Jane loves television

It’s been a bit quiet over here, due to my delightful weekend away with les filles in Dorset. I am quite behind with all my shows, but have tried hard to catch up over the last couple of days in order to provide some reviews.

Cougar Town: I had to watch two episodes together this week, as I hadn’t managed to see last week’s. Both good episodes, but this week’s, The Damage You’ve Done, was the one that made me laugh out loud. Only Jules would turn a decision about who should be punished over betraying her into a reality show-style eviction. As someone who doesn’t watch Survivor, I didn’t get that Grayson was ‘blowing out’ Ellie’s flame on her glass of wine, but I very much enjoyed his victory dance! It was quite a dramatic episode, with Jules finding out that Grayson and Laurie had slept together, albeit before she started a relationship with him. I was wondering when it was going to come out, as I knew it would have to, but I’m glad that they didn’t use it as a real stumbling block for Grayson and Jules. I love them together too much! Again, as always with Cougar Town, I loved the balance between comedy and real issues, and I loved the way that the gang all pulled together in the end. Poor Laurie though! I recently read that, as well as Cougar Town, and the second guest appearance in Grey’s, Ryan Devlin (Smith) is also going to be guest starring in Brothers and Sisters. So it appears he is well in over at ABC. However, does this episode spell the end of Smith? Obviously he won’t be sticking around if he and Laurie are over.

duets

Glee: This episode was called Duets. and highly surprisingly, it featured a number of duets. And according to Brittany, a duet is a blanket. We learnt in this episode that Burt Hummel is recovering, and it was good to see Mike O’Malley back; he and Chris Colfer have brilliant chemistry together and I always enjoy any scene they share. It’s good to see a parent dealing positively with his son being gay, especially one as unenlightened as Burt, and it’s nice to see how hard he continues to work to understand Kurt. I also really appreciated the fact that we went back to the events of the end of last season when Burt asked Finn to leave his house after using the “F-word”. I always felt that it wasn’t dealt with in the best way – whilst Finn was being homophobic by just using the word, Kurt was excused some very bad behaviour in and leading up to that episode. Gay or straight, the way that Kurt was manipulating things to ensure that he and Finn ending up sharing a room together was creepy! I was glad to see Finn challenge that, and he told Kurt that he has no problem with him being gay, but he does have a problem with Kurt not understanding that no means no. Kurt being gay does not give him licence to act the way he did last year.

I really, really enjoyed Tina and Mike’s duet of  ‘Sing’ from A Chorus Line. It was a lot of fun! My favourite duet of the episode, though, was probably Kurt and Rachel’s, simply because of what it meant. How nice was her little speech to him? The song gave me a little tear (Glee is really good at making me cry), and reminded me why I love Glee so much. They are a bunch of misfits, but they really do look out for each other, even Rachel, of all people, has Kurt’s back. It was nice that they had their little moment, and it was great to see the two best singers on the show duetting. But poor Brittany! It looks like she really did like Artie after all – the shot of her in the restaurant using her nose to push the meatball across the plate was so sweet! No Sue or Emma this week, nor Puck. The rumour is that he is being disciplined for releasing a solo album and promoting it quite heavily, but he’ll back in a couple of weeks (after the Rocky Horror episode). It was a good episode of Glee, it had it all: good songs, great moments between the characters, and some good one liners too.

I just wanted to add a quick post-script to this, because I was a bit concerned with the way that I might have come across with my remarks about Burt ‘dealing’ with Kurt being gay. I don’t want it to sound like I think it is a problem that needs to be overcome; rather, Burt sees it as an obstacle in his relationship with Kurt that he needs to deal with.

Jane loves television

It looks as though the only show that I am going to be regularly reviewing is Glee. This is primarily because this is the only show that I make sure I watch each Wednesday, after it airs in America on Tuesday night. I love all of my other shows, but sometimes I fall behind with them, and I don’t mind this so much, because the opportunity for spoilers is minimal. Too many people watch and talk about Glee, and I like to watch it spoiler-free! Therefore you can look forward to hearing my thoughts onalmost every episode.

