31 January, 2012

ALCATRAZ 1.04: 'Cal Sweeney'


After last week's episode received the lowest score I have ever given an episode of anything, this week's was bound to at least do one point better. It is safe to say that it does.

It opens up with a bank robbery by time-traveling Sweeney, who injects some sleepy-time shit into the girl he is apparently having sexual relations with (been there, done that) and then murders some tosser who happens to walk in on the crime scene before Sweeney Todd can bail.

We are then treated to the predictable flashback to Sweeney's time in Alcatraz. Followed by a return to the current timeline where Hurley and blondie try to solve the crime.

Sweeney goes around as some insurance investigator talking to the hapless victim from whom he stole. Then tortures the tits off him, followed by another flashback that maybe has some significance. Hurley and cop chick find the dead dude and investigate some more. Sweeney has another flashback, this time we get to see some familiar faces and get more background information. Seems like there may have been some memory replacement research going on at Alcatraz. Maybe we'll find out in 10 episodes.

Sweeney goes to rob another bank vault but this time he messes with a redhead who fights back and hits the shit-we-be-robbed alarm. The Sweenster takes the entire bank hostage. Back in his flashback world, he gets stabbed by a pen to the leg.

In present-day world, boobies goes crawling through the ventilation shaft and drops into the bank where she tells Sweeney that she's there to break him out. Riveting.

Bangbang. SWAT. Oldest trick in the book. Cop-in-panties and bad guy escape in a cop car with Hurley and shitty-American-accent dude tailing.

Flashback to one of those interesting LOST type moments where I forget for a few minutes that I am watching a fuckin' boring show. It involves an empty box and a double-cross and it is actually kind of compelling. Flash to present and we're kind of getting a feel for some worthwhile pieces of a puzzle being introduced, as our escapee seems to reveal he is stealing without knowing exactly why. Cop-face then pulls an Ellie Bartowski and crashes the car, knocking out her kidnapper.

Badabing badaboom they put Sweeney away. We get a scene of what is going on behind the scenes of this FBI investigation and my interest level elevates. Then we get a closing scene that reveals a bit more about what was going on at Alcatraz and I'm definitely curious.

If I had to rate this one, and I really don't, I'd give it:

82 out of 100

Well, it was better than last week's but I think maybe the previous episode turned me off a bit to the show. Though, the suggestion that the writers may actually have a point to all this does somewhat intrigue me enough to maybe keep watching. Perhaps if the show gets more interesting, I will make more of an effort reviewing it. What did you think?



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28 January, 2012

CHUCK Vs. the Goodbye: 5.13 - Skinny Love


Today I write the final review ever of a new network run episode of CHUCK. It has been quite a run. What a way to finish. You can check out my review of episode 5.12 first by clicking this link.

By that, I don't mean what a great way to finish, nor do I mean what a crappy way to finish. Though, depending on the comments I have already read all over the Internet, you'd think this was the best possible finish or the worst. I don't think it is either of those.

It is a finish.

Could they have done it differently? Yes. Should they have? I think so. But will it ruin the entire show for me now that it is over? I doubt it, but then I'm not hyperbolic enough to allow these things to ruin a whole series for me. Plus, I didn't think it was done terribly or anything. I just don't think it reached its maximum potential.

Launching off from the previous episode, Sarah is on the hunt for Quinn, who is running around shopping for pieces of some device that will allow him to update and manipulate the Intersect in any way he wants. There may be some issue with canon here since the Intersect has been updated and changed a few times already. Why are these three separate elements that make one key of power so necessary? Not that it really matters because the Intersect as a overarching story device has never seemed all that thought out anyway.

So, Quinn is on a plane, with Sarah as a stowaway, buying another piece of this device from a former Fulcrum agent played by the brilliant Mark Pellegrino. Probably the best line of the season is delivered here, only because it is so true.

Edgar: You do realize it's only one part of the key. There are two other pieces.
Quinn: I do. My sources tell me a former member of The Ring acquired one from Volkoff a few years back.
Edgar: The Ring. [pause] What amateurs.

YES! THEY WERE!

Can I just say how I love watching Pellegrino in pretty much anything? The guy is a master at his craft. He could make George Lucas' dialogue seem brilliant.

Anyway, so Quinn notices that Sarah is on the plane and they have a little shootout that results in Sarah falling out of a perfectly good airplane, unconscious, to her death.

Alright so she lives and lands at a beach.

Back at home, Chuck wakes up with Morgan in bed with him (I guess the bearded one needed to snuggle) with Awesome and Ellie there to motivate him to find Sarah and turn her back to loving him.

We see Casey and Beckman discussing him going soft, which is not a sexual metaphor. The general wants the ruthless colonel. He wants to grunt.

To find his dearest love, Chuck gets the now totally in on it Jeff and Lester to utilize their super stalker strike force of Buy Morons. This is of course ridiculous but it made me laugh and gave some of those background actors who have been on the show for years a moment to shine and get some dialogue.

Sarah shows up at the Nerd Herd desk, like some bizarro universe callback to the first episode, and Chuck agrees to team up with her to find Quinn, who is on the quest to put together the one key of power.

That search takes us back to a restaurant much like the one Chuck and Sarah went to in the pilot episode (more callbacks) and it then results in them having to dance on the ballroom to get some intel (callback to episode 3 of season 3). That intel then takes them to a Wienerlicious (callback to season 1) where Sarah displays not just residual memory of the past but also demonstrates how deadly she is with two tiny wooden sticks (callback to episode 2 of season 1).

Quinn escapes when Casey's helicopter of armed-to-the-teeth operatives is accidentally shot down by Chuck when he fires a warning shot into the air. It's stupid, but I laughed.

Casey: Hey! Is that my Desert Eagle? You shot down my helicopter with my own damn gun!

So Casey arrests the team, or something, and puts Chuck and Sarah in separate cells (a kind of callback to season 2 episode 21?) where they discuss things, as a tied up Morgan argues with his future father-in-law about gaining his edge back.

Morgan: Your team was your edge, you giant jackass! What is wrong with you, man? You wanna find Quinn? You know who to call. But don't you dare try to blame this on us because you're afraid! That's right. You're afraid that with us that's when you're the best! And that's the truth, man.

I get it, a scene created to inject more drama into the show but it feels like it takes something away from Casey to have him somewhat turn on his friends just to get talked into doing the right thing. Haven't we already gotten past this stuff?

Casey releases the gang and Sarah tries to run off on her own but is stopped by a gun wielding Mama B. Here we get what is probably the cutest and funniest moment of the night (and maybe a top cute/funny moment of the season, if not the series) when Awesome and Ellie walk in on the happening and Devon covers baby Clara's eyes.

Awesome: Gramma, what did we say about baby Clara seeing firearms?
Mama B: [putting the weapon down] It's a no-no. I'm sorry. [to Clara] Your Meme loves you!

Too damn cute.

So Ellie tells Chuck that the ability to modify the Intersect could give them the ability to make Sarah remember everything. This of course means one of two things. Chuck will get the Intersect back and use it on Sarah, or something totally stupid will happen to keep him from doing it. Obviously the writers went with option two.

They track Quinn to a symphony where Beckman is wired to blow up once the music ends. Chuck and Sarah track down Quinn as Casey and Morgan try to figure out the bomb. They discover it is set to go off once the music stops and so Jeffster puts on their final performance, of Ah-Ha's Take On Me, to save the day, with Morgan directing the orchestra. Yes, it is totally stupid but I laughed and enjoyed it.

On the roof of the building, Sarah kills Quinn and Chuck has to Intersect himself with the glasses Quinn had so he can defuse the bomb. Oh no! He has to sacrifice his ability to get her memories back to save his friends! He Intersects himself and then is able to open up the bomb but only to realize he can't defuse it. Oh no! He is going to lose his friends and his wife for no reason! But then Sarah suggest he use a porn virus (callback to episode 1 season 1) and Chuck saves the day with Sarah's residual memory!

And they lived happily ever after.

No? Not yet. Okay, apparently there is more angst to go around because the show needs those ratings to go up so we can get... oh wait... the show is over? So why are we spending this much time on a McGuffin?

