Friday, September 25, 2009

Grey's Anatomy: Thanks for the Grief...

TV is back and that means I actually have something to blog about here on Captain TV. Granted, there was a ton of reality dreck to slough through during the summer but unlike some recap sites, I don't like to recap something just for the sake of it. I have to actually, you know, not mind watching it.

Which is why, dear readers, I think I have to admit defeat. It's time to give up on Grey's Anatomy. After all my posts last season in which hope for improvement slowly dwindled away, I figured I'd give it one more shot. What better way than with a two-hour season premiere?

Um, yeah. So, I'm probably in the minority when I say this because die-hard Grey's fans are...die hard. I should know, I should be one. I was there to defend the show when it jumped the shark and had Meredith die in that dreadful ferryboat crash story arc.

I'm not defending the show any more. It's awful. It doesn't make any sense. The characters have become unlikeable, annoying, selfish...caricatures.

Meredith and Derek are married because they said so on a Post-It. I know Shonda Rhimes thinks this is perfect for them but they might have a spot of trouble proving that legally. I know it's not supposed to be a 'legal' marriage but more of a 'forever-bond' between them but...what happens if they fight, they tear up the damn Post-It? Does this mean all it takes to "remarry" them is a new pack of Post-Its? For a couple who is so unconventional, they don't have to get married to be...married, why bother then? Isn't it enough to be Mer and Der and live happily ever after after Meredith got 'cured' with her therapy?

But they can't. Because George is dead. I suppose for such a major character, it was fitting that the show focused on the after-effects of his death. I just don't think they did it very well.

For example, I love Izzie's 'miraculous' recovery. When I say "love", you should hear the sarcasm dripping. She had a minute chance of survival last season and yet despite the fact that she literally dies, she's well enough to go to the funeral of George and walk on her own, looking more robust and healthy than anyone else? Sure, they gave her a headscarf but, not to whoever's in charge of that stuff, we could see her hair peeking out the back!. Now her cancer is in remission even though she couldn't go for a week last season without a brain-tumour growing.

I hate that Izzie's alive. I've made no secret that I despise the character but last night, she did nothing to redeem herself. I was actually proud of Alex for telling her that her demand that he comfort her for losing George was not exactly a turn-on.

I think the part that cemented my dislike for the show is the funeral. I'm guessing that the hysterical laughter was a throwback to The Bomb Episode in which Izzie says she has inappropriate reactions to stress. Yet, seeing them all laughing reminded me of the final episode of Seinfeld in which you realized the characters are miserable, mean people who live to mock others. In this case, I don't care how grieving you are, going off by yourselves to hysterically laugh is ridiculous. It's rude. It's cruel. It's inconsiderate. Those other people at the funeral cared about George. What about his mother? Is she really going to understand that George's best friends had gathered to laugh? Yeah, didn't think so.

I felt sorry for that girl that George saved who spent the whole episode crying outside the hospital. I felt sorry that she had to endure Izzie's "pep talk". I think we were supposed to applaud Izzie but, sorry, I wanted to slap her. Have some SENSITIVITY! People handle grief in different ways. Sure, this girl was wasting her life grieving for a man she didn't know and was annoying but who the hell was Izzie to give her a dose of reality while Meredith beamed with pride? I know, I'm letting my Izzie-hate taint my opinion but, wow, was that harsh. I suppose that's Izzie's way: Direct and insensitive to other people's feelings.

The rest of the characters irked me. You know when I find Lexie the most interesting character, something's wrong. Callie bothered me. Bailey bothered me. Bailey has become WAY too soft for my liking. I know she's having a crappy time with her former intern's illnesses and deaths. I know her husband left and she's a single mother but...Bailey breaks down too much. She does get too emotionally involved. She said it herself. I miss "The Nazi", the Bailey who would push the elevator button to hold the elevator to let another doctor have a meltdown away from prying eyes. I hate that she's now the one having the button pushed for her.

Overall....I was bored. There were no surprises. Owen and Christina made strides in therapy so they're becoming yet another happy-but-tormented couple. Lexie and Mark are a couple. Derek and Meredith are married on a Post-It. Alex and Izzie are married but seemingly regretful. Arizona and Callie are living together, it seems, and both are emotional wrecks. Isn't there ANYONE on this show with a backbone anymore? I like Arizona but I didn't like how she used Callie to get what she wanted. I don't like that she's becoming as screwed up as everyone else on this show.

I've flip-flopped. What I used to love about Grey's, I now hate. I'm fed up of all these people and their soap-opera drama. Where's the reality? Is it a girl who they call 'cerviche' because she was crippled from a boating accident? That storyline got way old with Lexie-as-cheerleader and the parallel's to all the other characters on the show. I guess she was grief in a human body, angry, denying, bargaining, depressed and, finally, accepting. Yes, writers, WE GOT IT. Thanks. Now if you could do it in a way that didn't involve a nasty, flacid pair of amputated arms wrapped in a towel, that'd be dandy.

I'm going through grief myself when it comes to Grey's Anatomy. I was in denial for a while that the show had begun to suck. Then I was angry because they kept bringing Dead Denny back, even though the fans hated it. Then I bargained..."Give me one storyline that makes me care and I'll keep watching!". I sort of got depressed because I was disappointed but, ok, that stage is a little dramatic for a TV I'm accepting that the show is just...bad.

