"Scandal"

 "Scandal"

Credit: ABC

Listen: CulturePop No. 32 - 'Thor,' 'Scandal,' Lady Gaga, Eminem

Melinda and I argue about Kat Dennings, too

We waited until the last minute to fire up the podcast-making magic machine this week (otherwise known as GarageBand), but we're squeaking in under the wire. If you're thinking about seeing "Thor" but aren't a comic book fan you might want to hear what Melinda and I had to say about the movie (though if you are a comic book fan, there are many, many other reviews you'll find more relevant). We talked about a lot of other stuff, though, like Eminem, Lady Gaga, "Killing Kennedy" and "Scandal." This week we didn't have a guest and we hardly knew what to do with ourselves, but we had fun. We hope you will, too. Keep reading for the rundown: 

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"Untold Stories of the ER"

 "Untold Stories of the ER"

Credit: Discovery Fit & Health

Exclusive clip: A human balloon on 'Untold Stories of the ER'

A patient's bizarre swelling even unnerves his doctor

Have you ever felt you're looking a little bloated? Maybe puffy around the eyes? Yeah, well, chances are you never looked like the patient in this week's episode of "Untold Stories of the ER" (airs Fri. Nov. 8 at 10:00 p.m. on Discovery Fit & Health, then repeats Sat. Nov. 9 at 9:00 p.m. on TLC). He comes in looking swollen, and it just gets worse from there. Think Violet Beauregarde. Okay, not that bad, but you get the idea. 

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"Grey's Anatomy"

 "Grey's Anatomy"

Credit: ABC

'Grey's Anatomy' recap: Has Christina pushed Meredith too far?

The fragile friendship may be over

If things between Christina and Meredith were shaky last week, this week seems to be the final, definitive nail in the coffin for the two former BFFs. It turns out that you can call Meredith crazy and you can steal her coffee, but you never, ever tell her she's a bad doctor OR bogart her 3D printer. I'm sure you also can't tell her her kids are ugly or slash the tires on her car, but we haven't covered those matters yet.

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"Scandal"

 "Scandal"

Credit: ABC

'Scandal' recap: Will Olivia get the truth about Remington out of Fitz?

Josie Marcus takes a bite out of gender stereotypes

You know it's really hit the fan when Olivia drunk dials her dad. Yeah, that happened. 

While buying into Operation Remington is a bridge too far for me (for some reason I can accept the idea that the President once shot down a plane, but I find the idea that he ended up dating the daughter of a woman killed on that plane a little much -- I know, picky picky picky), I love that this conspiracy is unraveling at the worst possible time -- as Fitz is gearing up for re-election. Seeing the chess pieces move in this episode was like watching professional ballroom dancers or ice skaters glide through a routine. If backstabbing was a dance, it would be a tango. 

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Is Katherine dying?

Another doppelganger joins the fun
I hope Nina Dobrev negotiated a pay raise for this reason. It seems "The Vampire Diaries" is ripping a page from "Orphan Black" and working the show's lead actress seemingly half to death with a small fleet of characters (same goes for Paul Wesley, too). This week, we meet Amara (also known as Crazy Pants), bringing the character total for Dobrev thus far to three. Not only is Amara an entirely distinct animal from both Katherine and Elena, Dobrev is in almost every scene. Seriously, I hope she got a bump for all this work.
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Dinner with Lee Harvey Oswald (Will Rothhaar)

 Dinner with Lee Harvey Oswald (Will Rothhaar)

Credit: Nat Geo

In Dallas with 'Killing Kennedy' and star Will Rothhaar

Lee Harvey Oswald is a hugger?

Last month I had the opportunity to not only watch Nat Geo's new movie "Killing Kennedy" (Sun. Nov. 10 at 8:00 p.m), but watch it in the theater where suspected shooter Lee Harvely Oswald was arrested. To make it all thoroughly meta, I was watching along with Will Rothhar, who plays Lee Harvey Oswald in the movie. Did I mention we all went to Lee Harvey Oswald's grave with Rothhaar on Oswald's birthday, too? It was the capper to a visit to Dallas that was chock full of such moments. Conversations segued seamlessly from conspiracy theories to debates about favorite movies, history intersected with fiction more often than anyone expected, and "known facts" were thrown into question by both the people who were players in both this tragic historical event and the movie about it. Let's just say it was a memorable weekend.

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef': Has the show hit a new low with the cream cheese challenge?

It's another misguided product placement episode

This season of "Top Chef" hasn't been very spicy. Yes, there has been literal spice (this is New Orleans, after all), but we've lacked chefs who are as colorful and creative as commentators as they are in the kitchen. When NIna grumbles of the recently eliminated Michael, "Boo Boo, you're a douche," it wasn't especially witty (and definitely wasn't nice), but at least someone got fired up about something other than andouille sausage.  

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"American Horror Story: Coven"

 "American Horror Story: Coven"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story: Coven' recap: 'Burn, Witch, Burn'

Can Zoe save the witches from a deadly enemy?

This week's episode of "American Horror Story: Coven" took a step in the right direction by reminding us that Zoe, for all her faults, can be proactive. She knows how to use a chainsaw. More importantly, she knows how to use her natural talents as a witch even more effectively than a chain saw (when your chainsaw runs out of gas, might as well toss it). Alas, she's been too busy saving lives and chopping up zombies to chase down Kyle, who's probably beating his head against a wall or eating someone, but all is forgiven… at least until next week.

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"The Originals"

 "The Originals"

Credit: The CW

'The Originals' recap: Will Hayley lose her baby?

The clock is ticking after a powerful witch hatches an evil plan

Spin-offs of hit television shows are rarely good things. Too often the lightning in the bottle that made the first show worthy of a second property can't be captured; ideas are diluted and repeated. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Some shows not only thrive once characters leave the mothership, the new show explores fresh emotional terrain, digging more deeply into ideas that had only been skimmed in the original property. When they really get it right, spin-offs leave their old shows better than they used to be, giving the characters left behind room to stretch. 

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"Top Gear"

 "Top Gear"

Credit: History

Exclusive clip: 'Top Gear' gets electrically charged up

Rutledge puts the pedal to the metal in an electric car

"Top Gear" is getting a new time slot this week (Tues. Nov. 5 at 10:00 p.m. on History), and to kick things off the show is putting electric cars to the test. The show hosts drive three of the best sellers through Michigan to see which one elevates electric beyond just being a so-called green option into actual coolness. In this exclusive clip, Rutledge discovers what it's like to be able to access all of a car's power the second you hit the "gas." Turns out you can go pretty fast.

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