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“What’s up, Doc?” – A Recap of Grey’s Anatomy’s “These Arms of Mine”

“This soup tastes funny . . .”

This week on Grey’s, Meredith’s Voiceover had her trachea accidentally eaten by a Person Who Shall Not Be Named. *cough Alex cough*  And so, while Meredith’s Voiceover’s  new trachea was incubating, our Grey’s writers had to come up with another Artificial Story-Framing Device to use during the episode.  Their solution?  This . . .

As we all know (and have been told TIME and TIME AGAIN), Seattle Grace and the doctors and nurses who work there, have all suffered, as a result of The Shooting.

As with all major tragedies, The Shooting left scars on everyone who experienced it.  Some of those scars are easily seen  . . .

 . . . while others are more hidden.

Yet, ever the businessman, Chief Webber would like to gloss over all of those scars with a swift coat of cheery yellow paint, and put a “fresh face” on Seattle Grace — one that is shiny and new.

“Get those ugly extras in the white lab coats OUT OF MY SHOT!  What do you think this is . . . a HOSPITAL?”

And so, Chief Webber invites a documentary film crew inside his hospital, to show the world what a “warm and sunshiney” place Seattle Grace can be!

“You can stand under my umbrella . . . ella . . . ella . . . hey . . . hey . . . hey . . . under my umbrella . . .”

(Speaking of “sunny”  . . . you know . . . this show has been on the air for seven seasons, and, during that time, I don’t recall ONCE seeing it rain!  Did I mention the show takes place in Seattle?  You know, the “Rainy City?”  Where it rains, on average, 158 days per year?)

One of the few times I someone got wet watching on Grey’s Anatomy . . .

Good weather notwithstanding, it is tough to paint a “happy face” on a place, where phrases like the one below are so often included in daily conversation . . .

But that doesn’t mean that Chief Webber isn’t going to try . . .

So, scrub in Grey’s fans!  It’s time to take a little walk on the “Road to Recovery.”

Alex Karev’s Greatest Hits

By far, my favorite storyline of the episode went to Alex Karev.  His patient-of-the-week was a nine-year old girl named Lily, who had a large tumor obstructing her trachea. 

She also had an obsession with Camp Rock 2, and a terrible case of Bieber Fever . . .

It is important to note that Justin Chambers (the actor who plays Alex) has five kids, ranging in age from 8 to 17, four of whom are girls.  So, when Lily couldn’t take her iPOD into the MRI machine with her, and Alex started singing Camp Rock 2’s “Wouldn’t Change a Thing” to the her, so she wouldn’t be nervous during the procedure, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the actor had done this before . . .

Lily’s MRI results show that her tumor has grown so large that she will die, if her trachea isn’t removed.  Unfortunately, the removal of the trachea is, in itself, an often-fatal procedure.

Fortunately, as per usual, Alex and the Seattle Graceans have come up with a Groundbreaking Medical Procedure that could save Lily’s life.  The procedure involves growing a new healthy trachea, using Lily’s own cells. 

Just heat those little buggers up in a microwave and, voila!  You’ve got yourself a BRAND NEW Chia Trachea!

Tra-tra-tra TRACHEA!

For a guy who can be a REAL douche when it comes to dealing with adults, our Alex sure is a softy when it comes to working with kids!

And, although Alex says he’s only sleeping at the hospital to water Lily’s Chia Trachea, it seems pretty obvious that the real reason he’s there, is so that the little girl won’t feel so alone.

All I know, is if I was in fourth grade right now, I would TOTALLY bring that Adorable Doc in for Show-and-Tell, just like Lily did . . .

I’d probably have him wear less clothes, though . . .

Lexie Grey – Renegade Outlaw

While Alex is spending all of his time in the hospital, Lexie is spending most of hers right outside of it.  You see, ever since The Shooting, Chief Webber has significantly “enhanced” the security at Seattle Grace.  One of these new “enhanced” security procedures requires all staff and vistors entering the hospital to submit to a full body scan and metal detector check.  As for the doctors and nurses, they must also show the security guards their Picture ID Badges, upon entering the hospital.

The problem is that Lexie’s ID picture looks like this . . .

 . . . and she now looks like this . . .

So, rather than do the logical thing, and ask the Chief to have a new ID picture taken, Lexie spends most of the episode fighting with the security guards –trying desperately to convince them that she’s the same person as the blonde in the picture.

Eventually, Lexie  gets fed up with arguing, and runs past the guards into the hospital.  Lexie’s breach of protocol causes the ENTIRE hospital to go into lockdown.  This “innocent” rebellion results in major problems for one of Lexie’s colleagues Dr. Hotness Jackson Avery.

Jackson’s Emotional Breakdown

Jackson is rolling a patient with respiratory problems into surgery, when the automatic procedures associated with the lockdown result in his being trapped in a small glass vestibule, without any medical equipment.  Undoubtedly, having his own PTSD-fueled flashback to the day of The Shooting, Jackson begins to scream, pound ferociously on the glass doors, and doggedly  administer CPR to his patient, who is now frantically gasping for air.

The event frightens Jackson so much, that even when the doors reopen, and other doctors are allowed into the room, Jackson, now hysterically crying continues pounding uselessly on his patient’s chest.

On camera, an embarrassed and grief-stricken Jackson admits just how hard on him The Shooting, specifically, his loss of two friends and colleagues during it has been . . .

Finally, at the end of the episode, The Chief takes his head out of his ass long enough to order the removal of Seattle Grace’s short-lived and utterly ridiculous security system from the premises.  Goodbye and GOOD RIDDENS, I say!

Hello to Arms

I had literally a TON of ideas for jokes to put in the caption underneath this picture, all of which would make me look like a total douche, and none of which were the least bit appropriate.  Therefore, feel free to insert your own Inappropriate Joke About People With No Arms here . . .[ ]

I’m a totally terrible person, aren’t I?

Remember that picture at the top of this recap, featuring the caption about someone’s brains being on the floor?  Yeah . . . that was THIS GUY . . .

The bad news is . . . he’s dead obviously.   The good news is, he’s an organ donor with pretty arms.  That second part makes our Attendings pretty darn happy, because it will provide them with the opportunity to perform . . .you guessed it . . . a NEW Groundbreaking Medical Procedure. 

(That’s TWO Groundbreaking Medical Procedures in one episode, for those of you keeping score . . .)

“Hey, remember when No Arm Guy’s wife stole a baby from the stomach of that chick on Private Practice?  That was AWESOME!”

So, the trio of Super Docs (actually, it ends up being Callie, who does most of the work), plan to extract Dead Guy’s arms, and put them on No Arms Guy.  (Dead Guy isn’t really using them, anyway. . .).  There’s just one slight problem . . .

“Nicole” is not No Arms Guy’s Wife’s name . . . AWKWARD!

Honestly?  I wasn’t as surprised by the couple being so cool with taking the arms, despite the tattoo, as I was by the fact that all the doctors thought that they wouldn’t be.  After all, in the “What Would Rather” game, I’m pretty sure “Have a Random Tattoo” would win out over “Have No Arms” EVERY TIME . . .

Now, usually the actual “surgery” parts of Grey’s episodes bore the stuffing out of me.  But I have to say, this arm surgery was pretty darn cool to watch.  The way they literally sawed off Dead Guy’s arms, and wheeled them down the hospital corridor — the disembodied fingers wiggling, as the gurney lurched and bumped its way toward the OR — was like something out of a horror movie!

And then, the way the arms turned, pink, once they were reconnected to the Patient Formerly Known as No Arms Guy’s body, was so VERY Frankenstein . . .

 . . . or, it would be, if the original Frankenstein movie wasn’t in black-and-white . . .

I also liked the little epilogue part, where we learned that the Patient Formerly Known As No Arms Guy tattooed the word “Thank you” next to Nicole’s name.  That was sweet.  It was nice of Crazy Lady from Private Practice and the Patient Formerly Known As No Arms Guy to remember that, even though the arms belonged to Dead Guy, originally, it was his wife, Nicole, who actually agreed to donate them — thereby, making this whole thing possible . . .

LOOOOOOOONG Distance Relationship

Ummmm . . . what’s up with the Fugly Hat?  You’re going to Africa, not the Easter Parade.”

Sometimes, spending time fixing Tiny Humans really pays off.  Arizona learned this, when she won the prestigious Carter Madison grant.   Said grant would allow her to go to Africa, and facilitate the process of ensuring that the children there receive top-quality medical treatment. 

While some of Arizona’s colleagues were pleased to hear about the honor she received  .  . .

(The increasingly opportunistic Chief Webber treated Arizona like she was his prize poodle, who had just won Best in Show at the Purina Dog C0mpetition.  I kept waiting for him to pat her on the head, and give her a biscuit . . .)

 . . . others were less than enthused . . .

Callie, for one, couldn’t understand why ANYONE would possibly give up Earth-shattering sex with her (YAY!), in exchange for something as mundane as The Opportunity of a Lifetime (Snooze!).

Fortunately for Arizona, Callie decided, at the last minute to come to Africa with Arizona. 

See?  Sometimes you CAN have your pound cake, and eat it out too!

Miranda Bailey can’t win . . .

You know, everytime I see Miranda Bailey on my screen lately, I want to reach out and give her a hug.  Let’s review, shall we?  Her husband left her, her boyfriend ditched her for a spinoff .  . .

. . . Dr. Percy died in her arms . . . and now . . . our girl is FINALLY ready to go out and have a drink with her buds . . .

 . . . when she finds out that SHE KILLED MANDY MOORE!

It all started when Mary, the girl attached to the colostomy bag, who braved The Shooting with Bailey, returned to Seattle Grace, with her husband in tow.

 Mary plans to have Dr. Bailey complete a medical procedure, which she had never gotten to perform during Mary’s first visit to the hospital, for obvious reasons.  The procedure is a routine colostomy reversal, one that should have Mary in and out of the OR in about an hour.  Dr. Bailey, having grown attached to Mary, during The Shooting, is eager to finish the procedure.  She hopes that it will provide them both with some much needed closure on a difficult chapter in their lives.

While Bailey preps Mary for surgery, the two chat like old girlfriends.  We learn that Mary and her husband, realizing that life is short, blew through their entire savings, and traveled the world, in the months following the shooting.

 

We also hear Mary tell the documentary film crew that she hopes to “have lots of babies.”

The procedure itself goes off without a hitch.  We see Dr. Bailey give Mary’s adorable husband (played by Ryan Devlin) the good news.  Dr. Bailey, still on a high from her friend’s successful surgery, tells the documentary crew that she is plans to treat herself to a drink after work — something, which, surely she has earned.

Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be Grey’s Anatomy if there wasn’t at least one maudlin moment in the episode.  And this moment belonged to poor Mary, who, we later learn, never woke up from surgery.

After watching his wife spend months in a coma, Mary’s husband is ultimately forced to terminate her life support.   In a heart-wrenching scene toward the end of the episode, we see Bailey break down and cry over Mary’s death, in an empty hospital room . . .

Well THAT was completely unnecessary, Grey’s!

“Being a Hero Has Its Price.”

Although Meredith and Cristina didn’t have their own “medical” storyline this week  (Cristina, after all, is still on her way too long “I don’t do surgery” PTSD/depression kick.), we did get to see a lot of them both, during the “interview” portion of the episode.  Meredith remarks to the interviewer about how close her and Cristina are — a fact which Derek readily confirms.  “Dr. Yang and my wife sometimes have sleepovers . . . in my bed  . . . with me in it.”

That’s HOT!

But when Meredith calls Cristina “her hero” for saving Derek’s life, during The Shooting, Cristina breaks down, and has to stop the interview.  She later returns to complete the interview, after she has composed herself.  “What did you take away from all of this?”  The interviewer asks Cristina.

“Being a hero has its price,” replies Cristina sadly.

Indeed . . .

But, that’s kind of a depressing way to end a recap.  And I always like to end my recaps on a HAPPY note.  So, let’s try this ending on for size . . .

Ahhhh . . . much better!

