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10 Things I Learned from Watching Grey’s Anatomy’s “Shock to the System”

“Is this going to be on the exam?”

I suspect that there are many of you out there who only watch Grey’s Anatomy for the “mushy-gushy relationship stuff” .  . .

 . . . the bizarro plotlines involving psycho serial killers . . .

 . . . the hot hallucinatory Ghost Sex . . .

. . . and the abundance of Sexy Shirtless Men . . .

(NEWS FLASH:  Nearly Naked Dr. Avery!  Coming Soon to a TV Near You, October 14th!  Never has the invention of HDTV been more appreciated . . .)

And while all of the above are perfectly valid reasons to watch this long-running show, what many fans fail to realize, is that Grey’s Anatomy is also a treasure trove of life lessons for us all!

So, without further adieu, let’s look back at the lessons we learned from this week’s installment of Grey’s Anatomy, “Shock to the System.”

1)  If you wish to fake an emotional breakthrough with your shrink, so that he will clear you to return to work (or, at least, trade those LAME anti-depressants he currently has you on, for the AWESOME uppers you’ve been eyeing since you started therapy), bad mascara and crumbly tissues are not enough . . .

Particularly if, even after crying, you still look like you belong in a Banana Republic magazine advertisement . . .

Drastic times call for drastic measures.  And in this situation, Ugly Cry Face is required.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Then again, if your name is “Meredith Grey,” and you are on a show called GREY’S Anatomy, you’ll be back at work after two episodes, anyway.  So, you might not even need to resort to this . . .

2) Those who lie down with criminals  . . .

 . . . wake up smelling like pee . . .

(and sometimes unwittingly attract new boyfriends named “Vito.”)

3) It may come as a shock to you, but there are some TV Watchers and (patients at Seattle Grace) . . .

 . . . who stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy after the third season.

Shocking . . . yes . . . but entirely plausible.  As a result of their Grey’s -watching negligence, these individuals may truly believe that Christina Yang is still involved with Dr. Preston Burke . . .

 . . . and that Isaiah Washington was never fired from the show . . .

“Well, THAT was awkward!”

While we are on the subject, here are some other aspects of the show about which these erstwhile Grey’s fans might be confused:

“Who are half these people?”

“Where the heck are George and Izzie?”

 

“So, Callie is a lesbian, now?”

4) When trying to convince your colleagues that you aren’t Bat Sh*t Crazy . . .

 . . . screaming at them “That’s ME, I’m the CRAZY ONE!” and running around the hospital muttering loudly to yourself, “She never saw it coming!  She never saw it coming!”  OMG!  She never saw it coming!” will probably not help your cause. 

Oh . . . and while we are at it . . . just because one of your patients is crying . . .

 . . . doesn’t mean it has to do with YOU and YOUR PROBLEMS.  Strange as it may seem, THE WORLD DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND YOU!!!!!

Regardless, of what HE might lead you to believe . . .

5) If you play a lesbian couple on a show that predominately caters to straight females . . .

. . . the best you can hope for in a storyline is some comic relief-esque banter involving room decoration and paint swatches.

Thanks for playing!  Better luck next time!

6) If Miranda Bailey is touching your boobies, in the middle of a hospital hallway .  . .

 . . . your secrets WILL come out . . .

. . . even if she has to wrench them from your body with a pair of barely sterilized tweezers!

7) When THIS GUY says you are not ready to do surgeries . . .

 . . . you are NOT READY TO DO SURGERIES!

No “ifs” “ands” or “buts” about it, MISSY!

8 ) Are you single?  Feeling lonely?  Unappreciated by the men (or women) in your life?

Worry not!  Getting the objects of your desire to notice you is EASY!

Just get STRUCK BY LIGHTENING, along with all the men of your dreams!

You’ll be beating them off with a stick in NO TIME!  (No really . . . you’ll probably end up wanting to physically beat them.)

9) If your boyfriend is a shrink, and most of your dates are spent with you just talking, and him just “listening” . . .

 . . .  you’re not in a “relationship,” you’re in “therapy.”  Then again, with healthcare plans being what they are today, WHO CARES? 

But, if he ever sends you a bill for his “services,” it’s probably time for you two to have “the talk.”  (The phrase “quid pro quo” might come in handy . . . just saying.)

And finally . . .

10) If you lost your husband’s baby during a tragic accident . . .

 . . . and haven’t told him yet, just bite the bullet and DO IT!

If he’s anything like Dr. McDreamy, he’ll be totally cool with it!  And if he’s not . . . well . . . you wouldn’t want his Ugly Ass Baby, ANYWAY!

So, there you have it —  Ten Lessons learned from this week’s installment of Grey’s Anatomy.  Consider yourself SCHOOLED!

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

 

 

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Change Your Partner, Change the Game: A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Homecoming Hangover”

To call tonight’s installment of Pretty Little Liars a “game changer” is a bit of an overstatement . . . a very cliched overstatement.  And yet, in the most literal sense of the term, that’s what “Homecoming Hangover” was.  After all, this was the episode where everything  . . . CHANGED.  Formerly “hot” romances fizzled out  . . .

I still haven’t given up hope, Wren!  COME BACK!

. . . recently broken relationships were mended, new prospective couplings blossomed, and a MAJOR suspect may very well have been taken out of commission for good.

Now that you know all of the rules have changed, what do you say we start playing the game?

“I Was Hunted Down by Creepy Toby, and All I Got Was This Lame Wrist Brace . . .”

“Thank goodness for this stylish butterfly stitch on my forehead, or you might have never known I was recently in ‘GRAVE DANGER.'”

