The Wife:

My husband has many film school friends that make their living working behind the scenes in Hollywood. Likewise, my sister-in-law has a number of college friends who are actors. So whenever we get word that a friend in the business is going to be on a show or is working on a show, we make a point to watch it to be supportive. That is why we watched Hitched or Ditched last night on the CW, and unlike my dedication to watch every single episode of Discovery Health’s Mystery ER last year, I can’t be supportive enough to keep watching Hitched or Ditched.

The premise of the show, for those who can’t figure it out from the title, is that couples who have been dating for a long time but haven’t gotten engaged are given a week and infinite resources to plan their dream wedding and when they show up to the altar, dressed to the nines before their friends, family and viewers at home, they must decide if they will stay together or break up right then and there. I was wary when I heard the concept of the show, and now that I’ve seen it, I’m going to attempt to explain why I find this so problematic and, ultimately, horrible.

First of all, while I am married and do encourage my long-dating friends to get married, I do so for a variety of pragmatic reasons. Being married is a social institution, and that’s all it is. It says that you’re going to share a life with that person for as long as you can. And if we remember marriage is a social institution, that does mean that the contract can be negated, just like any contract, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you love that person any less. It makes your life a whole lot easier in terms of tax breaks, insurance policies and a variety of other socially/governmentally mediated activities/events. A wedding, with the ritual and the rings and the vows and the white dress, that’s the thing that shows you profess your love, a party for all of your friends to celebrate the commitment you intend to make to your partner.

To me, they’re separate entities, but we often confuse one with the other, and that’s a major problem with this show. Planning a wedding – your commitment ceremony or love celebration party, if you will – is not at all the time to decide whether or not you and your partner should enter into a marriage. In fact, if you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a significant amount of time and you two haven’t mutually decided to enter into a marriage, there are reasons why – reasons that do not need to be discussed on national television as you go along with the charade of your relationship, sampling cakes together. The show confuses the two entities, and thus confuses the participants by conflating a wedding ceremony with an actual marriage.

Secondly, even though I personally encourage my long-dating friends to marry, there’s something seriously wrong with a show that drives forward the notion that marriage is the only proper outcome to a long-term relationship. Some people are perfectly happy living without that social contract, and that’s fine for them.

This is really not the time or the place to decide to marry someone.

This is really not the time or the place to decide to marry someone.

I would much rather that the money being spent to tempt these couples with free dream weddings be spent on wedding ceremonies for people who actually do know that they want to get married, but can’t afford to celebrate that decision in the way they’d truly like to. Because that’s a nice thing to do for people, rather than spend a week cruelly asking couples to conform to some notion of social rightness by asking them to get married or break up.

There’s more I could say about this show that probably needs to be said, like maybe something about how utterly ridiculous it is that we hold heterosexual couples to this standard of “get married or break up” yet 45 states, including my own, won’t let homosexual couples engage in equal social contracts, but ideological issues aside, there’s nothing joyful to be found in Hitched or Ditched. It’s not entertaining to watch people with relationship issues fall apart on national television, because this show takes itself seriously unlike the trainwreck sensationalism of daytime talkshows. And there’s nothing to be learned from this experiment, unlike, say, enjoyable trash like Wife Swap. It’s really just sad, cruel and sends a highly problematic message. And I can’t spend any more time on it than this.

(Now that I’m posting this, I should note that I had no idea until now what the title of this episode was as I hadn’t planned on writing about it and I’m so horribly offended. Really, show? Have you have no faith in any of your participants, do you?)

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The Wife:

I have to commend the folks at Reaper for giving us a series finale with some of the most solid plotting the show’s ever produced. The A-plot about Sam’s contest with The Devil deserved and received the most attention, and the C-plot about Sock’s toad-induced drug-trip provided a well-played resolution to the B-plot about Nina’s exorcism. (To sum that up: Ben’s grandma pretends like she wants to make amends, but really she wants to exorcise Nina, which, after Ben walks out on his family, she agrees to, even though it might actually send her back to Hell – a fact Sock discovers in a note she left for Ben to find in case the exorcism worked.) Sure, the intervention of those two plots was perhaps a little too convenient and not unexpected in any way, but it made sense. And Tyler Labine’s comic timing as he yammered on with a swollen tongue was pretty excellent. I’ll be watching Sons of Tucson just for him.

Right now, in college towns across America, people are betting their souls on games of quarters.

Right now, in college towns across America, people are betting their souls on games of quarters.

As for the A-plot, Sam gets Angel Steve to help him translate the demon text, but and Steve tells him that he needs to reflect The Devil, and so buys him a replica of The Devil’s suit to wear during the challenge. And as for that challenge, Sam decides on quarters, pretty much the only thing he’s really good at, which is why he’s always the designated driver when he and the boys go out drinking. But when Sam summons The Devil, it turns out that he’s just as good at quarters as Sam is and the contest ends in a draw. No harm, no foul and, most importantly, no rematch, unless Sam can find something to sweeten the deal. Andi seeks out Gladys, whom I’ve missed dearly, and asks her to give Sam some advice on beating The Devil. She points out that Steve mistranslated the passage. Rather than reflecting The Devil’s image, Sam should have brought a mirror with him, as The Devil’s vanity is his biggest weakness. Even with this knowledge, though, Sam has nothing to put up against The Devil for a rematch . . . until Andi offers to give up her soul so that Sam can have a second chance at getting out of his contract.

