Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
What Cranford does so lovingly is show the tender hearts that often lurked behind these formidable Victorian exteriors. Deborah is so rigid about the rules of propriety that she won't allow her servant girl to have "followers," and she rues the day the railroad will come to Cranford; the trains will bring not only change, Deborah sniffs, but "noise, disease and the Irish." Yet Deborah also notices the broken heart of a new neighbor, the daughter of a retired Army officer, and does all she can to engineer a match for the woman.
The lively, gossiping women of the town, especially the excitable Miss Pole, dominate every event, large and small. And though their adventures are sometimes played for laughs (as when a cow goes missing), Cranford doesn't settle for merely satirizing Victorian life. The fine script depicts the women of the town with complexity and compassion, and the men don't get short shrift either, though they have to have commanding presences to compete with the formidable women of the town.
The doctor's sweet, tentative wooing of the rector's daughter has unexpected moments of tragedy, but the most affecting scenes are of Dench and Michael Gambon as two former lovers who had lost track of each other for decades but meet up again. Unlike some of Masterpiece's recent historical dramas, Cranford depicts their rekindled relationship without forced melodrama and with admirable restraint. The problem with the Dench and Gambon scenes is that there aren't nearly enough of them.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
But it's the unbridled liveliness that stands out in Kalamazoo's Whole Art Theatre's production of the 1969 rock musical.
My two best friends from childhood were visiting me the first weekend of June and we decided to see this production since one of my co-workers stars in the musical. It was a full house clapping along to the music in some spots, and, by the final curtain call, standing and dancing.
Through most of the scenes, about 16 bell-bottom- and bead-clad actors are on stage, their pelvises set to repeated thrust mode and irreverent energy oozing from every pore.
The director did a good job of managing such an active cast in a small space. They strolled up the aisles, writhed on the floor, and clustered on multilevel scaffolding.
Every cast member, even those tucked in the background, managed to be "on" all the time, creating personalities more than most ensemble shows.
Accompanied by an excellent, small, onstage rock band, the cast rolled out one hit song after another, with most of the solo voices strong and clear. Since there is little spoken dialogue, the song lyrics are particularly important, and cast members made sure every word was understood since no one was miced.
Most of the songs are upbeat and playful, but the several serious numbers protesting war and pollution were powerfully done.
The story focuses on Claude and his free-spirited, hippie friends as they sing about their loves and concerns. Claude is trying to decide whether to burn his draft card or join the establishment.
The Whole Art Theater's production includes the famous Act I finale, a nude scene where all but Claude shed their robes in symbolic unity and openness. The scene is brief and dimly lit.
The Whole Art's production of "Hair" is surprisingly powerful. With careful, bold moves, they take what could be a silly, outdated cliche and deliver the kind of theater that inspires standing ovation. It genuinely entertains and makes an audience take a hard look at itself. And of course, Kristen did a fabulous job as Sheila.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Well, another season of The Simpsons has come to an end. As with the last few seasons some stuff was good, some was okay, and the rest should have gone back to the Writers' Room for further revision ("Treehouse of Horror", anyone?). Most of the weak stuff landed in the first half of the season for some reason -- maybe everyone was tired from the completion of The Simpsons Movie. The second half picked up steam, thanks to some solid episodes featuring Lisa and Bart.
Luckily, The Simpsons ended on a strong note with the Lisa-centric season finale. Once again going back to the on-going theme of how success can corrupt Lisa, I was treated to an episode featuring her turn to work with the famous Krusty the Clown. I say 'her turn' because older brother Bart had worked for Krusty in the past. And, like Bart, Lisa usurped Krusty's fame to become the star of the show.
You would think Krusty would have learned his lesson.
The situation on how Lisa became famous was different from the way Bart did. With Bart, the success was unintentional -- it stemmed from a catch phrase ('I didn't do it') that swept the country. With Lisa, it was more a manipulation of Krusty that permitted her to rise to the top and become Springfield's Entertainer of the Year. Of course, with that fame comes consequences.
While this was a Lisa-centric episode, it was also one that heavily featured Krusty the Clown. I havn't really seen Krusty in a major role on The Simpsons in quite some time. So, it was fun to see him at his most Krustiest. He was really on the rampage during this episode -- showing the viewers all of the traits that I have come to enjoy. This was also an opportunity to see more of Krusty's television past as he was celebrating his 4000th episode ('I never thought I would make it past 400 episodes'). It was hard to tell if the older versions of the Krustketeers were really old or just recently grown up. If recently grown up, that means Springfield didn't have color television until much later.
