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revolution recapping: plague dogs

Previously on Revolution: No Quarter

There are only two ways to watch Revolution: with other people as you laugh and cackle at the bizarre dialogue, “retro violence”, and sea of scowling faces; or alone, like me, drowning your gripes and surprising outbursts of emotion in a bowl of melting ice cream.

Last night’s episode was weird, okay? I don’t know if I’d go as far to say it was good, but it successfully achieved . . . something.

Plot

Charlie, Miles and Nora reunite with Maggie and Aaron. We find out that Uncle Miles is planning on leaving Charlie (just like everyone else in her life . . .) and that after the blackout Maggie tried really, really hard to get back to orphaned England and her jolly good kids (or maybe it was the other way around).

A crazy person with a hastily sketched out personality – that largely revolves around his aforementioned craziness – sets his (plague?) dogs on our semi-likeable band of heroes, severs an artery in Maggie’s leg, and kidnaps Charlie. Miles and not-Nate (oh yeah, he’s back) save the day by killing the crazy person. They release Charlie before returning to the rest of the group in time to be with Maggie as she dies.

Meanwhile, through a tornado-assisted miracle, Danny escapes the clutches of the Monroe militia. Then, through an idiotically misguided act of kindness, Danny is recaptured.

Talking Points

Snoozing

I was kind of bored for awhile. Rabid dogs, crazy guy, attractive people fighting and scowling — how could this be boring? I don’t know . . .  Maybe because we keep delving into poorly realized character development. Like Charlie and her abandonment issues. Or Nora and her feelings or non-feelings for her former flame Miles.  Maybe I like The Walking Dead so much because zombies appear and bite someone’s throat out whenever the awkward character dynamics threaten to get out of hand.

Plot progression

Where did we go in this episode? Absolutely nowhere (except that we’re down one blond British lady). So Miles isn’t going to leave Charlie. Big whoop, I didn’t even realize that was a possibility till the first five minutes of this episode. Danny has neither risen nor fallen in my estimations – he did exactly what I expected of him (which led him absolutely nowhere as usual). Gah, let’s go somewhere, guys! We have the whole planet to explore, infinite relationships and moral intricacies to create and examine! And instead we’re still tripping around the backwater edges of some eastern state waiting for crazy people and their dogs to capture us.

And yet . . .

Here’s the weird thing: the last twenty minutes kind of worked for me. I know it was burdened with the same clunky plotting and silly exchanges – and maybe the late hour was enough to mellow my overly critical brain to a pile of mush – but things started clicking. I mean, come on: Maggie giving up on finding her children and resorting to suicide? That was pretty sad. Not-Nate heroically joining Miles to rescue Charlie? That was sort of romantic (even though I wish their relationship was built on more than a random water meeting). Rachel leaving her children to turn herself in to her husband’s brother? Hmm that’s kind of intriguing. Touché, Revolution. I guess I’ll be back next week.

She won’t be.

News

Hey 18-49 year olds, what are you watching on Monday nights? According to the completely reliable Nielson ratings, you’re watching Revolution! Up against Hawaii 5-0 and Castle, my little pseudo-post-apocalyptic mutt is actually dominating. Take that, crime.

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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revolution recapping: series premiere

Talk about a mixed bag. Revolution rumbled onto my television set late Monday night and left me with a big pile of questions, annoyances, and a middling stack of tepid interest. I want to like it, okay? I’m also prepared to see it canceled quicker than quirky stewardesses prancing around in the friendly skies. We’ll see NBC, we’ll see.

The Premise

All the electricity is out, and it’s been like that for about 15 years. The government has been replaced by a big scary militia. People walk around with crossbows and swords and gaze longingly at postcards showing the electric yesteryear. It’s like the zombie apocalypse – except without zombies. Or like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – except people smile every once in awhile and don’t mind wearing shades other than gray.

The Characters

  • Dad Ben knows something, but he’s not sharing it with viewers at home. Oh, and he dies about nine minutes into the episode. Of course.
  • Mom Rachel has major sci-fi cred. She had big parts in both Lost and V, but she sort of seems to be dead already as well.
  • Their daughter Charlie hardly smiles, knows how to identify an asthma attack (“You are having an asthma attack!!), and wields a bow like the long lost love child of Legolas and Katniss.
  • Danny, Charlie’s younger brother, has one distinguishing feature: he has asthma (“It is his asthma!!”).
  • Miles is Ben’s brother. His coolness is sort of forced on viewers, but it more or less works. Watch as he drinks all the whiskey! Watch as he kills all the men!
  • Someone not named Nate is a militia man. He’s Charlie’s complicated love interest.
  • Maggie is Ben’s British girlfriend.
  • Aaron is comic relief.
  • Sebastian is Dean’s former (?) friend. He’s also the big bad villain on the show (spoiler alert).

