Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

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

Traffic Light: Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on February 8, 2011

The trailers for this show tell you absolutely nothing.  I have no idea what it’s about.  Other than some couples or something.

They’re all at different spots in their relationships.  Adam is about to move in with his girlfriend.  Mike has been married to Lisa for six years and has a kid.  Ethan is single-ish.

Our friends live in Chicagoland.  Adam is a journalist with emo kid glasses and an exploitative boss.  Mike is a lawyer who hides from his wife in his car.  Ethan is Australian with a fear of commitment.  These three friends seem to always be having problems with their women, or lack thereof.  There was a fourth friend, Ben, who seems to have just passed away.

For the most part, the characters just talk with each other while driving.  It is kind of cool that they all have cars that have phones in them, I guess.

One of the things that really bothers me about this show is a total battle of the sexes premise.  It’s always girls v. guys.  The characters seem passive aggressive and always scheming to get what they want instead of confronting their significant others like adults.  It’s a sad view of love, really.  In addition, the pilot doesn’t develop the characters of the women: Mike’s wife and Adam’s girlfriend.  They seem to exist just as one-dimensional counterparts to the men.  This could change, but it’s very disappointing in the pilot.

Moreover, the whole young group of friends dealing with love reminds me of How I Met Your Mother but without the charm and lightheartedness.  I didn’t watch much of Better with You which premiered this fall, but this show has exactly the same premise.  And frankly, Rules of Engagement, another show with the same premise is much funnier.  (But I should admit that I’m a closet David Spade megafan.)  I’d watch any of the better love/couple sitcoms over this one.

The show is well-acted.  I’ll give the stars that.  Also, I do love a show that features Chumbawumba’s “Tub Thumping” so prominently.

Why is the show called traffic light?  According to Adam, driving on the freeway is the boring part of the journey.  The fun stuff happens on the side streets where the traffic lights are.  (Basically, it boils down to this: Lisa and Mike are red because they are in a stable relationship and they’ve ‘stopped’ to be with each other.  Adam and his gf are yellow because they’re slowing down to figure out if their relationship is somewhere they want to stay.  Ethan is green, seeking adventure.)

Grade: C

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Premiere Review: “The Chicago Code”

Posted by Mr. Feeny on February 8, 2011

I’ve been a melancholy TV watcher this season. With the departure of Lost and 24, I haven’t been able to find a drama that really grabs me. Walking Dead did, but only for six episodes. Terriers was canceled after just one 13-episode season.  Burn Notice, White Collar, House…they’re pleasant, but nothing to get me that excited about watching what’s on my DVR. Except for Friday Night Lights (thank goodness for Direct TV. And now that’s almost over forever (tomorrow night! Although Luke Cafferty [Matt Lauria] has apparently followed Matt Saracen and moved to Chicago in this show…)

There are several nice dramas on television right now that I’ve caught an episode or two of. That includes two new ones from CBS: Hawaii 5-0 and Blue Bloods. I enjoyed them for a few episodes, but couldn’t get motivated to watch them every week. They’re procedurals with just enough cross-episode conflicts to reward a loyal viewer. But they’re 75% procedural (better than, say, a CSI, which is 95% procedural).

{Actually…that would be a very interesting television study. What percentage of a show’s content is devoted to the single episode or the larger theme? It’d be tough to quantify…what about when an episode is all about that one conflict; it would tilt the scale. Or where do you put the time spent on establishing shots? We should ponder this.}

So, imagine how excited I was when I watched The Chicago Code Monday night and it was 100% serial.

Yes, it was one episode. And a pilot at that. They can’t move on to the “crime of the week” until they establish the overarching story. And, actually, in that way, this pilot resembled Hawaii 5-0’s, which focused solely on tracking James Marsden’s character. And as I understand it, that plot line has come back into the show, but there were a lot of stand-alone episodes in between.

