didn’t they simulate a situation that Chuck thought was real rather than actually bring him into a real one? And why didn’t they “threaten” Sarah because if ever there was something to make Chuck afraid, it would be the possibility of losing her. It bothered me that Chuck was insulted about Sarah saying he wasn’t an agent without the intersect. If he can’t fight and defend himself, he can’t be an agent. It’s as simple as that. Maybe there was a better way for her to say it, but still.

The Event– The show has taken a turn for the interesting (aged little girls, man morphing from young to old, the vice president as evil) but it’s still on the slow side. I want Layla and Sean to do something more interesting. Enough running away and crying. Let us see Layla as a three dimensional character. What skills does she bring to the story? (No, abducting a doctor doesn’t really count.) I hate to say it but the president is pretty lame. He doesn’t compare to any of the 24 presidents. He’s involved in things where it doesn’t make sense and yet doesn’t seem to be doing anything. I mean, does he actually run the country? We need more pieces to the puzzle (or even just more things to make us say “what?”). Think of Lost. In the first season, we saw polar bears, the smoke monster, a hatch, a mysterious distress signal, Locke healed, visions of Jack’s dead father, a cable running through the forest/beach, the others, the mysterious numbers, and some other things. So far in the Event we’ve got…stranded aliens with advanced technology, aged girls, and a creepy man. Not enough. Give us more!

Lie to Me– this show is missing the personal interactions and storylines. Think of Bones. Each week there is a unique case, but we also have a ton of relationships going on as well. Cam and her sort of daughter, Bones and Booth, Booth and Hannah, Sweets and Daphne, Hodges and Angela, and the random techs. In every episode something happens with a couple of these relationships so that it feels like someone has moved forward in some way. In Lie to Me, it is that progression in character that I feel like we are missing. Yes, we have Lightman and Foster flirting and Loker and Torres have their moments, and of course Lightman and Emily, but that’s about it. And we don’t really progress much (at all) with any of them in each episode. Get into the interpersonal relationships more.

Gossip Girl– As much as I hate Chuck, I do like him and Blaire together. This decision of hers to remain apart is interesting (and unlikely to stay this way permanently). Dan and Nate act less like bros and more like a couple. Vanessa is a little bit delusional. While it’s true that Serena gets away with things and her friends help, Vanessa has yet to actually be a victim of this. Her friends have always stepped in for her when Vanessa was trying to screw Serena for no good reason. Still not clear on how Ben got in jail. Even if he and Serena had an affair while she was in school. (Is that the real reason she left? This seems like a really delayed address of the issue.) If he’s in jail for statutory rape then Serena’s mother would know about it. I’m okay with a bit of Jenny here and there just to help with the sabotage (since Vanessa and Juliet are clearly awful at it) but I hope she’s not making an official comeback. What I really can’t wait for is when everyone realizes they’ve been scammed. What do we think they’ll do then? And what will happen when Serena wakes up in Juliet’s place?

Castle– After those excellent episodes where Beckett was being targeted, the show has slowed down a bit. I get it, Alexis has a boyfriend and it’s cute, but we need more. Is anyone else expecting Alexis to get kidnapped at some point? It feels like it’s only a matter of time.

Weeds– This show is not what it used to be. The only interesting thing happening is that Nancy has just fallen into the clutches of Guillermo and Esteban and then turns herself into the police to get away from them. It sounds like there is one season left to this show. We’ll see what happens then, but I miss Aggrestic and the other characters that they’ve eliminated.

Glee– Gwyneth Paltrow! She may not be the best singer ever, but I think she was excellent as Holly Holliday and I hope they bring her in more now that they’ve left the door open for it. I’m fine with Teri not coming back and I notice Emma has been a bit absent of late. Fine by me, the EW recapper may not agree, but I don’t care for the adult storylines (except for Sue vs Will which took an interesting turn this week as Sue realized he was better than the alternative). I like Kurt and the idea of him having a boyfriend (and I particularly love the secretly gay football player) but I’m not the biggest fan of Blaine. I’m not sure why, something about him just rubs me the wrong way, talent and all. It feels like the Glee kids for the most part have fallen in the background (Brittany, Tina, Quinn, Puck, Santana) and I would like more episodes to focus on them. Some people are probably thrilled to hear that Mike the Other Asian has been upgraded in cast status. I don’t particularly care, just because we already have so many characters to explore that I’m not sure we need another at this point. Otherwise, the music is still excellent and I am completely happy with the show.

