Friday, August 31, 2012

Showtime Episodes Season 2 #9

The final episode of Season 2 aired on Sunday August 26.  “Episodes" doesn’t have names for their episodes, so I will name this episode, “It All Boils Over.”

The episode opens with Carol chasing down the information about Jaime and Matt’s affair. She literally chases it down, chasing Bev on the hiking trail, until Bev is forced to tell her. Then Bev adds that Matt is also getting it on with his stalker, Labia. Carol responds with her insult-three-birds-with-one-stone moment of the week when she says, “That guy will stick it anywhere.” Then she adds, “No offense.”  It’s a putdown of Jamie, Labia, and Carol who all got “stuck” by Matt.

The studio head, Elliott, has decided to fire Merc. In the last episode, Elliott offers the job to Carol. In this episode ,Carol turns the offer down because of her loyalty to Merc.  She later tells Merc, “I love you. I could never do that to you.”

Her decision may have been helped by Merc announcing to Carol that he will leave Jaime. He’s made this decision because he is hurt and angry when Carol tells him about Jamie’s affair with Matt. Carol has adroitly maneuvered him into this decision.

Merc is getting the “Man of the Year Award” at a gala dinner.  Merc, who doesn’t yet know that he is being fired, is giving a speech about how the industry is “family.” Shots of him standing at the podium giving his speech are juxtaposed with shots of workers packing up his office--a wonderfully effective juxtaposition.

The speech over, Merc is in the men’s room at the urinal. Matt just happens to be standing next to him. Merc starts checking Matt out; Matt gives him a look, and then Merc turns to face Matt, directing his stream at him. Matt runs out of the men’s room into the dining hall screaming that Merc has gone crazy. Here is where everything boils over. Merc attacks Matt and a brawling fist fight ensues. The men are rolling on the floor trading punches. Other men drag them apart and get them on their feet. Merc is struggling to break free from the men who are restraining him when he accidently Strikes Bev in the face by Merc. From across the room, Sean shouts, “Hey, that’s my wife.” He wants to join the fray to attack Merc, but Carol gets Merc to leave.

Merc is yelling that he is going to fire Matt and cancel "Pucks." Carol says, in that quiet understated way she has, “Yeah, about that, there’s something you need to know.” She drags him into a broom closet and tells him that he is going to be fired.

Later Carol is driving with Merc as a passenger, as she talks about their future together.  Merc tells her that he can’t leave his wife now, he has just lost his job, he can’t give her half of everything. Carol boils over. She stops the car and screams at Merc to get out. She’s so forceful that Merc leaves the car, and Carol drives off leaving him standing in the street in a pouring rainstorm. (It's always a pouring rainstorm in scenes like this.)   

As the episode ends, Bev and Sean are boiling over too; but in a good way. The love that they never stopped feeling for each other, the love that has been simmering all season, boils over. Sean realized how much he still cares for Bev when Bev was hit, and Bev was impressed with Sean for defending her. They kiss repeatedly.

The season ends with the closing credits and a voice-over of a gossip reporter explaining how Merc has left the network to spend more time with his family.
The Showtime website says "new season coming soon."  No date is given, I hope it really is soon. I love this show.


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Thursday, August 30, 2012

HBO True Blood "Save Yourself"

Fans of HBO’s True Blood call themselves “Trubies.”  I watch True Blood, and maybe at one time I was a Trubie, but not anymore.  The plots seem to be done for laughs, not for gripping drama. 

For instance, Morella who is from the race of fae (the fairies whose superpower is light energy) is pregnant by Andy, the sheriff of Bon Temps. She goes to Merlotte’s, a bar, to give birth. She exclaims, “Oh, my light broke.”  The she writhes around on the floor screaming until there’s a blinding blast of light from her nether region, and out pops a baby. Everyone ohs and ahs, then Pow!, another blast of light, another baby. This is repeated four times. Four blasts, four babies. Then Morella picks herself up off the floor and skips out the door, leaving the dumbfounded Andy to take care of the babies. How can this not have been meant to be funny?

In the opening scene, all the fairies are standing in front of a fun house door.  (How appropriate because the plot seems to have come straight from a carnival fun house.)   ussell Edgington , the oldest meanest vampire, is drooling with his desire for the insanely delicious blood of fairies.  The fairies aim the light energy beams at Edgington in unison. Edgington laughs saying it tickles. Then the light breaks through his skin as Eric arrives to stake him.  I’m not sure if it was the fairies’ light beams or Eric’s stake that did Edgington in but he dissolves into a pile of sticky goo. I think Edgington is gone for good this time.

Now that Edgington has been taken care of, Eric, Nora, Tara, Sookie and Jason storm the Authority headquarters.  Jason enters six guns blazing, one in each hand, like a parody of a B-feature western. His aim is true and soon all the vampires are just goo. Bloody goo is dripping from the walls, the ceilings, and is all over the floor. I don’t think I was supposed to be laughing in the midst of the climactic rescue scene.

“Be careful,” Tara tells Sookie, “It’s slippery.” The place is a vampire slaughterhouse and Tara tells Sookie that the floor is slippery like someone had just spilled beer on the floor of Merlotte’s. This is the crazy-juxtaposition-of-the-mundane-with-the-surrealistic moment of the week. 

