Brian Moylan
After getting his master's degree in poetry, Senior Writer Brian Moylan started writing about television and pop culture for Gawker, The Guardian, The Washington Blade and a few other reputable publications. Brian has an honorary PhD in “Jersey Shore” studies from the University of Chicago. He's shared his often hilarious views about the tube on VH1, MSNBC, TV Guide Channel, MTV (Canada), BBC radio, and NPR. He can usually be found at his apartment in New York yelling at the TV and dodging calls from Real Housewives. He is a Taurus and likes long walks on the beach, fried chicken, and almost every reality television program ever created (especially “The Swan”).
  • 'Glee' Recap: Somebody We Used to Know
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 11, 2012
    Pop singer Gotye's "Somebody I Used to Know," is the perfect track for Glee. Not only does the breakup dirge illustrate Blaine's strained relationship with his brother (White Collar hottie Matt Bomer), but also my strained relationship with Glee. I used to love this show and now feel like I don't know it at all, but, for various reasons I'm back, and I'm trying to forget about what the show used to be and love it for what it is. If you didn't look too deeply at "Big Brother," it didn't disappoint. There were some great songs — and tons for Darren Criss, the show's goose that lays a million golden iTunes downloads — like the one above, a Duran Duran medley, and Quinn and Artie's "I'm Still Standing." Wasn't a huge fan of Blaine's "Fighter" (and the message didn't really mesh well with the action) and that "Fun, Fun, Fun" song was just boring. Oh, and there was a shower scene. I always like a shower scene. The story, well, it was just as much piffle as it usually is. I knew about 15 minutes in exactly what was going to happen: Blaine and his brother would reconcile, Quinn would try to get out of her chair, and Rachel and Finn would be headed for Splitsville. Yes, Quinn is in a wheelchair thanks to the accident she had on the way to Finn and Rachel's wedding which also, thankfully, postponed the nuptials. Cooper Anderson, Blaine's mildly successful actor brother, showed up in town with a bunch of bad advice and was hard on Blaine because he loves him and blah blah blah. Sue MF Sylvester really is pregnant and trying to be nice. She is friends with everyone. This sucks. I like my Sue nice and mean and evil. Quinn and Artie become friends, because, of course. Puck decides he wants to take his pool cleaning biz to southern California and wants Finn to join him. He really wants to but is torn between pleasing Rachel and doing what's right for himself. These two just need to break up already. By the end of the episode, as I predicted, Blaine and his bro were happy, Quinn was fine being in a wheelchair but convinced she'd walk again (and you know she will), and Rachel and Finn are in tons of trouble. Blah. This show is really just a delivery system for songs now. It's also very much in danger of becoming a "very special episode" every week. This week we had deal with a girl in a wheelchair after three seasons of Artie in a wheelchair and we had to deal with Sue coming to grips with the fact that she is going to have a daughter with Down's Syndrome, just like her sister and Becky. It's just the same message over and over again without any challenge or nuance or anything exciting. I'm shocked Kurt didn't have another soliloquy about being gay. Get ready for next week's Saturday Night Fever episode. Oh sarcastic joy. No matter how hard I try to love this new pandering TV show, I can't forget the somebody I used to know. Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Reasons I'm Going to Start Watching 'Glee' Again 'Glee' Star Darren Criss and Matt Bomer Sing and Get Emo as Brothers — VIDEO 'Glee' Recap: Regionals Are Overshadowed by Double Tragedy
  • 'Real Housewives of OC' Recap: Anchors Away
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 11, 2012
    This just in. Ladies and gentlemen, we have some breaking news here at Fox 5 San Diego. This is a shocking story that has been terrorizing our community for sometime. Alexis Bellino is an idiot. Here's Mindy Assitapolois with the full story. Yes, what we always suspected, what we always knew was confirmed yet again last night when Alexis' new nose hosted yet another segment on Fox 5 San Diego, which is a quick two-hour jaunt from Orange County. She was doing her own hair and makeup and the producer asked her assistant where she was. "She's in the green room," the assistant said. And the producer went in and Alexis said, "Hi, thanks for coming to the green room. Are you almost ready for me?" "Yes, we're ready now, and this isn't the green room, this is the ladies' room. The weather girl is taking a piss right next to you." Alexis goes to do her segment and it's something about "Kids, sex, and pop culture." What the jiminy crickets is that? That is some sort of thing you would only see on Fox, some crazy segment that really means nothing at all that they concocted because it has everything Fox viewers want to hear about: their kids, how sex is awful, and how pop culture is ruining America. It's really the perfect storm. It's like writing a blog post called "Naked Justin Bieber Screwed Steve Jobs iPod Apple Miley Cyrus Tits Porn Hunger Games Anal Nip Slip" which is just a trick to get all the search engines to send you there. After bungling at least one of the guest's names and being unable to elucidate the topic at hand, Alexis then goes on to bloviate about how she "hears" that "kids" as old as "10" are "sexting." Ugh, sexting. The only word worse than "sexting" is "Pintercourse," which is when people send dirty messages Pintrest. I just made that up, because, until now, there was no worse word than "sexting." And where the hell