Sunday, June 19, 2011


7th season and its feeling a little tired. Despite the new prize for the winners, the format is essentially the same, with some tasks, where the candidates need to do one on one selling, making even less sense than previously. Still, its got the silly fun that it always has, and its a good viewing.

That said, I'm sick and tired of bullshit firings. When someone is obviously responsible for the failure of the task, its pretty ridiculous to fire the one Alan has decided he doesn't like. Edna for being in HR, and then Glenn for being an engineer. Those were both essentially his entire bloody reasons, and Jim, who was UTTERLY responsible for the team's failure can only have been kept around for entertainment value.

One thing I found weird about the magazine task was that I didn't really understand their responsibilities. Did the apprenti really have to write the whole magazine? That seems an unlikely task for them to succeed at, unless they've all got secret histories as journalists. Yet each team had articles clearly at least pitched by that team. Oh well.

So who do I want to win? Well currently I despise Natasha, who deserved to have her seedy little porn mag get her fired fired fired, Zoe is miserable and Leon is a homophobe. Susan I find kind of amusing, because she is ready to declare how unfair everything is every 5 seconds. Helen is just generally competent thus far, and is dead on to win currently, simply because I don't see her competition. Tom... Tom is wonderful. He's generally right about everything he says, even though no-one listens to him, and actually comes across as a decent human being, a rare task on the human freak show that is the Apprentice. He's even right for the position- yes he can't sell worth a damn, but he's starting a business, which I suspect he'd be fine at. He almost certainly won't win though. Likely winners in my mind are either Helen or Leon, unfortunately

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Glee, a bit of a damp squib

So as my facebook status indicated, I was deeply disappointed with the season finale of Glee. As a stand alone episode of glee it wasn't actually that terrible, but as a wrap up of a season? Distressingly poor?

Season 1 closed with the wonderful intercutting between bohemian rhapsody and Quinns pregnancy. This season closed with.. well a whimper frankly.

Season 2 in general has been a mixed bag. It irritatingly reset the clock on several relationships which had been key last season, in particular Rachel and Finn and Mr Shue and Emma. This is always a really bad idea, as it takes the audiences victory away from them, and sets up the possibility of the audience simply losing interest.

Simply put, the show has not known what to do with the adults this season. Shue has been tedious in the extreme, with his boring boring love life, and his patronising speechifying. Coach Bieste was actually reasonably interesting, but she didn't have much to do, other than buy Artie magic legs (SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK?). Sue, while always funny, has also been a mess, changing from one extreme to another. Yes, shes had some good moments, but the show has lost sight of who the character is. I certainly don't know anymore.

If wild character inconsistency had been present only in the adults then I'd probably be ok with it, but unfortunately the sickness spread to the kids as well, with Quinn becoming rapidly ill defined. She basicaly forgets any character growth she might have had, and becomes set upon a dream of prom queening, and keeping Finn at home with her. This has kind of come from nowhere, but as I'll get to, the show doesn't even follow through on that.

Worse are the kids the show hasn't known what to do with. Tina has been relegated to occasional gags, not even getting solos anymore, and Mercedes? Good grief. Her plots were wanting to eat tater tots and being a diva or something. The latter plot was just embarrasing, as it involves Rachel helping the poor misguided Mercedes be a star (this exact same plot is basically repeated in the finale with Sunshine).

So has there been good things about this season? Well its still pretty funny. The show still gets a lot mileage out of how small these kid's world is, and Brittany has been incredibly funny throughout. More importantly, there are plots that worked. Puckerman and Laurens romance has been hilarious and sweet at the same time, along with being unexpected.

More importantly, the main plot of Kurt and Karofsky really worked for the main part, and evoked some decent emotions along the way, which led to the even more of a slow burner of Brittany and Santana, characters we could really root for, with the other romances being damp squibs.

So finally we get to the finale. Which of these plots does the show decide to focus on?

1)Mr Shue is going to broadway
2)Finn wants to get back with Rachel
3)Quinn has an evil plan
4)Rachel is worried she can't be with Finn because she's moving to new york.

1 was utterly tedious and pointless, and rather self indulgent (and seriously, a guy was waiting to tell him that he was really talented? For fucks sake)

3, carefully set up beforehand... was resolved by Quinn getting a haircut. Right. I don't really know how to respond to that.

2 and 4. Now Finn wanting to be with Rachel is kinda stupid, considering he desperately wanted to be with Quinn before, but sure, I'll go with it. But 4? Rachel has spent the whole goddamn season pining over Finn, so introducing a dilemma JUST for the finale just didn't work at all. Annoyingly Rachel's desire to move on (which, again, magically appeared), and Quinn's desire to stay at home could have worked really well to introduce drama, but that would have involved semi-decent writing...

And the subplots I actually care about? Well they get mentioned in the last 5 minutes. Great.

Now down to nitpicking

-the "my cup" song, while funny, is basically the exact same joke as "my headband".
-The songs, were, in general, dull. Wicked song was kinda fun, but the original songs were tedious. I get that the network makes more money from them, but if they keep doing original songs they'll kill the show
-Speaking of the original songs, the plot required that the glee club write them the night before the performance. WHAT? How did they practice it? How did the band know what to play? How were they any good? How did they even come 40th, let alone 12th?
-Jesse has no point in this show
-I actually forgot Sam existed. But he's with Mercedes now. Well I guess its something to do with the new character....

Season 3 is going to sky. I can't say I'm going to miss it greatly.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

So I recently read my first ever Jane Austen. I'm not sure I've ever had a terrible resistence to reading miss Austen, other than my general reluctance to read the classics, which is that they can be harder to work to read thanks to the language. Still, I had been told I would enjoy some Austen, so I gave it a try.

All in all? Pretty good, but it does suffer (for me) from the time it was written in. Its a very arch writing style, and its pretty clear that Austen likes some of her characters, and frankly despises some of the others. The style of writing is different to what I'm used to, and takes some getting used to: Austen will frequently describe dialogues which have occured ("Miss Bennet described her feelings on the subject as briefly as possible" for instance) rather than explicitly detailing them, which gives a detached feeling to the book initially. Indeed, while the book is generally amusing from the get go, I didn't really feel an emotional attachment for a while, until its quite clear that Elizabeth Bennet is very fond of her sister Jane, and walks (3 miles!) to visit her when she is ill. Once theres emotional hooks the story, unsurprisingly, becomes more effective, and while you are fairly aware of whats coming, its still satisfying to see it realised.

Theres some things I didn't like. I think for the most part we are meant to agree with Elizabeth, other than her mistaken impressions on certain characters, but I found myself generally disagreeing. The book details a genuinely unpleasent form of society, filled with the idle rich who have nothing to do but to romance each other and worry about their status in life. Frustratingly, while it was impossible for women to earn a fortune at such time, even men are obsessed with finding money via marriage rather than through actually going out and earning it.

(some spoilers now!)

Worse yet for me was the section with Lydia and Mr Wickham. This dates the novel, because frankly if a man in his twenties ran off with a 16 year old girl these days the family wouldn't be happy to see them married, they'd be happy to see the man put in jail, regardless of what the silly young girl might think on it. While I appreciate that that was how the world was in those days, its a rather depressing end, where part of me was hoping that someone was just going to stab Wickham in the face. Theres even a slight notion of Lydia getting what she deserves towards the end.

Still, all in all I had a lot of fun with Pride and Prejudice, and imagine I will take some time to read Austen's other novels.

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