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  1. TBS has been re-running Friends Season 8 this week and I'm certainly in the mood for some comfort TV. It's not the most famous episode but The One Where Rachel Is Late is one of my all time favorites. I laugh every time at how irritable Rachel is and I absolutely cannot at the end when she's desperate and tries to seduce Ross by picking up the fork but it's awkward instead. (also love Phoebe's "Good God, man, don't anger it.") And I didn't catch it this time around but The One Where Rachel Tells... from earlier in the season is another great for me. I know Jennifer Aniston submitted/won her Emmy for the One Where Rachel Has the Baby but her performance at the end of The One Where Rachel Tells... is sublime. It's funny and vulnerable and touching and sweet all rolled into one. I think it's the best thing she's ever done and I say that as fan. And as a 1-2 punch, The One With the Videotape is a great ensemble episode and probably one of the best written episodes of the series.
  2. I watched Room cause it's about social distancing.
  3. Couldn't agree more but I think it's so much more difficult today because there are so many other things to pull focus in regards to television and as a result it is less about the big picture and more about the right now. It's too risky for a show runner to play the long game cause your show could get yanked before it really had a chance to get off the ground. Having said that, I agree that I hate when show runners pat themselves on the back for being edgy or...gritty (shudder.) Yeah, you killed off character X which was a shock but now what do you do? Also, showrunners? Don't let Twitter/the vocal minority write your show for you. As ass-tacular the Joss Whedon "not giving them what they want but giving what they need" comment is, I respect the sentiment. That you need to take ownership of your show and do what you need to do (or what at least you think you need to do) to tell the most compelling story possible.
  4. Finally watched this off the DVR today. Easily my favorite episode thus far. I haven't seen much of Stephanie Hsu before (I am severely behind on my Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) but I now want her to become a huge star. I thought she was the standout of an already standout episode. And as a general observation, I would follow grandma into battle.
  5. A couple living together either as romantic partners or just roommates. One of them will bring in either a piece of furniture or decor that the other one despises. They will fight over it. Then the offending item will accidentally get broken, truly by accident, and the original owner will blame the roommate.
  6. Top Ten Favorites. These are the ones I'm most likely to stop and watch. Honorable mention: Sympathy for the Demon Two scenes get me every time. Piper in the foyer and Piper and Phoebe in the attic. Great job by Combs first and then Combs and Milano in the latter. So natural, underplayed, and sincere. 10. Size Matters So this one is probably the most out of left field but lately whenever I seem to catch it, I am so entertained. The show was always better when it went for laughs and I kind of dig the back and forth between Piper and Paige and then Phoebe’s grunt while covered in clay after Piper (also kidnapped and covered in clay) says “At least we came for you.” And major credit to the practical effects/makeup/wardrobe/whatever because the covered in clay look did come out really good. 09. Morality Bites Great episode but not always easy to watch. You have to be in the mood for it. 08. Is There a Woogy In The House This one might just be for sentimental reasons but, while not the first episode I ever saw, this was the one that sucked me in but good one fateful Wednesday night back in 1999. It’s creepy. It’s snarky. The poofing/materializing effect still looks pretty darn good. And I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face but chemistry among the leads was outstanding at this point and just elevated almost everything. 07. Look Who’s Barking I’ve always loved this one and thought it was a better episode than it had any right to be based on the premise. Maybe because it’s Piper-centric (she’s my fave) and I could watch her freak out scene in the attic on repeat. That plus when she has to steel herself against Cole and she’s acting tough but you can tell she’s kinda scare shitless on the inside (well played, Combs). That AND Leo being afraid of the dog. It's a fun one with a kind of ambiguous tone at the end that ups the uncertainty going into All Hell Breaks Loose. 06. Chick Flick 05. Be Careful What You Witch For This one has actually aged better for me over the years. I used to think it was a pretty nondescript finale but I find myself being more and more entertained by certain things (teenage Prue, Piper confronting the genie at the café) and the park scene/aftermath is really good. I know this was Doherty’s MO while she was on the show but she had such a flair for grounding things in reality in her “director’s trilogy” and these are the things that still hold up.* 04. Sense and Sense Ability 03. Power Outage 02. All Hell Breaks Loose This can’t be said enough. The Piper shot and dying scenes are straight. Up. Cash. Money. 