“A disruptive influence.” – Doctor Who Recap

Series 8, Episode 6
The Caretaker
Posted by Sage

We’re well into the gushy mid-season center of series 8, where the light and sugary stories live. Earlier this week, guest recapper Graeme Burk wrote about the caper episode “Time Heist,” and reminded us that our collective impossibly high standards for Doctor Who have to allow for adventures that are just plain entertaining. “The Caretaker” continues the Twelfth Doctor’s “getting to know you” tour; this time, the fun is guaranteed right in the premise. Twelve is the most alien regeneration we’ve seen in decades. Let’s see how he fares when he tries to pass as just another adult who figures into the human experience nearly all of us have in common: school.

Doctor Who Deep Cover

It’s Twelve’s first time taking “John Smith” out for a spin. This time, Smith is the fill-in caretaker at Coal Hill School, there to diffuse some a robot-alien threat (seen one, you’ve seen ’em all) and – let’s be real – to lay eyes and eyebrows on Clara Oswald’s other distraction. No dashing science substitute this time (“Physics, physics, physics, physics…”), this Doctor peaks curiosity from the moment he’s on the property. Basically, he just can’t human (and barely tries) and succeeds wildly in weirding everybody out. (Par for the course for Scottish caretakers in pop culture.) Clara’s just trying not to get fired.

Doctor Who Clara Eyes on you

I’m almost bored to be writing again about how likable Clara Oswald has grown to be. When the Doctor shows up at her morning staff meeting, she looks like she’s ready to pummel him with his own broom. (“So, you recognized me then?”) But her irritation takes a backseat to her concern. (“Doctor, is there an alien in this school?” “Yes, me!”) All Ozzie wants to know is if the kids are in danger. Once she knows that there’s a real (if thinly-written) menace to contend with, she’s on board. With reservations.

Clara under control

I also admire Clara’s determination to have it all. She craves the unknowable excitement – the “wonders” – of life with the Doctor. But she also wants the challenge of a wrangling 30 fifth-formers and experiencing all the firsts of a new relationship. She wants to be swimming with the fish people and her best friend one moment, and wrapped on up the couch with serious domestic hottie Danny Pink the next. There are shades of series 2 in the way the show keeps dropping hints that Clara can’t have it both ways forever. The storm is coming, though she still insists she doesn’t want to know exactly when.

Doctor Who Go Away Humans

Impending doom, blah blah blah, anyhoo, back to Coal Hill, present times. The Doctor is skulking around the place, intriguing children and placing anonymous sciencey-wiencey objects around the premises. It’s all part of his plan to send the Skovox Blitzer, an impossibly dangerous weapon, packing. Meanwhile, Capaldi expertly plays the Doctor’s base need to gleefully harass his pal Clara. He climbs up to her classroom window to correct her Jane Austen timeline (“There’s a bio at the back.”); listens in when she talks to other boys; and responds to her schoolyard scolding by dropping the best/only Pink Floyd reference in Doctor Who history.

Actually, to circle back to the impending doom for a moment: the Skovox was attracted to Coal Hill by its high concentration of artron energy. Maybe the kind of emissions that would be kicked up by, say, a TARDIS landing in the broom closet? Clara and The Doctor brought this thing here. Her insistence on straddling the everyday and the fantastic manifested in a very real danger. Symbolism, much? Luckily, Clara, the Doctor, and P.E. are here to clean up their own mess.

Doctor Who Danny Officer

Remember Bowling for Soup? It’s totally okay if you don’t, even though “1985” is a fairly decent karaoke song. Dumb name or no, they spoke they truth when they sang that “High School Lasts Forever.” Even for Time Lords, it would seem. When the Doctor calls Danny, “P.E.”, he may as well be calling him a “dumb jock.” Despite all evidence to the contrary, Danny’s past life as a soldier paints him as a brute in the eyes of his girlfriend’s companion. So it’s fantastically telling when the Doctor latches on to the misconception that bow-tied, floppy-haired Adrian is Clara’s canoodling partner. We’ve never seen him smile so wryly. It’s a very unusual form of vanity. I don’t get the feeling that the Doctor would be so pleased with this prospect if the boyfriend he suspected were a tall, older, Scottish gentleman. As we saw in “Robots of Sherwood,” he’s ever so slightly uncomfortable knowing that he’s Clara’s hero. But his past self is another story. He’ll take her hero worship only if it’s one regeneration removed. Ah, Doctor Who: Where arrogance and self-loathing meet and make emotionally complex babies.

Doctor Who dashing young time traveler

One would think that the Doctor would put less stock in first impressions, having read Pride & Prejudice and all. It’s true that he prides himself on identifying potential (“I never know why, I only know who.”), but he’s allowed himself to be surprised by what people who he’s written off are capable of in the past. (Mickey the Idiot. Jack.) Funny that a sizable amount of the people he’s grudgingly learned to trust have been competition for the attention, if not the affection, of his companions. Clara can’t live a double life forever, and guess who knows it? He also knows, when it comes down to it, which life she’s going to choose – or at least the one she should. So his instant affinity for Adrian is either a selfish hope that Clara won’t leave the TARDIS for good one day, or a confirmation that, even if she does, she’ll have essentially chosen to live out her days with one version of him. Probably both.

Doctor Who Danny Good Enough

What’s troubling is that the show is again putting the companion in the middle between the Doctor and another man. Clara’s refusal to suffer fools and/or foolish behavior nearly saved this storyline. The Doctor’s need to approve of her “boyfriend” felt one 18 Kids & Counting marathon away from one of those icky “purity balls” where little girls dress up like brides and pledge their virginity to their fathers or whatever. And all that “space dad” business just made it worse. It’s sweet that the Doctor wants the best for his friend and that Danny wants to give that to her, but if Danny had pointed out that the only judge of whether or not he’s good enough for Clara should be Clara, then I’d really be all over him. The flip was still nice though.

For as dreamy as Danny is (and he is dreamy), I need more from him. The Doctor isn’t making it easy for him, but Danny is far too defensive for my taste. He gets right down to the Doctor’s level, tossing insults and questioning his motives. (This will now be the third Doctor Who recap this season in which we’ve used the term “dick-measuring contest,” and my god, this might be the most apt.) Worse, he questions Clara herself. Does she know what she’s doing? How, exactly, does she feel about this other person in her life? And I’m sorry, he had to see her with the Doctor to know what she’s really like? I’m annoyed that Danny asked her to prove herself to him and I’m horrified that she went along with it. She’s that girl? Since when?

“The Caretaker” was a collaborative effort by Gareth Roberts (“The Lodger,” “Closing Time”) and Stephen Moffat. So I’m assuming that Roberts handled the Earthbound-Doctor comedy and Moffat the creepy daddy issues. It was far from a terrible episode; I actually quite liked it. But it’s all the proof we need that Doctor Who needs a female in its writers room like, yesterday.

Timey Wimey Observations:

  • “Why are you being nice? Because it works on you.”
  • Was that a Bye Bye, Birdie reference I heard in there?
  • The Doctor and Clara snapping the TARDIS door open and shut felt very “TARDIS, Timelord, yeah!””/”Donna, human, no!”
  • Clara’s green rain jacket goes on my Oswald style inspiration board.
  • The Doctor lived among otters with River, if you’re wondering who taught them that cute cup-stacking game.
  • “What were they like? The others before me? Did they let you get away with it?” This feels like another dig at the RTD era. This is so boring.
  • “‘My school’? Oh, that is telling.”
  • “Oh my god, you’re from space…you said you were from Blackpool.”
  • “Shut him up. Shut him down. up or down.”
  • “Can I go in space?” “I’ll let you know, I may have a vacancy.”
  • Anyone else get an Ariel/King Triton vibe in the auditorium scene? (“But Daddy, I love him!”)

 

We’re been hearing incredible praise for “Kill The Moon!” Kim will be bringing you a recap of that episode next week and then New York Comic Con will start and our heads will explode and we will die.

