Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympic Ratings and the Fall Season: Michael Phelps as 30 Rock

When Lily and I watched that amazing ABC promo—you know, the one that brought tears to my eyes—she looked at me and went, "Damn. ABC's kind of cleaning up right now."

And, you know, they are, but NBC sure isn't doing much to prove otherwise.

Today, the Peacock Network announced that their Olympic coverage had overtaken the likes of the moon landing, Roots, and the series finale of MASH. First of all, NBC, let somebody else do the announcing. I know you're in a bind over there, but you look like a douchebag, tooting your own horn.

Anyway, people at various media outlets are arguing over whether or not NBC actually has the right to claim such victory, but with an average viewership of 27.7 million per night, it's undeniable that the network brought in a lot of folks.

And they sure did pimp their programming.

My favorite?



Hands down, Dwight's "Centathlon."

The three Office Olympics commercials were fantastic—they had the same "special" Olympics feel as the Nike and McDonalds and Coca-Cola commercials did. (By the way, that McDonalds "The More We Get Together" commercial had me in tears.) Between Michael's endorsement of the women's beach volleyball team and Jim's invention of Slapface, I was oh-so-pleased to see new in-character content from one of my favorite shows.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much where the creativity peaked.

This Comedy Night Done Right commercial is downright irritating:



It also doesn't do a good job at accurately describing how funny and inventive NBC's Thursday line-up actually is. When I catch My Name is Earl, I often find myself laughing out loud in a room by myself. The Office has its weaknesses, but it's mostly quality comedy. And 30 Rock is probably my favorite comedy ever.

All three could use—and deserve—a good ratings boost. I know 30 Rock doesn't premiere until Halloween (why?), but I can't imagine fresh material from Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, especially somehow related to NBC's Olympic coverage, wouldn't draw in new viewers. I am continually frustrated by NBC's poor promotion of and support for their own series. The fact is, 30 Rock was the 113th most-watched series of the 2007-2008 season, yet it won an effing Peabody Award, the Emmy Award for Best Comedy, two Golden Globes, and three SAG Awards. The Wikipedia article notes, "It is thought that, despite its low ratings in the United States, 30 Rock is kept on the air due to its many award nominations and wins as well as its heavy critical acclaim."

Now, wouldn't it be great if we could keep it on the air because it is highly acclaimed and also has (gasp!) high ratings?

But you know what has to happen for that to happen?

You have to air promos! During high-impact programming! Like—OMFG!—the Olympics!

Duh.

Instead, NBC aired these all-around promos:



And:



Here's the run-down. The first commercial includes Masi Oka, the fellow who plays Chuck, Greg Grunberg, John Krasinski, Milo Ventimiglia, a guy I don't recognize, a girl I don't recognize, and a second guy who looks vaguely familiar.

The second includes Jenna Fischer, Masi Oka, Chuck, Guy #1, Milo Ventimiglia, Greg Grunberg, Guy #2, the guy who I know as Knowle Rohrer and Mae knows as the guy from Firefly and we both know as the guy who kidnapped Bones in Two Bodies in the Lab, the girl from Chuck, Parminder Nagra, Christian Slater looking like a creeper, Darnell from My Name is Earl, Alison Sweeney, Guy #3, Guy #4, Catalina from My Name is Earl, Linda Cardellini, John Stamos, Rainn Wilson, Guy #5, Guy #6, Angela Bassett, and, finally, Guy #7.

I'm not feeling it.

Here's what I would have done.

First of all, none of these close-ups. ABC got super-creative with their returning shows promo--you just stuck some folks in front of a green screen. Add a little action, people!

Secondly, this is the Olympics. It's actually kind of ironic, because metaphorically, ABC is like China. They're building a resurgence of awesome, and you, NBC, are a lot like America. You used to dominate, but you've slumped a little. It's go big or go home time.

ABC seems to be cleaning up on talent, but I named, off the top of my head, these people over at the Peacock Network:

Brooke Shields
Hayden Panettiere
Maura Tierney
John Stamos
Selma Blair
Molly Shannon
Steve Carell
Alec Baldwin
Tina Fey
Amy Poehler
Kyle Chandler...

You getting my drift? NBC's not lacking for people—it's just a very well-kept secret.

So if this had been my promo series, I would have had, like, Eli Manning (Sunday Night Football) throwing a pass to Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights). I would have put Howie Mandel in there, cracking open a case full of freely-flowing Benjamins. I would have cast Jim and Pam as this network's Derek and Meredith, doing a quick, cute thing where Jim grabs Pam's and kneels in front of her, then quickly pulling back to reveal Hayden Panettiere doing something heroic. Then I would've had John Stamos shirtless. Hey, this network is in 4th place, people.

Instead, NBC used the secondary characters in these promos. I mean, I think Catalina and Darnell are hilarious on My Name is Earl, but where the hell were Jason Lee and Jaime Pressly?

Y'know, we love Greg Grunberg over here, but where was Hayden? Where was Ali Larter?

And don't tell me they were too busy, because ABC got the Desperate Housewives to do it, and you know how those girls are.

Basically, NBC wasted a golden opportunity. Although I hope to be pleasantly surprised, I doubt the Olympics ratings surge will carry over to the fall season. Prove me wrong.

Bones: Sneak Peeks Are Driving Me Bananas!

You know, we spend a lot of time criticizing Kristin Dos Santos, and most of the time she deserves it, but every once in a while, she really does come through.

Most of the time, it’s in the case of unadulterated footage, as is the case with the Bones clips she has released in the last few days.

I know, I know. You’re overloaded on Bones. Please, Caroline, stop talking about Bones.

Well, too bad, because that’s pretty much all that’s going on right now.

Last Tuesday night (I think), I saw this clip, which has much Booth/Brennan deliciousness:

[Ugh-embedding's not working. Link.]

Now, we had all been talking about the possibility of a Brennan/British Brennan hookup. While we don’t like to entertain the idea of Brennan with anyone but Booth, we also know that Brennan’s dalliances with other guys tend to force Booth to pick up his game a little. Which we like.

So a little British tension goes a long way, as far as we’re concerned.

Now, joy of joys, we get tension without follow-through, which is like Christmas morning for us Booth/Brennan shippers. Brennan has the opportunity to sleep with British Brennan (Ian Wexler), but chooses not to.

Why?

Are you thinking it’s because Brennan’s rational brain says “No, thank you”?

Wrong.

Rationally, Brennan says, she should go home with Dr. Forensic Anthropologist.

But for once in her life—hopefully the first time of many—Brennan rejects reason (I know!) and decides not to hurt Booth’s feelings by ditching him for “an hour of fun.”

Just…I’m so proud.

Brennan kisses Dr. Wexler fondly on the cheek and sends him off on his merry way. Returning to Booth at the table, they banter, drink beer, and enjoy the lovely view of the Thames. Very romantic, very fitting.

We all agreed it seemed like it would be the closer of the episode—it sure seemed like a nice tie-up to this British nonsense. And considering that just about every episode from the last two seasons has ended with a sweet scene of Booth and Brennan having a heart-to-heart, it sure seemed appropriate for this to end their jaunt across the pond.

And then we saw this clip, and we knew it wasn’t the end.



(Sorry for the crap quality, but it’s all that was readily available.)

Y’all, Dr. Wexler dies.

Hey, Booth, threat neutralized.

Here’s another:



And the last:



Let’s talk.