I don’t think that will happen with The Chicago Code. The team that’s been assembled isn’t just going after “corruption.” They’re going after one person, Alderman Gibbons (Delroy Lindo). In a perfect world, every story would connect to him…but that’s not going to happen on network TV. Still, I’ll be happy if it comes close. Especially since this first season is only 13 episodes.

Even if it doesn’t, there are so many reasons for me to keep watching The Chicago Code, even if I don’t obsesses over its serial nature. First and foremost, it’s set in the greatest city in America…nay, the world. And unlike some shows that drop in obvious Chicago references to prove their cred (I’m looking at you Mike & Molly) or look more like New York (because you’re filmed there, The Good Wife), this is pure Chicago. You want proof? The main cop is a White Sox fan. No casual Chicago show would feature the Sox. And even references to the Cubs are steeped in deep knowledge about how this city’s fans operate.  And every outside shot is definitive Chicago…because it’s actually filmed there.

There are some kinks in the armor. The actor who plays the lead detective, Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) is from Australia, and early on, his accent is incredibly obvious. It either got better or I got used to it. Also, this city will never appoint a young, female police superintendent (Jennifer Beals) nor will an alderman ever be more powerful than The Mayor.

But I can look past all of that because so much else is right with the world this show is set in. Including the writing, the characters, the filming. It’s the best cop show I can remember seeing on network television. That caveat shouldn’t be seen as a slight. There’s just more creator Shawn Ryan can do on The Shield than he can do here. Or David Simon on The Wire. Given the bland limitations of most network TV, The Chicago Code stands out. (And kudos to Fox for again pushing the boundaries…Lone Star flopped with the public, hopefully this won’t).

My favorite part of the pilot was the dialogue. Quick, funny (in a gallows humor kind of way), and impassioned. The four main characters all appear to be excellent in their portrayals. And although we haven’t delved into their backstories, I can tell they’ll be rich and conflicted. I’m not even positive we’re supposed to completely hate the bad guy…despite the fact that he had an innocent woman killed.

One more thought on this premiere. The part I wasn’t wild about. Voice over. Why? Why do we need that? It establishes, I guess, that we’ll be looking at the show from different angles. But it’s usually cheesy. This was done sparingly in the pilot, and in one case at the end, to great effect. But I could definitely do without.

In summary, I know where I’ll be every Monday night at 8 CT. I hope you’ll join me. America might not be. 9.4 million last night for the premiere, which is decent. But they lost 3 million from House and finished behind The Bachelor.

Grade: A

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“Fumble”: Greek (S4: E5)

Posted by CJ Cregg on February 7, 2011

Aftermath of the KT party--lots of red solo cups

So, now it’s actually homecoming.  And Casey and Cappie wake up together at ZBZ.  And Casey has a hangover.  And Ash didn’t come home because she was sleeping with Torts Prof.  Casey panics, throws him out, and assures Cappie that they aren’t getting back together.

Rusty is also having a tough morning.  He’s trying to piece together exactly what happened.  He knows he hooked up with a hot girl, and he and Calvin go on a hunt to find out who it was.  Everyone they run into keeps telling Rusty he’s a legend for stealing the goat.  When they finally put it all together, it turns out Rusty’s famous science-y wire was used to pierce his nipple.  Ohhh, and we finally found out that the mysterious girl that he made out with was Ashleigh.  Which is way too weird for me.  But only Ash remembers.  Rusty doesn’t.  Which is good.  Cuz that’s weird and creepy.

Casey finds out that Beaver and Katherine are “lovers.”  Casey also finds out that Beaver’s name is Walter.  She also gets into a really awwwwkward discussion about birth control with Katherine.  This gets Casey thinking.  She can’t remember if she and Cappie used birth control during their drunken hookup.  Thank goodness for the morning after pill.

Bex is still having some Evan woes.  She’s upset that she actually cares about the fact that their relationship is falling apart.  She’s in love.  Torts Prof wants to take Ash to dinner.

