TV’s Best/Worst/Weirdest: Sept 13 – 19

HH_PolaroidHappy Saturday, and welcome to the first edition of Big Damn Heroes Best/Worst/Weirdest, where we highlight the stuff that went down this week on TV. I’m Heather Anne (Hi, Heather Anne!) and I’m your Big Gay representative on this Big Damn blog. But I promise not to queer it up here; I write about Big Gay entertainment all week long. I also promise not to make you have sex with a duck. I know you were worried. Anyhoodle, let’s get to it!

Best TV!

So You Think You Can Dance — Cat Deeley’s hair in the Arizona sun.

Every way you look at it, Cat Deeley is gorgeous — but she was especially ethereal on this week’s So You Think You Can Dance in Arizona. Deeley is everything that’s right about Ryan Seacrest with none of the scary global domination stuff going on. Plus, every time we see her, it looks like God himself has clothed her and done her hair and makeup. Also, that accent. Oh, and when that one kid had a full-on spaz attack on stage this week, she rushed to his rescue. Angel? I think so.

The Office — Seriously, how do the writers keep bringing it like this every. single. season?

With the exception of the first season and a couple of those season-four hour-long episodes, The Office writers have managed to woo us with a fresh blend of absurdity and pathos in almost every episode. Ashley mentioned this week that The Office is one of the few sitcoms that has kept its characters from becoming caricatures of themselves, and this week’s premiere episode, “Gossip,” was another shining example.

From the Andy/Dwight/Michal — please, more of that trio this season — parkour cold open to Andy pleading with Michael to tell him if he’s gay or not, to look of adoration on Pam’s face when Jim tapes their baby’s sonogram picture to a frame, to the parking lot, where Stanley beats the shit out of Michael’s car with a golf club, this week’s premiere was everything that makes The Office one of the best sitcoms on TV.

Bones — Well played, Hart Hanson.

I’ve never seen a group of Bones fans as outraged as they were after last season’s finale, which is saying something, because most of them were ready to torch writer/creator Hart Hanson’s house after the Gormagon-apprentice reveal at the end of season three. To exacerbate the rage, news begin to trickle forth over the summer that the execs at Fox had answered the will they/won’t they question for Booth and Brennan with a solid “won’t!” — at least until next season.

So, Hart Hanson’s season premiere quandary: How do you answer the question of Booth’s amnesia, while addressing the issue that both Brennan and Booth are obviously in love with each other, while keeping them apart, while not allowing their drama to override the supporting cast, because this show is always better when it’s full of quirky squints?

Answer: Cindy Lauper! (And color-coded brain scans, of course.)

See, ’cause here’s the thing about Bones: Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz have some of the best chemistry on TV, and if you can suspend your disbelief enough to believe in Angela’s hologram machine, you can suspend it enough to believe Booth loves Brennan too much to tell her he loves her. And you can believe that Brennan is too afraid to ask.

Well played, Hanson. Now, why don’t you teach Russell T. Davies how to press “reset”?

So You Think You Can Dance — Nigel and Mary change their tune about same-sex ballroom dancing.

Two things you need to know about me: 1) I have a hard time clinging to cynicism. I’m like Dumbledore levels of earnest forgiveness. 2) I’m the last person on the planet that’s going to be shouting about homophobia. (Except maybe James Dobson.) But last season, SYTYCD absolutely throttled a same-sex couple that tried out in Denver. From the packaged interview to the judges responses, Fox played the whole thing like a joke. (It didn’t help that the gay guys they showcased were substandard dancers.)

Immediately after the show aired, GLAAD was on Fox like the media elite on Sarah Palin. Both Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy apologized, and on this week’s Arizona audition episode, Fox brought in a hand-picked same-sex couple to smooth things over. Willem and Jacob met at the S2 auditions and have been dancing together ever since. They didn’t pull any punches in their pre-dance interview, saying that most gay men are afraid to try out for things like SYTYCD because of the crap the show pulled last season

They were technically perfect, which Mary happily noted; and Nigel thanked them for showing him that same-sex dancing can be beautiful. Which: fine, that was always going to happen. But the truly wonderful part was that Mia Michaels and both male dancers were actually sobbing when they finished dancing. And that’s what makes this show infinitely superior to every other reality competition on TV.

I love American Idol and America’s Next Top Model as much as the next person (Hi, Abigail!), but no one’s going to argue with me when I say that both of those shows are heavy on the superficial bullshit. I mean, it’s super-entertaining superficial bullshit — but still, bullshit.

SYTYCD has its own levels of bullshit, too, but the thing about dance is: no matter how you try to exploit it, there’s something about it that resonates with the human experience. And sometimes, when it’s good, you just gotta cry. Not because two dudes danced together without getting a verbal lashing, but because there’s a beauty and vulnerability and authenticity to the whole thing that just moves you.

Both guys moved on to Vegas after they passed the choreography round, because check this: gay guys can dance with girls! And they like it! And they do it well! This revelation will change Broadway and professional ballet forever!

Parks and Recreation — When you weren’t looking, this show got good.