First of all, I love these British hijinks!

Booth’s road rage is very funny, if ridiculous—he should have let Brennan or, I don’t know, the London resident, perhaps, drive the car.

I love that their English associate is decidedly not friendly toward Booth and Brennan—it seems like she’s pretty disinterested in having help from these Yanks. It’s always interesting to see the “outsider” perspective on Booth and Brennan. Maybe my favorite scene ever is Angela riding along with the team while they’re bickering: “Is it always like this when you two are together? It’s kinda hot.”

These clips aren’t telling us a whole, whole lot, just acting as nice teasers for an episode that obviously has a lot more story to tell than we originally expected.

Having watched it again, we see Booth, Brennan, and Dr. Wexler discussing what I assume is the heiress case—apparently “the butler did it.” I bet this scene by the river comes at the end of the first hour of the two-parter. Wexler’s death is likely the case that drives the second hour. (Seriously—good thing Brennan didn’t go home with him, no?)

What was so exciting about that first clip is that we can almost see the wheels turning in Brennan’s head. The sentiment that’s been passed around our group in the last week or so has been, “She’s figuring it out.” We can’t wait to see season four play out, because it sure seems like Brennan’s on the cusp of realization. This year’s going to be a whole new ball game.

What’s great is that there seemed to be a whole lot of Booth/Brennan development in that first clip—we thought there must be a ton of backstory behind all of those subtle glances and poignant comments. (Not to mention Booth’s “I’m just here to help you pick out a guy.” What does that mean?) And perhaps there is, but it’s tantalizingly fascinating to wonder what all comes next.

I know I said last week that I was excited for the Parker episode because it was originally written as the season finale, but that was wrong on a lot of levels.

It was actually “The Crank in the Shaft” that I should have referred to, and even that would have been wrong, because while that will be the last technically season three episode to air, it’s actually “The Yanks in the U.K.” that was written as 3x20—the finale.

It’s so confusing with all of this season three/season four, airing out of filming order nonsense, and I’m sorry for getting it all mixed up.

Here’s the other thing.

Hart Hanson won’t shut up about Booth and Brennan naked in bed together. The last thing I heard from him was that “it might be in the finale.” Nobody is going to be surprised to see this scene when it happens, but I have to wonder—is he pulling our leg and this scene is actually much earlier than we’re anticipating? You know what—never mind. Let’s not even go there.

Nine days!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bones: Quick Casting Sides Update for ZOMG Purposes

Spoilers for Bones, episode 408!

My trusty LJ community, bones_spoilers, had some casting sides up last night. First of all, I love that Bones doesn't try to conceal their sides. It's not even fun reading Grey's Anatomy sides, because the casting agents do such a good job of renaming the doctors to the point of unrecognizability and making sure scenes without guest actors don't end up included in sides by virtue of sharing a page with guest-star dialogue.

I've been reading the sides for these season four episodes, and in a few of them, they flat-out tell you who the killer is.

So in one of these sides, there's a single line of description at the end of a page, indicating the beginning of a new scene in which "Booth and Brennan watch from a distance as Max shows Parker the exploding soda experiment."

Um, yay!

Family stuff with Booth (Parker) is always awesome, as is family stuff with Brennan (Max/Russ), so we're super-excited to see them (gasp!) together. The last time these two shared a scene, they were on opposite ends of a barbed-wire fence in "The Santa in the Slush." But seeing them together--in what's sure to be a super-fluffy scene involving Parker being awed by Max's science skills and Max being all grandfatherly toward Parker--is going to be awesome. I love that we're getting to see Parker inside the Jeffersonian--twice so far this season!

Mostly, I love the idea of Booth and Brennan watching their families intertwine. Just the fact that Max wants to spend time with Booth's kid speaks volumes about the value Max places on Booth--and Booth's relationship with Brennan.

Here's hoping there are more sides coming our way in the next few days--as if I could be any more excited about Bones season four!

Lost: Fall Hiatus Project an Exercise in Anniversaries

I was pretty excited for August 15th (815), and I put up away messages accordingly. You know, things like 4815162342 and “19 years ago, Kate and Tom buried their time capsule. 6 years ago, Kate asked Mars to stop chasing her.”

I love canon dates. Every October 1st, Mae and I pay some kind of homage to Sydney and Vaughn’s anniversary.

This August 31st will be the one-year anniversary of the opening events of “Something Nice Back Home.” Confirmed by Lostpedia, the newspaper article Jack reads references a game that took place on the night of August 30th. I’ll have aways and blogs and maybe even a t-shirt commemorating the event with something like, “Jack may have been frustrated by A-Rod, but he sure wasn’t frustrated in any other way.” That’s a little wordy. How about, “One year ago, Kate bought Jack razors. He never got around to shaving.”

Gosh, I love happy Jack and Kate.

[So does Evangeline Lilly, by the way: “I think [the SNBH fight] is a bump in the road. I also believe that if Jack and Kate could just sort it out, they could make each other very happy. Ultimately, that's what they need. Without love, everything else pales and feels like the colors are turned down. For Jack to give over the vulnerability of loving Kate, and for Kate to give that over to Jack, it would be so momentous, and that's why they haven't brought us there yet. Essentially, what I feel it will represent is that they actually redeemed themselves. They faced their demons and insecurities and made such a significant step forward in their lives that they will probably now be harmonious in a way they never have been before. But I don't think we can bring them to that point yet; it's too early. However, it would be so nice not to play this subtle angst that has been going on for years and just play something overt and on the nose. I think if you were watching a couple like that who were your friends, you'd want to bang your head against the wall. In this situation, I feel the same thing on the outside looking in, thinking, ‘Good grief! Just get to it already!’ It's hard being so torn all the time. Just settle down!”]

Um, ditto.

Anyway, this blog is about the Lost timeline and the challenge I’m taking on this year.

I’ve printed the whole on-island timeline from Lostpedia, and after commemorating one year post-SNBH (and imagining that, at this point, Jack’s gotten his shit together and is back with Kate), I’m going to watch the entire series of Lost in chronological order, starting with the first specific date—September 15, Sawyer hangs out with Jack’s dad, then kills Meredith Grey’s dad. I’ll watch these date-specific scenes from “Two for the Road” and “Outlaws.”

For the first week, there aren’t that many events, but it all picks up on September 21, as the future castaways prepare for their departure from Sydney.

It’s going to be kind of confusing, I think.

Because while, for instance, the real-time events of “Pilot, Part 2” take place entirely on Day 2, there are plenty of episodes that cover multiple days, creating a situation like Day 73, which is covered in part by “I Do,” “Not in Portland,” “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” and “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

But Lostpedia does a great job of keeping the events in chronological order—even keeping the time of day straight. Like, on Day 41, we start with scenes from “Deus Ex Machina,” watch a little of “The Other 48 Days,” return to “Deus Ex Machina” for the night scenes, hop over to “Live Together Die Alone” for some Desmond flashback activity, and then finish with “Do No Harm” to watch Boone die and Claire deliver Aaron.

Mostly, I’m bored, and this will give me a constructive way to watch Lost while I’m waiting for season five to begin. (Coincidentally, this project will end at the beginning of January, giving me just enough time to start ramping up my excitement for the new season.)

