Friday, May 30, 2008

Lost: Men of Science, Men of Faith, and the Utter Pointlessness of Hating Jack Shephard

I would like to ask a question that’s been bothering me for a few weeks, but that’s making me crazy this morning: how can anyone hate Jack and still love Lost?

To me, Jack is Lost. Lost is Jack. The two are inextricably connected and have been since the VERY first shot of the Pilot. My feelings about other characters are tempered by Jack’s relationship to them. Locke? Unbelievably frustrating and kind of a scary freak. Kate? Awesome, hot, soul mate. Sawyer? Piece of shit.

So for me, seeing Lost from a very Jack-ian perspective, I can’t imagine disliking such an integral character and still having the interest in or the stomach for continuing to watch. Hell, I dislike Sawyer so much that, had last night’s episode ended differently, I was prepared to “jump helicopter” myself. And while Jack appeared in four flash-forward episodes, Sawyer didn’t even get a centric episode this season!

It’s like loving Sex and the City while hating Carrie Bradshaw. I mean, yeah, her clothes are sometimes outlandishly ugly and she has a tendency to get annoying with her voice-over articles, but I still want her to live happily ever after with Big and Manolo. It’s like loving Grey’s Anatomy while hating Meredith Grey. Meredith is a self-admitted lame-ass loser, but she’s also the protagonist.

Disliking the protagonist just seems counter-intuitive, because even when you’re watching Lost, you have to know that the hero’s ultimately going to prevail. (He’s also going to get the girl, but that’s a story for another blog.)

Sometimes we talk about the difference between shippers and non-shippers. We know that there are people out there who are watching Lost for the mytharc and are decidedly not interested in the love triangle. That’s totally great; in fact, most of the time, we wish we were those people. So all I can fathom is that if you’re really interested in the mythology stuff—the island, the DHARMA Initiative, Hanso, Charles Widmore, etc.—then you are on Team Locke, so to speak. The “getting off the island” story is second-fiddle to you and is frankly just getting in the way of the bigger stories that happen on the island. You roll your eyes at character-driven episodes like “Something Nice Back Home,” favoring hours that focus not on the emotional journeys that happen post-island, but on the past, present, and future of the island. Am I right?

Up until now, if you’ve been one of these mytharc people, Jack may have seemed kind of irrelevant. He gets in Locke’s way all the time, with his “let’s not go down the hatch” or “I’m not staying on the island with you” or that time he tried to shoot Locke in the face. And while characters like Locke and Ben have some kind of intense pull to the island—as well as the ability to commune with Jacob—Jack is an unwilling resident. He doesn’t believe in your mythology—whether that’s the right choice or not—and therefore he has not taken on a role in that part of the story.

Until now. There have been hints of Jack’s connection to the island this season, but most of that has been dealt with through Claire and Christian—not directly. After seeing the finale, though, I think it’s clear that Jack is about to become incredibly critical to the mythology. He’s encroaching in on that big story, thanks to a visit from Locke and a chat with Ben. I think he’s poised now to begin his redemption and, ultimately, regain the leadership skills he had during the first and second seasons. (As long as he and Ben’s idea about getting the Oceanic Six back to the island doesn’t involve tying up Kate against her will.)

In this fight between Jack and Locke that’s been going on since season one, I tend to take Jack’s side. (Obviously.) I watched a little season two with a friend the other night, and I asked her about her feelings for Locke, to which she replied, “I mean, sometimes he’s awesome and is, like, going to save everyone. And other times, he’s just f—king insane.” Pretty much my thoughts exactly. The thing is, I’m all for staying on the island if you want to. If I was Locke (or Rose, for that matter), there’d be no reason for me to go back to civilization-slash-wheelchair-slash-cancer. But in the beginning of the show, Locke was just kind of, like, this cool dude who could hunt boar and help find Charlie’s guitar and maybe be a little mysterious about it in a fun sort of way. But when he started doing crazy crap like put hallucinogenic toothpaste on Boone’s forehead, feel no remorse for Boone’s death, and destroy the hatch computer, I fell out of touch with Locke. Like I said, I’m all for staying on the island if you want to, but don’t screw up other people’s chance to get off. Jack, as an empiricist, would never have trusted Locke’s suggestion that life off-island would suck. (Neither would I.) Maybe Locke did end up being right, but (A) what’s to say that life on the island is necessarily better, and (B) Jack needed to figure that out for himself.

And which one's still alive, folks?

Also, I am a firm believer in live together, die alone. This theory is what brought the camp together and created the group collective. The two characters I’ve come to dislike the most—Sawyer and Locke—have difficulties fully accepting this theory. Locke has the following interests in mind: his own, the island’s, and Jacob’s. I think he thinks that by doing what the island tells him to do, he’ll ultimately save everyone else on it, but as evidenced by Boone’s death, his murdering of Naomi, and the fact that all the redshirts in Team Locke got killed, Locke doesn’t really care what happens to the individuals on the island. While I appreciate how Locke’s trust in the island mystery has served to drive the mythology story for four years now, I myself would never put myself or my co-castaways in some of the situations that Locke has created. And neither would Jack.

So, then, let’s talk about some things Jack’s done that piss you off and that I kind of can understand.

Well, for starters, in “Something Nice Back Home,” Drunk!Jack gets angry at Kate. His argument is ultimately that, “I’m the one who saved you.” She gives him a look that we’ve been trying to interpret since then. Did he mean generally, like in the 100 island days? Because that’s kind of true, considering the events of episodes like “The Hunting Party,” “Live Together, Die Alone,” and “I Do.” But we thought maybe there was some big Jack-Saves-Kate moment in the finale. Obviously, with the way Part 1 ended for Kate, we thought maybe Jack was going to have to deal with the Others on her behalf. He didn’t. The helicopter crashed into the water. I thought maybe he’d have to rescue her there. But it was Desmond who needed mouth-to-mouth. The most heroic thing Jack did in last night’s finale was to grab her wrist and demand she not go back for Jin. As much as we Jaters loved his “I’m not leaving without you,” it wasn’t an epic rescue by any means. (That said, neither was Sawyer jumping out of the helicopter, so zip it.)

There are two conflicting ways to look at the rescue. One is as the result of four seasons of hard work by Jack and the A-Team to get off the island. In this category, you could include events like Jack liaising with the Others, the building of the raft, Jack making the trip to the radio tower to make the phone call to the freighter, Charlie sacrificing himself, Desmond calling Penny, your basic live together, die alone mentality. Or you could see it as the result of a series of happenstance events, mostly occurring in season four, that had absolutely nothing to do with Jack. Naomi parachuting, freighter arriving, several well-timed helicopter events, Michael delaying the bomb for just long enough, Penny arriving, and, well, you know, Sawyer jumping off the helicopter.

Both are valid. The second is probably more relevant to the discussion of this episode, and in the context of this argument, it’s way easier to roll your eyes at Jack in “Something Nice Back Home,” which you may have been wanting to do anyway.

I think it’s important to realize that Jack, at the pinnacle of his current flashforward story, is not the guy that Jaters and Jack fans have fallen in love with. He’s not the man that Kate fell in love with, either; the thesis of her screeching-brakes argument last night was “I love you, but…” He has failed in some respects, and Locke was right about some things. But I think it will be fascinating to see what these “horrible things” happening on the island are. Are they in any way Locke’s fault? Or can they really be blamed on Jack taking the Oceanic Six on the island?

(Also, it’s not really fair to blame Jack for leaving and taking the O6 with him if you’re also ascribing to the theory that Jack is a lameass-loser who played no real role in the rescue.)

We’ve been asking the question all season, as we’ve seen these flashforwards, of are the Oceanic Six really better off in the real world than on the island? I’m hopeful that next season is going to ask are the left-behinders really better off on the island?

Jack’s ultimate failure so far lies in the fact that he only got six people rescued. Six out of seventy-one crash survivors, including Aaron. Six. For as many times as we’ve heard Jack go on about “I’m gonna get everyone off this island,” he kind of failed miserably. What happened to live together, die alone, Dr. Shephard? I think this is definitely part of what’s “eating him alive.”

What I’m trying to say is that I understand why people are frustrated with Jack. He’s made some mistakes, he’s not a great listener, and he has a tendency to be a cocky douchebag, particularly when “stoned on his pills.” (Thanks, Kate, for recognizing that. We’ll sober him up for you and return him to the Lie!Fam ASAP.)

I think those of you who dislike Jack should prepare yourselves, though. Because I think season five is going to ultimately introduce us to a renaissance Jack—off pills and back to being Aaron’s dad—who’s got an uphill battle to win and a hell of a drive. Although I love him pretty much unconditionally, I do hope he becomes more traditionally likable. I’m ready to see him accept his fate and carry on. Grow a pair and get back to the island.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One Big Seriously? My Relationship With Cliffhangers

I was a big Friends fan. Ross/Rachel was one of my very first OTPs, and I still hold a special place in my heart for them. Generally, the format of Friends is extinct. With the exception of 30 Rock and The Office, I don't watch anything half-hour anymore, and nothing I watch has a laugh track, either. Friends was also big on the over-hyped melodrama, too. I literally can't believe I survived ten years of will-they-or-won't-they. That's a decade, folks! And it wasn't even that big of a payoff! WHERE'S MY EPILOGUE!??

I will say, though, that I had a ton of fun at my Friends series finale party. It was dress-up mandatory. My high school newspaper co-editor-in-chief, Bobby, and I went as 80's Monica and Chandler. This would be funnier if you knew what I looked like—I am very small. I'm a small person, but I was decked out in my mom's 80's gear and rockin' some big hair. Anyway, it was a good time. But it has nothing to do with this discussion.

What I want to talk about is cliffhangers. Timely, no? Considering that it's season finale time, it seems like an appropriate conversation to have.

Friends had nine season finales. Seven of them ended with cliffhangers. Like BIG cliffhangers. Let's recap.

