Glee: “The art of losing”

On the season finale of Glee, New Directions lost the regional glee club competition. In fact, they didn’t even place in the top two despite Sue Sylvester’s secret support. And to be honest prior to the episode airing I was kind of hoping, from a storytelling point of view, that they would lose. But just because I thought losing would be best for season 2 didn’t mean that I wasn’t rooting for them.

I like to support the underdog and especially after the fantastic Journey melody I really thought they had a shot at pulling off the upset. However, Vocal Adrenaline was awesome. Technically it seemed like Jesse did more of the singing then the rest of the club, but their entire performance was just better in terms of choreography and storytelling. Also Queen totally has the potential to trump Journey every time.

To my surprise though, when Sue announced Vocal Adrenaline as the winner, it was like a gut punch.

The Gleek in all of us

I really cared about the glee club kids, more than I thought. It’s not that I’m uncaring but I’ve tried to keep the show at an arm’s length and remain critical of it despite being a fan from the very beginning. I love TV but I try not to get too distracted by the exciting shiny things – like fun song and dance numbers when analyzing an episode, season, or series. I mean overall the first season has been all over the place in terms of storytelling, but the show is original and because it can’t be compared to anything on TV right now, or most anything at all, it seems like the show often gets a free pass for its plot inconsistencies. Glee

Despite my tendency to be critical of television, I can really relate to these characters though. I’ve never really been involved in the performing arts but as someone who grew up playing sports I know what it feels like to give it your all and still come up short. I’ve never been the MVP or part of a championship team, but that never stopped me from putting my heart and soul into every challenge despite repeatedly losing. And that’s why I think it hurt watching them come up short.

In fact, the one theme that has been consistent throughout the entire freshman season is that most of us are losers. Okay, so that might be a bit of an overstatement but since it’s not possible for everyone to be a winner, it’s more likely that many of us are far more familiar with the feeling of losing. The fact that we are not all winners is a true sentiment, but not one that is generally taught to us or even one that is so overtly perpetuated in entertainment. It’s not that Glee is the only fictional show on television to play with this theme, but the difference is in the delivery. The sad truth is sugarcoated in song and dance.

Hell, they even performed Beck’s “Loser” in the penultimate episode. Granted, the end of Glee‘s season finale veered dangerously close to an after-school special when the kids said they won because of Mr. Shue, but then again this is TV and at the end of the day I suppose its not the worst thing in the world to win a participation trophy. Plus, there’s always next season.

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Scrubs: “You know I’m hearing it now, it is kind of annoying when I talk.”

Scrubs has been really funny this season, even more so, when JD is not present. I just wanted to put that statement out there, before I get any further along, since this is where I am headed with this entry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti JD and when I initially read that Scrubs was renewed for a ninth season, with a mostly new cast, I was less than thrilled. Sure Scrubs has had some great seasons and some less than great seasons, but overall I thought “My Finale Part I & II” (8.18 & 8.19) were a perfectly respectable way to go out. I wasn’t interested in a spin-off or a reboot with the same name and I wasn’t interested in seeing a new class of med students. After eight seasons I’ve gotten kind of attached to JD, Turk, Carla, Elliot, The Janitor, and Dr. Cox and I’ve also grown fond of the many colorful background characters that keep Sacred Heart Hospital so much fun to visit on a weekly basis.

Scrubs Reboot is Refreshing

So even though I had reservations, I wasn’t about to give up on Scrubs. Maybe it’s a personal weakness, but generally when I start a show—I finish it. To put that statement into perspective I watched all eight seasons of Charmed and I’m still watching Smallville on a weekly basis. Initially I was lukewarm to the new season even though the first few episodes heavily featured JD, Dr. Cox, and Turk. The changes made to the show just felt like too much too soon. I had difficultly wrapping my head around the fact that in Scrubs a few short months a new hospital / med school was built and most everyone was suddenly a professor or gone. (Yes, I understand that it’s a television show…just stay with me, I’m getting to the point.)

Surprisingly, I found myself liking the new characters and their quirks. And while there were certainly some laugh out loud moments in the first few episodes, it wasn’t until JD left that I started to really enjoy the new season.

Here is the main reason why: The character of JD walks a fine line between character and caricature. While I understand that this show is a comedy, unlike the other main characters he has been the most inconsistent in terms of growth. No, I don’t want, or expect him to stop the daydreams or tone down the bromance with Turk, but his constant need for approval and outlandish ‘real-life’ ideas just grow old after a while. What I find even more frustrating about the way his character has been written lately, is that it seems to be a regression from the level of maturity he reached last season, settling down with Elliot and choosing to leave Sacred Heard Hospital to be closer to his son.