Glee: As you know I was less than impressed with last week’s episode, given the potential for it to be amazing. I knew, however, that it wasn’t going to sound the death knell for Glee. I was proved right with this episode. Entitled “Grilled Cheesus”, it explored the idea of religion, and managed to do it in a fairly responsible and thought-provoking way. It seems that Kurt is going to be a central character this season; last year we had teenage pregnancy as the main theme, Ryan Murphy has confirmed that this year it’s going to be tolerance. It started with this episode, as Finn spotted the face of Christ in a grilled cheese sandwich. Added to this was the fact that Burt Hummel suffered a major heart attack, and many of the characters decided to pray for him. This kick-started a whole discussion about religion and atheism. I wasn’t entirely happy with Kurt throughout the episode; I feel that people trying to force their atheism on people is as wrong as people who try to force their religion. Kurt came across as a bit heavy-handed at times, and seemed to tar all believers with the same brush. However, throughout the episode he seemed to come to realise that whilst he himself doesn’t believe in God, others do, and that’s fine. He appreciated that his friends, whilst praying for his father, were doing it because they loved him. Chris Colfer proved why he achieved an Emmy nomination last season, and seemed to ensure that he will receive the same again this time around. His performance of I Wanna Hold Your Hand was brilliant, as was the final group performance of One of Us. I also liked where Sue’s character went. Whilst she shone with some noteworthy quotes (To Emma: “I realize you’re only half orangutan, but I’m still allergic to your lustrous, ginger mane.”), we also saw that human side to her that pokes through every now and again. A lot of people complain about this, they don’t want to see Sue Sylvester humanised, but I do. I think that she needs to be humanised, it just adds to her greatness. Any scene she has with her sister is always very touching, and this episode was no different. I had a lump in my throat when she was discussing her faith with Jean.

In all, I thought this was a very strong episode of Glee. It addressed some really serious issues that a lot of people grapple with all the time. I also seem to be correct in my assumption from last week, that “Britney/Brittany” could be taken out and we would be more or less the same position with regards to each and every storyline.

 

motorcycle hug

 

Cougar Town: My review of Cougar Town is of last week’s episode, “Let Yourself Go”, the second in the second season. It was another good episode. The thing about this show is that whilst it’s funny, it’s not all laughs, all the time. What I love about it is its warmth. It’s about a group of people who genuinely care for one another, and the comedy is born out of that. This week’s episode dealt with Travis leaving for college, and whilst he was only going 20 minutes away, he was still moving out. This of course, gave Jules licence to board the crazy train. Cougar Town is great when Jules is aboard that particular train, and never is she more so than when Travis is involved. This is just one example, however, of why I love Cougar Town. Everyone came together to see Travis off to college (for a second time, as the first one didn’t really count) and to support Jules. If you don’t laugh out loud with this as much as you do with other 30 minute comedies, it doesn’t matter, because you care about the characters so much.

Jane loves lists

Do you remember by list of 28 things that I wanted to achieve by the time my birthday came around? I only started the list in April, so I didn’t have a full year to complete it. Nevertheless, that’s no excuse to have only completed 4 of the 28. In my defence, I have had a lot to occupy me since April.

I am, of course, not going to get them all done by November 12th. I originally said that I would recycle any that I didn’t get done, but that’s not going to be the case now. I may recycle some of them, but not all, as some just aren’t realistic.

Of the four I have done, the one I am most proud of is learning to knit. My mum taught me the basics quite a few weeks ago, and the first image is of my little piece that I did, just to learn the stitches. Then, my sister-in-law’s mum kindly bought me a pattern, for four different baby’s hats, and I knitted my first ever thing last week! The photo shows it as it is now, I still need to add a little button to it, and then I will be giving it to my baby niece (possibly for Christmas). My niece Abbie also gave me a book at the weekend, called Knitting in No Time. It was meant to be my Christmas present, but she gave it to me early, so hopefully I can knit some Christmas presents out of it!

knitting

I also managed to go and see a football match, albeit a friendly one. I went with my friend Steve, who supports Ipswich, and had a spare ticket to Ipswich vs. Spurs XI. As I support Spurs, I am glad it was a match of theirs that I managed to see. It was a pretty good match, it was on 3rd August, just before the season started. Tottenham had another friendly that night too, so a lot of the big stars weren’t there, and neither was Harry Redknapp. But Pavlyuchenko, King, and Kaboul all played, so it was good to see them, and Tim Sherwood was standing in for Harry in the dugout. It finished 1-0 to Spurs, although I wasn’t really allowed to celebrate the goal as I was in the Ipswich seats!  The photos aren’t great, but I only had my mobile with me!

