Welcome to this weeks tv vegetable, my (sometime) weekly round up of some consumed tv, where we are not:
“caught with chewing gum on our pubis”
– Mad Men. Anyhoo, we start this (post justified) week with:
Nurse Jackie (SHOWTIME)
Now on season four. This time last week I had not watched episode one yet, so was unable to write about it. Personally I thought season three was massively disappointing. It seemed to have lost some of the humour of the first two seasons and was covering seemingly obvious ground. Largely this was because whatever happened there never seemed to be consequences. Jackie could totally shaft her best friend yet it would be all quickly forgotten about. When we got to the end of the season, just as it looked like Jackie would have to face up to her drug problem, and affairs, no, Jackie’s urine test gets binned, Kevin confessed to an affair giving her the upper hand again. Same old s**t.
Thankfully it looks like the shows creators have realised this and quickly pressed the reset button. Straight into episode one, we were in flashback mode. Jackie was in rehab, we got to see how she got there. Eddie fessed up to Kevin about the affair and took a beating, Jackie does not know about this yet (good dramatic beat to save for later). The hospital has been taken over, there is a smart talking new boss in charge, Akalitus has been reduced back to the nurse position, instead of being fired and to work out her last two years, saving her pension.
So far, this works. We’re finally getting some new territory again, it is asking questions without giving the answers just yet. There is a dramatic edge, but it also feeds the comedy. Nurse Jackie has primarily been darkly comic, so that is coming back. This weeks episode we learned that daughter Grace was the start of the drug problem, with her constant crying as a baby. Edie Falco is as fantastic as ever as Nurse Jackie (always watchable even during the disappointing season three). May this good start continue.
– My wife says: I like Zoey best
– I say: Who is the father of Dr Eleanor’s baby, I forget who she has slept with and no-one seems to be asking yet?
Mad Men (AMC)
Yet again Don seems to be maturing. This season has gone to great lengths to place him in the older guard, trying to be comfortable about his life, being respectful of what he has. After hitting the bottom last season, I suppose that makes sense. He genuinely is trying to be happy, and note that with his wife, he has somewhat reconciled Don and Dick, something he never really achieved with Betty. More on that in a moment.
There was more of a focus this week on Pete who wants to be powerful, respected and have a nice family, yet when he gets it, doesn’t seem to want it, or realise he that in fact, he has it. He has a wife that even Don likes, and he likes next to nobody. It was amusing when she called him out on the excuses for not attending the party. Pete really wants to be Don, or what he perceives Don to be, a kind of intelligent, respected, playboy, but realising little of what problems that life and choices, has brought Don. At the dinner party Pete was desperate for Don’s respect, and then felt one upped when Don fixed the leaky tap. He also realised he didn’t have Don’s touch, when with the girl in the driver’s ed class. He later, after the upscale whorehouse, is annoyed at Don’s disapproving attitude, not realising that Don is trying without saying to point out one of his mistakes.
Also interesting this week was Ken’s fiction writing, surely something many a blogger can empathise with, and how uncomfortable he felt with talking about it at the party, perhaps in part because he knew he would get in trouble with it at work, albeit not from Don who respects the creative edge. Note however that the story of the bridge and the robot who removed a bolt only for the bridge to collapse killing everyone, served as a metaphor for the episode. Lot’s of characters trying to build bridges with others (e.g. the party, or Pete at the video class), but not succeeding in the way they had hoped. The most obvious of these was Lane trying to win the Jaguar account. Not only did the account get taken with him but he then got the fallout via his wife after the whorehouse incident. The line, and Lane’s delivery of it “he was caught with chewing gum on his pubis” was a classic, and a funny one, not only to the guys in the meeting room. Pete’s subsequent cruelness (and one of the reason’s Pete is never fully respected) leading to the fight was also hilarious. I was rolling about laughing as Lane rolled up his sleeves. I wasn’t sure he was going to win at first (perhaps humiliating him even more), but the idea was to teach Pete a humiliating lesson instead (and a beating he has deserved since the beginning of the show). As it turns out Lane managed to humiliate himself further with trying to kiss Joan. The way Joan opened the door and diverted attention to everyone wanting to beat up Pete, was both clever, emotional and well deserved. She respects him for what he has done for her, and how he welcomed her back, she recognised a minor moment of weakness. Mad Men, back on fine form this week.
– My wife says: Nothing, she was watching yet another titanic documentary in another room
– I say: – One of these episodes which shows why Mad Men is so respected, and one of the best on TV at the moment.
Game of Thrones (HBO)
A tale of Theon Greyjoy’s turn from Rob Stark ally to potential enemy? Which way will he go? His Dad is an annoying dick, but also perfect for the role, i.e. that is what he is supposed to be. I remarked last week, but Patrick Malahide is fantastic in the role in just a few scenes that he has.
Tirion is starting to get a larger hold on the king’s court. He is slowly weeding out the snitches and evaluating the relative strengths and weaknesses of Littlefinger and Varys. The sequence where he told each a similar but different story was extremely well done, and a lot easier to follow than it was in the book. Varys is now starting to slip into the ally role. Varys riddle about power was actually an metaphor for the entire second book / season.
Slight spoilerish part here. Arya got captured. In the book she, Gendry and one or two others escaped only to be captured a day or so later by a team led by the man mountain. Anyway, that aside, I think in the book, Arya actually killed someone in this battle, where as in the show, she has still yet to take a life. What will be the significance of this?
Also good this week, Brienne of Tarth, I wasn’t sure how she was going to come out, but she looks perfect. The Renly sex, or lack of, scenes were odd, interesting, and setting up what is to come. I’m also still surprised how much I like Bronn despite being played by Jerome Flynn (English readers will be well aware of his crimes as part of <cough> “singing” duo “Robson and Jerome”. Non UK readers can look up on youtube but protect those ears please.
– My wife says: See Mad Men
– I say: Sad to see Yoren go, although his death battle was pretty cool, especially for a guy who pretty much knew he was about to die.
tv dinner (the rest)
Eastbound and Down (HBO)
Had it’s season finale. I read on another blog that this may be the last ever episode. It definitely had a feel of an ending. If it has ended right now that was a satisfying ending. Kenny got back to the Majors and bailed realising that he wanted his family instead. Faked his own death and headed back for April. It was funny when April pointed out that he could have stayed in the majors and invited them along to join him.
Mostly a high standard this season, but I’m wondering how it could be stretched out further. I love this show, but if this is the end, that is also ok.
– My wife says: This show is funny but rude.
– I say: The blonde mullet was the greatest.
The Ultimate Fighter (FX)
Highlights – We got to see the annoying tickle fight. He lost to a submission hold.
Lowlights -No idea who the two fighting next week are.
– My wife says: I know I want Cruz’s team to win but Tickle is annoying so I want him to lose.
– I say: Now 3 -2 to Faber’s team.
The Killing (AMC) –
Holder and Linden were working back together again. I’m not sure why she had a go at him over the picture that framed the politician, and him trusting it. He was trusting another cop. Why would he suspect at that point, that another cop was dodgy? Anyway, that aside they seemed to be finally making some progress and piecing the Russian mafia link, guy with the tattoo together.
Stan might also be making the connection that his mafia friends are not so friendly after all. This season has been better so far with the exception of us following the politician, which is a bit boring. I’m assuming he must still be connected in some way, perhaps his rival will be linked to it all, and he will be involved in uncovering it, thus redeeming his professional reputation.
– My wife says: It’s finally stopped raining.
– I say: Yet the ground is still wet.
Lexicon word of the day: inculcate.