Lisa Marie’s Week In Televison: 8/22/21 — 8/29/21, Part Two (From Hell’s Kitchen To Women of Grace)


Welcome to the second part of my week in television!

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

The Red Team crashed and burned in dramatic fashion this week and, as a result, poor Sam lost his dream of working for Chef Ramsay. Somehow, Antonio and Brynn survived, despite doing far worse. Still, I have to say that I appreciate that Chef Ramsay is being a bit nicer when he kicks the chefs out. He had some nice things to say to Sam before sending him out the door. Sam seemed like a nice guy so I’m glad that he left with words of encouragement instead of being told to go to Hell.

I Lived With A Killer (Friday Morning, Reelz)

The premise of this true crime show is right there in the title. The episode I saw profiled the ex-wife of Omar Mateen, the prick who was responsible for the Pulse Nightclub shooting. The show was undoubtedly exploitive but, at the same time, it really did capture a very real fear. I mean, what must it be like to discover that someone you were close to, someone who you slept beside and who you slept with, was capable of committing such an evil act?

Last Man Standing (Friday Evening, CMT)

As I think I’ve said in the past, Last Man Standing is the epitome of a good “background noise” show. It doesn’t require that you pay much attention to it and the show itself is never good nor bad enough to distract you from anything else that you have to get done. This Friday, I was cleaning around the house and I had Last Man Standing on for two hours. I’m pretty sure one of the episodes featured Tim Allen’s son-in-law getting into a fight at a baseball game while the other featured the eldest daughter worrying that she had missed out on getting an education. As I said, I’m really not sure what happened but it provided adequate background noise while I was doing some dusting and vacuuming.

Lonesome Dove (Wednesday Night, DVD)

This week, the #WestWed live tweet concluded it’s viewing of the 1990 miniseries, Lonesome Dove. The cattle drive finally reached its conclusion, sadly without Robert Duvall’s Gus McRae, who died as the result of an infected arrow wound. Tommy Lee Jones’s Woodrow F. Call did survive, though with the knowledge that he was the last of a dying breed. He brought Gus’s body back to Texas and buried him. It was a bit of a sad episode, to be honest. Still, it was a great miniseries and I’m glad to have watched it.

The Office (All Week, Comedy Central)

On Tuesday, I caught the Prison Mike episode. “I AM HERE TO SCARE YOU STRAIGHT!”

Real Life Catholic (EWTN, Thursday Night)

Chris Stefanick travels the country and talks to “real life Catholics” about their life and their faith. On Thursday’s episode, he talked to a police detective, a lobsterman, and a hermit monk who lived in a Maine lighthouse. Usually, this isn’t my type of programming but, after spending the day being bombarded with horrific images from Afghanistan, this show did provide some relief.

Reasonable Doubt (ID, Friday Night)

Reasonable Doubt is a true crime show in which families ask a detective and an attorney to look into the cases of relatives who have been convicted of murder. The families usually believe that the conviction was unjust. The detective and the attorney look at the evidence and announce whether or not they believe there’s reasonable doubt. The episode that I watched on Friday was about Tim Wright, a vet who convicted of killing a romantic rival. Tim’s sister and father are convinced that Tim is innocent. The detective and the attorney were not convinced. This inspired me to do some research of my own and I came across the Innocence 4 Tim Facebook page where Tim’s sister had some pretty harsh words for this show and the people involved. I’m not picking one side or the other but if you do watch the show, make sure to read what Tim Wright’s family has to say as well.

Silk Stalkings (ZLiving, Weekday Afternoon)

I watched two episodes of this wonderfully shallow 90s cop show on Friday afternoon. Every was very attractive, often undressed, and occasionally violent. It was a lot of fun, up until the end of the day’s first episode, when Chris (played by Rob Estes) was shot by a suspect. Fortunately, the end of the following episode, it appeared that he was on the road to recovery. Yay!

South Park (Comedy Central, all the time)

I watched one episode on Friday morning. Chef returned to South Park after spending the summer with the Super Adventure Club. Yay! Except …. oh my God, there’s something wrong with Chef! The Return of Chef has always been an interesting episode. On the one hand, it was an episode that Trey and Matt had to make after Isaac Hayes walked off the show, supposedly to protest the way the show poked fun at religion. (It’s been suggested, by both Hayes’s son and the creators of South Park, that Hayes’s resignation letter was written by some Scientologists in Hayes’s entourage while Hayes was too weakened by a stroke to really understand what was going on.) And indeed, there’s a lot of anger in this episode. Not surprisingly, there’s also a lot of sadness. One gets the feeling that Trey and Matt were deeply hurt on just a professional level but also on a personal level by what happened with Hayes.

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Chris Hardwick is a charming host and he seems to genuinely love talking about The Walking Dead. To be honest, it’s been a while since The Walking Dead has been the show that everyone’s talking about but Talking Dead is still fun to watch. If nothing else, watching it is a good way to relax when you’re wondering whether or not Maggie’s dead.

The Ultimate Surfer (Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday Night, ABC)

This is a new reality competition show that premiered after Bachelor in Paradise on Monday, in which a group of surfers compete to be the ultimate surfer. I kind of like that they didn’t try to do Surfing with Celebrities or anything stupid like that. These are real surfers and they were fun to watch and it helps that everyone on the show is extremely attractive. Shallow that may sound but it’s an ABC reality program. You don’t watch a show like this because you care about the people involved. You watch because you want to see attractive people on the beach or in the ocean.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I reviewed the 11th season premiere here.

Women of Grace (EWTN ,Thursday Night)

On this Catholic discussion show, it was debated whether or not smoking weed was a sin. I can’t really remember what conclusion they came to.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 7/11/21 — 7/17/21


Twonky

Another week, another collection of television shows!  Here’s what I watched this week.  As you may notice, there’s not a lot.  This week turned out to be an unexpectedly busy one.  Perhaps next week I’ll finally be able to get caught up with everything.  Here’s hoping!

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Alllo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

At this point, I’m not even sure that I remember why Herr Flick was chained up in that dungeon but the Resistance and a reluctant Rene got him out of there on this week’s episode.  Meanwhile, Officer Crabtree was still incapable of mastering the French language and the English airmen were still hiding in barrels and responding to everything by saying, “Jolly good show, old boy.”

Upon doing some research, I discovered this week’s episode was actually the first episode of the show’s 5th season.  Because there was apparently some interest from American broadcasters about perhaps bringing the show to the U.S. or doing an American version of it, the 5h season had 26 episodes and were designed so that commercial breaks could be inserted, just in case the show ever did appear on an American network.  As such, much of this week’s episode was designed to fill potentially new viewers in on who everyone was and how they were related to each other.  Needles to say, it was all a bit frantic but still funny.

bachelorette 2021

The Bachelorette (Monday Night, ABC)

This week, Katie challenged the men to see who could go the longest without masturbating.  I’m not sure how that’s supposed to help her find a husband or how that goes along with the whole idea that Katie is supposed to be the sex positive bachelorette who is going to help this franchise get with the modern era.  It was all pretty dumb.

Anyway, this week, Katie declared for the 100th time that she doesn’t have any interest in any drama and then she dramatically sent Hunter home.

Big Brotehr 23

Big Brother 23 (Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, CBS)

I’ve watched every season of this show and I’ve achieved every writer’s dream of getting paid to write about and yet, it’s something that I rarely brag about.  You can read my current thoughts about the show and the live feeds over at Big Brother Blog.

Dragnet

Dragnet (Weekday Mornings, MeTV)

I forgot to see the DVR to record the two episodes that aired on Monday morning.  It happens and since Dragnet wasn’t a serialized show, missing two episodes doesn’t make it any more or any less difficult to follow the rest of the series.

I did remember to set the DVR for the rest of the week, however.  Tuesday got started with an episode in which Friday and Gannon dealt with a teenage genius who had a rebellious and homicidal streak.  Despite getting a warning after throwing a beaker of acid at a jock, he later decided to hold an entire party hostage with a grenade!  Friday and Gannon agreed that it was all the fault of parents who don’t teach their kids to respect authority.  While it was easy to roll my eyes at some of the more didactic parts of the episode, it was interesting to see how this 1968 show foreshadowed many of the subsequent school shootings that would follow.  As well, the episode ended with a Spaghetti western-style stand-off between Gannon, Friday, and Grenade Boy, which was actually pretty well executed.  This was followed by an episode in which Friday shot and killed a man robbing a store and was subsequently subjected to an investigation by the police’s “shooting board.”  As with many early episodes of Dragnet, the emphasis was on the process.  As someone who has seen her share of cop shows, it’s weird to see something Dragnet where everyone brags about how they go “by the book.”  There’s no room for any renegades on this show!

Wednesday featured Friday and Gannon going undercover to catch a couple of hotel con artists who were pretending to be cops.  I love episodes where Friday and Gannon go undercover because it’s not like either one of them ever makes much of an effort to change their behavior or appearance.  They don’t take off or even loosen their ties.  They still sound, look like, talk like, and act like cops,  But, because all of the criminals in L.A. in 1968 were apparently really stupid, no one ever notices.  This was followed by an episode about a bank robber whose M.O. was to abduct innocent women and force them to help him carry out his crimes.  At the end of the episode, he attempted to abduct a karate instructor and Friday and Gannon pulled up just in time to see her kicking his ass.  Yay!

The first of Thursday’s episodes opened with Gannon telling Friday that “there’s a football game on the old tube,” and that Friday was welcome to come over and watch it.  Friday agreed but, once they arrived at Gannon’s place, it turned out that Gannon’s neighbors were just as annoying as any everyday criminal.  The main lesson here seemed to be that Friday and Gannon acted exactly the same off-duty as they did on-duty and that Friday was just as stiff and formal at home as in the office.  This was followed by an episode in which Friday and Gannon attempted to track down a sergeant who, as a result of burn-out and general depression, had developed a drinking problem.  Friday and Gannon help him see the errors of his way, largely by telling him to drop the self-pity act.

Finally, Friday started out with an episode in which Joe and Gannon arrested a veteran burglar named Charles Smith.  Charles Smith was a courtly senior citizen but he still had to go to jail.  He didn’t seem to mind, however.  It was all a part of the job.  The second episode featured Joe and Gannon fighting the evils of …. you guessed it …. MARIJUANA!  These are the type of episodes that Dragnet is known for, the episodes where a grim-faced Joe debated long-haired draft dodgers who thought smoking marijuana and otherwise breaking the law was no big deal.  And it’s true that this episode — called The Big High — had its share of campy moments.  Just hearing Joe explain that “dealers say smoking marijuana is like heaven but the users discover its Hell,” was enough to make me laugh out loud.  It was also hard not to laugh at the scene where a clueless, pot-loving suburbanite told Joe and Gannon that, “Once the young people cut their hair, put on a suit, and start voting, marijuana will be legal!,” just for Gannon to confidently reply, “I don’t think so.”  The show ended with that suburbanite’s toddler drowning in a bathtub because her stoned parents forgot about her, a scene that perhaps would have been more effective if not for the total overacting of the actor playing the stoned father.  It was all pretty melodramatic but, to be fair, it was also rather sincere.  As opposed to something like Reefer Madness, you got the feeling that Dragnet actually did believe in what it was saying, even if the show was totally clueless about the effects of drugs or the lifestyle of anyone under the age of 50.  The final shot, of Jack Webb’s Joe Friday crushing a baggie of weed in his hands was handled well, even if the show’s insistence on solely blaming marijuana seemed to kind of let the dumbass parents off the hook.

