Season 7, Episode 10: Hide
– Posted by Sage
To be perfectly honest, the convoluted plotting of Series 6 left me exhausted and more than a little frustrated with Doctor Who. I was missing the standalone episodes that pluck the Doctor and friends out of their own serial dramas and get them busy having a good old fashioned adventure. Happily, the good lord Moffat has heard my cries, and Series 7 has been rich in “Monster of the Week” fun. I was SO looking forward to watching and recapping “Hide,” which seemed to have all the hallmarks of a spooky Doctor Who classic. A huge, fuck-off Victorian manor? Check. Attractive ghost hunters in tasteful 70s fashions? Check. A scary thunderstorm? You got it. It’s ghost time.
The Doctor and Clara show up on the door step of Downton Shabby to meet aforementioned good-looking explorers Emma Grayling (Jessica Raine, who is also starring as Verity Lambert in the dramatization of Who‘s origin story) and Major Alec Palmer (Dougray Scott – Drew Barrymore’s prince – you’re welcome). And then the Doctor does that thing where he meets someone he admires and shamelessly fangirls him. Alec is a seeker of knowledge – a man who bought a huge, fuck-off Victorian manor just so he could investigate its haunting – just the Doctor’s type.
But it’s not all man-crushes and toggle switches. Alec is haunted, not by the Caliban Ghast, but by the ghosts of his past. He has killed and “has caused to have killed” and he really doesn’t know how else to live his life but to keep on reaching out for the next mystery. Sound like anyone we know?
Like the Doctor, Alec is not alone. The lovely Emma serves his project as an empathic psychic – he catalogs the appearances of the ghast, while Emma interprets her emotions. But she also gives him a reason to hold on. The Major is not exactly forthcoming with his feelings about her though, until the moment of crisis arrives. (SOUND LIKE ANYONE WE KNOW?) “You brought me back from the dead,” he tells her.
And here is where I launch into my frantic analysis of the Rose Tyler parallels and allusions in this episode. I know that I am biased, and maybe I’m seeing things that I want to see, but writer Neil Cross (Luther showrunner, “The Rings of Akhaten”) has packed so many references into this episode that I can’t be making them ALL up:
- The “ghost”, really time traveler Hilla Tacorien, is stuck in a pocket universe, not a parallel one. But the term is bandied about quite a bit, with Clara trying to understand the difference between the two. Don’t tell me there isn’t a pang in his hearts when someone says those words.
- The original ghostbusters.
- The Doctor takes Clara to the end of the earth to prove his theory about Hilla’s whereabouts (whenabouts?). At the VERY SAME MOMENT, Nine and Rose are holding hands and watching the planet’s death from Platform One. Stop taking your dates to watch the world end, Doctor. It makes us feel very insignificant.
- When they say goodbye, Alec asks the Doctor what he and Emma should do now. The Doctor tells them to “hold hands.” “Keep doing that, and don’t let go.” I juuuuust…
- In fact, the entire relationship between Alec and Emma is very Rose and Doctor-esque. I wrote in one of my playlist posts about Rose’s deep empathy for the Doctor. More than any other modern companion, she seemed to feel what he was feeling. (“Girl in the Fireplace” is the ultimate proof of that.) And Emma is an empath – very literally able to do that. That skill serves Alec personally more than professionally. He needed someone to bring him back, someone who would only consider his past mistakes in terms of how they still affect him. This is so Rose and Nine that it hurts.
- The moment where everyone in the Doctor/Rose fandom fell apart: “It’s the oldest story in the universe, this one or any other. Boy and girl fall in love, get separated by events, war, politics, accidents in time. Since they’ve been yearning for each other, across time and space across dimensions! It’s not a ghost story, it’s a love story!”
