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Weekend Catch-Up: "The Office," "Grey's," "30 Rock," "Lost," "Survivor," "Reaper"

By admin Published: April 28, 2008

As I said in this morning's post, I spent the weekend doing things other than blogging, including yard work and even a trip to the movies. ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall." I may have more to say about it, especially about the difference between a comedy and a drama with laughs, with "Marshall" feeling more like the latter.)

But I am out of the cone of silence on all the shows mentioned above. Comments after the jump.

Starting with some good stuff, I got considerable laughs out of "The Office," but I liked it more for the insight into the characters. For starters, still more evidence that Ryan is proving a professional disaster (the obvious failure of Dunder Mifflin Infinity) and a personal one (drug problem). And one of those times when both Jim and Pam demonstrate their limits -- Jim in the parking lot/security guard mess, Pam in her inability to throw a football. On the other hand, Dwight was given a chance to have a bit of success -- with the amazons. And oh, poor Toby! Solid episode.

Some good stuff in "30 Rock," specifically Tracy's porn-game effort. On the other hand, it never seemed plausible that Jack would become GE chairman, since that would take him out of the show, so it was a bit of a long wait for the resolution of that story. On the other hand, it provided an excuse to show what Liz would do if she really embraced corporate life, and that was nicely done. Button Classic, you know.

"Lost" was entertaining enough, although I am finding the use of flash-forwards even more confusing than the flashbacks. Still, we got an explanation of why Sayid hooked up with Ben in the future, even if I still suspect Ben had a hand in the death of Sayid's wife; that creepy Ben smile when Sayid joined him was too nasty for mere happiness. And what exactly are all the rules about? Is the island just part of a prolonged, high-level game between Charles and Ben? And why would Charles change the no-family-harmed rule, or was it just his minions played rougher than planned? Does anyone besides me suspect that Ben and Charles are blood relations -- Ben possibly his son? Will be interested in seeing where it goes from here.

"Survivor" continued to demonstrate the uselessness of an immunity idol in the hands of a tactical idiot. Ozzy's overconfidence was unfortunate, but Jason's combination of overconfidence and naivete was agonizing. And it took him down.
But my favorite part of the show came during the tribal-council discussion. Those talks are proving a great way for contestants to burn each other. It was in council that Ozzy's possession of the immunity idol became public knowledge, and the bride and I had been talking about whether someone would use it to expose Parvati's role in the Ozzy ouster. I think Ozzy could have figured that out on his own, but it was still great to see James out Parvati anyway. As for the women's alliance, we've seen that before -- and it became so self-destructive that a man ended up winning. But this alliance seems dangerously smart; it made sure to scatter its votes in such a way to take out James if Jason by some chance ended up using his idol. But immunity challenges -- as well as, judging from the preview, the presence of other hidden idol -- could become crucial if the men can get it, especially as the numbers shrink. Amanda in particular seems ready to peel off from the women's alliance, since it will probably get her only to fifth place.

"Grey's Anatomy" was disorienting at first, as if I had missed an episode along the way. Instead, the show just moved the characters ahead, since ABC said the show picked up "six weeks after Derek and Meredith ended their relationship, and obviously plenty had happened in those six weeks. But even after I settled in, I didn't feel as involved in the show. Some of that was a reaction to the stupid stealing-stuff-for-furnishings subplot. Nor was I all that taken by the competition among the doctors. But I am also wondering if it has just been gone too long, and it will take a couple of weeks to get back in rhythm. Of course, the season will be over not long after that, so the rhythm will be broken again. This is where the real damage from the writers strike is felt; we don't just have a relationship with our TV shows, we have a timetable for them, especially serialized programs. "Lost" did not suffer as much because it had a late start in the season, and the gap between pre-strike and post-strike episodes was not all that long. But "Grey's" feels as if it has been gone forever.

Jumping back to earlier in the week, and "Reaper," I was disappointed but mainly because it appeared to be rushing the challenge-to-the-devil storyline. In a longer season, I would have expected it to be stretched out more, and to have had considerably more fun with the demon duo. But I'm still watching, as long as there's a show to watch.

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