Archive for January, 2010

Finally Letting You In

January 30, 2010

So the final episode of Dollhouse finally aired last night, Epitaph 2 (son of Epitaph). This show really grew on me after a very shaky beginning. There was only one episode in the second season that I found irredeemable– “Instinct,” you can slink off in shame any time now. As TWOP put it:

If we wanted to watch a Lifetime movie of the week, we’d look up what channel Lifetime is and watch one. (Just kidding — we know what channel Lifetime is. They have Runway now!) So when we realized that Echo had been glandularly altered to breast-feed a baby, grow jealous of the dead wife she had replaced and flee because she thought her baby was in danger, we sat back and waited for the dramatic standoff with a knife.

But mostly the season was intriguing and well-plotted and genuinely surprising. Personally, I was very pleased that after all the “Caroline is special!” business, which was a seriously egregious offense of telling and not showing, it was gratifying that the only special thing about her turned out to be her DNA. (Although in E2 one of the tech heads gets beaten up and is all “She’s soooooo cool.” Whatever, show, you can keep selling, it doesn’t mean I have to buy.)

I got most of what I wanted. Our crew saved the world after (some of them) ruined it, but the ones that lived were too damaged to enjoy it. That seemed right to me, kind of a counter-point to the forced cheer of the final episode of Buffy when the Scoobies ignored the deaths of Anya and Spike and chirped that it was time to go to the mall, as if seven seasons of growth had never happened.

How could any of these people make it in the new world, knowing what they’ve done? Being the only ones who remember? Topher blew himself up restoring everyone to their original personalities. Paul died in battle, which was fine with me, since I never liked his smug, arrogant ass anyway. But in a genuinely affecting turn that I didn’t see coming, Alpha gave Echo Paul’s imprint, and she incorporated him, finally letting him in, and assuring him they’d have time to get to know each other.

I’m not made of stone, people, I found that to be just ridiculously romantic. Still though, you get the impression that Echo is really not made for this post-Dollhouse world, so this is the only part of her future that isn’t bleak. (Also, what’s with the grey streak in Echo’s hair? In 2020 she should be maximum 35. I guess she’s had a hard life.)

Priya and Tony ended up together, reconciled, with the most adorable child in the history of children. I feel very Adam and Eve about them, and their child is the product of a technophile and a technophobe, which seems fitting for the future of the human race, as it moves beyond the age of dolls and imprints.

So who’s the biggest loser? Caroline, I guess. She never got her body back (god, that phrase is so tainted by tabloids that I feel like I’m talking about Kardashian after giving birth or Jennifer Aniston’s “revenge body,” because after all, if you’ve been with Brad Pitt, everything you do afterward is about him.) so she essentially died making room for Echo. Potentially Alpha, who had been rehabilitated, but who might, on the reset, turn back into a killer.

I’ll miss this show, and I hope Joss Whedon gets a new one soon. Although maybe he could leave Summer Glau, every nerd’s favorite manic pixie dream girl out of it this time, yeah?


Last Train to Baghdad: Part 1

January 29, 2010

Last Train to Baghdad: Part 1 (Melrose 6×19)

The climax of Melrosian lady stupids and Shakespearean mistaken identities. Kyle notices that “Christine” “doesn’t look the same.” That’s because she’s a completely different person! She says she had years of facial reconstruction, but for reals? These two were supposed to be in love. How can you not recognize the person you were in love with isn’t the same person?

On a slightly related note, I just watched The Hurt Locker last night (which was awesome and should win best picture at the Oscars) which makes the Baghdad flashbacks even worse in comparison. Also, Evangeline Lily (Kate from LOST) is in it, which brings things around to the topic of cons again.

“Christine” (and Taylor’s) con here is sort of difficult to work out, since “Christine” literally tells Kyle to go away because “they said it all seven years ago.” So the plan depends on him not listening to her. I guess I’m not crafty enough to plan out this sort of thing, which is probably a relief to my friends and family.

Sam and Billy are fighting about how she’s cheating on him with the equally bland baseball STAR Jeff Baylor. If you’re going to cheat, at least cheat up, don’t just pick a Billy clone. They make up when she returns, and there’s a gross implication that there will be make up sex. Happily for me, they have another fight about changes to campaign and the sexin’ is forestalled.

“Everything to Everyone” by Everclear is the song that leads us into the episode. I remember liking this song in high school although it is one of those songs that seems to say something specific when it’s really utterly generic. Oh no, this girl is a people pleaser! She tries to make people like her! How deserving of your scorn! (My favorite of these is Ani DiFranco: “You look like a picture of yourself taken from far, far away.” No really? You look like a picture of yourself? How strange! Illusion of depth over total shallowness.)

