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FJ Reviews & Recaps

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A collaborative effort from Free Jinger members to review and recap books, movies and tv shows.

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Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 7.14 - Person to Person

Well. There really are no words for this, are there? We've reached the finish. Mad Men, a show we can safely call a landmark in television history, has come to an end. Maybe all the stories we care for will be wrapped up tonight. Maybe not. The hallmark of this show is that it never takes the easy way out. Undoubtedly, some fans will be pleased, some will be outraged, and many will fall in the middle. For those of you who have stuck with this show for nearly eight years, or perhaps discovered it along the way, and are now waiting for the end - I hope you find a conclusion you can be content with. However, we fans know that no matter what happens - we'll always have Sterling Cooper. Let's begin. Okay, we start off with a promo that will totally crush your soul. Oh great, I'm already off to a blubbery start. Find it here. Previously on - Don walks out, Trudy and Pete reconcile, Joan has babysitter trouble, Roger hooks up with Marie, Betty's sick. Don is alone at the bus stop. HERE WE GO GUYS. Alison Brie and Julia Ormond guess star, Weiner writes and directs. As it should be. We join a jean-clad Don speeding through the flats in some kind of race car, complete with helmet and goggles. His new garage buddies totally approve, though they question his sudden appearance in their lives. At McCann, Roger is courting several high-profile clinets, and Meredith has translated his speech into Pig Latin. (He has her working for him now, in addition to Caroline.) Marie is still with Roger, to the point of moving her stuff down to the US. Meredith is convinced Don is dead, or maybe just wishes he's in a better place. Roger has been trying to keep her on by pretending he needs two secretaries, but he can no longer keep up the pretence and has to let her go. She leaves graciously and optimistically, as we all knew she would. Peggy keeps losing accounts and is increasingly dissatisfied with her role at McCann. Fortunately, she has enough wherewithal to parlay her way into getting what she wants. Oh, and Pete is very much gone. Don has hooked up with Anonymous Blonde #433, who is curious about Don's origins and complicated money matters. Namely, she's interested in taking it from him. He also still has Anna Draper's ring. Joan and Richard have absconded to Florida, and picked up a decent amount of cocaine along the way. However, they have no idea how to take it, so this may not end well. Hopefully if Kevin's with them, they've secured him. Anyway, they're super high in about five seconds, both on cocaine and on life. Things couldn't be going better. He begs her to make things permanent, if not on paper. You get 'em, Joanie. Pete is actually still around, if only to settle his things. He gives Peggy the fabulous present of a cactus. (Harry briefly shows up to take Peggy to a business lunch, but is easily distracted with candy.) She wishes him well, and he tells her she'll be a creative director one day - and he has total confidence in her. They shake hands and part amicably, as much as they can. Sally calls Don in Utah. He immediately realizes that something is wrong, and coaxes the answer out of her. At first he doesn't believe her, but once it's sunk in, he wants to come back immediately. However, Betty wants the boys to live with her brother William, and Sally wants them to live with Henry, believing it best for everyone. Don can't stand this suggestion, of course, but she hangs up on him before he can make much of a protest. Poor Betty is looking worse and worse. Don calls her and tells her he's coming home, but she refuses. She believes that her brother and sister-in-law can give them the most stable life, a "real family", especially in comparison to their reckless father. She does have a point there. Don can't accept this, but in the end, she digs in her heels. They share a tearful goodbye (without ever explicitly saying goodbye) that will rip out your heart and stomp on it. Full of silences and choked sobs. It's terrible to watch. The time for bitterness is long past. Joan dines with Ken Cosgrove, apparently on a social basis, though it only takes five seconds for Ken to demand access to her Rolodex. He's making a promotional film for Dow and needs a writer/producer. And no, it's not Joan - it's some contact we've never heard of. Don gets intruders in his hotel room for the second time in as many episodes. Fortunately, they're friendly this time. Drunk as a skunk, he's apparently joining them on a road trip to L.A. Oh, god, I hope they don't let him drive - otherwise the kids will be orphans by the next commercial break. Joan calls up Peggy for a supposed social call, but she is still pushing The Ken Agenda. Peggy's reluctant, but when she hears about the money involved, she's game. And I have to say she looks fantastic this episode. Don somehow makes it to L.A. alive, and predictably washes up on Stephanie's doorstep. She's dismayed at his bedraggled status, but lets him in anyway. She's also apparently living off Don's money - and doesn't believe a word of his story. (We learn that she has since lost custody of her son, who lives with his paternal grandparents.) Don gives her back Anna's ring, and does the standard Don Fix-It of offering money. "I think you're the one in trouble," she says. However, he is welcome in her home, even if he chooses to say nothing. Roger and Marie are enthusiastically together, but it's soon to unravel. During a recent divorce-related visit to Canada, she not only saw her ex, but hooked up with him. Roger is outraged. In French, she tells Roger that their relationship is her only (economic) option, so she's sticking around. It's very confusing. Stephanie heads on a trip up the coast, and at the last moment invites Don along. Back at Casa Francis, Bobby has figured out that something's terribly wrong, since his mother rarely leaves her bed. Sally tells him not to let on. Incidentally, she's cancelled her trip to Madrid to essentially become their new mom. Already, her brothers are her responsibility. Don, Stephanie and some hippies arrive at a commune, which has Tai Chi, Yoga and assorted wellness programs on offer - a convenient way for Don to detox, judging from Stephanie's expression. Incidentally, during all the commercials, we get to find out all the series AMC is trying to replace Mad Men with, none of which look terribly exciting. Okay, the Mob one might be cool. Roger still gets dad/suspicious family friend visits with Kevin. When he brings him back one day, he takes Joan aside and tells her he's been revising his will (dead by end credits, guys). Since his daughter is still AWOL, he's dividing the estate between his grandson and Kevin. (Greg is totally off the scene - "He's a terrible person," says Joan.) Roger reveals that he's marrying Marie (wha???), which delights Joan. She accepts Roger's money, ensuring that their television-obsessed child will never want for anything. This is exactly the kind of wind-up I wanted for them - the friendly, easy dynamic, the friendship with so much unspoken. Excellent. We return to Don on the Coast. He engages in some hippy-dippy classes about feelings and communication. At first, Don is reluctant to open up to strangers, so his partner breaks the ice for him with a hard shove. Peggy and Joan go for their lunch, where we learn that Dow's offering her more commercials, and they want Joan to produce and Peggy to write. Joan, full of ideas as usual, suggests that they start a little production company, called Harris Olson. Peggy's a bit taken aback, so Joan gives her until the end of the week to decide. Peggy nervously shakes her cocktail celery. More communication stuff. Everyone sits in a circle and confesses their innermost feelings. Don looks like he's sucking a lemon. Everyone has issues with parental abandonment in one way or another, which ends up with Stephanie running out of the room sobbing. Don follows her and tells her that this is horseshit. She wonders what his deal is, since he's pretty much a stranger, and gives her a version of the speech he gave to Peggy in the hospital about moving on. She tells him hes wrong about that. Stan drops in on Peggy, who needs a sounding board. He seems a bit wishy-washy about it, which offends Peggy. They each accuse each other of having too much/too little ambition, and failing at life either way. "There's more to life than work," he snaps as he storms out. Back in Hippie-Land, Don lies awake with his gaze trained on Stephanie. Joan and Richard have a leisurely breakfast, where he's not exactly enchanted by her great business news. In fact, he pretty much asks her to choose between him and her work. She brings up marriage again. The phone rings, which causes a mini-standoff. She chooses to answer, so he breaks up with her. Jeeesus, what a guy. She takes a minute to compose herself and continues with her business. Don wakes up to find Stephanie's bed empty. He asks a nude man where she went, but he has no answers other than that she's left. He decides to leave, immediately, but they tell him he can't get a ride for a couple of days. With no one else to turn to, Don calls Peggy. And she is pissed.  After lambasting him for a general lack of character, she tells him he can come back to McCann, a prospect which does not enthuse Don. He tells her he can't leave, because his life is too messed up. "I'm not the man you think I am," he says. "What did you ever do that was so bad?" she asks, and boom, out comes the entire life story. Peggy doesn't seem to react, only taking issue with the idea that he made nothing of his life. "I'm calling because I realized I never said goodbye to you," he says. She senses an enormous red flag here. As he hangs up, he appears to break down completely. No one notices. A panicked Peggy calls Stan, who doesn't believe there's anything to worry about. They also apologize, kinda. Stan goes on about how he misses her. Love connection, please? And YES, Stan confesses his love. This is amazing. I can hear the fan applause from here. Actually, I think I just punched the air. Peggy is totally stunned. She babbles and gasps and it's clear she's pretty smitten, too. "I think I'm in love with you, too," she says through tears. "I really do." The call is disconnected, and the man himself appears at her door. The fangirls squee while they share that kiss we've all been waiting for. YES, YES again. Back in California, Don is still sitting by the phone, but has managed not to kill himself yet. The young woman leading the feelings workshop notices something's wrong, and gently expresses her concern. She invites him to her seminar, claiming she needs someone to escort her there. At the seminar, Don sits in numb silence while the others talk about themselves. A man named Leonard tells them he's never been interesting to anyone, an anonymous clock-puncher in a distant office. This resonates with Don, especially when Leonard claims that no one will care when he's gone. He paints a very bleak picture of his passed-over, mediocre work and family life. As he breaks down, Don steps over and embraces him. And he cries, too. So does everyone else in the room, and they haven't even been following Don for seven seasons. Pete and family leave for Wichita in a private jet. Joan leaves Kevin to a nanny before putting in time on her business, Holloway Harris (well, you gotta improvise). In Canada, Marie and Roger talk about growing old together. He's even learning French. Peggy works on a campaign in the company of a loving Stan. Don learns to meditate and takes in the California air. Yeah, that's right, you just heard an "om" from him. We get an advertising clip, Coke's legendary "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", which includes costumes startlingly similar to the hippies at the compound. Maybe Don did have a hand in it after all. And those are the end credits. AMC offers us a "final toast", and then there's that gut-wrenching promo again. Well. That's it. The end. I'm still digesting it - it will take a few viewings. At this point, I'm not sure if Don's story rings true to me. It does have the advantage of being quite open-ended, and the show has been building up to a major shift, though. Ultimately, I feel it was more about Don taking this crucial step, moving towards acceptance of self and a less destructive outlook, rather than having him end up with anything definitive (though the Coke ad gives us a hint that maybe he wasn't totally done with Madison Avenue). Who knows if that will stick. Looking back to 1960, the transformation is astonishing. Don has finally broken free. I do like where the other characters ended up - it was realistic for them, but still conclusive and even happy. I may sit through the encore just to sift things out, but overall it left me with a good impression. Even a few minutes of letting it settle has brought up a lot of considerations - I'm going to sit through the encore just to see how it plays on repeat. In the meantime, what do you think? Goodbye, Mad Men - and thank you for a hell of a journey. FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 6.23 - Crying Out Loud

Alex is planning to go to school on Senior Ditch Day, which is the ultimate of lameness. Haley calls her out on it. To make things worse, she's going to school for the most boring task possible - roommate selection. Is it just me, or don't most universities just have you fill out some preferences and then randomly assign someone? This should take half an hour, tops. Even Claire thinks this is ridiculous. Meanwhile, she is fielding a job offer from a major hotel chain, one that sounds more prestigious than it probably is. However, she doesn't feel she could leave her dad. Phil comes rushing in to tell them that Luke collapsed on the way to school and is in hospital. In fact, Luke is just fine and this is all a ploy to get Alex to skip school. Alex is super pissed, but Phil triumphantly tells her they're going to California Adventure (never forget that ABC is owned by The Mouse), and they drive off screaming "DITCH DAY" repeatedly. Opening credits. Mitchell cuts his hand while cooking, but Lily is only concerned about getting blood in the eggs, which launches a discussion about her startling lack of empathy. Frankly, the show has been touting Lily as a budding sociopath since she could talk, I'm not sure how they missed this. Claire tells her dad about the job offer, and is surprised when he tells her to take it. This position is nothing but a step up. That's right folks, Claire has come a long way, baby. She's a bit hurt that her dad would let go of her this easily, but then then she stumbles across him crying over a picture of her. Manny has just had his wisdom teeth out, so of course he's high as balls. He's mostly upset that his girlfriend didn't come by to support him during the procedure (because apparently that's...a thing? High school girlfriends do?). Gloria feigns sympathy, but she really didn't like the girlfriend, so it's all good. The girlfriend shows up and they engage in some slobbery teenaged mushiness while Gloria looks on in disgust. On the way to the amusement park, Phil discovers an old theatre he renovated back during his days in the construction industry we didn't hear about until now. It's about to be torn down, so Phil proposes that they break in. NO, PHIL. THIS IS YOUR GOD. LISTEN TO THE MOUSE. THE CALL OF THE MOUSE. Claire and Mitchell talk about her strange discovery, which amazes them both. Mitchell wonders if he isn't showing enough emotion in front of his own kid. No, I think it's safe to say that Lily was wired that way. Besides, Cam more than compensates in that department. Now Claire is seesawing yet again, but Mitchell is mostly focused on Lily. Sounds like a typical sibling conversation. Gloria discovers that Manny was so hopped up on pills when his girlfriend came, he forgot all about it. She pretends that she gave him the presents the girl left, and schemes to keep him away from her forever. See, Manny was planning to go to camp with this girl, but the deadline to sign up or something is today, so if she can keep him stoned and couch-bound until the deadline closes...Gloria, you are a terrible human being. And yes, she did just slip her teenaged son more pills than is medically reommended. Because of a girlfriend who will probably never be mentioned again after this episode anyway. Phil reminisces about their movie-going days as they stroll through the abandoned theatre. Behind the screen, he pulls up some carpet to reveal the spot where Phil and the girls placed their footprints long ago. Luke keeps asking where he was, and Phil keeps evading the answer - I guess Phil hates his son (it is heavily implied that he dropped Luke on his head, which would explain a lot). Haley wants to sneak out and go to the mall, Alex wants to go back to school. Haley accuses her sister of being above them all now. Meanwhile, Phil and Luke decide to set up a show... Mitchell decides he needs to cry in front of Lily and show emotional vulnerability, so he watches The Bridges of Madison County, and then pretend he was reading about a world crisis. Even Cam thinks this is nuts. He gloms onto the "loveless marriage" aspect of the film and wonders if Mitch is sending him a message. Mitchell clues in that there is someone in this marriage showing emotion (thank you very much), and decides that Cam just wound up desensitizing her to all feelings. They wind up crying together. Claire tells Jay she turned down the job, only to find that he wasn't really crying - he was trimming his nose hair and used her picture as an impromptu mirror. Meanwhile, Manny has gone into his phone and found the pictures that prove Gloria's scheme, which causes major drama. Gloria protests this, naming all of the girlfriend's worst qualities. Manny realizes that they all match Gloria's flaws, and realizes that he's dating his mother. He wants to break up with her immediately and forget going to camp. However, Gloria sees this as an insult and rushes to send him off to camp with this girl. Then the girlfriend sends Manny a bikini pic and both Manny and Gloria immediately change their minds. Manny tells her to let him make up his damn mind. You go, Manny. Gloria reluctantly sends in the application form, remarking that she has the same bikini. Phil and Luke, in silhouette, try to set up the theatre, but wind up becoming the movie themselves, as Haley and Alex laugh at their shadowy pratfalls. The girls are apoplectic with laughter. It's pretty sweet, especially when the two girls apologize to each other. Haley confesses that she's scared Alex will forget about her once she's at college. Meanwhile, Luke accidentally manages to break a water main. We discover that Phil is doing this because of an existential crisis - he sees the theatre as the only thing he ever built himself, and thus the only part of his life that will last. (Ummm, kids? Nope?) Alex and Haley, of course, find these antics hilarious. They continue to reassure each other that they'll always be sister-friends, and cuddle it out. Phil, wet shirt and all, watches proudly, and concludes that he made that. It looks like Claire's wishy-washy approach to the job has cost Jay's company the hotel's account. He's furious, and it looks like Claire's name is mud in both companies. Claire protests that she wanted him to keep her on because she's his little girl, which is an excellent thing to do in the world of business. We get the Ed O'Neill glare in full force. He tells her, quite rightly, that he doesn't want his feelings to hold her back, and though he likes working with her, it's just not a great idea. He assures her he's proud of her and Claire gets teary. He then brags about her too a colleague, but goes a bit too far in the other direction, gushy and Dad-ish. This causes Claire to break down completely, and he rushes away with his colleague, explaining that it was a ploy to get them away from her and into the pub. Good old Jay. The Dads have a talk with Lily about feelings, a topic she is not terribly interested in. Basically, they heap all their insecurities onto their seven-year-old. Somehow they manage to bring up their own future deaths, making her sad for real.  Smooth, guys. Gloria narrates about parenting and mistakes, claiming it's because they're trying to make them happy. Manny is still high as balls. Tag scene - Claire tells her story, but Phil can't stop telling his. Meanwhile, Alex has been trying to tell them about her new roommate the whole time. Well, that was fine. We had moments with each character, each storyline had some interesting ideas (well, Gloria's was the weak link here), and some of the jokes actually landed. I think the standout had to have been the Dunphys at the movie theatre, but overall, the show balanced it out well. Join me next week for the season finale! FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: Community 6.10 - Basic RV Repair and Palmistry

The gang is speeding on a high mountain road in an RV with a giant hand on top. I assume it's Elroy's? Using the most meta speech possible, Abed takes us back to three weeks earlier. However, the camera isn't interested in cutting to flashback, so they stay in the present.  Abed's talk is weirding everyone out, so Elroy calls a private conference with The Dean. He complains about how much he hates having half a dozen Greendale misfits in his home, for hours on end. In fact, he threatens to drive off a cliff. The Dean attempts to pacify him, but not very well. Oh, and they're about to run out of fuel. The Dean asks him to keep it a secret - but the group easily overhears and panic ensues. I'm actually pretty sure they drive by a gas station while they're busy screaming about it. Jeff shuts them up and orders them all to charge their phones. However, this causes the RV to start falling apart, and they wind up stuck at the side of the road. The Dean concludes that they're all going to die. Opening credits. We go back in time three weeks, when Abed already wants to establish this moment as the beginning of a flashback. However, that gives us no further answers, as we return to the RV and Jeff warns Abed to "drop that fourth-wall schtick". Frankie and Annie call for help, but keep being put on hold. It's a holiday called Armed Forces Day (which is an actual thing according to Wikipedia - it's held on the third weekend of May, which Jeff decides is a Chanukah to Memorial Day's Christmas) and all the tow truck drivers are in a parade, so they'll be stuck for at least a day. The Dean blames Frankie for creating a terrible plan, and Frankie blames the Dean for buying a gigantic rubber hand. Apparently, this was some kind of advertising promo for Greendale which contained the slogan "Give Your Brain a Hand". Obviously it was a failure, so they were on their way to deliver the hand to another weirdo. Abed comments that maybe they didn't need a flashback after all. They argue about whether they're in a TV show or not, and Jeff criticizes Abed harshly. He winds up banishing the poor guy to the back of the caravan, which everyone else protests. Elroy announces that the battery is dead. Jeff seems to know a suspicious amount about RV mechanics, which raises a few questions. Rather than having to spend the night there, Elroy thinks he can just switch batteries. He is apoplectic when he discovers that everyone has been charging their phones, and drained the second battery. (Also, is someone trying to charge a hair dryer?) The group winds up camping out overnight in a power-less RV, with the Dean trying to make small talk. We flash back to more study room discussion about the giant hand, and more Lampshading from Abed. Back in the RV, Elroy hands out rations and declares this to be the survival of the fittest. He soon starts to let go of his anger and take some of the blame. And Britta is as high as a kite. Abed keeps trying to go back to three weeks ago, and finally succeeds. However, it doesn't tell us anything new. Everyone apologizes for their transgressions, major and minor, in the course of this trip. Except the Dean, who feels he only has to forgive everyone else. Back to flashback, where Abed breathlessly describes the typical three-act structure. No one sticks around to listen. In the RV, everyone yells at the Dean for being irresponsible. He completely freaks out and gives a nonsense apology. Lots of crocodile tears. He finally flees the RV, but no one's eager to go after him. Except Abed. The Dean turns out to be on the roof, nestled in the giant hand (which has still not been fully explained). Abed climbs up with him so they can talk it out. It's a stirring image, giant hand and all. However, his attempts at comfort ring rather hollow, especially since they're all a part of his storymaking schemes. As the Dean complains, the hand suddenly starts to come loose and the two are in danger. Abed immediately flashbacks, so that the story is retconned - this time, the hand is tied with extra-thick straps. Then Flashback!Dean tazes Jeff and they dance around singing about straps. However, the flashback does not actually change anything, so they plummet to the ground anyway. The rest of the committee prepares to extract them from underneath the giant hand, but the Dean is actually unharmed and locks himself in the RV, leaving everyone else in the cold. While Elroy tries to see if the Dean thought to lock the other door, the others kiss up to the Dean in the hopes that they will relent. (I don't know why they don't ask Jeff to do it, as he can convince the Dean of pretty much anything.) The Dean accurately calls out everyone else's bad features, and hails Abed as the only good person among them. Abed, meanwhile, has concluded that he was wrong to neglect the current story in favour of the flashback structure. Jeff is glad he's come around, but when Abed starts to flashback again, Jeff slaps him. Frankie breaks them up. She encourages Abed to think of a flash-forward. Centuries later, a group of Space Elders lament the destruction of the human race, which may only be averted if Space Elder Abed can go back in time to save them. (Oh, and Britta is still high.) Present-day Abed tells the Dean that he's discovered the meaning of the giant hand, so he should come down now. It's all about releasing control and letting go. The Dean reluctantly comes down. Everyone apologizes and we get a group hug. Abed exchanges a thumbs-up with some holograms of the Space Elders. Three days later, everyone is back at Greendale and friends again. Chang shows up covered in feathers for some reason. The hand becomes a statue at Greendale, reading "Keep a Loose Grip" for the twelve-year-old part of our souls. Tag scene - The guy who bought the hand wonders where the hell it wound up, and stares mournfully at the giant watch in the corner. He and his wife argue about it. It's all very Albee. Anyway, I thought this premise was pretty interesting, but they could have run further with it. These days, it's really Abed who makes the show, and so it was nice to see a showcase from him, as well as his unlikely connection with the Dean (something that makes SO MUCH SENSE YOU GUYS). It had its moments, but definitely did not rank top in concept or in humour. This season started out as a lot of fun, but in the final rush, I'll admit it's getting kind of lackluster. I guess we'll have another crack at it next week. FJ Discussion Thread  

