Saturday, 6 November 2010

TV Week in Review: 31st October – 4th November

I’m more or less used to one show or another skipping the week, so missing Glee wasn’t a big issue but the fact that there was no Parenthood either meant that Tuesday nights were just one big bore – and then my mother insisted on watching Dancing with the Stars: Results. Gross. Oh well, on to watch I did watch.
         
Desperate Housewives: “Excited & Scared”
The last time Desperate Housewives had a Halloween Bree’s daughter dressed up as her and her son dressed up as Cher. It was a bit ridiculous, truth be told, but still vaguely hilarious. This episode was less about actual humour and more about darkness. I’m not anticipating the unravelling of the Solis’ baby drama. When the girls find out that they were switched at birth it won’t be pretty and Juanita is already on edge. I don’t any way for this to NOT to turn into depressing melodrama – but we’ll see what happens. Bree and Keith are an interesting couple and probably my favourite straight story but it’s not exactly a quality plotline this time around. Tom’s mother’s Alzheimer’s was moving in a way, but it seems strange to insert a new character into the already crowded street just for a three-episode arc that hasn’t really added anything to the main characters. Paul Young continues to be diabolical and Teri Hatcher sold those last few minutes Susan had with him, I can’t say I’m sorry to see the back of James Denton. He could stay away forever. The episode felt like a decided filler, hopefully the writers aren’t falling back into their wayward ways. Not bad, just forgettable. But Rene and Lee as Marilyn Monroe? That was kind of hilarious.
[B-/C+]
                 
Brothers & Sisters: “An Ideal Husband”
I tuned into Brothers & Sisters after a very long time, it’s the classic case of an ensemble drama that went south after Season One though it’s not a badly executed show. I won’t lie, the fact that Emily Van Caamp is now gone from the show was an incentive to start watching again. She was insufferable on Everwood and she was insufferable here. Next to Sally Field I’d easily single out Matthew Rhys as the show’s strongest actor so it was nice to see him get an A-plotline. I don’t have any substantial thoughts on Luke McFarlane, but the two work well together. It’s going to be interesting to see where that drama goes. I’ll always love Rachel Griffiths because it is impossible for me NOT to love a regular from Six Feet Under but Giles Marini is kind of awful and there “relationship” is a bore. Honestly, when did Sarah turn into the least interesting family member? Not that Kitty’s issue are that riveting either, though I like seeing Calista Flockhart playing something other than tense and distracted. And at least she HAD something to do, poor Justin spent the night mixing drinks at the bar. But I’m just being snarky, the episode was fine – not as good as I’ve seen them do, but they still have that invaluable rapport going on between the casts that makes moments where the Walkers all come together hilarious to watch. Well, except for Saul, he does tend to get overbearing.
[B/B-]
                   
Dexter: “Everything Is Illumenated”
As a rule, being a pseudo English snob, I take offence to deliberate misspellings but this one was too clever. Lumen is back in Miami (as in IlLumenated) and making Dexter’s life even more confusing. Last week I was beginning to worry about them misusing Julia Stiles, I was so wrong about that. They jump from a fair episode last week to a brilliant one this week, probably my favourite episode from ANY show thus far this season. Dexter is back and work and finally managing to successfully juggle Harrison, his job and his extracurricular activities – well that is until Lumen calls to tell him she’s killed a man and needs his help moving the body. The ensuing bantering between Stiles and Hall and the botched murder was a brilliant A plot, but the episode is improved because the subplots this week were particularly good. Lauren Veleez continues to be impressive and the murder investigations plaguing the community are turning into a well executed arc. Moreover Debra and Quinn’s growing bond is playing out well, though that will inevitably hit the fan sometime soon. Desmond Harrington was in form this week actually making me care for Quinn this episode and Jennifer Carpenter’s confession to him at the end was lovely. The Dexter/Lumen arc is especially brilliant though, I don’t want Stiles the show at all now.
[A/A+]

Modern Family: “Chirp”

I loved how this episode started out – I do consider Julie Bowell and Ty Burrell as two of the three best actors on the show, but it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. The Dunphy’s arc was fairly well executed, though I’m not the biggest fan of finding colds humorous seeing Bowen work alongside Sarah Hyland was nice and Phil bonding with his son, somewhat, was great. Of course no one can respond to a beeping smoke alarm was well as Phoebe Buffay (THAT was a good episode of Friends). Cameron and Mitchell sparring over Lilly’s future in show business was a bit trite, Cameron annoys me much of the time, but I will admit him picking up the wrong baby at the end was hilarious. Was I the only one didn’t realise his mistake until Mitchell pointed it out? Gloria and Jay end up with the best arc and Ed O'Neill in particular comes out strong, Manny and Jay bonding was probably the best executed thing this episode. It’s not that it was a boring episode; it just felt like a bit of a filler especially coming off the brilliance of “Halloween” last week
[B/B-]