I think I'm going to have to give it up. I started DVR'ing Fringe so I can catch up. The Office is already on at the same time and I also watch Skins, BBC America's gritty, dark and fascinating teen drama. They're all on at the same time as Grey's and...they're all better.

So, maybe it's time to let it go. It's going to be a hard break-up but maybe it's time. I just don't care anymore.

And that's not a good thing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"V": A review of the Pilot Episode

A week ago, I was at Comic-Con in San Diego, CA. For a TV geek like me, this is pure paradise; it's a chance to wear your TV pride on your sleeve and indulge yourself in panels, memorabilia and screenings. I can't lie: I love TV. I love that the shows suck you in, make you care about characters and take you along for the ride.

At the moment, I'm a True Blood junkie. I recently subscribed to Direct-TV. Now I can actually blog about cable shows instead of just network TV. This is probably a good thing because one more blog post about Grey's Anatomy and I was about to shoot myself in the head. I also get a free three-month subscription to HBO. It couldn't come at a better time. I get to watch True Blood and at least part of Dexter.

I got to endulge my love for True Blood at Comic-Con, which you can read about in my regular blog. They had a panel made up of most of the major characters which was fantastic.

Yet, aside from my current and past favourite shows such as Dollhouse, Comic-Con is also a great place for getting to screen new shows. Most of the time, the shows fall into the Comic-Con demographic: They're usually sci-fi, shows with some kind of fantasy element like Buffy, Lost, Heroes, etc. or horror, like Dexter, for example.

This year there were a few screenings. I missed out on the Flashforward panel and screening, choosing, instead, to use the time to explore the Exhibition Hall and wait in line for the 24 panel. However, I did get to see the screening of the pilot episode of the V remake.

For those of you too young to remember, V was first a mini-series then a TV show in the early part of the 1980's. It was quite a sensation when it aired: A sci-fi show with a human element complete with a slight touch of shivery horror. Hey, I was only seven when it first aired and, let me tell you, people ripping their skin off to reveal lizard flesh combined with lizard-babies was pretty scary.

Now, they've remade the series for ABC television. It's going to air beginning in November. And, as an opinated TV blogger, I think it only my duty to give you my review of the pilot episode.

Overall, it was very entertaining. I like that ABC has chosen to go with a strong female lead, an FBI agent played by Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell. The show also features Scott Wolf as a slimy reporter clamouring to move up in the world along with Morena Baccarin (Firefly) as the leader of the "friendly" Visitors (hence the "V" of the title, standing for Visitors) and Morris Chestnut as a man just trying to keep his head down after living a somewhat dark past.

I won't post any spoilers because I don't like doing that. I could go back and recap the original series and compare it to this one but, to be honest, I don't remember specifics because I was so young. I do remember Robert Englund as friendly alien Willie and he was always my favourite part but as to plot, effects and overall review, I can't tell you much about the original show. Although if you IMDB it and look at the pictures, there was some BAD '80's hair going on there.

However, the updated version has no bad hair. In fact, it's a nice, shiny remake. The first episode focuses on the arrival of The Visitors and their claim that they are friendly aliens who are here to exchange their advanced technological knowledge for minerals we have on earth that they desperately need. Elizabeth Mitchell plays Erica Evans, an FBI agent who is investigating a case that eventually takes her deeper than she planned and reveals that the aliens are not quite as benign as they seem.

As I said, the show was quite entertaining. What worries me, however, are the cliche elements on which the show focuses. For example, Mitchell's character has a seventeen year old son who, as I said in my other blog, has the same eyebrow-acting ability as Zac Efron. To be honest, I'm already sick of the new wave of 'hearthrobs.' I know, I know, it shouldn't bother me because I'm too old to read Teenbeat and Bop but am I alone in thinking the new wave of male teenage hearthrobs really need to lay down their straightening-irons, stop wearing mascara and watch more Clint Eastwood films?

Anyway, I digress. Mitchell is a divorcee. She's bitter and her husband seems to be a good-for-nothing. She works for the FBI, cares about her son and works hard to support him. However, instead of appreciating the hours she works to support him, her son rebels against her, blaming her for the divorce and being angry at her for being a workaholic. Once, just ONCE, I'd love to see a teenage boy on TV admire his mother and support her as she works hard to support both of them. Unfortunately, V does not provide this. Instead, it provides an overplayed plotline in which Mitchell's character realizes the aliens are bad whereas her son has become enamoured with them. While we didn't get to see the ramifications of this opposing view of the Visitors in the pilot episode, I can only guess that somewhere down the line, the storyline will be concluded with the son having a near-brush-with-alien-death and his mother running to his aid and saving him. This will be concluded with a lot of hugging and a vow from the son to help his mother take down the evil Visitors.

I could be wrong. I'm not sure I will be though. I watch an awful lot of TV.

There are a couple of pleasant surprises with the pilot. Alan Tudyk, a favourite actor among the Comic-Con fans for his work on Firefly, Serenity and Dollhouse, pops up and adds a welcome burst of comfort to the episode. The set-up for the show is good; there are moments of surprise and darkness, especially surrounding the character played by Morris Chestnut. While some of his storyline is a little overdone with a doting fiancee who doesn't know about his secret past, he adds a layer of depth to the show. Also starring is Joel Gretsch who plays a priest who is not taken in by the seemingly benign arrival of the Visitors. His role is interesting in that his suspicions are, at first, unfounded but as the pilot episode progressed, he began to understand more and take action rather than relying on his faith to help him.