Cappie tries to woo Casey by showing her that it’s not always bad to be a kid.  He sets up a backyard carnival for her.  Aaaaaaand, they kiss.

I have to say.  I’m really digging their portrayal of the issues that Ashleigh is going through as a college grad who can’t find a job.  Her feelings of hopelessness, confusion, and desperation must reflect what a lot of students are going through.  It’s nice that they’ve lingered on this instead of just quickly passed it by.

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Glum Review: “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle” (S2:E11)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on February 7, 2011

A Very Special Super Bowl Episode has ushered in a new year of Glum Reviews. Let the awfulness begin.

************************************************

– Anything goes at McKinley High. Kids can play with fire all they like and strut around with pointy chests and stick raw chicken breasts down their bras. Glee is so dedicated to realism. [-1]

– In my many reoccurring complaints, I don’t think I’ve mentioned my problem with WMHS. In my school district, we had a James Conant High School and a William Fremd High School. But they did not go by JCHS or WFHS. It was CHS and FHS. Why aren’t they just MHS? It really bothers me. [-1]

– A somewhat realistic portrayal of something going wrong on the football field. Not terrible, and it played into Finn’s constant insecurities. [+1]

– Back when this show started, Sue’s ridiculous comments were funny. Now, they’re so ridiculous, that it’s just weird and pathetic. Raccoon hormones? Come on. [-1]

– I can understand Sue’s desire and difficulty to top herself, but this storyline had better resolve with a good message. Otherwise, more wasted ridiculousness.

– Has Artie really never been slushied? I don’t buy that…

– And let me take this moment to say again how stupid the slushy thing is. That doesn’t happen in real high schools. At least not with the regularity it does on Glee. [-1]

– “This is the choir room. Now put up your fists because you and I are going to do some dancing.” I feel like this is a line Biff would say in Back to the Future. “Let’s make like a tree and get out of here.” It’s not the dance room, fist-fighting isn’t boxing so you’re not really dancing around…just a dumb line. [-1]

– I like this idea. It actually makes sense for the football bullies to be forced into glee club to end the ridicule. Unless it backfires and makes them hate the glee clubbers more. But it’s a sitcom, so that won’t happen. [+1]

– Rachel: “I won’t let anything get in the way of a performance.” Except your ego. OH SNAP! Santana should have said that.

– Again I ask, what’s the point of working on this song? Rachel and Puck…great…are you going to do it at competition? No. [-1]

– I like that they’re doing a country song…though it’s not labeled as one…no points either way.

– I had no idea Puck and Finn weren’t allies. As two football players on Glee Club, don’t they pretty much have to be? But let’s create conflict for this episode. [-1]

– Have I missed something? What championship is this? Why aren’t they calling it Regional or Sectional or something like that? It better not be state. If it’s state, I’m deducting 3 points.

– Some solid laughs between an outraged Figgins and an indignant Sue. [+1]

– OK, a hearty belly laugh after Sue’s ridiculous tantrum (which I was about to deduct points for, since she certainly would be suspended for an outburst like that). But you cut to Mr. Schu who tells Beastie “I wish you could have seen it” and Sue immediately walks in and recreates it all in the locker room with the same dramatic music. Very funny. [+1]

– What Championship game!?!?!?!

– It just hit me, as I was wondering why they didn’t do “Thriller” around Halloween. Episode 10 of this season was a Christmas theme. Santa Clause at all. This is Episode 11. Pop Quiz: How many high school football games are played after January 1st? ZERO. [-2]

– Since when does Mr. Schue know modern music? [-1]

– But seriously, why would you choose to do “Thriller?” Makes no sense. [-1]

– Mr. Schuester is always good for a touching moment, like the one he had with the bully. [+1]

– “I’m torn.” “I’m not.” “I’m Brittany.” HA! [+1]

