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“This site is cursed!” – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ “Stolen Kisses”

[Hey there, Werebangers!  Your recap for Teen Wolf’s “Battlefield” is on its way!  It should be posted by early evening, at the latest.  Thanks for your patience! :)]

Welcome back, my Pretties!  This week on Pretty Little Liars, Caleb and Aria both learn how “the other half lives” (and by “other half,” I mean “stinking filthy rich half”), Hanna reads a lot of really big words from a bunch of really little note cards, everybody and their brother hit on Emily, and a whole lot of people experience . . . wait for it . . . “stolen kisses.”

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P.S. WRREEEEEEENNN!!!! (Dude sure does get around, doesn’t he?)

Let’s review, shall we?

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“The Great Fitzy” by Ezra . . . Fitzgerald?

Ahh, Fitzy.

Technically, we’ve known the guy since the pilot episode.  And yet, he is still such an enigma.  I mean, sure, we know he writes crappy poetry . . . enjoys bike riding, while wearing scandalously short shorts . . .

On second thought, maybe not so short . . .

. . . keeps hairy limes in his fridge . . .

. . .  and has a psychopathic ex-girlfriend named Jackie, who occasionally makes him utter serial killer lines like this . . .

But what else do we REALLY know about this ex-high school English teacher, turned ex-college professor turned . . . future “journalist?”

Actually, this week we got to add quite a few important pieces of information to our dossier entitled “Fitzy.”  For instance:

(1) Interesting Fitzy Fact Number 1: His last name is actually “Fitzgerald.”

You know, like the guy who wrote “The Great Gatsby,” i.e. the book about all the rich, shallow and snooty people now a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  This actually brings me to my next point . . .

(2) Interesting Fitzy Fact Number 2:  He’s actually filthy rich . . . or, at least, his parents are . . .

It looks like everyone’s favorite former teacher, has been holding out a bit on Aria  . . . dining on Ramen Noodles with her, and slurping generic brand soda, when they could have been eating caviar (which is, in his defense, is gross, anyway) and sipping champagne.  At least this kind-of / sort of explains, the unemployed guy’s recent penchant for expensive antique cameras, and fancy cars (though, of course, the jury is still out on those). . . .

Oh, and remember that time that Fitzy picked up Aria in a limousine for their “first date” to the Philadelphia museum?  Suddenly, that’s making a whole lot more sense too . . .

Of course, the discovery Fitzy’s flush finances brings about an even more interesting question.  Why does he live like such a poor slob, when he can live like a royal?  Yeah . . . about that . . .

(3) Interesting Fitzy Fact Number 3: Fitzy’s Mommy is the Rich B*tch Mom Archetype from Every Movie or TV Show You Have Ever Seen . . .

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  Rich Boy / Girl falls in love with Not-so-Rich Girl / Boy, but Rich Boy / Girl’s parents don’t approve of the relationship.  So, they try to sabotage it in the only way they know how, by throwing money at the problem.  It’s pretty much the least original relationship storyline ever.

And yet, this particular tale of upper class meets upper-middle class “star crossed lovers” has much less to do with why Fitzy’s family sucks so bad, and more to do with what it says about Fitzy and Aria as human beings.  Those of us (myself included), who have occasionally criticized Fitzy for lacking a bit of a backbone, were undoubtedly pleasantly surprised this week, when he immediately stood up to his mother on Aria’s behalf, even if that meant shunning wealth and a family connection.  So, often in these type of stories, we see the “rich love interest” caving to his or her callous family’s demands.  Not so here.

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On another positive note, those of us who have occasionally criticized Aria for being a bit self-absorbed, were also pleasantly surprised to see her taking to heart some of the not entirely untrue criticisms Fitzy’s mom lodged at her, during the art benefit.  After all, while Fitzy did personally choose to continue to pursue a relationship with Aria, despite the risks it held for his teaching career, it must be said that had he never met or dated Aria, he’d still likely be teaching English at Rosewood.  Though it came from a judgmental and manipulative source, it was refreshing seeing Aria maturely evaluate the role she is playing in Fitzy’s life.  It shows just how much she really cares about him.

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You know, these two crazy kids  . . . well, this one crazy kid, and this other crazy adult . . . might just make it after all . . .

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A third refreshing turn of events in this storyline.   For once, Papa Montgomery actually wasn’t a total douchenozzle!  Way to be a decent dad, by reminding your daughter that she plays a positive role in her boyfriend’s life, despite the fact that said boyfriend is someone you, personally, hate.

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I’m still glad Mama Montgomery is dumping your ass for the American Pie Guy though . . .

In other relationship news . . .

If you wanna know, if she loves you so, it’s in her . . . flask?

Why is Emily’s Lost Night at the Gravesite storyline, suddenly becoming the gay girl’s version of the Hangover movies?

First she was in Jenna’s car, then she was at some diner, now, apparently she was sucking face at Paige’s house, then she may or may not have helped dig up her ex best friend’s grave.  For a girl who was roofied to the point of almost unconsciousness, Emily Fields sure was a busy little beaver, wasn’t she?  (No pun intended.)

Anywhoo, when Emily tries to apologizes to Paige for inadvertently drugging her into a jealous cupcake spitting rage with her Flask of Truth, she learns that Paige has been keeping a Very Big Secret from her.  Apparently, on the Night that Shall Not Be Named but we are going to keep bringing it up anyway, Emily found herself on Paige’s doorstep, drugged out of her mind.  This of course, did not stop Emily from sticking her tongue down Paige’s throat.  And it certainly didn’t stop Paige from letting Emily stick her tongue down Paige’s throat, even though, afterward she felt incredibly guilty for doing so . . .

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I know a lot of fans were kind of harsh on Paige for letting Emily make out with her, when she was so clearly not in her right state of mind.  And, as many of you know, I’m far from Paige’s biggest fan, especially after the whole “Trying to Drown Emily” thing.

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*dunk, gurgle, gurgle, glug*

That said, anyone who has experienced unrequited crushing can certainly relate to how difficult it would be to stop the object of your affection from kissing you, when its something you’ve wanted for so long.

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Now, I think I’d feel much differently about the situation, had Paige and Emily done more than kiss that night.  But simply allowing an inebriated person to make out with you, is not a crime.  Anyone who’s been to a high school or college party can tell you that.

However, Paige’s decision to hide this important information from Emily for as long as she did is a bit suspect in my eyes.  Also suspect?  Emily’s rationale that because she made out with Paige while nearly unconscious, she must secretly looooooove her.

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I’m a firm believer in the fact that people shouldn’t use alcohol as an excuse for bad behavior.  Being drunk might lower your inhibitions, but it doesn’t completely deprive you of control of your own mind, and bodily functions.  (Well, at least most bodily functions . . .)

People who do things while drunk should not be excused from taking responsibility for them when sober.

That said, I think it’s safe to say Emily was more than just “drunk” on the night in question.  And because of her state, things happened to her over which she clearly had no control.  We know that a sober Emily would never have left her PLL friends to get into a car with not-blind Jenna.  And she certainly wouldn’t have chosen to hover over Ali’s open, recently robbed, grave with a shovel.  So, maybe, just maybe, Emily should take her actions on the Lost Night with a grain of salt . . .

“I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gravedigger, but she ain’t messin’ with no corpsey corpse .  . .”

Then again, had she done that, us fans wouldn’t have been treated to this awesome Olympic quality late night synchronized swimming session  . . .

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Step aside, Michael Phelps!

Meanwhile . . .

In which Nate gets creepier, Toby gets madder, and Caleb gets a WHOLE lot richer . . .

The obvious serial killer psychosis of Maya’s supposed cousin Nate continues to both intrigue and frighten me.  If you recall, it was Nate’s idea that Emily probably acted out her subconscious desires while under the influence.

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And while, as I said, his statement wasn’t entirely incorrect, Nate’s assertion that people who do “bad things” in their dreams, are the same as people who do bad things in real life sounded like a guy trying to justify his own bad acts . . . his own “murderous” acts, perhaps?

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I mean, really, who besides a killer could argue that thinking about killing somebody is just as bad as actually killing somebody?

In other creepy Nate says news, Nate memorably noted that he could “totally see himself” committing murder,  when he saw Garrett that day at the hospital, even going as far as saying that the Police Boy was “better of dead.”  Once again, Nate seems to be attempting to rationalize away murder as something “anybody could do.”

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Couple that with the guy skulking around Emily’s and Maya’s lakehouse, and hijacking Emily’s personal memories of Maya as his own (“OH!  We used to do that too!”), and we are starting to get a pretty frightening picture of who this guy might be . . .

In light of the PLL girl’s recent discovery that Maya was seen getting into Police Boy’s Police Car on the day of her death, and the hints we’ve received lately, both from Mona, and Maya herself,  that she “knew” a secret about Ali’s death, I have a new theory about Maya’s last moments.  Wanna hear it?

Sure you do!

