Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big Love mousings: S1E6-8

Man, I am just not digging this show, and really struggling to find redeeming qualities for the majority of the characters.  I still like daughter Sarah but she's hardly ever around.  Bill and Barb were fun while they were sneaking around but that's over now.  My new favorite might be Bill's mom, Lois, but she's a total nutball.

E6:  Bill's dad's first wife (not Lois) has died and a bunch of Hendricksons go to the funeral, which is awkward.  Lois wants to be moved up to first wife; her husband is not inclined that way until Bill pays him off.  On the closer-to-home second-wife front, Nicki continues to be frustrated with her second-class citizenship (lying about her status, not being able to use the family discount at Bill's store).  But any sympathy that is engendered is totally obliterated when we learn that her whole "I want to bring a new soul into the family" was just a ploy to put the kibosh on Bill and Barb's affair.  Everything is complicated further when we learn that Nicki came onto the scene in the first place to nurse Barb through her bout with cancer, and these two wives do, in fact, have a connection.

E7:  Roman tells his weirdo son Alby that he's off the "harass Bill Hendrickson" detail and Alby heads in town for a wild night of convenience store groceries and a cheap motel.  A hustler invites himself over and it almost seems like Alby might go Brokeback for a minute, but he starts pounding his head against the wall and the hustler runs away, terrified.  Nicki's starting to show some cracks: breaking down when Barb confronts her about her $58,000 debt, and then later freaking out on some pushy LDS missionaries who knock on her door and call her out for being a polygamist.  The missionaries were sent by Margene's new BFF Pam, who is working her churchy wiles to bring Margene back from the dark side.  The best part is when Sarah brings her straight-arrow LDS friend Heather (the amazing Tina Majorino) home for dinner without telling her plural family about it.  Heather is super-polite and friendly but does tell Bill and Barb that she has some strong feelings against polygamy and would love to talk with them about it.  Bill looks completely poleaxed and Barb stammers, "That ... would be nice, dear."  Heh.  Also, Roman kicks all of Bill's family members out of the compound, just because he can.

E8:  This was a particularly annoying episode as Bill's dad and all his wives descend upon Bill's three homes.  The wives are morons and put a big scratch in poor Margene's new car.  And Bill's dad refuses to use toilets, preferring to pee in the kitchen sinks.  Margene sulks about being the baby wife; Nicki worries that Bill will kick her out of the family when he learns about her credit card debt; and Barb is heartbroken over her ended affair with her husband ... and is gobsmacked to learn that Bill's brother Joey is - gasp! - a monogamist and wants to take his ONE wife and leave the compound.

I'll finish this season but I won't be picking up S2 any time soon.  What I am looking forward to (aside from The Walking Dead on AMC 10/31) is the fact that I moved 10 or so horror films to the top of my Blockbuster queue ... and that's what we'll be doing in October!

Friday, September 24, 2010

First week round-up

So this is what we've seen so far, new season of television-wise.  Note: this post will not include anything about the season premieres of The Office or Community because we had houseguests arrive on Thursday, thus curtailing the television viewing somewhat.  And by "somewhat" I mean "in its entirety."

How I Met Your Mother - It's too bad that Ted is the purported focus of this show because he is far and away my (and Mr. Mouse's) least favorite character.  We like Barney.  We'd like HIMYM to be pretty much all Barney, all the time.  Also: gratuitous lesbian ratings kiss with Rachel Bilson.  She's not the mother, btw.

House - SPOILER House and Cuddy are making a go of it.  And while this premiere episode was quite funny in spots, and fun to see House acting human/happy for a bit, I really feel this show is at its best when it sticks to the formula: in the hospital, solving cases, not getting bogged down in the characters' relationships outside of the hospital.  I worry that the new Huddy relationship will muck things up.  Made me giggle: Chase asking Thirteen to have sex.

