Friday, 30 October 2009

Subtle Sexuality

Subtle Sexuality is the girl group that Kelly (Mindy Kaling) and Erin (Ellie Kemper) from the Office have formed, which is another brilliant webisode series that the creative greats at the Office have devised. The group appears to be part Beyonce, part Lady Gaga and have done a music video to their song 'Male Prima Donna' which is about Ryan. The video also features perhaps my favourite Office character Andy as the 'Nard Dog and Ryan who does a spectacular rap as Mr Understood. I've really liked the addition of Erin to the Office team and it is good that Kelly has a fellow pop culture/celebrity junkie to spare with and this video really is the culmination of this. This is also Mindy Kaling's first time directing and she has done a terrific job, as it takes from other music videos of right now and adds a great comedic twist. Not that the song is not actually a good pop song as I have had it stuck in my head all day.

Here is the video:


More Chuck updates and White Collar

The good Chuck news is that it has been reported that NBC have ordered 6 more episodes on top of the 13 that are already being produced. This is means that with 19 episodes that this is almost a complete season and that the show will be coming back sooner than the March original due date. Over on What's Alan Watching Alan  Sepinwell ponders what this will mean to the show as a whole as they have just finished filming episode 8 meaning that most of the series has been filmed or is in some early stages of pre production. The two options he suggests are that they continue from where they are or that they do a completely separate six episode arc. Both have issues and could end up making the season feel disjointed and this was one of the issues when shows did or did not return after the writers strike. Whatever option they go for I'm just glad that Chuck will be back sooner and that there will be more episodes.

In a tenuous Chuck link, I just finished watching the first episode of White Collar staring the lovely Matthew Bomer (Bryce Larkin from Chuck), who I think is a great actor and not just because he is easy on the eye. In the pilot for the series White Collar he demonstrates that why, even though he posed complications to the Chuck/Sarah relationship I was always glad to see him pop up in episodes and which is why I was sad to see him get killed in the season 2 finale. White Collar tells the story of a master fraudster and his relationship with the FBI agent who was tasked to catch him and who put him in prison; much like a modern day 'Catch Me if You Can'. It was nicely paced and I enjoyed the dynamic and chemistry between Tim DeKay as FBI agent Peter Burke and Bomer's Neal Caffrey. I'm looking forward to the next episode and what this series will bring.  

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Top 5 Halloween TV episodes

1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 'Halloween'

In this second season episode the Scooby gang become what they have dressed for Halloween due to a spell that Ethan Rayne (with his first of several appearances) has put on all the costumes from his shop. As Halloween is normally a day that demons have off this would normally not be an issue, however Spike uses the opportunity to try and take down the Slayer who unfortunately dressed as an eighteenth century lady, losing all of her slayer knowledge and fainting at the sight of a monster. Willow becomes a ghost, having the power to walk through walls but not touch anything and Xander becomes a soldier, which will prove useful for later episodes when he retains all his soldier training and codes for military buildings. What makes this episode great is to see Buffy vulnerable in this role reversal 'come as you aren't' theme for Halloween. It is also the first time we get to here the name Ripper in relation to Giles, realising that he is much darker than his library man exterior suggests.

2) Bones: 'The Mummy in the Maze'
What makes this a great Halloween episode is that all of the characters end up trying to solve the murder and mummification of two girls as well as attempting to stop the death of another girl whilst dressed up for the Jeffersonian Halloween party. The costumes are varied as seen in the picture above, Angela is Cher, Hodgins the captain of the Titanic, Zack is the end of a cow (miss you Zack), Cam is Cat Woman, Brennan is Wonder Woman and perhaps funniest of all is Booth dressed as one of the squints and he attempts to be a nerdy as possible (though none of them dress as badly as his interpretation). Debates about who is better between Wonder Woman and Cat Woman (Wonder Woman is the consensus) and Brennan spinning around are some of the highlights. Though I think Booth and Brennan tracking down the killer in full costume and saving the girl is the highlight as well as the continuing joke of Brennan wanting a gun and then accidentally shooting Booth with a ricochet.

