Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Foot: No Ordinary Family "No Ordinary Anniversary" Review

A weekend PGA tournament moves faster than No Ordinary Family. The last 30 seconds of an NBA game (that somehow takes 15 minutes) moves faster than an episode of this show. The series continues to plod along, uninterested in telling interesting stories. Instead, the merry band of writers prefer to treat the viewers with lousy B stories like "the kids were left alone and they can't let the parents know that they had company over" because the audience can really invest in a story when the stakes are, "the car will be taken away for a few weeks or JJ can't get the computer he was already not allowed to buy at the beginning of the episode."

The A story involved the Powell parents, as per usual. The happy couple's 18th anniversary arrived and the two decided to get a hotel room and some dinner. For one night, Jim swore he would not fight crime (i wonder how many times a season he will swear to not fight crime before actually fighting crime 2-4 scenes later). Meanwhile, a serial arsonist ran through town setting fire to various buildings. George and Jim simply could not ignore the serial arsonist. Shortly after Steph gives up she and Jim's table, the serial arsonist strikes and sticks around to watch the remains of his charred work.

Jim recognizes the man from an earlier fire, and the serial arsonist remembers that Jim is a nuisance. One would think the arsonist would learn to step away after the crime but he doesn't. Jim and the serial arsonist fight until Stephanie joins in on the fun. Together, the married couple get the man locked up; however, arrest is the last thing they want because Jim knows the guy is a supervillain and dangerous to police. Jim, Steph and George scramble to intercept the transport vehicle with the arsonist inside.

Unfortunately, Sylar II intercepts the vehicle first and sets the arsonist free. You see, the serial arsonist got his powers from the nefarious Dr. King. The serial arsonist does not get saved by Jim. In fact, the complete opposite happens. The supervillain dies at the hands of the Powells though Stephanie claims the murder was in self-defense. The two experience maybe thirty seconds of guilt before they rest comfortably in bed, though Jim looks troubled before the scene ends.

I hoped the story would lead to the Powells discovering the duplicity of Dr. King; however, the story showed that Jim won't be a hero all the time, that not even he can prevent accidents (even though he slammed the arsonist into the thing that would eventually result in his death so it wasn't quite an accident although the contraption had no rhyme or reason besides easy plot device). Also, Jim and Steph realized that they are more powerful together than apart--a theme that has disappeared since the pilot episode, and a theme I thought the show would build itself around. Nevertheless, the theme would've resonated more if the couple had trouble in previous episodes.

I mentioned the broad beats of the B story already. JJ and Daphne clearly cheated during the poker game and won money through cheating. The show sent that message to families across America. In fact, the duo bribed the school security guard with the dirty money. The B story was complete filler and entirely unnecessary. Unfortunately, the show has developed an alarming lack of well-developed characters with stories of their own. If the show digs into cliche, parents-children shenanigans with so much season left, I shudder to think what kind of stories JJ and Daphne will find themselves in. Of course, No Ordinary Family is by-the-book so the possibility of more by-the-book cliche storylines is great. Jon Harmon Feldman isn't exactly Joss Whedon or Damon Lindelof.

Also, Steph's lab partner has begun to follow the trail of Dr. King after his abrupt firing. The plot thickens at a snail's pace.

Elisabeth R. Finch & Kate Barnow wrote the episode. David Semel directed it.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Foot: Terriers "Quid Pro Quo" Review

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="I can't find a picture from tonight's episode so here is an adorable Jack Russell Terrier"][/caption]

Penultimate episodes are usually fun and gripping. After these episodes, audiences should be frustrated that they have to wait a week before the resolution the season finale will bring to the various arcs built throughout the season. Terriers' penultimate episode of season one (and possibly the series) is fun, gut-wrenching and packs the familiar punch that's become the Terriers trademark. And it's fantastic.

"Quid Pro Quo" focuses entirely on the Zeitlin case. What exactly does he plan on doing with the various land grabs? Well, Zeitlin wants to pave over Ocean Beach and replace it with an airport. For the majority of the episode, it looks like the good guys will win. Hank and Laura enjoy a tremendous amount of success. Sam Albrect, public defender, joins the duo in hopes of bringing down whatever Zeitlin's planned (of course he eventually gets paid off and forgets whatever he learned about the airport and refuses to return the incriminating evidence). Gretchen's new husband. Jason, is the architect of an exciting development that he learns will fail because of Zeitlin. With this knowledge, Jason helps Hank and Laura identity blueprints for the planned airport. The amount of information that Hank gains throughout the episode puts various characters in jeopardy, including Laura's source and Jason. Meanwhile, Britt cuts a deal with Zeitlin to free himself of possible prison sentence (following the brutal beatdown of Katie's classmate who didn't deserve the beating). Zeitlin assigns Britt to figure out whether or not a co-worker of his is the source leaking info to Laura Ross. Britt continues to keep Hank in the loop throughout so there's no duplicity on the part of Britt. Britt only wants to find out more about the goings-on inside of Zeitlin's offices as well as what his lawyers work on all day. Britt learns that the lawyers work on various real estate deals without knowledge of who's exactly buying and whatnot.

Lives become endangered because the development deal is worth billions. The people involved haven't hesitated in the past to kill and/or threaten anyone with advanced knowledge in the actual plans on the Montague group and the other group whose name I cannot spell from memory alone. Of course, by episode's end, there is a body count. Laura's souce and Jason become victims of Zeitlin.

The death of Jason especially ties into a season-long theme, and something so fundamental to Hank's overall arc: Hank pushes too much and people get hurt or die. Hank had the best intentions throughout the episode. He offered Jason a way out after he explained how Zeitlin murdered Mickey and threatened Laura. Hank even accepted that Jason wasn't the awful man he tried to push into Gretchen's mind a few episodes ago. He tells Laura that Jason's a "straight shooter." Jason wants to remain involved because he and Gretchen envisioned raising their children in Ocean Beach. When Hank discovers the dead body of Jason, Hank's face drops and he repeats "no, no, no" because of his epiphany about his past and his present. Hank wanted happiness for his wife. Hank told Gustafson last week that he needed to make amends for his behavior as partner. Internally, Hank realized he needed to make amends for his marriage with Gretchen, and his behavior in the days before the wedding and his way of making amends was to let the marriage be, to accept it and move on, which he had. And now something awful happened. The scene between he and Gretchen as she cried and he repeated the words "I'm so sorry" was so damn moving.

"Quid Pro Quo" packed everything Terriers does so well in one episode. The episode had good buddy cop humor, hard-boiled noir elements, dark and emotional pain, detective story and underdog story. The show belongs to Hank Dolworth. After 11 episodes in which he never gained persoanl victory, I hope the season finale makes a hero of Hank Dolworth.

Other thoughts:

-The episode contained a ton of set-up. Most of the episode was a super exciting chess game each piece getting to the place it needed to be by the finale. Such an episode is difficult to write much about in an English major kind of way. It doesn't mean the episode was boring because the episode was great from start-to-finish.

-Hank buys a plethora of weapons at the end of the episode, ready and willing to engage in war with Zeitlin because things got personal. Very bad-ass.

-Angela Kang & Leslye Headland wrote the episode. Adam Arkin directed.

