Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Downton Abbey's Matthew Crawley: The Florence Nightingale Effect

Florence Nightingale Effect: A term used to describe a doctor's, nurse's or other caregiver's development of feelings for his/her patient. This effect causes a feeling much like infatuation, love or sexual attraction to come over the caregiver regarding a patient, even if very little communication or contact takes place outside of basic care. Feelings may fade once the patient recovers or dies.

Goodness. They may fade once the patient dies? 

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley wounded in hospital during World War I on Downton Abbey Matthew Crawley Dan Stevens Downton Season Two
So... I'll never be a nurse or doctor because I'm fairly certain I'd be particularly susceptible to the Florence Nightingale Effect. It definitely works like gangbusters with me on television.

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley wounded in hospital during World War I on Downton Abbey Matthew Crawley Dan Stevens Downton Season Two
I mean, just look at him! Poor Matthew Crawley looks like total and utter crap. Like he's been through a war! Really - it's more zombie-esque than anything. Those red eyes. That s shaped cut on his cheek. The pasty British skin. Yeah - I'd do him.

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley wounded in hospital during World War I on Downton Abbey Matthew Crawley Dan Stevens Downton Season Two
So Matthew Crawley was out fighting in The Great War when a bomb went boom and he went broken. God Almighty! My dear man! You poor chap! I mean - he didn't die. So that's good. Because, like, EVERYONE died in World War I. It sort of sucked a whole lot. Way to go on not dying, Matthew!

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley wounded in hospital during World War I on Downton Abbey Matthew Crawley Dan Stevens Downton Season Two
Okay. So. He thinks he'll never walk again - right? But that's not even the angsty part! He's all "I mustn't take a wife because I cannot consummate our relationship!" Which...aww. Broken man-bits are an underused angst issue. Like - Downton Abbey and Bonnie and Clyde have the market cornered. And it was one popular theory regarding Tate on AHS when he wouldn't hook up with Vi on the beach. 

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley wounded in hospital during World War I on Downton Abbey Matthew Crawley Dan Stevens Downton Season Two
Then - his mommy comes home and he gets all emotional. And by "all emotional" I mean he looks like a lost puppy for .5 seconds. There's something extra fun about the reserved behavior of this period. If this took place today (and especially in the non-realtiy of television) this guy would be told to get in touch with his feelings. And even if he didn't want to be all touchy-feely, he'd probably at least be impolite and outwardly bitter. Like Brody on Homeland. This reserved politeness is fun because it's an extra restraint; an extra form of self-imposed torture caused by not giving in to the impulse to be angry or unpleasant. 

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary pushes Matthew Crawley in wheelchair Dan Stevens Downton Abbey
Okay. So he sends Lavinia away because he doesn't want to doom any woman to a sexless or childless life. Both a selfless choice and one bred from self-loathing. Always a fun combo. But come on now. He's the only one who wouldn't really get to have any fun, if you know what I mean. I don't know enough about England in 1918 to know whether or not you could, like, adopt a kid and then have them inherit your vast estate and fortune. And I don't care enough to look it up. But... it's TV. And you can do anything on TV! (Although - I guess in that case, Lord and Lady Grantham could just adopt a boy and they wouldn't need Matthew at all. So... yeah). 

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley wounded in hospital during World War I on Downton Abbey Matthew Crawley Dan Stevens Downton Season Two
Once Matthew is doing a touch better, Mary spends her afternoons pushing him around the grounds. Fun times. I can only imagine the effort it takes to push a man in a wheelchair across all that grass. Especially an old-timey wheelchair. But she loves him in her heart-of-hearts so she does it. Richard Carlyle WHO - amiright?

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley in wheelchair with Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Downton Abbey
Anywho... My screen-caps have already jumped a PBS episode (I think...) so I won't go any farther with this yet. But next time I visit Matthew and Mary, things will be drastically different. And I can't wait to write about it!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Lying Game: Tagged Out At Second

Last week's episode of The Lying Game was definitely my favorite since the winter premiere. We actually had some forward momentum in the overarching mystery, learning that Annie Hobbs isn't their mother after all. Plus, they got the Mr. Mercer murdered my mommy junk out into the open. Which... Justin went through ALL that trouble but is willing to just let bygones be bygones because he fell in love with Laurel? "Sorry, mom. I no longer wish to avenge and/or learn about your death because I've got a date to the prom!" Oooookay...