“Christine” shows up at Amanda’s place. Maybe this plan isn’t as stupid as I thought. She asks Amanda to talk to Kyle with her because they both need closure. So Kyle and “Christine” have lunch and he’s all “I can’t get over how different you look.” IT’S BECAUSE SHE’S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSON KYLE!!!! Although, she has a Kimberly Shaw style enormous scalp scar. Melrose ladies are so lucky (um or not, on further reflection) they never get scarred on the face, just under their hair. And naturally their locks are full and long enough to cover it completely. Or I guess in the case of Kimberley they have amazingly realistic wigs. (JJ of Big Love take note! No need to keep your wife in a wig from a “Katy Perry” Halloween costume.) But what happened here? Did Taylor and Nick run a personals ad seeking a gorgeous woman who could conceivably look like some other woman who also has a massive head scar?

Amanda mysteriously has no friends, even though she’s the most awesome person in the ‘Place, so she has to ask Sam to be her maid of honor. Gross. I’d rather she asked Allison, at least she might get trashed and say something horriblelarious in the manner of Billy’s mom to Sam at their wedding.

Oh man. Then this happened: Michael takes care of this guy from the hood who gives him an idea—start an urgent care facility. He talks like Kevin Federline and it’s painfully obvious that the writers have never even driven through the bad parts of town. “You fell into a goldmine when you met me, Doc. You play your cards right—you might just stake a claim.” That last part is sort of hissed in a semi-menacing way, but what? Menacing gang members who talk in Wild West prospector metaphors?

Jennifer begs Billy to reprise his role as Craig, and Sam is weirdly all into it, she’s practically throwing Billy at her, which, I know we hate Billy, but Sam isn’t supposed to!

Peter goes to confront Lexi’s father while wearing a wire so that she will understand that her Dad sucks and is against her being with Peter. But oops, Dad has an aneurysm and dies just after Peter makes what sounds like a threat. Well, that should go well. There’s seriously so much going on in this pair of episodes, I don’t know why it isn’t the season finale.

Michael proposes that his mom invest in “The Mancini Medical Center” his new urgent care facility. Mama Mancini sticks a wet noodle on the fridge and says: “You have until this linguini hits the floor to convince me.” Ah Italians, always using pasta to make major life choices. Mama mia! That’s a spicy-a pepperoni!

Peter lies to Lexi about what was going on with her Dad and says they were making nice. Unfortunately for him, Megan finds the tape in his jacket pocket when she’s looking to transcribe his notes, so she hears him be all, “You’re losing your grip Tom, be careful or you might fall.” Incriminating! And fitting so well with the Melrose Place theme that this collection of felons is only ever falsely imprisoned.

Michael shows the lady Mancinis his clinic, which looks really nice, other than some half-hearted PG graffiti, but they act like they’re in Compton. Kevin Federline shows up, unnerving Michael but tells Michael that the street needs to see them shaking hands because it means they’re “in bidness.”

The sexing between Billy and Sam looms again, and Mama Mancini sees them making out and bursts into their apartment and punches him! It’s awesome. Way to do what we all long to, Mama Mancini! So Jennifer has to come clean about Craig having killed himself, which weirdly Mama Mancini is totally fine with.

Tuck and Patti are playing the jazz club this episode, which means nothing to me, but is apparently pleasing to Doostyn and Kathy Griffin. I’m learning so much about the smooth jazz stylings of the 90s. “Christine” shows up having decided to attend Kyle and Amanda’s wedding. Tuck and Patty play Kyle and Christine’s song “You Take my Breath Away.” But how did Taylor know it was their song since this isn’t the real Christine? Maybe Nick knew?

In what I initially thought was a flashback, Kyle and “Christine” are having a candlelit dinner for two. I don’t care how cool and not jealous Amanda is, surely this is too far! You should never prohibit your partner from hanging out with an ex but you don’t have to let them go on dates together, jeez louise.

Just Say ME!

January 28, 2010

What a strange hour of SLAT this week.

Grace proselytizes the joys of masturbation and gets all the girls in school to band together in swearing off guys and instead taking matters into their own hands. They decide “masturbation” sounds icky and start calling it “Just Say Me!” This phrase is repeated about 9 million times in the episode and boy are the boys uncomfortable with it. Ricky particularly, is a disgusting sleaze, commenting that he likes it when Adrian and Amy are fighting because it makes Adrian work harder in bed to keep him, which is fucking repulsive.

He also announces that Adrian has had sex with him for a year, so she’s not allowed to just stop, which is pretty rapey and entitled. I don’t understand what Adrian sees in him, she can do so much better and I definitely don’t mean Tom.

In the end all the boys end up asking the girls out, and I actually laughed out loud when Madison bumped into Jack and said “I didn’t see you!” And he retorted: “Maybe that’s because you WENT BLIND last week!” Hee olden tyme masturbation myths. The best exchange of the night though was Ashley and Amy talking about masturbation and Amy claims that she never does anything without thinking and Ashley goes: “Have you met your son, John?” Bwah!

Continuity on this show continues to suck. Griffin is goading Ashley that she needs to get a boyfriend, but the entire basis of their friendship is a pact not to date in high school. If I can remember that you can too, writers!