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, Fox)

Poor Kevin!  As hard as he tried, he just couldn’t get it together during service and Chef Ramsay kicked him out of the kitchen and off the show before the final order was even served.  I imagine the same thing would happen to me if I was ever on Hell’s Kitchen.  I’d probably survive a few nights based on my charm but eventually, I’d get kicked out during the middle of an episode.  I would cry and cry, too.  It’s probably a good thing that I’ve never been on the show.

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Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

Elann had a drinking problem but then she faced an intervention and got help.  As the show came to an end, she talked about how much better she was feeling about life.  Then a title card appeared that informed us that, after getting sober, Elann still struggled with depressing and took her own life in 2019.  It was heart-breaking and a reminder that getting sober is important but it’s not a magic cure-all.

Elann’s episode was followed by one featuring Caitlin, who was addicted to crack cocaine. “Crack is my boyfriend,” she said.  This episode was hard for me to watch because I’ve known many people like Caitlin, who was obviously very intelligent but also very defensive and angry.  Unfortunately, Caitlin relapsed after getting treatment and, at the show’s end, was described as “living on the streets.”

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Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

On a special Halloween episode of Moone Boy, Martin and Padraic built a raft, which they planned to sail into town so that they could “freak everyone out.”  Needless to say, the river did not cooperate and they instead ended up on an island with a castle and an eccentric caretaker.  Meanwhile, Martin’s mother defended the right of her daughter to be a reader at Mass despite being pregnant and unmarried.  She also impressed the priest with her knowledge of Simon and Garfunkel trivia.  It was a good episode.

The Office

The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)

On Tuesday night, I watched several episodes from season 6.  Admittedly, season 6 is not my favorite season, as it featured the terrible storyline where Jim was co-manager and a lot of nonsense about Sabre.  Season 6 was when The Office started to get noticeably cartoonish.  That said, a cartoonish Office is still better than a lot of other sitcoms out there and it was nice to rewatch Jim and Pam’s wedding.

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Open All Hours (PBS, Sunday Night)

This week, I decided to pay attention the plot as opposed to just focusing on Granville’s quickly decaying sanity.  Apparently, Arkwright — a man in his 60s — had never seen his girlfriend’s bedroom and he decided that the best way to fix that would be to fake a burglary.  Granville went along with the plan, presumably because it was either do that or continue to fantasize about murdering the entire town.

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Seinfeld (Weeknights, Channel 33)

I watched two episodes on Tuesday night, one of which featured Jerry indirectly getting Babu deported and the second of which was the classic Festivus episode.  I preferred the second episode.

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Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Ever since I first started watching Upstart Crow, I wondered how this comedy would deal with the tragic death of Christopher Marlowe, who is portrayed on the show as being Shakespeare’s free-loading, hedonistic best friend.  This week, I discovered that handled it by having Marlowe fake his own death.  Yay!  Marlowe lives!  As well, as Kate pointed out, with Marlowe believed dead, that meant no one would ever try to promote any weird theories about Marlowe secretly writing all of Shakespeare’s plays.  If only Kate were right!

(Seriously, the Shakespeare-Didn’t-Write-His-Plays people are the worst.  And no, I don’t care what Derek Jacobi has to say on the matter.)

The other major development this week was that Shakespeare wrote out the outline for a play to be called Hamlet.  However, when he tried to explain the plot to his colleagues, they all assumed it was a comedy.  When they heard about Ophelia drowning in the duck pond, they asked Shakespeare if they could have a duck on stage.  Will was not amused.  And yet, as silly as this show is, it’s hard not to think that it probably does get more right than it gets wrong.  Shakespeare is such a mythic name that it’s easy to forget that he was once just a playwright trying to make a living off of his writing.  Every classic work of art started as a rough draft and was probably dismissed, out-of-hand, by people who should have known better.  Upstart Crow is a good reminder of that fact.

Twonky

Lisa’s Week In Television: 7/4/21 — 7/10/21


Twonky

This week, I mostly used the television for background noise.  Here’s some notes on what I watched:

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Allo Allo (PBS, Sunday Night)

A camera was dropped off that could save France but, unfortunately, it landed in a vineyard.  So, of course, it fell on Rene and everyone from the café to work in the vineyard to retrieve it.  I find myself relating to Michelle of the Resistance.  “I shall say this only once!”

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The Bachelorette (ABC, Monday Night)

If I hadn’t already read all the spoilers about who Katie is going to end up with, I probably would have been more excited by the return of Blake.  But …. eh.  I’m ready for this season to be over.  I really need to stop reading spoilers.

bar-rescue

Bar Rescue (Wednesday, Paramount Network)

Jon Taffer and Mia Mastroianni were outraged to discover that a country-and-western bar was not serving fruity, beach-themed cocktails.  Mia gasped as if she had just seen the worst thing in the history of terrible things.  Taffer yelled a lot.

Big Brotehr 23

Big Brother (CBS and Paramount, 24/7)

Big Brother is back!  It’s taken them 23 seasons but Big Brother finally has a season where there’s more than two people of color in the House.  It’s the most diverse cast ever but everyone is still making the same stupid mistakes that previous houseguests made in past seasons.  I’ve been writing about it over at Reality TV Chat Blog!

children hosptial

Children’s Hospital (Hulu, Thursday)

I watched two episodes of this classic show on Thursday.  The first was the special “lost episode” from the 70s, in which Dr. Lola Spratt joined the staff and was immediately dismissed by everyone because she was a woman.  (“The operation has been canceled!  The patient doesn’t want to be operated on by a woman!”)  Dr. Glenn Richie also joined the staff and attempted to prove that he wasn’t a “baby killer.”  It all ended with an orgy.  The second episode I watched was the British version of Children’s Hospital, which aired on “BBC10” and featured a French mime.

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Court Cam (A&E, Wednesday)

“This defendant thinks he’s going to get away with lighting a joint in the middle of the court room but the judge ain’t having it!”  WHY DO I WATCH THIS STUPID SHOW!?  Actually, the answer to that is pretty simple.  It makes good background noise.  I may watch but I rarely pay attention.

Dragnet

Dragnet (MeTV, Weekday Mornings)

Monday’s showing of Dragnet got started with an episode in which Friday and Gannon teamed up with a bunch of old women to take down two con artists who were posing as bank examiners.  It was a good and straight-forward police story and one that, despite Dragnet’s reputation, featured absolutely no crazy hippies.  The second episode featured Friday and Gannon solving the murder of a 66 year-old man.  It turned out that he was murdered by a young couple but they weren’t quite hippies as much as they were beatniks with bad attitudes.  Still, the episode was very well-done, with the audience ultimately sharing the cop’s disgust over the murder.

Both of Tuesday’s episodes were rather dry, which I guess is a polite way of saying dull.  The first one dealt with Gannon and Friday tracking down two men who had been holding up candy stores and a good deal of time was spent explaining how a lineup works.  This is one of those things that I imagine was fascinating in 1967 but today, it’s a bit less so.  The second episode featured a gang selling fake furs.  Gannon went undercover to bust them but it turned out that going undercover just meant showing up in a hotel room, lying about your profession, and then pulling out your badge a few minutes later.

Wednesday started off with Gannon and Friday being called in to investigate a jewelry theft, just to discover that it was actually insurance fraud.  It was, again, all a bit dry.  The second episode was better, with Gannon and Friday tracking down two men who shot a cop.  One of the men was played by none other than Dick Miller!  As usual, the focus was on everyone doing everything “by the book,” which was quite a contrast to the rogue cops who would later come to dominate television.  Gannon and Friday, it would appear, took quite a bit of pride in being dull.

On Thursday, Friday and Gannon worked traffic and continually arrested the same drunk driver until that driver ended up killing two innocent people and losing his legs.  Again, it was a fairly dull episode but the message was a good one because people really shouldn’t drive drunk.  This was followed by an episode in which Friday teamed up with the department’s chaplain to take down a crooked accountant.  Everyone assumed that a preacher couldn’t be a good cop but he proved them wrong, I guess.  It was a weird episode.

On Friday, Joe went on TV and gave an interview about various type of scam artists to look out for, particularly magazine subscriptions salesmen who claim to be veterans.  This was followed by a murder investigation, one that again was handled very succinctly and by-the-book.

These old episodes of Dragnet are interesting from a historical point of view.  From the an entertainment point of view, they’re kind of dull.  But I know that the show is eventually going to exclusively became about Friday and Gannon putting hippies in their place so I’ll keep watching in anticipation.

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

The chefs had to cook for Chef Ramsay’s daughter’s birthday party!  Needless to say, it was pretty much a disaster.  Megan Ramsay sent back one plate of noodles because it was flavorless and I was like, “YESSSSSSSS!” because, seriously, the episode needed some more yelling.  The Red Team lost for the second service in a row.  Payton was sent home.  Boo hoo.  I liked Payton.

Love Island

Love Island (CBS, Weeknights)

Love Island is proof that someone watched Paradise Hotel and thought to themselves, “The only thing that would improve this show would be if the people involved were just a little more shallow.”  I watched two episodes, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday.  I like the snarky narrator but, honestly, I’m already watching The Bachelorette, Hell’s Kitchen, and Big Brother so I’ll probably skip out on the rest of Love Island.

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Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Martin’s starting at a new school but he’s still got his imaginary friend, Sean Murphy, at his side.  This week’s episode was sweetly humorous and had a lot of dancing.  Martin developed a crush on his art teacher, which I found amusing since I once thought I might became an art teacher, specifically so I could inspire young minds to embrace abstract thinking.  But then I realized being an art teacher would also mean having to tell children that their talent was inadequate for my class so I changed my mind.  I’m just too nice.

The Office

The Office (Comedy Central, All The Time)

I watched episodes from season 2 on Thursday, season 3 on Friday, and season 4 on Saturday.  My favorite remains Jim and Pam staying overnight at Dwight’s beet farm.

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Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Arkwright continued to steal from his customers while Granville drew plans for a bomb behind the counter.

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Parking Wars (Weekday mornings, A&E)

I watched an episode on Thursday while I was getting ready for my day.  The parking cops were all acting like martyrs because people didn’t like them.  Who knew that civil servants could be so whiny?

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Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

As Will Shakespeare struggled to write A Midsummer’s Night Dream, he told Kate and Bottom about the time he met an actual fairy named Puck.  Puck sold him the dust that he used to make Anne fall in love with him.  Kate and Bottom both felt that it sounded more likely that Puck was drug dealer.  Poor Shakespeare …. will he ever win?

Twonky

Lisa’s Week in Television: 6/27/21 — 7/3/21


Twonky

This week, my plan was to get caught up on all of the MCU shows and Mare of Easttown and all the rest.  As you’ll soon discover from looking at the list below, that didn’t happen.  But that’s okay.  By the time next week, I will be caught up on everything, just in time for the Emmy nominations.

Here’s what little I watched this week!

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Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Rene’s got a new radio but he’s got no way to power it!  He’s also got a huge amount of sausages, some of which are real and some of which hide a forged painting.  To be honest, I struggled a bit to follow the plot of this week’s episode but all of those sausages being tossed around made me laugh.

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The Bachelorette (ABC, Monday Evening)

I’m just going to admit it.  I don’t like Katie Thurston.  I wanted to like Katie.  I tried really hard to like Katie.  I agree with Katie on so many things.  But this week’s Rose Ceremony-dismissal of Thomas was just too …. bleh!  Basically, Katie felt that Thomas was there for “the wrong reasons.”  She was right, as far as any of that can really be determined.  (Is anyone ever on a show like this for the right reason?)  And she felt Thomas was creating drama and being a toxic influence and again, she’s right.  But the way she sent him home was so self-righteous and overdramatic and specifically designed to be a big viral moment that it’s hard not to feel that Katie really wasn’t that much better than Thomas.  Katie’s complaint was that Thomas was treating the show like a “Bachelor audition” but Katie came across like she was auditioning for Bachelor in Paradise.