“Beat THAT For A Date!” – Doctor Who Recap

This is the closest we’re going to get to “Fuckity Bye”

Guest Post by Graeme Burk

Every once in a while, when I am facing a bit of writer’s block or have fallen SUPER behind on a deadline (both of which happened on this post), I will cheekily say “SOMEONE WRITE THIS FOR ME” on Twitter.  I never expect someone to actually volunteer.  Lo and Behold, the delightful Graeme Burk, big deal author of Who is the Doctor? and Who’s 50: The Fifty Doctor Who Stories to Read Before You Die (both co-written with Robert Smith?), actually volunteered AND got me his post within hours.  Thanks for bailing me out, kind sir!  I owe you a drink at L.I. Who.

–Kim

Kim was complaining about not being able to find sufficient wind thrust or velocity or whatever it is people do to get the feels about “Time Heist”. So I offered to write something for her.

After all, why not? Kim’s super-nice, looks amazing in polka-dots, and she’s appeared on my podcast, Reality Bomb, to do totally weird things with absolutely no notice. I figure I owe her.

Except, here’s a confession…I don’t actually read recaps. Yeah, I’m sorry Head Over Feels readers. I feel so judged right now.

David Tennant Judges You, Graeme.

Hopefully I can do this because reading what Kim and Sage have done, these don’t have to be rigidly recapped. And I’ve written reviews in my Doctor Who books (most recently Who’s 50, Sage and Kim approved and available in bookstores everywhere!) All the same I’m a little worried I’m going to suck at this. So I’m going to make an effort at writing a recap of “Time Heist”. It’s probably going to suck. But Kim has promised that she’ll totally bring it with the animated gifs, so hopefully you’ll be entertained.

“Time Heist” begins with the Doctor and Clara doing Doctor and Clara-y things. Most of it involving him doing that shtick where he doesn’t seem to understand that she’s dressing up for a date and trying to look nice and generally putting down how she looks. And I’m kind of waiting for RuPaul to crash through the door and call the Doctor “girlfriend” (Does RuPaul do that anymore? Look, just go with it because it amuses me) and to tell him this thing is now officially old. That or have Clara kick the Doctor in the ghoulies and, you know, leave. Which would be sad, because I’m in love with Clara Oswald. Don’t tell my wife. (Because Clara is fictional and that would, in fact, embarrass me.)

(Note from Kim: Clara looks SUPER hot in this episode.  And thanks for an outfit that is easily cosplay-able, Costume Department)

Anyway, the Doctor gets a phone call, and the next thing you know he’s talking to a worm and he’s in an episode of Hustle.

And isn’t that awesome?

Okay. I think I’m getting the hang of this recap thing.

Really, if you’ve never watched an episode of Hustle, you honestly should. It was the best program the BBC was making in 2005 not called Doctor Who. It’s Ocean’s Eleven on a TV budget but with Marc Warren from “Love & Monsters” and the-should-one-day-be-cast-as-the-Doctor Adrian Lester. It’s about a bunch of grifters performing cons and occasionally heists and it’s done with real style and panache. And when the Doctor, Clara, Rogue from the X-Men and Cyborg from the New Teen Titans came into the Bank of Kalabraxos all in slow-mo that was totally a Hustle move.

Now, with Hustle, if you’re moderately observant, after a while you can eventually predict how you’re being misdirected and what the end result will be. It took my wife till the first conversation about the Architect for her to predict the Architect was really the Doctor. I’m going to just let Kim cue up some gif from Community before making the humble and yet unbelievably sad brag that I figured it out in the first two minutes.

I’m SMART!

But here’s the thing about Hustle… it doesn’t matter if you figured it out. It’s just so damn entertaining. The same is true here for “Time Heist”.

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“Kept My Promise.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap

Posted by Kim

Sleepy Hollow 2 x 01

“This Is War”

WELCOME BACK SLEEPYHEADS!!!  After a looooooooooooong hiatus (some might say too long, given the live ratings for this week’s premiere), our favorite batshit crazy show is back to sass us (seriously, Tom’s left eyebrow needs to STOP. And by stop I mean never stop), terrify us, and knock us over with epically romantic feels.

So where were we? Oh yes.  After sacrificing herself to free Katrina, Abbie is stranded in purgatory.  Jenny was in a horrific car crash courtesy of our buddy, Headless.  Irving is in jail.  The seemingly good Henry Parrish is ACTUALLY Jeremy Crane…oh yeah…AND Jeremy is the Horseman of War.  And he is super unhappy with his parents.  Katrina was captured by Headless.  Ichabod was bound in branches and then buried alive.  We’ve spent nearly nine months theorizing just how our heroes will get out of this…and “This is War” wasted little time in resolving this…

#WHATTHEDAMNHELLHollow

“Anything can be tricked into believing a lie…”

The episode opened with Abbie and Ichabod in Corbin’s Cabin (WHAT?) celebrating Ichabod’s birthday (more on his amazing reactions to that in the #SassyHollow section).  A year has passed (WHAT WHAT?) and Abbie and Ichabod have clearly been through hell, which is why Abbie is so focused on taking a little time to celebrate with Ichabod, because they’ve earned it.  Ichabod, however, is having none of it.  They’ve lost too much, he laments.  Katrina is dead (WHAT. Never mind. #FINEWITHIT).  Jenny is dead (WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT NOOOOO).  They should be focusing on revenge.  A call comes in from the Sleepy Hollow PD, interrupting impending sexytimes (I SAW how they were looking at each other, don’t deny it) and the Witnesses are off to kick some ass.  When they arrive at the station, they are greeted by a headless corpse (typical).  Abbie pops the trunk and reveals a shitload of weapons.  Being a BAMF, Abbie grabs a machine gun while Ichabod wields a crossbow like he’s Daryl Freaking Dixon (someone write me that crossover fic NOW).  “You ready for this?” asks Abbie.  Ichabod cocks his sassy eyebrow and says “I’ve been ready for this for two hundred years.”  Shit has gotten REAL in Sleepy Hollow.  WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT.

Abbie and Ichabod have been brought here to look for pertinent information dug up by a Ben Franklin historian.  The historian has also been beheaded (SO TYPICAL) but they manage to procure the information, including a drawing of the key Old Ben used to discover electricity except not (“You were there?” “I was his apprentice.”).  Headless shows up and a shooting match ensues until he mysteriously vanishes (hmmmmmm).  Abbie and Ichabod head back to their lair where they decide they must question their prisoner…Jeremy. WHAT THE DAMN HELL???  Are they going to tell us how any of this HAPPENED?

Shall I read your sins? See if you’re suppressing any memories?

My only sin is that I am super happy that Katrina is dead. Don’t tell Ichabod, okay?

Jeremy is living large in the cell that used to house Headless.  He has plants.  He taunts Abbie and Ichabod for a while and is exceedingly interested at to whether they have deciphered all the Franklin papers.  Abbie and Ichabod take a pause in their observation room.  “Do you remember how we captured him?” “No.”  The room crumbles around them, with branches encircling Ichabod and Abbie is pulled away from him.  NONE OF THIS IS REAL.  THIS IS PURGATORY.

It’s like that moment in Last of the Mohicans where Daniel Day-Lewis screams “STAY ALIVE. I WILL FIND YOU.”

Clearly, it’s been far too long since I’ve watched Sleepy Hollow (or maybe my brain was still high on puppies and rainbows after seeing Jason Mraz at Radio City Monday night) because it took me FOREVER to realize that the entire opening of the episode was a Purgatory Dream.  On my rewatch, I felt it was obvious…from Abbie offering Ichabod food to Ichabod often being short of breath because of the lack of air underground.  Come on, Kim.  Get with it.   This show expects and demands more from you.

Hey, girl, hey.