OK . . . so now I’m thinking that Maya found out about Ali having a murderous twin who really killed Alison, and decided to bring that information to the cops, hence her secret rendezvous with Police Boy Garrett.  The only problem was that secret camp stalker boy Nate, saw these two together, and assumed they were hooking up.  So, Nate kills Maya in a jealous rage, and is only too relieved when the deed is pinned on the police boy he hates . . .

Sounds pretty plausible, right?

Speaking of rages, Abs Toby is PISSED at Spencer for unwittingly making him a fellow Obstructer (Is that a real word?) of Justice regarding that whole “hit and run” thing that happened with Drunken Jason and his car . . . especially, now that Drunken Jason seems to be MIA . . .

Fortunately, for Spencer, she has another boy toy, with which to buy her time.  And it’s . . . wait for it . .  . CALEB!

That’s right!  Hanna’s ex-beau has been logging in some serious bonding time with Rosewood favorite super sleuth, as the two worked together to crack the code of Maya’s website.  (Even though we all know the password was “IMMD,” anyway!)  Truth be told,  Caleb and Spencer used to not really have all that much in common, considering that Spencer spent her spare time in country clubs, and Caleb slept in the school library.  But now that Caleb wears $400 sweaters, and drives some fancy schmancy car, they, apparently, have plenty to talk about .  . .

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Now, in Caleb’s defense, he promises that the reason he’s helping Spencer crack Maya’s code (that sounds a little dirty) is to protect Hanna.

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But as we all know, on PLL, good intentions always seem to lead to making out with someone you shouldn’t . . .

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 . . . which leads me to . . .

Now, Mona won’t have to “Miss (Her) Dolls”

It’s a bit ironic that while Spencer is spending quality time with Hanna’s ex beau, Hanna ends up locking lips with one of Spencer’s.  It all stars when Doctor Sexy Pants Wren approaches Hanna with the “bad” news that Mona is going to be relocated to another nuthouse, if Hanna doesn’t speak on her behalf.

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Sheesh!  Hanna really must be the most forgiving person ON THE PLANET.  I mean, if someone tried to ruin my life, and kill ME, you could be damn sure, I wouldn’t be appearing before some medical board in a suit, talking about how much I wanted to keep that person living down the street from me, as opposed to “far, far away” where she belongs.

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I don’t know, I think brown rat asses are kind of cute!

Nevertheless, Hanna’s initially rehearsed, but, eventually extemporaneous, plea to allow Mona to stay at Radley, was oddly sweet and touching .  . .

. . . you know . . . if you ignore completely the fact that Mona is a TOTAL PSYCHOPATH . . .

After the speech is over, Wren comes to Hanna to share with her the good news.  Crazy Town Mona is HERE TO STAY!  Umm, yay?

Well, Hanna certainly seems thrilled with the results of her presentation . . . so, thrilled, in fact, that she plants a big juicy wet smooch on Wren’s lips.

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Ahhh . . . well, I certainly can’t blame anyone for making out with that adorable, delectable Brit.  And if a relationship with Hanna, means more Wren on my TV screen, then, of course, I’m all for it.

But I have to say, I think Wren has much more chemistry with Spencer . . .

And Hanna has much more chemistry with Caleb . . .

. . . than Wren and Hanna do with one another.  Does anyone else agree?

And the Password to Maya’s Super Morbid Secret Site is . . . ummm . . .

As I hinted at earlier, this week was also the week we finally got a peek at Maya’s password-locked website, which ended up somewhat of a cross between a private YouTube account,  and a Facebook page,  filled as it was with quirky, cute, video diaries, and a whole lot of pictures of Emily and Maya together.  At this point, I suspect the series has really only scratched the surface of what sort of easter eggs the Masssugar.com site has in regard to Maya’s secrets / final days on Earth.

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Of course, we got the obligatory, Morbid / Unintentionally Frightening videos you always see on the type of shows where the main characters are investigating the personal thoughts of the recently deceased.  For example, Maya eerily predicting that her own website was “cursed,” and her ironic proclamation that she’s “always losing things.”

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But I suspect the video that will become most important is the one of a frightened and tearful Maya (dressed in the same outfit she was wearing shortly after she came home from “camp”) talking about no longer being afraid,  and finally revealing her secrets.

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The question is WHAT secrets was she planning to reveal.  Were they the ones about her stalker Nate?  Or were they the one’s about Ali and her secret crazy twin?  And were those secrets dangerous enough, that someone would kill her rather than risk having them revealed?

The plot . . . it thickens.

Speaking of thick, like many fans (including my awesome pal Sassy Fran, who did a kickass video blog of the episode this week), I was kind of annoyed at my PLL girls for pretty blatantly ignoring some of Mona’s most important coded clues from last week, i.e. Maya Knew, and PW: IMMD.  Since Caleb got into Maya’s site through “back door” methods, we never did get to find out whether either of these were the password for Maya’s site.

I suspect Marlene King and Co. are waiting for a later episode to reveal the importance of these clues.  That said, since Mona DID mention them last week, and most fans picked up on them, almost immediately thereafter, I think the writers were remiss in not, at least, acknowledging there existence.

But hey, what I do I know?  I’m just a lazy recapper . . .

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Anywhoo, that was “Stolen Kisses” in a nutshell.  Next week on PLL . . .

As Scooby Doo would say, “Ruh ROH!”

Until next time, my Pretties!

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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“I Know Who Killed Me,” a Recap of Gossip Girl’s “The Fugitives”

[Greetings Fangbangers!  The TVD Season 3 Finale Recap is on its way.  I should have it up by early Saturday morning, EST!  We have A LOT to talk about!]

“Try and hit me with your car again, LOSERS!” 

Greetings Upper East Siders! This week on GG, Donut Dan’s frightening Medusa-like bedhead, and crippling self doubt, threatened to end his relationship with Blair.

But,  unfortunately, it’s not quite dead . . . yet . . . just paralyzed from the waist down, and begging to be put out of its misery.

Also on GG, Lola and Ivy gave us a glimpse into the future of both of their respective acting careers  . . . by posing as high middle lower-middle class call girls.

Meanwhile, Serena, after weeks of pretending to be Gossip Girl, put on a headband, and pretended to be Blair Waldorf instead.  (Clearly, this is a Multiple Personality Disorder waiting to happen.)

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In other news, Bart Bass is adjusting to not being dead anymore.  And who knows?  In another year or two he might even re-learn how to emote and display real facial expressions . . .

So, slap on your sassiest headband, pick up your favorite flavor of gelato (as long as it’s not pistachio), and, for Heaven’s Sake, hide your diary, because it’s time for another GG cap . . .

“What did we bury that day?”

I suspect few GG fans would disagree with me, when I say that, as amusing as Bart Bass: Real Estate Magnate of the Undead is to watch, it’s pretty much the most ridiculously unbelievable plotline these writers have ever put on our screens . . . well, except for maybe that whole “Pact with G*d” thing.  Actually, Chuck Bass thinks it’s pretty ridiculous too. This is why he meets with his father, early on in the episode, in hopes of getting some much needed answers for himself, and, by extension, GG viewers.

“You look pretty good, for someone who’s been underground for three years, dad.  Was there a tanning bed in your hidey hole?” 

Bart explains to Chuck how one of his Big Bad Competitors . . . one with some all-too-convenient “connections to the mob,” tried to get Bart killed in that fateful car accident.  So, Bart, being the strong, powerful, manly man that he is, decided to deal with it by . . . going Ninja on his would be killer’s ass      going to the police and having him arrested  ruining him financially by buying out all his hotels    using his own mob connections to kill the guy right back  giving him a royally painful wedgie  burrowing in an underground hole for three years, while wearing a Snuggie, and watching a whole lot of Real Housewives episodes.  Bart Bass . . . MY HERO!

“This guy even makes ME look good!”

But Chuck’s not done with his interrogation.  There’s so much about this situation that still confuses him . . . and me.  Like, for example, how did Bart manage to fake a flatline in the hospital, while the entire Bass / VDW clan was standing over him, pretending to be genuinely upset about his demise?  And what or who exactly did they put in Bart’s coffin for the faux funeral?  Actually, I have a few ideas about that one . . .

Also, how did Zombie Bart manage to sneak blood to Chuck, without anyone knowing he was there .  . . or that he supposedly has no pulse?  Chuck wants to know the answers to all these questions.  But, most of all, he wants to know who tried to have his father killed, so that he can get REVENGE.

 “Avenging the not real death of my father . . . I think I read a book about that once . . .”

So, Bart answered these questions, right?  I mean, of course, he had to answer these questions.  A show simply can’t have a character come back from the dead, after three years, without explaining to fans how it happened . . . right?  RIGHT?

Noooo . . . sorry.  You lose, Chuck Bass!  Thanks for playing!  Better luck next Undead Dad!

By the way, I miss Monkey.  Where’s he been lately? 