No Ordinary Family– watch this show people! It needs to build more of the mythology (more hints about who the mom’s boss is for example and bring in some more supervillains), but I think this week’s episode with the parents and JJ were excellent. Daphne’s powers have got to become more dynamic (mind control!) to give her some more active storylines. Somehow they’ve made JJ’s super brain more interesting than mind reading. Maybe Daphne mind reads someone who wants to kill themselves or get revenge by shooting up the school and intervenes somehow? Something. Save this show! (tvbythenumbers.com say this is a bubble show so let’s push it back to renewal!)

Life Unexpected– Well, we know this show is done for. Unfortunate since it just got back to a particularly interesting plot (an abusive foster family). Anyone else wonder what the deal with the recent obsession with student-teacher relations is? Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Life Unexpected, 90210 (though it is obviously different in this case because he’s a rapist)…enough already. The question is, will Lux ever come clean to get Tasha out of trouble? What will happen when they find out.

Parenthood– another show to save. How are people not watching this? Everything about it is compelling. The best story this week was definitely about Christina trying to get Max invited to a birthday party (though I enjoyed the Sarah-Amber college story too). Never has a TV show addressed Aspbergers as in depth as this (well, I can’t say never for sure, but from what I know of) and how it affects the rest of the family is so compelling. Haddie could stand being a little more interesting (maybe it’s time for her to go through a rebellious stage, just as Amber is bettering herself because then who better to help her back?), but otherwise, I’m thrilled. It seems Parenthood is moving nights. Let’s hope this isn’t a too little too late measure to save the show. If you haven’t been watching yet, it’s time to start. This is one of the better family dramas on TV.

The Good Wife– this week was a particularly fantastic episode. Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) guest starred as a pop icon trying to shed her Disney image by over-partying. But the interesting thing was how clearly it was actually an act and not the reality of who she was. And when does it become a reality rather than an act simply because of how long she’s been doing it. Cosgrove in real life seems to be one of the teen stars (though Nickelodeon not Disney which might be part of what’s helping her) who has not gone crazy, but she did a great job of acting the part. I’m hoping the show will further explore Kalinda as well as Peter and Alicia’s relationship (which has been pushed to the background), but otherwise I just can’t believe it took me so long to start watching this show. If you haven’t, this is yet another show that should be saved from cancellation.

Survivor– This season has been a weak one (seriously Producers, Old vs Young is 9 out of 10 times going to be lame, why risk it?), but this week’s did take an exciting turn as Holly instigated a push to get Brenda out. I am surprised that Naonka is still around just because she’s so awful. I would think that Fabio would have tried to make a push to get rid of her (though I guess he has not really made any moves on his own). But the odds of Naonka winning are so slim that I guess everyone is hoping she’s the next Russel.

Bones– I’ve already mentioned some of the things I like about the show, but I am hoping that they kick things up a notch. I loved the gravedigger episodes because there was a bigger picture to decipher. I’m hoping they bring in a new big picture villain sometime soon.

The Big Bang Theory– I’m glad Penny is back. She seems to be walking normally (or normally enough). Not everyone is happy about Mayim Bialick’s promotion to series regular, but as long as the show actually explores her character rather than just use her for comic relief, she will be a good addition. (Though Bernadette has yet to be more than a prop so we’ll see.)

The Office– The show hasn’t been garnering the laughs and compelling storylines of former seasons. I’m still watching but I’m a little ambivalent about it of late. Hopefully it’ll find itself again soon.

30 Rock– I want them to give Jenna a new, bigger story. She’s been comic relief but I think it’s time to explore her background more. We got a little about her mother, but I’d like to see more. Kenneth too, would be nice. The show has still be pretty funny, but not quite as strong as it was in past seasons. I do appreciate the way they dealt with Jack needing to move on (though it wasn’t quite as awesome as the episode where Jack was supposed to walk away from his mentorship with Liz).

