Parenthood: No one wants to be a loser

PARENTHOOD: 2.04 “Date Night”

Watching this week’s Parenthood immediately after Life Unexpected was amusing.  The television themes of this week were religion (Glee, Modern Family, Community) and winners/losers (Mad Men, Life Unexpected, and of course, Parenthood).  Almost every Braverman had to grapple with this—whether it was perceived (Crosby, Drew, Joel) or real (Haddie).

I was sort of bummed that the Braverman parents weren’t very prominent this episode—they haven’t been featured much at all this season.  Craig T. Nelson brings a lot of levity to the show that prevents it from becoming Brothers & Sisters, and I missed him.*  It would be interesting to get inside their counseling sessions as well or even see how the Braverman children are dealing with their father’s infidelity.  I hope that’s explored more.

Most of the Braverman loserdom was all perception.  Joel was inept at magic and needed to find a way of entertaining the kids in kindergarten.  I knew that he would do something with carpentry—it just seemed sort of obvious.  More importantly, this was a superficial concern for Joel; after two weeks of him grappling with his lack of career/the potential of having another child, this lacked emotional heft.  And of course, the kids painted blocks of wood and had a blast so Joel is on the winning team.

Also on the winning team is Haddie…literally.  She won student council president, only after working with Sarah to refine her speech.  I felt bad for Christina.  Haddie was a tool last week, and it was pretty clear she couldn’t write a speech by herself from the opening (I need some more Amber drama, by the way…she’s also been missing).

I also felt really badly for Christina for many other reasons. Obviously, when you hear that 80% couples with an autistic child end up divorced, you freak out and try to overcompensate by scheduling a date night.  Unfortunately, that was thwarted by Adam’s heinous schedule.  Does anyone think he’s about to be fired, by the way?  And where was Gordon last season?  There was no hint of a wretched boss, and here he comes out of nowhere.

Anyway, when Christina and Adam finally get their act together for date night, they end up on the Black Pearl.  And they run into Sarah who’s on a date with the inventory guy.  This freaks Adam out a bit, and also, curses their date night.  Luckily, during Haddie’s presidential victory celebration, they steal off to eat cake at night and they end up winners for the time being.

Crosby, on the other hand, was a disaster this episode.  I understand wanting to appear responsible in front of Renee, but at a certain point, you have to admit you’re drunk and a nightmare.  I am happy he didn’t try to drive himself…at least he didn’t endanger anyone, and I’m glad they didn’t fall upon the drunk driving/car accident cliché. I’m also glad that Jasmine’s brother didn’t engage drunken Crosby in a fight.  At least someone’s grown up.  In the end, Jasmine came home, quit dance and will devote herself to Crosby and Jabbar.  I still hate her though.

Which brings us to Poor Drew.  April from Gilmore Girls was flirting with him, and Sarah just had to intervene.  So he took initiative and kissed a girl and was rejected.  Poor kid.  Now he’s humiliated and will never make a move again.  This is problematic for all of womankind because when he’s in twenties, he’ll expect a girl to beat him over the head with her affections, and that is annoying.

It’s also annoying that they don’t give Lauren Graham enough to do.  When she was meddling, it reminded me of the episode of GG when Lorelei invited Dean over to watch Willy Wonka after Rory kissed him in the market.  And oh, look at her bad romantic choices?  I feel like Lauren Graham is talented enough to handle more complex issues, and it just ends up feeling trite.  All in all, I thought the episode was OK, but nothing spectacular.  Here’s hoping we get a little more action and a little less self-pity this week.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I watched Troop Beverly Hills this week, and Craig T. Nelson was a delight.  It made me want to see him more.

Life Unexpected: Control Issues

LIFE UNEXPECTED 2.04:  “Team Rebounded”

Hello everyone!  I’m here filling in for Raked and recapping Tuesday’s episode of Life Unexpected (which I just saw).  I was really happy to see that they laid off the storyline involving Lux and her teacher.  Raked was right when she said it seemed artificial and lifted from Pretty Little Liars (or Dawson’s, Felicity, 90210, any other CW/WB drama), and I’m happy to see Lux doing normal things like joining the basketball team.

Man, was that the most remedial basketball team in the history of all time, and I was a bit confused. If Tasha was such a star, how is it that they were only capable of scoring 3 points in that game?  I just think if basketball’s going to show us how crazy Baze is, you’d think they’d be able to score more points than that.

