Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stylista: predictably addicting

We all know that I'm pretty much powerless when it comes to reality TV shows, so it's no surprise that I was kind of looking forward to Stylista. It's from the producers of America's Next Top Model and seems to be an attempt to cash in on the popularity of The Devil Wears Prada...though I guess it's been kind of a long time since then. The show is a competition to become an associate editor for Elle magazine and features Anne Slowey, as the Miranda Priestley-type personality of the magazine. She was previously the guest judge on the Sasha Cohen figure skating costume episode of Project Runway season 2, in which she kept saying things were "vulgar" but I didn't really get the impression she was all that icy or bitchy. And in the premiere episode it definitely felt like she was trying pretty hard to act that way. I'm not even sure what her title is at she that important?

Anyway, the contestants are expectedly an interesting bunch. Of note were Megan, the entitled and stuck up mean girl; Kate, Megan's victim who earns the nickname "Boobs" and cries; William, skinny boy with a British accent that might be a little fake; Danielle, who's not model-thin like the rest of the girls; and Ashlie, who won the first challenge and actually seems smart.

The first challenge was kind of ridiculous involved putting together a breakfast for Anne Slowey. But it was really just whether or not they knew what Anne Slowey likes to eat, which, according to this food diary she did for New York magazine once, is basically vitamins, lattes, green tea, water, and the occasional bite of actual food. None of them appeared to have read that article.

The second challenge was shopping for work-appropriate outfits and putting together a contributors page. This was a bit more interesting, especially the part where Joe Zee, Elle's creative director, critiques their personal style. I was kind of appalled at what a terrible job most of the teams did with their pages did not follow directions at all and another had a seriously terrible layout. I'm not entirely sure what the responsibilities of an editor are though, so hopefully they'll get more into that in the coming weeks.

Oh, and the winner gets a year-long fashion allowance from H&M. Does that strike anyone else as being a

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How I Met Your Mother...eventually

So I guess it's official: Stella's not the mother.

I can't say I'm that surprised...I thought this season was definitely being written to point towards her not being the one. I mean, I'm not sure if it was intentional, or more just a result of Sarah Chalke's availability, but her absence in a lot of the episodes felt significant. Yeah, she had a child and lived in New Jersey, but I imagine Ted's eventual wife to be more someone who fits in with his gang and hangs out with them at MacLaren's. While I really liked Sarah Chalke and thought Ted and Stella were good together in a way, it just didn't feel completely right.

What I was surprised at though, was how it ended. I mean, I figured they wouldn't actually end up getting married randomly in the middle of the season, but I never expected that Stella would be the one to realize she was still in love with her ex and all but leave Ted at the altar. I did kind of love Robin's speech to Ted was what should have gone in her intervention letter. And while not all of it was true (I don't see why Ted gaining a stepdaughter and moving to New Jersey would be "not him"), he was definitely rushing into it all. I don't think it necessarily meant that Robin was still in love with him though. I don't want to go down that road again, especially not with the Barney-Robin situation still developing.

You know, some people have been saying that at this point they don't necessarily care about when or even if we'll actually meet the mother. And while I kind of see their point that the show has become so much more than that, I do still want to meet the mother. And I don't want it to just be like a glimpse in the last episode. Admittedly Ted is often the least interesting character on the show, but I want to see the process in which he figures out that she's the one, whoever she is. I know that it's hard to plan these things in the American TV world of not knowing when the series is going to end but honestly, I don't know how much longer I want to wait! And it's not like once they introduce the mother the show will be over. Lily and Marshall were together from the very beginning and they still had story to tell.

I do wonder where things are going to go from here now though...I imagine Ted will be out of the dating game for a little while at least, so perhaps we'll get some more progress on the Barney-Robin front!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Greek still rocks

I really should post on Greek more because it's definitely been one of my favorite shows this season so far. It's just really come into its own, with well-developed characters and really sharp, funny writing, and plenty of current pop culture references that make these kids actually seem normal. Casey and Ashleigh using code names from the Hills kind of cracked me up this week, especially since LC herself will apparently be appearing as herself in the finale.

One thing that I'm kind of not so happy about though, is how Evan and Frannie have turned into the terrible twosome of evil. They really do bring out the worst in eachother and it's not exactly unbelievable but given what we know they've been like in the past, it's maybe a little sad. I think Evan's behavior lately is somewhat organic...he's realizing that because of who he is, he can basically do what he wants and get other people to do what he wants too. I kind of wish we'd see Evan go back to the genuinely good guy we saw in the freshman year flashback episode though. I'm not entirely sure what part, if any, Casey has to do with this though. I think Casey would be good for Evan, but I don't think the reverse is necessarily true.