When the episode opens, Aria, Spencer, and Hanna are still at the Homecoming Dance, searching for Emily when they find her cell phone on the ground . . . along with some broken glass . . . and BLOOD!

“I TOLD Emily she should have never chosen the theme song from The Shining as her ringtone.  That’s just asking for trouble.”

But fear not, boys and girls.  Emily is not dead . . .

 . . . She’s just out for a romantic, late night car ride . . . except, she’s all bloody . . . and unconscious . . .  and Creepy Toby is behind the wheel . . .

Now, those of you who truly believed that Toby would chop up Emily into little bite-sized pieces, and eat them with french fries, have clearly never watched an ABC Family show.  Because in the next scene, Emily is chilling in her bedroom with no injuries at all, except for what appears to be a sprained wrist, and a small, very attractive, cut on her forehead.  Then again, maybe Emily suffered some  brain internal injuries, invisible to the human eye, because she was inexplicably on bedrest for two days. 

As it turns out, Creepy Toby . . .

“That’s ME!”

 . . . merely drove Emily’s unconscious body to the hospital, dumped it near the entranceway, and skipped town on his motorcycle, faster than you could say “raving lunatic.”

The next morning, cops swarmed upon Emily’s home, inquiring as to both Toby’s whereabouts and the location of his psychological records, which seemed to have gone missing that same night (because Hanna took them). 

“Oh yeah!  I’m one Bad Ass Chica!”

At some point during the evening (not sure if it was when Toby was chasing her around the school like a mad man, or dragging her, limp unconscious body into his car), Emily decides that Toby is a “totally sweet guy . . . just misunderstood.” What a moron!  So, she comes up with the brilliant idea to lie to the cops on his behalf, by claiming that her injuries were due merely to her own clumsiness, and nothing more. 

Unfortunately for Emily (and Creepy Toby), precisely NO ONE believes her story, particularly not Emily’s mom.  In fact, Mommy Dearest sees this as a BRILLIANT opportunity to lecture the recently beat up Emily for EMBARASSING her family, by having the NERVE to go to the prom with someone SO UNCOOL!

I don’t understand, Emily.  Why can’t you just date statutory rapists in their mid twenties, like your friends do?”

While Emily is resting up in bed with her barely there injuries, she receives some visitors.  First up are Spencer and Aria, who inform Emily about Toby’s whole “Sister Sex with Blind Jenna” Thing.  Emily who has always really wanted a hot brother to screw, is not quite sure what to do with this information.  Fortunately, My New Favorite Character, Hanna, arrives next, to put things into perspective . . . . She sweetly (and wisely) tells Emily that being a Lesbian is WAY better than dating a Sister F**ker who may very well also be a Stalker / Killer, like Creepy Toby.

Third on the guest list is Blind Jenna . . .

. . . who seems to have replaced her Cane of Destruction with a Hound from Hell.  Blind Jenna’s Guide Dog was so menacing and unstable looking, that if this was a different show, I would have sworn it was Creepy Toby in werewolf form . . .

Jenna also brings cookies, which she insists that Emily eat with milk because it helps the poison in them go down easier.

Fortunately, for Emily, she has seen Snow White enough times to know that taking food from Creepy People is a Bad Idea.  So, she leaves the cookies untouched.  Upon realizing that Emily knows about Creepy Toby’s missing psych file, Blind Jenna begs her for its safe return.  Emily promises Blind Jenna that she will do everything in her power to keep the latter’s Brother F*c*ing Secret safe, by retrieving the file.  However, when Emily texts the other Pretty Little Liars regarding said promise, they have already thrown the file in the LAKE, fully in tact.  

Riiiiiight . . . because NO ONE is going to find it THERE!  Haven’t these girls ever heard of a SHREDDER?

NO!  Not THAT Shredder!  THIS Shredder . . .

Only two can keep a secret, if one of them is SHRED . . .

During this episode, Emily also wins a car . . .

and decides to make a go of it with her lady crush, Maya . . .

 . . . which I would be excited about . . . if these two weren’t the most BORING lesbian couple on the entire planet  . . .

Hanna learns the joys of YouTube . . . and Lucas

“Hey, Hanna!  I found this GREAT video where they make fun of all the girls from Pretty Little Liars.  Wanna see?”

The next day at school, Hanna has to take a makeup picture, for the yearbook, wearing her Homecoming Queen crown. Hanna’s photographer is none other than THIS GUY  . . .

 . . . no . . . actually it’s not him. 

However, OUR guy, Lucas, looks and acts JUST LIKE Seth Cohen from The O.C., which undoubtedly has a lot to do with why I like him so much.  After initially getting adorably shy and flustered around Hanna, upon seeing her once again decked out in her homecoming finest, Lucas quickly develops an easy repoire with the Queen Bee, tossing cute jokes and sarcastic quips her way, as he hones in on her with his camera lens. 

Then, unfortunately, the Boring, Quite Possibly Gay, Sean has to come and ruin everything, with his bitchy attitude and his blubbering about how Hanna ditched him at the dance.    Boo Hoo, Rich Popular Jock Boy, the world’s smallest violin is performing an entire concert in your honor . . .

Beauty and the D-Bag.

Did I mention that this A-hole couldn’t even be bothered to put on a PAIR OF PANTS, before appearing in the photo shoot?  (Then again, Sean was probably just trying to hit on Lucas, by showing him his hot dog . . .)

It’s a tough job, but SOMEONE has to be Sean’s little weiner.

 Sean ultimately throws a temper tantrum, and storms out of the room, leaving Hanna and Lucas alone to flirt with eachother.

