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Glee: The Power of Madonna – Review

April 25, 2010 5 comments

Power of Madonna

Despite completely disregarding the plot in the favour of a themed episode,  the cast of Glee pulled off Madonna’s numbers with unsurprising vigour and flare. Although we saw Quinn with a conspicuously absent baby bump, numerous cringe-worthy “female empowerment” talk efforts from Mr. Schu, the fairly painful plot device of the still-virginal Emma being told by Will yes, she is officially crazy and needs help (well, she did run from his house with no shoes on), and a definitely major-cringe moment of the boys singing “What It Feels Like For A Girl” around the piano discussing exactly what the song title suggests (which should definitely become a deleted scene on the DVDs), I still liked this episode. A lot.

Because this episode was supposed to be different (it did involve twice as many musical numbers as in a regular Glee episode), I think I can find it in my heart to forgive the show for its more ridiculous (and lack of) plotlines. I find that Glee is at its best when it’s ready to make fun of itself and not take itself seriously, which I definitely saw in this episode (note the blasting of Madonna throughout the school corridors because Sue is blackmailing the principal even though he didn’t actually sleep with her. Seriously, it’s stuff like this that I just lap up.)

The story loosely follows that it was revealed the girls in the Glee club are feeling extremely put-down by the misogynistic attitudes of the boys, and are in desperate need of a little Madonna female-empowerment dose.

What followed was an episode of pure musical fun. Taking matters into their own hands, Rachel, Emma, and Finn (who’s like basically a girl anyway) decide to lose their “V-card” to their various significant others, namely Jesse St James (total bad-boy. Oops, you didn’t see that one coming?), Will, and Santana. Simultaneously revealing to us what transpired to each of them that night with Madonna’ s “Like a Virgin” helpfully playing in the background to remind us what we are watching (but don’t get me wrong, I smiled for every minute of it), it is revealed who carries through with the deed. Somewhat grossly undermining the entire concept for the episode, the only one to actually lose the Big V is Finn, the male in the situation. Hmmm…

As far as the less-important plot developments go, Artie and Tina are pretty much back together (am I the only one who actually finds Artie just a little bit creepy? No? Ignore me, then), Sue’s parents were Nazi hunters (I just love it when they throw stuff like that in, and you’re like ‘WTF’?), Mercedes and Kurt join the Cheerios because they don’t get enough solos (although that was only a matter of time. And I have to say, I thought it was the most Madonna-assed move of the entire episode), and Jesse St James transfers to McKinley High permanently (or until it’s discovered that he’s a mole for Vocal Adrenaline. Oh, no, did I just reveal too much?)

Anyway, you know that with wonderful performances (read: Sue Sylvester’s Vogue music video), amazing voices, the cast just couldn’t go too far wrong. That’s not to say the episode didn’t have its issues, but, so long as this was only  a special and we’re back to actual plots next week, I think we can safely say that the ‘Power of Madonna’ indeed did make us that much more Hung Up on Glee (and yes, I did throw that joke in).

Catch Glee on FOX Monday’s at 9.

Spoilers on the Lady Gaga episode coming up (um, yay!), Jenny’s absence on Gossip Girl, and Grey’s/Vampire Diaries below.

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House: The Shipper Wars

April 23, 2010 70 comments

I have to say, I was pretty surprised by my responses to my review of ‘Lockdown’. I received a lot of angry comments about my view of Cuddy that episode, along with many accusations of being a ‘Hameron’ (despite my lack of ever mentioning Hameron) and being told I was too judgemental, bashing Cuddy… etc. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised, because, as many long-time House fans know, “shipping wars” are a huge feature of the show.

 (Before I receive too much hatemail for this, I’d just like to emphasize that this list is what I view to be a very basic chronological order, and only details those relationships which affect House himself.)