Also, I hope this endeavor will give me a little more insight into the timeline. I’ll be better equipped to offer judgment on specific events if it’s clearer in my head that, hey, Charlie just died or, damn, they’ve had Ben tied up down there for a long time. Or, hey, it’s my birthday and it’s also…Ben’s birthday. That’s creepy.

I’ll keep the blog updated with any new analyses that result from this project and look forward to gaining new perspective on the greatest TV show of all time. It’ll be like three-and-a-half months of anniversaries—can’t wait for November 9th.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bones: Yeah, You Could Call This English Excitement

Only two more weeks until the season premiere of Bones, and I think I speak for everyone on the Chaos in General staff when I say, “Holy crap, I’m so excited.”

The other day, Mae expressed her displeasure that it’s not premiering—as originally planned—next week. I mean, it’s already airing weeks before anything else starts—let’s not get greedy. Secondly, it can’t start too early, or you risk people not being on the lookout for their shows to start back up. As I told Leigh, “Most people aren’t like us in that respect. Most people can’t tell you off the top of their head that Bones starts September 3rd, The Office and Grey’s Anatomy start September 25th, and Lost is probably going to start on February 5th, taking over Life on Mars’s timeslot after it inevitably gets cancelled or shifted to the Friday Night Death Slot, but none of that is necessarily determined.

Anyway, regardless of the circumstances, we’re thrilled that this show is coming back so early. For Leigh, Mae, and me, “The Yanks in the U.K.” will be our first viewing on live television—our official initiation into the Bones fandom. You’ll be able to find the three of us on forums across the internet, discussing fresh episodes with other Bones folks. We can’t wait.

As networks start promoting premieres, they invariably release more footage for these episodes than others. Mostly, it’s just because they’ve got one week to promote new episodes, but they’ve got several weeks for premieres. As such, we have a smorgasbord of Bones previews and promotional pictures, all pointing toward one freaking awesome episode.

Even the non-spoiled probably know by now that the season premiere takes place in London. Since this is Bones, the most literal, non-subtle show in the history of television, Booth and Brennan are taking advantage of every British cliché known to America: tiny cars, driving on the wrong side of the road, eating by the Tower Bridge, etc. (I win $50 in fake money if Booth calls it “London Bridge” and is corrected by Brennan.)

In the promotional photos, we see Brennan in academic regalia and Booth giving a big dose of “Seriously?” to a Buckingham Palace guard.

This is already spelling awesome to me.

When we actually see video footage of “Yanks in the U.K.” in the form of promos, it’s even more obvious how amazing this episode’s going to be.

Here are the videos:



And:



Booth’s road rage is amazing, as is his ridiculous escape from the tiny car. “God, getting out of this thing is like being born,” he says. “I need a good spanking.” Cue Brennan slapping his arm and me curling myself into an inwardly-directed fit of anticipation and squee.

I was telling my roommate about how excited I am, and she was, like, “Why the hell are they in London? Since when does the FBI have jurisdiction in England?”

Though Hart Hanson assures us that the case involves an American victim, so the FBI could have jurisdiction if invited by Scotland Yard, it hadn’t even crossed my mind as to wonder why Booth and Bones would be working a case across the pond.

The investigatory stuff is so secondary to this show, and I’m pretty much okay with that.

What’s obviously taking precedence in this episode is the Booth/Bones relationship. Yeah, I’m pretty much okay with that, too. Some of my favorite episodes are the ones that send the partners out into the field together. I love “The Woman in the Sand” and “The Woman at the Airport.” In-the-field episodes allow for scenes to take place in hotels and in plainclothes, which almost always creates delicious tension and plot advancement.

What are we most looking forward to?

Obviously, the suggested dinner between Booth and Brennan at a restaurant overlooking the Thames—with what appear to be wine glasses on the table. That looks decidedly date-like.

Hart Hanson said that the topic of Brennan’s lecture is “working with cops,” which I’m sure is going to provide some great insight into how Brennan views her partnership with Booth.

Mae speculates there’ll be some flirtation between Booth, Brennan, and their respective British counterparts, leading to “jealousy,” she says. We love seeing Booth react to Brennan’s love interests—oh, the precious of “I need a flashier tie”—and can’t wait to see him take it a heightened level of Englandness.

Finally, judging by the combination of promos and photos, I can’t shake the feeling that it looks like Booth and Brennan are going to get stranded, at least for a time. We have video of Booth awkwardly escaping the tiny car through the window and photos of the car on what looks like a tow truck. Now, Carter and Abby and Sydney and Vaughn and just about every other couple on television can tell you that getting trapped in a confined space together can only be good for your relationship. This seems like a momentary setback for Booth and Brennan, not an extended quarantine or something, and so while I doubt it’ll have as huge a consequence as Carby’s “Lockdown” or Syd/Vaughn’s “Salvation,” it should force them to take a break from the case and concentrate on each other for a few minutes.

Mostly, it’s just exciting to be on this side of the Bones fandom at last. Going into the pilot episode, I knew I was in for three seasons of unresolved sexual tension, but now it could happen at any moment.

Let’s veer slightly off topic for a moment so that I can quickly mention something about the season three DVDs. Everyone’s been confused as to why they’re being released in November, when networks usually release boxed sets right before new premieres, giving new viewers the chance to catch up before the season starts. Well, I guess they released the list of episodes, and it includes the first four episodes of this season—perhaps because these were supposed to air last year, but didn’t because of the strike.

Could it be that the fourth episode, “The Finger in the Nest,” which we know from casting sides includes the much-beloved Parker Booth, includes some serious Booth/Brennan development—perhaps even the talked-about kiss? Can we expect season finale material from an episode that won’t even fall during sweeps?

I don’t know, but a girl can hope, right?

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Alphabet's New Fall Promo: Glee. Squee. ABC.

Proving once again that the ABC promo department is decidedly NOT run by monkeys, the Alphabet Network has released a new promo spotlighting all of their returning shows.



Holy crap, I’ve watched this thing so many times, and it has yet to fail at leaving me a pathetic pile of squee. First of all, I love promos like this, where networks highlight ALL of their awesomeness—and ABC’s got a lot of awesome going on.

Because here’s who’s in this promo: Digby, the Housewives, Ty Pennington, the cast of Dirty Sexy Money, America Ferrara, the cast of Private Practice--including a sexy “I’m awesome” shot of Kate Walsh--, Lee Pace and Anna Friel in a field of daisies, Digby, the cast of Brothers & Sisters, that fellow who used to be married to Angelina, the cast of Grey’s Anatomy, some dancers-with-the-stars, some Losties, and, finally, Digby.

Um, sold.

It really served to remind me of just how much amazing talent there is on ABC lately. Sometimes I forget that Peter Krause and Felicity Huffman are on the same network again. (I’m still a-prayin’ for a Dirty Sexy Money/Desperate Housewives crossover.) It was like a welcome home party after a long trip and everybody you love shows up and is just absolutely delighted to see you.

What did I love most?

The music. Who doesn’t love Earth, Wind & Fire? “September” is a great song that really DOES get me excited about next month! I mean, September is awesome anyway. The weather starts to cool off, which means fall fashion—my favorite season. I just bought some amazing grey knee-high flat boots that are dying for a cool day. It’s back-to-school time (one more semester!), which means fresh pencils, a new planner, and a solid work ethic for at least a week and a half. It’s sleeping with the windows open and the leaves starting to turn and then...oh, yeah...it’s Emmys and new television and all kinds of YAY.

Y’all, I just watched it again and I TEARED UP.

