Love & Marriage: A Review of “Sex and the City 2”

Well, I’ve read a lot of things from the press about how “Sex and the City 2” is a bad movie. As a fan of the show, and having seen the first movie, I wasn’t entirely ready to accept or believe what the press had to say. The show itself was groundbreaking and a guilty pleasure but the first movie, in my opinion, left much to be desired. “Sex and the City: The Movie”, in my opinion, took a decent series finale and screwed it all up. What we had was a bloated movie of Carrie moping around, crying over not getting Mr. Big, as she did for the majority of the series. The first movie felt entirely too serious: Miranda and Steve on the brink of destruction; Charlotte … well, she didn’t have much at all to do but be the comic relief and poop on herself during the girl’s out-of-state and country trip to cheer Carrie up; Samantha even seemed off the entire movie as she found herself too bound at the groin with Smith. In all, while it was nice to have a reunion with the girls, the first movie was a bit of a downer.

Enter the sequel. We know that sequels are rarely as good as the first one. Yet, in terms of “Sex and the City”, even before seeing the film I felt it could easily top the gang’s first foray on the big screen. Immediately with the opening credits, I have to say I felt the movie finally moved the characters and show from the small screen little HBO production to the real cinematic, big-screen world. Right off the bat we’re treated to something the show never touched on: how all of the women met. Yes, it’s trivial but haven’t we all wondered how this quirky gang came to be? Thanks to flashbacks in the opening scene, we get to Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha all evolve from their less fashionable, 80s selves into the glamorous and high-class characters we’ve come to love and watch. How does this movie stack up against the first? It’s a lot less depressing; it seems to go after the show’s knack for ignoring what’s going on in the world in favor of supplying some laughs amongst a few minor conflicts; it’s definitely more about the fashion. The commercials hype the big wedding between the show’s two gay male characters; the biggest thing you’ve probably heard about the film is the Liza Minnelli appears and dances and sings “Single Ladies”; the girls go to Abu Dhabi; and oh yeah, Aiden returns. Is that all to the movie? Well, no, there’s 2 and half hours worth of stuff to discuss but I’m not going to rehash or spoil it all for you. Instead, I’ll base my review of the movie on the characters themselves and the role they play in the movie:

The Theme/Subject: Most episodes of “Sex and the City” featured Carrie posing a thought provoking question that the entire episode was founded upon. Well, unless I missed it, she doesn’t come up with one of those “Oh, now that’s good! Why didn’t I think of that?” type of question. Yet, there is a theme to the movie that binds all of the characters together – Love and Marriage. Each of the women with the exception of Samantha are dealing with some issue of marriage. For Carrie, she’s gotten Mr. Big and everything she’s wanted but now she’s afraid there’s not much more to their relationship and it freaks her out. For Charlotte, she’s always wanted kids, now she has two of them and can’t handle them on her own so has a nanny that has her questioning her role as a mother and whether her husband can be faithful to her with such an attractive woman living with them and taking care of their kids alongside them. For Miranda, her marriage is actually great (for once) but now she finds herself lacking in the motherhood department. Samantha? Well, after the drama with Smith in the first film, she’s unattached and has other problems to deal with since her relationship plot came with the first film. Throughout the film, the women really explore and examine what it means to be married, a wife, or a husband and the sacrifices each spouse has to make to get everything working. Is it anything new? Not really. But I was glad to see that the movie had a theme considering the first film lacked one and felt a bit disjointed due to it.

Carrie: Ah, Carrie. She never seems satisfied with what she has. In this movie, she is in some ways the villain. Yes, you read right. Here’s the girl who really has everything she’s wanted: a thriving career, yet another book under her belt, what she now considers the perfect home/apartment/loft, close friends and the guy she spent years fawning over – Mr. Big. Yet, she’s still unhappy. You can tell in early scenes of the film that there’s something with her. She’s nagging, she’s complaining, she’s trying to make big issues out of non-issues and her desire to want and ask for more from John Preston (aka Mr. Big) is putting a strain on her marriage. As in the first film, she’s a bit of a Debbie Downer. Some women (and men) may relate to her. Some, I think, will be a bit turned off and annoyed. The first hour of the movie zooms by but her constant whining and bickering grates on your nerves. Even when she says something about relationships or marriage that you know (and she knows) is wrong and way-off kilter, you don’t feel sorry for her circumstances because I think many women (and some men) would love to be where she’s at! But alas, we have unhappy, very naive, clueless Carrie who’s a bit hard headed and doesn’t want to listen to anyone who has experience with relationships (you know, like, the other three women) until it’s too late. Don’t worry, while her relationship takes a hit or two, there’s a happy ending for her and Mr. Big.

Miranda: Guess what, people – Miranda is HAPPY! This was probably the best part of the second film: seeing the character progress, grow and evolve. Miranda, in the series, always seemed like the downer of the group. She was sarcastic, always expecting and saying the worst, ready to throw in the towel if things got too rough. Now that’s Carrie. And now we have a happier Miranda! She was probably my favorite character in the second film. She really shows how she’s learned from the past and has grown over the years by taking big steps toward being the best wife and mother that she can be. For once, she really has no issues with Steve. They aren’t fighting, there’s no infidelity, there’s no break-ups or big arguments. She makes herself into the cheerleader of the group, even being more positive and optimistic than Charlotte! Miranda has a lot of great moments in the film and some good scenes with Charlotte where they both discuss the pitfalls of motherhood (even though the speech sounded a lot like the famous Lynette Scavo breakdown in the soccer field during season 1 of ‘Desperate Housewives’). It was great, fun and a relief to know that time has really taught Miranda some things and that finally, after years of heart ache, insecurity and relationship woes, she’s the wise one of the group dishing out great advice and pulling everyone together in the face of conflict and negativity.

Charlotte: Well, Charlotte joins Carrie in the downer’s club. Samantha makes a comment about her nanny that she obsesses over the entire film. It gets a bit annoying, to be honest. I wish there was more to Charlotte these days than either obsessing over marriage or over her kids. Wouldn’t it be fun to see her … I don’t know, working? Basically, she’s discovering after years of wanting kids that they are a lot of work. It’s a topic that many can relate to and you feel some sympathy for her but it’s a plot (and dialogue) we’ve her from tons of shows before. As in the first movie, she has some moments where she’s now turned into the comic relief: a camel toe faux pas moment on the desert; having phone issues “can you hear me now?” moments all through the movie; peeping and worrying over her bra-less nanny; falling of camels; getting really drunk and not being able to speak properly. It’s okay, but I hope in the future we get more development with her character.

Samantha: Oh, poor Samantha. The first movie seemed to be a lot about her. I can say one thing about Samantha Jones in the sequel: she’s definitely back in full force. Samantha’s plot this movie isn’t relationships – it’s age. She’s fighting against getting older and menopause and that’s the big focus for her the entire movie. She’s made more into comic relief than having something of real substance to work with. She’s a lot like Ms. Garrett from ‘The Facts of Life’; more so than in the show and first film, it’s like the producers really want to show how much older she is in relation to the other characters. In many ways, she sticks out like a sore thumb: she wants to wear dresses that young celebrities are wearing; she’s taking loads of pills because she read it can keep her from aging; she’s even shown with her panties pulled down, at her desk, rubbing cream in her private areas. In a way, I felt bad for Samantha. What happened to the strong character of the show? Here she seems like a caricature of her former self – needy, desperate, old, worn down. Whenever she interacts with the other women, it’s no longer in the role of equal and friend but more like dorm or den mother. Still, she has some stand-out moments that even if hinted at would spoil the film.

New York: I know, huh? The city itself used to be a big fifth character of the show. Not so much here. The films seem to go after the women wanting to get out of the New York, which is understandable if they’ve spent years there. This time around they head to Abu Dhabi and it, in terms of the movie, becomes their ‘New York’. It’s decadent, lavish, exotic and a lot of the scenes are filmed in a way to remind you of scenes of the women in New York, such as the women walking in a line through the desert all decked out in Middle Eastern-inspired fashion as they would walk down the sidewalks of New York. Some may feel somewhat betrayed that the girls ditch the unspoken fifth character but hey, the trip this time feels a bit big, epic and movie-worthy.

The Men: The husbands don’t really play a big role in this movie as they did in the first. They are present but definitely in supporting roles. The dialogue, scenes and plot leaves you gripping the handrest,waiting for one of them to make a mistake (a la Steve in the first film) that leads to a mess of a situation but the actions build up and settle down to nothing.

