Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Terminator Salvation" - theatrical trailer

I had noticed some mention of the trailer for "Terminator Salvation" being available online, so when we were seeing "Eagle Eye" on Sunday, I was hoping we'd get that trailer in front of the movie. It seemed to be a good genre match, and it's a new movie - I didn't expect to see that trailer in front of "The House Bunny" - and it might have gone ok with "Traitor", but that movie has been out for a while with a smaller viewing audience now, so it didn't really make sense to show in front of that movie either. But "Eagle Eye" - perfect. But not so much - we didn't get the trailer. I was bummed. [OK, I just went to the official website, and it says the trailer played in front of "The Dark Knight" at the end of July. Ummm, yeah, thanks, saw that movie ages ago!]

So I had to watch the trailer online after all.

Here's the trailer.

I have to keep in mind that it's only a teaser trailer, because I want to see so much more, but really, I should actually stop listening to any more information about the movie so that I won't get spoilers. I already know it's about John Connor's fight - that's all I need to know. I do love that they cut the trailer to the familiar strains of the theme song.

Christian Bale is playing John Connor, but I didn't know that Anton Yelchin is playing Kyle Reese. I absolutely loved him in "Charlie Bartlett", and I'm interested in seeing his portrayal of Chekov in the next "Star Trek" movie. But does he look like Christian Bale's father? And no, that's *not* a spoiler! If you don't know by now that Kyle Reese is John Connor's father, then you have no business in this franchise.

The film opens May 22, 2009. I think this is going to be one of those movies where I have to go to the opening night/midnight-ish screening.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Eagle Eye" - spoiler movie review

A friend had mentioned the film to me after seeing a trailer, and he had said it sounded intriguing, so I was looking forward to seeing the trailer myself. Once I'd seen it, I was definitely interested, but there was such a push on the radio ad, which I kept hearing over and over and over again, that I really just got sick of it. Luckily, it didn't turn me off the film itself.

"Eagle Eye" was awe.some. As you'd probably expect, there was lots of really great action and a ton of things that blow up in the most spectacular ways. The humongous list of stunt players in the end credits is not surprising in the least. But I liked that it also had a decent story, and I tell you, part way through the movie, you think about never answering a phone again.

I liked that it takes some time before it's revealed what's going on, that the one calling the shots is actually a computer - Aria, who has decided that the leadership is dangerous and wrong and has therefore set in motion Project Guillotine - which basically means taking out the entire chain of command and starting over. Aria has access to every manner of electronic information and uses threats and coercion to get everyone she needs to do what she wants them to do. Aria is almost a combination of Skynet from "The Terminator" and HAL from "2001". And it took me a while to notice, but there were many nods to "2001", like when they were pulling out Aria's memory banks to try to slow her down - I half expected her to start singing "Bicycle Built For Two". It also took me a while to realize what the lady was calling the guy in those scenes - she kept yelling "Bowman". How perfect was that? "Dave, what are you doing?"

Shia LaBeouf was just terrific in this film, playing a role and a cameo since his twin brother is only in it for a few minutes. I'm really liking everything I've seen him in so far, so I'm looking forward to seeing more.

I'm not always a fan of his, but I have to say that Billy Bob Thornton was just spectacular in this film. He was no-nonsense but not one-dimensional. He's definitely another good reason to watch this film.

Michael Chiklis does a really good job in the film as well. Aria seems to like him too, since he's designated as being the next president.

But who's the voice of Aria? There's no credit for it. It doesn't sound completely computer-generated. It actually sounds a lot like Joan Allen to me.

I thought it was funny that when Jerry was talking to his co-worker about taking his girlfriend out to a nice place with tablecloths and things, he specifically mentions Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Now, I like both places, but I don't consider them fancy places, and I know Olive Garden doesn't have tablecloths. I can't remember about Red Lobster.

It was totally evil that the piece that was going to be used to blow the fatal frequency was being put in Sam's sax while the crystal that was going to explode with that frequency was going to be worn by his mom Rachel.

We noticed a credit to "Cloverfield" at the end, and the husband thinks that's what was playing on the TV screens when Jerry and Rachel went into that room in Circuit City. Do people really still go to Circuit City?

How crazy was it when the airplane went inside the tunnel to try to kill Jerry? That was crazy, but not nearly as crazy when Billy Bob Thorton's character drove his truck so that it put this huge piece of metal into the path of the plane, creating a humongous fireball when it hit.

I knew that the only way for Jerry to stop them was to fire his gun, and I was sad when he was shot. I get that they apparently needed a happy ending, but I thought it would have been more fitting if Jerry had been fatally wounded, and this ne'er-do-well is actually reponsible for saving the entire chain of command with his completely self-less act.

I liked the premise of the film, because in this day and age, there are so many places where we're connected electronically. Most are usually separated, but what if there was an entity that had access to all of our electronic footprints? That's a lot of information to have on people.

One thing I was really happy about was that as much as I got sick of the trailer, I loved that the trailer actually gave away very little about the actual story of the movie. You know that the two of them are being directed to do what they're told, but you're not told that it involves a ton of other people, and you have no clue about Aria or about the plot to kill the entire chain of command. Nowadays, trailers give away entirely too much information and plot points, so I really appreciated that.

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" - September 29, 2008 episode

Sarah is leaving in her truck, but she encounters Casey at the mailbox, who says she's in pain and is bleeding, so Sarah takes her to the hospital. Tests are being run on Casey and her baby, and Casey says that Sarah doesn't have to stay with her, but Sarah chooses to stay. Sarah asks about the father of the baby, and Casey says he got freaked out when she got pregnant. Later, a male visitor comes by, and Sarah is introduced to Trevor, who Casey later identifies as the baby's father. It comes to light that Casey is actually the one who's scared because Trevor is a police officer with the LAPD, and she's uneasy with raising her baby around that. Sarah offers her some comfort by telling her that John's father died before she even knew she was pregnant with John, and she made it through, so Casey can too.

John and Cameron are out shopping, and he tells her to do the grocery shopping while he does electronics shopping, and they'll meet up afterward. While in the store, though, Cameron finds herself having flashbacks, flashbacks of memories, and the flashbacks are disturbing to her, making her almost catatonic at times. After she runs into a bin of melons and has no reaction, the police are eventually called. They suspect she might be on drugs or something, and she has no ID on her, so she's taken to a holding cell. She is released at the same time as another girl - Jodi - and when Jodi sees that the only personal belonging being returned to Cameron is a huge wad of cash, she immediately gets Cameron to leave with her.

Jodi and Cameron are having a snack at a fast food joint when Jodi is approached by a guy who pushes her around and asks about his money and laptop, which Jodi denies any knowledge of. When he finally hits her hard enough to draw blood, Cameron tries to intervene, but ultimately, she hands over the wad of cash so that he'll go away. Jodi takes Cameron to a shelter where Jodi often stays, and they both sign in.

Part of the requirement of staying at the shelter is speaking to one of the counselors, and as Cameron is talking to her, more flashbacks happen. Cameron has realized that she is actually Alison Young, from Palmdale. She calls on the phone to who she thinks is her mother, but the woman says she doesn't have a daughter - yet. The woman is very pregnant, and it's clear she is in fact pregnant with Alison, but Alison is crushed that her mother doesn't even acknowledge her existence. Jodi cheers her up by engaging her in a game of foos ball, and Cameron playing and smiling and laughing is the vision that John sees when he's finally able to track her down. When John tries to get her to leave, though, she doesn't recognize him and insists that she's Alison. He tries to tell her that she's a machine and that something's wrong with her chip again, but he can fix it, but she freaks out. John is then forced to leave when she gets upset.

John's appearance seems to have triggered something in Cameron because she's acting more robotic again, not like the girl she was when she was just with Jodi. She also has a meeting with the counselor where she says she's a machine from the future who's going to kill John Connor, and that prompts the counselor to call the police. But when the police arrive, both Cameron and Jodi are gone.

Jodi and Cameron go to a house where Jodi says she used to babysit and the people were rich. She looks for a key, but Cameron just shoves the door open, breaking the lock. Jodi says she watched when the woman opened the safe, so she knows how to get in, but in the stash of jewelry, Cameron recognizes a pair of earrings that match the necklace Jodi was wearing which Jodi had then put around Cameron's neck. Jodi eventually admits that the house belongs to her parents, and that she had quit school, and her parents disowned her. She also admits that most of what she had told Cameron was a lie. Cameron apparently doesn't take well to lies. When John comes into the house, he sees Jodi crumpled on the floor, but she's not dead. Cameron and John leave before the police arrive in answer to the triggered silent alarm.

Meanwhile, snippets of Cameron's flashbacks/memories have been shown in pieces, and it turns out that Alison Young was a resistance fighter under John Connor who was captured and interrogated by the terminators. Much of her imprisonment seemed to be on an old aircraft carrier, but her repeated attempts to escape fail. Alison eventually comes face-to-face with a terminator - who is the exact image of her, like Cameron. Cameron tells Alison that most of the machines will not stop until the humans are extinct, but there are some who don't feel that way. Cameron says that she admires John Connor, and she wants to meet him because they just want peace. After a raid on some of her fellow resistance fighters, Cameron asks what Alison's bracelet is really for, since Alison had said it was from her sister, and yet they found many others with the same bracelet. Cameron then figures out that it's a sign, a sort of secret code that would let her into the protected tunnels, and if Cameron had gone without the bracelet on, they would have known she wasn't real. Cameron is angry at Alison for lying to her, and Alison says she will never help Cameron get to John, but Cameron breaks her neck and takes her bracelet before leaving.

