Mary's Week in TV Geek: gleefully guilty pleasures

What a week, and more like weeks, plural. Here are some thoughts from the last few weeks.

Glee: duets and breadsticks
The glee club was assigned to sing in pairs, hence the episode title ("Duets"). It's a competition, and the winners will get a dinner at Breadsticks, a favorite local restaurant. This brought up some very interesting interactions between the kids, beginning with Kurt’s attraction to Sam. Remember Sam? He was the new kid introduced in the Season Two opener, “Auditions.” So, Sam (Chord Overstreet) has decided to join New Directions, and Kurt is pretty sure he is gay. Kurt asks him to pair up for the assignment, and Sam willingly agrees. 


Finn is concerned about this paring, and in a remarkable exchange between him and Kurt, he warns that if Kurt sings with Sam, it will harm Sam’s future popularity. Kurt assumes that homophobia is rearing its ugly head inside Finn’s handsome one, but that’s not the case. Finn points out that the truth is, most of the kids will probably assume that Sam too, is gay, and that will be a social death sentence for him. And naturally, Finn foresees that Sam would quite the club and their chance of going to Nationals would surely evaporate. It was refreshing that this open “confrontation” allowed for Finn to forget PC rules and get to the heart of the matter. Eventually, Kurt understood Finn’s motivation, and Sam was free to sing with Quinn while Kurt sang alone, yet in a dual role when he sang Le Jazz Hot, from Victor/Victoria.

Other notable duets were sung by Mercedes and Santana, who put on an incredible performance of Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” Now Mercedes always looks comfortable in her own skin when she sings. Her voice and her presence are amazing. But the real treat this time was Santana, she looked like she was having A BALL. Her talent is not often showcased, so it was a nice change.

And the pairing of Quinn and Sam, singing Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat’s “Lucky”, was very sweet, and ensured them the win, and dinner at Breadsticks.

Eric Stoltz directed this “Duets” episode. Yeah, Lance of “Coke is f*$@ing dead as... dead. Heroin, it's coming back in a big f#*^ing way” fame from Pulp Fiction led our happy little group. It worked well.

And tonight – Rocky Horror Glee Show!

Brilliant, brilliant stunt casting with Barry Bostwick (the film’s original Brad) and Meatloaf (The original Eddie) as cable news reps, trying to get Sue Sylvester to spy on the Rocky Horror Production. Also, John Stamos, as Carl, Emma’s dentist boyfriend got to really shine as he performed “Hot Patootie.”

Fringe: on the bubble?
Fringe has been excellent this season, despite complaints about the Other Side plot. TV Guide listed Fringe in their report on “Bubble Shows,” shows that are in danger of cancellation. They cite not the content as a problem, but a ratings dip. With the MLB playoffs on Fox these last weeks, will it hurt or help the cause? The next new episode is set to air on Thursday, November 4th.

The Event: odd bits and devices
Despite the odd bits and devices bordering on over-used the show has me hooked. The partnership of director Jeffrey Reiner and writer/creator Nick Wauters allows for some fine suspense, intrigue and character development. Reiner’s directing resume is varied, ranging from The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers to the well-received Friday Night Lights. And Wauters has written some episodes of Medium, The 4400, and Eureka, all with a sci-fi bent.

I look forward to what the rest of the season brings.

Private Practice and South Park: guilty pleasures
Private Practice was not a favorite of mine when it first aired in 2007; I felt it just tried too hard. Now, four years later, it’s found its rhythm. Of course, there is still plenty to poke fun at, mostly the just plain far-fetched plot lines and romantic twists that show up every week. Imagine a room full of doctors that witness a man collapsing, shouting, “call 911!” And they are actually IN their own medical facility. Yeah, it’s that ridiculous.

But the people are pretty, the dialogue is snappy, and there are some moments – those real moments that Shonda Rhimes knows how to wring tears from – those moments get me and keep me coming back.

The moments in South Park are the complete antithesis of the stuff of Private Practice or Grey's. Like the old rule of Seinfeld days, “no lessons, no hugging,” South Park does not allow for sentiment whatsoever. It does allow for crude jokes and taboo behavior, and it does it with panache. Really! Okay, panache might be pushing it, but SP has a style that appeals, because not only does it skewer pop culture but it’s just SO damn funny. Last week’s “Insheeption” was quite inspired, despite the accidental “lifting” of some lines from the College Humor website. (The incident has been ironed out since the original airing).

 South Park image

To try to describe the episode which was based on this years mind blowing flick, Inception, would be like trying to describe Inception itself: nearly impossible. There were various dream levels that the SP kids (and Mr. Mackey) descended into, and like the original they needed a “kick” to make it back to the surface level. Insheeption’s kick came in the form of the master of dream insertion, Freddy Krueger. Only in South Park can the likes of Krueger, Charles Manson, and Satan himself get the chance to be heroes.

By MaryKay15

About the author

Entertainment writer and essayist from the Boston area

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