The episode opens with Aria’s Mom teaching Hedda Gabler to the Liars. This is a really highbrow metaphor for the girls, but it makes me expect great things. Like, Hedda Gabler on ABC Family? Maybe just a desperate plea for Emmy attention, but I’m on board. Also, this high school doesn’t only teach To Kill A Mockingbird! I feel like the Liars probably didn’t read Hedda Gabler. Whatever. Aria’s Mom also thinks that people dance for the security cameras at Wal-Mart the night before an exam. Which is a lie — everyone dances for the security camera at the closest grungy supermarket these days. Ugh. Aria’s Mom is always behind.
Emily receives a necklace of teeth that reads DEAD GIRLS CAN’T SMILE. But dead girls CAN smile, if you turn their mouth that way. However, they will look bad if you pull out all their teeth. Emily has a panic attack, everyone runs out after her to have a bathroom powwow. If my memories from high school are correct, you are not allowed to do that. I feel like our four Liars are in charge of the school, you know? The necklace falls into the toilet because everyone is being stupid, and Spencer does the most stupid thing because she triggers the flusher sensor thing. Spencer messes up even after Aria warns her about the sensor. Is Aria passing Spencer for smartest Liar? Probably not, but anything can happen on this show...
Aria’s hair looks better when she puts it in a ponytail and lets her top mom layers frame her lemur face. Yes, I am still obsessed with Aria’s hair because it looks the worst. After the necklace of human teeth is lost forever into the Rosewood toilet system, our ladies decide to double attack Mona and Garrett to get more information. Suddenly, a wild Jenna appears wearing a RIDICULOUS voodoo necklace and still pretending she is blind! The most blind ever, because she is running into people now. Oops. Aria is the only one that realizes how Jenna is now the blindest, further solidifying her smart status. Gold star, Aria!
Emily was absent from school all of April. Was she drunk? How did she miss every day of school in April? Didn’t her friends say something? Was it because of Maya? Couldn’t they help out the token lesbian with good hair? Aria thinks it’s really smart for Ezra to be Emily’s tutor on the English exam — another smart move for Aria. AND THEN BIG SOMETHING HAPPENS: MEREDITH ARRIVES. Meredith as in the graduate student that Aria’s Dad slept with! She is actually Jody Sawyer from Center Stage disguised as a crazy home wrecking bitch, which means I like her and hate her at the same time. Meredith wants a teaching position at the high school, and says she won’t put Aria down as a reference. That comment is not even funny/cute/scary, only dumb. Meredith is hot and dumb.
NEXT: Do you suffer from Ambiguous Loss?
Hanna is still visiting Mona in the loony bin, and Mona still looks dead. Remember that weird Halle Berry film, Gothika? It is really bad. Do not watch it. But I think of it whenever I see Mona. Hanna is sharing the latest gossip with Mona, and then she SNAPS. Like, Hanna starts screaming about peach pie and braiding back hair and she throws a chair. Mona sits as stone cold as ever.
Hot British Doctor is lecturing Hanna about crazy people, which is weirdly sexual. (They should bang?) I know Hanna is with Caleb, but Hannah and Caleb have the same haircut now and that’s weird. Basically everyone should be in love with Hot British Doctor (HBD, from here on out). HBD mentions this thing called “Ambiguous Loss,” in which something is gone but yet still here. Sounds very medical, and by that, I mean it sounds like he made it up.
Spencer is hanging out with Toby and notices that Jenna’s life as a blind person is questionable. Duh. Spencer thought to use a search engine (probably Bing), and realized that Jenna’s camp ended Aug. 23. Where’d she go? Clearly Spencer is the one closest to the Nancy Drew here and solidifies her status as Smart One! Toby suddenly tries to have sex with Spencer. As in, he starts giving her a massage and then pulls her shirt up to expose her entire back and starts kissing and Spencer is not wearing a bra and vigorous making out and we see Toby’s weird hip tattoo again and is this show Fifty Shades of Grey? I forget how to use periods/punctuation when high schoolers have almost-sex on television! Mariska (Spencer’s Mom) comes back and it is over. Mariska’s hair looks bad. Mariska sucks.