Ellison is still considering taking the job offered by Catherine, and he meets with her again in her office to discuss further. Catherine says that her husband was killed in a plane crash, and when Ellison refers to the machines as being evil, Catherine disputes that point and almost says that machines are perfect because unlike humans, they don't panic. Ellison later has his ex-wife, who's also in the FBI, do a background check on Catherine, which turns up nothing. Ellison ultimately agrees to work for Catherine.

This was a rather odd episode, not at all what I expected based on the trailers. It was interesting to learn about Alison, and I'd actually like to know more about her, so we'll see if that happens. Hopefully, we'll also learn about how Cameron manages to infiltrate the resistance and ultimately, how John manages to reprogram her. The whole episode seemed to be about the multitude of lies that people tell and the many and varied reasons for telling those lies. It was the most uneventful episode for Sarah yet. Hope she enjoyed the break, because I doubt she'll have any more calm days like this one.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Traitor" - spoiler movie review

I'd seen the one-sheets for "Traitor", and I don't think I ever saw a trailer for the film, but the husband was interested, and then I heard a radio spot, which sounded interesting.

I knew that the movie was going to be a thriller of sorts, but I had no idea that it was going to be quite so political, which isn't usually my style of movie. If I had known, I might not have been as interested in going. There were a lot of twists in the plots, and sometimes, I had trouble keeping up or figuring out who was doing what to whom and with whom, but ultimately, I'm glad I saw the film, because Don Cheadle was incredible. This might just get him another Academy Award nomination.

What I found most interesting was the portrayal of a devout Muslim who actually knows Islam and who knows that the senseless killing goes against what the Koran teaches. He abhors the killings that are being made in the name of Islam, and ultimately, he betrays those who are using his faith to further their own agendas. He does have to choose the lesser of two evils and ends up allowing a busload of passengers to be killed in a bomb explosion, but it's only one bus as opposed to 30 or so.

"The House Bunny" - spoiler movie review

My first exposure to "The House Bunny" was a huge ad on the side of a wall at a local mall. The picture and the tag line, coupled with the movie title, immediately turned me off.

But then I saw the trailer, and the movie actually looked like it could be really funny.

The movie is the story of Shelley, a Playboy bunny who lives at the Playboy Mansion and longs to fulfill her dream of being a centerfold. The day after a most fabulous 27th birthday party, she gets a note from Hugh Hefner to move out of the mansion. Heartbroken, she ends up homeless and then arrested after a misunderstanding, but she stumbles upon sorority row. She decides that being a house mother is exactly what she wants to do, but the snooty house mothers want nothing to do with her - except for one, who points her in the direction of a house that might be in need of a mother. And boy, do they. The Zetas are in danger of losing their house because they don't have enough recruits and aren't raising enough money for charity. Oh, and they dress frumpily and oddly and they have no clue how to deal with boys and are complete misfits in many different ways. They eventually agree to let Shelley be their house mother, and after a humiliating stunt pulled by a rival sorority, they agree to let Shelley make them over. And make them over she does, making them the hottest girls on campus and throwing an amazing block party that also makes them the most popular house to pledge. However, they find that they've become that which they hated, and they blame Shelley for it. It has meanwhile been revealed that a rival Playboy bunny has manipulated a male house employee into forging the eviction note from Hef as well as forging a note from Shelley to Hef to tell him about her departure. When the sabotage is revealed, Hef indeed offers Shelley the much-coveted position of Miss November, but she turns him down to stay with her girls. When they blame her for changing them, she leaves the house and accepts Hef's offer, but ultimately, she's not happy. She does then have a joyful reunion with her girls, who inform her that their rivals pulled a dirty trick so that none of their pledges showed up. However, just as their charter is about to be revoked, Shelley swoops in yet again to save the day, and the girls ultimately are able to keep their house and be true to themselves, and Shelley even finds love along the way.

I did find the movie to be fairly predictable, but you pretty much know that going in if you've seen the trailer. Yes, everyone learns a valuable lesson at the end of the day. There are a lot of funny bits and good lines.

I laughed when Shelley convinced Joanne (well played by Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore) to run after the boy she liked, and during her run, her brace (that she didn't really need anymore but which she had been continuing to wear for the past four years because she was comfortable with it) fell off, just like the scene in "Forrest Gump" - complete with Shelley's encouragement for her to "RUN".

That birthday party scene was pretty cool, and then Shelley woke up the next morning, and even her cat had the bunny ears on.

Speaking of parties, that was one hell of an Aztec party the Zetas threw. (I laughed when Shelley said they always wanted to throw the party at the Playboy mansion, but they could never find a virgin to sacrifice.) But seriously, how much money must that have cost, and who paid for it? The jello volcano was pretty funny.

When her cat didn't want to leave the mansion and was literally clinging to the guy's chest, my reaction was "OWWWWWWWWWW".

I'm trying to figure out what college is located near enough the jail/courthouse she came out of to have their sorority houses that close by.

There are also some inexplicably weird bits, like Shelley's habit of repeating someone's name in a devil-possessed voice which was really disconcerting. She never explained it and no one ever asked, and the first or second time, it was kind of funny, but after that, it just became old. There were some parts that just fell really flat as well, but at least that didn't happen often. The transformation of the girls was fairly quick. In this case, it wasn't just about the clothes and the makeup or even the experience of not having been around boys, but in some cases, especially Mona, it was an active dislike of the trappings involved in catching a boy's attention, but the attitude change was much too quick and easy.

For the men who might have zero interest in this movie, I'm just noting that there are *lots* of footage of hot girls in really skimpy outfits.

I cracked up at Hef - he still looks really good. I was kind of surprised that he'd agree to be in a movie where he was portrayed as being so heartless as to kick Shelley out, so it made more sense that it was all a scam, and it was really funny how much he mourned her leaving, including refusing to see people or do anything and just sitting in his room alone, eating pints of ice cream.

Katharine McPhee was pretty good, though I didn't recognize her during the movie. I just saw her name in the end credits. Her character didn't have all that much to do other than be really pregnant, but she did get to sing the song at the end. It was funny that Shelley referenced "American Idol", since McPhee came in second during her season of the show.

From the one-sheet that I initially saw, I thought Anna Faris looked completely like she should be Goldie Hawn's daughter. She was pretty good in this. Totally vapid.

I loved Kat Dennings, but then, I also loved her in "Charlie Bartlett", and I'm looking forward to seeing her next movie ("Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist") in a week or so.

Beverly D'Angelo is pretty much wasted in a one-dimensional throw-away part. I'm surprised she accepted the role.

I liked the movie enough, but it would probably make a really good rental.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Walking with Dinosaurs - The Live Experience" - spoiler show review

A couple months ago, the husband and I had a conversation that went something like this:

him: Do you want to go see dinosaurs?
me: Dinosaurs? Real dinosaurs?
him: Yeah, sort of.

He then explained that he'd seen some show on PBS about a live dinosaur show where they use what are basically human-controlled giant puppets with animatronic features, and the show was touring and would be coming around L.A. Hmmm, ok, I like dinosaurs, not really sure what to expect, but it sounded cool.

So last night, we saw "Walking with Dinosaurs - The Live Experience" at the Staples Center. (BTW, on the website, if you move the cursor around, the eye will follow you. Cool and disturbing at the same time.)

Oh.my.goodness. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this.

The husband and I arrived at about the same time after work, and we made our way to our level. We had about half an hour until the show started, and neither of us had stopped for food, so we decided to get something from one of the concession stands. I decided on the deluxe nachos, and the husband got the California Pizza Kitchen BBQ chicken salad. They have a number of restaurants and other concession stands at the Staples Center. Later in the evening, I ran across another concession stand that had some pretty good sounding sandwiches. I wish I'd seen that first. Among other things, they had a reuben sandwich, but they spelled it wrong.

After getting our food, we made our way to our section, and someone helped us to our seats. As we were walking, I was looking at some particular seats and thought to myself how cool it would be to sit there. Well, our seats ended up in the same row, just a section over. The seats were just perfect. Given the scope of the show, you don't have to be very close, and if you're higher up, you'd actually get a better view of the dinosaurs. We were just about in the middle. This page has the seating chart for the Staples Center. The fourth chart down has the end stage concert seating, which is about how the show was set up. We were at the very top of section 5, in what is actually disabled seating. It had a perfect view since there was no one in front of us, and even if we were to stand up, we wouldn't be blocking anyone's view behind us since we were just in front of the walkway. Also, we had individual fold-up chairs as opposed to the connected seating in the normal seats, so we had a lot more room and range of motion. Our seats were $36 at face value, but the husband got them through a broker because they didn't have good seats left that he wanted, so he ended up paying about $58 each for them. Since Ticketmaster charges exhorbitant "convenience fees", the amount he paid for the tickets wasn't much more than that anyway, and the price was completely worth it. We sat one section over from where one of the show cameras was situated. The husband said that he'd read on the website that there was a concerted attempt to have some relatively inexpensive seats available since they figured families would want to come.

We sat down to have our dinner, and the husband really liked his salad, and I liked my nachos, although I mostly ended up eating the chicken and other toppings and not as much of the chips because the show started before I finished, and I didn't feel like eating anymore. We also spent a little bit of time talking to the people sitting next to us.

The show has a narrator of sorts, a paleontologist who basically takes us on a time-travel journey back to the time of dinosaurs. He talks about the different periods that dinosaurs existed, and dinosaurs from those time periods come out. Some just kind of march around, and some actually interact with each other. There are also representations of plants and flowers and trees which are pretty cool, and some of the dinosaurs "graze" among them. There is a lot of use of lighting and fog to create different effects as well. They also had two side screens so that show cameras situated throughout the arena could get close-ups of things, making it easier for everyone to see. They also had a screen in the middle where images were projected, and for some of the animals, it made a terrific backdrop. The paleontologist has some pretty funny lines, and he's got lots of useful information as well, but I'll admit that there were times I barely listened to him because I was just in awe of the creatures I was seeing. At first, I was a little distracted because the dinosaurs have a support under them, and they walk with a sort of "T" underneath them, but once I got over that they were needed to make the dinosaurs move, I didn't really notice them anymore.