Now that I have that out of my system, let’s get back to the companion at hand. Just because this was a MoTW ep, it doesn’t mean that the Clara mystery was ignored. Quite the contrary. The whole reason that the Doctor came to meet Alec and Emma in 1974 was to learn more about the impossible girl. Emma is sure that Clara is completely normal. But Emma is an empath, not a Time Lord. She doesn’t have the depth of knowledge to explain entities from other worlds or times. She could only feel what Hilla felt, not identify her origin. So: the only way she could explain Clara would be if Clara HERSELF knew what she was. Am I rambling? I feel like I’m rambling.
Besides Emma’s analysis, the other Clara clues in “Hide” were the pops of bright red that are always near her (this time, the umbrella and her signature bag) and the fact that the TARDIS still rejects her. The TARDIS was giving me serious Tinkerbell vibes this episode, especially when she used Clara’s own image for the visual interface. Is she jealous, or does her dislike have to do with the anomaly of Clara? As others have pointed out, the TARDIS also doesn’t like Jack – another impossibility. The Doctor brushes the friction off when she mentions it, but I think he’s weighing it along with the rest of the clues to Clara.
Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 13: Emergency Response, Producer’s Cut
– Posted by Sage
This is Willa Tremaine reporting to you from Head Over Feels, where we’ve just watched the extended producer’s cut of another classic episode of Parks and Recreation. If you’ve only seen the version that aired on NBC Thursday night, proceed immediately to Hulu and enjoy the episode plus some killer extra scenes. Now, back to our regularly scheduled recap.
It’s the moment of reckoning for this season’s great white whale, the Pawnee Commons Project. Despite Jamm’s best efforts to bribe the planning commission with Paunch Burger’s Greasy Lardbombs™, the group is still behind Leslie’s proposed park. The problem is that the park isn’t fully funded – there’s a $50k hole. Leslie mopes about the seemingly insurmountable gap while she and Ben head troll Macy’s (a rare obvious product placement for this show) with Tom to register for their wedding gifts. Ben comes up with a plan: they’ll register for the park instead. Beslie are purer of heart than your recapper, because I would be Harlem Shaking down the aisles with Tom and pointing that little gun thing on everything that wasn’t nailed down. Also, how does planning a gala fundraiser preclude you from having a wedding registry? I’m really upset about this, because I have more fantasies about registering than my actual wedding.
Team Parks Department kicks into action, as they are wont to do. Put together a black tie gala in one week? They won’t even break a sweat. “Breaking a sweat” is probably on both Tom and Donna’s “Oh No-Nos” lists. But crisis comes in the form of well, a fake crisis. Leonard Chulm, head of the Indiana Department of Emergency Preparedness (hey, Matt Walsh!) rolls into town to throw a emergency preparedness drill at Pawnee and (quelle surprise) Emergency Czar Leslie. We’ve got an outbreak of avian flu, ya’ll. I hope you’re prepared to bathtub-drown all the birds in town.
On any other day, Leslie would HAVE this. She’s prepared for every scenario, with binders and fake news casts at the ready. But passing the drill will likely mean losing Pawnee Commons forever. This is Lot 48. It represents every dream Leslie has ever had for herself and for Pawnee. She cannot let it end up in the hands of Jamm, ghost or otherwise.
So she makes the call: to save the town, she must destroy it. She puts her containment and recovery plans into reverse and quickly ensures that the entire town is soon struck down by bird flu. And if all our citizens are as over-therapized as Chris Traeger, they’ll be pretty psyched about it. (“I’m dead!) Off to save the gala – suck it, Jamm!
But if we’ve learned anything in the past few seasons of Parks besides some awesome nicknames for food, it’s that Leslie’s friends can be counted on to rise to the occasion. Under the inspiring leadership of one Ben Wyatt (“Get some chairs from…somewhere.”), the gala has already come together perfectly. All that’s left for Leslie to do is put on a super hot red dress, give an inspiring thank you speech, and introduce Mouserat. We will build it, the park!
