Two pop culture addicts' snarky musings…

Since this is my last chance to do a review for November I figured I should actually, you know, write a weekly review. I would like to start with a preemptive apology for any lack of coherency as I am falling asleep at my keyboard. Decorating for the holidays takes a lot out of a person.

Two things of consequence happened on “Hawaii Five-0” Monday night. First, we finally met the oft-discussed Rachel. Given that I’m a spoiler whore I was not surprised by her British accent. I was, however, amazed that I actually didn’t hate her that much. Well, at least once she started helping Danny out instead of pushing his buttons. It was a great insight into his character to see that the woman he loved had left him, essentially for a guy with more money. It was something that was hinted at but never outright stated and was all but said in last week’s episode. Scott Caan gave a great performance and I hope we get to see Claire van der Boom again.

The second thing? It was a passing comment, really. Steve was pulling a MacGyver and dusting for prints using vaccum dirt and a pillow feather. As he’s pulling the cleaning apparatus out, Danno says “There’s a cleaning crew to do that, babe” followed by a strange sound. That sound was the collective squeal of the slash fans before they promptly passed out from the overwhelming canon to support their favorite pairing. Seriously, the show is giving “Merlin” a run for its money in the not-so-sub text between their lead male characters.

Just when I thought “Glee” couldn’t top its past two episodes and I was losing faith in Ryan Murphy’s ability to write anything other than a tribute episode, out comes “Furt.” Everything from Finn getting over his lingering homophobia to Burt learning to dance and the looming dread of a Finn/Santana/Rachel blowout was perfect. The entire cast brought their A-game and I actually cried when Finn and Kurt danced together at their parents’ wedding as their friends sang and danced around them. Here, see for yourself and try not to cry:

This was everything an episode of “Glee” is supposed to be and I really hope they continue on this path (given what I’ve seen of next week’s episode, it looks highly likely).

Both “The Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural” were repeats last week, so this gives me ample time to discuss the latest episode of “Merlin.” To be completely honest, I haven’t been impressed so far with the show’s third season. The best parts were mainly the introduction of new characters (namely, Gawaine) and a few epic moments of magic here and there. But “The Coming of Arthur” was the most intense, exciting and best episode of the season so far, for so many reasons. First, and perhaps most importantly, there wa actually a scene hwere Katie McGrath acted evil without smirking. I know, I was just as shocked as you! The scene where Morgana basically gives Gwen the choice of dying by going against her or living by staying by her side was chilling and pefectly played by both actresses. Perhaps even more chilling was the scene when Gawaine, Merlin and Arthur returned to Camelot after Morgause succeed in creating an immortal army and setting it on the city. Seeing these three men walk through the streets that two of them once called home, now strewn with bodies, was heartbreaking and none of them had to say a word. Basically I spent the entire episode on the edge of my seat and for the first time in a while I simply cannot wait for next week.

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A little live commentary never hurt anyone and since our blog has been so sorely neglected this week, let’s kick off Thanksgiving with the American Music Awards. (Which I’m totally only watching because of NKOTBSB)

8:00 pm **What the hell is Rihanna wearing and what are the weird jellyfish tentacles on stage with her?

8:05 pm **Is this the Rihanna show?

8:09 pm **So over Usher…I’m sorry, Alicia.

8:16 pm **Why the Black Eyed Peas?

8:19 pm **Yeah, Enrique, everyone knows you’re not really singing, marching band or not…

8:23 pm **And then they don’t have Miley lipsync? WTH?

8:31 pm **Who are you? Oh, wait, it’s Diddy.

8:35 pm **Love Taylor’s new hair!

8:42 pm **I’m so bored…where’s my old school kid rock?

8:48 pm **Wait, what? The time of your life? I will say this for the BEP, no matter how obnoxious the song, if you mute the tv, the performances are always badass.

8:58 pm **Cutest kids ever!

9:00 pm **Who dressed these people tonight?

9:04 pm **Oh, Justin, the piano isn’t fooling anyone…

9:07 pm **I don’t get all the slow, inspirational songs. This is an awards show, not a church.

9:14 pm **Lovin’ the year of the Brad Paisley!

9:16 pm **Every award show should have a Bon Jovi medley.

9:30 pm **Justin Beiber, 30,000 people is a suburb, not podunk, nowhereville.

9:32 pm **Pink is a goddess and can do no wrong. I’ll even forgive the weird MC Hammer outfit because it’s Pink.

