Exclusive! Veronica Mars Creator Reveals New Plan, Answers You!

From E!-Online:

By Kristin Veitch
Nov 29, 2006 4:40 PMVeronica and LoganIt should be criminal  to make an hour of television like last night’s Veronica Mars. Seriously, someone, please, arrest VM boss Rob Thomas and throw away the key.

Why? I’ll tell you why. ‘Cause it was so fanfreakingtastic  it makes every other show on TV look like it was put together by glue-sniffing monkeys! Can I get an amen, my Veronica-lovin’ brethren?! (I thought I could!)

Not only was last night’s episode thoroughly rocking in every way, but the ratings reflected it, scoring 3.5 million viewers—the biggest audience ever in the CW’s coveted 18-34 demo. Yeeeeeay!

To celebrate, I just spent a little time chatting with Rob himself. (Yes, miraculously, he has not yet been arrested or abducted by jealous producers of other shows.) And lucky for us, Rob was in an especially good mood (did I mention biggest audience ever?) and willing to spill. So, I had him tackle the most popular questions sent in by you fans. I’ll lead off with the big news…

What’s the plan for the rest of the season?
Well, you’ll be the first person to hear this. There has been talk—more than talk—about dropping the whole big mystery idea after this middle mystery and to do all stand-alone episodes and sort of a combination of a few things. The network is behind it, and I am interested in heading in that direction.

Really? Why the change?
One feeling is that the big mysteries keep away the casual TV viewers, and the other is that the thing that has been least  successful since season one—meaning the things we get the most complaints about—are the big mysteries. My design in season one was that Veronica’s best friend was dead, and every season regular had an integral role in the mystery. And unless they wanted every year to kill Veronica’s friends, it’s hard to have the same emotional connective that’s worth spending seven, eight, nine episodes on a mystery. It’s one of the things we are deciding on right now.

Is this change something you are interested in or the network is interested in?
Both. Honestly, I brought it up to the network, and they jumped at the idea. But what I think we might do is the final mystery we were going to run instead of running it as our final five is just to play those as stand-alone episodes and maybe contract that big mystery into a two-episode thing with a cliffhanger as just a trial balloon. And hopefully before season four, we’ll see how it works. It seems like a good time to do it—a good fun test balloon. Try it over five and see how fans and non-fans react.

Will there still be some continuing story arcs?
Yes. I mean, we will still have ongoing personal life stories from Veronica, so there will be romantic relationships and the normal travails. We just wouldn’t have a mystery at the core.

Well, whatever your plan, I’m in. Honestly, last night was incredible. And the ratings show it. Congrats.
Thank you. It’s so nice to hear, because we have had some glum weeks. It has been a combination of ratings going down a little lower and that horrible [Entertainment Weekly] review. And, well, it’s just really good to have some good news. We got our best ever numbers and really good response to the episode, and we’re all really happy today.

wish we LoVe fans could say the same.
Uh…

I must admit, I do like it better when those two are snarky and tortured, but you gotta give us fans a glimmer of hope. Was that the end of Logan and Veronica?
Here’s what I’m willing to say: They are not over. But it will be a rocky road.

And the next arc is who killed the dean?
Yes.

And are we to believe the dean is the only who is dead?
I will answer that, because I didn’t mean to mislead anyone. He is the only one who is dead. He did not kill his wife and her lover.

I was so happy to see Mac back. I know that she was doing Big Love. Was it hard to let her go for those episodes?
It’s a little tricky, but the Big Love people were great with us. We love, love, love Tina in the show, and I wish I had her for more than what used to be 12 but is now 11 episodes.

So, where do things stand on a fourth season? Is there anything we fans can do to help?
I honestly don’t know much. I got an email from a Friday Night Lights viewer who said lets get Friday Night Lights viewers to watch Veronica Mars and Veronica Mars viewers to watch Friday Night Lights—and improve both their ratings, because they say it’s the best teen night on television, to watch them back to back on Tuesdays. I know the more the network feels it would outrage fans, the better the chance of getting back. But if the fans write them or contact them, they should always do it sweetly. Also, promotion equals bigger ratings, so we won’t miss a step when we come back in January.

Last question. And it’s an important one. Where can I buy an “Ask Me About My STD” shirt?
[Laughs.] It’s funny, I actually made that up, and I now have one, too. And by the way, we liked that kid so much—the guy who offered Mac the whiskey—that he actually makes another appearance. We find out he was stumbling home drunk from the party and hears the gunshot. So, he’s the only witness who can put a time of death.

Desperate Housewives: Merry Housewives!

From TVGuide: November 26, 2006: The Miracle Song It’s always a treat when we get answers to questions that have been baffling our minds. But in the true Desperate Housewives tradition, questions still remain unanswered, so our head-scratching never truly comes to an end. Alma is alive and has been in hiding and in cahoots with Gloria (Dixie Carter) all this time. But where has she been? Has she been hiding because Orson was the one who killed Monique or did Mike? Since Mike still has amnesia, he doesn’t even know (although Monique’s blood was on Mike’s wrench — uh-oh). When I saw Valerie Mahaffey listed with tonight’s guest stars in the opening credits, I figured it was because she’d be seen in only flashbacks. When Gloria called that mystery person on her cell phone and said “meet me on the corner in an hour,” my smart roommate Jason yelled: “I bet it’s Alma!” I liked Susan sneaking into Orson’s office and finding the evidence that he was in a mental hospital for psychological depression when he was younger. Plus, Susan heard Orson tell Bree that he never loved Alma, and that’s why he turned to Monique. Aside from those tidbits, what are the secrets that Gloria still has over Orson? Color me intrigued.

LynetteThe other big unknown that was answered was the “Is Art a pedophile?” question, much to the horror of Lynette. I knew as soon as Art made the reference that his (newly dead) sister Rebecca always believed in him, Lynette’s earlier suspicions would be correct. Gross. Art’s two lines to Lynette — “I’m free” and “I have you to thank” — just made Lynette even more mortified. Earlier, Art sure got a Wisteria Lane unwelcoming when he showed up to the holiday block party as a ho-ho-ho-ing Santa. Everyone looked at him with disgust, especially Lynette. But it was oh-so-Lynette of her to start feeling sorry for Art after the neighbor housewives staged their protest with the anti-pedophile signs — a protest that Lynette caused herself. That was Alison La Placa as Rita, the neighbor who organized the protest along with Mrs. McCluskey. I hope they give the very funny Alison more to do next time she’s on. I was glad we didn’t really get to know the extent of Art’s pedophilia. For that story line, less is more.

How typical of Edie to break it off with Mike (or “take a break”) after he was arrested for Monique’s murder and was behind bars. I loved that they had Susan come to visit Mike right after Edie’s breakup. Nice timing: Just when Ian’s parents were coming to visit and eat a delicious dinner that Susan asked Bree to cook for her. Then I loved that Susan and Bree argued over who murdered Monique — Mike or Orson. Of course, Bree was going to side with Orson, and Susan was going to side with Mike. No Bree cuisine for Susan. But luckily, Ian’s parents were delayed and stranded at my hometown airport, O’Hare. That Ian is a clever dude. Interesting way to get Susan to stay away from Mike — paying for an expensive lawyer to represent Mike and get him out of jail, but only if Susan stops visiting him. We’ll see how long Susan follows that arrangement.

Eva Longoria was once again the comedy MVP. The way she set her sights on Bill Pearce — the single father of Amy, the one little pageant girl that Gaby and “spineless ‘mo” Vern (Alec Mapa) were planning on firing — was hilarious. Funniest moment was the baton hitting Amy on the head, and then Gaby closing the blinds and saying to Bill, “Yeah, she’s a special girl.” The actor who played Bill — Mark Deklin — totally reminded me of Casper Van Dien. And the young actress who played Amy, Juliette Goglia, was a bit of a Madonna‘s daughter Lourdes-look-alike. That conniving Gaby wasn’t about to allow Amy to set up her daddy with her best friend Sherri’s mother. What better way to thwart that than to suggest Sherri (the most promising contestant, played by Chloe Moretz), perform with Amy (the least promising and so bad that Gaby said, “If she was a horse, we’d have to shoot her”)? Suddenly, the best friends were enemies. There’s no stopping Gabrielle: “Friends come and go, but a crown is forever.”

Two final random observations:
— How many of you were thinking the wheelchair-bound Rebecca (Jennifer Dundas) was going to get run over by a car, a la Mike Delfino and Mama Solis, as she wheeled herself away from Lynette? Thankfully, that didn’t occur. Not that dying of a cardiac arrest wasn’t tragic enough, but you get my point.
— Oh my, Marcia Cross is definitely pregnant. It kills me when they don’t hide it as well as they normally do.

From EW: The Nightmare Before Christmas

The alleged pedophile confesses that Lynette was right to suspect him; plus, Alma returns to complicate the mystery of Monique’s death by Annie Barrett

It’s a good thing Desperate Housewives beat us all to the punch and pulled out the Christmas decorations last night, because there won’t be another new episode until 2007.

Not to worry. Mistletoe, check! Bad Santa, check! Deep-dish pizza, check! Elf in a wheelchair who dies because the neighborhood thought her brother was a pedophile, check! All the staples of the holidays were accounted for, nestled amongst the dusty religious figures in Edie’s hilariously labeled box of ”Winter Crap.” I loved how awesomely, absurdly lavish that block party was. The only thing missing was Zach Young standing off to the side with a guilty expression, because he’d sneaked in and set up the whole thing without Bree’s permission.

Instead, last night’s drama peaked when Art, Wisteria Lane’s creepy swim-coach neighbor, confronted Lynette with what was almost definitely a real confession of his child-molesting predilection. Of course, it’s possible Art just wanted to torture Lynette in return for indirectly offing his sister and forcing him to leave, but that’d be a very unwise move on his part. I won’t go so far as to say, ”I love where they went with this pedophile story line” (whoops, too late), but I thought what happened was a reasonable and unexpected wrap-up to a tough subplot. Matt Roth’s delivery was slow and chilling, and his departure will give Lynette some serious emotional baggage to deal with this winter.

But no one actually enjoys listening to thinly veiled threats against ”that beautiful family” of Lynette’s, so I’ll offer some different pleasure points of the night. We got a glimpse of Orson as a possibly not-so-bad guy when he confided in Bree about his marriage with Alma and his issues with his mother. I loved the combination of Orson’s snippets of dialogue and shots of Susan rifling through Orson’s ”Spare Room” box (conveniently stored right where she was forced to hide in his office). I’d also like to personally thank whoever decided that said box should not topple onto Susan’s head, in typical Susan’s-physical-comedy-disasters form.

Orson said that he married a pregnant Alma at his mother’s urgings but never loved his wife. He didn’t tell Bree about his affair with Monique (the first woman he truly loved) because he knew Rex had cheated on Bree and Orson wanted Bree to feel safe with him. Meanwhile, Susan uncovered Orson’s eighth-grade report card from a private boys’ school (he’d earned all As and Bs) and documentation of his institutionalization at age 17, for ”psychological depression.” She found that file right as Orson told Bree, ”You don’t know how manipulative [his mother, Gloria] can be,” so I’m guessing Gloria had Orson committed against his will and has been obsessed with controlling him ever since.

Plus, big news: Alma’s alive, and looks to be plotting against Orson with Gloria. She only had one line, but it was basically ”shut up and get in the car,” so I’m interested in just why and how this little Southern-drawling spitfire gets to push Dixie Carter around.

The rest of the ladies worked through different levels of boy trouble. Edie certainly suffered the least, dumping Mike as soon as he landed himself in jail (as the suspected murderer of Monique) with a million-dollar bail. As Mike’s ever-loyal friend/lover/companion/whatevs, Susan had to jump in to help. This might have actually been kind of cute, but it was so hopeless and chock full o’ Ian that it ended up just seeming tragic. No way can poor Susan avoid Mike forever, even if that means Ian will hire him a good lawyer. She doesn’t seem to have much of a choice at this point — just as she didn’t have a choice in the matter of dinner with Ian’s visiting parents. Since when does ”I wondered if you might be free to join us for dinner” mean ”Cook for us!” Ew! Gloria wasn’t the only manipulative weasel up in this joint last night.

Same goes for Gaby, to an extent — the way she turned those little girls against each other was evil, but we’re used to stunts like this from her in order to get what she wants. (Men to devour.) The girls will probably make up within a few days, and that single dad was almost as yummy as the dinner he was cooking (combined with the fact that he was cooking), so I definitely want their little flirtation to progress. Speaking of which, I should start a…

Desperate Housewives Holiday Wish List

Spicy Edie-Carlos interaction

A homemade potpourri of creative ways to hide Baby Marcia Cross

The grand revisiting of Pizzeria Oh-no

More evidence of (1) Julie’s existence, (2) Gaby having feelings, (3) Orson being a dentist, (4) Mike actually being out of his coma

Veronica Mars: LoVe and the Egg

From TVGuide: November 21, 2006: Worst. Easter-Egg Hunt. Ever.