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game 
But blah-blah-blah-blah with all that stuff. I don't care. It's Ethan and Emma I care about. And  they almost gave Ethan a Moment this week. It was soooo close. We learned that things used to "get bad" with his father. And when they did, his grandfather would take him to a lake to escape. And his father is why he left the reservation and moved in with his brother. Unfortunately, he didn't share his feelings on any of those things. Alas.

Alexandra Chando as Emma n The Lying Game with Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse
But, I really liked when Emma put her hand on his arm. It was sweet and intimate. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that Alexandra Chando is better than this show. Not only is she great at differentiating between Emma and Sutton, but she's likable. That's difficult to pull of when you're playing The Average Girl. I think she's succeeding in a way Nina Dobrev never has.

Alexandra Chando as Emma n The Lying Game with Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse
Anyway - their pseudo intimate moment lead to a more physically intimate moment later. Can't say I blame Emma on that one. Of course they were interrupted by Sutton, but they had a few candlelight cloaked moments of almost second base.

Alexandra Chando as Emma on The Lying Game with Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse making out shirtless
I haven't actually made up my mind about Blair Redford acting-wise. As I've said before - you have to either be super hot or super talented and he's got the hot thing down. Talent-wise, he does trustworthy and strong really well. And there's something to be said about the talent of NOT bad acting. Like,  unnatural, can't-speak-lines-in-a-normal-human-way, BAD (ahem, Keegan Allen). But they haven't really tested him with anything emotional. Like - hurt his feelings or something. Kick his puppy. Something. Anything.

Until then though - wtg on the hotness thing. Keep doing what you're doing I'll keep watching. Deal? Good.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Downton Abbey: DRINK THE KOOL-AID

I've drunk the kool-aid, ya'll. If you're not on the Downton Abbey bus yet, stop reading this and go watch it. 

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley and Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey
I'll admit, it wasn't until series two began that I truly fell in love with all of these characters. In the beginning, Matthew was rather dull and Lady Mary insanely snooty. But the show took its time establishing them as individuals before it softened some of their edges.

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey
Now that we've come to know them, the show has teased their hookup again and again. But as a potential couple, there are a myriad of obstacles in their way. I read a tweet recently that called them the Ross and Rachel of Early 20th Century England. Yes, I'd say that about sums it up.

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley in uniform during World War I on Downton Abbey
Because PBS is currently airing series two in The U.S, I won't mention the final five episodes yet. For now, suffice it to say that seeing Matthew in uniform, occasionally dirty and covered in mud, makes him far more attractive to my eyes.

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley and Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley dance on Downton Abbey
I love them and I love this show. Believe me, they aren't the only characters who are going to make it on The Angst Report. If you haven't yet, drink in this soapy goodness with me. You won't regret it. Oh yeah!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Angst Initiate (I Guess): Pretty Little Liars Tobby Cavanaugh

I don't like Toby. I never have. I never will. I feel bad for saying this because he's a person and all - but Keegan Allen sucks. He can't act and he's really weird looking. You have to be either super hot or super talented and I'm sorry but he's neither. Plus, he always looks like he's smelling something foul.

Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh on Pretty Little Liars
The character of Toby is probably the angstiest on the show. He had a weird psudeo-incest thing with Jenna, the whole town thought he was an evil murderer, he drove a motor cycle, had money issues, and now he's been injured and dumped. He should be the best. But he's totally the worst.

Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh on Pretty Little Liars
Oh if he were played by someone more awesome. There must be PLL fans out there who like him. Where are you, oh Keegan Allen devotees? Come. Defend him. Teach me the errors of my ways.

Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh on Pretty Little Liars
I've actually ran into Keegan Allen three times in reality. Isn't that weird? We seem to see the same movies, eat brunch in the same spots, and shop in the same grocery store. It makes me feel a wee bit bad for trashing him. But he's making bank and I doubt he reads The Angst Report, so what do I care?*

Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh on Pretty Little Liars
On a separate note, Tyler Blackburn looked good in this scene:

Tyler Blackburn as Caleb Rivers on Pretty Little Liars
Maybe I'm getting used to that hair, or maybe they styled it a little different, but I thought he looked less like a butch-woman in this episode.

