Lisa Marie’s Week In Televison: 4/3/22 — 4/9/22


For the next few weeks, I’ll be trying to catch up on all the potential Emmy nominees that I missed when they first aired.  So, I guess my week in television is about to get a lot busier!

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

“I shall say this only once,” Rene announced to Michelle, “I am done with the Resistance!”

Rene says this during nearly every episode of Allo Allo and no one ever believes him.  Such was the case with Sunday’s episode.  Michelle responded to Rene’s resignation from the Resistance by giving him suicide pills and announcing that the British airmen had been captured but she had a great plan to rescue them, a plan that would, of course, hinge on Rene’s involvement.  While Rene’s mother-in-law prepared for her wedding and Lt. Gruber tried to make sure that the painting did not fall into the hands of his rivals, Rene had to deal with a code book that had been eaten by rats.  I realize that previousy sentence makes no sense but that’s to be expected with this show.  Eventually, everyone ended up disguised as an undertaker while Crabtree wished everyone a “Good moaning,” in his fractured French.

American Idol (Sunday and Monday Night, ABC)

Hollywood week came to a close with two episodes of American Idol.

On Sunday, the finalists were forced to perform duets, which meant that the episode was full of people singing painfully sincere songs and getting all emotional.  It was a bit awkward to watch at times.  There was a definite lack of drama, as only one duet team failed to get along.  Though a lot of Idol fans are going to hate me for saying this, I found myself getting a little bit tired of Kelcie going on and on about how insecure she was.  Fortunately, she was paired with Betty, who made it her life mission to bring Kelcie out of her shell.  And it worked, as both Kelcie and Betty made it to the next round.

On Monday, the remaining competitors performed one last time for the judges and they were whittled down to 24.  Both Betty and Kelcie were let go during this round.  We didn’t actually get to see Betty’s performance but we did see Kelcie perform and she wasn’t bad.  She’s got a great voice, even if the insecurity is a bit hard to take.  But she was apparently let go specifically because of the insecurity, with the judges telling her to work on her confidence so …. I don’t know.  It seems like, if that was going to be a determining factor, that’s something that they could have said during the Duets.  Instead, they put Kelcie through because it would make for good television to then cut her at the last minute.

Anyway, it’s a pretty bland bunch of singers this season.  They’ve got good voices but there’s very little real quirkiness to be found.  And no, Leah Marlene is not quirky, no matter how many times she tells us that she is.  Real quirkiness is natural.  It’s not something you have to work at.

Bar Rescue (Sunday and weekday mornings, Paramount)

Sunday’s bloc of Bar Rescue episodes was all about Jon rescuing bars in Texas!  I watched two episodes on Sunday evening.  They were both set in Houston and they both involved a lot of yelling.  The important thing, though, is that every bar was made profitable by the end of the hour.

On Monday, I watched an old episode that found Jon Taffer and the crew in Florida.  The bar owner thought that Taffer had good ideas.  The bar manager felt that Taffer was rude and he resented being yelled at.  I was kind of on the manager’s side as far as that was concerned because Taffer really did go a bit overboard with the yelling during this episode.  Fortunately, everything worked out in the end.  The bar was rescued, just in time for the hurricane season.

Beyond the Edge (Wednesday Night, ABC)

It amuses me to no end how this show keeps pretending like the celebrities are in mortal danger in the jungle.  We all know that production is not going to let Metta World Peace drown in quicksand.  After I pointed this out on twitter, a fan of the show wrote to me, and said, “Your weird.”  (That’s an exact quote, including the misuse of your.)  Oh well!  You can’t please everyone.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

What a weird collection of episodes!  First off, we had an episode where Mike’s father and Carol’s mother visited and the kids tried to get them to fall in love with each other.  Robert Reed and Florence Henderson played their own parents.  You could tell Florence was just having fun but Robert really went all in and acted up a storm.  This was followed by the episode where Cindy and Bobby auditioned to be on television and Cindy ended up freezing once the cameras were on her.  Poor Cindy!  Finally, Bobby got his first kiss and turned into a jerk and then Greg got in trouble for helping his friends steal a goat.  The drama never stopped with those Bradys!

The Chair (Netflix)

I watched all six episodes of The Chair‘s first (and, perhaps, only) season on Thursday.  In this comedy-drama, Sandra Oh plays the newly named chair of Pembroke University’s moribund English department.  When the department’s most popular professor (Jay Duplass) is filmed doing a Nazi salute in jest, all heck breaks loose.  The Chair is a bit uneven but ultimately, it works.  It’s well-acted and the mix of comedy and drama is, for the most part, effectively handled.  A recurring bit about David Duchovny being invited to give a lecture is a highlight of the show’s first season.

Couples Court With The Cutlers (Weekday Afternoon, OWNTV)

I had this on as background noise for two hours on Monday.  That’s a total of four episodes, for those keeping count.  I didn’t really pay much attention because, again, it was background noise.  I did hear the audience gasp quite frequently.  And, of course, I looked up whenever Kendall Shull came out to deliver the lie detector results.

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

I watched four episodes on Wednesday evening.  Mostly, I just had them on for background noise.  I do remember that one episode featured an attorney getting mad at a deputy who went through her private papers while she was giving her closing statement.  The deputy was held in contempt of court, as he definitely should have been.  He spent ten days in jail, after refusing to apologize to the attorney.

Cruel Summer (Hulu)

The first season of Cruel Summer aired on FreeForm last year.  With each episode jumping back and forth between three separate years, the show tells the story of two teenage girls in Texas.  One is abducted.  The other takes her place.  On Thursday, I watched the first two episodes of Hulu.  It was all a bit overdone and overheated but undeniably compelling.  I always enjoy a good melodrama.

Dopesick (Hulu)

On Thursday night and Friday morning, I finally watched the highly acclaimed miniseries, Dopesick.  The miniseries deals with the introduction of OxyContin and how the drug literally destroyed communities and continues to destroy them today.  This was one of those miniseries where good scenes co-existed with scenes that were a bit too on-the-nose for their own good.  Michael Keaton and Kaitlyn Dever both gave excellent performances as two people caught up in the epidemic.  The miniseries wasn’t quite as good as I had been led to believe and it was definitely heavy-handed but it was still effective enough to make an impression.

The Dropout (Hulu)

I wrote about the series finale of The Dropout here!

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

Poor Uncle Jesse!  On his 26th birthday, he and his band had a gig at the hottest club in town.  Unfortunately, when the band couldn’t make it, Jesse’s idiot roommates decided to help him out and basically, they ruined Jesse’s big night.  Everything worked out in the end, though, because it’s not like Jesse could move out and have a normal life or anything like that.  The other three episodes that were shown on Sunday featured Joey getting back together with his ex (ewww!) and a two-parter in which Jesse and Becky nearly got married at a tacky casino before decided that it would be better to hold off so that Becky’s parents could come to the ceremony.  Run, Becky!  Escape while you still can.

The Girl From Plainville (Hulu)

I reviewed the latest episode of The Girl From Plainville here!

King of the Hill (Weekday Afternoons, FXX)

I watched two episodes on Wednesday, both classics from the show’s final season.  In the first episode, Louanne and the Manger Babies got involved in the lucrative but demanding world of direct-to-DVD children’s programming.  As John Redcorn put it, “We are already direct-to-DVD.  There is no other place to go.”  This episode featured one of my favorite Dale storylines, as he tried to write a children’s book about the “gun who cared.”  The second episode featured Boomhauer allowing an obnoxious Canadian family to stay at his home while he went up to Ontario.  The Canadians were not impressed with America but Hank still helped one of them get out of jail because that’s what neighbors do.  Awwwww!

Law & Order (Thursday, NBC)

Eh.  The Law & Order revival is just as clumsy when it comes to handling political issues as the original series was.  This week, a congressional candidate was murdered and an extremist group went on trial and it all felt very much like partisan fan fiction.

The Love Boat (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

On this Sunday’s cruise: Frank Bonner, Shelley Fabares, Jennilee Harrison, Arte Johnson, Stephen Shortridge, McLean Stevenson, William Window, and Jane Wyatt.  Not exactly the most exciting line-up, to be honest.  And this was actually a pretty boring episode but the ship and the ocean both looked really nice!

The Office (All the time, Comedy Central)

I watched two episodes on Saturday.  Unfortunately, they were both from the 8th season.  In the first one, the Office crew went to a local trivia night.  The second episode was the pool party episode.  The trivia episode was actually fairly amusing but the pool party was the 8th season at its worse.  There was never any reason for Robert California to invite the Scranton branch to a pool party.  The problem with all of these ensemble party episodes during the post-Carell era is that they mostly just served to remind us that we really only knew these characters by how they related to Michael.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being rejected by Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, Arkwright considered burying Granville alive in the storeroom.  It was an intense episode.

