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    Stephanie Watches The Crazy Ones 1×02: “The Spectacular”

    The-Crazy-Ones-Episode-1.02-The-Spectacular-Promotional-Photos-2-595-slogo-0e6f6c1fda28d27bf60a8773bcc095ff

    Photo from SarahMichelle-Gellar.US

    Since I watch so many shows, I can’t really dedicate detailed reviews to all of them or you would really get sick of me! But since I will definitely be watching The Crazy Ones every week due to my undying devotion to Sarah Michelle Gellar, I think I will do a longer review for her show and maybe a weekly round-up for all the other shows I watch. Maybe on Saturday or Sunday. So I’ll do a big Sunday through Saturday TV show round-up every week. (Trying to formulate a schedule here for my own sanity and so you know when to check back.) Sound good? Okay! Onto the actual post!

    This episode, entitled “The Spectacular,” was a huge increase in quality for me from the pilot. Like I said, pilots are usually shaky and I had already seen most of the footage from it, so I knew what to expect. The second episode, however, increased the comedy value and all the characters stepped up their game.

    Zach is clearly the loveable, but arrogant ladies man with some daddy issues, while Andrew is the shy, unsure of himself guy (also loveable!) with some daddy issues. Both ripe for great scenes with Robin Williams. It all starts with Andrew’s jealousy over Zach receiving a leather jacket from a photoshoot, even though Andrew had been there too. But Zach “looks better in it” and he just can’t help it! Feeling some sort of emotion similar to compassion, however, Zach wants to help Andrew feel more included. Simon, having taken on some ducklings because they’ve lost their mother, much to Sydney’s annoyance, tasks Andrew with their care, which includes using a brush to wipe their teeny tiny bums. Simon is so impressed with Andrew’s care that he ditches lunch with Zach to spend time with Andrew and the ducklings. Zach begins to feel a strange emotion. Is it jealousy? Yes, Zach, it’s just jealousy!

    The main problem in the episode lies with Sydney. A Chicago coffee shop known as Windy City Coffee (which does not actually exist here in Chicago, FYI) wants her to come up with a more interesting pitch than the standard, reliable one. But Syd is more of a safe Peggy, while Simon is always the Don with his exciting ideas. (I swear the Mad Men references will eventually stop, but it’s hard with Bob Benson there!) She and Simon have a lot of penis pun riff exchanges, which not only cracked me up, but seemed to inspire her to try something “spectacular!” Sydney stays up working all night on an idea–complete with adorably disheveled and frazzled hair and giant, comfy boots I would like to steal–that there will be a giant coffee pot in the middle of Daley Plaza that pours coffee into a giant coffee cup, all with the Windy City Coffee logo.

    What they didn’t count on was the actual Windy City being true to its name and her idea turns into a catastrophe when coffee starts raining and splashing on the spectators. People scream bloody murder and trip over each other as they run, similar to a scene from any zombie outbreak. Sydney is devastated that her idea fails. Simon cheers her up with a flashback of how he destroyed a pond back in the 80s with a candy disaster and more silly candy puns. They end up turning the news footage of the disastrous coffee rain to their advantage, pitching a new idea to the coffee owners, with the phrase “Dangerously Good.” All has been saved!

    The ducklings are ready to be released back into the wild as Simon has cleaned up the once destroyed pond. Andrew cuts the red tape, literally, on the ducklings enclosure, but they’ve grown so attached to him that he has to get into the pond himself for them to go back to the wild. The last scene is too adorable as he swims in the pond with the ducklings, helping them acclimate to their natural habitat.

    As I said earlier, this episode was MUCH better. My only annoyance was that, being a Chicago resident and living in the city, they were clearly not filming their scene in the Daley Plaza. I appreciate the exterior shots of the city, but the background, aside from their super-imposed red sculpture, took me out of the scene because I knew they weren’t really in the plaza. I know SMG needs to film in the same city as her children and that’s fine and dandy, but if they’re doing a scene in such a well known location, I wish they would do it here. Maybe if their budget increases?

    Anyway, I’m already looking forward to next week’s episode “Bad Dad.”

