As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

On being a “girl”

Posted by Hedwig on April 18, 2012

“…or at least a voice of generation”

You can’t put a quote like that in the pilot of your show, and even assign it to the character you play yourself, without inviting a lot of comments, and Lena Dunham certainly got that in the past days/weeks. Specifically, since her character is 24, she’s 26, and I’m 27, and we furthermore share a gender, race, sexual orientation and approximate socio-economic background, the generation would be my generation, and it’s tempting to dive into a list of differences and similarities between her characters’ situations and, trying to rate just how “true” or “representative” or whatever the show is.

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Posted in Riffs and Ruminations, TV | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

On Shipping, or: a rambling post in which the depth of my Vampire Diaries obsession reveals itself.

Posted by Hedwig on February 12, 2012

Note: useful definitions for this post can be found at the bottom. Also, this post contains general SPOILERs for THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, TRUE BLOOD, and BUFFY – nothing too detailed, but you’ve been warned.

I don’t get shipping.

Ok, not quite true. On an intellectual level, I can understand the motivations, and I even think shipping is, on a certain level, a good thing. I may even have the occasional ‘shippy thought. But when I see a rant come by on tumblr about how Stefan is better for Elena than Damon* because he’s less controlling, all I can think of is – “wait? You think the relationships in the show can be mapped to reality in ANY meaningful way? They’re both mass murderers!”

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Justified S03E04 – The Devil You Know

Posted by Hedwig on February 10, 2012

Ah Devil. We hardly knew ye.

This week, Justified focused on the season’s big plot… only to reveal that it might not have been the big plot after all, and introducing a new twist in the story. The money stashed at Limehouse’s Holler turned out to be  only a coupl’a thousand instead of the 3+ million everyone had counted on, effectively rendering it moot as the season’s McGuffin – although I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Limehouse, yet.

But let’s wind back a little. The big development was that Dickie (and, sort of accidentally, Dewey) got busted out of jail by the money-hungry guard and his pal, the creepy doctor. Bad idea, especially since Raylan’s bright enough to ask Boyd for information, and not above using his car as a weapon.

The plot in itself wasn’t much – we’ve seen dumb wannabe criminals before on Justified – but it offered quite a few opportunities for Raylan to be world-weary and bad-ass (Rachel wasn’t too shabby, either), and it gave us the first hint of what the rest of the season will be about: organ harvesting/trafficking. A nice change from all the drug business we saw so far, and apparently also a plot point in Elmore Leonard’s recently published novel “Raylan”. Having Dewey as the first victim is also a good move: he’s hapless enough to make it plausible for him to be in this predicament, but you never want anything too bad to happen to him.

Which brings me to Devil – just as stupid, but more malevolent. Making a move against Boyd by enlisting Johnny’s help? Clearly not a very bright idea, but you can see how the Carpetbagger*’s appeal to his vanity and ambition would lead him in that direction. It’s not exactly a surprise when the tables are turned, but it is a welcome reminder that Boyd is a bad guy, something that’s easy to forget, what with Goggins’  charisma and the introspective speeches he gets. He has a good justification for killing Devil – who was preparing to shoot him, after all – but the way he does it is frightfully calm. That he almost comforts him before delivering a mercy shot only makes it more chilling.

*apparently the monicker for Neal McDonough’s villain. His real last name’s apparently Quarles, but I don’t think it’s come up in the show so far.

One final note: what are we to make of Raylan’s visit to Loretta? Sure, he was there to get information, but there would have been other ways for him to find out where the money was. She’s still more than capable of keeping up with him, even outwitting him, but I’m curious if this was a one-time appearance or if she’ll play a role of significance in the rest of the season.

Finally, by Kaj’s request, the line/line-reading of the week (again by Boyd): “I sense a disturbance in the force”. Who’s have thought Boyd was a Star Wars nerd?

