Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday Funday - Mad Men is Back

I distinctly remember having a very meaningful discussion with my friend about two years ago regarding the genius of Mad Men and the the organic tension presented in every scene:

Me: "nothing is happening up here" *flails arms above head* "everything is happening down here"  *gently motions just above table*
Him: "okay... another mojito?"

Zou Bisou Bisou roughly translates to "what the WHAT?!"
And with the return of Mad Men last night, I stand by these statements, but times, they are a'changin'. Early on in the Season 5 opener A Little Kiss, there are lingering scenes where you are just waiting, WAITING for something to happen. And then, true to form, BLAM... nothing happens.  There's a bunch, but two jump out in my memory last night: Don shaving (with the brush his kids gave him for his birthday) and pausing to look in the mirror; and the scene where Megan goes out to the balcony with her drink after getting an earful from Don about the party and how he's embarrassed. Don's scene is not really new to us... how many times have we seen that expressionless face in a mirror? But Megan is new to us, an unknown character who throws surprise parties! sings in French! makes very public displays of affection! What the hell is this?! People don't do this on Mad Men! When Megan goes out to that balcony, we are very unsure about what's about to happen... will she start smashing glasses on the floor? will she start drinking everything in sight? will she jump? Nothing happens up there (*motions up*). But everything has already happened *down here* at table level. At table level, Megan has already shaken things up: besides her performance and the party itself, much was already made of Megan's "last minute" invites to the party and her hip, young, and at least one black, possibly gay? friends. Stuff is breaking through! The next day, Megan actually confronts Peggy about something she said about working the weekend and plainly states "What's wrong with you people?"clearly establishing her as not only the outsider, but representing the cultural changes happening in these mid-to-later years of the 60's (in this episode, we're in summer of '66). We see Megan really struggling to understand this old-school way of thinking, of working, of being and is not shy about expressing-slash-confronting-slash-exposing these dusty old conformities. As for how the fight about the party with Don and Megan is resolved, Megan starts to clean their post-party apartment in her undies while telling Don that if he doesn't want people to know he's "getting this" then he doesn't get to "get this."  Bwahahahahaha.... nice try, honey. Have you met Don Draper? It goes without saying, they do it on the nasty, cheese-curl-ridden floor. 
A smile usually reserved for clients

So, as much as Don Draper stays the same with his sexy-time, things are definitely changing for this man. First, Megan knows all about Dick Whitman. This in itself is a new way of living for Don. Now there's someone to bear his burden, or at least make his burden bearable. Don seems to be reveling in this newfound lightness. This is not lost on Peggy, as burdened as ever, when she says of Don's decidedly I-don't-have-your-back-Peggy moves in the board room with big client Heinz, "Clients are right all of the sudden? I don't recognize that man. He's kind and patient!" Indeed, Peggy. Indeed.

Boys Club is about to get shaken and stirred
Of course, Megan is not the only thing challenging the old ways. Interwoven throughout the episode is the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Could there be a more perfectly arranged visual representing this culture clash than the scene of the good ol' (white) boys of Sterling Cooper standing in the doorway while the waiting room is full of hopeful (black) candidates for possible job openings? A thousand words in this picture. 

- Poor Sally Draper seems to have grown into the responsible one (p.s. I always and forever will refer to Sally as "poor Sally Draper." Always.). However, with the changing times and her on the cusp of teenagedom, if anyone is going to "turn on, tune in, drop out" it will be this girl.
Titled: Ashes on baby's face. Oh, the sixties.
- Joan's baby! Adorable baby bums aside, Joan seems to be having a time of it. In another example of *up here* the baby is Joan's hubby's, we really know that *down here* this is Roger's baby and everyone is playing along. Well, Roger is playing along as best he can. Even he can't help shouting out "There's my baby!" when Joan arrives for a visit, then plays it as if he is talking to Joan. If Joan's heart dropped then, we didn't see it.
- Oh, Roger. Still trying to be relevant, he is worming his way into any business meetings he can crash. Of course, these are mostly Pete's since he is bringing in the most business (or so he reminds everyone at every chance). Thus setting us up for continued rivalry.  Lots of great Rogerisms last night, but Best Rogerism actually came from Jane (she's learning a lot from him):  Roger to Jane: "Why don't you sing like her (Megan)?" Jane: "Why don't you look like him (Don)?"
- Pete still being Pete. Besides the same ol' same ol' with Pete and his love of tantrums, and general ungratefulness of his life, how fantastic was the scene with Peggy with Joan's baby and Pete? Again, if any signs of history being acknowledged happened there, we didn't see it, even though Peggy's personal discomfort with the baby was palpable. 
- Love that Peggy is still with underground journalist Abe!  I hope this one lasts.
- This whole story line with Lane is so creepy: Lane finds wallet, distrusts cabbie to return completely, takes wallet to find owner, finds picture of girl in wallet and basically has the 60's Lane version of phone sex with said girl. I mean, I guess it fits in with his character where he is more than unhappy in his marriage and this life his abusive father is making him live. But really how desperate to proposition a stranger on the phone? I guess most telling of Lane's mindset is his meeting with Joan, where Joan is emotional and professes to feeling lonely not being at work. Lane replies essentially that you don't always find everything you need at home. You don't say, Lane.
- No Betty, but she sure was mentioned when Don says to his children at the drop-off outside of Betty's house "Say 'hi' to Lurch and Morticia for me."  Nice. Dad of the year.
- Megan sings sings Zou Bisou Bisou, not Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo. I'm here to educate. Also, I love that she calls Joan's baby "a little chou (cabbage)." Tres francais!