Overall, my impressions of the film were far better than the first movie. It felt more like a movie and the trip the gang takes out of New York felt more appropriate and, again, movie worthy. To me, the first film felt like a epilogue to the show – an episode that simply never made it and so they slapped it on the big screen and charged the price of admission to see it. Not so with this sequel. Is it a great movie? No, it has some flaws. To me, what some may not like about the sequel is that there’s no real ‘movie’ conflict – the conflicts and problems introduced in this film are nothing new from what we watched over the years on television. Yes, some shocking twists and turns occur: one of the women end up arrested; one snaps and goes into a closet and has a mini-breakdown; one couple is so troubled and burdened with themselves that they discuss implementing a 2-day break in their relationship each week just so they can tolerate one another; TWO ex boyfriends from the show, that we thought we’d never see again, appear; Samantha falls for a man that, get this, is her age! Probably the most surprising and interesting developments is that despite the recession, none of the women seem impacted. At all. Seriously. They still have lavish clothes, none of them are on the verge of losing their jobs due to the economy, none of their husbands are hard up for cash or money. They mention the recession as if to remind the audience that they are indeed living in our world but in terms of showing how it’s really impacted and changed their lives, that’s left to our imagination. I think that’s where a lot of the negative reviews are coming from: don’t we, just a tad bit, want to see a recession-era Carrie Bradshaw Preston not being able to afford her lifestyle? To see Mr. Big suddenly not having an undisclosed amount of money to toss around? To see Samantha dealing with a decline in business not because of the economy but perhaps because of her age? That’s where the real conflict, gritty, movie-worthy moments would have come from. Instead, the movie is pretty light, predictable and goes for laughs and giggles instead of tears and angst.

Don’t go see “Sex and the City 2” if you’re expecting Oscar-worthy performances. That type of film this is not. This is a film you’d see if you just want an escape from your own life and issues. It’s a fun 2 and a half hours you get to spend catching up on one of your favorite shows and characters we’ve been watching and have known for years. And while it doesn’t bring any tear-jerking moments and most of the movie features the characters whining and bitching over what we’d consider petty things, it does give us an excuse to laugh and some things to think about in terms of the relationships we have in our own lives and where those relationships could use some improvement and change.

Video of the Week: Glee’s Burt Hummel Talks About the “F” Word

Did you catch ‘Glee’ this week? For some, it was a big episode because it featured two Lady GaGa songs. To me, it was a big week because it took on the whole issue of being gay. Kurt is probably one of the show’s biggest characters behind the obnoxious Rachel because of his queer mannerisms and how he doesn’t seem to have much of an issue with it. The only issue Kurt’s sexuality tends to present is that it creates some awkward moments between him and the show’s “heart throb” Finn and presents problems to his relationship with his father, Burt. Well, as the first season draws to a close, we had a big moment on ‘Glee’ with the ‘Theatricality’ episode: Finn finally blows his top (no queer puns intended) and confronts Kurt about his sexuality. What followed was Burt, Kurt’s father, stepping in and if anything proving to Kurt that he had in fact made great progress toward accepting Kurt for who he is, and that Finn will never come close to replacing him as the ‘good son’, even if the last few episodes have dealt with Kurt feeling as if he was losing his relationship with his father to Finn. The scene contains somewhat harsh language but I’m glad a show finally dealt with the whole sexuality issue and word ‘fag’ or ‘faggot’ in a smart, intelligent way that probably educated a lot of the show’s audience while providing some Emmy-worthy performances from the show’s leading men:

Glee: ‘Theatricality’ Quotes

“My mom won’t even let me watch ‘Twilight!’ My mom thinks Kristen Stewart is a bitch.” — Tina

“If you’re gonna say something, say it loud!” — Kurt

“I’m going to put together a pallet that express who you are and who I want you to be … [pause] Who you want to be.” — Kurt to Finn

Puck: “What’s up with this GaGa dude? He just dresses weird, right?”
Kurt: “GaGa is a woman! She’s only the biggest pop act to come along in decades. She’s boundary pushing, most theatric performer of our generation. She changes her look faster than Brit changes her sexual partners.”
Brittany: “That’s true.”

“Theatricality isn’t about crazy outfits. It’s not enough to douse yourself in gasoline – you have to light yourselves on fire to make it work! Being theatrical doesn’t mean you have to be a nuclear explosion. It can be like a quiet storm. You just have to express what’s deep inside you. That’s what theatricality is all about.” — Shelby Corcoran

Quinn: “You want to name our daughter Jack Daniels? She’s a girl!”
Puck: “Okay, fine: Jackie Daniels.”

“If you want to switch it up a bit just go from GAP to Banana Republic.” — Black football player to Kurt on dressing like Lady GaGa

“Wait, where’s Rachel? I only noticed that like 5 minutes have gone by without her singing something totally obnoxious.” — Puck

“You look terrible. I look awesome.” — Brittany to Rachel

“I knew it was contagious. You moved in with that Kurt kid and now you’ve got a bad case of the gays!” — Black football player to Finn

Tina: “My balls keep falling off.”
Kurt: “Oh, I’ve been there.”

Tina: “So here’s what’s gonna happen; my dad, he’s the king of the vampires and Asian vampires are the most vicious of all the vampires. You’re gonna let me wear my lady [sic] clothes or my dad is going to fly into your bedroom and bite your face off. He’s really pissed. Is that what you want?”
Principal Figgins: “I don’t want that, I’m afraid.”
Tina: “Good. Now I’m glad we had this talk. Now I’ve got to go back to my coffin because the light is burning my eyes.”

“… I took biology. We done disturbed the freak hive! The worker freaks is trying to protect the queen freak.” — Black football player.

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Review: ‘Sex and the City 2’: The Soundtrack

sex and the city 2 soundtrack album cover

Get 'Carried' away in new music from "Sex and the City 2"

With a new movie on the horizon, there’s a new soundtrack for “Sex and the City” fans to enjoy. I have to say that having listened to the first movie’s two volumes worth of music, this is one soundtrack I feel like I could have on replay for a while. Yes, not all of the tracks are strong and repeat-worthy (ahem, Liza Minelli’s take on Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’) but to me, “Sex and the City 2” is a pretty decent, well put together collection of songs. There’s a little bit of everything style wise – some old classic standards like “Sunrise, Sunset” and “If I Ever Would Leave You” performed by the ‘Sex and the City’ Men’s Choir to accompany a big unexpected engagement, some tracks with an Arabian/Middle Eastern flair to accompany the much hyped exotic trip that’s promoted in the movie’s trailers, and some appearances by current artists like Dido, Alicia Keys and a duet between Jennifer Hudson and Leona Lopez. There’s a wide range of music featured on this soundtrack, unlike in the first movie’s tracks that all sounded a bit too similar and tried hard to feature off-the-wall artists. This sounds like a real movie soundtrack, not just music you’d expect to hear in the television show. I liked the vibe of the album: it’s far more lighter, fun and exciting unlike the first movie’s music that felt a bit darker, moodier, depressing to fit the movie’s plot.

The Good: Even though there are a lot of cover songs featured, the songs are arranged differently or given a fresh new outlook. Take for instance the often-covered and sung “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”. I’ve heard it done a million times by now but what I like about the version featured on this soundtrack is that it’s performed by three artists and the collaboration gives it a really nice, appealing and romantic vibe. Alicia Keys covers Blondie’s “Rapture” but even that track has been given an update: listen to the lyrics and music and you’ll be surprised to hear the “Sex and the City” theme remixed into the music and the lyrics (thankfully) changed to mention the girls and their New York lifestyle. Some have complained about the track but really, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s fun, it’s different and I’m glad the producers chose to re-invent and find a new way to re-introduce the audience to the now well-known “Sex” theme song. What I found most enjoyable about the music were the tracks that will probably accompany the gang’s trip to Abu Dhabi. Yes, the group is, like in the first movie, heading outside the confines of New York and into exotic, non-U.S. territory. I have no problem with this plot point and love that it opened the door to music that you’ve never heard on the show. This is a real movie, big event, vibe. “Language of Love” by Cee Lo by name and artist seems like an odd fit but once you listen to the lyrics and the very sensual, loving vibe of the song, you feel like it’s a perfect selection for the film. I also found myself enjoying “Euphrates Dream” even though it’s mostly instrumental. I really think there’s a bit of something for most of the audience and the music isn’t as off-putting as the first movie’s soundtrack’s attempt to find and feature unknown and somewhat independent artists.