This episode also featured the heavy presence of Sideshow Mel, who was the narrator of this installment as well as Lisa's guide through the rigors of stardom. I don't get to see or hear too much of Mel. It seems that he has the same type of theatrical and cultural background of one Sideshow Bob; yet, he seems more comfortable in his role as Krusty's sidekick. He also seems to be one of the more grounded characters on The Simpsons, which made him a good moral compass for Lisa.
Now a brief go-around on the other events that happened during 'All About Lisa':
A rare parenting moment between Homer and Marge. Through an agreement, Homer spoke to Bart about his clown issues in exchange for Marge to handle talks about piercings and strange feelings.
Gabbo's back! The last place I saw the wooden dummy that brought Krusty down was in The Simpsons Movie. You know, the appearance of Gabbo may have been a bit of foreshadowing to the fate that Krusty would encounter this episode.
Comic Book Guy has returned, and is still in the Android's Dungeon. I believe that this is the first time viewers had ever seen CBG with his hair down. And, should probably be the last time.
The second story of the night wasn't that bad at all. I don't see Bart and Homer bonding too much these days. So, having them collect coins was a good touch by the writers. Nice how Homer was able to get the 'Kissing Lincolns' penny from Mr. Burns.
Drew Carey -- Hmmm. The animated version of Drew just didn't have the right feel to it. Perhaps because the real life Drew is shaped like an animated character.
Bart doing Carrot Top shtick at the auditions for Krusty. I enjoyed his impression of a Jack-o-Lantern.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Viva La Vida is indeed experimental but not in a way that will alienate fans. Many critics had a viscerally angry reaction to 2005's X&Y (the New York Times declared Coldplay "the most insufferable band of the decade" after that effort – ouch, right?), but Viva La Vida is just the kind of album you want a band of this stature to release mid-career.
Martin and his mates retain all the epic instrumentals that give Coldplay its signature amphitheater rock sound but apply an obvious amount of self-restraint to the album, making it fun without putting you to sleep. The band refrains from repeating choruses over and over again (ahem, "Fix You") and steers clear of the self-pitying lyrics of albums past, instead focusing on themes around war, religion, and the nature of love.
Viva La Vida is something borrowed and something new for Coldplay, and I'm pleasantly surprised and happy with the result. After giving the entire album a whirl, I feel like I’ve listened to a soundtrack of a sweeping epic that spans wars, generations, and the globe.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
On Sunday, at the age of 71, the hilariously foul-mouthed comedian passed away from heart failure (and surely Carlin would make fun of that usage of "pass away" rather than just saying "died"; you can see his bit about death, now a funny, bittersweet video, here).
Over his life, Carlin put out "23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a few TV shows and appeared in several movies." He won four Grammy Awards and was nominated for five Emmys. Most of all, however, he influenced countless comedians who came after him. Judd Apatow notes, "Nobody was funnier than George Carlin. I spent half my childhood in my room listening to his records experiencing pure joy. And he was as kind as he was funny."
I was curious about how they'd explain away Kate's non-pregnancy before the flight. Guess they'll just dodge that one for now.
I saw the numbers again! 4815162342 on the dashboard of the car Hurley's dad (good ol' Cheech) gives him.
So now Jack knows that Claire is his half-sister. I want to go back and watch flashbacks to Jack in the Sidney airport to see if I can spot what he wrote on the cocktail napkin for his father's eulogy. I don't recall ever seeing details of what he wrote. I just can't remember this.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The sad part is that it seems like Earl is destined to be shackled to women who are just plain evil. Karma takes him to Billie, he can't seem to get away from Joy and any time he meets a woman who seems half way sane, his list gets in the way. I can only hope this is all part of karma's master plan.
As a brief aside, I want to say how much I love the kids who play young Earl and Randy. They are perfectly cast as they look just like the trouble-making kids I grew up with. I don't know what they tell those boys to give them the look of malicious boredom, but it works.
I had a feeling that Billie was going to become a permanent resident of the Camdenite community. I'm sure I wasn't the only who saw it as the perfect way for Alyssa Milano to exit the series and for everything else get back to normal. While the season has certainly had its ups and downs, the soundtrack for this season's finale was awesome.
