Sunday, September 9, 2012

TV: The Good Wife Season 2, Switched at Birth 1x23 This is the Color of my Dreams, The L.A. Complex 2x8

Yeah, yeah I'm going through this quickly, I think I'll be able to watch the show live this year!

I did not like the second season nearly as much as the first and I think I can pinpoint several reasons why. I still liked it, and there are some things I LOVED, but a lot of it just didn't work for me.

Part of the problem for me was the plotting. I didn't notice this happening in the first season as much, although I think it did happen a little since I never knew what to believe about Peter. But basically the show introduces threads and then just DROPS them for episodes on end. If I was watching this live (woe is me this year) I'd be really frustrated by it and/or forget everything. Not to mention that some of the stuff planted hasn't even come to fruition yet! And, the endings are often really abrupt? Also, I found some of the story lines unbearable and tempting my FF button and I don't really appreciate how hyper sexualized they make Kalinda, BUT despite these things I do like the show!

I guess I'll start with what I liked. I LOVE WILL AND DIANE. Their dynamic and relationship is really interesting to me, I eat up all their shared screen time with glee. I don't ship them or anything, I just like watching them interact and try desperately to save their firm. I probably like their relationship precisely because it's complex without any romantic or sexual undertones.

I loved the storyline about Kalinda having slept with Peter. That probably sounds mean, but it was filled with the sort of angst and impending sadness I just looove. So all the scenes leading up to it, you know where Kalinda and Peter are so desperate to keep this secret, especially Kalinda since she's the kind of person who is reluctant to open up to anyone and you just know her friendship with Alicia is particularly important to her, to be perfect. And also it was this thing that happened in the past when Kalinda probably thought it wouldn't ever matter, she was clueless about the real people involved, she could even convince herself that she was a different person at the time (since she had a different identity). Ugh, I just love stories that remind us that our actions don't exist in isolation, that the things we do have larger consequences and implications and this was one such story. And I don't blame Peter and Kalinda for trying to keep it a secret, it's the age old question...would it have been better for Alicia to never know? It was so far in the past, and both Peter and Kalinda loved her. I mean knowing hurts her deeply, takes away one of her best friends, and makes her feel stupid. Does it really change anything? And the timing! The timing of her finding out, after she gives in and gives a lovely supportive interview for Peter and he wins and then BAM. So yeah this story was A+.

Also A+ is Jackie. It occurred to me that this type of character is so rarely depicted. And while I think maybe most people don't like Jackie, she's so realistically drawn, I couldn't help but feel a lot of sympathy for her. It's easy to have a television show about lawyers and their cases and politicians and infidelity, but elderly people don't often get their own stories. So to watch Jackie see Peter and Alicia's marriage fall apart, when it's like..the one good thing she has in her life, (her grandkids and Peter's career) and see how much it shook the foundation of her world was really sympathetic. I even think the show wanted us to be on Alicia's side a little when she went and yelled at Jackie and everything, and I get that, but Owen was right that she is lonely. Also, it goes to show how when a family falls apart, it affects so many people. It really does, it affects other family members and friends and while yes it's Peter's and Alicia's business it's not their hurt alone, it has reverberations throughout the lives of the people they know who are powerless to do anything about it. So I liked the Jackie stuff.

I also like seeing recurring lawyers and judges. I think my favorite is the federal judge that always makes them say "in my opinion" it makes me laugh so much.

So those were my favorite things. I continue to dislike the story lines around the kids because part of me wonders why they are even on here. However, I was sort of amused by Grace being interested in religion as a form of rebellion because it's opposite to EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I sort of wish that she'd been genuinely into it because it would have been a fascinating story to watch, but even the hint that was given, Alicia confronting her own discomfort with it, was interesting.

I hated the story line with Eli and the nanny (forever Ugly Betty). It was just weird and made me uncomfortable and also it was stupid. I disliked how often Kalinda is used in super sexy situations, I don't know why this bothers me so much but it does. She's hot, we get it. I thought the campaign storyline sort of fizzled, like, I realized in one episode there was an entire story line that had been deleted (five minutes worth!) with Peter, Wendy, and Childs. (they ended up not being in the episode at all!) It basically set up how Eli got the info about the illegal nanny, but I guess it seemed like the campaign should have been more exciting and it wasn't, the most dramatic moment was when Wendy Scott Carr announced she was running!

But overall, I did like the season! And I'm looking forward to season 3! I think a lot of times shows have a hard time sustaining truly excellent story telling throughout the life of their show, like I can feel The Good Wife dragging stuff out already. But I don't think it's that nothing can live up to the first season, because shows often have a resurgence later on.

Switched at Birth is back, yay!

This is the artwork the episode is named after. Switched at Birth is deeply educational and teaches me about art.

I love this soapy ABC Family show and I'm glad it's back, though for the first time ever the ABC Family-ness of it was irritating me a little bit. Even so, the show managed to reel me in with its emotional beats as usual. I was unfortunately prepared for the Bay/Emmett of it all...I read an interview with Vanessa Marano where was she was like, "when someone cheats it should be over, unfortunately I don't think anyone agrees with me" so I knew the show wasn't done with them yet. I don't really like it, but I think they made the most compelling case possible with the idea that Emmett had shared all these really huge life changing things with her and anyone else would just be reading it out of her mom's book. (even so though Alex was cute! And fun! And he wanted to read her mom's book! Sigh, epic OTP couples ruining my fun)

It's funny because now on two of my shows after a relationship has been ruined I've been able to watch the person hurt get to tell the other person that they not only wrecked their relationship but that they wrecked future relationships for them. I love this so much, because it's true! And also this is the thing I wish I could tell the writers of Gossip Girl...they not only destroyed my favorite couple, but they have ruined my relationship to fictional works since. Well at least for a little awhile. Anyway, Emmett's artwork was really cute, but Bay was right that it will obviously take more, that it's not enough to repair them.

And Katie LeClerc is so pretty! She looked stunning throughout the entire episode! I thought the chef was a jerk to her, but I get it...he thought she got the job through based on something other than merit and he wasn't interested in a little extra work to make it possible for her to work there easily. I thought he was really harsh when he said not everyone can do everything (even if it's true) but what a great scene! And I love that Daphne isn't giving up. And Kathryn is writing a blog and doing social media to promote her book! ♥

The ending was...really goofy to me? I think Bay's reaction was over the top. But it IS a soap. Anyway I recommend this piece on the subversiveness of Switched at Birth, mainly because I want everyone to realize that even if I'm watching a goofy teen soap it's obviously full of merit and importance.

The L.A. Complex -- Stay

So Connor's fake family kicked him out, no surprise there. I am curious about this new mystery girl. Nick going around and meeting people to get material was kind of fun. Simon was hiding in an empty room in the complex the whole time and no one found him? Um, okay. Abby quit YET ANOTHER JOB for a boy. Ugh, Abby.

What is Raquel doing??? Her pride is ruining everything for her. How is she going to handle yet another lawsuit? And I love the lawyer and what he said to Kal. I kind of hope we get closer to some resolution on this. I was reading a reaction to the show and the person complained about how the show had chosen to focus on Kal rather than Tariq. It was an interesting decision since Kal has no real connections to the complex. But their complaint was how shows always focus on the perpetrator of violence and pain rather than the victim. And it's true that Tariq would have an interesting story to tell, too. Anyway, I don't mind because I do think the bulk of the story is with Kal and coming out and his self loathing, etc. But it's a fair argument and I hope when Tariq comes back we get to see him fall in love and live happily ever after.

Your thoughts, always welcome.


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