Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Love You Kate : Review of Castle 3x24 'Knockout' (Season Finale)

So was last night mind blowing or what?? I already knew somebody was going to die. That isn’t what shocked me, but boy did the ending leave me speechless…

For the most part episodes of Castle are self-contained. Yes the sexual tension between Castle & Beckett is apparent in every episode, but plot heavy episodes only happen every once in a while.

Going into last night’s episode, we all knew that we would be diving back into the murder of Joanna Beckett. Because of this we assumed that this episode would be very plot heavy. We expected to come out shocked. And usually when a viewer goes into an episode with such high expectations it jinxes it. The viewer comes out feeling un-shocked and unsatisfied. Well this was certainly not the case with this finale. When this episode ended I felt like I do after an episode of Fringe. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that confused, but I definitely didn’t know how to process everything that just went down (speaking of which I still haven’t posted about the last episode of Fringe. Ha did that episode mind f*$k me).

Getting back on track, this episode dealt with concepts that Castle just doesn’t talk about. For God’s sake Castle & Beckett discussed feelings. I mean what IS THIS?! The scene between the two of them in Kate’s apartment was just…amazing. Seriously I applaud Nathan and Stana. For those of us who watched the sneak peeks, we knew a talk like that was coming, but I never imagined the factors that would lead up to it. Castle being told by the captain and Beckett’s dad that he needed to stop her…genius. When Beckett’s dad came to see Castle I was floored. He was the last person I expected to see in this episode. The fact that he knew so much about Castle spoke volumes about his relationship with Beckett. And the look on Castle’s face when Daddy Beckett was talking to him…priceless. I basically felt like Beckett’s dad was giving Castle & Beckett his blessing or something (Let’s face it. These two are destined to get married. It’s okay to admit it to yourself). Daddy Beckett put so much trust in Castle, solely based on what he’s heard from his daughter. Now if that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what does.

And then the captain. Jeez. Yeah there was a lot of shit that went down involving him that I’ll get into a little later, but the stuff he said throughout the episode about Beckett & Castle’s relationship was heartwarming. He knew Castle allowed Beckett to have fun. He knew Castle would be the only one to get Beckett to back down. He knew that if he told Castle to go to Beckett that Castle would listen .

So Castle went to Beckett and took Daddy Beckett and the Captain’s advice. But of course Beckett stayed true to her character and refused to back down. I was so happy that the writers had Castle bring up how this was affecting Beckett’s loved ones. When Daddy Beckett appeared earlier in the episode I kept thinking “Kate, can you at least give this up for your father? He’s still alive, and he deserves to have you in his life. Don’t do this to him.” So when Castle brought that up I was stoked. When he brought Josh up I was a little less stoked, but hey I understood. And then..the moment we’ve all been waiting for…Beckett threw Castle a curveball – “What about you Rick?” Castle exploded and I LOVED it. The way he went off on her about how they never talk about their feelings was breathtaking. Everything he said was so true, and she knew it. She tried to push him away by telling him he doesn’t know her, but we all know that’s BS. Their relationship has been built up so that they affect one another in a way that no other person can (hence Martha’s line “There’s only one person on the planet that could make you this upset”). So when Beckett finally felt her walls crumbling, in true Beckett fashion she retreated. Let’s face it, she might be kick ass physically, but emotionally she definitely has some issues. She kicked Castle to the curb and went running to the captain to get Castle removed from the 12th permanently.

And even though she went to the captain with the intention of getting Castle thrown out, we all know why she really went there. She knew the captain would tell her how ridiculous she was being. She knew the captain would never let her throw Castle away. So when the captain simply went along with everything she was saying she went crazy and I loved it. That scene was hilarious and Stana played it so well. When he said “Okay” Kate literally looked at him like “WTF did you just say?!” It. Was. Wonderful.

Okay, breaking away from Castle & Beckett for a moment, I’m going to talk a little about the captain now. From previous episodes we already knew a ton about Joanna Beckett’s murder. We knew cops were involved. We knew someone hired assassins, but we didn’t know that the captain was involved with the case. How many of you saw that coming? I was completely blindsided. When it came out that he was the 3rd cop I felt just like Ryan and Esposito (BTW their fight really got me worked up. I was screaming at my TV “YOU’RE BEST FRIENDS. CUT. IT. OUT."). Like R & E I wanted to deny what I was hearing. I wanted it to not be true. The captain has always seemed like a father figure for Beckett, so knowing that he had any part in her mother’s murder was devastating. But because the Castle writers are so awesome, they were able to still redeem him in the end.

The captain loads his gun, brings Kate to lure in the bad guys, and has Castle there to take her away. That man seriously had everything thought out. What he was saying to Kate made so much sense. He hadn’t intentionally tried to hurt anyone. He got in too deep as a rookie, and when she came around he saw it as a chance at redemption. Everything he did for her might have had an ulterior motive, but he still truly cared.

When Castle carried Beckett away (her screaming “I forgive you” was heartbreaking) I went nuts. We’ve never seen Beckett have a meltdown like that, and the way Castle held her and comforted her was perfect. Now the one thing to me that didn’t make sense in this scene was the moment that Castle let Beckett go. How on earth would he know that what he had just heard was the final gunshot? Lockwood could have very well still been alive and ready to take her away, but Castle let her run off. It made no sense. So if anyone has any explanations hit me with them!

So then the final scene happens: the funeral procession. We assume that the drama has mostly stopped at this point. Yeah, we all knew a cliffhanger was coming. But I for one assumed it would be another Castle is about to tell Beckett how he feels, Josh miraculously falls from the sky and rides off with her on his horse motorcycle moment.

But no that doesn’t happen. Instead we see a freaking SNIPER. And before we have any time to fully process what’s going on BECKETT GETS SHOT. WHAT THE HELL? Obviously she isn’t going to die, but still, WHAT THE HELL Castle writers?! Once again I applaud you because I did not see that coming. When Castle told Beckett he loved her I nearly fainted. I wanted her to say it back so bad, but obviously that’s coming.

Now my predictions for the future? Well since Kate was “horribly injured” stupid Josh is probably going to come in and save the day with all of his doctor skills. As much as I really don’t want that to happen, I would not put it past the writers. I could even see them having Kate not remember what Castle said right before she went unconscious. I mean, the girl had just been shot. She was definitely going into shock. So while I don’t expect there to be huge progress between them right away next season, I’m still happy Castle got his feelings out there. We finally got to hear him admit that he loves her, and more importantly, Castle got to hear himself admit it.

This episode was magnificent just like the entire season has been. I could not have expected anything better, and I am so pleased with what we got. This episode was a definite WIN. Do you guys agree? Did you love it?? Hate it?? (How could you hate it?) Chime in below!!

Oh and quick side note: Who do you think the captain sent those files to? People are probably assuming he sent them to Castle, but I’m not so sure. Castle showed up at the hanger because the captain called him, not because he had seen the files. But then again the creator did say that Castle will know more about the murder come season 4, so maybe he did get those files after all. Unfortunately we won’t know until September. But until then just remember these four words "I love you Kate."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why Shouldn't I Eat The Soup? : Review of HIMYM Season 6 Finale 'Challenge Accepted'

Wow I haven’t written a review in awhile. Glad I get to start up again with a review of my favorite show: How I Met Your Mother. And boy did tonight prove why it ranks number one on my list.

Typically How I Met Your Mother knocks its season finales out of the park (with the exception of season 5, but hey that whole season was off). So I admit I went into this episode with high expectations. I was nervous that the episode wouldn’t come close to what I was expecting for multiple reasons.

