A Case of the Mondays

First and foremost, I want to send my highest and deepest thoughts, prayers, and sympathies to anybody who was in any way affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I was in New Orleans for an awesome week just two months ago, and it’s unbelievable to think that the incredible and historic landscape will never be the same again. It’s tragic that so many people are now left homeless, and that there are so many that have no idea where some of their family members are and if they’re okay. If you’re in a position to help, I encourage you to check out RedCross.org for all the necessary information.

Also, just as a forewarning, my column this week will give away the endings to the 4400 and Dead Zone season finales, so proceed at your own risk.

CONTINUITY POLICE, VOLUME 5:

I haven’t received any submissions from anybody who can think of a good continuity error yet, but the request still stands. Thankfully, just through watching TV this week I found a good one, but next week may be another story.

As a general rule or thumb, I told myself that I wouldn’t use cartoons in this section. For whatever reason, cartoons play by a whole different set of rules, so I thought it would be a bit of a cop out to ever use one of those as an example. Hell, if I didn’t have this rule, I could go on endlessly just using the Simpsons. Nevertheless, I found a good King of the Hill example, and I decided to use it. Why is King of the Hill fair game, while other cartoons aren’t? Well, through watching King of the Hill reruns on Fox and FX, I have found that the show is really dedicated to staying true to its continuity. Some examples? Well, when Luanne’s hair burnt off after the Mega-lo Mart blew up, her hair steadily grew back throughout a series of episodes. On most cartoons, she’d have her hair back the next scene. Also, at the end of one episode Peggy and Hank decide they want to have another baby. The next episode, which had a completely unrelated storyline, the two of them were still trying to get pregnant. Again, in most cartoons that issue would have either been resolved by the end of the original episode, or completely dropped by the next episode with no real resolution given.

Anyway, onto the continuity error. Strangely enough, I found this error within the same week of programming, however one episode was on Fox, while the other was on FX (meaning the two episodes were likely separated by different seasons). In the episode that Hank and Peggy are trying to get their dog Ladybird pregnant, and ultimately decide to have another child themselves, there are several flashbacks recalling the difficulties Hank and Peggy experience while trying to have the baby that eventually becomes their son Bobby. During one of the flashbacks, the doctor regretfully informs Hank that he has a narrow urethra, which is why they’ve been having so much trouble getting pregnant. Based on both Hank and Peggy’s reactions, it’s made pretty clear that this is the first time either of them is finding out about this (incidentally, this is a pretty funny ongoing bit).

However, in the episode that Bill gives Hank, Dale, and Boomhower lice, we go to another flashback of when Bill joined the army after they all graduated high school. This, of course, is many years before Hank and Peggy wedded, and obviously before they had attempted to get pregnant. However, in a drunken haze, Hank blurts out the fact that he has a narrow urethra. This, of course, is inconsistent since he wouldn’t find this out until years later, when he and Peggy try to have a baby.

Apparently this upcoming season will be the last one for King of the Hill, which is disappointing since it doesn’t really seem like they’ve exhausted all of their potential storylines. I honestly don’t get to see the show as often as I’d like (it’s on when I’m usually eating dinner), but from what I’ve seen they are still delivering strong episodes. They don’t need to rely on guest voices, but when those do appear it seems to be handled in a logical fashion (opposed to, say, Simpsons, where they just so happen to run into the Prime Minister in the airport, Ian McKellan chilling outside a theater, JK Rowlings I forget where, and Joe Millionaire just for the hell of it). I try to catch the syndicated episodes as often as I can, and for whatever reason Hank’s old fashioned and Peggy’s full of herself attitudes always make me laugh.

JORDAN COLLIER: A JESUS FIGURE?

I wrote up a long recap/review for the 4400 finale, so if you want my more elaborated thoughts on the episode, click here for the column. Oh, and for anybody wondering, the song at the end was “This is Your Life” by Switchfoot. I suggest you go downlo….um, buy it.

