Tag Archives: Thursday Night TV Club

Thursday Night TV Club – February 22nd, 2007

 

The Office

I gasped. When Pam told Roy that she had kissed Jim a month before their wedding date, I gasped. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the episode was one built almost entirely around drama, really quite simple drama at that. Much like Joss Whedon worked for last week’s action/vampire oriented episode, Abrams worked well for this episode that was all about the drama caused by two budding relationships (Jan/Michael, Pam/Roy). At episode’s end, Roy went batshit crazy (Which was a bit sudden considering his recent character change, but his sobering down at the end at least put his moment of anger into perspective), and Michael and Jan find themselves at a crossroads where their secret relationship doesn’t work so well going public. It was a good episode, though, even though it focused almost entirely on the dramatic aspects. 

Scrubs

Scrubs continues to settle in around the good but not great area. There is still some solid comedy here, but it just seems like it isn’t going anywhere. J.D. is lacking a purpose, Turk and Carla are lacking drama, Eliot is lacking any real spark with Keith, and even Dr. Cox has lost any sort of drive. It’s really not much more than any multi-camera sitcom at this point; heck, I’d say it has even less of an overarching plot than a show like How I Met My Mother. Still, it has some fairly good jokes here and there, and it’s certainly still enjoyable to see these characters interact. I like recurring patients on the show, and Brian works well, but it just isn’t giving us anything new. 

30 Rock

“I would like to be Michelle Pfeiffer to your angry black kid,” “I want to take this cornbread behind the middle school and get it pregnant,” and Kenneth and Tracy harmonizing to Annie: all in the cold open to tonight’s 30 Rock. The fact that the episode’s writer, Matt Hubbard, came from Joey of all places shocks me, because it was very sharply written. Kenneth as the awkward Entourage member who stirs up the shit, Liz and Jack v. Josh and Agent, Jenna and her unfortunate political knowledge (The ol’ Osama/Obama slip. If it can happen to CNN, it can happen to everyone)…it was all pretty much amazing. Oh so much drama, oh so many cultural references…the fact that this show is in danger of being cancelled hurts me. It hurts me deep. “Television on. PORNOGRAPHY!” The entire thing was an incredibly well orchestrated piece of comedy, right down to the Bodyguard moment to end the episode.

 

The O.C.

In a show that was often about relationships, about the connections between two people, it was somewhat refreshing to see a finale that was more about individual characters than it was about Seth/Summer, Ryan/Taylor or Julie/Frank or Bullit. It wasn’t about these pairings, but rather the individuals at their centre. In the end, Ryan is happy, Seth is happy, Summer is happy, Julie is happy. Sandy and Kirsten are happy, connected as a unit, with a new daughter in tow.

Flashing forward six months skips what would have been unnecessary drama. While I thought that they turned Taylor into a bit too much of a spazz compared to the past few weeks, the fact of the matter is that it all makes sense. In the wake of the Earthquake, everyone looked to settle for what seemed easiest. Taylor and Ryan abandoned their relationship, Seth and Summer gave up on their passions, Kirsten settled on Newport as their home, Sandy settled his dreams, Julie settled on Bullit.

The episode, more than about creating happy endings, was about creating happiness for each individual character. It was about fixing the problems that caused as the earth, and the characters, settled after the Earthquake, not about fixing all of their problems in one fell swoop. Sure, there were the occasional contrivances designed to make everything sugary, but they were plot-based only; the characters reached natural, relevant conclusions.

I didn’t say much in my obituary piece about how I really felt about the show’s quality. The fact is that I didn’t pay much attention to the 3rd season, I stopped watching during the whole Johnny saga. And yet, I tuned into Season Four, and continued watching. I liked the addition of Taylor, and the character of Kaitlin was a pleasant surprise. Bullit was grating at first, but he grew ever so charming in the end. Season Four saw Ryan become more emotional (and funnier), and gave Summer a purpose she hadn’t had before.

Whether it was perfect or not, I think Season Four did a great job of leading us to a conclusion that was satisfactory. It’s tough to really complain with any of the conclusions found within the episode; we see Ryan as a successful architect, Sandy as a professor, Seth and Summer marrying, Taylor and Ryan’s relationship remaining ambiguous but friendly, Julie graduating from college (Bullit/Frank & Son/Kaitlin on Team Julie was incredibly powerful for the character’s trip from trailer park to Newport), and Ryan offering assistance to yet another hoodie-wearing youth on the streets.

Schwartz kept the nostalgia for the end, spending the rest of the episode on personal revelations in the present. That nostalgia was all through Ryan, his trip through the Cohen household for the first time intercut with his last. However, perhaps most importantly, the use of Marissa’s character was incredibly well handled. The locket with her picture was subtle, not overbearing, and her appearance in Ryan’s memory was brief, poignant. While I believe that her death was positive for the show, her importance to its narrative can’t be ignored.

So, a toast to Josh Schwartz and company for a job well done. You’ve left these characters in an existence where they seem happy, fulfilled. Yeah, Seth didn’t really get a real purpose and some things came together all too easily, but it was fulfilling. Much like Alias, which may not have ended perfectly but left its characters in the right place, so too has Ryan and the Cohens and everyone else found their happy place in TV Heaven. Things will never be the same for hoodie-wearing young offenders of future generations.