Sigh. I wish they'd stop spending all their angst on Toby and give it to Caleb instead. Toby can't pull it off. Or better yet, bring back Jason DiLaurentis! Give Jason to Spencer if Aria can't handle him. Just keep Toby gonesville.

*If Keegan Allen does stumble upon The Angst Report: What up Keegan Allen! Hope you enjoyed that meal you had at Cafe Verona that time. And also that time you saw Hanna at The Grove. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Once Upon A Time: Love Means Never Having To Care About The Blonde Chick

This show has gotten its hooks into me. Deep. It's walking the perfect line between procedural and serial; a line most shows can't seem to find their balance on. And for a show about fairytale characters, there is a lot of darkness. Each week, the lessons the characters learn tend to be crazy depressing; a theme I can only imagine the show will continue with until it nears a series finale.

Josh Dallas as David Nolan and Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret Blanchard on Once Upon A Time OUAT
These tragic consequences are especially poignant in the storyline involving Snow White and Prince Charming (or Mary Margaret and David.) I really love them. Romances that are so saccharine aren't usually my bag, but the sweetness of their story has managed to put a damper on my cynicism.

Josh Dallas as David Nolan and Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret Blanchard on Once Upon A Time OUAT
This week, the lovebirds have oodles of issues. Basically, in both fairyland and reality, them choosing to be together is the selfish choice. They try soooo hard to be good. But they just can't resist the crushing pull of love.

Josh Dallas as Prince Charming cries on Once Upon A Time OUAT
Snow White told Prince Charming she didn't love him in order to spare his life. Oldest trick in the angsty-relationship book. Although, typically, it's the dude trying to convince the lady he doesn't love her. Way to go, OUAT. Putting the power with our heroine. And then because her heart was a mangled mess, she took a magic potion to forget him entirely. I have to say, that made me pretty sad. Eternal Sunshine sad.

Josh Dallas as Prince Charming cries He's Eternal Sunshine sad too :'( on ABC Once Upon A Time OUAT
But happily, in Storybrook, David decided to be an adulterer and Mary Margaret decided to be the other woman. And we (just I?) forgive them because they're cute as pie.

Josh Dallas David and Ginnifer Goodwin Mary Margaret kiss on ABC's Once Upon A Time OUAT Prince Charming
Josh Dallas David and Ginnifer Goodwin Mary Margaret kiss Once Upon A Time OUAT Prince Charming Snow White
In Once Upon A Time, I buy the destiny of love. It's a show that supports "meant to be" and "happily ever after" unlike, say, Adam and Cassie on The Secret Circle. No matter what obstacles pop up, no matter how tortuous the journey, Snow White and Prince Charming will find their way to one another. The catharsis will come. I'm confident.

Josh Dallas as David Nolan on Once Upon A Time OUAT Prince Charming ABC
I guess that's part of what speaks to us about fables in the first place. Eventually, the things that should happen, do. People are rewarded for good choices and punished for bad ones. In the short term, I have a feeling they'll rue their rash decisions. But eventually - and maybe not until the series ends - but eventually it'll all be sunshine and rainbows. Because that's the promise of a fairytale show.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vampire Diaries: Never A Dull Moment. Except Moments Involving Bonnie.

Bonnie Bonnie Bonnie. Blah Blah Blah. Do. Not. Care.

Stefan got shot with wooden buckshot though. That was fun!

Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore gets shot with wood chips on The Vampire Diaries
And then Elena had to pick it out of his innards. That was fun too!

Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore  on The Vampire Diaries
I'm a Delena fan all the way, but I like when Stefan is tortured. And it was fun to see how upset he got over Elena kissing Damon. He cares! He really cares! He thinks Elena is better than both himself and Damon. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. If we're ranking best-ness, as far as I'm concerned, she comes in dead last. But it's the sentiment that counts.

Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore  on The Vampire Diaries
I love TVD. They like to torture their characters. It's practically what the show is about. The cure for Tyler's whole being controlled by Klause problem? Torture. Duh. Which I'm fine with. He's at his best when he's chained up like a rabid dog.

