Dispatches From The Couch: GREY’S ANATOMY, SCANDAL, MASTERS OF SEX & More!

Anybody else feel like, between GREY’S ANATOMY and SCANDAL, it wasn’t a particularly thrilling week in Shondaland? Granted, even at their worst, both shows are better than a good 90 percent of what’s on television, but this week… well, let’s discuss those shows and a few other things, shall we?
Any lover of sudsy drama will tell you that the best thing you can possibly do is a create a love triangle where allegiances are constantly shifting. Not of the parties involved, but of the audience. In that regard, SCANDAL is doing an incredible job. When even longtime fans of Olivia and Fitz are saying, “Dayum, maybe she should take Ballard for another joyride!”, that’s a good thing. What’s not a good thing is when the show we’ve come to love for twists and shocks is predictable. Before the first witness was called in last night’s case, I predicted that the sexting congressman’s wife was the killer. Maybe it was because she was played by Melora Hardin, who will in my mind always be the bitch who broke Michael Scott’s heart. Or maybe it’s because… well, it was just that obvious. In any case, the far more intriguing story last night involved Mellie’s slip of the tongue and how it might impact the next presidential race. The confrontation between Huck and Quinn (“You keep asking questions. Those questions have answers. You don’t want to know them!”) was also awesome. As always, this show is at its best when it sticks to the core characters. The case-of-the-week may have been necessary to establish that the Gladiator’s are struggling to reclaim their credibility, but it felt more like an attempt to capitalize on the Anthony Weiner scandal… something better left to LAW & ORDER, which handled the same topic earlier in the week.
Predictability was also a problem with last night’s GREY’S ANATOMY. Who didn’t immediately guess that Alex was sneaking off to see his dad? (On the plus side, the moment when Alex realized that he wasn’t the only abandoned kid on his dad’s roster was a nice twist.) Interestingly, while I have never really been a fan of MerDer in the past, I’m absolutely loving their struggle to balance their careers and their home life. Who didn’t walk away from last night’s final scene ready to declare McDreamy the best damn husband on the planet? Oh, and who didn’t scream at their television, “Don’t hit send!” when Arizona sent that late-night booty text to Leah?
I want someone to hurt MASTERS OF SEX’s Ethan… badly. Which means both the writers and portrayer Nicholas D’Agosto are doing their job. This show has unexpectedly morphed into the best period piece since MAD MEN, and may be doing an even better job than that series when it comes to showing the changing attitudes of women and those around them. What’s almost bizarre is that a series focused on the groundbreaking study of sexual issues sticks to the long-established rules of cable television. In other words, while you’ll see a GAME OF THRONES-worthy amount of boobs each week, male nudity remains basically verboten.
How awesome are those Sprint ads in which Malcolm McDowell recreate the Facebook activity of a girl named Jenna. “Stephanie has sent you a friend request!” proclaims a tuxedoed McDowell. “You and Stephanie are now friends!” replies Jones. Another series of ad’s that I’ve come to love? AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” campaign, in which actor/comedian Beck Bennet — look at me, usin’ the Google! — talks to a rotating series of adorable moppets about whether bigger or smaller is better. The company’s Mobility CMO, David Christopher, summed up why the largely improvised ads work perfectly when he told AdWeek, “We don’t want [the kids] to be talking about us or the wireless industry. We just want them to express, in their own fun way, these simple, universal truths.”