Hit the comments with your thoughts! Please keep all comments in French, or in song. Preferably both.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Walking Dead - Burning Down the House

Burning Down the... Barn

I think I will start this entry by saying at the :38 mark of last night's The Walking Dead finale, I said (out loud to the room) "It's only been 38 minutes?!?!" So now that we have established that it was a jam-packed episode, let's dive in to the awesome chaos (oh, and turn your speakers up for the soundtrack).

Herd is the word
LCT: AHA! So THAT'S where that gigantic herd of walkers came from!  This was such a revelation, because it pieces together a bunch of things: first, Rick saw that helicopter when he was in the city back in Season 1 Episode 1, so those damn zombies have been walking since then! Second, this means we are getting closer to potentially figuring out where that helicopter went (or where it's from, or both). This also raises the question, how long has it been since Rick woke up? Given that winter is coming (evidently) and it was hot and summery at the start, it has to be only 3 or 4 months, right?
KC: Yes, I loved how this episode started!  I thought it all made perfect sense and really, it was just damn bad luck!  I was so intrigued by the helicopter - I didn't remember Rick seeing it in Season 1.  You're thinking it was a flashback to the time he saw it and it's taken all these months for the walkers to make it that far?  Interesting: you would think they might repeat that scene of Rick seeing it the first time to remind us if that was the case, but I can still buy your theory.  I guess that means they were eating Rick's horse, no?  Great set up for whatever is coming up next.  By the way, is this the first time we've seen events that were outside the perspectives of our characters?  
LCT: I totally thought that was Rick's horse they were eating. Rick saw the helicopter and then tried to follow it on said horse, then turned and found the hoard of walkers in the street with the tank. So, maybe it's not from when Rick was there (we saw some stuff happening in downtown after that) but soon after? I don't know if we have had that "outside" perspective before, but I think they did it as a reminder of sorts as to Rick's journey. Now that he's the king.
In other news, RIP Herschel's Farm. That was a pretty amazing scene, and finally Carl is doing what his parents tell him (give that kid a cookie!)  Also, ewwwwww.... zombie brains on Herschel.
KC: Poor Herschel... I'm not going to miss the farm though, good riddance (of course, they'll probably be stuck in that prison we see at the end for the entirety of season 3).  So many disgusting/AMAZING gore-tastic moments in this episode.  It's hard to believe this airs on non-pay channel television.  Oh sad background characters who were just there to be zombie fodder.  I don't remember your names, but I'm sure you were lovely people.
Total crap
LCT: Fucking Lori...  never mind that all of a sudden she's crazed because "where's Carl? he was supposed to be upstairs!" (crazy eyes everywhere) and all that crap. I mean, I think I've beat that to death and I don't think there's a viewer left in the world who thinks she does even an okay job. But I wanted to leap through my TV and punch Lori in the face when Rick was telling her what happened with Shane. How dare she? HOW DARE SHE?!  Yes, fine, so "she's mad at herself" or whatever... but this is unacceptable. I can't even find suitable words to express how much I hate this character. I am so sick of her and her not-watching-her-kid-driving-off-by-herself-stupid-crazy-eyes-all-the-time. ALL.THE.TIME. 
KC: Agreed.  Her ridiculous freak out over Carl aside, her reaction to Rick's truth telling was mind boggling.  SHE GOT WHAT SHE WANTED!  Bad acting and terrible writing.
LCT: I don't know what they are doing with her character. The creative team seems to defend her actions and write her into ridiculous situations... how will they ever turn that character around if they are in denial?
I need a heroooooo...
Now let's talk about Daryl... racing off on his motorcycle to get Carol with the sounds of Bonnie Tyler's  Holding Out for a Hero blasting in the background! Oh wait, maybe that was just in my head. (Note: this was back when I wanted a Caryl thing to happen. Those days are long gone, my friend. long. gone. See further down for details.)
KC: Love it!  Although, I was hearing Total Eclipse of the Heart for some reason.  What?
Zombie, meet tree