Overall it was a surprisingly enjoyable hour of tv which actually said things I agree with: masturbation is a great way take care of sexual urges when you’re not sure you want the complications of a man in your life. That said, as a teenager I would have died sooner than talk about it frankly with my mom, that said I have friends whose parents did discuss it with them and they seemed cool about it. I feel like if I had a kid I would just leave helpful books around the house so that they could be informed but wouldn’t have my face looming in their mind’s eye when they were getting off, because thinking of your mom at a time like that? That can ruin even the healthiest sex drive.

Unless you’re Oedipus. Or Freud.

Carmela Gets Her Groove Back

January 25, 2010

I love the Sopranos episode “Sentimental Education” (5×06) it’s one of my favorites of the series so far. Carmela’s single and ready to mingle with Anthony’s teacher, Mr. Wegler, and I love it, which is not to say I love him. I’m coming to accept that there’s something really appealing to me about Jersey style, since I admire Carmela’s plunging neckline and subsequent display of her glorious endowments, which are, of course, supporting about ten pounds of necklace. And all this for a parent-teacher conference!

After a date she’s goes for a girly post-morten with her unwitting not gay gay best friend, Father Intintola who definitely still has feelings for her. Obliviously, or maybe awesomely bitchily she’s all “I met someone! I thought he was gay, he reminds me of you!….. You know… an intellectual.”
He wants Carmela to talk it all out with Tony and is basically like, “You’re just horny.” And she doesn’t say as much, but intimates “And you’re just jealous!”

Perhaps I’ve seen too many of those Italian “hot men of the cloth” calendars, but I reeeeeeeally want these two to hook up, especially since he’s way hotter than Mr. Wegler. Happily, Nurse Jackie exists, where they bone in closets all the time.

Anthony jr. decides he wants to come home since Tony never has any food except fruit roll ups and pop tarts, which actually sounds kind of awesome. I love fruit roll ups.

Carmela is kick ass: “For me to even consider having you back we’re going to have to establish some non negotiable ground rules. First and foremost, school comes first. That means putting the breaks on your social life: parties, phone calls, Devon. You’re at a crisis point gradewise so you’ll make sure that your work is done on time and correctly. I will not tolerate cursing. This is my house, you’ll treat me with respect. I want you to involve me in your life a little.”

Anthony agrees. I love that Carmela is asserting herself and demanding what she needs, we definitely see this again with Tony later in the season. Tony tries to take credit for Anthony’s improvement, but neither Carmela nor I buy that weak crap.

Carmela is all nervous about her “first time”– since Tony anyway. While I love Carmela getting back on the horse, I am less than fond of the horse she’s chosen (I think that’s probably fairly evident). Mr. Wegler just seems like a huuuuge poser to me. Reading Abelard and Heloise in the bathroom? Who does that? And he’s all condescending at Carmela about Madame Butterfly. Um whatever dude, you teach high school, stop acting like you’re dean of Yale.

Anyway, Carmela confesses the sexin’ to Father Phil. She feels guilty, but she’s not stopping because “something” has been reawakened. Mmmmm yes, but maybe not anything very spiritual. Father Phil reminds her that she took a vow and tells her to do something nice for Tony or to pray for God to touch both of their hearts.

“Sex agrees with you, you look great!” Rosie Aprile is both completely correct and all into it and wants details, and Carmela is all “He took his time.” Awwww yeah.

Anthony jr. comes home all “Mr. Wegler is faaaaaag!” Probably not. Tony says the same thing and Carmela is like, “Oh really, what are the signs? Education, culture?” and points out that since he’s so worried about it, maybe Tony is gay. I feel confident is saying that Tony is the least gay man I’ve ever seen.

Mr. Wegler is trying to get his swerve on, but Carmela rebuffs him out of concern about Anthony’s plagiarism. He kisses all over her while she’s talking about Anthony. Gross! No one wants to talk about a family member while getting it on. Carmela says: “I can’t right now, I’m too upset.” Mr. Wegler takes it on himself to talk to Anthony’s English teacher about manipulating his grade up to passing.

Now when I first watched this I thought maybe Mr. Wegler had a point about Carmela being a user (though I thought it was subconscious) but now I think that he’s just a disgusting sleazy hornball and that Carmela is a real person who has concerns outside of getting laid.

Particularly since Mr. Wegler waits until after sex to initiate the following conversation:

Mr. Wegler: I don’t know any other way to put this. I’ve been thinking and I don’t know, I think you’re a user Carmela. Maybe you saw an opportunity in me and you took what you needed.
Carmela: That is not true, I am here because I enjoy being with you. It was wonderful, in fact. How can asking someone you’re with be using them, that’s what people do! Bob, this hurts. Oh my stomach I feel sick.
Mr. Wegler: You strong armed me using the only weapon you have– your pussy. [Mixed Metaphor Alert! Now I am picturing some kind of internal arm, but like a really beefy Popeye arm.]
Carmela: How dare you talk to me that way.
Mr. Wegler: Okay, pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Carmela: I don’t. OF course I don’t have a fucking Master’s degree.
Mr. Wegler: Leaving me with a massive hard-on the other night [please, I’m SO sure it was “massive” Mr. Wegler. So sure.] and then practically attacking me sexually after you got what you wanted.
Carmela: You know what Bob? You are fucked up. You need help. What a fucking idiot I am. Believe it or not I thought you cared about me.
Mr. Wegler: I thought you should know how I feel.
Carmela: Fuck you! You’d better watch your step.