Where Are We Now?

The quality quad of Charlie, Aaron, Maggie, and Miles are off to rescue Danny from the militia men who killed Ben. Not-Nate has reunited with his militia brethren, but he seems to be harboring complicated feelings for Charlie because she’s the only pretty girl he’s seen since all the lights went out – or some other equally romantic reason. Sebastian, head honcho of the evil militia, is hanging out at his evil villain compound (a green lawn with some crisp white tents).

The “Wow” Factor

So I like a lot of things about this show. I’m always down for a high concept science-fiction tale, and this pretty much fits the bill. Complex characters bouncing around in complex settings boosted by an injection of post-apocalyptic shenanigans, tyrannical militias, and sword play is where I live (in my mind). I appreciate strong female characters, and I assume Charlie is supposed to be that based on her decidedly un-girly moniker. I’m also a sucker for anti-heroes that are a little rough around the edges – which I assume the Miles character is aiming for. Add a little intrigue about the fall of electricity and the people who may or may not be able to restore it? Sure, why not?

The “Ick” Factor

On the other hand, this episode felt like a recipe for cookies made out of only chocolate chips and flour. Yeah, the big ingredients were there, but everything else apparently got thrown out the window. Where are my multi-dimensional characters? Danny could literally have been played by a llama if you could teach a llama to have an asthma attack (a very serious and proper use of the word literally). Where is the interesting exposition? I have no idea why Revolution’s America is so empty. Zombie apocalypses conveniently deal with that problem by eating everyone, but without that gross luxury, I don’t understand how the entire country emptied to the point that Charlie has to ask if “there are other towns like ours.” Like other towns with people in them or other towns with beautiful, air-brushed people who have no personality? Because I’m doubtful about the latter.

Prognosis

So far, so good. Over ten million people reportedly tuned in. Let’s hope Revolution can keep up the ratings (and fix a few character and story problems while they’re at it).

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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thoughts on community: basic lupine urology

Previously on Community: Virtual Systems Analysis

I decided to stage a 1-person boycott against Law and Order: SVU at the end of season 12 after Christopher Meloni left the show. No matter how dreamy I find Mr. Harry Connick Jr., there was no way I wanted to enter a parallel universe that left Benson without Stabler. Basic Lupine Urology gave me the opportunity to revisit a show I once loved and enjoy a show I’m currently obsessed with, while holding steadfast to my outraged, yet silent boycott.

I avoided any potential spoilers because I didn’t want anything to ruin the perfection I was imagining when they first announced that this episode was in the works. However, I spend at least half my days week on the Internet, so it was inevitable that I’d stumble upon some teaser from Community‘s homage to Law and Order. Fortunately, it was nothing more than a few stills from the opening theme. No biggie. Avid (and bored) fans set the stage for this months ago (Arrested Development and Buffy were my personal favorites). But I found myself wondering…would Steven Zirnkilton provide the opening narration (“In the criminal justice system…”)…could I depend on Troy and Abed to give me some Tutuola and Munch-style back and forth….and most importantly, are Annie and Jeff going to resurrect that Stabler/Benson sexual tension or did last week’s realization that she only loves love and not Jeff ruin any hopes of that?? The short answer(s): No, yes….kinda?

Typical Annie wants to save the group’s grade when their yam (Pam the Yam) experiment is destroyed, while typical Jeff wants to catch the culprit quickly, utilizing the least amount of morals possible. Shirley uses her familiarity with procedural crime dramas to send Troy and Abed on the hunt to catch the perpetrator. Pierce was…well, Pierce was absent (did anyone else think for a moment that this is what the show would be like without Chevy Chase?) and Britta was pretty much MIA as well.

In what has been consistent of the second half of a pretty amazing season, Community has yet again managed to be funny and attempt a themed episode that would be a complete fail for (most) other comedies. Without further delay, here are my favorite parts of tonight’s episode:

  • Professor Kane is a fan of Mama’s Family. Vicki Lawrence was HI-LAR-IOUS.
  • “We can’t both do the zinger” -Abed
  • “Youth! Scatter!” -Leonard
  • Given his last interaction with the group and Annie practically making him cry on the witness stand, is it safe to assume Todd will play a villain on the next paintball episode?
  • Britta’s brief appearance portrayed her as the Instagram specialist; however, as a psych major she would have done quite well filling the “George Huang” role.
  • Abed can’t tell time, but it’s fine because he’s gifted in other ways.
  • Magnitude cameos, while brief, are ALWAYS appreciated. Pop! Pop!
  • When Troy was dressed in the cardigan and glasses during the “sting operation” was anyone else, just for a moment thinking he would mention pooping his pants and skateboarding? Just me then? Fine.
  • I believe Shirley was Captain Don Cragen.