LCT: Andrea - FREAKING BADASS SURVIVOR ANDREA! (insert Destiny's Child here). I kept telling her to climb a tree, but now I'm not sure that would have helped because, you know, those things walked all the way from downtown Atlanta, so they're not gonna let a little thing like a tree stop them. So she ran, she ran so far away... and then whoooopah! HOODED AWESOMENESS with 2 chained walkers (with no arms, and no jaws) and a machete!  For peeps who read the comics, you know who it is. KC - I am VERY interested to know what your reaction was to this scene. My reaction was to hit P's leg and yell "SHUT UP! SHUT. UP!" I couldn't believe she showed up right then!  Also, there's this about Andrea: she doesn't know Shane is gone, she doesn't know who this hooded character is, and she may or may not know that the farm is gone. Interesing.
KC: Go Andrea!  I wanted her to climb a tree too, but then I figured that the zombies would gather around and trap her there.  I was not expecting mysterious hooded figure as I've been able to avoid any spoilers.  So intriguing!  Does she have pet zombies on leashes (chains)?  Most of the people we've met in this world are familiar types not that different from ourselves; but as we head more into dystopia land, I'm guessing we'll see more outlandish people shaped by this strange new world.  I can't wait!
LCT: The final scene with the group... lots to discuss here:
  • LCT: Okay, when did Carol become such an asshole? Who the... what the...? What is her problem? Daryl said it best: "What do you want?" and she says "A man of honor" but she's looking to Daryl to be that person? Daryl is the greatest thing in the world for answering "Rick has honor."  See, Daryl gets it... why doesn't everyone else? Never mind... I take back all my Carol-Daryl (Caryl) musings. She doesn't deserve him.
  • KC: I think the writers have trouble with Carol - they don't seem to have a handle on who she is from week to week (which is also a problem with Lori).  I could never get behind a Caryl situation I think because I pictured more as a mother figure to him.  Now, I just hate her... you need to be zombie lunch, Carol.
  • LCT: So Rick knew they were already infected... SO WHAT? Why is this a big fucking deal? First, I don't think he explained very well that he wasn't sure about it. He starts to say "You know how crazy Jenner was" but never really gets to plead that case before everyone is all over his shit. Also, what would it have changed? Rick says this, but no one has an answer. What would it have helped at all?
You're all infected already. Maybe. Who knows, I'm crazy.
  • KC: I do understand the group feeling somewhat betrayed that he didn't tell them even as I understand why he didn't.  The way it was revealed was party of the problem, during a high pressure situation when everyone is just about losing their shit.
  • LCT: T-Dog! I like that they are making him this alternate voice, with him saying they should go to the coast. When he first said this, I thought that makes sense. I was thinking a boat would be the place to be, and P said go on an island. But now I'm thinking, none of that is good because everyone is infected soooo... it could be more treacherous in isolation? I don't know... everyplace is effed.
  • LCT: Very telling after all that anger towards Rick that Rick lays down the Rick Law and says like it or leave it and no one leaves. Not even asshole Carol.
  • LCT: Rick! RICK! Super badass RICK!
  • KC: Rick rules!!!  Literally! 
KC: By the way, really liked the Glenn/Maggie scene when he told her he loved her.  Moving, I thought.  It was also so wrenching to have Herschel pulled away from his farm - I actually thought he was going down with it.  Love the actor and the character, so I'm thrilled he will be around for next season, at least for a little while.
LCT: With the introduction of Michonne and the very public casting for the character The Governor, Season 3 is shaping up to be epic! I am terrified of it. Absolutely fucking terrified. Full disclosure: I stopped reading the comics because of some stuff that goes down with these new characters. So disturbing. Like, couldn't-read-another-page disturbing. Who knows if they will stick to the comic or deviate, but whatever happens, it will be unlike anything you've ever seen on TV before.

Hit the comments, readers!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Walking Dead - No Bites, No Scratches

Yowza kablowza! The Walking Dead is on fire! Two major character deaths in as many weeks is a sure sign that we aren't playing by your daddy's rules in this here apocalypse anymore. So much to say about this episode, so let's get started. Guest blogger KC, where you at?

KC: There's just no other place to start: THE DEATH OF MFING SHANE.  Holy Jeez. Now, I'll admit that as a general rule, when I'm watching a show, I'm usually so caught up in the what's going on that I don't anticipating plot twists (sometimes its a sign that it's too obvious if I pick up on it right away), but this was such an amazing turn of events that knocked the breath out of me. What this show lacks in finesse, it makes up for in sheer audacity. Two major characters in row, gone.  