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.21 - Bull-E

As of next week, this sorry season finally comes to an end. I have to say, even by latter-day Simpsons standards this one was pretty wretched. Can they redeem themselves in two episodes? Ummm...   No real opening credits. Couch gag: Maggie kicks soccer balls at Homer. Wait, what? That's not a proper couch gag! What fresh hell is this? Come back here so I can set you adrift on an ice floe, writers! Groundskeeper Willie unexpectedly quits, having hired crooner Johnny Mathis in his place. And yes, that is dear Johnny offering us his golden voice. Principal Skinner announces a school dance, which neither Simpson kid looks forward to. Bart desperately tries to ditch, but his parents won't hear it. Homer cheerfully tells his ten-year-old that if he goes along with what girls want, he might get a "special night". The Flanderses have worked hard painting their fence, but at the last minute Homer flips the posts, stealing their paint job. For the first time, the Flanders boys are getting annoyed with their "Uncle Homer's" conduct, though Ned counsels patience. The school dance is predictably dull, though we do get an awesome Otto hallucination. Bart tries to wreak havoc, which earns him a punch from Nelson and - gasp - the heart of a fifth-grader. However, he hesitates, because he doesn't want a visit from the Puberty Demon. And yes, we get to meet said unappealing demon. Hormones eventually win out and he wins her dance, and also the coveted Best Dancer trophy. He goes to meet with his new girlfriend outside, but the bullies catch up with him first, and I bet you can't guess what happens next. The trophy is smashed and his new girlfriend dumps him in disgust. The Puberty Demon returns to laugh at hapless Bart. Marge is angry to hear about it, immediately turning into the anti-bullying crusader we see so frequently today. She presents the bill at a town meeting, prompting a string of swear words from Moe so blue that they kill Helen Lovejoy. However, Marge argues so persuasively that they vote it in after less than a minute. Only Hans Moleman votes against, but no worries, Mayor Quimby bullies it into a unanimous vote. Soon enough, the police are chasing down Springfield's unruly teens, and pipsqueaks like Bart and Milhouse are free to roam the town. The local force is drunk on their own power, and their power is even extended to adults, as egomaniac Krusty finds out the hard way. Homer shamelessly abuses this, reporting Apu for putting too much ice in his drink, and Lisa worries about the kind of society they're becoming. Over at the Flanders house, the boys wonder if their father is being bullied by Uncle Homer. Ned denies this, saying that he's just turning the other cheek. The boys pray for Uncle Homer, but it does no good. Meanwhile, Wiggum has become something of a tyrant and locked up half the town. The Flanders kids call in their report, and Homer is arrested. He is sentenced to mandatory treatment at a "re-education centre". The bullying therapist (Albert Brooks, oh heralded guest star), a former bully himself, instructs them in the ways of empathy. So the process of breaking down begins. The instructor probes into everyone's childhood, where we learn that Chalmers was raised according to the methods of behaviourist B.F. SKINNER! Never having been loved, he has no idea how to behave in a constructive manner, and sobs like a child. Only Snake seems resistant to the instructor's methods. Homer details his hatred of Flanders, which is mostly due to jealousy. The instructor declares a breakthrough. We cut to a PSA where the convicted bullies repudiate their evil ways. The instructor explains that this will be distributed to all sorts of vulnerable groups. Class is dismissed, though the instructor remarks that he forgot to teach remorse. So the reformed bullies are the toast of the town, and the Flanders kids don't like this. Flanders dismisses this, but soon enough he is also bothered. At an autograph signing (no, really), Flanders points out that Homer never actually apologized, despite months of anti-bullying school. When he explains how it diminished his image, Homer finally understands the concept of remorse. Finally, he crawls on his knees to the house next door and begs Flanders' forgiveness. Flanders initially refuses to give it, letting him kneel there and suffer after a quarter century of torment.   However, Homer is persistent, kneeling in Flanders' driveway for several days. Finally, even Rod and Todd beg Flanders to go rescue him. A weeping Ned goes outside, and quoting a Bible verse about forgiveness, pulls him from the lawn (he was in there so long he sank). Their friendship mended, Homer and "Stupendous Flanders" have a reconciliation brunch. Tag scene - Otto, still tripping, hallucinates the Magic School Bus (sadly, Lily Tomlin does not appear to work her magic). The class decides to visit the inside of a druggie's brain - and holy shit, why did they never make that episode? - but Otto can't stand it and stomps the little bus to death. We learn that while this is going on, real-Otto is supposed to be a foreman on a jury. We haven't had enough Otto in the past ten years or so - welcome back, buddy. Well, despite my constant ragging on this season, this week's episode had a lot to recommend it - an interesting premise with some good humour and even a wee bit of a satire, some excellent work from the great A. Brooks, and even some surreal weirdness courtesy of Otto. Though they could have done a lot more with the Simpsons-Flanders dynamic, I did want to cheer Ned finally standing up for himself. Was it greatness? Of course not. But at the very least, there is a good chance we could end this season on a decent note! FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Once Upon A Time 422-423: Operation Mongoose

It’s the two-hour season finale, folks! Let’s see what those crazy writers have in store for us this week. Part 1—Henry Does The Heavy Lifting In Mad Men-ish times, our Author was a TV salesman. Even then he was very talky. His manager notices, and is not pleased. Awwww, no one understands his artistic point of view. But wait! A letter! From a publishing company! They want to meet him ASAP! The fact that the letter isn’t signed by a person, but rather “Star Publishing†is not a red flag for him. The fact that Star Publishing’s offices are almost completely empty is also not a red flag for him. The fact that the publishing guy (who’s the Apprentice in a Mad Men suit) has him play a game of “pick a pen†doesn’t bother him either. And he picks the magic quill y’all!! This makes him the new Author. (Does anyone else think that this is an awfully random method for filling this important position? I wonder what would happen if he chose poorly. I’m having Raiders of the Lost Ark flashbacks.) The Apprentice opens a portal to a land of magic so that the Author can go through and begin writing. Does the Author have no family in Mad Men-ville? No friends? (Well, what with the mind-numbing chattiness I guess I can see that.) Still, maybe you don’t want to go to an unknown world with the creepy, cryptic, straggly looking guy, Isaac. But Isaac doesn’t listen. In Storybrooke present, August tells our “heroes†the Apprentice can help them stop the Author. Hook mentions how he trapped the Apprentice in the hatbox of doom. Now that they know where he is, Blue releases him. The Apprentice side-eyes Hook and says he can re-trap the Author with the page and key. In Gold’s shop, a dying Gold sits in front of a case full of crystal as he and the Author discuss happiness and dissatisfaction. The Author wants to give villains happy endings. Gold explains that his happy ending means having memories of doing right by his son and having Baelfire see his father as a hero. In town, our “heroes†walk with purpose—Emma, Regina and the Apprentice march across Main Street to Gold’s. Hook, Henry and the Charmings go to MM’s apartment to find the page. Too late! The Author writes “The End†and this cues the weird, “magic-is-happening†music and lights. In Mary Margaret’s apartment, Henry wakes up utterly alone. It appears that there’s no one left in town. He goes to Gold’s where a phonograph is spinning. This is getting creepy, people. But I suppose not for Henry, since he’s so used to being entirely unsupervised. He drives into a nearby non-Storybrooke town (his driving skills have much improved) looking for his family and friends. No luck with that, but he does find a copy of the Author’s book, Heroes and Villains. We cut to New York where the Author, now famous, is having a reading in front of a group of cos-playing fans. But Henry found him!! (I knew that kid was more productive and intelligent on his own than with his wacky family.) Speaking of which, Henry wants to know what the Author did with them and threatens to trap Isaac back in the book. Isaac explains that he’s re-written everyone’s story except for Emma’s. His story didn’t need a Savior. The Author says he has no power to change his stories because he’s broken the rules by writing himself a happy ending and the quill no longer works. Henry magics them both to the alternate EF (AEF) but quickly discovers this is no fairytale when the Author knocks him out. Isaac ties Henry up so he can’t change the story and leaves him helpless as an ogre stomps into town. But don’t worry, Henry is saved by Hero Rumplestiltskin! I know I’ve praised Robert Carlyle’s acting talents many times, but I’m just not buying him here as the hero. Perhaps it’s because the writers (not the Author) want us to think the Author (not the writers) is not very good at his craft. Still with me? Henry makes his way through the AEF using the book as a guide when he’s stopped by Bandit Regina! Henry keeps calling her “mom†which does not amuse Bandit Regina who thinks Henry’s crazy. He shows her the Heroes and Villains book. It freaks Regina out and she burns it. Henry tells Regina that the only way out of the book is True Love’s Kiss so they have to find Robin Hood. (Gag. Also, why doesn’t Henry kiss Regina. They have a True Love’s Kiss. It’s worked before.) Regina explains that she hates Robin because he’s her competition. But what’s really important in this scene is the re-playing of the “The Queen wants me dead because I ruined her life†conversation. Henry asks “Did you?†Regina replies, “yes.†See? Alternate Universe symmetry. Isaac searches for Henry but gets caught in a trap THAT HE WROTE ABOUT by the now-evil dwarves THAT HE WROTE ABOUT. The dwarves find a cos-play fan’s Long-Live Regina button on him and assume that Isaac is a traitor to the AEF queen, Snow. At the castle, Snow sidles around in an Evil Queen outfit. (I love Ginnifer Goodwin, but she can’t pull this off, not with that sweet baby face of hers.) She intends to kills Isaac until he rats out Henry. And here comes Guyliner Charming!! Snow’s got his heart so she controls him. They’re doing a Regina/Graham thing. More symmetry! The Author promises to get Snow a happy ending with her so-called True Love, former evil-David-twin James in return for Snow killing Henry and Regina. Snow meets Regina in the AEF and tries to kill her but Robin Hood comes to the rescue. And he wants Regina to become the new CEO of the Merry Men because he’s getting married …..to Zelena!! She is gracious and invites Regina to the wedding. Regina politely declines. Henry insists that Robin is Regina’s true love. (She’s NOT, I say!) Henry says they have to stop the wedding. Then they discuss Emma. Turns out Regina has heard of her. Snow trapped her in a tower. And this would be our cliffhanger. Except it’s not because this evening we are treated to…… ….Part 2—Do-Over Hero Rumplestiltskin comes home to find the Author hanging out with his wife, Belle. Hero Rumple doesn’t know who the Author is, but he does know something strange is afoot. The Author warns Hero Rumple that a boy wants to take away his happy ending. Isaac tells Hero Rumple that his life isn’t real; that instead he, the Author, wrote it. (Then that would imply that the first set of stories wasn’t real either, so what’s the point of any of this? So confusing.) The Author says Hero Rumple has to kill Regina and Henry. Ooh, Henry’s on the Jolly Roger! He wants Hook to sail him to the prison where Emma is being held. We discover that, in this story, Hook is a lowly pirate and Blackbeard is the captain. Blackbeard challenges Hook to a duel for a reason I missed. Hook declines because he’s kind of a nerd in the AEF. Henry once again proves that his lifetime of neglect has made him resourceful. He knocks Blackbeard out using a sail weight. Henry and Nerd Hook sail the Jolly Roger to Emma’s prison and fake out the guard (thanks, once again, to Henry) to get inside. Henry goes to Emma’s cell and surprise! She remembers him! Emma says it’s part of Gold’s plan—that she be punished by knowing the truth but being powerless to do anything about it. She has no magic here. There is an interesting meet-cute when Emma (literally) runs into Nerd Hook and he has no idea who she is. On the Jolly Roger, Emma explains that the knight Henry knocked out is Lilly which is a problem because…. Well, it becomes self-evident as a dragon chases them down. They manage to get a cannonball in Lilly and celebrate over what appears to be some rum. Alas, in this story, our normally perky pirate is a bit of a wet noodle. It’s goat’s milk in the flask because Nerd Hook is allergic to rum. At Evil Snow’s palace, Snow is pissed that Regina and Henry aren’t dead. She kills one of the dwarves (Doc?) to incentivize her team. In town, Emma teaches Nerd Hook how to use a sword. (Double entendre, no?) Lilly approaches. Guess that cannonball didn’t kill her after all. Lilly is followed by the Not-So-Charmings. Emma tries to convince them that they are her parents. In the background, Nerd Hook picks up the sword and is laughably bad with it. A swordfight ensues and Nerd Hook does pretty well but in the end is killed by Evil David. Oh nooooooees!!! In Belle and Hero Gold’s cottage, Hero Gold tells Belle there’s a threat to their happiness that he has to fix. She says he can do it because she is a sap. Also he chips a teacup. She’s not upset about that, either. Meanwhile, Emma meets Bandit Regina. Regina is not receptive when Emma tells her she has to stop Robin Hood’s wedding. Emma tells her sad story of losing Hook before she could tell him she loved him, but if Regina stops the wedding she has a chance of getting Hook back. Regina grows misty at this tale of woe. Emma, Regina, and Henry race to the chapel where Robin and Zelena’s wedding is taking place. But before they can make their move, Gold steps in to stop them. Henry and Emma fight while Regina goes into the chapel. Robin sees her, but Regina clams up and the wedding goes on as scheduled. Regina runs outside just in time to take the sword blow that was meant for Henry. It looks like a fatal wound. Oh noooeees!! The church bells chime meaning this is the end of the story. It can’t be changed anymore. Oh noooooeees again!! The happy newlyweds come outside. Robin notices the blood-soaked Regina. Zelena goes bridezilla. It’s their first fight—that didn’t take long. Zelena starts to turn green and runs away. Emma punches the Author who is not the Author anymore. Who is, you ask? It’s Henry!!! Yay! He re-writes the ending of the story using Regina’s blood as ink. (Unsanitary!) But it works! Our “heroes†end up back in Storybrooke. Regina is fine. There’s some question about Hook for a minute, because Emma can’t find him at first. Then she does!!! He’s fine! Our pretty pirate is fine!! My teen daughter is thrilled. And I am pleased as well. Also, this is the first time we see these two anywhere near a bed. But there are no sexy times since Emma comes thisclose to telling Hook she loves him, but then doesn’t. Hook looks so disappointed. Well, that whole experience has taught her nothing. In Gold’s shop, the Author runs out as Belle comes in. She has a reunion with the dying Gold where she explains that she won’t let him die alone because he’s dyyyyyying and he has a good heeaaart…….(you know, deep inside that black one) . Why, why, why???? Gold explains that once he dies, only the Dark One will remain, and the unbodied Dark One is super duper dangerous. Gold falls down dead. MM and David stop the Author from leaving town. Good for you, guys, but where is baby Prince Neal? Where is Storybrooke DYFS when you need it? In the mayor’s office, the Apprentice and Henry have a conversation which I really don’t understand. The AEF was not real, according to the Apprentice. It was a fictional universe created by the Author. But the first set of fairytales, also created by the Author (beginning in the 1960’s?) is the truth. I’m not going to dwell on it. It makes my mind hurt. Long story short, Henry passes his Authorship test and is the new Author. At Granny’s, Robin takes Regina away from the “we-stopped-the-latest-curse†party—and also from her son who just saved everyone’s ass—to go “take a walk in the moonlight,†which I’m sure is code for shagging in the mausoleum. Lilly wants to find her dragon dad. (Mal doesn’t know because dragons don’t take names, apparently.) Thank you, show! I’m waiting for that information. At Gold’s the Apprentice poetically sucks the evil out of Gold, who’s not breathing. The Apprentice does a preservation spell on him so I’m guessing Robert Carlyle is back next season. Everyone’s relieved until the evil frees itself, swirls around the Apprentice, making his eyes go liquid black. Emma magics the evil stream out the letter slot. The Apprentice explains that the darkness must be tethered to a human soul in order to keep it under control with the dagger. To overcome this darkness, our heroes must seek out the sorcerer, Merlin. I say just send Henry and call it a day. Out on the street, the darkness swirls around Regina (who’s all aglow from her “walk in the moonlight.†Emma sacrifices herself and becomes the Dark One telling her parents that they saved her from evil once, they can do it again. Umm, Emma? That didn’t work out so well last time, remember? Before succumbing to Dark One-itis, Emma finally tells Hook she loves him. Well, that was exciting, but I feel like the story is getting unwieldy. The sheer number of characters, stories, and interconnected plots are getting cumbersome and hard to follow. Magic seems to have different rules that can be broken or gotten around depending on the needs of the episode. What do you think? And which fairy tales do you think will make an appearance next season. Join us in the forum to discuss: http://www.freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13046&sid=f54738060e9229737ff750b53ec569dd&start=80

jinjy2

jinjy2

 

Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 7.13 - The Milk and Honey Route