Elsewhere in “WHAT THE DAMN HELL” land, we have Katrina and Headless/Abraham.  Katrina is his prisoner, and because she is the most worthless witch ever, simply binding her wrists behind a chair keeps her captive.  (Seriously…the show keeps telling us she is super powerful, but yet all she does is swoon and cry.  Did she lose all her powers crossing over from purgatory? Why isn’t she witching herself out of this?  Meanwhile, Jenny Mills escapes her prison employing a swift kick in the nuts.  Who is the real witch here?)  Throughout the episode, Abraham tries to make his prisoner comfortable, from bringing her food (which only earns him a knife in the hand, so at least Katrina is showing some spunk) to gifting her with the gaudy necklace he gave her when they were in a relationship.  The necklace has been bewitched so that she can see his head had it not been cut off, proving that even Abraham is a better witch than her. The kicker of the Katrina and Abraham story is when Abraham comes in after a long day of beheading people, strips off his clothes, and parades around shirtless, showing off a KILLER bod (hai shoulders…is it twisted to say that he could get it? ).

I saw you looking, Katrina.  To quote Cassandra in the Tenth Doctor’s body…you liked it.  Are we going to have a case of Stockholm Syndrome going on here?  Only time will tell.

For my confusing feelings about Shirtless Headless, I give the WHAT THE DAMN HELL-ness of this episode 5 out of 10 Golems.

#SassyHollow

It’s comforting to know that Purgatory Ichabod is just as sassy as real Ichabod.  This week in Ichabod vs. the Modern World we have birthday parties and cupcakes.  “Must your era celebrate terror with dessert?” Maybe Ichabod just has issues with being over 250 years old?  Take heart sir, you don’t look a DAY over thirty-something!  Did they not celebrate birthdays at all in Colonial Times?  And what is the root of Ichabod’s issues with tiny pastries?  First donut holes, now cupcakes.  BITE SIZE SWEETS ARE AMAZING, SIR!  As always, Abbie’s barely concealed amusement at Ichabod’s disdain is a delight.  Again, I should have known this was not real because this scene was too cute for words.  I couldn’t have been the only one who was screaming “BLOW OUT THE CANDLE AND KISS HER YOU FOOL!” could I?

Because this is Sleepy Hollow, obviously Ichabod knew Benjamin Franklin personally, serving as his apprentice.  Turns out Franklin, played by Timothy Busfield (hey Danny Concannon hey), was a pompous ass who was completely self-absorbed and enjoyed being the smartest person in the room.

Bit like Ichabod really.

(If you don’t say that last bit  like Catherine Tate in her comic relief sketch with David Tennant, I have failed this recap.)

We learn via Ichabod’s flashbacks that Franklin enjoyed flying his kite in the nude (and that our hero is a bit of a prude) and that the key that we’ve been taught discovered electricity was ACTUALLY the key to purgatory and Franklin was hoping to destroy it.  Instead, he hid away for only the smartest person to find it.  Ichabod takes that mission upon himself as clearly he learned delightful arrogance from his master as well.

Ichabod teams up with SassMistress Jennifer Mills, who is alive and well and still kicking ass, for this mission because the writers decided we clearly hadn’t reached maximum sass level in this episode yet.  Jenny is well on her way to busting out of her Henry/Jeremy induced prison (“I have a lot of sins, I hope you choke on them.”) when Ichabod literally drives into the warehouse (let’s take a moment to appreciate Tom’s GLORIOUS reaction to that moment).  When Jenny climbs into the car yelling at him to reverse, Ichabod panics, as he clearly has no idea what she is talking about.  So Jenny climbs over him and takes the wheel cause she doesn’t have time for this shit because her sister is trapped in purgatory.  “Must learn to drive,” Ichabod exclaims, thoroughly irritated.  Please for the love of all things good and holy let them show us the Mills sisters giving Ichabod driving lessons because I need this in my life.

Ichabod: If it’s any consolation, in purgatory, we were led to believe you were dead.
Jenny: Well, I’m glad that illusion’s been crushed.
Ichabod: Though you did miss my birthday party.

I LOVE Ichabod and Jenny together.  The scene where she sends him off to save Abbie alone (because he will not risk BOTH Mills sisters, dammit.  Someone has to fight the good fight if he fails) gave me all the feels, but it is this exchange that had me giggling with delight.  You KNOW that Ichabod is going to lord Jenny missing his purgatory birthday party over her for the rest of their lives, the fact that she was DEAD in purgatory is a tiny insignificant detail.

Because Ichabod is sassy in ANY dimension, I give this episode 8 out of 10 Donut Holes.

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“She’s back, Red. Get used to it.” – Scandal Gif-Cap

Scandal Olivia Badass

Scandal
Season 4, Episode 1: Randy, Red, Superfreak, and Julia
Posted by Sage

I hope you were using its lengthy hiatus to ferment your own red wine, because Scandal has returned, soapier and more extravagant than ever.

When we last left the goodies, the baddies, and the in-betweens, Olivia was on a plane with Jake to who-knows-where, her father was cleaning up her mother’s mess, Fitz on his way to winning reelection while dealing with the loss of his son, Harrison’s fate was up in the air, and the rest of OPA were basically hung out to dry.

I personally used the hiatus to workshop some ideas that may or may not work as well in practice as they do in the haze of my mind on summer TV. Like this one. Today’s Scandal gif-cap is brought to you entirely by Gillian Anderson’s face. I collect GA reaction gifs like other people collect snowglobes, and I decided to put them to use making sense of this bonkers season premiere. You are welcome. Take it away, Gillian.

We open on Olivia relaxing on a pristine beach. She’s reading Gone Girl. She looks fabulous in her white swimsuit, natural hair, and, oh yeah, a beautiful man on top of her.

Playing by heart flirty

“It’s about 15 minutes out. Do you wanna use those 15 minutes? Or stop?” “Don’t stop.” Olivia/Jake is real. She didn’t just use him for a ride out of town. There was some riding involved, but we’ll get to that later.

Flirty smile scully

“No one knows I’m here. We’re 100 miles off the coast of Zanzibar…I’m not even Olivia Pope anymore. I’m Julia Baker.” Then how did a mysterious envelope addressed to Julia end up on their wine-delivery boat?

Scully suspicious

“Jules?” Huh? Oh, right.

scully raising hand

“Apparently he was missing. He’s not anymore. Now he’s dead.” WHELP. Maybe don’t assault your wife and then assume you’ll keep your job at Shondaland.

Drugged scully

“Hey, we’re just here for a few days. In and out.” Jake’s trying so hard to sound sure about this.

Scully skeptical look

“Grant: A New Era?” Only if he’s been castrated.

Scully blinking

scully skeptical sighing

“You were hard to find.” Not hard enough, apparently.

Scully fake smile

“Your hard drive was fried but it works now I fixed it. Also your wife is cheating on you.”

scully surprised

“This is the White House, Peter. Not Westerberg High. There is no hit list.” ABBY’S THE PRESS SECRETARY, BOO BOO. SHE DON’T HAVE THAT KIND OF TIME.

Don't you know who I am?

“You wanna get our party of good ol’ boys to admit that the possession of a vagina doesn’t automatically mean that a sister should get docked 32 cents on the dollar? Good for you, baby. Fight the power.” Mellie strolls into the Oval in her kimono, eating cereal out of the box. She embarrasses Fitz in front of his staff, then leaves to go bowling, alone. I want her to be my life coach.

Stella really and truly you should fuck off

“I’m hearing rumors of a new Attorney General. A democrat, Cyrus.” Fitz is barely a Republican at this point. Also, HEY, PORTIA!

Gillian confused

“Do you need to validate a ticket for your broomstick or can you find your way out on your own?” Pfffffffttttt. Fuck you, Cyrus.