At their second contest, Sam unveils a mirrored table, and The Devil is so distracted by his pretty face that he is only able to sink one shot. Showing shots of The Devil’s reflection in the mirrored table were probably the most artistic Reaper‘s gotten in its two-year run. They were very Twin Peaks-y. In anger, The Devil breaks the shotglass, so Sam heads in to obtain another one from the housewares section of The Work Bench. Once there, though, Steve greets him and breaks his right hand, acting on orders from up above. Sam tries to shoot left-handed, but is unable to sink a single shot, and Andi loses her soul.

Strangely, though, Andi is happy about being damned. When Steve tries to explain to them that he broke Sam’s hand on orders from God, he justifies the fact that this was meant to happen because Sam and Andi are now happy together that they’re both damned. And that’s where the show totally stopped making sense to me. Look, I don’t care that the show ended ambiguously, with Sam and Andi standing in the parking lot as Steve ascends and lights up the sky with angelic goodness, but I do care that, suddenly, for no reason, the show’s entire quest has been negated by Sam and Andi’s happiness in their eternal damnation. The whole “divine plan” aspect of it is so deus ex machina, a too-convenient way to pretend that everything is going to be okay. I wish the show had been okay with ending itself in the bleakness of damnation, just as Angel ended with the idea that the battle against evil rages on, our heroes brandishing their swords to fight in the streets of Los Angeles, but Reaper decided to turn back to the idea that God has a plan, which, really, is just kind of bad writing.

Too bad, Reaper. You deserved a better ending than you got.

Good things:

  • The whole Mary Pat character was so weird that she ended up being rather delightful, until her abrupt departure from the storyline when Steve, her “fairies,” entered.
  • Steve. I’ll take more Michael Ian Black anytime.
  • “Sam, I need my Jimbo fix. I want you to dance like a monkey.” – The Devil
  • “Aw, man. Don’t be like that. Do you know how much of a downer Hell is? I’ve got to be wrecked to face that again.” – Frog-licking soul
  • Frog-licking soul’s frog tongue was pretty neat.
  • I’m glad King Charlie made some froggie friends.
  • I’m glad Sam is the kind of guy who won’t have sex with a drunk girl even if she says she wants to. He’s a good dude.
  • “Still doesn’t explain the suit. You look like Justin Timberlake took a dump.” – Gladys
  • Sock’s frog-induced drug trip where he mowed down visions of Lupe Ontiveros was very Lost Highway, making this Reaper‘s most David Lynch-y episode yet.
  • “I tasted music, and it tasted like garbage.” – Sock, perhaps why Mitch Hedberg suggests that hearing really is the only way to take it in.

The Husband:

I usually try to be pragmatic and treat series finales as if they were actual series finales, no matter what the fan uprising against its cancellation thinks. It just seems like the feasible thing to do, so as not to get anybody’s hopes up, which in turns renders people incapable of enjoying and discussing a series finale as is.

But with Reaper, I really don’t know how to proceed. The news looks better day-by-day that it could find some home in syndication, and since the budget is already so goddamned low, it’d be foolish for it not to be picked up.

But, more than anything, it would justify the choppy and abrupt ending, which I was fine with last night, but after having slept on it and thought about it, like less and less. The twist is fine. In fact, it’s more than fine. But there’s a scene missing, one where the characters wrap up the season in some fashion, more than that simply okay one preceding Steve’s final appearance where all the character’s discussed their weeks. The showrunners and writers always knew that this was the final episode of their second season, so why not work a little harder to make it feel like a better ending? Last season’s finale did a better job, what with an explosive finale, Steve’s revelation as an angel and Mr. Oliver’s death-and-rebirth. I’ve complained before about the problem with ending on-the-bubble shows with cliffhangers (i.e. DON’T DO IT!), and while this does have an ending, they could have worked it out much better.

As for this season, very little of it lives up to s1 post-strike, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss it. s2 worked just fine, don’t get me wrong, but it lacked a great deal of forward momentum, and if Jenny Wade hadn’t shown up, it might have all-but-completely lost its big beating heart.

So yes, pray to whatever god or deity or television producer that you worship and get this picked up in some form or another next season. Because they can do better than that. And yes, Bret Harrison needs a damn star vehicle.

The Wife:

Oh, 90210! You are ridiculous! This finale was all the fuck over the place, but it was so fucking nutzo that I think it was actually pretty good. Here’s “9 Final Things About This Week’s 90210:”

1. Adriana. Probably the show’s most realistic and moving scene to date: Adriana, post emergency C-section, can’t even look at her newborn daughter because she knows that if she does, she won’t be able to give her up. She eventually does come around to holding her, and then, when somewhat overeager adoptive parents Greg and Leslie arrive, it’s absurdly hard for her to let go. You got me a little bit there, 90210. Great performance by Jessica Lowndes in this episode. I’m so glad they promoted her to a series regular.