It would have been easy to laugh off a moment like this.  But Ed Westwick gave the situation some genuine gravitas, illustrating how this cold callous man had the power to transform the  dignified, often cocksure, adult Chuck Bass, into a vulnerable boy in desperate need of his father’s love and affection.  “What is this?  You’re kicking me out?  You’re just going to disappear, and leave me alone again?” Chuck inquires, eyes filling with tears, as one of his father’s henchmen bodily removes him from the premises.

It’s literally impossible not to feel for Chuck in this scene.  And yet Bart Bass seems to manage it quite well.  Seriously, I’m starting to think that the guy is actually a cyborg.  It would explain so much . . .

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Louis-bot approves . . . 

Despite all this, Chuck is still determined to vanquish his father’s enemies, Amanda Clarke from Revenge-style.  He turns first to one of his most “loyal and trusting” henchmen, Andrew Tyler.  You know, the guy who Chuck is forever throwing ridiculous sums of money at to provide him with misinformation nearly every week?  But Andrew doesn’t want to take the case, despite Chuck’s willingness to pay him three-times his normal fee.  He, apparently, has better things to do . . . like needlepoint . . . or spelunking.

“I’m not just a P.I. / lawyer.  I’m also dress up like a clown for children’s birthday parties . . .” 

Come on, Andrew Tyler!  Buck up, buddy.  Chuck is offering you obscene amounts of money to find the secret not-killer of a secret not-dead guy.  And he’s pretty much guaranteed to pay you, even if you provide him with the wrong name.  (He’s done it before!)  So, tell him it was Oscar the Grouch or something, take the money, and run.  It’s not like you actually have “morals,” or anything . . .

Shunned by his father, and spurned by the uber-un-talented Andrew Tyler, Chuck is now more determined than ever to find out who orchestrated his father’s car accident, all those years ago . . .

“No need to be a Jealous Freak.”

While Donut Dan is in the shower, wrestling with the ferocious Chia Pet that, since last week, has made a nest in his head and given birth to an entire litter of tiny baby Chias . . .

. . .  Blair is busy sexting with Chuck . . .

Chuck’s reply text: “I’m fine now that I got this pesky underwear off.  How are you?”

(By the way, I love that Blair is so prim and proper in her texting. She even uses capital letters and punctuation marks.)

Unfortunately, before Blair can tell Chuck that she’s not wearing underwear, she receives a call from Dan’s agent, who quickly informs her that the Donut has turned down Italy on her behalf.  Blair, understandably, is furious.  I mean, here she was, finally being given the opportunity to spend the summer away from Donut Dan, so that she could carry out an awesomely torrid affair with Chuck Bass across every limo in Manhattan . . .

. . .  and Humpty Humphrey totally ruined it for her.

So, selfish, right?

Blair begs the Donut to reconsider his decision.  After all, she explains, “Rome is just two glasses of Chardonnay away . . . assuming you drink wine really, really, really slowly.”

She goes on to assure this puff pastry that he has absolutely nothing to worry or be jealous about, when it comes to Chuck.  And her argument would probably be considered pretty convincing too . . . provided Dan has never rented the first four seasons of Gossip Girl on DVD . . .

“The most important thing in a relationship is trust . . . after sex, hygiene, and earning potential.”

Though Blair acts all cool, calm and collected with her hairy temporary tattoo of a boyfriend, beneath the surface, she’s furious with him for lying to her.  And so she turns to the only woman who could really understand her pain . . . Serena van der Woodsen, the woman who’s not-so-secretly still in love with Dan.  Way to be sensitive, Waldorf!

Ditched by Dan, canned by Nate, bested by Serena, and ousted by Gossip Girl herself, you can tell that the slings and arrows of life have started to take their toll on Serena.  For starters, she’s wearing a sweater that looks like it’s been chewed up and spit out, by a pack of rabid coyotes . . .

Some girls eat their feelings, when they get upset, I eat my fabrics.”

And when Blair starts waxing poetic about the trust issues threatening her totally lame relationship with the Donut, and how honestly is like the eighth most important thing in a good relationship (distantly behind good sex and hygiene, and not getting your hair done by the Tazmanian Devil), Serena feels compelled to confess her own Gossip Girl-centric sins to her bestie . . .

“Oh, while we are on the subject, I’m also secretly Perez Hilton and that ‘I’m a lawyer’ guy from TMZ.” 

So, was Blair furious with her BFF for hiding this HUGE secret from her?  Not a bit!  In fact, Blair seemed more disappointed that she herself didn’t get the opportunity to dirty blog the “scandalous lives of Manhattans elite,” than betrayed by her bestie.  Now that Blair mentions it, I too am kind of disappointed that the sassy, manipulative and side-splittingly sarcastic, “Origina Gangster” Queen B never got to take the helm as Gossip Girl.  For one thing, I think she would have been ten times better than Georgina or Serena at the job . . . giving the actual GG a real run for her money, in the process.

Also, it would have been a heck of a lot more interesting to watch then this whole “pretending to date Dan fiasco.”

Speaking of Blair’s love life, she runs into Chuck Bass, as she’s leaving Serena’s place.  As per usual, the chemistry between the two is electric.  Blair looks at Chuck, eyes filled with concern and thinly-veiled longing.  She wants to know how he’s processing this overload of information regarding his father.

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She can see the pain in his expression, though he tries to remain strong.  When Chuck tells her that his father is leaving town again, and asks for her help and moral support, she agrees without question.  It’s the only thing she can do.

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BLAIR: “You mean, aside from in your pants?  Not that I can think of?”

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“Waiiiiittt . . . what about meeeeeee?!!!” 

So, Blair follows Chuck into his limo for the second time in as many episodes LIMO SEX! LIMO SEX!  LIMO SEX!, while, Dan searches for her to share some boring important information about Italy. Haha!  SUCKA!

“When this Chair’s a-rockin  . . . take a taxi Humpty Humphrey.” 

“Dan needs you . . . to pretend you still have feelings for him.

While Chuck and Blair wait to speak to Diana, in hopes of getting answers about Bart Bass’ past, Serena calls Blair to warn her that the Donut is on the prowl.

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“Dan needs you,” Serena warns.

(Um, sorry Dan, but Chuck needs her more.  Why don’t you call back when Rufus fake dies, and we can talk?)  Nevertheless, Serena’s guilt trips works on Blair enough to get her to leave Chuck with his not-mother Diana.

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Speaking of Diana, didn’t she have like the longest guest star stint, ever?  Because it sure seemed like she did.   That said, it’s hard not to enjoy a scene that begins with Chuck “thanking” Diana for lying about his father, traumatizing him for life, by pretending to be his mother, and f*&king his best friend.  (For that last one, Diana thanks him right back.  After all, when it comes to Nate Archibald, Chuck Bass has always been the Best Pimp Ever.)

“Nate always gets so slutty when he drinks.” 

Knowing full well that Nate Archibald has become the sex / blackmail monkey on her back, Diana is eager to strike with her not-son.  She agrees to tell Chuck who tried to kill his dad, in exchange for him getting Nate off her tail, and shipping her back to run a London newspaper with her “reputation” in tact.  (Um, what reputation, Slutty McWhoreson?)

Later, Diana pops by Chuck’s house to offer him the name of the murderer, in question: “Mason Nevens” . . . fakest . . . name . . . ever (my apologies to all those Mason Nevens out there, who might be reading this).  Apparently, “murderer” and “mob connected” aren’t Mason’s only flaws.  He also has a fetish for twin prostitutes.  (Apparently, it’s a requirement on the Upper East Side for all real estate magnates to be psychotic manwhores.)

Why am I thinking these aren’t the type of twins he’s talking about? 

Though Diana initially seems willing to help Chuck catch Mason en flagrante with the Ladies of the Night, in order to help him achieve vengeance on his father’s behalf  (I don’t know . . . I still think “murdering dad,” is a lot higher on the “bad news” list than “embarrassing me with fake hookers.”  But, hey, what do I know!), she quickly changes her tune, when she learns that Nate and Lola ratted her Escort Service running self out to the New York Times.

Chuck is understandably furious.  So, he comes clean to the rest of the gang about the whole situation with his not-dead dad, so that they know exactly what they just cost him.  Then again, since Diana already gave Chuck all the information he needs for the Mason Nevens smackdown, it sort of doesn’t matter anymore, anyway.  Feeling more than a bit guilty for what just happened, NJBC . . . and Lola vow to help Chuck carry out his plan.

“Exxcceeellllent.” 

Elsewhere, Blair learns that Dan has somehow managed to get back on the Summer in Italy writers roster, and has scored Blair a spot as well.  Blair, honestly, doesn’t seem too enthused about spending another summer, in another European country, with another boring boy toy who isn’t Chuck (remember Louis-bot?).  And yet, possibly out of feelings of guilt, Blair agrees to the trip, as well the preliminary interview with the folks who are running the program, which is supposed to take place later that day.

