8 Questions for the Bates Motel Finale

by: LGreen

image via A&E

Gather your personal belongings and get ready for check out. Bates Motel is turning the lights out for good Monday night. After carefully shuffling characters around all season, the White Pine Gang is finally back together, headed toward a final showdown. That much seems inevitable, so here are 8 questions Bates Motel should/could/might also address:

Will Norman die? I already speculated my theory on this. I think Bates Motel has to end with Norman’s death, if only to finally reunite him with Norma. A lifetime of medicated imprisonment seems too cruel, despite his crimes. Norman’s death would offer some sort of justice and closure for those left behind. It’s mostly a matter of how. Again, my theory is that he dies trying to rid himself of the more villainous “Mother”.

Are there any more victims? The Dr. Edwards twist really caught me off guard, which has me wondering if there’s anyone else we haven’t considered. No main characters are unaccounted for, but could there be another twist lurking in Norman’s past? And would it even matter at this point? Norman’s walking a fine line of being a fairly terrible person, who still somehow generates sympathy. Any more unpacked baggage in his past could change how we feel about him in the end.

Will Dylan and Emma have a happy ending? There seems to be some doubt about these two going forward, which I’m not totally buying. Sure, finding out your brother-in-law killed your mother is a hard pill to swallow. But he also killed Dylan’s too. Not to be too glib about that, but at least they each know what the other is going through. Emma’s visitation with Norman/Mother likely went a long way towards healing, since the sweet Norman she knew is clearly not running that particular show anymore.

Will Norman admit to killing Norma? Could this realization be what finally breaks Norman? His season-long resistance to even accepting her death created this iteration of Mother. What could realizing he did it do to his brain? An admission would finally give the long-suffering Norma some justice in her life (er… death), and vindication for Romero and Dylan.

Will there be a time jump? Bates Motel has always excelled at the little ways it plays with time. From the look of the house, costuming, Norman’s stuck-in-time awkwardness, time has always contributed to the mood of the show, reinforcing just how out of step Norma and Norman can be, while winking at the world of Psycho. While a time jump would be way less subtle, it could be a handy trick to see how Monday night’s survivors (if any) fare.

Are we done with Psycho? The little nods towards Psycho have always been a fun Easter egg game for Bates Motel. From the glimpses of Norma in the window, shots of the staircase, a very Hitchockian cameo by Carlton Cuse himself, Bates Motel has always winked at Psycho while remaining very much its own story. Could the finale pull more inspiration from its source material? Unless Norman ends up imprisoned, fully taken over by Mother, it probably won’t happen. But there still will be the reveal of Norma’s body and the possibility of one more murder in the house. (Stay safe, Sheriff Greene)

What about Chick’s book? The novel Psycho, was at least nominally inspired by true events, which in turn inspired the movie, which in turn inspired Bates Motel, which features a local writer documenting true crime. So to complete this mind-bending circle, Chick’s book has to be discovered and published by somebody. But who?

Whatever happened to “We all go a little mad sometime”? Perhaps the most famous line in Psycho, I can’t recall if it was ever directly used in Bates Motel. Could they have been waiting for the closing moments? It’s now or never…

Bates Motel: How Will It End?

by: LGreen

image via A&E

“Maybe we don’t get to start over.” So said Norman way back in the series premiere. Norma didn’t want to believe it, it was pretty clear Norman was on to something. After all, if you’re in a prequel (of sorts) to Psycho, and your name is “Norman Bates,” there’s a reasonably good chance your fate is sealed. But just how prophetic was Norman? As Bates Motel prepares for its Monday night checkout, what will happen to the surviving members of the Bates family?

After all, Bates Motel may rely heavily on its source material, but that has proven to be mostly for mood and inspiration. These characters are as close to living and breathing originals as you can get. Season 5 finally took us into Psycho territory, running headlong into the Marion Crane subplot, but that turned out to be a bait and switch, a mere blip in a much more complex story that, as it turns out, barely factors in Marion Crane at all. (Though, for what it’s worth, I really hope she’s made it to Mexico and is living a fancy fugitive life.)

With one episode left, Romero, Norman, Dylan, and Emma are all in impossible positions, with fairly unhappy outlooks. Are they, as Norma once said, “all doomed in the end”? Let’s take a closer look, one by one.

