Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Cheers – “Fairy Tales Can Come True” (S3:E4)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 25, 2013

How perfect! A Halloween themed episode a few days before Halloween. I’m a sucker for special holiday episodes. I love making lists about them. As I demonstrated, there are a lot of classic Thanksgiving episodes. Tons of Christmas ones. Valentine’s Day gets used a lot, though not a lot of classics jump out at me. Occasionally a show will surprise me, like “Raising Hope,” which did a lovely episode about Arbor Day, which was actually about holidays in general.

So I’m trying to think of great Halloween episodes. A lot of shows have tried, because it allows writers to go crazy places. But not a lot of them land. The ones that come to mind first are “The Simpsons,” “Roseanne,” and “Home Improvement,” which made Halloween episodes a regular feature. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” did some great episodes, like where the characters turn into their costumes. “Community” has done great work on Halloween, like the zombie outbreak episode. “The Slutty Pumpkin” is a classic for “How I Met Your Mother.” “ER” often had wacky occurrences on All Hallow’s Eve.  I even liked “Modern Family’s” haunted house episode back when it was a funnier, less repetitive show.

So, how does “Cheers'” measure up?

Not well. I was very disappointed in this episode, at least in the beginning. Again, it might be my modern day prejudices, because my problems are primarily with long-term storytelling. The whole “is Cliff gay?” plot was stupid. All anyone had to do was remind the barflies that Cliff dated, and was going to propose to, Carla’s sister last season. So not only has he been with a woman, he was ready to commit to her. The stupidity of that rushed storyline aside, it happened and the writers shouldn’t ignore it. That would never fly nowadays. Nor would Norm’s insult about Cliff being unable to talk to women, when he can’t either…although that can be explained as Norm trying to save face.

What especially aggravates me is that in the same conversation, the writers show that they’re not completely opposed to lingering plot strings. Cliff talks about Florida and the barflies groan about him talking about the Sunshine State again…just like he did the first two episodes of the season. Either each episode stands on its own or this is a complete series. Make up your minds writers! I imagine they won’t.

Another frustrating element of this episode…Frasier’s naivety. How can he go from quoting “The Raven” to thinking there’s no problem letting Sam go to the concert with Diane. The Frasier we know from later years would never let that happen. Another reason I don’t think Frasier was intended for more than a plot device in season three. (I have since looked this up…I was right. He was going to only be in a few episodes).

The episode did get better when Cliff met his masked fairy (no pun intended based on the prior conversation…at least not on my part). I like Cliff because I’m similar to him. A trivia lover who has historically had trouble with the ladies. So I feel one with his excitement when this woman also takes an interest in the biggest alligator shoes in Florida and explorer history. But again, the writers pick and choose what sticks with the character. Later on, when he can’t form sentences with a woman, that calls back to last season…but how do you explain Carla’s sister. Maybe I should just accept that as the outlier, and not this. To be fair, it was Cliff’s first standalone episode.

But on the other hand, that episode set up the strength and greatness of Norm and Cliff’s friendship, which was reiterated here. So we can’t just toss that episode out. How can I rectify it in my mind?! And will Sharon O’Hare ever return? I’m guessing not.

Other notes…

– I loved Cliff’s gleeful release when Sam let him drop his guard at the end of the Halloween party. Very sweet and funny.

– Much less creepy for everyone to lurk in the background watching Cliff’s interaction with his mystery girl than if they just kept doing their business behind the bar.

– Sometimes a joke or moment goes too far. I thought it was sweet how Sharon couldn’t pronounce her name either from nerves, and funny when neither knew what to do next. And my favorite flavor of Sam is when he’s helping his friends, like he did play the jukebox. And it was funny when they didn’t get the hint. But then it became stupid when Sam moved them like statues in “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” That was over the top.

– Not much more to say about Sam and Diane. Again, just setting up the inevitable. I like that it was the B-plot, though.

– I don’t want to keep talking about fashion…it’s way out of my league. But while it makes sense Cliff would wear white socks with his suit…wouldn’t he realize that’s a faux pas for his big date?

