31 December 2012

Les Cupcakérs

It's 7:36pm on New Years Eve! The cupcaker awards are cutting it close this year! Man, good thing this is all planned out already and voted on and everything. Last year's Best Best of 2011 List of 2011 incorrectly referred to the recent Mayan non-apocalypse as Aztec. Let's hope this year gets a little more professional, please.


1) Best Car of 2012: Gabriel Camria Carquez Kotter, PhD of Automobile Physics. Amazing job yet again, Gabe. Very well done this year.

2) Best Holiday Cookies of 2012: In a shocking turn of events, we have a three-way tie this year:

 a) Scottish Shortbread Cookies, congratulations.
 b) Peppermint Toffee Bark, good job.
 c) Clementine Chanukah Cookies with Clementine Icing, nice work indeed.

3) Best Most-Watched Movie of 2012 (Besides Home Alone and Dazed & Confused): The Birdcage! In fact, when a friend of mine tweeted "The D is silent," I thought he was referencing Nathan Lane's Coleman/Goldman monologue. Then I tweeted back, "in fact, we never know where we are until we hear our last name pronounced!" It turned out he was quoting Django Unchained.

4) Best Tarantino Movie of 2012: Djano Unchained, you did it! You were full of laughs and explosions. I only just wish I knew what was up with that bandanna woman (Zoe Bell, the stunt woman from Death Proof!). I bet she has some really cool 45-second backstory, and I don't even know what it is. I will make it up right now:
Tracker Helga was raised by German immigrants as well, by a family whose great-great-nephew became a prominent Obergruppenführer in the SS relatively early on in WWII. She tracked slaves because her brothers tracked slaves, and she was good at it. She'd give her fugitives a ten-minute head start and then give her starving dogs their old rags to sniff them out. One summer night, when it was so hot the sun might as well have been out, she thoughtlessly wiped the sweat off her lip with one of her fugitives' bandannas. Her dogs, rightfully angry at her for being kept so hungry all the time and now noticing her scent, went right for her mouth. Ever since then she's worn a bandanna and fed her dogs food right off her plate.
5) Best Djano Unchained Fan Fic of 2012: The above Tracker Helga story. Wow, could you imagine if Tarantino had worked his magic on that? Granted, it doesn't really move the plot any further along. But then again neither do minutes 4-7 of the KKK guys. Not that I didn't love the KKK guys!

6) Best Grocery Store of 2012: Guys I don't know if you know this, but Trader Joe's has some pretty good prices. It's so busy, though. But not the one at home! Well done, Trader Joe.

7) Best New Show/s of 2012: I don't know, what was even new this year? That can't be good. Let me look it up. Oh, Animal Practice! Haha, only kidding, you did not win the award, Animal Practice. Haha. Oh, The Mindy Project! I like that. That one wins. Great job, Mindy and Ike Barinholtz. I'm also into Revolution. And to tell the truth, I didn't mind 666 Park Avenue, but it's gone now. It's probably all for the best.

8) Best President of 2012 and Beyond: Barack Obama. President Obama, it is go time.

9) Best Series Finale Recap of 2012: It was a close race between my Gossip Girl finale recap and my Jersey Shore finale recap, but I'm going to go ahead and give it to the Jersey Shore one. Remember my first Jersey Shore one? Aww, best of.

10) Best Best of 2012 List of 2012 Readers: IT'S YOU! YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 photo courtesy EnjoyHiltonHead.com

26 December 2012

The Last Jersey Shore Ever: Bonfire of the Series Finales

I can’t believe we’re here. After three years of alcoholism, abusive relationships, and unsightly arrests for unruly behavior, we’ve come to the end of Jersey Shore. The first time I saw these chumps, I knew I could never stop watching them. Like a psychology student observing toddlers from the secret side of a 2-sided mirror, I analyzed everything they did, knowing that one day it would bring me to a new understanding of humankind. And the understanding I achieved was this: I guess I have to start watching Buckwild now.

To end this crazy show with a bang, Vinny suggests throwing a huge bonfire party with all their relatives and friends. Since Vinny is the littlest guido, it’s momentous that he has finally cemented his place as Family Event Planner. He’s growing up, but not before trying out a few dozen “I’m getting wood with Pauly D!” jokes along the way.

Uncle Nino and Situation’s sister show up at the bonfire, but otherwise I’m let down by how few people end up going. Where’s Ryder? Where’s Deena’s mom, Judge Deena? We do, however, finally acknowledge the existence of the thousands of boardwalk stalkers who’ve been crowding around Seaside’s t-shirt stores and clubs for the past 2.9 years. We see you, show-tourists. We know how much work you’ve put into making Seaside Heights the Jersey Shoriest place on earth. We salute you.

During the bonfire, Sammi talks to her parents about moving in with Ronnie after this is all over. Her father reminds her about all the times he put her through shit, but she’s ready to move past it. Ronnie talks to his father about moving in with Sammi as well. “Enjoy. Your. Youth,” he dissuades. The bonfire is doused in an eerie foreshadowing of the fate of SamRon’s romance.