Romero:

Aside from Norman, who is Norman Bates after all, Romero is the character whose fate seems mostly sealed, because he has nothing left to lose. His motivation is a straightforward revenge fantasy and Romero’s on a one-man mission to kill Norman or die trying—an uncomplicated plot point, though nonetheless compelling. Literally, the only way Romero doesn’t kill Norman is if he dies first. Because I feel that Norman’s fate is more tangled up in his relationship with “Mother,” he won’t meet his end at the hands of a stepfather. Will there be a showdown? Yes. Will Romero walk away avenged? Probably not (Sorry, Romero). But he definitely is not someone willing to go back to prison. So what then? I have pointed out all season that Romero’s hidden Bob Paris money is still in that basement. I think the most we can hope for is that he makes it out alive and flees to Mexico to join Rihanna on the beach for frozen margaritas.

Dylan:

Last week we watched Dylan scroll through pictures of his family. Well, both families. The happy normal one he created with Emma—the one waiting for him far away from White Pine Bay. And, well… the other one. The one with Norma and Norman, that didn’t include him, but still calls to him. Will Dylan want to belong so badly, that it literally kills him? Because Bates Motel, despite its darkness, isn’t really a cynical show, I truly believe Dylan will make it out as the one glimmer of hope. Norman might be a hallucinatory hot mess that Norma allowed to manifest on her watch—but not for lack of love. Weirdly, Bates Motel is about the love you have for your family, even if it kills you. I think Dylan will be spared to live another, happier day.

Emma:

First of all, no matter what horror Bates Motel subjects us to, killing off Emma, would be a step too far. Logistically, it makes no sense—she’s well on her way home, far away from crazy town. I wish we had seen more of Olivia Cooke this season, though the moments we got were just enough to see just how much Emma has grown. She left White Pine Bay and can literally and figuratively breathe for the first time. Norman has only loved two women his whole life. Norma, whom he loved to death, and Emma, who gets to have the life Norma couldn’t. Last week she said goodbye to Audrey, made her peace with Norman, and left town. She’s headed back to her bright future, which I’d like to think still includes Dylan. Either way, Emma, as the only truly innocent character, is guaranteed some happiness.

Sheriff Greene:

Minor character, you say? I beg to disagree. First of all, as one Green to another, I’m Team Green(e) all the way. Also, what a refreshing change to have somebody levelheaded in that kooky town, who’s not a mess and not corrupt. She’s not a character who’s going to go down without a fight. Not that it isn’t possible; surely she’s the most expendable than anyone else. But if Sheriff Greene dies, who’s going to discover and publish the book Chick was writing?

Norman:

What good can come of Norman? He’s killed a lot of people and left a path of misery in his wake. The fact that we can still feel sympathy towards him is a testament to the writing and Freddie Highmore’s performance. Though he only consciously and intentionally killed one person, that’s still a pretty big deal. Going free isn’t an option. Saying he’s sorry and moving on, isn’t realistic. The fact that he was unaware of how sick he was and what “Mother” did on his behalf, doesn’t quite cut it as a defense.

Should Norman make it back into custody (though I doubt it. Why have a dramatic jailbreak if he’s just going to end up back in jail 40 minutes later), I don’t think we’ll end up seeing a call back to the end of Psycho, with Norman in a cell, smirking and channeling “Mother”. Bates Motel hasn’t spent 5 seasons carefully weaving an intricate story only to end on a been-there-done-that callback to something less compelling. Nor would “Mother” be allowed to still exist. Surely she’d be medicated right out of Norman’s subconscious. Even after all he’s done, seeing Norman confined to a life sentence without Norma somehow seems too cruel.

Sadly, or not so sadly, depending on your sense of justice, Norman has to die. It’s the only way he can be reunited with Norma—and not “Mother”. It’s just a matter of how and at whose hands. As I predicted, likely not Romero. And probably not Dylan. Though the Cain and Able symbolism would be interesting, that’s not really here nor there. This is a story about Norma and Norman—and the chord between their hearts, etc. etc. Both are flawed, but neither are villains. The only true villain is “Mother,” who has to go. Norman’s still deep down a sweet and damaged kid. So here it is…

To avenge his own crimes, Norman will have to destroy “Mother,” thereby sacrificing himself. Oh, Norman. You never stood a chance.