Anyway, at the end of my review I mentioned that I didn’t think it was any mistake that Jordan bore a striking resemblance to Jesus, with the accentuated beard and long hair. I also mentioned the fact that both figures died and came back to life. In the past week I’ve done some more thinking about this allusion, and here are some other connections I’ve come up with:

I mentally noted this upon watching the episode, but forgot to mention it in my actual review, but I also think Jordan’s choice of clothing is important. I can’t really remember what he wore at his funeral, but I imagine that the clothes he returned in were simply a torn and weathered version of those same clothes. Nevertheless, the way Jordan’s clothing was draped over him almost seemed like a robe. He was also walking barefooted through a sandy terrain. Again, aesthetically speaking, many facets of his appearance were very similar to how Jesus is traditionally represented.

I can’t believe I missed this, but a very obvious connection is the fact that they share the same initials. This would have required an incredible amount of forethought, but both of them having the initials of “JC” is a wonderful touch, whether it was intentional or not.

I touched upon this in my review, but I also don’t think it’s any mistake that it’s Jordan saying “We’re salvation” in the introduction before every episode. I do believe that Jordan is a prophet, in some sense of the word, much like many who don’t believe that Jesus is necessarily the son of God, refer to him as a prophet. Both Jordan and Jesus have a wide array of loyal followers, and (and this is only speculation), it was perhaps necessary for Jordan to die, and consequently return, in order for his mission to be accomplished. Once again, this series of events are reminiscent of Jesus’ tale. Jordan’s death, return, and the messages he spreads will likely bring him more followers, which was perhaps the intention of those who abducted him in the first place.

So far, I stand by my original early prediction that Jordan returned to the future, and now that he’s back, he has full memory of what he saw and what he needs to do. Incidentally, Jordan’s words may ring more true than he realized: He truly will be the salvation the future was looking for.

Further, this may answer the question of why two future entities (Isabelle and whatever was possessing Kyle) played such a significant role in Jordan’s murder. Perhaps it was necessary for Jordan to “die” in order for him to return to the future (if that is indeed where he went), which is why Isabelle provoked him to go through with the press conference and why Kyle assassinated him. Overall, this finale has left me greatly looking forward to next season.

THE DEAD ZONE:

I enjoyed this episode, but I was left a bit under whelmed by it. Honestly, I’ve found this season as a whole to be, overall, a bit lacking. It just seemed to me that about 90% of the episodes were filler, with only a handful actually fitting into the grander scheme of things. When I read a preview for the season, it left me believing that the female psychic may be a somewhat recurring character, so I found her episode enjoyable (if a bit confusing). However, in hindsight, it just ended up being a throwaway episode. All-in-all, I don’t think much progress was even made in the whole Stillson storyline, other than what I will talk about momentarily. I feel like I could have missed this entire season and started watching again next season without really losing a step. Compare that to the 4400, where so much happened in the finale in itself.

That said, I do have to say that I liked how they added some dimension to Stillson’s character this past season. The impression I’ve gotten from his character is that he’s not purely bad: After all, we’ve discovered that he doesn’t directly have a hand in almost all of the scandals he’s been involved in, yet he doesn’t really seem to mind the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy either. He’s clearly ambitious, and is willing to play dirty in order to succeed, yet we’ve also learned that he’s not quite as sinister as he’s been portrayed as either. In this sense, it may not be Stillson who brings upon the apocalypse, but rather his methods. The fact that Stillson so willingly went to Johnny for help, knowing that Johnny will be able to have visions of anything, goes to show that Stillson may not even know some of the dirty deeds his office commits.

I also found the final scene interesting, but it emphasized a growing pet peeve of mine. I recognize that there is a great deal of suspension of disbelief, but the convenience of some of Johnny’s visions are a bit, well, too convenient. So Johnny touches the bible and gets a vision of Janus’ monologue. The way Johnny’s visions work, why did he so happen to get that vision? Why didn’t he get a vision of the bible being manufactured? Or of somebody handing them out? Or of somebody putting it into a bookshelf to be sold? From my knowledge of the show, Johnny can’t simply touch something and hope to get a vision, because (a) sometimes he’s unable to get a vision by touching something, and (b) sometime she gets a vision by touching something when he didn’t intend to. One might argue that he gets a vision when he touches something that has a strong emotional charge to it, but we’ve seen him have inconsequential visions, so that would seem to challenge that. Obviously I’m nitpicking here, and the show simply wouldn’t work if they really did it in any other way, but it’s something that’s been noticeable to me lately.

