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the vampire diaries recapping: smells like teen spirit

Stefan is frighteningly good at pretending not to care for Elena. Or is he not pretending anymore?

A number of cat-and-mouse games play out on the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries “Smells Like Teen Spirit” but it’s hard to tell who are the cats and who are the mice. Stefan and Rebecca, left behind by Klaus to watch over Elena and Tyler, respectively, are making nuisances of themselves in the lives of our Mystic Falls gang. Stefan bullies the students at the school track and Rebecca makes moves to take over Caroline’s place as the resident golden girl, perhaps even in Tyler’s heart. Alaric gives Elena self-defense classes to toughen her up. Spooked by Stefan’s coldness – he compels young women into playing a twisted round of Twister while he feeds on them – Elena concocts a plot to put him out of commission. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one plotting in Mystic Falls. Vicki convinces Matt to perform a ritual that brings her over to the world of the living. The catch is that she is on orders from the Original Witch to kill Elena so that Klaus can’t make any more hybrids. When Matt tries to stop Vicki from carrying out the witch’s orders, she clocks him with a wrench. She intends to stay among the living at any cost! Anna warns Jeremy that Vicki is up to no good but a jealous Bonnie turns to Matt to find a way to zap Vicki back to the land of the dead and lonely. Vicki stalks Elena at a bonfire where Elena is setting a trap for Stefan. Damon arouses Elena’s jealousy by flirting with Rebecca, who sees right through the ruse. Elena succeeds in luring Stefan into the path of Alaric’s crossbow filled with vervane-tipped darts. Just when they pack his unconscious body into Ric’s truck, however, Vicki traps Elena inside and sets it ablaze. Bonnie once again comes to the rescue and casts a spell that whisks Vicki to the site where she and Matt banish her back to the land of the dead. Despite his fear of being alone, Matt won’t allow his sister to hurt others. Judging from the growing online chatter about a possible hookup between him and Bonnie, I suspect he may not have to deal with loneliness much longer.  Jeremy, meanwhile, is growing closer to Anna, with whom he manages to connect physically after sharing that they can’t stop thinking about each other. Is this the beginning of the end for Jeremy and Bonnie?

Tyler and Caroline make up after having an argument over his new allegiance to Klaus. He’s been sired by the Original Vampire and is having trouble resisting his new urges, especially the young woman Rebecca serves up as his first human feeding. Damon gently tends to Elena’s bruises, his face temptingly close to hers as he assures her this flirtation with Rebecca was just an act. It’s obvious his display with the bloodsucking blonde got under Elena’s skin and it’s just as evident that he’s thrilled by this realization. Team Damon scores! The same can’t be said for Stefan, who cruelly taunts Elena for holding out hope that he will return to the side of the good guys. Exercising her new-found girl power, Elena stabs him in the gut as payback! Katherine, who’s been trying to rouse Michael the undead vampire hunter with human blood, gets a surprise of her own when she discovers that he prefers the blood of his own kind as he abruptly pulls her close to feed on her! Just as I thought I couldn’t be more shocked, Damon is attacked by a resurrected – and thirsting for revenge — Mason Lockwood!  Has Klaus succeeded in creating another hybrid?

TVTeaser is the author of Night Bites, a fan blog about the mysterious happenings in the sleepy town of Mystic Falls. Follow him on Twitter @TVTeaser.

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90210 recapping: let the games begin

It was a slow start to the games this week, as I was a tad bored for the first part of this episode. But the action and absurdity picked up the pace in the later half. Grab an orange and some super-slippery sunscreen and let’s dive in to “Let the Games Begin!”