-Folks, don't worry about not seeing the entirety of the season. Watch whatever episodes that are ondemand before the finale because Terriers is a show that deserves a second season. The finale's going to be awesome.

-Please read my Happy Thanksgiving Week 12 NFL picks below this very entry.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Foot: No Ordinary Family "No Ordinary Accident" Review

No Ordinary Family followed their most promising episode with a 14 year old overseeing major and complicated surgery, the introduction of lip gloss-as-kryptonite and even less Amy Acker plus more procedural-type nonsense. Not good.

How does one take the show seriously following a 14 year old overseeing major surgery while his mother, who hasn't performed surgery since med school, does the heavy lifting? Stephanie Powell isn't Andy Brown. On Everwood, Ephram did help Treat and his beard deliver a child. Greg Berlanti created the show and had a large part in that particular story. And the story worked because Treat portrayed a doctor and his son merely held blankets and water. I'm aware that No Ordinary Family focuses on people with superpowers. J.J. became the smartest man in the world with his superpowers; however, MAJOR SURGERY?!?

The injured character is none other than the evil Mr. Litschfield, the math teacher who resented the improvement of J.J. Litschfield opens the arc by failing JJ's friend because he suspects blatant cheating. JJ deems the grade unfair because he only tutored the friend. JJ decides to hack into the school system so that he can change his friend's grade. Of course, he gets caught. Later, Jim argues that his son made a mistake and the crime should be forgotten, even though JJ should be punished for hacking to the school system and attempting to change someone's grade. But the writers must spend as much time developing characters as they do eating pastries in the writers room so the math teacher remains a bad guy despite the fact that he should report JJ to the school and the police. Nevertheless, Jim treats Litschfield as the villain, Litschfield drives off and gets hit by the nefarious carjackers who've gripped the town with fear.

At the hospital, we learn surgery is impossible and that Litschfield will die with or without surgery. JJ decides to use his powers for good so he studies medical books for about 45 seconds, fails to convince his parents to help him with the surgery and goes to the hospital himself. Steph discovers an empty room and takes off for the hospital where she eventually preps for surgery. The duo, plus Jim, manage to bypass the multitude of nurses, doctors and other staff members in the hospital so this must be the worst hospital in America. JJ and Steph engage in the most cliche-ridden surgical procedure until everything works out and Litschfield lives. Post-surgery, he tells JJ that the near-death experience taught him to let JJ's crime be forgotten.

The story didn't resolve the issues between Litschfield and JJ as much as it delayed the issues until the writers need to fill ten minutes with a useless plot. JJ, of course, becomes a selfless hero because of his daring and courageous decision to perform major surgery without experience. I know that isn't it. It is because he saved the life of a man trying to ruin his. Oh, ABC, you are nothing without LOST. NOTHING.

Meanwhile, Jim dealt with the possibility of losing his powers forever. I had high hopes for this particular story. Unfortunately, the story fell flat on its face. Throughout the episode, Jim would lose his powers and then regain the powers. Katie's hypothesis was that Jim had a virus that messed with his immune system and, naturally, his abilities. The loss of powers frustrated the man as a gang of carjackers terrorized drivers all over the city. Eventually, Jim stopped the bad guys because this is network television and the show has embraced its procedural-ness, and we learned that lip gloss temporarily messed up his powers. LIP GLOSS. Katie then remarked that lip gloss is the man's krpytonite.

Daphne continued to change her identity because of the boy from last week until she realized that she needs to be herself, and not someone else, if she wants an honest, healthy relationship with the boy. She realizes she needs to figure out who she is before that happens. By far, this was the most natural story of the episode so, naturally, this was the C story.

Sylar II continued to charm Katie and Dr. King injected the man with a green liquid. Sylar II also met Steph face-to-face. The plot thickens.

Sonny Postiglione and Leigh Dana Jackson wrote the episode. Tom Verica directed it.

Obviously, I didn't like the episode. Can a show 8 episodes into its first season jump the shark? If that's possible, No Ordinary Family did it with JJ overseeing major surgery. What a disaster.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Hannah and Her Sisters--Written By Woody Allen--http://www.awesomefilm.com/script/hannah.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Foot: How I Met Your Mother "Blitzgiving" Review & Buffy Reboot

Thanksgiving week is upon us. I planned on writing 75,000 words about why How I Met Your Mother should hire Jorge Garcia as a regular until I read on theavclub.com that Garcia will star in an upcoming J.J. Abrams series about an island and time-travel. Obviously, Thanksgiving and this piece of news share nothing in common. Of course, Jorge Garcia guest starred in the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother--an episode about Thanksgiving and missing awesome things.

Now, the episode had three references to LOST--the show Jorge Garcia worked on for six years as the lovable Hurley. Immediately, I want to write 4,000 words about LOST for old times sake. I remain thankful for the six years of awesome television LOST produced. I digress. Perhaps the Blitz (a name given to a person who misses amazing/awesome things once they leave the room) represents the plethora of fans who abandoned the show after two seasons or turned their back on the show despite the greatest series finale of all-time. More likely, the writers wanted to have fun and the Blitz allowed the fun to occur.

Indeed, fun was had. For 21 minutes, the gang simply had fun (except for the character who became the Blitz). The episode stands alone except for the progression of the Ted and Zoey arc, which bordered on redundant considering the show advanced the relationship between the two in the museum. The regression of Lily continued at an alarming pace. She steals now. The gang went from place to place in hopes of finding a spot for their thanksgiving dinner (since Robin broke Ted's whilst dancing) until they settled on joining Zoey for Thanksgiving.

At Zoey's, Barney wallowed in his Blitzness while Zoey and Ted bickered like two characters with sexual tension. The bickering climaxed once Ted compared Zoey to Cinderella's evil step bother. Zoey, hurt by the comparison, kicked the gang out of her house. Later, Ted realized why Zoey felt wounded by the comparison. Earlier, Zoey invited the gang to spend Thanksgiving with her because her husband spends the holiday with his daughter. In the cab, following Lily's boasts about her theft of a toy turkey, Ted concluded that Zoey felt sad and hurt because her husband and step-daughter rejected her on the holiday. Ted returns, with his nonsense turkey, and the two become friends for the second time in November.

Nothing much happened for the second week in a row. Last week, Ted decided to be his friend's best man at a wedding which proved the show did not forget about the season premiere. This week, more Ted and Zoey stuff.

Many fans of the show have expressed their negative opinions about Jennifer Morrison to which I respond with this: who is responsible for the character? Yes, Jennifer Morrison portrays the character but she doesn't write the character. Alyson Hanigan's one of my favorite actresses because of Buffy and her character continues to suck on a weekly basis in this show. Jennifer Morrison is delightful and I hope Zoey never leaves the show.

In other news, Warner Brothers will reboot the Buffy franchise without the involvement of Joss Whedon. A young screenwriter, Whit Anderson, will pen the script. Drew Goddard's become a successful features screenwriter. Why not hire a former Buffy writer for the reboot? If Goddard got the gig, the Whedonverse wouldn't revolt. But Buffy will be rebooted sans the cast and crew that made Buffy into one of the great television shows of all-time, and there's no use crying about it. Hollywood will do what they do. Us fans will always have the seven seasons of the show.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Everwood--"Unhappy Holidays"--Written By John E. Pogue

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Foot: Terriers "Sins of the Past" Review

Tim Minear and Tucker Gates reunited for the first time since 1999 (in which Tim Minear wrote ANGEL'S episode titled "Hero" and Tucker Gates directed the episode) and magic happened yet again in the latest episode of Terriers, titled "Sins of the Past."

