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TV Diary: Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014

TV Diary 7.09.14

Dear TV Diary,

Over the long holiday weekend, I watched an absurd amount of television. Insane. Simply inappropriate. Let me pour myself a couple mimosas and tell you all about it.

I am now caught up on The Fosters—or at least I was, before this week’s episode. (Summer TV is a lot of work, you guys!) I have to admit that I had forgotten why I loved the show, but a three-episode binge definitely reminded me. First of all, Jude continues to be sweetly adorable and an inspiration to us all. His essay about finding “my forever family”? Forget about it. And who would have thought a bunch of pre-teens playing spin the bottle could pull at your heartstrings? But seriously, the show does a great job with Jude’s storylines, showing the struggles of being a kid who’s different, in a world that wants to put people in clearly designated boxes, based on gendered behavior.

And what is up with Marianna? She has joined the dance team, and has colored her hair blond, seemingly in an attempt to belong. At first I was weirded out by her blond wig hair, but as the story developed, I’m really into it. It’s nice for a show to really address the more complicated hair politics that young girls (and also, grown women) navigate. The conversation between Lena and Steph in the kitchen, about how to deal with the situation, was something I’ve never seen before on television. Hair can be a very emotional issue for girls as they grow up, as it plays such an important part in the development of identity—racial, ethnic, and/or otherwise—and can be a huge factor in self-esteem. It is so much more than “hair.” And yet nobody ever says that on TV! They just have “perfect,” socially acceptable hair on TV, and that is that. (And hey, I love looking at that pretty, pretty, “perfect” hair, I can’t lie.) It reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from last season, when Lena’s mom came to visit, and they dealt with some deep-seated issues about skin color and race identity. Thanks for continuing to surprise me, in the best way, The Fosters!

And hey, speaking of hair, remember how Kerr Smith, aka Jack from Dawson’s Creek, is totally a silver fox now? Prepare to feel very old. Yep, Kerr is playing Callie’s silver-haired biological father! We actually got to see Callie meet her bio dad, who gave her a letter from her half-sister Sophia, who looks exactly like her. The casting is so good that I actually had to check IMDB to see if the actresses are sisters in real life. (They are not.) 

Anyway, there is also a whole storyline about Brandon’s hand that I don’t really care about. And his dad is shacking up with the lady who had sex with his teenage son, gross. But things are looking up because he struck up a friendship with Christian from Dance Academy. Oh, and hey, Brandon sings now.

Next, I caught up on Switched at Birth—again, not including this week’s episode. The catfish storyline involving Emmett and Matthew had a surprising ending. Turns out that Matthew was in love with Emmett all along! I’m not sure how I feel about that. Maybe if I watched Catfish I would understand? Also, Bay finally ended things with Tank, but not before some very uncomfortable conversations involving her parents and the morning after pill. Awkward.

I’m really not loving the East Riverside development story, but it looks like things are escalating on that front, now that Regina has a gun. Sigh.

I liked the way that the drama with Katherine’s book turned out, as they addressed how attacking a woman by her sexuality is harmful, and Katherine and that reporter lady ended up friends, drunk together, and not jealous at all. Heartwarming.

Also heartwarming was the scene between Emmett and his mom, in which he agreed to give his toys away, and Melody assured him that his dad has room in his heart for both Emmett and a little brother. Awwww! And hey, Melody’s boyfriend is super cute (even if he did show poor judgment in accidentally bringing her to her ex-husband’s wedding and baby announcement).

I also caught up on Defiance. It is one of those shows that I’m still not quite sure how to evaluate. I haven’t quite decided if I like it, and yet I still feel compelled to keep trying. But when I tuned into the season 2 premiere, it was pretty clear that I missed an episode or two. I mean, what was even going on? But I’m okay with it, because I’m enjoying the crazy. There’s a weird new mayor who wears a breastplate and a Napoleonic sash, and speaks with a British accent. Apparently he is part of the occupying army, the Earth Republic. The former mayor, Amanda (xoxo Julie Benz! Darla 4eva!), is now running the local bar/sex club, doing drugs, wearing sequins and leather, and also sporting a half veil. Change is fun, you guys!

Also, Nolan had to search for Irisa, who was missing and has become the focal point of a super creepy cult. To be honest, I don’t care much for the Irisa stuff—yawn. Apparently she’s a murderer now, but only in her dreams. And her ex-boyfriend is now dating a cute Earth Republic officer. (I think he’s better off.)

Supreme asshole Datak was sent to a prison camp, proving that sometimes people do get what they deserve. Well, at least for a time, as the latest episode featured his inadvisable release. Stahma and Alak were not pleased, and there was a deeply disturbing bath scene when he returned home. Let’s just hope Stahma (who is THE BEST) can retain her hold on the family business, because she’s awesome as the lady in charge. Just as she told her son, “It’s a new world.” The patriarchy doesn’t have to win, right?