Remember the first season of the U.S. version of The Office? Nope, me either. But remember the second season premiere, “The Dundies”? Yep, me too, because it’s one of the best TV episodes ever. (Hang on, I’ve gotta cue up “Tiny Dancer” to finish writing this recap.) Ahem. Anyway, Parks and Recreation‘s first season suffered many of the same hang-ups as the first season of its Scranton, PA cousin: it stuck too closely to a joke-wink, joke-wink formula, and the characters came off kind of flat.

Parks and Recreation almost broke out of that mold in its six-episode freshman season — thanks in large part to the nuance Amy Poehler found in Leslie Knope — and this season’s premiere made me hopeful that it has almost found a way to shuffle out of Dunder-Mifflin’s shadow forever.

The conflict of the episode — an accidental gay penguin wedding ceremony at the Pawnee Zoo — was the heart of the premiere, but the awesomeness of the episode was watching Knope, a consummate rule-follower, bring her values in line with her experience. And by “experience” I mean “party in her honor” at the gay bar, The Bulge.

I’d like to see P&R‘s writers integrate Rashida Jones’ character a little more seamlessly. She’s a gem, and perfect for this mockumentary-style of story-telling. It’s a shame to waste her on B stories every week.

Worst TV!

The Jay Leno Show — Leno to Kanye: How’s your dead mom, asshole?

Next week, Abigail is going to talk about every thing that is wrong with Leno’s new primetime gig, but for now, let’s just talk about the most awkward moment on TV this week. The night after the T-Swizzle VMA debacle, Kanye went on Leno’s new comedy show to apologize, and straight away Leno asked him what he thought his mom would say about his stunt. You know, his mom. Who died last year. His mom. Whose death upset him so much that he canceled his tour. His mom. Whose death he blames on himself.

It was asinine for him to pull his shenanigans at the VMAs, no doubt, but Jay Leno is Jay Leno, not Barbara Fucking Walters. It’s bad enough that he’s clogging up NBC every night of the week; the least he can do is keep it from becoming 20/20.

One Tree Hill — Dude, even Dawson’s Creek had to end some time.

Somehow, every week, this show ends up playing at my house. I never watch it, but I do hear the music and catch glimpses of the scenes as I walk back and forth from my bedroom or office to the kitchen. I’ve actually never even seen the show before, and I kind of thought it was just a staging ground for Chad Michael Murray’s nuptials, but he’s left the show now, and it’s still on, so I just don’t know.

What I do know is that the dialogue to music ratio on One Tree Hill is about 1:7. And neither of them is very good. I really do think the Gossip Girl spin-off would have been a better bet for The CW. Or another season of Privileged. But the Privileged girl is a Montague on Gossip Girl now (along with ANTM‘s Tyra Banks). And little Lily (Brittany Snow) has moved on to the teen horror flick genre. So, I guess we’re left with One Tree Hill.

One more note on CW nepotism: Kate French, who played one of Chuck Bass’ whores on last season’s GG (and also Nikki Stevens on the final two horrific season of The L Word), is going to be busting up a marriage next week on One Tree Hill. I think one day I am going to make a CW Incest Chart. It will probably blow your mind.

Weird TV!

Glee — Too much Accafellas, not enough Lynch

Abigail already talked about this in her Glee recap, but this week’s episode felt like it fell out of the space-time continuum and landed on Thursday night. The storylines came from nowhere and disappeared into nothingness, which should never happen on the third episode of a freshman show. Good news, though: I’ve seen next week’s episode, “Preggers,” and I think it’s better, even, than the spectacular pilot.

Mercedes’ and Kurt were my favorite part of this week’s episode, hands down.

Gossip Girl — Yeah, you know, like foreplay!

If you are going to invest yourself into a relationship with Gossip Girl, you’ve got to accept that the foreplay is going to be stellar, but you’ll be faking the O until the CW cancels the show. GG is so good at the tickling, at building up your expectations with posters and teasers and brilliant reveals like, “I murdered someone!” but the Intro to Titillating and the Titillating Climax are almost always unforgivably weak. (Almost!) The season finales and premieres, and the story-arc resets, are always the weakest parts of the show.

That was the case with this week’s “Reversals of Fortune.” Half the episode was everyone looking gorgeous and expositing their whole summer. The other half of the episode was everyone looking gorgeous and hinting around about what’s going to happen next week. There was one particularly awesome bit toward the end, where Serena galloped away on a stolen horse, but the Big Reveal on why she was Acting Out negated the awesomeness of the thievery with its lameness.

Luckily, Gossip Girl and I have an open relationship. Her XOXOs aren’t enough to keep me warm at night.

What do YOU think was Best/Worst/Weirdest this week in TV?

6 Responses to “TV’s Best/Worst/Weirdest: Sept 13 – 19”
  1. Ashley says:

    Man, Parks and Recreation. Who’da thunk? I loved how she stuck her grounds on that talk show; it really made me respect her. Something else the season opener did for the show (which it started doing at the end of last season) was differentiating Leslie from Michael Scott.

  2. Abigail says:

    One Tree HIll on our blog, really?

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