September 23, 2010

Fall TV - Wednesday: The very good and the not-so-good.

I'm just going to say it - I don't care for Undercovers.  It was boring and not all that well acted in my opinion.  And the production quality seemed to be more than a little lacking.  Does this show have a significantly lower budget than Alias did?  Because when Alias took the show on the road - which they did a few times in every episode - it almost always looked a hell of a lot better than this one did.  The leads don't have much chemistry and I especially found Gugu Mbatha-Raw's performance underwhelming. 

Also, it is bad enough to say "sexpionage" once but to repeat it 3 or 4 times is a crime against humanity.  But I don't want to be entirely negative so I'll note that I enjoyed Gerald McRaney and found Ben Schwartz's character entertaining even though he didn't seem to fit with the tone of the show around him.  I think the entire thing would have been greatly improved by Boris Kodjoe doing every scene in his underwear but only because it would have made me care less how uninteresting the goings on actually were.  I got one genuine chuckle from the show when Gugu's character called Schwartz's Bill and announced herself as "the woman married to the man you love."  None of it is reason to stick around so no season pass for this one.

Better With You would be better with different writers, a different premise and maybe a few different (or just fewer) people in the cast.  Joanna Garcia is always charming and sweet and funny and I thought the best among the group was Josh Cooke but other than that it all fell kind of flat for me.  I see no reason at all why I'd need clog up my DVR with this one though I suppose I might stop and watch it if there are no good alternatives some Wednesday in the future. 

Fresh off of their Emmy win for best comedy, Modern Family returned as wonderful as ever.  Manny/Gloria story was perfectly fine but it was, as always, Phil, Cam and Jay who had my heart.  Cam and Jay were trying to minimize Mitchell's involvement in a construction project because while Mitchell thinks that his handy-man skills are his one truly "manly" attribute, he's exactly as good at these sorts of things as you'd expect him to be.  When Mitchell mentions a shelving project he and Jay undertook previously Jay notes in an interview "That was my Vietnam.  And I was in Vietnam."  I love it when Jay and Cam bond.  LOVE.

Meanwhile, the Dunphy family is trying to get rid of an old station wagon that holds a lot of sentimental value for them.  As usual with this show, the scenario isn't what makes this story funny, it's the tiny moments.  At the end, when the whole family is walking back to their house and the kids are reminiscing about the disasters that have just befallen them and they all share a "What's the plan, Phil!?!" while their parents smile happily, it's a moment of pure perfection. 

Cougar Town also kicked off with a funny episode.  I thought Jennifer Aniston was very funny as the bat-shit, new-age therapist and I particularly loved her delivery of "I do what I do" and " anger is a puddle, I step out of it." 

But the big winner of the ep was Busy Philipps:

Ellie: [Miming tipping her hat] Imaginary hat.
Laurie: [Miming putting on gloves and not at all understanding what the hat-tip meant] Imaginary opera gloves.  What is this?  What are we doing?

She's so funny.  I think it's a lot harder to play dumb and be likable at the same time than most might people think and she does it so very well.

I'm sticking it out with Hellcats but I really don't know about it.  There is the potential for it to be so awesomely bad but much of the time it takes itself much too seriously or it throws in something so stupid that it just sits there being hum-drum bad.  Like, a random dance/tumble-off in the street outside the pool hall?  WTF?

I adore Robbie Jones and I'm interested to see where this football/drug drama goes but I honestly couldn't care less about his "relationship" with Marti because she is by far the least likable thing about the show. 

It turns out I'm totally able to move beyond Matt Barr's past as a brother-impersonating, stalker/rapist and kind of love him as Dan.  Especially when he's romancing the adorably hapless Savannah. 

Perhaps it's just because I think he's so very cute but I'm also interested in seeing much, much more of Jeff Hephner as football coach Red Raymond and I kind of can't understand why Vanessa is so determined to stay with D.B. Woodside instead of hooking back up with Red when there is no chemistry at all between her and Woodside (though, I admit, he's dashing).  Jump on the coach, honey!  He's steamy! 

One final comment that I meant to make last week but never got around to it but it remains an issue - TOO MUCH MAKEUP!  Marti in particular wears about a million and a half times more makeup than is strictly necessary and she wears it at all times.  Working out, in the shower, going to bed, in class, studying, at the bar, no matter what she's doing she always has the same amount of entirely too much makeup on.  Last night she offered to give up eating, sleeping and showering in order to spend time doing something extra-credity for one of her pre-law professors and all I could think was that if she cut her cosmetics application in half she'd free up a good 34 hours of time each week for her to get shit done! 

Finally, I caught The Defenders.  On paper, this show sounds kind of awful but it's really quite entertaining.  Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi are appropriately smarmy yet likable and I can not say enough about how great Belushi is at playing the smart guy who's really good at pretending to be an idiot who's actually smart.  I know that doesn't sound like it makes a whole lot of sense but if you read it slowly and diagram it out, it totally does. 

Jurnee Smollett is lovely as the former-stripper, idealistic, rookie lawyer who is just learning that her smarmy bosses are also maybe just a little bit idealistic, and Natalie Zea plays one hell of a convincing icy bitch who's more than a little content to be screwing O'Connell while simultaneously hating him.  Though, I do wish she hadn't fucked up her pretty face with the lip injections and possible botox.  It's distracting.

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