The Husband:

After a season of wildly fluctuating success, Ugly Betty finished off its season with style and grace, and even though some stories ended up deflating considerably, others found a bit of truth in them, while one caught me completely off-guard. After what I thought was a damn good fall half of the season – some would disagree with me, especially in regards to one Ms. Lohan, but if anything, the comedy was top-notch for this show at that point – everything just kind of dropped off, and with the exception of all the YETI drama, the only thing that really got me through was Betty’s relationship with Matt.

But what’s been going on since I last checked in? David Rasche, who will forever be Sledge Hammer to me, came in as Matt’s billionaire father Cal Hartley to save the near-bankrupt Meade Publications and threw everything for a loop, pissing both Daniel and Wilhemina in the process. It’s always tough when you have an owner who knows virtually nothing about fashion and seems to design the magazine around how his dick feels. I guess that rubbed off on Matt early in his life, as we found out episodes earlier that he had been a bit of a he-bitch man-whore. (Cal Hartley, btw, once impregnated Claire Meade, but that’s neither here nor there, as the baby never came to be.)

In other news: you know that Slater-Meade baby that was created inside Christina using Wilhelmina’s egg and dead Bradford’s sperm? Turns out that, after Christina caused some major issues by becoming too attached to the child, the baby is actually hers, as she had relations with her estranged husband right around the same time as the Slater-Meade child was put in her. Hey, shit happens. This in turn led to the much-publicized exit of actress Ashley Jensen, my beloved Scottish lass from Extras, in a respectable bit of non-insanity (which is surprising from this show). I will miss you, dear Ms. Jensen. I can’t wait to see where your career goes next.

And while Marc loses any true upward mobility at YETI, he redeems his earlier vicious ways by having a nice heart-to-heart with young Justin Suarez, who was crushed upon being rejected from LaGuardia High School (a.k.a. the Fame school), only to have Marc tell him that he was also a product of the public school system, and look how fabulous he turned out.

Im just going to imagine that the mannequin is a physical manifestation of Mollys cancer. Its a lot more interesting that way.

I'm just going to imagine that the mannequin is a physical manifestation of Molly's cancer. It's a lot more interesting that way.

Meanwhile, Daniel Meade has to deal with what I consider a fairly big fail in regards to his story with Molly. I dug the love square that put them together and I really liked Molly herself as a character, but once they finally became a couple, the writers just stopped caring. I understand the need for conflict, but having Molly’s cancer resurface was, in my opinion, lazy and cruel. All you’re really telling us is that Daniel can’t be happy, and when he tries to become a better man, it only hurts everybody else. What kind of message is that? And as the disease ate away at Molly, they threw out any semblance of interest in the character, only redeeming themselves (slightly) with the finale where Daniel pulls a Perry-Cox-On-Scrubs-In-That-Episode-With-Brendan-Fraser and hallucinates Molly being with him at the award show, only to find out that she had died at home that day.

But I’ve been stalling. What the hell happened to Betty? After succeeding considerably at YETI and scoring a junior editing position at a major publication (I forget which), the one and only Bernadette Peters abuses her privilege as Betty’s mentor and steals the job right out from under her. While I feel like the Bern was underused on this show, that was a damn great way to get the Great Red-Haired One out of the show and into that corner of our mind that remembers miniscule details of prime-time soap opera plots a decade down the line. And thus, Betty and Marc begin to battle for an editing job at Mode, thanks to the suicide of the previous reclusive editor Rachel Dratch (in a very bizarre role as identical twins). While Betty gets the job simply based on a coin toss, she has other shit to deal with. That’s right, Henry’s back in town.

It’s not entirely important what led to the big finale, but know this: while Henry came into town (after being involved in that whole crazy murder plot off the coast of Washington over on CBS Saturday nights) he technically had a girlfriend with him there in NY, he still managed to reignite Betty’s loins, or at least long enough to have Matt spy them having a final goodbye makeout session in a random NYC park. And as Betty loses Henry as he leaves town once again, Matt dumps her once and for all. But we’re not done with Matt, not by a longshot, because after all of this emotional wreckage, he has a surprise for her: as his father owns Meade Publications, Matt will now be working at Mode as Betty’s boss. And thus, a romantic interest becomes next season’s big villain, and I will readily admit that I did not see it coming.