LCT: Gone and then back and then gone again! Well, at least where Shane is concerned. I know they keep touting this notion that "no one is safe" but I have to say that until last night, I would have guessed that Shane would have been around until the finale and Dale, well I just didn't think about him going at all. Noooooo Oooooone issssss Saaaaaaaafe.... (um, except maybe Rick.)

KC: Weren't you blown away by their confrontation?  I loved the moment right before, when they're still in the woods:  Rick gives Shane that long, appraising look.  A look that says "I'm on to you, asshole."  I feel like the show has been building to this moment for almost entire series and it didn't disappoint.  Rick's cry of agony after he stabs Shane was wrenching.  Followed by the reveal that Carl was watching (I think?) the whole thing.  Or maybe he just saw the stabbing?  Once again though, who the hell (Lori) was supposed to be watching (Lori) that kid (Lori)?

My new favorite meme.
LCT: That scene was very well done. Mostly because I didn't know for sure what was going to happen up until it happened. Did Rick have it in him to actually kill Shane? Was Shane so batshit crazy that he would not only face-smash a tree but face-smash Rick as well? That was a gut wrenching scene that stabbing (pun thoroughly intended!). If you watch closely, Shane was lowering his gun. I am so impressed and respect the fact that they had Rick kill Shane by stabbing him - it just drives home how personal this was. It's funny you mention that barbaric yawp that Rick lets out. I, too thought it conveyed so much pain. But mostly I thought "this is the same guy who is a classically trained British thespian and was in Love Actually, the greatest movie of all time?"  Give this dude an Emmy!

Oh yes, binocular-lookin', gun-totin' Carl. First, I need to address the fact that early in the episode, Shane greets him with "Carl, what are you doing wandering around here by yourself?" Right, how god damn UNUSUAL. But during the Rick killing Shane scene, clearly we know that Carl saw them out in the field, but exactly what he saw could be debatable. I mean, yes he probably saw the scuffle, but there was time from the house to the field where he wouldn't have been able to see anything. So, from that perspective, who knows what he saw? BUT it does look like Carl is aiming the gun right at Rick so I think we were at first led to believe that he did see and was going to avenge Shane or something. At least, that was my first reaction and I was stunned... that Carl might actually pick Shane over Rick essentially. Meanwhile, Rick also thinks the gun is pointed at him, and is unloading some guilt trying to explain himself to Carl. Carl killing Zombie Shane is pivotal and will have lasting repercussions, I'm sure. 

KC: The rest of the episode generally left me cold.  I liked the scene with Andrea and Glenn getting the camper started - a rare moment of subtlety as they express their grief over Dale's death.

LCT: "left me cold" hahahahaha... oh, KC and your undead humor! I did like that scene with Andrea and Glenn, too. I definitely think it was meant to show how Dale was really closest to them and gave them guidance, or at least something to argue against. They were part of the original group - we don't really know how long Dale, Glenn and Andrea had been together before even Shane, Lori and Carl joined them. 

KC: Speaking of Lori... Lori: now you're trying to make nice with Shane?  That scene was just, I don't know, icky.  

LCT: Okay, so of course I think Lori knew exactly what she was doing with that whole "I have to thank you" business. She was pushing all of Shane's love buttons by reminding him of what a hero he had been and how good they had had it "whatever it was" and how she just owes him her life, etc. Of course he is going to interpret this as a clear sign that she's coming around to his side and if Rick wasn't around just how good they would have it again. So, I might be giving Stupid Lori way too much credit here, but I feel like she was pulling her best Lady Macbeth in order to start a l'il sumpn sumpn. If not, then this scene is just ridiculously out-of-place and only used by the writers as a pretty little package so that Shane can die now. (For what it's worth, I have read interviews with writers and creators saying this scene was a result of Dale's death for Lori and that she wanted to start living life clean slate. I think this is crapola.) 
KC: How about T-Dog? He got another line this week.  Now that the number of characters are dwindling, maybe he'll get a personality.

LCT: Oh, yeah, he got some knee slappers in, too. I thought that he had so many lines (comparatively) that he might bite it in this ep. Alas, the writers were thankfully not so obvious.

KC: And now Glenn: dude, you got Herschel's watch, why are you pushing Maggie away?

LCT: I totally agree. This dude has to get over himself super quick. I mean, what's his big beef anyway? "Oh no, she loooooves me?" Glenn is one of my faves, and I don't know what the hell they're doing with this story line. With Dale now gone (sort of his father figure, don't you think?) he has to man up and stop being so mopey. 

KC: Question: where did all those walkers come from that showed up at the end?  

