A Bittersweet End to ‘Being Human’

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This has been a rough week for me. Last Monday, HIMYM ended (and not particularly in the way I would have hoped). Friday, a recent favorite of mine, Raising Hope, signed off as well. And last night we said good-bye to Being Human.

I have to give some mad props to the series. The cast and crew knew for a year that the show was going to end, even though we fans just found out a couple months ago. In fact, based on this interview with Sam Witwer (Aidan), the team behind Being Human actually requested the season four end date, knowing that the show would face some obstacles that could reduce the quality of the series. This all means they’ve been panning this ending for a while. Maybe not for nine years, but for a while.

And while I do have a few issues with how the series ended, overall, I’m pleased with what I saw. It’s funny to think that a series that killed off two of its main characters in the final episode was actually more satisfying — and happier — than a series that killed off only one minor character a week ago, but it’s true. In a way, even though two characters went into the ether, never to be heard from again (except, perhaps, in dreams), it was a happy ending. Norah and Josh got to live out their lives with a family. Sally finally found peace. And Aidan made up for his sins and got his own afterlife. And hey, he even got to be human.

And isn’t that what this whole series was about? It was called Being Human, after all. It was always about a two monsters — Aidan and Josh — trying to fake their way through “life.” I have to add quotation marks, of course, since you could argue that what they were living through wasn’t really a life at all. But in the end, they really became human. Aidan, quite literally, by getting a heartbeat back and a human death. Josh, in getting a wife and a family. (And wasn’t it cute to see little Sally and Aidan running around at the end?)

Of course, there were weaknesses. The “evil of the house” felt a little rushed, and I think there may be some holes — or at least some lack of understanding — where Ramona’s concerned (So wait — why did they sacrifice her? Did the cult get taken over by the evil of the house? Was she an evil figment all along?). Fixing the issue seemed a little too easy (they got out of the house at the start of the episode rather easily, and of course burning the house down would take her down). And Sally’s spell seemed a little convenient (How long did she have that in her back pocket? And how did it work? And did she get her door after that?). But in the end, it all seemed fitting, that we were saying good-bye to the house as we were the rest of the cast, as it could arguably be considered part of the cast itself (and in a more literal sense, became one, because of Ramona).

Plus, we got some light moments. Seeing Aidan eat that cheeseburger was certainly a highlight. Seeing Josh react to Norah’s pregnancy — and finally be happy — was another. And, of course, you can’t deny finally seeing Sally again with Aidan. It might have been over-the-top cheesy, but it still had me crying like a little baby.

So it had all the makings of a great series finale. And I’m certainly going to miss it. This was a great group of people (which you can see on Twitter, by the way. Looking at some of the fun behind-the-scenes pics provided by Kristen Hager last night was wonderful), and they had some great personalities in the series. I’ve grown attached to Norah and Aidan. Sally’s bright smile certainly made me smile back into my TV screen, even if her self-centered actions made me wince from time to time. But most of all, I’m going to miss Josh, a unique, relatable character that lightened a pretty dark series every week.

So long, Being Human. I hope you found your door.

My Thoughts on the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Finale

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HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: 9.23-9.24 “Last Forever”

In my mind, the way HIMYM would have ended would have felt like the picture above. A big group hug. After all, saying good-bye to these characters that we’ve watched grow for nine years should feel as sentimental as it was saying good-bye to Ted when he was supposedly moving to Chicago.

But last night’s finale was not my sentimental good-bye. And while I’d like to spend my time here screaming and ranting about why I wanted something better, I’m going to try to make this as coherent as possible as to why this finale just didn’t work. There are enough people out there telling us how pissed they are. I don’t need to add to it.

I’ll certainly say I’m not pleased with the ending of this series. Sure, it annoyed me that all those theories ended up true (with the exception of my own). That Robin ended up with Ted in the end. But here’s why.