I love television.

Here’s the thing—everybody’s all smiley. Eva Longoria Parker is just as excited for the fall season as I am. Ned creates a field full of daisies for Chuck and I’m in love all over again. Betty Suarez goes a-swirling around with mannequins, smiling all the way. Even Cristina is smiling! Bailey has a hilarious Bailey look of disapproval, but even that just fills me with glee.

And, yeah, as they pan from Jin to Hurley to Sawyer to Jack to Kate, I was reminded that regardless of who I spend my summer with (Booth, Brennan, Mulder, Scully, Carrie, or Big), my shipper heart belongs to Jate. When Jack pulls his eyes from Kate to the camera, I ache with the pain of five more months of separation.

What’s the best part?

Derek and Meredith.

I definitely back-burnered Derek and Meredith last season, for two reasons. 1.) They didn’t do much until the finale, which was squeetastic. 2.) I was quite busy with Jack, Kate, and their intense season four progress.

But now, with the promise of actual Mer/Der togetherness (and, you know, with the whole five more months without new Lost), I’m more than ready to get excited about these two again.

Especially after this promo.

It shows the whole cast, then Bailey draws a curtain, leaving Derek and Meredith in front of it with the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen on them.

He’s got his arm around her and gives her a good tug toward him, and in response, she just GRINS. And it’s impossible for me NOT to respond in kind.

They’re TOGETHER. They have a house. They will undoubtedly have angst, but it’ll be more along the lines of what-color-do-we-paint-the-nursery and less along the lines of I’m-going-to-drown-myself-in-the-bathtub.

Meredith will very likely smile like this on the show, in canon, with Derek. I can’t wait.

Congratulations, ABC, I am officially beside myself with anticipation for your new season.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lost: Three Words of Scoop!

First Lost season five scoop!

It’s pretty minor, just the title of the season premiere. Entertainment Weekly’s Doc Jensen announced that the next new episode will be called “Because You Left.”

I think this is solidifying my theory that season five is going to pick up chronologically where season four left off—three years post-rescue. I really think it’ll start on-island, in a situation we’re unfamiliar with, where everything has gone to hell in a DHARMA van—except for Sawyer and Juliet’s relationship, of course.

“Because You Left” could definitely tell the story of everything that’s happened on the island since/“because” Jack and the Oceanic Six left.

Of course, the premiere could also be off-island, focused on Kate and her life with Aaron post-Jack. (Things aren’t great for her, either, because Jack jumped off the deep end and “left.”)

Basically, I think the “You” here is undoubtedly Jack.

I really think the episode will happen on the island, though. I imagine it’ll open, like, in a scene of absolute chaos. Perhaps we think we are seeing a flashback to when The Hostiles ruled the island. Everybody’s wearing ratty clothes, hunting boars with their bare hands, and fighting each other for mangos. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you think you see…is that…Sawyer? Trying to maintain the peace by establishing a live together, die alone mentality in the anarchic world of post-Jack Craphole Island?

There’s a lot of potential here for irony, as we watch the island and/or its inhabitants clamor for leadership and lament the loss of Jack, all the while knowing what kind of situation Dr. Shephard is in at home.

Short post, I know, but there’s only so much you can do with three words. You know, it’s funny. When the finale ended, the first feeling I had was one of absolute relief. I put up an away message that said, simply, “eight months of freedom.” Season four was exhausting, y’all. From the Jacket kiss to “The Constant” to the freighter people to Ben’s time travel to “Something Nice Back Home” plus all that talk about the damn “spectacular kiss,” I’ve never had so much up and down from one TV show in one (shortened!) season.

Now, though, I’ve had my break, and I’m ready for the info to start coming in. Bring it on.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Help My Best Girl Allie Get Good Scoop!

Hey all,

My friend Allie--who I love dearly--just got an awesome opportunity that spells double awesome for us. She's a finalist in a contest over at the People's Choice Awards--the grand prize of which is a trip to the NY TV Festival, where she'll get to mingle with producers, writers, and other bigwigs--and present her FANTASTIC pitch for a West Wing spinoff! Now, if that doesn't translate to scoop on this blog, then I don't know what does.

Go over to pcavote.com and vote for Allie's The East Wing right now!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bones: Now You're Just Complaining Because You Have Nothing to Complain About

I'm having flashbacks to this past winter when it seemed as if all we ever blogged about on this site was Lost - more specifically, Jate - except that now it's about six months later and all we appear to blog about anymore is Bones - more specifically, Booth & Brennan 'shipperdom.

Occasionally, I feel reluctant to add yet another blog to the site if it's going to center on the same exact topic as the majority of the ones recently before it, but then I remember that this is our blog and we created it so we could talk about whatever the hell we damn well please. So, ya know, there that is.

Leigh has been joking with us a lot lately about stealing an idea from Adam Carolla's show in which he has a spot called "This Week in Rage," where Adam rattles on about the top five things that are severely working his nerves that week. We had tossed around the idea of doing a fandom version here on the blog, but never actually got around to making it a reality.

Well, today I feel the need to fully realize that idea. Or, you know, at least do a mini-version where I rattle on about one specific topic in fandom that has been annoying me all week - and for many, many weeks previous, honestly.

Because, really, can someone please explain to me why so many people are insistent on continuously whining, bitching and moaning about the current state of this show? Anyone? Explain, please.

I realize that I'm still considered an extremely new member of the Bones fandom, but (much like Brennan) I have a disturbingly steep learning curve. I've done my research and I know all the necessary details, so I think it's fair to say that I'm just as well informed as anyone who's been watching faithfully since the Pilot.

The difference is, my blog cohorts and I tend to be Brennanistically rational and logical when it comes to our shows, even if we don't like what's happening. You that are whining cannot be described by such adjectives.

Yeah, see, Caroline is the diplomatic one around here. I just tend to tell it like it is. Too bad.

Given the way that last season ended and the spoilers so far about how this upcoming season will pan out, there's been a large uproar amongst certain parts of the fandom who are entirely outraged and wondering what's happening to the state of their once-beloved show. Honestly, this outrage baffles me.

Booth "died" for two weeks and the entire topic was virtually swept under the rug once he returned. Zack turned out to be Gormogon's surprise apprentice. Angela and Hodgins are about to break up. Booth and Brennan are about to progress quite nicely toward their inevitable romantic relationship. The shortened third season was virtually entirely about bringing the two Bs closer and closer romantically, and this upcoming fourth is so far rumored to be doing a whole lot more of the same.

A baffling amount of people are completely livid about every single one of those developments.

I, personally, am only miffed about the first. And even then, I'm only just slightly miffed about it - so long as they attempt to wrap it up properly somehow in Season Four.

I'd rather give Hart Hanson the benefit of the doubt and wait and see what he offers me in that area before I start threatening to burn him in effigy. I mean, seriously, give the man a little credit.

Ever since I started watching this show on DVD just over a month or so ago, I've been kind of confused as to why Hanson and his crew had caught/were still catching so much flack over the "shocking" Zack reveal in the finale.

Sure, Zack is quirky and adorkable and everyone loves to geek out over him, but it's not as if the guy really served any larger purpose to the show. He wasn't cohesively sewn into the fibers of other sub-plots; not dating anyone, no family issues looming around, no past romantic ties to anyone else on the team - we knew virtually nothing about the guy aside from the fact that he was a genius with two doctorates who lived above Hodgins' garage, ate a lot of Mac & Cheese and was completely atheist unless you were speaking to his mother... in which case, he's Lutheran. Oh yeah, and once upon a time he slept with that Naomi chick.

