A Case of the Mondays

First and foremost, a Happy 23rd Birthday to Beer Pong Champion Frank. Also, it’s my birthday on Wednesday, so if you’re one of my friends and reading this, I probably expect a phone call. And if you’re a fan, hell, an e-mail would be nice. Geez, I’m about this close to throwing myself a surprise party at this rate.

I’m going to try something a little different this week in regards to the shows I usually comment on. Since a new season has begun, and an onslaught of original television shows have come upon us, I’m going to start writing less about more shows. Back when I was simply commenting on Lost, The 4400, and The Dead Zone, I could spare writing two or three paragraphs about each show. Now I’m usually commenting on Lost, The OC, Reunion, Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad, just to name a few. I’m sure it gets exhausting reading an endlessly long column, and truth be told by the time I get to the Sunday night television line up, I’m usually pretty spent as is, and end up either forgetting to say certain things about the show, or too tired to get into it entirely.

So, from now on I’ll probably talk at length about Lost (since it’s the most compelling), and then break down each section into days (as in, Thursday Night Line-up and Sunday Night Line-up) and talk roughly a paragraph about each show. Although, history has shown that I often say “I’m going to keep this short” and then end up rambling on forever.

CONTINUITY POLICE, VOLUME 7:

Who’s on the chopping block this week? Hell, lets attack ER, since it returned with its 700th season last week. This is a two pronged one, since neither is especially lengthy or (admittedly) interesting.

One thing was made explicitly clear about Dr. Lewis’ character during her initial run on the series (before leaving and then returning several years later): Her fear of flying. This has been a chronic issue, spanning more than one episode. When she had to take a helicopter during a rescue, it was practically the issue of the episode. I also vaguely recall her anxiety when she was going on a trip and had to fly, as well as her taking a train when she finally left the show, so she wouldn’t have to fly.

Then, suddenly, upon her return many years later, there’s no issue whatsoever regarding her fear of flying. There are numerous occasions in which she’s put in a scenario that she must fly, and she has no reluctance whatsoever. Sure, there’s the possibility that she had therapy, but I also vaguely remember her stating during her initial run on ER that she’s tried every method possible to get over her fear, and that nothing has worked. Oh well, sorry I can’t be too descriptive here, it’s all based on memory.

The second one is quite simple. Early in the series, Mark goes ice skating with Susan and clearly cannot skate. Years later, Mark tells Dr. Dave that he used to play hockey, and later in the episode he’s skating perfectly fine.

I really should have just used the three different deaths of Luka’s family as an example. That’s for next time, I guess. But hey, I’ll talk about ER a little later in this column.

LOST:

Well, Lost returns with an all-new episode, and I must say I’m a bit surprised with how they scripted the episode. By no means whatsoever is that a criticism, as, in hindsight, I think the way they did script it was better than anything I expected.

First of all, I am surprised that the episode focused so exclusively on Jack. The Pilot episode and season finale both gave a bigger picture overview of the show, being the only episodes that provide flashbacks from every character (all other episodes just have flashbacks from one individual character). With that in mind, I expected a broader story that included more of the central characters. The way they did it, nobody outside of Jack, Locke, Kate, and Hurley really had any lines. But, again, in hindsight this was probably a smarter route to go.

Along with that, with the way they decided to reveal the inside of the hatch, it was probably smart that they held off until the season premiere in telling that story, instead of prematurely making that revelation in the finale. That said, it was foolish of the creators to give the false impression that the viewers would find out what was inside.

Here are a few things to notice regarding Desmond and the inside of the hatch. Take note of the drugs he has that he injects himself with. The Prescription number is: CR4-8151623-42 (the numbers). Also, notice that the numbers he types in before hitting execute are 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. He is also going 16 miles per hour when he’s riding the stationary bike. He also does 8 collective pull ups and sit ups.

I also read that there are a bunch of clues hidden in the mural inside the hatch. What’s the mural of, you ask? Well, the number 108 is inside the sun, and below that (possibly in the moon?) is the number 16. You can also see the number 42 to the right of that, with an arrow pointing to the sky in between them. On the top right of the screen is what appears to be a face screaming. At the bottom is a house, with an arrow point up at something that possibly says “Sick.” What does that all mean? I haven’t a clue.