Back at school, Aria finds a weird earring in her locker. We flash back to when Ali was alive, which means we see my favorite Aria: Rebellious Aria with the pink extension! Ali looks like a midget hooker, and the two are hunting for evidence of Aria’s Dad having an affair with Meredith; Ali finds an earring, so the two decide to trash everything and make it look like Meredith wants to ruin Aria’s entire family. The trashing looks like so much fun, because Ali and Aria write on the walls with lipstick and throw papers. This is one of the best things PLL has ever done. It is like a food fight but with actual damage. Ali also calls Meredith a “vindictive home-wrecking bunny boiler,” which is a burn I am using every day for the rest of my life. Anyhoo, flashback ends and Aria reveals that the earring is the keepsake Aria dropped in Ali’s casket. GRAVE ROBBING.
Aria passes Jenna on her way out, and Jenna says that she recognizes Aria because of Aria’s ringtone. ARIA’S RINGTONG IS RANDOM BEEPS. Jenna, try harder. Jenna wants Aria to play in a recital with her? What? That doesn’t make sense. Jenna is arranging pistachio shells in a weird crop circle. Aria blatantly lies and runs away. Jenna lowers her sunglasses — the universal sign that her eyeballs work — and starts casting an evil spell on Aria. I love Jenna.
NEXT: Where’s Hanna’s Mom?
Mariska bans Spencer from the jail! Garrett is bad! Spencer is wearing an ugly tennis dress! Garrett has evidence that proves… stuff? He says he is innocent! People lie! Medial records don’t! I believe most of this, but I also feel like someone on this show (umm, A) could 100 percent forge medical records. Garrett gives nothing up. Mariska is now Garrett’s lawyer. Something is fishy. Spencer is frazzled.
Everyone’s mother is being really rude this season and we are already two episodes in! Is that the theme for this season? Maybe all the moms are A? Hanna’s Mom is absent the entire episode, which means she is either filming porn somewhere or having sex with that police officer the entire week. Caleb thinks that Mona spends her time in the psych ward “making ashtrays and pooping in a stall without a door,” which sounds mildly boring but not that awful. Hanna mentions that she needs to see Mona because she is suffering from Ambiguous Loss! HBD! Hanna is like a doctor now. Hanna does Mona’s makeup at the hospital/jail. It is really sweet. Hanna deserves a pig cupcake. Mona also whispers her first line from the crazy house: “You’re still received them, aren’t you?” A!!! Mona also steals tweezers from Hanna and pulls something out of her finger. We’re crossing over into Black Swan territory!
Back at the hospital, HBD and Caleb are having a pissing contest over Hanna. HBD mentions Ambiguous Loss, and Caleb realizes that Hanna lied to him. Caleb is a really good boyfriend and Hanna is a bad girlfriend! Ambiguous Loss is everywhere and A is kind of M.I.A.ish this episode. I like the flip, because I learned about Ambiguous Loss and Ambiguous Loss can be used as an excuse for almost anything. I think.
Aria’s Dad is the worst character on this show, taking the spot left open from when Emily’s Mom used to cry in the soup cabinet about her daughter’s lesbian tendencies, when he forces Aria to apologize to Meredith about the office trashing. STUPID. Meredith is a blonde whore! She has evil eyes. Aria confesses because A sent her the worst A text ever, and it wasn’t that hard to tell the truth. Meredith hangs out in a Rosewood coffee house that has not existed before this very day, which makes sense because Rosewood just invents new stores when characters need a new meeting place. Aria finds out that the earring from her dad’s office does not belong to Meredith. That is not a mystery but more just Aria forgetting about the manipulative character traits of her evil dead friend.
NEXT: Jenna has eyeballs!
Emily is listening to pump-up jams before her exam… and… touching herself? She makes a scary orgasm face and then the exam starts. Emily sees the first page and does the classic “I KNOW EVERYTHING” face. She’s enjoying herself. However, as the exam nears the end, Emily has a flashback to the blue car that has been haunting her since… last episode. The flashback comes because some girl in the classroom acts as a trigger. At first, I thought Emily was going into a hazy lesbian fever dream. However, the woman driving the creepy car was JENNA!!! WITH EYEBALLS!!! NO SUNGLASSES!!! BLACK GLOVES!!! Again, Jenna is the best. Emily doesn’t finish the test. But she only had like seven minutes left when the flashback arrived, and she still had roughly 28 questions left. So… I don’t know if she can blame the car kidnap memory returning, you know?
Aria’s Mom sees that Emily is going to flunk, so she decides to fill in the answers for the questions Emily missed. Amazing. Ezra, as Emily’s concerned tutor, comes to talk to Aria’s Mom about the exam. Aria’s Mom gives the wink treatment to Ezra, basically saying I WILL DO ANYTHING SO SAVE EMILY. Ezra and Aria’s Mom have secrets now. Adults lying along with the Liars is perfect.
