Fug File: Fug The Show

Fug the Show: Downton Abbey Recap, Episode 606

This episode truly had it all: kissing (in the rain, no less)! Tours of grand British estates (only my favorite thing ever)! Crying! Headbands! Bertie giving Mary a dirty look on Edith’s behalf! Wise children! Crying underbutlers! Surprise fiancees! It seems that Old York’s Hottest Club IS Downton Abbey.

As ever, if you’ve seen this season in its entirety, please don’t spoil the rest of us. We VERY MUCH appreciate your restraint…and before we know it, the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. We only have three more episodes to go! (Note: there will not be a new episode on February 28th, and thank God, because putting the series finale of Downton up against the Oscars would have been terribly, terribly mean.)


Fug the Show: The Good Wife, season 7, episode 13

So, I couldn’t bring myself to write about episodes 11 and 12. We were busy with awards season, and to be honest, they were a total slog. I wasn’t going to do this one, either, until Fug Nation alerted me to Important Developments On The Mouth Front, so … here we are. Let me sum up, hastily:

In Episode 11, the first one back, Alicia spent the ENTIRE TIME bitter and ragey and full of hateface at the entire world — all because Eli deleted a voicemail ages ago that ultimately still didn’t stop her from hooking up with Will Gardner. Peter “Martin O’Malley” Florrick loses badly in Iowa, so his campaign ends, Margo Martindale leaves, and Eli takes back his old job because Peter is still governor. And it does that thing this show LOVES wherein they pick a particular song and have it recur throughout. In this case, it’s a Song of Cardiac Bitterness that Alicia is listening to through her headphones. This show is so in love with its quirky opens and closes.

The next episode is Alicia being horrible to Eli’s awesome daughter Marissa as she tries to broker peace, and Alicia blah blah blah crabby craby, until Cary suggests she and Lucca come back to Lockhart, Agos, & Lee (though Lucca points out she was never there in the first place), and blah blah blah angryface, nothing happens. Oh, Lucca does hook up with their client Matthew Lillard, because she likes to have short and hot and ultimately meaningless flings with musicians.AND, Grace solves a squabble between Alicia in 903 and the woman in 603 who is sick of getting all her visitors and packages by mistake. Grace handles the HOA board adeptly and they don’t penalize or evict Alicia for running a home business (um, did Alicia THE LAWYER not look into this when she did it?!?!?!?), and Alicia is totally fine and Grace’s reward is… getting fired, because someone FINALLY noticed that she was not paying any attention to school and doing terribly. Basically, Alicia is a terrible lawyer AND terrible parent right now.

That brings us about up to speed.


Fug the Show: Agent Carter recap, season two, episode 4

Plot momentum stalled a bit – the horcrux is powerful! Sousa has Peggy-flavored love regrets! Trousers remain questionable! – and the backstory is a tiny bit banal. But whenever I watch this show, I picture Robin Williams’ face in Dead Poets Society when he grins, “Not a bad way to spend an evening, eh?” Not bad indeed.


Fug the Show: The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story recap, episode 1

It’s hard to know exactly how to recap this show. We all know the story…and yet I need to tell you guys how my optometrist was best friends with Johnnie Cochran, and he swore to me whilst checking me for glaucoma that Johnnie told him that OJ did it. (This is what happens when you live in Los Angeles. Also my optometrist was a lover of tall tales, so take his testimony as such.) Or how we were pretty sure a family friend might be called to testify for the defense (he’d played golf with OJ the morning of the murder, and claims OJ was complaining the entire time that his hands were killing him, thanks to his arthritis. Er, no pun intended. Our theory was that the defense was going to ask him to testify that OJ’s hands were too pained and weak to stab anyone. This did not happen). The Slow Speed White Bronco Chase went down literally hours after I drove home from UCLA for summer vacation and my entire family watched it on KTLA (along with the rest of the city). I watched the entire grand jury proceedings (or preliminary hearings?) that summer, as I removed the wallpaper from my mother’s bathroom for her. I literally remember, at one point that summer, looking up at the TV — because, in Los Angeles at least, every minute of this was television — and noting to the empty den, “oh, Marcia got a hair cut!” For me, the OJ Simpson trial and 105 degree oppressive San Gabriel Valley heat are the major markers of my college-era summers, and — in short — I have a lot of thoughts about OJ. If you didn’t live in Los Angeles at the time, I cannot over-stress to you how long and wide a shadow this case cast across the city. It was, arguably, the murder of the century, and living through it was deeply compelling, and very sad. I think this show — and I’ve only seen the premiere — is doing a great job telling this very complex story of a terrible murder and a complicated city. Ryan Murphy, sometimes you really get it right.

