Couchtime WIth Jill

Sharp & snarky TV recaps with Jill Mader. (@jillemader on Twitter)

American Idol – Men’s Night

All cheese, and weak sauce. That’s how I felt about Thursday night’s American Idol. On Wednesday, I finished the episode with high hopes about a few of the women. But none of the men impressed me.

My notes for most of the performances were cheesy, cheesy, cheesy. The songs were so lame, the vocals were weak, the performances overall forgettable.

J’Da, who was not forgettable, delivered a hilariously campy, over the top performance of Adele’s “Rumor Has It”. Unfortunately, the vocals were so weak. He didn’t make it through, rightly so. But honestly, none of the performances impressed me. I could have cut the whole lot.

The men who made it through were:

  • Paul Jolley, who sang a cover of a Keith Urban song which I hilariously noted was “the worst song ever”. 
  • Elijah Liu, a sad, sad wannabe Bruno Mars.
  • Devin Valez. Of all the guys, I disliked him the least. The song, from Dreamgirls, was a touch dramatic and cheesy, but his voice was good enough.
  • Charlie Askew, who is absolutely NOTHING like Freddie Mercury.
  • Curtis Finch Jr. I’m glad he went through because his voice is good and I might like him in the future, but “Superstar” should be removed from the Idol catalog. 

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Funny Friday – A Sitcom Roundup

funny friday This week:

  • How I Met Your Mother
  • New Girl
  • The Mindy Project
  • Cougar Town
  • Modern Family
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Community
  • Parks and Recreation

How I Met Your Mother – “The Ashtray”
I wasn’t sure what to expect from an episode of HIMYM that featured the return of The Captain. I always kind of liked him, but he was directly tied to the worst character ever – Zoey. Luckily, this episode had very little to do with Zoey. I liked the setup of this episode, even though it’s a bit of a HIMYM . Ted and Robin’s recollections were unreliable because of sandwiches and drinks, so Lily’s version of events was the right one. It was funny, but the end result was a little cheesy – The Captain hired Lily to be his new art consultant after she’d predicted the success of an unknown artist. It would have felt more realistic for the Captain to give Lily money rather than a job.
Best moment: Ted knocking over the platter of food instead of giving the waiter a high five got me every time.

New Girl – Parking Spot
For any viewers nervous that Nick and Jess kissing would ruin the show, I hope these past few episodes have put those fears at ease – the writers knocked it out of the park again. Watching Nick, Jess and Schmidt fight over a parking space was delightfully funny, and it provided a bunch of great moments for the characters. Winston’s plot was pretty basic – find a condom at any cost! – but delivered laughs.
Best moment: “This city can’t take another scandal!”
Runner up: “Destiny might be a lady, but victory has a penis. Direct quote, Scott Caan.”

The Mindy Project – “Mindy’s Minute”
My feelings about this episode of The Mindy Project are like my feelings about most episode – mixed. The Mindy/Danny stuff still shines, and I adored seeing Danny try and look cool on local TV. All of that made me laugh so much. But the office stuff is brutal. What is that old lady doing back? She is not funny!
Best moment: “I get recognized between zero and three times a day.”

Cougar Town – “Flirting With Time”
Finally, an episode that I can truly say I loved. I have a weakness for flashbacks, but anyone whose loved Cougar Town for a while should have adored this episode. Who wouldn’t want to see how the gang met? Ellie and Jules are pretty different, and we always knew they came from different backgrounds. It was fun to see that explored. As for Laurie’s stuff, I liked the challenges she faced now that Wade is back from the military, but as someone who isn’t a fan of her and Travis I’m worried that we’re headed toward the inevitable there – I think Laurie and Travis will be together by the end of the season, and I won’t like it.
Best moment: Jules and Grayson’s meet-cute.

Modern Family – “Bad Hair Day”
This was just an OK episode, if you ask me. None of the storylines did much for me, with the notable exception of everyone trying to pass off the task of telling Gloria about baby Joe’s new haircut. The rest of it, well, I could have done without. Especially Lily – that kid is really starting to annoy me.
Best moment: Phil in the bowling shoes gets points because of Ty Burrell’s amazing physical comedy skills.

The Big Bang Theory – “The Monster Isolation”
Strangely, I had trouble paying attention to this episode even though I enjoyed it. The episode was funny enough, but I’m more interested in what it set up – a love interest for Raj and, fingers crossed, a career boost for Penny.
Best moment: I always like Penny and Sheldon together, so I’ll go with Sheldon thanking her for appearing on “Fun With Flags”.

Community – “Conventions of Space and Time”
The first couple episodes from this new season of Community have been disappointing, but I felt like this was a pretty big improvement. Troy feeling threatened by Abed’s new friendship made great use of Donald Glover, and almost distracted me from how much I hate Troy and Britta. The subplots were pretty funny as well. This is by no means a classically good episode of Community, but it was an improvement.
Best moment: Jeff telling Annie that if he really lost all that hair he “might have to call science.”