2. “Have you met my dragon?” Before Adriana could come to the realization that she needed to say goodbye to her child before giving it up for adoption, though, we had to witness a super-trippy dream sequence in which she imagines that Brenda has returned from playing Cleopatra in China to hang out with her, rather than saying goodbye to her dying father. You see, Adriana and Brenda are a lot alike . . . however . . . I still don’t really understand why Brenda or Kelly are actually Adriana’s friends. I can kind of get that Kelly, a bleeding heart guidance counselor, thinks her duties extend to the delivery room, but Brenda? Other than tossing Aid into rehab, I’m not really sure why they’re, you know, friends. Anyway, what I learned from this is that apparently, the school production of Anthony and Cleopatra did happen, we just never got to see it. Also, “Have you met my dragon?” is the greatest segue into unveiling a completely unnecessary Chinese dragon ever.

FUCK YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

FUCK YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

3. Post-Prom-a-Palooza. I don’t know what was most impressive about Principal Wilson’s school-sponsored post-prom party. Was it the a capella group singing Stephen Foster tunes? (Hell, yeah, “Beautiful Dreamer”! Sing “Swanee River” next! Sing it!) Was it the fact that there were so many people in attendance? Was it the fact that nearly half the people in attendance were wearing my favorite tee shirt in the whole wide world right now, “One party can ruin your whole summer?” No, no. It was clearly the fact that someone laced the brownies with weed, totally rendering Moms and Pops Wilson stoned out of their minds when they head to the hospital to visit Adriana and her baby. I kind of loved Rob Estes crazy-eyes. Like, loved them enough to think he’d make a good guest star serial killer on Criminal Minds, following in the footsteps of one totally awesome C. Thomas Howell. I also kind of loved the fact that they were so afraid to drive (let alone incapable of getting their shit together) that they couldn’t go look for their lying children . . . so they just stayed in the hospital waiting room all night and never went home. Lord knows I’d have made fast friends with those lush waiting room couches myself if I’d come across some edibles at Post-Prom-a-Palooza. Mmmm . . . couches.

One pot brownie can ruin your whole summer.

One pot brownie can ruin your whole summer.

4. Post Prom at Villa Clark. Because Pheobe’s party gets shut down by Pops Wilson, Naomi offers to host the party at her new digs, only to abandon it altogether to be by Aid’s side and put Annie in charge. I would have probably, oh, I dunno, just cancelled the party. But that’s just me. Thinking practically!

5. Love triangle #1. While Dixon starts to doubt his relationship with Silver, Ethan assures him that the very things that he doesn’t like about her on prom night are the things that make her Silver the other 364 days of the year. Later, Silver comes to question Ethan about his thoughts on her relationship with Dixon, and he assures her that they’re good together. But after switching jackets with Dixon (where Ethan has stowed a lovely prom portrait of Silver) and getting caught watching Silver jump in the pool in her prom gown, Dixon realizes Ethan’s got a thing for his girl, and, rather than getting into a fight that might involve a way to kill off Dustin Milligan, they just kind of stare each other down. Silver totally has no idea what’s going on, but Ethan solves that by later sucking her face off when she tries to stop him from leaving. Is Dustin Milligan not leaving the show? Because this is the kind of plotline you set up when someone isn’t leaving, not when you plan on killing them off during their summer in Montana. I never read any correction to that bit of casting news, so perhaps I’ve been watching this entire season incorrectly looking for ways to kill off Dustin Milligan. Dunno. Anyway, is a major break up a really good thing to do to Silver right now, guys? I mean, she is bipolar. She can’t be in high-energy situations. Or she’ll go crazy! At least, that’s what her sister seems to think.

6. Love triangle #2. Although Liam opened up to Naomi about his past (chiefly, it seems, how his mother used to be a maid and married up . . . because that’s oh-so-shameful), she is so excited about this breakthrough that she tells her sister all about it. Jen uses this information to sleep with Liam by pretending to be Naomi’s neighbor and saying that Naomi just blurts all this stuff to anyone. When Naomi comes home, she finds Liam putting his clothes back on and immediately wants to know who he’s been with. He won’t tell her, because he’s a tool, and she goes on a hell rampage when she finds Annie’s gaudy faux-fur wrap on the floor that Jen stole. Then Jen enters and tells Liam she’s Naomi’s sister, he calls her a bitch, and she’s like, “Well, duh.” Later, a none-the-wiser Naomi cries on her bitch sister’s lap as Liam is taken from his bed in the middle of the night and shipped off to military school. This is a much better love triangle than love triangle #1.

7. Best transition ever? Lori Loughlin enjoying a brownie with a vigorous “Mmmm!” to Adriana experiencing contractions with a hardcore moan. Genius.

