New Directions takes on Nationals, New York
By Rachel Stuhler
It's been two years in the making, but the kids of McKinley High have finally reached Nationals -- and New York City. And with twelve teenagers crammed into just two hotel rooms, you know there's going to be mayhem. Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) ill-advisedly leaves the kids on their own to write the original songs for the competition while he sneaks out and prepares for his big Broadway debut. The kids are still in the dark about Schue's imminent resignation until Vocal Adrenaline coach Dustin Goolsby (Cheyenne Jackson) deliberately outs the secret just to rattle the kids' confidence. But it doesn't work -- the kids are proud of Mr. Schue, and their support only makes him change his mind, anyway.
"I Love New York"/"New York, New York," Madonna/"On the Town"
The kids defy Mr. Schue's lockdown, reasoning that "New York will write the songs" for them. While the jaunt through the city's more touristy spots doesn't result in any great Nationals material, it does inspire a song-and-dance number. As usual, the kids shake things up by combining Madonna's "I Love New York" with "New York, New York" from the musical "On the Town."
"Still Got Tonight," Matthew Morrison
In his time away from the glee club, Mr. Schue explores the theater where April Rhodes' "Crossrhodes" will be staged. He tests out new material for the show, performing Matthew Morrison's own real-life hit, "Still Got Tonight."
"Bella Notte," from "Lady and the Tramp"
Finn (Cory Monteith) decides that New York is the time to tell Rachel (Lea Michele) that he wants her back. He stages a romantic date that spans Central Park to Sardi's (and a surprise cameo by Broadway great Patti Lupone), even enlisting the guys to serenade her with "Bella Notte" from Disney's "Lady and the Tramp." Unfortunately for Finn, Rachel's realized she loves something more than him -- and that something is stardom.
"For Good," from the musical "Wicked"
Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Rachel take an early morning trip to have breakfast at Tiffany's, just like Audrey Hepburn. When Rachel admits that she's confused about her feelings for Finn – and her inevitable exit from Lima in just a year -- Kurt tells her she needs to experience the limelight, just to know what it feels like. The two sneak into the "Wicked" theater and sing the duet "For Good," bringing their relationship full circle from their Season 1 audience favorite, "Defying Gravity."
"Yeah," Usher feat. Lil Jon and Ludacris
All too quickly, it's time for the competition to start. The first group up is the Crawford County Girls Choir, clad in white, Grecian dresses that make them look innocent and angelic. This image is soon shattered when they launch into a version of Usher's "Yeah" that almost seems dirtier than the original.
"As Long As You're There," Original Song
Vocal Adrenaline takes the stage right before New Directions, but not before VA's star, Sunshine Corazon (Charice) has a minor breakdown in the bathroom. To make up for sending the poor girl to a crack house, Rachel calms her down and convinces Sunshine that she'll be brilliant. And to no one's surprise, she is; Vocal Adrenaline, all blue chiffon and high heels, plays right to the crowd.
"Pretending"/"Light Up the World," Original Songs
The first half of New Directions' performance is, as always, about Rachel and Finn and their inability to get it together. As the solo ends and the two share a highly unprofessional onstage kiss, the rest of the group launches into the upbeat "Light Up the World." SPOILER: The kiss may have ruined it for everyone and the kids don't even place in the competition. But as they look ahead to next year, there's plenty of love to keep them busy – a surprise coupling of Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Sam (Chord Overstreet), the return of Finnchel, and Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt finally say "I love you."
"Glee" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Interview with Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
Patrick made a big mistake when he cheated on his wife Robin on "General Hospital" -- and not just because cheating sucks. His former flame Lisa was desperate to prove the reunion was more than just a one-night stand, whether that meant taking Robin out or throwing her own body in front of Robin's car.
Now, with Patrick and Robin finally making strides in repairing their marriage, Lisa is ready to strike again. She's going to tamper with their water heater and lock Robin in the basement for the explosion, so Patrick can take the blame. From what McCullough & Thompson tease in this exclusive video, however, they may be one step ahead of her.
"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC.
With the season two finale, 'Glee' gets into a New York state of mind
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" takes a bow this Wednesday
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
After 25 years of ruling daytime, Oprah Winfrey and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" will say goodbye this week on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. The big finale starts with the two-day star-studded spectacular on Monday and Tuesday, followed a finale so highly anticipated that a 30-second ad spot sold for a reported one million dollars!
