July 9, 2014
by melissa
0 comments

Smart ladies love smart TV, the women of FX

The Bridge

Since season 2 of The Bridge premieres tonight, I had been planning to write about my love of Diane Kruger’s character Sonya Cross for today, but due to grad school busytime, I never got to talk about Fargo or The Americans, two other FX shows with smart, well-rounded female characters. This made me extraordinarily sad, because you know I like to try to convince other people to watch the shows I love (I finally wore Katie down on Parks & Rec!!), so I thought I’d write an ode to some of my favorite female characters on TV.

I was thinking about what all of these women have in common and they have all made me scream and yelp with delight when they were on my TV. I feel something for them and the excellent work of the actresses who portray them.

I know these characters would not exist without great writers, producers and directors, and I love that a network like FX is able to breed such great talent.

Honorable Mentions

These women are not the lead characters of their shows, but they are nonetheless wonderful.

Martha, The Americans

Martha 1

Martha (Alison Wright) has THE BEST apartment on TV, filled with midcentury glassware and small touches that make viewers understand that she is way cooler than her desperation leads us to believe. She even knows about Clark’s (really, Phillip’s) fake hair! I hope she realizes she is being played and then does something insane. As long as Martha doesn’t die. Please.

Rachel, Justified

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Rachel 2

Along with sharpshooter Tim, Rachel (Erica Tazel) is the one character fans of Justified long to see more of, and we were all thrilled to see she was made interim chief last season while Art is recovering from being shot by Michael Rappaport. She is so smart, tough and infinitely more capable of being a leader than pretty boy Raylan Gvens, who she puts in his place regularly.

Adriana, The Bridge

One of the things I love most about The Bridge is its ability to create a whole fascinating world through switching between its characters. Adriana (Emily Rios) was paired with Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard), both reporters for the El Paso paper. While Daniel got his own storyline by being a part of the murder, Adriana was the one who showed the viewer around Juarez, her home. We spent time with her wonderful family, who loves her but does not approve of her homosexuality.

Sonya, The Bridge

I have long admired Diane Kruger’s sense of style and taste in men (HELLOOOOOO Pacey!), but until I saw her on The Bridge, I was never entirely convinced she could act. We have received information about Sonya in pieces: she was close to her sister, who was brutally murdered, after which Lieutenant Hank Wade took her in and (presumably) helped her train to be a detective. She also has a disability, something like Asperger’s, which is handled remarkably well on the show. She’s socially awkward, never says the right thing (insulting Alma’s cooking was one of my favorite scenes), but, unlike Carrie on Homeland, totally rocks at her job and is not disadvantaged by her disability. I strongly relate to Sonya and Kruger’s performance makes her so heartbreaking and sweet but also a tortured badass.

Molly, Fargo

If you would have told me six months ago that the TV show based on the Coen brothers classic film Fargo would be my favorite new show of the year, I would not have believed you. But Fargo was more memorable and compelling than True Detective, in that the stories and characters have stuck with me even after it ended. Allison Tolman was amazing as Molly Solverson, the deputy chief of Police in Bemidji, Minnesota, and the only person in town smart enough to figure out what really happened when Lorne Malvo came to town. I love that Molly isn’t conventionally attractive (read: thin), but her weight is never mentioned and she even gets the dude, charming Gus Grimley (Colin Hanks). I hope Allison Tolman wins all the awards (and beats damn Jessica Lange).

Elizabeth, The Americans

Via.

I think the three things a person should focus on every day are health, growth, and community. Via.

I am so glad Keri Russell is on a TV show that hasn’t been cancelled yet (I was the one person who watched Running Wilde), especially one as brilliant and engaging as The Americans. Elizabeth Jennings, like her husband Phillip, spies on the United States for Russia in the early 80s and wears a huge variety of frumpy wigs while killing many (many, many) people in cold blood. Watching Elizabeth struggle with who she is and what her place is in the Russian spy machine all while balancing a family is riveting to watch.

Many of these shows are streaming on various sites like Hulu and Amazon, and I urge you to watch them if you are able.