First off I am a HUGE Barney & Robin shipper. Those of you who have read my previous blog posts already know that. Going into this finale I knew Barney & Robin were going to spend a lot of time together. I also knew that Nora was going to make an appearance. So at the beginning of the episode, I really wondered if there was going to be enough Barney/Robin moments to satisfy my shipper needs. Well let me tell you there were more than enough.

Barney and Robin’s cab moment was so freaking cute. Speaking of cabs please buckle your seat belts while I switch lanes for a second (Ha! See what I did there? Corny? Fine you don’t have to rub it in).

Anyway my FAVORITE recurring character made an appearance in this episode—RANJIT! I absolutely adore him. Seriously I love every episode he’s in. He always shows up in pressure situations and manages to lighten the mood. But that isn’t even what I love most about him. Ranjit was there from the start. He was in the pilot episode and clinked glasses with the gang during the last scene. Carter & Craig always said that scene made them feel like this show was going to be a success, and well, look at it now! Every time Ranjit shows up I think about that scene and really feel like the story is coming full circle. Ranjit just makes me so happy.

BACK ON TRACK—So Barney & Robin shared that cutesy scene in the cab which I loved. They also simultaneously tackled Ted which was AWESOME. They ALSO shared that moment when they were telling Ted he needed to move on. And yeah all those moments were fabulous, but they didn’t even come close to my favorite Barney/Robin moment of the night—when Barney sees his necessary yet meaningless future girlfriend Nora. Now I know some of you are probably saying “Why on EARTH does she love that scene?!” Call me crazy, but to me it sealed the deal that Barney & Robin will get back together. I mean come on! Nora tells Barney “It’s never too late” and the camera flashes to a sad Robin? Do I really have to spell it out for you guys??

Oh and to top it all off what scene comes after that one? Oh yeah…BARNEY’S WEDDING. By the time the scene with Nora started, I had completely forgotten that this episode was supposed to touch on the “infamous wedding” seen during the season 6 premier. I was so engrossed in everything else going on that it just wasn’t near the forefront of my mind. But for some reason as Barney was talking to Nora, I remembered that we were supposed to learn more about it. I got super excited because the episode was almost over and they hadn’t mentioned the wedding yet. Lo and behold directly following that scene we flashed forward to that moment.

The last scene of tonight’s episode showed Ted going into the church to check on the groom. As Ted opened the door to make sure the groom was okay the camera panned to who the lucky husband to be was—Barney. Now I’m sure this shocked a lot of people, but it makes sense. HIMYM loves to trip us up, so why not have it be the wedding of the dude that once said “marriage…is…stupid”? The fact that it was Barney’s wedding says a lot. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s pretty likely that Robin will get married in the future too. And since Lily appeared to be a bridesmaid…well I’ll let you guess who the bride is going to be. ;)  

So aside from my awesome gut feeling that Robin will in fact become Mrs. Barney Stinson someday (so weird to write that) a lot of other awesome things went down in tonight’s episode: 
  1. Ted got to push the button to destroy the Arcadian
  2.  Marshall had his dream interview (which I actually think went rather well…vomiting aside)
  3.  LILY IS PREGNANT (but we all saw that coming right??)
The scene that flashed between the Arcadian erupting and Lily telling Marshall she was pregnant literally brought tears to my eyes. It was such a moving moment and was quite reminiscent of the season 4 finale. Like the closing scene in “The Leap,” the mashup of the Arcadian being destroyed/Lily announcing her pregnancy really showed how much our characters have grown this season. What made this moment even better was Marshall’s little monologue that came right before it. I loved that he talked about his dad dying and all the other shit he’s gone through this season. It did a nice job of summing everything up, which made it even better when Lily told him she was pregnant.

Sidebar: The song playing at the end of the season 4 finale, “Prophets” by A.C. Newman, is amazing.  I recommend you go listen to it once you finish reading this article.

Now while a lot of you might think Lily being pregnant was “too predictable” I say psh. We have been waiting for that girl to get knocked up since Alyson Hannigan had her baby in real life two years ago…so I’m pretty sure it’s about time. Also, the writers did such a good job being unpredictable this season (“Bad News”) that something happy and predictable was more than welcome.

When it comes down to it I give this episode a WIN. Normally when the season finales don’t focus on Ted it kind of bothers me, but not this time. All the things touched on tonight were very important to the central story of the show. So yeah, we might still not know who the mother is, but tonight gave us a lot of things to look forward. Now all we have to do is sit back and look forward to the next two seasons. It might be challenging having to hang on for two more years without knowledge of who the mother is, but you know what? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! ;)

Thoughts on last night's episode??? Chime in below!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'll have a mohito and you'll have a no seat ho!: Review of HIMYM 6x22 'The Perfect Cocktail'

Oh HIMYM…how I love you so. And although my love is unconditional…well let’s just say last night’s episode wasn’t my favorite.

This entire season has been brilliant. Most episodes have contained a wonderful mixture of comedy and drama, something that is rare for a sitcom. And while each episode has continued to knock it out of the park, sadly I don’t think last night’s episode continued that trend. To me “Perfect Cocktails” felt kind of like an episode out of season 5--heartless and just kind of silly. Don’t get me wrong, I love Barney & Marshall. I love Lily & Robin. I’m happy we got an episode that focused on both of those friendships, but I feel like the writers could have created better storylines.

It makes sense that Barney & Marshall would have a feud over Marshall quitting his job (especially considering both men are emotional right now due to some pretty deep daddy issues). But the way the fight played out, it just didn’t feel that believable. It seemed like the writers were trying to force an unrealistic fight down our throats just for the sake of comedy. I mean yeah Marshall might be pissed that his former boss trashed him to a prospective employer, and he might want to rebel against GNB because of that, but would he really go against Ted? I’m sorry, but I just don’t see that happening.

If there is one thing Marshall is--it’s loyal. He cares so much for his family and friends (especially when it comes to Ted). So even though Marshall might be “emotionally struggling” right now, this felt very out of the blue to me.

Now it makes sense that Barney would act petty. Barney ALWAYS acts petty, but last night it just wasn’t funny. For most of the episode Barney & Marshall were drunk so their reactions were based mainly on what they had been drinking. While it’s interesting to see how certain drinks would affect them, it’s kind of silly to base a whole episode around it. By seeing those guys only act how their drinks “made them act” it took away from the individuality and creativity their characters usually exude. I just think that if the writers wanted to do a “fight” between the two they could have gone about it in either a funnier or a more serious way. This whole alcohol thing just seemed like an easy cop out for the two to express their feelings.

And then on top of it all, it turns out that Marshall & Barney drank too much and don’t even remember the night?? So everything we saw was pointless anyway? I’m sorry but that just wasn’t funny to me.

I thought Lily & Robin scheming to come up with drinks and “cross-referencing the effects” that the drinks would have on the boys was pretty funny. But it still just felt like filler to me. I dunno. Nothing was really laugh out loud funny in my opinion (Besides when Lily ordered a mojito and said that the booth stealing lady would be getting “no-seat-ho.” Now that line was full of win).

And while I didn’t like the main plot of this episode, the side plot bothered me even more. Okay by now we know for sure that Ted & Zoey aren’t going to last. There really isn’t any need for the audience to put any type of emotional investment into their relationship because well, it just isn’t going to go anywhere. So when Ted & Zoey started bickering about the Arcadian again last night, I thought “Okay here we go! Finally these two are getting closer to breaking up.” But no. Instead Zoey gives Ted this heartfelt story about how she grew up in the Arcadian which causes Ted to say that he loves her. What the hell?

After a season like season 5, the writers should realize that the audience loves HIMYM because of the story it tells. Even though it is clearly taking forever to find out who the mother is, the audience is able to handle it as long as the story keeps moving forward somehow. But to me last night didn’t move forward; in fact I think it moved backwards. We know Zoey & Ted won’t end up together so why are we going around in circles?