Later, Hanna and Lucas bond over the wonderful world of YouTube, and, in particular, a video involving a Snowboarding Turkey.

Not exactly the video I would have chosen to help land ME a date.  But it seemed to work prettyh well for Lucas.  So who am I to judge?

While enjoying their YouTube, Lucas and Hanna learned that they both had something else in common: both had a bad high school nickname bestowed upon them by none other than the Now Dead Ali . . .

Lucas’ was “Herme the Hermaphodite,” because Ali didn’t like his glasses (Huh?  I don’t get it.)  Hanna was “Hefty Hanna” (Now, that one I get, at least).  Wise Lucas then asks Hanna what many Pretty Little Liars fans have undoubtedly been thinking since the start of this show.  Namely, “Why the heck did you all hang out with Ali, if she was such a b*tch?”  (Well, put Seth Cohen Lucas!)

Hanna spouts off some nonsense about Ali having a way of “making people feel special.”  However, I suspect the REAL reason for their friendship was that Ali had a way of “making people popular.”

At the end of the episode, Hanna makes up with Sean, but soon learns that HE, unlike Lucas, has NO appreciation for Snowboarding YouTube Turkeys OR Loud Music (two things which should clearly signify the death knell for ANY high school relationship).  Worry not, Sean . . . you’ll always have Jesus . . .

First Wren Leaves, Now Fitzy, What is this show coming to?

Watch with a heavy heart, as those pasty twig legs and dweeby haircut ride off into the sunset  . . . alone.

But before I get to Fitzy, there’s something else you should know about Sean.  Aside from loving Jesus, and hating Snowboarding Turkeys, he’s also a two-timing bastard.  He taught us that, when he sent a huge bouquet of flowers to his girlfriend’s best friend, Aria, in hopes that doing so would help him to get into her pantalones, pronto.  (By the way, I’m not buying Sean’s whole “abstinence thing” for a minute.   Are you?)

Say what you want about Aria, but she KNOWS bullshit when she sees it.  Suspecting that Sean is only feigning interest her to get back at Hanna for her Homecoming Dance antics, Aria calls Sean out on his behavior, extracting a heartfelt apology from him, in the process.  Aria’ is lucky that this incident blew over fast, because she REALLY doesn’t have time for any more BS in her life.  She’s already chock full.  During this episode, Aria had to deal with the trial separation of her mother and father, AND her brother’s acting out in school . . .

To further complicate matters, overnight, her lover, Ezra a.k.a. Fitzy, seemed to have went the way of Wren and Creepy Toby — having disappeared into thin air overnight (They REALLY are dropping like flies, aren’t they?  It SURE doesn’t help your employment status to have a weiner on this show!). 

Desperate for answers, Aria heads to Fitzy’s apartment, and lets herself in using the hide-a-key he has left under his welcome mat. 

REALLY, Fitzy?  A HIDE-A-KEY?  Under a WELCOME MAT?  In an APARTMENT COMPLEX?  You might has well put a sign on your door that says, “Please Rob Me!”

Anyway, soon after Aria is safely inside Fitzy’s apartment, she hears a message on his answering machine from a nearby high school.  Apparently, Fitzy is applying for a job out of town.  Aria is crushed, though I’m not exactly sure why.  If Fitzy starts teaching elsewhere, Aria and him can bone without fear of repercusion for the whole “student / teacher thing.”  Then again . . . there’s still the whole “statutory rape” thing on the table.  Fitzy can’t exactly make that one disappear, now can he?

Spencer Shish-Kabobs and Salsas into Alex’s Heart

While Aria was LOSING her OLD man (emphasis on the OLD), Spencer was digging her claws into her NEW one.  With Wren seemingly no where to be found he’s probably off shooting a pilot episode somewhere, Spencer has devoted herself wholeheartedly to getting Alex’s pants. 

 Her campaign begins in the kitchen at the country club where Spencer plays and Alex works.  Spencer barges in to apologize for her bad behavior during the Homecoming Dance.  Clearly turned on by Spencer’s persistence and agression, Alex quickly forgives her and agrees to give her another chance, provided she let HIM pick the terms of the couple’s next date.  Spencer is overjoyed.

One – Love. (Two, if you count Wren, which I STILL DO!)

Just in case you forgot what he looks like . . .

Unfortunately, on the day of the Big Date, Alex calls Spencer to cancel, claiming he has to work.  Knowing the country club is closed that day, Spencer quickly becomes convinced that she has been stood up.   So, she does what any good stalker girlfriend would do, she heads to the country club, to catch him in a lie.  Except that, the jokes on her, because, HE’S WORKING AFTER ALL!

You’ve really gotta hand it to Spencer.  Rather than leave with her tail between her legs, she insists on sticking around to help Alex skewer shish kabobs.  She even wears a HAIR NET!  Now, if that’s not love, I don’t know what is . . .

Love means never having to get your hair in the mashed potatos.

And I have to say, despite a slight tiff involving a defaced photograph of Spencer hanging in the kitchen supply closet (someone who works there is apparently not a fan), these two made a mighty cute couple.   As the pair cooked and listened to the radio, an adorably booty shaking Alex (who has a really cute butt, by the way) commandeered Spencer to participate in a surprisingly spicy salsa dance.  And while it wasn’t quite enough to make me jump ship and switch to Team Alex, it WAS fun to watch . . .

