Monday, September 29, 2008

Sarah Connor 2X04: Allison from Palmdale

Toni Graphia does not disappoint, and it's not like the bar is set low for her episodes. She wrote "The Demon Hand," arguably last season's best. She wrote "Flesh and Bone" in Battlestar's first season. (The one where Starbuck interrogates, and ultimately airlocks, a Leoben.) And she wrote two stand-out installments of Carnivale Season 1. (I'm looking forward to her first series--someday--I expect it will be memorable.)

Tonight's episode, "Allison from Palmdale," is some of her best work. I won't go through a plot synopsis. Suffice it to say, the sixty-four thousand dollar questions are as follows:

1. Was Cameron lying to Allison, the human resistance fighter she was built to replace, about some terminators wanting peaceful coexistence with the remnants of mankind?

I'm gonna go with "no," despite the fact that Cameron subsequently executes Allison without batting an eyelash.

The question of whether Cameron is truly sentient hung over last season, unanswered. But this season, the answer came right off the bat. She is. She's been programmed, yes, but she can "cross against the light." In the season premiere's final moments, she chooses not comply with her prime directive, to kill John Connor.

And with sentience would come empathy, the ability to sympathize with a species she knows is being exterminated by her own kind. She, and others like her, can question whether the AIs, as a group, are doing the right thing, and potentially decide the answer is "no."

So it's possible that she was telling Allison the truth, even in the face of her subsequent decision to execute the girl for lying. She may be concerned with saving the species and still be unconcerned with saving any particular member of that species.

Question #2: Is Weaver's daughter really her daughter? Or is the T-1001, as an infiltrator, assuming the role of mother to the real Weaver's human child?

Hard to say on that one. Certainly, she seems a might young for sudoku... but that may be a clever misdirect for keen-eyed viewers.

If some of the robot terminators, like Cameron, have achieved true sentience, have the more advanced liquid metal models achieved the final piece of the puzzle: the ability to procreate?

"Sarah Connor" is consistently excellent, a thought-provoking, suspenseful action-hour wrapped around a well-observed, deliciously subversive character/family drama about time travel and genocide. (So, y'know, fairly ordinary in the pantheon of family dramas.)

Anyone who's not watching this show -- seriously, start!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It Doesn't Have To Be This Way

Debate 1 Reax

That was exactly the kind of debate I want to see, where they can talk to each other, ask each other questions, press for answers -- and even declare, "Horsesh*t!" if they're not satisfied.

That was a *real* debate. More, please.

We don't need any of this artificial "your time is up" bullshit we saw so much of during the primary debates. (Remember the one where Hillary and Obama were in the middle of a really interesting exchange on universal healthcare and the narrator kept trying to cut them off? One or both had to basically say, "do you mind, this is important, we're gonna talk about it for a bit.")

Overall, it was basically a draw. They both did what they had to, nobody farted over their dialogue, and I don't see too many minds changing as a result.

Obama was cool and professorial, maybe too cool and professorial, but that's who he is. (Loved his "inside baseball" line--That kind of thing really works for him, IMO. He's not as good as Bill Clinton in that regard, but he would definitely be another "explainer in chief.") For the purposes of appealing to people who aren't already supporting him, maybe he could've been a little more... vigorous.

McCain was contemptuous and dismissive, maybe too contemptuous and dismissive, but that's who he is. (And it does accurately reflect what his base thinks of Democrats in general and Obama, specifically.) For the purposes of appealing to people who aren't McCain supporters, he should probably be a little more "the happy warrior" -- a little more gregarious, a little less hot under the collar.

I wonder if there might now be some backlash over that a la Nixon/Kennedy. Clearly, Tweety and other Obama-supporting pundits were preoccupied with McCain's "body language" in the post-game... perhaps overly, though I guess time will tell.

To me, McCain came off as a superior, entitled sonofab*tch, someone you worry will lose his temper and repeat some of the same reactionary mistakes of the Bush administration rather than, y'know, think things through. I expect someone with McCain's experience to understand that foreign policy is a chess game, but he seems to think it's Texas Hold 'Em. And certainly, that's how he's run his campaign, too. Not sure we need any more of that on the world stage.

Everything about McCain's demeanor said, "how dare this young upstart, this empty suit, this *kid*, pit himself against me, when I'm so obviously his superior!" He couldn't possibly admit what Obama, IMO, demonstrated so amply -- that he's smart enough, and knowledgheable enough to be commander-in-chief. (And gosh darnit, people like him!)

If he does admit that his opponent has what it takes to be president, as Al Gore did so disastrously with George Bush in 2000, that's the ballgame, because all things being equal, this is a change election -- and McCain is not "change." He's "experience."

