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Vampires, and Werewolves, and Ghosts, OH MY! – A Recap of Being Human’s Pilot Episode “There Goes The Neighborhood”

OK . . . so let me get this straight .  . . It’s a show about vampires . . . and werewolves . . . and ghosts . . . where almost the ENTIRE cast is in their twenties . . . AND there was male frontal nudity in the first TWO MINUTES of the pilot episode?  You had me at HELLO!

A few nights back, the Syfy channel debuted it’s U.S. incarnation of the hit British supernatural horror comedy series Being Human. (Well, more accurately, it’s a Canadian incarnation.  Though the show is meant to take place in Boston, it is obviously filmed in a place where people are more likely to say “oot and aboot” than “pahk your cahr in a Hah-vahd yahd.”)  As a lover of all things supernatural, who had never watched the British version of this series, I was excited to get a fresh and unfettered glimpse at the show, when I finally got around to watching it this evening.  (For better or worse, Monday is a crowded night for me in TV Land.)

Though comparisons between this series and its U.K. incarnation, as well as other television shows of supernatural bent (most notably, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood) are inevitable, and not always favorable, I, for one, enjoyed this pilot.  In fact, once the producers iron out a few of the “freshman kinks,” I think this has the makings of a pretty awesome series — one that has the potential to stick around for a long time. 

Freshman Kink #1 – Is that supposed to be a werewolf, or a leprechaun wearing cheap dentures?

So, what are we waiting for?  Let’s bite into that pilot episode!

I’m really “torn” about this screenshot.  (No pun intended.)  On one hand, I’m loving the Dirty Naked Dude!  But the Butchered Bambi’s Mother?  Not so much . . . Next time?  Let’s stick to Bloody Humans, and leave the Furry Woodland Creatures ALONE, shall we?

Meet Josh.  He’s a lonely twenty something, who’s desperately in need of a female influence in his life . . .

Worst . . . Walk of Shame . . . EVER!

For the most part, Josh leads a normal, if slightly dull and unfulfilling life.  But once a month, he really “lets his hair down.” When that happens, his Freak Flag flies at full mast.  You see, two years ago, Josh was bitten by a werewolf.  This event caused him to leave all his family and friends behind, and seek shelter in the vast city of Boston.  Now, he spends his nights alone in a forest, and his days rightfully feeling pretty sorry for himself . . .

This is Aidan.  And, no, he doesn’t always look like an extra from the Maenad-induced Orgies on Season 2 of True Blood.  (True Blood fans know EXACTLY what I’m talking about here.)

There . . . that’s better.  Aidan is a REALLY OLD vampire.  And, unlike his friend, Josh, he is not exactly unlucky with the ladies.  In fact, he gets lucky with one in his very first scene . . . a bit TOO lucky, some might say.

Don’t let this image fool you.  Aidan is not a BAD vamp.  In fact, he’s trying to go “straight,” by cutting living human blood out of his diet, entirely.  He just has a bit of an . . . “addiction problem,” one that has been fueled by many years of unadulterated feeding.  Sound familiar, TVD fans?

Unfortunately for Aidan, dead humans aren’t quite as readily accepted by the human population as Dead Bambi’s Mother.  And so, Aidan is forced to call upon one of his former vampire “friends” to clean up his mess for him, while he heads off to work.  On the way there, he picks up Josh.  The latter is still clad in that ridiculous dress (which fits him perfectly, by the way) that he pulled off some old lady’s clothes line to cover up his nakedness.  (Really?  Has anybody actually used a clothes line, since 1952?)

I read that, in the British version, Aidan (a.k.a. “John”) and Josh (a.k.a. “George”) are “hospital cleaners” by trade.  But here, in the American version, they seem as though they might be low-level orderlies, of some sort.  The job is convenient for Vampire Aidan, obviously, because it gives him ready access to a non-living blood supply.  Josh’s rationale for taking the job is a bit more murky.  However, we suspect it has something to do with him having been “pre-med,” during his “pre-werewolf” days.  It’s also a fairly anonymous job — one where he likely won’t have to work through too many full moons.

Throughout the day, Aidan keeps trying to convince Josh that they should shack up together.  By doing so, they can help one another satisfy their sexual urges “be more normal.”  (Honestly, I’m not really sure how sharing an apartment with another “freak” makes one less “freaky,” but I guess, there wouldn’t be a show, without it, right?)

Let the Bromance BEGIN!

Though initially skeptical, Josh ultimately agrees to live with Aidan.  (And why not?  After all, we never got a chance to see where either guy was living to begin with.  So, for all we know, they may both have been homeless.) 

“I don’t cook (or eat).  I don’t clean.  And my credit sucks,” explains Aidan, before the pair head off apartment hunting.