It was seriously an incredible show. It was amazing to see the movements of the creatures and to hear their "voices". Mom and child brachiosauruses (the ones I still think of as brontasauruses) were amazing to see together - I know this sounds stupid, but they about brought me to tears. From our vantage point, we were about eye-to-eye with them - which gives you some idea of how huge they were. You don't actually really appreciate their size until you see them with the paleontologist - and you realize just how much they tower over him.

This picture from the website shows the brachs, and you can also see some of what the set looks like.

The flying bird (not a pteradactyl) was a little disappointing, I thought, but then, I just wanted it to really fly. I didn't think it was quite as impressive because you could actually see that it was being suspended by wires, so the illusion that it was real was harder to believe. It was pretty cool, though, because the backdrop had images of soaring over water and cliffs and stuff, and when the front camera captured the bird in front of the backdrop, the images shown on the side screens gave the illusion of the soaring bird. I did think this segment went on a bit too long though.

The flying reptile as pictured on the website.

Loved, loved, *loved* the three-pack of raptors. They've been my favorite dinosaur since I saw "Jurassic Park". They were just awesome. (Because you can see the human legs that operate the raptor legs, the illusion of their reality is a little harder to maintain.) They had a segment where they were looking out into the audience and planning their coordinated attack! They also had a segment that was kind of icky, even though I knew it was entirely not real. They had a dead dinosaur on stage that the raptors were eating. Ewwww. But raptors are still cool.

Two raptors and their meal.

But of course, the star of the show was the T-Rex. Baby T-Rex got caught and cornered by two other dinosaurs, and mom T-Rex came to the rescue. Her roar was incredible, and as she was staring out into the audience, it was terrifying. And amazing. There was also one bit that was really funny that involved mama T-rex and the paleontologist, but it was scary too. And there was a wonderful moment with mom and baby.

From the website, this is mama T-rex. Yep, she really does have a big head and tiny little arms.

Here's a promotional video of the show where you can see the dinosaurs in action.

And here's another that shows a bit more footage.

They asked that people not take video of the show, but you know they have no real control over that. Here's video of the mama T-rex section of the show.

Baby T-rex made an appearance on the Regis and Kelly show.

The show runs for about 45 minutes, then there's a 20 minute intermission, then it runs for about another 45 minutes.

There were *tons* of kids there, and they seemed to love it. You could hear their reactions when the different dinosaurs came out. But I think adults were just as blown away by the show. I know this one was. They had an earlier start time to the show than most shows - 7pm - and I expect that was partly because they knew kids would be attending and didn't want to keep them out too late.

I HIGHLY recommend going to the show - it's still touring the U.S.

Friday, September 26, 2008

the fall television season's first casualty

With each fall television season, new shows vie for a permanent place in the lineup. Some find an audience and stay on for years. Others encounter an early death. The first casualty of the new fall season seems to have arrived in the form of "Do Not Disturb". Though no official announcement has been made of its cancellation, the next episode is being pre-empted for an episode of "'Til Death", and many media outlets, including E Online and Mediaweek, are reporting that the show is gone.

The husband had been interested in trying out the show, but after one episode, he said it was pretty awful, and he was out. Too bad for Jerry O'Connell - I like him and know him mostly for "Crossing Jordan". His last show, "Carpoolers", was also cancelled. Better luck next time, Jerry.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Knight Rider" - September 24, 2008 episode

At the Foreign Consulate, Mike Traceur is at some swanky affair with him looking like James Bond. Sarah is in some tech part of the embassy, stealing some files or something, but armed men come in and catch her. Mike is supposed to be after some package, but then KITT tells him that Sarah is in trouble, so he tries to go rescue her, losing track of the package in the process. After some Bond-esque action sequences, they do manage to escape. KITT had been detained as well, but he got to do some even more nifty transformations (including into a full-cab truck) and he's got other spiffy devices that get him out of the jam. KITT picks up Mike and Sarah and head for the Foundation's headquarters. En route, Sarah tells Mike that the men weren't after the files, but instead, they were after him and referred to him specifically by name. However, they are being chased, and a missile is launched at them, somehow homing in directly on Mike. No one at Foundation headquarters, including Sarah's father Charles, can figure out what to do. At the last minute, KITT manages to divert power and resources so that the exploding missile doesn't take out the car, but the missile was apparently made out of some special napalm that stays on fire. KITT is managing to divert resources so that the inside of the car isn't immediately scorching hot, but the temperature still climbs. His resources are further diverted when Sarah is instructed to transmit the files that she stole, whatever they are. In order to keep cooler inside the car, both Sarah and Mike disrobe. Ummm, yeah, ok, guess they just wanted to show them both mostly naked. I was wondering why Sarah didn't take her necklace off too. If the temperature was getting warmer and warmer, wouldn't wearing some kind of metal or alloy around her neck be pretty hot too?

Some emergency plan is made up for when they get to the Foundation's headquarters, but they're out of air, and KITT is going to ram the door but tech guy manages to get the doors open in the nick of time. Personnel drag Mike and Sarah out of the car, give them oxygen and shock them - and they both come back to life. A few minutes later, they're walking around again. The recovery seemed awfully quick. Immediately, Mike asks for his clothes, so I guess he's supposed to be the more modest one because Sarah wanders around in her bra and panties for a while, even looking at the computer screens and such before her father thinks to throw a towel over her. OK, hot chick, great body, naked except for bra and panties. Yeah, I get it.

Mike goes back in pursuit of "the package", which turns out to be a man, but just as Mike gets to him, another car pulls up and out climbs a gorgeous woman who shows that she has the same military tattoo that Mike does - right before she pulls a gun on him and clocks him and forces the man to get into her car before she drives away. As Mike pursues, he has KITT run searches to try to figure out who the men and the woman is. KITT says that there are many classified documents in Mike's files, things that even KITT can't access, and Mike mentions that there are bits and pieces of his past, years, that he can't remember. KITT finally finds footage of Mike with the woman and says that the footage was taken in Beirut, but Mike protests that he's never been to Beirut. In a private conversation with Sarah, she tells him that according to the time stamp on the video, the video was taken the same day that Mike called her from some classified location and proposed to her, which she accepted, and then he proceeded to disappear for several years, and she thought he had died.

The woman is apparently trying to get the man's DNA, but he has shaved his head and his entire body so that there's no hair, so instead, she cuts off his thumb to get DNA. OWWWWWW. She then shoves him out of the moving car. DOUBLE OWWWWWWW with a side of road rash. Mike pulls over and picks the guy up - I was wondering if he was just going to drive right by him. The guy says something about him having created some new encryption method and the key to the method is in his DNA. I have no idea what all that part was about. KITT is able to help Mike track down the woman, and Mike gets the man's thumb back. The woman finally realizes that Mike has no memory of her, and she asks what they did to him. Just then, FBI agent Carrie shows up - and shoots Mike.

It's revealed that Carrie needed to fake Mike's death because of the people who were coming after him, and that would put their entire division in jeopardy, so he had to die so they wouldn't look for him anymore. She's talking on the phone to someone else a few times, so there must be something else going on, something having to do with all the classified files and the stuff Mike can't remember.

There's also a scene where Charles and some other head of the Foundation (Alex) are examining the severed thumb, and Charles says that if Mike ever regains his memory, he's going to kill Alex, and Alex says that means they have to make sure he never remembers. Unbeknownst to them, KITT is listening to all this. I'm wondering if this is going to be a running story or if this part of the story will be resolved fairly quickly.

Speaking of KITT, there's one scene after he's parked inside the Foundation where you can hear presumably the sound of the moving light at the front of the car, and damned if he doesn't actually sound like a cylon! But what was with the laser beam things? It partly reminded me of the mechanical robot tool things that Tony Stark had in "Iron Man". But then, it also seemed like some kind of scanning device. Or maybe it was used to clean KITT, a kind of microbe obliterator?

Mike wants to start over with Sarah, and since Mike Traceur is now dead, he has to come up with a new name for himself.

And Michael Knight is re-born.

I can't decide if I like language girl - Zooey. She was funny in parts, but in others, she was just annoying. I did laugh when she kept teasing tech guy, though.

When the episode ended, I was confused. That was all? But, nothing happened really. And nothing was explained. I figured, oh, well, the first episode is always a little light because they have to do setup. Ummm, well, no, they didn't do setup. They just kind of jumped right in, so they assumed that people either had seen the TV movie a few months back, already knew about the premise from the original series or were just going to jump into this with no background.

I wasn't really sure what to make of this episode, but for now, I'm willing to still give it a shot. Hopefully, subsequent episodes will capture my attention a bit more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"90210" - September 23, 2008 episode

Annie is the understudy for Adrianna, and she's been filling in for Adrianna a lot because Adrianna has been missing rehearsal. Adrianna even misses the first part of the dress rehearsal, but when she finally shows up, Brenda works with her and hears how amazingly she sings and acts. However, Brenda can see that she's troubled, and she brings it to the attention of Kelly and Ryan. They both suggest taking Adrianna out of the show, but Brenda says she thinks it's the only thing she's hanging onto. Shortly before the show, Brenda ends up meeting Adrianna's very pushy mother who is the epitome of a stage mom. She tells Adrianna that she has agents and talent scouts in the audience, and she just has to be good. Yeah, no pressure or anything. 10 minutes before showtime, stage manager Silver can't find Adrianna, but she's apparently resting on the couch in the makeup room. It's obvious that she's loaded though, and Brenda makes the difficult decision to not let her go on, so Annie is called to go on in her place instead. Harry, Debbie and Tabitha (and Ethan) are happy to see Annie in the lead, but Kelly is concerned about Adrianna, so she goes looking for her. After talking to Brenda, she finds Adrianna and ends up having a confrontation with Adrianna's mother, who is livid that Adrianna is not in the show and refuses to listen when Kelly says that Brenda thinks Adrianna might be doing drugs.

