Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How I Met Your Mother 7.14 - 46 Minutes



How I Met Your Mother 7.14 - 46 Minutes


Brief Summary

Marshall and Lily are moving out to their house in Long Island, and the gang is pretty torn up about them leaving. To make themselves feel better by doing something Lily and Marshall would disapprove of, the gang heads out to a strip club. Robin and Kevin play relationship chicken, Ted gets in trouble with some Russian poker players, and Barney thinks Stripper!Lily can replace the original in their group. Meanwhile, Lily's dad makes things uncomfortable for the couple out in Long Island.

What I Liked

Drunk!Ted is priceless. I loved his winning everyone's money at poker and saying stuff like, "I was totally bluffing - I don't even have enough cards!" and singing while stacking up their poker chips into towers.

The fake intro credits, the first time with just Barney, Ted and Robin, and the second time, with Stripper!Lily and New!Marshall instead of Marshall and Lily, were pretty amusing.

I also got a kick out of Robin pointing out the bit of glitter on Kevin's face, and then telling Barney he also had some. We pan to Barney and see his face is covered in glitter.

What I Didn't Like

I've got nothing against Kevin as a character, but Kevin as Robin's boyfriend is boring and annoying at the same time. And since when has Robin been so sensitive to her boyfriends? This is the girl who wanted to throw all Ted's stuff in the storage space when they were going to move in, and here she is tip-toeing around what Kevin may or may not like to do because ... ? She doesn't want to appear to be a killjoy?

Marshall and Lily's storylines by themselves in suburbia are not good. It's just not as funny as I think it's supposed to be, and they feel like they belong on another show. It's like they're both being swallowed up into this boring lifestyle that doesn't really suit them, and they have no storylines outside of it. Yes, they're having a baby. But they don't need to change their personalities because of it. Also, splitting up the gang doesn't work very well.

Twists and Turns

Lily's dad presumably stays longer than 2 weeks? (Or shorter, but I doubt that.)

Robin and Kevin apparently started sleeping together at some point between 7.12 and now.

Observations

Because we are given no reason why Robin would be dating Kevin, it's even harder to buy their relationship on-screen. It's dull, we don't care about it, and I feel like Robin's faking it half the time. Which is not cool character-wise, because then she's just using him. And I'm still waiting to find out what the hell happened to her feelings for Barney?? We shouldn't have to guess why the characters are behaving the way they are.

Although the empty booth at the end of the episode was sad, sort of signaling the end of an era, it makes sense. The gang can't always hang out at the bar every night together, even if that means that the days of certain, crazier adventures are over.

But I think what the show writers are forgetting is that they can do mellow, and still be funny. Season 2 is a perfect example of great stories that were told around 2 stable couples and their single friend. They could easily flip back to this style, only with Marshall/Lily and Barney/Robin as the couples, and with Ted as the single guy instead of Ted/Robin and Barney. Some of the best episodes were about trivial events: trying not to hear the results of the football game, trying to make a flight and tracing the bad luck back to a penny, remiscing about Marshall's old car. These stories are all ones that could still be done, and involve the whole gang. Moving Marshall and Lily out into the suburbs and writing silly strip-club shenanigans for the rest of the gang is not the way to do this.

Overall

While there were some good laughs, this episode was silly and very much a filler. On syndication, this episode will probably be okay, similar to some of the goofier ones from Season 5. But when you're waiting week to week to see some resolution on important storylines, it's an annoying roadblock. Hopefully next week we'll get back to some real stories, and let's also hope it doesn't veer too far into the over-dramatic again.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Vampire Diaries - 3.11 - Our Town



The Vampire Diaries - 3.11 - Our Town


Brief Summary

It's Caroline's 18th birthday, but she's not too excited about it. As a vampire, she doesn't age, so technically she'll be 17 forever. Elena, Bonnie, and Matt decide to hold a "funeral" party instead of a birthday party, complete with cake, candles, and a brief obituary. Meanwhile, Damon tries to convince Stefan to give into Klaus, but Stefan has other ideas of tipping the war in his favor.