To be honest, it’s been a while since I really liked any of the bachelors or bachelorettes on this show.  I guess that’s why I never mind when things don’t work out for them after the final rose.

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Couples Court With The Culters (Channel 33, weekday morning)

I watched the case of Stoltz vs. Winning on Friday morning.  From the start, it was pretty obvious (to me, if not the judges) that Mr. Stoltz was cheating but at least Ms. Winning got to wear a really pretty green dress on TV.  After watching the show, I bought a new green dress for myself!  Anyway, Mr. Stoltz and Ms. Winning were actually a really cute couple so I hope things worked out for them.

Dragnet

Dragnet (MeTV, Weekday Mornings)

Dragnet was one of the first cop shows.  Premiering in the 50s and featuring Jack Webb as no-nonsense Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet’s episodes were based on actual cases that were investigated by the LAPD.  The 1950s Dragnet, with its semi-documentary style, is considered to be a forerunner of shows like Law & Order.

Of course, I’ve never actually seen the 50s Dragnet.  That’s because that version of Dragnet is rarely repeated, even on the retro stations.  Instead, the version of Dragnet that currently shows up on MeTV is the second version of the show, which ran from 1967 to 1970 and which featured Jack Webb stiffly lecturing hippies on why the law had to be obeyed regardless of whether or not they agreed with it.  While this version of the show wasn’t always as campy as it has since been made out to be, the show’s best-known episodes do tend to feature Friday sighing in disappointment while someone with long hair tells him that “smoking a little grass is no big deal, baby.”

I set the DVR to record Monday morning’s episode, largely to see if I might be interested in watching and reviewing Dragnet for this site.  (I’ve seen a few episodes over the years but I’ve never sat down and watched the whole series from beginning to end.)  The episode I recorded was from 1970 and it was one of the last episodes of the second version of the show.  Friday was taking a night class, one in which the idea was for the students to just talk about their differing views of the world.  When Friday noticed that one of his fellow students had a baggie of weed in his notebook, Friday arrested him.  The scandalized class then voted to kick Friday out.  Friday gave a speech about why the law had to be obeyed and he refused to apologize for arresting his classmate.  In fact, he declared, he would do it again if he had to!  Friday won over some members of the class but not enough to overturn the vote.  However, another classmate revealed that he was an attorney and that he was prepared to sue the professor on Friday’s behalf.  “Cops have constitutional rights, too!” the lawyer said.  Friday nodded in agreement as the show ended.  It was a bit of a silly episode, as any episode featuring Friday interacting with the counter culture tended to be.  (Until he made his arrest, no one suspected Friday of being a cop despite the fact that everything about him literally screamed, “Cop!”)  I especially liked the fact that the liberal professor had a Van Dyke beard and was made up to resemble a Satanic high priest.  At the same time, this episode can today be viewed as an early example of cancel culture and, in the end, it did make a good point.  Everyone has a right to an education.  That said, it really didn’t look like the student had that much weed on him and I personally probably would have been uncomfortable being in a class with Sgt. Friday.

On Wednesday, I DVR’d the first ever episode of the 60s Dragnet.  From 1967, “The LSD Story” was just what the title implied.  Friday and his partner, Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan), investigated a bunch of swinging hippie drug parties and they met a teenage dealer called Blue Boy.  Blue Boy’s wealthy parents refused to get upset over his druggie ways and, somewhat inevitably, Blue Boy ended up dead of an overdose.  On the one hand, it was definitely heavy-handed and over-the-top and the show’s insistence that marijuana would automatically lead to LSD was undeniably cringey.  But, at the same time, there was a sincerity at the heart of the episode.  My first thought was to call it the epitome of a Boomer show but Dragnet was really a Silent Generation show.  The boomers, after all, were the ones dancing in front of the lava lamp.

The first of Thursday’s episodes featured Friday and Gannon investigating a burglary of several pounds of explosives.  It turned out that it was stolen by a blonde man who wore a brown shirt and had a big Nazi flag hanging in his apartment.  The man argued that he wasn’t a Neo Nazi terrorist but seriously — this flag was right there!  The second episode featured Friday and Gannon investigating a kidnapping and who would guess that an episode about a kidnapping would be so talky?  Compared to the cop shows of today, Dragnet was very much obsessed with showing that everything iwas being doing exactly by the book and the kidnapping episode was more interested in examining how a fake ransom payment is set up than on the payment itself.  It was a bit dry but also a change of pace from what I’m used to.

The first of Friday’s episodes featured Joe Friday and Gannon interrogating a cop who was suspected of holding up a liquor store.  The cop turned out to be innocent but what was interesting about the episode was that the emphasis was put on Friday and Gannon being just as tough and suspiciously-minded with a colleague as they were with everyone else.  There was none of that “one of their own” stuff that you tend to find in more recent cop shows.  The second episode featured the hunt for a group of red-masked bandits.  It was fairly dry but it got the point across, that everyone was a professional doing the best they could to keep Los Angeles safe.

My main thought on Dragnet so far — the first season feels a bit arid, though there were a few campy moments, especially in the LSD episode.  Still, it’s interesting to see what Los Angeles looked like in the 60s and the show was definitely well-intentioned.  Jack Webb may not have been a particularly expressive actor but he brought enough sincerity to the role to keep things moving.

Hell in the Heartland

Hell In The Heatland: Where are Ashley and Lauria? (HBOMax)

I watched this four episode, 2019 docudrama on Sunday.  It was about the 1999 murders of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible, two Oklahoma teenagers.  It was also about how meth is destroying certain parts of rural America.  It was disturbing stuff and made all the more tragic by the fact that, though we now know what happened to Ashley and Lauria, we still don’t know the location of their remains.  The Bibles and Freemans are still waiting for their chance to give Lauria and Ashley a proper burial.

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, Fox)

The Red Team finally had to face an elimination.  Morganna was sent home.  I have to admit that I didn’t realize Morganna was on the show until she was kicked off, which probably explains a lot as to why she was eliminated.

paternity-court

Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (Weekday Mornings, Channel 33)

I watched two episodes on Friday morning because I was too lazy to change the channel. My favorite thing about this show is how, at the start of each episode, Judge Lake snaps, “Good day, everyone!” at the courtroom and the courtroom replies with the most desultory “good day,” imaginable.

Love Boat

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

This week’s episode was the second part of the story that was started last week.  The Love Boat crew was in Australia, for their cruise director, Julie’s, wedding.  Meanwhile, the missing link was being held prisoner in a cage by Jose Ferrer.  Yes, it was weird.  Anyway, it turned out that the missing link was a fake who had been hired to swindle the gullible and Julie did not get married because the groom fled the church.  Later, he sent Julie a letter that explain that he was …. wait for it …. DYING!  Julie broke down into tears and the episode came to an end.

I mean, my God — who knew The Love Boat was so traumatic!?

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Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Everyone was totally caught up in football (or soccer or whatever you want to call it)!  Even though the show was shot in 2013 and set in the 90s, it still felt incredibly relevant to today.

The Office

The Office (Sunday, Comedy Central)

Sunday morning, I watched as Michael Scott quit his job, started his own paper company, and then successfully sold it, largely due to David Wallace really not being a very good CEO.  In retrospect, I think The Michael Scott Paper Company was probably the highpoint of The Office’s post-season 3 run.  The scene of Michael calling Prince Family Paper just to discover that he had helped to drive them out of business is horrifying, funny, and depressing, all at the same time!

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Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Granville is getting closer and closer to snapping.  Arkwright has no idea.

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Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Finally!  Will finished Romeo and Juliet and Kate achieved her dream of appearing on stage, despite the fact that it was illegal for her to do so.  It was a sweet ending to the 2nd series of Upstart Crow and it almost makes up for the lack of Yes, Prime Minister on PBS’s current schedule.

Twonky

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/20/21 — 6/26/21


This was a sad week, as far as television goes. Due to the PBS pledge drive, I didn’t get to watch any of my usual British sitcoms. Plus, Baywatch came to an end so now I have to find a new old show to binge.

202ONE U.S. Olympic Trials (Friday Night, NBC)

I watched the gymnastics trials on Friday night. Simone Biles is amazing. That said, I’m cringing at “202ONE.” Rethink this, NBC.

That said, I’m definitely looking forward to the Olympics this year. I am an Olympics fanatic and I make no apologies for it. (I do, however, prefer the winter games just because of the curling and the skating.) Especially when compared to some people, I managed to stay pretty positive last year but I did get pretty upset when they had to cancel the games.

The Bachelorette (Monday Night, ABC)

The Bachelorette was very emotional this week but, of course, The Bachelorette is emotional every week. Katie isn’t going to put up with any drama or fights this season but fights and drama are kind of the main reason for watching this show. Oh well. Thanks to all the brave internet sleuths out there, I already know how things are going to end. Personally, I think Katie made the right decision, assuming the spoilers I’ve seen are correct.

Bar Rescue (Monday Morning, Paramount)

John Taffer is helping bars survive the Corona Pandemic by yelling at their owners. I hope that strategy works. Watching the latest episode, it occurred to me that the show is currently in a strange place. The whole appeal of Bar Rescue has always been the chance to watch Taffer act like a dick. But it’s not as much fun to watch Taffer yell at people when those people are on the verge of losing their livelihood due to a pandemic. As a result, Taffer has been trying to balance being belligerent with being a nice guy. The end result, so far, has been kind of awkward.

Baywatch (Weekday Evening, H&I)

My Baywatch binge came to an end this week as H&I reached the end of the series and started over again from the start. Here’s my thoughts on how this oddly addictive show wrapped things up.

On Sunday, Mitch and the lifeguards went to Australia! Wait a minute, what? Yes, they actually did This is not a joke. It was a two-part episode called Baywatch: Down Under. After Jake, a lifeguard who had never previously appeared or been mentioned on the show, learned that he had a son in Australia, he went to meet him and Jake’s best friends — who, again, never before mentioned this Jake over the course of the previous 9 seasons of the show — accompanied him. The majority of the two episodes focused on Jake and a bunch of new Australian lifeguards. That’s because Baywatch: Down Under was actually a pilot for a Baywatch spin-off that didn’t happen. It was also kind of a wasted two parter, though the Australian scenery was lovely.

The first of Monday’s episodes featured Mitch and Cody rescuing a violinist who was being held prisoner on a boat. What’s odd is that the episode opened with Cody mentioning that he had broken up with his girlfriend Lani (who was played by Carmen Electra during the previous season). However, since Cody had already been seen flirting with and dating other women all through season 9, that would seem to suggest that either Cody and Lani were already broken up or Cody was just a no-good, dirty cheater. I’m going to guess that, for whatever reason, season 9’s episodes were shown out of production order. As if to prove my theory, the next episode featured Hobie living back at home with Mitch despite the fact that he had moved away to live with his mother earlier in the season. Did the Baywatch producers just not care about continuity? No wonder the show only lasted 11 seasons!

On Tuesday, the recently returned Neely Capshaw tried to 1) seduce Hobie, 2) get Mitch fired, and 3) drug Alex with sleeping pills. This would have all been fun if Gena Lee Nolin was still playing the role of Neely but, for Season 9, Baywatch replaced Nolin with another actress who just have didn’t the same skill when it came to making evil entertaining. Needless to say, Neely did not get away with it. The second episode featured George Hamilton playing himself and really, what more did you need? Well, how about Manny getting paralyzed as a result of a lifeguard accident? After it happened, Manny was bitter but, this being Baywatch, he eventually made peace with his new circumstances.

