Thursday, January 31, 2008

One More Stoned Canadian!

OMG, and I forgot one more Canadian in Eli Stone, Tom Cavanagh! How did I forget that? The adorable Tom Cavanagh! Albeit he's only in the pilot so far as Eli's father but this could re-occur! Can't it?

(And my review for Tom Cavanagh's lastest movie Breakfast with Scot is still in the works)

(And Pamela Reed! I grew up with her re-watching Kindergarden Cop! Hey, I was a kid okay? I liked it. Ah-nold doesn't have a Tooo-mah).

And by the earlier post when I said Loretta Devine, I mean, as in, big black and bra-ssay and don't we all need someone like that in our lives?

Apparently my meds are taking affect. Okay. Back to bed.Please someone tell me Eli Stone was good as I won't have time to watch it until Saturday night.

More After the Jump...

Get Lost and Stoned Tonight!

Lost is finally back tonight (at 8pm on ABC and CTV for 2 hours)! For another 8 episodes. It would have been nice to have gotten a full season but I'll take the 8 we can get!

And while I won't have time to write about it right away tonight (I'll be mostly gone again for the next week and a bit for work), it won't matter since I have no idea what is happening half the time anyways, but I sure do enjoy it! Especially after that blow-my-mind season finale last year.

Meanwhile, I haven't even seen Eli Stone (Thursdays at 10pm on ABC/CTV) yet and I'm excited for many many many reasons. Many. I hope it doesn't disappoint. Because it has many many things going for it.

For one, it's another Greg Berlanti show. Creator of one of my favorite shows of all time, Everwood. Co-Creator of Jack & Bobby. Saviour of Brothers & Sisters. Writer and Director of The Broken Hearts Club. Producer of Dirty Sexy Money.

The title character of Eli Stone is played by Jonny Lee Miller...

where was I? Oh yes, Jonny Lee Miller, ex-Mr. Angelina Jolie, who I've taken notice since Trainspotting and seems much better suited in this pleasing role than as the psycho in last years Smith (which I liked as disturbing as it was).

Then, the supporting cast is made from alums from Alias, Veronica Mars, The New Adventures of Old Christine, plus Loretta Devine!

With a supporting cast with Victor Garber (Alias), Natasha Henstridge (Commander in Chief), Matt Letscher (The New Adventures of Old Christine), Loretta Devine (Boston Public and every other show out there), Laura Benanti (Take the Lead) and Julie Gonzalo (Veronica Mars), as well as James Saito and Sam Jaegar.

That's 2 Canadians (Garber and Henstridge), 2 Broadway stars (Benanti, Garber, 3 if you count Devine from Dreamgirls), and one Neptune resident, I'm excited just on imdbing alone!

Plus George Michael making a cameo on three episodes!???

What's not to love? Here's the promo clip just below (along with cast photos):

Here's another clip with a longer preview of the George Michael scene in the pilot:

Seriously, how cute is Jonny Lee Miller deliriously clapping to "Faith"?
Here's the second sneak peak:

Jonny Lee Miller

James Saito

Julie Gonzalo

Loretta Devine

Matt Letscher

Natasha Henstridge

Sam Jaeger

Victor Garber

More After the Jump...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oscar Documentary Watch - Boy Is America F#$ked Isn't It?

I've been sick for a few days now and ended up watching two of the Oscar nominated documentaries in my Oscar catch up as I lay here groggily sipping on chicken soup.

So what do I watch? The Michael Moore documentary Sicko. How relevant (especially when I finished the DVD only to find John Edwards stepping out of the presidential race to lead a fight for universal health care!). And if I wasn't sick already, watching No End In Sight will make you sick. Especially after a video clip they showed that was made by a US contractor in Iraq, because if Sicko doesn't worry you, No End In Sight should. (Also, the big Air Force One behind the Republican debates should be a big worry too. Why is there a huge plane that looks like it crash landed in the auditorium doing in the political debates? Is it a promo for the return of Lost tomorrow? Or are they just "lost"?).

I know. I'm sick and I choose NOW to be political?