3) Chuck: 'Chuck versus the Sandworm'
The Halloween element of this episode is relegated to the subplot however it deserves a mention for several reasons, the nerd element is pretty high with Chuck and Morgan's costume being the Sandworm from Dune and Sarah comes as slave Princess Leia which is enough to drive any fan boy crazy. Awesome and Ellie in a continuing joke about how perfect they are goes as Adam and Eve with leaves covering the bikini suit areas. The highlight for me as a fan of Josh Schwartz though is the moment where they recreate the moment from the New Years episode of the OC where Ryan rushes to get to Marissa before midnight strikes and Dice by Finley Quaye (featuring Beth Orton) is playing, instead it is Chuck rushing to get to Morgan so they can do their Halloween costume together.

4) The Office: 'Halloween' and 'The Employee Transfer'
The above pictures are from the season 5 episode 'The Employee Transfer' in which it is only the opening that concentrates on Halloween but it is definitely worth noting and is perhaps one of my favourite starts to an Office episode. The Joker was probably one of the most popular costumes last year and it was brilliant to see Kevin, Dwight and Creed all as the Joker with varying degrees of scary with Creed being particularly frightening. It was also great to see Dwight have his pencil disappearing trick ruined by the lift door closing on him. The costume nightmare that Pam had in the Dunder Mifflin branch in New York also made me chuckle as she was the only person who had dressed up, her Charlie Chaplin costume would become Hiltleresque if she removed her hat.

Three hole punch Jim is from the season 2 episode 'Halloween' and demonstrates the extreme effort that can go in to a costume, or rather a lack of effort and it also shows how opposite Jim and Dwight are with Dwight spending over a hundred dollars on his Sith Lord suit. Though Jim's costume does give Dwight the excuse to punch. Also from seeing promo from this years Halloween episode it looks like it will be another humdinger.

5) Ugly Betty: 'The Lyin', the Watch and the Wardrobe'
Recently I haven't been enjoying Ugly Betty as much as I use to but I picked this episode mainly for Marc dressed as Betty (which Wilhelmina says is so cruel that he deserves a raise). Betty has also been fooled in to thinking that everyone in the office will be dressing for Halloween, which is not the case, but I do like he butterfly costume very much.

I know there are many other great Halloween episodes (Angel, My So Called Life and Friends to mention a few) but I thought I would go with five. Are there any show that you would like to see do a Halloween episode? Are there any shows that should have done a Halloween episode? The X-Files springs to mind as a show that could have done a great one but never did.

Happy Halloween everybody, I have to go and make some birds for my costume.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Bones 100th episode news

Rumours from Ausiello over at Entertainment Weekly last month suggested that the 100th episode of Bones was going to flashback to the first case that Brennan and Booth worked together where everything did not run exactly very smoothly, well Ausiello has now confirmed that this has been given the green light. In the pilot of Bones it was made clear that something had occurred in this first case that made Brennan not want to work with Booth again and it will be great to see what the writers will come up with as to what created this apparent early dislike of one another. Stephen Nathan, an executive producer on the show also revealed that:
“We’ll also see the introduction of Angela and the genesis of her friendship with Brennan. And we’ll try and work in a Smurf reference, of course. They certainly have been absent from season 5 so far.”
It has previously been mentioned that David Boreanaz will direct the episode, so I think it will be a pretty special affair, I can't wait.

Mad Men- The Gypsy and the Hobo

Holy wow, what an episode, spoilers ahead for season 3 episode 11

Mad Men Season 3 Episode Photos

This season of Mad Men has really kicked in to hyper drive and it is hard to anticipate what is going to happen in the final two episodes of the series after this humdinger. I was really expecting the confrontation between Betty and Don regarding what she had discovered in his desk drawer to not occur so soon, so it was a shock when it did happen, but the fact that it did happen so soon did not take away from the tension of the scenes, from when Don walked in to a seemingly empty house until Miss Farrell slinked away in to the night I was on the edge of my seat. And the fact that Miss Farrell was sat in the car just a few feet away from the Draper house made these scenes even more on edge, would she come to the house wondering where Don was? In the end she waited for who knows how long before going home, painfully aware that whatever had occurred in the house meant the end for their tryst, no romantic getaways for them. Although somewhat to my annoyance when Don did ring her to explain his absence he only said that it was over for now, suggesting that the door could still be open for their affair.

