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Friday, February 17, 2012

Last Week in TV #20

The week got away from me fast, with Mrs. Teebore watching the Grammys on Sunday, a couple nights away from the TV and the arrival of a new puppy. I know, excuses, excuses.  Here's what I did find time to watch.

Once Upon A Time: Skin Deep


A solid episode, which tweaks the Beauty and the Beast story and uses Rumpelstiltskin as the Beast and Emilie de Ravin from Lost as Belle. References to the Disney version of the story, from Belle's dresses to Gaston and even Chip the insufferable teacup kid, abound, but the real charm of the story comes from watching Rumpelstiltskin grapple with his growing feelings for Belle and his desire for power. Per usual, the events in Storybrooke are overshadowed by FTL, though this episode did present a more-unhinged than usual Mr. Gold as he attempted to retrieve the memento of his time with Belle. Which led to one of the show's biggest reveals: like Regina, Mr. Gold remembers FTL. This, in turn, led to an episode-ending cliffhanger that Belle, believed dead by both Rumpelstiltskin and Mr. Gold, is actually alive in Storybrooke, albeit imprisoned in some kind of secret asylum below the hospital run by Regina. That Belle was still around was mildly shocking, only because I assumed her presumed death was a way to not need Emilie de Ravin to come back to reprise the role, but ultimately, Regina's secret prison will probably turn out to be the bigger surprise.

Other Thoughts
Oh, there was also that tertiary plot about girls night. Pretty lame, but I loved how inept David was at carrying on two relationships at once. 

The scene between Regina and Mr. Gold in the jail was an especially good one for Regina, as we got to see her be menacing without being a total bitch.

The whole Stockhold Syndrome-ness of Belle falling in love with her captor has some creepy, uncomfortable implications, that are never really addressed, but this isn't that kind of show and, well, you find that in a lot of fairy tales (even Beauty and the Beast, to some extent).   

I wonder who else Regina has locked up in the asylum, and why she didn't just stick David in there when he was in a coma. 

I still prefer Emilie de Ravin as a brunette. 

Jane Espenson, the writer of the episode, live-tweeted during it; amongst the things I learned:
This episode takes place several hundred years after Rumpelstiltskin took the Dark Ones power; it mentions an Ogre War, but Rumpelstiltskin merely fought in the first Ogres War.

FTL is polytheistic (someone mentions "the gods").

The Disney allusions, in this episode and others, are intentional. The writers feel those are the versions with which most people are familiar, so they tend to use them as a starting point. Also, because this is an ABC/Disney show, they can get away with it rather easily.

In the original, longer cut of the episode, we saw Emma tailing Mr. Gold, to explain how she found his cabin in the woods. It was ultimately cut for time, because they believed it wasn't that important to show how she found him, as most people would just assume she followed him.


The Walking Dead: Nebraska (mid-season premiere)


Oh, Walking Dead. You're just never going to change are you? Much like its last two seasons (or half seasons), this episode started strong (dealing with the aftermath of the barn massacre) and ended strong (Rick's confrontation with the Eastern yokels in the bar), but more or less meandered in the middle. And with the revelation that Fort Benning is a dead end and the looming confrontation with the yokels' people, it seems unlikely this show is ever going to have any kind of narrative momentum, and I'm just going to have to accept it.

That said, most of my issues with this episode dealt with its implications on the series as whole. As an episode, this was solid enough, thanks in large part to that stunning showdown in the bar between Rick, Dave and Tony. It was a fantastic scene that wisely let subtext be subtext. There were the parallels to Rick's own situation with Hershel, left unsaid, and I loved the way the tension built without any obvious signs that those two guys were trouble, just little things (like Tony pissing in the corner) and gradually rising tension. You started to get a bad feeling about it just about when Rick realized they were trouble, then saw Hershel realize it too (I think poor Glenn is still clueless), and pretty soon, you're just waiting for something to happen, and thankfully, Rick is badass enough to shut it down before it gets worse. Well written, acted and directed all around.

Other Thoughts
For whatever reason, Rick doing the right thing in a bad situation is enjoyable to watch (like putting down Dave and Tony without hesitation), whereas when Shane does it, it's creepy and feels wrong. Probably because Rick actually struggles with those decisions, making his drastic actions seem more reluctant, whereas Shane is just batshit crazy.

