Sunday, November 14, 2010

BREAKING DOWN THE SEASON

So the new seasons of all the shows have kept me busy off late. Here’s what I think of how they’re getting along... (Please leave your comments telling me what you’re liking or disliking about the current seasons; I’d love to know what you think)


WHAT I LOVE With the new season, of course there’s the whole thing about the shootout that ended the previous season, and I’m loving everything about how most characters are recovering from the devastation. However, what I’m loving most is combined evolution of the characters. They have all been to hell and back, together, so their bond appears deeper, and that’s been brought out really well. Even the former Mercy West residents, Jackson and April seem to be more a part of the group, and I’m liking their evolution together.  

WHAT I DON’T The road that Christina Yang has gone down after the incident; I just feel like there isn’t enough consistency. Agreed that there had to be a lot of darkness that came with her being held at gunpoint, while she was trying to save Derek Shepherd’s life. But since then, even as she has been scared in the OR, detached from medicine, and had issues with being called a hero, she seemed fine work-wise when she finally seemed more like a doctor during the documentary episode, and then working beautifully on a case after that. A recovery seemed to be taking place, but her quitting after that seems to make no sense. We all know that she’ll be back, so her quitting seems to be just something shock-worthy, gasp-inducing and gimmicky. I hope they deal with it well.


WHAT I LOVE Paul Young’s return! In a very obvious way, the show’s gone back to its roots—the story of the Youngs, which got all us fans hooked onto the show in S1. And I’m enjoying Mark Moses back on Wisteria Lane. He does such a fabulous job with the character, and he brings out the eeriness in Paul in an almost chilling way. I do have an idea as to what his plan is, for which he’s going around trying to buy everyone’s houses on the street, but I’ll just keep the suspense alive here. I know I’m holding my breath to see him executing his plan.

WHAT I DON’T Again, I’m going to go with the gimmicks here. When the season began, Felicia Tillman was put away in prison, and she said she had a plan for Paul, and that she had a street full of friends to help her execute it. I just hope they do something with that, and don’t just leave it as a gimmick. I really want to see them have a major face-off; she was the reason he spent ten years in prison. I also want to see Zach Young come back. We all know that Paul has major unfinished business there!






WHAT I LOVE The execution and evolution of House and Cuddy’s relationship. What began with them becoming each other’s weakness on the professional front went on to them confronting each other, on how they could let each other into their lives. Of course, his ways of working include lying to her and going behind her back, doing unethical stuff. That had to come in the way of their relationship, and it has! That’s what I’m loving. I want to see what kind of a challenge that will pose for them.

WHAT I DON’T The way they’re dealing with Olivia Wilde’s absence from the show. First of all, I don’t see why they have to have a fourth person on the team (House worked with a team of three for the first three seasons). Second of all, I’m not liking this hiring and firing of temps one bit, especially the last episode I watched, where Amber Tamblyn was being hired and fired as quickly as House was breathing in and out! That was not even funny, so it was rather pointless!


WHAT I LOVE A strong central storyline this season. While Juliet Sharpe seemed like a rather inconsequential character in the beginning, she got interesting when she went to meet her brother Ben in prison, and even more interesting, when she took money from Colin Forrester. I’m hooked on this season to find out her what she and Ben have against Serena Van der Woodsen. I just hope they don’t disappoint. I was afraid the storyline would fall flat after the (fantastic) taking down of Juliet, by the four Upper-Eastsiders, S, B, Chuck and Nate, but her new alliance with Vanessa and Little J is keeping me hooked!





WHAT I DON’T The Blair and Chuck drama. It started with some massive intensity in Paris, Chuck became a changed person, then he declared war on her, and then they called a truce. Till then, it was interesting. After that, not so much! They call a truce, they sign a treaty, then they suspect each other, then they start having meaningless sex, then they decide to be friends, and then they kiss and go upstairs to have passionate sex, and then I was rolling my eyes! I mean, they have taken the characters’ vulnerability to a level, where I’m not even interested in knowing what those two do with each other. I really don’t care what Chuck and Blair decide to be to each other anymore!


WHAT I LOVE The unfolding of the characters’ stories after the accident. I was a little uncertain about the one-year leap, but the writers played that out really well, bringing a whole new meaning to the characters. From Sarah’s insecurity of her relationship, to Kitty finding a way to let Robert go, to Nora trying to find a purpose in life, to Justin growing up emotionally, to Holly’s illness, and to Kevin and Scotty’s relationship evolving; this season has a lot of substance in terms of character development.

