Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Week in TV

TV is back thank God. I was almost able to go outside there for a second.

Ugly Betty (1/8)
See, this is where I get bored with this show. Yet again, we learn the dubious lesson that Betty's career advancement will always be at odds with her family life, and Betty focusing on her (pretty damn awesome) job is tantamount to not caring that her father is dying of a heart attack. It's a total false conflict, and it makes Betty and her family incredibly tedious to follow through sixteen iterations of the same plot. In other news: more Marc and Amanda! Jesus.

The Real World: Brooklyn
I understand the hype this one got. At first glance, it does seem like something of a throwback cast. Not because none of these guys are idiots (the rose-colored way the early seasons have been remembered as compared to the spring-breaky later seasons tends to obscure some of the morons who made it onto the show back in the day), but because with a couple exceptions, these people have actual personalities. And I'm interested to see how they progress. And I kind of don't want to see any of them end up on a Challenge. You know it's a good season ( far) when even the people you wouldn't like in person (Ryan, Chet) are really watchable. It would take me about three screens to psychoanalyze everyone in the cast (J.D., you make me weep, kid), but the fact that there's anything to analyze at all is a bit of a godsend.

Damages (1/7)
As I said in my TV preview post, Rose Byrne has really made big strides since the show started, and it's really paying off now that the roles have been reversed a bit and Ellen is the predator and Patty the prey. Of course, Patty's still got it enough to destroy the life of a college-bound girl just to get funding for her CHARITY (god love her), so I'm not too terribly worried. It occurred to me that Damages is a bit like a less-fascist version of 24. Their seasons are both more self-contained than most serialized dramas, they can both be kind of dumb, they both have dragged in mid-season, and they're both reliant on big twists, to the point where you pretty much suspect everyone of double-dealing (Timothy Olyphant, we're onto you!). But I love it anyway and I'm glad it's back.

Top Chef (1/7)
God, judges who set out to be spectacularly mean end up being so BORING! I so do not look forward to judge Tobey's continued laborious and exhausting metaphors. I'm getting a good sense of the competitors, but they're all people I'm not sure if I like or not. Fabio, Stefan, Jamie, Carla -- not sure if they're my favorite people (though they all have their moments -- and Carla is a straight-up delight), but I'm enjoying watching their exploits.

Scrubs (1/6)
Aziz Ansari is an invaluable addition to the cast ("Steak Niiiiiiight!"), and I'm kind of loving Denise/"Jo" and her "chubster" predilection. Very strong beginning to the final season.

Bromance (1/5)
I'm not sure I can't put into words just how awesome this show is. Where do these guys come from? Why do they like Brody Jenner? Why does Brody need a new friend when he's already got Frankie the world's biggest girl and the illustrious Sleazy T? Is Alex cute enough to overcome the fact that he willingly signed up for this show? I'm not sure we'll ever get answers to any of these questions (except the last one, which: yes). I was discussing this on Facebook with some friends, the degree to which Brody is in on the joke that is this show. My conclusion was that Brody thinks he is, but there's a whole other level of joke that he's totally clueless about. Nobody who tells a story about winning a boat from "the Sultan of Brunei and some of his homies" in a poker game with a straight face can be 100% in on the joke. Still cute though.

Confessions of a Teen Idol (1/4)
Okay, I still have no idea who he is, but I kind of love the "Fame" guy. And I think we can all agree on three things: 1) David Chokachi, while still having it going on, is a total wiener; 2) There is absolutely zero reason that Scott Baio is hosting this show rather than participating it; and 3) Eric Nies has gone all the way around the bend. Lookin' good, VH1!


Travis Nelson said...

Excellent points regarding "Damages = 24" and the level of Brody Jenner's joke-getting.

I'm curious about the Bromance casting process. Did they actively recruit B-Jenn SuperFans? Or did they just pass along a group of Real World rejects? How much were the potential "bros" aware of what in the world they were getting into?

Mark said...

Though over-the-top in his metaphors, I thought Tobey Young was a great addition to Top Chef. Way better than Gail...

Jon said...

The nice thing about Tobey Young is that he's got the nerve and the knowledge to stand up to Tom. I loved it when Tom hated something and Tobey loved it, just because I don't think Tom knows how to deal with someone disagreeing with him.

Joe Reid said...

Travis: See, that's my point. There can't actually BE Brody Jenner superfans, right? So where do these people come from? And how can they all be so convincing in their admiration for him?

As for Tobey Young, I did like this disagreements between him and Tom, true, but the pre-packaged quippiness is going to have to go. And I think I'm the lone Gail Simmons fan in the world, so I can't agree there.

BeRightBack said...

Joe: I've totally got your back re: Gail. I kind of love her, and really miss her. Tobey's overworked quips were terrible, but I think the thing I disliked the most was a kind of ponderous underlining of obviousnesses as profundities (like with the "anise notes" in fennel, which...duh?), provincial tastes (he seems to really like foods that he thinks of as "typical" in a stereotypical way, which allows him to talk about the typciality and not the food, if you see what I mean) and no real through-line of discernment or food-based point of view.

Uhhh, in summary, I'm not a fan of him as a new judge?

Joe Reid said...

Yes! The "anise notes" in fennel, like, even I know that. How profound!

xiaolei said...

Thanks for providing a great read. Wonderful blog. And I'm so glad I'm not the only watching "Confessions of a Teenage Idol". This show is so awesome because the premise is singularly ridiculous: We're going to make you famous again. Not from this show you're not....