Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tonight's TV Talk: 'The Middle', 'Suburgatory', 'Modern Family', 'Happy Endings', and 'Revenge'...

TV Talk for Wednesday, February 29th 2012

The Middle (ABC, 8pm) - S3, Ep18: "Leap Year" - This show is charming in a way I never expected, but it needs to figure out something to do with Axl (Charlie McDermott). He's a funny buffoon, but even buffoons deserve plot points past being so bored he changes his attitude and starts cleaning-- just to give him something to do. If you've run out of things for a teenage jock to do, you, not he, may have peaked in high school. Also, if you want to evolve him a teeny bit by putting a vacuum in his hand, you can't have him pulling something over his sister in the next scene. It invalidated everything that came before it: why would he ever be bored if he could just mess with his siblings like he always does? And what better time to mess with Sue (Eden Sher) than on her Leap Year birthday!? A storyline that really didn't go anywhere and yet somehow managed to make Chica's forgotten birthday in Troop Beverly Hills seem a little less sad. I mean, we knew her parents sucked, but the Hecks? The Hecks were just so distracted they forgot about their only daughter's only once-every-four-years special day! What the what!? I have to say, I was glad they didn't pull the whole "we'll celebrate how old you actually are since Leap Year only comes once every four years," though. On the other hand, though, I loved Brick (Atticus Shaffer)'s sudden sense of leadership and friendship. He has always been so happy to be alone with his books, and tonight he even said he had no friends. But really, I think he proved the opposite by the way he rallied the boys of his social group. Sure, it was all over a girl, and sure, that is bound to only lead to fighting later when they realize they can all have a shot with her, but it was a major step for him. I'll admit it: when the seemingly normal girl first stepped foot in the classroom, I didn't smell a clerical error like Brick or Frankie (Patricia Heaton) jadedly did. No, instead I assumed it was the school's strange idea of an experiment: stick a cute girl in a room of messed up boys and see if they would feign normalcy, posture, or actually change for her. A fascinating study, really, though a bit twisted for a public elementary school.

Suburgatory (ABC, 8:30pm) - S1, Ep16: "Poetic Injustice" - Sex dreams must be a theme tonight. Who knew!? Will there be anything better than Sheila (Ana Gasteyer)'s sex dream about George (Jeremy Sisto) "opening [her] mouth and kissing [her] like a Frenchman"? I don't believe there will be! Although "the white Wesley Snipes of Chatswin" came pretty close. Emily Kapnek was on fire tonight! We got to see a different side to so many characters, patchy Fred (Chris Parnell) goatee aside. Dahlia (Carly Chaikin) actually made a human observation; just when we thought she didn't pay attention to anything that wasn't a mirror... Tessa (Jane Levy) does care about fitting in, even if just with a weird older woman with a tacky shoulder tattoo. George is giving into his crush on Dallas more and more every week... I was glad Tessa asked her new teacher if she was high, but I was bummed she didn't force an answer. Between the "Dahlia should be the teacher here" bit and the "poetry loves you, too," though she gave Tessa a 72, I had no other explanation for her behavior-- or her weird whisper voice. But then it dawned on me: she's the hipster of poetry. She only thinks it's cool when you clearly don't care-- or don't even really know what you're doing or why. She and her shoulder tattoo may be the worst. And I hope she and her hipster grad student attitude stay FOREVER. I especially liked her idea of grading wit, though. I'm going to start doing that in the comments of some of my favorite fellow bloggers...

Modern Family (ABC, 9pm) - S3, Ep17: "Leap Day" - I agree, Gloria (Sofia Vergara), Leap Day is stupid. Except it gave me an extra day to pay my rent, which you don't have to worry about, so I guess I see a slight more appeal in the day than you do. But for me it's more about the disappointment. Usually it's just an extra day to work; the weather is usually crappy; and no one ever handed me candy! I have about seven hundred Facebook friends and not one of them was born on Leap Day, yet television promises at least one person in a social circle, let alone family, will get to celebrate crazy elaborate parties for the rare "actual" birthdays that rolled around. What I would have given to attend Cam (Eric Stonestreet)'s Wizard of Oz party insensitive or not-- or hell, screw the party invite (those flying monkeys are scary!); just get me a pair of ruby slippers! So I took kind of a sick pleasure in watching Phil (Ty Burrell)'s favorite day get so ruined-- and for such a funny reason. I don't know how comedies before this one hadn't dealt with women's periods synching up, but I'm glad Modern Family was ballsy enough to "go there." Those three Dunphy women have pretty damn strong personalities on their own, but with this addition? They could steamroll the men in the house for sure. Though, as much as I know Claire (Julie Bowen) was heightened by hormones, everyone cries over those ASPCA commercials, and that is an indication she needs to bring a dog into their home. Mine is available for work. And he already bonded with Nolan Gould!