Michael Trevino as Tyler Lockword chained up on The Vampire Diaries
And hey! It's Todd McLemore from Alley Cats Strike!

Robert Ri'chard as Jamie on The Vampire Diaries
I don't care about Bonnie. And this episode did. So I don't have a lot to say. But, as always with The Vampire Diaries, people were tortured and it was good times. They're nothing if not consistently angsty.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Secret Circle: I Guess That Counts As Plot Development

I haven't talked about The Secret Circle since its winter premiere because nooooooothing has been going on. AND because I really don't like Cassie. I've tried. I've made a valiant effort to not find her whiny and annoying. But I failed. I want to punch her in her woe-is-me face. Oh, and my favorite line of the week is thanks to her: "I can't just wait around for these witch hunters to come at me with some super special dark magic killing plan." Touche, Cassie. You got us there. None of us want to be taken down by super special dark magic killing plans.

Jake Zylka I've come back to help prevent any super special dark magic killing plans from taking place. Secret Circle
This show is at a serious disadvantage following The Vampire Diaries. Then again, maybe even fewer people would watch it if it didn't have such a great lead-in. The problem is, Vampire Diaries understands that its whole premise is sort of campy. There's humor. There's fun. Secret Circle takes itself incredibly seriously which really throws the absurdity of it into sharp relief. Everything is murder and black magic and our lives are in danger but also there's this school dance we should probably make a point to attend. Like.... what?

Thomas Dekker I hate you Jake. Because you have more chemistry with Cassie than I do. Britt Robertson
They DID up the male quota. And I'm staring to like Jake more and more. Sometimes I think Chris Zylka can act. Sometimes not so much. Maybe he just has too much skull to really emote blow the eyes? When I screen-cap him, his face is identical in 90% of the pictures. But while watching this week's episode - when he tells Cassie that he was at the magical-fire-of-importance that the entire show is based around - when he actually says the words "I was there" he is ACTING. It's a good good moment for him. I want to believe Chris Zylka is actually a genius thespian, portraying this incredibly tough, steely-eyed facade that eventually Cassie will break through. But I've seen my fair share of well acted stony-faced men and I don't yet buy that's what he's doing.

Chris Zylka as Jake Armstrong Look at me, acting up a storm Jake on The Secret Circle
Chris Zylka as Jake Armstrong Does wincing = acting range? Britt Robertson as Cassie Blake
Chris Zylka as Jake Armstrong Hey, Adam! I can do tears-in-my-eyes too. Jake The Secret Circle
SC also gets props for pilfering actors from shows that apparently have better casting directors. Why hello Travis from American Horror Story and legacy stealing Kitch from True Blood/Hastings Ruckle from Friday Night Lights. Unfortunately, they seem to have chosen a Breckin Meyer circa Clueless style for Michael Graziadei. I hope they amend that somewhat...

Michael Graziadei as Callum on The Secret Circle
Grey Damon as Lee on The Secret Circle
And dear Adam. I've been unimpressed these last few weeks. Thomas Dekker can act. I swear. (And I feel like I've said that fifteen times now.) But he's suffering from the same constant-whining problem that Cassie has. Maybe that means they totally belong together. Or maybe it means their combined wimpdom would be too much and they'd both collapse into puddles. I think Diana and Jake should get together. That'd be fun.

Thomas Dekker  Please. No. Whine. Evil. Don't do it. Whine. Danger. Whine. Whiinnneee.  Adam Secret Circle
Secret Circle took my advice and upped the male population. Hopefully now they'll come up with good ways to torture the guys. Hey! Know what would torture several of them simultaneously? Killing Cassie! Yeah! Let's do that! Two birds, amiright!?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Doh!

I dropped my computer last night and cracked the screen. Due to my own personal angst moment, I'll have to put off discussing Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle until next week.

One clumsy moment = $180. Tears and sorrow, man. Tears and sorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Lying Game: Ethan Whitehorse In Black

Ahem. In light of the NOTHING ANGSTY that happened last week on The Lying Game, accompanying my brief thoughts on the episode will be rando pictures of Ethan Whitehorse in black shirts. Because I appreciate a good black shirt on a dude.