Through the magic of TiVo, I’ve also discovered that it’s at exactly 42 minutes into the episode that Jack decides to go to the hatch. Intrigued by this revelation, I decided to see what happens during the other numbers. At 23 minutes, Jack and the crew return to the caves with news about the hatch. It is also at that time that Shannon tells everybody she saw Walt. At 16 minutes it’s a commercial, so this whole theory may not mean anything. But it’s for the Mega Millions New York Lotto….and the guy in the commercial guesses that perhaps 8 million dollars may have fallen from the sky. Eight is one of the numbers. Weird… It’s at 8 minutes where Jack has his first flashback, about his future wife being taken into the ER after her head on collision. And, lastly, it’s at exactly 4 minutes when the “Lost” logo comes up at the beginning of the episode. Well, that was a waste of my time…

Desmond’s words to Jack that he’d see him in another life was an obvious foreshadowing, however I believe that his advice to “lift it up” will end up being significant as well. The biggest question remains, though: Who is Desmond, and why is he in the hatch? I have no idea about either, although I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Desmond ends up being something not entirely human (“Desmond” sounds an awful lot like “destiny”). I think we may learn that Desmond played a part in all of the castaways’ lives, perhaps performing some sort of miracle for each of them. It is important to note that, prior to Jack’s discussion with Desmond, he was under the impression that he did not fix Sara. After talking to him, Jack discovers that she can feel her legs and move her toes. Had Jack never talked to Desmond, it’s possible that miracle may never have happened. I think that this situation with Desmond may help Jack find a little faith, and become a believer in destiny.

This episode made me wonder something, though. Are the flashbacks the survivors are having something that the character is actively remembering, or is it just a mechanism to help tell the story? For example, was Jack thinking back to the moment he was running in the stadium and met Desmond, or was it a way for the show to tell the viewers that they have indeed met before?

Oh, and last week I mentioned the significance of the numbers, and completely forgot about the fact that Jack was in seat 23, and Michelle Rodriguez’s character was in seat 42. If you check out oceanic-air.com (the website for the fictional airline that they were on), the default ticket amount for ordering tickets are 4-8-15-16-23-42.

Hey, I told you I’d ramble on and on about this show…

INVASION:

I thought I’d give this show a chance, since it was after Lost, and there really isn’t anything I’d watch instead. To be honest, I was really unimpressed with the show. I think it would have been smarter to not introduce so many characters at once, because as it stands, it appears as if the mother has been abducted or killed or whatever, and I really don’t care. It seems like her husband, the sheriff, may be bad also….and I couldn’t care less. My point is that they were throwing too much at me at once that I didn’t have a chance to care about people and things that I felt I was supposed to. I’m not even sure if I’m going to bother watching next week.

THURSDAY NIGHT LINE UP:

Before I get to the shows I usually watch, I should mention that I’ve watched the past two weeks of Survivor (although it’s likely going to get the boot once Smallville starts). Regarding the immunity challenge at the end, I have to wonder why anybody on earth would think it’s smarter to run towards your opponent, essentially giving him the opportunity to get to his side first, instead of pulling towards your side (to those who didn’t watch, they were playing a variation of tug-of-war). To me, that seemed so moronic. Judd had the best strategy, where he basically anchored himself when it was relatively even, then in the last thirty seconds used a burst of reserved energy.

Well, this was a relatively big episode of The OC. It appears that Caleb is broke, Jimmy is gone, Kirsten is home, and Charlotte is some sort of scam artist (perhaps?) Perhaps most significant of all, however, is that this is the first time ever that Marissa wasn’t a complete whining brat. Her whole “woe is me” routine got old and annoying a long time ago, to the extent that I don’t understand how anybody in her life could actually enjoy being around her. This week, however, she was exceptionally mature, she made some difficult decisions regarding her moving to Hawaii and telling her father not to come back when he told her he had to leave, and she was actually a sympathetic daughter to Julie. This aspect of her character was a real breath of fresh air. Also, the relationship between the Dean and Taylor is a little creepy. The way they always stare at each other and communicate non-verbally is really suspicious. I don’t know what the deal is, but there’s definitely something up with that. Also, what was the deal with Summer allowing Seth to take the full punishment like that? She was a little too willing to take the fall there. But Rachel, I still love you! Side note: I was relieved to hear that Jimmy did actually love Julie. The whole thing was pretty suspicious, where it seemed possible that he was just using her for her money, but it was nice to see that he truly did care about her.

Another solid week of Reunion. Fellow IP columnist Marthan Erhardt is not so much a fan, and some of his criticism is justified. I don’t find the need to remind us of the date as grating as he does, especially since I think that was toned down significantly in the second episode. However, I do have to agree with him that I don’t think the interrogation should be the way they pace the flashbacks. I mean, if somebody was murdered days ago, why on earth would they begin the interrogation by asking about things that happened twenty years ago? There are a lot of other methods of springing flashbacks, notably through the confessional scene (which worked very nicely). As it stands right now, we know that Will and Carla are alive, and they’ve done a nice job of setting up possible murder motives. The two love triangles of Will, Sam, and Craig, and Carla, Aaron, and Jenna open up a lot of possibilities. I’m definitely intrigued by the show.