 

 

 

Big Little Lies: No Need For A Second Season

by: LGreen

image via HBO

As someone who both loves TV in general and Big Little Lies in particular, this is hard to say: I don’t want a season 2. It’s bitter-sweet when shows you love end, but end they should. There’s so much mediocre-meh-good-enough TV out there (not naming any names), that when something good pops up, you want to keep it forever. I’m already in deep denial that Bates Motel and The Leftovers are ending. If the TV Gods offered to keep them forever, irrational me would jump at the chance. Rational me knows that it’s time to say goodbye.

Just as when a character’s arc is complete, when the whole story is done, please please please end it. Just let it go, shove it out the door and say goodbye. In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss says, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” The internet tells me he said it, which is good enough for me.

Indulge me for a moment, TV Friends: imagine for example, if Lost (yeah, I’m talking about Lost!), had ended with everyone boarding the plane back to the island, ready to save their friends. Picture it! It’s the spring of 2010: our heroes go full circle,  return by choice with a mission, having become the good and selfless people the island wanted all along. The audience would have filled in the details themselves. Did we need to see Good and Evil fight to the death over their Mommy Issues, a magical mysterious lighthouse (that somehow nobody ever saw before), and a bunch of new faces created solely because they were expendable and could take bullets the leads couldn’t? Short answer: no. And I’m in the minority of people who didn’t have a problem with how Lost ended. I actually think it could have wrapped up sooner. I don’t care about mysteries about hatches and polar bears, and dharma sharks, I care about characters finishing their journeys, that they get what they want or die trying, the end ( …coincidentally the title of the final episode of Lost, but I promise I’ll stop now.)

So what does this have to do with Big Little Lies, you’re asking? Well, for as much as I would love to have more Madeleine Martha MacKenzie’s mile-a-minute dialogue in my life, I think we’re done with her. As fun as she is, Madeleine and Renata, Bonnie, their husbands, their kids, the Greek chorus of eye witnesses are really there to tell Jane’s and Celeste’s overlapping stories. Yes, everyone has secrets, everyone is telling lies, but compared to the mysteries of Jane’s past and Celeste’s present, they are supporting secrets. And still they found some closure, which is a nice bonus. Renata found some peace, Madeleine some perspective, and Bonnie some catharsis. Big Little Lies couldn’t be more over if you pushed it over a cliff and down a steep set of stairs.

“But wait!” you’re thinking, “what if they just write new plots and the story continues?” Sure, while that’s theoretically possible, Big Little Lies sure seemed complete to me. Should a second season pop up and reveal that there are more lies and more secrets, Monterrey runs the risk of becoming wacky Twin Peaks. The appeal of Big Little Lies is the secret empathy found in superficially unrelatable characters. You go from saying “I’d love that life!” to “Err…. no thanks, I’m good.” The little fibs, secrets, and half-truths have already been unmasked for the real disasters they’re covering. You can only go to the well once for that particular trick.

So let’s appreciate what we’ve been given: a well-executed intriguing drama — with a top-notch cast, satisfying conclusion, and surprising empathy.  It’s been wonderful ladies, but it’s time to drive off down the Pacific Coast Highway to greener TV pastures. … Did I mention The Leftovers is starting Sunday?

I Could Watch The Great British Baking Show Forever

The season 3 gang. (picture via BBC)

I’m not here to make friends.” — every contestant on every reality TV show ever.

Except… for The Great British Baking Show, the sweetly addictive reality baking contest from the BBC, where the contestants really do seem like friends because baking comes first and personalities second. The world has already caught on to the charms of the Great British Baking Show, but since I’m new to it, I will naturally treat it as my own personal discovery. I found this show and you need to watch it!

And I don’t mean to suggest that this is some saccharine silly non-competitive love-fest. These contestants might be amateur bakers, but there’s nothing amateurish about their weekly creations. They take baking seriously. And they’re seriously good at it.

For those of you who are new to the wonders of competitive Swiss rolls, Madeira cakes, tarts, 3-tiered pies, and Macarons, the premise is simple: a dozen bakers assemble each weekend to be tested on different skills, increasing in difficulty for 10 weeks, until one is named the winner. Contestants are allowed to work on their “signature” recipes and “showstopper” bakes during the week, but are given one surprise technical challenge that tests their general baking knowledge.

And the contestants are wonderfully real people. They’re students, parents, engineers, teachers, retired grandparents — all immensely relatable. You won’t see bakers trotted out to tell their sob stories to the audience, crying that they gave up everything to be on the show. Nor will you see gossip, sabotage, backstabbing, bitching, or any other reality TV trope. Rather, the show respectively let’s real people be real people, gives the spotlight to the baking, and saves the drama for soggy sponges, raw dough, and unset custards (there should be a slight wobble, but if it’s runny you better hope the flavor flavour saves you).