“Hilson”

The Hilson relationship is often defined as the core dynamic of the entire show. The concept of Hilson is so firmly embedded into the show because from the very beginning parallels were supposed to be drawn between “House” and “Holmes” and “Wilson” and “Watson”, and indeed the entire show is loosely based on the Sherlock Holmes idea. House and Wilson’s “bromance” is dysfunctional and one of the strangest friendships ever seen on television, but the off-beat connection between these two men is staggeringly fascinating to watch. Their witty dialogue, childish pranks, yet poignantly touching scenes really make this shipping pair a truly unique one.

“Hameron”                                                                           Hameron, once one of the largest fanbases in the entire House saga, has a devoted following. The Hameron relationship consists of our show’s anti-protagonist, the gruff, older mentor Dr House, and his young and beautiful yet hopelessly naive colleague. Once the golden “it must happen” couple, the word “Hameron” is now used mainly as an insult towards anyone who displays even a slightly un-Huddy or Cuddy view, despite whether or not they actually support the couple. Despite Cameron’s departure midway through season 6, Hameron fans refuse to give up hope that their “eye sex” defined relationship will possibly one day progress into something more concrete, as Cameron’s exit was a shock felt throughout the House community.

“Huddy”

Huddy is undoubtedly one of the current driving forces of the show, and the fascinatingly antagonistic relationship between Lisa Cuddy and Gregory House has always been a core part of the show’s success. As a high-powered career woman, Cuddy is left to deal with House’s illegal, immoral, and sexually harassing antics – which means that the sexual “frenemy” tension between the two is often sizzling with heat. Huddies are currently one of the most vocal and dedicated fanbases, and many agree they usurped the power of the Hameron around season 4, although their chemistry has been present ever since The Pilot and many have been rooting for this ship since the very beginning.

In the beginning the show took a much more Hameron-centred view, exploring the possibility of an amorous relationship between House and Cameron, especially in season 1 with Cameron’s crush. Their obvious feelings of mutual attraction were a completely different feel from the Huddy attraction, with Hameron renowned for its long, intense looks, whereas Huddy more for its witty banter. After roughly three seasons of an on-and-off Hameron focus, the ship eventually seemed to give way to the Huddy arc, which has dominated for the last few seasons, after moving on from a power-play with major sexual tension to a more possible romance. I don’t think Hilson has changed much, as it is solely a brotherhood, and unaffected by House’s romances.

So – are the writers going to continue down the Huddy path? With the departure of Cameron, it seems a distinct possibility, although you never know – fans could get sick of Huddy if they get too happy or boring. Many fans already feel that the writers have made Huddy more into a childish soap-opera, while others feel it is only just starting to reach its full potential.

Thoughts? Who do you support? Who do you hate? Who do you think is never going to happen? And who do you feel must?

Dan/Blair: Why it Should (And Could) Happen

April 20, 2010 9 comments

Find yourself laughing out loud at my suggestion? (And no, not in a lol! kind of way). Well, if you’re a serious GG watcher, I would stop now. You might be surprised.

Dan and Blair are one of the few couples that still have yet to be explored, and while some of you may currently be gagging from where you sit, hang on.  There is definitely still much to come from this chemistry-filled pairing.

I know you’ve secretly been feeling a little something-something from them this season – especially recently. For me, this couple has been destiny ever since Dan and Blair had a heart to heart on the floor of Eleanor’s studio (remember? After Blair has been rejected from her own photoshoot?) Dan talks to her about their feelings, and they seem to understand each other in a way that only two polar opposites could.

Blair: Serena sent you here to talk to me?
Dan: No believe it or not I actually came here myself.
Blair: Normally I wouldn’t be this close to you without a tetanus shot.

This is the perfect example of why Blair and Dan’s “frenemy” chemistry would lead to the perfect relationship. Their quick wit and biting comments have just the spark to keep any duo alive.

