Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tonight's TV Talk: 'The Vampire Diaries', '30 Rock', 'Parks and Recreation', and 'Up All Night'...

TV Talk for Thursday, February 2nd 2012

The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8pm) - S3, Ep13: "Bringing out the Dead" - Okay, here's my theory: Dr. Fell (Torrey DeVitto) is not killing people, but she is interested in turning them. I don't buy the whole "I make it my business to know who the vampires are in this town" simply to save lives; I smell a darker agenda than that. It would explain a lot with Bill Forbes (Jack Coleman), a man who I was hoping was really dead from the moment we found him with a dagger sticking out of his chest. Caroline (Candice Accola) is a much more forgiving woman than I; I don't care if he's her dad; what he did to her was unfathomable and unforgivable, and I almost hate that he was choosing to die because it made him seem like a martyr-- like his values were holier than thou, and he could not be tempted. He was absolutely right that his struggle was what it meant to be human, but I hate that he was the one to point that out. In his life, he was not the best example of humanity-- he was intolerant and neglectful. The decision would have been so much more poignant for me if it was made by Sheriff Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre). But I'm glad it wasn't Sheriff Forbes because this show needs her as the real and on-going reminder of humanity. My other theory? Somehow it is Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) who is actually killing people using his old family heirlooms. Knowing the show can't possibly be losing him forever, it is only a matter of time before he comes back from Denver, right? And what would get him to come back-- what would convince Elena (Nina Dobrev) to disrupt his "normal" new life? Nothing. Unless Klaus (Joseph Morgan) had already gotten to him-- had already compelled him-- and now he is simply hiding out in Mystic Falls, skulking around and doing Klaus' bidding. I'm wrong about a lot of things when it comes to this show, but I kind of hope I'm not wrong about that. Jeremy has bulked up recently, so he has the physical strength, but mostly I just want him to have an interesting storyline when he finally shows his pretty face again. His whole lost love thing is petty when the backdrop is supernatural murder. Similarly, the Klaus/Elijah (Daniel Gillies) romantic debacle felt a little petty, too, considering it has always been the undercurrent of every Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) scene, outright argument or not. Yet, the timing seemed like it couldn't have been better because what else in that coffin could invoke so much fear in Klaus' eyes but a woman-- a woman he almost lost everything for and would probably be similarly powerless against again? Otherwise there was no need for that over-dinner anecdote at all. Well, maybe the need was to throw fans off the scent for a little while, and I'll admit, my mind started racing with the possibilities. But I'm glad the show is smarter than that-- than I-- because it is so much more powerful to see Klaus stricken with fear over his guilt. He is the most powerful villain because he is a hybrid, and yet, he still defers to the authority of his mommy. All this time, it appeared Damon and Stefan were the ones with the most humanity because of the way they could come to blows but never fully pull the trigger, so to speak, and take each other out, but really, it may be Klaus who exhibits the most human behavior after all. You know, under all his murderous rage. I want to join the family of the Originals.

30 Rock (NBC, 8pm) - S6, Ep5: "Today You Are A Man" - Suze Orman calling Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) "girlfriend" is what made this episode for me. On a sidenote, I was invited to coffee with her next week, and I mostly want to go so she can call me "girlfriend" and maybe offer to pay my credit card bills for me. Denied. I know. But what I love best about this show is when it turns a self-referential eye to its actors' actual lives. So Jack (Alec Baldwin) having to "close" a negotiation deal with Liz (Tina Fey) was great for a number of reasons. It only would have been better if they had somehow incorporated his actual Glengarry Glen Ross footage. Emotional chicken is never not funny, but when Jack and Liz did it-- or rather, when Jack did it-- it reached a whole new level of weird and awesome. Actually, Liz' slicked back hair poof and power suit (?) were weird and wonderful all on their own, too. What wasn't, though, was the whole Tracy (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna (Jane Krakowski) "actually learning something" storyline. I don't know, maybe I just really, really miss Community, but I don't laugh the way I used to at 30 Rock. Oddball humor is all fun and games, but if it never goes past the surface-- especially in six years-- it just reminds me how easy it is to laugh at something rather than with it.

Parks and Recreation (NBC, 8:30pm) - S4, Ep14: "Operation Ann" - It's a little early for Valentine's Day, isn't it? Maybe I'm just saying that because I hate the holiday. But I love me some Galentine's Day, so I'm glad that Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is keeping the tradition going even though she has a boyfriend now. It really should be a national holiday. Also, these national holidays shouldn't actually come with needlepoint pillows but adorable little custom stuffed animals from Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott). He may be unemployed right now, but I believe that is his truly calling, and it will only be a matter of time before he sees it, too... Well, that or cater-waitering, right, Martin Starr? Man, it would have been hilarious if Starr's character name was Roman, having had to move back home to Indiana after never making it as a writer. No, scratch that, that's just depressing, and would like to believe he and all of Party Down catering have moved on to bigger and better things. The episode emphasis on Ann (Rashida Jones) was a bit unfortunate (though the payoff was actually kind of amazing) because it felt like they kind of dropped the ball on Chris (Rob Lowe). Where did he go after subjecting us to so much depressing music? Did he leave on a light 15K or head into the bathroom to sob it out? Did he meet a woman and actually rebound? Did he cave and call Millicent (Sarah Wright)? Meh, the real fun was watching Ron (Nick Offerman) actually get into the scavenger hunt anyway. These people are wearing him down! A little at a time! Okay, that's not entirely true. But Leslie is certainly wearing him down. And the dude trip of Ron, Andy (Chris Pratt), and Ben make a motley crew but a ridiculously fun one nonetheless. I need to see more of their adventures, pronto. I don't even care what they do-- watch a football game, go camping, whittle something... My ideas are endless, Parks & Rec writers! But I'll settle for a Ron Swanson birthday scavenger hunt web series.

And um, how hot was Jerry (Jim O'Heir)'s male escort!? Find a way to have him guest star again!

Up All Night (NBC, 9:30pm) - S1, Ep14: "Preschool Auction" - Dean Winters was perfectly cast as Will Arnett's brother, even if it was strange to see Dennis Duffy in a suit. Their "bro-hood" was not something I necessarily expected, but I guess how else would you explain the fact that they haven't talked in months, and Casey (Winters) didn't even know Chris (Arnett) was a stay at home dad, if they weren't the type of guys that liked to keep the conversation about working out? I would like to be able to keep him, please, show. He's out of work (Casey is), so why couldn't he stick around L.A., goof off with his brother, and try to find a job at the same time? If nothing else maybe he could use his big talk to get Amy into a different prestigious preschool-- one that values cleverness over celebrity (by the way, it was quite refreshing to see Ava get turned off by the starfucking that preschool lady did. She started out as kind of a caricature, so it's been nice to see the much more real and down-to-Earth side to her-- the side that clearly explains why Reagan is friends with her). I'm sure it wasn't an intentional nod to Winters as Mr. Mayhem, but getting Amy a car as a gift was on the nose and adorable. Ava (Maya Rudolph) was right, though; little Amy is pretty ruthless in her cuteness. That panda hat was too much, and those cowboy boots? She needs to wear those in every episode. Or they need to just leave them lying around as set dressing. Ugh, my ovaries.

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