Season one: Rachel waits for Ross at the airport with flowers. Oh, pre-9/11.
Season three: Rachel and Ross's bald girlfriend Bonnie are in separate rooms at the beach house. Ross opens one of the doors (which?!?) and says, "Hey."
Season four: LONDON OMG. Monica and Chandler sleep together and Ross accidentally says the wrong name at his wedding to Emily.
Season five: Vegas, baby! Monica and Chandler plan to elope, but their plans are thwarted when a whoa-drunk Ross and Rachel beat them to the punch.
Season seven: Monica and Chandler get married for realsies, but the real cliffhanger is that Rachel is pregnant—OMG.
Season eight: Baby Emma is born. Joey accidentally proposes to Rachel and she says yes.
Season nine: Barbados. It's stupid.

Like, it's kind of ridiculous how many cliffhangers this show had.

So far this year—and, really, in the last few years in general—there haven't been ridiculous cliffhangers. And I appreciate that shows and networks are realizing that they're just not really necessary. Keeping us on the edge of our seat for the summer doesn't have the effect they once thought it did. Sometimes, it's just frustrating. Here's what I think are the real keys to making sure we tune in next season.

1. Quality of finale. Leave me with warm, happy thoughts about the show. NOT like Grey's Anatomy did last year by making everyone miserable and pathetic and annoying. And the writing was bad, too.
2. Tying up loose ends. Desperate Housewives's first season finale solved the Mary Alice mystery—if we've been following a storyline all season, we don't want you to dangle the answers in front of our face and then deny it to us at the last minute. We're bored already—another four months is just going to kill us. Like think about Lost’s first finale—thank goodness I was watching the boxed set and could just move on to iTunes for “Man of Science, Man of Faith,” because I would’ve been pissed if I’d waited all summer to find out what was in the hatch after having waited for so many months already. GOSH! Grey's did this quite well last night (Mere's therapy, Ava's personality disorder), The Office failed miserably (Jim not proposing).
3. Setting up themes and big story arcs for next season. This, The Office did well: Michael as a dad equals awesome. Last year, Jim asking Pam out on a date equals squee. Liz Lemon adopting on 30 Rock equals can't wait.

You may be thinking: but a cliffhanger quite easily fulfills Caroline Qualification Number Three. No, it doesn't. Because cliffhangers don't set up themes or story arcs for next season. They set up about six seconds of resolution for next season. Friends's season four began with the "revelation" that Ross had actually walked in on Bonnie and Rachel hanging out together. One quick laugh and the cliffhanger was resolved—stupidly. Think about Alias’s last two “cliffhangers.” We were so worried for nine months (they did that whole January start date for season four) that SpyDaddy was going to be evil, that Project Christmas was, like, this incredibly elaborate thing that Sydney Bristow had been involved in… It was intense. I mean, the project was coded SAB-47, so it clearly should have involved Sydney Anne Bristow and Rambaldi. And then it was like this huge cop-out that took three seconds to explain—SpyDaddy killed SpyMommy. Over and out.

Don’t get me started on how stupidly long I worried that Michael Vaughn was going to be evil. Seriously.

Now, the focus is on realism and quality—and rightly so.

I meant to post this blog before the Grey's finale, but my Chaos time has been usurped by podcasting, and my TV focus time has--as usual--been usurped by Lost. There wasn’t really a cliffhanger for Grey’s this year, and it just wasn’t necessary. Those Caroline Qualifications were all met (quite beautifully, actually), and the finale exemplified realism and quality. It was by far one of the best episodes I’ve seen all year, and I wasn’t rolling my eyes at it too hard. (The most unrealistic element was how did Meredith Grey manage to put those candles in such straight lines?)

The thing was—and we discussed this on the podcast—there easily could have been a cliffhanger. Derek could have gotten in a car crash on the way back to Meredith, and the finale could have ended with Mere sitting there in the grass with a look of hopeful trust while the audience knows Derek ain’t gonna make it back to her in the near future.

That did not happen, and for that I say thank you, Shonda Rhimes.

30 Rock actually had multiple cliffhangers this season, but they were silly. They were for quick laughs in the moment, not to keep us hanging on for the summer. They’re not expecting us to be waiting all summer to find out if the Gay Bomb is actually going to make Jack Donaghy and Dick Cheney hot for each other. I’m not stressed about the possibility of Kenneth getting killed in Beijing. Using those outlandish “cliffhangers” was just another way for 30 Rock to masterfully poke fun at its own genre.

Now, today is Thursday, May 29, 2008, and I have a feeling that at least one show I watch is going to give me a cliffhanger. Lost promises to blow everything out of the water, and it seems like it actually has the possibility to. For three seasons, we faithfully watched a show that, despite its insanity, stayed pretty true to a format: on-island “real-time” events peppered with flashbacks providing relevant backstory for the castaways. The flashforwards threw us for a loop at first, perhaps, but it’s still the same concept. Now that the Oceanic 6 are apparently getting rescued, how will this format continue? Will “real-time” become off-island, with flashbacks to previously unseen events of the island? Will we see flashforwards to them being BACK on the island? Will episodes alternate between O6 stories and left-behinder stories? Or will something so radically affect Lost storytelling that the whole flashback/flashforward convention will have to be disposed of? Will time stop mattering? Will we start seeing flash-sideways, as Losties travel through time?

I have no freaking idea, and it’s probably not even a good idea to talk about it, since I’ll know before I go to sleep tonight whether or not I’ll even be tuning in to Lost next season.

Let’s just hope it meets the rest of the requirements. (And those other Lost-specific Caroline Requirements…like little girl baby Shephards.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chaos in Stereo Episode Two: Grey's Anatomy Season Four Finale

What happens when you put three fangirls in the same (digital) room and add alcohol and not-quite-day-old Derek & Meredith joy? A lot of giggling, a lot of squee, and some serious analysis. We also have a pretty exciting theory for next season.

We're still learning about the logistics of podcasting--while it definitely sounds better than last week's, it's still not the best thing I've ever heard. We also had some garbly periods that we tried to re-enact and edit in--like The Hills! Bear with us--we're improving!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Seattle - Is There Something In The Water?

A couple weeks ago I remember talking about how excited I was that Meredith was getting some therapy. I found it even more entertaining to hear Patrick Dempsey express his excitement on a recent episode of Rachel Ray. His exact words were, "Meredith is in therapy.....finally." Personally, I think this therapist idea is one of the best storyline/arc ideas that Shonda and Co. have come up with. I offered to go and whip Meredith into shape...but my method involved punching her in the face. Not sure why I never got a call back on that one. (Note: In no way do I want to punch Ellen Pompeo in the face...just her character. I enjoy Ellen.)

We finally have someone who is standing up to her and calling her out. She has a tendency to quit. She has been careless with her life. She does wait for Derek (and I'm sure any other man) to screw up so she can have a reason to quit. I'm not saying Derek is perfect. Believe me. He has deserved a few kicks to the shins...and a couple to a region just a bit to the north. Oh...and am I the only one who was hoping that it was Derek sitting on Dr. Wyatt's comfy couch instead of Hahn? What a great twist that would have been. Seriously.

Week to week I continue to enjoy the clinical trial. Of course I can enjoy it. I'm not a patient. I can enjoy drawing parallels, dodging anvils and foreshadowing. Hey, some people knit. I speculate. But I've got a couple questions. First, are people flying in to undergo this procedure? Seems like a lot of tumors are popping up in the Seattle area. Might be time to check the water. Second, what would have been so wrong with telling the woman from last week that they just couldn't wait any longer to do the surgery so if she really wanted to do it, they had to act now. At least let her go into the surgery believing that her knight was coming...since he actually was. Now the last thought she had was that this wonderful man was all a sham. Okay, I know it was for the irony. But c'mon.

What ABC needs to stop doing is running promos because it only makes it worse. In the latest promos we see just a split second of highly frustrated Derek throwing paperwork off a desk along with Meredith being tickled pink to be working side by side with her "world class neurosurgeon". All she's missing are a couple pom poms and a D on her shirt. Quite a change from last week when they weren't necessarily playing together very well in the sandbox. Derek looks to be weighted down by the pressure of having a successful trial and is asking if his ego is too big. Dude - this is not the time to lose confidence in yourself. Not that I can blame him. He doesn't want to keep killing patients. He doesn't want to let Meredith down. I'm not a doctor but after 3 patients have died in a row...your confidence must be wavering a bit. Buck up, Derek. It's gonna get better.

As I write this I'm wearing my "I think Rebecca has a brain tumor and will be the first successful trial patient" button. It hit me early on in last week's episode when she actually forgot she already had a kid. Put that together with her vomiting and, oh yeah, a hysterical pregnancy and irrational thinking/behavior and I do believe that has the makings of an old fashioned brain tumor. How convenient that she be in Seattle in time for a clinical trial. Whether Rebecca survives and returns home or she ends up dying, I'm not going to be sad to see her go. Her storyline was intriguing in last season but now it's just a distraction until Alex and Izzie get back together. I'll let Mae handle that one.

I wouldn't mind seeing Rebecca as the first successful patient and Derek sort of bowing out of the hoopla and letting Meredith have her moment in the spotlight as the originator of the trial. They share their "we finally did it" moment and he heads home. Realizing there's a bottle of booze to be opened, Meredith grabs it (as we have seen in another promo photo) and heads for Che Shepherd where squee-worthy things can happen. Then they can fade to black. Let them do things that are sung about in various Marvin Gaye and Barry White songs.

...just don't jip me out of anything!

Here's to Thursday!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sex and the City and The X-Files: The Summer of the Epilogue

If you're a fangirl, there are really only two big movies coming out this summer. One is The X-Files: I Want To Believe and the other is Sex and the City: The Movie. Both are long-awaited returns to fandom's favorite cities, characters, and couples, and I can guarantee you that I'll be in the audience at both opening nights. I may even be dressed up.

As we join our OTPs already-in-progress, teasers are making it pretty clear that I'm going to be watching two very different movies.