Prior to Betty confronting Don we saw her at her fathers house, sitting at his desk taking command of her situation, asking the family lawyer for some advice regarding the situation she is now in with Don after finding his secret box and to her dismay (and mine) all he offered her was a reason to stay with Don, he is a good provider and divorce is hard to get if you are a woman in the 1960s unless adultery can be proven so she should just try and make do with staying married to Don. This answer thankfully does not stop Betty from confronting Don with what she knows and thankfully she does not give up or give in as we might have expected her to, Betty Draper is strong willed, and though there have been many moments where I have wanted to shake her to stop being so passive it was wonderful to see her take control with Don.

The role reversal that occurred from when Betty thrust the desk keys on to the table and Don realised that she knew the truth was wonderful to watch, with Don being reduced to a figure who looks like he is about to lose everything (much like he did last season when we saw Anna Draper call him out on he was at the car dealership). Jon Hamm is a joy to watch normally but in these scenes he really surpassed himself, from stumbling in to the kitchen realising that his 'perfect' life is over, when he dropped his cigarette on the floor and struggled to pick it up it became apparent that his cool exterior had really been shattered by Betty and what she had found out. Betty was definitely the commander in this conversation, knowing that her husband is good at selling anything she called him out on this, also noting that he has been lying to her every day. When baby Gene started crying and Betty went to attend I really thought that Don might do a runner, with so many doors to escape in to, however we see him pick up the box of evidence of his previous life and go in to the hallway.

Mad Men Season 3 Episode Photos

Don takes the box to the bedroom, this is where he spills the secrets from his past life that he has tried so hard to conceal from everyone in his new life (though as Betty notes if he had really wanted to keep it secret then why would he leave it in their house). I was half expecting him to fudge some of these details with the only lie he really tells is saying that the army made a mistake about who he was, when in fact he was the one who enabled this mistake by switching dog tags, though this is a lie I can let him tell, would Betty really want to know that about him. Although he also says that he asked for a divorce from Anna when he first met Betty, this she calls him out on as the divorce decree was only three months before they were married, I guess he said this to make the whole thing appear to be romantic. He reveals everything else though, why he helped Anna, where he came from, that he is the son of a prostitute and that he was from a family that was very poor. He finally cracks emotionally when Betty asks her about Adam, and he even reveals that Adam killed himself and he contributed to this by sending him away so not to ruin his Don Draper life, this break in Don endears him to Betty and to me as recently his actions have seemed more deplorable than normal and it is good to see his emotional side rather than his charm and arrogance. As I have said already Hamm is amazing in these scenes but props must also be given once again to January Jones who in these scenes also goes through a transformation of emotions and performs incredibly with her co-star.

I hope that after this reveal that the Draper marriage will get stronger, now that Betty knows the real Don can they make a success of what they have beyond the exterior which seems to be perfect whereas it is actually deeply flawed. Though with Miss Farrell around the corner will she rear her head before the season is out?

The other stories in this episode of Roger and his former (first?) love Annabelle and of Joan and her not so hot doctor husband Greg were also pretty fabulous. First it was nice to see both Joan and Roger with plenty of screen time, even with the two of them reconnecting over the phone with Joan asking Roger to help her find a job that is not back at Sterling Cooper (boo, I really miss her round the office), the chemistry between these two even crackles on scenes on the phone and I hope that this isn't the last we see of these two together this season.

Joan in this episode was being the supportive wife that Dr Rapey really does not deserve, she helped prep him for his interview, giving him great advice and support that he neither listened too nor used in his interview that he says he crashed and burned in (though would you really want someone so introspective as your psychiatrist?). Though what followed this whining had me cheering at the screen, with Joan picking up a vase of flowers and smashing it over his head (the gif for this can be found here). Greg after this buys Joan flowers to apologise for how he has been and then reveals that he has joined the army, will this be how we get rid of Greg when he hopefully gets sent to Vietnam?

