Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics
A trip to the dentist unleashes Brittany's inner pop diva.
Heather Morris of 'Glee' channels Britney Spears
I finally figured out the perfect way to describe the maddening inconsistency that is “Glee”. Basically, it’s like the weather in New England: wait a few minutes, and whatever is onscreen will inevitably change. Notice that I don’t assign a value, good or bad, to what’s onscreen at the time. Just know that whatever it currently is, it will soon morph into something completely unrecognizable before long. Many found last week’s season premiere a refreshingly restrained effort (by the show’s standards, at least). As for me, I watched, I “meh”ed, and I closed up the storm windows for the Britney Spears Storm on the horizon.
That storm hit tonight in the form of “Britney/Brittany,” an episode that no doubt sent a certain segment of the show into a state of bliss. It also undoubtedly sent another segment of the show’s fan base into a complete rage. Now: if you loved this episode, don’t think I don’t respect ya. I just completely and utterly disagree. “Britney/Brittany” wasn’t so much aired as inflicted, making last season’s Madonna episode seem like “The Constant” from “Lost” or “Shut the Door, Have a Seat” from “Mad Men.” It indulged in every type of excess possible, transforming what should have been an episode of television into something with as much dramatic heft, emotional weight, and narrative thrust of an episode of “Solid Gold.”
[Full recap of Tuesday's (Sept. 28) "Glee" after the break...]
NBC's time-skipping thriller travels back in time to give a few answers
Å½eljko Ivanek and Ian Anthony Dale of 'The Event'
This past week it’s felt like the actual show “The Event” is merely a necessary byproduct of NBC’s hype-building advertising campaign for the series. That’s not a statement on the ubiquity of the ads, but rather on how effectively they boil down everything the show itself seems to want to express; so far the episodes have felt largely superfluous. For last week’s pilot the ads let us know that some terribly mysterious people were involved in some sort of terribly mysterious “event,” while for this week’s episode, “To Keep Us Safe,” they let us know that a plane disappeared, and now we’re going to find out what happened to it. When the ads for week three inevitably reveal that answer (“aliens did it”), you’ll be more-or-less caught up.
[Full recap of Monday's (Sept 28) "The Event" after the break...]
One team gets an all-powerful Express pass and other gets a watermelon in the face
Brook looks on in concern after Claire takes a watermelon to the face on The Amazing Race
I'm ready to give Season 17 of "The Amazing Race
" my blessing to be a dismal disappointment from here on out. We can now be treated to a dozen episodes of misread directions, shrieky couples who call each other "babe," Ugly American ignorance, easily foreseeable phobias and tension-deflating equalizers.
Because Season 17 has already given us The Watermelon Incident.
Heck, Sunday (Sept. 26) night's "Amazing Race" premiere was a padded 90 minute episode with only one actual challenge and a final result that hinged on teams that got lost in a country where English is the native language, but I still found myself loving the episode.
Because the premiere of Season 17 gave us The Watermelon Incident.
Nothing, it turns out, covers a multitude of "Amazing Race" sins like a watermelon in the face. Or perhaps I just have a low-brow sense of humor. I would also have settled for a key task involving helper monkeys. But that's just me.
Full recap of the launch of this "Amazing Race" season after the break...
Justin Timberlake, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon and David Paterson drop in to visit
Welcome to the 36th season of “Saturday Night Live,” ladies and gentlemen. Time for another round of “SNL hasn’t been funny since [whatever timeframe feels applicable]” comments to proliferate through the interwebs. This season premiere finds one old cast member hosting, two former castmates gone, and four new players emerging. Look for a cavalcade of classic Amy Poehler characters to return onscreen. In addition, given the show’s penchant for guest stars and old cast members popping by during the first episode of the season, look for more surprises as well. As if THAT wasn’t enough, fresh off ElmoGate will be musical guest Katy Perry.
As is the standing tradition here at HitFix, I’ll be judging each part of the show individually, assigning grades that will be subjective (one person’s Gilly is another person’s Laser Cats, after all) and meant to provoke discussion, not outright anger, in the comments below. Try to keep things civil, or I’ll be forced to ask “What’s Up With That?” in my big boy voice.
We good? Good. Onto the premiere after the break…
Itâ€™s time for a high fashion design â€“ but more than one designer goes bad bridesmaid
Michael C of 'Project Runway'
So, I miss one week of “PR” and that is, of course, the week when my man Mondo wins. Figures. I’m also a little sad to see Michael D. go, though that Amish ice skating skirt was definitely not a fashion yes. What I don’t understand is when designers on this show look at a woman’s body and say to themselves, “You know, let’s put layers and layers and layers of fabric around that really wide part,” and think that’s a good idea. I know, they’re working with tall, willowy models, but even they have hips, sort of. But enough grousing, let’s get to it!