Humor me here. Obviously, I wasn't really expecting Sex and the City and The X-Files to deliver strikingly similar plots or anything.

But I've got to say, in certain respects, I want the same things from these two movies.

It's called the epilogue.

Think about the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. (For romantic comedies, epilogues are unbelievably critical. Audiences are looking for happily ever after.) I really love this movie—like, a lot—but I hate the ending. Kate Hudson jumps on the back of Matthew McConaughey's motorcycle, presumably to live happily ever after. But presumably doesn't work for me. For all I know, Kate falls off the back of that motorcycle five minutes later and dies. Even one of my top-five movies of all time, Say Anything, has a fairly unfulfilling ending. It doesn't take much to please me. The footage during the credits of Sweet Home Alabama makes me giddy with happiness.

I mean, imagine if 27 Dresses had ended without Katherine Heigl getting married or Baby Mama had ended without Tina Fey getting a baby.

Epilogues are all-important to storytelling, no matter the media.

Harry Potter? Fantastic (if hokey) epilogue. When Harry Met Sally...? Undeniably my favorite movie epilogue EVER. Alias? Precisely what I needed to send Sydney, Vaughn, and the rest of the Spy!Fam riding off into the sunset.

So when a much-beloved show ends on such an unsettled note as The X-Files did, it's impossible not to hope for a sweet shipper tie-up to the story.

The show's ending was so bittersweet. We did see some really tender moments for Mulder and Scully, but a lot of it came at the expense of, well, their parenthood. Oh, and their freedom. Our favorite couple finished the series in each others' arms—but fugitives. Six years later, there's prime opportunity for showing us how my firsts got back on the government's good side and got their baby back. (Who's so not a baby anymore—William was born seven freaking years ago.)

Sex and the City already gave everyone pretty happy endings and seems to be using the movie to just expand on that. Sure, we've heard rumors about Steve being a cheater, Samantha moving to Los Angeles (eek!), and Carrie having more commitment issues with Big, but I think we all know how this movie's going to end.

Fluff fluff fluff.

Charlotte will have a baby. Carrie and Big will get married. Samantha will return to New York. They'll have brunch. They'll buy shoes. They'll drink cosmos. They'll have sex. All four women will end up happy in love.

I can't remember where I read it, but there was an interview with Michael Patrick King where he said that the purpose of the movie was to make these women happy.

And he didn't mean the SATC girls. He meant the women in the audiences. The women who are, like, taking weekend trips to the city with their girlfriends to do the Sex and the City tour and see the movie. He means Caroline Carter, who will make her friends call her Carrie for the evening while they drink cosmos at the bar across the street from the movie theater and who is secretly hoping she'll meet a handsome Mr. Bradshaw just for namesake purposes.

I have no doubts about Sex and the City: The Movie's devotion to giving me and the rest of the girls a big fancy epilogue.

It's my other namesake, Mr. Chris Carter, who's got me terrified.

He had nine years and yet refused to wrap up anything, really. And with the movie's departure from the mytharc, it's not looking to be a pretty little cherry on top of my beloved cupcake.

They say William doesn't go unmentioned, but I'm not holding out any hope for Baby!Steal '08, Part Deux. (For Part One, just ask Kate Austen.) In fact, thanks to the following shorty-short clips (in character, we're told), it might appear that my first loves have not even spent the last six years in each other's company:



How is this possible? The other blog girls and I are very upset about this. I just have a hard time believing that after everything these two have been through, they wouldn't be together forever. Part of what I loved about the final scene—aside from the always-appreciated pilot throwback—was just how those two clung to each other. There was something desperate and sweet about it, loving without being maudlin or explicit.

Now, I'm confident that they'll get a good kiss or two, and that they'll probably end up in the same ambiguously-togetherness in which they ended the series, but I'm not looking to this lamely-titled movie for happy endings. The hardest part of being a phile is accepting the fact that these two aren't going to get your stereotypical happy ending. And that's hard when you're the girl who can't imagine a universe--real or imagined--in which fairytales don't come true and heroes don't slay the proverbial dragon and get the girl. (Hello! This is why I'm a Jater!) But I think it's important for me--and the rest of this fandom--to go ahead and just accept the fact that they're not going to get their son back. Mulder isn't going to build spaceship sandcastles with William, and the agents aren't going to have double-date dinner parties with Doggett and Reyes. If we just disabuse ourselves of those notions right now, I think we'll be better off in the long run. This movie's going to have plenty of awesome stuff that the Sex and the City movie won't--think gross stuff.

I'm jazzed for both movies but totally aware that I should have whoa different expectations for each. Someone from these parts will be blogging about Sex and the City: The Movie after it premieres, I'm sure, and we'll be having a whole week of excitement--including blogs and podcasts--when the X-Files movie debuts in July.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Chaos in Stereo Episode One: Lost 4x13 Major Spoilers

We're just learning about this podcast business, and I won't lie when I say we're not great at it yet. There's a little feedback and a lot of me not knowing to put my computer on the table, lest it make noises in my lap. (It's annoying, but now I know better.)

Here's the context. Since we heard DarkUFO was going to post these spoilers, Mae and I have had a deal that no matter when it happened, we'd call the other and read them together. Just so happened that the spoilers came out in the middle of the night. So in addition to our average everyday freaking-out, you've got the added bonus of me having been woken up moments before and Mae still being awake at three in the morning.

Obviously, don't listen to the podcast unless you want to be/are already spoiled for the finale. For those who don't want to be spoiled, check back later this week for a special Grey's Anatomy season finale edition of the Chaos in Stereo podcast. (Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's not in stereo, but I thought it was witty.)

The Office: You Can't Always Get What You Want

I thought I was in a real quandary.

Last week, I pondered which of the many, many things that had been set up on The Office would actually come to fruition. Would Jim and Pam seek greener pastures far away from Scranton, PA? Would Toby pull a “Casino Night” and lay his feelings for Pam out on the table? How would Pam and/or Jim react to such a move? And, ultimately, would Jim propose? I thought the conflict of the episode would come in the fact that surely not ALL of these things could happen.

I was so unprepared for the possibility that NOTHING would happen.

And yet nothing did.

There was so much possibility for Jim and Pam going into the season finale, and I was so terribly disappointed—from both the in-canon perspective and the this-is-a-show perspective—that they were left on the exact same level they were eight episodes ago.

They did get a few cute moments in. Pam getting accepted to design school was sweet and exciting for her, and their mutual anticipation about a prospective proposal would have been precious if not for the disappointment with which the joyful feeling is now forever entangled.

As a storyline, this is just dumb.

We’ve been anxiously waiting since “Chair Model” for a Jam proposal. When Jim said, “Well, that’s coming,” I believed him. I was stupid.

I would venture to guess that the season five premiere will pick up three months later, once Pam has returned from design school and Baby Levinson has been born. (Oh, snap—who called that one, by the way?) If Pam and Jim are not engaged by this point, then it’s even more pathetic because Jim’s either a huge pansy or Pam said no. And if they ARE engaged by this point, then you didn’t show me it and I’m going to be hella upset!

Throughout the episode, my co-watchers and I just kept waiting for a little resolution to any of the many Jam things currently up in the air. When Ryan was marched out of HQ on fraud charges (Thanks, YouTube!), we thought we had cracked the code. Jim would get Ryan’s job, and Jam would head off to NYC together. Win win win. But that clearly didn’t happen.

My dad has predicted that Pam will strike up a relationship with somebody new while in New York. Others I know think Jim and Pam’s relationship is just dandy. Others are burying themselves in happy thoughts of post-ep proposals on the roof. The problem as I see it is that the longer Jim postpones getting married, the more Jim risks looking like Roy. And the more likely Pam will—and should—say no.

I’ve been hearing a lot of takes on what people think will happen to Jim and Pam in the aftermath of “Goodbye, Toby.” For most people, it goes something like this: Pam is acting weird. Jim knows why Pam is acting weird. They talk about their mutual disappointment. Jim wanted it to be special. Pam just wanted it to happen. Jim proposes.

No, thank you.

By focusing so much on the situation of the proposal, Jim is putting way too little faith in Pam. And by planning to do it in the Dunder-Mifflin parking lot of all places (regardless of how done-up it was), Jim disregarded the less-than-joyful memories they have of that place. We should’ve known the proposal would be botched with such a historically doom-filled setting. The rooftop or the spot right in front of Jim’s desk would have been a much more appropriate location for Jim to propose.

Location isn’t critical, though. No matter what, Jim should have just freakin’ done it.

Pam’s got to be second-guessing their relationship at this point. I sure would be. Jim would be a fool to send her off to art school without a ring on her finger. Yeah, Andy ruined the moment, but he didn’t have to ruin the whole evening, which is exactly what Jim let him do. So I think it’s up to Pam to step it up and either propose herself, offer Jim an ultimatum, or break it off. Her mistake, I think, was in giving away her answer way too early. Jim thinks their marriage is an inevitability—I’ve watched television long enough to know that it’s not—and he’s confident enough in her answer to let this prolonged limbo go on for way too long. He doesn’t think he’s risking her yes, so Pam needs to make it clear that he actually is risking it. Because at this point he’s taking advantage of Pam’s love for him, and the writers are taking advantage of me.

And I am tired of it. I hate being dragged along with a stupid storyline—especially when it’s only recently taken the turn from brilliant to stupid.

UGH Jim. Do you remember how easy it was for Jack to propose to Kate? It’s really only four words. Grow a pair and ask her.

That all said, it was finally a funny episode. These last several have been pretty serious downers, and I’m glad to see that it at least picked up a little there at the end. The Kevin/Holly stuff was AMAZING, as was the kick-off of the Jan and Michael as parents storyline. That’s what I’m looking forward to for next season.

And Angela Martin…tsk tsk. God, I wish I had the words to describe how perfect that tag was. When the episode ended, I looked at my friend in disbelief that Jim and Pam had actually ended the season without an engagement. There was a big part of me hoping that the tag would let my Jam heart relax for the summer. But that reveal was perhaps even better. The looks on both of their faces—priceless. Dwight’s surprised and Angela’s just pissed.

