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A threesome of TV-related complaints

Have the critics turned on Desperate Housewives?

ABC’s hit is second only to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as television’s most popular show this fall, although several critics have taken issue with how its second season has begun. Joanne Ostrow of the Denver Post said the hour is “edging toward vapidity.”

“The tone is off,” Ostrow wrote. “Not campy enough to make the comedy clever, not real enough to make it engaging as mystery-drama. The story is too rooted in convention to be truly outrageous, too melodramatic to make it plausible as anything but goofy comedy.”

David Bianculli of the New York Daily News said the series doesn’t have any traction. This season’s new story line, with Alfre Woodard’s new character, Betty, imprisoning someone in her basement “has not only wasted Woodard’s talent, but also our time, as well,” he wrote.

This season finds the series “clinging to old plots while fumbling with new ones,” wrote Robert Bianco of USA Today.

Whatever. I think it’s basically the same piece of fluff that I enjoyed last year. I don’t think they’re “clinging to old plots” so much as they’re taking the natural continuations of them. We got answers last season, but very little really came to a conclusion. Which current thread would you have them drop, and why?

For what it’s worth, I find Bree’s situation to be very engaging. I want to know when and how she’ll figure out she’s dating her stalker. Given how every action has consequences on this show, I feel confident that Susan is in for some future unpleasantness based on what she did this last episode (I’ll put it in the comments as a spoiler buffer). Lynette continues to impress me with her endless ability to be devious. Only Gabrielle hasn’t had much to do, and I think that will change with that new lawyer on the scene.
Overall, then, no real gripes from me.

Meanwhile, Sue is unhappy with the current season of The Amazing Race.

1. The “racearoundtheworld” aspect is gone. Now, it’s a race around North America. La dee fricking da. […]

2. Fewer Roadblocks. I’ve seen all the legs of this Race and I only remember seeing two Roadblocks so far. Lame.

3. The tasks suck. Go here and get a clue which will tell you to go someplace else and get another clue. Yawn. […]

4. There’s too damn many people. […]

5. Too little cultural interaction. […]

6. The tasks haven’t been physically demanding or intimidating. […]

7. There’s no really wonderful team and no villain. Mama Paolo is annoying and I’m sick of her berating her family, but she’s no Frank, Karen, or Ian. Let’s face it: TAR is reality TV and it’s not reality TV without somebody to love (Kris and Jon, Uchenna and Joyce, Don and MJ) and somebody to hate (Jonathan, the Guidos, Flo).

Well, they fly out of the US in the next episode, so that’s one. I agree there should be more roadblocks and detours, though I do think the ones they have had have been good (and demanding, especially in this last episode). They’ve been a bit sneaky with some of the travel tasks, which I like even if that helped trip up a family that I liked (again, in the comments). And I agree that more cultural interaction would be nice.

I disagree about the contestants, though. There may not be an easy villain like Jonathan or Boston Rob, but as long as the Weavers (whom everyone else clearly dislikes) are in the race, there will be some tension. No one respects the Gaghans, which has some potential for conflict as well. And while I don’t have a clear favorite rooting interest at this point, there are several families I like, especially the goofball Branson, Linz, and Godliewski crews.

So overall, maybe not the best Race ever, but good enough for me.

And we can’t have a post about TV-bashing without noting that those sex-obsessed watchers at The Parents Television Council have once again done us all the favor of pointing out which shows are worth TiVoing. That Brent Bozell really loves his job, doesn’t he? As well he should – all he does is watch naughty TV shows and complain about them, and get paid for it. Pretty sweet gig if you can get it. That’s pretty much all there is to see here, so on to the spoilers in the comments.

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  1. Susan’s decision to tell Zach to go off and find his dad – and giving him money to do so – all without letting Mike know she ever saw him, will definitely come back to bite her in the ass. Her actions are understandable, but I doubt Mike will be inclined to forgive and forget.

    I liked the Schroeder family and was sad to see them get eliminated. Dad should have listened a bit more to daughter Stassi – she was right on about the Southern Colonel. Perhaps if they’d found the trailer homes more quickly, they might have been collected enough to keep looking for a better departure time than 8 AM. I daresay that would have made the difference for them.

    (And how freaking lucky are the damn Paolos to arrive last at the trailers and get a 7:40 departure time? Have the Gaghans, Weavers, and Schroeders never seen this show before? I can’t believe all of them settled for the first place they found.)

  2. Michelle says:

    Ditto on Bree! I can’t wait to see how that plays out. Like any show, they are at a crossroads all the time…the only thing you can do is wait to see what they do.

    Even worse is the LOST situation…with the supposed plot line leaked on line and too little info being given out each episode, I am concerned we won’t get to see it finish out the original concept…:(

  3. Sue says:

    OK, I will admit that the Weavers are annoying and yeah, I did notice that a lot of other teams are griping about them. But I haven’t really been able to get a good idea of why. Is it just because of their behavior during the 8-hour bus trip? Because, sure, they were annoying, but is Killer Fatigue induced wigging out really a reason to hate a team? There must be something else, but I don’t know what it is. If you’re going to dislike a team you’re racing against solely because they’re annoying, the Godelewskis and Paolos are higher on my list.

    As for Desperate Housewives, I agree that the show doesn’t seem quite as compelling this season. Bree remains the only one of the four housewives I like and she easily has the best storyline, especially now that Andrew is going after CreepyGeorge. Gabi visiting Carlos in jail is going to get old very soon. Lynette’s psycho boss annoys me to no end because she’s the stereotype of childfree people and, while she has valid arguments, she’s a shrew. Sadly, that doesn’t make me feel any more sympathetic toward Lynette.

    I think Susan did the right thing for Julie by encouraging Zach to leave, but there’s no way Mike will agree. At this point, I’m going to be surprised if Zach really is Mike’s son. That’d be too easy for this show. Finally, if they don’t have some significant information to give us soon about the prisoner in Alfre Woodard’s basement, I’m going to stop caring about that.

    I want to know where CreepyPaul is and I want Felicia back. She rules.

  4. CrispyShot says:

    Re: TAR – My wife and I commented last night that the contestants we dislike seem to be dropping much more quickly from this race than from previous ones. And I suspect that it wasn’t easy coming up with tasks that people from 9 to 90 could perform.

    I, for one, found the Schroeder family superficial and annoying, and their response to losing confirmed it. Good riddance.

    I’m going back and forth about the Weavers. Do they have to invoke Jesus to tie their frickin’ shoes? And while I can’t really relate to their loss, their reaction to the speedway thing seemed way overwrought. On the other hand, I do admire their gumption. I just wish Mom would quit saying stupid things (e.g., Lake Pontchartrain being one of the 5 Great Lakes – at least she knows there are 5).

    Finally, I’m curious how parents and non-parents compare on how much they like this season. I have to admit, I’ve been impressed by how both the Blacks and the Gaghans support their kids. And I’m kinda rooting for the Gaghans, mostly because of their 9yo.