Another nice thing about that bar scene: it established that there are dangers in this world beyond the zombies (considering a lot of the people who survived are probably not the type of people you want to meet in a lawless society), something most post-apocalyptic fiction deals with at one time or another, which Walking Dead had not yet. 

Is Lori the world's biggest idiot, or what? Putting aside the whole idea of going off on your own whilst pregnant moments after stupidly giving your husband a hard time for leaving, there was no clear reason for her to go. Rick and Glenn went after Herschel; why does she feel the need to send someone after them? They haven't been gone that long, and chances are bringing Herschel back would take more than a quick, "hey, get in". This was just a terrible case of creating drama for drama's sake.

Loved the scene between Dale and Shane, and how Dale got under his skin despite literally saying or doing nothing. 

Liked the line about how they bury they ones they love and burn the rest. When it comes to wartime/post-apocalyptic fiction, I have very little patience for people who are so worried about traditional burial rites that they put themselves at risk; that philosophy, at least, is a little more grounded than "oh my god, we have to do everything for the dead that we did in normal society even though its fairly irrelevant and might risk us dying ourselves".

Also enjoyed the scene between Rick and Glenn in the car, specifically Glenn coming clean about Lori's pregnancy and apologizing. Though his whole struggle with "I love you" was pretty lame. Fictional characters make too big a deal out of it. Just say it back and be done with it. It's not a binding contract. 

As much as its implications on the show's ongoing narrative bothered me, I did like the list of "I heard things are better here" places that Dave rattled off.

Yeah, yeah, Otis put Sophia in the barn and died before he could tell Hershel. I still don't quite buy it, but I won't get into that again.

I can't decide if establishing Hershel had a drinking problem before this episode would have been horribly obvious foreshadowing, or necessary foreshadowing.

Hershel's various family members seemed more prominent in this episode than ever before. Heck, I don't think we even knew Beth's name before she collapsed in this episode.

So what are the odds that the confrontation with the friends of the people Rick just killed will stretch out over the remaining five episodes of the season?


How I Met Your Mother: Drunk Train


In general, this was a nice bounce back from last week's form-heavy, humor-light episode. Barney and Ted's antics on the drunk train were, as expected, largely entertaining, and I particularly enjoyed Marshall and Lily's complete inability to keep a secret. But the one thing that everyone is talking about is the ending.

It is, of course, far too early to pass judgment. Who knows where this is heading, after all? I know there are some people who hate any deviations from the "mother plot", and likely view another go round on the Ted/Robin carousel a waste of time in that regard, since we already know she's not the mother. But we've always known that, and some of this show's best episodes involved Ted's romantic interactions with Robin. So long as the writing is sharp and the jokes funny, I don't really care too much about the overarching plot, and if the writers feel like they have more to say about Robin and Ted, so be it (plus, Ted's episode-ending declaration of love wasn't entirely out-of-the-blue (even if it was kind of douchey): Victoria more or less foreshadowed it earlier in the season).

That said, I remain dubious that there is any ground in the Robin/Ted story left worth covering, regardless of how it fits into the show's overarching narrative. They get back together, they break up, Ted and Barney break-up over Robin; this is all old ground. Maybe the writers have something new to say or a new direction to go with it, I just wonder how likely that is. In the end, it will, of course, all come down to execution. If whatever comes next is well written and funny, I'll be fine with it.

Other Thoughts
The subplot with Barney falling for a girl who can see through his BS (and I believe that character is sticking around for awhile) is fine, though on the surface it feels like a retread of what they did with Nora. Also, I was a bit disappointed that the bumper revealed that she's a stripper who knew all about Barney because she sees him at work all the time.

So long, Kevin! As non-group love interests go, you weren't bad, and certainly got more screen time than most, but I won't miss you terribly. The moment he proposed, I thought, "well, this is Kevin's last episode", though I give the show credit for surprising me in terms of why exactly he left.

Quinn: Sorry, I have I’m Not a Gullible Dumbass Syndrome.
Barney: As a former Surgeon General, I don't think that's a real thing. 

Ted: Last week I went out with a girl whose favorite band was Glee


Saturday Night Live: Zooey Deschanel & Karmin


In general, I really enjoyed this episode. While few sketches were without a fault of some kind, most of them provided at least a few big laughs, and there were few out-and-out stinkers. Zooey Deschanel, though clearly nervous and guilty of a few line flubbings, acquitted herself well and even showed a sense of humor about herself (if forced to choose between liking and disliking the somewhat-polarizing actress, I'd fall on the "like" side of the line; that said, I'm impressed that she does have a sense of humor about herself, as she strikes me as someone who wouldn't). All in all, while not flawless, it was a step in the right direction after a couple of weak outings.

