Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tonight's TV Talk: 'Raising Hope', 'New Girl', and 'Breaking In'...

TV Talk for Tuesday, March 6th 2012

Raising Hope (FOX, 8pm) - S2, Ep16: "Single White Female Role Model" - So I couldn't tell if Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) was still off her meds or if her bored rich girl ways finally caught up to her when she decided to protest with the 99% of Natesville and then kick that tiny cop she she'd be used as an example. Causes don't get more notice from jail cells when the cause is as small as one person. I can't count Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman); she's not in her right mind! I know Woodward and Katy Perry are BFFs in real life, but honestly? That guest casting just felt like an unnecessary stunt. Dressing her up in a mustache and terrible '80s wig didn't help the argument against distraction from what makes this show so great usually. I'm all for a show broadening horizons and expanding the world to include new characters (Mary Birdsong as the not-quite-feminist mayor? Stroke of genius. Sadly overshadowed), but Perry's one-off Winona Ryder in Friends-esque semi-stalker just made me want to skip parts of this episode. It wasn't her-- her acting ability was actually pretty strong; she reminded me a lot of Lizzy Caplan-- but it was the principle. I would have rather just watched Burt (Garret Dillahunt) blow through his wife's wishes, the mayor flirt extra hard with Jimmy (Lucas Neff), and Virginia (Martha Plimpton) help Hope (Baylie and Rylie Cregut) play in the new park. This show doesn't need stunt casting or crazy Sweeps gimmicks; the family is its heart and soul!

New Girl (FOX, 9pm) - S1, Ep15: "Injured" - I feel like this episode was supposed to air weeks ago, and they just moved around the airing order. Not only did Jake Johnson tell me all about it back at TCA, but Jess (Zooey Deschanel) sounded like she was introducing "[her] friend Sadie" to the first time when she brought up the idea of Nick (Johnson) visiting her for his out-of-whack back. But we met Sadie (June Raphael) before. Nick had met Sadie before. In a completely nondescript, just hanging around the kitchen with Jess and CeCe (Hannah Simone), sort of way. I remember, at the time, remarking on how nice it was to see that-- to be introduced to something, anything, in Jess' world in such a normal way. But now I'm not thinking it was so intentional; I'm thinking it may have been meant to air after this one, when we had already met Sadie. Especially because of the sad little "nice to see you again" voice-over they inserted as an afterthought. Even the way CeCe related to Schmidt (Max Greenfield) seemed older, seemed like the perfect start point for why she'd give in to him. Even if he did try to compare her dead dad to his dead cat. And then ogled her "perfect butt imprint" in the sand. It doesn't really make a difference, I guess, except I couldn't help but notice it. Maybe because I'm just not really feeling this show the way so many others are, so I pick up on tiny parts of it and get completely distracted by them to avoid having to actually deal with the problem that I call Jess. I agreed completely with Nick when he widened his eyes at the notion that he had no choice about getting an ultrasound for the thyroid growth Sadie found on him. Um, he's a grown man, and if he wants to avoid doctors, he has a right to! And if his friends want to overreact and assume it means he's dying, they have a right to, as well. I want Schmidt to freestyle about my untimely demise someday! Every episode of this show seems to give me something new to love about one of the side characters that just makes me spitball what the show would be like it if centered on them instead. A show about Nick, thinking he's dying and therefore trying (but failing hilariously) to change his rigid, cautious ways? I would watch that! A show about Schmidt pursuing a rap career? I would watch that! A show about Sadie's weird patients? I might even watch that! And I would really love it if my own friends would care enough to pay for my medical bills even if they still drove cars that were held together by duct tape and belts! It's hard enough to get a ride to the airport; Nick got a ride to the hospital and his bills covered. Even if he had to find his own way home because the car refused to turn over again.

Breaking In (FOX, 9:30pm) - S2, Ep1: "The Contra Club" - After FOX canceled this show and decided to bring it back after all-- but with a few extra castmembers-- it seemed obvious that the story that followed would be a slight reboot of the original. But for those of us who watched this whole time, this restart was somewhat lackluster. I would think you'd want to start with a bang, especially when given the type of second chance no one in television usually ever receives. Instead here, though, the show actually wasted precious funny moments by re-introducing the characters not once but twice-- first in a "meta" jab at FOX for canceling them in the first place and then again for new castmember Megan Mullally. It didn't make sense. Plus, FOX had run promos and press clips explaining Mullally was joining the team as their new boss, so I expected to open with that, seeing a brand new dynamic to some wacky, pranking, overgrown children. Instead, though, the fact that she was supposed to be the boss was kept a secret from characters like Cameron (Bret Harrison) and Cash (Alphonso McAuley), which allowed them to try to crack the case as to who she was and what was going on with Oz (Christian Slater) on their own, but which just put the audience so far ahead of them, I couldn't help but wish they would hurry up and catch up so we could all move onto the action. As a whole, the episode felt muted, as if the show wasn't having as much fun with itself as it used to, as if it was beaten down by its first cancellation as much as Oz himself may be emasculated at having a corporation above him...and having his Maserati repo-ed. I'm going to stick with it for another episode because I remember how much fun we used to have, but if it doesn't snap out of its doldrums soon, I may not be around for long. I also don't love that Cameron has switched his affections from Melanie (Odette Annable) to Molly (Erin Richards) so quickly and easily. What happened, dude? I thought Melanie was the apple of your eye? I mean, I know Annable can't be in every episode because of her House commitments, but making her just one of the guys-- not even addressing Cameron's former interest in her-- just feels like what we were working for in the first season was pointless. Also, no Dutch (Michael Rosenbaum)? WASTED OPPORTUNITY. Put him and Mullally in a scene together and magic will happen. I would happily watch a whole half-hour of just that dynamic.

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