8. Everyone at WestBev is a douche. As soon as the post-prom party at Pheobe’s house is cancelled, everyone starts calling Annie a rat, which is way less clever than whomever came up with Benedict Annie. But Annie takes pity on Phoebe when she finds her vomiting in Naomi’s bathroom and offers to drive her home. However, when she gives this alibi to Naomi when questioned about why her wrap was on the floor if she didn’t sleep with Liam, Naomi doesn’t believe her because Pheobe, like everyone else, hates Benedict Annie. Seeing how angry Naomi is, everyone quickly turns on Annie, who up until this point had been cleaning up after their drunk asses and getting them drink refills, calling her names of the rat variety and even tossing drinks in her face because she went to prom with someone she had no intention of dating thereafter. AnnaLynne McCord uses her absolute best bitch-face here and screams at Annie to get the fuck out of her house, leading to the most amazingly awful (but bold!) acting choice Shenae Grimes has ever made. Benedict Annie steps outside the doors, grits her teeth, makes a bunch of guttural noises whilst shaking her fists in the air before fumbling around with her cell phone and becoming the person those WestBev douches wanted her to be: the rat who calls the cops on their party.

9. Final scene. Wait, did Annie hit someone while driving drunk? I’m totally confused because I saw no hitting. Alls I know for sure is that the other car that didn’t look like it got hit at all had a WestBev sticker on it. As I don’t plan on watching this show next year, I guess I’ll never know.

Nonetheless, crazy shit happened, so, um, good finale, 90210! I wish you the best of luck in your future, because Lord knows the CW needs you to survive.

The Husband:

Sorry honey, you’re going to be watching the next season with me come this fall, because that was a damn good finale, and you know you cannot resist. Especially now that the vastly superior Privileged has bit the dust, how else are you going to get your non-GG high school bitch fix?

As for the final scene, Annie did definitely hit something, although we never saw it. It was supremely awkward how it was set up and then not paid off, but my guess is that if Dustin Milligan is off the show next year, then she hit him. It’ll create some major friggin’ drama next season, that Annie killed her ex-boyfriend whom she stole from Naomi, all while having a gigantic bottle of booze in the car after being laughed out of a party. That’s some crazy shit right there.

Good finale? No. Great finale. Everything that has worked about this season found its way into this episode, and none of the bad stuff decided to stick around. Jen’s betrayal was cruel enough to turn her into a great villain, Liam’s violent kidnapping was brutal enough to actually inspire pity in me, Annie’s downfall was juicy enough to last a long time, and Lori Loughlin and Rob Estes were funny enough to get me through all the pregnancy scenes, ones I had been dreading after having already gone through that drama on SLOTAT.

(You want to see Lori Loughlin be as hilarious in something else? Pick up the recently DVD-released Keanu Reeves comedy The Night Before. She plays bitch like nobody’s business. Then follow it up with the sweeter C. Thomas Howell starrer Secret Admirer. That’s right – two C-Bombs in one article!)

Whatever. I’m there next season. This show has become a can’t-miss in its recent weeks, and I’m not going to let that go. It’s a good thing I’ll be working from home this fall instead of chained to my office computer 40 hours a week.

The Wife:

This finale had its moments, but over all, I think it was rather silly and disappointing. Let me summarize the episode’s main crisis: Gossip Girl sends out a mean text during the Constance-St. Jude’s graduation ceremony calling Dan an insider, Serena irrelevant, Blair a weakling and Chuck a coward. For some reason, this hurts everyone’s feelings and Serena decides its time to declare war on Gossip Girl and find out who he/she really is. I enjoyed the mini Scooby gang scene in which the four plus Jenny try to surmise who GG might be while at their post-grad brunch at Chez Bass Der Woodsen, but their attempt at detective work in this moment was the only highlight of this plot. Serena gets a flash of brilliance and sends a tip to GG, as GG must be in the room with them. Jonathan’s phone lights up, but it turns out he’s only been hacking into GG’s server for months, overseeing the kinds of gossip she chooses to post and what she chooses to hang on to. (Like any good reporter, GG saves her juiciest information for the moment in which it will have the most impact.)

Love Blairs dress. Hate Serenas.

Love Blair's dress. Hate Serena's.

GG, knowing what Serena has been up to, sends out a blast filled with very juicy information about how Blair slept with Apple-cheeked Uncle Jack on New Year’s (a revelation that was totally anticlimactic; I had hoped they had done something far more scandalous than that), Vanessa slept with Chuck and a whole bunch of other crap that basically neatly sewed up all of the secrets the main cast had been keeping from each other. This makes everyone pretty angry, and disappoints little J, who had hoped to earn her place as Queen next year (and thus destroy the monarchy from the inside) by spilling that bit of gossip about Blair and Jack Bass. I realize the nature of the show is peppered with these gossip blasts from an anonymous, omniscient narrator-god type of figure, but to have so many secrets be released at once in a melee of shallowness seemed less like something Gossip Girl would do and more like something the writers needed to do to move the story into closure, as well as set up new dynamics for next season. It was a little deus ex machina (or deus ex text message?) for me, and that wasn’t the only instance of something tied up a little too neatly.