I just want to take a minute to remember the Lost Seasider, who came back to stalk the gang last week: Trash Bags McGoo. Replacing Angelina Pivarnick with Deena Cortese was the best choice anyone at MTV has ever made. I just want to make sure I’ve documented my opinion, in case anyone was confused about if 

is anywhere near even comparable to

The day after the bonfire, Pauly D and Mike go to their last shift at the Shore Store. Danny and Mike finally admit their mutual disdain for each other, and Jwoww and Sammi head over to Simply Sun, where a surprise gift waits for Mike. The girls are disgusted by Paula’s pathetic refusal to give up on the Situation. They bring home the gift cake and Mike has Vinny read the note (yet again. Can Mike read? Are they encouraging Vinny's reading because he's the littlest?). Pauly D has a bad feeling about looking that gift cake in the mouth.

In response to Sammi's deck prank last week, Vinny and Pauly D pull one last prank: they bring Ron and her air mattress downstairs. Somehow they rip it in the process, so they put it back where it was and leave that as the prank. Sure enough, Ron is pissed when he finds out his air mattress is punctured. And he's pissed at Sammi. 

Ron's actually mad at Sammi. She's baking cakes for Sitch and Pauly D's twin birthdays instead of apologizing to him for starting this wretched prank war. It's not like any of these people could furnish an entire dormitory with deluxe air mattresses a hundred times over. They only make $5,000,000,000 an episode. 

Ron takes Sam out to the back patio to hash out a season-2-style fight. Vinny and Pauly make popcorn and watch from the living room with Jwoww. Ron mocks Sammi, so Sammi dares Ron not to be with her. Ron dares her to find better. Is this the prank? Any one of the roommates could just pull a bill out of a wallet and end this. How much do really nice air mattresses cost? I'm looking it up.

This one looks very nice, and since it's on Overstock, I will multiply the price by 3 to make up for whatever sale might be applied. That makes $600. I'm willing to bump that up the extra $400 a person like Ron would overpay for it. Any one of these people could lose $1000 on the street and come out ok. Is this the prank? Are Sam and Ronnie's parents pulling a prank by incepting relationship doubt into their heads? 

Sam tells Ron why he's wrong and then tells him that she had an amazing summer and that she loves him. He apologizes, and they kiss and make up. IS THIS THE PRANK??? I'm glad they're not fighting anymore but ????

The next day at Simply Sun, the gang finds out the mystery of the gift cake: its frosting has been tainted by contact with testicles. Mike, Pauly, and li'l ol' Deensie all partook of the gift cake, and Mike calls Paula to get her to admit what she's done. She fakes a bad connection, so Mike breaks the duck phone once and for all. Considering where the season started (Paula supporting Mike through his sobriety) and where the season ends (Sitch's infidelity leading to ingesting testiclecake), I'm happy with how things have gone. Without the cameras, Mike was vulnerable and open to help. Because of the cameras, his vanity causes his downfall. Ha ha ha, Mike ate something he didn't want to.

The gang heads up to the balcony to reminisce one last time about their summers at the shore. Remember when Snooki got punched? Remember when Deena took her bikini bottoms off? Remember how Jwoww was supposed to end up with Pauly D but it never ended up happening and now she's marrying some asshole with one of those line-beards?

Pauly wakes everyone up on their last day by clanging pots and pans in their ears. They all pack up and try not to cry. They group hug in the parking lot for so long, I'm worried they'll get arrested. Eventually they let each other go and leave with their cars in a funeral procession. Pauly croaks out a goodbye to Seaside, and Danny nails a "for rent" sign on the house. AND THEN I DIE.

I just feel like these kids should get together every year for my sake. I don't need to be in on it. I probably should be, but I don't have to be. I just can't believe we've finally seen the the Legend of Seaside through to the end. It was a superb cast this year. They performed it just like when Papá took me to see it in matinée at la Scala, my first viewing. The clouds rolled in and provided percussion behind the dulcet tones of the guido roommates meeting for the first time. It was magical, as was this. They got crazy.

photos courtesy mtv.com

18 December 2012

DUH: Gossip Girl Ends (Spoiler Filled!)

Obviously Dan was Gossip Girl because who ELSE would notice that loser long enough to nickname him "Lonely Boy?"

Congratulations on all the weddings, guys.

photos courtesy of cwtv.com

14 December 2012

A Jersey Shore Triple Play: The Meatball Journey

Sometimes Jersey Shore is better in 3-hour long chunks. It's easier to see trends and storylines come to fruition. For instance, episodes 10-12 taught me how two Meatballs can reconnect, spawn a Baby Meatball, and introduce thousands of new Meatballs into an unsuspecting society. It's like Gremlins.

 Part 1: The Meatballs Reunite.