Oh, and I’m very worried about Kenya. Since I missed last season’s finale, I didn’t know that she was poisoned until I tried to find out what happened to her online. Is Mia Kirshner off the show? Please say no, because I love her. But Kenya’s return will make things awkward for her sister and Nolan, who have finally given in and gotten it on. Too bad for the weird new mayor, who is crushing on Amanda and installed a camera in her bedroom, catching a front row seat to the action. This show is weird.

Do any of you watch Falling Skies? It is what it is. It doesn’t break the mold, but it does a good job executing a lot of familiar sci-fi and action tropes, and I enjoy it. But what is it with creepy children on TV lately? Being a kid during the apocalypse is rough, but I think being near a kid during the apocalypse is even rougher. Tom and Anne’s baby was born like last month, but she’s now like, “I am Lexi Stormborn of House Mison, the First of Her Name.” Seriously, her new style is decidedly Khaleesi, blond wig and all. What is she up to, with all her talk about peace and harmony? I don’t trust it. And then the aliens have set up re-education camps for all the human children, let by a teenage boy who looks a lot like Rolfe from Sound of Music; I think they’re banging those historical parallel drums just a bit loudly.

I kind of loved The Leftovers pilot on HBO. I never read the book, so I’m coming into this very blind and everything is very confusing. But I love that about it. Why did all those people disappear? Where did they go? Who are those cultists in white, who chain smoke? Why is that deep-v-neck-wearing guy from The Secret Circle driving Buddy Garrity to a mysterious compound? I have questions. You know how ever since Lost ended, every year there are shows that are trying to be “the next Lost”? But they all fail? Well, this is the first time that I’ve actually felt like this could be a show that has a bit of that Lost spirit, filling that little void in my psyche. It’s just so damned mysterious, but in interesting ways, and I’m into it. Also, Justin Theroux in uniform? I’m not mad at that.

But let’s be honest, you probably can’t trust my judgment, because I am also pretty obsessed with The Night Shift. My friend LaToya wrote a review of the pilot that should have warned me away. She was absolutely right about everything … and yet. I am obsessed with The Night Shift‘s ridiculousness. I would like to officially declare it Perfect Summer TV. I mean, the latest episode featured a guy with a gun holding a few of the doctors hostage and shooting 2, and there was a stripper patient giving a lap dance in the supply closet, which was all HORRIBLE, and yet. And yet. There are some amazing good parts that I can’t quite remember now that mostly have to do with Drew—the gay army medic who recently came out so that he could support his boyfriend through his amputation surgery, and it was beautiful. Oh, and I love Landry and her perfect cheekbones and her perfect levelheadedness and dedication to reason! Just trust me. (You probably shouldn’t trust me.)

To conclude, I used the long holiday weekend to finish season 1 of ER. So many episodes, so little time, but I mostly just want to talk about one episode in particular. I lost about 5 years of my life due to the stress of watching Episode 118, “Love’s Labor Lost.” Don’t watch that episode, because you don’t want to get a stroke. But if you already have watched it, let us discuss. It’s funny because one of the things that I love about ER is the comforting predictability. They follow so many recognizable TV tropes that it is just super easy to watch. But every once in a while they like to go crazy and raise my blood pressure and that just isn’t nice. Everything that could go wrong in the delivery of a child did go wrong, and I never want to have a baby, and why would anyone ever think that giving birth is a good idea. It is not a good idea. Here are some excerpts from my notes from that episode, quoting my sister Paeleena’s screams: “Turn it off! I can’t handle this! They can’t push babies BACK IN! They’re pushing it back in! TURN IT OFF! I knew that couple was too happy when they came in!” Our stress levels aside, “Love’s Labor Lost” was also a very important episode in Dr. Green’s arc, as he is clearly being set up for an epic fall. I knew he was too happy and successful for his charmed existence to continue. Good luck with your future failure, Mark. You have a lot of bad days ahead of you.

Luckily, the next episode was “Full Moon, Saturday Night,” and featured a patient who thought he was a werewolf, so we decided not to quit the show. I mean, it was ladies’ night, and there was a dance party, it was the perfect antidote to the dramatic tension.

Some miscellaneous observations. Chloe finally had her baby. Countdown until she abandons it and Susan inevitably raises little Susie on her own? A couple months, tops. Deb (Ming-Na Wen) was so adorable, but then she was just gone. But according to the internet, she comes back in season 6? Huh. Ever since the pilot, Pae and I were sure that Benton was secretly a marshmallow, and he proved us right. Awww. Oh, and Olivia Pope’s mom (Khandi Alexander) is Benton’s sister. She hasn’t murdered anyone … yet. And Carter has started wearing suspenders. Even with his scrubs. Suspenders with his scrubs. I just thought you should know this important information. And hey, I was surprised that it wasn’t Carol who stopped her wedding after all, but rather Tag. “I was thinking that you really don’t love me enough.” Truer words. But at least Doug Ross had a very good day that day. I actually already started season 2, but will wait to discuss it until my next post. I’m so glad I started watching this crazy show!

Disclaimer: This is not a complete summary of the television that I watched this week. If I told you everything, it would terrify you. 

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