Category: TV

Heroes Season 2: Episode 4

“The Kindness of Strangers”

It may surprise you to hear that the first thing I said upon completing this episode was “I didn’t hate that.” But, well, I didn’t hate this. You know, it almost harkened back to glory days of old on Heroes, when things were intriguing and didn’t suck.

Plus, finally, Heroes has black people. Not just black people, mind, but Black People About Whom George Bush Doesn’t Care. Righteous.

Spoilers! I’ve got to pick up the pace, people!

My Name is Earl Season 3: Episodes 3 & 4

“The Frank Factor” and “Creative Writing”.

Damn you, Earl. Why do you always have to be noteworthy? You heard me! (and now, after I wrote that sentence, sadly not always for the right reasons).

Anyway, “The Frank Factor” dovetails nicely with season one’s “Y2K”, with some good Harry Monroe stuff and a strange but well integrated use of previous footage, as well as introducing Michael Rapaport, who is better acted here than in Bamboozled.

On the other hand, “Creative Writing” implies that they have run out of ideas and are hamstrung by the idea of prison. The second season’s episodes that were counter to the Earl formula, like the COPS episode, or the “My Name Is Earl/Joy/Randy/Crabman” masterstroke, were works of genius and nice reliefs, even if they had three of them in a row. This is less than stellar. It doesn’t employ dream logic, but seriously: lousy animation, a music video, and H.R. Pufnstuf. Yeah, I’ve got no idea what the eff.

At least next week is a proper episode again.

Heroes Season 2: Episode 3

“Kindred”

Seriously, you should come to my house and watch Heroes with me. I’m fairly certain that my periodic pausing of the show and swearing at the TV is more entertaining than what’s on offer. With each passing week I add a new character to the Pantheon of Idiocy™, but this time around it’s a spoiler, so check out within …

Week old spoilers!

Ugly Betty Season 2: Episode 2

“Family/Affair”

Oh, Ugly Betty. You’re one of those TV shows where the titular heroine/ostensible lead character has the least interesting story. That said, with only one villain running amok and possible redemption for Bradford, things are looking up!

Betty Spoilers!

House Season 4: Episode 2

“The Right Stuff”

Yep, House is boring without his team. I dearly wish that there’s no viewer input to decide who stays with him. Check it out! This one has an accent! That one’s Kumar! This one’s a million years old! This other one, over here, is an uppity bitch!
Tell someone who cares!

Also, Cameron doesn’t work as a blonde, but at least she’s somewhere. There’s a fine line between witty and annoying. Right now, House is lacking in anyone to properly bounce things off; the medical case was secondary to the main lines … which would be a good thing if I gave a damn. Bring back the team!

Looks like Foreman has part of the court in the next episode; I hold out hope. Hope is always the last to perish …

Heroes Season 2: Episode 2

“Lizards”

You know how most episodes of Heroes can be subtitled “Parkman is stupid”? Well, add “Claire is stupid” to that continuum! I watched this episode with Ajay and he said “I’m not sure that I can watch this show if you’re just going to be shaking your head all the time.”

Spoilers!

My Name is Earl Season 3: Episode 2

“The Gangs of Camden County”

If you’ve seen this episode, you’ll know that I immediately realised I had to mention it. Yes, it’s another gay episode of My Name is Earl.

Earl is given a week off his sentence for his services in the previous episode, and is offered a month off if he can calm down the “Ebony and Hispanic” tensions in the prison yard. Eventually, Earl realises that the two gang leaders have fallen in love with each other and instigate fights just so that they can spend a few seconds together. Meanwhile, Randy can’t get himself thrown in prison to join Earl, so he applies to become a prison guard.

I don’t know much about prison homosexuality, save for all of the lame “don’t drop the soap” perpetuations. What we have in My Name is Earl is a legitimate relationship between two men, albeit one littered with fellatio popsicles and kissed knuckles. This episode has nothing to do with karma and more to do with Earl cleaning up the messes of the thoroughly incompetent warden. It also involves the anachronism of someone being sent to work in 2001 for playing Guitar Hero in his underwear – a game that patently did not exist in 2001!

But that’s beside the point. The point is that this is interracial homosexual tenderness and a heckfire of a lot of kissing for the kind of show that Earl is. It surprised me, and tended to indicate that the series is going to steer clear of the sort of blind, easy to “write” prison humour. That and Joy is getting smarter simply because Randy needs to survive. I still miss Camden at large, but My Name is Earl continues to be grande.

Ugly Betty Season 2: Episode 1

“How Betty Got Her Grieve Back”

Ugly Betty had the best season finale of all last year. It was full of action, drama, and a final bit of synaesthesia so powerful that it made me all teary eyed. This episode had to calm down on the solution to the best part of the finale to keep hope alive and, as such, I was stuck in a dread for the majority of the episode. Thank God for Marc and Amanda! (and ooh-ee! Did she get fat!)

And standard boiler plate: only commenting on this show intermittently.

Betty Spoilers!

House Season 4: Episode 1

“Alone”

Just weighing in to say that, while House III had the best non-medical serial stories of the show so far – which isn’t that difficult given that it had almost always been entirely episodic without much care for the characters in the first two series – this new season hasn’t wowed me yet.

Bring back Foreman, Chase, and Cameron, I say! (and they’re still in the opening credits, so I don’t really have to say that) Also, make me give a care for the case in question, although that’s not so much of a worry. I’m not convinced that House can carry the show by himself, although Doctor Buffer was some good stuff.

My Name is Earl Season 3: Episode 1

“My Name is Inmate 28301-016”

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t expect to talk about My Name is Earl every week. Comedy is always the hardest thing to analyse for me, and while Earl has serial aspects it’s largely episodic.

This episode is worth mentioning because, if you’ve been watching the show, you may recall that Earl confessed to a crime that he didn’t commit so that Joy wouldn’t be sent to prison for life, and was consequently given a two year sentence himself. It’s interesting to see how a series about a community can possibly work when the man who’s supposed to be giving back to that community is in jail. I’m not sure that Earl in prison can be sustained for an entire series, but it certainly looks like it can last for a little while yet.

What really compelled me to write about this episode was Sonny, who provided the sort of meta laughs that this series thrives on. As soon as I saw him, I thought “that’s the guy from the first episode!”. When I rewatched the first series last year, I thought “man, that guy was never in it again!” and, indeed, Earl said to Sonny “We wondered where you went! For a couple of weeks … then, life goes on.” Nothing, of course, will ever compare to the forum joke, but damn! I love that this series rewards you for paying attention.

The only bum steers that Earl has ever taken are dropping the Randy Marriage Visa plot, and possibly the “Earl’s birthday disaster” episode – and even that was heroically saved by Nescobar A-Lop-Lop. I have great faith that it will continue to rock and that, unlike Randy, it will never be a spider ball.