"Shore Shower" begins with Snooki bemoaning Jionni's love of men's softball. It keeps him from her, and she's lonely. Resident Male Meatball Ronnie sneaks into the girls' room in a giant gorilla suit. It is how Meatballs do inceptions on other Meatballs, and the idea they're planting is "Hey, maybe hang out with Deena for once."

And so Snooki FINALLY acknowledges Deena as a friend and fellow Meatball. After months of alternating snobbery and jealousy, Snooki and Deena get down to business discussing why Deena can't sleep naked: a bunch of spiders will most likely crawl up her vagina and lay eggs or something up there. Yikes, Deena. "I'm kinda full," Snooki says. "I think I have to poop." "So go poop," suggests her best friend.

The only glitch is Snooki's insistence on going to the Baby Store. She has no idea Jwoww has been planning a surprise baby shower, and now it just looks like none of the roommates want to spend time with her. Sammi intercepts Jionni at the door to keep him from going shopping with her, then worries that he'll be killed in his sleep. Maybe if anyone could come up with a decent lie it could help, but no one does. No "I want to go with you, but can we go tomorrow instead?" or "I'm waiting on a thing I ordered for you and I want you to see it before you buy more stuff." Only "I can't...want to go...with you. ...Sorry?"

Mike keeps running into Paula at the club and he can't handle it. He accuses her of cockblocking him for saying goodbye as she leaves with a meth head. "Busted! Yessssss, called it!" says Ronnie. A few nights later they try out a new club called Merge, but no one warns them that it's FULL OF TRASH BAGS! That's right, Angelina is there. And it is hitting Jenni HARD.

"I know I ain't chillin' by the dumpster, but I smell trash!" says Ronnie, whom I'm eating up right now. Rewatching season one made me warm up to the kid again, even though he's still severely affected by steroidal rage and emotional stupidity. Trash Bags goes around hugging everyone and apologizing to them and trying desperately to stay on screen for longer than she should. Freaking Trash Bags.

Jwoww and Roger go home early to avoid Angelina, and by the time they're asleep in the Smush Room, a gorilla walks in and tickles Roger. Hahahaha, Ronnie, stop!!!! He's incorrigible. Vinny comes home with 2 girls only to find that the Smush Room is occupied. "GET A HOTEL ROOM????" asks my boyfriend. They do have a LOT of money. Eventually one girl leaves and Vinny has regular, 2-person sex with the other one.

The next day is Snooki's baby shower. Jwoww stares out of the thatched window at Rivoli's to watch for Snooki's arrival. She knows she's going overboard, but it's all worth it. Snooki cries when she finally gets the surprise. Everyone is happy, hungry, and slightly more mature than when this whole thing started. So Vinny gets up from the table to make things right with Jionni.


Part 2: The Meatballs Conceive

Pauly's new favorite thing is to yell "Awk-warddd!" in falsetto, and he does it a lot. In fact he does it so much, it's the name of the episode. "Baby shower PROBLEMS!" Pauly explains further. He's talking about Vinny and Jionni hashing things out in the parking lot, where men do business.

Jionni sounds like James Gandolfini on helium. But he respects what Vinny did, coming to him and apologizing like that, and it makes Snooki happy. She's so happy, she initiates a baby bottle drinking contest, and Ronnie wins because he's the only one who realizes you can bite the tip of the bottle. Everyone is ecstatic. Then Jwoww opens her mouth and starts raining down "you're going to be a bad father" all over Jionni. Softball's IMPORTANT, Jwoww. WHAT DON'T YOU GET!!!!

Mike decides to follow Vinny's lead and apologize to Snooki for all the things he's done to her. It's a surprisingly reasonable apology, and she "kinda accepts, kinda." Mike is through the roof. When he gets back home, Vinny is still tenderly buzzing Pauly D's hair. No mention at all that this is even the least bit homosocial. Vinny's touching Pauly's face so softly to keep the hair clipper pressure even. We've finally reached homo-stasis!

To celebrate everyone's Pax Guidano, Sammi locks the boys out on the patio as a prank. I can't wait to see how this gets heightened and returned. Unfortunately it doesn't happen in this episode. The coming Prank War is on hold for a little GTX (Gym, Tan, See Your Ex bc She Works There). Pauly screams "Ex-girlfriend PROBLEMS!" and "Awk-ward! Awk-ward!" over and over because I guess he doesn't know what else to do.

Paula hands Mike a letter, which Mike has Vinny read aloud when they get home. It's all about how devoted she still is and how she's willing to be patient and it's yet another surprisingly kind thing that's happened in Seaside Heights in the past few days. But Vinny's pretty upset about the 2 or 3 words she dropped, so she must be some kind of idiot.

Vinny and Snooki ride their Rascals out on the boardwalk and call themselves "Karen & Vincenzo." They scoot right into the club where everyone else is - and where Mike is berating Paula for asking him to hold her drink. As Mike thinks "she's known how to treat me for 3-4 summers now! How does she not know now?!," Snooki and Vinny cruise back out and pass by some fans calling Snooki a "fat fuck" on the boardwalk. Vinny throws that Rascal into reverse and scares the shit out of them.

