And what a week it was! This week was dominated by both the Oscars and the subsequently fallout. For myself, I’ll just say that I’ve never been so
bored mentally and emotionally exhausted in my life. As I so often do while trying to process a fiasco, I distracted myself a bit with television. Here’s some thoughts on what I watched this week:
9-1-1 (Monday Night, FOX)
Why exactly I watch 9-1-1, I’m not sure. It’s a bit of a generic show. That said, I also get the feeling that it might secretly be a parody of the genre. Add to that, Jennifer Love Hewitt is in it and she will always be the ghost whisperer to me. Anyway, the show’s back. This week’s episode featured someone impaled to a house. Fortunately, they survived.
9-1-1: Lone Star (Monday Night, FOX)
Unlike it’s companion show, there’s no secret about whether or not 9-1-1: Lone Star is meant to be a parody. It definitely is. It was also apparently made by people who have never spent more than a few hours in Texas. That said, I’ll watch the show just in case another volcano erupts in Austin. This week, some dumbass blew up his apartment.
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
The search for the painting continued as everyone tried to get it out of the general’s chateau before he accidentally ate it. No, it didn’t make much sense but, as I’ve said before, that’s kind of the charm of this show.
Baywatch (Weeknights, H&I)
On Sunday, I watched two episodes as I prepared for the Oscars. It was a two-parter, which was certainly convenient. That said, with my mind obsessed with the upcoming Academy Awards, I didn’t really pay that much attention to them. I think half of the lifeguards were at Sea World and Pamela Anderson was trying to communicate with a dolphin. Meanwhile, back on the beach, Mitch was trying to teach an old friend about responsibility. Meanwhile, Summer and Matt investigated a haunting or something like that. A lot was going on but I’d be lying if I said any of it made much of an impression.
On Monday, the first episode featured special guest star Carrie-Anne Moss as a woman with dissociative identity disorder who ended up drugging Mitch and holding him hostage. Not initially realizing that the woman he was dealing with had two personalities, Mitch originally assumed that she just had a twin sister. Mitch wasn’t that smart this episode. While Mitch was dealing with all of that, Matt was dealing with shark-related nightmares. Summer thought that the nightmares was indicative of larger concerns but personally, I think it makes sense that a lifeguard would be scared of sharks. The second episode featured Mitch falling for a woman who turned out to be a poisoner. Again, it was hard not to feel that Mitch might not be very smart.
On Tuesday, the first episode was a weird meta episode where a sleazy TV producer tried to make a show based on the lives of the Baywatch lifeguards. Of course, the show was turned down because the network execs didn’t think anyone would ever want to watch a show about lifeguards. They used the same joke in the No Hope With Dope episode of Saved By The Bell. The second episode featured a lot of country music so I didn’t really pay much attention to it.
On Wednesday, the first episode featured the lifeguards standing up to a bunch of bureaucrats who wanted to cut Baywatch’s budget! Needless to say, it was time for everyone to have a meeting on the beach and offer up testimonials about all the lives they had saved. This led to that most dreaded of all episodes …. a clip show! After several flashbacks to previous episodes, the bureaucrats decided not to cute funding so no one lost their job. In the second episode, Stephanie had to put a cocky members of the Coast Guard in his place.
On Thursday, this first episode of the night featured yet another Baywatch hostage situation, though this time it was Matt who was stupid enough to fall for a con artist while Mitch was the one who got to save the day and pretend like the exact same thing hadn’t happened to him just four episodes ago. The 2nd episode was apparently the start of a new season for Baywatch because Alexandra Paul chopped her hair, Nicole Eggert and Kelly Slater were suddenly no longer on the show, and Yasmine Bleeth and Jaason Simmons were the newest members of the Baywatch team. This episode featured Mitch nearly getting back together with his ex-wife. This is something that seemed to happen every few episodes or so. Needless to say, things did not work out.
Friday brought us two episodes that didn’t add up too much, even by Baywatch standards. First off, one of the old Baywatch lifeguards came back and …. well, that’s pretty much it. He hung out and he talked to Mitch and he apparently let CJ know that it was okay to date Matt. It was a weird episode. The second episode of the night featured Mitch and Stephanie talking about their relationship. It featured flashbacks to the previous episode where they discussed their relationship.
Finally, on Saturday, it was time for yet another rookie class to graduate. Conceited Logan was assigned to work at Baywatch, despite the fact that he broke Caroline’s heart. Caroline was so upset that she nearly let a little girl drown. Fortunately, since Caroline is Stephanie’s younger sister, there were no consequences. I guess the message here is that it’s always good to be related to the boss.
