Monday, July 30, 2007

Stephen Colbert and the Deathly Hallows

This is how I felt last week:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

NO SPOILERS (in this section):
I finished Book 7 a couple of days ago and really wanted time to let it sink in. The book is 600 pages long, and there’s just something about the Harry Potter books — they FLY. I read them so quickly, and yet I always feel like I’m not reading them quickly enough. I remember the climax of Prisoner of Azkaban, in the Shrieking Shack, where I was willing my eyes to move more quickly, wishing I knew how to skim (I don’t skim; I read very carefully and slowly, always have. It truly sucked when I was taking Victorian lit). By the time I got to the climax of this book, I had that same feeling.

The book has its slow moments; by page 450 I was starting to stress out that certain key things weren’t going to be resolved, but I was being silly. Just as I never lost faith in Joss Whedon even when Angel and Buffy weren’t quite going the way I wanted them to, I shouldn’t have lost faith in J.K. Rowling. The ending was spectacular. I always say writers have a horrible time of it when it comes to series — whether it’s books or TV — and they’ll never satisfy everyone when it comes to the end. But even though my bets were on it finishing completely differently, I loved it. She satisfied me.

Now, SPOILERS AHEAD. Please don’t read on if you haven’t finished the book. The Comments board will also have spoilers on it, so read that at your own risk.

What I LOVED about the book:
So many people speculated that Harry was going to die in Book 7, to the extent that psychologists were making LOTS of money selling their advice to anyone who would listen on how parents would be able to help their child deal with the grief. Stephen King and John Irving begged Rowling last year at a charity event NOT to kill Harry. Yet when I thought it through, it seemed like the only way it could end. Good can triumph, but sometimes major sacrifices have to be made. I thought anything less than Harry’s death would be a cop-out. And then… she didn’t kill him. He survives at the end of the book. And it worked. Yet Rowling still gave us the scene of what would have happened if Harry had died, for Voldemort hits him and he appears to die to all around him, even though he’s conscious and only pretending. We read about poor Hagrid picking him up and sobbing his giant tears all over him, carrying him back to Hogwarts. We see Voldemort proclaim victory, and feel the dread fall over everyone that not only is Harry dead, but the world has suddenly become a dark and awful place. All of the death that happens at the end of the book seems like a horrible waste to everyone, and they stand there, shocked at what has happened, losing faith by the second. In including this scene, it was like Rowling was saying, “See? This is why I couldn’t have killed him. It wouldn’t have worked.” Of course, in my vision, both of them died, but I was much happier having Harry live.

The huge battle scene at the end. It is EPIC. You can just imagine it on the movie screens, as the former members of Dumbledore’s Army show up in the Room of Requirement one by one, followed by the Order of the Phoenix. Then the battle raging on while Harry is trying to maintain his focus, with the portraits on the wall screaming their encouragement, McGonagall enchanting everything she can — including the desks — and screams and sparks from wands flying everywhere. The battle was amazing, and we can feel Harry’s dread as he realizes what he must do, and walks quietly away from this incredible war to his own inevitable death.

When I read Half-Blood Prince, there were two things I predicted for this book, and they both came true (so I don’t feel too badly about being wrong on the Harry dying thing). I believed that Harry MUST be the final Horcrux, and I believed that when Dumbledore said, “Snape, PLEASE” that he was begging him to kill him, and Snape did it against his will. By about halfway through the book, I began to lose hope on the latter, at least. But it all turned around in the end. Snape’s final act is to pull out his memories for Harry so he can see what really happened over the past several decades, showing how Snape was actually with the good guys all along, just as Dumbledore had been letting on. (It also seems clear now that the reason Dumbledore kept refusing to let Snape become the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher was that he knew Voldemort had levied a curse on the position so no one could hold it for more than a year, and he didn’t want to risk anything happening to Snape.) Snape was a good person, but he was also an angry and resentful person because he’d been bullied by the person most like Harry — Harry’s father, James. So his resentment of Harry and his bad treatment of him make sense, yet it also makes sense that we’ve been seeing him protect Harry all along, because for as much as he hated James, he loved Lily with all his heart. When the doe Patronus appeared in the snow, I was convinced it was Lily (if James was a stag, she must be the doe) and it was so perfect to discover the twist that it was actually Snape’s.

Neville being a hero. I’ve always loved Neville, especially since we found out in Goblet of Fire what had happened to his parents (one of the movie’s omissions that I thought was a terrible shame) and why he lives with his grandmother. Suddenly he went from being this bumbling bit of slapstick to a serious character who felt deep pain and had been through a fate that was probably worse than Harry’s. Neither one had parents they could actually talk to, but where the deaths of the Potters had been quick, the Longbottoms had suffered greatly. I LOVED that of all the people around, Harry tells Neville to destroy the last Horcrux. (Also the scene of him rushing through the halls carrying screeching mandrakes was pretty funny.)

Harry finally getting a hold of the stone, and his parents appearing. I cried. That scene was SO beautiful, with Sirius looking so young, his parents telling him how proud they are of him… it was SUCH an amazing scene and finally brought all the sadness of the previous six books to a different conclusion, I was very sad when they suddenly disappeared as Harry faced Voldemort. Why make these people go away when he needed them most? But I suppose Harry had his reasons.

Mrs. Weasley being the one to take out Bellatrix. WICKED. (Though I could have done without her calling her a bitch, as much as the moniker fits.) Loved that scene.

What I didn’t like about the book:
The loooooooooong section of them wandering aimlessly trying to remain unseen, Apparating and Disapparating and Ron and Hermione having a lover’s quarrel and Harry starving and moping and on and on. While I’ll admit my attention never wavered, it was in this section that I REALLY missed Hogwarts and all of the other people in the book. It was here I began to worry that Snape really was a horrible person who’d taken over Hogwarts and was being awful to the students in the name of Voldemort, that we’d never see Neville and Ginny again, that this was going to end in a forest and not on the school grounds. But then again, having been through that doubt, it made the ending all that much sweeter.

Dumbledore not telling Harry about most of the stuff and making him figure it out. Yes, it was character-building and blah blah blah, but come on, the fate of the wizarding world rests in Harry saving it, couldn’t Albus have given him a little bit of help?

Dudley showing remorse and Harry suddenly thinking he’s a good guy. Readers LOVE to hate Duddikins, so please let us continue to despise him. Don’t make it all lovey-dovey when it comes down to it. Saving him from the Dementors or no, it doesn’t make sense that Duddy would wait until the moment he’s saying goodbye to act all in love with Harry, when he’s had all summer to do it, even if it were in a subtle sort of way.

The quick deaths. I know that’s the reality of war, but we find out Lupin dies when he appears to Harry, and then there’s a line near the end where the narrator says that Harry was sad about Lupin and Tonks, and until then I don’t remember reading anywhere that Tonks was dead. (I could have missed it, though.) It felt a little too much like Anya’s death in “Chosen.” Quick, with no chance to mourn it, even though we were very close to these characters.

The Epilogue. It was vague and weak and all happy-happy-joy-joy look at how lovely we all turned out… yet it told us pretty much NOTHING. We don’t know where they all ended up working, we don’t really know anything about them at all. JKR has said she wanted it that way, but I would have preferred the book ending before it. Until then, it was gorgeous. It’s not nearly as bad, but reminiscent of that movie A.I., which was a perfect perfect film right up until Osment’s character goes underwater and stares at the Blue Fairy, and you imagine this little boy staring at her for eternity. The screen goes dark, and I was in tears thinking, “What an awesome ending.” And then… the movie comes back up and we have to suffer through another 40 minutes of robots and aliens and CRAZY stuff that completely ruined the movie. The epilogue didn’t ruin the book for me, not by a long shot, but it was just entirely unnecessary.

NOW… if the epilogue disappointed you as much as it did me, then check out this article, where JK Rowling talked to a bunch of kids on The Today Show and revealed what, in her mind, actually happened to the characters. It’s WAY more interesting than what she wrote in the epilogue, making you wonder, Geez, Lady, why didn’t you just write this stuff out in the epilogue instead? Luna and Neville possibly being together? Harry and Ron as Aurors?

