Monday, January 28, 2008

The Complete Jane Austen: Mansfield Park

So this was pretty much dreadful.

A lot of people complain about the 1999 version of Mansfield Park with Frances O’Connor because it wasn’t very faithful to the book, but I think I kind of loved it because of that. I read the book a long time ago and remember not really liking it too much, especially compared to my favorites, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, so that movie made the story and characters much more fun and interesting. Northanger Abbey starts off by saying that no one would suppose Catherine Morland to be a heroine but really, Fanny Price is much much less likely to be one. It's kind of hard to root for her...she’s shy and quiet and kind of cries a lot. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that...I'm probably more like Fanny than not but I'm pretty sure a book about my life would be pretty dull too.

Anyway, this adaptation seems to have tried to follow the book a bit more closely, but they kind of took all the wrong parts. They took out all the amusing Mrs. Norris bits and completely cut out the part where Fanny goes back to Portsmouth which is kind of an important part of the book, and I feel like for someone unfamiliar with the story, it would be really hard to follow as everyone’s intentions seemed so murky. I guess they did try to make Fanny a bit more likable by casting Billie Piper (who I do like because of Doctor Who but is kind of misused here) and making her run around and smile and laugh more, but she was still basically an uninteresting character. And the ending was just terrible. TERRIBLE. Edmund realizes that he loves Fanny in the stupidest moment ever, when she randomly advises Lady Bertram to use purple thread instead of maroon, and then there’s all this running (what is the deal with these new adaptations and all the running??), and at their wedding Fanny and Edmund waltz in front of everyone with Lady Bertram commenting that oh, they’ve learned a new dance. Um, WTF?

And on a more shallow note, the hair in this movie was just out of control. Why was Fanny’s hair all messy and just hanging down on her shoulders? Didn’t women pretty much always wear their hair up back then? And Henry Crawford and Tom both had pretty unfortunate hair too. And overall, there was sadly a definite lack of eye candy in this movie, definitely nothing compared to Alessandro Nivola and Jonny Lee Miller from the 1999 version. Also, Michelle Ryan, aka the Bionic Woman, played Maria, and she seemed weirdly out of place to me. Can someone point me to something that she's actually good in?

Oh, and what was up was Gillian Anderson’s bizarre and convoluted introduction about how Jane Austen wrote herself into the book as Mary Crawford, except prettier? Where did that even come from?? One thing I will say, though, is that all these adaptations are making me want to read all the books again. Despite how terrible this one was, I now want to go back and re-read the book and see if I still feel the same about it...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Strike viewing: what I'm watching

Despite the strike depriving us of new episodes of so many shows, I really haven't gotten to the point where I'm running out of things to watch. Not to say that I'm not worried about things later on down the line, but here are the things I've been keeping myself happy with:

Quarterlife: It's from the executive producers of My So-Called Life so I thought that this might kind of do for twenty-somethings what MSCL did for high school, but at first I really didn't like it. I mean, there was Dylan, the aspiring writer, saying all sorts of ridiculous things like "I have to tell the truth, it's my curse" whilst videoing and talking about her friends with their real names on her videoblog without asking them first, and all these scenes with Lisa getting seriously demoralized by her acting teacher in front of her whole class, and Jed and Danny, the aspiring filmmakers, worrying about selling out while making a commercial for a local car dealership...all the artsy-ness and philosophizing about "our generation" was just kind of too much for me. As a engineer with really no friends who have artsy aspirations I just couldn't really relate.

But as they've sort of dropped trying to make the show so much about how people our age are tied to the Internet blah blah, I've really started to like it. I don't think it's really ever going to be as brilliant as MSCL was, but it's a fun little show. Dylan's stopped saying so many ridiculous things in her videoblog and now she has this thing with Eric, her roommate's friend from college that's just really really fun to watch. And Majandra Delfino (Maria from Roswell) has been in the last couple of episodes and I haven't seen her in anything in forever. (She's married to Devon Gummersall, who was in MSCL and who's writing some episodes of Quarterlife too.) It started as an online only show, but it's scheduled to air on NBC sometime in February I think. I like watching it online episodes (like 13-ish minutes each) are released twice a week. I'm not sure how much they already have filmed but I'm definitely enjoying it.