As a show, I think V has tremendous potential. Even though they weren't 100% complete, the special effects are 10 times better than they were in the original. The pilot episode was...interesting. I'll probably watch it, just to see what happens. But the hardest part about a remake is trying to make it original and one thing I did notice is that the remake gave a lot away in its pilot episode. Whereas the original show was a slow-burn in revealing the true appearance of the Visitors and didn't allow viewers to know who was a Visitor and who was human, the remake doesn't try to do anything slowly. In the pilot, we start with the arrival and end by knowing the Visitors are bad. We know who is/was a Visitor and how long they've actually been around.

I'm hoping the remake's technique of giving away so much is deliberate. I'm hoping that means that the following episodes will give us new information, will surprise us on a whole new level. While there are new viewers out there who are not familiar with the original show, I have a sneaking suspicion that the majority of the viewers in November will be older folk who saw the original and want to know why they're redoing it. As one of those viewers, I'll withhold judgement until I've seen a few episodes. In the meantime, I'd suggest you check it out. It's worth a watch; if nothing else, it's entertaining. And, also, Elizabeth Mitchell is pretty great in, if only her son would be revealed to be a Visitor. That might make up for his Zac-Efron-ness. Still, we'll see. Watch it and then let me know what you think. I'll be curious to know.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

George out, Izzie in...I only wish it was the other way around...

So, Grey's Anatomy's been off the air for a while now for the summer hiatus. It isn't that I haven't been watching TV. It isn't that the only show I appreciate is Grey's. I mean, honestly, I think appreciate is a strong word for that show at the moment. Thanks to the syrupy, contrived season finale, I've got a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Fortunately, this time of year means I'm delving into my Netflix membership and watching TV on DVD. I'm catching up on shows I should have watched all along except for the fact that I still rely on my rabbit ears and haven't yet given in to the power of cable. That's going to change, I have to confess. I am sick of adjusting my antenna to try to see a show. I want more selection. I'm submitting the power of cable TV. It's time. I feel it in my bones. Also, I hate using aluminum foil to try to get a better picture. As a TV blogger, I think I owe it to my blog. Even if that's not true, it's nice to have an excuse.

My Netflix so far has given me an addiction to True Blood on HBO. I'm reading the Sookie Stackhouse books at the moment. You can read my opinions on those on my regular blog. Needless to say, I love the show. It's enticing, intriguing, sexy and fun. For me, that qualifies it as something worth watching.

I'm going to watch BBC America's Skin's next. My brother recommended it. I'll let you know what I think.

But, for now, because I'm a Monkeypants of Habit, I have to talk about Grey's. You see, this seems to be the week for answers of the show. Yesterday, it was confirmed that T.R. Knight, our friendly George O'Malley had officially been released from his contract. This means that yes, when the finale episode ended with George greeting Izzie in the elevator of DOOOOOM, it meant he was dead.

I'm sad about that but I get it. Poor T.R. had been relegated to the role of extra, popping his head in to summon Meredith, Izzie, Christina, Alex or Lexie somewhere or other. He'd become an afterthought on the show, someone who we were supposed to forget existed. For me, however, I never forgot. I'm rather fond of rewatching old Grey's episodes; they're a comfort blanket for me. After a rough day, I like nothing better to come home, order pizza, drink wine and watch a Season 1-3 episode of Grey's. They make me feel safe. George O'Malley makes me feel safe, even when he made the horrible mistake of sleeping with Meredith. I watched as he rebounded to Callie, convincing himself she was his perfect match, marrying her and then realizing it was a mistake. I ignored the fact that he rebounded from Callie with Izzie; that never happened because it sucked and was a mistake for the writers and creators of Grey's. I cried when his dad died because it was tragic; the use of Gary Jules' song, "Falling Awake," will forever trigger the memory of the scene where George has to grow up and be a man so he can let his father go.

I suppose this is my eulogy for George O'Malley. I cared about him a lot. He was a strong character, one of the truly 'nice guys' we women are supposed to ignore in favour of 'bad boys' like Alex. Ok, so I'd admit if it was a George vs. Alex contest for sex, I'd pick Alex. But if it was about longetivy and humanity, George is/was my man.

Izzie never realized how lucky she was.

So...let's talk about Izzie. I just found out from a friend that Katherine Heigl has just accepted a renewal for her Grey's contract. All I have to say is, in the immortal words of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Bugger this!"

I'm frustrated. I know there are Izzie fans out there. People like her. I don't get why but I'm willing to concede that I'm a bit judgmental and often tend to form an opinion and can't be swayed. I'm willing to be swayed with Izzie.

The thing is...I've had, what, five seasons now of Grey's and I still despise her. I think she's a hypocrite. I think she's cruel. I think she's boring. I think she's crazy. I could go on but I won't.

I know that I let my opinion of Katherine Heigl taint my view of Izzie Stevens. It's hard not to; any actress who pulls herself out of the Emmy race because she thinks the writers weren't good to her doesn't win points in my book. I also don't feel that being in a successful movie like "Knocked Up," and then stating publicly that it was a movie that should be offensive to women is a smart career choice. It reeks of conceit. I've said it before and I've said it again: Katherine Heigl hasn't exactly proved herself to be Meryl Streep. Sure, "27 Dresses" was...cute... but I, personally, think Anne Hathaway, Amy Adams, Rachel McAdams or any of the new Hollywood darlings could have replaced her in that movie and it wouldn't have made a difference. It's a generic role. She was generic in it. Sure, it made money but that's because we women like a nice romantic movie and James Marsden is nice to look at.

