SHAMELESS SEASON FINALE: What a season finale! Incredible in many ways but I think my favorite thing was that so many of the key moments had no dialogue; I point to Jeremy Alan White’s performance as Lip, a guy with so much potential and he refuses to stay in school to develop it. It was sad watching him try to reconnect with Karen after she had her baby (which turned out not to be his kid) and how sad it made him when she was stubborn about giving the baby away or at least getting it out of her house. It was good to see Sheila (Joan Cusack) be so strong about keeping her grandchild. Emmy Rossum was at her very best in the episode; the kitchen scene with her and Jimmy/Steve when they returned from the hospital was moving, sad and beautiful. I got majorly choked up when the kids came to Fiona’s room that night and she comforted them after the horrible shock of seeing their mother bleeding on their kitchen floor after her suicide attempt. Also heartbreaking, when Monica sped off in the car with her new girlfriend yelling “I love you Debs” — my heart often breaks for Debs but I felt especially bad for her as she was left there with Frank. SHAMELESS disturbs and upsets me on a regular basis, mostly because of Frank, yet I keep watching because of the performances and episodes like this one. I have no doubt I’ll return to the show next season. Here’s an interesting interview Vulture did with William H. Macy, who explains why he really loves playing Frank Gallagher: http://www.vulture.com/2012/03/william-h-macy-interview-shameless.html
MAD MEN – “Tea Leaves”: Roger said, “When is everything going to get back to normal?” – Matthew Weiner says it’s another theme running through this season. Nothing is back to normal in this episode directed by Jon Hamm.
–We finally saw Betty, she’s larger than we remember her from last season thanks to a fat suit and rounded face. Seems she has some kind of thyroid problem and gained the weight as a result of it. Or is she dissatisfied in her new life as Mrs. Henry Francis and eating her feelings? She lives in a much grander house, attends fancy government gatherings with her husband, but she doesn’t look happy. Then again, did she ever? When the doctor tells her she has a growth on her thyroid, she calls Don in a panic. Who else melted a little when he called her “Birdie” and then, at her request, told her “everything is going to be ok.”
–Don and Harry backstage at the Stones concert: generational lines being drawn as Don tries to find out why the teenage girl is so drawn to Brian Jones and moreover, what she’d do with him if she actually got to him. Like most teenage girls, she didn’t really have an answer for that question except, “whatever he wants.” Don seemed perfectly fine being the guy in the suit among all the young people at the show; he seemed to view it as market research instead of a place to hang out and have a good time. He also seemed to know it was a fool’s errand because he didn’t think they’d actually get the Stones to let them use a song for a Heinz commercial.
–Stoned Harry’s line about becoming a parent was priceless as he said his advice to people who wanted to have children would be, “Eat first” as he polished off the last of a bag of burgers – would those be White Castle burgers if Harry ate 20 of them?
–Pete the Tiny Terror continued harassing Roger as he claimed credit for Mohawk Airlines returning to SCDP and belittling Roger in his announcement to the company.
–Don’s new secretary Dawn – the first black woman to work at SCDP (I think?) and the result of the joke ad they placed in the Times to belittle Young and Rubicam.
–Peggy is forced – by Roger – into hiring Michael Ginsburg (played by Ben Feldman of DROP DEAD DIVA), SCDP’s first jewish employee. Love that he was horribly obnoxious and disrespectful to Peggy and then he reigned it in when he met Don. The scene that puzzled me was his father saying a blessing in Hebrew to him when he got home and told him about the job. Very odd moment.
–Megan does her best to be understanding about Don’s concern for Betty and she does a pretty good job with it. Conversely, Henry’s clear dislike/resentment for Don remains as he hung up the phone after Don called to check on Betty and when Betty asked who it was, Henry replied, “Nobody.”
–While Megan is very different from Betty in terms of demeanor and the fact that she works and is more than Don’s wife, she still strikes me as a newer model for Don to wear on his arm. As we saw in the premiere when Megan tried to control Don with sex, he still has that power over her and he’s the alpha dog in the marriage. I’m already wondering what will happen when Don’s sexual curiosity about Megan wanes.
–The closing song after we watch Betty finish Sally’s ice cream sundae, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from “The Sound of Music” – could it be Betty is finally growing up after her brush with mortality? The emotional scene when she had tea with her friend who is sick with cancer and they both felt their own mortality was telling as Betty teared up when the tea leaf reader told her she’s loved by those who around her. Will Betty become a more compassionate wife and mother? Or will she continue to be petulant and immature? All I could think as I watched Betty in this episode is how different she is from Megan even though she’s not that much older than Megan age-wise.
THE KILLING SEASON PREMIERE: I watched. I was bored, except for the Belko scenes. I like Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos a lot but I’m not sure I can sit through another season of this show.
GAME OF THRONES season premiere: I plan to watch the episode again; there are so many thrones and I got confused the first time through. They should issue Cliff Notes with this series.
MAGIC CITY: The premiere episode was slow and not engaging which was disappointing because Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a true leading man; he’s got the looks, stature and charisma. Sadly, he didn’t have much to do besides look moody and upset. Danny Huston’s mobster character Ben Diamond seems cliche with his quick temper and dark sense of humor but I’m willing to give it a little more time to see what they do with him. I love the setting of 1950s Miami too. I don’t subscribe to Starz so it’s a good thing the first three episodes are online now at http://www.starz.com/originals/magiccity/videos/
The show’s official premiere is this Friday April 6 at 10pm on Starz.
