Few shows debuting this Fall have gotten more ink than “Terra Nova.” Its production problems? Legendary. Its proposed scale? Immense. The impulse towards schadenfreude? Even greater. But now, the time for analysis shifts away from everything behind the scenes towards what’s actually onscreen. And what’s there is…well, it’s more simplistic than many would like, yet offers some glimmers of potential promise underneath the Spielbergian gloss.
“Saturday Night Live” is back, ladies and gentleman. And so am I, for my second year of “SNL” coverage here at HitFix. On tap for tonight’s premiere: one of the show’s favorite hosts and one of my favorite bands: Alec Baldwin and Radiohead, together at last. It is Baldwin’s 16th time hosting, which breaks Steve Martin’s all-time record. Look for Martin to show up in tonight’s broadcast, and look for a slew of “SNL” alums and big-named stars to drop by as well. No new faces in the cast this year, and no one was fired. Meet the new cast. Same as the old cast. This year, maybe they’ll remember Jay Pharaoh is actually IN said cast.
Let’s keep that continuity going here on Monkeys as Critics as well. I’ll assign relatively arbitrary grades to each sketch, you will get arbitrarily mad at those grades, and then we do it all again next week. Sound good? Good. Onto the 37th season of “SNL”!
When last we met, “Fringe” fans, a lot of you were unhappy with me. Whereas the Season 3 worked like gangbusters for most of you, to me it felt hollow, cheap, and too clever by half. Staging a future that will no longer exist thanks to Peter’s intervention and a time-travel twist stolen from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” simply didn’t do it for me. (“Doomsday Device…remember a Doomsday Device!” I can hear Walter Bishop, Esquire, saying.) Did that undo all of my good feelings towards the show? Of course not! It’s a stellar show that got away from its strengths in the final hour. Having the show back on my television now makes me happy. But I’m still wary.
Here’s the problem: it’s not as if the show ever planned on keeping Peter off the show for good. It didn’t make a bold, fundamental change to the show’s structure when it erased Peter from existence. In a way, I’m glad, since the interplay between Olivia and The Bishop Boys sits at the heart of what makes this show work. On the other hand, we now have in the show’s present the same problem we had in its potential future: the people that we’ve followed for three seasons are gone, replaced by variants that possess the same DNA but slightly different personalities, behaviors, demeanors, and histories.
Now that what’s-her-name has been sent home (goodbye, young lady, we literally hardly knew ye), it’s time for Angelea to celebrate. Her soul feeds on the misery of other skinny girls, and that’s according to real live scientists. Martin Lindstrom, a “brand strategist,” and his client, Tyra, arrive at the house to tell the girls how to sell themselves. (To the modeling industry, silly!)
The big question heading into this third season of “Glee”: would having more than three writers contributing to the show make a noticeable difference? Would it still be a schizophrenic mess that could occasionally pull itself up from the mire of mediocrity and produce powerful television? Would it gain strength through the influx of new voices? Or would it get pulled in even more disparate directions than ever before? The answer, after tonight’s premiere episode, seems to lie behind Door #1. It’s still “Glee,” for better or worse. Tonight? Mostly worse.
Well, here we are, “Big Brother” fans, at the end of a long journey. A long, long journey. We’ve seen the good, we’ve seen the bad, we’ve seen the Zingbot 3000…we’ve seen it all. And now we all new eyeglass prescriptions. As a newbie to the franchise this year, I have little by which to compare this iteration to previous seasons. From reading your comments all summer, it seems like most of you disliked the pairs’ competition that started the summer, disliked the newbies, and didn’t particular clamor for the return of these veterans. Other than those small little details, hey, you seemed to love it.
Since it’s the finale, and I’m not sure how things will all play out, I’m going to adopt Fienberg’s timestamp approach to recapping. So once more unto the house, the silicon implants, and the unbelievable chance that Adam might actually walk of this competition as the winner.
And so it has come to this: Andy Bellefleur has a more interesting sex life than anybody else on "True Blood" this season, and now the season is ending. Now that Marnie is dead, it’s about time to chisel Russell Edgington out of the cement and start killing off the ancillary characters that keep piling up like plastic Mardi Gras beads.
What a difference a week makes.
Last week, Adam was The Worst Player in "Big Brother" History.
Suddenly, Adam is The Worst Player in "Big Brother" History To Suddenly Go on a Winning Streak and Have All The Power in His Hands With One Week To Go.
How will the new Mad Despot handle his responsibilities? Will he cede his Head of Household room to Tori Spelling?
9:02 p.m. ET It's Day 69 in the "Big Brother" house. This doesn't cause Julie Chen to giggle. Good for her. She's a bigger person than I am. Heh. Day 69.
9:03 p.m. We begin, of course, by flashing back to Adam's shocking coronation as Head of Household, which came on the heels of Adam's not-so-shocking decision to keep the nominations in place and effectively send Kalia home. "Why do I always have to get blood on my hands?" Rachel muses after the eviction, wondering correctly what, exactly, Jordan is contributing to their power Jochel dynamic.
9:04 p.m. "I definitely wasn't a Reading Comprehension-type student," says Porsche, explaining why she lost the Head of Household competition. Adam, meanwhile, is looking forward to having the girls kiss his butt.
9:06 p.m. Wow. Is that the first time we've ever had a bar mitzvah picture in the Head of Household room? We're spared the moment at which Jordan asked Adam what a "bar mitzvah" is. I'm just assuming this moment occurred.
9:07 p.m. Nominations are coming soon and Porsche has to put pressure on Adam to keep her around. Porsche's argument is that if she and Adam went to the Top 2, it would force the Jury to give $500,000 to a Newbie, which Adam admits would be nice. Next to genuflect at the feet of the new king is Rachel, who is visibly disgusted at the idea of kissing "a floater's butt."