Friday, June 20, 2008
The story being told in the video is at times bizarre and full of melancholy, but watching it is like a meditative exercise. It might be a welcome treat for anybody singing the still-in-the-office-on-the-first-official-day-of-Summer blues (or anyone else). To check it out, click on the arrow below.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The story of a pimp and drug dealer in Memphis, stuck in the poverty level and rapidly drowning in mid-life crisis, who pulls himself into the stream of his need and dream to be something different, a rapper star, has been told before but never in the gritty realistic atmospheric way this film does. One of the most telling sequences of both writing and acting is the opening scene of the film when Djay (Howard) quietly talks his philosophy to Nola (Taryn Manning), his primary prostitute, simply sitting in the front seat of his car, awaiting johns.
While Terrence Howard is towering, the supporting cast is superb also. All offer genuine portraits of difficult characters. The smarmy side of Memphis is well captured. This is a fine film, a bit difficult to watch at times because of the bruises of poverty and the depths to which people must descend at times to survive. But the story is good and Terrence Howard is a marvel to watch.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
What I thought to be a sweet story about the return of Homer's mother turned out to be a huge joke fest. Well, actually more a joke fest during the second half of the show than the first half. The first half was actually kind of sad as Homer couldn't take one more of Mona Simpson's promises that she had stopped running from the government and was now ready to devote her time to Homer and his family. The second half was a totally different Simpsons episode.
This has been done many times on the show, but it seemed like such a drastic change in tone that it was hard to grasp. One moment, Homer is mourning the loss of his mother and wallowing in guilt that the last thing he said to her was said in anger. The next moment it's a parody on James Bond movies. Yes, it was really Mona's last protest request, but it really didn't play out that way.
Fact is, when Homer was tied to the chair in the missle silo and the door opened I really felt that it was going to be Hank Scorpio who walked through. Now, that would have been pretty cool and fit right in to the whole James Bond motif that was being built. Alas, it was only Mr. Burns who entered. While not as good as Hank Scorpio would have been it was nice to see Mr. B. in this small role since he has barely been around this season. Plus, it gave Homer the setup to tell his boss he would need Thursday off.
Getting back to the first part of the episode -- the return of Mona Simpson. There were some good moments between Homer and his mother during this installment, particularly when Homer expressed his feelings of disappointment to his mom about all of the times she was not there for him. Homer has been disappointed many, many times over the 400-plus episodes of The Simpsons, and he has rebounded fairly quickly from most of them. But, this was someone he loved and cherished. Which meant that the disappointment he felt wasn't going to be washed away any time soon.
The predicament Homer fell into -- angrily asking Mona to go away shortly before she died -- is one very common in real life. None of us really know when our last day will be on solid ground. Yet, we are always walking out of the house angry for some reason, or leaving work in a snit due to something a co-worker or manager did. Then, when the people we were angry with unexpectedly pass away, enormous guilt sets in because we never got the chance to say good-bye or 'I love you' or millions of other positive and nice things. This is where Homer was this episode and, although it was a bit jokey, it was done tastefully.
Other memorable things that went down this week:
Moe playing with the emotions of all of the parking lot drivers at the mall. I knew that someone like Moe existed! In addition to positioning themselves at malls they also have personnel down at the beach who load up their trunks with their chairs, umbrellas and beach bags thinking they are going to leave, then it turns out they're just dropping everything off so they can walk the boardwalk. By the way, if it sounds like I'm bitter, you're absolutely right.
Ah, the Stuff-N-Hug: one more store to add to the ever-growing list of mall offerings the Simpson family will probably be banned from, especially after Homer destroyed their entire stock of talking hippos (thanks to the speed-recording efforts of Bart). Best lines from this vignette: "How much love do you want in your Stuff-N-Hug?"; "I want all the love!" -- Squeaky-voiced sales person and Ralph Wiggum.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Alanis went on to record more albums, and some were successful (Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie went platinum three times) while others were not (her last album So-Called Chaos peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart), but none were quite as beloved as Jagged.
Some critics have attributed the disappointment of Chaos to Alanis' "domestic bliss" at the time, which now appears to be over as a result of her broken engagement to Ryan Reynolds. I'd like to counter that her recent musical downfalls have occurred because she was the lead producer. With her new album, Flavors of Entanglement, Alanis lets someone else run the show, something she hasn't done since Jagged.