At the end of the episode, two fairly important (and spooky) things happened:

(1) Creepy Toby’s Creepy Motorbike was found mangled in the woods.   He is now believed by authorities to be dead.  This prompted the Absent- for- NEARLY – An- ENTIRE Episode, A to, text the following message to Emily:  ‘Thank you for getting Toby out of the way for me;”

(2) That weird leather jacket-wearing, black-gloved person (who must be REALLY hot wearing all those layers, by the way, seeing as it always seems to be pretty sunny in the fictional town of Rosewood) retrieved Creepy Toby’s Creepy Sister F&*king Psych Evaluation from the lake.

So, there you have it.  “Homecoming Hangover” in a nutshell.  All in all, I thought it was a pretty solid, well acted, at times, even surprising, episode.  What did you think?

 

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Why the heck weren’t MY high school dances this exciting? – A Recap of Pretty Little Liar’s “There’s No Place Like Homecoming”

Breaking and entering, destruction of chemistry labs, freaky gang-type tattoos, allusions to incest, creepo fortune tellers, and, quite possibly, a MURDER, all in a single hour?  I’ve got three words for you: Best.  Dance.  Ever.

Last week, I griped about the disappearance of one of my favorite characters on Pretty Little Liars.  Namely, THIS GUY . . .

Yep  . . . unfortunately, that adorable, drunky Brit, Wren, was missing YET AGAIN this week!  However, unlike last week, where I spent a good portion of the lackluster episode pining for his return, this episode pretty much rocked, IN SPITE of his absence.  Shocking, yet true . . .

(Which is not to say that I don’t want him back, ABC Family!  You BETTER bring him back!)

So, in the words of the inimitable Hanna, who, by the way, was my TOTAL hero and main source of comic relief, this week  . . .

(Who knew Queen Bee Former Fatties could be so funny . . . and likeable?) . . .

 “Let’s get this PARTY started!”

Confuscius say, “Who hijacked MY Fortune Cookie?”

In the darkest corners of human nature, there now lurks a NEW evil . . . and it is shaped like this . . .

When the episode opens, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna are in Aria’s bedroom staging an intervention.  We know that Aria is seriously depressed, because she is wearing a  . . . PONYTAIL!

She is also sporting . . . NON-NAME BRAND SWEAT PANTS . . . from LAST SEASON!

Clearly, this is an emergency of EPIC proportions.  To rescue their friend from the dark fathomless abyss of “dressing for comfort,” the girls arrive, armed with trashy gossip magazines and Chinese food.  What more could a girl possibly want?

Without too much effort on their part, the girls eventually manage to snap Aria out of her Mr. Fitz-shaped depression, and convince her to attend the upcoming Homecoming Dance.  With their “mission accomplished,” the girls quickly breakout the takeout and start to chow down.  Before even touching her food, Hanna heads for dessert (girl after my own heart). 

She eagerly rips open her fortune cookie, yanking out that familiarly tiny piece of paper that, to this day, is my FAVORITE part of eating Chinese food.  Unfortunately, Hanna’s cookie-sized “prediction for the future” isn’t anything positive like:  You will come upon great and unexpected riches.  Nor is it something funny like:  You will eat another fortune cookie.  Rather, it says THIS . . .

Lions and tigers and bitches, oh my!  There is no place like homecoming.  See you there, A!

A’s unexpected use of a Wizard of Oz reference in crafting this taunt, can only mean ONE thing.  SOMEONE in the writers’ room has clearly been reading my recaps, in which I generally enjoy comparing “Dead Ali” to the Wicked Witch of the West.

Then again . . . maybe not.

The rest of the girls quickly open their own fortune cookies.  Sure enough, each one bears the SAME cryptic message.  This development obviously begs the very important question of, “How did A get her message into cookies?”

Does she work at the Chinese Restaurant where the girls got their takeout food?  Did she simply order the Fortune Cookies premade online, and slip them into the girls’ takeout bag, at the last minute?  If the latter is true, how did A know that the girls would be ordering at the exact time they did?

I’m with you, Mr. Monkey!  I don’t get it, either.

Hanna Gets Sexercised

The next day, in what was, hands down, the episode’s funniest scene, Hanna attends an abstinence group meeting with her boyfriend, Sean.  During it, she is asked to participate in a “role-playing” exercise, in which she propositions a boy for sex, and he turns her down for Jesus.  The boy doing the rejecting in the skit is a new guy named Lucas.

 I liked Lucas instantly, if only because his nerdiness, and smart-mouthed defensive sarcasm, reminded me so much of the ever-awesome Seth Cohen from that show The O.C.  And you all know how I LOVE me some Seth Cohen!

Socially awkward and snarky, but loveable, high school nerds?  Meet your king!

“Come back to my bedroom,” monotones Hanna, looking bored as ever.

“I can’t do this,” replies Lucas.

“But you’re so hot,” deadpans Hanna.  (Her delivery of this line, in particular, WAS hysterical!  I only wish I had it on MP3, so that I can play it for myself, whenever I’m feeling down.)

“No, what I mean, is I can’t do this with YOU!” Lucas clarifies.

In a very sweet, and unusually honest moment for the show, Lucas explains how a guy of his social status could never even THINK of having the opportunity to have sex with a woman of Hanna’s caliber.  (Clearly, Lucas has never watched The O.C.)  “I have the physical strength of Screech . . .  keeping my virginity is pretty much a done deal for me,” he concluded.

I had to laugh when I heard the random “Screech” reference . . .

After all, the Lucas character is undoubtedly WAY too young to have watched Saved by the Bell, the sitcom that first featured the character (as are, I would imagine, a good percentage of Pretty Little Liars fans).  Heck, I was a little kid when the show first aired, and I am quite a ways away from high school.  Perhaps Lucas remembers Screech, or rather Dustin Diamond, the actor who played him, from Celebrity Fit Club.  

