Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics
Neil Patrick Harris and Idina Menzel guest star on this week's secret-filled 'Glee'
Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison of 'Glee'
Score another one for the gays! Tonight on "Glee," special guest Neil Patrick Harris showed up as Will Shuester's worst nightmare: his old glee club nemesis, Bryan Ryan, who's now old and bitter and bent on shuttering glee club for good. The good news: Bryan Ryan's thinly veiled anti-glee agenda gave the show a hilarious new way to poke fun at homophobic America, one that doesn't require Kurt to make out with girls and wear flannel just to figure out how much happier he is in his own skin. (Please, let's have no more of that.)
The bad news? Despite being written by show co-creator Brad Fulchuk and directed by the King of Geekery himself, Joss Whedon, Episode 19 felt a little off-balance at times, thanks to an overabundance of Will Shuester-Bryan Ryan frenemy duets and far too fewer scenes of, well, anyone else. Rachel and Miss Corcoran's tear-jerking "I Dreamed a Dream" and Artie's two -- yes, TWO! -- musical numbers were more effective than Will and Ryan's two man-to-man duets, even if Matthew Morrison and NPH did hit those ridiculously high notes during Aerosmith's "Dream On."
And while the main theme (friends helping their friends achieve their dreams) followed NPH's ex-Gleek Bryan Ryan and Rachel Berry's mommy issues, the heart of tonight's episode belonged to Kevin McHale's Artie, whose dream to one day walk and dance again gave us an emotional rollercoaster of a through line. Artie may have risen and fallen a few too many heart wrenching times this episode -- literally -- but we finally delved deeper into the hopes and dreams (and realities) of McKinley High's resident wheelchair-riding Gleek. I can't wait to see how Artie channels Lady Gaga in next week's not-to-be-missed episode.
[Full recap of Tuesday's (May 18) "Glee" after the break…]
'V' doesn't have an awful finale, but it still could have been a whole lot better.
Here is the thing.
"V" could have saved itself with a truly great finale. It wouldn't have redeemed 11 episodes of meandering, pointless plotting. It wouldn't have redeemed a show that seems to have a major identity crisis at every turn. It wouldn't have redeemed the misuse of many of the characters. But it could have given the sense that there are things that are going to happen on this show, that it won't just all be things occurring, seemingly at random, and vague portent. The show has tried to coast on just being coolly mysterious for so long now that it often seems like no one involved knows where any of this is headed, even if the questions that have been raised aren't all that compelling. It just assumes that we loved the original and are willing to go along with it because of that love, without really understanding that the original, while entertaining, is also not all that good, really. Good for its time? Maybe. But also pretty non-dramatic and dreary.
[Full recap of the May 18 "V" finale after the break...]
Chad and Erin have to sweat it out for a spot in the finals
Erin Andrews of 'Dancing with the Stars'
It’s the 100th elimination on “DWTS” and that, combined with Miley Cyrus performing, promises to make this a night of abject misery and possibly crying. Oh, and Rutgers is going up against Utah Valley University in the college dance championship. Which I care about not at all, but hey, they’ve got to fill up the damn hour somehow to prolong the suffering.
[Full recap of Tuesday's (May 18) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]
The judges give the night to Lee Dewyze, but all three singers play to their core fans
Lee Dewyze of 'American Idol'
We're only one week from this season's "American Idol" finale. Crazy, right? You thought we'd be done two or three weeks ago, right? Me, too.
Tuesday's (May 18) "Idol" episode finds each singer performing twice, once on a song of their choosing and once on a song chosen for them by one of the judges. Once upon a time, this night also included a song chosen by the producers or by Clive Davis, but the days of fitting nine performances into a single "Idol" hour are long gone.
Full recap of Tuesday's performances after the break...
Jack sets his sights on an old nemesis to help uncover the conspiracy.
Kiefer Sutherland and Gregory Itzin of '24.'
For a lot of the finale season of “24,” there’s been a lot of action but not a lot of momentum. Things happened, to be sure. But they often didn’t feel as if they were building towards anything. Well, in this week’s “24,” disparate threads started to come together in a way that felt satisfying. Part of this comes from the approach of the season/series finale, the time of year in which the waiting is over and the payoff (hopefully) starts. But part of it comes from an hour in which everything that’s been held together by a thread started rapidly, and hopelessly, coming apart. While I haven’t been onboard all season, episodes like this will remind me of what “24” could do when firing on all cylinders.
[Full recap of Monday (May 17) night's "24" after the break...]