Back at Castle, Beckman and Casey say their goodbyes, as if the show is coming to an end. Casey hugs Chuck and then goes off to find his Gertrude. Beckman goes off to sit in a comfortable chair.

Jeffster gets a record contract in Germany.

Big Mike gets one scene.

Subway has apparently bought the Buy More.

Morgan and Alex are moving in together.

Ellie and Awesome, with baby Clara, are moving to Chicago to work at a new hospital (well, baby Clara is probably going to just chill out for a few years before she starts working at the hospital).

Chuck finds Sarah on the beach (callback to the end of episode 1 of season 1) where he tells her about their life together and we get a fan-video montage of events from the series. Chuck and Sarah kiss and the camera pulls out as we fade to black.

The end.

Now let me just point out the biggest problem I have with this episode. It is too centered on how Sarah's memory loss affects Chuck. And essentially, ONLY Chuck. What about her relationship with the rest of the family and friends? What about five seasons worth of her gaining the love and respect of these people? Why do they all seem so detached from the experience of losing someone they care about? It's as if she is just some girlfriend of Chuck's that they didn't much like.

Ellie is supposed to be a neurosomething doctor thingy. Why doesn't she hypnotize Sarah? Why doesn't she seem more concerned about what is going on? Everything is too conveniently written to move those two toward the beach so we can have an open ended callback moment that is kind of satisfying.

Watching Ellie in her final scene, it was like "Oh well, I'm a neurowhatever but I'm kind of over this Sarah chick... okay, I could put on the wedding DVD and refresh her memory but frak that gotta go to Chicago bye!!!"

Seriously? Not even an attempt to refresh her memory? Really, playa?

Plus, by going out on the need for the audience to imagine that Sarah eventually got her memories back and they lived happily ever after, the writers put it in the hands of those who don't like to have to imagine these things to get over the fact that their final moment with Chuck and Sarah was one where Sarah most likely didn't remember the last five years, only knowing what happened based on what Chuck told her. To those people, it feels cheap. A cheat even. A slap in the face to some. And it wasn't necessary to end it this way. The writers could have satisfied all camps by adding a line where Sarah admits she remembers... something from his story telling. So, I can sympathize with people who feel the ending is terrible, even if I don't agree with them.

If I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:

83 out of 100

It didn't leave me feeling totally satisfied at the end. The episode spent most of its time setting up a spy story that really didn't have much weight or importance to it in the grand scheme of things. I would much rather have seen the writers spend the final half hour wrapping up satisfying and powerful moments between all our characters than what they delivered. Though, I'm not unhappy enough with it to burn down my living-room and break all my DVDs. It's just a tad underwhelming while still leaving me with a bit of satisfaction.

Still, I'd prefer a RETURN OF THE KING, or LOST, or BATTLESTAR GALACTICA extended character ending any day to this. And I feel like the writers didn't deliver the best they could have done. Though, this ending actually helped make the finale easier on me. I will miss it, but not as much as I would have had it been better executed.

Edit: The podcast we did for the finale is out. WARNING, lots of filthy dirty language. Not for kids, just very mature adults who like horrible language.

Click on the player below to listen...


OR, right click and save this link to listen to a much higher quality version which is super duper superior to the crap in the player above which sounds like poo-pie tastes!

UPDATE 2: ATTENTION PEOPLE COMMENTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111one

If you can't see your comments, it is because we went over 200 and now you have to click "Load More..." below the comment box. Yes, it is super annoying and stupid but Blogger changed how it works and I can't do anything about it.


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CHUCK Vs. Sarah: 5.12 - The Penultimate Episode


The second to last episode ever of CHUCK, and the 90th in series history, gave us one of those story lines that fans can argue about or rage against for the next twenty years, or more.

Sarah, having had her memory suppressed, or having lost them, or whatever we are supposed to think (like the writers spent much time thinking about it, they're too high on sandwiches and cookies anyway), is told she has been undercover for five-years and has been pretending to be in love with Chuck Bartowski. Her handler, Quinn, does get thrown through a window when she doesn't believe him but he survives long enough to show her evidence of her personal video logs where she seems to confirm his story.

Back at home, Chuck and gang are getting ready to go find Sarah when she suddenly shows up, bloody, beaten, and barely dressed, having seemingly escaped her captors. Her story is essentially the truth minus the part about her accepting Quinn's mission to find the Intersect glasses and to eliminate Chuck Bartowski.

Somewhat surprisingly, stalking predator Sarah Walker who could perhaps kill Chuck is fun to watch. Yvonne Strahovski really made me believe Sarah could do it. I mean, I knew she wouldn't but still, it takes a solid performance to make me forget the obvious. And a couple of times I felt a touch of fear for Chuck and the gang. I can only imagine how the general, more naive viewer felt.

There is a sequence here where Chuck tries to massage his wife that is at times very funny to kind of intense. She believes he is a dangerous agent who might be onto her and has a knife tucked away within hand's reach. It's probably one of the better scenes of the final two episodes.

Chuck begins to suspect something is wrong and goes to his sister for advice. Sarah follows and overhears their conversation. This is another good little scene where we have brother and sister just having one of those conversations that were sometimes the foundation of this show in earlier seasons.

Anyway, let me jump ahead. The gang breaks into a cool James Bond type CIA research facility where the next Intersect room is, and are betrayed by Sarah who thinks she has stolen the device from them. But Chuck outsmarts her and she has to somehow get the Intersect back.

Cut to her kidnapping Ellie, a low-speed car follow that results in Ellie purposely crashing the car (is Sarah an idiot?), and Chuck carrying Sarah back to their dream house that no one can sell now that they carved their names into it. Here Chuck tries to turn her away from the dark side with his love. She kicks his ass a little bit but he won't fight back. Sarah starts to remember something when she sees the carving. Before she can remember too much Quinn arrives and tries to kill her but Chuck jumps in the way of the bullet. Not surprisingly, he is wearing a bullet proof vest. Sarah goes after Quinn.

We then see Sarah, back at her apartment packing up. Casey arrives, having been given the mission to kill her, or something, but instead gives her the whole video log that detail her changing feelings for Chuck through the years. Sarah then goes to see Chuck and tells him she believes they were in love but that she doesn't know those feelings. She then leaves to go get Quinn.

If I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:

92 out of 100

It was mostly very well done and "evil" Sarah was far more entertaining to me than I ever expected she could be. It wasn't one of the best episodes they've done, and I don't think it was the best episode of the season (breaking the penultimate episode streak of previous seasons) but it was an entertaining hour of television. However, it could be one of Yvonne's best episodes. She got to be all things that I love about her as an actor but in a different way than we have come to expect. It was such a unique choice for the writers and the actor to deliver that any issues I may have had with the episode as a whole, are mostly background noise.

Let me also mention that these two final episodes are a reminder of what the show looks like when they have some money to spend. Oh, if only this show could have had season 2 money for five seasons. Imagine what they could have done. Maybe in ten years when the CHUCK phenomenon has taken over the planet and we get a Netflix series or a movie (or eleven).

One final thing, I would usually do quotables but I have to write another review and record a podcast today. Go quote the episode yourselves in the comment section. Thanks!

CLICK HERE for my review of Chuck Versus the Goodbye.



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FRINGE 4.10: 'Forced Perspective'


This review is going to be very short because I couldn't give any less shit about cases-of-the-week.

Some girl can see the future and draw it (sounds like HEROES) and it involves people dying. She eventually sees a big explosion and saves the day before her brain explodes or some shit, blahblah.

Now, let's get to the only important thing in this episode. An Observer told Olivia that she has to die. Olivia is a tad concerned about this. When she is able to talk a suicide bomber down and stop what the drawing-girl saw in her vision, she feels it is perhaps possible to change her own fate.

She then talks to Peter who tells her what the Observers are and also that he doesn't believe they can be wrong when they tell you something about the future since they've lived it. Obviously this is a setup to the end of the season when we find out that you CAN IN FACT CHANGE THE FUTURE! OMG!

Actually, I would rather the season/series end on someone having to sacrifice themselves for the other (like we would have gotten at the end of season 3) but I doubt they will do it.

Oh, there's a scene between Nina and Olivia where Olivia confesses her true love for her mother-figure. Then talks about her headaches. Nina tells her she has some new medicine for her. Ruhroh.