So what did you think? I’m going to open up the Comments to be full of spoilers, so if you’ve read it and want to talk about the book in detail, feel free to post on the Comments board whatever you’d like. But I warn everyone who has NOT read the book to please not check out the Comments board until you have. I know there are lots of people out there who love spoilers, but I don’t want to be one of the ones to be passing them on willfully.

I’m dying to hear what everyone else thought!

UPDATE: I've cross-posted this post to my book club, so you could also check in there for other comments.

Lost at Comic-Con and Other Stuff
BuddyTV has given a report of Damon and Carlton at Comic-Con (they were joined partway through the Q&A by a familiar face to Lost fans, pictured at right, care of BuddyTV). Check out the article to read highlights of what was revealed. Sounds like when they said they were going radio silent, they meant it. Most of the comments were, "This MIGHT happen, and we're planning on this, but it might not be until the following season" sort of stuff. But I don't care. I'm happy to hear anything about this show. :)

Dan Fienberg at Zap2it has also posted on the panel, and mentioned that Damon and Carlton each had little bells, so if they thought one was about to give too much away, they'd ring their bell to make the other one stop talking. Finally, here's TV Addict's take on it, minute-by-minute, which is pretty funny. Though it would be nice if he didn't always refer to the attendees as smelly nerds.

Other news from Comic-Con: Zachary Quinto has been cast as Spock in the upcoming J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Trek. (A friend of mine sent me this news the other day with the subject line, "Spocklar?" that nearly made me spit out my drink.) I think the casting is PERFECT, and apparently, so does Leonard Nimoy.

Neil Gaiman, god of, well, everything, has suggested there may be a Sandman feature in the future. I think I'd faint from excitement if this happened, but the Sandman novels are pretty intense, and I'd hate for it to be screwed up in some way. It needs to have a Mirrormask look to it, I think. But darker. With Robert Smith circa 1987 playing Sandman. With a deeper voice. See? How hard could all that be?
His new movie, Stardust, opens soon. The trailer is pretty awesome.

In other news, remember how excited I was that The Office would have five hour-long eps this year? Well, turns out four of those eps will be the first four of the season, and they're not planning on spreading them out. Sigh. Maybe fan demand will make them expand the episodes later in the season. I can never get enough of this show.

Johnny Depp is developing a feature version of Dark Shadows. How wicked is that?! More cult TV coming to my movie screen... who's going to do The Prisoner, and when?

DarkHorse has just launched a new online digital comic, as announced at Comic-Con, and the first issue is co-written by none other than our beloved Joss Whedon! Go here to read it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Angry, Angry, Angry People
I've been seeing a lot of things lately that made me want to blog on it, but individually, they didn't amount to much. So I thought hey, I'll compile some and just call them Angry People. I don't know what's wrong with people. Sure, I rant. I rant when one of my favourite shows lets me down. I rant when I'm overcharged for something. I rant when I get a tax bill saying my home has been reevaluated and now I have to pay back-taxes for the past 3 years, even though I've only owned the house for two... (stupid Toronto government... I really do have to call them about that one). I rant about a LOT of things.

But there are so many people out there saying stupid things about people, just generalizing everything and everyone, and they come off looking like morons. So let's start with Moron #1.

Looks like his Y chromosome had a bit of stupid attached
Canada's National Post had a column a few days ago about how women are still being paid less than men. So this rocket scientist thought he'd weigh in and let us all know the REAL reason why women aren't paid as much as men. After years of research and argument, thank you thank you Mr. Clark Brown for providing the definitive answer:

Re: Why Men Earn More, editorial, July 23.
The bottom line is that if women want to earn as much as men, they have to behave like men in the employment marketplace. That usually means: work longer hours at intellectually challenging, personally unrewarding careers that offer a poor workplace environment, physical hazards, pay linked to performance, an imposition on nonworking lifestyle choices or some combination of the above. Furthermore,
women would have to take on more responsibilities, make family sacrifices and be more productive in the jobs they have. That's how men do it. Women can do it too, if they so choose. — Clark Brown, Maple Ridge, BC

Well, ladies, I hope we've all learned our lesson. Thank goodness Clark Brown of Maple Ridge, BC has shown us the light. I guess this means men will start having the babies for us. And we need to stop skiving off work at 3pm and sitting in the corner twiddling our thumbs.

Wha? I reed! I reed book alot!
Andrew K%$!n, that guy bloggers love to hate (and won't write his name so he can't google himself), has written an AWESOME study of how the blogosphere is killing mainstream media and is made up of a bunch of stupidheads who don't read books and who can barely think, let alone spell. No offense to newspaper reporters -- I'm married to one, most of my friends are newspaper reporters, and I think there are some amazing ones out there -- but there are a lot of bloggers whose opinions on movies, television, books, etc. I'll take over theirs any day. Anyone read the movie section in the Globe & Mail lately? Maybe if they'd hire a reviewer younger than 75, I might actually listen to their advice.

Boobs are Bad
Now, this might not be for everyone, but having been through the experience (and no doubt will go through it again in a couple of months) I feel for this person. This blogger is posting an email that a friend of hers received from a family member, telling her they can't wait to see her at their daughter's birthday party, BUT... could she not breastfeed in front of anyone, please?

Now, I understand that some people might not be used to the sight of a breastfeeding mother. I remember going to a dinner party once when I was on my first pregnancy, and the mom of 3 suddenly grabbed her infant and pulled her top up and started feeding her while she never missed a beat in the conversation. At the time, everyone tried to avert their eyes, but now that I think about it, what was she supposed to do, leave the table?

I had my share of breastfeeding problems the first time around. It's not an easy task, but it's SO important. Our mothers are from a generation that generally formula-fed, so you won't get much help there, and there's still a stigma in society that breasts are genitalia. I spent the first month or so of motherhood pulling the drapes, locking the doors, and sitting in darkened rooms. And then I thought, to hell with it. I even came into the office one day and did it during a staff meeting. Now, I don't throw up my shirt and sit there topless while carrying on a conversation. If I'm in a swivel chair, I swivel away, latch on the baby, throw a receiving blanket over her, and swivel back. It's not hard, and since nothing is showing, the other person has no reason to feel weird about it. I'd say something in advance and ask if they wanted me to leave, but rarely did anyone say yes.

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, was a whole other ball of wax. She told me it was disgusting, asked me to go upstairs and close the door, told me that she didn't want me doing it in front of other people, told her friends I was starving my child because there's no way a child could be getting enough nourishment that way, and actually started to do things to try to thwart my chances, believe it or not (the worst was one morning when I went to yoga, and she dropped by, found some milk in the fridge, gave it to my daughter, and by the time I got home, with my body telling me to feed that kid NOW or you're going to burst, I was met with a happy, non-hungry baby, and a beaming mother-in-law who bluntly said, "I already fed her, so you don't have to now." Of course, I ALSO had problems pumping, so that milk had taken me 3 days to make so my husband and I could go to our first movie out together that night, and we had to cancel). So I've been through this. I've already been informed by her that I'd better not try that breastfeeding "nonsense" again. This time I'm going to just walk around her house topless, whether I'm feeding him or not. ;)

Is Your Child an Assmonkey?
And I've been meaning to post this one for AGES now. It made me laugh out loud when I read it. I'm not a huge fan of right-wing Jonathan Kay (or worse, his mom's columns) but this was funny nonetheless. Jonathan Kay wrote a piece about going to a restaurant with his kids, and was met with such a fury of hate mail that he had to post a second story about it (this was a few months ago). He got a lot of letters from people objecting to the term "childless" and saying they are "child-free," i.e. free of that horrific thing known as children. His favourite was from the man who wrote this:

"Mr. Kay, I hope we never have the misfortune to have your family ruin a nice restaurant near us, because I could hardly resist the compulsion to empty ice water into the faces of both you and your broodsow of a partner. Attention, Mr. Look-My-Sperm-Works, your job as a parent does not end at ejaculation: Would you please show the rest of us the Get Out of Courtesy card that they gave you when your wife [birthed] your first replicant? Polite parents do not assault diners with their loud brood of assmonkeys."
I must admit, while I laughed out loud at this letter, I have sometimes been walking down the street, belly out-to-there, wondering, "Is anyone looking at me as nothing but a heifer right now?" because according to this guy, I'm a "broodsow."

