(S08E10) "What year is this?" - Monk to Sharona
I'm not spoiling anything by telling you at the top that Bitty Schram was back as Sharona for this episode. Hell, the title of the show was "Mr. Monk and Sharona." Oftentimes when a former character returns to a long-established show, it doesn't live up to the expectations. You want it to be like it was, only better. Fortunately, Bitty Schram's guest turn was excellent. This might be the best Monk of this finale season.
(S08E01) Somewhere Sherwood Schwartz was smiling if he watched this season premiere of Monk. Or else he was calling his attorney to sue for copyright infringement. I think it was more likely the former, because the tribute to The Brady Bunch was sweet. More on that and the rest of Mr. Monk's return -- for his last season -- after the jump.
(S07E14) "Rodderick Brody changed my life, maybe as much as Trudy." -- Monk
If I didn't know better, I would have taken this episode of Monk as the drinking game edition because if you took a drink every time someone mentioned the word "swirlie," you were seriously hammered halfway through the show. If that was what you were up to, good for you because you probably didn't care that the last act of the show was a ridiculous plot switch that spoiled an otherwise very good episode. More on the ill-advised plot development after the jump.
By and large, though, there was a lot of good stuff here. The flashback to little Adrian in seventh grade was superb, right down to his tweed jacket and beige shirt and black slacks. A lot of Monk's psychological damage occurred in that junior high school bathroom thanks to the bully in question, Rodderick Brody.
There have been little football reminders in most of its programming, like the NFL-themed cuisine on Bravo's Top Chef. This Sunday there'll be an all-day USA Network Super Bowl Promotion including the characters from Psych, Law and Order: CI, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, The Starter Wife, and Monk. Yeah, Monk.
And yet, probably because of some "rights" thing, this episode of Monk had to build the mystery at a playoff game around a fictional football team and that made this whole show pretty flimsy.
(S07E12) "Be a pirate. It's fun to be a pirate." -- Marge to Monk
For a short time in this episode, you saw a glimpse of what Adrian Monk's life might have been when he was happy and with Trudy. A woman came into his life, not a romantic figure, but one who nurtured Adrian, admired him, gave him confidence in himself and gently eased him out of the shell of phobias and obsessions that dictate so many aspects of his life. The woman, Marge, appeared as the lady next door, and in the gifted hands of actress Gena Rowlands, she showed us another kind of Monk. For that reason alone, this was a superb episode.
Because this show is essentially not about the crimes but mostly about Monk, it was overall an emotional and sad hour. What it showed, ultimately, I'm afraid, is that Adrian is still so damaged by his childhood and Trudy's death that he may never find true peace ever again.
When Idol premiered, I loved watching the bad auditions. Delusional people making fools out of themselves on national television amused me. As the seasons wore on, though, I enjoyed it less and less. I'm not sure if I changed, or if it really did become more mean-spirited as the years wore on. Whatever the reason, I have grown less and less interested in the bad auditions; they just make me kind of sad.
This season, they're focusing less on the outrageous auditions, which is nice. They're still there, of course; it's not as though everyone we see ends up going to Hollywood. But it just doesn't seem quite as mean and exploitative as usual. It's a welcome change.
Every week, Letterman has interrupted his show to conduct a live via satellite interview with San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary about last Sunday's game. A Singletary impersonator appears in a split screen shot in full 49ers regalia and answers questions with the fluidity and grace of Ralphie May in ice skates.
How did this slice of sports satire get started, and how long will it stick around?
There were other differences in tonight's show. The murder of the taxi driver brought Stottlemeyer and Disher to the case, and Natalie and Adrian, but also a San Francisco Homicide task force -- i.e. two other detectives.
Have we ever seen these guys before? I don't remember them. They were there for one reason basically, to contradict Monk's assertion that the prime suspect -- Layla with a Z, a beautiful social worker -- is not the "guy." In the face of mounting evidence, Monk refused to believe she did it.
For starters, there was no star murderer. It was an interesting case for a change, especially since the killer was a professional hit man. The planting of the bomb in the heavy bag was clever, although wouldn't a real pro make sure that the target would be hit? The set up was so random. And if you don't care about killing, why not leave a bomb big enough to destroy the gym and everyone in it? Just wondering...
From the 1950s through the 1980s, reality television programming was a rarity on the schedules of the Big Three networks. It was more of a novelty that piqued the interest of the viewers for a few months or a few seasons, then was relegated back into the shadows while scripted shows dominated the airwaves. It wasn't until the very end of the 1980s, when FOX premiered COPS, that reality-based programming became a prime-time staple.
It stayed that way for several years. Then, just like that, it all changed, thanks to one show that premiered in 1992. With a simple program on a fairly new cable channel, reality programming went from television rarity to huge success. So much so that, in a few short years, it spawned various direct copies and variations of its concept on both the over-the-air and cable networks. By the early 21st century the airwaves were filled with more reality programming than scripted works, garnering the ire and the joy of many a long-time television viewer.
And, it all began on a network primarily known for its music videos and Pauly Shore.
Any TV Squad readers going to sing for Paula, Randy and Simon? If I were to audition (and I won't), I think I'd sing something by Stevie Wonder (cause no one ever sings anything by him), or Mariah Carey (cause her songs are super easy), or maybe I'd just do my own composition and dedicate it to Simon (he likes that stuff).
More audition information is after the jump.
(S01E08) Man, Eli got whupped this week! I'm not talking about a physical beating here...I mean something worse. On this week's episode of Eli Stone our main character got emotionally and metaphysically beat up. And, the wounds that those beatings created take a lot longer to heal than physical injuries. Hence, the reason why Eli had a bit of a meltdown this time around.
It was probably bound to happen sooner or later, for Eli is a man with much on his shoulders. First, he has that whole "prophet" thing going on. Then, he has this supposedly inoperable brain aneurysm that has refocused all of his daily activities. Finally, to top it off, he has not one, not two, but three women in his life that are causing him nothing but grief. Gosh, Eli has been pretty strong to get through all of that. But, he couldn't remain stoic for long. So, tonight he threw up his hands and gave up.
Nathan will produce three more original episodes this season to be aired as early as April. This is good news for fans of the femme detective series based on crime novelist James Pattersons' bestsellers. The hour drama premiered last October to generally poor reviews, but did well enough in the Nielsens to encourage ABC that they might have a hit on their hands. As the week's passed, the ratings dipped. The ten episodes that aired averaged a 6.1 rating/11 share; 38th place overall. Not gangbusters, but pretty good.
Some experts say that we will never be able to develop an artificial intelligence that will be smarter than the smartest human. Others say that many of today's machines are already smarter than us.
Frankly, in my opinion, I think that they're all just playing with our heads in a subtle ploy to take over the world.
Paranoid, you say? Well, listen to the following story. A San Francisco man received an $800 phone bill from his empty vacation cabin in Michigan. A month later he received another phone bill for over a thousand dollars. The culprit was not some teenage squatter, or even a brown bear who stole picnic baskets, but the man's TiVo box. Even though he had canceled the services several months before, the box was still making outside calls ... apparently to a 1-900 sex line in Singapore.
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