– Best Joke — Cliff: “I guess [I’m] Ponce de Leon.” Sharon: “Oh, the Fountain of Youth guy who discovered Florida!” Cliff: “<gasp> Will you marry me and bear my children!?!”

– Cliff’s Notes — “Well there are many theories as to why the Florida orange is far superior to its California counterpart. I personally think it’s the trace mineral element in the Floridian water. That’s obviously due to the frequency of the typhoons and the nitrogen-enriched alligator guano.”

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Cheers — “I Call Your Name” (S3:E3)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 24, 2013

Forget the next 8 seasons. Let’s just give Frasier his own series now. Seriously, how great is Kelsey Grammer in this role? This episode is clearly an important set-up to the rest of the season, showing how Frasier can get along with Sam, and enjoy the bar atmosphere, thereby easing him into the rest of the group later on. Even though we don’t get to see his private moments, like we do with Sam or Diane, following them more, we can easily see that he’s talking about him and Diane, not Thor and Electra. And Sam can see it too, because he’s never actually as dumb as others mistake him.

The scene between him and Frasier after the bar closes is so good, I forgot there was half an episode left. A half of the episode where we get to see Sam being smug, Diane not knowing what to do with herself, and Frasier being pompous. I was surprised Diane actually did yell Sam’s name…I thought there was going to be a twist showing Sam jumping to conclusions. I’m disappointed I was wrong, though, because that already belabors the point that DIane and Sam have a thing for each other and keeps prolonging the inevitable.

And then, I was surprised, when the show dealt with that issue head on. But that only led to more frustration, as Diane and Sam convinced Frasier he was wrong. Then came the funny, but perplexing move by Diane at the end. Let’s take a poll. How many people would be ok with their boyfriend or girlfriend kissing their ex passionately, just to prove a point? You don’t do that. That’s cheating on Frasier. Much like when Carla and Sam kissed, although that had more emotional stakes. Also, why did Sam need to be taught a lesson here anyway? What was the point? In a modern sitcom, this would come back as a plot point later, but not in the 80s, I’m assuming.

Sam Scarber, former NFL player

Another nice thing about this episode is that it gives a lot of time to the B-plot. Cliff’s mix of conviction and cowardice has already become a defining character trait, but they mined new material by playing him against his intimidating coworker. And for a while, I thought that was actually the main plot until Frasier came in. That’s why this is an ensemble show, despite all the big episodes given to Sam and Diane. I liked the humanity of Lewis to let Cliff off the hook, and as always, Ratzenberger played it great in response. I do wish they hadn’t undercut the moment by showing Cliff wrote someone else’s name down. Just like last season’s karate revelation, it would have been nicer to give Cliff a karmic win.

Other notes….

– The difficulty of watching classic television is understanding the era. For instance, when Coach makes an accidental dirty joke about pinkies, is that something all shows were doing and I didn’t notice because I was young and it went over my head? Or was “Cheers” breaking the mold?

– I grew to love television in an era of serialization. Dramas and sitcoms nowadays like to keep reoccurring characters around. “Cheers” does that, with characters like Harry the Hat, Andy Andy the killer, and now Lewis, Cliff’s fellow mailman. But I do wish character developments carried over from episode to episode, too.

– Remember when I was wondering if Frasier was the same character that I knew from his spin-off? “I’ll have a tankard of your finest lager.” “I understand the local Boston Red Sox baseball franchise has a herculean task in front of it to qualify for the postseason tournament.” Yep, he is. Gloriously so.

– Diane’s apparel has been the most 80’s thing about this show. I find myself wondering if and why people actually wore those blouses. I thought her outfits have been much more reserved this season, though, including a flannel to start the episode. I hope that continues.

– Best Joke — Frasier: “Tell me. You’ve been with a lot of women. When you were with one of them, did she ever call out another man’s name? ” Sam: “Well, I don’t think so, but then, who listens?”

– Cliff’s Notes — “I can’t endorse anarchy….Yeah, sure it’s only a perfume sample, but if the other employees see him getting away with this, they’re gonna start taking things too. First, whole magazines go missing. Then social security checks. Before you know it, grandma’s fruitcake doesn’t make it to little Bobby, Peggy and Sue.”