  • Naomi is ReuNERDed! …and it feels so confusing! Naomi was still hell-bent on enacting revenge upon Holly and her pink velour-wearing Kappa army. Her own rag-tag sorority—who continue to be the best girls on this show—unfortunately don’t stand much of a chance of winning the Greek games against a bunch of bratty girls who jog in matching outfits. Oh, unless the games consist of things that are entirely non-athletic, like pie-eating, balloon popping, or a relay race that only involves passing an orange and giving a piggy-back ride for two feet. Seriously, why was ANYONE training for this? Well, to be fair, Naomi didn’t train as much as she strategized. She thought that Austin held the secret to beating the Kappas, since one time his frat beat them…granted, he admitted his frat just stopped smoking weed for that week. But Austin convinced Naomi he could find Holly’s weakness, and he did in fact know a weakness. But little did Naomi know that Austin seducing her and them getting it on in the kitchen was only fuel to make Holly jealous, since apparently they used to date. This was news to Naomi, who now also felt betrayed because she was starting to have real feelings for the cowboy. Follow all that? Because it is about to get more confusing! At the games, Holly unleashed her final weapon upon Naomi by surprising her with an appearance by everyone’s favorite nerd: Max! Naomi was shocked, but the two quickly reconciled and all was right with the world…for two seconds until Naomi was again turned on by Austin. Max sees the good in Naomi; Austin sees the bad in her…which side of Naomi will ultimately prevail? My money is on the bad!
  • 2 Broke Siblings: So, so, so many things are ridiculous about the pathways Annie and Dixon are heading down. Honestly, not much new stuff to report on for the siblings—Annie still needs money for school and Dixon still needs money [and talent] to make it in the music biz. And the two are still making poor choices on how to do that—Annie is now gung-ho ready to be a paid escort and Dixon is hooked on ADHD pills for the “intense focus” it gives him to make crappy music. But let’s talk for a moment about their heart-to-heart convo held at Dixon’s insanely expensive beach pad about just how broke they are and how they can’t very well call their parents who are having their own money problems—I guess money problems so severe that Debbie just has to live in Paris with her ex-teacher boyfriend who also has a child to support. Do the writers actually read what they write? Does it make sense to them in the writers’ room? Or do they purposely craft their scripts to help me write my blog posts every week? OK, rant over for now. All that really happened was that Annie got booted from her sorority, which was no biggie because she still has her new friend and that girl’s escort service. And Dixon first hit up the stoner frat (ha! wrong choice buddy!) and then appropriately the math team to score more of his “homework helpers” (or in Dixon’s case let’s call them the “music machine” pills). By the end of the episode I thought he was about to start singing “I’m so excited…I’m so, so scared!”
  • Surfs Up! Shirts Off! I can’t stand what they have done to Navid and Silver this season. They took the two most ambitious characters (at least in terms of academic drive) and neither actually ended up in college (I still don’t know why—did the show ever explain that?). Instead they just hang around all day “running” Shirazi Studios and living in nonexistent Kelly’s guest house with Navid’s now nonexistent sister, whom he worked so hard to protect. This show suffers from an invasion of the body snatchers. Anyway, because Navid now has dirty auto theft money on his hands and Silver has literally nothing to do, he funds a project for her and Liam. Yes, Silver attempts to direct Liam in a commercial for his bar. Clearly she is an idiot because she should have known to just take his shirt off at the get-go rather than have him try to act. Liam’s abs are a success and apparently that is all it took to get peeps to his bar—that or the fact that here is a bar on the beach where underage kids are serving alcohol to other underage kids.
  • See Jane Run. I am going to make this one quick since all I really want to say is, “we should care because…?” Ade is hit on by a creepy yet cute dude on the beach during an incredibly awkward meeting. She later sees him spying on her at the bar. Liam gets all super protective of her because lately he is not feeling like much of a macho man in providing for Jane. Turns out creepy-cute stalker guy is Jim—Jane’s supposedly dead husband. And I still don’t care about this storyline at all. Why should we be invested in this love triangle when we never even saw it established?
  • Ivy was there, again. Poor Ivy—not only is her husband Raj stricken with cancer, but she has barely had a line of dialog this entire season. Tonight she finally had an inkling of what could become an actual story arc! She and Raj argued about his health and wondered if there was hope for him to get better. But, she also met a photographer on the beach who seems interested in her. I am going to refer to him as Navid-Lite because they kind of look like each other, but we’ll see how this plays out.

What do you think of this season of 90210 so far? Should Naomi pick the nerd or the cowboy? And can Navid give some of his extra money to me for writing this blog?

Jeni is a valley girl at heart has always been an avid TV watcher and shown a passion for arts and entertainment. She enjoys offering her unique critique (and wit!) on pretty much everything in life, including her beloved shows, over at Show and Tell.