That someone is producer Guy Sigsworth, and he is a breath of fresh air. He takes Alanis in a new direction, closer to the sounds of other artists that he's produced including Imogen Heap, Bjork and Madonna ("What it Feels Like for a Girl"), while not leading Alanis too far astray. Thankfully, this is not a transition like Jewel's disastrous 0304, it's more of a graduation. What results is an Everything but the Girl-esque sound mixed with Morissette's always strong lyrics, which, when combined, result in her strongest album in more than a decade.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I loved the beginning of this episode. The young Locke's mom putting "Everyday" on the record player, bopping around, getting ready for her date with a man who her mother scolds her about for being "twice your age, Emily." ("So what, Mother? Jealous?") Such a good setup.
Starting with Locke's birth we can see from the start that he's a fighter, a special person. Throughout his life it seems that he was being drawn to the island, one way or another (Richard Alpert going to his house, the high school teacher pushing him to go to science camp at Mittelos Laboratories, where Juliet was recruited to do reserach) but that he never accepted his "destiny" — until he got to the cabin.
So, Ben understands that where he once was "the chosen one," now it's Locke's time. He watches Locke as he dreams about Horace, and later tells him, "I used to have dreams."
I originally thought Horace's nose is bleeding because that's something that happened when he died. But here's another theory: maybe his nose is bleeding because he's traveling through time, and his nose bleeds just like Desmond's did in "The Constant."
The scene in which Alpert asks Locke to choose the items that belong to him "already" is so tense and interesting, but it baffles me. "You sure the knife belongs to you John? You sure of that? Well, it doesn't." Why do you think Alpert rushes away after Locke chooses the knife?
There is an idea that this process Alpert utilizes with Locke is "very similar to how the new Dalai Lama is selected."
Sayid: "The only way to save our lives is to get those people off the island."Hmm. . .
Ewwwwwww corpses make me so nauseated.
"You can't be the prom king. You can't be the quarterback. You can't be a superhero." The superhero line is funny because, Alpert's introduction to the little kid John is almost word-for-word from The X-Men: I'm Richard, John. I run a school for kids who are. . . extremely special, and I have reason to believe that you might be one them."
I love that Frank Lupidas and his lively, bushy eyebrows.
Best line of the night goes to Ben: "Those things had to happen to me. That was my destiny. But you'll understand soon enough that there are consequences to being chosen. Because destiny, John, is a fickle bitch."
I knew the guy pushing the chair was going to be Matthew Abbadon. I just knew it. He tells Locke that he should go on a walkabout, and ends things with, "When you and I run into each other again? You'll owe me one."
Eeeek, this time bending thing — with the doctor showing up on the shore with his throat slit "before" he's killed on the boat — is hurting my brain a little bit.
Love the part when Ben says, with his eyes all creepy, "The island wanted me to get sick. It wanted you to get well. My time is over. It's yours now."Hurley: "Yeah, I'm cool with you going in alone, too."
Even though I've known for a while that it's probably Christian Shepard sitting in that cabin, I was still afraid of the creepy shadowy guy sitting in the dark. And then Claire's calm, smiling face! Aaack! Now we know that Christian isn't Jacob but he "can speak on his behalf." He confirms that Locke was "chosen" to be there, and says that Aaron is "where he's supposed to be, and that's not here." This makes me think of Hurley's comment to Jack in the future that Jack "isn't supposed to raise Aaron."
The one question that matters: "How do I save the island?"
OK, I laughed out loud at the Hurley-shares-a-candy-bar-with-Ben bit.
Finally: Move the island?
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The show starts, appropriately enough, with the dead body of a sitcom actress, Annabelle, star of the show Annabelle, played by the wonderful Katey Sagal. She's found dead with a rubber chicken stuffed in her mouth. A search of her room finds lots of water and no alcohol even in the mini-bar. There are also candy wrappers and a bottle of urine found in the closet.
It becomes clear very quickly that Annabelle was no angel. Spencer, the Executive Producer of the show, reports that Annabelle had a few problems, like alcoholism, bulimia, and a drug problem.
As Grissom tries to work the scene, Bud, Annabelle's husband of two days, arrives. Bud will inherit Annabelle's fortune, which gives him a fine motive, but Bud denies killing Annabelle. He claims that she was alive when he left her.