The Bad: While there’s a lot of styles and genres of music at play on the soundtrack, there’s distinctly two different acts to the soundtrack: the first half has the exotic, sensual, sexy music that I’m guessing goes with the trip and the second half has something of a gay vibe: you have show tunes, two tracks by Liza Minnelli and “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. I’m hoping this soundtrack will not be like the first movies where there are tracks left off that will end up on another volume. I’d rather have seen different tracks featured than having two tracks each by Liza and Alicia Keys. At this point, who hasn’t heard Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind Part II” or has purchased it? I’d rather they have found a way for her to do a full upbeat version of the song or to have chosen to feature the upbeat version of the song with Jay-Z. At this point, that track feels overplayed and a bit of a waste of space. And Liza’s “Single Ladies” … I’m sure that performance in the movie will be awesome and amusing but seriously, after listening to it once, I can’t find a reason to listen to it again. It’s meant to be fun and gimmicky and hits the mark – but it’s not the best track. The duet by Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson really feels like a let down and nothing more than a rehashing of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” (another track that I think most of this films’ audience probably owns and could have been left off for something different). There were a few tracks that I just couldn’t get into – the ones by Erykah Badu and Dido, but others may enjoy it more than I did. The more upbeat tracks definitely made for better music in my opinion.

In all, a strong soundtrack with a few weak points, but in terms of variety of styles and genres represented, I think it’s still better than the first movie’s music. The first half of the soundtrack is definitely better in my opinion because the second half feels as if you’ve left the club and have entered into a glee club performance. Overall, the vibe and feel is much lighter and happier on this release which makes for a much more enjoyable listening experience in all. Definitely worth checking out.

Listen to These: “I’m A Woman”, “Divas and Dunes”, “Can’t Touch It”, “Language of Love”, “Rapture”

Review: Christina Aguilera’s new album, ‘Bionic’

Christina Aguilera returns with 'Bionic' out June 8

Well, it’s eagerly anticipated and hyped: the return of Christina Aguilera to the music scene. After a long absence, she’s coming back on June 8 with her new album ‘Bionic’. With such a long break in between albums and with how much effort she claims to have put into her new material, you’d really expect something out of this world and mind blowing, right? Well, I was! Unfortunately, ‘Bionic’ is just the little album that couldn’t. It’s not firing on all cylinders, if it is indeed “bionic” then it is due for some heavy maintenance and servicing because this is, in my opinion, Christina Aguilera’s worst album to date. Even worse than her self-titled debut. It makes ‘Back to Basics’ stand out for the gem and artistic piece of work that it was.

There’s been a lot of talk about how Christina Aguilera is either jealous or gunning for Lady GaGa’s popularity. With the release of her video for “Not Myself Tonight”, GaGa fans and others were quick to point out how Aguilera seems to be fixated on copying everything GaGa. I can tell you now, the comparisons will stop with actually listening to this album because we’d be so fortunate for Aguilera to try to go where Lady GaGa has gone musically with her one and half albums. ‘Bionic’ is a let down on so many levels. First, you buy a Christina Aguilera album because you want singing, over-the-top vocal runs, showstopping performances. ‘Bionic’ is devoid of Aguilera’s usual vocal theatrics. For the most part, she either talks through the lyrics in a rhythmical manner, whispers the lyrics or just butchers her voice by relying on computers to manipulate and make her voice sound robotic. This is Christina Aguilera – a performer whose belted out hits like “Beautiful”, “Fighter” and “Hurt”. That performer though seems to have checked out of his album. In her place? A rapper wannabe and an artist that sounds completely confused about her image and musical direction.

There’s no real ‘pop’ moments on the album. Image wise, she seems to be going for a cross between GaGa, Gwen Stefani and Madonna circa ‘Erotica. Musically, she reminded me more of M.I.A. or an artist that’s just arrived on the scene. In many ways, this album attempts to ignore ‘Back to Basics’ and return Christina to her ‘Stripped’ album: provocative, sexual, edgy. Well, she fails miserably at recapturing that edge and musicality from the ‘Stripped’ album and has definitely lost that vulnerable and personality that went into the ‘Back to Basics’ tracks. For the most part, ‘Bionic’ is weak simply because there’s no real consistency to it. It just sounds like a collection of songs she’s slapped together in a hurry. There are a lot of tracks about fashion/image including ‘Glam’, a runway/modeling type songs celebrating high-end labels and getting done up; “Vanity” about how she’s very much into herself and tooting her own horn, even to the disapproval and dislike of others; and then there’s “Prima Donna” which is all about partying and being on top of the world. Then there’s a lot about sexuality and sex in general with tracks like “Not Myself Tonight” which boasts of experiencing carnal pleasures with men and women; “Morning Dessert” and “Sex for Breakfast” describing in great detail how she likes to ‘get down’ with her lover, “Desnudate” where she commands (very much like her former rival Britney Spears) to ‘get naked’; and “WooHoo” that’s all about the power of a great vagina. Really … what the hell? What’s happened to our great chanteuse Christina Aguilera? A lot of these tracks seem like B-sides and simply beneath an artist like Aguilera who has proven herself to be vocally talented and (usually) pretty good at standing out with great choices with her music.

I’ve bitched about how much ‘Bionic’ is lacking but there are a few good points to Aguilera’s new music. First, there are a few tracks that features her putting aside her desire for fashion and sexual conquests and has her returning to just belting out hits. Still, she sounds very reserved and none of her ballads/slow tracks stand out like her past hits. “Lift Me Up”is, in my opinion, the best track on the album. It’s very classic Christina: she sings soft, she hits her high notes and it oozes of sadness and vulnerability. The album also features two duets – one with Nicki Minaj that’s somewhat reminiscent of “Can’t Hold Us Down” with Lil’ Kim in that when both of them are paired together, the result is a pretty fun, off-the-wall female anthem (even though “WooHoo” is all about sex rather than “Can’t Hold Us Down” being about female empowerment). “My Girls” featuring Peaches is another light, fun track that features a little mini rap by Peaches that breaks up the album’s rather mediocrity. “You Lost Me”, a track that was penned by Sia and Aguilera, is another stand-out performance. It’s a very stripped-down, simple ballad that has a very old-dated feel with it’s doo-wop treatment. Besides that, I like the art direction of the album. Done by D*Face, it’s very artistically motivated, somewhat based in graffiti and some in illustration and I definitely feel more effort was put in the visual aspect of the album than was put into the actual music.

In all, was ‘Bionic’ worth a four year wait? Absolutely not. Is it worth all of the hype? I don’t think so. Obviously some of the GaGa vs. Aguilera beef that came with the “Not Myself Tonight” video and the comments Aguilera’s made in interviews (including her spread in ‘Out’ magazine) was drummed up by Aguilera’s label and camp to compensate for a pretty weak album. Where’s the voice, the performance, the art that Aguilera usually brings into an album? The music of ‘Bionic’ could have been done by just about any other artist out there. I expected much more from Christina Aguilera and think ‘Bionic’ will definitely be one of her weakest efforts. I hope she’s gotten the whole ‘futuristic’ sound out of her system down that she’s done it with “Keeps Getting Better”, “Dynamite” and this album. Every artist is allowed to deviate off course and do whatever they fancy but I already dread having to wait another 4 years or more for her to put out a proper studio album.

Listen to These Tracks: “Lift Me Up”, “I Hate Boys”, “Prima Donna”, “WooHoo”

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Season Finale Recaps: The Skinny On A Few of my Favorite Shows

So, ’tis the season for shows to wrap and go into hiatus for a few months before emerging again in September and October. I have to say, I love television. I’m not into many reality shows as I am into soapy/drama-filled shows like ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Brothers & Sisters’ and the new ‘90210’. There have been so many finales over the past few weeks that people are sure to have missed some. These are mini recaps and what I think you need to either know or have to look forward to when the show (or if the show) returns. Needless to say, if you don’t want to be spoiled then you should probably skip some of these mini-recaps.

1. ‘Ugly Betty’: Well, this finale aired back in April and it wasn’t just a season finale, it was THE END for Betty Suarez and company. Basically, Betty took another job that took her overseas; Daniel, suddenly realizing he couldn’t live without Betty, followed and gave Mode over to delicious villainous Wilhemina. So, after all these seasons, we were left with Betty having grown up a little, gotten some fashion and a backbone and an innuendo of a relationship with her boss, Daniel. not bad, not bad.