Gillian flipping the bird

“We should bury our friend.” “We’re not a team, Liv.” Nooooo, my girls!

scully crying

“You abandoned them too, Abby…I’ll make sure you have a date and a time for the funeral. Show up or don’t show up, it’s your choice.” I can’t take them being at odds. I need a moment.

gillian fanning self

“Remember the last time we were together, Rosen?” “Was that the time you killed three people or another time?” Welcome back into my life, David.

Hannibal He is very good

“Black for crap-your-pants-and-wait-for-someone-to-come-kill-you scary.”

x-files scary

“I did not kill Harrison. I did, however, take care of your mother.” And according to Rowan, that was at a “direct order from the President.”

scully i know that's what you just said

“You lose people. Whatever.” She’s colddddd as iiiiiceeee…

hannibal bedelia wine

“Are you spying on me?” Um, this is CYRUS BEENE. Of COURSE he’s spying on you.

scully hands on hips

“How long is she here for?” “I don’t know.” “Find out.”

scully make it happen

“‘He laughs less,’ was one particularly poignant observation.” Womp womp, Fitz.

Scully oh brother

“You’re not going to believe this, but Gettysburger has a rib sandwich now with pickles and secret sauce under the ribs. It’s called the Underground Railroad. I got myself two.” Marry this man, Olivia. In a tasteful, Zanzibarian ceremony.

david gillian having a bay

“How do I choose the box to bury my friend in?” Columbus Short can fuck right off, but we are allowed to mourn Harrison.

scully sad

“This is Senator Stephanie Vaughn. I think I just killed Senator Sterling.” 

scully have a nice life

“How would you like to be the next Attorney General of the United States.” David leaves the B6-13 files in his totally secure storage locker to join up with Fitz’s brigade. Cheers.

Blanche cheers

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“Moms love me.” – The Mindy Project Recap

My cleaning lady

The Mindy Project
Season 3, Episode 2: Annette Castellano Is My Nemesis
Posted by Sage

Danny: “Yeah, I’m a doctor.”
Rabbi Adler: “Mom must be proud.”
Danny: “Who knows how to please that woman?”

An Officer and a Gynecologist

We met her in the flesh for the first time this week, but Danny’s “Ma” has been a presence on this show almost from the very beginning. We always knew she was tough. And super-Catholic. And the object of her eldest son’s considerable devotion. And now we also know that she’s Rhea Perlman. The casting is inspired, especially with Dan Hedaya already playing Danny’s estranged father. Carla and Nick Tortelli, not-together again!

Nothing of what we know of Mrs. Castellano makes it seem that Danny/Mindy (and Mindy in general) would be an easy sell. Danny’s hesitant too, which is why he planned to drape Mindy in the face-covering garb that’s traditional to whatever religion she is at their wedding and then, to wait it out until his mother dies. Oh, Danny. You know who you’re dating now. You can say goodbye forever to avoidance as a problem-solving tactic. Mindy’s got a “full-proof, 4-point” plan for everything, and she’s jumping right in. Also, I’m inclined to forgive Danny for letting his mom think that Mindy was his maid, because he didn’t even flinch when Mindy brought up getting married.

Mindy 4 in Los Angeles

And a 25 in Cleveland.

And her plan is totally working. Mindy shows up, uninvited, to Annette’s birthday brunch, all sunshine and fabulous magenta, prepared to win Danny’s mom over if it kills her. She compliments Annette’s Janet Reno Collection blazer (Step 1); will not rest until she finds some common television ground (Step 2); and presents Annette and her best pal Dot with some novelty t-shirts that go over like gangbusters. (Step 3). Danny is practically beaming with pride. His two best girls are getting along.

Mindy Project Wink

Cutie.

But the house of cards falls down at Step 4: Agree with everything she says. Mindy’s game to talk shit on the waiter, a mystery ethnic group, and even her obsession Michael Fassbender (“Put some clothes on, you ugly perv.”) but she will not participate in devaluing Danny. We’ve always known that Danny would do anything for his beloved mother. But now we learn that he’s hardly ever thanked for his thoughtfulness and effort. Richie is the baby – the golden boy, even though his only “jobs” are playing tennis and making “that web series about being gay on a budget.” Danny is the son left to contend with the impossibly high standards, whose gifts are either too much or not enough. The same Hudson News teddy bear that gets Richie praised would have been scoffed at if it had come from his brother. One of the series-defining running jokes of The Mindy Project is that Mindy is selfish (“Are you insane? I’m difficult! I make you get me a present every day, otherwise I freak out.”), but she barely weighs the options before sacrificing all the goodwill she’s built up with Annette to defend Danny. She’s not just his girlfriend – she’s his best friend. And she knows that this is killing him.

Danny sad The Mindy Project

Anyone who makes Danny look like this should be thrown in jail.

The show doesn’t have to spell the deep-seated family drama out for us, and I appreciate a writers room who trusts us to get it on our own. Danny stepped up when his dad left, and probably even before. He admired his mom’s strength (He looks so proud when he tells the Rabbi what a tough broad she is.) while doing everything he could to protect her from harm. He’s not going to be the kind of man his dad was, the kind to always put his own comfort over the needs of the people he loves. Annette minimizes Danny’s contributions to her life not because she isn’t grateful (“You think I don’t know my son is great?”), but because she’s embarrassed that she’s become so reliant on his care. (“Italian people don’t get over things. They let their anger fester and ferment, getting stronger over time. That’s why our wine is so good.”) Who better than a “strong, immigrant woman” to insert her big cans into the situation and set these fools straight?

Mindy Keep cutting

The face of a woman who enjoys being right.

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Head Over Feels! Our Greatest Hits, Volume II

Posted by Kim and Sage

On September 24, 2012, Kim and I broke the bottle over a blog we called Head Over Feels. And we had no clue what we were doing.

The last two years have been a joy, a struggle, and above all, an intensive learning experience. I know I speak for both of us when I say that neither of us could have tackled this alone. Or even wanted to. As usual, Queen Amy Poehler says it best:

“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”

Even the posts that are credited to just one of us are team efforts at their core. We are constantly sharing ideas and blurbs with each other, seeking consensus or sometimes even a new angle. There are pieces that never would have made it onto the site without one of us coaching the other through a block. And when it comes to covering live events and interviewing the creative people we admire, we are bolder and more assertive as a pair than we’d ever be on our own.

Now you know we don’t mess around when it comes to celebrating birthdays. So we’ve collected our 12 favorite posts from the last year of our little blog’s life here. Thanks to all of you who’ve read, shared, liked, and commented. And extra special thanks to our guest posters, especially Sarah and Dawn who are bringing you a steady stream of Supernatural flashback recaps that we’re proud to host.

We’ve got big plans for year three: wall-to-wall coverage of New York Comic Con, Communicon, L.I. Who, and Gallifrey One, at the very least; more weekly recaps, including Arrow; the continuation of our Sex and the City series; a definitive Parks and Rec episode ranking; and tons more. Just thinking about everything we’re scheming up makes us want to collapse in exhaustion. But we’ll do it with smiles on our faces, because this is our baby. Or our toddler now, I guess. Anyway, we love what we do and we’re gonna keep on doing it.

Now, to blow out our candles.

–Sage

1) Our Coverage of New York Comic Con 2013

XFiles

“When a Con-goer defended a dumb, popcorn horror flick (I can’t even recall which one) (Kim: It was this summer’s The Purge) by saying, “I mean, what else do you want? It’s a summer movie,” Owen replied, “Your standards are too low.” HEAR, HEAR. We’re at COMIC CON, the purest state of loving something more than is healthy. Why not hold those standards across the board? We’ll all be the better for it, AND we’ll have better movies.”