LCT: Ah, the hoards of zombies... I think this is a fantastic display of subtlety in divulging information. If you recall, after they bury Dale and they are moving and shaking to secure the farm house, Herschel says "those creeks have been a natural barrier and they're all about dried up" and then Maggie chimes in "with our livestock it's like we're ringing a dinner bell." So knowing this, plus then Carl's shot heard 'round the world, it does makes sense that all these zombies would be heading their way. But DAMN that's a freaking crapload of walkers. So as to where they're coming from? Dunno. But all of this leads to: aaaaaaaah, Daryl and Glenn are IN.THE.WOODS!!!! 

KC: Another question: How did Randall (and Shane) zombify without getting bitten?  Is the virus airborne?  Maybe you know the answer, LCT, from the graphic novels?

LCT: Twisteroo! Not to get all toot-toot, but last week I pointed out that Shane and Rick were looking at zombified bodies that didn't appear to have bites or scratches. And then in this episode, Daryl says the same about Randall. But it's not until Shane bolts upright after Rick kills him that we know this is actually happening. So yes, it seems that everyone is already infected. If you think about it, everyone they buried had been shot or traumatized to the head, most recently Dale. So they're not coming back. I have read that they were very careful throughout all of the scenes, especially the blocked highway scene, to show non-zombie bodies with obvious head trauma. ALSO, many people speculate, as do I, that this is what the CDC dude whispered to Rick. I love this whole turn of events!

Other interesting stuffs to talk about:

- Daryl! I wish there were a way to write his name with pink puffy hearts around it. (Working on it.) He is just the greatest character. Did you seeeeeeee the waaaaaaay he was looooooking at Carol at Dale's funeral?  Oh yeah you did. I am hoping we are closer to Caryl or Darol.
- Daryl! Again! Master tracker... dude was like Prince Humperdink ("there was a mighty duel"). He stopped short of determining that Crazy Shane smashed his face into the tree, but he was thisclose to figuring that out, I'm sure of it. 
- Andrea... with Dale and now Shane gone, her guides have left her. I really hope she grows into herself and becomes super kick-ass. As it is, I think her character is just meh, but I think she has so much potential.
- Did anyone else think the crazy cut-ins of ferocious zombies as Shane was "changing" was overkill? Like all of a sudden we are seeing from the dead POV? Also, that happened super fast. But I guess the speed was pretty much explained at the CDC.

Next week is going to be KrAzY.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Walking Dead - Judge, Jury, Executioner, Father

...OR "We Only Kill Some Live People, and Sometimes Only When We Vote On It" ...OR "How to Raise a Sociopath in the Zombie Apocalypse." There's many a blog title that comes to mind. I could hardly watch the opening torture scene where Daryl went all Sayid on Randall, and right afterwards I said "That might have been the most difficult scene to watch on this show yet." Foreshadowing! Because now I would argue that the scene with Carl in the woods and Dale getting ripped open like a pinata were equally as difficult. A few months ago I read that the team at TWD said the rest of Season 2 was going to be much darker and more violent. Darn tootin'.

Here's the riveting dialogue between myself and guest blogger KC:

KC: Well, that episode literally ended with a bang... and it took me completely by surprise, so good for you, "The Walking Dead" creators.  Poor Dale.  I went from liking him in Season 1 to finding him insufferable during the first half of Season 2.  But I found his efforts to convince the group that they're giving up on their humanity by killing the kid in cold blood to be pretty compelling.  The confrontation scene was fantastic, and I was glad Andrea backed him even though it was to no avail.  Talk about survival of the fittest - I should have known that bit was foreshadowing. 

LCT: I was so surprised! Especially since there had been an accidental spoiler by AMC on their website last week that did not have to do with this at all. And I was totally bummed out. Like him or not, Dale is the voice of conscience here and a strong character. This will shake things up for real. Will Andrea now become the voice of what's right and wrong? I doubt it, but it seemed like they were somewhat setting up for that with her ultimately siding with Dale during the debate. Side note on debate: Watching Dale go around trying to muster up votes was like watching the weak link on Survivor try to gain votes to make it through tribal council. Maybe Shane's right and the new apocalyptic motto should be Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. Only here when you get kicked off you don't go to a hotel and eat a buffet. You are the buffet. 

I am hearing on the interwebs that a lot of peeps are disappointed with the manner of Dale's exit on the show vs. what happens in the GNs. I would have to say that at this point, the stories are so different it's hard for me to compare. I do think Dale's death will set quite a few things in motion here on the show, not the least of which is how will Carl deal with his complex emotions regarding the fact that he could have offed that walker in the woods. That and his seemingly growing indifference to violence. And at the very least, we won't have to watch Dale and Andrea getting it on in a prison. 