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90210 recapping: greek tragedy

Grab your ADHD pills, kids, because it is going to be a late night of Greek Mixers, paid escorts, stolen cars and Alaskan adventures. All of our story lines from last week—plus Ivy this time—moved as quickly as Dixon’s impending rage storm. Let’s jump right in to the “Greece Mix”…

  • Sisterhood of the Traveling Toga: Naomi is still out for revenge against Holly and the Kappas for being bi-otches, and apparently for issuing the lamest “insults” possible: “Guess we’ll see you at the Greek Mixer tomorrow…oh never mind, that is just for Greeks!” Wow Holly, hope you didn’t hurt too many brain cells thinking of that zinger. Naomi’s original plan was to have initiated sister Annie infiltrate, but it seems Annie will be a bit too preoccupied with other matters soon (more on that later). Even better is Naomi’s new plan, which I highly enjoyed. It may have been a rip-off of The House Bunny, but I really liked Naomi joining a “frumpy” unpopular sorority just to gain access to the Greek system and giving them her sage advice to be cool. Her nuggets of beauty wisdom were hysterical and sharp—“Hang it in another gallery” (regarding one girl’s tattoos being called art) and “It’s better to look good than to feel good.” When Naomi dresses the girls up in extravagant togas for the Greek Mixer and then learns she was duped into thinking this was a costume party (apparently now we are using Legally Blonde’s story line) she still comes through big time for the girls by making a grand entrance. The girls may be pissed that Naomi was using them, but they end up having a great night. And now they all have a great enemy: Holly. Yes, Naomi has truly bonded with her new sisters, and this is shaping up to be a fun plot development. Plus, I hope these girls stick around for a while!
  • Paying her dues: Annie must pay her dues figuratively and literally in this episode. Since she is still cash-strapped (I guess the Marla money situation is in limbo off-screen) Annie must find a way to pay her new sorority dues and get over Liam, all at like the same time…omg. OK, first of all, since Naomi is the one who wanted Annie to stay in the sorority in the first place, why on earth wouldn’t Naomi simply give Annie the money she needs? But, then again, we wouldn’t be treated to this ah-maz-ing development of Annie not knowing she is on a paid escort date with sorority sister Brie. Annie even kisses the guy (to make Liam jealous) but that only earns her some more bucks! Yes, Annie has found her new calling…literally as a call girl. And looks like she is headed down a dark path given how upset she is over Liam ending things. Really Annie? Really? You seemed plenty over him last episode when you were all about cute coffee boy who later turned out to be Marla’s family. But that was before…
  • Liam’s Offshore drilling project: I am pretty sure I saw a sign on the bar Liam bought that said “Offshore – coming soon!” So, I guess we can assume Liam has re-named Salty’s and that we now have the official Peach Pit After Dark 2.0 live music/club scene for these crazy college kids of the new era. The “drilling” refers to Liam banging his Alaskan girlfriend Jane. What is up with this girl? And what is up with Ade wearing a huge winter parka indoors while everyone else rocks tank tops? Jane and Liam already bore me to tears and, once again, I find myself completely un-invested in a Liam relationship because this show is clearly against taking the time to establish them. Instead I have to simply listen to Liam and Jane explain to us in choppy dialog that her husband is dead, Liam feels guilty, and now she is pregnant from her dead husband. And she is only 20 years old. And Liam—who proposed to Annie a mere two weeks ago—is fully ready to commit to Jane. Whatever. We all know your sole purpose on this show now is to simply run your bar where underage students can drink and drama can go down.
  • The Juice is Loose: Dixon has been feeling “crazy focused” on his music lately. Soon, he will just be crazy thanks to abusing prescription meds. His career suffers a major setback, though, when DJ Juice doesn’t show up to hear Dixon play at Liam’s grand opening party (and I am only assuming you spell this guy’s name like the kind of juice you drink). The reason why the Juice doesn’t show? He is pissed that Navid cancelled his recording session at Shirazi Porn Studios. And why did Navid cancel? Well, Navid wanted to cater to Bieber’s people instead and make a lot of money to pay back his sketchy uncle so that he won’t have to owe him anything. Did anyone else laugh when the uncle told Navid that he is now a “family man” and has to support his family? Again, I do not understand why we have Navid and Silver acting like a 45-year old married couple with a teenage daughter. And, I still don’t get why the only two West Bev Over-Achiever Awards students (Navid and Silver) did not enroll at CU. Navid is learning what it means to be a family man in the Shirazi family, though, because he must keep his uncle’s auto theft ring a secret or risk facing his own jail time. Wah wah!
  • Life or death drama: Ivy was in tonight’s episode.  She mainly pops up to get really pissed at her friends or random party strangers when they moan about life’s cruelties. Obviously Ivy and Raj have real life or death problems on their hands. I never thought I would say this, but I think we actually need more Ivy to add a dose of reality to this show.

