Grey’s Anatomy 11×1 — Its Gunna Be a Bumpy Ride

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Well, well, well. Grey’s Anatomy has returned for an eleventh season. Hands up if you actually thought it would last this long. I certainly didn’t. How will Shonda and Co. keep things kicking? Of course, I had to tune in and find out; especially since I heard that they were introducing Ellis and Richard’s long-lost lovechild –finally! (We all knew one was out there, didn’t we?) I had basically stopped watching after they killed off my beautiful George O’Malley (senselessly, might I add) so I still have a lot to learn about the “new” Grey’s. This could definitely end up being one of the tensest seasons yet.

I still can’t believe that Yang is gone! She was a staple of the show. Apparently no one else can believe Cristina’s not around anymore either because she was brought up quite a bit in this episode. Of course Meredith is missing her bff and Owen is missing his ex-wife. Meredith is making Alex (who has turned into quite the standup guy of late!) into her new ‘person’. It is already tons of fun to watch. I can’t help but wonder if they might cross the lines of friendship at some point. Call me crazy, but I see some serious chemistry between Ellen Pompeo and Justin Chambers. As much as I already love Jo and Alex, I wouldn’t mind a little line-blurring for “MerAlex”, especially now that “MerDer” are on the rocks yet again. I always preferred Derek with Addison anyway. It’s just too bad that she’s off somewhere getting her start as a “bad judge” (wink, wink).

Speaking of ‘ships’, I still can’t believe that Callie and Arizona are together! I know they have loads of fans, but Arizona just comes off as so damned annoying, judgmental and flighty (and not in a good way). How many times can she leave my girl Callie twisting in the wind before all their rootablity as a couple is completely lost? Not that I ever rooted for them. Torres and Mark Sloan were meant to be in my book, and if they couldn’t be together, then Erica Hahn was another great option. I still curse the day Arizona roller-skated her way through the doors of Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital (I still want to call it Seattle Grace. Is that wrong?). She’s just so flipping irritating. The most irritating character ever …. Or so I thought… Until Maggie Pierce showed up…

Maggie is Ellis and Richard’s love child (or so she says), making her Meredith’s third (or is it fourth?) half-sister. She’s no Lexie Grey, that’s for sure. Maggie is pushy, intrusive, obsessive, and irritating (yeah I already said that, but it bears repeating). I was so excited about Mer’s sibling showing up one day but I am sad that Maggie is that sibling. She completely rubs me the wrong way. I hope Mer remains cold to her for a long time, even after the inevitable “OMG, you’re my sister?!” moment to come. It will take me awhile to warm up to her too, that’s for sure. There’s something borderline creepy about her and I hate to say it, but the actress playing her is kind of weak so far. Not very impressive or charismatic at all. I know that she’s a newbie but she will have to work hard to play on the same field as acting greats like Sara Ramirez, Patrick Dempsey, Kevin McKidd, and even Pompeo herself – who has grown tremendously as an actress since her “Pick me, choose me” days of yore.

Now what Grey’s critique would be complete without touching on the patients’ stories? That’s part of what makes it a medical show, right? There were three separate lives on the line in this episode and I am pleased to say two of the three patients got happy endings. The one who didn’t was survived by a wife and the cutest little boy who brought tears to my eyes when he said he missed his dad already and was sad that he’d never see him again. Grey’s has always done heartbreaking, angst-ridden scenes so well  -when they played the full beats of a story, that is.

Truth be told, despite showing some signs of wear in its “old age”, Grey’s is in good shape. Season 11 is off to a great start. It seems the writers are going back to the roots of the show – telling compelling stories about the doctors. It’s not just about who’s boning who anymore. Character-driven stories triumph over plot-point writing every time. I am hopeful for an awesome season. I am going along for the ride, for now. I think I’d better buckle my seatbelt though! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Madam Secretary is made of win!

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“A woman’s perspective is such an important thing”, says Elizabeth McCord (aka Tea Leoni) at one point during the debut of the new show, Madam Secretary. And you know what? I couldn’t agree more. Most political tales are told from the point of view of the male and as a woman, I like seeing a strong female character at the forefront of the drama. Elizabeth is intelligent, fervent and brave. It takes guts to stand up to a bunch of her superiors who are against her, rather than supporting her. But lest you think this show is only written for “chicks”, let me say that it truly is a drama anyone can enjoy – chockfull of witty repartee, action, pathos and great acting.

The show opens with a shot of a mosque. A flash of text in the corner of the screen tells us we are visiting Damascus, Syria. The camera soon pans to the inside of a jail where a group of men are paying checkers. A young American man in typical denim jeans and a tee-shirt is being dragged to a cell where his brother is waiting. The young man is screaming “call the State Department”.

