Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TV - End of Season Round-up

Sometimes, I just want to take a break and write about something frivolous - like my favorite moments from the end of this year's TV "season". The idea of TV seasons is pretty artificial, because TV has all kinds of seasons these days. Nevertheless, I'm going to say I played right into the advertiser's hands by being glued to my television throughout the May sweeps.

So, without further ado, here are my favorite moments from TV's finale season - in no particular order (although some didn't come during the actual finales).


If, for some reason, you're saving these shows on your DVR, for GOD'S SAKE WATCH THEM ALREADY. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Beckett and Castle behind closed doors. (Castle) Castle is one of those shows that slides down like chicken soup. It's comforting (hooray for procedurals!), quippy, and the cast isn't bad to look at. It even has a wise child character. The great thing about it is that they do the cliches with such skill that you really don't care if you've seen it all before. In the penultimate episode of the season, Beckett and Castle went rogue and went to L.A. to solve a murder, and their long-simmering sexual tension (well, more like love than sexual tension) came to a head. Castle told Beckett how amazing she was. She left and went into her bedroom, shutting the door behind her. And then came one of those totally cliche scenes where both of them were behind those closed doors, thinking about throwing the doors open and rushing into the other one's arms. But they didn't, of course. It worked, because Castle makes those things work.

House performs surgery on himself. (House) I just like self-surgery scenes. Usually they happen in historical dramas, in brutal scenes of battle that take place before the days of field hospitals. But of course, Greg House is fighting his own personal Civil War in every episode. Totally bad-ass.

Leslie knows all about the dorms at Johns Hopkins. (Parks & Recreation) There were about fifty amazing moments in the last few episodes of P&R. (L'il Sebastian says good-bye, Ron's swivel desk, everything Donna says). The one that really made me shoot soda out my nose, though, was when Ben and Leslie were sent on a road trip and Leslie was afraid that she would crack under the pressure of all of the sexual tension between her and Ben. So she brought along tapes of whale sounds and horrible banjo music and incredibly-detailed talking points about the dorms at Johns Hopkins, where she was never a student. Hilarious. It was completely appropriate when they finally succumbed to love ... when Leslie handed Ben some receipts. (Also, can I just give P&R a big ol' FEMINIST shout-out, because Ben fell in love with Leslie because she is good at her job. Competence is a big turn-on for all the ladies, but we don't often see a guy on TV who gets hot for giant binders full of work ideas).

I realize as I write this that a lot of these are romantic ... hmm... what does that say about me? But here's one that's not...

Alicia lashes out at Kalinda. (The Good Wife). So, Kalinda didn't exactly betray Alicia - I mean, they didn't even know each other when Kalinda traded sex for help from Alicia's husband Peter (hmm... I bet that was pretty hot, come to think of it). But The Good Wife recognizes that any woman, including a good wife, is going to be pissed at the other woman, no matter her excuses. Alicia told Kalinda that she knew Kalinda had slept with her husband, Kalinda tried to explain, and Alicia snapped: It is selfish to say anything after that. True dat.And still, our hearts broke when Kalinda broke down.

Penny goes to a hipster party. (Happy Endings). OK. I just put that in here to say, I really like Happy Endings and I want it to stick around. It may not be the best show ever. They obviously showed the episodes out of order. It's a total post-Friends Friends-rip-off. Yet... the characters talk about the things my friends and I talk about (zombie apocalypse!), they make fun of the things we make fun of, they try to be adults and fail just like we do. And Oh. My. God. Do they make me laugh. Never harder than when Penny (the divine Casey Wilson, who could sing and was funny yet still got booted off SNL) went to a 90's bar mitzvah-themed hipster party, and Penny declared that she loved a crappy 90's song. "And not ironically."

Stefan returns to his roots. (The Vampire Diaries). Usually, Stefan is the most boring part of VD. I mean, I understand what Elena sees in him (square jaw, tall hair, extremely thoughtful, not pushy). He's just ... eh. We knew that in his past, he'd done some bad things. But we'd never really seen it before. Not until Klaus came and told us that Stefan used to snack on whole villages, then made the sweet Salvatore drink bags and bags of blood. While Damon was dying picturesquely (and sweatily), Stefan was suddenly becoming interesting.