During the dinner break at the dress rehearsal, Annie is mortified when Harry catches her and Ty making out backstage, but Harry is even more rattled. He goes home and tells Debbie, and he wants to talk to Annie, but Debbie says it's more of a mother's job. When Annie gets home, Debbie tries to talk to her, but Annie is reluctant. Debbie just tells her to make sure she knows what she's doing. Ty tells Annie that he's gotten a room at the Roosevelt Hotel, where the after-party is being held, which surprises Annie, but she covers. After an incredibly successful show, she decides she's ready to give her virginity to Ty, and she tracks down Dixon to ask him for the condom he's been carrying around in his wallet for 4 years. OK, do brothers and sisters really talk about that sort of thing, so that the sister would know the brother keeps a condom in his wallet? I mean, I have siblings, but that just seems like an odd topic. And to actually *ask* him for it, which means he obviously knows what you need it for. And, not to mention, FOUR YEARS? I thought they told us in health class that they don't really keep for that long, especially in a wallet where it's subjected to heat, so the integrity of the condom isn't really going to be good anyway.

Annie makes her way to Ty's room (though I'm wondering how she knew what room he was in), but she is surprised when Adrianna opens the door dressed only in a towel. When Annie says she was looking for Ty, Adrianna says she has the right room and invites her in. She says Ty is in the shower "rinsing off" and asks if Ty asked Annie to his room too and further wonders how many other girls he asked there. When Adrianna offers to get Ty, Annie declines and runs out, visibly upset. (Naomi had previously mentioned that Ty was a player and that since Annie and Ty were at least friends, Annie should see what other benefits came with them. She also mentioned that she and Ethan pretty much had sex almost immediately.) Adrianna goes into the restroom and pulls back the shower curtain - revealing the water falling on an empty shower. Adrianna had overheard Ty and Annie talking about the room earlier, and she had seen Ty on the balcony of the room, so she had gone to his room. He had said that he was waiting for Annie, but Adrianna had lied that she saw Annie leave with Ethan and that they were making out. Apparently, Ty left after that, which enabled Adrianna to pull off the rest of her charade.

Harry and Debbie are surprised when Annie returns home so early, but she says the party was too loud and she was more tired than she thought, so she is just going to go to her room and go to bed. Harry and Debbie can sense that something is wrong, but they let her go. Annie goes into her room and manages to shut the door before crumbling into tears. So now, both Annie and Ty think the other is messing with Ethan and Adrianna respectively, so that's gonna be a huge mess to work out.

Meanwhile, Naomi berates her mother Tracy since Tracy has been lethargic and depressed for the past week. Naomi's father has apparently moved out and into the beachhouse with Gail, so Naomi says she's going to call him to come help them. But when he arrives, Tracy is all made up again. Later, Naomi is hopeful that her parents will get back together, so she is shocked when she finds her mother gathering all of her father's things to give away. Tracy says she told him to choose between her and Gail, and he said he couldn't, so she made the choice for him. She tells Naomi that they're getting divorced, but that she and Naomi will be ok. So does this mean that Tracy is really going to go after Harry now? Their son was finally mentioned again (Harry and Debbie were talking, with Harry concerned about Annie's budding relationship with Ty, and Debbie telling him that he can't let his past [his mistakes, he said] affect how he is going to treat Annie. Debbie actually had a really good line about how their job is to lead their kids to the right path, but ultimately, the kids have to choose the path for themselves.), so maybe more will come of that soon.

Silver and Dixon are definitely an item now, having shared their first kiss and make-out session. Dixon laments the fact that he's had the condom for so long and on this night, he doesn't have it, but Silver makes it clear that they weren't going to have sex anyway. Just a clothed romp, I guess.

When Kelly, Harry and Ryan arrived at the auditorium to watch the dress rehearsal, they were talking about other musicals, and "Mamma Mia" was brought up. Kelly said she loved it and had seen it twice on Broadway. Yeah, Kelly! Harry made some disparaging comment about the show. Boo, Harry. Kansas people suck.

In a few scenes, but most noticeable to me in the scene where Brenda is talking to Kelly and Ryan about Adrianna, Brenda's eyes were just so incredibly dark, like she was a raccoon or something. It really bothered me because it looked weird. She just seemed to have on so much really dark eye shadow. Was that supposed to be more dramatic?

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" - September 22, 2008 episode

Charlie and his wife Michelle are stopped at a gas station on the outskirts of town when Cromartie suddenly shows up and kidnaps Michelle. Charlie calls John and tries to keep it cool, but when John puts Sarah on the phone, Charlie tells her that Cromartie took Michelle. With John listening, it sounds like Sarah is telling Charlie to leave, but she's really asking for his location. She doesn't tell John or Cameron anything, though she does tell Cameron to stick with John, but she tells Derek where she's going, and though Derek tells her it's a bad idea since Cromartie is obviously using Michelle as a trap as a way to get John, he accompanies her anyway. Once they reach Charlie, they don't know what to do, but Michelle has managed to get to her celphone, and she calls Charlie. Once Charlie verifies that it's really her, she gives him an idea of where they are. When they arrive, they find that Cromartie has made a bomb using four mouse traps and her chair, and any movement by Michelle will cause the bomb to explode. However, they eventually discover that the bomb is actually a fake, but while they were all inside, Cromartie disabled the truck. Sarah realizes that he used Michelle as a decoy to lure them away from John, and now they're left stranded and unable to protect John. Sarah says she should have known it was a trap when they found Michelle alive.

While Sarah and Charlie have been trying to disarm the bomb, Derek goes searching around the building. He discovers that Cromartie has a device set up that taps into their celphones, so when Sarah calls John to warn him, Cromartie is able to get not only John's celphone number but also the code word sequence. Just in the nick of time, Derek realizes that Cromartie has set up a bomb in the room he's in which can be detonated remotely, and when the phone rings, Derek yells for everyone to get out of the house. After the explosion, they all manage to get out safely - well, almost all of them. Michelle shows some sign of discomfort and blood, but since they'll have to walk to get anywhere, she says she's fine and goes along. They eventually happen upon a man in a van and commandeer it, but while Sarah is driving at breakneck speed to get to John, it turns out that Michelle is hemoragging, which the rough ride is making worse. Charlie begs Sarah to stop, which she finally does, which seemed confusing to me since stopping wasn't going to get Michelle any help anyway, and she wasn't going to get better by herself, but it then seems clear that Charlie realizes she's not going to make it (which makes sense since he's a paramedic) and wants the quiet time with her before she dies.

Meanwhile, John and Cameron are running an errand buying some massive boxes of computers or something when Riley calls and is bored, so John agrees to meet her. Cameron is not keen on letting him out of her sight, but John sneaks off anyway. Cameron manages to track them down, and Riley spots her, so John and Riley are off again. John gets a second phone call from Sarah, but he doesn't know that it's actually Cromartie making his voice sound like Sarah, and she says for him to meet her at the pier. John says goodbye to Riley and heads off, and later, we see Cameron confronting Riley about John's whereabouts, which I'm guessing Riley told her since next thing, Cameron is at the pier looking for John. Unfortunately, Cromartie finds John first, but while John manages to evade Cromartie for a while, he is eventually trapped, and in a last-ditch effort to save himself, he jumps over the railing and into the ocean. Cromartie jumps after him, but since Cromartie is so heavy, he just sinks, while trying to take John with him, but John manages to shake off the jacket that Cromartie has grabbed hold of. As Cromartie continues to sink, John swims for the top, and when he breaks through, he sees Cameron waiting for him. Cromartie is later seen walking out of the ocean.

John and Cameron presumably manage to contact Sarah, who picks them up in the van. They drive to the hospital, where a distraught Charlie sits outside, and John tries to comfort him over Michelle's death. At Michelle's funeral, Charlie and Ellison are in attendance, but none of the Connors are, which turns out to be a good thing as Cromartie watches the funeral from nearby. It was a bit weird to have Sarah, John, Derek and Cameron all at the dinner table, but Cameron is sitting there without food since she doesn't eat.

Ellison has been otherwise occupied as he had received a call from Catherine, who entices him to join her for lunch by saying she wants to talk about who really killed all the FBI agents. In her office, she shows him pictures of a plane crash where an exo-skeleton arm was recovered, and she says that she and her husband have been trying to reverse-engineer the find, with no success. She also tells him about reports that a metal-like man was after a boy named John Connor, who was being protected by his mother Sarah, and she says that she wants him to find one of these metal men.

There was one early scene which seemed to not really fit in, so I'm wondering if it's a setup for something later. John is over at pregnant-neighbor Casey's to try to fix her television and in the process, he manages to steal cable for her. I'm still not sure what Casey's role, or that of her baby, might be later. There was some reference to the baby-daddy, so I wonder if that will turn out to be significant. After John has fixed the TV, they watch a report that one particular bad film of Laszlo's is now making all kinds of money from the people who want to see it because he killed all the FBI agents. Ellison is later shown watching footage from that very movie. Does Laszlo somehow figure in again later?

Next week's episode looks to be kick-ass, as we apparently meet the human model for Cameron.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"The Big Bang Theory" - September 22, 2008 episode - season premiere

This show provided some much-needed laughter tonight.