So I dunno. The debates are three rounds, though, so I guess we don't have to decide who won just now.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Would Anyone Mock Sarah Palin?

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--


PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.

Are you fucking kidding me? I don't know what's more troubling, that a major party candidate for the Vice Presidency of the United States thinks Putin might be planning to invade Alaska or that she reaches for but can't quite grasp the word "caricature."

Can't imagine why anyone would "mock" this woman.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God Hates Shrimp

Yep, the cuckoo Phelps hate group walked the plank this morning after a happy bunch dressed like pirates and holding signs saying "God hates shrimp -- Leviticus" and "God hates cotton-polyester blends" stood opposite them at the corner of Markham and Scott streets. The group, made up of Central Arkansas Pastafarians, waved swords and growled "Arrghh!" in a manner that would have made Abbie Hoffman proud.

With cars honking and waving at the pirates and a TV crew giving them all the attention, the Phelps group -- with a child in tow, sadly -- picked up their "f*g" epithets and went away. Pitiful....

The news just doesn't get better than this, folks. Wouldn't it be great if everywhere the execrable Phelps clan went now, a group of pirates taking after these intrepid pastafarians were there to meet them?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Decisions Are Made

by those who show up!

It's no secret that I supported Hillary in the primaries, and one of the several reasons I did so is because I distrust the kids who are so overwhelmingly supporting Obama. Why? 'cause come Election Day, y'all never fucking show up. You take bong hits the night before and oops!

No one is saying "don't take your bong hits," but please, for christ's sake--This year, show up.

(If you still need to register, do the link above.)

I'll go back to nerd stuff, now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

9 To 5: The Musical

gets a great review in the Hollywood Reporter. It's scheduled to open on Broadway in April 2009.

John McCain Approved This Message

Apparently, Al Franken (an original SNL castmember who is current running to unseat Senator Norm Coleman in Minnesota) co-wrote last night's SNL cold open...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Obama Meets Jed Bartlet

Is it still fanwank if Aaron Sorkin scripted it himself? Eh, whatevs...
BARACK OBAMA knocks on the front door of a 300-year-old New Hampshire farmhouse while his Secret Service detail waits in the driveway. The door opens and OBAMA is standing face to face with former President JED BARTLET.

BARTLET Senator.

OBAMA Mr. President.

BARTLET You seem startled.

OBAMA I didn’t expect you to answer the door yourself.

BARTLET I didn’t expect you to be getting beat by John McCain and a Lancôme rep who thinks “The Flintstones” was based on a true story, so let’s call it even.

The rest is in Maureen Dowd's Sunday column
*sigh* I miss Jed Bartlet.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fringe 1X02: The Same Old Story

This was a damn fine episode.

Not sure I've ever been turned around on a pilot I hated so quickly. The characters and relationships (and the quality of the cast) make all the difference. Plus, it was genuinely creepy.

I'm on baord.

I'm also super-impressed that they snagged Darin Morgan as a consulting producer. Morgan wrote four--and only four--episodes of The X-Files, each one a classic. His script for "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" won an emmy -- which is exceedingly rare for a genre show.

So, fine--It's basically a new X-Files... but maybe it's not a knock-off, after all. Time will tell...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SNL: A Non-Partisan Message from Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton

Last night's SNL Season Premiere cold open was genius.

The rest of the episode sucked, but that's nothin' new. Poor Michael Phelps looked supremely uncomfortable throughout. I felt really bad for him. They included him in as few sketches as they could get away with, and even in those, they had to write around him.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I saw the Fringe pilot last summer... Didn't care for it. Decided to give it a second chance tonight, but the second time isn't doing anything more for me than the first.

Impressive cast and production values... but jesus, it's preposterous.

She comes out of the Altered States tank saying "I saw him!" and I'm sitting there thinking, "is NO ONE gonna even raise, 'power of suggestion?'" Apparently not.

And I'm still scratching my head over why Altered States is even germane as an inspiration here, especially since the producers have talked it up so much...

Not to mention: why would an FBI agent who is as smart, and level-headed as we're lead to believe Dunham is take Special K and LSD without even considering that a) she's breaking the law and b) she could lose her job and pension if she failed her next mandatory drug test?

What's (the scrumptious, charismatic) Joshua Jackson character going to do week after week? Chase & punch out the bad guys, even interrogate them... despite the fact that he's a civilian?

I mean, hello? (And how did he end up so invested in whether Dunham's boyfriend lived or died? That's not even addressed.)

The bit about "The Pattern" was interesting, but so far at least, Fringe is a bad X-Files knock off.