We're into the last stretch, you guys. Ten years onscreen, eight off, and a hell of a lot of water under the bridge. After next week, there will be no more - and that's a lot to say goodbye to. Join me, for the second-last time, as we follow this incredible series. Previously on: Don leaves McCann, Trudy is lonely and shameful, Betty has moved on, and Don is going West. Opening credits - Alison Brie guest stars, along with Mark "Duck Phillips" Moses, Weiner co-writes and directs. We catch up with Don, driving late at night on some far-off route. A cop pulls him over. The cop says he's been looking for Don, and would have caught up with him eventually. Of course, it's all a Dick Whitman-based dream. Don wakes up in a motel room in the middle of nowhere. Pete is with Tammy, who has been stung by a bee. Trudy arrives with her friend Sherry, who is one of those women who is inexplicably hot for Pete. They discuss proper divorced parenting (in the absence of the ex-husband). Oh god Sherry, you're cute - you could do so much better. Meanwhile, Don chats with Sally, who has quit hockey and is planning a trip to Spain. We learn that he has recently been in Wyoming, and is now in Kansas, which means he's following no path in particular. Next stop: the Grand Canyon. On the bright side, she and Don are finally on friendly terms, despite Don's spontaneous cross-country road trip. At university, Betty looks very out of place, which the other students remark on. She also appears to be ill. Calling it now - pregnant. In the elevator, Pete runs into Duck, who seems all too interested in the inner workings of the new McCann. (We also learn that Joan is still very much gone.) Duck is interested in poaching Pete, an offer Pete understandably finds a little shaky. However, he does have a bit of sparkle in his eyes. Despite Pete's protests, it seems like a meeting is in short order. Don keeps driving, though his car seems about to crap out on him. Betty goes to the hospital, where she finds out that her classmates have snarkily registered her as Mrs. Robinson. The doctor discovers that something serious is happening, and Henry is summoned. Considering on how he pulls the cigarettes out of her hand, I'm assuming that they're finally making good on that cancer scare from Season 5. It's going to take some time to repair Don's car, so he's stuck in a little town somewhere in the South. He immediately befriends an elderly couple who run a hotel. Meanwhile, Pete meets with the exec (from Kansas, heh) for steak. Apparently, this guy also works with Hollywood talent. It's a big account, and Pete is interested in being on the other side of it. Pete tries to get out of it, but on the other hand, he's not in a hurry to end the evening. Betty definitely has cancer, beginning in her lungs and metastasizing to her bones. Betty may have a year, at best. The doctor, of course, tells Henry this as if Betty is not right in front of them. Don meets a hotel housekeepr (male), who is brutally honest about the area's shortcomings. He's dismayed to learn that he's in a dry county, though Andy the housekeeper knows where to get a drink if you need one. Despite the lack of amusements, the hotel does have an enormous pool, complete with bathing beauties. Precisely, one bathing beauty, who appears to be married. Duck continues with his Pete-related efforts. Apparently, he has landed the job, and it's a beauty, but Pete still claims not to be interested. However, they're interested in a married man - and that is one requirement where Pete is tripped up. That's too bad, as they're having dinner-with-wives on Saturday... Betty is devastated, obviously, but Henry keeps telling her not to give up, resorting to some crazy studies and remonstrating with her for her morbid talk. He seems to think his position can buy Betty a second chance, but Betty at least is a bit more grounded. It's horrible to watch. Andy the housekeeper shows up with books and Whiskey, and extracts money from Don. In Connecticut, Pete is having another day with the family. Don's television craps out, so he goes to ask the front desk for a new one. He helps the owner with her typewriter, which she greatly appreciates. She sees that he's bored and suggests that he go to the Legion. DON'T DO IT, DON. Pete is still in Cos Cob. Tammy baked him a pie, so he and Trudy share it. He uses this moment to ask Trudy to pose as his wife at the advertising dinner. She balks, even when he flatters her and appeals to her sense of nostalgia. He steps out in a huff, because apparently he forgot what "divorce" means. Sally comes back to her dormitory to find her stepfather looking very grave. Despite Betty wanting him to keep it a secret until she figures out what she wants to say, he drops the news on poor Sally. Of course, she's terribly upset. He begs her to help him convince Betty to try this experimental regimen. Manipulative in the extreme, though I guess I can see that he's desperate. They both wind up crying, Henry much more so. Don gets his car back. As he's about to leave, the owner of the motel asks him to join him at the Legion, in exchange for a free room. They've noticed how handy he is and want him to fix their Coke machine. More Dick Whitman flashbacks? Henry brings Sally home. Of course, Betty immediately realizes what's up and is extraordinarily pissed at Henry. The two boys clearly don't know. Sally lies about her reason for being there, hauls baby Gene (now like seven) onto her lap, and they sit quietly for a moment. Don comes to the Legion barbecue, where he quickly makes a bunch a friends. They start getting into military details, which makes Don very uncomfortable, but they seem innocuous enough. Pete has dinner with his brother Bud, who really does not want to be anywhere nearby, a common reaction around Pete. They discuss the nature of life, opportunities, and womanizing. Bud claims his wife likes it, which is the biggest BS I've ever heard. The Legion barbecue gets very awkward when they decide to bring over a guy who was also in Korea. Fortunately, they don't appear to have been there at the same time, or so Don claims. They have a woman-out-of-the-cake show, or rather a guy-in-drag-our-of-the-cake show. Some dude lackadaisically plays the drums. Don looks extremely uncomfortable. Pete gets a visit from Duck, who really should learn to take a hint. Drunk, he yells at Pete for standing them up. However, Duck has managed to parlay this into Pete being insulted by the offer, so the company has gone bigger. Now Pete absolutely cannot refuse. Sitting around listening war stories, Don gets progressively drunker. His new friends wonder why he's so quiet. An old man recounts a tale which reminds me of Quint's story from Jaws. Only centering around some kind of atrocity he committed in Germany. Don, completely wasted, tells about how he accidentally killed the original Don Draper (though there's no word of identity theft). The men are surprisingly sympathetic. The evening ends with some Civil War songs. Betty goes to see Sally in the middle of the night. She apologizes for Henry's conduct. Sally wonders why she won't get treatment. She promises to stay with her mother and help her through whatever, but Betty insists that she wants to spare her that sight - she knows her time is up, and she will handle it in her own way. She gives Sally instructions, to be opened when Betty is gone. So at the tender age of sixteen, Sally is burdened with both her mother's bad news and her last wishes, without even a comforting hug. The men from the Legion arrive in Don's hotel room demanding their money, which they think Don has stolen. (The hotel owner, being terrible at her job, let them in.) Despite his protests that he didn't take it, they insist he did, and try to beat the answer out of him. At this point I'm shocked we haven't devolved into full-on Deliverance.  Pete goes back to Connecticut. A surprised Trudy lets him back into the house, worried that it's bad news. He asks her to move with him to Wichita, so that they can be a family again. She tries to explain that it's long over. However, he feels that he's seen the light, and they have plenty of good years to spend together - if they can manage to start over. "I will never allow you to hurt me again," she says. "I love you too," he says. And that is Pete and Trudy in a nutshell. So she's dazzled by him, they get back together and everyone watching the series wants to Free Trudy. Cue a physical reunion on the couch. "Tell [Tammy] her birthday wish came true," says Pete. Oh, and he doesn't forget to make a date for Saturday night. Trudy, you are better than this. More importantly, McCann is now down one Joan, one Don and one Pete - what on earth comes next? The pimply housekeeping dude, Andy (who was waiting at the Legion) shows up at Don's hotel room. He has correctly deduced that the kid set him up and blamed him for the theft, so he orders Andy to leave town before Don unmasks him and he loses everything. Don hands over the cash, taking the fall by omission, and even takes the kid as far as the bus stop. Despite her illness, Betty still goes to class, which confuses Henry. Sally opens the envelope Betty gave her, which is a letter detailing her last wishes, to be facilitated by Betty's brother. As Betty struggles to the lecture hall, Sally reads her mother's words, talking about her concern for her daughter, and how she now knows that Sally's life will be full of adventure. Sally breaks down. This is a hell of an episode for Mother's Day. Don drops the kid by the side of the road, and hands over his car. Understandably, Andy  is a bit confused, but Don is totally serious. So he drives off and leaves Don by a bus stop in Oklahoma. More and more, Don Draper is being chipped away. In fact, it feels like the whole world of Mad Men is falling apart - Betty dying, the firm breaking apart even in its new form, and Don going out into the world. This episode had some pretty stunning developments, even with half the major characters missing this week, but more than that, it is pretty clearly on a drastic trajectory. But where is it going to end up? I want to find out and I don't. Next on - there is none, actually, because they're keeping it under wraps. Oh my god the agony. FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 6.22 - Patriot Games

Cam and Mitch, while shopping for glitter, are invited to a protest by some friends who don't think they're political enough, or that they don't care about potatoes? Anyway, Cam and Mitch have kind of lost their political interest in the years since they adopted Lily, so they are eager to regain their Gay Cred - even if it means giving up their favourite burgers. Opening credits. Alex is dismayed to learn that her archrival, Sanjay, are co-valedictorians. The Dunphys are happy for both of them, but Alex, Sanjay and Sanjay's parents are not nearly as gracious. The principal (a spot-on portrayal of an educator terrified of the Almighty Parent) explains that their GPAs are tied to the thousandth of a decimal, so they couldn't make a decision. Phil tries to put a bright face on it ("this is literally a win-win"), but everyone in the room shoots him down. Sanjay's dad suggests that they find some kind of tiebreaker. As it turns out, only one grade in the entire school has not been determined...cut to a very confused Cam. Meanwhile, Gloria is studying for her citizenship test, even though I could have sworn this show described her as a citizen before. However, since the path to US Citizenship is truly labyrinthine, I'll give them a pass on this one. Anyway, she's pretty comfortable with the answers, though she's getting a bit tired of Jay's jokes about it- as well as the skimpy America-themed clothes he buys her. Javier comes back from a Dad day with Manny. He chooses this moment to chide Gloria for abandoning her roots and turning her back on Colombia. She in turn calls him out for being an idiot deadbeat - but his comments still get to her, especially when she realizes she's forgetting basic Spanish words. Like, even stuff Jay knows. Cam determines that the two kids have the same gym grade, but happened to miss the day of the mile run. The setup is clear - they will literally race to be valedictorian. (I don't want to live in a world where gym class is something that determines your future. Gross.) Phil and Claire wonder why they can't just be grateful about what they have, and for the first time this season I agree with them. Sanjay's parents, though, are enormous dicks and make fun of the Dunphys' intellectual deficit, as compared to their beloved spawn. I imagine Sanjay will drop out in his first semester and become a stoner. Anyway, they get into a dumb one-upmanship contest and soon the Dunphys are just as on board with the race. See, this is why I'm scared of becoming a parent, because of turning into those parents. Sanjay's parents also wonder whether Alex's uncle is sufficiently impartial to oversee this race, but he asssures them that his highly advanced training is essential. The race is on. But first of all, Cam and Mitch have to go to their half-assed protest, with Father Ted-worthy signs like "Stop doing what you're doing" and "SHAME". However, they're surprised to learn that no one is there. It turns out their politically committed friends are notorious for bailing on their causes. They go inside and ask the hostess, who tells them that there were no protests today, and offers them a table. They compromise with a booth away from the window. Alex goes into truly obsessive treadmill training, determined to win the right to give a speech everyone else will forget in five minutes anyway. What is it with stupid competitive parents and their equally dim-witted children? None of this matters, kid. She's determined to win, but so exhausted that she collapses. You can't benefit from your valedictory speech if you don't live to deliver it, dumbass. Jay notices that the house is suddenly full of Colombian food and music. He advises Gloria not to let her ex-husband get to her. He has also brought more American presents, such as Scotch and Kobe steaks. Will there be a joke about cooking it in a melting pot? Undoubtedly. See, I can write for this show too. Anyway, Jay goes on about America blah blah blah and freedom blah blah blah because no other country has it blah blah blah and Jay, I know you mean well, but this is why the rest of the world has a permanent eye-roll going on about you guys. Manny, however, thinks he's concerned with more pragmatic issues, such as waiting a long time at Customs whenever they return from vacation. Gloria's outraged, even though Jay never said this and Manny is pretty obviously just speculating. Can no one on this show comprehend basic human speech? Alex answers the door only to find Sanjay, who has also been training and has come by to tell her thanks for being a worthy opponent. She admits she feels the same way - and in a way, they'll miss each other. Sanjay admits that he likes her "Like Pierre Curie liked Marie Curie", and raise your hands, how many of you totally saw this coming? Regardless, it's still sweet in an awkward way. While Alex is still staring stunned, he runs away in embarrassment. Phil and Claire still have their eyes on the prize, but Luke is more in favour of tripping up Sanjay. Alex tells them what just happened. Claire and Phil assume that it's a psychological ploy. Alex is soon brought to their side, and decides not to "fall for it". Oh my god you guys this is going to be so tragic I can't watch poor Sanjay. If these are modern families, then modern families really are the worst. Gloria puts on her skimpy clothes and an attempt at a Southern accent, serving Jay steak and NASCAR. She's still mad about the customs thing, even though shit like that is why half the people upgrade from residency to citizenship in the first place. Currently, she doesn't want to move forward. Jay is completely weirded out, though he likes the shorts. Cam and Mitch finish their burgers and agree that they are still morally okay, through some incredibly convoluted reasoning. They walk out of the restaurant (wait for it) straight into a crowd of protestors. Like right-wingers at an abortion clinic, they leave the business they just benefited from and slip into the crowd to decry it. (The issue at hand, by the way, involves a SuperPAC that doesn't want to provide insurance for same-sex partners - something C&M didn't know until they joined the protest.) At that moment, though, the restaurant helpfully returns their cell phone and doggy bag. Everyone in the protest stares in shock. When C&M try to justify their purchase, everyone shuts them down immediately. You go, protestors. However, C&M do make the valid point that it's hard to boycott every business on the planet. Gloria angrily chops celery. Jay apologizes, but she is not having it. He admits that it all kind of goes back to Javier - they share a nationality, and he was hoping that if she and became American, it would establish them more strongly as a couple and a family - as illustrated by things like waiting in separate airport lines. Manny agrees. So Gloria agrees she'll become a citizen. In an interview, Manny says that he's just hoping his mom will become a citizen before Jay kicks the bucket, otherwise they'll owe a lot of estate taxes. The kids prepare for the race while all four idiot parents cheer them on and I schedule a tubal ligation posthaste. However, Sanjay refuses to run. Alex stops a few steps into the race and asks him what's going on (more hooting from the parents). He tells her his feelings are genuine, and he doesn't want to compete anymore. She admits she kinda likes him too. They get all ooey-gooey about each other. While all the parents minus Phil freak out, the two star-crossed lovers kiss. Awww. Even Claire gives in, though Phil wonders if they might not dial it back a bit. The principal declares them co-valedictorians and makes it pretty clear this was a total waste of time. The kids immediately begin to compete about who's the better kisser, a question only answered with more demonstrations. A voiceover narrates about America-the-land-of-diversity. Cam and Mitch are happy with their principles. The voice turns out to come from a customs line in an airport (I have literally never seen an American airport that does something like that). The customs officer is stunned that Gloria and Jay are married. Jay concludes that it's a great country. Tag scene - Gloria takes the citizenship test. It consists of two questions that almost anyone who knows of America's existence could answer, and the answer to one of them (the colour of the flag's stars) is literally right in front of Gloria. Naturally, she passes with 100%. Her reaction is something along the lines of "All that studying for THAT?!" Finally, the official asks her a third question, which Gloria can't answer. No take-backsies. (Here's a sad admission - I'd probably to better on the US citizenship test than the Canadian. Shame.) Anyway, this episode was actually pretty strong. Alex's story was a sharp skewering of modern parents with a funny twist. Gloria FINALLY got a good story, navigating the complexities of national identity (even if that one did resort to the occasional cheap shot). I also enjoyed the nature of protest, as explored by half-assed Cam and Mitch. No one really bombed this week, is all I'm saying. As this season draws to a close, some of these episodes are really improving in calibre. ...oh, no, this means they'll get another fucking Emmy, right? Ah well. FJ Discussion Thread  

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: Community 6.9 - Grifting 101

Chicken Scheme Part II, please? Well, a girl can ask. We open with old-timey pictures of Greendale accompanied by ragtime music. Our intrepid committee or whatever they are now is in the study room reading the new course catalog, which is full of your usual wacky classes. Annie is strangely excited for grifting class, which seems odd - wouldn't she be the one telling them not to commit crimes? Abed and Elroy are totally on, too. But Jeff is convinced that the class is nothing more than an excuse to grift. He should know, he did it as a career. They all claim he's just jealous and decide to take the class together, though the $150 required briefcase really should tip them off. We get a ragtime-style opening credits. It's fun. More old-timey pictures take us to Grifting 101. The professor, Roger Del Salvo (Matt Berry), gives a kickass speech, then makes them pass around briefcases for forty minutes. And buy more briefcases, along with other paraphernalia. Annie catches on fairly quickly, and the others are quick to follow. At lunch, the group goes to Jeff begging for his help. After some "I told you so", as well as some calling out of his friends on their lack of respect for him, Jeff ultimately refuses, saying that Roger is one of his own kind. However, this immediately turns on its head when he finds out that Roger is sharing his office and freely sampling from his liquor stash.  Jeff compliments him on his grifting ability, though Roger continues to deny that his class is a grift. They get into a discussion over whether Jeff's "lawyer scam" that got him sent to Greendale in the first place is a grift. Artistically offended, Jeff is now Team Anti-Roger. We also learn that Roger is more than a little looney-tunes. Despite being onto their prof, Annie and Abed still feel the need to do the required homework. Jeff announces that he's joined their side. They excitedly plan a grift of their own, though they announce it to the entire cafeteria so I'm not sure how well that will work. Briefcases in hand, the plan begins, with the usual ragtime opener. They start with a fake telegram about Elroy's dead aunt having her funds seized by "the government of Africa". Needless to say, Roger sees right through it, as well as the second grift underneath. He knows enough to pin this on Jeff. Looks like they are truly dealing with a professional. Roger meets Jeff in the staffroom, and knowing he is caught, Jeff declares a truce. However, within seconds Jeff is trying another grift. Again, Roger does not fall for it. Frankie comes in and tells everyone to quit drinking in the staffroom. Jeff agrees to stop grifting for realsies, but Roger is not falling for it. He goes to Britta's bar, where he learns that she and Jeff were once lovers and is quite impressed. However, little does he know that Britta is bait for another scheme... The group (and the audience) have serious trouble untangling their various grift attempts, but the consensus is that Roger took the bait. However, they have no plan from here, and must always stay several steps ahead. They yell at Jeff for not being better prepared. He tries to defend himself, but the group will not hear it. Also, Abed really loves The Sting and wants to have babies with it. Jeff throws a tantrum about his friends' abandonment. They decide to watch The Sting for ideas. They all hate it, because they can't follow the plot and Sting wasn't in it. Also, their resources are too limited to pull off a grift of that calibre. Abed suggests more grifting films, but everyone else wants to give up. Roger has been watching them in secret, and declares victory. Britta settles for the much more direct revenge of punching him in the face, then chases him down the hall. He falls down some stairs - which Chang immediately takes for another grift. The school has to settle for Roger's injuries, which pleases no one. Jeff and Roger argue about who's a bigger jerk. Britta is in tears. The Dean expels her. Everyone argues on her behalf, though Abed is most concerned with maintaining continuity. Roger leaves, and everyone else has a group hug. Iris out. Iris in to Roger, who speaks with Britta in private. It turns out they went in on a grift together, in order to get him to go away. Of course, the injuries are fake, though the expulsion is real. He suggests that she make use of her new grifting talents as a fresh start. Then they make out for some reason. Presumably another grift, but you think Roger would see through it. Who knows, maybe he does. He sings about being a grifter as he wheels through the hallway, but then he opens the briefcase. While he and Britta were making out, someone switched the cases, replacing it with fake money, which they probably didn't pay for in the first place. Abed and Britta gleefully mock him from the end of the hallway, then run off to the sound of more old-timey music. Roger tries to go after them, but is blocked by Leonrd, dressed as a bellboy and hauling a luggage cart full of briefcases. Several more students march through with briefcases. Roger spies Britta and tries to chase her. I don't know why he stays in the wheelchair - everyone appears to be in on this, anyway. Leonard cheerfully gives him the finger, more music plays, and our heroes triumph. For now. Finally, he does chase them on foot to the cafeteria. The group plays dumb, revealing that their cases are full of fake money. The cop summoned looks like he'd rather deal with literally anything else. Soon enough, people ask why a horribly injured man is on his feet fifteen minutes after getting a big settlement for it. The cop concludes that all they did was learn from the class. Roger argues that they're not actually grifting, because of some weird grifting principle. Jeff chimes in that the injuries were obviously fake. However, if Roger admits he was grifted, they are prepared to let it go. The group's grifting class money is refunded and everyone prepares to go for hot dogs. Chang admits that he was never in on it, though. Iris out. Tag scene - Jeff chats with the telegram guy, and it turns out telegram guy has a secret life we don't know about, mostly revolving around some kind of debt he owes to Jeff  - complete with cheesy '80s music. Okay, so I never want to hear the word "grift" again, but I did enjoy this episode. It did get a bit lost in untangling the plot, unlike some of Community's slicker episodes, but there's probably a point in this I missed somewhere. It moved at a great pace and featured some funny stuff, especially from Roger, who was the best one-episode character in a while. It hearkened back to the old days of the show, even if it wasn't quite as pitch-perfect. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I have a telegram. FJ Discusssion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 8.22 - The Commitment Determination

First off, massive apologies for the delay in updates. It's been a rough week. However, everything will be up-to-date by tomorrow. In the meantime, let's enjoy this season's finale. I hear it's going to be big. Dun dun DUN. We cut in on Sheldon and Amy sitting on the couch, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Cue a "wooooo" from the audience. It's their five-year anniversary, but Sheldon is pretty much focused on television. Amy's dismayed, to say the least. He accuses her of killing the mood. Yep, it's her fault, Sheldon. She accuses him of not being committed, though he counters that paying attention to a television series is a commitment in itself. Sheldon doesn't quite get it. Opening credits. Stuart is closing the store early, because he's invited himself to eat at Howie and Bernie's. Emily is still exhibiting serial killer tendencies, which somehow fails to repel Raj. Meanwhile, Penny and Leonard return from the farmers' market, sporting some fresh goat bites. Sheldon complains about his love life. Unsurprisingly, Penny is Team Amy, once she hears the whole story. Leonard is not much better at explaining, though he's much more sympathetic on the TV side of it. Meanwhile, Raj and Emily are also joining the Wolowitz-Rostenkowskis for dinner, where Raj expresses his concerns about Emily's macabre tastes. (Er, sex in a cemetery?) He wonders if the relationship should continue. Er, Raj, you're lucky you haven't been turned into a dress. Howard thinks they should stay together, not least because it's someone who will willingly have sex with Raj the handsome astrophysicist. Geez, this series. Raj points out that they're being hypocritical, as they haven't managed to kick out Stuart yet. Ooh, kinky. Sheldon and Penny argue about whose relationship is more stagnant, as neither of them seems to be moving forward. Sheldon wonders why they've been engaged for a year without setting a date. His friends make lame excuses, then tell him to shut up. Bernadette and Howard talk about tossing Stuart out onto the street, and finally decide they will do it tonight. Of course, Howard makes Bernie handle it. Meanwhile, Leonard wonders why they haven't picked a date. She challenges him to pick a date. They argue about wedding details for a few minutes, and come to an agreement, but Sheldon points out that there's still no date. Hmmm. Raj and Emily go for a picnic/fuckfest in a cemetery, which Raj is clearly not into. Emily, however, is extremely turned on. Sheldon gives a non-apology for being intrusive. However, Penny and Leonard are too wrapped up in their own problems to really pay attention. Penny wonders why they have to pick a date at all, because piece of paper =/= commitment and stuff. However, Sheldon thinks they're being ridiculous. So Penny tells Leonard she's free that night- and "Vegas isn't far away". At this momentous news, Sheldon even lets them sit in his spot for five whole minutes. Bernie and Howie try to kick Stuart out, but he's so damn nice that they can't quite bring themselves to do it. Meanwhile, Raj and Emily continue their macabre rendez-vous. Finally, Raj manages to start breaking up with Emily, saying "You're dark on the inside and I'm dark on the outside." However, he says "I love you" instead. Stuart reveals it's his birthday, ending the kicking-out for at least a few more days. Penny and Leonard speed towards a Vegas wedding chapel. "No surprises and no regrets," they say, without real conviction. Spurred by this, Leonard admits that he dilly-dallied with someone on the ship in the North Sea. Kinda. Penny accepts this kinda graciously. However, she never did anything similar, so Leonard is in the wrong. Also, she questions his sense of timing, which yeah, Leonard, what is with this sense of timing? They agree to move on and keep heading for Vegas. Reluctantly. Sheldon and Amy finally Skype, during which Sheldon starts to apologize. However, Amy tells him they're going on a break before he can finish. Awww. This is made doubly heartbreaking when Sheldon hangs up the conversation and pulls a ring from his desk drawer. AND THEN THE EPISODE ENDS THERE WHAT EVEN SADJAJPIQWJPSD:NJASFMDASK:"FSD. Okay, now that I've gotten over my pique, lets talk about the episode. I thought it held up pretty well, with a lot of devotion to the characters and relationships (even poor Raj). It wasn't very funny (though it had some moments), but it definitely contained all the drama worthy of a season finale. So the question is, what comes next? I guess we'll have to wait until September. FJ Discussion Thread    