– CHOOSE ONCE AND FOR ALL — for the seventh time — WHERE YOUR LOYALTIES LIE! I’m so glad the writers keep coming up with original conflicts. And things that ALWAYS stick. [-1]

– This makes sense. While trying to learn one complicated dance routine, learn another one solely for warm-ups. [-1]

– Oh look, Kurt is still on this show. And we get to see him sing a completely unnecessary song unrelated to anything. But I do enjoy these all-male a capella numbers.It’s so funny how Blaine is the only who gets any solos, though…ever. [-1]

– They only need 4 more players for a regulation football game? HOW CONVENIENT! There are so many actual rules being broken here, it’s depressing. [-1]

– I cannot get over the ridiculousness of this episode. People come and go on the football team, cheerleader squad and glee club more than Brett Favre. [-1]

– 9 players, 4 of them girls, 1 in a wheel chair. In “The Championship.” This is so sad. Especially since most Glee fans will still like this episode.

– If they needed 9 players to be on the field (per Blaine’s sudden knowledge of Ohio high school football rules), how can Finn leave the field at any time? [-1]

– Seriously, how many times do we have to have this speech about being cool and being part of Glee club? [-1]

– They didn’t even bother to put yard lines on the field. What is wrong with this show? [-1]

– Yay! They won their first playoff game! Which is apparently also the state championship…played at home…in January. [-1]

– Nope, no interesting revelation with Sue. Just a quick way out of the Cheerios storylines for the year. But I bet they’ll return.

– They can’t even keep their own wacky football lingo straight. That game wasn’t the conference championship. They already won the conference at the beginning of the episode. [-1]

– Excellent. More Quinn/Finn/Rachel love triangle. [-1]

Such a terrible episode.

Score: -16

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“Home Coming and Going”: Greek (S4: E5)

Posted by CJ Cregg on January 31, 2011

Why study? It's homecoming!

Once more, it is homecoming at CRU.  Time for the KTs to start scheming how to top Vesuvius.  Their answer?  Everest.

There are big bro woes at KT too.  Spidey, the new pledge, wants Cappie to be his big bro, but Rusty wants another chance at having a little bro.  (May Andy-licious, aka Jesse McCartney rest in peace.)  When Cappie tells this to Rusty, Rusty plots to win him back.  To do so, Rusty plans to steal the opposing school’s mascot.  Apparently, the epic CRU’s rival is an agriculture school called A&M that appears to be housed in a shack.  Dale and his pledge brothers have the same plan, though.  Rusty and Spidey ultimately succeed, and Spidey picks Rusty for his big bro.

Ash has been back at CRU for 5 weeks, and she’s starting to give Casey a headache.  But how do you evict your bff?  To help Ash get a job (and subsequently her own apartment), Casey brings her to a networking event.  They just end up fighting over the future.  Ash is having a tough time, but Casey thinks she isn’t trying to find a job.

After Casey leaves the networking event, Ash runs into Casey’s creepy (I think he’s creepy, I think he’s supposed to be cute and hip or something) torts prof, and they hit it off.

Calvin starts to wonder, at Evan and Bex’s behest, if he isn’t too smart for Heath.  Heath lets it slip that he’s a stripper.  When they confront each other, it turns out they don’t want to break up.  They tell each other ‘I love you.’  It’s very sweet.

The Everest ice luge party is a huge success.  Bex gets Casey drunk so the ZBZs can go to the KT party, which isn’t campus sponsored.  Casey drunkenly makes her way to the party, though.  She gets a nice walk home from Cappie, who is going to do the honorable thing and leave her to go to bed when she POUNCES on him.  And it’s quite the pounce.  Like for real.

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“All About Beav”: Greek (S4: E4)

Posted by CJ Cregg on January 24, 2011

Beaver's on the trail

ZBZ has a new batch of pledges that are being presented to the Greek community. Whatever that means.  Evan is too busy to be Rebecca’s date, so she asks Cappie just to piss Evan off.  Poor little Bex just wants attention from her law school beau.  When both Evan and Cappie show up at the event, punches are thrown.  Something’s still amiss with Rebecca and Evan even after they make up at the end.