You had better watch your step! I hope Mr. Wegler gets whacked. (I’m not this bloodthirsty in real life, but in fiction I’ll kill for the slightest indiscretion.)

Carmela has herself a good cry realizing that “Whatever I say, whatever I do, because I was married to a man like Tony my motives will always be called into question.” Well, definitely if you keep dating jerks.

Mama Mia Mancini

January 21, 2010

Offensive Ethnic stereotype watch! In “Mama Mia” Melrose 6×18, Mama Mancini is coming to visit, apparently directly from life on The Sopranos or her vacation at the Jersey Shore.

This episode makes me happy as the opening song is Dance Hall Crashers, “Lost Again.” Let’s take a dance break and remember the late 90s….

That was fun!

Within one minute of her arrival in LA, Mama Mancini is offering homemade cannoli and demanding to see Dean Martin’s house. (“Ma, he’s dead.” “He will always be alive to me.” followed by bursting into song.) Then when she finds out Michael is in jail (assault at a strip club) she bursts into angry Italian, which is just weird, since there’s no indication she’s a first-generation immigrant. At least she doesn’t seem to have mob ties.

The cops call Jennifer to tell her that they found her car and inside, a dead Craig. Jennifer is upset for a Planck second but Michael talks her out of it, telling her suicide is both an act of cowardice and an act of aggression aimed at Jennifer, which I sort of agree with, since he stole her car and shot himself in it. The indignity continues as Jennifer never seems remotely upset about the death of her “love” again. Emotional vampires indeed.

Jennifer passes Billy off as a Craig in a courtyard interaction with Mama, and tries to claim that Craig won’t be joining them for dinner (true!) but the Mancinis run into Billy at Kyle’s and Jennifer is typically sensitive when she takes him aside to enlist his sneaky help.

Jennifer: Billy– I am in a terrible jam. Craig is dead and if my mother finds out.
Billy: He’s dead?
Jennifer: It’s awful. He committed suicide on some beach in Santa Barbara in the front seat of my car.
Billy: I know he had problems… Maybe I should have done something. He was a friend. He was my best man.
Jennifer: I’m feeling guilty too, poor kid, but I don’t have time for that right now because my mother is going to go nuclear on me if you don’t sit down with us and pretend to be Craig.
Billy: That’s morbid, no.
Jennifer: Oh Billy I’m begging you, I am desperate, I will do anything you ask, anything if you just do this one thing for me.
Billy: You know I’m drunk.
Jennifer: Like I said, I’m desperate.
Billy: Well, it’s not like I’m having dinner with Sam… okay.

Right… because Sam was the part that made this appalling.

On their return to the place, Billy drunkenly Craigs at Mrs. Mancini: “Did I tell you that I was married once? It only lasted 15 minutes, but it was a beautiful marriage. There was really no fighting or bickering, no baseball players… Before you go, I want you to know why it was only minutes and not years I want to tell your mom this, this is very important. I believe very strongly in the institution of marriage, love and loyalty, fidelity… all that stuff…”

Jennifer macks on Billy for her mother’s benefit, but it quickly turns into a real make out. Billy is like “Whoa I’m drunk.” True! Sadly, this will not stay contained to boozy times. These two are totally going to hook up, and there’s nothing you or I can do about it.


January 20, 2010

So apparently SLAT is under the impression that it doesn’t count if you say it in Spanish, hence the repetition of “goat-blower” at 8pm on a family channel. Apparently Adrian broke a window at the butcher shop by throwing her cell phone through it. Girlfriend must have some arm, or that is one thin window.

Ricky:Adrian threw a rock through the window?
Bunny: A cell phone. As she shouted “Chupacabra” it’s a devil dog… goat sucker? You been sucking goats? By sucking goats I mean entertaining other girls in your apt. girls other than Adrian and adrian found out, huh? Sorry chupacabra, you have to pay for the window.

The confrontation between Adrian and Ricky is typical SLAT:

Adrian: [Ruthie Camden] called me and told me she had sex with you; she wanted me to know.
Ricky: And why is that? Why would she want you to know?
Adrian: I don’t know.
Ricky: You slept with her boyfriend before I slept with her, I slept with her to get back at you for sleeping with her boyfriend.
Adrian: I slept with her boyfriend awhile back. And I slept with him to get back at you for sleeping with all those other girls.
Ricky: I slept with all those other girls to get back at you for sleeping with all those other guys.
Adrian: No you didn’t, you slept with all those other girls just because you could
Ricky: You slept with all those other guys just because you could
Adrian: That was before.
Ricky: Before after, who cares?
Adrian: I care, I told you I care I’ve done nothing by try to be nice to you and this is how you treat me
Ricky: How have you tried to be nice to me?
Adrian: I had sex with you.
Ricky: Then you’re nice to everyone, aren’t you?