WHAT I DON’T Now I love that Sarah and Luc are engaged and all, but for him to just drop his modelling career, seems a little too convenient. It’s as though, they wrote a modelling career for the character just to make Sarah insecure, and for them to make a commitment. If they had decided to make him a model, the least they could have done was played it out for it to have made a difference to the show; I mean there are simpler ways of making a couple realise that they want to make a commitment! And with Kevin and Scotty, I do like the new angle to their relationship—Scotty being unfaithful—it brought out some intense drama and brilliance in Matthew Rhys’ performance even. But a part of me thinks it was just to give them more of a story this season; they really could have played out the matter of them trying to have children a little more before forcing this angle in!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

BETTY

The Ugly Betty series finale was bittersweet for me, because even though I didn’t think very highly of the show, I did enjoy watching it through its four-season run, so for whatever it was worth, it saddened me to see it end. Read on...


When the opening credits of the Ugly Betty series finale rolled, I rewound the track, and watched it a couple of times before watching on. That was the last time I would watch the panels with the eyes, nose and mouth of Betty Suarez slide alongside those of other models, on a new episode of the show. And then it began. The last few episodes had already begun the of the end of the show, with each character’s story coming to a close, and even Betty getting some closure about her past failed romances with Henry and Gio. I actually liked seeing Betty towards the end. Finally she wasn’t cribbing about wanting to do something meaningful, while having stayed with a fashion magazine for four years. Instead she embraced whatever she had, saying, “Fashion has been good to me!” That was probably one of the only times I’d respected her character, and even though she did walk away from fashion eventually, she did it with grace, acknowledging the role fashion played in shaping her journalism career. 


The Suarez Family

Seeing Hilda settling down with Bobby was a good thing, as he seemed most apt for her from among the other guys she’d dated on the show. It was good, especially because he got along famously with Justin and became his step-son’s confidante even. I liked seeing the two bond, as Justin struggled to discover himself. Justin’s gradual move from denial to acknowledgement of his sexual orientation was very well played out, as was best understood by Marc, who knew that he needed to take his time to understand and accept himself, playing a big role in helping ease the family into confronting reality. On the other hand, there was Ignacio Suarez, who seemed to have done a fine job of seeing his daughters moving on and making lives for themselves. And even though the return of his girlfriend seemed rather abrupt, it made sense for his character.


Mode
One of the things I’ll miss most about the show is the humour that Marc and Amanda brought about with almost everything they said. It was fulfilling to see them evolve into characters that weren’t just plain nasty and unrealistic, but also people who had dreams and ambitions of their own, with their own securities and reservations. I liked seeing Betty actually being almost friends with them, especially with Amanda being a part of her trip to London for Hilda’s bachelorette party, and Marc becoming like a support system for Justin and the other Suarezes.

Wilhelmina Slater will also be missed (even though Vanessa Williams is now on Desperate Housewives)! I loved how she was shown to be human towards the end, and even though she did eventually get what she’d been scheming for all along (sole editorship of Mode), she did realise the unhealthy nature of her obsession with the Meades, even seeing what truly mattered. Yes, her final union with Connor seemed unreal and abrupt, but I guess they just wanted her to find happiness from all corners.  Claire Meade never had a major role to play on the show, but I really liked her. It was nice to see Judith Light on TV after Who’s the Boss. I think she played the role of the dignified Meade matriarch with much grace. 


Daniel Meade
What I’d heard all along, since Ugly Betty came to an end on ABC, was that Betty ends up with Daniel. Of course, that seemed quite unimaginable, and like a very bad idea, at that, especially when, right till the third-last episode, there was no inclination towards it. Later, I just realised that to say that they ended up together was an exaggerated assumption and it was a relief to learn that them being together was actually just implied in the end. As I neared the end, it seemed right for Daniel to be upset with Betty’s departure from Mode, having relied on her so much since the beginning. Obviously, with her leaving, their relationship had to be defined as being something other than boss and employee. That they had become friends over the years was a given, but discovering that there was probably more to it than that would be a natural thing to happen, when two people come to a crossroad as they both did. Even so, that was just an implication, and what happens after she runs into him in London is actually just left to our interpretation. Beyond that, even as Daniel Meade wasn’t one of the strong characters on the show, I liked the characterisation, because of the evolution. Seeing him turn into a sensitive, caring and responsible person, from being a callous Casanova in the beginning was one of the best things on the show.



And as Betty drove off in her car to the airport, away from Queens, her house and her family, it was a little emotional to see the old Betty reflected in the rear windscreen. What I loved about the end was the gorgeous montage of London, as they show her going about her new life. In the last few frames, as she walks away from Daniel, and the camera zooms out, the words ‘Ugly Betty’ appear, and ‘Ugly’ fades away slowly.  Betty wasn’t ugly anymore (the gradual change that they showed in her this season was done nicely and naturally), and the song in the end beautifully captured that, concluding the series.