What I Liked

Caroline's birthday was cute. I like when the high school gang hangs out with each other. And maybe it's because I've been persuaded into the thinking that Elena just might end up with Matt when all this is over, but I thought I saw something between them for a split-second tonight. (Most-likely just friendship, but even so, it's nice.)

Klaus chatting with Caroline was kind of nice, actually. Not sure what the bracelet gift is implying, though. Does Klaus suddenly have a thing for her? She does sort of resemble Rebecca, actually. Maybe a replacement for his sister, since Klaus doesn't seem willing to wake her up?

What I Didn't Like

Stefan is frustrating to watch these days. He's off his rocker, and we know it's not because of compulsion or anything. When he shows up unexpectedly behind someone, now my reaction is mixed between, "Oh, it's just Stefan." and "Oh no, it's Stefan!" since you just don't know what he's going to do. Threatening to turn Elena into a vampire was low.

Why does Elena push Damon away and say that it's not right? Certainly she should feel no loyalty to Stefan at this point. I don't know how much time has passed on the show, but it's got to be at least mid-fall/winter. I could see her not wanting to be with Damon on other merits, but Stefan can't continue to be the implied excuse.

Don't like Jeremy leaving, but hopefully he'll return soon.

Twists and Turns

Stefan threatens to turn Elena into a vampire in order to force Klaus' hand.

Klaus compells Tyler to bite Caroline, which he does by accident.

Klaus then saves Caroline's life with his blood.

Observations

Tyler's behavior is still annoyed even if it isn't exactly his fault. He can't control himself when Klaus orders him to do something. It's like permanent compulsion. Maybe vervane would help?

Dr. Fell seems very suspicious, especially because her boyfriend ended up staked at the end of the episode. What's up with that?

Overall

Not a bad episode. I liked the scenes having to do with Caroline's birthday, and the scene toward the end with Matt and Elena. However, I think they need to shake up the cast soon. Klaus isn't threatening anymore. There's no "bad guy" around, unless you count Stefan. I think we need a new villian on the scene or things are going to get a bit stagnant.

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Sitcom Night 1

It's Sitcom Night

Because I've recently gotten into an older show in addition to the ones I regularly follow, and because I'd like to keep this blog a little more diverse and fresh, I've decided to start mini recapping some instances of what my family calls "Sitcom Night." Everyone goes over to my parent's place and chooses an episode of any sitcom they want, and we watch. There's 5 of us, so it's usually 5 shows.



Little Scarf Girl's Pick: Frasier 5.09 - Perspectives on Christmas

Brief Summary: It's Christmas, but Frasier and his family/friends are not having a good time of it. Martin can't hit the high note in the song for Christmas pageant he's in, a case of miscommuncation leaves Daphne thinking Martin is dying, Niles gets stuck in an elevator and ends up ruining his new suit, and Frasier accidentally lets it slip to Roz's mother that she's pregnant ... before Roz has a chance to tell her! The entire episode is told from four different perspectives as each of Frasier's friends retell their story while enjoying a massage - their Christmas gift from Frasier.

Overall: I picked this episode, so naturally I liked it! I've recently gotten into Frasier, and am really enjoying the stories and characters. It's got subtle, witty humor (although plenty of slapstick thrown in there, too) and everyone plays off each other very well. In this particular episode, I liked the use of the flashbacks, and how certain things were different depending on who was remembering it. (Like how Daphne is completely oblivious to the romantic implications of Niles' comment about her being under the mistletoe, and takes random statements from Frasier and Martin out-of-context to further her belief that Martin is dying.)

Guitar Player Boy's Pick: The Simpsons 4.03 - Homer the Heretic

Brief Summary: Homer doesn't feel like going to church one week, and when he has the best day ever (while his family gets trapped in the freezing church with a broken furnace) he decides he's never going back to church. But when his house catches on fire one week while he's playing hookey, he changes his mind.

Overall: I'm not a big fan of the The Simpsons. I remember it as being sad when I was a kid, catching snippits of episodes my dad would watch on TV, so part of that has carried over into my adulthood. (On the other hand, I love Futurama, which was a staple in the evenings during my early college years.) This episode had a few chuckles, but nothing laugh-out-loud funny. The concept (the mom taking all the kids to church, the dad staying at home) is actually applicable to our household, though, haha.