Flight of the Conchords (HBOMax)
Both seasons of Flight of the Conchords are available on HBOMax! (I’ve also got both of them on DVD, thanks to a friend who sent them to me as a gift a few years ago.) On Wednesday, I watched three episodes, two before the Biden talk-a-thon and then one after. From Season 1, I watched the touring episode, the new fans episode, and — my personal favorite — the actor episode. Though it’s been a good 12 years since Flight of the Conchords aired its final episode, the show’s humor holds up brilliantly. How can you not love Bret, Jermaine, and Murray? Mel, girl, I know exactly what you were going through.
The Floor is Lava (Netflix)
I watched a few more episodes. The floor never actually became lava.
Gangs of London (Sunday Nights, AMC)
I watched episodes 3 and 4 of Gangs of London on Wednesday night. I still have no idea what’s exactly going on, beyond the fact that the series follows a bunch of gangs in London who always seem to be shooting at each other. That said, this show is so stylish that you really don’t have to understand everything that’s happening for it to hold your attention. I know one character is an undercover cop. I know that the gangs are in turmoil because someone murdered the longtime head of the British mob and his sociopathic son has taken over his operations. And I know that everyone is basically trying to kill everyone else. It’s brutal and disturbing but, at the same time, compulsively watchable.
Hill Street Blues (Weekday Morning, H&I)
I missed ten episodes while I was up at the lake. I rejoined the series this week and I discovered that it didn’t really matter. There’s a few new detectives. There’s a new roll call sergeant. But otherwise, life on Hill Street never changes. Gangs, crimes, and dark humor abound.
The first of Tuesday’s episodes featured an uptick in a gang activity. Somewhat hilariously, the Hill is home to a gang of Irish hooligans who call themselves The Shamrocks and, even though gangs was obviously a serious problem in the 80s and it’s still a serious one today, it’s just hard not to laugh when you hear sentences like, “The Shamrocks aren’t going to stand for that.” There was also a subplot about one of the new detectives trying to help a young prostitute and veteran Detective Belker taking his anger over his relationship troubles out on an informant. The second episode featured a rapist who pretended that he couldn’t speak English. At the end of the episode, Detective Patsy Mayo went undercover, got him to speak in English, and the shot him in the dick when he tried to run away. That was cool and well-deserved.
Wednesday’s first episode featured an interesting story about a police officer who rescued several people from a burning apartment building. Only after he had been lionized by the press and the police chief was it discovered that he was actually the one responsible for setting the fire! This episode also featured the show’s public defender accepting a job with the D.A.’s office. During Wednesday’s second episode we met her replacement …. FRANCES MCDORMAND! That’s right, future three-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand had an early role on this show. The episode in which she first appeared aired on January 24th of 1985, which was about a week after Blood Simple opened in theaters. (Because of the whims of the independent film world, Blood Simple was filmed in 1982 but it didn’t actually get a theatrical release until two and a half years later.)
McDormand wasn’t the only future Oscar nominee to appear this week in reruns of Hill Street Blues. The first of Thursday’s two episodes featured a brief appearance from Jennifer Tilly as a mob widow-turned-singer named Gina. The majority of the first episode dealt with former public defender Joyce Davenport struggling to adjust to working in the DA’s office and discovering that her job is now to ruthlessly prosecute the poor as opposed to defending them. It was a theme that was handled well overall, even if Joyce’s shock at being expected to do her job did seem bizarrely naïve. The second of Thursday’s episodes dealt with the sleazy chief of police sexually harassing Detective Patsy Mayo. Mayo is a new character, one who I assume was introduced while I was on vacation. I can’t help but notice that nearly every storyline that’s involved her this week has dealt with her being sexually harassed and ended with her graciously accepting what seems like a rather weak apology from her harasser. Of course, these episodes originally aired in 1985.
The first of Friday’s episode found public defender Frances McDormand manipulating the system in order to allow an abusive boyfriend back out on the streets. Meanwhile, Jennifer Tilly helped the detectives take out a mobster and she started a romantic relationship with Lt. Henry Goldblume, much to the irritation of Detective Harry Garibaldi. The second episode discovered Henry totally in love while Harry continued to throw a fit and bitch to anyone who would listen about how Jennifer Tilly should have been calling him up for afternoon hotel sex. The second episode featured an interesting subplot in which the sleazy chief of police and his precinct captains attended a group therapy session to work on their working relationship. Needless to say, things did not go well. Meanwhile, Lt. Howard Hunter dealt with a hostage situation and patrolmen Andy Renko and Bobby Hill attempted to go about their duties despite accidentally getting stoned beforehand. The second episode was directed by Mark Frost, who later went on to collaborate with David Lynch on Twin Peaks.