Anyway, though I am bored to mostly death by these cases-of-the-week, this one wasn't terrible and the hunt for the bomb and bomber had some interesting elements. However, there was so little actual advancement to the plot that I could have just skipped it and not lost out on much of anything.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

79 out of 100

It could have been worse. It could have been better. This is my "I didn't want to delete it from my DVR right away" score. At least there was some Walter and Peter interaction. Though, nowhere near enough.



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27 January, 2012

The Big Bang Theory - 'The Beta Test Initiation'


The 101st episode of the series gives us a nice little episode where very little happens, the jokes are mostly stale, and the writing is lame. So, obviously, the CBS audience must have loved the shit out of it.

Okay, here are the three "essential" plot lines in the episode.

Penny and Leonard are still going out on dates and decide to utilize the software designation method for their relationship. It's super boring. Break them up again, please.

Sheldon and that chick he's dating, Amy something, try to record a YouTube video series about flags. Kill me now.

And Raj falls in love with his iPhone's Siri. This part of the show is actually kind of funny and entertained me at times. Raj develops what appears to be an actual relationship with his Siri and it all ends with him dreaming about meeting the human form of her as she offers him sex at a moment he loses his ability to speak.

Like I said, if you dry hump the CBS lineup on Mondays and Thursdays, then this episode was probably genius to you. If you have a habit of switching over to the superior writing over at NBC, then this was mostly mediocre.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

70 out of 100

Let's see if the next one delivers more of what this show has been able to deliver in the past. I would usually do quotables but this episode's not worth any more of my time. If you loved it, cool. But if you have taste, then you weren't impressed.



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ARCHER 3.05: 'El Contador'


Archer's fifth episode of the season but 2nd episode of the... season... and Cyril is an agent now.

The story goes that since Ray got himself paralyzed from the waste down, Malory is forced to promote Cyril to a field agent. This of course doesn't sit well with the other field agents.

Ray: You're taking me out of the field?!
Malory: Well, unless we need someone to go undercover as a shopping cart.

Cyril's first field agent mission is to capture Roman Calzado, a Columbian drug lord, who has a DEA bounty of $1 million.

Lana isn't happy about the shitty mission.

Malory: What are you talking about?! The reward is a million dollars!
Lana: Exactly. And how many drug users could be treated with that money?
Malory: Who cares?!
Lana: Seriously?
Archer: Lana, they'd just go buy a million dollars worth of crack with it.
Lana: You don't give them the money.
Archer: You can't. They'll blow it on crack.
Lana: Oh my god.

Meanwhile, Malory tells the rest of the gang that they will have to take a drug test. Obviously they are all drug users so they need clean urine.

In the jungles of Columbia, Archer, Lana, and Cyril are inserted by helicopter and then argue like a bunch of twits. Archer and Cyril take jabs at each other and Lana can't take any more of it.

Lana: Ahh, Heckel, Jeckel, between us and Calzado's fortified compound, there's about 10 klicks of jungle that I just assume is one giant booby-trap showroom. So shut your dickholes, get your gear, shut-up again, and start walking!

Back at the offices, the gang discusses the drug testing issue. Doctor Krieger tells them that he can sell them an herbal tea cleanse that will give them clean urine. They buy it and drink the horrid tasting shit that eventually results in crazy hallucinations. Krieger records their behavior as if studying lab rats. This story line culminates in Cheryl and Ray wheeling in to Malory's office naked and dropping off their clean urine, while Pam remains on the loose within the building.

Good, now that's out of the way, we can stick with the main story.

Cyril goes missing. Archer and Lana argue about it so loud that they get captured by Calzado's men. When they are brought before Calzado, they discover the Cyril has infiltrated into the organization, pretending to be the accountant of the big boss. Archer and Lana are placed in a prison cell and told they are to be hunted the next day, but not before a tiger in a nearby cell is shot dead, something that is very upsetting to Archer.

Lana: Well, go ahead and say it.
Archer: Say what?
Lana: How since we're gonna die in the morning, we should have sex now.
Archer: After seeing a tiger get murdered, Lana? No offense, but I'm not really in the mood. [long pause] I mean, if you want I can watch while you masturbate. But I can tell you right now, my heart's not gonna be in it. It'll be with that tiger's family. But, go ahead. I mean, start.

The next day, Cyril convinces Calzado to make the human hunt a challenge between the two of them, one going after Lana and the other Archer. He then finds Lana and arms her. They then save Archer and capture Calzado but not before they let Calzado beat the shit out of Cyril (go watch the fucker if you need to know more). When they return back to the ISIS offices, Malory is given the bad news by the DEA that they're not paying for Calzado's capture.

Malory: Because apparently there is no proof that we did.
Lana: We literally handed Calzado to them!
Malory: And in return, did they hand you a signed receipt for the prisoner?
Archer: No, they [pause], oh.
Lana: Oh shit.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

87 out of 100

There was no sex. COME ON! Otherwise, I would have given it a 94.



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21-Days of CHUCK! Day 21: Chuck Bartowski, the Nerd Becomes the Hero


21-Days of CHUCK articles ends here, on the day that the series itself comes to an end. It's been a great ride for these characters, the cast, crew, and the fans. This won't be the last article I ever write about the show, not even close. It's just the last article in this series. CHUCK will live on here, on this site, for as long as I still have breath left in my lungs or strength in my fingers. Now, let's get to it.

Some are born for greatness. Some achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust upon them. Chuck Bartowski may qualify for all three.

Was CHUCK, the show, about the destiny of a hero? Was it about how a man, who thought he could be destined for greatness, fell only to rise up when he was mistakenly thrust into a new and dangerous world? Or was it about a man whose father built him for heroism, and whose college buddy thrust greatness upon because he believed in that idea?

Depending on who you ask, including the show runners, it could be all of those. Clearly, the show wasn't originally designed to be about a plan to have Chuck receive the Intersect. We were meant to think he received it accidentally. But as the show went on, the writers added an element of destiny, and the idea that this was all planned out by certain individuals. Whatever the case may be, what we saw over five seasons was a Chuck who went from a lost soul to someone who was a more than capable spy.

Chuck's story really begins when his mother left the family, when he was ten or eleven. As we later discovered, she did so as part of a spy mission, but Chuck and Ellie didn't know that and therefor suffered their own levels of abandonment issues because of it. Then some years later, dad left suddenly and Chuck was only left with his sister to take care of him. Even then, because of the foundation of love that surrounded him, from Ellie and his best friend Morgan, and likely from other people who were attracted to his amiable personality, he turned into a successful kid who then attended Stanford.

Stanford brought a whole other set of problems. First was becoming best college buddies with future super spy, Bryce Larkin. Then falling for future Fulcrum agent, Jill Roberts. Bryce would eventually get him expelled for "cheating," something we later discovered was part of Larkin's attempt to protect Chuck. Jill then told Chuck she was breaking up with him to be with Bryce, something we later discovered was a lie. These events essentially broke Chuck Bartowski and he would spend the next four years as an underachieving, if not very capable Nerd Herder at the Buy More. That is until his birthday in 2007 when he received the Intersect in an email from Bryce.

From that point on Chuck was on his way toward greatness. He was given a CIA handler in Sarah Walker. An NSA protector (and during season 1 and part of season 2, his supposed future assassin) in then Major John Casey. And a Castle fortress built underneath the Buy More to run operations from as given to the team by... well, it would seem via the NSA even though later it seems like it is the CIA. Yeah, so that part of the story is cloudy at best.

Chuck quickly fell for his beautifully deadly handler. She says she quickly fell for him, even with that goofy hair, ridiculous sideburns, and high pitched screams he was fond of displaying early in the series. And we, the audience, fell for him pretty hard too. The lovable nerd/geek who was so much more capable than he ever imagined and would do things seemingly far beyond his abilities whenever people he cared about were in danger.

Chuck became a moral compass for Sarah and Casey. He redefined, or reintroduced a method of behavior that may have been lost at some point in their training and/or due to having to survive in a cruel world where death is around every corner.

He helped socialize them, making their ability to adapt to a less deadly world easier because of their friendship and love for him and his family. And for Sarah, he gave her a world she had either never imagined she could have, or one that was something that deep down inside she always wanted but believed she would never have so she buried those feelings.