Of course, minutes before the interview is supposed to take place, Blair gets a call from the NJBC informing her that her scheming services are needed for Chuck’s Mason Neven’s Takedown.  “Ummm . . . I’ll be right back.  I have to go get . . . macaroons gelato . . . or something,” Blair fibs, as she makes her hasty retreat to Chuck Town.  Yeahh  . . . that’s my girl, Queen B.  It’s good to see that you have your priorities back in order . . .

“Handcuffs . . .every good girl has them.”

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To be perfectly honest, Blair’s role in the scheme of coaching Lola, and her “twin” Ivy in the art of playing believeable prostitutes, was kind of superfluous.  She absolutely could have done it over the phone, and still made it back in time for Dan’s stupid interview.  And the fact that Blair sent Serena to do it in her place, just shows how much more important Chuck is to her than the Donut.  Because of that, I agree with her actions wholeheartedly . . .

Oh yeah, and her High Class Hooker 101 monologue was just jam-packed with awesomeness.  “You think this is the first time I’ve entrapped someone with prostitutes,” Blair quips, when questioned about how exactly she knows all this stuff.

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(Are those crotchless panties? OMG!)

Speaking of Blair’s lingerie choices . . .

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(I see what you did there, writers.  You naughty little teases, you!)

Original Gangster Blair indeed . . .

Meanwhile, Nate’s and Lola’s New York Times tip, has Diana on the lam.  She’s planning to take Bart Bass out of the country, never to be seen again, ASAP.  This means Lola and Ivy better hurry up and be hookers fast (shouldn’t be that hard for Ivy)  . . .

. . . or Chuck will lose his father again . . . this time, possibly for good.

“You two make an . . . interesting . . . couple way more interesting than the REAL Dan and Blair.”

Back at La Casa de Waldorf, Donut Dan is shocked, when a headband clad Serena introduces herself to the “Italy Trip Interviewer Guy” as Blair.  So, he makes this face . . .

What I adored about the scene was the way that Serena used the interview and her false identity as a way to subtly bash the Dair relationship.  “We couldn’t stand eachother for years. Now we’re madly in love.  It’s like a movie,” Serena quips.  “We’re like Brad and Angelina, once they got Jennifer Aniston out of the way.”

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Dopey Dan, of course, knows exactly what Serena is doing, and is clearly uncomfortable in the situation, which makes me very happy.

Not surprisingly, Faux-Blair and Donut ace their interview, since Serena and Dan have always been a much more believable couple than Dan and Blair ever were.  Things almost go south, when Interviewer guy runs into Blair’s mother, who unwittingly refers to Serena by her proper name. But, fortunately, Dorota takes the bullet.  “I’m Serena!  I’m doing fine Miss Waldorf,” she says quickly.

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How can you not love Dorota?

After the interview, Donut Dan wonders out loud why Blair keeps lying to him.  He suspects it’s because she doesn’t really love him, and doesn’t want to go to Europe with him.  (Gee, ya think?)  Despite still being madly in love with Dan, Serena quells his fears about his relationship with Blair, by telling him the truth about the whole Chuck Bass Thing.  Donut Dan seems relieved by the explanation.  Donut Dan is an idiot . . .

“Inappropriate Transient Women.”

Back at the Whore House Hotel, Lola and Ivy giddily practice striking “sexy poses” in overpriced lingerie . . . .

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 . . . while they wait to entrap the elusive Mason Nevens.  Then, Andrew Tyler randomly pops up, and tell them that Chuck wants them to follow him back to Bart’s hideout.  Oh, come on Andrew!  “Daddy said you should come with me?”  That’s the Oldest Trick in the Child Abduction Handbook.  Anyone over the age of five would know that . . .

But not Ivy and Lola, who seemingly fall for the trick, hook, line and sinker.  However, Lola is skeptical enough at least to tell Blair where she’s going.  She, in turn, tells Chuck, and the plan is back in motion .  . . except there’s now a new target, Andrew Tyler himself.

In a TOTAL, “Scooby Doo,” “those meddling kids moment,” Father and Son Bass corner Mr. Tyler, and he sings like a canary.  Apparently, HE was the one who sold out Bart to Mason, when the latter threatened the lawyer / PI’s family.  Of course, the police are conveniently right outside the door to hear Little Orphan Andy say all of this.  They arrest him right there on the spot.  Nice knowing you, Andrew Tyler.  Try not to drop the soap!

Alone at last, Bart boredly thanks his son for bringing . . . well . .  . not his actual not-killer . . .  but the henchman of his not-killer  .  . . to justice.

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Although honestly, the elder Bass doesn’t seem all that enthused about it.   Is this just a Botox thing, or is Bart still hiding something?

For his part, Chuck conversationally quips that the only thing he ever learned from his father was how to screw around with “inappropriate transient women.”  On behalf of Inappropriate Transient Women everywhere, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Bart Bass for that as well.

Oh, and Bart still has to break it to Lily that she now has two husbands.  This ought to be fun . . .

*DOH!* 

In other news, Nate decided to not sell out Diana for being a Whore Monger, after all . . . how nice for her.

“Dear Diary . . . I’m so f*&ked.”

Back at the Waldorf house,  S and B share a super sweet moment, where they congratulate eachother on yet another NJBC victory, and Blair thanks Serena for doing such a great job impersonating her . .  . even if she did volunteer to teach English in Italy on Blair’s behalf. (Oops!)

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The besties then declare their love for one another, and Serena encourages Blair to DUMP THE DONUT, SO SHE CAN DATE HIM tell the Donut how she really feels about him.

But Blair and “I love you,” kind of have a bit of a checkered history . . .

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. . . so it’s understandable that she is a bit gun shy about saying those words to anyone other than Chuck Bass again also, she’s not in love with Dan . . . like at all.

“I want the next time I say [I love you] to be the last,” Blair muses.

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Good for you, Blair! That’s one of the smartest things you’ve said all season . . . though that thing you said before about the handcuffs was pretty genius too . . .

So, of course, now that S’s and B’s relationship is awesome again, the real Gossip Girl has to go eff it up, right?

Yep,  it appears Chuck Bass wasn’t the only one with vengeance on his mind this week.  Gossip Girl, herself, is still mighty pissed at Serena for stealing her laptop, and her title.  So, Serena’s going to pay for that, big time . . . with her relationship to Blair.  Apparently, Blair keeps a not very-well-protected diary of her inner most thoughts.   (Really, Blair?  Have you learned nothing from Every Teen Show Ever?)

Now, Gossip Girl has Blair’s pages scanned on her computer.  And she’s ready to share them with the world, GG-style.  She’s also proud to share the source of this new information.  And the winner is . . . wait for it . .  . Serena van der Woodsen.

So, what does the first page of the diary reveal?  Why, Blair’s lukewarm feelings for Humpty Humphrey, of course.

Ruh-roh Upper East Siders, I smell a cat fight!

Next week on Gossip Girl, Serena gets drunk and jiggy on a bar with maybe Donut Dan . . . or dreams about getting giggy with him .  . . or gets jiggy with Donut Dan’s bad hair twin, and imagines it’s him.  Also, Blair still loves Chuck.

Duh!  XOXO!

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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The Unforgiven – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s Season 2 Finale, “To the Lost”

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Television show writers always walk a fine line when drafting a game-changing season finale for a series they know will be returning in the fall.  On one hand, there’s a lot of pressure to “go out with a bang,” and “shock people.”  And modern TV viewers are notoriously jaded, and hard to shock . . . because, basically, we’ve seen it all before.  So, if you really want to get people talking about your show over a long hiatus period, you can’t pull any punches.

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On the other hand, if you go too far, or change things up too much, you risk alienating the very audience you worked so hard to keep.  After all, your fans have certain expectations regarding shows they love.  And they need to know that the show to which they are returning is the same one they fell in love with, in the first place.

Undoubtedly, this is the quandary Terence Winter and Co. found themselves mired in, when drafting “To the Lost.” It was, by all accounts a spectacular season finale, one that will undoubtedly have fans talking about it long after the final credits have rolled.  But now that things have changed so dramatically, will fans have a reason to return?

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Let’s review, shall we?

“Welcome back, fellas!”

Jimmy Darmody spent this episode much like Queen Latifah’s character did in “Last Holiday,”  (only without the fancy dresses   . . . and all the food  . . . and certainly without Cuba Gooding Jr.)

What I mean, of course, is that Jimmy spent the entire episode behaving as a man who knew he was marked for death.  He tidied up his affairs.  He righted wrongs.   He gave people important pieces of advice.  Jimmy assured himself that when he left this world, he would do so with as few regrets possible, given the life he lived.

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“I’m no one’s idea of a hero, least of all mine,” Jimmy said to the masses, during his impromptu speech on Veterans Day.

But Jimmy sure seemed like a hero, this week, which is how we all pretty much knew he was a goner.  Let this be a lesson to you actors, out there.  If you ever get a script, where your typically flawed, or under-used character, suddenly starts looking like the Messiah, chances are you aren’t making it out of the our alive .  . .