Posted in TV | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Justified s03e03 – Harlan Roulette

Posted by Hedwig on February 4, 2012

In a reversal of last week, the meat of this episode was provided by the case-of-the-week, whereas the background consisted mostly of pieces getting moved into place for further developments.

The show continued its habit of introducing intriguing baddies and dispatching them right away: this time, it’s sadistic pawn shop owner Glen Vogel, who likes to toy with oxycodone addicts, Wade Messser (from last season) among them. The rigged “Harlan Roulette” game he makes them play is compelling and twisted, but not very tactical, and while I would have liked to see more of his antics, the way he came to his untimely end was fantastic, and very typical of Justified’s brand of humor. And I loved the interaction between Raylan and Messer – James LeGros gives the latter a nice mix of hope and resignation.

The case-of-the-week was also stronger because it was tied to a strand of the overarching plot: the rise of the Dixie Mafia. I wasn’t entirely convinced by Neal McDonough’s villain in the first episode, but he gets more established here, and it’s chilling. Wynn Duffy discovers a man tied to a bed and gagged, and McDonough just shrugs it off like it’s a common occurrence, all while talking sweetly on the phone with his son. And the scene in which Raylan confronts the both of them in Duffy’s trailer is a marvel: we know that McDonough has his tiny gun up his sleeve, but Raylan doesn’t. And then there’s the creepy smile McDonough flashed when Raylan takes a picture with his camera. Brrr.

The rest of the developments are necessary, but not all that interesting. Boyd is taking steps to establish a criminal empire of his own, starting with Johnny’s old bar. Limehouse buys his spoiled weed, for a pittance  – it’ll be interesting to see how (or if) their alliance grows. And there’s a cop in prison (played by a guy I recognized from THE RICHES) who’s also interested in the Bennett money. It’s all set-up, and little pay off for now, but it certainly makes me interested to see where the season is going.

Posted in TV | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Justified S03E02 – Cut Ties

Posted by Hedwig on January 27, 2012

When I was thinking up this review, I planned to call it a step down from the season opener, but thinking about it more made me realize it was better than I first thought. It’s not as well structured as the pilot, and it suffers from a fairly uninteresting case-of-the-week, but it moves forward the overarching plot in very satisfying ways.

The most interesting part of the episode was seeing Raylan and Boyd joust from a distance: Raylan (thinks he) figures out what Boyd is up to, and tries to ensure that Boyd can’t get to his target, Dickie. Except, as always, Boyd is craftier than expected (he manages to get to Dickie all the same), and his motivation is not quite what we -or possibly even Raylan- think: killing Dickie isn’t his primary goal. Getting Mags’s money is. And surprisingly, considering what Ava says when Boyd gets released, it seems that was his intention all along, even before Raylan mentioned the missing money (“well over ten dollars”) in the first episode.

Which brings me to the second great element in this episode: the introduction of yet another new villain.  Animal gutting/carving/butchering has been a favorite trope this year in TV shows to introduce ruthless characters: there was the first scene with Tywin Lannister in GAME OF THRONES, Manny Horvitz in BOARDWALK EMPIRE, and now Limehouse, played by Mykelti Williamson. He gets a great monologue, too, which establishes him not just as ruthless but also as someone with a very distinct view of the world. He certainly won’t make it easy for Boyd to get his money, and I’m looking forward to seeing the black community (up to now represented mostly by Rachel) integrated in the Harlan web.

As for the rest of the episode, well, maybe it’s just that I tend not to find WitSec plots all that interesting, but it was a little underwhelming. It did have some redeeming value because it showed a wholly different view of Art. He’s often the comic relief, the cranky-but-kindly older boss, but here we saw him do what needed to be done, regardless of legality. It’s an intriguing development, but the resolution of the plot felt a little weak.

You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned Carla Gugino yet. I like the Karen Sisco character, in principle**, and the fight at the hotel was nicely done, but she’s a bit underused here. She’s meant the reinforce Raylan’s doubts about his relationship, I suppose, remind him of the man he used to be, but she didn’t feel integral to the episode. It’ll be interesting to see if she comes back, and if they can do more with her then.