 

Veronica The look on Logan’s face when he saw that Veronica was ignoring his calls is going to haunt me all week. I get that the two of them are having trouble and that he’s not perfect, but at least he’s really trying to make things work. She’s just playing like an ostrich with her head in the sand who is completely avoiding discussing their relationship issues. I’d probably be pissed off if my boyfriend hired a big, burly bodyguard for me and didn’t at least warn me, but I would hope that I’d realize that his heart was in the right place. “You’re not invincible, and you’re not always right.” Logan made such a good argument when he said that she was always trying to change him, but she didn’t want him to try to change her. “Even right now as you’re thinking, ‘Crap, he’s got a point,’ you still think you’re ultimately right.” I was so proud of Logan when he had a quick retort to Keith’s complaint that he was yelling at his daughter, “You might want to start.”

Aside from Veronica’s treatment of her boyfriend, she was actually pretty much back to her normal snarky self, thankfully. She even seems to have immediately forgiven her father since he broke off his affair with Harmony and now the two are joking and solving cases together again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally thrilled that my favorite father-daughter crime-fighting duo (loved the reference to Paper Moon, by the way) are reunited. It feels so good. But, I just think it is weird that she has instantly forgiven Keith but is still holding a grudge against Logan for his Mexican fiasco.

Anyway, Veronica and Keith. Totally cute. “This is just like the time we went to Disneyland. If we have another altercation with Snow White and her disapproving dwarves, you’re taking Sneezy. [Hums Bionic Woman theme] The park is closed, the walrus out front should have told you.” Not to mention Keith’s adorably funny faces when he proudly proclaimed, “Have so much information I have no place left inside for food.” And they proved that two Mars heads are better than one as they quickly solved the disappearance of Selma Rose (loved that they cast Patty Hearst in this role of the missing heiress whose claim to fame was throwing her trust fun out of an airplane and starting a riot). She actually delivered one of the funniest setup lines of the night: “Have you ever been a walking punchline on a national scale?” Keith’s reply: “Actually…. ” Perfect, he took a lot of flak for the Lilly Kane murder issues, but now he’s back in fine form and befriending his new repeat client, Dean O’Dell.

I was really excited to see Charles Shaughnessy as Selma’s wheelchair-bound husband, who has apparently been living it up with the younger college girls, like Hallie. So glad to see this gold-digging side of Hallie. Even Veronica called her on her dating habits. “Slow down, Anna Nicole, you’re skeeving me out.” Brilliant reuse of Morty the trash-bin digger as an eyewitness to the whole blackmailing scheme.

And then there is the big Hearst rape case. Well it seems that Chip has been exonerated since it seems mighty unlikely that he would shave his own head and put a plastic Easter egg where the sun don’t shine. Especially since, as Dick so eloquently said, “He had to get one of the brothers to help unpack his suitcase.” Yeah, that’s not something you’d do if you were guilty. We did learn that there is a girl named Patrice who was a sorority sister until she got made fun of and walked off a roof. Signs seem to point to the Lilith girls who supposedly faked Claire’s rape, but that seems too obvious. I’m sticking with the RA. My wacky theory of the night is that he was dating Patrice, or something to that effect, and by raping and shaving girls he’s trying to frame the frat boys who sent her straight into a mental institution. That’s not a spoiler or anything, just my guess.

Random funny lines of the night:
“I’m off to steal the souls of the rich with my image-capturing device.”
“Rich ladies aren’t the most reliable creatures.”
“The female voice in Celtic literature? I am woman, hear me bore.”
“Kiester egg.”
“Whatever happened to winter, spring, summer and fall, all I have to do is call and you’ll be there.”
“She always gets a replay, never tilts at all.”
“You want to know where I buried Jimmy Hoffman?”
“The incredible inedible egg.”

All in all, a great episode, though my heart is breaking a little over the fighting between Veronica and Logan. But the funny stuff and the spying stuff were absolutely great, and I’m excited to see what happens next week when the baddie is supposedly revealed.

 

From EW: Putting on Heiress

On ”Veronica Mars,” while our heroine solves the mystery of the campus rapes, Patty Hearst plays a rich alumna with a devious husband

 

Last night’s Veronica Mars was one of those

love-it-or-hate-it episodes. Lots to love (making progress on the rape case, great guest stars, Veronica’s Taser and one-liners, and Logan’s soft spot) and even more to hate (the stupid reason behind the rapes, Patty Hearst’s awful performance, Veronica becoming a sourpuss, and Wallace being virtually MIA). Anyone else feel the same way? Here’s a breakdown of what I loved and what I loathed:Loved It We finally got an explanation for the rapes — err, lack of rapes, I should say. I was recently in the elevator with Mary, one of my co-workers at EW, who asked me who I thought the rapist was. As the show’s TV Watcher, I should be full of theories, but to be honest, I couldn’t think of anything plausible. I danced around the question and pointed my fingers at Piz, the sketchy RA, and the ugly teaching assistant. Lots of facts bounced around in my mind: radio show times; the fact that the radio station overlooks the food court, where Veronica was drugged; when Piz was where; Mercer’s alibi; and the Pi Sigs’ involvement. Still no one person seemed perfect. But as we found out this week, there was no rapist. The attacks were staged by the feminazis on campus. Whaaaa? Though I’m relieved to finally have some answers, that brings me to my first hate.

Hated It The feminists were staging all the rapes just to get back at Chip Diller? Come on, seriously! As Veronica would say, my mind was blown! But in this case, it was blown by the sheer shallowness of it all. The three girls — Fern, Claire, and that editor chick — were exacting sick revenge and taking it out on the entire Greek system? Lame, lame, lame. While it’s sad about what happened to their friend Patrice (having the lights turned up, while naked, in a room full of laughing frat boys would be traumatic for anyone), that’s no excuse for getting an entire campus in an uproar about a potential rapist.

Seriously, I’m not even sure I understand. They got Chip back by sticking that Easter egg where the sun doesn’t shine, but what was the point of everything else? It makes me question so much of what’s happened so far this season. How did they get Parker to agree to join in the scheme? Or did they really just drug her, shave her head, and make her think she was raped? And why did no one point out the fact that there was no forensic evidence of rape — strands of hair, semen — before now? I pondered the possibility of the rapes being fake at first, but I never would have imagined that they’d string out a story line for this long if there had been no actual evidence besides shaved heads. How was it, exactly, that Veronica didn’t figure this out before? I’m disappointed. Greek systems everywhere are problematic, but isn’t this a little extreme?

Loved It Guest stars Charles Shaughnessy, who is probably best known for his time on The Nanny, and Keri Lynn Pratt. While Shaughnessy didn’t have a huge role, I thought he was perfectly cast. He’s good at working the British accent to play a slightly sleazy guy. And Pratt — loved her in her tart role here and on Brothers & Sisters. (Any of you out there watching that great show? You should be.) Another guest, however — and the most eagerly anticipated of the three — seemed off the mark.

Hated It Patty Hearst’s guest performance. I haven’t seen her in much before — just a few of her TV guest spots like this — but she was no good. The scenes with her talking to Keith and Veronica in the guesthouse were just plain awkward. It was too hard for her. She expressed no emotion, either happy or sad, about what was going on. I realize it was meant to be funny that Patty Hearst was guest-starring on a show with a fictional Hearst College, blah blah, but so what?

Loved It Veronica’s continued sassiness and splendid one-liners. She had some of the best of the season. A few of my favorites: 1. ”I’m off to steal the souls of the rich with my evil image-capturing device.” 2. ”When you stick an Easter egg in a frat boy’s out door, do you kiss him first? Poor Chip — you really wrecked him.” 3. After Hallie complained that Veronica was blocking her sun: ”Oh, is that yours? Sorry.” And 4. ”Apparently Brant is the Smithers to Mr. Rose’s Monty Burns.” Plus, I loved it that Veronica pulled her Taser out twice and buzzed a guy once. Oh, and her hilarious duping of Lamb while impersonating local TV personality Martina Vasquez was classic.

Hated It Veronica has been a bigger sourpuss than ever lately. Of course she’s shaken up by the rapist stuff, but is that any reason to take her rage out on Logan, who’s just trying to help? Of course you’re an independent woman and all that, but learn to recognize when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

Loved It Logan’s heart — or his attempt at having one. Maybe he isn’t such a bad guy. Even though he’s being a tad on the overprotective side, his intentions were good when he hired a bodyguard for Veronica. He’s realized — although she hasn’t — that his little blond peach isn’t invincible.

Hated It Wallace’s diminished role. Is helping Veronica crack a few numbers all he’s good for these days? Give him his own story line — please! Or at least let him help Veronica some more. And as for Mac, I’m not even going there anymore.

Gilmore Girls: The Newlyweds

From TVGuide: November 21, 2006: Synchronicity

 

I found it quite appropriate that the theme of tonight’s episode was printed on an old rock T-shirt Chris stole from Lorelai when they were teenagers: Synchronicity. It began the second Lorelai put that shirt on and said she’d never take it off. (Here, let me quote you some of the lyrics by The Police: “Synchronicity / A connecting principle / Linked to the invisible / Almost imperceptible / Something inexpressible / Science insusceptible / Logic so inflexible / Causally connectable / Yet nothing is invincible.”)

Is it just me, or do those lines explain exactly what’s going on between these three couples: Chris and Lorelai, Luke and April, and Rory and Logan? Each of them is bound together in this episode by odd timing and twists of fate: After 20 years, Chris and Lor are now the married couple settling into the house that, ironically, Luke rebuilt. Sure, there was some back-and-forthing about the flat-screen TVs in practically every room and how they’d need to redo Rory’s bedroom in pink for Gigi. Chris agrees to small-town living, even if he moved in rather firmly, making it clear that “things would have to change.” Lorelai eventually gets used to his presence, and even helps him move Rory’s furniture. Linked to the invisible. Synchronicity.

As for Luke, well, there’s some impressive parenting. The guy who’s never raised a kid realizes April’s sick, despite her protests, and rushes her to the emergency room for an appendectomy. I actually enjoyed the bonding beforehand when they gossip about Melissa at school and whether April’s denim skirt was ready for wearing. And I loved how he uses juggling as a metaphor for kissing boys, ironic in its own way since juggling is exactly what he’s doing with his life. Everything seems fine between the two, rather touching even, especially when he’s at her hospital bed, until The Philadelphia Story comes on TV. (The movie, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, is about a woman who is about to marry the wrong man.) The last scene in the ep shows a devastated Luke who’d just seen Lorelai’s wedding band when she came to visit at the hospital. A connecting principle. Synchronicity.Rory

And finally, Logan unexpectedly moves back to the States to head up his huge project. (Anyone want to explain to me what it’s all about? It doesn’t sound like Dad’s newspapers to me.) They’re riffing off each other and all happy-sappy until Rory writes an article about the launch party titled “Let Them Have Cosmos.” Instead of finding it funny (“The party was filled with people who can’t imagine their worlds without their trust funds and bottled water.”) Logan is enraged and insulted. When he points out that Rory is exactly the same as the partiers — a prep schooler and a Yalie who lives for free in his luxury apartment — she becomes enraged, but when she reads the piece several times, she realizes she had been “awful, mean and judgmental.” Only then does she really come to terms with their similarities. Casually connectable. Synchronicity.

Sure, it’s an old rock song, and it might be the soundtrack to their lives right now. But I have a feeling a newer anthem will come along and knock this one off their charts.

 

From EW:  The Honeymoon Is Over

On ”Gilmore Girls,” Lorelai and Christopher share the big news of their marriage with Rory, who takes it out on Logan

It’s good to be home. The writers of Gilmore Girls are still in dire need of that coffee they sent the intern to get, and the citizens of Stars Hollow are waiting for the house arrest, or whatever’s keeping them under lock and key, to be called off, and Emily and Richard must be six sheets to the wind on their living-room sofa, calling the maid for one more round of martinis before they accept that Lorelai and Rory just aren’t showing for dinner. But can we all agree that a subpar stateside episode blows that Paris debacle out of the water? And also, while Lorelai is still unrecognizable to many of us this season (and last), can we agree that Lauren Graham seriously brought it this week?

I’m going to jump right to the good stuff: that scene at the kitchen table where Lorelai and Christopher confessed to Rory that they got married. Who to feel most sorry for here? Silly Christopher, who so doesn’t get the intimate, exclusive bond between his daughter and her formerly single mother, who thinks all is right in the world and that news like this calls for champagne. I think David Sutcliffe played this scene just right. Chris was infuriatingly, grinningly oblivious to the aftershocks of the bomb they dropped and came out looking like a major boob for it. Poor Rory, who was rightly pissed, and who the writers rightly kept from expressing her fury in front of the father that she has a cordial, distant relationship with. I do wish that Alexis Bledel would stretch a little in her more dramatic scenes, and not go right to that tic of tugging and curling her hair behind her right ear whenever she wants to express confusion and anger. Take a couple cues from the pretty lady, whose magic bag of physicality was on full display here. As Lorelai geared up to spill, she looked alternately panicked and puzzled and vaguely amused and horrified. And as soon as her dopey new husband (who I like!) trotted out back to find some bubbly, she stripped off her mask of conviviality and spoke directly to her hurting daughter. Even if one doesn’t like the current turn of events, it’s hard not to marvel at Graham’s still-deft touch.