The next day Snooki invites a psychic named Zen Jen to come over and trick Deena into thinking the house is haunted. Miraculously, Zen Jen is willing to make a mockery of the very real spirits she makes her living off of. She tells Deena her bed is definitely a poltergeist. Deena is chilled to her soul.

Snooki invites all the girls to her sonogram appointment, and they immediately notice how large Baby Lorenzo's penis is. Then he flips them the bird with his little fetus fingers. I guess he heard them call him a Meatball.

Pauly invites Jionni out to smoke cigars with the fellas. They discuss his business (he owns a few ATMs in a few clubs) and his intentions (to marry Snooki). Despite his nervousness, Jionni passes their test with flying colors. Manly, NJ-appropriate colors.

Part 3: The Meatballs Reproduce

"It's Raining Men and Meatballs" and Boobs, apparently. Everyone's out at the club and Mike's on a cautious date with Paula after reading her heartfelt note. But every time she gets up to get a new drink, he finds a new girl to grind with. This most recent girl has a tube top that's staying up via nothing but witchcraft and sweat. Her boobs are spilling so sincerely out. Jenni calls Mike a Sneaky Dickens. I should say so. Paula's upset.

Mike walks home with Boobs McGoo only to trip her on a curb and "help stabilize her" by pulling her top the rest of the way down. If this were written down you could publish it in a middle school pornographic literature contest. It would definitely place, but in the end it would lose out to "Mrs. O'Malley Erases the Chalkboard without Realizing her Skirt is Tucked into her Hose," the steamy tale of a detention-bound student and his recently divorced mentor. Mike sends her home, by the way, for being too sloppy.

Pauly D finally has sex for possibly the first time all summer. Everyone is proud of him. They're proud of him for sealing the deal, for doing it quickly, and for sending the girl packing within 15 minutes of walking into the house. Our little 32 year old is growing up so fast!

Deena and Snooki throw Meatball Auditions, which is one of their stupider ideas. Folks, I've been watching these girls make dumb choices for years now, and I can tell from the start that this won't work out. First, you don't hold auditions to find a Meatball - Meatballs find each other naturally. They roll toward each other on the floor of the food court. They slip in each other's vomit at the Karma ladies room. The real Meatballs don't respond to a megaphone on a boardwalk. Only tourists do.

Second, the only Meatball the girls actually do find is quickly eliminated, I'm assuming because she's over 5'1". They're left with a couple of dumb losers and a dumb loser from Scotland. Guess who hates the new Meatballs: every single roommate!

Somehow they shake the Feetballs (fake, foot-scented Meatballs) and go back to Merge, their new home away from home. Deena's a mess, naturally, and she lies on the floor of the club shimmying her vagina back and forth. Jenni takes her home and Mike puts her to bed. "Thank you, J," murmurs Deena. Mike's like "whatever." ONLY SHE JUST CALLED YOU A GIRL THO MIKE! BURN!

Meanwhile Ronnie and Sammi decide to move in together when the show ends. They go mini golfing to seal the deal. "Yesss!" Ronnie screams as Sammi misses a putt. Back at home the gals try to open a bottle of wine with a regular butterfly wine opener, the kind you figure out how to use when you're 14 and interested in simple machines/drinking alcohol. I'm sorry, have these girls never opened a wine bottle before? Because that's by far the most flabbergasting thing I've seen on this entire series.

Sammi cooks their last Sunday dinner in Seaside, and Mike provides dessert. The dessert is a strip tease that no one asked for. He handcuffs Jenni to a chair in the middle of their living room and pulls 6 bubble guns out of thin air. Then he humps Jenni for a while and pretends to almost take off his pants. Snooki suggests that she'd fart in his face if he ever tried to give her a lap dance. It is one solid evening.

And so we leave our Seaside brethren until next week, when we will watch the last episode of Jersey Shore of all time. In the past 3 weeks, we went from 2 Meatballs to 2 1/2 Meatballs to several dozens of Meatballs. I can only assume that next week will destroy a lot of Meatball reserves, and that's why they needed to bolster their forces like that. Meatballs, this is your Independence Day.

photos courtesy mtv.com and Peony Lim

04 December 2012

"Made To Suffer": The Day-Long Wait For Eternity

God I love The Walking Dead. This season has been a huge leap forward in terms of pacing, coolness, and economy. Gone are the days of 6-week debates about hostage rights. Here to stay are the decisive bullets that issue forth from Carl's gun. And to think I almost missed the episode because of a silly competitionless cable company. Fios I am ready for you! I am ready to get crazy!

Someone's screaming up a storm in these woods. A black gentleman that I'm immediately going to assume is Tyreese (comics!) looks around for the source of the screams. They aren't coming from his companion, a no-nonsense sass factory named Sasha. They're coming from the dumb white couple who can't jettison a lady even after her arm has been chewed off. They haul themselves through a crumbled spot in the prison fence - presumably into an uncleared cell block that's teeming with hungry zombies!!! Oh boy, I sure hope these guys can help Carl when the Woodbury dispatch gets there. They're still coming, right?

