The Wife:

Usually, the Tyra Shoot is my favorite shoot of the season, as I really do like Tyra as a photographer, but this Tyra Shoot was somewhat disappointing. Scarves, Tyra? Your inspiration for these photos actually came from you fucking around on your webcam with your headscarf on before beddy-byes? What inspiration! Couldn’t you at least have made up something about Renaissance paintings or India or old movie stars to make it sound more glamorous than the fact that you came up with this one in your final five minutes of waking consciousness?

Its okay, because Nicole doesnt look all that awake here, either.

It's okay, because Nicole doesn't look all that awake here, either.

Even less inspired than the scarf shoot was the Amazing Race through Wal-Mart CoverGirl challenge in which Nigel Barker and his wife Chrissy instructed the girls to wear cheap-ass “model basics” from Wal-Mart and compete in a foot race against the other girls to then acquire horrible-looking gladiator sandals, their photos, and, finally, put on a face full of CoverGirl lash blast lip slicks mascara gloss radiance whatever. In order to make this less droll, one or two girls got eliminated at each station, leaving on Erin, Sundai and Bianca in the final three. Furthermore, the editors honed in on Erin’s competitiveness and made the whole race about how she pushed people and hurt them and played dirty, which later made her cry in a limo. Look, she shouldn’t have grabbed on to anybody’s arm, but when you’re racing through Wal-Mart, you really shouldn’t even bother to pretend that you’ve got a sense of race etiquette that would keep you to politely running around your competitors, rather than barreling through them. All that didn’t help Erin win, though, because the Barkers liked Sundai’s cheeks, so they gave her some inconsequential prize like being on the Wal-Mart website.

Tyra then did her scarf thing, and gave one girl immunity immediately after the shoot. That girl was Brittany, who has won two things, but Erin thinks two is a million. So Brittany was given the much better prize of shooting with two male models that Tyra just discovered, because this prize, ultimately, had to be about Tyra’s merits, not Brittany’s.

Emerging from Tyras womb.

Emerging from Tyra's womb.

As for the rest of the photos:

  • Brittany: With a golden scarf across her face, this reminded me of an Anne Geddes shot of a baby in muslin.
  • Erin: Is Erin’s deal that she’s ugly pretty? She looked like a raisin in this photo. I do not understand.
  • Kara: Looks like an unpleasant drag queen, which is kind of the point, I guess.
  • Ashley: Her clothing at judging was a hot mess, and this photo was one, too. In fact, Tyra had to change her setting three times during the shoot to even get this disaster. Which just goes to show you: not every girl you pick out of a talk show audience can be a model.
  • Laura: Wearing a playset her meemaw made her to panel that I totally adored, I also adored her photo. She looked like a J.A.L. David odalisque.

    Whats an odalesque?

    What's an odalisque?

  • Bianca: Why is this girl so mad in every photo? She’s got stank face in every damn one of ‘em.
  • Rae: Lovely, lovely, lovely.
  • Nicole: Hunched over in a green scarf, Nicole once again knocked it out of the park.
  • Sundai: A nice, simple beauty shot.
  • Jennifer: This is a nice shot, but is it a beauty shot? It shows more body than face, but it does hide her bad eye . . . so  . . . draw?

Callouts: Jennifer, Rae, Nicole, Erin, Laura, Sundai and Kara, leaving Ashley and Bianca in the bottom two. This being Bianca’s third bottom two appearance, she was finally ousted. Praise Jesus!

The Husband:

So…we can all agree that Nicole is awesome, and certainly the frontrunner, right? Her weirdness hasn’t turned off too many people, has it? Walking around her high school with her books in a wheelbarrow isn’t tooooo strange, is it?

Our precious!

Our precious!

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The Wife:

So far, I can easily divide this season of Gossip Girl into things I care about and things I do not care about. I am interested in all things going on at NYU, including Blair’s adjustment to not being Queen, Georgina’s meddling, Dan’s sudden popularity and the Vanessa/Scott thing that, inevitably, ties into Rufus. I do not care about Nate’s extremely isolating romance with Bree Buckley, specifically because it is so isolating. I like Joanna Garcia and I like Bree and the idea behind this plot, but Nate needs to reconnect to the rest of the group of this plot will remain just as lost as its been so far this season.

