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Thursday Notebook

By admin Published: November 12, 2009

Today is theoretically a day off for me since I have to work a Saturday shift. But you can go over to my shiny new page and find links to this week's mailbag and to a review of "Pirate Radio." A few more notes, including about "Glee" and "V," follow the jump.

I am not sure I conveyed entirely my ambivalence about "Pirate Radio." As I have said before, "Love Actually" -- also from writer-director Richard Curtis -- is one of my favorite movies. "Pirate Radio" is not. I saw all sorts of flaws in it. You can see the big finish from miles off, and it includes a moment that Curtis at his more sensible might not have embraced. Yet, for all that, the movie drew me in with its characters, and made me laugh loudly, and had me smiling at the end. So I may be more forgiving of its weak parts than I should be. Oh, well.

I have duly touted this week's "Glee," in my weekly video, on Twitter and on Facebook, and now I should explain a bit more why I liked it so much. First, it gave us a closer look at Artie, and in a way that reminded us that the students on this show are, well, kids. They prove thoroughly selfish when Artie's wheelchair is getting in the way of their trip, and Artie's reaction to Tina's confession is not just hurt and understandable (and refreshingly unforgiving) but somewhat self-righteous.

I was also impressed by the handling of the Kurt story, and especially the scenes between Kurt and his father; Mike O'Malley, who plays Kurt's dad, is doing some of the best work I've ever seen by the sitcom vet. And their relationship (written, as was all the episode, by series creator Ryan Murphy) steers away from some obvious notes in how they approach the phone call.

On the other hand, one would have thought that such phone calls had come before -- say, when he went out for the football team. And the Quinn-Finn-Puck story was bore; you would think Quinn would have wised up by now, and the resolution of his need for a job was hasty and implausible. And giving Sue a Down Syndrome sister continues the attempt to make Sue more sympathetic (following the swing-dancing story in a previous episode), and I think it continues the misuse of her; she was most interesting when unapologetically mean and sparingly used.

So I don't overlook some of the problems facing "Glee." But, at the same time, I admire its virtues -- and I haven't even gotten t this week's music, and the nice "Dancing With Myself," which is also on the first CD soundtrack. And I enjoy the daylights out of the show.

I gave "V" a second try, and am not feeling eager about going for a third. The pace was OK, but the plot holes are enormous, and some of the characters are really weak -- especially the kid.

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