Andrea goes by "Mrs. Governor" these days, and she hasn't been this annoying since before she knew how to aim and shoot a gun. The Governor shoos her away so he can spend another quality afternoon with his zombified daughter, Penny. He probably surrounds himself with loser women like this to stoke his desperate misogyny. "Women! And Zombies! Are Jerks!!!!!!!!!! NEVER FORGET, MYSELF!"

Glenn and Maggie cuddle for a bit before realizing that they can craft shivs by simply tearing out the radius and ulna of a dead zombie's forearm! People should do this more often. What? Beck. Also I was thinking that it could be a good idea to guard a prison with a moat made of zombies, but (a) how would you protect the guards and (b) a prisoner could probably deal with killing a few zombies. But what if it's, like, a packed herd of zombies? More problematic for reason (a).

Did anyone else think the "Screaming Pit" would be something way scarier than just the zombie wrestling arena we've already seen?

Michonne leads Rick's gang in through Woodbury's secret entrance. Some redneck catches them, but they gun-butt him before he can do anything. Sorry friend, but this bud is NOT for you. Haha!

Good old Axel, that van-dyked freakosaurus. He's talking up Maggie's blonde little sister (what's her name again? Egg?) while she holds the baby. Carol waltzes up and in no uncertain terms tells him to stay the eff away from the young women of the group. He counters with "I would've hit on you, but you're such an intense lesbian" or something flattering like that. At least he addresses her haircut. HOW DOES SHE KEEP IT THAT SHORT?? "Wait, Rick, we've gotta stop here for a few minutes. I think there's a pair of barbershop scissors in the upstairs bathroom...I, I can sense it."

Glenn and Maggie rush the Woodbury guards once they open the door, and Maggie stabs one of them in the neck. Unfortunately Glenn hesitates with Merle, and two new guards show up to help fight the hostages before they can kill him. But not before Rick's gang comes to help with one of their signature smoke bombs! Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar slink into the smoke and extract Glenn and Maggie with literally no more blood lost. It's almost pointlessly bloodless, as I find myself wanting more blood.

The gang escapes to a nearby kitchen set-up as Michonne closes the door - with her on the outside. She's hereby abandoning the group in order to kill the Governor, for what I'm not sure. She gets weird vibes from him, sure, but does she know he made Maggie take her shirt off and then made her think he'd rape her? She's pretty sure he's a liar, but does she know he's keeping a little zombie girl chained up in his zombiequarium crawl space? What did Michonne glean from his psycho notebook? She doesn't care. She just wants this guy dead.

The Governor wants Andrea to go around and check the houses, which somehow translates in her brain to "take off your shoes and cook me some beef stroganoff, sugar lips." She's seriously upset that he has asked her to do any job other than shoot guns. She'd probably have to carry a gun on the neighborhood beat, but the Governor ends up having to pull rank to convince her. "Just do as I ask," he commands. "Sure," she says, and I'm wondering if Michonne could just take note here. That's how you get Andrea to shut up and help.

But Michonne can't take notes because she's busy sweating up a storm in the Governor's office and gripping the katana blade with her hands. She hears a noise coming from the zombiequarium. I guess it's louder than all the gunfire outside.

Rick's gang is full-on shooting at living humans right now. There's a smoke-filled gunfight at the Woodbury town square, and Andrea's shooting wildly into the clouds. She sees a "young, black man" (Oscar is not someone I'd physically describe as "young" - more like "huge") and suddenly Shane is here, walking around with hair like it's a Hair Pride Parade. He shoots Oscar in the gut and starts in for Rick. Now is NOT the time for hallucinations, Rickthony. I can't believe Axel is the only original prisoner left. And I REALLY can't believe that you have to die if you're a black man and another black man shows up. I shudder to think what will happen when we meet a new Korean guy.

Carl and Hershel hear some familiar screaming in the far reaches of the prison. Excellent, good work continuing to scream, shoulder-bitten woman in Tyreese's group. Carl seeks out the noise ALONE but for a flashlight and silencer-fitted gun. I can't believe Carl right now. He's a better shot than Annie Oakley, or at least he's on his way. Is that fair? Annie Oakley was pretty good, but so's this kid. Tyreese punches a zombie in the face. Carl then shoots it in the head. Can you imagine what Adult Carl will be like??? He locks the group in a large cell and insists that they kill Shoulder Bite. Dang, Carl. Dang.

Michonne thinks Zombie Penny is a human girl because she's wearing clean clothes and a bag over her head. This is so effed up. She gets a scare when she realizes the little girl is actually a toothless, snapping zombie, and she gets more of a scare when the Governor walks in with a gun. Somehow he offers his gun (and life) for his (zombie) daughter's safety. How are they humanizing him this much? The Governor of the comic book [spoiler, sort of?] is freaking scary. He's greasy and scarred and manipulative and into zombie gladiators and furthermore he lacks any moral compass whatsoever. I guess this tv depiction creates a more three-dimensional character, but at what cost? I feel like I can't get fully on-board with Michonne wanting to kill him this way! [end of spoiler] At any rate, Michonne kills Penny with a sword through the back of the head.