[Full recap of Thursday's (Sept. 23) "Project Runway" after the break...]
Olivia tries to break free from Walternate's grasp, but finds leaving may be more difficult than she imagined.
Anna Torv and Andre Royo of 'Fringe'
Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX
Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello wrote a famous play in the early part of the 20th century called “Six Characters in Search of an Author.” Post-modern before such a thing really took hold in pop culture, it involves an acting company rehearsing a play (also written by Pirandello) but interrupted by six strangers, who claim to be characters from an unfinished story. The acting troupe at first scoffs at this tale, but their Director agrees to stage the characters’ stories all the same. Eventually, the line between what is real and what is unreal becomes utterly unclear, leaving both the Director and the audience unnerved by what transpires before the curtain drops.
I bring all this up not simply to justify the amount of money that my parents sank into my college education, but also because “Fringe” for a while felt like “Three Characters in Search of a Story.” Since the show couldn’t seem to settle upon what it wanted to be, it stranded Olivia, Walter, and Peter amidst a sea of “Patterns of the Week” and half-hearted, contradictory attempts at mythology. Even mentioning the word “Pattern” at this point feels hopelessly anachronistic, as if I was talking about riding one of those old-timey bikes with the enormous front wheel and small rear one.
But now? Well, a penny-farthing appears onscreen, and I cackle mercilessly.
[Full recap of Thursday's (Sept. 23) "Fringe" after the break...]
Werewolves have arrived in Mystic Falls, just in time for the full moon
Michael Trevino of 'The Vampire Diaries'
Credit: The CW
“The Vampire Diaries” twists its second season story knives a little bit deeper, as the true nature of Mystic Falls’ werewolf problem is discovered. Also: Caroline continues to have baby vamp growing pains, and Alaric returns to help with the werewolves and generally look hot. Oh, and Damon is snarky. Surprise!
Elena, Stefan and Damon summon the long-lost Alaric to learn more about the Lockwood family, seeing as the Gilbert device caused them to go all wonky last season. Alaric, we missed you. OK, I missed you. I don’t know about anyone else. More than Alaric, the gang is after Isobel’s research on the town. Alaric mentions her study of the lycanthrope (a.k.a. werewolves), but Damon scoffs at the mere thought of their existence. The only way they can find out more of what Isobel suspected is to go to her offices at Duke University and look through her research. Oh, and did I mention that Elena and Damon are going? Together? Without Stefan? Because that makes sense. (I know, I know…Stefan has to take care of Caroline. Still: contrivance!)
[Full recap of Thursday's (Sept. 23) "Vampire Diaries" after the break...]
It's makeover week for the models, who then get photographed as fallen angels
Ann of 'America's Next Top Model'
Credit: The CW
Anamaria has been sent home, where, one would hope, several cheeseburgers are waiting for her in one big stack. Meantime, we’ve moved on -- already! -- to the makeover show for this cycle. (Scissors. Scissors! Runnnnn!)
[Full recap of Wednesday's (Sept. 22) "America's Next Top Model" after the break...]
Missing shoes and missing socks are upstaged by a crazy Tribal Council
Brenda of 'Survivor: Nicaragua'
Welcome, friends, to a new episode of "Survivor
: Nicaragua" or, as the premiere threatened to become, "The Jimmy Johnson Starvation Hour."
Would a new personality stand out during Wednesday's (Sept. 22) episode? Click through to find out...
It's a new school year, But New Directions quickly encounter some familiar challenges.
Dot Jones and Jane Lynch of 'Glee'
Credit: Adam Rose/FOX
Sometimes shows return after the summer hiatus with heavy anticipation due to audience withdrawal. “Glee,” on the other hand, only increased in the public’s overall consciousness. It barreled down the pop culture landscape like The Prince in the videogame “Katamari Damacy,” growing larger and larger as it absorbed an ever-increasing amount of attention in the aftermath of its inaugural season. I wrote last spring that I felt the show was about as critic-proof as they come: well, the introductory meta-commentary that opened Season 2 pretty much validated that. Kurt, playing the part of show creator Ryan Murphy, essentially told me I should make like Lady Gaga and just dance instead of write about the episode. I might not be Boobs McGee (that would be Santana), but I am for the time being Blogger McGee, and writing about this show is all I can do for the time being.
[Full recap of Tuesday's (Sept. 21) "Glee" premiere after the break...]