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Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010

Episode two felt like classic Project Runway, successfully resolving last week’s boring challenge issues and revealing a promisingly high level of talent. “The Fashion Farm” opened with weepy Janeane from Portland and cute-as-a-button Anna confabbing in the apartment about how they hoped the next challenge would involve something “very New York. Like, weird, eccentric New York.” Aren’t non New-Yorkers quaint?


Instead, the designers were taken out to a farm where they found their models standing in a field like a group of extremely tall Cabbage Patch Kids, dressed in burlap sacks.


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Monday, Jan 25, 2010
The recent and depressingly bland episode "Johari Window" was another in a distressingly large number of dull episodes bookended by a few spectacular gems. Will Fringe ever fulfill its potential and become a consistently great show?

Has Fringe gone astray?


The recent episode “Johari Window” was not merely mediocre but increasingly typical of Fringe. A lackluster story about individuals who were hideously deformed as the result of military experiments but who appear normal as long as they stay within range of a signal emitted by a local broadcast tower, the episode was not only completely unrelated to the show’s central story arc but boring and dull as well. Every show has its off moments, but what is troubling about Fringe is that it has had so many of them.


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Friday, Jan 22, 2010
The new green-screened epic debuting on Starz may well go down as the TV series with more nudity, blood, and sex than any other in the history of television. It may also be the worst big budget series ever made.

If you were to ask someone what words first spring to mind after watching the two debut episodes, they would not be the ones that you would associate with great television. Instead of great acting, great writing, and compelling production values, with Spartacus you can’t think of much beyond nudity, the irresponsible use of CGI, cardboardish writing, and blood. Lots of blood. Titanic quantities of blood. In fact, there is so much blood that it is hard not to think of the famous Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which copius amounts of blood spew from one severed arm and leg after another in absurd quanities. Was blood eve intended to be the major component of any series?


So what descriptive terms spring to mind when thinking of Spartacus?


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Thursday, Jan 21, 2010

Another night, another round of morbid auditions. Welcome to Orlando and, yes, it was a Mickey Mouse operation from the get-go. The producers tonight tried to hook us with a fiasco, a flamboyant fella named Theo who wore a cape and had glued several nickels around his right eye and sang Pat Benatar, who has been mercilessly butchered in this young season. It’s only four shows into the new Idol, and the formula is already pretty nauseating with the farcical auditions toggling with semi-talented dreamers who have a heart-wrenching story at home.


Put your hands together for Broadway darling Kristin Chenoweth of Wicked fame. The story tonight was that Kara and Kristin were BFFs, throwing a sorority girl party at the judges table, hanging all over each other and laughing constantly. Not to get all Captain Kirk on you, but I liked Kristin better with green skin. She was barely present tonight, by the way, disappearing midway through the show without a trace. When she did speak to the contestants, her voice suggested that she should have played one of the munchkins in Wicked rather than the witch.


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Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010

Last week’s American Idol auditions in Atlanta gave us a reminder of how bizarre things can get when DVRs, Twitter, and YouTube mix with the nation’s collective impulse to latch on to a single cultural moment, no matter how asinine. It also demonstrated, much to the delight of Fox and the Idol producers, that people are paying attention to and talking about this season in the early going. Within minutes of “General” Larry Platt’s “Pants on the Ground” performance, hordes of dorm-boys around the country rushed to their guitars and camcorders to be the first to have a Dave Matthews-style “Pants on the Ground” cover up on YouTube. By morning, thousands of people had changed their Facebook statuses to “Pants on the Ground”, the most number of spontaneous status updates since Obama won. The next night, Jimmy Fallon performed a sober version of the song as Neil Young, and by the time Brett Favre sang it in the locker room after thumping the Cowboys on Sunday, the joke had run its course and “Pants on the Ground” fatigue had started to take hold.


Surprisingly, there was no mention of the General or his song on tonight’s episode, the third auditions show, this time from Chicago featuring guest judge Shania Twain. Thankfully, Twain was a much more constructive critic than previous guest celebs Posh Spice and Mary J. Blige. She didn’t yield to the temptation of a summative “That don’t impress me much” although she did tell one contestant that he had “a beautiful bottom end”, and you could sense Mutt Lange armageddoning it at home. The singer in question was an 20-year-old Asian undergrad named John Park, one of the few hopefuls worth a damn tonight, and even he was fairly lifeless.


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