The Husband:

After four hilarious, heartfelt and slyly subversive years, Everybody Hates Chris has come to an end, and while I wish it could have gone on for years to come, I absolutely understand its cancellation. As Chris Rock, in real life, dropped out of high school at the time that this season ended, the show would have lost its focus, shifting away from the family and his junior high/high school stories and moved into the world of unpopular stand-up, a short run on SNL and then ultimately becoming one of the biggest comedians in the world. But those are stories we already know, and this show was about the stories we didn’t know.

So Rock ended the show the way he wanted to, and in a glorious homage to the Sopranos finale that had every member of Chris’ family sitting in a diner and waiting to open an envelope that would say whether or not Chris was to be held back a year due to excessive tardiness, the screen cut to black. (For those few who are both Sopranos fans and Everybody Hates Chris fans, maybe this ending can prove to you that Tony Soprano was not killed at the end of the series, nor did he live his life, because the answer, as it would be in this context, was both. Conspiracy theory assholes ruining my television blogs with inane chatter.) It was an appropriate ending to a show that never let any of its characters off the hook, a remarkably dark program that still managed to somehow appease the PTC by simply not being vulgar about it. (Although it did condone beating your children on a regular basis, which has always rubbed me the wrong way. It turned into a pretty consistent running gag, though, so I can’t really knock them for that.)

Not hating the ending of Everybody Hates Chris.

Not hating the ending of Everybody Hates Chris.

What episodes hit my chuckle button the most since we last checked in on this show? I loved loved loved Tichina Arnold’s performance in one of the final episodes, “Everybody Hates Tasha,” when she found out that Julius was still technically married to his previous wife thanks to a legal snafu. Arnold is one of the funniest actresses on television now, and I’m hoping for a return to film, but instead of being a singer (see Little Shop Of Horrors) she can be the scene-stealing comedienne.

Other funny episodes included “Everybody Hates Varsity Jackets,” where Chris joined the wrestling team and was only a success because their competition never had anybody in his weight class, “Everybody Hates The Car” which chronicled everything that could have possibly gone wrong with Chris buying his first car, and everything revolving around the pretty woman in the window, which Drew exploited for cash, in “Everybody Hates Boxing.”

The rest, however, were not as great as the show has been in the past, but they can’t all be gems. What worked about this show was tone tone tone, a frothy high about pretty damn serious things. And little things, like casting great character actors from previous African-American based shows such as What’s Happening? and 227, gave the show a considerably welcoming touch. (And if you’re looking to revisit some of those shows, there’s a cable channel, way late in the numbers, called TV One that airs a good deal of this classics in a great chunk each evening. Just say away from the Christian crap in the middle of the night, so don’t forget to turn off your TV before you doze off, lest you get inducted into the faith against your will.) Also a nice touch was having Drew perform at the Apollo during the finale, as he is based on Chris’ brother Tony who has a comedy and television career completely outside of Chris’ shadow.

On the same note as Ms. Tichina Arnold, Tyler James Williams, who carried the entire show on his shoulders this whole time, deserves a long career after this. He’s a star. He’s reliable, he’s adaptable, and he’s hilarious. And he deserves a hell of a lot better than Unaccompanied Minors. (I’m sorry, Paul Feig, I love your TV baby known as Freaks & Geeks and absolutely adore your books, but that was not much of a movie. Why can’t you find better projects for yourself? Grab your Sabrina The Teenage Witch co-stars Melissa Joan Hart and Soleil Moon Frye and make the greatest Woody Allen/Judd Apatow-type female neuroses movie ever.)

And as for you, funny-looking Vincent Martella, you should take all the free time you have now since you’re no longer playing Greg and convince Disney to make a full-length film version of the glorious show you voice for, Phineas & Ferb. The world needs it.

And, of course, Terry Crews is the motherfucking man as father Julius. A former NFL player, he has completely proven himself in every role I’ve seen him in. Now it’s time to rock in some action films in major roles. (It was a major shame to see that his entire role in Terminator Salvation had been cut save for one shot of him as a dead body.) And between this, Idiocracy and Balls Of Fury, you’re a gut-bustingly good comedic actor.

Okay, Everybody Hates Chris. You were a goofy, absurd, heartwarming and raw family show, something that doesn’t really exist anymore, and maybe 20 years ago you would have been a major hit. Unfortunately, you were on UPN and the CW, and the story is different. Your legacy shall live on in syndication, and I’ll catch you every once in a while down the road.

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The Wife:

We’re only one episode away from the season finale of Reaper (and the series finale, most likely), so I was happy to see an episode that focused so heavily on steering the masterplot, with very little distraction from a meaningless subplot. In fact, let’s just talk about that subplot now to get it out of the way. Nina sets Sock up with one of her demon friends, but Sock doesn’t like Maggie because she’s not as hot as Nina. (Although, let’s face it, she is a very pretty girl who just prefers to be a tomboy.) So Maggie tells Sock she can look like anything he wants, and he agrees to go out with her again if she’ll change into his dream girl. Thus, he spends time making a Frankensteiny collage of lady parts he likes and hands it to Maggie, who agrees to show up for their next date looking like his dream girl. Only when she shows up, she’s just herself, all to teach Sock a lesson that he doesn’t really learn and won’t grow from at all. It was lame, yes, but I liked the actress who played Maggie, Catherine Reitman (daughter of Ivan), who also had a bright cameo on the abysmal Kath & Kim as the high school friend Kim kinda goes gay for. (According to IMDB, she’s also a bridesmaid in I Love You, Man, but I was probably too distracted by those adorable yellow J. Crew dresses to notice who was wearing them.)

Taking a dig at the soullessness of corporate America, The Devil sets Sam up with a job at one of his companies. But, you see, the company doesn’t actually make or do anything – it’s just a shell corporation from which The Devil harvests souls by encouraging them to do evil things. Sam fits right in when he accidentally shoves a rival out the window after this architect’s design tanks because of Sam’s suggestion at a pitch meeting. (That suggestion, by the way, was to do nothing.) Meanwhile, The Devil shows Sam around the company, taking him all the way up to the 75th floor, from which demons in The Devil’s employ have a sort of soul stock market, tracking the evil things down by the employees on lower floors and delighting when one does something, like, say, throwing another out a window, the Hellish equivalent of a big Wall Street sale.