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“Cheers” — Rebound (S3:E1,2)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 24, 2013

Like I said in my re-introductory post, I owe the inspiration for returning to this blog to the A.V. Club, who did a wonderful job reviewing the first two seasons of “Cheers.” Now I’ll try to take their lead and provide episodic reviews for the other nine seasons!

I’ll sprinkle in my thoughts on the first two years as we go. Can’t put it all into one review! So, I’ll touch briefly on the Season 2 finale that led into these episodes.

The character I have been most excited to see is Frasier. I think his spin-off is one of the best comedies ever and have become quite familiar with his character in Seattle. But I don’t remember much about him in Boston. So I came into this episode very curious about what Frasier was like back then. Especially since he used to hang out in a bar, which he rarely did in the 90s. Was he the same lovable pompous snob?

The Doctor Is In

The Doctor Is In

Anticipating Frasier’s arrival, I was very excited when I noticed a young (and trim) Kelsey Grammer standing near Sam’s office. There was no focus on him. He was just there as Sam came out. For that entire scene, Frasier is no more than a random barfly (like the old man in a hat – Al Rosen – who constantly looks right at the camera, and elicited character-breaking laughs last season by yelling “Sinatra!”). But knowing what we know now, it was fun to watch him react in the background to the things Sam said about his drinking problem.

Frasier doesn’t really come alive in the first episode. Trying to put myself in 1984, I could see him being no more than a recurring guest star. Someone who’s there to serve a purpose (talk Sam out of drinking) and provide a romantic foil (probably just a temporary boyfriend for Diane). In the second episode, though, Frasier comes to life. He shows an unexpected gamesmanship with Sam, able to joke (calling Diane “bonkers) and react in ways not meant for one-note characters. In this episode, I see Frasier as a future customer at the bar.

Of course, Frasier’s appearance is only significant in retrospect. The bigger issue, of course, is Sam’s drinking and Diane’s mental instability. They toyed with the idea of Sam falling off the wagon in season one, in one of the most poignant episodes of the series. I love a comedy that can ably mix in dramatic elements. Knowing what we do about the characters, Sam’s drunkness (perfectly played by Ted Danson) carries a heavy overtone even with the jokes. This is especially driven home by Coach’s disappointment and the fact that everyone in the bar thinks he has a problem. Sam’s problem is never treated as a side plot. It’s given the full attention it deserves.

Nick Colosanto was especially terrific in both episodes. His performance made it clear what life was like during Sam’s boozing days as a player. His genuine concern was touching. So much so that it made any usual Coach jokes feel out of place. I also thought his crafty ability to set up Sam, Diane and Frasier in part two was a little out of character. This is the guy who can’t keep his bank tellers straight. Although I guess he was able to pull off the con in Season 1 with Harry the Hat.

The thing I’m most surprised about in watching “Cheers” is that this isn’t the workplace comedy I thought it was. It’s really a romantic comedy. Sam and Diane are more central to the plot than I realized.  Since Diane clearly had to come back to the bar, I thought the the set-up might be over the top (much like Diane’s ability to say Sam. Like when Sam couldn’t say “I love you,” this joke is never funny). But Frasier’s rushed treatment of Sam actually makes sense in a lot of ways (Frasier doesn’t want to belabor this, Sam realizes he’s repeating his mistakes) and Diane still does have some attraction to Sam. They both can still get each other’s goats and their back-and-forth is still sharp (I loved how their trading insults had so much affection tied in). I feel like the whole season will just be an elongated set up to eventually breaking up with Frasier and getting back with Sam. Did it feel that way at the time, I wonder?

More points…

– I love how “Cheers” does their “previously on” segment to begin the second half of a two-parter. It’s a lost art these days, as most shows no longer use “To Be Continued” as a cliffhanger that lasts a week. But I’ve watched a lot of classic television and “Cheers” probably has the best use of this device. Character-specific, entertaining, and fourth wall-breaking, which I think was fairly unique in those pre-mockumentary days. Cliff’s Florida slideshow was a nice way to start this second episode, but Coach’s diagram in last season’s finale had me in stitches…like most things Nicholas Colasanto did. They first did this, to some degree, in Season 1’s “Showdown,” but only at the very end with Carla asking Yaz to call her. Looking ahead, I see the next multiple part episode isn’t until Season 4…but it’s a three-parter. That should be a doozy.

