Monday, July 2, 2012

Test Pattern #12

America's Next Top Model (Cycle 18) - Cycle 18 seems to be the death knell for this long running guilty pleasure. The theme this time was "British Invasion" where Tyra pits British models against American girls. Unfortunately, the scale seemed a little tipped because all of the British girls had been on previous cycles of Britain's Top Model, while the Americans had little to no experience. Honestly, all though my picks came in the top three, this season was so boring, with really lame photo shoots. I think it may be time to pull the plug.

Community (Season 3) - This show seems to be particularly divisive amongst my friends - I enjoy the pop culture references and playing with genre conventions, even if the show doesn't really go anywhere with a plot. I think it's a shame that Dan Harmon, the showrunner is no longer attached.

Fringe (Season 4) - Who can even keep straight what is going on in this show anymore? In addition to the two worlds (ours and an alternate) now I believe we are supposed to keep at least two different timelines in mind. It's not that I don't like the show, because I definitely do, but I often have to consult with my roommate to work out logic, characters, plot, etc. because it does seem like the show expects you to have an excellent memory.

Game of Thrones (Season 2) - While not quite as good as the first season, things are still getting exciting in the 7 Kingdoms. Everyone wants Joffrey dead, Daenerys gets her dragons stolen for a time, Theon acts like an idiot, while Tyrion may have found his calling. Oh, and Jon Snow almost loses his virginity and Arya poses as a boy. War has broken out this season, and of course, winter is coming...

Girls (Season 1) - My favorite debut of the year caused quite an uproar online and amongst reviewers. The basic premise is that four girls live in Brooklyn. They are all white, 20-something, fairly educated, and definitely part of the "leisure class." The show gets criticized for its lack of diversity, but I think if you are honest when examining most people's close circle of friends, you will find a lot of homogeneity. I found this show incredibly relatable, being an aimless 20-something myself for a time. The friendships and even the relationships with the guys in the show are really truthful and sadly funny.  I'm glad it'll be back on in the Fall because I can't wait to spend more time with these ladies.
In Treatment (Season 2) - Now that Dr. Paul Weston is separated from his wife and being sued by a patient's family, he starts his practice up again in Brooklyn. He treats a middle-aged woman who used to be his patient 20 years earlier and regrets not settling down; a young woman with cancer; a boy whose parents are undergoing a divorce; and old man who starts out the CEO of a big company but stress and guilt force him to step aside; and Paul's own treatment with Gina where he is still dealing with his father issues and acting like quite the asshole in his sessions.

the Killing (Season 2) - When this show first started, it had a lot of promise and perhaps too many Twin Peaks  references, but I found myself attracted to the dynamic between the two detectives. This second season did little to redeem itself after the season 1 finale that left so many people feeling angry. I was willing to go along for the ride, but what was presented was a lot of fairly uninteresting red herrings, and B-plots that I could have done without. I guess they finally wrapped up the case this season, but its conclusion was far from satisfying.

Mad Men (Season 5) - The ladies are growing up, moving on, and getting what they want this season. I felt bad about "Fat Betty" and how much of a villain she has become, but am always interested in life through Sally's eyes, and am looking forward to seeing their mother/daughter relationship evolve. Don seems to have gained a bit of a conscience this season, but I think it's just because he's getting older, and he's starting not to fit in with mainstream society.

the Office (Season 8) - Why do I even keep watching this show? I'm not that into Robert California and found Nellie an even more irritating character. Jim and Pam may as well not exist...I really just want to see Kelly and sometimes Ryan, which is unfortunate, since I don't think either of them will be on the show much anymore.

Parks & Recreation (Season 4) - I think this was a really good season! Leslie running for office makes her even more of a stress case than ever, and I like Ben (Adam Scott) as her boyfriend. Ron and April always bring the straight-faced laughs and the secret hearts of gold. Tom and Ann as a couple is too weird, but I like them both so much individually that I'll allow it if it means they are still vital to the show.

30 Rock (Season 6) - Liz has a boyfriend - weird! Jack has a lot of sexual tension with Avery's mom and then she comes back from Korea. Kenneth is no longer a page - weird! There is not nearly enough Tracy in this season, and while there are certainly some funny episodes or gags, it's probably for the best that there is only one more season.

Veep (Season 1) - Started watching this on HBO streaming as a time killer.  The episodes are really short, but it took a few for it to find its stride. It's nice to see Buster Bluth again and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a great comedic talent. Worth watching for a few hours.

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