American Idol – Top 24 Results

Did anyone else find this to be one of the most awkward results shows in the show’s history? The first person is standing alone at the end of the stage and is told, point blank, that he’s going home, even before Ryan reads the judges’ comments. The second person is picked at random out of the lower line and unceremoniously told she’s going home. There is no time to collect her thoughts, no time to truly deal with the reality that her dreams are over. The second set of eliminations weren’t nearly as frustrating, and we got a video package for all of them at the end, but it still came off as more awkward than it needed to be. (Although that was quite the incestual choice of Chris Daughtry’s “Home” as the song played for the eliminated contestants (Paul, Nicole, Amy, Rudy).

The actual selections aren’t really all that surprising, as boring always loses out to crappy at this stage of the competition. Antonella and Sundance, arguably some of the worst on either side, both had substantial coverage in the earlier auditions; they might have sucked, but they were people that could build fanbases and the like.

The episode itself moved almost too quickly, which is always surprising considering its length. With four eliminations, a special performance from The Colour Purple by Fantasia (She seems well suited to the material, I’d say), the return of the Group Sing (Which wasn’t half bad) and gratuitous recaps, things moved quite briskly. I have to wonder, however, whether or not something a bit slower paced and, dare I say, respectful might be perhaps more entertaining in the end.

Grey’s Anatomy – Some Kind of Miracle

Shonda Rhimes may not be the best writer working in television right now, but she is fantastic at scripting and organizing these event episodes. The same sensibilities which made the two-episode Super Bowl arc last season work so well were in place here; it made for television which changed its characters, had great relevance to the show’s overall themes, and extending the show’s mythology that much further. Continue reading

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The Pros and Cons of Survivor: Fiji

Now, before I begin, let me note that I watched this from about 3:30am to 4:10am in a hotel room in Antigonish on Friday Night, so perhaps my mind wasn’t as sharp as it could have been. Also, this will be replacing Thursday Night TV Club this week, purely based on my current schedule crunch. That being said, let’s get to it.

Pro: Contestant/Audience Confusion

Seasons of Survivor that start with watching 19 confused individuals try to figure out what the hell to do are often the best. The season started with all 19 on one island, building a shelter together and being forced to work together with no idea what was coming next. It reminded me somewhat of the Pearl Islands shopping excursion in that it was a neat shift of pace in the opening episode that kept me interested far more than last season’s racial divide.

Con: Mark Burnett is ripping himself off

The latest season of The Apprentice started in exactly the same way. Everyone works together to build a tent, two leaders are selected to head the teams, and then they schoolyard pick from those teams. If one of the contestants had not backed out of the game so soon before its opening, it would have turned out in exactly the same fashion. It just made Survivor seem somewhat repetitive, although it is the better reality show overall. Continue reading

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Thursday Night TV Club – February 1st, 2007

Well, here we are on the first official day of February Sweeps. What better way to usher in the month than with a night chock full of juicy sweeps episodes of your favourite TV shows?

This is definitely a busy night, especially considering that we’ve got some cliffhangers to resolve, a series winding down to its finale, a series coping with a switched-gender addition to its cast, and some Office realities to deal with. Let’s get to some honourable mentions first:

30 Rock

Oh, Tina Fey and Co., why did you have to hurt me so? Don’t get me wrong, there were some flashes of brilliance in this episode. I enjoyed Kenneth as the angel, Tracy as the devil, and I think that some of the Jack/Liz banter was good for the show’s development (And Isabella Rosselini was really quite funny in what I would hope to see become a recurring role should the show get the chance).

But, I have to wonder who thought that Paul Reubens’ inbred Habsburg Prince (Pictured) was a good introduction to the show. The character was never funny enough to justify its silliness, and pairing him with Jenna only made me dislike her more. I like Will Forte, and I think he was the best part of the whole situation, but it was just dreadful to watch. It made for a fairly weak episode of a show that is usually a standout amongst Comedy Night Done Right. Still, it gets major props for mentioning the Defenestration of Prague which Dr. Duke would be proud of.

The Office

I want to talk about the office more indepth later today, but as for this episode it was merely mediocre. The show isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, and Dwight quizzing Ben Franklin (Pictured) made me incredibly happy. The advancement of Jim/Pam/Karen was somewhat stagnant, but at least it was there.

The rest of it was just blah. The Stripper thing seemed to stress Michael’s idiocy to a degree that somewhat bothers me, especially after we saw him play the straight man to Andy (Who I’ll get to later today) in the past few episodes. On top of this, the rest of the episode just kind of lingered there, never really finding a proper grounding, and the advice/insight brought by the stripper was limited at best.

Still, there were some moments of laughter, but not enough to keep me enthralled with the episode on the whole. Plus, we all know that Jim is going to dump Karen, and then Pam will have moved back to Roy. It’s being choreographed so much I almost think it’s a ruse.