Which brings us back to Grey's. I've lost my faith in that show. I no longer look at it as my Thursday night reward. I look at it as my Thursday Night charity. I want it to be good but I know, deep down, it's lost its strength. Dead Denny is the show's Kryptonite. Every episode in which he appears just drives the stake deeper into the heart of a dying show.

Because you know that since Izzie is now miraculously going to live, Dead Denny is also going to linger in the shadows as a horrible threat. Let's face facts: Izzie had cancer and it was bad. I figured she might make a recovery but I'm also a realist. People with a 5% survival rate don't usually survive. Of course, it is Izzie Stevens we're talking about.

I confess that I expected the miracle recovery. In the early days of Grey's, in the days of Pink Mist and train-crash-victims-who-wrenched-our-hearts, the show would have killed Izzie because that would be the right thing to do, the sadly realistic approach to life. It would have made us sob with the sadness by picking the right music, by having GEORGE O'MALLEY live and be the one to represent us as an audience as the sheet was pulled over Izzie's face, by having Christina be slightly robotic in her way of dealing with death, with Meredith being strong with her resolve to deal with the reality of life.

Yet we're talking about the Softer Side of Grey's these days. I've mentioned that I do love that Meredith has grown, that her dark twistiness has given way to a softer more adult approach to crises. Yet there was comfort in knowing our characters. Yes, Christina loves Dr. Mc. PTSD, Dr. Hunt. He's messed up. Rather than have Christina deal that with her multi-layed Christina approach, it's become a 'hug it out, love conquers all' approach to a scary subject. The Softer Side of Grey's is starting to drive me nuts.

I suppose my complaint can be boiled down to this: Grey's Anatomy has become a Lifetime movie for women. The man dies (George), the true love reappears (Denny) long enough to bless the heroine (Izzie)'s relationship with her new love (Alex), conquers terrible obstacles (cancer) and rises stronger and ready to begin again.

I was very much hoping that Katherine Heigl wouldn't be asked back to the show. I wanted to hold that candle of hope of the unpredictable. We all knew that ABC, Shonda Rhimes and the audience was so used to Izzie that it'd be painful to lose her but I, at least, hoped they'd take an atypical approach and know...kill her.

I'm not heartless. If they would go back in time and save Kyle Chandler's 'bomb squad guy/pink mist' guy from blowing up at the end of the "It's the End of the World as We Know It/And I feel Fine" episodes from season two, I wouldn't be devastated. I liked him. Pink Mist could have given Dr. McDreamy a much better run for his money than Dr. McVet, Chris O'Donnells' charming but hopeless challenge to Dr. McDreamy's love for Meredith.

I can't change time any more than I can change ABC's decision to renew Katherine Heigl's contract renewal. All I can assume is that when they get fed up with her/when she gets fed up with the show that her cancer will rear its familiar head. Hopefully this time, at least, it won't mean Dead Denny. It just means that, sooner or later, Izzie will die and they'll try to make us sad about it. Trouble is...I just want her to get hit by a bus. But...wait....ooops, they did that with George. Bummer.

Oh, Grey's....oh but I had faith in you as I used to. But it's like Peter and the Wolf, once with Dead Denny was interesting, twice was silly, three times was ridiculous. Beyond that...I stopped caring.

Now that George is 'dead', I have a secret fear. Maybe it'll mean Dead George and/or Dead Denny. The two of then combined might be entertaining. They could have a vaudeville act or something. They could take turns coming out of the elevator and rapping, dancing or even miming. Now mime on Grey's? You have to admit that would be unpreditable.

Don't sneer your nose up at me. Can you honestly say after the last season of Grey's it's really not possible?

Yeah...I thought so.

Oh, Grey's.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh, Grey's...Really?

So...I have a confession about Grey's Anatomy. It frequently makes me cry.

It's made me cry during deaths of random patients, moments of relationship strength and weakness. It's made me cry when I see how loyal those friends are to one another. It's made me cry when a character's parent dies. It's made me cry when a random bomb-squad member becomes 'pink mist'. It's made me cry when the interns lay beneath the glowing lights of a Christmas tree and looked up at them.

I have another confession. Tonight...I didn't cry.

I KNOW! I was supposed to cry. I was supposed to weep when we realized that John Doe who'd darted in front of a bus and was an anonymous hero was revealed to be....George O'Malley. I was supposed to cry when he died at the end. I know this. I WANTED to cry but, in the spirit of honesty, I was so annoyed that his death was so contrived, I just wanted to turn off the TV. Seriously. SERIOUSLY!

This is it? This is the end for George? George O'Malley? The same "Heart in the Elevator" guy? The same George who was everyone's pillar of strength? The same George who we loved because despite his great bedside manner, was still always learning? The very same George who managed to get Bailey to deliver her baby in the midst of crisis and trauma?

I'm annoyed. Not sad. Poor George. We didn't even get to mourn him until the last few seconds. We were supposed to be SO shocked that it was him that...that's it? He gets hit by a bus...AND DIES? REALLY SHONDA? REALLY?