Sicko and No End In Sight are probably two documentaries that sit on opposing ends in style. While Michael Moore is generally in-your-face with media-friendly tactics, you have to hand it to him for creating personal yet easily digestable documentaries that really pull at our emotions and heartstrings, and Sicko benefits from dialing his usual tricks down and laying out the disturbing information about the American health care system in a less tabloid manner. Meanwhile, No End In Sight (by Charles Ferguson) lays down the step by step mistakes made by the Bush administration that has gotten the US involvement in Iraq into the huge debacle it has become.

So if you haven't seen them, DO, then let's discuss.

So I won't claim to know anything about American politics other than the rhetoric news on the news channels and the press, and I won't bash America per se, because I actually do love America and Americans. I just hate what some of you do, what some of your politicians do, and how the country has become a "me" society instead of a "we" society as a result of self preservation.

(Um, are those fighting words? From a Canadian with socialist tendencies enjoying my universal health care?)

Michael Moore might have given the rosiest pictures possible when he showed the health care systems of Canada, Britain and France (and Norway in a DVD extra which blows them all away) and as a Canadian, I will admit there are a lot of problems still, but on the other hand, personally, I haven't really experienced the bad things myself yet and I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Meanwhile, the rich people running the pharmaceuticals, the insurance companies and the government have been brilliant at controlling America through scare tactics and the media, and misinformation or giving little to no information at all, so I feel bad for the typical American that assumes their government is doing the best for them as the rich line their pockets with new policies that get them richer.

And, when did the Republicans become associated with fiscal conservatism (or at least, protecting the rich) while also becoming the party of choice for the religious? If one were religious, shouldn't we be sharing with the poor and making things better? I don't get it.

Anyways, both movies, Sicko and No End In Sight were fascinating and captivating and while the subjects are obviously relevant and important to hear, the movies themselves are made well in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. 

Sicko and No End In Sight = A

More After the Jump...

Twelve Angry Men - Old and Solid - Theatre Review

Twelve Angry Men - Roundabout Theatre Company On Tour - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON
A Play by Reginald Rose, Directed by Scott Ellis

Now here's a classic play (that I'm sure you've seen ad naseum performed in high schools and community theatre everywhere) that was actually based on a TV movie. Who knew!? There was the Sydney Lumet film based on the play, but the play was originally based on a CBS TV movie back when there were still good TV movies (or TV movies at all).

The Roundabout Theatre Company's tour of Twelve Angry Men that has landed in Toronto may have come from an earlier time pre-Law & Orders but even though we now know every legal trick and mystery twist in the book, the play is no less affecting, especially when performed with a solid cast in a very solid traditional production.

The biggest name in the cast is Richard Thomas from The Waltons but he leads an all round terrific cast that surprisingly can differentiate themselves amongst the group of (basically) old white men, giving each juror (who aren't name and only identified by their juror number) an actual character that moves beyond caricature.

Yet, as old as the story may be, with a boy accused of murdering his father and the 12 jurors deciding his fate, it's amazingly relevant and timely still, with issues of race and prejudice brewing in a mix in a play that actually gives very little detail about the actual case.

Twelve Angry Men - **** (4 out of 5 Stars)

More After the Jump...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Critics Be Damned, I Like It Okay?

Um, I'm LOVING OneRepublic's new single "Stop and Stare" (hear it after the jump below), I really enjoyed 27 Dresses far more than I probably should have, especially since I KNOW it was not a great movie, and, um, in my most embarrassing confession, I actually REALLY REALLY enjoy watching Carpoolers. So yes, when I highlighted it in green on the list of remaining TV shows left because of the writers strike, it wasn't a mistake.

So let's just get down to it.

27 Dresses (written by Aline Brosh McKenna, directed by Anne Fletcher) is technically not great. The shmaltzy dialogue and Dr. Phil type speeches, every cliche in the romantic comedy book (outlined brilliantly by Manuel at A Blog Next Door), and no real standout scenes that are original and/or hilarious, yet, um, I kinda really liked it.