I especially do not give a shit about Serena Van Der Woodsen and her daddy issues. Her life is a series of bad decisions which could easily be fixed by simply acting like a person. Rather than going to Brown like she told Rufus and Lily she should, she hides out with her friends in Manhattan because, suddenly, she’s decided she’s not going to college. Why? Because she doesn’t know who she is or what she’s supposed to do with her life and she can’t see how leaving everything she knows is going to help her answer either of those questions. And that, my friends, is how you know Serena is too fucking dumb to go to Brown in the first place. I mean, what? I’m pretty sure that NO college freshmen has any idea who they are or what they’re life should be, and that’s precisely why we go to college for four years, away from everything we know, so we can FIGURE THAT SHIT OUT.

So because Chuck talked to Rufus about her skipping out on Brown, she decides to ruin all of his business deals? And pit Chuck against Carter? Serena, you are infantile and an idiot. You do not come between someone and their money. You can mess with their social life all you want, but you don’t ruin someone’s business. Even fucking Tyra Banks knows that shit, yo. Just be a person, Serena. Be a fucking person.

Why are we so bad at being people?

Why are we so bad at being people?

While Serena is having a difficult time operating like a human being, Blair is having a hard time fitting in at NYU, where no one gives a shit if you’re a socialite and would really rather have pizza and beer and watch pretentious films that make you feel superior than, say, getting dressed to the nines and eating sushi and sake at a soiree. Dan takes pity on her and helps integrate her into Georgina’s way-more-appropriate rooftop kegger, only to find out that he’s been Blair’s inside man for embarrassment when she calls all of Georgina’s Jesus Camp friends to the party and tries to tell everyone it’s a conversion party. I mean, that’s pretty genius, and I’m surprised that Dan was able to turn everyone so quickly from Blair’s side simply by saying, “So, who wants to stay here and drink cheap beer with me?”

I feel badly for Blair. It’s hard to fit in when you’re so different from everyone else, but it is about time she got off her Queen Bee high horse. That shit may fly in high school, but college just doesn’t care. It’s good to see her humbled, cozying up to Chuck Bass, but that, of course, doesn’t last long when she receives an invitation to Le Table Elitaire, a totally made up secret society of college socialites, asking her to bring them a photo up for auction at Sotheby’s to secure her entrance into the group. Unfortunately, Chuck needs the same photograph to smooth over a business deal. What follows is an adorable bidding war between Chuck and Blair, which is actually a battle of who loves more than whom in their relationship. Serena, acting like a person, for once, realizes that the invite was written by Georgina, just as Chuck realizes that Georgina was turning his gears as well, via an office assistant she happens to know. Humbled once again, Blair gives the photograph over to Chuck for his business deal, which ultimately doesn’t go through when he decides, instead, to sell his shares in Bass Industries and buy a hotel on his own.

Meanwhile, Vanessa has finally started to get suspicious about Scott’s lies and finds out, after we all realize that she’d make a terrible detective, that he isn’t even enrolled in NYU. She does manage to get an easy confession out of him, where he tells her that he is Rufus and Lily’s son and he’s been trying to get close to the family to meet them. Vanessa convinces him to tell everyone at the auction, but when Scott’s adoptive mother shows up, he simply can’t tell Rufus the truth, lest he break his mother’s heart. Instead, he tells them that he is Dead Andrew’s brother, maintaining the lie that Andrew was Rufus and Lily’s son, and he wanted to meet his brother’s parents. It’s all very sweet, and was probably one of the most loving things anyone in the GG universe has ever done, but Vanessa is not happy with Scott because now she is burdened with his terrible secret. And, suddenly, I don’t think I care about Vanessa anymore.