The Governor shoves Michonne's face into the zombiequarium, which is full of snapping zombie heads. There's glass everywhere and now there are hungry zombie heads everywhere (not to mention stinky zombie water), and although Michonne eventually gets a huge shard of glass into the Governor's eye, it doesn't kill him. God damn it. Then Andrea stumbles in like "What have you done???!!!!!" "Look around you, idiot," offers my boyfriend. What do you THINK happened, ANDREA?????

Michonne makes it back out to the group and convinces them that she belongs with them. I'm not sure why, though - it's sort of like "Just take me with you. That other thing...no, who cares? Me with you. That's what I want?" Meanwhile, the Governor gets an eye patch and a renewed sense of vengeance. "Merle's a terrorist!" he cries, even though Merle is about as loyal a capo as you could want. The Governor accuses him of leading the group into town. He throws a handcuffed Daryl down in front of Merle. KILL YOUR BROTHER, he demands with his last remaining eyeball!

How did my imagined recap from yesterday rate? Let's see:
  • Rick's gang enters Woodbury CORRECT
  • Michonne has a face-to-face with the Gov & scowls CORRECT
  • Andrea finds out Milton is evil DIDN'T HAPPEN
  • Judith is fine but there's trouble in the prison CORRECT
  • The gang uses zombies as weapons NO, NOT REALLY AT ALL
  • There's another helicopter NOPE
  • They run into Zombie Jim from season 1 I DON'T THINK I SAW HIM
  • They fall into an underground utopia NOT THIS TIME
  • They defeat the Governor NO, JUST HIS EYEBALL
  • He manages to stay alive YEP, SADLY
  • He steals Judith the baby NOT YET BUT OH GEEZ WHAT IF!
  • There's a pond full of zombies NO PONDS TO SPEAK OF
Not bad, that's 6 correct guesses and 8 incorrect ones. You can thank Time Warner for the misinformation.


photos courtesy amctv.com

03 December 2012

Walking Dead: What I Imagine Must Have Happened

Dear Time Warner Cable,

Congratulations: you have managed to keep me guessing for 5 years. Will my show record? Will it stay on the DVR list when I have time to watch it? Will the cable box eventually respond to my pressing the remote control? Is it the batteries? I always know the answer to the last question. No, it is never the batteries.

My DVR was recording The Walking Dead at 9:15pm Eastern last night. By 10:25pm Eastern, the episode was mysteriously absent from my cable box. I can't imagine that a cable company knows this, but I try to write recaps for this show the day after it airs because I like it so very much. I try to spend as much of Monday as I can thinking about what I saw the night before. Last night's episode of The Walking Dead was the midseason finale - dare I say, the most important episode of the season.

Screw you, Time Warner, for screwing me again and again and again. You make my favorite hobby into a tedious punishment. I used to love television. Now I have to imagine what could have possibly been broadcast last night.

To everyone reading this: if you have the option not to use Time Warner (they seem to be a monopoly where I live), you might consider saving your money. Otherwise there's a 100% guarantee that it's going straight into the toilet.


What I Imagine Must Have Happened

Last episode left off with Rick's scouting gang creeping toward the edge of Woodbury. I imagine that they must enter the township, but I have no way of knowing since Time Warner Cable deleted it from my DVR. Michonne probably has a face-to-face with the Governor and I would bet that she scowls during it.

Andrea probably finds out something sinister about Milton the Scientist. Maybe he's trying to take brain matter out of live zombies, who knows, I sure don't. Maybe he isn't sinister at all. I might be too upset for this.

Judith is most likely fine but I'm willing to guess there's trouble in the prison. Oh yeah, the Governor was sending off a team to scout/assassinate the prison survivors. Maybe our gang uses the zombies as weapons against the Woodbury creeps. Again, though, there's no way to be sure. Maybe Carl does something smart? I wish I knew.

Maybe there's another helicopter. Maybe they run into Zombie Jim from season 1. Maybe they fall into a sinkhole and it turns out there's a whole city underground that's doing just fine, thriving even. Maybe Tyreese. Maybe they defeat the Governor. Maybe he manages to stay alive. Maybe he steals Judith the baby. Maybe they take a boat out on a pond but see that the bottom of the pond is full of zombies reaching up at them.

I imagine these things could have happened. Only Time Warner Cable knows for sure.

photo courtesy amctv.com

26 November 2012

When The [Walking] Dead Come Knocking

When the dead come knocking
Out from the sweet night,
Your doorways need blocking;
Snuff out your light.

For zombies always try
To get in when, tho they're lazy.
So get ready to die.
Before then GET CRAZY.
                                              -Lord Byrains

Merle's been feeling motivated lately. He wants to find his brother Daryl, so he's been forming hunting gangs and taking detours into red zones and killing curly-haired people willy-nilly. Now he's got Glenn in an interrogation room. This does not bode well for our favorite car thief.