Oprah Winfrey took American by storm with "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which premiered September 8, 1986. After changing the face of the nation with book clubs, car giveaways and celeb interviews, she announced she was retiring from daytime talk back in November, 2009. Now, the day is finally upon us!
Oprah's final week of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" starts with "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," a two-day special featuring highlights from last week's star-studded extravaganza at Chicago's United Center.
"The grandest, most spectacular surprise ever...and Oprah has no idea!" promises the teaser. "See living legends, once-in-a-lifetime performances, ultimate viewers and the ultimate tribute."
Tom Hanks played master of ceremonies at the big event, while Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Beyonce, Josh Groban, Rascal Flatts, Usher, Kristin Chenoweth and Rosie O'Donnell were among the performers. Stars who turned out and may make the finale cut include Tom Cruise, Madonna, Beyonce, Halle Berry, Dakota Fanning, John Legend, Jamie Foxx, Madonna, Will Smith, Katie Holmes, Dakota Fanning, Halle Berry, Diane Sawyer, Josh Groban, Jada Pinkett Smith, Maria Shriver, Patti LaBelle, Gayle King, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Seinfeld, Tyler Perry, Diane Sawyer, Dr. Phil, Nate Berkus and Simon Cowell and more.
Needless to say, Oprah got teary at her going away party and she'll likely tear up for the big goodbye on Wednesday, May 25.
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" finale promises to be a more intimate affair than the two-day party and is expected to become the most watched show in daytime history. That's why 30-second ad spots were reportedly sold for a daytime record-breaking cool million dollars.
While Oprah and America are recovering from the goodbye, there will still be two days left in the week. Thursday will be a rebroadcast of Oprah's farewell season premiere with special guest John Travolta, with Friday closing out finale week with Supremes icon Diana Ross, her 5 children and a show-stopping performance.
Then, it's time to move on. Oprah Winfrey is ready to put her attention to taking OWN to the next level and seeing the world with her upcoming OWN series "Oprah's Next Chapter," which promises "in-depth revealing interviews and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from the ends of the big, beautiful earth to her own backyard."
Rosie O'Donnell , meanwhile, will take over the stages Oprah ruled from for the past 25 years, making her OWN return to daytime in the OWN daytime talk show "Rosie," due to premiere this fall.
The murder investigation goes back to square one with another disappointing episode
Even though there was more action than usual on "The Killing" tonight (including an actual police foot chase), it seems we are frustratingly back to where we were several days ago. After a more drawn out period, a likely suspect is eliminated. After losing faith in the police, the Larsens take matters into their own hands. And after giving lip service to a higher calling, Richmond again gets (slightly) more down and dirty in his race to be mayor.
The police: Well, at least they managed to solve one local mystery, even if it is the less publicized abduction of the young girl mentioned previously at the mosque. It was clear that Bennet was up to something, and we found out what it was, complete with a mini-lecture on female circumcision. What is more confounding is why in the world Bennett thought he would get away with spiriting the girl out of the country with the police monitoring his every move. Are we supposed to perceive him as a hero for what he was planning to do? In theory, it is terribly noble; in practice, hopelessly shortsighted and dangerous. And once more, we start all over again, although given how the episode came to an end, perhaps there will be another murder to solve.
The family: Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton continue to give excellent performances, but increasingly, they are being allotted one melodramatic note to play on endless repeat. Mitch's angry lashing out and Stan's wistful melancholy are starting to become dully familiar. Now that Stan and Belko have, at the very least, severely injured the innocent Bennett, the possibility of a cover-up doesn't seem intriguing, so much as another complication to stand in the way of the central mystery.
The campaign: Speaking of unnecessary complications, currently this plot is about as hollow as it can be. Each of the characters involved in the race are pretty much exactly the same as when we first met them: Jamie the blunt realist, Adams the corrupt lowlife, Gwen the long-suffering helpmate. Only Richmond seems to have changed, although that may just be that what seemed like true idealism has turned out to be naïveté bordering on simple-mindedness. Despite the lovely grace note of Nina Simone crooning on the jukebox, he didn’t reveal anything really new or deep about his past or his wife's death; just the same empty platitudes as before. He is trapped in perpetual wheel spinning, as it seems the rest of the show is as well.