Stray thoughts:

  • “The only queens at NYU are the ones with tickets to Liza at Carnegie.” — Chuck
  • I love Blair’s saffron wrap top.
  • Did it bother anyone else that Scott’s lies could have easily been confirmed by, oh, I dunno, looking on NYU’s website and checking course times? As well as confirming professor recommendations through ratemyprofessors.com? In a world where everyone gets gossip via text blasts, why can’t these characters use the internet?
  • OH.MY.GOD. It just dawned on me that no one has received any conniving text blasts from Gossip Girl. Where did the central conceit of this show go?
  • Oh, and there’s some old wounds between the Bayson family and the Buckleys . . . maybe this will solve Nate’s storyline isolation problem as Bree plans her revenge on Carter?

The Wife:

Sometimes it is absolutely impossible to care about what happens on ANTM, and last night was one of those nights. We’re happy to announce that, thanks to our next-door neighbors being friends with people, our cat Calliope has returned home to us. As far as we can tell, she’s alright, just starving. She’s lost a lot of weight, but she’s eating a ton here and, I think, is really grateful to be dry and near her people who will rub her little chinnies and snuggle with her.

But even if my cat hadn’t found her way back to me last night, it still would have been impossible to care about ANTM. Here’s the essence of the show in a nutshell: Lulu and Ashley complain about Bianca any time they are not individually in front of a camera. Now, I do think Bianca has a stank-ass attitude, and I also think she needs to get a new face in her photos that doesn’t look so damn haughty all the time. But Ashley and Lulu’s complaints extend far beyond Bianca’s bad behavior and seem to exist simply so they can have some thoughts in their heads at all. I’m glad sensibly insane Nicole, whom I adore, took the time to socialize with Bianca and have a “very real” conversation about the abusive relationship Bianca was in. I’d forgotten all about where Bianca’s hardness stemmed from, and while I don’t like her more for that reminder, I do like Ashley and Lulu a lot less. You know what’s less becoming on a model than short stature? Pettiness. Just stop it, ladies. Stop it.

The challenges of this episode were all about walking tall and looking tall, which Tyra justified as a necessary achievement for a petite model because if they want to compete, they need to be able to hold their own against gajillion-foot tall Glamazons. I mean, that’s how Kate Moss made it at only 5’7” right? So Miss J taught the girls how to walk tall and lean, and showed them that doing so was, in fact, so easy a 9 year old child named Diva Devanna could do it.

Even this child is bored with this episode.

Even this child is bored with this episode.

He then showed them how to walk in tandem so they could do their challenge — a runway show where each petite girl was paired up with a model 5’10” or greater. Sure, a number of them walked tall, but in the same way that a tall Chihuahua walks next to a Great Dane. Most of them tried to be overconfident, but appeared foolish. Especially the really short girls because the models they were walking with had legs that went up to their boobs. Brittany the Mathematician won the challenge by being both overconfident and graceful, which was apparently the right formula for a good walk, according to Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen Magazine Anne Shoket. Brittany was awarded a prom advertorial in said magazine and got to bring two friends. To my delight, she chose Laura. Inexplicably, she also chose Kara.

The girls were then asked to parlay their tall-walking skills into tall-photographing skills. To me, this seems to be the most sensible challenge Top Model has ever created. Everyone in the industry wants to look tall, long and lean in a photo. Hell, even non-models want that. However, any sensibility of concept was thrown right out the window when I saw the set . . . which was a playground. Because short women are basically nine-year-old runway divas playing at being adults, women, models, etc. To be fair, some of the girls had warehouse equipment to pose with, or twin-sized mattresses or things of that ilk, but the fact that the playground was there was really bothersome. They wanted to put something there to scale it so that the girls posing in front of it would appear taller, but it could have been anything. It didn’t have to be playground equipment. I really wish Bankable Productions would stop infantilizing these tiny women.

  • Erin: In blue high heels, Erin’s legs certainly looked tall and the judges oohed and aahed. Frankly, I don’t get it. I do not get Erin. At all. It’s a fine photo, but Erin is not special.
  • Bianca: Finally, by asking her to think about Jesus, Mr. Jay got some sunshine to emanate from this girl’s generally sour puss. She did not, however, do a very good job of making herself look long, slightly hunched and sitting in the playground rings.
  • Brittany: Homegirl straight-up failed this assignment, which lets me know that she is not into geometry. She lost her neck and shortened her legs and by trying to bring interesting angles to the shot — she just didn’t actually achieve any.