July 8, 2014
by katie
16 Comments

Smart ladies love dumb TV, BATB recap, Déjà Vu SEASON FINALE

Previously on BATB, Gabe became a beast again and that means that there is a high probability that he might die tonight! Gabe has to die right? Like seriously dead, right? [Please. I am hoping. I won't know until I finish reading this recap though! -M]

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YAY this episode begins in New York City, 1854 and a mob is after the BEAST! Jay Ryan’s wig as Alistair is hilariously bad. Kristen Kreuk looks pretty as Rebecca in a red dress. Rebecca and Alistair briefly make-out –SCANDAL. Apparently in 1854, poor Rebecca and Alistair had a Mohinder of their own to deal with. Turns out this is a dream of Cat’s –thanks, Cat for the location and date in your dreams. Cat is obsessed with the journal and wants to know why Rebecca would kill the love of her life. Vincent is trying to be mister positive and to look to the future. Positive Vincent is adorable especially when there is a knock at the door and JT tells the lovebirds that Gabe is a beast again and that he killed Beth.

The Scooby Gang head to the crime scene (I guess Cat got her job back). Vincent vows to go after Gabe and kill him (just like Alistair did). Tess tells JT to go back to the lab to find out how strong Gabe 2.0 is. Vincent, Cat and Tess go through a sea of reporters and we flash between the present and 1854 (FANCY) noticing that the same thing happened to Rebecca and Alistair –are our lovers DOOMED by history? Cat points out to Vincent that Alistair also wanted to go after the other beast and ended up dead by Rebecca’s hand. She wants to call Agent Knox for help. Tess just wants a fucking plan –ever practical, that girl. Tess goes back to the precinct and Cat calls Knox. Just as the phone rings at Knox’s office, Mohinder knocks it off the desk as he kills him. [WTF Mohinder, you are ruining everything. -M] Dammit I had high hopes for Cat and Vincent joining the FBI and this show going back to its procedural roots. [I spent years complaining about procedurals but sometimes I think they work, like early Fringe. -M]

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What time of year is it? Why is everyone in coats?? -M

Vincent wants to go after Mohinder but Cat begs him not to. Vincent leaves anyway because he doesn’t want Mo to kill anymore innocent people. She calls the rest of the Scooby gang, well she calls Tess who calls JT –it’s a Scooby phone tree! JT exclaims that Gabe has gone nuts (Really JT you think? What tipped you off the killing of a witness or ripping out Beth’s heart OR killing a federal agent in his office?) JT also has bad news if V were to fight Gabe 2.0, Gabe 2.0 would kill him. Gabe 2.0 is THE WORST! JT also asks Tess if they can talk about their relationship some more –PRIORITIES JT! Tess tasks JT with finding V on the cities surveillance cameras.

Cat goes to Bob –EYEROLL!  Bob actually concedes that Vincent is a different beast than he has ever seen before. But he warns Cat that if Vincent is to bring down Gabe 2.0  then he must lose his humanity. The only way to save Vincent is to trap Gabe 2.0 and keep him away from V.

Back in 1854 Alistair has found the other beast and they fight as the angry mob chants for the death of the beast. The other beast kicks Vincent through a wall and he falls into a cart as Rebecca calls for him. There are so many beasts to worry about tonight. [Good lord, this is confusing. -M]

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Back in the present and at the Gentleman’s Club (that none of these fools could ever afford) JT and Tess frantically look for Vincent on the surveillance. They don’t find Vincent but they do find Gabe 2.0 casually sipping tea in Chinatown while waiting for Vincent to show his face. Scooby gang to the rescue! As Vincent walks through Chinatown, Gabe 2.0 smugly tells him he will kill all those he is close to and that he became a beast to save Catherine –will somebody kill him he is the worst. [I WILL DO IT. -M] Just as Vincent approaches, JT tranques V and Cat drives him away. JT and Tess run from Gabe 2.0 –I swear to Crom if anything happens to JT or Tess I am going to be VERY ANGRY! [Fun fact: Crom is our god that we have been worshipping since staying up all night once in college while drinking too much coffee. Carry on. -M]