Luke and April are taking over the twosome department that Rory and Lorelai were once co-chairs of. Now it’s these two sitting around a table, stuffing themselves on burgers and chatting knowingly about the feuding girls in April’s class and the jean skirt hanging to dry in the bathroom and the prospect of making out at a boy-girl party. I really like April, but the writers had the young actress swim a little too far out of her acting depth when she shrieked at Luke for bringing up the prospect of kissing a boy. She melted down in such an awkward, look-away-from-your-TV-screen fashion that for a minute I felt like I was watching America’s Next Top Model. Turns out little April’s none-too-subtle grimaces and grips of her belly throughout dinner added up to, ding ding ding!, an acute case of appendicitis. And they also led to a scared, desperate Luke reaching out to Lorelai for the first time for some expert advice. I’m glad Lorelai showed at the emergency room to make sure Luke was hanging in, and I’m pleased that the writers threw in that incredibly uncomfortable moment where the doctor assumed Luke and Lorelai were a couple. But poor Luke — when he got an eyeful of his very recent ex’s wedding ring, he looked like he might need to be checked in to the hospital himself.

Meanwhile, Rory was pissed about the news of her parents’ surprise nuptials and fled to a fancy party that Logan was throwing for his thriving business. The golden boy is moving to New York, and he’s going to get a new apartment and all new stuff, and whee!, it’s good to be loaded. (Points to Logan for sweetly understanding Rory’s dismay at the news of her mother’s marriage, and then subtract half a point for his immediately offering her a drink. Is it just me, or are we headed for a very special episode where Rory has to confront Logan about his drinking?) At the party, Rory met a bunch of mucky-mucks, including a former New York Times writer who marveled at her gumption. Apparently our little girl interviewed Barack Obama a couple weeks ago for the Yale Daily News, and while she couldn’t get the charismatic young senator to admit to a 2008 presidential run, she did see a twinkle in his eye. ”But you can’t quote a twinkle,” the seasoned journalist warmly told her. ”But you can describe it!” she replied. And he looked positively tickled by this upstart young writer, who’s found a magical way to report the news. Bah! How about treating Rory like a 22-year-old young woman instead of a Dakota Fanning movie character who gets by on her creamy dimples and go-get-’em moxie. Rory ended up channeling all of her fury at her mother into a scathing article about Logan’s event, and the couple had a meltdown where Logan defended his class of trustafarians. Sounding a little too Waco for my taste, even if he was completely right, he sneered at the prep-school-and-Yale-educated, grandparent-funded, no-rent-paying Rory that ”You’re one of us!” The two eventually made up, after Rory apologized for the article and asserted her intention to move out of his place (finally!). They made kissy face, complimenting each other’s hair and teeth (gag).

Lorelai showed up — thank you, writers, for finally having Lorelai do something besides leaving ineffectual yammering messages — and confronted her daughter. She insisted that if she had told Rory about her plans to get hitched, Rory would have talked her out of it, or at least made her second-guess herself. But she wanted to make a leap of faith and throw caution to the wind and take the plunge and all of those clichés that never before had a place in our brainy Lorelai’s life. All was quickly forgiven, and Rory agreed that little Gigi (adrift somewhere in France, probably smoking opium and dancing the cancan by now) could take over her room. Lorelai insisted that she was not going to take Christopher’s name (does he know that?), that she’s first and foremost a Gilmore girl, and Lorelai Gilmore without Gilmore is Gil-less. Uh, right, Gil-less. That intern who was sent to Starbucks like six episodes ago is so unbelievably fired.

Now I get that it might seem silly for all of you TiVo, DVR, microwave-oven types to have this dinosaur moaning week after week about a mere promo spot. But indulge me this one last time. All I want for Christmas is to see one of the Aerie Girls tarred and feathered in the Stars Hollows town square. The sin here is not just that these little teenagers are ding-dongs dumbing down an already dumbed-down show. It’s the assumption that their little klatch after each episode is useful or illuminating, a relatable mirror of us silly viewers and the ”Dear Diary” quality of conversations we’re supposedly having at home on our own sofas. When one poor thing brought up the bland ”Gil-less” comment, those two nonsense words splashed across the screen like a Sesame Street reading device. And then another girl disagreed with her polyester-blend friend and said she thought all was well between Lorelai and Rory, and the two have never been a stronger unit. And then, and then, ”Gil Most” blurped up on the screen. Oh, Logan, can’t you pay someone to have these girls, and the brainiacs who conceived of them in the first place, taken care of? There’s a bottle of scotch in it for you.

 

 

Desperate Housewives: Danger Among US

From TVGuide: November 19, 2006: Beautiful Girls After last week’s ending, I was really hoping that we’d find out more info on the backgrounds of Orson and Art tonight, but they are really taking baby steps when it comes to those two mysterious characters. So now we at least know (thanks to Orson’s mama, Gloria) that Orson was having an affair with Monique while being married to Alma — the same Monique that had an affair with Harvey Bigsby, Carolyn’s hubby. As Gloria so eloquently put it, Monique “got around.” But Gloria still knows more and is holding those nuggets over Orson’s head: “What are you going to do to me that hasn’t already been done?” That look of death that Orson gave Gloria made me believe he’d kill her in the next scene. But instead, Bree packed Orson’s things and asked him to leave, apparently believing Gloria. I’m still loving Dixie Carter as Gloria, and I hope she spills more of the beans about Orson soon. How perfect for Andrew to be in cahoots with Gloria, attempting to sneak her wine behind Bree’s back, but how ironic that Bree the alcoholic is the one trying to hide the booze from Gloria. Bree’s got to regret not allowing Gloria to live alone in that house in a bad neighborhood that Edie showed them.

The mystery behind new neighbor Art continues to boggle the mind of Lynette, but we’re right there with her. Your comments last week proved that not all of us believe he’s a pedophile. It would be quite typical of this show to confuse us with those photos of shirtless little boys, but come on. Yes, he’s supposedly a swim coach, but all of the photos were of shirtless little boys. You be the judge. Until proven otherwise, I myself will still be creeped out by Art. He told Lynette he donated and sent all of the toys and the pinball machine to the children’s hospital with nary an acknowledgement of the photos that were also removed from the basement. We did get to see Art’s sister Rebecca (Jennifer Dundas) tonight. Hopefully next week we’ll find out more about why she’s in a wheelchair.

That scene with Lynette and Tom at the police station was one of my favorites, especially when Lynette had to explain to the officer why she was inside Art’s house uninvited. Best part was Tom apologizing to the officer after Lynette left the room and then Lynette shouting: “You better not be apologizing for me!” Felicity Huffman and Doug Savant play so well opposite each other. And I love that they give Doug comedic stuff to do, like having Tom show up at Mike’s house to watch football with Mike’s “best friend” Carlos. I’m surprised more of the neighbors haven’t taken advantage of Mike’s memory loss like Carlos has.

Having Mrs. McCluskey be involved in everyone’s business continues to make me laugh. Last week, she returned Mike’s toolbox and encouraged him to hide it, especially the bloody wrench, and now she’s the one keeping an eye on Art. (For more on her, go here to read Matt Webb Mitovich’s great interview with Kathryn Joosten.) That toolbox is really getting Mike into trouble. Detective Ridley (Ernie Hudson) showed up and shined a flashlight on Mike as he was about to bury the hatchet, I mean, the whole toolbox. They seem to like to bury things in that neighborhood.

How refreshing it was tonight for Gabrielle to focus on something besides being mean to Carlos and trying to rejuvenate her modeling career. I enjoyed all of Gaby’s scenes with the young girls — the highlight was when she convinced that shy, skinny little blonde girl to focus on being confident and giving the proper attitude. Best Eva Longoria line was when Gaby was strutting her stuff on the faux catwalk and said to the gals: “Yes, I’m unbelievable. Close your mouths,” and they all closed their mouths. Alec Mapa was hilarious as Vern, Gaby’s personal shopper. You knew the mothers weren’t going to be happy when their daughters were desperately trying to lose weight, since Gaby told them that fat girls don’t get magazine covers. Speaking of the mothers, that was Winifred Freedman as Mrs. Tomlinson (the one that said it would be the Christian thing to do to forgive Gaby). Winifred’s first claim to fame was playing Millie in The Last American Virgin.

Another awesome guest star was Ian Abercrombie (Mr. Pitt from Seinfeld) as Rupert, Ian’s butler. (I guess Ian is a popular British name.) It gave Teri Hatcher something else to do besides pine away for Mike, be a protective mother to Julie and, in general, be a klutz. I liked that Rupert was so protective of Jane, even though she’s in a coma, and he kept reminding Susan that Ian was still married to Jane. His best line came after he gave Susan the choice of an omelet, strawberry tart or brioche for breakfast, and she said, “That sounds great — you pick,” and he said “You are aware there is a Mrs. Hainsworth.” Then Susan said, “Yes,” and Rupert said, “Tart it is.” Second best was after Susan gifted him with a T-shirt with a British flag on it: “It’ll come in handy should my nationality ever slip my mind.” Having those two actors together was a reunion of sorts. Since most of you know Teri guested on Seinfeld as Sidra (“They’re real and their spectacular”), did you also know that both Teri and Ian appeared in the show’s finale? Yep.

One gripe I have — what’s with Bree’s daughter, Danielle? She (Joy Lauren) was given one line tonight — three little words. (“We all did.”) Sometimes they don’t give her any lines or they don’t have her appear at all. The writers have got to think of something for Danielle to do. At least Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom) gets to be a sarcastically funny little snot each week.

Inside the Brothers & Sisters Set

« Ausiello Report

Brothers & Sisters Secrets Revealed!

With Thanksgiving upon us, I am reminded once again that there is nothing quite so important in life as family.

Except maybe fake family.

Confession time: I don’t think I ever truly grasped the awesomeness of the fake family (hereafter known simply as “FF”) until last Friday, when I was invited to spend the day with the fictional Walker clan on the set of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. I mean, I adored them on TV, but I had no clue that they’d be even more fraktastic in person. In addition to unconditional love, support and big, warm hugs, my FF — specifically sister Kitty, brothers Justin and Kevin, and mother Nora — gave me something my real family never could (those thoughtless bastards!): access to heapin’ piles of scoop.

So, as an early holiday gift from me to you, I present you with 10 things I learned while hanging with my FF (and yours).

1) Mother and daughter love each other in real life, too. Conventional sexist wisdom says that if you put two A-list actresses in the same room together, they’ll claw each other’s eyes out. But nary a hiss was heard between Calista Flockhart and Sally Field. In fact, right before shooting their first scene of the day, the estwhile Ally McBeal walked up to Field and greeted her with a big — and this is the telling part — long hug. (Less certain is Flockhart’s relationship with TV sis Rachel Griffiths, who had the day off. But several sources laughed off recent tabloid reports that the two are feuding.)

2) Everyone loves to pick on the youngest. David Annable wasn’t kidding when he told me that “as the baby of the group,” he gets picked on mercilessly by his older “siblings.” While we were chatting in his dressing room, a crew member interrupted to alert him that a woman named Brianna was at the main entrance of the Warner Bros. lot demanding to see him. The actor, who knew no one by that name, was bewildered and a little excited, kind of like I was when I got my first stalker. But it was just exec producer Ken Olin playing a joke on him.

3) Wanna spend Christmas with Matthew Rhys? Follow the burning-log smell. Upon entering Rhys’ dressing room, I found the U.K. native Googling for Manhattan eateries that feature open fireplaces. Why? He’s spending Christmas with his real family (or RF) in the Big Apple — the halfway point between their home in London and his in L.A. — and “Mom’s only request was that there be an open fireplace at the restaurant.”

4) Sally Field loves TV Guide. She really, really loves TV Guide. Before the B&S publicist could finish introducing me, Field gushed, “Thank you so much for all your support. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.” Nonetheless, I let her try.

5) The role of Rebecca has Emily VanCamp written all over it. Admittedly, I’m extremely biased when it comes to assessing the former Everwood alum’s chances of scoring the plum part of Patricia Wettig‘s love child. But I was pleased to discover that exec producer Greg Berlanti isn’t the only powerful B&S ally that VanCamp has. Fellow EP Ken Olin is also a fan. Unfortunately, ABC has to weigh in, too, which is why our pick will only be one of several actresses auditioning in the coming week. Bah humbug!

6) There are four stars of Brothers & Sisters. As the old saying goes, you can always tell who the real star of a show is by the size of their dressing room. Well, on B&S, the award for most square footage is a four-way tie between Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths and… elder statesman Ron Rifkin.