Post-party badness, Serena tries to trap Gossip Girl into meeting her, but is surprised to see everyone she knows show up instead of the mystery blogger. Once the entire assemblage arrives, they all receive a text from Gossip Girl basically saying that each and every one of them is Gossip Girl, because she’s nothing without the tipsters who send her posts. And to announce that she plans to follow them to college, but there they will all get to start with a clean slate, since she’s already blasted out all of their worst secrets. I’m not going to complain about not meeting Gossip Girl in the flesh, mostly because I don’t want to, as it would kind of ruin a major creative point of the show. But really, Gossip Girl? Did you honestly think that pointing out to these people that they are all Gossip Girl was somehow going to change them and make them earn that dear ol’ clean slate? Because it’s not. She’s not saving them at all from the labels she put on them at graduation. Dan is an insider. Serena is irrelevant. But Blair and Chuck, though . . . she might have changed them a little bit.

The Blair and Chuck bit of this episode really worked for me, actually – as did the resolution between Rufus and Lily. Serena tells Blair that Chuck had confessed his love for her, so Blair, on the advice of her mother, suggests that she take charge of her feelings and get Chuck to admit directly to her how he feels. And so she heads to Nate’s post-grad party, where the secret-spilling GG blast will take place, dressed to kill and slowly removes articles of clothing, asking Chuck if he likes them until she’s stripped down to her amazingly sexy shapewear and asking him the ultimate question, “And what do you think of me?” But even though Blair is bringing shapewear back (and really, it needs to be brought back; a good foundation garment does wonders), Chuck can’t admit he loves her and breaks her little heart when he finds out she slept with Apple-cheeked Uncle Jack. After a good cry, Blair resolves to give up on Chuck and stop chasing a guy who will never love her back, even though she remains slightly tortured by constant updates on his European whereabouts from Gossip Girl. That is, until she runs into him outside her apartment building one day, his arms full of gifts because he toured Europe to buy Blair her favorite things as an admission of love and an apology. Here, by the way, are my exact notes during this scene: “Awwwww! No, B! Accept him! Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaase???? Yay! He said it! Yay!” I think from that you can safely infer that Blair was about to turn him down, but then he finally admitted he loved her, with those chocolates from France and her favorite stockings from Germany. And I was made happy. Chuck + Blair 4evah.

Rufus and Lily, meanwhile, after some awkwardness about sitting together at graduation, suddenly realize they’re old because they have 18-year-old children about to go off to college. So Lily drops by the Brooklyn loft with some weed she found in Chuck’s room (at least I think it was weed . . .) and a six-pack. She and Rufus hang out and reminisce about the good ol’ days and, eventually, he realizes he still loves her, despite that whole thing with the investment scheme and mutual funds and whatever, and makes her a ring out of one of his old Lincoln Hawk flyers and proposes. It is, perhaps, a little more low-key, even, than a vintage ring, but perfect.

As for Jenny, without her winning piece of gossip stolen from the GG server, she assumes her chance to be Queen and end the monarchy from the inside is ruined, meaning that Penelope’s chosen replacement, a new girl who looks like a tiny Rashida Jones, will terrorize the school. But after being cast-off by Chuck, Blair tells Jenny that she wants her to be Queen and, just as Baby Rashida Jones is about to be crowned with a sparkly rock and roll headband, Blair shows up to coronate Jenny. Because she can. Why Jenny had to look like a hot tranny mess throughout this entire episode, I’ll never know. But she’s Queen now, and she officially rules no more headbands (except her sparkly one) – a rule I heartily disagree with.

This hot tranny mess is your queen now.

This hot tranny mess is your queen now.

Nate apologizes to Vanessa, and she announces that she’ll be at NYU next year, too, making Serena the only person who won’t be in the city come this fall. (It seems that, without his Yale money, Dan will also be going to NYU, although that fact was never mentioned until this episode.) By the episode’s end, Nate announces that he’s quitting his internship at the Mayor’s office because the deputy mayor hit on him (perhaps because he told Gramps Vanderbildt about his affair with the Countess?). He invites himself along on Vanessa’s backpacking trip, as a friend, and a random dude says he’s going with her instead. But seeing right through that guise, Nate is persistent and wears Vanessa down, so they’ll spend the summer nomming peroghi together after all. But the interesting thing in this scene wasn’t any of that, it was the random dude: Secret Hump Der Woodsen Love Child Not-Dead Andrew (a.k.a. Scott), who has transferred to NYU and is lying to his parents about being in Portland, all so he can find out more about his birth parents, or so I glean from the creepy news clippings he carries around with him. I had waited for some kind of resolution with the Hump Der Woodsen Love Child, and I’m glad to have some. That’ll be a good storyline to play out for next year, as we’re unsure if Scott’s motives are purely to get to know his parents, or to wheedle some money out of them/leech off his half-brother Dan’s New Yorker fame.

I’m also glad that Georgina will be back next year, but really displeased with her integration into this episode. While the coda about her enrolling in NYU and asking specifically to be Blair’s roommate was fantastic (except that I doubt Blair will deign to live in a dormitory by any stretch of the imagination), the most deus ex machina part of this episode was Georgina’s call to Dan to simply say that his Yale money is back in the bank. Ex-Jesus Freak ex machina, apparently. I’m sure they’d like to reveal next season how Georgina got everyone’s money back, but at this point, it just seemed a little too neat. Gossip Girl often burns through storylines very quickly, creating drama and resolution that exists within no more than a three-episode arc, but they usually tie things up better than the entire “Who is Gossip Girl?” plot of this episode and Georgina’s sudden ending of Dan’s money crisis. It made the episode seem, to me at least, a little haphazard. I’ve definitely seen better work on this show, and too many good finales this season to count this one among them.