The autopsy shows that she was killed by a blow to the back of the head and that, despite having had a hysterectomy, she was using a tampon. A little research shows that she used her tampons as a vodka delivery system. Can we all say yuck?
A video of the elevator to Annabelle's apartment leads the team to Natasha, Annabelle's assistant/stand-in, also played by Katey Sagal. She claims at first not to have seen Annabelle or Annabelle's body, but when Warrick finds a bloody, female footprint on the carpet in the room, Natasha becomes a suspect. Unfortunately, before I can wonder why this episode of CSI only has one body, Natasha becomes our next victim.
Grissom and Brass go to Hollywood to visit the sitcom set where Natasha was found dead after crashing Annabelle's car. Someone modified the computer chip in the car and Natasha lost control.
Meanwhile a video of Bud and “Annabelle”'s wedding surfaces showing that Bud actually married Natasha, not Annabelle. Bud admits that he and Natasha faked the wedding to try to get Annabelle's money, but that they didn't kill her—she was already dead.
The CSI team finds DNA on the rubber chicken that matches the urine found in the closet. Fingerprints on the bottle lead them to struggling actor Richard Langford. Richard once had a cameo on the Annabelle show before Annabelle fired him after he refused to sleep with her. When he realized that she was in town, he decided to try to get his part back by sleeping with her. He snuck into her room and hid in the closet until she was alone. Unfortunately, it all went wrong when Annabelle slipped and hit her head. To try to shift the blame to Bud, since Annabelle liked to hit Bud with the rubber chicken during sex, Richard shoved the rubber chicken in her mouth.
End of story? Not quite. It turns out that Annabelle had high levels of blood thinner in her bloodstream. Without the blood thinner, Annabelle probably would have survived the head injury. The team discovers that the blood thinner was in her vodka stash. They track the blood thinner to Annabelle's co-star Megan. When Grissom and Brass confront her, she admits nothing and points out that they have no hard evidence. She walks off with her lover, Spencer, to start her new job as the lead on a CBS sitcom.
The cameo of the actors from Two and a Half Men.
The lighter tone and most of the jokes. I especially liked the differing responses to the Rorschach-like blood blot. Catherine: a puppy. Grissom: a hermaphrodite on roller skates.
Too many puns and inside jokes. Granted, I have a low pun tolerance, but by the end of the episode, I was just sick of them.
The EXTRA scenes were just awful. One would have been more than enough.
The "half death" of Bud cutting his neck while shaving. Is that something that happens on Two and a Half Men? Or was it just to get two and a half deaths on the show?
What science? They didn't find any hard evidence! On CSI!
I was not a fan of this episode, but then again, I don't watch Two and a Half Men, so I may have been missing something. I wouldn't want this kind of episode on a regular basis, though.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I would think now that Earl and Billie are married, Earl would expect some changes. Of course, everyone has little annoying habits, but I know compromise is what makes a marriage work. I have to admit, though, the Van Halen thing would be a deal breaker in my house.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Doubt. A word that many of I use in some context at least once a day. We don't doubt it, we doubt it happened or, used in a positive manner, we prove that there isn't any doubt about it. In the legal world the word has a much more powerful connotation. Should a shred of doubt exist during a criminal trial, there is always that slim chance that the judge or jury will see past the crime of the defendant and rule in the opposite manner.
Sometimes, the physical evidence that the prosecution provides is the reason for doubt. Other times, it is the testimony of the witnesses that causes the judge or jury to think. Then, there are those times where doubt is seeded by the team of lawyers who are trying to get their client off.
Finally, there are those very rare occasions where the doubt is provided by the client's daughter. Guess which type of doubt was used in this episode of Bones?
What an interesting development in the case of Max Keenan. I knew that he was the one who murder the Deputy FBI director -- heck, even the evidence (once the actual murder weapon was found) showed that Max was the killer. And, it seemed almost a certainty that he was going to find a spot on Death Row. Yet, Bones came through with a ploy that cast the smallest bit of doubt onto her father. It was enough for the jury to render a 'Not Guilty' verdict that set Max free.