Leonard's and Penny's first date ends with Leonard reiterating all the arguments against Pinkberry serving frozen yogurt, including the non-relevance of the company name itself, all apparently predicated by Penny having some and asking Leonard if he wanted any. At the end of the date, they kiss, but Leonard notices a mounted camera following their movements, so he suggests going into Penny's apartment, but she says she wants to take things slowly, so Leonard agrees. He then goes into his own apartment to confront the voyeurs - Howard and Raj. Leonard insists that the date went well while Howard and Raj detail all the reasons that it didn't, and even Sheldon agrees that the signs don't look good.

The next day, Sheldon is in the laundry room with a too-frickin'-funny shirt-folding device (I actually poked around the net and looked for one, but everything I came up with was some kind of cardboard contraption, so I'm wondering if they just made that up.) when Penny comes in to do her non-sorted laundry, and she ends up talking to Sheldon about Leonard, much to Sheldon's dismay. Penny is worried that since she isn't a brainiac (just like French people who get PhD's in literature), that Leonard will get easily bored with her. She admits to Sheldon that she lied to Leonard about having graduated from a community college, and she then tells Sheldon to promise that he won't tell Leonard. Not being forewarned about an expectation to keep a secret sends Sheldon into a tizzy, so much so that he even attempts to tell a word-play joke on the dual meaning of the word "tick". Sheldon is apparently terrible at keeping secrets and his demeanour apparently shows it, as evidenced when he next behaves oddly around Leonard when Penny is also there. He tries to get Penny to let him off the hook, but she refuses, so he only has one recourse.

Sheldon returns to the apartment and announces to Leonard that he's moving out, rebuffing Leonard's attempts to find out why. When Raj and Howard come in and hear the news, Raj asks Leonard what he did, and Raj and Howard list a whole bunch of things which apparently make Sheldon mad, including pronouncing the "t" in "often". Sheldon says that he'll stay with friends for the time being, and the first victim is Raj, who Sheldon insults when they disagree on an Indian actress. Raj summarily dumps Sheldon at Howard's, with Howard likening Sheldon to a flaming bag of crap. Howard lets Sheldon sleep on an air mattress in his room, which Sheldon passive-aggressively complains about until Howard agrees to let him have the bed itself. It was funny when Sheldon first started complaining about the air mattress, and Howard asked if he wouldn't prefer a park bench, but Sheldon completely missed the implication and wondered how they would get a park bench into Howard's bedroom. But Sheldon apparently can't sleep and just keeps babbling about different things, including his preferred order of women who have played Catwoman, prompted by a picture/poster of Halle Berry that Howard apparently has up on his wall. Howard implores Sheldon to go to sleep, and Sheldon responds with "I'm counting Catwomen." He then proceeds to put in order his preference of the different characters in X-Men, which apparently becomes the final straw. Meanwhile, Howard's mother is scolding them for rough-housing and that if they don't stop, she won't let them have any more sleep-overs, to which Howard complains that he's 27 years old, furthering the running joke about him still living with his mother and behaving and being treated like a child.

Howard dumps Sheldon back at Leonard's but Sheldon is behaving oddly. Howard says he gave him some warm milk laced with his mother's valium, but that still didn't put Sheldon to sleep. Under the influence of the valium, Sheldon ends up telling Leonard what Penny's secret is, and Leonard is relieved to hear that he hasn't done anything wrong, but rather, that it's a hang-up of Penny's.

The next day, Leonard goes to remedy that situation. He tells Penny that Sheldon revealed her secret but only because of the valium, and he says he knows the perfect solution - and he hands her a course catalog for Pasadena City College. She asks if she needs to have some fancy degree to date him, and he continues the bashing of community colleges (which, yeah, ok, I'll admit, I'm generally on board with) by saying it's not a fancy degree, it's just a community college degree. When he backpedals and says that she doesn't have to have a degree to date him, she says that then it's ok for her to be not smart, and he says yes. Wrong answer, and she shuts the door.

The creator of the show is still doing the "do whatever you want" card right after the show ends, and this one was about women and had all kinds of funny pontifications, but my favorite was holding up Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat" as the epitome of what women should strive for. I do agree with him that it was a terrific movie, and Kathleen Turner was smokin' in it. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and rent it. It's a good noir re-do.

"Heroes" - September 22, 2008 episode - season premiere

The third season of "Heroes" starts four years in the future, where apparently those with special abilities have been outed but have been put in camps and subjected to experiments, so many are now hiding underground. Peter runs into Claire, who tries to kill her, but Peter thwarts the attempt. Instead, he wants to stop the event that triggered all of this - Nathan's announcement. Back to present day when Nathan is about to announce his powers, but it's actually Peter from the future who shoots Nathan, to prevent him from making the announcement.

Nathan is at first thought to be dead, but his previous injection of healing blood is apparently still working, so he makes a miraculous recovery. He no longer wishes to make the announcement, and he says that he's met God, and that the special abilities are from God, and those with special abilities are like angels, and how can they be angels if everyone knows about them?

Peter is happy to hear that Nathan isn't going to say anything, and he reveals himself to Nathan, that he's actually Peter from the future, and that he was the one who shot Nathan to stop him from talking. He says that he's changed the future more than he wanted to now and doesn't know how to stop it and make things right, but he trusts that Nathan is going to do the right thing. Meanwhile, Peter has discovered that his mother Angela actually sees the future in her dreams, and she knows he's not her Peter. She tells him that he has screwed up everything and to go back to his own time.

Nathan's miraculous recovery and declaration of having seen God was caught on tape by a camera crew and then broadcast all over television, catching the eye of the Governor of New York and consultant/lover Tracy, who looks remarkably like Nikki. Tracy convinces the Governor that he should appoint Nathan as the new senator, since the previous senator died in office. At first, Nathan is stunned that Nikki is coming to visit him, but she puts him straight that she's not Nikki. Nathan thinks about the offer and ends up accepting, which makes Linderman, who has been visiting Nathan, very happy, but there's only one catch - no one else can see Linderman, so is he actually dead and just a figment of Nathan's imagination, or does he somehow have some kind of power to appear only to Nathan?

When Tracy was on her way to speak to Nathan, she was interrupted by a reporter (played by William Katt) who had a still shot of a web page from when Nikki was a porn star on the web. Tracy denied that it was her, and when she returns from talking to Nathan, the reporter is still there and says his story is about to run and shows her video footage of when Nikki (really, Jessica) was having sex with Nathan in his hotel room. The reporter's continued pushing finally angers Tracy, who is apparently ice woman because she ends up freezing the reporter, who then bursts and the bits of The Greatest American Hero left over just start to melt and go down the drain. He shattered kind of like the T-1000 in the second Terminator movie, but he didn't have the benefit of putting himself back together again. Guess that means he won't be in any further episodes. And while I'm glad that Ali Larter is back, I'm not crazy about the existence of Tracy. I'm willing to see how they explain her, and from the timeline, it doesn't seem possible that she could be Nikki anyway. The husband posited that she could be Nikki's twin, but then, we know that Nikki's sister died years ago. A couple of times, Tracy's denial of being Nikki seemed real, but by the end, it did seem like she was hiding something. Lots of questions I'd like answered just in this case alone.

After shooting Nathan, Peter-from-the-future pretended to be regular Peter, and he actually sent present-Peter into the body of a prisoner on Level 5 of the "paper factory". When Matt started nosing around too much, future-Peter ended up wishing him into the cornfield, except it wasn't exactly a cornfield, but rather a desert, which then turned out to be Africa, which was Africa-hot, and he was found by a native who knows his name and can apparently see into the future. I half expected him to hit Matt on the head and then tell him to forget about it since it's in the past. But it was funny when Matt thought the turtle was talking to him, and then the native asked why he was talking to the turtle.

Mohinder had sent Molly away to some anonymous place to keep her safe, and while Maya begs him to continue his experiments to try to cure her, he's ready to throw in the towel and go back to India. However, he ends up triggering her anger and sees her power come into action before she is able to shut it down. He figures out that his father was wrong, that the power wasn't in the blood but rather, exists in the adrenaline instead. He takes a sample from Maya and creates a serum that can actually give people powers, much to Maya's dismay, since she sees her ability as a curse. She is almost able to convince him to get rid of it, but at the last minute, he injects himself and then has a violent reaction. When he wakes up the next day, he discovers that he has super strength, and later, we learn that he can also do things like climb walls, and the serum apparently also makes him no longer shy but rather a confident stud and he beds Maya. The next day, though, he finds that side effects are now occurring, as he plucks out one of what appear to be multiple scales growing on his back. I'm just wondering though - isn't Mohinder a scientist? Shouldn't he expect that side effects might occur, and not immediately? Maybe he's just going to end up turning into The Fly.

Meanwhile, back in Japan, Hiro is now head of the company, and Ando is working for him, still concerned about money whereas Hiro misses having a mission. His family's lawyer delivers a DVD to him that his father had made for him, and when Hiro watches it, his father tells him that he has now inherited being the sentinel for a big secret, one that could destroy the world, and the secret is kept in his safe, which Hiro is not to open. You know what comes next, right? Hiro opens the safe and finds the envelope, and he finds that it contains one-half of a piece of paper which contains a formula. Just as Hiro is looking at it, a rush of air passes and the paper is gone. Hiro quickly thinks to freeze time and follows a trail to a woman who apparently has supersonic speed who had stolen the paper from him. She gets away, and Hiro has to figure out what to do. Ando suggests that he go back to the past to ask his father about the paper, but Hiro doesn't want to do the past thing again. Instead, he decides to go to the future to see the result of what happened. He teleports to some time in the future, where he sees the future of himself arguing with the future Ando over the paper, and in the end, Ando uses lightning to kill Hiro to get the paper. (Yeah, Ando doesn't have any powers, that we know of, at least, but with Mohinder's experiment, it's entirely possible that Ando could have been given powers. The husband thinks that it might not even have been Ando, but rather, someone morphed to look like Ando. Maybe we'll find out sometime. Or maybe not.) The events that Hiro sees in the future unnerve him when he gets back to the present, though he initially doesn't tell Ando about what he saw. He hires a company who ends up finding out that the intruder is a woman named Daphne who lives in Paris. When they're searching her apartment, Hiro finally tells Ando that in the future, Ando is a villain who kills Hiro. I find it interesting that Hiro assumes he's still the good guy and that Ando becomes the bad guy, but how does he know that he himself hasn't turned into the bad guy and Ando instead has to kill him to make it right? Hiro tries to con Daphne into giving up the paper, but she outwits him, but not before revealing that she's working for someone else in the quest for the complete formula.