Tim Minear has mastered the art of the flashback structure in an episode. I only wonder what the man would've done with an episode of LOST. I digress. After ten episodes, Terriers delivered a sort of origin story for Hank Dolworth. The final days of Hank's cop career neared an end as he hit the bottle more furiously, pursued suspects more vigorously if said suspect once dated his ex-wife and completely let his partner down. Meanwhile, the flashback juxtaposed Britt's present as he hit the bottle fairly hard and beat up the wrong guy thinking that he slept with Katie.

The episode belonged to Hank Dolworth though, the hero and anti-hero of the show. His personal arc has dominated the first season of Terriers. He lost his wife and job though we didn't know why. Well, now we do and Gretchen used a perfectly adequate term for her ex-husband when she described him as the live grenade in her life. Laura Ross shows up in Hank's house with information on the Billy Whitman case that cost Hank his job and his life. Billy Whitman was accused of being a serial rapist three years ago and Hank was convinced the man was guilty, especially after he learned that Gretchen dated him while in college.

The Whitman case allowed the show to delve into the absolute worst time in Hank's life. He drank on the job. He ignored the rights that every suspect has in the United States of America. He was sort of like Luther except no colleagues encouraged his behavior. And he let his personal life and his insecurities interfere with his professional responsibilities and duties as a cop. Past episodes showed that Hank sometimes falls into his old, destructive habits. The man won't let go of something until the something dies or leaves him or gets him fired from his job. Hank cared deeply about catching the man who violated tons of women but he was obsessed with destroying someone who might've forced his current wife into sex while in college. Gretchen obviously leaves him at some point. The Whitman obsession was simply the tip of the iceberg. His alcoholism become a burden in the marriage. Gretchen worried about Hank more off duty because he would drink for hours at the bar, arrive home late, forget important events. He was a mess.

He loses his job. His co-workers, and Gustafson, suspect that Hank ran Whitman off the road and planted evidence in the back seat because Whitman wasn't identified and would be released. And, of course, Whitman didn't commit the series of rapes. Det. Reynolds was the serial rapist. Hank apologizes as best as he can. Later, he tells Gustafson that he had the wrong guy for three years, that Laura solved the case. The sun won't consistently shine in Hank's life any time soon. He lost his wife and his job, after all. Plus, he severely damages his friendship with Britt when he tells Britt that he knew about Katie's infidelity and kept it hidden.

Of course, the flashback involves the beginning of Hank and Britt's friendship. Hank suspects Britt as the serial rapist in the beginning because he was at the scene of the crime. Britt is innocent of the rape but guilty of petty theft. Hank offers Britt his card at the end of the episode, and encourages Britt to find new legal line of work and a new partner.

Meanwhile, Britt hits the bottle in the aftermath of the Katie revelation. I wrote about the destructive behavior of both lead characters once love left their lives. Hank was a self-destructive mess before Gretchen left but Britt becomes a self-destructive mess after losing Katie. Hank pleads with Britt to quit drinking and to forget about finding the man who may or may not have slept with Katie. Britt ignores the pleas and beats the man up. He lands in jail and learns that he beat up the wrong man. Britt's in some trouble, folks.

It was important to learn about the past as the show looks toward the final two episodes of the season. Hank let down Gustafson three years ago and he let down Britt in the present. While the Whitman case resolved itself, Hank had nothing to do with the resolution, which means that he NEEDS the Zeitlin case to truly earn his reputation as a good cop back. He has his work cut out for him in his personal life as well. He must rectify his relationship with Britt as well as his ex-wife and, possibly, offer an apology to Jason. The final two episodes of the first season (and possibly) the series should be glorious.

Other thoughts:

-The scene between Katie and Winston was sad. Dogs are great.

-Tucker Gates directed "Sins of the Past." Tucker Gates earned my praise for "Ab Aeterno." Why hasn't the man moved into feature films? He's talented.

-The episode reminded me of "Out of Gas"--a Tim Minear Firefly episode. Minear, as I mentioned, writes terrific episodes with flashbacks such as "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been?" one of the greatest ANGEL episodes. I wrote more about Minear during my Seven Business Days of Whedon so go into archives.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Firefly--"Out of Gas"--Written By Tim Minear--http://www.fireflywiki.org/107.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Foot: No Ordinary Family "No Ordinary Mobster" Review

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="358" caption="Amy Acker!"][/caption]

The first six episodes of the series featured characters and situations that felt pointless in the grand scheme of the show. The stakes were non-existent because the audience knew the characters would disappear and the case would be forgotten. It appears that the show has begun introducing characters and arcs that mean something i.e. recurring characters and recurring arcs. The show has continuity after all.

The series took a break from the superhero antics of Jim and, instead, focused on his friend George. George has mostly been a cheerleader as Jim stops various criminals from committing crimes. This week was George's turn to stop a bad guy. "No Ordinary Mobster" is titled for the villain-of-the-week--a man named Luca. George wanted to get Luca behind bars for as long as he can remember but Luca always eluded punishment in courts. Frustrated by not guilty verdict, George tells Luca that he'll get his boss and then him. Later, Luca shoots George's new girlfriend Amanda. With the help of Jim, Luca gets arrested quickly; however, Luca saw what Jim could do. Luca threatens to go public unless the charges are dropped. George eventually realizes that the majority of Americans will consider Luca insane. Luca realizes this, too, and can do nothing but return to his cell. The spotlight on George worked. We learned that he made an error when he first prosecuted Luca and the error continues to motivate him. George doesn't want to mess up again, which explains why he pushes Jim to fight crime. Unfortunately, Sylar II kills Luca with his Sylar-like ability.

Speaking of Sylar II, he has his own agenda. The man isn't simply the muscle for Dr. King. Upon seeing a photo of the Powells (and, specifically, Jim), Sylar II does not tell Dr. King what he knows about Jim. By episode's end, he assumes the identity Will Jerome (that J.J. created in a pure Simpsons rip-off subplot). Intriguing.

The series re-visited Steph's major arc: how did she and her family get these abilities, why and what does it mean? Steph, unfortunately, received a fabricated story from the widow of Volson. Mrs. Volson explains that her husband, after extensive research in fringe science, came home with a concoction that gave both abilities. Once the abilities left, Volson killed himself; however, the widow lied to Steph because of a deal she made with Dr. King. The truth continues to elude the viewers. I'm certainly interested in the show's exploration of temporary abilities. It seems like the show will explore that area as soon as next week. Steph comes no closer to solving the mystery. At least the show returned to the mystery.

Meanwhile, Daphne and J.J. have love on their minds. Daphne shares a kiss with a boy after she impresses him at a Modernist Art exhibit with the help of her brother. Of course, the boy dates an unlikable girl but Daphne learns, through the power of mind reading, that the boy prefers her over his current girlfriend. J.J. has a crush on Katie and creates his own Woodrow. I don't have much to add.