Hey, if the romantic comedy formula works? Why not? Why change it? I was charmed and sucked in and felt more compassion for these characters than the movie probably ought to have. And much of that credit goes to a finely tuned cast that milks their own personal charms for all its worth. I mean, starring roles for Katherine Heigl who is on a roll from winning the Emmy for Grey's Anatomy and surviving the boys in Knocked Up. I've been a fan since Roswell, which is one of those shows where I want to see everybody do well.

Then there's James Marsden, the man that never wins the girl. If there's someone who is always the bridesmaid and never the bride, it's James Marsden, who up until last year, was just a pretty face to me. A very pretty face, but a pretty face, but with his double whammy of Hairspray and Enchanted, I've gained a whole new respect for him.

Plus, as a TV fan, its fun to spot our favorites Maulik Pancholy (Weeds AND 30 Rock), Melora Hardin (Jan from The Office) and of course, Judy Greer (Love Monkey, Arrested Development, 13 Going on 30 etc etc) who at this point deserves a show AND movie of her own. You know you can save your movie slightly with some credibility by just adding Judy Greer into the mix, and she throws her acerbic wit around neutralizing some of the overly sugary movie.

Plus Malin Akerman who is both pretty and can make a total fool of herself. Always a lovely mix! And while Edward Burns is always kind of a tool to me, he's a pretty pretty tool.

Yes, the whole cast is just very pretty. I'm a sucker for that okay? (And apparently the rest of the audience as well when the entire theatre collectively sighed every time James Marsden or Edward Burns came onto the screen. Hilarious).

I will write this as full disclosure though, I probably liked the movie far more than I should have because as my friend had whispered to another, Heigl's character really is a female version of me. I think I've been to over 40 weddings since 2000 (I actually lost count), 12 weddings last year alone (and I missed 2 on top of that). I don't know what to do with my Saturdays anymore when I don't have to throw on a suit and make small talk to new people or friends I haven't seen in a long time (but don't get me wrong, I do love it and still get misty eyed, I just wish the spending on gifts weren't racking up so fast). So I get 27 Dresses, it's my life. I'm just still waiting for my James Marsden to walk in one day.

27 Dresses = probably should be a C+ but I'm giving it a B

Meanwhile, I'm LOVING this song:

OneRepublic - "Stop and Stare"

Finally, um, I've been catching up with Carpoolers. It now takes the slot vacated by Reba and Freddie.

Created by Kids in the Hall's Bruce McCullough, the series isn't as kooky as it could/should be but kookier than a typical sitcom and Scott Thompson has already guested as a rival carpool so that's a bonus!

Meanwhile, I kinda love the cast, with Fred Goss (Sons & Daughters) as the straight laced guy in the carpool, Jerry O'Connell (Crossing Jordan) as the womanizer, Jerry Minor as the whipped black guy, and Tim Peper as the young naive goodie-two-shoes. Plus you have Allison Munn (That 70's Show) and Faith Ford (Murphy Brown, Hope and Faith) as wives, and throw in an overgrown son who seems to be off in his own world, and I laugh far more than I probably should.

In theory Jerry O'Connell should annoy me but I think I have a soft spot for him since My Secret Identity days, which I've been watching at the gym now that SUNTV in Canada is replaying it. I have the same soft spot for Faith Ford since playing Corky on Murphy Brown, and then you add the very funny Fred Goss and Jerry Minor and the cute as buttons newlywed couple Munn and Peper and Carpoolers has more to work with than first imagined.

Anyways, they somehow spin the show about carpooling as a device into these four guys lives and the show seems to be getting slightly more eccentric, I think with McCullough easing up on the "normal" now that ABC has let it run this long, and the more eccentric this show gets, the funnier it is. It's no 30 Rock but I secretly enjoy it enough to tape it and watch it when I have the time.

Oh, plus, you have to give points to Jerry O'Connell for this Tom Cruise mockery that's been flying around the net (and directed by Jerry Minor):

More After the Jump...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Friday Night Lights - The Truth Will Set You Free?

Humble Pie - Ep. 213

Let's start with the nice stories first since the other stories are so good in their frustrating situations that I'm angry FOR the characters. That's how good this show is. But do I really have to say that anymore? I've totally run out of new ways to praise this show, but I guess that's a good thing.