Peter changes the game. (Fringe.) Yeah, yeah. We've heard it before. Best season of Fringe by far. We tripped between Walter and Walternate, Olivia and Fauxlivia (and don't forget Bellivia!), and it was good. And all the while, Peter, the most normal person in the Fringeverse - the only one without multiple identities - was our surrogate in the world of weird. But when his moment of greatness came, and Peter saw the future, he couldn't choose one world over another. He chose both. And then he disappeared.

River and the Doctor share their first/last kiss. (Doctor Who). River Song has got to be one of the greatest characters on TV right now. As embodied by Alex Kingston - she of the curly hair and curvy hips - River has a sexy swagger usually reserved for male characters on TV. The fact that we have to puzzle out her story backwards only adds to the mystery. It's hard to explain if you're not down with the Who-verse, but River and the Doctor are having ... some kind of relationship ... moving in two different directions through time. Confusing, I know. I'm confused too. Except when River and the Doctor kissed (the Doctor all flapping hands and stammering words) it was suddenly, heart-breakingly clear: the Doctor kissed River for the first time, which meant that she would never kiss him again. Her self-awareness, in a single glance, was shattering.
Booth glances sidelong at Brennan. (Bones). Here's the thing about Bones: lots of people talk about the will-they-won't-they aspect and the Moonlighting-curse. Should Brennan and Booth get together? everyone asks. But Brennan and Booth have been together for years. They may not be in a romantic relationship, but they firmly root themselves each other. And yes, in the penultimate (super-excited I get to use this word twice in one post!) ep, it was hinted that Brennan and Booth finally slept together, though all we saw was a sweet hug in the middle of a devastating night. When Brennan announced she was pregnant at the end of the finale, and that Booth was the father, it was confirmation of what we thought we knew. But I think the real confirmation came earlier, when Booth stole a glance at Bones, while both were in white-trash undercover gear at a bowling alley, that was so full of love we should all be so lucky were anyone to glance our direction with that look in his eyes.

We lay eyes on Fort Hawthorne. (Community). It's a bold move, for a show that's been accused of being gimmicky, to repeat their best gimmick - a paintball game that turns into a cinematic tour de force. But Community is all about bold moves. It's a show about love where the key characters aren't all that lovable. It's all about real emotion, and yet the backdrop of the narrative is anything but real. Which, in my book, makes it almost mythic. When community college paintball turned into an Old West shoot-out, Pierce Hawthorne created an old-West style saloon, a haven from the fight. And it was beautiful ... and set us up for the carnage to come. And yes, Community rewards close reading, and I'm sure a few Ph.D. dissertations will stand on its shoulders, but it's still laugh-your-ass-off-funny when it comes right down to it.

Tyrion matches wits with Catelyn. Guess who wins? (Game of Thrones). There are many great moments in Game of Thrones - probably because it's based on a book about how moments shift the fates of nations. And many of those moments belong to Tyrion, played by Peter Dinklage. He's the son of a great man, yet has the misfortune of being born a dwarf. Captured by his family's enemies, he bets his freedom, and his life, on a duel between champions - but his champion is a mercenary. When Tyrion suggests the duel, his captor, Catelyn, sees instantly that she is lost, but events carry her away. In a land where chivalry rules, she has no choice but to obey the laws of knights and swords.

Luckily, we no longer face a summer full of re-runs like we did in the old days. I'm looking forward to So You Think You Can Dance, White Collar, True Blood, and Torchwood.

How about you? What were your favorite moments of the TV season?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The P&R finale was so perfect. Actually, scratch that. Their whole season was perfect. I've never watched something so perfect the entire way through.

And Doctor Who. Of course I'm dying that they're taking it away so soon.

The moment from finale season that stood out to me (that you didn't already mention) was the Cougar Town finale. The scene with Travis & Lori was really moving. The whole episode really hit that funny/sentimental spot that CT does really well.