– I love in the era of live studio audiences when actors would break down laughing. It happened in the aforementioned “Sinatra” moment, and I think it happens in the famous Thanksgiving episode. I enjoyed the opener to this season, where Coach makes his “my tie” joke. I’m assuming that joke was in there already, but the way Ratzenberger and Perlman reacted that his delivery was completely new. Or his enthusiasm is just infectious. Either way, I love seeing it.

– Diane’s flashback to the croquet game felt odd and out of place, although it was funny. I hope the show doesn’t go back to this device. It’s something a modern show does often, a cutaway gag, but seems wrong in 1984.

– A part of the show I continue to dislike is Carla’s hatred of Diane. I understand their rivalry, but Carla is over the top. Especially when Sam is in this state.

– I can’t stress how good Danson was in this episode. We should have all seen his fantastic performance in “Damages” coming.

– Best Joke — Carla: “She’s been locked up at a home for the silly in Connecticut for three months.” Diane: “I was not locked up, I could come and go at will. And besides, it’s not true. And how did you know about it?”

– Cliff’s Notes — Since Cliff is my favorite character, I’m also going to impart his best wisdom or anecdotes (usually made up) in each review. “And then after being in the Everglades a couple of days, the Seminole Indians found me and made me an honorary mail carrier of the tribe.”

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My dreams were my ticket out

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 17, 2013

Any TV fan worth his weight in remote controls knows the above title comes from the classic theme song to “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Since I actually wanted to title this post “Welcome Back, Feeny,” I figured diverging a little bit would be creative. In actuality, it’s just turned into an odd tangent that seems out of place and anti-climactic.

I guess I really am back!

For a few reasons, I decided to try returning to “Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set.” Of course now it’s just a lonely guy and a computer screen. Since I last blogged, Netflix Streaming has become an incredible force in the marketplace. It’s spawned many copycat services and now is in the original programming business. There are more TV shows than ever before, yet less subscribers to cable and satellite. People are now filling their nights with old TV shows that they missed (either meaning of the word).

This leads to my primary reason. I have always enjoyed going on TV binges, but now it’s easier than ever. In the past year, I have rewatched “Frasier” and “Scrubs” in order and finally welcomed “The Shield” into my life. For the latter, I followed every episode by reading a review from someone, whi

ch were sometimes difficult to find because episodic reviews hadn’t become vogue yet. For the sitcoms, though, I felt no need to do that. It’s just meant for humor, not deep thought.

That was not the case a few weeks ago, when I started

“Cheers.” Many consider this one of the best sitcoms ever created. I had seen a couple dozen episodes in my lifetime. I knew the characters, some storylines (thanks largely to my love of the spin-off), and some major episodes (Thanksgiving, of course). But I

Cheers

was looking forward to completely immersing myself in this classic. After watching the pilot, which is constantly cited as one of the best comedy pilots, I went searching for a review…and found one on the A.V. Club. Not only that episode…a panel of critics reviewed the first two seasons in 2011 and 2012. I was in heaven. I learned so much about the show. And more importantly learned the art of creating comedy by picking apart the episode.

Unfortunately, the A.V. Club stopped their “Cheers” reviews before the third season…and this was the one I was most looking forward to

. The introduction of one of my favorite sitcom characters, Frasier Crane. And I still have Woody, Lillith, and (I guess) Rebecca to look forward to in the coming years. How will I go on without their reviews?

So, I decided to come back to the blog. I might post on other topics. I won’t be reviewing each of this season’s new shows…I just don’t have the time to even watch them all anymore. I also mostly watch sitcoms because of how easy they are to watch in pieces. I don’t see any reason to do episodic

reviews of “It’s Always Sunny” or “How I Met Your Mother.” So we’ll keep it simple.