did Alexis hear that 10-year-olds are sexting? Probably from some other harpy on Fox News who was just making that s**t up. Kids are not sexting. Teens, maybe. But kids? They can hardly even work the buttons on an iPhone nontheless make sexts. This is as stupid as rainbow parties or some other idiotic thing the local news makes up to get people to tune in. Then Alexis goes on about how kids are oversexed because of pop culture and, if you put beer in front of 5 year olds, they're going to become drunks. They she gave her enormous mammories a shake and a shimmy and asked her assistant to touch up the blush on her cleavage. Those bazooks are not fighting the war on decency, now are they. No matter how awful Alexis is, at least she has something that is her own. At least she has some thing outside of her house (and her size 57 DDDs) to take pride in, to give her some meaning. Later, she goes out with Deacon Jim, her now slender husband who looks the underside of a possum when its playing dead. Jim takes Alexis out to dinner and makes a huge production out of taking her coat off for her and then, when she hands it to him, he flings it behind her onto the floor. He just lets it sail into the empty restaurant, hitting the floor, not worrying that later, at the end of the meal, Alexis will need her jacket and he will have to explain where it went and why he just doesn't care about where it landed. This is their relationship boiled down to its essence. Alexis thinks Jim is actually her savior, the sweetest man in the world. But he's just a huckster who puts on a good show and then behind her back is too lazy to really do the right thing and without the foresight to figure out how not to get caught. And then, when she figures out that he's not doing anything, she just smiles and says he's great and everything's fine and pretends not to notice.
  • Why I'm Going to Start Watching 'Glee' Again
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 10, 2012
    Glee, a show about a singing gay farmer who turns unicorn turds into fertilizer, has always been a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. When it started, those that loved it really, really loved it and those that couldn't get past a bunch of twenty-somethings breaking into song in the high school halls thought it was the most ludicrous piece of unicorn turd they've ever seen. The problem came when those of us that loved it thought it became a unicorn turd. So many recovering Gleeks have the same story, about how they feel in love with this dark, quirky, campy show that used music so cleverly only to be turned off by the ridiculous, incoherent, still campy show that used songs to get people to buy Darren Criss' iTunes downloads. When was it that you finally tuned out? Was it after one of the sucktastic theme nights (Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Rocky Horror)? Was it after the expensive and idiotic Super Bowl/Thriller episode? Was it after the craptastic Christmas special where none of the characters were behaved at all like themselves? That's when I finally tuned out, finally giving up on the drama that made me cry every week and sweat with anticipation until the next episode. But, like a prodigal son or Judy Garland, I'm coming back for more. When Glee returns tonight after its long winter's nap, I'm going to have my DVR set up and my popcorn all popped. What changed? Well, it's not Glee, that's for sure. It's more like I've had an attitude adjustment. Glee has changed too, but instead of growing apart, we're finally coming together. When the show first started, I thought we were going to be boyfriends. Then it shifted into something pandering and humiliating. It's like committing to someone who seems mature, insightful, and intelligent and then later finding out that he's been a prostitute the whole time. That's why so many people broke up with Glee, they just couldn't take the dirty secret that it was a professional rent boy. I certainly couldn't. I continuously harped on how it had to get better, how the stories should make sense, how it should have dramatic impact. I expected it to act like the husband it was on our first few dates (i.e., the first half of Season One) and tried to change it. I missed all the signs early on and I should have known all along that it was walking along the West Side Highway in a crop-top and too-tight jeans trying to please anyone with a $20 (or at least $.99 a download). I was trying to give Glee the Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman treatment it didn't want, and we just fought and fought and fought because of it. After some time away, I know that Glee is a garish slattern, and that's okay. Rather than looking for original storytelling and deep insight, I'm back for the cheap thrills. I'm in for the Mercedes high notes, the dreamy guest stars (like Matt Bomer!), and the full-scale production numbers. I'm in for the intricate costumes that come out of nowhere and the plots twists that also come out of nowhere and new disposable characters every week that come out of...well, most of them come out of the closet and the rest come out of nowhere. I'm in for finding room for the winners of The Glee Project and giving Ricky Martin as many songs (and as few shirts) as he wants. Glee is not the man you marry, it is the hustler you f**k. Instead of bending on one knee with a ring, I'm out there on the West Side Highway with my $20 ready to get my kicks. That's why I'm watching Glee, because I've decided to stop trying to make it something it's not and just enjoy it for, ahem, the ride. What do you say, ladies and gentlemen? Are you with me? Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Glee Star Darren Criss and Matt Bomer Sing and Get Emo as Brothers It's Official: Glee Promo Proves Quinn Lives Glee Renewed Through 2013