Doctor Who: I've been meaning to catch up on this for ages, and now I'm finally doing it. I watched season 1 (with Christopher Eccleston) awhile ago and totally loved him, but I think I might actually love David Tennant even more. I'm a couple of episodes into season 2 and it's just wonderful. I just watched "The Girl in the Fireplace" and I loved loved loved it. Also saw "School Reunion" today and wow, was that robot dog cute or what? My only gripe is, why are the DVDs so dang expensive??

Life of Ryan: I barely knew who Ryan Scheckler was before deciding to randomly watch this show, but now I'm totally into it. At first I thought it was just going to be another MTV show about some rich teenager, and I mean, yes, Ryan's rich, but there's kind of a lot more here. Ryan's a pro skateboarder who's earned all of his money and was pretty legitimately famous before doing the show, and he's really got a ton on his plate. There's the demands and pressures of his career, including a ton of travel all across the US and to places like Spain and Japan and Dubai, and then at home, he's dealing with his parents' somewhat ugly divorce and trying to be "man of the house" and a role model to his two younger brothers, and then the poor guy just can't get a girlfriend. He's really likable and there's lots of cool skateboarding and his friends are really normal kids and his relationship with his youngest brother, Kane, is super cute. Although, yes, it's not exactly surprising that MTV has hooked me yet again...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Complete Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey

So despite my kind of lukewarm feelings towards last week's new adaptation of Persuasion, I was really looking forward to this week's Northanger Abbey, because I'd never read the book or seen any adaptation of it, and wow, I was not disappointed. I totally loved it, I think I want to buy it on DVD, and I want to read the book now!

Northanger Abbey is really kind of different from Jane Austen's other's her first novel, and is supposed to be kind of a parody of Gothic novels. The story is much more light and is really funny. Money does play a part, but there are no family estates being entailed away to cousins because of a lack of female heirs, no fear of destitution, and the main character, Catherine, isn't even really looking to get married. I really liked Catherine...the novel and the movie both start by saying that no one who knew her would suppose her to be a heroine, and that's because she's pretty average. She's 17, one of a large family of 10 children with sensible parents, who gets invited to spend some time in Bath with a wealthy, childless couple from her neighborhood. She's honest and cheerful and smart, and while I usually don't like those kind of girls that don't realize how pretty they are, I really bought it here because she'd never really been "out" in society before going to Bath.

As for the hero of the story, Henry Tilney...I just loved him. Darcy and Wentworth still top my list of Austen romantic heroes, but I think Mr. Tilney's really more the type of guy I'd realistically want for myself. He's friendly and warm and kind of snarky and sarcastic, which I was not expecting at all but was kind of awesome. He and Catherine aren't some great love story, but they're very cute together, and there's really no competition for either of their affections. Another man, John Thorpe, pursues Catherine, but she instantly dislikes him, and for good reason...he's conceited and loud and crass (which is actually kind of amusing because you know he doesn't have any chance whatsoever). I loved the proposal scene with Catherine and Henry...they were both so nervous and excited and was just simpler and happier than the more baggage-filled scenes from Austen's other stories.

And the movie just had so many little moments that really made me crack up, like Catherine's silly Gothic fantasy sequences, and when she and Mrs. Allen first go to the rooms in Bath, and her little sisters squealing "Mr. Tilney, Mr. Tilney" when he comes to see her at the end. Really fun stuff.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar nods

I generally don't care much for the Oscars because I don't watch a lot of movies in the theaters anymore, but I was really happy to see "Falling Slowly" from Once nominated for Best Original Song. I never reviewed that movie here, but it was just a really great little film, and interestingly I'd heard that song on Internet radio and really liked it just a week or two before seeing the movie without knowing the connection. It's up again a whole slew of songs from Enchanted, which I also kind of loved, but really, go Once!