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.20 - Let's Go Fly a Coot

So, the show has been renewed for two more years. Aren't you just SO excited. Couch gag: The Simpsons are penguins on an ice couch, except for Homer, who is a walrus (and eats them). Tasteless AND factually inaccurate! Milhouse has a surprisingly well-attended birthday party, over-the-top as many modern birthdays are - think gigantic bouncy castles and elaborate gift bags. Kirk admits that they sold their house to pay for the party. And yeah, it took me a minute to remember that the Van Houtens are back together (and have been for about a decade), as the show still treats them as divorced half the time. Homer decides they need to put a stop to the craziness once and for all. So he becomes a Birthday Party Grinch, at one point stealing petting zoo animals, accidentally-on-purpose convincing Flanders that it's time to build an ark. He even kidnaps Krusty in his Krusty look-a-like outfit...funny!...and then pretends to hang himself in front of the children? Okay, that's it. We need to have the entire Simpsons writing staff exiled to a desert island, or maybe reassigned to write for 19 Kids and Counting.  Marge is soon suspicious and wants to know if Homer is behind these birthday disasters. Homer, voice squeaky with helium, comes clean. And now we know exactly what Dan Castellaneta does to voice Arnie Pie in the Sky. Anyway, Homer laments about how over-the-top birthdays have become. Marge concedes that he has a point, but that those who make their livelihoods from these parties may not see it that way. Homer scoffs at this, but then a giant helicopter shows up. Big Birthday is watching you. Armed goons trap him in his living room and berate him for messing with the precious birthday complex. Yeah, turns out there's a huge conspiracy behind it all. Some guy who is way too into birthdays gives a very long and boring speech (apparently it's supposed to parody Network, but they're not doing it very well), demanding that Homer make restitution, or else his children will never have a birthday party again. "You're going to stay your current ages for the rest of your lives," says Marge sadly. This whole plot is stupid and we are stupider for watching it, you guys. However, the Big Birthday guy has a solution - he'll be allowed back into the fold of things if he hosts a birthday party for Rod Flanders. Oh, and it had better be good. Magical, even. It's held at the aviation museum, and despite Homer's desperate circumstances, he is incredibly grumpy about it. However, Rod gives him a great big hug (which does nothing to improve his mood). Abe Simpson's airforce buddies fly in on a vintage plane. Grampa has been in every military branch by this point, which of course the show lampshades. Sigh. The war buddies are dismayed at how Abe's son treats him, and vow to get even. Meanwhile, while playing with drones, Bart and Milhouse do their best to torment Todd. While they're laughing about it, Bart meets a beautiful blue-haired girl (run!). She is Milhouse's cousin Annika, who hails from the Netherlands and is played by Carice van Houten (who is not related to Milhouse in real life, that we know of). She is European, smokes e-cigarettes, and is instantly the object of Bart's affections. Homer escapes the birthday crisis only to be confronted with an army-geezers crisis. (Also, one of them has a voice suspiciously similar to Duffman. Grandpa Duff, perhaps?) He decides to fight them, but is easily defeated by a couple of finger flicks. Annika has progressed to openly offering to kiss a ten-year-old (no, really), and Bart has fallen totally under her spell. She has soon turned him into her errand boy. Of course, the Kwik-E-Mart has absolutely no problem with selling him tobacco. The geezers have forgiven Homer, and welcomed him and Abe into their circle. They go to a movie, where Homer spends literally a minute of the episode listing movies about dystopian futures. Writers, you are so banished to living with the Duggars. They sit through a parody of The Expendables, which is actually kind of funny, even if Homer misses most of it while taking Abe to the bathroom. Afterward, at the Veterans of Unpopular Wars Museum, where the geezers decide to set Homer straight. Held at gunpoint, Homer promises he'll be a better son. Oh my god, where is this episode even going. Marge and Luann catch Bart and Annika vaping. Homer and Abe are friends again, and can't be arsed to care about Bart's transgressions, especially since it is in the name of love. Bart is heartbroken that his new friend is going back to Holland. To cheer him up, Grampa tells him a story about the 1950s. Employed at the local air force base, young Abe was trying to win a pretty young waitress's heart. For whatever reason, Lisa takes over at this point. No worries, Grampa takes his story back in short order. He overheard that the new plane was a death trap, and that the authorities were trying to suppress this. Heroically (and possibly while on LSD), Abe took the plane for a test flight into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, it began to crash. Abe survived with a parachute, but the plane broke up in mid-air. He was picked up by Jack Kerouac, and accidentally ruined his writing career in the process (long story). Later, he did get together with the waitress, who turns out to be Mona Simpson. (Apparently Glenn Close voiced her, though she is almost unrecognizable, and certainly doesn't sound like Mona in previous episodes.) He tells Bart that the only way to win a woman over is to pretend to be someone he's not. Bart decides to make a grand gesture before her flight leaves. Bart finds her just as she's about to go through security. She's not receptive to his gesture, and in fact, he doesn't like her much either. He spills some e-cigs, the other passengers gratefully steal them, and Annika runs off muttering in Dutch. Bart tells Milhouse he's going to stay away from van Houtens for a while. Milhouse is delighted, since this means he'll get to marry a cousin - just like his parents did. Tag scene - the air force geezers leave. We never learned any of their names. At least Homer and Abe are getting along, these days. Homer takes his dad for a steak, but Abe can't chew it - so they melt it down and put it in an e-cigarette. Over Annika speaking Dutch, the end credits play. Well. That should have been three episodes. Any of those stories could have made a mediocre episode on their own, but instead they were crammed together. The story made no sense and there was no time for humour or even pathos.  It was honestly a bit of a waste of airtime. Apart from maybe a good line or two, there was just nothing there, especially with storylines we've plodded along with a thousand times before. This show has at least two seasons left - but considering what they've been producing lately, I'm not so sure that was a great idea. FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Once Upon A Time 421: Mother

Sharper Than A Dragon’s Tooth In honor, I suppose, of upcoming Mother’s Day, this week’s episode explores intricate, complicated mother-daughter relationships as only Once…. can. In the Enchanted Forest (EF) past, Queen Regina and her father come upon a wedding taking place on palace grounds. As always, Regina looks fierce in her Evil Queen regalia, but since it’s the anniversary of Daniel’s death, Regina is not amused. When Regina is not amused, things do not go well, particularly—in this case—for the groom. (And for her father who has to walk home.) Ooh, Cora’s back!! (Not Rose McGowan Cora, Barbara Hershey Cora) In New York City present, Regina and Robin brood over scotch. Regina is mad that Robin had sex with someone he believed to be his wife. And finally, FINALLY Robin shows concern for his son—because having a dead mother, an ex-dead mother, and then a mother who’s not really your mother can have an effect on a kid. Regina waves away Robin’s worries by mentioning a forgetting potion. With the Roland situation conveniently handled (and where is that kid, by the way?), Robin inquires about the possibility of he and Regina getting back together. Regina tells him he is now tied to Zelena forevah!! (Has she had a pregnancy test? I want proof.) In the Hood apartment, Zelena feels the baby kick. That is NOT proof enough for me, missy. Also, she is not sorry that she killed Neil. (I’m not either, Zel.) And the gang heads back to Storybrooke. In Storybrooke, the Author discovers bagels. Hook barges in to taunt Gold about his inability to hurt anyone (‘cause of the black heart and all) and about Emma not going to the dark side. And we get a little more of the Gold’s plan. The ink for the book has to contain dark Emma’s blood. Well, that’s highly unsanitary. The New York contingent returns to Storybrooke to a warm welcome from the Charmings, Hook, and Henry. Emma’s a little stand-offish to her parents, which upsets them. Maleficent (Mal) and Lily meet for the first time. In the EF past, Cora apologizes to Regina for killing Daniel (and seems just about as sorry as Zelena was for killing Neil). Cora vows to help Regina find her true love, Robin Hood. In Storybrooke, Regina has de-magicked Zelena and locked her in the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest ward (where that nurse is still at reception and that tall guy is still mopping.) Zelena is unafraid of Regina’s wrath because, as she tells Madam Mayor, Regina wouldn’t want Robin to know that Regina killed the mother of his child. I don’t know what game Zelena has been watching, but Regina DID kill the mother of Robin’s child. And Robin seems fine with that. At Gold’s shop, Gold removes his cold, black heart. Why doesn’t he just leave it out? I bet that would make him feel a little better. But no, he shoves it back in when Regina enters. Regina takes advantage of his weakness and grabs the quill. In the EF past, Cora goes bar hopping. She’s looking for Robin Hood but instead finds the Sheriff of Nottingham. In Storybrooke at the Mills mausoleum, the Author and Regina discuss negatively charged ink. (WTF with this storyline?) The Author gives my Favorite Speech of the Episode: To Regina: “You’ve always been a favorite of mine: very clear goals plus totally damaged personality with a self-destructive streak? A recipe for compelling. Out of all the characters I’ve written for, you really do get screwed over the most.†Hee. The Author, it turns out, has done some “experimental writing†which resulted in the image of Robin and Regina kissing. And, because he is an opportunist if there ever was one, he agrees to write Regina’s happy ending once they get their evil-infused ink. At Granny’s, Mal gushes over Lily but refuses to waste time getting revenge on the Charmings. Lily is NOT on board with this plan. She makes some unkind comments about her mother’s sense of style and leaves to find a way out of town. At Mary Margaret’s (MM) loft, Mal pleads with MM and David to get Lily to stay in town. In the EF past, Cora poufs up a Cinderella dress for Regina and arranges a meeting with “Robin Hood†who is the Sheriff of Nottingham in disguise. It does not go well. (Although it goes better than it did for that groom in the first scene.) The Sheriff tells Regina that Cora wants Regina to have a child. At the Storybrooke bus stop, Regina sits down next to Lily and tries to discuss Lily’s “receptacle-for-Emma’s-evil†situation reasonably. Failing that, she slices Lily’s hand to get some evil blood for the ink. I think Lily’s gonna need some stitches. Or maybe it’s her eyes that need attention first. They go all monster-glowy. On the Storybrooke waterfront, we finally get a scene with Emma and Hook alone! …And we are disappointed. It’s a “make-up-with-your-parents†preachy scene. Well, I guess that’s sweet of you, Hook, but I was expecting a more “enthusiastic†welcome home. Meanwhile, the Charmings and Mal hunt for Lily and find her humongous dragonized self. There’s a bit of a battle but really, who thinks three people can conquer a dragon? (And why doesn’t Mal dragonize herself to even things out?) MM gets tossed against a rock and sustains a head injury after which Lily flies off. Why doesn’t she finish the job? I thought she wanted MM and David dead. Here was her chance, but she just leaves? Plot hole, people. Mal runs after her. Oh, it looks like Hook’s morality lesson of the day is done because here comes Emma to fix her mother’s head and then take Hook’s advice and make up with her parents. Mal finds dragon Lily who turns back into herself. Mal gives Lily the old Goth rattle that had been intended for her baby self. Lily laments that her mother is not “this scary dragon bitch†and says she’s afraid to have a relationship with Mal because of she’s let everyone down. Mal convinces Lily to hang around Storybrooke for a while. In the EF past, Regina and Cora argue about faux Robin and the need for Regina to have an heir for her evil dynasty. Regina thinks that’s a dodgy plan (as are all her mother’s plans) in which Regina will birth a baby and then die a “mysterious†death and Cora will act as regent wielding all the power. Regina seems to feel that the only way to avoid this is to drink a potion which will make her barren. I guess there’s no birth control in the EF? That would explain Robin’s predicament, I guess. Yes, Cora is evil, but now she gives Regina the best words of wisdom I’ve heard in a long time: “The only one standing in the way of your happiness is you.†She would have made a good guest on Oprah. In Zelena’s cell, she’s got company! Regina and the Author pay a visit. Regina thinks she’s got the upper hand because she’s got the ink and the Author will simply write Zelena out of the story. But Zelena has the perfect put-down for Regina: “you’re just like our mother!†Ouch. It works. Regina, remembering her mother’s words, decides to leave Zelena alone. Doofus Robin, who’s apparently been looking “all over the place†for Regina, enters Zelena’s cell. Zelena goes feminist about Regina’s happy ending relying on a man. Regina counters that her happiness isn’t a man it’s “finding her own place in the world†and Robin is just a perk. The Author, miffed now that no one wants him to write anything, magicks himself back to a partnership with Gold. Things I noticed this week:   Now that they’re in the same scene, I see that the actresses who play Mal and Lily look alike. More good casting, show!
The Sheriff of Nottingham actor is channeling Alan Rickman as Severus Snape.
Hook is woefully underused. And where is Will?
What have you noticed? Discuss in the forum: http://www.freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13046&sid=4078d4196e519a1583f09c488785277e&start=80

jinjy2

jinjy2

 

Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 7.11 - Lost Horizon

WAAHHHH I CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS YOU GUYS IT'S COMING TO AN END. Seriously just when it's starting to get good we're winding down. Still, the title sounds tantalizing - let's see what's next for our beloved, beloved characters. Previously on: SC&P goes down, Peggy looks for a job, everything is awesome, Joan gets harassed and is increasingly annoyed, everyone walks out on the partners' entitled asses. Opening credits - why is Henry Francis credited in every episode when he's been in about 0.5 seconds of this season? Weiner co-writes, Abraham directs. Don turns up at McCann Ericson, where everyone has just moved. Meredith is still his loyal dimbulb secretary. He's also moving into a new apartment, so life is just full of changes. Meredith hands him an envelope with some money, and Anna Draper's ring. Don also has an upcoming visit with Sally, an occasion always ripe for dramatic gold. Meanwhile, Harry and Roger supervise the clearing-out of the old office. They discuss their new asssignments - Harry has done quite well, but Roger makes it clear he wants nothing to do with him anyway. Roger hears that Shirley is leaving for another job, and is quite upset to see a talented secretary go. "Advertising is not a comfortable place for everyone," says Shirley delicately, before wishing him a very sincere good luck. Joan meets with two copywriters, who have been placed on all the "female" products and want to join her accounts. Joan is both impressed and flattered by their get-go, and recommends that they talk to Peggy. They invite her to their women's club at the Oyster Bar, assuring her "It's not Women's Lib". Peggy goes to her office only to find a guy there, who did not move over to McCann and is poaching some long-distance phone calls while he waits out his time. We also learn that Dow is kaput - thanks, Kenny. Don meets with his bosses, who fawn over him (though one apparently thinks he's just like Nixon). Oh, yeah, and Conrad Hilton's one of their clients, so yay for that. They dub him the "white whale" they've been longing for for years, so they tell him they expect great things - and will help them in any way to make it happen. Don looks like a king sitting upon his throne. Joan is in a meeting with some execs, but her male colleague keeps stepping all over her, even though she's clearly doing the better job (at one point he asks a wheelchair-bound exec to play a round of golf). She chews out Dennis for being an idiot, but he calls her out for being a woman with a brain. "I thought you were gonna be fun," he whines, prompting Joan to make the expression in that picture. Peggy is home alone watching TV when Marsha from work arrives at her door. However, this is tempered when Marsha explains that the flowers are for all the secretaries - they've mistaken her for one of them. Though Marsha assures her that proper arrangements are on that way, she does make the mistake of telling her that she can work in the pool until then. Wow. Just wow. Peggy rightly takes umbrage and tells them she won't arrive at McCann until she has an office. Don runs into Joan in the elevator and invites her for a drink, because apparently they're back to being Work Besties again. It's pretty clear that Joan has been pushed out and is feeling a bit adrift. Meanwhile, Meredith finds Don a new apartment. And hey, baby-doll dresses are now in fashion. Pete is unaware of how unimportant Joan has become, and self-importantly tells her he'll help out. Joan, meanwhile, brings some suggestions to Fergus, who is surprisingly receptive to her concerns about Dennis. This is all going to backfire, right? Peggy arrives back at her office, where Weirdo Coworker is still lurking, apparently making phone calls to Japan. As they're debating whether they should make fun of Dow as a parting shot or not, the lights go off. Weirdo Coworker promptly walks out on the agency. Before he leaves, though, he takes the opportunity to make a pass at Peggy and put on a cool baseball cap. Rock on, Weirdo Coworker, rock on. Don is jarred when he arrives at the Miller beer meeting to find an environment far more relaxed (and populated) than he's used to. The pitch, given by Bill Phillips (son of Duck?) is full of buzzwords and not quite what Don would gel with. Don stares pensively towards the Empire State Building, because symbolism, and then walks out. Fergus tells Joan that she's getting too big for her britches, because Dennis (though technically her junior) won't "work for a girl", because it hurts his image and stuff. She is super pissed, though Fergus does respect her talents and gives lip service to honouring them. He suggests the two of them go to Atlanta to suck up to the insulted exec - which is of course a thinly veiled excuse to attempt to bone her. Fortunately, she manages to talk him down to lunch with the exec next week, in New York. For now. Just a review, Ferg- I can't wait for the inevitable Revenge of Joan spinoff. Frankly, it seems like McCann absorbed the entire agency just to get Don. You guys, BETTY'S BACK, studying a textbook on Freud. Don arrives to find that Sally has already gotten a ride to school with a friend, so his services are no longer needed. They have progressed to Friendly Exes by now. Don notices that her back is hurting and gives her a shoulder rub. He makes a joke about college freshmen which really makes me wonder what the hell is going on with Henry. She tells Don how happy she is with what she's doing. He says goodbye to "Birdie" fondly. Back at the office, Peggy is still staging her sit-in and spills a ton of coffee. Joan and Richard are still a thing. He keeps urging her to run away with him, but she reminds him that her life is tying her down. She admits to him that she's feeling trapped, but the half a million dollars is keeping her going. He not-so-subtly suggests bringing in the Mob. Joan doesn't really want to do it, but she still thinks it's kinda hot. Don takes the longest drive home from upstate New York. While listening to the radio, he hears a radio DJ who sounds suspiciously like Bert Cooper, and THERE IS BERT HIMSELF as a hallucination in the front seat. See, Don took a bit of a detour, and he's now headed to Wisconsin in search of that blasted waitress. Yeah, that's happening. Bert philosophizes about America and shiny cars. We love you, Bert. Peggy gets a call saying that she's got her office. Delighted, she's about to head over when she hears some scary noises in the abandoned SC&P and is impregnated by a pair of Satanic neighbours  runs into Roger, who is just playing some horror movie music on a synthesizer. They decide that, in light of the circumstances, they should have one last drink in the old office. Ooh, this is going to be interesting. Joan gets some flowers from Ferg, which is not appreciated. Meanwhile, the office is starting to wake up to Don's absence, having missed several meetings. Um, anyone who's seen Season Two would not be alarmed like this, we all know Don needs to have his run-around-and-fuck time to be creative. Wait a couple more weeks and he'll come back talking about wheels and memories. So Don arrives in East Bumfuck Nowhere. Back at the ranch, Peggy and Roger have fun drinking, though Peggy is getting bored and wants to leave. Roger gives her Bert's hentai painting for her office, which is actually kind of sweet. This is a suitable bribe to get her to stay a little longer. They've never really interacted before this, which Peggy lampshades. Roger whines about being on the old man's floor, and the heartless ways of advertising. The drinks continue to get poured. Roger gets into telling war stories, and compares it to their courage now. They toast in the ruins of Sterling Cooper and Partners. Oh god I love this scene. Don knocks on some lady's door. He poses as Bill Phillips, and pretends she's won a contest involving Miller beer. Seriously, what the fuck are you doing, Don? We find out that she is the second wife of Diana's ex-husband. She invites him in, because no one can resist the Draper Powers. Diana's daughter is also there, and demands to have whatever it is her mother has won. Joan goes to the fancy office to meet the Big Kahuna, Jim. They are still creepily informal while only superficially handling complaints, telling Joan to get used to her new, lower status. In their world, half a million dollars buys lunch, so they tell her to put up or shut up. She plays the women's lib card, threatening to complain about harassment and bring the ACLU on her side. GO JOAN YOU KICK ASS. Unfortunately, this goes nowhere, especially since McCann has so much media stake. He offers to buy her out. She takes her stand. BOOM, fired. Okay, I saw this coming, but let's all have a fit over Joan leaving anyway.     Diana's ex comes home, immediately sees through his bullshit and calls him out on it. Don admits he lied, then runs into another lie, saying that he's from a collection agency and needs to know Diana's whereabouts. Unfortunately, he knows nothing more specific than "New York". Don's search is fruitless. However, the ex sees through this as well, saying that Don is not the first to come looking for her, as Diana is apparently something of a man-killer. The ex also uses this moment to try to convert Don to Jesus, which is not exactly the best moment, you dumb fundie. Roger plays the synthesizer while Peggy drunkenly rollerskates around the office. This is officially the greatest scene in Mad Men history. Don drives back to New York, smoking madly. Between Don, Roger, Peggy and Joan, Jim wonders what the hell is going on with Sterling Cooper's people. While he's cussing out "that redhead", Peggy wanders down the hall with dark glasses, the hentai painting, and the greatest smug look you've ever seen. Joan goes to see Roger, who can do nothing for her. He advises her to take the suggested severance and leave, rather than be left with nothing. He can vouch for the boss. Finally, she takes the deal, coldly walking out. God bless you, Joanie, patron saint of career women everywhere. Don drives along some country backroad, where he picks up a hitchhiker. We learned he's in Minnesota, so apparently he has no intention of turning back. That's right, you guys, Don Draper has officially left the building. The first lyric over the end credits is "this is ground control", and Don is heading west, so...ahem... IT'S DB COOPER YOU GUYS DON IS DB COOPER. Anyway, next week - Betty and Henry have trouble, Sally gets an unexpected visitor, Pete goes somewhere he's not wanted. The house of cards has already started to collapse. Amazing. Clearly, both Don and Joan are on their way out. Of course Don is going to have a grand adventure, that is so the way this should end. I adored the Peggy and Roger Cavalcade of Whimsy, and also thought the whole transition was handled in a fascinating way. Things are heating up, y'all. Two more episodes - oh god, how will we ever survive it? FJ Discussion Thread