The episode ends with the girls having another bathroom party and screaming about everything that has happened this episode. They’re all talking on top of each other and no one is listening. Aaand then Jenna stumbles in! The girls hide in the stalls. Jenna fills up a water bottle. Jenna finds Aria’s evil-not-Meredith earring on the bathroom sink. JENNA TAKES OFF HER SUNGLASSES BECAUSE SHE CAN SEE. The Liars see everything from the slits in their bathroom stalls. Brilliant.
Aria is “ready to hang a sign: ‘Bitch can see!’” Spencer decides to wait because they can use the information to their advantage. Spencer is the smartest. Spencer wins. Aria gets close because that is a good sign.
Ultimately, I really hope A is controlling everything that ever happens in Rosewood and it ends up that A is the Mayor from Buffy. Like, the same actor that turns into the giant worm during graduation. This IS season three, and I like the parallels. Little Red Riding Hood is shown in a hunting shop with a lot of knives at the standard “clue” to cap the episode. What will happen with those knives? Are their knives in Hedda Gabler? Would you do the makeup for your crazy friend that tried to murder you and probably had a lot of knives? Are any of you readers suffering from Ambiguous Loss? Don’t play with sharp knives. See you next week.
[Image Credit: ABC Family]
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S2E11: Shameless may have woven its way into our hearts as a madcap dramedy with the capacity for kitchen floor trysts in the first episode, but it’s maintained its position with an element that has a little more staying power: the familial bond. The beauty of spending 23 episodes with the same family is that when something terrible befalls them, we feel it. So this week, when the Gallaghers’ Thanksgiving plans are sidetracked by Monica’s self-destructive behavior, we’re not watching as judging bystanders, questioning Frank’s methods or Monica’s life choices or thinking about the fact that the family was about to serve a turkey made out of Spam until Steve bought a turkey (and vetoed the idea of eating Carl’s Bald Eagle). Instead, we feel as if we’re right alongside them, experiencing the horror of a family tragedy, twice in one episode.
“Wanna go upstairs?” -Steve/Jimmy
“No. You got a thank-you-kiss.” -Fiona
Finally, Marco shows up to take Esti off Steve’s hands, which means Steve and Fiona can finally be together. Except for one small snag: Fiona still doesn’t trust him. Luckily, Marco’s angry streak gives Steve an excuse to make a grand gesture. Marco finds out that Esti and Steve had sex when they got married and he threatens both Esti and Steve until Steve offers him his false identity, passport, hotel suite and all. Essentially, he kicks Lip out and makes a grand gesture towards Fiona, all while saving his own skin. Plus, he’s forced to start new with his real name: Jimmy.
When Jimmy shows up on Fiona’s doorstep to share the news, and she can’t hold back any longer, giving him a passionate, practically pre-coital kiss before stepping back and giving him the couch for the night. If there’s one thing we love about Fiona, it’s the fact that as badly as she wants Jimmy/Steve, she’s never going to play the helpless damsel. She’s going to make him work for her. And after a season of waiting, that kiss hearkened back to their first one; it’s a fairly perfect way to put them back together.
“Is it alright if I stay over tonight?” -Lip
“Couldn’t go 12 hours without seeing me, huh?” -Mandy
Lip needs a place to stay and make his video to his unborn child, and with Steve/Jimmy out of a home and Karen still completely nuts, he’s left with little recourse. He could go home, but instead he decides to stay with Mandy, which requires the thin veil of a semi-relationship. He agrees, reluctantly, but when he accidentally plays get-away driver for her brothers when they hold up a liquor store, he quickly leaves. Just then, he gets the call that Karen is having the baby and rushes excitedly to the hospital, making sure to give the adoptive parents the tape he made for the baby before going in to see Karen give birth.
It’s heart-breaking because as Lip is pouring his heart out to the little guy he won’t have the pleasure of knowing, Karen is reacting as if she has an alien clawing at her from the inside. It’s not a miracle the baby is born, it’s a miracle she doesn’t literally bite someone’s head off before it gets there.