2. ‘Melrose Place’ 2.0: Ah, the curse of the remakes. When it comes to remaking a popular television show, I think it usually falls short of the original (unless it’s Star Trek, where all they do is improve upon the last series and jam some special affects to razzle-dazzle the fans). The new ‘Melrose Place’ started off on the wrong foot: in five minutes, they killed Sydney Andrews! Then we’re treated to a half-season arc of ‘who dunnit?’ and in all honesty, I think the show should have ended on that note. Instead, what turned into the series finale (‘Melrose Place’ has since been canceled) just left the entire season on another awkward note: Amanda Woodward, the head diva who never could be beaten, gets out-duped by Ella Simms and is carted off to jail. SERIOUSLY. That’s it! What We’ve Learned: In my opinion, leave remakes of popular shows alone unless you’re going to bring back the entire cast of the original and add in a new character or two. The new ‘Melrose Place’ relied on the old guard (Amanda, Jo, Sydney, Michael and Jane) to carry the show. The new characters were utterly dull and boring.

3. ‘Nip/Tuck’: Well, again, this was a series finale. In all, the former Miami plastic surgeons faced the facts: their brand of plastic surgery is outdated and barbaric and their business was going to tank. Sean McNamara goes off to do good in the world in some third-world country while Christian continues to slum around and hit on women. My thoughts? Boo. After all these seasons, the finale should have been a lot more. Instead it was sedate and boring.

4. ‘Smallville’: I have to admit – I hardly watch ‘Smallville’. It borderlines on remake/alternate reality and I’m really sick of the whole comic book explosion over the past decade. I did however watch more episodes this season … like … 7 or 8. In the season finale, Clark goes up against Zod. Guess who wins? Yeah, but in this re-imagined epic battle between young adult Clark and a far hotter Zod, Clark is shown falling to his death after stabbing himself with blue kryptonite in order to send Zod into a far and distant prison dimension. Oh, and Tess bit the dust and some weird old woman was seen entering her room afterwards. **Why You Should Watch Next Season: Next season is the last season (it was just announced today). All this season there have been hints dropped that Clark was coming closer to realizing his ‘Superman’ destiny. So with next season being it for the show, I think there’s going to be a lot of action, excitement and epic battles jammed packed into what will be a big series finale.

5. ‘90210’ 2.0: Another CW show. Like in the ’90s, ‘90210’ came before the CW’s remake of ‘Melrose Place’. Unlike then, ‘90210’ is getting picked up for another season while the other is canned. In the season finale, lots of crazy high school drama occured: Adrianna and Navid talk out their kinks and get back together! Liam finally finished building his boat and he and Annie go sailing on it at night while creepy Jasper watch and stews from afar! Annie and Dixon’s parents have another spat and she exclaims “You don’t LOVE ME ANYMORE!” Okay, yeah, it seems a bit tame and 1990s of the show to offer up such innocent drama but it was still fun to watch. The once hot teacher Mr. Matthews is now a total drunk; the hot teacher Noami tried to frame earlier in the season turned into a perv and looks as if he’ll force Noami into some real extracurricular activity of the sexual sort; Liam’s prize boat is up in flames and he beats up poor troubled Jasper; Annie confesses to her running over a guy during last year’s finale. There was drama and trainwrecks galore, enough to make me want to tune in next season to see how the kids and grown-ups at West Beverly continue to do their predecessors proud.

6. ‘Desperate Housewives’: This was probably one of my favorite finales of the season so far. Finally the housewives are all ending up in truly desperate situations: Bree’s given up her business to save her son Andrew from being exposed as the one who ran down Carlos’ mom in the first season. As a result, she’s now without a business, Orson left her and the final scene showed her confessing to Gabrielle all about the secret of her mother-in-laws death. Gabrielle turned superhero in the finale as she helped Angie Bolen and clan fight an eco-terrorist. Angie built him a bomb and planted it in the detonator, sending Patrick Logan up in flames. Susan, after spending a season without Mike, got him … and all his debt. So she’s left packing and actually moving off Wisteria Lane – but fear not! She’s just moving to an apartment with Mike and weirdo Little MJ and renting out her house … unknowingly to Mary Alice’s husband Paul Young who’s returning to wreak havoc on the Lane. Oh yeah, and Lynette had a baby and got the serial killer to turn himself in.

**Why You Should Watch Next Season: Apparently there will be more changes next season than there have been since the first season! Out are Angie Bolen & family, Katherine Mayfair and (just announced today) Orson! Drea de Matteo was always slated to leave after this season; Dana Dalany will be off headlining her own show ‘Body of Proof’ so she and Julie Benz (who played Katherine’s love interest Robin) will be M.I.A. for most, if not all, season. Kyle MacLachlan (Orson Hodge) will also be leaving, it was announced today. He’ll apparently film a few scenes for next season to wrap up the Bree/Orson plot before leaving for good. So many changes! I must say … thank GOD. I love ‘Desperate Housewives’ but it needs some major changes. That five-year jump didn’t really deliver many changes. It was also announced that not only will Mark Moses (Paul Young) be a regular next season but the producers have finally chosen a suitable new vixen to fill Edie Britt’s stilettos: Vanessa Williams! Hopefully they will treat her character far better than the last African-American housewife on the lane (remember Alfre Woodard’s Betty Applewhite? Yeah …) and will give her good material to work with unlike most of the new housewives to appear each season.

7. ‘Brothers & Sisters’: This is the show that no one really seems to watch or admit that they watch but I have to say, I like it and mostly because of Sally Field. In the season finale, not a lot happened. Saul got tested for HIV because he’d never gotten tested before in his life. Kitty and Sarah complained about how annoying and nosy Nora can be. Turned out Narrow Lake had an aquifer under it so now the Walkers are in the water business! Yes, people, this was a season finale. Then BAM, things got interesting. There was a massive accident and all of the Walkers, with the exception of the absent Tommy, were involved! They all ran into a truck. I kid you not. ‘Brothers & Sisters’ went from calm and collected to ‘Lost’ episode 1 in 30 seconds. Everyone was beat up, bloody … chaos … and in the end, it was Holly left moaning and Kitty realizing that she had a lot more to worry about than her campaign or the cost of her cancer wig leaking to the press.

**Why You Should Watch Next Season: I have a feeling, though I’d love to be wrong, that season 5 of this show will be the last. It sort of feels like the show has run its course and already ABC has ordered fewer episodes than they did this past season. I feel an ‘Ugly Betty’ situation arising! Anyways, it’s been said that when the show returns next season, they are taking a cue from ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘One Tree Hill’ and fast-forwarding a year or so in the plot. Rob Lowe is out; he’s gone, dead, finished on this show and will be a part of NBC’s ‘Parks & Recreation’. I’ll definitely be interested in seeing all the changes the new company, dead family member and new season has to offer.

8. ‘V’: Okay, it’s a remake. That seems to be ‘in’ among networks these days who’ve run out of original ideas. It’s either a remake of a ’90s hit or a show about vampires and witches. Remember ABC’s dull and horribly crafted ‘Witches of Eastwick’? Well, ABC also remade ‘V’. I have to say … a good part of the first season of this show was a total bore. Every episode felt like a rehashing of the last episode. The season final however … it rocked. Really, if you haven’t watched this show, watch the last few episodes. Basically, Erica (the heroine) has dinner with her stupid son Tyler, his alien girlfriend and her momma, the head honcho and alien queen Anna. What was supposed to be (in Anna’s view) an easy dinner to woo Erica into helping her stomp-out the resistance turned into an attack. Erica, with the help of the Fifth Column, wiped out (for the most part) all of Anna’s un-hatched babies. The last 2 minutes of ‘V’ turned incredible: Anna’s always been in control and alien. Suddenly, she turned primal, screaming in a rage over her dead soldiers/kids. Her reaction? Lay the smackdown on the humans. The sky turned purple/pink as the V ships took up position around Earth. It was one of those big moments we’ve been waiting for: no more ‘nice’ aliens: they’ve basically invaded and mean business. Watch next season: I have a feeling the producers realize that action = ratings. Hopefully we’ll have more of the action packed into the last few episodes running through the entire second season.

9. ‘Dexter’: It’s one of those shows that airs on odd months. Since it aired long ago, I think it’s safe to spoil the big ending. Dexter goes after the Trinity killer, he thinks he’s won the battle since he’s caught and killed off what was probably the best villain the show ever saw. Then he goes home and … bum bum BUUMMM! He hears a baby crying. What’s that … how could that be? Rita (his wife) and the baby are supposed to be off on vacation and away from the danger! He listens to her message: she forgot her keys. He goes into the bathroom and in true Trinity fashion, there she is, slaughtered, dead, naked and drowning in her own blood in the bath tub. And in a poetic gesture, there’s Dexter’s kid sitting in the bathroom with dead Rita … in his mother’s blood. It was the biggest, most shocking twist in ‘Dexter’ history. Now seriously, if that’s not enough to get you to watch next season to see what happens next, I have no idea what will.