Or, maybe he found that awful sex tape starring the actor, online, while his parents were asleep in the next room.  Seeing THAT would be enought to make any kid want to stay abstinant FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!  Then again, later on in the same episode, Lucas also made a Hans Solo reference . . .

. . . leading me to conclude that the character is actually a 40-year old, stuck in a 17-year old body. 

(BTW, the next time Hanna propositioned him for sex during role play, Lucas enthusiastically said, “Yes.”  Atta boy, Lucas!  Don’t let nasty sex tapes starring has-been 90’s stars get you down.)

Speaking of a character on this show who looks and acts too old to be in high school . . .

 . . . Hanna was so inspired by her sexercise, that she decided to play matchmaker for her dear friend Emily.  Having recently learned from A, via instant message, that Emily and middle-aged Maya occasionally enjoyed swapping spit with one another, Hanna more or less invites Maya to the dance on Emily’s behalf.  The problem, of course, is that Emily is already going with someone else .  . . Creepy Toby.

I love high school dances.  They always remind me of that old movie, Carrie.

More on Creepy Toby in a bit . . .

Spencer should really stick to what she does best (Hint:  It’s not dating.)

Having unceremoniously tossed aside, and completely forgotten, about the adorable Wren, as if the hottie was yesterday’s dirty underwear, Spencer is totally ready to head off to the Big Dance with Ball Boy Alex, when the episode begins.  The two share a surprisingly sexy scene together pre-dance, when Alex visits Spencer at school, so that the two could color coordinate their outfits.  (Color coordinate, huh?  OK.  Alex is clearly gay.)

When Alex offers to pay for the dance tickets, Spencer awkwardly explains that she has it taken care of.  “It’s just that you . . . work so hard for your money . . . I’d hate to see you waste it on something stupid like this.”

To Alex’s credit, rather than be offended by the obvious implications of that statement, he simply pulls Spencer into a steamy embrace.  “But I WANT to,” he insists.

He then deftly sticks a wad of cash in the pocket of Spencer’s jeans, like she’s a Vegas showgirl, who just gave him a lap dance.  (Way to stay classy, Ball Boy!)

That night, at the dance, Spencer is surprised (and by “surprised” I mean completely miserable) to see that her sister Melissa also in attendance.

Glory Days . . . They’ll pass you by, Glory Days .  . .

Apparently, it is customary for former Homecoming Queens to pass off the  crown to the next Queen Bee.  And this year, they conveniently chose the Homecoming Queen from the class of 2000, Melissa.  This is probably because she was the only former queen lame enough to show up. 

Wait a second . . . Class of 2000?  Did I mishear that? 

Wouldn’t that make Melissa (and Wren) like 12 or 13 years older than Spencer?  And what about that AP History paper Spencer stole off her sister’s laptop?  I could have sworn the date on it was 2004. 

Even if we give Melissa the benefit of the doubt, and say she WAS part of the Class of 2000, that would mean she wrote the AP History paper that Spencer stole, over a decade ago.  And yet, Melissa still remembers it well enough to recognize it as hers on the website where information regarding Spencer’s award is posted.  I seriously doubt I could recognize a paper I wrote my last year in college, let alone high school, especially ten years after the fact. 

Melissa must have superhuman memory.  A nice skill to have.  Too bad she’s such a raging bitch. 

“I heart the Russian Revolution.  I always really identified with that Stalin guy.”

When Spencer becomes too occupied with the mystery of A’s identity to truly show her date, Alex, a good time, Melissa uses it as an opportunity to plant the seeds of destruction in Alex’s mind about the genuine nature of Spencer’s romantic attraction to him.  “She’s just using your poor ass to make our parents mad,” Melissa explains, more or less.

The statement festers in Alex’s brain all evening, and eventually causes Alex to ditch Spencer’s ass at the dance, without even saying goodbye.  When Spencer confronts Melissa about her misdeeds, the latter explains matter-of-factly.  “I didn’t have to do much.  You screwed that one up all on your own.”

“Who, moi?”

And while I HATE to EVER agree with Evil Melissa, I have to admit she DOES have a point here . . .

But BEFORE all that happened, Spencer and Alex went to visit a fortune teller, who had a penchant for tarot card reading.  (Yeah, we didn’t have THOSE at my dances either.)  At first, it seemed like a typical reading.  The fortune teller droned on and on about a bad relationship, and not trusting people and blah, blah, blah.  The whole thing would have sucked if A didn’t swoop in to make it exciting.  “Say Bye, Bye to Your BFF,” she somehow managed to scrawl on one of the cards. 

Woah!  How did A do that?  Clearly A is a superhero with magical powers!

 . . . or should I say  . . . supervillain.

Awkward much?

As soon as Aria was assigned to help out at the “bean bag toss” table at the dance (which, apparently, had some sort of “carney theme” or whatever), you just knew she would somehow wind up working it with Ezra Fitz and his new uber dweeby haircut.

“I wanted something to match my pasty white legs.”

The two bicker a bit about whether Aria knows “A” and whether she told “A” about her relationship with Fitzy.  Eventually Aria gets frustrated and storms off.  Later, a jealous, Fitzy spies Aria dancing with Hanna’s beau, Sean.  Fitz looks PISSED!

Glory Days . . . They’ll pass you by, Glory Days . . .