Beaver and Katherine have a moment in the ZBZ hallway.  She transfered from Yale Law to do a JD/MBA at CRU.  Right.  Because that’s a good life choice.  Also, how can Katherine go from Rusty to the Beav?  Casey and Beav are both after Katherine.  He wants…welll, we know what he wants.  Casey wants to get into a study group with her for law school.

In her desperation, Casey offers to trade a paper she wrote to Beaver for case summaries.  They go on a wild goose chase to cheat.  On the chase, Casey finds out Beaver is afraid of failure, which is why he quit the football team.  Also on the chase, they find out Heath is a male stripper at a night club.  We viewers find out that Beaver is smarter than most realize.  He’s pretty good at reading people.

Dana and Rusty are trying to get more research money from the university.   Ashleigh becomes a marketing consultant to help Rusty spice up his pitch to the funders.  Dana and Rusty have a spat though because Dana asked to be listed as a co-inventor of the wire that Rusty invented.  It ends up not mattering because they both get pulled off the project in lieu of real researchers.  He and Dana break up as a result.  I was only just starting to like her.

Fun fact: Beaver’s real name is Walter Budreau (sp?)

At the end of the episode, Katherine and Beaver hook up.  Which is cute.

Nonetheless, this episode was boring and stupid.  The ins and outs of law school study groups and sciencey wires aren’t that interesting.

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Comedy Night Done Right – Jan. 20th

Posted by Mr. Feeny on January 20, 2011

My unheralded return to the blogosphere will begin with a new feature. A Thursday night feature. Since NBC is experimenting with a three hour block of comedy (“Comedy Night Done Right”), I thought I’d honor the night accordingly. In case you’re busy on Thursday night, or you’re watching the new Thursday night behemoth, this will be your guide to the best the night has to offer. So, if you only have a half hour on Friday, this will tell you which comedy to watch on DVR or Hulu.

I’ll rank each sitcom, give a little summary (I won’t give a full recap of the episode or jokes, so as not to spoil anything), some great moments, and also tally the laughs. From least to most:  chuckles, laughs, wheezes, and ROFLs. Also smiles, but I figure if an episode’s enjoyable, you’re smiling all the time. So I won’t count those up. I’ll just put (++, +, -, — to indicate good or bad). Obviously, everyone will laugh at different things. But I think it’s a good barometer of the humor.

1. Parks & Recreation – “Go Big or Go Homes” (3.1)

I love the mockumentary style, so it was reassuring to know last year that as The Office started to slip in quality, another show took its place in comic brilliance. But not just that. Parks & Recreation also mastered comedic sentimentality. No sitcom does a better job right now of showing emotion. In this episode alone, there was a fantastic shift between energy and depression by Rob Lowe’s character and we also got a peak into some solid background for Adam Scott’s character and Leslie. And neither those moments, nor the more ridiculous ones (like Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness…don’t ruin his cult hero status by hitting us over the head with it), took away from the constant, subtle laughs. Best show this Thursday, maybe it will be the best all season.

Best Fake Foul Called By Tom: “That’s a foul for touching the basketball.”

Smiles: ++
Chuckles: 11
Laughs: 12
Wheezes:
ROFLs:

2. 30 Rock – “Mrs. Donaghy” (5.11)

When 30 Rock is hitting on cylinders, it’s a joy to sit through. And tonight the hits just kept coming. Not all the plots worked (Tracy thinking he’s going to die only served as another pawn in Jack and Liz’s fight), but the writing was sharp. Just don’t blink, or you migh miss some hysterical drop-in line. I also like that the whole episode played on the fact that Jack and Liz are never romantic possibilities. That’s very rare for two leads in a sitcom. Just great friends.