“Help her with the stuffing or whatever it is you guys do together.” -Karen
Karen knows about Jody and Sheila, a fact that moritifies Sheila. She finally admits her indiscretion to Karen, who immediately calls Jody in the house and tells him to get back to helping her mom with the “stuffing,” and she’s not talking about the Turkey dinner. The two are immediately back to flirting like two high school kids, and Thanksgiving dinner is underway. That is, until Frank shows up asking for meds for Monica and Karen’s water breaks. Sheila and Jody are like excited parents even though Jody’s not the father and Sheila’s not going to get to keep her grandbaby...well, at least not yet, anyway. It’s crazy how perfect Jody and Sheila are for each other, but their crazy mixes delightfully, plus it allows Joan Cusack to go even more wild than she has for the past 22 episodes. Bring it on.
“Mom’s bi-polar, Debs.” -Ian
“Like the North and South poles?” -Debbie
“Yeah, sort of.” -Ian
After watching Little Hank shoot two ducks in the Gallaghers’ pool with his rifle, Carl wants one too, especially because Hank took all the ducks for T-day and the Gallaghers have nothing thanks to Monica’s squirrel fund raid. Fiona’s carving a turkey out of Spam, but when a car chase throws a flying gun into Carl’s lap, he takes action for the family. The only problem is that instead of shooting a duck, he shoots a bald eagle. The family is fully prepared to eat it, but Jimmy/Steve won’t have it and brings over a turkey, earning a silent “thank you” from Fiona.
With the family happily together (Ian fresh off a tryst with guest star Harry Hamlin in a downtown Chicago penthouse), they pull Monica out of her hiding place under the stairs. After being thrown in jail, her depression takes over, worrying Debbie that she too might be depressed. Debbie eventually pulls through, but Monica gets worse, thanks in great part to Frank’s refusal to put her on her meds. Before dinner, he even feeds her drugs and asks her to seduce his brother, and when she’s refused by the Gallagher, it cripples her.
As the whole group is having a fairly lovely dinner until Monica leaves the room and has her “accident.” She slits her wrists and the picture in the kitchen is gruesome, and even Fiona can’t handle it. Frank leaves to get blasted instead and Steve/Jimmy picks up the man of the house’s responsibility of cleaning Monica up and getting her to the hospital. Once there, the family eventually gets some good news: she’s okay, but she’s being kept under psychic evaluation. It lends an almost hopeful element to a completely hopeless story. She’s done this before and as Frank points out, when Monica gets better, she gives up everything she loves: Fiona, Frank and Co. It’s a good thing Fiona has Jimmy/Steve now, because as soon as she gets better, we’re all fearing the same thing: Monica is going to flee.
“Holy sh-t, I’m going to see the little guy on Friday?” -Lip
“Yeah, for like two seconds.” -Karen
After deciding to sell her baby to the second-highest bidder at Lip’s pouty request, Karen is ready to expel the demon spawn from her uterus. I didn’t expect to actually see it, but Shameless apparently has fake birth in the prop/special effects budget. I think most of us could have lived without that. When the baby finally does come out, with the entire Gallagher family in the delivery room, not only does he have Down’s syndrome, he’s asian. The prospective adoptive parents won’t take a baby with Down’s syndrome, and Lip isn’t the father like Karen let him believe, and he storms out, having wasted his time and more importantly his emotions and excitement. Karen has completely torn him apart. This will either drive him to further insanity, or it will put him right back where he belongs: at home and in school.
Before the episode closes out, we find one last madcap moment: Sheila and Jody, hell-bent against Karen giving the poor baby up to social services, steal the baby to raise as their own. Who needs a hospice when you can raise a child that will need you forever? Of course, only Cusack could make this scene as perfect as it was, with her running around the hospital in a hunting cap before hopping on the back of Jody’s motorcycle and riding into the night.
The episode feels almost like a season finale, but in truth it’s the prep for the finale. It begs the question: how could they possibly top this? But we know Shameless and Season Two didn’t slow down for a second, so there’s no way the season finale won’t deliver.
Do you think Monica will stick around after her treatment? Do you think Frank is to blame for her sudden bout of depression? Will Lip go back to school or go deeper down the rabbit hole? Let us know in the comments or get at me on Twitter. @KelseaStahler
Go ahead and throw logic out the window on this one folks. A mysterious Tibetan monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has spent a lifetime protecting an ancient document known as the Scroll of the Ultimate--a parchment that will yield unlimited power to anyone who reads it. After running around the globe for 60 years the Monk knows it's time to hang up his robes and find a new guardian but spotting a successor isn't easy in the hustle bustle of the 21st century where Tibetan traditions and rituals are almost non-existent. Maybe the next protector should be the crafty rebellious pickpocket Kar (Seann William Scott) who learned martial arts from watching kung-fu movies; after all Kar helps the Monk escape from the scroll's most avid pursuer Strucker (Karel Roden) a sadistic old Nazi who wants to use the its power to rid the planet of inferior races. Or maybe the Monk's successor is the elusive but beautiful bad girl Jade (James King) whose skills are numerous and who seems to pop up to help Kar whenever he gets in a jam. Whomever the Monk eventually chooses they must first unite to battle the ultimate enemy--and keep the scroll safe.