Outsourced– The show has definitely gotten better since the premiere. I particularly appreciated getting a sense of Tod’s family, which we haven’t really gotten to see until now. It’s still not the best show out there, but it has some interesting things (especially when it comes to Tod and Asha) that make it enjoyable.

Grey’s Anatomy– I am glad Christina’s bartending stint was only a one episode deal. It’s funny, but not the kind of thing I’d want to go on for a long period of time. I particularly like how Teddy’s taking Christina’s issues so personally. It shows there really was a bond and they’d gotten beyond Hunt. I’m more annoyed with the way Derrick is dealing with these things since it doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything to help but rather is keeping her from being able to deal with things. Avery’s also become more interesting now that he has his own survivor’s guilt issues to work out. Bailey drunk though, was awesome. I love Bailey and really hope she gets more air time.

Private Practice– this show has just reached some of its best point since it started. Charlotte dealing with the rape is intense but compelling (though Violet is really starting to bug me). I also love the little bit of Amelia that they finally gave us and hope they can find a way to make her more of a character on the show. I really liked seeing Pete deal with his family, that was probably some of the best we’ve seen of him.

Burn Notice– this was one of the stronger episodes lately. There’s something about the team being caught and forced to work with someone else while also stopping them from doing anything bad that makes it much more interesting. Plus it sort of followed the show’s general procedure while also disrupting it, which makes it interesting. It’s time for more unexpected things to happen. Take the control away from the players for a bit.

Smallville– I love that Tess is finally a good guy with a past to explore. I was over her self-righteous evil. It would be nice if Louis could start being more of a solution to some problems than the damsel in distress since she’s supposed to be so strong. I was happy to see Supergirl back and really hope we haven’t seen the last of her. (Though she was a little too “perfect” this time around, which is never fun.)

Well, that’s pretty much everything in one of my longest posts ever. Thoughts?

General Recap

It’s been a while since I’ve really written about anything but Hellcats, so quick comments it is:

Gossip Girl– Who else felt the urge to jump up and dance when they realized that Jenny was pretty much gone. As an added bonus for this episode, Vanessa was MIA. The Chuck-Blaire-Jenny storyline was actually fantastic (and the only reason why bring Little J around is worth it is that she seems to attract scheming) and leaves the show wide open for new ideas. (Could it really have been that easy and that quick to end the Chuck-Blaire war?) Is anyone else sick of Serena’s plot lines? What I once found interesting about her character was how she was this out of control party girl who was trying to change, but that lasted only a little while. Now, her only story lines revolve around fighting with her mom (which is somewhat interesting) and sleeping with boys (which is getting lame). Everyone else has other problems of one sort or another, can’t she have some other issues?

90210– While Annie remains the most annoying character on the show, Naomi had become incredibly compelling of late. EW recapper may dislike seeing the softer side of Jenn, but I found it endearing that while she may be okay with messing with her sister, no one else better hurt her. It’s like a really screwed up version of the typical sibling relationship. I will say that the Ivy-Laurel-Oscar situation is more disturbing than anything else. Poor Ivy. Maybe we’re finally getting deeper into her character? I almost felt bad for Adrianna but aside from the fact that I don’t know how she possibly thought she wouldn’t get caught, she has now made her bed…As for Liam, stuck in the house of stalker-girlfriend should be interesting and you knew it was coming when he asked no questions before accepting. Meanwhile, where was Teddy, make Silver more interesting, get rid of Navid, and wonder about Dixon.

Chuck– People, if you are not watching this show, you are really making a mistake! This episode, dealing with Chuck’s mom was so interesting. I love how this show always examines the idea of family vs honesty. When you’re in the spy game, who can you really trust? Biggest complaint of the show: everyone keeping secrets from Ellie. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think she can handle it. And I think she can kick butt if given the chance. Plus Awesome has been missing for the past few episodes, which is sad. Casey using Grimes as bait though, genius.