Other notes:

  • Serena is a fucking tool. How does that bitch think she can get away with not wearing her cap during graduation and, instead, twisting her tassel up in her fucking hair? If the show just stranded Serena at Brown next year, I’d be perfectly happy with that because she’s such a vapid dickbag.
  • Nate’s party had some good music. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs rock.
  • Can Nate and Vanessa end up in Hostel III and die during their backpacking trip in Europe?
  • Also, Serena’s been using Carter Bayson to hunt for her dad? Because he’s in Tahiti? Why?
  • I am kind of in love with Blair’s Diane Von Furstenberg Sofia Loren dress that she wore under her graduation gown. French Connection had something with a pattern similar to the pattern on the bust two seasons ago and I always thought about buying it, but never did. Unfortunately, I’m a grad student now and can’t spend money on fabulous things anymore.

The Husband:

I definitely liked the finale far more than my wife, and while it couldn’t reach the high standard set by the s1 finale, what with the wedding and lost love and Chuck’s ultimate dismissal of Blair, I think it worked quite well. Everything it shot through too quickly was stuff I really didn’t give a shit about. Instead, it did a great job saying that, despite the fact that high school is done, it’s never really done, and that even after graduating, your problems are still going to follow you. And since everybody except for Serena is going to be in NYC (and she won’t be too far away in Rhode Island anywhoozle), those problems won’t have to travel too far. And this way, their stories can still connect with what Little J and Eric at up to at Constance-St. Jude’s, as that drama isn’t going anywhere. It’s actually a neat little restart button, and I’m okay with that.

And while I was starting to get super-sick of Blair and Chuck’s will-they-or-won’t-they, I found that not only was Blair’s strip-seduction to be the sexiest thing on this show so far, but their final embrace was remarkably emotional for me. I still think Blair has a long way to go to really get me to embrace her as an actual human being of a character after some of the shenanigans this season, but maybe NYU will humble her a bit. Because she clearly doesn’t want to go there, despite the fact that it’s a prestigious private school I’ve wanted to attend for a decade now.

Now let’s hope that the show doesn’t lose its verve now that college is starting. But since the show was never defined by its high school (don’t forget, we have never seen any of them in class), I doubt it will be defined by college. These people’s lives are too big for that to happen.

The Wife:

Now that Andi’s been demoted, she’s happy to help Sam and the boys fight evil . . . just not date evil. And their assignment this week involved capturing their high school biology teacher, Mr. Sprong (Mad TV‘s Michael McDonald), who was a giant soul-crushing douchebag to every single one of his students. Or so they think, until they hit Sprong with the vessel (a mallet) and realize that he’s human and bleeding and unconscious. The team has no choice but to tie up Sprong so that he doesn’t call the authorities, at which point they realize that Sprong wasn’t the soul, but his target. The soul is actually Jordy Boone, a former student of Sprong’s taking revenge on those who made his life hell. Jordy always thought he was invisible, and now he can be, able to disappear and reappear anytime and place he chooses. To best protect Sprong from Jordy and themselves from getting in trouble, they decide to kidnap Sprong and keep him under house arrest. Because of Jordy’s ability to disappear, they have a lot of trouble locating him, but The Devil doesn’t care because he’s already so impressed with the Sprong situation:


“I’m a very proud papa bear. Kidnapping? Assault? You’re way more twisted than I could have hoped!”

Im real proud of you, Sammy!

I'm real proud of you, Sammy!

Meanwhile, Nina is in demon heat, so skeevy demons keep hitting on her and attacking the house. This upsets Ben, and he wants to fight for Nina’s honor, but she tells him that insane, because he’s breakable and she doesn’t want him to die. (Has Ben already forgotten that Nina already lost one human lover?) She tries to protect Ben by offering to wait out her week-long heat in a secure, unknown location, but Ben can’t bear the thought of being without her, so she promises she’ll stay as long as Ben doesn’t do anything stupid . . . like . . . say . . . make a robot suit to protect him when he decides to fight of Nina’s chief demon suit, Xavier. The robot suit was actually really funny, and a classic Sock idea. I have made robot suits like that for a stage production I did in college of Hamlet on the Moon (it makes more sense than you think it does), so that was extra funny to me. And so Ben charged off like a roboknight in high-gloss armor to fight Xavier, only to be humped by him because he’s inadvertently been covered in Nina’s scent. Demon violation? Funny.

Other than inventing robot suits, Sock is in Ted’s good graces for sticking by the new Interim Store Manager in his time of need, so, to show his gratitude, Ted asks Sock to be the posterboy for the Work Bench. Though Sock assumes he’ll be donning the Bench’s apron and grinning in his ads, he’s actually asked to wear a wrench costume and become the store’s mascot, Wrenchy Bench. Sock zooms to unexpected popularity as Wrenchy, becoming the beloved celebrity of any kids dragged into the Bench by their parents. That is, until he’s slapped with a cease and desist order from a competing store, which claims Wrenchy infringes on their own mascot, Brandon the Hammer. Sock refuses to stop being Wrenchy and eventually gets into a tool fight with Brandon the Hammer, who turns out to be an old lady. There really is nothing better than watching people in mascot costumes fight.