"No Ordinary Mobster" laid a solid foundation for the rest of the season. As long as the show never brings Steph's parents back and continues to produce entertaining episodes like this, I'll be a content guy.

Other thoughts:

-Amy Acker didn't get much to do tonight, which is a shame. She is a wonderful actress. Winifred Burkle is one of the great characters of all-time. It seems that her character will return for additional episodes though. It'd be a waste to hire Amy Acker and give her four scenes.

-Autumn Reeser is a delight. It's difficult to buy that Katie would have trouble meeting a guy and would need to resort to the internet to do so.

-Marc Guggenheim wrote the episode. John Polson directed it.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

 

Perhaps there is hope for No Ordinary Family. After the worst episode of the young first season, the show delivered its best episode by far. "No Ordinary Mobster" was engaging, fun and energetic. The Powells were likable. Steph discovered more information about Volson, unaware that she fell into a trap set by Dr. King. Sylar II knows what Jim can do and what he looks like. Katie and George were given personal lives (no longer are they characters who live vicariously through their friend/mentor). The case-of-the-week with the Albanian mobster/drug kingpin wasn't particularly engaging but, at least, the story gave George an emotional arc and a rare victory without Jim. Also, the lovely Amy Acker might just be a recurring character. One can only hope.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Vampire Diaries "Katerina" Review

The arc of the second season continues to progress and the plot progressively thickens. For the second week in a row, TVD treated its viewers to a massive exposition dump. The curse of the moonstone can be broken through the death of Elena and all her friends. Katherine has been running from an original vampire called Klaus since 1492 after her family disowned her. The original vampires are very powerful, more powerful than any other generation of vampires. For example, an original vampire can destroy glass with only twenty or so quarters. The original vamps possess the ability to compel other vampires. Two warlocks, a father and son, moved into town. The elder warlock works with the original vampires. Elena learned that she bears responsibility for the harm her family and friends encounter because she belongs to the Petrova blood; therefore, her blood can break the curse. Also, Katherine revealed her plan. She needed Caroline as a vampire for sacrifice as well as a werewolf and her doppelganger.

The problem is, the arc isn't interesting. The villains aren't compelling or even terrifying. Klaus is a man without a physical identity. Katherine and Slater, the tertiary vampire character only talk about how powerful and dangerous Klaus is. Elijah causes all of the damage in "Katerina" with the implication that Klaus can cause damage and much more. Klaus loves vengeance. Katherine believed she escaped his torment and vengeance only to find her father murdered by the vamp I'd like to refer to as Santa Klaus. Klaus reminds me of D'Hoffryn, a Buffy character who once reminded Anya that vengeance demons never go for the kill when they can go for the pain. Perhaps L.J. Smith or Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec thought of the character and decided, "well, Santa Klaus will go for the pain AND the kill."

12 episodes remain in the season and I dread watching the central arc unfold, knowing that it won't conclude until the season finale. The new characters lack the intrigue that the villains possessed in the first season.

In an exposition dump like this episode, the B and C stories move at a snail's pace and reek of filler. For example, Caroline and Stefan spent most of their screentime discussing Tyler. Caroline summarizes the B story from last week. Stefan wishes she kept her vampiric secret to herself. But she simply wants to waste time and keep Stefan from going to Elena. The story mirrors the writers and their desire to not move the story too fast because, after all, 12 episodes remain. Damon and Rose visit an old vampire friend named Slater. He essentially tells them what Katherine tells Elena about Klaus. The story exists to bring Damon and Rose together sexually. With death an inevitably unless one looks out for one's own self, Rose advises Damon to forget about Elena. But, after fornication, Rose knows Damon cannot turn off his love for Elena.

The episode was very weak but not as terrible as last week's episode. Two consecutive weeks of dud episodes though.

Other thoughts:

-Nina Dobrev was great in "Katerina." Elena and Katherine played a large role and Dobrev rose to the occasion.

-Luca, the warlock, told Bonnie that he hopes he and his father can fit in the small town. TVD isn't a subtle show. Witches and warlocks are only African-Americans. I never trust The CW with things like this.

-Why bother with the high school aspect of the show anymore? Why does Stefan continue to attend high school? Slater had the right idea by getting 18 degrees and 4 PhDs though who knows how he paid for college. College is expensive for undergrads and gets more expensive with each degree.

-Andrew Chambliss, the former Dollhouse writer, wrote the episode. J. Miller Torbin directed.

-The Vampire Diaries won't return until December 2. The CW cares not for November sweeps.

NOTE: Considering I wrote three posts in 1 day, there will not be anything new tomorrow. If I do write something new, it'll be up in the evening. Also, please read my NFL picks and my Terriers review will were posted earlier in the day.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Mad Men--"The Wheel"--Written By Matthew Weiner and Robin Veith--http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Mad_Men/Mad_Men_1x13_-_The_Wheel.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

The Foot: Terriers "Asunder" Review

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="330" caption="Credit: FX and daemonstv.com"][/caption]

If an episode is titled "Asunder," the chances of the main characters remaining happy by episode's end are fairly bleak. Terriers has become a show about pain, sadness, loneliness and heartbreak. Of course, the show is ALSO about rehabilitation, redemption and the healing power of love. After all, many of the episodes are united by the theme of love or the lack of love. This lack of love is a destructive property for the people of Ocean Beach. Characters have died. Characters have been kidnapped. For our two main characters, Hank and Britt, love is central to their own health. Hank did whatever he could to sabotoge the marriage between Gretchen and Jason. The man actually ordered a drink because, after 543 days of sobriety, he never felt more tempted by the bottle than on the day Gretchen re-married. Hank wants to rehabilitate himself and he IS rehabilitating himself as a recovering alcoholic. And his private investigation business helps rehabilitate his image as a man who continues to be a good cop although he isn't being paid to be one. But, as Gretchen told him, he continues to be a live grenade. He crosses lines to solve a case and that line crossing usually leads to devastation for someone. We've seen the man Hank wants to be as well--the complete man Hank wants to be. The man we've seen in dreams with Gretchen and the man we've seen take care of his sister. The man who took a bullet for Britt. But he has demons and a whole heap of skeletons in the closet.

Until Hank overhears Zeitlin and Burke (you remember those two!) discussing something bad in the bathroom (about causing harm to someone) and Hank springs into action, Hank didn't know what to do with himself on Gretchen's wedding day. He cleaned the gutters, took the garbage out, went to AA but nothing worked. Britt asks Hank to drop off a shirt in the belly of the beast--the wedding. Hank delivers the shirt then parks the car and hangs around in the hotel. He orders a drink and then walks away, into the bathroom to collect himself, which is where he overhears Zeitlin and Burke's conversation. Hank gets a hotle room above the place where Zeitlin plans to meet with someone. The tech guys get hired to bug the room and, fortunately, Hank distract himself with his work.

Zeitlin meets with a freelance journalist, Laura Ross, who has written a series of stories about the land deals taking place in Ocean Beach. Zeitlin wants to know the source who leaked the information to Laura but Laura won't talk. If one recalls, the land that Montague bought did not have toxins in the ground. The mystery remains: what will this land be used for? Laura doesn't get the answer but she knows more than Zeitlin wants her to and threatens her mother's life if she refuses to give up her source. Hank sends text messages throughout the meeting, warning her that Zeitlin will harm her. Hank protects Laura's mother as well. The tech guys take her in their large RV, away from Zeitlin's muscle. Eventually, Laura escapes from the room with the help of hotel security. Hank whisks her away from the hotel.