Hawaii Five-0 - Plus:  James Marsters as the bad guy!  Minus:  not giving James Marsters anything to do as the bad guy!  Scott Caan is great as Danno: very funny and with good timing; Daniel Dae Kim was solid with what he was given (not much).  Grace Park was hardly given anything to do at all, except stand around in a bikini/take her clothes off, and I hope her role will be expanded because I really like her.  The weak link here is the lead, Alex O'Loughlin.  Both Mr. Mouse and I were entirely unimpressed with him - and Mr. Mouse didn't even have the Moonlight residue tainting his opinion.  Still, we're not giving up on this one ... yet.

The Event - Mr. Mouse did not watch this one, just me.  I'm vaguely sucked in (much like I was with V and FlashForward) but am not as blown away as I was with Lost.  There's lots of jumping around, back and forth through time, and the fact that they had to caption the people's names and the time-frame makes me a little leery.  And fer chrissakes would someone give Jason Ritter a razor?  He is NOT pulling off that scruffy almost-mustache thing in any sort of good way.  I'm still going to watch this - for now.  But I'm not completely convinced.

The Biggest Loser - Yes, we watch this.  It's the only "reality" show we watch - aside from Mr. Mouse's "History of Dirt" etc. on Modern Marvels - so give us a break.  This season: really fat people cry and go to the ranch where Bob and Jillian will make them cry some more.  It appears that this season has lots of drama: dead mothers, dead brothers, abused daughters, etc., etc.  I like the workouts and the competitions and challenges and weigh-ins.  I hate the tears and drama and forced finding of oneselves.

Glee - I've got a DVR-scheduling conflict on Tuesday nights: The Biggest Loser, Glee and No Ordinary Family (starting next week) all at the same time.  Unfortunately for NOF, I really enjoyed watching Glee on the t.v., as opposed to the computer which is where I'd watched all of the first season.  Typical over-the-top fabulousness, as expected, although I thought they went a little far with Rachel's nastiness to that AMAZING little exchange student.  Also, is the new football coach Whatshername from friggin' Porky's?

Modern Family - We love this show - Mr. Mouse laughs out loud a lot during each episode.  I only wish that we'd started watching it from the beginning of its first season.

Terriers - is already RIP in our DVR after the first episode.  I hope that turns out to be a mistake, that we'll end up missing a great show, but it just didn't click for us despite having better writing/acting than that Hawaii Five-0.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Graphic novel mini review: Life Sucks

Mr. Mouse was a little concerned to see me reading Life Sucks (by Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece): "Life doesn't suck!"  (Mr. Mouse likes it out here in Utah.)  But life does suck if you're the put-upon, vegetarian*, youthful looking night manager of a quickie mart whose owner also happens to be your vampire sire. 

Such is the fate of Dave Miller, protagonist of Life Sucks.  His job is a dead end, he's undead and his love life, well, it doesn't have a pulse either.  He's got a big crush on Rosa, a pretty goth girl who works in a fetish lingerie shop down the street, however and with the support of his friends - Carl, his living roommate, and Jerome, a vamp who works in an all-night copy center - manages to strike up a conversation.  Things are looking up until Wes, a lunatic surfer-dude vampire, decides that Rosa might be vampire-bride material.

I really liked the premise of this book, but I didn't really care for the drawings - too crude (Neil Gaiman's Sandman series has totally spoiled me for all other comics, art-wise).  I also thought Rosa's character was not that well-developed, although the rest of the guys were solid.  Life Sucks certainly doesn't suck but neither does it inspire me to come up with a witty ending to this little review.

* a vegetarian vampire only drinks plasma, btw.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Deep-fried chocolate-covered bacon on a stick: FAIL

Mr. Mouse and I went to the Utah State Fair recently, and while I'm not going to repeat the blog post about the fair that I did over there at my other blog, I will say that I was SORELY DISAPPOINTED with the deep-fried chocolate-covered bacon on a stick.  Which, as you all well know, is in theory the Friend Mouse Holy Grail of bacon-centric foods. 

Imagine, if you will, as I did: crisp bacon, dunked in chocolate, battered and deep-fried to golden goodness.  Or even crisp bacon, battered and deep-fried to golden goodness and then drizzled in chocolate.  It could have been SO fabulous, glistening alongside the deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried Snickers bars, deep-fried Oreos and deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

 But no.  Sadly, this is what I got for my $4.50:  a strip of bacon, threaded onto a wooden skewer and deep-fried, then plopped in a cardboard basket and spritzed with thin chocolate sauce.  That was it.  Fer chrissakes, I could do that myself at home.  Should have gone with the deep-fried Snickers - and next time I will.