Glee– Rolling Stones thinks the Rocky Horror episode was one of its best episodes. It may be true. But as someone who had never seen Rocky Horror (I associate it with the creepy kids who used to walk around in lingerie for the activities fair in college), it was just ok. I mean, it was fun, but it wasn’t anything special either. Adam Shankman did an excellent job though. I will say that the idea of having adults in the play was pretty disturbing and I didn’t find the scene between Emma and Schu to be any better. Time and place people!

Better With You– despite my earlier critique, this show has actually grown on me. The scenes seem to be a bit longer (or maybe I’ve just gotten used to them) and the show has hit its stride. Maybe not the best comedy out there, but it definitely has some good moments.

Raising Hope– this show has actually grown on me as well. Every grandmother scene makes me cringe, but otherwise, I like where things have gone. They’re still all incredibly stupid, but somehow it has become more endearing than annoying. (Take this week’s Halloween episode: The dad spent years scaring his son on Halloween so that his son would come home and hug him because he never hugged him anymore. There’s something oddly sweet about how screwed up that is.)

No Ordinary Family– Another show that more people should be watching. The show has started pushing into the realm of the bigger mythology aspects, which is always exciting, but the family drama is pretty solid as well. Daphne right now is pretty lame and could use something more interesting, but the others are much better to watch. EW seems to think JJ was on the road to evil because he kept his powers a secret and used them to get on the football team and do well on tests. The issue has sort of been relieved this week, but personally I disagree with the assessment. Everyone else used their abilities to succeed in sports or academia or some other area, why shouldn’t he? Should he not do well in school despite his ability to do well now, not get into a good school, and not put himself into a position where in the future he might be able to cure cancer or something simply because he has a special ability? I find his making the football team less plausible because even if you can read all the angles, having the ability to throw well enough or far enough or run far enough requires more than a superbrain. We never got the impression that JJ was particularly fit. In fact, they kept talking about how small he was, so how is it that when he got tackled by someone twice his size he was totally fine?

The Event– This show seems to be getting as many complaints as it gets viewers, but I haven’t been as bothered. Sure, it was annoying to have Sophia locked up because she was relegated to the role of “I can’t tell you the truth but I want to be your friend” and nothing more. It was a little frustrating to see Layla be little more than the damsel in distress, but I don’t think that her escape attempt was undermined by the fact that they planned it. Not everyone would have taken the opportunity to even try. And earlier she made an attempt without them planning it. Not to say it isn’t nice to see her out and free. Let’s just hope she gets to play a stronger role now.

Survivor– compared to the epic season last year, this one has been a relatively calm and lame one. I am not sure why they thought it was a good idea to have a young vs old season. Not to say that no old people can do well in this game, but a less physically demanding set of challenges gets boring after a while. Then there’s the question of what some people are thinking. Marty giving up his idol at the promise that he’d get it back next week, Naonka attacking a handicapped person with such fervor that you wonder if it was her religious calling, Sash not watching his tongue at tribal council…I love Jeff Probst’s comparison between Brenda and Parvati. He makes some good points. I think Parvati definitely has to be considered one of the, if not the best, player to have ever played the game. If I could vote on one player for them to bring back, Parvati would be it (though I hope she watched the last season’s tribal and learned what she should have said), though I think she’s done so well in the past that she might get voted out first just to make sure she isn’t a threat. There’s no one as polarizing and compelling this season as in others. I will say that seeing Alina cry actually made her more endearing. The only reason I don’t think it was an act was because normally we’d see a confessional with her saying so.

Caprica– not much to say here other than it’s a shame this show is going off the air (and bizarre that they are doing another Battlestar spin off considering the lackluster success of this one). The show has some solid points, though I wish it focused more on Zoe because it always felt like she was smarter and more complex than everyone else.

Vampire Diaries– Bringing Katherine into the mix and turning Caroline into a vampire were two of the best decisions this show ever made. (Clearly they were going to bring Katherine in eventually, but I’m glad it has happened.) I will say that though I really liked Bonnie in season one, she has really begun to frustrate me since her major anti-vampire crusade has begun. She, with all her history and all she’s seen, should know better than to lump all of them into one group. I’m glad Jeremy is no longer so mopey, but the truth is I’m sort of done with him. He’s never interesting except in so far as the other things going on around him.

