Tuesday, July 31, 2012

True Blood: Things Come Together

I'm not sure the internet totally agrees with me - but I quite enjoyed Sunday night's True Blood. First of all, I think I'm pretty set in thinking the less vampire council, the better the episode. And happily, episode eight was pretty thin on the super-boring-riduclous-relgious-vampire-zealot thing. I get that they're going for some overarching theme about tolerance and prejudice and... stuff. But snooooooze.

Alexander Skarsgard and Stephen Moyer as Eric Northman and Bill Compton on True Blood S05E08 Somebody That I used to Know HBO Bill and Eric
Elsewhere though, the storylines were finally intersecting. And I need to declare my love for that Sam/Sam business. THAT is the kind of campy weirdness I watch True Blood for. (Not so much for naked goddesses rising from digital pools of blood on karaoke stages...) Sam Trammell's hip swivel when he was Luna as Sam was hilarious. And the scene in which Sam was caressing Sam's face... ah. I loved that. Crazyness. I'm chuckling just thinking about it.

Sam Trammell as Sam Merlotte True Blood S05E08 Somebody That I used to Know HBO Two Sams
I also rather enjoyed the Terry/Arlene/Layfayette thing. Because that's a logical thing for Arlene to do. And of course, Layfayette is the perfect person to confirm the existence of the lame-ass smoke monster. Speaking of Layfayette. His sewn up lips really skeeved me out. I'm glad they dispatched with that quickly. {{shiver}}

Tod Lowe as Terry Bellefleur on True Blood S05E08 Somebody That I used to Know HBO
And Jason. Jason has always been most serious when dealing with Sookie. Which sucks because it means Sookie has to be around. But despite his general ineptitude, he's a fantastic brother. Two episodes ago, his speech to Sookie about not letting her feel guilty for their parents' death, that was a lovely sentiment. And moments like that make it obvious that Jason is picking up on more than people assume.

Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse on True Blood S05E07  HBO Jason Stackhouse
This week, he had another lovely Sookie moment where he pointed out all the positive aspects of her supernatural ability. And in true Jason fashion, it was very sweet. She's got a piece of their parents with her always - why would she want to give that up? Insightful Jason wins again.

Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse on True Blood S05E07 Somebody That I Used To Know HBO Jason Stackhouse
And finally - Alcide! I would seriously love The Alcide Show. And as someone on twitter so eloquently put it, "Werewolf sex >>>>> Vampire sex" Hell. Yes. Plus - you know - he's a good guy with a big heart and he's all manly man awesomeness.

Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux on True Blood Season Five In the Beginning Joe Manganiello Shirtless
Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux on True Blood Season Five In the Beginning Joe Manganiello Shirtless
I can't say that I'm all about him and this other werewolf chick - I don't even remember her name - but she's probably a better fit than Sookie. At least she seems to be into him too. I mean - how could anyone not be?
Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux on True Blood Season Five Somebody That I used To Know Joe Manganiello
It bums me out that he keeps loosing fights to that skinny packmaster twerp all because that guy's on V. When you look at the two of them side by side, it's a little nuts. I want to see Alice kick the crap out of him and be worshipped by one and all. Alcide apinoff please!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Newsroom: More Jim and Maggie

Hello blogopshere! I was traveling last Sunday night which means I missed pretty much ALL the television. It essentially took me the entire week to catch up. So! This week, I'll have a whole slew of double-sized posts to make up for it. Kicking things off: Jim and Maggie!

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper and Alison Pill as Maggie Jordan on The Newsroom Amen S01E05 HBO Aaron Sorkin
Fortunately for me and my Sunday night viewing bonanza - there was virtually no real Jim/Maggie stuff last night. Which means this post probably won't reach "double" the size. It's more like a post and and a quarter. Or something. I could just keep padding it with reflexive chat about the post itself... I'm sure that's what everyone wants to read... so moving on.

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper and Alison Pill as Maggie Jordan on The Newsroom Amen S01E05 HBO Aaron Sorkin
Two weeks ago - Jim kept running into doors. It was aDOORable. Yeah. I went there.