Okay, so while I really didn’t care for this episode there was one part that made me very happy: the return of the COCKAMOUSE. I love when TV shows make ancient callbacks, and the fact that they brought up something from season 1 last night just made me smile. When I saw that little rat scurry across the floor I started to say “Please let that be the cockamouse. Please let that be the cockamouse!” And when Ted confirmed it was indeed the cockamouse I was SUPER happy.

But sadly even the golden reference did not save this episode for me. When it comes down to it I am going to give this episode a LOSS. Yes, this season has been awesome, and it saddens me to do that, but hey not every episode can be gold. Hopefully next week the show will come back stronger than ever- and will set us up for a LEGENDARY finale.  What did you guys think?? Am I being too harsh?? Chime in below.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Magician Never Reveals His Greatest Trick: Recap of HIMYM 6x21 'Hopeless'

Well this season has been quite the emotional roller-coaster for Barney. First the guy finds out he has a dad (who he thought was his uncle mind you) and then he finds out his uncle dad now has a whole separate life…complete with another son. That kind of news would be devastating to anyone, especially someone as emotionally insecure as Barney.

The reason HIMYM is such a success is because it’s simply a show about people. The writers have done a fabulous job developing very real and complex characters. And while all the characters on the show have an interesting story, Barney’s story might just be the most complex.

While we have always gotten hints that there was more to Barney than meets the eye, we didn’t truly see another side to him until season 4, the season where he admitted he was in love with Robin J Let me get this out of the way--YES I do ship Barney & Robin so if that’s going to annoy you I advise you to stop reading now.

Okay, still with me? Let’s continue.

I feel that some of the best episodes of the series have dealt with Barney’s feelings for Robin (i.e. “Benefits”--AWESOME episode). Now I will be the first one to say that the beginning of season 5 was less than stellar. Barney is definitely more fun to watch when he isn’t in a committed relationship, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be happy once the series comes to an end. Actually considering how much he’s emotionally matured throughout the series, it wouldn’t make sense for him to not end up a changed and happy man.  

Tonight’s episode “Hopeless” was filled with tons of emotional growth. It seemed to be a real turning point for the Barnacle. This episode was a direct continuation of “Legendaddy” (which oddly I just realized I never did a review for). “Legendaddy” ended with Barney walking out on his dad, mostly because he couldn’t handle the fact that his father was never there for him. “Hopeless” shows that despite the pain, Barney still wants his father in his life.

Barney invites his dad to go clubbing with the gang. He does this with one goal in mind: to get his dad to realize that the partying life is awesome and to drag him back into it. In order to do this, Barney feels he needs to make the circumstances of his life look perfect (further proof that Barney constantly hides behind a smokescreen of awesome, afraid to come out into the real world). This fake front includes being friends with “awesome people.” Although he already has some top notch friends, he forces the gang to take on different “cooler” personas.  According to Barney: Marshall is now a playwright, Lily is basically Meryl Streep, Lily and Marshall are in an “open marriage,” Robin is a professional scotch drinker, Ted is himself with MANY restrictions…and last but CERTAINLY not least Ted & Robin are dating.   

Now why do Ted & Robin need to be dating to give Barney’s dad the perfect impression? This is Barney’s reasoning:

I can’t have any single female friends lying around. My dad will be all “Why don’t you marry Robin? You guys are cute together. Deep down you know you were never happier than when you were with her.”

When Barney said this line, I literally jumped off of my couch and ran towards the TV. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until I was inches from the screen. I guess I was so excited at the prospect of Barney having feelings for Robin again, that I needed to get as close to the TV as possible to take the whole thing in (yeah it makes no sense, but just go with it). After Barney says that everyone gives him a strange look--especially Robin. This made me smile. I truly feel that this line, along with Robin’s reaction, was put in there to foreshadow things to come. Why else would the writers have Barney say something like that??

Anyway, as planned, the gang goes with Barney’s dad to a club. Long story short, Barney’s dad fakes being drunk to trick his son into bonding with him (an oddly similar tactic used by a certain someone earlier in the episode ;) ), Lily and Marshall have a competition to see who is better at the whole “open marriage” thing, and Ted & Robin are constantly at each other’s throats.

In the club Robin sees a dude who she apparently ran into at a department store a few years back. He is super hot, and she is really excited that she has the chance to talk to him again. However, staying true to “himself,” Ted comes up to her while she’s talking to cute boy and announces that he is her boyfriend. Needless to say this pisses Robin off. She wants Ted to tell the dude (for now I will refer to him as cute boy) that they are broken up to which Ted replies “I would have stolen you a whole orchestra. K, what’s the rest?” This broke my heart. It was the exact exchange that happened when they really did break up, and to me it was so cute (and so sad) that he remembered.

While Robin is trying to convince Ted to go over and talk to cute boy, Ted learns that she got this “crush” while he and Robin were still dating. Angry, instead of telling cute boy they are broken up, Ted announces to the whole bar that he and Robin are engaged. This causes Robin to miss her chance once again (but we do learn from future Ted that cute boy does eventually come back into the picture).

So while Ted & Robin are bickering, Barney leaves the bar with his “drunk” dad and thinks they are having this epic time, because he is too drunk to understand what is really going on. When his dad finally confesses that he’s not drunk, Barney finally gets that he and his dad aren’t so different after all.

In order to get back on time to go fishing with his other son, Barney’s dad cons one of his driver’s ed students into driving him all the way home. After having somewhat of a breakthrough with his dad, and despite not wanting to go fishing, Barney ends up going along for the ride.

During this ride the two of them have a heartfelt conversation. Barney basically admits that he loves his party hardy lifestyle, but he isn’t sure if he likes that he loves it. He starts to make it clear that he wants what his dad has--a stable life, a stable family, the whole enchilada. He also makes it clear that he fears he is too broken to get to that point in his life. In a heartwarming moment his dad reassures him that Barney is nowhere near as broken as he once was. He tells Barney that he can have whatever life he wants. When Barney asks "how" his dad says "a magician never reveals his greatest trick." This is truly touching because when it comes down to it the answer to that question is different for everyone (plus Barney and his dad both love win win).

Finally Barney concludes that maybe his dad is right…maybe he can have a different life, and maybe all he needs to make that happen is the perfect girl. When Barney starts to say his thoughts out loud, the driver tries to tell Barney that he will meet this girl soon…but then Barney throws a bombshell on the audience. He says that he might have already met her.

Okay to be honest, when Barney said that statement I don’t think he was talking about Robin. Barney is so screwed up right now and is just starting to figure things out. Even if he does have feelings for Robin I think they are buried so deep that he isn’t quite sure how to dig them out yet. So who else would Barney have been talking about? Easy--Nora. And although this might seem bad for Barney and Robin, I really feel like it’s a good thing. The two of them still aren’t emotionally ready yet. Maybe by dating other people (i.e. Nora and cute boy) they will finally realize their true feelings .

All in all this episode showed great emotional growth for Barney and in my book was a definite WIN.I am so happy that he is finally allowing himself to be vulnerable again, and I am especially happy that this is occurring because of his father. Barney needs a good father figure in his life, and if he lets his dad in, he might just get that.

What did you guys think of the episode?? Do you think Barney will be closer to his dad now? Do you think his comments about Robin foreshadowed anything?? Chime in below!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why Adults Like iCarly

Through all my research on children’s TV, I have noticed a common thing--adults like iCarly. Not only do they like iCarly, they are ashamed to admit they like it. After all iCarly is on Nick and isn’t exactly aimed at the adult demographic. But despite being a “kids' show” adults seem to really attach themselves to it, and there’s a good reason why.

