Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sometimes, I amaze even myself

Another day, another attempt to mention "Arrested Development" in the column for at least an entire week. (Today's column talks about it in context of the ratings for "Prison Break.") So as I'm sitting around, scratching for an excuse to name-check it again, Matt says he just heard that HBO is pushing the premiere of "Deadwood" back to June so that the new Bill Paxton polygamy show "Big Love" can get the post-"Sopranos" timeslot. I call up one of my friends in the "Deadwood" production office, and after we discuss the scheduling move, he says, "You know what you should write in your column? Write that HBO should pick up Arrested Development." Bingo. These things write themselves from time to time.

On to the last couple of nights of TV...

Well praise the lord and pass the ammunition: Rory and Lorelai finally got back together on last night's "Gilmore Girls." Took 'em, what, nine episodes into the season? I'm so glad to be done with The Passion of the Rory that I'm willing to overlook all sorts of awkwardness, like:
  • Rory actually being rewarded for stalking the newspaper editor, when said behavior would have at best gotten her tossed onto the sidewalk by security while the editor told her, "And you can forget about that recommendation." There's a difference between perserverance and simply refusing to accept reality as it is.
  • Lorelai letting Emily off the hook for the many awful things she's done to both herself and Rory in the last season or so.
  • Rory magically getting reinstated at Yale with only a few weeks to go in the fall semester.
  • The reconciliation scene coming together so quickly that, even though we've been waiting months for it, it felt rushed.

But whatever. They're back together, and much like Lorelai, I'm just gonna let all that other water wash under the bridge. (Or is it over the bridge? My cliche dictionary's missing.)

The other big development, and the one that has the message boards filled with screams of shark-jumping, is Luke suddenly having a 12-year-old daughter of his own that he never knew about. On the one hand, I think it's a stupid idea and I'm going to be pissed if Amy uses this as an excuse to bust up Luke and Lorelai for a while just as we got her and Rory back together. On the other hand, I liked the actress playing Mini-Rory, and I thought Scott Patterson was great at both the comedy and emotion of this ridiculous twist, so I'll give it a little rope. A little.

An uneven "The Office." I know Carell's the star and the boss was the main character of the British version, but at this point I think there needs to be a refocusing, because the Jim/Dwight/Pam stuff is by far the highlight of every week, while Michael works best in small doses. Michael's attempt to turn his one-night stand with the boss into something more made me uncomfortable; Jim's mission to maintain Dwight's mistake about the days of the week just made me laugh. Given Carell's movie prospects after "Virgin," I don't know that he'd object to becoming a supporting player if it freed up his schedule for more film work.

On a very special sweeps episode of "House," Lance Armstrong -- or a reasonable facsimile (who used to be on "North Shore") -- comes to the hospital for... something to do with blood transfusions, I think. Marian's a hospital administrator, so when I watch medical shows with her, she's constantly pointing out inaccuracies (I'm sure I'd do the same if someone was ever dumb enough to create a show about a TV critic), and at one point she asked me if I minded the frequent interruptions.

"It's okay," I said. "I don't really pay attention to the medical stuff."

"But the medical stuff is the whole show!" she said.

So after hitting the TiVo's pause button, we got into a discussion of whether the cases in "House" matter at all, or if they're just the MacGuffin, the excuse to hang House's funny lines and fragile emotional state on. I went with the MacGuffin route; she said she likes the medical investigations (not to be confused with this) as much as the character material. What say you?

"Prison Break" edges ever closer to fulfilling its title. I'm disappointed that, one week after the writers felt the need to introduce a Super-Evil Secret Agent to put the two Regular-Evil Secret Agents in their place, they got rid of the guy, but I'm not surprised. With a show like this or "24," killing time is one of the hardest things to do. (Can you say cougar? Or amnesia?) So the writers vamp for a couple of weeks by introducing another bad guy, then throw him down a well when he's not needed anymore. A shame, really, as I felt he was much more legitimately threatening than Kellerman or his sidekick. As for the rest of the episode, T-Bag seems like the obvious one to get dumped from the escape team (again, Abruzzi should have several dozen ways to kill him without exposing their secret), which means I'm sure we'll go in a different direction. Early on, I suggested that the writers might try to really surprise people by taking a page from the "24" season one finale and having Michael escape while Lincoln dies in the attempt. Maybe they've got the onions to do it.

We're running long here, so I'll dispense with "Grey's Anatomy" pretty quickly. I'm surprised the writers didn't follow George's "carpe diem" day to its logical conclusion and have him profess his love to Meredith. Sooner or later, they need to pull a Sam Weir/Cindy Sanders and have the two of them hook up for a few episodes, only to have George realize he's really not that into her. Burke and Cristina's strained date was really funny, and it was weird to see the lead from "American Embassy" as a contemporary of McDreamy and Mrs. McDreamy. On "Embassy," she was playing the Ally McBeal part and was supposed to be in her late 20s at most, but according to IMDb, she's over 40. Huh.

I have nothing more to add, except: "Arrested Development," "Arrested Development," "Arrested Development," "Arrested Development," "Arrested Development," "Arrested Development"...

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