  • Madonna's New Album Has Largest Second Week Drop in History
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 10, 2012
    Last week Madonna's latest album MDNA, which is definitely not named after drugs, debuted at the top of the Billboard charts, selling 359,000 copies. Given her track record and huge fan base, that's not a surprise. What's shocking is that her second-week sales fell 88% to only 46,000 copies sold. That's the largest drop in sales history. Sheesh, lady. That's even scarier than the gristle in her arms. The reason the tumble is so huge is because Madonna resorted to an increasingly common tactic to goose her record sales. The Material Girl was sweet enough to offer everyone buying a $300-$7,506,729 ticket to her upcoming tour the option to download a free copy of the album. Those giveaways accounted for 185,000 of the copies sold. That's more than half! As it has been and as it always shall be, people would rather see Madge put on a huge show than listen to one of her increasingly mediocre albums. Madonna, usually a trend setter, is jumping on the free-album-with-a-ticket bandwagon that was started by Prince and was perfected by Lady Gaga, who offered everyone 99-cent copies of her last album so that the first week sales would ensure chart dominance. The funny thing about all this is that, just like Madonna covering up her pterodactyl claws with a rotating collection of gloves, it's all vanity. These artists aren't making any more or less money (most singers make their cash from touring these days, not album sales) but they feel the need to be top of the heap to show their dominance. Don't they know that no one really cares about the charts other than the floundering music industry and a handful of bloggers who just use the stats to make fun of them? Well, it looks like this time the plan backfired and Madonna has a sad record to add to her collection of happy ones. This week number one on the album chart will the Lionel Richie for the second week of his newest album Tuskegee. Madonna and Lionel Richie battling it out for Billboard's top slot — what year is it anyway? Is it the '80s? You know, back when these charts mattered. More: Madonna Reaches Number One on Charts Again... With 'MDNA' Madonna to Cover up for ABC Madonna to Britney: Kiss Me Baby One More Time
  • Three 'Smash' Storylines That Need to Go
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 10, 2012
    Nearly everyone I know watches Smash, NBC's hour of jazz hands and appletinis that has something to do with making a Broadway show. However, nearly everyone I know doesn't like Smash. That is the problem with this rather interesting experiment. Smash is both an awesome show and a total disaster at the same time. Yes, it is bad. But not so bad it's good or so campy that it descends into high art (like Revenge). No, Smash is like a miscast Broadway actress, a real talent in a horrible wig. There is something genius about a West Wing style show about the making a Broadway musical, and when the action is focused on Broadway — and in particular when it's doing Broadway songs — the show is brilliant. It's just the rest of the time that it's wasting its potential. That the show did a whole number about hot chorus boys wearing towels in a steam room and not one of the dancers was shirtless is just another indication of how it misses golden opportunities for greatness. Anyway, to help Smash get back on track, here are three storylines that it needs to forget about and just move on. Oh, and more numbers please. Can the Investors: Any conversation about money, other than "What would you do if you won the lottery?" is inherently boring. No one cares if the musical has funding or if it can't afford to pay the electric bill or if the investors are happy. No one cares about investors, that's why there aren't any famous Broadway investors. Like the unattractive stage managers, they're best kept out of sight, out of mind, and out of the story altogether. I don't care if the show's producer Eileen shows up in the rehearsal room with one of those giant checks lottery winners get and says, "Well, kids, we have our money!" and we forget about investors forever. The Kid Shouldn't Stay in the Picture: Alright, Julia, it's time to ship your pot-smoking, misbehaving, overly pouty teenager to military school. I hate to be mean to kids, but Emory Cohen, the 22-year-old who plays Julia's son Leo, is awful. He has the acting ability and emotional range of a marshmallow Peep three months after Easter. The show already course corrected the ill-advised Julia-wants-to-adopt-a-Chinese-baby story, now it's time to make her childless altogether. Give Julia something exciting to do like, I don't know, divorce her husband and try to find a straight man in musical theater to go out with. That would be a hunt worth watching, unlike her awful family drama as its unspooling now. Stoke Up the Rivalry: Last week we saw the impossible duet of Karen and her rival Ivy in Times Square and this past episode we saw Ivy giving Karen a pair of sunglasses to complete her transformation into Marilyn's understudy. I'm sorry but people who hate each other, especially professionally, never become friends. That just does not happen. Ivy might tolerate Karen being at the same party as she is, but she is not going to actually talk to her. These two are best when they're competing against each other and when Ivy is plotting against Karen. Let's not rush to bury the hatchet, unless it is Ivy burying a bloody hatchet in Karen's back yard to frame her for Dev's murder. That's the kind of hatchet burying this show needs. Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: The Many Faces of NBC's 'Smash' Uma Thurmon Joins 'Smash' 'Smash' Covers Adele's 'Rumor Has It'
  • Should Andy Cohen Be Mad About His 'SNL' Parody?