Grey’s Anatomy– I absolutely love how this season has shaped up. Some people may say the show is past its prime but I really think this is one of its best seasons so far. Christina is a particularly fascinating case and despite my initial dislike of Torres going gay, I love her and Arizona together. I find Mark and Lexie slightly creepy because she could totally be his daughter, but she does have a good effect on him. The one thing that I feel like I’m missing right now is more Bailey time! Why has she only had a few minutes? (Still not a fan of Hunt-Yang, but fine, I won’t fight it for now.)

Private Practice– You know, a lot of people think this is just a poor imitation of Grey’s but I really find it enjoyable. Some episodes more than others. The Pete-Violet relationship is ridiculous, but I find Charlotte incredibly compelling (and can’t wait to see this storyline with her tonight) and even like how she is with Cooper. If they actually use Amelia, I think she could be an interesting character as well because she has a lot of crazy baggage. (Apparently so does Derrick, but who knew?) I’m sad that they totally dropped the ball on Betsy and kind of feel like it Sam in particular really screwed up. Dale died saving his daughter, Sam couldn’t save Dale’s? Naomi’s absence was oddly felt because this was a moment you’d expect her to be involved in. And have quite the say in. I would love to see Betsy back in a few years, totally screwed up and angry at them. Knowing Shonda Rimes, I wouldn’t count that possibility out.

Dexter– Julia Stiles welcome back! She has been fantastic as Lumen this season and the way her character interacts with Dexter is fascinating. I love Deb and hope her story picks up a bit. Frankly, it’s time her story be about something other than boys. I’m not sure what since she’s already done the victim thing and already worked for the job she wanted, but something’s gotta happen. What do you think would happen if she found out about Dexter and her dad?

Brothers and Sisters– I’m not sure why people are so upset with this current season. While I find Sarah to be a lamer version of herself, Nora as talk show host is just fantastic. The newest Kevin-Scotty drama is both endearing and upsetting. Just when I was starting to really like Scotty. I’ve never cared for Kitty so her story is neither here nor there for me, but I would be okay with getting rid of Luc. (Some people may find the accent thing sexy, for me it just gets annoying.) But even with these many issues, I still find the show compelling. It always has a couple good tearjerker moments and I love the family’s banter. I did miss Saul this week though and hope to get him back soon.

Nikita– I’m liking this show more and more as it continues (whereas I’m finding myself no longer watching Undercovers) though I still don’t find Nikita herself as compelling as I’d like. It really comes down to her protege. She is excellent in basically all she does and I can’t wait to see how they try to test her next. I also wonder how long her identity can remain a secret. Nikita employs a large degree of “idiot plot” (the only reason Alex’s cover works is because everyone around her, despite being a highly successful secret ops organization, is apparently too stupid to see her sending constant outgoing messages and being in the computer lab when she shouldn’t be. (Idiot Plot is my new favorite term.)

Project Runway– Ah the finale. While this season wasn’t nearly as compelling as some others (Heidi really needs to learn what the phrase “throwing someone under the bus” actually means and the talent was disappointing), there is enough there to pique my interest. The final runway this week should be interesting at least since they’ve got the three designers with the most distinct visions competing. It does seem unimaginable that Mondo won’t win, but hard to say for sure.

America’s Next Top Model– Ann’s awkwardness has finally found its weakness. We always knew what it was but it was well highlighted this week. Meanwhile, Kayla is excellent and I really hope she keeps strong. She might be my favorite, weird hair color makeover and all. Not many other girls who I find particularly great (oddly, all the international versions seem to get the more interesting and breathtaking girls). I don’t love commercial weeks. At the very least, I appreciate them having a photograph at the end as well and wish they’d opted to do that this season.

Anyway, that’s about everything. Any shows I missed? What have you been thinking about this season’s shows?

General Recaps

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Tod Margaret– I had the chance to finally check out this new show and I wasn’t impressed in the least. It was basically just watch an ill-qualified idiot be given more responsibilities than he can handle and see him fail. There wasn’t really anything funny about it and much as I love British accents, that wasn’t enough to draw me in. None of the characters were compelling or made me want to watch more.

