October 2011 Archives
Probably because I grew up devouring every "Choose Your Own Adventure" book in existence, I've always had a deep affection for stories that juggle multiple "What if?" timelines. Sliding Doors? Back to the Future Part II? Run Lola Run? The ending(s) of Wayne's World? Love 'em all. (The only one I can't abide by is The Butterfly Effect. The Kutcher factor torpedoes that one from the get-go.) So really, there was little chance of me not enjoying "Remedial Chaos Theory," Community's take on this peculiar genre. And I thought the episode delivered -- each of the six (seven if you count the primary reality) timelines had its own distinct mood, jokes and set of consequences. (Best of all? None of them featured a surprise appearance by Chang.) But which timeline was the absolute best? Read on.
This is exactly why I've been holding out and grading so harshly these past few weeks: "Pawnee Rangers" nailed every single character -- I even laughed at Ann's dialogue! Instead of literally giving every single Pawnee resident an A, let's switch things up with a Parks and Recreation badge ceremony.
The CW's Freshman orientation is over. Did you grab a tote bag?
In this week's arbitrary Modern Family prizes that I make up just for giggles, I thought it'd be fun to play Dr. Phil (Dunphy, obviously) and write prescriptions for each character for their performance in last night's "Hit and Run." I will do my best not to punch anyone in the face while I do so, but no promises.
The second episode of American Horror Story was a far more subdued outing than last week's controversial pilot, which was both good and bad. Good, because it showed that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk can rein in their flair for excess when they want to. Haunted house stories tend to work best when they're played in a more minor key (although a gonzo classic like the Japanese cult oddity House can also be a blast to watch) and "Home Invasion" -- directed by regular Murphy collaborator Alfonso Gomez-Rejon -- did a nice job emphasizing smaller scares over the bigger (and more ridiculous) gotcha moments on display in the premiere. (We were also happy to see Kate Mara get some work as Dylan McDermott's ex-fling. Made us remember that Rooney isn't the only talented one in that family.) At the same time though, those bigger, more ridiculous gotcha moments were also the ones that generated the most passionate viewer response, both positive and negative. Love it or hate it, the American Horror Story pilot certainly wasn't boring. Episode 2, on the other hand? Kinda dull. Still, we were able to scare up the following freaky and funny moments.
It was really easy to blow off Season 1 of Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. Yeah, we recapped it and everything, but most of the world either tore it a new a-hole or completely ignored it because of its premise and/or its execution. Or maybe it's because many Bravo fans want to watch rich housewives pull out each other's weaves and cheftestants douse everything in liquid nitrogen without having to ponder what it all actually means, or because the average critic has little patience for ridiculous reality TV drama. I do think I'd be giving Work of Art too much credit if I said that it revolutionized or even challenged anything about the way we watch TV, but I will say that it's an underrated series and that I'm happy that it's back for a second season. In fact, I'd argue that this is one of Bravo's best shows, and we definitely saw glimpses of that on last night's premiere. Here's how:
More work for former Panthers!
Are you part of the age group that only knows Tim Allen as the voice of Buzz Lightyear? Has the name Jonathan Taylor Thomas never sent you into a screaming frenzy? Then you are probably too young to remember a little show called Home Improvement. For you and you alone, Allen's new series Last Man Standing might seem like an original and entertaining idea. But for those who witnessed people treating JTT like that generation's Bieber and saw Pam Anderson get her start as a Tool Time girl, this program will seem oddly familiar. Mostly because it is almost exactly that show, with just a few minor changes. Now, there's "the Internet," kids!
It's more Cowell, less Deschanel at Fox this month.
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