  • Troy’s tie? Yet another lovely nod to ‘Donald Glover for Spiderman’.
  • Were we all that shocked that Star-burns was building or had something to do with building a meth lab? He’s never really kept his side gig as a drug dealer a secret (See: Introduction to Statistics and Introduction to Political Science)
  • The Miranda warning should now, and forever, end with a polite “please and thank you.”
  • Did you ever think you would hear Omar Little utter the words, “I’m upholding the pinky swear”?
  • The word ‘pedophile’ has now been used twice in the last three episodes. That’s not interesting, just something I noticed.
  • Codette: The girl version of the man code….according to Jeff.
  • Neil boiled the yams for Vicki, so they could have sex during the warm summer nights. However, Neil loses his keymaster position and has to go to summer school, which negates the whole point of the crime….still a better love story than Twilight (some might say).
  • “I fell asleep in a sun beam” -Pierce
    “Likely story” -Abed
    “Actually it is. I used to live with him. It’s sort of adorable” -Troy
  • Star-burns Alex is dead. There’s that “oh wow, didn’t see that coming!” ending Law and Order has perfected over the years.
  • Where does the word ‘bunk’ come from? This could be the wrong answer, but it sounds pretty good.

Troy and Abed off to dreammm-land. Sweet Deans everyone!

Nicole is a TV junkie and TVDM helps her feed a lifelong addiction. She can be found here, providing biased commentary (sprinkled with a few Pop Up Video-esque insights) on her favorite shows, every week.

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thoughts on bent: hd and a-game

NBC is offering up two episodes of Bent each week. Couple that with the low ratings from the premiere episodes, and it’s pretty unlikely this show will make it to a second season (#oneseasonandacancellation). Aside from the few outliers, new shows generally need time to build a fan base. However, with so many comedies on now that are already vying for viewers (Community, Happy Endings, Parks and Recreation and Cougar Town to name just a few), a new show has to be pretty freakin’ hilarious to get some attention.

With all that stacked against it, I’m going to continue watching Bent until the very end. After four episodes, I can genuinely say the show is pretty funny. I’m still not quite sure why the full credits weren’t played until the fourth episode, but there’s probably a reasoning behind that which escapes me.

Here are the best/funniest moments, as well as quotes, to the show you probably aren’t watching, but REALLY should be:

HD

  • “Whoa! Way to kill the music. You’re like Buddy Holly’s plane.” – Pete, creator of the ‘Rebuttal to a Grey Life’ mix-tape, who seems to be pretty quick with the pop culture references.
  • Alex and Pete’s almost kiss wasn’t blown off and instead, the writers are jumping right into this “will they/won’t they/eventually they will” dance. “You lean in a couple more times, it’s gonna be a great year,” said by Alex just before sliding on the aviators most recently made famous by Mr. Jeff Winger.
  • Walt (Jeffrey Tambor’s character) and his Artist’s Day, which is like the taquitos and replenishment-themed equivalent of Treat Yo Self Day.
  • Apparently when determining if a guy is cheating or not, the placement of the hand on either the lower-back (not cheating) or high ass (definitely cheating) makes all the difference.
  • “Look at yourself. You’re a snowflake. No one else has your face.” – Clem offering a little bit of encouragement to the adorable, yet awkward, Gary.
  • “Don’t make me be the responsible one. We’ll end up in Vegas.” – Tawny Dean Screwsie
  • Clem being electrocuted and calling it “marvelous”, as well as mentioning that he saw his dead grandmother.
  • Alex’s boyfriend Ben and Pete going to her room to fight (MMA vs. college wrestling) and finding that the room was anti-sexual. We’re talking books on the bed, heating pad on the dresser types of not hotness.
  • Michaela Watkins (Bitch Pleeze Blogger, SNL) as Carol, one of Alex’s work buddies. I couldn’t quite place her face, but when she clutched the red Solo cup (similar to how she clutched her iced coffee) it all came back to me.
  • Alex going into mamma bear mode (“I’m a lawyer, my words hit like punches”) and heading off to the homes of the kids that were torturing her daughter at school. Writing JL BRD (jail bird) on someone’s lawn is lazy, and although it wasn’t the best anti-bullying message to send, they all deserved to have their houses egged.
  • Hearing Two Door Cinema Club’s ‘Something Good Can Work‘ towards the end of the episode.
  • “Street music: the purest union of art and commerce.” – Walt