Much as I did for Mad Men, I’m going to recap these by ranking/tackling an aspect of the show each week. This week, it’s the physical casting of the major players (so far). But please feel free to comment on the show — or the case — as a whole in the comments. (And there are so many more actors to come. NATHAN LANE IS F LEE BAILEY! EVAN HANDLER IS ALAN DERSHOWITZ! I just realized I forgot to get a grab of Theo Huxtable as AC Cowlings, but we’ll see him next week, since he’s in the white Bronco with OJ as this episode closes.)


Fug the Show: The X-Files, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”

I kind of wish people hadn’t waxed so poetic about how great this episode was, because I think my expectations were too high, and I ended up lukewarm on it. Sorry! I’m sure this will cause many people to be enraged with me  — but it will please the commenter who popped by after the premiere to call me…what was it? “A cranky, bitter old bitch,” I think. (Sir, you have no idea.)

Please note: I don’t think this episode was BAD (although Mark Snow went bonkers with the music cues. Dude, turn down the bongos!). I think it had (mostly) the right attitude and it was coming from a place of great love for this series, which I actually really responded to. It felt like an episode that was trying very hard to be this season’s “Small Potatoes,” and that’s a terribly high bar to set for yourself. But there were things about it that felt very static to me. There’s a whole scene where the Potential Monster of the Week just…tells us a story for like TWENTY MINUTES. Rhys Darby, playing said Potential Monster (the twist here is that he was born a reptile, but transforms into a HUMAN after a bite from a person, to his horror, which is a clever idea) acquits himself quite well but…like…why are we watching a dude just TALK TO US FOR LIKE TWENTY MINUTES? That’s not how TV works! Additionally, there was some really ham-handed stuff about transgender people that…just didn’t land for me, although I like RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Shangela (who is not trans), whom the show cast as…ugh, a crack-using prostitute. That part wasn’t great either. Also, this episode rustles up a way for the Monster of the Week to bang Agent Scully in a closet? Yeah, it’s a fantasy sequence, but…come on. I do not watch The X-Files to see Dana Scully, medical doctor, FBI agent, and possible immortal bad-ass writhing in her leopard bra against a closed door unless it’s at her own personal discretion. It felt gratuitous.  Additionally, Mulder and Scully are not together for huge swathes of the plot for no real reason, and basically there is no exposition about the actual perpetrator. Alan Sepinwall, who loved this episode, noted that, “this was actually a modified version of ‘The M Word,’ n unproduced episode Morgan wrote for Frank Spotnitz’s short-lived Night Stalker remake,” which to me explains why it felt kind of pasted together.

As for the end, I can only quote Fug National Chelsea on Twitter:

INDEED. We did, however, learn that Mulder is really REALLY bad at parking cars, but that he can provide emotional support to a misunderstood were-lizard, that the theme song to The X-Files is his ringtone (which…is not a thing that makes sense so don’t think about it too hard; I personally would have made it “Shaft”) and there was a sincerely lovely nod to former X-Files director/producer Kim Manners, as well as a variety of Easter Eggs for X-Philes, which I always think are a truly salute to the fans. Including Mulder sleeping in the nightie-version of that red speedo he once modeled for us so long ago, and Scully referencing both her poor dead dog Queequeg and the aforementioned fact that she’s immortal. Well, at the least, her quizzical expressions are. I’ve rounded them up herein!