Parks and Recreation – “Ben and Leslie/Correspondents’ Lunch”
I love you and I like you. Perfect words for a perfect TV wedding. I had high expectations for this double-episode of Parks and Recreation, and it followed through in every way. Ben and Leslie’s wedding was sweet, weird and funny – the perfect mix for that couple. That episode was designed to serve as a series finale if necessary (I’m planning to write more about that this weekend) and had that been the case, I would have been more than satisfied.
The pairing with “Correspondent’s Lunch” rather than last week’s “Emergency Response” was weird, and the second episode was a bit of a let down after such a beautiful one. There was nothing wrong with it, you just can’t top that first episode.
Best moment: So many! In the first episode, I had to laugh at Ron’s “People who buy things are suckers”, but most of my favorite moments were the sweet, heartfelt ones. In the second episode. Perd Hapley got a few fantastic lines in.

What did you guys think?


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American Idol – Ladies Night

I haven’t blogged about American Idol yet this season, but I have been sporadically watching. I was turned off of the new judges panel early on, because it felt like the Mariah Carey/Nicki Minaj drama was manufactured. But throughout Hollywood week, I came to appreciate the new judges – particularly Nicki Minaj, who had several moments of refreshing honestly.

Now the finalists are in Vegas for a “sudden death” round, and on Wednesday evening the women performed. A lot of White Guys With Guitars have won lately, so I’m trying not to get my hopes up with talk of “The girls are so talented this year” because I’ve heard those words before.

I had a couple clear favorites from Wednesday night, all among the five who made it through to the next round. Adriana Latonio, the five-foot-nothin’ adorable Filipino gal who sang an Aretha Franklin song was great. Unfortunately, being great didn’t get Jessica Sanchez the win last season.  And Angela Miller, who wowed with an original song back in Hollywood week, was also worth noting. She tends to over-perform, but she was still easily in the top five for the night. My favorite of the night was Amber Holcomb, who blew the roof off the place with her soulful rendition of “My Funny Valentine”. Beautiful.

I liked Kree Harrison during Hollywood week, and I was glad she made it through. She rocked a country ballad, but it didn’t stand out for me. Tenna Torres also made it through, and while she wasn’t one of my favorites of the night I’ll be pleased to see her again.

What did you guys think? Did your favorites make it through?


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Survivor – It’s a new Dawn, it’s a new day

dawn

Dawn Meehan

Hello again, Survivor fans! Before getting to the regular recap, there’s some business to take care of. Longtime readers might know that every year I take part in my mom’s office Survivor pool. The results are in, and I got my first choice! Dawn.

My top six ranked were Dawn, Brenda, Matt, Malcolm, Cochran and Sherri. I would have been happy ending up with any of them, but I’m thrilled that I ended up with Dawn – she was my dark horse pick to win it all. My mom, who has still yet to win the pool she founded, got her first choice, Corinne. This is the first year my fiance Rob and I were able to have separate picks, and he ended up with Reynold. His top six (Malcolm, Reynold, Brenda, Andrea, Eddie and Erik) looked pretty different than mine so we shall see who comes out on top.

So at the top of the episode, we had Dawn crying and Brandon acting a crazy fool. I guess some things never change. I was a little nervous that Dawn was once again sobbing on Survivor, but she walked away from the situation and took some time alone. It looked like she pulled it together, and as long as she can keep her emotions under control she should be OK. I still think Dawn and Cochran are in a very good position on the Favorites tribe.

Put a Ring On It

survivor

Fans vs. Faves

The Immunity Challenge required tribes to assign roles, which is a big part of why I think the Faves came out on top. This isn’t their first rodeo and they know how to organize and delegate before a challenge. The Fans were disorderly, and Shamar’s sour attitude was noticeable. It’s official: dude’s the worst. I had him ranked in very last place for the office pool, and I pity my grandfather who ended up with him.

The challenge required three team members to go out on a raft and dive to retrieve some rings underwater. Then three other team members would pull them back in. Then, three final team members would throw the rings and to get them onto three posts. The Favorites were way ahead – Erik was great in the water, and they smartly took turns diving. Weirdly, Sherri spent way too much time diving without giving her teammates a chance. Malcolm had landed two rings before the Fans even hit shore.

Reynold and Michael made a bit of a comeback for the Fans tribe, but Phillip landed the winning ring for the Favorites, so they won both Immunity and some fishing gear.

Special Ops

Back at camp, Phillip was already rubbing people the wrong way with his typical antics. He’s given everyone nicknames and has declared himself CEO of the tribe. He was safe this week, but it won’t surprise me if he goes soon – not before Brandon, though. As we saw from the scenes for next week, he’s about to threaten to pee in the rice. That’s some pyshcopathic ‘ish right there.