Leonard Chulm’s entire purpose is to make sure every town in Indiana has the right protocol in place to survive a disaster. But protocols and processes are nothing without ingenuity and people who can think on their feet. Leslie has grown from a person who will blindly follow a prescribed plan to the letter to one who is ready to toss the rule book out if necessary, and even if she wrote it herself. And in what WOULD have been the episode’s twist had NBC not PUT IT IN THE PROMOS, we find out that Leslie might even be willing to do that with my – I mean her – dream wedding. I hear you, Les. I too, hate the feeling of not being married to Ben Wyatt. At least you can do something about it. Mazel, you crazy kids.
Earlier this week Sage posted her Top 5 TV Boyfriends, so clearly I must do the same. It’s funny, because as I was putting list together, I realized that I not only have a physical type when it comes to my TV boyfriends, I clearly have an emotional type as well. All of these men are men who are SURE. They are SURE in their love for their partner, even when they are not in a relationship with them. Their love never wavers. Clearly, that says something about me, but that analysis is probably better left to a shrink.
There is a quote from Grey’s Anatomy that sums all of these guys up:
I am sure. I am steady. And I know that I am a heart man. I take them apart and I put them back together and I hold them in my hands. I am a heart man. So this I am sure, you are my partner, my lover, my very best friend, my heart…my heart beats for you. And on this day, the day of our wedding, I promise you this: I promise you to lay my heart in the palm of your hands, I promise you me.
(Now, let’s IGNORE the fact that the above wedding didn’t actually happen. That’s neither here nor there.)
So let’s take a look at these men who have given women everywhere incredibly unrealistic expectations for relationships, shall we?
1) Seeley Booth – Bones
I’m just gonna go ahead and quote Angela Montenegro here: “Booth is a big, strong, hot guy who wants to save your life. I mean, you actually have a knight in shining FBI standard-issue body armor, so cut him some slack.”
Enough said. Next please.
Also I CANNOT with how he looks at Brennan. Boreanaz has TRULY perfected the “I love you so much it physically hurts me” look, no?
And if that’s not enough, as we saw in last week’s episode, he puts on carnivals for sick children and wants to remain anonymous about it. *DIES*
2) Pacey Witter – Dawson’s Creek
Pacey Witter treads the line between TV Bad Boy that we love anyway (our post about THOSE is coming in the next few weeks) and perfect TV Boyfriend. But come on. HE BOUGHT JOEY A WALL (well…rented it. BUT STILL). He counted to ten before kissing her again just in case she wanted to stop him. He “remembers everything”. He named his boat “True Love” for Joey. Basically, underneath all of his bravado, Pacey Witter was the world’s BIGGEST romantic.
Sure Pacey was very often self-destructive and plagued by feelings of unworthiness (UGH THE END OF SEASON FOUR). He always had the best of intentions, but often messed up in trying to carry them out. But his flaws are what made him perfect. No matter what, no matter how badly he would muck things up, you always cheered for him and wanted him to be happy. Even if it WAS with Joey Potter, who didn’t deserve his wonderfulness.
Yeah I said it.
You may have noticed that Kim and I didn’t do our usual red carpet and award show coverage for this year’s Grammys. Why? Because even people who win Grammys know that the Grammys are basically irrelevant.
But let’s just put a pin in that for now. Today, we’re going to use the Grammys for our own selfish reasons, and those reasons are OTP-related. This week’s playlist highlights are all by 2013 Grammy nominated or Grammy winning artists. And being a featured artist on Head Over Feels is the REAL prize.
“You saw my pain washed out in the rain
Broken glass, saw the blood run from my veins
But you saw no fault, no cracks in my heart
And you knelt beside my hope torn apart
So lead me back, turn south from that place
And close my eyes to my recent disgrace
‘Cause you know my call
And we’ll share my all
And our children come and they will hear me roar.”
If this 50th anniversary business doesn’t give us some kind of update on TenToo/Rose and their adorable babies, I QUIT. Seriously, I am out. You can keep your bow ties and your sonics and your crippling heartbreak. I’ll have escaped and started a fandom for, like, that new Ron Weasley show from the My Name is Earl guy or something.
