Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RETURNING: 19 Kids & Counting: Courtships & A Wedding

The Duggars are back - and they have a lot to catch up on! Erin Bates got married last fall, then Zach Bates in December, and with Jill Duggar already engaged (but has not yet even met Derick on the series), it'll be a busy season! Over in Washington, D.C., Anna is homeschooling four-year-old Mackynzie, and it looks like the rest of the Duggars will be heading East for another visit - perhaps even Thanksgiving or Christmas! Still, each family member takes life at his or her own speed, and there are bound to be little moments that are just as important as graduations and weddings!

TLC
19 Kids and Counting "A Duggar Says Yes" (S08E01): Ben started going to the Duggars' church back in the spring, and five months later, began courting Jessa. Ben is 18, the oldest of seven kids, and lives in another part of Arkansas where he is a freshman at a community college and is also doing auto glass windshield repairs. [I love how Michelle stared at Jim Bob as Ben leads up to asking to court Jessa. but was Jim Bob seriously videotaping it?? it does sound like other young men have come along!] Jessa is 20 and has been strong-willed since childhood. She's opinionated, not overly emotional, and loyal, so the couple thinks their personalities complement each other. Ben helps out with family projects, and Jessa's brothers have a chance to interrogate the young man. Jessa takes up a larger interest in cooking, so she helps with more dinner. [does she really strike up an interest? or is she told to have that interest?]

Michelle and Jessa go to check out Ben's family for the weekend, and in preparing, the older girls (plus Joy for once!) talk about what will be changing in the household. John-David flies them down there, and the 200-mile flight takes them 40 minutes. [John-David really does try so many different things!] Jessa and Ben go on a double-date with his parents while Michelle watches the other kids. [normally, you'd think it woudl be awkward to watch a bunch of strangers' kids, no?] The Seewald extended family comes over for a potluck meal as well. [it was very cute that Jessa thought Ben genuinely wanted to discuss theology at first.] Meanwhile, JimBob takes the kids out for a pizza buffet.

19 Kids and Counting "Double Dating Duggars" (S08E02): JimBob and Michelle take Ben and Jessa to play mini-golf and talk to them about the expectations of their courtship.[purposely being sensual around your child and hoping they don't have the same type of desires is ridiculous.]

Jill and her group (JoyAnna, James, and Jennifer) make pickles.

Anna puts together a playhouse for the kids, and has started homeschooling Mackenzie.

19 Kids and Counting "Another Courtship?" (S08E3): Jill talks to Derick online, who is in Nepal. She asks JimBob if the two of them can go to Nepal to meet him, and he's open to the idea, having been the young man's prayer partner for some time. Michelle plays chess with Jeremiah, but struggles. [we've looked at Jeremiah's hobby before, so it's nice to see he's sticking with an interest.]

Anna demonstrates worksheets with Mackenzie.

The Duggar kids decide to put on a dinner theatre night for JimBob and Michelle, so Joy-Anna puts together a song with the little kids, and other groups have performances planned, too. [guess this will be the ongoing project this season!]

The four oldest girls work on the book they've been authoring for the past two years, and
Jinger suggests Jessa write about her own relationship, but she doesn't want to. [that answers that!]

19 Kids and Counting
"Wedding Bells?" (S08E04): Ben and his mother join the Duggars on a road trip to Tennessee for Erin Bates' wedding. [is "Chad" normally a nickname for "Charles" ?] Because Erin isn't the greatest cook, the older Duggar girls (sans Jessa) decide to put together a gag gift about the woman's poor skills in the kitchen. [the fire extinguisher was a funny touch!] Jinger starts taking over the packing, which Jessa used to help with, but at least the number of kids is a little smaller - Joy Anna has started packing for herself now.