Mountain Dew Girl's Pick: Modern Family 1.08 - Great Expectations

Brief Summary: Phil has gotten Claire some great and creative anniversary gifts, and all she thought to give him were coupons for free hugs. Determined to give him something great, she gets an 80's singer (from a band she thinks is the singer of "their song," but that Phil doesn't even really like) to come give them a private concert. Meanwhile, Cam and Mitch decide they need a night away from the baby, but their old friend isn't exactly as fun to be with as they remembered, and Jay has all the grandkids over for "Jay's Night," but all Hailey wants to do is go to the party down the block.

Overall: Modern Family has grown on me a bit. The characters are likable, and the stories are mostly clever. I don't think they're quite as funny as my mom and Mountain Dew Girl do, but they always have a few chuckles. I think the 80's singer story went on a little long, but it was amusing.

Chess Enthusiast Dad's Pick: Fawlty Towers 2.04 - The Kipper and The Corpse

Brief Summary: A guest dies in the hotel, and Mr. Fawlty tries to move the body to a safe location until the undertakers come to pick it up. Naturally, this leads to a lot of hard-to-explain situations and angry guests.

Overall: I don't care for this series very much, and I don't think it's just because it's British humor. (Although I'm not a big Monty Python fan, either.) This episode was about the same as the other episode we watched (2.06 - Basil the Rat), with something going awry in the hotel, and the staff rushing to try to cover it up from an inspector or other such person. There were a few laughs here and there, but definitely not something I'd want to watch again.

The Vampire Diaries 3.10 - The New Deal



The Vampire Diaries 3.10 - The New Deal



Brief Summary

Stefan has stolen Klaus' family, and the original is not happy about it. Stefan has Bonnie contact the dead witches to help hide the coffins, while Alaric and Elena worry about Jeremy's safety as he begins hanging out with hybrid Tyler more. Damon and Stefan have a confrontation, in which Damon learns why Stefan betrayed them. When Elena proves unhelpful in finding the coffins, Klaus decides to send a message.

What I Liked

I was glad to see Jeremy and Alaric have more of a role, especially when it comes to them as a family. They've been kind of scattered lately, so it's nice to see them try to acknowledge that they're an "atypical family."

Damon's been very helpful lately, and it's interesting to see that he's almost glad when it seems Stefan has turned completely on them, as it mediates his own guilt about liking Elena. He finds out this isn't the case, though, and tells Elena as much. But then he bites the bullet and goes in for a kiss anyway.

What I Didn't Like

While it is in the best interest for Jeremy to leave town, I don't want him to be gone for too long! He's been a cast member since the beginning, and he was seriously starting to become a bit bad-ass. (Crossbow? Cutting off hybrid heads?) I doubt he'd be thrilled that he was compelled to do it, but earlier in the episode he really did sound like he wanted out.

Klaus is still a bit dull to me. How is it that he can track down everyone except Stefan? Let's wake up some of the original relatives (especially Elijah!) already.

Twists and Turns

Klaus has Jeremy under compulsion, and nearly gets him hit by a car.

Stefan enlists Bonnie's help to hide the coffins.

Alaric and Elena have Damon compell Jeremy to leave town.

Damon kisses Elena.

Observations

Elena should definitely know Damon is into her by now. (I have a feeling she's known for a long time, though.)

The ring that Alaric wears saved him from being hit by a car because it was driven by a supernatural being? Just trying to keep the powers on that thing straight. I also recall him muttering something about Damon's blood saving him, although we never saw a scene where that happened. Is his ring not fully healing him anymore?

Caroline and Matt were both MIA this episode.

Overall

A good episode with a cute ending. Interested to see where this is going!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Castle 4.10 - Cuffed


Castle 4.10 - Cuffed


Brief Summary

Castle and Beckett wake up handcuffed together on a bed in a room, with no idea of how they got there. Together they have to piece together the events that led them there, and figure out who has captured them before it's too late. Meanwhile, the recent of the precinct is trying to figure out where Castle and Beckett have disappeared to.