9:47 pm **Taylor, again with the morose music. You should be bringing the house down.

9:52 pm **That shrieking you hear in the background is Usher yelling at himself for ever discovering Justin Beiber.

10:04 pm **Let’s hear it for Lady A!

10:10 pm **What’s with all the backup dancers and the 80s graffiti look?

10:15 pm **If only all artist’s would thank Darwin…

10:17 pm **Yay, Pat Monahan and his sparkly pants of awesomeness! Train is love.

10:25 pm **We love when you win things too, Michael Buble.

10:37 pm **Despite that he looks like he just rolled out of bed, Gavin Rosdale looks the most normal of any performer tonight.

10:43 pm **Usher’s on tour with Neo? That’s a show I’d pay to see, and I mean that in a non-sarcastic way.

10:53 pm **Backstreet’s Back, All right!

10:58 pm **NKOTBSB makes my life.

As Mel said, I’ve been annoying anyone with ears (and eyes, just ask my LiveJournal friends) about my excitement over last night’s episode of “Glee.” And because it was so much more than I ever expected, I couldn’t wait to until my weekly review to share my thoughts. I do apologize if any of the following sounds disjointed, I’m still getting over a 24-hour fever/bug and my  brain is still on standby.

Before last night’s episode of “Glee” (entitled “Never Been Kissed”) aired, all anyone could talk about was newcomer Darren Criss and whether or not his openly gay character Blaine would be Kurt’s first boyfriend, or at the very least his first kiss. And today the name on everyone’s lips is Max Adler, whose Glee alter ego Dave Karofsky aggressively took the title of Kurt’s first boy kiss for himself.

Up to now, Karofsky had only been known as the two-dimensional jock bully who slushied various members of the Glee club,  and recently set his bullying tactics on the school’s only openly gay student, Kurt (he actually came this close to beating Kurt up in “Theatricality” last season).  After literally being pushed around by Karofsky one too many times, and bolstered by the mantra of “courage” sent by Blaine via text, Kurt stands up to his tormentor, calling him a “scared little boy intimidated by how extraordinarily ordinary [he is].” Karofksy’s response? He kisses Kurt, outing himself to both Kurt and himself, before punching the lockers and running away. He of course, denies it happens and his abuse on Kurt continues.

The kiss that shocked a viewing nation. Cap courtesy of rawr-caps.net

What was beautiful about this moment was not only the shock value (it was the kiss heard ‘round the world and if the world was anything like my living room, it was repeated cries of “Oh my God!”) but the message it sent to teens and adults like Karofsky, hiding behind what it expected of them because they are afraid or curious about their feelings for the same sex. The creators of this show know exactly how many people it reach and know they can use it to help those who are watching it.

This episode is very timely, and I’m sure that is no accident, given the nation’s attention on the recent increase in suicides in gay teens due to bullying. And, according spoilers, this won’t be the end of the bullying storyline for Kurt and the revelation of Karofsky’s closeted desires adds another sad yet interesting level to said storyline.

The main reason this moment, and the entire episode, worked was because of the amazing actors: Chris Colfer and Max Adler. The pain that flashes in Karofsky’s face when he shoves Kurt the day after the kiss and the defeated confession by Kurt to Blaine that “until yesterday [he] had never been kissed by a boy,” were heartbreaking and perfect. While I don’t look forward to the abuse Kurt is going to suffer at Karofsky’s hands, I am looking forward from the amazing performances by the two actors.

Kurt’s storyline wasn’t the only one causing tears last night. Puck’s return from juvie is played off as nothing by the teen rebel but we see exactly how much pain he is in when in the principal’s office, confronted by the principal, Mr. Shue and his parole officer, he reacts violently against going back to the teen penitentiary with the heart aching cry “No one cares about me,” before running away. Mark Salling has seemingly come out of nowhere, taking Puck from the sex-addicted carefree kid to the young man dealing with the loss of his child and the taste of what is to come if he continues down his destructive path.

Also tugging at heartstrings last night was Dot Jones as football coach Shannon Beiste. She shows her vulnerable side to her only faculty friend, Mr. Shuester, when she reveals she’s never been kissed. This after the humiliation of discovering the Glee jocks (and Tina) are using images of the coach to “cool off” when making out with their significant others. It was a well-acted scene by Jones and Matthew Morrison, though I felt that like Kurt, Beiste’s first kiss was stolen by someone who had no romantic feelings for her.