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper and Alison Pill as Maggie Jordan on The Newsroom Amen S01E05 HBO Aaron Sorkin
The door-face-smash-scenario lead to a bloody forehead and a moment of Florence Nightengale fun. I absolutely loved Maggie's line, "I could have been a doctor!" I feel you, Maggie. What? I really could have!

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper and Alison Pill as Maggie Jordan on The Newsroom Amen S01E05 HBO Aaron Sorkin
John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper and Alison Pill as Maggie Jordan on The Newsroom Amen S01E05 HBO Aaron Sorkin
Then came The Valentines Day fiasco. Maggie was really insistent that Jim take Lisa out so that she could have a nice night with Don. First - I have to mention that she called him James Tiberius Harper. I loved that. But second,  Maggie was really hostile toward Jim in her insistence that he take Lisa out. And he just sat there and took it. (Because he looooooves her)

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper and Alison Pill as Maggie Jordan on The Newsroom Amen S01E05 HBO Aaron Sorkin
Over the past three episodes, they've slightly de-doucheified Don. First by giving him the line, "She's a person! A doctor declares her dead, not the news." Second by seeing him anguish in guilt after Elliot was injured. And finally, this week, by having him ask Sloan whether he was loosing Maggie. Because their relationship, thus far, hasn't seemed super important to either of them. Having Don display a decent human nature is a good place to start to get the audience at least in the neighborhood of understanding Maggie. And a good step two is making it clear that he actually likes her. They're heading there. Which is interesting...

Thomas Sadoski as Don Keefer on The Newsroom 
But Jim is still way more awesome. Last night, Jim and Maggie had some marvelous flirting - trading barbs over moments of their past in which each of them was an idiot. Jim just wanted to see the penguins! 

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper and Alison Pill as Maggie Jordan on The Newsroom Bullies S01E05 HBO Aaron Sorkin Jim and Maggie
John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper and Alison Pill as Maggie Jordan on The Newsroom Bullies S01E05 HBO Aaron Sorkin Jim and Maggie
But Jim and Maggie weren't a major piece of last night's story. Their role was mostly to make Don ask Sloan that question. And therefore, I leave you until next week when it looks like John Gallagher Jr. will be sporting a new hair style. Huzzah! Death to the side-forehead-part. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Political Animals: At Least Sebastian Stan Still Exists...

Hmm. Anyone else think episode two of Political Animals took a bit of a nose dive?

Sebastian Stan as T.J. Hammond on Political Animals Whaa?? Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA
T.J. Hammond was stil pretty angsty. After a night of sexin and snortin, he runs out into the darkness like the dirty little secret that he is. And presumably, his hookup got some nice kicks to put up on Ebay. T.J calls his brother Doug for a ride home. And so begins the redundant cycle of lectures at T.J. by his better family members.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan as T.J. Hammond on Political Animals USA
His brother wants him to stay clean and sober for five minutes so he can have his freakin engagement party. But the lack of chemistry between Doug and Anne means I care 0.00% about their wedding, her parents, or their constant inability to have sexy sex.

T.J. Hammond "I know you have a whole suicide/coke/downward spiral thing going on... but can you just not wreck cocktail hour?" Political Animals 
Then T.J. goes and visits grandma who essentially shoves alcohol in his face every chance she gets. Grandma - who had an alchie/addict husband and seems to worry that T.J. is going down the same sad road - needs a screwdriver in order to sing her song. What's with that? Keep the mind altering substances to a minimum for five minutes, lady! Like - just don't bring it up.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan as T.J. Hammond on Political Animals USA
Then T.J. steals a blank check because that totally makes sense these days. "Hi bank, it's grandma. I need to stop a check because my addict grandson stole it. Thanks bye." Click.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan as T.J. Hammond on Political Animals USA
But it doesn't matter because it turns out his 'partners' only really want his name. Which makes T.J. feel all sad inside but not sad enough to not be partners with them. He just wants to make sure they use his name AND his cash... or something. Frankly, the T.J. story wasn't what really bothered me about this episode. What really bothered me was all the other stuff.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan as T.J. Hammond on Political Animals USA
At this point, my screen-captures will become totally irrelevant to what I'm writing about. Because Sebastian Stan is nice to look at and Ciaran Hinds really really is not. What's WITH him? Why would anyone ever EVER sleep with him? I don't care how powerful you are, my reaction to sexual advances from that fellow would be eww. And I swear, if I have to hear him say 'sugah' one more time, I'm going to throw my shoes at his face.