    On the bright side, this would be a good vampire look for when Bill finally turns Sookie Stackhouse.

    On the bright side, this would be a good vampire look for when Bill finally turns Sookie Stackhouse.

  • Sundai: The judges think she looks tall in this shot, stretching her arms up to the sky. I think she looks like she’s 5’3” and can’t reach the cookie jar.
  • Laura: By placing herself on a warehouse flat truck and being its exact length, she shortened herself. To her credit, she looks great in green and her face, as always, was lovely in this shot.
  • Jennifer: Her photo made her appear to be the tallest Asian woman in the world. And no one noticed her lazy eye! Double plus good!
  • Nicole: Once again, Nicole is the best model in this house. In a shot that would make a great promo version for the ballet of The Princess and the Pea or a romantic interpretation of Once Upon a Mattress, Nicole stood a gajillion feet tall. Amazing. Amazing. Win.

    Why is this bitch not getting first photo every goddamn week?

    Why is this bitch not getting first photo every goddamn week?

  • Lulu: On set, Mr. Jay called his Lulu’s worst set to date. Curved around the rainbow bars, she at least alluded to length, even if she was blank in the face because she’d wasted all of her emotions bitching about Bianca.
  • Kara: She managed to achieve what Brittany couldn’t and both looked tall while creating angles.
  • Rae: I think that, with her legs hanging of that palate, she looked tall, but the judges tell me my knowledge of angles is incorrect.
  • Ashley: The judges liked her angles here, but she totally failed at smizing. DO NOT FAIL AT THE SMIZE.

In the end, Kara, Nicole. Erin, Sundai, Jennifer, Bianca, Laura, Ashley and Rae all continued on in the hopes of becoming America’s Next Top Model, leaving Lulu and Brittany in the bottom two. And because Brittany is another person Lulu complained about, that meant she got to stay while little lezzie Lulu got to go home to her girlfriend.

Know what’s more interesting than models complaining about stuff? A cat.

Stray thoughts:

  • So, I guess we don’t have any “My Life as a Covergirl” commercials this year. I presume this is because Teyona did not test well on camera last year, which I’m pretty sure I wrote about. Extensively.
  • The good news is that we’re still getting Nigel’s “Top Models in Action” spots, from which I was glad to learn that McKey has graced the pages of Vogue Knitting. Someone get me that back issue!

The Husband:

I don’t have much to say, but I do feel proud for simply looking at designer Kevan Hall and proclaiming that he had to be the brother of actor (Chicago Hope, Romeo + Juliet) and director (Gridlock’d) Vondie-Curtis Hall. I know my 90s actors, and people who look like them. I would not have guessed, though, that Kevan was straight, but therein lies my constant misconceptions about the world of fashion, about which my wife is far more knowledgeable.

The Wife:

Remember how we never saw Liam’s parents last season? Well, let me just say that the fact that he has a mother and stepfather shocked the hell out of me. The moment his mother appeared on screen, I was like, “Who the fuck is that?” And then to see his stepfather walk into the scene, none other than recently deceased Dr. Bowman from The Secret Life of the American Teenager, well, that was a treat. A treat because this is what I wrote in my notes:

“Dr. Bowman! You shouldn’t be alive! You’re dead! You died a horrible death because Grace had incredible sex!”

Man, if you guys aren’t watching Secret Life, you are missing out on some hilarious stuff.

For once, Liam’s parents seem to be taking an interest in his life, trying to guide him better after his summer at “Wilderness Camp,” which, frankly, sounds like one of those places that tries to “rehabilitate” gay kids. (That’s exactly the kind of place I’d send a kid who managed to break into my plastic surgery practice and steal my patients credit cards, somehow.) Their presence in his life means, essentially, that Jen Clark can manipulate them info forcing Liam to stay away from Naomi, should he ever decide to tell her that it was Jen he slept with, not Annie.

Listen, it doesn't matter what you did or didn't do. I'm going to make your life hell because I'm a sociopath.

