Mark-Paul Gosselaar on ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ tonight!

I must say, I miss my Raising the Bar team. That’s why I was so excited to see Teddy Sears on The Client List. I just miss them.

Well, if you’re like me, then tonight we’re in luck. Mark-Paul Gosselaar is guest starring on Rizzoli & Isles! That’s right, you can check him out back on TNT tonight at 10-9c.

Gosselaar plays Garrett Fairfield, a college boyfriend of Dr. Maura Isles. Garrett is the handsome middle son of a wealthy and powerful old Boston family who returns home to mourn the death of his oldest brother.  Garrett’s family is a member of the respected “Brahmins,” Boston’s oldest families, who trace their roots back to the landing of the Mayflower.  Between boyfriends and bodies, this means that we’re in for a treat.

Wow, that was morbid.

Anyway, that’s not all that he’s got in store for us. I was lucky enough to talk to Gosselaar on a conference call last week, where he chatted about his role on the show, his new show for next summer (Franklin & Bash–a lawyer comedy), and his upcoming appearance on Weeds!

It was a pretty quick call, but check out the highlights below. And don’t forget to watch Rizzoli & Isles tonight!


On working with the girls of Rizzoli & Isles:

[W]orking with the two girls, it was great.  We had a relationship before I actually stepped foot on the set.  I know – I’ve known Angie for a while.  I met Sasha on our way to the upfront this year for TNT, and they’re lovely.  They’re great to work with.  I’m also friends with the writer who wrote the episode as well as the director who directed the episode, and then, of course, my relationship with TNT.  So it was a – it was fun environment to be a part of.

On being the guest star:

Well…it’s been a while.  I had fun and sometimes it’s a bit easier.  You just show up, do your work, and go home and you don’t really need to worry about anything else.  It was – it was nice, but like I said, it was a good environment to be a part of and definitely felt like some of the other sets that I’ve – that I’ve ran, they’re great, the two of them, and as well as the production was really strong.  So, yes, it was – it was painless.

[Read more after the break!] Continue reading


A Note to Readers

First, I’d like to wish you all happy holidays–if you haven’t already had them, of course. I suppose it’d be more accurate to say, “Happy New Year.” Well then, here goes:

Happy New Year!

Second, I’d like to thank each of you for reading! I know there’s been a bit of a void in the last week or so, what with the Raked Reviews team being in various areas of the country and suffering from lack-of-new-episodes-itis. But now that we’re back (or at least parts of us), we’ll do our best to get this up and running again. Speaking of, here’s what we’ve got coming up!

Scrubs: That’s right. I missed last week’s Scrubs. I had no idea it was new. Sadly, it’s not new tonight, but if you missed it like me, feel free to catch up tonight online and read my review, which I plan to post tomorrow.

Raising the Bar: As I lamented before, TNT aired the final three episodes of Raising the Bar on Christmas Eve. I was lost in a sea of sugar cookies and Muppet Christmas Carol, so I missed it. Hopefully, my TiVo did not. I’ll be posting these reviews up as I watch.

Recap Reviews: When life gives your reruns, write some reviews! I got bombarded with some awesome TV series on DVD for Christmas, and with reruns running amuch on TV, why not watch and write?

Plus, who knows what else? I might find something neat on the Internet and just post it for fun. Like this:

Apparently, FOX set up a flash mob in Italy to promote Glee‘s upcoming premiere. FOX, can you please send me to Italy to dance to fun songs? That would be nice.

But once again, readers, thanks for reading! And let me know if there’s something you want to see on here, and we can see what we can do.

P.S. Sorry to call this “A Note to Readers,” but what else could I call it? Sounded a little more ominous than intended… 🙂

Say good-bye to ‘Raising the Bar’–just before you say hello to Santa

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If you haven’t heard already, TNT’s Raising the Bar has been canceled.