If it weren't for Yun-Fat Bulletproof Monk would be pretty hopeless. The charismatic actor finds a nice balance no matter what he does and in this case he resists the obvious temptation to play the Monk as a fish out of water in the big city. Since he's long been one of Chinese cinema's most well-known action heroes he's definitely in his element in Monk standing on top of a car with guns blazing and the Zen master persona he discovered in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon serves him well here too. The script requires him to spout off fortune-cookie mumbo jumbo but he manages to do it without sounding ridiculous. The petite King actually holds her own as the brawny-yet-brainy tough chick but the wisecracking Scott is completely out of his element for the first time in his career. He handles the little comedic tidbits well but in no way is it possible to believe that the "Dude" who couldn't find his car and the jackass who drank someone else's bodily fluids in American Pie can be a martial arts hero who saves the planet. It just isn't going to happen.
Bulletproof Monk relies on the ghosts of movies past including Crouching Tiger and the 1986 Eddie Murphy stinker The Golden Child for its plot which results in a film that's chock full of cliches especially the evil Nazi who has spent 60 years chasing after the scroll using his tow-headed granddaughter whose cover is an organization for human rights to do the dirty work. A few bright moments with Yun-Fat coupled with director Paul Hunter's good use of fast-paced martial arts action make the rest of this unimaginative movie somewhat palatable--even novices Williams and King look good doing the moves--but all in all Bulletproof Monk is shooting blanks.
Randolph Smiley (Robin Williams) is on top of his game--he's the eponymous star of the highest rated kid's TV show Rainbow Randolph has his own Times Square billboard and makes lots of money. Until that is he gets caught taking bribes from stage parents. Suddenly he becomes the social pariah of the millennium and of course gets canned. Losing Rainbow Randolph however leaves the network in a bind. Now they have to find a squeaky-clean replacement pronto. Enter Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton) and his alter-ego Smoochy an abnormally large fuschia rhino who sings children's songs about kicking drug habits and stepdads who aren't mean but simply adjusting. With his naivete unwavering ethics and unflagging ambition to make the world a better place he becomes the new number one show. Sheldon soon learns however how cutthroat children's entertainment can be as the powers that be try to corrupt his ideals. Meanwhile a homeless Randolph makes it his number-one priority to destroy the bastard who stole his life. Who's going to get Smoochy first the corrupt businessmen or crazy Rainbow Randy? Stay tuned...
When you hear the Smoochy cast list--Williams Danny DeVito Jon Stewart Catherine Keener--you automatically think mondo laughs. Added to the list is Norton who may not be known for his comedic talents but certainly adds credibility to the movie especially given that he rarely picks bad scripts. Luckily no one disappoints. Norton plays the straight guy with aplomb and shines brilliantly when singing his sappy yet lesson-filled songs. Keener whom we haven't seen since her Oscar-nominated turn in Being John Malkovich is also a standout as the jaded development VP who falls for Sheldon's sweet manner. She has an uncanny way of delivering lines that bite to the bone. And then there's Williams--as always he has extraordinary moments of sheer hilarity in the film. This isn't one of those films where the comedian has to attempt to act or simply be reined in by the director (as some have done) to give a good performance. Director DeVito (who also plays the greedy agent) is wise enough to simply turn the camera on the comedian and let him go. Just wish we could have seen more of him.
Ever wonder what it would be like to kill Barney? We're betting DeVito thought about it quite often--and things never turn out good for that purple dinosaur. The premise of Smoochy is one of the funnier ones in recent memory and seems to follow the dark comedic path DeVito has chosen in his other directorial efforts including War of the Roses and Throw Momma From the Train. Unfortunately Smoochy doesn't quite hold up to its hype (or its trailers) because basically it focuses on the wrong character. It's got some great moments granted especially when Smoochy is on his show. But instead of being about Randy's obsession to do away with his replacement the film chooses to follow Mopes and deal with the dirty business of making a kid's show which appears to involve the Mob (whatever). Smoochy would have been a lot funnier if Randolph could have finally succeeded in his quest instead of getting all sappy.