See you next week!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Do That Tomb Me, One More Time! – A Recap of The Vampire Diaries’ “Masquerade”

Don’t you love it when our little Scooby Gang can put aside their differences, and come together to achieve a common goal?  I mean . . . think about it.  EVERYBODY played their part in Katherine’s destruction this week.  Alaric brought the weapons.  Bonnie set the trap.  Caroline led Kat into the trap.  The Salvatores kicked some Major Kat Ass, and Jeremy . . . well . . .  ummm . . .

 . . .  he looked really pretty!

So put on your party masks, everyone . . . it’s time to look back at how our favorite Scooby Crew turned a Mission Impossible into a Mission (mostly) Accomplished!

We ALL Need a Stiff One Sometimes . . .

ALARIC:  “My, what big WOOD you have, Damon!”

DAMON:  “The better to poke you with, My Dear Alaric.”  *does Eye Thing*

When the episode begins, Caroline is in DESPERATE need of a Stiff One.  And Damon kindly obliges . . .

“Phew, I really needed that.”

OK . . . I meant he gave her a DRINK . . . of blood . . . Get your mind out of the gutter!  (Damon’s a one-woman girl, now!  HE BELONGS TO ELENA!  DUH!)

That’s more like it!  (You’re welcome for the Shirtless Damon pic, by the way . . . they’ve been SO LACKING this season!  WTF Writers!)

Anyway, Caroline needed the Stiffy drink, because she had just had a run in with the EVIL KAT.  Apparently, Elena’s Much Cooler Twin Sister cornered the Baby Vamp, while she was skulking around Mystic Falls Only Bar / Social Establishment, and stalking her ex boyfriend, Zombie Matt.

“Must . . . eat . . . brains    be  . . . Random Plot Device   do . . . Katherine’s bidding.”

As per usual, Katherine wants Caroline to “deliver a message” to the Salvatore Detective Agency.  (What’s with all this getting your enemies to deliver your messages for you, Katherine?  Can’t you afford Fed Ex . . . or a good texting plan?)

“What do you MEAN, it’s going to take 3-to-5 business days to get there?  I eat customer service reps, like you for lunch!  No . . . really . . .I do.”

The “message” in question is that Katherine wants the Object-Formerly-Known as-Mason’s-Family-Jewels . . .

 (Sorry Wolfman!)

 . . . delivered to her that night, at Mystic Falls’ Masquerade Ball for the Homeless (?)

(Seriously?  Aside from maybe the Hidey Hole Vamps, how many homeless people do you think actually live in Mystic Falls)

If the Brothers don’t deliver the Jewels to the Big Ball, THE TOWN WILL RAIN BLOOD!

“RAIN?  I didn’t even bring an umbrella!”

Caroline initially suggests that the Salvatore Detective Agency give Katherine what she wants so she will “GO AWAY!”

But Damon doesn’t PLAY that game!  “I’m not giving her my DICK again!”  He exclaims.

Would you, perhaps, consider giving it to ME, then?

Damon then states that HE plans to KILL Katherine (a revelation that would be truly shocking . . . if . . . say . . . you were stuck in an underground tomb somewhere, between this week and last, and, therefore, never saw any of the promos for this episode).  Then Stefan, ever the stereotypical little brother, states that he wants to kill Katherine, instead of Damon!

DAMON: “I’ll wrestle you for it.”

STEFAN:  “Fine . . . take off your shirt.”

Stupidity, Naivety, and, of course, more Uselessness . . .

After last week’s brief brush with plot importance, Aunt Jenna dutifully resumed Chronic Uselessness this week, when she was carried home by Matt, Elena, Alaric and Jeremy, after “accidentally stabbing herself in the abdomen with a knife.” 

(OK . . . could someone please tell me WHY these guys haven’t told Useless Aunt Jenna about the whole “Vampire Thing” yet?  Doesn’t her current status as the girlfriend of the male equivalent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer earn her honorary admission into the Scooby Gang?  We all know she’s just going to keep “walking into the knives,” until she’s taught to do otherwise . . .)

Once alone, Jeremy asks Elena what she plans on doing about the whole “Kat Problem.”  And Elena, taking a page from the Useless Aunt Jenna Book of Problem Solving, replies, “Nothing.”

“I always knew I had all the brains in the family . . .”

Elena honestly believes that, because she broke up with Stefan she can FINALLY start screwing his Hot Brother Katherine will just ride off into the sunset on the coffin she rode in on.  “You are being a F*CKING MORON naive, and you know it!”  Jeremy scolds.

And with that, Mini Gilbert stalks off to La Casa de Rich and Awesome for yet another Pow Wow of Sexiness and Plot Explanation . . .

“I’ll Take ‘Weapons Commonly Used to Kill Vampires’ for $100, Alex”

Over at La Casa de Rich and Awesome, Alaric has quite literally opened up his Can of Vampire-Flavored Whup Ass on the rest of the Scooby Gang.  This guy’s got some phallic-shaped weapons that would make even Buffy blush!

DAMON:  “All that vampire slaying, and your hands are still silky smooth!  Do you mind my asking, what kind of moisturizer you use?”

Soon, Bonnie arrives with her . . .  to this day I can never figure out what they call that Witch Book of hers . . . Grimmore . . . Grin More . . . Gremlin? . . . whatever it is, she’s got a Big Book, and Stefan wants her to use it to help kill Katherine.

BONNIE:  “Do you want me to hit her on the head with it?  Because I could do that, you know . . .”

Stefan’s actual plan involves Bonnie performing a spell at the Masquerade Ball for the Homeless (?) that will isolate Katherine from the rest of the party, so that the Brother Vamps can kill her in peace.  Then, Bonnie makes me like her character just a little bit more, by actually agreeing to the plan, without giving anyone a migraine . . .

 . . . or making a single Anti-Vampire comment, in the process.  (It’s a start . . .)

“As long as no one gets hurt,” Judgy Bonnie can’t help but scold.

(In hindsight, this was probably the funniest line in the whole episode.  Seriously!  Who didn’t get hurt at the Masquerade Ball for the Homeless(?))

“Except for Katherine.  Tonight the Kat gets a stake through the heart,” concluded Damon (a line which undoubtedly scared the bejeesus out of all the cats,watching this episode . . . including mine . . . she’s a HUGE TVD fan!)

This isn’t her . . .

My Katherine, what a BIG WITCH you have!

Speaking of Katherine, it looks like she got herself a witch of her own.  And MAN is she TALL!  In fact, Witchy Lucy was SO tall, she made most of the cast look like miniature figurines!  After weeks of seeing the evil vamp threaten her adversaries, with sing-song one-liners and double entendres, it was nice to see Katherine with someone who (at least, at first) actually seemed like friend of hers.

When Lucy inquires as to why Katherine is straightening her hair, she replies conspiratorially, “I’m impersonating my dull as dishwater doppelganger, Elena.”

“She has terrible taste,” scoffs Katherine.

“Except in men!” Lucy replies.

When Katherine flirtatiously asks Lucy to be her “plus one” at the event, I couldn’t help but wonder if these two had ever “experimented” with eachother.  (Come on!  You just KNOW Katherine is the kind of girl who “swings both ways.”)

Everybody Rejects Elena . . . (for once in her life)

“WTF, guys!  You can’t engage in Scooby Games without ME!  You all LOVE ME, and I’m HOT!”

Back at the Gilbert house, Mopey Elena is being SUPER selfish!  She’s letting her breakup with Stefan get in the way of her going to a boozy party TO HELP THE HOMELESS!

She tries to get Zombie Matt to stay home with her (he used to LUUUUUUVVVV her, after all).  But Zombie Matt is on a suicidal mission . . . one which (shockingly) doesn’t involve Elena.  But when Elena finds out that Stefan AND Jeremy went to “help the homeless” too, she gets REALLY pissed!

“I’m glad he’s going,” says Useless Aunt Jenna, of Jeremy.  “He needs to lose the Emo Thing.”

(“Emo Thing,” Jenna?  COME ON!  That is SO Season 1!)

Ultimately, however, it’s Alaric that spills the beans about the Scooby Gang and their Ocean’s 11-esque plan to Kill the Kat, and Save the Elena!

“What can I say?  I’m a sucker for a good Spoiler!”

So Many Dicks, So Little Time . . .

Having watched the episode, I now see that the purpose of that seemingly random scene between Tyler and his mom, was to, more or less, foreshadow what happened to him at the end of the episode.  However, when I first watched it, I was pretty certain it was all about DICKS . . .

“Why so much ‘dick’?  You’ve got something against the word ‘weiner?'”

Tyler apologized for being a DICK . . . Tyler’s mom said Tyler’s dead dad could be a DICK sometimes . . . Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick.  Between all these dicks, and the two Damon used in the opening scenes, I found myself sorely wishing I had created a drinking game around this word, before the episode began . . .

Slutty Amy Meets Her Maker . . .

As if the attempted murder of Useless Aunt Jenna, and the zombification / attempted murder of Matt weren’t enough of an indication, Katherine once again proved herself to be NO JOKE early on in the Masquerade Ball for the Homeless(?).  After a very sexy slow dance with Stefan, Katherine, angered by Stefan’s staunch refusal to give her the Moonstone right away, claimed the episode’s first victim, in a matter of minutes . . .

We barely knew thee, ya big WHORE!

Your dress is “GORG!” swoons Slutty Amy to Vampire Katherine, who she believes to be Elena.  Casting a final defiant look in Stefan’s direction, Katherine casually walks over to the well-meaning, but incredibly dim girl, and snaps her neck.

“OMG!  I can’t believe you just did that!  It makes me so . . . thirsty.”

And the Senseless Death Award goes to . .  .

  . . . wait . . . I already forgot her name . . .

Tyler gets some action (and his first taste of CGI Graphics . . .)

“Hey Matt, is that a murder weapon in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?”

So, here’s the question I have about this whole “compelling thing:”  When a subject is compelled to do something, how long does that suggestion last?  Is Jenna going to keep “accidentally walking into knives?”  Is Matt going to keep trying to get Tyler to kill him, even though Katherine is (at least, temporarily) out of the picture, and the reason for the mission has already been accomplished?

I only ask, because I noticed that, even though Katherine gave Matt the suggestion to provoke Tyler until Tyler killed him, last week, Katherine felt the need to compel him AGAIN, with the same suggestion, at the Masquerade Ball for the Homeless(?). 

Perhaps, she was afraid viewers he would forget?

“God, you are HOT!  Now go away!”  Katherine told Matt, her message having been successfully re-delivered.

So, off went Matt, along with Slutty Sarah . . .

 . . . and Tyler into the “Forbidden Room” a.k.a. “Dad’s Study” to get wasted.  Once the trio is suitably hammered, Matt starts acting like . . . for lack of a better term . . . a TOTAL DICK . . .

Speaking of dicks (AGAIN!), Matt starts calling Tyler’s Dead Dad ONE.  (Talk about speaking ill of the dead, this is the second time this hour that the dearly departed Mayor has been called a part of the male anatomy.)  Matt then randomly pours a bottle of expensive liquor on the carpet, and smashes a picture of Tyler and his father to the ground.  “Remember when your Dad used to slap you around?”  Matt slurringly inquires.

“I’m not going to fight you,”  says Tyler, just as he does EVERYTIME he’s about to fight someone.

Then Matt starts to attack him . . .

The two “go at it” (wink, wink) for a little while, as Slutty Sarah watches with interest.   Then Caroline . . .

 . . . having just completed her Scooby Gang task (more on that, in a bit) . .  . hears the ruckus, using her super sensitive vampire ears.  Off rushes Baby Vamp to kick some ass, and take some names!

In minutes, Caroline has put herself in between the fighting boys.  With little effort at all, she knocks Matt unconscious to the ground.  He’s woozy and wasted, but alive. 

“That was ALL KINDS of hot, Caroline!  I’m stroking my pool stick, just thinking about it.”

Crisis averted . . . or so it seemed . . . but as we learned last week, Katherine always has a Plan B!   “Matt failed.  If Matt fails, I can’t,” utters Slutty Sarah robotically, as she lunges at Tyler with a very sharp letter opener.

“TYLER LOOK OUT!”  Caroline screams, from the floor next to Matt.

