Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tonight's TV Talk: 'Switched at Birth', 'Cougar Town', 'The River', and 'Parenthood'...






TV Talk for Tuesday, February 28th 2012


Switched at Birth (ABC Family, 8pm) - S1, Ep19: "Write a Lonely Soldier" - BLAIR REDFORD!! I'm so happy they didn't forget all about him, even if we just got a terribly Photoshopped photo and cracking voice-over. I mean, I know they brought up Ty just a few episodes ago, but I didn't want that to be all he was reduced to-- a casual mention-- because if he hadn't booked another show, he could potentially still be heating things up on this one. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy him on The Lying Game, but I would enjoy it even more if Ty could come back to stir things up with Daphne (Katie Leclerc). They were always just friends, and he found an attraction to Bay (Vanessa Marano), but Daphne found herself thinking about one friend-- Emmett (Sean Berdy) different recently, so why not another? I like him so much better than Wilke (Austin Butler)! This new kid is okay, too, I guess-- cockiness and anger aside, he did make some valid points about Wilke still not learning basic sign language-- but I still think the silent fighting thing belongs to Emmett (Sean Berdy). I'm glad we got to know as much about him and his situation as we did right all within his introductory episode. If we hadn't gone home with him, so to speak, to learn what terrible parents he has, we-- well, I would have just disliked him on principle and called him the villain of the season. Which would have been unfair. Because this show isn't so black and white to have good and bad guys anyway. But seriously, Daphne went to his house to yell at him and probably just ended up wanting to give him a hug. I know I did. "I have a lot of great conversations with myself, though" was just so heated and sad. I mean, I did, too, as a teenager, but by choice. There's comfort in knowing someone is there to listen if you want to talk; it provides a nice cushion-- a nice safety net. Things look a lot darker and much more serious when that is stripped away. I will say it's hard to get too invested in a storyline that deals with Angelo (Gilles Marini) when he's not on-screen. Learning he has a "Deepthroat" would be much more poignant if the scenes were followed by scenes of him dealing with this person-- whoever he or she is. I know it's only a matter of time until he returns, and I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait! I still think Simone (Maiara Walsh) needs to go, by the way. Sure, getting Toby (Lucas Grabeel) a gig sounded like a nice girlfriend move, but everyone comes with a weight and a price attached, and it just seemed like her trying to control him and his music. Note she got Toby a gig, not GuitarFace a gig. She shut Wilke out completely. She
is Yoko Ono-- mixed with a little Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. I don't think Wilke is anything more than a haircut for that band (gotta love Emmett for calling him out on that with his name sign!), but they are still a band, and it isn't right that one member pursues a solo act on the side. It just makes him seem shady. Emmett, too, is being shady. I blame his dad's crappy influence. He's angry now, and he's no longer acting like the perfect, adorable boyfriend he promised to be! He had absolutely no right to ask Bay to see her emails with Ty, and she never should have showed them to him-- innocent or otherwise. Though it was an interesting thought that her street art is something she does with her boyfriends. It's not-- not in the way he implied. But it is how she lets them in, what bonds them together deeper, at least until sex is on the table, I would imagine. Bay has boys and her art. That's it. It makes perfect sense that she'd want to combine the two passions. And as poorly photoshopped as that photo of Ty in Afghanistan was, I loved it. I loved that he supported her art; I mean, not enough to get arrested for it probably, but still. He's a good friend, even a million miles away. Emmett is not being a good anything right now. Well, maybe a good listener. He did remember Liam. I can't say the same; can you?

Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30pm) - S3, Ep3: "Lover's Touch" - A few notes about tonight's episode: first and foremost: anyone who comes over for meals from now on can expect to eat caveman style. I've always hated doing dishes, and now I don't even have to do cutlery! And also, learning more and more about Tom (Bob Clendenin) is creepy, and I don't like it! I don't want to know he has grown kids in the world because that means he has had sex. And that there might be younger, less bald Tom's running around being just as creepy into other neighbors' windows. And he's a HEAD doctor!!! Who would have ever guessed!? But seriously, out of all of the games Cougar Town has invented, I have to admit I'm surprised that simply letting a dog pull you on a rope was what did one of them in-- and so badly. The minute I heard "Dominance Ball" I thought that might be the one to do it. I mean, it's no Fireball, let alone Ultimate Fireball, but still. It was introduced in an episode we knew to be about an injury. Even if chucking pennies at moving targets while tipsy on vino always seemed like a face welt waiting to happen! Or even Grayson (Josh Hopkins)'s inability to skate.
"Dog-boarding" just sounds awesome, and I still want to try it, but sadly my little Madison can't pull my weight. Travis (Dan Byrd) getting injured here wasn't funny when the news was first delivered, using words like "brain swelling," but of course Cougar Town got to put their own special stamp on it with the ridiculous helmet that poor Byrd has to wear for half a season. Instant hilarity. If I didn't know better I'd think he lost a bet or that the writers hate him as much as the Community writers hate Chevy Chase. This is Cougar Town's version of double leg casts! What a nice, on-going homage! Also, was it just me or was it suuuper weird to see Ellie (Christa Miller) embrace Laurie (Busy Philipps) over Andy (Ian Gomez)'s weird feet? I thought for sure she was up to something there, but no, it appears Ellie is just softening to that jellybean as time goes on. And Julies proved she is growing, too. Sure, she wants to live in the same nursing home with her son, but she admitted she can no longer tell him what to do, and that's huge in the "not trying to control his-- or anyone else's-- life" situation.

The River (ABC, 9pm) - S1, Ep5: "Peaches" - I cannot tell you how pissed I am that the crew didn't hang Scott Michael Foster out to dry last week and that he's still with them this week. Everything about him and the douchey characters he plays never ceases to piss me off. I fully expect this show to have casualties, and I hope he's the first. I'm still a little let down that the so-called curse didn't claim him already. If it was real, there should have been no exceptions. And the fact that Lena (Eloise Mumford) is getting close to him? Well, that's not going to end well. For either of them, really, if she's emotionally attached to yet another doomed man. But ooh, Ghost Ship! That made me oddly excited. There was this movie I saw in the '90s-- a B movie at best, but still-- where this ship found some cursed treasure, and those aboard were greedy enough to take some with them (kind of a twist on the old myth, but still). Well, touching it or taking it (I can't really remember the details) unlocked this serpent like spirit that inhabited the greedy one, using its body as a host and attacking the others aboard. Ultimately the survivors blew up their own ship to try to kill the thing on-board, but it wormed its way inside one of them, and as she clung to debris in the water, it shone in her eyes. Maybe this is the sequel that never came way back then. Oh, okay, I know it's not. But I still like the idea of all of these forces out in the Amazon conspiring against these mere mortals. It's bad enough that some of them-- well, mostly Lena-- are being tugged emotionally by missing loved ones. They let their guards down; they are so starved for other human contact, they don't question things of which in the regular world they would normally be suspicious. They're so focused on the unknown, they forgot all about the obvious threat: that of human nature. Not all of the forces against the Magus have to be supernatural, so I was honestly hoping the Exodus was just going to be full of pirates so "our" crew could be reminded of all of the dangers that may face them if and when they find Emmet (Bruce Greenwood), or any of his crew. Lena's dad, for one, should have been ravaged crazy by his time in the Amazon, but he was so eerily calm, even while being held captive, it seemed to give away a deeper truth. He had accepted his fate, and even seeing his daughter in the flesh and in front of him couldn't change his fate. Even with that little tip-off when we first saw them interact, though, her new kind of heartbreak in finding him only to lose him all over again-- and know this time it would be permanent-- was so poignant. I hope we see ramifications in the next episode. Yes, there are a lot of things going on on that ship, but this is a weight that should hang heavily over the entire rest of the expedition. You just never know what you're going to find out there, but so far you can count on not liking it once you do. I guess it should have been obvious here that we weren't dealing with any old people-- not when they were led by the never-trustworthy
Don McManus. He played a demon in Supernatural, you know, but also in this specific case his tiny vessel was so small and yet it survived this rough terrain. With a bunch of drunken hobos who didn't even seem to know how to steer. I didn't think so! But it irked me how little urgency there seemed to be from those on the Exodus. Only one dude was trying to pry the door open? I mean, Lena was leaving a mayday call, but she could have been doing that while trying to bust in the window or something. Sure, it may be a little unbelievable that you'd be lost at sunrise, but with everything they've seen so far, they should have easily believed the threat and scrambled-- done anything they could have, really, even if it resembled panic and fear, to fight for their lives the way they're down there fighting for Emmet's.