Glee– Before I even mention this week’s Grilled Cheesus episode, I wanted to talk about the Britney/Brittany episode. TV guide complained that Heather’s vocals are weak, but if we’re honest with ourselves, so are Britney Spears’s. I remember when Baby One More Time was popular, we got one of our teachers to listen to the song and she said: “well, it’s fine, but why does she whine so much?” What the episode did showcase was Brittany’s awesome dancing, her body (which is better than Spears’s ever was), and her awesome stupidity. I didn’t really expect more out of the episode, though I do agree with the assessment that I prefer songs directly related to what is happening and given the number of songs Britney’s put out, it shouldn’t have been all that difficult to manage. On to this week, I really liked the conversation about religion though it would have been nice to hear about the actual Jewish side of things (Rachel for example who cares enough about Judaism to want her kids to be raised Jewish though not enough to date/plan to marry a Jew). As always, Kurt was fantastic. Anyone notice that Rachel is much more stylish this season?

Running Wilde– hasn’t gotten any better really. One of the faults of the show is the daughter’s voiceovers. She’s just got no comic delivery (though she doesn’t have much to work with)

Raising Hope– It’s starting to grow on me. I’m not sure why though. I did like the baby getting lost in the Hoarders’ closet. Interesting that the mom kept all that stuff because she hoped for something better, I don’t think that’s what it’s about for most hoarders.

Parenthood
– Continued solid performances by all involved but I don’t like how Amber has been mostly MIA lately. Bring her back! I liked seeing Gabby get stuck dealing with Crosby and I actually kind of hope they bring Gabby in more. The kid who plays Max is fantastic and the episode about Adam trying to bond with him was really one of the best.

Brothers and Sister– I still think this is some of the best writing for TV dramas. Thank you college roomie for insisting I watch it. (If you haven’t watched it, start from the beginning and give it a couple episodes before you decide.) Not a huge fan of Sarah’s bangs and the daughter’s haircut is pretty awful. I surprisingly don’t mind Tommy being gone but I do miss Saul and Rebecca.

Chuck– I never thought I’d say this, but I really enjoyed Nicole Richie’s performance. Her dynamic with Sarah/Jenny is fantastic though from what we’ve learned of her past I can’t imagine her as a punching bag. I would love to learn more about her. I don’t really get this ever changing agent Greta thing, but that’s ok. I do miss Elie and Awesome.

Outsourced– I’m ready to cross this one off, now that I’ve given it a second episode. This season’s new comedies are just not doing it. How did they get so many great shows last season (Modern Family, The Middle, Cougar Town) and have so many blah ones this season?

No Ordinary Family– I didn’t love this episode the way that I loved the pilot, but it was still enjoyable. I particularly liked the mom tripping over a bicycle while running at superspeed (didn’t anyone ever tell her to watch where she’s going?) and it did help us discover that she has a Wolverine healing factor (or a cheerleader’s). EW talked about JJ’s ability as cheating, but I have a different take on it. Aside from the fact that I’m not sure he can turn his ability on and off, is it cheating to use his own abilities?

Life Unexpected– it’s unclear to me why exactly Lux didn’t want Tash to stay with her newest foster family (was it because the woman was awful or because the woman had been a mother figure?) I miss Cate on the radio but I suppose this woman does bring new drama. My question is how the listeners feel about it. The decision to fire Cate seemed almost arbitrary, like it was a personal vendetta and not a business decision.

Nikita– learning what we did about Alex was really interesting (and even better that Amanda recognized that she was lying despite an excellent acting job). I really like the flashbacks and wish we could learn more about Nikita and why we should really feel for her vendetta (not in the sense that I don’t think Division is bad and needs to be brought down, but in the sense that I don’t buy the love story).

Dexter– There’s something fascinatingly disturbing about Deb’s blindness when it comes to Dexter. How can she, being so close to him, think he is the strong, supportive older brother? Can anyone with so little humanity really fake it that well? Seeing Dexter with Cody was great though I can’t pretend I’m sorry to see Astor go. There’s only so much pre-teen melodrama a person can take.

Undercovers– another show where I found the second episode slightly less appealing that the first. I think my main issue here is that there isn’t any real tension between the main characters. Everything was just a little ordinary. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing either.