On Wednesday, season 9 ended not with a bang but with a whimper. The episode was split between Cody searching for a missing boat and Alex trying to figure out who was making elaborate sand castles on the beach. David Hasselhoff and Michael Newman, the two mainstays of the show, were barely featured. As Season 9 came to an end, so did H&I’s collection of Baywatch episodes. Seasons 10 and 11 were rebranded Baywatch Hawaii and, apparently, they were not included in the syndication package. So, the second of Wednesday’s episode was the first episode of season 1, which I really didn’t have much interest in rewatching.

So, I’m done with Baywatch for now. The two seasons of Baywatch: Hawaii are, of course, available on Prime but …. eh. Nine seasons in five months was enough for me, at least for now. Baywatch was an entertainingly dumb show and I’m sure I’ll occasionally catch an episode whenever I’m bored and I want to see some ocean scenery or maybe Cody in a speedo. For now, though, I’m ready to move on and binge another old show.

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

Plenty of drama in the court this week! Court Cam is such a ludicrous show but it’s also rather addictive. Between the showy but shallow editing and Dan Abrams’s breathless narration, it’s hard not to crack a smile while watching.

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, Monday Night)

The current season of Hell’s Kitchen feels like some sort of demented boomer fantasy. Take the most emotionally fragile 20 year-olds you can find and force them to work for the most abrasive man on television. I’m just waiting for one of the chefs to mention needing a trigger warning.

Anyway, both the red and the blue teams screwed up this week so Chef Ramsay sent two chefs home and then reorganized the teams. I hope it helps because the diners at Hell’s Kitchen deserve the best food possible.

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

As soon as Intervention started on Monday night, there was a loud boom of thunder outside, followed by lightning and then pouring rain. Looking around the house, I realized that I wasn’t sure where Doc was so, naturally, I assumed he was outside in the storm. Panicking, I ran out to the backyard and stood there, in my bathrobe, and yelled, “DOC! DOC!” There was no sign of Doc so I ran back inside, grabbed a flashlight, and ran back outside. Shining the light around the backyard, I continued to call for the cat even as I got more and more soaked.

Getting no response and fearing that my beloved cat had been swept away by the storm, I turned to reenter the house and that’s when I saw Doc, sitting inside on a kitchen counter, and watching me through the window with a somewhat bemused expression on his face. (Trust me, cats can be bemused!)

I stepped back inside and, once I finally dried off and changed clothes, Intervention was nearly over. However, the end title cards informed that me that both Nicholette and her father have been sober since 2018 so good for them.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

The Love Boat crew goes to Australia! Julie is getting married! Captain Stubing is on the verge of having an affair with Katharine Helmond! Gopher and Doc are competing to impress the new cruise director! Isaac is making drinks while Vicki sacrifices her childhood to essentially do slave labor on a cruise ship! Meanwhile, special guest star Jose Ferrer has captured the missing link and has chained him in a cage that’s been kept in the cargo bay …. wait a minute, what!? Yes, it was a strange episode. Australia looked great, though!

Mom (Friday afternoon, Paramount TV)

I watched four episodes of this long-running commercial for the recovery industry on Friday. Actually, I don’t know if I really watched them as much as I just had them on for background noise. This is probably one of my least favorite shows ever, a 30-minute exercise in 12-step propaganda. Every episode I see of this show, I just find myself wondering if the title characters have ever met anyone whose life isn’t a depressing hellsack. That said, it’s obvious that some people like this show because it’s been on for what feels like 40 years

The Office (Comedy Central, Friday Evening)

I watched the final four episodes of season 4 (Did I Stutter, Job Fair, and the two-part Goodbye Toby) and Season 5’s Weight Loss premiere. Out of that set, Job Fair was probably the weakest, just because it had an entire subplot involving Jim and Andy golfing with a potential client. Jim begging the guy for his business was just cringey and Andy — who was always the most inconsistently written character on the show — was portrayed as being such a cartoonish idiot that it was difficult to watch. Much better was Goodbye Toby (in which Andy was a much more likable character) and Weight Loss (featuring that iconic proposal scene). Did I Stutter is one of the best and most underrated episodes of The Office, with the final conversation between Michael and Stanley being one of the show’s strongest moments.

Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness (Wednesday and Thursday, Netflix)

I reviewed this Netflix docuseries here.

The Vow (HBO2, Saturday)

The Vow, which originally aired last year, was HBO’s lengthy docuseries about the NXIVM cult. This show started with great fanfare and acclaim, the majority of which tapered off as it became clear that The Vow was produced by a bunch of former cult members who were trying to make themselves look better and more innocent than they actually were. The Vow is famous for a scene in which former NXIVM dude Mark Vicente rages that anyone can get sucked into a cult. That may be true but, judging from The Vow, it helps to be intellectually shallow and emotionally needy. Since it doesn’t take much research to discover that Vicente was far higher-up in NXIVM than The Vow acknowledges and that he financially profited from the cult’s pyramid scheme-inspired structure, it’s hard not to feel that Vicente doesn’t really have the moral standing necessary to portray himself as being just another NXIVM victim.

Anyway, HBO2 aired the entire series on Saturday. I rewatched a few episodes and I have to say that I was kind of surprised to discover that Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmondson came across as even more unlikable and disingenuous that second time I watched than they did the first time. Supposedly, there’s a second season of The Vow on the way so I guess we’ll get even more chances to listen to Mark Vicente brag about co-directing What The Bleep Do We Know.

That’s it for this week! Next week, I’ll be selecting new shows to binge!

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/13/21 — 6/19/21


Yes, I did watch some television this week.  However, I didn’t actually take any notes about the shows that I watched so this edition of Lisa’s Week in Television might be lacking a little in detail.  Sorry about that!  To be honest, I spent most of this week adjusting to the arrival of summer temperatures and I ended up devoting most of my attention to the air conditioning.

Still, here’s a few thoughts about what I can remember about what I watched this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

It was a bit of a silly episode this week.  (I know, I know, they’re all silly.)  Rene had to fly a kite in order to make the new radio work.  (Don’t ask.)  Mimi, the new waitress, was disguised as a nun and she ended up getting twisted in the kite so she ended up as a flying nun.  It made no sense but, perhaps for that reason, it made me laugh.

The Bachelorette (Monday on ABC)

This week, Katie was stunned to discover that one of the bachelors might not have been there for the right reasons!  She sent Cody home because he was apparently only there to increase his profile.  Usually, it takes a few more episodes for The Bachelorette to reach the “He’s not here for the right reasons” stage.  The fact that this season got to it during the second episode worries me a little because this is a franchise that is always at its worse whenever it gets self-righteous.

(I always remember the episode of Burning Love, where the bachelors had to make sock puppets.  Adam Scott said, “This is so stupid.” Cut to Joe Lo Truglio: “And I was like — hey man, I’m here for my son.  Take this seriously!”)

In other news, Mike read a really awkward letter to his “future wife,” explaining why he waited until marriage to have sex.  Like I said, it was hella cringey but it pretty much guarantees that Mike will be the next Bachelor.

Bar Rescue (Sunday Night, Paramount)

It’s been a while since I watched this show.  Watching it on Sunday night, I discovered that John Taffer still apparently believes that not knowing how to run a bar is the worst crime known to man.  “YOU’RE OVERPOURING!  THAT’S MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN!”  Relax, John.  It’s just a bar.

Baywatch (Weekday evenings, H&I)

H&I has started in on the NINTH season of Baywatch and I have to say that I’m getting the feeling that, by the time this season rolled around, Baywatch was just repeating itself and going through the motions.  Every episode that I watched this week featured a storyline that had been done in a previous episode.  So, I guess if you’re wondering how many lifeguard stories there are, the answer is 8 seasons worth.

Let’s see how much I can remember about what I saw this week:

On the first of Sunday’s episodes, the Baywatch lifeguards had some competition from a private security company called — I kid you not — Bayguard!  Mitch and Cody had to prove that Baywatch was just as good as Bayguard, which they managed to do by rescuing a boy in a storm drain.  Mitch and Cody spent a lot of time rescuing people from storm drains.  The second episode was a sweet story about a little boy named Timmy who really liked dolphins.  Timmy also got trapped in a cave so Mitch and the lifeguards had to save him.  It was typical Baywatch stuff but David Hasselhoff always did his best work with the unabashedly sentimental storylines.

On Monday, a mysterious figure was roaming the beach and saving people from drowning!  Could it have been the klutzy new maintenance worker played Brooke Burns?  Since Burns was already featured in the opening credits wearing a Baywatch uniform, that was a pretty easy question to answer.  This was followed by an episode where April felt guilty about a swimmer dying, which was pretty much a remake of an earlier episode in which Caroline felt guilty about a swimmer dying.

On Tuesday, Hobie made his first appearance of the season.  Despite being Mitch’s son, Hobie had been missing in action for the previous few episodes.  (In real life, actor Jonathan Jackson was dealing with an addiction to cocaine that basically led to him being fired from the show.)  Hobie was arrested after a boat he was driving crashed.  However, it turned out that Hobie was not at fault!  Knowing that this episode was kind of meant to be a wake-up call to Jackson about his own behavior made the whole thing awkward to watch.  This was followed by an episode in which one of the lifeguards was selected for Jeopardy.  Unfortunately, she was later disqualified when it was discovered that she knew someone who worked on the show but Alex Trebek still made an appearance and was his usual charming self.

On Wednesday, the first episode featured Mitch having a mid-life crisis, which he previously had two seasons ago.  This was followed by an episode were Mitch befriend an orangutan.  Strangely, Mitch didn’t mention that — during season two — he befriended a chimpanzee.

On Thursday, Cody started using performance-enhancing drugs to increase his chances of going to the Olympics, much as several other characters have done on previous episodes of Baywatch.  This was followed by a skydiving episode which was basically a remake of the skydiving episode from season six.  Of course, the previous episode turned out to be a dream whereas this episode was real.  MITCH CAN SEE THE FUTURE!

On Friday, Mitch adopted a new son named Tanner.  (Hobie, we were told, was now living with his mother.)  This was followed by an episode where April and Craig finally broke up, which seemed appropriate since April was like 19 and Craig was nearly 60.  Craig apparently is a hotshot defense attorney but he was nowhere to be seen in the episode where Hobie was in jail.  Craig is a bad friend.

On Saturday, Peter Barton co-starred as a race car driver who was officially sponsored by …. wait for it …. AOL!  As a result, the entire episode featured people talking about how much they loved AOL.  Mitch’s adopted son even checked his AOL account and got the “You have mail” prompt.  “Hey, pal,” Mitch said, “you got mail!”

When future historians research the 90s, they’ll just watch episodes of Baywatch.

Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)

Don’t talk back to the judge or Dan Abrams will put you on TV and make fun of you.

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

There was a lot of raw chicken being sent up to the pass this week.  The blue team lost again.  This seems to be the way that it goes every season, though.  The men start out losing, the women get overconfident, and eventually both teams kind of crash and burn.

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

The intervention didn’t work this week.  Kelsey went to rehab but relapsed.  It was sad for I’ll give Intervention some credit for admitting that these things don’t always have a happy ending.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Martin graduated from national school and attempted to make sure that his name would be remembered by future classes!  I remember, in high school, I was convinced the future students would never forget my graduating class.  In retrospect, I’m not sure why I thought that.  It’s not like Saved By The Bell, where the members of the New Class where still talking about the time Jessie got hooked on caffeine pills.  Time marches on.