Nope. Not going to cry for him. I can't. It's not right. We deserve more. HE deserves more. I think I'm supposed to be reeling now. I'm not. I'm furious. It was a cheap, cheap trick. Maybe others would have figured it out...I didn't. When I did figure it out...there was no overwhelming cloud of dread there was just...incredulation. Really? This was it? This was the way you're going to let T. R. Knight leave the show? You're not even going to let him have the heroic- if predictable- dignity of leaving to join the army? I hate to ask what T.R. did behind the scenes but, clearly, it wasn't anything forgiveable.

And then there was Izzie Stevens. I have to confess...I was furious when she came out of the surgery and seemed to be ok and then I became very content when she showed signs of brain damage. Given her odds, given all of the dramatic build-up, if she'd have come out of the surgery with no ill-effects, I would have thrown my remote at the TV and contemplated walking away.

Did she die? We don't know. That's the point, I suppose. We're supposed to wonder until next season. I think she died. Whether she stays dead...we're supposed to tune in in September to find out. At this point in time, I'm not truly sure I will.

To be fair, I've mentioned I'm a Lost fan. I watched that show's finale last night. It gave me a headache because it made me think but it also left me gasping and wanting to find Carlton and Damon, the creators, grab them by their throats (in a very pleasant way, of course) and say "WHAT HAPPENS NEXT????".

Tonight, on Grey's Anatomy, I didn't feel that way. I felt cheated. Mostly, until the last five minutes, I was bored. I was actually texting a friend who was also watching and she, too, conveyed her boredom. Then we found out it was George O'Malley who was John Doe. It got interesting. Then my brain caught up with the show and I realized what a contrived, cheap plot device that was and I was irritated. They did that on ER. YEARS AGO. Remember Dr. Gant? You probably don't. He was a patient that came in as a John Doe. No one knew who he was until they tried to call his pager. Then they realized. Now that? Was dramatic tension. This? Was a cheap plot device.

I've not been the strongest advocate of Grey's this season. I started out with a heart full of hope that it would pick up from the irritating George/Izzie pairing and move back to the good medical drama I'd loved once. It had some good moments. Mostly, it just made me feel like I was doing ABC a favour by watching each week. If you've read my previous blogs, you'll know I'm not an advocate for Dead Denny. He was on tonight. When I saw him, I actually stifled a scream of "NO! I THOUGHT HE WAS GONE!" I stifled my cry because I live in an apartment building and I didn't want my neighbours to think I was nuts. Just because I can hear them spanking one another through the floor doesn't mean I want them to hear me overracting to TV. Also, the spankee is the CEO of my company and even if it's ok for me to hear her having her sado-masochism adventures through the ceiling, it's not ok that she hears me shout at the TV. Yes, I know there's something wrong with that but...there you have it.

I was angry that Dead Denny was back...again. Yes, we KNOW Izzie had a tumour but...can't we just politely imagine her talking to Denny? Do we have to see him dressed in his beach linen whites, giving her the stupid moon face that says he loves her, even though she married Alex?

Obviously...I didn't enjoy the Grey's finale. Shonda Rhimes? Seriously- don't write another episode without rewatching season 1-3.5. You started out brilliantly. You progressed brilliantly. But, like so many before you, like so many Stephanie Meyer's, you're moving forward in a way that suggests you're writing for you and that you don't care that you've got an audience who feels invested in what happens.

Tonight, I felt robbed. I was actually CHEERING that Izzie died. Yes, I know...I've never been a big fan of hers to the point where I've been slightly cruel but even so...I wanted to be sad that she was (possibly) dead but...I wasn't. I was merely glad that the writers didn't give in completely to self-indulgence and let her have the miracle-recovery that they'd threatened in the last moments of the show. I just hope, on this, they follow through.

I know. This makes me seem heartless and cruel but...I have high expectations. If you engage me, I expect you to keep me engaged. Grey's Anatomy once more evoked Dead Denny. They didn't give George a dignified death but went for the cheap shock and awe value. All rules and expectations are off, as far as I'm concerned. Until this season, Grey's Anatomy was my Thursday night best friend, the reliable comfort for which I could pour myself a glass of wine and curl up in my pajamas. Now, as I feared, it's become that friend that I almost wish I'd never invited, the friend that comes in second to the notion of a warm bath, good book and glass of wine.

I have a few months to process this cheap finale. I may give it another shot but, honestly, I'm not sure at the moment. I miss my Thursday night friend in Grey''s become an obligation, not a treat. That's never a good sign. I'm not sure if I'm ready for a break-up but at least I have time to think about it. They killed George. I knew they would but...really...Grey's? Like that? You're really going for the "Titanic" ending where Izzie goes to join George? What, no little chorus of former patients who'd died under their care to greet them both at their death?

Of course we don't know they're dead. That's one of the reasons I'm so irked. They're going for the cliffhanger. But when George is that mangled, you KNOW he's dead because he'll never be our George again. Izzie on the other hand...well, she's still not above a miracle. Which means, yay, next season we'll have more Steven's Anatomy and when things get dull, they can bring back Denny which means the ugly, vicious pattern will be repeated.

Question is, do I want to be there to see that?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Theory on the Grey's Anatomy Finale...