Parking Wars (Monday Morning, A&E)

In Detroit, Pony Tail handed out the tickets and encouraged everyone to be kind to each other.  It was a valiant effort but we all know that it’s cold in the D.  Anyway, I watched two episodes on Monday morning and they left me as aggravated as usual.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, ABC)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Chris Hardwicke interviewed people and complained about the villainy of Lance Hornsby.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I reviewed Sunday’s episode here!

Yellowjackets (Showtime)

I missed the first season of Yellowjackets when it first aired so I decided to catch up this weekend.  I binged the first half of the season on Saturday and I’ll do the second half tomorrow.  So far, this show has been playing out like a combination of Lost, Degrassi, and This is Us.  Even though I already kind of know what’s going to happens thanks to Wikipedia, I’m still intrigued by the show.  That said, I’m also spending a good deal of the show with my hands over my eyes because OH MY GOODNESS!  THE COACH LOST A LEG!  THAT GIRL’S FACE WAS RIPPED APART!  THERE’S A COMPOUND FRACTURE ON THE SOCCER FIELD!  EVERYONE’S PERIOD HAS SYCNED UP!  AGCK!  Christina Ricci, Melanie Lynesky, and Juliette Lewis are all Emmy-worthy.

TV Review: The Dropout 1.8 “Lizzy” (dir by Erica Watson)


(Below, you will find spoilers for the final episode of The Dropout.  I would recommend not reading this post until you’ve watched the episode.)

After all the drama and the deception, The Dropout ended the only way that it could, with Theranos in ruins, Sunny out of Elizabeth’s life, and Elizabeth still unable to comprehend why everyone got upset with her in the first place.  While George Schultz tries to come to terms with his mistakes and Erika Cheung worries about whether or not she’s ruined her future career by coming out as a whistleblower, Elizabeth tries to do damage control by forcing Sunny out of Theranos and then going on television for a cringey interview that pretty much seals her fate.  Both David Boies and Linda Tanner (Michaela Watkins, who became the unexpected heart of this episode) tell Elizabeth that it’s important that she come across as being contrite and sincerely “devastated” by Sunny’s actions.  Elizabeth, however, can’t do it.  As she explains to her mother, Elizabeth has been locking away her emotions for so long that she no longer knows how to express or even feel them.

The end of the episode finds Elizabeth finally pursuing the life that she would have led if she hadn’t dropped out of Stanford, started Theranos, and gotten involved with Sunny.  She’s dating a younger man.  She’s going to Burning Man.  She owns a dog.  She’s ditched the turtleneck.  She’s let her hair down.  She’s speaking in her real voice.  She’s going by “Lizzie.”  She’s reverted back to being the somewhat flakey child of privilege that she was at the start of the miniseries.  Even while Linda Tanner confronts her with the number of lives that she and Theranos destroyed, Elizabeth doesn’t break her stride.  Elizabeth has decided that she’s moved on, even if no one else can.  It’s only when she’s alone that she briefly allow her composure to crack, just long enough to scream into the void.

Of course, the final title card informs us that it doesn’t matter how much Elizabeth wants to be Lizzie, the girl who goes to Burning Man with her boyfriend.  Having been convicted of defrauding her investors, Elizabeth Holmes is currently awaiting her sentencing.  She could end up spending the next twenty years in prison.  And, just as Phyllis Gardner predicted in the previous episode, Elizabeth has made it difficult for other female entrepreneurs to find success in Silicon Valley.

As the episode came to a close, with Elizabeth walking through the now empty offices of Theranos with her dog and an increasingly agitated Linda, I found myself thinking about how those offices progressed through the series.  Theranos went from a shabby office building in the worst part of town to being the epitome of Silicon Valley chic.  In the early episodes, the cluttered Theranos offices and labs were disorganized but there was also a very sincere earnestness to them.  Men like Ian Gibbons actually believed in what they were doing.  By the fourth episode, Theranos transformed into a secretive place that was fueled by paranoia.  With each subsequent episode, the offices became a bit less individualistic and bit more joyless.  In the final episode, the offices were dark and deserted, as empty as Elizabeth and Sunny’s promises.  Looking at those offices, it was hard not to mourn the lost idealism of those early days.  Sunny may have never shared that idealism.  The miniseries suggests that Elizabeth lost her idealism as soon as she finally started to get the positive publicity that she craved.  But the people who were there at the beginning believed in Theranos and its stated mission.  Even Elizabeth’s early investors were taking a chance because they thought she could make the world a better place.  In the end, Elizabeth and Sunny betrayed all of them.  As I said at the start of this review, The Dropout ended the only way that it could, with an empty office, a lot of broken hearts, and Elizabeth Holmes convinced that the world had somehow failed her.  Viewers may never fully understand what was going on in Elizabeth Holmes’s mind but they’ll never forget her or the story of Theranos.

The Dropout was a good miniseries, probably the best that we’ll see this year.  This is a miniseries that better be remembered come Emmy time.  Amanda Seyfried seems to be a lock to at least get a nomination.  Naveen Andrews deserves consideration as well.  The supporting cast provides an embarrassment of riches.  Sam Waterston, Dylan Minnette, Kurtwood Smith, Michaela Watkins, William H. Macy, the great Stephen Fry, Camryn Mi-Young Kim, Kate Burton, Anne Archer, and Laurie Metcalf, all of them are award-worthy.  Give them the Emmy campaign that they deserve, Hulu!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 3/27/22 — 4/2/22


I spent most of this week passed out, to be honest.  Oscar Sunday took a lot out of me.  Here’s a few thoughts on what I did watch:

The Academy Awards (Sunday Night, ABC)

I wrote about the Oscars here.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Could the British airmen escape from floating down a canal and meeting a submarine?  It sounds like a good idea but …. no, of course it’s not going to work.  Good moaning, indeed!

American Idol (Monday Night, ABC)

Hollywood week!  The genre challenge!  It was boring.  The indie folk group had some of the most annoying singers that I’ve ever seen.  I’m really hoping that the girl who keeps bragging about how “weird” she is will get eliminated early.  If you’re truly weird, you don’t have to beg people to notice.

Baywatch Hawaii (Hulu)

On Wednesday, I finally watched episode two of the second and final season of Baywatch Hawaii.  JD wasn’t being a team player so Sean briefly suspended him and then asked him to help with a rescue.  JD learned an important lesson about putting aside your own concerns and taking one for the team.  Bleh.  Meanwhile, the father of an injured jet skier tried to sue Baywatch Hawaii but then he met the couple who was nearly killed by his son’s carelessness and he dropped his lawsuit.  Yay!  Lessons were learned all around.

On Thursday, I watched episode three.  Jenna was determined to shut down Baywatch and sell the property to the Mafia.  Sean was determined to raise the money necessary to pay his bills.  Fortunately, Jason and Zack saved the gangsters from drowning and, as a result, Baywatch lived to see another day.  You can’t put someone out of business after they save your life.  It’s the Mafia code.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

All four of Sunday’s episodes centered around the kids playing baseball.  Greg wanted to drop out of school to pursue a career in the majors so Mike used a baseball bat to break his kneecaps.  That seems a little extreme to me but the important thing is that Greg stayed in school.

Couples Court With The Cutlers (Weekdays, OWN)

I watched two episodes on Monday afternoon.  I was too busy making jokes about Will and Jada Smith someday appearing on the show to actually pay that much attention.

The Dropout (Hulu)

I reviewed the latest episode of The Dropout here!

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

Personally, I don’t see what was so bad about Danny Tanner wanting to have a clean house.  In all four the episodes that aired last Sunday on MeTV, people gave him a hard time for being compulsively neat but seriously, who would want to live in a dirty house?  For instance, while I was watching Full House, I stepped outside for a few minutes and accident stepped on a rock while barefoot.  Once I came back in, I discovered that the den floor had a trail of bloody footprints on it, much like a totally horrific crime scene.  Needless to say, I was not happy about this turn of events so, once I managed to step bleeding, I spent a few hours scrubbing the floor.  It was just the right thing to do.

The Girl From Plainville (Hulu)

I wrote about the first three episodes of Hulu’s latest miniseries here!

King of the Hill (Weekday Afternoons, FXX)

I watched one episode on Monday.  Desperate to make money so that he could afford some nicer clothes, Bobby first tried to get a legitimate job but eventually, he turned to panhandling.  Hank, needless to say, did not approve of his own son being a bum for fun.  He also didn’t approve of the other panhandlers, who were all basically rich kids just pretending to need the money.  They even forced Hank’s favorite homeless man, Spongey, to move to a different spot!  Fortunately, it all worked out in the end and Spongey hopefully got the money he needed.