I’m actually pretty heartbroken. The news broke a week or so ago, and I was actually really disappointed about it. It came as a bit of a shock. I think I knew that ratings were down, but the cancellation just seemed to come out of nowhere. True, I wasn’t exactly thinking about Raising the Bar right at that moment (perhaps that’s the problem, but it was a hiatus), but it still is a major bummer.

On the bright side, there are three episodes left to air. On the downside, they’re going to be aired on a terrible date.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you can watch the final three episodes of Raising the Bar on Christmas Eve at 8:00 pm. All three episodes. In a mini-marathon.


I’m thrilled that they’re airing the final episodes, but what a terrible day! Who’s going to watch? Ratings will stink (but it’s a canceled series, so will they care?) Ok, true, not everyone celebrates Christmas, but in general, choosing a holiday to air new episodes–particularly a day that many people aren’t generally tuning in to the TV–is kinda a bad day.

So I guess my TiVo will have a busy Christmas Eve. But at least I’ll have something great to watch shortly thereafter.

Three bittersweet hours before 2009 draws to a close. New year’s resolution? No more time at the Bar. Can’t say it’s one I would pick.

Raising the Bar: The bar was too high

RAISING THE BAR: 2.12 “Beating a Dead Horse”

Did anyone expect this episode to be…bigger? It was the season finale. All the commercials were exclaiming about a phenomenal episode. It just seemed to be a standard episode.

Not a bad one, by any means, but not what I expected.

Bobbi and Jerry are officially together, which means now we get even more drama (and sex) when they disagree. I could entirely understand their spat when Bobbi disagreed with Jerry’s one-sided view about his pregnant client, but the fact that it needed to end with a sex scene? Well, as I told you before, I don’t watch Raising the Bar for sex.

Speaking of, what did we think of Jerry’s view of his client? I know that Jerry has always been the righteous one here–the one that’s on the side of his client no matter what. But in this case, I was really rooting for Michelle. I mean, even Bobbi agreed with Michelle. Sure, Bobbi found Michelle’s means to be against the law so she was fighting it, but it wasn’t that she thought Michelle’s concerns were wrong.

But Jerry… Jerry was so against everything and so pro-client that he was really blinded by the issues. I mean, his big issue was that he wanted his client to have her child. That’s a completely fair thing to want. But look at her! I mean, social services would end up taking that child away from her within a few months anyway, just because she’s a drug addict. And ultimately, that’s what happened. But Jerry just insists that had she not been dragged out of the jail, she would be holding the baby right now. Somehow, I don’t think that’s the bigger picture.

And you know, I think Michelle deserved this episode. We haven’t liked her all season. She’s on the side we never root for. I think it’s fair that we finally got to agree with her for once, even though all they’re doing is fighting for a victim or for fair law.

Now Balco. I really wish we’d see more of him in court because as he spoke in front of the Grand Jury. Man, he’s great.

The one thing that bugged me, though, was that she ended up having the baby at 7 months, and yet, clearly no one seemed to have concerns about how underdeveloped it was. I honestly thought she’d have the baby and it wouldn’t make it (which would be even more heartbreaking, knowing that Michelle fought so hard for it, and even Jerry’s hope for a happy mother and child would have failed). But no, it was fine, and just went to social services.

Then there was the horse case, which was just a sad case. I did enjoy seeing a new side of the judge, though. And understanding side. I’m glad that the defendant didn’t get too much time. It was a really difficult case to do.

But was it season-finale worthy? I’m not sure. I think it could have easily fit in with any other episode.

Honestly, I wish they’d gone back and tried some of the cases we were left hanging on. Like the Jerry/Balco case. Or the case where Porter was first introduced. You know, the cases that were left unfinished. But I guess this did present an ethical issue. And I can’t complain too much about a show that makes you think.

I don’t watch ‘Raising the Bar’ for sex

RAISING THE BAR: 3.10 “Making Up Is Hard to Do”
RAISING THE BAR: 3.11 “Bobbi Ba-Bing”

It’s hard to admit it, but I must get it out there. I don’t watch Raising the Bar because I hope for gratuitous sex scenes. I actually watch it for the substance of each episode. The cases.

