Weekend catch-up post, with comments on, in order, "Grey's Anatomy," "The O.C.," "30 Rock," "The Knights of Prosperity" and "House" coming up just as soon as I get dressed for my pylon-lifting class at the gym...
Back when ABC did a "Grey's Anatomy" press conference shortly before the Super Bowl bomb two-parter, we weren't allowed to see the episode in advance (part of Shonda's quest to stamp out all spoilers), so all we had to go on was a vague trailer that looked an awful lot like an ad for one of those Very Special "ER" sweeps episodes where a tank crashes into the emergency room while the Symbionese Liberation Army holds Peter Benton hostage and forces Carter to perform elective surgery on their leader. Somebody asked Shonda whether she was comfortable with her show entering territory so close to "ER," and she flashed her usual Cheshire grin and said that, while the stakes were higher, it would still clearly be an episode of "Grey's," with the focus on the emotional journey of her characters more than on pyrotechnics.
She was true to her word then, and she's been largely true to her word on the sweeps disaster episodes since, but this week's episode felt exactly like something "ER" would do, with one exception: "ER" would have done it better. Whatever morbid problems that show has suffered in its decline phase, they still produce the hell out of all those plane crashes and train crashes and kielbasa stand crashes, to the point where even if I hate every single character remaining on the show, I still get excited when stuff starts blowing up real good. "Walk on Water" felt like it was trying to quicken my blood in that way, but it never got there. Even Alex's rescue of the crush injury woman (and bravo to the makeup department for their work on her) came and went too quickly.
Now, if the emotinal journey stuff had been more interesting, I could have let the lack of goosebumps slide, but I didn't really care what was happening to any of the regulars this week, with the possible exception of poor Chief Weber. That scene in the elevator where Addison dressed down the male attendings was priceless, and the only part of the hour that actually felt like "Grey's Anatomy."
The third-to-last episode of "The O.C." had me wondering: if the Internet is for porn, then how much of it is for clown porn? After the furries gag a few episodes ago, what's next? A rusty trombone joke? (Oh, wait: that's "The Loop" territory.) This was another fairly aimless episode, with the Seth/Summer plot feeling particularly strange. Summer complains that Seth doesn't feel passionate about anything, when Seth's defining quality is that he feels too passionate about things: comics, sailing, Summer, Asian cinema, video games, comics, emo music, comics, etc. Those may not be worthy enough subjects for the worldly new incarnation of Summer, but the guy does care about things.
"30 Rock" has been on a real high of late, so I suppose it was inevitable they'd put out an a'ight-blah episode right about now. There was some hilarious Jack stuff, notably the sequence of him getting progressively drunk (loved the way it was edited so he would always be holding his new drink in the final shot of the old scene) and he and his ex getting hot and bothered while arguing about their Arby's franchise in Telluride, but the rest of the episode fell flat. Tracy was too sane, Pete's story didn't have an ending, Liz seemed trapped in her own subplot, and outside of Jenna's brilliant Vagina Day monologue, I didn't like her storyline with Frank. Even Kenneth didn't make me laugh (outside of the "16 Candles" shout-out with his underpants, and what's with two shows on at the same time doing "16 Candles" refs?), and he's usually the show's secret weapon.
I've had some requests for "Knights of Prosperity" commentary, and I really wish I could say kinder things about the show, as I'm usually a fan of the comedy stylings of Burnett, Beckerman and Logue. But each episode inevitably fades into background music for me after five minutes or so, and I only feel really compelled to look at the screen whenever Rockefeller is talking. (Kevin Michael Richardson is proof that voice actors don't get enough respect in this business.) The cover version of "Cats in the Cradle" was a nice touch, but it's also typical of the way "Knights" uses pop culture references as its dominant source of punchlines. I don't feel like the characters are clearly established enough for me to laugh at them for their own sake, as opposed to when they're name-checking some heinous '80s movie.
"House" gets back to basics, and I couldn't be more pleased. Loved that he was so insistent on winning the bet with Cuddy that he rolled his chair down a flight of stairs. Foreman's always been my favorite of the three sidekicks (he's House's favorite, too), so I'm glad anytime he's the lead on a case. Raise your hands, anyone who doesn't believe House and his pretty new wheelchair-bound rival will get involved, however briefly and disastrously.
What did everybody else think about any of these?