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Hunka Hunka Blog, Part 3: "The Office," "CSI," "Survivor," "Pushing Daisies," "The Ex List," "Amazing Race"

By admin Published: October 27, 2008

TO

Catching up on more things I was watching last week, I can't let latest "Office" episode, "Crime Aid," go unmentioned. ...

Best episode so far this season. The Michael-Holly relationship is so sweet and funny (the latter including Holly's acknowledgment that she knew Michael had made up the Springsteen tickets) that it was terrible to see the reaction of Michael's boss to it. The Jim-Pam stuff had its moments, and there were the little amusements along the way (which as a rule include anything involving Creed).

But the episode really belonged to Rainn Wilson's Dwight, and Phyllis Smith's Phyllis. Wilson conveyed Dwight's vulnerability and pain over Angela's engagement, but also that -- like Michael -- Dwight has a redeeming side. And to use to it to make Phyllis the hit of the auction -- a move that she understood but that required no verbal concession by Dwight -- was well done. And Smith played right along; we've been seeing more sides of Phyllis, in her dealings with Angela, in her collecting for the baby gift, and Smith has carried them all off, as well as the demands in "Crime Aid." Super.

OK "CSI," I suppose, although I am more interested right now in Grissom's situation than in the cases themselves. And Grissom is so bottled up, he could make Don Draper look chatty. But that's part of the reason to watch: William Petersen reveals Grissom in increments, sometimes at moments when you're not expecting anything. It's a very subtle form of acting (and tough to write, I am sure) but it keeps you from taking your eyes off the screen.

"Pushing Daisies" also had a so-so case this week. Anyone who didn't immediately suspect Buddy Amicus of something right away just wasn't paying attention. But, as I said about "CSI," there are reasons to watch "Pushing Daisies" that go beyond the cases. And this week, it was not only seeing Chi McBride ably striding through center stage as Emerson but the fun of the Olive-Chuck interplay. I smile at the memory of Anna Friel and Kristin Chenoweth, shoved into a locker, throwing around the funny and battling each other. Besides -- getting back to Emerson -- how often do you get to watch a show that is brightly colored, giddily presented and throwing away a reference to Thermopylae?

This is beginning to sound as if I saw way too many things that I liked. But I do have some reservations about shows I've mentioned, and some I am just getting to. "The Ex List," for example, was a deadly slow episode on Friday; the one thing that saved it was its establishing -- at the end -- that it's possible that one or more guy on her list will return to the show, that she may not connect with a guy right away, but that doesn't eliminate the guy -- in this case, jaded surfer dude -- from future consideration. But it also made me think that "Ex List" is a much better concept for a miniseries than a full-blown, countless-seasons series. Let's play around a bit with relationships, maybe recycle a guy or two, then settle things. Already, it's feeling drawn out.

On the reality side (briefly), I'm still liking "Amazing Race," though not loving it. It's an OK season but still not one where I sit down every week and wait to see how my favorite team does, because I still don't have a favorite team. Am leaning toward Toni & Dallas, but I don't know if they have the stamina. Still, this week's episode put one team so far behind so quickly, there was not much suspense about who was going home.

"Survivor" isn't doing it for me right now, either. The last couple of episodes have included potentially interesting tribal-council scenarios, but neither came to pass. Still watching, but waiting for something more impressive. Maybe at the merge.

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