Letting the bakers be bakers without exploiting their real lives, or pitting them against each other, or keeping them so strung out and sleep deprived that the tent erupts in fight (did I tell you they bake in tent?! With views of the sprawling British countryside?? You guys… it’s charm up to your eyeballs!), is such a novel convention in a reality show, that I can hardly believe what I’m watching!

Even the judging is pleasant! Hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc generally stay out of the judging, limiting themselves to sampling the finished products and lovably rooting on the bakers as the clock counts down. Judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are the two that really need to be impressed. They know baking inside and out (literally) and they are hard to please. Tough, but kind, even the biggest baking disasters will generally get one nice comment about “excellent flavor” or “beautiful style”.

Sadly, Perkins, and Giedroyc are leaving the show as it transfers from the BBC to Channel 4 (this makes more sense if you’re British apparently). Only Hollywood will remain with the show for its future seasons. But since I’m stateside and still watching GBBS Original Flavor, I’ve tried hard to avoid any of this news/behind the scenes drama. It gets in the way of fully enjoying the frozen perfection of passion fruit Baked Alaska.

And as someone who just burned brownies made from the box, these bakers never fail to impress. Even the biggest disaster (which, admittedly there are truly few) is still a million times better than anything any of us could or would ever create (probably). So while I can’t make brownies from a mix, I sure have a lot of opinions on Swiss rolls, Christmas trifles, picnic pies, and Charlotte Russes. And I will make Mary’s frosted walnut layer cake even if it kills me. Just look at it–it might!

Hello, Beautiful. (Image via BBC)

Are you convinced yet?? Three seasons of The Great British Baking Show are available on PBS and Netflix (luckier Brits get the full 7 seasons) . Check out PBS’s website for more info and… On your marks, get set, BAKE!

This Is Us: Who’s the Best Pearson?

by: LGreen

(Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Every family has their favorite, don’t even try to pretend they don’t. And while the Pearsons might be better than your average family, they can’t escape this either. Somebody has to be better than somebody else. That’s just logic. So after careful deliberation, here are all the Pearsons ranked in order of increasing amazingness. It’s a familial thunder dome of awesomeness.

Toby

Chris Sullivan as Toby (NBC)

Toby isn’t really family, so don’t feel so bad that he ranks last. Also, he’s sort of not that great. Kate likes him, so that’s cool. You do you, Kate. But… he tends to be a tad high maintenance and his fashion flair is not my cup of tea. And… sometimes he a little bit makes things about him. Plus… there’s the time he awkwardly postponed the wedding on opening night of Kevin’s play. Ugh, Toby.

Kevin

Justin Hartley as Kevin (NBC)

Kevin is beautiful, rich, and famous, so  even though his life’s a mess, it’s sort of hard to really feel bad for him. Most people’s rock bottom isn’t waltzing into an off-Broadway play. And I hope it all works out with Sophie, but he already blew that relationship up once (just like his Manny career and opening night of his play, so…). But on the flip side, he’s lovably clueless and does have a good heart, so it’s not all bad news for Kevin.

Jack

Milo Ventimiglia as Jack (NBC)

Why is Jack so low on this list? you might wonder. Well… he’s mostly great, like being an awesome father who works hard and is especially attentive to his three kids equally. But that crippling jealousy and drinking and driving thing knocks him down a few places.

Beth

Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth (NBC)

We don’t see very much of Beth, but when we do, she’s awesome. Patient, no-nonsense, super stylish, and the rock of that family. And that toast! The world truly is split between “before Williams and after William”. Season 2 needs more Beth!

Kate

Chrissy Metz as Kate (NBC)

If the Pearson family wasn’t already filled with fantastic human beings, Kate would be on the top of this list. Smart, funny, and ambitious–Kate’s the friend and sibling we all dream of. Kevin may be the famous one, but Kate’s the star of this show. Does Toby know how lucky he is?

Rebecca

Mandy Moore as Rebecca (NBC)

Is there a period of time when Rebecca was/is not awesome? Quite simply, no. I’m not sure how the whole Miguel thing plays out and the Keeping-William-A-Secret incident wasn’t the best. But if Randall can forgive her, so can we. And look, I’m no doctor, but if her explanation to Randall didn’t make you cry, you’re probably dead inside. And let’s be blunt here, anyone who can have triplets and still be that put together is probably superhuman anyway.