Finally, on Saturday morning, we had two episodes, both of which were jam-packed with guest stars. Along with Frances McDormand and Jennifer Tilly, the first of Saturday’s episodes featured Brent Spiner as a porno director and the great character actor Nicholas Pryor as an anti-abortion activist. Both of Saturday’s episodes centered around the character played by Frances McDormand being lousy at her job. McDormand did a great job in the role, offering up little clues that her character’s issues had more to do with cocaine than just incompetence.
And that’s life on the Hill!
House Hunters (Tuesday Night, HGTV)
She really, really wanted to live in the city. He really, really wanted to live in the suburbs. In the end they went with …. the house that cost the least. For all the drama of “I want a big back yard” and “I want to be able to walk downtown,” everyone ultimately goes for the house that costs the least.
House Hunters International (Tuesday Night, HGTV)
It was the exact same situation as in House Hunters except, this time, they were looking for a house in Mexico. They found a nice one, which was good.
The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)
On Tuesday night, Comedy Central was showing post-Steve Carell episodes of The Office. The episode I watched was a weird one where Pam framed Meredith for having head lice and where Darryl went from being his usual confident self to being someone who couldn’t even handle being in the same room with Val, the new warehouse manager. Like most of the episodes from the post-Carell era, It was odd and weird and felt not at all right.
The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)
This week, Sally went to the hospital to get knee surgery and the old guys competed to see who could be the best visitor. Of course, neither was a very good visitor though they did end up befriending an old man named Norris. Norris asked them to take him to a friend’s funeral. Of course, they ended up at the wrong funeral, which is something they discovered after propping up the corpse in the casket so that the wheelchair-bound Norris could get one last look at his “friend.” (“That’s not Mack!”) It was funny but kind of sad. Watching this episode, I realized that I’ll probably have to get surgery on my ankle in another 40 years or so.
Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)
On this week’s episode, Granville continued to try to suppress his crippling depression while Arkwright continued to cheat his customers. I honestly thought this might be the episode in which Granville snapped and went on a killing spree but, fortunately, he managed to hold it together.
The Oscars (Sunday Night, ABC)
The Presidential Address (Wednesday Night, Fox)
I watched it but there’s no way in Hell that I’m going to review it.
Storage Wars (Tuesday Night, A&E)
Being on vacation last week, I totally missed the 13th season premiere of Storage Wars. So, you can imagine my shock when I watched the first of this week’s new episodes and I discovered that Brandi and Jarrod had split up! Well, actually, I don’t know if I would say I was really shocked. To be honest, it always seemed like there was a lot of passive aggressive anger in that relationship. So, Brandi has a new friends to shop for storage lockers with and I guess Jarrod will return in a few episodes as a special guest villain. Who knows? I also noticed that Dave Hester is apparently no longer with the show. I’ll miss the sound of “Yuuuuuuup!”
I wrote the paragraph above while watching the 1st episode of the night. In the second episode of the night, Jarrod showed up but Brandi did not. Of the two of them, Brandi works better as a solo act than Jarrod does.
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
This week, Will wrote and published his final sonnets, just to discover that his wife did not appreciate him writing poetry about the dark lady and that the local authorities considered his words about the fair youth to be illegal and blasphemous. Fortunately, Kit Marlowe was able to get Shakespeare off the hook (or, at the very least, off the rack) by pointing out that it was probable that no one would ever voluntarily read any of Will’s poetry.
The Voice (Monday Night, NBC)
As I watched the show this week, I found myself thinking about how funny it would be if one of the singers got possessed by the demon from The Exorcist. “How do you like my voice now!?”
Yes, Minister (Sunday Night, PBS)
A typical episode of Yes, Minister ends with Sir Humphrey getting the better of Jim so it’s always fun to see an episode in which the opposite happens and Jim actually gets the better of Sir Humphrey. Last night’s episode started with Humphrey browbeating Jim over condemning a constituency that, though well-run, had failed to fill out all of the required paperwork at the right time and it ended with Sir Humphrey sheepishly admitting that, as a junior civil servant, he was responsible for a mistake the subsequently cost the government 30 million pounds. As usual, it was all wonderfully performed by Nigel Hawthorne, Paul Eddington, and Derek Fowlds. Though the show is older than me, it’s still the perfect antidote for today’s big government era.