Listen, it doesn't matter what you did or didn't do. I'm going to make your life hell because I'm a sociopath.

Naomi spends most of the episode flirting with the idea of sending out a naked picture of Annie, copied from the phone of that drunk douche she hooked up with last week, and, therefore, flirting with geeks to anonymously achieve that end. When Navid, Silver and Adriana hear the rumor that someone has a naked picture of Annie, they try to warn her and her brother. Dixon doesn’t really give a shit what happens to Annie anymore because her depression spiral its hurting her whole family, but Silver genuinely tries to help her. Annie even goes so far as to admit that she slept with Liam just to convince Naomi not to send the picture. This works to plant a seed of doubt into Naomi’s mind, until manipulative sister Jen, after explaining why she’s using Ryan Matthews to make it appear that she’s not a golddigger and therefore more easily snag a billionaire, recalls a similar situation about their father’s affairs and how their mother should have believed the circumstantial evidence because it ended up being true. Then and there, Naomi decides to send the text, ruining Annie’s life even further.

I’ve seen American Teen. I know that sexting is no joke and it really does ruin people’s lives. I can’t help but feel badly for Annie. She might be able to overcome the sexting scandal if the hit-and-run weren’t also looming over her head. By the way, what a great way to drive the mess that is Annie’s life home by airing Navid’s contentious interview with newcomer Teddy Montgomery just as Annie finds out about the sext. In this interview, which was laden with provocative questions simply because Navid feels threatened by the fact that Teddy was the first guy Adriana slept with, Navid asks Teddy if anything bad has ever happened to him, and he says that he saw a dead homeless man last June on Mulholland, killed by a hit-and-run driver. BOOM! That, my friends, is dramatic tension.

Stray thoughts:

  • I clearly didn’t pay much mind to the Silver-Dixon breakup in this episode. But poor Silver. Her friends are giving her bad advice, and Dixon is being a douche.
  • Hi there, Rumer Willis! Cute black cardi!
  • Wow, that’s so not the house Naomi bought last year!
  • Girls double-talk like Chinese food. I’m not going to explain that any further.
  • Was it just me, or did anyone else think of Star Trek when watching the surf team tryouts? Nobody wears such brightly colored rash guards. Liam, Teddy and Dixon all looked like they were on the bridge of the Enterprise in those things. And, clearly, Dixon, with his new flattop, would be Geordi LaForge. Am I right, kids?
Please revive Reading Rainbow so Tristan Wilds can host it!

Please revive Reading Rainbow so Tristan Wilds can host it!

The Wife:

With 90210, Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries on the air (the latter of which I plan to write about by pairing the first two episodes), the CW seems to have finally settled into its groove of airing addictive, soapy teen-centric television that’s imminently watchable. This week’s season premiere of Gossip Girl wasn’t as OMFG as certain episodes in season one or two, but it was a well structured, well told 42 minutes of television.

And it has the bonus of not sucking like last year’s Hamptons-set season openers. The showrunners figured out that GG simply doesn’t work without NYC, so I’m very thankful that the majority of this episode occurred within the limits of the city that never sleeps. I mean, after all, the Humphreys aren’t even living over the bridge in Brooklyn anymore. They’ve spent the whole summer shacked up at the Bass der Woodsen home, tending to matters while Lily is away caring for her ailing mother, CeCe. (In other words, Kelly Rutherford is on maternity leave, so they’re killing CeCe for no other reason than that. I just hope she miraculously survives so that Jenny can have that stupid Cotillion Cece bought her a dress for.)

Serena, on the other hand, has allegedly been spending the summer Eat, Pray, Love-ing it at an Ashram, but we know from Eric and Jenny’s fussing over gossip magazines that Serena is up to something else entirely — she’s actually spent the summer trying to find her father. Of course, rather than normal methods of tracking someone down using various PIs (she only hired one) and other professional people finders like, say, bounty hunters, Serena is trying to force her father to notice her by partying it up across the European continent and having her photo snapped doing as many ridiculous socialite things as possible. Searching for daddy is a good quest, but I have to question Serena’s methodology here. She’s been tabloid fodder for years and that hasn’t drawn the attention of Mr. Van der Woodsen. Why would it change now? All I can hope is that this plotline somehow gets her kicked out of Brown so she can rejoin the others in the city. As I know from a classmate who “left” that school, the door to Brown doesn’t swing both ways, if you catch my drift.