(Best ROOMMATE ADVERTISEMENT, EVER!)

Inevitably, the first day of apartment hunting, Josh falls in love with a little duplex fixer-upper apartment, close to where the guys work.  It’s current owner is a young skittish-looking guy, who seems VERY eager to rent out the place.  “You can keep all the furniture, and move in today.  And, honestly, I don’t need a credit check,” says the landlord nervously.

As it turns out, this guy has good reason to want to be rid of the apartment.  You see, his fiance DIED there. (Insert Dramatic Music Here).

But, as we know, Dead Stuff doesn’t phase these two in the LEAST.  So, into the apartment they go!   There’s just one problem.  They aren’t alone . . .

“BOO!  Haha, scared ya, didn’t I?  Get it?  Because I’m a GHOST . . . yeah . . . never mind.”

Remember how the landlord said his fiance died in the apartment.  Well . . . she’s still there!  Except, now she’s in “ghost form,” and can only be seen and heard by . . . wait for it . . . supernatural creatures.  Ghost Girl (her name is Sally, by the way) is just THRILLED about the prospect of finally having a two-sided conversation.  So, she just starts talking the boys’ ears off.  Aidan doesn’t seem too phased by the idea of bunking with a ghost AND a werewolf.  But Josh is PISSED!  He wants to have sex with Aidan alone time, DAMMIT!

The problem, of course, is that Ghost Girl Sally CAN’T LEAVE THE HOUSE.  You see, she still has “unfinished business” on Earth (as most ghosts do).  Specifically, Ghost Girl Sally isn’t quite sure how she died.  And, until she figures that out, Aidan and Josh are stuck with her . . .

Friggin Ghostly Cock Block!

But our boys have more problems than just coping with a third-wheel Casper of a roommate.  As for Aidan, there’s that little problem of the coworker he killed . . .

The police have been milling about the hospital where he works, asking questions.  And everybody seems to know that Aidan and “Rebecca” were kind of an item.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, Aidan’s call to a “vampire friend” to “clean up his mess” resulted in him being tracked down by THIS GUY . . .

That’s Marcus.  He’s a Vampire Henchman of some guy named Bishop, who you will meet, in just a bit.  He keeps talking to Aidan about “coming back.”  Apparently, like in True Blood world, the vampires in Being Human are, at least somewhat, organized.  They have a leader.  They have a social structure.  And Blood Bank Sipper Aidan . . . well . . . I guess that makes him a bit of a deserter.

During lunch, Aidan gets cornered by a policeman, who seems to know WAY TOO MUCH about Aidan’s relationship with Rebecca. In fact, he all but accuses Aidan of murdering the girl.  And, just when I’m starting to yell at the TV screen, “YOU’RE A VAMPIRE!  USE MIND CONTROL ON HIM ALREADY, YOU MORON,” the cop sitting next to him does exactly that.

That’s right, boys and girls!  Big Bad Vampire Bishop is Jacob from Lost.  How’s that for a coincidence?  Now, don’t get me wrong, casting a Metaphor for God Character from a successful series, to play your show’s main (religiously named) villain is not a bad idea, all things considered.  And yet, if Stunt Casting was, in fact, the ultimate goal, there are a few other actors I think might have served this purpose even more effectively:

A girl can dream, can’t she? 

Anyway, Jacob Bishop mind controls  . . . or compels . . . or glamours (whatever you want to call it) Mr. Policeman to think Aidan is innocent, and leave the premises.  But he doesn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart.  He wants Aidan “back.”  (Here we go again, with that “come back” stuff, which sounds a bit sexual, if you ask me.) 

From flashbacks, we learn that Aidan used to be quite the naughty beast — crashing weddings with his pal, Bishop . . .

 . . . and proceeding to EAT the entire bridal party . . .

 Mmmmm, that Vince Vaughn is TASTY!

. . . well . . . except for THIS GIRL . . .

 .  . who we just KNOW is going to be important later, don’t we?

As for Josh, he’s having his own problems.  For starters, he’s getting all tongue-tied around the Cute Quirky Future Love Interest New Girl at the Hospital . . .

“Hi, I don’t think we’ve met.  My name is Poor Man’s Claire Danes.  Nice to meet you!”

He’s also been spotted by his baby sister, who was visiting her girlfriend there, because she conveniently had a broken bone, or something,  (Yep, Little Sis is gay!  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  Now, Emily (that’s her name, by the way) insists on knowing where Josh has been for two years, and why he ran away in the first place . . .

Of course, Josh ultimately decides NOT to come clean to his sister, a decision he will soon come to regret.  That night, Josh heads back to the hospital, to seek out the new conveniently located dungeon therein, where Aidan suggested that Josh could “safely change.”