“And I love her so
I wouldn’t trade her for gold
I’m walking on moon beams
I was born with a silver spoon
And I’m gonna be me
I’m gonna be free
I’m walking on moon beams
And staring out to sea.”
We all have those friends, right? The ones who prefer their relationships to be dramatic and tragic 24/7? I’ve never understood that. If you don’t have fun together, why is it even worth it?
When Rose tells Nine that life is “better with two,” she’s right. But it’s gotta be the RIGHT two. If Doctor Who were about two miserable people who bicker all the time and then retreat to their separate rooms to write emo-y LiveJournal posts, I don’t think this fandom would even exist.
“Gold” is about the people in this world who, when you’re with them, make you the very best version of yourself. You can practically see the weight fall off of the Doctor’s shoulders as Series 1 progresses. And he never forgets it. He may not have been able to say those three little words on Bad Wolf Bay, but he comes close. “You made me better,” he says to her. And isn’t that basically the same thing?
I don’t even know where to start.
CommuniCon had been a pipe dream since the third season hiatus. I think the term was coined during the Paley Fest panel when we realized how many of our Twitter Study Group were either in the actual audience, at the “Greendale Pep Rally” at the NY Paley center (where the panel was being streamed) or huddled around computers watching the feed from Paley’s website. Someone tweeted that it felt like we were all at our own convention and the term “CommuniCon” was born. We started calling any gathering of two or more Community fans CommuniCon and we all talked about how wonderful it would be if a fan convention could happen.
But I never thought it actually WOULD happen.
Not that I don’t have faith in my fellow Community fans. It’s just that organizing an official convention is a massive undertaking. But I should have known better. The one thing you don’t tell a Community fan is that something is impossible. Community fans MAKE things possible.
My lovely friend Gillian followed our favorite instinct here at Head Over Feels (“Screw It, We’re Doing This”) and CommuniCon became a reality. Over the next few months, Gillian, along with me and the rest of the “Tranny Queens” Sarah, Jen and Catherine, emailed and brainstormed and flailed about and maaaaaaaaaaaaybe abused an imdb pro account (*innocent whistle*) to put it together (it should also be mentioned that NONE OF US lived in Los Angeles, where it was held). Tickets to the Con sold out in minutes and there was a wait list up until the very last day. I cashed in my long saved frequent flier miles for a trip to LA, booked a hotel room with my future wives and BARELY beat Winter Storm Nemo out of New York City on Friday.
It was better than I could have even imagined it would be.
On Valentine’s Day, since Kim’s boyfriend is out of town and I’m flying solo preeeeetty much always, we’ll be celebrating our second annual Galentine’s Day! Plans include a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; some pastel baked goods; and sneaking miniature bottles of whiskey into a screening of Safe Haven. Romance!
Now, my default setting is single, and I’m fine with that. Why wouldn’t I be, when I have all these amazing TV boyfriends? (Read that as something less sad than it sounded in my head.) I’m not opposed to wife-ing up, however, and CLEARLY, I have a type. So, if you know any nerdy-hot, brown-haired boys of an average height and an above-average wit, send them my way.
For comparison, here are my Top 5 TV Valentines, in no particular order:
1. Eric Taylor
Friday Night Lights is a veritable buffet of delectable TV boyfriends. There’s something for everyone, whether you prefer Tim’s nobility; Jason’s perseverance; Matt’s sweetness; Landry’s sense of humor; or any of the other qualities displayed by the men of East and West Dillon. I love each and every one of them, but my heart will always come back to Coach.
Eric Taylor is a MAN-man, you guys, and not just because he’s so Sporty Spice. He is a husband and a father and a mentor, and takes all of those roles seriously. The chemistry between Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton was so epic that the creative team were sure they’d be having an affair before filming even began. They didn’t (that we know of…), but good god, do I see why they were concerned. The Taylor marriage would DESTROY in a cagematch of TV marriages.