And this week, unfortunately, he wasn't the only one bugging me.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan as T.J. Hammond on Political Animals USA
Sigourney Weaver is not meant for mousy, cowed, weak-willed, wifey-poo. Not only did it feel like she forgot how to act in that flashback, but it's a major bummer for the character. How would a woman with the mother she has ever be that sort of person? It was too far in the other direction. The extent to which they defanged her really bummed me out. And to have it be such such an icky man that she's fawning all over makes it even worse.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan as T.J. Hammond on Political Animals USA
Eh. The whole thing is only six episodes so it's not a huge time commitment. And I'm hoping maybe the second episode was just stumbled over because they were rushing. Or trying to dump too much backstory. Or had the story-lines too spread out. Or something.

Whatever. Sebastian Stan is there. So I'll be there too.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Breaking Bad: Jesse and Jane Part 1

Breaking Bad returned last sunday but it was pretty low on the angst. In fact, it was a bit low on the Jesse in general. So, to make up for it, I thought I'd go full out Jesse angst by discussing his doomed relationship with Jane.

Peekabo!! Oh wait... that's the next episode. 
First of all, watching all the Jesse/Jane scenes in isolation really knocks home how depressing this storyline was. Poor Jesse! Poor Jane! Just say no, kids! For realz, yo.

Aaron Paul and Krysten Ritter as Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E06 Negro y Azul Jesse and Jane Breaking Bad
Jesse and Jane meet after Jesse's parents kick him out of "his" house and Jesse needs a new place to live. Jane tries to do things by the book, but Jesse's oh-so-charming just give me a chance speech wins her over. She lets him move in despite his lack of all things legit. Don't worry, Jane. I get it. I have a soft spot for charming stoner dudes too.

Aaron Paul and Krysten Ritter as Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E06 Negro y Azul Jesse and Jane Breaking Bad
Their relationship begins with one of those moments that makes Breaking Bad the amazingness that it is. The television can't find the satellite signal. They sit there and watch the blue screen as it tries to connect. Maybe the satellite can't connect, but Jane and Jesse can. And do.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E08 Better Call Saul Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
When Jane heads out at the beginning of the next episode, Jesse asks, "We cool?" Jane's response: "The satellite's on, by the way." Which means yes. They are cool. Satellite connection metaphor complete.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E08 Better Call Saul Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
I wish Jesse could meet a girl (or anyone...) who had a firmer grasp on stability. As the submissive type, Jesse needs someone who's like, "Let's go to museums and I have no plans to introduce you to heroin at any point in our relationship!" But I guess baggage attracts baggage. Maybe that kind of person would never lease him an apartment. Maybe that kind of person would never have slept with him.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E08 Better Call Saul Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
Jane's obvious intellectual superiority is one of the cutest elements of the Jane/Jesse dynamic. There's no condescension when she tells him that only female kangaroos have pouches - thus crushing his KangaMan superhero. Nor when she explains to him who Georgia O'Keeffe is. If only drugs weren't a part of the mix, Jane would have been a positive influence on Jesse. But alas...