Last Man Standing (Sunday, Newsnation)

I swear, this show is inescapable.  It’s on at least one channel every hour of every day.  I guess it kind of makes sense.  It’s a sitcom that didn’t really require too much focus on the part of the viewer and, as a result, it makes for nicely acceptable and inoffensive background noise.  Myself, whenever I see this show, I find myself relating to the middle daughter, the one who pretends to be self-centered but is secretly nicer than everyone else.  Anyway, I watched three episodes on Sunday and I don’t remember a thing about any of them, other than one featured the mom and the older sisters trying on wedding dresses and talking about how silly the world was.  That’s just the type of show that Last Man Standing was.

The Love Boat (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

Debbie Reynolds boarded the ship and briefly pretended to be Dr. Bricker’s nurse.  I’m not sure it’s a good idea for a doctor to agree to allow anyone to “pretend to be a nurse.”  I mean, a nurse still has a lot of real responsibility.  I assume everything worked out in the end.  To be honest, I was busy getting ready for the Oscars so I didn’t pay much attention to the show this week.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Arkwright somewhat desperately tried to convince Nurse Gladys Emmanuel that he wasn’t a monster who is holding Granville hostage.  The nurse (a real one, this time!) was too clever for him.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I woke up on Sunday morning and I watched the Christmas episode!  That was the one where Zack and his mom allowed a homeless man and his daughter to move in and then they never mentioned them ever again.  Kind of a strange episode.  I’ve always been worried about what happened to the man and his daughter after the final credits.  It just seems like having two strangers living in the house is something that would have come up again in a future episode.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, ABC)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Chris did his best to make this week’s episode of The Walking Dead more interesting than it actually was.  Good for him.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I wrote about the latest episode of The Walking Dead here!

TV Review: The Dropout 1.7 “Heroes” (dir by Erica Watson)


This week’s episode of The Dropout was the most emotionally satisfying yet.

Seriously, after six episodes of Elizabeth and Sunny walking over their employees, lying to their investors, and basically getting away with all of it, it was deeply satisfying to watch everything start to unravel in episode 7.  Not only did Elizabeth and Sunny fail to kill the Wall Street Journal story about their fraud but, for once, their heavy-handed attempts at suppression made the situation worse for them.  Tyler Schultz refused to sign the new NDA.  Even if George Schultz is still too stubborn to admit that he was wrong about Elizabeth, he at least seems to suspect that he’s been played.  Even David Boies seems to be at the end of his limit as far as defending Theranos is concerned.  Perhaps that explains why he didn’t seem to be too upset when one of his associates made a very basic mistake that gave John Carreyou (well-played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach) the information he needed to keep his WSJ story alive.  Perhaps most satisfying of all was the scene where Phyllis Gardner finally got a chance to tell Elizabeth off to her face.  It was a stand up and cheer moment in a miniseries that, up until this point, has portrayed the world as being a very dark place.

This week’s episode also deserves a lot of credit for the perfect use of David Bowie’ “Heroes” over the opening montage.  Even when the proverbial walls closing on her and Sunny, Elizabeth still convinced a lot of people that she was a hero, a college dropout who has somehow managed to revolutionize the way that blood is tested.  To be honest, it was always too good to be true but, for many years, Elizabeth Holmes pulled it off.  Not only did she present herself as being a hero but she allowed her investors to feel that they were also heroes for supporting her.  As the song says, “We can be heroes …. if just for one day.”

This episode of features several clip of Elizabeth Holmes being fawned over by the members of the political and media establishment.  Cleverly, the show digitally inserted Amanda Seyfried into actual footage of Holmes being interviewed and praised by old men like Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Charlie Rose.  As the miniseries has made clear, Elizabeth Holmes’s biggest boosters were all older men.  Women easily saw through her but men like George Schultz, Ian Gibbons, and others took on an almost fatherly role with her.  When Tyler asked George if he secretly wished that Elizabeth was related to him instead of Tyler, George didn’t answer.  He didn’t have to.

On one final note, I do hope that this episode will be viewed by the people responsible for Inventing Anna because this episode’s portrayal of journalism and a working newsroom feels exciting authentic in a way that Inventing Anna doesn’t.  Unlike the neurotic and needy characters at the center of Inventing Anna, John Carreyou gets the story through his own hard work and he fights for the story because he knows that it’s true.  LisaGay Hamilton’s performance as Carreyou’s editor was one of the highlights of the episode and her scenes with both Moss-Bachrach and Kurtwood Smith were fun to watch.  They left the viewer wanting to know more about the character.  Indeed, one of the things that The Dropout does so well is that it creates the impression that everyone on the show is worthy of their own miniseries.  I would happily watch a show about Carreyou and his editor.

The Dropout finishes up next week as Elizabeth and Sunny finally face the consequences of their own bad actions.  I can’t wait!

Lisa Marie’s Week in Television: 3/20/22 — 3/26/22


I didn’t watch much this week because I’ve been busy preparing for the Oscars.  Here’s a few thoughts on what little I did watch.

Allo Allo (Sunday, PBS)

Lt. Gruber thought that he spotted the ghost of Rene’s twin brother in the cemetery and was frightened for his life.  Of course, what we all know is that Rene never had a twin brother and instead, he’s been pretending to be his own twin brother after faking his death several seasons ago.  Somehow, no one on the show has figured this out yet or found it strange that Rene had to explain that both he and his twin have the same name.  Things only got more complicated from there, with Flick trying to disguise himself as a British spy and the Italian soldiers learning how to speak English.  Officer Crabtree still still thinks that he can speak French.  What I like is that, whenever he says “Good moaning,” all of the French characters respond with “Good moaning,” indicating that they are also mangling their French in sympathy for him.  That’s nice of them.  I’m also starting to get the feeling that those British airmen are never going to get out of France.

American Idol (Sunday and Monday Night, ABC)

ABC gave us two episodes of American Idol this week.  The auditions came to a close.  Because I was busy on both Sunday and Monday, it wasn’t until Tuesday that I watched both of the episodes on Hulu and I have to admit that it wasn’t long before I started to get bored and I ended up fast forwarding through some of the auditions.  From what I heard, some of the singers had good voices but there was still an overwhelming blandness to the whole thing.  Perhaps things will perk up in Hollywood.

Beyond the Edge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The show is all about celebrities doing stuff in the jungle.  Aguirre, The Wrath of God, it is not.  So far, none of the celebs have had a breakdown and requested to leave the show so what even is the point?

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

The Bradys went to a national park, laughed their way through a Native ceremony, and declared themselves to be The Brady Braves.  More like the Problematic Bunch, am I right?

The Dropout (Hulu)

I reviewed the latest episode of The Dropout here!

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

The Tanners and the Uncles are stranded at the airport on Christmas Eve and proceed to make life miserable for all of the other passengers.  Uncle Jesse gives a speech about the true meaning of Christmas.  Santa Claus is revealed to be a grumpy passenger who wears a toupee.  In a scene of maximum cringe, Danny falls asleep on the baggage claim carousel.  This was followed by three more episodes, all of which dealt with Jesse and Joey trying to work from home while Stephanie and Michelle demanded all of their attention.  DJ and Aunt Becky were the only characters on this show who ever seemed to worry about anyone else’s feelings.

The Love Boat (Saturday Afternoon, MeTV)

On Saturday’s episode, The Love Boat’s passengers included: Kim Darby, Howard Duff, Greer Garson, Lawrence Pressman, Louanne, and Jim Stafford.  To be honest, I didn’t know how the majority of those people were.  Greer Garson was a psychic.  Lawrence Pressman was a guy who used his best friend’s daughter to convince Kim Darby that he was a single parent.  In the episode’s serious plot, Isaac briefly went deaf.  It all worked out in the end.

The Office (All Week, Comedy Central)

On Sunday, I watched two episodes from season 1, both of which were classics of cringe comedy.  In Basketball, Michael challenged the warehouse to a game and Jim ended up getting punched in the face by Roy.  (Agck!  That was a lot of blood and, according to John Krasinski, it was real.)  Then, Amy Adams showed up at The Office to sell purses and Michael ran out to buy her a cappuccino machine.  Amy Adams deserved an Emmy for the look of horror she got in her face when Michael tried to flirt with her.  Will offices really let you sell purses out of their conference room?  I might actually check into that.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, PBS aired the first ever episode of Open all Hours.  Granville looked younger and a smidgen less disgruntled than he did in later episodes.  He still seemed to be a bit of a ticking time bomb, though.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about this week’s episode here!  I enjoyed this week’s episode far more than I enjoyed the previous two episodes.

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Chris talked to Michael Biehn and Seth Gilliam, both of whom were absolutely charming.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I wrote about The Walking Dead here!

Now, on to the Oscars!