7) Dave Annable owns a new TV. Nothing like a back-nine order to inspire an impulse purchase. What was Annable’s? “I bought a 50-inch LCD,” shares the former Reunion hottie. “My mom was like, ‘What the hell are you doing?'” (Extra fact, free of charge: Annable is an AAdict. “I definitely read Ask Ausiello. I just wanna know how you get all your info. You get info about our show that I’m like, ‘S–t, this is happening?'”)

8) Not all female Republicans take after Ann Coulter. “She’s probably the most famous female Republican, so I think people expected [Kitty to be a clone of her],” Flockhart acknowledges. “But obviously, there are lots of Republicans. I never wanted to play the cliché of what a conservative means to people.” Flockhart also points out that we get to see Kitty’s life outside of politics. “We see her dealing with her siblings and her mother and all of these complicated relationships. I’m sure if we saw Ann Coulter at home, she would be slightly different.” Flockhart pauses for a second, then adds with a laugh, “Or maybe not.”

9) Rob Lowe may be here to stay. Although he’s only committed for six episodes (the first of which aired this past Sunday), producers are hoping they can convince their West Wing man to stick around for a while longer. His leading lady appears equally smitten. “We hit it off really well,” says Flockhart. “I like him very much.” (Extra fact, free of charge: Exec producer Jon Robin Baitz — who previously worked with Lowe on NBC’s political drama — spent the previous weekend vacationing with Lowe and his wife.)

10) They really are one big, happy family. I know, I know. My eyes roll into the back of my head whenever someone says that, too. But in the case of B&S, it’s true. Really! In addition to the Flockhart-Field embrace, I saw many examples of FF bonding on the set. Producers Olin, Baitz and Berlanti pop in and out of each others’ offices like lifelong friends; Rhys and Annable are inseparable; Flockhart and producer Michael Morris were seen having a deep conversation during their downtime…. The list goes on and on. “It’s really as close to a family as you can get off camera,” says Annable. “I’m sure every cast says that, but it’s so true on this set.” It is! Really!

Veronica Mars “Finale” Spoilers!

From TVGuide’s Ausiello:

Just received my DVD of next week’s Veronica Mars rape mystery finale, and here are the things the CW is allowing me to say:

* Veronica solves the Hearst rapist case.

* Dean O’Dell hires Keith to find out if his wife is cheating.

* Someone will die.

* Mel Stoltz, Hearst’s most influential alumni, shows up to see the dean.

* The Lilith House girls pelt Dea O’Dells car with spit and eggs.

* Lilith House girls celebrate the expulsion of the Greek system with a one car float parade.

* Keith and Dean O’Dell strike up a friendship.

* Dean O’Dell announces his decision to reinstate Greek Life on campus.

* Dean O’Dell pulls a gun out of his desk and makes sure it’s loaded.

* In the cold open, Veronica stumbles out of a dorm room bloody, disheveled and panicked. As she yells to Wallace and Piz for help, a mystery person’s feet enter frame behind her. (Yikes!)

* The rapist has posted an ad in the Hearst Free Press announcing that the next rape will take place the night of the Pi Sig Phoenix Rising party.

* Veronica, Mac, Wallace and Piz team up at the Pi Sig Party with the assignment to test drinks in an attempt to find the rapist’s next victim.

Gilmore Girls Spoilers and Rosenthal Interview

Last Week  Michael Ausiello posted this interview with GG show runner Dave Rosenthal, it should make Luke and Lorelai fans happy!

I’m assuming it’s not going to be smooth sailing for the newlyweds, right?
David Rosenthal:
It’s one thing to go off on this romantic weekend and get married; it’s another thing to actually come back and deal with the reality of being married. Lorelai’s never lived with anyone. They’ve never really lived together. This marriage puts a lot of pressure on them both. That’s the big theme for the latter half of the season for Lorelai and Chris, and for Rory. She’s facing graduation and her future, and she’s always thought, “Oh, I’m going to be a journalist.” Rory’s going to open herself up to the possibility that there are other options out there for her.

Rory’s going to embark on a new career?
Rosenthal:
She’s never really considered anything else; now she’s willing to consider everything else. And there’s the other issue of Logan being back in New York. There are opportunities that could pull her away from Logan. Suddenly, it’s no longer a college relationship. It’s two people out in the world, so the stakes become higher.

How will Logan’s return impact Rory in the short term?
Rosenthal:
It will kind of rev up their relationship in good and bad ways. We’re going to see their relationship deepen and complicate in many ways.

Will Rory find herself torn between Marty and Logan?
Rosenthal:
No. Marty’s feelings for Rory will really be the issue; it’s not reciprocated. The man is still holding a torch. It’s something he just can’t seem to let go of, and it’ll definitely cause problems. But there’s nothing on Rory’s end. It’s not her thing — it’s his thing.

Back to Lorelai and Christopher, fans are speculating that their marriage is going to be short-lived since David Sutcliffe is allegedly only going to be around for a handful of episodes during the second half of the season. And from that, they’re deducing that Lorelai will be back together with Luke by February. Your thoughts?
Rosenthal:
I’m gonna say, “No comment.”

More Spoilers

  • Rory takes the news surprisingly well. Luke, on the other hand, finds out when he spots the ring on Lor’s finger. That’s gotta hurt.
  • somewhat reliable Stars Hollow mole tells me that Episode 13 marks a major turning point in the Luke-Lorelai-Christopher triangle. Apparently, Luke and Christopher choose to deal with Richard’s health crisis in very different ways: Luke chooses to run around helping Emily, while Christopher chooses to go off and sulk about a bad fight he had with Lorelai. Cue the inevitable Lorelai epiphany.

Episode 7.09: Knit, People, Knit
Airdate: November 28, 2006

11/11 – When Christopher questions Lorelai about why she has avoided involving him in the daily life of Stars Hollow, she admits her concern that her old friends may not accept him. Christopher makes an effort to bond with the townspeople, and Lorelai brings him to the town knit-a-thon, where his well-intentioned gesture brings the event to an early end. When Olivia (Michelle Ongkingo) throws a 2002-themed birthday party for Lucy (Krysten Ritter), Rory gets her chance to confront Marty about his coldness toward her. Finally, Luke is touched by the birth of Liz (Kathleen Wilhoite) and T.J.’s (Michael DeLuise) baby, and when he learns that Anna (Sherilyn Fenn) is planning to move to New Mexico with April (Vanessa Marano), he demands equal rights as a parent. Liza Weil also stars. Source: The CW

Episode 7.10: Merry Fisticuffs!
Airdate:
December 5, 2006

new 11/20 – Luke and Lorelai share a sweet moment when Luke introduces her to Liz’s new baby. Christopher witnesses the scene and it adds to his concern that Lorelai isn’t fully committed to their marriage. The next day, Lorelai and Christopher get into a fight over whether they should exchange vows at the elaborate wedding party Emily is throwing for them. Luke contacts a lawyer over his custody troubles with Ana, then runs into Christopher and the two have an ugly confrontation in the streets of Stars Hollow. Meanwhile, when Logan discovers that Rory and Marty (Wayne Wilcox) have been pretending that they just met, rather than admitting their previous friendship to Lucy (Krysten Ritter), he reveals the truth to Lucy. Finally, Emily gives Lorelai a warning about her marriage. Sean Gunn also stars. Source: The CW
new 11/20 – Lorelai dreads each day that she meets with her mom and a prominent party planner in anticipation of the upcoming wedding party. Meanwhile, Lorelai and Christopher can’t seem to agree on plans for their future, and she usually gets her way; Logan is in town and Rory takes him to the Yale cafeteria, where they run into Marty, and Rory explains the whole awkward reunion she had with Marty and their subsequent deception with Lucy; and Luke decides to talk to a lawyer about April. Source: TV Guide Online

Grey’s Anatomy: Bright and Shiny

From TVGuide: November 16, 2006: Staring at the Sun

The three words that kept going through my head while watching this episode were, “It’s about time….”

— It’s about time… that someone (George) noticed that Cristina’s been covering for Burke’s shaky hand.
— It’s about time… that Meredith stopped being dark and twisty and started having a more positive outlook on life.
— It’s about time… that Alex kissed Izzie again. Even though she wasn’t ready for it, it got her mind off her mourning.
— It’s about time… that Richard focused on Adele and stopped visiting Ellis.
— It’s about time… that someone (Addison) witnessed Sloan asking his interns to do menial tasks.
— It’s about time… that Derek attempted to be more civil with Addison while at work (“bright and shiny”) and to “peacefully coexist” with her.
— It’s about time… that someone besides Cristina (George) offered Burke some help.
— It’s about time… that George’s family realized what a good doctor he is, thanks to Cristina.
— It’s about time… that someone (George) told Cristina to stop being a robot and try being human.
— It’s about time… that someone (Alex) allowed Izzie to do something besides merely observing.
— It’s about time… that Addison took her wedding ring off. But she didn’t need to throw it in the water. Such a melodramatic way of telling herself to move on.
— It’s about time… that Shonda Rhimes allowed the multitalented Chandra Wilson to sing on the show. Her “God Bless the Child” over the phone to her son at the end kicked ass.

Another great episode, and my favorite actor tonight was T.R. Knight. So much was going on in George’s head! His father (George Dzundza) was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus but also needed a valve replacement in his aorta; his brothers (Greg Pitts and Tim Griffin) were teasing him for not being a “real doctor”; he was obsessed with Burke’s trembling hand/Cristina’s cover-up; and let’s not forget that Callie slept with Sloan. Awesome moment when he freaked out and couldn’t tell his father the diagnosis, so Cristina stepped in. It was nice that Cristina spoke up for George to his dad: “George is the best intern. You raised a good person.” When Cristina shows her rare human side, it’s always a treat.

The most effective patient story line was definitely about the little girl Mia (Brooke Bryan), who was accidentally hit by an SUV driven by her nanny Anna (Annie Campbell). Mia preferred the company of Anna over her working mother (Myndy Crist) and father (Paul Cassell). What a learning experience it was for Mia’s parents when she kept asking, “Where’s Anna?” But that was quite a cop out that they fired Anna. Luckily it was only temporary. I’d be interested to hear from you working parents out there who have children cared for by nannies while you’re at work. Could you relate? What did you do to avoid a situation like tonight’s? I totally respect those of you who are successful with your parent-child-nanny relationships.

Much less effective was the pectoral-implant patient story line, although I liked that it gave Alex and Izzie a fun way to bond again. Frank (Matt Winston) constantly referring to himself in the third person was beyond annoying, but I enjoyed when Alex and Izzie began doing it when speaking to each other.

How ironic that just last week, several of you were asking, “Where the hell is Ellis?” (OK, you didn’t say “hell”.) And there she was tonight. Not having Richard visit anymore may help her condition and might make her more appreciative of Meredith’s visits.

How much of a jerk is Mark Sloan? McSteamy turns into McMoron when he opens his mouth. He needs to just smile (while being shirtless), be a brilliant plastic surgeon (with his shirt on) and never speak. Please. Loved Izzie’s sneezing out “sexual harassment” to him.

Other highlights:

— Callie explaining Mr. O’Malley’s condition to him and to George’s brothers in terms that they could understand. Looks like Callie wants George back… but does George want Callie back?
— Seeing Izzie smile again.
— Meredith trying to make George feel better about Callie sleeping with Sloan: “Us with the boobs? We make a lot of bad decisions.”
— Cristina’s answer to Mr. O’Malley when he said, “You’re a smart girl”: “Yes.”
— The ending, in which all Cristina had to say to Burke regarding George was “George knows.”

Warning for next week: Even though next Thursday is Thanksgiving, ABC is surprisingly airing a new episode. And it’s super-sized — since Primetime is airing that night afterwards, they are giving us an extra 10 minutes or so. To be safe, add an extra half hour if recording Grey’s, just so you don’t miss any of it.

Grey’s Anatomy: Bright and Shiny

From TVGuide: November 16, 2006: Staring at the Sun

The three words that kept going through my head while watching this episode were, “It’s about time….”

— It’s about time… that someone (George) noticed that Cristina’s been covering for Burke’s shaky hand.
— It’s about time… that Meredith stopped being dark and twisty and started having a more positive outlook on life.
— It’s about time… that Alex kissed Izzie again. Even though she wasn’t ready for it, it got her mind off her mourning.
— It’s about time… that Richard focused on Adele and stopped visiting Ellis.
— It’s about time… that someone (Addison) witnessed Sloan asking his interns to do menial tasks.
— It’s about time… that Derek attempted to be more civil with Addison while at work (“bright and shiny”) and to “peacefully coexist” with her.
— It’s about time… that someone besides Cristina (George) offered Burke some help.
— It’s about time… that George’s family realized what a good doctor he is, thanks to Cristina.
— It’s about time… that someone (George) told Cristina to stop being a robot and try being human.
— It’s about time… that someone (Alex) allowed Izzie to do something besides merely observing.
— It’s about time… that Addison took her wedding ring off. But she didn’t need to throw it in the water. Such a melodramatic way of telling herself to move on.
— It’s about time… that Shonda Rhimes allowed the multitalented Chandra Wilson to sing on the show. Her “God Bless the Child” over the phone to her son at the end kicked ass.