Hank approaches Zeitlin and Burke to let the two men know that he recorded their entire conversation with Laura. Game BACK on. By episode's end, Hank tells Britt that he really doesn't need a drink anymore, that he and Britt are among a very few group of people who know more than they should about Zeitlin and Montague. The pain of the marriage won't heal quickly but Hank sees some light in a dark tunnel. He survived the day and he even saved the life of an innocent reporter's mother. Hank IS a good guy; however, to reiterate, he has demons but he's on the right path.

Meanwhile, to return to the theme of love, the relationship between Britt and Katie ended. Katie admitted that she cheated on him with someone, that she isn't sure who the father of the baby is and Britt couldn't deal. He planned to move out and told her how much he loved her but added that he never wants to see her again. Katie is the woman responsible for the transformation of Britt. As one might recall, Britt wanted to meet Katie after he broke into her house and saw a picture of her. Upon meeting and dating the woman, he gave up his life of crime for private investigation. He craves the comfort of a drink by episode's end, unsure of what life will be like without Katie (i of course hold hope the two will reconcile because the chemistry between Michael Raymond James and Laura Allen is fantastic). I wonder if the Zeitlin case will be enough for Britt in his post-Katie existence. In a show in which something devasating follows the loss of love, I'm anxious for the next step in Britt's arc.

Also, Gretchen and Jason were happily married.

Other thoughts:

-Yet another strong episode from Terriers--the best show on television. I fear that the show will get canceled and become a show that develops a following after the fact. Folks will lament the one-season-and-done yet they will be responsible for the cancelation. Please watch the show. Tell your friends. And HEY, the insanely-talented and awesome Tim Minear wrote next week's episode.

-Nicolas Griffin wrote the episode and Ted Griffin directed it. It was excellent.

-Follow me on Twitter @JacobsFoot.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Matchstick Men--Written By Nick Griffin and Ted Griffin--Based on the Book by Eric Garcia--http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/MATCHSTICK_MEN.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Foot: No Ordinary Family "No Ordinary Visitor" Review

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="329" caption="Terry Gilliam is awesome. He has nothing to do with this show."][/caption]

The in-laws-visit-the-family plot in a family drama is among my least favorite plots in a TV drama because nearly every show uses the same formula. The formula is tiresome and boring. The parents of the wife visit and the show devotes 3/4 of the episode to the fact that the father (both parents) dislike the husband and insult his role as husband and father in front of the whole family until the fourth or fifth act (depending on the show) when the in-laws and the husband come to an understanding and smiles fill the screen until time runs out.

"No Ordinary Visitor" follows the in-laws formula exactly. Stephanie's father dislikes Jim because he never asked permission to marry his daughter (really, Jim? and we're supposed to root for a guy who didn't have the respect to ask his girlfriend's dad for his blessing? yet another red flag for the show and its main character). Her father insults his grandson's intellect. Steph's mother repeatedly insults her daughter and the stability of her daughter's marriage. As a whole, the parents are among the most unlikable characters in television history. At least the curmudgeon parents of Rose Abbott in Everwood had a likable father and Betty White in the role of her mother. Cybil Shepard and Bill McGill aren't given much to work with considering their characters are loathsome but neither actor tries to make their character likable.

The Powells want to keep their powers a secret from the parents; however, each family member uses their powers before episode's end. Jim continues to fight crime, Daphne continues reading minds when she shouldn't, Steph runs to let off frustration and J.J. only uses his powers after his father decides he wants to see his father-in-law lose in a game of pool. The in-laws grow suspicious of Jim's behavior and decide the man must be cheating on his wife. After the matter of infidelity is cleared up, both married couples share a moment of brief reconciliation and harmony. The night before, Steph lashed out at her parents because they think her family is suffering because of her success at work. Steph tells her parents that her husband is wonderful, that her son is gifted and that her daughter is the most intuitiive teenage girl in the world. In the moment of harmony and reconciliation, the parents apologize for their behavior. The mother explains that she resented her daughter's multiple role as research scientist, mother and wife because her mother feels her life had some emptiness. Steph assures her mother that the job she did as mother made young Steph think her mother had superpowers (the show is not subtle). Jim finally asks for his father-in-law's blessing and receives it. Blah. BLAH.

The worst part of the episode involves the parallel stories. George actually verbalizes the parallel in another example of how much this show holds the hands of its audience (and maybe they should since the majority of America thinks Inception is the most difficult and complex movie they've ever seen....the Finnegan's Wake of the 21st century...and no...Inception is a rather simplistic, straightforward story but this is a rant for another time). One of Daphne's classmates experiences a home invasion. The teenager catches a glimpse of one of the invaders and gets threat against his life should he tell the cops what he saw. Daphne uses her powers and, eventually, the criminal gets caught and his band of thieves. Zero characterization happens in the case-of-the-week. NONE. I mean, a piece of ply wood has more character than any of the characters involved in the home invasion story.

The story exists for one beat and one beat only. Daphne's powers have evolved. The girl receives visuals of other people's thoughts (it's exactly like Cordelia's visions in ANGEL if the visions came to her after the events occurred rather than before). Daphne learns that her father saved her classmate's life. She learns, once again, that her dad is super. Also, the story exists for the theme of the home invasion. The poor family whose home was invaded by gun-wielding thugs is just like the Powells home being invaded by the in-laws, according to No Ordinary Family.

No Ordinary Family struck out more than Mark Reynolds tonight, folks. The only joy I experienced while watching the show occurred when I switched the channel to watch parts of The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and when Julie Benz danced at the end of the episode.

I used to like the show but it continues to evolve into an irritating 41+ minutes of television per week. I used to like the characters but they all annoy me even the entertaining sidekicks (Katie and George). The show needs an injection of energy or a vibrant character with energy. Usually, one could count on the villains but Dr. King and Sylar II possess as much personality as the teenage son in the home invasion plot. The Powell family isn't enaging enough to carry the show through 22 episodes.

Thankfully, the lovely Amy Acker is in next week's episode. There is hope.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Back To The Future--Written By Robert Zemeckis and Bob Dale--http://www.scifiscripts.com/scripts/back_to_the_future_original_draft.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Foot: How I Met Your Mother "Natural History" Review

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="385" caption="Credit: thetvaddict.com"][/caption]

I literally have nothing to write about besides How I Met Your Mother. Sure, I could've written about the first four episode of Luther or the season thus far of Boardwalk Empire or even the complete first season of Sherlock. Unfortunately, I've seen 1/3 of the first season of Sherlock. I could have written about The Walking Dead but the show has yet to capture my complete interest. Since I like to write a blog post every day, How I Met Your Mother sort of re-joins the weekly review rotation. How I Met Your Mother is sort of like Charlie Morton of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The show might get booted from the rotation for extended periods in hopes that they fix some problems in the minors but it'll find itself in the rotation again if a starter is hurt or September call-ups arrived. Consider this a spot start for How I Met Your Mother.