New York Comic Con was our first major convention together and our first convention as accredited members of the press.  I don’t think it could have gone any better.  John Barrowman learned we had no boundaries and thus rested his head on our collective bosom.  We scored loads of fan art.  We went to a party as a 9th, 10th, 11th, and Jack Harkness (“You don’t want to know what I am thinking right now.”) cosplay and made new nerd friends.  We attended premiere panels like Agents of SHIELD and The Walking Dead (Sage’s first experience with the show…oh how things change in a year).  We got to attend the press roundtable for Sleepy Hollow and interview HOF Sexiest Man Alive Tom Mison (“My dad said my shoes were snazzy!).  And oh yeah…we met our heroes David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and discussed our custom made shirts with them (“What’s that from?” “YOUR SHOW!” “It’s called The X-Files“).  NYCC 2014 is less than a month away…and the gauntlet for it exceeding 2013 has been thrown down.  We can’t wait.

–Kim

2) Our First Trip to Gallifrey One

Wednesday morning at 6 AM I was awoken by my phone buzzing over and over again.  I blearily looked at my phone to discover frantic text messages from Sage: VIRGIN CANCELLED OUR FLIGHT OVERNIGHT (at 3 AM to be specific) VIA EMAIL.  Sage was met with the same response that I had faced the day before…the earliest Virgin could rebook us was Saturday…which was no help considering the con ended Sunday.  And they couldn’t put us on standby as their standby policy was only for “day of” your flight.  “BUT YOU CANCELED ALL THE FLIGHTS THURSDAY” was her response.  She then conferenced in me and Kelly and we worked out a game plan.  We decided to show up at JFK as soon as we possibly could and demand to be put on standby.  There was no way they could say no to our faces, right?

This year marked our first pilgrimage to Los Angeles for the biggest fan-run Doctor Who convention in the US: Gallifrey One. And let’s just say our President’s Day weekends are booked from now until eternity. The snow gods did their best to ground us, but we sweet-talked our way onto an early flight (okay, Kim cried us onto it) and slept on our coats on a cold Marriott floor (thanks, kind Whovians!) – gladly. Nothing could keep us from a solid weekend of geeking out with our people.

We teamed up with our pal Kelly, The TV Mouse to report back on the best cosplays (“Heeeeey, Captain Jack.” “Heeeeey, ladies.”); the most interesting panels; the non-stop party of LobbyCon; and our moments with the Who royalty (Billie Piper, Paul McGann) who came out to play with us. If these posts convey even a fraction of the outstanding time we had immersing ourselves fully into what’s possibly the best fandom out there, then our job here is done.
–Sage

“In the musical Company, there’s a line that says, “There’s a time to come to New York and a time to leave.” I’ve never been too keen on that second part, but the fact remains that New Yorkers are so often saying goodbye to friends who’ve decided that that time has come. And when it does, it feels like the bubble has burst. Because it’s like living in a little fantasy world to get to be so close to people that you love, to make snap decisions on last minute happy hours or movie marathons or long walks to solicit much-needed advice. We’re living on borrowed time. So when the moment comes for that friendship to evolve into something else – phone calls, Christmas cards, and hopefully not sporadic visits – it’s hard to feel abused. You make that friend a Sarah McLachlan-heavy mix-tape to send her off to her new adventure and feel lucky for the time you had. And then you go out for breakfast, because there’s no sadness it can’t cure.”

Sage’s recaps of Parks and Recreation have been one of the cornerstones of our site from Day One.  She’s recapped almost TWO FULL SEASONS…and the only reason I say *almost* is that we launched after the season five premiere.  I feel like Sage truly understands Pawnee and its residents and her love for them emanates from every word of every recap.  We chose her recap of “Ann and Chris” because when I first read it, when I got to the paragraph that I quoted above, I DEFINITELY sent her a text telling her to go fuck herself because I was crying.  It’s truly the highest compliment I can give.

— Kim

4) “Am I Your Fluffer, Fitz?” – Scandal Gif-Cap

“You sent Gabby to me in your place.” Her name is ABBY, you cretin.  She’s worked with Olivia for years and you can’t even be bothered to learn her name, you jerk. 

When Smash left us, we took to our beds for weeks, pining for Ivy, Derek, and Eileen’s martini-throwing arm until we finally realized there was a solution. The hole in our hearts where our weekly #SmashBash used to reside could be filled. And thus, Scandal gif-caps were born.

Scandal slid so perfectly into this format because every episode is designed to evoke one horrified/shocked/titillated reaction per say, every 15 seconds. We had a lot of plot to contend with this season (and a lot of Fitz-hating to do), and organizing our thoughts into cute little animated photos really helped us to make sense of Olivia’s world. In this post, Kim beautifully covered the season three episode “The Fluffer” in a symphony of gifs – everything from Severus Snape to John Watson to the Cat in the Hat.

Still, there is one thing Smash had that Scandal doesn’t: toilet ratings. Our Scandal gif-caps will return this week and continue for as long as Shondaland churns out the DC drama.

–Sage

5) “You’re Bad At This” – The Mindy Project Recap

“But it’s the same line that girls like Mindy, who don’t coast on tedious, photoshop looks, have been hearing forever. Girls like us have got to be funny and loud and friendly to get anyone to give us the time of day. But then you’re TOO funny, you’re TOO great to be around, you’re such a good FRIEND, and wouldn’t it be a shame to ruin that? It would have been better if he cheated on Mindy or stood her up for All -You-Can-Eat Sushi or made fun of her for following Prince George’s first royal baby tour or became an event planner or sold her stuff for drug money. At least then he wouldn’t be convinced he was just doing “the right thing.” Instead he’s punishing her. It’s her fault for getting so close. Maybe if she weren’t so important to him, they could really have something. He really is bad at this.”

We are SO PROUD of The Mindy Project, you guys.  It’s a shining example of what Network Patience with a show can do.  It would have been very easy for Fox to cancel Mindy after its initial lackluster episodes…but instead Fox showed a surprising amount of patience as Mindy Kaling tinkered with the dynamics of her show throughout the first season.  By the end of season one The Mindy Project was a much more confident show and it hit the ground running in season two.  Mindy crept slowly up our “Must Watch” list until anuary 21, 2014 when Danny Castellano kissed Mindy Lahiri on an airplane and our collective hearts exploded.  Over the season two hiatus that followed, Sage kept talking about how she wanted to do a post on how far Mindy had come.  The post kept getting pushed off as some of our grand plans often do until Sage finally sent me a text one day saying…”I think I’m just going to recap Mindy instead”.  I’m so glad she listened to her gut.  Much like Parks, Sage really understands the core of The Mindy Project and I look forward to her posts every week.  We chose her recap of “Be Cool” for obvious reasons…after giving us a couple episode of Dandy bliss, Mindy Kaling yanked the rug out from under us in spectacularly real fashion.  It hurts so good.

— Kim

6) “Kids, This Is The Story Of How I Betrayed The Audience” – The HIMYM Finale

Why all the bullshit about Robin appearing in Penny and Luke’s childhood drawings as they made it very clear that after the divorce Robin was an infrequent presence in the gang’s life?  And WORSE why make it seem that the REASON Robin dropped out of the gang’s life was because she couldn’t stand seeing Ted happy with Tracy?  Way to paint Robin Scherbatsky in a flattering light guys.  Way to reduce a character who had always been confident and independent to a shrew who sat in the corner sniveling about the one that got away.  Way to turn her into someone who chooses to walk away from the closest group of friends she’s ever known.  Way to make her life about one that is not fulfilled because she was alone (AND TED FUCKING SAID IN “SYMPHONY OF ILLUMINATION” THAT SHE WAS NEVER ALONE, WHEN SHE WAS).  She WAS alone, she wasn’t part of the gang and she wasn’t part of their big moments.  Way to make ROBIN SCHERBATSKY the sad, barren spinster who worked all the time and sadly comes home (with her really bad hair) to her dogs every night.  Way to make ROBIN the character that pathetically cries with relief when her ex-boyfriend (whose wife is dead) shows up at her apartment with the Blue French Horn he stole for her twenty-five years ago.  Way to have her cry like she’s been just WAITING for him to show up at her doorstep this whole time.  Yeah…that’s the ending we wanted for Robin Scherbatsky. 