Eventually, Sam and the gang figure that they have to let Sprong go to lure Jordy, but they return home to find that Nina left to go eat a moose and Sprong has attempted to escape, which lures Jordy right to them. They try to vessel him, but to no avail. He even takes Andi and threatens to kill her if they don’t let him kill Sprong, at which point Sprong agrees to let Jordy kill him, all the while holding the vessel behind his back, waiting to strike. Free of the soul, Sprong runs away and the gang faces the reality of their actions: they might all soon be doing some serious jail time for kidnapping and felony assault. But just when it seems as though the cops are there to arrest them, the officers reveal that they’re investigating a complaint from Sprong, whom they fear has suffered a mental breakdown talking about invisible people and magic mallets, checking to see if the persons mentioned in his complaint are okay. So Sam and the gang live to reap souls another day, and celebrate their non-losery accomplishments that night with some drinks at the bar.

For being a soul-of-the-week episode without any contribution to the mytharc, this was a good, solid episode. It’s exactly what I needed to watch while I was feverish and wrapped in blankets on my floor.

The Husband:

I just want to make my feverish wife aware that she said “Sprong” seven times in the first paragraph, and that makes me giggle.

The Wife:

What’s been happening over at West Beverly this week? Here are “9 Random Things About This Week’s 90210.”

1. Adriana’s Baby Shower. I though Naomi was going to stand by and be the voice of reason here (which is . . .  odd), but eventually she gave in and decided to throw her friend a combo baby/bridal shower. I’ve never had a baby shower (or been to one, actually), but I’ve never seen a bridal shower quite so corny. First of all, why was Angela Gots there? Who invites their teachers to bridal/baby showers? Second of all, those toilet paper dresses were way too meticulous to have been made at a bridal shower, because shit made out of toilet paper at bridal showers is always haphazard and intended to be as hideous as possible. This is a bridal shower, not Project Runway. That said, I thought serving lemonade in baby bottles was a totally cute touch that I will steal when I host a baby shower for someone.

Because a Baby on Board sign is the epitome of class.

Because a "Baby on Board" sign is the epitome of class.

2. Best insult ever? “Your mom’s a soap opera actress.” Thank you, Naomi. I’ll be using that one.

3. Jen Clark. It is now apparent that Jen is basically leeching off her sister when she admits to Matthews (on their strange date) that she burned through her million dollar trust in two months. So what appears to be goodwill (such as asking Daddy to give Naomi half of her trust now so she and Jen can buy a house and live together) is actually just a clever way to keep living above her means in the lifestyle to which she is accustomed. Sneaky. Bitchy. Sneaky.

4. But even so, Jen’s a pretty cool big sister for all her sneaky bitchiness. Maybe even because of it. The moment where she gets her sister’s bully questioned for shoplifting was pretty awesome. Jen is not to be trifled with.

5. Matthews’ novel. Vermillion Steed is a terrible title, and writing novels does not impress rich girls, even if they say they hang with Jonathan Safran Foer. Foer doesn’t want to read your shitty book, and neither do I.

6. Navid’s mom. As another person in this universe with her head on straight, she shows up at Adriana’s party to beg her to reconsider raising her baby. (An appeal from your boyfriend’s mom is apparently a lot more convincing than Naomi’s insistence on not missing out on affairs with unshaven Italian men who cook puttanesca, though I don’t understand why, as puttanesca is, in fact, not to be missed out on.) I was deeply concerned for Adriana’s automatic reaction to being faced with adversity, though: downing some random pills from the nearest medicine cabinet. Although only two, which is hardly enough to fuck up your fetus, but still not good.

7. Navid’s Bachelor Party. A manic pixie dream sorority girl tells Navid not to get married after she strips with him onstage. Liam steals wallets and credit cards for fun. Dixon gets wasted. Why?

8. Ethan’s island speech. Yes. People are islands and relationships are bridges. Thank you, wise Ethan, for helping Silver realize she needs to learn the meaning of compromise and just go to the damn prom. Nothing makes you less bipolar than wearing a sparkly tiara.

9. Aid’s decision to give up her baby for adoption. Sane, logical, correct. Thanks for disembarking from the freight train to totally ripping off SLOTAT. I do, however, find it very sweet that Navid still wants her to wear her engagement ring, even though they’re not getting married now.

Also, according to Liam, Annie is a volcano. “And who doesn’t want to see a volcano explode?” Uh, people living near them? Hawaiians? People who died in Pompeii? Plus, we have volcano and island metaphors in this episode? What geologist just found his or her way to the CW to try a hand at screenwriting? Weird!