Vampire Diaries– if there’s one show that’s really kicked it up a bit (despite a sadly departed Anna), it’s this one. The Katherine vs Elena scene was great and I think I actually believe Katherine loved Stefan. Of course, Katherine’s version of loving isn’t so loving, but that’s a different story. I like Caroline the vampire when she’s struggling with her feelings for Matt, less so when she’s Katherine’s puppets. Why not come clean and get help? I miss the Bonnie of old, this new, moody, vindictive one is tiring.

Gossip Girl– Serena’s storyline is just dumb. I appreciate that she’s meant to be the hot wild child, but really, I prefer her storylines to revolve around her sordid past, fighting with her mom, and fighting with Blaire. And if they must do a love angle for her, perhaps one that brings in a new character. I’m so sick of Dan and Nate. (Nate for his lack of personality and Dan for…liking Vanessa.) I did feel for Dan losing “his” baby. The Blaire-Chuck dynamic has taken an interesting turn. A part of me didn’t think Eva would really be gone or expected him to fly after her or something, but instead he’s decided to go to war against Blaire. Should be interesting. You know, Serena and Blaire fought to get into that exclusive society and now there’s nothing about it.

90210– Adrianna is so dumb that I kind of feel like she’s getting what’s coming to her. But then, her new manager is so slimy that I kind of feel bad. As always I don’t care for Annie so her selling her eggs, besides being stupid and so illegal since she’s probably not old enough to do it (where will she do it?). Silver’s was sort of background this week. All she really did was make situations that allowed for other people’s drama. Ivy’s sex insecurity can only get better now that Dixon has found out that he might be HIV positive. How paranoid will she be when he either doesn’t show or doesn’t want to have sex? Liam and his brother was just eh. Naomi was also sort of a non-entity this week, but she’s been fairly interesting in the last couple weeks so I forgive her.

Grey’s Anatomy– I still mostly don’t care about Meredith, though I will admit that I like how she interacts with Christina. Speaking of, how did anyone think Christina getting married was a good idea or that it was something she wanted/was ready for. I’m guessing the writers will make it work, but I don’t believe it. (I don’t particularly like Hunt so that could be part of it.) Her reaction in the OR was so compelling and was definitely one of the moments of the week. I also liked Lexie-Mark (or lack thereof) for its complexity and Arizona-Callie for its sweetness (even though I had a hard time believing Callie was gay, I like their relationship enough to not care). I’m actually quite impressed with this season so far. I think cutting out some of the new cast from last season was really smart and the fallout of the shooting has been masterfully done. The thing I am most excited for: Amelia’s arrival. Which leads me to…

Private Practice– this show has had its ups and downs and it seems like the Grey’s-Practice writers were murder happy last season. The Violet-Pete relationship is still pretty awful (because though I liked the actress as Amy in Judging Amy, I find Violet grating and Pete so much better than her) but I love the way it interacted with the Coop-Charlotte relationship. I really like Charlotte and she did a great job this past episode of becoming more human while implying that she’d been that way all along. I don’t care for Naomi or Sheldon, but I must admit Addison has grown on me lately. I like Sam though I do hope his storyline doesn’t become all about him and Addison and nothing more. (Same goes vice-versa.) Though sad to see Dell go, I do accept the reasoning, better to get rid of a character than force storylines that are bad. Plus his death was pretty heart-wrenching and unexpected. Finally, I’m thrilled that Amelia has become a permanent cast member, it’s like another link between this show and Grey’s but still natural.

Cancellation note: Huge, Lonestar, and My Generation have so far been canceled.

What do you think? Any shows you didn’t like, shows I should give a second chance, or shows you think I should be watching?

General Recaps

Ghost Whisperer- well, I’m not sure how I felt about this series finale. It sort of felt like things were rushed to a resolution that was all too easy. It was nice to see how Aiden’s powers were important, but it seemed like there was no final battle. Everyone just held hands and then all was well. I wish it had been more of a struggle, that it had felt like they might actually lose Melinda, some sense of danger for Aiden and the rest of the gang. It was like in one moment we got everything we needed to know, rather than learn it gradually like we should have been.