Somehow Kim managed to corral all the anger that the controversial How I Met Your Mother finale built up in her heart and shape it into a glorious take-down of the episode. Right before the series ended, she’d put together a list of her favorite episodes – one that made me tear up a few times in anticipation of losing Ted, Barney, Robyn, Marshmallow, and Lilypad – and she’d put so much love and thought and care into honoring the show. So you can see why, when the HIMYM showrunners decided to throw years of character development and the investment of their audience into the garbage, she took it personally. This post (and the explosive reaction to the finale across the internet) inspired one of our most highly trafficked days, because Kim perfectly illustrated the difference between the petulance of an entitled fan and the heartbreak of one who sees the growth and change in her characters sacrificed for arrogance and lazy writing. We’ll never be over it.

–Sage

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We Know You Know We Know – Our Top 20 Episodes of Friends, Part Two

Posted by Kim and Sage

“Remember how crazy you used to be about Friends?” People ask me this, and I wonder who told them that anything’s changed.

Vulture recently did a series on the 1994 TV season – possibly the last great one for network TV. And I devoured every word of it, because that was the year that signed, sealed, and delivered my soul to the television gods. I was 11 years old the first time I saw Friends, and I was long gone before the episode even ended.

Today, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the little show that became a behemoth. The odds were against it from the start. Courteney Cox was barely a name – the other five actors, nobodies. And you thought Seinfeld was about nothing? Meet six people who hang out. And do stuff. Yet something about the show hooked itself to our insides and didn’t let go. Blame it on the unforseeable chemistry among the ensemble or the sharp, yet totally accessible writing. Friends was a juggernaut and a world we wanted to live inside of. Watching the show once a week wasn’t enough. We bought soundtracks and mugs and that awesome Windows 95 instructional CD-Rom. My Smelly Cat shirt was the crown jewel of my wardrobe.

I drove my entire family crazy with my wild-eyed commitment to never miss an episode. I still have VHS tapes filled with episodes that I can’t bear to throw away, even though I haven’t owned a VCR for five years. My grade school classmates printed in the school newspaper that in 15 years, I’d be playing Phoebe in the Friends movie. Well, the movie didn’t happen and I’d hope Lisa Kudrow would be back anyway, but I appreciate the thought. Two decades later and Friends still wrote the language that I use to relate to life and people around me. (“It’s like in that episode where Chandler…” has started many a conversation with someone I barely know.) The life I saw in the show and wanted for myself isn’t the only reason I stay in New York City, but it is one of the reasons I came. Friends wasn’t perfect, and few things worth loving with everything you’ve got are. We can analyze the places where it fell short without minimizing its impact, cause that’s how progress works. I don’t want to return to a world where network sitcoms are my only comedy options. But even if our options had been as varied then as they are now, Friends would have still risen to the top.

But you already know all this. That’s why you’re here. Today, on its platinum anNevadaversary (its anniVegasry), we give you our Top 10 episodes of Friends.

–Sage

10) “The One with the Prom Video” (2 x 14)

I know, I know.  “The One with the Prom Video” is one of the most iconic episodes of the series.  Ross and Rachel finally get together for good.  We meet the joy that is Fat Monica for the first time.  Chandler and Joey become bracelet buddies.  Rachel’s hair is at its Rachel-iest peak.  So why is this episode, which is near the top of many other lists, ranked at number 10 for us?  Because for most of the episode, Ross is a pretty big jerk.

And that’s not the Rachel/Joey shipper talking.

Don’t get me wrong.  I pined for Ross and Rachel back in the day.  I was devastated by the events in “The List” (More on that later) and I longed for those two crazy kids to get their shit together.  But for someone who was supposed to be his Lobster, Ross didn’t always treat Rachel right or give her enough credit for being able to make her own choices.  I do think Ross was driven by the fact that Rachel HAD fallen for him and he was so desperate to fix things between them that he often made them worse.

ROSS: I was saving you.
RACHEL: Saving, saving, saving me from the pleasant conversation with the interesting man, saving me?
ROSS: Oh, see from where I was sitting I uh. . .
RACHEL: OK, Ross, listen to me, I am not yours to save.
ROSS: But, you are.
RACHEL: What?
ROSS: Uh, uh, well you’re, umm, you’re my lobster.
RACHEL: OK, you know what, are, are you being like, the blind date guy again?
ROSS: No no, you’re uh, you’re my lobster. See um, lobsters, uhh, in the tank when, when they’re old, uhh, they get with, uhh, they walk around holding the claws. In the tank, ya know, with, with the holding and. . . Uhh, Phoebs you wanna help me out with the, the whole lobster thing?
PHOEBE: Do the claws again.
ROSS: Rach. OK, forget, forget the lobsters OK. We’re, let’s talk, what about us?
RACHEL: Ross, there is no us, OK.
ROSS: No, but. . .
RACHEL: No, listen to me. I fell for you and I get clobbered. You then fall for me and I again, somehow, get clobbered. I’m tired of being clobbered, ya know, it’s, it’s just not worth it.
ROSS: Well, but, but. . .
RACHEL: NO but Ross. We are never gonna happen, OK. Accept that.
ROSS: E-except, except that what?
RACHEL: No, no, ACC-cept that.

I do think the ending is justified and wonderful.  Ross had loved Rachel his entire life and the prom video made her realize that.  Whose heart didn’t break for him when he turned the corner of the stairs, in his dad’s tux, clutching flowers, ready to take Rachel to the prom, only to see her running off happily with Chip (who we learn later was most definitely not worth Rachel Green’s love)?  I love how you see everything click on Rachel’s face in that moment.  Suddenly, none of the bad things Ross has done in the past when it comes to their relationship matters to her anymore.  All she sees is a guy that was always willing to stand-up for her and love her even when she didn’t see it herself. So there is nothing left to do BUT kiss him.  The kiss is both a “Thank you for loving me” kiss and it’s also an affirmation that she SEES him.  She sees that she hurt him too in the past (even if she didn’t realize it) and she sees that maybe they should just stop hurting each other and just BE together already.  I love the delighted screams of the audience as Rachel grabs his face and plants one on him.  I am sure those screams echoed in every home that watched the episode that night.

I think Rachel’s reaction to the video is compounded by knowing that Ross couldn’t bear to watch the video with the gang, instead standing by the door wallowing in his impending humiliation.  Because that’s what he expected.  He expected all of them to laugh at Sad Sack Ross, rejected once again.  He’s got it all wrong, of course, because he never gives his friends and his sister enough credit.  Honestly, my favorite reaction after Rachel’s was Monica’s “I can’t believe you did that!”.  Courteney delivers that line with such pride and you truly see that for all the ways he makes her crazy, Monica truly loves her big brother.

(It still doesn’t make the List okay, but that’s neither here or there when you’re a character on a sitcom)

On to the other less complicated aspects of this episode…I wrote at length in my Monica Appreciation post about how much I loved Fat Monica.  I have to say again that it could have been very easy to make Monica a sad sack without a date to the prom.  Instead, she’s joyous in her red taffeta polka dot gown (“Some girl ate Monica!”), clutching a sandwich and excited to go to the Prom with the guy who was in the paper for seeing Star Wars 317 times.  Monica is the kind of friend who will also give up going to Prom, even after Roy touched her boob while pinning on her corsage, because her best friend’s date stood her up (“Oh, I’m gonna kick Chip’s ass!”).  Everyone needs a Monica Geller in their lives.

One of the things I love so much about the early seasons of Friends is that such a great effort was made to give every plot thread great moments.  The episode opens with Monica having to dirty talk her way through a job interview (“I think that fifth shower actually got the interview off me.”) which forces her to go to her parents for money (which is how the prom video gets to the apartment in the first place) and it also has the Joey/Chandler “Bracelet Buddies” (“THAT’S WHAT THEY’LL CALL US”) story.  It’s a jam-packed episode.