So yes. It wasn’t a great season. It really couldn’t recover once Rebecca Romjin left to have her twins, and it’s also a shame that Amanda really wasn’t given much of a story at any point. But I love the way Marc came into his own this year, I liked everything revolving around any member of the Hartley clan, and while I wished that Daniel would be treated more sympathetically as a character, his arc with Molly was good while it lasted.

I’ll see you on Friday nights next season, Ugly Betty, which will hopefully not be your last season despite basically being pushed into a death slot. I wish Dollhouse as much luck as possible opposite you, and as I do not watch either Southland or Medium and cannot really pass judgment, I just hope that enough viewers find your bright and breezy counterprogramming to be a success. (Okay, I could lose Medium from the schedule, but I honestly would rather see all of them succeed, which is certainly a tall order.)

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The Wife:

We don’t usually do news here, but since I’m trying to decide what shows I can and can’t watch next year (thus, can and can’t cover) because of grad school, I figured I’d help you all out by sharing my handy-dandy season schedules for the major networks here at Children of St. Clare.

I’ve listed everything by hour, as most networks are running hour-long shows these days, so two half-hour shows are listed in the same box with the time the latter show starts in between them. If a show runs longer than one hour, I’ve indicated the length and listed it in the hour in which it starts. Asterisks (*) indicate new shows, and I’ll have some snap judgments on those shows following these graphics:

falllineupMTWRF

And here’s the weekend schedule for the fall, which, as you can see, is largely blank:

FallineupSS

In January, the networks will change to their midseason schedules:

midseasonlineupMTWRF

And here’s the weekend midseason schedule

midseasonlineupSS

Now, on the midseason schedule, you may notice some funny little symbols after the network names. Here are those footnotes:

  • # ABC has not yet announced its midseason lineup. The have, however, three new shows on deck: V, Happy Town and The Deep End, as well as returning shows Lost, Wife Swap, True Beauty, The Bachelor, Better Off Ted and Scrubs. Timeslots all to be determined.
  • + CBS has not yet announced its midseason lineup, but has the following shows for midseason replacements: Miami Trauma*, The Bridge*, Undercover Boss*, Arranged Marriage*, Rules of Engagement, Flashpoint
  • = CW’s midseason debut is Parental Discretion Advised, timeslot to be determined.
  • Additionally, Fox has Hell’s Kitchen scheduled for Summer 2010, and has Kitchen Nightmares on deck to fill holes in the schedule.

Now, for my snap judgments . . .

NBC: While we all know by now how I feel about Jay Leno, I can honestly tell you that the only one of their new shows I will definitely watch is Joel McHale’s comedy pilot Community, joining the NBC Thursday comedy block in 30 Rock‘s spot until it returns at midseason. Community has a good premise (McHale finds his college degree is invalid and must go back to community college to make up the credits), and has both McHale and Chevy Chase, who turned in a good performance as the villain at the end of Chuck season 2. I am overjoyed that Chuck is returning at midseason, as I think a 13-episode run will give us only the most super-concentrated awesomeness Chuck has to offer. I do not need another medical show in my life, so I’m declining Trauma and Michelle Trachtenberg’s nursing show, Mercy. 100 Questions looks so much like Friends that it is entirely out of the question for me. But then there’s Day One, which has a nice pedigree of coming from the people who work on Lost, Heroes and Fringe. It could be awesome, or it could be hokey, but I think it’s the only other promising thing NBC has to offer us.

ABC: I am delighted that ABC has given a permanent slot to Castle, allowing Nathan Fillion to prove he is charming, rakish and shouldn’t be a showkiller! He and Adam Baldwin have broken their own curse! Other than that, though, I am extremely concerned at how unimpressive the new shows debuting for fall seem, compared to the stuff ABC has on deck for midseason. Not a single one of the Wednesday night comedy block shows looks palatable. Hank looks downright abysmal, The Middle looks, well, middling, Modern Family falls flat and Cougar Town is trying way too hard. I might DVR Eastwick because I like Rebecca Romjin and Lindsay Price, but I have no emotional ties to either the previous film or the novel upon which it’s based to grab my immediate attention. I watched a clip from The Forgotten and I can tell you right now that I think it’s going to be the most dour procedural on television, and I certainly don’t need that in my life. I am, however, intrigued by Flash Forward because I like both time travel and Joseph Fiennes. But what sounds really interesting are the midseason shows. The Deep End is about law students and, out of all the ABC clips I watched, it certainly has the most character, pizzazz and joy. It also has Tina Majorino, looking the prettiest she’s ever looked. I will give that a shot when it premeires. I will also give hardcore sci-fi reboot V a shot, as we certainly don’t have any shows on network TV currently dealing with alien invasion, and I’m really jazzed on the trailer for Happy Town, which seems like its going to be a slightly more normal Twin Peaks (in that its a small town mystery), only this time, with Amy Acker!