So...I've had this theory for the past couple of weeks about Grey's Anatomy. Call it a product of WAY too much thinking time combined with a sadly accurate knowledge of TV showrunners/writer's logic but...I think I could possible be right.

Before I get to my theory, I have to ask did you notice I DIDN'T blog about Grey's last week? It's not that I didn't think about it but I'm really trying to make this TV blog a little wider in scope. Sadly, my post about Dollhouse is proving to be futile. Stupid FOX looks like they're giving in on this fantastic effort by Joss Whedon. Of course, they gave him the Friday at 9 p.m. time slot so, honestly, didn't they give up on him before they even aired the show. FOX? I hate you. Just so you know. Unless you save Dollhouse. Then I'll like you again. In the meantime, can you honestly admit that 'Til Death is a worthier show to be renewed than Dollhouse? If you answer yes, that pretty much underscores my theory that you have to be mentally deranged be in charge of the programming lineup for FOX. And, while we're on the subject, about's getting stupid. I love Hugh Laurie but, seriously, House is becoming hateable. He can't even do his job anymore. That's the only reason we stuck around. His ten-minutes-til-the-end-of-the-show ephiphanies were predictable but at least he proved he was worthwhile. Now all he does is hallucinate, debate popping pills and let Foreman take control. FYI? bad.

Anyway, back to Grey's. My theory is that Shonda Rhimes and co. have known Izzie was actually going to die for a while. However, they've been watching Lost and have realized that the fact that Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindloff, the brilliant writers/creators of Lost can get viewers in by simply NOT TELLING THEM ANYTHING AHEAD OF TIME...means something. Not that I'm saying Greys and Lost are anything alike except they're on ABC. However, I think Shonda and the network decided that they didn't want people to know they'd agreed to let Katherine Heigl leave the show; they wanted to bring in viewers due to the simple fact that there was some question about it. However, my theory? They decided to let her go weeks ago.

I'm not pulling this theory out of thin air. Katherine Heigl was in the news a few weeks ago suddenly talking about how much she LOVED being on Grey's and how great her role had become. This is a far cry from the blunt comments she'd made just a few months earlier about the lack of good writing for Izzie, comments that also implied that were she to be nominated for an Emmy, she'd have to decline because she didn't feel that she deserved it. Now, not so long after that, she suddenly does a 180 and changes her mind? Doubtful. My thought? ABC had decided to let her go by killing Izzie but wanted a 'shock' ala Denny's death at the end of season two. If they led everyone to think Izzie would survive her cancer and thus Katherine Heigl was willing to be back, the finale would draw more viewers who wanted to see what happened.

I've mentioned that I was afraid they'd have a miracle and Izzie would live. I've changed my mind on that. Tonight's episode only supported my new theory and, I have to say, 'well done, Grey's', you're finally making sense.

I'm ignoring Denny's presence tonight. He was a ridiculous, unnecessary waste of screen time, as he was for the earlier part of the season. Yes, he did lead Izzie to her suspicion that she had another tumour resulting in Derek's realization that he couldn't operate leading to his unselfish act of giving her his wedding because he couldn't help her otherwise. Yet...Bailey and Derek are Izzie's doctors. I can't help but think that they would have found it eventually. Did we really NEED Denny? We all hate him by now. He's appeared on our Grey's screens one too many times already. Tonight was just gratification. It was the 100th episode so...why not have Dead Denny return?

I tell you why not. BECAUSE HE FINALLY LEFT AND WE WERE GLAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He came back tonight. Fortunately, he didn't say "I'm here for you." If he did, my brain tuned it out because like the presence of the that awful horrible Pedia-egg they promote on TV that grates the skin off your feet LIKE CHEESE (and they air it on the FOOD NETWORK which is...disgusting. Don't worry...I complained.) brain refuses to acknowledge that which irritates it to the point of irrational remote-control-throwing.

I did like tonight's episode though. I loved that Meredith proved she was an adult by not pouting that she had to give up her wedding to Izzie but, instead, chose to do it and beamed happily through the whole thing. I love that Alex, though in pain at realizing Izzie was likely to die, overcame his commitment issues and gave himself to her fully and utterly. I love that Christina and Owen still love one another even if it's going to take time. I loved that George essentially gave Izzie away to Alex, a sign that he, too, had grown-up and moved on. I loved that Izzie finally lost her hair, not because I have a sick thrill from seeing someone beautiful have that happen but because it was realistic, because it made her cancer believable.

I was sad for the ER victims who died in the car crash, young students on the day of their college graduation. When I was in high school, a classmate accidentally shot himself and died just a few days before our ceremony. It cast a pall over the entire event and made us all grow up a little too fast when we realized that no matter how young we are, our lives are temporary. I felt for the student who watched all his friends die, who crumpled when he realized he was left alone and what was supposed to be a triumphant day had turned into the darkest day of his life.

In short, this was Grey's Anatomy at its best. It focused on the medicine as a parallel to the lives of the characters. It was easier to sympathize with Izzie for once. It was easy to ignore Dead Denny- which earned a lot of points in my book. Although NOT having Dead Denny at all would have earned more.

Next week, I'm curious to see what happens. I stand by my earlier threat that if Izzie doesn't die, I'll consider being so annoyed that I might stop watching. Yet...if my theory is true, I might not have to. If Grey's does what it does best, I'll care that Izzie dies and I'll even cry for her. Given the fact that, for the most part, I despise Izzie...that would be good TV.