Does anyone else detect the bitterness and anger here? His reference to Kay as "Mr. Look-My-Sperm-Works" makes me think that maybe his, um, doesn't.

I have absolutely nothing against anyone who decides to go child-free: three people to whom I am closest in this world have made the choice to not have children, and I think it's a wonderful and selfless choice. They've said, hey, I don't have the time for a child, and I've decided to make this decision now, rather than having them and dumping them on a nanny. I think that's a pretty amazing thing to decide. And don't get me wrong -- these are people who love children.

But these people don't deride me for making the choice to have them. The latest barrage lobbed against parents is that we are DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT by having our kids. If everyone would stop having children, these environmentalists argue, then the Earth wouldn't have any burden of population on it.

Yep. And in 80 years, it won't have any population at all.

I have a daughter and will soon have a son, and my daughter is well behaved. I take her to East Side Mario's, and would never go to an upscale Italian restaurant with her, so parents DO need to take responsibility for their children, and not ruin a quiet night out for someone else. But to take it to the length this particular writer has taken it? Is that really necessary?

Why can't we all just get along?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Big Lost News
Spoiler alert: Stop reading now if you don't want to know about something that will be upcoming in season 4 of Lost... I'll post the spoiler in red, and you can skip past it to below, where I have news on other shows.

It was revealed today by an ABC exec that Harold Perrineau, who plays Michael, will be returning to the cast of Lost in season 4. There's no word on if he's coming back with Walt, the exec only mentioned Michael. We all knew it would have to happen (I mean, you don't build up a backstory like that and just leave it).

Meanwhile, check out Rob McKenzie's column from today's National Post on the Heroes season 2 information. One interesting reveal is that the globetrotting will become far wider than it was in season 1:

During a short news conference, Tim Kring, the series' low-key reator, divulged the rough itinerary for his conflicting bands of sudden superheroes: "We have a story that's making its way north from Central America, so we'll see countries along the way. We are definitely in Japan. We are definitely in Egypt for a sec. We're in Haiti. Where else are we? We're in Ukraine. We're kind of all over the place. Mexico definitely."

The article's worth reading just for the reporter getting ganged up on by the cast when he dared mention Heroes is a plot-driven show, and not a character-driven one.

I wanted to talk about more, but I finished Book 7 about 10 minutes ago, and I'm kinda numb right now. I'll post extensively on it tomorrow. I need to let it sink in.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Buffy Season 8: Upcoming Issues
Stop reading now if you think the covers of upcoming issues of the new Buffy Season 8 comic book series would be spoilers.

I haven't posted anything on the comics yet, though I'd been meaning to for some time. I'm actually working on a much longer article on the books, but suffice to say, I LOVE this series. If you are a Buffy fan and have not picked up the new Season 8 comics, you are seriously missing out. These aren't like the comics that were being released while the show was still on the air -- featuring stories that could have happened, but didn't, and weren't part of the television show canon. This IS canon. The first issue begins a couple of months after season 7 ended, and the storyline is brilliant. Joss Whedon wrote the first 4 (they were released in March, April, May, and June) and then July was a month off. The first 4 was an arc called "The Long Way Home," and it was about Buffy and her friends coming together again. Buffy is with a gang of new slayers (no longer potentials, since she made them all active in the season 7 finale) and Giles, being the lone Watcher, is trying to train an army of them, and realizing he thought he had it tough with Buffy, but this is MUCH worse. Xander is running Command Central, complete with a sexy eyepatch and special uniform, where he stands before several television sets and coordinates their activities. Dawn's been turned into a giant after she hooked up with a thricewise, and Buffy goes to see her so they can argue like sisters. Willow is off in another land, but she finally comes back in the third issue (and WHAT a return it is!!) and it's awesome to have her back in the fold. But a new (or should I say old) enemy lurks, and Buffy and the gang are up against someone who knows them, and HATES them.

On August 1 the series will pick up again with issue 5, also written by Joss. Here's the cover:

Awesomeness. I have my suspicions about who is hiding under the Buffy mask, but if you haven't read the first 4 yet, I won't say, for that person is revealed in issue 3, I believe. The new series is called "The Chain," and Joss will just be writing the first one. There's another option of who could be hiding under the mask, for one of our FAVE characters will finally be returning in issue 6 (stop reading now if you don't want to know!) and there's a good chance she's the one under that mask. Here's the cover:

Did you just squee? I just squeed, and I'd already seen it. :) How frickin' excited am I for this one??? Written by Brian K. Vaughan, who created the Runaways comic (which Joss is now partly writing) and as of last season joined Lost as one of the writers, the arc turns to our beloved bad girl, Faith. Who will no doubt KICK. SOME. ASS.

If you've never read a comic book in your life, it doesn't matter; you will get sucked back into the Buffyverse with these stories in a way we never thought possible after May 2003. Buffy is back, and she is awesome.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Stuff for a Monday
I'm 300 pages into Book 7. I don't care that everyone else is actually reading the same book I am; I love it. I wish my brain could read faster (and that I didn't feel really tired at 11pm). Check out this hilarious play-by-play of the Friday night the books went on sale, from my pal Emily.

TV Guide interviewed Gordon Ramsay, where Gordon talks about his profanity, running, and why he never EVER Googles himself (believe that if you will). They asked him the best question ever. His response was hysterical:
TV Guide: You're driving down a highway and you're hungry. You see a McDonald's on the side of the road. Do you stop for a Big Mac?
Ramsay: My friend, I'd rather eat a f--king cow-pie sandwich.

BuddyTV has a good interview with Flight of the Conchords. I've found the show's a bit hit and miss; I wish every week the guys didn't break up and then get back together again. Then again, I'm a few weeks behind (what else is new?)

Alyson Hannigan talks about her marriage to Alexis Denisof. Sigh. I miss Buffy and Angel. And Alexis and Alyson. I haven't been watching How I Met Your Mother (I watched the first 2 eps because of Alyson but it was SO awful, and I couldn't take the laugh track). But now people are saying it's much funnier, and this article says Alexis is on it. Must check it out.

I wrote in an earlier post about a new book, Shelf Monkey. I was just on Corey's blog today and he's got a ton of great reviews posted. Please buy it and read it. :)

TV Addict has a cute interview with Ed Helms, a.k.a. Andy on The Office, where he reveals "spoilers" for season 4.

I should get back to work now.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Film Review
My husband and I got out to see our first movie in god knows how long today. This guy has refused to read any of the books, yet loves the movies so much that the moment they come out he's like a kid, "Can we go? Can we go? Huh? Huh? Can we go now?" I've told him to just READ THE DAMN BOOKS if he wants to know what happens (he devours books, so it's not like he's not a reader) but he'd rather watch it unfold on the screen.

This is one of my favourite books of the series. The last film, I thought, had to cut out WAY too much to bring it down to anything less than 5 hours, and despite the awesome special effects, the movie didn't do much for me. This one, on the other hand, did. I thought the balance between what was left in, but truncated -- the Occlumency lessons, Harry's horrific detentions, the DA meetings -- and what was taken out -- scenes in the Ministry of Magic, the High Inquisitor's students trying to take out the DA, pretty much everything about Lupin, Luna Lovegood's father -- actually worked, and despite other films, where my husband comes out and says, "So... what was that stag on the shoreline supposed to be?" that wasn't explained because the filmmaker assumed the viewers had all read the books, director David Yates really seemed to cater to both audiences in this one.

The highlight in the film for me (as is often the case) was Alan Rickman as Snape. This guy is gold. The scene where he faces off against Harry and just sneers through a barely opened mouth was great, and I often find myself grinning stupidly whenever he's talking.

