Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Dair-y Valentines To You


For the first time in a long time, I'm really glad it's Valentine's day.  I've had a really horrible few days and there is something about being surrounded in messages of love that has actually been uplifting.  So much so, it seemed like a perfect day to return to the blog and share the sweetness.  I was going to post my favorite TV clip of all time, but I think I'll have to save that one for next year.  Because kids, Dair finally kind of happened last night.  And once I was able to momentarily pull myself out of my own gloom, I was happy to enjoy the awesomeness of this unexpected couple.  And now, I want you to enjoy it too.

A quick set-up:  Blair (back to her former amazingly scheming self) returns from her honeymoon of convenience to a mopey set of friends.  Since she figures she can't have love herself, she decides to set bestie Serena up with crush Dan even though he only has moon eyes for Blair.  This finally leads her to realize that he's been kind of great to her. 

 

Which finally leads him to ball up and go for it:

I love these two and I'm happy that this may finally start to become something more than a one sided love affair.  I'm also happy these clips give me something else to re-watch other than When Harry Met Sally for the billionth time. 

Happy Valentines Day y'all!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Glee, I Think I Didn't Hate You!

I didn't hate Glee!  I didn't hate Glee!  Here are some quick thoughts on last night's non-sucktastic episode.

-About five minutes in I knew this was written by Ian Brennan.  He is the only Glee writer who makes me laugh with the show and not at it.  Four for you Ian Brennan!

-Ricky Martin is adorable.  He should act more!  If he's not too busy being the new Gweneth,  I'm voting for a return to General Hospital, where he can bring in some viewers that James Franco didn't.

-Artie's joining in mooning over Ricky Martin and then his subsequent reaction made me laugh out loud. A fun, silly little moment.

-Finn, It's pronounced Adelphi with an I not an EEE.  You should learn that if you do end up going there.

-NeNe Leakes has been way more fun than I thought she would be.  I won't be mad if she sticks around.

-For some strange reason I'm not hating on Sam and Mercedes.  He has finally made her a character and not a caricature.  Maybe they should hook him up with Tina.  And Artie.

-The insanity of Will's number was ridiculous in a good (you know...intentional) way.  It brought me back to Popular.

-Brittany dances!  Where was that during the Michael Jackson show?

-Emma and Will were kind of cute.  They should play them more.  Although maybe they were kind of cute because they don't play them more.

-Sue's wanting a baby, Will's not being able to speak Spanish and the Finn/Rachel engagement are all crazy stupid but weren't overplayed so I could just ignore them and focus on the funny and the music.

Was this episode super meaningful?  No.  But that's kind of what I liked about it.  If the show would remember it's a comedy more, focus on the core characters, let the talent do what they do best I might not want to put a fork in my eye every week.  This was light and fun and totally fork free.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Glee, Stop Making Me Hate You.

Remember when I used to recap Glee talking about the things that sucked, were kind of meh and what I actually liked?  Yeah, it has become kind of impossible to do that.  The thing is, I really wanted to like last night's episode.  But I couldn't get over the big problems enough to enjoy the fun Michael Jackson music.  I hated that Quinn got into Yale.  I would have bought her getting into an out of state college, but a girl who spent the first half of the year skipping classes and was certain that she would never get out of her hometown is now Ivy league bound?  I.  Just.  Don't.  Buy.  It.  I hate that Blaine needed to be written out so How To Succeed could happen.  I really hated having to watch Kurt, Rachel and Finn sing to him bedside.  And man do I hate that we are still supposed to believe that The New Directions are awesome when they clearly aren't.

I didn't hate Grant Gustin.  Sebastian is a total douche, but I think Gustin is kind of killing it and is proving to be the delicious villain that Glee really needs.  I do hate that he and Santana had way too much chemistry in their sing off since they are both supposed to be gay and I now kind of ship them.  And speaking of the Sing off, I hate that they sent people out of the room to have it.  How the hell do you know who wins?  See, even the moments I like were tainted by things I hate.