First, the episode just wasn’t funny. And, in fact, it was depressing. Somehow, I didn’t get excited throughout the day, anticipating seeing all my favorite characters’ lives fall apart. I didn’t want to see a marriage — one that began with beautiful wedding where a couple moved past their cold feet to marry the ones they truly love (three deep breaths, right?) — that I’d spent all season waiting for fall apart within three years. Or in the case of this episode, within twenty minutes. I didn’t like seeing that the gang fell apart, even if it was foreshadowed earlier in the season. I didn’t like seeing Lily pregnant and alone in the old apartment. I didn’t like seeing Barney become such a despicable person. There’s a line from The Wedding Singer that I always remember about the Fonz from Happy Days: “No one wanted to see a fifty-year-old guy picking up chicks.” True then. True now. It just got ugly.

I wanted humor. I didn’t get any relief. After the team said good-bye outside the wedding reception, it’s almost like they said good-bye to who they were in the series. Where were the jokes? Marshall slipped into the background, only being useful to point out “big moments.” Lily was sad and lamenting. No one interacted with each other to crack a joke, and it just made the entire thing depressing to watch.

Honestly, at one point, I thought that this was all a trick. That Ted would suddenly reveal that had he walked across that platform to introduce himself in that moment, all of those moments in the future would come to pass. But instead, he waited five more minutes, and suddenly, here’s the happy ending. But as we all know, that didn’t happen. We just kept with the darkest timeline.

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My Top 5 ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Episodes Ever

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It’s been years in the making. Tonight, we finally see how Ted met the mother on How I Met Your Mother. I have my own theories on how this happened, and I guess we’ll find out if I’m right, wrong, or just way off. But the heck with what’s going to happen tonight. Let’s take a moment to look back on some of my favorite episode of a show that, while it’s had some rocky times, has had some of the freshest moments in sitcom history in recent years.

I’ve decided to share my top five episodes from HIMYM. I’m not saying these are the best there ever were. I’m sure I’m missing some very iconic moments (like a certain musical number) and very special episodes (like “Bad News”), but these are the five episodes that, when I see them on TV, I will stop what I’m doing and watch — no matter what. Even in the saddest of moments (like the third option below), these episodes make me happy. So here goes.

My top five HIMYM episodes (in no particular order) are…

Slap Bet. You may argue that two beavers are better than one. You may be sitting around building sandcastles in the sand. But this first episode featuring a super special pop icon is the one that I can never forget. Someone give me some Robin Sparkles. To me, this was one of those episodes that really showed what the series was capable of. It gave us a slap bet that carried through the rest of the series, all up until the moment Barney was standing at the alter. But most of all, it gave us this song and music video, which still makes me laugh to this day.

PS – I love you, Robin.

Subway Wars. I’m not what it is about this episode, but for some reason, I find it hilarious. Robin is trying to prove herself as a “real New Yorker.” What ensues is a crazy race, where all five claim they know the fastest way across town: bus, subway, taxi, on foot, or…well…Barney’s solution. Somehow, the combination of an interactive map, music, and comical situations come together for a fantastic episode.

Symphony of Illumination. It is at this moment that I’m realizing that many of my favorite episodes are Robin-centric. That’s not on purpose (and I’d argue that “Subway Wars” focuses on all five characters). Nonetheless, I have to give a major shoutout (MAJOR SHOUTOUT) to “Symphony of Illumination.” While this episode got a lot of mixed reactions, it turned the series on its head by giving us one episode narrated by someone else: Robin. As Robin and Barney work through a pregnancy scare, Robin discovers that she actually can never have children. Keeping it to herself, the episode culminates in a beautiful — and legendary — light show, set up by Ted.

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Three Days of Snow. An epic snowstorm. Three distinct stories. All fantastic. But, of course, what gets me the most in the ending. While I love Barney and Ted going all Cocktail, seeing Marshall show up, listing what he ate for lunch, to prove his love to Lily with a full marching band at the airport is just beautiful. I love it.

Something Borrowed. This episode is officially my favorite episode of the series, so, despite my not being able to find a suitable video, I had to share it. It’s the day of Lily and Marshall’s wedding, and everything is going wrong — not that it was the wedding they planned anyway. But amidst all the chaos is Lily’s ex-boyfriend, a shirtless groomsman, a harp player in labor, and, oh, Marshall’s shaved head. A short walk and a hat later, Lily and Marshall are exchanging vows in a small, intimate ceremony in the park with an acoustic guitar. The wedding they always wanted.