Here’s my ideal scenario. Blair, still mourning over the loss of Chuck, falls into the arms of an unassuming Humphrey. Although she’s horrified with what she’s done, she just can’t seem to resist, and the two of them carry on a secret affair, under the noses of everyone – and maintain in public their intense disdain for each other.

Why would this work? Well, Blair and Dan’s best scenes have always been the ones with their red-hot chemistry that is somewhat undercover. Take a look at this scene from last season – were the writers already sowing the seeds for some potential action between the two of them? Who knows.

With the arrival of last episode, I know that some of the scenes between Blair and Dan sent the GG fanworld abuzz with rumours of a hookup – or a desire for one. Is it a real possibility in the future? GG creator doesn’t rule it out:

“There are only so many combinations [you can explore] on the show, so I think you have to be open to all of them at some point. So, certainly, we have an open mind when it comes to them… Those two are really gold wheDan and Blair - dan-and-blair iconn they’re together. They have great on-screen chemistry.”

I couldn’t agree more. And with the finale apparently delivering two “OMFG!” moments, we just can’t wait to see if Dan and Blair get up to something behind the scenes.

XOXO

Can’t handle the wait? Check out http://www.fanfiction.net for some Blair/Dan fanfiction.

House – 6.17 – Lockdown Review

April 20, 2010 82 comments

This much-anticipated episode left House fans feverish with excitement for Hugh Laurie’s directorial debut and Jennifer Morrison’s return. But did the episode live up to its hype?

For those of you who haven’t seen it, Lockdown was not your typical House episode. Instead of even having a patient this week, the entire hospital has gone into, well, Lockdown, because a newborn baby is missing.

As unrealistic as this scenario may have been (I mean, what if someone were dying or something? Nobody can leave their room to help them? Sheesh), it was an interesting, if not overdone idea to force the characters to interact, as they were locked into these rooms with each other.

Wilson and Thirteen play a game of ‘Truth or Dare’, which was somewhat funnier than it sounds, as there were a few amusing moments including Wilson getting caught stealing a dollar bill from the cash register, although these were marred by Thirteen’s usual dark, dark secrets and antics. Wow she’s deep. And apparently a total liar about everything – thanks for learning nothing about her character. I guess she’s been forced down our throats so much these past few seasons there’s nothing else to tell.

Foreman and Taub, locked in a storage room, try some of House’s vicodin, and look through each others’ confidential files. I have to say I  did enjoyed the comic relief they provided, and found their scenes to have chemistry, despite the astonishingly fast rate they somehow stopped being stoned, and the predicticality of House’s prank with the files.

Cameron returns to Chase with divorce papers and after an emotional argument about whether she ever really loved him they have some breakup sex. I’m making this sound far worse than it was, because I did find their story to be one of the most interesting – especially considering the actors’ history (I mean – god what if that actually happened when they broke up for real? Awkward…). Anyway, I was glad to see the return of Cameron, and really this episode just made me wonder even more why they ever let her go. I’m definitely thinking she’s going to be coming back full time in the future, as Jennifer Morrison did some phenomenal acting, and really does seem to be a part of the House world. Even though her reasons for breaking up with him were so unrealistic it would have been better for her to just admit the writers fired her because FOX needs to cut budgets and Olivia Wilde’s more famous, this was what they chose to do.

House was left to talk to a dying man (never happened before on House. Ever.) Obviously, this brought on yet another – ‘gosh, let’s talk about my feelings’ conversation – which, I’m sad to say, I found the dullest of them all – and I never find House’s scenes dull. But House’s feelings have been way overdone this season. Like seriously.

Finally, we had Cuddy. Let me begin by saying that Cuddy is possibly now one of the most irritating people in the entire show. Not only does she wear way too much makeup, but she seems to now be impersonating her beau Lucas by playing detective and magically recognizing that there are too many towels in the patient’s bedroom and magically deducing from there that the baby is in a laundry hamper. Right outside the room. That they somehow forgot to check. I mean, seriously, what is with this hospital? They can have helicopters and sniffer dogs, but can’t find a baby 30 feet from the patient’s room? Well, I guess it was some sort of super-human baby that never cries. Despite being basically smothered for three hours.