What exactly is the disastrously heartbreaking loss here, people? He always managed to solve really difficult problems in the cases, but I'm pretty damn certain that Brennan would have had no trouble solving them on her own if she didn't have Zack to pass off half of her workload to, mmkay? She did teach him everything he knows - I think the lab can carry on with just as high a success rate without him.

To me, it was all summed up quite simply and rather perfectly by Dr. Addy himself during the "interrogation" scene in his finale hospital room: "The apprentice is expendable. I am expendable."

Yes, Zack. Yes, you are.

Out of everyone in the main cast that they could have chosen from to give them a great shock-factor finale, Zack was and still is the most expendable.

Cam is the boss and has a deep history with Booth. Choosing her would have been pointless, especially considering that Hanson had the chance (and the plans) to kill her off back in Season Two but decided not to take it. No point in getting rid of her now after deciding she was important enough to keep around back then, when she was still so new and slightly irritating.

Sweets would have been shocking, for sure, but still a little too obvious given the timeline of his arrival (which the characters themselves pointed out) and the fact that he was just a newbie. The shock value wouldn't have been nearly as great, and frankly it would have been pointless to spend so much time integrating him into the personal lives of the two Bs if you're just going to have him disappear from their stratosphere less than one full season later.

Hodgins was simply too damn obvious. That's all there was to it, really. On top of that, his relationship with Angela would have meant severe repercussions from the fandom as a whole seeing as choosing Hodgins for the apprentice would have resulted in a Hodgela break-up that could never, ever be fixed. That surely would not have gone over well with the 'shippers of that secondary OTP.

Angela... yeah, I'm not even going to bother explaining why it couldn't have been Angela. Same as I'm not going to waste any time explaining why neither Booth nor Brennan were options.

It had to be Zack. He was the only logical choice. And Bones fans are supposed to be able to appreciate logic. I don't see why so many of you seem incapable of doing so.

Not to mention the fact that Hart Hanson has already admitted that, had it not been for the writers' strike and the shortened season, his original plan for the Gormogon story was to have Zack end up falling victim to the serial cannibal.

So, like, isn't it better that he merely ended up being the apprentice instead? At least the kid is still alive and can (will) return for guest appearances until the end of all time. If I were you, I'd be a lot more pissed if he had ended up dead - but still, I would have gotten over it quickly. He was expendable. The show will carry on just fine without him.

If you really think Brennan needs a cute-but-geeky genius assistant by her side at all times, let's call up Clark Edison and put him to work as a series regular. That kid was sharp, witty and extremely easy on the eyes. Hell, he managed to outsmart Zack on the forensics of Max Keenan's murder case - surely he's worth just as much as Zack in the brains department, if not more.

Honestly, the uproar over it all has made practically zero sense to me since I first heard about it a few months ago. The only thing that suddenly changed is that I've realized something about the Bones fandom that I wasn't aware of at all until just last night: Bones has no-romos in the fandom. Or, more specifically, it has no-BB-romos. People who love the show but happen to hate the idea of a Booth/Brennan romance and resent the fact that the show basically revolves around that very thing.

Leigh voiced my main confused thought perfectly when I told her about this earlier this morning: "There are people like that who are watching?!?"

Yes, Leigh, there are. They are rolling their eyes heavily over the spoilers that indicate Season Four will revolve around progressing the BB relationship, whining incessantly that once upon a time this show used to be about forensics and solving crimes and an ensemble cast who worked together equally without carelessly tossing to the backburner any story that didn't revolve entirely around Booth and Brennan. They hate the kissing spoiler. They despise the "in bed" spoiler. I don't think I can find a proper word in my extensive vocabulary to describe how they feel about the newly-released "father of her baby" spoiler.

They do not 'ship Booth and Brennan. No, no - they apparently 'ship Angela/Hodgins (if they 'ship anything at all, really) and think the relentless and blatant push toward a B/B romance (and especially all of the obvious anvils there within) is out of character, overdone and entirely below the par of what they believe Hart and his team are capable of accomplishing with their writing skills.

To say that they're a little peeved about the upcoming Angela/Hodgins break-up would be putting it rather lightly. I mean, I'm not thrilled about it either - I really do thoroughly enjoy that coupling - but you've got to be kidding me if you can't see the entire purpose of it in the overall plot of their longterm romantic arc.

Angela and Hodgins are the secondary OTP - what we longterm 'shippers would refer to as "the constant romance." Constant romance pairings exist in almost every show that has a pre-established OTP; Monica & Chandler to the OTP of Ross/Rachel, Seth & Summer to the OTP of Ryan/Marissa, Miranda & Steve to the OTP of Carrie/Big, Dwight & Angela to the OTP of Jim/Pam... Angela & Hodgins to the OTP of Booth/Brennan.

Whereas the OTP is a consistent source of angst, waiting, hoping, wondering and pining for them to finally to get together and get it right, your "constant romance" couple - the secondary OTP - is the one you can always rest assured will end up together in the end. Main OTPs don't always make it last, but constant romances are exactly what their name implies: constant.

One day I'll do an in-depth blog explaining exactly how this system of OTPs works. I know its entirely confusing if you don't already know the logic behind it all.

The point is, Angela and Hodgins are the constant and therefore they have to be thrown into the boxing ring of angst every once in a while in order to keep their relationship from becoming stagnant and boring. They had to break up eventually. They'll also get back together eventually. More than likely, it'll happen long before Season Four is even close to over. That's how these things work, and if you're only watching the show for the constant romance 'ship then you really have to deal with the rules of what that means for them - just like I had to when Seth/Summer was all I cared about at all in the world of Newport Beach, California.

Suck it up, kiddos.

But hey, at least you're 'shipping something instead of complaining about how the show has too much romance and not enough science.

Anyway, this all wraps back around to Zack because this realization of no-romos in the fandom also pointed out to me where all of this Zack uproar is coming from: the no-romos! Apparently, if you're not 'shipping B/B then you're bound to be pretty torn up about the loss of the oh-so-expendable King of the Lab.

I have several close friends who have been watching Bones for years and 'shipping Booth/Brennan the entire time, and they're just as apathetic about the Zack "shocker" as my blog buddies and I happen to be after just over a month in this fandom. What's more, I've made tons of online B/B 'shipper buddies in the past month or so and none of them really care about the Zack thing either.

He was/is adorable and he was always good for a laugh or a great one-liner, but it doesn't seem like any of the OTP 'shippers are losing sleep over the loss of Dr. Addy. It's just the no-romos and the 'shippers who insist on focusing entirely on the secondary OTP, apparently.

Which brings me around to my final point of rage, which shall include wrapping up earlier statements made here; watching a show like Bones and yet completely refusing to 'ship Booth/Brennan is just as pointless as watching Lost and refusing to like Jack. As Caroline pointed out, Lost is a show that - like it or not - revolves around Jack. The Pilot was more or less shot through his POV, he was the first character we ever met, and he's since become the defacto leader of that schizophrenic island group. Bones has always, always, always been a story about Booth and Brennan. If it wasn't meant to be that way, they never would have asked David to change his initial contract and sign on for a weekly starring status as opposed to the 13-episodes-per-season deal he had inked before Emily came along.