Cold Open: The now-standard Romney fare, though I'm curious how much of the "dog barks Romney off stage" ending was planned. Was there more to the bit that Sudeikeis had to cut when the dog wouldn't stop barking, or was that how it it was supposed to play out?

Monologue: Not surprising, given her part in the folk pop duo She & Him, Zooey sang a song, which was fine. At least she has a reason to be singing.

Clint Eastwood Ads: I would have liked to see these spaced out throughout the show, instead of all three being crammed into the first half, but that aside, they were pretty damn funny. Hader's Eastwood impression is spot-on, loved the gag about how high his pants were, and appreciated the way each subsequent one escalated into bigger laughs and more zany situations, climaxing with "I'm Batman!"

Piers Morgan Tonight: One of those sketches with a funny central idea (the offended mom) and a lot of stuff on the margins that didn't quite work (I've seen very little of Piers Morgan, so maybe Taran Killiam's was a hilarious send-up, but it did little for me). But the band that wraps around your fingers to prevent Satan from taking control of your middle finger got a huge laugh from me, in the "funny cuz I'm surprised no one's tried to push that yet" department.

Les Jeunes Des Paris: I generally enjoy this sketch, though I'm never quite sure why. Maybe it's because it reminds me of crazy European TV shows I watched in German class, or because it has a different energy from most other SNL sketches, or just because goofy dancing makes me laugh. I was also surprised to see this sketch so early in the evening. That said, this was probably my least favorite of the three (?) we've had so far, and only the surprise appearance by Jean Dujardin really put it over the top. I enjoy the sketch, but wouldn't want to see if pop up more than once or twice a season.

Old Timey Newspaper: A funny central idea (someone is baffled by the fast talking slang of newspapermen circa the 1940s) was undercut a bit by a confused setup: was it taking place in the 40s or today? Was Zooey playing an atypical 40s reporter or were the reporters atypical modern day reporters? I laughed quite a bit, but I still spent a lot of the sketch wondering those things.

Weekend Update: The highlight here, and really of the night, was Nicholas Cage appearing alongside Andy Samberg-as-Nicholas Cage for "In the Cage". Hilarious and surreal, it was nice to see that Nicholas Cage also has a sense of humor about himself, and worth it just to hear Cage himself say he was off to have a threesome with the Declaration of Independence.

Bein' Quirky: Another "actor plays against someone impersonating them" faceoff that pretty much covered all the requisite Zooey Deschanel ground. It was a tad long (one fewer "and now it's time for..." bits would have helped) and neither Mary-Kate Olsen nor Bjork are very zeitgeist-y at the moment, but I really enjoyed this, for Abby Elliot's Zooey and Zooey's Mary-Kate ("I'm a billionare), and Killam's Michael Cera.

Verizon 4G Ad: A great mockup of the Verizon commercials specifically and of cell phone companies in general. Definitely "funny cuz it's true".

Crab Dinner: Then we got the worst sketch of the night. We all knew there was going to be no crab at the end, and when the ending arrived, it did nothing to make that predictability worthwhile. And Wiig was typically grating throughout.

"We're Going to Make Technology Hump": I was ecstatic to see this back, one of my favorite new sketches of the season, but was disappointed that it was exactly the same as last time, right down to the fan letter requesting more humping and less soap opera. I still enjoyed the hell out of it, but hopefully they shake it up a little next time.

Letter Writing: An okay sketch that was neither weird enough to belong at the end nor mainstream enough to be placed anywhere else. A few good visual gags, but a pretty lifeless end to a solid episode.

Favorite Sketch: "In the Cage", unless I need to pick an actual sketch, in which case "Bein' Quirky". 

Mitt Romeny: People just have a problem connecting with you as a person. That’s not a problem I have. Point thumb at self.

Nicholas Cage on Ghost Rider 2: Number one, all the dialogue is either whispered or screamed. And of course, number two, everything in the movie is on fire.

Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 4/14
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 6/14

16 comments:

Phantomas said...