Parenthood (NBC, 10pm) - S3, Ep18: "My Brother's Wedding" - Such a clean way to wrap up Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant)'s other relationships! If this wasn't a season finale, I'm sure we would have gotten treated to longer dealings with their respective new people, but I'm glad we didn't because we didn't need it. The parallels in responses now to what happened last season when Crosby slept with the social worker were clear in their short bursts, and we can't harp on the past or the people who are going to live there: we must look only to the future-- to the now even further extended Braverman clan. As weird as it was to see Crosby and Jasmine happy, in love, and kissing without talking about their issues, I need to say: good luck to Jasmine. Seriously. I didn't like her at first (who doesn't tell someone they have a kid out in the world until he's old enough to introduce himself!? I will never get over that, and I'm not sorry about it), but she deserves my well wishes if she's diving into this wacky family full-force. Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) can't even pronounce the traditions he is forcing his family to uphold; Adam (Peter Krause) gets scary when he fights in front of his mommy; and grown men wrestle around and throw food on each other with no thought for person's home they are destroying. I mean, I got a kick out of it, but I wasn't in the middle of it. With so much focus on the wedding, I was almost hoping some of the other storylines wouldn't get so wrapped up. The way things went down, this certainly felt like a series finale. Jason Katims is great at writing those to be satisfying in case his shows don't come back and then going above and beyond when they do, but I was hoping this time around he'd leave something hanging in order to sway NBC to bring them back. I mean, Drew (Miles Heizer) isn't even a virgin anymore! I thought for sure that would be something that took some more time, and I never expected him to sleep with a girl who keeps her jewelry on; he may be getting in over his head with her, and I think we need to see how that plays out. Suddenly Zoe (Rosa Salazar) was a big girl now. Julia (Erika Christensen) empowered her just a little too much. Everything about Zoe (maybe it's because she no longer has the weight of the pregnancy belly?) seems brighter, stronger; she even seems to be standing up straighter and talking smarter. It broke my heart. She deserved that, of course, but Julia deserved her baby, too. And honestly, Julia is a lawyer, can I ask one more time why she didn't have paperwork to ensure this woman couldn't reneg? Or did she, but she's just being a good person now and not suing because it would put the baby in turmoil? As much as that hurt, watching Sarah (Lauren Graham), and the show in general, set Mark (Jason Ritter) free one more time hurt surprisingly worse. She finally did the mature thing by having the very real, pretty unpleasant conversation about kids. For so many couples that becomes a deal-breaker in relationships, and I am the strongest proponent of "get on the same page early because it's highly unlikely you'll convince the other person to change their mind later." It didn't make sense that she invited him to the wedding first, though. I'm sorry, but I still think bringing a guy to a wedding is a big deal. Sure, Mark already knows her family all-too well, but still. Emotions are stirred up, questions are asked (or implied), relationships are reevaluated. It's heavy. Her asking him to go before assessing the situation and realizing she had to have the conversation seemed to prove she still has more growing up to do, and I really think she really does need to do it on her own. She can't accept his marriage proposal only to hurt him again down the line. But if she keeps working on getting her shit together, then if they meet up again (and if County doesn't go), she and Mark may finally be in the same place at the same time. Parenthood, you have to come back next year. And the next and the next and the next. I need to watch these people grow together. I need to see an adoption process (any one really, maybe even one for Sarah and Mark)-- I don't believe Julia's incredibly opportune luck (that certainly felt like TV time/finale wrap-up!); I was promised it, damn it! I need to see how Sydney (Savannah Paige Rae) reacts to the brother she was promised being her age and opinionated and potentially not even permanent. I need to see the new baby Crosby and Jasmine will probably have. I need to see Sarah finally be okay. I need to see what kinds of people Sydney and Jabbar (Tyree Brown) turn out to be. I need to see if Drew realizes he is gay (I still think that would make a fascinating story). I need to know if Crosby and Jasmine will implode again just as quickly as they got married. I need to see Amber (Mae Whitman) continue to trust her gut and her heart and her instincts-- and actually see things pay off for her when doing so. I need to see more Friday Night Lights nods and cameos (Derek Freakin' Phillips!!). I need to celebrate countless other occasions-- all the occasions-- weddings, birthdays, holidays, even funerals with the Bravermans. I live vicariously through them, and I need to continue to use them as my own surrogate family. Clearly I still have some growing up to do, too. And I'm happy to do it. If I can do with them.

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