The Office (Saturday Afternoon, Comedy Central)

Amy Adams just wanted to sell purses.  Michael bought her a $10,000 espresso machine. CRINGE!  Still, hilarious though.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

It was a typical episode of Open All Hours.  Arkwright abused Granville while Granville silently plotted his revenge.

The Powers of Matthew Star (Sunday Mornings, MeTV)

I was dealing with insomnia on Sunday so I did watch an episode of this old sci-fi series on MeTV.  (I used to set the DVR for it but, up until this week, I had kind of lost interest in it.)  Peter Barton — yes, the same Peter Barton who appeared on Baywatch this week — played an alien who was pretending to be a normal high school student.  In this week’s episode, Matthew Star traveled to the Bermuda Triangle and got a tragic message from his homeworld.  It was pretty silly but, as the title character, Peter Barton was sincere enough to nearly sell it.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

Screech got struck by lightning and suddenly had the power to see the future.  Zack tried to use Screech’s powers to cheat on the History midterm.  Unfortunately, Screech lost his powers and Zack got an “F minus …. for scamming!”

South Park (Wednesday Night, Comedy Central)

“Free Hat!  Free Hat!”  Actually, I don’t remember which episode it was that I watched but the Free Hat episode is always a good a default to go with.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Incredibly proud of his new play, Will Shakespeare is stunned to discover that the few women in his life are not as enamored of The Taming of the Shrew as he is.  Will simply cannot figure it out!  This was a funny episode, mostly because it was true.

 

 

 

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/6/21 — 6/12/21


Twonky

I’m a little bit late in posting my week in television.  That’s because it’s been a long week, both in television and out!  Here’s  some thought on what I watched:

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Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday’s episode, with Rene back at the café and Maria in Switzerland, a new waitress was hired.  Recommended by the Resistance, Mimi LaBonq was just as short as Maria and, it would appear, just as obsessed with Rene.  She was also just a bit more homicidal than Maria, attempting to poison Herr Flick and later beating up an Italian officer.  While Mimi was attempting to kill people (albeit bad people), LeClerc was delivering Rene’s new radio and Michelle of the Resistance was insisting that she would “only say this once.”  And, as always, it was all a hundred times funnier than it sounds.

Having watched enough episodes, I can now see that the humor of Allo Allo really does come down to the fact that everyone has such a bizarrely idealized view of Rene.  “This is the bravest man in France!” Michelle will announce while Rene scurries behind the bar and tries not to get spotted.  The absurd cluelessness of everyone involved is never less than fascinating.

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The Bachelorette 17 (Monday Night, ABC)

Yes, we’re doing this again.  Katie Thurston is the latest bachelorette and Chris Harrison is no longer the host.  While I can understand Katie’s decision not to keep the creepy RV guy around, I wish she had because, judging by last night’s episode, this show could really have used a dose of that weird energy.

Baywatch

Baywatch (Weekdays, H&I)

Life on the beach continues, though I do have to say that appears that, in its later seasons, Baywatch started to frequently repeat itself.  How many time can the exact same thing happen to the exact same lifeguards?

On Sunday, lawyer and former lifeguard Craig Pomeroy returned to Baywatch so he could defend the right of one of his clients to die on the beach.  Once his client did die, Craig was free to once again become a lifeguard so I guess it’s good that the old man hired probably the only lawyer in the world who was probably for the opportunity to switch careers and take a massive pay cut.  This was followed by an episode in which a woman disappeared into the ocean because Cody left his lifeguard tower early.  This would seem like a massive dereliction of duty but the show suggested it was no big deal because it was Cody as opposed to some random lifeguard.  Everyone loves Cody!

On Monday, Caroline returned to Baywatch and got held hostage by a criminal.  How many times has this happened to Caroline?  It used to happen frequently to her sister as well so I guess it’s a Holden family trait.  This was followed by an episode in which Craig and April got trapped in a sunken power station.  They survived and it looks like there might romance in the air, despite Craig being in his late 40s and April being 18.

The romance continued on Tuesday, when Manny broke up with April and Craig helped to capture a bunch of reckless jet skiers.  Though April asked Craig to take her to a charity dinner, Craig eventually convinced Manny to take her instead because, again, Craig is like nearly 100 and April is 18.  This was followed by an episode where Cody was trapped underwater and had to be rescued …. wait a minute, didn’t the exact same thing just happen to April and Craig!?  Neely also admitted that she was hooked on pain pills that the real reason she took a leave of absence from Baywatch was so she could have a baby.

On Wednesday, the first episode featured Lani losing her hearing.  Fortunately, she got it back at the end of the second episode because no problem ever lasts longer than two episodes.  During the first episode, Mitch met a woman who was riding a horse across the beach.  In the second episode, cop Garner Ellerbee returned to capture some drug dealers and he als rode a horse across the beach.

On Thursday …. well, who knows?  Cody made the mistake of betting Mitch’s new boat as a part of some silly competition, which is something that I’m pretty sure Logan did at some point during the show’s first two seasons.  During the second episode, Mitch rescued a swimmer who may been sick, which again is something that happened frequently in the past.  As a result, all of Baywatch had to be quarantined!  Only Newman could work the beach, which meant he got to save a bunch of models who were posing for the …. ahem …. new Barbara’s Boutique Catalogue.

Friday was a weird two-part episode.  As occasionally happens when an old show is airing on the retro channels, the show suddenly skipped over a handful of episodes and we jumped, without warning, into the future.  All new opening credits!  All new cast intros, with several regulars now missing!  Suddenly, Mitch was married to Neely and Neely was played by an entirely different actress!  Anyway, the marriage didn’t last because it turned out that Neely was lying about seeing her ex in Alaska (?).  I guess maybe it all would have made sense if the episodes had been shown in their proper order but …. oh well!  The main thing is that Neely and Mitch were no longer married at the end of it all and Neely was no longer a part of Baywatch.

On Saturday, Mitch was stalked and held hostage by a psycho babysitter.  Didn’t that happen to Mitch at least once a year?

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The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (YouTube)

I watched the first episode of this 1977 TV series.  The Brady Bunch sings!  Fake Jan turns out to be more likable than Real Jan!  Peter Brady conspires to replace his father with Tony Randall!  Donnie and Marie Osmond stopped by!  Clowns swam underwater!  The entire family and Alice the maid did the Hustle!  It was …. well, it was something.

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Cellmate Secrets (Monday Night, A&E)

On this new Lifetime/A&E show, cellmates of infamous criminals talk about what it was like living with a temporary roommate.  This week, I learned that Casey Anthony was apparently manipulative and heartless.  Shocker!

Show Boxing

Championship Boxing — Wilder vs Fury (Showtime Extreme, Friday Morning)

This was a boxing match from 2018.  I’m not really a boxing fan, though I do like to see what everyone in the crowd is wearing.  The match was between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder and it ended in a draw.  Personally, I wish they both could have won.  I cringed every time I saw a punch land to the head.  That can’t be good!

At one point, during the fight, one of the announcers pointed out that “The Black Panther is in the crowd,” and the camera cut to Chadwick Boseman talking to Mario Lopez in the audience.

Cheaters

Cheaters (MTV2, Friday Morning)

I watched three episodes of Cheaters on Friday morning, from two to three-thirty.  Unfortunately, the guide didn’t list what year they were from but Joey Greco was hosting and, just from the fashion choices made by some of the cheaters, I’m going to guess the episodes were from 2009 or 2010.  Cheaters is, in many ways, a terrible show but it’s also a Dallas-based production so I’m happy it’s out there.  One of my favorite things about Cheaters is that the cheaters often get busted at places that I’ve actually been to.  I’m like, “I’ve been to that restaurant!”

Anyway, all three episodes featured cheaters who didn’t show enough contrition upon getting caught.  Joey Greco’s self-righteous commentary was hilariously overwrought.  All in all, this is a show for the entire family.

court-cam

Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)

The judges were all sarcastic.  The defendants were unrepentant.  To be honest, the main thing I remember was that someone in the gallery kept yelling at the accused criminals because he didn’t think their bail was high enough.

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Degrassi Minis (YouTube)

Degrassi Minis was a series of 5-minute short films about Degrassi!  They typically had titles like “What if Jimmy could walk?” or “What if Craig married Ashley?”  They presented an alternate reality to the show’s reality and they were often disturbing as Hell.  I watched “What if Jimmy hadn’t gotten shot?,” which featured Jimmy getting a basketball scholarship while a bitter Sean watched from his wheelchair.  So, I guess if Rick Murray hadn’t shot Jimmy, he would have shot Sean?  But, in the “real world,” it was pretty much established that the main reason Rick brought the gun to school was to specifically shoot Jimmy, whom he incorrectly believed has been behind the plot to bully him.  So, if he couldn’t shoot Jimmy, why would he then go after Sean, a character who he didn’t even know?  Why not go after the other people who he thought were in on the plot?

In short, this mini made no sense but both Daniel Clark and Stacey Farber gave good performances as Sean and the ever-loyal Ellie.  Seriously, even in the alternate timeline, Ellie didn’t get enough credit for putting up with everyone’s crap.

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Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33)

On Tuesday’s episode, Ross adapted a British accent while teaching and he didn’t both to let Rachel know that he hadn’t actually gotten their Vegas wedding annulled, which was kind of messed up to be honest.  On Wednesday, Joey agreed to keep an eye on someone’s Porsche.  Joey soon started to pretend that it was his Porsche.  It was kind of a stupid storyline but the criminally underrated Matt LeBlanc did a great job selling it.

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, Monday Night)

Chef Ramsay’s attempt to mentor Generation Z chefs hit a snag on Monday night when one of the chefs imitated Ramsay getting mad about a dish being undercooked.  The problem was that the dish was undercooked and the chef in question was one who had undercooked it.  Can you guess who ended up going home at the end of service?

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Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

As I’ve said previously, I always have more sympathy for the druggies than I do for the drunks.  On Monday night, Pam struggled with both drugs and alcohol so my feelings were mixed.  Still, she went to rehab and appeared to be doing better at the end of the show so good for her.

Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing (Sunday, Newsnation)

There are certain shows that just make perfect background entertainment.  These are the shows that you have on television while you’re doing something like cleaning the house or trying to organize your movies.  They keep you from getting overwhelmed by silence but, at the same time, they don’t really demand your attention.  Most of these shows tend to be sitcoms and rather old-fashioned sitcoms at that.  Last Man Standing is a perfect example.  Starring Tim Allen as the often-confused father of three daughters, Last Man Standing was one of the sitcoms that was always more popular with audiences than critics.  I can’t say that I have ever regularly watched it, though the few times I have both watched and paid attention to it, it seemed to be an inoffensive sitcom that, more often than not, worked because of its cast and despite some heavy-handed writing.

For whatever reason, Last Man Standing is one of those sitcoms that always seems to be airing somewhere.  On Sunday, it aired on Newsnation from early in the morning until late in the evening.  I had it playing in the background while I did some work around the house.  I can’t say that I really paid much attention to it.  Tim Allen was confused by his daughters.  His daughters were competing for his attention.  One of the daughter’s had a liberal husband, who was basically the world’s biggest wimp.  It felt more like a series from the late 90s than the 2010s.  But no matter.  It helped me focus on the work I was doing around the house and that was really all I needed.

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Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Martin became an altar boy and found out the truth about the Mass Mafia.  It was an enjoyable homage to Goodfellas, even if it did end with the Godfather theme playing over the end credits.  I especially like the fact that Martin’s confirmation name was also Martin.  “That will be easy to remember.”