The Roger and Annabelle story revealed that Roger was once a man that had been ditched in favour of another and that this event was an important one in the making of who he has become and it was interesting to see him turn down is former lover because he is married. I don't really take this to be the reason though I do think that in this early stage of his marriage to Jane he does not want to return to his usual adulterous ways but he also does it out of some place of revenge, revenge for having his heart broken over twenty years ago. Annabelle declares that Roger was the one, he states that she isn't but is Jane really the one for him? I would like to think not, that his perfect match is Joan, a woman who really is his equal, but is she too strong willed for him, would he just like a continuing flow of Janes until his ad man lifestyle gets the better of him?

The funniest line of the episode came from Peggy during the focus group regarding the dog food that Annabelle's company was trying to re-market, when the group started complaining that the food was made of horse meat Annabelle demanded that it was turned off, Peggy responded to this with: "I can't turn it off. It's actually happening." I wonder how many of these characters wish they could turn off what is actually happening to them?

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Zooey Deschanel in Bones

So finally after several mentions that Emily Deschanel's sister Zooey would star in an episode of Bones, it has been confirmed that she will appear in the Christmas episode which will air December 10th. Zooey will be playing Brennan's previously mentioned cousin from Minnesota and I am really looking forward to how they will work this in to the show. I am a huge Zooey Deschanel fan (I think Emily is pretty great too) and have liked her  since way back when Almost Famous came out and have followed her career since. I hope that this will be a great Christmas episode as the first episode of Bones I saw was the season 1 Christmas episode and it got me hooked.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Mad Men- 'The colour blue'. What do you see?

Spoilers for episode 3.10 'The Colour Blue':

Mad Men Season 3 Episode Photos

Wow, this episode has opened up many possibilities for what could happen at the end of the season and the central theme appeared to be have things actually are versus how people perceive things to be. This topic is first broached with Don in bed with Miss Farrell (a story line that bothers me but seems important in the overall nature with Don and how he behaves with women), she recounts how one of her students asked whether the blue that he saw was the same blue that everybody saw. Don waxes lyrical stating "The truth is people see things differently, but they don't really want to." This sentiment applies to much of the programme with the whole nature of advertising being about creating something that is something that everyone is wanting, desire is key to selling to the masses. This sentiment also applies to many of the characters, you could really pick any one of them to reveal how they see things differently but don't want to state this, it could also be a sentiment for how characters feel that they should be perceived even if that perception is false.

This leads to the central point of action in this episode, where an act of carelessness leads Betty to discover what Don really keeps in his desk drawer and how this will blow her perception of who he is out of the water. The moments preceding her finding the key and as the audience and Betty both waited for Don to come home were some of the most tense that I have seen this show produce, what would she do when he got home? Well he never did come home, so Betty defeated returned the key to the dressing gown pocket and put the box back in the drawer and retired to bed. Now the scenes between these two will be fuelled by more than just the audience knowledge of who Don is but also with the bits of information Betty has learned from his Dick/ Don box. The final scene at the Sterling Cooper party was one where most of the room perceive Don as a man with everything; a great job, a beautiful and loving wife, and a boss who really likes and respects him, the truth of this is obviously completely different, he is a man who despite 'having it all' is still not satisfied and still does not know who he really is.

I must say also after my previous piece on January Jones that once again her performance as Betty Draper was fantastic, from before her finding the key to pretending that she was only feeling unwell to the anxiety that she demonstrated whilst preparing her self in the bathroom before the party, to her look of resolve yet disdain at the Sterling Cooper party toward Don and the wonderful words that were used to describe him.
Other actions that got set in motion, Sterling Cooper is up for sale and only Lane Pryce is aware of this, will he reveal this information to Roger or Bert so he can stay in New York (despite his wife longing to return to London) as he has done such a good job there or will he remain silent. Will this sale mean that Joan and Sal will both come back? I do really hope so as both have been missed (even though Sal has only be gone for this episode).

The Paul and Peggy scenes were also a treat and it was great to see that Paul finally 'got' Peggy and that she is talented, hopefully we will get to see them working together in a more positive way in future episodes.Also on the point of Peggy it will be great to see if she has had any further contact with Duck and what this might mean for her future, though I really want to see some more scenes with her and Pete and whether there will be any more fall out from her baby revelation at the end of last season.