Who knew?

So seeing Michelle’s ridiculous moment in her office with the cop (really?!) or finishing off Monday’s episode with Bobbi and Jerry getting it on just didn’t really appeal to me. Yes, we know Porter”s a jerk. We got that in a few episodes this season, particularly the one where he was the fault of a woman’s death. I had no doubt that he was faking the evidence. Anyway, we got that. Why did we need to add Michelle’s desk scene to the fire? It just seemed out of place.

And for Monday’s episode, I’m glad that Bobbi and Jerry are together. I do think it’s a little soon, as I would have thought Bobbi would still be traumatized by her ex-husband’s death. But anyway, they’re cute so yay them. Let’s see how long it lasts.

But I thought putting Jerry’s client in prison would have made a much stronger impact for the end of the episode than the sex scene. I mean, yes, I’m sure many men in the viewing audience wanted to see Bobbi in that lingerie, but I guess I wanted more substance than sex. Bad me.

By the way, I was so glad to see Robbie Jones playing Jawara Obasi. If you read Raked often, you’d know I’m a One Tree Hill fan, where he played the late Quentin. It was nice to see him reappear.

But enough about the bad. Let’s talk the good. First, I must say that I adored Balco’s reaction to Michelle’s distress. Obviously, this guy had no idea what to do with a crying woman in his office. I think if she hadn’t have been crying, he probably would have raked her over the coals. But he was so jarred by her being upset that his reaction was hilarious. Giving her basically half a roll of paper towels to mop up and doing his best to (almost) comfort her. He just desperately wanted out of that situation–and fast!

Meanwhile, we have a new lawyer in our midst. I sure how Ashley hangs around for episodes to come. She’s quite a little spitfire, and while I can see her getting annoying if this quirk is used too liberally (think Maggie of Eli Stone), I think that she can be a fun addition to the cast. Plus, it looks like they’re leading up to some possible interest between her and Richard. Wouldn’t that be something to see? (Especially since he’s a good foot taller than her, ha!).

Anyway, it does look like the show is leading us in good directions, but I wonder where we’ll be left off after next week’s summer finale. Will things get tied up in a tidy bow? Or will more questions be asked?

Somehow I see a big case coming up, and I wonder who will be left unhappy in the end.

Raising the Bar: Too much to control

RAISING THE BAR: 2.09 “Trout Fishing”

It took me a long time to decide what to say about this episode. You know I’m a big fan of the show. But this episode. Something was…amiss.

Usually, each episode has two storylines. Either there’s one case that’s the main case and smaller minor case, or two of equal value. I would have never thought that there was a reason for this. That the reason was that the viewer’s attention span can only carry so much information before going too frenzied.

This episode was case and point. There was just too much going on. Between Jerry’s two cases and Michelle/Richard’s case–plus the backstory for Michelles case, there’s just way too much going on. Plus, adding in this Trout woman, and I was just lost.

Which is disappointing. This could have been a great episode. I loved seeing Kessler and Farnsworth being so passive aggressive–using Jerry to get to each other. And it was clearly Farnsworth trying to get back at Kessler for making a scene in the courtroom a few weeks back.

That was, of course, completely unfair to Jerry and his client. His client gets forced right back in jail, while Jerry is reeling from the experience (and in contempt). Personally, I was wondering how it was that these lawyers never overlapped with their cases and court times. It’s neat that they covered it this week. And to know that the judges were such big jerks about it, well, that’s just Raising the Bar, isn’t it?

But what about Charlie and Kessler? What’s her problem? I completely felt bad for Charlie, knowing that he wanted to go on his trip. A work-related trip, at that. Do you think Kessler’s still getting back at him for dumping her to be gay? Or is it his interest in Farnsworth that’s still getting under her skin.

