<p>Natalie of 'Big Brother'</p>

Natalie of 'Big Brother'

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday: An indecent proposal

In which Natalie proves an insufferable Queen Bee, Pandora's Box opens again and two more hamsters go on the block

I'm just warning you up front; I'm not entirely sure I can make it through tonight's episode. Natalie as HOH? Jeff gone? What the hell? Come on, Big Brother, throw us a lifeline, some kind of Coup D'Etat or maybe a heat-seeking missile that only targets semi-delusional shrieking harpies. But hey, maybe ol' She Who Talks Big But Never Wins isn't so delusional after all, because when it counted she managed to pull it out and win HOH. That doesn't make me despise her any less, but whatever.

[Full recap of Sunday (Sept. 6) night's "Big Brother" after the break...]

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<p>Epperson of 'Project Runway'</p>

Epperson of 'Project Runway'

Credit: Lifetime

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'Rumble on the Runway'

Qristyl and Epperson brawl and the judges make a shocking decision

Oh no. This week is team designing, which means “Project Runway” is going to venture into “Blind Date” meets “Jon and Kate Plus 8” territory, in that I'm sure there's going to be no kissing, lots of fighting, pointed insults, a general level of bitchiness and simmering resentment and possibly a tantrum or two. Thank God there are no kids involved. 

[Full recap of Thursday (Sept. 3) night's "Project Runway" after the break.]

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<p>Jeff and Jordan of 'Big Brother'</p>

Jeff and Jordan of 'Big Brother'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday: Splitting up a happy couple

In which Jordan and Jeff part, Natalie keeps her word and a new HoH is crowned

7:59 p.m. ET Thursday (Sept. 3) night's "Big Brother" has yet to begin, but I'm already feeling dread at the inevitable separation of Jeff and Jordan. I'm not sure how she'd live without him and I'm not sure I much care how he'd live without her. It's always tragic when showmances come to an end. Well, maybe not "tragic." Or even really "sad." But it's definitely a reason to tune in.

[Full minute-by-minute recap, with spoilers, after the break...]

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<p>Michele of 'Big Brother'</p>

Michele of 'Big Brother'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Tuesday: Mystery Twist and Power of Veto

In which Kevin gets stuck, Natalie gets annoying and Michele gets smart

Oooooh, it's time for the mystery twist! I can only hope the twist is as game changing as the Coup D'Etat, which succeeded in putting Jeff in the lead and making Chima go all hella lotta crazy (quite a twofer, even by reality TV standards). But I fear it may be one of those B.S. twists along the lines of, hey, no more organic vegetables in the kitchen or heads up, hamsters, the jacuzzi is on the fritz. But Big Brother has been delivering the crazy-making goods thus far, so maybe I just need to have a little faith.

[Full recap of Tuesday (Sept. 1) night's "Big Brother," complete with Mystery Twist and Power of Veto spoilers, after the break...]

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<p>Alexander Skarsg&aring;rd of 'True Blood'</p>

Alexander Skarsgård of 'True Blood'

Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Frenzy'

Bill gets answers from the Vampire Queen, Tara gets restless and Eric shares his feelings about children

 

It's gettin' close to the finale of this season of "True Blood," and we all know what that means! Someone. Will. Die.

If Vampire Bill has his way, that someone will be Maryann, she of the succulent blood pies. But he needs advice. So Vampire Bill has traveled to see the Vampire Queen of the, um, area. She is quite literally long in the tooth. When Bill arrives, she's kinda busy chewing on another lady. But the Vampire Queen, she is a just and fair queen, and she eventually makes some time to see her subject. Bill fills in the Queen on the maenad situation, while the Queen reads an old Vogue magazine. The Queen explains that Maryann and her good times cannot be killed. But here's a sort of reveal: Maryann was likely once a human. 

[More shocking revelations from Sunday (Aug. 30) night's "True Blood" after the break...]

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<p>Christina Hendricks of 'Mad Men'</p>

Christina Hendricks of 'Mad Men'

Credit: AMC

Recap: 'Mad Men" -- 'My Old Kentucky Home'

Sterling Cooper employees find themselves working overtime in a variety of ways and Roger hosts a garden party

 

Were "Mad Men" set in the 1980s and not the 1960s, I'd be tempted to make a "working for the weekend" joke at some point in this recap. Tonight's episode, the third of the young season, focused on several scenarios in which various people in Sterling Cooper's employ were forced to work overtime while officially off the clock. It also set the scene for the impending generational divide that will only become more pronounced as the season and series progress. 

[Full recap of Sunday's (Aug. 30) "Mad Men" after the break...]

At one point in tonight's episode, Paul Kinsey quoted the end of T.S. Eliot's famous poem, "The Hollow Men": "This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper." The world didn't end with a bang nor a whimper in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it's clear that the events from last season's finale still casts quite a shadow over the lives of these characters. And yet, the world stubbornly moved on after the stand-down, leaving these people to exist under an ever-growing sense of apocalyptic doom. Instead of feeling elation over their survival, they instead live with one eye constantly surveying the landscape, and react to uncertainty in various ways. They lung at any type of happiness, desperately grasp onto to any semblance of the past, or burst forth to create some new type of landscape that can survive the oncoming onslaught. In honor of the book Gene Hofstadt makes Sally read to him, let's call it "The Decline and Fall of the Old America."

