Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Morning Quarterback...

Every Friday morning I do a brief writeup and review of shows I watched the night before, including FlashForward, Fringe, the Office, 30 Rock, Survivor, and Parks and Recreation.  There will be spoilers about what happened, so consider yourself forewarned.

FLASHFORWARD: The Hobbit continues to be a poor choice for a bad guy.  Good thing for the show that I'm convinced he and Simcoe actually had nothing to do with causing the blackout.  (My money is on brilliant Ricky Jay as the bad guy.)  The poker game would have been a perfect opportunity to nerd out on quantum physics, which is all based on probability.  But besides some passing references to quantum suicide, the exchange seemed more about Simon and Llyod's relationship.  Also, I saw the star tattoo twist coming a mile away, and the "Jericho" security contractors seemed a little derivative of...well, Jericho.

FRINGE: Another decent effort in the X-Files tradition.  I liked the twist of the kid being the mind controller -- reminded me of that Twilight Zone episode where Bill Mummy plays that kid with psychic powers.  I'm also pleased when they find a way to weave an X-Files episode into the larger mythology of the show.  I'm guessing the drug was part of Massive Dynamic's attempt to create super soldiers of its own in anticipation of the final battle.  On that note, memo to Nina Sharp: you need a mirror and typewriter to communicate with the mirror reality.

THE OFFICE:  More mixed feelings about this episode.  Oscar doing an awful southern accent was one of the true laugh-out-loud moments of the season, and I think Andy awkward courtship of Erin is adorable.  But Michael was back to being mindlessly stupid, even if he was vindicated by the end of the episode.  Ordinarily, I like it when the writers switch things up by making Michael look stupid, then reveal him to be right.  Think of Michael's commercial for Dunder Mifflin.  But the payoff really has to be genius, and I didn't quite buy Jim's change of heart regarding the game.

30 ROCK: This episode started slowly, but picked up steam by the end.  Many of the best episodes deal with Jack and Lemon's (aka Lesbian Yellow Sourfruit) platonic love affair, and this was no exception.  Kenneth became a tad overexposed in the last season or two, but his psychological ploy to get Cheyenne Jackson's character (does he have a name besides "robot guy"?) to pronounce "about" like an American was hilarious.  Padma Lakshmi was a little wooden but pleasantly self deprecating.  Her "invention" of the sandwich bag hilariously evoked the rampant product placement of the Glad family of products on Top Chef.

  Last week, I suggested that Russell might be the best manipulator since Johnny Fairplay.  After finding a second immunity idol -- with no clues! -- and engineering yet another blindside, I'm prepared to say Russell is better.  How he managed to swing a 7-4 disadvantage into a 5-5 balance of power is beyond me, but it's been a thrilling pleasure to watch.  If Russell wins it all, he may well merit the title of best Survivor ever.

PARKS AND RECREATION: I think the writers probably assumed that Tom Haverford would become the star of the show.  As I mentioned last week, however, I think the funniest character on the show is Ron. His storyline involving the orgasmic shoe shine was at once hilarious and disturbing.  Andy's reaction ("What the f**k was that?!") was perfect, too. I also enjoy the way supporting characters like Jerry and Donna are starting to develop.  More of them, and less of Audrey the intern, please.

As always, you're welcome to post anonymously, but please identify yourself somehow, so I can distinguish between anonymous posters. Thanks!


Greg Tramel said...

i was intrigued by the QED stuff on FF

i was thoroughly entertained by Fringe even though Nina forgot to go old school with a typewriter and mirror

didn't watch any of the others, i may catch The Office online

hey, you didn't review It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and they did a shout out to you last night by using the word whackadoo!

Bigmouth said...

Greg: Too many shows, not enough time, especially with work and the Niners on tv. I think QED is a reference to Quantum Electrodynamics and Feynman's famous diagram depicting a particle traveling backwards in time. That is to say, a time travel reference.

Bigmouth said...

Updated with reviews of 30 Rock, Survivor, and Parks and Recreation.