TV Review: The Dropout 1.6 “Iron Sisters” (dir by Francesca Gregorini)


This week’s episode of The Dropout opens with Elizabeth Holmes staring at a camera. 

She’s got the black turtleneck on.  She’s speaking in the voice.  She’s doing the un-blinking stare.  She’s a bit awkward whenever she has to talk to anyone but that awkwardness now feels much more calculated than it did when we first met her.  Offscreen, we hear the voice of famed documentarian Errol Morris telling her which camera to look at.  Elizabeth tells Morris that she’s a huge fan of his work.  Though we don’t see Morris’s reaction, he certainly sounds thrilled by the compliment.  Of course, those of us who have been watching The Dropout from the start and who have also watched Alex Gibney’s documentary about Holmes, can guess what it probably the truth.  In all probability, Elizabeth Holmes had never seen any of Errol Morris’s documentaries.  For the most part, Elizabeth Holmes doesn’t appear to have had many interests beyond maintaining her carefully constructed public persona.  When Errol Morris makes mention of friends, a look of confusion crosses Elizabeth’s face.  Friendship is something that can only be shared between real people and, at this point, there’s nothing real about Elizabeth Holmes.

Friendship is a recurring theme throughout the sixth episode of The Dropout.  In fact, the episode returns so frequently to the theme that, for all of the show’s strengths, it actually runs the risk of getting a bit heavy-handed.  George and Charlotte Schultz are busy preparing Elizabeth’s 30th birthday party and they ask Elizabeth who they should invite.  They ask her who her friends are.  Elizabeth laughs and replies that the Schultzes are her friends.  The Schultzes laugh it off but to Elizabeth, her relationship with the Schultzes and the other members of the Board are really the only thing that she has.  For her, friendship is all about the validation of being praised by older, powerful people and, as this episode shows, men like George Schultz had a need to feel as if they were supporting her “good” work and ensuring that their final legacy will be a positive one.  Mix that with the stubborn refusal to admit to one’s mistake when one is old, wealthy, and well-connected and the end result is the type of environment that’s perfect for someone like Elizabeth Holmes.  

Indeed, the only vaguely real relationship that Elizabeth has is with Sunny and that relationship is one that she insists on keeping a secret.  (Though Charlotte instinctively understands what’s going on with Elizabeth and Sunny, George is clueless and complains, to Elizabeth, that Sunny just doesn’t have enough class.  In this case, George is right.)  In this episode, we see a bit more of Elizabeth and Sunny’s life together.  Sunny is resentful and manipulative.  Elizabeth needs him because she needs someone to actually be the bad boss while she’s busy shooting commercials and hanging out with the board of directors.  They enable each other, with Elizabeth almost using Sunny’s amorality as a shield from having to deal with the consequences of her own behavior.  If Elizabeth seems to be in deep denial about the extent of her fraud, Sunny seems to be convinced that he will always be able to outsmart anyone who tries to uncover the truth.  (Of course, as the show has repeatedly demonstrated, Sunny isn’t really that smart.)

Meanwhile, over the course of the episode, a much more unlikely friendship develops between Richard Fuisz, Phyllis Gardner, and Rochelle Gibbons.  All three of them are linked by a common desire to see Elizabeth revealed as a fraud.  Richard feels that Elizabeth treated him disrespectfully, Phyllis is offended by Elizabeth’s faux feminism, and Rochelle saw first-hand how Elizabeth and Sunny drove her husband to suicide.  Throughout the episode, the three of them try to get a Wall Street Journal reporter interested in the story but they struggle to find concrete evidence of Elizabeth’s fraud.  William H. Macy, Kate Burton, and especially Laurie Metcalf brought some much-needed moral clarity to last night’s episode.  In the past, I’ve complained that, as played by William H. Macy, Richard was almost too cartoonish to be believed but, as of last night’s episode, I stand corrected.  Richard is just as socially clueless as Elizabeth but, unlike Elizabeth, he has no idea how to use that to his advantage.  Instead of being cartoonish, Macy’s performance is instead a perfect counterpoint to Amanda Seyfried’s more tightly controlled performance as Elizabeth.

And finally, the episode’s most important friendship was the friendship between two new Theranos employees, Tyler Schultz (Dylan Minette) and Erika Cheung (Camryn Mi-Young Kim).  Erika began the episode in awe of Elizabeth, just to discover that Theranos was faking results and that the Edison was just a repurposed Siemen machine. Tyler and Erika took on the role of whistleblowers, just to discover that no one — especially not Tyler’s grandfather, George — had any interest in listening.  In the end, they both ended up losing the jobs.  That’s not a big deal for Tyler, who is a scion of the establishment.  For Erika, an idealist who shared much in common with the pre-Theranos Elizabeth Holmes, it’s very much a big deal.  As this episode makes clear, people will look the other way if it means being able to pay the rent and put food on the table.  It takes true bravery to do the right thing when you actually need the job, as Erika does.  Erika does the right thing and asks the right question and ends up by escorting out of Theranos by security guards.

There was a lot going on in this week’s episode but, ultimately, what I’ll always remember was Elizabeth’s birthday party, which featured the elderly members of the American establishment all wearing expressionless Elizabeth Holmes masks.  It was a sight of almost Cronenbergian horror.  Things only got more awkward as Elizabeth and George demanded that Tyler sing a song that he had written in honor of her birthday.  Of course, by this point, Tyler knew that Elizabeth was a fraud and Elizabeth knew that Tyler knew.  It was truly a moment of supreme cringiness but also one that apparently actually happened.  

The episode ends as it began, with Elizabeth Holmes staring straight at a camera and announcing that Theranos is the future.  #IronSisters!

 

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 3/13/22 — 3/19/22


I probably watched too much television this week.  It happens.  But, on the plus side, I finally finished the first season of Baywatch Hawaii and I’m making progress on Silk Stalkings.  Plus, The Bachelor is over and I’m finally going to get a break from that franchise.  It’s always good to find the positive in things.

Here are some thoughts on what I watched this week:

American Idol (Sunday Night, ABC)

Despite having announced last week that they had found the next great superstar in that girl who played the piano, the American Idol judges were back for more auditions this week.  As I’ve been saying ever since this season began, American Idol could use a little more negativity.  I know that we’re all supposed to be super supportive nowadays but these shows are more fun when some obnoxious dude who can’t carry a tune gets his dreams shattered by a snarky Brit.  Maybe Katy should bring Orlando with her to the next set of auditions.  He seems like he could handle the role.

That said, I did like the gospel singer because he seemed to be a genuinely nice person and I just hope the show doesn’t ruin him.  If he says he wants to sing gospel, let him sing gospel and let America decide whether or not to keep him around.  Personally, I’m not a huge gospel music fan but whatever.  It obviously meant a lot to him.

The Bachelor (Monday and Tuesday Night, ABC)

Mostly because I found Clayton to be rather dull (hence, why I called him the Claytonbot), I didn’t watch much of the latest season of The Bachelor.  (It didn’t help, of course, that the Bachelor was scheduled opposite both Celebrity Big Brother and the Olympics.)  However, I did join my BFF Evelyn to watch the two-part finale on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Wow, what a mess.  The Claytonbot finally learned what love is and then promptly told three separate women that he was in love with them.  He then slept with two of them, which led the third one — Susie — to leave the show.  Then, at the Rose Ceremony, Claytonbot informed Gabby and Rachel that 1) he loved both of them and 2) that he had slept with both of them.  This caused Gabby to walk off the show.  Claytonbot, however, convinced Gabby to come back and accept the rose.  The next day, Gabby and Rachel both had a nice meeting with the Claytonbot’s human family.  After Gabby and Rachel left, Claytonbot informed everyone but the two women that he had decided that actually was in love with Susie and that he wanted a chance to try to convince her to return to the show. It didn’t seem to occur to the Claytonbot that Gabby and Rachel might not be happy with the idea of going through all of this emotional turmoil just so he could then track down the woman who had previously dumped him.  The Claytonbot’s human family looked deeply disappointed in him and somewhat embarrassed to be associated with him on national television.   That was all on Monday’s episode.

Tuesday’s episode was even messier as the Claytonbot dumped both Gabby and Rachel because he had decided that he was “most in love” with Susie.  Gabby yelled, Rachel cried, and they both ended up leaving.  Claytonbot proposed to Susie and Susie …. turned him down.  Bachelor Nation rejoiced!  But then host Jesse Palmer revealed that, after filming wrapped up, Susie slid into the Claytonbot’s DMs and now the two of them are dating.  The live studio audience was not happy, especially when Claytonbot said that all of the emotional turmoil was worth it to end up with Susie.  Try telling that to Gabby and Rachel, you dumbfug!  (I gave up cursing for Lent.)

Anyway, this season of the Bachelor ended not with an engagement but instead a lot of pain and hostility.  At least Gabby and Rachel will be the next bachelorettes.

