Fug File: Fug The Show

Fug the Show: Astronaut Wives Club recap, “Liftoff”


In which this show decides, “you know what? WE NEED MORE WIVES UP IN HERE!” You guys, you really really don’t. That said, what this episode failed to do in continuity of character (spoiler: Betty is kind of a ditzy hick now? I don’t know), it more than made up for in VINTAGE BATHING SUITS. I always feel bad for the costume department when they’re doing a great job and the show is bad. They’re never going to get the recognition that they actually deserve. I RECOGNIZE YOU, COSTUME DEPARTMENT!

ANYWAY, let’s run down what’s happening with our Astrowives, with the caveat that no one goes into space this week (…even though the episode is called “Liftoff”). But the Cuban Missile Crisis does happen, even though mostly everyone doesn’t seem that worried, except for Max Caplan: Reporter, because he’s both a journalist and the only character who really gets a clear set of feelings assigned to him weekly.

Marge and Deke: Marge is the drabbest looking Wife all week, and I guess it’s because she and Deke are on a really soul-sucking diet to fix his heart problem? (THAT’S why he quit drinking last week. It was more fun when I decided he was a closet alcoholic.) ANYWAY, he doesn’t get ungrounded, but then the rest of the astronauts do… something … off-camera… that gets Deke elected, like, Head Astronaut? And everyone is happy? I don’t know exactly, but what YOU should know is that basically everything The Astronauts Do happens when they appear to be sitting in an unlit break room at an unspecified Houston location. I’m pretty sure these dudes would have offices AND I’m also pretty sure that AT THE VERY LEAST, all the lights were on at NASA DURING THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS. Anyway, I don’t care about Marge anymore now that I’m sure there will be no revelation that she was once a geisha.

Annie and John: NADA.

Trudy and Gordo: I realized my issue with Trudy’s character is that they’re trying to make her BOTH the Modern Girl Pilot With Moxie and someone who is sort of prim and uptight with Gordon, and those two emotional stories don’t really mesh. At any rate, they’re totally (still) on the road to getting back together, and now we all know that Trudy has a vibrator. (At the end of the episode, she finds that Gordo has taped a picture of his face to it, which legitimately made me laugh and totally would have made me decide to take him back.)

Louise and Alan and Max Caplan: Reporter: MC:R and Louise are at FULL FLIRT — he dances with her in a barn during the Cuban Missile Crisis, for pete’s sake. (I would like, also, to note that the fact that NO ONE reacted to POSSIBLE NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION by banging is why this show is bad. YOU GUYS. You have a couple on the brink of getting back together. Instead of having Gordo get drunk with his boys and tell them about Trudy’s vibrator, you OBVIOUSLY have the two of them realize we’re all about to die, and accordingly GET IT ON. THAT IS SO CLEARLY CLEARLY CLEARLY how you handle that plot.) Nothing happens, but she’s obviously sort of sweet on him also and blah blah blah this plot will never resolve to anyone’s narrative satisfaction. Also, Louise had a sister who died and she and Alan are raising their niece, who also happens to find condoms in Alan’s Just In Case I Need To Flee Houston bag. At least Alan is using protection, Louise. At least there’s that.

Betty and Gus: Betty is now a woman who mows her own lawn with curlers in her hair while a Space Tour Bus drives by, and at the end of the episode she induces Jo to chainsaw a hole in the fence between their yards so they can run back and forth without being detected. So maybe she’s secretly got Space Madness???

Rene and Scott: Rene wears a series of good outfits and her wig is maybe slightly better this week? Hot Neighbor Wade has two lines.

Jo and Wally: Jo is sort of the crux of this week’s A story, which was nominally about the ladies being accepted into Houston Society; she’s all into joining the Junior League, but in the end they don’t ask her, for reasons that are never clear, in typical frustrating Astronauts Wives Clubs fashion. Do they not like her? Did she make a gaffe? Was it an accident? Was it because Betty was sort of ridiculous at every event? Was it because Jo was sort of scold-y of Betty at said events? WHO KNOWS. And then she’s sad. THE END.

Whatever. TO THE SWIMSUITS.

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Fug the Show: The Astronaut Wives Club recap, “Retroattitude”


Soooooo I totally forgot I hadn’t written this recap until 6pm last night. And given that none of you asked me where it was, I am beginning to suspect this show is not long for the fugcaps. (I also say that every week. I’m like Dread Pirate Roberts over here. “Good night, Astronauts’ Wives’ Clubs. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”)

Topline information about this episode: Everyone’s accents leap all over the place; Yvonne Strahovski’s wig is TERRIBLE; the outfits (on the other hand) are excellent; Hot Neighbor Wade lives through his flight despite a brief moment where he went missing, and then he takes his shirt off; this show has A LOT of exposition that, in the long run, is not really even that important.

As far as the rest of the wives go: Trudy and Gordo have a series of conversations that clarify stuff we ALREADY KNEW (that he still loves her, and he’s not cheating on her) and ends with her telling him that maybe they’ll get back together, via the good line, “we’re all moving to Houston to put a man on the moon. Anything is possible.” That said, Odette Annable’s acting choices in this role are very weird. She really enunciates every line in a way that makes her performance feel a bit like it’s a bravura turn from the most talented kid in a decent high school play.

Annie and John continue to be Holy Saintlike Creatures With No Flaws. He also continues to be very hot.