There are many kids’ shows out there. Most of them are super cheesy...just simple shows that kids can easily understand. Occasionally though, a kids’ show comes along that appeals to adults too, a kids’ show that has phenomenal acting and writing, a kids’ show that well…doesn’t really seem much like a kids’ show at all. Currently I feel like there are two kids’ shows on the air that meet these criteria--Wizards of Waverly Place & iCarly. I’m not going to go into my adoration of Wizards of Waverly Place right now because this post is supposed to be about iCarly. But I do want to give a shout out to the awesome Disney show: Hey Wizards, good work! Keep the 80’s references in your spells! “Please please tell me now, is there something I should know, Duraniam Duraniam” will forever be one of my favorite phrases!

Okay now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about what I originally intended this article to focus on--iCarly. iCarly is one of many shows created by the tween TV king Dan Schneider. Now when I say tween TV king I really do mean it--Mr. Schneider has had many hits over the years (All That, Kenan & Kel, Drake & Josh just to name a few). I grew up with Schneider’s early shows, so I understand that I am a bit biased regarding his work. There are many types of shows/books/movies/etc. that I loved as a child but grew out of as an adult. I always assumed that Schneider’s shows would fit this formula--something to laugh at when I was younger, but then grow apart form. Well long story short, I was wrong. When iCarly premiered I was already an adult. It was definitely not a show geared towards my demographic, but I loved it anyways.

iCarly has always been an extremely funny show. There are always jokes for kids and adults, witty dialogue and relatable plots. While a lot of kids’ shows have these types of traits, iCarly possesses something that catapults it far above other children’s shows--the cast’s chemistry.

I remember reading an article a few years back, about a little TV show called Friends. The creators were saying that they really lucked out in the casting department. Granted the writing for the show was phenomenal, but it was the cast that made the scripts reach their full potential. And why was that? The creators had an easy answer for that question: the cast’s chemistry. Ever since I read that article I’ve paid very close attention to the chemistry between actors. I think as a result I tend to favor shows where the cast really clicks. To me, iCarly is one of those shows. The actors just go together and everything just works perfectly.

What’s interesting about iCarly is the complexity of the show’s characters. Most children’s shows have very flat characters. For instance a kids’ show might have a “good” character, a “funny” character, an “evil” character and so on and so forth. It makes sense that children’s shows would create such flat characters because these types of characters are easier for a child to understand. In iCarly however, the characters are not flat at all. Each character is very multi-dimensional and this is seen through the way they act with one another.

The show centers around four characters: Carly, her older brother Spencer, and her two best friends Sam & Freddie (a fifth main character, Gibby, was added this season, but the main plots don't really center around him). When iCarly first started it was pretty typical as far as kids' shows go. Carly was the lead girl, Freddie was the lead boy, and Sam was the sidekick. Each character had certain quirks that made them entertaining. Carly was typically the moral compass of the show, while her best friend Sam was the complete opposite. Freddie was the “token boy” who was in love with the main character. As the show went on though the characters began to develop more and more and Schneider kept pushing the boundaries of how dramatic he could make his show.

Finally in season 2 there was a pretty emotional episode—“iKiss.” In this episode Carly & Sam discuss their first kisses. While Freddie doesn’t talk about his, he finally opens up to Carly once Sam leaves the room. He explains that he has never kissed a girl before, and while he was comfortable saying this to Carly, he made it very clear that he didn’t want Sam to know. Well like all sitcoms, Sam of course overhears Freddie & Carly’s private conversation. Earlier on in the episode Freddie had pulled a prank on Sam, and she had told him she was going to get him back. This was her golden opportunity, the perfect way to embarrass Freddie. She keeps the info to herself, and then the next week when the gang tapes their next episode of iCarly she shares Freddie’s secret LIVE on iCarly.

Freddie is devastated and stays home from school to avoid being made fun of by the other kids. Eventually Sam realizes how badly she hurt him. Carly freaks out at Sam and tells her that she did something awful and that she went “too far this time.” Now Sam is in no way ever made out to be a vulnerable character, but she does something very interesting in this episode. She tells everyone on the web that actually she has never been kissed either, and that they should leave Freddie alone. She then goes to find Freddie so she can apologize in person.

Had this been any other kids' show, I doubt the writers would have put this much thought into the resolution. On another kids' show Sam would be seen as the “evil character.” Because viewers are not emotionally invested in evil characters, writers are able to use an easy way out of situations like this one. They simply have something bad happen to the evil character, which allows the good character to rise above. However, Schneider did not go this route at all. Instead he gave his viewers a deeper look inside Sam’s character, and in that moment really made Sam a multi-layered person. When Sam apologizes to Freddie he accepts, and after discussing how neither of them had ever kissed anyone, they decided to kiss each other. Again, in a normal kids' show this would have never happened. Why would the “boy with the heart of gold that belongs to the main character” ever kiss the “evil sidekick.” And that is what makes iCarly so special.

As I was saying before, all of this comes back to the cast’s chemistry. Jennette McCurdy plays Sam on the show and Nathan Kress plays Freddie. The two of them are very close in real life, so it’s understandable that they would have great chemistry with one another on set. I really admire that Schneider didn’t ignore this factor. Many creators might have thought “Well yeah Jennette & Nathan have chemistry, but Sam is supposed to be evil. She isn’t supposed to get Freddie. Freddie is a good boy and deserves to end up with Carly. That’s just the way these shows work.” Rather than taking the easy way out, Schneider decided to make the most out of Nathan & Jennette’s chemistry and went for it. He began to have episodes where the audience was able to see Sam in a different light (“iKiss” being one of them). And through all of this he was able to produce very three dimensional characters, which for him has really paid off.

“iKiss” aired 2 years ago, and since then the characters of Carly, Freddie and Sam have really evolved. There have been other emotional episodes that have focused on relationships and character development (in fact the most recent episode, "iOMG", really showcases just how much the characters have changed). Because of this even adults have become invested in iCarly. iCarly isn’t just a silly kids' show; it genuinely tells a good story and has an awesome creator and cast to back this story up.

Recently iCarly won the Kid’s Choice Award for best TV Show. This was their third consecutive win. It is easy to understand why this show has such a following and garners so much praise. With all of Schneider and the cast’s hard work, this show has evolved into a truly a great TV program. iCarly is the real deal, and they recently just got renewed for a 5th season (something very unheard of with kids' shows). Hopefully with even more episodes coming, iCarly will continue to be given the credit it deserves and adults won’t be ashamed to say they like a kids' show--because when it comes down to it, it’s really much more than that.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Supportive or Challenging Relationship? : Recap of HIMYM 6X20 'The Exploding Meatball Sub'

As has been the case this entire season, tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother was great. Tonight’s episode looked at different types of relationships: supportive relationships, challenging relationships, and I-cant-believe-you’re-quitting-I-am-going-to-blow-you-up-with-a-meatball-sub relationships (you can’t get more HIMYM than that). For each type of relationship the audience saw pros and cons. I really loved that the show delved so much into positives and negatives of different relationships, because it made the episode feel all the more real to me. If they would have just focused on supportive, it probably would have gotten old fast. If they would have focused on challenging, that would have just been irritating. But instead they contrasted both extremely well, and in the end showed that a supportive relationship is ultimately healthier (duh). I loved it.

In the very beginning of the episode when everyone was teasing Lily and Marshall about basically being the same person and always getting along, I knew it would annoy them. That is why Lily’s line to Ted right before the opening credits was probably my favorite line of the episode:
Marshall and I have been together 15 years and the only debate we have had about Tommy Boy was whether it was awesome or super awesome. That’s love, bitch.
When she said that line, it killed me. It basically summed up why I love those two so much. They just fit together so well and there is no denying that. But although you can’t deny their love, I knew from the get-go that Lily and Marshall were going to face some problems during this episode. It was just perfectly set up for that…and I was right.