Cat instructs JT to draw blood from Vincent to use it as bait to trap Gabe 2.0. She tells both he and Tess that history is repeating itself and if she can figure out how Rebecca protected Alistair they can do the same thing to protect Vincent. Both Tess and JT are very skeptical about creating a plan based on a journal from 1854. Tess does have the Captain on board (all be it barely) to take down Gabe 2.0 once they find him IF JT and Cat can give him as much evidence as they can gather that ALL the killings are Gabe 2.0 and NOT Vincent Keller.

Back to 1854, Alistair has just fallen and was rescued by Rebecca when the angry mob finds his blood. Rebecca locks Alistair in the dungeon because it is HER destiny to kill the beast FUCK YEAH! Rebecca is feisty. [We love feisty women!!!!!!!!!! -M]

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In the present (man this is getting old), Tess is going to take the evidence to the captain once JT compiles it. Cat has Tess gather Vincent’s blood and JT tells her to be careful (oh dear I have seen enough fucking TV to know that Tess is either going to die or will be in grave peril OR the writers aren’t entirely incompetent and this is a fantastic red herring. I am aware that for 15 episodes I criticized the writers of this show and that most likely I will be seriously ticked off  when Tess dies).  Cat and a tranqued Vincent drop Tess off at the precinct. Where is the blood? Tess warns Cat that her plan is crazy and that she should not go after Mohinder alone. I am so worried for Tess. RED HERRING RED HERRING RED HERRING. Also Gabe 2.0 better fucking die cause I will not be able to watch another season of that douche. Gabe 2.0 is ominously staking out JT –DAMMIT now I am worried for JT. I’m worried for EVERYONE! Cat locks Vincent in the dungeon and leaves the gem on an end table in the dungeon lab –why is there a random end table in the lab, WHY ASK WHY, maybe it was a box. [Dude this show without Tess would be THE WORST. See what has happened without Hot Joe? Yeah, we got Mohinder. Boooo. -M]

At the precinct the the captain tells Tess that he either gets Gabe or Keller but it has to end tonight. Cat meets Tess outside of the precinct. Cat is worried that maybe Bob and Rebecca are wrong that maybe it was Rebecca who made Alistair vulnerable. Tess tells her she has to make up her mind. Cat says she will leave the blood trail to capture Gabe 2.0. Then Tess stops to talk about relationships, Cat and I are both like PRIORITIES PEOPLE!

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I see lots of confusing action (especially if we volley between past and present) so BULLETED LIST:

  • In both the past and present Alistair and Vincent try to free themselves from the dungeon to no avail.
  • Cat left the gem on a lab stool because I know you care deeply about the dungeon decor.
  • In the past Rebecca goes back to the dungeon and finds that the mob has found Alistair and burn him alive –good job, Rebecca, locking your beast boyfriend in a dungeon so that an angry mob can kill him.
  • Cat goes to save Vincent who is still in the cage not on a pyre. She tells him that they have to have faith in them together as a team to take down Gabe 2.0.
  • Cat and Vincent go to the Gentleman’s club and find JT strung up and possibly dead. OH GOD NOT JT! NOT JT! Is it not enough that True Blood killed off ALCIDE!
  • JT IS ALIVE but he is in bad shape. Tess is very upset. I am very upset. Cat is very upset. Vincent is out for BLOOD. GABE MUST DIE –so say we all! [Oh god I almost had a heart attack. -M]
  • Gabe 2.0 the biggest creep in creepville calls out to Vincent to come and get him.
  • Gabe 2.0 finds Vincent playing pool. The boys fight and Cat clasps the collar on Mohinder as we hear sirens in the distance.
  • She smugly tells him he is going to jail.
  • Mohinder knocks both Cat and Vincent down and grabs a broken bottle to attack Cat who fucking stakes his ass with a pool-stick through the heart –FUCK YES!
  • I am beyond happy that asshole died. [And that Cat fucking did it and not Vincent! YAY for strong women! -M]

Cat and Vincent give the captain all of the evidence JT had AND he promptly gives Cat her job back –good for Cat, probably not so great for the citizens of NYC. [When is Cat going to be the captain? I hope that is where this show is headed. OR she and Tess fight over the captain job and Tess gets it and they fight but JT and Vincent are tired of it and get them back together. -M]

RAWR!