As for Frannie...I guess we needed a villain in the house now that Rebecca is somewhat reformed/disgraced, but I'm not always clear on her motives. Obviously we've seen her be a bitch before, but I mean, was she only nice to Casey to get back into the house? Or was she that angry that Casey didn't want to be friends with her after she started dating Evan? I think I'd like to Evan dump her ass and she how she gets along with Evan encouraging her.

I do have to say that I'm glad Ashleigh won the presidency though. Not that Casey didn't deserve it, but what Rebecca said was right--she didn't run a very good campaign--and this is much more interesting and will save us from another year of Casey or Frannie undermining whoever did win. We all know what's going to happen first Casey's going to be trying too hard to "help" Ashleigh but I think in the end they'll work it out. Hopefully they won't have Ashleigh totally suck and have to step down or something because I think her character deserves to have something go right for her too. I am interested to see how Rebecca's going to fit into all this, though.

On the fraternity side, I kind of feel like the boys have been more comic relief from all the girl drama going on. I do still wonder about Cappie and Casey, though. They just seem to have such a natural chemistry together. Although I did like Cappie and Rebecca when they were together. And I do like Casey and Max's nice to see Casey date outside the Greek circle and Max's awkwardness is pretty hilarious. I was glad to see Jen K. return this week to bring some closure to Rusty, and I'm also liking Calvin's arc too. I'm not sure if he's going to regret breaking up with Michael though.

I just realized one of the things I like so much about this show is that the relationships are not cut and dry and all. A lot of shows kind of make it obvious which couples we're supposed to be rooting for but not on Greek...I'm as undecided as the characters!

Gossip Girl: Blair vs. Serena

I was glad that Blair and Serena made up at the end of this week's episode, if only to see the end of Queen S. Their rivalry is totally believable and it's never really going to be over but I found bitchy Serena to just be pretty unbearable, and it seems that no matter what happens, I'm always going to be Team Blair.

I'm not saying that her actions were at all condonable--and she generally ends up making things worse for herself along the way--but I get her. She says and does all those mean things to Serena because of her insecurities, and the reality of the situation that Serena does breeze through life getting things handed to her that she didn't even know she wanted. But Serena? She showed up at Yale purely to spite Blair, knowing full well that she wouldn't even have to try that hard to throw Blair off her game, at the school that's been her lifelong dream. I mean, while Blair bringing up Pete was pretty low, it's not like Serena even cared about Yale in the first place! And in the end, it was still Blair that ended up looking bad and Serena getting offered early admission. I'm glad that the show hasn't shied away from the fact that this is just how it is, and it's not just in Blair's head. I think they'll pretty much always have this between them, but it shouldn't stop them from being friends. The people you know the best are the ones you can hurt the most I guess?

This episode brought back some memories of when I was visiting colleges...I totally remember some kids getting out of limos at the admissions office when I visited Princeton. Were they Upper East Siders? Haha. I definitely did not have one-on-one interviews with deans though, and why the heck does Dan need all those recommendations? You don't have to declare a major on your application, and I doubt getting into the undergrad English department is that difficult.

I did think it was somewhat fitting that Dan and Nate are finally becoming friends because they're so similarly dumb and judgmental. Yet again Nate fails to recognize that Chuck was just trying to help him out. And did anyone else think that those Skull & Bones guys just tying Dan to a statue in his boxers was kind of...tame? I thought they would have something way worse planned.

In other news, Jenny is suddenly the most talented young fashion designer ever and gets to quit school. WTF? And doesn't home-schooling mean that Rufus has to spend so many hours with her every day anyway? And aren't there like limits to the number of hours she can work since she's underage? I'm glad that Rufus brought up the Professional Children's School at least, though in real life I think afterschool or weekend programs at FIT or Parsons or something should suffice...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not very good new shows

In a way I'm kind of glad I didn't really like these DVR is busy enough as it is.

Eleventh Hour: I actually really like Rufus Sewell (from various movies, but mostly Dark City), but unfortunately this show is kind of terrible. It's yet another procedural but with more of a scientific, though not necessarily supernatural, bent. It seems there are only 2 regulars--Sewell as Dr. Jacob Hood, a biophysicist consultant with the FBI, and Marley Shelton as Rachel Young, his partner/bodyguard. I didn't find her very convincing. And the show's odd little attempts are humor are really just groan-inducing. As are some of the Hood's random explanations of scientific things. I mean, bar codes on milk cartons? Tweezers and grapes? Yeah. The X-files or even Fringe this is not.

Interestingly I think I watched a few episodes of the British version this is based off of. Patrick Stewart was the scientist and Ashley Jensen (from the British Office and Extras and Christina on Ugly Betty) was the agent. I remember thinking it was quite good, but I mean, it was Patrick Stewart. He's good in pretty much everything.