This truth is further stated in an excerpt from this interview with Hart just before the third season finale:

Bones as Romantic Comedy: From the very beginning Bones was going to be an amusing character-driven show, said Hanson. The reason? As the bodies they discovered were, many times, long deceased, there was no emotional connection to the murder victims, like there is in CSI or Law & Order. Thus, there had to be some emotional exchange somewhere in the show.

It didn't become a Romantic Comedy until Boreanaz and Deschanel were hired. Only when he saw them together on-screen, and saw the connection they had, did Hart and his team decide to move towards the romantic comedy angle. According to Hart, David and Emily have that connection that people can't write.


Sure, the first season was more forensics-heavy and made a stronger attempt at trying to be creepy, riveting and intelligent like it's counterparts on other networks, but David and Hart have readily admitted that the only reason it stayed like that for so long was because the network and other members of the production team forced them to keep it as such despite desperate pleas from Hanson, Boreanaz and Deschanel to recognize what the real story of the show had quickly become.

If you didn't notice by at least the very beginning of Season Two that this was an hour-long dramedy a la Gilmore Girls with some bones, blood and criminals thrown in for good measure, that's your own fault. If you completely missed every single interview in which David talked about his entire focus and the focus of the show being on the relationship between Booth and Brennan, that's your own fault. If you missed it when David, yet again, flat out categorized the series as "a romantic comedy" as opposed to a crime drama, that is most definitely your own fault. Don't run around threatening to stop watching the show if it doesn't "get back to its roots" and "remember that its a show about forensic science and criminology" when, ya know, it absolutely isn't that at all.

And not being about the crime and the science is exactly what it makes it so wonderfully new and exciting to watch. In another excerpt from the very same article that I linked to moments ago, the author noted that, "Hart took the concept of the murder mystery and bent it to his own desires, focusing more on the interactions between the characters rather than the long-dead murder victims. With that, he turned a show that could have been another copy of CSI into something goofy and romantic in nature. Which means something fresh and unique in a world of cookie-cutter series."

Focus on the last bit of that quote, if you will, please. Because that's kind of my entire point, here. Goofy and romantic are what make it stand out from the crowd, and I highly doubt it would be as successful as it is had it tried to match other truly forensic shows point for point. Appreciate the rebellion from the norm, people.

But if you're so hell bent on finding solid criminal forensic stories that barely tap into the potential for romance, I'm sure CSI would love to add you to its ratings curve. And if you're even more hell bent on finding solid criminal forensic stories that barely tap into the potential for romance and star Dr. Temperance Brennan at the forefront of her game, I suggest you visit your local Barnes & Noble and start reading through everything Kathy Reichs has ever written. As a 'shipper, I find myself skipping entire chapters of those books in a desperate search for the next moment when Tempe and Andy Ryan will trade barbs or swoon at one another again - believe me, the forensic criminology far outweighs the romance in Brennan's book life.

I'm sure you'll be much happier with her in that world instead of the one portrayed weekly on FOX.

But if you insist on sticking around to watch the new season of Bones despite how disgruntled you all seem to be about it, at least make an attempt to see the rationale behind Hanson's decisions and the fact that the Booth/Brennan romance writing has been blatantly on the wall all along - this show stopped being about the squint squad solving crime with their forensics skills the second Booth told Brennan they would be just like Mulder and Scully.

Or, to go along with the information given directly from the horse's own mouth, Hart Hanson was quoted here as saying that "...around the time someone was eaten by a bear we hit our stride in how touching and romantic this show could be with those two going out in the world."

Okay, so I claim it was the Pilot and Hart says it was Episode 4. Shockingly huge difference there, folks.

I mean, c'mon - it doesn't get much more obvious than that. It's been this way all along.

So if you're going to keep watching, please stop whining. And if you're going to keep whining, please just stop watching - you've been threatening to do so anyway - but don't get all high and mighty if/when the show gets canceled due to poor ratings because you all walked away from it instead of choosing to accept it for the great work of television that it actually happens to be in reality.

Like I said before, that's your own fault.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bones: Booth, Brennan, and the Anthropology of Procreation

Oh, wow.

Sitting here watching the Opening Ceremonies with my laptop on hand, doing my hourly click-through of my trusty Web sites, and I spot something major.

It’s about Bones, so stop here if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Got it?

Okay.

According to SearchingBones.com, “The Bones writers revealed that during season 4, Brennan decides that she wants Booth to be the father of her child.”

Oh, wow.

First of all, this is going to be an awesome scene of Brennanism.

Second of all, let’s analyze.

Because as far as we know at this stage of the game, Brennan doesn’t want children at all.

She doesn’t want to get married and she doesn’t want children—anthropologically speaking.

Now, she does recognize and appreciate Booth’s many good qualities in the marriage and babies department. In “The Truth in the Lye,” Brennan said to Rebecca, “When he asked you to marry him? I mean, he seems an ideal candidate. Strong, alpha male, good protective instincts.”

In “The Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House,” Brennan flat-out told Booth that he was a good candidate for babymaking:

Booth:
”Look, I’m just saying! You know, you believe in love, don’t you?”
Brennan:
”I believe that dopamine and norepinephrine simulate euphoria because of certain biological triggers like scent, symmetrical features...”
Booth:
”Symmetrical features.”
Brennan:
”Yes, it’s an indication of a good breeder. You appear to be a very good breeder.”

Logically speaking, if Brennan did decide she wanted to be a mom, she’s going to want Booth to be the dad.

It’s always just been a matter of her getting to that place.

Now, the kink in this brilliant plan of Brennan’s is going to be Booth. Because I can’t imagine Booth being up for this particular activity—at least not in this context. Yeah, Booth probably wants babies with Brennan, but he wants the whole Brennan package. As Leigh just told me on the phone, if Booth’s going to have babies with Brennan, “he wants to HAVE them WITH her.” He doesn’t just want to provide her with his genetically-superior sperm—he wants to have a family with her.

And in fact, this is kind of problematic in terms of the ship timeline. This is not the traditional next step for Booth and Brennan. The next traditional step, we say, is a non-mistletoe kiss.

All this is to say that I highly doubt a baby is actually going to result from this.

My prediction?

Brennan comes to this realization and springs it on Booth. He reacts accordingly. It’s exact what every awkward Brennan conversation is like, only heightened by the magnitude of her chosen topic. Brennan thinks Booth is rejecting the idea of procreating with her, and things are awkward between them for a few scenes. In the closing moments of the episode, however, Booth has to clarify his reaction. He tells Brennan, in no uncertain circumstances, that he is not opposed to the idea of having a baby with her—but he doesn’t want it this way and neither does she. He spills some platitudes about the meaning of being a parent and the difficulty of doing it without a partner, and how next time around, he wants to be a parent with somebody who he’s in love with and committed to.

It’s very sweet, we all watch it over and over again.

This is not to say that I am against Booth and Brennan having a baby. I mean, God, if “The Baby in the Bough” taught me anything, it’s that those two would make precious parents. I am pro-babies. Just not awkward test tube babies.

This is just an anvil on the way to Booth/Brennan coupling—there’s no way during the course of this episode that they don’t both consider the possibility of familying with the other.

