What a difference a season makes. Last year, I was wildly intrigued by THE GOOD WIFE’s Kalinda and her mysterious background. Now that her abusive hubby is on the scene, I want them both to go away… or for her to at least drive a stiletto heel through his heart and get back to work. On the plus side, WIFE continues to turn the new frontier of electronic media into a breeding ground for fantastic lawsuits. This week’s story about the manipulation of search engine results was fascinating.
Every year, I say I’m not going to watch SURVIVOR, and every year, I do. Why? Because I’m drawn in by the fascinating dynamics that unfold when you put a group of diverse, interesting people into a stressful situation. Sadly, nobody told this cycle’s group of contestants that they were supposed to be interesting. If one of them doesn’t develop a personality soon, I’ll stop carrying a torch for this longtime favorite.
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the latest episdes of DEXTER or HOMELAND, skip this paragraph! Moving along in 3… 2… 1… When Deb found out the truth about DEXTER in the season finale, my jaw hit the floor and I eagerly anticipated the fallout. Unfortunately, what we’ve gotten so far this season has been pedantic at best. Deb’s reaction to finding out her brother is a serial killer was to basically ground him. The most interesting thing so far has been the rival between Dexter and his babysitter’s boyfriend… who has now been killed off. Similarly, the show’s timeslot companion, HOMELAND, went from a game-changing episode in which Saul found out the truth about Brody to this week’s overlong outting which went nowhere. Did anybody really think things would end well for Brody’s tailor pal? Yes, there were some great performances, but when a show does as few new episodes a year as this one, I don’t expect to waste an entire hour waiting for Saul to show Carrie the proof that she was right all along.
I finally realized what it is that I love about ABC’s 666 PARK AVENUE: It’s basically FANTASY ISLAND, with Terry O’Quinn in the Mr. Roarke role. If you only know the series that sprung from the original movies (or, God forbid, the horrendous 1998 reboot), you’ll be forgiven for not knowing that FANTASY began as a far darker vision than what it later morphed into. As on 666, guests would often find that wish fullfillment came at a hefty price. The other reason I’m digging 666 is that at long last, someone at ABC seems to have figured out what the hell (pun intended) to do with Vanessa Williams, whose stint on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES was a great case of a network hiring an actress before coming up with a plan on how best to use her. While 666 isn’t as gory as THE WALKING DEAD or flashy as AN AMERICAN HORROR STORY, it has its own merits. One of the most appealing things about it is probably the very thing that has caused audiences to dismiss it: The pace is a bit on the slow side. But to me, it feels like we’re in the early chapters of a horror novel. You know, where we meet all the players and get the sense that something bad is lurking in the shadows. I look forward to watching the things that go bump in the night take center stage. Here’s hoping that ABC sticks with the show despite its lackluster performance in the ratings. Meantime, if you haven’t checked it out, do so. Maybe we can turn things around and make 666 a grower, not a shower.
I have finally learned how to have my cake (read: guiltiest of pleasure) and eat it too (read: judge people for watching trash): While I refuse to watch THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY during the season, I am inexplicably drawn to the show’s reunion special. The fact that they spread it out over three hours is just gravy. I don’t have to sit through all the boring moments of the season, yet still get to feel better about myself by watching these women (and their husbands) make complete asses of themselves on national television. The highlight for me had to be watching Teresa Giudice and her husband, Joe, sit awkwardly on that couch and try to convince America that they are a loving couple, especially as he explained that the “c” word is basically a term of endearment between them. Feel the love. I also couldn’t help thinking that if Rupaul ever decides to do a show on which he taught women who dress like drag queens to look like actual ladies, Teresa should be the first guest.
I don’t even know what to make of THE INSIDER. On Tuesday night’s edition, they went from a discussion about the rules of the presidential debate to Chelsea Handler saying to Jennifer Aniston, “You know everybody here at work loves your nipples, right?” Seriously. Kevin Frazier — who kicked the episode off by saying, “You may have to be American to be president, but you don’t have to be Korean to be a K-pop star” — I’m officially embarrassed for you.
Richard M. Simms is the executive editor of Soaps In Depth magazine, author of Crimes Against Civility and lives his TV-viewing life on a three-day tape delay.