Friday, March 27, 2009

This Week's Pop Culture Round-Up

Even though my life has settled down a bit this week thanks to the completion of the spring musical at the high school where I teach, I realize I've been a bit silent this week. A little bit writer's bloc, a little bit lazy, and a little bit trying to get caught up on all the things I blew off during tech week. Part of what I had to get caught up on, I'm almost ashamed to admit, is the hours of programming stored on my DVR. After wading through quite a bit of it (including the new stuff from this week), I have some thoughts/comments/observations about the things I've seen:

1. First of all, a big WELCOME BACK to Samantha Who? This is such a funny show, and Christina Applegate is absolutely brilliant. Add to it an amazing supporting cast, and you get a really smart, funny half hour of television. I just hope that the fact that the show has been MIA since fall doesn't keep people away.

2. I finally got around to watching the episodes of Castle that had been piling up. Nathan Fillion pretty much has me just by appearing onscreen, even though I've been sort of reluctant to add any new shows to my viewing repetoire (outside of the eagerly anticipated Parks and Recreation starring Amy Poehler). I just don't have a ton of time to add anything new, but for Nathan, I'm there! The show is pretty charming. I'm always a fan of a good mystery series, particularly when they rock that sort of sparring partner chemistry reminiscent of, say, Remington Steele or Moonlighting. Castle isn't quite as light and breezy as those two old favorites, but I enjoy it -- particularly the relationship between Fillion's Castle and his daughter and mother, played by Molly Quinn and Susan Sullivan respectively. I'm willing to commit to this show a bit longer -- and not just because of Nathan Fillion. (Seriously, the guy is dreamy, though!)

3. The past couple weeks have reminded me of just what a quality show we are all losing with the impending end of ER. I stopped watching the show several years ago, about the time that Noah Wyle's Carter took off for Africa to be a Doctor Without Borders (I've never forgiven that organization for breaking up Grace and Leo . . . but that's another story!). To me, ER was the story of John Carter, and the show without Carter just wasn't right. With this being the end of the series, though, I've joined all my old friends in returning to County to say good-bye. It took a little time to adjust to all the new faces (like WTF is John Stamos doing there?!?!?), but the fact that Carter came back helped ease me back in as I got to experience the same sense of adjustment. As we approach next week's final episode, I realize that I'm going to miss this show that hasn't been a part of my life for several years for one simple reason -- ER is an acting showcase -- and not just for the big name guest stars, of which there are plenty. Susan Sarandon predictably knocked it out of the ballpark a couple weeks ago as a grieving grandmother struggling to decide whether or not to remove her grandson from life support -- thus freeing his organs to save countless lives. Her work with George Clooney and Julianna Marguiles was heartbreaking. This week's episode, the penultimate episode of the series, featured some lovely, understated work from Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, and Tom Arnold (yes, Tom Arnold), but the episode was stolen by young Noah Munck who played a young heart patient struggling with grief and rage over the loss of his friend, a fellow patient. It's rare to find such subtle, lovely work at times, so it's sad to see a giant like this show walk into the sunset.

4. WTF is going on behind the scenes on Dancing with the Stars that has stars hobbling around like arthritic war veterans? It is nice to see the show lacking any clear frontrunner this season; instead there are several "stars" who could easily lay claim to the disco ball trophy -- outside of Steve Wozniak and Steve-O, just about any of the other competitors would be relatively realistic in thinking he/she had a shot. (Okay, maybe Holly Madison's days are numbered, too) The question really is whether or not the "stars" involved survives to the end of the season!

5. Am I the only one who is totally bored with America's Next Top Model?

6. What would a post from me on pop culture be without mention of American Idol? This week's Motown theme was a bit on the dull side for me at times. The show started off incredibly well with great performances from Matt Giraud and Kris Allen (who gets more and more appealing every week) and then got dull as we were forced to endure several mediocre performances, including a shockingly disappointing Lil Rounds. (Lil, if you can't knock it out of the ballpark on Motown week, you are in big trouble!) I was shocked and horrified to find myself LOVING Adam Lambert this week. Damn his eyes -- he's winning me over. NOT winning me over is Danny Gokey. I'm still pulling hard for Allison Irahita. She brings out the protective Mama Teacher in me. Even though I still have qualms with someone so young putting her education at risk for what could be a pipe dream, I love the kid's spark and the fact that she seems to be a very real, albeit precocious, kid. I'm also happy to see Michael Sarver hit the road. The guy reeked of douchebag to me. When performers argue back to the judges, I'm pretty much through with them. As much heat as they take and as ridiculous as they can be, the judges deserve respect. That's why I get annoyed when the audience boos -- or when Randy boos Simon EVERY SINGLE G-D WEEK! Respect, man. Respect. I will also add that I have been thrilled with the exceptionally lucid judging we've been getting from Paula lately. Her chemistry with Simon has also never been better, harking back to the days when my sis and I were convinced that there was something going on there. Paula's newly upped game makes Randy Jackson more and more irrelevent and annoying. Maybe it's time for the dawg to go back to the pound.

Oh . . .and one more thing . . . . Smokey Robinson is the living dead. His performance on Thursday's results show with Joss Stone was creepy on sooooooo many levels.

Also, a shout out to the folks at for pointing out the similarity between Megan Joy (wtf happened to "Corkery"?) and Charlize Theron's character on Arrested Development. MrF indeed!

I think that's enough for today . . . plus, there's more awaiting me on my DVR!


Danielle Mari said...

I don't even WATCH any of these shows. (Well- I watched ER 1000 years ago). And yet I still just adore your post. I think I'd rather read your thoughts than watch the actual shows.
OK- and I did watch that video you sent of Megan Joy or whatever her name is. I have to agree with you and my mom. The chick has weird arms. It's like they're puppet arms and someone else is working them for her. Truly odd.
Thanks for the laugh!

Mel said...

It reminds me of Liz Lemon's Muppet walk last night on 30 Rock!

NICKI said...

I was going to say something similar to Danielle - she is always beating me to the comments!
I only started watching ER recently, because it is on after The Office and 30 always makes me cry, but I enjoy it anyway:)

And I stand by my earlier observation - I am glad others watch reality TV so i don't have to!