01. Sin Francisco * I don’t know how intentional a lot of this was, although it’s hard to find it coincidental, but a lot of the violence in the SD directed episodes is very real with very real consequences. Piper just doesn’t just die in All Hell Breaks Loose, she suffers, and Prue has to watch and is powerless to stop it. Piper is in the same position with Prue in Be Careful What You Witch For and again with Phoebe, who is being tortured, in The Good, The Bad, and the Cursed. You also have the presence of real world instruments of violence such as guns, knives, and whips, and in two of those episodes it’s humans who are performing the acts of violence. And there are very subtle touches that I only ever really noticed after all these years such as the blood on Leo’s shirt in Be Careful... after attempting to revive Prue and Prue’s bloody hand prints on Piper’s face in All Hell... after cradling her. There are also the physical effects of violence to both Phoebe and Bo in The Good, The Bad and The Cursed It’s graphic and it’s real without being over the top. And I don’t love The Good, The Bad, and The Cursed, it’s fine, but this is probably at least part of the reason why without even knowing it I still enjoy 2/3 of her episodes after all these years and I rate a lot of these scenes so highly.
  7. Alright. These are my top ten best episodes. Not to be confused with my top 10 favorites list , mind you, which is moderately different. These are the ones that I think rise above mainly from an overall production stand point 10. Charmed and Dangerous A high stakes episode that never lets up. (Even some of the best episodes have lulls.) Cool effects like the explode/freeze one. Love the scenes between Piper and Leo after he’s shot by the arrow. I’ve cooled a bit on this one over the years but it’s still a good episode on rewatch. 09. Déjà vu All Over Again Just a well done finale all around. Checks off some of your typical finale boxes (the good guys eliminate a threat, character dies, etc) but done in a way that is satisfying and engaging. And this can’t be said enough, Prue’s vanquish of Rodriguez is so bad ass and I love it every time. 08. Chick Flick Simply put, a great comedic episode. This is what can happen in a lighter episode with great cast chemistry with everyone playing off of one another. And some of the lines are great: (“Hello? Privacy!” “Hello? Ax Murderer!”) Even the B plot has some moments (Don’t mind me. I’m just wandering through your house.”). 07. Extreme Makeover/Charmageddon Not necessarily a high bar for this series but for my money it’s by far the best two parter they pulled off. Good payoff to the Avatar arc and the effects, writing, and just overall production really stand above a lot of things they did over the course of the series. 06. Power Outage It’s not flashy but this one is low key great. The entire episode revolves around the Halliwell’s relationship as sisters. The irritations and passive aggression, the giant fight, the remorse, the reconciliation. Also, love the Cole/Phoebe date (they’re so natural with each other and they do work well together). In all honesty, the ladies probably get their powers back a little too easily but the rest of the episode is so good I’ll allow it. 05. Sense and Sense Ability I’m almost at a loss to describe how entertaining the hijinks in this episode are. I could almost do a top ten comedic moments/lines from this episode alone. And I think Alyssa Milano is a better dramatic actress than she got credit for but her time to shine really was doing stuff like this. 04. Long Live the Queen Never a personal favorite but it belongs here as a satisfying conclusion to a long arc and has a number of really great moments. (Drunk Piper, Paige being awesome, Cole faking out the ladies and killing the innocent). And soup to nuts the final act is extremely well acted and produced. 03. Sin Francisco I think the show was usually better with lighter episodes because you had this charismatic cast who, when at their best, just looked like they were enjoying themselves and that makes you as the viewer just go along with it. Sin Francisco might be the peak of that. There are so many great interactions with Prue acting as the straight man due to her pride and calling everyone out on how absurd they are. There’s too much for me to transcribe all here but it’s just fun moment after fun moment. 02. All Hell Breaks Loose There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said. The above ground stuff is stellar. The tension at the house, Piper getting shot, Piper dying, “The End”, HMC’s acting, SD’s direction etc. I want to make this my number one but unfortunately the underworld stuff can’t be completely discounted. Having said that, it still features two of my personal top 3 all series moments and still gives me chills after all these years. 01. Morality Bites Pound for pound, I’d give the a slight edge to this one over AHBL. The highs aren’t quite as high, but it’s a consistently better episode throughout. It’s not a funny episode but there are definitely moments of levity, it’s sad, it’s a little haunting (she burns alive, people!), and all three leads bring it. It’s an honest to goodness really good hour of television.