To show the lasting impact of this episode, let me share with you what my sister gave her husband on their wedding day.  She gave him a painting of a lobster, with the inscription “To MY lobster” painted on the back.  You know…cause they mate for life.

Do the claws again.

— Kim

Best Line:

Joey: How come you have two?

Chandler: Well this one’s for you.

Joey: Get out.

Chandler: No, I can’t. No no, listen, I, I know how much this means to you and I also know that this is about more than just jewelry, [puts bracelet on Joey] it’s about you and me and the fact that we’re best buds.

Joey: Wow, is this friendship? I think so. Check it out, we’re bracelet buddies.

Chandler: (to Rachel) That’s what they’ll call us!

9) “The One where They All Turn 30” (7 x 14)

30 seemed so distant when I first saw this episode. Now I can appreciate it in a new light. “TOW They All Turn 30” is a rare non-linear episode of Friends, bringing us snapshots of all our favorite characters hitting the milestone. Some take it on the chin; some get scha-wasted; and some had already been 30 for a full year. It was fitting for a show who counted “twenty-somethings” as being one of its few defining characteristics to mark the passing of each Friend into that next decade. I thought about it a lot on my 30th, particularly between the third and fourth shot. Kim can probably clarify this for me, but I might have yelled a Joey up to the heavens. “WHY, GOD?” (Note from Kim: Yes, she did.  While singing “Walking in Memphis” at karaoke.)

Birthdays are a son of a bitch. They inspire you to impose ultimatums on yourself, even if your life is pretty damn good to begin with. Phoebe is distraught when she learns from her cold sister Ursula that she’s actually turning 31. She lost a year – a year in which she could have met some Portuguese people, went to sniper school, or had the perfect kiss. Would that we all had a hot, sweet friend like Joey to assist us in checking the one box that he can. (“Plus, uh, I’m 1/16th Portuguese.”) I won’t argue with Mike being The One for Phoebe (he’s Paul RUDD), but honestly, wouldn’t Joey have done in a pinch? (Let’s talk about that hand on the back of her head, pulling her in even closer. Guh.)

I was given a surprise party once and I spent the whole night stressing about how I wasn’t dressed for pictures. So I can identify with Monica, who is woefully unprepared for the fancy 30th Chandler’s thrown for her. Much like drunk Rachel Green, drunk Monica Geller is a total gem. The bus boys know it, Chandler knows it, and now the whole party knows it, cause she’s not exactly hiding it well (“I’m telling you, it’s like watching Bambi learn how to walk.”)


Rachel’s 30th spells the end of her and her cutie assistant Tag, whose thumbs up during his scooter ride is my favorite part of the entire episode. The candles and a poorly chosen card by an oblivious Chandler send her on a spiral about her biological clock. (“All you had to do was buy the card!”) Little did she know that a surprise pregnancy was coming her way soon enough. Who needs a timeline as long as condoms only work 97% of the time?

–Sage

Best Line:Tag: Ms. Green would like to establish some ground rules before she comes out. She would appreciate it if you don’t use the words “old” or “downhill” or “they still look pretty damn good.”
Joey: They do!

8) “The One with Chandler in a Box” (4 x 08)

We very easily could have had nine Thanksgiving episodes on this list (Trivia Alert, the only season without a dedicated Thanksgiving episode is Season Two).  The Thanksgiving episodes of Friends became one of the cornerstones of the series and an event episode every year.  They are a big part of the reason that Thanksgiving has become my favorite Holiday because, like Monica, I cook every year for my friends.

So why “Chandler in a Box”? Let me count the ways….

1) Matthew Perry ACTUALLY spent the whole episode in the box.  I’m sure he did some real good thinking in there.

2) Cutie-cute baby Micheal Vartan as Timothy Burke.  He’s so cute, I would have wanted to shove the pen in my eye too.  I have to side with the gang though…as cute as Timothy is, it’s super creepy that Monica attempted to go out with Richard’s son.  Thank GOD it only went as far as a really gooooooooood kiss.  However, Monica’s rant to all her friends about judging her is golden.  And she DOES have a point…after all the wacky things her friends have pulled in the name of love, it IS a bit of a “throwing stones in glass houses” moment for the rest of them.

3) I love how the gang draws for Secret Santas and then immediately can’t keep things secret as they try to trade-off for who they really wanted to get gifts for.

4) The Secret Santa story also wrought a great Ross and Rachel conflict as Ross discovered that Rachel had exchanged most of the gifts he had given her over the course of the relationship.  Ross and Rachel are always better when they are bickering and this argument was one of the rare times I came down on Ross’ side.  I take gift-giving VERY seriously and I would be devastated to find out if the person I loved and picked the gifts out for returned them.  (Of course, this would never happen because I have a gift when it comes to picking out presents.) Ross’ anger leads to some deliciously awkward moments around the dinner table…

Rachel: Ross, can you pass me the yams?

Ross: Sure! Oh, and Joey’s got the mashed potatoes if you want to exchange them.

Rachel: Would you stop?! What is the matter with you?!

Monica: Oh-ho-ho, we’ve got company.

Ross: There’s nothing the matter with me. See, I’m not completely devoid of sentiment, see I have feelings.

Rachel: Okay, fine. (She gets up and walks into her bedroom)

Rachel being Rachel though proves once again that Ross never gives her enough credit for being the wonderful person that she is when she storms BACK into the living room toting her memory box (She and Mindy Lahiri would get along SO WELL) filled with the sentimental mementos of their relationship.

Rachel: Don’t say that I have no sentiment! (Starts to show Ross what’s in the box.) This is a movie stub from our first date! This is an eggshell from the first time you made me breakfast in bed! (Holds up a bone) This is from the museum from the first time we… were together. Okay, maybe I exchange gifts sometimes, but I keep the things that matter!

Queen Rachel Green wins again.

5) The main reason we chose this episode is the Joey and Chandler conflict.  The Ultimate OTP of the show, Joey and Chandler had squabbled over mundane things like armchairs but had never faced a true threat to their friendship until they both fell for Kathy.  It was a pretty monumental moment for Chandler to kiss Joey’s girlfriend and even though he did the right thing by fessing up quickly (well…after trying to bribe Joey by refurbishing their recently robbed apartment, that is), Joey had still decided to punish Chandler for 5 years (“Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”).  It’s incredibly upsetting to see these two best buds at odds and the audience feels a genuine sense of peril that they may not be able to get through this after Joey runs into Chandler and Kathy at Central Perk.  That is until Chandler gets in the box to prove to Joey how much he means to him.

Rachel: So now, what exactly is the point of the box?

Joey: Chandler?

Chandler: The meaning of the box is three-fold. One (holds a finger up through the air hole), it gives me the time to think about what I did. Two (holds up another finger), it proves how much I care about my friendship with Joey. And three (holds up a third finger), it hurts!

Of course, the box seems silly at first as Chandler doesn’t take his punishment seriously, cracking jokes by attempting to moon the gang and knocking on the box to make it seem like someone is at the door.  However he shuts up when he realizes just how seriously Joey is taking this punishment, which is used to devastating effect when Kathy comes to take herself out of the picture.  Chandler’s sad little finger waving goodbye to her is so heartbreaking and Joey, big-hearted lug that he is, finally realizes just what he is asking Chandler to give up.  His tormented “OPEN THE BOX” makes my heart soar every time.  And because he tries to maintain his cool guy facade, he plays off his reaction as his Secret Santa gift to Chandler.  But we all really know why Joey lets Chandler out of the box.  Because he wants HIS lobster to be happy.

— Kim

Best Line:

Ross: He’s coming here for Thanksgiving!?

Rachel: I know, it’s sick.

Monica: Why is it sick?

Rachel: Because it’s Richard’s son! It’s like inviting Greek tragedy over for dinner!