That was a decent – if slightly predictable – hook to the begin show though admittedly at that point, I was just waiting for a glance of Tim Daly’s fine self. We soon meet Elizabeth who is hurrying along while being stalked by a very entitled university student who doesn’t like his thesis topic. We get a glimpse at Elizabeth’s greatly witty side when she rebuffs the student in style and tells him he will not receive an extension on his paper. At that point, I am sure that I will like her a lot. And I do.

She soon meets up with her husband Henry (played by Tim Daly who is as fine as ever! Thank you, HDTV, for the close-up!)  and we get to see them interact. They are a fun couple, teasing and cajoling each other right and left. I can see from first glance that they have major shipper-potential. We learn that they live on a farm; that they have so-called normal lives, even with a “self-proclaimed anarchist” for a son. Cue the upset. The president arrives. He tells Elizabeth that the secretary of state’s plane went down. The man is no more and there is suddenly a position needing filled. Elizabeth is called to serve. She balks at the idea (anyone would feel under-qualified for that job, right?) and then we are shown that she has accepted the offer as the little text box in the corner soon reads “Two Months Later”…

A lot of stuff happens thereafter (there’s never a dull moment in this show) that I could spoil you about but you know what, I won’t. And why? Because I think you need to watch this show yourself. Actually, I demand that you watch this show yourself! It’s really that darn good. It would be a mistake to skip it and write it off as “just another one of those political shows”. It’s not. It’s actually bordering on brilliant even when it has a few predictable moments here and there.

The characters and acting alone make the show worth the price of admission. Tim Daly’s hotness makes the show worth the price of admission too, but I digress. Watch this show, even if it doesn’t sound like your thing. You might be pleasantly surprised just how fast the narrative moves. I am most definitely on pins and needles waiting for next Sunday’s episode. They left us with one hell of a cliffhanger and I look forward to seeing how the mystery element they introduced plays into the events of the coming season.

While Madam Secretary debuted at very modest ratings (they only scored only a 2.0 share in Households), I am hoping positive buzz about the show will ensure its success. I’d be pretty lost without Elizabeth and Henry. Seriously, I would. The show has made that much of an impact on me already. So just to recap: watch this show!

What did you think of Madam Secretary? Sound off in the comments below.

Mysteries of Laura makes its debut

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The new NBC show Mysteries of Laura opens with a high-speed chase. Laura (the titular character, played by the always stellar Will and Grace alum, Debra Messing) climbs out of her filthy (and I do mean filthy!) car and hurries down the street to catch a nameless criminal. Guns are drawn, chaos ensues, and an earlobe is tragically and gruesomely lost in the debacle. Almost immediately, we get a clear picture of who Laura is – a cynical, lovable mess. She’s an absolute train wreck and that’s what makes the show hard to turn away from. Messing’s character (and her talented co-stars) will no doubt be the draw that brings people back every week to watch a rather predictable (I mean, I knew who the killer was 5 minutes in!), schlocky show.

We soon learn that Laura has twin boys who can only justifiably be called demons (I kid you not, these children are of the devil!); an affable, if misguided ex-husband (played by the super-sexy and delicious Josh Lucas), and a whole host of problems. She is great undercover, has a brilliant mind for crime-solving, and is a devout mother but she’s got issues. Issues that should be fun to explore over the course of the season. Will Laura completely unravel under the pressure of her chaotic life? I admit it; I do look forward to finding out.

To be honest, Mysteries of Laura is far from rocket-science. We’ve seen this cop-show/harried-woman-police-officer formula a hundred times over, but it’s the characters and actors on the show that make it shine. Hopefully, it will be a true success because NBC needs a hit show like this couch potato needs to lose fifty pounds. I kind of doubt that the show will set the world on fire, but at the same time, I am certainly willing to give the show and OCD-Laura another chance. I actually look forward to next week’s episode and seeing what new tragedies will face our crazy, oddly dressed, junk-food loving heroine.

Did you watch the debut of Mysteries of Laura? Please be sure to share your own thoughts about it in the comments below. Thank you!

We’ve returned … For good this time!!

We know, we know. Our last post on this blog was made ages ago (try nearly a year ago!). We got busy, real life intruded, etcetera etcetera. But we’re back, baby, and this time we’re here to stay!

The lineup of new fall shows looks pretty darn amazing this year, doesn’t it? We want to know what you will be watching this fall. Vote in our poll and then feel free to leave us a comment too. Thank you.

P.S. Another, new post (by moi) will be up Friday. I can’t wait to get this site going again.