Randall

Sterling K. Brown as Randall (NBC)

Overachieving workaholic Super Dad Randall is not only one of the best Pearsons; he’s one of the best characters on TV. Sure, he’s wound a bit tight, but he does the best he can for those he loves. And his willingness to accept William and let himself open up was beautiful. And now he wants to adopt a baby! A new baby! This is when This Is Us makes me cry.

William

Ron Cephas Jones as William (NBC)

Oh, William. I want to go on a road trip to Nashville with you too. You don’t need maps; you just drive. And you’d encourage me to just drive too. And play music, walk outside, and talk to the mailman. I never talk to my mailman! But that’s about to change, friends. Just as soon as I find out who my mailman is. Thank you, William. *hat tip*

And there you have it. The whole Pearson clan ranked from mildly awesome to amazingly awesome. And also Toby.

 

 

Come From Away: Broadway’s Newest Nicest Musical

by: LGreen

Photo via: Matthew Murphy/Come From Away

You know what sounds like a terrible idea? A musical about September 11th. You know what’s actually the the nicest, warmest, most cathartic theatrical experience I’ve had in ages? Come From Away–Broadways’ new musical about September 11th.

Whenever tragedy strikes, you are likely to see popping up on your Facebook and Twitter feeds this oft-used quote by Fred [Mr.] Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Come From Away takes this spirit of kindness and generosity, multiplies it by a million, and sets it to music. The result is a feel good joyful escapism of goodwill and community that New York feels especially ripe for. As I always say, if you ask a New Yorker for directions they’ll roll their eyes. Have a real emergency? New York’s got your back.

Come From Away tells the story of 38 planes diverted to Gander, Newfoundland after U.S. airspace closed on September 11. The “plane people” as they come to be called essentially double the population of Gander and surrounding towns, as residents scramble to accommodate their new international visitors. There’s a quirky small town vibe, with lots of jokes about fish and moose, and friendly good-natured neighbors who all know each other and will gladly invite you home to use their shower if you need it.

The 12-actor cast plays about 40 characters–residents and plane people–with the addition of simple props, costume pieces, and accents. Naturally some characters get more attention (and depth) than others. There’s the local news reporter, who mostly plays Overwhelmed-On-Her-First-Day-Cuz-Who-Knew-This-Was-Going-To-Happen, or the small town mayor who affably greets citizens every morning in Tim Horton’s. But there’s also Beverly Bass (played by Jen Colella), who’s given a deep internal life as the first female American Airlines captain, who never wavers in making sure her passengers get home safely. And Hannah O’Rourke (Q. Smith), who loses her NYC firefighter son. The fact that we suspect that outcome, even as Hannah hopes for the best, is a testament to the goodness of this show. All the characters feel like friends. Even when we see the inevitable coming, we still hope for the best.

Having some characters more fully realized than others is not a weakness of the show, it’s a powerful reminder of the ensemble nature of this cast and communities in general. Trading off characters, alternating key moments–everyone participating in a story that’s about all of us–is a reminder that quite literally we’re all in this together. Come From Away reminds you that when times are hard, it’s not who you are, it’s what you do that’s important.

And maybe some moments might feel too conveniently heartwarming for the cynics out there. Like when the Muslim passenger forgives days of suspicion and ask for the local “fish and cheese” recipe of his new friends or how every resident lets their barbecue grills be stolen out of their yards. (Literally no one objects!) These moments are played for laughs and goodwill inclusiveness.

But even if these moments are contrived, my question is “So what?” It’s musical theater–all the moments are contrived. The point of Come From Away sets is to show people at their best, when the world’s at its worst. Gander was the silver lining to New York’s grimmest day. I saw audience members wiping away tears in the opening scenes but lingering during the curtain call’s rousing traditional music, not quite wanting to leave yet. A hour and a half with the good citizens of Gander was a charming escape. Like the plane people, you’ll eventually have to leave, but it was a nice break from the real world.

Come From Away is playing at at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with a running time of 100 minutes.

The Leftovers Released Its Season 3 Trailer

by: LGreen

HBO released it’s full trailer for The Leftovers’s third and final season this week. Kevin and the gang have relocated to Australia and will return to our lives April 16–Easter Sunday. Coincidence or clue? Is Kevin the son that will save us all?