What was Dale doing walking away from the farm at night anyway? Was he taking a walk to get away from the killing of Randall? Was he walking the perimeter for security? Was he fixin' to leave this broken group?

KC: Dale and Andrea getting in on in prison?  I'm not sorry we missed that.  I was never sure if Dale's interest in Andrea was romantic or paternal on the show although it was leaning towards romantic when Dale started to become jealous of Shane.  LCT, do you think killing Dale was a long term plan?  I'm thinking they came up with this on the fly but it's just a guess.

LCT: First, the story lines are so different from the GNs, so the reason for Dale to be around as a character is different. I'm thinking that through this season it was becoming clear that things were going to come to a head with this whole "how do we function in the apocalypse" thing. My guess is it became evident that Dale would become a broken record if he stuck around... in fact, he was kind of getting that way in the first half of Season 2. So give him his big hurrah speech and make his death meaningful. So, I don't necessarily think it was on the fly, but I do think it came out of how the story developed this season.

Don't get fooled by that cow, Dale!

KC: Carl: Was that Carl's walker that killed Dale? What the fuck is up with that kid? Creepy. 

LCT: Oh, you mean the walker that Carl taunted in the woods because where else should a ten year-old be during a zombie apocalypse? Oh yeah it was. I'd recognize those milky cateracts anywhere. I'll tell you what's up with that kid: he's watched many people he cares about munched on by zombies or shot or both, including probably his best friend in this stupid zombie world (Sophia) and he has a stupid mom who doesn't watch him. (More on parental neglect below.)  We rarely, if ever, see his parents or anyone trying to talk it out or help him cope. Which is fine. But it's all "go over there" or "don't listen"  or "roam freely however you choose because we 'say' stay where we can see you, but we're not really paying attention to you at all." Actions speak louder than words here, my friends. I'm not sure Rick's advice of "don't speak, just think" is helping this kid any either. In short, they are mixing up a recipe for creepy, nasty awfulness in this poor kid. He is the precursor to Randall (who took a little too much enjoyment in stabbing a walker last week):  do what you need to do to survive, laws and rules are for suckers and there's a nasty thrill in killing. 

KC: Lori MacBeth: she didn't do anything really stupid this week... except that she was NEVER WATCHING HER KID. I guess Rick is at fault too, but he had to, like, play executioner. 

LCT: ... and judge and jury, too! Rick has his hands full. But no matter who's actually "responsible" for Carl, I am here to tell you that as a mom, my kids would be full-on tethered to me every flippin' second. Aside: I fully expect this show to incorporate a running line every week à la Perry the Platypus on Phineas and Ferb: "Where's Carl?" Cue laugh track and zoom in on Lori's crazy eyes. Lori is always stupid. She sucks. 

"Where's Carl?"

KC: T Dog: when he popped up while they were waiting for the execution to happen I thought, "oh, he's still on the show?" I thought maybe he'd wandered off between episodes never to be spoken of again like Mandy on "The West Wing." And Ainsley on "The West Wing." But no, he's still around.  Maybe next episode, he'll get to say something. 

LCT: Oh, West Wing... sigh (looks out window, wistfully... and remembers this scene regarding Ainsley Hayes). They need to do something with T-Dog. I just hope they can give him something strong and not make him zombie feed.

KC: Andrea: I like that she gave Lori the smack-down last week, and, as I said before, I liked how she backed up Dale.  Excellent character rejuvenation.  I have a feeling that she'll have some good moments next week when they mourn Dale.  Have we always known that she was a human rights lawyer?  I don't remember it being mentioned before, but I'm sure I could have missed it. 

LCT: Ha! I said the same thing... did we always know she was a civil rights lawyer? If we both thought it, I bet we didn't know. I like that they're building some back story on Andrea so her actions and words have more context. I don't think the rest of the "broken group" will necessarily turn to her for advice on right and wrong, but she is definitely finding her voice, and that will probably continue. 

KC: Some fascinating questions raised tonight... really, the most important one the show has ever raised: what does it mean to be human now in the new world order?  Do the rules that governed society in the world before the zombie apocalypse still apply?  As much as I respect Dale's argument, the others may be right.  This IS a new world: the old rules don't apply anymore, and your only choice may be simply that you must do whatever it takes to survive and keep your family safe.  Dale was unable (too old?) to adapt and was therefore doomed.

