Tag Archives: television

Dear #GLEE

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Dear Glee,

I know that I’m writing you a lot of letters this year … but it’s only because I want to understand. Understand what, you ask? I want to understand how an innovative, witty, fun and wonderful show has turned into a giant MESS.

To be fair, there has been some good this season. Kate Hudson is flawless as washed-up Broadway star Cassandra July. This woman can act, dance, sing and throw a zinger like nobody’s business. I also truly loved the Break-Up episode, probably because it heavily featured fan-favorites Rachel, Finn, Kurt and Blaine (and terrific song choices). I think Finn taking over the Glee club was a novel idea, mostly because now he’s dressing like Mr. Schue and it’s great.

But the good can only appease so much. You have forced upon us 4 new McKinley characters who are just caricatures of the parts played by the original cast (a cast, mind you, that played them a hell of a lot better). But worst of all is the character of Marley Rose. Some people might not understand why I say that – her character is just so nice and sweet. Marley is also dirt poor and has an obese mother who happens to be the lunch lady. Her mom makes her clothes and sews in designers’ labels. Poor, poor Marley. You know what I say? BOO EFFING HOO. I haven’t hated a character this much since the introduction of Leo in Smash.

Think about the original core characters of Glee, first and foremost Rachel Berry. Rachel started the series as an unpopular dreg – but by NO means did we feel sorry for her. She was obnoxious, bossy, a true talent with a terrible fashion sense … and that’s why we LOVED her. She wasn’t presented as a character we should feel sorry for, like Marley has been introduced. She was someone real, someone with personality flaws that we all have, someone with dreams and ambitions that wasn’t going to let anything get in her way.

Some might argue that not every character can be as strong as Rachel, and that’s true. But Marley’s character is so unappealing – nothing that happens to her is her fault. She’s poor – not her fault. People make fun of her mom – not her fault. She stops eating and passes out at sectionals – definitely not her fault because Glee member Kitty told her to do it. She doesn’t present ANY personality flaws, which is a giant flaw in itself. No one is perfect, obviously. But for some reason, you have chosen try and make Marley into a martyr and it makes me want to scream. Marley is a walking pity party, and no one pities Marley more than Marley.

Glee, I’m going to stop talking to you, and start talking about you, ok?

Besides Marley, the main problem with Glee is that it’s completely lost its roots. And I’m going to blame Ryan Murphy. Mr. Murphy does a great season 1 of television (please see: Glee Season 1, Popular Season 1, American Horror Story Season 1). And then, in the second season, it starts to go to shit (please see: the 2nd seasons of the shows above). The first season of a Ryan Murphy show is always pushing the envelope. If you have ever watched Popular, you know that show was a walking force (and a walking farce). Entertainment Weekly called it “the proto-Glee” and said it “celebrated the value of outcasts and portrayed overplayed topics – Homecoming Court, sex, and secrets – through an absurdist lens.” This is the exact strategy that Glee used in the first season … but then the show (or its showrunner) got overzealous and instead of concentrating on the storylines, Glee boasted big guest stars and even bigger musical numbers. Somewhere along the way, Glee lost itself.

So why I am still watching? There are a few reasons. First, I love TV (if you hadn’t guessed). I’ve invested so much time (and FEELINGS) into Glee and it feels weird to think of just not watching it anymore. Second, I still really enjoy Lea Michele. She is insanely talented and her character’s journey has been the benchmark of Glee since episode 1. But the main reason I still watch Glee is that sometimes I can still see a glimpse of the show I was in love with, the show that got me excited about living in LA, the show that made me miss (and feel so proud of) my musical theater past, the show that dominated my iTunes playlists because I had to have every damn song they sang.

Despite my rants, I guess I’m not quite ready to give up on Glee. I hold onto the hope that they can turn the show around … but realistically, I’m pretty sure the Glee I loved isn’t coming back.

Sunday Night TV: #OUAT Rant

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I was a bit disenchanted (see what I did there?) with tonight’s fall finale of Once Upon a Time.  We’re reminded every episode that “good always wins over evil” … but I think that’s getting old, fast.  I know that this is a family show rooted in fairy tales; but as most of us know, fairy tales are much darker than Disney led us to believe (did you know that Ariel attempted to kill her beloved prince in the original Little Mermaid? And then she was so ashamed that she turned herself into sea foam, which is basically Mermaid suicide?  I KNOW, RIGHT?)  And yes, I’m aware OUAT is an ABC show, which means it’s a Disney show, which makes my point completely moot.

I guess my thinking is that OUAT is the brainchild of two Lost writers, so I expect magic (see what I did there?) every episode.  Season 1 was innovative, and pretty ballsy when the writers killed off a series regular in the 7th episode.  Very Lost-esque (RIP Boone) and appreciated for it’s shock value; and the twist worked so well because within those 7 episodes, the audience grew attached to the character and was saddened by his death (at least that seemed to be the general consensus).  But this season, the old characters are treading on thin storylines, and the new characters… well, between their wooden performances (I’m looking at you, Jamie Chung / Mulan) and the zero necessity of even BEING on the show (I’m looking at you, Sarah Bolger / Aurora), I find myself missing last season more with each passing week.  The only way to redeem wasting episode time with “Mulora” (I saw it on twitter) is to go OC Season 2 and finally have them act on their underlying lesbian attraction (do the writers think I can’t see it?  BECAUSE I CAN.  Family show my ass).  If they forgo the OC-style, I hope Mulan and Aroura get trapped under an avalanche so I NEVER HAVE TO SEE THESE CHARACTERS AGAIN.