Last week, I complained about the lack of progress in any of the individual narratives as well as the repititiveness of Robin's arc with her annoying co-host. "Natural History" rectified most of the things that I complained about.

Ted continues to have a Zoey problem. She is a persistent girl who continues to fight for the survival of The Arcadian. Zoey took her issues with Ted and GNB into the OP/ED section of the New York Times. At first, one wonders how Zoey managed to get published in the New York Times and we soon learn that she is married to wealth and influence. Her husband, The Captain, can make it happen. She labels Ted and his friends "fat cats." Of course, the gang are fat cats in the episode as they attend a high society function at museum.

Imagine Ted's surprise when he spots Zoey at the same party/function. The two engage in their back and forth over The Arcadian and his job with GNB. He learns that she is married to the man paying for the entire evening. Ted and the Captain bond. Zoey secretly records Ted describing GNB as "weiners and gonades." Ted and the Captain have a conversation about Zoey. The Captain volunteers to erase the tape while Zoey sleeps but Ted respects the woman's belief and unwavering stance in what she believes in. The conversation makes it clear that her husband generally regards her in a favorable manner but he cares much more about his boat than her, and he's quite ignorant of her individual beliefs and causes. Zoey hears everything thanks to a plot device and she finds herself dancing with Ted, assuring him that she won't use the recorder against him, that she wants to beat him fair and square.

Ted and Zoey seemed poised to become something more than enemies. Ted might begin an affair with the married woman. Who knows. Many fans have made it clear that they have no interest in any of Ted's relationships unless it is with the mother. While I doubt Jennifer Morrison's Zoey will be the mother, I can deal with an extended arc with Zoey (mostly because of Jennifer Morrison). The arc has been somewhat sloppy thus far. Zoey has behaved in an extreme way in her pursuit to ruin Ted's reputation in hopes of saving an old building. She turned his class against him and wrote a scathing piece in which she slandered his character in a public forum. But this is a sitcom and the world of sitcom is different from reality for the pursuit of the almighty joke is the number one priority. Plus, Jennifer Morrison is gorgeous. I can't say that I would turn away either. Zoey and Ted's arc progressed nicely tonight.

Meanwhile, Lily had to deal with the truth that Marshall changed since college. Marshall admitted that he likes working for GNB and has since day one (wasn't there an episode in which he had trouble working for that company? Eh...it's a sitcom) which upset Lily. Eventually, Lily realized that Marshall as a person hasn't changed. He just makes more money than College Marshall dreamed of. Lily is quickly moving into the Worst Character list. The conflicts between Marshall and Lily feel forced. Someone should tell the writers that the couple doesn't need conflict to be interesting or engaging.

The Robin/Barney C story fell flat though the story existed solely to get to the scene in which Barney learns the identity of his father. The story fell flat because of the jokes and gags were terrible. The writers built the story around the idea that Barney must touch the "Do Not Touch" objects in the museum. Robin and Barney competed in a "Who Can Touch More Objects" game. The security guard brought the two into his office where he recounted the story of a 6 year old who took down a blue whale. Of course, the security guard had the incident on file and Barney was the 6 year old and his father was listed. Of all the places for Barney to learn about his father, it was from a security guard in a National History Museum. Are you kidding me?

Besides the Lily/Marshall story, I enjoyed the progression of Ted's arc and Barney's. The weakest part of the episode were the jokes like the whisper plot device and the "Do Not Touch" extended gag. Both were a lazy way to get to the emotional beats of the episode.

Overall, the episode worked. I enjoyed. I didn't regret the 20+ minutes I spent watching and that's all I ask from a television show: make the time worth it.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Breaking Bad--"Pilot"--Written By Vince Gilligan--http://www.leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Breaking_Bad_1x01.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Vampire Diaries "Rose" Review

Uh-oh. The Vampire Diaries fell victim to their own 22 episode order. It happens once or twice every year for any show regardless of quality. Of course, this is the third time that TVD has produced a dud episode in their second season.

Last night's episode, "Rose," was absolutely awful. It was a filler episode disguised as a transition episode. The pacing resembled a snail's pace. All four stories fell flat, especially the introduction of the Rose character and the Original vampires. And the emotional beats in each scene between the significant characters felt forced like Jeremy's helplessness and Bonnie comforting him or Stefan apologizing to Damon for forcing him to become a vampire in 1864.

The episode opened with Elena being transferred into the SUV of a vampire named Trevor. He brought Elena back to a large house where a vamp-woman named Rose waited. We soon discovered that the two vamps needed Elena to erase an old debt with a old vampire called Elijah. Naturally, Elena asked questions that Rose refused to answer until she actually answered each question in great expository fashion. Elena is a Petrova doppelganger and her death will break the curse of the moonstone. Katherine is the first Petrova doppelganger (i guess this means Nina Dobrev has yet another character to portray before the season ends). Soon, the dreaded Elijah showed up to collect the doppelganger and pardon Rose. Trevor, unfortunately, had his head taken off by Elijah. The Salvatore brothers saved the day and Damon even staked Elijah; however, Elijah didn't die as the last scene of the episode showed.

Meanwhile, Tyler and Caroline sort of bonded over their supernatural-ness after Tyler stopped trying to beat the girl up. Seriously, how many times will the writers show this guy trying to abuse a woman? And how has this behavior in a character been ignored by the TVD faithful and the media? In the pilot, he TRIED to rape Vicki. The viewer is supposed to feel bad for the guy because he feels scared when transforms into a werewolf? The B story didn't have much else besides the inevitable discovery by Tyler that Caroline is a vampire. She protected the vampireness of the Salvatore brothers because of the threat wolves pose to vampires. Eventually, Tyler will seek revenge when he inevitably learns about the role Caroline and the Salvatore brothers played in his uncle's death.

The romantic coupling between Jeremy and Bonnie evolved though the beats of the story felt forced. Jeremy whined that he couldn't join the vampires in rescuing his sister while Bonnie comforted him. After a difficult spell, Bonnie's nose bled and she passed out. Jeremy took the role as comfortador (tm Joss Whedon). That's about it. Elena came home and hugged both of them.

As for the road trip, the two brothers went to rescue Elena because both love her. Stefan acted mature with the knowledge that his brother loves the woman he loves. Of course, he should considering he's over 125 years old. After the adventure, Damon visited Elena in her bedroom and told her that he loved her as he returned her necklace but he compelled her to forget. He simply needed to say it aloud to her. The writers earned this scene though.

Other thoughts:

-I'm disappointed by the introduction of the original vampires. Unfortunately, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec can't ignore the books that L.J. Smith wrote. If the rest of the vamps are anything like Elijah then the viewer will be treated to a large group of boring, uninspired big bads. I enjoyed Katherine as the sole big bad of the season and I wish the show didn't seem like it is about to push Katherine into the sympathetic character area but it does. Katherine was on-pace to be as good a big bad as Glory in Buffy season five. Perhaps, I rush to judgement.

-Steven R. McQueen has not improved as an actor since his guest stint on Everwood. He hugged Nina Dobrev as if they were romantically involved rather than brothers and sisters. Also, not a fan of the budding Jeremy/Bonnie romance.