LOST:

Last week they showed the infamous Numbers episode, which reveals that Hurley won the lottery before getting stranded on the island, only to discover that the numbers he used are cursed. Through flashbacks, we learn that Hurley first heard the numbers when he was in a mental institution and one of the fellow patients kept repeating them. After confronting that patient, the patient tells the tale of a friend who heard a transmission repeating those numbers. We then discover that Hurley was in Australia in the first place to find out the significance of the numbers. When he learns that the numbers were also repeated on the French Lady’s papers, he becomes obsessed with tracking her down. When he does, he learns from her that the transmission repeating the numbers actually originated from the island, and we (the viewers) learn that the numbers are also engraved on the latch.

I really liked the fact the twist that the numbers came full circle with Hurley. The numbers originated with the island, and Hurley’s obsession with finding out the significance of them sent him to Australia, and it was the flight home that sent him to the island. The circumstances that have brought each person to the island are exceptionally intriguing, and this one was perhaps the most interesting yet. The new season of Lost is using the tagline: “Everything happens for a reason,” and in Hurley’s case that certainly rings very true.

Finally, I also enjoyed seeing a less likable side of Hurley. Throughout the series to this point, Hurley always seemed too friendly and at ease with the dire situation they were all in. It was nice to finally see him feeling a bit of stress and at the end of his rope.

A couple of weeks ago TV Guide had a synopsis of every first season episode of Lost, and it was an interesting read. I plan on buying (or renting) the DVD when it comes out later this month, so once I actually see every episode, I plan on taking a closer look at it (at this point, I’ve only read about the episodes I’ve seen).

FALL TV PREVIEW:

Last week’s edition of Entertainment Weekly featured a preview to the upcoming fall season. I’ll take a look at the television shows I plan to watch (in order by the day of the week):

American Dad:

This show has slowly (emphasis on the word “slowly”) grown on me, to the point that I’m willing to give it a chance. Along with that, not a whole lot is on Sunday nights, so it doesn’t kill me to spend a half hour watching this. The preview doesn’t reveal much other than that Stan learns how to masturbate and becomes addicted (and honestly, who hasn’t been in that boat before? …..awkward….) and that Patrick Stewart returns as Stan’s boss. Also, lots of guest voices.

Family Guy:

Not a whole lot is revealed about the upcoming season, but honestly who needs it? No matter what, I’m going to be watching this show. ’nuff said.

King of the Hill:

The preview basically confirms that this is the last season (and insiders aren’t particularly happy about it), and hints that Luanne might be getting married, which is how they’ll end the series.

The Simpsons:

Considering how much I’ve been insulting this show lately, some might be surprised that I’ll be tuning in this upcoming season. Truth be told, I won’t necessarily be going out of my way to watch it, but the show has a special place in my heart (which is why I assume most people continue watching it). The good news, however, is that Sideshow Bob will make his return, and the guys who write for The Office have scribed an episode. The gimmickry continues, unfortunately, which means Marge will be going on a Wife-Swap type reality show. How many reality shows is this family going to go on before they concede to exhausting that story line?

Boston Legal:

We now jump to Tuesday night, and we check in with the show I actually started getting into during its short tenure on Sunday nights last year. I never really watched much of The Practice, but I’ve gotten pretty into this show. Apparently Heather Locklear will appear in a story arc, which should be good. Along with that, Monica Potter and Rhona Mitra get the axe, although that shouldn’t really impact anything.

Lost:

The article on Lost focuses a great deal on the Powers that Be being surprised that so many people were disappointed with the lack of questions answered in the season finale. The fact of the matter is, they didn’t really answer ANYTHING in the finale. Yes, the latch was opened, but what was inside? What purpose does it serve? We will find that out in the opening minutes of the premiere, so that’s a relief. We also get an idea of what happened to the guys on the raft, and the islanders come to terms with the fact that they’re not getting off of the island any time soon. Because of that, relationships start progressing to the next level. On the other hand, Kate begins to forge her own identity outside of her relationships with Jack and Sawyer, which is actually a bit disappointing. I like Kate as a character, but I really like the way she almost immediately grew attached to Jack. In my eyes, it was realistic, the way you just feel connected to somebody you barely know, and how that relationship can give you comfort during trying times.