During tonight’s episode Lily and Marshall were the example of an extremely supportive couple. For the entire episode Lily kept supporting Marshall no matter what. I was just sitting there waiting for her to snap. Then the scene came where Lily dragged Ted with her to the airport (because of his oh so wonderful Spanish) to go pick up someone for Marshall’s NRDC gathering. Naturally the conversation in the car between Ted & Lily went back to the argument they’d been having the entire episode- which type of relationship is better: supportive or challenging? With her and Ted arguing in the car, I was just waiting for her to explode and admit to Ted that too much support isn’t necessarily a good thing. By the end of the car ride, the only change in Lily’s behavior really, was her agreeing with Ted that maybe one relationship isn’t really better than the other. I was shocked that she wasn’t freaking out…

And then she got out of the car.

When Lily told Ted she was going to Spain and wasn’t even going to tell Marshall, I lost it. I read a lot of reviews and blog posts about Lily, and a lot of people bash her. Personally, Lily is one of my favorite characters. She keeps everyone grounded, but still has her quirks (and I mean…she’s played by Alyson Hannigan…so how can you not love her?). Anyway, one of the main arguments people tend to have against Lily is that she is selfish. People use the fact that Lily up and left Marshall for SF and broke off their engagement as evidence of her selfishness. Yes…okay…that definitely wasn’t the best move, but the girl was freaking out. She needed to do what was right for her, and it would have been a bad idea (in my opinion) to go through with the wedding without being fully happy about her decision. A wedding is a BIG deal, and I’m glad she got all of her sh*t straightened out beforehand. I don’t blame her for what she did. However, now that Marshall and Lily have been married for almost 4 years (wow), I would expect Lily to be able to confide in her husband what she was feeling. When she told Ted she was going to Spain I immediately thought “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I couldn’t think of a legitimate reason why Lily would do that. If she left and went to Spain I felt like I wouldn’t be able to forgive her…it wasn’t the same as leaving for San Francisco because of an impending life altering decision….it would just be running away from something that could easily be solved.

So long story short, it’s really hard for me to get mad at Lily, but at that point I was furious and felt like she needed to have a damn good reason for what she was doing. Finally all her thoughts came spilling out to Ted about how she can’t support Marshall constantly and blah blah blah. I still kept saying to myself “That still doesn’t mean you should just up and leave.”

Then Lily said something that punched me right in the gut. She said she felt like Marshall didn’t care about having a baby anymore. Immediately hearing her say that my emotions changed and I understood where she was coming from. Ted’s attitude visibly changed too and he tried to comfort her. In that moment I was so proud of How I Met Your Mother. The characters had gotten me so wrapped up in the story that I was blindsided by Lily’s true feelings, and then had the same reaction as Ted when I figured out what was going on. It made me feel like the moment was so real. To me, that is the sign of a great show.

When Lily ran off and Ted went back to Marshall’s apartment, I was definitely worried about what Ted should say to Marshall. I mean what does one say in a situation like that “Oh your wife couldn’t handle you anymore so she literally fled to Spain.”?? Before Ted was able to say anything to Marshall though, I had this strange feeling that Lily would come running in- and she did, which only made me love her character even more. Lily is so complex and like anyone, has her faults. But at the end of the day she knows what comes first- and that is Marshall.

I don’t know if anyone picked up on this, but tonight’s episode paralleled Season 1’s episode “Milk” so much. I love when television shows draw parallels like that and this was no exception. Even when Ted and Lily were talking at the airport and I was mad at her, I couldn’t help but think of “Milk” and how sweet it was that Lily was confiding in Ted. I absolutely love their friendship. So the fact that her freak out happened with Ted, made me enjoy this episode even more.

Now I’ve rambled on enough about Lily and Marshall, so I’d like to touch on Barney’s subplot for a moment. As always Barney was hilarious tonight. He was clearly upset about Marshall quitting his job, and even though Robin was convinced it was because of abandonment issues (which I still believe was part of the problem) Barney went on to tell the tale of how he needed to get Marshall back with an exploding meatball sub…and that all of his anger was because Marshall quit before he could carry out his plan. When Barney said all of that to Robin, I looked at the TV and said “What is wrong with you?” Robin had the same reaction, which I loved, because like I said earlier, it made the show feel all the more real to me.

Also about the subplot, I loved that Robin was trying to help out Barney. Hell, I love how much Robin has been helping Barney out all season (i.e. Nora). In my eyes those two are destined for each other and it is just a matter of time. And speaking of them being “destined for each other” in the tag I watched very carefully to see if Robin was wearing a wedding ring. I don’t think she was, but she was the one closest to Barney when he was on his “deathbed.” She also looked FURIOUS when he said he wasn’t really sick, while everyone else looked extremely confused. This gives me hope that maybe something can happen between them in the future…yeah I know I’m grasping at straws, but I just love those two.

All in all this was a great episode. I give it a WIN. And wow…I just realized I didn’t even talk about Ted and 
Zoey. Oh well. Zoey won’t be important soon anyway J.

So what did you guys think of this episode? Did you feel for Lily when she was freaking out? Did you agree with the viewpoints on supportive vs. challenging relationships? Did you think Barney was a WACK JOB? Chime in below!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bloodline Recap: (AKA a post about why I'm so obsessed with Fringe)

Okay…wow…I am still digesting everything that just happened. Let me first say that this episode was a WIN. I’m not going to go through the whole thing and call it at a WIN at the end…it was just…like the other team forfeited and this episode was crowned champion for being made of too much awesome.

This blog post probably won’t be like my usual ones. I don’t think I’m going to analyze the whole thing. I just want to talk with you guys about the episode and get all of my thoughts out on the page.

Okay first of all, Lincoln is basically my favorite character. I have had a crush on Pacey…er Joshua Jackson since Dawson’s Creek. Like I was seriously in love with him/still am. I think the Pacey/Joey relationship will always be one of my favorite relationships ever…but that’s beside the point. Anyway, as you can tell I’m a bit obsessive about Joshua Jackson, and after tonight I actually think I might like Lincoln the same if not MORE. HE IS THE CUTEST THING EVER.

A few weeks back, in the episode where Lincoln & Charlie thought Alt –Liv was infected with that deadly bug and started screaming at the evil bug guy, my heart went out to Lincoln so much. You could just see on his face how much he loves her…and it kills me that it isn’t reciprocated. I mean…HELLO FAUXLIVIA….this is LINCOLN we are talking about! Get your head on straight!!!!

Anyway so at the beginning of THIS episode when she was taken from her apartment I SCREAMED. I know we saw the promo, but for some reason the guys sneaking up on her still scared me. And then I immediately started thinking about Lincoln. He KNEW something was going to go down and he tried to send protection (BTW his line “As your commanding officer, your permission is irrelevant” KILLED me. I started laughing so hard I had to pause the episode). So when he was obviously too late I started freaking out. My thoughts were consumed with how the hell he was going to get her back.

They talked about using Alt-Liv’s tracking device to find her , but I knew that whoever stole Alt-Liv had taken it out. I mean we saw in past seasons how Newton knew to take Walter’s tracking chip out. Obviously whoever took Alt-Liv would be smart enough to know about stuff like that and would find a way to dig hers out. Seriously, I was so freaked out that Lincoln and Charlie wouldn’t get to her in time. I was gripping my couch SO hard in fear…but then Henry came along :)

I was SO happy to see Henry!!! I LOVED when Charlie and Lincoln showed up and yelled contradicting orders at him.
Henry: WHICH ONE?!
Lincoln: *Pauses* GET OUT OF THE CAR!!!!
When Henry told them everything I remembered how, in the beginning of the season, Charlie and Lincoln had questioned the fact that Liv might have been switched. I was SO hoping they would put the pieces together….