Based on some hints from Hart Hanson, the few casting sides we’ve seen, and the whole discussion of Booth and Brennan naked in bed together, Mae has this whole theory about how this season is maybe going to contain some “fantasy” aspects. She told me that people are talking about how perhaps we’d actually get to see an episode where, in somebody’s mind, Booth and Brennan are married and have kids and everything. Personally, I think this sounds a little too fanfictiony for my taste, but you should let Mae (wherever the hell she is) tell you more about that idea.

Interestingly, somebody at SearchingBones.com commented with the following exchange from “The Woman in the Car”:

Booth: I’m better for Parker being in the world. Someday you will see that.
Brennan: No, I won’t.
Booth: You’ll change your mind.
Brennan: I don’t do that.
Booth: You will.

If, by some strange circumstance, a Baby Brennan-Booth does enter the picture, one thing is absolutely sure.

It’s a girl.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer TV Catch-Up Update. In One Word, DVR.

A few months ago, I initiated a summer plan for TV catch-up. I planned to try Bones, Chuck, Eli Stone, and The Big Bang Theory, while getting caught up on Weeds.

I’m well into my plan and my life is getting immensely more complicated.

My roommate and I are switching cable providers because we realized we could get a better deal at Comcast and they’d give us a DVR. Now, a DVR has long seemed to me a perk that I can live without. I have appointment television, and if something drastic comes up that forces me to skip a night, I trust websites and VHS to get me caught up lickety-split.

This season, I need reinforcements.

My TV regiment for 2008-2009 includes Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Fringe, Dollhouse, Bones, The Big Bang Theory, Lost, 30 Rock, The Office, Friday Night Lights, Desperate Housewives, and Pushing Daisies.

And I haven’t even tried Eli Stone, Mad Men, or Gossip Girl—the last two got added to the must-try list after I started my summer catch-up plan.

I’ve always been a TV fan. But my time spent concerning myself with television has always been on a qualitative level. Lost demands attention. For the first time, I find myself in a quantitative conundrum. Because this is more TV than I’ve ever watched before in my life.

Weeds is getting pushed off my schedule; I just don’t believe it anymore.

I could barely suffer through the pilot of Chuck. Whoever said that show was Alias plus The Office was seriously disturbed. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief for that crap.

When I saw that Bones had already aired a disorienting 58 episodes, I thought I’d just be giving it a try and then turning it off. I never thought I’d watch all 58 in two weeks and be on the edge of my seat for season four to begin.

The Big Bang Theory is nothing earth-shattering (oh, puns), but it definitely makes me laugh. I LOVE Sheldon. Also, I love the theme song. (Theme songs--underrated.) The purported ship isn’t doing anything for me, but I’m not in it for that anyway. I’m only three episodes in, but as soon as I finish this blog, I’m off to sit on my couch, paint my nails red, white, and blue in honor of Team USA, and watch some more episodes.

So that’s my summer catch-up update. Next on the to-do list (after I churn through ten more Big Bang Theorys) is Eli Stone, followed by Mad Men DVDs.

I’m going to be pretty focused on finishing the catch-up and watching the Olympics for the next couple weeks, and before we know it, it’ll be time for season premieres. Until then, GO TEAM USA!

The Office: Their Summer is Hotter than Beijing's!

At Comic-Con, writers from The Office announced that the season premiere would take on a new challenge—they’d be broadcasting summer in an untraditional way.

As TV series have moved away from strict adherence to real time—Lost goes on its own calendar; Grey’s has no idea when it’s taking place—the need to bridge the hiatus has become less and less of an issue. It can, for some shows, be a tool for plot advancement, as we watch Desperate Housewives turn this four-month hiatus into a five-year plot gap. The Office, however, has actually tried to maintain real time in the past few years. Last year picked up with Jim and Pam having already started their relationship and Michael and Jan having moved in together. They even had this funny YouTube video about what the characters did on their summer vacation:



Yeah, I just watched that again, and I’m pretty sure it’s the funniest thing they did last year.

So. Comic-Con. Jen Celotta and Mike Schur (!!) told OfficeTally that the premiere was going to be about summer (and perhaps even titled “Summer”) as they use each act to represent a week.

I kind of shrugged my shoulders and went about my business.

Whatever.

And then I really thought about it.

And I remembered what I said while in a fit of finale rage: “I would venture to guess that the season five premiere will pick up three months later, once Pam has returned from design school.... 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!”

Well, if they are showing summer, this quandary might no longer exist!

It’s a Jamtastic miracle!

Because much as I enjoyed the reveal that Jim and Pam were already together in “Fun Run,” it was kind of disappointing that we didn’t get to see their first date or their first kiss. Many have tried, but nobody has yet reached the squee factor in any kind of fanart medium. Sorry, girls.

Here’s what “Fun Run” did give us. It does seem kind of wrong to complain.



Kristin dos Santos said today that The Office was using USC’s campus as the Pratt School of Design, suggesting that we’ll get to see Pam at art school. Again, I highly doubt that Pam’s actually going to quit receptionisting to be a full-time artist, but it’ll be interesting to see her doing anything other than “Dunder-Mifflin, this is Pam.”

Also, please, God, let’s see a Jam proposal. I can’t wait any longer. Jim’s been such an ass about the whole thing that I almost hope Rich Sommer is playing Pam’s new artsy fartsy Brooklyn boyfriend.

(No, I don’t. I take it back.)

We’ll also get to see Jan’s pregnancy progress, which makes me laugh just thinking about it.

I didn’t think I would be, but I’m actually starting to get excited for The Office’s premiere. I mean, I hold no hope that it will ever reclaim the Funniest Show Ever title from 30 Rock, but I think this season has potential.

Especially if Ryan’s going to be incarcerated.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lost's Alternate Reality Games: Let the Fun Begin Already!

For the last two summers, I’ve resisted getting caught up in the world of Lost alternate reality games. Two years ago, The Lost Experience catapulted to Lostpedia prominence, demanding intense brainpower from Lost viewers. As we all sweated through the hiatus—remember when four months from finale to premiere seemed like a long time?—some people were able to get their fix from the ARG. I was super-bored that summer, answering phones at a company that manufactures cable (coaxial, fiber optic…), but I just couldn’t get into The Lost Experience.

As I said before, TLE “required participants to basically turn internet-searching into a full-time job. There were phone calls and weird website passwords and decoding Navajo and binary code. At some point, you had to call in Marshall Flinkman for an assist.”

It seems obvious to me—and to Darlton—that people willing to take on the challenge of an intricate summer Lost project would probably tune in anyway. It’s fun for the die-hards.

Last year, I had similar trouble with Find 815, the second ARG. I kind of started trying to follow it, but I just couldn’t get into it.

This year, there’s another ARG—one that’s been talked about since the season finale introduced a commercial for Octagon Global Recruiting. With some stunts at Comic-Con, the ARG—the Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project—should have gotten off the ground.

But it’s been over a week since the last clue, and there are a lot of people (including me!) who are starting to get antsy.

Because I’m actually intrigued.

Like Angela on The Office, “I really enjoy being judged.” Tests, form-fillings-out, and the like are my life’s passion. I’ve chosen a career path that will likely involve lots of forms, and I’m quite content. And apparently, “over a number of weeks, you will undergo a series of tests scientifically designed to assess the most appropriate research role for your talents and abilities.” Watch, mine will come back and say that I am best qualified for a role as a form-completer. In the Lost world, I’d imagine that translates to Pearl duty.