My friend Fionna held a Harry Potter party in 2003 and I had just read the book, and showed up dressed as Umbridge, complete with a pink sweater, purple robes, giant bow on my head, and a clipboard where I wrote out educational decrees and came up behind people, interrupting their conversations with a "hem hem" just to be super annoying. So I have a special place in my heart for her, and while I originally thought Patricia Routledge would have been PERFECT in the role, I thought Imelda Staunton pulled it off brilliantly. She was absolutely spot-on, from the hem-hem's, to her sweetly sipping tea while torturing children, to being just a slight bit off through the entire film (my husband at the beginning thought she was supposed to be insane). :)

It's over 2 hours long, but unlike some of the other Potter films (Chamber) doesn't feel like it.

I'm currently 200 pages into Book 7 -- I should be further, but I swear every time I find a second to open it up my toddler jumps on me and yells, "Mommy mommy, do the Chicken Little story!" before pointing to the cover of the book and saying, "Who's that?" "That's Harry Potter." "Who's that?" "Those are his friends, Hermione and Ron." "Why?" "Why what?" "Why are they his friends?" "Because they, um... clicked when they first met, and now they're all heroes." "Why?" "Because Harry has often saved the world." "Why?"

It pretty much goes on like that for 15 minutes. And then I have to go do laundry or get her a snack or something. So I'm hoping to read more tonight and I'll post a full review later this week (with spoiler warnings where applicable). So far: Loving it.

Update: I thought of this after I posted this, but there's a scene at the end of the film where the final battle takes place, and it's so amazing that I leaned over to my husband and said, "Wow... I hope Tim Kring sees this and realizes how Sylar and Peter's fight should have played out!"

Friday, July 20, 2007

Funniest Reaction to an Award Nomination

Rainn Wilson, The Office (Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series)
"Emmy voters are known as a fairly conservative bunch, so the fact that they would nominate a ridiculous fascist über-nerd with a bad haircut is pretty exciting.... Dwight would say it's not about who's best as an actor but who works hardest and fights best as an actor, and give all awards to Jack Bauer — not Kiefer Sutherland, because he doesn't know who that is, but Jack Bauer.... I've rented Björk's swan dress [for the ceremony]."
Seriously... This Show is May-jah
I don't hate Posh Spice. I don't like Posh Spice. I just don't give her much thought whatsoever. So when I heard there was going to be a reality series about her moving to America with hubby David Beckham, I rolled my eyes. Somewhere along the line that 6-episode series turned into one (Becks didn't want to be involved, Posh probably didn't want her children to be shown) and the "series" was truncated into a single special episode called Victoria Beckham: Coming to America. The show aired on Monday, and I meant to watch it, thinking it would be a fun train wreck, but I forgot. The next day the critics panned it, and a woeful 4 million people watched. Then my friend Crissy -- who IS a fan of Posh and the rest of the Girls -- told me I really, really had to see it. She said it wasn't funny in a train wreck way, but that Posh is seriously funny. Then my friend Fionna told me last night it was set to air last night again, and she, too, had thought it was pretty funny, but in a more ironic way.

So, I tuned in. And seriously, folks, this woman is HILARIOUS. And I don't mean in a Jessica Simpson, GOD-she-is-so-stupid sort of way, I mean she's wickedly funny. There were moments where I was laughing out loud.

The producers were clearly trying to go for a "look at the ditz" sort of show, and they didn't get one. The commercials showed her looking through a driver's handbook saying, "What's an intersection?" and Americans were supposed to sit on their couches and guffaw. But in the UK, it's called a crossroads. It would be the same as if an American went to the UK and passed by a border guard who asked to see inside their boot. As the American would be taking off his footwear, the guards would be rolling their eyes and pointing to the trunk of the car, which is what they were referring to. Posh isn't an idiot; she just speaks a different language. And if she WAS aware of what an intersection was and was just asking, she was doing it on purpose.

If you think for a moment that a single second of that show was done without her knowing, think again. Victoria knows she's a caricature, and she does her best to play it up for laughs. And seriously... I was laughing. "Just a moment, I have to look miserable," she says as she prepares to go outside the face the paparazzi.

But for the most part, she's genuinely funny. When she's looking for a house, a real estate agent boasts, "This house was built from the ground up." Without missing a beat, she responds, "Aren't ALL houses built from the ground up?" In another house, she sees a fancy wooden floor, and the agent tells her it was installed by Lionel Ritchie when he lived there. Posh responds, "He put in this floor? Whilst dancing on the ceiling?" Hahahahahahahaha... Everything is major, pronounced "may-jah," though it's not clear if it's meant to be a good or bad thing.

My favourite part, however, is when she goes to a socialite luncheon. Thinking she needs to have some Beverly Hills friends (hoping also they might have children who would play with her trio of boys) she accepts the invite and when the door opens, Posh enters a house full of middle-aged, Botoxed women who have all had so much plastic surgery their lips are stretched almost to their ears. The decor is HIDEOUS, and in her voiceover she says, "I didn't know if I should laugh or cry." One woman, who appears older than the rest, has wispy, shoulder-length hair that's been blown back and sprayed that way, and Posh says to the camera, "There was this one woman there in a powder-blue suit who'd had a MAY-JAH blowdry." I LAUGHED my head off. (This woman looked like Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary.) The voiceover continues, "There was so much red lipstick in that room is was may-jah. I've never seen so much red lipstick. These women were FABulous."

She has to throw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game ("But what if I lose the game for them?" she asks... hahahahaha) and shows up in short shorts and high-heeled trainers (see pic above) and throws the ball like she's training for shotput. She goes to the DMV with her hairstylist and makeup artist to take her driver's license photo, and pulls one of her fierce poses, then looks at the pic and asks if she can have a redo, and when the woman says no, retorts, "Well, can we do any touch-ups?" Again, she's doing all of this fully aware of what she's saying.

This show is awesome. I didn't really think of Posh one way or the other before, and now I think she's hilarious.

I'm gonna go watch Spiceworld now. I hope it's may-jah.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Presenting: My New Cover!
It's finally here — with Juliet peeking out of the corner, and our dear Hurley back where he should be. Soon I'll post the table of contents, but unfortunately I don't have the file on this computer. I hope you like!

And This Year's Best Drama Is... Some Crappy Show
Ah, the Emmys. As I bitched yesterday, their process is shoddy, their members don't actually watch TV, and their decisions are based on what they've read in the media rather than the merits of the show — "I hear Lost is losing fans because the pacing is slow." "Really? Well, then, that saves me having to watch the episode they sent for nomination."

The complete list is available online, but I'll just put the sections I thought were relevant. All is not lost, however (if we consider getting nominated for an Emmy some high watermark of achievement, which I don't, really) because Lost submitted the season finale for consideration, and now it's up for best direction and best writing. In fact, the most interesting category of the bunch is the best writing category — The Sopranos is up for THREE of them, and then Lost and Battlestar Galactica. What does this say about the Academy? These really are three of the best-written series on television, but they're barely up for anything else. So when it comes to Best Drama, we look at, um, acting, hairstyles... cinematography. Not — heaven forbid — writing.

Without any further ado, here are some of the highlights of the announcements. I've put emphasis on my favourites, or things I saw that were a genuine surprise.

Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour)
Avatar: The Last Airbender • City Of Walls And Secrets • Nickelodeon • Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nominees TBD
Robot Chicken • Lust For Puppets • Cartoon Network • ShadowMachine Films
Nominees TBD

The Simpsons • The Haw-Hawed Couple • Fox • Gracie Films in association with 20th Century Fox
Nominees TBD
South Park • Make Love, Not Warcraft • Comedy Central • Central Productions
Nominees TBD
SpongeBob SquarePants • Bummer Vacation / Wig Struck • Nickelodeon • Nickelodeon Animation Studio in association with United Plankton Pictures, Inc.
Nominees TBD

**Wow, the Academy recognizing something so outside of the mainstream? Colour me surprised.

Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series
Desperate Housewives • ABC • ABC Studios
Junie Lowry Johnson, CSA, Casting By
Scott Genkinger, CSA, Casting By

Entourage • HBO • Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Sheila Jaffe, Casting Director
Georgianne Walken, Casting Director

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Jennifer McNamara, Casting By

Ugly Betty • ABC • ABC Studios
Libby Goldstein, Casting By
Junie Lowry Johnson, Casting By

Weeds • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with Lions Gate Television and Tilted Productions
Amy McIntyre Britt, Casting By
Anya Colloff, Casting By

**I'm really surprised that The Office isn't here. These ensembles are good, but those people are magical together.

Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series
Brothers & Sisters • ABC • ABC Studios
Jeanie Bacharach, Casting Director
Gillian O’Neill, Casting Director

Friday Night Lights • NBC • Imagine Television, Film 44 in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Linda Lowy, Casting By
John Brace, Casting By
Beth Sepko, Location Casting By

Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • ABC Studios
Linda Lowy, Casting By
John Brace, Casting By

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip • NBC • Shoe Money Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television
Elizabeth Barnes, Casting By
Francine Maisler, Casting By
Liberman/ Patton Casting, Casting By

The Tudors • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with Peace Arch Entertainment, Working Title, Reveille Productions Limited, An Ireland-Canada Co-Production
Nuala Moiselle, Casting By
Frank Moiselle, Casting By
Mary Jo Slater, C.S.A., US Casting Consultant
Steve Brooksbank, US Casting Consultant

**Man, so much left out. Yawn.

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
Entourage • One Day In The Valley • HBO • Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Julian Farino, Director

Extras • Orlando Bloom • HBO • BBC and HBO Entertainment
Ricky Gervais, Director
Stephen Merchant, Director

The Office • Gay Witch Hunt • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille, LLC, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Ken Kwapis, Director

Scrubs • My Musical • NBC • ABC Studios
Will Mackenzie, Director

30 Rock • The Breakup • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Scott Ellis, Director

Ugly Betty • Pilot • ABC • ABC Studios
Richard Shepard, Director

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
Battlestar Galactica • Exodus, Part 2 • Sci Fi Channel • R+D TV in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Felix Alcala, Director

Boston Legal • Son of the Defender • ABC • David E. Kelley Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
Bill D’Elia, Director

Friday Night Lights • Pilot • NBC • Imagine Television, Film 44 in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Peter Berg, Director

Heroes • Genesis • NBC • Tailwind Productions in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
David Semel, Director

Lost • Through the Looking Glass • ABC • ABC Studios
Jack Bender, Director

The Sopranos • Kennedy And Heidi • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Alan Taylor, Director

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip • Pilot • NBC • Shoe Money Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television
Thomas Schlamme, Director

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Drama Series
Dexter • Dexter • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions
Elena Maganini, Editor

Heroes • Genesis • NBC • Tailwind Productions in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Michael Murphy, Editor
Donn Aron, Editor
Louise A. Innes, Editor

Lost • Through The Looking Glass • ABC • ABC Studios
Stephen Semel, Editor
Mark J. Goldman, Editor
Henk Van Eeghen, Editor
Christopher Nelson, A.C.E., Editor

The Sopranos • The Second Coming • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Lynne M. Whitlock, Editor

The Sopranos • Soprano Home Movies • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
William B. Stich, A.C.E., Editor

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Extras • HBO • BBC and HBO Entertainment
Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman

Monk • USA • NBC Universal Television Studio in association with Mandeville Films and Touchstone
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille, LLC, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Steve Carell as Michael Scott

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Boston Legal • ABC • David E. Kelley Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
James Spader as Alan Shore

House • Fox • Heel and Toe Productions, Shore Z Productions, Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with NBC Universal Television
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House

Rescue Me • FX • Produced by Apostle, the Cloudland Company and DreamWorks Television in association with Sony Pictures Television
Denis Leary as Tommy Gavin

The Sopranos • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano

24 • Fox • Imagine Television & 20th Century Fox Television in association with Realtime Productions
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer

**We saw Matthew Fox deliver his best performance of the series, so it's a shame he's not here.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Desperate Housewives • ABC • ABC Studios
Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo

The New Adventures Of Old Christine • CBS • Kari’s Logo Here in association with Warner Bros. Television
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

Ugly Betty • ABC • ABC Studios
America Ferrera as Betty Suarez

Weeds • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with Lions Gate Television and Tilted Productions
Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin

**No shockers here. :/

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Brothers & Sisters • ABC • ABC Studios
Sally Field as Nora Walker

The Closer • Slippin’ • TNT • The Shephard/Robin Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Kyra Sedgwick as Dep. Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit • NBC • A Wolf Films Production in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson

Medium • NBC • CBS Paramount Television, Grammnet, Picturemaker Productions
Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois

The Riches • FX • FX Productions and Fox Television Studios
Minnie Driver as Dahlia Malloy

The Sopranos • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano

**Minnie Driver is a nice surprise; she's awesome in this show. Edie will probably take it.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Entourage • HBO • Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama

Entourage • HBO • Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold

How I Met Your Mother • CBS • Twentieth Century Fox
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille, LLC, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper

**Go Dwight!! "Embers...Emmys...Emeril Lagasse."

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Boston Legal • ABC • David E. Kelley Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
William Shatner as Denny Crane

Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • ABC Studios
T.R. Knight as George

Heroes • NBC • Tailwind Productions in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura

Lost • ABC • ABC Studios
Michael Emerson as Ben

Lost • ABC • ABC Studios
Terry O’Quinn as John Locke

The Sopranos • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti

**I would LOVE to see Emerson take this one, and it's a thrill to see O'Quinn here, too.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
My Name Is Earl • NBC • Amigos de Garcia Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille, LLC, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Conchata Ferrell as Berta

Ugly Betty • ABC • ABC Studios
Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater

Weeds • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with Lions Gate Television and Tilted Productions
Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Brothers & Sisters • ABC • ABC Studios
Rachel Griffiths as Sarah Whedon

Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • ABC Studios
Katherine Heigl as Isobel “Izzie” Stevens

Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • ABC Studios
Chandra Wilson as Dr. Bailey

Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • ABC Studios
Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang

The Sopranos • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano

The Sopranos • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi

**Here's a yawner category...

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series
Entourage • HBO • Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Martin Landau as Bob Ryan

Extras • HBO • BBC and HBO Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen as Himself

Monk • USA • NBC Universal Television Studio in association with Mandeville Films and Touchstone
Stanley Tucci as David Ruskin

My Name Is Earl • NBC • Amigos de Garcia Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Giovanni Ribisi as Ralph Mariano

My Name is Earl • NBC • Amigos de Garcia Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Beau Bridges as Carl Hickey

**You know, Martin Landau was great on Entourage, but not nearly as funny as Maury Chaykin.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Entourage • HBO • Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Producers TBD

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille, LLC, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Producers TBD

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Producers TBD

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Producers TBD

Ugly Betty • ABC • ABC Studios
Producers TBD

Outstanding Drama Series
Boston Legal • ABC • David E. Kelley Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
Producers TBD

Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • ABC Studios
Producers TBD

Heroes • NBC • Tailwind Productions in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Producers TBD

House • Fox • Heel and Toe Productions, Shore Z Productions, Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Producers TBD

The Sopranos • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Producers TBD

Exceptional Merit In Nonfiction Filmmaking
Jonestown: The Life And Death Of Peoples Temple (American Experience) • PBS •
Stanley Nelson, Producer
Sharon Grimberg, Series Producer
Mark Samels, Executive Producer

A Lion In The House (Independent Lens) • PBS •
Steven Bognar, Producer
Julia Reichert, Producer
Sally Jo Fifer, Executive Producer
Lois Vossen, Series Producer

When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts • HBO • 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks in association with HBO Documentary Films
Sam Pollard, Producer
Spike Lee, Producer
Sheila Nevins, Executive Producer
Jacqueline Glover, Supervising Producer

**This is seriously one of the best documentaries I've ever seen; Spike Lee's handled the subject matter brilliantly. I can't recommend this one enough.