    In other news that is related to The Crazy Ones, Sarah Michelle Gellar FINALLY got a twitter account to help promote the show. Go follow her: @RealSMG! If you do, you’ll get to see amazing tweets that make you want to cry, like this:

    smgtweet

    I’ve had some great luck with either exchanging a few words with or being retweeted by a few of my favorite celebs, but having her respond to me or retweet me would be my greatest achievement. I would probably cry. Or at least scream. Are you sensing a pattern of my insanity here? Good.

    ‘Til next time!


     

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    Stephanie Watches Breaking Bad “Felina”

    As the world knows, last night was the series finale of arguably the best television series ever, Breaking Bad. And I’m having a lot of feelings. Relief, satisfaction, but also extreme sadness because it’s all over. Anyway, here be spoilers!

    The entire season (or hell, series!) has been building up to this moment. Basically from “Ozymandias” and on, it has been a wild ride. Walt has been in hiding and making his way back to New Mexico for a few months to make his last stand. Walt begins tying up his loose ends by first sneaking into Gretchen and Elliot’s gorgeous new house to kill them, or so I assumed . He gives them all of his leftover money ($9 mil!) and threatens them with sniper rifle death unless they deliver the money to Walt Jr. on his 18th birthday. They agree, of course, but little do they know that the snipers were Badger and Skinny Pete! I was so happy to see them again for one final time. And through them, Walt learns that the blue meth is still on the market and that Jesse must be the one cooking! (Since Todd sucks at cooking, obviously. Todd sucks in general, but I digress…)

    But we know the truth. That Jesse has been a meth cooking slave for the past several months. The only solace he finds is in his mind, having lose Andrea due to his attempted escape, so he can’t risk Brock as well. He has simply accepted his fate. One of the most beautiful scenes of this episode was the scene in Jesse’s mind. It was a recreation of this amazing speech:

    “I started from scratch. I made another, then another. And by the end of the semester, by box number five, I had built this thing. You should’ve seen it, it was insane. I mean, I built it out of Peruvian walnut with inlaid zebrawood. It was fitted with pegs, no screws. I sanded it for days until it was smooth as glass. And then I rubbed all the wood with tung oil, so it was rich and dark. It even smelled good. You know, you put your nose in it and breathed in… it was perfect.”

    Cue all of my waterworks as his apron gets stuck on something and he realizes he is still chained up in the lab. Ugh!

    Walt then pops up at the cafe that Lydia and Todd (ugh, Todd) have been meeting at regulary. I didn’t even notice him sitting there until he stood up and moved his chair over to them (also I laughed pretty hard at this because he just looked like some hobo bothering the nicely dressed people). Lydia quickly learns the danger of being a create of habit as Walt hid the ricin he retrieved from his house in her Stevia (called it!!!).  Through this little encounter, Walt plans a meeting with Todd for that night.

    Now that Walter had his revenge meeting all set, he needed to tie up the rest of his loose ends; the family–for whom he had claimed so long he was doing all of this. We arrive at Skyler’s apartment with all of the items from the old house strewn about and organized in a different fashion in a smaller space. Skyler gets a call from Marie, who seems to be okay, all things considered (seems like she’s still in the same house, despite the Nazi raid), warning her that Walt has been spotted in town. And, of course, after Skyler hangs up and the camera pans back, we see Walt has been there all along. Through another beautifully acted scene, they have what in their terms amounts to a goodbye. And Walt finally admits to Skyler that he was doing this all along for himself.

    Perhaps because a sliver of her former self still loves him and truly knows she won’t see him again, Skyler lets Walt say goodbye to sleeping baby Holly. This entire scene reminded me of this quote from a while back:

    Oh, I was… I was at home watching TV. Some nature program about elephants… and Skyler and Holly were in another room. I can hear them on the baby monitor. She was singing a lullaby. Oh, if I had just lived right up to that moment… and not one second more.That would have been perfect.

    After Walt says his silent goodbye to Walt Jr from afar, he embarks on his final journey. After building a contraption in his usual sciencey engineering way, which uses a trigger through his car alarm, he heads to the Nazi safehouse. They are immediately suspicious of him, checking his car, patting him down, taking his wallet and keys (arrgh–cue my arm flailing and anxiety). I found myself rooting for Walt for the first time in ages. No, I will never be “Team Walt” after all the awful stuff he’s done to Jesse/Skyler/Hank/etc., but I wanted someone to take those bastards down and both Walt and Jesse deserved that honor.