(For the record, my confirmation name was Sofia.)

The Office

The Office (Comedy Central, All The Time)

On Sunday morning, I watched Safety Training and Product Recall, two classics from season 3. Safety Training featured Michael thinking that he could safely jump off the building and onto a bouncy castle. Product Recall featured Andy dating a 16 year-old high school student. Funny episodes but what the Hell was going on in Scranton!?

Actually, my favorite part of Product Recall was Michael calling the press to let them know about the offensive watermark because, otherwise, how were they going to find out?

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Open All Hours (Monday Morning, PBS)

Poor Granville.  His entire life revolves around that morning milk delivery.  Some morning, the delivery’s going to be delayed and Granville’s going to snap.  It won’t be pretty.

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Parking Wars (Monday Morning, A&E)

“I love South Philly but if you’re parked in the wrong place on one of my streets, you’re getting a ticket.”  Oh, shut up.

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Seinfeld (Weekday Night, Channel 33)

I watched four episodes of this 90s sitcom, two on Tuesday and two on Wednesday.  Two of the episodes dealt with the production of a pilot that was written by Jerry and George.  I’ve always like the episodes with The Pilot, if just because of the way that Jerry Seinfeld poked fun at his own acting limitations.  (“Because he’s my butler!”)  George’s obsession over the box of raisins was another classic, cringey moment.

As for the other two episodes, one dealt with George trying to hire a secretary to which he wouldn’t be sexually attracted (it did not work) and the other was one of my favorites, in which Jerry and George try to figure out how to perfect the roommate switch.  (“I’m not sure of the exact pronunciation but I think it’s called …. ménage a trois?”  “Oh, that’s wild.”  And, of course, later: “I’m not an orgy guy!”)  Really, putting George in any position of authority just seems like the ultimate HR nightmare.

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Storage Wars (All Day Tuesday, A&E)

I watched several episodes on Tuesday and, as tends to happen with A&E all-day marathons, they all blended together.  But no matter!  The good thing was that the majority of the episode were from the first three seasons, when the whole show was about Dave getting on people’s nerves and Barry acting all eccentric and somehow managing to injure himself every time he tried to clean out a locker.  To be honest, I don’t think the show has ever really recovered from losing Barry as a regular.

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Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Realizing that his new play, Twelfth Night, just isn’t working, Shakespeare comes up with the brilliant idea to turn it into a jukebox miracle!  Everyone loves the play once the music of Thomas Morley is added but then Morley himself refuses to sign over the rights to his music.  Oh, Shakespeare, will you ever learn?

Twonky

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/16/21 — 5/22/21


It was a busy week and yet, I still found time to watch what was probably too much television. Here are my thoughts for this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Trying to explain what happened on Sunday’s episode will not be easy but here goes. Having faked their deaths in the previous episode, the two British airmen were attempting to tunnel their way into a German POW camp. However, their tunnel ends up colliding with the tunnel of two other British airmen, who are attempting to dig their way out of the camp. In typical Allo Allo fashion, nearly every character on the show, whether British, German, or French, eventually ended up in the tunnel at the same time. When the tunnel collapses, everyone finds themselves in the POW camp. It was odd but funny, an enjoyably chaotic parody of movies like The Great Escape.

American Idol (Sunday Night, ABC)

I watched this week’s Final Four episode on the DVR and I have to admit that I fast forwarded through most of it. I just wanted to see who would make it into the top 3. Chayce, Willie, and Grace made it to the finale. Casey Bishop was eliminated. Because of the show’s weirdly rushed format, Casey didn’t get to say anything or even sing a goodbye song after being told that she had been rejected by America. Instead, the credits quickly flashed across the screen. It just didn’t feel right.

Of the final three …. well, I have no idea. In the past, it seems like Chayce would have won easily because of the whole country music thing but who knows? The judges seemed to really want the voters to pick Willie. Then again, the judges really just seemed to be going through the motions this season. There’s a real fear of being too negative. It’s not like the way it used to be when Simon hated everything and the other judges always seemed to be coming down from a coke binge.

Anyway, the finale is next week. I’m going to go ahead and predict that Chayce will win. I don’t know if I’m going to watch the finale or not. It’ll probably depend on what else is on at the time. (I refuse to set the DVR for the finale of a show that I know I’m going to forget about in two weeks.) It’s been a while since winning American Idol was really a big deal, to be honest. Maybe it would help if the show’s producers weren’t so determined to force everyone to sing sappy ballads.

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

The week in Baywatch got off to an extremely strange start on Sunday. The first episode featured Neely and Caroline competing for a modeling gig while Cody, Mitch, and Logan descended into the sewers to search for a mutant alligator. Neely got the gig and Mitch got the alligator. One thing that I did like about this episode is that the alligator was taken alive and donated to a zoo. The second episode featured a mysterious man trying to kill Logan, which led to Caroline wondering what it would be like if Charlie’s Angels were called in to save Logan’s life. Next thing you know, Caroline, Stephanie, and CJ were wearing wigs and bell bottoms and trying to solve the mystery of who was trying to kill Logan. Eventually, it was all revealed to be a dream. This was one of those meta episodes that Baywatch occasionally tried to do. Unfortunately, the show often struggled whenever it tried to be deliberately funny.

Monday was even stranger as the first episode opened with a bunch of lifeguard dragging a lifeless Hulk Hogan out of the ocean. Fortunately, they were able to bring Hogan back to life and, in order to thank them, Hogan and a bunch of wrestlers fought each other for charity. While that was going on, Stephanie was waiting to discover whether or not she had skin cancer. So, on the one hand, you had a very serious storyline about cancer and, on the other hand, you had a bunch of pro wrestlers yelling at each other on the beach. Fortunately, while Stephanie’s ultimate fate was left up in the air, the wrestlers raised enough money. Monday’s second episode featured Mitch sky-diving and this, of course, led to a lot of flashbacks to previous episodes, with some of the clips featured a totally different actor playing Mitch’s son because Baywatch was just like that. There were also some really weird green screen shots of David Hasselhoff with a bunch of fake clouds behind him. It also led to a lot of Hasselhoff voice over acting: “But if I’m unconscious, how can I know what’s happening? Am I dead?” (I may be remembering incorrectly but I thought this show already did a Mitch nearly dies while skydiving episode.) Fortunately, it turned out that Mitch’s death, much like the Charlie’s Angels episode, was just a dream.

On Tuesday, the first episode opened with Mitch trying to adopt a little girl who had never been on the show before. Eventually, I figured out that the episode was continuing a storyline that started on Baywatch Nights. In the end, Mitch did not go through the with the adoption and the little girl was sent to live with her grandparents in Iowa or Kansas or wherever it is that saintly grandparents tend to live. The second episode featured Mitch and Caroline trying to reunite a Vietnamese immigrant with her father. While they did that, CJ and Cody designed a special wheelchair so that a disabled friend would be able to roll across the sandy beach and experience the ocean firsthand. This led to a lot of shots of a sweaty, shirtless, and sexy David Chokachi handling a welding torch. Yum!

On Wednesday, the 1995 Baywatch “film,” Forbidden Paradise, was aired as a two-part episode. I reviewed it here.

Thursday started off with an odd episode, in which Stephanie discovered that she was cancer-free but, at the exact same moment she was getting her good news, a professional surfer was drowning and Logan was cheating on Caroline. It was a strangely philosophical episode but it did feature a surprisingly exciting rescue sequence. I think what made it work is that Michael Newman, who was an actual lifeguard, was the one doing the rescuing and you could tell that he actually knew what he was doing. The second episode featured Cody searching for Spanish gold and Newman, Logan, and Neely searching for a rat that was living in Baywatch headquarters.

Friday’s first episode started off with a new opening credits sequence that featured not only a bunch of new lifeguards but also the promotion of real-life lifeguard Michael Newman to the main cast. Yay, Newmie! The episode that followed featured Logan trying to make a movie about a killer shark and basically endangering everyone by filming with a real shark! At the end of the episode, Logan left Baywatch to become a director. Considering the number of people that Logan almost got killed during his time on the beach, I imagine the lifeguard were happy to see him go. The second episode found Mitch judging a beauty contest and having to deal with a new boss, Samantha Thomas (Nancy Valen).

Saturday’s episode featured an eccentric old man leaving CJ 4 millions dollars in his will and Hobie debating whether or not to get a tattoo. I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to it as I was preparing to host Saturday’s #ScarySocial live tweet.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MTV)

I had this show playing in the background while I was cleaning around the house. I needed background noise to help me focus but I also needed something that I knew I would be in no danger of getting emotionally invested in. The adventures of America’s most annoying family fit the bill!

City Confidential (Thursday Night, Crime and Investigation)

The episode that I watched on Thursday night was about Boston and it told the story of a white man who claimed that two black carjackers had murdered his wife but who, it quickly became apparent, had actually committed the murder himself. With the city on the verge of a riot, he jumped off a bridge. It was a disturbing story and a far too common one.

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

A&E’s stupidest reality show (and that’s saying something!) basically runs nonstop on Wednesdays. I watched two episodes on Wednesday afternoon and it was the typical collection of jocular judges, rude defendants, and teary-eyed victim statements, all breathlessly narrated by Dan Abrams. This show is basically like the 2021 version of those old “Totally Shocking Video” shows.

Fear Thy Neighbor (Saturday Afternoon, ID)

Fear Thy Neighbor is a true crime show that tells stories about neighbors who end up killing each other. On the one hand, it’s just as exploitive as it sounds. On the other hand, it does make you appreciate the neighbors who don’t try to kill each other. Whenever my neighbor gets on my nerves, I remind myself that at least he’s not one of the Fear Thy Neighbor neighbors.

Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33)

I watched Monday night’s episode. Monica was annoyed by Chandler’s fake laugh. Ross slept with the very annoying Janice. Chandler’s boss was played by the always-funny Sam McMurray. It was an okay episode, though I doubt it’s one they’ll discuss during the HBOMax reunion.

Gangs of London (Sunday nights, AMC)

I got caught up on Gangs of London this week, watching the three latest episodes (or, at least, the three latest episodes to be broadcast in the United States). I still struggle to follow the show and to keep track of who is working with who. That’s probably more due to me not watching on a regular basis than anything else. After watching the last three episodes, I’ve decided that Gangs of London works best as a parody of ultra-violent gangster epics. It’s all so over the top that it’s hard to believe that it was ever meant to be taken all that seriously.

One thing I did learn from watching the show is that Denmark apparently has a fearsome army. Who would have guessed?

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

On Tuesday, the first episode of Hill Street Blues dealt with the aftermath of the murder of Officer Joe Coffey. Played by Ed Marinaro, Coffey had been a part of the show’s cast of characters since the first season and was at the center of many storylines. As such, you would think that the death of his character would be a big deal. Unfortunately, since Coffey had the misfortune of dying during the show’s sixth season, his death was mostly just an excuse for Lt. Norman Buntz to beat up a suspect and try to manipulate Coffey’s long-time partner into making an identification that she wasn’t sure about. The second of Tuesday’s episode featured more Norman Buntz drama as he found himself potentially being framed for the murder of another cop. Lindsay Crouse also joined the cast as a new police officer named Kate McBride who, in her first episode, got more screen time than people who had been there since the show began.