And then there’s Eric as parent – to occasionally bratty daughter Julie, surprise!baby Gracie Bell, and the hundreds of boys he mentored and elevated as coach of the Dillon Panthers and Lions. As you may know if you’ve ever been in a bar with me after 1am on a particularly good night, I have the entire Coach/Saracen nighttime field scene from first season episode “Eyes Wide Open” memorized. Before all the “WHAT IS YOUR NAME?” inspirational yelling, Coach tells Matt exactly what he thinks about his tiny house and batty grandma:
“I’ll tell you somethin’. I know you didn’t want me to step foot in your house tonight. I’ll tell you somethin’ else and don’t you ever forget this: you should feel proud. You should feel real proud.”
If you ever felt confused about whether you wanted Coach to adopt you and help you unlock all your latent potential OR to rock your world in the back of a flat-bed truck, then congratulations – you watched FNL correctly.
2. Josh Lyman
From his introduction in The West Wing pilot, I was a 1003758% gone Josh Lyman fangirl. He is a hot damn mess of a person, I know. But Joshua Lyman is the same brilliant, wounded idiot that all of us have spent our lives chasing after. He just screams, “fix me.”
To prove I’m not a complete masochist, I’ll remind you of Josh’s good qualities: he’s rabidly loyal, and throws his entire self into his friendships and his work. He’s so fucking smart, and, whadaya know, speaks fluent Sorkin! Game on, indeed.
He also passes the “YOUR FACE” test, which has to do with how many times an episode I yell, “YOUR FACE!” and throw a pillow at the TV. See below.
3. Chandler Bing
Telling you that I love Chandler Bing is like telling you I have brown eyes. It’s chemical. It’s biological. It’s in my BLOOD.
4. Ed Stevens
Ed Stevens is perfectly on the edge of the right side of How I Met Your Mother‘s Dobbler/Dahmer line. His tireless pursuit of Carol Vessey (as Julie Bowen will always be known to me, Modern Family be damned) was so charming – how did the woman manage to resist for so long?
He is a BOWLING ALLEY LAWYER. How are you not going to marry that guy? Is there a roller skating rink doctor we don’t know about?
I will also accept as my Stuckeyville valentine Ed’s best friend, Dr. Mike Burton. We would spend our days making $10 bets and eating sarcasm sandwiches.
Finally: SOMEONE PUT THIS SHOW ON DVD, JESUS CHRIST.
5. Ben Wyatt
He owns his own batsuit and has hundreds of accounting jokes at the ready. What is not to love about Benjamin Wyatt, Human Disaster, Boy Mayor, First Man of Pawnee?
I basically sing the praises of Ben every week in my Parks recaps, so I don’t know what more there is to say. Just know that all the Roman gladiators and firey Latin lovers you could leave on my doorstep could never compare to a single Deputy City Manager in a plaid button-down.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our gorgeous readers! If we could, we’d hug each and every one of you, a little too tightly and for a little bit too long.
Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 12: Ann’s Decision
– Posted by Sage
Even the truest love doesn’t always last forever. But we will hold on the misty, watercolored memories of perhaps the most delicious, yet least practical ship on Parks. Ben/Calzones has come to a tragic end.
The bitter breakup comes courtesy of the catering finals Ben has orchestrated to pick the menu for the wedding of the millennium. His judges lineup features veggie connoisseur Chris Traeger, meat specialist Ron Swanson, and Instagram king Tom Haverford. Andy isn’t invited, but we’re not sure if it’s because of his unsophisticated palate or tendency to use frisbees as plates. Everyone but Tom tries the delectable cheesy-meaty-saucey pastry appetizer that puts its creator on the top of Ben’s list. After all, serving calzones at his wedding is the closest to actually MARRYING a calzone that Ben will ever get, at least until those GOD DAMN LIBERALS get their way. But the next morning finds the boys lumbering and rolling around Chris’s office like they just walked off the set of The Walking Dead. Food poisoning. Ben is jilted. Doublecrossed. Forsaken by his beloved. (“The calzones…betrayed me?”)