Caught off guard, a very freaked out Tyler knocks Slutty Sarah into his deceased father’s desk.  And Slutty Sarah, who, might I remind you, survived BEING PUSHED DOWN AN ENTIRE FLIGHT OF WOODEN STEPS, early on in the season, hits her head and dies instantly.

But, hey . . . at least her death wasn’t SENSELESS, like her friend Amy’s!  Caroline rushes to examine Slutty Sarah’s non-existent pulse, while Tyler hunches over in pain.  That’s when it happens.  Tyler’s eyes begin to bug out, werewolf style . . .

 . . . and THAT was how his curse was ACTIVATED!

After dropping Matt off in the car to “sleep it off,” Caroline returns to check on Tyler, who has broken the news of Slutty Sarah’s death to his mother.  Mommy Dearest takes it surprisingly well.  It kind of makes me wonder how much she knows about the Werewolf Curse, which both her husband, and now her son, have experienced firsthand.  “It was an accident,” she says calmly.  “We’ll take care of it.”

“I’ll deal with Matt,” Caroline says comfortingly to Tyler. 

“Why are you doing all this [for me]?”  Tyler inquires.   “I killed her.  She’s dead.  You have no idea what that means.”

“Well, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle DEAD!”

“Yes . . . I do,” replies the Undead Triple Homicide Veteran. 

Caroline then calls Tyler’s attention to his heretofore bloody wounds, now healed.  “How did you do that?”  Tyler asks, now staring at the sexy blonde intently.

(Hmmmmm . . .  well . . . Caroline and Tyler would be more interesting together than Caroline and Matt.  That’s for sure!  Just out of curiousity, how bizarre exactly do you think a vampire / werewolf lovechild would look, anyway?)

Here’s a good guess!

The Best Laid Plans

Back in Kill Kat Land, Stefan chastises himself for not killing Kat during the Memory Lane episode, when he had the chance.  Damon, always eager to best his brother, argues that this would NEVER happen to him.  “You loved her for over 140 years.  It could happen . . .”  Stefan warns.

“Whatever happens, I’ve got your back,” says Damon to his Baby Bro.  “Tonight, it [Kat’s Reign of Terror] ends.”

Meanwhile, Mr. I-Am-Incapable-of-Being-Single-and-Therefore-Will-Hit-On/Fall-in-Love-with ANYONE, Jeremy decides that this would be a great opportunity to put the moves on his Big Sister’s sort of/kind of best friend.

“Nice boobs, Bonnie!  Way nicer than Tyler’s .  . . a bit nicer than Anna’s . . . but not quite as nice as Vicki’s”

“You are 100% B*tch Witch.  That is so cool,” remarks Jeremy flirtatiously, as Bonnie puts the finishing touches on her Kathering Binding spell.

Surprise!  Surprise!  If Jeremy had witchy powers, he says he would use them to perform Sex Spells . . .

When did this episode of The Vampire Diaries become the movie Eyes Wide Shut?

[Being a witch] never ends well for people like me,” complains Bonnie morbidly. 

(Talk about KILLING THE MOOD, BONNIE!)

While the pair are talking, Bonnie gets a “feeling” (it’s called being horny) that she has to investigate . . .

The “feeling,” as it turns out, comes from Mini Gilbert fellow witch, Lucy . . .

The plan now set in motion, Jeremy finds Katherine and tells her to meet Stefan and Damon upstairs, where they will supposedly give her the Moonstone.  Next up is Caroline, who finds herself accosted by Katherine for the second time this episode.

“They are trying to kill you,” squeaks Caroline, as her head is pushed into a wall.

“Where’s Bonnie?”  Katherine wisely inquires to a “choked up” Caroline.

“She’s upstairs,” replies Caroline breathlessly.

Katherine drags Caroline upstairs.  Then, the Baby Vamp leads the Old as Sh*t Vamp to a guest bedroom.  Bonnie is not there.  But Stefan and Damon are.  And now, thanks to Bonnie’s spell, Katherine can’t leave!

“I DID IT!”  Caroline squeals with joy, practically jumping up and down at the thought of having bested the vampire who “killed her.”  “Goodbye Kat!”  She says, giving her a cute girly finger wave, before exiting stage left. (LOVE HER!)

While Katherine is distracted by Stefan and his little baby dagger, Damon approaches her from behind with his big BULL of a SHOTGUN! *wink wink*

But this . .. is when things start to go wrong . . .

Down on the ground below, Elena has crashed the party in plain clothes.  Apparently the Debbie Downer has come to pee on all the fun that is the Salvatore Detective Agency Feline Murder Plot . . .

Note:  When I first screencapped this scene from the trailer, I was POSITIVE that it featured Damon and Elena!  Imagine my disappointment to learn that it was Mini Gilbert instead . . .

You don’t need to do this for me,” remarks Little Miss Selfish to her brother, when she learns what the crew has planned in her absence.

“It’s not just about YOU!  NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU!  She’s messed with all of us.   She has to be stopped!”  Jeremy explains.

Suddenly, a massive bullet wound appears on Elena’s stomach.

Elena doubles over, in pain!  Bonnie instantly realizes that Katherine’s witch, Lucy, linked the doppelgangers together, so that when Damon and Stefan hurt Katherine, they would also hurt the NEW love of BOTH of their lives, Elena.  Bonnie rushes to find Lucy, while Jeremy tends to Elena . . .

Meanwhile, the battle of Salvatore Brothers versus Katherine rages on!  And as my Blogger Pal Amy (not the Slutty Dead ONE from the show) remarked, it was SUPER KINKY!

There was tons of panting, grunting, thrusting and vamped-out posturing . . .

Phallic weapons were stroked, poked, and prodded into skin that bumped and grinded against other skin. 

There were big STICKS flying everywhere, penetrating EVERYTHING!

“EAT IT!  PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH!  SWALLOW!”

At one point, Katherine straddled Stefan, while Damon approached her from behind, ready to “strike.”

It was AWESOME!

At that moment, Jeremy rushes in to tell the brothers that Katherine and Elena are linked, and that everything Damon and Stefan do to Katherine is also happening to Elena .  . .

Unable to fathom ever physically hurting the woman he has come to care for so deeply — even if it means losing to Katherine — Damon stops fighting immediately.  A worried expression instantly replaces the rage that had covered his face, just seconds before.

Talk about doing a complete 180!  NOW Katherine has begun hurting herself, as Damon and Stefan desperately try to STOP HER!

“Kiss me, Damon!  She’ll feel THAT too!”  Katherine taunts.

(GIRLS, HOW AWESOME WOULD IT HAVE BEEN IF HE ACTUALLY DID IT?)

“What happened Damon, you used to be so polite?”  Katherine continues.

“That guy died a LONG time ago!”  Damon remarks shrewdly.

Like Isobel before her, Katherine instantly can see the extent to which Damon loves Elena, and how that effects Stefan.  She notes how both men are “worshipping at Elena’s alter,” when they used to worship at Katherine’s.

Stefan and Katherine then take a little trip down memory lane.  With Katherine remarking about how she has checked up on Stefan over the years, even going as far as to follow him to a Bon Jovi concert back in the 80’s.  (And you just KNOW Stefan had a  mullet back then!) 

Stefan, for his part, makes the connection between Werewolf George’s need for the moonstone back in 1864, and Katherine’s need for it now.

“You used the moonstone to bargain for your safety,” Stefan notes wisely.  “And you were already free, when we tried to save you.”  He recalls. 

“Yes, your obsession with me was very inconvenient, Damon,” Katherine scoffs.

“You and me both!”  Damon exclaims.

The old ball and chain . . .

Stefan wonders who Katherine has been running from all these years.  But Katherine refuses to answer.  And yet, something tellls me that the Salvatore Detective Agency are about to find out . . .

Meanwhile, Bonnie finds Lucy, who knows she has the Moonstone, and will only break the spell on Elena, if Bonnie gives it up.  Bonnie moves to fight Lucy, but stops, after hearing her say the words, “You can trust me.”

HUH?

In the following scene, Lucy arrives in the War Room, instantly breaking the binding curse on Katherine, and handing her the Moonstone.  But when Lucy hands Katherine the stone, Katherine falls to the ground seizing. 

“You should have told me the other witch involved was a Bennett,” remarks Lucy, as Katherine goes still.

Lucy informs the brothers that the curse is broken, and Elena will heal.   She then goes outside to Bonnie, and tells her the truth.  Lucy was only working for Katherine, because she had a debt that needed repayment.  Katherine had apparently saved her life once. 

But Bonnie is Lucy’s family, so she comes first.  Because Lucy is a Bennett witch too!

“Seeing you was a wake up call,” explains Lucy.  “I have got to stop letting vampires control my life.”

“I have so many questions,” says Bonnie.  “How do I stay out of all this[vampire sh*t]?”

“You are one of the good ones,” Lucy explains.   “Right in the middle is where you need to be.   It was nice meeting you.  You’ll see me again.”  The witch promises before disappearing into the woods.

Then Mini Gilbert MAGICALLY APPEARS .  . .

He gallantly offers the Little Witch a ride home.  Bonnie didn’t even know he had a drivers’ license!  “I’m not a kid anymore,” remarks Scrappy Doo.

Then, the future couple ride off  into the sunset, in Jeremy’s Super Fly Ride . . .

For reasons I didn’t quite understand (not that I’m complaining – Damon and Elena FOR THE WIN!) Elena stays broken up with Stefan, even though the purported reason for their breakup is now out of the picture.  When Stefan confronts her about her decision, Elena rattles off some nonsense about needing to “feel safe.” 

(Riiiight, because being single and alone, when you are a Magnet of Trouble, is WAY safer than having a kickass Body Guard Boyfriend who can snap your attackers’ necks, as easily as he can tie his shoes . . .) 

Umm Stefan?  I hate to be the one to break this to you, but . . .

 . . . quite possibly because she’s into him . . .

“MY TURN!  Cheers!”

(My sincere apologies to Stelena fans, who are undoubtedly cursing me underneath their breaths right now.  Really, I mean you no harm!  I like Stefan.  I DO!  I just like Damon MORE  But, even YOU have to admit, that Breakup Excuse was kind of lame . . .)

Speaking of Damon, he made the awesome decision to NOT kill Katherine, and instead, to lock her up the same tomb she SHOULD have been in all those years ago.  “Death would have been too kind,” growls Damon.  “The writers would also really like the opportunity to bring you back next year around Sweeps Week, and if you were Dead Dead, they couldn’t do that.”

“Elena’s in danger,” Katherine warns from inside the tomb.

“You lie.  You will always lie,” Damon seethes.

“Why do you think I never killed her, when I had the chance?  She’s my doppelganger.  She needs to be protected.”  Katherine adds convincingly.

“Then I’ll protect her,” Damon replies without a second thought, a few choice images, undoubtedly running through his head, and ours as he utters those powerful words  . . .

“And YOU will ROT IN HELL!”  Damon explains decisively, as he locks the tomb.

Damon pointedly ignores Katherine’s screams of “You need me,” as he walks off into the darkness . . .

As it turns out, Damon may have done well to listen a bit better to Kat, for once.  Because, in the final scene of the episode, as Elena walks alone to her car, she is kidnapped by THIS WEIRDO . . .

There you go, Elena.  Yet another Damsel in Distress moment for YOU!  So much for “BEING SAFE!”

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under The Vampire Diaries

You did WHAT???!!!- A Recap of the Grey’s Anatomy Season Premiere “With You I’m Born Again”

Can you believe that Grey’s Anatomy kicked off its SEVENTH SEASON this week?  That means the show is almost SIX YEARS OLD?  That’s not a Baby Show anymore.  It’s a BIG KID Show.  It’s a friggin FIRST GRADER!  And as for those of you who, like me, have watched Grey’s since its inception . . . seriously . . . how OLD are you feeling right NOW?

“I remember back when this show started, I still had all my REAL teeth!”

A lot can change in six years.  And, as fans of Grey’s Anatomy, it’s highly likely that WE have personally experienced many changes, ourselves, both in our personal and professional lifes, since the show began.  But while gradual change is commonplace, throughout the course of a human lifetime, nothing brings about quick, groundbreaking, whirlwind change, like the experience of personal trauma.  And nothing says “personal trauma” like the mass murder of your friends and colleagues by a GUN-TOTING, CRAZED, LUNATIC!