"Another nice thing about that bar scene: it established that there are dangers in this world beyond the zombies"

It is good to finally see. As some people here might know one of the worst things that this little group faces is another person. In fact that person might be showing up sooner than I thought as I heard rumblings online that they were looking to cast said person. But I digress...Over the course of the comic at least there are probably just as many people who die from regular people as there are to zombies. It really emphasizes that when the world goes to hell we might be the biggest threat ourselves.

I completely agree with you about Lori. What the heck was the point of her suddenly deciding to run after Rick and Glenn? All I could figure was that after what Dale told her she felt that Rick had to know NOW! Which still makes no sense. At the end of the day it was just a ham fisted way to get her in the situation she ended up in. I will say though that I loved Daryl's response to her asking him to go.

Also I was a little surprised to see the two guys from the bar die so quickly just based on the fact that Dave had a fairly prominent role in True Blood I figured they would be around for a little bit. It was a very cool scene though.

While I liked the scene between Dale and Shane I thought Dale was being kind of antagonistic for not much of a reason. Shane is already well aware of how he feels so pushing the fact all the time to him is just asking for trouble. Don't let it go but do like he did and let other people know what is going on and get him out that way instead.

Yeah the only reason I knew her name was Beth is because I looked up all the characters names on IMDB for a dead pool we have going at work. :)

Teebore said...

@Phantomas: It really emphasizes that when the world goes to hell we might be the biggest threat ourselves.

Which is pretty prominent theme in most post-'poc fiction, so it's good to know Walking Dead deals with it (for me, two of the most haunting scenes in The Stand were the stuff with the Kid and the Rape RV crew, which were pretty much just straight up "in a world with no law, monsters roam free" scenarios).

I will say though that I loved Daryl's response to her asking him to go.

Ditto. While Daryl's reversion to Snarky Loner is predictable, it still feels right in the wake of Sophia's death, and its pretty clear his anger is born of disappointment and a loss of hope more than anything. He's already the show's most (only?) well-developed character, and that just adds to that depth.

Also I was a little surprised to see the two guys from the bar die so quickly just based on the fact that Dave had a fairly prominent role in True Blood

It's funny how knowing/not knowing stuff like that can shape your viewing. Not being a True Blood watcher, I didn't recognize him, but had I known him, I likely would have been even more shocked that he died so soon (it's sort of the inverse of the "most famous guest star in the credits did it" rule on procedurals.

I thought Dale was being kind of antagonistic for not much of a reason.

Was he though? He literally just stood there, not saying or doing a thing. I guess you could argue that's a kind of quiet antagonism, but Shane could have just walked up the truck, seen Dale, said "eff you old man" and drove off, but Shane felt compelled, without provocation, to go off on a rant and Dale just let him.

Sarah Ahiers said...

That ending scene of WD was just awesome. When Rick's like that, it makes me really like him as a character.
But, overall, this episode reminded me that i pretty much can't stand anyone. Except Daryl. He never pisses me off.

Yeah, Lori leaving was total BS and made no sense. Also, i don't know about you, but if Dale told me that Shane, the man who had tried to rape me was probably also a murderer, i think i'd stop keeping quiet about his clearly violent nature.

Phantomas said...

I got the impression that Dale was kind of giving him the evil eye but I could be wrong though. It was a little hard to tell from the angle they showed him at.

Teebore said...

@Sarah: When Rick's like that, it makes me really like him as a character.

Ditto. Or maybe I'm just happy he's doing SOMETHING. ;)

if Dale told me that Shane, the man who had tried to rape me was probably also a murderer, i think i'd stop keeping quiet about his clearly violent nature.


Absolutely, though Lori's handling of the whole "tried to rape me" situation thus far has been asinine, so at least she's consistent...

@PhantomasI got the impression that Dale was kind of giving him the evil eye but I could be wrong though. It was a little hard to tell from the angle they showed him at.

Could be. It was an awkward angle.

Anonymous said...

Lori's car accident is exactly as stupid as Teri Bauer's amnesia from season 1 of 24: ridiculous plot device pulled out only to extend the drama. And that's my real ongoing problem with this show. Frankly, they should have wrapped up the Sophia mystery in episode 6, and had Rick go after Herschel and have a shoot-out with the "Philly Crew" in episode 7 and end the mid-season with them finally leaving the farm. Instead this shoot-out will take two more episodes, and Lori will be trapped in a car and menaced by one zombie for two episodes, and Beth will still be in shock (or is it zombie virus transmitted by air?) for two episodes, and Shane and Dale will glare and mutter and yadda yadda yadda...