9:10 p.m. "I've got these three beautiful women working for me now," Adam slobbers. Dude, you're a eunuch at an orgy. Jordan's best argument is that Porsche doesn't deserve to be in the Final Three. She's "fustrated" [my perennial favorite Jordan malapropism] that Porsche is able to use "her feminine ways" to distract Adam. To Jordan's credit, she isn't leaning over and showing off her cleavage as she says this. Jordan senses that she's about to become the Odd Hottie Out.
9:16 p.m. Adam is about to make his big decision and both Jordan and Rachel are convinced that they're due to be nominated. Adam utters some dumb platitudes about the stakes getting higher and how little room there is for error and how important his nominations are and blah blah blah. There's only one key in Adam's Roulette Wheel and it belongs to... Rachel. That means Jordan and Porsche are up for eviction. He explains that Rachel previously won PoV and took herself off the Block and now Jordan or Porsche will have to do the same. Porsche says she's glad she left her lip-gloss on the Block. This ought to be euphemistic in some way. It's not. Jordan tells herself to stop lollygagging. Also not euphemistic.
9:23 p.m. This is the Most Important Power of Veto of The Summer.
9:24 p.m. The Challenge is "Jukebox Veto." It involves players' names and matching them to certain "Big Brother" milestones from the season. Because this is a mental challenge, it doesn't instantly seem to play to Jordan's strengths. Or to Porsche's strengths. The player names have to be slotted on a pole and somebody cattier than I am might suggest that Porsche shouldn't be that confused about how to work a pole, but she's a VIP Waitress, darnit, not a stripper! Despite an unusual strategy, Porsche finishes her list first, but she's wrong and has to start over.
9:28 p.m. Porsche corrects her error and WINS! I take back every mean thing I said about her intellect. "I'm just mad cuz I can't do anything right," Rachel cries. "This wasn't supposed to happen this way!" Jordan carps, calling her chances "pretty slim." Jordan even goes so far as to tell Rachel that after losing everything, she's the one who deserves to go home. "Yes, I deserve to leave," Jordan says with a candor that can only come from having won $500,000 just two summers ago. [She's absolutely correct.] "You don't take losing well," Jordan says to Rachel, as if they've never met before. "It stinks, but it's my fault I didn't win," Jordan says. [Wait. What the heck was up with that cutaway to Porsche happily showering?]
9:31 p.m. After a brief pity party, Rachel rubs her eyes, puts on a happy face and walks off to the Purple Room with Porsche. She butters Porsche up so effectively that Porsche blushes, giggles and declares, "I like your arguments."
9:36 p.m. "Do you choose to use the Power of Veto?" Julie asks, ridiculously. "I've been playing this game the entire summer," Porsche reminds us. She uses the Veto on herself and Rachel moves over and takes her spot on the Block.
9:38 p.m. Rachel calls Adam "amazing" and Jordan "a sweet, amazing, beautiful woman." Rachel then confuses herself talking to Porsche. "I know I'm going home, but it's been a great summer," Jordan says, adding that she loves Adam and that she has a whole new perspective on Rachel. "I know you love wearing bikinis and I know you love hosting competitions," Jordan says, summarizing what she's learned about Porsche in 69 days. Heh. 69 days.
9:40 p.m. "You're both beautiful women, from the inside out," Porsche says before confirming that Jordan has been evicted. Bye, Jordan. Her picture goes grayscale.
9:40 p.m. "I'm a little disappointed," Jordan tells Julie Chen. "I never talked to her. Ever. I know nothing about that girl. She's like a poker face to me," Jordan says, explaining why Porsche voted her out. "He had to put up somebody," Jordan says, philosophically understanding Adam's decision to put her on the block in the first place. "You can't trust anybody in here. Even if you're a mom, you still can't trust a mom," Jordan says of the lessons she learned from Shelly's betrayal. Jordan's amazingly well composed. Her answers are rational and appealing. I like Sentient Jordan.
9:44 p.m. Folks only have nice things to say to Jordan in their farewell messages. It's sweet and touching. "Our boyfriends have the bromance of the century, so we can have our chickmance," Rachel says, crying a little. Jordan is such a good soul she even made Rachel un-disgusting. That's an achievement. I may actually be rooting for Rachel at this point, which is bizarre and unsettling for me.
9:51 p.m. This is our Final Head of Household Competition and, of course, it's a three-parter. The first segment is called "The Big Brother Mixer." They're all holding only a mixer blade. Disappointingly, they're spinning over a pool of some yellow-y goo, not submerged in it. Spinning. Spinning. Spinning.
9:55 p.m. Spinning. Spinning. And they are, indeed, getting at least partially submerged. They're also getting pelted with some sort of viscous liquid, an ejaculate that barely seems to be touching Rachel, but has left Porsche positively drenched.
9:56 p.m. "Day 69, Getting Goop in Your Face," Rachel says. Nice. Before you can say Not--So-Accidental Bukkake, it's time to leave our hamsters. Spinning. Spinning. Spinning.
Well, OK. This is our Final Three. Are you rooting for Rachel, Porsche or Adam?
We’re getting down to the final days of “Big Brother,” with the power couple of Kalia and Porsche on the block for eviction. Read that sentence again. If you saw that coming when the season started, well, then I’m willing to take investment advice from you in this time of economic strife. The show has been throwing out twist after twist in these recent weeks in order to overcome a rather dull season, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a few more monkey wrenches tossed in before the end of tonight’s hour. But short of tonight’s PoV contest being “Who Can Run Over and Hug Tori Spelling The Fastest?”, let’s just continue to assume Adam will keep his winless streak alive. That’s about the only constant left at this point.
Onto tonight’s recap…