They know that the calzones were the culprit, because Tom refuses to eat food that requires him to exert any effort. (“Drizzle it on for me! I’m not your maaaaaiiiid.”) After a long and painful recovery, the boys find themselves back at JJ’s for a return to solid food. Ben realizes he’s been overthinking it – why pick a fancy caterer over Leslie’s favorite food in town? Looks like Beslie will be serving their guests a waffle tower instead of a wedding cake. PLEASE, oh please let them have a waffle tower. (Note to self: find waffle tower photo to pin to “Future Wedding to Ben Schwartz” Pinterest board.)
After the madcap shenanigans and Salt N’ Pepa singalongs of the rotating bachelor party, it’s good to see that Parks has no intention of abandoning this male-bonding theme anytime soon. They’re adorable, even when grossly ill. (“I cracked the bottom of the toilet bowl.”) And this light, silly storyline was the perfect complement to Leslie and Ann’s big life decision arc.
The writers have done an admirable job this year of fixing “The Ann Problem.” It’s never bothered me as much as some other fans who I’ve read, but her stories this season have been the most compelling that they’ve ever been. And, more importantly, they feel organic and not forced. Also, this Ann-finding-herself theme has always felt like a meta-acknowledgement of the issues that the show has run into trying to integrate that character into the Parks Department.
I LOVE this single mom plot, because it gives Ann an opportunity to drive it and not always be reacting to the other characters. AND, it makes for some funny and interesting Leslie/Ann interplay. I feel like I learned a lot about both of their characters this week. It’s pretty cray-cray to compare this Leslie to the one-note Leslie of Season 1. She fully supports any woman’s right to create “the family that she wants,” but still believes, deep down in her heart, that a family created from a loving, monogamous relationship is still better than the alternatives. (“The body is Ann’s, and the woman in charge of it is me.”) She may not have even known that about herself until she’s faced with Ann’s no-nonsense, no-waiting plan to have a kid. Stupid Hot Ann’s not doing this because she feels sorry for herself. It’s something that she wants in her life, regardless of relationships. For Ann, waiting for a guy to come along so that she can finally have a baby would have been like Leslie waiting to have a boyfriend before she pursued her career.
Ann does agree with Leslie that she should know more about the biological dad of her future kid, so she side-steps the sperm bank and does some research. The top 3 come in to Ann’s office under the pretense that she’s interviewing them for her blog. (I assume that Leslie worked some of her questions on to the list. I too would not allow myself to be inseminated by a man before knowing his favorite season of Friends, even though any answer is the right answer there.) We’ve got Dr. Harris, who’s a little mean (“The chairs in MY office are leather.”); high school basketball star Pete, who’s a little too clued in (“When will the women in this town stop scheming for my sperm!?”)…
…and Howard Tuttleman, who may be juuuuuuust right. Operation: Baby Douche, engage.
Douche, how little we knew you! Turns out Howard studied semiotics at Northwestern, before creating his satiric second persona and becoming Crazy Ira’s morning radio co-host. But his dual personalities are now fused, and no one can tell where Howard ends and Douche begins! Considering the Pawnee alternatives, Howard isn’t a bad choice. But his Douche-side can’t resist revealing the truth about Ann’s plan on the show, with plenty of bodily function sound effects thrown in. Leslie realizes that she’s imposing her own priorities on Ann, and she needs to make up for butting in and telling Douche the truth. Her apology comes with all the humiliation Crazy Ira and the Douche can throw at her, i.e. Leslie going ass over tincups in a baby pool filled with Jello while doing a truly terrible Bill Cosby impression. Friendship rule: you always forgive the people who are willing to embarrass themselves to earn it. And that’s a Leslie Knope specialty.