The ploy was interesting: get the jury to believe that Bones could have potentially been the one performed the murder, disemboweled the corpse and lit it on fire. Look, I know Temperance, Booth knows Bones, and the Squints know Dr. Brennan. While she can be cold and analytical she is definitely not a Dexter. Yet, the jury didn't know that. And, with that tiny seed of doubt planted in their minds, the absolute guilt of Max Keenan wasn't as absolute any more.
She could probably thank Booth for giving her the idea in the first place. He was the one who told her that Max's story could be embellished (without perjuring herself) to the point where reasonable doubt could be established. Granted, he told Bones to shutdown her brain and use her heart as the motivator; however, this is Bones I'm talking about. When has Temperance ever been able to totally shutdown her brain? If she did that for her father, the results may not have been as positive.
This surprise ending was one of many strange and wonderful things that took place in this change-of-pace episode of Bones. It was almost a certainty that the weekly mystery element was going to be pushed aside for this pretty important event in Bones' life. No issues here, since Bones is one of those shows that can have an one-off episode without throwing the whole rhythm. It was actually refreshing to get away from some of the blood and gore that are common for this show.
Also interesting was the dynamic that this week's installment provided. Instead of Bones working together with Booth, her fellow Squints, and Sweets, she was working against them as they were all witnesses for the prosecution. Not willing witnesses, mind you, but expert witnesses nonetheless. The most unwilling of witnesses was Angela, who decided outright not to testify against Max. A decision that landed her in jail for the rest of the episode.
The best thing about this episode is that it featured the entire immediate and secondary members of the Bones family. In addition to the Squints, who had a different look to them outside of the lab, there was Max, Tempy's brother Russ, Caroline Julian in all of her grumpy glory, and even Ernie Hudson, reprising his role as David Barron.
Even Sweets had a bigger role than normal this week, and really exhibited some of his more immature tendencies by answering a number of questions with 'Totally.' It looks like Sweets will have a bigger role next season as he becomes a backup interrogator for Booth and Bones. Sweets is a good fit into the Bones cast and works well with Booth and Brennan. Plus, they like him.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
And come on, who didn't want to run down to their local dive bar, take some shots and belt "Sweet Caroline" after that fantastic scene in Beautiful Girls? Also, I will never tire of the part in My Best Friend's Wedding when that gorgeous man, Rubert Everett, kicks off an all-restaurant sing-along to "Say A Little Prayer for You."
For me, sing-alongs can take a good scene and make it the best scene. They tap into that basic human desire to break into spontaneous song and dance when the mood strikes. OK, maybe that's just my basic desire.
So tell me, what's your favorite sing-along scene of all time?
I just had to include the clip from My Best Friend's Wedding (note the people waving their lobster claw arms in the background toward the end!)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Lions and tigers and bears and deer dressed in tutus and killer squirrels and dead cats and that's just the animals! There was also people going up in flames, humans masquerading as Vulcans, and heads exploding. And if that isn't enough, the MythBusters guest star.
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. It opens with a woman dressed in tin foil shouting about “them” in the CSI lobby. The woman, Evelyn, warns Nick to watch out for things tonight. He would do well to listen to her advice.But he doesn't. He's too busy trying to give a Breathalyzer test to the suspect Brass is interrogating. The suspect, a very, very drunk man, is insisting that they got things all wrong. The “thing” that they got wrong is the dead deer dressed in a tutu in the coroner's office. A tutu? The poor deer was shot by our suspect's crossbow. The suspect flees the interrogation room, knocks a cop through a window, gets pepper sprayed, shot with a stun gun, and then actually goes up in flames!
The CSIs test the stun gun, the shirt, and the pepper spray, but none of these items alone or in combination create a human torch. They add the moonshine they found in the suspect's truck, but that also doesn't help. After they review the tape of the incident, they realize that the suspect touched Evelyn before he went up in flames. Cue an Evelyn manhunt that ends quickly when they discover her dead.
She was run over by a trucker who was blinded by her tin foil suit. A search of her body reveals that she was carrying a cracked butane lighter, which could have been enough to create the flames. Oh, they also find that Evelyn's blood was green. Yes, green. Green like Spock from Star Trek. After Wendy and Hodges geek out over why Spock's blood is green on Star Trek (Wendy wins the geek prize, BTW), they discover that Evelyn was not a Vulcan, which saddened me, but instead had incredibly high levels of sulphur in her body.