Meanwhile back at the inner sanctum, Bill has devised a plan to rid himself of the only remaining contender to be the Supreme Vampire. He tells Salome that Lilith has appeared to him and commanded him to serve and protect her because she is the Lilith’s Chosen One. Salome fulfills Lilith’s command to “drink all of me,” by downing the blood of Lilith that has been preserved for centuries in a vial. But, Bill has cleverly switched out the blood with other blood that he has poisoned with silver. As Salome is writhing on the floor vomiting blood, Bill straddles her, stakes her, and she is reduced to a pile of goo.  

Now Bill downs the actual blood of Lilith as a horrified Eric and Sookie watch. He is reduced to a pile of goo. Is it all over for Bill?. No, he rises from the puddle of blood as Lillth rose from a blood puddles in previous episodes.  He stands tall, bloody, and triumphant. He bares his extra-long extrawhite famgs. Eric yells to Sookie to run. (As if she could out-race a vampire.)  And that is the end of season five.

The name of this episode is “Save Yourself.”  I’m renaming it , “Bloody Goo by the Barrel.”  Who produces all this goo? Whoever he is, he must be making barrels of money. There was so much bloody goo in this episode that I thought that somebody had ordered too much, and they decided that they had to use it all up in the last episode of the season..

This show has become a bloody mess.
[And yet, I still want to come back and see how Sookie escapes.  Darn those cliff-hanger finales.]

This picture is from

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Showtime's Web Therapy: The Insanity Offense

I love how during the opening credits the webcam turns and faces me.  It makes me feel like I am under the merciless scrutiny of Fiona Wallice.

And Fiona (played by Lisa Kudrow) does have her eyes on the people who populate her world. She’s on the campaign plane for the duration of this episode, but still keeping her eyes on everyone via the webcam.

There are a record number of four guest stars in this episode: Selma, Blair playing the human baby incubator (pregnancy surrogate for Fiona’s assistant, Jerome); Lily Tomlim; playing Fiona’s mother; Conon O’Brian, playing himself; and David Schwimmer, playing Fiona’s patient/stalker /accuser/old flame (I’m not sure what he is), Newell.

The official title of this show is “The Insanity Offense.”  I’m going to rename it “The Criminal Capers” because each of Fiona’s computer contacts are involved in schemes and activities that could land them in prison.

Taking the stars in chronological order, we begin with Selma Blair. While the cat’s away, the mice will play. She is sitting at Fiona’s desk eating from a big bucket of fried chicken (KFC?). Fiona is a bit of a neat freak, so she freaks out over the idea of grease on her desk. An argument ensues, and after a bout of verbal sparring, Fiona accuses the surrogate of a criminal act--faking her pregnancy to get money.

Maybe you’re just fat, Fiona says. “Fat,” screams the enraged surrogate, “I am not fat!” She lifts her blouse, pulls off the padding that made her look pregnant, and shows off her flat abs. Fiona orders her and her “foam baby” out of the house.

Next Fiona speaks with her mother, Putsy. Her mother is in a facility for her supposed (or actual) dementia. She’s dressed like Florence Nightingale and she has a sock puppet on her hand that she calls Putsy Petite. She insists that Fiona speak to the puppet. Putsy, the human one, tells Fiona that she has unintentionally killed her roommate by giving her pills. Putsy obtained the pills by having the other patients feed their meds to Putsy Petite. The sock puppets mouth hole led to a tube which deposited the pills in a jar.

Putsy wants Fiona to declare her insane so she can escape punishment. Fiona is shocked by her mother’s crimes, but not so shocked as she is at the sight of her mother’s bare, somewhat pinkish, buttocks when she turns her back to the camera to check on whether or not her roommate is breathing.  (Putsy ended up in this institution because she had taken to walking around bottomless.)

Fiona asks “Are you wearing a false bottom or have you just had work done?”  I’m labeling this as the-fall-on the floor–laughing moment of the week.

Now Fiona has to deal with Conon O’Brien. Conan has gotten his criminal band members to cut down Fiona’s tree as revenge for Fiona’s refusal to help him trick his sidekick on his show, Andy, into taking more of a backseat role. The tree is being “felled” as she speaks with Conan.

The quick-thinking Fiona tells Conan that the tree has fallen on Jerome. Conan is aghast when he hears that he might be criminally liable. Fiona tells him it is her ethical duty to report him. He begs Fiona not to do this. Fiona says she will keep his secret if he replaces her tree with another 300-year-old tree and let her be a guest on his show so she can promote herself.

Fiona is lying about Jerome, we soon see. Jerome walks into her office and almost gets on camera as Fiona hastily closes the session. 

Finally, Newell is on her computer screen. He is at her house demanding that she open the door. She tries to tell him that she is not at home, but Newell won’t believe her. He’s very agitated and hurls his father-fornicator epitaph at her again. The neighbors have evidently called the police because he is causing such a ruckus, and David scampers away before they arrive.

Every character on the show has committed the offense of being insane, insanely funny, criminally insanely funny.
This picture is from

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

HBO The Newsroom #10 "The Greater Fool"

Here’s one news story you will never see on ACN, the fictional network on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” but it the news story you really should see. Newsroom Staffers Arrested for Assault and Battery.” These people presumably had mothers and fathers.  Didn’t their mothers and fathers ever teach them, “No hitting.”