One of the Best Jokes: Early on in this Liz/Jack heavy episode, Liz apologizes for him getting caught up in another one of “Liz Lemon’s Adventures.” Jack: “My adventures! I am the protagonist!” I love meta jokes. Like when Danny (Cheyenne Jackson) returns after a long absence and Kenneth says “We forgot you work here!” And so much NBC lampooning.

THE Best Moment: Liz pretending to be Jack’s wife by putting on a Kennedy-esque accent and calling a press conference.

Smiles: +
Chuckles: 5
Laughs: 10
Wheezes: 1
ROFLs: 0

3. The Office – “Ultimatum” (7.12)

Let me first say that the order of this line-up is great. Specifically putting The Office before Parks & Recreation. They’re naturally meant to be together. Now, to one of the better episodes of the season. It was just a transitional episode, to get us to a point where Michael and Holly can reunite. But it was laced with several funny gags (mostly regarding resolutions) and also had a heavy dose of Michael’s endearingly pathetic love life.  But the subplot of Darryl, Dwight and Andy was just weird and stupid (a preview of the end of the season? They’re the three in-house candidates for Michael’s job). Still, a solid episode.

Best Moment: Michael coming down to earth and subtly telling Holly that he’s sorry and will make their friendship work. Michael’s non-cartoony moments are his best.

Smiles: +
Chuckles: 5
Laughs: 9
Wheezes: 2
ROFLs: 0

4. Perfect Couples – “Pilot” (1.1)

The only new comedy in the CDNR line-up. My initial reaction: just what TV needs. Another relationship sitcom featuring three couples. Has this been done before? And the opening is the same schtick Better than You (which I like) uses on ABC: how three very different couples handle the same situation. But I’ll tell you what gives me hope about Perfect Couples. It stars one of my favorite and under-appreciated comic actors. Kyle Bornheimer. I loved his half-season comedy Worst Week two years ago. Loved it. So I’ll watch this just for him. And early on, he’s the only one I’m laughing at (and originally, he wasn’t playing this part). There are a lot of recognizable faces. The Waitress from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Double Agent from FlashForward, Lana from Greek. But no one’s as natural as Bornheimer. The material’s not breaking new ground, but as a highly competitive person, I can’t dislike an episode about Game Night. Always comic gold. Also the filming is a more modern upbeat style than many other sitcoms. Good change of pace for NBC. Just like the sentimental music montage at the end.

Best Joke: (cut to) Rex: “What is our best relationship skill?” Julia: “Nobody asked you that…”

Smiles: +
Chuckles: 7
Laughs: 9
Wheezes: 0
ROFLs: 0

5. Community – “Asian Population Studies” (2.12)

My favorite comedy of the season (yes, even more than Modern Family). It’s easily the most inventive show on television (in the first half of the season alone, they did a zombie episode, a space parody, and an entire episode in claymation). But this episode was lackluster. The idea of having a contest to pick a new study group member was solid, but the execution felt rushed. Also, too many previous plots seemed to come together for resolution, as if they wanted to start fresh next episode without any lingering problems. That took out a lot of the humor and made it much more plot-centric than usual. Epitomized by the underutilization of Abed. The ending seemed to indicate this was supposed to be a mock-up of a chick flick (that’s Community‘s gimmick), but it didn’t work. I liked the return of the “Troy and Abed in the Morning” show for the tag, though.

Best Character: Duncan. As he explained how his soberness has changed his sex life. Also, he keeps calling one student “Fat Neal.” Neal: “Neal’s just fine.” Duncan: “Not from an actuarial point of view.”

Guest Stars of Note: Malcolm Jamal Warner (Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show) playing Shirley’s ex-husband/current boyfriend.

