<p>&nbsp;Ellenore of 'So You Think You Can Dance'</p>

 Ellenore of 'So You Think You Can Dance'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'So You Think You Can Dance' - Week 5 - Eliminations

Even killer solos can’t save one dancer from a lousy hip-hop

Ah yes, my dysfunctional relationship with “SYTYCD” continues. I know in my heart that Mollee and Nathan aren’t going home tonight, that two dancers who don’t suck anywhere near as much will, but still I watch. All FOX needs to do to cap this off is take me out to dinner, stick me with the bill and hotwire my car before abandoning me in a rough part of town with twenty-five cents in pennies and some valuable electronics. I’m warning you, FOX, I just may break it off and you will miss me when I’m gone! And don’t think I won’t get a restraining order, you jerk!

[Full recap of Wednesday (Nov. 25) night's "So You Think You Can Dance," complete with results, after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Ashleigh of 'So You Think You Can Dance'</p>

 Ashleigh of 'So You Think You Can Dance'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'So You Think You Can Dance' - Week 5 - Top 12 Performances

The bar is raised with the best dancing of the season -- but what's up with that can-can?


I am starting to hate “SYTYCD” a little. The pernicious presence of Mollee and Nathan for reasons that, I think, have everything to do with ratings and not a whole hella lot to do with competence, just depresses the hell out of me. It’s the kind of fix you expect to see in the workplace or in college, but must I now lose faith in merit-based reality television competitions? The next thing you know someone will tell me Andre Agassi’s hair wasn’t real or Adam Lambert is gay. Really, it’s just too much to bear.
In any case, let’s just cut right to the dancing. Cat’s dress is perfectly respectable and not the least bit tableclothy, our judges are back with no sign of Paula Abdul and really, we’ve got a lot of dancing to squeeze into two hours, so there’s no time to waste.
Ryan and Ellenore
Style: Lindy Hop
Choreographer: Carla Heiney
So, this week’s time waster focuses on the dancers, who will be picking partners out of a hat next week, explaining what they’ll miss about their current partners. Ellenore will miss being with Ryan because he’s a perfectionist. Ryan is going to miss her quirky personality. Aww, shucks. I’m really hoping someone says, “Good riddance! Glad to be rid of that talentless dead weight!” but, as Mollee and Nathan are dancing with one another, that isn’t likely to happen.
Oh ma God, are they dancing to an old Victrola record or what? This song is hateful. This routine is pretty adorable and so are Ryan and Ellenore, but in a few cases they seem out of step, which may cost them. Still, they’re certainly bringing the fun. Even if they’re dancing to The World’s Worst Dance Song Ever.
Lucky for them, the judges don’t seem to mind that they screwed up a little. Adam thought they were cute as all get out, which they were. Apparently Ryan hurt his back this week, so that made it all the more impressive. Mary thought it was tremendous and she’s thrilled the Lindy Hop is back on the show. Nigel thought it was terrible... that this was the first time the Lindy Hop was on this season. He thinks Ryan brought bounce. So, a big thumbs up from the judges.
Legacy and Kathryn
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sonya Tayek
Legacy is going to miss Kathryn because she apparently taught him how to stretch, which is quite a useful skill to have, really. Especially if you’re a DANCER. Jeez, Legacy, didn’t you take P.E. as a kid or anything? Kathryn will miss Legacy’s insistence on getting into character. Which makes me wonder if he dragged her around by her hair while shouting “I’m an admiral, dammit!” for the paso doble, but I guess not.
When this competition started out, I thought Kathryn and Legacy were doomed. But ever since that paso doble, they’ve been one of the teams to beat and they seemingly no longer have money in the budget to give Legacy a shirt. But hey, if his abs keep them in the competition, so be it. Hats off to Sonya for giving Legacy a few hip-hop moments in this, because it only serves to remind us that, oh yeah, he’s not classically trained and yet he’s still kicking ass. And Kathryn showed some fire and personality, so I guess I have to chalk up that one wooden doll performance a few weeks back to nerves.
Adam thinks they could go all the way to the end if they keep dancing like this. Mary was blown away by the crab walks, to which I say hell, yeah. Nigel thought Kathryn was super sexy and it might be his favorite routine of the season.
Karen and Victor
Style: Tango
Choreographers: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Well, these two are working together for the first time, so they can’t exactly reminisce. Victor hopes Karen can drag him onto the hot tamale train, while Karen likes the fact she can speak Spanish to Victor. Hey, they didn’t have a lot to go on.
Okay, the black costumes are cool, but it makes it hard to see these guys against a black backdrop. But I will say, this is hot... if you only watch Karen. Victor looks good until you see his expression and for the first half of the routine, I swear he was counting in his head. But I think he’ll benefit from the fact that no one usually looks at whoever Karen’s dancing with anyway.