Wednesday’s first episode continued the trend of shining the spotlight on new characters as opposed to the old ones. Norman Buntz continued to threaten everyone he met. Kate McBride was accused of sexually harassing a prostitute and, though it turned out that the prostitute was lying, McBride did tell her partner, Lucy, that she was a lesbian. (The scene was so awkwardly handled that I was surprised McBride’s announcement wasn’t followed by a dramatic music cue.) Meanwhile, another new cop (played by a very young Chris Noth) tried to talk a man out of jumping off the ledge of a building. “Go ahead and jump but I don’t think you want to,” Noth said, right before the man jumped to his death. Whoops! The second episode of the morning found Detective Mick Belker reuniting with a former informant, Eddie, who died of AIDS at the end of the hour. The Belker/Eddie storyline was actually pretty effective and very well-acted by Bruce Weitz and Charles Levin. Unfortunately, it had to compete with space for scenes of Norman Buntz once again beating up suspects and Captain Furillo trying to decide whether or not to run for mayor. (The chief of police running for mayor makes sense and happens fairly frequently. But the captain of the city’s most notorious and troubled police precinct? It seems a bit less likely.)

The first of Thursday’s episodes featured Paul McCrane, who was suitable creepy as a serial killer who was captured by a group of angry citizens. This was also the last episode of season 6, as became obvious when the morning’s second episode featured completely different opening credits. (Jeff has warned me that Season 7 was even more Buntz-centric than Season 6. They probably should have renamed the show Hill Street Buntz.) The second episode featured an airplane crashing into the city, a briefcase full of cocaine getting stolen, and Buntz being held hostage. Buntz, it would seem, got held hostage quite frequently.

On Friday, the first episode featured Lt. Howard Hunter shooting a thief with a non-Department issued gun and being investigated by Internal Affairs as a result. As well, the public defenders office went on a work slow down to try to get better terms in a contract negotiation with the city. This led to Joyce Davenport getting into a physical altercation with a judge played by Jeffrey Tambor. It was actually a good episode, featuring a wonderful performance from James B. Sikking in the role of Hunter. The second episode, however, was a bit of a mess with the public defenders now on strike, Lucy introducing two new cops to life on the Hill, and Lt. Henry Goldblume abruptly going from being a bleeding heart liberal to being the type of cop who smirks while drawing a gun on a drug dealer. (The episode suggested that this was due to Buntz’s influence but Norman Buntz is exactly the type of cop that Goldblume hated just a few episodes ago. The real culprit was inconsistent writing.)

Finally, on Saturday, the first episode was another mixed bag. On the one hand, the episode featured a compelling storyline in which Capt. Furillio discovered that his recently-promoted, former second-in-command, Capt. Calletano, was struggling with running his new precinct. There was also a rather sweet moment where Assistant D.A. Irwin Bernstein admitted that he had a crush on Public Defender Joyce Davenport. However, there was also an incredibly icky storyline in which a new character, Officer Tina Russo, confessed that she had slept with a criminal (played by a youngish Chazz Palmenteri) while working undercover. And, of course, there was yet another largely pointless Norman Buntz storyline. The second episode was a mess. An old friend of Henry Goldblume’s got killed. (Doesn’t this happen every other episode?) Buntz glowered at everyone. Russo tried to defend her reputation even while the camera leered at her.

All in all, this show still has its moment but I’m glad that I’m nearly done with it.

Intervention (Mondays, A&E)

The first episode that I watched on Monday was a really old one, one that seems to get repeated rather frequently. Leslie is a soccer mom-turned-alcoholic whose children beg her to get help. As someone who grew up with an alcoholic parent, I have to admit that, whenever I see this episode, I have absolutely zero sympathy for Leslie. The episode aired in 2007 so her children are all adults now and I can only hope that they’ve managed to deal with the trauma that she put them through. Leslie did agree to go to rehab, though the show’s epilogue states that she relapsed a few times after getting treatment.

Leslie’s episode was followed by the story of Jason and Joy. Jason was a cocaine addict. His younger sister, Joy, was an alcoholic. As usual, I had more sympathy for the cocaine addict than I did for the alcoholic, which I guess suggests that I’m just biased against drunks. Fortunately, according to the episode’s epilogue, both Jason and Joy are now sober.

The third episode deal with hairstylist-turned-drug-addict Casey. To be honest, I cringed a bit when I saw that Ken Seeley was going to run her intervention because his interventions always seem to end in disaster. But, Casey actually agreed to get help for her addiction so yay! But the she left treatment early so boo! But then apparently, she got clean on her own so yay! As you can tell, the final three title cards were a real roller coater ride.

Later that night, I watched the two latest episodes of Intervention. Tim was a former MMA fighter turned addict. Shandra was an aspiring nurse turned addict. Both of them went to treatment, though Tim got kicked out after getting into a physical altercation with another patient. Let’s hope the best for them.

The Jetsons (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I had this old cartoon playing in the background while I was cleaning the house on Sunday. George Jetson really was a whiny prick, wasn’t he?

Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (Weekdays, Channel 33)

I watched two episodes on Tuesday because I’m a terrible person. Both episodes featured fairly trashy people so it was hard for me to really care about whether or not they stayed together.

Nobody drags out the relatively simple process of reading the results of a DNA test like Judge Lake.

Judge Lake: “Tell me about when you first got married….”

Actually, Judge Lake, why don’t you just open up the damn envelope and read the piece of paper inside?

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Sunday’s episode of Moone Boy centered around the Irish presidential election. It was nice to see that insane elections aren’t limited to the United States. At the end of the episode, Ireland elected it’s first woman president and Liam Moone helped to bathe the local fish monger. It’s a complicated story but the important thing is that everything worked out for the best.

The Office (All the Time, Comedy Central)

Product recall! Seriously, one of my favorite episodes ever. Michael calling that press conference is a classic Office moment. Angela’s inability to apologize is another great moment. I knew exactly what she was going through. I watched this episode of Thursday. It’s probably the 100th time I’ve seen this episode but I still laughed the whole time. It’s a classic.

On Friday, I watched three classic two-parters — Dunder Mifflin Infinity, Launch Party (“Lanch Party!?”), and Money. The scenes of Jim and Pam spending the weekend at Shrute Farms are some of my favorites from the entire series. (“Does Mose often have nightmares?” “Oh yes. Ever since …. the storm.”)

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday night’s episode, Arkwright was concerned that an old school chum named Chalky White was going to steal away Nurse Gladys Emmanuel. Arkwright’s worries turned out to be unfounded. He should have been more concerned about the fact that Granville is obviously only a few more insults away from snapping and blowing up the store.

Philly D.A. (Tuesday Night, PBS)

On Tuesday, I watched two episodes of the PBS docuseries, Philly D.A. This is a series that follows Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner over the course of his first term. The blandly smug Krasner is a progressive who is determined to reform the culture of Philadelphia law enforcement. The series follows not only him but also his critics and the prisoners he’s released and the families who have been effected by the crime of those prisoners. Like Parking Wars, this is a series whose main message seems to be, “For the Love of God, stay out of Philadelphia.”

And really, it should be interesting but the series is so extremely one-sided that it comes across as being propaganda. It’s so obvious that the series is on Krasner’s side that you never feel like you can trust it to give you the whole story and I say this as someone who strong believes that the criminal justice system does need to be reformed. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, seeing as how this is a PBS production. Let’s just say that you’ll never see a similarly uncritical docuseries following the first term of a politician on the opposite side of the political divide.

(Interestingly enough, while I was watching this on Tuesday, Kraser was easily defeating a credible challenger in the city’s Democratic primary.)

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (Sunday, Fuse)

Sabrina! Listen, I know that a lot of people enjoyed that Netflix series more than Case and I did but for me, the only true Sabrina is Melissa Joan Hart and the only true Salem is the one who could actually talk. I watched four episodes of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch on Sunday and they were all fun and, as opposed to the Netflix series, brightly lit.

Saved By The Bell (IFC, Monday Morning)

On Monday, I caught the infamous “All in the Mall” episode of Saved By The Bell. This is the episode in which the gang goes to the mall to buy tickets for the big U2 (?) concert but, because they’re stupid enough to trust Screech to be able to buy the tickets, everything gets screwed up. However, they do find a bag full of money. Unfortunately, two criminals want the money too! Or do they? It turns out that it’s all a set up for Totally Candid Video! The gang’s reward for appearing on the show? Tickets to the big U2 concert! Personally, I would have rather had the money.

Seinfeld (Channel 33, Weeknights)

On Monday’s episode, Elaine tried to put a clothing store out of business, Newman and Kramer competed to throw the bet millennium party (this episode was from the 90s, remember), and Jerry’s girlfriend of the week was played by Lauren Graham. It was a funny episode.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Alas poor William Shakespeare. All Shakespeare wants is a family coat of arms so that he and his father can be “posh” but the man who is in charge of handing out such honors is Robert Greene, who has always disliked the Shakespeares. Perhaps if Shakespeare can throw a successful dinner party for Kit Marlowe’s new best friend, a Moorish prince named Othello, he’ll be able to convince Greene that he deserves to be a gentleman. However, when Greene discovers that Othello has fallen in love with Kate, Greene plots to trick Othello into murdering (or, at the very least, attacking) Shakespeare. It’s all rather complicated (and, as usual, rather funny). Hopefully, someone will write a play about it.

Favorite moment from Sunday’s episode: Greene tricks Othello into thinking that Shakespeare has the handkerchief that Othello originally gave to Kate. Othello starts to lose his temper.

Greene: “Ah, the green-eyed monster….”

Othello: “Perhaps you’re right. Don’t want to jump to any conclusions.”

In the end, it’s revealed that Othello stole all of his amazing stories from Sir Walter Raleigh’s latest book and Kate breaks up with him. All’s well that ends well.

Yes, Minister (Sunday Night, PBS)

Even by the standards of Yes, Minster, Sunday’s episode was a dark and cynical one. Don’t get me wrong. It was funny but the laughter was somewhat uneasy. Jim Hacker discovered two things over the course of the episode. Number one, British-made weapons were being sold to Italian terrorists. Number two, there was nothing he could do about it. As Sir Humphrey explained it, telling the Prime Minister would lead to an inquiry and an inquiry would lead to the discovery of all sorts of government scandals and the end result would be the government falling, Jim losing his position, and the terrorists still receiving their weapons. In the end, even Jim decided that his career was more important than doing the right thing. At least in Jim’s case, he didn’t seem to be happy about it.

Halfway through this melancholy episode, Bernard asked Sir Humphrey if Jim was right about the civil service being amoral. Humphrey explained that, of course, Jim was right. The role of the civil service, Humphrey explained, was not to worry about right or wrong. The role of the civil service was to support whichever government happened to be in power. Having personal beliefs went against that. As I said, it was all pretty cynical but it was also definitely more believable than any of the good government propaganda that we tend to get here in the United States. Aaron Sorkin wishes he could have written something as effective as Sunday’s episode of Yes, Minister.

Zombie House Flipping (Saturday Morning, A&E)

No zombies. Not since The Floor is Lava have a I felt so deceived.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/2/21 — 5/8/21


Another week, another list of television programming. Here’s a few thoughts on what I watched this week:

9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star (Monday Night, FOX)

I watched both of these shows this week and yet, I don’t remember a damn thing about them. If you don’t remember a show, did it actually air?

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, the latest daring plan to get the British airmen out of France came to naught. The plan was to use a lawn mower motor to power an antique airplane. Rene said it wouldn’t work and, not surprisingly, it didn’t. I will admit that I laughed so hard at the end of this rather frantic episode that I nearly fell off the living room couch.

Baywatch (Weekdays, H&I)

Life on the beach continues!