Tami has hilariously taken on the girls volleyball coaching job only to discover their measly skills. When Tami notices how tall Tyra is during invitation to dinner at the Taylors, Tami urges Tyra to join the team, mainly to help her out. It's hilarious to watch Tami start stooping to these begging levels (disguised as a counselors career advice) to help herself out with the coaching gig. I'm also loving that Tyra and Tim Riggins, who is still aiding the girls teams, are back in the same room, even though they haven't really spoken to each other yet.

Meanwhile, Tyra is keeping her jealousy over Landry's new "friend" under her skin as much as she can as Landry starts hanging out with the freaky cool chick with the smart but alternative vibe. It's like Tyra gone punk.

Meanwhile, Jason Street's car has died and needs an expensive repair, but somehow instead, Buddy offers him a job to sell cars, which pisses off the other car salespeople. Street's a natural but the other salespeople shun him out and trick him away from potential sales, so we get the nice comeuppance at the end when Street, after a pep talk from Buddy, manages to sell a hybrid to a known difficult customer. Cue sweeping Explosions in the Sky music! LOVE IT! Also love the Street and Herc buddy system they have going!

Now onto the bad news. Smash is arrested after assaulting the white boys who were harassing his sister last week, the whole debacle turns into a battle in the press.

When the lawyer advises Smash and Corina (and Eric Taylor telling Smash to listen to his mother Corina, right on!) to accept a plea to help sweep the whole thing away, Smash publicly apologizes, but when the white boy goes to the press accusing Smash for an insincere apology, and making harassing calls to his sister AND continuing to lie about the original situation, an angry Smash talks smack back to the cameras bombarding him for a response. Smash deals out the truth, and sadly, Dillon isn't ready to take it, and it's SMASH who gets reprimanded by being suspended from the Panthers for the next three games. The three regular season games needed to propel them to the playoffs. To state. While not as horrific, I still smell whiffs of the Jena Six.

Hate the incident, but love the way FNL is personalizing the "issues" with Corina and Smash, along with Eric Taylor for the concerned ride. The show let it start pretty naturally with every reaction and action adding to the simmering racial tensions, and as much as you want to make Smash shut up, it was pretty much in his character to naturally react with his protectionary ego and get himself into more trouble. A publicist he ain't. It helps that Gaius Charles is playing this perfectly, creating a sympathetic character who is still frustrating to watch.

Meanwhile, the worst drug dealer in Dillon (really?) is now after Billy and Tim Riggins for stealing $3000 and Tim gets beat up, left on the ground. Tim Riggins turns to Lyla as she gets closer to Chris. Lyla fesses up about her past dalliances to Chris (and his Fisher Price Little Peoples plastic hair which I somehow kinda dig) while Lyla decides to help Riggins off for the very last time, giving Riggins the money he needs to return what he stole.

Except even THAT transaction doesn't go exactly as planned, as a stubborn Billy demands the drug dealers to stay away from Tim after having returned the money, and the whole incident ends ugly with Tim and Billy running from the gun toting drug pusher. But at least that's over with... I think. I hope.

Finally, with one last burst of good news, Tami coaches Tyra and the rest of the girls Volleyball team into an actual win! Making Eric proud and finally giving the team their first win in seven games. Making Tami's record 1 for 1! Just Julie has to dampen the win with her reminder that the team is still 1 in 7. Oh Julie, why so down this year? It's your fault you lost Matt Saracen (who barely makes an appearance these last few eps).

Meanwhile, while Tyra doesn't get to be with Landry, the good news is that Landry seems to be finding himself the object of TWO girls (potential) affections. Go Landry!

More After the Jump...

Oscar Watch - Catching Up With the Snubs

So I caught Into the Wild and A Mighty Heart last weekend and Charlie Wilson's War last week (to update my Best of Movies 2007 list).

And of course, they got pretty much completely snubbed by the Academy during last weeks Oscar nominations. With the exception of Best Supporting Actor nominations for Hal Holbrook (in Into the Wild) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (in Charlie Wilson's War), and that was pretty much an old-person's nomination they throw out of respect/guilt/awe that they are still alive and a you-were-great-in-the-zillion-movies-you-did-this-year-like-you-do-every-year-so-we-have-to-nominate-you-for-something-especially-since-you-are-now-an-Oscar-winner-now-but-you-won't-win-it nomination respectively.