The Wife:

On Monday’s Gossip Girl, Chuck Bass made a comment about how he knew Gabriel (Armie Hammer) was up to no good because “his suits never did fit right.” Clearly, Chuck somehow has access to the Reaperverse, because Gossip Girl is the show where Mr. Hammer’s clothes actually do fit him correctly. Reaper took care of that problem for me this week by a.) keeping Mr. Hammer out of said clothes all together and b.) finally, gloriously, unexpectedly killing him. Dude, I can’t wait till his arc of GG is done so I am rid of the man and his mouth full of gleaming white teeth.

And how did Morgan, Son of Satan meet his end? At the fangs and claws of Nina and her “prayer group” of Steventologists, demons formerly of the Rebellion who gather together at Tony’s house to worship the way his dead lover Steve lived his life. After all, Steven was a demon who ascended into heaven (and it’s better than Cancun), so if they live their lives doing good deeds like he did, perhaps they, too, can achieve that paradise. But before Morgan meets his end there, Nina moves in to the house with Sam et al (yay!), and so does Morgan, when he attacks his half-brother for taking his “birthright,” who then turns the other cheek and invites Morgan to live with them until he gets back on his feet. Making no secret of her still-there attraction to bad boys, Nina flirts with Morgan, which worries Ben significantly.

Sessy.

Sessy.

Rather than giving Sam a soul to catch this week, The Devil gives him a soul to take. Sam gets to deliver the greedy soul a sports car and have him sign for it, which will actually be the act that signs his soul over to Satan. But the soul is wise to The Devil’s games and won’t sign. Even when Sam sends Ben and Sock to get him to sign, he signs with a fake name, thus negating the act. Sam warns him that living in greedy excess will get him sent to Hell anyway, even if he doesn’t directly sign his soul over to The Devil, but Gary the DoucheSoul informs the boys that he plans to repent in the 11th hour and get a one-way ticket to Cancun Paradise Heavenville. Because Gary is such a douche, Sam wants to take his soul and damn him to hell, but Tony warns against it, fearing that if Sam takes Gary’s soul, he’ll become truly evil. So Tony invites Sam to his Steventologists meeting, which he eventually takes Gary the DoucheSoul to after The Devil informs Sam that repenting in the 11th hour can’t work for Gary if The Devil decides to kill him while he’s still in his heyday of sinning.

At the Steventologists meeting, Steve speaks to Gary the DoucheSoul through a karaoke DVD to get Sam to watch his back, which is timely because Nina has succeeded in her plan to nearly seduce Morgan and then drag him to a prayer meeting where he would prove he’s not a bad boy. Only, he is, and he uses his brief time there to pull a gun on Sam, revealing his plan to get back on his father’s good side by offing Sam. This does not go over well with the demon crowd and suddenly Nina and her friends shed their human forms and eviscerate Morgan. Hooray! Now he’s almost entirely out of my life!

Back at home, Ben is waiting for Nina’s return, suspicious that she may have cheated on him with Morgan (especially since she hid the fact that she was a Steventologist from him for so long), but she confesses that she was simply doing her duty to lure Morgan to his death as part of the rebellion, sworn to kill the spawns of Satan. The Devil is not happy that Sam lost the soul, but he is pleased as punch that Sam got his brother killed, which The Devil takes as a sign that Sam is headed down the right, evil path, even though he insists he didn’t do it.

All of this plotting was good, exciting and forward-moving. Plus, anything involving a prophetic karaoke DVD of Michael Ian Black is cool with me. Not as good? The totally contrived plot where Ted gets engaged (but not really) and Sock and Ben decide to throw him a bachelor party with terrifying stripper clowns (“the Reese’s Cup of party entertainment”) at the Work Bench, which ends up being a ploy Ted uses to get Andi demoted when he calls the home office to drop by the party and bust the manager who violated store policy by throwing it. Thus, Andi becomes just another Work Bench low-life, and Ted regains his authority. First of all, stripper clowns are the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen and I never want to see them again but can’t get the image of their horrible painted visages out of my head. Secondly, even when Ted was the manager, there was never really a threat that the guys would get caught shirking their work responsibilities. Chuck has always been better at reminding us the cost of leading a double life than this show has, mostly because the Work Bench seems to be so horribly mismanaged that there’s actually no cost to leading a double life at all. But I like Ted. So perhaps it’s better to have him back in the manager’s apron just because he’s funny, rather than Andi, who will maybe get to be a character again. Just seemed like a pretty contrived way to achieve that goal.

Other things:

  • Yes, it is supergay to bang a clone of yourself. And super narcissistic.
  • Jenny Wade looked so fucking skinny in that black crepe turtleneck tunic, and I can only applaud her for that. Bitch looked fierce.
  • Nina really hates wearing synthetic fabrics.
  • And apparently, Armie Hammer hates wearing clothes. Is he a Ken doll? Why hasn’t the CW shown me nearly-nude Armie Hammer before? I might have appreciated him more this way.
  • Lil Stevi’s pink beret? So fetch.
  • Barry Manilow is a polar bear.
  • “Morgan, you do not touch another man’s DVR. You might as well hump my grandma.” – Sock
  • “Look how happy I make them, injecting them with botulism!” – The Devil
  • “You know, I’ve got a guy who’d literally kill for Madonna tickets.” – The Devil