Anyway, early on in the season, the creators seem pretty determined to give a lot of the answers viewers felt deprived of in the finale, while also constantly creating new mysteries and issues. The tension between Jack and Locke continues to escalate, which should also make things interesting. And what became of Walt? That will be dealt with as well.

Smallville:

The creators refer to this season as “Superman in training” which is great news in my book. According to the preview, Clark accepts his destiny and after discovering his Fortress of Solitude (from the impeccable finale), Clark returns to Smallville to square off against some evil Kryptonians who emerged from the vessel that Lana finds. Along with that, the incredible James Marsters (from Buffy fame) joins the cast as Brainiac. Oh, and Aquaman makes an appearance. Yeah, out of all the heroes they could have picked, they went with HIM???

Unfortunately, not much is divulged about Lex’s apparent heel turn, or the fate of Lionel Luthor. One thing is for sure, I’m REALLY looking forward to this season, and unfortunately it will probably be the last season. And while I don’t really watch much on Monday or Tuesday, Thursdays seem to be overloaded with shows I want to see.

By the way, Saturday night I was in a bar in New York, and one of the bartenders bore a striking resemblance to Erica Durance, who plays Lois Lane.

The OC:

Well, apparently Trey didn’t die from the shooting in the finale, and the whole thing is resolved in the first episode. Apparently Kirsten makes a new friend in rehab (Jeri Ryan), who creates some tension between her and Sandy. Summer gets a new rival (although nobody can really compete with Rachel Bilson), and a new dean of students tries to make Ryan’s life a living hell. I initially only started watching this show to see Rachel Bilson, but the dialogue was smart without being annoying, unrealistic, and high on itself like Dawson’s Creek, so the show should continue to be a lot of fun. I’m interested where the show will take itself after this year, when all the characters go to college. Will it go the 90210 route, where all the characters coincidentally end up at the same school in a very contrived manner (let me get this straight….EVERY SINGLE character got accepted to the same school???), or will they maintain separate story lines as the characters go their separate ways, a la Dawson’s Creek?

ER:

I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t even give this show a full season. Noah Wyle is gone, Kerry Weaver barely appears on the show, and Dr. Kovac may not even be in all of the episodes because of his new role in James Bond.

I was discussing this show with somebody a couple days ago, and I brought up the fact that in the early years, every character was more or less likeable, aside from Benton and Weaver. Sure, the characters had their own fair share of flaws, but they were characters you could like. Now, it seems like every character they introduce is obnoxious or overly cocky or just a bitch. Fortunately, apparently Noah Wyle will be appearing in the second half of the season, so the show may have a shot of old life anyway.

Reunion:

The format of this show is enough to interest me. The first episode shows a funeral, and then we go 20 years backwards, at a group of friends’ high school graduation. From there, every episode represents a year, all leading up to their 20 year reunion, where we discover who gets murdered, who murdered the person, and why. Reminds me a great deal of 24. Lets just hope that Fox actually sticks with the show so that we can see it through, unlike with Point Pleasant.

Well, overall, I’m looking pretty forward to this upcoming season. For one thing, this particular column will discuss television shows that people actually watch (outside of Lost), so perhaps the fan mail will actually start coming in again. And, of course, we’ll have the return of my Smallville recap/reviews! Oh, and my birthday is on the 28th, so September is an exciting month all around.

TV FUN FACT OF THE WEEK:

People want a Full House fun fact? Here you go:

By the age of six, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen started to look so different that audiences could tell them apart. It was considered to choose one twin over the other, and have just Mary-Kate Olsen play the role. However, their fan base was so huge, and co-star John Stamos didn’t want one twin to leave the show, so both girls were kept in the role.

I wonder why they would have gone with Mary-Kate over Ashley? Truth be told, pre-eating disorder/dying the hair phase, I actually preferred Mary-Kate also.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to send any continuity errors you can think of. Once again, best wishes to those affected by the Hurricane.