Game of Thrones: “The Kingsroad”
Paul: I meant to comment on the first episode of Game of Thrones, but I forgot. So here are my thoughts so far:
I want to love this show, but it’s obvious to me that it’s going to be an extended series of awful things happening to the few decent people, while many terrible people go about their terrible business with impunity. I want to like Game of Thrones, but I have a limited stomach for character torture.
That said, man, this show looks amazing. The set and costume design is spectacular, and I hope the constant stream of despair doesn’t put me off it.
So far my favorite subplot is Daenerys Targaryen’s marriage to Khal Drogo, which is doing a thing I’m vaguely ashamed to admit I like (e.g. “the marriage of convenience that blossoms into genuine affection), although it’s going about it in a really unpleasant way. Basically what I’m saying, HBO, is that I could do with less softcore porn. I have to watch this show in a room with other people, y’know? It’s just awkward.
So at this point I’m basically watching in anticipation of the moment when Daenerys winds up being far more politically powerful than her asshole brother intended her to be, and visits payback for his assholery upon his head tenfold. Also watching Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister be snarky is guiltily enjoyable, although I pretty much want all Lannisters to die, forever.
Zoe: I was never a huge fantasy or sci-fi nerd, but given my love of vampire TV shows and the movie Reign of Fire, I probably err more to the fantasy end of things than anything. I never read any George R. R. Martin books (I was a Calling on Dragons, etc., gal), but my younger brother is a huge fan and I had heard good things about the show so I decided to check it out.
So far I am loving all the parts that are Peter Dinklage and with “pale enough to be a LoTR elf” lady. And while I am liking and enjoying everything else, I’m not sure how much I will be able to enjoy the few better than average people getting screwed a lot in the show. That, the T&A, and the racist-overtones of Khal Drago (something apparently missing from the book), give me pause for how long I will be able to watch this show before driving myself crazy.
And yet, it’s a bit addictive. Because it throws so any characters at you so fast, it’s hard to keep track without Wikipedia–which led me down the rabbit-hole of spoilers and new characters and so on. I have to admit I’m liking it enough to consider reading the books when this season ends. That and, well, I mentioned Peter Dinklage, right? He could be doing every single character as a monologue and that would be enough for me to tune in every week. Well, that and him slapping asshole princes.
Nikita: “Glass Houses”
Rawles: Alas, poor Jaden, we knew- well, actually no. We didn’t know her because the show perpetually fell down on offering insight into or adding depth to her character, despite an extremely fertile setup, before ignominiously killing her off. Moving along to things that don’t make me furious: at long last, after many episodes of clearly being suspicious of Alex, Amanda finding her out is both exciting and legitimately satisfying. The show has done a fairly good job of making Amanda seem like the truly formidable villain at Division. Percy is there, and dirty, and always up to something awful, certainly, and he’s the focus of our hero’s attentions, but they just hate him; they don’t fear him. Conversely, the moment way back in “All the Way” when Percy announces to a captured Nikita that they’re bringing in Amanda, it’s one of the only times we’ve ever seen her visibly frightened. Percy is the one who brings them in and who sends them out, but Amanda is the one who breaks them. She’s the one who controls them and she’s the one who understands best how to hurt them. The A-plot this episode wasn’t exactly dull, but a bit of a retread. Given the frequency with which Division agents seem to defect once being let outside, you’d think Percy would start trying something new. Though, to be fair, I guess the point was that he had realized that his Guardians aren’t especially secure. Due the retread nature of this particular Guardian’s dilemma, she mostly served as a narrative device to frame Nikita and Michael’s issues, which left it difficult to really connect with her. Though, her killing four agents in five seconds flat was pretty sweet. All and all, a middle of the road offering.
Community: “Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts”
Paul: It was barely even a B-plot, but the Indecent Proposal section of this episode just made me hate Pierce even more, which is impressive, because I already really hate that guy. That said, relegating him to background antagonist position was the right idea here, since I don’t think I could’ve stood listening to his abhorrent racist logorrhea while Shirley was giving birth in the Anthropology classroom.
Which is to say, yes, Shirley’s baby has been born! And although I wish the baby had in fact been Chang’s, his part in this episode was nonetheless touching, as was Shirley’s and Andre’s gesture. Britta was perfectly awkward, and her conversation with Jeff (“OMG baby!” “Wait, we’re too cool to care about babies”) was another great moment. And Troy and Abed got their handshake back. Miracles all around! Now: It’s time for some paintball.
The Office: “Goodbye, Michael”
Zoe: When I was a kid, my older brother would always accuse me of doing things because I had seen people on TV do them. This infuriated me, but was also usually right. Sometimes the best way I knew how to express an emotion was to act how Stephanie on Full House did–and sometimes the way I learned about emotions was to do that.
I don’t think this is that uncommon in kids, though we all are able to grow out of it (some more than others). Michael Scott is what happens when you don’t. His send off tonight was both sweet and unearned. The show had been building up to a touching send off for him–and his writing this season has earned this goodbye–but the idea of Michael is also the idea of the kid who has never had friends and is a jerk in groups. I believe you can grow to like that kid, but I’m not sure so many would grow to love him or think of him fondly.
I see Community‘s Pierce as the other part of the Michael Scott coin. He’s also friendless man child with petty, jerkish tendencies who wants to be the center of attention to. The difference is that Pierce is more aware of how much people dislike him and that Pierce didn’t grow up thinking he should act like a character on a sitcom. But there’s some Pierce in Michael Scott as many episodes will show you. Being aware of the different Michael’s and how terrible he had been, is what kept me from totally buying into the touching goodbyes. As much as the show has used Holly to force his redemption–and as good of a storyline as I think that has been–he’s also the guy who’s been unbelievable cruel to some of these people and humans just don’t forget that easily.
No matter. Now that Carrell is gone, and with him the heart of the show, there’s not really a reason to watch. In the meantime, I can appreciate the fine work that The Office has done growing his character this season into someone who someone else would want to marry, into less of a petty manchild, and who deserves the sweet farewell Pam gave him. And I’ll get ready to ditch the show at the season’s end because if D’Angelo is any indication, it’ll rough sailing for The Office from here on.