That all said, I thought Baze was pretty hilarious this episode.  Not only is he terrible at reading the needs of his team, his daughter, etc., he’s also pretty atrocious at giving Matt girl advice.  Poor Matt wants to get with Paige, and they go out on a non-date, that’s so bad Paige kisses him just to end it.  Naturally Matt thinks he likes her, and Baze has to be a jerk and harshly deliver the bad news in a completely tactless way.  And then Paige goes and hits on Eric, which I’m sure will infuriate Lux (even though the student-teacher thing should NOT be happening as it’s been done…on every WB show ever).   What does everyone think of Paige?  Because I pretty much hate her.  Seriously, I understand that it’s the point of her character, but I just find it pretty implausible that she would burn down the bar and then be given a room in the fiery loft.

I did like the confrontation between Matt and Baze—Matt’s been taken advantage of, and I’m glad he stood up for himself even if it only had to do with basketball.  I wonder how Baze’s superiority complex will manifest itself at work…since I really missed that aspect of his new life (and Emma Caulfield).

Also fiery is the relationship between Cate and Kelly.  Because of Cate’s outburst last week, things were obviously tense between the two of them.  And when there’s tension, the mature thing to do is resolve it by getting drunk.  Unfortunately, Cate can’t keep her mouth shut and tells Kelly that the two of them disagree on finances and kids…which brings up some very real problems for Cate and Ryan’s marriage. I was annoyed that Cate was shown taking birth control at the end of the episode.  Characters are supposed to evolve and grow, and hasn’t she learned that Ryan’s a pretty understanding guy…except when she keeps stuff from him?  More importantly, I don’t think that Ryan will forgive this when he finds out (and he will find out).  But Kelly fell down so that was amusing.

Tasha found out that her new foster mom was Lux’s former foster parent.  Lux thought that getting her kicked out and into a drunken Cate’s house would be better until she heard Ryan and Cate fighting so she vandalized the house.  Luckily, Cate and Ryan agreed to assist with Tasha’s independent living.  Which brings us to the end, and my biggest question for the episode.  I understand that Lux’s former foster parent was trying to adopt her, and it didn’t work out…Lux had mentioned that it got really bad over there, but then seemed really upset while reading the letter.  Did she just lie to Tasha because she wanted this woman to herself?  Or did something shady happen that prevented adoption?  That was really unclear to me, and we probably won’t find anything out this week because there’s some music festival sponsored by the cast of One Tree Hill. Until then!

Glee: “How do you two not have a show on Bravo?”

CC takes on Glee this week…

GLEE: 1.16 “Home”

Before I get into Glee, can I just rant about American Idol for a second?  Not only is the fact that the contestants can’t sing made more apparent by the contrasting talent of the Glee kids, but also, the judges can’t shut up.  This is annoying because my Tivo is recording two shows at 10PM so the last song of Glee was cut off for the second week in a row.  So to you Randy Jackson, I say stop talking and keep it to 3 dogs an episode.

Okay, thank you for allowing that digression.  This week on Glee was all about home.  We know this because all the songs except for “Beautiful” had to do with the concept of home and finding your place in the world.  I felt like they really were driving that point HOME for us.  I was really disappointed that no one busted out with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but boy did we have old tunes.  And they were pretty unrecognizable…and disappointing.  I always love that Glee modernizes old songs and covers some contemporary pieces as well.  This week felt stale to me; what did you all think?

This week’s episode was less about home  and more about our characters acting definitively out of character.  Now that she’s a Cheerio (a move that’s out of character in and of itself), Mercedes is feeling less confident.  Because there’s an article being written about her, Sue wants all Cheerios—including Mercedes and Kurt—to lose weight.  The natural reaction to this request is for Mercedes to starve herself until Tina and Artie turn into giant cupcakes.  This, of course, culminates in Quinn being really nice, making peace with her body while pregnant (suuuuure), and Mercedes singing Christina Aguilera to the entire gym.

Also acting a little out of character was Kurt.  I thought that the treatment of Kurt and Finn’s parents’ relationship was really well-done.  The fears that both Finn and Kurt experienced rang really true.  Of course it made sense for Kurt to think that Finn would replace him in his Dad’s mind.  And of course Finn would be afraid that his father would be forgotten.  But, how aggressive was Kurt with Finn this week?  We’ve all done ridiculous things for crushes, but I thought Kurt’s advances were way too aggressive for someone usually so passive.  What did you all think?  Did you think it was strange?