Grace has sex hair this whole episode, which is funny since we know she’s only having solo sex. Like I said before, it’s like an opioid narcotic the way it calms Grace down. She doesn’t care about Jack and Madison getting together and brightly chirps “I hope we can continue with our dead parents club! I really enjoy it!”

Madison and Jack have slutty oral sex with the door open while his mom is home. Why is it happening? I don’t know. But hilariously it happens while Jack is having the world’s most generic dance party of one. When Madison shows up they rock out together before getting down to business, which actually reminded me of times in college when Doostyn and I would have spontaneous late night dance parties of two or three. But obviously we never went to Bologna after.

Adrian borrowing money from Tom and Tom saying he loves her? Why is it happening? The revelation (thanks to Grace) that Tom and Tammy have phone sex and that Tom pressures Tammy into sex? EW! And WHY IS IT HAPPENING?? I just don’t understand what Tom does with his life other than huff around being patriarchal and manipulative.

Even with Tom in the running, Ben is the creepiest, telling Maria: “Maybe you should have my babies.” Why do all these kids want to have babies? I realize that having a baby has had no impact on Amy’s social life and isn’t much of a cautionary tale, but even still, you’re sixteen!

Ricky’s custody suit seems to have been dropped, and judging by the final moments of the episode, he’s interested in sulky, bratty Amy again for reasons that are unfathomable to me. The only thing this young lady has going for her is her shiny curtain of hair.

Baby When We’re Grinding, I Get So Excited

January 18, 2010

Melrose Place 6×17: Coop De Grace

This episode is particularly notable in light of Melrose Place 2009, but most of the action centers around Kyle and Craig, which sounds like it would be really terrible and boring, but is actually ok.

Kyle keeps having dream flashbacks to mushy emo times with Christine, who’s all “You’re the first man I ever really loved.” Unlike most boyfriends, Kyle is dumb enough to believe that.

Kyle and Amanda reveal their engagement to Peter, who does not flip out. He leans over to hug Amanda and she feels “pressure” on her leg.

Paralysis over!

Taylor breaks into old war buddy Nick’s house to learn about Christine. Also to get a drink. ‘Atta girl. Then Taylor and Nick inexplicably have sex, even though they hate each. Why? People around here trade lovers like baseball cards. The dialogue is so slashy it kills me.

Nick: All right we had sex, what do you want?
Taylor: I bet you really miss kyle.
Nick: Man saved my life. Never thought you or anyone could come between us. Now look at me, lying in bed with his wife.
Taylor: Well I’m his ex-wife, for now, I wish there was some way I could help you two be friends again. Maybe it would help make up for all the mistakes I made.

Nick tells Taylor that Christine is still alive, but that she was disfigured and made him promise to tell Kyle she was dead. This is my second time viewing this, and I find this confusing in terms of later events. Apparently Christine really is dead, and the “Christine” who will be showing up imminently really is a fake. But if that’s true, then why have her live through the explosion anyway? My lady brain is confused!

Taylor comes back to find Amanda having collapsed on the floor after a purse-hooked-on-chair caused pratfall. I only mention is because of Taylor’s super-bitchy “Gawwwwwd you’re heavy.” Heh. I’ve seen Amanda, that seems unlikely.

Meanwhile, in Craig! Stanford Blatch tells Jennifer Mancini that the heart valve will kill people, she tells Craig and Craig responds, in so many words, that he will murder her if she tells anyone. She does tell, and in a scene I’d forgotten, he comes to her apartment to try to kill her, but Billy intervenes, fore-shadowng Melrose love. I feel like these people are all just trauma bonded to one another.

Then! Craig steal Jennifer Mancini’s car, holding her at gunpoint: “Sydney was right! You’re all a bunch of emotional vampires!”

Craig drives out into the desert and cries, all: “Couldn’t do it Syndey, I couldn’t do it without you. I screwed up everything and I miss you so much. I just want to hold you again. I just want to be with you again.”

And then Craig shoots himself. It’s extra pathetic when you consider that new Melrose contends that Sydney faked her death with the help of Michael Mancini, for what reasons I am as in the dark as anyone. So Craig just killed himself for the love of a woman who couldn’t stand being with him enough that she pretended to die. This may be the most pathetic death ever on Melrose Place, and is coming close to the most undignified tv death of all time– when Dawson’s dad’s ice cream plopped off the cone and he went to scrape it off the floor and died in a fiery crash from taking his eyes off the raod. Why was he picking up the ice cream? Was he going to eat it? Off the floor? There’s no 5-second rule for wet foods!