Hey, at least somebody got what they wanted.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lost: A Note on Our Finale Spoiler Policy

Hello, all. As you may remember from many of our previous conversations, both Mae and I were wholly spoiled for "Through the Looking Glass." While we don't really regret that choice--nor did it ruin the awesomeness of that finale--we *did* hope to go relatively spoiler-free for this year's finale.

When we heard DarkUFO was getting synopses for "There's No Place Like Home," Parts 1, 2, and 3, we decided to resist. For part one, we were actually legit unspoiled.

GO US!

Then we saw the promo. And heard some rumors. And got nervous. And excited.

The spoilers for Parts 2 and 3 are supposedly coming out sometime in the middle of the night tonight, and Mae and I are absolutely (a) on edge and (b) going to read them.

We're going to do a little audio podcast when we read them, so you'll be able to hear our immediate reactions (Squee? Never watching Lost again? WTF?) as well as some (hopefully) intelligent pre- and post-game analysis.

We will not be discussing these major spoilers in text, so please continue visiting the site as usual for the next two weeks. We know the leakage is controversial and that people with much higher tolerance for waiting (AKA patience) are unspoiled, and we don't want to ruin it for anyone. But we're in utter agony already and we think it's going to be really FREAKING hilarious to listen to our reactions.

See you soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lost: Kisses and Sixes and Switches

Well, I'm asking the exact question that Darlton said I'd be asking right about now-how in the world are they going to get off the island in three hours of airtime?

Judging from the sneak peeks we've seen, Sayid's with the boat (is it a coincidence that he says he can take six people at a time?) and Sun's nearby, but Jack, Kate, and Aaron (the Lie!Fam) are out in the jungle, and Hurley's all the way at the Orchid. How does this make for them being the Oceanic 6 so far?

Also, one thing that bothered me in that clip was Hurley nagging at Locke and Ben about how he still wants to get off the island. Dude, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. If you wanted to get off the island, you shoulda joined Team Jack in the first place.

For months now, we've been talking about who's going to rescue these guys. Obviously we assumed it would be the freighter people, yet Darlton told us flat-out that they aren't the rescuers. Looking for other options, we jumped to Penny Widmore, which would be awesome except I don't think it's going to happen.

The other night I was sitting around, thinking about Sayid and bearings and rafts and constants, and I realized that they can pretty much rescue themselves now, can't they? Sayid said he could take six people back, and it doesn't seem like you could really fit six people on that little boat, which makes me think...does he somehow have that big octagonal raft we've seen in spoiler pictures all folded up in the bottom of his little boat? Mae suggests that, if this is true, Sayid could just tug them through the correct bearing, which he knows now. Jack also has that cool satfone, now, which will make getting saved a whole hell of a lot easier once you've escaped the island barrier. So, yeah, it's looking to me like they can get themselves a good way's away from the island and then just phone up the coast guard or whoever.

Okay, but what about these bearings? I'm very confused, as are many other people, as to why you could use 305º bearing to get both to and from the island. Because if you're sitting on the shore and you've just used 305º to get there, shouldn't 305º now be pointing you further into the jungle? Logically? It kind of reminds me of A Wrinkle in Time, the illustration Madeleine L'Engle uses to describe a tesseract. I couldn't find the specific illustration using a Google search, but I'll try and draw it/scan it later. In doing a Google search, however, I did-intriguingly-find that a tesseract is a real thing, except it's not the wormholey thing L'Engle describes but rather an eight-sided cube. Don't know if that could have Lost implications-probably not-but if Meg Murry saves the day, I'll be thoroughly pleased. Also, in A Wrinkle in Time, the Murry parents are Kate & Alex, while in the horrendous film adaptation (that kid from the ring as Charles Wallace-eek!), the parents are Jack & Dana. Yeaaaaaah Jack and Kate. I just mention that to be funny, not because I think it has anything to do with anything other than my ridiculous fangirlishness.

Speaking of ridiculous fangirlishness, I am absolutely ON EDGE about this spectacular kiss. Most Jaters I know are trying to come at it from a non-ship perspective-we don't think it's going to be Jate or Skate. I've heard some Skaters say that it should be their ship, because the show “owes them” after “Something Nice Back Home.” Here's the thing, and I mean this from a show perspective, not just as a Jater. This shouldn't be about taking turns. It's about winning.

The earlier the show officially picks an OTP, the better-and the worse. They won't do it, because they know that if, say, this season finale ends with Sawyer and Kate getting married and having babies and living happily ever after, Caroline Carter's freaking DONE. I'm sure there are Skaters who'd do the same if the finale brought a similar situation for Jate. But it's better because it (A) doesn't make Kate seem like a huge slut, which she will if she keeps bouncing back and forth between Jack and Sawyer for two more years and (B) lets us all focus on the real drama on the show.

The best way the season finale could end for me would be a scene on the island, Kate's holding the baby and you're like “Oh, hey, Aaron,” and then, like, a six-year-old comes over and Kate's all “Oh, hey, Aaron,” and you're all “Then who's that baby?” And Jack comes over and kisses Kate and makes googly faces at their daughter. And Sawyer comes over and everybody's happy and BFF. Good times.

Ausiello's got this quote up today: “It seems Darlton was holding out on us. Not only is the kiss spectacular, but according to a very solid source, it's the kind of liplock that 'stops f---ing time' and 'makes the entire world vanish in the moment.'”

I think this lends further credence to the idea that it'll be Desmond and Penny. They're the only ones so far whose relationship has a basis in this kind of star-crossed, timeless thing that Darlton has set up. There's something very mythical about all of Desmond and Penny's interactions, from their flash-about stories in “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” to the Charlie stuff and NOT PENNY'S BOAT, to “The Constant.” Desmond's “I love you, Penny” before flipping that failsafe switch, Desmond talking about Penny to Jack back in LA.... All of their relationship is kind of on a different plane. So if we're thinking that the kiss is really going to have mythological implications for the show, then logically it should be a couple like Desmond and Penny.

Neither Jate nor Skate fits into this category.

Now, a kiss involving Claire would sure fit into this, in light of recent events. A lot of Jaters-including myself-would like to believe that it's Claire/Sawyer. They've sort of started setting up this ship with Sawyer being all overprotective of Claire in the jungle and all freaked out about her walking off. As I told Mae on the phone a few weeks ago, “Let him be Claire's problem. See if I care.” For certain, Kate never really needed him to be all overprotective, but I think Sawyer showed a concern for Claire in “Something Nice Back Home” that he never once showed to Kate. Man, that was a good episode, wasn't it?

Even more amazing-truly spectacular-would be if somehow this is a Claire/Charlie kiss. Kind of like that Denny/Izzie brush-pass in “Some Kind of Miracle.” That surely defies time, no?

Another thing we've been thinking about with respect to the finale is the beginnings of the Oceanic 6 becoming the Oceanic 6.

In his testimony at Kate's trial, Jack specifically says, "We landed in the water." This is leading Mae and I both to bet that the Oceanic 6 DOES have to deal with Widmore's people. And that they end up saying that the plane at the bottom of the ocean (the one Widmore faked) was in fact Oceanic 815. Everybody else is dead and down there, but those 8 people kicked their way up to the surface. (This story would also correspond with what's written on Jin's tombstone.) What's weird about this arrangement is that...it's a pretty big deal for the Oceanic 6 to make. Saying everyone else is dead means no chance of going back to rescue them. If you're making a deal like that, you've got to be getting something pretty substantial in return. Now, we know they're getting a pretty large settlement check from Oceanic and the airline's Golden Pass, but I'd challenge you to look me in the eye and tell me that any one of those five adults would make a deal like that for the money. (Or that a settlement like that would really be contingent upon making that deal.)

But then there's that business about Jack saying that Sawyer "chose to stay." Sawyer, Locke, perhaps even Rose and Bernard--I could understand them staying. But why would Juliet stay if given a choice? Jin? There's something weird there.

Also, on a semi-related note, ever since "Through the Looking Glass," we've been looking for any kind of canonical justification for why Kate knew where to meet Jack. In the speculation period for "Something Nice Back Home," we half-joked that perhaps Jack and Kate had used the airport parking lot as a secret sex rendezvous point. After that didn't come true (you don't need a secret rendezvous point when you have your own house together), we thought maybe the Oceanic 6 had gathered there upon arrival to fabricate their web of lies. But hearing Kristin's recap of a clip shown at the ABC Upfronts definitely leads me to believe that the secret plan is formulated on the rescue plane.

As expected, I'm totally lost. My relationship with this show is so tenuous right now, because I'm fully expecting and prepared to drop it like it's hot if this spectacular kiss is Skate. Call me fickle and see if I care. I hope Darlton can come up with something more creative than this. Last year, I was totally spoiled for the finale, and while it didn't necessarily ruin the heart-attack Jate moment, I'll obviously never know how I would have otherwise experienced that episode. I'm excited and terrified to be going into this episode without massive spoilers. Mostly, though, I'm just ready for the season to be over--my brain and my heart need a break from this stuff.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Office: Please Don't Make Me Look Like a Moron. Please.

I’ve become very attached to one of my theories. Weeks ago, I predicted that The Office’s season finale would end with a quickie wedding for Jim and Pam. While she loves Jim to pieces, Pam’s last engagement left a sour taste in her mouth. I could TOTALLY see her agreeing to marry Jim if and only if they, like, drive RIGHT NOW to Atlantic City and seal the deal.

Since then, I’ve taken every spoilery tidbit from the elopement perspective. (I was convinced “Did I Stutter?” was going to include their engagement, just based on the title.)