We're all sorry about Privileged, JoAnna. Enjoy your consolation guest spot on Gossip Girl!

We're all sorry about Privileged, JoAnna. Enjoy your consolation guest spot on Gossip Girl!

Meanwhile, Nate Archibald continued his attempts to piss off his family by turning down his political internship and touring Europe for the summer. He met up with Vanessa for those Prague peroghi, but otherwise spent the entirety of his trip fucking around with JoAnna Garcia’s Bree Buckley. It takes these two wealthy morons the entire summer to figure out that they’ve actually been sleeping with the enemy as they are the scions of two rival political families. (Shockingly, the Archibalds are Democrats. Does that seem right to anyone?) How do you spend an entire summer with someone and not learn their last name? Surely, he could have looked on the plane ticket she was using as a bookmark. Baffling.

Chuck and Blair have settled into a happy routine of keeping their romance alive by playing games with each other. They both pick a target for Chuck to seduce, and then Blair arrives just in time to humiliate the target of Chuck’s affection. These two are just a step away from attending swingers clubs together or practicing some BDSM. Actually, I’d love to see them engage in the latter. I just imagined Chuck Bass in a leather mask and ball gag, and it was really funny.

If anything is going to make "fetch" happen, it's this.

If anything is going to make "fetch" happen, it's this.

And then there’s Vanessa, who’s been paling around with Secret Brother Scott, the missing Hump der Woodsen, complaining about missing her nouveau riche friend Dan, chilling at a totally different coffee shop, wearing a lot of boho Anna Sui (hello, Target tie-in!) and, evidently, not combing her hair much. (Seriously, V, how dare you show up at a polo match with your tresses only a twist or two away from being dreads. Not cute.) She’s mad at Dan for his change in circumstance, which Dan insists is stupid, and it is, only Vanessa doesn’t see it that way because she’s embodying someone from a Jane Austen novel. This, however, is all a good opportunity for Secret Brother Scott to get closer to the Hump der Woodsens, attaching himself to Vanessa as her plus one for the aforementioned polo match and going so far as to shake his father’s hand.

The final element to this story is Carter Bayson, whom Serena apparently slept with during her European vacation, but for some reason doesn’t want to admit. So she tells her friends that Carter has been stalking her, which gets Blair to slap him with a restraining order at the polo match, only for Serena to lead Carter on a chase through the woods on a stolen stallion so they can fuck like dryads. Serena makes bad decisions. She’s very bad at being a human being. Just be a person, Serena! Tell people things! It will make your life a lot easier!

Stray thoughts:

  • Okay, GG wardrobe department, you can’t feature three different rompers in one episode. JoAnna Garcia’s yellow one was passable. I’ll even give you a pass for Jenny’s polkadot one. But Serena’s brown, skin-tight romper? No. That thing is hideous. I get that this is a trend, the romper/onesie, but it needs to happen sparingly. And tastefully.
  • I will be happy if I never see another maxi dress ever again, as well. NOT EVERYONE CAN WEAR A MAXI DRESS IN THE SAME SCENE!
  • So, thank you thank you thank you for Blair’s incredible 30s-inspired polo outfit. That mint green dress with the square back and flutter sleeves is one of the most inspired pieces of clothing I’ve seen on television since Pushing Daisies went six feet under. The pink straw cloche was also a great touch.
  • “Now take your American Girl hair and your poreless skin and get out!” — Blair
  • “Well, that’s not fair. Everyone goes topless on Valentino’s yacht.” — Jenny
  • “I’m not Chuck Bass without you.” — easily the sweetest thing Chuck has ever said. I melt.
  • Favorite scene? Chuck and Blair doing a little restaurant-based foreplay roleplaying. So cute.