RAWR!

At the hospital they find out that JT is not going to make it. As Tess is telling Vincent why he is dying they hear the monitors in JT’s room go off. But instead of finding him dead they find JT very much alive. Vincent also finds one of the shadowy government agents who recently studied him and yet also had him exonerated –are they good or are they bad? Agent Thomas tells Cat and Vincent that they saved JT because they want the Scooby gang to help them track threats worse than beasts –oh thank GOD we are totally going back to a procedural I can feel it. I’m so happy I could cry. [Wow this show is totally giving us everything we want. Should I start watching next year? Y/N. -M]

The episode ends with Cat and Vincent on a DATE! JT LIVES! TESS IS IN LOVE! VINCENT AND CAT KISS! MOHINDER IS DEAD! HAPPY SUMMER TO US ALL!

See you in 2015 kids, I will miss you all! If you like Hemlock Grove we have been working on a season 1 recap AND I will be working on a season 2 recap over the weekend probably to post next Tuesday instead of my BATB recap. [I have so many notes I have Siri-ed onto my phone while watching that awful show. And screencaps of Famke's outfits. They are just so pretty. -M]

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It’s even better now that he is dead!

Stills from the CW. 

July 7, 2014
by katie
1 Comment

Smart ladies love movies, this week in trailers, July 7, 2014

Movie Trailer Mondays

TheSkeletonTwins

Each week I review movie trailers that came out the previous week or for movies that are about to premiere. Some of these movies I am excited about, some I am mildly curious about, and the rest I make fun of!

Notable movies coming out this week

Dawn of Planet of the Apes

I am shocked by the quality of actor in this movie, good job Planet of the Apes franchise for focusing on quality! [I was so surprised when I saw on CBS Sunday Morning that David Edelstein endorsed this movie! It can't be all that bad. -M]

Behaving Badly, is out onDemand and for Rent

Aren’t there already enough teen sex comedies? I am also very mad at Mary-Louise Parker and Elisabeth Shue did they lose a bet??? [SELENA GOMEZ WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? -M]

Movies I can’t wait to see in an ACTUAL theater

The Skeleton Twins, September 19, 2014

I seriously can not wait for this movie. I bet it’s my undying love for Ty Burrell or Kristen Wiig or Luke Wilson or Bill Hader or fucking STARSHIP that makes me so excited! [The boyfriend of The Amateur Gourmet, Craig, directed this, and I have loved reading about movie stuff from Adam's perspective. This looks fantastic!! -M]

St. Vincent, October 24, 2014

I know that they make this movie a lot, just recently with Jason Bateman and the spelling bee but this movie looks really good or maybe I’m blinded by all the talent. [Why is there a movie with the same name as a popular musician? I feel like it's confusing for her. Other than that, I will definitely see this as everyone I love is in it. Melissa McCarthy's role is less Tammy and more Sookie and I'm really excited about that. -M]

I won’t go to an ACTUAL theater but will pay for it on Amazon

Horrible Bosses 2, November 26, 2014

I enjoyed the first Horrible Bosses more than I thought I would so I will probably enjoy this on cable. [Horrible Bosses is already an HBO classic so I will probably be enjoying this on hungover Sundays next summer. -M]

You would have to PAY me to see it in an ACTUAL theater

Into the Storm, August 8, 2014

I’m really over this whole “found footage” genre of movies here it’s the found footage Twister starring Thoren Oakensheild AKA Richard Armitage. [We saw this trailer before Tammy and the weird old ladies next to me kept saying "OH MY!" and "This could really happen!" during the entire two minutes. -M]

Gif from mayawiig.