Making History and Making Time Travel Fun Again

by: LGreen

(image via Jennifer Clasen/FOX)

Remember when time travel on Lost seemed novel? Now time travel is everywhere, from Frequency, Time after Time, Timeless, and probably something else I’m just not watching. Time travel is a great way to up the stakes of any story and introduce new characters and locations. But why does it always have to be so dramatic?? Between stopping personal tragedy, avenging wrongs, and correcting the course of history, time travel is so angsty! And then… there’s Making History. Fox’s new comedy is to time travel what Last Man on Earth is to the apocalypse–a quirky breath of fresh air.

The premise is simple. Lovable regular guy Dan (Adam Pally) spends his weekends time traveling back to Revolution-ere Boston, mostly cuz he’s bored and he can. Also, he finds his late father’s time traveling duffle bag (just roll with it). Revolutionary Dan is quite popular with the founding fathers and his colonial girlfriend, Deborah (Leighton Meester)–who just happens to be Paul Revere’s least favorite daughter.

Oh, yeah, Paul Revere is there too. And he’s kinda of a jerk. And so is John Hancock. And Sam Adams. None of these founding fathers are quite as amazing as we’d like to imagine. But none of that bothers Dan too much until he realizes he might have stopped the Revolutionary War from happening. Whoops. Enter Chris (Yassir Lester) a history professor who Dan enlists to make sure the war gets underway as it should. If not America will be doomed to a future where Starbucks only sells tea! Quelle horreur!

Associated Revolutionary War antics ensue. Chris makes and loses a nice British friend, the colonists guns are threatened, the colonists guns are saved, Paul Revere was actually Deborah in drag, though no one will acknowledge it. Don’t worry, Deborah, politics will treat women better (sorta) in another few hundred years, if you can stick it out.

odds and ends:

  • Anyone else surprised by just how indifferent the colonists were to revolution? They’re not the most motivated group.
  • I get the wig thing. Good hair really can make a big difference.
  • “Peppermint Patricias” are delicious and do have beautiful wrappers.
  • Leighton Meester is fantastic as Deborah–an adorable mixture of wacky and progressive.
  • Will Making History stick stick with the past or offer us a glimpse of the possible future?
  • If they revisit colonial America again, what other historical figures should pop up. Surely there will be an Alexander Hamilton cameo.
  • With Deborah joining the gang as they travel to the future, the combinations of historical people showing up in any time period, offers endless combinations of wacky adventures.

 

Making History airs Sundays on FOX at 8:30 EST

 

Hello Again

Hey.

by: LGreen

Well, hello again, TV friends. Long time no read. I’ve taken quite a bit of time off since last we spoke. I don’t get paid to write about TV, so you know, I do what I want. So what have I been up to since we last chatted? Oh you know, this and that. Lots of reading, some writing. Lots of TV watching minus the added self-imposed pressure of having to put coherent thoughts together about it.

So here’s the deal. My main rule for writing about anything is that it has to be something I love, even if it’s just a teeny bit. This doesn’t mean it has to be perfect. I’ve written about plenty (again for emphasis… plenty) of less-than-perfect shows (ahem, Revolution) because there was something fun, interesting, or otherwise redeeming about it. Little by little, post by post, there was just nothing I loved or hated enough to talk about. Or maybe I’m coming out of a year-long Hamiltonmania fever dream and finally have room in my brain for something else. Either/or/probably both. Though, for the record, I do think a little dose of added Hamilton could make for some interesting TV (see below).

You guys, he’s a lawyer!

So let’s catch up! What are the shows I’ve previously cared about (for good or bad)? And where do they stand now? Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? Let’s:

American Horror Story. Errr…. watched 2 episodes of Hotel and bailed. I tend to pop in and out of this show, so maybe I’ll return. And that’s a hard maybe. Wasn’t there something about witches too? Not 100% ready to write this off for good. More like 95%, but I’ve learned never say never.

Bates Motel. One of the most brilliantly written and acted shows ever. And one of my last holdouts for written coverage. But week after week, I found myself so blown away by consistently great episodes, I needed time to absorb what I watch and by the time I had anything to say, it was time for the next one. Since this one is coming to an end and already off to a great season, I’ll definitely revisit this. But first I’ll have to come to terms with Sad Romero. So so sad.

Better Call Saul. I wrote about this once and might again. But I’m still definitely watching. It’s so nice to see Mike alive and well. Well, wellish.

