Monday, November 05, 2007

The ABC's of Ensembles and Peacock Comedies

Ugly Betty - Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ep. 206
Grey's Anatomy - Kung Fu Fighting - Ep. 406
The Office - Branch Wars - Ep. 406
Scrubs - My Hard Labor - Ep. 702
Men In Trees - I Wood If I Could - Ep. 204
Desperate Housewives - Now I Know, Don't Be Scared - Ep. 406
Brothers & Sisters - Two Places - Ep. 206

Betty goes to see Wicked, Jim ends up going to see Karen, brides-to-be are fighting for a wedding dress and somehow George falls into the middle of it, JD is actually a father (scary), Marin keeps rebuffing Jack's advances (WHAT THE???) while she throws Annie and Patrick each a bachelorette and bachelor (or O'Bachelorton actually) party, respectively, and Danielle has her baby while Kitty will not.

I had heard that the Ugly Betty goes Wicked episode was its weakest one yet (well, just from one reviewer) but I'm glad to say that I loved the episode. So much that I would even consider seeing Wicked again to see if maybe I missed something (since I kinda hated it). That's how good Ugly Betty was. It made me even reconsider Wicked just a little bit.

Betty is secretly seeing Henry, afraid of what everyone might be warning her of, and tells a concerned (and cute) Daniel that she's dating the annoying (to her, adorably annoying to us) Gio the Sandwich man. Daniel gets them tickets to Wicked, Betty's favorite musical, only to end up joining her while trying to woo a new client (Marlo Thomas) by trying to seduce the elder woman. Betty and Henry try to secretly see each other at Wicked, only to wind up in a compromising position in front of the entire audience. Amanda discovers Marc's new boyfriend Cliff after Marc shuns him in public (because the fashion industry can be SOOOO homophobic!), while Justin discovers that mom Hilda has been working at a joint that makes Hooters look classy. Wilhelmina overhears Marc and Amanda dissing her sad love life and also must gain some pounds to fill out her Vera Wang dress. Yes. I said Wilhelmina is EATING. And eating a LOT. Eating whatever Betty is eating!

So many hilarious moments, so little Ugly Betty time!

Grey's Anatomy has yet another great episode that can now officially count itself as back and in good health again (not seen since the days of Denny), George winds up as a surrogate contest player for a bride-to-be that gets injured against another bride (Chryssie Whitehead, so adorable as Kristine last year in the revival of A Chorus Line) while their fiance's (one of which is Steve Sandvoss, so hot in Latter Days) watch on in eager anticipation of the $100k wedding prize. It's an evil situation George is placed into by McDreamy much to the enjoyment of Callie. Thank god Callie is regaining her personality again and mournful Callie is sucking it up and moving on. You go girl! Meanwhile, thank goodness Izzie and George are played by Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight because if it weren't for the terrific actors, I'd really get irked by the continuance of Gizzie, but right now, I'm just letting it get played out and trying not to get grossed out when I see them together (since they are more like brother/sister buddy buddy and not lovers buddy buddy). Izzie is determined to give George a big romantic date but she gets a terrific case (that Christina is yet again, trying to steal) with Dr. Hahn which tires her out into a blubbering mess when they finally make it into a romantic bubble bath.

Dr. Hahn is here and is here to stay. Awesome. I LOVE Dr. Hahn. I don't know why I love her level of strong and smart woman in power where KaDee Strickland annoys the hell out of me on Private Practice but I think the actors have a lot to do with it. Brooke Smith totally rocks! And she's rocking the boat when Richard tries to have a gentleman's night out with the McBoys (which sounds a little gay to me anyways). Apparently being gentlemen means playing Monopoly (my rule of thumb? By everything you land on, then when you make back your original starting amount, move it to the side and play only with the extra money. Yes, I'm a saver.)

If Ugly Betty perfects the level of cartoon hilarity with some hidden emotional depth and realism, I worry that The Office which perfected the art of hilarity within the mundane reality of life, is becoming more cartoonish and silly. I mean, there's always been Dwight but Michael's antics and yes, it's still funny. Very funny. But when Michael, Dwight and a dragged-along Jim put on moustaches to infiltrate Dunder Mifflin Utica in order to poach a salesperson to replace Stanley (who was just poached by Utica manager Karen), it got a little too off-the-wall and unbelievable for my beloved The Office which really excels in the smaller moments, like when Pam quietly apologizes to Oscar and Toby after she lets Jim into the Finer Things Club. To be honest, I was a little suprised this was another episode directed by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and God to some, I don't think he's God per say but he's a pretty good TV creator, I'll give him that).

I loved that other than having sex with men, The Finer Things Club is the gayest thing Oscar does!

Jim reunites with Karen in Utica and she's a bitter bitter girl (I would be too if I left The Office for a midseason replacement). Especially after hearing how happy Jim and Pam are. Andy tries to join The Finer Things Club and Stanley's branch switching bluff is inadvertently called out by Michael. Stanley rocks!