Another great episode, and my favorite actor tonight was T.R. Knight. So much was going on in George’s head! His father (George Dzundza) was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus but also needed a valve replacement in his aorta; his brothers (Greg Pitts and Tim Griffin) were teasing him for not being a “real doctor”; he was obsessed with Burke’s trembling hand/Cristina’s cover-up; and let’s not forget that Callie slept with Sloan. Awesome moment when he freaked out and couldn’t tell his father the diagnosis, so Cristina stepped in. It was nice that Cristina spoke up for George to his dad: “George is the best intern. You raised a good person.” When Cristina shows her rare human side, it’s always a treat.

The most effective patient story line was definitely about the little girl Mia (Brooke Bryan), who was accidentally hit by an SUV driven by her nanny Anna (Annie Campbell). Mia preferred the company of Anna over her working mother (Myndy Crist) and father (Paul Cassell). What a learning experience it was for Mia’s parents when she kept asking, “Where’s Anna?” But that was quite a cop out that they fired Anna. Luckily it was only temporary. I’d be interested to hear from you working parents out there who have children cared for by nannies while you’re at work. Could you relate? What did you do to avoid a situation like tonight’s? I totally respect those of you who are successful with your parent-child-nanny relationships.

Much less effective was the pectoral-implant patient story line, although I liked that it gave Alex and Izzie a fun way to bond again. Frank (Matt Winston) constantly referring to himself in the third person was beyond annoying, but I enjoyed when Alex and Izzie began doing it when speaking to each other.

How ironic that just last week, several of you were asking, “Where the hell is Ellis?” (OK, you didn’t say “hell”.) And there she was tonight. Not having Richard visit anymore may help her condition and might make her more appreciative of Meredith’s visits.

How much of a jerk is Mark Sloan? McSteamy turns into McMoron when he opens his mouth. He needs to just smile (while being shirtless), be a brilliant plastic surgeon (with his shirt on) and never speak. Please. Loved Izzie’s sneezing out “sexual harassment” to him.

Other highlights:

— Callie explaining Mr. O’Malley’s condition to him and to George’s brothers in terms that they could understand. Looks like Callie wants George back… but does George want Callie back?
— Seeing Izzie smile again.
— Meredith trying to make George feel better about Callie sleeping with Sloan: “Us with the boobs? We make a lot of bad decisions.”
— Cristina’s answer to Mr. O’Malley when he said, “You’re a smart girl”: “Yes.”
— The ending, in which all Cristina had to say to Burke regarding George was “George knows.”

Warning for next week: Even though next Thursday is Thanksgiving, ABC is surprisingly airing a new episode. And it’s super-sized — since Primetime is airing that night afterwards, they are giving us an extra 10 minutes or so. To be safe, add an extra half hour if recording Grey’s, just so you don’t miss any of it.

Supernatural: Crossroad Blues

From TVGuide: November 16, 2006: Crossroad Blues

Supernatural just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? For me, “Crossroad Blues” had the perfect balance of everything that the show does well. Taking on the legend of blues great Robert Johnson gave us a supremely rich, colorful, scary rollercoaster ride that featured hellhounds going after the people who made a deal with the devil — mostly for shallow, superficial reasons. The hour gave us twists, humor, blues music, brotherly banter, angst, a Sam pep talk, Dean speaking Latin and the Impala. Then the show tweaked the formula once again, to give us a sneak preview of what’s to come in the next original episode as well as what I imagine will be waiting for us in the second part of the season. Let me give kudos to Sera Gamble. She’s one of the best writers on the show and has either written or co-written some of Supernatural‘s finest episodes including: “Faith,” “Dead in the Water,” “Nightmare,” “Salvation,” and “Bloodlust.”

The Brotherly Humor: It’s a given we’re going to get some much needed, sometimes long-winded exposition of the lore-of-the-week. But what’s cool is they like to sandwich all that necessary evil with the brothers just being brothers. This time, Sam discovers the Feds are keeping track of Dean, but they’ve got nothing on him. You’d think that would be a good thing in Sam’s book; but you can tell he’s jealous, and Dean knows it. Then, a little later, I love how Sammy laughs when Dean admits to not knowing what in the world MySpace is. How many times has Sammy rolled his eyes at something Dean’s said? That never gets old.

The Brotherly Angst: The sibling role reversal that’s been developing this season was in full effect. The guilt over what his father possibly did was continuing to weigh Dean down. Meanwhile, Sam’s strength shined bright as he tried to help Dean alleviate some of that guilt. Don’t think it completely worked, but Sammy sure gave it the ol’ college try. It’s really great to see Sam coming to terms with John’s choices in life and realizing the lessons he taught them are helping to save lives even after his death. While Sam’s grief over their father hasn’t been as external as Dean’s, you can tell things are going on internally that are turning him into a solid force against evil, not to mention a strong support for Dean and the people they help. His speech in the Impala reminded me of the one Dean gave Sam in the woods during the “Wendigo” episode. Both speeches serve to give each brother a reason to continue to fight the good fight. How sad was it when Sam asked Dean if he seriously considered taking that deal with the she-demon, and all Dean could do was turn the music up? Have I said how glad I am that this “deal” John made with the Demon didn’t come as a surprise to the brothers? I love how they’ve suspected all along, even if it was crushing to see Dean get final confirmation.

Dean and the Demon: These were excellent scenes, by the way. It was a nice give-and-take exchange between the two. One would have control, and then just a little bit later the other would take it back. Bringing back the devil’s trap and the protective circle was a good idea — haven’t seen those tools since the Season 1 finale. The Demon knew how to hurt Dean; but thankfully, he stayed strong and tricked her into stepping into the protective circle, despite her throwing John’s sacrifice in his face. The deal seemed like something Dean could go for — John could live and Dean would get 10 years of happiness with him and Sam before he’d have to give up his life. But you know what? He’d never do that to Sammy. Never. He’d think about it. But he’d never actually do it. The Demon confirmed once again that John should be alive, and Dean should be dead. How does Dean begin to deal with that? And I mentioned this before, but Dean speaking Latin to exorcise the Demon — well, that was just really cool.

The Scary: The flashback scenes were well done, but there were two scenes in particular that just creeped me out. When the doctor lady died, she got dragged across the floor all bloody and scratched up, and that was just not a pretty way to meet your maker. Then there was when Evan’s wife momentarily turned into a hellhound. When her face turned into the evil thing, that was scary in my book.

Soon: How awesome was the sneak peek of what’s to come? I immediately hit rewind after watching it the first time. And I’ll admit to watching it at least one more time after that. I guess that’ll have to get us through a couple weeks of repeats. Boo.

Topics to Discuss:
— I know nothing about animal control, but do the employees show up to houses in suits? Not that I’m complaining that Jared and Jensen were in suits.
— I suspect that in the future, Dean’s going to have more issues with the law. Wonder if they’ll ever resolve his fugitive status?
— Do you believe that John is suffering the way the she-demon said he was?
— Talk about what you saw in the “soon” sneak peek.
— Jared beat Smallville‘s Justin Hartley for guitar-playing supremacy. Way to go!

Favorite lines from “Crossroad Blues”:
— “Dude, I’m like Dillinger or something.”
— “OK, what do you got on the case there? You innocent, harmless young man you.”
— “You’re lucky I have a soft spot for lost puppies and long faces.”
— “You’re going to double cross me? Funny how I’m the trustworthy one.”
— “I don’t know what this thing is.” “Do you mean Carly’s MySpace address?” “Yeah, MySpace, what the hell is that? “Seriously. Is that some sort of porn site?”
— “I usually like to be warned before I’m violated with demon tongue.”
— “This house probably ain’t up next on MTV’s Cribs, is it?”
— “We know a little about a lot of things, just enough to make us dangerous.”
— “So you know who I am.” “I get the newsletter.”
— “I heard you were handsome, but you’re just edible.”
— “You think…you could throw in a set of steak knives?”
— “We gotta keep going. For him.”
— “You never considered actually making that deal, right?”

The OC: Once a Hippy, Always a Hippy

From TVGuide: November 16, 2006: Old Habits Die Harder for Some than for Others

Never thought I’d see the day when Sandy wanted men, and Julie didn’t. OK, so Sandy was simply lamenting the fact that he really doesn’t have any guy friends. It was cute watching someone as outgoing and self-assured as Sandy get nervous about arranging a playdate for himself. Also fun: Watching Julie get back to her partying bad-girl ways (as opposed to her recent murder-planning bad-girl ways). No sooner did Julie swear off men for a week (“Man drama, who needs it?”) than did we find her dumping gal pal Kirsten and perusing the club scene for younger men. Like mother, like daughter, as Kaitlin also couldn’t keep her promise to stay out of trouble for a whole week. (Those two are so much alike, and even resemble each other, that I totally buy them as mother and daughter — much more so than Julie and Marissa.) Now that these two are hanging out at the same clubs, how long before they start dating the same guys? Of course, this would be familiar territory for Julie. Again, I find myself alluding to the infamous Luke and Julie story line of season 1, and thinking about that plot made it hard for me to buy Julie’s being so intrigued by her friend’s recommendation to date younger men. Julie’s been there and done that. But I guess she’s not exactly someone who learns from her mistakes.

Much like Julie, Ryan was also slipping back into old habits. Naturally, it was that habit of his that often gets him into so much trouble: his need to rescue people. Specifically, rescuing girls. Initially, he resisted most of Taylor’s pleas for help — until Sandy reminded him that helping people is just what he does, it’s part of who he is. And really, what was required of him this time wasn’t too big of a deal, as he simply had to pretend to be Taylor’s boyfriend (OK, her fantastic new lover whom she was simply wild about). At least he didn’t have to beat someone up and revert to his other old habit of losing his temper. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the Ryan-Taylor pairing that I had read about in recent weeks. For now, Taylor’s extreme perkiness isn’t annoying me, and she’s cracking me up (“Back to you and your life Ryan: What’s your favorite fruit?”). And, surprisingly, she’s making me feel sympathy for her, such as when she described how her loneliness had led her to marry her French husband, Henri-Michael. The jury’s still out on this pairing for me, but so far, so good.

Also good: Summer’s attempts to move on past the pain of losing her best friend. Her opening scene with the off-screen shrink helping her through the five stages of grief was hilarious — even the depression step. Oh, and she did it all in one week! Like Seth, I was initially excited by the idea of having the old Summer back, the one who “loves shopping, tanning and celebrity gossip.” However, unlike with Julie and Ryan, Summer’s old habits didn’t fit her anymore. The “save-the-planet thing” wasn’t a crutch, as she originally thought; she really has changed. And as much as I’ll miss the shopaholic Valley-watcher, I think I like the new Summer, too. She’s passionate, determined and persuasive. But what does this mean for Seth and Summer’s relationship down the road? As they grow, might they grow apart? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

A few less important questions:
— How did Summer score a dorm room with a walk-in closet?!
— Is Providence having an unusually warm winter? Post-Thanksgiving, you’d think you’d see more bulky coats and less short sleeves.
— Why does Che play his guitar in the nude?

Veronica Mars: Almost a Target

Good News: The CW has upped the order to 20 episodes, maybe they will give Veronica Mars the 2 more later on!

From TVGuide: November 14, 2006: Embrace the Least Complicated Scenario

Veronica, aka she who solves the most convoluted crimes on the planet, subscribes to Occam’s razor theory, which says that often the correct answer is the simplest one. Yeah, not sure I buy that. I understand that she’s been burned and that she’s all bitter about men, but she’s always been so driven to find the absolute truth. Sure, she jumps to conclusions, but deep down she’s always strived hard to get the real answers, not just the obvious ones.

The whole Occam’s razor theory was really blown out of the water by the actual cases at hand tonight anyway. The obvious path would have been that Sully would have run off with his hot study buddy after fighting with Meryl, but no, he was conveniently befriended by the Fitzpatricks — who just so happen to suddenly be looking for Keith and Kendall again — and then dumped in the drunk tank under the watchful eye of the “moron” sheriff. So complicated.

If things were easy, Logan’s big secret would have been that he’d been carousing with some underage strippers in Mexico, but instead he was covering for his friend Mercer, who burned down a hotel and fled the scene of a crime. I get why that was a bad thing, but considering that Logan has done some morally questionable things to the PCHers in the past, I don’t know if running from Mexico and protecting Mercer was the most reprehensible thing in the world. Maybe I’m just in a forgiving mood since he was nearly brought to tears when he said that it was “better for everyone” if his secret stayed a secret; or because of the way he ran to Veronica’s rescue even after Piz let Logan think that maybe something a little too friendly was going on in his dorm room; or maybe because he looked so hurt when Veronica said she couldn’t trust him and that instead of her loyalty he got blackmailed by her. Perhaps Meryl was on to something when she said she trusted her boyfriend implicitly because, “If I hadn’t been in love before, I wouldn’t have believed it either.” Is Veronica really in love? Or does she just want to be in love? I’m not saying that, given Logan’s past, she shouldn’t have been more than a little bit curious, but this season she’s really been needy and suspicious.