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I just realized he’s still wearing his wedding band .  . .

Anyway, the episode begins with Jimmy and Harrow fulfilling their promise to Chalky White, by hand-delivering to him and his men, the three KKK members responsible for shooting him, and his family.

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“We gonna SCHOOL THESE CRACKERS SHEET-HEADS!”

 In addition to these fine specimen, Jimmy also offered additional money to the families of the people the KKK had murdered during their raid.  In return, Chalky agreed to end the labor strike,  and broker a meeting between Jimmy and Nucky.  Now, I’m not usually one who condones violence, but I have to say, I got a bit of thrill watching Chalky and his former-foe-turned-bestie,  Purnsley, gleefully kicking the crap out of these racist bastards.  Those sheet-heads had it coming . . .

 

They sure are dapper and perky, psycho killers,  aren’t they? 

As Harrow and Jimmy drive away from the fray, Harrow turns to Jimmy and tries to offer him some sage advice / tough love.  “You know, no matter what you do, he’ll never forgive you for everything you did,” he says, clearly referring to Nucky, and Jimmy’s newfound, almost compulsive need to make things right with him.

And how does Jimmy respond to his most loyal comrades eerily prophetic words?  “Let’s get some steak,” he says.

“I wouldn’t, if I were you!” 

It sure is good to see that Jimmy has his priorities straight.  I mean, you can’t eat when you’re dead, right?

Meanwhile, Nucky is meeting with that poopface, Angela-killer, Manny Horvitz, who is seeking the opportunity to kill his bitter rival, Waxy Gordon, in exchange for allowing Nucky to kill Jimmy.  Nucky doesn’t seem particularly interested.  At least . . . not at first . . .

“Might I instead interest you in a fresh cut of man meat?” 

After his meeting with Poopface, Nucky arrives home to find Dangerous Maid Katie, and Anonymous Maid helping Emily walk with her new braces.  He asks where Margaret has gone.  Dangerous Maid and Anonymous Maid don’t know.

But we do . . .

“Set yourself free.”

One thing I definitely won’t miss about Boardwalk Empire is that ugly ass hat Margaret’s been wearing, ever since she got enough money to afford it.  I HATE that hat!  You know what else is kind of annoying?  That self-assured, independent Margaret suddenly needs to consult her priest about every single decision she makes.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he also accompanies her to the bathroom . . .

“Fa-ther, should I wipe myself with my right hand, or my left?” 

So, Margaret ended up paying the federal prosecutor a visit, after all.  And she did so, with her trusty priest at her side.  That said, I found it a bit suspicious that the priest, of all people, seemed to be the one trying to convince Margaret not to speak.  This makes me wonder if Nucky has this guy in his back pocket too.  (Nucky’s back pocket is a crowded place, indeed.)

It was interesting seeing Margaret face off against Assistant D.A. Esther Randolph.  After all, in many ways these two women are alike: intelligent, strong, judgmental to a fault, and somewhat cold and aloof.  But they have vastly different value systems.  As a result, the strategies these two women use to succeed in the male-oriented world in which they live are diametrically opposed to one another . . .

Margaret attempts to engage Esther in conversation by asking her whether it was difficult to become a lawyer.  “Not if you are willing to do what it takes to achieve it,” replies Esther staunchly.

And yet, later she admits that it was, in fact, difficult for her to achieve.  Margaret has little trouble admitting to Esther that her first husband was a drunkard, who beat her and her children.  However, she becomes noticeably uncomfortable, when Esther notes how much better Margaret is doing for herself, now that her first husband is out of the way.  “He’s never been cruel to me,” Margaret says of Nucky, clearly already having doubts about the decision she’s made.

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“Though, admittedly, the sex leaves a bit to be desired . . .”

“But he’s been cruel to so many others,” Esther retorts.

“I’ve never seen it,” Margaret replies.

“But you know it to be true!”

The conversation really reaches its breaking point, when Esther suggests its wrong for Margaret to not testify against Nucky, because this would be better for her children.  “You would put their well being above all others?”  Esther asks.

Obviously for Margaret, as I suspect, for most mothers, the answer to that question is “yes.”  And this is where Esther loses Margaret.  Because of all the “sins” for which the latter feels guilty, protecting her children is definitely not one of them.  (At least, she’s not . . . you know . . . kissing their winkies  . . .or anything like that)

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 “Set yourself free,” Esther says, in a last ditch effort to convince Margaret to testify against her funny-looking gangster lover.  “You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.”

And Margaret does end up “setting herself free,” by the end of the hour . . . just not in the way either Nucky Thompson or Esther Randolph would have expected . . .

Elsewhere, Nucky is meeting with his lawyer, who is instructing him that he needs to “take care” of the Margaret situation, before she ruins everything for him.  But could Nucky really murder his Margiepoo. . .

 . . . or does he have a more peaceful solution in mind?

“Let me make things right.”

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Jimmy Darmody is smoking by the window, and looking decidedly broken, beaten and bereft but still hot.   When Nucky’s car pulls up in his driveway, his first instinct is to grab a gun.  (It’s a good instinct.)  But Nucky’s new driver / Number 1 Henchman, Owen, a.k.a. Jimmy 2.0, also has a gun, and this prompts Jimmy to put his down.  (Though, if it were me, I would probably have the opposite response in this situation.

“You can wait outside.  It’s OK, I used to do your job,” says Jimmy, a statement that is equal parts friendly and patronizing.

You’re the reason I’m doing it now,” retorts Owen, as he reluctantly leaves the house.

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Touche, Sexypants!

Solemn and respectful, Jimmy pours his former father figure a drink, and proceeds to tell him about all his dearly departed family members, and who is responsible for each of their deaths, “To the Lost,” he toasts, holding his tumblr aloft.  (I smell an episode title!)

The conversation quickly turns to Jimmy’s father, and murder victim, the Commodore.  “I should have killed him the moment he suggested betraying you,” Jimmy admits “And I did kill him . . . it just happened to be a few episodes too late.”

Poor Jimmy . . . sexually molested by his mother .  . . this was clearly a man in need of a healthy parent-child relationship.  And you can’t help but feel bad for him, when he confides in Nucky that he was nearly brought to tears when the then-ailing Commodore once told him, “You’re a good son.”

“He was your father.  Nothing trumps family,” Nucky says, echoing Margaret’s sentiments from earlier in the episode.

In hindsight, this statement was a hefty little piece of foreshadowing.  But more on that, in a bit . . .  “What can I do?”  Jimmy pleads, seeking forgiveness from Nucky, as if the latter is his personal priest.

“Tell the truth,” Nucky exclaims.

“I was angry,” is all Jimmy can say in response.

He does manage to tell Nucky that the shooting was all Eli’s idea, which, of course, we know it was.  But whether Nucky truly believes this of his own personal Fredo, will surely be a topic of discussion, over the next few weeks  . . .

“Let’s make things right  .  . . as right as they can be,” Jimmy insists, finally.  “Tell me how to help you.”

I know how I can help you, Jimmy.  Here’s a little piece of advice:

“If there really is a god, would he have given me this mug?”

As big of a crock of sh*t as Nucky’s tail-between-his-legs, “I need you to marry me, so you can’t testify against me, due to spousal privilege . . . so I’m basically going to blow all this religious smoke up your ass that I don’t really give two craps about . . . but, hey, at least I’m not going to MURDER you . . . YAY!” speech to Margaret ended up being, it gave me a lot of respect for Steve Buscemi.  I mean, clearly, someone wrote that script with the actor in mind.  Especially since, from what I’ve heard, the real Enoch Johnson was quite the looker, back in the day . . .

My favorite people in the world are the ones who can laugh at themselves.  Obviously, Steve Buscemi is one of these people . . .

While Ugly Mug Nucky is trying to “make things right,” on his end, Jimmy is busy preparing for his future, or rather, his lack of one.  When the Late Commodore’s lawyer, Uncle Junior from The Sopranos, tells Jimmy that the bastard left all his wealth to the maid that may or may not have tried to poison him, Jimmy proceeds to RIP UP THE WILL, while Uncle Junior watches, secretly impressed.

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“I’m strangely aroused.”

Jimmy’s morbid inquiry as to whether his son will inherit the Commodore’s money when he dies, does give that baby f*&ker Gillian some pause.  But the big dollar signs in her eyes prevent her from giving the matter the attention that it deserves . . .

After disposing of the Commodore’s will, Jimmy meets with the alderman who will be testifying against Nucky, and politely asks them to recant their statements.  An offer they all, at least, initially refuse, though one of them, might end up being sorrier about that decision than the others . . .

Meanwhile, Margaret awakens to see Nucky helping Emily walk with her leg braces.  She’s so touched by the gesture that she ultimately agrees to marry Nucky, provided she can make a full confession to her good pal, the Priest first . . .  (See what I mean, about her consulting that guy about EVERYTHING!)