Bar Rescue (Sunday and weekday mornings, Paramount)

I watched one episode on Sunday morning.  The owner of an Irish pub was drinking too much so Jon Taffer called him a jerk in front of all of his friends.  That probably helped with the alcoholism.

On Monday, I watched another episode.  In this one, Taffer and the crew revealed that the bar was selling cheap beer at premium prices.  This, of course, led to a Roadhouse-style bar brawl.  If only Dalton had been there to break it up.  Oh well!

On Tuesday, I again watched one episode.  Why was I watching so much Bar Rescue?  It’s kind of a fun show.  Jon Taffer is amusing and the show itself has a sense of humor about itself.  Anyway, Tuesday’s episode was about yet another bar owner who had a drinking problem.  Why do so many drunks end up owning bars?  I would never want to mix my hobbies with my day job.  Taffer yelled at her to get sober and, by the end of the episode, the alcoholism had been vanquished and the bar was making a lot of money.  Yay!

Baywatch Hawaii (Prime and Hulu)

On Tuesday night, I watched two episodes from the first season of Baywatch Hawaii.  The first episode featured Jessie training for a triathlon and then abandoning the race as soon as she realized that the team needed her to help out with a rescue.  Jessie put aside her personal goals for the good of the team.  If I was in a similar situation, I cannot say that I would have done the same.  This second episode that I watched featured Sean, Jenna, and the team heading to the Big Island for a conference on drowning.  With Jenna’s help Sean came to terms with the drowning death of his son.  Both episodes felt like they had been assembled from scenes that had been cut from previous episodes.  There was an odd subplot during the first episode in which Jason was haunted by an apparently malicious water demon.  That whole storyline got abandoned after 20 minutes and was never mentioned again.  It was odd.  Like, seriously, how do you just forget about a water demon?

On Wednesday afternoon, I finally finished up season 1 with the final two episodes of the season.  Top-billed David Hasselhoff, who was absent for most of the season, finally returned as Mitch Buchanon.  In the first episode I watched, he helped Jessie’s grandfather deal with the guilt that he felt over surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Awwww!  Make fun of the Hoff all you want but sentimental stuff like this is what he’s good at and it was actually a pretty effective episode (by Baywatch Hawaii standards, of course).  The 2nd episode and the season finale featured Mitch …. GETTING BLOWN UP BY ECO-TERRORISTS!  Well, I guess that’s one way to get out of the show.  (Reportedly, the Hoff felt that he had been typecast as a result of his work on Baywatch.  Well, when you do a show for ten years, that will happen, I suppose.)   From what I understand, though, there was later a Baywatch reunion movie that established that Mitch actually survived the explosion, though with a case of amnesia.  That’s good because Mitch deserved better.  Other than Mitch getting blown up, the most interesting thing about this episode was that it revealed that both he and Sean were apparently part-time CIA agents, along with being lifeguards.  Good for them!  It’s always interesting to me how many part-time CIA agents there are on shows like this.

On Friday afternoon, I watched the first episode of the second season of Baywatch Hawaii.  There was no mention of Mitch or his sacrifice.  No one even seemed to be in mourning.  Instead, the episode introduced the viewers to a few new trainee lifeguards and also one new senior lifeguard, played by Brande Roderick.  Quite a few members of the first season cast were gone without explanation.  Jason Momoa was still there, however.  He looked kind of embarrassed.  As for the episode itself, it dealt with Sean and a former friend of his, an arrogant jet skier who didn’t care about stuff like teamwork.  *GASP!*

Beyond the Edge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

In this new reality show, 9 celebrities spend two weeks in the jungle and compete to raise money for charity.  Who will stay the entire two weeks!?  I watched the first episode and I don’t really care.  The celebs don’t really have any sort of personal stake in all of this so the competition aspect of it all is pretty dull.  I’m just glad that they’ve never done a celebrity edition of Survivor.  You know it’s going to happen someday, though.

The Bold and the Beautiful (Weekday Afternoon, CBS)

I watched an episode of the world’s greatest daytime drama on Tuesday afternoon.  Not much happened in the episode but the clothes were to die for and everyone owned a really nice house.  That’s the important thing.  It’s still hard for me to accept anyone other than Ronn Moss as Ridge.  Yes, I know it’s been ten years since Moss left the role but you have to understand that I don’t watch this show that often so, in my mind, it should still be exactly the same way that it was in 2009.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

MeTV showed four driving-related episodes of The Brady Bunch on Sunday.  Greg bought a car, without talking to his father about it first.  Carol had an accident and was sued by the other driver, who was faking his injuries.  Greg was told that he would not be allowed to drive his car for a week after nearly having an accident and then outsmarted his father by driving someone else’s car.  Marcia tried to get her license and this, of course, led to her and Greg getting into a fight over whether men were naturally better drivers than women.

I’m a bit disappointed that MeTV did not show the controversial episode were Mr. Brady ran over the homeless guy and then forced Alice to take the blame.  (Fortunately, Alice got out of prison just in time to appear on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.)

Children’s Hospital (Hulu)

Yay!  My favorite medical show is on Hulu!  I rewatched season one on Sunday night.  Fortunately, since there were only five 11-minute episodes in that season, it only took me an hour.  But what an hour!  How great it was to see the early days of Children’s Hospital, when Dr. Cat Black was narrating her thoughts and Dr. Lola Spratt was pretending to have a brain tumor so she could break up with Owen.  And let’s not forget Dr. Blake Downs, curing people with the power of laughter!

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

I only watched one episode on Wednesday evening.  This episode featured too much true crime footage for me.  I prefer when the episode focuses on lawyers acting strangely and judges speaking sarcastically.  Watching the actual crimes that led to people ending up in court in the first place just isn’t as much fun.

The Dropout (Hulu)

I reviewed the latest episode of The Dropout here!

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

Things continued to get heated at the Tanner household.  First, Joey and Jesse had to write a jingle together.  Then, the Beach Boys mysteriously showed up.  This was followed by Joey trying to be an authority figure as opposed to just a second-rate comic with an angry ex-girlfriend.  Finally, Danny was frustrated to discover that there apparently wasn’t a single woman in San Francisco who hadn’t already dated Jesse.  Poor DJ and Stephanie, it had to be traumatic growing up in that household!  That said, everything always worked out in the end.  The sentimental music would play.  Danny would say something wise.  The audience would respond with, “Awwwwwww!”

Happy Days (Weekday Evenings, MeTV)

I’m never quite understood the popularity of this old show but I did watch one episode on Tuesday evening.  The Fonz had to convince his cousin, Spike, not to be a delinquent.  Ron Howard only appeared for a few minutes at the start of the episode.  I guess it was largely filmed during his week off.

Inventing Anna (Netflix)

On Friday, I finally decided to return to watching Inventing Anna.  It’s not so much that Inventing Anna is any good (it’s not) as much as it’s just a case of me not wanting to leave anything unfinished.  I started watching this show and dammit, I’m going to finish it!  Even if it takes me until 2024.

Anyway, I finally watched the 6th episode, which was all about Anna and her friends traveling to Morocco and Anna apparently committing credit card fraud in order to pay for the whole vacation.  To be honest, though, the episode was really about the character of Vivian Kent bulging her eyes and going overboard with the facial expressions while listening to everyone’s story.  After spending an hour presenting Anna as being a terrible and manipulative friend, the episode suddenly shifted gears and had people talking about how, “I felt so sorry for Anna, in Morocco all alone.”  It was kind of annoying and didn’t make much sense.  Nothing about the way Anna has been portrayed on this show makes it believable that she would inspire that type of loyalty.  Maybe I’ll finish this show next year.

King of the Hill (Hulu and weekday afternoons on FXX)

I watched one random episode on Hulu on Monday evening.  Kahn mortgaged his house to be buy Scrubby’s Car Wash, which was apparently an Arlen institution despite having never been mentioned on the show before this episode.  Needless to say, Kahn’s abrasive management style was not a hit with the redneck customers and eventually, Mr. Strickland had to step in.  It was an okay episode, if not one of the show’s best.  The highlight of the episode was the introduction of infomercial huckster Dr. Money.  Dr. Money promised to make his customer so rich that they would have “champagne for breakfast and caviar for your cat!”