To Fitzy’s credit,  when Aria confronted him in the hallway later that night, I really thought, Fitzy was going to say something d-baggy about her “moving on” so quickly.  Instead, he breaks into an honestly heartwarming (even to a TOTAL cynic like me) speech about how he wishes that he could give Aria a good time in the same way boys Aria’s own age could: taking her to movies, introducing her to friends, attending dances together, banging her in the gym locker room, etc.  Fitzy then admits to Aria he got his haircut to impress her, and my heart melted a bit. 

But I STILL hate that awful haircut . . .

Creepy Toby ALWAYS gets the girl (even if she is, technically, a relative)

No one much approved of Emily’s taking Creepy Toby to the Homecoming Dance.  In fact, the couple’s mere entrance into the auditorium causes the entire room to literally turn blue with fear.  (Seriously, what was with the weird lightning in this episode?   Half the dance scenes were lit like a live actions Smurfs movie!)

Which begs a very important question: which Pretty Little Liar would get to be Smurfette?

One of the reasons for the Pretty Little Liars being so “blue” about Emily dating Toby, was that they kind of /sort of thought he killed Ali / was “A.”  You see, apparently, Dweeby Toby found time out of his busy “being a psycho” schedule to get a really gnarly tattoo on his stomach (I thought you had to be 18 to do that.) 

The tattoo said “901 free at last.”  Apparently, the number is not his zip code, but rather the day that  .  . . wait for it . . . Ali disappeared.

To further complicate matters,  Hanna breaks into Jenna’s shrinks office.  (Oh yeah, she totally did that — because shop lifting, car theft/ destruction, and breaking and entering weren’t enough to quench future gangleader Hanna’s taste for crime.  She missed being crowned Homecoming Queen to do it too.)

I may look sweet and innocent, but I’m a totally bad ass MO FO!

Once there, she learns that Toby’s been sexing his stepsister, Blind Jenna . . .

. . . and was in town when Ali disappeared!

Back at the dance, Toby invites Emily to the chemistry lab “to talk.”  Things start out innocently enough, with Emily admitting to Toby that she may very well be a Big Ole Lessie.  But then they take a turn for the frightening, when Toby utters that one line EVERY heretofore mild-mannered serial killer says in movies, before he turns on you and literally eats your face off . . .

“We all have secrets, Emily!”

As if that wasn’t enough of a warning, Emily receives a text message at that moment from Hanna saying, “You’re with A’s killer now.”

Emily freaks out and backs away from Creepy Toby.  He lunges toward her.  Thinking fast, Emily knocks him into a glass cabinet in the chem lab, causing glass to shatter all around him.  Clearly Toby has the same superpowers as A (or IS actually A), because he recovers from the massive fall into glass in mere seconds, and chases Emily down the hallway.  She trips over something and falls . . .

But the final scene just MADE the episode for me.  In it, we see a sign that says, “Rosewood Population 3,488” (or something . . . I can’t really remember the exact number.   I just know it was pretty darn small).  Then, suddenly, a black jacketed hand sprays white spray paint over the final “8,” and uses black spray paint to change it to a “7.” 

The question is . . . who died?  And how does the vandal KNOW about it?

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Where’s My Wren? – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars “Reality Bites Me”

If you’ve read any of my recaps before, you know that I generally like to choose a cheesy title for them, one that hopefully encapsulates the tone of the particular episode I am recapping.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that this week, because I was a little distracted.  The problem, I think, was that I just didn’t love this episode, as much as I loved previous ones.  It just seemed like something was missing, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. 

Then it hit me . . .

The “thing” that was missing from this week’s installment of “Pretty Little Liars” started with a “W” and ended with a “ren.”  The entire time I was watching this episode, I kept listening for that adorable British accent, watching for that smile, and waiting for that hot drunken schmuck to drop another flower pot on Spencer’s floor . . .

. .  . but he never showed.

The episode even tried to trick me, by having a “Wren stand in” pop on the screen to flirt with Spencer.  And, truth be told, that guy looked a little drunk too (More on him later.).  But you can’t fool ME, ABC Family!  Personally, I think you are trying to hide the fact that Wren was kidnapped by the Witchy A, ruiner of all TV relationships . . .

But I digress . . .  A LOT.  Seeing as how I just wasted 200 words of my recap on a guy who wasn’t even IN this week’s installment, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE bring him BACK!  I imagine I should probably start recapping the actual episode.  So, let’s get started . . .

A Lip-sticky Situation

Hanna was a TOTAL Nancy Drew this episode, wasn’t she?   Nothing much exciting really happened to her, but she made up for it, by expertly shoving her nose in the more exciting lives of others.  Oh, and did I mention she got her gay boyfriend to take her back, after she smashed his uber expensive car to smithereens?  Gotta love the forgiving hearts of the filthy rich . . .

“Hey, no worries!  My dad has ten just like it.  We used to lend that one out to the “help.”  They can hitchhike . . .”

But before all that happened, Hanna was eating breakfast, after a slumber party with the girls, when she received yet another mysterious text message from A.  (Apparently, the girls unblocked their cell phones after last week.  So they can now conveniently receive A’s messages again.  I bet you are all SUPER relieved to hear this. I know I was.) 

But this message was different from the others, because it contained . . . an . . . ATTACHMENT!

But, seriously, the ATTACHMENT was actually pretty creepy.  It was a video taken from inside Spencer’s closet.   The video featured our Fabulous Foursome freaking out, after finding that Lipstick Threat on Spencer’s mirror last week . . .

The girls immediately rip open the closet, and something falls on top of them, causing them all to scream.  At this point, I got very excited.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t anything cool, like severed head, or bloody knife, or even a mutilated Barbie doll.  It was .  . .wait for it . . .  a tube of lipstick.

LAME! 

