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Eyes High

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  1. Michael spends so much time at Athena's that he seems to live there already. Oliver Stark's a very handsome man, but Ryan Guzman is insanely hot even by primetime TV standards. I'm looking forward to the Hen/Karen foster storyline.
  2. Wallis Simpson had no beauty to speak of and the incredibly handsome David gave up a crown for her. It's not always about looks. Also, Camilla was apparently great fun and had a wonderful sense of humour, and I'm guessing fun was in desperately short supply among that set. The chin fits, and I agree that actresses with Camilla's chin would be few and far between. The casting folks have usually tried to find some sort of physical resemblance where there are distinctive physical features at play (Charles' ears), although with the more famous cast members they've been willing to work with what they have (John Lithgow's height, HBC's brown eyes, Olivia Colman's brown eyes, etc.).
  3. The "That's The Game" sketch was great. It devolved quickly from the dumb platitudes you see on "gritty" shows about drug dealers--"I was BORN in the game!!!"--to the guy getting schooled on the basics of business principles, which was hilarious. The TV Line reviewer noted that it seemed like a Key & Peele sketch, but maybe they were thinking of the Keanu movie (where the lead characters wound up being forced to pretend to be dangerous gangsters). The pre-tapes have been pretty good this season so far: Grouch, Tasty Toaster Tarts, Corporate Nightmare, and now this sketch were all bang-on imo. Cold open was wretched. No matter what your political orientation is, making fun of the impeachment hearings should be like shooting fish in a barrel, and that was the best they could come up with? I quite liked Harry Styles' monologue. He was charming, he wasn't visibly petrified like a lot of first-time hosts, and the bit with messing around with the piano was cute.
  4. Not only that, but it's all so over the top, especially for a relatively young show. Usually it takes several seasons for these shows to start throwing psychotic exes, tsunamis and limb amputations at their characters, as a result of continually upping the stakes. It took ER nine seasons to chop off Dr. Romano's arm in a horrible accident, for which the show got plenty of criticism for mindless grand guignol silliness, and this show threw in an amputation for one of their recurring characters in Season 3! They can't sustain this kind of pace. At this rate, Season 5 is going to feature a post-nuclear LA wasteland with the gang battling roving plague zombies.
  5. It was a little much. She's pretty! She's young! She's talented! She's a loving granddaughter who plays the cello for her adoring grandma! She has adorable phone calls with her parents! And oh yes, she's white (which I normally wouldn't care about, but in an instance where they're laying on the shattered innocence shtick so thick, I definitely noticed), which seems like a questionable choice if they're setting her up as this angel. ...I guess they figured having Hen hit a young bride on her way to the wedding or a charming old married couple on the way to the hospital to meet their new grandchild would have been too much. I did laugh at the piece Evelyn was playing was Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 (Prelude), since that's apparently the only cello piece in existence according to fictional TV/film. It is a very good piece of music, but it's basically the musical equivalent of Instant Sad. You could play On the Nature of Daylight over a montage of silly cat videos and it would seem like the most tragic, heartrending shit of all time. And therefore, to use it over what was already a very sad moment, as if the writers weren't sure that the audience would think Evelyn's death was sad (and of course they would, they're not monsters), was cheap and lazy. Using very sad music as a crutch to create a mood shows a lack of faith on the writers' part in their material. Like, you didn't think a young woman dying in a car crash was enough to generate an emotional response in your audience, you had to paper it over with fucking On the Nature of Daylight, a beautiful piece which deserves far better? Why not just use a terrible Hallelujah cover like every other show and be done with it?
  6. I loved the corporate nightmare song, and the sly hair/makeup/costume references (Hayley Williams, for example) were on point. And yes, the music/band references were way, way, out of date, but that was the point: the teenagers who screamed the "I'll never fall in line / Become another victim of your conformity" lyrics to Fatlip by Sum 41 almost 20 years ago are now well established in their careers in the corporate sphere. Kristen's awkwardness worked for the Duolingo sketch. That was great.
  7. He is absurdly charming. I was grinning like an idiot during his monologue rap. One thing that's kind of jarring about the show is that a lot of the casual cultural references are a generation out of date. Specifically in this episode, the Snacks bit had a very early 90s ad feel (and was clearly a riff on the "purple stuff" Sunny D commercial Dave Chappelle famously mocked, which aired in 1991). Chance's monologue rap referenced Buffy vs. Angel (20 years ago), Mase vs. Puffy (20 years ago), Nintendo vs. Sega Genesis (25+ years ago), Sense and Sensibility vs. Pride and Prejudice (25 years ago), etc. Even the Harry Potter vs. Percy Jackson joke is 10 years old. Chance is 10 years younger than the head writers, so it was kind of silly to see him rap about preferring Sega Genesis when it was replaced by the Sega Saturn when he was under two years old. I've seen enough of the movies being parodied that I found the Space Mistakes trailer extremely funny. The childlike dialogue being delivered with grave urgency ("What if the top comes off?") was the best.