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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 6.21 - Integrity

Considering that Integrity is the name of a very famous LGBT Episcopalian organization, I assume this will be about Cam and Mitch moving to Connecticut, drinking sherry and playing polo, right? Manny has had a bad day, because the girl he likes has found someone else. Jay tells him to buck up. If you ask me, Rico Rodriguez needs to join Nolan Gould in acting school again. Jay also discovers that Gloria had Joe's toenails painted, to which he reacts in a typical old-man way. Gloria of course has no time for this nonsense, telling him to go help Phil pick up Lily's princess castle from Cam and Mitch's - Joe is now about to inherit it. Jay wisely doesn't quibble, but he does roll his eyes when Manny wanders by muttering about lavender bath beads. Cue a bad pun. Well, that's a promising start to the episode. (Not.) Phil is about to buy an original Ms. Pac-man, and not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited for him. Ms. Pac-man was awesome. It's also awards day at school. Alex is super-excited, and Claire for her, though she worries about the other children feeling bad. After all, Mitchell is clearly inferior to her. Speaking of which, Cam and Mitch are sad because their upstairs neighbour has passed away. However, they're not too sad to preclude buying the geezer's apartment. Also, Cam wants another baby, so they'll need the space soon. He thinks Mitch doesn't want it, but Mitch is totally on the same page (and also thinks Cam is not on board). So we're Gift of the Magi-ing through this episode. Both girls distinguished themselves at the Dunphy kids' high school, but Luke is so nondescript that the principal has no idea he exists, even when Claire arrives to talk about him. She's here to beg the principal to give him some awards, because she has no shame and the era of the Helicopter Mom is alive and well. The principal rightly tells her that it's not possible, but does try to console her by mentioning that Luke was in the running for the Integrity Award. Again, Claire begs, but then realizes what an asshole she's being and leaves the office in embarrassment. But not without trying to bribe the principal. Haley has her first day off in a month, but is called in by her boss to bring an orchid to the office. As usual, the boss is a demanding, condescending douche, making her go reserve him a parking spot near his favourite food truck (by standing there) and completely ruining her day. Gloria, who has come along for the ride, is really pissed off on Haley's behalf, but keeps quiet for now. While Haley is standing around being a human traffic cone, Gloria shows up to make her feel better. She reveals that she has gotten back at the boss by stealing his flower. Of course, Haley is horrified, knowing that she'll get fired because her aunt is on a dumb crusade. To make matters worse, the boss pulls up just then. Claire is still pissed about the award. When she sees the true winner pull up behind her, she decides to get her revenge. Once he's gone, she BACKS INTO HIM in order to frame him and display his lack of integrity. Um, FUCK NO. What a stupid, selfish CUNT. You can cost that kid a bucket of money, ruin his insurance, and even get him CRIMINALLY CHARGED for that. Yeah, I'm going to go apeshit because even for Claire, this is a new low. Bitch. Okay, all she did was push him into a handicap spot so he would get a ticket, but still, Jesus FUCK. Cam and Mitch babysit little Joe and try to pretend to each other that they totally don't want another baby. Lily watches jealously. Finally, they admit to each other that they want to do this. One adoption coming up in...(checks how much longer the season will last) three episodes, tops! Jay and Phil drive the princess castle over to Jay's, but Phil is strangely silent. Jay wonders what's going on. Phil tearfully confesses the story of Ms Pac-man. Jay counsels compromise to keep his wife happy. However, he has also been feeling henpecked, so the two of them decide to fuck compromise. Phil is getting that game come hell or high water, and orders it on his phone before anyone's thought it through. Unfortunately, at this moment the castle falls off their truck. It's too damaged to ever use. Jay wants to quickly rebuild it before their wives find out, but riding on the spirit of "no compromise", Phil decides they'll have to be straight with them. It turns out Claire is actually on board with the Ms Pac-man thing, so no compromise needed. Also, Gloria has been planning all along to turn the princess castle into a pirate castle, because Joe's a boy (um, I can think of at least two things wrong here). Meanwhile, little Joe turns out to be a demon, running around and destroying his brother and brother-in-law's home and possessions. Even so, Cam and Mitchell are still claiming it's cute, and still want another baby. However, then Joe ruins the precious white couch, as well as a fancy bowl, and it gets harder and harder to pretend. Finally, they admit that they like their current lives and maybe want to rethink the baby business. Lily mentions that Joe's stuck in a well. Cam and Mitch decide to leave him there. Haley puts the flower back in the office, while Gloria berates her for actually caring about her job. Haley flips the fuck out and tells her that she has to be a doormat, because she doesn't have a rich husband to fall back on. Ooh, kitty has claws. Unfortunately, while this is going on, she uses the word "jackass" to describe Gavin just as he walks in. Looks like Haley's fashion career is over. Thanks, Gloria. She decides to give him an angry phone call, but Gloria stops her, saying that there's a time to hold back. Her own temper has gotten her into trouble more times than she can count. She says she will straighten it out. So she goes into Gavin's office and threatens him with what sounds like Mob connections. Stay classy, Gloria. Haley goes back to being a happy doormat once again. Luke wins the stupid award and Claire pretends to be surprised. Not an ounce of shame. However, Luke is very pissed off, because it's a nerd award and you get bullied for it. (The award's name is "Boniface", but because Americans can't pronounce "Boniface" properly, it immediately gets skewered to "Bonerface".) Also, everyone knows that someone pushed the other guy's car, which makes me wonder why they changed the winner in the first place. Luke thinks Manny did it, and Manny reveals that Luke stole his girl, so they get into a badly-acted fight. Alex struts around bragging about all the awards she won. Claire finally admits her treachery. Luke is mortally offended that his mother rigged a competition for him, as any sane child would be. Luke is still in a bad mood, because he actually doesn't want to date the object of Manny's affections, but doesn't want to break Manny's heart, even. Claire tells him how proud she is while Alex bemoans that she's still neglected, even when she does something right. Free Alex, you guys, Free Alex. The castle is nearly complete, but the guys are getting frustrated with the building process. Joe absolutely loves it, though, even though it's still princess-themed. Unfortunately, the minute he steps into it, the structure collapses (he's okay). Jay blames Joe, Gloria yells at Jay, and finally the guys are forced to come out with the truth. Alex narrates about the help of family and moral decisions. We flash back to Alex presenting the award while Luke protests. Tag scene - Alex wins everything and acts like Queen of the Universe about it. She may be neglected by her family, but damn if I don't want to kick her ass sometimes. I felt this episode meandered quite a bit, despite having a central theme. Not a lot of it was funny, but there were some good moments featuring Gloria, and featuring Joe at his brother's house. Ultimately, it skimmed these ideas without really delving into them, so it was a fairly thin stretch. The best Modern Family episodes can balance several stories and let them run alongside each other. This week's wasn't it. FJ Discussion Thread    

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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 8.23 - The Maternal Combustion

Leonard's mom is about to arrive, along with Sheldon's, to see them receive a huge award. This is also known as "the Apocalypse". Penny is worried that her potential mother-in-law hates her, while Amy wonders how both the mothers will get along. Sheldon is convinced they'll be best friends, since he's seen the genius + kind simpleton thing work before. Cue a glare from Leonard. Opening credits. Mary Cooper is of course bursting with pride, even if she doesn't quite understand her son or his work. She's also still one step removed from being snarked on at FJ. Sheldon warns her to "keep the Bible babble to yourself" while Beverly Hofstadter is visiting. She not-so-subtly declares him a sinner. Meanwhile, Beverly berates Leonard for not organizing a wedding, and probes for an answer - including questions about their sex life. This is gonna be awesome guys. As it turns out, Leonard is just as worried about the Meeting of the Mothers as Sheldon is. Beverly assures him that she can handle anyone, even people from East Texas. So they meet and it's awkward and everyone is trying to take a step back from themselves. Let's cut to Howard and Bernadette and see how they're doing. Oh look, there's Stuart. In his underwear. Along with Howard. In his underwear. Bernadette should just give up. As usual, the mothers are getting along great with the opposite sons. Beverly tries to analyze Mary, which Mary takes to very easily, since it involves telling adorable Sheldon stories. (Note: "yellowcake from Chad" does not mean "Twinkies from a friend".) "Sounds like Sheldon was a handful," says Beverly drily, before putting down her son one more time. Howard, Stuart, and special guest Raj lie on the couch playing video games all day. Bernadette berates them for being unproductive. She forces them into cleaning the house, so that they may behave like adults for once. This is met with general uproar, but they go with it. Penny arrives at the apartment, to a frosty reception from Beverly and a warm one from the woman who is not about to become her mother-in-law. Sheldon doesn't help things. Leonard takes him aside to tell him to STFU. Sheldon doesn't quite get it. He is summarily dubbed a "double mother suckler". Back in the living room, the mothers are finally at odds, though as Penny points out, "You both believe in bearded Jewish guys." Beverly is particularly vicious, wondering out loud how Sheldon could ever have been born to someone as "backward" as Mary. I'm Team Mary here, and so should most sane people be. Leonard and Sheldon exit the bedroom arguing. Raj, Howard and Stuart clean the apartment top to bottom, all while discussing how much Bernadette does and how pampered Howard is. Howard tries to prove his manliness by taking out the trash, but winds up spilling it and calling Bernie for help. Beverly goes for coffee with Sheldon and apologizes for her treatment of his mother. He, of course, sides with her, pointing out that he is the only smart one in his family, while Leonard is the relative dullard. Meanwhile, Leonard is complaining to Mary, who assures him that his mother loves him "in a cold, Godless way". Mary says she'll apologize to Beverly, in the spirit of "turn the other cheek". She then offers to cook spaghetti and hot dogs, though Leonard thinks he doesn't deserve it. Bernadette comes home to a clean kitchen, though it's not as clean as it seems, considering that his shoes are sticking to the floor. Back at the apartment, they reach a tense truce, with the academic "fuck you" of "I respect your beliefs" and the fundie "fuck you" of "I'll pray for you". Beverly even mentions that she's had a change of heart, prompted by Sheldon, and will now offer Leonard unconditional love. She even offers a spontaneous hug. Tag scene - Howard and crew scrub the floor, inch by inch, singing "It's a Hard-Knock Life". Surprisingly, they know all the words and even the beat. It's a great way to end an episode. Christine Baranski killed it. Simple as that. Laurie Metcalfe was also excellent, with some truly WTF lines to handle. The episode pretty much lived up to its premise, which is a tough task. The other plot was basically nothing, except for that killer final scene. It was a great encounter, and gave us some insight into the lead characters - but mostly, it worked as a vehicle for the always-popular Duelling Actresses. Will the season finale next week be as much fun? Find out on Worldly Distractions. FJ Discussion Thread

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Worldly Distractions: Community 6.8 - Intro to Recycled Cinema

This sounds Abed-heavy, and when anything is Abed-heavy, well...     We open with a stereotypical ham commercial, featuring a bland housewife in a perfectly immaculate kitchen. The housewife looks and sounds strangely like Britta, despite not being Britta. (We all knew she'd go suburban in the end.) Kind of like "Too Many Cooks", Chang suddenly appears to look creepy at the window, but spouting a ham-related catchphrase instead. Apparently, Chang's catchphrase has gone viral, with countless copycat videos, and he is currently doing a media blitz. He's even trying to parlay an acting career out of it. A talk show host asks him how he went from community college teacher to Internet sensation. He dismisses his experiences (and friends) there outright, saying that they were cruel and dismissive. The study group watches this with some annoyance. The Dean vows to have his car towed. Opening credits. They share a bitter toast to Chang's new fame. Elroy wonders if it will last, which Jeff scoffs at. Frankie points out that Chang's absence will lower their insurance premiums, but the Dean is still bitterly hurt, since they poured so much into Chang in the first place. Abed, who is less distressed about this than the others, mentions that he and Chang were making a movie together before all this happened. When everyone realizes that Abed made Chang sign a release form, and so the movie starring "Ham Girl-Guy" belongs to them, their eyes light up. The movie turns out to be a terrible police drama, written by actual (untalented) cops. Frankie brings in her friend Maury (Steve Guttenberg), a film producer who advises them to cut it into a feature-length film in order to secure distribution rights. Apparently, this is fairly common with low-budget films starring breakout actors. Abed refuses due to artistic integrity. However, it can no longer be a police drama, as the police are decidedly unpopular right now. Elroy breaks out some his old alien models, and boom, it's a space movie. However, Abed still doesn't want to change the film. They berate and cajole and float the money in front of him until he finally gives in, with creative veto. Jeff is cast as the star, and they plan the fastest, most slapdash film shoot this side of Ed Wood. So we get the opening credits of "Chief Starr and the Raiders of the Galaxy", which is composed of both Chang's footage and some of the bloopers. Britta is the female lead, playing Princess Meridian/Brittana, the daughter of Jeff, the Mayor of Outer Space. Everyone has insane makeup, with the prize going to Jeff's fake eyebrows. Seriously, look at the top pic in this recap, they're glorious. The acting is on a par with The Room, and so is everything else, for that matter. Abed keeps trying to adjust this like a normal film, which the rest of the group fights tooth and nail. The Dean, cast as the back of Chang like some kind of Bela Lugosi stand-in, is quietly pushed to the side. We then see a space battle designed by the creators of ReBoot while drunk, intercut with a line or two from Chang. Annie, looked rather fetching in a Skimpy Space Outfit, comes in brandishing a gun. She is a pleasure droid/assassin/also Jeff's daughter. They go after Chief Starr. I dunno, guys, this doesn't have quite the same charm as the Kickpuncher remake. [embed] [/embed] Abed keeps complaining that his friends don't care about the movie, so Jeff takes him aside. Using an extended metaphor about his workouts and Chris Pratt, he tells Abed that his work will never be done, so he might just as well settle. It's hard to take him seriously in that wig. Abed is inspired anew. Lifting directly from 2001, they film more scenes on sets that were clearly not built in a weekend, even if they are made of tinfoil. Chief Starr goes to what is essentially the Star Wars cantina, where he meets the bartender, Minotaur Man (Elroy), who gives him some protective items to fight against the Raiders. Actually, the Chang intercutting is done kind of brilliantly. Kudos, Abed. Fighting keeps breaking out in the bar, leading Elroy to comment that this is the "space version of the Wild West", something that I'm sure has never been tried before. When the shot is done, Abed looks like he's about to explode, but Jeff encourages him to move forward with his best glare. They move on to a firefight in the hallway, which is again covered in tinfoil. In the midst of it, Annie and Britta are arguing about improvisation, feminism, and paying rent. They also keep making up random plotlines and running with them in the middle of filming. If this episode isn't some kind of tribute to Ed Wood, I don't know what it is. Jeff, Britta and Annie wind up in a trash chute about to get crushed, while Jeff and Annie accidentally start an incestuous storyline, because the actors temporarily forgot their characters were related. "Like Chinatown in space," the producer declares, overjoyed with the final product. More random movie moments (you can tell everyone had a blast making this shit up). At one point, Dracula appears, played by Leonard, who may or may not also be Emperor Palpatine. Chief Starr is shot by a blaster, gives a bizarre deathbed speech, and finishes out the movie to rapturous applause from its audience. Expect the sequel in Summer 2017. The producer goes to get it ready for premiere while Abed does the final edits. This devolves into a long argument about whose scenes should be cut, which leads to Jeff absconding with the laptop. While watching a YouTube video about editing basics, Jeff finds Abed has snuck into the Frisbee room with him. He casually threatens to kill him and goes back to the video. When Abed gently persists in trying to take back the laptop, they get into a physical fight. That's right guys - Jeff is not just a douche, he is the kind of monster who will beat up freakin' Abed. Jeff reflects that he's acting out because he just realized that Abed is talented, and that he will likely be the last to leave Greendale, despite being its most contemptuous student. (He's also weirdly obsessed with Chris Pratt.) Abed decides that filmmaking reflects life - it's messy and there are no guarantees. However, there are moments, like Annie reaching down her shirt, which make it worthwhile. They hug like brothers and Jeff tells him he can cut the scene. H0wever, there remains the question of 30 seconds that still need to be added... Cut to a screening, where the Chief's death speech is interrupted by Jeff taunting him in hell, along with an alien played by Gareth. The audience eats it up. However, the distributor won't touch it, due to some kind of copyright snafu - plus Chang's star is fading anyway. The rest of the study group goes in for a group hug, and thus we fade out on this episode. Meanwhile, Chang is passive-aggressively fired for mouthing off to an unseen Steven Spielberg. He is immediately replaced by Randall Park of "Fresh Off the Boat" fame. Chang slips back into the study room one day and is accepted back without a word. That's showbiz, kid. The filmmaking episodes are always quite strong, and this was one of their best efforts, mostly due to the baffling yet strangely compelling efforts their collaboration produced. It must have been a riot to put together, and the cast and crew's enthusiasm shows. Between the absolutely stunning exploration of kitsch and the way they incorporated the story's Chang-related fame, it played very effectively. Chalk this one up as a triumph. FJ Discussion Thread 

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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.18 - The Kids Are All Fight