Trophy Wife – An Overview of the First 3 Episodes

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While I was busy with real life or maybe, just off twiddling my thumbs, Trophy Wife somehow managed to air 3 episodes already. I finally got a chance to watch those episodes today so I’m going to do a review of all of them in one sort of jumbled up post. I will say that I don’t know exactly what I was expecting of the sitcom before I actually watched it, but it wasn’t exactly this…

 

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? AKA, the first episode of Trophy Wife. Truth be told, the first episode was pretty bland – to the point of almost being completely not worth talking about. I’m not even going to lie here. It turns out that all of the sorta funny and charming parts we had already seen because they all played out in the promo. The rest – aka the other seventeen minutes of the pilot – were just so blah! The characters showed little depth (I still don’t know half of their names; they are just that unmemorable!), the pace was slow, and call me crazy, but I don’t find gruesome hamster deaths funny. Like, at all. We were given about a two-second look at Kate and Pete’s courtship (for lack of a better word), and then that was it. I really can’t figure out why he married her – I mean, other than the fact that she’s a gorgeous “piece of real estate”. As for her attraction to him? Well that honestly mystifies me the most. Was she looking for a sugar daddy? A substitute father? Did she just love his eyes? We don’t know! We simply weren’t shown. And going into the third episode, we still know very little about them other than their names and their occupations (he’s a lawyer; she’s a trophy wife, of course – aka jobless). Of course I don’t need to know everything at the starting gate; I don’t need the writers to hit us over the head with a major back-story right away, but come on now – give us something to work with here. Help explain what drew these two pathetic souls together, and what holds them together now. At least tell us if their sex life is good! Lol Just give us a reason to care about them. Please.

 

Okay … Now, at this point, as tempted as I was to just skip right over the next two episodes after that first piss-poor showing, I kept on. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment?! I do know that I liked the majority of the actors already. And I kept thinking it’s going to get better. It just has to get better.

 

And episode 2 was better. Slightly. The writing was a little less contrived anyway and it showcased the immense talents of the little boy who plays Albert aka Bert aka The Bertster. He’s freaking great! In fact, I have heard more than one person say that he’s the sole reason they watch the show (of the few people who actually openly admit to watching this, of course lol) He’s funny, energetic, hyper, clever, and just a joy to watch. He is the show’s official scene stealer-slash-future child Emmy winner, I think.

 

As for the other two kids on the show… Well, much like their parents, they mystify me. Warren seems like a stereotypical big goof and Hilary, she’s just a brat. Speaking of Hilary, they pulled a bait and switch with the actress who played her in episode 1. As in, the first Hilary is finito – as in, off the show! Suddenly Hilary isn’t a cute, willowy blonde but rather a petite brunette played by Bailee Madison. Who is of course in every Disney-related project these days. And who plays exactly the same character in every Disney-related project. I will not actor bash but the change was jarring because I can’t figure out what was wrong with the first Hilary. She didn’t seem so bad, just creatively-unchallenged – much like the other actors in the cast. None of them have exactly gotten a ton of great material to work with. Not even close, to be honest.

 

And now we’re moving on to episode 3. This I decided was to be the ‘make it or break it’ episode. If I didn’t like it, I was not going to ever watch another episode. Well, episode 3 was better than the first two in some ways but there was very little Bert and well, that is just criminal. I guess we did learn a little about Pete. I figured out that he’s a permissive, nice-guy type parent – until Wife #1 Diane tells him how its gunna be. Then he dances to the beat of her drummer. And by contrast, we learned that Diane’s a megalomaniac who “catfishes” to keep her kids in line. Alrighty then…

 

We also saw more of Kate’s friendship with that Meg person. What did I learn about Meg? Oh. That she’s as bland, predictable and cardboard as the whole of the series is thus far. Plus, I realized that she’s played by the same actress who went all Glenn Close-y on Liam in the fifth season of 90210. But I digress… Oh and I also learned that she likes booze. That’s all I got for our friend Meg. But why Kate is friends with her, I haven’t a friggin’ clue. Because I don’t know anything about Kate nor do I care about Kate. She’s the titular character and there’s just nothing about her that draws me in or makes me want to keep coming back for more episodes. I do like Malin Akerman though. I always have (she’s the new, highly improved Cameron Diaz in my mind) but this role of hers is just going nowhere fast. In fact, the whole show is going nowhere fast. I want it to get better. I honestly do. I want it to be amazing because Marcia Gay-Harden, Bradley Whitford, and Malin are faves of mine and because Bert is just so damn great. But it’s not amazing and I am not sure it ever will be amazing. It’s watchable, I guess. I mean, it is a quick half hour distraction from your life that you don’t have to over think… But as a person with a limited amount of free time, I know that I need a fairly good reason to keep tuning in week after week, investing my time and my patience in this show.

 

Now I told you already that episode 3 was the do-or-die episode for me; that I would decide after I watched it if I would ever watch again. Well, sorry but you’re going to have to check back with me next week because I’ve decided after everything to give it yet still one more chance. Seriously, one last chance though. I mean it this time. (Marcia Gay-Harden, I blame your fabulousness for entrapping me into viewing again! Lol)

 

All I can say is that Episode 4 better be off the charts epic or Trophy Wife can just go the way of many other forgettable sitcoms that came before it – into complete oblivion. I am giving the writers one more chance to make me care about these characters and this show in general! ONE CHANCE. Please don’t blow it!