My Own Worst Enemy: Another show with an actor I really like. This time, it's Christian Slater, who I kind of love on the basis of Heathers alone really, even though that was almost 20 years ago. But sadly, he's not that good here. He's kind of playing two characters, a Jekyll and Hyde thing, but I didn't think there was enough of a difference between Edward and Henry. Christian Slater can't really help being...Christian Slater.

And the premise of the show wasn't explained very well. Edward is an international spy working for some organization and he volunteers to have a second, more average guy personality, Henry, created in his brain that doesn't know anything about him. Henry has a wife and two kids and travels for work, during which time Edward "wakes up" and takes over to perform his missions. Um, what exactly is the advantage of all this? Then things in his brain have gotten messed up, Henry finds out about Edward, and the two personalities are now switching off unpredictably. Chaos ensues, right? I guess it could be kind of Alias-ish, but I just thought it was pretty dumb and implausible.

The Mentalist: Kind of the same thing as Psych, which I watched a few episodes of but never really got into. Except here, Simon Baker is the master of observation who used to pretend to be a psychic but now is just working with the police whereas on Psych James Roday is the master of observation pretending to be a psychic to work with the police. But both are just procedural investigation shows which I've never been a fan of. Skip.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Catching up with...

Ugly Betty: Sometime last season I started to kind of dislike Betty. I mean, her optimism and such has always been a little annoying, but with the Henry-Gio love triangle thing, I started to just not care as much about her. I realize she's the protagonist and we're supposed to be rooting for her, but honestly I find her love life to just be uninteresting and maybe a little unrealistic. Yeah, she's spunky and good-hearted and all that but I think the three episodes of this season so far has been the longest we've seen her without a boyfriend. And they've already set up her new neighbor a potential new love interest. Geez! I'd like to see Betty do a little more with her career...all her attempts to move along with becoming a writer just get trumped by all the other stuff going on, like the flip-flopping of power at Mode. I'm glad things are more or less back to status quo with Daniel as editor and Wilhemina as creative director. We do need more Marc and Amanda though. Overall, it's still entertaining but I'm not quite so much in love with it like I have been in the past.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: This show gets like no buzz whatsoever which makes me fear for its survival. I thought the first two episodes this season were kind of boring, but then things started to get a lot more interesting. The episode with Charley's wife getting kidnapped was really gripping (and I kind of that Dean Winters), and then the one with Cameron recalling memories of the girl that she was modeled after was an interesting departure. Summer Glau did pretty well differentiating the machine Cameron from the actual human Allison and Cameron thinking that she was Allison. (And Leah Pipes from Life is Wild was in the episode! That girl needs to be in more stuff, I really like her.) And then this past week's episode with more of Derek's future with Kyle and John was really well done also.

I'm not sure why Sarah seems to be stuck in these more boring B-stories lately though. Spending time in the hospital with the pregnant neighbor (played by Busy Phillipps from Dawson's Creek, who actually was pregnant). Helping a little kid with a book report? I think Lena Headey is one of the more convincing female action heroes on TV of late so I guess I kind of like her kicking butt and not just sitting around. This show is like a total career-changer for Brian Austin Green though...he's GOOD. Who woulda thunk, right?

Brothers and Sisters: I'm still kind of annoyed that they de-Walkered Rebecca last season only to reveal that there's ANOTHER potential Walker out there. And I'm still having a little trouble with the Justin-Rebecca relationship. It's still a little creepy to me. And like, what do those two, um, DO? Is Justin still recovering? Does Rebecca have a job? Go to school? Does no one care? I'm glad that Kevin and Scotty are happy together and they seem to be laying off that relationship drama for awhile. And I'm also glad that Robert's no longer running for president. But the all-out family fights every week are getting a little old...

Bones: Sometime last season I started to really love this show. But then they kind of ruined it with Zack turning out to be a murderer. And then they continued to ruin it by randomly breaking up Angela and Hodgins for reasons I still don't really understand. But I guess the show is still essentially the same...Booth and Brennan are still entertaining, the different interns every week in Zack's spot are amusing, and the cases continue to be wacky and creative.

The Office: Jim and Pam are engaged!! I love that this show has managed to keep this couple really cute and natural and TOGETHER without adding unnecessary drama. I'm not so much a fan of the bizarre Andy-Angela-Dwight situation. I just...don't get it. And I kind of hate that Ryan is back as the receptionist. The direction they went with his character was funny, and we all know Michael still has a man crush on him, but giving him a reboot seems unnecessary. Michael and Holly are fun though, and it's funny seeing Michael try to take the Jim approach and become friends with her first. I thought the weight-loss episode was a bit dumb, but did like the ethics one a lot better.