The other reason I decided to come back: I really enjoy talking about

P.S. — The first paragraph gave me a thought for an graphic. I need to figure out how to make it, but I want to do a graph plotting the correlation between a show’s theme song and it’s overall impact. For instance, the “Cheers” theme song would be high in the right corner, for being an excellent and significant show with a fabulous theme song. “Welcome Back, Kotter,” on the other hand, would be close for theme song, but much farther away on the show quality axis. We’ll see when I get to this.television…even if no one’s there to listen.

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“Legacy”: Greek (S4: E10)

Posted by CJ Cregg on March 7, 2011

Brother to Brother

Here goes, ABCFam.  How you gonna wrap up four years of one of my fave shows?

Some time seems to have passed.  Cappie and Rusty are discussing their finals.  Spidey is still bitter that his dad is saving the day by buying the KT house.

Torts Prof has hired Casey as his research assistant, and he’s bringing Evan on now to argue for the university who wants to raze a blighted fraternity house to build a new gym.  KT.  Of course.  Spidey’s dad is behind all of this.   Evan is clearly on board with Torts Prof, but Casey is having moral concerns because KT means so much to Cappie.  Casey breaks the news to Cappie, who is not happy that she’s staying on the research team.

Cappie is conflicted: study for his finals or save KT?  He concocts a plan for the gang to break into Spidey’s dad’s office to get his old KT stuff to remind him what brotherhood is about.  This is a bit crazy.  (I mean, I loved–love–my sorority, but I don’t keep my old paddle and pictures in my office.)

Rusty still likes Ashleigh.  And his present of a nametag for her new desk at the marketing firm is super sweet.

Cappie gets a letter saying he has enough credits to graduate.  But he still has that one pesky final.  And he has to fight for KT.  While he and Rusty talk about what KT has meant to them, the bros show up with some booze, and they get trashed one more time in the old house.

Bex and Dale are trying to figure out why all of their past relationships have failed by talking to their exes.  He finds out that Laura

Standing up for KT

has been into him the whole time.  They have a mad makeout session after pushing Bex (accidentally) into a cake.

When the KT brothers wake up the next day, there’s a huge rally outside their house, and Cappie delivers a rousing speech inviting other students to explain why they love the house.  (Katherine: How many of you also lost your virginity here?)  The student speeches are a parade of who has been on this show: slutty girl who Rusty did body shots off in episode one of the first season and that newspaper girl that Rusty used to date.  We should get Max up in here.  (Weird.)  Spidey’s dad explains to the crowd, once again, that once you leave college, your fraternity experiences don’t matter.  He puts Casey on the spot to explain to the crowd why building the new athletic facility is a good idea.  She refuses to speak.  Now it’s Evan’s turn.  He also picks his friends over his future.

Wow, ok.  And the bulldozers start.  I thought they’d be able to save the house.  But they can’t.  It crumbles while Rusty and Cappie cry.  (Of course, this is all kind of silly because they can still be a fraternity without a house.  Plenty of chapters on campuses across the country live in dorms.  It does suck that all those who live there are without housing now, but I suspect the university would be

Saying goodbye

obligated to provide some.)  Rusty feels like he could have done more to save the house.  Casey points out that, regardless of outcome, he’s changed.  He stands up for himself.  He’s not just a nerdy little engineer anymore.  Casey and Rusty’s heart to heart leads her to tell Ash that Rusty can handle himself, and she can date him if she wants.

Now it’s Rusty’s turn to deliver a speech.  He tells his depressed brothers sitting on the curb that KT isn’t a house, it’s a brotherhood.  He tells them to study for their finals, bring their house GPA up, and he’s gonna find a new house for them for next year.  (Ah yes, they realize the realization I realized two paragraphs ago.)

Bex asks Evan why they didn’t work out.  He says it’s cuz he screwed up.

After all of this, it’s Casey’s turn to be footloose like Cappie.  She realizes she doesn’t want to be a lawyer, so she’s gonna up and move to DC to fight for her beliefs.  (Yah, no evil corps there.)  Cappie is going to come with her.  (But wait, isn’t this the same problem they’ve always had?  Except now they BOTH lack direction?)

Ash and Rusty decide to start dating.  (I still can’t wrap my head around that.  Too weird.)