And then this scene happened: Lincoln confronted Walternate about the possibility of Liv being switched. And Walternate GENUINELY seemed upset. He told Lincoln everything that Lincoln needed to know, including the fact that at one point the Olivias were indeed switched. For the first time EVER I felt sympathy for the dude. I didn’t even feel sympathy for him in the most recent flashback episode, because I knew he was going to turn into a douche in the future. But this time I thought, “Wow. Maybe this is a turning point??” I even made an *awww-sad-face* expression….GRRR I HATE HIM. Anyway thankfully Walternate gave Lincoln the proper information (even if he had ulterior motives as we found out later) leading Lincoln and Charlie one step closer to finding Alt-Liv.

I don’t remember if this happened before or after the Walternate scene…but at some point I started to calm down…and then we had to find out that Alt-Liv DOES carry the damn virus that killed her sister. Writers…seriously…why must you keep me on my toes so much (I’m not mad; I love it :))?! So now since we knew what would happen once Alt-Liv delivered the baby (you know her inevitable DEATH) I started flipping out about Lincoln getting to her in time.

But Alt-Liv is just way too awesome, and despite being pregnant KICKED EVERYONE’S ASSES (I thought that part was a little exaggerated…I mean her stomach is GIGANTIC…how can she fight that well?? But I just went with it). She found a payphone, thank God, and got Lincoln to find her!

I think it was great that the writers decided to throw in Henry’s knowledge of shortcuts. Since he is a taxi driver that makes so much sense, and I love that Henry got to play a role in helping find her (BTW when they arrived at the scene and Henry tried to act like he was also an important member of the Fringe Division….bahahaha).

So then my FAVORITE scene happened. Lincoln had complete trust in Henry to deliver Alt-Liv’s baby, because it was coming whether we liked it or not. I love how she told Henry it was nice to meet him and the look he gave in response--a *this-is-so-weird-multi-universes-do-exist* kind of look, mixed with some compassion cause ya know…that’s just how Henry rolls.

So when she started pushing it immediately clicked in my head how WONDERFUL this show really is. I remembered seeing an interview with Josh Jackson, John Noble, and Anna Torv, where one of them (I think John) said that their acting mission would be accomplished once they got the audience to love the alternate characters as much as the original characters. Well John, you guys did it. I was FREAKING out that Alt-Liv was going to die. I was convinced, and I even started to tear up. And then Lincoln…God Lincoln …I was already emotional enough…but then you have to go and tell her you LOVE HER!? To be honest, I kind of lost track of what was happening and started thinking about her response…then I realized oh CRAP she’s dying and got back on track.

Anyway finally the baby is delivered and we think she is dead. I started thinking “Well the Fringe writers have to make this realistic and she had the disease…so unless the accelerated birth somehow counteracted the disease she HAD to die.” Well SHE WOKE UP. AND I later found out my speculation was correct (go me!).

So then the end scene…Alt-Liv is “safely” back at the hospital and the nurse takes the baby in order to I think put a tracking device in him….Regardless the baby’s foot bled and another nurse took the sample and said he was going straight to the lab with it. But then we realized the doctor who took the baby’s blood sample was one of the evil ones who originally kidnapped Alt-Liv. He passed it to someone in a black coat and I immediately thought “Crap, it’s Walternate…he really is bad.” But then we see Walternate nowhere near this event, so again I let me guard down and thought “Thank God, he might have SOME shred of humanity.” WELL I WAS WRONG. At the very end we see his stupid assistant hand him the blood card and I flipped out. WHY does he have to be such a jackass? Ugh.

Okay anyway I’ve gushed enough. PLEASE tell me what you guys think!? What were your favorite parts?? Pregnant Alt-Liv kicking ass? Lincoln saying “I love you”? Lincoln and Charlie’s obvious bromance?? Let me know! I mean obviously I don’t want to be the only one freaking out here ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nickelodeon 90’s Redux: TeenNick Goes Old-School

It’s FINALLY happened guys! For years I have seen forums and comment sections full of complaints (i.e. “90’s TV was SO good. What’s wrong with children’s TV today?!”). For years I have seen nostalgic YouTube mashups of old favorites. For years I have wondered “Wow, do these twentysomethings have a bad case of nostalgia, or were their childhood shows really THAT good?” Confession: If you couldn’t already tell I am definitely one of those twentysomethings. Well you guys…it’s time to dry those tears and let go of that anger (yes Generation Y I am talking to you). Whether it’s due to quality, demand, or both Nick has FINALLY heard the outcry and is taking action!

According to a report issued by EW earlier today- starting this fall, each night from 12AM-2AM TeenNick will air a 2 hour block of 90’s TV.  And what, might you ask, will this block of TV be called?? Well TeenNick has already come up with a creative answer for that- “The 90’s Are All That.”

As of right now TeenNick plans on airing the following shows: Rugrats, Kenan & Kel, Pete & Pete, The Amanda Show, All That, and Clarissa Explains it All.  Yes, yes, I know.  I only named 6 shows. Yes, I realize there are MANY more classic Nick shows than that.  But hey, it’s a start.  And as the EW article stated: “Over time, TeenNick hopes to use the retro block to showcase other 90’s programming and movies.”  So if this retro TV block is successful, you guys can probably plan on seeing more of your favorites pop up!

Knowing that only 6 shows are slated to come back at this point, I began to wonder what other shows 90’s TV devotees miss.  So in order to properly take a trip down memory lane, I created two polls complete with lists of Nick shows from the 90’s. One poll focuses on live-action shows, while the other focuses on cartoons (I mean come on, Nicktoons is definitely its own category).  So make sure to cast your vote for your favorite! It’ll be interesting to see which show has been missed the most!

Source- EW

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Lips Are Sealed...Just Like Your Legs: My reactions to Glee's 'Sexy' episode

Rather than writing a long blog recapping the whole episode- I’m just going to share a few of my reactions from tonight’s Glee. After a stellar first season, I hate to say it, but I feel like Season 2 of Glee has kind of hit that “sophomore slump.” Every episode has been a little hit or miss to me and tonight was no exception. There were definitely some parts that I loved, but there were also parts that really annoyed me. In order to make this more efficient I'm just going to break the episode up into sections- here goes:

The Music:
The music tonight wasn’t that great. I have to admit, when Matthew Morrison broke out into Prince I felt EXTREMELY awkward. I’m sorry but Mr. Schue should not be singing falsetto. He was trying so hard to sound like a girl that when Holly took over I couldn’t even tell that Will wasn’t singing anymore. Also it was kind of weird that Will made a big deal about turning ‘Kiss’ into a “tango.” Yes...he and Holly did dance the tango to it, but I was expecting more of a remix. Really it was just the same old Prince song with a little risqué-ness thrown in here and there.

Also, I normally love everything that the Warblers sing….but I was not a fan of tonight’s number. I absolutely love the song ‘Animal’ and I kind of felt like they ruined it. I don’t know…perhaps my love for the original song is kind of skewing my perception of their cover, but it just felt off. And like Mr. Schue singing ‘Kiss’, seeing Kurt singing ‘Animal’ just made me feel awkward. I know we were probably supposed to laugh at his facial expressions, but they just scared me.

The one song I did like was ‘Landslide.’ Sidebar: It makes me really sad to see that people seem to think 'Landslide' was done by the Dixie Chicks...especially when Holly called it a Stevie Nicks song towards the end of the episode. So to all who are unaware, 'Landslide' was originally written by Stevie Nicks/performed by Fleetwood Mac. It was later COVERED by the Dixie Chicks. That is all. I thought that it sounded really good and I loved the emotion behind it. Naya (Santana) did an EXCELLENT job performing it. You could tell how much emotion Santana felt during the number and I love how that culminated in her meaningful conversation with Brittany…but I’ll talk more about that later.