Don't believe the hype

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More Big Love mousings: S1E3-5

Episode 3 is largely concerned with the completely inappropriate birthday party Nicki throws for one of her sons.  First she tries to have it at a fancy hotel with a guest list of 150+ people; when Bill shoots her down on that, she invites enough of her relatives in "prairie garb" to raise eyebrows in the neighborhood, plus her little son Wayne is sad that she didn't invite any children for him to play with, just adults.  The show has failed as far as the houses go - the street looks like Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives, all pretty colors and clapboards and trim - and the houses around here are stucco and stone and brick.

Episode 4 sees tensions rising among the three wives when Barb wants to take a long-term substitute teaching job.  Nicki's credit card debt is staggering (nearly $60,000) but she continues to try to hide it from her family.  She is an extremely unlikeable character - sneaky, sullen and manipulative - but you can understand her struggle to fit in: she no longer belongs up at the compound, having embraced the material life outside of it; but she's so very different from Barb and Margene.  Bill, meanwhile, decides to stand up to Roman's extortion. 

Episode 5 is the first time that I actually like some of the main characters as Bill and Barb find their passion for each other reignited and start sneaking around, having sex with each other in the middle of the day ... even when it isn't Barb's day.  They're very sweet and cute with each other.  Margene strikes up a friendship with a neighbor, which makes everyone nervous about Margene's ability to stick with the cover story.  And Nicki is actually likeable when she stands up to [her brother?] Albee when Roman sends him to put a scare into the Henricksons ... but then she immediately chucks my good graces when she tells the family that she wants to have another baby.  She's clever and has figured out Bill and Barb's affair - and knows the one thing she can do that Barb can't is get pregnant.

This show is growing on me (I particularly like Sarah's new friendship with uber-Mormon Heather, played by the awesome Tina Majorino - Veronica Mars would be so pleased that Lily and Mac are friends!) but I cannot for the life of me find Bill Henrickson charismatic enough to make me believe that Barb would allow a plural marriage.  Plus, I miss Bill Paxton as a badass/Hudson in Aliens.  This businessman in tidy whities just doesn't do it for me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mousings on Big Love S1E1 and 2

See what I did up there?  That pun?  "Mousings" - like "musings," but with a mouse?  Clever, dontcha think?

Since we're all living out in Utah now, I figured it was important to start watching HBO's series, Big Love, about a modern day family of closeted polygamists living in greater Salt Lake City.  I had been thinking about recapping it but after watching the first two episodes, I don't think I will do full recaps, although I'll collect some random thoughts after each ep and share them here.  (As an aside: I am at a loss as to what show to recap next.  If any of y'all have any requests/suggestions, I'll gladly entertain them - new shows, shows on DVD, what have you.)

Quick summary:  Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) is an upstanding SLC-area businessman - reputedly living in Sandy, but I haven't found proof of that yet - who owns two local home improvement stores.  He is married to Barb (Jeanne Trippelhorn), his first wife with whom he has three kids, two teenagers, Ben and Sarah, and a younger daughter.  Bill married his second wife, Nikki (Chloe Sevigny), when Barb had uterine cancer six years ago and could no longer have kids; Nicki comes from a polygamist sect out in the wilds of Utah somewhere and dresses/acts exceedingly primly ... except that she's a tiger in the sack, is totally passive/aggressive with Barb.  Bill has two (badly behaved) young sons with Nicki.  Bill also married wife #3 a couple of years ago: the young and pretty Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin), who has already popped out two baby boys.  In the first two episodes, we get a glimpse into this family as the wives arrange their monthly calendars, divvying up chores and who gets to sleep with Bill when, and see Bill unable to keep up with the carnal demands of his three wives.  We also learn that at some point in the past, Bill borrowed money from Nicki's father, Roman (Harry Dean Stanton), the prophet of the polygamist sect, and Roman thinks Bill's current kickbacks are not quite enough. 