My Realization, AKA The Goldbergs Episode 1×02!

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So I freely admit that I have woefully fallen behind on contributing … well, anything! … to this site as of late. Real life intruded for a bit there, but I am back now and ready to do some TV dishin’! I have lots of episodes to catch up on but I did just watch The Goldbergs ep 1×02 so let’s discuss that one first, shall we? (Yes I am more than a week behind but if you haven’t seen that episode yet; this review is new to you. And if you have seen it, reminisce with me lol Thanks!)

This episode of The Goldbergs was entitled “Daddy Daughter Day”.  The moment I saw the episode title I immediately thought “okay, how badly is Daddy Murray going to seriously eff up this special occasion with Erica?” I had many preconceptions about the episode but I am happy to say that the majority of them were wrong!

You see, being that I am an active consumer of modern-day sitcoms; I know a lot of the trends. The writers of said sitcoms seem to think “the bigger and more contrived we make [the gags], the funnier the audience will find the show and we won’t get cancelled just yet”. So I went into watching this expecting a lot of far-out, contrived and slap-sticky occurrences to happen during or even on the way to Erica and Murray’s special outing. I was truthfully expecting some seriously epic disasters. Anything for a laugh, right?

Admittedly, there were some seriously disastrous moments like Murray going into near-catatonia when Erica went on ad nauseum about her and her best friend Lainie’s wild teenage dramas. And when he forbade Erica to associate with Lainie anymore which we know is, of course, a big no-no for any teen girl, that was a disaster. And it was of course doubly disastrous that he made her so mad while they were roller-skating that Erica rolled away and left her father there, trying to “merge” into skating traffic. Which resulted in him plummeting to the floor, unable to get up.

So yes, those were disasters but they were what I’ll call “natural disasters”. They could easily happen in REAL life and they do! And that’s when I had a serious revelation. Yes, I had an “A-HA!” moment watching a TV comedy! I realized that the reason The Goldbergs is so funny is that it’s generally realistic. The writers take moments that have and do happen and will continue to happen in REAL people’s lives and put them on screen for us to watch in all their awkward glory (utter embarrassment is utter embarrassment in the 80’s and every other decade too!). It’s a highly relatable, as are the characters, and that’s the beauty of it. REAL life is disastrous and awkward too and sometimes you just have to laugh about it or you’ll just cry hysterically. There are no exaggerated stunts or gimmicks on this show designed to try to force a laugh out of you. They don’t drag out the dog and pony show or make a million and one fart jokes to cause you to chuckle. They just amp up reality and the results are hilarious. REAL life, in hindsight, is hilarious. When you’re not crying about the craziness of it all, of course.

Speaking of crying, there was some crying in this episode and again, it felt very realistic here. How many Moms have been in Beverly’s Bedazzler-accented tennis shoes, terribly sad that their kids are just growing up way too darn fast? Beverly had a very human moment in the kitchen where she was all teary eyed and lamenting that with Adam, she feels as if she is having to “say goodbye to a little boy [she] was just getting to know.” And there is Pops (boy, do I love Pops! I want a Grandpa just like him!) to give her some sage advice which forces her to immediately spring into action. She knew then that she had to give her kids growing room. She also knew that she had to give Adam what he wanted for a change. In this case he wanted a really cool back-to-school outfit that his mom had not picked out. (Yeah, I’ve so been there, haven’t you?)

The episode winds up quite nicely with Bev (played to uber-perfection by Wendi McLendon-Covey; once again, I will say she had better get an Emmy for this role!) taking Adam shopping for some “dangerous” designer duds. (She finally agreed to ditch the obnoxious and childish train-appliquéd sweater she had tried to saddle him with earlier in the episode.) She has to literally threaten the store employee who was ready to close the shop into keeping it open long enough that Adam could get some awesome jeans but she got it done. (I want to note here that the sales girl seemed truly terrified of Bev! She even agreed to honor the year-old expired coupon Bev brought with her. We all know it’s a fact that Mama Bears do attack and well, Bev is the ultimate Mama Bear. She would eat her own young before she’d let someone else hurt them! Lol)

And finally, back at the house, Murray and Erica watched an old home video of her as a kid and share a nice moment. A moment that feels authentic and real. (Awkward authenticity is basically the whole framework of this show.) And when Murray starts calling Erica a “Moron” once again, it’s deeply felt and even appreciated.

The Goldbergs has quickly become my favorite new show of the fall season. I will admit that Murray’s yelling does grate on my eardrums and nerves at times and that there are moments I find Adam oddly, highly annoying, but like with true family, sometimes you just have to love them anyway – in spite of their many flaws and hang-ups!