Kelly Bates isn't sure how many people are coming to the wedding, so they plan for 1,000 people. [do they not require RSVPs?] Erin ordered bridesmaid dresses online, but they didn't fit the girls right so they bought fabric and Michaela went to work making them! Erin bought a dress from a store and had it altered to be more modest. [sounds like money was no object for this ceremony, eh?] With Zach engaged to Whitney, the Bates family is very busy with upcoming nuptials. Erin shows Jessa and Ben her new home, which has a pink master bedroom. [I agree that it's a bit odd. I understand that Erin never got the dream room of a six-year-old as a kid, but as an adult it's a bit much.]

JohnDavid is in charge of trashing the getaway car, which is actually a rented vehicle. [why? also, haha at Michelle taking paint of the walls at the church with tape! and where were Josh and Anna?]

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FWBL: Not Looking Good

This show is not getting any better. The pilot didn't live up to the hype, in my opinion, and this episode, while a nice fit for CBS, focused too much on sex to interest me. I'm going to need more if they want me to stick around. It would be nice if the relationships built in the first episode came out more in this one, and if the jokes were a little more mature. Most importantly, however, it would have been great to know WHY 4+ months have passed in the show's timeline since the previous episode! That seemed absolutely ridiculous and unexplained, bothering me to my core. What are you thinking at this point?

Friends with Better Lives "Window Pain" (S01E02): Will is back on the market, and because he hasn't dated since 1998, Kate helps him get back out there. At first, he tries to do it without her, but quickly learns in a grocery store that "being a doctor" isn't the great selling point he thought it would be. He doesn't know what to say to women... at all... so he tries to play a "man of few words." But, the only woman into him wants a threesome, and because he just wants to move on and experience sex with someone besides his ex-wife, he keeps that fact from Kate. The friends wind up competing for the woman's attention, which comes back to bite them.
Michael Yarish/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Back at home, Andi is pregnant again, and goes from the high-powered sense of smell stage to the deeply passionate stage, and beyond. Also, Jules is struggling with being a vegetarian around Lowell. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

RETURNING: Instant Mom: A Concert, Cleaning, and a Pet

Well, let's start by saying that my age is showing... I have never heard of Cody Simpson before, and was completely lost as to how badly anyone would want to go to his concert. In fact, the last time I was that lost about a musician on television, I think it was Stephanie fawning over Tommy Page on Full House! On another note, a great way to have a pet-friendly episode and not have to continue writing in rabbits, snakes, and mice is to have them all die and run away at the same time... interesting way to go! I did like that they weren't the standard cats, dogs, and hamsters, though, as I had the weirdo pets growing up, too - it was turtles, birds, and lizards for my family! Lastly, I feel like a lot of shows tried to do the kids-on-strike storyline in the late 80s/early 90s (when family shows were all the rage), but it's been a while, so it was interesting to see how it would play out now. Except, really, the additions of modern technology and changing priorities didn't really factor in, and I kinda liked that. Which of the latest three episodes of Instant Mom did you enjoy most?

Instant Mom "A Kid's Choice" (S01E16): The kids all make music videos to win tickets to a Cody Simpson concert, and it's Aaron who winds up winning! [but we don't see his video! :(] Stephanie thought that James and Gabby's videos were terrible, so she had already talked Charlie into letting whoever wins choose their company - adult or not. Aaron is game to take whichever sibling knows him better, but neither of them (nor Stephanie and Charlie) manages to get a single question correct. [loved that Garfield question!] Aaron doesn't know what he should do, but when Cody hears about it, he brings extra tickets for the whole family! [oh. like when the Beach Boys helped out Stephanie in the same dilemma on Full House.] BUT, when Cody delivers them, he accidentally falls for one of James' pranks on Gabby, and he helps the kids cover it up so they'll still be allowed to go to the concert. So, despite being glued to a chair, Cody manages to keep Charlie and Stephanie from knowing what's going on, even if it means that he gets carried out of the house! [the stolen chair kinda gave something away, though!] 