COMMUNITY: I loved last Thursday’s blanket fort vs. pillow fort episode but whenever there’s an Abed/Troy disagreement, I’m always sure they’ll reconcile by episode’s end so there’s not much tension. The show also made some offscreen news when a report of a nasty exchange between Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase at the show’s wrap party was reported by many outlets. Then an audio clip of an expletive-filled phone message Chase left for Harmon leaked online. The tension between Harmon and Chase is nothing new; Chase has been somewhat disruptive since the show began and he’s known to be difficult as long ago as his SNL days. I’m only speaking for myself but I would not miss Pierce if Chase did not return to COMMUNITY next season. I’m sure they can create another character to act as an antagonist — and I bet they could do it for much less than Chase’s episodic quote.
30 ROCK: Possibly the wackiest season yet as it veers from grounded workplace stories – Liz acting as Hazel’s mentor (how great is it to see Kristen Schaal on TV each week???) to insane tangents (Alec Baldwin dress as Liz’s guru/swami). They’re giving Jane Krakowski a lot more to do this season and she’s been knocking every joke out of the park.
BENT: This NBC rom-com starring David Walton and Amanda Peet is getting burned off and it deserves better as it’s light, sweet and also has strong supporting players in Jeffrey Tambor, J.B. Smoove, Matthew Letscher and Jesse Plemons, formerly known as Landry on FNL. David Walton comes out the big winner of the show because he gets to be at his most charming and sexy as contractor Pete Riggins (another subliminal FNL reference no doubt). Catch the show before it disappears forever.
THE PAULY D PROJECT: One of the most boring half hours ever. I realize MTV wants to milk every ratings point it can out of JERSEY SHORE and everything related to it but watching a guy talk about being a club DJ and then watching him DJ? Huh? Who thought this would make interesting TV? Total fail. I didn’t watch the new reboot of PUNK’D.
HOUSE OF LIES SEASON FINALE: This episode made me wish Kristen Bell was the star of the show as her character Jeannie stepped forward and went public about her affair with one of her bosses, Marco (played by Griffin Dunne), to help Marty Caan foil the takeover of Gallweather Stern. The scene when Jeannie steps up to a podium at a company gathering and fesses up is the best part of the episode, followed by her and Marty sitting at a table doing shots until they’re both good and drunk. Bell’s expressions and her eyes spoke volumes in these scenes as she knew what she was “blowing up her life” – at least for the moment. Also great: Jeannie telling her fiance Wes, “I’ve behaved badly and I’m not ready to get married or live with you.” Matthew Carnahan wrote the episode and it was a strong close to the first season.
FROZEN PLANET: This series is a feast for the eyes as the nature photography is gorgeous. New episodes air Sunday nights at 8pm on Discovery. If you’re not already watching, be sure to check it out.
LATE NIGHT NEWS: David Letterman and Craig Ferguson re-upped their contracts and will stay on through 2014. Letterman will do that show until he drops; he always says the show is his favorite hour of the day. Craig Ferguson is so freakin’ talented; he’s a very different latenight voice and it’s good to hear he wants to stay with the show.
THE PALEY CENTER L.A.: Lots of great panels coming up including IN PLAIN SIGHT, PERSON OF INTEREST, MISSING, SUITS Lily Tomlin, Craig Ferguson, and an evening about the American Masters Johnny Carson documentary. Click and check out all the upcoming programs: http://www.paleycenter.org/los-angeles-series-spring-2012
FRINGE is on my DVR.
EARLY HEADS UP FOR THIS WEEK:
8pm – CW – ONE TREE HILL series finale – two hours
830PM – NBC – BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
930PM – ABC – HAPPY ENDINGS season finale – Brian Austin Green guests
8PM – CBS – BIG BANG THEORY – Stephen Hawking guests
8PM – HBO ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY – GOD IS BIGGER THAN ELVIS – A woman who once co-starred with Elvis Presley opted to get out of show business and become a nun. This is her story.
10PM – ABC – SCANDAL premieres – the new drama from Shonda Rhimes starring Kerry Washington, Henry Ian Cusick
–Recently ousted from Current TV, Keith Olbermann visits with David Letterman tonight on THE LATE SHOW on CBS at 1135pm.
–Sex columnist Dan Savage (he also started the “It Gets Better” campaign) has his own show SAVAGE U premiering tonight at 11pm on MTV
8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (R)
9:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars
10:00 p.m. Body of Proof
8:00 p.m. NCIS (R)
9:00 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles (R)
10:00 p.m. Unforgettable (R)
8:00 p.m. The Biggest Loser
9:00 p.m. The Voice (time period premiere)
10:00 p.m. Fashion Star
8:00 p.m. Raising Hope
8:30 p.m. Raising Hope (R)
9:00 p.m. New Girl
9:30 p.m. Breaking In
Note: GLEE returns next week with a new episode with guest star Matt Bomer – here’s a preview of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgLmGA5vWdw&feature=related
8:00 p.m. 90210 (R)
9:00 p.m. Ringer (R)
FX: 10pm: Justified
LIFETIME: 1030pm – DANCE MOMS: MIAMI premieres
MTV: 11PM – SAVAGE U with sex columnist Dan Savage
That’s a wrap for now.