Sylar has been keeping himself quite busy. He first pays a visit to Claire, and he cuts her forehead and has some kind of device in her and appears to take a part of her brain or something like that (I couldn't tell exactly what he was doing) and then is about to leave. Claire is confused that he doesn't kill her, and he says that she can't be killed, and now, neither can he. He also takes some files that belonged to Claire's adopted father Noah containing information on Level 5 inmates. Some "paper factory" people try to apprehend Sylar, but their epic fail is caught on tape, much to the displeasure of Bob and dismay of Elle. Elle later comes back to tell her father that she knows Sylar will come back to try to get to the Level 5 people, but Elle ends up finding her father dead, obviously at Sylar's hand. She goes to Level 5 and releases one of the prisoners - Noah - and tells him Sylar is there. Indeed, after Noah pumps multiple bullets into Sylar, he is able to heal himself and disable Noah and then goes after Elle. As he's cutting into her forehead, she has a massive electricity burst, which ends up disabling Sylar enough so that they can recapture him, but it also ends up shorting out the electricity in the building, so about a dozen prisoners from Level 5 are able to escape.

Claire is very shaken up by Sylar's visit, but she's even more disturbed when she discovers that she has put her hand on broken glass, and while she does heal, she tells her mother that she didn't feel any pain this time, whereas she always did before, and the pain was what reminded her that she was human. Still disturbed, Claire decides to tape another experiment, and she prepares to let an on-coming train hit her to see what happens, but Peter swoops in and saves her at the last minute. It's actually future-Peter, but he doesn't let her know that. When Claire returns home, she discovers her father there, and she's happy he's back, but she then realizes that he won't be staying. He tells her about all the Level 5 prisoners who escaped, and he says his job had been to find dangerous people like them and lock them up, and he now needs to do that again. Claire wants to go with him, but he refuses, and she tries to convince him by saying that people might come after her or her adopted mother or her brother. Noah says they've solved that problem and reveal that they've asked Claire's mother to stay with them and protect them.

Meanwhile, back at Level 5, Angela reveals that with the death of Bob, she is now in charge, and she summarily dismisses Elle. When Angela encounters future-Peter, she asks why he's there, and she tells him that prisoners have escaped. It turns out that future-Peter had put present-Peter into the body of one of the convicts who escaped, someone named Jesse. Peter/Jesse is now on the run with the other bad guys, but Peter/Jesse can't stomach the torture and murder that the others are committing. Back at Level 5, though, things get curiouser and curiouser as Angela announces to Gabriel/Sylar that she is in fact his mother.

I liked the episodes ok, but I'll admit that I started to get bored at the beginning of the second hour. I also found that they were setting up entirely too many questions and not really giving any answers, and they still have an incredibly large cast of characters (and they didn't even touch on everyone from last year yet) and even added a few new people, all things that I found annoying enough with "Lost" that I eventually gave up on "Lost". Seeing previews of coming episodes of "Heroes" sparked a little bit of interest in me, but not as much as I hoped for, so we'll see if I end up sticking with this show all the way through the season.

We watched/fast forwarded through the hour show before the premiere, mostly because they were supposed to do a re-cap, and I really needed that. I forgot that Linderman was dead and how he died, and I forgot that Adam Monroe was buried alive. However, I was irritated that they would show scenes from this season. Ummm, no, I don't want to see footage from the show that I'm about to see after this recap show is over. But the main part of the recap show that irritated me is that they indicated all the connections to "Star Trek" in the show (I hadn't noticed the NCC1701 license plate before, so that was cool), but while they mentioned all the people on the show who'd either been in "Star Trek" (like George Takei) or were going to be in "Star Trek" (like Zachary Quinto), THEY COMPLETELY DIDN'T MENTION NICHELLE NICHOLS AT ALL. What, they forgot she was on the show, playing Micah's grandmother, and she did so for more than one episode? Or did they somehow forget that she played Lieutenant Uhura in the original "Star Trek"? I couldn't believe they left her out completely! I am heavily stunned.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Boat - restaurant review

We were in Diamond Plaza in Rowland Heights a couple weeks ago to run an errand, and since it was around lunchtime, we decided to try one of the places in the plaza. One building had a food court, but I was interested to note that it was a table-service food court. They had divided the seating among the four different restaurants, each of which served their customers as opposed to being cafeteria style. I'd never seen that before. We decided to pass on the food court and look around some more and on the other end of the plaza, we noticed a restaurant called The Boat, and there was a smaller tag line that said "Fine Noodles and Exotic Cuisine", but there was no indication of what kind of food they actually served. We went inside and looked at the menu, and I saw a review framed on the wall, and we figured out that it's basically a Thai restaurant. The menu looked good, so we decided to give it a try.

A quick glance at the menu showed that there were 142 different items listed, and that didn't include beverages or desserts. Sometimes, having too many things on the menu can be a bad indicator that the food will be all over the place, but it's just different variations on different Thai dishes. The only problem it created for me was deciding what to have for lunch. We eventually decided that instead of just getting our own dishes, we'd get a couple dishes to share.

I am a huge fan of tom yum kai (hot and sour soup with chicken, mushroom, lemon grass, lime and fresh chili), and I wanted to try that there, but the husband rejected the idea because it was incredibly hot out that day, and he said it was too hot for soup. Since we were sharing, I didn't feel I should get something he didn't want, but I'm definitely going back another time to try it.

We decided on three different dishes to order and share.

We had the pad thai (classic Thai rice noodle stir fried with egg, chicken, shrimp, bean sprout, green onion and crushed peanut), which had good flavor to the dish and was pretty yummy all around.

We also had the garlic and pepper spare rib (marinated spare ribs with garlic and pepper then deep fried, served with steamed rice), which unfortunately wasn't as good as it sounded. The pieces weren't very big, and the deep frying was actually more than I expected, so the meat was kind of dry, and the flavor was just ok. I wouldn't order this dish again nor could I recommend it.

We also had the green beans (stir fried green beans with garlic sauce), which was a good portion and very tasty, and the green beans were cooked perfectly - not overcooked but still crunchy.

Overall, I enjoyed my meal there, and there are quite a number of items on the menu that I'd love to try, so I can see going back there often.

The decor is ok, fairly casual, and there are TV screens up in one section that you can see from most of the restaurant. It reminds me of a nice family restaurant. There's lots of parking outside in the plaza, though with all the businesses there, I could see where parking could be an issue if it's really crowded. The restaurant is open until 1am Sunday through Thursday and until 2am on Friday and Saturday, so definitely a good spot for late-night dining.

The Boat
(inside Diamond Plaza)
1390 Fullerton Road, #105
Rowland Heights, CA 91748

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Kitchen Nightmares" - September 11, 2008 and September 18, 2008 episodes

September 11, 2008 episode

The Handlebar Restaurant in Mt. Sinai, NY doesn't have any problems attracting bar patrons, but the restaurant's tables sit mostly empty. Owner Bill seems completely clueless about how to run a restaurant and is even fairly ignorant about his staff, including an executive chef who doesn't want to be a chef. Bill and his wife Carolyn bought the restaurant with a dream but apparently no real conception of how to run one. It was in a horrendous condition when they bought it, but Bill feels that he's done a lot with it from what it was before. When Gordon Ramsay came in and found that things hadn't been cleaned and all kinds of other problems with it, Bill got mad that Gordon didn't give him credit for everything that he *had* done with the restaurant. Bill didn't seem to understand that "it doesn't suck as much as it used to" really wasn't going to cut it. The more Gordon criticized, the madder Bill got until he walked out and refused to speak to Gordon, and he called up Carolyn to tell her he was just going to sell the restaurant. Carolyn rushed over but missed him, and when she saw how much her staff was doing to try to get the restaurant to the right place (a fact that Bill completely disregarded), she decided they needed to keep going and at least try to bring the restaurant back.

OK, so when Carolyn came in and was talking to Gordon, was she not drunk? At first, I couldn't understand why she seemed weird, but then I realized that she was kind of slurring her words and talking in an oddly slow way, and this was all very different than her behaviour prior to that point and after that point. At first, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I couldn't think of any other explanation for her behaving so oddly in that fashion all of a sudden. The husband's comment was that she was "plastered". And then later, after dinner service started and Bill came back, I couldn't believe that Carolyn was still cajoling him. I would have been so mad that he wanted this restaurant but that he was completely incapable of seeing what was wrong, even when someone on the level of Gordon Ramsay was telling him, and he was just being a complete baby, but she kept trying to placate him. I turned to the husband and told him that in a similiar situation, I would so be yelling at him, and he agreed that I should be.

In Bill's absence, the staff had continued to work, which bolstered Carolyn's resolve to give it a go. Gordon showed them how to make fresh home-made potato chips, which were given as a complimentary snack to all patrons as they perused the menu, and fried clams, which was offered as an appetizer. Both were well received by the customers.