Mac is the culprit on this week’s show, not once but twice. It unbelievable that any adult would act this way, especially someone in an important job in an important industry.  Will is in the hospital lying in his bed, recovering from bleeding ulcers that nearly killed him.  (He got the bleeding ulcers from mixing his medications and apparently being stupid enough to take more than prescribed.) Mac rolls up a magazine and repeatedly strikes Will with it about his head and shoulders, as Will lies in his hospital bed. I grant you she has reason to be angry—Will wants to quit the news show—but still, didn’t her parents ever say, “Use your words.”      

Mac doesn’t just beat Will, she threatens him.  The most-implausible-threat-ever-made moment of the week is Mac’s line when she tells Will, “You are coming back [to the show] if I have to chop you up in little pieces, put you in a duffle bag and reassemble you.” Such violent imagery, even if she doesn’t mean it literally.

Later in the episode, Mac picks up a couch pillow and beats Jim with it because she is angry about Jim’s romantic choices. She wanted Jim to stop dating Nina, and make Maggie leave Don even though Maggie is quite happy with her relationship with Don (They are planning to live together,), and start dating Maggie himself. Since when does your boss get to tell you who you can and can’t date? Since when does your boss get to beat you up because you won’t take that advice. Will should have broken off with Mac, not because she cheated on him, but because she is mentally unstable, and is a felony waiting to happen.

A few episodes ago, Sloan slammed Neal up against a wall. I forget why. I think it was about whether or not he thought she was attractive. I think Maggie has been known to hit also. I can’t remember for sure.  But these people have no inhibitions about hitting.  It’s a good thing they like each other.

But enough harping, because the season finale “The Greater Fool” was a great episode.  I don’t even want to rename as I usually do in my reviews. “The greater fool” is a term used among stock investors. It means buying a stock of questionable value (being a fool) in the belief that you can sell it to another buyer at a higher price. The second buyer is the greater fool. In this show, the characters were all boasting about being the greater fool. In this analogy, the news show is the questionable stock, and they were being the greater fools, by reinvesting themselves into the show. Or something like that.

The best scene is the one where Will and Charlie, the head of the news division con Leona and her son Reese, the people who own the company that owns the news station. Leona wants to fire Will—he’s being too honest on the air for her purposes—but she needs a reason. She thinks she has found it in a phone message Will left for Mac saying he was high while on the air. She has that message because another property of the company owns is a gossip rag that has been illegally hacking phone messages.   

Charlie says he has proof in an envelope given to him by a source, who later committed suicide, that proves the illegal hacking.  Leona and Reese, frightened by the thought of going to prison for this, negotiate with Will and Charlie. In the course of doing so, they make it clear that they are guilty. Charlie pulls a tape recorder from his pocket telling them that he has recorded the meeting. They are backed into a corner and Will’s job is saved. After Charlie and Will leave the meeting, Leona and Reese open the envelope and discover that it does not contain any evidence. I guess they got played for fools.   

There’s another good scene when Maggie gets to give her rant-of-the-night. It’s a Sex and the City takedown. Maggie leaves a bar, and is standing on the sidewalk when a bus comes by and splashes water from the gutter all over her. The Sex in the City theme music plays so we will be sure to get the point that this is a bit form the Sex and the City opening credits.. It turns out that the bus is a Sex in the City tour bus taking tourists to see all places from the show. Maggie screams at the tourists that the life of a single womanin New York City is nothing like that depicted on Sex in the City.  (She’s got that right. I was a single womanl in New York City, so I know.)  

What Maggie doesn’t know is that Jim is on that bus. He is taking the tour because his girlfriend Nina is a fanatical fan, and he wants to be up on the show so they can have something to talk about. Jim jumps off the bus and kisses Maggie. Maggie doesn’t pound him with her fists, she kisses him back. Fade out. Is Jim the bigger fool here for thinking he can finally get Maggie away from Don?  Or is Don the bigger fool for thinking he can keep Maggie from Jim. Or are they both fools, because personally, I don’t think Maggie is worth them fighting over her. 

One more bit or romantic intrigue.  On the voice mail where Will admits to being high he says, “Don’t think that I am just saying this because I am high, but…”  Throughout the whole episode Mac is begging Will to tell her the second half of that sentence. He won’t tell her. However, the audience gets to hear it, but not completely. So like Mac, we don’t really know if he was ready to reconcile with her. It does sort of seem that way though.

And what I liked best was the way the season one finale closed the circle. The season began with a “sorority girl” asking him a question at a public forum about why America is the greatest country in the world. He lambastes her for asking a stupid question and loudly, angrily, lectures her about why America is not the greatest country in the world (although she could be). The young woman is insulted and humiliated, but she is the reason Will decides to do an “honest” news show. Tonight, towards the end of the show, she is in the newsroom, being interviewed by Mac for a job as an intern. Will recognizes her and comes over to order her out of the newsroom.  The “sorority girl” says, “I know what a greater fool is, and I want to be a greater fool.” She is hired. Circle closed.

This is a picture of the "sorority girl".  I found it on tumblr

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weeds on Showtime: #808

The name of Showtime's "Weeds" episode 8 of season 8 is “Five Miles from Yetzer Hara.” (“Yetzer hara” is Hebrew for evil. The rabbi explains to Nancy that God places us equidistant from good and evil, and we must choose.)