On Tuesday, I watched four episodes on FXX.  I watched as Peggy attempted to run a used bookstore and end up instead running a gun shop.  I watched the classic Halloween episode where Louanne ended up a prisoner of insane pork product industrialist Trip Larsen.  This was followed by the episode in which Dale was hired to kill the rats at the Mega-Lo Mart and instead discovered that jazz trumpeter Chuck Mangione was secretly living in the store.  Finally, I watched an episode in which Louanne became a boxer and ended up fighting George Foreman’s daughter.  Hank nearly got into a fight with Foreman himself over whether or not the Foremen Grill was a novelty product or not.  Luckily, George’s son broke up the fight.  “No, Daddy!  He ain’t worth it!” still makes me laugh every time that I hear it.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

On this week’s “ripped from the headlines” Law & Order, a tennis player who was definitely not meant to be one of the Williams sisters stood accused of murdering a family court judge.  The tennis player went with an insanity defense, claiming that she was suffering from a manic episode at the time of the murder and that only her father’s conservatorship could keep her from losing control.  So, just like that, the episode went from being about the Williams sisters to being about Britney Spears.  In short, this episode was so ripped from the headlines that it was actually kind of dumb.

The Love Boat (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

On this week’s cruise: Sharon Gabet, Laurence Lau, Denise Miller, Taylor Miller, Robert Pine, Janine Turner, and Ruth Warrick.  Admittedly, that’s not exactly the most memorable list of passengers and it was a bit of a silly episode.  Somehow, Gopher got trapped in a suit of armor while a preacher was romantically pursued by two of his followers.  And then, out of nowhere, there was this huge dramatic storyline, in which Warrick tried to forgive the son of the man who killed her husband in a drunk driving accident.  It was an odd cruise but the scenery was nice.

M*A*S*H (Hulu and Weekday Evenings, MeTV)

Like Happy Days, this is another old show that I usually don’t really care for but I did watch two episodes on Tuesday.  Both of them featured Alan Alda talking about how much he hates the war and basically getting in everyone else’s way.  Like, seriously, Hawkeye — EVERYONE HATES WAR!  It’s not all about you.

On Friday, I discovered that M*A*S*H is on Hulu and I decided to give the show another shot, mostly because people really do tend to rave about it.  Jeff suggested that I check out a later episode called “Dreams” and oh my God, was it effective!  While dealing with a seemingly never-ending amount of wounded soldiers, each of the main characters tried to get an hour or two of sleep and everyone ended up having a dream about what the war was doing to them, mentally.  It was a bit heavy-handed but it was undeniably effective.  Who knows?  I may have to give this show another shot next week.

Saved By The Bell (Saturday, E!)

E! did a Saved By The Bell marathon on Saturday.  I watched as Kelly broke up with Zack, Zack solved the mystery weekend, and Johnny Dakota tried to get all the students at Bayside hooked on the weed with roots in Heck.  Bad Johnny Dakota!

(Yes, I said “roots in Heck.”  I gave up cursing for Lent.  I realize that I probably could have gotten away with not using Heck because it’s a name of place, as opposed to an actual exclamation.  But I decided that it’s best not to get cutesy with Lent.)

Savoring Our Faith (Sunday Afternoon, EWTN)

Fr. Leon Patalinghug talked about St. Patrick and why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day while preparing a meal.  I watched this with Erin on Sunday and, somewhat unexpectedly, I enjoyed it.  It’s an Irish Catholic thing.

Silk Stalkings (Tubi)

On Monday, I returned to Silk Stalkings.  I watched the show’s 41st episode, in which Chris got shot at after witnessing yet another fight between a man, his mistress, and his wife. Chris literally couldn’t leave his apartment without witnessing a fight. Once again, the no-funsters at the police department were trying to get Chris in trouble but luckily, Rita was there to solve the crime.  To be honest, it was kind of a confusing episode but, as I’ve said before, this isn’t show that you watch for the plots.  You watch it for the frequently unclothed people committing crimes and having melodramatic conversations.  It’s a lot of fun.

On Tuesday, I watched episode #42.  A serial killer was stalking women who had sought the advice of a fake astrologer.  Chris not only flirted with every woman he met (even if he happened to meet them at a crime scene) but he also tossed the killer into the ocean.  Way to go, Chris!

On Friday morning, I watched episode #43, in which Chris and Rita investigated a murder connected to phone sex and prostitution.  Can you guess what happened next?  If you guessed, “Chris goes undercover as a client and Rita goes undercover as a phone sex operator,” you are correct!  This was a supremely silly episode, largely because there was only one suspect so it was pretty easy to guess who was going to end up getting shot at the end of it all.  Still, Chris and Rita!  How can you not love them?

I followed this with Episode #44 (entitled “Crime of Love”), which was also the first episode of the show’s third season!  Rita suspected that an author that she had previously arrested was responsible for murdering the wife of his publisher.  She was certain that there was no way that he could have reformed but it turned out that he wasn’t the murderer.  Sometimes you have to give people a second chance, Rita!

Since I was on a bit of a Chris & Rita roll, I decided to to watch two more episodes.  The first was Episode #45 (entitled “Team Spirit”), in which Chris and Rita investigated a serial killer who was targeting wealthy men.  However, the most interesting thing about the episode was the B-plot, in which Chris was audited by the IRS after he attempted to write off his wardrobe as a business expense! Even while being audited, Chris couldn’t help but flirt with the IRS agent.  Oh, Chris!

Episode #46 (“The Perfect Alibi”) found Chris and Rita investigating a hot tub murder that was linked to a gang of video tape bootleggers.  It was all very 90s but the main bad guy was named Sorkin so that was kind of amusing.  As usual, every suspect that Chris visited was just getting out of shower when Chris arrived at the apartment.  This happened every single episode but anyone who has watched the show knows that it didn’t matter how many half-naked people tried to come between them, Chris and Rita were always meant to be together.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about this week’s episode at Reality TV Chat Blog!

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Yay!  For the second week in a row, Talking Dead was broadcast from the studio as opposed to Chris Hardwicke’s living room.  Nature is healing.

Vaticano (Sunday Afteroon, EWTN)

It’s news for Catholics!  It’s also Lent so I watched this with Erin on Sunday afternoon.  I couldn’t help but remember the time that we visited Italy and took a tour of the Vatican.  It was, needless to say, beyond amazing.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I reviewed this week’s episode here!

TV Review: The Dropout 1.5 “Flower of Life” (dir by Francesca Gregorini)


Who was Elizabeth Holmes?

Was she an idealist who got in over her head and ended up cutting corners with the best of intentions?

Was she a con artist who simply lied for the money?

Was she the abused and manipulated partner in a crime that masterminded by Sunny Balwani?

Or was she a sociopath who was simply incapable of feeling any empathy for the people that she manipulated and, in some cases, destroyed?

That’s the question that’s been at the heart of the first five episodes of The Dropout.  It’s also a question that the show’s version of Elizabeth Holmes (played, brilliantly, by Amanda Seyfried) is struggling with.  One gets the feeling that she herself doesn’t full understand what’s going on inside of her head.  For the first half of the episode 5, Holmes is an almost sympathetic character.  Still desperate for Sunny’s approval and seemingly convinced that Theranos can come up with some magic spell that will actually make the Edison work, Elizabeth comes across as being more self-delusional than malicious.  For the first half of the episode, it’s like we’re watching the socially awkward but earnest Elizabeth who we first met at the beginning of the series.  At her uncle’s funeral, she asks her mother if she ever had any hobbies when she was younger and her mom can only list several competitive activities that Elizabeth took part in.  But, as becomes clear, Elizabeth never did anything just for fun or just for enjoyment.  Instead, everything the she’s always done has been a part of an obsessive need to not only prove her own abilities but to also prove that she’s superior to other people.

Perhaps this strange mix of a grandiose self-image and gnawing insecurity is why she simply cannot bring herself to settle the lawsuit that’s been brought against her by Richard Fuisz (William H. Macy).  Instead, with the help of her newest mentor, George Shultz (Sam Waterston), Elizabeth brings in David Boies (Kurtwood Smith).  Boies is one of the leading lawyers in the United States.  Before getting involved with Theranos, Boies tried to put Al Gore in the White House.  After his involvement with Theranos, Boies tried to keep Harvey Weinstein out of jail.  Boies failed on both accounts but he was far more successful when it came to battling Fuisz’s lawsuit.  One of the key scenes in the episode comes when Schultz mentions that he and Boies are on different sides politically but that they’re willing to come together to protect Theranos.  It doesn’t matter that Schultz is a Republican and Boies is a Democrat.  What matters is that they’re both a member of the elite and Theranos, with its prestigious board of directors, is now a part of the elite as well.  Richard Fuisz, with his terrible haircut and his excitable manner, is far too gauche to be allowed to defeat Theranos.

Indeed, Elizabeth spends most of this episode worrying about the lawsuit and also what might happen if Ian Gibbons (Stephen Fry) is called to testify.  Gibbons’s name is on all of Theranos’s patents, along with Elizabeth’s.  Gibbons is perhaps the one person who can testify that Elizabeth had nothing to do with designing any of Theranos’s equipment.  When we first see Theranos’s legal team pressuring Ian to sign a statement saying that, as an alcoholic, he can’t testify, we’re left to wonder whether the team is working at the direction of Sunny, Boies, or Elizabeth.  When Ian points out that signing such a statement will end his career, no one seems to care.  Ian Gibbons goes home, plays with his dogs, listens to his favorite opera, says goodnight to his wife, and then kills himself.

