A Final Teevee Report

Some final thoughts on the teevee season just completed:

:: The only new show I ended up liking enough to mostly watch all season (I missed a couple of episodes) was Mike and Molly. There’s not a thing about it that’s original; it’s just a typical sitcom about two people who meet and fall in love and meet each other’s circle of lunatic friends and family. The “spin” of the show is that our leads are obese. The first few episodes were heavy on the fat-jokes, but they backed off a bit on that, and mostly kept the “fat” humor aimed at Mike and not Molly. It’s not a great show, by any means, but it’s a pleasant sitcom with likeable people in it. Which makes it a marked contrast to its lead-in show, the ongoingly awful Two and a Half Men.

:: I finally became a committed fan of How I Met Your Mother this season, although my impression remains the same as when the show debuted: the lead character, Ted, who is narrating the events of the show to his kids, is the show’s least interesting character. He really doesn’t need to be there at all.

:: The Office probably should have ended entirely on Michael Scott’s departure. This show has lost a significant amount of steam. The biggest mistake, I think, was in allowing Dwight to get the upper hand on occasion. I consider that a colossal blunder on the part of the writing staff.

:: We didn’t watch Grey’s Anatomy at all this year. We’ll likely watch this season over the summer.

:: I’ve already bitched about Survivor, which I didn’t watch. Rob should never have been there, period. I don’t care how much Kool-Aid he managed to get his competitors to drink; he should never have been brought back at all. I’m probably done with Survivor.

:: The Amazing Race was kind of unexciting this last time. I do wish that they would come up with a way around the fact that each year it seems like one of the final three teams ends up out of the running because they get a cab driver who can’t find the McDonald’s that’s closest to the airport, much less the destinations they have to reach.

:: I watched the first episode of two of Celebrity Apprentice, but then Donald Trump decided that he really wanted him some Teabagger Love, so the hell with him and his show.

:: CSI: Miami is as goofy fun as ever. I haven’t watched either of the other two CSIs in several years, but Miami still entertains me with its gonzo Shatner-on-quaaludes acting by David Caruso.

:: Hawaii Five-0 was OK. I wasn’t wild about it, but I did like it enough to catch most episodes. The cast developed chemistry as the season went on, and the finale episode was a hell of a cliffhanger. In fact, the cliffhanger was so good that it might be one of those cliffhangers with no satisfying resolution. I wouldn’t be surprised if next season starts off with some hand-wavey BS. But that finale was a pretty riveting hour of teevee.

:: The Mentalist was mostly entertaining, and it turned in a fantastic season finale, in which Patrick Jane came face-to-face with Red John. If it was Red John. We’ll see. Even if it was Red John, there are still lots of questions out there — such as, how did this serial killer inspire so many people to assist him in his crimes with such loyalty that they would all kill themselves rather than betray him? Next year will go into some interesting places, I think.

:: American Idol was boring, boring, boring. I can count on one hand the number of times the judges actually provided any real criticism of the contestants, so what happened was that each contestant settled into a particular comfort-area and stayed right there. There was Pia Toscano, who only sang nothing but big-voiced love ballads, Celine Dion style; there was a guy named James who, aside from one song, did everything as an arena-rock anthem; there was another woman who was very proud of her Latina heritage and therefore sang one verse of every song in Spanish; there was eventual winner, Scotty McCreery, who aside from one or two songs, did nothing but slow country tunes in his freakishly low voice. It was a dull, dull, dull year. Blech.

:: I hate Glee. Hate it. Absolutely hate it. But I’ll say this: Glee sure is a fun show to hate. It’s total crap. What do I hate about it? Well, the characters, for one. This is one of those shows that makes me constantly say to myself, “Nobody would ever act this way in real life!” In one episode, the Jane Lynch character played a sex-tape or something like that made by the glee-club director over the school’s PA system. I don’t know if that was supposed to be funny, but someone does that in real life, and they’re almost certainly suspended from their job by the end of the day. Ugh. I also hate how the show’s musical numbers are all the same: person starts singing while everyone else sits around, staring at them in rapt amazement. I hate how the show constantly implies that only singers are musicians of any worth — no lip service at all is paid to the incredibly talented instrumentalists who are never seen rehearsing or practicing, and yet who provide perfect — and anonymous — accompaniments each week. I hate the show’s reliance on cliche, from the flamboyant gay character to the way the season finale, set in New York City, opened with glittering shots of Times Square while the opening bars of Rhapsody in Blue played. Glee is ghastly garbage! (Why do we watch it? The Kid likes it.)

:: And then there’s the best damn thing on teevee, by far: Castle, which just continues to get better and better. This year featured some amazing episodes, and they managed to advance the relationship between Castle and Beckett without bogging it down. (Admittedly, though, I don’t think they have much more room to stretch things out without having them either wind up together or…not.) The ongoing tale of Beckett’s search for her mother’s murderer took some interesting twists and turns, none more so than what unfolded in the show’s brilliantly-written and acted season finale. Castle is the one show that has me wishing that late September was closer than it is.

And now we have summer teevee — Master Chef (never my favorite Gordon Ramsay vehicle), the eventual return of Hell’s Kitchen, America’s Got Talent (which is really only interesting in the first weeks, during the auditions, and before it ends up being a de facto singing competition). And, of course, movies!

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