So, without further adieu, let’s take a quick look at the ways in which our favorite Seattle Grace pals have changed, since we last saw them . . .

 GO SPEED RACER! GO!

It seems that the experience of getting stalked by a Wackjob, having been the indirect cause of 18 deaths, and being shot and nearly killed, himself, has given Seattle Grace’s McDreamiest surgeon a NEED FOR SPEED . . .

(Just not Speed, like in the Keanu Reeves movie . . . because I sincerely doubt Seattle’s “greatest surgeon” would ever deign to ride a BUS.)

When the episode first opens, Meredith has to go bail Derek out of the Pokey, following his recent tango with the law.  The crime?  Reckless Endangerment — a criminal charge that almost was, but wasn’t, filed, because the Seattle Cops “worship” McDreamy (a.k.a. have big juicy Man Crushes on him).

Who DOESN’T?

All, I’ve gotta say, is that it is a darn good thing Post-It Wifey, Meredith, bails Derek out when she does.  Because, from the looks of it, our favorite surgeon was looking like a pretty strong contender for a rousing prison game of “Who dropped the soap?”

It’s a contact sport.

Still smelling of “Jailhouse Rock,” Derek, who is scheduled to return to work as Chief of Staff that day, heads directly to his favorite speech-giving location (The Stairwell of Power), and . . .

. . . QUITS HIS JOB AS CHIEF . . .

. . .  thereby passing the “Chief-ly” baton back to THIS GUY . . .

 . . . Old / New Chief Webber, who responded to the news by  .  . . going into his new office, and reenacting scenes from the film, Boogie Nights.

I know some fans took McDreamy’s decision to relinquish his chiefly duties as a sign of this “Toxic Impulsivity” he’s contracted since the shooting.  However, for the most part, I think his decision was a sound one.  As a surgeon, Derek is AWESOME!  As a chief .  . . not so much.  

While acting as Chief last season, Derek seemed much less like the McDreamy we had grown to love for five years, and much more like . . . McPoopyhead.

Besides, Derek simply didn’t have TIME to be Chief, not with his upcoming Crazy Insano Surgery of the Week — a surgery that I will lovingly refer to as the “Face Off.”

Yes, boys and girls!  Under the guise of removing a massive inoperable brain tumor  (Aren’t they ALWAYS massive and inoperable when Derek is involved?  Has this guy EVER operated on something “operable?”), Derek, along with his stalwart crew, literally REMOVES SOME TEENAGER’S FACE, by CUTTING IT STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE.  And it is gross . . .  Fortunately, we don’t have to sit through too much of it, however. 

Because, after six seasons, I think our Grey’s writers have FINALLY learned what us fans have known since Season 1.  Namely, if we wanted to watch medical mysteries, we’d turn on House.  But we don’t.  We watch Grey’s for the hot men, the funny one-liners, and the juicy sex scenes.  And though it was, admittedly, a bit light on the “sex” for my taste, what we wanted was, more or less, what we got, in this Season Premiere.

Speaking of sex, after successfully performing the “Face Off,”  Derek, still reeking of blood and guts, was suddenly SUPER HORNY.  And so, he accosted Post-It Wife Meredith in the on-call room, and prepared to “Do the Deed.”  “Let’s make babies like the one you miscarried last season, but forgot to tell me about, ” whispered Derek in Meredith’s ear, as he feverishly removed his scrubs, and proceeded on to Grope Fest 2010.

Then his beeper went off . . .

“Seriously, BEEPER!  Are you effing kidding me?”

Apparently, Face Off Boy was in pain . . . Because, having your face sawed in half?  Kind of painful.  No . . . scratch that.  VERY PAINFUL.  And yet, after a few kind words from Derek, Face Off Boy is just fine . . .

 

That’s OK, Monkey.  I didn’t buy it either.   Apparently, Derek has become some kind of Super Hero, since last season.

After stopping Face Off Boy’s Excruciating Pain in under a minute, off dashes our Super Hero to save a woman from a burning building drive 125 mph in a 50 mph zone, en route to a wedding where he is supposed to be Best Man (more on that later).  Except, this time, when Derek gets arrested for Reckless Endangerment, Meredith LEAVES HIS ASS IN JAIL, and goes to the wedding, BY HERSELF!

It looks like Derek’s new prison friends are going to get a chance to play “Who dropped the soap?” with him after all!

Just a little going away present for our favorite Doctor, locked away in the Big Dog House.  You never know when such things might come in handy . . .

Still Dark and Twisty, after ALL THESE YEARS . . .

While Derek was busy speeding the streets, quitting his job, cutting peoples’ faces off, being a Super Hero, and hiding the soap, Meredith was  . . . well . . . she wasn’t doing much of anything actually, because Dr. Andrew Perkins . . .

a.k.a. McSexyShrinko

 . . . had not yet cleared her to perform surgery.  McSexyShrinko felt that Meredith had still not properly owned up to her inner demons, following The Shooting.  And one of those demons (though McSexyShrinko couldn’t have possibly known this, because she didn’t tell him), was the pregancy and subsequent miscarriage Meredith endured, during the traumatic event.

An “awkward position” to be in.

Believing that Derek has been through too much in recent months to cope with the loss of a baby as well, Meredith has borne the pain and burden of this secret, on her own skinny shoulders.  And, though she would never admit to it, it is obviously eating her up inside.

Yet, with all she is going through, Meredith finds it in her heart, to be there for her best friend, Christina, during the latter’s time of need.  Despite her initial misgivings about their relationship, and her belief that the pair was jumping into marriage so soon after The Shooting, Meredith ultimately gives Christina away at her wedding to Owen.  And when Christina nervously asks her best friend, if Owen is OK, prior to the wedding, Our Plucky Protagonist sweetly replies, “He’s perfect.  He is just perfect.”

And if a statement like that coming from an Avowed Cynic, like Meredith, doesn’t warm your heart, I don’t know what will!

Speaking of Christina . . .

Here Comes the Bride .  . . All Dressed in  . . . RED?

Aside from the fact that she is getting married to the guy we just saw her BREAK UP WITH at the end of last season, because she believed him to be “just not that into [her],” and more into SOMEONE ELSE . . .

. . . the main differences we notice in Christina, during the Season Premiere, are that she (1) doesn’t seem to care AT ALL that she, like Meredith, hasn’t yet been cleared for surgery; and (2) spends almost the entire episode READING BRIDAL MAGAZINES.

Later, in a groundbreaking session with Dr. Perkins, we learn that Christina is focusing on these magazines, in an effort to force herself into the proverbial box in her head that she has labeled: “The Simple Girl.” 

“I went to school with women like this,” notes Christina, “Women who only wanted to marry the guy, and wear the pretty dress.  I used to pity them.  But I’ve realized that, in life, you can either be a Simple Girl, or you can be  . . . Me.  But Simple Girls are never forced to perform surgeries with guns to their heads.”

We are instantly flashed back to an evening a few months’ prior, when Owen arrives at Christina’s home, to find her frantic, panic-stricken, and unusually vulnerable.  “You’re late,” she insists.

 “I don’t want to be alone anymore,” says Christina tearfully, as Owen scoots next to her on the couch, and tries in vain to comfort her.

“You don’t have to be alone ever again.  Let me stay,” offers Owen.

And then he does this . . .

It’s a simple and sweet moment.  One that truly reflects these two characters and the often silent connection they have with one another.  Sure, “not wanting to be alone” isn’t the healthiest reason to marry someone.  But I’ve certainly heard worse .  . .

And the wedding?  Well, it was pretty awesome.  From the adoring way, Owen looked at Christina . . .

“Please lord, don’t let me end up like that Dr. Burke guy.  It’s HARD to get a job in Hollywood as a redhead!”

“Be afraid Ginger Boy!  Be VERY afraid!”

 . . .to Christina’s red dress (because white dresses are “offensive and vaguely racist,” according to Christina)

 . . . to how touched the couple’s colleagues were by the moment . . .

 . . . everything was, as Meredith said, perfect.

Sure, it’s a long shot.  It’s ALWAYS a long shot.  But, who’s to say these two Crazy Kids won’t be able to stick it out for the long haul?

Oh . . . and just in case you were concerned?  Owen and Teddy are TOTALLY DUNZO.  And Teddy has (rather conveniently, I might add) found a NEW MAN.  Actually, I think you might know him . . .

It’s Dr. McSexyShrinko!

Speaking of couples that are TOTALLY DUNZO . . .

The Opposite of Bad Ass

Lexie’s and Alex’s coupledom started going down hill when Alex called out Izzie’s name during sex bleeding to death, from a  bullet wound.  Considering that Izzie has already been MIA for half a season now, and LEXIE was the one saving Alex’s life at the time, I would say this was a pretty classic case of The Boy Who Doesn’t Know Where His Bread is Buttered . . .

Warning:  The loaf of bread has NOT BEEN BUTTERED BY IZZIE!  Jackass!

Things went from bad to worse, when Alex decided to keep his bullet from The Shooting lodged in his stomach, so he could use it to pick up chicks.

Yes, we CAN blame Alex for being a tool.  But can we REALLY blame all those chicks for banging him, when he looks like THIS? 

So, apparently, we can now expect many more episodes, during which a Shirtless Alex walks around the hospital, letting random slutty nurses rub his belly, and finger his scars.

But the final nail in the coffin was when Lexie had a PTSD freak-out in the hospital, and Wimpy Alex just WALKED AWAY, like a b*tch!  “I’ve had enough crazy for one lifetime,” Alex tells McSexyShrinko, when questioned about the incident.

Well, considering that Alex’s first girlfriend gave him an STD . . .

 . . . his second one ended up being a TOTAL Nutbag . . .

and his third girlfriend cheated on him with a DEAD GUY . . .

I guess I’d be inclined to agree!

And yet, I couldn’t help but cheer, when Alex tried to hit on Lexie at Owen’s and Christina’s wedding and she COMPLETELY TOLD HIM OFF!

“You may think that you are Bad Ass, because you lived.  But I’m the reason you lived.  And while you were sitting on that operating table DYING, you were calling out the name of your ex-wife who left you.  I’d say, that’s the opposite of Bad Ass.”

I think Alex just pooped his pants.

Did I mention that, unlike Alex, Dr. Mark “McSteamy” Sloan has TOTALLY been looking out for / trying to take care of Lexie this ENTIRE TIME . . .

 . . . or that Jackson Avery is approximately her age, single, and, is now a Series Regular?

Oh, Alex!  You are SO YESTERDAY’S SCREW!

In other news . . .

Good Times Ahead for “Calzona”

After an entire episode during which Arizona worried that Callie would either propose marriage, or start bugging her about “making babies” again, Doctor Blondie was TOTALLY relieved, when Callie finally revealed was that she simply wanted Arizona to live with her on a more permanent basis.   

“I want you to move in with me. I love you, and you have a drawer . . . and a toothbrush . . . and I want you to have a whole dresser and a whole . . .blow-dryer. Or something.. more romantic than that or .  . .something,” mumbles Callie adorably.”

And, just in case some of you out there, missed it, the exchange looked something like this:

and, when Arizona happily accepted Callie’s Proposal of Cohabitation, it looked like THIS . . .

“Blow Dryer” GIF and Calzona PicSpam provided courtesy of: http://fuckyeahcallieandarizona.tumblr.com/

It’s SO HARD to SAY GOODBYE .  . . to  the Gas Man

Oh, Ben!  Dear, Sweet, Miranda Bailey-loving, anesthesiologist, Ben!  We hardly knew ye!  But, already, we loved ye!  We loved the way you made Bailey happy, giddy, and smiley. 

We loved the way you got her to blissfully sing in the elevator, after the two of you FINALLY did the deed.  In short, you were a godsend for our favorite Nazi!

Sure, we always knew that, eventually, you would have to leave.  Really, we did.  But that didn’t make it any easier to watch Miranda dump you.

Yes, you just so happened to be golfing while a young man died in Miranda’s arms.  But that wasn’t your fault!  And yes, Miranda now feels that she is “busy with the tape and the glue”  that are holding her fragile life together.  So, Sweet, Perfect, Ben seems like “too much for her right now.” 