Take Sterling's horrific blackface performance of "My Old Kentucky Home," the song which gave this episode its title. Garish? Yes. Racist? Beyond question. But it's also a kind of statement on Sterling's part, a futile one in which the world in which he was raised somehow can continue at this point in time. One can look at his marriage to Jane as not merely a mid-life crisis but a sad attempt to stave off mortality itself. Contrast that performance with Pete Campbell's dance-as-audition, using moves familiar to Sterling's generation not to entertain his wife but in order to claim sole possession of Head of Accounts. He undoubtedly learned those moves from a generation he loathes, but isn't afraid to use those moves in order to get ahead. He's OK with killing their generation with flattery. (And Harry Crane's wife is killing herself for marrying a man with so little game.)

Speaking of flattery, Betty Draper certainly didn't shy away from the dotage bestowed by a member of the NYC Mayor's office while waiting for Pete's wife to emerge from the powder room. With Don itching to escape at any given moment, it's Betty who not only insists they attend in the first place but keeps them there until almost everyone else has left. But she's not in love so much with the attention from Francis as she is intoxicated by the atmosphere generated by Sterling's country club. A handsome stranger touching her pregnant belly is a byproduct not of a woman jealous of her husband's past indiscretions, but a woman longing for a time and place that probably never existed.

We've previously seen Betty's attachment to her childhood home. She idealizes that abode to the point of fetishism; as her brother pointed out last week, she subconsciously omits the years spent fighting with her father in that house. But just as Roger longs for the quote-unquote "good ol' days" as evidenced by his performance, so too does Betty long for a time in which a posh country club could feed the fantastic lie that life as a whole was somehow alright. For a price, you could purchase happiness as well as immortality. Too bad Jane's drunken confession that she knew about Betty's supposedly secret separation punctured that illusion by night's end.

Behind the scenes, however, the façade fails. In perhaps the stand-out scene of the episode, Don mixes drinks while conversing with a man escaping a wedding being held simultaneously in another part of the country club. This man, Connie, describes the wedding as a "match made in the board room," and the two bond over their lot trapped at work events posing as social functions. Connie also wistfully points out that as a penniless child, he enjoyed looking at a nearby mansion in much the way Betty views her childhood home. However, he enjoys the view inside the mansion looking out to be much less agreeable. It's a conversation that's met with understanding by Don. Pete Campbell would have undoubtedly not understood it at all.

With all this going on amongst the senior level players at Sterling Cooper, the lower rungs on the ladder did not escape their fair share of extra off-the-books labor. Due to a last-minute request from Bacardi, the creative team had to stay all weekend to pitch five new ideas. Kinsey and Smitty took this opportunity to smoke dope under the excuse of "inspiration." Peggy took that opportunity in order to more fully ingratiate herself into the male-centric office with a quote that I hope will someday be featured on dance remixes: "I'm Peggy Olson, and I want to smoke some marijuana."

What followed was unfortunately stereotypical drug banter, the type of obvious dialogue that the show usually so masterfully avoids. However, I am curious as to whether of not Peggy's final "I am woman!" speech to her overprotective secretary was supposed to be triumphant or hopelessly delusional. The show is obviously striving to show her trying to come out from the doormat under which she lived for most of Season 2; let's wait and see if she's flying high or pulling a modern-day Icarus. 

While Peggy achieved a new level of consciousness, Joan suffered a new level of indignation while hosting a dinner party for her husband's coworkers. Looks like Greg isn't exactly the most well-respected surgeon in his hospital, with his mistakes vaguely alluded to by his colleagues to an unsuspecting Joan. As such, his constant degrading of his wife seems a by-product over his own shortcomings at work. Not the most original character motivation, but at least the show finally gave him one.  

But just to ensure the party didn't linger on his less-than-reliable hands, he turned his wife into a prop, strapping an accordion around her and all but shouted, "Dance, monkey, dance!" While Joan performed enchantingly, she shot daggers with her eyes at the man she more than likely regrets marrying. Had she attended the garden party, she might loathe her station less. But Jane's earlier appearance in the office only served to remind her of the road not taken. 

Threaded all through these various Sterling Cooper-centric stories lay the most problematic one of all: Gene Hofstadt and the Case of the Missing Five Dollars. I will admit to spending most of my time during these scenes praying that Gene didn't one-up Sterling's racist performance or straight-up strike his grand-daughter. Were Sally's theft a way to try and keep her father in the house, I would get her actions. But "kids sometimes just steal" isn't dramatically interesting in the least. As such, I experience of mixture of horror and utter boredom during these scenes. Not the best combo. I understand that Gene's presence is meant to disturb as much as depress, but I'm hoping his presence inside the Drapers' household is short-lived. In a show in which silences say much more than anything verbalized, it's jarring to insert this much shouting into the mix.  