Breaking Bad. Gone but not forgotten. The show that made me want to force my opinions on people in the first place. (you’re welcome, everyone) Having just read “A Life in Parts” by Bryan Cranston, I’m ready for an eventual rewatch of this series sometime in the near future.

Empire. I should probably go back to this. Do it for Cookie!

Fear The Walking Dead. I only have room in my life for one zombie show. And barely even that.

Fresh off the Boat. I think I forgot about this one week and then just kept forgetting. This will likely be a Netflix binge one day.

Fringe. I miss Fringe and I can guarantee it will come up again. Suddenly network TV is filled with time travel shows, yet Fringe never took off?? I’m still annoyed. Like, really annoyed.

Game of Thrones. I want to love Game of Thrones so much. But I just don’t love all the swords and beheadings and such. It’s very well done if you can look beyond all those things.

Hostages. What was “Hostages”?

How to Get Away with Murder. I was sad to let this one go. But I could never remember who was who and who did what and why were all these stylish law students such cold blooded murderers? Everyone should go and just let Viola Davis do an hour-long one woman show where she just delivers the best speeches.

Jessica Jones. Cannot wait for this to come back. I only wish they could resurrect David Tennet. Creepiest villain ever.

Lost. This will eventually get a rewatch, stopping of course after season 5. I have no interest in the temple people and their island shenanigans.

Mad Men. I love Mad Men, but am pretty sure I’ll never rewatch it, and rarely talk about it. I prefer to let it just seep into the background of my subconscious. Frankly, Don Draper is too sad to dwell on for too long. And Matthew Weiner’s next show looks fascinating!

Odd Mom Out. I watch this. I enjoy it.

Orange Is The New Black. You guys, this got really sad.

Scandal. I have so many mixed feelings about Scandal. My favorite thing though, is all the clothes!

Shameless. This went from must-watch viewing to Netflix binge viewing, so I can fast forward through the Frank parts.

Shark Week. I wish it was Shark Week already.

Sleepy Hollow. I was on the fence until Abby was killed off. Nope. Crane is still one of the best recent characters though.

The Affair. This show went from being about an affair to an affair’s 5 year aftermath and 30 year buildup. Fascinating stuff. (needs more Cole)

The Bridge. I recall liking this.

The Good Wife. I should have said something about the Good Wife finale because people seemed stunned that Alicia ended up not being so nice. Why did we all assume so was so nice in the first place? Because her husband was worse?

The Last Man on Earth. Sadly this didn’t survive what I like to call the Sunday Night TV Thunder Dome.

The Leftovers. A 1000% the most interesting show out there. Cannot wait for this to come back.

Treme. Gone be never–NEVER–forgotten.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I love that this is quirky and upbeat with occasional reminders that Kimmy’s story is actually pretty dark. There’s so much honesty packed into such a weird show. If 30 Rock and Parks and Rec had a redheaded love child, it would be Kimmy.

Veep. I think I love Veep. But now that we’re all living it, I question everything.

Wayward Pines. Few things in life are certain. Never talking about Wayward Pines is however, a sure bet.

Zoo. I gave up when there were CGI’d ants or some such thing. Still sort of fun show, if you’re down with CGI’d ant attacks.

So that’s where we stand, TV friends. There is also a slew of new things I’m loving and watching. To be discussed at a later date…

Happy viewing!

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: 13 Favorite Moments from Season 2

by: LGreen

image via Netflix

image via Netflix

Are you still watching Season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, or like me, did you binge it in one weekend? …You binged it, didn’t you? Understandable. Kimmy Schmidt’s second season is as catchy and irresistible as its theme song, dammit! Kimmy and the gang all return (no supporting player left behind!), for more post-bunker New York adventures. And in that way, this second season is not much different than its first. But rather than a season dedicated to a series of Kimmy’s “firsts,” season 2 takes the time to develop characters and tightly weave their lives together. Without evoking too many 30 Rock comparisons, you can see this group of oddball friends as intertwined and connected as Liz Lemon and Co. were. Kimmy Schmidt’s second outing is as charming as the first, but also weirder, sharper, and even funnier.