So, ER returned this past week, and I was very interested in seeing who would get the “starring” title now that Noah Wyle has left. I was very pleased it was Goran Visnjic, who plays Dr. Kovac. However, this episode furthered my comment from a couple weeks ago, where all of the characters are so unlikable. Sure, the original cast of characters had flaws (arguably even major flaws), but ultimately, for the most part, they were people you’d enjoy knowing and working with. Now, every new character they introduce is overly cocky or obnoxious, and all the women are bitches. To me, the only relatively likeable characters there are are Kovac, Abby, and Susan, and even they’re cutting it close.

In regards to the actual episode, I find it funny (and incredibly annoying) that Alex has been recast. First of all, last year Steve (Sam’s ex-husband) was not only completely recast, but his entire character was entirely altered. The previous season, Steve was portrayed as a somewhat sly and charming guy, who Sam felt weak and slightly threatened by. Suddenly he was written as a total drunkard who Sam felt sympathy for. Now her son has been recast also. On the other hand, I do like that Morris seems significantly less incompetent, and I really hated that scene that Neela tore down her intern and made him cry, because he seemed like a really nice guy. He was trying his hardest!

SHOWS THAT SNEAK UP ON YOU:

So I’ve started casually watching this show, Instant Star, that I’m sure all of you Canadian readers have heard of. Anyway, the other night they had the episode that Jude found out her dad is having an affair. This, in the midst of having her boyfriend Shay publicly dump her (for cheating on her with her rival, no less) and kissing her manager, Tommy (who is about 40, while she’s like 16). Anyway, at the end of her episode she performs a scathing song about being heartbroken and wanting this guy out of her life. What made the scene so great was the fact that her dad knew she was singing about him, Tommy thought she was singing about him, and everybody else assumed she was singing about Shay. It’s just something that really, really worked. On top of that, the camera waited until the very end to pan onto Sadie (Jude’s appropriately named sister), who also knew what she was REALLY singing about.

Oh, and the show gets extra credit for doing a “girl speak” subtitles during the next episode (Jude says “It’s been so nice having Jamie here to help” but the subtitles said “back off, you don’t own him”). Anyway, the show is kinda cute, and worth checking out if you have nothing better to do when it’s on. For those of you in the US, check The N late at night, it’s usually on in between thousands of episodes of Fresh Prince, Moesha, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

But Hollywood (and Canada, for that matter) really needs to learn that surprising a girl you really like with a passionate kiss very rarely results in them suddenly falling in love with you.

SUNDAY NIGHT LINE UP:

Wow, a terrific night of television. Well, Simpsons was good, but the rest was incredible.

Simpsons was, for the most part, amusing. It grates me that Homer and Marge seem to separate practically every other week. I mean, who remembers the episode several years ago where Marge and Homer broke up, and Homer lived in the tree house and completely fell apart? They actually made the separation mean something. Now Homer and Marge split up over anything. Hell, there have only been three episodes this season, and they’ve already split up twice! That said, the church with every single black character was pretty funny, although I’m pretty sure I saw Apu in there. Isn’t he Hindu? Oh, the visual of the characters from The OC running hand in hand with a guy dressed as Snoopy with “California” playing in the background had me laughing out loud.

Family Guy, in my opinion, was tremendous, and the best episode since they returned a few weeks ago. Lois yelling “Freshman!” when Chris got out of the car was great. Stewie picking up the phone and getting confused by what was being said when Chris called from South America was funny, and all of them finding reasons to get off the phone when Meg picked up was hilarious. Stewie’s “Lois has kept me pretty up to date about you” was great line. The Meg hating continues. I also enjoyed Stewie’s extended flashback after watching Bewitched. Funniest part of the episode, though, had to be Peter being serious during a Paul Reiser stand up routine. Peter immediately getting drunk at his brewery job was predictable, but still funny. Oh, and I was on the floor during Peter’s job as Kevin Federline’s magic mirror: “Magic mirror, how can I look like a douchebag today?”

American Dad came close to (but didn’t quite) stealing the show last night. I got a real kick out of them hyping up the arrival of the decoder, giving him an elaborate back story and everything, only to have his helicopter crash into the plane. Then, after that, having Stan unconvincingly say that some other guy is pretty good at the Word Jumble, only for a piece of the helicopter to fall on him was a nice touch. The whole scene at the Sci-Fi convention was funny (in addition to Stan’s speech about saving time by saying “Sci-Fi” instead of “Science Fiction”). I also found Roger sleeping in a noose pretty funny as well.

TV FUN FACT OF THE WEEK:

Well, in tribute to the Buffy continuity error I used last week lets use Buffy as our fun fact this week:

In “Lies My Parents Told Me” Spike makes mention of his mother’s personal physician – a Dr. Gull. This is Dr. William Gull, Physician-in-extraordinary to the royal family, who some believe was Jack The Ripper.

Well pretty that’s interesting, no?

Anyway, that’s it for this week. Enjoy another week of television, and my Smallville column will return later this week, probably to be posted on Friday. Based on previews, it looks like Clark and Lana may do the deed. Good for them. Anyway, give it a read.