Now, though, after seeing “Job Fair,” I feel like I’m being led to believe that Jam’s going to end the season on a much different note. If The Office really was real, Jim and Pam would be ready to leave Dunder-Mifflin. If you look at their season-long story arc, that’s what it’s been about—their gradual evolution toward each other and away from the office. We’ve long suspected—hell, known—that Jim and Pam only really stayed at Dunder-Mifflin because of the other. They knew that their friendship (when it was just a friendship) would not survive if they had to actually, you know, make plans to see each other. She would’ve married Roy and their lives would have played out very differently.

Now they’re together, and they’re going to stay together. They’re going to get married, whether it’s this week or this fall or next spring. (Please don’t let it be next spring.) They don’t need that link of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton to keep them in each other’s lives.

I’m still hopeful that they’ll tie the knot next week. Actually, I’ve told so many people about this dumb theory that I’m going to look awfully stupid if they don’t get married. But what is so interesting about Jim and Pam and this year’s finale is that SO many things have been set up that nothing and everything would surprise the crap out of me.

Toby pulling a “Casino Night” and laying a big one on poor, engaged Pam? We should being seeing that one coming.

Jim quitting Dunder-Mifflin? It’s been planted and was supremely heightened by “Job Fair.” All that stuff Michael said about Jim Halpert being able to do anything, but choosing to work there.... It’s not quite Sydney Bristow undercover material.

A last-minute Jam elopement? I could see it happening.

So while surely not ALL of these things are going to happen—sure, it’s an hour-long finale, but the show isn’t just about these two—I’m really interested to see what does. When everything seems like it could be in the cards, can you really settle for less than all of it?

Now, here’s the thing. The Office isn’t real; thus, Jim can’t quit Dunder-Mifflin. Because, like I said, if Jim quits, then there’s really no reason for Pam to stay, and then there’d be no logical reason why they’d still be on the show. Now, you could send them both to Corporate (Ryan gets fired, Jim gets his job, and Pam takes that graphic design internship Jan talked about in “Boys and Girls”) and have them be, I don’t know, the subject of a spin-off, except that you can’t. Because I would just, like, stop watching The Office if they actually made the spin-off just about Jim and Pam. The Office would lose all value to me.

Secondly, remember how Jim tried to leave Scranton last season? We all knew he wasn’t going to end up in New York. And those Stamford episodes were painful enough. No, Jim and Pam have to stay at Dunder-Mifflin Scranton for the show to continue to make logical sense. So I wonder what the point is of having these longing-for-more-than-this storylines. The way I see it, the Jam-wanting-more story can go one of two ways:

1. The Coach Taylor Way. One or both leaves for three episodes, then decides they actually miss Michael. (Seriously?) This only really makes sense if only one of them leaves, and they realize they just can’t make it through the day without the other. Which is bullshit, because spending twenty-four hours a day together without ever getting on each other’s nerves is inconceivable.

2. The Charlie Salinger Way. I am currently rewatching Party of Five with my roommate; we just finished season one. And it’s silly, because it’s only been 22 episodes and yet so much ridiculous crap has happened! Charlie/Jack/Foxy has tried to move out of that house SO many times. (Which is just really irresponsible. Yes, Charlie/Jack, we know you are the reluctant leader of this family/island civilization, but we also know you shouldn’t leave Owen/Aaron under the sole supervision of Julia/Claire.) ANYWAY, so in the episode right before the finale, Charlie/Jack decides it’s time to move out of the house he shares with the rest of his orphaned siblings and his girlfriend the babysitter. He even gets an apartment with the babysitter, but they don’t ever even sleep there, I don’t think, because Claudia/Gretchen Weiner doesn’t feel safe in the house without Charlie/Jack and the babysitter. And so before they can even really move, Charlie/Jack decides it’s not a good idea to move. It’s super-predictable right down to the “Let’s go home” line.

See, ultimately the show needs to end with Jim and Pam getting more out of their lives than what Dunder-Mifflin has to offer. But in the context of the story, unless they have some secret strategy I can’t even conceive of right now, there’s no reason to flirt with the idea of them leaving when we know they’re not ever really going to go.

Okay, moving on from Jam, I want to touch on two points really quickly.

One: Dwangela—OMG. Wow I love them. Loved their awkwardness and cuteness in “Job Fair.” It’s like you could almost feel Angela’s Dwight-hate melting away. Those two are totally going to get back together in the finale and it’s going to be the best reunion since Derek and Meredith had sex at the prom! (I’m actually curious to see which Office couple creates a bigger finale squee-attack.)

Second: There’s an Office pregnancy rumor going around, and for comedy’s sake, there’s only two people who it could and should be. One is Kelly Kapoor, if only because HOLY CRAP I love Kelly, would love to see her get a bigger storyline, and I’m just insane with love for Kelly. But the other, the one who I really think it’ll be, is Jan. How else are they going to keep Melora Hardin on the show? (Aside from a brilliant OfficeTally poster who specced that the spin-off would be Andy and Jan running Serenity by Jan.) And, I mean, just...Michael as a dad. Jesus, that’s funny.

I’m not even hoping it’s going to be Jam. Too much, too soon, if you ask me. Save some drama for season five! Baby Girl Halpert can wait. The engagement can’t. (Oh, bitches, if they don’t even end up ENGAGED by the time this episode is over, you’re going to have a very angry Caroline on your hands.)

Hopefully, there won’t be a cliffhanger—it’s kind of unnecessary. Last year’s ending was sweet and definitely left me wanting the premiere ASAP, without having to sweat bullets all summer.

Hopefully my elopement prediction will come true. At least then I won’t look like an idiot. Hmm.

Grey's Anatomy: Parallels, Eye!Sex, and Gigglefests--It's Officially Back

I never thought I’d be thanking the strike, but almost everything I’ve watched in the last few weeks has been great. Sure, maybe it’s just that my brain’s been addled by so many months without new material, but I prefer to think, as does Matt Roush over at TV Guide, that the paring-down that’s occurred as a result of the strike has resulted in less filler and meatier episodes. Last Thursday was Grey’s Anatomy at its finest. The easiest way to dissect what I thought—and look forward to—about Grey’s is to talk about it in terms of couples.

First and foremost, Derek and Meredith. Their interactions in this episode were classic. Those two were doing what they do best: gorgeously paralleled medical sexy talk and Eye!Sex. I love how unabashedly Grey’s chooses its medical stories to correspond with the emotional story arc of the doctors. I mean, every medical show does it, but Grey’s is just so overt about it. And how precious it is sometimes! Their discussion about the champagne bottle—“We will succeed.”—was so sweet and beautifully foreshadowing of the result we all know is coming.

And, oh, holy crap, how sweet was their surgery together, showing how in sync those two are when they only pay attention to each other. Where is MY McDreamy!?! Those two are going to be back together by the end of the season—and, as Leigh and I think, together together. And I haven’t felt so jazzed about Derek and Meredith romantically since we started anticipating their reunion at the end of season two.

Callie and Hahn—hilarious. I’m glad they’re giving this storyline a few weeks to breathe. I love that there’s still some ambiguity about the whole thing. Even though their gigglefest the other night was funny, it didn’t offer up any answers as to Hahn’s actual sexuality. It’s making me think that maybe the super-secret kiss in the finale is going to be Callie/Hahn. My roommate and I both think this coupling would be a great storyline—full of awkwardness for everyone involved. (Gah—to see Mark Sloan’s reaction.)

Also, on a more general note, I’m really appreciating the way they’re humanizing Hahn. She started off as just a big ol’ bitch, but she’s getting more awesome. Her awkward conversation with Cristina followed by her awkward conversation about awkward conversations was a good first step in making her, like, a real person.

I was kinda feeling George/Lexie on Thursday. Since they struck up a friendship at the beginning of this season, we’ve all sort of seen it coming, but I think their relationship actually might have legs now. Their smiley, just-friends conversation at Joe’s was actually kind of sweet. I could support this couple. They’re not going to be my OTP or anything, but I buy it. And although there’s bound to be some tension thanks to that whole slept-with-your-sister thing, a George/Lexie pairing is a better choice than any of the recent ones those two have been making.

I’m tiring of Adele/Richard. Dude, he lied! Again! He used George to make it seem like he was delegating, and Adele, like a stupid, stupid girl, fell for it. Richard hasn’t really changed, and I’m pretty confident Adele’s going to figure that out sooner or later. And then she’s going to give the SAME speech she’s been giving for the last two seasons. Borrrrr-ing.

Alex/Izzie. My second-in-command Grey’s OTP. I feel pretty confident that these two are going to ultimately get together, and I’m oh-so-glad to see them have a storyline together again. Also, how fitting that I’m seeing Rebecca as this year’s Denny. Her story has woefully overstayed its welcome and she’s making Alex do stupid, stupid things. We’ve heard—spoiler alert!—that she’s actually sick, not just fake-pregnant, and will be having a health crisis as the season winds down.

First of all, this girl’s spent an awful lot of time in the hospital lately, which is unbelievable and lame. Secondly, does Rebecca know she’s not pregnant?

The best choice for the writers is to kill her off. It gets Rebecca out of the way, and it allows for Izzie to be Alex’s shoulder to cry on, in the same way he was for her after Denny. I’m pretty sure she’s not strong enough to pick him up and carry him, but, you know, the emotional equivalent of that. Plus, she can do the whole I’ve-been-through-this thing, and that gives them some pretty unique common ground. Season five is going to be the season of Izzie and Alex, I’m sure of it.

Mark/Everyone
. Giving Mark depth is a good choice; giving Rose depth would have been a good choice six episodes ago, when they wanted us to believe that she was actually going to be an obstacle for Mer/Der instead of just a temporary speed bump on the road to inevitability. (Not that I don’t like the temporary speed bump, which, for a change, is actually initiating positive story movement instead of just incredibly frustrating limbo.) I’d love to see these two characters—Mark and Rose—hook up. I don’t hate Rose as a person or anything, and I think she represents the kind of girl who would NEVER consider Mark in his current incarnation. While it’s a little weird for Mark to get all of Derek’s cast-offs, I’d be interested to see what a relationship between those two could mean for both of their characters.

