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Monday Notebook: "Amazing Race," "Good Wife," Alec Baldwin, More

By admin Published: September 26, 2011

The weekend's activities included marking papers, cleaning the house, mowing the (damp) lawn, hitting the University of Akron football game (the Zips finally won one), catching the Browns around the housecleaning (another win) -- and watching some TV shows. I am already facing a DVR backlog from the new season -- still haven't gotten to the "Grey's Anatomy" or "The Office" season premieres, for example -- but still working through things. After the jump, notes on what I have managed to watch.

In brief, "Community" got off to a good start with the musical number, the Kubrick homages, the Britcom parody and the always impressive use of a sizable cast. ("Glee's" people should watch and take notes.)

And "Big Bang Theory" made me laugh repeatedly in its two-episode season premiere; while due praise goes to Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki (whose uncomfortable reactions to the other characters are key to many scenes) and the rest of the cast, Mayim Bialik has become the gem of the cast.

Very glad to have "The Amazing Race" back, although I hate the way the show's older couples so often give us, uh, mature folk a bad name. To see two people stroll repeatedly during a race is beyond annoying. I also hate the showgirls. Still have not picked a favorite, which is often more difficult with "Race" than some reality competitions because "Race" tends to prefer heroes over villains.

Speaking of villains, what are we to do with Little Hantz on "Survivor: South Pacific"? (Yes, I even managed to go multiple days before catching up with that.) He seems to have more Russell in him than he wants to admit -- and that's even more noticeable because Coach has become so mellow.

But does anyone on this show think things through? Of course you don't get rid of strong tribe members before the merge. It's all about winning immunity and decimating the other tribe until then. And Mikayla did not do anything to provoke Hantz; he just has some weird horndog thing going on and cannot admit it. I thought for a moment that the alliance was going to turn on him in Tribal Council, and if they had had a chance to talk among themselves, they might well have.

(Which gives me an idea for a change in "Survivor": The Huddle. After a Tribal Council discussion, team members get 5 minutes to talk among themselves, in any combination, to see if they want to change their votes. How would that change outcomes?)

I thought the season premiere of "The Good Wife" had its high points (including that Will-and-Alicia scene which doubtless made many viewers wonder how exactly they were entwined), the Eli subplot, and the way Peter's election has put him in new conflict with Alicia. That said, I was not very pleased with the central case, which just seemed to ramble along until the episode was out of time and had to resolve it. And what was the deal with Cary's hair? But, again, glad to have the show back, and Sunday night is a better place for me to watch it than Tuesday.

Finally, I have not seen all of the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live," but I have seen enough to acknowledge once again what a king of comedy (and impressions) Mr. Alec Baldwin is. Loved his Tony Bennett ("I like things that are great" has been one of my mantras for years now) and the Pacino, and how the monologue dealt with the Ben & Jerry's uproar. The GOP debate sketch was also good generally, and nailed the flaws in Perry's campaigning. Of course, I was just watching pieces of the show, so I have probably missed the dead zones (and the GOP sketch did not have enough to justify all 11 minutes). But what I saw was good.

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