10. ‘Damages’: It’s yet to be determined if what aired was just a season finale or the end of the whole series, but here’s what happened: Patty Hewes continued to have her dreams but it was finally revealed what they were all about. That daughter/child that she lost and went to pieces over during the first season? She herself was responsible for killing the child. She basically set herself up to lose the child so that she wouldn’t lose her career. We’ve known Patty was ruthless, cold and driven but this added a new side to her character. Poor Tom. He’s been Patty’s sidekick and we saw what lead to his death: Tobin’s son killed him, drowned him and dumped him in the trash can. Ellen’s purse contained the secret all along that ended up putting the Tobin’s and their hidden money away for good. The Tobin Momma (played by Lily Tomlin) jumped off a bridge after her son disowned her when she revealed to him that a woman he had killed was not his half-sister but his daughter. Ellen found out her mother tried to give her away when she was young but regretted the proposition and took her back. Ellen also found out Frobisher killed her husband in the first season. The undercover cop Ellen was involved with in season 2 came back and turned both himself and Frobsiher in. In all, it could very well be the end of the series but the start of something new: would Ellen return and work with Patty? Will Patty embrace being a grandmother now that she’s put away her son’s cougar of a lover?

11. ‘Modern Family’: Claire wants the entire family to take a photo together and becomes obsessed with making it turn out perfect. Jay has tickets to a basketball game but can’t go because he’s promised Luke to help him with a school project that involves interviewing someone who lived in the 1960s. Gloria, Manny, Phil and Alex go to the game instead and even have a moment where they speak to Kobe Bryant. At the game, when the jumbo tron focuses on Gloria and Phil, Gloria kisses Phil. Claire continues to obsess as the entire family comes together at the end and nothing goes right in her quest for the perfect family portrait. After some arguing, mud slinging (literally), the family finally takes a picture. The episode ends with Jay talking about perfection and how it doesn’t really exist but that he’s happy with what he’s got.

12. ‘The Middle’: Betty White appears as a hardcore librarian who’s determined to punish Brick for not returning 31 library books. Her threat? To hold him back in the 2nd grade. In what’s become a season arc, Frankie realizes that her daughter Sue is pretty much an unknown at school and vows to help her make it onto the no-cut track team. A test surprisingly reveals Axl is academically gifted, prompting his parents to bestow higher expectations and standards on him. The end result? Frankie and Mike refuse to accept that they are lazy parents; Axl isn’t gifted, there was a mix-up in the aptitude tests but he did score his highest grade ever on a history test after Mike pushed him to study; Brick couldn’t find one book but outsmarted the librarian by checking it out at another library and turning it into her so that he could move on to the 3rd grade. Sue was hit by a deer (yes, a deer hit HER) and sprained her ankle. In order to get onto the no-cut team she had to make it around the track 5 times. In an epic manner, it started to rain, she fell, but pulled herself across the finish line and made the team to the family’s and onlooker’s delight.  **My thoughts: Don’t get me wrong, I think ‘The Middle’ is a decent show. It amazes me however that it managed to get picked up for another season while ABC chose to cancel ‘Better off Ted’, which was ten times funnier and the new ‘Scrubs’. It was nice to see Betty White play a somewhat nicer character since she seems to have been playing pretty angry, bitter old women as of late.

13. ‘Cougar Town’: Jules and Greyson, most Jules, decide that it’s time to tell everyone about their relationship. No one is really surprised, which disturbs Jules a bit. At once, everyone is excited over one minor detail: no one’s told Bobby! Laurie and Ellie spend most of the episode trying to teach Travis how to develop a defense mechanism to use against an angry woman (his girlfriend, in this case). While trying to come out to Bobby, Bobby tells Jules and Grayson that he’d be devastated to learn that he’s the only single person in their clique. Grayson’s idea? Beach day! The gang head to the beach, bury Bobby in the sand and since he can’t run away, Jules and Grayson use the opportunity to tell him of their relationship … after he spots them kissing. All ends well. **My thoughts: If you aren’t watching this show, seriously, take this summer to give it a shot. It’s been my favorite this season alongside newcomers like ‘Glee’. It’s a fun, amusing show where the adults really aren’t as stiff or mature as they are in other shows. It seriously has some of the most quotable, funniest quips of any comedy on television. I think the writing is very organic and fresh, which at times makes the characters a bit awkward but it’s still amusing. Josh Hopkins, Courtney Cox, Christa Miller and Busy Philipps are among the funniest people on television thanks to this show. I’m already sad to think I’ll have to go months without a new episode.

14. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: So, the moment I saw the promo for the season finale of  ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ that featured Chandra Wilson’s Dr. Miranda Bailey being dragged across the floor as she hid from the shooter, I knew I had to put aside my dislike for the show and watch this finale. Don’t get me wrong, I know people are really into the show. There’s just something about it that really turns me off. It’s probably how annoying I find Ellen Pompeo and that Meg Ryan-like expression that’s always plastered on her face. Anyways, the finale. It was 2 hours of blood, gore, intense emotions and characters being shot left and right. My initial reaction? Boy are white people crazy. I rarely see a black character go on a rampage like the very white Gary Clark did. He bought a gun from a Wal-Mart-ish place and decided to avenge his wife’s death earlier in the season by taking down those responsible. So, this guy who never owned a gun suddenly was The Terminator- perfect shot, he’d just show up all over Seattle Grace hospital, evading the swat team and managing to prove that the U.S. needs stricter gun laws.

Well, a lot seemed to happen: Meredith found how she was pregnant and naturally she told her buddy Cristina. In her perky manner, she knew the next task at hand: it was time to tell husband and chief of staff Dr. Derek Shepherd. Enter crazy ticked-off Gary Clark who returned to Seattle Grace with a mission: he was going to kill everyone involved with pulling the plug on his late wife a few episodes back. At the top of his list- Derek Shepherd. Well, a lot of characters got in his merry little way and some didn’t make it: Reed (shot in the head), Owen, Karev, Derek, Percy, and a token nurse (she was black), unknown old doctor and a security guard were shot (an easy way to slash the budget for next year). Derek was shot – Meredith freaks out, miscarries and with the hospital on lockdown, Cristina is forced to put on the gloves and operate. The lesbian couple were in charge of the kids and by the end of the episode, whatever spat they’ve had is over and now they’re back together. In all the chaos, it took Dr. Webber to return to Seattle Grace and confront Clark to get things under control. What’d he do? He simply talked Clark into killing himself to spare himself the ordeal of more suffering, living without his wife and time in jail. Leave it to a black man to enter the scene a) Not try to pull at the heart strings of the killer (ahem, DEREK) or b) Use some pretty good logic to talk the killer out of killing him instead. The episode ended where it began: Meredith stares at her pregnancy test, now moot, and Cristina tells her that Derek wants to see her. Meredith makes that Meg Ryan ‘oh well’ face, tosses her pregnancy test away and trots off to see her husband who is on the mend.

**My thoughts: Okay, so … I’m still not inclined to become a regular viewer. Yes, the 2 hour finale was pretty intense, fun and dramatic but I feel like after you’ve seen one medical drama, you’ve seen them all and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to me is just the cesspool of medical dramas. Meredith talks to herself and does voice over. Hmm, I remember Doogie Howser doing the same thing back in the ’80s. All of the drama at Seattle Grace has been done to death in other shows like ‘M*A*S*H’ and ‘Chicago Hope’. Humor mixed into the whole serious medical scene? Yeah, Dr. Harry Weston dealt with that on the ‘Golden Girls’ spin-off ‘Empty Nest’. And the strange/odd cases each week? ‘ER’ and just about every ‘Star Trek’ incarnation has done that. Still, I give props to this finale even if it did end a bit too nicely. Where’s the dang cliffhanger? I mean, why not give people something to tune in for next season like a character’s life hanging in the balance? And if this was at all realistic, why did the killer not shoot that annoying as hell Kepner?