Capcom said...

Heheh, I agree about the Jericho thing.

I'm finally liking these stand-alone eps on Fringe more as time passes and I forget about The Pattern that was the impetous for the whole show in the first place. At least in the end we got somewhat of a tie-in overall. How does Nina communicate with Bell over the electron ether? And yes, super-soldiers, but I suppose the X-Files didn't invent them. Although I wish that the X-Files never used them at all.

Do these kid-soldiers link somehow to the row of sleeping "clones" that we saw in the second or third ep? I'm still waiting to find out what all that meant in the end of that episode.

Bigmouth said...

Capcom: Someone pointed out on imdb that Nina calls it the "Penrose Project" and "Penrose" was the name of the accelerated growth specialist in S1E2. So I think there is indeed a connection -- good catch!

Greg Tramel said...

you are correct sir & mam

more than one of everything

Dakota said...

I didn't watch the first season of Parks and Recreation, but what I have seen this season has been great. The Office was just meh for me, I just wonder how much longer they will milk that show for.

I have the latest Flashforward on my DVR, but absolutely no desire to watch it. Even with last weeks suicide being the first act to really challenge their perceived 'fates', the show has lost me. I would feel differently if the show had instead focused on Demetris thinking he is doomed than Marks drinking and marital problems. I really wanted to get into this show too.

Capcom said...

Aha ! Right, Penrose. I never can remember names so I didn't catch that part, thanks Big and Greg. I sure hope that Peter isn't one of those "things" but I was sure that he would finally say to Walter this week to stop telling him about things that he has no memory of. I'll hold with my theory that this healthy Pete got nabbed from the other dimension when Walter's first Peter got sick and possibly died. I'm sure that I'm wrong, but what the heck.

Dakota, try watching last week's FF, I thought that it was somewhat better. I know a lot of people don't agree with me, but try watching it and see.

I really enjoyed The Prisoner tonight, it has a great feel to it. Kind of reminded me of Wild Palms, which is bizarre because I can't even remember what that series was about, just the ambience.

Thunderstorm said...

I enjoyed The Prisoner quite a bit.
Looking forward to the next installment.

In terms of the other shows, The Office is still hit and miss, Flashforward is still treading water, and Fringe is still sort of 'cute'. 30 Rock was a little sub-par for me this week.

Capcom said...

I was really relieved that The Prisoner had a fairly unique look to it. I am sooooo tired of the dark, gloomy, dirty metal look in SciFi since the 90s, and of course The Island Thing is very occupied at the moment. A vast open desert was a nice change of TV pace, IMO.

Capcom said...

P.S. The Prisoner was filmed at this resort:

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey, gang. I didn't enjoy FF any more or less than the other episodes, and thought the poker game ate up a lot of time. I agree with Big that it helped to show the relationship between the two guys whose names I don't even try to remember. What aggravates me most is the fact that everyone used to be all, crap, things can't change, and now they are, yippee, they can after all! Is this show a sort of analogue on real life, that most people think that they can do nothing to change their lives, marriages, jobs, and the like? Otherwise, the way the characters act in this show is insane, plus I thought the suicide should have meant more than the way it was presented. The guy's dead and in the first minutes of the next episode, the letter to Celia is being read, then released to the media, evidently, as we see the headline in a newsbox. As with the star tattoos Big mentioned, things are way too compacted and telegraphed on FF.

I still enjoy THE OFFICE, that's my dinner show, and I'll stick around for 30 ROCK. I think the Andy/Erin thing keeps it fun, and Oscar has always been one of my favorite characters. I think Jim joining in at the end was a show of him realizing he is co-manager of the branch. Remember a few years back when he cringed at the camera after Michael told him "you remind me of myself when I started here ten years ago"? And, yes, the paper commercial was brilliant, one of my favorites. It was actually a commercial that would make me want to buy a product.

Greg Tramel said...

