Friday, March 24, 2006
Comments about the last post reminded me of a bunch of other things I watched this week, including:
"24": A friend tried to kill my rediscovered buzz for "24" by pointing out that it's a show that plays much better in DVD-style marathons than on a weekly basis. This is the first time I had to wait more than a few hours to watch a new episode this season, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. The thing is, I've been watching "24" for so long that I feel like a magician's assistant who knows how all the tricks work. It's really hard for the show to surprise me, so the entertainment comes from the presentation and the forward momentum of the story. So when they dropped that big twist about Audrey allegedly selling the blueprints to the French hottie, it wasn't exactly a shocker. Nina turning traitor-- that was a shocker. This was more of a mild "Huh? Wonder where they're going with this?" But I enjoyed the rest of the episode, particularly Jack finding a method other than kneecapping someone to get the info he needed. Plus, the presence of Desmond from "Lost" as the German spy guy had my mind wandering to all kinds of potential Jack lines on Craphole Island: "TELL ME WHERE THE BALLOON IS!" "TELL ME WHERE THE GUNS ARE!" "TELL ME WHAT THE POINT IS!"
"Everybody Hates Chris": Not the funniest episode they've done (even the montage of Rochelle yelling at everyone up to and including herself wasn't that hot), but the inherent sweetness and honesty of the show buys it a lot of points from me even when I'm not laughing. Plus, who doesn't love to see Jimmy Walker die while eating porkchops?
(Speaking of Jimmy, a pointless biographical anecdote you can skip if all you care about are the TV reviews: During one Social Studies class late in 12th grade, our teacher Mr. Lucibello was explaining the LeCompton Compromise or some other kind of historical pact, and, as it often does, my mind started to wander from one vaguely-connected subject to another, until finally, for reasons I can't remember, I was thinking about Jimmy Walker. I started to laugh, and Mr. Lucibello asked me to tell the rest of the class what was so funny. "You don't want to know," I said, which he took as a sign that it was something that would really embarrass me, and since we'd been trading sarcastic barbs all year, he insisted I tell him and the class what was making me laugh. So I told him, in exhaustive detail, how I got from the lesson to Jimmy Walker, and by the end of it, his face was buried in his hands and he said, "You're right; I didn't want to know that." So now, whenever Marian or I start laughing at something only tangentially connected to what we're talking about, we just say "Jimmy Walker" to explain it. Anyway, back to TV...)
"The Loop": Is it bad that the funniest parts of the show tend to be the made-up profanity ("Jack-rammers!")? And why did all the commercials promote an entirely different episode (with Thesis dressed in some dorky cowboy outfit) instead of this one? And is it possible for Philip Baker Hall to swing a samurai sword around and grunt in every episode? Please? And why am I still asking questions? I don't know, do I? .... ahem... Sorry. I think I still like what the show's trying to do -- the fast pace, the use of music, the work vs. play theme -- more than I like the show itself. Brett Harrison, Mimi Rogers and Hall are all great, but the non-work scenes are really hit or miss. The sandwich storyline never really clicked until they found a way to tie it into the Hong Kong plot.
"The O.C.": After forgetting to record it last week, I figured we were quits for good; I had only been watching out of habit and old loyalty, and once the run got interrupted, I had an excuse to stop. But since I was taping "The Loop" in another room already, it was easy to let the VCR keep going for an extra hour and watch "O.C." in the background while I was doing something else. As multi-tasking wallpaper, this episode wasn't too bad, I suppose: Kirsten and Ryan actually interacting like family, Seth doing sand-floor to block Summer's punches, Ryan figuring out that he needs to stop playing white knight, and, especially, Marissa stuck in her own subplot that none of the other characters wanted any part of (which meant I could fastforward through all those scenes without worry of missing a good Summer one-liner). Maybe this'll turn out like me and the later years of "NYPD Blue," where I'm watching to be a completist and grading on a big curve.
"Saturday Night Live" repeats on E!: They've been showing the later parts of the Hartman/Carvey/Myers years, so I've gotten to see classic sketches like Chris Farley auditioning for Chippendale's and Michael Jordan doing advertisements for his own brand of hardcore porn and something to help girls with that not-so-fresh feeling. My only complaint: due to music rights, they had to remove Van Halen's "Beautiful Girls" from the immortal Schmitt's Gay commercial parody, and it's not nearly as funny with generic Van Halen-sounding guitar riffs. It's an outrage. An outrage!