Monica: Okay, if it were Greek, I’d be blind in both eyes. Come on! I like him because he’s handsome and he’s nice and he’s smart and…handsome. Come on, Phoebe, you understand don’t you?

Phoebe: Yeah, I can see where I’d be your best shot but, no. I’m sorry, but I think it’s twisted.

7) “The One Hundreth” (aka “The One where Phoebe Give Birth”) (5 x 03)

This is the episode that locked down the Emmy for Lisa Kudrow. See? There used to be some justice at that ceremony.

The show celebrated its hundredth episode (in season five, because network schedules are insaaaaane) with Phoebe giving birth to Frank and Alice’s triplets. We got a lot of mileage out of Phoebe being pregnant with her brother’s kids. (“I am so going to miss watching you freak people out like that.”) But her choice to do this for the family she worked so hard to find embodies everything that’s wonderful about Phoebe Buffay. She’s capable of great selflessness, and she doesn’t give a damn about what anybody thinks.

Before our hearts are ripped – still beating – out of our chests, there’s some really funny stuff in this episode. Phoebe’s actual doctor fell in the shower (“Oh my god, she’s so stupid!”) and her replacement has an interesting obsession. (“I’ll be back in a minute to do your internal, in the meantime, just relax because everything here looks great. And also, I love Fonzie.”) Joey ends up upstairs, holding Ross’s hand, and giving birth to kidney stones. (“They’re so small!”) Frank Jr. is nervous and endearing, as usual. And Chandler and Monica are forced to define whatever it is that they’re doing when Rachel procures her and Mon a date with some cute nurses. It takes Chandler a while to realize that he can’t screw up with Monica like he has with other girls. She knows him too well, and his awkward mis-steps are insignificant to her compared to his good intentions. It kills me to watch him realize it. You can actually pinpoint the moment he stops holding his breath.

Chandler: So, are you really gonna go out with that nurse man?

Monica: Well uh, you and I are just goofing around, I thought, why not goof around with him.

Chandler: Y’know, I don’t know if you’ve ever looked up the term goofing around in the dictionary… Well, I have, and the technical definition is, two friends who care a lot about each other and have amazing sex and just wanna spend more time together. But if you have this new fangled dictionary that gets you mad at me, then we have to, y’know, get you my original dictionary. I am so bad at this.

Monica: I think you’re better than you think you are.

Chandler: Really? Okay, so-

Monica: Know when to stop.

Phoebe is a friggin’ titanic spirit – she’s so, so strong. But still, her resolve wavers when the end of this grand experiment is in sight. She really is going to have to hand over these babies…unless she has some success with her crackpot, last-minute plan. (“I want to keep one.” “Ohhhh, I’m gonna be on the news…”) Of course the babies go home with Frank and Alice, who are elated (and making out in the waiting room, natch), and Phoebe deals with her heartbreak like she always does…by looking on the bright side. Frank and Alice have their children, she’s an aunt to three beautiful babies, and everything’s gonna be cool. The Fonz would be proud.
–Sage

Best Line:

Phoebe: So, here you are. It seems like yesterday I was talking to you in that little petri dish. Everyone said labor was the hardest thing I’d ever have to do, but they were wrong, this is. Oh, I had the most fun with you guys! I wish I could take you home and see you everyday. Okay, I’ll settle for being your favorite aunt. I know Alice’s sister has a pool, but you lived in me. Okay, so we’re cool. Yeah, we’re gonna be great. Little high fives! (Imitates the high fives.) Ahh! Ahh! Ahh! (One of the babies begins to cry.) Well, if you’re gonna cry…

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“See, Diamond Dan? The truth will set you free.” – The Mindy Project Recap

Mindy Danny polo

The Mindy Project
Season 3, Episode 1: We’re A Couple Now, Haters
Posted by Sage

Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano have returned to our lives. And I’d like to recommend the delicate Fox censors cover their ears for this one, cause they’re a couple now, bitches.

The title of the episode is less directed to their friends and colleagues whose opinions about the relationship lie somewhere on the spectrum between ambivalence and total elation and more towards its audience and critics. We’re a couple now, bitches, and our show isn’t going to suffer for it.

We’ve seen the resolution of a will-they/won’t-they bring a show’s momentum to a screeching halt. (Though the New Girl season premiere gives me faith that the loft crew can be pulled out of the hole their writers dug them into in season 3.) The Mindy premiere goes on the offensive, pulling out the stops to prove that Danny and Mindy’s new dynamic is going to be just as engaging to its fans as their struggle to find each other.

Danny butt dance

I’m listening.

We don’t pick up at the Empire State Building, but join a relationship in progress. Everything’s clearly fine in the bedroom and anywhere Danny and Mindy are alone. He goes willingly when Mindy distracts him from his boring TV with a couch makeout session; she tries cantaloupe for the first time. (Throw some proscuitto in there, Dan. What kind of Italian are you?) Things are good with Team Honeymoon Phase. Until other people are involved.

Danny Mindy How Dare You

The conflict isn’t invented – it’s a callback to “Be Cool” and the stark differences in Danny and Mindy’s personalities (and personal filters) in general. Danny isn’t pleased to hear that Mindy’s been making break room chat of his “mouth skills.” (“She says you’re like a thirsty camel at a desert oasis.”) Besides revealing the long-held secrets of “The Staten Island Handshake” (“You said you blacked out.”), Mindy’s openness gives Danny’s coworkers Level 7 access to what he considers his private affairs. Mindy’s life is an open book. Everything she experiences happens to her twice: once, when it actually does; and again, when she tells the story. And who wouldn’t want to relive that magic mouth over and over again during a long, hard work day? It’s not like we’re getting any pipe room trysts out of this deal. The pipe room is zoned for yelling and petty insults only.

Danny I hear you playing Frozen

These important, personal, relationship-defining issues of trust and privacy come to a head with the discovery of a hot pink, bedazzled thong. (Don’t they always?) While perusing Danny’s drawers for any t-shirts that aren’t a boys medium, Mindy finds the incriminating garment. And of course, can’t let his non-explanation lie. I really should have seen this coming, because Mindy is so, so good to us. Instead, I seal-clapped when Morgan displayed questionably professional knowledge of “where the weiner goes” and Mindy google-imaged the smoking gun: a young Daniel Castellano on the flyer for Exquisite Butt’s Guy2K party. He’s that trashy skank!

Mindy Lou White Man

“Hey! We don’t eat popsicles like that in this office.” “Not what I heard, homeboy.”

It’s good to know that when Danny spirals out by himself, he deals with it by immersing himself in Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s award-winning Disney ballad. But he can’t even get to the first verse before the cousins Tookers come in and give some advice that’s actually helpful. Mindy can’t keep her mouth shut, but she’s the person Danny chose. And all she’s doing when she praises Danny’s bedroom prowess is making sure that everyone knows how good she’s got it. Anyway, Danny’s not so discrete himself. He’s always been way more invested in his coworkers than he’d like to admit. If he hadn’t allowed Mindy to pull him into her life, they wouldn’t be together now. And even he can’t resist a little bit of office gossip.

Danny rubbing her neckMindy Whoa Nelly
During the last summer hiatus, Jeremy Reed gained a little cushion. During this one, he seems to have gained a little doucheiness. Peter is so happy to be settling down with Lauren that he de-vested himself from Pubes’s start-up to shower her with gifts. But Lauren isn’t as content. I really enjoyed the bro-ing of Peter and Jeremy in season two; I guess that friendship’s on the back burner now. The show still has to convince me that Jeremy is acting in character with his pursuing Lauren. He was always rakish, but I never got the feeling that he’d be so bold and unapologetic in betraying a friend. Have we learned nothing from the character assassination of Schmidt? This isn’t the Dr. Reed I know. Lauren, on the other hand, is dead to me. How dare she hurt my precious Pete, just as he’s learning to love?

Peter Jeremy Fighting

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