  8. Daniel Radcliffe falls into that category too although he is slightly older. But like Patinson his career also started off with right franchise/right time.
  9. The scene in Sense and Sense Ability that never gets enough love is when Phoebe is at her syndication meeting. Alyssa just does this oblivious, dumbfounded smile thing and it is still hysterical.
  10. I finished a series long rewatch yesterday. After much deliberation (like, a lot, I'm not kidding) these are my top ten all time moments: 10: Running Around the Manor/Screaming in Chick Flick: fun send up of horror movies and the girls inadvertently scaring the hell out of each other is always funny 09: The sisters fight in Power Outage: once upon a time the leads had chemistry to spare. While this often meant that the best moments were playful, it also meant that scenes like this, where the anger as sisters was palpable, could also be fantastic. Great reconciliation scene too. There's a line where after Phoebe storms out and the spell wears off where Piper says, "If something happens to her, I'll never forgive myself." It's such a sincere, big sistery thing to say and it hits me every time. 08: Cole Bites It in Long Live the Queen: really the entire last act is terrific. With Phoebe conflicted in the bathroom and Paige and Piper urging her to join them it's arguably Alyssa Milano's best dramatic episode. The shockwaves of the vanquish shattering all the windows of the penthouse is still cool. And the finale with Piper and Paige wordlessly consoling Phoebe is still a gut punch. 07: Patty Shows Up to Piper's Wedding in Just Harried: I love this moment so much. Strong performances from all four women but I love the look on Piper's face as she's processing her mother being there. HMC's eyes actually redden in real time. I'm not crying. You're crying. 06: The Sisters Lose Their Senses in Sense and Sense Ability: I go back and forth between this one and Sin Francisco as funniest episode of the series. Phoebe thinking Paige hears puppets, the demon literacy debate, Piper not being able to aim her exploding hands et al are still funny to this day. I crack up every time at "OH MY GOD! PIPER, YOU'RE BLIND!" 05: Prue Vanquishes Rodriguez/Let's Andy Die in Deja vu All Over Again: selfless act and one of the most badass vanquishes of the series. Such a bittersweet moment. 04: The Core Cast in Sin Francisco: everyone looked like they were having so much fun playing their sins out! From Leo's sloth to Phoebe's lust to Piper's gluttony and finally to Prue's pride everyone was on point in one of the most quotable and rewatcable episodes of the series. 03: Piper Dies in All Hell Breaks Loose: "Prue, I'm cold." 02: Phoebe's Lesson in Morality Bites: such an effective and dark ending that you really didn't expect from this show. Stellar performance from the ladies. Maybe the best top to bottom episode of the series. 01: "The End" in All Hell Breaks Loose: Hate to end on such a downer but the final scene in AHBL is still a jaw dropper. So eerie with everyone's lives in limbo and the doors slamming shut with the glass shattering and nothing but the sound of the wind. Kudos to Doherty's direction. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding her exit it was a hell of an exclamation point to go out on.