Oh, and it wasn’t even a pretty lipstick, like the one illustrated above.  It was an ugly ass hot pink lipstick, in a shade that was obviously created  to be exclusively worn by airheaded teenage girls in 80’s movies.

Oops . . . she didn’t like that comment, did she?

Clearly, we were supposed to believe that the hot pink tube of crap hiding in Spencer’s closet was the same lipstick that “A” used to write on Spencer’s mirror.  And yet, seeing as the writing on the mirror was BRIGHT RED, not pink, I just didn’t buy it.

Later, Hanna headed off to Sean’s parents’ dental office to receive her “punishment” for wrecking their car.  Supposedly, the purpose of Hanna’s indentured servitude was to “pay” for the car’s repairs.  However, I personally think, Sean’s parents had a more sinister reason for doing this.  My theory is that Sean’s parents were hoping that Sean would take one look at Hanna in that hideous “Kitty Smock” uniform, and decide not to date the illustrious shoplifter / car thief, after all.

Please officer, I’d much prefer the orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, if you don’t mind.  Purple cartoon cats ALWAYS make me look fat.

Granted, when I was little, I used to go to a dentist’s office, where all the hygienists wore outfits like Hanna’s.  Back then, I thought they were the COOLEST shirts EVER!  So, it’s possible that I am simply not the target demographic for the Kitty Smock.  Who knows?

As Hanna rides the elevator on her way to work, who enters but . . . Creepy Blind Jenna!

And what does Jenna do as soon as she steps in the elevator for a three-second ride?  Well, she does what everyone else does in that situation, of course!  She puts on her lipstick!

Wait . . . are you telling me you DON’T put on lipstick while in a moving compartment, because you are afraid of THIS happening?

Yeah . . . me neither.  But apparently BLIND Jenna does it ALL THE TIME!

Did I mention that she’s BLIND?  Not that there is anything wrong with being BLIND, per se.  It’s just that .  . . well . . . why the heck is she LOOKING in the mirror to apply her LIPSTICK?

Hanna doesn’t seem bothered by this anomaly, at all, however.  She is more concerned with the putrid color of lipstick Jenna is wearing.  Lo and behold it’s the EXACT same UGLY ASS lipstick that the girls’ found in Spencer’s house that morning. 

Jenna asks Hanna (who she can’t SEE, of course), if Hanna likes the lipstick she is wearing.  Hanna, of course, lies through her teeth, fearing that if she tells the truth about how hideous Jenna’s lipstick is, the latter’s EVIL CANE of JUSTICE will break both her kneecaps. 

Speaking of which, where the HECK was Jenna’s cane this week?  Did she leave it in the same place as her good taste in lipstick?  Speaking of “color coordination,” have you ever noticed that Jenna ALWAYS wears the same black outfit in every episode?  Weird . . .

Anyway, after doing some pretty impressive snooping, Hanna later learns that Jenna was in the building seeing her therapist.  Oh yes, boys and girls, Jenna goes to THERAPY!  OMG!  Now, if that doesn’t scream KILLER / STALKER, I don’t know what does!  (Yeah, I’m being sarcastic, in case you haven’t figured it out by now.)

Later, Hanna is rewarded with even more juicy gossip, when she receives an instant message on her laptop from the mysterious “A,” one that contains  . . . wait for it . . . another ATTACHMENT.  This one actually made me giggle.  Wanna see?

If you recall, SOMEONE made A BUTTLOAD of copies of those cheap photobooth makeout pictures that Emily and Maya produced a couple weeks back, seemingly for this exact purpose.  Props to Hanna for not being the b*tch I thought she would be about this discovery.  Not only did she not tell anyone else about what she learned.  But when she spoke to Emily, she was actually really supportive — telling Emily that if she met someone who made her happy, whoever that person was, than that was all that mattered.  She’s kind of growing on me, that Hanna . . .

Hanna gets rewarded for her kindness at the end of the episode, when she’s asked to the homecoming dance by the Almost Definitely Gay Sean.  She didn’t think he would ask her, because she STOLE AND WRECKED HIS CAR!  She also thought he had recently started dating this blonde chick who was driving him around everywhere.  But really, Sean and the blonde chick were just attending some cult group meetings for RLW, which stands for Real Love Waits.  Hanna’s so excited about the homecoming dance, she agrees to attend these cult meetings with him. 

“I would LOVE to go to the dance with you, Honey!  My last beard date TOTALLY cancelled out last minute.”

“Awesome!  We should totally color coordinate!  I found this lipstick in Spencer’s closet that would really complement both of our complexions . . .”

Relationships on the Rocks (Shaken, Not Stirred)

Poor Aria!  If Hanna was getting LUCKY this week, with all her windfalls of juicy gossip, Aria was getting . . . well . . . SUCKY.  For starters, after finding that letter from A about her father’s affair, Aria’s mother, understandably was on the rampage.  Fortunately, she took the news maturely, and didn’t take it out on Aria, who had been forced by her father to keep the affair a secret for an entire year.  But it still made dinner at the Montgomery house mighty awkward!

Douchey Daddy!  Now we know why Hilary Swank left your ass!

Fortunately for Aria, at least, initially, she had her relationship with Mr. Fitz to fall back on.  So, when Fitzy told her that he would be doing a lame short story reading gig that night, Aria jumped at the chance to go watch her beau in action.  Randomly, the place where Fitzy did his reading looked suspiciously like a sports bar.  Quite possibly, it was the SAME sports bar, where Aria and Fitzy did the deed in the potty during the pilot episode.

I KNEW I recognized that toilet!

