Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tonight's TV Talk: 'Once Upon A Time', 'Nurse Jackie', 'The Big C', and 'Girls'...

TV Talk for Sunday, April 22nd 2012

Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8pm) - S1, Ep19: "The Return" - So we may not have explicit confirmation on who August (Eion Bailey) is (we'll get that in the aptly titled episode, "The Stranger," I think because per Jane Espenson "We may not get the answer this Sunday, but we will on a Sunday!"), but I think the clues were all there tonight. Wait for it: he's Pinocchio. Right? Hear me out! The back and forth between the Storybrooke world and the fairy-tale world that was showcased Rumpelstiltskin's (Robert Carlyle) deep love for his son but also his deep fears. He gave in to fear and lost his son those twenty-eight years ago. His boy went to the assumed "real" world to live and grow as any child would away from magic. Seeing this stranger putter around his shop made him assume the best (or worst?) because it was what he wanted to see-- he loved his son enough to never give up on trying to find him, but since he was cursed to be stuck in Storybrooke, he couldn't get very far in the search. Having his son walk back into his life would just be too...magical, wouldn't it? And he isn't worthy of such love and magic just yet. Now, the reason I think August is Pinocchio is a few-fold. First of all, the way he tossed and turned stiffly in, and then fell out of, bed made me immediately think of wooden limbs-- like maybe he was in danger of being changed back for some reason. He said he was sick; maybe he's cursed in his own special way. But moreover, he had a little donkey figurine on top of his manuscript. That donkey boy was Pinocchio's best friend! So Mr. Gold may not have gotten his son back tonight, but in a way, a part of his son has been floating around town all along. See, I believe Emma (Jennifer Morrison) knows his son; she met him a decade ago and conceived a child with him. Which would make Henry (Jared Gilmore) his grandson, a piece of his son under his nose this whole time. It might even explain just how he came to choose Henry in the first place; maybe he felt some kind of weird connection with this little abandoned boy. Or maybe he just wanted to share a moment of kindness with the baby the way he probably hoped someone in the outside world would do if they happened upon his own son, scared, orphaned, and alone... It's so interesting to watch these characters evolve and their secrets unfold because we always knew Rumple cared about his son, and we-- or at least I-- always assumed Regina (Lana Parrilla) didn't truly love Henry. After all, Emma can tell when people are lying, right? And in the pilot, she looked in Regina's eyes and what she saw there made her want to stay. So her threatening to take away Henry tonight because it was the one thing Regina loved seemed futile. But as long as no one is threatening David (Josh Dallas) and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), I'm okay with it! His very honest not-quite apology to her tonight seemed to be the right step to getting them back on track as a couple, even if she is starting to think "dark forces" are at work to keep them apart. His wife certainly isn't trying to keep them apart, so I'm optimistic (as all childhood fairy-tales taught me to be!) that they will share some happy screen time soon.

Nurse Jackie (SHO, 9pm) - S4, Ep3: "The Wall" - Hands up if you think Jackie (Edie Falco) leaving rehab early is the worst decision ever. She's an addict, and someone actually had to point that out to her, and what's worse is not that she has easy access to her drugs of choice but that when she gets out, she's walking right back into the environment that fed her addictive behavior. I'm not just talking about the hospital where she could get the drugs but the angry kid, the stressful job, the same house, the same enablers or over-lookers around her. That's a recipe for disaster. Speeding through her steps because she was in a rush, not because she truly "felt" each one is another. I get that she went in voluntarily and has the right to leave if she wants to, but I feel like leaving early is her refusing to be accountable. I'm not saying I'm not rooting for her. I just think is a way for the show to get her back to the Jackie that we started with-- the unapologetic pill-popper. And four years later, it's not a cute phase; it's a serious problem. Sure, she did the right thing tonight by not only turning in the drugs but also the guy who gave them to her, but she only eliminated a source, not the triggers. And if Coop (Peter Facinelli) could make her cry, and if she was willing to play ball with Cruz' (Bobby Cannavale) stifling corporate-ness, maaaybe she hasn't even completed detoxing yet. But how much did they plant the seed that Charlie (Jake Cannavale) is Cruz' son with that whole "text message that breaks your heart in ten words or less" bit!? In other news, I absolutely love Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) on the floor. Her dry delivery of...everything just makes me so happy. Especially when paired with Zoey's (Merritt Wever) ridiculous bubbliness, even when basically breaking off her relationship or dealing with police wanting to interrogate a co-worker. 