Then it will take two more eps to get Rick, Glen and Herschel back to the farm and then go search for Lori and/or deal with Beth and they won't leave the damn farm 'til the Season 3 premiere.

It's sorely testing my patience. But then Rick does something badass and my faith is temporarily restored. I really hope the pace picks up some in the final 5 eps otherwise I might not be back for Season 3.

Also, I am completely and utterly enchanted by Zooey Deschanel and will watch virtually anything she's in, so I enjoyed last week's SNL quite a bit. Though weren't the Paris Sketch and the Technology Hump sketch both done recently by Emma Stone? I understand recycling good sketches, but two sketches from the same host? Michael Cera should probably retire his act now and just let that guy from Being Quirky do it instead.

--mortsleam

Teebore said...

@mortsleam: Lori's car accident is exactly as stupid as Teri Bauer's amnesia from season 1 of 24

Nice analogy; tha't exactly how it felt.

Then it will take two more eps to get Rick, Glen and Herschel back to the farm and then go search for Lori and/or deal with Beth and they won't leave the damn farm 'til the Season 3 premiere.

Unfortunately, that's exactly how I see it playing out as well. I honestly wasn't joking when I suggested that Rick, Glenn and Hershel could end up holed up in that bar fighting Dave and Tony's people for the rest of the season.

It's sorely testing my patience. But then Rick does something badass and my faith is temporarily restored.

That's pretty much my relationship with the show at this point as well. I'm not ready to give it up yet (and probably won't), but I am tempering my expectations.

Though weren't the Paris Sketch and the Technology Hump sketch both done recently by Emma Stone? I understand recycling good sketches, but two sketches from the same host?

I totally forgot about that, but yeah, both those sketches were done during the Emma Stone episode as well. Odd.

Matt said...

It probably says something that I was only half-watching Walking Dead while goofing off on the computer, and I barely registered that someone was in a car crash, and I wasn't interested enough to rewind and see who it was. And yet I continue to watch the show.

At the beginning of How I Met Your Mother, I commented that they might as well make Kal Penn a regular since he'd been in so many episodes lately. I think I jinxed him.

Nicolas Cage going "In The Cage" may well have been my television highlight of the week. That was outstanding.

Lastly, I had no idea who the heck Jean Dujardin was when he showed up in that dancing sketch. I looked at him, puzzling over how I should know him, and I couldn't place his face from anything. Then Zooey thanked him at the end of the episode and I didn't recognize his name either. According to IMDB, he's been in pretty much one whole American movie. Granted, it's a movie that's out now and is nominated for like a billion awards, but still... I'm curious how many viewers shared my experience.

Blam said...


and the arrival of a new puppy.

Congratulations?

Once Upon a Time: Skin Deep

I love me some Emilie de Ravin, so good on that.

Having Rumplestiltskin stand in for the Beast was an interesting but weird twist — and I'm still not sure it was interesting enough to not be too weird.

I'm with you on the Stockholm syndrome; I think that we were supposed to believe that Belle was genuinely falling for her captor on his merits, and we do have some sympathy for him knowing his backstory, but rooting for them just felt creepy.

Which led to one of the show's biggest reveals: like Regina, Mr. Gold remembers FTL.

How big a reveal was that really — to us, I mean? I thought that we were already supposed to know or at least strongly suspect it. The confirmation of it to Regina, however, was certainly a big moment, and I agree that having them both speak of it plainly in the "real world" of Storybrooke felt like a watershed.

I was actually just filling my mother in on that part of last week's episode in advance of watching tonight's, because we were both visiting my grandmother and trying to explain the show to her. Mom said that it was about a little boy who believed that his book of fairy tales equated to the people in his life and that we saw scenes in the real world alternating with stories from his book that might take place in an alternate universe. She's missed key parts of key episodes due to channel-surfing and phone calls and whatnot, never having gone back to catch up (even though it's on her DVR), so I understand that take even as I lamented her not having the whole picture, but it also intrigued me. Were it not for a few key scenes — and, of course, what we've read about the show — the writers could easily have taken the tack that all this stuff about FTL was quite possibly only in Henry's imagination. I have a feeling that it would've been difficult to invest in the show properly without confirmation, although part of me kind-of likes the idea that all the tonal incongruities in the storybook world could be due to the fact that it's tied to the kid's own subconscious as a filtering mechanism if not an outright engine of creation.