Other than that, the only movies up for major nominations that I've seen are Juno and Atonement. I really enjoyed Juno, and I think Ellen Page was awesome in it, but Best Picture of the Year? As for Atonement, I thought it was sort of's a really beautiful film and there was some great acting in it, but I didn't really think the story was all that amazing. I tried to read the book a couple of years ago, and then again this year, but I just couldn't get into it at all...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Make Me a Supermodel

I used to watch quite a bit of America's Next Top Model, but two seasons a year is a lot to keep up with and to be honest, I get kind of tired of Tyra's antics on the show. So when I saw that Bravo was going to be doing their own model competition show, I was definitely interested. And Make Me a Supermodel has both guys and girls, which makes things a little more exciting.

And then of course, there's the audience voting part. For some reason it's interesting to me how different reality shows do their eliminations when they involve audience voting. I kind of hate that American Idol relies completely on the call-in votes, especially when it fuels things like Sanjaya making it so far last season. Rock Star and So You Think You Can Dance does it a bit better by letting the audience vote, and then having the judges decide who goes home from the bottom three, but a lot of times the people who really should go home don't even end up in the bottom three. I think Make Me a Supermodel has one of the best schemes so far though: the judges decide which of the models are in the bottom three, and then the audience votes for who they want to stay. I mean, these are the experts, they SHOULD be making the bulk of the decisions. Not that I'm really going to vote...I have class on Thursday nights and don't watch the show in time to be be able to vote, but I appreciate that the eliminations are being conducted this way.

Anyway, as for the actual show, it's pretty much what you'd expect. Each week there's a photoshoot and a "catwalk," and one person gets eliminated each week. For a show that's "real-time," the production values are actually really good, and I like Niki Taylor and Tyson Beckford as the hosts. Niki Taylor's a lot warmer and less crazy than Tyra Banks, and Tyson brings the male supermodel perspective that we haven't seen much of on TV. I'm definitely going to keep watching!

Project Runway: Team Fierce!

You know, I'm pretty bummed that Kit got kicked off this week. She was actually one of my favorites, although maybe more for her personality and personal style than her actual designs? She'd been safe in the middle for so many weeks that I'd kind of just been waiting for her to really break out and do something awesome. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way. I don't necessarily disagree with the judges' decision but I just really think it's a shame that she's gone while Ricky is still skating by. He's been in the bottom more times than I can count and doesn't seem to be getting any better. Kit's said in a few post-auf Q&As that she wished she could have gotten more feedback from the judges, and I really do sympathize. I know keeping everyone on the runway for the individual questions and evaluations would take forever, but being in the middle is kind of being in limbo...

Anyway, I really liked this week's challenge because the designers were given free reign to NOT be practical and wearable. I think one of my favorite PR designs of all time is Jeffrey's couture gown from last season, which was just something that normal people just don't think of, EVER. And I got a little bit of that this week from Christian and Chris' crazy layered gown. At first they might have kind of seemed like an odd couple, but with Christian's strong point of view and Chris' experience with costume-y stuff, they were kind of a dream team for this challenge. A lot of people probably think Christian's irritating, but he always cracks me up. I loved that Tim called them Team Fierce!

I also really really loved Jillian and Victorya's trench coat. Haha I don't know what else to say about it except that it was HOT. I am kind of baffled by their time managements skills (or lack thereof) though...why did they work so hard on the blouse and pants that were barely even shown and leave their second look to the TWO HOURS BEFORE THE RUNWAY SHOW? That said, I am kind of impressed that Jillian put that thing together so fast. It was cute, though I don't know about it really capturing the essence of the avant-garde piece...

As for Rami and Sweet P...I think in my last PR post I called Rami the nice guy, but he doesn't get that label this week. I kind of got the feeling that Rami didn't really respect Sweet P very much. He's worked well in other teams, especially with Jillian, but this week he was just being controlling and kind of rude. I was always glad when the judges called him out for his all-draping, all-the-time designs but complimented Sweet P on her dress (which I thought was really quite cute).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I kind of love ABC Family

Thank goodness ABC Family has new episodes of Kyle XY, Wildfire, and Greek for this year!