A Cranky, Bitter Old Bitch


Fug the Show: War and Peace Recap, Part 3

I just love this show. It’s absolutely chockablock with people making terrible romantic/life choices in amazing outfits/homes, during war, which is simply my favorite genre of anything. This week boasted fewer fur turbans than last week’s installment, but DEFINITELY more threats of murder. To catch you up:

ANDREI: Oh, Andrei. Remember how he took off for a year at the spa and Natasha told him she’d wait for him? Well, the stress of an LDR got to her and she let Anatole Kuragin (Helene’s brother/lover) weave a spell of sexual thrall upon her (more or less) and yada yada yada, Natasha and Andrei are broken up and he’s pretty sad about it because he thought he truly knew her soul and also now he has to kill Anatole for being such a depraved rake. Oh, also his father dropped dead, and they had been in a fight (about how mean Papa Bolkonsky always is to Marya, Andrei’s Noble Sister). Oh, also, Napoleon is coming. So he’s got a lot going on. He barely even had time to check on his favorite tree.

PIERRE: Oh Pierre. Poor sweet Pierre feels that his life is useless, despite his becoming a Freemason. He’s mostly depressed because he’s in love with Natasha but is, of course, married to Helene. Who kinda facilitated Natasha’s ruin at the hands of her brother/lover. And who is also pregnant. With someone else’s child. And planning to annul their marriage so she can marry this hot dude who doesn’t seem that into it. Pierre doesn’t know a lot of this yet, however, as he’s hanging around the Battle of Borodino to see if he can be of use, and also to try to talk Andrei into getting back together with Natasha.

NATASHA: OH NATASHA.Where even to begin! I understand that you were lonely and missed Andrei and thought he might be over you, and his father was very mean to you (you could not know that his father might have been losing his mind [right?]), and I understand why you believed that running away with Anatole was a good idea: you really wanted to sleep with him. And you could not have known that WHOOPS Anatole is actually already married to some poor woman in Poland. But an elopement in the olden days was RARELY A GOOD IDEA in terms of One’s Reputation — even a thwarted one, like this — and so of course you are doomed to spend this episode crying, finding religion, staring sadly out the window, and having leeches applied to your arms.

MARYA: Things actually turned around for poor sad noble kind good Marya, because her father who tormented her dropped dead and also they made up before he drew his last, AND Nikolai Rostov rescued her from French troops and, it seems, fell instantly in love with her sweet, noble, kind, good self. Here’s hoping he manages to make this one last. He is, after all, engaged to his dumb cousin Sonya at the moment. (Serious question for people who remember the book better than I do: Is there a reason that Marya didn’t join a religious order, as that seems well suited to her? Other, of course, than “Tolstoy needed her single so he could marry her off for plot reasons,” which I also respect.)

DUMB COUSIN SONYA: Was not dumb this week at all, and, in fact, was the only person to tell Natasha that she needed to GET A GRIP vis a vis Anatole. No one listens to poor dumb cousin Sonya. Her aunt even reads aloud a letter from Nikolai that’s basically like, “I am totally in love with this incredibly kind heiress now!!!” right in front of her.

BORIS: Was hilariously forced to romance (and marry?) Julie Kuragin, who is a total sad sack and whom he wooed with his own (faked) sad sackery; had his ear massaged by Napoleon.


Fug the Show: Downton Abbey Recap, Episode 605

This episode was, simply put, a roller-coaster. I laughed out loud and I clapped with glee. There was Matthew Goode, and kissing, and beer, and great outfits — possibly the best of the series to date –and burgeoning romance for the very middle-aged. I also laughed at Bates for the first time in…our shared existence, I think.  But something very upsetting also happened, in a manner far more upsetting than I would have predicted. For once, Julian Fellowes, the Dramatic Event did not happen off-screen. Shall we go in?

PS: As ever, if you’ve seen this season in its entirety, please don’t spoil us! Thank you! Additionally, I am now recapping via the season six DVDs, which came out on Tuesday, and which are the British version, so it’s POSSIBLY slightly different from what PBS has brought us. I’ll try to note any changes or differences if I see them.