Before they can figure out why Evelyn's blood is green, they find another body, Wayne. Wayne was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. He also had green blood. Meanwhile, Grissom and the crew figure out that flaming guy was killed by flammable pepper spray. The cop who sprayed him was using non-department issue pepper spray. Nick retests, with the MythBusters in attendance, and indeed, the new pepper spray recreates the flames. The MythBusters give Nick two thumbs up. Heh.
The CSIs use fingerprints found at the scene of Wayne's death to find Dave Bohr. They pay him a visit only to discover that he's bleeding green blood from his nose. One of the cops opens a window to let in the sunlight and Dave's head explodes! It turns out that all three of the green-blood victims were suffering from migraines. They were taking incredibly high doses of a drug supplied by Dave. This drug turned their blood green. Dave killed Wayne during a drug bust gone wrong.
Case closed, except for the the death of an elderly couple who died in holding each other in bed. Aw. Not so sweet, however, is the large number of dead ground squirrels in their backyard. They find a rodent removal system, Atomic Dave's Painless Removals, in the backyard and wonder if that is what caused the deaths of the couple and the squirrels.
Warrick goes to talk to their neighbor who says that she was working in her studio making jewelry. When the tox screen and Hodges nose discover that the squirrels and couple where killed by high doses of cyanide, the neighbor becomes a suspect. She explains that she uses cyanide in her jewelry work and to occasionally, accidentally, poison ground squirrels and her neighbors' cat. She insists that she's not a murderer of people though. I also find out that her ex-husband was the man who went up in flames at the station and that Dave supplied her neighbors with the rodent removal system.
Coincidence? Not if I ask Grissom, who decides that it might just be string theory at work—the theory of everything so to speak.
But who killed the elderly couple? Catherine discovers that it was actually the squirrels. Yep. The animals finally get some revenge in this episode. A squirrel, probably running from the “painless” atomic removal system, chewed through a wire under the house, setting old carpet underneath the couple's bed on fire. When the carpet burned, cyanide was released. Catherine pronounces it self-defense. I have to agree.
The Good -I think Brass had the best lines this evening. Telling the cop to stun the suspect by saying “Light him up”. And referring to Evelyn as “very shiny”.The insights into Hodges home life. He's finally moving out of his parents house!
The Bad - Okay, they didn't explain why the deer was wearing a tutu. How do you get a tutu on a live deer anyway?
The Science - They had me at the green blood. I'm such a Star Trek geek.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
The news follows the announcement that the show's voice actors struck a deal for more money — a four-year contract that will earn them each about $400,000 per episode. That's a lot of — sorry, guys — d'oh. (Speaking of which, here's a fun fact from Fox's press release: The dominance of The Simpsons is so great that "D'oh" is an official word in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
Twenty years is an awfully long time for a TV show to stay relevant. I remember watching the early years first on the Tracy Allman Show and then watching the reruns at least 3 times a night on WGN or TBS many years ago. Yet the show still pulls in between 6 and 8 million viewers per week, and the success of last summer's The Simpsons Movie proves that it still has a huge audience. So here are my questions for you: Do you still watch The Simpsons? How long have you been a fan? And do you see yourself sticking with it till the end?
Saturday, June 7, 2008
In most places, knowing that a family of four is living in your favorite restaurant might make you think twice about eating there. However in that wacky Camden County it just makes the place feel more "homey."
The beginning of this episode was the most exciting two minutes. Randy's account of what Earl missed made me laugh out loud, seeing Joy's kids actually trying to learn something was refreshing and learning that Catalina is a lesbian. Welcome back Earl!
There was a slight change in theme this episode. Instead of doing something good for someone else because he wants to atone for his past bad deeds, Earl actually did something good in order to benefit from it. What that's you say? It's impossible to benefit from a good deed? Well, clearly, you have been watching too much Survivor.
Seriously though, while I am a fan of the list (mainly because of the nutty characters it introduces us to), I think it's smart to have Earl and company make a few changes in their lives, Shake things up a little bit.
Having Billie staying with Stuart was pure genius. Not only does it make perfect sense, but it adds a whole other level to the show. It's sort of like The Fugitive if Richard Kimble was a hot lady and Phil Gerard was a possibly brain-damaged redneck.
Watching Earl and Billie drive away in wedded bliss made me feel so happy for so many reasons, not the least of which was that the show is finally back on track. Not only was Earl able to find his own happiness but he now has an assistant with a normal I.Q, which gives Randy more time to catch that damn bird.