So you can see I was disappointed.

Surprised? Maybe. This isn’t the first House episode to have a different feel to it – every season there’s usually one that just stands apart from the rest slightly before the finale. (But a third episode with no medicine? Really? Are they running out of diseases or something? Apart from this magic diesase of “absent seizures” Genius!Cuddy diagnosed). But for me, this episode only reminded me further of why House just isn’t the show it used to be, and I kept having images of the episode Three Stories popping up in my head. This just didn’t even come close to comparing.

To me, it felt rushed, unsubtle, with a poor solution and poor character developments, and it makes me sad that people thought it was so great. I’d say a run-of-the-mill season 1 or 2 episode is better quality for the dialogue and character development, but that’ just me. We can only hope for a shocking season finale. That doesn’t involve this “Huddy” crap. Yeah. Dream on.

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m barking up the wrong tree? Or think House is ‘jumping the shark?’ Comment below, or hunt me down.

Gossip Girl – SPOILER ALERT – Where’s Jenny…?

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

According to my absolutely favourite TV-spoiler-God, Ausiello, it seems that Little J will be MIA from Gossip Girl next season. http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2010/04/09/gossip-girl-jenny-taylor-momsen-spoiler/

Apparently it’s for “creative reasons”, and has something to do with the supposedly “major” finale this season – according to a source down by the set: “you’ll see that we’re doing something VERY big with her character.”

So what’s up with Little J? Is she gone forever? Ausiello tells us this is for an “unspecified” number of episodes, which does seem to imply that she’s coming back. But the even bigger question is – will we even care?

Jenny is undoubtedly extremely annoying this season, but I have to say, I’d be surprised if the show were dropping her. (Despite how much I hate that straggly bleach-blonde hair). But speculation about next season aside, what Ausiello fails to report are some of the more, let’s say, unreliable sources spanning the internet about Little J’s “very big” event this finale.

Here is what an anonymous source sent to this website: (http://www.tv.com/gossip-girl-tipster-offers-possible-pregnancy-spoiler/webnews/55973.html)

                “Hi, I would just like to inform you that Gossip Girl filmed in my school, St. Francis College.

                “They filmed the season finale over a two day period and used one of the lounges as a waiting room, the school chapel, and a part of the larger lounge as a hospital room.

               ” Eric and Dan were involved in the storyline as well as Serena. I’m positive that it has something to do with a pregnancy because decals were up in the room that they were taping indicating that “so and so” donated a wing to that particular maternity ward.

                “I am 100 percent sure this is the [show] doing that bombshell storyline.”

Thoughts? This could be totally fake, but there is a possibility it’s true – and is it Jenny? This would surely be a big storyline, and the people most likely to be involved in a Jenny-hospital (pregnancy?) storyline would be Eric, Dan, and Serena. And some sort of fiasco landing Little J in the hospital could put her out of action for a few weeks next season… and maybe even make me eat my words after my blind-item pregnancy spoiler speculations.

But whatever the heck is going on, you know you love it. XoXo.

Katherine Heigl’s Departure from Grey’s: Is She Sincere?

April 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently, fans of Grey’s Anatomy were shocked to see Katherine Heigl departing the medical drama and, well, not coming back.

Heigl’s contract was not due to finish for another 18 months, but after asking repeatedly to leave, the show’s creator, Shonda Reimes, finally let her go – despite the fact that she was scheduled to appear in the last five episodes of the season.

The media world was awash with rumours over Heigl’s sudden departure – with reports ranging from a mutual parting to Heigl just not showing up for work.

An interview with E! managed to clear up a lot of the confusion – and partially helped the shocked fans. I know that as a dedicated Grey’s watcher, I did feel that we deserved a little more than just a – ‘hey! What just happened there?’ storyline.