 But, does it REALLY need to be SO HARD?  Does the breakup need to feel so permanent?  After all, glue dries.  Tape peels.  And relationships .  . . well . . . sometimes . . . they heal just not when one of the involved parties has already signed on to work on yet another Shondra Rhimes Medical Drama.

Gas Man, you will certainly be missed.  And maybe, just maybe, we will find it in our hearts to check you out on that OTHER show, which shall remain nameless.  But, for right now, at least, I can’t do that.  Call me, Dark and Twisty if you want, but I’m still a little bitter . . . 

I guess my glue just hasn’t dried yet.

Well, there you have it folks — Grey’s Anatomy Season 7 is officially upon us.  Are you as psyched as I am?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Create Your Dream Cast – Vampire Academy Series

A few months back, I became absolutely obsessed with a little book called The Hunger Games by groundbreaking author, Suzanne Collins.  Upon hearing that Lionsgate had purchased the film rights to the book, I decided it might be fun to create a sort of “dream cast,” of actors I would “hire” if I had the opportunity to do casting for the film.

Writing the post was a ton of fun for me.  Plus, a lot of people really seemed to respond to it. 

So, now it’s a few months later, and I find myself obsessed with a brand new Young Adult book series.   In many ways, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy is the anti-Twilight.  On the surface, yes, like that other series, Vampire Academy is about a girl in her late teens who is enmeshed in a world of supernatural creatures, most notably, vampires.  However, Rose Hathaway, the main protagonist who narrates the books, for lack of a better phrase, kicks ass!  She is a dhampir.  A half-human, half-vampire amalgamation, who is training to become a guardian of vampires.  That’s right, boys and girls, she protects vampires, as opposed to being protected by them! 

While these books definitely focus MORE on action and less on the romance, there are enough longing looks and steamy scenes in these novels to sate the desires of even the most sappy of romantics.  And don’t even get me started on these dhampir and vampire men . . .  (swoons and faints).

Even though there are currently no plans to convert the Vampire Academy books into a film or television series (SERIOUSLY?  What are you WAITING for, Hollywood?), I thought it might be fun to return to the casting couch, and select who I would cast in a hypothetical film or television show based on these books.  

I plan to try EXTREMELY hard not to inadvertently spoil any of the main plot points of these books, in the context of explaining my various “casting” decisions.  However, there ARE lots of jaw-dropping twists in this series, particularly in the first novel, that impacted my ultimate decisions as to which actors should play these characters.  So, if you are a MAJOR spoiler-phobe, please tread lightly.  And don’t say I didn’t warn you . . .

Rose Hathaway:

My pick: Nikki Reed

Why I think she’d make a great Rose:  In many ways, Rose is the toughest character to cast in this series.  After all, as the series’ protagonist and first-person narrator, her likeability and relatability will drive the entire story.  Rose is a fairly complex gal.   On one hand, she is tough-as-nails, extremely brave, and fiercely loyal.  However, she can also be prone to impulsive behavior, moodiness, icy sarcasm, and intense bouts of rage.  To top it off, at the start of the series, Rose is quite the popular party girl, one who has a reputation, whether deserved or not, for being “more than friendly” with many of the guys at her school.

In terms of Rose’s physical characteristics, Nikki Reed meets them to a tee!  In the novels, Rose is described as being of medium height, muscular, and slightly curvy (at least in the chest area).  She also has lightly tanned skin, dark eyes, and long dark brown hair.  Additionally, as an actress still in her very early 20’s, Nikki will have no trouble passing for a 17-18 year old girl, particularly one as mature beyond her years, as Rose.

Of course, ideal physical characteristics alone do not make a perfect casting choice.  Undoubtedly, many of you likely remember Nikki as the blond and beautiful, but slightly bitchy, Rosalie Hale in the Twilight series . . .

However, what you may not know is that Nikki Reed has been acting in films and writing screenplays LONG before Twilight was even written.  Nikki was not even 15-years old when she wrote, and starred, alongside Evan Rachel Wood, in the heartbreaking and highly disturbing film Thirteen, about two young teens who find themselves falling into an unforgiving world of drugs, crime and sex.  The film was critically acclaimed and even received an Oscar Nomination.

Aside from “looking” right for the part, I think Nikki Reed has the acting chops, intelligence, physicality, and natural sex appeal to pull off a role as multi-faceted as Rose Hathaway.

Lissa Dragomir

My pick: Julianne Hough

Why I think she’d make a great Lissa: In the novel, Rose’s best friend, the vampiric Lissa Dragomir, is described as being tall, thin, and pale-skinned, with blonde hair, and piercing green eyes.  In terms of personality, Lissa and Rose are almost polar opposites.  While Rose, is loud, and tough, and brash, Lissa, a descendant from a long line of royal vampires, is more reseved, a bit more fragile, and a lot more graceful and sophisticated.  She also excudes a certain innocence, and charisma (part natural, part magical) that draws others to her, making her extremely well liked at the Academy where she and Rose study.  On the other hand, whoever took on the role of Lissa, must be able to display intense emotionality, as certain things happen during the course of the series that cause Lissa to lose her characteristic cool.

Most people are familiar with Julianne from her role as a dancer on Dancing with the Stars

In that capacity, Julianne’s grace, innocence, likeability, and natural charisma practically leap of the screen.  The question is, “Can she act?” 

I would be inclined to say, “yes.”  Hough has already been slated to play the female lead, Ariel Moore, in the upcoming remake of the popular 80’s musical film, Footloose, which originally starred Kevin Bacon. 

 The role of Ariel in that film is a fairly meaty one, particularly for an actress making her big screen debut.  For the producers of the movie to cast Julianne in that role, she must have shown them something truly special at her audition.  If Julianne can pull off Ariel Moore, I have no doubt that she would also be able to pull off Lissa Dragomir.

Dimitri Belikov

My pick: Channing Tatum

Why I think he would make a great Dimitri: As Rose’s mentor, and main love interest throughout the series, 24-year old guardian, Dimitri Belikov is arguably the most important male role to cast in a film or television show based on this series.  In the books, he is described as being extremely tall, and impressively buff, with dark eyes and brown hair. 

Dimitri is basically every girl’s dream.  On one hand, he’s strong and amazingly tough.  He described as a “god” by many at the Academy.  And yet, he is also stern, secretive, and sensitive — a natural born-caretaker, one constantly torn between doing his job well and giving in to his desires.

Having starred in films like G.I. Joe and Step Up, we know that Channing Tatum has the physicality necessary for this role (And have you seen those abs?  WOW!).  Yet, Tatum has also had the opportunity to prove himself capable of taking on the role of romantic lead, as evidenced by his portrayal of John Tyree in the recently released chick flick, Dear John.  I’m just hoping he can fake a Russian accent . . .

Christian Ozera

My pick: Ed Westwick

Why I think he’d make a great Christian:  As Lissa’s main love interest throughout the series, Christian is probably the second most important male lead to cast.  The character is described as being tall and lean, with dark hair and pale skin.  Christian begins the series as a loner and an outsider, due to a questionable family history.  He has a dark sense of humor, a biting wit, and is not afraid to challenge authority.  Christian also can do very cool things with fire . . .

I chose Westwick, mainly because, aside from him being an amazing actor, I felt Christian’s relationship with Lissa, at least as it was portrayed in the first book in the series, dovetailed nicely with Westwick’s character Chuck’s relationship with Blair, during the early seasons of the CW series Gossip Girl.

In both relationships, the male lead is instantly sure of his feelings for the object of his desire, while the female will ultimately take a bit more convincing.   Like Chuck and Blair, Christian understands Lissa in a way that nobody else does, not even Rose.  To win her heart, he uses his intelligence and wit, as opposed to any sort of brute strength or macho bravado.  Christian’s and Lissa’s relationship has a fun, and undeniably sexy, push and pull, in its early stages, that I would love to see play out screen.  And who better to exemplify the “push and pull” of young love than Chuck Bass?

Mason Ashford

My pick: Douglas Smith

Why I think he’d make a great Mason:  As Rose’s best guy friend and fellow guardian, who just so happens to harbor a not-so-secret crush on Rose, Mason doesn’t play a particularly big part in the first book of the Vampire Academy series.  However, he DOES play a major role in Frostbite, its sequel.  In the books, Mason is described as being tall (Am I the only one noticing a pattern here?), and red-headed, with boyish good looks.  In casting Mason, it is important to find a guy who is likeable and fun enough, to function as a reasonable, if not exactly heart-stopping, alternative to Dimitri, to fulfill the role of Rose’s boyfriend.  Douglas Smith’s portrayal of Ben Henrickson in the HBO series Big Love is so genuine and inherently likeable, you almost want to reach through the screen and give him a hug.  Yeah, that’s our Mason!

Mia Rinaldi

My pick:  Ashley Benson

Why I think she’d make a great Mia: Every high school series needs a mean girl.  And, in the Vampire Academy series, those shoes are filled, at least initially, by Mia Rinaldi.  Rose’s and Lissa’s nemesis, Mia, is one year younger than they are.  She is described as being short (YAY!  FINALLY!  Short people represent . . . too bad it had to be the bitchy one . . .), with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a childlike cherubic face that belies her catty and manipulative nature.  And yet, there is also a vulnerability to Mia.  Behind that cold facade, Mia hides a few dark secrets, ones that make her actions, if not necessarily justifiable, at least understandable.

Best known for her role as Carson in the fourth installment of the Bring it On film series, and for her upcoming turn as Hanna in the new ABC Family teen drama, Pretty Little Liars, premiering this summer, Ashley has plenty of experience playing the girl you love to hate.  And yet, there is always a soft-side to her portrayals — one that allows the “love” part to dominate just a bit more than it would otherwise . . .

Natalie Dashkov

My pick: Tina Majorino

Why I think she would make a great Natalie: In Vampire Academy, Natalie is more or less described as a plain-jane.  Natalie is the quiet, sweet, and socially awkward friend of Rose’s and Lissa’s.  Unlike the others, she seems to care little about the politics of high school.  The actress who plays Natalie must be sweet and inherently likeable, but have sufficient acting chops to pull off a major dramatic turn toward the end of the first installment of the series.  Majorino’s recent portrayals of Heather in Big Love and Mack in Veronica Mars, have shown her to be precisely the right girl for the job.

Jesse Zeklos

My pick: Michael Trevino

Why I think he’d make a great Jesse:  In the novels, Jesse is described as being a tall, dark, and handsome, spoiled rich kid.  He is popular, D-baggy, manipulative, and rumored to have slept with multiple members of the cast.  Now if that doesn’t SCREAM Tyler Stratton from CW’s The Vampire Diaries, I don’t know WHAT does!

Eddie Castile

My pick: Chris Lowell

Why I think he’d make a great Eddie:  Admittedly, at the start of the series, Eddie is little more than Mason’s friend and sidekick, and, therefore, a sort-of adopted member of the novels’ “Scooby Gang.”  However, by the second and third installment of the series, Eddie comes into his own, as a loyal friend and strong protector of those around him.  In casting Eddie, the producers would need someone relatable, who has a sense of humor, and isn’t afraid of getting knocked around a bit (and bitten?).  Seeing as Chris Lowell’s character Dell on Private Practice recently died of a brain hemorrhage, I’m thinking the actor’s schedule is WIDE open . . .

Adrian Ivashkov

My pick: Jason Dohring

Why I think he’d make a great Adrian:  OK, this is sort of cheating, seeing as Adrian doesn’t appear AT ALL in the first book of the series.  However, the character plays such a major role in the subsequent books, I just couldn’t resist trying my hand at casting him.  The novel describes Adrian as tall and fair haired with penetrating eyes that see EVERYTHING.  He is more muscularly built than most vampires, but leaner than super-buff dhampirs, like Dimitri.  At first glance, 21-year old Adrian might appear to the casual reader as just another spoiled rich vampire — a hard drinking, heavy smoking, womanizing, cad, with too much money and time on his hands. 