On the first of Sunday’s two episodes, Kathleen Kinmont played an FBI agent who went undercover as a lifeguard. Unfortunately, despite the fact that she was supposed to be keeping an eye on the girlfriend of an escaped convict, she was also expected to do lifeguard stuff. This led to some conflict with Mitch. For the record, Mitch was right in that it made absolutely no sense for an FBI agent to pretend to be a lifeguard. The second episode of the night featured a phony treasure hunt, one that attracted real crooks and brought chaos to the beach! Jeff Garlin appeared as a radio DJ who fell in love with CJ. Both episodes were thoroughly silly, though the one with the FBI agent was a smidgen less silly because Kathleen Kinmont appeared to be taking her role more seriously than Jeff Garlin took his.

Monday’s first episode was an odd one. Apparently, there was some sort of weird “red dust wind” blowing over the California coast and, as a result, everyone on the beach was a little bit stranger than usual. Geraldo Rivera guest-starred as a man whose fiancé was secretly in love with Mitch. (In order to get her to fall out of love with him, Mitch took her on a date and acted like a dorky jackass. It didn’t work.) Meanwhile, John O’Hurley (of Seinfeld, Family Feud, and Dancing With Stars fame) played desperate father who was searching for his daughter. This was followed by an episode the featured jet ski training and plenty of beach volleyball action. I’ve noticed that every season of Baywatch featured at least one episode that featured someone getting jet ski training.

Tuesday brought us a Christmas-themed two-parter. Santa’s elves took a vacation on the beach. Hobie befriended yet another homeless girl. Mitch tried to help a homesick lifeguard. And Pamela Anderson fell in love with a priest but sadly, his commitment to God came first. “Y’know,” he told her, “we’re in the same business, saving lives.”

On Wednesday, Logan married a rich widow so that he could get his green card and then, during the second episode, Stephanie was held hostage by an environmental terrorist. It’s amazing how often the lifeguards ended up getting held hostage. I would probably be so traumatized after being held hostage just once that I would look for a new job. These lifeguards somehow manage to handle it happening on a twice-a-month basis.

On Thursday, Mitch asked Tracy to marry him, just to discover that she only had two weeks to live. He spent those weeks trying to make her as happy as possible. The second episode dealt with Mitch trying to recover from Tracy’s death. These episodes were surprisingly effective. Baywatch‘s total lack of irony and willingness to embrace the melodrama really paid off.

The first of Friday’s episodes found Mitch coming to terms with having never lived up to the expectations of his dead father. This was followed by an episode in which Logan needed Stephanie’s help to keep him from being deported back to Australia. In the end, it all worked out and everyone had fun. That’s the important thing.

On Saturday, CJ’s blind ex-boyfriend showed up and help Mitch break up yet another crime ring. This time the master criminal was played by Richard Lynch, who appeared to be having fun. Again, that’s the most important thing!

Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)

Dan Abrams’s replacement for Live PD continued the A&E reality show tradition of exploiting people’s misery. I had the show on while I was cleaning the house on Wednesday and I still feel awful about it.

Friends (Weekdays, Channel 33 and HBOMax)

During the episode that I watched on Tuesday night, Rachel and Monica got new jobs while Ross, Chandler, and Joey spent a night hitting the clubs and discovered that they weren’t young anymore. If I remember correctly, it seems like this was something that happened rather frequently on Friends. That said, I enjoyed this episode more than the one I watched a few weeks ago because Matthew Perry looked much healthier.

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

Tuesday morning’s episodes of Hill Street Blues started with Public Defender Chapman (played by future 3-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand) getting fired from her job when it was discovered that she was hooked on cocaine. Meanwhile, Gina (played by future Oscar nominee Jennifer Tilly) was gunned down in a restaurant while having dinner with her boyfriend, Lt. Henry Goldblume (Joe Spano). The episode that followed that found Goldblume going a bit off the deep end as he obsessively investigated Gina’s murder. It’s was all very well-acted by Joe Spano, even if you do have to wonder if there anyone who worked on the Hill who did not, at some point during their service, see a friend or a loved one gunned down in front of them. Judging from what I’ve seen of the show, it was apparently a fairly regular occurrence.

Wednesday morning started off with an episode in which massive police corruption was uncovered, Henry finally started to properly grieve for Gina, and Captain Furillo admitted that he had started drinking again. It also featured an appearance from James Cromwell, speaking in an exaggerated Irish accent, in the role of an animal trainer. The second episode, however, had an entirely new credits sequence, one that featured some new faces in the cast, and — even more importantly — no longer featured half of the cast from the previous episode. In other words, a new season had begun! According to Jeff, I’ve now entered season 6 of Hill Street Blues, which is when the show starts to go downhill. So, we’ll see how long I stick with it, I guess. Anyway, the second episode took place at night and featured a now fully recovered Henry getting held hostage by a militant cult leader, who was played by Yaphet Kotto.

Thursday morning saw two episodes dealing with the death of Officer Harry Garibaldi. Played by Ken Olin, Harry was a regular during the pervious season but his disappearance from the opening credits left little doubt that he would not survive being stabbed by a bookie. Of course, the show still milked the question of whether or not Harry would die for all the drama that it could. (The main problem, of course, is that Harry was never a particularly likable character to begin with.) Kiel Martin, who was consistently one of the best actors on the show, had an amazing scene after Harry died, in which his character, recovering alcoholic J.D. LaRue, had a complete meltdown.

When I watched Friday morning’s episodes of Hill Street Blues, I came to understand what Jeff meant about this season being the beginning of the end. The first episode featured the arrest of Harry Garibaldi’s murderer. The suspect, who only confessed because he had suckered Furillo into giving him an immunity deal, was then gunned down by Harry’s father. So, yes, the murderer was dead but unfortunately, Harry’s father was going to prison for life. In previous episodes, this would have led to some serious reflection on the part of the characters. However, this time,, everyone just shrugged off the fate of Harry’s father. The bad guy was dead and nothing else mattered. The second episode featured a mentally ill man who thought he was the movie character Rambo. It was all fun and games until he tragically died at the end of the episode. Again, this is a trick that Hill Street Blues played so often that, from the minute the guy showed up, I knew what was going to eventually happen to him. If you’re quirky during the first half of an episode of Hill Street Blues, you’ll be dead by the end of the second half.

Things continued to go downhill during the first of Saturday’s episodes as a new character, Lt. Norman Buntz (played by Dennis Franz), went on a personal vendetta against a petty thief. Buntz eventually ended up executing the thief during a liquor store robbery. Previously, Hill Street Blues would have held a character like Buntz in contempt but, during this new season, apparently the show’s moral compass was reset. The first episode of the morning also featured Detective Neal Washington getting shot for what seemed to be the 100th time. I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to the second episode, beyond noting that Michael Richards (a.k.a. Karmer from Seinfeld) was playing a crook. Otherwise, life on the Hill suddenly felt far less interesting than it did at the start of this week.

Judge Jerry (Weekdays, Syndication)

Jerry Springer is a TV judge now! Nobody in the courtroom fights or yells. In fact, due to COVID, the gallery is empty and all of the cases are “virtual.” Somehow, Jerry comes across as being even more sleazy when he’s being respectable than he did when he was hosting his circus of a talk show.

The Office (All the Time, Comedy Central)

On Tuesday, I watched several episodes from season 4. I started with Dinner Party and I ended with Goodbye Toby. As a result, I had both Hunter’s song and Michael’s rendition Goodbye Toby stuck in my head for several hours. I’ve also spent this week telling random people, in my best Holly Flax voice, “Kevin, I’m really proud of you!”

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, Tom’s daughter nearly married Sally’s son. It didn’t work out, naturally. The main theme of this episode seemed to be that old people are clueless about new technology but that young people are just stupid in general. As with the previous episodes that I’ve seen, the jokes weren’t extremely clever but they were very well-delivered by Jane Asher, Clive Swift, and Roger Lloyd-Pack. Apparently, this was also the last episode of The Old Guys and, starting this Sunday night, PBS will be airing a different British sitcom in its place.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

On this week’s episode, Arkwright continued to abuse Granville and Granville continued to hate every moment of his existence. This is one bleak show.

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

H&I aired two episodes of this old 70s cop show on Sunday morning. I watched both but I only remember one. It dealt with an older cop being driven crazy by the stress of the job and the feeling of being underappreciated. The Rookies were able to talk him down.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I watched two episodes of this classic show on Sunday morning. The first episode featured Zack skipping school because he was apparently too exhausted after the summer to handle class. It was his mother’s idea. On the one hand, I could full sympathize with skipping school but, on the other hand, who asks for permission beforehand? I guess that’s what happens when you’re making a show about high school in which the lead character is expected to be both a rebel and a role model. Anyway, the various members of the Saved By The Bell cast came by to visit Zack and they thought about everything that happened over the summer. Is there anything more creatively bankrupt than a clip show?

The second episode was the one where Zack and Slater get into a physical brawl in the school hallway because they both like the same girl. This episode is a personal favorite of mine. If Belding hadn’t intervened, Slater would have totally kicked Zack’s ass.

Seinfeld (Weeknights, Channel 33 and Hulu)

I watched an episode on Tuesday night. Elaine was confused by her new boyfriend’s love for the song Desperado. George was confused the fact that the local cult was willing to brainwash everyone but him. Jerry destroyed a valuable chest of drawers and Kramer nearly killed some tourists. It made me laugh. That said, at the end of the episode, it was kind of implied that Elaine’s boyfriend died because the ER doctor was distracted by the song Witchy Woman. That was dark!

Storage Wars (Tuesday Night, A&E)

To be honest, the only reason I watched the two latest episodes was to see if there was any new Brandi/Jarrod developments. There were not. In fact, Jarrod was not in any either of the episodes and Brandi was only in one. Unfortunately, neither of the episodes were that interesting. With the exception of Ivy, I’ve never cared much for any of the replacement buyers who have shown up on the show over the years. I like the old crew — Barry, Hester, Darryl, and Bradi & Jarrod. Oh well. The past is the past.

Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix)

On Wednesday, Case, Leonard, and I watched an episode about a group of people from the same Massachusetts town who all say that they were abducted by aliens in 1969. As a passionate skeptic when it come to all things paranormal, my theory is that hippies spiked the town’s drinking water with LSD.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

While traveling back to Stratford, Shakespeare and his friends run into three witches who provide him with three cryptic prophecies. Later, Shakespeare fears that he may have accidentally killed his neighbor, a Scotsman named MacBuff. Haunted by guilt and what he mistakenly believes is a ghost, Shakespeare is relieved to eventually to discover that MacBuff did not die. Shakespeare resolves to write a comedy about the whole thing. This was another brilliantly funny episode.

The Voice (Monday Night, NBC)

On Monday night, the show took a look back at the “road to lives.” I didn’t pay that much attention but still, I wish everyone the best of luck. (Come to think of it, I also didn’t pay much attention to 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star when I watched them on Monday. What was going on at the start of the week that had me so distracted? Hopefully, whatever it was, I resolved it.)

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

This week’s episode was brilliant. After finding out that a defense contract had been rewarded as a result of bribery, Jim was determined to reveal the truth regardless of the consequences. Then, he discovered that his wife had accepted a very expensive present from the same contractor and he quickly changed his mind. Last week featured Jim getting the better of Humphrey. This week, things got back to normal as Humphrey and Bernard got the better of Jim (even though it was kind of Bernard’s fault that Jim’s wife received the potentially problematic present in the first place). Paul Eddington’s performance in this week’s episode, alternating between self-righteous pomposity and desperate sputtering, was a work of comedic genius. Despite the fact that this show is older than I am, Yes, Minister is definitely my favorite of the shows that I currently watch on a regular basis.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 4/25/21 — 5/1/21


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)

I reviewed The Oscar ceremony here.

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.