Blam said...


This episode takes place several hundred years after Rumpelstiltskin took the Dark Ones power

I'm happy that they have this sort of background worked out. Something that's bugged me, though, is that everyone calls Rumpelstiltskin by his name and has done so since his transformation. The whole point of his legend is that his name had to be guessed by the maiden for whom he was spinning straw into gold so that she didn't lose her baby — and on the show it was the Dark One's name, engraved on a dagger, that was the source of his power. Whether it was the name or the dagger or both that was key is a little fuzzy, and I don't think we've seen the dagger since then, but while I understand that the character had to be identified by name for the audience early on I don't get his name being thrown around so freely for so long by everyone.

All this is without having seen tonight's episode yet, by the way; I'm actually watching The Good Wife live for once. 8^)

Teebore said...

@Matt: I think I jinxed him.

Ha!

Granted, it's a movie that's out now and is nominated for like a billion awards, but still... I'm curious how many viewers shared my experience.

Probably a fair number. I know him because I'm an Oscar nerd and follow all the awards hype and junk, but it isn't like The Artist is breaking any box office records, so I imagine a lot of people had no clue who he was.

Teebore said...

@Blam: we do have some sympathy for him knowing his backstory, but rooting for them just felt creepy.

That's the best way to say what I was trying to say.

I thought that we were already supposed to know or at least strongly suspect it.

Yeah, I think we were supposed to suspect it, but given my post-Lost malaise on such things and the fact that this is such a Lost-esque show, I appreciated the writers making a point to confirm something, instead of just leaving it dangling as a likely-true suspicion.

although part of me kind-of likes the idea that all the tonal incongruities in the storybook world could be due to the fact that it's tied to the kid's own subconscious as a filtering mechanism if not an outright engine of creation.

That is a neat idea, and a version of it could still be true, in that we could be seeing FTL world through Henry's eyes as he's reading the stories, or something like that. But I don't know if the show will ever delve too deeply into the relationship between FTL and Storybrooke in terms of relative time/place/etc., as we've discussed before.

I'm happy that they have this sort of background worked out.

Ditto.

Something that's bugged me, though, is that everyone calls Rumpelstiltskin by his name and has done so since his transformation.

Also ditto. Of all the inconsistencies/variances on the fairy tale stories as presented by the show, that's the one that bugs me the most. It's just such a fundamental element of his story, and the character himself has made it clear that names have power in FTL, so his shouldn't be thrown around so casually.

Teebore said...

@Sagacious Penguin: It feels like the formula of Emma uncovering a character each week is going to have to change something fierce... Anyone else feel this way?

Yes.

I too wonder about how this series can last long term, but then, everyone wondered that about the first season of Lost, and it had ways of keeping the narrative going.

I sort of equate the Prince Charming/Snow White FTL stories to Jack flashback's. We got a ton of them early on, but eventually, other characters rose up and we covered other ground, before the device itself changed and opened up new stories.

So while I could see us getting the full Charming/Snow story this season, maybe next year there will be a new FTL narrative to unfold alongside new one-shot characters, and maybe eventually something like the flashforward/sideways will come along (maybe the characters will eventually be able to/have to go back and forth between Storybrooke and FTL, so we'll get "new" FTL stories?).

That said, I hope the writers stop going to the Charming/Snow well before we get an episode where we learn the origin of Charming's tattoos. ;)

Blam said...


Teebore: given my post-Lost malaise on such things and the fact that this is such a Lost-esque show, I appreciated the writers making a point to confirm something, instead of just leaving it dangling as a likely-true suspicion

Well, I can't hold that against you.

The Walking Dead: Nebraska

I'm with you all over this one. When the second season was approaching, I had really high hopes just because the first brought us such a different and compelling take on the "zombie" thing; I was very forgiving of narrative- or character-based flaws due to that, and to the fact that we were just getting the lay of the land, and to the measured pacing of AMC series in general. Now that we're deep into the continuing story, I'm having a hard time with so many of the characters being annoying or stupid, and it's tough to know whether to blame the scripts, to blame the portrayals, or to read the frustrations as not necessarily fault with the actors or (more equivocally) with the writers but rather flaws in the human nature of the people whose story is being told.