Don’t Lemon Your Life

January 17, 2010

The star of NBC’s Thursday night was definitely 30 Rock. We got two of them!!!

Highlights of the episodes? Liz’s New Year’s when her cousin Randy from a rural coal-mining town came out “and ol Liz Lemon had a little something to do with that.” Namely she lurched over a couch announcing “Randy’s gaaaaaaay everybody! He’s gaaaaaay.” Hey, who has a camera in my apartment? So Randy comes to live with Liz. “What better place to live now that I’m a homo, is that the one we call ourselves?”

Jenna meets James Franco’s manager who wants to arrange a relationship with a “real human woman,” which turns out to be Jenna, and turns out to be hilaaaaarious. Like Jenna, I am starting to fall for James Franco, and I don’t care who knows it, we’re in love! (Seriously, I just saw Milk last week, and he can even work a 70s porn ‘stache! (More on ‘stache later.) Also I cried and cried like the hag I am, and I’m man enough to admit that.) The ‘razzi will call us Jam-by, which might be confusing when we go to Jamba Juice,* but which is a lot better than Joostyn, which sounds like an anti-Semitic slur.

Speaking of, “In German class Mr. Kreuger always chose [Nancy] to sort the students. He was eventually arrested by Israeli commandos.”

Jenna and James (“James” according to the tabloids) ultimately break up (“You’re being such a non-pillow right now.”) which leads to Liz picking James up at a club and having a threesome with James and Kamiko-chan, James’s real girlfriend the body-pillow.

Tracy’s pick-up crisis is amazing:

Tracy: Hey baby you new here?
Virginia: This is my first show.
Tracy: And before this were you an ass scientist? Because your ass blah blah blah you get the point.

Ha! I have been trying to make a pick up line with “You must be a child molester cuz…” for years and I can never come up with the punchline. I know this would probably be WAY too offensive to ever be funny, but the lead up popped in my head at one point and I just need to complete it to finally end that mental loop.

Tracy: So what’s your name?
Virginia: Virginia…
Tracy: Virginia?!? But that’s going to be my daughter’s name. Are you also someone’s daughter?
Virginia: Uh yeah.
Tracy: Is every woman someone’s daughter?
Virginia: Of course.

Now, this is like, the most patriarchal reason to respect women– because they’re another man’s property– but for Tracy Jordan it’s a start.

Tracy blames Kenneth, Dot-com, and Grizz for his unhealthy attitude for women.

Tracy: Grizz– when was the last time you told your fiancee you loved her? Since the phone call I interrupted to make this announcement. Kenneth– your haircut is disrespectful to lesbians. Dot-com, do you ever read books by women?
Dot-com: George Eliot was a woman.

In part two, Jack and Liz has a fight over who get to keep Danny because Liz is finally getting some secret underling action, but Jack how has something arguably more precious: a buddy who doesn’t talk about Quidditch at sports events. Twofer cracked me up because I have always had the same big problem with the game: If the Snitch is worth 150 points, why does anyone bother with the quaffle?

Jack and Liz grossly nearly bond about “taking your reward” from the young people who lust after your power. Not any more attractive on a woman (even one as comely as Liz Lemon) than on a grizzled old patriarch, I have to say. Liz has Danny acting out her fantasies through TGS sketches… Chips cop and Grizzly Adams. Jack gets Danny to dump Liz by claiming he is in love with Liz, but he has a little help from Liz’s new grown mustache. I continue to entreat the tv gods, do not, under any circumstances, get Jack and Liz together. That must NEVER happen.

Jenna has an audition for Gossip Girl… MAKE IT HAPPEN TV PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. I would love a crossover of these two shows. Jenn believes she will be playing Blair’s friend “Tartine” but she’s really up for the part of the mother. I refuse to relate Liz’s comments about Madonna’s aging process, out of respect for her Madgesty, but Jenna decides to emulate Madonna rather than Meryl Streep.

After Jenna accepts her age (thanks to Liz accepting her ‘stache) she gets the part on Gossip Girl:

Tartine: Oh mother I can’t believe you’re dying of old age!
Jenna: Don’t… cry for me, Tartine. I’ve had a full life… Oh the things I’ve seen! The first Clinton administration… the Nagano Olympics, Microsoft Windows 95! but… I’m 41 now, time to die.”

The funniest bit of both episodes is absolutely Tracy’s belief that the yogurt establishments “Tasti D-Lite” (I shudder at this spelling) and “Pinkberry” are strip clubs.

*Did Jamba Juice pay for this placement? I can’t imagine they’re too thrilled about being associated with “ice-cold diarrhea.”

Rossum’s Universal Robots

January 15, 2010

In last week’s episode of Dollhouse , “Getting Closer” we saw flashbacks to Caroline breaking into a Rossum building to blow-up it up, and finding out it housed a Dollhouse. In attempting to flee she is caught by Adele and sent upstairs to meet with the mysterious head of Rossum, Clyde (the dude she met in the Attic).