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Of course, there are so many other episodes and scenes I wish I could mention. Let me know what your favorites have been in the comments. But these are the five episodes I can’t miss whenever I see them, so they top my list.

And tonight? Who knows. Maybe one of these episode will get knocked off for our finale. Either way, I’m going to be sad to say good-bye to this series.

Drop Dead Diva: Truth & Consequences, Soulmates?

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DROP DEAD DIVA: 6.01 “Truth & Consequences”
DROP DEAD DIVA: 6.02 “Soulmates?”

Drop Dead Diva is back for its final season, and it only seems fitting that I attempt to return to regular reviews for it. I’ve followed this show since its beginning. It’s always been a cute, fun show that I’ve enjoyed. The characters I’ve loved to love (or in some cases, loved to hate), and as I see some of the cast members move on to bigger and better things — Josh Stamberg in Parenthood or, more notably, Ben Feldman in Mad Men — I still miss seeing their faces grace the screen alongside our ever-positive Deb/Jane.

This episode was like any other episode of Drop Dead Diva, with quirky yet compelling cases and character development. The biggest development in this particular two-hour episode block (that I’ll spend my time in this review focusing on) was that of Jane and Grayson. At the end of last season, it looked like these two crazy kids finally got together, only to be torn apart by a grieving Britney, aka REAL Jane. Jane’s secret was almost out; Grayson found out that Jane wasn’t who she thought she was.

But that’s all we saw. And we discovered in this episode that eight hours later, not much had changed. Grayson dashed after Britney to find out what she meant, and Jane’s secret wasn’t really spilled. But by the end of Sunday night, Jane had confessed everything, leaving Grayson hurt, confused, and angry.

I have to say, I felt bad for Grayson, particularly as he stood in front of Jane/Deb in the final scene. He looked so broken. Clearly, this revelation has changed everything for him. He buried Deb. And he stopped loving Jane. And now, here’s this woman that’s both, and he just doesn’t know what to do. And he’s been betrayed. Why didn’t Jane tell him instead of Stacy?

To us, it makes perfect sense. Deb didn’t love herself when she first looked like Jane, so why would Grayson? It almost makes you wonder if Deb has really confessed this to herself, because she didn’t confess this to Grayson. It’s almost as though it never occurred to her.

And really, as much as Jane tells Grayson that she is Deb, that’s partially not true. It’s been a long time since Deb died. And Jane has done a lot of things since. Deb has grown inside of her. She’s not the same flighty girl that she was before, only focused on clothes and manicures and makeup. She cares about others and cares about fighting for others. She’s not Deb anymore, and she’s certainly not Jane. She’s basically new Jane, which is who Grayson wants to meet. Not someone pretending to be Jane, but someone who is a mix between Deb and Jane — the real person standing in front of him.

I’m worried most about Grayson, though. The man standing in front of her was broken. He took a big blow in this. I fully expect (since the series is ending) that they’ll get a happy ending, but I just hope there’s not too much pain beforehand.

A few other things about this season opener:

  • I’m not sure how I feel about Virginia Williams’ new role in the series. Does this mean that we won’t get to see Kate Levering return to the show? That Kim Kaswell will forever be on maternity leave? I miss her.
  • The writers of the show have certainly been watching the headlines on the show’s hiatus. Between the “cruise from hell” and the school lunch stories, I feel like we’ve got a new show advertising cases that are “ripped from the headlines.”
  • Loved loved LOVED Owen and Jane in the fire case. We seem to forget sometimes that Owen was a judge, and I love seeing him stand on his convictions. You could see why he was a judge in the first place. It’s too bad he had to impeach his own ruling…
  • I feel like Stacy’s pregnancy should have a little more prominence. I know she’s not showing yet, but this is a pretty big development. When are we going to see some sort of reaction beyond quick references to kugels and prenatal classes?

Until next week…

*image courtesy of Lifetime

My Latest Theory for ‘How I Met Your Mother’

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There’s been a lot of theories floating around for how How I Met Your Mother. The biggest, of course, is that the mother is dead, which is why Ted is telling his kids this long story. I disagree with this theory, and while I could write about it, this guy already did it for me. There are also theories that she is sick, or Ted is dead. I’ve also heard that perhaps she’s out saving the world somewhere. There are theories that Ted still ends up with Robin in the end (even if that means Robin and Barney end up breaking up). That seems even more preposterous to me.