Sounds good, right?  Well, it would be . . . . except, unbeknownst to Josh, his sister has followed him down to the dungeon.  And now, she is LOCKED IN THERE WITH HIM.  (Again, sound familiar TVD fans?)

When Josh finds out what happened, he starts FREAKING OUT, understandably.  His poor sister, who mistakenly thinks he’s sick, keeps trying to comfort him, only to finally get shoved violently out of the way.  Josh uses his cell phone to contact to Aidan, who has the key to the dungeon, and has promised to help out in situations like this. 

Unfortunately for Josh, Aidan has been swept up in a little intrigue of his own, having been practically kidnapped by Jacob Bishop and brought to some sort of Vampire Brothel . . .

(Unfortunately, it is not named Fangtasia . . .)

Once there, Aidan is taken into some seedy back room, where a slutty-looking girl slits her wrist, causing Aidan to become totally aroused, vampire-style . . .

(Something tells me, he won’t be answering his werewolf friend’s text messages any time soon.)  Josh also calls Ghost Girl Sally.

Unlike Aidan, Sally really WANTS to help her new roommate!  Unfortunately, her ghostly hand keeps going through the phone.  So, she can’t pick it up.  (Don’t you hate it when that happens?)

The episode ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger, with Aidan voyaging “back” toward the Dark Side, and Josh beginning his wolfy transformation, as his defenseless little sister looks on in horror . . .

SOMEONE needs a manicure!

And that was the Pilot Episode of Being Human in a nutshell.  Did YOU watch?  If so, what did you think?  Was it good enough to find a place on your permanent TV roster?  Or was it just a One Night Stand? 

 

Yes, I do recognize that using this picture again (especially in this context) was in poor taste.  It didn’t stop me from doing it, though!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Back to School – A Recap of Grey’s Anatomy’s “Time Warp”

When I heard that this  Thursday’s installment of Grey’s Anatomy was going to be a “flashback episode,” one that intermingled the characters’ present day experiences with events of the past,  in order to shed some light on the characters’ current behavior, I found myself struck with an overwhelming sense of deja vu.  I couldn’t kick this feeling that I had been here before.  That I had seen this before . . .

Oh, yeah . . . now I remember . . .

In an effort to differentiate himself from former Chief Webber McBoozy (although after 45 days of sobriety, I guess it is no longer appropriate, nor fair, to call him that), and to make a name for himself as the “touchy feely” Nu-Chief, Dr. McDreamy Shepherd reinstitutes Lecture Day at Seattle Grace.

“See?  I’m the sensitive one.  Look into my puppy dog eyes,  and tell me I’m not sensitive.  Just don’t make me cry, because I’ll punch your lights out, if you do.”

As guest lecturers, Shepherd commandeers Bailey, Callie, and Chief McBoozy Webber (sorry, force of habbit).  Webber takes a bit of extra persuading on Shepherd’s part.  After all, learning that you have just been demoted from “Chief of Surgery” to just plain “surgeon” does not exactly make one feel all “happy-go-teachy.”  Nonetheless, Webber ultimately agrees to guest lecture, and what appears to be the entire staff of Seattle Grace packs a rather large auditorium to see him do so. 

(Seriously, Seattle Grace?  Your entire staff?  This is why you aren’t ranked in the top ten!  This is why your patients die all the time!  Doesn’t anyone practice medicine here any more?)

But I digress . . . Here’s what we learned from our three lecturers:

Webber’s Lesson: “When I was your age . . .”

Our first flashback took us all the way back to 1982 – a time when the medical profession was very much an all-boys club, an all white boys club;  a time when doctors were largely ignorant about and frightened of immune system-related diseases and homosexuality.  It was also a time when people dressed like this . . .

Back then Webber was a just teetotaling, ambitious young resident trying to make a name for himself at Seattle Grace, while, at the same time, boinking Meredith’s Mommy, Ellis Grey, in the on-call room.  Yes, apparently, they did that in the 80s too.  Talk about sexually transmitted diseases . . .  How often do you think they sterilize that place?

“28 more years of this and we will ALL be under quarantine . . .”

When Ellis and Webber encounter a patient with a rare bacterial infection, they begin to suspect that he may have GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder, or AIDS, as it is now commonly called.  This was a highly sensitive subject for any doctor to broach during that time, let alone a young resident with minimal job security.  After all, few cases of the disorder had been discovered at this point, and very little was known about the disease. 

Apparently, homosexuality was just not something you talked about back then, it being a time before

 Will and Grace and . . .  well . . .

Grey’s Anatomy!