Bill eventually came around and began to see that Gordon was right, and Bill became more receptive to Gordon's suggestions. The last obstacle was not-chef Melissa, who tried to do everything herself and when frustrated just shut down and stopped communicating. After much cajoling by Gordon and Bill, she was finally able to ask for help from the other two cooks, and she delegated tasks to them, so working together, they made the kitchen hum.

September 18, 2008 episode

Giuseppi's Trattoria outside of Detroit is owned by Joe and Kathy, where Joe served as the executive chef and son Salvatore (Sam) served as another chef. Joe wanted Sam to run the restaurant, but he was constantly in the kitchen telling Sam what to do and what he was doing wrong. Joe has diabetes, which hindered him, but he seemed incapable of letting go, even when his health was at stake. The kitchen relied entirely too much on microwaving food in an effort to get the food out faster, but faster isn't better, since microwaving can change the texture of food, and heating is also uneven, so even though the food was sent out quickly, it was just as quickly sent back because of problems. Joe finally kicked Sam out of the kitchen, and Sam continued to be at a loss at how to please his father.

Gordon proposed a cook-off between father and son, and the staff would have a taste test to see which dish was better, and the winning dish would be the special for the night. Joe's pork chop ended up beating Sam's salmon, but Gordon deemed them both good enough to be specials. It was actually nice to see each of them making their dishes, and Sam had already expressed his dislike for the microwave, but it makes you wonder why Joe settled for serving his customers microwaved food when he could cook such great food himself.

As much as they told Joe that he had to pull back and let Sam do his thing, succeed or fail, Joe had a difficult time letting go, and Gordon himself had to personally kick Joe out of the kitchen multiple times. Things finally started to work, but then Brian the sous chef was joking around too much, which distracted Sam, and things went bad again. When Gordon tried to reign them in, Brian blamed the problems on Gordon and then just left. I sure hope they fired his ass. With Brian gone, father and son were actually able to work together to successful send out dishes.

Gordon had some food and restaurant issues to fix, but the biggest problem to solve was between father and son. Gordon had asked Kathy to write a letter to Joe and Sam and had individually asked Joe and Sam to write a letter to the other person, all expressing exactly what they wanted to say. He then had each person read their letter in front of all of them, and they all teared up at the pent up words and real feelings that had never really been expressed. Sam was finally able to see and hear that his dad was proud of him and loved him, and it looked like Joe might finally be able to let go and let Sam run the place and get the rest he needed to properly fight his diabetes.

One thing that I noticed and disliked particularly in this episode, probably because it was even more prevalent than in other episodes, is that they spent a lot of time showing you what you were going to see in the rest of the show. There was one "and coming up next" segment that was so incredibly long that I at first thought I'd fast-forwarded through parts of the actual show. When I went back and watched it, it turned out that no, that ENTIRE SEGMENT was actually all stuff that was going to be shown after the next commercial break. Maybe they just have episodes that are short and where there isn't enough footage, so they have to put so much more filler in. I just find it hard to believe that with as much footage as I would presume they shoot, that they can't come up with enough to fill a one-hour show.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Hole in the Wall" - September 11, 2008 and September 18, 2008 episodes

September 11, 2008 episode

The first contest was between team sumo sandwich (two sumo wrestlers and one non-) and team jockeys. I think I either hadn't noticed from the preview shows or they didn't do them during the preview shows, but after each puzzle was attempted, they showed what the correct position was supposed to be to complete the puzzle. One of the complaints I had during the preview shows still held true - the puzzles weren't fair. One team got a puzzle where they just had to make shapes, and then the other team got a puzzle where they all had to jump. Jumping is a lot harder, and I think both teams should get like for like.

The second contest was between the Georgia peaches and the New York meatballs. No, I don't remember (or care) what the names were for. My complaint for this competition was that the contestants weren't svelt and yet the holes they were supposed to go through were actually too small for them to physically fit through. OK, so all the contestants don't have to be skinny, but at least give them puzzles they can actually do. It's one thing to have to try to figure out how to contort yourself into a shape to fit through or to even have to jump through, but if you are ACTUALLY LARGER THAN THE HOLE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO GO THROUGH, it is literally impossible for you to make it through. How is that fair?

Speaking of not fair, they didn't seem to be too careful in some of the judging. The object is to make it through the hole and not break anything or be shoved into the freezing cold water. In the puzzle for three people, there was on instance where one person made it clean through, but the dividing partition between the other two people was broken off. But if you watch the tape, you can see that the person in the middle made it perfectly through without touching the wall whereas the person on the right was the one who knocked out the piece. And yet, they only got credit for one completion. They should have gotten credit for two, since it was just the third person who messed up. If the third person hadn't been there, the middle person would have made it just fine, so how can it be fair to penalize the middle person for the mistake by the person on the right?

September 18, 2008 episode

The first contest was between the burger boys and the chicken wing chicks. Wow, were the boys amazingly flaming-on-high-heat gay. It was just too funny to watch them. At one point in my life, I spent a lot of time around a lot of gay men, and I can't remember anyone being quite as flaming as they were. This was the first competition between teams of different genders. Well, sort of. The women did make it through one particular puzzle, but because they had moved completely out of the play area when they did it, their completion did not count.

The second competition was between little people (and they were even allowed to bring a dog, who was also dressed in spandex but who did not play in the game) versus female body builders (who I swear must have either been transsexuals or on steroids or both, because their facial features were totally masculine, and their voices were incredibly low). Brooke Burns actually had knee-pads on so that she could be on her knees to be the same height as the little people when she was talking to them. That was funny to see her scooting around like that.

general thoughts

Those space-suit spandex outfits were just crazy. Yeah, even if you were fit, you still looked pretty stupid in them, but if you were carrying any extra poundage, it was there for all to see. You could not pay me enough to wear one of those and agree to be seen on national television or by anyone for that matter.

I wish there was actually more "show" to the show. They spent a lot of time talking to the contestants and showing you over and over again what happened, including recapping the events so far. Ummm, ok, it's only a 30 minute show - you're showing me things I saw 5, 10 and 15 minutes ago. Are you assuming I have short-term memory?

I did find myself being more and more annoyed at the unfairness of parts of the show - one team being given harder puzzles than others, people not getting credit for making it through because their teammate didn't make it, and giving people puzzles that were literally impossible for them to solve. There was also one puzzle that I wasn't sure how it was supposed to work, and it was a single-person puzzle too. Well, when they showed how it was supposed to work, the figure was just lying down in the horizontal opening, which wouldn't have been so bad if it was just on the ground, but there were several inches of wall underneath the opening. So the only way to solve the puzzle was to be able to levitate yourself? Ridiculous.

I noticed this time that host Mark Thompson made a lot of comments about what happened, usually during the replays of the puzzles, and a bit at other times as well. It's pretty clear that those comments were either done after the fact or at least not done on mic for the crowd and contestants to hear. And some of the comments were actually really mean and made fun of the contestants in lots of ways. The problem I have with that isn't so much that the contestants were being made fun of, it's that they wouldn't even know about it until they saw it on TV. I also got tired of hearing Mark say the same thing over and over again before each puzzle.

I had thought that some mindless fun might be interesting, but the show isn't funny enough to be worth the time it takes me. I had wondered whether something I enjoyed watching on YouTube for 5 minutes would be enough to keep my interest in a TV show, but I didn't count on the other frustrations I found with the show, so it's not so much mindless fun as much as it is irritating with occasional laughter. So, I'm dropping the show from my viewing list, and the husband is as well.

"90210" - September 16, 2008 episode

Annie is upset to hear from Harry that her drama teacher had to leave because of an emergency, so there's now a chance that the musical will be cancelled if he can't find someone to take over. His mother Tabitha takes that as a cue and volunteers to be the new director of the musical. You know that's going to be a bad idea. Tabitha ends up being a horrible director, and Annie pleads with her father to get someone else. Harry asks Kelly if she knows anyone, and after Kelly says she does, Harry later ends up introducing Brenda to Tabitha, telling his mother that Brenda will be her assistant, a development that doesn't please Tabitha in the least. Brenda praises Tabitha for a performance of "Hedda Gabler" that she'd seen her in and mentions that she's played the part herself. OK, I happen to really like "Hedda Gabler", and I'll agree that it's a fabulous part for a woman, but I think Brenda would have been entirely too young to play that role. During a rehearsal, Brenda sees that Tabitha is riding Annie entirely too much, and she was taping the rehearsal, so she shows Tabitha the tape under the pretense of showing her which girls need work in what areas. But in the process, Tabitha sees what a shrew she was being and makes up an excuse to bow out, but she tells Annie that Annie is very talented and that they're in good hands with Brenda.

Kelly and Brenda meet for breakfast at the school, and Brenda is reminded of old times. Kelly asks about Donna, and Brenda says she saw her recently and that she has an adorable baby. Nice nod to Tori Spelling. Speaking of which, I hadn't heard the updated story that despite earlier reports about Donna's inclusion in the new series, Tori won't be in the show after all. There is apparently some kind of dispute about salary, and Jennie Garth seems disappointed in Tori's non-return, but Shannen has a slightly different take. I was curious about Donna, but for my money, I'd rather have Kelly and Brenda.

Brenda wants to know what's going on with Kelly and Ryan, but Kelly isn't sure, and she's a little bothered that Ryan is 10 years younger than her. Brenda asks about Sam's father, but Kelly says he doesn't need to know anything about this. Later, Brenda and Ryan are talking about the musical, and Ryan asks Brenda about the father of Kelly's son. Brenda says she's not comfortable talking about Kelly's private life and that Ryan should talk to Kelly herself. When Ryan pushes, Brenda says there's a lot of history. Ryan then later tells Kelly that he's concerned about her unwillingness to talk about Sam's father and mentions that he talked to Brenda. Ummm, yeah, Ryan, wrong thing to say. Kelly catches up to Brenda to ask what she said to Ryan, and she says she didn't say much but that Kelly needs to get her story straight. Brenda says that Kelly is going to find it hard to move on with anyone else because she's still in love with Sam's father, Dylan. OK, I had it in my head that Brandon was the father, but now I'm second-guessing whether Kelly and Brandon had a thing. I thought they did. Am I mis-remembering? It's been too long.