In Katherine’s interview with Ausiello, (which you can read in full at http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2010/04/07/greys-anatomy-katherine-heigl-cover-story/), Heigl appears to mainly be milking the new-mommy card, dressing uber-‘uncelebrity’ in “capri jeans and a purple cardigan, with her newly darkened locks pulled back.” She humbly goes through the interview, essentially apologizing for her controversial six years at Grey’s, and trying to explain why she just ditched the show and her fans.

Reading the interview, I have to say, I was only partially convinced. I have never been a huge fan of Heigl’s – she can come across as kind of obnoxious and ungrateful, at least to me. I mean, when you’re earning that much money and get to be a huge star, why would you complain? But she did, on Letterman back a few years ago about the “hours and storylines” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4JS0MVUweg), and again, this year, in a huge scandal for the Grey’s production team. You can see the interview below – her big moments come at around 1:07.

The scandal with this interview was all because actually, the 17 hour day was supposedly down to her – allegedly, production had to reshuffle the times to accommodate Heigl’s busy schedule promoting The Ugly Truth. Hmmm… but apart from that, I have to say, the rest of the interview is rather funny, and she obviously has wit and intelligence – just maybe a bit of a diva attitude at times.

But despite how you might feel about Heigl, there definitely is a shift in feeling to the Grey’s cast without George or Izzie – although it’s not necessarily bad. Just different. What do you guys think?

Catch Grey’s Anatomy Thursdays 9/8c on ABC

Fanfiction: Who, What, and Why?

April 1, 2010 1 comment

Fanfiction is a term probably not familiar to your casual TV viewer. But to the more obsessive ones of us, it’s a major part of our television viewing experience.

Put simply, fanifiction is a way for is the way for fans to release inner frustration and desire to just take the story into their own hands. What does this mean? Well, basically it means that thousands of budding authors who are obsessed with a TV show, book, film, or even play can upload their personal stories using those characters to websites where other fanfiction readers read them and review.

Sounds crazy? It is. The world of fanfiction is not your average internet site. These are not your average fans. They’re fanatical, weirdly knowledgeable about their shows, but also really, really fun.

As a fanfiction writer, I can tell you that fanfics can be much more therapeutic than ranting to uninterested friends about the way your favourite TV Show is going, or the crappy ending to a great book. We have the power. Finally, Blair and Dan can release their sexual chemistry in a “frenemy” relationship. Mr Schuster dumps Terry and goes out with Emma. Or Quinn. Or Puck. The best part of fanfiction is that it’s all there. Think you’re rooting for the most unlikely couple? I’ll bet you someone’s already written a fanfic about it.

The obsessive nature of fans meant that an entire world was born, complete with its own language and groups. “Shippers” describe fans who share a common interest of two characters getting together (ie you could say: “I ship House and Cameron”, etc.) “AU” means “alternate universe”, ie the characters from your inspiration being in a completely different universe –  if the Losties were all in high school, for example. “Crossovers” describe two worlds colliding – like if the peeps from Gossip Girl were hit by traffic and healed by the doctors from Grey’s Anatomy.
So what does all this mean? Well, for fans, fanfiction means hours of toil, sometimes abuse, and careful research to produce stories for no profit of their own. Despite occasional insecure authors deciding to sue (Anne Rice – grrrrr),  fanfiction writing has prevailed on, with no end in sight. So why do we do it? For me, fanfiction isn’t just about exercising my creative juices – that’s undoubtedly a part of it, but fanfiction is more than that – it’s fun. I can tell you firsthand it’s ridiculously rewarding to update your story with a new chapter and receive 30 emails of praise and begging for more.

Despite the fact I’m never going to meet these people in my life, I feel like they’re my family, and so for me, fanfiction writing is as much about community and learning from others as it is about writing stories based on some else’s creations.

www.fanfiction.net – unleash your imagination.