Phillip is reminding me of Coach from Heroes vs. Villains. His persona seems more forced than last time. Like Coach, he became famous for his craziness and I think there’s some pressure to up the ante when returning as an all-star.

Shame-ar On You

reynold

Reynold

Over at the Fans’ camp, everyone discussed how disorganization was to blame for their loss. Reynold was quite vocal in calling out Shamar for “unacceptable behavior”, which of course set Shamar off. The argument didn’t sit too well with Rob, who has Reynold in the pool. Reynold is fantastic in challenges and has a great shot at making the merge, but his personality isn’t the best. Even if he makes it to the end, he doesn’t strike me as someone who could win.

Luckily for Reynold (and for Rob), he went looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol and found it after “not that long”. Ugh. Producers! You have to hide this stuff better! Everyone knows to look in the hollowed out parts of trees! I think it’s time to take Dalton Ross up on his idea of hiding them at the challenges.

The tribe was pretty split between voting out Shamar or Allie, and the swing votes were Michael and Matt. That dynamic duo is the Dawn & Cochran of their tribe. Everyone’s looking at the foursome as an example of the danger of couples, but Matt and Michael’s pairing could prove to be just as effective. I had a feeling they’d end up voting out Allie, since they both strike me as more misfits than people who sit at the “cool kids table”.

Right before leaving for Tribal Council, Laura noticed a bulge in Reynold’s pocket and immediately knew what it was. Ha! Outed by his tight pants. She couldn’t alert anyone before leaving for Tribal Council, but managed to slip it in while they were there. Reynold revealed the idol to everyone, and I thought he said he’d play it. Do I have that wrong, guys? Did he not promise to play it? He didn’t, and it went back into his pocket before Probst read the votes.

Sherri disappointed me this week. She’s someone who I thought might be a good player, like a Dawn or a Denise. But she’s more of a dud. She kind of blew the challenge, and then at Tribal Council she announced she’d be keeping her vote the same and then abruptly added “Maybe.” Huh? Pull it together, lady. This is the big leagues.

allie

Allie

Shamar received four votes, but Allie got six and was sent packing. I appreciate fans of the show, but I can’t pity someone who got sent home first from her tribe when her strategy was so poor. Creating a solid alliance of four alienates you in a tribe of ten, it doesn’t put you in control. Now that that foursome has been broken up, I won’t be surprised if we see Shamar voted out next time the Fans make it to Tribal Council.

I’m loving this season so far! What did you guys think of the episode?


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The Bachelor – “All”, or nothing?

I did watch last night’s “Sean Tells All” episode of The Bachelor. I watched. I had my laptop open, with an empty Word Doc waiting to be filled with a snarky blog post. But what was there to say? Nothing.

The episode was as dull and vanilla as Sean has been portrayed all season. The sad thing is, rare moments of actual reality suggest that he might actually be a pretty funny guy. Fun to be around, even. But as always, The Bachelor is more intent on crafting a ludicrous fairy tale than actual displaying the human moments that come across as much more endearing to me.

Sean and Selma’s ridiculous “eyelash kisses” would have been a funny thing to see. His brownie banter with Lesley was filled with genuine laughter that is all too rare on this show.

As for the actual meat of the episode, Sean revealed very little. Of course he was going to feel like a fool after witnessing the way Tierra acted around the other women. But hearing Sean say “Tierra never should have come on the show” when we all know the producers intentionally cast women like Tierra just wasn’t cutting it in terms of watchable TV. Last night’s episode was a dud. What did you guys think?


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Revenge – Oh, Mandy

This week’s episode of Revenge was a doozy, so if you’ve seen it (obvious spoiler alert) click through for a brief recap.

revenge Viewers have generally all had the same complaints about this season – it’s been scattered, unfocused, the Stowaway plot was stupid and the villains were too vague. “Sacrifice” felt like the grand correction to all that. It wrapped up the weak storyline at Jack’s bar and refocused on the Graysons as the main villains and Emily’s targets.

Poor Amanda. I didn’t always like her, but the girl did grow on me. She paid the ultimate sacrifice for her friendship with Emily. She got sucked in so deep that she threatened the Graysons herself (over the deal with Jack’s bar, but using some of Em’s security camera footage) and made herself a target. I had a feeling all season that she’d be the one to go down with “The Amanda”, so this episode wasn’t a surprise, but it was a sad one.

Had Amanda’s death been the doing of Nate, I wouldn’t have cared. But the Graysons were involved, which should refocus Emily on taking them down. Revenge still needs to be shaken up, I think, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the bomb dropped that Emily is actually Amanda Clark sooner rather than later.

Amanda’s death is the most serious consequence of Emily’s quest for vengeance so far, and Emily Van Camp really sold that despair as she sobbed in the dinghy.

I don’t think this episode completely corrected everything – Daniel is still too weak-willed to be a compelling character, and framing Amanda for the murder of the woman from The Initiative is a perfect example of that. But I do hope it was a step in the right direction.


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