I have my own theory: That the mother gave Ted the pineapple that we saw in season 1.

We all remember the Pineapple Incident. While Ted is trying to get over his feelings for Robin, he decides to let go and have some fun by drinking five shots in a row. Ted ends up blacking out, and the gang has to put all the pieces together, including how his jacket was burned, who’s number is written on his arm, who the woman is in his bed, and where the hell a pineapple came from.

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Ted discovers everything that morning. Each friend is able to contribute a piece, and Trudy, the girl in the bed, filled in the rest. There’s only one piece missing. The pineapple. As Marshall so eloquently put it, “Dammit, Trudy! What about the pineapple?!”

Through nine seasons, we have not yet discovered where this pineapple came from. And while the writers of this should could certainly leave this question unanswered (a la Lost), I wouldn’t put it past them to tell us where that pineapple came from. Perhaps that pineapple came from the mother.

While I came up with this theory myself, in doing some digging, I’m not the only one who’s considered it. There’s certainly no specific reason to think that she gave him the pineapple. But Ted was blacked out and doesn’t remember anything. And there’s a chance he “met” the mother way back when that he didn’t remember. So as he’s telling it, that’s not when he met the mother. It might be when she met him, but it’s not when he met her. (I’m sure we all have those stories with our significant others; I met you first in class, but you met me first at that party.) And why else would he spend so much time going back to his early relationship with Robin if not to explain that it was at that time that he first met the girl of his dreams without realizing it?

I can see it now. Ted and the mother meet on that train platform, and she oh-so-quippily proclaims, “Hey, didn’t I give you a pineapple once?”

It could happen. I mean, I don’t have any secret knowledge or spoilers. But as far as theories go, this one is the most entertaining. It doesn’t involve sickness, death, broken hearts. Just good old-fashioned fun and random events. And isn’t that what HIMYM‘s all about?

Managing TV When You’re Watching a Baby

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May 31st, a lot of things changed for me. That’s the day I had my son. And while I could go on and on about the many things that this little man has brought into my life and all the ways he’s changed it, this is a TV blog. I’m going to focus on what may be considered one of the most trivial of issues: watching TV.

In my defense, I am (or was, or try to be) a TV blogger. While TV can be frivolous, there’s a reason that after a long day of work and after desperately trying to get my child to just eat one pea already!, my husband, visiting in-laws, and I all settle in to rewatch an episode of Mad Men. It helps to unwind. It entertains. And hey, it’s Mad Men — that’s art.

But as I’m sure you’ve noticed over the past almost 10 months, TV isn’t necessarily a priority, and writing about it is even harder to find time for. First, I took a three-month break to care for a newborn (on the bright side, I actually did watch some new things including Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance, two competition series that have strong followings that I’ve heard about for years; and I even rewatched some old favorites on Netflix, including Scrubs and My Boys). Then, I have posted a smattering of posts that are some combination of reviews and general thoughts on episodes to shows to everything in between (this post falls in that last category). So what’s the deal? Do I just not watch anymore? Is TV not important?

At least for me, certainly not. I’m still watching. I’m fortunate enough to be one of the lucky parents of a child who sleeps. Raked, Jr. is in bed by 7:30 on most nights, which means I’ve still got an entire night of (usually uninterrupted) primetime programming ahead of me. But the way I’m watching has suddenly changed.

As a new mom who is constantly watching, assessing, feeding, carrying, changing, and generally enjoying a child, I have very little energy. While TV used to be something that kept my interests in those few hours between work and sleep — something that could sometimes keep me away from boredom, if it was a good show — now it’s different. I prioritize. I decide. I have only so much time in my day — so why am I watching crap?

I’m much less likely to take a risk on a show. Take, for example, Intelligence. In seeing the ads for the series, I was interested. After all, it has Josh Holloway in it. Sawyer from Lost! It has Meghan Ory, who I’ve enjoyed ever since Higher Ground (can I get an “amen” from my HG fanbase? I know you’re out there…) But my god, people, this show is just awful. The premise is stupid. The characters are stilted and, with the exception of perhaps one of them, unlikable. This is a show that I’d almost want to give a chance, but I just can’t do it. So why do I know anything about this show? Because it’s on after I trek through my shows of choice on a Monday. At that point, I just turn the TV off.