Everyone brings their A game for the semifinal - but one performer falls flat
Anna Trebunskaya and Evan Lysacek of 'Dancing with the Stars'
Credit: Adam Larkey/ABC
It’s the semifinals for “DWTS” and, have to say, this is a pretty impressive foursome. Okay, except for Chad. Chad, he still looks a little constipated on the floor, and I think he’s really tested the last of Cheryl’s patience. But I digress. As exciting as the semifinals might be, next week is sure to be plenty more exciting because (wait for it)... Kate Gosselin’s coming back for the finals (along with pretty much everyone else, but whatever)! To the horror of dance lovers everywhere! I’m hoping they recruit her to do some actual dancing, because I’m dying to see her clomp through a waltz or maybe a bit of disco with all the grace and femininity of a dying orangutan. I’ve honestly kind of missed her since she’s gotten the boot, and apparently America has, too, as the ratings have gone into a nosedive since America lost their blonde Octomom punching bag. But until then, we’ll have to content ourselves with the semifinals. Let the excitement begin!
[Full recap of Monday's (May 17) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]
Walt and Gus parlay, while Skyler has an solution for Hank's mounting medical bills
Aaron Paul of 'Breaking Bad'
The most important thing about telling a lie is not the lie itself. It's not coming up with a believable story or figuring out just the right way to diverge from reality to win over the person you're lying to. All of that helps, of course, but the most important thing about telling a lie is the decision to do it, the commitment to the fact that you are going to willingly deceive another person to achieve your own ends. Once you make that choice, you can usually pull off the performance, suck the person you're lying to down into your web. Walter White's been making that choice since episode one of "Breaking Bad," and despite a few missteps here and there, he's become exceptionally good at misleading just about everyone he meets. In "Kafkaesque," what's notable is that his wife chooses to join him down in the depths.
[Full recap of Sunday's (May 16) "Breaking Bad" after the break...
Could the Villains continue their dominance? And could Russell finally win?
Russell of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
Pre-credit sequence. After a lengthy pre-credit sequence, we return to Yin Yang for Night 36. Parvati and Russell are debating whether or not Sandra's decision to play her Idol that night was stupid. Russell thinks it was pointless and proved that Sandra is a liar and Sandra doesn't understand what sort of etiquette she was supposed to observe. Sandra, who refuses to back down, makes it clear that Russell wasn't exactly forthcoming with all of his Idols. Russell doesn't just think Sandra's lying. He's also convinced that Parvati knew about the Idol, which makes her sneaky in his eyes. Parvati compares Russell to a two-year-old child who had his toy taken away, but Russell's pouting has had its desired effect. Jerri's talking about how she'd been wanting Parvati out since the first day, while Colby is just smiling and nodding politely. As Colby puts it, "Any time this dysfunctional family of Villains is not getting along, it takes the attention off me.
[Full recap of all two-plus hours of this "Survivor
, leading up to the climactic vote, after the break...]
In his 15th time as 'SNL' host, Alec Baldwin tries to live up to Betty White
Alec Baldwin (and Steve Martin, via satellite) on 'Saturday Night Live'
Alec Baldwin may be an “SNL” veteran, but I don’t envy him the gig this week, even if it is the season finale. On the heels of Betty White’s spectacular performance, even a full-on reprise of classic Baldwin skits like Schweddy Balls would be hard pressed to match one of the most entertaining (and well-written) episodes in, honestly, recent years. Though Baldwin could probably go toe-to-toe with White performance-wise, unfortunately he won’t be bolstered by last week’s other big score, which was a return of former castmates like Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler whom, I suspect, weren’t shy about editing out bonehead material and penciling in their own. And God knows, this season there’s been plenty of bonehead material screaming out for a smart edit. But, fingers crossed that Baldwin will bring the funny against unfortunate odds.
[Full recap of the May 15 "Saturday Night Live" finale after the break...]
The season finale goes out with a bloody bang as sparks fly between Damon and Elena.
Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley of 'The Vampire Diaries'
Credit: The CW
Tension is high from start to bloody end in the season finale of "The Vampire Diaries" as the sinister town council prepares their final vampire solution with the help of Johnathan Gilbert's ancient anti-vampire weapon. By the end of the night, the vampire genocide will leave no family safe -- even the ones you least expect.
Completing an incredibly strong 22-episode run, "The Vampire Diaries" ended its first season not just with a bang, but with an explosive, fiery, violent, sexy bang that tied up some story threads and created other deliciously unexpected ones. This was an episode that gave a lot to fans, a tense piece of storytelling that offered plenty of hints and foreshadowing and delivered on clues dropped throughout the season.
In the season finale we had to say goodbye to a few characters (one beloved, others not so much) -- but as we all know, nobody is truly forgotten in Mystic Falls, even in death. More importantly, as vampire hunters and vampires and the humans who love them found themselves hurtling toward an explosive climax, Elena and Damon found themselves hurtling towards each other.
(And kudos to episode writers Bryan Oh and Andrew Chambliss, along with director Marcos Siega and the entire "Vampire Diaries" team, for giving us an ending that made us all go back and rewind our DVRs.)
Get ready to squeal, Delena fans.
[Full recap of Thursday's (May 13) "The Vampire Diaries" after the break…]