Other than the above, Rene and Scott have issues with the press because she tells a bunch of them that she isn’t going to be praying for Scott while he’s in space. It comes out that she doesn’t believe in prayer (she may not believe in God at all; for a show that loves exposition, it also forces the audience to fill in certain holes in weird ways, generally emotional ones) because they had a baby who died of SIDS. She ends up writing her own story for Life (freeing up Max Caplan: Reporter to moon over Louise, no pun intended) that does talk movingly about faith in general and I guess fixes their PR problem to boot. Good for you, Rene! I like you, even if you had a whole new speaking voice this episode.

Betty Grissom makes a cheese ball with pretzels stuck in it, like a porcupine.

Alan Shepard is a horndog and even the local hookers know it; Louise secretly wants to bang Max Caplan: Reporter, which would be interesting and therefore will never happen.

Marge and Deke are in a tizzy because he got grounded (and replaced with Scott). HE thinks it’s because NASA is mad that he backed up John Glenn telling Annie she didn’t need to let LBJ in their house; Marge says it’s because of his irregular heartbeat. WE have NO IDEA what the real reason is, and whether or not it has anything do with Marge’s Scandalous Past in Japan, because the show has forgotten that happened maybe. Then Deke decides to stop drinking (was he an alcoholic? WHO KNOWS?!?!) and everything is great.

Lavinia Swire and that dude she’s married to (not Cousin Matthew) are really excited because Not Cousin Matthew is going up next. (In real life, Jo Schirra just died two months ago at 91.)

TO THE OUTFITS! Since I’ve kind of given you the plot already, let’s just look at the noteworthy stuff people wore in this episode and get on with our lives.

 

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Fug the Show: The Astronaut Wives Club, “Protocol”


I continue to have notes. First, I just noticed that this show is actually called Astronaut Wives Club, “astronaut” singular. I totally thought it was plural this whole time, which reminds me of something I read on Twitter when the show premiered, which is that the title FEELS like it ought to have an apostrophe…somewhere. (It is grammatically correct, but I really want it to be Astronauts’ Wives Club, I think, because there are multiple astronauts. I get that they’re playing off the term “Astronaut Wife,” but that’s…not really, like, a phrase? Anyway, I am SURE this was a conversation that was had and possibly argued about many many times before the book even came out but this is the first time I’ve thought about it.)

Second, the passage of time on this show continues to be incredibly confusing. I have no idea how much time ever passes between one scene and the next — a week? A month? In some cases, I was able to look it up (thanks, Real Life History) and it proved to be MONTHS when it felt like a week. It’s not a great idea to maroon your views in some timeless netherworld on a show so much about history.

Finally, I must confess that although I have a ton of notes, I do find this show to be a fascinating failure, because I totally understand WHY it’s such a mess and why it was apparently retooled a bunch of times. The story covers a huge span of time and so people that it’s nearly impossible to tell it well in just a few episodes without axing several of the players (which is, I think, what they should have done). I have to wonder if  they are simply cleaving too close to the book — which I haven’t yet read — when it would have worked better on TV if the creators had decided JUST to focus on one Space Event. Say, the moon landing. I get that, as a producer,  you might feel attached to, say, Betty Grissom, and not want to lose her entirely by focusing on later events, but they could have even started at the moon landing and done a bunch of this in quick flashback if they really wanted to. Don’t ask me why I’m trying to fix this show. Let’s get to the smokey cocktail weenies.

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Fug the Show: The Astronaut Wives Club, “Launch”


Because this show stars Hot Neighbor Wade and involves period costumes, which means it is right in my wheelhouse. That said: I have my doubts that this was widely watched by Fug Nation, so we’ll see if these recaps have a life. Having noted that, boy do I have a lot of notes. This show — which is based on the Lily Koppel book of the same name — was apparently slated for last summer, was then pushed by ABC, and has all the hallmarks of being noted to death by the network. I didn’t wholly dislike it — the outfits are good, and some of the performances were appealing, and you have to give a pilot a LOT of leeway — but (a) it has way too many characters in it (which I understand is historically accurate, but look to Wolf Hall as a brilliant way to weave a casts of hundreds in and out of several one hour episodes) and (b) like TWO YEARS of NASA drama (astronaut selection/training) get telescoped into this one pilot. Which seems…like an insane story-telling decision. If you want to start your story at the moment where this episode ends, start there and use flashbacks, because we were asked in this episode to feel a LOT of feelings that you really only feel if you’ve gotten to know a character for more than 20 minutes.  ANYWAY. Let’s get into it. I warn you that Hot Neighbor Wade (of Hart of Dixie fame) has literally one line tonight.

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Fug the Show: “The Royals” season finale


Ted remains unfired — but Ophelia is not so lucky, and neither are some pistols.

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Fug the Show: Nashville, season 3 finale


This episode was weirdly unsatisfying to me, I think because every story seemed so telegraphed by the time we actually got there — with the slight exception of Will’s, which has always been one of my favorites even when it’s repetitive. But I think the real problem I had with it was the lack of proper musical numbers. I don’t know where I would have PUT them, necessarily, but I do think this show runs the risk of letting Empire run rings around it when it comes to threading in buzzworthy songs. So when the music limps and the stories limp…

I mean, we spent a LOT of time having dreams with Deacon:

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One minute he’ll be lying in repose, enjoying a sunny day, and the next he realizes he’s in a shallow grave being buried — or he’ll have an anxiety dream about surgery, etc. It makes sense that he’s nervous about the transplant surgery, but we get it. I am not sure I needed more than one of these in the episode. Cut one and let him sing with Maddie for what he might be worried is the last time, and let them both cry. Or, better, let Maddie write him a song about how much he means to her, and let them both cry. Whatever. If you’re going to pretend to kill Deacon, take hard aim at my heartstrings. REALLY GET AFTER IT.

Juliette comes home from another all-nighter at the studio and has this facial expression to offer her baby:

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