Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics
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…]
Walter and Olivia summon some unlikely allies in an attempt to cross over and rescue Peter.
Lance Reddick and Anna Torv of 'Fringe'
Here’s the thing about two-part season finales: there’s the part in which everything is set up, and then there’s the part where all the really fun stuff happens. “Over There: Part One” felt like one long overture, tuning the series up to get to the start of the actual sci-fi symphony in next week’s season-ending episode. Along the way we got a Rogue’s Gallery of past “Fringe” nemeses, coupled with a fun look into the familiar-yet-different sociology/topography of the other side. What we didn’t get was anything terrifically dramatic. As such, while glimpses of the other side delighted, there wasn’t enough going on over there to truly pique my interest for a full hour.
[Full recap of Thursday's (May 13) "Fringe" after the break...]
'Survivor' turns itself into a Sprint commercial as families come to visit
Sandra of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
Pre-credit sequence. So, um... Now what? The tribe returns to camp broken entirely into many pieces, the solidarity of the Villains Alliance seemingly gone for good. While the fractured Villains are pulling each other aside in confusion, Rupert's figuring his chances of winning get better each week, since he's now survived two straight evictions where he ought to have been the prime target. Off to the side, Jerri tells Parvati that Russell threatened her, while doesn't exactly help Parvati's composure. "I think Russell was jealous of my relationship to Danielle and he wanted to make sure that it was he and I who were the closest two," Parvati says, calling Russell the biggest villain the game has ever seen and vowing to keep him around only long enough to dispatch Rupert and Colby. Pulling his alliance close, Russell makes his argument that Danielle was trouble and he tries reassuring Parvati and Jerri that he won't be coming after them next. But although Russell made his move to increase Parvati's dependance on him, her subsequent insecurity is worrying him.
Full recap of Thursday's (May 13) "Survivor
: Heroes vs. Villains" after the break...
It takes two hours for Tyra Banks to crown the most predictable winner in 'ANTM' history
Raina of 'America's Next Top Model'
Credit: The CW
And we’re down to the Final Four-slash-Finale of "America's Next Top Model" Cycle 14! Krista doesn’t want to go back to being a store manager! Alexandra knows she has to step it up! Angelea is silly as sullen and bitter as ever! Nobody likes Raina! She’s just too happy!
Bring. On. The. Dreckitude.
[Full recap of Wednesday's (May 12) "ANTM" finale after the break...]
Busy Wednesday features an elimination plus Bon Jovi, Fantasia and Daughtry
Crystal Bowersox of 'American Idol'
9:00 p.m. ET. Wednesday (May 12) night's "American Idol" opens like an utterly half-hearted movie trailer homage/parody. There are tens of thousands of self-edited YouTube clips with a better understanding of movie trailer grammar than this. On with the show, y'all...
Full recap of Wednesday's show, plus results, after the break
A major piece of the show's mythology is exposed and fans debate what they've learned
Allison Janney guest stars on a sure-to-be-controversial mythology episode of 'Lost,' and check out those hyper-symbolic baby blankets.
Two weeks in a row now, "Lost" has started without a "previously on" montage. I'm guessing that's because if you tune in at this point, and you haven't been keeping up, there's probably no way you're going to figure things out in ninety seconds of clips.
I'm afraid to go read anyone else's recap on this episode. Just watching my Twitter feed go by, I can see already that people are having polarized responses to this big fat plate full of exposition, all served up at once, a mythology download that explains a big chunk of the show's mysteries all at once.
That's a scary prospect for a show like "Lost." The time to put up or shut up for this particular game, and this season has been a long slow fuse that is paying off now in ways that I never would have predicted as a from-the-start fan of the show. Part of me is glad that it's really not doing anything I thought it would be doing at this stage in the game, and part of me is wondering what, exactly, it is that they're actually doing. There's one regular episode left, then the giant finale event. And that's it. That's all the time they have to wrap up the on-Island conflict, the flash-Sideways structure of season six, and everything else that's brewing, and I don't envy them the position they've written themselves into.
I've spoken to people who have intensely disliked this season's contributions to the show's mythology, and until tonight, I would have completely disagreed with them. I'm actually not sure what to make of the decision to tell an entire episode of backstory at this point in the game. This episode feels like something that we maybe should have heard at some point in season five as a myth told by the original Others on the Island, and it could have been much more valuable if it had been dropped on us then, if the show had been building to this longer. As it is, much of this year's legwork feels like it's been piled onto the top of the show here in the home stretch. Too much of it feels like it's just now coming into play.
"So you like showtunes? It doesn't mean you're gay. It means you're awful"
Mike O'Malley and Chris Colfer of 'Glee'
This week on a very special "Glee," everyone's in search of their true selves. Kurt ditches his identity and goes butch to please his dad, Puck loses his mojo (and his mohawk) and tries to regain his popularity, and Rachel loses her voice, leading her to wonder who she'd be without those pitch-perfect pipes.
It all leads to standout performances by a few Gleeks beginning with Finn, who displays a shocking amount of confidence in his unabashed pursuit of Rachel AND manages to teach her a Very Important Lesson: Quit whining already -- at least you're not a paraplegic! On top of that, Finn leads off the episode with a number that we should have seen coming, singing "Jesse's Girl" with some righteous, Rachel Berry-loving passion.
But even Finn's best Rick Springfield was no match for the dueling attitudes of Santana and Mercedes, who give Brandy and Monica a run for their money. And then came the second coming of Kurt Hummel, who gets not one but two SOLO numbers this week including a show-stopper that would make Gypsy Rose Lee herself proud. Everything's coming up Kurt!
[Full recap of Tuesday's (May 11) "Glee" after the break…]
This episode just moved pieces into place, so let's talk about what could improve the show overall.
Tonight's episode of "V" concludes with a scene where one guy we don't care about cuts a deal with an alien we don't care about. And that deal is one we're pretty much just finding out is in the works. And we don't really care about the deal either, even though it's supposed to be setting up the big season finale next week, the episode that's supposed to make us want to see the show come back from the brink of cancellation. Now, theoretically, this is all interesting, since it should have some big implications for both sides of this war, but in actuality, it's really kind of pointless. Why should we care? "V" doesn't know. It just wants to do some things that it knows serialized dramas are supposed to do.
[Full recap of Tuesday's (May 11) "V" and things the show might want to try in the future, after the break...]
The final four are chosen â€“ and one couple gets the boot
Chad Ochocinco during his Monday performance on 'Dancing with the Stars'
Boo, hiss, it’s elimination Tuesday. It’s time for yet another celebrity to set aside his or her bedazzled spandex costumes and slink out the door. Elimination Tuesdays are generally just a bad scene. Sometimes there’s crying and it’s always uncomfortable and a little sad, like seeing your parents doing it on the sofa or breaking your ankle on the first day of a two week ski trip. Of course, if a reality dance show really bums you out, that’s depressing in and of itself, so let’s just move on, shall we?
[Full recap of Tuesday's (May 11) "Dancing with the Stars" results after the break...]