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E09 4 Days Out Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
Then Walt calls and lies to Jesse - forcing him out into the desert to cook up some meth. If Jesse wasn't so trusting, maybe he'd check up on Walt's assertion that the methylamine is going bad. Or if he was smarter, he'd just know that doesn't make sense. But he's trusting and dumb. A bad combo. And so the triangle of Jane-Jesse-Walt begins. It's a tug of war in which Jesse looses any which way you slice it.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E09 4 Days Out Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
But for a time, J and J are happy. Jesse cooks her breakfast. She pretends that the food is appetizing. They talk about drawings and childhood and all is well.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E10 Over Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
But even in these early moments, you can see that they have the potential to be poisonous to each other. It's only a short time before Jane bends the no smoking in the house rule. And you know what they say - it's just one small step from smoking in the house to shooting up heroin.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E10 Over Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
They have their first (and really only...) fight when Jane doesn't introduce Jesse to her father. In fact, she calls Jesse the stoner dude she's sleeping with. Understandably, Jesse is stung. But Jane's made it clear from the beginning that commitment isn't her thing (it's why she has no tattoos). And Jesse's default response to feeling shitty is to self medicate in some way. So it's back to the meth he goes.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E10 Over Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
Jane apologizes and the two reconnect. But Jesse's reestablished his I-feel-bad-therefore-I-get-high routine. Jane should walk away. And perhaps the stable, put-together person who wouldn't have leased Jesse the apartment in the first place would. But Jane does not. And she pays for it. 


The angsty bit of the Jesse/Jane saga is still to come. Check out Jesse and Jane Part 2 here

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

True Blood: Slash Fiction Week

There were two threads of this week's True Blood that I sort of dug. First was Hoyt and Jessica:

Jim Parrack as Hoyt Fortenberry and Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica Hamby on True Blood S05E06 Hopeless 
I haven't cared much about Hoyt and Jessica since there stopped being a Hoyt and Jessica to care about. I'm perfectly happy watching Jason struggle not to screw a girl he really likes. But this week, I felt pretty bad for Hoyt. He was awfully pathetic and grovelly. And I wanted Jessica to take pity on him. But I enjoyed watching him get sucked almost dry by a dude vampire.

Jim Parrack as Hoyt Fortenberry and Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica Hamby on True Blood S05E06 Hopeless
Jim Parrack as Hoyt Fortenberry and Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica Hamby on True Blood S05E06 Hopeless
But! The better moment of the night was this one vvv Why haven't I thought of this before? The two least sucky supernatural dudes on the show - THEY should get together! I'm tempted to do some searching for Alcide/Eric slash fiction. What a good pairing!

Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux on True Blood Season Five Hopeless Alcide and Eric
Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux on True Blood Season Five Hopeless Alcide and Eric
And I'd imagine this scene is as close as those slash fantasies will ever come to be. Just imagine, tough brute Alcide all hot blooded and manly manness hooking up with long, lean, pale, soft spoken Eric. Oh, yeah. SO much more interesting than watching Layfayette go nuts or Terry get chased around by smoke. Alas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Newsroom: I'm Just Going to Keep Going With This Whole Jim and Maggie Thing

Oh, Maggie, girl, you gots to chill! 

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper on The Newsroom HBO Alison Pill Maggie Jordan Jim and Maggie The Newsroom Aaron Sorkin
Poor Maggie. She had a rough week. But luckily, she never seems to feel as embarrassed as I feel for her. I mean, at least she seems to own her inappropriate work behavior. She needs to a) be less obviously in to Jim if she's going to keep dating Don and b) be less obviously in to Jim so she can stop making herself look silly at work. Hide it! How hard is that?! I wish she were a real girl I could actually give advice to. Because I feel she needs it. Step one: CALM DOWN.

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper on The Newsroom HBO Alison Pill Maggie Jordan Jim and Maggie The Newsroom Aaron Sorkin
Unlike the oodles and oodles of tv bloggers who seem to think Maggie somehow represents an opinion on females at large rather than simply representing a human who could exist in the world, I find Maggie fascinating. Sure, I judge her for her inability to keep her feelings buried when necessary, but it's an interesting character flaw. Room to grow. Things to learn. All good.

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper on The Newsroom HBO Alison Pill Maggie Jordan Jim and Maggie The Newsroom Aaron Sorkin
And Jim. Jim needs a hair cut. Or style. Or something. The swooping part has got. to. go. I fear it shan't until next season. Poor JGalls.

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper on The Newsroom HBO Alison Pill Maggie Jordan Jim and Maggie The Newsroom Aaron Sorkin
It's like Don, Maggie, and Jim are all involved in some game and poor Maggie is the worst player. She has no poker face, so both Don and Jim (and Lisa...) are well aware that she has a thing for Jim. Jim chooses to protect her feelings by lying about Lisa. Don chooses to hurt her feelings by revealing Jim's lie. And Lisa is basically a slut?