Elizabeth’s reaction to Ian’s death tells us all we need to know about her and it pretty much erases whatever sympathy we may have had for her.  She’s a bit like a robot, trying to generate the “right” emotions but not quite sure the proper way to do it.  When told that Ian is dead and that the lawsuit is apparently dead as well, Elizabeth focuses on the finger puppets that she wants to stock in the Theranos Wellness Centers.  The puppets are for children to wear after getting their finger pricked but they’re also a part of Elizabeth’s fantasy world, a world where Theranos will be fine and she’ll be as famous and beloved as Steve Jobs.  And if that means that the Edison had to be built with technology with Sunny stole from another company, so be it.

The episode ends with Brendan (Bashir Salahuddin) quitting the company and George Schultz’s nephew, Tyler (Dylan Minnette), starting his first day.  Using her fake voice, Elizabeth gives a speech to her cult-like employees.  She talks about her uncle’s death and how it effected her and we know that it’s all a lie but Elizabeth sells it.  The only disconcerting note comes from Sunny, who can’t stop himself from casually threatening to fire anyone who doesn’t share Elizabeth’s version.  They’re a team.  Elizabeth knows how to sell Theranos.  Sunny knows how to terrify anyone who asks too many questions.

This was the first episode of the series to not be directed by Michael Showalter.  Instead, it was directed by Francesca Gregorini and there are a few scenes where you really do miss Showalter’s ability to balance the absurd with the dramatic.  That said, this episode worked due to the performances of not only Seyfriend and Naveen Andrews but also William H. Macy, Kurtwood Smith, and especially Stephen Fry.  Fry especially broke my heart, even though I knew enough about the real story of Theranos that I already knew that Gibbons was going to take his own life.  Still, Fry plays the role with such a wounded dignity that you are left with no doubt that Gibbons was the last of the true believers.  He gave his life for Theranos and, in the end, Theranos gave him nothing in return.

The episode ends with Richard calling Phyllis Gardner (Laurie Metcalf), who was last seen telling a very young Elizabeth that there was no way to make the idea behind Theranos a reality.  Phyllis tells Richard that Elizabeth is a fraud.  And I have to admit that, as a viewer who had just spent 50 minutes with Elizabeth Holes and Sunny Balwani and David Boies, it was nice to hear someone come straight out and say it.

Next week, Tyler Schultz starts working at Theranos and he discovers that everything is not as it seems!  It’s the beginning of the end for Theranos and I’m looking forward to watching it all come down.

TV Review: The Dropout 1.4 “Old White Men” (dir by Michael Showalter)


If the first three episodes of Hulu’s The Dropout occasionally seemed as if they might be a bit too sympathetic to Elizabeth Holmes (played, brilliantly so far, by Amanda Seyfried), the fourth episode presented us with Elizabeth in full supervillian mode.

Gone was the socially awkward but well-meaning Elizabeth.  Now speaking with her trademark deep voice, wearing her black turtlenecks, and possessing the wide-eyed stare of someone who rarely blinks, Elizabeth spent the fourth episode conning Walgreens into investing in her worthless blood testing machine.  When she wasn’t manipulating the Walgreens execs, she was coldly firing poor Ian Gibbons (Stephen Fry) and only bringing him back after the rest of the lab team threatened to quit in protest.  Of course, it wasn’t Elizabeth who placed the call to Ian and asked him to return.  It was Sunny (Naveen Andrews) and, when Ian returned, he was taken out of the lab and given a desk job.

Yes, it quickly became obvious that Theranos had changed a lot since the previous episode.  Security was everywhere, befitting a company that claimed to have come up with revolutionary technology.  People in different departments were not allowed to talk to each other.  The earnest and free-wheeling atmosphere had been replaced by a slick but curiously impersonal office.  Even the quote from Yoda now felt out of place.  Yoda would have been fired for asking too many questions.

Of course, the majority of the episode dealt with Elizabeth and Sunny’s attempts to sell their “wellness center” concept to Walgreens.  It was an obvious con but the Walgreens execs eventually fell for it.  One of them, Jay Rosen (Alan Ruck), fell victim to Elizabeth’s flattery and a belief that Elizabeth represented the future.  (In a rather endearing scene, Jay compared Elizabeth to a Katy Perry song.)  Another exec, Wade Miquelon (Josh Pais), initially understood that Theranos’s claims were too good to be true but, ultimately, he set aside his concerns when it appeared that Theranos might make a profitable deal with CVS instead.  Only Kevin Hunter (Rich Sommer) was able to see through Theranos and, ultimately, his concerns were ignored.  Ruck, Pais, and Sommer were all wonderfully cast and they all did a good job of showing how Elizabeth, Sunny, and Theranos were able to con so many people who should have known better.  By the end of the episode, Elizabeth has tricked former Secretary of State George Shultz (Sam Waterston, radiating gravitas as only he can) into joining the Board of Directors.  While the Walgreens corporate leaders performed an endearingly dorky version of What I Like About You, Kevin Hunter curiously looked at the Edison blood testing machine and Elizabeth coldly looked at him.

After being so disappointed with both Inventing Anna and Pam & Tommy, I resolved to be a little bit more cautious when it comes to overpraising the early episodes of The Dropout.  And I do think you could probably make the argument that devoting an entire episode to Walgreens is an example of how a miniseries will occasionally drag a story out and will devote an entire episode to something that could have been handled with just one five-to-ten minute scene.  But, when you’ve got a cast this good and writing this sharp, it almost doesn’t matter.  Director Michael Showalter did a wonderful job of balancing the cringey humor of the Walgreens plotline with the more emotional moments in which Ian Gibbons dealt with his frustrations over the direction in which Sunny and Elizabeth took Theranos.  Even if you don’t already know the details about what ultimately happened to Ian Gibbons, Stephen Fry’s performance will still break you heart.  Fry plays Gibbons as a man who, despite advancing age and poor health, refuses to surrender his idealism.  That makes him a good scientist but also the perfect victim for Elizabeth and Sunny’s syle of manipulation.

Old White Men was a well-done episode, perhaps one of the best that I’ve seen so far this year.  I look forward to seeing where the show takes us next week.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 2/27/22 — 3/5/22


Yes, I watched a lot this week.  Here’s some thoughts:

Allo Allo (Monday Morning, PBS)

Rene attempted to abandon his wife and his café so that he could elope with Yvette but Michelle had one “last” mission for him.  It involved smuggling the Enigma machine to the British via the sewer system and, needless to say, it involved a lot of digging.  It made me laugh, that’s what is important.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

You can read my thoughts on the finale here!  I wasn’t particularly happy about who won but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

American Idol (Sunday Night, ABC)

I am as stunned as anyone by the fact that American Idol still exists.  I stopped caring about the show a lifetime ago but I still watched the premiere of the latest season on Sunday because I was cleaning around the house and I thought it would make for acceptable background nose.  I love Katy Perry but the rest of the judges are pretty dull.  No one’s willing to be as mean as Simon Cowell was back in the day.  The whole thing is just too damn positive.

The Bachelor (Monday Night, ABC)

I haven’t really been keeping up with this season but I did watch Monday’s episode, just to see if the Claytonbot had developed any sort of individual personality over the past few weeks.  He has not but apparently, everyone can still see themselves falling in love with him and spending the rest of their life with him.

Bar Rescue (Friday Morning, Paramount)

It had been a while since I watched Bar Rescue so I watched the Friday morning bloc of reruns.  I guess, due to the fact that I don’t drink, I always find it amusing how worked up everyone on the show gets over the mismanaged bars.  Whenever Taffer starts to yell about a bartender not knowing how to make a certain cocktail, I’m always like, “Well, can’t you just order something else?”

Couples Court With The Cutlers (Sunday Afternoon, OWN TV)

I had forgotten this show existed but when I stumbled across it on Sunday, I have to admit that I immediately got sucked into the case of Bacon vs. Bacon and the question of whether or not Mrs. Bacon was cheating on Mr. Bacon.  They even brought in a cybersecurity expert to go through Mrs. Bacon’s phone and it was discovered that she was using an app to send out secret text messages!  Mrs. Bacon claimed she was talking to other men but not actually cheating with them.  However, “licensed polygraph examiner Kendall Shull,” (as he’s called in every single episode) determined that she was cheating.  Mr. Bacon walked out on her husband while the audience gasped.  Poor Mr. Bacon!  I later looked this episode up on the imdb and I discovered that it was 5 years old so I can only imagine how the Bacons feel whenever they come across it playing on TV.