Ipswich – 0 Spurs XI – 1

sunrise

One of the other items on the list was a bit of a cheat. At the summer ball in June, I stayed up all night, and I counted this as having seen a sunrise. Technically, as I have mentioned before, I did; I was outside as we were waiting for the survivor’s photo to be taken. The sun wasn’t up when we started waiting, and it was when we finished. So I am taking it and claiming it as a victory. It’s my list, I can do what I want! The photo is of myself, Richard and Hannah, as we were waiting for the official photo to be taken.

The final item on the list that I have achieved is an easy one. I wrote a letter to my 40-year-old-self. I don’t know why I particularly wanted to, it’s just something I have seen in various magazines and thought it would be a good idea. I just wrote about what I am doing and feeling now, and my hopes for the future. I gave myself a few instructions, said “I hope you have done this or that” (I did say ‘you’, I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t a bit stupid, but I decided that I  am the only one who is ever going to read it!). The only thing now is what to do with it to make sure that I don’t lose it before my 40th birthday. Hopefully this blog will still exist, so if I have forgotten about it, this should jog my memory. I did actually hear about a service called Future Me, in which you can write yourself an email and it will be sent on a specific day in the future. I might write myself an email for my 40th birthday and remind myself to read the letter!

letter

This post isn’t me admitting defeat, I will get a couple more done before my birthday. In fact I hope to get at least seven or eight done. But my track record is not great, so it won’t necessarily happen. I am very close on learning all the world capitals by the way. Close, but not quite there!


Jane loves links

After a lot of television, and some wishlist items, I am back to sharing some links for now.

Harry Potter

Some Harry Potter goodies first. The new film is out on the 19th November, and I am very excited.  A new trailer was released last week, and it gives me goosebumps every time I see it! I like the bit where Lupin pushes Harry away and says “Go!”, but my favourite bit is at around 1.47, where Ron is seen running away from someone, though it’s not quite clear who. I am not sure why I like it so much, I just do! Also, J.K Rowling has been in the news this week regarding an interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which she ‘hinted’ at more books. I honestly don’t know what to make of this. I think I’d lose a little bit of respect for her if she did write more books. She always said that she wouldn’t, so why change your mind now? I don’t want her to turn into George Lucas, and not be able to leave it alone. The best Harry Potter link this week, though, comes from The New York Magazine. They have given us ‘screencaps’ of the Hogwarts gang online – Harry, Ron and Hermione on Facebook, and Draco on Twitter, amongst others. Quite genius, I particularly like the fact that Ron’s Facebook has been hacked by Peeves!

vintage ad

I found a blog post on Design Mom a while ago that I have been meaning to share, of vintage-style internet ads. I think they are ace! I love vintage ads, sexist as many of them are, and I love what the designers have done here.  Also, over at Design is Mine, a post showing some real classic ads. With the current obsession with Mad Men that has taken over the world, it’s easy to see why that time is considered the golden era of advertising.

Over at Yes and Yes, Sarah Von shares 31 things that she has learnt in her 31 years of life. Some of them are profound, some of them are practical, and the majority of them just make darned good sense.

This is one of the best things I have ever seen; a visual diary documenting a flight from New York to Berlin. I wish with all my heart that I could draw this well. I can’t, and I won’t ever be able to. I loved reading it though, and it made me laugh out loud. Anyone who has ever been on a long-haul flight will sympathise completely with this.

Some film news now. Michael Caine has ‘explained’ Inception. I’m sure Christopher Nolan is thrilled that Mr Caine has explained away his film in eight words. I’m also fairly sure that it’s not as simple as that, because… You know what, I am not going to start trying to analyse it, for two reasons. 1) It’s far too complicated. 2) Many people may not yet have seen it. This would probably be a good time to provide a link to TV Tropes. It’s a fantastic website, in which all manner of tropes in television, film, and well, basically everything, are highlighted. Don’t start looking if you only have five minutes though. This website will take over your life. There’s an awful lot on there about Inception. Very briefly, whilst we are tenuously on the subject of Leonardo Di Caprio (film actor of his generation, in my own humble opinion), it looks as though he may be starring in a Baz Luhrmann directed version of The Great Gatsby. Very exciting.