So I’m sticking to old favorites. What else? I’m not tolerating a show that takes too much of my time. If your show regularly steals two hours away from me, I’m not watching. Sure, there may be exceptions, but those are TiVoed and fast-forwarded to the relevant parts (even with So You Think You Can Dance, I passed on all the interviews and personal information about the kids). I just don’t have the time or the energy to sit through that much.

And timing is everything. If you’re on at 10:00, you may not be watched live. I know that’s not unusual for many people who have their Hulu Plus subscriptions or regularly DVR, but for me, I try to watch as much as I can live or at least on the same day. This week, I missed Being Human — and it’s driving me nuts. The only show I’ve really made an exception on is Parenthood, and you can only imagine how tired I am on Friday. I feel like an old woman, but it is what it is.

Finally, I don’t play catchup. I’ve missed two episodes of Hannibal. If I don’t catch up soon, I’m not sure I will. I missed the last five episodes of American Horror Story. They’re still on my TiVo, but this is certainly something I’m not going to toss on while playing with Raked, Jr. in the living room. He’d be scarred for life. My brother keeps telling me that Agents of Shield has gotten better, but at this point, a game of catchup’s not worth it (especially with a show I’ve already turned down once). I’ve tried hopping back into Revenge, but I refuse to play catchup, so I’m just doggie paddling along, wondering who that girl is and who that guy is and, goshdarnit, why is everyone so mad all the time? But you can only imagine what impression I’m being left with when I really don’t know what’s going on.

In the end, TV watching isn’t a spectator sport anymore. It’s choosing what I want to watch, when I want to watch, and how much I really want to give it a chance. Only the best of the best is winning. And while I’m sure my own dilemmas are not the same that other families have when choosing to watch their family programming, it certainly is a shift. But I can’t say it’s all bad. Suddenly, commercials are more entertaining.Jokes are funnier. When Cam and Mitchell bonk Lily’s head on the ceiling and rush her to the doctor on Modern Family, that’s not only highly relatable, but it’s suddenly ponder-able parenting advice (wait — so if it doesn’t hurt me in a life-altering way, perhaps it doesn’t hurt him! Interesting!). There’s a whole ‘nother level of viewing I never knew I was missing.

So managing TV can be a challenge. And maybe I still haven’t conquered finding the time to write. But it’s still worth it when you’ve got the smart True Detectives, the ruthless Game of Throneses, the melodramatic Parenthoods, and the sentimental How I Met Your Mothers to watch (yes, I’m hanging with HIMYM ’til the end). But I’m taking advantage now. Pretty soon, I’m going to be stuck with Disney, Jr. And no one wants to see that.

‘Being Human’ Makes Sally Relevant Again

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It’s tough watching one of your old stand-bys after it’s been cancelled. But in a case like Being Human, I have to see how it all goes down (and supposedly, they do have a “send-off”), so I’m still watching until the end.

And so far, we’re getting some good stuff to take us there. It’s not that I’m surprised. There’s a reason I’ve enjoyed this series season after season. But let’s be honest. Aidan’s material isn’t always the best. Josh is my favorite, but it’s hard to keep even a fan favorite going when he’s happy (happiness, especially in sci-fi, is dooming to a TV show, I think), and Sally’s been circling the drain long after they made a whole plot device about it.

In fact, Sally’s been sort of lost and in limbo for a while now. I mean, there’s only so much you can do for a ghost. We’ve avenged her death. We’ve made her evil (and sorta crazy). We’ve trapped her in limbo. We’ve brought her back to life. We’ve made her a zombie. Now we’ve made her a ghost again, only to make her a time-traveling super witch. So…geez. That’s a lot for four seasons. And through all of this, as much as I love to love Sally, she’s gotten a wee bit callous. I guess knowing what happens when you die can make you make a lot of inappropriate jokes and generally not realize when you’re being hurtful and selfish.