Instant Mom "Chore Money, Chore Problems" (S01E17): The kids take advantage of their weekly cleaning service, so Stephanie fires the maid and tries to get the kids to help out some more. [haha, I remember the first time my parents tried to crack down and get us to help clean the house. it failed because we were smart asses. we only had to "clean on the commercials," so we watched nothing but PBS. :-P] The kids decide to revolt unless they get paid, but Stephanie and Charlie decide to re-hire the cleaning service anyway. But, when the kids start talking back, the ante gets upped, and Charlie re-cancels the cleaning service, and the kids wind up sleeping in the backyard. [we couldn't do that - coyotes and all.] Furthermore, Charlie insists the kids can't wear clothes that he purchased, so the kids have to wear grandparents' gifts to school... and the humiliation breaks Gabby. TMNT breaks Aaron, but James maintains his stance, even after Charlie hires another kid to play James. It's Stephanie hiring a clown that brings James and Charlie back together. [Maggie was strangely absent.]  

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Instant Mom "Requiem for Mr. Floppity" (S01E18): Aaron watches his class rabbit for the weekend, but it dies when it pops a balloon. [why would Stephanie have it playing with a balloon anyway?] The teacher just replaces it, but Stephanie takes the opportunity to explain death to Aaron, so he's freaked out on Monday at school when the rabbit "returns because it missed the class." [wow that's a rough situation! and the "zombie rabbit" theory wasn't any better!] But, Stephanie insists on a funeral, even though they can't find the original rabbit's body and she has to stuff a plush rabbit with rocks. Of course, the room of eight-year-olds catches her, confusing them even more.

Even having the rabbit around for a few minutes reignites Gabby's desire for a pet, and Charlie lets her get a mouse. Of course, James decides to trade a friend a comic book for a snake, which spells out nothing but trouble for both the rabbit and the mouse!  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Teen Mom 2: The Fifth Season Continues...

This series sorta got away from me there! Part of the problem is that I genuinely don't care about any of the mothers or their situations at this point. Another issue is that so little happens per episode because of the focus on four people at a time. Jenelle continues to have legal and relationship troubles, Kailyn gets married and has her second child, Leah deals with the tough life of having a husband who works out of town, and Chelsea continues to be pampered by her parents while she traipses through life. Now that Chelsea has a job, perhaps she'll learn more about life... if her parents decide to actually cut her off! There's a tiny bit left of this season, and no renewal yet, so this may be the last we see of these girls, much like has happened with Teen Mom and Teen Mom 3.

Teen Mom 2 "False Positives" (S05E06):
Jenelle: She gets pregnant right away, but she starts bleeding, so she goes in for an ultrasound. They learn that she's not pregnant after all, but her hormone level was still high because of her recent abortion. Also, Jace locks Barbara out of the house and curses at her. [holy cow that kid will be a handful!] 

Leah: Jeremy faints on the job and has to come home early from the project, but at least it's just stress and anxiety, and he can work after a week of rest. 

Chelsea: She's worried that Aubree will want to spend more time at Adam's because there's a "family" over there now that there's a new baby. [Chelsea gets on my nerves.]

Kailyn: Jo agrees to let Kailyn and Isaac move to Delaware if he can have 10 overnights each month, as he currently he gets 8. She tries to compromise to 9 because Isaac will be in preschool, but Jo doesn't want to give in. The court decides to make it 9, but Kailyn will have to drive Isaac half-way for hand-offs, and go the entire way for pick-ups. [custody issues are so much work!]

Teen Mom 2 "These are the Days" (S05E07):
Jenelle: She's headed to court for her latest felony charges, but she's more concerned over seeing Courtland while she's with Nathan. [flip flops and heels are the only two types of shoes Jenelle has, apparently. and that red dress fit her funny.] 

Leah: Ali is evaluated by a special needs counselor, so Leah tries to get Corey on board with Ali starting preschool ASAP. It doesn't take much, though he still hasn't accepted that she may live an atypical life. 