However, as we get to know Adrian throughout the series, we see that he is much more than that.  He is smart and often scarily perceptive, instantly knowing things about Rose that she might not even understand about herself.  Adrian can also be surprisingly generous with his money, his time, and his soul.  He quickly develops a friendship with Lissa, and harbors an as-of-yet unrequited MAJOR soft-spot for Rose.  More so than Mason, Adrian could wind up being a major contender in the battle for our main protagonist’s heart.

So why Jason Dohring?   Basically, a few years back, I fell in LOVE with a character by the name of Logan Echolls!  On Veronica Mars, he too was a spoiled womanizing rich kid bad boy.  Or, at least, he started off that way.  That was before he fell in love with Veronica Mars, who like Rose, was a kickass, hardcore, take-no-prisoners, protagonist, who began the series, despising Logan. 

In my opinion, Veronica’s and Logan’s relationship remains one of the hottest and most compulsively watchable couplings in television.  Please forgive me for wanting to see my Logan again, even if it has to be with another leading lady . . .

So, there you have it, my Dream Cast for the Vampire Academy film and/or television series.  Now we just have to find someone willing to buy the media rights . . . Any takers?

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Filed under Book, casting, Vampire Academy

Lost: A Show About Science or A Show About Faith? – Thoughts on the END of Lost’s Series Finale “The End”

Last night, I wrote a blog entry, in which I discussed some of the lighter aspects of Lost‘s generally feel-good Series Finale, “The End.”  In it, I, more or less, completely refrained from discussing the show’s controversial ending, and promised to tackle that issue exclusively in another post.  Well, I’M BAAACK . . .

One Man of Science.  One Man of Faith.  The Island wasn’t big enough for both of them . . .  or was it?

In the last season of Lost, there was much talk and broohaha about this image, and all the ideas it represents . . .

Light versus Dark.  Black versus White.  Good versus Evil.  Heaven versus Hell.  And while that dichotomy was certainly central to the battle between Jacob and the Man in Black . . .

 . . . our Losties, for the most part, resided somewhere in between.  Much like the rest of us non-television characters, their morality was covered in shades of grey.   For them (and for us), the REAL battle for control of Lost island was one that was a lot less clear cut, making it a lot less certain who we should root for.  And, ultimately,  it was this battle, that took center stage during the final half of the Season finale. (After they, you know, got rid of that pesky Black Smoke thing  . . .)

Jack v. Locke – The Man of Science versus The Man of Faith

Although Lost undoubtedly featured many characters and their respective stories of redemption, at its core were the journeys of two men.  When we first meet Jack Shepard, he is the quintessential Man of Science.  He’s a surgeon, and about as left-brained as a person can get.  There is not a creative or artistic bone in this man’s body.  So, understandably, when it comes to matters of faith or destiny, he’s a complete Doubting Thomas.  For him, if an explanation doesn’t appear in a medical reference book, it just plain doesn’t exist.

John Locke, on the other hand, is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants, Man of Faith, guy.  He’s Mister “Nobody tells me what I can and can’t do.”  A guy who sees absolutely nothing wrong with signing up for a “walkabout,” despite being completely incapable of “walking about.”  Upon crashing on the island, he suddenly regains use of his legs, and, thereafter, becomes convinced that the Island is his Destiny.  He is absolutely certain that some higher power has brought him to the Island; and that he is, therefore, meant to remain and do great things there . . .

For the first Four Seasons of Lost, pretty much up until Locke’s “death,” we watched these two men battle it out with one another, arguing for the righteousness of their respective ideologies.  Neither man would budge an inch with respect to his position.  However, upon REAL Locke’s death, at the end of Season 4, things change for Jack Shepard.  During the last two seasons of the show,  Jack slowly evolved from a Man of Science into a Man of Faith. 

First, after escaping the Island as part of the Oceanic Six, he returns to it, believing he is meant to rescue the others who remained thereon.  In Season 6, when the Losties are once again ready to escape the island, this time on a boat, Jack jumps ship, convinced that the island “isn’t done with [him] yet.  Then, in the penultimate episode of the show, Jack LITERALLY drinks Jacob’s Kool Aid, and agrees to remain on the island, throwing away his promising surgical career in order to “protect” what, for all intents and purposes, was a Giant Lightbulb . . .

Scientific Answers versus Mystical Answers  – The SHOW About Science versus The SHOW About Faith

When it really came down to it, I think Lost‘s journey as a show, was similar to Jack’s journey, as a character.  Lost started out as a Show About Science (Science Fiction, perhaps, but, science, nonetheless).  In the show’s early seasons, many of the Island’s mysteries were explained through quasi-scientific means.  Flight 815 was initially thought to have been brought down, as a result of the Island’s unique electromagnetic properties, which were inherent to the Island’s location, but were also exacerbated by a Hydrogen Bomb buried beneath its surface . . .  These electromagnetic qualities also allowed the Island itself, and its inhabitants, to move freely through the time/space barrier and . . .  basically . . . time travel.

Those all important numbers, which Hurley chose in order to win the lottery, and which Desmond was forced to repeatedly punch into a computer screen to prevent the Island’s destruction . . .

Were part of the Valenzetti Equation, derived by members of the Dharma Initiative, to determine the exact point in time at which all human life would cease to exist.  The Dharma initiative itself was, more or less, a scientific research group, which took advanage of the island’s unique electromagnetic properties in order to experiment with various facets of human life, from a woman’s ability to give birth . . .

 . . . to psychology, subliminal messaging, and mind control . . .

Then, Season 6 came around, and like Jack Shepard, Lost had to go and get all “Faith-y” on us.  Island mysteries, like “why the plane crashed,” which had once been explained by science, were now explained as being part of the “Master Plan,” in a battle between the God-like Jacob . . .

 . . . and the Devil-like Man in Black . . .

 . . . for control of the Island, and, by extension, the souls of its inhabitants . . .

Supernatural, and biblical-type reasoning was now used to explain Island mysteries such as why MIB couldn’t escape the Island, why Richard Alpert wouldn’t age . . .

 . . . why Jacob and MIB couldn’t kill one another, how Locke became Flocke . . .

 . . . and who Adam and Eve were . . .

The Last Ten Minutes of the Finale Episode of Lost – Flash Sideways of Science (Time Travel) versus Flash Sideways of Faith (Purgatory)

So, I guess, it shouldn’t really have surprised me (but it DID!), that the final Lost mystery, the reason behind the Flash Sideways, ended up being a faith-based reason (preparation for the afterlife / purgatory) . . .

 . . . as opposed to a science-based reason (an alternate universe created as a result of Juliet’s detonation of the hydrogen bomb at the end of Season 5).

And, I have to say, that the fact that this promo picture, released just before Season 6 began, didn’t give the religious implications of the finale away to me, makes me more than a bit mad at myself . . .

I guess, when it really comes down to it, how you felt about Lost’s final moments (MULTITUDE of unanswered questions notwithstanding), really comes down to which side of the Man of Science / Man of Faith debate YOU fall under.  Me, personally?  I’m a bit more of a “science” girl.  So, I was a little disappointed that the Flash Sideways World did not, in fact, end up being the hydrogen bomb-created alternate universe I had initially envisioned. 

Plus, Flash Sideways World just seemed so PERFECT!   And because I’d truly grown to love these characters, having spent six years with them, I really wanted this world to exist FOR THEM!  Because, without it . . .

Ji Yeon would REALLY be an orphan . . .

David Shepard would COMPLETELY cease to exist . . . Oh, and most of the Losties would already be DEAD!

 . . . including THIS GUY!

But, putting my personal feelings aside, the fact that the Flash Sideways World ended up being purgatory makes sense, BECAUSE everything was so perfect there.  In essence, Flash Sideways World gave our main Losties the oppportunity to redeem themselves from wrongs they felt they had committed during their actual lifetimes .  . .

Jack Shepard had a bad relationship with his father, who degraded his worth constantly, and always chose his work over him, so in Flash Sideways World Purgatory he was a supportive and understanding father to his son . . .

During his lifetime, Sawyer was a con artist, who shunned justice.  So, in purgatory, he was a detective, who fought hard to protect it.

Sorry! I know technically I should have found a “cop uniform” pic of Sawyer, but I just couldn’t help myself . . .

On the island, Kate unknowingly abandoned Claire, and ended up raising her child, Aaron.  But in Purgatory, she guides Claire through the birthing process, and allows her to raise her own baby . . . And, as for Claire, she gets to keep her kid, and not become a skanky haired wackadoo.  YAY!

In the real world, Sayid’s murderous lifestyle resulted in the death of the love of his life, Nadia.

In Purgatory, he lets his brother marry Nadia instead, and, in doing so, probably spares her life.

In the real world, Desmond loved Penny Widmore, but her father’s disapproval of him kept the two of them apart.  In Purgatory, Desmond works for Charles Widmore, and has gained his utmost trust and respect . . .

In Purgatory, Hurley isn’t a loveable loser who won the lottery and STILL can’t accomplish anything.  He’s a loveable WINNER, who get’s the girl and is rich enough to employ the ENTIRE CAST OF LOST!

Purgatory Ben is a kindly history teacher who saves Alex’s future, by sacrificing his own personal success to ensure her entrance into an Ivy League college, instead of . . . you know . . . GETTING HER KILLED!  And Purgatory Locke is a pretty nice guy too, and Ben’s BFF to boot!

And, as I mentioned before, Jin and Sun, actually get to raise their kid Purgatory World.  Plus, they successfully ditch Sun’s Asshat Dad.

Matthew Fox probably explained the whole “purgatory thing”  best, in his post-finale interview with Jimmy Kimmel, when he said something to the effect of: “There’s a school of thought that, after you die, you go to a sort of ‘waiting place’ in which you encounter everyone who was important in your life.  Once you have reunited with, and reconciled with, these people, you can truly accept your own mortality and . . . move on.”  (And you just KNOW Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse fed him those words, because Matthew Fox may be smart, but not THAT smart!)

I’ll have to admit that when Christian Shepard (and if THAT’S not a “Man of Faith” name, I don’t know what is) . . .

 . . . . appeared in that Non-Denominational (or, rather, ALL Denominational) Church / Temple, OUTSIDE of his own coffin, and replied to Jack’s question of “How did you get here?  Aren’t you dead?” with . . .

 “How did YOU get here?”  . . .

I screamed at the television . . .

“YOU PROMISED THEY WEREN’T DEAD THIS WHOLE TIME, J.J. ABRAMS!  YOU LIAR!  I JUST WASTED SIX YEARS OF MY LIFE FOR YOU!”

But then, when Christian explained that, “Everything that happened on the Island was real . . . Everyone dies eventually . . . Some of these people died before you, some long after you .  . .” I calmed down a bit . . .

And in the penultimate scene of the show, when Jack stumbles out from the cave, lays down on the ground next to doggie Vincent, watches his fellow Losties successfully escape the Island on a plane, and, subsequently, CLOSES his eyes in death, just as he had opened them so many times during the LIFE of the show, I thought to myself, “What an appropriate ending . . .”

But then they HAD to show me this . . .

While the producers didn’t go as far as I feared they would, by showing me a heap of dead bodies lying amongst the wreckage, they showed me enough to make me wonder if I was being f**ked with.  And I couldn’t help but be reminded of ANOTHER intriguing, but unnerving, Open-Ended Series Finale that left me with more questions than answers . . .

(Special thanks to njean666 for this fabulous clip)

They never make it easy for us, do they?

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Filed under Lost

Happily Ever After or Happy in the Ever After? – My Initial Take on Lost’s Series Finale “The End”

 

After six years, and a fun and enjoyable, if not exactly “informative” two hours, one of the most innovative, intelligent, and well-acted shows in television history, Lost, has come to its final conclusion.  And aside from an open-ended, and fairly controversial ending, and a few (OK . .  a LOT . . . of unanswered questions), I think the producers did a great job of giving fans what they wanted, at least on an emotional level.  After all, for what could sometimes be a fairly dour show (I mean, it did revolve around a plane crash, and I’d say at least a third of the episodes featured SOMEONE dying), this may have been the happy-go-luckiest season finale of all time . . .

See?   Look how HAPPY he is!