I was happy to see the stories of Mercedes and Kurt developed further, but I was sad that Jesse and Rachel were noticeably absent from this episode.  Their duets have been really great, and I was looking forward to more of them.  This week, it seemed that Jesse’s role was to keep his arms around Rachel.  I hope next week there will be more of them (and maybe some Idina Menzel…I wouldn’t know because I didn’t see previews so this is a pipe dream).

Instead, we got a lot of singing out of Will and Kristin Chenoweth (April).   It’s sort of sad that they used Kristin Chenoweth as April so early in the show’s run.  It seems like this week they conjured up a reason to get her back, but it did nothing to move the plot forward.  I almost wish that she had decided to sublet Will’s apartment because I’m not sure how many times April can return for a special episode, and man do they sing well together.

In the end, Sue got a great write-up by a legitimate journalist, and April/Glee club found their homes—the auditorium.  Maybe next week, Brittany’s cat will read her diary in the front row.

Gossip Girl: Recrap

Gossip Girl: Episodes 3.13-3.17

Hello again, Gossip Girlies. Because I’ve been traveling so much, I’ve been unable to watch Gossip Girl.  When I got back, I sat down and watched 5 episodes of it in a row.  If I were in high school, my SAT scores would’ve gone down 150 points.  Anyway, in the past 5 episodes, a lot has happened, but we’re sort of where we started:

  1. Serena and Nate magically got together.  They wanted to take it slow, but because Serena’s a giant slut, they’re already sleeping together.  She still hasn’t gotten the fashion memo dictating that if your top is low-cut, then you should probably wear pants.
  2. Nate was mad at Serena because she pretended to forget his birthday.  Then, he realized it was an elaborate surprise, and he likes to have a lot of sex so they had some.
  3. Jenny almost lost her virginity to the drug-dealing ambassador’s son.  But then she didn’t.  He’s gone now.
  4. Rufus and Lily caught Jenny with the pills.  Rufus exiled her to Brooklyn until her boyfriend dumped her.  She was sad, so he let her do whatever she wanted again.
  5. Lily kissed Serena’s father last summer.  This made Rufus angry so he went to some chick’s apartment, but didn’t sleep with her.  He left his scarf, there, however, which Lily got from the doorman. Apparently, Rufus’s neck is immune from cold.
  6. Because Rufus was angry, he lived in Brooklyn with Jenny for a week.  Lily left his scarf on the table, preventing him from getting swine flu.
  7. Jenny tried to make good by re-entering the fashion world.  Unfortunately, Agnes gave her roofies.  Nate came to her rescue, and Jenny’s unresolved feelings for Nate resurfaced.  So now she’s back in love with him and kissed him during a game of assassins, but he’s still with Serena and not little J.
  8. Dan and Vanessa tried really hard not to be annoying.  It didn’t work.
  9. Dan and Vanessa are dating now.  They tried to take it slow but wound up having sex.  Apparently, it’s better when Hilary Duff isn’t with them in the bedroom.  Better for who is my question.  Also, can anyone keep their pants on in this world?
  10. Before they decided to date, Dan and Vanessa faked having significant others at some completely unrealistic “South Beach” party so they wouldn’t have to acknowledge their true feelings for one another. (Read more after the break) Continue reading

More things we learned on Lost (and a lot more things we didn’t)

CC’s back–with some more Lost theories!

LOST 6.05: “The Lighthouse”
LOST 6.06: “Sundown”

I know.  It goes without saying…spoiler alert.

What We Learned:

1. Jack has a son named David. At first, I thought that this was Aaron all grown up, but then I realized Claire’s alive and just had her kid. There’s internet speculation on the mother. Pretty much no one thinks it’s Sarah (and I agree). The internet thinks that it’s Juliet. I secretly think that it’s Kate because Jack said something about there not being anything between them anymore (and now he’s divorced).

2. David is a piano prodigy with a love for Chopin. Interestingly, David played the same song that Farraday was playing when he was a little boy. Did anyone else notice that when David was trying out for the conservatory, a sign said “welcome candidates?” I’m not sure what that means, but it’s Lost so it means something.

3. Jacob, despite being dead, appears only to Hurley. Lost has a lot of references to religion, and if we look at the show through the Christian lens (yes, Jack’s name is Christian), then we can really start thinking of Hurley as a prophet. That is, if Jacob is God. Or Jesus.