Life on Mars

I watched a couple of episodes of the original British version of this show and while I thought it was actually pretty fun and trippy, when it turned into more of just a regular cop show I sort of lost interest and didn't keep up. I expect the same to happen with this new American version...I thought the pilot was actually quite good. I liked the cast and it was fun seeing 70s New York (and like the 60s of Mad Men, the fashion is really entertaining, though definitely more ridiculous than glamorous). But when it comes down to it, I'm just not a fan of cop shows.

And I'm also kind of concerned about how they're going to resolve the time-traveling aspect. Like in the original, Sam Tyler is a present-day cop who randomly gets dropped into kind of a parallel life in 1973. He's still a detective, and the first case he investigates has a connection to the case he'd been working in the future. The British version apparently only had 2 short seasons--a total of 16 episodes, and there was a definite ending. Most British and other international TV shows seem to understand that some series are meant to have a limited run, but things in the US don't really work like that. Shows with premises that kind of demand a resolution tend to generally go one of two ways: 1) it's successful but then ends up going on too long and gets bad, or 2) it gets cancelled prematurely and we don't ever find out what happens. I really, really, dislike this. So, what will the fate of Life on Mars?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Ex List

I'm terribly behind with reviews of new shows this season. There are fewer than normal because of the writers' strike from earlier this year and honestly I haven't been that taken with too many of them...

The Ex List stars Elizabeth Reaser, who it seems a lot of people disliked when she was on Grey's Anatomy. I don't watch Grey's, so I didn't have that issue and I found both her and her character, Bella, to be likable enough. The show itself is kind of cute as well...the premise is that Bella, a single woman in her early 30s, goes to see a psychic who tells that she has to marry within a year or she never will, and the guy she'll marry is one of her exes. So she goes on this sort of My Name is Earl-High Fidelity type quest to find this guy, and they've made it clear that there's going to be a lot of them. I do kind of wonder what they're going to do about the ones who have moved far away though. And what about the ones that area already married or in relationships? Can she just rule them out automatically? And is the ex that she's sharing custody of the dog he a series regular? If so, wouldn't it be easiest for him to be "the one"?

The premiere was alright, with Eric Balfour as the first ex (I go back and forth between liking and not liking him), but Bella also has a group of friends that I don't think were introduced very well. I don't remember all of their names, and which ones actually live in the house with her? I also kind of find their life situations to be a bit odd. One of them seems to be looking for a job but what do the rest of them do? And I guess this is California, but they all seem to spend an inordinate amount of time sunbathing, and not at the beach, but in the kiddie pool in the yard? And why do Bella and the other women all still dress like they're still in high school? It's all a little weird to me...

So I liked it, but maybe not enough to follow it regularly. It is a nice light option for Friday nights though.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pushing Daisies: A possibly unpopular opinion

In a way, I really really want to love this show. It's from Bryan Fuller who, thanks to Dead Like Me and especially Wonderfalls, I'm a huge fan of. I mean, it's quirky and different and has a ship to root for in Ned/Chuck. It's smartly written and well acted by a really great cast, and it can be really funny and sweet. And I mean, I do like it. But something is holding me back from really loving it. And I think it's the cuteness factor.

Now I'm not against cute. And I know that on this show, it's all intentional, that this candy-colored world of pies and honey and mermaids and silly alliterative names is supposed to be fanciful and over the top. And I know that it's supposed to be balanced by the fact that it's essentially a murder mystery show. But I find the full effect of it to not just be cute, but aggressively cute.

I think this manifests itself the most in the mystery-of-the-week component. I just can't seem to stand all the perky babbling people involved with the mysteries each week. They sort of remind of precocious children, which is bizarre because they're all adults. And I guess it doesn't help that I don't find the mysteries all that engaging and I think they all get solved somewhat predictably.

This is kind of unfortunate because I really do like most of the main cast. I think Emerson Cod is hilarious, I like the aunts, I like Digby (and Pigby!) and even Olive has grown on me (though the Sound of Music stuff in the season premiere was way too much for me). Oddly enough, Ned and Chuck are the ones that I'm the least sure about. Their not being able to touch strikes me as sad and almost annoying instead of romantic, and individually, while Ned is adorable and awkward he's just too fragile and damaged for me to be like swooning over him, and while Chuck is likable enough, I too often see her through Emerson's eyes: a perky busybody.

So I don't know, it's definitely worth watching and is a pleasant enough way to spend an hour, but I'm not in love with it the way I thought I might be...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

less presidential debating, more vp debating!

My favorite quotes from Palin this evening. :)

"Diplomacy is hard work by serious people."

"But I'm being as straight up with Americans as I can..."

"How long have I been at this, like five weeks? So there hasn't been a whole lot that I've promised..."

"Of course we know what a vice president does."

"But I'm so encouraged to know that we both love Israel, and I think that is a good thing to get to agree on, Senator Biden. I respect your position on that."

"McCain... he knows what evil is."

"Can I call you Joe?"

"Say it ain't so, Joe! There you go again!"