The Wife:

Something weird happened towards the end of the last season of this show. By which I mean, the show actually became imminently watchable. And when the new 90210 became watchable, that’s when I said I wasn’t going to come back and watch the second season.

Well, guys, it turns out that I was wrong, and the CW sucked me back in. As I don’t have classes until Sept. 30, I have nothing better to do then watch a perfectly fine hour of soapy teen television. The only bummer is that I can’t really mock the show anymore. But then again, maybe I just have to learn to write about it in a different way.

Upgrade!

Upgrade!

For instance, I don’t have much to say about the premiere of season 2 because there wasn’t really anything objectionable about it. It’s improved on so many levels. I find Adriana’s quest to be a normal person very relatable, and I get that seeing mommies happy with her babies would take her back a bit to what she recently gave up. Putting Naomi in bed with an older man (and the complications that will arise from this act) is a high-stakes plotting move, and, though the way it played out in this episode was obvious, I think it has a lot of potential further down the line. Annie’s out-of-control spiral looks incredibly promising, as does new troublemaker Teddy, who seems to complicate everybody’s lives. Let me break that down:

  • He was Adriana’s first lover, so Navid is instantly jealous.
  • He’s really cute, but because he was with Aid, Naomi can’t date him.
  • But that doesn’t matter, because he apparently wants Silver.
  • He finds Silver’s phone filled with texts from Ethan, and blurts that out in front of Dixon, causing her to lose both men in one fell swoop.
  • On the plus side, he does kind of save Navid’s cabana-stealing ass by throwing out his daddy’s name to appease angry beach club-goer Elizabeth Rohm (Angel), who also happens to be the wife of Naomi’s older lover.
  • P.S. He saw Annie commit her hit and run.

That shit is, like, Gossip Girl complicated, yo!

Even stylistically, this new season is full of promise. I love Silver’s new hair and have to admit that even though I’ve been growing mine out, I love her haircut so much that I am strongly considering getting it cut like hers. Silver has the cutest one-piece swimsuits in the world. I like the new opening credits. Everyone’s makeup and clothing looks more expensive, less thrown together out of Forever 21, more culled from Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. These are all good things. I’ll even throw a bone to Adriana’s extensions, which I think make Jessica Lowndes look far too much like Courtney Cox, but which I also can’t deny are a good look.

On a Dustin Milligan related note, from his work on 90210, I’d have had no idea the kid was a good actor, but he gives one hell of a funny performance as a boneheaded gigolo in Mike Judge’s Extract. Now that I know he isn’t a pod person, I wish he were still around on 9fneh. The potential was there, but no one ever figured out how to use it. I just hope Ethan is at peace, fly fishing his days away in Montana. And now I’m thinking about A River Runs Through It. And now I might cry a little bit, because that movie is amazingly gorgeous.

Aaaaaaaand . . . I can’t believe it took the writers until season 2 to make a “Hi-ho, Silver!” joke. Really. That should have happened ages ago.

So, it looks like you’ve hooked me, 90210. But I have managed to cleverly resist Melrose Place by TiNoing it. And every time I think about watching it, I find a better way to spend those 42 minutes. Like writing this, for instance.

The Husband:

As I mentioned in my previous update on this long-running WB/CW show, Smallville became the exception to the rule by becoming a better, more focused and more exciting show only after the resignation of its two creators, Millar & Gough, as well as two of its biggest cast members, Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang) and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor). By shifting its focus now almost 100% toward Metropolis, the show has grown into something grander while at the same time more intimate. How is this possible?

While I loved the Freak of the Week episodes of the first three seasons, all set in Smallville, they began to pale in comparison to the season-long story arcs (season four’s finale, especially, proved how good that show could be over an extended period of time). But when the FOWs went away, the season arcs suffered too, a result of their stories being far too stretched out and altogether too formulaic. I thought season 7’s major story, about the creation of Isis and its relation to Kara/Supergirl, was piss-poor.

Still strong, after all these years.

Still strong, after all these years.