Perhaps that is why I don’t mind the ridiculousness of the new characters. Lucy’s horse obsession has been a constant and Cole has always unnecessarily abbreviated words, but I don’t really expect anything else from them. The show is just now starting to develop the new crop of “murderers, butchers, slaughterers, and slayers” into three-dimensional characters. On the other hand, the same character that worried about being man enough for his son (7.8) and willingly postponed steak night to stay with a dying patient (8.2) also wore a hairnet rather than a helmet so as to not mess up his hairdo (3.4) and taught class from a tree (9.2).

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House MD: “We’re not friends, we’re colleagues…”

I don’t hate House’s new team. In fact I think I probably harbor far less polarizing feelings than the majority of people voicing their opinions online; however, I still miss Chase, Cameron, and Foreman. Its not that I necessarily prefer seasons 1-3, but when I re-watch any of the older episodes there is just a different vibe to them, one that the newer seasons seem to be lacking. House MD‘s season six provided the brief reunion of the original team and after watching those few episodes I think I finally realized why I liked and missed them so much. For me, it’s their group dynamic.

House MD: Office Drama & Romance

Before Chase and Cameron were married and even before they all went their separate ways at the end of season three, they were friends. Even though Foreman may have disagreed (2.18), compared to Taub, Thirteen, and Kutner they at least acted friendly towards each other. I blame this on House. The original team was hand selected by House unbeknownst to each other; but Taub, Thirteen, and KutnerHouse MD along with all the other candidates spent months all vying for only three positions. Fierce competition and fear of being fired kept them from bonding and looking out for one another.

For instance, Kutner and Cole formed a friendship, but Cole willingly put Kutner on the weekly chopping block (4.8) in a failed attempt to secure a spot on the team for himself. Besides House’s games, other circumstances surrounding the new team also caused a less than fun work atmosphere for us to watch each week. Unlike Chase, Cameron and even Foreman in the early seasons, Taub and Foreman didn’t see diagnostics as a learning opportunity but as their only means of practicing medicine and making money. For them it was not their first choice and while it may have seemed like Kutner enjoyed every moment of it, his suicide (5.20) clearly demonstrates otherwise. And then you have Thirteen; at first she was extremely secretive and closed off and then after receiving her Huntington’s diagnosis she became understandably wrapped up in her own issues.

In seasons 1-3 of House MD we watched three young doctors experience a crazy internship under a brilliant diagnostician and learn to practice medicine in a whole new way. And through it all they had each other, but that all seemed to change with the new team. Instead, we saw four people—already unenthusiastic about their lives and jobs being abused by House on a weekly basis.

However, since the ‘musical chairs’ antics of season six I remain refreshingly optimistic about the situation. Taub and Foreman have more or less come to terms with their positions at PPTH, Chase makes Foreman less dull, Thirteen and Taub have been friendlier since Kutner’s death, and Taub has provided some much needed comic relief. And although I didn’t like Cameron’s exit, the new team, comprised of Foreman, Chase, Taub, and Thirteen, seems to be a satisfying mix of old and new.

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Hello world!

Welcome to my blog about anything and everything related to television.

You won’t find any spoilers, fanfiction, reviews, or recaps here; just my random musings about my favorite medium and the television shows I tune into. Although the title of this blog is a reference to the speech given by Newton N. Minow in 1961 it is meant to be ironic; however, that does not mean I won’t be critical.

I love television, I guess I always have. It wasn’t until I began watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in ’97 that I really began to watch, read, and talk about it more than the rest of my friends. Since then I have been an AV geek- taking television production classes in high school, majoring in Communications in undergrad, and going to Grad School for Media Studies. Now I can legitimately claim to be doing homework when I’m watching TV.

Unlike the myriad of other media options, television transmits into your home 24/7 carrying a variety of programs that you may want, not want, or didn’t know you wanted. It can reveal new worlds or show a reflection of your own. While novels, movies, and music are special and awesome in their own right, television offers viewers the ability to follow along with stories that unfold for hours and even over years. I’m not saying that all television is good, because it isn’t but when it is good it has the power elicit a wide range of emotions and enjoyment, and that is why I keep turning it on and talking about it.

“Jane: Can we get on with this? I have someplace to go. (looks at Jodie) Television counts as a place.”

(Daria 1.4)

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