I really don’t have much to say about last night’s episodes, to be entirely honest with you. While I watched everything that was new, I honestly felt that every single show just treaded water outside of one. That one, surprisingly enough, was the one show which seems to be falling off the cultural radar.
While I gave 30 Rock credit last week for continuing storylines over multiple episodes, this week was…just the same as last week. It’s disappointing to see Floyd leave, really, but at least it keeps the show from becoming complacent. This episode was exactly the same as last week’s, in most ways, except this time we had a small dose of Jenna (And yet even the writers seemed begrudging about it, keeping her out of most key storylines and dissing her ability to carry the show in Tracy’s absence). I thought some of her lines were funny, but then they had her trying on underwear and falling down. The character is simply out of steam. Jack’s relationship with Phoebe is frustratingly dull, and the only character currently surviving is Tracy, mainly for the Black Crusaders portion of his storyline. And even then it was fairly low on the comedy scale outside of Gordon from Sesame Street being one of its inner circle. Liz’s trip to Cleveland was cute, but it was all wrapped up in the same cloth as last week’s episode.
Scrubs was on the same boat, as it was one of their annoying “Let’s have other people do the voiceovers” episodes. I think that it wasn’t a half bad episode of Scrubs based on this season’s standards, but I’ve been watching Season One on DVD recently and I can’t help but compare. I do not care about Elliot and Keith, stripper pole or no stripper pole. Ted is fairly boring, and him standing up to Kelso felt dated. Jordan has lost much of her character depth since the intense botox treatments, and I don’t think she really demands our attention. And, while I love The Todd and felt that his internal dialogue was by far the most interesting (and actually funny), it still wasn’t much of a real storyline. All three of the focused-upon characters are never going to actually become anything important, so why bother spending so much time on them when it will all be forgotten by next week?
Speaking of forgotten, I was woefully bored with this week’s episode of Ugly Betty. I enjoy the show, but this episode just did absolutely nothing for me. Wilhelmina seducing Bradford just isn’t entertaining to watch, and Daniel sleeping with a 16-year old is decidedly regressive (moreso than it really needs to be). The show was rolling at a really good clip dramatically for awhile, but this episode dropped the major component of this: Henry. Christopher Gorham’s likable accountant was the thing that kept Betty on track, and watching her fall off the rails wasn’t good television in the least. The show lacked the charm of the rest of the season, and its darker turns don’t seem like the right step forward for the show…and the less said about the terrible Ignacio storyline the better.
For details on Grey’s and the best episode of Survivor in a long time:
Grey’s Anatomy was similarly frustrating, although was a better episode dramatically. The problem right now is that the show is dependent on me accepting George and Izzy as a couple, and just no. They’re great friends, but Izzy was a complete bitch to George when he married Callie, and he can’t just forget that because they had sex and she’s pretty. This week showed a much softer side to Izzy’s character that humanized her a bit, but you don’t get to be a raving lunatic for half a season and have it all go away just because of the daughter you gave up for adoption. The rest of the episode (Karev’s newly facial constructed Eva, Meredith and her fake smother, Derek and his chief aspirations, Cristina and her marriage aspirations, etc.) was fine, and I send kudos in the direction of casting for finding someone who resembles Katherine Heigl…but it just felt really slow.
And yet, which show stepped up to the plate? The one that’s been on the air for 14 seasons. Survivor came to the table with its best episode of the season that finally answered the question we’ve been asking since last Spring:
“What will happen when someone uses the Hidden Immunity Idol?”
The answer is quite simple: strategy becomes interesting, people become quite sneaky and manipulative, and the game becomes really interesting all over again. The Hidden Immunity Idol was introduced on Exile Island two seasons ago, and at the time it was a great idea in theory…but it was never able to be played. Last season it was once again in play, but it was never actually used either. For two seasons the Idol has had a theoretical role in the game, and has never actually been able to play that role in a real sense. Which is why Survivor producers placed two Idols into the game, this time in their own camp where they were readily accessible. The clues were easy enough to figure out last year (Yul found it pretty darn easily), but this time the clues were simple enough and the game divided enough (one in each camp) that they were guaranteed to have an impact…and have an impact they did.
The game became about who knew who had the Idol, who was in possession of the Idol, who knew that they knew that they had the Idol, and resulted in perhaps the largest moment of strategy in the game’s history. One side makes a decision, so the other side switches the Idol, which gets back to the other side who switches to the other person, while the other side decides to target someone entirely new, and then the OTHER side realizes why risk who has the Idol when you know one person most certainly does not. It showed who’s good at playing the game (Earl (and Stacey for a change)), who thinks they’re good but are really terrible (Dreamz, in all his sneaky ways, shot himself in the foot), and who simply got hosed by the game around them (Poor Edgardo, he trusted Dreamz far too much). The result was an episode that made me fondly remember when the game was fresh and new. It’s been awhile since I had that feeling. So, for once, I must send kudos to Mark Burnett. Cherish them.