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 09, 2012
    Bravo executive, Watch What Happens Live host with the most, and America's gayest homosexual Andy Cohen woke up Saturday morning a little nervous. He twittered that he he was scared to watch the Saturday Night Live parody where Taran Killam hilariously presented him as a narcissistic host who gave himself his own show and is absolutely obsessed with how cute and adorable he is. No wonder he was nervous. It seems to be a rather mean (though in points, spot on) lampooning of Cohen, his show, and everything Bravo, where the cast (including guest host Sofia Vergara) poked fun at Bravo shows Shahs of Sunset and Tabatha Takes Over. But it was Cohen who got the real drubbing. Killiam nailed his squirminess in his seat, his love of silly photoshopped images, his cartoonish pouty faces, and his propensity for making esteemed guests talk about ridiculous topics. Well done, SNL. However it seemed almost too harsh considering the real Andy stepped in to host a fake SNL Real Housewives reunion, has booked cast members from the show have been on WWHL, and NBC Universal owns both of their networks. Would the corporate parent let their two nasty siblings engage in some rivalry? It sure looks like it!But should Cohen be mad? He might be deep down inside, but publicly, he told the universe, "OMG the one night I go to bed early I'm lampooned on SNL?! Great job I am flattered! #ImLikeAShark #VeryCute." That's the way to handle it, make it look like you're okay taking a joke. But even if he is greatly offended, he should be happy that he has finally become a big enough star in his own right to get teased by the biggest show in the business. He even went viral as a result. We're sure today there are twice as many people Googling to find out just who the hell Andy Cohen actually is as there are people who already know him searching online for the clip. Mazel to them all. More:'Saturday Night Live' Recap: Sofia Vergara and One Direction Make Some NoiseAMC Considering Andy Cohen-Inspired Talk Show For Their Hit Dramas'Saturday Night Live' Cuts Castmembers
  • 'Mad Men' Recap: An American Horror Story
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 09, 2012
    The title of last night's episode of everyone's favorite advertising psychodrama was "Mystery Date," taking a cue, of course, from an advertisement Sally Draper watches with her big fat grandma Pauline during summer vacation. (Notice how we never see her watching real content on television, only the commercial, fitting for this show.) The spot of course is trying to sell teenage girls the game "Mystery Date," but it's really trying to sell the idea that one day a stranger can show up at your door and change your entire life. That's what the episode was made up of, strangers arriving and causing imbalance to the natural order in the characters' lives, but it also took on a rather sinister undertone. At the top of the show, Peggy's lesbian friend Joyce shows up with photos of a grisly Chicago murder that are too explicit to be published in Life magazine, where she works. Everything during the episode was corrupted by Richard Speck the man who murdered eight student nurses in Chicago in July, 1966. As Joyce says, though riots were breaking out in poorer neighborhoods all over the country, this is what knocked all of those off the front page, a sensational and gruesome murder. It's interesting that, while gathered around the table in the copywriters' room, it is the women (Joyce, Peggy, Megan, and some secretary lady) who are looking at the pictures, not the new male writer, Ginsberg, who shoos the pictures away and tells the ladies to get a grip. Here is how the mystery strangers and serial killers had an effect on each of the characters. Don: The episode begins with him and Megan in the elevator and Don is seriously ill, which usually means, in the parlance of the show, that he is going through some sort of emotional or spiritual upheaval (remember him recovering at Anna's house in California after his breakup with Betty?). Unlike in other episodes, we have no clue what that's going to be yet. Then comes Don's stranger, Andrea Rhodes (hello, Twin Peaks, Mädchen Amick, how have you been?) who is not a stranger at all. She's one of Don's conquests, a freelance writer he used to work with. This upsets Megan, who is tired of running into ladies that Don has dallied with, or at least tired of Don making it painfully awkward for her by tacitly admitting that he's slept with them while she's around. He later apologizes to Megan, who points out that it is embarrassing that it keeps happening, but what really aggravates her is that so many of these women he slept with he slept with them when married to Betty. If he cheated before, what is going to keep him from philandering again? But she lets him know that she is not going to be played like that, so he better be on his best behavior. With his illness getting even worse, Megan sends him home to recuperate, but says she has lots of work, so she'll stay at the office for a bit. When he gets home, who arrives at the door but Andrea Rhodes (who seems to share a name with a certain Mad Men artist). This, of course, does not make sense. How did she know where Don lives now? How did she get into the building? She tries to explain it away, but it all seems odd. She comes on to Don hardcore, but he says Megan will be home soon and shows her out the back door, because he doesn't even want Megan to see her on the way out. Later, when Don is soaking the sheets with