Part of the reason behind my not wanting to recap BL is that I didn't instantly connect with the show.  I have a good track record with HBO: I fell immediately in love with The Sopranos, Deadwood and True Blood, so it would not have been unreasonable for me to click with BL as well.  Except I didn't.  I just don't like any of the characters (yet).  Nicki is insufferable and greedy, Margene is young and unformed, Bill is pretty full of himself and I can't for the life of me figure out why Barb agreed to the plural life after 11+ years of solo marriage.  I did like Roman - he's eeeeeevil - and teenaged Sarah is fairly sympathetic: she does not approve of the polygamist lifestyle her parents have chosen.

There have been a few stock shots of the mountains of the Wasatch Front and Temple Square.  But twice characters have said they live in the "Wasatch Valley" which is wrong - we live in the Salt Lake Valley, along the [mountains of the] Wasatch Front.  I haven't been able to figure out where Roman's crazy polygamists live yet either: in E1, Bill said he'd "drive up" to see them, but in E2, he said he'd "come down." 

Interestingly, the Henrickson families, while polygamists, don't seem to worship at all.  One of Bill's business partners is also a polygamist and he told Bill that he'd love it if they'd join his congregation.  But Bill replies something to the effect that Barb isn't interested and still misses "LDS."  (Barb also hates Roman's polygamist sect - where Bill was raised as a boy but thrown out of when he turned 14 so as not to compete with the elders for the young girls.)

I'm going to stick with Big Love, at the very least through S1.  I'd like to see where it goes and am hoping that some of the characters will grow on me.  If nothing else, it's certainly anachronistic to watch an HBO show with no cussing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mini book review: Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi

Vampire Hunter D should have been right up my alley: a science fiction/fantasy/horror novel, set in post-apocalyptic (year 12,090 A.D.) Earth where the vampires, who for millennia after the nuclear devastation ruled the planet, are finally dying out.  The humans are trying to rebuild, although pockets of vampires still exist and their superior physiology and technology allow them to prey on the poor humans, much as they have always done.  In one village, a beautiful young orphan is being stalked by a vampire and she has to hire a Vampire Hunter - himself half-vamp - to do battle on her behalf.

The first problem with my Vampire Hunter D experience was that I thought I had ordered the graphic novel from the library but when I picked up the book, it was an actual word novel, translated from the Japanese by one Kevin Leahy.  The second problem was with the story - the words themselves, not the plot which was interesting enough.  I hated how it was written.  The tone shifted wildly all over the place; the names and the dialects of the characters didn't fit the surroundings; the sentences were choppy, often incomplete, and unpolished.  I don't know if I've read any other modern Japanese literature in translation (and I certainly haven't read any in the original) so I don't know if the way it was written is a style particular to the Japanese culture, or if the translation was just really sloppy. 

Regardless, I hated it and had to force myself to finish the book.  The reason I didn't just abandon it was because there are two animated movies based on this series (there are something like 23 novels in the Vampire Hunter D line, as well as some new graphic novels) that I want to see, and I do prefer to read the source material before seeing the movie if at all possible.  I'd still be interested in taking a look at the graphic novel because Vampire Hunter D Volume 1 was very visual and I can see how it might work well as manga.  But I will not be picking up Volume 2 of the regular books.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The rerun season is fast coming to an end

This is what will be programmed into the Mouse DVR for the fall television season, plus Mr. Mouse will probably want to add new Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs:

How I Met Your Mother (9/20)
House (9/20)
The Event (9/20)
Hawaii 5-0 (9/20)

No Ordinary Family (9/28)
The Biggest Loser (9/21)
Glee (9/21)

Modern Family (9/22)
Terriers (9/8)

Community (9/23)
The Office (9/23)

The Walking Dead (10/31)

Of course, much of this will probably get weeded out as the t.v. suckfest reasserts itself.  I really really really hope The Walking Dead is good - I'm really looking forward to it.  What will you all be watching?

* I'll end up watching Glee on Hulu, however, since all three Tuesday shows are in the same timeslot and my DVR just can't handle that.