In short, the good outweighed the bad, but there was plenty of both to be found. Sterling's continuing self-destructive behavior in the wake of his firm's sale continued to fascinate. Pete's literal nimble footwork to secure his promotion delighted. Don's conversation with a kindred soul was beautifully written and gorgeously played. But Peggy's ham-fisted dialogue and Sally's kleptomania failed to reach the show's usual heights. Hopefully next week's episode will find more elegant ways to have these characters try and maintain their balance while the world shifts under their feet. 

 

Thoughts on the "My Old Kentucky Home" episode of "Mad Men"?

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<p>Jeff of 'Big Brother'</p>

Jeff of 'Big Brother'

Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday: Cry, Baby, Cry

In which a new HoH is crowned, we learn about Jeff's perfect woman and everybody cries

So, it's time to see who wins the delicious graham cracker and hot chocolate HOH competition, which makes me totally hungry and nervous at the same time. With Jeff forced to sit on the sidelines, I don't have a good feeling about who's landing in the luxury digs this week, and you know what that means – the target is going to be firmly placed on Jeff's muscular back. But I'm getting ahead of myself. It's time to watch the sugary, chocolate-y goodness.

[Full recap of Sunday (Aug. 30) night's "Big Brother" after the break...]

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<p>Michelle is on the cusp of elimination for the second straight week on "Project Runway."</p>

Michelle is on the cusp of elimination for the second straight week on "Project Runway."

Credit: Weinstein Company

Recap: 'Project Runway' - Mitchell's mom shorts vs. Malvin's eggs, who loses?

Rebecca Romijn is the guest judge for this pregnancy themed edition

 

Do you ever think Heidi Klum missed her calling as the dictator of a very small fascistic country, someplace that has exceptionally clean streets but canes citizens for chewing gum, perhaps? Maybe we should all just be happy she’s on “Project Runway,” where she’s less likely to hurt someone. Not that I don’t love her. I don’t know what that says about me, but I suspect it’s not good.

Everyone is recovering from last week’s elimination. Mitchell’s glad he didn’t take a bullet, and I’m glad he didn’t, too. Althea is shocked that Ari is gone, shocked, I tell you. Because... people don’t get eliminated on this show?

Oh, you know how this week’s challenge is for everyone to create a non-whale like outfit for a pregnant supermodel? I was kind of thinking it was Heidi, even though I think this was filmed so long ago that her fourth baby wasn’t even a glimmer in Seal’s eye, but in fact Heidi reveals that hugely pregnant Rebecca Romijn will be the lucky model for their pregnancy fashions. What, she’s too good for Pea in the Pod?

Anyway, everyone hustles over to FIDM to play with their pregnancy pads. Now, I know Christopher won the last challenge and he’s a natural born genius or something, but he has a tendency to say things that make me think he not only needed a design school education, but maybe something past fifth grade, because he actually points to one of these pads and asks, kid you not, “Is this where the baby goes?” and I’m thinking he just means where it goes on the mannequin but I’m not entirely sure. He also wears potholder on his head during the diary cam interview, and I just don’t know what to think.

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<p>Natalie of 'Big Brother 11'</p>

Natalie of 'Big Brother 11'

Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday: More muscle hustles home

In which we visit the Jury House, Jordan gets hungry and another twist is coming

Ever notice that the studio audience for BB always looks REALLY happy? And maybe a little bloodthirsty? That's particularly disturbing tonight, as Thursday is always Live Eviction Night, which is really only one step removed from Live Execution Night and I'm telling you right now, it's only a matter of time before we start seeing those in prime time. Just saying. Until then, whoo hoo, a head is gonna roll tonight! And possibly a big, bald, baby head at that! Of course, judging from the promo leading into the show, it may not just be Russell's noggin, as Jordan went all gangsta and chest-butted him, but as I hadn't heard any rumors of her unfortunate demise, maybe she survived after all. 

[Full recap of Thursday's (Aug. 27) "Big Brother," with spoilers, after the break...]

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<p>Kevin of 'Big Brother'</p>

Kevin of 'Big Brother'

Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Tuesday: The Power of Veto is weilded

In which Jeff and Jordan have a non-lovers quarrel, Kevin discusses his sexuality and somebody new goes on the block

"I was impressed when I made a Lego castle. With directions." Jeff's little "Wow, am I a dumbass" confession from Sunday's episode is our intro into this one, and I'm really hoping the editors chose it because it's funny and it's easy to make fun of hot people and not because Jeff is, indeed, a little slow. Because this week, as HOH, he's got to use that little pea brain of his if he wants to make it to the final four. But even I couldn't tell him who he can trust in this house, except for Jordan, so maybe being a little dense is no big deal – as long as you're street smart or good at reading eyebrows or something.

[Full recap of Tuesday (Aug. 25) night's "Big Brother" after the break...]

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