Did the Academy actually choose correctly by NOT choosing the three films?

Into the Wild (written and directed by Sean Penn based on the novel by John Krakauer) seemed to create the most divisive responses, since I've heard that both sides of the opinion scale and I think it depends on how you see the main character. Christopher McCandless. Is he the heroic journeyman that is able to cut off ties to society as we know it in order to discover the world and himself? Or is he the snotty nosed selfish brat who is in way over his head and way overconfident?

Personally, I was almost jealous as to what he did all while wanting to smack him on the side of the head at the same time. It drew the adventure spirit out of me, the part of me that loves to travel, fight the system and connect to a greater soul that the daily grind seems to dampen. It also made me incredibly angry that McCandless was so selfish as to leave his family behind in a worry (despite all their problems) and for every granola eating hippie zen spouting type of thing he would do when all he should have done was suck it up because life sucks that way and deal with it and try to help out society instead of leaving it behind.

Luckily, Emile Hirsch turns a likable great performance from someone that could have sounded whiny and spoiled. There are some great cameos (including Catherine Keener in her usual spirited performance (though not Oscar worthy), Vince Vaughn actually dialing it down into a respectable performance, and the aforementioned Hal Holbrook as an elderly man that seems taken by McCandless spirited journey but tries to help him avoid his inevitable demise) and Jena Malone (who always annoyed me up until now) made some great narrations, but Emile IS the whole movie and it lays on his shoulders and he almost carries it mostly through the slightly overlong movie.

I can't complain about Sean Penn's direction and in one sense loved it, yet overall, I had to agree that it was slightly overrated that started to seem to drag on in my wait for the inevitable end. I'm a city jerk aren't I?
Into the Wild = B

A Mighty Heart (written by John Orloff, directed by Michael Winterbottom, based on the book by Marianne Pearl) is one of those movies that already is important just in its subject matter, dealing with the kidnapping of Washington Post reporter Daniel Pearl and his subsequent murder and seeing it through the reactions of his wife Marianne. The fact that MOVIE STAR Angelina Jolie transformed herself, with full Cuban/French accent to become Marianne was impressive enough to make me forget about her tabloid fodder, but while I respected director Michael Winterbottom's dizzying treatment of the events during the kidnapping, the movie also felt a bit overlong by the end, especially since again, we knew how it was going to end.

Hmm,,, that's two movies in a row now where it's know the main male will die at the end. Sad and frightening but maybe it's a numbers game but it didn't have the same overbearing haunting emotional wallop as the forgone ending in United 93.

Still, I'm not a fan of Angelina Jolie the actress but I do actually think she seems pretty cool as Angelina Jolie the person, but this was the first movie that I felt an Oscar nomination would actually be warranted. I'm not bothered by the fact that she was snubbed in the end, but I was incredibly impressed, giving the movie, the heart it needed (which I guess explains the title).
A Mighty Heart = B+

Charlie Wilson's War (written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Mike Nichols, based on the book by George Crile) is the big Hollywood entertainment movie attempting to be important and succeeding at long winded speeches that show how clever Aaron Sorkin is and how much research he (or his assistants) have done. I used to love Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night was GREAT, early The West Wing's made political talk engaging because it made it human) but lately, it seems like Sorkin is trying too hard (Jack & Bobby really felt more like Greg Berlanti's work, while Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip just sounded like a bitter rant from Sorkin, I hear The Farnsworth Invention on Broadway is like a well acted live version of a wikipedia entry) and Charlie Wilson's War isn't bad per se, but it feels like it's trying too hard to be cool to hang with the cool kids (Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, the newly indicted Amy Adams).

Still, I enjoyed the film in that old fashioned big Hollywood budget drama way, that are being made less and less these days as the indie movies are starting to win all the awards. Half the fun was spotting my favorite TV folks, including Shiri Appleby from Roswell, Rachel Nichols from Alias, John Slattery from Mad Men, and Denis O'Hare from Broadway and Brothers & Sisters.