“Fa-ther, does marrying Nucky mean I can’t have delicious sex with Owen, anymore?” 

“Nahhhhh!” 

“I’ll take the ducks” 

The opening statement / wedding / murder montage was probably my favorite part of the entire episode, because it reminded me so much of the last twenty minutes of all three Godfather movies (even that super sh*tty third one), as well as some of my favorite Sopranos episodes.  The montage begins with a nervous, but fiercely determined, Esther Randolph practicing her opening statement against Nucky Thompson, in front of her bedroom mirror.

While she rehearses, her case slowly unravels, right before our eyes.  First we see Margaret give her confession, and marry Nucky, with Owen and Katie, of all people, as witnesses (AWK-WARD!)

As for Esther’s former star witness, Van Asshole, he’s taken his sweet little foreign nanny, and baby Abigail to Cicero, Illinois, where they will live as husband, wife and child, under the name “Mueller.”  (Wow!  I wonder what he told that Nanny to get her to agree to that?   Surely, the explanation didn’t involve the BAPTISM FROM HELL!)

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Harrow storm into the courthouse, like the bad asses they are, promptly securing seven recantments from all of the Alderman’s set to testify against Nucky . . . well make that six recantments, and one . . . SUICIDE NOTE.

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Should have said, “Yes,” the first time he asked you to recant, Neery!

At trial, Esther is both furious and humiliated by this recent turn of events.  The judge gives her two options, proceed with her now-joke of a trial against Nucky, or come back later, once she has her ducks in a row. “I’ll take the ducks,” replies Esther.

Good choice! 

Speaking of lame ducks, it’s not easy being a Friend of Fredo!  While Eli was released from jail, immediately after the trial, it was the beaten-up and extremely pathetic-looking Deputy Halloran, who ended up taking the fall for him.  (And I mean that, literally.  The guy could barely stand up straight.)

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 Deputy, something tells me you will be “sitting there” for a looooooong time.

“Et tu, Eli?”

Oh, Eli!  You’re so lucky to have a brother like Nucky.  Not only does he let you get off, more or less, scot-free for TRYING TO HAVE HIM KILLED, he also provides you with valuable lessons on classical literature . . .

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A true expert at trying to save his own ass, the fact that Eli tells Nucky that he wasn’t the one behind Eli’s attempted murder is not surprising.  What is surprising is that Nucky actually believes him.  Or does he?  You recall that earlier in the episode, Nucky told Jimmy that there is nothing more important than the bonds of family . . . that blood is thicker than water.  So, perhaps, it was ultimately that rationale, which prompted Nucky to choose his blood bag brother, Eli, over his watery-eyed erstwhile protege, Jimmy.

In the scene that follows this one, Nucky calls Arnold Rothstein, while the latter is discussing heroine with Meyer and Lucky.  He asks Rothstein, though not in so many words, whether he would care if Nucky wacked Manny Horvitz.  In response, Lucky and Meyer snicker, which, is more or less what these two massively underused characters have been doing all season . . . snickering . . . at everything.

(They’re still kind of sexy though.)

Rothstein pragmatically replies that he has no opinion, one way or the other.  But he does offer Nucky some sage advice, “Flip a coin, when it’s in the air, you’ll know which side you’re hoping for.”

On it’s surface, it seems as though the statement is referring to whether or not Nucky should kill Manny.  But in hindsight, it seems more like Nucky is trying to decide whether to kill his own brother, or Jimmy.  After all, Rothstein’s statement sounds surprisingly similar to the one Jimmy uttered to Nucky, right before the latter was shot.  “It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, as long as you make a decision.”

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Nucky might know that it’s wrong to trust Eli over Jimmy.  But, rest assured, when that coin is up in the air, he’s hoping his brother’s side comes out on top . . .

Speaking of Jimmy . . .

“It’s time for you to come home.”

There’s a definite wistul nostalgia surrounding Jimmy, when he takes his son out for a pony ride, and regales him with stories from some of the brighter moments of his childhood.   Jimmy probably never expected to be a father as soon as he was, and he wasn’t a perfect one, by any means.  But it was always clear that he loved little Tommy deeply, and raised him the best way he knew how . . .

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When Jimmy gives Tommy his dog tags, it certainly feels like he’s saying goodbye to his son, forever.  And when Tommy immediately selects the solider hat, over the cowboy hat to wear while riding the pony,  Jimmy is both proud of him, and afraid for him, at the same time.  Though, if I was Jimmy, I’d be much more afraid of leaving him with that wackadoo mother of his, than about his possibly dressing up like an army man for Halloween.

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Back at home, Jimmy and Harrow are drunkenly reminiscing about their days as soldiers in the war, an experience that broke them both beyond repair, and yet, at the same time, bonded them for life.  Harrow admits that being at war was the only time that Harrow truly felt like he belonged, and that sometimes he feels like he’s still at war . . .

To this, Jimmy responds, by giving himself a sage piece of advice that, had he himself, been able to follow it, his life might have been very different, indeed . . .

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Giving Richard permission to “come home from war,” is Jimmy’s first parting gift to Richard.  His second may very well be the gift of life.  When Nucky calls the house, instructing Jimmy to meet him in a remote area, at night, in the rain, Harrow offers to go in his place, or, at least, accompany him.   But Jimmy refuses the offer, telling Richard that, “This is something I’ve gotta do myself.”

When Jimmy leaves out the back door, so as to prevent his mother and child from knowing where he is going, Richard knows for certain that he’s never coming back.  In a way, he knew it the minute he told Jimmy that Nucky would never forgive him for the crimes the former perpetrated against him . . .

 

And when Gillian finds the dog tags around her grandson’s neck, she knows it too.  “You’re going to be an important man, some day . . . just like your father,” Gillian says to Little Tommy.  (For Tommy’s sake, I sure hope not . . .)

“I’m not seeking forgiveness.”

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Jimmy arrives at the meeting spot, unarmed, and ready to die.  He is not the least bit surprised to Eli, Nucky, Owen, Manny, and a couple of random goons with guns lying in wait for him.   “I died back in the trenches,” Jimmy admits.

He no longer fears death.  In fact, he may even welcome it, or feel like he deserves it.  And when Jimmy learns that Nucky will be the one to kill him, he seems almost proud of that fact, as if taking the final bullet from anyone else would be an insult.  It sort of reminds me of how Tony killed his cousin (also played by Buscemi) in cold blood, because he didn’t want anyone else to get the chance.  In an odd way, Jimmy himself predicted this, when he made this bold statement to Nucky toward the end of the first season . .  .

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If it wasn’t so slit-your-wrist depressing, it would be almost comedic how Jimmy seems to be coaching Nucky in the art of murdering him.  “Just breathe, Nucky.  You’ll get through this,” he says.  “The only person left to judge you as you.”

But Nucky doesn’t seem to find this advice helpful at all.  In fact, it only makes him madder . . .

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For a second there, when Jimmy started gurgling, and coughing up blood, still clearly alive, having not been shot in the head, but, rather, in the mouth  (He DID tell you to breathe, Nucky!  Maybe, if you did, you would have been more efficient.), I actually got all excited, thinking my guy might just make it through this, after all.

But . . . then he shot him in the head . . . and that was the end of that.

“He’s reenlisting.”

As awful as it was to see Jimmy ripped from this world, and this show, the fact that Nucky was so smug about it the next morning, at the breakfast table with Margaret made it ten times worse.  Talk about embracing your gangster side!  But when Nucky announces that the reason he was out in the rain in the middle of the night was because, “Jimmy decided to reenlist,” Margaret finally figures out that all the religious bullcrap he laid on her to get her to marry him, was just a bunch of lies . . .

But it seems Margaret might be the one having the last laugh.  Remember when Nucky signed all his property, including that massive land mass on which he wanted to build a major money making road to Atlantic City?  Well, Margaret just signed away her rights to it . . . and deeded them over to . . . wait for it . . . THE CHURCH!

It looks like this kitty just got claws . . . make that a machine gun.

Somewhere in Heaven(?) Jimmy Darmody just gave Margaret Schroeder a big ole’ high five . . .

And that was season 2 of Boardwalk Empire in a nutshell.  But here’s my question: where do we go from here?  After all, Jimmy Darmody was just as much an anchor to this show for two seasons as Nucky Thompson.  Is Steve Buscemi strong enough, or likeable enough to carry this show on his own?  Do any of the pre-existing characters have the charisma or the fan support necessary to take Jimmy’s place?

For the show’s head writer, Terence Winter’s take on this, feel free to check out this interesting, if a bit frustrating, interview from Entertainment WeeklyAlso, check out this “scandalous” article on TVline.com, which not-so-subtly alludes to a possible less-than-kosher reason why the writers might have decided to axe the Darmody character.   As for me, I’m going to hold my tongue, and save my most opinionated rhetoric for the comment section (should anyone decide to comment ;)).  For now, I leave you with an absolutely hilarious musical number from that dude that used to play Agent Sebso on the show.  Seriously, he’s AWESOME!