15. ’30 Rock’: Not much happened on the finale. The episode picks up where the last one left off: Liz thinks she has to settle for Wesley and plans to take him to the wedding of one of Tracy’s entourage. She has to stop by his office to get his shoes because he’s not allowed back at his office after he gets fired. So she goes and runs into Carol O’Connor, a pilot played by Matt Damon. Jack must choose between Nancy and Avery and it comes down to a baby. Yes, Avery reveals that she’s pregnant and Nancy throws in the towel. Jenna is still dating the guy who dresses up like her in drag but finds out he’s cheating on her – no, not physically but by doing another woman in drag – Cher! She forces him to choose – either he does her in drag or Cher. His decision? A Two-Face solution: half Cher, half Jenna. **My Thoughts: To me, if it wasn’t for all of Jenna’s off-the-wall lines, I think the episode would sort of have been a bore. There was one real cliffhanger of the night: is Kenneth really fired or will we see his triumphant (and expected) return next season?

16. ‘Parks and Recreation’: Pawnee is bankrupt and the city’s government has been shut down. While I don’t understand how a government of any city can just be shut down, even for two days, it’s a situation that I liked seeing played out since a lot of cities in reality are facing budget cuts and money flow issues. So, what happens with our gang in the parks and recreation department? They’re basically left without a job for the forseeable future. Furloughed, you might as well say. Ron is on the committee of Pawnee head-honchos deciding what gets cut and he naturally has lots of decisions. Those responsible for getting Pawnee out of this hole explain two things: the Parks and Recreation department is not a priority and cuts are needed. One of the easiest cuts? Eliminate Leslie Knopp since she makes the most besides Ron. He of course defends her position. What do the others do? Well, they decide to hold a benefit of sorts at the site of the ‘pit’. It’s now been filled in and is a big grassy field (when did that happen? I’ve sort of forgotten about this whole park idea). The government honchos find out and try to shut it down but Leslie and the others get things to work and the residents of Pawnee seem somewhat appreciative. The last scene has a somewhat somber Leslie saying goodbye to Mark, who’s leaving the department for another job. This show isn’t returning until mid-season so it’ll be a while before we see what happens with Pawnee and the rec people. And uh, can we have more scenes of Rob Lowe running or shirtless, please? That’s some must see TV indeed.

17. ‘The Office’: Kathy Bates returns as Dunder-Mifflin’s new owner Jo Bennett and she’s not at all pleased! News of Saber’s faulty printers has leaked to the press and the leak came from within Michael’s crew. The guilty party? Andy, though it’s revealed that a few of the other office personnel including Pam, Darryl and Kelly are all at fault. They plead with Michael to talk to Jo and get her to go easy on them. The result? Jo and Michael go off site for a talk that leads to Jo convincing Michael to read a press statement about the Saber situation so that she herself wouldn’t get bad press. Everyone at the office seems to turn on Andy except for Erin. The no-named IT guy who’s been around periodically through the season has perhaps the most entertaining moment, telling off a lot of the characters who refuse to learn his name or treat him as an equal, even after he tells them his name. Oh, and Dwight has something up his sleeve – he’s buying a building near the building that holds Dunder-Mifflin after Jo tells him he should invest in real estate. Hm. I was expecting a bit more considering this was a finale. I think the IT guy and Angela had some of the best lines (Angela is probably one of the best characters but gets overlooked). And what is up with Ryan? He seems to get more odd or hipster each episode, this one being no exception. The only cliffhanger moment came at the very end during the credits. Jo is leaving and thanks Michael for taking the heat and says whenever he needs something, let her know. He jokes that it’d be nice to have Holly back and working in the office. Jo smiles, nods and said she’ll see what she can do. Gasp! Is Holly returning? Will Michael get his happy ending?

18. ‘Lost’: So, the big ‘Lost’ series/season finale. What to say … I think it was fitting for the show to end with a few questions considering the show was all about unanswered questions and mysteries. For the most part, it was pretty action packed and yet the scenes felt short and few. There were a billion commercial breaks that seemed to extend the show into 2 and 1/2 hour territory. You had different realities clashing: the “we made it to LA! And didn’t crash!” reality where all of the characters, past and present, had a reunion. This was mainly about the characters in their ‘new’ lives meeting again for the ‘first’ time. Then there was the “We’re still stuck on this damn island that we don’t know what it is and we’re going to get off even if it kills us!” reality. In that timeline, Jack faces off with “John Locke” for the final time. Jack wins. He realizes his destiny is to save the island but that it’s Hurley’s destiny to protect it and that Hugo/Hurley is the ‘chosen one’. Hurley didn’t want to accept that it was Jack’s destiny to sacrifice himself for the others but it happened. We have the two realities clashing: in the ‘good scenario’ reality, all of our favorites reunite … at a church … for Jack’s father’s funeral. It seems long overdue considering Jack set out to bury his father, you know, 6 years ago. In the ‘bad scenario’ reality, Jack saves the island and Hugo/Ben turn into protectors. The end? All of the characters are reunited at a church, but not for Jack’s father’s funeral … it’s for HIS FUNERAL! TWIST! Jack’s dead, folks. And all of those Oceanic flight castaways are dead, too. They’re just waiting for Jack to ‘join the party’ per se. So, there you have it … The Island itself was either a test for Jack to accept his destiny and death or some form of exciting, adventure-packed purgatory.

**My Thoughts: ‘The End’ (the episode title and really, the END of the series) was emotional, sad and thrilling, even if there was a weird moment or two that really takes away from the finale. That moment? Trying to resolve the whole Island plot and make it fit with the ‘good scenario’ plot. I mean, I’m fine with them having died during the plane crash. Over the years, we’ve come to realize that plane crashes happen and unless you’re on a boat going on a three-hour tour, deaths will occur. I think the ending was left with room for interpretation because it’s a lot like religion in general: there’s a lot of mystery and personal reflection necessary to make sense of it. There’s a lot of weird moments throughout the series that just aren’t dealt with (polar bears on a hot island, Hurley not losing any weight over 6 years of being stranded). We did get to see just about all of the major players in ‘Lost’ except Michael and his kid but oh well, I guess they moved/passed on without needing to wait for Jack. I wish they hadn’t tried to make so much out of the whole Island/Jack’s gotta save it or Else plot. It seems moot or unnecessary – I’d rather they had taken the series back to the beginning, showing that the characters did indeed die – it’d been very ‘Six Feet Under’ but good! Some are saying that what happened on the Island really did happen – that all of the characters did die at different times and just decided to gather together upon their deaths in this ‘church’. I’m sort of okay with that theory … except if that is the case then we’re still left with the big question of what the hell was the Island?! Oh well.

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Glee: “Dream On” Quotes

Gosh, I have to say … who the heck penned this week’s episode of ‘Glee’? Debbie Downer? Look, I’m all for development and fleshing out of characters but I just could not get into this week’s episode. My issue? Most of the focus seemed to be on the guest star Neil Patrick Harris. Yes, he’s cool, he’s hip, I’ve been watching him since his days as Doogie Howswer, M.D. but Lord, his character really seemed to come in and just wreak havoc on what’s usually a good show. It seemed slow movie, lethargic, depressing, devoid of really catchy music. It wasn’t until 40 minutes into the show when the regulars like Sue Sylvester and Emma showed up that I perked up a bit.

The only numbers that really saved the show were ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ and Artie’s little ‘Safety Dance’ moment. Otherwise, ugh, what a waste of an episode. I’m glad the producers of the show are dealing with Rachel’s mysterious mother character, who doesn’t seem to be totally wicked or as sinister as first believed. I also liked that we finally got ONE episode where we get some moments of Tina and Artie who usually seem to be nothing more than back-up characters like that nameless black guy and the break-dancing Asian/Chinese/Oriental one. Still … ‘Glee’ … please, let’s keep the focus on the kids and less on Will Schuester and the rejects he went to school with. I mean, we’ve dealt with the awesome April Rhodes, now Neil Patrick Harris’ Bryan Ryan … who’s next? Anyways, there were only two quotes that stood out to me from the episode:

“That’s not a dream. A dream is something that fills up the emptiness inside. The one thing that you know that if it comes true all the hurt would go away.” — Jesse St. James

Bryan Ryan: “Should I close the door?”
Sue: “No, I’ve got a secret room upstairs. Like Letterman.”