LCT: I'll take this one step further and say, what does it mean to be human in the apocolypse right now? Meaning, at the start of the show these people were all thrown together and had to trust that things would work out. When they got to Herschel's farm, they had to learn to trust each other as strangers. Now all of a sudden this particular stranger is a threat. Dale was articulating this when he said "What makes us so much better?" Also, they save him from town, fix up his leg (miraculously, it seems) and were gonna let him go in the wild and now they are gonna kill him for something that might happen? Actually killing this kid locked and tied up in your barn because you saved him is way different than killing live people when they draw a gun on you. This is the genius of the show, because you feel like there should be another way. But maybe there's not. P.S. Why don't we hear Maggie saying she knows him or not? 

KC: I love what you said here... it does feel like there should be another way, but I certainly couldn't think of one.  Plus, like Dale also said, will killing Randall keep the other men away?  Probably not.  But they still can't let Randall go.  As for why Maggie didn't say whether or not she knew him -  didn't Randall say last week that he knew her, but she wouldn't remember him?  He's willing to say anything to survive though, so who knows what's going on?

LCT: Totally agree that Randall will say anything and he did say "she (Maggie) wouldn't know me." But here's the thing: they're in the middle of East Bum and I'm pretty sure everyone knows everyone. My guess is if they asked her, she'd say no way. But what does that get us? So they can drive him out 25 miles and drop him off now? Not sure. All conscience issues aside, you know this kid is bad news. Too bad they can't kill him.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hodgepodge #2 - American Idol, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey

Here we are at Hodgepodge #2. So much awesome TV to talk about...

American Idol/ The Voice

Let's start here, since the Top 13 were announced just last night. I've been watching American Idol since Nikki McGibbon ridiculously outlasted Tamyra Gray. Oh, memories. Since then, AI has had it's share of ups and downs and has evolved into quite a legit singing competition. I have never been a fan of the whole spectacle of making fun at these poor people who can't sing a note. If you think about it, they probably had to sing for at least 10 judges before getting their shot in front of JLoTylerJack©, and were therefore validated in that process. So, I am the happy viewer that has seen AI getting further away from these in the past 2 seasons. Also, I think JLo is a fantastic addition to this team. While we do see her struggle sometimes to be truly critical (see: Brielle feedback last night), I think she delivers her feedback with poise and assurance and is even able to give pretty solid advice. Okay, I'm slightly biased because I wanted to kick Paula in the face every time she said anything. But truly, sitting between Steven and Randy, sometimes JLo appears to be the smartest one there, if not the most grounded.  In any case, way to go America for voting in probably the BEST TOP 10 in the history of the show. Yup, I said it. Every single one is a strong singer and there's some real showmanship (the good kind, not the kind that kinda makes me wanna puke. I'm looking at you Reed Grimm) and artistry represented, not to mention personality plus. I think I'm pulling for Heejun, Philip and Joshua Ledet, and I love that Gentle Giant, but I am so happy with this crop of contestants, I'm just looking forward to watching the show.

I have a feeling the success of The Voice has a lot to do with this recent evolution of AI drifting away from gawking at the poor bad singers and also with America voting in the best of the Top 24 into the Top 10. The Voice is a terrific concept and so enjoyable to watch. I love the way everyone is invested in the outcome on this show. While judges on AI are definitely rooting for their faves, on The Voice, the judges are just as involved with the competition as the contestants. The success of the contestants, once chosen, reflects on the judges ability to coach as much as anything else. The blind auditions make for some of the best TV around. In direct contrast with AI, the voice is the singular defining ingredient of success on The Voice. Although I do suppose the judges take their cues from the live audience as much as their ears, you still watch artists going through that you would definitely not see on AI.

The Shields Brothers wouldn't be getting on no American Idol 

P.S. Here is probably my favorite scene from AI this season and I now use "get down" as my standard response to everything, especially really emotional situations.

get down

The Walking Dead

I am telling you something... I am more and more impressed with how the writers are deviating from the GNs and this whole Rick v. Shane business is riveting. Riveting! Thanks to Lady Macbeth (who I guess had to drive off by herself, flip her car and *almost* get chomped by walkers only to survive with barely a scratch in order to tell Rick that Shane is no good), Rick is actually laying down the law, especially for Shane. At a literal crossroads almost 18 miles out, Rick tells Shane how it's gonna be. He also tells Shane he will kill for his family... anyone. We also find out that Rick knew about Shane and Lori way before Lori told him. Interesting. I thought the fight scene that came later between these two, generated by the question of what to do about Tied Up Kid, was epic. Brilliant story telling here, when the kid says he knows Maggie, now not only is it kind of personal, but this means he knows the farm and thus, Plan A of leaving him behind doesn't work anymore. Triggerfinger Shane wants to shoot him on the spot, Rick needs time to think, which Shane views as weak. Parts of this fight were hard to watch, truthfully. The genius of The Walking Dead is demonstrating how it's not necessarily 'how are these people going to survive the walkers,' but more 'how are these people going to survive with each other.' If Survivor has taught us anything, people are jerks. In any case, after bashing each others faces in for awhile, Shane awakens a pack of walkers and in the end, Rick and the kid save Shane and Rick says "you're just gonna have to trust me." Get down.