Oh, and judgmental. Did I mention judgmental? She was all over Keith’s case for having an affair with Harmony. Again, not saying that what Keith did was right. I’m all for the sanctity of marriage, but she didn’t even give him a real chance to explain. She was willing to get the whole story when her mom had an affair with Jake Kane even though that meant that Veronica thought for a while her boyfriend Duncan may have been her half-brother. Maybe it is me, but that seems much worse than her dad getting some action from an unhappily married woman. I think even without Veronica’s disapproving glares or Vinny’s bribery attempts that Keith would have made the right decision at the end of the day. But I’m sure Veronica’s jaded response about his feelings for Harmony helped seal the deal. “I didn’t used to be, I had this one shining example available that gave me some faith.” Did she not see the smashed-up car?

Turns out that both of the guys she didn’t put her faith in were the two who, despite their differences, came together to protect her and take care of her after she was drugged and had her head partially shaved trying to catch the rapist. My current pick for the rapist is the RA. I don’t really know why, but he keeps showing up and that makes me suspicious, though in fairness, in solving the big crimes I’ve been wrong as often as I’ve been right. Anyway, I hope that Veronica manages to learn to appreciate what she’s got right in front of her before it disappears, though (SPOILER ALERT) judging by the previews it doesn’t seem to be the case. And speaking of the previews, I’m annoyed with them. This week’s commercials basically showed the last five minutes of the episode, with Veronica’s altered state in the parking garage. They couldn’t have shown anything else?

While I did question Veronica’s thought process a bit tonight (she really turned down that awesome internship at the FBI because her professor turned out to be less than the moral citizen she thought he should be?), there were some great lines, of course, which is what makes this show so very special in my book. Some examples:

“How long have you been standing there, Piz? I might expect a tip.”
“The man who would be my mentor. Mr. Popular, just another on the list of men who disappoint.”
“You gonna hypnotize me?”
“I’d want him to be my boyfriend if I swang that way.”
“Logan’s bragged you up.”
“Scarlett, did you happen to notice if Sully invented a space laser?”
“OK, consider my mind blown and then put back together and blown again.”
“I’m pretty sure that hair doesn’t belong to an angel.”
And of course the heartbreaking quote from father to daughter: “You don’t have to go through all of this trouble avoiding me.”

Gilmore Girls: The Proposal

From TV Guide: November 14, 2006: Mrs. Hayden, I Presume?

Unless you unplugged your computer and your TV and you ignored the recent cover of TV Guide, you already knew that Chris was going to propose. I’d be very impressed if you managed to hide from the news. The only true surprise was exactly how he’d do it. Say what you will about Chris (and most everyone has), he is tres romantic. Sure, he had to throw a ton of Euros around to get the most gorgeous restaurant in Paris to open at 5 am and serve them a candlelit dinner alongside a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. It worked, but I wondered if Lorelai wouldn’t have been just as happy if he’d asked during a stroll along the Seine as the sun rose over Paris. It just seems odd how our boho girl has fallen for all of the fancy stuff she once eschewed: the five-star hotel; the huge comfy bed with silk sheets (but no mini bar?); the waiters standing like soldiers, ready to honor any request, towels folded over arms. When Lorelai came back to Stars Hollow, did you notice how she hid her hand for at least a minute before Chris called her Mrs. Hayden? (What??? She changed her name ???) I don’t know. (Sigh) Maybe because I knew about this proposal for so long, I was just waiting for it to be over already.

That marriage should have made this episode, but I thought the scenes with Lane, Zack and Mrs. Kim were much better. They’re having twins! (When Zack looked at the sonogram, he delivered my favorite line: “This could be our album cover! It’s our prenatal Nevermind!” Genius Nirvana ref!) While Zack was screaming, “Hit me! Hit me!” when they told Mrs. Kim that Lane was pregnant, I had a feeling she’d be thrilled. Of course she’d want them to move in with her; good for them for standing up to her. But when she kicked out Brian and moved in with them, I couldn’t help but think she’d pulled off a classic Emily Gilmore. Poor Lane and Zack. As for baby names? I say go for Keith and Mick.

And now, let’s chat about Rory. This whole who-am-I-where-am-I-going thing? (The, uh, same crisis her mom had in this season’s first ep?) Not so sympathetic. Where did this suddenly come from? When you are the editor in chief at the best Ivy League school paper, you go on to become a successful journalist. It’s almost a given. And it’s what she’s always wanted! Fine, her boyfriend is in London. And she’s not editor anymore. And she’s about to graduate in a few months. Yes, it isn’t easy to deal with these things. But didn’t Rory just have the same breakdown last year under grandma’s roof? Her sob story seemed tired and recycled. One good thing: This time she’s crying on the bathroom floor with hot-pink highlights and two new girlfriends. I will say that her having friends as a support system, instead of mom, is an improvement. Rory needs to connect more with her peers. (They talk like such Cali girls, it’s scary to think that a) “Like, oh, my god!” is back in vogue, and b) they actually go to Yale.) Too bad one of her new pals is dating Marty, who looked absolutely great. I’m not sure why he acted like he and Rory had never met; I guess he’s embarrassed that he once was interested in her. Maybe now that he’s back in the picture, he’ll ditch Miss Valley Girl for Miss Stars Hollow. We all know that Rory’s going to need a shoulder once she finds out what mom, er, Mrs. Hayden, just did in Paris.

Desperate Housewives: The Aftermath

From TVGuide: November 12, 2006: Children and Art

Well, you knew that after last week’s standout shoot-out episode, tonight was going to be somewhat of a letdown no matter what. How can you top last week? Since my expectations were already lowered, I was able to enjoy tonight for the most part — especially the Bree and Orson scenes. Continuing in the tradition of casting the very best actresses in the business to play the mothers of the characters, Dixie Carter acted up a storm as Gloria, Orson’s mother of a mother. As soon as Bree started talking to Gloria as though she were senile, you knew there was going to be hell. I like that we still don’t know exactly why Orson wants to keep his mother in the nursing home, yet Gloria has something over Orson — something that could get him in big trouble: “I gave you life. You know I won’t hesitate to take it away.” Maybe we’ll find out next week.

It was great to see how frustrated Orson was getting around Gloria, which just frightened Bree and humored Andrew: “So — can we call her grandma?” I also liked Andrew’s reference to Bree’s spreading “holiday denial” rather than holiday cheer with her annual newsletter, followed by Bree’s line: “Oh, Andrew, it’s etiquette. Nobody wants to read the truth at Christmas.” Watching Dixie as Gloria reminded me of how wonderful she was on Designing Women and what a travesty it was that she was never nominated for an Emmy for that show! Not even once. Hopefully that won’t happen this time, and she’ll be included in the guest actress category.

While I’m mentioning fabulous female guest stars, Tony winner Debra Monk (who I loved as Katie Sipowicz on NYPD Blue) was hilarious as Marcella, Gabrielle’s modeling agent. Gaby should’ve known not to upset Marcella, especially after she referred to her as “a career-obsessed lesbo who would die alone and be eaten by her cats.” Gaby’s best line was after Marcella told her she had a gig for her in New York: “Are you serious? I can’t tell since your face doesn’t move anymore.” Poor Gaby had to play a mother, so it was not a shocker that she attempted to change her character’s style. After she was told by director Durkin (Ian Paul Cassidy) to “just make it work,” I laughed out loud when she changed her entire outfit: “Oh, I made it work. I’m Hot Mom!” Although Durkin was mortified and got Marcella to reprimand Gaby, Tim Gunn would’ve been proud.

Excellent usage of Kathryn Joosten tonight as Mrs. McCluskey. She got involved with just about every neighbor (whether they liked it or not). But my favorite part was her scene with Edie, in which she threatened to show Mike the hidden (by Edie) photos of him and Susan together. Edie’s best line: “Don’t lie to me, prune!” Mrs. McCluskey even had Mike’s toolbox, the one the detectives were looking for, so I hope she’s not the next murdered neighbor.

Another awesome Edie moment was when Susan came to Edie to protest the pairing of Austin and Julie. Susan asked: “How can you be so calm?” Edie (as she and Mike were about to go out): “I’m calm because I know if two people are meant to be together, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” Snap! Speaking of Austin and Julie, it was good to see Richard Burgi back as Karl. (I know several of you had made “Where’s Karl?” comments, so I bet you were happy, too.) You knew Karl would not be pleased when he heard Susan was dating Ian, but I hope Karl continues to come back. Nice mother/daughter scene between Susan and Julie toward the end, when Susan said: “Relationships have nothing to do with good judgment. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. You can still get hurt.”

So I’m leaving my least favorite story line for last. After going through almost the entire episode enjoying Lynette’s scenes with her kids and with the man who saved her life, new neighbor Art (Matt Roth), I knew she would eventually discover something strange about Art. I mean, it’s pretty much impossible for a normal person to move to Wisteria Lane. But Lynette discovered that Art has hundreds of photos of shirtless little boys taped on a wall, in a room of trains, toys and pinball machines. Ewwww. Makes the episode’s title even more fitting: “Children and Art.” Parker was enthralled by Art’s basement; thankfully, Lynette discovered this secret right away, before it was too late. I can’t wait to see how Lynette deals with this next week. At least we know she won’t be baking cakes for Art anymore.

Since the Art story line grosses me out, I’ll end with a more pleasant memory from tonight: Tom explaining to the boys that Aunt Nora is “up in heaven” and Lynette following that twice with “or wherever.”

Grey’s Anatomy: Bright and Shiney

From TVGuide: November 16, 2006: Staring at the Sun

The three words that kept going through my head while watching this episode were, “It’s about time….”

— It’s about time… that someone (George) noticed that Cristina’s been covering for Burke’s shaky hand.
— It’s about time… that Meredith stopped being dark and twisty and started having a more positive outlook on life.
— It’s about time… that Alex kissed Izzie again. Even though she wasn’t ready for it, it got her mind off her mourning.
— It’s about time… that Richard focused on Adele and stopped visiting Ellis.
— It’s about time… that someone (Addison) witnessed Sloan asking his interns to do menial tasks.
— It’s about time… that Derek attempted to be more civil with Addison while at work (“bright and shiny”) and to “peacefully coexist” with her.
— It’s about time… that someone besides Cristina (George) offered Burke some help.
— It’s about time… that George’s family realized what a good doctor he is, thanks to Cristina.
— It’s about time… that someone (George) told Cristina to stop being a robot and try being human.
— It’s about time… that someone (Alex) allowed Izzie to do something besides merely observing.
— It’s about time… that Addison took her wedding ring off. But she didn’t need to throw it in the water. Such a melodramatic way of telling herself to move on.
— It’s about time… that Shonda Rhimes allowed the multitalented Chandra Wilson to sing on the show. Her “God Bless the Child” over the phone to her son at the end kicked ass.

Another great episode, and my favorite actor tonight was T.R. Knight. So much was going on in George’s head! His father (George Dzundza) was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus but also needed a valve replacement in his aorta; his brothers (Greg Pitts and Tim Griffin) were teasing him for not being a “real doctor”; he was obsessed with Burke’s trembling hand/Cristina’s cover-up; and let’s not forget that Callie slept with Sloan. Awesome moment when he freaked out and couldn’t tell his father the diagnosis, so Cristina stepped in. It was nice that Cristina spoke up for George to his dad: “George is the best intern. You raised a good person.” When Cristina shows her rare human side, it’s always a treat.

The most effective patient story line was definitely about the little girl Mia (Brooke Bryan), who was accidentally hit by an SUV driven by her nanny Anna (Annie Campbell). Mia preferred the company of Anna over her working mother (Myndy Crist) and father (Paul Cassell). What a learning experience it was for Mia’s parents when she kept asking, “Where’s Anna?” But that was quite a cop out that they fired Anna. Luckily it was only temporary. I’d be interested to hear from you working parents out there who have children cared for by nannies while you’re at work. Could you relate? What did you do to avoid a situation like tonight’s? I totally respect those of you who are successful with your parent-child-nanny relationships.

Much less effective was the pectoral-implant patient story line, although I liked that it gave Alex and Izzie a fun way to bond again. Frank (Matt Winston) constantly referring to himself in the third person was beyond annoying, but I enjoyed when Alex and Izzie began doing it when speaking to each other.

How ironic that just last week, several of you were asking, “Where the hell is Ellis?” (OK, you didn’t say “hell”.) And there she was tonight. Not having Richard visit anymore may help her condition and might make her more appreciative of Meredith’s visits.

How much of a jerk is Mark Sloan? McSteamy turns into McMoron when he opens his mouth. He needs to just smile (while being shirtless), be a brilliant plastic surgeon (with his shirt on) and never speak. Please. Loved Izzie’s sneezing out “sexual harassment” to him.