The only problem with a groundbreaking episode like this is that episodes like next week’s, in which guest star Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly has three numbers, look superfluous in comparison. However, this is “Glee” and while like its star Colfer its strong suit is starting to shine in its dramatic moments rather than its comedic, we can’t forget it is still a musical comedy. Fluff episodes are to be expected, however I think after last night no one will ever deny that “Glee” has cemented its place in television history.

So this may just add to my geekiness, but I’m kind of a closet comic strip geek and when this one popped up in my inbox, i just had to share. I think all of America feels this way right now…

I’m going to make this week’s preview very simple – this is the best week in television ever. Of course, that’s debatable and maybe that’s just the opinion of your humble bloggers, Mel and Sarah, but I stand behind that statement.

Up first is Glee and the unveiling of a new gay boy in the form of Darren Criss, who is ridiculously adorable. If you don’t believe me, watch this awesome version of “Teenage Dream” and call me a liar.

Making its triumphant Fall return fresh off a sixth season renewal announcement is my favorite show ever, Psych. And, why might you ask, is this week particularly amazing? That would be because not only is Carey Elwes back to conclude the tale of Pierre Despereaux, but my sources tell me we may finally get the Shawn/Juliet coupledom we’ve all been waiting for. I’m a total shipper at heart – sue me. Watch a preview of the hilarity below when Shawn practices his Juliet speech on McNabb.

Oh, an on a side note, Psych-os, Club Psych on the USA website is wicked addicting and my new favorite time waster.

And finally, to cap the greatness off this week, is Merlin. Not just any Merlin though, a Gwen/Arthur centric episode sure to make me want to rip Morgana apart slowly and cry a little bit when Arthur and Gwen get ripped apart yet again by Uther. Still, yay arthur/gwen.

 

Anybody have anything in particular they’re looking forward to this week? I know Sarah can’t rave enough about Glee so I know she’s excited. Are you?

As Mel said, it’s November and therefore National Novel Writing Month and we both convinced ourselves it would be a good thing to participate. Thus the reason it’s been so quiet around here. Plus, I have spent the past week growing exponentially more excited for this week’s episode of “Glee,” which looks to be the most epic, heartbreaking, poignant and just plain awesome episode in the history of televsion. So, until said episode airs, I leave you with a less awesome subject. A rant, plain and simple, about the new show on E! called “Bridalplasty.”

This new E! reality show will pit a group of brides-to-be against one another for not only the ultimate prize of a celebrity-esque wedding, but for the celebrity-esque plastic surgery to go alone with it.

You read that right. On a network that has aired multiple segments on the horrors of plastic surgery, the first American reality show to ever reward its contestants with the face-altering procedure is soon to air. This isn’t the first contestant-based show featuring plastic surgery, however. Anyone remember “The Swan” back in 2004? Exactly, me either. But according to IMDB, it happened. And the difference between that show and this? “The Swan” focused on all aspects of the contestant’s lives while “Bridalplasty” is purely superficial.

When I saw the promo for the bridal show (set to air November 28) I literally sat staring at my television in shock. As far as reality television goes, our society has pretty much opened the doors to anything. I mean, “The Jersey Shore” is a hit show, its “characters” instant hits and when you say the name “Snooki,” everyone knows exactly who you’re talking about. And for what? Acting like drunken idiots who hook up with anything that has a pulse? And now, with this disaster of a reality show set to air, the question begs to be asked: what has American television turned into?

Our entertainment industry is based less on talent and more on physical appearance. Don’t give me that look, you know it’s true. Yes, talent is revered and respected but you don’t see an hour-long segment before awards shows on the performances given by the nominated actors, do you? There aren’t countdowns of the “100 Most-Talented,” airing on the entertainment channels. No, there’s “100 Hottest Beach Bodies” and “25 Hottest Under 25.” Given the pressure to look like the airbrushed male and female models on television and in magazines, it’s no wonder reality television has jumped onto this ship.

Television and movies are our escape from a world mired with economic downfalls, political apocalypse and a war that refuses to end. But what kind of escape is it that merely makes us feel worse about ourselves? What kind of break from the everyday is it if the hour ends and all we can think of is how far we are from achieving the “perfection” offered under the knife? How far off are movies like “Time” and “Repo! The Genetic Opera” from becoming reality. How far are we going to let our obsession for “perfection” destroy us?