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game
Pretty much every week when The Lying Game ends, I think, "Okay, well maybe that thing that just happened means NEXT week will be cool!" I was hoping Sutton coming back would mean... well, I don't know exactly. But something. More than it did. Unfortunately, it meant coming up with a stupid reason Emma had to keep being Sutton until - shock of shocks - Sutton (like the rest of us) realized there's no reason a cut on her forehead means she can't be herself again. 

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game
Now that Sutton is back to Sutton, I'm definitely curious to see what Emma's going to do considering she's suddenly a non-person. But I'm probably getting my hopes up for nothing. It's probably going to be Emma searching for and failing to find Annie Hobbs. In a fantastically slow fashion. 

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game
Yes, we got to hear Sutton's story about what really happened in the fall finale, and we also got some answers from muppet boy Justin, but personally, I was bored. When a show like The Vampire Diaries chews plot like a bear eating shark, there's no excuse for plot to move like molasses. 

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game
Oh! And the musical time-out for the song stylings of Allie Gonino's southern inspired folk band was just insanity. What were they thinking?

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game
Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game
Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game
I really like those last three pictures, by the way. Those are from a happier time, an angstier time. When Ethan was angry that Emma's ex-fostermate was being a creepoid. So he got all up in his grill, son!

Hopefully something happens next week. Sutton trying to win Ethan back could potentially bring about angst. But above all, they need to pick up the pace, man. And as a side note, if they could stop making Sutton's mom seem like a pathetic sap in every way, I'd appreciate that too.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Angst Initiate: Tony Stonem on Skins

As my dear friend says, "Bus go boom. Angst go WHOA!"

Other shows need to take Angst lessons from Skins. I swear, man. It had been a while since I watched the first episode of series two and it's SO good. It's absolutely brilliant what they did with Tony. Consider this your spoiler alert.

Nicholas Hoult as Tony Stonem on Skins Series 2 Nicholas Hoult as Tony Stonem on Skins Series 2
Throughout series one of Skins, Tony is a douche. An EXTREME douche who is super douche-tastic. He's egotistical, uncaring, and sometimes downright cruel. There's very little to redeem him and he's definitely not angsty. He's basically just an evil, manipulative puppet-master. So what do they do at the end of series one? They run him over with a bus.

It's great. It's unexpected and shocking. When we come back for season two, he's a different character all together.

Nicholas Hoult as Tony Stonem on Skins Series 2 Nicholas Hoult as Tony Stonem on Skins Series 2
The only way to make Tony sympathetic is to essentially regress him to a toddler. He's scared of everything, his fine motor control is out the window, he's totally dependent upon others, and he considers himself stupid. He's basically been wiped clean of his horrible personality. It's not a move many shows could or would try to pull off. This is one of many reasons why Skins rules.

Nicholas Hoult as Tony Stonem on Skins Series 2 Nicholas Hoult as Tony Stonem on Skins Series 2
Tony's sucktastic circumstances are also a great conduit for making everyone else seem sweet an fantastic. Maxxie calming him down after he's freaked out by a passing bus. Chris and Jal picking him up to bring him home. Sid, sitting around pining for the old Tony. Effy taking him to the party. Fun times.

Mitch Hewer and Nicholas Holt as Maxxie and Tony on Skins Series 2 Maxxie Oliver hugs comforts Tony Stonem
Mitch Hewer and Nicholas Holt as Maxxie and Tony on Skins Series 2 Maxxie Oliver hugs comforts Tony Stonem
Poor poor Tony. Can't remember stuff, can't write, can't find his way home.

Mitch Hewer shirtless and Nicholas Holt as Maxxie and Tony on Skins Series 2 Maxxie Oliver and Tony Stonem
Nicholas Hoult is going to be playing a zombie this summer in the movie Warm Bodies. His effed up Tony is probably pretty close to that. Without the creepy eyes.

Nicholas Hoult as Zombie R in Warm Bodies
Series one Tony and series two Tony hardly seem related. It's a great progression and series two Tony couldn't be the nuanced guy he is without all that came before. I heart you, Skins. Not quite enough to watch series three... yet.