Adam likes this partnership. He thought the chemistry was hot, which says to me he wasn’t watching Victor. Mary thought Victor’s lines were great, but she puts Karen on the hot tamale train by herself. Nigel tells Victor he’s doing a Donald Duck swayback walk, but otherwise he was great. He tells Karen she’s like Shakira and Madonna, in that you can’t take your eyes away from her, not that she sings like a howler monkey.
Mollee and Nathan
Style: Hip Hop
Choreographer: Jamal Sims
Nathan will miss Mollee’s annoying giggle. Mollee is going to miss Nathan’s weird noises, even though they’re annoying. Pot, meet kettle. You’re a perfect couple.
Oh my, their dance is about Alexander Graham Bell creating the telephone. That sounds sucky, doesn’t it? And it is! Basically, we have another routine where Mollee and Nathan run around. Not dancing so much, but running around the stage to make us think they’re dancing. Unfortunately, they do start to dance at some point, and, while Nathan is considerably better at hip hop than Mollee, she’s so God awful I’m pretty sure she brings his performance down a peg just by being near her. She’s completely rigid – she doesn’t bust a move so much as bend it gently. Awful is too kind a word, really.
Weirdly, the judges saw a performance that didn’t suck half as much as the one I saw. I really think they fear giving them a slam because little tween groupies will find them and kill them in their sleep. Adam says he thought they really sold it, but he could see the stress on Mollee. Mary says it got better as it went along, but enjoyed it. Nigel thinks they’re really good dancers but will be happy to see them partnered with more mature dancers, as he thought it seemed like Dolly Dinkle’s regional hip hop class 101. Adam thinks the shake-up in their partnership will do them good. I agree, because I think it will send them home.
Russell and Noelle
Style: Samba
Choreographers: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Noelle will miss Russell’s laid back personality. Russell will miss her hugging. They’re so nice and so sweet. Ergo, this samba is going to suck.
Noelle looks like she’s having a great time... on a Disney parade float. She looks elegant and refined, and the samba, not so elegant and refined. But jeez, she is wearing a sequined bikini. You can almost feel the waves of embarrassment. I half expected her to stop the show and wave at the camera, mouthing “Sorry, Mom! They made me wear this!” Russell, also being sweet and nice, is unfortunately well behaved as well. Too bad, because, really, they’re good dancers. And, you know, super duper nice.
Adam thinks it was, ahem, too nice. Mary agrees, adding that there wasn’t enough bounce and lowering of the knee, but she loved the performance level. Still, she was disappointed. Nigel needed more sex from Noelle and needed a little more forward lean on Russell’s samba roll. He pretty much says hey, you guys are going to be in the bottom three, sorry, and I can’t disagree with him.
Ashleigh and Jakob
Style: Lyrical jazz
Choreographers: Sonya Tayek
Ashleigh will miss her friendship with Jakob. Jakob says he’s going to miss her more than he can say. Okay, not the most interesting comments ever, but you can tell these two really like one another as friends, which is sort of touching.
In rehearsals, Ashleigh warns us that she’s fighting ever instinct in her body to be so loose and unstructured, but you know, she pulls it off. There are a few moments where you can see her struggle a little, but you’d never guess this girl is a ballroom dancer.
Adam says it was so beautiful he doesn’t know what to say. And Jakob should never wear those purple pants again. Mary is sad thinking they’ll be broken up next week. She tells Jakob he’s technically amazing and Ashleigh has grown so much she now expects great things from her. Nigel says he takes it back that Sonya’s other routine was his favorite, because this one now is. And he’s also really bummed thinking they’re going to be broken up. I’m sure Ashleigh’s husband loves to hear how great she is with another guy, even if he’s probably not on her team.
Ryan and Ellenore
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Usually Broadway routines just seem odd and out of place on this show – without context, they don’t really wow. But this routine is pretty great and oh ma God, do Ryan and Ellenore sell it. This definitely plays to Ellenore’s inherent quirkiness and Ryan, who usually seems so milquetoast, gives surprisingly good menace. Man, if everyone keeps delivering like this, I have no idea who should go home. Oh, wait, Mollee and Nathan.
Anyway, Adam says it was true Broadway vocabulary and they nailed it. He says Ryan was great but Ellenore was a rock star. Mary thinks Ryan really dug in and delivered the lifts and that Mary is the It Girl. Nigel then asks Ellenore to teach Mary her alien language, which is not a good idea. At all. But he loved the routine and he loved them.
Legacy and Kathryn
Style: Viennese Waltz
Choreographers: Jean-Marc and France Généreux 
Okay, first off? This kind of blows most of the waltzes I’ve seen on this show out of the water. Beautiful routine that makes great use of the stage. And, you know, not boring, which is something. Unfortunately, there’s no disguising that Legacy, well, he ain’t no ballroom dancer. He’s kinda clunky and Clydesdale clompy, but Kathryn looks so good you can almost ignore him if you squint.
Adam notices Legacy is crying, and Legacy gives a little speech about hope and the little train that could or something like that. And then Adam gets weepy. Adam still gives him a knock for his footwork and his shoulders, but said Kathryn was great and he was impressed with the whole thing. Mary thinks they’ll both be okay, even though Legacy’s feet were smacking around the stage. Nigel says it’s impossible to be mean because he’s stolen the hearts of the judges, so he’s turning a blind eye to all the stuff he screwed up. But Kathryn was gorgeous. Still, he’s not sure they’ll be safe tomorrow night.
Karen and Viktor
Style: Hip Hop
Choreographer: Laurieann Gibson
Okay, Viktor might be going home. This is some stinky hip-hop. Karen, as usual, is pretty fierce and has the right attitude, but Viktor is all floppy arms and pointed toes. Plus, they’re out of synch. This is baaaaaad. Like, Mollee and Nathan bad.
Adam says there was a lot of commitment and intensity but it didn’t match the music. But he thought the dancing was great. Uh, okay. Mary thought it was okay, but not memorable. But she loved the tango they did. Nigel wishes they could have ended with the tango, since this didn’t work that well. Karen’s smile looks pasted on, and I think she might smother Viktor with his leather jacket backstage.
Mollee and Nathan
Style: Can-Can
Choreographer: Toasty Oreo
The can-can? What, Russian folk dancing wasn’t available? Toasty says the can-can began as a couples dance. Did it also begin at Disney, because these guys look like they’re supposed to be handing out croissants at the French pavilion of Epcot. I have to admit, this is a good routine for Mollee and Nathan because it’s not so much about dance as it is about endurance and gymnastics. Nathan does do some amazing spins, I will say, but it feels like the kids got thrown a bone on this one – a dance that required no sophistication or nuance, but lots of energy.
Yet again, it’s a big goopy lovefest from the judges. Adam thinks Mollee and Nathan were the right couple to get this routine, because they’re Energizer bunnies. He thought it was really good. Mary thought Mollee did great for someone with a bad ankle, and she loved Nathan’s turns. Nigel thought it had great energy. Everyone’s happy. Except me, I guess. Yay.
Noelle and Russell
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Toasty Oreo
What is it tonight with the bad song choices? This is an intense routine, and the music catches the poignancy of this couple but not the passion. But who cares? Noelle and Russell really nail this – I’ve been a little on the fence about these two, in that they haven’t risen to the top as one of my favorite couples, but this is a gorgeous dance and they both bring a range of emotions to it.. a palette of emotions, if you will. Because it’s about painting and, oh, never mind.
Adam thinks Toasty used his paints (dancers) beautifully, and thinks Noelle and Russell were gorgeous. He doesn’t think they’re going anywhere after that performance. Mary said it was very special for her and thought it flowed beautifully. Nigel thinks they’ve done something memorable. Then Cat tells them to clean up the mess they’ve made on the stage. Which they don’t have to, because there are always production assistants to torture.
Ashleigh and Jakob
Style: Cha-Cha
Choreographers: Jean-Marc and France Généreux 
Okay, they should have a lock on this, as Ashleigh is a ballroom dancer and Jakob can do anything. And they just breeze through this like the drive-thru at McDonald’s. This is just kick ass good. They have to go to the top ten. I know Ashleigh was weepy thinking about breaking away from Jakob, but honestly, I think I may be, too, because they’re just that good together.
Adam says this is Ashleigh’s world and we’re all just visiting, but Jakob made himself appear to be a ballroom dancer. Oh, and they killed it. AND they’re the couple of the night for him. Mary thinks they blew it out of the ballpark, which is a mixed metaphor, but I know what she means. She says Ashleigh shined and Jakob was sharp and really came through for her. Nigel says it was a really good cha-cha and they are waltzing through to the top ten.
So who will be in the bottom three? My guess is Karen and Viktor (though only Viktor screwed up), Mollee and Nathan and, maybe Noelle and Russell, which makes me a little sad. Even though I have every reason to believe that Mollee and Nathan won’t go home unless one of them snaps a femur, hope springs eternal. But yeah, I’m thinking buy-bye Victor and maybe Noelle. TV, like life, just isn’t fair.
Who do you think will be in the bottom three? Are you looking forward to hearing Shakira tomorrow or are you just sick of seeing her everywhere like I am? And do you think they should bring back the can-can? Or is it a can-can’t?