But man, when Charlie went to Jerry to complain that Kessler didn’t even sleep the night before. That’s just ridiculous. Why is that any of Charlie’s business? And why would Jerry care? She’s being a pain to him, so being a pain right back just seems fair. (But this is the judicial system, so maybe that’s not the best idea.)

And then there’s Michelle’s case. Or Balco’s case. Or really both. I understood what this case was about and its outcome. What I didn’t understand was how that Trout woman (yes, that’s what I’m calling her) had to do with any of it. Sure, she worked on the old case, but what else? Is she there just to allow for a rather risque scene at the end? Or will she have a bigger presence later in the season? She must, by the way that it ended.

But wow. I was actually wondering if Balco was becoming a nice person, one that might actually like Michelle. But no. He’s just as much of a sleeze as ever. Not only did he give an unwinable case, but he tried to diminish Richard’s know-how in the courtroom and kept someone in jail awaiting trial all because he knew that he would get off.

That’s just wrong.

So ultimately, I understood the episode, but it just seemed like a lot to take in, and I wonder if I missed something important for the future.

Raising the Bar: Finding trust

RAISING THE BAR: 2.08 “Trust Me”

I figured this would be a pretty Richard-centric episode, what with Teddy Sears offering an interview yesterday. And boy was it a good one! Not only did we get to see more of him, but we actually got to see him push for what he wanted!

Plus, finding out that he can shell out $3 million at a moment’s notice? Nice.

Anyway, this episode seemed to be one for the underdog. Er, well, one for the underappreciated. I feel like this show tends to come down to a handful of main characters. Unfortunately, two characters that aren’t really focused on–at least not in the courtroom–are Bobbi and Richard. Sure, we see them in court sometimes, but usually it’s as a side plot while we watch Jerry be righteous against Kessler.

In other words, while they’re on the screen, you might not be too invested in their case.

But last night, the two really split air time. Jerry was really an afterthought, even as he dabbled in Bobbi’s case (we’ll get to that). It was really the story of Bobbi’s case and the story of Richard’s fight against the civil suit (really, $1500 for $6 in batteries that were returned to the shelf? Ridiculous).

And it was interesting to see Richard play out of his element. Trying to use his father’s connections to swindle deals, when in an instant we could see that he was out of his league. Those rich lawyers with their rich clients… In the end, it was great to see that Richard could outmaneuver their efforts, even if his money would play a role in an indirect way. It really gave us a good look at how his convictions can strengthen him, even after being beaten down (and getting patted on the head; man, that was so degrading).

Meanwhile, Bobbi was trying to help a drug dealer (one of the nicest ones we’ve seen, I think). I had a suspicion from the start that Michelle would win this one, just because she’s lost so many recently. But what do we think? Did Jerry’s “help” really help?

I’m thinking no. The minute that the defendent started discussing Omar on the stand, he just sounded like he was lying. Even now, I can’t figure out whether he was telling the truth. I wanted to believe him, but it seemed too easy. And if it were that important, why wouldn’t he have remembered it before? It seemed convenient.

And how is Bobbi supposed to handle this new information? Had she known ahead of time, she could possibly work the angles. But here, it was just new info that she couldn’t really mess with.

So did she deserve to yell at Jerry? Well, possibly. I think she might’ve lost either way, but I think that the defendent would have probably been more believable without the story of Omar. Whether that would have swayed the jury, well, I just don’t know.

But it is interesting. I don’t think every client belongs to the office, and Bobbi was right in arguing that if she talked to Jerry’s client behind her back, he would be just as pissed. And that does play with a little bit of Bobbi’s trust. She already has issues. Was he really trying to help the client? Or was he just trying to make good with Bobbi?

Either way, I really like the way this season is going. I love seeing Richard develop, and I like the transition Bobbi is going through. There is, of course, the downside of Michelle, who is just a terrible person now. And a bad dresser. Seriously, what was she wearing last night??