From ‘The AP Party’: Kaitlyn Bristow Has Become a Progressive Symbol for ‘The Bachelorette’ Franchise

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With the season finale of The Bachelorette airing this upcoming Monday, I wrote a piece for The AP Party looking at how lead, Kaitlyn Bristowe has become a symbol for the season being one of the most progressive in the show’s history. Link to the full article below

About a month ago, I wrote a post saying that Amy Schumer’s early appearance on the current season of The Bachelorette gave audiences a look at the type of personality the show needed to catch up with the changing times and keep younger audiences interested. Schumer, or someone like her, would basically be the franchise’s Deadpool, breaking the fourth wall and using the show’s premise to unabashedly take advantage of the situation where she would be dating 25 guys, just as anyone would. Read More…

FROM ‘THE AP PARTY’: AMY SCHUMER SHOULDN’T BE THE NEXT ‘BACHELORETTE,’ THOUGH THE SHOW DESPERATELY NEEDS HER

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I wrote a new piece on The AP Party examining the tired formula of ABC’s The Bachelor/The Bachelorette franchise after comedian Amy Schumer appeared on the show. Link to the full article below.

Comedian Amy Schumer made an appearance on last week’s (May 25) episode of the The Bachelorette to positive reception from fans. Schumer was likely there, in part, as a tie-in to her upcoming movie, Trainwreck — the trailer for which aired right before her appearance. Read More…

The Recaps: About a Boy – “About a Godfather”

I was very hard on last week’s episode “About Total Exuberance,” saying this episode failed to expand on Will and Marcus’ relationship using material not in the film and no funny material to back it up. “About a Godfather” does the opposite and while the jokes only land slightly better than the previous outing, the episode finds dramatic resonance in expanding on a largely comic scene from the film.

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In the scene in question features Andy and his wife Laurie (Annie Mumolo) asking Will to serve as Godfather to their youngest. Will of course rejects the offer whole-heartedly. I had forgotten about this scene from the film and was happy to be reminded that there was more for Jason Katims and crew to mine. The scene is played much more seriously here. Rather than play it for laughs its more clearly rooted in Will being selfish rather than him thinking it’s a bad idea. Will’s selfishness continues later when he kidnaps Andy for their scheduled bowling night despite being needed at home.

Will takes Marcus instead in their only scene together which works to the episodes benefit. At this point, we have seen two episodes focused on the two of them, one worked and one didn’t so it’s nice to get a break from their time together. This scene also has one of the episodes two laugh-out-loud moments in where Marcus adopts Wills attitude of Andy “bailing” on bowling night. Though eventually Marcus and Fiona convince will to make things right with his friend.

Where the episode really shines is in the final sequence where Will babysits Andy’s kids while the parents have some “alone time,” (not what you might think). Apart from an excellent line in the unknown merits of using a baby bottle to drink beer, this sequence is played for pathos and has a genuinely sweet scene where Katims shows the strengths of his other shows.

I hope the show doesn’t shy away from the drama in the future just because it’s a half-hour comedy. The source material is more drama than comedy and if the show continues to embrace that, it will become one of the better on TV.

The Recaps: Breaking Bad – “Felina”

You may notice that I have skipped an episode in my recaps. I apologize but sometimes life get’s in the way. I touch on “Granite State,” but this is firmly a recap of the finale.

It’s over and it ended pretty much how we knew it would. “Friday Night Lights,” – another one of my pantheon shows – did the same. This brings up a larger issue with finales, particularly drama’s. Very rarely are the final stories, whether they’re presented in the first episode or the last thirty minutes they are rarely as satisfying as the rest of the show. This is tough when audiences put everything into what’s one piece of the entire show – something that makes our world of recaps all the more trivial.

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Breaking Bad has always been the best type of show in that it only gave audiences what they wanted if it coincided with where Gilligan and crew were going in the same direction. Without that mentality, episodes like “Ozymandis” or “Granite State,” wouldn’t be two of the season’s – and series’ – stand-outs.