Other highlights:

— Callie explaining Mr. O’Malley’s condition to him and to George’s brothers in terms that they could understand. Looks like Callie wants George back… but does George want Callie back?
— Seeing Izzie smile again.
— Meredith trying to make George feel better about Callie sleeping with Sloan: “Us with the boobs? We make a lot of bad decisions.”
— Cristina’s answer to Mr. O’Malley when he said, “You’re a smart girl”: “Yes.”
— The ending, in which all Cristina had to say to Burke regarding George was “George knows.”

Warning for next week: Even though next Thursday is Thanksgiving, ABC is surprisingly airing a new episode. And it’s super-sized — since Primetime is airing that night afterwards, they are giving us an extra 10 minutes or so. To be safe, add an extra half hour if recording Grey’s, just so you don’t miss any of it.

Desperate Housewives: The Aftermath

From TVGuide: November 12, 2006: Children and Art

Well, you knew that after last week’s standout shoot-out episode, tonight was going to be somewhat of a letdown no matter what. How can you top last week? Since my expectations were already lowered, I was able to enjoy tonight for the most part — especially the Bree and Orson scenes. Continuing in the tradition of casting the very best actresses in the business to play the mothers of the characters, Dixie Carter acted up a storm as Gloria, Orson’s mother of a mother. As soon as Bree started talking to Gloria as though she were senile, you knew there was going to be hell. I like that we still don’t know exactly why Orson wants to keep his mother in the nursing home, yet Gloria has something over Orson — something that could get him in big trouble: “I gave you life. You know I won’t hesitate to take it away.” Maybe we’ll find out next week.

It was great to see how frustrated Orson was getting around Gloria, which just frightened Bree and humored Andrew: “So — can we call her grandma?” I also liked Andrew’s reference to Bree’s spreading “holiday denial” rather than holiday cheer with her annual newsletter, followed by Bree’s line: “Oh, Andrew, it’s etiquette. Nobody wants to read the truth at Christmas.” Watching Dixie as Gloria reminded me of how wonderful she was on Designing Women and what a travesty it was that she was never nominated for an Emmy for that show! Not even once. Hopefully that won’t happen this time, and she’ll be included in the guest actress category.

While I’m mentioning fabulous female guest stars, Tony winner Debra Monk (who I loved as Katie Sipowicz on NYPD Blue) was hilarious as Marcella, Gabrielle’s modeling agent. Gaby should’ve known not to upset Marcella, especially after she referred to her as “a career-obsessed lesbo who would die alone and be eaten by her cats.” Gaby’s best line was after Marcella told her she had a gig for her in New York: “Are you serious? I can’t tell since your face doesn’t move anymore.” Poor Gaby had to play a mother, so it was not a shocker that she attempted to change her character’s style. After she was told by director Durkin (Ian Paul Cassidy) to “just make it work,” I laughed out loud when she changed her entire outfit: “Oh, I made it work. I’m Hot Mom!” Although Durkin was mortified and got Marcella to reprimand Gaby, Tim Gunn would’ve been proud.

Excellent usage of Kathryn Joosten tonight as Mrs. McCluskey. She got involved with just about every neighbor (whether they liked it or not). But my favorite part was her scene with Edie, in which she threatened to show Mike the hidden (by Edie) photos of him and Susan together. Edie’s best line: “Don’t lie to me, prune!” Mrs. McCluskey even had Mike’s toolbox, the one the detectives were looking for, so I hope she’s not the next murdered neighbor.

Another awesome Edie moment was when Susan came to Edie to protest the pairing of Austin and Julie. Susan asked: “How can you be so calm?” Edie (as she and Mike were about to go out): “I’m calm because I know if two people are meant to be together, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” Snap! Speaking of Austin and Julie, it was good to see Richard Burgi back as Karl. (I know several of you had made “Where’s Karl?” comments, so I bet you were happy, too.) You knew Karl would not be pleased when he heard Susan was dating Ian, but I hope Karl continues to come back. Nice mother/daughter scene between Susan and Julie toward the end, when Susan said: “Relationships have nothing to do with good judgment. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. You can still get hurt.”

So I’m leaving my least favorite story line for last. After going through almost the entire episode enjoying Lynette’s scenes with her kids and with the man who saved her life, new neighbor Art (Matt Roth), I knew she would eventually discover something strange about Art. I mean, it’s pretty much impossible for a normal person to move to Wisteria Lane. But Lynette discovered that Art has hundreds of photos of shirtless little boys taped on a wall, in a room of trains, toys and pinball machines. Ewwww. Makes the episode’s title even more fitting: “Children and Art.” Parker was enthralled by Art’s basement; thankfully, Lynette discovered this secret right away, before it was too late. I can’t wait to see how Lynette deals with this next week. At least we know she won’t be baking cakes for Art anymore.

Since the Art story line grosses me out, I’ll end with a more pleasant memory from tonight: Tom explaining to the boys that Aunt Nora is “up in heaven” and Lynette following that twice with “or wherever.”

Supernatural: The Usual Suspects

From TVGuide: November 9, 2006: The Usual Suspects

Remember all the brotherly banter and moments that were missing from “No Exit”? They must have been saving them for “The Usual Suspects.” This episode showcased just how in-sync Sam and Dean are with each other; it was creepy, and it was funny. In fact, not only did Dean get to bring the funny, Sam did, too. The Exorcist‘s Linda Blair and Jason Gedrick (remember Iron Eagle?) were present and accounted for. Blair’s scenes with Jared were particularly good. Please don’t make me talk about the “pea soup” comment at the end, however. I did love how the cops knew — or at least thought they knew — everything about the boys. They are leaving more of a paper trail than I thought. It’s fun to see how “normal” people deal with the mysterious ways of the Winchesters.

The Previously: No classic-rock tune needed; a montage of so many of Sam and Dean’s aliases and cover stories since the pilot is just what the doctor ordered. (My favorites: Mr. Berkowitz, Nigel Tufnel, Dr. Jerry Kaplan and, yes, Father Simmons). We also got a recap of the shapeshifter saga — the one where Dean had to kill his doppleganger. It’s because of this that he’s now on record as being deceased.

The Brothers: For anyone who hasn’t watched the Season 1 DVDs and has just picked up Supernatural in the second season, this was a great way to play catch-up with some of the Winchesters’ more flavorful history. We got a rundown of the not-so-normal ways they go about getting info, getting cash and investigating a case — namely, breaking and entering, credit-card fraud and grave desecration. At the police station, Sam and Dean were separated, but it didn’t matter. They were on the same wavelength. Even in the face of the police, they both were trying to decipher what turned out to be the Dana Shulps anagram. Loved discovering how they find each other when they get separated. They both refer to the public defender as “Matlock,” and when one passes the other a note using Steve McQueen from The Great Escape, that obviously means Sam makes a break for it, while Dean creates a distraction in his interrogation room. When Blair’s cop has a run-in with something of the supernatural nature, Dean confidently tells her to go to Sam. They’ve got this shorthand with each other that is just so appealing. It was nice to see the brothers dealing with something other than the angst — this was about solving the case and getting out of trouble, nothing else. Although, you know, angst is cool, too. I think we’ll be getting back to that next week.

Sam: The younger Winchester drove more of the episode. He faced down Linda Blair’s interrogation with sarcasm that Dean would have been proud of. It was awesome how he completely lied to her when recounting the story of how they came to be where they came to be: “Look, it was wrong to enter a crime scene, but she gave us the key!” So smooth, Sammy. And, unlike last week, he got to be the one that hunted down the so-called “vengeful” spirit. Plus, he concluded that Sheridan’s police vehicle had LoJack and was able to track down his brother. Although, that all happened a little too quickly in my book.

Dean: He was definitely more Dean-like than we’ve seen him in a long time. His faith in his brother is just so strong. And I love how he can’t sit still for two seconds, which is why he got into trouble in the first place. If he hadn’t grown restless while Sammy was busy trying to hack into Tony’s files, he wouldn’t have been at the scene of the crime and touching the dead body when the police caught him. Can’t believe he touched the body!

Linda Blair: It was good seeing her play the cop; I liked how she had to put aside her skepticism for the supernatural in order to accept that her cop boyfriend was the real monster. She also became another female cop to let Sam and Dean off the hook. (Can anyone say Kathleen from “The Benders”?) She not only grew to believe Sam and Dean weren’t as insane as she thought, but she believed they had a purpose. And she felt safer with them out there taking care of the things that go bump in the night.

Other thoughts:
— Loved the classic TV references. Somebody on that show seems to love Matlock. That’s at least the second time we’ve heard Dean refer to the TV lawyer (see “Hookman”); and the Jim Rockford and X-Files shout-outs were cool, too.
— Nice touch with The Great Escape note.
— The fax machine coming on and typing “DanaShulps” over and over was kinda creepy.
— That “all work, no play makes Jack a dull boy” line: Have we heard Dean utter that exact Jack Nicholson line or a variation of it before? In “Asylum” maybe?
— When Linda Blair read Sam’s file, she said that their father’s whereabouts were unknown. I know Big Daddy Winchester gave a fake name in the hospital; it’s sad that he’s listed as “whereabouts unknown.”

Topics to discuss:
— Which one really is Mulder? And which one’s Scully?
— So do the Winchester brothers have to avoid St. Louis and Baltimore now?

Grey’s Anatomy: Where the Boys Are

From TVGuide: November 9, 2006: Where the Boys Are

 

Meredith Somehow I knew the guys’ camping trip was going to be a disaster. But at least it was a learning experience for everyone. George figured out that Burke’s got a shaky hand and Callie slept with Sloan (thanks to Alex’s big mouth). Alex learned that George has quite a temper. Webber discovered that bartender Joe (Steven W. Bailey) is in a loving relationship with a man named Walter (Jack Yang), which made Webber miss his wife Adele. Walter learned to never again go on a camping trip with straight guys. Burke realized that Derek has no male friends and George is rather nosy. Derek compared Sloan to “cancer — he infects everything” and yearned to start from the very beginning with Meredith. After last week’s promos, I was right there with most of you, thinking Meredith had better not sleep with Sloan. Then I thought: “Nah, she knows better,” so I’m glad I was right. Meredith’s best moment with Sloan was her three rules: “No flirting, no talking about Derek and no giving me the face.” Of course, McSteamy broke all three of the rules. However, what a great way for him to pick up the clue phone, returning to Meredith at the bar and seeing her with Derek. Excellent way to end the episode — Mer and Der introducing themselves to each other and truly starting over. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Just as we were anticipating, Bailey put Cristina on the spot, asking Cristina why she erased her name from the assignment board. Interesting how Cristina never told her why she did it, but good for Bailey for giving Cristina menial tasks like sifting through that little boy’s stool samples and retrieving the Monopoly pieces that he swallowed. It was a crappy job, but someone had to do it. “No surgeries for you!” cried Bailey. My favorite line of Cristina’s was when Meredith told her that she was helping to remove a man’s penis: “That should be me! I should be turning a penis into a vagina. That should be my penis!”

Speaking of the sexual reassignment surgery, Alexandra Billings was wonderful as Donna, the artist formerly known as Daniel. I was really psyched to see Alexandra in this role since, as a former Chicagoan, I have followed her career for more than 20 years. (I met her oh-so-long ago — one of the nicest human beings on the planet.) Alexandra is a transgendered entertainer/actress/singer who used to be known as Shante at the famed Baton Show Lounge in Chicago. She’s been in the business for decades, but this role on Grey’s is beyond huge for her. For more info on Alexandra, go here.

Also awesome was Clare Carey as Vicky, Donna’s wife, and I thought it made the story line even more compelling to have Donna get breast cancer from all the hormones. Vicky wanted her husband Daniel back when given the chance, but it was quite nice to have Vicky come back at the end because Donna was her “best friend.”

One of the biggest reasons that I could never be a doctor was what caused Addison to leave the hospital room and go into the bathroom stall and cry. I wouldn’t be able to give patients tragic news like that. How horrific for a woman to have to deliver a baby knowing that it was dead. Alexandra Holden did a fantastic job as Jamie.

I was very happy to see Kali Rocha back as Sydney, this time as Izzie’s peer counselor. Just when we thought Sydney was a complete nutcase, that final “I lost a kid” scene redeemed her big-time, and I really hope she comes back. And I don’t think Izzie will avoid her next time.

So just when George returned from the camping trip all determined to talk to Callie, boom — his Dad’s there as a heart surgery patient. Some guys never get a break.

 

From EW: Hooking Up

On ”Grey’s Anatomy,” while most of the men go fishing, Mark throws Meredith a few lines, but Derek returns to reel her in by Gregory Kirschling

We were all wondering how Bailey would deal with her realization late last week that it was Cristina who erased her name off the board, and this week I think we were all expecting the thunder to come down. So in that respect, it was a letdown that Bailey showed her cards right away, admitting so quickly she’d figured Cristina’s trespass out, and also that the best she could do was ban Cristina from all surgeries and send her off to dig through fecal matter. That felt low-impact. Thankfully, this plotline recouped later in two major ways: 1. We saw Cristina half-confess her crime to Meredith, and it looks like she might sell Burke down the river in the coming weeks. (What a villainess! Very promising.) 2. Late in the episode, after Cristina begged to scrub in on a surgery, Bailey gave her one more chance to admit she did the erasing, and Cristina didn’t buckle, and Bailey said, ”Right now, in this second, you chose your own fate.” Long story short: The Nazi didn’t necessarily return this week, but the evidence is there to indicate she might turn up in full force again any day now.