FOX: I’m wary of a fall edition of SYTYCD, but I do see the benefit of it giving FOX a consistent schedule so that things don’t get shitfucked when Idol rolls around at midseason. Perhaps, if this is a success, going forward we’ll have to find a new totally awesome summer reality competition . . . maybe one for actors? OR MAYBE WE CAN MAKE A TRIPLE THREAT SHOW BECAUSE I WOULD TOTALLY WATCH THAT????? (Please, FOX?!!!!) Fox is actually my favorite of the networks so far, actually. I’m happy to see they’ve renewed Dollhouse and paired Bones with Fringe, which makes for a really rockin’ Thursday. Also excited to see Sons of Tucson with Tyler Labine as it looks pretty funny from the promo.  Human Target looks pretty fun, too. And you best fucking bet I will be watching Glee. The only thing I think I’d really pass on, here, is Past Life, and that’s just because I’m not really interested in seeing a show that solves crimes using past life regression (although one of my favorite X-Files episodes has exactly that conceit). So, rock on, FOX. You are my winner for next season.

CBS: I will be skipping pretty much every new show on CBS this year as they continue to build their police procedural empire. However, I will give a try to the new Monday comedy Accidentally on Purpose, even though it’s based on the memoirs of a film critic I don’t like very much, the Contra Costa Times‘ Mary F. Pols, who can’t seem to see the good in anything at all. The show is set in San Francisco, though Pols lives somewhere in the Walnut Creek area in reality, I assume, and Jenna Elfman plays the fictional version of Pols’ film critic who accidentally gets pregnant by a younger, one-night stand and decides to keep the baby, and it’s daddy. I generally like Jenna Elfman and, of course, adore Grant Show, who will be playing her boss. I will also give Three Rivers a shot, because it stars Moonlight‘s Alex O’Laughlin and its about organ donation, so there’s a chance I could see him repeat at least part of his horrifying performance in Feed, a film in which he kidnaps obese women and feeds them their own fat until they die. (How he would repeat part of that performance, I don’t know, but I’d like to see CBS try.)

CW: Will I watch a show produced by Ashton Kutcher about teenage models called The Beautiful Life? Yes, I will. Will I watch a show about teenage vampires called The Vampire Diaries? Indeed, I would probably watch something like that, as long as it sucked in a good way and not a bad way. Melrose Place? I have even less of a connection to that show than to 90210, so I’m not inclined to watch the reboot — especially since Ashlee Simpson’s on it. But, hey, I might need some mind-numbing crap to counterbalance all my grad school reading, so perhaps. I’ll give Melrose Place a perhaps, a perhaps perhaps, even, if I choose to continue watching 90210, making my Tuesday nights just like 1992. I am, however, surprised that CW axed the Gossip Girl spin-off, as even though I didn’t like the backdoor pilot, I did think the show had potential. I’m also surprised they axed Jason Dohring and Minka Kelly’s legal show, Body Politic, if only because I was hoping both former Moonlight vampires would have jobs come fall, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for Josef Kostan nee Logan Echolls.

So, as the curtain on this TV season falls, you can look forward to me actually writing about Mad Men this summer, as well as many, many articles on SYTYCD. After that, I’m going to have to see what my fall schedule is like and compare it to the above fall schedules to see what I can really watch and what I can, in turn, cover.

I’ll make you guys a chart of all that later.

The Husband:

Generally being an optimist — why else would I continue to watch ‘Til Death now that my favorite element of the show, the young neighbors, are no longer in the new episodes — I’m of a firm belief that if something truly awful is happening on television, it’s best to mention it as little as possible so as not to attract too much attention to the easily fixable problem in the first place. This is why I don’t publicly discuss the works of Anne Coulter — books I have read out of sheer morbid curiosity despite my political leanings — because as many copies as she sells (I get them from the library so as not to support her too much), she is remarkably uninfluential in the scheme of things. Basically, to bitch and moan about her in the ways I truly want to would only give her more undeserved focus, and if you just want somebody or something to go away, it’s better to outright ignore them.

Am I wrong here, or is this blue dress actually cute?

Am I wrong here, or is this blue dress actually cute?