Meanwhile, Naomi is having a difficult time adjusting to the facade of a family that she discovers she has. She doesn't see how her mother can be so non-chalant about her father's affair with Gail, but her mother says it's just a fling and doesn't mean anything. She's even more irritated when they have a photo shoot for their family Christmas picture, but her sister Jen isn't there and will be photo-shopped into the picture. (So they show the picture later, and it's just a picture of the three of them, perfectly centered in the frame. So where's the sister, and how would you photo-shop her in since it would throw off the balance of the picture? Did they use the wrong picture for that shot?) Naomi thanks Ethan for his support when she was freaking out, but Ethan tries to keep a distance between them to just be friends. Naomi had been told by her mother that Gail lives in another state, but Naomi discovers she's actually in town, and she goes over to Ethan's to talk to him about it. Ethan is giving his mother a break and minding his adult autistic brother Steven, who is a little disconcerted because the furniture had been moved by cleaners, but Naomi is able to calm him down, which impresses Ethan. Naomi wants to confront Gail and asks Ethan to accompany her for moral support, and Ethan agrees. Ethan waits in the car while Naomi goes into the boutique and tells Gail to leave her father and her family alone. Gail says she can't help herself because she's in love with him, and she has just moved to town to be closer to him. Naomi is appalled when she sees some of Gail's moving boxes and realizes that her father has moved Gail into the family beach house. She tells her mother, who realizes that it's not just a meaningless fling after all.

The triangle-plus-one is setting itself up quite well. Ethan asks Annie out on a date of sorts, to meet at the Peach Pit on Thursday afternoon, which Annie accepts. Immediately after, though, Ty asks her to go to a concert, but she has to turn him down and admit that she's meeting someone else, news that he doesn't take well. When Silver hears that Annie is meeting up with Ethan, she warns her against it. Annie claims that Ethan and Naomi are over, but Silver says they're never over, that they're an impenetrable bubble. Annie finds out that Silver knows exactly what she's talking about when she is stood up by Ethan (when he went with Naomi when Naomi confronted Gail), and she doesn't want to hear the explanation when Ethan sees her at school the next day. She realizes that she made a mistake in blowing off Ty (even though he did leave her at the bowling alley to go to the pier concert), but he's cold to her efforts when she apologizes. He is unimpressed with the snickerdoodles that she baked for him, but he reacts much better when she plants a kiss on him. Meanwhile, after having watched video of herself and Ethan in happier times, Naomi decides she wants to try again with Ethan, who is receptive to the idea.

Dixon has problems of his own when he's driving his father's car and accidentally breaks the side mirror of a fellow student's very expensive car when he makes a mistake in parking the car. Having overheard his parents discussing their difficulty in selling the house in Kansas, he doesn't want to further burden them, so he convinces the student to leave the insurance company out of it and agree to just let him pay cash to take care of the problem. Dixon gets a job at the Peach Pit to make the $500 that he needs, but he doesn't tell his parents why he has the job, using girls and having nice things as his reasons instead. Harry says he can keep the job as long as it doesn't interfere with school and lacrosse, but the hours spent at work take a toll on his schoolwork, and he gets an incomplete on a test in English class. Harry finds out about it and questions the number of hours that Dixon is working at his job, and Dixon finally admits why he needs the job. Harry says he'll take care of the money needed for the repair and Dixon can just pay him back gradually.

Naomi had previously pleaded with Silver not to mention her father's affair on Silver's video blog, but Silver said Naomi told everyone about her parents, so why shouldn't she do the same. Naomi apologized again for doing that, saying it was awful and that she understood now what Silver went through. In the end, Silver takes to heart Dixon's off-handed comment about boys not holding grudges because life was too short, and she tells Naomi that she won't mention her father's affair on the blog, for which Naomi thanks her. A cease fire to the war seems to have been declared.

Silver and Dixon seem headed for a relationship.

"America's Toughest Jobs" - September 15, 2008 and September 19, 2008 episodes

September 15, 2008 episode

The contestants travel to Salinas, California, where their next job is going to be driving monster trucks as part of Monster Jam, and their boss is well-known Monster Jam driver Grave Digger. Rick is particularly excited since he's a long-time fan of Monster Jam, and he has idolized Grave Digger, so he's thrilled to be able to meet him and interact with him.

The first segment is driver training, where the contestants learn to drive the trucks and some of the safety lessons. Many do well, but a few run into snags. Chris finds that trucks are definitely not his forte as yet again, he screws up where a truck is concerned. There's a kill switch that can be hit which will remotely disengage the truck if the driver is doing something bad with it, and the drivers are told that if the kill switch is engaged, they should brake. On the first pass, Chris' truck is kill-switched, but he doesn't brake. He is specifically reminded that he needs to brake, but on the second pass, he is again kill-switched, and yet again, he fails to brake. And then, when he's called on it, he says he didn't know that's what they wanted him to do. He never seems to admit when he's made a mistake and just keeps arguing with the boss. Bryce has problems too when he jumps the gun and takes off while the red light is on, when there's still a judge nearby. The contestants are then divided into teams to do work on the trucks, and the team of Rick, Rie, Chris and Eric run into major problems when they're trying to change a tire on Grave Digger's truck and end up pushing the truck off a jack, mostly because of Rick's instructions, and destroying the jack in the process.

When they do their actual runs, many do quite well, but this time, Eric loses his focus for a minute and inexplicably goes before the light turns green. Unlike Chris, though, when he's called on it, he just admits that he did the wrong thing and takes his criticism, knowing he has no excuse.

The best of the bunch in this competition is Ben, and the bottom four end up being Eric, Bryce, Chris and Rick. The final competition is a run where the drivers have to try to make a maneuver that would effectively make the truck pop a wheelie with no ramp, sending the truck on a vertical leap. Eric goes first and doesn't do well on the first run but scores on the second run. Chris' first run goes really well, and Bryce has a great first run and a decent second run, even though he ends up flipping the truck on the second run, and he ends up with the best score. Unfortunately, long-time fan Rick isn't up to the task and doesn't succeed on either run, so he's the one eliminated.

September 19, 2008 episode

The contestants travel to Odessa, Texas, where their job will be to work on an oil rig as "worms", the term for newbie oil drillers. It's hard, dirty labor with heavy things to move and lift, all under a scorching 110 degree sun. Sandy gets right to work, but Chris fairly soon is exhausted and complaining about the pace Sandy is taking. Steven has his own problems when he puts his hands where he shouldn't, which could have ended up in disaster as he risked getting his fingers or hand sliced off by the machinery. Bryce expresses the opinion that he's at a disadvantage because he has muscles so people expect him to be able to do a lot. What he doesn't get isn't so much necessarily what he actually does, it's the effort he exerts. Other people have fewer muscles and perhaps less strength than him, but they certainly apply themselves more whereas he often takes the easy way out.

The second day, they're changing out the drill bit, and Eric has a hard time at one point while Chris' fear of heights hinders him when he has to climb 9 stories in a raging wind to get to his next task.

There is then a segment where the women and the men are talked to separately as a group, and the women say that they have to work harder to prove that they can keep up with the men, especially in a field dominated by men, whereas the men think the women are given much more credit for doing less, and Rommel even accuses Rie of flirting with the bosses to gain favor.

At the end of the first round, the title of best at the job goes jointly to Rommel and Rie. Meanwhile, the bottom four consist of Steven, Eric, Chris and Bryce. It's pointed out that in the past several tasks, no women have been in the bottom four, and Steven expresses the opinion that women get points for just showing up, but Sandy calls him on it by talking about how much more work she did and heavier things she carried than some of the men and that she could work circles around them, an opinion that the bosses had previously expressed to the camera. Steven does back down, but Chris insists that you need balls to do the job. When Steven jokingly points out that balls obviously don't help since the women don't have any, and they did the job better than the men, Chris pitches a fit and threatens to deck Steven, all the while insisting that you need balls to do the job. Yeah, dude, whatever, you're a pompous ass who never admits to doing anything wrong, even in the very face of evidence to the contrary. Sit your frickin' ass down. I'll be glad to see him go.

The competition for the bottom four is a series of three tasks that must be completed, and whoever takes the longest is out. Bryce goes first and ends up with the best score. So he can perform under pressure and when working by himself, but how is that any good when he refuses to work under normal circumstances and can't seem to work very well with other people? Steven ends up taking just a few seconds longer than Bryce. Next up is Eric, who has all the spirit and determination in the world, but unfortunately, his body doesn't cooperate as much as he'd like, and he takes a long time to finish. Last up is Chris, who seems to meander his way through the task, even walking from station to station, with no sense of urgency. Unfortunately, he ends up barely beating Eric's time, so Eric is the one eliminated.

Next week - it's a rodeo, and it looks brutal. I'm really liking this show a lot because even though there is some drama, the drama itself doesn't really affect the outcome. It's really just about how well you do the job. I'm really liking Sandy, with her attitude and spunk and willingness to give it her all. And I like that they didn't reveal until this episode that she's a lesbian in a long-term relationship. She makes the point herself that her sexual orientation has nothing to do with what she can do and how hard she can work, and the point was driven home in the previous episode when Grave Digger declared Ben as the best and how looks could really be deceiving if someone used that to pre-judge someone.