For whatever reason, Rick doing the right thing in a bad situation is enjoyable to watch (like putting down Dave and Tony without hesitation), whereas when Shane does it, it's creepy and feels wrong.

Yeah. Nicely observed.

I can't decide if establishing Hershel had a drinking problem before this episode would have been horribly obvious foreshadowing, or necessary foreshadowing.

While I get your ambivalence, I lean in the direction of this being the right course. I wasn't even sure if the flask was a portent or merely an heirloom when it came out, but had it showed up earlier it might well have been a Chekhovian gun we were driven to distraction by waiting for it to go off.

How I Met Your Mother: The Drunk Train

Of course we've now seen how this played out, but I was a little stunned by the ending. I'm aware that folks have always suspected that Robin was the mother after all, or just thought that she should be; the conceit of the show, though, is that Future Ted is talking to his kids and Robin can't have kids. For the first time I really wondered if maybe the Aunt Robin nomenclature is a red herring — maybe a reversal of how "smoking pot" becomes "eating sandwiches" in Ted's stories, pulling the wool over the eyes of the viewers — and debated whether the kids might've been adopted or the product of surrogacy or something, but Robin has also made that whole point of also not even wanting kids.

Blam said...


Saturday Night Live: Zooey Deschanel & Karmin

As you know, I was harsher on this episode than you. Just about none of what I disliked, and much of what I liked, had to do with the host. But nothing and nobody could save that crab-dinner sketch; I felt like a psychic watching a foregone tragedy.

The "decency strap" — to "keep the devil out of our fingers" — was hilarious, and Kristen Wiig actually had a spot-on Madonna, but the Piers Morgan sketch overall was just eh.

I was surprised that they went back to Les Jeunes de Paris again, with only the walk-on from Jean Dujardin as Georges Valentin making it worthwhile as much as I've enjoyed it in the past. Not one but two "Ew... You're a dude!" moments, though? Really? In 2012?

My favorite parts mostly echoed yours, pointed out in my day-after post — a lot of the Clint Eastwood stuff, Deschanel in the 1940s-newspaper sketch (flubbed line notwithstanding), Nic Cage, and the all-around awesome "Bein' Quirky". The impressions there might've been random but they were spot-on, Deschanel was a good sport about having herself mimicked by Abby Elliot, and I'm always impressed by impressions that you wouldn't even think were worth attempting like Deschanel's Mary-Kate Olsen.

Seth Meyers on Weekend Update: "A Florida judge this week ordered a man who had a fight with his wife to take her out to dinner at Red Lobster. Red Lobster: Where people are sentenced to dinner."

Zooey Deschanel as Mary-Kate Olsen, to Abby Elliot as Zooey Deschanel: "Hey, Zooey. I haven't seen you since we both tried to pick the same wildflower."

Teebore said...

@Blam: but had it showed up earlier it might well have been a Chekhovian gun we were driven to distraction by waiting for it to go off.

Yeah, I think this was probably the best way to go, for that reason exactly.

For the first time I really wondered if maybe the Aunt Robin nomenclature is a red herring — maybe a reversal of how "smoking pot" becomes "eating sandwiches" in Ted's stories, pulling the wool over the eyes of the viewers

I continue to see that idea touted by various people in various places, and it just doesn't seem right to me. The idea that Adult Ted substitutes "sandwiches" for "doobies" works because we, the audience, are aware he's doing it. To suddenly reveal that "Aunt Robin" is "Mother Robin" at the end of the series would be hoodwinking both the audience and his kids, which is something he's never done before (while Adult Ted can be an unreliable narrator at times and is capable of changing his stories for his kids, he's never been shown to intentionally mislead the audience).

I felt like a psychic watching a foregone tragedy.

Well said. That's exactly what it felt like, which made the whole thing seem interminably long (since we all knew where it was going).

The "decency strap" — to "keep the devil out of our fingers" — was hilarious, and Kristen Wiig actually had a spot-on Madonna, but the Piers Morgan sketch overall was just eh.

Yeah, bits of it I liked, the whole thing overall didn't quite work.

Deschanel was a good sport about having herself mimicked by Abby Elliot

I really enjoyed that, simply because, at times, Deschanel strikes me as someone who has no sense of humor about herself.

Red Lobster: Where people are sentenced to dinner.

As a lover of Red Lobster, I really enjoyed that one (hey, it's pretty much the only place you can get seafood in MN, however poorly it may compare to fresh stuff on the coasts).