I happen to be one of those people who loves most other Ryan Murphy things, so I believe firmly that Glee could be a good show if it wanted to be.  So please Glee.  Stop making me hate you.

Gossip Girl turns 100

I'll admit, Gossip Girl has kind of sucked lately.  So when I saw all the hullabaloo about the show's big 100th episode, I was prepared to be disappointed.  Sure there would be Blair's big wedding to Louis, but we all knew she wouldn't go through with it.  Of course, Chuck would show up and the two would run off together, leaving Dan to sulk while Serena dug her claws back into him again.  Georgina would reappear briefly to try to do something dastardly but would be foiled to disappear from our thoughts for about a year.    And the parents?  Well, they'd be pouty and boring.  Yup, we all knew how this shindig would go down.

Except none of that happened.  Not at all!

Instead, we got some pretty awesome moments.  Here are my top five favorite things about last night's Gossip Girl.

5) Parents to the Rescue
Lily and Rufus being the ones to catch Georgina trying to lay a trap for Louis was nice, but how awesome was the scene where Eleanore barged through Chuck's door, downed his scotch and told him that he was the thing missing at the wedding, basically instructing him to steal her daughter away?  It was kind of kick ass and served as a lovely balance to sweet Cyrus' glee at getting to co-walk Blair down the aisle.

4) Blair and Louis Get Married
When Gossip Girl send out a blast to the entire church of the video of Blair confessing her love to Chuck , it seemed clear that the royal wedding would not be.  Instead, they totally did it!  I was a little shocked that the show went there, until...

3) Louis Turned Evil
God, Louis has been one of the most boring TV characters of all time, hasn't he?  Dry and insecure, I could not see his value on this show and hated that they have kept him around this long.  And then?  After the wedding, scorned Louis reveals to Blair that he had to marry her to keep up appearances but they will have a loveless marriage where she will initially be his dancing monkey.  I though Louis' evil turn was kind of awesome and Hugo Becker rocked it (and somehow suddenly became hotter in like three seconds).  I'm totally up for keeping this version of the character around.  Good job show!

2) Blair Runs Off With Dan!
Oh my little shipper heart!  After Louis destroyed her notions of the romantic life they would lead, Blair made a phone call asking the recipient to take her away from the wedding.  While we saw Chuck speeding towards the hotel, we learned that it was actually Dan that Blair called.  He stole a car and drover her off to what I hope will be the beginning of an excellent adventure.

1) Georgina is Gossip Girl
Maybe shows little Pretty Little Liars have scorned me but I never thought we would learn Gossip Girl's identity.  So zooming in on typing hands and then out to narrating Georgina posting to the scandalous site was simply shocking.  It has crossed my mind that Georgina may be only the "new" Gossip Girl and that there is an original out there waiting to crack heads, but I'll take it either way.  It was a great moment and it made for great TV.

Four for you Gossip Girl!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Greater Than: Arias

I'm back folks!  Don't you just hate when real life gets in the way of blogging?  Work has been bananas but I'm going to try my very best to get on here as much as possible.  I still have a ton of theater reviews to put up and quite a few film ones as well (including two that I actually liked!).  I may not be an everyday blogger, but Popinions is going to live on damn it!

In other news....

Pretty Little Liars is on tonight.  Everyone that I know that watches this show is pretty realistic about the fact that it isn't good, yet they are completely addicted.  I call it the cotton candy of television.  I have also been catching up on Game Of Thrones.  Everyone that I know thinks that it is a pretty great show.  It's a beautifully shot and acted soap opera, but I love that kind of thing so I totally agree with them.