That’s why I will not be discussing Lindsay Lohan on Thursday’s Ugly Betty. It wasn’t working for the show, I haven’t liked anything that has happened surrounding her character of Kimmie on any of her episodes, but now she’s gone and will not be returning, so there you go. It’s over.

Fine. You want to at least know what happened to Kimmie, dontcha? Sheesh…okay. Kimmie, promoted to an associate editor at the end of the last episode, begins burning all of her Mode bridges immediately, having shunned her short-lasting friendship with Marc and Amanda. Jealous that Kimmie gets to contribute to the magazine’s special “hot edition” with a piece called “Sizzling Hot Club,” Betty gets on Daniel’s case and is finally allowed to contribute as well. Her desperate idea? “Sizzling Hot Fruit.” At home, she struggles to find a fruit that’s not so overdone or “so last year,” and her father recommends she write about the tico berry, a rare fruit from Brazil. Doing some research, Betty stumbles upon a great story — it appears that hot Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima loves the rare fruit, as her grandfather harvested them during her childhood, and she credits them with providing her with her great beauty and intelligence. Betty tells Mode about this, and suddenly the tico berry piece turns into the cover story (and the first time Mode has ever had Adriana on their cover).

(Quick bit of research brought this to my attention: as I assumed, the tico berry is completely fictional, and the berries they use in the episode are actually rambutan berries.)

Kimmie does not like her high school rival getting all the attention, so she sabotages Betty’s interview with TV fashion show host Suzuki St. Pierre (still my favorite character name on the show) by giving her un-adhered fake eyelashes and convincing the show’s gaffers to overlight her in order to make her sweat. (The Ugly Betty writers, proving they know nothing about the production side of movies and TV and have probably never lifted a Fresnel in their lives, ignore the fact that Suzuki would overheat long before Betty as he is closer to the heat source.) Kimmie then gets to Adriana before Betty can and finds a way to take over as the story’s production leader, usurping Betty from her rightful position.

First, well put Kimmie in a magicians assistant outfit and then actually cut her in half. It will be so tragic.

First, we'll put Kimmie in a magician's assistant outfit and then actually cut her in half. It will be so tragic.

Betty at first struggles with helping Marc and Amanda destroy Kimmie, but when push comes to shove, she realizes she has no other choice. Kimmie is perfectly able to destroy herself with her utter ignorance of Betty’s photo shoot setup at Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain…

“It’s Suri-realism. It’s something Tom Cruise’s daughter came up with.”

…but with a little nudge, she is convinced to stand up to co-editor-in-chief Wilhelmina over the use of an about-to-be-auctioned Marie Antoinette diamond necklace and is ultimately fired.

Okay, now I don’t have to talk about Kimmie anymore. Back to better Mode stories, UB writers, and don’t make me feel shame for you any longer.

In the world of Hilda, now that she has broken up with Eddie Cibrian, it’s time for another nice romance, so in comes the awesome Ralph Maccio (a.k.a. the MFing Karate Kid), a local councilman who wanders into Hilda’s home-based salon and lets her know that, though he is not there to bust her, she needs to have a license in order to continue her business. She becomes overly defensive at his suggestion (cutting hair is pretty much all she knows), but Maccio begins what I assume (and hope) will be a multi-episode arc back-and-forth between the two of them. I’ve always liked Hilda’s stories, and throwing the Karate Kid into the mix will only improve things in my eyes.

Come on, Hildy, you know you want him. Why? Because he’s the best around, nothing’s gonna ever keep him down. In addition, he is the man who will fight for your honor, and he’ll be the hero you’re dreaming of.

(80s movie dance breakdown!)

The Husband:

Another year, another season of Ugly Betty. Now entering its third over-the-top wacky and colorful season, I finally warmed up to its charm only recently, having earlier been somewhat put off by just how screwball and dramatic it all was. My “3.5-stars-out-of-5” amount of like for the show started off with gravitating toward Marc and Amanda, respectively Wilhelmina’s flamboyantly gay personal assistant and the magazine’s head receptionist. Within the melodramatic halls of Mode Magazine, they kept the show light and fluffy, a sort of resident Laurel & Hardy. Becki Newton (Amanda) especially has a delightfully goofy way about her, unlike the slightly overrated Vanessa Williams, whose weekly performance as the evil Wilhelmina Slater resembles not so much a wicked witch out of a Disney film so much as she does a mental patient with unpredictable mood swings.