The only two moments from the Vince Gilligan directed finale, the first being Walt’s visit to the Schwartz residence, which after last week’s episode I didn’t think was in the cards since it also had the final Saul scene of the series. The other twist was the Ricin going to Lydia. I never completely understood audience dislike for Ms. Rodarte-Quayle. I get that she’s a cold, “Type-A,” but I never found her to be the problem of the operation but with the way the episode ended, all loose ends had to go if Hank Walt ywanted the blue empire to stop with him.

Other loose ends last night included Todd who, until he pulled the trigger on Andrea last week, I was certain would end up next to Ted in the physical therapy clinic. Again, this finale was all about making us as comfortable as possible – with the exception of the laser pointer show at the Schwartz’s –  after being extremely uncomfortable throughout the season, particularly in “Ozymandis.” Once the Schwartz’s were revealed to be safe and sound, it was clear that Walt was only seeking harm on the only people more evil than him.

This is the biggest issue I have had with this season. The villains of this final season used artificial characterization that didn’t live up to The Twins, Gus or even Hank who was much a more effective adviserry. Credit goes to Jesse Plemmons though, who has nearly out-shined his “Friday Night Lights,” roots. After the penultimate episode, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him in The Purge sequel as the main home invader.

Ultimately, last night’s finale is merely a less meaningful piece than that of the final season which is a hell of an achievement. Like when any of my favorite shows end, I’m looking forward to going back and re-watching the entire show to see how it holds up as a whole, especially in knowing the end game. For a show that is pure plot, but has seemingly done it better than any other drama. Regardless how that happens this was an epic journey that’s fitting as being one of the last golden age shows on the air.

The Recaps: Breaking Bad – “Rabid Dog”

Well that was quick. After last week’s episode, I predicted we would get a peaceful episode as Walt’s video confession forced Hank and Marie to step back from their assault on the White family. That all went out the window as Walt made a phone call to TV’s favorite murderer of the Southwest region to enlist the help of Uncle Jack one last time.

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I can’t help but think this won’t go according to plan – not just because still have four hours left – but also because Vince Gilligan pulled a fast one on us by revealing that Hank put a stop Jesse lighting up Casa De White like that poor inmate’s jail cell at the midway point of this season only to conveniently get away as soon as Hank pulls into the driveway.

“Breaking Bad” has used flashbacks in the past (the origins of the RV, the White’s purchasing their home), come to mind but the show has never gone the way of Benioff and Weiss or used the technique to directly affect the way we interact with the narrative.

I don’t know about other viewers but I still get a kick out of watching Bryan Cranston play the bumbling albeit more confident version of the high school chemistry teacher regardless if he’s  wishing Enrique a Feliz Cumpleaños at A1 or explaining how he had premium-unleaded egg on his face all day. At this point though, Walt Jr. is the only audience he has left, I’d imagine at some point between now and the last hour, that will change.

Skylar is wise to Walt’s show and is rightfully concerned about the family business coming to their door. In the hotel, she’s in full-apathetic Lady Macbeth mode. Hopefully the Anna Gunn / Skylar White hate has subsided because the look of apathy and indifference on her face when she brings up taking care of Jesse shows how numb she’s become in the last year.

Everyone seems to be fine with taking Jesse behind the woodshed with Saul throwing out an Old Yeller reference – I imagine he has dream journals full of these under his bed, I hope we get at least one more before the series’ end. Even Jesse seems to be ready to bring down Heisenberg even at the cost of his own life and Hank is ready to get there.

The Recaps: Breaking Bad “Confessions”

So far this season has been all about the relatively non-violent confrontations that started with Hank and Walt meeting in the garage in the premiere, Marie and Skylar at the White residence and now the public meeting at Garduños – along with Jesse and Walt’s meeting in the desert. Each made a point to prove the tension between its characters is far more potent than the violence – assuming no one will kill their others. Let’s look at each confrontation by themselves.