I do have good things to say about OUAT, but this is a rant so there’s no place for those feelings here.  Off to watch Homeland, the show that never disappoints me.

Wednesday TV: #Arrow + tangent

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I’m surprised by how much I like Arrow, a story of a masked vigilante trying to fight injustice in his hometown.  But I’m going to be honest, a huge part of my enjoyment comes from the shirtless Stephen Amell working out in every single episode.  Although, the reason why they show his character’s fitness regimen is to try and make the idea that one can turn themselves into a superhero/vigilante more plausible.  Funny thing: this is not the part I find most unbelievable.  My issue is that I simply cannot get over that the story takes place in a made-up city.  It may sound ridiculous, but this has been a cause of concern for me since I first saw Batman, Forever in 1995.  As a child, I considered myself somewhat of a geography connoisseur (I studied my US Capitals place-mat daily) and I remember asking my mom where Gotham City was located.  When she told me it wasn’t a really place, I was aghast.  Not only was this movie asking me to believe in a masked superhero with a fear of bats, it was asking me to believe that this was taking place in an American City in an unnamed state.  Obviously asking way too much of me, my imagination couldn’t grasp this concept.  And it’s been that way ever since.
But back to Arrow: the characters live in the fictional Starling City, a place overrun by crime (remind you of Gotham? It should).  But for the show’s establishing shots, they take turns using an aerial view of Liberty Place (as Queen’s Headquarters) and the NYC Skyline for the bulk of Starling City.  Each time I see those shots, I’m taken out of the lovely TV-induced haze I sit in and am reminded that this is fiction.  I think the greatest part of watching TV is the escape (and ‘shipping couples, please see my post below) – when a show doesn’t allow for that (or when my mind doesn’t allow for that),  I will never enjoy my experience quite as much as I could.  But, despite the show’s locale and my weird aversion to it, I’m enjoying the episodes as each dives further into the mythology of how “Arrow” came to be.  I’m also impressed thus far with the show’s use of flashbacks (which Lost perfected so I judge other shows harshly) and the B storyline of Oliver’s best friend, Tommy, who I can only assume will eventually become Arrow’s greatest enemy (in the spirit of Spiderman, of course).

TV Thoughts on 11/27/12

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It’s Tuesday!  Meaning it’s my favorite night of television.  In fact, I like so many shows on Tuesday that I can’t even DVR them all.  And not even all of my shows were on tonight!

On a given Tuesday, here is the breakdown of what I watch: The Voice Results Show, Ben and Kate, Emily Owens MD, Happy Endings, Sons of Anarchy.  I now watch The New Normal and New Girl on Hulu – I can wait a day for those two (and New Girl has been noticeably inconsistent this season, I’m a bit ashamed).

And now, show by show, I will collect my TV thoughts:

The Voice Results:  I am going to be SO angry when Cassadee Pope makes it into the top 4.  But I will get over it as long as Nicholas Davis, Amanda Brown and Trevin Hunte are in there with her.  The results show is insanely boring and I fast forward everything except the actual results.

Ben and Kate: This show is so adorable – it’s sweet and simple and doesn’t try too hard.  I do wish they’d utilize Maggie Elizabeth Jones (the precocious 6-year-old) a bit more because she’s awesome. And can I please vote Leslie Grossman in as a series regular?  I think her character could be perfect for Ben … just a thought, Mary Cherry FOREVER!

Emily Owens, MD: I am completely enamored with Mamie Gummer.  It may not be the greatest show writing-wise (no quick wit like in Vampire Diaries or in the ghost of Gossip Girls past), but Emily Owens is a character the majority of us can relate to.  In fact, to me she is Lizzie McGuire all grown up – but instead of having an animated inner-self, she has an inner monologue voiceover.  And I KNOW the people related to Lizzie McGuire (when Lizzie got a bra, I got a bra.  It was a deep connection that has never been broken).

No Happy Endings tonight, but it is without a doubt my favorite comedy on television.  And the show deserves MAJOR credit for bringing itself out of obscurity and becoming a recognizable force of comedy.  Also the banter between Damon Wayans Jr and Eliza Coup alone is enough reason to watch/adore this show.

Sons of Anarchy: Wow. Just … wow.  Every damn week it’s wow.  I started watching this show from the beginning a few months before season 4 aired.  I had heard about it but wasn’t sure if I would like it … oh how wrong I was.  Kurt Sutter has created one of the most dynamic serialized shows I have ever seen.  A Hamlet-esque story set in the world of a motorcycle club called Sons of Anarchy or SAMCRO, the show doesn’t shy away from taking a conventional storyline and blowing it up with more twists and turns than even an episode of Grey’s Anatomy season 2 could muster.  This week was the penultimate episode of Season 5 and one test after another was thrown at our hero, Jax, now president of the club since he pushed out Clay, the man who killed his father and married his mother (like I said, Hamlet).  We see Jax, a man who headed up the presidency with promises of bringing SAMCRO back to its glory days before Clay, slowly turning into the former president he despises.  It will all come to a head next week in the season finale, and I for one cannot WAIT.  If you’re reading this and have never seen the show, check it out on Netflix.  One of the best TV decisions I’ve ever made.