Overall that was a brilliant episode and I'm really excited as to where this season is heading.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

January Jones in GQ

Photos have just been released from January Jones' November GQ cover shoot which seem to be mixing in the 60s background with a modern twist (as well as a severe lack of clothing):

However one of the highlights of the interview is that she was highly motivated in becoming an actress due to negative comments made by her boyfriend at the time (said boyfriend being a certain Ashton Kutcher):
“The guy I was dating when I first got to L.A. was not supportive of my acting,” she says. “He was like,I don’t think you’re going to be good at this. So—fuck you! He only has nice things to say now—if anything, I should thank him. Because the minute you tell me I can’t do something, that’s when I’m most motivated.”
I like that she has certainly proven him wrong, she is a good actress and despite Betty not being one of my favourite characters on the show, I can certainly appreciate how Jones portrays the bored and melancholic housewife. Last weeks episode (The Souvenir) demonstrated the dichotomy of the character, how in Rome she is so happy at being able to live a life of glamour, but on returning home the facade drops and she returns to being the apathetic person that she was before, the mother and housewife who is not equipped emotionally to deal with household issues such as Sally and her temper. This is further reiterated in this weeks episode (Wee Small Hours) when the affair that she thinks will bring her some kind of happiness brings nothing but bad feeling, it is not the romantic entanglement that she expected, it is just 'tawdry'. I'm definitely looking forward to what the rest of the season will bring for Betty and I am glad that January Jones has had this success and proven bad ex boyfriends wrong.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Chuck returning early?

So on the back of getting my Chuck season 2 DVD yesterday, there is the good news that Chuck may be returning sooner than expected, from Ausiello Files blog:

“How much sooner” you ask?
As early as late October, my moles tell me. And while it remains unclear whether the little show that could (and has andshall again) would return to its Monday timeslot or find itself a new perch, NBC insiders who’ve seen the first four episodes are calling this season the best yet."
This is very good news and as NBC has had some under performing shows (and some shows that they cancelled before the new season got a chance to start- see Southland) hopefully Chuck will get a order beyond the 13 episodes that it already has. Chuck is a definite favourite of mine and I would welcome as many episodes as they can get and hopefully this season there won't be the fear of cancellation, just got to hope that NBC market the show right and give it a decent timeslot on a decent night.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Don Draper vs Jim Halpert

So in light of Don Draper topping the poll of 49 most influential men of 2009 I stumbled upon a Newsweek blog from August entitled 'Why the Ladies Love Jon Hamm of Mad Men' which upon reading raised an interesting topic that woman would rather fantasise about Don Draper from Mad Men than Jim Halpert from The Office. The article states that:

"Why are we so wild for Draper? By any measure, the character's a cad. He constantly cheats on his wife. He skips town for weeks and won't write or call. [...]  And yet he excites an attraction among women—particularly ones my age, women in their late '20s and '30s who were born after the era that Mad Men portrays—that seems unmatched by any leading man on television today, with the possible exception of Lost's con artist, Saywer (another strapping scoundrel with a deeply troubled soul)."


"After all, we don't believe in that evolutionary "me Tarzan, you Jane" nonsense anymore. We're supposed to want men who are sensitive and respectful; men who emote and help around the house, and talk openly about their feelings. And we do want these things. Don't we? So then why are we fantasizing about Draper rather than Jim from The Office?"

