Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics
New Directions splits its attention during the holidays, and HitFix starts a tradition of its own
“Well, tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you!” That line, sung by Bono in “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, has always bothered me. I’m sure it’s bothered a lot of you as well. I understand the meaning the song was probably going for, but it comes off completely condescending at best, and totally tone-deaf at worst. Is Bono sarcastically berating those who have the technology to listen to the song? Is he mocking those in Africa who might not get MTV, satellite radio, or Spotify? For reasons only Ryan Murphy can probably answer, New Directions sang this song, including that infamous line, AT A BUNCH OF HOMELESS PEOPLE TONIGHT. Essentially, New Directions said, “Look, you’re down and out, but at least you don’t live in Africa.” I think. I honestly don’t know. All I know is that when I heard, “Well, tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you,” I heard “Glee” singing it at everyone no longer watching this program.
A familiar friend helps us break down why this show was such a missed opportunity
To call tonight’s penultimate episode of “Terra Nova” an exercise in stalling would imply that the rest of the season has been chock full o’ narrative momentum. That clearly isn’t the case, as it’s pretty obvious by now that this series has, at best, a 4-hour mini-series worth of story. Why else would the second to last episode of the season (and maybe series) devote 10 minutes on Maddy trying to find a battery for her prehistoric iPad? Sure, education’s important, but I’d wager there are slightly bigger concerns at this moment in the colony’s history. “Within” set up the fireworks for next week, but it will more than likely be sound and fury, signifying nothing.
A strong Digital Short, some cameos and Stefon boost Katy Perry's episode
I have to confess my excitement about the possibilities inherent with Katy Perry hosting “Saturday Night Live” tonight. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a fan of her musical output, but she’s certainly shown ample willingness to spoof herself in the past. Her appearance on last year’s “Bronx Beat” sketch was also quite strong, and not just because of her choice of low-cut Elmo top, either. Can she sustain a full show with such energy and aplomb? It’s hard to say. I don’t think anyone’s expected Justin Timberlake levels of success tonight, but I wouldn’t be the least surprised if this turns into a highlight of the 2011 Fall season.
Which pretty much means I probably just doomed the show to being a 90-minute rendition of “The Manuel Ortiz Show,” interspersed between musical performances by Robyn. I sincerely apologize in advance. Onto the recap!
Which model would Tyra Banks crown as most fierce?
We’ve come to the finale of the very first "Top Model" All-Star edition. It’s down to Allison, she of the big googly-moogly Muppet eyes; Angelea, the bus-depot-sleeping, socially challenged Buffalo girl; and Lisa, who is, well, Lisa.
Sectionals doesn't push the show forward so much as hit a huge reset button
So here we are, near the end of the Fall run for “Glee.” Next week is the holiday episode, which pretty much exists out of continuity. Well, continuity as far as this show goes. It’s a stop-gap episode filled with holiday sweaters and Artie’s Magic Legs. But let’s not worry about that now, because we have before us the task of analyzing what went down at Sectionals. In the first season of “Glee,” Sectionals provided the majority of the narrative thrust, given every episode some overall context as New Directions tried to get its act together in order to eventually compete. Now? Sectionals is something that “Glee” tries to get through as opposed to strive for. If it could avoid actually having to go through these motions, it probably would.
Could the 'Boardwalk Empire' bring the 'SNL' funny?
After a one-week hiatus, “Saturday Night Live” is back for the first of three consecutive episodes to end 2011. Kicking things off tonight: Steve Buscemi and The Black Keys. Given Buscemi’s cinematic track record, I wonder if Adam Sandler might pop by tonight. After all, Buscemi seems to appear in nearly every Sandler big-screen jam. Will Sandler appear tonight? Unlikely, but color me curious all the same. Also, color me curious if “SNL” will attempt any “Boardwalk Empire”-related sketches tonight. Bill Hader as Richard Harrow? Sign me up for THAT, please.
Guess we’ll have to break down each sketch as they air to find out. Onto the recap!
The models get to live their dreams by blogging and working with Tyra
Only four aspiring glamazons remain in this All-Star cycle of “America’s Next Top Model!”
So what are the challenges this week? Well, in case you haven’t heard, Tyra Banks has “written” a best-selling “novel” called “Modelland.” And this is great news for the Top Model contestants. Why? Because they get the honor of acting this
ghost-written crap masterpiece in a brand-new video ... editorial ... thing!
The only thing consistent about this season is its inconsistencies
It’s semi-useless to lob criticism at “Glee.” In many ways, it’s not like yelling at a dog that has relieved itself on your couch. Sure, you can rant and rave, but does that animal understand anything you’re saying? It hears noises, and vaguely interprets sentiment, but it’s not like anything will fundamentally change thereafter. “I Kissed a Girl” is a dog of an episode, another in a season rapidly spiraling out of control. Everything that held such promise in the second episode of the season, “I Am Unicorn,” has now played out, and “Glee” itself feels played out.
After another info dump of an ep, has the show revealed just how much it has miscalculated?
There’s little to really redeem “Terra Nova” at this point. In a few weeks, this season will end, and unless it does incredible numbers overseas in foreign markets, this will be all we’ll see of this series. And I’m not sure too many will bemoan the loss of this show once it goes. Sure, there have been hints of an interesting show here and there. But each time a spark of interest ignites, along comes a moppet and her pet dinosaur to remind you during “Now You See Me” just how weak the stakes are in this show.
Taylor drops a lot of exposition, but how much of it can we trust?
It’s fairy clear at this point in the game that “Terra Nova” really isn’t interested in big questions concerning the human condition, man’s right to exist, or the ways in which large corporations use technology as a means of control. Those topics are all inherently threaded in the show’s DNA, but usually pushed aside so characters can ask more pressing questions, such as, “When will there be pie?” The joy in reviewing individual episodes of television often lies in teasing out the subtext of a given week. But “Terra Nova” is all surface, so there’s not much meat on the subtextual bone.
So with that in mind, I thought I’d take a page from Dan Fienberg’s coverage of “The X Factor” and bring that running diary style over to tonight’s episode, “Vs.” Then again, if this entire episode is in fact an exploration of Pearl Jam’s seminal second album via the prism of dinosaurs, I reserve the right to revert back to my usual prose stylings in this part of the HitFix jungle.