Cappie misses his final because of everything that happened.  He argues his way into getting to take the oral examination.  It’s for a philosophy class, and he has to answer the question ‘why are we here’?  He delivers a speech about college.  (While there’s a montage about his time at CRU.)  He says he has a lot more to learn out there in the real world.  Sweet, if a bit cliche.

We also learn Cappie’s real name after he gets his diploma.  It’s Captain John Paul Jones.  Weird.  While the gang celebrates at Dobler’s, Cappie passes the KT presidency onto Rusty.  (Wait, doesn’t there have to be an election or something?)

We also find out that ZBZ wins the Golden Lily award from last week.

The “Forever Young” goodbye scene at the end is a little cliche as Cappie and Casey pack up the little red car to leave.  As Casey and Cappie drive off, Bex and Evan exchange a lingering glance.

Final thoughts?  I guess the ending was a little cliche.  I’m happy that they tried to avoid wrapping everything up too neatly, although there was a bit of a feeling of being rushed to the end.  (Calvin and Grant going to India?  What?)   I’m satisfied, though.  I’ve enjoyed the past four years with Greek, and I appreciate the writers highlighting the important legacies of Greek life even after we sisters and brothers graduate.  And as a Greek, I can tell you that those feelings of fraternity are real.  Yes, so are the parties.  But forging brotherhood and sisterhood out of a diverse group of pledges is no small feat.

I’ll miss this show.

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“Agents of Change”: Greek (S4: E9)

Posted by CJ Cregg on February 28, 2011

Miss her?

ZBZ is abuzz.  Nationals has nominated them as finalists for the Golden Lily, an award for best chapter in the nation.  Now, it’s all hands on deck for the nationals visit this weekend.  Bex is viewing it as a referendum on her presidency.  Casey hears echoes of Franny in her self determination.  For the fundraiser they’re planning to impress nationals, Bex wants to throw a concert.  She reaches out to an alum in LA to get some help with her plan—FRANNY’S BACK!

Franny offers to get the Biebz for their concert.  (As Bex claims, a Bieber in the hand is worth two Lacheys in the bush.)

KT is still trying to figure out who is out to get them.  And when an ‘accident’ damages their house, they have to figure out how to get money to fix it.  They hear that Chambers International (shudder) is interested in buying Rusty’s self-healing wire.  When Rusty goes looking for information, Evan is a total jerk.  When an inspector comes by to look at the KT house, they condemn it.  Spidey’s dad steps in to stop it, and everyone is excited except for Spidey.

Calvin is so pissed off with the Omega Chi’s prank on Dale, and he thinks about quitting.  Calvin’s talk about confronting problems head on inspires Evan to visit his parents with Rusty in tow.  His parents quickly realize that Evan isn’t there to catch up, but instead wants to talk business.  Speaking of mad awk, it must suck to be Rusty, totally caught in the middle.  Evan and his parents do seem to make a little bit of progress, though.  And he finally gets an “I’m proud of you son” from dear old Dad.  It all ends up working out due to Evan’s law school negotiation skills, and Rusty gets a job working on his wire with Chambers International once he graduates.

Meanwhile, Calvin wants to take back Omega Chi from the jerkfaces.  The pledges seem to have Calvin’s back.  They miss Dale and are fed up with Tripp’s evil presidency.

When Ash, Casey, and Franny go out for drinks, it is mad awk.  Franny insists that she’s changed and that she misses Casey.  But, then the Biebz cancels.  And four ZBZ presidents start screaming at each other.  Nothing’s changed.  And then the nationals inspectors come.  And then it hits everyone.  Pledge Spidey looks a lot like Justin Bieber.  (I’ve been thinking that all season.)

During the concert, Ash and Casey reflect on their relationship with ZBZ.  Ash isn’t bothered by this new Franny betrayal because she’s moved on from the house and is over it.  Casey is still too close to ZBZ to be over the I Kapp debacle.  Casey replies that ZBZ was formative for her in college and that she wants to give back.  Ash asks her how much she’s planning to give.  Touche, Ash, touche.

The nationals inspectors are totally convinced by the Biebz look alike.  When they get home, Franny makes a similar argument as Ash, to which Casey replies, “I guess you can’t be nostalgic for something you never left.” Franny’s point is that everything that seems so important to sorority members: dates, formals, and contests, seem trivial once you move on.  But it’s not trivial, really.  The memories are significant.  Casey seems to be getting ready to leave ZBZ, despite how much it meant to her.