His love for her is pretty simple to understand. She is beautiful and sexy. She protected him countless times and he felt safe with her. Also, he had to pretend they were dating, for years, and so that would have an affect on him. And he is an emotionally perceptive guy who could sense her need for family and love.

Sarah could see all the things the audience could see about Chuck. His kindness. His protective nature. His massive potential. His bravery in the face of danger, even when scared to death and screaming like a girl. And perhaps most of all his need for her. She had spent her whole life looking for something to belong to, for someone to make her feel emotionally safe, and her parents missed the mark there. The government gave her that but then she experienced betrayal on that front as well. So Chuck Bartowski made her feel safe, needed, loved, and part of something important: His family.

Throughout the series, Chuck grew into a capable spy who got the girl. Who eventually brought his family and friends into the spy world, and who became his own boss. He went from a lost young man to a full-blown adult in a matter of five seasons.

He also watched his best friend from college die. Held his father as life left him. Had to arrest the girl he once loved, then let her escape. Burned an asset. Found his mother. Shot a former team member in the chest, with the intent to kill. Saved the day countless times. Was saved by his team countless times. Confessed the truth in variously exciting ways to members of his circle of trust. Hacked, kicked, punched, flipped, and often flashed his way in and out of danger. Kissed the girl, then did more, and got her to say "I do."

There is no easy to way sum up Chuck Bartowski, or the show. But he will always be one of my favorite TV lead characters and I will spend parts of whatever time I have left on this world introducing more and more people to this show, so that in ten years Warner Brothers will beg the cast to return to do a $100 million movie!

Goodbye, Chuck Bartowski. It was a most adventurous ride. And thank you, Zachary Levi for all you have done that most fans will never know about, that showed you aren't too different from the character you played.

You rock. And so do the people around you. Be they fictional or be they real.



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26 January, 2012

21-Days of CHUCK! Day 20: Sarah Walker, Warrior Princess


Deadlier than a cobra. More vicious than a wolverine. Nimble like a cheetah. Sweet like a tangerine.

Sarah Walker is one badass mother fraker! And a softy at heart who just wants to be loved.

As I already discussed in the article about her family, she grew up tough and that made her tougher. At least on the outside. But that toughness only masked the side of her that was evident to her future husband early on.

Sarah is a kind person. And though she keeps much of her emotions tucked away much of the time, she is capable of big expressions of her feelings, in very few words. Take her marriage vows.

Chuck, you're a gift. You're a gift I never dreamed I could want or need, and every day I will show you that you're a gift that I deserve. You make me the best person I could ever hope to be and I want to spend and learn and love the rest of my life with you.

"Talky?"

Man, she is adorable in that scene. Go back and watch it.

Anyway, she has always acted out her feelings. Put her life in danger for the man she loved. Put her life in danger for the people the man she loved... loved. Though, for a large part of the first two seasons, she was like a clenched fist of emotions. She would sometimes relax her grip but tighten up again quickly, ready to punch the next person who tried to hurt her.

Thankfully, through persistence on both their parts, Chuck and Sarah were able to crack through the foundation of pain and distrust and find each other (awww) and live happily ever after... provided they both live that long.

While Sarah's emotional angel side is who she is for the people she loves, she is one dangerous little devil when you mess with her. Especially if you are a man. Sarah can pretty much beat down any male on the planet, provided she isn't tied up (and even then, just give her time). She should wear a t-shirt that says "Men, You Should Run!"

Her weakness seems to be fighting other women. Maybe it's the height or size difference, or maybe she is like Fezzik (Andre the Giant) in THE PRINCESS BRIDE where it is just more difficult fighting in simpler situations. Whatever it is, she needs an extra punch or two to take those pesky ladies down.

Arguably the best fight in the series is inside a car, against a woman, in Chuck Versus the Best Friend. That's some Jackie Chan type stuff right there. Though, there have been so many great fight sequences with Sarah that it is difficult to make a top 10 list (maybe I will do that eventually). But another highlight fight would be her taking on Casey in Chuck Versus the Helicopter, the second episode in the series.

Thinking more about it, I would probably have to do a top 50 Sarah fight scenes list.

Let's close this one out with this:

Sarah Walker, once Jenny Burton, born Sam Lisa [something], now Sarah Bartowski, is a character I will miss looking forward to seeing every week. Not just because of her ass kicking, or her kindness, or her love for Chuck and his world, but because Yvonne Strahovski is a major hottie and a talented actor that we've had the pleasure of seeing 60+ hours of, creating a character we love.

I do look forward to the rest of her career but I'm sure I will always remember her most fondly for the gorgeous and complex CIA agent who fell in love with a nerd whose hair sometimes made funny animal shapes.



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25 January, 2012

21-Days of CHUCK! Day 19: The Villain is the Hero of His Own Story


The bad guy doesn't become the bad guy because he wants to do evil. Well, not usually. Though, that would be an interesting bad guy.

No, the bad guy tends to think he is the good guy. That he is doing what needs to be done. Or he truly believes the "good guys" are the "bad guys." After all, the Nazis didn't think they were the bad guys. People justify their evil.

CHUCK had several of these evil doing "heroes" through its five seasons. Let's explore them and define their level of competency.

Season 1
There wasn't really a big bad guy to speak of until late in season 1 when Fulcrum was introduced following the discovery that Bryce was still alive. This started us down a path toward arguably the best evil organization the show would ever have. Tommy Delgado is the most memorable enemy agent of season 1.
Competency Grade: 82 out of 100 - The danger was elevated once Fulcrum was introduced but it wasn't around long enough for the audience to get a true sense of their strength.

Season 2
Fulcrum essentially survived as the bad guy for the whole season with ever increasing levels of danger coming at Team B. Fulcrum was then eliminated by The Ring in the season finale.

Fulcrum agents included Jill Roberts, Chuck's college sweetheart who he started dating again before discovering she was the enemy. Ted Roark, who was something of a Bill Gates type and Chuck's hero, also turned out to be a high ranking member of Fulcrum. And throughout the second season, we were introduced to new and more dangerous members of the agency within The Agency.
Competency Grade: 98 out of 100 - They seemed to only be getting stronger at every turn and the audience felt a real fear and danger for Team B. People died. The Bartowski clan was in danger. And you felt like Chuck might be boxed up in a hole somewhere by one side or the other any day now.

Season 3
The Ring was talked about like it was this massive organization that made Fulcrum seem like a bunch of wussies. In the end, they were taken down in a stairwell by a capable spy and a short dude with no bullets in his weapon. Though, the journey was a bit more interesting than that, but The Ring was too wide spread to ever seem as much of a threat as Fulcrum. The most memorable Ring agent in season 3 was Daniel Shaw, though he was someone out to avenge the murder of his wife.
Competency Grade: 83 out of 100 - You would think that the organization that pretty much wiped out Fulcrum in a day would have been more sinister. Unfortunately, it never fully lived up to the hype.

Season 4
Alexei Volkoff was the next bad guy and he was great! The mid-season finale gave Chuck a nice comeback as he brought the Volkoff Industries down. HOWEVER, then Volkoff's daughter, Vivian, took over and the whole bad guy plot went to hell as both Volkoff's ended up as just good guys in unfortunate circumstances. Yawn.
Competency Grade: Alexei, 85 out of 100. Vivian, 40 out of 100. Overall, 62.5.

Season 5
This one felt more like season 1 in that we were given several bad guys, who may have been working together but didn't really get into the big payoff bad guy until the end. Out of the three bad guys, Sarah's old boyfriend, Shaw, seemed the most competent.
Competency Grade: Decker, 75 out of 100. Shaw, 90 out of 100. Quinn, 75 out of 100. Overall, 80.

What say you?



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24 January, 2012

The Oscar Nominations of 2012


Alrighty, for those of you who care, here are the Oscar nominations for this year of 2012... the year the world ends. Well, not all of them, just the ones anyone could possibly care a bit about.

I have underlined who I think will win and italicized who I think SHOULD win.