Here's hoping.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Grey's Anatomy: Hoping for a Giant Talking Rabbit

I wasn't going to do a Grey's Anatomy post this week; I figured this was a TV blog, not a Grey's blog. However, it doesn't feel right to watch an episode without blogging these days.

Truth be told, I missed the beginning of the episode. I'm one of those strange creatures without either cable or satellite and relying on the ancient technology of a rabbit-ear antenna and a digital-TV converter box. So, last night, just as Grey's began, my formerly clear picture decided to turn into a series of strange, digital blotches that sounded like a robot was trying to take over Grey's Anatomy. I spent ten minutes fiddling with the stupid antenna only to settle for a picture that, while interrupted by digital static, was, at least viewable. Thus, I missed much of the stuff at the beginning with Callie, Arizona and Callie's father. I missed the part where Izzie decided to become a maniacal wedding planner. I finally managed to get my picture back when Callie was ranting in Spanish to Arizona. Which reads rather strangely unless you know Arizona is a person.
So, static aside, I quite liked this episode. I love that Meredith and Lexie are finally acting like sisters. I've mentioned it several times, but I adore how Meredith has grown. She allows herself to be happy now, even for short spells. I love that. I like that I saw Lexie when my static settled and I was shocked that she seemed to have gained weight and looked much heavier. I remembered that the actress who plays her, Chyler Lee, is pregnant in real life and I enjoyed the fact they covered this up by making Lexie into a stress-eater. It worked nicely.

I am sad that Bailey's marriage is likely to be over because her dedication to her job is taking her from her family. Yes, she should have been at home with her little boy instead of at the hospital on her day off but watching her cradle that little dying girl was heartbreaking and sad and it reminded me that one of the reasons I love Bailey is because she's more than just a doctor. She's a person with a heart and though it gets her in trouble, it's also one of the best things about the show. The only thing that worries me is that she's TOO close to her patients and she has the danger of becoming The New Izzie. I confess, as touching as some of her scenes are, I do miss the smart-mouthed Bailey who used to be called "The Nazi" and kept her interns in line.

I loved the scene with Alex and George in the bar. I love Alex because in spite of his cockiness, smart mouth and meanness to others, it's all a mask for the fact that he's vulnerable and scared. It's taken a few seasons but we're getting to see the real Alex and it's hard to watch. The way he treated George was wrong and...yet...the scene in the bar explained it all. Alex is terrified. He knows he might lose the one thing that is making him human, the one thing that makes him brave enough to show his vulnerability. Ironically, it's also the one thing that is going to break him because of this vulnerability. Watching him admit he wasn't sure he could handle Izzie's sickness was hard to watch because it was so believable.

Owen and Christina...well...there's not much to say about that except Hunt is broken and he needs to be fixed before he's safe for Christina. They're good together but his moments of rage and disorientation, caused by his PTSD...not good for her. I'm glad he's getting help.

I saved Izzie for last because it's Izzie and you know how I feel about Izzie. I AM sad that she's sick. I am sad that, finally, last night, she had to face the fact that she was sick and she can't be the same annoying, perky person she used to be. I'm glad for that because I wanted to smack her a couple of times. Her faking symptoms and medical crises to get what she wanted was too Typical Izzie. Typical Izzie is the one I don't like because she doesn't think about others, just herself. I know she has cancer and that it's understandable to think of herself but we all knew she was going to be the Girl Who Cried Wolf and so when she collapsed dramatically on the wedding dresses, it wasn't a shock.

I stand by my original hope: I want Izzie to die. I'm not some cruel, unfeeling human who goes around typically wanting cancer victims to die, trust me. I just don't think the show will be the same if Izzie beats the odds and somewhat miraculously recovers. It's time for her to go while we still care. Also, I'm hearing rumours that Dead Denny will be back in which case, you know I'm going to say much harsher things in the future. I get that he's a symptom of her illness but can't the writers do something a little more tolerable like...I don't know...have her hallucinate a giant talking rabbit? It worked for Donnie Darko and that was an AWESOME film.

So...I'm hoping Izzie follows through and dies. I think the show would be new and fresh again and give it room to grow. It's improved over the past few episodes but it still has a long way to go to be as exciting and interesting as Season 2.'s better. At the very least, there's no Dead Denny.

For now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Better Off Ted," and "Dollhouse": Don't Let them Die, Please!

I haven't done a TV post in a while. This is not because of the lack of new Grey's Anatomy episodes but, rather, because life sometimes gets in the way of TV.

However, it hasn't been getting in the way of my watching two of this season's new shows, ones that I have recently learned are 'on the bubble'.

For those of you not as obsessed with TV as I am, an 'on the bubble' show means it's in danger. It means that the Networks aren't enamoured with its success and are contemplating getting rid of it. This more show.

Firstly, I have to tell you, my first favourite new show is Better Off Ted. If you're an American Idol watcher, chances are you may not even have heard of this show. It's on at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, in the slot right before Lost. Let me tell you, if you haven't been watching, you have missed out.