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper on The Newsroom HBO Alison Pill Maggie Jordan Jim and Maggie The Newsroom Aaron Sorkin
Despite the way I just phrased that, I don't necessarily think Jim is in the way way right and Don is in the way way wrong. Maggie needs to gain some clarity and just ditch Don. The problem we're running into is that they haven't really shown us why Maggie doesn't want to do that. What does she see in Don? Perhaps he's a nice, stable, calm force in her hyperactive existence? But Jim is pretty heavily tipping the scales at this point if for no other reason than he seems considerate of her feelings. I'd like to understand Maggie's conflict, but so far, I do not.

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper on The Newsroom HBO Alison Pill Maggie Jordan Jim and Maggie The Newsroom Aaron Sorkin
And Jim. Lying is bad. But sleeping with Lisa was the real douche move. Everyone knows how Maggie feels about Jim. Sam Waterston probably knows how Maggie feels about Jim. And clearly, no one knows better than Jim and Lisa. So to sleep together was pretty low. I hope they felt really guilty. And I hope when Maggie and Don do break up, Maggie takes some Maggie time before hooking up with Jim. How many times can I say Jim, Maggie, and Don in one post? I should learn to embrace the pronoun!

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper on The Newsroom HBO Alison Pill Maggie Jordan Jim and Maggie The Newsroom Aaron Sorkin
The good news is (see what I did there?), when NEWS strikes, everyone manages to put their personal crap aside. Even poor Maggie. But seriously, all this news business is getting in the way of my love triangle! Jeez!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Political Animals: Finally! Meet T.J. Hammond

The suicidal, drug addicted, gay, piano playing black sheep twin in the most powerful political family in the country. Huzzah!

Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals  
So we've finally officially met T.J. Hammond. Although he seems to be called Thomas and/or Tommy just as often as he's referred to as T.J. Before I talk about T.J. - I have to say - I give full props to USA for being entirely un-USAish. That was definitely the first and only thing I've ever seen on USA that I wouldn't feel comfortable watching with my grandmother.

Ellen Burstyn as Margaret Barrish and Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals 
On the whole, I really enjoyed the pilot. My one qualm is the casting of the former president, Bud Hammond. Why did the cast Ciaran Hinds? They talked about his charming seductive ways (a la a certain former cheating president whose wife went on to run for president and subsequently become secretary of state...) but this guy does not have that same charisma. He looks too greasy and gross. The greasy gross thing should be more secret and subtle. And Sigourney Weaver is much farther up the hot scale than he is. But whatever. I wasn't watching Political Animals for Bud Hammond.

Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish and Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals 
We got a few good T.J. scenes, but they were essentially the same scenes we'd come across in the previews. He has a random hookup with a dude who always wanted to sleep with him. He does some secret coke in a secret bathroom. He gives his mother fashion advice.

Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals 
Really - the best angsty moments were the moments T.J. wasn't a part of. Listening to his brother defend him after his plans for nightclub ownership were dashed was angsty. Hearing his mother point out that he's too weak for the scrutiny that comes with this family was angsty. Hearing that he was forced out of the closet and that he suffered great evil and vitriol was angsty. And his brother's absolute certainty that T.J. was lying about being with his sponser - angst angst angst.

Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals
I suppose the most overtly angsty moment was the flashback to T.J's suicide attempt. Suicide is angsty. He needs a hug! Or... a new identity in a quiet foreign country.

Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals Sebastian Stan as TJ T.J. Thomas Hammond on USA Political Animals
I've made quite a few comparisons between T.J. and the character Sebastian Stan played on NBC's show, Kings. But while Prince Jack was many things, weak wasn't one of them. He wanted the power more than he wanted his personal life. T.J. might be the foil to all the political animals on this show; the one who only plays because he has no other choice. I hope he gets more screen time in future episodes. But even if he doesn't, Sigourney Weaver is pretty damn awesome. So I'll be watching.