The Big C (SHO, 9:30pm) - S3, Ep3: "Bundle of Joy" - I will never forgive this show for reviving Paul (Oliver Platt), but his impression of Alec Baldwin made me giggle anyway. Though, I will say it might be nice to see Cathy (Laura Linney) come to a decision of wanting to separate from Paul on her own, rather than fate intervening and splitting them up for her. Yes, yes, I know she kind of already did that earlier in the series with her affair, and with him getting so pissed off about her affair, he left the house for awhile, but again, that was not her taking charge of the marriage, even passive aggressively. And Paul is just the worst these days. I get the sense Joy (Susan Sarandon) doesn't think so, which makes me question her judgment even more than I already did considering her line of work. Cathy truly has been given the gift of time, though, and more than "trying out the colors" in wall-painting or going on self-help retreats (I'm sorry, but I could have told you the minute I saw those backpacks full of rocks in the hotel room that the lesson was to refuse to carry your baggage...but then again, I've watched every season of The Biggest Loser), she really needs to look inside herself and decide what she wants her future to be. If she thinks it's another baby, well, I think it's selfish to bring a kid into such an unstable home, but I get where she's coming from. She just needs to get out of her own momentary joy or whatever to really hear what Paul was saying when his moment was one of fleeting fame. If Twitter isn't just a fad (and over the last few years I think we've proven it's not), they're diverging on two completely different paths now. And does anyone else think this new religious girlfriend is just going to give Adam (Gabriel Basso) another STD!? 

Girls (HBO, 10:30pm) - S1, Ep2: "Vagina Panic" - I'm sorry, but Hannah's seriousness when talking about the "stuff that gets up under the side of condoms" made me laugh harder than Lena Dunham probably intended. Or then again, maybe she knew just how uncomfortable some viewers would be with all the V-word talk tonight. Look, I'm in the demo of this show, but I came from a family where we just didn't talk about anything. I never went to my mother asking to be put on birth control, and she didn't suggest maybe I think about it. We were the most ethnic WASPs you would have ever met. Maybe it was denial, maybe something else, but whatever it was, it made me prudish and more judgmental than I would care to admit. I got over most of it as I grew up, so dealing with a potential abortion tonight was pretty much (though perhaps surprisingly) what I hoped to see play out. In no way are any of these "girls" ready to be mothers. Even if they come to realize they want to be, which certainly seems to be the way Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is leaning, waffling about even showing up to her appointment. They have to get their own shit together; they can barely care for themselves; bringing a baby into the mix would make this a true tragedy, not just a comical cautionary tale. But at least it's not Hannah, right? Hannah who is so paranoid you think there's absolutely no way she actually has what she thinks she has. She's of the WebMD generation, after all. But no, it's just her luck for one more thing to pile on her...But I guess what I latched onto the most here was Shoshannah (Zosia Mamet). Though it was revealed tonight that she is a virgin, it seems to just be one facet of her personality, not a character defining trait. And that's where I have to hand it to Dunham: all of these things we learn about the girls-- from how Jessa handles her pregnancy to how Shoshannah deals with wanting to lose her virginity but potentially not really being ready to-- are crafted in a light-hearted enough manner to be causes for growth while still being relatable. Though the issues they go through might be fodder for teachable moments, Girls is anything but your antiquated after school special.

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