Bullet Points from Winter Break

After four weeks of bumming in front of the couch, with my only exercise being the mindless operation of the four clickers (that could be replaced by one universal clicker (or remote – whatever you want to call it)), I am back on campus and ready to assimilate back to society. But before I do, I figured I would post about the shows I watched over break. Think of it as a form of procrastination before I have actual commitments. And I’m being lazy so I’m just going to do bullet points:

NURSE JACKIE

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-Merritt Wever is the greatest actress on television. She demonstrates tremendous growth as Zoey Barkow, from her skittish days standing up to Dr. O’Hara after her stethoscope was stolen, to the kimono wearing, devil-may-care diva who goes home with Dr. Prentice.
-Peter Facinelli was in Twilight? And also played a doctor? That’s funny. But Coop, too, has changed a whole lot – especially after his moms file for divorce and he is subsequently stood up at the alter. The scene when he buys O’Hara two baby carriers is one of my favorite scenes.
-Eve Best needs to come back to the show. Season Five seemed difficult because Jackie didn’t have anyone to talk to – so she resorted to dead Charlie’s voicemail. Everything she says is funny in her British accent.
-Ruby Jerins is a pretty great child actor. Much better than some of her contemporaries – you go, Gracie.
-Fiona is still better than Gracie.
-When we find out that Gloria Akalitus doesn’t have Alzheimer’s – television gold
-Thor’s one-liners are perfect – and makes up for Momo leaving unexpectedly after the first season.
-Michael Buscemi is AMAZING as God – a disgruntled New Yorker who looks down upon the city screaming at pedestrians on the street.
-Best Episode: Season Four Finale, in which O’Hara goes into labor as Jackie sneaks back into the hospital after being fired by Dr. Cruz. However, Cruz catches our heroine right as his son, Charlie, is wheeled into the ER for an overdose. Cruz clears the stabilizing bay as he and Jackie attempt to unsuccessfully resuscitate Charlie. So many feels.
-Edie Falco = television goddess

ENLIGHTENED

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-Laura Dern stars as Amy, a manic businesswoman who is sent a holistic healing program and returns to her job in an attempt to mend her work and home life – all while trying changing the world. She’s pretty cool and starred in Jurassic Park.
-Mike White writes and stars as Tyler in this rather poetic project. All though it only lasted two seasons, there are many universal truths unveiled through his mellow storytelling. We learn a lot about the human condition and what it means to change and just BE. Very meta shit going on, but I like it.
-These two unlikely friends attempt to take down their cosmetic company, Abbadon
-Molly Shannon guest stars as Eileen, the secretary for Abbadon’s CEO. Amy and Tyler befriend her to gain access to the CEO’s corrupting emails, but Tyler falls for her timid ways. If you watch any episode, go watch “The Ghost is Seen.” It will give you a new perspective about all the people you have ever made fun of…ever.
-Overall, the show is kind of like a poem. It can be a light, breezy watch, or you can look further into it to find the discreet symbolism and social commentary.

THE NEWSROOM

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-Aaron Sorkin is a master storyteller – but I didn’t have to tell you that.
-I only knew Jeff Daniels from Dumb and Dumber, and my god how people can change. He is compelling as controversial news anchor Will McAvoy, who vows, under the guidance of his executive producer and one time lover Mackenzie McHale, to bring unbiased news to the voting public.
-Allison Pill as Maggie and John Gallagher Jr. as Jim are the new “Jim and Pam;” let’s hope season three has something more in store for this duo.
-The way Sorkin handled the Gabrielle Giffords shooting was impeccable. It shows how our divided nation came together to support one of our Congresswomen. And Coldplay’s “Fix You” didn’t hurt either.
-Dev Patel finally shakes his stereotypical Indian character. He literally bears none of the stereotypes in these two seasons. We need more of this.
-Sloan Sabbith is the greatest name in television, and Olivia Munn plays her perfectly – nerdy, socially uncomfortable, etc. And she arcs thanks to Don – who we all hated up until we found out he bought her book at the auction, right?
-Jane Fonda as Leona Lansing = A+, with a bonus for being high as a kite
-Speaking of being high as a kite… “We caught Obama” – McAvoy
-“Unintended Consequences” (the episode of flashbacks to Maggie’s trip to Uganda and subsequent hair cutting) got the best of me.

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RECTIFY Comes To AMC

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After Sunday night’s episode of Mad Men, AMC re-premiered the Sundance original series Rectify.

From the producers of Breaking Bad, the show tells the story of Daniel Holden, a prisoner of nineteen years who is released from Death Row when new DNA evidence surfaces that questions his involvement in the rape and murder of a sixteen-year-old girl.

We open on an officer preps Daniel for his release and press conference, just as his family drives into the detention center. The family’s reunion is bittersweet, since Daniel has no idea that his mother has remarried and he now has a stepbrother who has effectively taken over the family tire business.

Daniel, played by Aden Young, is emotionally detached throughout the episode, which contrasts his over-gracious sister, Amantha, played by Abigail Spencer, who you might recall as Miss Farrell, Sally Draper’s teacher and Don Draper’s mistress in Mad Men.

At various points in the episode, Daniel has flashbacks to his time in prison, which might amount to some significance later on in the season, but seem really pointless in this isolated episode.

Another criticism I have for this show is the over-abundance of characters and separate storylines. The audience is introduced to four separate storylines: Holden family, the police force under Deputy Daggett, two convicts in the woods, and Amantha’s phone conversation with Jon, who I presume is her love interest.

Also, Daniel’s younger brother Jared simply an older version of Homeland‘s Chris, in that everything that comes out of his mouth is absurd and no one ever wants him around.

The last thing I took issue with in this pilot was how stupid they made Daniel. I understand that he has been in prisoned for nineteen years, but that is no excuse for not knowing how to work a television or fumble over saying “DVD.” Also, if he has been in jail for the past nineteen years, that pins his initial arrest in the year 1994, yet he has no clue what the film Dazed and Confused is, given that it hit theaters in 1993 – a full year before.

Aside from these minor setbacks, the show’s breathtaking cinematography makes up for the lagging plot. The shots of the Georgia countryside rivals those of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Also, this is a very drowsing show. Much like HBO’s recently cancelled Enlightened, the director takes advantage of bright lights and the blinding sun to give the effect of just waking up – much like how Daniel is symbolically awaking from his prison nightmare.

The episode ends with a cliffhanger that calls Daniel’s innocence into question.

Overall, while I don’t see this show going past its first season, I look forward to seeing how the Daniel’s case unravels.