Plus, trying to figure out what the hell Emily Blunt was there for a small useless role?

Still, Hanks, though never forgetting it is TOM HANKS the movie star, was still enjoyable as Charlie Wilson, and Julia Roberts, with bad blonde hair job that perfectly defined her rich Texan socialite role, is still Julia Roberts with her megawatt personality, while Philip Seymour Hoffman continues his strength in CHARACTER acting that seems unreal but is highly entertaining to watch. Only Amy Adams underplays her role making it the most honest and subdued performance in a movie that generally highlights all the major points (think ColesNotes) in bold brushstrokes.

Charlie Wilson's War = B

More After the Jump...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

TV Blog Coalition - Fighting For Your Writes

Many of the TV Blog Coalition gang are working on a project to "Adopt a Writer" where we will interview different writers currently fighting for their rights (to party with hopefully some more residuals and money from new media) with the WGA strike to give some real human faces to these individuals. Kelley and Rae from RTVW set up the great website with Liz from Glowybox starting off the whole project, so check out Kelley's first interview (link below) and while you're at it, see what everyone else was talking about this week in the blogosphere!

Buzz shared tons of stories from the Freaks and Geeks reunion in San Francisco. (BuzzSugar)

Sandie interviewed Sophia Myles who plays Beth Turner on MOONLIGHT (Daemon's TV)

Liz watched writers from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report stage a hilarious mock debate on the strike. (Glowy Box)

Mikey wishes that James Marsters was in every episode of Torchwood. (Mikey Likes TV)

Fergus looked at five shows that never made it to the airwaves, much to our disappointment. (Pop Vultures)

To kick off the Adopt A Writer project Kelley interviewed Jasmine Love, a writer with credits from Moesha, The Division, and The District. (RTVW)

Usually the first quarter is a slow time for finding new albums, but Scooter has rounded up a list of 29 albums to check out in the next four months. Well, 28 and Ashlee Simpson. (Scooter McGavin's 9th Green)

Vance is going to miss Betty and Chuck during the strike hiatus. (Tapeworthy)

Jace was all about British TV this week, from an advance look at Torchwood's second season opener to the awe-inspiring finale of Life on Mars. (Televisionary)

Dan had some misgivings about Carson Kressley's tepid new show How to Look Good Naked. (TiFaux)

Raoul interviewed Rachel and TK from The Amazing Race. (TV Filter)

More After the Jump...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Salt-Water Moon - How To Fall In Love With A Boy - Theatre Review

Salt-water Moon - Soulpepper Theatre Company - Young Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON
Written by David French, Directed by Ted Dykstra

Salt-water Moon is a "classic" Canadian play that was first performed in 1985 and is the simple story of a young man Jacob returning home to Newfoundland in 1926 from the big city Toronto as he tries to woo his love, an embittered Mary who is already engaged to someone else.

And that's it.

The entire 90 minute play takes place in front of Mary's residence under the stars on the garden and front porch, as a persistently charming, if not exhausting Jacob tries to convince Mary to forgive him for suddenly leaving before and to ditch the new fiance for him.

There are heavy undertones of the history of Canada built into the conversations and one could analyze each character to death as metaphors to something (and the fact that this was really a prequel to a grander plan of plays French had written) but the basic charm of the play lays in the tug of war between Jacob and Mary. And really, it's a very CANADIAN charm in that Anne of Green Gables Road To Avonlea way. Which can mean it's kinda slow and not much happens. Plus the Newfie accents are heavy.

So it's really important to really like Jacob and Mary and to cast excellent actors and this is where this production half succeeds. Jeff Lillico plays Jacob and nicely commands the stage, with mesmerizing presence and a likable demeanor and some fire in that soul. Krystin Pellerin plays Mary and sort of washes out from the stage, sulking back against the more fiery Lillico and her Mary doesn't have enough of the gusto to match wits with Lillico's Jacob.

Part of me was just entranced by the handsome Lillico (almost Italian model looking at times, fitting into those new Dolce ads) and thought maybe I was just being totally superficial but I'm glad to now read that other reviewers (links below) felt the same about his acting presence. Part of me was also just entranced at his transformation since the last time I saw Jeff Lillico was more thuggish looking in The Threepenny Opera and I've always thought of him as regular and rugged. It's amazing what a good haircut and some clean cut clothes could do!