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
Extras • Daniel Radcliffe • HBO • BBC and HBO Entertainment
Ricky Gervais, Writer
Stephen Merchant, Writer

The Office • Gay Witch Hunt • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille, LLC, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Greg Daniels, Written by

The Office • The Negotiation • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Reveille, LLC, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Michael Schur, Written by

30 Rock • Tracy Does Conan • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Tina Fey, Written by

30 Rock • Jack-Tor • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Robert Carlock, Written by

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Battlestar Galactica • Occupation/Precipice • Sci Fi Channel • R+D TV in association with NBC Universal Television Studio
Ronald D. Moore, Written by

Lost • Through The Looking Glass • ABC • ABC Studios
Damon Lindelof, Written by
Carlton Cuse, Written by

The Sopranos • Kennedy And Heidi • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Matthew Weiner, Writer
David Chase, Writer

The Sopranos • The Second Coming • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
Terence Winter, Writer

The Sopranos • Made In America • HBO • Chase Films and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Entertainment
David Chase, Writer

**I'm sure Made In America will get it, but a gal can dream!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why the Emmys SUCK
Yes, I'm writing this before the Emmy nominations have been released, but it's because I just read an article on that explained the new nomination process, and it makes me angry. As Mark Harris explains in the piece, voters had to vote on their top 10 shows -- so these are not shows they've necessarily been forced to watch, but the usual pap that sits at the top of the Nielsen ratings -- and The Wire is officially out of the running, because it didn't make the cut? Why is the best season of the best show on television -- bar none -- not nominated for best dramatic series? Because no one watched it. This season was superb. I watch a LOT of television, and have for years, and I have never seen ANYTHING like this season of The Wire. Nothing. Lost, Buffy, Six Feet Under, Angel -- no other show had a season that dropped my jaw, made me think, made me want to cry, made me want to change the world, more than this season of The Wire.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, The Wire is a show you MUST watch from the beginning, see the slow build, watch these characters live, breathe, suffer, and die, and you can't just jump in. But the Emmys only allow one episode to be submitted. One must be chosen to submit for best drama, one must be chosen for any best actor/actress category, one must be chosen for best writing? Could I choose one episode over all the others from this season? Hell no. It's about the arc, but the stupid Emmy voters want one episode. Preferably a 10-second clip if you've got one.

In addition to The Wire being shut out, Battlestar Galactica and The Shield -- two more of my all-time favourite shows -- are also not in the running. As Harris writes:

The Wire was doomed because voters had already decided that it wasn't even one of the year's 10 best dramas. The shows that did make that list include 24, for a season so implausible that even Chloe couldn't keep a straight face, and Boston Legal. That's right: Presented with a staggeringly powerful piece of work that wove politics, drugs, race, violence, and poverty into a crushing examination of the way inner-city public schools betray kids, the Emmy membership decided it just wasn't quite as incisive as William Shatner yelling, ''Denny Crane!''

There's still hope: nowhere in his article did he mention Lost, so it might be in the running. But considering what it's NOT up against, does it matter? Wouldn't it be best for all of us if the Emmys just maintained its current stature as the Battle of the Mediocre TV and left the good shows for us to watch, awardless but with great writing?
Bionic Woman Talks
Michelle Ryan has started doing the rounds of publicity for September's reimagined Bionic Woman. The pilot has gone out to papers, and generally it's getting good reviews, but as Rob McKenzie said in the National Post this morning, the success of this show will depend on the lead character.

I tend to refer to her as Zoe on this blog, and a couple of people have asked me who I'm talking about. But if you knew Zoe Slater, you wouldn't be worried about Michelle pulling off this role. On the longrunning British soap EastEnders (my guiltiest guilty pleasure), Ryan played Zoe, the beautiful but heartbroken girl who always had everything dumped on her. For a while, I couldn't stand her, but even when I saw Zoe as a whiny little annoyance, the actress was playing her exactly the way she was supposed to be.

When the Slaters arrived in Albert Square, Zoe had 4 sisters -- Kat, Lynn, Little Moe, and... help me out, Sue, Dierdre? Bianca? (she doesn't live with them and we've seen her like 3 times) -- and a dad, Charlie. She also had a bigmouthed awful aunt Moe, but enough on her. Soon after they moved there, she discovered that -- gasp! -- Kat was actually her MOM and had been raped by their uncle, Charlie's brother. Zoe was distraught. Then she started dating Anthony, who had previously been dating Kat, the square's bland, loser doctor who seemed to think being 30 and dating a 17-year-old was perfectly fine, and they were going to get married until he woke up one morning and said, "Hey, wait a minute, I know everyone's been saying she's too young but... ohmigod, she's too young!" Dumps her. Sleeps with Kat. Cripes.

Zoe is devastated, but then moves on to Dennis, one of the hottest men on television (let's put up a pic, shall we?) Mmmmmmm.... OK, so, anyway, she's totally in love with Dennis (who WOULDN'T be?) but oops, he's in love with his sister, Sharon (long story). They go back to their cozy little affair they'd been having earlier before the Zoe sham, and then he leaves town suddenly, all confused. Comes back, vows his love to Zoe, and wants to move in together. Like 2 months later, suddenly announces -- at Christmas dinner -- that he and Sharon are in love and moving to NY. Zoe looks like she's going to have a nervous breakdown. Dirty Den (Dennis's nasty, almost pedophilic father) grabs Zoe and pulls her into the back room, telling her to tell Dennis that she's pregnant. She does. Dennis is distraught, no more Sharon. He moves back in with Zoe, she's ashamed of the sham, but realizes that she needs to get pregnant quick. Dennis won't touch her, she doesn't know what to do, so... Dirty Den steps in and does the shagging for his son (ick). She feels disgusted, doesn't get pregnant, Den does the deed a second time, boom, Dennis walks in, she confesses all, and Dennis is gone. Zoe GETS PREGNANT and then Den's wife finds out (yes, he's married) and she pretends to be all sympathetic to Zoe, takes her for an abortion, Zoe has it and then has second thoughts, everyone thinks she's miscarried, she's depressed, and then Den's wife stages an intervention with him where she gets him to confess to sleeping with Zoe, not knowing his beloved daughter is lurking in the shadows, she hears it, he lunges at his wife, Zoe clonks him on the head with a doorstop... he's dead. Well, he's not, but Zoe doesn't know that because she runs away very upset, he grabs his wife's leg, wife gives him another beating on the head that truly kills him, and won't tell Zoe the truth. Zoe, wracked with guilt, thinks about going to the cops until wifey tells her not to, and Zoe packs up and goes on a trip. (That's where I'm at now, and since BBC Canada is 2 years behind, I have no idea what happens next.) Poor Zoe.

So come on, having a bit of metal in her? NOTHING compared to what Zoe Slater went through. ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Top Secret Trailer
As I'm sure most of you have heard, the trailer sweeping theatres (that's right, I said trailer and not film) and getting everyone talking this summer is the J.J. Abrams trailer that has been playing before The Transformers movie. Why are people talking about it? Is it especially good? Well . . . it's pretty good, actually. It's not the greatest trailer I've ever seen, but it's pretty cool.

But the real reason it's got tongues wagging is because in this day and age, where plots to movies and television shows are leaked to the Internet before they make it out of writers' meetings, where signed contracts and greenlit projects make headlines, where no one can click on a camcorder without the rest of the world knowing they're about to film something — NO ONE knows about this film. They don't know what it's called, they don't know what it's about, when he started filming it . . . nothing. All anyone knows is that JJ has been busily working on Star Trek. But this film? Nothing.

I first heard about it about two weeks ago when my sister-in-law dropped by and told me how much she hated the Transformers movie, but said the one saving grace was this wicked trailer that had preceded it. It was confusing, and at the very end simply said it was by JJ Abrams, and that it was coming out in January. No cast, no title . . . nothing beyond what she saw. She said the closest thing she can remember to it is the trailer for the Blair Witch Project. Now I've had links or stories or something sent to me almost every day about it, and I figured I should finally talk about it.