If that last line about “balloons” was any indication, Fitzy’s writing was BAAAAD!  But Aria wanted back in the Fitzy Pantalones so badly that she didn’t seem to notice.  Someone else DID notice, however — namely, Fitzy’s BFF from college.  I think his name was Artie or Marty or something.  No matter, he was basically just there to toss out some good one-liners and screw things up between Aria and Fitzy . . .

“Happy lovers, have no fear!  Sergeant C*ck Block is HERE!”

While Aria is sitting with the bromantic buddies, Artie / Marty / What’s His Face plays nice, regaling Aria on Fitzy’s “adorable” little quirks, such as laughing in his sleep.  (Now that’s just plain creepy.)  But when Aria leaves, Artie /Marty / What’s His Face really lets Fitzy have it for his underage fling. In fact, he falls just short of calling Poor Fitzy a child molester.  The conversation irks Fitzy considerably.  So much so, that he gives Aria the cold shoulder when she comes back to his place.  Aria mends fences quickly, however, by making out with him, and seductively offering “more later.”  Well played, Aria!

“I’m sure Artie / Marty / What’s His Face is great and all, but can he do THIS for you?”

Unfortunately for Aria, Artie / Marty / What’s His Face isn’t the only person trying to break up her relationship with Fitzy.  When Aria returns to Fitzy’s apartment the next day, to retrieve her cell phone, he is LIVID with her over a text message she received from A about the pair’s relationship.  Fitzy dumps Aria on the spot. 

Expect LOTS of REALLY BAD poetry to come out of the loss of this relationship . . .

Love at First Mixtape

Creepy Toby was only SLIGHTLY less creepy this week.  But the minor personality change was enough to make Oh-Golly-Gee-Please-Don’t-Let-Me-Be–a-Lesbian Emily take notice.  As usual, Toby used his alone time with Emily as an opportunity to lecture her on “being herself” and “not caring what other’s think.”  I swear this dude is like a walking After School Special . . . assuming the After School Special  features the main character killing a girl in the shower, while dressed as his own mother.

From his conversations with Emily, we learn that Creepy Toby is an artist, and that he and Emily share the same taste in music.  He offers to make her a mixtape.  She offers to meet him for coffee.

The problem is that when Emily arrives at the ONE COFFEE SHOP IN TOWN, Hanna and Spencer are already there.  So, Wimpy Emily, not wanting her friends to know she is dating the dude that very possibly could be A / Alison’s Killer, completely ignores Creepy Toby, and goes to sit with the girls instead. 

Creepy Toby angrily stalks off, leaving the waitress at the coffee shop Emily’s mixtape, with instructions that she deliver it to Emily.  The mixtape has a picture of Emily on the front cover — the gesture is either really sweet, or really disturbing, I haven’t decided which yet.

The next day, Emily seeks out Creepy Toby, in hopes of setting things right between them.

Is it merely a coincidence that when Emily finds him, Toby is reading The Catcher in the Rye, a book so commonly associated with serial killers that many libraries put a watch out on anyone who takes it out of the library?  (No joke!)  Why isn’t he reading To Kill a Mockingbird, like everyone else in that school?

Anyway, although clearly pissed with Emily, Creepy Toby quickly forgives her wimpiness he’ll chop her body into little tiny pieces and eat them, later.  By way of apology, she gives him a mixtape.  And even though it doesn’t have Toby’s picture drawn on it, Emily throws her OWN hat into the “Creepy Ring,” by cutting letters out of magazines to spell out “Toby’s Mix” on the CD cover — you know, like they do for ransom notes in the movies?  It’s a Match Made in Disturbia between these two  . . .

Spencer Whacks Some Balls .  . . Her Father’s

Were you at all surprised that Spencer ended up winning the Golden Orchid award for her that paper on the Russian Revolution that she stole from her sister?  I wasn’t.  And neither was Spencer.  She did feel guilty though, especially when her father, who has spent the entire first part of the season completely ignoring her, was suddenly showering her with positive attention.  He even offered to take her to the country club to meet an important prospective client.  Spencer and her dad were to play doubles with this  prospective client and his daughter.

Spencer is so psyched about the opportunity to bond with her dad, that she races off to the tennis club to practice.  There she meets not Wren Alex. The two flirt a bit, as Alex compliments Spencer on the take-charge manner in which she handles balls.  But when the time comes for the match, Spencer’s dad insists that Spencer THROW the game, so that he can soften up the prospective client.  Spencer reluctantly throws the match, and feels terrible about it. 

To make matters worse, her new boy toy not Wren Alex sees the whole thing.  He confronts Spencer about it, commiserating over the abundant pressure to “play games” in order to succeed in high society.  Gutsy Ball Whacker Spencer decides to take the bull by the horns, and ask Alex out.  He can barely contain his surprise and excitement, when he says yes.  You GO GIRL THAT’S NOT WREN!

“Hey Alex, you remind me of someone.  I can’t put my finger on who.  How are you at doing British accents?”

Later that evening, Spencer’s father admits that, not only did he throw the match to woo this client, he also blamed his inability to get a table at the club on a “ball attendant”  . . . namely, Alex.  Spencer is LIVID!  She tells her Dad off for his cheating ways, brilliantly ending the rant with a confession about stealing her sister’s paper.  She sure showed him! 

At the end of the episode, Spencer is seen heading out on a date with not Wren Alex.  Apparently, Spencer isn’t only capable of whacking balls, she can juggle them as well.

That’s all I’ve got folks!  Tune in next week when, hopefully, WREN IS BACK!

We miss you, Drunky!

 

 

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