his sweat, Andrea arrives again. This time we know she is some kind of specter or fever dream, but she is one horny ass ghost, because she is going to have sex with Don on his deathbed whether he likes it or not. Finally, he lets his lust win and relents to her advances, knowing what it would mean to his relationship with Megan. When it's done, Don tells Andrea it was a mistake and can never happen again. "It's a mistake you love making," she says (interestingly conflating the words "love" "making" and "lovemaking"). Don argues back, "I better not see you again. You're not going to ruin this." And she replies, "You'll love it again, because you're a sick, sick..." But before she can finish her sentence, Don has her on the ground choking the life out of her. He has become Richard Speck, killing the women he is simultaneously turned on and disgusted by. We've seen Don get rough with plenty of women in the past, but this is the most violent he's ever gotten and, while he is in the midst of a fever-induced fugue, it still shows us that, if driven to it, he could murder a woman. Of course Andrea is not real, she's a manifestation of every women that Don has ever cheated on a woman with. He wants to change for Megan, he wants to be the perfect man but knows, somewhere deep inside, that he is entirely incapable of fidelity. That's what is interesting about his relationship with Megan. He doesn't want to be faithful to make her happy, he wants to be faithful to prove to himself that he's not a sick man. That's why this marriage is doomed. Don hides Andrea's corpse under the bed (an odd echo of Cora Amuro, the one nurse who survived Speck's attack by hiding under the bed), but he does a really half-assed job of it, leaving her limps sticking out and her earring on the carpet. This could be because he is ill or it could be because he wants Megan to catch him, to know what he was up to and punish him accordingly (we know Don has a think for women who beat him). Of course when Megan arrives in the morning, backlit by the sun like some sort of angel, the demon of Andrea is gone, Bobby Ewing is taking a shower, and it was all a dream. Don asks where Megan was and she says she was in the bed all night next to him. He's relieved that he behaved himself and exorcised his demon, but it seems to be more a prediction than anything. As for Megan, doesn't it seem odd that he didn't register her presence at all? Is it possible that she wasn't there? That she was out having a dalliance of her own? Hmm... Speaking of Megan, you can also look at the theme from her perspective, where Don is the stranger who arrived in her life and changed everything, and she's slowly coming to the realization that he is also some kind of monster. He will cheat on her, he will take her for granted, and he won't care that much about her in the end. Her dream of a prince charming has become sullied by the real world Don, who is just as human as anyone else. Ginsberg: The new wacky copywriter isn't haunted by a stranger as much as he is a stranger himself. When he and Cosgrove meet with Don about pitching an ad to a shoe store, he mentions that they thought about going the "Cinderella route" but Don says it's a cliche and Ginsberg presents him with something nice and traditional. They present the pitch to the client, who loves their idea and is sold on it, but after that Ginsberg brings up the Cinderella idea and pitches a whole different commercial, one that seems to have shades of Richard Speck all over it. Cinderella is fleeing from something, some sort of dark menace, but when it finally catches up to her, it's not an attacker, it's a prince, and he's holding her shoe and will change her life forever. It's a great ad, if not a little dark. Don chastises Ginsberg for going over his head and making the pitch without clearing it with Don, but there are deeper dynamics at play. Ginsberg is doing what Don used to do, go into the meeting, make it up as he was going along, and ending up with a stroke of brilliance. He's gunning for Don's job and would do the professional equivalent of murdering Don to take his place, and now Don knows it. He will one day take Don's place, and that makes him very dangerous. What we don't know is if he really did just make this up on the spot or if he had this intention all along, to go in there and upstage Don and the rest of the team so that he could hog the glory for himself. I'm gonna say he did, but we're all going to be keeping an eye on this trickster. Sally: I always like to refer to Sally as future lesbian Sally Draper or eventual drug addict Sally Draper, because it seems that she is forever destined to be one or the other. Last night we had some good evidence that she's going to end up being both. Sally calls up Don, unhappy because she's stuck in her creepy house with big fat Grandma Pauline, a virtual stranger, while Bobby is at camp and her mother and Henry are off ignoring their children, which seems to be Betty's wont (when she's not wanting to finish all the sundaes on the whole damn earth). She doesn't enjoy Paulie because she enforces rules and discipline. "My mom has no rules," Sally tells her and that is the truth. Betty's idea of parenting is barking, "Go to your room," when her kids get on her nerves. Pauline, on the other hand, shares a priceless story about how her father once kicked her clear across the room and said, "That's for nothing, so look out." If there was ever a Mad Men story, it's this one! Life will just kick you for no good reason, so you better get ready to be knocked