I’m changing the name to “From Better to Worse.” Things were getting better on Weeds, but now they are getting worse. The opening Ticky-Tacky song should clue you in that things are not going well. Each week the rendition of the song is angrier, louder, more raucous.  

Nancy did so well at her new job as a rep for a pharmaceutical company—she received a whole new, very large, territory. It is going to require her to be away from home for two weeks at a time. She doesn’t like having to be away from her young son, little Stevie.   

Her dilemma is solved when a doctor’s receptionist offers to buy all her samples of generic adderall—it’s called “speed” by users. She then resells them to the local college kids for $10 a pill. At first Nancy refuses, but it’s not long before she gives in to temptation. She got out of dealing weed; but now she’s dealing prescription drugs. She’s also back to lying. She tells her boss that her car with all her samples inside was stolen. (He gives her mores samples.) She’s also back to partying. We see her dancing wildly at a frat party.

And there’s more of Nancy being bad. She seduces the rabbi. I don’t think she takes rejection well. His refusal to do the nasty on short acquaintance only made her totally determined to have her way with him. It’s unclear what Nancy feels, but the rabbi is obviously falling in love with her.

Jill learns that she is not pregnant. She’s starting menopause early. Her messed up hormones resulted in a false positive on the pregnancy test. Andy is angry at her because she knew three weeks ago that she was not pregnant.  Andy was all psyched up about fatherhood and he is very disappointed. Jill tells Andy, “What do you want—crying babies or screaming orgasms?” This is my “when-you-put-it-that-way-the-answer-seems-obvious” moment of the week. But it turns out that Andy chooses babies, and he and Jill break up.

Shane is working with crocked cops. When the cops impound cars, they sometimes “lose the paperwork.” They are selling the cars. Shane is shocked, but then the cops hand him his cut. Now Shane is back to loving his job.

Doug is scamming—getting funds by claiming to be running a homeless shelter. He needs to get some people living at his shelter. No shelter clients, no more money. Worse yet, he could be charged with fraud. He attempts to persuade a feisty homeless woman to move into his shelter; she finds his pleas annoying and sticks him with a pen knife. But Doug has a work-around. He swipes some of Nancy’s medical marijuana pills, grinds them up, and sprinkles the resulting powder in a sandwich. The woman eats it, and apparently is blissed-out enough for Doug to transport her to the shelter. Crisis averted.

Silas is unhappy about marijuana being made into pills. I guess he is just a traditionalist.  The marijuana mystique is lost if you just swallow a pill. The ritual is part of the high; a pill is ticky-tacky. I have a feeling that Silas is going to go extra-legal real soon.   

Everyone on Weeds has fallen from the straight and narrow, except maybe little Stevie.  But he’s only five.  Maybe he’ll be next and we’ll see him dealing illicit Twinkies to his kindergarten classmates.

I found this picture at

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Real Time With Bill Maher # 256 Ninth Circle

Bill Maher opened his show on August 24, 2012 (episode 256) as he always does –with a brief clip from the archives.  He aired the one where someone in the audience started shouting something (I couldn’t make out what), and Bill gets off the stage and walks down the aisle and personally ejects the heckler (with a little help from the paid security guys).

There were times last night when I wished that Bill would jump across the desk and evict a few of the panelists. Last night was my worst fear come true about the show.  Two conservatives on the panel and one middle-of-the-roader who said, “a pox on both their houses”. That left Bill as the only voice of reason. Now Bill is a good advocate for rationality, but he is mainly a comedian. The professional politicians and policy makers can sometimes score points off him.

Bill’s opening monologue began with the Republican convention scheduled to begin in Tampa, Florida on Monday. Hurricane Isaac is also scheduled to arrive in Tampa on Monday. Bill’s Joke: “An evangelical party nominating Mormon and a Catholic and then getting wiped out by a hurricane.”  The sub-text is that evangelicals are always saying that hurricanes are God’s punishment for human wrongdoing, like a gay pride parade.  So if Isaac hits the convention, is the Republican Party being punished for something. If I remember correctly, the first day of the last Republican convention had to be cancelled because of a hurricane. I’m seeing a trend. Maybe God thought they didn’t get the message last time.

The show opened, as it does every week, with an interview. The interviewee was Ariana Huffington, currently a liberal) from the hugely successful Huffington Post.

During the show Bill put a decade-old picture of Ariana and the very liberal Al Franken in bed together (Photo-shopped—they were never actually in bed together.) The picture was making the point –“strange bedfellows”.  Ariana, embarrassed by this reference to her past, quickly changed the subject to her hair. (I bet she gave bill “what-for” backstage after the show.)  Ariana Huffington now espouses liberal views (and does it very well), but she used to be a conservative. Perhaps she shed her politics when she shed her conservative husband; perhaps she saw a profitable niche on the liberal side—I don’t know.

As I said, Ariana does a great job. She more or less said that Ryan was “Romney’s poodle,” the way, Blair, the prime minster of England used to be “Bush’s poodle.”  She said his treatment of Romneyy was like a couples’ relationship pre and post marriage. A woman gets courted by a man because she is an exciting person; but after marriage that’s not what he wants anymore—now he wants her to be a doormat.  The analogy is right-on. Ryan is being forced to tone down everything that made him an exciting choice.