Sally’s basically been toiling around as a B-plot for some time now. And while I really had no idea where we were going when Sally came back to life and changed the future, I was intrigued. Sure, the story still seemed to be about Josh and Aidan, but Sally made it happen. And now that we’re back on the normal timeline (Abed would be pleased), Sally now holds all the important information. She sprung briefly to the future, just in time to see Aidan break Josh’s neck in an angry discourse, but we don’t know the whens and whys of the situation. Suddenly, Sally’s time travels are the key to how this show will end: happy or sad.

I have to say, I think this is just what the show needed. Now anything Sally does is for the good of the characters we care most about. It’s not about her selfish whims but about saving those we’ve been watching for years now. I actually care about what happens next.

I hate to be so hard on Sally. It’s tough to be a ghost. You just stand idly by while everything else happens around you. I’m just pleased that, starting tonight and in the last few episodes, we get to see Sally as part of the action.

Syfy Cancels ‘Being Human’ (And Now I’m Sad)

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For some reason, I take shows for granted. I’m not sure why. I write about TV. I’ve watched many of my favorites come and go way too soon. At the beginning of new seasons, I guess and bet which shows will make it and which won’t. Cancellation and early dismissal is a way of the TV world. It’s a point of pain and anger (Studio 60 is still a hard one for me), and a point of disbelief (the number of bad comedies still on the air is appalling).

And yet, for some reason, I can take shows for granted. Like Being Human. This little show, based on a BBC show of the same name, is one that I’ve enjoyed watching repeatedly. In fact, back in my days of episodic reviewing (which I hope to get back to one day), I’d review it regularly. I adore the cast. I’m weirdly fascinated by the storylines. And I just took for granted that it was there, waiting for me, with brief hiatuses in between.

But the news came out yesterday that Being Human has been cancelled by Syfy, and the series finale will be on April 7. This means that the next few Mondays for me will not only be exciting but depressing as we count down the days until the final episode (which, by the way, Syfy is already saying its advertising).

I shouldn’t be surprised. According to the link above, it didn’t get tremendous numbers. But I enjoyed it and I just assumed it would continue. But I guess I incorrectly how long sci-fi series really stay on the air — even if they’re a more popular show. Battlestar Galactica was only four seasons. Warehouse 13 is ending after five. And even Stargate: Atlantis only had five seasons.

And if you’re aired on FOX, that lifetime is shortened even more. Sorry, I couldn’t pass up on that joke.

Despite genre, if the numbers don’t add up, the seasons don’t either. So now I’m saying good-bye to a good staple show, a show that was fun and dark at the same time, with a great cast. I do hope that each of these people move on to bigger and better projects — I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out — as they’re just enjoyable to watch. And in the coming weeks, I better prepare myself to say good-bye.

As for the cast, well, they’ve already prepared their good-byes (which makes me wonder how long they knew the news). Take a look below to watch their video, and the bright side of our favorite team. It may be the last. After all, when the finale comes around on a show like Being Human, I expect more bloodshed than anything else.

Top Chef Crowns a Winner. Are You Satisfied?

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It’s been a big year on Top Chef. There’s been immunity challenges. And immunity challenges. There’s been good food, better food, and best food. In fact, this might’ve been the best season so far where food is concerned. And in the end, we got ourselves a new Top Chef.

It was a tight race. While I was surprised last week that Luis and Shirley were the ones who got cut (honestly, I thought Shirley would win the whole thing), we had Nina and Nick facing off in the end. Nina has consistently proven herself throughout the season. She was a strong competitor, always contributing good food. Was it the best food? Not often. Usually one person would slip right past her, giving that last bit of creativity or flavor to their dish, so she was often coming in second.

But contrast that with Nick, who was all over the place with his dishes. Leaning more on technique, Nick would often get over his head, piling on competing elements, while leaving salt off the menu. He had highs and lows; and while his lows were very low, his highs were very high.

In the end, one meal made the difference (and in my own opinion, one judge). Nick pulled through in the end — gaining the title of Top Chef — after delivering a great meal, despite poor service and curse words. But is he the right choice?