-The road trip reminded me of a season 1 Dawson's Creek episode titled "Road Trip."

-The series was due for a letdown after three strong episodes. Unfortunately, their weakest of the season occurred during the first week of November sweeps.

-Brian Young wrote the episode. Liz Friedlander directed it.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

The Grudge--Written By Stephen Susco--http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/GRUDGE,THE-2004.01.26-DOUBLE-BLUE.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Foot: Review of Terriers--"Pimp Daddy"

The structure of Terriers is smart. Each episode begins in a light-hearted fashion before the story goes to deeper and darker places. For instance, in the latest episode "Pimp Daddy," Britt takes on a simple case. The nephew of Hank's physical therapist got robbed and the therapist wants to get his nephew's money back. After talking with the nephew, Britt learns the nephew lost the money when a hooker bailed on him. Britt tracks down the hooker, and the hooker is actually a tranny who bailed because she didn't want to scar the teenage boy for life. The hooker (named Mikala/Michael) hires Britt to investigate the murder of her friend, Crystal. Britt, with the help of Reynolds, learns the probable identity of the murderer; however, the guy hung himself six months ago. Meanwhile, the parents of the deceased continue to call the police department seeking updates in the case of their missing son, Trevor. Crystal is Trevor post-op. Mikala knows that Crystal left home because her parents couldn't accept the truth that their son was gay, and she also knows the post-op transsexual news would devastate the parents even more. Crystal's parents aren't bad people, Mikala tells Britt; rather, the parents just had a narrow perspective of what constituted normalcy and ordinary. The case began as Mikala's search for closure and truth in the case of her friend; however, the truth is simply a dead end. Nothing can be done to the murderer because he committed suicide. Mikala decides to give the parents closure and a happy story that they can accept with their son. Along with Britt, she shows up at the door dressed as Michael, and tells the mother and father that their son was a wonderful person who helped the homeless out at the shelter, that he was simply a lost soul.

"Pimp Daddy" dealt with a few themes throughout the 42 minutes. The effect of parents on their children was one of the more prominent themes of the episode alongside the ability to let go and the benefit of closure.

Hank Dolworth is a man in need of closure, and a man who needs to let go of his ex-wife, Gretchen. After being the hero last week, Hank does a tremendous amount of digging in the hopes that Gretchen and Jason's marriage will blow apart. A few episodes ago, Hank ran a backround check on Jason but nothing came up. Maggie calls Hank with news that Jason isn't who he says he is. Hank arrives at Maggie's office to learn the details. Maggie tells him that Jason used to have the last name "Voloway" before he changed it--a result of a child molestation case against his family. His parents ran a day care center and molested 23 children who attended the center. Hank decides to dig deeper and he learns from one of the victims that Jason, at least, knew about the crimes his parents committed and did nothing. Hank takes the information to Jason as a warning and allows Jason the right to decide who tells Gretchen. Jason suggests Hank behave in whatever way he thinks is right. Hank marches down to Gretchen's office, hands her the information and learns that Jason told her everything on the second date. The entire thing blows up in Hank's face and he winds up farther apart from his ex-wife than ever.

Gretchen and Jason have been more than friendly to Hank as the wedding approached. Perhaps, like the alcohol that Hank cut from his life, he needs to cut Gretchen from his life no matter how much the man continues to love her. The episode opened with a dream/memory in which Hank sang her a delightful song as they laid in bed together on a Saturday morning. He awoke, alone in his bed, very far away from that life he once loved. The injury he suffered from the gun shot is the obvious symbolism of the episode. The doctor told Hank that the injury would heal if he remained in bed and rested; however, Hank does the opposite of the doctor's advice. Hank is like the injury. He needs to stop in his quest to win back the love of his life because the quest is hurting him more and more, and he'll never heal if he doesn't stop.

The scene between he and Gretchen turns into a nightmare, as Gretchen tells Hank why she can no longer love him and why Jason is the right man for her. Gretchen reminds Hank that he is the live grenade in her life. She goes for the knockout when she tells him that he is worse sober than he is drunk. Hank returns to his dark house, looks at the wedding invitation that he can no longer accept and lays down on his couch. For a moment, I thought that he might seek solace in a drink but Terriers is too good a show. Instead, Hank is alone with no remedy and, maybe, it is what he needs.

Some other thoughts:

-Britt proposed to Katie after discovering a pregnancy test in the garbage. Katie is, indeed, pregnant; however, the identity of the father is unknown. Also, Katie did not look as happy as Britt thinks she is. As we know, Katie feels unworthy of marriage (especially now). A rocky road looms for these two.

-I loved the short scene between Hank and the former reporter who now freelances for an online blog (50 bucks per story). I'm a guy who wants to either write for television or write for a newspaper (preferably TV or sports beat writer). My number one ideal career exists in LA (i of course live in Philadelphia) so I can't even attempt to break in as an assistant while ideal career number two is dying rapidly. I worked for my college newspaper and even we experienced the realities and hardships of publishing a newspaper. I digress.

-Donal Logue and Michael Raymond James were terrific in "Pimp Daddy." The two are consistently great in this show.

-Shawn Ryan and Kelly Wheeler wrote the episode. Ryan is, of course, the second guy in command and once re-tweeted a link to this blog for which I'm extremely grateful. This is Kelly Wheeler's first television credit, which is awesome.

-Adam Arkin directed the episode.

-Once again, please watch Terriers if you've neglected to. Episodes are available on iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and OnDemand. It is the best show on television currently.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

LOST--"Tabula Rasa"--Written By Damon Lindelof--http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Lost/Lost_1x02_-_Tabula_Rasa.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Foot: Thanksgiving TV (Everwood "A Thanksgiving Tale)

Get excited, America, because prime-time television belongs to election coverage. Each network show took the week off which means I will watch the 76ers without interruption. Also, I can begin writing about Thanksgiving-themed episodes of television. The Foot is a family friendly and holiday friendly place.

Thanksgiving is sandwiched between the two funnest holidays: Halloween and Christmas. Many people love Thanksgiving for the abundance of food and the consumption of the abundant food. Others love the holiday for the football games (though the games are usually terrible every year). Some use the holiday to educate others about how American Indians were truly treated when the Europeans came over. Of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the same essential holidays in modern society. The only difference is, Christmas is much more expensive to celebrate than Thanksgiving.

The two holidays spawn different types of episodes though. Thanksgiving episodes ALWAYS involve families for good or ill. And by always, I mean most of the time. Buffy, The Vampire Slayer's Thanksgiving episode is about thanksgiving dinner with the absence of family (blood relatives). I digress.

The first episode of Thanksgiving month in The Foot comes from Everwood. Everwood ran for four years on TheWB before The CW killed it in favor of a 47th season of 7th Heaven. Everwood took place in a small town with a tight-knit community. At the center of Everwood are the Browns. Andy Brown re-located his two children to Everwood after the sudden death of his wife. While the show occassionally wandered into cheesy territories, Everwood was consistently well-written over four years and Greg Berlanti (the creator) created some memorable and lovable characters.