Smiles: –
Chuckles: 6
Laughs: 3
Wheezes: 0
ROFLs: 0

6. Outsourced – “A Sitar is Born ” (1.11)

This show got panned when it debuted. And I, too, was initially lukewarm on the concept of a show set entirely in India. But the premise (a call center for novelty gifts) has provided a good background for an Office-Lite show, with zany characters and budding romances. A little heart too. So I’ll keep watching, though it’s not a homerun quite yet. As you can see from the chuckles and not laughs. A fine episode, with a main plot about a singing competition and another about fixing their hold music. Meh.

Best Voice: We heard a lot of them, and I liked Madhuri’s angelic voice. But as a character actor myself, I was also kind of impressed by Parvesh Cheena’s (Gupta’s) purposefully bad singing.

Smiles: –
Chuckles: 4
Laughs: 2
Wheezes: 0
ROFLs: 0

 

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Restaurant Wars: Top Chef (S8: E7)

Posted by CJ Cregg on January 19, 2011

Charming and determined

Jamie and Tiffany left us last week in a double elimination that involved the chefs catching their own fish to cook.

Now, it’s the best Top Chef tradition…restaurant wars!

But first, a stop at Eric Ripert’s restaurant, Le Bernardin.  They meet a famous fish cleaner guy.  Who cleans fish really fast and really well.  For the quickfire, they have to portion one cod and one fluke up to the standards of Mnsr. Ripert.  Oh, and they only have 8 minutes to do it.  Fabio cuts himself.  Again.  But, since, as he says, he’s not Jamie, he keeps going.  The top four have 45 minutes to make a dish using the fish refuse (like the heads and stuff) for a chance to get immunity.  During this challenge, we learn that Richard used to work at at McDonald’s and he was in charge of the filets 0′ fish.  Dale wins the immunity for something made out of fish livers.  Om nom nom.

Since Dale is the winner of the quickfire, he is a team captain, and he gets to pick the other team captain.  Due to intense loathing, Dale selects Marcel.  (Mike:*@!$ I have to work with Marcel.)  Dale considers Fabio his sleeper pick for his charm so he can work front of house.  This time, the diners will select the winner.  During the planning stages, Marcel’s team is a trainwreck.

Dale’s restaurant is called Bodega and is whimsically playing on grocery store items.  Marcel’s restaurant is called Etch and has a Mediterranean theme.  (Dale: Our team dynamic is quiet.  A little too quiet.)

No sooner has service begun and diners at Etch are sending food back.  The judges are definitely into the concept of Bodega.  But some of the diners think it’s a little bit too conceptual.  Overall, though, the food at Bodega gets rave reviews.  Tiffany is failing to direct traffic in the front of the house and things seem chaotic at Etch.  Things are chaotic in the kitchen as well as Mike, Marcel, and Angelo get into it.  The food is also not impressing anyone.

Etch unsurprisingly loses by a significant margin.  Marcel’s dish was majorly mushy.  His dessert was, as Anthony Bourdain pointed out, ‘a thumb in the eye.’  As the judging continues, Mike and Marcel break down and begin throwing each other under the bus.  The problem was clearly one of leadership, but as much as Marcel tried to lead, the team just didn’t listen.  They needed a different leader.  As Bourdain noted, even prison breaks have more organization.  (He’s very quotable, that Anthony Bourdain.)

Anthony Bourdain compliments Dale’s egg dish as ‘stoner food at its finest.’  Nonetheless, Richard wins.

The judges recognize Marcel’s failure of leadership and send him (and his knives) packing.  Mike must be so happy.

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Harry’s Law: Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on January 17, 2011

Shoes and law

Patent law is boring.  That’s what I learned in the first 30 seconds of this show.  Kathy Bates agrees on NBC’s new show Harry’s Law.  Her character Harriet Korn gets fired from her corporate job as a patent lawyer in Cincinnati. Because she was bored.  And didn’t want to do anything.

I should say before I begin that I have zero interest in this show.  I’m just reviewing it because it’s a holiday, and hey, I have nothing better to do.

And we’re back.