It’s no surprise that Nick is not the crowd favorite. Not that that should make any difference. Hung was not anyone’s favorite back in the day if I recall, and dear god, let’s not even discuss Hosea (though one could argue that was less the person and more the lack of talent in the kitchen). But Nick rubbed everyone the wrong way when Stephanie went home when he had immunity. But hey, that’s how the game was played (and if you watched Watch What Happens Live after the show, you’d see that Nick is still not pleased with how that all went down, and even Tom didn’t mean to imply he should have quit — they just asked the question).

Crowd opinion aside, should he have won? What surprised me here was that they based their decision on one meal. In the past — and correct me if I’m wrong — did they not look at performance over the entire competition? If you did that, would it be consistency or highs and lows? And in the end, if you’re looking at only one meal, was Nick’s really the best?

True, they had issues with Nina’s dessert. But from what I understood, everything else she served was great. Nick, on the other hand, had inconsistently cooked duck and a fish that needed salt. And while I can’t bring myself to align with Padma (who really had it out for Nick for some reason, suggesting they start judging on service and not food, among other things), I do think she had a point in a previous episode: How can they be this far in and still be discussing salt?

In the end, Nina probably should have been the champ. The only thing she didn’t have that Nick did was this: Tom. Tom seemed to be Nick’s number one fan. And it was clear that he was going to fight for Nick as hard as he could. And while we didn’t see it at the judges’ table, I think, in the end, he did. (I’m not the only one who thinks this either. And truth be told, I think Tom holds more power than the other judges anyway, given his experience with the show and discontent in the past. But that’s just my guess.)

Nick or Nina, I have to say it was a good season. We got to see real cooking. We didn’t have ridiculous themes that didn’t allow you to see how a person could really cook (think Top Chef: Texas — Make ribs! No, chili! No, this can of beefaroni!). In the end, they presented good food with their own style and personality. Did the best chef win? Well, is that really what this show is about? That sounds like another blog post to me.

*image from Bravotv.com

HIMYM: Team Marshall or Team Lily? Who’s side are you on?

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It’s been almost a week, and I’m still debating who’s right and who’s wrong on last Monday’s HIMYM episode, “Unpause.” What ended up being a very sweet episode on Robin and Barney’s part became a heart-wrenching one for Lily and Marshall, where issues buried seven years ago suddenly were brought back to the surface in a really ugly unpaused fight.

So you have to ask: Who’s side are you on?

Lily has a lot going for her. Marshall should have had a discussion with Lily before taking the judgeship in New York. Lily’s dreams were on the line, and Marshall just threw them away without a thought. And on top of it, he kept it a secret from her. They had plans, and he ruined them. And what’s more? He threw her actions from seven years ago in her face — something she thought they had gotten over a long time ago.

But for some reason, I’m siding with Marshall here. Perhaps it’s because we know more of Marshall’s side. We know that he was put on the spot and had to make the decision immediately. We know that he asked if it could wait a year, and he was told no. So he had to take his chance.

Now, let’s stop for a second. Should Marshall have brought up Lily’s leaving him to find herself in San Francisco? No. That really should have been let go of long ago. I’m shocked to know that he still thinks of it and holds it against her, considering how open they are with each other and how they insist that they don’t keep score. That was wrong. That was cold. And if we’re looking at that alone, I’m totally on Team Lily (and I would have run right out of that hotel, too). That was ugly.

But Marshall did tell Lily that he could talk about his job choice now. Lily claims that was too late — but is it? Could he not turn the job down now, even though he took it before? And isn’t there a compromise? Couldn’t he stay in NY for a year while she was in Italy?

Meanwhile, what is Lily asking of Marshall right now? Sure, he agreed to Italy, but he’s stalling his career for a year. Most likely, that year off will hurt his career in a way that would mean he’d never have an opportunity to become a judge. True, he would get to spend time with Marvin (and for all stay-at-home parents out there, I know that’s no simple feat), but he never seemed to be enthusiastic about the trip. At least not that I remember.

Is it a selfish decision? Yes, to a degree. But so is insisting they go to Italy, when Marshall has also been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Lily is looking at this more selfishly, though. While Marshall has been worried sick about Lily’s reaction, Lily has done nothing to but think about herself.

Did Marshall play an ugly card by mentioning her actions seven years ago? Yes. And he shouldn’t have. But Lily needs to be more fair in this argument. I’m on Team Marshall. How about you?