around. It's the sort of story Don would tell Sally, but since he's not around the only authority Sally has in her life is Pauline (an inverse allusion to her touching relationship with her late grandfather in past seasons). One of the rules is that BF Paulie, while obsessed with reading about and talking about the Speck murder, won't tell Sally anything about it. After slapping her hand to keep her from reading the paper, she then puts the front page up to keep Sally from reading the article and there is a huge headline about "MURDER" splashed across it. This is what it's like parenting children in the media age, you can try to keep things from them, but the truth will always seep through. And isn't it interesting that it's the women who are so interested in the killings, as if reading and gossiping about it is a way to dispel their fear, some sort of talisman that will keep it from happening to them. Sally, being eternally willfull, steals the newspaper out of the trash and reads it in bed, terrorizing herself with visions of a knife-wielding mad man. She goes downstairs to find Paulie equally terrified and sitting with a knife. When Sally starts to ask her questions. Paulie explains that the man probably did it because the women drove him wild with their bodies. They were asking for it, is what she seems to say. She fills Sally's head simultaneously with the idea of the irresistible erotic women and the evil sexual impulses of men — something that would seem to be a formative sexual discussion for a budding lesbian. Then, to calm Sally down, Pauline gives her half a Seconal to sedate the poor child into submission after scaring her half to death. Great, now Paulie just created a lesbian junkie. Way to go, Pauline. When Betty and Henry arrive home the next morning, they find Pauline passed out on the couch and can't find Sally. She's hidden under the sofa, the only place she feels safe from a murderer. It's also the place where her father stashed a corpse earlier in the evening. While it's unfair to say that Don killed Sally, we can see how not having his influence in her life and leaving her to Betty's awful parenting is having a negative effect on her. It's as if she's trying to stay safe under the couch too, but can she ever really be safe and grow up normal in a family like this. Peggy: Peggy's stranger and upheaval comes thanks to Roger. She has her fierce green pumps up on her desk on Friday afternoon when Roger shows up frantic because he never asked Ginsberg to start on the Mohawk Airlines campaign. He begs Peggy to do it over the weekend, and instead of just being a pushover and the eager beaver we once knew, she bilks him out of $410, behaving confident and entitled, just like the men in the office would. Then she gleefully counts her money. Late in the night she hears a noise and is convinced that it's some sort of serial killer. She goes into Don's office and finds that Dawn, his new black secretary, is camping out in there. For a second, I was afraid I was watching a Tyler Perry presents situation and she was living there, but Dawn explains that there have been riots in New York and a cab won't take her home and her brother won't let her take the subway at night, so she's going to crash on Don's couch. Peggy, like the other women, is worried about this serial killer, something insane and very far away, whereas Dawn is more worried about the riots, something very real and very local. She has her priorities straight out of necessity. Peggy, who thinks herself so progressive (with her boyfriend covering the race riots and all) that she invites Dawn over her house and won't take no for an answer. They have a nice heart-to-heart and Peggy opens up to Dawn, saying that she was the only one of her kind there for a long time too and they should stick together. Very sweet. Then Peggy does that awful thing she does and assumes that all women want to be her and that she could turn Dawn into her mentee and turn her into a copywriter. Once Dawn says she's happy with her job, Peggy says she is too. This is the shadow that Speck is casting on her. Not only were those women that he killed but nursing students, professional women. She sees their being in school and trying to make a career as what lead to their murder, as if it was some kind of punishment. Peggy herself worries that she is becoming a man, and Dawn tells her the obvious truth, that to survive she's going to have to behave a bit like a man. Drunk Peggy decides it's time to go to bed and before she turns in and leaves Dawn on the couch, she eyes her purse, full of Roger's $410 and thinks that maybe she should bring it with her becuase she doesn't trust this stranger. Dawn, who is seeming to loosen up in Peggy's presence, sees Peggy seeing the purse and you can imagine the disappointment she felt realizing that this white lady, while nice and trying to be progressive, is just like all the other white ladies who don't trust her. But Peggy leaves her purse there on the coffee table and goes off into her room. In the morning, she wakes up to find Dawn gone, the sheets and blankets folded neatly, and her purse unmolested on the coffee table. There's a note that says, "Thanks for your hospitality, sorry to put you out." Peggy is ashamed of herself for saying they should stick together but not trusting Dawn regardless. And Dawn knew she was an inconvenience and while Peggy's intentions were good, the outcome wasn't exactly what she hoped it would be. Joan: The funny thing about Joan's story is that the stranger at her door was actually her very