    Jack, Todd, and co. have already made up their mind that they were going to kill him and Walt had made his mind up that he was going to kill all of them and their new “partner” Jesse. But once they brought in the chained up, disheveled shell of a person that is now Jesse Pinkman, Walt’s plans changed. He sneakily retrieved his keys and in a ploy of attacking Jesse and knocking him to the ground, he protected him as he launched his attack. Bullets showered (well, is it a shower since it was all horizontal?) down upon them, taking most of them out. I grit my teeth as I saw Todd take cover. Ugh, dammit, Todd! Finally the barrage ended and the only survivors were Walt, Jesse, Todd, and Jack.

    Todd gets up and mistakenly turns his back on them as he looks out the window to say some dumb stuff, I don’t even know. I really hate Todd, okay? And so Jesse finally sees his chance and I was screaming and cheering as Jesse wrapped his chain around Todd’s neck and choked the life out of him with a very satisfying crack. I don’t think you understand how relieved I felt when this happened. Knowing that Todd was out there in the Breaking Bad universe just walking around and existing. UGH. But he’s gone. It’s okay. I can sleep better at night now.

    Anyway, Jack is still sort of alive, promising that he can tell Walt where the rest of his money is if he lets him live a little longer. But what is Walt going to do with that? He’s been shot in the gut. He’s taken care of the money situation for his family. So, what does he do? The same thing Jack did to Hank. Shoots him in the head with another very satisfying explosion of blood. By now Jesse has freed himself and Walt slides him the gun, wanting Jesse to kill him. I believe Walt thinks he’s earned that right after all the awful crap he’s done to Jesse over the past two years. But Jesse doesn’t want to take another order from him ever again. If he killed him, it wouldn’t be because Jesse wanted to. It would be because Walt wanted him to. Jesse needs to orchestrate his own life, retrieve the agency that Walt, Todd, Jack, everyone took from him. And not killing Walt was a way to get that back.

    All in all, I still think Walt is too prideful to truly take his own life, which is why I never understood why many people thought the ricin was meant for him. Granted, by going after Jack and co., he knew this would be the end for him, but I feel like he was hoping they or Jesse would kill him in the process. He was prepared to die, sure, but if he hadn’t been shot in his own crossfire, would he have had the guts to shoot himself in the head? Maybe since the police were showing up. But we’ll never know, of course.

    One of my favorite scenes from the end was Jesse finally driving away from that horrendous place, busting down the gates to his freedom, all the while laughing and crying. (Cue me blubbering like baby Holly at this point.) I am so relieved that Jesse made it out alive, but I’m also so, so, SO surprised. I don’t even know how the poor guy is going to be able to survive mentally after everything he’s gone through. Hopefully one of Andrea’s family members took Brock in so that he’s not in the “system.” I imagine that Jesse at least went to say goodbye to Brock (and maybe one last smoke with Badger and Skinny Pete) before getting the heck out of that town.

    And that brings us to the end. After killing Jack, Walt gets one more final piece of satisfaction when Lydia calls Todd (I cannot deal with Todd’s ringtones!) and he informs her that she’s been poisoned with ricin. I liked Lydia a lot, so I was bummed that she got offed, but it also makes sense in the grand scheme of things. Walt needed to cut all ties to his empire and Lydia was the top of that chain.

    As sirens blare around him, Walt takes his final steps to the lab, admiring the equipment and space in which he felt more at home than his actual home. As he strokes one of the pieces lovingly, the loss of blood and bullet wound finally take his life and he collapses to the floor as police slowly surround him and the camera pans outward.

    And that’s how Walter White’s story comes to an end.

    Thank you, Vince Gilligan, for an amazing show and for wrapping everything up in a beautiful way. I feel satisfied because nothing was left truly open. The i’s were dotted, the t’s were crossed. I can’t wait to rewatch the series again and again and AGAIN! (Hint: to anyone feeling generous for Christmas and/or my birthday, I’d really love to have the complete series on blu-ray!)


     

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