What I Liked

This was a fun episode. The banter between Castle and Beckette was enjoyable, as was their attempts to escape. Even though I started to get a little creeped out by the Saw-like objects they discovered, nothing too terrible happened. The whole episode was fun, fast-paced, and had a good conclusion.

What I Didn't Like

Nothing much to complain about!

Twists and Turns

The whole episode was a bit twisty, but I think the biggest twist was the tiger in the next room. I didn't see that coming!

Observations

These fun episodes between Castle and Beckett are a nice reminder of why the audience is supposed to want them together. I think it was in this episode where they're making the comments about how Lanie and Espisito are meant to be together, but just can't see it. Castle says, "But it's so obvious!" Yes, we get it. ;)

Overall

A good episode! Episodes like these make me want to keep up with the show.

How I Met Your Mother 7.13 - Tailgate


How I Met Your Mother 7.13 - Tailgate


Brief Summary

Marshall decides to spend some time with his father by tailgating during the Viking's game out in the cemetary near his headstone. While he argues with his brothers, who have also showed up with similar ideas, and deals with the fact that other people at the cemetary are joining in on the event, he tells his father the story of New Year's Eve 2011. Barney and Ted, annoyed that McLaren's had a huge cover charge, start their own bar, Puzzles. Robin has to cover for Sandy Rivers on live TV for the NYE countdown. Lily is sadden by the fact that her dad doesn't seem all that interested in her pregnancy.

What I Liked

The parts that had to do with Marshall's dad and Lily's dad respectively were really sweet and poignant. Marshall remembering tailgating with his dad, and Lily's dad showing up for her at the end with the giant teddy bear to congratulate her were both great moments.

The Puzzles logo looked a bit like the Cheers logo, which I found amusing.

I'm glad Robin will presumably be back on the air again. I hadn't realized it until now, but her working a research job just isn't as fun to watch as her on-air jobs in the previous seasons. Her working with Sandy Rivers should also be fun to watch.

When the crowd at Puzzles got rowdy and started breaking stuff I laughed out loud. Ted getting hit with a dart was great.

What I Didn't Like

First off, Robin's behavior is a little hard to swallow these days. Why is she still with Kevin? He seems very into her, and his supportive comments about her career are nice, but she hardly seems as into him. It's also hard to be very sympathetic to Robin, since a lot of her problems right now are her own fault.

Kevin's "That's my girl!" comment rubbed me the wrong way, and I'm surprised we didn't get a glimpse of Barney's reaction during that scene. Clearly he still cares about Robin, but other than his being excited that she was on TV, we aren't given any indication he's upset or even bothered by Robin's behavior in the past few episodes. HIMYM does unfortunately have a history of dropping feelings for several episodes at a time, but a little glance from Barney would have gone a long way. (Although, it's clear he still cares for her. It's Robin's feelings for him that have disappeared with little explanation, especially given that they were such a big plot point in the beginning of the season.)

I thought the episode overall was a little choppy. I would almost forget Marshall was telling the story from the future (after the events had occurred), and his subplot about wanting their child to believe in supernatural creatures was sort of silly. Also, why weren't they spending the New Year's with the rest of the gang? Surely they could unpack the baby room another time. That subplot took up almost as much time as Puzzles, which was actually brushed over rather quickly in favor of Robin and Marshall's storylines.

Twists and Turns

Robin is going to be back on TV again.

Lily's dad showed up, even though Lily thought he was disinterested in her pregnancy.

Observations

I would love to see Lily's relationship with her dad be explored some more. He's a fun character, and although he was a terrible dad to her, it would be nice to see them try to mend that relationship a bit. It would also give Lily a more concrete plot for a while. Other than baby stuff and stuff related to Marshall's work, Lily has been plotless for quite a while.

I've already said my bit about Robin and Kevin, but seriously, this relationship needs to end soon. And we need some real explanations for why Robin suddenly isn't interested in Barney anymore.

Overall

Not a bad episode (I liked it better than The Rebound Girl) but it wasn't great. There were some genuinely funny moments, and some pretty touching ones, too, but it was a little choppily put together, and after all the drama from the first half of the season, it's a little weird that the episode essentially shelves all the tension and feelings that should be there.