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‘Desperate Housewives’ Season 6: A Look Back

'Desperate Housewives' Season 6 Promo Photo

So, I probably love ‘Desperate Housewives’ just as much as I do working out and staying fit. It’s a show that I’ve watched from the beginning, one that really reminds me of television of yesteryear: you know, when prime time soaps like ‘Dallas’, ‘Knots Landing’, ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Falcon Crest’ ruled the ratings and t.v. in general. I know, many ‘Housewives’ fans over the seasons have either grown tired of the show or have given up on it. It’s one of those shows that seems to hit a creative slump for a while and by the time it recovers, it’s suffered in the ratings or have lost some of its fans. Yesterday’s season finale, aptly titled “I Guess This Is Goodbye”, shows why this show is still around and has it. For those who’ve lost faith in the show or have gone astray, I say you need to give season 6 a try.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t crazy about season 5. Season 5 featured the now notorious five-year jump. You’d think with such a leap in time that the show’s producers would have taken the characters and show into interesting new territories and situations. Instead, you had mainstay homewrecker Edie Britt meeting her untimely electrifying death, Bree-wannabe Katherine Mayfair just … well, hanging around and losing her edge, Susan whining over having lost Mike and a guy moving onto the lane who spent the entire season plotting how to get back at those who wronged him. Yes, sounds like it could have been fun but instead it was just dull and the finale, ending in a not-so-shocking wedding, just made the entire season feel wasted and boring.

Enter season 6. Whatever the reviewers and critics say, I think this now past season was probably one of the show’s best. It was, in many ways, everything season 5 should have been. Katherine spent half of the season losing her mind over having lost Mike to Susan; then Katherine went lesbian. A serial killer nearly took Julie (Susan’s daughter) down. Bree went from Miss Perfect and Morals to sleeping around with Susan’s ex-husband. Lynette gave up her job in Carlos’ company as she dealt with being pregnant again. The list of things the housewives got involved with goes on and the list of memorable scenes and moments from this season far out match those of the past few seasons.

People complain that the housewives hardly hang out together like they did in the first season. Well, in real life, do you know of groups of housewives who honestly have the time to hang out with one another all day? To me, the season felt realistic and we still had the wives crossing paths and having together moments. Katherine and Susan spent many episodes sparring with one another; Lynette and Gabrielle seemed to interact more than in previous seasons. The only housewife who felt ‘out’ was Bree who was either working on her cooking empire or trying to keep her relationship with Karl under wraps.Whenever all of the wives got together it felt like a big occasion and made the moment stand out: remember when they all visited crazy Katherine in the asylum? Or when they all got together to lecture Susan about bringing a stripper into the neighborhood? Or when Katherine was just starting to lose it and interrupted the ladies’ tea/bitch fest early on in the season in an attempt to get at Susan? I liked the interactions between the housewives: it offered more insight into their characters by pairing them off in interesting situations. Having Bree and Susan quarrel over Karl; Gabrielle angry over Lynette lying to Carlos; Katherine striking out at Susan and anybody else who wasn’t on her side.

Speaking of which, another high point of season 6 was the ‘mystery’ housewife of the season. Usually, the guest star of the year starts off really promising and falls flat. You had Alfre Woodard’s Betty Applewhite starting off as really intriguing but then the writers completely fumbled her plot and seemed to write out her character quickly. There was the whole mystery surrounding Orson that even included a guest appearance by Dixie Carter as a mother-in-law from hell … but Marcia Cross’ pregnancy seemed to prematurely end that plot line long before the season ended. Then there was Edie Britt’s husband Dave … let’s just not even go there. Katherine Mayfair was one of the few guest stars that seemed to rise above the others but the writers seemed to run out of ideas of how to use her following her season’s debut. So what about season 6? We had Angie Bolen, played my Drea de Matteo – she was not as prim and proper as the other ladies; was street smart, pushy, tough and on the run.

I liked Angie Bolen, even if her mystery was a bit of a bore. Her interaction with the other housewives would have made her a great addition to the cast as a regular. She seemed to add back in the conflict and bitch factor that left with Edie Britt’s character. Remember how she confronted and dressed down Bree, found out about Bree’s affair before everyone else and then went on to actually be Bree’s replacement friend when Katherine went crazy? Or how she threatened Susan with a baseball bat? Let’s not forget how she later on seemed to allow herself to become friends with Gabrielle after her son and Gabrielle’s niece ran off together. Though her environmental freak past wasn’t all that thrilling, she really brought the action and drama back to the lane after a lackluster fifth season and I was sad to see her leave in last night’s episode. I’m hoping the writers will find a way to either bring her back in the future or finally settle on a suitable Edie Britt replacement.

I have to say that the finale for this season was just as good as season three’s twists in the final scenes. Something that’s always bothered me about this show’s season finales is how the writers drop the ball at the wrong moment. They build up all this action and yet the final minute of the show usually is a bore and in no way entices the viewer to want more. Remember season 3 though? You had Edie Britt in such distress over losing Carlos that she appeared to hang herself, you had Bree returning from her honeymoon and revealing she was pregnant … then the next moment she was unstuffing herself to reveal that it was all a hoax? Well, that’s the kind of stuff that leaves you wanting to know more. Season 4 ending with the five year jump was okay but the most interesting thing from that was seeing Gabrielle looking frumpy and haggard. Season 5? The ‘who is Mike marrying?!’ question that everyone seemed to answer for themselves before the premiere. But this seasons finale? Oh, now that was good: Susan and Mike move off Wisteria Lane because they can’t afford their house (but somehow renting an apartment and renting their house seems to be a wise option); Bree is shown walking with Gabrielle and is in the middle of telling her all about Andrew running over Mama Solis back in season 1. Bree also is yet again without a husband, and without a business so back to square one; someone is coming with news that a child was switched at birth and the last scene? Mary Alice’s husband Paul is back and is renting Susan’s house! One can only hope this means Felicia, Mrs. Huber’s crazy and amusing sister, is heading back to the lane as well. Now that, ‘Desperate Housewives’, is how you end a season and leave people wanting more.

Someone mentioned online that despite some questionable moments (plane crash, Karl being killed, the whole Orson vs. Bree thing, annoying Anna trying to be Gabrielle’s foil, Tom trying to go back to school) this season both started and ended in a manner that created perfect symmetry. It began with Lee moving in a mysterious family into a well-known residence on the lane; Susan/Mike moving in together; Bree/Orson on the outs … how’d it end? With Lee moving a mysterious man (back) onto the lane into a well-known residence; Bree and Orson, after making amends, being in shambles; Susan/Mike moving but moving off the lane. It’s moments like this that have me thinking the writers are actually paying attention and with them reaching back to the earlier seasons and past characters for the next season’s mystery, I’m all for it.

Creatively, I think it’s time the show go back to its roots for its storytelling. We’ve had enough seasons of adding in new characters who fizzle out and leave by season’s end, of seeing Susan in angst over Mike, of Lynette dealing with kids … it’s time we get some resolution with Paul and (hopefully) Felicia Tillman since their plots just seemed to end without being properly wrapped; we need to see that whole plot with Andrew running over Mama Solis being dealt with; of seeing Bree the the Solis’ cross paths (it seems like Gabrielle and Bree hardly interact). It’ll be interesting to see one of the main housewives actually living off the lane (perhaps we’ll see desperate apartment-wives with Susan’s new neighbors), or what will become of Bree now that she seems to have lost everything she’s worked for, seeing Lynette hopefully get back to work considering she and Tom are going to need the money (hey, why not have them work together at Carlos’ company?). I’m even hoping for a new housewife to fill the void on Wisteria Lane now that Angie, Katherine and Susan are all out of the way. Here’s to hoping September will bring forth an interesting and entertaining seventh season of this show.

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Get Smart: What Graduates Need To Know (And Won’t Be Told Until It’s Too Late)

Ah, ’tis graduation season. We’ll see kids moving onward to higher grades, children moving on from the Dawson’s Creek-like world of high school and so called young-adults graduating from college and entering the ‘real world’. Well, one constant among graduations is the big speaker who’ll bestow his or her wisdom upon the graduates, inspiring them to reach for the stars and that nothing is impossible! Yes! Hooray! Okay, let’s get real: there’s a lot of stuff that these speakers, and even parents, siblings, friends and family just don’t tell graduating students that they should.

I’m all for the 1980s Ronald Reagan positive spin on icky situations. We all need those speeches and words of encouragement, but we also need some hardcore advice so that our young adults are delusional. The older I get, the more I realize younger people are just getting more delusional with what they think is the real world. Is it there fault? Well, in part, yes because most aren’t taking the time to better themselves and are instead waiting around for a fairy godmother or suitor to come by and make them rich or make their dreams and wishes come true. I also blame society in general: most aren’t saying a thing anymore. We like to sit back, speak in private and wait for someone to make a big mistake and then jump up and put our two cents in on what they shoulda, coulda, or what we woulda done had we been in there position.