Next week’s episode is the penultimate chapter of this season. (Love that word—penultimate.) It’s going to set up the drama for the finale, of course, which, as usual, will probably jump into at least a few of these relationships. I’m very excited, folks!

Grey's Anatomy: Finale Photo Analysis, Fangirl Style

NOTE: The following was written by my esteemed colleague Leigh. I am merely the messenger, delivering her bloggy brilliance in the absence of her internet for all the world to enjoy. So, ya know, read and enjoy. -- Mae


______________________________________________________


We have spoiler photos. Awwwwwwwww yeah!


I'm talking about the photos below which were put together oh so nicely and posted on youtube. I have no clue where they came for nor have I been able to find them anywhere else on the interwebby but they are from the finale and they made me squee...



Meredith is at the trailer! Woot! It makes me want to go up to her, tap her on the shoulder and go, "Heeeey Meerrrrredith? Whatcha dooooin?" In that "I know what you're doing here but I want to make sure I know what you're doing here" type of tone. Now - the next question is...just what the hell is going on in these pictures? Could it possibly just be Ellen Pompeo running around in between takes? Sure - but that's no fun.

To help plow a path in my brain...I enlisted the help of Caroline. Here's what we came up with...

What/whoever she's looking at - she's quite fixated and engaged. Not engaged engaged...but engaged in conversation. But, she doesn't have the "yay I'm up at Derek's again and we are happy" facial expression. As Caroline pointed out, she has the "i'm makin' a big decision over here!" face.

She could travel up to the Shepherd Trailer Lodge for Leaner's for a number of different reasons...

After several lovely encounters at the hospital (and finding out Derek and Rose are no more) Meredith makes the trek up there to find Derek doing random sexy, manly trailer things which require her to follow him in and out of said trailer. She tries to get his full attention because as Caroline mentioned, she's kinda making a big decision over here! She finally gets to make her big girl speech. Kissing ensues.

Or...my favorite...

During an earlier hospital conversation about the huge elephant in the room, Derek tells her that he'll be home all night and if she's serious and can get past the other stuff and trust him...she knows where to find him. He's good to go. Cut to Meredith hauling up there...only to find a Derek-less trailer. ¿Dónde está Derek? She's running in/out of the trailer and ready to beat someone down. Turns out, the boy just ran down the street to pick something up. He gets out of the car and she gets to say her version of his "I want to marry you" speech...without the creepy "dying at 110 years old" part. Just a nice, classic Meredith rambley speech. "I go to therapy now. I talk about things. You and me things." Something like that. Kissing ensues.

Is anyone else sensing a Luke/Lorelai "all in" reference? Anyone? Bueller? Derek needs to relay the message that this time around, there is no middle ground. She's either with him or she's not. C'mon Meredith. It's Derek Christopher Shepherd - the gift that keeps on giving. Sure you were getting the milk for free before but I'm willing to bet that buying the whole cow is that much better. On the flipside, Derek needs to see that Meredith is making permanent changes and embrace them and support her. Resist the urge to be skeptical. Use the force, young Shepherd.

Happy Weekend! ...and gracias to Caroline...and gracias to Mae for posting this for me while I'm on the road (without internet access *whimper*).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gossip Girl: Little J, Bigger Bitch

My, my, Little Jenny Humphrey. What a social-climbing monster you’ve grown into.


How tremendously bitchy was Jenny last night? To Rufus, to Eric, and especially to Dan, he of the L.L. Bean pants and Dartmouth dreams. At least there was some comeuppance for Little J – her gay boyfriend was just using her, all her friends know she’s a liar (again), and she ended the night defeated and sobbing over a Scrabble board.


As for her boyfriend… what a douche he turned out to be. Not only is he self-loathing and closeted, but he flat-out told Jenny that there’s no way her Brooklyn ass could ever score a guy like him. I assume this storyline was truncated by the strike and smushed into only two episodes, because there would have been greater impact if we’d had time to care about Asher and Jenny. They needed at least one more episode in there of Asher being lauded by Jenny’s friends, but being secretive on the side. Otherwise, why should we care about Jenny getting dumped by some guy she’s only been dating since the last episode?


But, hey, Asher? If you’re trying to keep your sexuality on the down-low, you might want to stop kissing other boys on the streets of Manhattan, in front of high schools full of your friends.


That’s really all I have to say about “the gay bomb.” It had to be Eric and it was sweet to see that Blair (and Chuck!) really cares about him.


What I love about GG is that it zigs when I expect it to zag. I assumed Georgina would keep her “Sarah” identity a secret from Serena while she kept on pulling Dan’s strings. (This is another story that could’ve been spread out better, if there had been more episodes to play with.) Instead, G flaunted her little game in Serena’s face and dared her to play along.


And so, for the second time in less than a week, I’m watching one of my OTPs crumble under the weight of some really dumb secrets and lies. We all saw what happened when Future!Kate started – innocently – sneaking around on Future!Jack. Now we have Serena acting positively schizophrenic to avoid telling Dan that Georgina is her old frenemy.


Depending on what gets revealed next week (did Serena really kill someone?!?), Serena’s lying might be more justified than Kate’s. I get S not wanting to piss off Georgina and risk having her past deeds exposed, but I think if she would just bust out part of the truth and out Georgina, Dan would help her pull off some O.C.-style scheme to shut the little backstabber down.


Not that any of that matters anymore, since the previews show next week to be an absolute Dan/Serena catastrophe. When your boyfriend doesn’t trust you because you won’t actually tell him anything… get plastered and cheat on him. Yeah. Great.


Remember when Vanessa was the big threat to Dan and Serena’s relationship?


I’m totally psyched to get the details on this sex tape/murder scenario next week. Damn, that Shephard wedding was just a sinkhole of teenage debauchery. First Nate and Serena’s drunken bar sex, now whatever this turns out to be.


Scandalous!

Desperate Housewives: What? It's Good?

So, we’ve been reading these stories about how ratings are universally low for these post-strike episodes of virtually everything. Lost and Grey’s Anatomy both hit all-time lows, and, no, we’re not going to blame that on Jate. As I finally emerge from my weekend of Jate-induced addle-mindedness, I wanted to take a look at a show I’ve never blogged about here—but that I’ve also never missed an episode of.

Desperate Housewives
had a show-stopping first season. It was consistently good and ever-compelling. I watched that first season finale with as much anticipation and edge-of-your-seat-ness as I now watch Lost. (I. Know.) Many would agree with me when I say that the second season was a huge slump. It’s sort of surprising and sort of predictable. Predictable because from episode one, people were comparing Desperate Housewives to Twin Peaks, which (hehe) peaked in its first season. Surprising because of the four hit shows that premiered that year (2004-2005), the other three massively hit their stride in their second seasons—Lost found the hatch, The Office won big with “The Dundies,” and Grey’s Anatomy introduced Addison and became everyone’s favorite show. But for Desperate Housewives, the addition of Alfre Woodard and her basement-bound son was silly, and I just didn’t follow the mystery of season two with as much intensity as I had the year before. Ditto season three, which threw Trey MacDougall, Dixie Carter, and that mom whose kid Dr. Ross killed on purpose into the mix. That mystery was so lame they solved it halfway through the season and let the back half play out without an overarching storyline.

A lot of people wrote it off, but I could not.

There are precious few television series that I have written off mid-run, and they are ER and Gilmore Girls. Destroy my OTP and I will destroy you, I say. [You listening, Mr. Lindelof?]

And since I’ve never had a Desperate Housewives OTP, the show is probably safe.

I did get a little bored there in the middle, but I was a fledgling college student without a job or a boyfriend. There wasn’t anything better to do.

Cue this season, where I’m consistently compelled by the mystery week after week, I’m laughing, I’m touched, I’m surprised. This show is good again, y’all!

Dana Delany as Katherine Mayfair is an excellent addition. I love the competition between her and Bree and genuinely appreciate the character implications her entrance has had for Mrs. Hodge. There was an episode earlier this season where, upon coming to blows with Katherine, it is revealed, quite sweetly, that Bree cares more about her friends and being genuinely liked than on maintaining appearances. Katherine, meanwhile, is just one big ol’ façade of a lady.

WHAT DID SHE DO?

Obviously, the drama of the Mayfairs is coming to a head. I can’t wait! I want to know! It better not be a cop-out resolution, because I’ll be legit disappointed if I don’t get some juicy-ass details about how Katherine’s past all played out.

Why doesn’t Dylan remember anything? Did Katherine knock the baby around, too?

In season one’s Mary Alice mystery, there were several people, it seemed, who knew a few little things. Paul Young was the only live person who knew the whole story, and it wasn’t until the finale that all the little pieces came together to make this awesome story.

But now, with the Katherine mystery, there are a handful of people who know a LOT, and at least two people—Katherine and Adam Mayfair—know the whole darn story. It’s a frustrating—and kind of uncommon—television technique to have the characters know significantly more than the audience. I feel like usually it’s the other way around.

Regardless of how the mystery turns out, I really hope Katherine’s around to stay. She really creates some excellent drama, and I’m intrigued to see how the Katherine/Bree catering business turns out. Ha ha ha, Bree with a job. That cracks me up.

Also, apparently a female character is kickin’ the bucket by the end of the season. Kristin Veitch (I spit on her) speculates it’s Edie, but, to me, all signs are pointing to Kayla Scavo. SpoilerTV flat out says to expect “the death of Kayla,” and Marc Cherry said earlier this year, “I will probably do a storyline about one of the women, probably Lynette, dealing with the death of a child because I think it’s one of the saddest things that can happen to a human being.”

Frankly, I support this dramatic choice. I was actually disappointed that the Desperate Housewives writers weren’t risky enough to actually off a major character in that tornado last fall. I mean, come on, we didn’t care about any of those characters! Killing off one of the twins would have been the absolute definition of shock-and-awe. Yeah, if you’re going to leave us on a huge cliffhanger of maybe-Lynette’s-kids-are-dead, at least have the decency not to make the whole damn natural disaster totally dramatically worthless.

