When GLEE faded to black for its mid-season break, I admitted to being more than a little disappointed. Story-wise, the season had been a hot mess with plots randomly rushed, dropped or shuffled depending on who’d written any particular episode. But in true feel-good-TV style, the finale gave us comeuppance (Sue was suspended) and true love conquering all (Will and Emma’s dramatic kiss). But within minutes of last night’s episode, we were taken right back to the beginning. Sue was back, having paid no price for her actions and learned nothing. Will and Emma had one date before he was making out with a woman who looked enough like Rachel to call into question his relationship with the student. Finn was dating Rachel but unable to forget Quinn except when he was dating others. And, as usual, Mercedes, Artie, Tina and Kurt were practically non-existent. The musical numbers were, of course, stellar… in fact, about half-way through, I realized that I was enjoying GLEE in much the same way one does some bad Broadway musicals – suffering through the plot developments to get to the songs. A major saving grace? Heather Elizabeth Morris’ hysterical bits as cheerleader Brit. Is GLEE a bad show? God, no. Neither, however, is it the great series it could be. GLEE is, however, a show that needs someone with a strong sense of pacing and storytelling to come in and make the tales being told something more than pretty people delivering witty dialogue as a way to pass the time before the singing starts again. Until then, it is a phenomenon that’s not actually all that phenomenal.

So the voices in the woods are people “stuck” on the island because of their past sins. We can check that off the endless list of questions raised by LOST… although, come on, didn’t most people — even those like me who struggle to follow the mythology — already assume it was something like that? Meanwhile, last night’s episode, “Everybody Loves Hugo” was yet another one in which 95 percent of the time was spent wandering around in the woods. This leaves me to wonder how on earth Hugo hasn’t lost weight. I mean, we rarely see these folks eating and they’re constantly hiking from one side of the island to the other. It was nice seeing the Hugo/Libby relationship play out, but the best thing about the episode was probably that bizarre Willy Wonka voiceover during the scenes for next week’s outing.
While the first half of GOSSIP GIRL’s season was something of a dud, the past few weeks have seen the show rebound nicely. This isn’t to say that it’s a great series, but rather that when it remember what it does best, it’s extremely entertaining. This week’s outing focused on two of its strongest elements: the wildly dysfunctional Chuck/Blair relationship and the charming wedding of Dorota and Vanya. Nate was the best damn thing to ever happen to Serena — he made her, if not interesting, at least bearable — so of course, she’s screwing it up as usual. Vanessa isn’t doing much to make Dan more interesting… and they had a three-way with Hilary Duff for the love of God! Sometimes, I can’t help wondering if GG might be a much more entertaining hour if it focused only on life in the Waldorf home. Margaret Colin’s Eleanor had the line of the night (“These Russians drink more than Larry Hagman on his first liver), and Wallace Shawn is (I have to do it… forgive me) inconceivably charming as Cyrus.
CELEBRITY APPRENTICE is one of those programs I keep saying I’m through with, and yet — when there’s nothing else to watch on Hulu — week after week, I get sucked back in. At first, it was because I hate Blago with a passion and wanted to see him make a fool of himself. Fortunately, he did, repeatedly. By the time Blago got the boot, I found myself being amused by — and occasionally mortified for — Cyndi Lauper. Like her, I wanted to slap the crap out of Holly Robinson Peete, who comes off as an obnoxious twit. Yet I continued to watch. But this week, I might — just might — have reached my breaking point… not because of the celebs, but Trump himself. I realize that the guy’s main function here is to introduce the execs representing whatever product is being represented that week, but I’ve also come to the conclusion that I simply do not believe a single word out of his mouth. I don’t believe that decisions are made for any reason other than dramatic purposes, and without at least some sense of rationale or at least sincerity behind the proceedings, all that is left is a mind-numbing show whose only entertainment value comes in mocking celebs when they look like idiots. So I think I’m gonna cut this one loose. In my head, former WWE diva Maria Kanellis walks away the winner. Why? Because she comes off as downright likeable, and that ain’t easy to do on this mess.

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