Kyle XY was up first last night. I remember being kind of disappointed back in the fall that they were saving the second of the season for this year, but with the strike and all, I'm so glad they did. Sometime during the first half of the season I started to really love this show...a lot of questions were answered, and they've done a really good job balancing all the Zyzyx-Madacorp-Kyle's brain stuff with the more personal stories.

And I actually really loved the way they handled Jessi's story. I was afraid that she was just going to be Kyle's annoying evil counterpart, but they've built in a lot of nice shades to her story. And I thought last night's premiere was pretty satsifying. They did a bit of a "reset" with Kyle and Jessi and the Tragers bringing down Madacorp (a la Sydney destroying SD-6, Max destroying Manticore), which I was a little worried about because I wasn't sure where the show was going to go from there, but after seeing the previews for the season, I'm pretty excited. As much as I'm glad that Jessi's realized that she can do good now, I think it'll be really interesting to see how her dark side comes out without the influences of Madacorp. BRING ON the Kyle and Jessi showdown!

Also I hope Foss isn't gone forever (because I love Nicholas Lea), I hope Lori and Declan get back together (because they're so obviously meant to be together), and I hope Andi doesn't die (because I like her and that would be way too melodramatic).

And Wildfire is coming back next Monday. You know sometimes I'm not quite sure why I continue to watch this show...Kris is often extremely annoying and stubborn and kind of undeserving of having two guys in love with her. But I still kind of love it. Dani is like Blair from Gossip Girl in that she's kind of a huge bitch but she's kind of awesome anyway, and I kind of love Junior despite all of his pining for Kris and that ridiculous bull riding thing from last season. The promos are showing Junior getting married though which I do not understand whatsoever. NO ONE on this show should be getting married. I guess I prefer Kris and Junior over Kris and Matt, but they definitely should not be getting married. And it better not be someone stupid like Gillian (even though I do like her). Sigh, we'll just have to see!

Finally, last but not least, Greek is coming back in March! I totally loved this show last summer, and I can't wait for it to come back. The last episode had Jen K. (played by lonelygirl15 herself, Jessica Lee Rose) revealed as the person who wrote the article pretty much damning the school's entire Greek system, and Rusty and Casey going home for the holidays with their relationships kind of up in the air. I have to say that I've really enjoyed the Evan/Casey/Cappie love triangle because I really do like both guys. Cappie is totally awesome but I can see why Casey likes Evan too...

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Complete Jane Austen: Persuasion

I was really excited to hear that Masterpiece Theatre was going to be airing adaptations of all 6 Jane Austen novels in the coming months, some of them new, but I kind of had some conflicting feelings, especially about Persuasion, the first one that aired last night, which is possibly my favorite of her novels and the 1995 version of which (with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds) is possibly one of my favorite movies, period. Do I really need to see a new adaptation? How could it be any better?

I kind of felt like this when the Keira Knightley version of Pride & Prejudice came out. I had huge allegiances to the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version and was almost annoyed that they made yet another version when what I thought was the definitive one was already made. But in that case, I kind of came to appreciate both because there were enough differences. The miniseries was very complete and was nearly 4 hours long. The theatrical version was of course much shorter and condensed the story quite well. Also, the tone and look of the two versions were very different: the miniseries was a bit more light and whimsical, while the movie was a little...grittier? (If you can even use that word to describe Jane Austen.) My favorite is still the miniseries, but really the only thing I didn't like about the movie version was that terrible "Mrs. Darcy" ending. Yesterday's Persuasion had a pretty terrible ending too, but I'll get to that later.