Puckerman & Lauren:
Okay, I get what Glee is trying to go for. They want to show us that Puck has grown as a character and is no longer going after what is considered “hott” by normal standards. I love Lauren and I love that they are trying to implement that type of storyline, but I’m just not buying it. His attraction to her seems way too forced, and after being turned down so many times I doubt Puck would keep trying to woo her so forcefully.

Kurt & Burt:
I LOVED Burt in this episode. Glee has done a really good job developing Burt Hummel throughout the past two seasons. I loved that despite being resistant to the idea of talking to Kurt, Burt ended up being the one to initiate the conversation. Normally Kurt has to persuade his father to talk about these kind of topics. But when Burt saw that his son really couldn’t handle this topic he took the lead even though it must have made him REALLY uncomfortable. Father of the year for sure.

Santana & Brittany:
I really enjoyed this storyline. I loved that Glee let us see a different side to Santana. Santana is always a bitch but it’s never explained why. I loved seeing her become more self aware tonight. That conversation between her and Brittany was wonderful, and it really made me feel for Santana. I love Artie and Brittany, but Brittany and Santana would be an excellent match too.

The Guest Stars:
The guest stars were WONDERFUL. I think Holly (Gwyneth Paltrow) constantly nails her role as Holly Holliday. I feel like she provides flavor, especially considering how bland Will is half the time. She just never fails to make me laugh and actually seems like a teacher the kids could go to (even if she is REALLY inappropriate most of the time).

Carl (John Stamos) didn’t have a very big part tonight but I liked that he finally had enough of Emma’s wishy-washy attitude. When Emma admitted that she was confused about her feelings for Will, I half expected Carl to go easy on her like he always does. This would have thoroughly pissed me off because they are married now and she shouldn’t still be questioning her feelings. Luckily Carl got pissed and walked out which was refreshing to see. Also, I'm not going to lie- I probably thought his performance was amazing because I tend to think of him as a god...I mean, he's John Stamos...come on.

Rachel vs. Quinn:
This little charade is getting a bit old to me. They are constantly fighting over Finn, and while it was interesting last season, right now it just feels stale and idiotic. With all of the build up between Rachel and Finn last year the “Finchell” relationship made sense to me. It seemed like Finn had only been with Quinn because of superficial reasons, and that during last season he had actually grown up and developed something real with Rachel. His newfound interest in Quinn makes absolutely no sense to me. I get that they are each other’s “first loves,” but really…what kind of connection Quinn and him have?

Final Thoughts
Overall I am going to have to rate this episode as a LOSS. Burt, Holly, Santana and Brittany were all great. However, considering Burt and Holly aren’t even main characters, I just don’t really consider this episode that strong. So now let me ask all of you- what did you think about tonight’s Glee? Did you like the storylines? Did you like the music? Comment below.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Caleb Rivers...friend or foe?: Recap of this week's Pretty Little Liars 'Someone to Watch Over Me'

Normally I do a Monday night review of How I Met Your Mother and/or Castle.  Well since that obviously isn’t going to happen tonight, I’m instead going to write about another one of my Monday faves, Pretty Little Liars.

I haven’t written about Pretty Little Liars in awhile now and since I last blogged about the show, a lot has happened.  My last blog talked about the dance-a-thon that the girls went to (yes I know it was THAT long ago).  At that point I was still rooting for Lucas (who by the way has seriously just DISAPPEARED) and Hanna.  Well ever since that episode Caleb has weaseled his way in to my heart, and I’ve become obsessed with him.  He and Hanna have so much chemistry.  And that shower scene a few weeks back…well that was just awesome J

So anyway I’ve started to ramble on about Caleb because he’s hott in order to talk a little about this week and what I think might happen.  You know there are only 3 episodes left after tonight and the season finale is supposed to be QUITE the shocker from what I hear.  So I’ve been looking at everything that’s been happening a bit more critically- especially stuff with Caleb.

Last week a lot of relationship developments occurred.  Toby kissed Spencer (SO cute), Emily and Paige had a date, Aria confessed some deep stuff to Ezra, and Hanna lost her V card.  Yes you read that correctly…one of the liars had sex. This is why I love ABC Family; there is simply no holding back!  So naturally since Hanna decided to jump in the sack with Caleb it can be assumed that she was starting to really trust him. So OF COURSE the writers had to throw in a twist in the end and show Caleb talking to some “mysterious person.” And that’s where this episode took off.

This week Caleb is seen arguing with the mysterious person on the phone again. Caleb tells the person “No I can’t do it tonight…because I say so…because I’m living in her house!” Okay Caleb you're definitely pretty…but come on kid.  You're basically yelling on your phone in the middle of a SCHOOL. And clearly you are yelling about something you don’t want others to hear. So do you really expect people not to eavesdrop?! And in ROSEWOOD for that matter?! Well naturally people did overhear his conversation, and guess who?! Yep Aria and Emily…and guess who they went running to with this information?? Duh, Hanna.

Earlier in the episode Hanna is seen putting some food in her boy’s backpack. In true Pretty Little Liars style, Hanna finds a potential secret and decides to take a peek (you would think she would know better by now than to go snooping through someone else’s things) To her delight she finds a beautiful owl which she assumes Caleb is planning on giving to her.  Hasn’t Hanna ever learned that assuming only makes an ASS out of people? Anyway, she goes and tells the liars all about the owl.  When they question why Caleb would give her an owl Hanna explains that it is “symbolic of their first night together” (which I thought was hysterical).

So when Aria and Emily tell Hanna that they overheard Caleb talking to some mysterious person about not betraying the person he is currently living with (aka HANNA), Hanna goes into full on denial.  I mean why would she assume that this boy she just slept with, this boy who is planning on giving her an OWL, would ever try and hurt her? Hanna tries to tell Aria and Emily they must have heard Caleb wrong.  But suddenly Hanna’s hope is shattered when the liars’ arch nemesis Jenna walks in….with the owl around her neck.

Hanna immediately tries to reach Caleb who conveniently does not pick up his phone for the rest of the day.  The liars try to figure out why on earth Jenna would have that owl, and finally Spencer sees something unforgiveable.  That “owl” that Jenna got from Caleb was actually a flash drive with God knows what information (Spencer sees Jenna taking the Owl off the chord around her neck and plugging it into her computer). Spencer reports this to Hanna and the rest of the liars, and it becomes pretty clear to all of them- Caleb has been spying on Hanna.

Having had enough, Hanna marches over to Caleb’s locker and leaves him a note saying to call her.  Now a few episodes back, Toby gave Spencer a piece of paper with an odd message on it. The paper was from Jenna’s room, and Toby thought that if Spencer decoded the message she might be able to figure out if Jenna was up to anything. The message said “214” and the girls have been trying to figure out what this number means for the longest time. Last week, Toby and Spencer thought it might have been a motel room, but their guess only led to a dead end.  So having this number in her head, Hanna decides to try to open Caleb’s locker with it….and the combination works.  That piece of paper that Jenna had, had merely been the combination to Caleb’s locker which meant one thing….Caleb had DEFINITELY been working with Jenna and for AWHILE at that.

Finally Hanna confronts Caleb and he tries to explain to her that he never gave Jenna any real information.  He tries to apologize but Hanna won’t have it, and Caleb ends up taking his bags and leaving.  Towards the very end of the episode Hanna is seen crying in the bathroom, obviously feeling pretty betrayed by the boy she thought she knew.

Okay as I said earlier, the past few episodes have REALLY made me like Caleb.  So knowing he has been spying on Hanna was definitely a bummer. BUT- I still don’t think he was really doing it to harm Hanna.  I believe everything Caleb told Hanna.  I might be biased because I have a tiny crush on him…but I don’t know, he just doesn’t seem evil to me.  So my question of the week is this: Do YOU buy what Caleb told Hanna? Do you think he’s innocent? Or do you think he is connected to A??