  8. Well, it depends on what the "this" is supposed to be in Jesse Armstrong's characterization of Tom's position as "I can't do this anymore." Is "this" sex stuff that does nothing for Tom? Is "this" Shiv dictating terms and Tom goes along with whatever she wants as her meek little lapdog to keep her happy? Or is "this" the relationship, period? Because Tom's last statement in that conversation--basically "I wonder if I'd be happier without you"--wasn't a rant about threesomes (even if he led off with that), or a complaint that Shiv steamrolls him (although he obviously doesn't love that, either), or even a demand that Shiv respect his boundaries. It was just "I'm incredibly unhappy, and I wonder if I'd be happier without you." It certainly seemed resigned and final, particularly given the way he started that conversation by scoffing at Shiv's profession of love: "I love you. I love this rock. Bye, rock. You're dead. What does it mean?" I mean, realistically, Tom and Shiv were never going to last. Real Shiv and Real Tom (Elisabeth Murdoch and her first husband) certainly didn't. The only surprise would be that Tom dumped Shiv and not the other way around. It was never a question of whether they would get divorced, but when. Why not in Season 3? The writers might drag things out to keep Matthew Macfadyen on the show, but I don't know how Shiv and Tom move on from this in a relationship, unless they hit the reset in Season 3 and act as if the whole beach conversation never happened.
  9. I doubt Owain Yeoman is going anywhere. TV shows with a (straight) female central character usually have one or more token hot guys in the main cast for eye candy/love interest purposes.
  10. Emergence promo: Who or what is this mystery child??? Literally four episodes in: She's a robot. (So is she part-synthetic or--) ROBOT. ...If you want people to stick around, you really need to drag out the central mystery a little more. I don't remember Owain Yeoman being this smoking hot on The Mentalist. The stubble, maybe? At least they're letting him use his natural accent. The number of British actors playing American characters on primetime TV is getting ridiculous, to the point that on one new show, a British actor and another British actor are playing an American father and his American son. Westworld ripoff? Hmm.
  11. I'd never watched this show before, but what a great cast. And Tantoo Cardinal in a recurring role? Love!
  12. I rewatched the scene, and that wasn't my take at all. On the other hand, Michelle Matland's main style inspirations for S2 for Shiv were Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, so maybe the costume folks were trying to tell us something. Shiv realizes that she's a lesbian: possible arc for S3? ...In all seriousness, I'm not sure if we were supposed to interpret Tom and Shiv's beach scene as a final breakup, but Jesse Armstrong seemed to imply that it was: "In regard to the show, it's about that delicate moment of which you say 'That's too much. I can't do this anymore.'" If it is a final breakup, it would make Shiv's subsequent decision to beg Logan to spare Tom that much more poignant. Not only would it mean that despite the horrible way she has treated him, she does in fact love him, and that she loves him enough to sacrifice her career aspirations to protect him (as Logan unkindly made it clear that making Tom-type sacrifices was the stuff CEOs were made of), but that she loves him enough to do it even when she can't possibly benefit from it since Tom has made it clear that he's done with her. That's quite beautifully tragic. Shiv finally proves her love when it's too late for it to matter. The real Shiv (Elisabeth Murdoch) was married several times (to men), so it seems quite possible that we're going to get a divorce storyline in S3, although I don't know how Matthew Macfadyen could stay on the show if there's no reason to keep Tom in the Roys' orbit. Shiv could even get a new man (or woman). Elisabeth's second husband was a PR executive, and the writers could have all kinds of fun with that. And speaking of tragic, it's sad that for all S2 flirted with interesting stories about women and power, Shiv was ultimately forced to make the same bullshit choice women have always been forced to make in the working world: choosing between her career and her man.
  13. She was marching him off to his execution with a gift, thus his grim comment about "death sentence vibes."
  14. Shiv has never shown any interest in women (which doesn't mean that she has none, I know) and has picked men for her previous conquests. I think the threesome was supposed to be a gift for Tom's benefit, maybe in potential anticipation of Tom getting the chop (even though Shiv had asked Logan to pick Kendall). I think that for all his talk, in his heart of hearts, Tom really is a conventional sort of guy who just wants to have lots of monogamous, purely vanilla missionary sex with his wife. As much as he bragged about the snowball thing ("So hot!"), it was pretty clear he found it horrible and degrading and was trying to convince himself he was into it. He also said in his angry rant to Shiv "I don't want to shove a dildo up my--" before stopping himself, so I'm guessing we can add pegging to the list of sexual activities Tom does not enjoy that he has pretended to enjoy for Shiv's sake. It may be that on top of all the emotional shit going on, Tom and Shiv are not sexually compatible, with Tom being monogamous and vanilla and Shiv being into other things (polyamory, pegging, etc.). No wonder they're so miserable. Even when Shiv is offering an extramarital dalliance she thinks Tom will like, she's making it clear it has to be on her terms. She picked the lady, it's a threesome and not Tom and the lady having some fun without her, etc. The costuming on this show is a compelling argument for everyone who can afford it to get their clothing tailored.
  15. Kenneth Lonergan (aka Gerri's real life husband) wrote a lovely little tribute to Kieran Culkin, whom he has directed (in This Is Our Youth), and this tidbit sounds very, very Roman: Hee. Nicholas Braun has talked about losing out on roles because of his height. Being too tall really can be a disadvantage for screen, since your scene partners have to stand on boxes and such to be in the same frame. Braun told an anecdote about filming a scene with his love interest where they're supposed to walk together on the sidewalk, and the production set up a line of apple crates for the actress to walk on. There are several actors who have had illustrious careers despite their height--the great James Cromwell, who plays Ewan, for one, and the Rock doesn't seem to be hurting for work, either--but yeah, it can be tough.
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