And even the trailer has been mired in secrecy. It goes up on YouTube every single day, only to get yanked back down again. I could try posting a link to YouTube, but I'm sure it'll be gone by tomorrow. For now, I'll post the video that's currently up, and maybe I'll just have to update this daily:

At this point, the speculation is that the film is called Cloverfield, and it's JJ's Godzilla-type picture. Further fuzzying things is the Web site Ethan Haas Was Right, an alternate reality game that some are speculating is tied to the movie. Much like Lost, this game involves putting together intricate puzzles to find clues that give you more puzzles.
Maybe we should think of this as this summer's Lost Experience.
Should TinTin Be Resurrected?
Publisher's Weekly had an interesting news story today on the book, TinTin in the Congo, which has disappeared for several years because of its overt racism. TinTin goes to Africa, and the Africans are depicted to look like monkeys in that old, early 20th century stereotypical way Africans were drawn. Little, Brown has brought the book back out, and Borders has announced they will be carrying it, but in the adult section. Should they?

The argument for the book is that it's an historical document, and that we should look at it as such and see it in its historical context. Is it true, however, that things like this should be kept around because if they aren't, we're doomed to repeat it or something? I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that reasoning. First, it's suggesting that racism is something that happened in the past, and isn't continuing to happen. Do you really think that all adults seeing that book would look at it as a historical document? I think many would be offended, still many others (unfortunately) would find it funny. There's that small segment of the population -- historians, professors, academics -- who would look at it the way Borders intended, but I don't think the rest of them would.

I remember finding a book once a few years ago, maybe it was at my grandparents (I can't remember) and it was a copy of Little Black Sambo. As soon as I opened it I felt my stomach turn. I flipped through it, shocked at how blatant the drawings were, how stereotypical the language was, and how offensive it was. But maybe some part of my brain clicked into what was really going on with what I'd found. Did I suddenly see something bigger -- that while I understand racism was rampant in the early 20th century, it's things like this that bring it to life?

For that reason, should the book be made available?

Here's the complete article from PW, or you can go check it out here:

U.S. Borders stores will stock the popular but controversial children's book Tintin in the Congo in an adult-oriented section of the store because of material the retailer says "could be considered offensive by some of our customers."

The book by Belgian artist Herge, which was first published in 1931, will be published in the U.S. for the first time this fall by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Part of a series of 24 books centered on the adventurer Tintin, the book depicts black Africans that strongly resemble monkeys and dialogue widely considered racist. It was removed from the children's section of U.K. Borders stores and reshelved with the graphic novels last week following complaints of offensive material.

Borders in the U.S. released a statement about the book after PW raised the issue last week. Spokesperson Ann Binkley said the retailer carries some titles from the Tintin series in its children’s sections. She added that the Borders is, "committed to
acting responsibly as a retailer and with sensitivity to all of the communities we serve. Therefore, with respect to the specific title Tintin in the Congo, which could be considered offensive by some of our customers, we have decided to place this title in a section of our store intended primarily for adults—the Graphic Novels section. We believe adults have the capacity to evaluate this work within historical context and make their own decision whether to read it or not. Other “Tintin” titles will remain in the children’s section."

Meanwhile Dara La Porte, manager of the children's department of Politics & Prose in Washington DC, decided after seeing a U.K.-published edition of the book in 2005 not to sell it because of the racist content. "We got it in back a year and a half ago and returned it. We don’t carry it. If Little, Brown has changed it in some way we might consider carrying it," she said.

In a statement on its Web site, Little, Brown acknowledges the book "may be considered somewhat controversial as it reflects the colonial attitudes of the time it was created." A belly band with a similar statement will be wrapped around U.S. editions of the book.

Monday, July 16, 2007

It Was One Year Ago... Last Week
Okay, so not only have I become very lax on actually posting to my blog, but I just discovered four days after the fact that I missed my beloved blog's first birthday (I can promise you that I didn't miss my daughter's, honest! -- by the way, I chose that image of a birthday cake because it was SO similar to my wedding cake... seriously, our mothers stopped speaking to us for a while when they realized we weren't going to go with lace and Victorian crap). My first post was awkward and difficult, but thankfully for all of you, since then it's been nothing but brilliant insights and remarkable prose. Right? Anyone? Is this thing on?

Or I've just been ranting about Rebecca Eckler. Which never gets old for me.

Thanks to everyone who continues to come and post and chat with me and make me feel like my little corner of the blogosphere isn't cold and lonely. I do have a good explanation for last week -- I was away on vacation without a computer for the first time in about three years. It was lovely. But then you come back to an avalanche of emails and you realize you forgot to set up your vacation message and the emails are increasingly hostile with a "WHERE ARE YOU?!" tone to them and you think, sigh, I guess I'll take my computer next time. Or, you know, figure out how to set up one of those vacation messages.

I should have my new and improved cover for Finding Lost — Season Three very soon. Also, someone posted a comment a while ago asking if I could give some tidbits from the new book, and I'm hoping to be able to post the full table of contents in the next week or so, so you'll see what you're in for. It turned out to be a lot longer than I'd anticipated, but hey, there was just too much to talk about in season 3!

I watched my first episode of So You Think You Can Dance last week, and was oddly sucked right in. I always swore I wouldn't watch another talent show after American Idol (which I watched religiously for the first two seasons) and now look at me. I really need to stop with the reality shows and start back with the HBO series that are sitting on my PVR.

I don't know if anyone else has checked out John From Cincinnati, but I watched the first episode and it was super-weird. Yet there was something about it I really liked, so I have the next 4 or so still sitting on the PVR that I need to watch. The thing is, I would say 80% of HBO shows just don't grab me in the first ep. I didn't like Entourage, or Six Feet Under (!), or The Sopranos (!!), or a lot of HBO shows in that first ep because they're always having to cover off so much territory to get you into it. Usually by the third ep, I'm loving it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Make Your Own Kind of Music...
Before I begin, let us just pause to look at the photo of Desmond for a moment, shall we?


OK, I'm back. I mentioned a month ago in another post that a reporter was writing a series of monthly articles on the music on Lost. This month's installment has just been posted, and it's on Desmond's theme song, "Make Your Own Kind of Music," and why that particular song must have been chosen for him. You can read it here.

In other Lost news, Buddy TV is reporting that Lost is up for several Teen Choice Awards, including Best Dramatic Series, Matthew Fox for Best Dramatic Actor, Evangeline for Best Dramatic Actress (so dramatic!), Jorge for Best Sidekick, and Michael Emerson, presumably for Best Villain.

For anyone planning on attending the San Diego Comic Con this year, Damon and Carlton have announced they will once again be doing a panel on the upcoming season, on the Thursday. However, since their season 3 finale got leaked and they announced they'd be going radio silent, it makes me wonder what exactly they'll be saying? The announcement is here on the programme schedule:

5:00-6:30 Lost Season 4
If the Lost finale was any indication of things to come, you will not want to miss this panel! Co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse will discuss the exciting new season of ABC's Lost, all leading up to the ultimate series finale. They'll spotlight bonus features from the 3rd season DVD box set, preview the new Lost video game, take questions from the audience, and perhaps serve up more surprises.

And now, let's just scroll up and stare at the photo again. Mmmmmm....

Friday, July 06, 2007

"Little Boxes, On the Hillside...
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky..." Some people might think the opening theme song to Showtime's Weeds is the most annoying song on earth (and those people now hate me, because trust me, this song will be in your head the rest of the day now), but I LOVE it. Whenever the show is having its run, I'm constantly walking around the house, to my husband's amusement, trying to do the line, "There were doctors, and lawyers, and business executives" in Malvina Reynolds' voice. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out here:

In season 2, we were shocked when an episode opened and it sounded like Elvis Costello singing it. And the following week it was someone else. The game turned into "Guess the singer" which, about 50% of the time, we could, and the other 50% drove us nuts until it reached the end and we could see who it was in the credits.