What did you think of tonight’s Greek Tragedy? Who else is excited for the continuation of Naomi’s “Big Fat Greek Sorority”? And, I think it is safe to say that Annie and Dixon’s forthcoming downward spirals are the reason why the original show kept Jim and Cindy Walsh on through sophomore year of college.

Jeni is a valley girl at heart has always been an avid TV watcher and shown a passion for arts and entertainment. She enjoys offering her unique critique (and wit!) on pretty much everything in life, including her beloved shows, over at Show and Tell.

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the vampire diaries recapping: the hybrid

[Editor’s note: Starting this week, we’ll be featuring Vampire Diaries recaps by TVTeaser from Night Bites. Make sure to check out last week’s season three premiere episode The Birthday recap and all of his other Vampire Diaries tidbits and info –Nicole]

Ray and his pack mates were doomed to fail the hybrid transformation process because Elena is still alive.

September 22 – A full moon is set to descend on Mystic Falls and you know what that means. Things are gonna get mighty hairy for our Vampire Diaries favorites. After a bitter Damon gives up on Stefan for killing Andie, Elena turns to Alaric for help in going after Stefan. She gets a lead from Tyleron locations in Tennessee where werewolves would find sanctuary then heads off to the Smokey Mountains with Ric. Preparing for their dangerous mission, Ric gives Elena some wolf’s bane and she hands him her protection ring. What Elena doesn’t know is that Alaric had clued Damon in on their plans and he shows up to keep her out of trouble. Seemingly annoyed by his interference, Elena is begrudgingly comforted by his presence. But is a forest teeming with bloodthirsty werewolves the best place for Damon to be?  Klaus and Stefan discover the camp site of Ray’s pack and commence the process of transforming them into hybrids, using the human boyfriend of one of the she-wolves as a blood bank for the famished were-vamps when they come to. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t work out as planned and a convulsing Ray, bleeding out of his eyes, goes rabid, biting Stefan as he escapes. Klaus tells Stefan he won’t save him with his hybrid blood until he brings Ray back. Damon, Elena and Ric encounter Ray first, however, and subdue him. After tying him up in chains they attempt to interrogate him but he begins to transform into a wolf before the full moon even appears! A feral Ray later gets into a scrap with Damon, and Stefan arrives in the nick of time to save his brother by ripping Ray’s heart out. Stefan asks Damon to return Elena to safety. Elena, meanwhile, convinces Alaric that they should be there for each other now that they’ve both lost so much. Alaric agrees to move back in, and he wisely decides to keep the protection ring. Stefan returns to the camp site to find Klaus surrounded by dead hybrids. They had all gone rabid or bled out and Klaus can’t understand how the transformations failed after he had completed every step of breaking the curse that prevented hybrids from walking the Earth.  A look of realization flashes across Klaus’s face. Has he figured out that Elena – the doppelganger who needed to die to break the curse – isn’t six feet under? Stefan distracts him, for now, anyway, by convincing him to heal his werewolf bite. Stefan is, after all, his only companion left, Klaus says morbidly. Back in Mystic Falls, Tyler and Jeremy are in for some shocking discoveries. Waking up to find Caroline gone after their steamy night together,Tyler has some awful-tasting coffee while chatting with his mom about his tryst with Caroline. When Tyler leaves, Mrs. Lockwood summons a man named Bill (played by Jack Coleman of “Heroes” fame) to take care of her vampire problem. Tyler tastes some vervane at The Grill and Matt clues him in about the substance’s use for outing vampires. Tyler realizes his mom was testing him and confronts her. She admits she knows that Caroline is a vamp and forbids him to see her because she’s a monster. Tyler decides to show his prejudiced mother that the Lockwoods have a “monster” of their own in the family and chains himself up while she watches his werewolf transformation from the safety of a locked cell. In the morning, an enlightened Mrs. Lockwood promises to make things right with Caroline but finds that “Bill” isn’t keen on releasing Caroline just because she had a change of heart. When Caroline comes to, she’s shocked to learn that her jailer is her own father. Awkward! Jeremy convinces Matt to help him bridge the gateway between the living and the dead by gathering some of Vicky’s possessions to tap into her vibe. Although hesitant at first, Matt agrees to help and Jeremy gets another visit from his (first) dead girlfriend, whom I must say is looking gorgeous. Death certainly becomes her. Vicky’s ghost tells Jeremy that she is able to return from the dead, then abruptly disappears. Appearing in her place is Anna (dead girlfriend #2), who warns Jeremy not to trust Vicky. The plot thickens! When Damon, Elena and Alaric return home, Damon forces Elena to admit she bid a hasty retreat from the woods in Tennessee out of fear for the werewolf threat to Damon’s life. Taking Elena’s face in his hands, Damon vows to make her remember her feelings for him after they succeed in rescuing Stefan. Looks like Miss Elena has a choice to make in the near future.  Do you think Damon is making progress in his quest to win her over?