Anyway, getting to the new Persuasion. I'm not sure that there were really enough good differences here to help me like it. The book is relatively short, so both the 1995 and 2007 versions include nearly all of the same scenes, with dialogue lifted almost straight from the book, so sometimes I felt like I was watching the same script just with different actors. This new one did seems strangely rushed though...too much time spent with Anne staring at the camera perhaps. But yeah, I wasn't really blown away by these actors. I really wasn't too sure about the actress who played Anne, Sally Hawkins. Both and she and the actor who played Wentworth, Rupert Penry-Jones, are much closer in age to what their characters should be, but I just wasn't really feeling them. This Anne was a little too... I don't know, delicate? Timid? I always thought that Wentworth was supposed to see that Anne had changed and was no longer the impressionable girl he knew before, that she was now strong and knew her own mind, which I thought Amanda Root did a wonderful job with, but I didn't see that here. Plus they changed the letter scene, which I don't understand at all. Wentworth was supposed to have overhead Anne and Harville talking about love, that's what drives him to write the letter!

As for the rest of the characters, Wentworth just didn't have enough charisma (even though he was pretty hot), and Mr. Elliot seemed kind of too obviously slimy...I always thought the Mr. Elliot from the 1995 version looked kind of ridiculous with his curly blond hair but you could at least see why Anne would have enjoyed his company. I don't really remember much about the Musgroves or the Crofts or Lady Russell but maybe that's just because I've watched the 1995 version too many times and have those portrayals stuck in my head. I did love love Anthony Stewart Head as Sir Walter though (yeah, Giles!).

And the ending...oy. I'm not sure who decided that it would be fun to see Anne literally running all around Bath looking for Wentworth. And that kiss was pretty painful. If she knows her own mind now, if she knows she wants him, just kiss him already! And the whole going back to Kellynch thing just seemed kind of random to me. I kind of now have an urge to watch the other version (which I really can since I have it on DVD).

So yeah, that kind of sounds like a lot of complaints. But it was still Jane Austen, and it was still the same story that I really love, so I wouldn't at all say it was a waste of my time. Next up is Northanger Abbey, which is actually the only Austen book I have not read (not sure why, I should), nor seen an adaptation of, so I'm definitely looking forward to it!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Most satisfying Amazing Race ever

Okay, that might be an exaggeration, especially considering I didn't even start watching until a few seasons ago, but man was it awesome to see Nate and Jen Philiminated! And right before the final three! And on Jen's birthday!

I suppose that sounds a bit mean...I always feel kind of bad for hating people on reality shows because I mean, they are real people and these shows are unusually stressful situations and all, but Nate and Jen have spent the entire race bickering and being pretty terrible to eachother, and I would have HATED to see them win over any of the other three teams. Jen especially has just been ridiculously nagging and her sense of entitlement was just bizarre. I'm so glad I don't have to be all anxious during the finale next week worrying that they might win and have that like validate their relationship or something.

So yeah, I'm now happy with the final three, and wouldn't really mind seeing any of them win. I like that the two teams with the oldest people in the race are still in it, and that the requisite dating couple is actually functional. I'm not sure who I'm rooting for...I like that Ron and Chris have used the race to build their relationship, even though Ron was pretty terrible in the beginning; I like that TK and Rachel are so positive and calm and their comeback tonight to oust Jen and Nate was just awesome; and Don just cracks me up (don't really have much of an opinion on Nicolas). The tasks for next week look really crazy though, I'm excited!

cashmere mafia -- a differing opinion

Of course, I tend to have a lot more follow-through in staying with crappy shows than Jenn, especially overly drama-filled shows; So, it's not too surprising that I plan on sticking with it. But similar to Jenn, I really enjoy the 4 actresses they chose for the leading roles. And similar to Jenn, I agree that it's sort of a stretch to believe that such vastly different women (and so stereotypically different: a blonde, a brunette, a redhead, and an asian?! not even a repeat in hair color!) have been friends for 15 years. (Though, unlike SATC at least there's a brief explanation of HOW they met.) But what I have to say is the huge draw for me is the fact that these are four women who are wildly successful. It is really nice to see strong, successful women portrayed on tv. And they did not have to merely use their looks or their wiles (okay, so Lucy Liu's character does quite a bit) to get there. When I graduated from school, had I gone into the business world like many of my friends, the lives that these women lead would be the ones I would have dreamt and hoped for, but probably wouldn't have believed I could attain. In truth, especially in the large city of New York City, there are women like that out there (I hope), and it's nice to see it on TV (even if over-glamorized and over dramatized!).