Welcome to the 75th floor, buying and trading sin 24/7.

Welcome to the 75th floor, buying and trading sin 24/7.


The Devil also points out a portal to Hell on the 75th floor, which is only accessible by keycard. Immediately, Sam thinks this would be a great way to get to his dad, who sent him a text earlier stating that he got what he needed to get Sam out of his contract, but was stuck in the 3rd circle. Humans can’t go through Hell portals, but Demons can, so Sam asks Tony to go, only now that he has Lil’ Stevi, he can’t leave her with a babysitter for that long. After receiving a promotion from his boss for offing a coworker and getting access to the 75th floor, Sam gets Nina to go to Hell for him and retrieve the info from Mr. Oliver. She’s hesitant to go, fearing that a trip to Hell will bring back all those nasty habits she’s been trying to quit, but she agrees to go as long as she doesn’t have to stay more than 24 hours. Sam et al go on a recon mission to get Nina into that Hell portal, and all goes well . . . until Sam’s boss realizes that Sam didn’t push Phil out the window at all, that it was merely an accident Sam took credit for. This is enough to get Sam fired, meaning he loses his key card to get to the 75th floor, leaving Nina trapped in Hell.

The gang stages a plan to steal a keycard from Sam’s boss by breaking into his gym locker while Sock distracts him in the sauna, a plan which goes a little more smoothly than expected when they’re able to convince a janitor to pop open the lock with a skeleton key, rather than wait out Ben’s time-tested “trying every combination of numbers starting with 000” method. As the gang heads up to the 75th floor, they’re only a few minutes ahead of Sam’s boss, who realizes when he gets in the next elevator up that he doesn’t have his keycard. Instead of merely standing around, he turns into his demon self and tears through the top of the elevator carrel before shimmying his way up the shaft via the cables. Nina emerges from the Hell portal just in time, with bossman clawing his way through the steel doors of the elevator shaft on the 75th floor, and Sam begs her to fly him and Ben out of there . . . only to find out when they arrive home safely that the paper Nina imported from Hell is blank. After some thought, Nina realizes the paper needs to be consumed in flames to be read, so she tosses it on the outdoor grill where it reveals an ancient demon text, one the gang will have to translate in order to find out what kind of contest Sam will challenge The Devil to in the season finale.

Contests I think Sam could win:

  • a drinking contest (maybe; I bet The Devil can hold his liquor pretty well)
  • a laziness contest (although, sloth is a sin, so maybe The Devil would win that anyway, even if Sam won outright)
  • a skateboarding contest
  • a Hybrid car race
  • a paintball tournament
  • a Super Smash Brothers tournament
  • a soul-catching contest, which would be pretty neat, actually, if Sam could beat The Devil at the job he reluctantly does and hates doing


Speaking of which, I did not miss the soul-catching element of the show at all this week as the stuff with the masterplot was rather satisfying – way more well-done than in “No Reaper Left Behind.”

Other amusing things:

  • Nina and Ben’s lengthy discussion of how Ben will pamper Nina when she returns from Hell, which quickly turns into a list of Ben’s various cleanliness hangups. “Okay, baby. We can squat in the shower together.”
  • “I change three times a day, kiddo. This is my afternoon suit.” – The Devil
  • And suddenly, I want to see a fierce-off suit fashion show between The Devil and Barney Stinson, mashed up to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band. This must already exist on the internet, no? If it doesn’t, someone needs to make it.
  • Know who else looks good in a suit? Bret Harrison. Turtlenecks are really wrong on him, but he is deliciously cute in a suit and tie.
  • “I’ve done a lot of personal development and detoxing to stop craving the sounds of people in agony.” – Nina
  • The extent to which Ben dabbles in architecture: underwater hotels for 360-degree ocean views.

The Wife:

Official: 90210‘s prom was much more prommy than Gossip Girl‘s prom. Let me count the ways! “9 Promtastic Things About This Week’s 90210“:

1. Principal Wilson’s Zero Tolernace Policy. I totally love the video he forced Annie to do to promote his anti-afterparty stance. What else do I love? His message tee: “One party can ruin your whole summer.” Since, you know, anyone caught at an after-prom party serving booze will automatically get summer school, regardless of any alcohol they consume. Silly!

2. Annie’s Geek. Because Liam thinks Annie is a volcano, she accepts when a geeky kid asks her to prom. Later, at prom, when he asks if she’d like to go on another date, she tells him she’s just not interested and that she said yes to his request because it seemed like he really wanted to go with her. Geek mad! Geek yell! Geek would have rather gone with someone else! Geek narcs on Annie to stupid girl who broadcast her afterprom party in earshot of Principal Wilson and stupid girl then yells at any! Prom hath no fury like a geek scorned. Especially a geek in an adorable skull bowtie. (Although, really, if I didn’t have a date to a dance, I would go with someone who wanted me to go with them because I like going to those things and dressing up. Why would anyone have a problem with going to a dance with a girl they like? Even if she isn’t planning to date them afterward? It’s just a dance, not Match.com.)

3. Jen’s spending habits. When Naomi can’t buy three prom dresses because her AmEx Black is maxed out thanks to Jen putting all of the house furnishings and a couture dress to be Matthews’ date to prom on it, Naomi confronts her sister about her spending and she admits to lying about having no money. Well, almost. She tells Naomi she made some bad investments, but that the market is bound to turn around and so she won’t live off her sister forever. And why didn’t she tell Naomi about this? Because she didn’t want her little sister to take care of her . . . except that’s exactly what happened. What? I love Jen because she’s a sociopath, but that argument makes no sense.

At least she looks fierce.

At least she looks fierce.

4. “Poker Face. ” I can’t decide if it was brilliant or idiotic to use that song to highlight Silver’s pre-prom anxiety.

5. Ethan. So, he got accepted to the American Lacrosse Special Jock Summer Training Camp thing, which would be really good for him to do because college scouts will be there. But he doesn’t want to do it. And he doesn’t want to go to prom. Silver convinces him to be excited about at least one of those things and join her and Dixon at prom, but he turns down the lacrosse thing to spend the summer in Montana with his dad. Look, I know he’s not coming back next year, but every time he makes a strange decision, I assume he is one step closer to dying in some horrific way or killing himself. I partially expected him to kill himself at prom. But that’s too dramatic for 90210. He’ll probably just die quietly over the summer, eaten by a bear in Montana like that dude from Grizzly Man. Or, in a less grisly alternative, he’ll love the wilderness so much that he’ll decide to stay in Montana and fly fish every day. Oh, God, now I’m thinking about A River Runs Through It and getting misty. DAMNIT!

6. Navid takes on Ty. And, really, nothing breaks up a fight between your baby daddy and the dude who wants to marry you like going into labor. Perfect timing, Adriana!

7. Kelly’s beef with Jen Clarke. Sooooo . . . Jen hates Kelly not because Jen is now sort-of seeing a dude Kelly slept with once and has apparently never dated again (good job with that storyline, RRKS), but because, back when Jen was in high school, she stole a girl’s term paper and passed it off as her own! Le scandale! What’s more, Kelly wrote her an un-recommendation for Princeton because of that incident in which she assessed that Jen was a narcissist and a sociopath who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. But, you see, Princeton let her in anyway because she was student body president and had good grades and was rich and shit. Also: who the fuck would even ask a guidance counselor for a letter of recommendation? That is the most insane part of that story for me.

8. Liam admits he likes Naomi. After basically spending prom ignoring her and listening to his iPod, he admits he likes her when they explore the backlot and they make out in the conveniently falling snow on a New York stoop. I only care in the sense that I wish I’d been to a high school dance held at Paramount Studios. Because that’s super awesome.

Id also like to not have plastic on my hands!

I'd also like to not have plastic on my hands!

9. Silver for Prom Queen! Ummmmmmmmmmmm! Best speech ever! The old Silver is back! Her write-in for Prom Queen was all part of Dixon’s scheme to get her back to WestBev by proving that everyone still liked her, and it worked, because she also realized that she didn’t want to conform to be liked. Rather than squeezing her feet into Cinderella shoes, she wholeheartedly admitted that she wanted to feel her toes. Best line ever. Best metaphor ever. Too bad Dixon thinks she hates everything he loves now. That dude has gotta stop taking things that don’t mean anything to heart. I mean, jeez, she still went to prom FOR YOU, dawg.

The Husband:

I’ve been on most of the major lots in the Los Angeles area, save for ABC/Disney, and I can say that without question, Paramount is my absolute favorite. While Warner Bros. is too sprawling and 20th Century Fox is too tight (CBS Television City, CBS Studio City, Raleigh and Sony/MGM all fall somewhere in the middle in varying levels amongst many others), Paramount is just right. It’s not too intimidating, but the soundstages also stay very close together so as to give it a very cool community aspect, as if you could wander past several different worlds much better than anything WB can cook up. (Although, at WB, knowing that ER and Gilmore Girls were mere feet from each other was pretty gnarly.) In fact, I did that very thing at Paramount, as I wandered away from a slate press junket to walk past open soundstages, seeing, within a few short minutes, much of the sets for the Lemony Snicket film. And yet, I also know that former UPN-now-CW shows were close by. And so while it’s kind of absurd that the prom would be there, it’s fine that they didn’t even bother to pretend like they don’t film 90210 there.

Hooray for backlots!

Hooray for backlots!

And that backlot is so much less claustrophobic than that at Fox, which you see pretty much every week on How I Met Your Mother. (Yes, it’s a CBS show, but it films at Fox. Creative vs. distribution studio wars are too complicated to get into right now.)

The Wife:

Holy whizbang wow, kidlets, what the hell is going on over on 90210? The show has changed so drastically in tone since its return that it’s certainly not quite as lame, it is, however, really ridiculous. So, with that, let’s talk about “9 Rididdilyiculous Things About This Week’s 90210.”

1. Silver’s escape. While Ryan Eggold has the power to restrain and magically calm insane teenage girls who assault him with wine bottles, that’s apparently not enough to keep her from bolting out into crazy land. What I don’t understand is why she felt the need to hide under his table while he was out of the room, rather than just sneaking out the window that she destroyed when she not-so-stealthily sneaked in. She’s fucking nuts, though, so I guess that should serve as reason enough for having a burning desire to hide under your teacher’s table.

Silver apparently shares a makeup artist with Little J.

Silver apparently shares a makeup artist with Little J.

2. “It’s drugs! It’s got to be drugs!” Once word gets out in the 9fneh-verse that Silver has been doing some crazy shit and is now missing, everyone assumes that she’s on drugs. The jump-cuts between groups of characters discussing her apparent drug addiction were pretty amusing in a cheesy kind of way, but I’ll tell you one drug that Silver is definitely not on: weed. If that girl were smokin’ the ganja and Dixon broke up with her over her creepy/funny art film, she would just drive to the beach and smoke more weed and be cool with it. For the last time, everyone in the universe that demonizes the marijuana, smoking weed just makes you mellow, easily amused, hungry and probably a little bit sleepy. The worst thing it will do is make you a little paranoid, but you’re certainly not going to go kill your baby sister or start breaking into teacher’s homes and assaulting them with wine bottles.

3. Navid and Adriana turn into Ben and Amy from Secret Life. I guess because she’s pregnant and you don’t want a pregnant girl running up against a drug-crazed maniac, Adriana gets put on babysitting duty, hanging out Sammy. It took me the entire episode to remember that Sammy was Kelly Taylor’s kid, which is generally a bad sign. Adriana’s all like, “I’m not good with babies!” And Navid’s like, “Don’t give your baby up for adoption! Let this experience teach you how to be a mommy!” And it does. Let me tell you, Adriana is such a great actress that I think she plays a really believable dump truck or tractor. I bet she could act like a good mommy for the duration of her child’s life. Also, question: when, exactly, did Navid and Adriana get back together? I don’t even remember anymore.

Next thing you know, Ricky is going to show up and ruin all of this.

Next thing you know, Ricky is going to show up and ruin all of this.

4. Dixon’s ‘tude. What the ass, dude? I realize your lady pissed you off, but I am much more worried about Dixon being on drugs after he completely shut down and acted like he didn’t give a shit about the girl he just had huge fight with, but previously loved. I mean, clearly, she has mental health issues, but I think Dixon’s being the much more ridiculous person in this episode. What a dickmeat.

6. Silver’s quest. Um, maybe you shouldn’t run away and take a train to Kansas to discover what makes Dixon Dixon because, um, Dixon = Kansas and Kansas = Baking Soda or something. The quest is clearly kind of crazy because, you know, a normal person might just ask how their boyfriend feels about something. But I have to say that her speech about Dixon and chemical reactions would actually be really profound if it were 2 a.m. and she were drunk in a dorm room with her college roommates.

5. Train station Baby Denis Leary. Creepiest person ever. Clearly, Silver is distressed and ranting like a crazyface about her plans to take a train to Kansas, so what does Kevin the Denis Leary Look-alike do? He leers at her and follows her around like he’s going to board that train, murder her and rape her corpse. But no! In 90210‘s very lame attempt at misdirection, Kevin grabs her purse and fishes out her wallet, only to turn around and call the last number in her cell (Dixon’s, which mom Debbie picks up) to get in touch with her people so they can help her. Um, okay, guys, I’m glad to know that Kevin is a good person and that he isn’t going to kill Silver and rape her corpse, but there was NO NEED for him to be portrayed as kind of creepy and unnerving. He could have just been concerned! There had to have been a less creepy way to run these scenes!

6. Debbie’s password guesses include “Ludacris. ” Good job, Debbie. Way to stereotype your adopted Black son. You’re a wonderful person.

7. Ethan and Annie. So, apparently, being with Ethan meant that Annie had to make lots of sacrifices, and not just the play and her sense of self, but her potential friendship with Naomi. As the trio search the school for Silver, Annie learns the true meaning of the phrase Chicks before Dicks. Oh, wait, you guys have never heard that before? I made it up. It’s the ladies version of Bros before Hos. Spread it around. I don’t know why this plot was even in the episode at all. Couldn’t it have waited? And how did these three end up on search party duty at school, anyway?

8. Debbie’s insane speech about LA. Um, L.A. is definitely not my favorite part of California, but I am definitely going to go with “the big bad city is not corrupting your children.” And since when does anyone on 90210 give a shit about morals? I’m glad she changed her mind by the end and realized, through the miracles of gluten-free bread, that living in a place where her kids have options for enrichment other than cowtipping and fucking under the bleachers is a good thing. I quote: “I don’t even know what gluten is, but I like the option of not having to eat it.”

9. Train tracks! Oh, man, you know where a horrible place to have a life-changing relationship conversation is? On the train tracks! Thank God Dixon made a 180 from taking the Express to Doucheville and realized that Silver just needs TLC because she’s manic depressive, just like his mommy was. I’m bummed that his mom never took him to Disneyland, though. You’d think that once you make the drive from fucking Kansas you’d be committed to that shit, no matter what your mental state is. I am, however, surprised that it took the characters on this show so damned long to figure out that Silver needs to meet with some mental health professionals. I mean, it’s pretty clear to me that she’s unbalanced, although in my completely unprofessional opinion, I’ve never known a bipolar person who is quite so histrionic. Just . . . get that girl on medication. Stat. Nonetheless, thanks for the SLOTAT-esque PSA at the end. Check out 90210‘s lame tie-in site with Bipolar Kids. I applaud the notion of making mildly informative youth-oriented television, but this is a horrible website.


And, finally, let’s let Dixon sum up the show for us, shall we?


“Oh, God, what is happening?”

The Husband:

I’m actually very thankful for EW pointing out that the last couple episodes are the true direction the show should be going in if it wanted to live up to its previous incarnation, because it has freed me up to realize that I really enjoy the show if I give it absolutely zero thought. Gone are the confusing glances I make at the TV, because it would hurt to do that for 42 minutes. Gone is my attempt to streamline a character’s arc, because there aren’t any beyond four episodes at a time. Gone is the suspicion that the writers have no idea what they’re doing, because it’s not a suspicion anymore.

I still have yet to be bored by an episode of 9fneh, and in my world, that’s entirely okay. Now I can watch this show whenever I want instead of limiting myself to Tuesday nights, because it falls way behind Reaper, Idol and Fringe, and it goes very well the following morning with a bowl of Puffins mixed with Trader Joe’s house brand of Cheerios, the time when my brain isn’t entirely there before I go to work.

Now I get it. You guys were all insane during the 90s. That’s fine. It was a good time. Crazy was an optimistic way of life.

The Wife:

Apparently, the acting lessons in this episode started even before Paulina’s teach and Clay’s challenge, because back when this was filmed (during Thanksgiving! thanks for fucking with my sense of time even more than Lost, ANTM!), Natalie acted like a spoiled brat and didn’t help clean up the dishes, but thanked everyone who did (which is what you do when you’re an asshole, right?) and then Aminat acted like what she said was somehow racist. That is the most interesting interpretation of that scene any actor could have possibly found, and Natalie furthered that interpretation by saying some nonsense about how, in the part of California she hails from, people don’t do their own dishes? I think her point was that she doesn’t have to work hard because she’s not from the ghetto, but I feel the need to point out that I do my own dishes and I am not from the ghetto. Since when is cleaning up after yourself and acting like a human being “ghetto”? Clearly, whoever wrote that scene is a genius beyond measure because I’m starting a PhD program in the fall and I didn’t even understand what was going on here. Waiting for Godot makes more sense than whatever happened between SquishyfaceNatalie and Aminat.

The acting continued when the girls received a Tyra Mail reading, “Tomorrow you will be molded into a fine piece of Clay,” and they all pretended that they had no idea the C was capitalized and suggested they’d be doing things like art modeling or painting or something. But no! Clay with a capital C is always Clay Aiken! The person who should have bested Ruben Studdard in American Idol season two with his breathtaking rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”! The person closed out the role of Brave Sir Robin in Spamalot! Leader of the Claymates! The man my mother-in-law has an oil painting of in her office! The one and only Clay Aiken! What fools these models be!

I mean, seriously, yall should bow in my presence.

I mean, seriously, ya'll should bow in my presence.

But before his Royal Clayness could be revealed as their scene partner for the acting challenge, Paulina put the girls through a teach in which they had to say common phrases with different emotions, drawn from a bag. Allison, being a Lemur, is simply not very good at pretending to be a human, and Tahlia evidently doesn’t know what words mean. Everyone else does okay in this, and so Paulina unveils Clay and hands the girls scripts for their scene . . . which, insultingly and disappointingly already have the proper emotions for the lines noted in the margins. Really? You guys really have no faith in these girls at all, do you ANTM producers? I get that not everyone is a great actor, but I have to assume that the girls aren’t so untalented that they can’t figure out a way to interpret a line for dramatic effect. I’ll be insulted for them, though, because apparently none of them cared. They seemed like they all had fun with their scenes, even the Lemur. Tahlia, however, was fucking awful, and Natalie carried on the character she created during the Tgives feast into her scene with Clay, which she did not appreciate. He is from Le Aiken de Clay! How dare you insult him with your hands, unsullied by dish soap!

Paulina and Clay, though they both loved Celia, deemed London the best and awarded her with $5,000 in Joe’s Jeans merch . . . which she sadly couldn’t wear because she struggles with her weight? Uh, really? It’s not like she’s Salome whose fat ass (Husband Note: If by “fat” you mean “sweet.”) is constantly measured over on Make Me a Supermodel, so how were we ever to know? London’s weight drama came the fuck out of nowhere and might be just another fine bit of acting, if you ask me. That girl looks great.

The next Tyra Mail put an end to London’s weight drama, reading, “Do you play well with others? It’s time to find out!” And so the girls headed off to their CoverGirl commercial shoot, where McKey was filming and looking absolutely fabulous in that purple dress because she’s gorgeous. Mr. Jay puts the girls in groups and tells them that they’ll each take turns in the lead role in the commercial and, further proving that this show has no faith in the models it claims it will produce, he gives them a TelePrompTer. Le sigh. Spokesmodels need to be able to deliver lines naturally, people! Just hire me, the girl with the giant skin cancer hole in her arm! I can read real good!

My preliminary thoughts on the commercials:

  • Celia: Although I think her face’s natural angles are a little harsh for TV, she was excellent. Clearly, this was going to be the commercial to beat.
  • Teyona: Oh, God, the poor girl can’t even look at the camera or read English.
  • Aminat: It was like she didn’t even want to be there, delivering a performance that seemed, to me, kind of like she was angry to even be asked to do a commercial.
  • Lemur Allison: Because Lemurs are afraid of technology, she had a lot of trouble looking at the camera and reading at the same time. I’m amazed Lemurs can read at all.
  • Natalie: For some reason, she was given an outfit that made her look like a Can Can dancer. Her commercial was okay, but a little flat.
  • Fo: As cute as she is, Fo did not sound natural delivering these lines at all. She is for looking at, not for talking.
  • London: London’s commercial was really good. I think she’s a natural in front of the camera (her family is comprised entirely of actors, she says) and I want her to be cast on 90210 immediately.
  • Tahlia: Someone should just kill her now because this steaming pile of crap was the worst of the bunch. I was surprised, though, that she didn’t cry about being asked to wear pants. You know, because that means someone didn’t want to hire her because of her burns. The best part of her commercial was Mr. Jay telling her that modeling will be hard for her until she quits the business. Truth!


At panel, Tyra forgot to include a Guide for Finding Your Inner Fierceness commercial . . . am I to assume she didn’t include it because the recap special was just laced with the things? (I didn’t even DVR it because Lost was way more important.) I did not miss it, and neither did anyone else. I hope she lets them go for the rest of the season.

The judges’ thoughts on the commercials:

  • Celia: Clay thinks she’s excellent at being in character, but Tyra says something strange about how Celia “acted” a little too old for the CG demographic in the commercial. As in, she felt like Celia was the prim auntie to the little models in her commercial. Ouch. 25 is totally dinosaur old in model years.
  • Teyona: Nigel tells her that she’s photogenic, but not telegenic and that her commercial was too squinty, like she was having a hard time reading the prompter.
  • Lemur Allison: Girl, you should know that you cannot wear the same dress twice when you appear at a judging panel on a reality show! Tyra never wears the same dress twice and neither should you! In fact, this upsets Tyra so much that she asks Alison to change clothes with another girl during deliberations. As for her commercial, her Lemur eyes become dead doll eyes, but Tyra compliments her on looking like the 14-year-old girls CoverGirl products are sold to.
  • Aminat: Nigel does not like how she cuts off the ends of her words and Tyra says her commercial sounds exactly like Teyona’s.
  • London: I guess the judges and I watched completely different commercials, because they thought London sounded like a street thug. To add insult to injury, they told her that her shorts made her look fat. Poor London!
  • Natalie: Miss J called her performance stiff, Tyra says it’s unmemorable and Clay Aiken mentions that she does not play well with others.
  • Fo: Miss J thinks she sounds like she has a mouth full of marbles and, sadly, everyone notices how good Tahlia looks in Fo’s commercial more than Fo’s performance.
  • Tahlia: In the reverse of Fo’s commercial, everyone notices how cute Fo is more than Tahlia’s performance. Nigel sums this up very well: “You know that it means? It means you’re both background.” Also, Tahlia still has no idea what a model looks like, showing up in a cast-off bridesmaid’s dress from a springtime wedding.


Callouts: After announcing that everyone was week this week, Tyra awards Celia with the first call out, then Natalie, Teyona, Fo, London and Aminat, leaving the Lemur and Tahlia in the bottom two. Thankfully, Lemur Allison was given one more chance and I no longer have to sit in agony as I wonder why Tahlia doesn’t know that one of her eyebrows is, like, a half inch higher than the other. Nor will I ever have to hear her whine about anything ever again. The Goddess of Fierce exists, and she is good and just.

The Husband:

So, one of the things Natalie mentioned during that dishwashing brouhaha and its aftermath (and their quick talk with McKey behind-the-scenes) was mentioning how she was from California, not like the other hicks. Now, I know a lot of people get the wrong idea about California, from thinking that SoCal represents the entire state to thinking we’re all beach dwellers to thinking our entire population is simply a bunch of wacko liberals. But here’s the thing – if we’re talking area-wise, California is about 90% “hick.” Get outside the major metro areas and you’re dealing with conservative suburbs and rural areas that look just like every other state. Hell, even IN the San Francisco Bay Area, basically once you lose sight of the city or the hills of Marin. It bothers me that Natalie thinks, or even jokes, that California is not a “hick” state. Oh, it is, alright. Just visit. I dare you.

Just remember, Los Angeles County may be 4752 square miles, but go directly to the right and you’ve got San Bernadino County, a massive 20,000 square mile sprawl of desert and cactus and tiny oases with fast food chains you’ve never heard of, and it looks just like any other Southwestern state.

The Wife:

Reaper paid homage to Tremors this week, as well as any other 80s horror movie where young folks end up going on a road trip to a sparsely populated ghost town (Husband Note: Tremors actually came out in 1990, but close enough), when The Devil sends them to catch a serpentine soul inhabiting a silver mine up in abandoned Dove Hollow. All of the townspeople, save for the Sheriff, are merely shape-shifting tentacles of the soul, and they would all really, really like anyone they meet to go up to the mine so the soul can feed on them. I really enjoyed the movements of those characters, especially the popping up from behind their counters and strange float-y movements, which were a nice blend of unsettling and funny.

After Andi and Sam get into a fight about how he may/may not be enjoying his tenure as a servant of the dark lord, and Sock gets arrested for fucking his sister and throwing a cot onto the Sheriff’s car (oh yeah, finally, the Sock/Kristen plot is resolved by them sleeping together and I could not be happier to be done with the awkward sexual tension), the girls decide to leave, taking Sam’s car. Nina, having stayed behind because Ben was smothering her, decides to fly up to surprise him and, after immediately recognizing that something is very, very off about the town’s barkeep, gets eaten.

The boys, then, are stuck trying to capture the soul, which the Sheriff agrees to help them do . . . only when a grieving Ben goes kamikaze and captures the soul on his own do they realize that the Sheriff never came through with his half of the bargain. He likes the soul, and the “friends” it creates for him. Hell, he’s been dating Millie the Waitress for eight years. Without that soul, he’s all alone. And so he sets out to kill the guys who took his friends, cornering them in the few places there are available to hide in Dove Hollow. The Devil shows up to tell Sam that he can use the soul as a bargaining chip. Sam offers to release the soul if the Sheriff will let him and his friends go free.

They head back to the mine to release the soul and Sam tosses the vessel into its open maw, only to have it tossed back by Nina, who is very much alive and apparently indigestible. She’s prepared to kill the Sheriff, but Sam won’t let her, suggesting that he needs to pay for what he’s done by thinking about everyone he let die for the rest of his life. This suggestion of suffering is enough for Nina to declare that Sam is truly diabolical, and she really, really digs that. Like, enough to kiss Sam while her boyfriend Ben is locked in the trunk of a car. Somehow, I don’t think this kiss is going to go entirely unnoticed by Ben, even though it won’t matter at all to Andi, who has had her fill of evil and breaks up with Sam because she’s afraid he’s starting to enjoy the wicked company he keeps.

Sing it with me, Sammy! The hills are alive with the sound of reaping!

Sing it with me, Sammy! The hills are alive with the sound of reaping!

And then there’s Sock and Kristen, who return home, thinking that they’re new relationship will be fine and dandy, only to have their parents return and ruin everything. At least the awkward sexual tension will be a new kind that isn’t completely reliant on Sock ogling his sister while she does things that have nothing to do with anything. I can handle their relationship as long as she’s a character with some say and not just an object, so I hope that the twist in this plot will allow Kristen some room to be a person.

I’m not wild about this episode. It served its purpose to do something a little bit different and get all the pieces in place for the new relationships between the characters, but it’s really just that: a platform to build the rest of the story upon.

There is, however, a particular favorite amongst the building blocks put in place in this episode: the conversation between Andi and Nina about evil boys, where Nina admits that she likes Ben, but thinks he’s smothering her and how she sometimes wishes she weren’t with a nice guy, but someone more evil. “I’m used to dating guys from Hell,” Nina says. “They treat you like crap, but, hey, at least they’re exciting.” That’s what dating Sam must be like, she supposes. And there Andi insists that Sam isn’t evil, only to change her mind on their very non-romantic weekend in Dove Hollow where she watches Sam go from smooth picnic-bringing to psychic wine bottle destroyer during their fight at the mine.

“We’re having a picnic in front of a monster lair. I mean, I can’t help but think you’re getting used to the lifestyle.” –Andi

What I liked about that scene between Nina and Andi was its subtlety, and watching Andi change her mind over the course of that ill-fated weekend in Dove Hollow. I wish there had been some bigger moments in it for Missy Peregrym, who I’m still not sure I love as an actress, but for the kind of show this is, using Nina as a catalyst to change Andi’s mind worked.

And, hey, I’ll take more Jenny Wade where I can get her.

Other funny:

  • “Do you like llamas? Because I’m going to eat a live llama.” – Nina
  • The Devil referring to Dove Hollow as “like being in a David Lynch movie.”
  • “Suck it, cot!” – Sock
  • “Dude, you’re banging a tentacle?” – Sock

The Husband:

Despite its stand-alone nature, I dug the episode far more than my wife did, but more because it has elements of a screenplay I’ve been gearing up to write for almost two years now. (Explanation for its delay: every time I start it, I get sidetracked and write a completely different script. It has happened twice now.) It’s far lighter and less completely fucked-up than what’s in my mind, but certain facets were still on display, and it allowed me to see what would work as far as my story was concerned and what wouldn’t. I guess I just really like small town horror movies. Something about complete cultural isolation terrifies me, I guess, since I’ve never lived more than 30 miles from a major metropolis.

As far as the Sock and Kristen storyline, I’ve started to dislike it, but not because of its repetition or the bizarre moral boundaries it deals with. It’s simply because it has limited Sock’s screentime to basically him pining over her, and not doing what we love best about him – his goofy indispensability when it comes to Sam’s soul-reaping. Where’s that s1 Sock? Bring that fool back!


The Wife:

Can someone explain to me why this episode was called “Put Your Best Face Forward?” It’s not as though any of the challenges directly related to having one’s face thrust forward, and that’s usually the kind of literalness the ANTM writers go for. I suppose it vaguely relates to the idea of an immigrant making a brave stride to come to America, putting their “best face forward” in so doing, but the episode titles from this season and last really make me miss Tyra’s “The Girl Who . . .” structure. This episode would have been much more memorable if it were called “The Girl Who Continually Doubts Herself and Somehow Got Best Photo This Week” or “The Girl Who Stood Up for Herself” or, better yet, “The Girl Who Was Told by Tyra to Step Back in Her Place.” Because, really, the most memorable thing about this episode was Tyra scolding Celia like a Kindergarten teacher scolds her class.

But before that hoopla in the final few minutes, Tyra made the girls jump through her regular series of hoops, such as inviting former contestant Toccara of Cycle 3 fame to host a slumber party with the girls in some free sleepwear from Mira Kelis and talk about how important it is to have personality, because its totally Toccara’s personality that made her one of the first black women to be featured in Italian Vogue. (I would wager that its because she’s got a really classic Sofia Loren-ish figure and Italians like that kind of thing, but I guess being an unapologetically vivacious lady helps, too.) In other news, nobody likes Sandra, Tahlia’s confidence continues to flounder and, inexplicably, Kourtnie thinks that she has the personality of an old male comedian trapped in a curvy chick’s body. I think I’ve seen that movie . . . isn’t that The Hot Chick with Rob Schneider and Rachel McAdams? Man, I can’t wait until Kourtnie buys a box of tampons and runs around screaming, “I have to put these WHERE?” That’d make for a great episode.

I hear Benny Ninja coming! Quick, everyone! Look fierce!

I hear Benny Ninja coming! Quick, everyone! Look fierce!

After Toccara jetted back to wherever she came from, the girls received a Tyra Mail: “If you can’t move to the music, then that might pose a problem.” And off they went to a posing challenge at the Marquee with Benny Ninja (!) and Aussie model-turned-DJ Sky Nellor. Benny taught the girls how to create poses inspired by different kinds of music, his best piece of advice going to Fo in re: posing for country western music:

“Think of horse dung.”

Wow, I wish Randy Travis had given the contestants that advice on last week’s Idol . . .

The girls started picking on Kortnie’s poses, claiming via confessional that she wasn’t taking the competition seriously and just wanted to be funny all the time . . . you know, because she’s Rob Schneider. All of this talk of Kourtnie being funny was very, very strange considering we’ve never heard anything about it before or seen her attempt to be funny or weird. I mean, she’s not Jael, who was both funny and weird and you knew it from the minute you laid eyes on her. Or crazy-ass Lisa from Cycle 5, who, let’s not forget, wore a diaper around the house one night and wet herself. Intentionally. Most of the girls this season are fairly boring people, and Kourtnie is chief among them. It’s not a good sign when the most interesting thing about you is how your name is spelled.

Oh, and if you want more proof that most of the girls this cycle are incredibly boring, here’s a whammy: I completely forget that Wind Tunnel Teyona even existed. The girls received another Tyra Mail to set them up for their next challenge (“Practice your posin’ if you wanna be chosen.”), a cabaret-style pose-off facilitated by Benny Ninja and The Blonds for a house full of queens and Boy George, pre-imprisoning an escort, I presume. Ninja made the girls compete in two heats of five models, with the incredibly gay audience’s applause deciding the winner of each heat. I look away from the TV for a second during the first heat and only caught Allison (sour lemur poses), Kortnie (trainwreck poses), Sandra (even the gays hate her) and Celia (easily winning this round by being a posing bitch BAMF) posing off and could not for the life of me figure out who the final girl in that heat would have been. As I went through the next heat of Aminat (booed by the gays), London (also booed by the gays), Tahlia (super duper booed by the gays), Natalie (yays from the gays) and Fo (stripper boos), I still couldn’t remember the tenth model. My husband kept insisting that it was a black girl with a strange name and I kept insisting back that there were only two black girls left now that Ninja was gone: Sandra and Aminat. It wasn’t until the photoshoot that I even remembered Teyona existed. He was right, but that is not a good sign. At all. (Sorry, Teyona! You are boring as shit!)

Natalie and Celia easily advanced to the next round of Benny’s pose-off and Celia won as the gays love for Natalie was fleeting. Celia best amused the queens and won a dress from The Blonds, which was very, very sparkly. Once again, Tahlia’s confidence flagged and I realized that I hate her and do not have time to put up with her emotional rollercoaster ride. At this moment, I decided I wanted her gone. She stole my scars angle, and that was enough reason for me to hate her, but her emotional instability is really the nail in her coffin here. I will not be happy until she gets the hell off my TV.

Oh, shit! The British are coming!

Oh, shit! The British are coming!