A-Game

  • Gary’s nickname going from “goggles” to “back fat” all for merely requesting goggles during the safety meeting.
  • “This is some racist crap.” -Clem
    “All right, a lot of us are white, so that’s kind of confusing.” -Gary
    “Dammit back fat, get indignant!” -Clem
  • “I snuck in like an Indian.” – Alex’s boss, Bob (Larry Miller, who generally plays the same role. A funny role, but the same nonetheless).
  • “Don’t try to get in my head.” -Alex
    “Oh, I’m already there. Just making a couple of Pop-tarts in your mind kitchen.” -Pete
  • Bob Clendenin (Scrubs and more recently Cougar Town) as Terry, Walt’s boss. However, with Clendenin and Tambor in the same scene, I really wanted it to be a little funnier.
  • Pete noting that Gary was about to cry “orange tears.” Does anyone else feel like jokes against redheads have become more frequent in the past few years, similar to how blond jokes were all the rage in the 90s?
  • Walt asserting that bow-ties are like a “scarlet ‘U’ for unemployed actors.
  • Pete, Vlad and Clem wearing jackets on steak night (something JD and Turk would have appreciated). Poor Gary didn’t get the memo.
  • “I need booty heat. My back runs cold.” – Clem

Another Bent 2-for-1 happens Wednesday, April 4th @ 9/8c. Watch it.

Nicole is a TV junkie and TVDM helps her feed a lifelong addiction. She can be found here, providing biased commentary (sprinkled with a few Pop Up Video-esque insights) on her favorite shows, every week.

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community recapping: documentary filmmaking, redux

[Editor’s Note: If Jericho fans can unite themselves long enough to save their show with a few thousand peanuts, surely we can take the time to sign the Save Community petition for ours. And yes, this is more important to us than the economy or occupying anything…you fight for your injustices and we’ll fight for ours.– Nicole + Will]

Will’s P.O.V.

I’d like to start by saying that I clearly have no idea why Community is on the verge of whatever it is on the verge of with the show’s future but NBC has to be beyond idiotic if there is no Community on it’s roster for seasons to come. That being said, at this point I think I would rather see Abed’s behind-the-scenes versions of Community more so than the actual episodes.  I will admit that I was saddened that Pierce wasn’t more involved with episode because he is my mentor on all things politically incorrect but the episode made up for this monumental mistake by making me giggle, so all is forgiven. My favorite moments:

  • That dunk on a 6′ basketball rim during the original commercial made me remember, and cherish, my playskool days.
  • Dean Pelton’s over-exposure of his left nipple was nothing less than sultry with some danger sprinkled in. I wouldn’t mind if he did “segregate the school” after that.
  • Jeff’s identity crisis was genius. I actually thought he was the dean when he walked to his trailer…
  • Annie’s obsession with the dean’s “genius” was cute. We all know she knows what Stockholm Syndrome is…don’t we?
  • Watching Dean Pelton’s videotaped breakdown was awkward and awesome…especially due to the fact that he was stark naked.
  • I don’t know if this Britta/Troy relationship is going to blossom or if they just love to hug each other so much after being berated by Dean Pelton for two weeks.

Nicole’s P.O.V.

A lot was riding on this episode. Not like NBC grasps what’s funny anymore (*cough* Whitney *cough*), but the fans really needed this episode to be funny. So we could condescendingly shout from the rafters, “Yes, this is why I watch Community and you’re an idiot if you don’t,” and I have to say this redux left me feeling assured in my love for this show. Any mock documentary with Abed at the helm was bound to be hilarious, even with the hint of cancellation in the forefront of our minds. My favorite moments in order of appearance:

  • The old Greendale commercial was reminiscent of the Buddy Bands commercial…minus the rad dance moves.
  • Abed called Pierce a curmudgeon (a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man). Yep, that sounds about right.
  • Troy and Britta’s sexual tension.
  • Jeff as Dean Pelton. Not only does Joel McHale really make bald work for him, but his ‘deanisms’ were amazing.
  • Saw the Luis Guzmán statue and thought it couldn’t get any better. Then came the phone call and I was happy enough, but an actual appearance?! A dream come true.
  • The Dean, in a grey hoodie unzipped ever so slightly to the bellybutton and camo pants, looked…dare I say, manly?
  • Fight the power, fight it with your hugs!” Ah, to be the Britta in that semi-sensual Britta/Troy embrace.
  • Britta proclaiming herself as a “licensed psychology major” after a few credit hours as a psych major is funny for the same reason all stereotypes are funny…because they’re true.
  • “Some flies are too awesome for the wall.”
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