Chelsea: Aubree meets her new half-sister, Paislee. [what's with how people spell names in South Dakota?] But, Aubree stays at Adam's instead of his parents', upsetting Chelsea.

Kailyn: She is struggling to get along with all of her bridesmaids (she has 6!), as Javi's sister and cousin don't seem interested. [haha, remind me to someday tie-in the story of the time my bridesmaids had to go shoe shopping without me...]

Teen Mom 2 "Breakdown" (S05E08):
Jenelle: Barbara is worried that Nathan is controlling Jenelle, who has been doing nothing lately but hanging out at home. [at least she's not getting into trouble?] She has her appendix out in emergency surgery, but Barbara gets upset that Jenelle chooses to have Nathan care for her instead of her family. [yeah, I needed to have surgery about six years ago and chose my husband to care for me over anyone else, which I think hurt my mom's feelings, too.] When Barbara and Jace do come over, it doesn't last long before there's a fight that drives Barbara out again, claiming she'll never return. [ha!]

Leah: Ali starts preschool. [Leah has a fancy camera.] Corey and Miranda plan to wait a few years before having children.  

Chelsea: Adam files to have as much custody as the law will allow, but Chelsea doesn't think he deserves it. [she's fortunate that her dad speaks legalese!] 

Kailyn: Javi tells her that she needs to become comfortable around his family. She needs to find a doctor who isn't two hours away. She has her wedding dress altered. [ugh. I remember paying a pretty penny for those!]

Teen Mom 2 "Miss You Much" (S05E09):
Jenelle: It's Jace's 4th birthday, but he keeps acting out. [haha! Barbara called the fondant "fondue" !! also, Jace is still in diapers.] 

Leah: Jeremy needs to go back to work, and Leah wants to go to counseling to help him see things from her perspective. But, he goes to New Mexico for five weeks for a gig.

Chelsea: Aubree starts ballet and hip-hop. [Chelsea seriously bought the dance outfits on the way to the class?!?] 

Kailyn: The wedding is at an aquarium near Philadelphia, but Kailyn is still upset about the bridesmaid drama. She's still not planning to invite her mother, though Jo thought he would get invited. [random!] Javi's sister and cousin confront Kailyn about being open and having a close relationship in the future. [eep!]

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Teen Mom 2 "We Belong Together" (S05E10):
Jenelle: She has her court date, and Courtland shows up. The deal worked out, and she's offered unsupervised probation... but she fails a drug test and has to go to jail for two days. [haha!] Nathan tells Barbara, who thinks Jenelle needs to learn a lesson. [Jace is really becoming a behavior problem!] Jenelle gets upset that Nathan talks to a girl when she's in jail, even though she has guy friends. [I don't think I realized Jenelle had gauges before.] 

Leah: She looks through Jeremy's phone and learns he turned down a local job to take the one in New Mexico. He thinks $40,000 in five weeks trumps the location. [I don't have three kids, but in my current situation, you better believe I'd let my husband go off to make that kind of moolah!] Leah tells Corey about Jeremy's decisions, which probably isn't in her best interest, considering past issues.  

Chelsea: She finishes her cosmetology program, and her family and friends come for the announcement. [I thought she kinda overplayed it.] Now, she has to look for a job, but has no problem finding one at a spa that provides high-end services, though she's not state-licensed yet. 

Kailyn: It's her wedding day, and she can't stop crying. [seriously with those bridesmaids sweatshirts??] We also learn that Javi is a Guatemalan nickname for Jose, and he tears up during the vows.

Teen Mom 2 "Out of the Blue" (S05E11):
Jenelle: She's once again pregnant, confirmed by ultrasound this time. She's still smoking 1-2 cigarettes/day, but she's off "street drugs." [I'm so over Jenelle!] 

Leah: Ali practices on her motorized wheelchair. [it sounded like the tech didn't want Ali in one at such a young age.] Jeremy intends to file for divorce. [oh no!] 