Also in the first 2 minutes of this show, she gets run over/struck by two quickly moving objects: a car and someone trying to commit suicide.  Suicide committer comes back to her saying he has drug problems and he’s facing prison so he jumped off a building.  He asks Harriet to represent him, and since she now has no job, she agrees.  A major corporate lawyer takes a leave to temp with her at her ad hoc law firm set up in a bad neighborhood.  (I know it’s a bad neighborhood because there are black people in it.)  This corporate lawyer happens to be the same guy that ran her over with his car.  Guess he felt bad about that.

Harriet’s assistant Jenna (Brittany Snow) also starts selling shoes out of the new law firm.  Cuz they have shoes to sell apparently.

This episode follows Harriet as she works on Malcolm’s (aka suicide committer) case.  She makes the big decision to put Malcolm on the stand.  In her closing statement she predictably appeals to the humanity of her client to sway the jury.  If only all accused criminals were college students with boyish good lucks and a gosh darn fightin’ chance.  Harriet also rants at her evil opposition that drugs should be legalized.  Which the judge does not stop.  Her second lawyer, Adam (played by Nathan Corddry–Tom Jeter from Studio 60), is defending a neighborhood guy accused of a shooting.  His rant during the hearing was touching.  And hilarious.  Their clients are similarly touched when they finally get to have lawyers that actually care about them.

Nonetheless, this show is almost as boring as patent law.  Even when it’s dealing with criminal law.

Also, something is off about racial representations in this show.  Three white people drop into Cincinnati and, though they have lots to learn about the black people, are the saviors (and voices) of this community that is overlooked by police and social services?

Harriet Korn is funnily misanthropic.  She’s tired from years of being the workhorse at the corporate law firm and she is burned out.  (giiiiiirl, know the feeling.)  She’s an interesting leading character.  Strong, but lacking sex appeal.  She is a likeable cynic, which is believable after years as a corporate lawyer. The show also has a little bit of whimsy, which comes out at the end.

Ultimately, though I like Kathy Bates as Harry and Nathan Corddry as Adam, this show just isn’t very interesting.

 

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“Crossed Examined Life”: Greek (S4: E3)

Posted by CJ Cregg on January 17, 2011

Rocking the pledge pin

Fall Semester is about to start at CRU.

Dale drops a bomb on his roomie: he’s pledging Omega Chi.  (O-Mega-Gee!)  Rusty does not like this news.  He does not like it one bit.  He tries to get Dale to rush KT because he’s convinced Omega Chi is playing him.  Dana thinks if she and Rusty find Dale a girlfriend, he’ll cut it out with the pledge stuff.  In Rusty’s meddling defense, Dale is kinda being insufferable and pretentious.

Through all this, KT’s only pledge is getting ignored because of Rusty’s obsession with Dale.  Things change when this new pledge “Spidey” tells Dale he’s an honors engineering major seeking socialization.

Ashleigh drops into the ZBZ house.  She also drops the news that she got fired.  From her dream job.  (Laura: Great, another one’s back.)

Casey heads to her first day of law school.  And promptly shows up Evan who didn’t do the reading.  But everyone thinks she slept her way in.  She does not like this.  She does not like this one bit.  This episode is very Legally Blonde.  Casey wants to join Evan’s study group, but they won’t let her in because she allegedly slept her way into law school.

Calvin and Cappie get high to work on a philosophy project for a class they’re both in.  Turns out, Calvin is floundering because

Making the Grade

he doesn’t have a major and doesn’t know what he’s doing.

In Casey’s rage about law school, she and Ash decide to bail out of CRU and do what they want.  In their excitement, Ash tells Casey that she left her job and didn’t get fired because she was upset she didn’t get a promotion.  When Ash’s boss calls and really does fire her, they realize that being adults doesn’t mean getting to leave whenever they want.

There’s a new transfer student at CRU Law–KATHERINE!

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