 **I know, I know, she’s technically NOT Karen Sisco because they don’t have the rights, but the character’s clearly based on her

Line (and line-reading) of the night? “Well now, Raylan, you’re talking to a man who’s sleeping with his dead brother’s widow and murderess.”

See you next week!

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Mad Men Season 2 (Warning: some spoilers)

Posted by Hedwig on October 29, 2008

I watched the last three episodes of season 2 of Mad Men yesterday, and all I can say is: wow. That, and poor, poor Joan.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a girl that the fate of the women on this show touches me so, but whatever the motivation, I laud Matthew Weiner for writing such well-rounded, different characters. They might be confined within their 1960 and then 1962 surroundings, but he never sees them as simply as the men in that context do. Even the simple secretaries with a secondary rule such as Lois and Hildy are real characters, and you can feel that each of them interacts with the limited options presented to them in their own way.

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Posted in Reviews, TV | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Fall Pilot Review: Fringe

Posted by Hedwig on September 10, 2008

I’m not much one for mystery/conspirary shows. I was never into the X-files, I’ve watched a few episodes of Lost without getting sucked in, and the same goes for Alias. Even in my teenage drama years, I might have watched Roswell for a bit, but I lost interest pretty soon. So why would I even bother with J.J.Abrams’ latest effort, Fringe?

Well, the main reason harkens back to those same teenage drama years. Fruitstand confession (TM): I used to watch Dawson’s Creek religiously. Oddly enough though, it wasn’t Dawson, the wannabe filmmaker, that I watched it for (he was dull, as evidenced by his rather predictable choice of idol: Steven Spielberg). No, the boy I drooled over, the boy who I imagined in my daydreams kissing and reforming, was Pacey.

Over the years, Joshua Jackson, who played Pacey, descended into ever worse thrillers and horror movies, his face getting doughier and less bad-boy every time. But he’s back now, it seems, as one of the leads on this strange show. So, to humor my fifteen-year-old self, I had to at least watch the pilot. Right? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in TV | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Fall pilots: True Blood & 90210

Posted by Hedwig on September 7, 2008

Ah, it’s that time of the year. There’s a constant drizzle outside my window, and there’s also a steady stream of new shows raining down on us. Some of them will survive for a season or two, some of them will be cancelled and forgotten by this time next year, and somewhere in the bunch there might be one that turns out to be a long-running classic.

I don’t think either of the two shows discussed here will ascend to the classic level, even if one of them is a remake of a show that does kind of fit that moniker. But neither will, I think, suffer a premature death. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in TV | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Gossip Girl: Summer Kind of Wonderful (S02E01)

Posted by Hedwig on September 2, 2008

I know, I know, when it rains, it pours. But I just watched last night’s episode of Gossip Girl, and while I don’t think any comment I might make will have the entertainment value of the Daily Intel recap, I’d like to indulge in a little OMFG!!! and assorted thoughts.

Beware: there be spoilers

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Posted in TV | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Blogging Buffy – Wrapping Up Season 2

Posted by Hedwig on August 14, 2008

According to the WordPress sign-in window, I am “already hip”. Good to know. In any case, I’m sitting here with a very hip, very cute little laptop my dad bought for my mom, which can almost fit in my pocket. All typos are due to the fact that the keyboard is 85% as big as the one I’m used to.

The reason I’m finally writing up the fourteen (14!) episodes I’ve seen since the last time I wrote a Buffy post (that’s the entire rest of season 2) is partly because I want a clean slate before starting on season 3, the DVD of which I bought today. But it’s also, and mostly, because Noel Murray’s catching up with us. My Buffy-watching buddy is sick right now (get well soon, Evan!), but as soon as he’s better we’ll start racing Noel to the finish. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Buffy, TV | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »