The Husband:

While we, the children of Saint Clare, have found the time to write about many of the biggest shows on television (and even some small ones), there is only so much time and energy we can spend on this site. The truth is, we watch a whole lot more than what ends up on the site, and since I watch most of these on my own and yet never find the ability to write about them, their absence is mostly my fault. But no matter. For those that fall through the cracks, I have here a grab bag of the 30+ shows I watch in addition to whatever ends up on the site. These are the ones that slipped through the cracks. And hell, I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting (and also not even bothering writing about, which tend to fall under instructional/educational stuff like anything on Discovery), so if you think I’ve forgotten something, please let me know. (And no, I don’t watch any CSI or L&O shows, so don’t even try to get all up in my grill.) Here they are, the missing shows of the 2008-2009 television season, in alphabetical order.

24

I really should have written at least some criticism on this season, but work piled up and I simply didn’t have the time. It started off as the most intelligent season with some of the most compelling political questions being thrown around (welcome to the show finally, “debate on torture”), but by the fourth time Tony twisted his alliance and Jack was infected with the disease, I kind of stopped caring. Great first half of the season, though, and I think Renee is the best new character in a very long time.

Adult Swim (Xavier: Renegade Angel / Superjail! / Squidbillies / The Drinky Crow Show / Metalocalypse / Delocated / Robot Chicken / Etc.)

Thank you, young people of Adult Swim (who I have spent some time with, don’t forget) for freaking my mind week after week, and giving alternative comedy a major boost in America. And for freaking out my wife.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

Better Off Ted

It took me a couple episodes to latch onto the tone, but once I did I simply couldn’t get enough from this latest product of the mad mind of Victor Fresco. Check out some episodes online, then watch Andy Richter Controls the Universe (his previous show), and I guarantee you some of the oddest network comedy in a very long time. I still think Portia DeRossi is trying to hard, though, and should take a page from the book of Fresco mainstay Jonathan Slavin.

Castle

Bring it on, Nathan Fillion. Hypnotize me with your nostrils and your addictive but borderline-stupid mystery writer-cum-detective series. (Although how weird was that Judy Reyes episode? What the hell, Carla Turk?)

The Celebrity Apprentice 2

So sue me, I liked Joan Rivers. And the addition of the phrase “Whore Pit Vipers” to the television lexicon.

Celebrity Rehab (Sober House) with Dr. Drew

So help me, I can’t stop watching. It’s just a disaster. I will say, though, that I like the drama in the rehab far more than the sober house, as the latter seems to exist simply to destroy any progress the celebrities made in rehab. And now having seen all three of his seasons of Taxi, Jeff Conaway’s fall from grace is fishbowl television at its finest.

Dating in the Dark

Really fun, actually. I hope it gets a second season. I also hope that more matches will be made, and that people stop being massive failures.

Dirty Sexy Money

Everything I needed to say about the failure of the second season of this show can be found on this blog, and it ended its truncated run by turning itself inside-out by revealing that the show’s central mystery, who killed Peter Krause’s father, was a bust since he wasn’t dead after all. What the hell, Dirty Sexy Money? Oh well, your cancellation made room in Krause’s schedule for the much anticipated (by me) adaptation of Parenthood coming to NBC mid-season.

The Goode Family

It took a few episodes to find its footing, but by the end of its sped-up summer run, I was a major fan of the latest Mike Judge effort. (R.I.P. King of the Hill.) Vastly misunderstood by viewers who only watched the first episode, it, just like KOTH, found a middle ground between conservative America and liberal America and found the ability to make fun of both without drawing blood, choosing to love instead of hate. Some of the voice cast was misused (why was my beloved Linda Cardellini in the cast?), but as a Berkeley native, I had a blast relishing in mocking the stereotypes of my own people while rediscovering what it is I love so much about them. The bull dykes were also two of the most original characters of the season.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

The Great American Road Trip

Any show that has two contestants debating over which is more correct, “y’all” or “youse,” gets major points in my book. A nice and forgettable summer trifle after a long, way-too-hot day. Silly, yes, but I can’t say it was bad. And it was a definite improvement over the similar family-based season of The Amazing Race. (I’m sure The Soup is really grateful for this show, too.)

Heroes

Oh god, kill me now. Volume 4 was a marked improvement over #3, for sure, but I just don’t care about anybody anymore. And yet I feel that I need to keep watching. It’s too late to give up now. There was one great episode this season, though, and that was the flashback one surrounding Angela Petrelli’s stint at a mutant internment camp. Why can’t they all be this good?

Howie Do It

Yeah, I watched it. Shut the fuck up. About one-third of it was funny, and as I watched it on Hulu at work, it’s not like I wasted any of my own time. Howie Mandel is savvier than you think, but I wish he would return to his wilder roots.

How’s Your News

This Parker-Stone produced MTV show revolving around reporters who are developmentally delayed confused the hell out of me initially, but once I realized there wasn’t a mean bone in its body it became a warm bit of fun. I want a second season, dammit. These are some of the most joyful television subjects I’ve ever seen.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show

Better than the first season, but I’m still glad I only watch this online while doing something else.

In the Motherhood

Worst opening credit sequence of the year. Some pretty funny material hidden underneath unfunny slapstick. Horatio Sanz got thin. Megan Mullally couldn’t find a rhythm. I still think Cheryl Hines is oddly hot.

Lie to Me

I unfortunately didn’t start watching this until July, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. While gimmicky to a fault and not nearly as intelligent as it pretends it is, this Tim Roth vehicle about an FBI specialist who studies the subtleties of the face (OF THE FACE) is clever, compelling and well drawn. I’m not sure about the addition of Mekhi Phifer’s character, but we’ll see how it works out next season, especially with Shield creator Shawn Ryan at the helm of season two.

Life

This cancellation reallllly hurts. One of the unsung gems from the 2007-2008 television, this, the smartest network cop show in recent memory, took its great season one energy and hit the second season with all it had and came up with a compelling, hilarious, devilishly clever and gleefully violent run that was only marred by a major cast shift during the final few episodes. (I’m looking at you, Gabrielle Union. Your presence was what I like to call a massive failure.) A Zen-obsessed cop recently released from prison after serving over a decade for a murder he did not commit, this show had the best cases of them all. It also gave me one of my favorite hours of television of the year in an episode that revolved around a seductive assassin, fertilizer and pigeon aficionados. And at least the major serialized storyline (who framed Damien Lewis and why) got paid off in a major way thanks to the ever-reliable Garret Dillahunt.

lifeshot

My Boys

Putting PJ and Bobby together was a great idea, but your nine-episode seasons are too short to gain any momentum, and the spring training season finale was a bust.

Nitro Circus

Moronic glee.

Numb3rs

Man, did they put Charlie through the ringer. First, he nearly gets his brother killed with a miscalculation on his part, he questions his own validity as a mathematician and then Amita gets kidnapped just as he decides that he wants to marry her. Otherwise, another fine, if somewhat uneventful, of this show that never captured the glory of its über-nerdy first season. Also, thanks for all the great guest star work, but sometimes it gets laid on a little too thick, such as in “Sneakerhead” which brought together Bruno Campos, Patrick Bauchau, Dr. Edison from Bones and Eve. (And points for making the Liz Warner character actually bearable. I fucking hated her in season 4.

Privileged

So apparently the CW thought that their best idea ever was to get rid of this show, the smartest show on the UPN/WB merger since the Buffyverse, one that was technically pulling in bigger numbers than 90210, one that was a delight to watch and deeply addictive, and make room for what is sure to be one of 2009-2010’s worst new offerings, Melrose Place. I gotta tell ya, this cancellation hurts. While I wrote recaps and reviews of the episodes way into its freshman (and only) season, the looming axe, as well as a more heavily serialized structure, turned me off from writing on the final stretch of episodes, and I told myself that I’d only recap them if the show came back. Lo and behold, another Joanna Garcia vehicle has gone down the tubes. I’ll miss you oh so dearly, Ms. Too-Smart-For-The-CW Palm Beach satirical melodrama known as Privileged.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

Rescue Me

I thought it was a great season, and thanks to an extended number of episodes (it didn’t air in 2008 thanks to the writer’s strike), the show was able to focus much of its energy on pages-long dialogue-happy battle-of-wits in nearly episode, which to be is melodrama heaven. Gone is the maudlin tone, returned is all the comic energy, and the stories seem to actually progress instead of just flopping around like a dying fish. Leary and Tolan deserve major praise for bringing the show back up to snuff. And now having seen all of Newsradio, I love any chance I get to watch Maura Tierney, although I’m still not going to watch ER. (I am proud to have only seen three episodes of that show ever, being a Chicago Hope fan.) Special shot-out to the Sean cancer storyline, if only to allow Broadway actor Steven Pasquale (husband of Tony winner Laura Benanti) the opportunity to belt out some songs in a handful of hallucination scenes.

Samantha Who?

One of the biggest upsets of the last two years was the rise and fall of this light-hearted, occasionally gut-busting amnesia sitcom that started off the talk of the town, only to waste away its final episodes after the conclusion of the actual television season. Ending on a shitty cliffhanger (Sam’s parents are getting divorced, so Mom is going to live with you and your formerly-estranged-but-now-love-of-your-life lover), we nevertheless found out who caused the accident that brought about Sam’s amnesia, Jennifer Esposito finally made it with the towel boy, and Melissa McCarthy continued to be one of the brightest stars of the year.

Scrubs

Like Privileged, I hesitated to continue writing due to the threat of its cancellation, but now it’s continuing on into yet another season (albeit with some major changes), so I really have no reason to stop writing about it. But let’s just say that while the hurry-up to conclude its many disparate storylines often felt rushed (those two Bahama episodes felt especially odd), the conclusion to J.D.’s years-in-the-telling tale was a lovely way to conclude the season. (No props for the awful awful Peter Gabriel song that accompanied his final walk down the hallway, as laughably bad as it was when I heard it in the remake of Shall We Dance?)

The Shield

I don’t have to tell you how amazing the final season was. Watch it. Seriously. You owe it to yourself to experience one of the hardest hitting cop shows of all time. Like The Wire, a Greek tragedy hammered into modern-day policework with some of the most finely drawn characters around. And oh man, did those final three episodes pack a major punch. Ouch, indeed.

Southland

Quite a bit like The Shield, really, had it followed Michael Jace’s beat cop instead of the Strike Team. A little too dour at times for me to really give a crap, and the sprawling ensemble needs to be cut down (which is what I hear it’s doing for the second season), but this L.A.-centered procedural has a lot going for it, not least of which its pitch-perfect direction. (I especially dig the long shots, including my favorite, which involved a cabin and a K9 unit bringing down a perp.)

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Surviving Suburbia

A sitcom in serious need of finding one tone and sticking with it, this sometimes-sweet-sometimes-brutally-cruel suburban comedy worked as well as it did because of Saget as well as G. Hannelius’ performance as the precocious daughter. Still, all the jokes about disabled people, pregnant teenagers and strip clubs really didn’t mesh together with the clichés of the genre.

Survivor: Tocantins

I love Survivor, but this was one of the most boring seasons in its ten-year run. I don’t think I gave a shit about one person, and I simply couldn’t find anything compelling to write about. A waste of a good location.

True Beauty

The right person won, the losers got (mostly) schooled in this trick show designed to expose the douchery involved in modeling, Ashton Kutcher made another heroin-like show, and I concern myself for months with how they can pull the trick off a second time in the next season.

The Unusuals

When grading a cop show, I tend to focus on three things — the tone, the characters and the cases. A bizarre, pessimistic yet comedic take on all those wacky cops we’ve seen throughout the years all thrown together (one is deathly afraid of…death, one has a brain tumor, one talks in the third person, one is a closeted socialite, etc.) pushed into some remarkably dark territory, The Unusuals had tone and characters down pat, but suffered at the hands of some DOA storylines. But oh man, did the tone ever make up for most of the show’s shortcomings. Great ensemble cast, too, although I would have recast Eddie Alvarez.

Rather unusual.

Rather unusual.

Worst Week

A breezy and often hilarious slapstick comedy based off of a British hit, it could never regain its momentum after moving away from the initial “week” of the title. Kyle Bornheimer is a true find and made the more unbearable misunderstandings and embarrassing moments of the show (of which there were many) all the more palatable. I’m not the biggest fan of comedy based around humiliations, but this show found a likeable ability to have its characters not completely despise each other at every moment. This was, to say the least, very refreshing. Big points for giving me the biggest network TV laugh of the year (when Bornheimer wakes up his brother-in-law only to be thought a murderer) but major negative points for pushing back a major character-based episode into a weekend spot months after the show had already ended its run.

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The Husband:

Michael Sarver

Finally, Michael Sarver is gone. It had to happen sooner rather than later to keep my sanity, and I’m glad this is as far as it could have gone. I didn’t like a single one of his performances when the actual competition started, from his lame butchering of Gavin DeGraw and his completely unnecessary version of “You Are Not Alone” to, finally, being taken down this week by picking a song that, original aside, I can’t help but compare to Ruben Studdard and George Huff’s versions. (And, well, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Jeff Goldblum et al dancing to it in The Big Chill.) Point is, it’s a loaded song.

So, let me ask you something. Is there anybody out there who would have preferred to see Michael Sarver over Alexis Grace on the Idol tour? Raise your hand. [pause] Well, you’re stupid. You would honestly rather see a linebacker-type boy bleat on the stage for 2+ hours than see somebody with performance chops, spunk and true stage presence, just because she had one bad week? Blech. I think Kara DioGuardi put it best during Fox Reality Channel’s weekly special American Idol Extra that Michael didn’t understand the difference between being a singer and being an artist, and his days were numbered.

Speaking Of American Idol Extra

This is a really cool show, and if you have cable, I’d suggest watching/TiVoing it. It gives us a nice bit of extra time with the contestants and gives us answers we normally wouldn’t expect.

Some of the nice little tidbits from this week:

  • Adam likes Gossip Girl
  • Anoop is really into crossword puzzles
  • Allison likes ABBA
  • Kris owns up to owning a CD by Kris Kross
  • Matt Giraud is really into Disney movies

Also, interesting development, Michael isn’t really that into country music. He fesses up to having a “country heart,” but having grown up in a big town in Louisiana before moving to Texas, it wasn’t necessarily his music of choice. Well, you fooled us, Michael, and I would have loved to seen, maybe, a more rocker edge instead of the namby-pamby sweet country boy nonsense that became your persona and your voting base.

Also, while I miss Gina Glockson, Ace Young is a surprisingly good co-host. And his new Kenickie hair (he, along with fellow s5 Idol contestant Taylor Hicks, did Grease on Broadway) is a vast improvement over his wavy Tarzan bullshit when he was on the show, and even when he made a cameo on Rock Of Love Charm School. Dude, what if there’s a Kenickie curse, and Ace Young, 30 years down the line, ends up like Jeff Conaway? Man, VH1 destroys my concepts of celebrity.

Adam Lambert

The Vampire Lambert: Slicked and Smooth for Motown Week.

The Vampire Lambert: Slicked and Smooth for Motown Week.

I was kind of hoping to prove a point, that starting with Ace Young in s5, there would be what I call an Ace Young Curse. This is when somebody with trademark hair slicks it all back to fit into a certain theme week on Idol and somehow loses their fan base. It happened with Ace during Big Band Week, which got him voted off the show. And if Adam Lambert, who turned his crazy spikes into a Muddy Waters coif, would have dropped considerably in votes (believe me, I don’t want him off by any means), I would have had an official curse to trademark. But, according to DialIdol, he was the top vote-getter this week. Well, whatever. He did an incredible job this week, so I’m willing to give up a trademark for that.

Lil & Danny

It seems that each week I can lump my critiques of Lil and Danny into one. This week, both bored the shit out of me by simply singing a song’s melody with nary a personality- and vote-increasing variation. Do both feel so confident and safe that they can’t be bothered to have any fun with their choices? I don’t like any contestant to feel safe. While I still like Danny (hard to tell, I know), I simply won’t vote for him until he gets tossed into a bottom three or even a bottom two, which I think will put a fire under his ass and teach him to make every moment he’s onstage count.

The Final Song

A lot of people seem to really hate the final sing-for-your-life performance, calling it desperate and sad. Me, I think it’s a major improvement over the send-off performance of seasons past. I always felt that to be sad, underperformed and simply a producer’s way to end a show on a high note. But it always seemed like wasted time. Now, we get somebody putting energy and fight into their performance, not feeling safe, and doing what they should have done in the first place, which is to inspire. I just think that Simon could perhaps be a tad nicer about rejecting them at the end. Or maybe he could hand the task over to the other judges. (Not Paula. When asked to give the final verdict last night, she almost melted into a puddle of sad.)

The Children Of Saint Clare Kibosh

This is going to be a regular thing, the COSC Kibosh, wherein I scream to the Idol gods to ban certain songs from ever getting performed again. This week, I have two songs to destroy.

#1. “(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave.” If it can nearly destroy Jennifer Hudson (who I remember Simon describing as “mad” when she sang the song), it would have no chance with Lil. It’s gone, buds.

#2. “For Once In My Life.” You’re not gonna do it as well as Stevie Wonder, and it might end up terribly embarrassing you. I think I’m done with Megan Joy after this week. That was just all kinds of wrong.

The Wife:

For this week’s Idol Fashion Review, let me start by praising Adam Lambert for doing something incredibly bold and unexpected by reminding me that he is, in fact, a working actor. And a good one. That shiny, shiny suit (like Barney Stinson’s suitjamas, actually) and the slicked back hair cemented something I noticed during his polarizing (but fucking awesome!) performance of “Ring of Fire” last week: the dude looks like Elvis. There was a shot of him on the big screen last week where he looked exactly like an early-Vegas-years Elvis, and this week, he inhabited the body and hair of the Elvis America fell in love with. He transformed himself, and, in doing so, made his performance as transcendent as is possible on Idol.

Adam Lambert is a fucking star. And if he doesn’t win, I think he will soon become the pinnacle of Idols on Broadway. Previously, I thought he’d only be good in shows with bombast like Wicked, or rocker shows like Rent or Spring Awakening (as Mortiz, not Melchior), but now I am convinced that he can do anything. He has opened up a whole new world of possibilities to Broadway casting directors with this performance, and I would definitely see Jersey Boys again if he were playing that falsetto-loving Frankie Valli.

I feel like she bought this at a cheap boutique on Melrose, but it's still pretty cute.

I feel like she bought this at a cheap boutique on Melrose, but it's still pretty cute.

The ladies all looked great this week. Lil Rounds made an excellent decision to wear that retro wig and don a flapper outfit, which is possibly the first thing I think she’s looked good in since that yellow-and-black number from the Top 36 episodes. Megan belongs in cute, short colorful things that are kind of weird but kind of cute, and she was back in a bright blue bubble hemmed dress this week, complete with 70s Hawaiian hotel singer hair and a little flower. On anyone else, this look would have bombed, but it worked on her. Kudos. As for tiny dynamo Allison Iraheta, I am so glad that she took on a more Kelly Clarkson-meets-Fergie type look this week, with the cool turqouise tunic and chains and the strange leggings. She looked young, she looked hip and she looked like a fucking star, as well as imminently more approachable than when she was dressing like she smoked ciggies behind the dumpster at her school a few weeks back. The girl is a rocker in her soul, and she knows how to embody that, both in her style of dress and with every performance she gives on this show.

Three of the boys need some attention here: Anoop, Kris and Scott. I loved Anoop’s 70s-style collegiate bowling jacket, because I think he’s best when he tries to nod to his academic career in his clothing. (But if he ever sports an honest-to-God letterman’s jacket, that will be one step too far.) Scott wore pink pants, and he knew he was wearing pink pants, and I am offended that someone in the wardrobe department thought those would be a good idea to put on a blind man — as though they wanted the bloggers to write jokes about it. I think they were trying to give him a sort of extra-on-Life on Mars vibe, but the pink pants with the pinstripe chocolate blazer and the pale paisley shirt just came off as . . . douchey. I’m extra confused by that ensemble because, last time I checked, it was Motown week, not BeeGees week. So . . . why didn’t he get a suit? Wouldn’t that have made more sense?

And then there’s Kris Allen’s shirt, which reminded me of what a guard would wear in a Nazi prison camp. There’s only a certain kind of man that shirt works on, and Kris Allen is not it. (But if Adam Lambert had worn it, I might have thought it was cool. Or even if Randy Jackson had worn it.) I kind of don’t like Kris because he is a dead ringer for a friend’s ex-husband, but I’m trying not to hold that against the guy. He is a good singer, but I want him to return to the boy-next-door vibe he’s been cultivating this season. I like him much better in plaid button downs, jeans and flip flops. It suits him.

Just . . . no.

Just . . . no.

But, overall, this week was pretty good for the Idols. I think they (and the wardrobe) department are kind of getting it. They’re packaging themselves better, and showing off their post-Idol potential.

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