What follows will be a minor tangent. Notice how I made a list in the previous paragraph that consisted of a point 1 and a point 2. It’s not that hard to do. It’s not as hard as movies and TV would sometimes have us believe. One of my strangest pop-culture pet peeves is when fictional characters make a list of reasons that run 1, B, 3 or A, 2, C. What a cheap laugh. This never happens in real life, yet it happens, for instance, in National Lampoon’s Vacation, which is, aside from that tiny annoying thing, one of my favorite movies. I — to borrow some indignation from sis — never, ever thought smart, witty Grey’s would stoop so low. But at the beginning of the episode, Meredith (dear, great Meredith, who’s smarter than that!) made a list of rules that lech-y Mark must live by if they are going to work together, and she numbered it ”1, second, C.” This construction is, I grant you, a little more sophisticated than 1, B, 3 or A, 2, C, but not much. Maybe it bothers you I’m making so much of this, but pet peeves are pet peeves, people, and sometimes it helps to vent about them, okay?

Now then: Meredith and Mark. Even their names have a ring to them that’s all off. Mark made his play on Derek’s girl. They teamed together on a wacky hospital case I was never too excited about, in which a man named Daniel wanted to cut off his penis and become a woman named Donna even if the lady hormones were gonna give him cancer. At the very end of the episode, Mark took Meredith for a drink and tried encouraging her to ”start fresh.” She looked halfway convinced. Apparently every woman wants to sleep with Mark. But then he went to answer his beeper, and Derek, back from his camping trip (which he went on, he said, to get a ”fresh start” — that’s a coincidence!), walked into the bar, and tried to start over with Meredith right then and there. I’ll tell you, friends, for a minute it looked like the whole series was going to go up in a mushroom cloud. Grey’s Armageddon was nigh. Because Derek made his plea, which was a perfectly reasonable plea, and Meredith said, ”You walked away. And now it’s too late!” Whaat? We watched her let him take some time. And how is it too late? Meredith and Mark, as a couple, are nonstarters. This scene felt like it was headed somewhere completely bogus. All of a sudden you just knew that Mark was gonna walk up and Derek was gonna give him a cold stare, and then pout droopy-lidded for a second in Meredith’s direction, and then split, and thus another needless complication for these two would be dragged out over the coming weeks and months.

Hallelujah, that’s not what happened.

Instead, Derek and Meredith started to make out, and Mark walked on by. Save!

That was the fade-out. Quick, what else happened this episode? George and Karev got in a fistfight because Karev was goaded into telling George that Callie slept with Mark. George, during the closest close-ups we’ve yet seen on the show, seemed to realize that Burke’s hand is still messed up, and seems hell-bent on goading him into admitting it. At the hospital, Izzie admitted to the highly cherubic doc Sydney that she still thinks about Denny all the time and she’s not sure she has what it takes to be a surgeon because of that. And Callie and Addison commiserated over how miserable it was to sleep with Mark, and also over a dead baby.

 

The OC: Recap

From TVGuide:
November 9, 2006: Turkey Day Meltdowns

How does the saying go? Revenge is a dish best served with cold turkey? That seemed to be Julie and Ryan’s interpretation of it, since they didn’t let a little thing like Thanksgiving get in their way of going after Volchok. Sandy had a lot more faith in Ryan than I did — I would have never trusted him to go into that hotel room with Volchok alone. Thankfully, Ryan realized that letting Volchok live with the guilt, in prison, was the ultimate way of inflicting pain on him. (And hey, he also got in two punches.) Ben McKenzie did a great job in that hotel-room scene with his eyes filling up, but because he’s Ryan, the tears never quite fell. It was a quiet breakdown, classic Ryan style.

Julie and Summer’s styles, however, are much more showy, though no less tragic. I loved the way the show intercut their two parallel meltdowns. Julie worried about her potatoes and threatened to put Kaitlin’s dog (aka Little Julie) to sleep. Summer fretted about seating and cushions. Dr. Roberts and Seth, respectively, confronted them with the fact that everything was really about Marissa, and then both of them ran away rather than deal with things. But in the end, Julie did finally deal with things, and Melinda Clarke deserves kudos for her performance as well. The last scene with Julie crying and asking Ryan to talk about Marissa did get me a bit teary-eyed. Remember when Julie and Ryan used to hate each other? I liked seeing them bond – they work well together, even when they’re not plotting a murder. As for Summer, she’s finally beginning to admit how much she misses Marissa, and she started to lose it while leaving a message for Seth, but then stopped. It seems like she has a little ways to go yet in terms of working through her grief. Hopefully she’ll let Seth help her through this process instead of pushing him further away.

Although Summer’s grieving process continues, I think we can safely say that the Volchok chapter is closed. “So it’s really over?” Julie asked upon hearing that Volchok would be arrested. Yes, it is, and in the right amount of time, I think. Plus, it’s good to know that Volchok will be paying for his crime.

Speaking of criminals, what are the odds that a man who Sandy once defended would be one of the homeless guests at his Thanksgiving dinner? (By the way, how nice of Summer to invite them all — not even to her own house— and then bail.) I loved that the homeless guy remembered Sandy as “crazy eyebrow man.” One strong point of this show has always been the way that it can poke fun at itself (and its actors), and tonight had some great self-deprecating moments. The best had to be the sly reference made to time-slot competitor Grey’s Anatomy. It seems we’ll be losing Dr. Roberts to Seattle Grace. “A hospital that’s famous for being wonderfully quirky,” he explained. I’ll miss Summer’s dad, but maybe he’ll make occasional appearances. What I’d miss even more is this show if it continues to bleed in the ratings and lose more viewers to Seattle Grace. And I think these early fourth-season episodes have really been entertaining. There’s been a good balance of drama and humor. (How funny is it that when Taylor gets anxious she mutters to herself in French?) Ratings infusion needed — stat!

The C

November 8, 2006: Angry Nudfo Chocolate Love

Ryan wasn’t going after Volchok to kill him. He was going to tell the cops where Volchok was…. He just needed to see him first. As Seth explained, “No offense, but like nobody believes that.” Seth may not be stealth, but he has good instincts, and he knows Ryan all too well. And he was quite the James Bond last night, albeit in his own comic-book way. First he stumbles onto Ryan’s secret plan when overhearing his phone call, then he leaves coded messages for his parents to find. (How could Sandy not figure out the anagram?!) But Ryan, likewise, knows Seth too well, hence the cell-phone casualty. However, Seth didn’t let that nor 18 tequila shots slow him down, and he wound up saving the day by giving Ryan a decoy address for Volchok. I was so proud of Seth for doing that and for trying to convince Volchok to turn himself in. He really reminded me of a mini Sandy in that scene. True, he had to pull a “Judas” move and betray Ryan to Sandy and Kirsten, but what else could he do? He can’t let Ryan ruin his life by murdering Volchok. (And it’s not really a stretch that Ryan would kill him — he’s come close to killing people before.) Of course, this means the whole avenging-Marissa plan is still not complete, and Ryan and Julie aren’t going to be happy until they get some closure. It looks like we may see that tomorrow night.

As for mother-of-the-year Julie (trying to get out of a clothing drive — priceless), as much as I love her as a bad-girl character, I agree with Sandy that she’s gone too far sending Ryan off to murder someone. Sure, Ryan’s willing, but she basically put the weapon in his hand when she gave him that folder. I liked when Sandy tore into her at the bar. But I think he let her off too easy when she shot back at him with, “At least you still have all your kids.” The point is, Sandy won’t have all his kids if Ryan does what she wants.

So the mystery of “where’s Volchok now, and what’s gonna happen when Ryan finds him?” is my current favorite story line and is still holding my interest. And speaking of mysteries (see, who needs Lost?), we finally found out the answer to Taylor’s big secret. I thought she was going to be pregnant, but, instead, she married a French guy and now has to divorce him. Did not see that coming. I liked her sunniness playing off of Summer’s current moodiness. (Side thought: Wouldn’t it be fun if Taylor’s real name and character name were switched? Then Summer could be friends with Autumn.) My favorite Taylor lines were, “Move it, hippies!” and his referring to Che as “Johnny Appleseed.” But Taylor wasn’t just present to serve as comic relief last night. She also motivated Summer to attempt to let Seth in on what she’s going through. (As Summer explained to European traveler Taylor, “Here in America, we hide our feelings.”) I’m still adjusting to seeing fashion-gal Summer wearing sweaters and a backpack, and I found that watching her struggle to write a letter to Seth was just heartbreaking.

Sad Summer and raging Ryan aside, I think last night’s episode had a lighter tone that last week’s. I feel like we’re slowly getting through the grieving-Marissa process. Again, it’s good they’re not simply rushing past the grief, but I also like my weekly dose of California sunshine. And there were some hints of that last night with these humorous moments:

— We learned that Summer’s stopped shaving her legs, but Brad and Eric shave their chests.
— The debate whether “gay dad trumps slutty mom.”
— Julie explaining, “It’s not a sample sale Kaitlin, it’s for refugees.”
— Julie watches “America’s Dumbest Cops.”
— Sandy and Seth determining that Seth’s new tattoo has a “gay vibe.”

Hopefully, there will be more humourous moments to come. And remember Newport fans, we don’t have to wait a week, because there’s another brand-new episode of The O.C. airing tomorrow night!

November 2, 2006: It Is Not Always Sunny in Orange County

When Ryan went to a hotel room, and Julie Cooper opened the door, I immediately thought, oh no, please tell me they’re not recycling the Julie-sleeping-with-Luke plot from Season 1. Thankfully, they didn’t go there. But the proposition Julie did make in that hotel room may prove to be far more destructive to Ryan. When he initially didn’t take the folder, I was so happy. That was the first wise decision he’s made in a long time. However, Ryan rarely walks away from a fight, and the opportunity to basically kill Volchok proved to be too tempting. So, of course, he reconsidered and eventually asked for the folder.

Why did he do this? Because Ryan still partially blames himself for Marissa’s death. “I bring trouble,” he explained to Seth. So he’s beating himself up over it, or, to put it more accurately, letting others beat him up for it. And not just symbolically — he’s taking the “very Fight Club” approach (as Seth pointed out) and fighting in cage matches. (For free! Come on Atwood, at least take the money when you win.) The writers felt no need to take a subtle approach to convey Ryan’s torment. Instead, they had him asking for punishment and wearing bruises on his face. At least it looks like they’re wrapping up this cage-fighting story line quickly. I don’t know how much more I could take of seeing Ryan punched in his “young Russell Crowe” face and pummeling people. But I’m not sure how believable it was to have Seth’s slide-show comic book be the vehicle that convinced Ryan to finally come home. I mean, Ryan’s become so hardened — did Seth’s sweet memoirs of the past three years really melt his heart? More likely, I think Ryan was missing the Cohens’ pool house, because I know I sure was. That pool house is the most important set on The O.C., to the point where it’s almost a character on the show. “The utility closet is the new pool house?” Seth asked. No, Seth, it’s not, and it never could be.

And thank goodness for Seth, the sole provider of quips while the show goes through its mourning-Marissa period. It was fun watching him join Kirsten at her Newpsies meeting or yelling at a little girl who had some confusion about the origins of the X-Men. However, Summer’s new friend (and possible competition for Seth?), Everwood’s Chris Pratt, also provided some levity, with his hippie appeals to save the chickens and save the planet. I’m going to like seeing more of him as well as seeing more of Kaitlin and her sidekicks, the two little Lukes. I was on the fence about Kaitlin last season, unsure if I liked her character. But as long as she’s kept as a secondary character and too much focus doesn’t shift onto her, I’m fine with her as a fun bad girl (who’s already living up to her reputation by blackmailing Dr. Roberts… impressive).

As for Kaitlin’s mom, the original bad girl of Newport, well, it’s not surprising that she’s depressed and armed with a gun — only it’s a glue gun. Julie’s watching HGTV and becoming a home-project maniac, and in her downtime she’s catatonic and popping pills. I like that they’re not rushing her recovery, because obviously Marissa’s death is not something she can easily get over. And although Summer’s putting up a brave front in the wake of her best friend’s death, her hesitation to go home and her uneasiness at seeing Coop’s bedroom hints that she hasn’t completely dealt with things. That brings me to the dead girl herself, Marissa. I like that they respectfully mentioned her and showed some photos of her. And I was never a Marissa-hater. But, I can’t say I really missed her presence in this episode. It looks like The O.C. is going to be just fine without Coop, may she rest in peace.

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