TVTeaser is the author of Night Bites, a fan blog about the mysterious happenings in the sleepy town of Mystic Falls. Follow him on Twitter @TVTeaser.

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gossip girl in review and why the show should avoid pulling a “buffy”

It’s hard to comprehend now, but there was a television reality when the headband was not a symbol of power, where one’s position on the steps of the Met was not symbolic of fluctuating social importance and where teenagers were not kidnapped and drugged by the younger sisters of former teachers imprisoned by socialite mothers to protect their daughter’s reputations.

It’s been four series since Gossip Girl burst on to our screens, in all its sarcastic and sparkly glory. Regular viewers have lost count of the number of pregnancy scares, fake siblings and mother-daughter meltdowns, while characters have taken a spin on the incestuous relationship roundabout a preposterous number of times. Blair and Serena have been friends, then enemies, then friends again more times than a Kardashian has graced the cover of a trashy magazine; meanwhile regular irritants – blonde and mop-haired – have been cast out into the TV hinterland.

Amazingly, in four years Lily has only been wed twice, but it’s not for want of trying. Apart from the fact that Nate is still stuck in the same perpetually-confused “look how adorable I am” dimple face, the times have a-changed on the Upper East Side.
Next week, our favourite privileged social chroniclers are back for a fifth outing. Five series. Seriously. By this point on Josh Schwartz’s last teenage tantrum TV hit, Marissa had died and the entire show was in soap opera heaven.

So, kudos to the Gossip Girl team. But how to keep up their success? Outlandish plots they can cope with, scantily clad stars (OK, Serena) are sure to remain a selling point. But a look at the deep and dark history of similar teen dramas reveals a few danger zones.

Invented sisters should be a no-go. First of all, they’ve already done this – remember that dude from the beginning of series three who Vanessa dated? Yep, I didn’t like him enough to remember his name either – and given that half of Gossip Girl are already biologically or legally related anyway, this would be ridiculous. But more to the point, if Joss Whedon couldn’t make it work, Josh Schwartz sure as hell won’t be able to.

There was nothing wrong with Buffy suddenly having a sister, except, why did they have to go down the most implausible root to get there. I’m aware it was a show about otherworldly demons and such, but hello? Plot consistency? Her parents were divorced, why not take the easy route and make that the link. And more to the point, why the hell would you cast a pale brunette to play the daughter and sister of two sun-blushed blondes. Not to mention an actress so whiny you actually wanted the evil-of-the-day to gobble her up.

It’s not just Buffy that made the mistake of introducing another character with no regard for those of us who had spent years, yes years, developing unhealthy attachments to those there from the start. Gossip Girl team take note. We are not suddenly going to love some random add-on, five series in. Unless they have cheekbones like Nate’s, of course.

Speaking of consistency, let’s hope the writers don’t decide to reinvent the basic nature of our gossipers. Blair is not suddenly going to go over all Mother Theresa, drop out of college and start sporting ratty dreadlocks. Likewise, Dan is never going to be OK being the lowly intern sent to get the coffee, and Chuck isn’t going to start campaigning against sexual harassment in the workplace.

The writers wouldn’t be so stupid. Not like the team behind Gilmore Girls, who decided to drop goodie-two-shoes nerd Rory out of college over a Boy. A Boy! The very idea.
Other things to avoid include ignoring what went on in the character’s lives before and rehashing plot lines. The latter is something the Gossip Girls powers that be are already guilty of (hello, baby scare mark gazillion); the former is something familiar to anybody who ever watched Lost and dealt with the ever-growing and often contradictory flashbacks.
Of course, the worst mistake they could make comes not from the wider canon of glossy television drama but from the Gossip Girl gospel. In simple terms, do not under any circumstance bring back a certain she-devil with a moral superiority complex, Medusa-like locks and an unhealthy obsession with eyeliner compulsion.

Vanessa is gone. Keep it that way.

Jennifer Lipman is a British journalist and blogger. She writes about politics, education and the arts and can be found recapping Gossip Girl on her blog www.jenniferlipman.wordpress.com or on twitter @jenlipman.

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