4. Christian’s will included Claire, although Jack had never heard of her. Again, it’s destiny for them to meet.

5. Claire’s roaming around the island. She thinks the Others have her baby (just like Rousseau did).

6. The reason Sayid was tortured was to find out the balance of good and evil in him. Apparently, it tilted too much towards evil, as was Claire’s (which is interesting because she was never one to kill people back home in Australia). Anyway, remember when Smokey threw the white rock into the ocean? I’m wondering if he’s not trying to collect everyone who’s imbalanced (like Sawyer), getting them off the island and leaving the good people to die. Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds.

7. The Samurai was the only person keeping Smokey out of the temple. Sayid killed him, and so now, Smokey’s eating up anyone he can get his hands on.

8. Nadia is alive in the parallel universe, but she ends up with Sayid’s brother, who takes out a bad loan and gets himself in trouble with the guys from the freighter (who killed Ben’s daughter). Jin apparently worked in the restaurant or something because he was hiding in the freezer and for some reason Sayid spared him.  Did anyone notice that Jack was in the hospital when Sayid’s brother was admitted?  Again, it’s weird how they are all destined to be together.  I’m just saying it over and over…

9. There’s a lighthouse on the island with a dial that can be turned. It seems that every candidate listed in the cave also appears on the lighthouse dial. At 23 degrees (Jack’s number), Jack could see his childhood home. Jacob wanted Jack to turn it to 108. Incidentally, that is the number of minutes between number entering in the hatch.

10. Jacob made Hurley take Jack to the lighthouse in order to prevent Smokey from getting him in the temple. He wasn’t allowed to warn anyone, but he needed to get his two candidates away from danger.

What We (Still) Haven’t Learned:

1. Everything. No seriously, the teaser for this week’s episode said that questions will be answered. Looking at my questions from last week, none of those have been answered one bit.

Crazy Hare-brained Theory of Mine:

The episode with Jack was a lot stronger than the Sayid-centered episode. A lot has been made on Lost of the conflicted relationship between fathers and sons (Jack, Sawyer, and Locke being prime examples). I’m wondering if Jacob is Smokey’s father, and this is an act of rebellion. Jacob realized that his son wasn’t a suitable heir and he’s off looking for candidates. It reminds me of when Marcus Aurelius gives Maximus emperor in Gladiator instead of Commodus, his son. And so Commodus kills his father. It’s eerily familiar.

6 Things We Learned on ‘Lost’ (and 10 Things We Didn’t)

CC catches us up on Lost.

LOST: 6.03 “What Kate Did.”
LOST: 6.04 “The Substitute”

I’m just going to preface this by saying spoiler alert.  But really, did you need me to?

6 Things We Know:

  1. We know that the numbers represent people that Jacob brought to the island as candidates as its protector.  Locke, Sawyer, Jack, Sun/Jin (we don’t know which one), and Hurley are all candidates.  Interestingly, I didn’t see Kate as one.
  2. Smokey still doesn’t have a name, but he wants to get off the island.  Of course, it’s unclear why he needed to embody Locke in order to do so.
  3. It’s true that Sayid is not himself, and The Others were trying to poison him.  Not that we know why, who he is, or who’s got his soul.
  4. Claire was destined to keep Aaron.  Remember when her doctor said that she shouldn’t get rid of him?  Well, the marriage of Aaron’s potential adoptive parents had dissolved so when she got to LA, they weren’t able to adopt anymore.
  5. Claire is still alive, but she’s not herself.   In fact, she’s inflicted with the same disease as Sayid…not that we have any clue what that is. When Jin gets caught in a trap while running from Aldo, Claire’s the one that shoots two of the others.
  6. Unlike Lady Gaga, Sawyer finds it important to leave the house wearing pants.