Caroline: So you’re Rossum?
Clyde: Rossum is just a name, actually from a play.

And indeed it is! A play I was in, in college: Rossum’s Universal Robots. The play actually introduced the word “robot,” although its robots are more like clones or even… dolls!

An overview, since I think there are some useful parallels to Dollhouse. The play was written in 1920, but, like Dollhouse, it’s set slightly in the future. In 1932, marine biologist Rossum goes to a remote island and discovers a chemical that allows him to create more durable than usual life. Rossum intends to create animals to disprove the need for (and existence of) God, but his nephew uses it to make robots, which become extreme popular and spread all over world. Robots make everything cheap and easy for humans, and humans come to depend utterly on them. This is all revealed as backstory to Helena, the daughter of an industrialist who is an advocate for robot rights. The present head of the company, Domin, convinces Helena the robots don’t have wishes or desires and the two fall in love.

After ten years the human birth population has declined. Domin shows Helena his two new robots: Radius and (Robot) Helena (this was my part!!). They are both more fully equipped and upgraded. Disturbed, human Helena burns the formula for making robots. Meanwhile, the robots have begun a revolt around the world and it has reached the island. The robots kill all the humans except for Alquist, a clerk, whom they leave alive.

They discover the formula has been burned and Alquist is ordered by the robots to rediscover it, but he’s not a scientist. They bid him to do it even if he has to dissect living robots, which is does, but is disturbed by. Meanwhile, Alquist observes that Robot Helena and robot named Primus seem to be in love, which he tests by asking them which he should dissect, and both volunteer to spare the other. Alquist now suspects that since robots can fall in love, they will be able to reproduce, and that Helena and Primus are the robot Adam and Eve.

The viewer ends up being like human Helena: initially concerned about the welfare of individual human dolls, just as Helena is concerned about robot rights. These are real concerns: As Madeline’s reintroduction to civilian life shows us, it’s disturbing to learn you’ve been raped while unconscious for years. (Imagine.) But if, for whatever reason, you are not concerned about the rights of robots/dolls (like, for example, Topher Brink is not) there are still concerns about the apocalypse and ending the human race. It’s clear both from Epitaph One and from the events of this season that while Topher is disgusting from a feminist angle, he is disturbed by his part in creating the technology that will end the human race.

Robot Helena and Primus are clearly Victor and Sierra, two dolls who were thought to be incapable of love who improvised the way to do it without a map.

The following is just speculation, but I think role of Alquist will be played by Ivy, who is sort of the not particularly implicated, not particularly brilliant clerk of the Dollhouse, and I suspect that because of the end of RUR, Sierra and Victor will save the world.

Also, Boyd is the head of Rossum? I was shocked!! At first I thought he was a doll, but then I remembered that he reacted to that season one virus that affected only humans and not dolls. I’m intrigued going into the last two episodes.

End of Time Part II– Bloated and Ridick, but not Without Charm

January 14, 2010

The Time Lords are meeting talking about the prophecies of their seer is who doodling and babbling about stuff ending and earth. Um. What does a race of time travelers need with a prophet? This is seriously one of the smurfiest things ever. Mr. Cranky Old Time Lord (later I’ll learn he’s Rassilon, who is apparently a famous cranky old Time Lord) end up chucking a very special diamond at a hologram of the earth and that somehow enables the Time Lords to return to Earth. Seriously, the explanation we get is this: “The star was a diamond. And the diamond is a Whitepoint star.”

Thanks for the elucidation?

The Doctor and Wilf fuck off to space for awhile and have the most touching moment of the episode. In general I’ve loved Russell T. Davies Doctor Who, although this finale is bloated, overwritten, and idiotically plotted. But it can’t help but have some of the human touches I’ve come to love. Wilf gets all excited about being an astronaut. Then he gets serious: “My wife’s buried down there. I might never visit her again. Do you think they change? In their graves?”

Yeah, I totally cried, I’m not made of stone and dead wives of old men really get to me, and that’s such a quietly poetic thought. Well done RTD. Wilf goes on to tell the Doctor about serving in Palestine at the end of the Mandate. Hey! I know all about that!

Wilf and the Doctor talk about the end. And Wilf remembers the thing about the four knocks, so the stupidity is just reinforced. Wilf tells the Doctor to kill the Master and he’s all “Noooooooo” and tells Wilf vaguely about the events of The Waters of Mars. Wilf points out that the Doctor is a real asshole if he lets the Master live at the expense of the whole human race. Truth, but Wilf, the Doctor is kind of a douchebag now.

They return to earth full of resolve to confront the imminent return of the Time Lords who, by the way, have the stupidest plan ever. The cranky Time Lords and two Time Lord conscientious objectors arrive and a Time Lord pissing contest ensues. The Master threatens to make all the Time Lords him (seriously, this “medical device” is the WORST ever. How would it ever be useful to graft a whole population with an individual’s DNA?) but Rassilon uses his magical mitten to turn the Masters back in humans.