Better off Ted is hilarious. It's clever. It's slightly sarcastic and has that very "now" sense of humour that anyone who lives in today's world should get. The setting of a show is an office but not just any office, it's Veridian Dynamics, a company which invents things and isn't afraid to try anything. For example, just a few of their products over the past episodes have been "cowless beef," "hurricane-proof dogs" and "weaponized pumpkins", just to name a few. The company is headed Veronica, played by Portia de Rossi. Veronica is fascinating because she tries to have morals but she doesn't quite get them. The show's main character, Ted, played by Jay Harrington is her Head of Product Development. Ted does have morals though, often, he has to be reminded by his smart five-year-old daughter to employ them. Other notable characters are Lem and Phil, the brilliant scientists responsible for inventing the products. In the first episode, Veronica decided to freeze Phil for a cryogenic experiment. Phil, a loyal employee, decided he was game. As he froze, he was told he would experience extreme pain and the biggest worry was that his eyeballs would burst out of his head. The employees of Veridian watched, anxiously. Fortunately, Phil's eyeballs did not explode though his face was captured in a good imitation of Edvard Muench's "Scream" painting. Unfortunately, Phil was accidentally unfrozen a couple of days later and, in following episodes, occasionally, in the middle of conversation suddenly screams for no reason. Irritated by the interruption in meetings, Veronica now sprays Phil with a squirt bottle to get him to stop screaming.

This is only one of the funny moments of the show. In an effort to save energy, Veridian employed a motion sensor of virtually everything in the company including the elevators, doors, water fountains and lights. Unfortunately, because the technology works by reflecting off the skin, none of the black employees are able to activate the sensors. Because the expense of replacing all of the equipment is too vast, Veridian's solution is to employee white people to follow all the black employees around, thus activating the sensors. Lem, Phil's scientist ally, becomes a hero, a former passive-agressive voice in the company taking a stand and ultimately solving the problem. It sounds vaguely racist but that's the beauty of Better Off Ted, it takes shots at everything, mocks everything and doesn't come out looking like a Public Service Announcement about diversity in the workplace. It ridicules the fact that diversity in the workplace has to be a considered factor in the workplace rather than just hiring a person.

I'm gushing. The show makes me laugh, what can I say? The final icing on the cake is the fake TV ads for Veridian, usually spoofing whatever topic is the theme of the show. Veridian, as a company, has no morals. They will do and make whatever they have to in order to succeed. If you haven't watched it and you need a laugh, go to and watch their free episodes online. I recommend "Racial Sensitivity" but any of them are worth a watch. I'm not a huge fan of sitcoms because they're not very funny. I still enjoy The Office but have given upon on 30 Rock mostly because, like so many good shows, it began to believe its own critical acclaim and became too self-congratulatory for my tastes.

My fear is that not enough people discover Better Off Ted before ABC decides to give it up and cancel it, instead choosing to make more Dancing with the Stars type shows. I'm hoping that they listen to the critics on this one and keep it around, giving it a chance to build up an audience as it so deserves.

The other show that is in danger is Dollhouse. I've mentioned that Joss Whedon is my hero. I will watch anything he writes. Case in point: Dollhouse. Like so many others, I was a little worried during the first couple of episodes; the trademark Whedon humour was missing, the show seemed so serious and made little sense. Yet, I stuck with it because I trust Joss completely. I was rewarded. By episode five, the show found its groove. Now, even though it's on Friday nights, I find myself anticipating the next episode. If I can't watch it, I watch on the minute I get a free chance. The show has so many layers, centering on a mysterious 'dollhouse' in Los Angeles in which the dolls are young, attractive humans who have 'chosen' to have their minds erased and allow themselves to be formed into whatever personality is requested of them.

It sounds ludicrous yet Joss makes it work. We don't really know if the dolls really chose to become dolls. It seems that way but we don't really know. We get to watch Eliza Dushku (Echo), Dichen Lachman (Sierra) and Enver Gjokaj (Victor) change their roles every week, defaulting to a childlike state when their 'imprints' have been removed and they are just 'dolls'. The head of the company is Adelle, played with a British crispness by Olivia Williams. Her technological genius is Topher, played by Fran Kranz. Topher is a geek. He's also brilliant, responsible for designing the imprints for the dolls and installing them with all the complexity of building a chemistry experiment.

Each week, we see Paul Ballard, a former FBI agent, played by Tahmoh Penikett, try to uncover information about the Dollhouse, a place he knows exists but cannot prove. One 'doll', Alpha, escaped and is wreaking havoc from behind the scenes. We haven't even met Alpha yet but his presence is so strong that he's in the shadows of every episode, even though his role exists through discussion only.

Even though the actor's names sound like they come from a fantasy novel, the show is held together by the strong cast. It's compelling, clever and always leaves you wanting more. The show is on Fox who have a history of failing Joss. They seem to place his shows in the worst possible slot in the viewing schedule, just to watch them die. The joke is on them though, with the help of and Joss's strong internet followers, Dollhouse, unlike Better Off Ted, will not die easily. This is the type of show that will inspire save-the-show campaigns. I'd love that to be the case for Better Off Ted too but that's a new show, without a cult following.

I'm only one tiny voice in the blogosphere; my internet presence is merely a whisper. However, if I can do anything to encourage people to watch these two shows, to help keep them on the air, I will. Yet the one thing I can do is have an opinion...and if ABC and Fox decide to cancel these shows, I will not be happy. Take a chance, networks. Stop assuming that everyone likes American Idol and Dancing with the Stars and let those of us that still love scripted television to have something good to watch. Please.