Yeah, yeah, another Simpsons episode. This week we get to go back in time! Again. To Bart and Lisa's early childhood! Again. It's hard to get enthusiastic this far into the game. Come on, writers, wow me. We actually get real opening credits! Chalkboard: Lisa writes the words, "I will not pay my sister to do my punishment". Bart watches. Lisa plays the harp in the school band this time. The couch gag shows the Simpsons as pegs playing the Game of Life, hitting such squares as "unexpected pregnancy", "lose hair", and "descent into alcoholism". In the end, though, they finally get to their couch. At Moe's, a suited-up Homer offers to pay off his bill, damn near killing Moe. He goes through his pockets, coming up with odd items, both from past seasons and from off-the-wall adventures we never heard from. One of these items is an old film roll. Carl mentions that most film developers are closed. However, Moe says that the bar can function as a darkroom, so they develop it. With Duff beer. Shudder. Homer summons his family to look at the photos, which were taken about six years before. Most of them are of the kids fighting. Marge wonders why Homer didn't step in, Bart why they fought so much, and Lisa how they resolved their differences (kinda). So guess what, it's time for a story. Bart and Lisa are little hellions who can't stop attacking each other, which is probably a side effect of being 4 and 2 respectively. Homer tries to reason with Bart, but the child is too frightened of his infamous clown bed to listen. (You know the one.) The fighting continues, and it's really boring. We do get a funny 2001 parody, though. Marge tells the kids that she lost a lot of sleep during that difficult period. Past-Marge asks her husband to help her find answers. The child psychiatrist condemns Bart while praising Lisa, saying their differences are too great to ever be overcome. More fighting, and some Miami Vice hair courtesy of Flanders. We even get Maude's first appearance in ages. The Flanderses can see that Homer and Marge are having trouble at home, so they invite the couple to lunch, presumably to lecture them on the principles of blanket training. Grandma "Hello, Joe!" Flanders, perhaps even more religious than her son (wait, wasn't his mom a freaky beatnik?), is horrified at the Simpson kids' lack of morality. In her shock, she kicks the bucket. Homer and Marge get caught up in "snuggling" and don't quite make it to brunch. The Simpson kids, terrified at the death of Grandma, run for home, where they almost run into an even scarier sight. Fortunately, they're distracted by an ice cream truck. They get hopelessly lost and Bart plays in traffic. Homer and Marge finally get to brunch, which we do not get to see, and arrive home only to find Ned grieving for his dead grandmother. (That's right, she's not a horribly aged freaky beatnik.) Marge panics when she realizes the kids are gone. They go to the police, who are their usual incompetent selves. Baby Bart and Baby Lisa get menaced by the Baby Bullies. They try to steal Bart's trike, but Lisa cries, so they give it back. (Also, Kearney is portrayed as almost a dad, even though he's like four. I know he's been portrayed as a dad the whole series, but eccchhh.) Once they're gone, Lisa admits she faked the tears to get rid of the bullies. Bart decides that maybe a little sister isn't so bad after all. Homer tells Marge that he can't find the kids, so they should just have a third child and call it Maggie. An exasperated Marge calls a medium, who happens to be Selma, who of course blames it on Homer. Bart and Lisa find themselves at Springfield Retirement Castle, The old people terrify them, but Grampa saves the day! (And we get to see Bea Simmons!) The kids sit there while Grampa sleeps. As they try to kill the time, they find themselves becoming reconciled to their differences. Homer wants to search for the kids some more, but his buddies won't help him, because they just ordered pizza. Homer shoots the pizza. Yeah, that's right. He chose his kids over food. YOU GO HOMER. Young Milhouse runs into the Simpson kids and tries to alert his dad, but is distracted by cartoons. They bike away from a dog and find themselves at the top of a large hill, which they immediately throw themselves down. Fortunately they survive, but Lisa is shaken. Homer and Marge continue their fruitless search, almost going so far as to alert Social Services. Miraculously, the Surly Repairman is able to point them out - on top of the tire fire. Homer wants to save them, but only develops the strength to do so when Marge reminds him that they just bought the kids new shoes. He grabs a tree and manages to bend it so that the kids can grab on. Unfortunately, he then flings them halfway across town - directly into Bart's clown bed, which they destroy. Back in the present, Marge concludes that they lived happily ever after and had their Maggie. They also gave her the room where Marge used to grow her weed. WHAT? No. Back the fuck up, Simpsons. You do not get to throw Marge into out-of-character situations like that without at least an entire episode to justify it. Bad Simpsons writers! Go sit in the corner. We get a tag scene where Grandma Flanders miraculously pulls through and Ned sings "Amazing Grace" to celebrate. Unfortunately, this kills her. In the present, the kids play pool while Homer talks about how great a dad he is. So yeah, this episode was pretty much a nothing. Incredibly rushed, no real sentiment, very few jokes that landed. I liked some of the callbacks to the past, but other than that, it was incredibly meh. There was absolutely nothing in plot - and I'm pretty sure the actors were sleepwalking. Oh well. Next week, I guess. FJ Discussion Thread  

crazyforkate

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Once Upon A Time 420: Lily

He Shoulda Brought a Condom! In the Enchanted Forest (EF) past we learn that: a) the sorcerer is just a cloud of smoke; the apprentice has trapped the author in the book. He can still write stories, but he can’t influence them; and c) Emma and Lily’s fates are entwined. I hope that a) is just a sorcerer-prelude because I’d like to see an actual actor playing the part. We know that has been reversed. And as for c), Emma’s fate is entwined with ABSOLUTELY everyone else’s. In Storybrooke, there’s a not very well-attended funeral for Cruella. One tends to burn a lot of bridges when one makes formalwear out of puppies. Gold reminds us—again—that Emma going dark is the lynchpin to his evil plot to rewrite his story. How about you move on, Gold, and just start being nice to people? At Granny’s, Emma looks slightly less pale than last week while making snide comments to her parents. Maleficent comes in bitching about Gold (He can be so irritating!) Mal wants the so-called good guys to help her find her daughter. Emma realizes that her old friend Lily is Mal’s daughter. In a delightfully retro microfiche scene, Emma looks at old newspaper clippings of Lily’s adoption. In Minnesota past, teen Emma and her foster family (who look like the pictures that come with the frames you buy) get ready for a camping vacation when Emma comes across teen Lily in the garage. Of course, Lily’s in trouble and she needs Emma’s help—the story of Emma’s life. In Storybrooke present, Emma and Regina decide to join forces and go on a multi-stop road trip to find Lily and save Robin. (Ick.) Gold speaks to the author about his favorite topic, Emma’s darkness, but he gets distracted when Will and Belle walk by, apparently having a day date. In Minnesota past, teen Lily ruins Emma’s dinner with the picture-frame foster family by forgoing utensils and eating with her hands, lying about how she and Emma met, and, oh yeah,  admitting she is wanted for armed robbery. In Lowell, MA present, Regina and Emma visit the tenement where grown Lily once lived and talk to a neighbor who says she’s deceased and then proceeds to speak ill of the dead. Emma takes umbrage and grabs the neighbor. Another sign of darkness! Regina talks her down. In Storybrooke, Gold enlists Will’s help to steal Belle’s heart back from Mal who’s heart-sitting it for Regina. (Which is more attention than any of the kids get in this town.) Back on the road trip, a wolf in the road causes Emma to swerve, ruining a tire. A coincidence? I think not. Neither does Emma. And she’s right! Her waitress at the nearby diner turns out to be none other than grown Lily, as evidenced by the star-shaped birthmark (though contradicted by the fact that the grown Lily actress has much lighter eyes than the teen Lily actress).  I am taken out of the scene when Emma asks for coffee and a “pack of Advil.†That’s some ham-fisted shilling Emma. My suspicions are confirmed at the next commercial break when there is an ad for Advil. (I’m a writer. I’ve been in a position of having to mention advertisers in editorial, so I sympathize. I just think this could have been handled more deftly.) In Minnesota past, teen Lily explains about her bad life. Do you see who you’re talking to, Lily? Emma’s the poster girl for a bad life. And you’ve just made it worse by asking Emma to go fetch your necklace for you. I understand about wanting something from your birth mother, but how about maybe just wearing it? We all know that this is a bad idea and Emma is going to get in trouble. In Massachusetts present, Emma confronts the waitress who admits to being Lily but says her life is just fine, thank you. Then she pretends she has a daughter by kidnapping some random kid from a school bus. Why are none of the children on this show supervised? In Storybrooke, it looks like Mal is the acting mayor. Mary Margaret and David swing by her office to beg forgiveness. Mal reprimands them like this is the principal’s office and they’ve been tardy. In Minnesota past, teen Emma searches through a crack house for Lily’s necklace, but gets busted sneaking back into her foster parents’ house. I don’t like to say I told you so…… After a confrontation with the parents during which the husband insults her, Emma runs away. In Massachusetts present, Regina and Emma search Lily’s mobile home to find a fairytale vision board that indicates that Lily knows all about her EF background. Outside, Lily steals the yellow Beetle. Emma’s hotwiring skill comes in handy when she and Regina steal a car and give chase. At the Storybrooke mayor’s office, Gold distracts Mal so that Will can steal Belle’s heart. In Massachusetts, we are shown the license plate on the car Emma stole. It says "Sylvia." What is that all about? Who is this Sylvia? Is it just a red herring? I don’t have time to think about that because Emma is defending herself to Regina—who thinks Emma’s becoming a villain—with my Favorite Line of the Episode: “This is the real world, Regina. There are no heroes and villains, only real people with real problems.†My thoughts EXACTLY Emma. (You were not in the wrong when you killed Cruella.) In Massachusetts past, teen Emma and Lily fight and Emma gives Lily her necklace. Lily says her family has kicked her out because of some undefined darkness surrounding her. Lily begs for Emma’s help. Emma refuses. Meanwhile on the present-day road, Regina and Emma catch up to grown Lily. It goes badly what with Lily threatening Emma’s parents and all. It ends in a standoff with Emma aiming a gun at Lily’s head. Regina, who’s become the voice of reason, talks her down again. In the past, teen Lily rides a bus sitting beside the apprentice whose straggly haired-look may work in the EF but makes him look creepy and homeless in a world without magic. Instead of switching seats, Lily chats him up and he tells her about her past. In Storybrooke present, Will’s visit to Belle goes awry when he shows her that he’s got her heart in a box. Gold enters and to her credit, Belle backs away from him. But then she lets him return her heart to its rightful place. Gold gives his blessing on the Will/Belle relationship. They didn’t need your blessing, Gold!!!!!! In New York City, Regina pounds on a confused Robin’s door. Since Wicked Marion is at the store, there’s time for Regina to explain the situation. (But I’d really like to see Zelena trying to negotiate grocery store aisles with a whining Roland in the cart.) Regina tells Robin that Zelena killed Real Marion. Well, she did. But you're just trying to distract and re-direct, Regina. YOU killed Marion first. Robin doesn’t seem to remember that, but I will never forget. Robin seems horrified. And here comes Wicked Marion. (Roland’s not with her. He doesn’t seem to be in the apartment. Where is he? Probably hanging out with the Charming baby who’s never with his parents either.) Wicked Marion reveals herself as Zelena. Robin looks even more horrified. And then we find out why. It seems there’s a bun in the wicked oven. Great. A future unsupervised kid. Robin says he can’t leave Zelena even though he’s already proven that he’s perfectly capable of leaving the non-wicked mother of his first child. I. CAN’T. WITH. THIS. And also, Robin, sweetie, when your life is in turmoil and you're just getting used to new surroundings and, oh yeah, you’re IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE WITH WHOM YOU ARE CURRENTLY NOT HAVING SEX , best to invest in some birth control. Well, that was quite an episode. I’m a bit confused. If Emma's life was programmed with goodness and light and Lily’s was programmed with darkness and evil, why has Emma’s life been so bad? Her experiences haven’t been any better than Lily’s. In fact, I feel like Lily had the advantage. She was adopted by a loving, wealthy family. Emma was bounced around foster care all her life. I’d say Emma’s been surrounded by darkness while Lily’s just a brat. What do you think? Talk about it in the forum: freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13046&sid=a35ed943c03dcc6019391b94e8b9f709&start=80

jinjy2

jinjy2

 

Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 7.11 - Time & Life

First of all, the names of the last few episodes have been released - "Lost Horizon", The Milk and Honey Route", and "Person to Person". Feel free to speculate as you will, I'll be in the corner sobbing because I'M NOT READY FOR THIS TO END DAMMIT. Oh yeah, and there's an episode, too. Previously: Sale to McCann, Peggy frets about motherhood, Ken quits, everyone moves to California. Opening credits - ALISON BRIE IS BACK, co-written by Weiner, directed by Jared Harris - now that's a curiosity. Pete finds himself wining and dining Ken, with Don in tow. Ken might put in a good word for them with Ziploc, so Pete is practically shitting himself to get in good with Ken. They discuss toilet paper marketing strategies, which causes Pete to utter the word "poop", which makes me giggle like a child, cause it's Pete. Everyone is very tense and awkward. Don gets calls from Diana the waitress, who is avoiding him but still calling him. Oh JFC can we just dump this storyline already? It's DULL. Meanwhile, at SC&P, Roger finds out that they've messed up their lease payments and yells for Joan. Dawn was supposed to do this, so now I guess Dawn's getting fired. Also, there are a whole bunch of kids in the elevator. What are they doing at SC&P? They could barely handle one Sally. Trudy calls Pete, pissed off that Tammy hasn't been let into a snooty private school because her parents are - gasp! - divorced! "But Greenwich is built on divorce money," Pete protests, killing it as usual. In any event, he agrees to accompany her to an admissions interview to show that their preschooler is not morally tainted. JFC, this is why America is fucked now, you guys. Roger (whose 'stache is positively Trebekian this week) tries to fire Dawn, Shirley and Caroline, but it turns out that what actually happened is that McCann has terminated the lease. The secretaries and office manager did not know the lease was terminated, thus leaving them off the hook. So they're leaving the building? I guess they'll find out. Peggy unsuccessfully tries to interact with children, who are in the boardroom (and some of them are definitely the kids from the elevator). When they won't play on command, she yells at them, then criticizes their play. Smooth move, Pegasus. Stan suggests a "Battle Royale". Subtle, guys. Anyway, he gets them playing and giggling, but not before he takes Peggy to task for hating children. Roger and Joan call Fergus, who is being very elliptical about the whole lease thing, then confesses that the entire office will be moving to McCann's building shortly. Roger is of course concerned for the company's autonomy, though Fergus pretends it'll all be exactly the same as before. Once he hangs up, he and Joan cling to each other. He heads to Don's office, followed by Joan and the rest of the partners. They have 30 days to pack up their company and, essentially, finish it off. Pete can't get over it, refusing to go with them. Joan informs him he doesn't have a choice. Roger blames it all on Cutler, everyone trades barbs. They decide they will keep it a secret, and face what's to come with dignity. Well, except Pete. So the remaining partners toast the sinking ship and my heart is breeeeaaaaking. Peggy reads out the kids who got cast in commercial, terrified whenever one of them tries to hug her. Pete asks to talk to her, so she extracts a little girl from her waist and follows him. He immediately lets Peggy in on the secret, despite what they literally just decided. He assures her that her job will probably be safe, for now. They assure each other that this change will be okay. It's honestly quite poignant. He asks her to keep it secret. I'm sure that'll last. Joan chats with Richard, who tries to help her put it in perspective. He's also heading in to New York, so they can discuss it in person. She dries her eyes. Oh god, she's going to move to Paris or something with him and we'll lose her, won't we? Don is also super bummed and wants to cancel all his meetings. Meredith is obtuse as usual. Lou Avery calls. He's bitching about the big secret - he's moving somewhere new. Tokyo, to be precise. Even unflappable Don is thrown for a loop. He's been recruited by an animation studio in Japan, the same one that made Speed Racer, which will soon be adapting the legendary Scout's Honor for the airwaves. Well, good for you Lou, don't let the door hit you on the way out. The partners have a very secret meeting about very secret things, all while trying to prove everything is normal. Don has decided that, since Lou is essentially vacating Sterling Cooper West, the obvious answer is that they need to take it over. Pete's enthusiastic, but Ted and Joan are hesitant. Roger wonders how many clients they can poach. That's right, in twenty-four hours, Sterling Cooper will be packing up the wagon and heading West. Shut the door, have a seat. Peggy meets at her apartment with a headhunter, who thinks she can't do any better than McCann. After all this time, Peggy will finally have to take care for herself, and the vast opportunity a large agency could send her way. Meanwhile, Pete and Roger try to poach Ken and his business. However, he's not sure he can sell Dow on such a bold move. Pete and Roger beg him to try being outrageous, for once. Kenny, that darling boy, turns them down flatly.   Ted still really doesn't want to move, due to his current girlfriend, but Don thinks there's "something meaningful" in California. Oh, FUCK NO, do not go back to Megan. I swear to god I will smack you into the 1980s. Joan tells them that they haven't been able to poach Kenny, which Don treats as a setback but not insurmountable. Trudy (with insanely big hair and a ridiculous hat) and Pete attend the ridiculous interview. Citing his family legacy, Pete begs them to let Tammy in. The school contends it's not an administrative matter, it's because Tammy is dumb as a rock, having flunked the idiotic "Draw a Person" test common in the '70s. Apparently, she just drew a head, a necktie and a moustache. The headmaster calls her careless and arrogant for not applying to other schools. When Pete demands he apologize, the truth comes out - it's about a feud between the Campbells and the headmaster's family which probably dates back to seventeenth-century Scotland. Yeah, this school is apparently ridiculous all around. They wind up in a fistfight. Well, that escalated quickly. As a reward for beating up her enemy, Trudy invites Pete home. While they're waiting for Tammy and the nanny, she confesses that men hit on her, the women shun her, and she's finding it very lonely. Apparently, divorce is still a Big Deal ten years after Helen Bishop. Pete tells her that she's awesome. As he's leaving, he suddenly gets an idea. A few minutes later, he walks into the offices and proudly announces that he's acquired Secor Laxatives. Yeah, Pete's shaping up to be the hero of this episode! Meanwhile, at SC&P, Peggy finds herself stuck with a child actor whose mom is running late. Worse, no one can watch her. She puts the kid at her desk while she and Stan go through all the auditions they saw that day. While they're doing this, she lets slip to Stan about the Big McCann secret. However, they're distracted when the kid accidentally staples her finger. The mother shows up at that moment and reacts in a sanctimommy way. Peggy tries to explain, but winds up condemning the mother for leaving her little breadwinner in an office with strangers for hours. "You do what you want with your children and I'll do what you want with mine," she snarls, before rushing her precious shnookums off to emergency for a sore finger. Geez. Peggy looks stricken, as she does whenever children are mentioned. Stan wonders what's going on, but Peggy is focused on the task at hand. The partners arrive at the Big McCann meeting, where they are met with suspicion from Fergus and interest from the other guy. Don gets ready to give the pitch of his life, proposing the move as an expansion of McCann. However, they stop him before he's even finished. Jim, the other exec, is nice about it, trying to dress up the bad news. Sure, they won't exist anymore, but with McCann they've hit advertising nirvana. They even have Coca-Cola, you guys! The name that must be whispered. He advises them to "Stop struggling - you won." And damn, this exec I barely remember totally hit it out of the park. Forget partner, they should hire him in Creative. A disheartened Don, Ted, Roger, Joan and Pete go for a drink, finishing up by toasting Bert. They part with great affection, and Roger sticks around to toast Lou Avery. Joan and Pete share a cab on the way back, where Joan confesses that she doesn't trust a thing about this, and worries for her future. Pete expresses his confidence in her. In fact, he's pretty Zen about the whole thing. Looks like little Petey's finally growing up. Or he smoked a joint beforehand. Stan and Peggy are still working, but Peggy won't let go of this afternoon's interaction. They agree that the mom is awful, but still manage to turn it into an argument. Stan assumes that Peggy's bitter because she never had kids, which enrages her. She tells him he can't understand. He tells her his own mother was terrible. Peggy counters that he can't judge her, "because maybe she followed her heart and got in trouble," and then reveals her whole story without explicitly saying so. Stan sees through it, of course, asking what she did. "He's with a family, somewhere," she says, staring into the distance. "I don't know, but it's not because I don't care...because you're not supposed to know, or you can't go on with your life." Stan apologizes, and she tacitly forgives, though she goes off to work on her own. Don is officially back on the sauce, sweaty and red-faced in the bar with Roger. Let's hope no one brings any oysters. Don talks about his Sketchy Past, and Roger frets about the Sterling family name dying out with Margaret (who as far as I know is still wandering upstate New York with unwashed hair). Roger tells Don that he and Marie are now a Thing, and Megan approves. So does Don, after some brotherly honesty about marrying secretaries. Roger kisses Don on the forehead and walks out. Best bromance ever. Don goes to see the waitress, but instead finds a gay couple occupying her apartment. She's disappeared without a trace. They invite him in, of course, because Don's allure is Kryptonite to all. (I think you've guessed what his answer is.) Meredith, the worst person in the agency to overhear this news, overhears Dawn and Shirley talking about the sale. She goes to Don, demanding to know an answer. Of course, it is as over-dramatic as you can possibly imagine. "Everyone's living in a fright!" Don assures her that she's going, too, if she wants, though he looks slightly terrified at the thought. Peggy tells Stan she's going to McCann, and wants him to join her. With all the rumors flying, Roger and Don announce the sale, which dismays all the workers. In fact, they can't even finish the announcement. Roger is left lamely yelling that this wasn't their doing. The camera zooms out on the disgruntled workers leaving en masse, while the partners stare helplessly. Looks like all is not well in advertising nirvana. The next on reveals nothing, as usual, except that everyone's kind of grumpy and bitter. Oh and Don's totally going to jump but probably not since we still have three more episodes. The midpoint of a season is always Mad Men's cue to pick up the pace, and tonight they did so splendidly. Okay, it wasn't Shut the Door Have a Seat, but it still carried a huge number of transitions with lightning efficiency. I wonder if this will signal some kind of major departure for Joan. It was also an excellent showcase for Pete, who was actually pretty tolerable this time and got some killer one-liners (though his story with Trudy was one of the lesser "Mad Men Quirky Detours"). And Peggy and Stan. Dear god, the scene between Peggy and Stan was beautifully carried off. Ultimately, the episode was about about the office, which is what makes Mad Men special, and it gave all those wonderful machinations a day in the limelight. After some meandering, it seems that we are back in the groove. I am so excited for what they've got planned next. FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 8.22 - The Graduation Transmission