My favorite all-Lost-all-the-time blog is DarkUFO’s, which has a whole section devoted to ARG clues. During Comic-Con, this site was aflutter with activity, with new posts, videos, clues, and mysteries flooding in. Since then, I’ve taken the necessary steps to sign myself up for the project, and there’s been zero activity.

A little break between tests gives everyone the opportunity to catch up and spend some time discussing and theorizing, but this is getting ridiculous. The last few ARG-related posts at Dark’s have just been nonsense. Even more nonsensical are the comments, where people take the opportunity to complain about the lag time, berate the nonsense of others’ theories, and do math.

It’s kind of gotten me thinking. These “games” aren’t just something fun to occupy the Lost world during hiatus. They’re practically a necessity. Lost brains in idle are dangerous.

I’ve taken the recruiting quiz over at DharmaWantsYou.com and I’m anxiously awaiting the next step (Volunteer Assessment!). My screen name over there is just plain “Caroline,” so look for me once this thing actually gets going.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Grisly Sex Crime Reunites Long-Lost Lovers--That Got Your Attention, Didn't It?

I’ve long had a dream of a Dirty Sexy Money/Desperate Housewives crossover, wherein Peter Krause and Felicity Huffman are reunited for a steamy affair—and maybe even an inkling of a past love triangle with that sneaky Mary Alice Young.

Ten years ago, Krause and Huffman were the stars of Aaron Sorkin’s first series, Sports Night, which became one of my top-five favorite shows when I Netflixed the DVDs a few years back. I’ve talked about my love of Sports Night and the Casey/Dana saga here before, and I’ve probably mentioned my hope for their eventual reunion.

Well, Ausiello’s got news of the second-best thing.

Josh Charles and Teri Polo are guesting in an upcoming episode of Law and Order: SVU. The two, who had an on-off relationship on Sports Night which served as the (ultimately unresolved due to cancellation) season two cliffhanger. As Dan and Rebecca, Charles and Polo were perhaps the most evolved, complicated romance Aaron Sorkin ever wrote. Sure, I loved my Casey/Dana, but those two were always so immature about everything—they just used big words. Dan and Rebecca had actual problems, like Rebecca’s unfortunate marriage to another sportscaster, Steve Sisco, Dan’s emotional trauma, and their general poor timing.

I’ve told this story before, but it’s worth repeating. I had the awesome opportunity to meet Teri Polo when I spent three days with a crew pass from heaven on The West Wing’s location shoot here in Washington. When I shook her hand, all I could say was, “Oh my God, I love Sports Night.”

Someone on Ausiello’s page commented that this episode airs on the same day (Sept. 30) that the new special edition boxed set of Sports Night: The Complete Series comes out. Having not heard about these DVDs, I was quite intrigued. The good-old boxed set that I purchased (Netflix wasn’t enough) and have gained and lost friends over has no special features—just 45 amazing half-hour episodes.

Apparently this new set has commentaries, a gag reel, reminiscing featurettes, and lots more. I’m going to have to have these.

Anyway, seeing Dan and Rebecca back together is going to be a treat, but it doesn’t come without its own perils.

The upshot? They’re playing a married couple. (Suck it, Steve Sisco!)

Also, Teri Polo’s hair looks way better now than it did ten years ago.

The downside? It’s Law and Order: SVU, and Ausiello says their son is a suspect. It’s not going to be happy.

Still, think of the shiptastic possibilities. Think of the icon communities reinvigorated by new screencaps. (I really don’t know why I’ve been thinking in terms of fanart lately, seeing as I’ve never been too into it.) There will be those of us who can put aside the hypothetical story of a gruesome sex crime to reminisce with some old friends.

Like The X-Files movie, only better.

Oh, snap.

But seriously, yay! I’m definitely looking forward to this.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Jate Daily News: Carlton Cuse a Jater After All?!

As if Lost’s love triangle wasn’t a big enough point of contention, the show’s executive producers had to go and take sides. For as long as I’ve been involved in the Lost fandom, Jaters have claimed Damon Lindelof as their primary ally in the writer’s room, while Skaters are more aligned with Carlton Cuse.

From the limited research I did this morning, it seems like Damon does say more Jate-related things than Carlton does, such as, “Jack is the guy that she should be with.”

And then Carlton says things like, “It was great. I mean you think about it, you know, in a show, in a television show, to basically go fifty-five hours before these two characters who are in love with each other actually finally culminate and, you know, make love.”

Wow, did you ever think I’d put that quote in this blog? ::Shudders:: Ick.

Also, when asked late last season who their favorite characters were, Damon flat-out said Jack and Carlton flat-out said Sawyer.

So it’s interesting to imagine the Jate vs. Skate debates that go on in the production office. Surely Damon (Jate) wins, because he’s the head writer. Except that surely Carlton (Skate) wins because he’s the official showrunner. Except Damon definitely wins because he’s the co-creator.

Can somebody get J.J. Abrams in here, please?

For the record, we count J.J. as a card-carrying member of Team Jate. I’ve always thought of Mr. Abrams as the clockmaker in the Deist world that is Lost. He set in motion the elements of the series—including the Jack/Kate relationship—and left everyone to it. Along the way, Skate was stumbled upon, but I sincerely believe Jate is what’s in that 23-page outline Damon and J.J. wrote five years ago. Also, J.J. says things like, “You could put, Jack and Kate on a, New York City street, and have them pass each other, at rush hour, on a Wednesday morning. And, they would stop, and turn, slowing to watch each other go by. They know each other within the context, of a universal recognition. They have met before, this life. And, they will meet again, in another.”

Mae and I have always said that when the shit comes down, Carlton and Damon would call J.J. in for a tiebreaker. And we were confident that he’d side with us.

And then Comic-Con happened, and we discovered that maybe we don’t need J.J. to help Damon shanghai Carlton.



At 3:30, a Comic-Con attendee asks Darlton if Jack and Kate are the “One True Pairing” of the show. First of all, I effing have to go to this convention next year. I think I would fit in really well there, and I’ll get a Blackberry for blog purposes…it’ll be great. I also love, in a different clip from Comic-Con, Carlton says, “Death is kind of a relative term,” and someone in the audience loudly goes, “Whaaaa whaaaa,” in the style of Charlie Brown’s teacher. (Wow, that is a really difficult sound to convey in text.)

Anyway, of course Darlton dances around the question and gives no real answer. But the questioner does specify, “But you would want Jack and Kate to get together if you weren’t, like, the writers?”

Carlton’s response? “Personally, I really like those two, but professionally, I have to take the fifth on that.”

Now, sure, Carlton could be utilizing a number of planned strategies, including (A) he really does like Jate personally, but thinks that Skate is better for the show, (B) he’s straight-up lying to confuse people, or (C) he just wanted to quiet the stressed-out Jater in the audience.

I don’t particularly understand option (A). I would think it would be difficult to separate your personal feelings about stuff like that from your professional feelings. But I guess if you are a Jater but you’ve been convinced that the entire Lost viewership is comprised of Skaters, you might do something drastic, but this doesn’t seem very likely.

Ultimately, I don’t think this represents some dramatic change of heart for Carlton Cuse. For starters, he’s always been better at keeping things quiet and/or obscured than Damon has, so Carlton’s OTP tendencies have been much less obvious. But I do think it’s interesting—and heartening—to hear Carlton say something nice (and direct!) about Jate. Having more pro-Jate sentiment behind the scenes is never a bad thing.