- It was obvious the post-dated warrant was going to fail as soon as they introduced it, but I still wasn't quite clear on why the judge wouldn't sign.
- Despite my complaints, the scene between Stan Larsen and the adorable little girl on the bike was touching.
- The less said about the dumb basketball scene, the better, although I did enjoy Drexler throwing the ball at Richmond like a bratty eight-year-old.
- So there are two pink Grand Canyon shirts? Seems unlikely.
Vince and Julie deal with the consequences of their past actions
"You're not running away from anything. You are an adult right now. You need to think about your choices and you need take responsibility for them. That is what you do. That is the girl that I raised." – Tami Taylor
Tonight's episode was all about fallout. Julie comes unglued after fleeing college and her disastrous "messing around" with the TA, and Vince is confronted by Kennard, his old accomplice from his short-lived career as a car thief. Although they each took vastly different approaches to their problems, it is clear that the repercussions of their actions will be ongoing for a while.
Fortunately, the writers have extricated themselvesvfrom the dead-end story of gross teaching assistants and the students who love them, and moved on to the reliable dynamic of Eric and Tami Taylor's parenting struggles. It has been a familiar trope in "Friday Night Lights" history, whether it was Tami struggling to communicate her apprehensions about her daughter's possible sexual activity, or their emotional heart-to-heart talk after Julie and Matt became lovers. But this brings out deeper feelings of disappointment and shame, as they grapple with trying to make Julie face up to her mistake and take responsibility for it, climaxing in that ugly scene where Eric actually tries to physically shove her out the door to her car. Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler bring out all the layers of love, resentment and helplessness, and Aimee Teagarden holds her own with them every step of the way. At this point, I am perfectly willing to forgive the missteps of the "Julie at college" story if it gets us to a "The Taylor family deals with painful conflicts" story.
Meanwhile, another family is drawing closer together, but with even more sinister undertones. When Ornette doles out a vicious beating to Kennard, he may have given Vince a temporary reprieve from his threats (not to mention strengthening his position as Howard family patriach), but he also raises more doubts about whether he will stay on the straight-and-narrow for much longer. He was certainly convincing in his threats, but truly, how long will he keep the bad guys at bay? And once he gets a taste of the old adrenaline rush of being the toughest man around, will he be able to be content with a quiet home life for any length of time? It all seems to be building to some tough times ahead for all our friends in Dillon.
- It wasn't all doom and gloom, of course. We did get the funny sight gag of all of the Lions holding up the magazine with Coach's face on the front, led by team smart-ass Hastings Ruckle (still criminally underused, in my opinion).
- "It's every coach's dream to experience the highest level of idiocy that his team can muster. And gentlemen, collectively, us coaches, we are living a dream."
- Wait, Billy has been making payments on Tim's land? Did he strike oil underneath Riggins' Rigs or something?
- Mindy is consistently amusing in her blatant attempts to hook Becky and Luke up, and I hope Becky opens up to her about the past soon.
- Let me clarify: Drunk Luke is fun, but not in the daytime and not when he is sad.
- "Rhinestones make me look trashy."
- "I should have been watching out for you better." Coach Taylor: Perfect Man.
The best comedy on television brings its third season to a funny and charming conclusion.
How fantastic is "Parks and Recreation"? So fantastic that it closed out its third season with a ridiculous, silly, and thoroughly delightful half hour episode about, basically, death. OK, maybe it had more to do with the pursuit of happiness in the present and being open to risk in your decisions, but mortality still hung over the proceedings. And considering the photo of the dear departed Lil Sebastian that was prominently displayed, "hung" seems entirely appropriate.
But first, there was a lead-up to the full-on craziness with "The Bubble", which spread the comedy wealth to give every cast member at least a few minutes in the spotlight. Sending Andy and Tom (and eventually April) to the somehow both freezing and humid fourth floor, while having Ron, Jerry and Donna deal with Chris' ludicrous "improvements" to the department split the group up nicely, and it wasn't all Swedish circular desks and spaceship keyboards that only type "perfliptsclub". Despite his contempt for all forms of government, Ron Swanson really does know his staff and what makes them efficient, happy employees, and he isn't above making a (hilarious) compromise in order to keep them that way. Meanwhile, Ben and Leslie have to open up to her mother about their relationship; here again, the farcical elements of Leslie's cuckoo plans to avoid telling the truth ("We could go to Belize, and go scuba diving, and look at the whale sharks.") are balanced by Ben's sincere declaration of the facts. This is what "Parks and Recreation" does best.