Other Thoughts:
  • One of the most very interesting observations in the show was practically buried. Shane and Rick discussing a pile of dead peeps: no bites... maybe scratches? Take note! This will come up again.
  • The Walker in the Field... is what this ep should have been called. Cool visual, but what does it represent? Just a reminder that they are everywhere? Is it symbolic of Shane feeling alone when he was once tethered to Lori and Carl? Or, I think I saw Shane instinctively reach for his gun upon seeing the walker way off in the field. Shane's level thinking about minimizing use of guns seems to register, as Shane ultimately doesn't shoot at the walker... or is it that Shane is seeing himself?
Shane? Is that you?
  • Shane seeing his image in the broken glass of the building (after he threw a pipe at Shane and woke up all the walkers in the building and gave them a way to get out - way to go!) was another arresting visual. This very closely parallels when Shane is looking in the mirror when he shaves his head. This is what Shane is now... this is what he has become.
  • Beth/Andrea/Maggie/Lori: so is all of this Beth suicide biz basically to remind us of hope vs. hopelessness? A lot less time could have been spent on this. The Lori v. Andrea showdown in the kitchen prior to the Beth suicide drama was pretty great: again, the brilliance of showing all sides. Andrea's "you have it all, Lori" speech was spot on. Sure Lori is saying someone has to cook and clean, etc. but Andrea is kinda right in saying why does it have to be all the women? This harkens back to one of my fave scenes from Season 1 where Andrea stands up to Carol's dickhead hubby Ed about "women's work" and then Shane beats the crap out of him (even though we know he's hitting Ed out of frustration over Lori having just told him off as much as dude's an asshole). 
  • The kid in the trunk is doing everything he can to survive, and his very presence represents both sides to the Shane v. Rick conundrum. But the kid sure took way too much pleasure in stabbing that walker. I think he's some no good trouble right there.
  • *Kinda Spoiler* I'm having a heart attack over casting for TG (new character to the TV show). It doesn't matter who they cast for this part, I am not looking forward to this story line. 
  • *Spoiler* Don't read this if you're not into spoilers, but AMC accidentally let this one slip yesterday: major spoiler 
Downton Abbey

The season finale a couple of weeks ago did not disappoint. I have, however, been disappointed to read several reviews and reactions to the episode (such as this one) and Season 2 in general as contrived and not up to par with Season 1. Perhaps it's because I watched Downton starting with the end of Season 1 and all of Season 2 before going back and watching all of Season 1 from the beginning, but I saw no difference between the seasons and certainly thought the Season 2 finale was as good as Downton gets.  It does kind of make me smile when I hear people calling a scripted show such as Downton "contrived." To me, the whole appeal of the show lies the unseen twists and turns, the quicker paced resolutions to some story lines as well as the more drawn out plots. Otherwise, it would just be so boring. I think one of the greatest episodes of any season was when a badly scarred soldier comes to Downton to convalesce and reveals himself to Edith to be long lost Cousin Patrick. Then he DISAPPEARS. All in one episode. Fantastic! Others saw this as clear evidence that Downton had lost its way in pace and storytelling. I thought it was refreshing and interesting and clear evidence of poor Edith.

I just love the way they pack so much into each and every episode, and the drama of the twists and turns cannot be denied: Lord Grantham and the maid! Cora almost dies! Valinia conveniently does die. Branson and Sybil! Poor Mr. Bates and (now) Mrs. Anna Bates.

I will say this, however: I was getting on board with the whole idea of Mary going to New York. Imagine the adventures and suitors and dresses this girl would have! The dresses, people! Alas, just when you think Downton will zig, it zags and actually fulfills on the promise of Matthew and Mary together rather abruptly but awesomely.


I look forward to seeing what drama will unfold in the next season, especially the fallout of Richard exposing Mary's secret. And I can't believe I am saying this, but are we rooting for an Edith love triangle with Cousin Patrick and Sir Strallan? (pause) Yes. Yes we are.

Other Stuff:
  • After approximately a millenium off of TV, Mad Men is back Sunday, March 25. I.Can't.Wait. 
  • The Killing is coming back April 1st.  God, I love this show. I am preparing my soul for its weekly crushing. 
  • I have officially given up on The River. To sum up, just a few too creepy dolls on the tree for me. Oh, and it's not smart at all.
  • One of these days I will dedicate an entire entry to the brilliance of Modern Family. This show gets life. Or, my life anyway.
Comment away on anything you want to chat about!