But with season 8, the great big story arc, a.k.a. the Rise of Doomsday, was mixed in far better with a resurgence in FOWs, but instead of the first three seasons, where the formula was a villain becoming exposed to meteor rocks (i.e. kryptonite) and then discovering their dastardly power, these Metropolis-based villains are true super-villains, those both in control of their powers and aware of their major fuck-with-Clark-Kent plans. All in all, it just worked.

And oh man, did Kristin Kreuk’s exit ever help the show. After what seemed like decades of the Clark-Lana-Lex love triangle, Clark was finally allowed to focus on other tasks, not the least of which saving the world (and, you know, finally doing some heavy flirting with Lois). But Lana did come back periodically throughout the season, and while I would normally cry out “How can we miss you if you won’t go away,” I confess that I found her spring season two-episode arc to be some of the best work this show has seen. The best moment of the season, by far, was her sacrificing her newfound superpower, allowing kryptonite to enter her now-with-alien DNA body from a superbomb atop a Metropolis skyscraper, to save the city, to save the world, and to save Clark. Finally, I felt like she was actually a part of the story and not just the unwitting victim she was for so many years.

As far as VOWs in the second half of the season go (to me, they should now be Villains of the Week, because the show has finally earned that), the best was probably “Infamous,” where Linda Lake (Tori Spelling, not great but serviceable as a silly villain), the nasty gossip reporter who can turn into water, threatens to expose Clark’s true identity as the “Red-Blue Blur” (we’re not up to him being called Superman just yet), and has the story stolen from her as Clark comes clean to the world about his alien origins and superpowers, only to have his life fall apart and him conveniently going back in time thanks to that Legion Ring and setting everything straight again.

As for the best silly episode, that’s a tie between “Hex” – where Chloe wishes she had Lois’ life and ends up actually inhabiting her body – and “Stiletto” where Lois creates her own crime-fighting persona and realizes that it’s really hard to kick ass in stiletto heels. I need an episode like this every once in a while, just for levity’s sake.

(I did not, however, like any episode related to the Legion, sent from Krypton to aid Clark. It was just too on-the-nose and somewhat antithetical to Clark’s true mission to find himself and not just use others for their strengths.)

But all the best drama came from Davis Bloome a.k.a. Doomsday, the EMT with a confused past and a really bad case of turning into an indestructible monster whenever he blacked out or got angry. After he ransacked Chloe’s wedding to Jimmy Olsen, he finally starts up a relationship with her, as he notices that, thanks to her meteor rock-received power of healing, that he doesn’t turn into a destructive force when around her. But this leads to the best episode of the season, “Eternal,” where Davis’ past finally comes into focus. It turns out that he came down with Clark in that meteor shower back in 1989, but was picked up by Lionel Luther, who thought that he was the fabled Traveler who would save the world. (The true Traveler is, of course, Clark.) Once Lionel discovered his mistake, he treated Davis like shit and finally gave him up for adoption, not knowing that Davis would play a major part in the Kryptonian conflict on Earth, because Davis is literally destined to battle Clark.

It’s all rather silly, I know, but Sam Witwer really put a great deal of effort into making Davis a fully sympathetic yet loathsome creature, a troubled man with uncontrollable urges. And even when black kryptonite was finally used to separate his two personalities, Davis and Doomsday, he was still murderous and jealous enough to murder Jimmy Olsen in cold blood. (That final decision, to kill Jimmy, is a bold declaration from this show that we shouldn’t really expect anything anymore, and that the show technically is its own beast and doesn’t have to follow Superman’s comic lore if it doesn’t want to, a welcome respite from all those in-jokes to the lore that got real old real fast.)

Next season, the show will finally move away from its Thursday at 8 p.m. spot, where I’m amazed it lasted so long all those years up against such shows as Friends and Survivor and be placed on Friday nights where it might die a slow death. Then again, the show has always had trouble cracking the Top 100, and if you don’t factor in its youthful audience and its DVD sales it’s simply amazing that the show has lasted this long. But Tom Welling is 32 now and the show needs to end at some point, and I’m hoping that the Zod-centric next season will be its last. Most would say that the show has lost all of its energy, and while I won’t agree with that, I do think it needs an endgame and stick to it.