Contrary to popular opinion, I thought the show picked up in its second season as it steered away from the telenovela on which it was based and finally found its own uniquely American voice. Betty’s romance with accountant Henry and her flirtations with sandwich guy Gio introduced something the show hadn’t yet seen: emotional complexity and subtlety. When it got too unbearable, either by character idiosyncrasies or the absurd amount of tension and conflict the show is so happy to create, there’s silliness right around the corner to ease everything down. The show also became enraptured with New York City itself, finding ways to make it work as a character and not simply as a setting, so the shift of actual behind-the-scenes production from Los Angeles to NYC this season works wonderfully.

Really, though, it’s all very silly. And though it technically airs before Grey’s Anatomy, I like to watch it after as a bit of a palette cleanser. (Having a DVR is fun!)

Betty tries really hard to follow-up the introduction of Major Badass on Greys Anatomy.

Betty tries really hard to follow-up the introduction of Major Badass on Grey's Anatomy.

In the season premiere, Betty returns to her family in Queens after a very long vacation in the Western United States with her friend, a welcome relaxation in her life after finally turning down the advances of Gio and refusing her hand in marriage to Henry. (Really, raising a baby in Arizona with your ex-girlfriend and being married to someone in NYC? You think that was going to work? Really?) She is surprised to learn that Daniel, her boss, has been removed from his position as editor-in-chief of Mode by his own tranny sister Alexis. (I happen to love the casting of Rebecca Romijn as a former man, as the actress towers over pretty much all of her co-stars.) Where is he now? Editing Mead Publications’ Maxim¬-like guys magazine Player (the “number 3 non-nude men’s magazine in the country). The show takes this opportunity to portray the men who work at such a publication as immature, goofy, misogynistic assholes (probably true) and all the women assistants as hot and dumb (slightly less likely). Betty takes her time in fitting in at the company, and only does so after embarrassing herself at a Player-sponsored outdoor event where Betty, covering for an injured model — injured by an eye-full of Silly String thanks to Daniel’s newly discovered French son’s shenanigans — accidentally drives a motorcycle into an inflatable pool of bikinied models, and realizes that the video of said accident should become a viral video and bring Player some needed publicity.

Daniel: Ginger, show Betty the lay of the land.
Ginger the Hot Player Secretary: I was once voted ‘Lay of the Land.’

Betty needs any money she can get, though, because she has just been tricked into buying a Manhattan apartment that is, to put it mildly, a fixer-upper. Leaky ceilings, noisy neighbors, naked old people in the apartment across the alleyway, rot everywhere; it’s not the kind of place Betty wanted for herself when she decided to become a more independent woman and find her own place. But things start looking up when her family helps her clean the place up, as well as Betty finding that her noisy neighbor is actually a hot emo musician. It’s like I always say: nothing gets a girl over a sandwich guy like the sweet soothing sounds of a hot emo musician that found your lost keys.

Meanwhile, Betty’s father has finally decided to join the American workforce again, taking a job at a local fast food chicken joint. Unfortunately, his manager is Betty’s old high school nemesis, Kimmie (Lindsay Lohan), a cruel, heartless bully who immediately makes Papa Suarez’s life hell. When Betty and Hilda get wind of this situation, they show up at the restaurant and start a foodfight, salads and fried things flying everywhere. Later, though, Kimmie admits that she is simply jealous that the former victim of her taunting, Betty, has such a better life than her now.

” . . . And I’m pretty sure I have Lyme disease. Never have sex in the woods on fire island.” –Kimmie

Right now, Ms. Lohan is bad on this show. Really bad. I know she’s been having her ups and downs in the tabloids and in her career for the last…several years…but I would hope that in upcoming episodes she realizes that she’s on a fairly high-rated show and could stand to maybe not phone in all of her dialogue. Like the actors on this show or not, they give it their all, and LiLo is sticking out like a sore thumb.

Um, should somebody tell Lindsay that doesnt belong in the deep fryer?

Um, should somebody tell Lindsay that doesn't belong in the deep fryer?

Yeah, there was some hullabaloo about Wilhelmina messing with Mode and tricking Alexis into cutting funding for her and Daniel’s mother’s new upstart magazine Hot Flash, complete with an appearance by Regis and Kelly mocking said magazine, but that plotline has been lacking energy since a few episodes into last season. Somebody needs to inject some life into the entire business/betrayal hodgepodge, because right now it’s taking a backseat to a story about fried chicken chefs.

So far, I’m pleased with most everything the new season has to offer, and even if it starts to drag, I know that this wild show will have something completely different up its sleeve in about three weeks. It always does.

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