Hey, Erik Weiner, if you’re reading this, CALL ME! 😉

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Vampire Katherine just aged another year . . . – Happy Birthday, Nina Dobrev!

In honor of Nina Dobrev’s 22nd birthday, Ian Somerhalder baked her a cake . . .

Unfortunately, for Nina, Vampire Katherine (who shares the same birthday) got to it first . . .

“Mmmmm . . . red velvet blood  . . . my favorite flavor!”

22-years ago today, one of the most promising young actors of our generation was born.  (Nina Dobrev was born January 9, 1989 in Sofia, Bulgaria, but moved to Canada at age 2.)  Roughly 20-years later, Nina won the hearts of two-GORGEOUS vampires, and of millions of fans wide, through her portrayal of both the headstrong and plucky Elena Gilbert . . .

 . . . and the devious diabolical (and tons of fun!) Vampire Katherine Pierce . . .

You know, I spend a lot of time on this blog extoling the virtues of the dreamy and delectable Damon Salvatore . . .

 . . . and his sensitive, yet sultry, brother Stefan . . .

But where would either of them be without the two women who hold their hearts and their humanity in either hand?

I mean seriously, without Elena and Katherine, who would these boys MAKE OUT WITH?

They’d probably have to resort to lots of Air Kissing . . .

And no one wants that . . .

So, that’s why today, in honor of Nina Dobrev’s birthday, I’ve decided to take a short break from celebrating the oh-so-sexy TVD men, in order to pay homage to the one woman who is literally the Gal Friday to EVERY GUY IN MYSTIC FALLS . . . 

 

Sorry BOYS!  It looks like you are just going to have to share . . .

Since most of us already know Nina from The Vampire Diaries, I thought it might be nice, for a change, to take a look back at some of her most noteworthy pre-Elena roles . . .

(Special thanks to YouTube maven sciolist2b, who has BY FAR the most comprehensive and highest quality collection of Nina Dobrev clips on the entire Internet!  sciolist, I don’t know you, but I definitely couldn’t have written this post without you!)

Mia Jones – Degrassi

Nina Dobrev’s Season 6 debut on Degrassi: The Next Generation was MY first introduction to the actress.  On Degrassi, Nina played Mia Jones, an unwed teen mother, forced to transfer to a rival high school, after her’s burned down.  Forget 16 and Pregnant, Mia Jones had her baby, Isabella at age THIRTEEN! 

Mamma MIA!

Though no where near as complex and multi-layered as the two characters she plays on The Vampire Diaries, Nina definitely got the opportunity to flex her acting chops here, as a young mother, trying to balance the responsibilities of parenting, with her desire to do typical “teen stuff” like cheerleading, parties, and dating.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a real juicy Mia Jones clip on YouTube for you to enjoy. 

However, I did find this on-set footage taken from her first day on the job.  And it’s pretty darn adorable.  All I have to say is . . . hell hath no fury like a TV baby who WON’T STOP CRYING!

 

Ally – American Mall

Around the same time that she was starring in Degrassi, Nina also picked up the lead role in the very High School Musical-esque American Mall, an MTV original film about mall employees who sing their feelings . . .

American Mall certainly wasn’t going to win any awards in its time (and I may very well have been the only one who actually watched it when it first aired).  However, as cheesy teen musicals go, this one was surprisingly enjoyable.  And Nina was extremely likeable as Ally, the girl who worked at her mother’s music store, but would much rather make out with the hot singing janitor her OWN music . . .

Rosabella – Mookie’s Law

Sometimes I wish I was Canadian.  Because Canadian Teen Television is just AWESOME!  I don’t think there is any country in the world (including the United States) that almost exclusively caters its media products toward the young adult demographic, like Canada does!  It seems that every time I flip the channels, I am finding another obscure (but oddly awesome) Canadian teen show, on some obscure U.S. cable channel, and wishing I had access to it when it first aired, back in Toronto, or wherever. 

Did I mention that the same 8 young actors (including Nina, of course) seem to be in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE!  It’s like one big happy family up there, ay?

Nina Dobrev starred as the lead character’s love interest in Mookie’s Law, a short Canadian film that was written, directed by and starred Al Mukadam, who — if you are a Canadian TV junkie like me — you may remember as Ray from Radio Free Roscoe.  Oh, and you can bet that Degrassi star turned Big Time Rapper, Drake, is in this one too . . .  (See what I mean?)

Justine – My Daughter’s Secret

You know, people joke all the time about Lifetime movies, and how cliched and lame they tend to be.  But a lot of really talented actresses got their start in Lifetime movies, and Nina Dobrev is one of them.  In My Daughter’s Secret she plays Justine, a teen who got herself roped into a romance with a VERY BAD BOYFRIEND.  (And in Lifetime movies, aren’t they ALL very bad?)

Jessica Carpenter – Too Young to Marry

As far as Lifetime movies go, this one looks kind of fun!  (For starters, neither of Nina’s two leading men in it are abusive, or “bad news.”  YAY!)  In Too Young to Marry, Nina stars as Jessica Carpenter, a girl who married her high school sweetheart, Max, at age 17.  However, she begins to doubt the decision she has made, upon experiencing the joys of drunk college makeout sessions.  (And who can blame her, when, at least based on the clips, it seems like her “husband” spends half of the movie in bed . . . just sleeping?) 

It sucks to be the “Nice Boy” in a Lifetime Movie . . . you get no lines . . . and you never get laid, until the very end.

Interestingly enough, Dillon Casey, who plays Nina’s husband in the movie, also played Vampire Noah, the first bloodsucker who tried to attack Elena on The Vampire Diaries.

But Canadians will remember him better as the often-naked Trevor Lemonde on the hockey-themed soap opera MVP.  (He lasted a bit longer on that show, than on TVD . . . in more ways than one ;))

Loren – Never Cry Werewolf

I actually learned about this film when I was writing a recap for TVD’s Bad Moon Rising episode.  I came upon the movie poster, almost entirely by accident, during my search for a solid werewolf-themed picture to kick off the recap. 

In Never Cry Werewolf, Nina plays Loren, an innocent teen who learns that her next door neighbor is actually a bloodthirsty werewolf, in search of a hot young prepubescent mate, to howl at the moon with . . .  Interestingly enough, I read on Wikipedia that the film itself is actually a shot-by-shot remake of a VAMPIRE film from the 1980’s called Fright Night.  Only here, the vampire Big Bad Villain was inexplicably substituted for a werewolf one. 

Knowing this, as I watching the following scene, where Kevin Sorbo’s werewolf character ties up a scantily clad “Loren” and threatens to turn her into a “monster,” I couldn’t help but imagine how much BETTER the film would be if Damon Salvatore was in it . . .

Sorry, Sorbo!  I’m going to have to agree with Damon on this one . . .

 

Rachel – Hearts of War a.k.a. The Poet

Far from starring only in teen dramas, Nina also gained recognition in feature films as well.  In Hearts of War she plays Rachel, a rabbi’s daughter who falls in love with a Nazi soldier during World War II.

Bella – Fugitive Pieces

Going along with a World War II theme, Nina alsoplayed the enigmatic Bella in Fugitive Pieces.  Bella was the main character Jakob’s sister in the film.  Bella was taken away (and eventually killed), along with the rest of his family, by Nazis during the Second World War.  Only Jakob survived the raid.  As a result of this tragedy, Bella’s youthful and emphemeral image haunts Jakob throughout his life . . .

Anna – Chloe

Nina Dobrev provided some much needed levity (and pants-lessness) to this dark and twisted thriller about the complex psycho-sexual relationship formed between a married gynecologist (Julianne Moore), and the looney tunes call-girl (Amanda Seyfried) said gynecologist hires to seduce her husband (Liam Neeson).  Nina plays Anna, the girlfriend of the main characters’ son in the film. 

While she’s certainly nice to look at, “Anna” doesn’t exactly seem like the sharpest tool in the shed.  Check out Anna’s reaction when Julianne Moore’s character learns the young woman has spent the night in her son’s bed . . .

Goth Girl – Away from Her

Of all the Nina clips I’ve shown you today, this one, from the Academy Award nominated film Away from Her is probably my favorite.  It features Nina in a way we’ve never quite seen her before.  Goth Girl is a person who most of Nina’s other characters probably wouldn’t have anything to do with . . . well, except for maybe Vampire Katherine . . .

Something tells me these two would have A LOT of fun together . . .

Speaking of Vampire Katherine, I thought I’d end this tribute post with a fun little scene from The Vampire Diaries, in which Elena and Katherine come face to face with one another for the first time.  The scene is from an episode entitled “Memory Lane” from Season 2.  Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Nina Dobrev!  Here’s hoping your 22nd year provides you with as much fun and entertainment as your first 21 have given us!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Nina Dobrev, The Vampire Diaries

Michael Trevino Exposed – A (Sometimes Shirtless) Glimpse at the Man Behind the Wolf

As most of you probably already know (especially, considering you are reading this post) The Vampire Diaries  has just settled in for a LOOOOOOOONG winter hiatus . . .