Grey’s Anatomy- this double episode was both good and bad. On the one hand, there was so much happening. You could really feel the shock and terror of the characters. You felt Lexi’s panic, Christina’s uncertainty, Arizona and Callie’s love…As far as acting goes, it was really some of the best. I even grew to appreciate April here. And Mandy Moore did a pretty good job as a guest star. And I wasn’t sorry to get rid of most of those Mercy Westers (not saying this is how I was hoping to get rid of them…) The episode had it’s downsides too, like some over the top speeches and the question of why the doors weren’t locked anywhere. The gunman seemed to hit every wing of the hospital with unrealistic ease and speed. But, I thought emotionally, the episode hit it right. I twas possibly one of the best episodes (2 episodes) in quite a few seasons.

Bones- Anyone else feel sad at the end of this episode? The case itself was nothing special, but there were so many great people moments. (“I taught you about eye contact, you taught me about evolution.”) I’m not entirely sure where this will lead things to start next season (something going wrong on Bones’s trip and calling Booth in?) but I can’t wait to see how they are pulled back together.

Glee- Talk about an episode of awesomeness. Idina Sings! NPH guest stars! Joss Whedon directs! And the music! They’ve made an obvious play (SPOILER: Idina’s character is Rachel’s mother!) that I didn’t even consider until now and it leaves me to wonder if this is setting up yet another twist (she’s faking it to get into Rachel’s head) or it’s true (and maybe she’ll become a regular on the show–fingers crossed). I can’t remember the last time I was so pleased with an episode.

V- it keeps getting better. No question about it, the show has found it’s footing. It took some time but they’ve finally managed to balance character, story, and action. I’m a little sad we didn’t really get to see the baby and I can’t help but wonder if Ryan is just a really good actor or if he’s really been taken in.

Parenthood- I’m so glad this show is on TV. For one thing, the way they handle all the complex familial relationships is skillful. The adults are like overgrown teens in some moments and true parents the next. You feel for both sides of every argument and every issue. (Julia’s character is the least multi-dimensional and I hope for more from her, but the others are pretty well developed.)

Not the Pig Issue Again!

So on this week’s Trauma, one of the storylines involved a very devout Muslim family that was concerned about their medical care violating their religious beliefs. One particular issue was that the medicine they wanted to give her had pig in it so they had to think of an alternate medicine.

If you think back, you may remember Grey’s doing a similar storyline with a newly Orthodox girl who needed a valve replacement and the valve they wanted to give her was from a pig’s heart,which she adamantly refused.

Now, I can’t speak for Islam because I am not Muslim (though I imagine that the rules are similar), but I can tell you that in Judaism, the prohibition on pigs involves eating them, not using them to stabilize your heart. Not only that, but you can in fact eat pig if it is to save your life (for example you have condition where you have to eat every few hours but oddly enough the only food around  you is pig) so it’s a double non-issue. We know that television likes to do things that aren’t realistic but for once I’d like people to portray religious issues with actual religious issues.

In Grey’s I you can almost give them some leeway since she recently became observant so she may not know all the rules, but in Trauma not only did they recycle a more popular TV shows plot, but they did it with details that make no sense.

So TV writers (Cindy I know you will do me proud in this respect), all I want is for you to try coming up with a unique AND accurate storyline regarding religion. Is that too much to ask for?

Grey’s Anatomy: Meredith

So watching the show last night I had my first”wow, I kind of like Meredith” moment. And then she promptly spoiled it. So now I’m back to disliking her. My issue with her stems from the fact that she’s the least active character. She’s had basically two story lines that have carried through the show from season one to now. Considering that she is the main character, it’s strange that she is the least dynamic and complex character.

Anyway, the one good moment was when she stood up for Christina while talking to Owen (“we are not a team, Christina and I are a team…”) I was sort of like this is the first time she’s shown some spine and not been indecisive about it.

But then, Lexi came into the bathroom and was hysterical and Meredith just watched her half sister bawl her eyes out on the bathroom floor without so much as a word of comfort. Really? I know you guys have a tough relationship, but really? It’s not like you hate each other! Meredith, it’s just cruel.

And so now, I no longer like her. Again. (I guess things have just returned to normal.)