Initially, the patient takes Webber’s inquiry into his sexual orientation very badly.  He leaves the hospital in a huff, refusing treatment.  Unfortunately, a few weeks later, he returns, now extremely ill and desperate for help.  The problem is that, now that his secret is out, most of the doctors and nurses at Seattle Grace are afraid of infection and unwilling to help him.  THIS MUST BE A JOB FOR  . . .

 . . . no, not them, just Young Webber and Young Ellis Grey.

The dynamic duo risk their careers and, as far as they know, their lives, to save this patient.  Fortunately, the surgery goes well.  (Yay!) But . . . then the patient dies anyway (Boo!)  But, not before Webber learns of his own fallibility and the importance of maintaining your humanity as a surgeon.  (Yay!)  Then, afterwards, Ellis bullies the future Chief McBoozy into taking his first alcoholic drink. (Boo!)   But, before, that, we got to see how adorable Meredith looked at age 5.  (Yay!)

Needless to say, it was a very emotional rollercoaster-esque lecture.  Yet, at its conclusion, Webber gives a rousing speech about the importance of doctors adhering to the Hippocratic Oath.  He then raises his right hand and recites the Oath himself.  Admittedly, it was some pretty powerful stuff, and really served to highlight Webber’s true love of medicine.  Clearly affected by his own speech, the Old Chief ultimately decides to accept McDreamy’s offer and return to work.  (Yay!)

Bailey’s Lesson: Shark tales, a.k.a. The Birth of the Nazi

Before Miranda Bailey became the Nazi; before she turned into a strong, smart, powerful, but often angry, woman who looks like this . . .

Bailey was an overachieving but painfully shy and polite-to-a-fault intern, who looked like this . . .

The year was 2003.  While medicine had come a long way since 1982, there were still many obstacles for women who wanted to succeed in the healthcare industry.  And for many women, their biggest obstacle was one another.  That’s right.   Mean girls, unfortunately, stuck around long past the 80s . .

This movie came out in 2004 . . .

Despite the fact that Mean Girls wasn’t due out in theaters for another year, one of them had managed to sneak into Seattle Grace.  Bailey’s resident “advisor” is  a bitch with a Capital B.  And, like any two-dimensional villian, this 30-something year old woman tortured Young Bailey with the zeal, intensity (and maturity) of a 16-year old cheerleader who just found out that her boyfriend has decided to go to prom with the class nerd.

Be careful Bailey!  This never ends well for people like you . . .

Fortunately, for Bailey, she is due for a major personality transplant and stat!  And who performs said transplant, you ask?  None other than Superman Webber of course!  “Surgery is a shark tank, and sharks have teeth.  Be a shark, not a minnow,” the then-Chief instructs Bailey. 

And I bet you know what happens next . . .

That’s right!  Our Neo Nazi Bailey solves a difficult medical mystery.  Then,  in what we now know was the first of her eloquently angry, yet rousing, monologues, Bailey hands her bitchy resident advisor her ass on a platter for ordering countless unnecessary surgeries for a patient, who merely required medication.  “You are going to be a brilliant surgeon one day,” commends Webber (and we know that he is right!)

In addition to being an awesome surgeon, Bailey is also terrific public speaker.  She owns both the stage and her audience, awarding them for class participation with chocolates.  And as a nearly perpetual student, I can tell you that candy bribes WORK and work well!

Callie’s Lesson: “Everybody f&*ks Alex.”

You know who’s not so hot in the public speaking department?  The typically loud and brash Callie.  After vomiting up her breakfast in anticipation of the big event, Callie stumbles around stage, head tucked inside her notes, mumbling almost incoherently about the club footed patient her and Alex cared for back in 2006, when she was a new resident.

With Alex’s help, however, Callie ultimately recovers nicely.  She recounts for the group the immensely gratifying experience of repairing the leg of a 28-year old student who was told he could never walk.  When all of the other doctors discounted the patient, and berated Callie for mismanaging his expectations, Callie refused to give up.  As a result, this formerly bed-ridden man can now roam freely (with the help of some crutches, of course). 

And this wouldn’t be Grey’s Anatomy if the story didn’t end with an on-call room boink fest between Alex and Callie . . .

“I am so much better at doing this than public speaking  . . .”

Apparently, Alex has screwed the entire staff at Seattle Grace, and most of its patients.  That is one dirty boy!

Not only is Alex a slut, he is also, apparently a liar.  And Callie catches him in a real whopper.  As punishment, she forces him to perform the surgery he claimed to have already done by himself in an elevator shaft, even though that surgery was actually completed by Callie’s ex-hubby, the now deceased, George.

R.I.P. Dude!  The show hasn’t been the same since you left . . . really.

So, there you have it, folks.  A love letter to medicine, with three flashbacks, two sex scenes, lots of chocolate, and a shout out to an old friend.  Not bad for a single episode.

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