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Since establishing their positions in the past two episodes, it makes sense that the four members of the White/Schrader clan would meet in a local restaurant – with table side guac that they make at the table. The White’s wearing the blandest, most conservative of beige’s while Hank and Marie donned their darkest black’s and purples as a clever play on the classic white vs. black hat heroes and villains of classic westerns. After Dean and Marie refusing the White’s request to back off because it’s all over – not to mention Marie saying she’d consider it if Walt sent himself to Belize –  Walt drops the last hammer, a confession saying Hank forced him to cook meth, making full use of the sympathies granted to cancer victims.

“Breaking Bad,” is known for using even the smallest of story threads to their end though it’s use of Walt and Skylar funding Hank’s physical therapy seems to be the least likely to have been planned since Season 3. While it doesn’t help that Marie took the money, I would imagine – with an understanding of our justice system at a third-grade level – that the Schrader’s would have some level of plausible deniability. Also, if Hank was running a meth operation, wouldn’t he have the money to pay for it himself of which he would grant Walt access for this purpose?

Either way, Hank and Marie’s viewing party as both the audience and the Schrader’s learn the true nature of Walt’s “Confession” is the standout that tops both the Garduños and desert meeting. Seeing the couple’s different reactions – Marie’s terror, Hank’s Anger – is as telling about Hank’s control as much as their personality. Admittedly, Marie is still coming to terms with Hank’s true colors.

Less surprising was the re-emergence of Walt poisoning Brock at the end of season 4. In my first recap of the final eight, I incorrectly guessed that Hank’s discovery drove him to wreck the White house never seeing that their were two revelations – the other being the discovery that Walt let Jane die – that would drive Jesse into pure madness.

With Jesse dumping champagne over the White residence and Todd getting back into the meth game, it’s only a matter of time before Heisenberg has to off someone. With his confession likely putting any meetings with Hank and Marie on hold, leaving Jesse, Todd, Saul and Lydia as his only options. The peace has to come to an end sooner or later.

The Recaps: Breaking Bad – “Buried”

Hey, this is a recap so there are spoilers for last night’s episode and past seasons of “Breaking Bad” so if you haven’t seen every episode, catch-up and come back.

It’s no surprise that “Buried,” doesn’t pack the dramatic-punch of “Blood Money.” Tonally, it was the true “first episode” of this half-season where the show readjusted for the direction and character dynamics of these final episodes. This marked by the opening scene where the old man stumbles on the money Jesse started throwing out of his car to then find Jesse back in his trance only to disappear until the final scene – much like the kid from the train robbery. Having is conversation with Hank pushed till next week was a welcomed contrast to last week’s showdown.

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As for those new dynamics, its even more clear this is going to be as much Hank and Marie’s season as it is Hank, Skylar and Jesse as was truly evident in the focus on Hank and Marie’s drive home from the White house. They have also taken the active role with a clear goal for the season whereas Walt and Skylar’s path are now a mystery, though that’s been one of the more compelling mysteries of this season.

Also slowing things down, Walt spent the majority of the episode digging holes for the storage locker money which is great because we needed to get up to speed on everyone else – except for Walt Jr./Flynn who was absent from this episode. Skylar, could have gone a number of ways when Hank confronted her with his discovery. Kudos to Anna Gunn who kept her intentions well hidden during her conversation with hank all through to the her home visit from Marie. With the reputation Skylar has built with fans as a nucience to Walt’s empire building, it’s surprising she didn’t drop Hank entirely. Then again, if I had a enough cash for Scrooge McDuck’s jacuzzi, I’d play the Tammy Wynette role as well.

We also caught up with Lydia who is set on fixing her own problems by any means necessary, even if it mean’s hiring Todd’s uncle and friend’s to send her current crew on an all-inclusive, one-way trip to Belize. Aside from pleasantly surprising fact that Jesse Plemmons has had one of the successful careers of the Dillon Alumni, it was important that we caught up with him after he was absent last week. While I would have loved to see him nearly set the the train-car lab ablaze played to comedic effect, I’m sure we’ll see him continue add at least one more tear tattoo this year.

“Blood Money,” was an incredible hour of television and post script to last season but now were in full new season mode. Six episodes isn’t a a lot of time but its more than enough to allow us to reevaluate and recalibrate to the storylines of the season beyond “the end.”