Here are 13 of its best moments:

  1. Mike the season 1 construction worker: The development of the catcalling season 1 construction worker from one-off joke to not only a returning character, but one so pivotal to Titus’s development, is possibly my favorite turn for season 2. Mikey’s search for honesty for himself and his relationships injected a huge dose of reality into this otherwise over-the-top version of New York. It proves that Kimmy’s New York is a small world and every character is important.
  2. Titus falls in love. I love everything about Titus. But I mostly love that Kimmy Schmidt is letting him become a deeper person. I could watch his fame-seeking-pinot-noir-drinking self forever, but watching him learn how to earn his happiness brought out more feels than I ever expected. If his monologue about never having a coming out moment didn’t move you, well then, your heart is probably a little bit frozen. Sorry.
  3. Music. Kimmy Schmidt is the best scored show on TV, with music adding that extra zaniness that makes Kimmy’s New York so downright weird. Its use of music integral to the plot is delightful, whether it’s Kimmy’s all-cartoon faux-Disney happy place fantasy, or Titus’s musical theater history lessons. Admit it, you’d go see “Jeff, the Gangly Orphan,” wouldn’t you?
  4. Lillian has a purpose. Lillian was my least favorite thing about season 1, often seeming weird for the sake of being weird. And don’t get me wrong, weird is awesome, but her sharpened offbeat passion for the degentrification of East Dogmouth gave her a relatable focus. Also, she dates Robert Durst, which I can totally see.
  5. Junkyard Elmos. I’m glad a show like Kimmy Schmidt is finally calling attention to the scourge of dirty Elmos plaguing midtown. Let this be a warning to your innocent and naive friends visiting from out-of-town, just say no: No to drugs, and especially no to doing them with junkyard Elmos.
  6. Dyziplen. Buckley needs some discipline dyziplen. This joke would have been enough as a single punchline, but was followed through by showing hordes of vacant Upper East Side kids drugged into complacent stupors. Honorable mention goes to therapist Andrea’s t-shirt shout out.
  7. Pacey! Can Joshua Jackson show up for cameos in every show?
  8. Jacqueline is sort of nice. While Jacqueline was busy spearheading her doomed cause to her rich friends, something interesting happened: she became sort of nice. Proof that Kimmy’s influence on everyone is the heart and soul of this very strange show. Also, Jacqueline will end up super rich again, so it’s really win/win for everyone. And she has to put up with Russ’s fipple and moist beard, so she’s totally earning that money
  9. Oh heyyyy, Tina Fey. I was enjoying this season so much, I was completely caught off guard by Tina Fey’s late season arrival as drunk Uber passenger/therapist Andrea. This is my favorite of all of Fey’s characters, a smart, wise truth-telling hot mess, that’s very caring, but also a little bit mean.
  10. Bye, Dong. In theory, I like Kimmy paired up with her GED friend Dong because they’re both newcomers to this world. But Dong is sort of boring  and I like that the show didn’t drag out his stay. Sorry you got deported, Dong, but at least a fancy night in an abandoned Poconos resort is how one exits in style.
  11. Mike’s grandmother. In case you’re still watching, I won’t post a picture of Mikey’s grandmother at family dinner. This was the best laugh-out-loud sight gag yet on Kimmy Schmidt. Or probably any show.
  12. A cliffhanger? I’m not a huge fan of this season’s last moments, essentially a cliffhanger in which the Reverend calls to say that he’s getting married while in prison, so he and Kimmy need a divorce. If she’s married, wouldn’t Kimmy already know? And how hard would it be to get divorced from someone who went to prison for kidnapping you? This doesn’t seem like much of a cliffhanger. But… if this means more Jon Hamm next season, then I’m all about it.
  13. Kimmy’s mom: I was so ready to hate Kimmy’s mom, but it’s impossible to hate Lisa Kudrow, so well done, Kimmy Schmidt! She’s just zany enough to fit into this world, but has enough heart to remind you that everyone has a story. “Sometimes you just wanna scream your head off, and a rollercoaster’s the only place no-one looks at you weird.” How can you hate someone as honest as that?

Odds and Ends:

  • Of course Jacqueline has a bag made of the skins of famous internet cats
  • If I can see NJ, then it can see me!” (I love NJ jokes)
  • I loved that Titus’s one-man show was actually good. For anyone who’s ever been dragged to one at 10:30 at night in the Lower East Side, you were surprised too.
  • Does anyone else miss seeing Josh Charles on TV!?
  • Everyone sounds like Chandler on the internet” is the most succinct description of the internet ever.
  • SpongeBob does look like a cheese businessman, and is that really any stranger than a sponge who wears pants and lives in a pineapple under the sea?
  • I can identify with Kimmy, because I too really loved Frasier in the 90s.