THE SURF REPORT: JERSEY SHORE season finale, more World Series baseball–10/20/11

TOP CHEF: JUST DESSERTS:  I’ve watched sporadically this season because I wasn’t crazy about any of the contestants.  However, this week’s episode was more interesting because of the challenge to create a dessert that looked like a traditional savory dish of a particular country.  Really ingenious idea and watching the final four cheftestants figure out how to do it made for good TV.  Next week is the season finale.  I’m more excited about TOP CHEF: TEXAS which begins the first week of November.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: “Murder House” episode three was the most compelling installment to date as we learned more about the history of the scary house and more backstory about Jessica Lange’s Constance and Frances Conroy’s Moira (the housekeeper) characters.  Lange is stealing every scene she’s in and she makes the most of every line and moment she’s given.  Ryan Murphy did an interview with E.W. this week and he said the family would leave the house, but not at the same time, pointing to Ben and Vivien’s strained marriage. Hmmm.  Look for Zachary Quinto to guest in next week’s episode and Eric Stonestreet in a future episode.

REVENGE: Madeleine Stowe is the main reason to watch this show as Victoria Grayson is the queen bee of the Hamptons and has every intention of using her social power to get whatever she wants and make her philandering husband miserable at the same time.  I also like Gabriel Mann as Nolan, the tech genius who’s helping Emily Thorne execute all her revenge plans.  I’m not sure what’s going on with Daniel’s friend Tyler but it’s very “Single White Female” which makes me think Tyler has a crush on Daniel and/or he wants to weasel his way into the Grayson family and fortune.  Emily VanCamp’s performance is still one note and she can’t seem to muster more than one facial expression but I overlook it because the rest of the show is so good.

MODERN FAMILY: Ty Burrell had the winning moment as Phil took Hayley to his alma mater to consider it as one of her college choices.  I loved the scene after he dragged Hayley out of the frat party and confessed to her that he liked his job of protecting her and felt like he was being forced into early retirement.  On the Jay/Gloria/Manny front, I love any Jay and Manny scenes because watching Jay parent the ultra-sensitive Manny in his own gruff way is always good.  Finally, it was great to see Claire a little tipsy and flirting with a man she thought was gay, who turned out to be straight, played beautifully by Gilles Marini.  I love when they have Claire loosen up and have fun; it’s a great flipside to her usual high-strung self.

SUBURGATORY: This week’s episode was a lesser episode that had a forced story about Sheila Shay’s Shirley Temple dolls being stolen.  It was clear from the get go that it was her daughter who took them, just to mess with the mom who always ignored and dismissed her.  It gave Ana Gasteyer a few good moments.  The other story had Dallas (Cheryl Hines) being scared to stay in her house after the burglary of the dolls so she and Dahlia showed up on George and Tessa’s doorstep.  I loved last week’s episode that had George joining the PTA and immersing himself in the ways of the suburban mom.  This episode felt forced and didn’t have nearly as much payoff.

TWO BROKE GIRLS: There was a straight-up filthy joke using the word “wad” in this week’s episode which surprised me at first but then I remembered CBS is also the home of TWO AND A HALF MEN, a show that contains a lot of overtly sexual and dirty jokes.  I still think both Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs deserve a smarter show and there’s a way to make TWO BROKE GIRLS savvier and sharper (and I know other viewers who would like this to happen) but that’s obviously not the writers’ intention.

I did not watch the “Birth” episode of UP ALL NIGHT.  I may pass on that one.  Last night’s HAPPY ENDINGS is also on my DVR.  

BOSS on Starz – 10pm – The pilot episode is online now if you’d like to watch it earlier than tomorrow night:
Why you should watch: Kelsey Grammer gives a very strong performance as Tom Kane, the mayor of Chicago.  The mayor finds out some grave news regarding his health; it’s a serious affliction and one that could render him unable to govern.  Equally good: Martin Donovan as Stony, the mayor’s closest aide and political confidante.  The rest of the show is just ok and the writing could definitely use some work but I want to see more because of Grammer and Donovan.  Plus I’m a Chicagoan so I’m curious to see how they use the city in later episodes.  Grammer has been making the PR rounds for the show and he said he met with both former Mayor Richard M. Daley and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to prep for the role.  I wonder if any of those conversations will make it into a script.
PBS: PEARL JAM AT TWENTY – check your local listings for the time in your city – This is the documentary about the iconic band Pearl Jam on their 20th anniversary – it was directed by Cameron Crowe, the director of SINGLES, JERRY MAGUIRE, SAY ANYTHING.  Crowe went through thousands of hours of footage and spent months with the band to put this documentary together. From PBS PR:  “When I set out to make this film, my mission was to assemble the best-of-the-best from Pearl Jam’s past and present and give audiences a visceral feeling of what it is to love music and to feel it deeply — to be inside the journey of a band that has carved their own path,” says Cameron Crowe. “There is only one band of their generation for which a film like this could even be made, and I’m honored to be the one given the opportunity to make it.”

Crowe was among the band’s inner circle when they formed and has maintained a close friendship with the band since his days as a reporter for Rolling Stone in Seattle. Almost 20 years after the band’s inception, Eddie, Jeff, Stone, and Mike gave their longtime friend the okay to raid the vault and assemble the story no one but those closest to them ever knew. Audiences will become intimate with the Seattle musicians whose sound and social consciousness were revolutionary — Pearl Jam stood up to both the prevailing social politic and the oppressive music industry.


There’s no new episode of FRINGE tomorrow night.  I believe the next new episode airs Friday October 28.

EARLY HEADS UP FOR SUNDAY NIGHT: ONCE UPON A TIME premieres on ABC.  LOST writers Eddie Kitsis & Adam Horowitz created this show that has fairy tale characters in the past and present in a town called Storybrooke, Maine.  I liked the pilot enough to watch a second episode.  The show boasts a very good cast including Ginnifer Goodwin (BIG LOVE’s Margene) as Snow White, Lana Parilla as the Evil Queen, Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan and Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin.  I’m not sure if the show’s jumping back and forth in time will distract viewers or draw them deeper into the story.  It’s an intriguing idea and I admire ABC for taking a chance with it.  The show premieres Sunday night at 8pm on ABC.
TODAY’S SURF WRITTEN WHILE LISTENING TO: The Explorers Club because they remind me of The Beach Boys in so many ways: I like “Don’t Forget the Sun” –
Aw yeah! It’s a twinspin! Here’s the first track from “A Very She & Him Christmas” – a very lovely cover of “The Christmas Waltz” –
Tonight’s rundown: NBC is all repeats tonight.
ABC: 8:00 p.m. Charlie’s Angels 9:00 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy 10:00 p.m. Private Practice

CBS: 8:00 p.m. The Big Bang Theory 8:30 p.m. Rules of Engagement (season premiere) 9:00 p.m. Person of Interest 10:00 p.m. The Mentalist

NBC: 8:00 p.m. Community (R) 8:30 p.m. Parks and Recreation (R) 9:00 p.m. The Office (R) 9:30 p.m. Whitney (R) 10:00 p.m. Prime Suspect (R)

Fox: 730pm: World Series Game 2: Cardinals vs. Rangers

CW: 8:00 p.m. The Vampire Diaries 9:00 p.m. The Secret Circle 

FX: 10pm: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 1030pm: The League – tonight’s episode is “The Au Pair”
MTV: 10pm: Jersey Shore season finale
That’s a wrap for now.

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