Best Picture
THE ARTIST
THE DESCENDANTS
THE HELP
HUGO
EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
WAR HORSE
THE TREE OF LIFE
MONEYBALL

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST
Alexander Payne, THE DESCENDANTS
Martin Scorsese, HUGO
Woody Allen, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Terrence Malick, THE TREE OF LIFE

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, A BETTER LIFE
George Clooney, THE DESCENDANTS
Jean Dujardin, THE ARTIST
Gary Oldman, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
Brad Pitt, MONEYBALL

Best Actress
Glenn Close, ALBERT NOBBS
Viola Davis, THE HELP
Meryl Streep, THE IRON LADY
Rooney Mara, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Michelle Williams, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Jonah Hill, MONEYBALL
Nick Nolte, WARRIOR
Cristopher Plummer, BEGINNERS
Max von Sydow, EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, THE ARTIST
Jessica Chastain, THE HELP
Melissa McCarthy, BRIDESMAIDS
Janet McTeer, ALBERT NOBBS
Octavia Spencer, THE HELP

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, THE DESCENDANTS
John Logan, HUGO
George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, THE IDES OF MARCH
Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (story by Stan Chervin) MONEYBALL
Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY

Best Original Screenplay
Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST
Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo, BRIDESMAIDS
J.C. Chandor, MARGIN CALL
Woody Allen, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Asghar Farhadi, A SEPARATION

Best Animated Feature
A CAT IN PARIS
CHICO AND RITA
KUNG FU PANDA 2
PUSS IN BOOTS
RANGO

Best Cinematography
Guillame Schiffman, THE ARTIST
Jeff Cronenweth, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Robert Richardson, HUGO
Janusz Kaminski, WAR HORSE
Emmanuel Lubezki, THE TREE OF LIFE

Best Editing
Anne Sophie-Bion and Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST
Kevin Tent, THE DESCENDANTS
Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Thelma Schoonmaker, HUGO
Christopher Tellefsen, MONEYBALL

Best Makeup
THE ARTIST
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2
THE IRON LADY

Best Original Score
Ludovic Bource, THE ARTIST
John Williams, THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Howard Shore, HUGO
Alberto Iglesias, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
John Williams, WAR HORSE

Best Visual Effects
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2
HUGO
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
REAL STEEL

Best Documentary Feature
HELL AND BACK AGAIN
PINA
IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT
PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY
UNDEFEATED

What are your picks?




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21-Days of CHUCK! Day 18: Eleanor Woodcomb is a Hot Mama!


Has there ever been a more smokin' MILF than Chuck's big sister Ellie?

Dear unholy feelings in my P.A.N.T.S., the universe created this goddess for us to gaze at longingly. Endlessly. Creepily. 500-yards or morely... uhhh, sorry. I just love brunettes which is why I keep ending up with blonds.

Anyway, this hazel-eyed, dark-haired, fiery angel of heavenly supernovas is also a brilliant medical doctor; a researcher; a sexy sex lover; a badass mother (watch yo' mouf!); and the person who took on the responsibility of raising and watching out for Chuck when both her parents took off into the spy world.

She is head strong, dangerous when swinging something at your head (just ask Casey and Shaw), and looks amazing in just about anything, even those blue scrubs that doctors wear.

For several seasons, Ellie was used as the goal-antagonist for Chuck. Or be to be specific, the character that was handed the task of moving Chuck's personal torment at having to seem like a failure to his sister while doing great things. Later, after she learned of Chuck's spy life, she was used as another story device, of Chuck having to hide his spying again.

These things definitely made her the scapegoat for some fan complaints about her nagging or unfairness toward Chuck, but I rarely bought into them. Why? Because she was the mother character for Chuck, for some of the most important periods of his life, and so her wants and expectations for him would be, at times, unreasonable. Because no one could ever be more important to her than Chuck. And as often happens with parental figures, their expectations are greatly exaggerated versions of what we will ever achieve. Though, in Chuck's case, her initial expectations of his ability to achieve greatness, turned into her fears of losing him. That is very believable.

Eventually, Ellie relaxed her expectations and fears and saw Chuck as someone very capable, someone she trusted with her life, and the life of her husband and child. She also assisted Team B/Carmichael Industries in figuring out issues with the Intersect. She also, as previously and parenthetically mentioned, took out Daniel Shaw right before he was going to murder her brother.

She is a super hero! And Sarah Lancaster (the actor) should play Wonder Woman!

What say you?



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23 January, 2012

ALCATRAZ 1.03: 'Kit Nelson'


You know what's a good way to make me not want to watch a show?

Do a story about a dude who likes to kill kids.

I don't even like watching LAW & ORDER: SVU because I find sex crimes story lines to be super creepy. But killing kids ranks even higher on the list of things I don't find entertaining. I'm weird like that.

So, this show decided to do one of those child murderer story lines because the sick fucks who watch CBS or DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES or DANCING WITH THE STARS or whateverthefuck is popular these days, love this shit. Because you are all sick fucks who should be in prison.

Anyway, so Hurley is in it. And the cute blond along with her tucked away ample bosom (prominently on display last week). And Sam Wise's shitty American accent. And some bullshit plotting where Hurley ends up in a diner with the kidnapper and his victim... and the blond doesn't even call SWAT. Oh and there is a flashback sequence between Kit and his father that is more overacted than a Spanish channel soap opera. Actually, the whole episode is full of overacting and horrendous writing. Which means it should get several Golden Globe nominations.

When this show is cancelled, "Kit Nelson" should replace the phrase "jumped the shark."

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

-15 out of 100

Hurley. Blond. Everything else was a pointless waste of my fuckin' time.

Remember when I said I would stick with this show? I am rethinking that. Unless the writers decide to do a will-they-won-they between Hurley and blond chick. Not that I give a shit if they end up together, I just think it would be insanely cool to make her fall for a big cute fat dude.



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21-Days of CHUCK! Day 17: Michael Tucker Lives Big!


Big Mike has a heart as big as his appetite for Subway sandwiches.

And we all know how much he loves those. Perhaps, if not for the writers utilizing an in-show advertisement like that, the show would have ended after season 2. But Big Mike's love for those tasty treats (and they are pretty tasty, plus only $5 for a footlong) eventually became a fan campaign to save the show and an international phenomenon that is now legendary (thanks to Wendy Farrington, who came up with the idea and worked her ass off to make it happen).

Big Mike could be seen, at times, as a tyrant to work for, or a softy with a loud voice, or an intolerant fascist who loves the corporate machine, or a rebel who forms a rebellion to fight the decision of the Buy More suits. You just never know with him. Though, you do know that whatever he brings, it is going to be funny. Or dangerous. Big Mike has taken out a villain or two without ever realizing what is going on inside and below the store.

Here are some other interesting facts about our heroic big guy:

1. Has been the manager, a green shirt, and assistant manager of the Buy More.

2. Loves fishing and greatly values his stuffed marlin, named Norman.

3. Had an affair with the wife of one of his employees, Harry Tang.

4. Married to Bolonia, the mother of Morgan Grimes, who he met via an online dating service.

5. Was once ransomed for a pig named Kevin Bacon.

6. Once in a band called Earth, Wind, Fire, and Rain. When he left the band, they renamed it Earth, Wind, and Fire.

7. Always ready to give a bit of advice, sometimes while yelling.

8. Already established but... he loves Subway sandwiches.

9. Created a Buy More commercial starring Captain Awesome.

10. Fill in the blank in the comments section below because my memory has run out of info!

Love him or love him tons, Big Mike's one of the most likable characters on the show.



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21 January, 2012

21-Days of CHUCK! Day 16: A Castle is Not Just for Royalty


Beneath the Buy More is a high-end CIA facility that houses enough firepower to field a small army.

It has been occupied by many spies, including good guys and bad guys. Virtually every spy character on the show has been in there, and even some who either weren't spies or shouldn't have ever discovered the facility.

This base of operations for Team Bartowski, eventually became the headquarters for Carmichael Industries. It survived attempted and successful invasions, and even explosive destruction from above.

Plus, it was home to a naked Brit super spy and his hot make-out with Sarah. Plus hot sex between Captain Awesome and Ellie and I'm sure Chuck and Sarah explored each other's bodies in several different rooms and cells, unfortunately never to be seen by anyone, especially fans of the show.