Capcom, i think your right about Fringe Peter in that Walter pulled him from the other universe because Peter from the "primary" universe is dead and buried

actually i preferred Wild Palms and the original Prisoner so far over this the new Prisoner (it dragged or something and did not get going until the 2nd hour) but like i said before i STILL like FF so what do i know

i'm working tonight so i won't get to see Prisoner part 2 tonight but i figure it will be online

i don't have a DVR, i know, i know, i'm living in the dark ages

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Greg, I don't have a DVR. I can't afford one for right now. I'm thinking Christmas sales. I actually didn't own a CD player until I realized my then 9 yr old niece (who is 17 now) owned one. But I still have most of my cassettes as the CD player is likely one of the last that plays them. As an alternative to a DVR, I really do recommend Hulu. Big, have you ever checked it out and might add a recommendation. In some cases, like with V, you can watch it the day before. Seriously, Greg, Free and with a ton less commercials, three minutes for an hour-long show.

Greg Tramel said...

yes, i watch stuff on HULU and other places when they don't have it

these days i think It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (on HULU) and Curb Your Enthusiasm are funnier than The Office and 30 Rock

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Greg Tramel said...

Wayne, i really enjoyed the FF poker dialogue

Simon: "Some entrepreneurial huckster's attempt to sell us on the idea that the odds of the future happening can be "calculated." It's all rubbish. Fate is fate."

Lloyd "What about free will?"

Simon "No such thing."

Lllyod: "Oh, since when did you become such a hard determinist?"

Simon: "Simple quantum suicide theory."

Simon: "QED"

Simon: We're scientists, Lloyd, not attention-seekingreality show contestants looking for their 15 minutes of fame on a talk show."

Lloyd: "Okay, so you sleep with Cabrini's wife,and you call it electromagnetism. You fire your assistant and blame it on Darwin."

Greg Tramel said...

maybe Lost should have been a little higher
Best TV Series

Greg Tramel said...

"Fox will also send out street teams dressed as the observer (dark suits, bald heads, carrying briefcases) to various spots in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Boston and Chicago. The characters will pass out Tabasco sauce (a nod to the fact that "Fringe's" observers like spicy food)."

"Be sure to keep your eye out (and your camera ready.) Please send us
an email if you live in any of these areas and would like to see the Observer in person, or to report any Observer sightings you may find."

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Greg, I thought the poker dialogue was great. Maybe its just the way I see he show, overly dramatic in many ways, to the point that they have lost opportunities. The suicide being one (lost op.), in that it seemed swept under the rug.

One thing I do find interesting, if they follow it up right, is that there are some people who had visions that could be almost pre-determined, an example being Celia's being in the car crash. I can see that. And Dimitri knows he will be dead before the blackouts because of the Cantonese woman, he could wear Kevlar but die of food poisoning on the day in question.

The drinking, the other man, the baptism/drowning, that all seems to me that no one tries to change the future because they aren't strong enough. Is that kind of what quantum suicide means?

But getting back to the poker scene, I just saw too much tension that was forced. Darn it all, I still enjoy the show.

Thx for the other links, Greg. Bask in the love down in Houston, I'm heading out to the readings now and its 37 degrees.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Also, if Big thinks neither poker player is the blackout instigator, will that mean we will get another blackout that leads to S2?

Greg Tramel said...

FF- here's more info on Quantum suicide and immortality

Greg Tramel said...

i have NO idea where they will try to go with season 2, maybe FF should have been a miniseries instead

i suspect Loyd and Simon were academic colleagues at Stanford and feel their quantum theories may have had something somewhat indirectly to do with the GBO but at the same time i suspect Stanford like other Universities have defense contracts and could easily have a contract with the aerospace company in El Segundo, California where the rings were manufactured

but it does seem like it is a another completely different group that took possession of the rings with no Stanford connections nor the aerospace company and therefor this rogue group may be directly responsible for the GBO

but in he end are they all culpable in causing the GBO even if they weren't the ones that pushed the button?

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

As long as FF doesn't turn into HEROES for S2, I'm good with it.

Greg Tramel said...

the picture in the middle reminds me of The Observer