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Saturday, 23 of January of 2021

Psych – “Juliet Takes a Luvvah”

“I walked into my divorced parents having sex and then my dad sat me down and told me my body was a wonderland.”

Henry, Shawn, and Madeline watch an old movie together.

So wholesome. So weird.

There are few things this show can do anymore that haven’t already been done. They’ve laid out shows based on a myriad of pop culture references, brought in several different ways to expose Shawn including a federal psychic, and invited Gus to take several lovers who may possibly be evil (more on how Psych avoids jumping the shark later). But they still have some surprises up their sleeve.

One of the things they’ve never really focused on were the pitfalls of Shawn’s ability. They’ve demonstrated how demoralizing it is to him when he gets the yips but never the downside to having an extensive and photographic memory. He files things away in the great archives of his mind (probably the same vault from which he’s able to pull records of 80s movies about boys who could fly) and is able to pull them up with little to no effort.

That means of the numerous dead bodies and horrific things to happen to him, presumably, he’s able to pull these things up at will or have them be dredged up by some sort of trigger. We’ve never seen him suffer this at all, however, and that’s mostly because that would bring a lot more gravity to his being than his character would allow. If he constantly recalled horrific corpses all the time, would he still be the same witty and positive character he is now?

So if they were going to address this, one of the final frontiers of a series that’s explored just about every other facet of Shawn’s maturation process, it would have to be something comedic. But what’s traumatizing that’s also hilarious?

Oh, I know: middle-aged people doing it.

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Psych – “Santabarbaratown 2”

“How about a raccoon with a discarded malaria sample?”

Shawn hitches a ride with Lassie to go after the man who shot his father.

Who loves you, baby?

How far we’ve come. In anticipation for the return of Psych for Season 7, I watched the pilot in all it’s low-grade glory.

Oh, it looked terrible and James Roday: so very, very thin. But the comedy, the timing, everything that makes the show great was there and all the jokes that about this being a one day thing makes you chuckle with the rich history of cases in the show. Yeah, Gus. You’ll be back at your pharmaceutical sales job in no time.

I watched it with a friend of mine who’d never seen the show before (!!!) and got to see it with new eyes. It’s amazing how consistent the show has been over the years, even with its different theme-episodes, dalliances with serious material, and contending with keeping Shawn’s arrested development fresh for six seasons. The show is never exhausting (except maybe that pilot — at a true hour instead of forty-two minutes, it feels like a TV movie with ten endings) and the characters are endearing from the start. Even Lassie. Maybe especially Lassie.

I ellipsed time to watch “Santabarbaratown 2” and so much was familiar but there are some stark contrasts we’ve gotten used to over the years. And I’m not just talking about James Roday’s habit of covering his gut with a pillow whenever he sits down.

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The Good Wife – “Red Team / Blue Team”

“I think I was just mugged.”

The Good Wife Title Card s3Maybe I’m just feeling off, but this episode certainly felt a bit messy. But then maybe it was that out out of left field kiss and the Elsbeth and Eli subplot that ended up distracting me from the otherwise solid core of the episode.

Which I feel bad about because the on-going L-G stuff was not only interesting but pushed characters in new directions, and the case of the week, while having a couple of missteps, allows the L-G stuff to have a bit more room to breathe than it might otherwise have had.

And the episode continued CBS shows not only having Kyle MacLachlan show up, but a show including the phrase “Red Team” in an episode title. Read more »

Justified – “Kin”

“You got a saw? You’re gonna need a saw.”

Justified Titlecard

NOEL: So, last week, Cory was all, “Best episode of the season.” I was sort of hesitant about that proclamation. But, Cory, if you’d like to make that statement again, I would not argue with you.

Twisty-turny procedural elements fed into the big arc about Drew Thompson. We’re closer to finding him, but only in the sense that we know he’s in Harlan, and that everyone under the sun is looking for this guy. Oh, and Ellen Mae is safe and sound. And was shocking violence and hill people. HILL PEOPLE, Y’ALL.

What say you, gents? Where do you guys want to start with this?

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Justified – “This Bird Has Flown”

“There’s money in fightin’ chickens, Raylan. You think about it…”

Justified TitlecardCORY: Gentlemen, I’m doubly happy this week. Not only is good to be back involved in our Justified chats, but it’s good to be talking about what is the best episode of the season to-date. “The Bird Has Flown” is driven by two stories with very different emotional beats, but are about some of the same things. While Raylan and Rachel attempt to track Lindsay and her husband down in what amounts to one of the show’s best procedural chases in recent memory, Ava struggles with how to handle the aimless and desperate Ellen May. Raylan and Rachel’s pursuit result in a few nice scenes for the show’s most underused character and Ava’s conflicted feelings helped Ellen May seem quite sympathetic. And most impressively, Taylor Elmore’s script gave both stories the same thematic center, with Raylan and Ava learning how to let go of people (and in Raylan’s case, money) a little easier  — even if they’re forced to learn those lessons.

What are your opening thoughts about this week’s offering?
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The Good Wife – “The Seven Day Rule”

Justified – “Truth and Consequences”

“I think a snake bit him.”