Castle also had several forms of entry, depending on the episode. Sometimes it seemed like you needed to have some serious access to even get to a door that allowed you inside, while other times one could virtually happen in on the place by accident. Perhaps they had a dynamic security system that lowered and raised its level just to keep the team on its toes.

The place also seemed to change over time and even increase and decrease in size. At one point, there was a whole other HQ within Castle, where a competing team of Intersects was housed. It was also a place where the Bartowski clan all met at one point or another because of a mission or spy objective. Forever tying that place to the family profession.

Along with the Buy More, Castle has been a fixture (though, the Buy More has been around longer) and is a set piece that defines the show. It has delivered drama, comedy, romance, happiness, sadness, and loads of danger along the way. Without it, the show just wouldn't feel the same.

Woohoo! I'm almost done! Oh crap... that means the show is almost done.



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ARCHER 3.04: 'The Man From Jupiter'


Yes! I am finally covering this show on this site! I really should have started earlier but here we go.

Episode 3.04, which is really more like 3.01 but FX put out three episodes that essentially closed out the storyline from the end of season 2. Yeah, it's fuckin' weird shit but cable does weird shit like this sometimes and the audience is just conditioned to deal with it so we do.

The story in any ARCHER episode is rarely very compelling but sometimes worth discussing. Usually, I would just treat this show in the same way I did WILFRED, mostly just briefly touching on the plot and then going directly into the most quotable moments of the episode.

In this case, I do have to talk about the special guest star, Burt Reynolds. The story goes that Burt is seeing Archer's mother, which of course is something Archer can't deal with since he has really twisted issues about his mother getting plowed by any man. Things are made worse by Burt being one of Archer's biggest heroes. Still, Archer's mother issues are bigger than his love for the mustached bandit, so he knocks him out and kidnaps him.

The rest of the story is about a Cuban hit squad sent out to assassinate Archer. He thinks it is all bullshit but the ISIS team is sent out to save his stupid ass anyway. When he realizes the hit squad is real, he has to get Burt Reynolds to help him save his friends, who he likes to pretend he doesn't care about but actually does.

Alright! Now to...

QUOTABLES
Archer is smooth talking some girl at a bar about taking her back to his place for some hot tub action.
Girl: Well, I have to wait until my friend comes back from the powder room.
Archer: Well, yeah. Obviously we're gonna wait for her. She's the hot one.

Pam and Cheryl are checking the Internet for Burt Reynolds.
Cheryl: Deliverence. Gator. And this is him in Cosssmoooooo. How totally hot is he?!
Pam: I swear to god you could drown a toddler in my panties right now! I mean, not that you would.

Archer kidnaps Burt Reynolds and ties him up near the hot-tub in his apartment. The two discuss the issue at hand.
Archer: What's odd is you wanting to date my mother.
Burt: Why is that odd?
Archer: Because you're you and she's..
Burt: Beautiful. Smart. Funny. Successful.
Archer: Like one of those. Tops.
Burt: Not to mention drop-dead-sexy.
Woodhouse: Oh dear god, yes!
Archer: Woodhouse!
Woodhouse: I shall fetch a cucumber.

Archer and Burt, armed to the teeth, make their way down to the garage together in the slowest elevator ever made.
Burt: You should get a bat-pole.
Archer: Nine thousand bucks.
Burt: What?
Archer: Lowest quote I got.
Burt: Well, that's ridiculous.
Archer: Basically, just putting a poll where the garbage chute already is but the co-op board was like [in a whiny voice] 'But what do we do with the garbage?'
Burt: Yeah, but you can still throw it down the, whatever, the same shaft.
Archer: I know!
Burt: And then you'll have some garbage to land on.
Archer: If you're coming in hot, I know. It's a win-win.
Burt: And you were going to pay for it yourself.
Archer: Yup.
Burt: No assessment or anything.
Archer: Yup.
Burt: [pause] Ridiculous.
Archer: Preaching to the choir, buddy.

After Burt saves the day, he takes Archer's mother out with the team left behind to bask in the wake of his glory.
Cheryl: Ohhhh Burt Reynolds is so freakin' awesome!
Archer: Yeah, he actually kind of is.
Pam: And I, for one, am gonna go watch 'Hooper' and masturbate 'til my fingers bleed.
Cheryl: Just tape 'em up!

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

85 out of 100

Good stuff but they have done better episodes.



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FRINGE 4.09: 'Enemy of My Enemy'

This week's FRINGE brings us the conclusion of sorts of the arc started by the mid-season finale (which wasn't supposed to be one). Pacey Poof is now working for Walternate, and Fauxlivia and Flee are working to discover who is responsible for the shape-shifters while hiding Lee from their superiors.

Speaking of which, we start the episode with now evil Broyles, errr Froyles, discovering their scheme and finding where Lee has been stashed but before he can get to the prisoner, he is intercepted by Walternate.

Fauxlivia and Flee discover the dastardly baddie, David Robert Jones, or is it Favid Fobert Fones, and his breeding tank of shape-shifters. He gives some speech about something and then kills one of them to demonstrate his willingness to do far worse. Then asks to be taken to their leader.

Back in the regular timeline, Olivia and Walter discuss pastrami. Then Astrid and Olivia talk about blood. It's all super interesting.

Flip back to the alternate universe, and Froyles meets with Fauxlivia and Flee who have brought in Fones. Inside the compound, Lee and Peter meet to discuss the situation. There's a bit of some happy dialogue here as the two disagree on how to proceed with their respective missions.

Lee: I lost a partner.
Peter: I lost a universe!

Super. But before they can kill each other with more dramatic words, Pacey Poof sees Fones and gets constipated. This is followed by Froyles interrogating his new buddy as he makes his evil demands. This is when Peter comes in and ruins this blog by pointing out Fones is actually Jones, who has crossed over from the other side. What a dick!

Anyway, so this is suddenly when the episode starts getting good. Why? Because Peter starts the interrogation and Jackson rules when he's playing off a capable actor! Plus, we discover that there are evil plans afoot as a gaseous device is set off in a hospital, killing everyone within its breathing space.

The group of agents, from both universes, discuss the problem and Walternate indicates he is ready to give in to Jones' demands. Jones is set free, to be tracked via a device Flee put into his tea.

The agents join on a surveillance of the target, who gets away by putting the same frequency of his swallowed tracker on money that he then gives away to a crowd. At this point the agents figure out only a high level source could have told him that information.

There is a nice scene that follows between Walternate and his wife, where he discusses the problem Peter is having with trying to get back to his own world. Walternate is frustrated by his inability to help a son he once couldn't save. However, Mama Poof thinks she can help him.

Back at FD HQ, the agents try to track down the leak. But before they can figure it out, Peter comes up with a theory for how to find Jones. Some fans have been bitching about how Peter has been utilized this season, but these scenes where he holds court as the smartest man in the room don't get old for me. I love this aspect of the season, as Peter has this god-like knowledge and an amused smile while detailing it. Anyway, so the agents think they've figured out Jones' next step based on Peter's information and head to a quarry to intercept their target. But as the FD agents set up, Peter realizes they are in the wrong universe. Oops.

Jones poofs himself over to the other side where the air smells sweeter.

And what happens next I didn't expect at all. Mama Poof has come over from the other side to meet with Walter and he's naturally a bit floored by the moment, even though he knows she is not his wife. This is a very good episode for both actors as they play off each other brilliantly. Anyway, she asks Walter to help Peter.

Walter: I'm sorry you've traveled so far. I can't. I have made my position quite clear.
Mama Poof: The last time I saw you, you had come to save a boy's life. Now I've come to do the same.

The two talk about the past. Walter blames himself deeply for the loss of their sons and for breaking their universes. She gives him her forgiveness and her feelings that even though this Peter isn't their son, that parts of him are, and that Walter must do whatever he can to help Peter find his way back to the people he loves. Again, beautiful scene between the two.

Back in our universe, the FBI rushes to the right quarry where Jones is collecting his samples of dirt. Peter asks for and is given a gun right before the shooting begins. Great timing! And we get action! Yeah! KILL! KILL! KILL! Jones escapes and Olivia chases him with Peter yelling at her to stop which she does, almost getting cut in half just short of a closing portal.

Man, that was close!