So where do I stand on these thoughts and why should they matter any way. Well firstly, yes Don Draper is a desirable character despite all of his many flaws, which is why it does matter that women are attracted to him in spite of these flaws and why it matters that he has been voted by men as the most influential man of 2009.  Does this in turn make the actions and behaviour of Don Draper considered acceptable by both men and women? I think the majority would still say what he does is deplorable and he is just a figure of fantasy, he is the kind of man that you would have an affair with rather than a relationship (the Newsweek article concludes with this summation as well "So we lay it out very clearly: we don't want to wed Don Draper. We know madness that way lies."). They also lay this out so men don't think that that is what women actually want, who wants a generation of men who think that it is ok to cheat your way through everything. 
So then comes the point as to why Jim from The Office would not be considered a figure of fantasy because he is what is considered to be an ideal modern man, someone who cares about his fiance (wife by tonight- hopefully) and is not ashamed to show these feelings, but this is one area of the article that I disagree with and it might be because in most TV shows it is always the slightly dorky characters that are my favourites, not the leading brooding man. Characters like Charlie in Lost, Dr Reid in Criminal Minds, I prefer Sylar when he is Gabriel glasses included, Will Tippin in Alias, Hodgins in Bones, Greg in CSI, I even have a weird thing for Andy 'the 'Nard Dog' in The Office and don't even get me started on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Now I know that these guys could be considered good looking in one manner or another but they are on programmes generally where there is an alpha male, who broods and gets the girl. So it would seem that I would definitely choose Jim over Don. Oh and in the debate of which Chuck I would choose between Chuck Bartowski (Chuck) and Chuck Bass (Gossip Girl) it would be Bartowski every time.
Even with Mad Men, I think Don Draper is great (but terrible at the same time) but I am actually a huge Pete Campbell fan (though not in the same way I think of Don), I just find his character so compelling because most of the time he can be a major douchebag but also because there is the conflicted side of him where he just doesn't know who he and how he should act. Although after last weeks episode I hope that we see some positive action from him, as he stepped way beyond the line of what is morally acceptable, but such is the power of the writing in Mad Men that there are no black and white characters.
At first when reading the article I was thinking 'Of course I would choose Jim over Don' but after writing this and thinking about it my answer becomes less certain, I know which one I would want a relationship with, that's easy but who would I choose (and the feminist in me is not happy that I am even asking that question)? 

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Don Draper voted the most influential man of 2009

Now this title would not seem so odd if it was a list of fictional characters, however Don Draper has landed the top spot on the annual list of the top 49 influential men in the world, the rest of the list comprising solely of real people and with Barack Obama claiming top spot in 2008. James Bassil (Editor-in-Chief of attributes Don Draper securing top spot for these reasons:
"In a turbulent 2009, men are seeking the tradition in masculine qualities that they imagine their fathers and grandfathers to have had. The character Don Draper brings all these traits together, and in doing so speaks directly to the modern man. He's a man whose time has come."

This position in the pole show how Mad Men has permeated popular culture far more than just for the fashion that features in show, but it strikes me as odd that a character who has cheated and deceived for most of the three seasons so far would be held in such a high regard as a traditional figure of positivity. These factors have helped him in to a position of success, he is in the business of selling and manipulating that these are seen as positive traits. However, the character is clearly not happy with everything in his life, this was highlighted when Peggy wistfully said she wanted everything he had, and that he had so much of it, but his response was less than thrilled.
I may be reading too much into a poll like this but it is interesting that men have voted for a fictional character, a character who I too really love despite his many, many flaws which can then lead on to another debate regarding the female reaction to Don Draper (more on that tomorrow).
I also think that this has a lot to with the brilliant work on Mad Men from all departments including writing, design and acting, as some of this has to be attributed to Jon Hamm whose performance in every episode makes a character who does some deplorable things so likeable and turns him in to a genuine anti-hero.
Matthew Weiner in a comment to Parade Magazine stated in reaction to this poll "It's interesting how drinking, smoking and carousing wins the race today. No offence to President Obama and Mr Bolt."

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Date Night

So technically this is a film related post rather than a TV one, however this first look at the new Tina Fey and Steve Carell comedy has me very excited because they are two of the funniest actors on TV at the moment:


The supporting cast includes SNL star Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, Mark Wahlburg, Mila Kunis and Leighton Meester, all of whom I have liked in one role or another. I look forward to the trailer being released, and I hope that it is as good as the 40 Year Old Virgin and Baby Mama.

I also have a weird crush on Steve Carell when he is anyone but Michael Scott and my boyfriend has a not so weird crush on Tina Fey so hopefully we will have an awesome date night watching Date Night (sorry that was a tad on the cheesy side). Any one else excited for this film? Or any other movie which features fantastic TV stars?