Back to the panel. The conservatives were Avic Roy, from a conservative think tank, Jack Kingston, a Republican and congressman from Georgia (A frequent guest, a much too frequent guest, in my opinion. I groaned out loud, when I saw that he was on the show).  Katy Kay, a correspondent World News America (the BBC in America), was the sole defender of sanity, albeit no liberal.

They argued about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (Kingston won’t “forgive Justice Roberts”) ,about how Mitt Romney went “birther” the other day while disingenuously saying it was only a joke (mainly Bill), about how Todd Akin’s ideas about rape are the same as those held by Ryan and many other Republicans in Congress (Bill again), about whether or not the stimulus was good or bad for the economy (Avic said bad, whereas most economists agree that it saved the country from a second Great Depression), and maybe some other stuff.  It was hard to follow with everyone talking over each other.

Conservatives have a hard time giving someone else a chance to speak.  I kept hoping that Bill would do what Chelsea Handler did last week—tell them to pipe down.

As the babble went on, I’m yelling at my TV as if Bill could hear me, “Come on. Do some jokes.  Do a “bubble segment”; do the bit with the mock-ups.”  Maybe Bill heard me because he segued to a comedy bit about Republicans putting ads on Craig’s List trolling for sex partners during the convention.  He skewered Christie, Gingrich, and a few others. It’s was very funny.

Finally, it is time for the second guest usually someone from the entertainment business; tonight that guest was D.L. Hughley, a stand-up comedian who stands up for liberal ideas. The exchange between him and Bill was informative and funny. Then, he did it! Kingston interrupted the interview with the guest.  That is very bad form! (I hope Bill gave him “what-for” backstage after the show.) The panel almost always remains silent after the guest comes on.

Chaos broke loose and everyone on that stage was talking at the same time so I couldn’t make out much of what any was saying.  Mercifully, it was time for “New Rules.” The final rule, the one where Bill makes a serious point, concerned the Republicans.  It is where I found the–funniest- line-of-the-week-that-is-also-true moment. “The symbol for the Republican party should not be an elephant; it should be a unicorn “ A unicorn because they live in a fantasy land. Most of their ideas are not based on reality, but some fantasy that just happens to suit their purposes.

Bill, doesn’t title his shows, so I’m going to give This one a title: “The Ninth Circle of Hell is Two Conservatives on the Bill Meher Show.” Can you hear me now, Bill?

 I found this picture at

Friday, August 24, 2012

episodes on Showtime #208 Carol

My title for this episode is “There’s Something About Carol.”  Carol, at first was rather a cold fish, but I now find her very likeable.
She’s become good friends with Bev. They get together for girl talk, hikes in the mountains, and the occasional session with the giggle weed.

I think they are both lonely.  Bev is lonely because she’s English and doesn’t like living in America very much and she is separated from her husband Sean. ( She desperately wants him back.) Carol is lonely because she has been having a five-year dead-end affair with her boss, Merc. 

By the way, Merc is no way good enough for her. She is blond beautiful and classy; he reminds me of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. What does she see in him? I think he is just a bad habit.  A habit that she was ready to break.  A couple of episodes ago, she broke it off. It’s not clear if she kept her resolve; that question will apparently be resolved in the season finale on Sunday August 26. Stay strong, girl!

This week’s show posed a major dilemma for Carol. A network executive asks to meet with Carol alone. The network wants to fire Merc. Carol is shocked to learn that they have chosen her as his replacement. Here is where we see just how classy and inherently good she is. She is so loyal; she defends Merc. She tries to get the network executive to change his mind. She doesn’t appear to have been successful. I guess we will have to wait for the next episode to see how this dilemma works out.

Carol is played by the actress, Kathleen Rose Perkins.  Kathleen does a wonderful job with her role. We discover that office Carol who is cool-as-cucumber totally-in-control, unflappable and confident has another side.  When she is with Bev, she is vulnerable and sweet. She even has a different way of speaking when she is with Bev—less automaton, more human.

I’m trying to find the words to describe Carol.Perhaps this example of some dialogue from the show will give you the idea.

            Sean:            You told us not to worry about the ratings.

 Carol:            Yeaaaah (she drags out the vowel sound and pauses before continuing) you can start worrying now.
And I am nominating the above as the best-line-of-the-season moment. It's all about the way the actress delivers it.

I found this picture on

Thursday, August 23, 2012

True Blood on HBO #59 “Sunset”

I’m going to rename this episode “Transformations” because everyone one on this show is transforming into someone or something else. 

We have Lilith who transformed from a myth of the vampire god into an actual entity. At least, I think she is an actual entity. She may just be a hallucination. The vampires all drank this blood from a relic—it was supposed to be Lilith’s blood, but you know when you leave blood lying around for centuries it could go bad, and then there is no telling what might happen.

The greatest transformation is Merlotte and Luna who transform into a different species. They become little white mice so they can get into the Authority headquarters and look for Luna’s daughter, Emma  When they do these little shape-shifting things, I always think about the theory in Physics: “conservation of mass.” When they turn from human to mouse, what happens to all the extra mass?