The two sides meet to discuss the problem at hand and decide to work closer together. They worry that Jones has the upper hand but Peter reminds them that he is their ace-in-the-hole.

To close out the episode, Walter shows up late at night to talk to Peter about helping him. Truly bringing this show back to where it has been suffering the most this season. Back to beautiful moments between this father and son.

Well, actually, we close out the episode with Jones communicating with Nina about a phase of their operation that most likely uses Olivia to some nefarious means. Evil!

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

92 out of 100

Sure, there are flaws but it felt like the FRINGE I enjoy watching and it gives me a good feeling about future episodes this season. Granted, we will likely just go back to missions of the week shit that I can do without. But I can suffer through it as long as Walter and Peter are going to interact. Awww yeah!

What did you think?



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20 January, 2012

CHUCK Vs. the Bullet Train: 5.11 - RuhRoh!


The 89th episode of this fun little show has been unleashed on the masses and it... is... surprisingly good! Woohoo!

I say surprisingly because on paper it didn't sound all that spectacular but it really delivered on all the points that I think make the show worthy of its five seasons and its loyal fans.

So, Chuck's been kidnapped, Sarah's been Intersected, and there is a rescue mission. Quinn, the new chubby baddie, just wants his Intersect glasses, which of course he can't have since Sarah used them. Back at Castle, Ellie and Awesome (FINALLY!) are working on figuring out what made the Intersect go puff puff for koo koo crisps on Morgan.

On the train, Chuck is told his wife and Casey have been killed and their corpses delivered in coffin thingies. Of course, they are not dead and Sarah saves Chuck from captivity. Then, Chuck and Sarah have sex. Granted, we don't see the sexy time, but we know it happened. Then Chuck draws a picture of their happy life. Yes, it sounds lame but it is actually done well.

Meanwhile, Alex gets herself kidnapped and Casey gets blackmailed to turn on Chuck and Sarah. However, the team is able to get a message back to Castle and Morgan and Awesome spring into action, only to be captured. That leaves only two individuals left to save the day. Jeff and Lester.

This whole thing shouldn't work. It really shouldn't. It should come off as cheesy and dumb but instead I found myself laughing, rooting them on, and just generally enjoying the entire thing.

But of course there is a caveat to all this fun. Sarah's Intersect has a ticker and if she flashes one too many times (she tells Chuck she has already flashed FOURTY TIMES!!!) her brain will fry and she could start forgetting things (like Alex, who no one should be surprised she has forgotten since I am surprised she ever knew her name). And as Quinn escapes and then reappears etc etc etc, Sarah gets herself captured and then her memory screwed with to the point where she has forgotten all the important things, like Chuck. And now Quinn has her thinking she is a CIA agent whose mission is to KILL CHUCK!

I love it... though, it really should have been introduced like 8 episodes ago.

QUOTABLES
After Chuck and Sarah have a serious talk about her being Intersected, they share an uncomfortable silence before it is broken.
Chuck: It's the coolest thing in the world, isn't it?!
Sarah: The coolest ever.
Chuck: Did you do any parkour?
Sarah: Off a bridge, onto a moving truck, and then onto a car going in the opposite direction.
Chuck: Awesome!

After Awesome and Morgan are captured trying to save Alex, Lester finds Morgan's earpiece communicator on the ground with a barking John Casey on the other end.
Casey: Morgan!
Lester: [picking up the device] Hellooooo?
Casey: Who the hell is this?
Lester: I might ask you the same question, little earling.
Casey: Lester, Lester Patel?
Lester: [long pause] Mayyybe?

Casey discusses the issue with the team and they decide to give Jeff and Lester the mission.
Casey: This is Colonel John Casey of the National Security Agency.
Lester: That is so funny, there's a John Casey works at the Buy More.
Casey: That's me, you idiot! I'm NSA. Sarah Walker, Chuck Bartowski, they're CIA.
Lester: They are so not!
Casey: They are so so, you colossal dope! Now, I need you. My daughter needs you. And your country needs you.
Lester: [pause] Canada?

Jeff and Lester tap into the communications system of the vehicle where the bad guys are holding Alex, Awesome, and Morgan.
Jeff: [coming through the PA system] We appreciate that you too are armed. But we have heat vision infrared scopes, laser guidance system, and armor piercing bullets. Over!
Morgan: I think this is where we should get down.

If I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:

94 out of 100

Sure, the green screen work in this one was pretty bad at times, and it wasn't a perfect episode, but when compared to the majority of this season, I think this one shines like 5.03 and 5.07. I am also very happy to see it executed so well since what I had heard about it, on paper, sounded pretty bad. That gives me hope for the finale. But 5.11, like the other two I mentioned, make suffering through some episodes that aren't as good more than worth it (minus Baby, which should die!).

What did you think?

Also, check out our podcast about the episode below. Warning, ADULT LANGUAGE.

Click below to listen:


Or... RIGHT CLICK AND SAVE this link to download the MP3 version (better quality and you can play it on any device).



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Chuckfest 3 Video and Banner Auction


As all things come to an end, some good things come with them. Since CHUCK is ending next week, the WeHeartChuck team, that put on the Chuckfest charity events, has released a video of the final event and put out an auction for a one-of-a-kind item.

Watch the video:


Then bid on the item! All proceeds go to Operation Smile!




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The Big Bang Theory - The 100th Episode


Yep, it has taken 100 episodes for me to write about this show. Why? It's not because I don't dig the show, because I do, but because writing about any CBS show makes me feel a little sick. It is the biggest network with the most uninspired shows. The masses sure do like shit spoonfed to them stupid.

However, THE BIG BANG THEORY is one of maybe two shows on CBS that is actually, dare I say, original, well written, and well acted. Sure, at times I cringe at how generic they can make such a unique show feel, but many times I do think it is a show made by nerds and geeks for nerds and geeks.

Let me just quickly sum up this episode. Leonard and Penny go out on a date, having broken up 2-years ago. Things don't work out because Leonard sees right through Penny's bullshit and she doesn't like it. However, she still bangs the shit out of him later that night. After, the two decide not to tell anyone about their new relationship and instead pretend their date resulted in nothing but bad blood. The gang can't see through their ruse and totally buy into their later argument at the Cheesecake Factory, which results in another bout of late night post-fight sex.

Tossed in the episode is a poor-man's timeline where both Penny and Leonard envision scenarios of either the past or future. After seeing a brilliant COMMUNITY episode tackle seven different timelines, this one just feels like an afterthought. Plus, the episode comes off as nothing more than a dream sequence anyway.

For the 100th episode, it was surprisingly light on story or shock value. Sure, Penny and Leonard hooking up again, or starting a new relationship, was newish, but I guess I expected more from this show. The episode did have some fun bit of a dialogue though.

QUOTABLES
When Sheldon receives his life-size cardboard Mr. Spock he opens it up only to discover an error.
Sheldon: Oh no! They sent the wrong Spock! Live long and suck it, Zachary Quinto!

The boys discuss Leonard's affection for Penny.
Sheldon: The reason you're fixated on a good-natured simpleton like Penny, is that she's the exact opposite of your first romantic attachment. Your brilliant yet intimidating mother.
Leonard: Where on Earth did you get that from?
Sheldon: It's in her book, 'Needy Baby, Greedy Baby.'
Leonard: That doesn't make it true.
Sheldon: It's called non-fiction for a reason, Leonard.

After Leonard leaves, the boys continue the conversation.
Raj: If they ever make a movie version of that book, you know who should play Leonard's mother? Sandra Bullock.
Howard: [flippantly] Why?
Raj: [defiantly] Because she's great in everything.

After Leonard and Penny argue at the Cheesecake Factory and she rushes off to get the gang a different waitress, Sheldon has a request.
Sheldon: Leonard, promise me that when our new waitress comes over, you will not start a complicated on-again/off-again relationship with her, because I'm very very hungry.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

82 out of 100

Interesting but not anything to write home about... which is why I wrote it here.



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21-Days of CHUCK! Day 15: The Captain Believes in You


Devon Woodcomb sure is Awesome! The guy can do virtually anything and do it better than everyone. Yet he is also the kindest character on the show. In his mind, anyone can become awesome too.