Justified TitlecardLES: It was another fun episode of Justified last night that saw a lot of characters in their elements—Raylan’s back to making “get out of town” ultimatums, Boyd’s calling out his rivals in grandstanding fashion, and Art got be alternatively supportive and patronizing of the fuck-ups who populate his office. We inched forward on the plot of Drew Thompson by learning the FBI has a vested interest in him as a material witness, a move that furthers my hope from last week that Stephen Toblowsky’s Agent Barkley will be back soon to bluster at Raylan’s antics. And the opening was probably the closest Justified has ever come to horror, as I was legitimately on edge both in the scene where Boyd tries to buy Cassie off and the follow-up where poor Jimmy is assaulted by the residents of Billy’s herpetarium. (The latter leading to some hauntingly hard to watch moments.)

However, I do think that this is the weakest episode of the season yet, for a couple of reasons. The first being that it felt like more of a place-setting episode as opposed to a dynamic one, where a lot of elements are set up that we know will pay off in the future. Johnny meets up with Wynn Duffy to discuss the possibility of betraying Boyd, but there’s no real movement and none of the moments that make Wynn such a special character to watch. There are a couple instances of Rachel showing job fatigue*, but they all are on the fringes of the action and (again) feel like giving the character something to do, rather than setting up a character arc. And of course, Lindsey runs off with Randall and Raylan’s bankroll for the closing scene, setting up an obvious showdown next week or the week after. Certainly every show needs to get the ball rolling, but this was one where I could very clearly see the strings and the “act one” trappings of events.

*How wonderful was that interaction between Rachel, Art and Raylan? “How many times has Wyatt Earp done the same thing?” “Well, he’s a lost cause.” Raylan looks offended.

My second issue is that I’m also a little concerned about one of the reveals, the fact that Drew Thompson is on the run for witnessing Theo Tonin murder a federal witness. It seems more than a little coincidental that the same man who sent Robert Quarles into Harlan last season to get him out of the way is also the same man who was tied to a body falling from the sky 30 years ago into the same county. I certainly don’t have a problem if the show wants to bring Adam Arkin back in some capacity because Adam Arkin is terrific both in front of and behind the camera, but to tie him into this case feels like a wholly inorganic way to do so. We set up in the final episodes of last season that Duffy was trying to pitch Tonin on taking over Quarles’ proposed Oxy operation, and I think it’s entirely reasonable he could take credit for Quarles’ death and become as much Detroit’s man as the Dixie Mafia’s, which would further draw Tonin into Raylan’s orbit. This reveal seems to be forcing him into the story, and—sadly—has killed some of my initial investment in the season’s mystery.


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Bunheads – “I’ll Be Your Meyer Lansky”

“They’re, like, two really hot unicorns.”

Ginny, Melanie, and Sasha tell Michelle that Godot's back in town.

“Girls, you seriously don’t want to live vicariously through me.”

Understanding every reference that flies out of the mouths of the characters on Bunheads isn’t necessary to enjoy the show, which is a relief since it would require a heady amount of homework to catch every single one. But I think it’s funny to imagine Michelle with a bowl of popcorn watching the first season of The Wire or, even better, Madame Fannie getting in deep with Breaking Bad. There’s something hilarious and awesome about needing to watch television and movies about gritty urban existence and drug-dealing empires to get all the jokes on a show about dancers and dancing on a cable channel called “family.”

The other continuous reference is one I hope that I don’t feel compelled to point out every episode, especially because it seems to upset people (something I learned when writing up the winter premiere episode of Bunheads on But you can’t have your lead character, who is already drawing comparisons to Lorelai, aim to take a business class and expect fans of both shows not to draw a comparison or two. I mean, what happens to Michelle when she does sign up for a business class is exactly what makes the difference between go-getter Lorelai and put-upon Michelle.

At least her and Fannie’s idea for what to do with their land wasn’t to create an inn.

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Justified – “Where’s Waldo?”

“I thought we were a circle.”

Justified TitlecardThis week on the Justified roundtable, it’s more on the bag in the wall as season-long mystery and a case-of-the-week instigator, whether or not Raylan could cut it as a exotic dancer, and how much we all love Art. Seriously. Art’s the best.

LES: Well, it’s the second week of Justified, and what a week it’s been. Raylan, Arlo and Tim went on the trail of the Waldo Truth ID and crossed paths with a true white trash family, in a move that led to Raylan having to disarm a 13-year-old boy. Raylan learned that his bartending friend-with-benefits Lindsey not only has an ex-husband, but one who’s a bare-knuckle fighter capable of taking down two men without breaking a sweat. Ellen May fled the confines of Audrey’s for the Last Chance Salvation church, leading to a fantastic preach-off between Boyd and Billy. And we saw the return of some wonderfully familiar Justified faces, as Sheriff Shelby tried to draw the boundaries of his relationship with Boyd and Wynn Duffy showed up in Harlan, no longer overshadowed by Quarles and able to give free reign to his own sadistic impulses. (The latter gave us the episode’s best line: “But I don’t even trust the way you just now said I could trust you.”) Read more »

The Good Wife – “Je Ne Sais What?”

“This guy’s obsessed with Rambo. Does anyone even watch that anymore?”

The Good Wife Title Card s3I say things and they happen.

Last week, I said that L/G needed to hand off Eli to another lawyer, preferably Elsbeth, to handle the DOJ investigation happening, and whamo! I should ask for other things to happen. Tell me what to ask for you in the comments, otherwise I’ll use my powers for evil (like asking for David Lee to only appear in Gilbert & Sullivan garb).

After a lot of booms (see what I did there?) in the previous episode, “Je Ne Sais What?” is a much lighter episode, and we’re all the better for it, really. There’s plenty of (easy) humor, and a bit of advancement on the political campaign, making it just the right sort of episode before we enter the back half of the season. Read more »