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Wednesday, November 09, 2005
TV Round-Up
At long last, we're in the wonderous television period known only as November sweeps. That means tons of new episodes. So, instead of posting one long, huge rambling post tomorrow after Lost airs, I'm going to break it up a bit. Also, I'm behind on talking about Smallville....

Smallville: Thirst & Exposed
After a good start to the season, I suppose Smallville had to come back down to Earth eventually. And certainly these last two episodes did come down to Earth a bit.

Of the two, Thirst is surprisingly the stronger episode. Oh sure, the main plot of Lana joins a sorority that is made up of female vampires and becomes one is pretty much standard throw-away stuff and an excuse for people to make jokes about Buffy (which really, Smallville, should you mock the show that blazed the way and basically provided the templated for your show?) but the subplot of Fine and Luthor squaring off was absolutely worth the price of admission. In fact, if you've got this on TiVO or watch the season five DVD set when it comes out, do yourself a favor and watch the teaser, first act and then skip to the last act. All the good stuff is there--oh, OK, you will miss Fine using his powers about midway through to kill someone, but otherwise it's largely forgettable stuff. But again, watching James Marsters and Michael Rosenbaum square off for a bit of verbal jousting is a ton of fun and it only makes me regret that Marsters will be gone sooner rather than later, because damn he's good. Of course, the one thing I don't buy about this one is that somehow every single evil thing that happens anywhere in the geographic radius of Smallville or Metropolis is somehow LuthorCorp's fault.

As for Exposed, the most interesting thing about it turns out to be how it was marketed. In the press, a huge amount of ink was spilled that Tom Wopat was guest-starring! For those of you who don't know, Wopat starred with John Schneider on a little known show called The Dukes of Hazard (if only it were little known....) Seeing the two back together, riding around in a car like the General Lee and making all kinds of thinly veiled Dukes jokes should have been more amusing that it turned out to be. Instead, a lot of it felt forced. There are some nice scenes in which Pa Kents gets to get high and mighty with someone besides Clark, but other than that, did we really need Tom Wopat on here? He doesn't add that much to the overall show and his character could have been played by anyone.

Meanwhile, if you saw the marketing on the WB, you'd know that Clark goes to an adult club and Lois is there undercover as a stripper! Now, the ads give you the impression that Lois has been doing this for some time, whereas the episode makes it where she's a bit awkward at this since she's only shoved into the role by Chloe in order to investigate a dead girl from the club. Oh yeah, the dead stripper ties to Tom Wopat's character who is a state senator running for re-election...and against Lex. Do you see how all this is straining to tie together? Yeah, it's a pretty desparate little tap dance to tie all these bits together. Also, Lex gives Clark a card that get Clark into said club and then Lex pulls some strings to get Clark out of jail free when the police raid the place. Wait...aren't we trying to sort of establish that Clark and Lex's friendship ain't that solid? Oh wait...I forgot--the status of Clark and Lex's friendship changes depending on what the script needs. Also, Pa is too busy giving lectures to Tom Wopat to come and give lectures to Clark about being in a strip club....and Ma Kent is MIA for the episode. Is there even a line of dialogue that explains why she's off-screen for the entire episode? I'm not sure.

Gilmore Girls: Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out
I know I don't normally include my thoughts on Gilmore Girls in the TV round-up, but I figured this time out I'd be different. So, all season long, we've been in this sort of frustrating waiting mode, waiting desparately for something to happen. The whole Rory/Lorelai rift has gone on far past its expiration date and those of us hoping that at Rory's b'day two weeks ago that something might be resolved or the ice might start to thaw a bit were sorely disappointed.

And for the first half of this episode, I felt as if we were gonna get more of the same. Once again, we see how the grandparents, particularily Emily, are trying to control Rory. Emily has apparently decided that Rory can help her make up for the fact that she "failed" with Lorelai. And we see the once extremely driven Rory become a shell of who she once was. The first half of the story pretty much served as a reivew of these things--living with grandparents, out drinking and partying with Logan, quit school and basically no direction in her life. And then, Jess shows up and suddenly around 20 minutes to the end, things start to really pick up. Jess tells off Rory, Rory tells off Logan and then Rory stands up to her grandmother. And the thing is--just as it's all getting good and you desparately want fades to black. Curse you for making it so good that I will now be obligated to tune in next week and find out what happens next. The scene with Rory and Emily was as good as any we've seen all year--including Emily's statement that Rory is becoming like her mother.

Meanwhile, Lorelai continues to overcompensate on feeling like she's failed as a mom by taking care of Paul Anka (her dog, not the musician) You know, watching the scene where Luke sits there and listens to her insanity and ranting, never interrupting and letting her cry on his shoulder as it were makes me realize something--this guy is almost way too good for Lorelai. I mean, here's a guy who give all of himself to this relationship and yet I never feel as if Lorelai is pulling her weight. Maybe this will change in the weeks to come when things start to get weird for Luke (I've heard rumors of what's coming...). But ya know, it seems at every turn we see Luke telling Lorelai he loves her not by saying it but by living it and sometimes I don't get that feeling from Lorelai. I almost wonder if there's still the rebellious teenager in her, dating the guy she knows that Emily and Richard will disapprove of....

And Luke's sponsoring the girl's soccer team that plays dirty....priceless.

House: Daddy's Boy
Wow..for once House and company figure out the problem but it's too late to save the patient. Sure, we don't see Carnell die on-screen, but there is a sense of loss and tragedy that all our team of heroes can do is make his final days a bit more comfortable and that nothing they can do will save him. Nice way to tweak the premise that House will solve the medical mystery of the week.

To go all English lit major on your here (I wasn't one, but took some classes) the theme of this one is the relationship between fathers and sons. House's parents are in town and want to see him. But he's reluctant since he hates his father. Mom works as a buffer between the two because as we find out late in the story, she hates conflict. Meanwhile, all we see is that House and his dad seem to only thrive on conflict. In case you missed it, House does this throughout the episode, including borrowing $5000 from Wilson just to see if he can. Meanwhile, we have Carnell and his father, both of get along, but the relationship is based on half-truths. Carnell lies about going to Jamaica, dad lies about the business he owns. In the end, both contribute to the demise of Carnell and luckily father and son have a reconcliation on Carnell's death bed.

A lot of the story is spent building up House's parents. So, when we meet them and they're just kind of normal it comes as a bit of a shock. Also, we only get to see them on-screen for maybe five minutes of the episode which is a choice I find intriguing. Instead of focusing on them, we see how House reacts to them coming, to them there and to them after they're gone. Of course, this isn't a huge shock since this is his show..but it's a nice choice.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/09/2005 07:34:00 AM | |
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