Let me just say right up front that, if you don't know by now, Devon Woodcomb is my favorite character on the show. Yep. It's not Chuck or Sarah or Casey or Morgan. It's Captain Awesome. Why? Because he is the most fictional of the characters. He is a gorgeous hunk of a man, who is a surgeon, and a capable spy (when he wanted to be one) who can't lie (there he is a crappy spy), loves only one woman, and is able to do virtually anything simply because he wills it.

You would think that with all those positive qualities that there couldn't be anything else about him that makes him my favorite, but there is. It's that he sees potential in everyone.

Awesome isn't cynical. He isn't condescending. He doesn't see dumb people and smart people. He sees individuals who haven't had the opportunity to become awesome yet.

When Morgan wanted to move out of his mom's place and start a life with Anna Wu, who did he go to for a loan? Devon. Granted, he bought a DeLorean instead.

When Jeff and Lester were struggling to become a band, who did Jeff seek out to give him a shot? Devon.

Who taught Chuck the tango? Sure, he only taught him the lady parts but still... Devon Woodcomb did that!

And he can also throw a mean punch. Just ask John Casey.

As previously stated, he could be a super spy. Well, if not for that one big flaw, the inability to lie well. And that is just another thing that makes him so lovable. He has performance anxiety when he has to do it. Though, he CAN do it when he has to... provided he isn't talking to Ellie. The two times he has tried to lie to her have been disasters.

1. Chuck Versus the Colonel, Awesome discovers that Chuck is a spy and has to keep it from Ellie. When Ellie arrives at home, Devon can barely utter a "yes" without it sounding like a lie. Ellie's interrogation of him nearly causes him to pass out while answer simple questions like "Did Sarah talk to him?" Luckily for him, his then fiance misread the nervousness for wedding jitters.

2. Chuck Versus Operation Awesome, following his disappearance after being kidnapped by Ring agents, and with the assistance of his brother-in-law, Devon tries to explain his absence to Ellie. The resulting discussion may just be the funniest scene in CHUCK history! I think Ellie is still under the impression that Casey has a drinking problem.

So, what are all the reason why you love the captain of Awesome?



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19 January, 2012

21-Days of CHUCK! Day 14: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirts


What's the word for a female version of the bromance? What? It doesn't exist?! Not cool. Not cool at all. But on CHUCK we have several budding sismances... galmances? Chickmances? What the hell is it called? Meowmances?

Unfortunately, there aren't too many actual meowmances on this show. Thankfully, we did get to see several interactions by female characters that had history together or the potential to grow into full friendships.

Sarah and Carina
Yes! Total meowmance! These two kittens may scratch each other but they always end up snuggling together late at night. If there was ever a meowmance, these two Cat Squad members have it.

Sarah and Zondra
Friends? Yes. Meowmance? Well, technically yes. But only because they are Cat Squad members. However, on an emotional level, I don't think so. We would probably need a few more episodes with these ladies to know for sure. Though, I could see someone arguing that one exists.

Sarah and Amy
Hell no! Shoot that little tiger!

Sarah and Alex
Have they even spoken?

Ellie and Sarah
There is potential there but they are sister-in-laws and seem to act like it. Nothing happening in the meowmance yet.

Ellie and Alex
Hell yes! I'm just kidding. Does Ellie even know Alex's name?

Gertrude and Sarah
Man, if only we had another 9-episodes... these girls seem like they are made to be great friends.

Yeah, this one sucked. Maybe it is time to pack it in and end at 14!



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18 January, 2012

21-Days of CHUCK! Day 13: Bromance is Sexy


There is nothing quite so wonderful as a guy-romance, aka bromance. The platonic love between two men who want to spend every waking second with each other and when not together, pine for the next time they will be able to just talk about whatever makes their love so special.

On this show, there have been several close male friendships. Some qualify as bromances while others are borderline. And perhaps one or two masquerader as bromances but aren't. Let's see what qualifies.

Chuck and Morgan
Total bromance. These two can't live without each other. Chuck loves Morgan as much as Morgan loves Chuck. They would be happy just hanging out all day playing Call of Duty on XBOX, drinking Mountain Dew, and peeing into bottles so they don't have to get up off the couch.

Chuck and Bryce
In college, yes. These two were major nerdboy bromancers! They were totally smitten with each other and probably stared longingly at each other's reflections in their computer monitors as they coded the next great RPG. However, once Chuck thought Bryce got him expelled and stole his girlfriend, that bromance ended. It could have been rekindled after Chuck found out the truth about Bryce, but by that point he had essentially stolen Bryce's significant other. But since we don't speak poorly of the dead, let's just remember them as a college bromance.

Chuck and Awesome
Well, they are actually bros now. And they love each other as much as two men can on a platonic level. However, they wouldn't hang out and play video games or code RPGs or anything like that so this one is questionable. I go with no bromance. Just bros.

Morgan and Casey
Not a bromance but these two are close. However, Casey is more a big brother or father figure to Morgan. Plus, he could be Morgan's dad some day.

Jeff and Lester
This would seem like a bromance but is it one? These two happen to be friends because they have no other options. No one else wants to be their friend. More like friends of necessity. However, once Jeff regained his sobriety, the two formed an understanding and a closeness that qualifies them as part of a bromance. So, no bromance until season 5.

Casey and Captain Awesome
Potential romance. The two definitely respect each other and of all the men in Chuck's life that Casey has come across, Devon is the only one he sees as an alpha male type. Given time, these two would enter into a full blown bromance.

Chuck and Casey
Definitely not! Friends? Sure. Partners? Yes. But no bromance. Even now, as Chuck is Casey's boss, I think the colonel would like to choke him out just for old time's sake.

Captain Awesome and Morgan
The Captain could probably end up in a bromance with any man but during a period of time, Morgan was too obsessed with Ellie for it to work out. And then Devon found out about the spy world before Morgan. So, to Morgan, Awesome is just too awesome to be bromanced by the bearded one.

Did I miss any? What do you all think? What did I get wrong? OMG!



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NEW GIRL 1.10 - 'The Story of the 50'

NEW GIRL is back and Schmidt has his 29th birthday! And it's an adventure.

I really think this show just needs to do party episodes because those seem to be the most fun. Wedding, Thanksgiving, and birthday have all been really good to great.

"The Story of the 50" starts with the roommates talking about Schmidt putting $50 in the "douchebag jar" for which he seems to be the main, if not the only, donator. Schmidt is such a douchebag that we are shown several of his indiscretions. The roommates even discuss how he speaks a different language where he shortens common words down to some douchebag colloquialism.

We also see that Nick has a lawyer significant other who seems really cool, even as Nick tries to hide his friends from her. Though, she has her own secret that we discover later in the episode.

Meanwhile, Jess is trying to put together a special surprise party-bus birthday for Schmidt involving friends, Nick's bro juice, a stripper, and extra special douchebags. Things go well until Schmidt's super douchie douchebag friend, Benjamin, tries to hit on Jess and then shit talks the party-bus. When the boys confront him, Nick's lawyer-girl steps in to break the ruckus up, only to go all kung-fu crazy and start punching! The bus crashes and the party ends.

Later, as Jess and Schmidt chill like two bros talking about the party, Schmidt tries to sneak a kiss to Jess' uncomfortable horror. And that earns the douchebag jar $50. And while this write-up sure sounds boring as shit, the episode rules.

Fuck this noise and let's get to a couple of QUOTABLES!

Schmidt tries to explain his relationship with Benjamin to Jess.
Schmidt: Look, we have a very weird girl-style friendship where we kind of hate each other. We're bronemies. He's my friemesis.

When Jess decides to throw Schmidt a surprise birthday party, Nick doesn't think it is such a good idea.
Nick: Jess, Schmidt's world is different than ours. They speak a different language. They shorten every word to one syllable. Okay, he once called an oven an 'ovs.' He calls an airport 'airp.'
Winston: He called ketchup 'ketch.'
Nick: Last month he went to a party called 'Bros Before Hos on the Moon.' What does that even mean? And the dress code was yacht flair.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

90 out of 100

Fun characters and dialogue. Nick's girly girl is cute and I want to see more of her. Seeing college Schmidt's flashback, when he was a fatty, was fun but I would have liked to have seen even more of it. Plus, it's just nice to have the show back doing new episodes.



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