Channel Surfing with C.T.

That’s it. I quit. I’m fed up with LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIM UNIT. What finally pushed me over the edge? The fact that last night’s episode might just as well have been GREY’S ANATOMY. First, Stabler questioned the paternity of his soon-to-be-born child (because, of course, the case he was working involved an illegitimate kid) and then the entire last act involved his wife giving birth. Of course, she only did so after being in a car accident… with Olivia. Did I mention that Olivia then saved her life and practically delivered the child? I officially have an opening in my Tuesday night schedule.

I’m a week behind on PROJECT RUNWAY, so forgive me for only just now fawning over Sarah Jessica Parker’s appearance. Is it just me, or would she be an excellent choice to host the show should Heidi Klum decide to focus on being a mom? I have to say, however, that I disagreed with the judge’s final decision as to who to send packing. I laughed when Heidi actually said of Marion’s Pochahontusy dress, “You have left us very sad.” I can’t imagine what watching the nightly news would do to those poor judges! But come on… Marion’s sadness-inducing garb was at least inventive and kinda cool. Christian’s dress, on the other hand, had only one thing going for it: that electric blue fabric. The jacket was just ugly and didn’t go with the dress at all, which would seem to be the point of an assignment in which you were asked to make a two-piece look. In any case, I will say right now, on the record, that I would kill or die to have SJP be my new best friend. Who’s gonna step up to the plate and make that happen?

Why was last week’s episode of UGLY BETTY so… blah? There were a few amusing moments, and Daniel’s ultimate solution to the cover problem was lovely and emotional, but overall, the episode felt flat at best and at worst — whenever Eliza Dushku was on screen, for example — almost annoying. For some reason, the entire hour felt as if it lacked heart, which is the very essence of the show. Is that really the best way to head into a post-sweeps rerun period?

I can’t help but feeling as if CANE us a show in a major state of flux. While the first few episodes positioned the Samuels family as rivals of the central Duque clan, they seem to have all but vanished in recent weeks. They were nowhere to be seen in Tuesday’s episode, and were barely even mentioned. Likewise, matriarch Rita Moreno was MIA this week, as was new mix-master Terry, played by the charming Rachel Carpani. Perhaps appropriately, my feelings toward the show are in flux as well. There are certain elements I love, others I’m rapidly cooling on… namely, the criminal activities of Alex Vega. And seeing as he’s the central character, that could be problematic. I know they want to play the moral ambiguity card, but it’s not working for me. In fact, he’s becoming rather like GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Sonny, a character whom we are expected to believe is a “good” mobster.

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  • nctodc

    I spend my Tuesday nights flipping between SVU and Cane–feeling the urge to watch both, but not so much that I’d TiVo one and watch the other. Now I’m ready to throw in the towel on both of them.

    SVU’s just getting stale. It’s been one guest star after another after another and the random interjections of the cops’ personal lives is just getting in the way of otherwise promising stories.

    As for Cane…I’ve got two problems: first, everytime I hear Jimmy Smits talk about ethanol, all I can think of is him campaigning in Iowa on “West Wing.” My second problem is that Smits’ character, Alex, doesn’t really have any endearing qualities. There’s nothing about him that makes me want to cheer for him. I think they need to devote a few episodes to the family (and bring back Rita Moreno), so we can see that side to Alex before we get back into his dirty business.

    As for Ugly Betty, I thought it was a pretty good episode, though not as funny as past episodes. It definitely created a platform for a Slater/Mode feud. I just hope that the split between the two magazines doesn’t mean the end of Marc and Amanda banter.

  • nick

    Funny!!! i feel the same way about S.V.U.Each week someones getting shot or going blind.

  • Lia

    I thought I was the only one that missed when the Law and Orders didn’t have personal stories for their characters.

  • ct

    I don’t so much have a problem with the guest stars, since that’s long been a staple of the L&O franchise. They’ve gotten some amazing actors through there. But lately, it’s felt as if the plots are designed to show off the actors as opposed to writing great plots and then finding the right actor for the role. Also, as Lia notes, this is a show that made a name for itself because it didn’t get involved with the personal lives of the characters. But at least a third of this past episode did exactly that. Heck, the actual murder story had finished by the half-way point!

    As for Cane, I feel as if we’re supopsed to like Smits because he’s a family man. But they don’t give us enough of that. I feel as if maybe the stuff in which he interacts with his family is winding up on the cutting room floor. And as my best friend has pointed out several times, Alex’s kids look about five years younger than his wife, if that, which can be kinda distracting.

    Why can’t anybody put on a good, old-fashioned soap, like DALLAS, KNOTS LANDING, even DYNASTY? Today’s attempts are so cookie-cutter and bland it’s not even funny.

    As for BETTY, I suspect that within a few weeks, Wilhelmina will be right back at Mode, although given what she did, it’ll be interesting to see how they do that. You don’t want to spread your characters out too thin on a show like this. We’ve already got the action at Mode and the action at Betty’s house. Throw in a third major setting with Slater and things might begin to lose their focus. A big part of the fun is having all these people under the same roof bumping into each other, no matter how ridiculous it is that they don’t spread their wings. It’s rathe rlike on DALLAS: Yes, it was ridiculous that the Ewings all lived under one roof, given that they had more money than God, but if they moved out, there’d be no more great dinner scenes at which everyone squirmed as their secrets were reveled. I predict Marc and Mandy will be back under the same roof very soon.

    But I was surprised they didn’t take better advantage of the plots already set in motion in this past episode. For example, why wasn’t Marc pitching his boyfriend to shoot the cover? It would have been fun to watch them work together under those circumstances. I would have brought Hilda in to do hair and make-up, giving her another chance to interact with Daniel, which has been so funny in the past. And given how famous Wilhelmina is, doesn’t it seem hard to believe that she couldn’t get funding for her magazine and had to turn to daddy? This is a woman who can work any room… one dinner party and she’d have locked her funding into place. And don’t get me started on that lame-ass subplot with Alex and the midget. I guarantee you that no printer would balk if one of the biggest publishing companies in the country needed to adjust their deadlines. The company could simply threaten to take all of their publishing elsewhere! I just felt the episode kinda missed the boat and was, in my never-so-humble opinion, the weakest episode of the season so far.