Of course, another thing it does really well is huge outdoor memorial services for tiny horsies. Pretty much everything was inspired: Andy writing a song that is (literally) 5,000 times better than "Candle in the Wind", Jean-Ralphio, Leslie and Ben running around covering for everyone backstage, Jean-Ralphio, Donna reading Italian, Ron pouting about not being able to lay the memorial wreath, and Jean-Ralphio. Between this event and the Harvest Festival, it makes sense that Leslie would be tapped for a possible mayoral run, and it would also make sense that she would take the risk of keeping her new boyfriend a secret. The last few minutes did try to cram in a large amount of plots and set-ups for next season; in addition to a run for office, we saw Chris and Ann sparking again, Tom quitting and going into business with Jean-Ralphio, April taking a bigger role in her man's band, and the utterly tantalizing glimpse of Tammy I. However, show runner Mike Schur and everyone involved in this fantastic show have exceeded my expectations at every turn; I fully expect that to continue in the future.
- The animated gifs coming out of this show are the reason the Internet exists.
- "I wasn't super paying attention to what you just said that we'll be doing, but I will give 110% as soon as you repeat yourself in a more interesting way."
- "Try not to move things around because technically speaking this is still a crime scene."
- "There's a sign at Ramsett Park that says, "Do Not Drink the Sprinkler Water" so I made sun tea with it and now I have an infection."
- "And now you've crossed your legs like a woman."
- Since the show tends to bring back even the bit players, (the deadpan doctor was the same one at Ann's Halloween party last season), we can only hope that Ethel and Muriel from the fourth floor will be featured again.
- "You're a champion, little horse, and you're dead."
- Other Words for Black = Obsidian, Onyx, Midnight, Lost Soul, Rolling Blackout, Sleeping Panther and Void by Armani
- "Well, Maggie Thatcher, let me help you with that."
- Look, you don't say that Perd Hapley is in the house and then not actually show him. He is like the Chekov's gun of Pawnee Indiana.
- "Ron Swanson loves his facial hair, and we burned it off."
Bob Guza out, Garin Wolf in as new headwriter
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
Seems like those rumblings that "General Hospital" head writer Bob Guza was on his way out were true: ABC has announced that Garin Wolf is the show's new head scribe, effective immediately! Fans and cast members are all atwitter over the shakeup.
"Guza Out!!!!" tweeted "General Hospital" star Nancy Lee Grahn amid the cheers, jeer and excessive exclamation points that have swarmed Twitter since news broke that Garin Wolf has assumed the post.
The big news is official... sort of. While Wolf is definitely in, there's actually no official word on Guza. Still, one has to assume the controversial head scribe is leaving after 15 years in Port Charles, rather than staying to work under Wolf!
Guza returned to the fold in April 2002, helping "General Hospital" nab two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team and three for Outstanding Drama Series. This season alone, the show banked 21 Daytime Emmy noms, beating out all the competition.
In spite of these successes, however, Guza's storylines have had a tendency to rile old school "General Hospital" fans into an uproar. Now, those fans are celebrating the news that he's out and Wolf is in, while ABC is promising "new heights".
"Garin is a talented writer and storyteller who has been a part of the 'General Hospital' family for nearly 15 years. His in-depth knowledge and adoration for the show's legacy will help make a smooth transition and an immediate impact on story," daytime Chief Brian Frons said in a statement. "I'm sure he will succeed in taking 'General Hospital' to new heights as he develops characters and storylines that will engage and thrill our viewers."
Wolf, who has two Daytime Emmys and a Writer's Guild Award to his name, has served as associate head writer, breakdown writer and script writer since signing onto "General Hospital" in 1997 and was said to be a big player in getting the show ready for the writers' strike. He's also worked on SOAPnet's primetime spin-off, "General Hospital: Night Shift," the daytime drama "As the World Turns" and the animated series "Batman" and "Tiny Toon Adventures."
While many "General Hospital" fans are cheering today, it bares mention that others are worried Guza's exit is a sign the show will follow in the footsteps of daytime's most recent cancelations, "All My Children" and "One Life to Live". Those rumors are getting quashed, but then, so too were the March 2011 rumbling that Guza was out and the early rumblings about "All My Children..."