Michonne hobbles around the front of the prison, sort of killing walkers and sort of giving up. Eventually Rick and Carl get tired of watching and rescue her with their two-man dream-team zombie-killing abilities. It's ridiculous how much better it is to see your protagonists be good at something than bad at it. Carl goes over and grabs the formula basket before anyone even tells him to. Good Carl!

I think this is the first time Rick's group has taken in an outsider without committing murder. Besides zombie murder, of course. Hershel stitches up Michonne's leg as she fills in the gaps of how she got there and where Glenn and Maggie are. All of this useful information is interrupted by a hugely long Welcome Back Carol party wherein Carol touches everyone's chests for five hours each. I just wish this stuff wouldn't happen.

Michonne is up and walking on that leg faster than Hershel learned to hop around on one foot. This prison yard must've been filled in with dirt from The Island from Lost. How can everyone heal so quickly? Is it that they're lighter people now that they've been starving for a while, so it's no big deal to stand upright on an injured leg? Or is it sheer determination?

Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar decide to waste no time heading over to Woodbury. Before they go, Carl asks Rick to name the new baby after his 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Mueller. He never explains his interest in the name (Judith), but I'm willing to guess that Mrs. Mueller had boobs. Not the baby Mrs. Mueller; the teacher Mrs. Mueller.

While Merle pummels Glenn into a bloody mess, the Governor shows Andrea the Zombie Lab. Milton Mamet, scientist extraordinaire, prepares an ultra-scientific experiment: sit next to an old Peter O'Toole character named Mr. Coleman (Goldman?) and watch him while he dies. Part two of the experiment is to sound a Tibetan singing bowl while some old creepy record from the 1930s plays in the background. Part three is to wait patiently for Mr. Goldman (Coleman?) to wake up as a zombie and then do it all again! Andrea's new lab assistant job is to kill Zombie Coldman once it's all finished.

Caveat: Milton the Scientist has never seen a zombie turn before, nor does he understand how putting his face close to a zombie's mouth might make the zombie BITE HIS FACE. Where has Milton been for these past 9 months or so? Is he originally from Woodbury and he just stayed put? It's understandable that he hasn't witnessed the moment a human corpse reanimates, but it's ridiculous that he's trying to (a) remove the restraints from a hungry zombie and (b) jump the rails of his own experiment like this. What must his lab report say? Unsatisfactory.

Merle gets tired of maiming Glenn by hand, so he locks a zombie in the room with him. Glenn uses nothing but a box spring, some duct tape, a wooden chair, and sheer adrenaline to kill it. And did I mention the chair is attached to him with the duct tape? He should be dead!! In the next room over, the Governor makes Maggie go topless. Woodbury is a very bad place.

So it's a good thing Rick's group is sneaking into Woodbury to destroy it. On the way, they encounter one zombie, who turns into two zombies, who turn into a whole lot of zombies. This must be the red zone Merle was talking about last week, still riddled with pockets of zombies from the herd that came through. The gang runs into a farmhouse and several confusing things happen: they find a fresh dog corpse on the rug and a sleeping hermit man in the bed. First of all, as my roommate Zachlers pointed out, why didn't they get someone famous to cameo as the hermit? That could've been Kelsey Grammer in that bed! Second, if this non-famous hermit has stayed alive this long, why does he start yelling at the intruders? Shouldn't he know sound attracts zombies and that there are zombie pockets everywhere, even if he's been taken by surprise and doesn't happen to know that there are zombies clawing at his door? (He should still be able to discern that, though, but whatever.) Third, why does he keep his dog's corpse in the living room, stinking up the place? Has he been asleep for 100 years? Is that why his dog is dead and he has no idea what zombies are or how to act in a post-apocalyptic hostage situation? 

There are too many questions, so Michonne stabs the hermit. It's better this way. They shove him out the front door to distract the zombies that have collected. Then they sneak around the back.

The Governor brings Topless Maggie into Glenn's cell. He points a gun at Glenn, which makes old No-Shirt blurt out that their group is holing up in the prison. Torture is awful. All that physical pain and mental anguish endured for nothing. I'm also pretty sure Maggie isn't fully out of the might-still-get-raped woods. This is pretty bad.

Thank God Rick's gang is already outside of Woodbury. Next week is the midseason night's dream finale, and I'm expecting those fireworks that last week's episode carted out. I want Merle to steal Carol from Daryl. I want Maggie to be wearing Glenn's shirt. I want Baby Mrs. Mueller to get even more formula. I want Carl to kill Merle or the Governor. I want Andrea to fall in love with T-Dog posthumously. I want Lori to be a zombie after all so we can watch someone bash her brains in. I want a good, clean fight. That's all I want.

photos from amctv.com

21 November 2012

Soon To Be Ast-"Hounded": The Walking Dead Recap

Sunday night's "Hounded" may not have been fireworks, but it did cart the fireworks into place out on the high school baseball field. Then it took off its American flag cap and waved to the crowd, who in turn took out their phones to receive an imaginary, collective call from their dead wives. Wacky stuff!