Emma’s been doing quite a bit of transforming also—she transforms into a wolf pup. Is this because her mother is a shape shifter or because her father is a werewolf. Or maybe it’s just because she lives in Bon Temps and all kind of weird things happen there. 

Steve Newlin used to be a narrow-minded straight-arrow fundamentalist preacher. Now he is a vampire and Russell Edgington’s boy toy.  The most-evil-moment-of-the-week award goes to Steve. When he sees Emma, his pet wolf-pup, in human form, he speaks to her in a tone of voice that suggests a stern, but loving parent. He says, “Emma, you know your Daddy doesn’t like it when you’re human.”  I found that more chilling than if he had swatted her with a rolled up newspaper. (Confession:  That moment was in last week’s show, but it was just perfect for this week’s review so I used it.)

Russell Edgington, the oldest of the vampires, has changed also. When we first met him in Season 3, he was aristocratic and living in a mansion dining on gourmet blood.  Now he more like someone who you meet on skid row if that person on skid row had just escaped from an insane asylum.

Jessica, the baby vamp, who used to a self-centered, selfish, teenaged brat has transformed into someone that resembles a decent human being. Perhaps her love for Hoyt helped her grow up emotionally. (Remember, vampires can’t age physically.)  When Bill forces Jessica to become a ‘maker” by “turning” Jason, she only pretends to suck him to death. We see the dirt being shoveled over the two of them in the weird little vampire version of a honeymoon.  (When someone is turned, the maker and the newbie must be buried together for the first night.)  Jason just happens to have a gun with wooden bullets in his possession at the time, so he rises from the grave and shoots the two “enforcer” vampires that were there to see that Jessica did as she was ordered.

Bill used to be a good guy, but he has turned wicked evil. The old Bill never wanted to hurt or turn anyone. (He wouldn’t even turn his human daughter when she was old and on her death bed begging for the gift of eternal life, or should I say the gift of living a life of eternal death) He was forced to turn Jessica, and she is his only progeny.  Now Bill is on a killing rampage, feeding on humans, lusting for power, and even killing other vampires if they threaten his ambitions.

Even Pam, the “Queen of the Damned” bitch, has transformed. She was always portrayed as a nasty piece of work loving only her maker, Eric, and ruthless in her dealings with everyone else. Now she takes the fall for Tara when the Authority come inquiring about the death of the sheriff.  It must be maternal instinct. (Pam is Tara’s maker.)

Jason used to be a lazy Lothario, but he hasn’t gotten any lately. Hasn’t even been looking for it. He’s working as a deputy sheriff and taking his office very seriously. But Jason has not changed in one very important way. He still good-hearted. He only wants to help and do what is right. Consequently, he is just about the only character on True Blood that it is possible to still like.

And of course we know that Sookie, once all sweet and innocent, is now no one to be trifled with. She appears to have sworn off men and is becoming a regular little killing machine. Don’t mess with Sookie.
Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) goes all monster on us. This photo is from

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Web Therapy on Showtime Season 2 Episode 8

 My name for this episode is “Fiona Has a Ball.”
It’s a pun because in this episode Fiona’s skills at emotional castration emasculation of men is especially evident.
It begins with David Schwimmer on the web cam; he is playing Neville Miller, someone from Fiona’s past. Only Fiona doesn’t recognize him (Ouch!) and keeps calling him Newell instead of Neville. (Ouch!  Ouch!)  Neville is devastated by this, so devastated that he goes practically catatonic. At one point he shouts a vulgarity at Fiona several times in a row, replacing the word “mother” with “father” in the well-known MF insult. I’m getting the feeling that Neville will be back, and we will learn how the young Fiona dropped the young Neville as her boyfriend and took up with his father instead. 

Conan O’Brien, playing himself, is her next patient. Just as Fiona diminished Neville by getting his name wrong and failing to recognize him, she now belittles Conon with the same tactics. She pronounces Conan’s name wrong and says she has never heard of him. (Ouch!) She tells him he is having a “mid-life crisis” because he is a failure in the entertainment business (Ouch! Ouch!). She suggests that he is not good-looking enough to be the host of a TV show, and when Conan is shaken by her comments about his looks, she tells him he has self-esteem issues. (Triple Ouch!). She googles him while he is talking.  (Quadruple Ouch!) Then she insinuates that O’Brien’s sidekick, Andy, on “The Conan O’Brien Show” is funnier and more appealing than Conan. She says that Conan is the vegetables and Andy is the dessert. (Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!) How many times can Fiona “rip his balls off"?

I use that phrase, “rip his balls off,” because Conan himself uses it. He is not referring to himself; he is referring to Fiona’s assistant, Jerome. Jerome breaks into the room while Fiona is in session with Conan to tell her some urgent news. Fiona calls him a “colossal idiot,” and she orders him to get out of the room. Her behavior causes Conan to say that Fiona was “cruel.”  He says, “You ripped his balls off, tied a bow around them, and handed them back on a silver tray.” Interesting—he can see the castrating knife when Fiona directs it at someone else, but not when she directs it towards him.

Even Fiona’s former co-worker, Gina, carries the balls theme forward. She is in Nome, Alaska at the job Fiona got for her in order to get her out of town. Gina sends Fiona a video saying she is “freezing her balls off.”  Wait, isn’t that an anatomical impossibility for a woman?  

