Thursday, May 11, 2006

Live-blogging season finales

If you plan to watch tonight's episodes of My Name is Earl or The Office through some means other than their actual broadcasts (DVR, Tivo, iTunes, maybe even the old antiquated "VCR"), please don't read this yet.

To ensure that the Earl and Office material is low enough on the page that you won't see it, I'll babble on about something else first. Maybe the fact that I'm NOT live-blogging Will & Grace or ER.

I have seen a few good episodes of Will & Grace -- love the leaky falsie episode -- but I have a few problems with it. First, the characters wear thin after a while, especially compared with a solid character-development show like Friends. Second, it's obvious from what little I've seen and the ads I've seen that they've fallen into the Mad About You trap of taking themselves too damn seriously down the stretch. (M*A*S*H actually worked in a few goofy ones even as Alan Alda was turning most episodes into high drama.) Third, it never really was "groundbreaking." Billy Crystal played a gay guy on Soap eons ago.

Anyway ... on we go ...

My Name is Earl

I'm not quite sure about the premise here, though the pot-lollipop-eating, horny mom is funny. Earl discovered that the guy from whom he stole $10 would've bought his winning lotto ticket, so he had to give him the money. Seems a little extreme.

But I trust these guys to come up with neat twists. Let's see.

LOVE Joy's parenting. "Crying in the middle of the night for more Mountain Dew."

To sum up the second segment: Earl decided to do a simple one on his list -- "ruined Joy's chances of getting into art school." But she wasn't interested in redrawing the turtle for her application, so she asked for help with her new profession. Folks, never let an ex practice piercing on your body. We got the week's token appearance from the criminally underused Catalina, and Randy bought a lottery ticket that was a cruel twist of fate rather than a karmic reward. Hey, it couldn't be that easy, could it?

Wow, kicked out his crummy motel, out of gas, eating whatever leftovers Crabman can find ... Earl has become the Job of karma. At least Too Tall Maggie was cute.

Great lines abounding here: "If he's dead, and you give the money to his stoned, horny mom, I'm gonna kill you," says Randy after their bus hits Paul. Yeah, that's a fun plot twist.

OK, I like the twist here that Paul had actually run off with Earl's lotto ticket after he was hit by a car way back in the first episode (and the credits each week). But how is Earl supposed to know where the ticket went between Paul's first accident and its return to Earl's hands?

Paul, incidentally, is played by Max Perlich, who'll look familiar to Homicide fans.

And Randy gets a great theological comment about believing in something, then not believing something, then believing it -- sort of. And Catalina rattles off an angry speech in Spanish that Mrs. MMM thinks is something along the lines of "This was the first season of Earl. See you next fall." That's neat. Of course, I also have to confess to a Nadine Velazquez crush.

OK, that was good. Glad this show has been relatively successful.

The Office

I'm a little worried here. I'm just hoping they don't do some cliffhanger on the Jim-and-Pam non-relationship. Just have them kiss already.

It's easy to miss the jokes if you're not paying attention, and I needed prodding to catch Michael's bragging about his charity work -- he's a great philanderer.

I wish I had telekinesis. Or at least Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski's abilities to act using only facial expressions. (Krasinski, for those who have not seen the show, is freaking brilliant.)

"The Eva Peron to my Cesar Chavez." Geez, I love this show.

This week's writer: Steve Carell.

There's no way to sum up what's going on, so I'll probably just quote good lines.

Oh, and has anyone not figured out that they're going to kill off Gallant on ER? They've only been advertising it for three weeks.

Classic bits back-to-back here: The warehouse foreman talking about the alleged hip-hop speak he taught Michael, and Dwight trying to duplicate Jim's telekinetic feats. And then Kevin's in a band that plays Police covers?

"Sometimes I don't put Michael through until he's said something. I see it as a practice run. He usually does better the second time."

So Michael has accidentally invited both Jan and his realtor (played by Carell's real-life wife, former Saturday Night Live and Daily Show cast member Nancy Walls) to casino night. "Two queens on casino night. I guess I'll drop a deuce on everybody."

I love this show. I'll love it more if they don't do a cliffhanger.

Wing-maaaaaaan!

"It's the weirdest thing -- every time I cough, he folds!"

Good surprise here. There's palpable jealousy between Jan and the realtor. Not expected. Perhaps not realistic -- moment of weakness at T.G.I.Friday's aside, there's no way Jan would go for Michael, but intriguing.

"A flush! I have all the clovers!"

Whoa. He came right out and said it. Please no cliffhanger ...

I'm hoping she finds out Roy hired Kevin's band without consulting her, then runs after Jim.

DAMN it. Cliffhanger. Not the vicarious thrill of their equivalents kissing in the British version.

Great gags throughout, but this is disappointing.

It's tough to prolong romantic tension in a show, and we knew the Jim-Pam dynamic had to change at some point. But this is still frustrating.

I'm going to stay optimistic about next season's opener, though.

Aargh ... long time to wait.

1 comment:

Mrs. MMM said...

there's no way Jan would go for Michael

Have you forgotten the wonderful Valentine's episode elevator kiss?!