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<p>&nbsp;Morris Chestnut of 'V'</p>

 Morris Chestnut of 'V'

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'V' - 'It's Only the Beginning'

The Visitors open their clinics, Tyler meets Lisa's mom and the Fifth Column grows

Paranoia's a common theme in science fiction, particularly government paranoia. There's a weird, hardcore libertarian faith in a lot of science fiction that insists individuals are better than collectives, that you can't trust the government or mega corporations (OK, that's not so libertarian) or charismatic leaders or anything, really. You can't even trust the futuristic technology that drives a lot of these stories. The only thing you can trust is yourself and maybe, occasionally, a few trusted friends and collaborators. Beyond that, they're out to get you, whether they're in league with the aliens or the robot menace or what-have-you. Even a fundamentally liberal treatise about the power of communities before all else like the "Battlestar Galactica" remake has a deeply conservative love for the military and all its traditions. For whatever reason, science fiction seems to have a fundamental conservative, distrustful streak. And despite my own political views, it's one of the things I like about the genre. Healthy skepticism is a good thing to have, and it's nice to have narratives where that skepticism is warranted.

[Full recap of Tuesday's (Nov. 24) "V" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande'; color: rgb(27, 27, 27); white-space: pre; ">Hayden Panettiere of 'Heroes'</span></p>

 Hayden Panettiere of 'Heroes'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Heroes' - 'Thanksgiving'

As the Bennetts and the Petrellis deal with tense holiday dinners, forces inside the carnival start to question Samuel's leadership.

“Heroes” often gets a bad rap for featuring a roster full of superpowered people that sit around and don’t actually use their incredible abilities. But tonight’s episode, “Thanksgiving,” was almost LITERALLY an hour of superpowered people sitting around doing nothing but talk. If these conversations actually served as a brief pause in the frenetic action of the season, or served to achieve some sort of breakthrough, then perhaps one could excuse this chamber piece of an episode. Alas, the titular holiday did little but grind the already glacial narrative to a halt. 

If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be traveling to multiple places this Thursday. Let’s get some practice in and visit a few tables in the “Heroes” universe, shall we? 

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<p>&nbsp;Larry David of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'</p>

 Larry David of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

Credit: HBO

The 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' finale asks, 'Do you respect wood?'

Would the 'Seinfeld' reunion come together? How about the Larry-Cheryl reunion?
So I'm going to begin this little blogular write-up with two confessions, neither of them embarrassing:
1) This is the first "Curb Your Enthusiasm" season that I've watched live from start to finish. "Curb" is a show I've always enjoyed, but one I've usually set aside at different points in previous seasons. This is the first season that's remained appointment viewing from start to finish, so don't be surprised when it makes my Top 10 for the year.
2) It's surprising that this should be the season I made it through because, as my friends and loved ones know, I never enjoyed "Seinfeld" and this whole season has been built around a "Seinfeld" reunion. And yeah, I said it. I'm the Jew from Back East who didn't like "Seinfeld." Sorry. Even season-completing difficulties not withstanding, I've always preferred "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to "Seinfeld." Someday I'll write a blog post fully explaining that dislike, but it probably won't be tonight.
Anyway, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" wrapped up its seventh and, to my mind, best season on Sunday (Nov. 22) night with an episode fittingly titled "Seinfeld." It wasn't as excruciatingly, uncomfortably funny as the climax of last week's "The Table Read" or as spectacularly crafted as "The Bare Midriff," but it tied the season together in a way that felt pretty perfect.
[More on the "Curb" finale after the break... With spoilers...]
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<p>&nbsp;Sam and Dan of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

 Sam and Dan of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' -- 'We're Not Working with Anybody, Ever, Anymore!'