Also- I know I didn’t really mention many of the other storylines from this episode- but for the people who did watch it- what the hell was with Ian trying to get Spencer to leave town? He’s such an ass.  I keep doubting he’s A…I think it would be too obvious, but why else would he have volunteered to help Spencer leave?? Chime in below!

BTW I give this episode a win! It was definitely suspenseful and kept me engaged.  This season has really been getting good lately, and I really hope the season finale is truly as shocking as everyone says it is!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Castle, Beckett...and Josh: A recap of Countdown (and rants about Josh)

By now, anyone who follows me on Twitter probably knows about my obsessiveness with the TV show Castle (seriously though….it has Nathan Fillion AND Stana Katic….what’s not to obsess about?) Anyway I have sent many a tweet discussing how incredible this season has been. Every episode is better than the last so each week I keep nervously asking “can Castle outdo itself this time?” Well this week it DEFINITELY did.

This week’s Castle was the second piece of a dramatic two part event. Now for you non-Castle fans, Castle’s premise is ridiculously easy to understand. Castle is a mystery novelist who helps out at a police station because he is madly in love with a female detective in order to get inspiration for his books. Each episode focuses on a murder/something traumatic that Castle and Detective Kate Beckett must solve. Each episode also deals with Castle and Beckett’s unspoken love for one another. While one might think this would get old after a while, it just doesn’t (probably due to Katic and Fillion’s undeniable chemistry). The reason this week’s episode was SO good was because both Castle elements (the dangerous situation and the love story) were operating at an all time high.

Like I said this was the second part of a two part event. In the first part, Castle and Beckett discover that there is a dirty bomb somewhere in New York City. They don’t know who created the bomb or where the bomb is. Needless to say this is a DIRE situation, so a Homeland Security Agent (Agent Fallon) gets called in to help the NYPD locate the bomb. Agent Fallon really should have been called by another military name: Major Douche. 

During last week’s episode Castle and Beckett do not follow protocol which causes Major Douche Agent Fallon to kick them off the case. Naturally the two decide to go rogue and end up finding the bomb themselves. They notice that the bomb has a timer and is set to go off at 4PM the next day. However before they can do anything people start shooting at them. With no backup and countless bullets flying past them, Castle and Beckett run through a door to escape….however, this door leads to a freezer, and of course they end up getting locked in.

So this week’s episode, ‘Countdown’ picked up right where last week’s left off. One of the main things I loved about ‘Countdown’ was the suspense. I love that the bomb had a timer forcing the characters to work quickly to avoid it detonating in the middle of Manhattan. It added another level of suspense to the story, and I applaud the writers for doing that. 

Now, although the countdown provided suspense, you would think that last week’s cliffhanger ending of Beckett and Castle slowly freezing to death would add yet another layer of tension. Well, ABC kind of ruined that by playing promos for ‘Countdown’ that clearly showed Castle and Beckett safe and sound after their stint in the freezer. Yes Castle and Beckett are the main characters so it is HIGHLY unlikely they would die, but still ABC…come on! Luckily this episode was too full of awesome for ABC to ruin it with bad promos.  Despite lacking uncertainty about their chances of survival, the freezer scene was still brilliant. Castle and Beckett truly felt like they were going to die which prompted this dialogue exchange between the two:

Beckett: Castle…thank you…for being there.
Castle: Always.
Beckett: I just want you to know how much I…

At this moment, Beckett goes limp. Now it could be just me being an extreme shipper but I SWEAR she was about to tell him she loved him. Anyway Castle does his best to wake her but ends up passing out too. Luckily Castle and Beckett are found and given medical attention. This is where the situation gets ugly. Castle wakes up and starts frantically asking if Beckett is okay. We then see that Beckett has been taken care of….by JOSH.

After this week’s episode, I’ve decided one thing: I hate Josh. Yes, Josh has barely been on screen. Yes, he is hot. Yes, he rides a motorcycle. But the dude is messing up destiny, and that is just not okay. Josh is Beckett’s boyfriend who she has been seeing throughout this season. He’s a doctor that is usually out of the country. In part one we learned that his consistent absences had been bothering Beckett (which was good news because it helped open the door to Castle and Beckett admitting their feelings). So needless to say when Josh showed up I was PISSED. Why is Mr. Always Gone suddenly there? Turns out Josh decided not to go to Haiti after all…how convenient.

At this point I got extremely disappointed and kind of overreacted. I thought that was going to be it. Since Josh was there, I assumed there would be no more Castle/Beckett love going on for the rest of the episode. I was angry that the writers would cancel out any hope of cutesy Castle/Beckett moments this early on in the episode. However, like I said, I overreacted. Little did I know the best was yet to come.

The episode continues on like any normal episode of Castle. Castle and Beckett are back on the case; they do some digging, and eventually they find the bomb. By the time they reach it the counter is down to two minutes. Neither Castle nor Beckett knows how to disable the bomb so they call Agent Fallon and try to send him pictures of it, hoping that he’d be able to tell them what to do. Unfortunately this takes too long, and Fallon apologizes because he knows he won’t be able to figure it out in time. This is a beautiful moment because it really makes the audience feel for Fallon and understand that although he had been a douche the entire time, it wasn’t because he was a bad person- it was because his job forced him to be that way.

Castle and Beckett hold hands and prepare for the inevitable.  By this point I was FREAKING out. Was the bomb going to go off?! Were they finally going to admit their true feelings to each other?! Well it turns out neither. At the last second Castle pulls out ALL of the wires hoping that undoing one of them will disarm the bomb- a true McGyver moment!  Now, this might seem ridiculous but it actually makes sense if you think about it (the bomb was going to go off anyway so why not just go for it?) When the bomb doesn’t go off Castle makes the CUTEST “in your face, bomb” expression and hugs Beckett. This leads to a scene of pure bliss…almost.

Back at the precinct Castle, Beckett, and the rest of the force drink beers and go on and on about what a day they’ve had. One of the other cops tells Castle “You don’t know how lucky you are.” Castle only looks at Beckett and says that he does realize how lucky he is.  At this point the two of them are called outside by Agent Fallon.  Fallon tries to make amends with the two and then walks away, leaving Castle and Beckett by themselves. Castle then starts to say “You know, I was thinking…”  I’m pretty sure at this point I was freaking out more than I was when the bomb was about to go off.  I cocked my head and thought “THIS IS IT! THIS IS FINALLY IT! HE’LL FINALLY TELL HER HOW HE FEELS!” Unfortunately he didn’t. Castle abruptly changes the subject, making us (and Beckett) wonder what on earth just happened. We then realize that Castle stopped because someone showed up…JOSH. Stupid Josh. 

This scene PERFECTLY paralleled the end of season 2 when Beckett is about to tell Castle her feelings for him. She breaks up with her boyfriend for Castle, tells Castle she needs to talk to him alone and starts to talk.  Castle’s ex wife shows up causing Beckett to stop.  Now despite the fact that tonight Castle and Beckett failed to mention their feelings AGAIN, I love that the writers completely paralleled that scene.  It makes the audience feel for Castle even more, because apparently their timing is just never right.

So that was the end of it.  Overall this episode was full of suspense and I loved every minute of it.  I was on edge the entire time and completely threw myself into it.  I think the writers AND actors did an AMAZING job and for this I give the episode a win!

So how about you guys? Did you like this episode as much as I did? Did you think it was better than Knockdown? Were there scenes you liked that I didn’t mention yet? Do you hate Josh as much as I do?! Share below! By the way the next new episode of Castle is March 21st- I simply don’t know if I can wait that long!