The Doctor realizes that Gallifrey is returning, and hurtling to earth is a burning planet. Worst salvation plan ever. Seriously. Transport to a planet that’s about to obliterated by bigger planet on fire. Super plan, Time Lords.

So the Master is endearingly excited about the return of Gallifrey, but the Doctor puts an end to that with one of those RTD phrases that rides the line between being awesome and evocative and completely overwritten and stupid: “You weren’t there. In the final days of the War. You never saw what was born. If the Timelock’s broken, everything’s coming through. Not just the Daleks, but the Skaro Degradations, the Horde of Travesties, the Nightmare Child, the Could-Have-Been King with his Army of Meanwhiles and Never-weres… The War turned into hell. And that’s what you opened, right above the Earth. Hell is descending.”

I think it lands on the right side, mostly thanks to the Nightmare Child (who we’ve heard of before) and the Could-Have-Been King and his Army of Meanwhiles and Never-Weres. Doesn’t that just intrigue you? It does me!

Rassilon says that the Doctor is correct, but that they will basically commit suicide by ending time and become creatures of consciousness. Oh for the love of Pete, that is an even more annoying excuse for suicide than “And THEN they’ll be sorry they were mean to me.”

The Doctor waffles for awhile but then shoots the diamond and the Time Lords and Gallifrey disappear. Like Sydney Bristow, the Doctor has once again avoided killing someone in a situation that begged for a killing. This scene by the way, is interminable with bad guy speechifying. And Rassilon could have dragged the Doctor back to hell with him if he hadn’t felt the need to villain ‘splain so much and had just used his magical mitten. For some reason the Master disappears into the Time Vortex with the other Time Lords even though the Doctor doesn’t. He shouldn’t either because he wasn’t in the Vortex to begin with, I would think. Whatever, it’s Kara Thrace all over again.

The Doctor is stoked about being alive when he hears Wilf knocking on the door of stupid radiation phone booth. Four times. For fuck’s sake, Wilf, you know the prophecy, knock three times or five times, what is wrong with you. This device is ridiculously stupid. Someone is locked in at all times and can only be let out when someone enters the other side. I can think of no good reason for this, other than that it’s a Doctor-killing machine.

The Doctor becomes an insufferable Douchebag. Explaining to Wilf that one of them has to die. “You had to go in there, didn’t you? You had to go and get stuck, oh yes! Because that’s who you are, Wilfred. You were always this. Waiting for me all this time.”

Wilf is all stoic: “Oh really, just leave me. I’m an old man, Doctor. I’ve had my time.”

The Doctor: “Well, exactly, Look at you. Not remotely important. But me! I could do so much more. So much more! But this is what I get. My reward. Lived too long.”

Seriously, what a dick. This whole monologue is designed to make Wilf feel as terrible and worthless as possible. What a fucking friend. I was dying for Wilf to be like, “You know what, fuck you. Leave, don’t care, just stop pontificating about how awesome you are when you already spelled out for me exactly what a douche you are an hour ago.”

But the Doctor eventually tells Wilf it will be his honor to die for him and swaps him out, absorbs the radiation, and comes out, having begun his regeneration into Eleven.

And then the Doctor leaves to “get his reward” which is a self-indulgent goodbye tour of companions that goes on, no joke for fifteen minutes. It’s so hideous I couldn’t even feel sad.

Mickey and Martha are married. Why? Who knows! (I suspect it’s the traditional pairing off of minority characters. What happened to Martha’s hot Doctor Without Borders?) Anyway, the Doctor saves them from getting shot by a Sontaaran. Then he saves Luke, Sarah Jane’s son from getting hit by a car. Then he arranges Jack a booty call in the Star Wars Cantina with Alonso from the Titanic episode. There’s a baby Adipose at the bar, which some clever TWOP commenter decried as “The product of a broken Britain!” Heh. He visits Joan Redford’s granddaughter, who has written about book about the grandmother’s encounter with John Smith the alien. Verity assures the Doctor that she was happy. The Doctor goes to Donna’s wedding and gives her a winning lotto ticket purchased with her dad’s money. He says goodbye to Wilf. Right because that’s what Donna needs, money. Super message.

And finally, Rose. The Doctor goes back to New Year’s 2005, before Rose met him. I don’t want to be unkind, but this is clearly not Billie Piper’s 2005 face. The Doctor groans thanks to the regeneration and Rose hears him. She tells him the date and he tells her she’s going to have a really great year. If this has been the only reward I 100% guarantee I would have cried and cried. But as it was I felt emotionally manipulated and irritated.

The Doctor regenerates into Eleven, whom Britain seems to consider hot but I find unnerving in an uncanny valley sort of way. He’s lacking eyebrows! It’s completely disturbing!

Seriously, where are they, it's unnerving!

So, I’m cool toward him, but that’s how I felt when Ten took over from Nine, so it won’t be that hard to convince me. (Although Eccleston remains my Doctor.)