own husband Doctor Rapist. Well, he's now Sgt. Doctor Rapist and he is home from Vietnam to see his son (which is really Roger's son) for the first time. She's happy to have him home and after a visit with the baby, a roll in the hay, and the debut of the most gorgeous nightgown I have ever seen on prime time television, Sgt. Dr. Rapist has an announcement: he's going back to Vietnam for another year. Joan, of course, is not happy about it, but he says that the Army left him no choice and he has to do it.They go to dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Sgt. Dr. Rapist and the parents tell Joan to convince him to stay in the U.S. Joan, is trying to be supportive and do what she always does, putting on a brave face during adversity. She stands by her husband, even while both her mother and his parents fight to get him to stay. Then they reveal that he's not being forced to go back, but that he's going back voluntarily. Oh snap! Joan is not happy about that. Then an accordion player comes over and shoves his instrument between Joan and Sgt. Dr. Rapist, keeping them apart when Joan playing the accordion once saved a dinner party he was throwing, bringing them together. Oh, how the times have changed. They go back home and get in a giant fight and Joan locks herself in her room for the night. When she emerges in the morning she says, "I think you should go," and Sgt. Dr. Rapist is glad that she came around, and Joan says, "No, I think you should go for good. Get out. I don't want no scrubs, a scrub is a guy that can get no love from me." OK, she didn't, but I wish she did. Sgt. Dr. Rapist gets all upset and abusive, as we have seen before, and explains that he wants to go back to Vietnam because it makes him feel important. He's good at his job and that's where he's needed. If anyone should understand that it's Joan, whose identity comes from being good at her job and necessary in the workplace. But she doesn't. She snarls, "I'm glad the Army makes you feel like a man, because I'm tired of trying to, and you know what I'm talking about." She is, of course, bringing up when he raped her back in season 2. Joan seemed to have conveniently forgotten that he did that to her so that she could go ahead with the fairy tale version of what her life should be like. But, just like the stranger Richard Speck ruined those nurses or Megan's Prince Charming Don turned out to be a scallywag, Joan's knight in shining armor left a lot to be desired to. She says she's sick of it and would rather rely on herself than have to keep struggling with her husband. Of course this is all very convenient for Joan, who is hiding the secret that her baby was fathered by Roger, not Sgt. Dr. Rapist. Is she really sick of making her husband feel adequate when she knows he's not, or is this a convenient way to get him out of her life. She tells him to get out because he picked the Army over her, then their breakup is his fault. If she waits until the baby gets old enough to have hair and it's steely gray like Roger's and the jig is up, then he might dump her and the breakup would be her fault. As always, Joan need to be free from blame so maybe this is as good excuse as any. While putting on her brave face and steeling herself up for a life of self-sufficence, what we see at the end of the episode isn't a strong confident Joan, but her lying awake in bed with her mother and her child, thinking about the future, worrying about how she's going to make it happen, pondering just how she can be big bad Joan at work, nice daughter Joan at home, and still raise her son to be the Prince that she always wanted. She's wondering just how she got here, how she picked the wrong man, and how things never work out for her. She's just like that Cinderella in Ginsberg's commercial: a dark force has been chasing her and chasing her for all these years and she's finally turned around to confront it and instead of it being a prince holding out a shoe for her and putting it on her foot he just drops it right there in the gutter and it's up to her to bend over, pick it up, clean it off, and put it on her foot herself. Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianJMoylan. More: Mad Men Recap: Much Ado About Betty Mad Men's Jessica Pare: Why Megan is Better Than Betty Mad Men Star Jon Hamm Doesn't Get Spoilers
  • The Hilarious 'Hunger Games' Parody You Were Waiting For
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 06, 2012
    Considering The Hunger Games has gotten more media attention than a presidential election and still might be champion at the box office, it's amazing to think that more people haven't come along to use it as fodder for internet humor. Finally we have one that is as awesome as the movie itself. Welcome to the 74th annual Hipster Games! Making fun of hipsters is like shooting fish in a barrel (but this bunch of pacifists would never do anything so aggressive), but those denizens of Silverlake, Brooklyn, Oakland, and other cooler than cool neighborhoods deserve a light ribbing. Produced by Wyoma Films, the clip replaces Katniss, Peeta, and other hard-scrabble characters with spoiled hipsters who miss brunch, PBR, and vegan clogs too much to compete. While we never want to deal with another glut of online parodies sparked by "Sh*t Girls Say," we hope if there are going to be more Hunger Games send ups, they'll be as funny as this one. More:'Hunger Games' gets MAD: Magazine Presents 'Hunger Pains'Fourth 'Pie' Aims for a Box Office Reunion Against 'Hunger Games''Hunger Games' Star Josh Hutcherson: Playboy?