Everwood's first Thanksgiving episode, titled "A Thanksgiving Tale," focuses on the Browns and the Abbotts as most episodes do. Delia, Andy's young daughter, loves Thanksgiving and she's worried that Thanksgiving will be different because her mother died. Andy only worsens Delia's fear when he calls the local diner to order Thanksgiving dinner; however, Ephram (the angsty teenager) realizes the importance of the Thanksgiving tradition to Delia and decides to keep the tradition alive by himself. Meanwhile, Dr. Abbott (the curmudgeon doctor of Everwood) worries about his memory in the event that something tragic happens to him (because his physician asks Abbott to return for an additional MRI to take a look at a spot). Also, the medical case of the week belongs to a recluse who lost his wife to his brother (in other words his ex wife and brother are now married) and the recluse's kidney is the only way his brother's life will be saved. AND Ephram enjoys brief romantic success with Amy before he suffers a crushing defeat.

The Delia story is the most heartfelt of the episode. The desire for Thanksgiving to remain as it was when her mother was alive only exists to mask the pain and sadness the little girl continues to experience because her mother is no longer there. Simply, it is about the first holiday without a parent and the way to cope with that. Ephram morphs into Martha Stewart as he basically nails the entire meal by himself but Delia loses her temper and lashes out because Thanksgiving isn't the same. Andy gets angry but Nina (the helpful next door neighbor) wants to talk to Delia. Nina helps Delia cope with the sadness about her mother. Nina tells Delia that she can be sad but she can be happy as well. After all, her mother would want her daughter to be happy. Delia hugs Nina and cries into Nina's shoulder. The next day, Ephram and Delia create a new tradition which is, "what was the best thing that happened to you this year?" Delia says it is when she discovered that God actually exists while Andy tells Ephram that getting to know his son was the best thing that happened to him.

Dr. Abbott, meanwhile, transforms into George Bailey after learning the news of a possible growth. He invites the entire town to Thanksgiving dinner and behaves in charitable fashion. Dr. Abbott soon becomes annoyed with his own behavior and the crowd of people inside of his house. He retreats into the backyard where his mother sits. The duo have had a rocky relationship, especially because she re-married only two months after Dr. Abbott sr died. Mother and son still love one another though. Edna tells Harold that she loved how he always knew the exact person he was. Dr. Abbott thinks he is an unloved man and won't be missed when he dies, and then Edna steals a sentiment from a Lawrence Durrell novel (unintentional most likely considering English professors don't even know who Durrell is (and Durrell was mentored by T.S. Eliot and published the fantastic Alexandria Quartet)) by explaining that each person only gets a certain amount of love to give to others and Harold loves his family more than any person she's ever known. Dr. Abbott then receives a call from the doctor telling him that he's fine. Abbott quickly kicks each person out of his house so that he can enjoy his thanksgiving with his family.

Everwood wore its themes on its sleeves. The case-of-the-week with the recluse who went crazy after losing his wife parallels Andy after he lost his wife. Andy relates to the recluse, explaining that people thought he went insane by moving his kids to Everwood. Andy thinks he went crazy for a short time because he had no idea how to continue living without his wife. The recluse asks Andy what changed him into the sane man. Andy responds that he needed to feed his children. The recluse decides to part ways with his kidney that will save his brother's life because his brother simply needs it and the recluse needs to move on and forgive his brother for his own sanity.

"A Thanksgiving Tale" is a simple, heartfelt episode about the importance of love, family, togetherness and community.

Some other thoughts:

-The second kiss between Amy and Ephram happens in this episode. Of course, Ephram experiences the cold, harsh world of rejection afterwards. The two end the series as a healthy, happy couple though.

-This episode is a battle between awesome beards. Treat Williams probably loses the beard fight to the actor who portrayed the recluse.

-Vanessa Taylor wrote the episode. David Petrarca directed.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

John From Cincinnati--"Pilot"--Written By David Milch and Kem Nunn

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Foot: November Sweeps & How I Met Your Mother

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The purpose of November Sweeps"][/caption]

The sweeps period of the television season always contains stunt casting and substantial plot development and movement. If you watch lousy prime-time soaps like Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters and Desperate Housewives then expect over-the-top melodrama--the type of stuff that will send you racing towards your facebook page to tell all of your friends how you surprised or shocked you are.

Of course, the arrival of sweeps means that the first extended hiatus for network shows looms so each show wants to leave the audience wanting more. Essentially, the network television season consists of three acts. Some shows have embraced the term "Fall Finale."

November sweeps grants me the opportunity to write about some shows that I watch and that I choose not to write about on a weekly basis. November is the month of Thanksgiving as well. Expect something similar to the Halloween Re-Watch with old shows.

Anywho, How I Met Your Mother is a show I haven't written about since the premiere so allow me the opportunity to write about the season thus far as well as the latest episode.

-Since the premiere episode, and the flashforward to the day Ted will meet the mother, absolute zero progress has been made in the central narrative of the show. Craig Bays and Carter Thomas promised they'd tell substantial character stories and move away from the stand-alone episodes. Well, the showrunners lied. The episodes so far have set up character stories like Barney and his father or the baby storyline with Marshall and Lily; however, Robin is involved in the same plot and Ted continues to waste time.

-Robin's co-anchor is someone who annoys her. The 'annoying co-anchor' happened last season with Don. Robin and Don entered into the greatest romance of all-time according to future Ted. Unfortunately, the writers never showed the relationship and only told the viewers that Robin and Don were what Romeo and Juliet would've been had they not acted so impulsively. The Robin plot of "Caning Ready" revolved around who she slept with at the Halloween party. I kept waiting for the writers to put the button on the annoying co-anchor storyline by placing Robin in a romantic relationship with the girl. Robin merely filmed a commercial to one-up her co-worker. Blah.

-Ted's storyline thus far has involved his professional ambitions. His work as a professor is successful and he mulled an opportunity to build a GNB building in Manhattan, only because an old building would have to be destroyed. This led to the introduction of Zoey, portrayed by the lovely Jennifer Morrison. Ted nearly turned down the job because he was attracted to Zoey; however, she's married and Ted began a war with her. I hoped Jennifer Morrison's character would be the mother when news broke that she'd join the show because I love Jennifer Morrison. I'm not sure what the House producers were smoking when they decided to get rid of Jennifer Morrison. Morrison was among the few bright spots in the fifth season of Dawson's Creek. I digress. The point: Jennifer Morrison is awesome.

-The Marshall and Lily storyline has been poor. Maybe the baby storyline in TV has run dry. Baby storylines are usually yawners. They end two ways: happily or dramatically, and the writers then spend episodes focused on baby hijinx storylines. As good as ANGEL was throughout its run, even they couldn't resist a terrible episode with baby hijinx (of course the episode featured blood thirsty demon clans trying to kidnap the baby but the episode isn't good and the writers were wise to age Connor 18 years). Hopefully Marshall and Lily decide to have a baby after the show has ended, thus I won't have to watch it.

How I Met Your Mother has many episodes left for the season to be considered a success and, hopefully, November sweeps brings something good out of How I Met Your Mother.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Knocked Up--Written By Judd Apatow--http://awards.universalpictures.com/pdf/knockedup.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

 
Will Forte and Jennifer Morrison guest starred in tonight's episode of How I Met Your Mother, which means one thing: November sweeps is upon us. Also, Claude Giroux is insanely talented.

 

About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.