And yet, tonight kick starts the CW’s airing of The Vampire Diaries Season 2 Marathon — which will showcase, not one, but TWO episodes of the show’s second season, each week day, starting at 8 p.m.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I have decided to pay a little tribute to one of the stars of The Vampire Diaries.  This actor is a heretofore unsung hero of the series, who has recently received a significant amount of recognition for the “hair-raising” transformation his character has undergone, during the show’s Second Season.  Of course, I’m talking about Michael Trevino .  . .

My Michael, what great big . . . acting skills you have! 😉

I’m going to kick off the post, by discussing the Michael Trevino you all KNOW, namely the Michael who has portrayed Tyler Lockwood, for almost two full seasons now.  We’ll see how the character has evolved during the past couple of years, learn what Michael himself has to say about Tyler, and analyze where we think the character might be going.  (Of course, you can expect to see plenty of animated GIFS and hot shirtless screencaps, along the way too   . . .  This is MY SITE, after all! ;)) 

Now, now, Michael!  This is no time to get shy or cheeky!

After that, we will get to take a look at the Michael Trevino you might NOT know, by examining the actor’s life so far, through his past film and television roles . . .

[But before we begin, I must give some credit where credit is due.  Most of the animated GIFS you will see here, come from the amazing Oh My Michael Trevino Tumblr.  Photo stills and screencaps tend to come from my own personal collection, but I did get a bunch over at Fanpop and CWTV.com.  I owe much of my inspiration for this post to Michael Trevino, himself  (DUH!) but also to my fabulous blogging pal, Cherie, over at myspideysenseistingling.  Be sure to check out her kickass recent post dedicated to Tyler Lockwood and his new Girl Friday, Caroline Forbes.]

Well, it looks like Michael is ready to get started.  So, let’s not keep him waiting any longer.  Shall we?

Michael Trevino as Tyler Lockwood . . .

When The Vampire Diaries kicked off its first groundbreaking season, we actually knew very little about Tyler Lockwood, save for the stereotypical labels he embodied.  Tyler was an Alpha Male, in every sense of the word.  He was an Athlete . . .

 . . . a Man Whore Ladies’ Man . . .

 . . . a Spoiled Rich Kid with Daddy Issues . . .

 . . . a Bully . . .

 . . . and a Hard-Partying Substance Abuser .  . .

It wasn’t until the end of the first season, that we really began to scratch the surface of who Tyler REALLY was, beyond the aforementioned stereotypes.  For example, we learned that Tyler was also a Tortured Artist, with a penchant for drawing supernatural creatures . . .

And in the Season 1 Finale, entitled Founder’s Day, we began to suspect that Tyler’s untenable rage, along with his obsession with werewolves, might very well have a genetic explanation . . .

Here’s what Michael Trevino himself had to say about the evolution of his character, throughout Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries:

Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries really tore down the walls of Tyler Lockwood’s character, allowing him to seem more raw, and vulnerable, and, therefore, significantly more empathetic than he was during Season 1 . . .

In the course of just a few episodes, Tyler had to grapple with the death of his girlfriend . . .

 . . . and the death of his abusive father, about whom his feelings were both complicated and conflicting.  Tyler then learned of his werewolf origins from his Uncle Mason Lockwood, who was, at the time, his one true mentor and confidant . . .

But before Tyler could truly receive the guidance he needed to make it through this difficult and confusing time, Mason seemingly abandoned him (well . . . actually . . . he was murdered . . . but Tyler doesn’t know that yet). 

And yet, the poo didn’t really hit the fan, until Tyler’s actions, during one fateful Masquerade Ball unintentionally brought about the death of an very slutty innocent girl — thereby triggering the curse, which would force him to turn into a werewolf, during each full moon . . .

Fortunately, Tyler found a new ally in a friend / former acquaintence, who was also no stranger to the supernatural, Baby Vamp Caroline . . .

Having been through something sort of similar (though, admittedly, not nearly as awful), Caroline showed Tyler that he didn’t have to go through this terrible bone-crushing transformation alone.  She stuck by him, while he watched with horror a video that captured Mason’s painful first werewolf transformation, knowing that the same thing would inevitably happen to him.  She supported him, as he prepared to endure the worst night of his life . . .

And, most importantly, she stuck by him, when it mattered most — during his own first werewolf transformation.  Caroline held him and calmed him down, by whispering in his ear encouragingly, stroking his hair, and rubbing his back, when he was in so much pain, he nearly couldn’t bear it . . .

And when it was all over, and he was crying out her name . . .

 . . . Caroline was there to comfort him, and keep him strong . . .

Here’s what Candice Accola (who plays Caroline . . . obviously) and Michael Trevino had to say about their characters’ budding relationship, during Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries . . .

In addition to adding so many different and complex layers to Tyler Lockwood, the character, these past few episodes have really illustrated the range and skill Michael Trevino has as an actor.  Through his role as Tyler, Trevino has seamlessly woven together strength, warmth, rage, intensity, masculinity, romance, and vulnerability, into one VERY SEXY package . . .

As for the second half of the season, I predict for Tyler Lockwood a fair amount of brooding . . .

 . . . some angst . . . a little bit of romance . . .

 . . . some more wolfishness . . .

 . . . and, hopefully, a WHOLE LOTTA NAKED!

But enough of about Tyler Lockwood, and his sexual acting prowess, let’s get to know a bit more about the guy who plays him . . . Michael Trevino.

Michael Trevino – The Actor

Michael Trevino was born January 25, 1985 in Montebello, California.  He is of Mexican-American descent.  After nabbing guest starring roles in popular dramas like Charmed, and Summerland, Trevino nailed his first major role in the Disney film, Cow Belles, starring alongside Ally and Amanda Michalka . . .

In Cow Belles, Trevino played Jackson Meade, the love interest for Ally Michalka’s destined-to-be-reformed spoiled rich girl, Taylor Callum . . .

Though heir to a milk empire himself, Trevino’s character Jackson, was a down to earth guy, who loved animals, and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty . . .

This is the only time in my life that I have EVER wanted to be a pig . . .

But, perhaps, more importantly, when he got his shirt dirty, he TOOK IT OFF!

My, my, Disney Channel, I didn’t know you had it in you . . .

Shortly thereafter, Michael starred in the short-lived presidential drama Commander in Chief.  He also landed the starring role in an episode of CSI: Miami.  The good news is, I found a very high quality video of that CSI episode.  The bad news, is that it’s in Spanish.  So, if you do speak fluent Spanish, you can find the episode by clicking here.  And if you don’t, feel free to click there anyway, and watch Michael Trevino looking super hot, as an American soldier fighting in the Middle East.  (So what, if you can’t understand a word he’s saying, right? :))

After that, Michael Trevino landed a role in the CBS television drama Cane, about a wealthy Cuban American family, running a sugar cane business in South Florida . . .

Trevino played Jaime Vega, son of Jimmy Smits’ character Alex . . .

Trevino’s wife on the show (that’s right . . . I said wife) was played by Alona Tal, who you may remember as Meg from Veronica Mars . . .

And yet . . . judging by this clip . . . it looks like Michael’s character may have had some issues with fidelity . . .

(Special thanks to my new friend, Gen, for this sexy little clip!)

Unfortunately, Cane was canceled after just one Season.  But Michael kept busy, landing the role of Joshua in the Hallmark Channel romantic period drama, Love Finds a Home . . .

I didn’t actually become familiar with Michael’s work, myself, until around 2008, when he landed a role in the CW’s update of the classic 90’s teen drama, 90210 . . .

Trevino played Ozzie Cardoza during the new 90210‘s first season.  Ozzie was a down-to-earth high school student and aspiring chef.  He was also the unlikely love interest for Queen B*tch Naomi Clark, who is played by blonde bombshell AnnaLynne McCord (Geez!  I guess Senor Trevino really likes blondes!)  . . .

You can get a taste of the pair’s magnetic antagonism, and intense sexual chemistry, by watching the two clips below:

Trevino’s stint on 90210, and, consequently, his character’s romance with Naomi, ended after just four episodes.  In protest, I stopped watching the show, shortly thereafter.  (OK . . . that wasn’t really why I stopped watching.  But, you have to admit, it’s an interesting coincidence.)

While Michael Trevino’s career has surely had its ups and downs (as have most actors his age), he truly does seem to have found his home on The Vampire Diaries, in the role of Tyler Lockwood.  And for that, we are TRULY thankful . . .

We just wish he’d wear less clothes . . .

JUST KIDDING!  (No, really, stop wearing clothing, Michael . . . like altogether.)

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Michael Trevino, The Vampire Diaries, Tyler Lockwood