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by Steve Leftridge

14 Apr 2010


Nine finalists competed again this week after the dramatic turn of events last week in which the judges used their one get-out-of-jail card to snatch Big Mike Lynche from the jaws of elimination. Simon proved that he never gets tired of the fake-out—even taking the other judges for a ride—when announcing the unanimous decision, at which point Mike assumed a gigantic Buddha pose and Ellen did the Lindy Hop. It means that this week, we’ll cut two singers to stay on schedge, and after a lackluster round of Elvis covers, perhaps it’s a shame we can’t wipe out twice as many. Adam Lambert met the kids in Vegas to mentor them, and it’s no secret that Glambo has a little E in him, so he was the natural choice to take care of business this week.

The other story is the ongoing evolution of Tim Urban, who has become a legitimate contender by redefining the competition. This year, American Idol might not be about the greatest singer; it might be about who makes for a pop idol. Tim isn’t a singer of great skill. And neither was Shaun Cassidy or Leif Garrett or Britney Spears. Since when is awesome vocal ability a requirement for teen idolatry? Tim, by virtue of his Ringo haircut and loyal-puppy demeanor, has won over voters who have moved singing down to third or fourth place on the list of support criteria. What’s hilarious is that Vote For The Worst is claiming “victory” every week that Tim survives, which is getting to be like “saving” Crystal every week. If VFTW really wanted to prove that they’re making any difference in results, they’d put their support behind Aaron or Andrew—otherwise they’re no longer voting for the worst. Here’s what we found out Tuesday.

by Jessy Krupa

14 Apr 2010


This week’s episode of Parenthood opened at the parent/child yoga class that Crosby was attending with his son. While he ogled the woman in front of him, reminding me of why I never do yoga in public, Jabbar befriended her son and the two quickly planned a play date. There was no mention of Kate in the whole episode, as Crosby drooled over this rich divorcee until she actually made a play for him. In an astounding show of bad parenting, the two left their kids alone with a seemingly dense pool boy. Crosby had enough sense to note that was a mistake, however, angering the yoga mom. Later on, Jasmine chastised him for using her son as “chick bait” and revoked his babysitting privileges.

He wasn’t the only Braverman that couldn’t catch a break. Adam kept trying to make quality time with his family, but Max’s tight schedule with Gabby prevented it. Then he had to impress two obnoxious clients from work at a “hip restaurant” (a Mexican-themed bar surrounded by red Christmas lights), when all he really wanted to do was spend some time alone with his wife. It didn’t much help matters much that he saw Gabby at this same bar, drinking a large quantity of alcohol. Not to mention, Kristina called him to bring home some cornflakes, because she accidentally bought the kind that comes with strawberries, which Max thinks looks like toads. (My guess is that they got “Special K: Red Berries”?) All of this led to a hung over Adam shouting at home that he has a schedule instead of a life and that he feels “like a household appliance”. Kristina just calmly told him to “take a break”, which he did at the end of the episode, by surfing. Ironically, my mom noted that he looked like a big toad then.

When Kristina wasn’t consoling Adam, she obsessed over helping Haddie with her career day assignment, following Julia at work in the law firm. Unfortunately, Haddie’s raving review of Julia’s glamorous yet meaningful work depressed Kristina, who felt that her accomplishments were ignored. Adam noticed this and took Haddie to a local park, which was only there because of Kristina’s efforts. After Haddie compared her to Erin Brockovich, she played personal assistant by bringing her mother a cup of coffee home.

Haddie’s career day assignment also got Julia thinking, as she remembered why she wanted to be a lawyer and her promise to give back. When she told Joel her plans to work in legal aid, however, he laughed them off as a good-intentioned pipe-dream.

As Mr.Cyr and Sarah started their romance, Amber crushed on her teacher by repeatedly listening to a SAT word prep playlist that he downloaded onto her i-pod. After Mark (Mr. Cyr) held her hand, sent her flowers, and kissed her a lot, Sarah giddily told all of her siblings about her new relationship. Adam realized that Amber was infatuated with Mark, so he broke the news to Sarah. Though Sarah doubted and criticized her brother, she recognized that Amber needed to know what was going on. Amber’s tearful reaction to that news painfully led Sarah to break up with Mark. But while that was happening, Amber blew off her SAT test to run away with Damien, her boyfriend from Fresno.

Finally, next week’s preview says that we’ll see Zeke make a fool of himself at Jabbar’s birthday party and that Sarah catches up to her daughter and Damien.

by Matt Paproth

14 Apr 2010


Am I the only person who watches HGTV? My wife has dragged me into the world of HGTV very begrudgingly, and it is only after about a year of mostly scowling acceptance that I am prepared to, very sheepishly, admit that I am actually starting to enjoy it.

If you are not watching this channel, I would encourage you to at least check it out. It is filled with a variety of shows for viewers with various interests: homeowners will find shows advising them on how to improve their resale value, how to work on their landscape, or how to fix problems that arise; prospective buyers will find shows about people trying to decide what they value as they look for their first home; even renters will find shows about how to spruce up their rentals.

by Maysa Hattab

13 Apr 2010


The dark things behind the veil communicate via the idiot box. For confirmation, ditch the shrieking ghost hunters and mediums, with their silly trailer campaigns splashed across TV schedules. Look no further than flat-share-horror Being Human. The first series sprung from something like the set up for a bad joke: a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost commune in a house somewhere in Bristol, first broadcast on niche, youth oriented channel BBC Three.