At the very top of the episode, Merle and three buffoons stumble upon a "bitergram" (a zombie corpse telegram) in the woods warning them to "go back." Michonne has thoughtfully left it for them so that they have a brain teaser activity to work out during their long trek. She watches the curly-haired one have a crisis of confidence, then swoops out to kill the rest of the hunting party. "I knew I shouldn't'a tried to be a hunter yet! I'm too little and curly-haired :(" he thinks. How right you are, Curly. Too little!!!

Rick spends the entire episode on the phone for crying out loud. We're paying him $15/hour to sit, I just don't see why he can't hang out with the kids instead of chatting away on that damn phone for hours on end. This is not a day spa, Rick. This is not a day spa for wayward babysitters. It is a PRISON in the ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE. SO START ACTING LIKE IT!

Andrea's a li'l sassy to the Governor about all this pro-wrestling zombie-arena business: "It's brutality for fun, and I think the world's brutal enough already." Not nearly as brutal as a wardrobe consisting exclusively of off-the-shoulder gauze shirts. BURN, well done. (James Bond theme music).

Later on Andrea starts fence duty. She's paired up with a loser who can't even shoot an arrow into a zombie's head from 12 feet away. Andrea hops the fence, walks up to the walker, and stabs his brains out. She could've twisted her ankle or found herself in the middle of a zombie ambush, but she does it anyway. I told you Andrea would miss the action.

Honey, send Hershel in. I bet he can get Rick off the phone. What do you mean, 'he's just standing there?' He's a doctor! He should have some bedside manner, for Pete's sake! What was he doing, hoping Rick would eventually notice him? He's a one-legged white-bearded farmer! Rick has a problem.

Michonne, Merle, and Curly run into each other again and quickly realize they're surrounded by zombies. Curly saves Merle's life as Michonne gets away. Merle keeps Curly from going after her because "she's going to the red zone" and will die from copious zombie bite marks without their involvement. Then Merle KILLS Curly to keep him from telling the Governor. And his name was Curljulio? Rest in peace, Curljulio.

Daryl, Oscar, and Carl clear out a prison tunnel in the hopes of finding Carol's dead, rotting corpse. Daryl tells Carl about his mom smoking in bed and dying in a fire, and Carl responds with "...shot my mom." Oscar's like, "DANG. These white boys are way more screwed up than I thought. Is it too late to just have my own cell block with Axel again? Dang."

Andrea and the Governor flirt more, and boy is it titillating. They chat on a manicured jungle patio, drinking whiskey that was more than likely distilled in a tank full of zombie heads. Very sensual, very romantique.

Michonne is injured and covered head-to-toe in zombie guts. As we learned in a season 1 episode ("Guts"), the overwhelming stench of rotting zombie flesh prevents zombies from recognizing people as delicious food. Here we are, observing how people learn things without the internet. They go through visceral experience. PUN INTENDED HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALMOST!

You're kidding me. Rick is seriously still on the phone? We must be going over our minutes by now. He's not getting a tip. I'm serious this time, no tip!

Glenn and Maggie drive out to a pharmacy and find the baby formula mother lode. Michonne limps into that very parking lot, hoping to find a car to recuperate in. Then Merle farts in, right on cue. That's strange, earlier it seemed like was willing to kill Curly in order to avoid going into the "red zone" (which this must be, if Michonne is here). He must be trying to get to Daryl! The hunt for Michonne was a ruse! A dangerous ruse. Because now she's free to kill him. But she doesn't. She watches Merle take Maggie and Glenn hostage. Michonne, why have you forsaken us?

I'm going to cut the phone cord. I'm cutting it. No, there is no way Rick is talking to his dead wife. She's dead. She can't be on the phone! He's on the phone with a boy and we all know it! Well I've got news for him: if he wants to talk to boys, he's just going to have to do it on his own time. At the sock hop or the football game. Babysitting is a job and he's going to have to learn to respect that! What's that? He got off the phone and went over to the baby and the baby literally nestled into him? Ok he gets a tip. This time.

Merle marches into the Governor and Andrea's naked love nest. He's got an Asian and a farmer's daughter out back. WORLDS COLLIDE.

Daryl finds Carol and picks her up like at the end of An Officer & A Gentleman. Yikes and barf. May I say, there have been a number of funhouse mirror images in this episode. Rick carries the baby while Daryl carries Carol. Hershel's got one leg while Merle's got one arm. The zombies are swimming in a sea of person-food while the baby starves for formula. What's the underlying message? Stuff is wacky, I guess.

Wacky enough to trudge all the way to the prison and show up amidst a bunch of zombies carrying the formula Glenn and Maggie left behind!!!! MICHONNE!!!!!

photos courtesy amctv.com