But really, Lillico's performance is the main reason to see this performance as the play itself was enjoyable but nothing world-changing for me. The "classic" play is a cute triffle to me, but more as a period piece that doesn't even metaphorically resonate anymore, at least from my own life perspective, but it was enjoyable to see just for the charming story of falling in love with a boy.

Salt-Water Moon - *** (3 stars out of 5)

Here are some of the other reviews:
The Toronto Star 3.5/4
Eye Weekly 3/5
The National Post
The Globe and Mail 3/4
Now Weekly 3/5

More After the Jump...

Ugly Betty - Bring Betty On! The Ugly Truth Of the Writers Strike

A Thousand Words by Friday - Ep. 213

Seriously, Ugly Betty gives me a high every Thursday. I'm sure the laughter is huge therapy. Now that we have run out of new episodes after tonight, I may start devolving into a serious depression. This is getting serious. I'm totally in love with this show!

I could KISS this show! I would TAPP it if I could (or if one could Tapp a show(?!?))

And if Amanda's singing performance tonight (again! "Milkshake anybody?) was any indication, the loss of the planned musical episode is going to be a great loss to society.

So Claire is out of jail and bored and staying at Daniel's place in order to avoid the memories at her own apartment. Meanwhile, Christina is trapped at Wilhelmina's place bearing her plan b in her womb.

Daniel is hit on by a sexy young woman Renee (Gabrielle Union! Bring It On!) but Claire's new residency puts a damper on Daniel's game.

Which is just as well since the apparently well endowed Daniel discovers that Renee's sister is his ultimate enemy, Wilhelmina Slater, leaving Daniel torn between his feelings for Renee and his history and animosity with Wili.

Betty begs for a writing job from Daniel but mistakens the assignment to interview Phil Roth as Phillip Roth. Instead, she gets the author of Tapp That. A guide book for men to lure in women. Betty is horrified. Gio is intrigued. Henry is jealous. The game is ON!

Henry and Gio compete to see how many women they can hit on successfully to help out Betty who turned down the assignment before Daniel himself dupes Betty.

Meanwhile, the Henry we first loved is back with his full game on, picking up women just as fast as the adorable Gio. I know The Rural Juror is going to hate this but just as I was about to lean towards Gio, they were able to bring back some of our original love for Henry back (though I still think it would have shaken things up nicely if Betty chose Gio at the end of this episode but is it me or are all the shows leaving their slates clean and scandal free for this strike hiatus? Even Gossip Girl had a nice ending), tossing Gio back aside (though I hope not for good, I like Freddy Rodrguez in lighter fare).

Meanwhile, Amanda writes a song as an ode for her father, rock star Gene Simmons from KISS, and do I even need to explain the hilarity that ensues anymore?

Amanda + Marc + absurd task = new classic moments in television!

Ironically, Henry has a band who needs a new singer, Amanda needs a band to sing her song about her KISS father, and the stars align at the end as Amanda gets to sing her song as Gene Simmons looks on (he found out because he googles himself daily). Father and daughter reunite! Rock On!

Betty and Henry perform a hilariously geeky rap song (again! More Musical!).

No major storyline for the rest of the Suarez's but Justin and Hilda still manage some funny lines!

Bored Claire wants to start a new magazine called Hot Flash, and needs about $2Million in seed money exasperating Alexis and Daniel but keeping me excited that Judith Light is seemingly going to be staying on the show! Yey Angela Bower!

We finally end on Renee casually passing by Wili who mentions/warns that her big secret will scare Daniel away, and the housebound/trapped Christina over hears this little news/gossip and... it's the end of the episode and the strike has begun.

WHAT? WRITER'S. WHAT??? Hello Producers. Can we please resolve the issues, hand over the money to the writers, so they can continue this wonderful second season of Ugly Betty, especially while they are on a roll, not having been stricken with Sophomore Slumpitis that afflicted Heroes.

Seriously, I'm going to go into Ugly Withdrawal.

More After the Jump...