While, I would have to be absolutely effing nuts to attempt to do a comprehensive recap of this ENTIRE finale (I do work, you know . . .), I thought it might be fun, (for me at least, if not necessarily for you) to discuss some of my favorite moments from the episode, before I attempt to tackle . . . THE ENDING, which I plan to do in a separate post.  I’m going to try to break these down by character, so that there’s at least some organizing principle to this stream of consciousness mish mash of a so-called recap . . .

Vincent

So what if they never explained his island significance, his seeming omniscience, or how he managed to survive all this time (Are we actually supposed to believe he was with Rose and Bernard during ALL those missing years?).  So what if he never got reunited with his real owner (Walt).  He’s a cute dog.  And EVERYONE likes cute dogs!  So the fact that our little Vincent got some screen time during this finale, including being featured in the third to last frame of the ENTIRE show, was both adorable and awesome. 

Boone

Ian Somerhalder looked positively yummy during his half-a-second of screen time in this finale.  I thought it was funny / sweet that he was willing to get his ass kicked for the sake of LOVE .  . . even if it wasn’t HIS own love, but rather the love between his sister and Sayid.  I was also happy that he made it into the “temple / church” at the end.  Because some other Losties who appeared in more episodes than he did (cough, Michael, cough), apparently didn’t rate.  My one gripe is that we didn’t get to see his “realization of island life” moment, as we did with the other castaways.  Clearly, I’m a bit biased for Damon Salvatore Boone.

Lapidus

I’m starting to believe this guy’s sole purpose on this show was to fulfill the “Cooky Pilot” role.  Did you notice how Lapidus was MIA during most of the series, but was always conveniently on hand whenever any of the castaways needed to hop on a plane?  However, I was really happy he didn’t, you know, DIE in that submarine accident, along with Sayid, Jin and Sun, as I had initially thought he did.   If I were him, however, I would have been a tad annoyed that none of the other castaways seemed to give a damn about my mortality, until they needed a ride. . . .

Richard Alpert

Ditto on the whole, “YAY!  You’re not dead!” thing . . .  Other than staying alive, Mr. Guyliner didn’t have much to do during this episode, except for  .  . . AGE!  That’s right folks, once our Big Baddie was dead, apparently, Richard Alpert wasn’t immortal anymore.  He even got a GREY HAIR!

  For a few minutes there, I was worried that the centuries old Alpert would begin to decay and instantly disintegrate, vampire style.  He didn’t.  Alpert gets to get old and wrinkly, slowly and painfully, just like the rest of us.  Lucky him! 

Rose and Bernard

It was nice to see these two still alive and playing house (with their pet Vincent) on Lost island.  And, can I just say, that Dharma food must be REAL good . . . because Bernard was looking more than a bit on the tubby side . . . (Oh, and I’m pretty sure he and Crazy Claire share the same island stylist.)

Hurley

A few weeks back, I proposed a drinking game that revolved (among other things) around Hurley’s repeated use of the word “dude.”  Apparently, someone on the writing staff was listening, because Hurley LITERALLY said “DUDE” at the beginning or end of EVERY SENTENCE he uttered during this ENTIRE finale . . .  It actually got a bit annoying, toward the end.

 I was also amused by the “ceremony” in which Hurley took over the Candidate position from Jack of “Guarder of the Giant Island Light Bulb.”  Hurley looked as disappointed as Lost fans probably were, when Jack scooped up muddy water from a random puddle, put it in a used Poland Spring bottle, and told him to drink it. 

That’s it?  THAT’S what makes you The Candidate?  Drinking dirty water?  Haven’t ALL the Losties been drinking island water for six years now?  Who knew that Jack’s utterance of the classic phrase “Now your like me,” REALLY meant, “Now you’re suffering from an intestinal parasite, and a BAD case of Montezuma’s revenge . . .”

Jin and Sun

Tonight’s series finale was just FILLED with virtually identical sappy scenes in which two characters, who were “coupled” on the island, touched one another, and instantly “remembered” their island past.   This was inevitably illustrated by a “love montage” between the two characters, to the tune of overly dramatic music. 

Now, I’m a girl.  So, although I recognized their almost nauseating cheesiness, these scenes actually worked for me.  But if I had to choose my favorite of them, it would be the one between Jin and Sun, which was poignant on so many more levels than just the “We luuuuve eachother” one.

In this scene, Juliet, (I’ll get to her in a bit), is showing Jin and Sun their baby’s sonogram.  When  Juliet puts the gel on Sun’s belly, she remembers the same thing occuring in island world, and tears of happy recognition run down her cheeks.  A few seconds later, when the sonogram picture appears on the screen, Jin remembers seeing pictures of Ji Yeon when he was on the island.  Then the two look at eachother and collectively remember their Titanic ripoff on-island death scene, which resulted in their child being an orphan in island world, and also REALLY PISSED ME OFF. 

But this is Flash-Sideways World, so all is good!  Juliet asks the teary couple if they want to know the sex of the baby.  They answer in English, which, of course, they both just remembered how to speak, that they know it is a girl, and that her name is Ji Yeon.  Awesome!

Ben

Before, I tell you what I LIKED about Ben in the series finale, let me start with a little gripe.  The producers of the show teased that Ben was supposed to get some loving, before the series ended.   In Flash Sideways World, it was sort-of hinted that he would eventually find love with Rousseau . . .

 . . . but, ultimately, the producers didn’t deliver in this respect.  And I was sad . . .

In happier news, our resident flip-flopper, who seemingly has more personalties than United States of Tara, ultimately redeemed himself AGAIN during this episode.  Instead of covering his own ass and taking the easy way out, Island Ben agreed to stay with Hurley as Vice Candidate Protector of the Giant Light Bulb. We know he did a pretty good job of it too, as Hurley ultimately tells him in Flash Sideways World, “You were a great Number 2.” 

Speaking of Flash Sideways World, there, after Ben remembered his island roots, he apologized to John for basically making his life a living hell for many seasons of Lost.  “I was jealous of you.  I wanted what you had.  You were special, and I wasn’t,” he explained. 

Ultimately, Ben didn’t enter the “Temple/Church” with the rest of the crew.  And I don’t recall seeing Alex or Rousseau there either . . . but here’s hoping they all eventually found their way there . . .

Sawyer

Why oh WHY, were you completely dressed during this ENTIRE FINALE, Josh Holloway?

Excess clothing aside, it was fun to spend this final two hours with the World’s Sexiest Lostie.  And while, as a Skate fan, I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed that my side of the love square ultimately didn’t win out (Sawyer ended up with Juliet / Jack ended up with Kate), I have to say I ADORED this small scene between MY COUPLE!

Sawyer: “I’d invite you along, but then I would miss out on all the fun of telling you that you can’t come.

Kate: “Guess, I’ll have to overcome the urge to follow you anyway.”

Classic! 

Carlton and Damon, remind me why you didn’t put these two togther, again?  Oh, well . . . at least we’ll always have Bear Cage Sex . . .

Crazy Claire

So, it looks like Sane Claire is here to stay, and Kate’s willing to stick around and help care for Aaron, just in case she falls off the “Non-Loony Tunes” Wagon.  (Although I was a bit annoyed that they never explained “the sickness” Claire had, or how SHE was able to give birth on the island when no one else could, or what made Aaron “special.”)   I had to laugh a bit when the Losties invited her off the island and she initially replied, “Look at me!  The island’s made me crazy!  I can’t take care of a kid anymore!”

And if this wasn’t “The Happiest Series Finale EVER” I’d be inclined to agree with her statements.  After all, Crazy isn’t like a cold.  It doesn’t just go away after 9 days.  But, fortunately for Claire, Kate . . .

 .  . . agreed to help Claire be a mother to Aaron (and reteach Claire how to use a hairbrush).  Holding hands like school girls, the two hopped aboard Lapidus’ plane and left the island (and Crazy?) behind them for good.

In Flash Sideways World, Kate helps Claire give birth at a Driveshaft concert, and it is the CLEANEST, LEAST BLOODY and EASIEST delivery EVER!  Just minutes after giving birth, when Claire’s va-jay-jay is all exposed, she reunites with and remembers her love for a totally gothed out, Rocker Charlie  . . .

OK, obviously this picture does NOT show Rocker Charlie . . . But rest assured, the Charlie on screen today could have used some mascara application lessons from Richard Alpert . . . Less is more, dude!  Less is MORE!

Sayid and Shannon

The makeout scene between these two was hot . . . just saying.  It was kind of creepy that Shannon’s brother was ogling her the whole time though (especially since we know that Bro and Sis once DID IT!)

Locke

OK . . . so in island world, Locke imposter, MIB, FINALLY DIED!

How, you ask?  Well, the temporary turning off of the Giant Light Bulb made him mortal again, which gave Kate the excellent opportunity to finally successfully shoot him, after failing to do so about 80 times this season (“I saved you a bullet, A-hole!”)  He also fell off a cliff . . .

But in Flash Sideways World, Locke was warm and fuzzy.  He came through his operation with flying colors, waking up and wiggling his toes immediately.  He also made lovey dovey eyes at former nemeses Jack and Ben.  And those of you who also watch Glee, like me, probably got particular joy out of the scene where he gets up from his wheelchair and instantly begins to walk upright. (Artie would have been sooooo jealous!) 

I half expected Locke to start doing the Safety Dance!

Jack

Obviously, the crux of this episode revolves around Jack’s journey.  And a discussion of Jack’s journey would inevitably lead to a discussion of “The Ending,” which, as I mentioned earlier, I am saving for another post.  For now, suffice it to say, that I was happy about the following strands of Jack-centric plotlines:

*In Flash Sideways World, David Shepard (Assuming this kid actually exists, seeing as . . . well, more on that later), is the son of both Jack and Juliet. These two seemed to have had the most amicable divorce EVER, especially seeing as they are both doctors in the SAME hospital (awkward).  Still, nice touch writers . . .

*It was cool to see Jack FINALLY reunited with his dad, Christian Shepard, who was actually nice to him for a change . . . Even though . . . well . .  . nevermind . . .

* I loved the scene where Hurley told Jack he was “right,” and Jack said, “There’s a first time for everything.” 

(Yes Jack, for six seasons you were ALWAYS WRONG about EVERYTHING!  It was high time you finally bucked up and admitted it.)

* I was glad that Jack got to spend his final moments with Vincent.  Because if any guy needs Man’s Best Friend it’s Dour Jack . . .

Well, that’s ALMOST all folks . . .Tune in sometime tomorrow, when I attempt to broach the controversial last ten minutes of this episode, and some of the series’ most infuriating UNANSWERED questions . . .

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An Excerpt from Life Sucks, Death Bites: A Novel by Julie Kushner

Food Mart, Inc.                                                                                                                                             

2 Metro Corporate Drive                                                                                                                      

 Los Angeles, CA 90001                                                                                                                       

Attn: Fred Thompson, CEO

Dear Mr. Thompson:

I’m not usually the type of person who writes letters like the one you are reading right now.  OK, that’s a lie.  I’m exactly the type of person who writes these sort of letters.  But that is not really the point . . .

“The point” is that my most recent experience at one of your Food Mart stores (62 Blueberry Hill, Los Angeles, CA 90015) was particularly harrowing.  No, “harrowing” is not a strong enough word.  “Downright terrifying” is more accurate. 

 It was like something out of that awful horror movie franchise.  You know, the one where that crazy guy with the creepy mask, whose name I can’t remember (Bulls Eye?  Puzzle Piece?), makes people choose between doing something truly awful to another human being or dying an excruciatingly painful death.  Of course, you couldn’t pay me to watch such a movie.  So, I’m afraid that I cannot be much more specific than that.  But I think you catch my drift . . .

Anyway, as CEO of Food Mart, I believe that you have a right and a duty to know what is going on at your stores.  Furthermore, as a consumer, I believe that I have a right and a duty to make you aware that at least one of your stores just so happens to be a toxic death trap.

This past Sunday, around 8:00 AM Pacific Time, just as your store was opening, I drove to Food Mart for my weekly purchase of groceries.  Upon arrival, I exited my car, only to be attacked by a vicious shopping cart. Said shopping cart was clearly on the loose and out for revenge, against what I don’t know. (Perhaps it was angered about being shackled to such a dangerous, ill-kept store). 