Seriously.

Then there’s this rumor going around that the show’s going to jump forward into the future. I mean, I’m intrigued. The stories of the seasons are all pretty self-contained. It’s a little like 24 in that respect. Since each year covers one mystery (more or less), it doesn’t necessarily matter in what time they take place. There’ll be some initial shocks (What! Carlos isn’t blind now!), some puzzles (Wait! Tom is a woman?), and some questions (Julie Mayer went to college—WTF?), but ultimately the show won’t really change. Didn’t One Tree Hill do the exact same thing this season?

The only people I can imagine this affecting profusely are the Scavos. If we really are jumping forward in time, how are we going to work this? For, say, little Benjamin Hodge or Susan’s dumb baby, you just get new actors. For Julie Mayer or Dylan Mayfair, you just make ‘em look a little older. But the Scavo kids—even Penny—are at an age where we recognize their appearance (doesn’t that Parker Scavo look just like his dad? It’s uncanny!) and will appreciate neither new actors nor lies that this nine-year-old is supposed to be fourteen. That’s a big difference.

Maybe ALL of the Scavo children will be killed in the finale. Wooo shocker.

That’s not funny.

Good TV, though.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lost: Remember That Time Our OTP Got Engaged? HOLY COW, ME TOO! [Part Two]

Okay, listen. I seriously cannot focus anymore. Even though I'm sitting here writing a blog that is, overall, completely about Jack & Kate... this is a blog about the on-island interactions, and ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT is the flash-forwards! I'm just putting that out there as a warning right now, because I don't know how well this is gonna go in terms of coherent writing structure. Anyway...

When Caroline and I decided to split up the Post-SNBH blog, it was done for two reasons, really. First being that, obviously, there was really no way in Hell that we could manage to put all of our thoughts about this episode (BEST EPISODE EVER!) into one singular entry; it would have been unbearably long and you would have all killed us, Jaters or not. Second, though, it was because we both were so excited to talk about it and didn't want to take away one another's chance to come on here and spazz a little bit. I offered to take the on-island action because I knew she'd put a lot of great emotion into the FF moments, and I genuinely loved all the subtle relationship growth that happened in island time just as much as in FF time.

Well, okay, not "just as much," because that's kind of impossible [Kissies! Shower kissies! Sex! Engagement! OTP!] but I did really love on-island Jate a whole damn lot.

A few of my Jate friends have said that as awesome as it was to see FF Jate together and in love, they're more interested in seeing how we get there -- and I completely agree. The journey of Jate is what is so beautiful to me, so every second they spend together on the island just totally gets me excited about being one step closer to where we end up in the future. Despite the absolute squee-ness of the FFs, I still really hope that Jack/Kate manage to get their emotions out in the open and become something of an established couple over these next few episodes on the island. I don't necessarily think or need it to happen that way, but there's a part of me that really hopes it does. There's also a part of me that definitely believes Jack/Kate were romantically connected prior to "Eggtown" and "Something Nice Back Home," but that's a theory/prediction for a completely different day and time.

So, anyway, I had high hopes for the on-island interaction between Jack & Kate during this episode, and it actually ended up completely surprising me - because it didn't play out the way I was imagining (well, save for the "Susan Lewis" moment!), but it ended up feeling just right. Perfect for them in those circumstances.

When Kate returns to camp from an apparent hike for water or food, she immediately notices everyone crowded around Jack and his obviously erratic movements, and is by his side in an instant after Rose informs her that Jack had just passed out moments before. Even though it had been Juliet trying to care for him all this time, in comes Kate and her Jack!Alarm starts going off faster than she can say "Yes! Of course I will, yes!" What? Oh, sorry, did I digress again? SQUEE! Right, so anyway, he's trying to brush off that he passed out but she jumps in front of him with her worried eyes and starts gently but oh-so-sweetly groping his face -- to feel for a temperature, yes I do know there was nothing sexual about it. LEAVE ME TO MY FANTASIES FOR NOW! But his fever is out of control and there is simply no way she's believing him when he keeps telling her that he's fine. I'm not saying that makes her different from Juliet, who also didn't believe a word out of his mouth about being okay; I'm just saying it was classic Kate in her "worried about Jack" mode, and it was totally cute.

As for Jack and Juliet, you could see it all starting to unravel rather quickly. When he suggested that Kate be the one to help during his surgery, her momentary pause and body language totally spoke to how unhappy it made her that he was asking for Kate when she (Juliet) was already there taking care of him. Even if Kate were medically trained in some way, I'm not convinced Juliet would have liked Jack's "I want it to be Kate" stance on the surgery any more than she did in this moment. It was obvious that Jack's connection to Kate was still bothering her, and she's probably tried to ignore it and push it aside because she was hoping to convince herself that his kiss was the real deal. But Jack wanted Kate in there with him, and he wasn't going to accept any other options, which clearly set off the alarm bells to Dr. Burke.

But major props and much respect to Juliet for the way she handled it all, because Jack's safety came first to her. And that, in her way of thinking, also included letting him have it all happen his way. She stepped up to the plate and invited Kate to assist with the surgery -- albeit all the while maintaining her own dignity by leaving out the whole "he specifically requested you" part, but nonetheless I give her props.

What I loved so fantastically much was just the way Evangeline Lilly portrayed all of Kate's deepest fears and emotions, all pent-up inside so that all we could do was decipher her face. And Kate? She was terrified. The moment when Jack comes out of his tent to make the short walk to the makeshift-medical center, Kate's right there to prop him up with his arm around her shoulder... and the way they both just stood there in that position for a few moments whilst talking to Juliet was so great, because it showed that inherent comfort level between them to just be that close in proximity and not even really blink an eye about it. I mean, I'm not saying they weren't affected by touching one another or being that close, but trying to build on a romantic moment when really it was just a moment of Jack completely sick and her taking care of him... I'm not going to attempt to go down that road. My point is simply that it showed how comfortable they are with one another. And as they start walking through the sand, you can see Kate staring off ahead, just trying to focus on not freaking out, when in comes the great callback to not only the pilot but to so many other classic Jate moments of the past: "Looks like I'm gonna be your nurse." - "Well, it wouldn't be the first time."

And then I squee'd a little, and you could see Kate take a second to sort of bask in the memories of it all. But when Jack turns serious again and starts in about what comes next if something happens to him, Kate's face is back to it's state of total and complete terror and all she can do is tell him to shut up. She can't even go there with him - to talk about it means saying out loud that he may not come back to her, and saying that out loud is impossible for her in a moment where all of her energy is focused on not even thinking about that possibility. If I wasn't already completely convinced that she loves him, I'd still say it was valid for her to react that way because at the very least she was dealing with the possibility of losing her best friend. But we all know it was more than that...

Everyone's been saying it but it has to be said again that Kate ended up being totally useless during Jack's surgery. Some people make that point as a joke or even as a way to fault her as a character, but I think it's an incredibly important plot point that she served no purpose whatsoever in that scene. Why bother writing it in that Jack specifically requests her to be there, then have her sit there and hold a totally useless mirror if we all know there's no way in Hell that man's about to stay lucid and awake during the operation? The point of it all was to have her there so that she would see him in pain, be face to face with the reality of losing him, and realize that she may never get another chance to make things right. The point of it all was also to have Juliet see all of that happening; to see Jack keep crying out for Kate when Juliet and Bernard start disagreeing with him, and to see Kate's helpless tears come streaming down her face as she finally manages to get out, "Jack, I..." before Juliet's screaming again and Bernard's interrupting with the chloroform rag.

Yeah, um, what was she about to say with that whole "Jack, I..." moment? Obviously, we all know what I would like to believe she was about to say. Mainly because I'm still slightly bugged that she didn't actually say it at all in the episode, but realistically there just wasn't any time and I can wait for it to happen next week. Please? But yeah, obviously that's what I like to hope she was on the verge of saying, but at the same time she could have just as easily been about to say something like, "Jack, I can't" or "Jack, I don't know what to do" or even "Jack, I'm sorry, I agree with them." We don't know. But it sure is interesting that those two words are what she managed to utter before leaving the tent, don't you think?

After the surgery, when Bernard came out and found Kate sitting in the sand, I was in total fangirl mode because seeing her so torn up and completely terrified... it was sort of like the way she was at the caves in "The Moth," after digging for so long and not making any real progress toward rescuing Jack. It was sort of like that, except this time it was amplified about a million times because so much has happened since then and their feelings for one another have grown so strong. I mean, God, if I were her I'd have been sitting there thinking about how this man just told me he loves me not more than two weeks ago and here he might be dying without ever getting a response from me. That would SUCK, y'all. The thought of never being able to make sure someone knows how much you love them before they die? Ugh. Poor Kate. She was just so scared of losing him, and looking completely lost sitting out there in the dark. Bernard was so sweet to her, too, and it felt like he was very aware of her heightened feelings for Jack, so he was being super gentle with her about everything. It reminds me of my favorite Bob Dylan song, "Just Like A Woman," which has always reminded me of Kate for as long as I've loved this show: "She takes just like a woman, and she makes love just like a woman, and she aches just like a woman. But she breaks just like a little girl."

The best on-island moment, at least in my opinion, came immediately after that, when Kate entered the tent and found Juliet sewing up a knocked-out Jack's incision. As soon as Juliet said, "You know, he kissed me..." I knew EXACTLY where she was going and I could hardly contain myself with the glee. Kate's reaction to this news was one of total shock, hurt, and yet also a strange sort of acceptance over how she probably deserved to lose Jack anyway after all that's she done. You could see her wanting to crumble again, after having just been so relieved at the idea that she'd get another chance to talk to Jack and make it right.