This is the first time I’m starting to feel like they’re wrapping up this show.  This episode is full of reflections on what sororities and fraternities mean to those who belong, those who don’t, and those who move on.  And I really like their observations.  They resonate with my experiences as a sorority member.  Omega Chi moving back toward being a real brotherhood, Bex and Casey share a moment where they talk seriously about what it means to be a leader, and friendship and sisterhood seem to blossoming at CRU.

But I still think they have a lot to do next week to wrap all of this up.  And I’m sad to see this show go.

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“Subclass Plagiostomi”: Greek (S4: E7)

Posted by CJ Cregg on February 21, 2011

Natalie is back to cause chaos.

Evan is piiiiissed at Casey that she recommended that Bex break up with him.  Meanwhile, Bex is burning all the letters he wrote her.  And *wince* sending the diamond necklace he bought her down the garbage disposal.  Meanwhile meanwhile, Casey is getting ready to kick Evan’s butt at mock trial.

KT’s on academic probation.  The bros are convinced that it’s Omega Chi out to destroy them.  And their fingers are pointing to Dale.  Who is now apparently dating that super annoying Panhell girl, Natalie.

Ashleigh runs into a former prof looking to hire for her new marketing firm at a job fair.  Simon Torts Prof asks her to come to a donor dinner and gives her his credit card to buy something to wear.  Creepy.

Bex is waging war on Gamma Psi after learning that Omega Chi will host its formal with Gamma Psi instead of ZBZ. But she also finds out that Omega Chi isn’t planning to initiate Dale and instead wants to humiliate him.

Casey and Evan are really out for blood at the mock trial competition.  Casey and Katherine win, though.  The STP (Simon Torts Prof) offers Casey a research position.  Evan’s convinced that STP and Ash dating is why Casey won.  When Ash asks STP to meet him later at the donor dinner, he says he wants her there when it starts, and she begins to see the strings attached to the credit card.  They break up.

The pledge talent show gets sluttier every year.  But here’s the rub.  Omega Chi DOES try to humiliate Dale when the pledge brothers walk off the stage and leave Dale dancing by himself, erm, in his underwear.  Casey and Calvin join him onstage to help him out. Dale’s really depressed and claims that brotherhood is a sham.

But Ash, Dale, and Rusty watch the Bachelor at the end, so it’s ok.

Next week?  Biebz (except not) AND FRANNY COMES BACK!!1!!1  ZOMG!

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“Midnight Clear”: Greek (S4: E6)

Posted by CJ Cregg on February 14, 2011

She works hard for the money

Calvin’s turning 21!  And Casey and Ash still haven’t spoken–and are both channeling their freak outs about it through facebook stalking.  And it’s totes awkward between Rusty and Ash after their homecoming make out, which only Ashleigh knows about.

 

Meanwhile, a snowstorm is sweeping Cyprus.  Way to be up with current events, ABCFam.

A few weeks have passed, and Ash now has a minimum-wage job at Dobler’s.

Casey is freaking out about the ‘law school curse.’  Apparently law school ruins relationships.  So does grad school, my friends, so does grad school.

Rusty finds out that he made out with Ashleigh.  He seems to think that she’s really into him.  But then Simon aka Torts Prof shows up as Ashleigh’s date to the party.  Awwww.  Kward.  This does not make Ash and Casey’s reconciliation any easier.

Calvin’s party sucks because there’s no beer, but since Ash works at Dobler’s, they all trudge over there in the snow.  All Calvin wants for his birthday is for everyone to stop fighting, and with the idyllic snow, it seems like he might get it.  But it’s Greek, so he really won’t.

Checking Calvin's ID at Dobler's

Once they get to Dobler’s, Bex proposes a game of kiss and tell.  You have to tell the truth or kiss someone I guess.  Sounds fun.  Except not really.  (“Nope, still gay,” says Calvin after kissing Bex.)  When Ash and Rusty have to kiss, there’s a special moment.  Bex gets to ask Evan about their relationship.  He feels pressured by her neediness, but she’s responding to feeling him slipping away.