In any case, I'm willing to see how this show plays out. And fortunately, with very little tv to watch due to the writer's strike, I have the time to! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cashmere Mafia: um, whatever

Even though most of the fall shows have run out of episodes due to the writers' strike, thankfully the networks still have their midseason replacements ready to go. Whether they're worth watching is another story...and in the case of Cashmere Mafia, I think I'm going to say no.

I do kind of like the cast. I've always kind of liked Bonnie Somerville, I loved Frances O'Connor in that unfaithful but entertaining version of Mansfield Park from awhile ago (her American accent is a little distracting though), Miranda Otto is pretty awesome, and it's nice to see Lucy Liu back on TV. But I think it's just really hard to make the whole Sex and the City thing with groups of adult friends work. They try to make each of the friends different in order to keep things interesting but it's not always apparent why they're really friends. This show at least attempted to explain things (they met in business school) and I guess there's the networking/connections aspect to it, but the last scene of the pilot has Lucy Liu's character tearfully telling the others that she doesn't know what she would do without them, and it's just like...oy.

I did watch the second episode (slim pickings on TV lately after all) and there were definitely some amusing parts, but I should probably stop watching shows just because they're not completely terrible.

Lipstick Jungle, another show of nearly the same premise, with Brooke Shields, Kim Raver, and Lindsay Price, is coming in a couple of weeks, but at this point my expectations are pretty low...

Gossip Girl, yes I do know I love you

Wow. I am going to miss this show SO MUCH while the writers' strike deprives us of new episodes. My love for show came on kind of gradually...I mean, I knew I was predisposed to like it, and I was pretty much hooked from the first episode, but now I'm finding myself rewatching the episodes twice in a week and I'm actually kind of looking forward to the reruns so I can watch them all over again.

And for the last episode in awhile, this was pretty awesome. You had to know this was all coming to Blair for being bitchy and terrible to everyone for so long, but I really couldn't help feeling bad for her too. For someone who's reputation and status is the most important thing to her...getting snubbed by everyone at school and all her friends (who were those two random girls that pushed her out though? Why have we not seen them before? And why do Kati and Is STILL never say anything?) and then getting it from Nate and then even was all pretty harsh. I'm so glad that Serena came around in the end though, and I hope Blair comes back with a vengeance.

I've probably said this before, but I think Blair and Serena's friendship one of my favorite things about this show. It's kind of rare for a teen show to be centered around a friendship instead of some epic or ill-fated romance, and I think it's refreshing. The way they're constantly fighting and making up is just so believable. You know it's funny, in this world of insanely rich and privileged people, the person who's probably the least realistic is...Dan. I mean, what kind of high school guy is that calm when he hears that his girlfriend might be pregnant??

Friday Night Lights back on track?

I'd really been kind of disappointed with Friday Night Lights this season so far. A lot of the storylines were just so cliched and predictable, and I felt like they were cramming too much into each episode while at the same time dragging things out for too long. I really hated the Landry/Tyra murder plot, and I still don't understand why no one in the town seems to know about it. I really hate the Matt/Carlotta thing and I really hope that ends sooner rather than later. I don't know what the heck they're doing with Jason (who hasn't even been in the last two episodes), and even the Taylors have been all out of sorts.

And I'm totally surprising myself by saying this, but there kind of hasn't been enough football. I think one of the things I loved so much about last season was that there was this urgency and structure to the season that was geared towards winning the state championship. But this season there's hasn't been much of that at all. There have been snippets, with Smash's recruitment, and Santiago, and lately the Laribee team coming to share Dillon's field (another Degrassi parallel here, by the way), but as a whole, there hasn't been too much tying things together, and I think that's been a bit disappointing.