Now, this post has got a little long, but I still have a few bits to share with you. Therefore, to avoid boring you to death, I will continue in bulleted form:

  • Go Fug Yourself, a website I probably shouldn’t enjoy, but do, provided a link to a fun tumblr site called ‘The Internet Never Forgets‘. It posts photos of some megastar celebs in some less than flattering modelling shots from years gone by. Paul Rudd and Josh Holloway are particularly embarrassing. And Robert Pattinson? There are no words. I’m not in love with the writing on this site, but the photos more than make up for it.
  • Where the Lovely Things Are highlighted another good Tumblr (I really am being made to eat my words there, aren’t I?), which shows screencaps of actors looking straight at the camera, without necessarily breaking the fourth wall.
  • Yes and Yes very kindly pointed me in the direction of a blog called Checks and Spots, which was instantly added to my ‘regular reads folder’…
  • … In turn, Checks and Spots pointed me in the direction of some photos of roads. Whilst this sound mind-numbingly dull, it really isn’t. Go and have a look, and see if you agree that the first two are slightly unnerving.
  • I love this photo. It makes me happy.
  • A fun and cheap way of entertaining children in the bath from Erica’s Bloggity Blog. It wouldn’t work in my house, because, though a source of perpetual mystery to me, the light in our bathroom doesn’t turn off. It’s on. All the time.
  • Two posts from A Cup of Jo – the first makes me jealous; I want these pink lips, and I want them now. Not entirely sure I could quite pull the colour off, mind you. And secondly, well it turns out that Christoph Niemann is actually a bit of a genius, because as well as his visual diary that I linked to back there, he has done this Lego New York. He’s a new hero of mine.
  • Lastly, from The Huffington Post, ‘The Funniest Notes To Thieves Ever Written.’ I really hope at least one of these notes shamed (or disgusted) the thieves into thinking twice before stealing again.

Until next time, I bid you a fond sayonara.

Jane loves television

JJ

Another television post! I really don’t want this blog to become all about television, and I promise it won’t. However, I had to write about one particular episode this week.

Criminal Minds: This episode was called JJ. That in itself was nearly enough to make me cry, because, as most people know by now, the powers that be at CBS decided that, for financial reasons, AJ Cook (the actress who plays JJ) had to go. There has been so much said about this decision, and my own initial reaction (as my friend Katy can confirm) was somewhere between shock and outrage. I have tried to be philosophical about it since then; it is, after all, only a television show. Also, as much as I love the character of JJ (I had a big old girl crush for a while back there), I don’t think that she is bigger than the show, and I would never claim nor threaten to stop watching it because of her departure.

These were my thoughts before this episode aired, however. Of course, I am not going to stop watching, I love the show too much. But I have come to realise just how much I love the character of JJ, and just how big a mistake has been made with this decision. The episode was great, and allowed AJ Cook to leave with a little dignity, and with her head held high. Anyone who follows any of the cast of Criminal Minds on Twitter would have been able to recognise their sentiments being acted out on screen. Everyone was in disbelief about the fact that she was going; nobody, not one of them, was happy about her leaving. Reid repeated “They can’t just take you away from us” twice. Hotch tried to get Strauss to pull some strings to allow her to stay, to no avail. It was all quite moving, as it just hammered home the fact that AJ Cook didn’t want to leave, none of us, as fans, wanted her to leave, and none of her castmates wanted her to leave. It’s one thing to get rid of a character in some huge storyline to boost ratings, or during sweeps, but its quite another to do it for financial reasons, possibly to the detriment of the show.

The crime that the profilers had to solve was compelling, though, as the review at TV Fanatic says, it did get rather overshadowed by the whole JJ storyline. It was refreshing to see that the victim of the crime actually turned up alive, despite essentially being fed to sharks.

I had a little cry at the end, especially when JJ was saying goodbye to the team. Nothing would have pleased me more than to see Hotch give her a hug when he said goodbye. However, knowing Hotch as we do, of course he wouldn’t have hugged her. It is Hotch, after all.

AJ Cook looked stunning in this episode, by the way. Girl crush has made a brief reappearance.

It doesn’t look as though JJ is going to be replaced in the near future, and as such, we are going to have a heavily male-dominated show for a while. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to watch Hotch and Reid on a weekly basis (not so much Rossi, and I really don’t like Morgan all that much). But it was also nice to see JJ, a really strong, independent woman on screen, balancing a demanding job with motherhood and seemingly doing it rather well. I think the people who made the decision to sack AJ Cook have made a big mistake, but I am more than willing to continue tuning in to see how things turn out.

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