Hulu’s ‘Normal People’ — The Best New Show to Watch

I’m only four episodes into Hulu’s Normal People, and I can already say it’s one of the rawest, most realistic portrayals of young, complicated love that I’ve seen in nearly a decade. Based on Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel, the series follows Irish lovers Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal) and Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) as they navigate their on/off romance, which is complicated by different upbringings, the opinions of others, personal insecurities, and all the mistakes we make before we know better.

The Guardian reviewed this gem of a series with a heavy, unforgiving hand, calling it “little more than a gutless soap opera for millennials.” And the takedown didn’t stop there. They also said it is “a tedious reworking of a romance plot as old as time. I’d rather read an honest bodice-ripper.” I don’t think I’ve ever been more pleased to read a review. Why? Because it’s so incredibly wrong it just proves that jaded hearts and elite television palettes simply won’t understand it’s beauty — and that’s okay. Yes there’s a class struggle “as old as time.” But the story is more about young love and when acted out by two people with Sheridan and Mescal’s prowess and earnest chemistry, it will inevitably feel fresh.

FOX’S The Following — A FULL REVIEW

20130325-105901.jpgIf the premise of your show is to hire an expert to capture the villain (see Kevin Bacon), then wouldn’t it stand to reason that the expert has some level of expertise? After eight episodes of Fox’s show, The Following, I have yet to see any star detective work. In fact, this psychopathic serial killer is so stellar, the FBI hasn’t squashed a single one of his plans. They’re always several minutes too late and 5 bodies behind.

My patience has a shelf-life, so perhaps FOX can commission CBS’s ‘Elementary’ writers about how to execute some level of inside-knowledge so as to prop-up the protagonist. What is the purpose of Kevin Bacon’s character other than to serve as bait for the serial killer who clearly enjoys the chase? In fact, perhaps if he was entirely out of the picture, the killer would just get bored and retire.

I’ve officially decided to retire from the show. I have no interest in watching endless episodes about how our government can’t get it together, with a protagonist that’s on the last legs of his pacemaker and can’t get one step ahead to save his life.

There’s a lesson to be learned here, so I’d like the writer’s room to listen up. Here goes: Light and shade, my friends. The darkness gets dreary after awhile.

‘New Girl’ — Best New Comedy on Television

Zooey Deschanel is that rare breed of actress that appeals to both men and women. She’s extremely likable, and her new show, ‘New Girl’, illustrates her understated comedic timing. Did I mention it’s a ratings hit? That is quite the coup, given the likelihood of success in this cutthroat television industry. Deschanel plays “Jess”, a girl in her late twenties that lives with three guys she found on Craigslist after she discovered her long-term boyfriend cheated. Her new roommates help mend her broken heart, and they soon become protective. Despite her looks, Jess doesn’t know her value, which makes her charming. I couldn’t picture anyone but Zooey Deschanel in this role (the casting director deserves a promotion). Because I exited a long-term relationship myself and subsequently found a group of guys to erase my depression, I find this story personally relatable. In fact, I think almost everyone can relate. Watch a clip below.

‘The World According to Paris’ — A Watchable Train Wreck

Paris Hilton’s new show is an absolute train wreck — and I loved every minute of it. While I usually try to keep this blog positive, I’ll make an exception for Hilton, who is such an enigma of horribleness — I can’t take my eyes off of her. In case you make the mistake of avoiding the attached episode below, I’ll give you some nutshell plot points. First, she is friends with Brooke Mueller, who I actually felt sorry for throughout the episode. Unlike Paris, Brooke might have a soul, as evidenced by her relationship with her personal assistant/best friend, who Paris hates and Brooke loves. In an attempt to squash their tension, Brooke asks her assistant to talk to Paris. Paris won’t engage, followed by a voice-over which says, “is this an episode of Gossip Girl? As if cornering me in the stairwell is going to make me like her more.” Later in the episode Paris has a fight with her boyfriend, Cy Waits, who discovered inappropriate text messages between Paris and another guy. And just when I thought her sadness over their fight provided evidence that she’s a human being, my hopes were squashed by another horrific voice-over comment, where Paris says, “[my] baby voice has always gotten me what I wanted. But I don’t know if it’s going to work this time.” Apparently, it did work. Cy forgives her just as the episode ends. Man — I sure can’t wait for next week (and no, I am not being sarcastic).
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Grey’s Anatomy Finale: My Review

I confess that I’ve been picking on Shonda Rhimes a lot lately for being too dark.  But if there is anything I’m able to do, it’s admit when I’m wrong.  This Thursday’s finale was extremely dark, but still enjoyable, and it ties the series finale of ‘Six Feet Under’ as one of the best episodes of television that I’ve ever seen in my life.  I’ll also let you in on a little secret: I read the spoilers before watching the show.  Why?  Because I wanted to know who died before I saw it (I was scared of Shonda Rhimes scarring me for life).  Throughout the episode I kept asking myself who deserves an Emmy.  There were so many stand-out performances that I can’t pick just one.  Here’s my list of Emmy worthy scenes:
Sandra Oh: Cristina telling Meredith that she can’t enter the operating room while she operates on Derek. 

Ellen Pompeo: Meredith’s plea for the shooter to kill her instead of Derek, followed by her collapse to the floor when she believed that Cristina let him die (per the shooter’s wishes).
Chandra Wilson: Dr. Miranda Bailey’s freak-out realization that Percy would die, followed by the strength of pulling it together for him.

Sarah Drew: Her monologue to the shooter about being “somebody’s daughter” was gut-wrenchingly good.  She also navigated the freak-outs without getting annoyingly over the top.  She’s actually getting mixed reviews on the internet for her performance, much like Katherine Heigl did when she cut Denny’s LVAD wire.  I think she’s on her way to some very great opportunities.

Michael O’Neill: Ah, the evil shooter.  He clearly wins the entire episode.  Whoever the casting director is that found this guy and decided he’d be right for this role, deserves a huge raise and promotion.  When I first saw him on the show I knew he was a decent actor, but who knew he was capable of this?