  11. When I watched the movie a second time another thing that underscored how out of touch the Parks were was that the mom kept calling the backyard birthday party an "impromptu", which it was. There was a humanitarian crisis not far from where the Parks, a family of means, power, and connections, lived that they could have invested their resources into that day, especially given they didn't have plans as they were supposed to be camping. Instead they threw a party. And all the other people who were invited at the last minute who clearly had nothing else to do that day could have spent their efforts elsewhere as well. I could see not cancelling your son's birthday party if you already spent the time and money in planning it and friends/family were already committed to come and he was looking forward to it but it's made abundantly clear that that was not the case. Hell, they could have done both.
  12. I must have watched the tag on the end of that trailer about 15 times in a row. "Natasha, don't slouch....You're going to get a back hunch." 🤣
  13. Maura Tierney. I get caught up in the Pop reruns of ER (seriously, that show is so rewatchable and holds up amazingly well. Even the later, less popular, seasons) every so often and she's just money episode in and episode out. From the big moments to the random side conversations. And what's so lovely is she seldom, if ever, seems as if she's "acting" even with the heavier scenes. From NewsRadio to ER to a brief stint on Rescue Me (seriously, look that one up if you can find it) to the Affair she has quietly put together this really solid resume and it saddens me that she's never won an Emmy.
  14. The thing is we're told more than a few times what a master manipulator Adrian is, and there's no doubt Cecelia's fear of him is real, but the movie doesn't do a great job of showing us, which took me out of a lot of it. The job interview/Diazepam thing was okay but other moments didn't feel earned. For example, I didn't buy Cecelia's sister instantly believing the email. First of all, who sends personal emails anymore? At least for me, that would be red flag number one. But aside from that, even if a friend or family member did, I think I'd at least be able to recognize their syntax and notice that something wasn't right. Everyone has their own style of informal writing. (unless it's possible for Adrian to have mimicked it but that's a bit of a leap.) And most importantly, unless I missed something, there really wasn't any indication that there was friction between the two sisters. The first meeting at the house wasn't overly warm and fuzzy but Cecelia wasn't exactly in a good place at the time and any weirdness may have come from her (rightful) paranoia about Adrian. It's not as if we see them bicker or argue or that the sister had any inclination at all that Cecelia might have some underlying frustrations with her. Who gets an email out of the blue from someone they are on good terms with saying the things that Adrian's email said (I don't remember it specifically) and gives it instant credibility? You'd be taken aback sure but I think most of us would confront who we believed was the sender before cutting them out of our lives completely. And let's say you didn't actually believe your sister's dead boyfriend was sending you emails from beyond the grave, you'd at least see the sincerity in her that something fucked up was going on. And lastly, who would send the email just to later deny it? That wedge was driven in waaaaay too easily. I also agree that Sydney's reaction to the slap/punch/whatever was too hysterical for a 17 year old whose maturity level seemed at least on par with her chronological age to that point. I can buy James's reaction to Sydney's reaction but again it feels like the wedge between Cecelia and Sydney was also too easy.
  15. I just watched this again on Netflix the other night and I'm pleasantly surprised how delightful I still found it. Not that I thought it wouldn't necessarily hold up on rewatch, but sometimes a second or third viewing of something you previously enjoyed can be disappointing. It's not a great movie but it makes me happy. The movie lives and dies on the back of Blunt and she just delivers again and again. When Mary has to be tart, when Mary has to be touching, when Mary has to be an entertainer, etc. etc. Everything is just on point. Even the little things like when John asks Mary how much she weighs and she gives the briefest look of shock and appall? It killed me. I hope they make another with her because I think they could do a better job crafting a complete movie around her performance. And while I must agree that the musical moments wont be as iconic as those from the original I still think they stand on their own. Can You Imagine That, A Cover is Not a Book, Where the Lost Things Go, Trip a Little Light Fantastic, and Nowhere to Go But Up are all enjoyable in their own right.
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