Where the first series saw each of the characters struggling to find their place in a world which can’t or won’t acknowledge them, the second finds them fighting to protect it. Gentle, geeky werewolf George (Russell Tovey, The History Boys,Dr. Who) continues as the beating heart of Being Human, as he struggles with the repercussions of a brutal murder he committed while transformed.

Charismatic vampire Mitchell (Aiden Turner, Desperate Romantics) finds himself adrift having controlled his cravings for blood, and vanquished, for the moment at least, the vampire hordes intent on taking over the world, led by Herrick (the excellent Jason Watkins). The apparent villain of this series is both more and less overt – craggy faced scientist Kemp, first seen as a psychiatrist at the end of series one (Donald Sumpter). He’s a trench-coat wearing, Van Helsing type monster hunter working with a shadowy figure whose identity and motives remain shrouded. By contrast, Herrick’s softly-spoken, inclusive middle-manager brand of villainy is one of the most interesting facets of the first series, reinforcing the intriguing idea of unimaginable terrors hidden in the mundane.

by Jessy Krupa

9 Apr 2010


This week’s episode of “Supernatural” opened frantically, with Dean driving the Impala away from a mysterious possessed crowd that is around a burning barn. Just when it looks like he and a wounded Sam are surrounded, a holy water-spraying truck pulls up. It is being driven by a mystery man who is shouting exorcism incantations through a megaphone. Once the demons are gone, he identifies himself as Rob, a member of the “Sacrament Lutheran Militia”, who is trying to fend off the apocalypse.

A puzzled Sam and Dean then meet the fellow members of his group, a small town whose citizens know all about the end of days and demon hunting. Rob introduces them to David Gideon, the pistol-packing pastor. In turn he introduces them to his wife, Jane, son, Dylan, and daughter Leah, who is a prophet. Apparently, Leah received visions from angels who told the townspeople all about the impending apocalypse. These same visions told her where demons are and how to get rid of them, and in fact, there is some in the local woods at that moment. After the brothers and the townspeople destroy a demon hoard in a poorly shot battle at an abandoned house, Dylan oddly asks Sam and Dean for a ride. As the townspeople drive away, another possessed demon kills Dylan in a surprise attack.

This is when we start to see the even darker side of things, as Jane blames the Winchesters for her son’s death at his funeral. Then Leah convulses and predicts that Dylan will come back from the dead, resurrected after Heaven wins the battle and they, as the chosen people, live in paradise. However, if not everyone follows the angels’ strict moral guide, then the whole town is doomed. That night, Sam strikes up a friendship with Paul, a doubting bartender who criticizes the hypocritical nature of the people. When asked if he’s a believer, Sam says yes, but “God stopped caring a long time ago”.

He’s not the only one losing his faith, a drunken, then hung-over Castiel shows up at the boys’ hotel room. The only thing that remains unchanged about him is his troubles with cell phones. (“I don’t understand why you want me to say my name”, he says on a voicemail.) Castiel has big news: Leah is not a prophet. She’s actually one of the signs of the apocalypse, a false prophet known as “the whore of Babylon”. Her job is to use good intentions to drag good people down into Hell and the only way she can be defeated is to be stabbed with a Cypress branch by a “true servant of Heaven”. The only person befitting of that title there is Pastor Gideon.

Meanwhile, Leah tells the people that the angels are angry because someone is breaking the rules. She convinces Jane to kill Paul, but doesn’t stop there. Soon all of the “sinners” in town, including children, are thrown into a storage shed that she demands be set on fire. Pastor Gideon is starting to have doubts about her, so it really doesn’t take much effort for Sam, Dean, and Castiel to convince him of what he must do.

The three ambush Leah when she’s alone, but she escapes and turns the townspeople against them. This doesn’t last long, because everyone sees her super-human grip around Dean’s throat. Gasping for breath, he grasps the Cypress branch and kills her. Wondering why it happened, Sam asks Dean if he’s actually Michael. Dean says no, but he speeds off in the Impala.   

Nothing is mentioned for no reason on “Supernatural”, so when the “previously on” clip show reminded us about Lisa, Dean’s former girlfriend that he may or may have not gotten pregnant; I knew it was done for a reason. Dean showed up at her door and tells her, “When I do picture myself happy, it’s with you and the kid”. He warns her that some bad things are going to happen in the next couple of days, but not to worry because he is going to meet with some people that will make things okay for her and the boy. Therefore, I’m left wondering what that exactly means for next week’s show, the much hyped about hundredth episode.

While I’m glad to see the apocalypse plot advancing, several plot holes made this episode messy. What will happen to the townspeople? Why would the false prophet afflict such a small town? Why didn’t Dean choose to say goodbye to Ben? There were other weak moments, too. Dean annoyingly referred to God as a “deadbeat dad” again and the show’s lack of good lighting made some scenes hard to follow. Still, the episode made me anxious to see what happens next week.

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