But last night's episode kind of proved to me that the show can still be amazing. It was a little strange not seeing so many characters at all in the episode (Landry, Tyra, Lyla, Buddy, and Matt were all almost completely absent), but I liked that we got to focus on just a few things. I'm so glad that Tim finally just went back home, and the way he and Billy made up was just so low-key and perfect. I'm so glad that the silly misunderstanding with Julie from last week was cleared up relatively quickly. I'm so glad Smash didn't end up doing something stupid. And I'm kind of glad that Shelly's gone and that the Taylors are kind of back to status quo.

And it's also the little moments that make an episode for me too. How funny was Lois honking the horn and waving at Tim while waiting for Julie to apologize? And Tami wearing the shirt that Shelly said was too tight for her? And how cute was the Coach with Gracie at the end?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Gossip Girl: parent swapping

So I realize that this is a soap, and that it's more interesting and convenient to create relationships among existing characters, but why must the adults on teen shows always have romances with the parents of their childrens' friends'? Is it really like this with rich people? Like on the OC, there was Kirsten and Jimmy, and Julie dated Kirsten's dad, Summer's dad, and Ryan's dad, and didn't Taylor's mom date Summer's dad too? And now we have Lily choosing between Chuck's dad and Dan's dad. It's just ridiculous! And I mean, I don't get why not choosing Rufus meant that she had to marry Bart Bass. I don't see why she NEEDS to get married. Sigh, where is this storyline going?

Anyway, as for the younger set, it seems like most teen shows tend to have this kind of episode where the entire gang gets into trouble and things get all messed up before getting sorted out. I have to say that I started liking Nate a lot more this episode. As soon as he thought Blair was the one who had the key, he fake-confessed to protect her. That IS pretty romantic. It definitely sucks that he got suspended where Serena only got community service though...

One thing I really love about this show is how well they've constructed all the characters' fashion identities. Like Chuck at the pool party: I KNEW he wasn't going to be wearing some regular old swim trunks...and of course he was wearing a shirt. And of course Serena was wearing one of those one-piece swimsuits that only tall and skinny girls can wear. But what possible explanation can there be for Kati and Iz always dressing alike? Are they trying to copy Blair but can't do it alone and can only construct one outfit per occasion so they both wear it?

Project Runway: the Hershey's plastic packaging challenge?

I was actually in Times Square last week (and probably countless other times in my life) but I don't know that I've ever noticed that there was a Hershey store there. Am I completely oblivious or is it the fact that I'm just not that into candy?

So I'm not really sure I understood this episode. I know every season has an unconventional materials challenge (last season was recyclables, before that was plants) but this just seemed like weird product placement. They weren't required to use anything edible (and only Jillian ended up doing that) so they all ended up using a lot of pillows and candy packaging, which I don't dispute was challenging, but I'm not entirely what was the point. They were supposed to make something wearable but then I guess they were also supposed to capture the fun of chocolate and candy? Ummm yeah. And it seems we ended up with a whole lot of strapless tops and skirts...?

I do love the episodes where Tim Gunn wakes up all the designers super early and takes them on field trips though...I love Tim Gunn!

There are still quite a few designers left but it seems like some frontrunners are emerging. Rami definitely deserved his win this week...his dress was super cute but still complex and extremely well made. I like his personality too...very calm and friendly. I think he's kind of the Chloe/Uli of the season. Christian alternates between being hilarious and annoying so he's kind of the Santino/Jeffrey, and I think Jillian might be the young hip designer a la Michael Knight/Daniel V. Hmmm are these going to be the final three? I think Kevin, Kit, and Victorya (despite a bad performance this week and an increasingly irritating attitude) are still contenders too though. Chris did well this week (finally), and Ricky's been safely in the middle for a couple of weeks now but we definitely need to see more from them. And Sweet P...well, I think her days are numbered.