Raj and Howard look at models (the miniature flying machines type, not the Campbell or Brinkley type). Penny and Leonard are headed out so that Leonard can give a high school commencement speech. Sheldon, as usual, is worried about stuff that will never happen. They talk about pretty girls and t-shirt cannons, which every sitcom viewer will know never ends well. Opening credits. Penny and Leonard depart on their trip, which will take them to New Jersey (insert tired jokes about orange people here). They're going to visit his mother, too, a painful experience at best. Unfortunately, they get the news that a storm on the East Coast has cancelled their flight, and the trip is off. They are sad for three seconds and go upstairs to have sex. Howard and Sheldon work on Raj's helicopter-drone. If this were five seasons ago you know Wolowitz would have devious plans. However, they soon realize that the task is far beyond them. Meanwhile, Raj gets an unexpected Skype from his dad, who is annoyed at all the money spent on models, and is cutting him off. Wait, is that a thing? I haven't heard of this in all eight seasons. Surely Raj makes enough money as a physicist to support himself? Does he have gambling debt? Totally gambling debt. Anyway, he plays the child of divorce card, but Daddy stays strong. YOU GO RAJ'S DAD, YOUR SON IS LIKE 30 NOW. Penny has a surprise for Leonard to cheer him up about the trip they really don't seem to mind missing. She's bought him graduation robes (er, but the costume shop only had Sexy Graduate outfits), and gotten the school to let Leonard give the speech via Skype. Meanwhile, in trying to repair the drone-thing, Sheldon and Howard accidentally destroy it. Raj, upon seeing the device that lost him his cushy lifestyle, is heartbroken. They try to figure out how to fix the helicopter-drone-thing, since Raj needs to return it for the money. Fortunately, Raj has a plan up his sleeve - he calls Mummy and tells her that Daddy won't pay up because of his "active social life". At first Mrs. Koothrapali falls for it, and pays him way more. I'm sure this won't last. Leonard wear his sexy graduate outfit, which will not actually be all that scandalous when he's on Skype. Apparently, he's also wearing nothing underneath, like roughly a third of the kids I graduated with. Our robes weren't assless, though. Ooh la la. Howard proves adept at fixing the helicopter, so Sheldon eagerly gets him to fix all his other toys. Bernadette arrives with some tools. She suggests calling Tech Support, which is met with horror all around. However, they keep stumbling into road blocks. Mr. Koothrapali calls to scream at Raj for pitting his ex-wife against him. Sadly, he is just as prone to Raj's manipulation as Raj's mom is, and falls for some flattery. Raj is going to Vegas! Leonard is beamed in to his old high school. Even Penny gets to say something ("don't do drugs and stay in school"), but the rest of the speech is interminably boring. Eventually, even Leonard gets tired of it, and he essentially recites the "It Gets Better" speech. It is quite touching, mostly about how the nerdy ones turn out to be interesting in the end. (And how everyone else has just peaked.) In the end, the guys are forced to call Tech Support. Howard moans that he's old. Just then, they get the machine running - and destroy the apartment with it. Geniuses at work, you guys. Tag scene - Penny praises Leonard's speech. They are attacked by the copter-drone, and are forced to run for their lives. I'd call this episode thin but cute. Raj had a great showcase tonight, despite his plot being a little unbelievable, and Kunal Nayyar really pulled the whiny spoiled part off. Leonard's speech was also pretty good, with just the right amount of humour and genuine pathos. I think the writers must have crafted it very carefully. Heck, even the drone story gave a good laugh or two, especially with the drone-splosion at the end. Ultimately, it won't go down in history, but I enjoyed it. Two more until the end of the season! (Heh, yeah, I've been miscalculating this whole time.) Can they ramp it up? FJ Discussion Thread  

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 6.20 - Knock 'Em Down

Jay is preoccupied with his new Costco picture, feeling like it's missing "sparkle". He vows never to visit Costco again, which will likely horrify devotee Cam. In fact, Jay is bowling with Cam this evening, as a substitute for someone on that bowling team we've never heard of before. It's deadly important because Cam has to beat yet another of his rivals. Gloria, Haley and Mitch (huh?) are going clubbing (what?), which Cam predicts will be extremely boring and end early. Lots of awkward dancing ensues. Opening credits. Phil shows a house in his neighbourhood to an extremely skittish couple, who are freaked out by a "pornographic" statue across the street (and no, it doesn't appear to belong to Ronnie and family). The statue just looks artistic, from what I can tell through the blur. I, uh, get the feeling the wife's blog probably appears on our forum somewhere. Phil explains that the statue has been a problem for months. In fact, everyone in the neighbourhood is getting annoyed, except for Alex, who is all about free speech. (And yeah, if I were her I'd defend it to the death too, because her neighbourhood sounds really fuckin' boring.) The parents behave like, well, parents, and even Ronnie objects, believing that porn is a - um - private thing. However, despite their outrage, nobody actually wants to do anything about it. As the group of neighbours are breaking up, Ronnie and Amber invite Claire and Phil to join them for dinner. The Dunphys act like total jackasses about this kind invitation, but eventually agree. Well, this is going to be fun. (Actually, as I've said before, I'd rather live next door to Ronnie and Amber than to tightass Claire.) As they arrive at the bowling alley, Cam lets something slip - this is an all-gay bowling league, so rather than be disqualified, he has told everyone that Jay is gay. This is going to backfire in like five minutes, and Jay wants to walk out. Cam begs him to go along with it. Sure enough, soon Jay is meeting Cam's buddies, but not before Cam has a confrontation with his rival. Haley meets up with her uncle and step-grandma for some pre-game, and come on, this is ridiculous. Have you ever met a twenty-something, anywhere, who goes clubbing with her uncle and step-grandma? Exactly. Gloria and Mitch are both traumatized by the thought of not having the night start until 10:30. This is not looking good. However, the bowling game is going well, for everyone except Jay, that is. Furthermore, a lot of people are noticing that Jay doesn't turn up on their gaydar. Cam begs Jay to "flounce it up a bit", because nothing can stand in the way of that bowling trophy. Amber and Ronnie take the Dunphys to a restaurant where they are clearly regulars, and the waiter's name is Guy, which causes some confusion. They bring expensive wine and are very nice and interested in the Dunphys, which of course the Dunphys completely crap on. They find out that the LaFontaines' son is going to Juilliard for piano and composition, and definitely do not give this news the nice reaction it deserves. They find out the bottle of wine cost five hundred dollars. So - now they're going to kiss up to the trashy neighbours just because they have money and status? Ugh. Meanwhile, Jay keeps flouncing around, but Mark (the rival, played by Oliver Platt) is unconvinced. Cam tries to convince Mark that Jay is into him. Wait, haven't we seen a plot similar to this like eight times already? So Mark buys Jay a drink and Jay is obviously full of questions. Cam has to come clean. Jay wails about how "You made me gay and now I have a boyfriend", but admires Cam's winning drive. Everyone gets wasted at Cam and Mitch's. Mitch is almost too tired to go out, but Gloria and Haley beg him to. However, Gloria is yawning, too. They convince each other that staying in is in their blood, what with Mitch's kind loving to dance all night and Gloria coming from "the land of coffee and cocaine". More awkward dancing. Dunphys and LaFontaines continue to bond, all brought together by the hatred of the statue. The discussion turns to getting rid of the eyesore. Claire thinks they should start a petition, but Ronnie has a better idea. Hint: it involves a rope and his truck. The Dunphys are hesitant. Immediately, the mood is gone - a scowling Ronnie and Amber call for the check. So naturally, Phil has to prove that he's still young... Haley comes in prepared to party, but finds Gloria and Mitch passed out. And that's why you should have real friends, not hang out with your family all the time like you're the Duggars or something.   Jay sits next to Mark, and they engage in what can only be called flirting (along with some serious discussion of that Costco picture). Jay plays his part incredibly well. And even better, his game is back on - which Mark doesn't even begrudge. Mitch and Gloria wake up to find Haley staring at them. Realizing that if they don't go they'll officially be old, they scramble to get going, even though Mitch is bleary-eyed and Gloria won't even let him have coffee. Monster. Of course, the finals turn into Cam v. Mark, with both teams (The Britney Spares and The Merry Men) bowling spectacularly. The clinch happens when Jay turns Martin down for a date. They wind up winning by a healthy margin. Dirty tactics will get you anywhere, kids. Gloria and Mitch enter the club and are instantly terrified by crushing modernity. Claire and Phil tell the camera how awkward the ride home with the LaFontaines was. However, as they approach their homes, they notice that the statue has lights on it. Claire tells them, in a deadly serious voice, to stop the car. Oh boy. The couples are instantly friends again. Everyone save Phil goes to tie up the statue, but unfortunately, Phil stages a sit-in in the truck, so their wanton act of destruction is temporarily held up. In fact, Phil is the one who becomes the vandal, entirely unintentionally. Thinking that he is in drive, he reverses over the lawn and directly into the statue, and man, he is going to owe various neighbours a lot of money in the near future. The Britney Spares gloat about their win and discuss "taking on the lesbians" next time. Jay is sportsmanlike with a devastated Mark. Unfortunately, he also chooses this moment to admit that he's straight. Mark immediately seizes on this, and combined with some awkward comments from Jay, the entire league immediately turns on him. The trophy is immediately forfeited and Mark has a victory dance. Cam is not amused. The two couples drink wine on the front lawn and gloat about the statue, though Phil still feels guilty. Just then, a cop comes to ask some questions about the incident. It turns out that Phil knows the cop from having sold him a condo, so he manages to schmooze his way out of the situation quite easily. "Looks like you're sleeping with an outlaw tonight," says Phil, even though the cop is CLEARLY IN EARSHOT jfc. Unfortunately, Ronnie and Amber assumes that this includes them. Tag scene - Not the aftermath of a four-way like you were all hoping, but instead Luke and Alex (wait, they were in this episode?) wondering what the hell is up with Mom and Dad and the neighbours being so friendly all of a sudden. She attributes it to the power of art, Luke to the presence of wine. He also shows her a drawing of his junk. Charming. Also, what the hell has happened to Rico Rodriguez? He's been out several times this season. Did they dump him by the side of the road because Joe is cuter? Tonight's episode was one of their better efforts. So the clubbing story was a nothing plot, as evidenced by the fact that they kind of forgot about it two-thirds of the way through. The bowling stuff did provide some good laughs despite being cliched as all hell. (Frankly, I've read other reviews that disagree and label Jay as the strong one - and it could be read many different ways. Tonight had a little something for everyone, tbh.) But in the end, the MVP plot goes to the LaFontaines and the Dunphys, proving they're young and wreaking some havoc, while discovering that they do indeed have common ground. This was mostly due to the presence of guest stars and the fabulous ending, but still, it was something new and oddly satisfying. If even Claire Dunphy can let loose a bit, maybe there's hope for everyone. FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: Community 6.7 - Advanced Safety Features

The Committee is planning an alumni dance, which is going pretty disastrously, since half their alumni appear to be incarcerated. They're also planning a city council meeting, but this has been foiled by Chang's disastrous ineptitude at PowerPoint. Exasperated with them all, Frankie turns to her latest pet project - guerrilla marketing. Specifically, she's worried about its use by rival schools, and wants everyone to be vigilant for examples. Abed, of course, mistakes this for the giant apes. Annie is concerned about the ethics of this sort of advertising (heh), and of course you have to look carefully, because this episode will definitely have examples. The Dean arrives, having clearly fallen prey to the tactic already - Honda Fit forever! Meanwhile, Annie's concerned that Elroy doesn't seem to like them, though I would argue it's just your usual Resting Bitch Face. Chang isn't sure what Elroy's "role is" (ie which character he's replacing), and Abed is still deeply grieving Troy's departure (aren't we all). Frankie, callously, asks what makes Troy so special and why they like him so much. Jeff gives her a bullshit answer (which she falls for). She leaves abruptly, confusing them all. Chang, on a belated gag from his Powerpoint presentation, smashes an egg on the table. Opening credits. Annie asks Britta about Subway, her ex-boyfriend/a human incarnation of the fast food chain of the same name. Britta is still traumatized by the relationship's end, which is why Annie has come to warn her that Subway has apparently returned. She is in the parking lot in five seconds flat. Subway, who looks like Jeff with a beard, has now gone back to being called Rick, though he still talks like he's in an advertisement. Britta delivers an impressive slap to the face - no, three - for breaking her heart. He explains that he's been gone this long so that he could win his freedom from the corporation and return to his beloved Britta. The Dean arrives in his Honda Fit, whereupon Rick immediately begins shilling the virtues of his own car. Britta is immediately suspicious. Turns out he's gone into marketing for Honda, but he thinks it's totally different, since he has a beard and name. The principled Britta storms off - but gets hooked into a sales pitch/sex in the back of an SUV anyway. Smooth, Rick. Annie and Abed invite Elroy to join a Game Night as part of their "Please Like Us" campaign. The game is ear-based and looks terrible. Jeff scorns this endeavour, claiming that it should be more organic in nature, and also involve copious amounts of alcohol. Annie sticks her tongue out at him and scuttles away. Britta and Rick have enjoyed their little reunion, but now things are getting serious. She maintains that she wants a proper relationship, not one controlled by corporate interests. He says the restrictions will be few and unobtrusive. The Dean keeps hammering on the window asking questions about Hondas. Rick goes out to investigate and finds that the Dean has purchased several new vehicles. Guerrilla advertising, it really works. Even the corporate shill has to suggest that he back off a little. Jeff hears raucous noise coming from the study room, and discovers that the whole group (including Elroy) loves the ear-based board game. However, once Jeff arrives, Elroy decides to leave. So - maybe he just doesn't like Jeff? ...and in fact Abed says the same thing two minutes later. They go back to the ear game while Jeff wonders. Britta serves a mysterious customer at the bar, who is soon revealed to be a corporate executive pulling Rick's proverbial strings. They offer her an alternative - if she and Rick work as a couple selling things, then they will be able to have a public relationship. However, this goes against Britta's principles, so she declines. They convince her that she's a born saleswoman. Between this and her lingering feelings for Rick, Britta gives in. Nooooo Britta stay strong. And so they run around the school holding hands and trapping acquaintances into their sales pitch. Bad luck, Todd. The two are more in love than ever, with both themselves and Honda. ...meanwhile, sometime in the 1960's, Don Draper awakens with an idea. (Okay, I may have added that last part.) A few tables away, the study group laughs at Britta and Rick's ridiculous shenanigans, and Elroy once again makes an excuse to leave when Jeff arrives. His friends claim it's because he won't open up; Jeff just rolls his eyes. Frankie walks in on the Dean's office, now overflowing with Honda merchandise. Frankie immediately figures out what's going on, and though flabbergasted, you know she's going to put a stop to it. She also keeps accidentally insulting the Dean, which does not exactly help matters. The situation winds up in a cry-hug. Britta brings Rick home to meet her parents, which utterly delights them. Of course, in seconds they are pitching Honda. Amazingly, they fall for it. This is a step too far for Britta, especially when she has to pretend she likes Avatar as part of it. The dance is going along smoothly, as well as the planned "degree raffle" to accompany it. Jeff announces that he's hired Elroy's favourite band, Natalie is Freezing, as the main act. Elroy goes berserk, accusing Jeff of kissing up to him. He will never like Jeff. End of story. On the way home, Britta and Rick argue about their public face/having to wear it all the time, even with their loved ones. She demands to be let out of the car and tells him that the relationship they have now is totally fake. Later, at the bar, she finds herself serving Elroy. Over a g&t, they discuss their various problems. Britta wonders why he's not more excited about Natalie is Freezing. Elroy admits he used to date the lead singer, Julie, and it ended badly. While Britta's going on about opening up to people, Rick shows up and begs Britta to take him back, even offering to quit his job for her. She awkwardly climbs over the bar and they reconcile. Elroy watches them leave with a wry look. At the dance, Rick overhears that the Dean is considering buying a fleet of vehicles and wants to go for one last sale. Britta tries to talk him out of it. She elects to stay behind, and they sadly part, irreconcilable in the face of Honda. Elroy goes backstage and confronts Julie for ruining his ability to have a relationship. She is almost completely indifferent. Walking out, Elroy runs into Jeff, who begs him to like him. They hug it out. Elroy now loves everyone. Or at least he can. Britta goes looking for Rick and finds Frankie with Security. They kick him off campus. Rick's boss tells her that he will never be back, and offers her a job with the company. Needless to say, she is beyond uninterested. The dance goes on without a hitch, and Frankie is even brought in as a temporary drummer for the band. As he drives home, Rick cries all over his Honda. D'awww. Tag scene - Britta and her parents play the ear game, but the Perrys don't quite get it. This drives Britta crazy. Then they get the hang of it and it's even worse. There were exactly two highlights to this episode - Elroy's personal journey, and the Dean's strange Honda obsession, mostly due to the extreme talent of Jim Rash. Other than that - well, you know how I always complain when the Greendale-verse gets hung up on its own mythology? I'm going to complain again. Did we need another Subway episode? Was this character even interesting the first time? So in the end, yeah, the episode did lose its way a bit. However, though not a classic outing, it wasn't really a disaster. Up your game, guys! FJ Discussion Thread  

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.18 - Peeping Mom

Well, we're back from our month-long hiatus. What fresh hell have Groening and Co. dreamed up for us now? Onward! King Homer climbs up the Empire State Building as we read a title card. The Simpsons start as kernels on a heated couch and pop into shape. Marge goes to a rip-off of Apple to get her broken phone looked at. On the way home, as she is complaining about all the creeps posing as employees, she notices that her neighbourhood has become a scene of destruction. Lou explains that someone broke into the bulldozer store and went off on a joyride. Do we even have to guess who the main suspect is? Well, Chief Wiggum can't actually pin him, but that doesn't mean he's going to let it go. Bart is released to Marge's custody in the hopes that his mother can force a confession out of him. Lisa runs around with a magnifying glass looking at stuff, because I guess you get really bored after being eight for 26 years, and notices that Flanders has a new puppy. The dog has one of those impossibly long Bible names, but is called Baz for short. Flanders practices "Christian Dog Training", which is exactly the way it sounds and has probably been tried in the Duggar household at least once. A passing Barney immediately wants to convert. Marge gives Bart the mother of all lectures, but backs off once he masterfully manipulates her into feeling guilty about her own mothering. Dinner is a tense affair that night, despite Lisa's babble about the puppy. Homer wonders if feelings are going unexpressed. Marges urges "someone at this table" to tell the truth. While everyone else hides their various secrets, Homer asks if he and Marge can be excused for an adult conversation. Marge tells Homer that Bart stole the bulldozer, because a mother "knows things". However, Homer is too busy wondering whether a wife also "knows things" to pursue Bart's problems much further. He thinks they should just give up and make excuses for their son's behaviour, as he's already a lost cause. For some reason, this redirects to Homer's failed North American Sumo League, an episode I totally would have watched. Bart is called in and told to look Marge in the eye and swear he never saw the bulldozer. He does this without hestitation, which leads Marge to imagine him doing so on the electric chair years later. (And by the way, this "joke" is awful and gory and totally not Simpsons at all.) Bart begs his mother to believe him, and she says she will - but she'll be keeping an eye on him from now on, all the time. And yes, this includes going to school with him. To no one's surprise, Bart tires of this rather quickly and makes a break for it. Homer meets little Baz, and despite his efforts not to like her, she quickly wins him over. Bart is brought back to school, where Marge remains - and finds out all the terrible things he's been up to there. After some time, he begins to chafe under her constant micromanaging, including picking out his lunch in the cafeteria. The other kids start to make fun of him. Bart protests that Marge should follow Homer instead, but noo, that's creepy (even though she's done it before). Eventually, Bart resolves to hiding in a playground tunnel while Marge plays with Ralph. Eventually, Groundskeeper Willie has to chase him out with bagpipes. Dinner that night is again tense, as Marge refuses to focus on anything other than Bart. The puppy arrives and breaks some of this tension, as Homer runs from the table to play with it. As he does this, he of course gloats about how concerned Flanders must be. SLH does not appreciate the new addition. Lisa, too, feels ignored. She lies in her room, muttering about being a middle child. Homer comes up to speak to her. This just results in more angry muttering on both sides. However, they realize how much they actually care about each other, so they're quickly reconciled. Okay, even in limited moments like this, I just love the Homer-Lisa relationship. Meanwhile, Flanders feels some jealousy of his own, as Baz appears to prefer Homer - and the boys are calling Homer "uncle". (Todd also wants to marry Maggie - courtship episode?) Bart runs off with Milhouse, though even out in the woods he is not safe from Marge. (Apparently, her hair can also explode woodpeckers.) She hovers over him with a hoodie and  "don't-get-lost" spool of thread, which Milhouse gleefully takes to. Bart begs his mother to back off, like any reasonable child would, but Marge stands firm. Since he will still not admit to knowing about the bulldozer, Marge turns to Milhouse for help. This does not provide any answers. Bart takes off yet again (god this is getting tiring), but Marge - and an assassin Maggie - are in pursuit. Ned finds Baz playing with a slipper labelled "Property of Ned Flanders", which was clearly taken from Homer's house. He sees this as a sign, and prays to God over whether he should give the dog to Homer. Meanwhile, Marge speeds along the streets of Springfield (on Lisa's bike), chasing Bart to the tune of Simpsons video game-theme music. (We also learn what happens in every credits sequence - once Bart skateboards by, Moe invites everyone in for a drink.) They wind up rowing/pedalling across the river while Bart begs his mother to stop caring about him. He trips, lands in a mud puddle, and admits defeat. Exasperated by Bart's lack of enthusiasm for her helicopter parenting, Marge decides she won't look after him at all anymore. Geez lady, take a chill pill. Ned sadly tells his heartbroken sons that Baz will be happier in another home, so she will be going to live next door. Bart is revelling in his new parent-free life, staying up late and planning horrible things. Specifically, he wants to bulldoze the Springfield sign. Yeah. Bart has gone from Dennis the Menace to sociopath. He wants to leave the letter "FIE" standing, too, just to spite them all. Eek. A tearful Flanders brings Baz over with a huge basket of dog supplies. Though he enjoys the dog, Homer feels guilty when he sees Flanders' face and offers the dog back (for "when his kids run away"). He explains that Baz considers him another dog, but Flanders a human - and her true master. Bart prepares to demolish the sign while Milhouse recites obscure bulldozer facts. Finally, he chickens out, leaving Bart alone. As he's preparing to wreak havoc, Bart finds a container of fried chicken that Marge packed for him. Eating it triggers all of his good memories of her - and the pain his bad action will cause her. He realizes he's growing a conscience. The prank is altered. He crashes down all the letters except for F...D, possibly killing the mayor in the process. The citizens decide that this was a tribute to the Fire Department, and Bart happily informs his mom that "I discovered there's a line I won't cross". Marge decides that she and her chicken are good influences after all. But she still wants an answer about that bulldozer. Bart admits it was him, so Marge tries to strangle him - but instead pulls him in for a hug. Awww. Unfortunately, Bart is immediately arrested, but the Chief lets him and Marge keep hugging. Meanwhile, Lisa has come down with mono and Maggie hurt herself playing whack-a-mole because their parents forgot to pay attention to them. Ah well, you can't win 'em all. And as a nice touch, Homer grovels to his dog for his lack of loyalty. SLH, happily, is as forgiving as any other pup. Tag scene - SLH and Baz get into a spaghetti Western standoff. However, they get along just fine after some butt-sniffing and cuddle up together. So. Well. This series is tired and hackneyed and it recycled several different premises tonight. We knew it would going in. And some of the Marge stuff seemed very out of character, and the puppy plot was incredibly half-baked. However, the episode did throw in a lot of great one-liners and sight gags, and so there was enough to keep a thin plot going. I also found the scene with Lisa and Homer to be incredibly touching. Other than that, though, it was pretty run-of-the-mill. Until next week, guys. FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Once Upon A Time 419: Sympathy For The De Vil