The easy answer is to pull the plug on “Bridalplasty” before it reaches the airwaves and to our children, poisoning their minds with low self-worth and before it reaches my generation,  forcing them to believe until they look like Heidi Montag, they will never be beautiful. But  that won’t happen. The networks feed on this sort of trash and the ratings they know it will draw. They see dollar signs where they should see morals and the saddest part is we’ve given them no reason to believe otherwise. Just because you may say you abhor the behavior of the adults on TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras”  doesn’t mean you won’t tune it to see what insanity happens next.

So I urge all of you to stop feeding the beast. Find quality programming, I know it exists, and let the ratings crash on all the “entertainment” that is ruining the industry. Purge television of “The Situation” and the “Jackass” crew. Prove that Americans aren’t mindless and will watch anything if you spin it just right and show the powers that be we have integrity and we demand quality in what filters into our living rooms each night. We can stop the cycle and end the rising statistics in low self-esteem in the younger generation, but we have to take a stand and change the channel.

It’s that wonderful time of year again where the movie studios decide they should release a zillion good movies at once, forcing us to go broke trying to keep up. Since television has hit a lull, I thought I’d mix it up a bit and do a movie preview and hit the highlights of the films on the horizon.

Megamind staring Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell

Megamind – Release November 5th
***Dreamworks latest movie franchise, Megamind, sits ready to join the ranks of their other hugely successful animated flicks How to Train Your Dragon and Shrek. With a cast led by Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt, Megamind is an age old tale of superhero verses villain, but with a twist that finds the evil genius Megamind having to use his powers for good. Look for it to match Dragons in popularity and if nothing else, check it out because it’s the only time you’re going to get Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt in the same movie.

Due Date – Release November 5
***Continuing his streak of successful films, Robert Downey Jr returns to the screen in this comedy co-starring Zach Galifianakis, where a father-to-be RDJ has to hitch a ride with the crazy that is ZG in order to make the birth of his child. Expect The Hangover type hi jinx to ensue and if nothing else, it’s ZG and RDJ in the same movie.

Unstoppable- November 12
***
In Tony Scott’s latest action thriller, Chris Pine and Denzel Washington have to work together to stop an unmanned train from wiping out a city. Sounds riveting…Though the description is less than engaging, the actors are solid and it takes a lot for a Denzel Washington movie to suck so I have faith that it will make for a decent action thriller.

Morning Glory – Release November 10
***
An all star cast backed by a random production team including J. J. Abrams puts this romantic dramedy in a bizarre place of fascination and fear. It’s been a while since Diane Keaton’s had a hit, sure, but her previous showing with Rachel McAdams proved fruitful and Harrison Ford adds an interesting twist to the cast. Plus, Patrick Wilson, who is delicious. See it if you’re in the mood, but it sounds like one to rent next year.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I – Release November 19

Harry Potter 7 parts I and II


***Excuse me while I do the Harry Potter geek dance of happiness…ok, I’m good. In the penultimate installment in this masterful series, Harry and his Scooby Gang (because let’s face it, HP is epic, but at heart it’s one long episode of Scooby Doo), begin taking their final steps toward a knock down drag out fight with Voldemort. At this point, I don’t even know what to think anymore. It seems to be an every other franchise so this one will suck and the next one will be good? Who knows – see it anyway.

Burlesque – Release Date: November 24
***
Cher and Christina Aguilera. That is all.

The Tourist – Release Date December 10
***
So it really doesn’t sound all that different from Angelina Jolie’s last few movies, but it does have the distinction of having both Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany in it. In other words, if it sucks, it’s all her fault.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader– Release date: December 10
***
The third installment in the Narnia film series follows the youngest of the Pevensie siblings on their journey across the sea with Prince Caspian. The first two movies showed a lot of promise and I would expect this one to carry on that success. Plus, Ben Barnes is back as Prince Caspian, so yum.

Tron: Legacy-Release date December 17
***Garrett Hedlund, my beloved Patroclus from Troy, plays the lead in this video game based action movie. Tron was before my time so I don’t know much about it, but the cinematography and action sequences look amazing, so I would expecta strong visual effects showing if nothing else.

Yogi Bear – Release date: December 17
***
Dan Aykroyd as Yogi, Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo. ‘Nough said.

We’ll leave everything Christmas and beyond for another time since that seems to be quite the treasure trove/snake pit. Anyone have any they think should be added?

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