The Office: “Christening”
This episode worked out oddly. It’s one of those times when I hate what direction they take Michael in, and yet Steve Carrell was kind of excellent. Pam and Jim’s baby christening occurs after which a small get together gets Michael thinking about religion. There was only one significant plot occurrence, which was Michael and Andy’s decision to move to Mexico – which they immediately retracted. What made this episode good were the small bits of humour throughout. Seeing Dwight being completely inappropriate and offer a 4% discount on paper at the Testimonial was hilarious and so surprising – that was one of the biggest laughs of the week. What’s more we get extended Ryan time, and I’m a big B.J Novak fan, so I wouldn’t say no that. The funniest thing though started off strange – Jim leaving the baby with Nana and then losing it was fairly humorous, but it was afterwards when he thought Angela stole it and it turned out she was the one who stole all the scones that I started laughing uncontrollably. It was an odd bit of humour that made me perfect sense; Angela’s the type to do that. But it was her adamant claim that she was set-up that was the crowning honour. A disjointed episode indeed, but the odd bits of humour more than made up for it, and that cold opening? Brilliant.
[B]

Grey’s Anatomy: “That's Me, Trying”
 
I have to give Grey’s Anatomy especial praise for following up last week’s brilliant episode with one that was particularly good. Managing their arcs is sometimes a major issue and all were handled well, and what’s more managed to overlap without being overbearing or ridiculous. The death of Mary remains as one of the saddest things recently at the hospital and seeing Dr. Bailey deal with the autopsy was well played especially when measured against Derek’s own issues. I still loathe Patrick Dempsey, but he was present in small doses this episode and did a fine job. Mark’s patient looking for a butt implant managed to turn out better than expected, and seeing that I’ve recently jumped on the Lexie Grey train her oddness worked well here. Callie and Arizona had an arc that seemed headed for disaster and the apparent of departure of Jessica Capshaw from the show. That airport quarrel between the two was great and I will admit I’m stoked that Sara Ramirez isn’t leaving, but it’s still a sad event. Owen’s skills’ labs turned out excellently. Sometimes Kevin McKidd is awesome, sometimes he’s tedious – this week he was more of the former. But the surprise of the skills’ lab was me NOT being annoyed by April. I still dislike the Mercy Wester’s on principle and I have a premonition that Alex and April will end up as a couple, which I could do without but what can I do? (Yes, I still miss Katherine Heigl.) Kudos too to Jesse Williams for a well played performance. Of course the episode’s strongest arc was the Meredith/Cristina dynamic. Sandra Oh ruled the episode but the confrontation between Meredith and she was the episode’s strongest moment. Her leaving the job is unfortunate, but well executed. Apparently we have another Izzie situation on our hands, but it’s the fact that Cristina and Meredith are at odds with each other that makes this occurrence even more interesting.
[B+/A-]
             
Missed 30 Rock and Community this week. I haven’t seen Jane Krakowski in two weeks. Feeling withdrawal symptoms...
         
Things to Consider
  • I can’t overemphasise how hilarious it was seeing the residents working in the rain on dummies. Justin Chambers comedic timing is often underrated and it was put to excellent work here.
  • It doesn’t matter what he says, I’ll always find Ty Burrell’s speaking voice hilarious. Is it just me?
  • How long before Cristina returns to Seattle Grace Hospital?
  • Am I the only one sensing imminent romance between Lumen and Dexter?
  • I’d forgotten how much fun it was to watch Angela in her element, watching her coddle the baby and then switch to her general shortness was hilarious.
Standouts
Michael C. Hall in Dexter A
Sandra Oh in Grey’s Anatomy B+/A-
Matthew Rhys in Brothers & Sisters B/B+
Steve Carrell in The Office B/B+
Ed O'Neill in Modern Family B/B+
                    
What impressed you this past week on TV?

5 comments:

Ryan T. said...

Lots to respond to so I'll just jump:

Brothers & Sisters: Matthew Rhys was fantastic. Their scenes together were so hard to watch, but it was some great acting from both. As I said on my blog, it's hard for me to actually care about other storylines and I agree with you that Gilles Marini, as hot as he is, is so so so tedious to watch. Insanity.

Modern Family - First of all, great shout out to Phoebe's excellent handling of smoke alarm. Indeed that was an EXCELLENT Friends episode. In any case, not one of my favorite episodes of MF but I actually didn't find the Manny/Jay of note. As for the wrong-baby-pickup, oh yeah so it a mile away and I was dying.

Grey's Anatomy - I, too, was shocked at how not annoyed I was with April and yeah, it seems like they're setting up April/Alex but the rule in this hospital is everyone shall sleep with everyone else so I don't find it too surprising. So sad for Callie/Arizona, but Cristina... oh man. What are they doing with her? I'm not angry by the developments, just genuinely concerned and curious.

Simon said...

Community was brilliant, at least the b-story.

Luke said...

Modern Family can basically do no wrong in my book, so I probably had happier thoughts about it - though I will agree the commercial side story seemed a little "hmmm..." What I most want to comment on is your reflection on the Phoebe/fire-alarm incident! Warm fuzzies abound thinking about it! "Noisy bitch!" :)

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

ryan i've always loved the cristina/meredith dynamic - it reminds me of me and my best friend, and the arc is really good. a bit disconcerting, but good. on april, i don't know after almost a year i finally don't want to smother her. progress, i suppose. and the rule is that everyone not only sleeps together but ever single female sleeps with alex.

simon the love you and ryan have for community is one of the only reasons i keep watching. true story.

luke phoebe and that alarm were just brilliant, i give you your love for modern family i'm that way about dexter and to some extent glee so i can understand.

Simon said...

Not the brilliance of it? Aw...