In the last scene, Fiona and Conan get into a disagreement because Fiona refuses to play a part in O’Brien’s scheme to convince Andy that he should stop stealing Conan’s limelight. They argue, Conan delivers a veiled threat, but backs down saying, “This is a whole new ball of wax.”

We always knew Fiona was brazen and ballsy.  In this episode, we get to peer into her trophy room.   

My “This-sums-up-Fiona-in-a-nutshell” line of the week is spoken during the intro to the show. “Many of the most important names in Hollywood have one thing in common; they picked the wrong therapist.”
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

HBO The Newsroom #9 Mock Debate

"Help Me Rhonda” is my new name for this episode. “Help Me Rhonda” is a website that Will McAvoy has been going to for relationship advice. It’s sweet that Will is so troubled over his relationship with Mackenzie, but Will has a top-notch therapist who can give him relationship advice—why is this supposedly intelligent and powerful man seeking advice from “Rhonda” as if he were a love-sick teenager.
The Don and Maggie, Jim and Maggie, and Jim and Lisa love-maze could actually use the help of Rhonda. Don sees other women whenever he and Maggie break up, which is frequently.  Maggie doesn’t know about this, but Jim does. Don gets advice from the Rhonda wannabes in the newsroom to tell Maggie the truth. Jim gets advice from the Rhonda wannabes to tell Maggie that he has feelings for her. Everyone in that office is a Rhonda.

Both men arrive at Maggie’s apartment late at night. Lisa is Maggie’s roommate so she’s there too. When Jim sees Don and Maggie together, he loses his never about telling Maggie he loves her. When Lisa sees Jim, she thinks that he is there to try to persuade her to start over with him. Her heart melts, she kisses him before he can speak, and they leave to go for a walk so they can talk privately. This gives Don and Maggie an opportunity to have a heart-to-heart. There is no sound during this final scene, but we see Don and Maggie talking, and Maggie doesn’t look very happy.  Oh, the comedy of errors. Even Rhonda couldn’t sort this one out. 

Will and Mackenzie are as messed up as ever. Mac is still carrying the torch for Will and Will is still punishing Mac. He brought Brian (Mac’s ex who she cheated on Will with) into the newsroom to write a magazine article about the show so Mac would have to be reminded of her infidelity every day. With Brian in the newsroom, Mac and Brian have the opportunity to hash a few things out as well. I don’t think Rhonda would approve.
The real therapist tells Will that Mackenzie cheated on him with Brian because Brian rejected her and she wanted to get back together with him just long enough so she could reject him and then she would feel better about the breakup with her ex. The therapist tells Will that his continual rejection of Mac is not making him feel better, because Will doesn’t feel rejected, he feels betrayed. This is my “finally-we get-an-adult moment-on-this-show” moment of the week.  I hope we see more of this therapist.
Meanwhile back at the newsroom, Will gets to stage his mock debate for the RNC team.  He has this idea that he will host a free-wheeling no-holds-barred debate where he gets to play hardball. He says this will be good for the Republican party because it will clear out the clown-car and leave only the serious candidates to continue running for the nomination. (Serious candidates?  What serious candidates? The only possibly serious candidate was John Huntsman who could never get past 1% in the polls.)

Will is surprised that the RNC guys don’t like his proposal. Really? Surprised? Tell me, Will, how many years have you been in the news business?  But never mind, the mock debate provided the opportunity for the political-polemic part of the show.

But maybe Will really is an idiot. The script writers seem to be trying to portray him as such. Will is trying to change his pants and he falls face down in his boxer shorts—splat—in the middle of the newsroom.  Apparently, he is trying to put both of his legs into one of the pants’ leg. Has something like that, ever in the history of the world, actually happened?

I take it back about renaming this review “Help Me Rhonda.”  I now want to name it, “Help-Me-Dear-God-I-Can’t-Take-These-Ridiculous-Scripts-Any-More.”

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Real Time With Bill Maher #255 08/17/12

Chelsea Handler
Bill Maher is baaaack and he is as “badass” as ever.

On August 17, 2012, (episode 255) as usual, Bill had a smack-down rundown of the news in his opening monologue.  Paul Ryan got most of the abuse. Best line:  “Paul Ryan is an English-speaking version of Sarah Palin.” Pow! Double whammy!

Bill said Paul Ryan rails against government, but has worked his whole life in government and the only job Ryan ever held in the private sector was driving the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile while in high school.  Later on, he mentions that Chris Christie is going to be the keynote speaker at the Republican Convention. They lured Christie there by having Paul Ryan drive the Weiner Mobile. Pow! Double whammy!

There were three guests on the panel on the 8/17/12 show.  Alex Wagner who hosts the MSNBC show “Now with Alex Wagner,” a charming liberal; Mark Cuban who is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, a sensible middle-of-the roader; and Reihan Salam, who is a CNN contributor, a frothing-at-the-mouth conservative. They were later joined by Chelsea Handler, a smart and sassy comedian.

One of the problems I have with the Bill Maher show is that often the lone conservative is an obnoxious loud-mouth who dominates the show. He interrupts the others, talks over them, and generally makes civilized conversation impossible. Reihan Salam performed that role on this panel. Finally, Chelsea Handler had enough and told Mr. Salam, “You need to calm down.”  The audience cheered.  I just about jumped off my couch as I cheered at home. Chelsea, I love you!  You actually got that man to sit down and shut up and let someone else talk.