You’re Not Looking Well, Dear In this week’s episode, we get Cruella’s backstory, there is woefully little Hook, and Emma seems to be coming down with something. Cruella-rella: Little Cruella—looking like one of those horror-movie children—runs through the woods chased by a Dalmatian and her unpleasant mother. Back home, mommy dearest locks baby Cru in the highest room of the tallest tower. In present-day Storybrooke, Cru runs into Mal (almost literally). Mal is understandably upset that Cru hasn’t mentioned that she knows the fate of Mal’s daughter. In my Favorite Line of the Week, Cru replies “There’s an explanation of course. I’m a really terrible person and I left her in the woods to die.†Way to own your evil, Cru! We learn that Ur and Cru managed to stay young lo these many decades by using Mal’s egg—minus the baby—as some sort of youth elixir. Mal dragonizes to kill Cru. Rookie mistake Mal! You should know better! Now you’re an animal and Cru can control you. About the Author: In Mary Margaret’s (MM’s) apartment, Emma looks wan and impatiently interrogates her parents about the author. Regina enters, recounts the Robin/Wicked Marion saga from last episode, and announces her plan to go to New York to save her beloved. (Gag.) Then Regina visits Belle and asks for help in dealing with Gold so she can get to NYC. In Gold’s cabin, Gold agrees with my sentiment from last week!!! The author talks too much!! And now we learn Gold’s plan. The author’s quill needs ink. Gold can get said ink by turning the Savior dark. Wait, what? I’m just gonna go with it and hope it becomes clear as the episode continues. Suddenly, Gold is called away…. …to meet Belle by the wishing well. They have a curiously poignant reunion wherein Gold yanks his own heart out of his own chest to show Belle how black it is. He explains how soon he will lose the ability to love. (When has he ever had the ability to love?) But it’s all a trick! Regina has Belle’s heart and is controlling her. Regina tells Gold she’s going to New York and Gold better not warn Zelena or she will kill Belle via heart-squish. In Gold’s cabin, the author is engrossed in The Great Gatsby when he is interrupted by an angry Cru. They fight but don’t seem to resolve anything. Huffy Cru exits. All That Jazz: Oh, now I see why the author was reading Fitzgerald. We flashback to Cru in fictional London and she’s a flapper y’all!! And the radio is playing the Cruella De Vil song! The author visits Cru’s mom as a newspaper reporter who wants to write a story about her animal training business. He asks personal questions about her three husbands. The mom gets offended. The mom asks if the author has ever been in love and then he gets offended. Let’s end this business meeting now, guys, before someone gets hurt, mmmmkay? As the author leaves the house, Cru calls to him from her tower prison. In Storybrooke present, Cru—who’s only been in town a few days—already knows that Henry is largely unsupervised by his magic-absorbed moms. She easily kidnaps him using Pongo as bait. In fictional London, Cru gets her first taste of gin at a speakeasy with the author. She has also managed to change clothes even though she was rescued in the dead of night from her attic room. Cru tells the author her mother has killed her three husbands. And, because it’s the totally appropriate thing to do after such news has been revealed, the two dance. Hijacking Henry: In Storybrooke present, Emma arrives while Regina packs the car for her NYC journey. Emma continues to look pale. Perhaps because she doesn’t feel well, she thinks it’s a good idea to hand Regina a gun to take with her. It’s a land without magic, Emma! Even Evil Queens can be arrested without a carry permit. Cru texts both these moms of the year to tell them that she’s kidnapped their “dreadful son†and, if they don’t kill the author, Henry’s toast. At the cabin, Gold is royally pissed off (What else is new?) because he’s somehow found out that Cru and the author have been lying by omission about knowing each other. He wants to know why Cru wants the author dead. Back at the 1920s gin joint, the author explains his magical ability to change people’s lives by writing their stories. He “writes†some jewelry for Cru, which goes a long way toward winning her over. He “writes†her a magical power over animals, which makes her practically orgasmic. In MM’s apartment, David uses all his big-boy sleuthing skills to determine where Cru is hiding with Henry. Emma is still cranky and gives her parents an assignment that will keep them away from her as she, Hook and Regina head out to rescue Henry. On the hunt for Henry, in what has to be the biggest bit of irony so far this season, Regina tells Emma, “You’re acting like a petulant child. Your parents did a bad thing. Get over it!†Where’s Regina’s mirror when we need it? By her snarky response, I can see that Emma agrees with me. Regina apparently won’t share her umbrella and Emma’s princessy hair is matted from the rain, so it’s no wonder she’s a bit crabby. She’s also got circles under her eyes. After you save Henry, honey, why don’t you get some rest? Cruella waits with Henry in the woods delivering my Second Favorite Line of the Episode while playing a game on her phone. “Blasted birds, I’ll show you what angry looks like.†Hee! Henry—with wisdom beyond his years and full comprehension of the competence level of his family—engineers his own escape. Silence of the Dogs: In fictional London past, the author gets a stupid, love-struck grin on his face when there’s a knock on his hotel room door. But it’s not his lady love Cruella, it’s her unpleasant mother who tells him that she didn’t kill her husbands, Cruella did. Cruella is a psychopath. The author doesn’t want to believe her. Then he sees that Cru has stolen his quill. Back at her house, Cru kills her mother using her own dogs against her. In present day Storybrooke woods, Gold throws Regina and Hook off Henry’s trail by positioning voice projecting seashells throughout the forest. (Just go with it.) In fictional London past, the author walks in on Cru feverishly sewing clothing from Dalmatian skins and waxing poetic about her mother’s gruesome death. The author grabs his quill back and in the ensuing struggle, the ink spills on Cruella creating her signature salt-and-pepper look. (Just go with it.) The author writes a sentence and Cruella tries to kill him but can’t. MM and David enter Gold’s cabin to have a word with the author. He tells them that, while he’s managed to arrange it that Cruella can never kill anyone again, the end of the story has the Savior going dark. Cru can’t hurt Henry, but Emma doesn’t know this. The Charmings race out the door to stop Emma from killing Cru. Meanwhile in the woods, Gold’s voice-throwing tactic has ensured that Emma will be the one to find Henry and kill Cru. (And we get an unsettling shot of Cru’s mangled body after Emma throws her off a cliff.) I know we’re supposed to think this is Emma’s first step toward evil, but if she thought her son was in mortal danger, I think she’s in the right to use all necessary force on Cruella. I am sorry to see Cru go. I will miss her scathing put downs. Also, I think we can assume that Emma’s sickly look is part of the process of her going dark, although I don’t recall Regina ever looking less than fabulous as Gold taught her black magic. And did Belle allow Regina to take her heart in order to screw with Gold? What is this nonsense about Emma’s going dark as a means of getting more ink? And why wasn’t there more of Hook in this episode? Let’s talk about it in the forum: http://www.freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13046&sid=5995a793dea6f45ea6924f13269bf2dd&start=80

jinjy2

jinjy2

 

Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 7.10 - The Forecast

After a couple of strange plot choices, many fans are suggesting that it would be good for Mad Men to go back to the old stalwarts. But do Mad Men fans know what's good for them? Of course not. Let's see what Matthew Weiner is going to confuse us with this week! Previously on: Peggy and Pima, Roger pitches a cookie ad, Joan rejects Bob Benson, and Sally tells Don she loves him (SALLY'S BACK). Don stands in his empty apartment. Opening credits, Matthew Weiner co-writes (I'm sure he did for every episode this season). An unidentified woman who looks like Betty and sounds like Meredith arrives at Don's freakishly empty apartment. She wakes up Don with a sharp call of "Draper!". We learn her name is Melanie. I think she's a realtor. Don refuses to get even some token furniture, though she insists it will make the place less lonely and more sale-able. Clearly, he has already moved on. Joan gets a late-night phone call from her mother, who is confused by time zones. (I think I should mention that Joanie is on a business trip to L.A.) She speaks with Kevin, who hangs up on her like little children tend to do. Roger has been invited to a corporate retreat in the Bahamas. He can't write speeches on his own, so he wants Don to write him one about the company's future. It needs to rival the Gettysburg address. (And incidentally, he makes a comment which strongly suggests that Don is off the sauce, at least for now.) Joan goes to see Lou Avery, who apparently got kicked out West in the most recent company kerfuffle. She seems much more interested in chatting up Lou's friendly secretary, though, especially since Lou seems to have no time for her. Back in New York, Peggy demands that Don sign off on the cookie pitch before they present it. Pete supervises. Frankly, the idea is terrible and violates one of Don's many rules of advertising (putting down all the competition rather than promoting their own virtues). The creative peons are sent back to the drawing board. Lou continues to snub Joan, though Dee the secretary explains that he's off pitching his cartoons (yeah, remember that?) to Hanna-Barbera. Joan is understandably pissed, especially since she's got a client on her hands. Lou arrives with the real client, which confuses Joan, until the original "client" (Bruce Greenwood) explains that he got lost on the way to his dentist and just kind of played along. He takes the opportunity to ask Joan on a date. Surprisingly, she goes for it. Aaand another "episode of strange turns" begins. Betty is having Sally sign traveller's cheques, which is literally something I have never seen before. She's going on a road trip through twelve states. I assume that since currency's obviously not an issue, this is so Sally doesn't have a huge amount of cash on her? Betty fondly recounts taking a similar trip as a youth, and warns her daughter about the dangers of boys. "Unfortunately, mother," says Sally, "This conversation's a little late... and so am I." And the snark award for this episode already goes to Thally. Melanie tells Don that she's having a hard time selling the apartment, as people find its availability suspicious and sad. Yeah, she apparently subscribes to a fair amount of woo. I really think this stretches credibility - who wouldn't jump on this place? Anyway, Don has to make the place less sad somehow or it'll never sell. Yeah, I'm calling bullshit. Joan has had a successful date with Richard the fake client, and they postcoitally chat about having adventures. Joan keeps trying to get out of his grandiose plans. Especially since he keeps telling ridiculous tales. He asks if she's divorced, like him. "Do you think I'd be doing this if I was married?" she laughs. Umm... He talks about how he was focused on building his career and sticking by his family, and never really had time to enjoy himself. Joan replies that she loves her work, but you can tell she's really not into it. Don goes to see Ted, which is mostly part of his grand plan to avoid Roger at all costs. Desperate for ideas, he asks him about the company's future. Ted replies that Roger asked him to do the same thing, but he managed to pin it on Don instead. To be fair, all of Ted's ideas are embarrassingly pedestrian. They conclude that, since this is the first time they can really dream beyond keeping the company open, this is an opportunity they don't quite know how to handle. Richard arrives in New York and calls up Joan for a date, which she gleefully accepts. Hey, even a millionaire needs her thrills. And you guys, this officially marks the appearance of the show's first leisure suit. Cast your eyes upon it and weep. Pete and Peggy are at loggerheads about the pitch, which apparently went horribly wrong, so they go running to Don. Someone said the fuck word in front of Pete, and the slimeball is outraged. We need a proper Pete story before this is over, you guys, I will accept nothing less. Don delegates and mediates. Glen Bishop is back ladies and gents! With impressive sideburns and slightly less wooden acting. Much to Sally's disappointment, he also brings his girlfriend Paula. They invite her to come to Playland with them for the day. (Sally also mentions that she's going on a "Teen Tour", which I guess is her trip. Googling it now, but was that actually a thing c. 1970?) Betty doesn't recognize Glen, and is stunned to find that her daughter has been keeping in touch all these years. Glen's now a college student. Betty reports that she will be soon, too, with no small pride. Betty offers Glen a beer, which he accepts, because I guess we're in that short window when the US didn't have an absurd drinking age. The teens plot to get their hands on some grass as soon as they're out of the Francis mausoleum. As they're about to leave, Glen tells Betty that he has joined the army and will ship out next week. At this news, Sally herself brings out the fuck word. She's stunned that Glen would do this after being against the war for so long. (In fact, I find it a bit baffling, too, especially since he does not appear to have been drafted.) She declares him a murderer and bails on the trip. Betty drily compares her to Jane Fonda and calls Glen a fine young man. They shake hands, Glen being well past his creepy phase at this point. Betty promises to see him when he returns. ...you guys, Glen is totally going to pull a Dick Whitman, right? One of the young creatives tries to bribe Don with gifts, asking him to come to the meeting where the creative must apologize for interrupting the cookie client. Don tells him to do it himself, and recounts a story of how he screwed up similarly with Lucky Strike and won back their respect. When the young guy (Mathis of sexy brother-in-law fame - dammit, I can hardly keep them straight) is gone, Done looks pensive, as he does roughly 40% of the time. Joan and Richard go on another date, where we learn that Joan has a pretty screwed-up idea of what constitutes an underdog. She also tries to keep Kevin secret for a while, but fails. This shocks Richard a bit, but he's still game. For now. Sally tries to track down Glen on the phone, but never manages to connect. Near tears, she pleads with the person on the other end (Paula?) to have him call. Joan goes back to Richard's hotel room, but kills the mood by having to check in with her family. She bribes the young babysitter into staying longer and prepares to have a night of fun. (And I have to say, her outfit looks fantastic.) Once she's back with Richard, he lets her know his displeasure at the situation. To put it bluntly, he doesn't want to take on another child at this point in his life. "I have a plan, which is no plans!" With a heavy sigh, Joan walks out on him. Peggy has learned from Ted that they have to write their own performance reviews, and goes to complain to Don. He just wants to know what the future of the agency is. Peggy wants Don's job, and then to "create a catchphrase" - or failing that, something of lasting value. She then demands that Don get back to the point. When he laughs at this, she stomps out. Joan's babysitter runs late, to which she snaps that the babysitter (or is that Kevin?) is ruining her life. Topical moment: Kevin is watching Sesame Street. Meanwhile, Mathis tries to apologize for his transgression, but puts his foot in further. Okay, screw all these other guys, I want a blooper reel of Mathis's Funniest Terrible Pitches. Meredith seems to think the future will look like the World's Fair. Geez, is Don writing a speech or making a scrapbook? Mathis comes in angry at having failed in his apology. They accuse each other of having no character, Mathis claims Don was a recipient of Lee Garner Jr's interest, attributing his success to his handsomeness,  and it all winds up with Mathis getting fired. And that is why you don't shoot your mouth off. Richard arrives with apology flowers and declarations that he is a "heel". She calls him out on his crap. He counters that he wants to settle in New York, and be with Joan, with Kevin part of the package. It's all tied up in his desire not to become rigid and old, of course. Stay well away, Joanie. Incidentally, we also learn that Joan has been divorced twice, which is news to me but not terribly surprising. You always knew there was something in that checkered past. Glen arrives to collect on that beer, well aware that Sally is not home. He's upset that his mother and Sally disapprove of his choices. Betty says they're just scared for him, like she is. After some patriotic rambling, he plants a kiss on her. YES CREEPY GLEN IS BACK LONG LIVE CREEPY GLEN. She protests that she's married and wonders (narcissistic Betty) whether she inspired this sudden Vietnam zeal. Glen tearfully confesses that he's just trying to cover up his flunking out of university. Betty places his hand on her cheek, which is weird as fuck but oddly touching, just as they've always rolled. Callback to season 1, people! Don takes Sally and her Teen Tour friends out to dinner. They're all diplo-brats and rich kids with impressive dreams. (Calling it now - Sally is going to be a writer, and a cynical one.) Sally's friend clearly has the hots for Don, flirting with him outrageously and getting him to light her cigarette (um, what exactly was parenting about back then?) - even kissing up to him about advertising, which is a godawful boring subject at the best of times. As he's putting them on the bus the next day, Sally calls both him and Betty out for being ridiculously attractive attention whores with no impulse control and a strange attraction to teenagers (right on the nose, kid), and vows to live a different kind of life. Baby Boomer, we got a Baby Boomer here! Don tells her she's more like them than she thinks, and advises her not to try and get by on empty things like looks. Bobby and Gene run through the house with a machine gun (ooh, subtle) and complain about not being able to watch The Brady Bunch. Betty tosses the toy gun away. Don comes home to find the realtor signing over his apartment to a young couple. "Now we have to find a place for you," she trills, the dialogue way too on point for my liking. Don is left standing around  in his apartment once again as Roberta Flack sings "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face". End credits. Next week: Don and Pete are grumpy, Joan stands around, Pete has something on his mind, and Roger is getting up to mischief. Simeone has an event that requires congratulations. Judging from how accurate these things are, I'd say next week will be all about sea monsters. So, yeah, this episode was pretty heavy-handed. There's no getting around that one. But somehow, I do feel it's getting back into its Mad Men groove. We're revisiting the interesting characters, but still allowing room for growth and weirdness (especially weirdness), balancing the old threads nicely. Even with tonight's meh execution, I think this is generally a good approach for whatever they have planned next. Tonight improved over last week, and if it continues like this, I'd say we're safely back on track. And now it's time to go further - which I'm sure they can do with gusto. Until next week! FJ Discussion Thread

crazyforkate

crazyforkate

 

Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 8.21 - The Communication Deterioration

Sheldon has decided to write children's songs for the benefit of science ("and James Clark Maxwell was his name-o"). He wants to bring Beyonce in on the project, but unfortunately none of his friends know her. Raj has launched on a new project having to do with finding alien life. Leonard puts forth the idea that they've already found it, at their table. Raj enlists the help of his friends in finding a cross-galactic communication system. In the end, Leonard is chosen to join the team, because he's the only one who didn't insult Raj in the process. Opening credits. Leonard comes over to help Raj on his alien communications device. They talk about how controlling their friends are. Raj wonders why they think they're in charge, and the two debate over which members of the group are alphas, betas and omegas. Once they get working on the project, they're unsure how to start, and discuss calling Howard or Sheldon for advice. Penny shows up wearing the ugliest shirt you've ever seen. She knocks on the door Sheldon-style, which delights the scientist. However, Sheldon's interest wanes when he finds out that Penny wants to discuss her acting career. Should she go for a big audition, or continue on the safe road of pharmaceutical sales? Sheldon, having recently heard that he is too controlling, refuses to give an answer. Howard makes "molecular cocktails", which Bernadette declines. It soon emerges that he is doing this fun activity without his bestie Raj, on purpose, because he feels slighted by being left out of the space project. He claims he has a dominant personality, but it's not his fault. An amused Bernadette can't get past the first point. Penny keeps trying to trick Sheldon into giving her an answer, such as framing the question through trains. Sheldon finally admits that she should do the audition, but hold off on a decision until she knows what's coming next. He wonders why she didn't ask Leonard, to which Penny replies that he would have dismissed the idea immediately. To me, that says a lot. Leonard and Raj debate the alien's hypothetical capabilities, which soon devolves into a discussion of how much E.T. made them cry. They hit on the idea of animals communicating in different ways, which means they need to communicate a multi-sensory approach. They settle on a tactile medium using a 3-D communication system. Then again, they realize that Sheldon and Howard had the same idea, which means a good concept is junked outright. Petty, guys. Howard and Sheldon discuss Sheldon's new line of children's songs, which remain terrible. A shamefaced Raj and Leonard show up and ask their friends to join the project. After making their friends eat crow for a while, they happily join in. Penny prepares for her audition, only to see two dozen other identical blondes waiting to go first. The group discusses alien communication, which is really about their communication (and also pizza). Eventually, they agree on a medium for the message, but can't figure out what the message is (insert Marshall MacLuhan joke here). Raj suggests they be passive-aggressive, which leads to an argument about how they are all passive-aggressive. Old slights and hurts from the past few seasons are brought up, which is a nice trip down memory lane if nothing else. Sheldon determines that he should be perpetually in charge, something his friends do not take kindly to. Penny runs into some old acting friends, who are impressed by her new career and getting tired of the pitfalls of showbiz. Afterwards, she recounts to Amy and Bernadette how much she appreciates her current job. (She still did the audition, though.) She thanks Bernadette for getting her the job, which her two friends somehow manage to spin into a thank-you dinner on Penny's dime. Some friends. Tag scene - Aliens watch Sheldon's communication. They get the message, all right - and are terribly interested in eating him. This episode had an interesting concept going on - exploring the group dynamics at play - but I'm not sure it was terribly well executed. It was way too literally put, tbh, and could have been examined in a more nuanced manner than "He's dominant we're not herp derp". It was also an episode fairly low on laughs. All the same, I did enjoy the interplay with alien communication, and Penny's sudden backtracking and subsequent epiphany. We also did get an examination of Leonard/Raj, something which is rare on this show. So it wasn't bad, per se - it just could have played with it more. As episodes go, that's not a bad place to end up. Keep watching the skies! FJ Discussion Thread  

crazyforkate

crazyforkate



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