10 Things We Don’t Know:

  1. Who was the little boy running through the woods that Smokey and Sawyer kept seeing?  Was the fact that they were both candidates allow them to see the boy?  And if so, does that mean, the boy (who reminded me of the cover of Lord of the Flies) is really Jacob?
  2. What was up with the rock and scales in the cave?  I feel like a lot has been made of good and evil.  Jacob is always represented by white, and I assume that means he’s supposed to be good.  Does the fact that Smokey threw the white rock in the ocean mean that the balance between good and evil is off?
  3. Where did Claire go this entire time?  How did she get sick/poisoned?  And where the hell is her kid?
  4. Will Sayid recover from his ailment?  And if not, who has taken over control of his body?  Jacob?  Who’s got Claire’s?  Farraday’s mother?
  5. Why does the island need protecting, and who or what does it need protecting from? Widmore?
  6. Why is Jacob looking for candidates?  If he was allegedly immortal (save for his experience with Smokey), then why does he need to find a replacement protector?  Did he want to get off the island, too?
  7. How were the candidates selected?  There’s very little by way of connective thread among these characters.  More importantly, it seems that there were a lot of extraneous people that Jacob had to bring to the island in order to get them there.
  8. Who is Smokey?  Why was he rejected as a potential candidate?  And more importantly, why does he need to inhabit Locke’s body to get off the island?
  9. Will the paths of Locke and Shephard cross in the parallel life?  Much like Claire keeping her baby, it seems that Locke is destined to walk again, and I assume it’s going to be Jacke’s doing.
  10. Most importantly, if we’re in 2007 on the island and the parallel time is 2004, then how the hell did the candidates get back on the island?

Maybe we’ll get some answers tonight, but seriously, I doubt it.

The Good Wife: “Sometimes things are as they seem.”

CC finally found out what Peter did.

THE GOOD WIFE: 1.13 “Bad”

Mystery solved! We finally know what Peter allegedly did, and we didn’t need a stupid Munchkin (who was so noticeably absent, it was wonderful) to figure it out. Welcome back, Good Wife. I assume you saw it, but in case you missed, it Peter declined to prosecute cases, especially those having to do with shady real estate deals (remember who bought Alicia’s necklace) in exchange for favors. One of those favors was paying for his trysts with Amber, his hot call girl.

Peter’s appeal was certainly the most compelling part of the show. Here, we learned that Childs told one of his associates to keep an eye on Peter during a real estate task force. Interestingly, where Childs thought that cases were being dropped for shady reasons, he never bothered to pick them back up when he became state’s attorney. It also turns out that while Peter’s real estate contacts were paying Amber, Peter was paying her as well. For a call girl, she’s pretty smart. Double payment’s the way to go, especially if you’re sleeping with someone 30 years older than you.

In light of all this evidence, Peter presumably wins his appeal. Childs offers to argue for Peter’s release on humanitarian grounds. The conviction and disbarment would stand (so Peter can’t run again), but at least he’d be home with his family. Peter seemingly doesn’t want to take that deal, and next week, we’re getting a trial! And Kalinda’s going to testify against him.  Anyway, I thought it was strange that Peter didn’t bother telling Alicia any of this. One of the more interesting scenes this week was when Peter asked Alicia if she still loved him and that she’s talking like an attorney. Alicia responds with how hurt she is, and for now, they just need a plan.

Alicia’s plan for this week included lots of time with Josh Charles (which was delightful for me). Will and Alicia were representing Colin Sweeney who liked autoerotic asphyxiation and reminded me of the weirdos that were constantly on The Practice. He’d been found not guilty of murdering his wife but was facing a civil suit. The judge from this case was also the judge who signed all of the wiretap authorizations on The Wire, and I think he was on The Practice too. Apparently, if you’re a judge, you can move from Boston to Baltimore to Chicago without much difficulty.

Our friendly judge kept ruling in favor of some blonde innocent newbie who’d been in court three times before because she was cute. This infuriated Will because he’s competitive…which only makes him more attractive. This was pretty hilarious, actually. Anytime Sweeney brought up his sexual predilections, opposing counsel was so embarrassed, she had to sit down.

In the end, the missing body turned up in the stepdaughter’s farmland. She was arrested, and Sweeney was found not responsible for his wife’s death. As a gift, he gave Alicia a creepy strangulation manga. Isn’t he sweet?

Not sweet, was the whole Diane subplot, wherein someone she defended in a drug case continually threatens her upon release. The threats force Diane to purchase a gun, but it makes her think that dogs are menacing ex-cons so, in the end, she returns it. Honestly, we didn’t need see this, even if it provided some character insight. I’m way more interested in Peter’s trial. But my question is this: how long can the writers delay Peter’s release? It seems we’ve had three episodes already in which Alicia’s had to grapple with Peter coming home. I would hope that he stays in prison longer so that Alicia can have a love interest (maybe Will?). Anyway, next week looks like it’s going to be good, and I’ll be here to recap.