But Juliet did EXACTLY AS I PREDICTED and proceeded to "pull a Susan Lewis" in her own perfect little way. The kiss was nice, but Juliet is no fool -- at least she's not after what she witnessed that night with regard to the connection between Jack/Kate -- and she knows he only kissed her to try to prove to himself that he's not in love with Kate, and that he actually can move on and get over her. God, I just so desperately love everything about that scene. Kate's face as she realized what Juliet was saying... and when she simply said, "Thank you, Juliet," with such earnest emotion in her voice, you knew she was thanking the blonde for taking herself out of the equation and allowing Kate to really have a chance with Jack this time. Her second "thank you" was exactly as she said - thank you for saving his life - but that first one? That first one was all about thanking another woman for loving this man enough to let him go.

AND THEN HE WAS ACTUALLY AWAKE TO HEAR ALL OF THAT. Like, seriously? I think I fell off of my couch for the hundredth time that night, because I was just so excited that Juliet had "Susan Lewis-ed" Kate, thereby insinuating that she would be doing the same to Jack pretty soon, but then she tells him she knows he's awake and, like... she fucking "Susan Lewis-ed" both Kate and Jack AT THE SAME DAMN TIME. Wow. I loved it beyond explanation. She really set the stage for whatever's to come between Jate on the island in these last few episodes before rescue. I feel like there's officially no better time or chance for Jack and Kate to finally express how they feel about one another, mutually, and take the necessary steps forward on the path to starting a relationship. We know they obviously start a relationship off the island, but again - it's all about the journey for me, and I want to see them get to that place together before the island (and, specifically, certain people on the island) is taken out of the equation.

Now is the time. Juliet made certain that Jack heard Kate's reaction to what was said about his feelings for both women, and Kate got reassurance that Jack's "because I love you" still stands up loud and true. It's time to do something about it, and I have this strong feeling that we're going to see some major Jate momentum on-island over the next two or three episodes.

I can feel it in my gut. And my gut, unlike Jack's, is not sick. In fact, my gut hasn't really been wrong about much of anything lately. Hopefully it doesn't start now! But even if it does, I still have faith that Jack and Kate are completely and mutually in love both on-island and off-. And no matter what happens, we will always have this one perfect hour in our story.

The Office: Since When Did Scranton Become Hell?

To sum up this Thursday in television, Grey’s was funny, Jack and Kate are canon, and The Office was insufferably stupid. All in all a great week, but man, that third one really has me down.

I’m so glad my friend turned me on to 30 Rock during the strike, because that show outpaces The Office week after week. This week, with 30 Rock at what I think was an all-time high—I’ll get to that later this week, hopefully—and The Office at a new low, the dichotomy of the two is just ridiculously apparent.

A lot of this Office ennui, I’m sure, comes from my shipper, shipper heart. When I turned off the Lost episode that I shouldn’t even mention lest I reduce this post to yet another pathetic pile of squee, I knew I still had The Office left to watch. Although nothing Jim and Pam could have done would have topped Jack and Kate’s flash-forward outing (as Jack and Kate are undeniably my OTP, emphasis on the O), there was that sense of could both of these couples get engaged on the same night?

So my hopes were high. BUT I felt like they had reason to be.

I blame Jenna Fischer. That girl is really good at creating a fangirl media storm. She’s blathering on and on about how they told her that, with the strike forcing them to condense the back twelve or so into five, Jim and Pam’s relationship was being pushed to the back burner, and then she read some scripts and was, like, “well, so much for the back burner.” And, actually, Jam has been pretty back burner. Sure, there was “Chair Model,” but they were definitely relegated to second-class storyline in “Dinner Party,” “Night Out,” and “Did I Stutter?”

So much for my prediction that “Night Out” would be Jim on one knee in a restaurant or that “Did I Stutter?” would be in response to Pam’s startled reaction to Jim’s proposal.

(Okay, yeah, my hopes were unnecessarily high.)

Here’s the thing.

Nobody’s watching 30 Rock for the relationships. There’s nothing to ship over there! Yeah, a lot of us think Floyd’s cute or whatever, but I’m not falling to pieces over it. Tina Fey has even said that the stories about Liz’s personal life are her least favorite to do, because they seem so relatively trivial to the rest of the story. (So then I guess the Liz pregnancy cliffhanger they seem to be setting up wasn’t Tina’s idea.)

Anyway, people are watching The Office for the ship. You know why? Because we know. When Pam was with Roy, it was just a matter of time. There wasn’t ANYBODY in the fandom who was, like, “JIM? YOU THINK SHE SHOULD END UP WITH JIM!?? YOU’S STUPID! RAM 4EVERRRRRRR.” Jam is our escape from our other fandoms, where we’re consistently bogged down with triangle drama. [Except not this week—Jack and Kaaaaaaaaaateeeeeeeeeee!!!!]

And in season two, arguably the best season thus far, there was a Jam storyline practically every week. The writers weren’t afraid to give them sweet scenes and wooks and 27 seconds of silence. I’m almost positive that the only episode from season two without substantial Jam interaction was “The Injury,” which was drop-dead funny anyway—there wasn’t time.

Also, they weren’t afraid to give them silliness before now. Who doesn’t love their day of jinx or their presh ice skating or them wearing sombreros and giggling about Andy? THEY DON’T DO THAT ANYMORE!

Everything about The Office—not just Jim and Pam—has taken a way-too-serious turn. These back five episodes have just been so down. To recap, we’ve seen Jan and Michael’s pathetic coexistence crumble, Ryan get addicted to drugs, Toby self-implode and become a huge creeper, Jim exhibit some frustrating and ridiculous fear of proposing, and basically everyone in the office take one huge step further into Crazytown.

I don’t like it.

Why won’t Jim just propose to Pam? There’s no reason to wait—he’s got a ring burning a hole in his pocket and a girl who’s prepared to say yes. What’s the problem? You’d think that after four seasons of emotional anguish, the dude would just want to get on with the rest of their lives, but noooooo, he’s got to be a tool about it.

Dude, just borrow Jack Shephard’s line. It’s really easy, it just goes, “Will you marry me?”

[asdhfja;hgjadk Jack and Kate.]

Toby weirded me out last week, but on Thursday, the guy leapt right into full-on creeper. Sabotaging Jim’s professional reputation? An unprecedented low. I hoped last week’s fence jump ended the Toby/Pam story arc, but I’m becoming increasingly frightened that he’s going to pull a “Casino Night” in the season finale. And if that happens, it’s going to go from a misunderstanding...to something else. (Thanks, Mr. Friendly!) Seriously, the Toby crush is not supposed to boil into Jam sabotage. Like I said, we watch The Office for the ship, and we will not accept a triangle. We won’t buy it, we won’t appreciate it—we’ll hate it.

Of course, the problem is that when I say we, I mean Caroline and The People Like Her. I’d like to do some empirical research on this, but I’d imagine hard-core viewers represent less than 10% of the total viewing population of just about any show. (Wow, I’d really like to do a nationwide study on that.) But, yeah, like 10-15 million people watch The Office every week, but the percentage of those who, like, visits OfficeTally.com after the episode to analyze is likely quite small. Remember last year when there was that production problem ‘cause Greg Daniels thought we’d all get online after the show and watch the deleted scenes and then everybody would know that Andy had gotten shipped off to anger management, but, like, no one actually did? Yeah, not everyone is like me.

The problem is people like my roommate Lily, whom I love desperately. She told me last night during dinner that she’s okay with Rose being around on Grey's, because she’s not a boring character and she’s making the Derek/Meredith stuff interesting and she’s really just into the show to be entertained. “I’m not like you,” she said. “I’m not watching it for the SHOW.” What she meant is that she doesn’t care that the Derek/Meredith drama has gone on for far too long and that their relationship has undergone every cliché obstacle in the How to Write Bad Fanfiction manual. I literally looked at her and said, “You’re the problem.”

People ARE watching The Office for Jim and Pam and nothing else, especially now that so much of the show has gotten so out of control unbelievable. Remember in “Money,” how Michael’s critique of Live Free or Die Hard was that Bruce Willis had gone from everyday NYPD cop to exploding helicopters with his car? Well, that’s my critique of The Office. In the first two seasons, the episodes centered around mundane office work, like “Performance Review” and “Health Care” and “Take Your Daughter to Work Day.” Sure, they occasionally threw in an outing, like “The Dundies” or “Booze Cruise,” but they were still within the context of Michael-as-ridiculous-boss.

Now, every episode is within the context of Michael-as-ridiculous-PERSON. OH MY GOD, that Michael monologue at the end of Thursday's episode went on for, like, at least sixty seconds too long. WHAT a disappointment--I'm sitting there waiting for what I'm sure is going to be a Jam proposal scene in the parking lot, and what I get is three minutes of Michael being so unbearably stupid. I hated that. HATED. Of these last four episodes, only “Did I Stutter?” had an A-story that was actually about work.

So, seriously, why not give the people what they want? Stop screwing around with Jim and Pam, because it’s swiftly getting old and out of character. Have the balls to give Jim the balls to just POP THE DAMN QUESTION ALREADY.

Get back to the basics—everyday office-related humor. No more driving cars into lakes. No more far-fetched love triangles that NEVER exist in everyday life. I’m okay with making Jam the B-story or even C-story of the episode, but I know you know how to make it good.

And for crying out loud, get them engaged. I can’t stand it any longer.

In an attempt to not be as negative myself as the show has been, three things about this episode rocked my world. (1) Darryl pretending to be in all the gangs, including "the Newsies." Classic Office--more of this, please! (2) The deleted scene with Kelly and Pam. Why didn't they edit out Michael's stupid effing monologue and replace it with this hilarious Kelly/Pam scene? Pam's glasses story had potential but ended up being pretty pointless--this scene gave it more weight and was classic Kelly Kapoor--loved it. (3) Michael's "That's what she said." I am a huge fan of TWSS jokes, but they're getting old. Your average everyday "that professor is hard" doesn't get you anywhere with me these days. Michael's face-in-concrete joke was actually really funny. He should be proud of himself for that one.

...and I just realized that I am unbelievably difficult to please. No wonder I am still single.