The photoshoot was introduced by Tyra Mail: “Models aren’t the only ones that migrate to New York to make their dreams come true.” Immediately, the girls assumed they were going to be birds, cleverly latching on to the word “migrate.” Little did they know that they’d be taken to Ellis Island to be high fashion immigrants, recreating old timey photos using a long-exposure 8×10 camera, surrounded by dirty little immigrant children and Benny Ninja posing as their multi-ethnic husbands. 10 points for creativity with this shoot, because I think foremost that reminding people that this country was intended as a refuge for anyone who longed for freedom is truly important and because I really liked the idea of shooting with an old timey camera. Kourtnie said she related to this shoot because immigration is how most of her family got here, and I hate to burst the poor girl’s bubble but since not a single girl on ANTM this season is of Native American descent, that’s exactly how EVERYONE’S FAMILY GOT HERE! (For some, though, it was perhaps not through Ellis Island, but through British colonization, Dutch colonization, in chains to a debtor’s colony or, sadly, on a slave ship.) I really wish we had some old timey photos of my nonna, Philomena Carmela Caruso (or Carmela Philomena Caruso, no one is really sure because we think they switched her first and middle names when she came through the immigration station) looking fabulous with her luggage and her children when she came through Ellis Island. But, alas, we do not have those photographs. Because photographs were expensive back in the day, which really is the one issue with this shoot . . . immigrant families coming through Ellis Island probably couldn’t have afforded these long exposure photographs, and the only reason they would exist is if some cub newspaper photographer asked them to allow him to photograph them for the paper. That’s how I’m going to rationalize this shoot to make it completely make sense.

Some preliminary thoughts during the shoot:

  • Mr. Jay calls Sandra his biggest disappointment so far. Ouch.
  • London looks just like Eliza Doolittle in that stripey “I come from Morcambre” outfit. She thinks she looks like Kate Winslet in Titanic, but apparently doesn’t realize that Kate Winslet was filthy stinkin’ rich in that movie.
  • Tahlia does really well in this shoot, and that’s disappointing because I hate her.
  • Alison is apparently a Russian dockworker in this shoot. She looks like Kristen Schaal in the Flight of the Conchords‘ “Petrov, Yelyena & Me” video:

In Tyra’s strange self-promotional intro to panel, she only had two little babies with her, disproving my theory that she will collect babies like Miss J collects bowties, but still confusing me. She has also stolen Blair Waldorf’s bow-print Milly blouse (which, btw, looks way better on Blair), which proves to me that sometimes Tyra shops out the of CW wardrobe closet. On to the judging:

  • Teyona: The girl whose name I totally forgot received generally favorable reviews from the panel, who noted her strong eyes in the photo and said empty things like “there’s a history” and “there’s a romance” in this photo, which I guess needed to be said just because it was the first photo and that way they could get it out of the way and never have to say it again.
  • London: Her face is great in this show, but the judges don’t like that she’s posing in opposition to the children she’s with.
  • Sandra: Girl is dead in the face and totally disengaged from the shot.
  • Lemur Allison: This is the first shot of the bunch that looks like a fashion shot, says Nigel. Tyra and Paulina thinks that she doesn’t look like a mother to the kids she’s with, but like a big sister. “Because mommy died on the way over,” Paulina morbidly notes.
  • Aminat: A good shot with a strong face.
  • Fo: Similar to London’s shot, she is disengaged from those she’s posing with.
  • Natalie: For some reason, the judges think she looks like Keira Knightley. This is not true, because Keira Knightley has a chin and an elegant neck, neither of which are attributes of Squishy McSquishface. However, it is a great fashion shot.
  • Kourtnie: This pose is sour, in the parlance of one Benny Ninja. She’s dead in the eyes.
  • Tahlia: The judges clamor around this shot and dub it the best picture so far. They think she is exquisite in the photo but that she looks like a hot mess in person. Both things are true.
  • Celia: Tragically, Celia gets lost in this photo and is completely upstaged by the little girl in the white outfit standing behind her. I blame this in part on wardrobe, who dressed everyone in dark colors and put that one little girl in white. If Celia were in white, or a lighter color, it would have drawn the eye to her, even if she were reclining on the side, a pose that made London stand out in her photo, even if it didn’t work to her advantage.
There were some bad wardrobe decisions that led to this shot being so awkward.

There were some bad wardrobe decisions that led to this shot being so awkward.

As the judges deliberate, Miss J comments on Aminat’s knockedy knees, and I learn a new Tyra fact: she learned how to unknockify her own knees. I propose that Tyra enter into a new business teaching women how to unknockify their knees and elbows. That should be a chapter in her whole “finding your inner fierceness” tome.

Callouts: Tahlia, Teyona, Lemur Allison, Natalie, London, Aminat, Celia and Fo, leaving Sandra and Kourtnie in the bottom two. As Tyra deliberated on who should stay, the girl who just dies in the eyes in photographs but is interesting in person, or the girl who relies too much on her natural beauty and sometimes forgets to try, the camera kept cutting to Lemur Allison, who seemed genuinely concerned about who would be leaving. The only reason I can imagine for her concern would be wondering if Celia would actually do what she said she was going to do in an earlier discussion in the house: tell Tyra that Tahlia had expressed numerous times in the open that she didn’t want to be there and that Tyra should consider those comments before sending anyone home. Celia did announce this, in her shiny new Blond dress, after Tyra made the decision to keep villainess Sandra over Rob Schneider girl, and then Tyra shot down her cries on unfairness by reminding Celia that it was unfair of her to speak on Tahlia’s behalf, reminding the Bergdorf’s employee to take her place in line, i.e. a place far below The Goddess of Fierce.

Was Celia wrong to speak her mind to Tyra about Tahlia? Because I hate Tahlia, I’m inclined to say no. I, too, believe that she should leave the competition (and modeling) if she doesn’t have the confidence to handle criticism, which she clearly doesn’t. Celia took the fall here for expressing the opinion of every other girl in the house, and that takes balls. Furthermore, she did so in a respectful way that was more matter-of-fact than accusatory, and she politely took her place when told to. What she said can be backed up by the dailies, if TyTy ever cares to watch them. But Tyra has never forced a girl to leave because she didn’t want to be there without the girl saying it herself, or Tyra coercing her to say it (such as the case the plant from last cycle who didn’t think high fashion should exist). And Tahlia, owner of her own fucked-up emotions, has the right to decide whether or not she wants to leave the competition outside of an official elimination. Mostly, this little skirmish needed to happen so that there could be some drama in the house, and it appears we will get it next week.

Am I wrong to think that Tyra liked this shot best because its the most Tyra of the bunch?

Am I wrong to think that Tyra liked this shot best because its the most Tyra of the bunch?

As for me, I’m on team Celia. Even if what she did was not the kindest thing, Tahlia needed to be called on her bullshit. Because that’s what it is: bullshit.