Owing to the fact that it was a windy day (weather.com said winds could reach speeds of up to 50 mph that Sunday), and that none of your associates thought it worth their precious time to return said cart to its rightful holding pen, located mere inches away, the Errant Shopping Cart flew right into me at a frighteningly fast speed (50 mph?).  By some miracle, the cart narrowly missed squashing my body into the side of my car, arms and legs akimbo, as if I were a large fly.

Have you any idea how many fatal accidents have been caused by shopping carts in the past year alone, Mr. Thompson?  I’ll spare you the specific statistics.  But, rest assured, there were a lot . . . 

You see, I am in the business of evaluating risk, so it is literally my job to know these things.  If I told you what I actually did for a living I would have to kill you.  OK, that is a lie too . . . the “having to kill you” part, I mean, not the “risk evaluation” part.  I just always wanted to use that cliché for some reason.  But I digress.  Let’s get back to the Toxic Death Trap, shall we? 

Upon regaining my composure (In addition to almost dying, my morning brush with death nearly gave me a heart attack.), and selecting a shopping cart other than the one obviously intent on murdering me, I entered the store and hastened toward the vegetable aisle.  You see, I’ve kind of been trying to lose a few pounds.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m fat or anything, just . . . plump . . . chubby . . . overweight.  And, as far as risky behaviors go, being any of the three aforementioned things is probably right up there with bungee jumping, riding a motorcycle, or going hunting with Dick Cheney.

So I get to the vegetable aisle, and what do I see?  This teenage girl, with long, obviously unwashed hair, is fondling the tomatoes with her unclean hands!!!!  I stood watching the girl for nearly five minutes.  In that time, she must have slimed every single solitary Food Mart tomato with her greasy fingertips. 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, she then starts having this really loud grotesque- sounding coughing fit.  So, there she is, sort of covering her mouth, but there are these little gaps between her fingers.  You can actually see the phlegm and mucus escaping right through them, coating the tomatoes with a sticky layer of germs (probably the Swine Flu or the Bubonic Plague).  After that, she goes back to fondling the tomatoes . . . AGAIN!

Now, to my knowledge, this woman was not an employee of Food Mart.  At least, she didn’t appear to be wearing one of those red smocks they always wear (which, by the way, always give off an unlaundered look).   But, nevertheless, shouldn’t there be some sort of policy against patrons of Food Mart touching unwrapped food with their bare diseased hands?  Studies have shown that our hands are the dirtiest parts of our bodies.  (You would think it would be our asses or our private parts, but that’s actually a common misconception . . .)  If, by 8 AM, Food Mart tomatoes have already been contaminated with the plague once, lord knows what state they are in by noon, or 5 PM.

Needless to say, I avoided the vegetable aisle completely after that.  I mean, I guess I could have sprung for one of those pre-packaged overpriced salad bags.  But those things are so riddled with pesticides and growth hormone that you could hardly call them nutritionally sound.  And my physician wonders why I can’t lose the pounds . . .

Suddenly overcome with an intense urge to wash my own hands, I finally located the “Employee Bathroom” in the corner of the store, but only after asking about five people where it was and getting no answer.  (So, let me get this straight, Food Mart doesn’t have public restrooms?  Better that your customers feel free to shit and vomit on the floor, after inevitably being taken ill upon eating bad tomatoes, right?)

In addition to smelling like the fetid armpit of a marathon runner, and being “unisex” (I despise unisex bathrooms because I am deathly afraid of tampons and the women who use them.  I mean, really, what kind of perverted SOB would invent such a thing?  A blood flotation device . . . on a string . . . beyond disgusting), there was so much dirt, empty rolls of toilet paper, and sanitary napkin wrappers (a bit better than tampons, but not much) on the floor  that I thought I had somehow landed in the flatbed of a garbage truck instead of a non-public restroom in a very public establishment. 

As I entered the bathroom, one of your employees was flushing the toilet (at least he flushed).  However, when he went to wash his hands, I noticed that he turned on the cold water (not the hot water, mind you, which is necessary if you want to actually kill any germs on your hands) for only 5 seconds.  FIVE SECONDS!  That is barely enough time to find a working soap dispenser (2 out of the 3 in this bathroom were completely empty), let alone thoroughly clean your hands prior to the preparation and handling of food.  Physicians say you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (roughly the length of time it takes you to sing the Happy Birthday song twice through) in order to properly cleanse your hands following a stint on the toilet.  After this encounter, I knew I had to avoid, not only the vegetable aisle, but any unwrapped food prepared or handled by members of your staff.

Despite coming to Food Mart with a shopping list that was two notebook pages long, I arrived at the checkout counter with just a six-pack of Charmin Ultra Strong toilet paper (less likelihood of leakage), a tube of Crest toothpaste, and a package of pre-wrapped Hersheys miniatures: three items (eight, if you count each of the Charmin rolls separately, which, I don’t).  Either way, I was significantly under the 15 item limit required to use the Express Checkout Lane. 

Apparently, however, I’m the only Food Mart shopper capable of counting, because the four people in line in front of me each had a shopping cart full of at least 16 items.  One person had 32 items.   I know because I counted them . . . twice.  Instead of politely directing these cheaters to another aisle, YOUR cashier proceeded to ring each of them up . . . very . . . slowly . . . one . . . item . . . at . . . a  . . . time.

To make matters worse, each of these patrons waited until the person in front of them had paid in full and exited the store to unpack their groceries onto the conveyer belt.  And the person before me purchased, you guessed it, among other things, seven diseased tomatoes that she didn’t even bother to put in a plastic bag prior to paying.   She then spread her items out on the conveyor belt, so liberally, that there was no room for my items at all (not that I could possibly use the grotesquely tainted belt now).  When it came to be my turn, I had to rush to unpack and bag my items (What?  No one believes in having bag boys anymore?) so that I could be finished in time for the next person to be rung up.  It was very stressful. 

By the time I exited Food Mart that morning, I felt like I needed a stiff drink.  But I abstained, because it was only 8:30 AM, and I am not foolhardy enough to drink and drive. 

So you see, the way things are now, I cannot possibly continue to shop at Food Mart if I wish to maintain my health and sanity.

Thank you for your attention to these matters.  Hopefully, they can be dealt with in an efficient and expedient manner.

                                    Cordially,

                           Gerald Blumenstein


Chapter 1

Happy Death Day to Me!

Risk Assessment Analysis:

Odds of being killed by lightning:       2,320,000 to 1

Odds of being killed in a plane crash:            52.6 million to 1

Odds of dying in your shrink’s office during some ridiculous therapy session involving a vampire bat:      Actually, that kind of shit tends only to happen to me . . .

            “Hey there, Mr. Blumenstein!  How was your day?”

            Every evening, when I return to my apartment building, the concierge, i.e. the lanky pimple-faced pubescent son of my landlord, asks me the above question, in his trademark faux – cheery, sounds like he’s been kicked in the nuts a few too many times, voice.  On most days, I refuse to answer this inquiry, because, personally, I find it offensive.  Now I know some of you readers out there are probably thinking I’m rude for snubbing Little Jimmy over there, who, after all, was just trying to be polite, right?  Make “conversation”?  Well allow me to explain myself.

              On principle, I resolutely refuse to respond to any question where the asker doesn’t give two shits about my reply.  Am I supposed to believe that Little Jimmy is truly concerned for my well being?  That he is actually expecting me to provide him with any sort of response to his question other than “Fine and Dandy.  How was yours?”  Because, honestly, most of the time, my days are total and complete crap. 

              But does Little Jimmy want to hear about that?  Does he want me to tell him all about the fact that I am nearly forty, and haven’t had sex in six years?  That my boss hates me?  That I’m a massive disappointment to my family?  No!  Little Jimmy wants me to lie, and I refuse to perjure myself for some snot-nosed kid.

                     And yet, on this particular day, circumstances have unfolded in such an extreme way during the past twelve or so hours, that I decide, just this once, to answer Little Jimmy.  And to his inane question, instead of merely grunting or simply ignoring him, like I usually do, I respond, “Well, aside from being brutally murdered, my day was pretty fucking fabulous.”

                  Now, technically, this too is a lie . . . well, the part about my day being fucking fabulous, at least.  My day, quite literally, sucked.  Nevertheless, this was the answer I gave Little Jimmy, or whatever the twit’s actual name is, just to see how he would respond.

                  “Ha, ha.  Good one, Mr. Blumenstein,” squeaks the boy wonder.  “You have a great night,” he chirps after me, as I head across the lobby to the elevator.

                  See what I mean?   You try to impart an important piece of personal information to someone, and all they do is laugh in your face.  Sighing, I reach into my messenger bag, pull out a tissue, secure it tightly over my pointer finger with a rubber band, and enter the already open double doors of the elevator, which, thank the Lord, is empty.  With my covered finger (Did you know that nearly 15% of all elevator buttons are covered with human feces?), I press the number 6, which responds to my command by lighting up.  Or at least it would, if my dipshit landlord ever got around to fixing the elevator.  Instead, the elevator door closes and I ride in utter and complete darkness for six floors, which I mind less today than I would under normal circumstances.

                 By the time I enter my apartment, I am dead tired (har de har, har).  Upon removing the tissue from my finger, triple locking my door, and fastening the chain across it, I then bend down to put my “doorstop” (a six by four inch cement block) in front of it.  Seem a bit excessive to you?  Did you know that the odds of having your apartment broken into by a gang of hoodlums are as small as one in 1,000?  And if that was to happen to me, who do you think would come to my rescue?  My 84-year old neighbor, Ms. Tingle?  My dipshit landlord?  Little Jimmy?  I’d rather take my chances throwing out my back (which I’ve done about five times since I moved in) with the cement block.  Thank you very much.

                           My apartment safely secured, I slouch dejectedly in front of the full- length mirror situated in my entrance foyer.  Staring back at me is a pasty, prematurely bald (although, I gather, once you pass thirty the “premature” label is debatable) paunchy loser in an ill-fitting suit.  “Still ugly,” I mutter under my breath at my mirror image, who, having taken offense to my comment, glares back at me as if to say “Pot calling kettle . . . “ or, whatever the heck that saying is supposed to be. 

                      For the record, all those movies and books that would lead you to believe that people who turn into . . . what I turned into . . . suddenly become all “Brad Pitt” in the looks department are a crock of shit.  That is unless, of course, you are Brad Pitt, in which case, more fucking power to you, I guess . . .

                    Without passing Go or collecting 200 dollars, I head directly to my bed and flop down on my mattress fully dressed.  But I can’t sleep, because my head is spinning and the wooden headboard hovering over me makes me feel as though I am sleeping in a coffin, which, while apropos of the situation, disturbs me greatly.  Thirsty, I head to my fridge, and take a swig of milk straight from the carton (which is actually statistically shown to be more germ free than glassware, especially if you live alone like me).  Even though the expiration date on the carton is still over a week away, the milk tastes rancid, so I spit it out and spill the contents of the carton into the sink.  I then pop open a can of non-name brand soda (I’ll be damned if I have to pay over a dollar for a can of pop when the fifty cent cans are just as good), but it tastes terrible too.

                  Resolved to my fate, I reach into my messenger bag and remove a bulky mason jar I received earlier that evening from Dr. Freenly.  Taking a deep breath, I open the jar, close my eyes, and pour its entire contents down my throat.  The red liquid is warm and thick, but it feels good going down.  So good, that I don’t even mind it when some of the liquid trickles down my chin and chunky globule lands on and ruins my brand new shirt.

                    Once I have finished, I forlornly rinse out the empty jar and place it with the rest of the recycling.  To my relief, I recall that Dr. Freenly has placed two more jars of the stuff in my bag.  I extract them and place them on my counter, staring at them in confusion. 

               Am I supposed to refrigerate these?  I think to myself.  Do NOT Refrigerate! reads a handwritten label hastily secured on one of the jars.  After putting the two jars away in a nearby cabinet, I slump down into a chair in front of my kitchen table and begin to ponder my last hours among the living . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Thirsty for more?  Find out how to purchase Life Sucks, Death Bites by clicking on the following link: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/life-sucks-death-bites/6217003

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