Showtime's just announced that they'll be doing it again, and this time they have singers like Randy Newman, The Shins (can't WAIT for that one!), and Billy Bob Thornton on board. Others include Joan Baez, Donovan, Michael Franti, The Individuals, Angelique Kidjo, Kinky and Man Man, Persephone's Bees, and about 4 others they haven't yet chosen. I hope they do what they did last time and still let the theme for the finale be the original version. I lurve it.

Season 3 is scheduled to begin on August 13th.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pop Culture Supreme Court Latest Ruling

The Pop Culture Supreme Court ruled on its latest issue: In the current media environment, are radio personalities being held to a different and tougher standard than their peers in print and on television? Unfortunately, due to me trying to get my book finished, I had to bow out of this ruling, but I thought the arguments for and against were both brilliant. Check it out. (Read all of the ones below as well; the bloggers were awesome this time out.)
Random Stuff for a Thursday
Sigh... waiting for the day when The Office returns to my Thursdays... But until then...

There's been a lot of talk about whether or not Harry will die in Book 7. Psychologists are already weighing in on how parents should grief counsel their children should the male wizard bite the bullet. English profs are arguing whether or not his death would follow the grand epic tradition or if it would be ludicrous. What do you think? Will he die? Or should we just read the damn book before arguing this? Speaking of which, this is my little plea to people to find a local bookstore -- a children's bookstore, or an independent of some kind -- and either pre-order the book from them or pick it up on Saturday. While the Amazon Saturday delivery is nice, and the deep discounts even nicer, this book is a chance for the small guy to actually make some cash, so try to give it to them. For Torontonians, I'm pretty sure Book City takes preorders; it's where I've gotten my past couple of books. (In fact, they do; I just picked up the phone and called them, and they'll take them right up to the 20th.) Support your local independent bookstore!

Sex and the City is definitely going to be a movie. Hmm... I LOVED this show, it made me laugh hysterically, and I constantly bounced from one to the next on who was my favourite, though usually it ended up as Charlotte. The thing is, we last left the girls in 2004, and I was pretty happy with how it ended. Do we really need a movie?

I loved this Popwatch column on EW, where you have to mention your geekiest pop culture moments. First of all, LOVED Life Goes On. When Chad Lowe's character was nearing the end of his AIDS battle, I would cry for days afterwards. And as for the calling each other on the phone, during the first two seasons of Amazing Race, my friend Sue and I would call each other on every commercial break, and sometimes continue the conversation into the actual show, doing simultaneous "Ooooohh!"s and "WHAT?!"s while we watched. And it was not a local call. I'm sure these don't rank up there as my geekiest moments (in fact, I know they don't) but I have to seriously think about what mine would be. What are yours?

Ah screw it, let me think: Um... I wrote a bunch of books about TV. That's GOT to rank right up there. When I was 10 I touched Donny Osmond's jacket and thought I'd never wash my hand again (I did). I went to see the Jacksons on their Victory Tour, but I was 11 and couldn't see a damn thing. My brother and I would set our alarm clocks for 1 a.m. and get up on Saturday mornings, all groggy and tired, to watch this music video show that was only on then. My parents, for some reason, let us. Years later, we'd set our alarms for 1 a.m. Sunday mornings and get up to watch WWF wrestling. Why the scheduling was like that on those shows is beyond me. Once playing weird charades with my cousins, my brother picked me up in a piledriver hold and I thought my grandmother was going to pass out in fear. I collected E.T. collector cards (the ones that came with that crappy pink flat stick of gum). I watched Dukes of Hazzard every Friday night and NEVER missed it. I was in love with Bo Duke. I tried to learn the Doogie Howser theme on piano, even though I kinda hated it. Fastforward.... I collect Buffy action figures. I touched Larry Mullen Jr.'s arm at a U2 concert and nearly passed out with glee. I almost beat up someone at a Morrissey concert when Morrissey threw his shirt into the audience and I grabbed the sleeve of it, and 8 other people had parts as well (I held on as long as I could, but lost it... years later my husband went back to see him again and he got the front panel of the shirt and brought it home as a prize; we still have it on the wall). I followed Radiohead for a week of shows, and on night 3 Thom Yorke caught on that we were following them and dedicated a song to us from the stage. I was on the subway once with my friend Jeremy and we were testing each other's Simpsons knowledge and he asked me to name the word Bart used in Scrabble, and I said, "Kwyjibo," and Jeremy just stared at me and said, "I bow to you." (Considering he's the single biggest Simpsons fan I know, this was a proud moment for me.) I attended the Toronto Film Festival for about 3 years in a row with my best friend Sue and we'd see 30 films in 8 days, and then blog about them extensively every night, even if we got home at 1 a.m. (at the end of the week, the blog would exceed 25,000 words... seriously). Since we didn't actually have a blog, we'd just email it to friends.

I have way more, but I'll stop there. Out-geek THAT! (Yeah... you probably don't want to...)

Nathan Fillion is apparently joining Desperate Housewives. Frak. Why can't he join the cast of a show I watch? Wah. But... good for him.

The White Stripes are currently touring Canada (EVERYWHERE in Canada, including Nunavut) and showing up in secret shows across the country. Go to YouTube and type in "white stripes secret" and you'll see them joining a busker on the street, playing on a bus in Winnipeg (20 fans were told they'd be escorted to a secret show, and then the bus had to "make a stop" and Jack and Meg got on), playing in a bowling alley, and playing a Youth Centre in Burnaby. They rock. The only reason I'm not going is I went to see Muse at this same point in my last pregnancy and found it uncomfortable, and only afterwards heard that the baby's hearing is already sensitive so it was probably quite frightening for her, and I don't want to do that again. They'll be back. Anyone who sees them in the next few shows, post to let me know just how awesome they were.

I don't know how I missed this, but a month late, here's a rundown of some of the cast of Battlestar Galactica at the preview party for season 4. It's worth it just to read Jamie Bamber's response to Olmos winning an ALMA award.

I probably have lots more to say, but I'm tired tonight... more soon! :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Flight of the Conchords: My New Favourite Laugh
Dashing to finish my book, I've been letting several shows pile up on my PVR, hoping to get to them later, and one of those is HBO's new show, Flight of the Conchords (airing on TMN Sunday nights at 10:30pm). Flight of the Conchords is a New Zealand duo who have been making audiences laugh for years at their crazy songs -- they tour, just the two of them, and sit on stage with their guitars and sing about love, issues, and racist dragons. HBO first brought them to the public's eye in 2005 with their brief special, One Night Stand, that became so hugely requested on the network they asked if they could spin it into a comedy show. Here's a clip from that stage show (how they don't make each other laugh is beyond me):

The series is about the duo -- Jemaine and Bret -- trying to make it in the U.S., but not having much luck. They have one RABID fan who follows them around and seems to show up wherever they are, and knows everything about them (her husband sits in the car with her, idling outside restaurants for hours so she can run over and talk to them and pretend she just happened to be there). The two have inane conversations that will have you in stitches:
"Fleetwood Mac used to be really huge."
"Yeah... Rumours."
"No, fact."

In the middle of the action, suddenly they begin singing directly into the camera, and the show turns into a bad '80s video, and the result is brilliant. Here's a clip of the first time it happens in the pilot episode. Just listen to the lyrics of this song, and you'll get the perfect idea of what the show is like (Bret has a beard now and shorter hair):

Their manager seems to work for the New Zealand embassy, with all these posters around him that aren't quite raving about it. They sit in his wood-panelled office complaining to him that they need to have more gigs, while behind him you see a picture of a green mountain that simply says, "New Zealand -- Just Like Lord of the Rings." Behind them is another one, with blue water, and it says, "New Zealand: Don't Expect Much. You Will Love It." He goes to a shop to buy a video camera, misunderstands when the guy asks him what his budget is -- "What, I was supposed to bring a budget? It's got a lot of confidential information on it, you know... you need to see my annual budget before you'll sell me a camcorder?" -- and ends up buying a camera phone, on which he records their video. The result is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

From weird things going on in the background, to the genius lyrics, to the great deadpan acting of the main duo, Flight of the Conchords is the perfect show with which to spend the summer months. I love it!