Grey’s Anatomy

Two marriage proposals result in, apparently, two marriages. A patient becomes incredibly toxic. Bailey opens her free clinic remarkably quickly. Izzy acts like a complete bitch. And Ellis Grey wakes up from her Alzheimer’s coma and is also a complete bitch, but one who is entirely correct if a bit selfish.

The result of all of this is an episode that goes a mile a minute. I didn’t even get into the whole crazily horny Addison thing, where she’s sleeping with Sloane purely out of lust, or the entire fact that Ellen Pompeo actually acted (I know, it was shocking). And, in the end, I think that so many things going on was perhaps the episode’s downfall, never quite settling on one thing or the other.

George and Callie’s marriage is doomed, simple as that, whether Sara Ramirez was added as a regular earlier this season or not. Izzy might be a bitch, but she’s technically right, it’s a horribly ill-advised scenario. I mean, he was a sex-crazed maniac one second, and then husband the next? She has some issues she needs to work out.

This being said, I have the exact opposite feeling about Cristina and Burke’s impending nuptials. They reacted the way they would, being surgeons, neither showing their emotion in their contemplation. Their final moment of Cristina refusing to wear the ring, but then accepting the proposal was perfect, and then it culminated in a celebration filled with elation, happiness (Pictured). It was a fantastic piece of television, and certainly made the episode worthwhile, but I just felt like it was too cramped, too rushed to enter into my Top Three.

So, without further adue, let’s get to the top Three for the Evening:

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Thursday Night TV Club – January 25th, 2007

So, let’s face it, it’s a pretty slow night for TV on paper. There are only three of Thursday’s big shows that are new, so in terms of numbers there isn’t much to go on. Despite this fact, however, there appears to be plenty to talk about nonetheless.

The worst thing for American viewers is that all three of the shows which are new all air at the same time. However, thanks to the joys of Canadian Simulcasting, The O.C., CSI and Grey’s Anatomy are all at different times through this evening. And thus, let us take a look at these three shows in terms of their performance last evening.

 

3. CSI – “Redrum”

While I will admit to not paying complete attention to this, it’s still interesting to see a procedural actually change a little with the introduction of a new character. Liev Schriber’s Keppler is no Gil Grissom, but I think that this is a good thing, as was shown here.

The reverse forensics approach (Hench the redrum, get it?) was a bit difficult to follow while watching only half-heartedly, but it’s something I like to see. It had these characters, usually working in relative harmony, pitted against one another, and then the happy reunion of everyone at the end.

Also, I haven’t watched much of CSI since the whole Grissom/Sara reveal, but even without Grissom on screen it felt weird. I’m definitely not shipping for those two, that’s for sure.

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Thursday Night TV Club – January 18th, 2007

 

Thursday is clearly the biggest TV night of the week at this point; no three hours of primetime offers nearly as many worthy programs, and the variety is truly stunning. Starting in February you’ll have a dose of reality (“Survivor”), a pinch of drama (“Grey’s Anatomy”), some procedural seasoning (“CSI”), and a huge helping of comedy (“The Office”, “Scrubs”, “30 Rock”, and “Ugly Betty”). That’s a whole lot of TV, and sometime it’s even a little bit daunting. Despite this task, I want to try to take it on, and will try to highlight three of them every Thursday that features new programming.

The episodes I choose may not be the best ones, but rather the ones worth commenting on. For instance, no matter its quality, I would have commented on last night’s Scrubs Musical episode. Similarly, I will very rarely comment on something like CSI unless I happen to decide to watch it, as it doesn’t do much week-by-week. Therefore, I’ll try to mix things up, and avoid covering the same show every week. Sometimes, however, this might be difficult.

Last night was one of those nights, so let’s run down some honourable mentions first:

First off, I’m squarely on Team Pam, but I feel bad for Karen on The Office. She clearly didn’t know what she was getting into, following Jim to Scranton, and it’s got to be tough when she’s battling off against a receptionist with little else to do. This week’s episode was a bit too over the top in terms of Andy’s behaviour, I’d say, but it remained humorous throughout, and I wish more Staples employees were like Dwight.

Well, sorry Mr. O’Malley! I know I said yesterday I wanted your storyline on Grey’s Anatomy to end sometime soon, but I really didn’t mean for you to die on us. Everyone’s laundry has now been washed, hung out to dry and then taken off the line, so Grey’s get a bit of a fresh start at this point in its season. Should be interesting to see where they head from here; according to the previews, some Chief-succession drama. I’m all for naming Burke “Caesar” and Derek “Brutus”, btw…and lets face it, Caesar’s totally a homophobe, he’s gone extremely soon.

I’ve been a bit disappointed in The OC’s fourth season lately; the entire French husband thing was a stopgap and nothing more, and it’s hard to believe that there is only 5 episodes left for them to wrap things up. The episode was fine, as most have been this season, but it’s missing the carefree attitude I enjoy most about the show, and its own episode-ending creepy character note (I’ll get to the other one in a second) was downright abysmal. Here’s hoping for a quick resolution and then some OC soul searching to lead into a proper finale.

And now, to read onto the big three: Continue reading

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