Happy Endings (ABC, 9:30pm) - S2, Ep16: "Cocktails & Dreams" - Max (Adam Pally) looks weird clean-shaven. If that's Grant (James Wolk)'s influence, then Grant had to go! I mean, that's a reason enough for a guy like Max to break up with him (remember the Paul Walker fan club guy??). I never expected him to break up with him over the issue of kids-- and certainly not being on the "I might want them someday" side of the argument. I felt like I didn't even know Max anymore! I mean, sure, we saw him kind of bond with his niece and nephew earlier this season, but this was a HUGE step. I'm proud of him, and of the writers, for taking it. In an episode that so dealt in the silliness (of sex dreams and Colin Hanks' earring and waffles on the ceiling...and then the floor), it's always nice to be punched in the heart after laughing so hard I felt punched in the gut. I do wish Penny (Casey Wilson) hadn't been the one to first call Dave (Zachary Knighton) out being like their brother, though, considering just a few weeks ago the show hinted at an attraction between these two "friends," but I like the complication it might bring if she learns Dave and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) slept together and then realizes she doesn't see Dave as solely a brother figure. I get why Dave and Alex were deemed the Ross and Rachel of this show even more now. I didn't expect the show to take them there at this point in the story, though the fact that there has been no indication that they should get back together bodes well for uniqueness, and yes, more funny stuff to follow. I'm personally hoping they both see it as a big mistake they never want to talk about again. Or maybe even a "Eh well, friends fuck each other sometimes; it happens" scenario, rather than a "What does it mean!?" plot that they hash out with their sub-cluster of friends. If absolutely nothing else, it was their bonus sex after the break-up. But they should in no circumstance get back together-- now or even in the season finale, or in a season from now-- in my opinion. Because again, it is the idea of Penny and Dave that deserves it's time to be explored. We already know what happens when Alex and Dave try to have their "happy ending;" Penny and Dave may be even more disastrous, but we won't know until we see it given a go, right? Tonight's episode was so chock full of fun and perfect line delivery and quiet little lines and references (Dinosaurs!) I may have missed the first time around, I definitely have plans to watch it again first thing in the morning. It was just that good. Character callbacks (Alex' love of ribs) included.

Revenge (ABC, 10pm) - S1, Ep16: "Scandal" - Can I just take a second to publicly thank Mike Kelley, Liz Tigelaar, and the rest of the Revenge writers for not doing the old-fashioned cliche thing and giving Daniel (Josh Bowman) amnesia. I much prefer the fact that he remembers what he and Tyler (Ashton Holmes) discussed before the gun went off and is simply keeping it to himself. He is smarter than people give him credit for, and he definitely has his own plans. Whether or not they pay off... Well, that will be the fun of the next batch of episodes, I imagine. And I hope his plan is strong because he is too pretty for jail, let alone freakin' Riker's! He is a flight risk if I ever met one, but a simple house arrest plan would do. I really don't want him to have survived the debacle on the beach only to get shanked in jail. Although, if he's in jail and somehow gets intel on David Clarke (James Tupper) through a crusty old cell block companion or guard or whatever... Okay, that'd be a stretch, and I know it. But his lawyer was quick to float the second shooter theory (maybe JFK was his inspiration?), I thought we'd have a little more free time with him. Well, we'd be free with him, and he'd be in his own private hell, bound to the house in which his feuding parents are staying and Emily would be forced to move into. On second thought that doesn't work either because it'd be too sitcom-y. In fact, I think I saw a similar concept fail on FOX a few years ago... Anyway, Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) was quick to step in and become family spokeswoman. She really is an opportunistic little sneak. She and Ellis (from Smash) should compare notes and maybe host a "how to claw your way to the top" podcast. Nolan (Gabriel Mann), for a rich guy and one who was assaulted recently at that, really needs to learn to lock his doors. And he needs to learn that he can't keep secrets. His face gives him away every time! When it comes to Jack (Nick Wechsler) I have to choose to believe he's so hung up on Amanda (Marguerita Levieva) because of the youthful memories he clings to, not the person he has spent these last few weeks with. Time and circumstance can change a lot about a person, but there would be no justification for such a sweet, innocent little girl turning into that. I hope she's bleeding out from a wound from the beach somewhere. Okay, I know how that sounds, and yes, it's crueler than it needs to be: to still be bleeding out would be too torturous, even for her. But I still hope she's gone for good (I know she's not. Oh, dramatic stakes!). And I certainly hope they find a way to frame her for the murder because it will get rid of her and give Emily another name to avenge. Eventually she'll want to take back her name, and this would certainly add complications to that plan. Look at Charlotte (Christa B. Allen). Look at how far she's falling with the weight of her real father and her brother's assumed crimes hovering over her. Yet, a "little" pill problem, and even swaying her boyfriend to back the second shooter story, is nothing when compared to fake Amanda's indiscretions. I have to admit, though, if Charlotte's not careful, it seems clear she could spiral pretty closely to Amanda. Emily (Emily VanCamp) may be keeping a distant eye on her, but no newfound blood loyalty leads me to believe she'd step in and risk exposing herself-- or even risk changing the course of her plans. Because they've already gotten off course enough as it is! It would be nice to see Charlotte look for a grounding force and go digging into her real father in order to find it. Something tells me he may not really be dead. In fact, I think I may even know where he's been keeping himself; Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) mentioned a family property of his tonight that felt heated-- and felt unnecessary to mention if it wouldn't come back to have significance. I'd love to watch him re-insert himself into their lives at some point. Would he recognize his daughter? He should; I imagine he'd be keeping tabs on her this whole time. But I bet he wouldn't metaphorically recognize the woman she's become, and only he could snap her out of her bad behavior, hopefully before it's too late. And what would that do to Victoria and the love she feels for her martyr? Also, is it me or does that dog seem to be aging down? By the time they return in April (APRIL!?!?!) that dog will be a puppy again!

1 comment:

Marcos said...

While I want Dave and Penny to give it a go, the moment that he shared with Alex during the Christmas episode where he cashed in his coupons was an indicator that they might try again. Regardless, last night was a great episode.