You might be wondering what these two vastly different shows have in common.  Well, they both have characters names Aria (Arya).  On Pretty Little Liars, Aria is the worst.  She has pretty much spent the entire run of the show throwing herself at an older (and kind of boring) man/her teacher in the most snoozeworthy way possible (Girl, Pacey Witter would be pissed at you).  She also dresses like a crazy person, which I think is supposed to make her artsy and interesting but really just makes her come off as someone who just escaped from the looney bin who had access to a really stocked 99 cents store.  On Game of Thrones Arya is awesome.  She's a little girl who is more badass than pretty much anyone else on the show.  She is good with a sword and quick with her tongue.  She is the one you really want to root for.

So it must be said:

Arya > Aria


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Friday, January 13, 2012

A Soap Love/Goodbye Letter

Dear One Life To Live,

Let me start by saying that I'm so sorry that it took me so long to say that I love you.  I guess I was a little embarrassed, you being a campy soap and all.  But the truth is, it is your ability to do embrace the genre with a self aware wink to the audience that has made me love you so.  I am a little heartbroken that you are ending and am going to miss you terribly.  But we've had a good ride, haven't we?

Truth be told, it wasn't love at first sight.  Not to sound slutty but I kind of just started seeing you because you were hanging around in the general vicinity of my other soaps.  I watched you all at the same time, on occasion flipping channels when your back was turned.  I was in high school then, and I guess one daytime drama just couldn't hold my interest for very long.  I barely remember those days.  I think you did a musical in prison.  That was fun.  But I had to experiment with other TV shows.  It just wasn't the time for us.

In college, we barely saw each other at all.  There was that brief fling when you had that AMC baby switching crossover (oh, how bold you were) and I was mildly entertained by the whole multiple personality thing, but my sleeping/school schedule then just wasn't conducive to the hours you wanted me to have to see you.  And so we lost touch.  I heard about you from time to time, on the Internet or from friends but to be honest I never thought we'd see each other again.

Then, when I started working something magical happened.  I had a TV in my office and you were on during my lunch hour.  So it began, casually as I suppose it often does.  I was having a thing with Days Of Our Lives at the time, but would catch you on occasion and soon once and a while turned into a few times a week.  I remember the moment it all changed.  It was Bo and Nora's wedding and you were spectacular.  You were over the top but you knew it and rocked that shit.  There was a bold confidence there that I was drawn to.  From that point on, you had my heart.  And for the past year I've looked forward to our lunchtime dates every single day.

I guess I knew that I was in love when Todd came back.  I always knew that you could rock the funny but never quite realized that you had some really layered characters that could make you kind of complex.  The anti-hero who had atypical reactions (the less likeable on paper, the more likeable in reality) stole my heart.   Couple that with your cliffhanger moments at the tag of each episode and that was it.  I was hooked.

This past week leading up to the finale has continued to enforce everything that I've loved about you.  The big jail break, bringing back old characters and shedding a light on the ones that we love, was brilliant.  And yesterday's penultimate episode was beautiful.  The ballsy soap within a soap thing has been entertaining thus far, but using Fraternity Row's finale to talk about all of the wonderful things that soaps accomplish and the true sorrow that the possible end of the genre brings was powerful.  And more importantly, it was true.  Soaps have connected generations (I started watching them in the womb) and have allowed people to grow up with characters.  The characters on them become your friends and family, the town your home.  I can't believe that we'll never see Llanview again.

I'm really going to miss this show.  I'm going to miss the ever wise Vicki and her feud with Dorian. I'll think fondly of Jess and Tess and all of her other personalities (except that strange high school one).  I'll long for the strength of the Cramer women, the sweetness of Bo and Nora (and the father-son nature of Bo and Rex) and the wackiness of Roxy.  I'll  smile when I remember the Ford brothers and their tendency to whip off their shirts at a moments notice.   And what will be life without the hysterical ramblings of lovable narcissist David Vickers or the cuteness of adorable namesake she-dog David Vickers?  Hell, I'll even miss Natalie and her crazy eyes.  And I'll really, really miss Todd.  (Until he shows up on General Hospital).