Chelsea: She has a court date to deal with custody issues, then has issues with Aubree listening and staying in her carseat. [the kid was awful and still got ice cream that day?!? also, Chelsea needs to stop complaining to her dad over every little thing!] Adam wins the ability to see Aubree more, but it has to be at his parents' place, and he can't drive with her in the car.

Kailyn: She and Javi take a day alone together after the wedding, and she admits that she's nervous about having a newborn and a toddler. Later, Javi drops off Isaac without Kailyn, but it works out okay. She finally answers one of her mother's calls, and the woman asks to stay for a while to help out with the new baby. Kailyn gets to decide on how long she can stay, but she's apprehensive about the whole situation. [I would be, too!]

Teen Mom 2 "What You See Is Not What You Get" (S05E12):
Jenelle: She starts taking Jace to karate class. [but it's really tae kwon do?] Barbara doesn't like Nathan and Jenelle not working, but the bigger problem is that Nathan got arrested for a third DUI, which could land him jail time if he's convicted. [is this what those trashy shows like Jersey Shore are like? just the Jenelles and Nathans of the world and their idiotic decisions?] She decides that she won't bail him out in the future. 

Leah: Jeremy sees texts from Corey that he doesn't like. The girls try a cheer class, but Aleeah doesn't listen, so maybe something like softball would be better for her. [I don't think I've ever heard of cheerleading for a group so young!] 

Chelsea: She starts her new job, but is worried about passing the written part of the state licensing exam. Aubree has a preschool pageant, and Adam brings Paislee. He also  changes his number and won't give it to Chelsea, making her reach him via facebook only. [that does NOT sound like a reliable father to me!]  

Kailyn: They paint the baby's room but Javi doesn't know how to do the edges and trim, despite having multiple family members working at Sherwin Williams. [haha.] Kailyn labors for 16 hours to deliver Lincoln Marshall. [Isaac was SO CUTE meeting his brother!] She recovers quickly, but is upset that her mother drunk-texts her all night. [crazy woman!]

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

NEW SHOW: Friends with Better Lives

When Friends with Better Lives was announced, I was pretty excited. I often think about what it would be like to live in the cities of friends, or have children like other friends, or focus on the careers of yet other friends. As more details about the comedy were released, it became apparent that the show yearns to be the next Friends (which is already problematic because in the Guide, it reads the same as the iconic 90s series) or How I Met Your Mother (as evidenced by piggybacking onto the series finale), but maybe I couldn't relate to the issues after all. The main circle of friends seems to contain a married couple with an infant, a divorcee, a freshly-engaged peppy girl, and the female version of Barney/Joey who isn't looking for something deeper. As with many new shows, the pilot was spent setting up the relationships between the characters, something which appears to be particularly integral in this program. I wasn't a big fan of the jokes, but I'll give it a few episodes to prove its worth. Did you try it out?
Trae Patton/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Friends with Better Lives "Pilot" (S01E01): Will has been staying with fellow OBGYN Bobby and his wife, Andi, for six weeks, after his wife, Val, slept with their couples' therapist. He goes for midnight bike rides by his old house and ends up being served with divorce papers by the end of the episode. [like Ross's marriage ending on the pilot for Friends.]

Bobby and Andi have been married for seven years and are in a bit of a rut... they are so accustomed to being tired after caring for son Charlie that they don't do much besides watch Homeland, so when they hear about how often their friend, Jules, and the new man in her life, Lowell, are sexually active, they decide to spice things up. [did Marshall and Lily go through something similar at the beginning of How I Met Your Mother?] But, when they mutually forget their anniversary, Andi winds up making a fool out of herself by preparing to orally pleasure Bobby during a surprise party. [how awkward!]

Speaking of Jules, though, it is unclear if her engagement will last, as she has only known Buddhist vegetarian Lowell for six weeks.

On the other end of the spectrum is Kate, who attempts to look for a nice guy after dating tons of losers, only to admit that she really is superficial and not looking for much more than that. [again, Barney to a "T."]