So, listen to your speakers at your graduation. Most are successful to some degree and have made something out of their mediocre lives and circumstances. Now sit back and read what I have to say because these are things probably no one else is telling you or plans on telling you anytime soon:

High School Graduates: Oh, wasn’t high school FUN?! Yeah, the parties, the school plays, that awesome trip to [Fill in the Blank]. Oh, and gosh, wasn’t it hard? The SATs, worrying about whether This or That University was going to accept you or not? Wow, seems like only 4 years ago you were the little guy/gal on campus looking up to the seniors thinking or wondering how you’d make it there. You’ve worked hard, you’ve made good, or decent grades, enough to get you into your first, second or perhaps last option school. Good for you. GOOD FOR YOU! You deserve a break, you need to celebrate, kick back, let mommy and daddy treat you and coddle over you while they can because hey, we know in a few months you ain’t looking back when you’re at This or That University! Hellz no, you’re all grown up! This is your moment!

Okay, how was that fantasy? You need to get real. First of all, let’s deal with mom and dad. One of them (or both if you’re lucky) has really invested a lot of time and effort into getting you through birth to graduating high school. You probably are sick of your dinky little city or hometown, you think you’re all that and you’re not going to need them soon when you’re at This or That University. Get over yourself. I’ve seen even some tough guys in high school turn into blabbering babies a month or so into college life because they didn’t realize how good they had it all these years. You’re going to miss being at home, so just prepare for it, yes, you may not understand it, but you will. Before you burn your bridges, soak it up and spend some time with your family you’ll soon be leaving behind because when you’re trapped in your little closet of a dorm room with some spoiled brat who thinks they deserve the best and should make all the rules, you’ll be sorry!

Wise up about money. College really isn’t much about the course work or exams, it’s all about money. Like they sang in Cabaret, money makes the world go ’round. Your professors are not your high school teachers: they aren’t going to give a damn about you, why you aren’t passing your exams, what sports team you’re on or nothing. Most won’t even know your name and they don’t care to learn it! The money you or your parents have taken out in loans is what they care about. The moment you send back that acceptance letter, sorry to say, you’ve become a nobody in their view. They wanted your money, and they’ve got it. College is a financial commitment. You’ll spend 4 years in college but you’ll be paying for it for 30 or more years. Oh, wait, nobody ever put it to you like that, did they? Yeah, you think a hundred dollars is a lot of money? Five hundred? Well, college graduates these days leave college owing 20 some thousand dollars … if they’re lucky. Most owe 30, 40, 70, over a 100 some thousand if they go on to medical school or pursue higher degrees. So yeah, another reason why you need to treat your parents right is because most will be helping you afford college so guess what, YOU OWE THEM and the government! Be wise – instead of blowing your refund money each semester on say … clothes, gadgets, toys, you’d be wise to take that money and start paying back your loans. Not only are you charged a lot for some classes you probably don’t need or will never apply to your actual career but you’re charged interest on that! Congratulations! In four years (if you’re lucky and don’t become a 5th or 6th year senior) you’re going to get a degree and a bill that’ll probably put you in debt!

Let’s discuss the finer things about college. Roommates. You probably have this jaded idea that you and your roommates are going to be pals and buddies. Well, forget it, roommates suck and dorm living is horrific. If you’ve seen Survivor or Fear Factor, imagine something ten times worse and you’ll be in the ballpark of what you’ll experience living on campus with some stranger. Your high school pals and buddies? Forget them too because after a month or so, all of you and your so called BFFs and gangs are going to be forming new cliques, identities and the older you get, the more you’ll realize you really didn’t know any of them all that well and there was a lot of crap you didn’t like about them. It’s okay to sever ties with your so-called friends – you’ll be better for it in most cases.

Classes? It’s a funny thing. You have to go to class. You have to do the work, write the papers, do the readings. There’s just no getting around it. I mean, you ARE paying for it and trust, you will be paying for it for years and decades to come so you might as well get the most out of your classes. Most of your instructors could care less if you pass or fail their course. Most of your instructors are pompous, self indulgent and enjoy having a forum where students MUST listen to them and buy their books. Sometimes you can actually do good by sucking up to him/her (and please, NOT LITERALLY) just so they know you from the crowd. But still … even though your classes and how well you do in them means everything for getting your degree, guess what … most of those courses are going to end up being a big ‘ole waste of money. I took political science courses, history courses, economics, physical education courses … all for a degree in graphic design. The worst part? Even the graphic design courses weren’t much help! Most of what you’ll learn that’s going to be the most valuable to you will come from your interactions with people outside of class or what you learn in internships or clubs. So, get involved outside of classes and stuffing your face with pizza and fattening foods because otherwise you’re screwed.

College Graduates: You may have read the above section and you’re probably laughing. Maybe you read something that reminded you of your college experience or maybe you were lucky enough to have a great experience. Well good for you! Now you listen up! You’ve graduated, so what? Who cares? I really hope you spent your time networking and planning ahead because if you think you’re just going to walk up and get your diploma and have a job handed to you, sorry kiddo, you’ve seriously been kidding yourself. These days, jobs are hard to come by. You can’t really be picky about what you want to do. If there’s an opportunity presented to you and you’re qualified, GO FOR IT. So what, it’s not in the city you wanted to be, it’s not a title you wanted, it’s in a different industry than what you had planned on. Again, so what, who cares?

Listen. You can hold out and be picky and go further in debt … or you can start on your path to becoming a real adult and get a job, move out on your own and enjoy your freedom. I understand some people need to move back home – but I don’t understand people who forever want to stay there. And are your parents still paying for your lifestyle? Oh, you think that’s cute … they are paying for your car, your insurance, your clothes, your food … no, that ain’t cute. Your parents are probably maxed out like your credit cards. Oh wait, it’s THEIR credit card? Grow the f*ck up. You’re an adult now, you’re in the real world. Get a job, get a decent apartment for yourself and start paying for your own stuff. If you have a credit card, only charge your utilities to it and then pay off the card at the end or start of each month. Then put the card away. Living off credit cards isn’t at all being an adult, it’s being irresponsible. Do you have a savings account? Checking? A Roth IRA? An emergency fund? Well, you’re about 21 or 22 so do you know if you can put away money now in an IRA (meaning you don’t touch it or spend it until you’re in your 60s) you will have tons of money when you’re ready to retire? A lot of the jobs out there now don’t have a lot of benefits so you’ll need to become a financial expert real quick. Start watching Suze Orman, read a book titled ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’. Yes, life will be somewhat boring because you’ll just be working and saving, but you are allowed to treat yourself every now and then … just not every single day of your life. You aren’t a kid anymore.

Learn to cook. I’m talking to both men and women. You’ll save lots of money by not eating out every day of the week. Plus, there’s nothing hotter than a guy or gal who actually knows what to cook. Get a reliable car and stick with it for as long as it lasts. Stop wasting your money on leasing or paying off a car and getting another one just because you’re bored with what you have. Get healthy! I look at people I’ve gone to school with, whether it be college or even high school, and they’ve just let themselves go. I mean, really, the ‘before’ wasn’t all that great and the ‘after’ is all shock and awe, and not of the good sort. Getting healthy will reduce your health care cost, probably put a cap on wasteful spending, fend off depression and more. Plus, you’ll look great and that comes with it’s own perks. My other advice? Stop rushing life. I’ve seen people leap out of college and right into full-blown adulthood: kids, marriage, buying a house … are you serious? You’ll have tons of years and decades to get to all of that so spend your 20s getting yourself established and build your savings and then think about other stuff.

So, there you have it. Yes, life isn’t all roses or filled with perks and great stuff. Yes, you have done a great job if you’ve at least graduated high school or college, but now the real work begins. So, soak it up because life’s about to get busier and suckier from here on!

Glee: “Laryngitis” Episode Quotes

“You’ve got more curves than a Nissan ad.” — Puck to Mercedes

“Bug the choir room? I’m almost offended by the simplicity of your request!” — AV club president to Rachel

“Hey sugar, listen: I’ve got a proposition to make. I did some research – black and jews have a history of sticking up for each other. And Wikipedia said King Martin Luther LOVED the Jews!” — Puck to Mercedes

“I’m a sex shark: If I stop moving, I die!” — Puck

Sue Sylvester: “You see, that’s the problem with your generation- you’re obsessed with labels! So you like show tunes. Doesn’t mean you’re gay, it just means you’re awful! There’s only one person in the world who can tell you what you are.”
Kurt: “Me?”
Sue Sylvester: “No, me, Sue Sylvester. And she hasn’t figured out quite who you are yet.”

“At least if you two are dating I won’t have to listen to his insane theories about how Super Mario Brothers changed civilization.” — Quinn on Puck

“I’m not a box: there’s more than four sides of me.” — Kurt

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