Elizabeth Banks has a baby on Scrubs and now can return to her movie career. I wish I loved Scrubs more right now, and while it's still a good show, the latecomers to the series have already missed the boat on earlier high points. Now I'm just watching for closure and out of duty. Carla still rocks and calls out Turk for not being a more supportive friend to JD when the baby is due. Jude Reyes really needs an Emmy. Oh wait. I just read this from tvtattle! "Scrubs" star Judy Reyes inks talent deal with ABC Studios

On Men In Trees, Marin dreams of Jack, yet when Jack's wood gesture (bringing chopped wood for Marin, what did you think I was talking about) is rebuffed, I'm all confused. Jack wants to go on the date they never managed to have (because of Lynn's surprise arrival) but Marin wants lots of time to deal with it (uh, whatever, you can deal with it in the hunky hunky man's arms). Either way, she's busy trying to plan Annie's perfect bachelorette party and a bachelor party for easy going Patrick. Neither claim they want strippers but the rest of the town (or at least the men) are insistant of it. Celia will have none of it, being the respectable police chief, while Sara and the hot pastor Eric (Nicholas Lea!) get even closer, until he reveals he cannot have sex until marriage, which puts a damper on Sarah, who while respecting the honourable gesture, lives in the real world with real needs (say it sister!) and isn't sure how much she wants to commit to the relationship. Especially when staring into someone like Nicholas Lea's face. That's just cruel.

Everything unravels though when Marin agrees to go canoeing with Jack and fall into the water. Hot pastor Eric goes to help Sara when Matty gets sick and bonds with the boy, making him even hotter to Sara (and us). Sara (the hot Suleka Mathew) is hot and beautiful enough to make Eric reconsider his pastor vows. Annie gets her perfect bachelorette party and while Celia had been giving her the cold shoulder throughout the planning, is an emotional love-in as a drunk, finally letting her true feelings about Annie out in the open (and it's a good response, saying Annie is the best thing for her son Patrick). I love Celia drunk. I love Cynthia Stevenson for taking the role of Celia and that while she usually does twisted dark things like Todd Solondz movies, she can do fluffy shows like Men In Trees. Patrick finally reveals his secret desire and Marin gets him a mud wrestling woman. Too bad she didn't specify TWO HOT women instead of ONE SCARY one. After letting Jerome mud wrestle, Patrick braves the fight but in a losing battle, he's saved by Annie when the parties merge. Awww... though George's original party plans might have been a little more my taste, the episode was still cute enough. Speaking of cute enough...

The gay neighbours try to make nice by throwing a Halloween party for the Desperate Housewives, except Susan who they hate, and is forced into a boring storyline about Mike's killer father (though at least it gives James Denton a few more lines and some screen time this season). Bob and Lee accidentally catch a glimpse of Danielle and Bree explains it off as Andrew in drag, forcing him to be Cher for Halloween! Orson looks funny in his costume but nothing tops Danielle who shows up as Bree as a way to piss the real Bree off. At least until Danielle's water breaks and Bree asks Adam (dressed as Frankenstein) for help, letting him in on the secret he already knows about.

In a great scene, Lynette's kids, ready to play a trick on Bree and Orson for not answering the door as Danielle's having her baby, sneaks in the back and catches Frankenstein holding up the icky new baby!

Meanwhile, Lynette is trying to kill an opossum. Really. That's what her storyline was. Yet, in another showing of how great acting can overcome odd storylines, Felicity Huffman and Doug Savant turn the hunt for rodent into an emotional breakthrough against her cancer which she finally finds out, she is clear from. Poor Doug Savant is totally underated.

Edie is out to screw Gabrielle and Carlos as she brings the affair news to Victor, but only after he convinces Gaby of staying (after Gaby tries to leave him over a hotel answering machine). Edie knows of Carlos' off-shore accounts and brings the news to the IRS (or as Gaby puts it, the money he embezzled, half of which she deserved in the divorce settlement). I'm liking these little twist and turns between Gaby and Carlos and everyone else involved, though I wish John was back in the loop somehow. Still, evil Edie is mad and vengeful so I'm interested to see where this is going.

Finally, in another slightly downer episode of Brother & Sister, Kitty is forced to have a shotgun wedding with Senator McCalister after an expert/ruthless political advisor/pr consultant (more 80's moviestar power, Danny Glover, appearing on the series) advises her as Robert's best career move in his bid for Presidency. The consultant meets the always fiesty Nora when Nora busts in on Kitty at work, screaming and yelling (always good fun with the Walkers on this show!). Nora agrees to get the whole family involved in planning the wedding, and thus pulls Tommy away from his affair with Rebecca's friend Lena. Rebecca takes Justin out with Lena and catches them making out. Sarah deals with a Paige, still upset over the divorce, and Kevin helps out poor Scotty when he finds out he's homeless due to tuition payments.

Everyone is forced to help out with Kitty's wedding until she finds out that the baby hasn't survived and it's time to bring on the sadness to Brothers & Sisters. Not my favorite episode and we are still dealing with druggie Justin and Sara's divorce but on the plus side, Scotty is really back in Kevin's life which I'm sure will cause some interesting annoyances when hot pastors Jason McCalister returns. Or at least that's how I wish it to happen.

I'm also glad they are giving Tommy something to do, but does he HAVE to have an affair with the new girl when Julia is gone? So obvious and lame...Now if Kevin had an affair with Scotty... well... that's a different story.

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