Delay tactics and stolen cabs have several teams up-in-arms in Prague
Sunday (Nov. 22) night's "The Amazing Race" included a difficult Detour, a ridiculous Roadblock and yet another opportunity to delve into "Amazing Race" ethics. There may well be yet another lecture on "Amazing Race" karma to come, but we'll probably have to wait until next week to see how the fates conspire against several offending teams.
We're down to the Final Four on "The Amazing Race" and on Sunday's episode, three teams in that quartet exhibited behavior that was marginally questionable and, in at least one case, possibly shady. As a result, I may not know which time I'm actively rooting for as the finale approaches -- that's a lie, I'm Team Globetrotter all the way -- but I can tell you which team I'm rooting against.
[Recap of Sunday's "The Amazing Race" after the break...]
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<p>Joseph Gordon-Levitt brought some unexpected upbeat energy to this week's show, but he's not necessarily the funniest guy out there.</p>

Joseph Gordon-Levitt brought some unexpected upbeat energy to this week's show, but he's not necessarily the funniest guy out there.

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday NIght Live' - Joseph Gordon Levitt sings, Al Gore and a sweet 'Reba' digital short

Watch: Andy Samberg and Keenan Thompson give 'SNL" a much needed boost


After a disastrous show with January Jones last week, "SNL" has to turn it around right?  With next week off you'd hope the writer's would save too many of their better bits.  Surprise, surprise the show wasn't that bad tonight (OK, in comparison to previous years or even last year's stellar season), but that's mostly because of the energy of host Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the triumphant return of Andy Samberg and Keenan Thompson.  You were missed gents.  Glad to have you back.

Opening - C-Span Press Conference

We find President Obama (Fred Armisen) and the Chinese Prime Minister (Will Forte) in the middle of a press conference.  After beginning to lecture his host country on human rights, the Prime Minister starts to eat away at Obama by bringing up that $800 billion they loaned us.  He brings up everything from all the money we are spending in the bailout without creating any new jobs, cash for clunkers ("You're not gonna pay us back in clunkers are you?") and whether health care can really save people.

Bizarrely he asks, "Will you kiss me?  I like to be kissed when someone is doing sex to me!"  

He then walks close to Obama and bends over and, well, you get the idea.

Obama, "There is no need for that."

This goes on for quite a bit with the Chinese PM bending over at least three times for the same point.

Grade:  C+.  Great idea, but boy was it long and really not as funny as it should have been.  Perhaps it hit too close to home?  And anyone notice someone at "SNL" really has it out for Obama? It's becoming a continuing theme.

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<p>&nbsp;Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley of 'The Vampire Diaries'</p>

 Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley of 'The Vampire Diaries'

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'The Turning Point'

Vampire sex, werewolf hints, and threats galore in the last episode of 2009!

Oh, my. In the very last episode of 2009 before “The Vampire Diaries” takes an agonizing two month hiatus, we get threats, walk-offs, and bloody moments galore – along with some very tantalizing hints at supernatural events to come. Can you say, werewolf? Mystery vampire? How about Stefan and Elena finally hooking up, or the sight of BOTH Salvatore brothers shirtless? Dig in, folks. You’re gonna want to re-watch this one.  

[Full recap of Thursday (Nov. 19) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Althea of 'Project Runway'</p>

 Althea of 'Project Runway'

Credit: Lifetime

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'Finale Part 2'

A winner emerges from Bryant Park
It's the "Project Runway" finale! Yay! And Carol Hannah is puking her guts out two days out from Bryant Park. Um, yuck. The thing is, I so want Carol Hannah to win for two simple reasons. One, she makes cute dresses that reflect her cute personality and two, it would make Meana Irina so stinking mad she'd crap herself, and I'd pay to see that on television. But I have a sinking feeling this is Meana Irina's contest to lose, and I don't see her choking in the clutch.
[Full recap of Thursday (Nov. 19) night's "Project Runway," including this season's winner, after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;John of 'Survivor: Samoa'</p>

 John of 'Survivor: Samoa'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Samoa' - 'The Day of Reckoning'

Shambo stalks Medusa, Russell seeks an Idol, Jeff Probst sells the Palm Pre and it takes a rocket scientist to figure out the vote
Pre-credit sequence. If I'd ever known who Kelly was, I'm sure I'd miss her. It's Night 24 over at Aiga and Russell is pleased, gloating. "My work is done. It's like a painting. Like a Picasso," He promises that they're going to write him a check for a million dollars for this. "That was almost as great as my kids being born," Russell announces, continuing the hubris. Monica, though, isn't nearly as impressed. Ditto with Laura, who calls Russell a snake. He's not a snake. He's just smarter than you, Laura. Shambo and Russell are all a-giggle. Shambo thinks that only two people had a clue what was coming. She's nearly as clueless as Laura, since Jaison and MickDreamy were also in the loop. There's a whole lot of obnoxiousness going on and we haven't even had a commercial yet.
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