The worst shows are when Bill has two conservatives. I have to turn it off. The best shows are when he has three liberal-leaning guests. The conversation is great—intelligent and witty. I usually learn something. Are you listening, Bill?

However, I think this confrontational show is the kind of show Bill likes. On the 8/17/12 show he was talking about election politics, but his comment illuminates how he picks his panel. “The people want The Hunger Games. They want a bar fight.”  And that is what we get on his show most weeks.

“New Rules” is one of the best parts of the show. It closes the show and it is always outrageously funny.  Bill gently bends “The Rules” from jokes to serious (yet still humorous) commentary. On the 8/17/12 show he commented on the Republicans’ plan of voter suppression—suppression of the voters who are most likely to vote Democratic. He said the Republican get-out-the vote philosophy was, “You’re here to vote? Get out!”  Then he suggested we bring back literacy tests for the tea-partiers.  Question #1: What was the name of the World War that preceded World War II? He expects that that one would remove most tea-partiers from the voter rolls.

It was a good show.  I’d give it a 7 on a 10 point scale where 5 is “So-So” and 10 is “Amazing!”  Bill, Mark, and Alex were able to refute Raihan pretty well, and Chelsea delivered the knock-out punch. Chelsea is a delight; she fairly sparkles. Bring her back, Bill!

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P.S.  My focus on this blog is usually drama, comedy and dramedy shows, but maybe once in a while I can include some other types of shows, like “Real Time with Bill Maher” or a made for TV movie.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weeds on Showtime #807 "Unfreeze"

Things are starting to gel for the Botwin clan. Everyone is going legit and making it work.

 Andy has a job. Several seasons ago, Andy started studying to be a rabbi. He did it to get close to a woman he was pursuing, and it didn’t last very long. The rabbi business  and the woman. But that training has now been a boon. The training and the next door neighbor who is a rabbi have gotten Andy a job. He is teaching Hebrew school. The bunch of unruly boys at the Hebrew school tested him to see what they could get away with, but Andy’s innate ability to handle any situation soon had the boys under his spell. 

Nancy has a job. She is a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company.  She gets put to the test also. She is sent out to the most hostile doctor on their roster. She has been set up to fail. But Nancy has that innate ability to handle any situation and she prevails. It involves some muffins, some doctor way-laying in a parking garage, and some just old fashioned doctor-laying in the parking garage, but she gets to leave her samples and wins the doctor as a customer for her firm’s drugs. Whatever else you say about Nancy, she knows how to sell drugs.

Shane has a job. He’s on some sort of mysterious assignment now that he has graduated from the police academy.

Silas has a job. He’s in seventh heaven working on developing the best-legal-marijuana- ever for the same pharmaceutical company that Nancy works for.  

There’s some doubt as to who is the biological father of Jill’s baby, Andy or Doug, but Andy steps up. He wants to be the father of the baby. He wants to stay with Jill.  Jill is happy with the arrangement.  Do I hear wedding bells?

The Botwin clan going straight.  Who would have thunk it?

The not-to be-missed moment of the week:  Nancy’s triumphant smile when her nemesis at her new job, who set her up for failure, learns that Nancy has triumphed.

I found this picture at

Note: I posted Andy’s (actor Justin Kirk) picture. He’s so very handsome. No wonder all the ladies want a piece of him. If I were a teenager, I’d want this picture hanging on my wall. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Web Therapy Episode 7 Infanticipation

Are the men in Fiona’s life deliberately trying to annoy her?  The self-centered Fiona might think so.

Her assistant Jerome has hired a surrogate to bear a child for him and his wife. The surrogate, played by Selma Blair ,is pregnant with triplets, and she is in the office.  Since Jerome works from an office in Fiona’s home that means she is in Fiona’s home.  Turns out she is making herself at home wandering about the house and getting into things at will.  For instance, Fiona’s lingerie drawer.

Naturally, Fiona is none too happy about this. She reads Jerome the riot act. First, h how could he and his wife decide to have a baby without consulting with her, Fiona. This is followed by the demand that Jerome’s family had better not interfere with his work.  And finally, she demands that the surrogate not be allowed into her home.

As usual, everyone is talking past each other. It’s like three separate simultaneous monologues. This is something very common on the show. Fiona and many of the other characters are each wrapped up in their own little world that only peripherally touch the worlds of the others.

Fiona’s next conversation is with Ben, the man who is running the campaign for her husband, Kip, who is running for Congress. One of the plot arcs of the show is about Kip being a closeted gay man.  After 17 years marriage Fiona has only recently discovered this.. In this episode, it is slowly, and hilariously, revealed through Ben’s conversation with Fiona that Kip and Ben are having an affair. 
Fiona is intent on being “first lady.”  Ben points out to her that even if Kip wins the election, she will not be first lady. The wives of Congressmen are not first ladies. Facts don’t matter to the self-obsessed Fiona; she already sees herself as first lady. I don’t think she is going to allow this affair ruin her chances of being first lady. Will the grandly manipulative Fiona, who always gets what she wants, be able to prevail once again?

Well, there is always Austen. Will Fiona be able keep Austen under her spell?  I can’t wait to find out.

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