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

To be honest, I thought this show had been canceled but, on Wednesday, I discovered that it still exists and it’s going strong.  Featuring actual court footage and breathlessly narrated by Dan Abrams, Court Cam is the equivalent of true crime junk food.  I watched about four episodes.  Judges yelled.  Defendants yelled.  The bailiffs were ready to spring into action.  The lawyers were usually smart enough to stay out of the way.

The Dropout (Hulu)

I wrote about the latest Hulu miniseries here!

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

Uncle Jesse was upset that he wasn’t getting to spend as much time with his cool friends as he wanted to because he was always spending all of his time taking care of Danny’s children.  So, Jesse went skiing with his old friends but they all turned out to be just as dorky as Joey and Danny so I kind of think Jesse was fooling himself as far as the old gang was concerned.  Jesse’s life didn’t get any better in the episode that followed, as he was forced to take a job as an Elvis impersonator to pay the bills.  Poor Jesse!  At least he had adequate hair.

Inventing Anna (Netflix)

I watched episodes 3, 4, and 5 of Inventing Anna early Monday morning.  They didn’t do too much for me, largely because Vivian isn’t a very interesting character and every minute that we have to spend listening to her whine about her career is a minute that we’d rather be spending with Anna and her wealthy friends.  This show makes a lot more sense once you know that the journalist upon whom Vivian Kent is based is also one of the producers.  She made the mistake of thinking she was the star of the story.

King of the Hill (Hulu and FXX)

On Sunday morning, I watched three episodes of King of the Hill on Hulu.  The first featured the possibility of Bobby being a reincarnated holy man.  The second found Peggy getting involved with a pyramid scheme.  (“No, it’s a triangle.”)  And the third featured Hank getting a haircut from Bill and then demanding that the Army charge him for it.  It turns out that it costs $900 for the army to give a man a haircut.

I watched two episodes of FXX on Wednesday.  One episode featured Hank becoming the substitute shop teacher and teaching the kids how to fix things.  Unfortunately, he had the kids bring tools from home and that got him fired.  I love this episode, largely because of the wonderful voice over work of the late Dennis Burkley, who played Principal Moss.  This was followed by Aisle 8A, in which Connie spent a memorable few days with the Hills and Hank had to find the courage to take a trip down Aisle 8A.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

I watched the latest episode of Law & Order to see if McCoy had gotten around to firing his ludicrously idealistic Executive D.A. yet.  He had not.

This week’s episode was based on the relationship of Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani so it was interesting to watch it after having binged the first three episodes of The Dropout.  It was an okay episode, even if it still sometimes seemed to be trying a bit too hard.  The Law & Order revival needs to calm down a little and give the new characters (and the actors playing them) a chance to define who they are.

I kept hoping the ghost of Adam Schiff would materialize and rasp, “Take the deal….”

Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

What if Joe Rogan confessed to a decades-old murder!?  Well, I guess you’d have to send someone in undercover to catch him.  This was not one of SVU‘s better episodes.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

On Sunday’s cruise, Kim Richards played a 13 year-old who, after putting on a good deal of makeup and taking off her glasses, could pass for a 22 year-old.  Fortunately, Gopher found out the truth about her age before committing a crime.  Meanwhile, Eve Plumb learned to forgive the man who she thought was her father for walking out on the family 20 years earlier.  Yay!  Quite a cruise.

Open All Hours (Monday Morning, PBS)

A woman wished Granville a happy birthday so Arkwright pushed Granville off of a step ladder.  This is something that appeared to happen fairly frequently with Granville.  He was always getting shoved off something.  Poor guy.

Pam and Tommy (Hulu)

I reviewed the latest episode of Pam & Tommy here.  Unfortunately, the character of Rand Gauthier has returned.  I’m glad this show is almost over.

The SAG Awards (Sunday Night, TNT)

I caught the second airing of the awards.  It was nice to see CODA win the award for Best Ensemble.  I loved Marlee Matlin’s speech.

Secrets of Playboy (Monday Night, A&E)

This A&E docuseries is all about exposing Hugh Hefner as being kind of a creep.  The episodes that I saw on Monday certainly accomplished that goal.  It’s kind of amazing that, for years, Hefner was able to get away with presenting himself as being some sort of benevolent father figure when basically, he was just a jerk with a mansion and smoking jacket.

Silk Stalkings (IMDB TV)

On Wednesday, I returned to binging Silk Stalkings.  I started with the 35th episode of the series, which was called Dead Weight and featured Chris and Rita investigating the murder of a businessman who was played by John O’Hurley.  I was pretty sure that I had seen this episode before but no matter.  It was fun and trashy and O’Hurley played his brief role like a soap opera villain come to life.  The 36th episode was called Kid Stuff and it told the story of a 17 year-old prostitute who shot her older lover’s wife.  The older man was a doctor who was played by the great Andrew Stevens.  Even by the standards of Silk Stalkings, this was a sordid episode but that’s one of the fun things about Silk Stalkings.  It may have been shameless but it also clearly wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.  Later, that night, I watched the 37th episode, in which Chris and Rita investigated a shooting that was connected to a couple’s kinky sex game.  That said, Chris was more concerned that Rita might accept a job offer and move to San Diego.  Awwwww!  No need to worry, Chris!  Rita would never leave you!

Thursday, I watched Episode #38.  After a murder turned out to be connected to a shady modeling company (which was actually a front for a trafficking scheme), Chris and Rita went undercover!  Chris pretended to be a mobster!  Rita pretended to be a model!  Any episode in which Chris and Rita go undercover is guaranteed to be a gem, especially if it requires Chris to wear a red suit and talk tough.  This was followed by an episode in which Chris and Rita investigated a death at a birthday party and Rita dealt with some issues from her traumatic childhood.  It was actually a pretty effective episode.  As silly as the mysteries on the show were, both Mitzi Kapture and Rob Estes were good actors who managed to find a sort of emotional reality amongst all the neon and lingerie.

Finally, on Friday, I watched Episode #40, “Soul Kiss.”  Chris and Rita investigated what appeared to be a suicide but what was actually a murder that was connected to a tantric sex seminar.  Rita was intrigued but Chris thought it was silly to suggest that he needed a seminar to learn anything new.  Rob Estes and Mitzi Kapture both kind of laughed their way through this episode.

Snowpiercer (Sunday Night, TNT)

I watched Snowpiercer while waiting for the second showing of the SAG Awards to begin.  Visually, it’s an impressive show and there’s a lot of actors in the cast who I like.  And I also liked the movie upon which the show is based.  That said, I don’t have the slightest idea what was going on in the majority of the episode.

South Park (Wednesday Night, Comedy Central)

This week, South Park not only took on Russian aggression but it also took a look at the way adults specialize in scaring and emotionally traumatizing children “for their own good.”  As usually happens in a time of crisis, South Park was the only show to come across as being the least bit sensible.  The new episode was followed by the “Zipline” episode from 2012.  That episode was only ten years old but seemed to come from a totally different universe.

The State of the Union (Hulu)

I skipped the State of the Union address on Tuesday and I wasn’t planning on watching it at all but then I heard from several people about how weird it was so I decided to give it a watch.  And yes, it was very, very weird.  All of our leaders are very, very weird and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.  What’s the deal with Biden’s creepy whispering thing?  Can no one tell him not to do that?  For that matter, most of the members of Congress appear to be deeply weird as well.  As much as we Americans love watching British and Canadian lawmakers heckle their prime ministers, we’re still not used to the idea of people in Congress doing it to the president.  At times, I felt like I was watching a sci-fi film in which society had moved underground.

My main impression is that this country is led by a group of very old people.  Maybe we should try electing some younger people the next time we have the opportunity.  Just a thought.

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Just like last week, Talking Dead did not feature a studio audience and, as a result, it fell somewhat flat.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I like the Commonwealth.  Their Halloween looked fun and I don’t really care about the income inequality.  The world’s ending.  Let people enjoy themselves, Carol.  I reviewed the latest episode of The Walking Dead here.

Worst Roommate Ever (Netflix)

Netflx’s latest true crime series tells the story of four terrible roommates.  Three of them turned out to be murderers.  The other one attempted to kill two people that we know about and the fact that both of them survived is something of a miracle.  I binged this frequently fascinating but often disturbing series on Tuesday morning, before Erin and I left to the vote in the Texas primaries.  The fact that this series is only five episodes long and doesn’t resort to dragging out any of the stories that it tells should really serve as a lesson for some other showrunners out there.  That said, I also have to say that the final two episodes, which dealt with the nightmarish crimes of Jamison Branch, left me feeling deeply unsettled and there’s a part of me that wishes that I hadn’t watched them.