The game has convinced Ashleigh and Casey to reconcile.  However, they both assert that the second Sex and the City Movie was good, so I don’t think we should believe that this will last.  Ah yes, I’m right.  When Ash tells Casey that she kissed Rusty, things are right back on shaky ground.  Ash calls it off with Rusty.  Bex finally realizes that she deserves better than treating like crap by Evan.

When the bar owner comes in the next morning to see Ash et al. fast asleep, she loses her job.  Bummer.

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“Mad Love”: Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on February 14, 2011

How I Met your Mother or Mad Love?

The only thing I know about this show is that Sarah Chalke is in it.  Also, Rules of Engagement isn’t on tonight because of the premiere.  But here goes.

First thought? Annoying voiceover.

Jason Biggs plays Ben Parr, who is just about to break up with his girlfriend.  Sarah Chalke plays Kate Swanson, a germophobe.  Tyler Labine plays Larry Munsch, who looks and acts exactly like his name sounds, and is Ben’s best friend. The fourth friend (there’s always a fourth) is Kate’s fiery friend Connie, played by Judy Greer.

The awful girlfriend that Ben has to break up with is awful indeed.  An awful actress.  Also, she thinks ‘taken for granite’ is a phrase, even though the writers beat that joke into the ground.

Ben and Kate drag Larry and Connie along on their first date.  Larry and Connie do have a nice rapport of pretending to hate each other.  It’s a bit predictable, but it is funny.  I don’t really buy Kate and Ben’s dynamic, though.  Kate and Ben’s burgeoning relationship is tripped up because he hasn’t actually broken up with Erin yet.  I’m way more interested in Larry and Connie than Kate and Ben.  Their new relationship is way too perfect, if beset by some bad timing.  Larry and Connie then have to scheme ways to get Kate and Ben back together.

Again, though.  Just like I said with Traffic Light, I’m not really sure what the point of this show is.  It’s not nearly as funny as How I Met Your Mother or as sweet as some of the other sitcoms out there.  Although I have nothing against the pilot, I don’t really see myself needing another ’30-somethings in New York City relationship sitcom’ in my lineup.  Also, Ben is waaaay too much like Ted–super earnest, desperate for love, trying a bit too hard…  Even the bar of choice looks like MacLaren’s.

I think this show has some potential, and it’s cute enough.

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“Mr. Sunshine”: Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on February 9, 2011

I have high hopes for this show.  Also, ABC has been endlessly promoting it, so I’m ready for the repetitive commercials to stop.

Matthew Perry’s character, Ben, is in charge of San Diego’s ‘Sunshine Center’ arena.  And he is not so sunny.  Or at all sunny, really.  He’s a 40-year-old gloomy Gus who only thinks about himself.  Crystal (Allison Janney) is the absolutely insane and mildly racist owner of the arena.  The Sunshine Center hosts concerts, political conventions, sports games, and special events like circuses.

First crisis!  As a hockey game gives way to a circus performance, the hot water pump is broken and Hurley (from Lost) and his maintenance crews can’t melt the ice.

Second crisis! Crystal’s son Roman (Nate Torrence) needs a job.  Except he has no skills.

Third crisis!  There’s a circus elephant loose in the arena.

Fourth crisis!  Despite Ben’s usual desire to be alone, he decides to pursue more commitment with the marketing director, Alice (Andrea Anders).  Aaaaand she breaks up with him.  So she can move in with his best friend.

Allison Janney handles her light-hearted role fantastically.  She hilariously cruises around the arena’s underbelly in a golf cart, and as we already knew from “The West Wing,” she has fantastic comedic timing.  Nate Torrence is a comedic find with his sunny character and naivete.  He’s amazing as Crystal’s son.  It’s also smart to set a workplace comedy in an arena, which is something new and provides opportunities for interesting crises.

I think this show needs a little bit of time to come into it’s own.  Many shows do, of course.  The pilot was a bit rushed and confused, but I think the talent is here to make this show a good one.  Ben also made a bit too much of a transformation to be believable in one episode, but this show has potential.

Grade: B

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