So Goodbye One Life.  Goodbye to your ballsy meta-rants, your musicals, your lovable shtick.  Goodbye to the DNA test result swaps, twins galore and teen parents.  Goodbye to the heart and soul you have brought to daytime television and the humor and smarts that you have done it with.  I'll miss you, but I'll always love you.  Because this is for keeps.

XOXO

Nikki

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On A Snooze Day: A Theater Review


I've been doing a lot of trips to the theater during my brief stay in New York, and I feel obligated to review everything I've seen.  But its really hard when a show is as simply boring as On A Clear Day You Can See Forever is.  It's the sleepiest show that I've ever seen that I didn't actually fall asleep during.  I'm going to try to organize my thoughts though.  Just in case you are the one person dying to see this.

The concept of this version of On A Clear Day centers around David (David Turner), a twenty-something florist who is good with flowers but bad with people.  He has trouble fully committing to his sweet boyfriend Warren (Drew Gehling) and eventually winds up trying to solve his problems through hypnosis with therapist Mark Bruckner (Harry Connick Jr).  Mark is a widower who has his own issues connecting with people.  Mark slowly finds himself mesmerized by Melinda (Jessie Mueller), the woman from a former life that David turns into under hypnosis.  Of course Mark's interest in Melinda makes David think he likes him, leading everyone to be in love with someone they can't have.  David finally learns why Mark has been so interested in their sessions and eventually returns to Warren, while Mark claims to have learned something from the whole ordeal (What?  I don't know) and is ready to finally move on.


I typically like director Michael Mayer a lot.  Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spring Awakening and American Idiot  are some of my favorite musicals.  I also respect trying to do something different with a piece of pre-existing theater.  In this case however, I'm not sure if was worth the while.  On A Clear Day was originally written with a female protagonist and while switching the gender so that the love triangle involves a gay man pining after a straight man pining after a dead woman makes things a little unique, it doesn't better or further the story.  I'm sure that as it was originally written, there was a thought in the audiences' mind that Mark may indeed end up with his patient.  Connick plays the role here so that Mark never doubts his own sexuality, not even after kissing David.  You never believe he has any interest in his subject other than him being  a vehicle for Melinda.  It's like how Demi Moore never acknowledges that she is really dancing with Whoopi Goldberg.  Knowing exactly how this has to end for everyone gives the whole thing absolutely no stakes.  I have no idea why we are supposed to care.

The characters don't make it any easier and the actors don't put all that much into playing them.  Harry Connick Jr. has that lovely voice, but he kind of seemed to be sleepwalking through the show.  Maybe that's because Mark is sleepwalking through life, but I never felt his love for Melinda, nor his remorse for what he had done at the end.  Turner fares even worse as David.  The character comes across as immature and selfish and when Mark later refers to him as charming and charismatic I was certain that he was watching a different play.  Mueller has a great voice and made Melinda likeable, but I could never quite warm to her character knowing she was a weird not real/dead hybrid.  Gehling was nice as the put upon boyfriend and I hear that he is a lovely person, so he gets props for that.  But truthfully, no amount of talent could make this show interesting.  The odds were stacked against them.


In my playbill Mayer talked about listening to the cast recording non stop growing up.  Why Michael, Why?!  The music in this show is incredibly dull.  The only song that had any punch was the final number; the title song.  It got stuck in my head for about five minutes before disappearing forever. (Side note:  What the hell do the lyrics in this song have to do with the show?  Is there any point to any of this?) The only thing worse than the music was the physical look of the production.  The sets and costumes were seventies to the max, but that bad burnt orange/brown/avocado look that people have been forcing out of their kitchens for years. It was eye torture.

I'm not really sure why On A Clear Day happened.  With so many struggling Off-Broadway productions dying to get some funding to make it to the big leagues, I'm a bit disappointed that a show like this gets to  make it.  But I guess it has its functions.  Insomniacs should flock to the show in droves.  I have a feeling it will provide a much needed, if not expensive, two hour nap.  If you're not interested in that, I recommend skipping this one.  Your eyes, ears and general sense of happiness with thank me.