I loved this episode and I can't wait to see what happens with the rest of the season.
Friday, June 6, 2008
To start, let me go to the end, with Quinn's closing words for the season, "I have your son." I suspected that was the motivation for his interest in Cael. But they did do a good job selling the possibility that Quinn could have other ideas. For just a moment, as he defended Wayne to Cael, I could almost believe that he was a changed man and did want to take the family in a different direction. Alas, as I saw, not so much.
Clearly, Wayne wants no part of a partnership with Quinn. I'm missing some pretty big bits to that back story, and it's something that I would really like to see in season three. Of course, even if Quinn was sincere in his desire to deal with Wayne, that ship had already sailed with what happened at the Bayou Hills construction site. Sabotage and just showing up to take over are not the friendliest of methods for saying let's be partners.
For me, the best part of the Bayou Hills construction story was the entrance of Wayne's mafia muscle. It was good to get Minkov back into the story. It's a great example of just what the Riches project has become for the Malloys. It did all start on a fluke. It was a perfect storm of coincidences that brought them into this situation to begin with. And with everything that has happened, all the close calls, they should have cut and run by now, cashing out for whatever they could from Doug's estate.
And they almost did, but then they had Bayou Hills and the promise of the big payday. It's just as much the definitive deadline as it is the $13 million. When they first took this gamble, it was all wide open. But now, if Wayne can just get to the end of the Bayou Hills project he can disappear with a big score. So now the game becomes juggling all of the balls until the very last minute. It's a tricky bit of business. He doesn't have to actually solve all of these problems. He just has to delay any negative resolutions until just after he's out.
That's what I see shaping up with Minkov. Given the choice, Wayne would surely side with Hugh and turn the tables on Minkov. And really, unless he absolutely has to in order to keep the game going, he's not going to throw Hugh under the bus. At some level, Wayne is growing to like Hugh. When Hugh stops to share a genuine moment where he thanks Doug for everything he does for him, it is just that much more pressure on Wayne. It all makes for a fascinating story.
On the other side of the tale, there is Dahlia. I found myself mesmerized by Minnie Driver this week. The breakdown of Dahlia as her past and her present just overwhelm her is great TV. It was impressive how much of her story they were able to tell by letting us watch her think about her situation. Dahlia's part of the story also served as the setting for some of the best Nina scenes I have had yet. I've liked the Nina character from the start, but watching her deal with Jim's death, and both Dahlia and Wayne, was Nina at her best. It really showed just how much alike Wayne and Dahlia are. She is so angry with Wayne, yet doing the exact same thing to Nina.
The only part of Dahlia's story, and the episode, that didn't work for me was the scene with Devereaux. I just wasn't buying his sudden kiss of Dahlia to start with, let alone with his wife and kids just inside the house. That's just not at all what I got from all of the earlier Devereaux scenes.
As to the kids, there's not a lot to take from Sam and Cael's involvement. I'm curious to see more with Sam and his new friend, but as this was the season finale, that bit felt kind of tacked on because they needed something for Sam to be doing. And Cael, he was more or less playing support to get to Quinn's big line. There was a bit more for Didi this week though. Dahlia tossing Wayne under the bus by telling Didi about Pete set a lot of things in motion. The telling line for me was Didi asking Wayne if that's who they are now. She's left searching and confused, seeing everything falling apart and takes off for some good old fashioned teen age rebellion.
And there I am. All the seeds have been planted for what should surely be a great season three. I do wish that I could get all of those answers over the next couple months as a full season two raps up, but what am I gonna do? I suppose I should take from it that six episodes of a very good show is still a check in the win column.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Anyhoo, I finally had a chance to see the episode, and it was all good. How could it not be -- this installment prominently featured a baby. Whenever you have a newborn as the focus of an episode the whole mood changes. Sometimes, the mood is quite somber when it comes to the baby's mother being murdered. But, this is Bones, so the mood wasn't nearly as grim. Fact is, having a baby around really softened up most of the major characters.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
The last straw with the Griffins was when Brian confronts Lois for serving Dylan a sandwich made with white bread. He wanted Dylan to be served something healthier, and Lois' following tirade is bound to make even the most jaded viewer smirk. Peter decides to take matters in his own hands and brings Tracy back and tries to convince her to take her son back.