  • ABC's 'Scandal': Uncontroversially Boring
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 06, 2012
    The last thing TV needs is another show about doctors, cops, or lawyers. And the last format we need is the new hybrid of procedural drama linked with season-long intrigue popularized on shows like Burn Notice and destroyed by shows like Alcatraz. One of the many problems with Scandal, the new ABC drama from Grey's Anatomy perpetrator Shonda Rhimes, is that it is both of these. Oh, no wait. It's not about lawyers. Well, they are lawyers but they think of themselves as "gladiators in suits." These are the guys fighting the good fight, as they will tell you with assured and annoying frequency. What does that mean? Environmental lawyers? Pro bono crusaders for the 99%? Monopoly busters trying to rid the airwaves of Ryan Seacrest's dominance? No, they're just trying to help rich people fix their problems. Well, whatever helps you sleep at night. The show centers on Olivia Pope (the normally wonderful Kerry Washington), a former White House operative who left working for the president so that she could become a professional "fixer," helping rich people navigate their way through the scandal of the title. She's joined by a bunch of other lawyers and investigators who are more functionaries than actual people, shepherding the story toward its conclusion rather than doing anything pesky like having an actual personality. The same goes for two-dimensional Olivia, who spends the first half of the show depicted as some sort of force of nature, the baddest bitch in the room who is even more powerful and tougher than the president. Then she spends the second half as a weepy sad sack because she was sleeping with the president (spoiler alert!) even though he's married. That's why she left the White House, and it seems like her affair with the president is going to be an ongoing storyline. Yes, this is a show about the president's mistress. Groan. As if that wasn't preposterous enough, Olivia has this really annoying habit about "trusting her gut" and "no lying" and looking at her clients in the eye and having to know they're telling the truth before helping them. It's a cool concept, but Olivia said "my gut" so often that it become like some ironic drinking game every time it happened. Aside from sleeping with the president, Olivia helps clients in a case of the week style. Last night's case was easily forgettable as the rest of the characters. It's about a closeted Republican military hero who might have killed his girlfriend, even though you know he didn't. The whole thing will have you shutting your eyes trying to catch a nap, when you're not rolling them, that is. But then, at the end, after they exonerated their client, the crew is like, "Our job here is done. The police can figure out who really killed her." What? Your job is done? No, it's not. If you want us to get invested in these crimes, you have to tell us how they end. We need closure! And what sort of "gladiator in a suit" gets their client off but shirks the responsibility of finding the killer? Sounds like a lazy one to me. Shonda Rhimes says that the show is going to turn into a "twisty mystery," but I don't think anyone's gonna want to stick around to follow any of the clues. More: ABC Finally Delivers Word on Scandal Scandal Star Henry Ian Cusick: How Powerful is a Lost Alum? Shonda Rhimes Adopts Second Daughter
  • Looking at Buff Zac Efron Makes Us Feel Dirty
    By: Brian Moylan Apr 05, 2012
    These days, Zac Efron is growing increasingly shirtless. His pecs are popping in the trailer for The Notebook of Dear John Saying a Vow for The Lucky One, the latest confection from the elves who make the cookies and tissues at Nicholas Sparks tear-jerker factory. Now he's all bicep and sinew and flat stomach for his Men's Health cover. Yeah, Zac Efron has a banging body, but doesn't looking at him make you feel, I don't know, dirty? It's like he's your stepmother's half cousin who you always see playing shirts vs. skins basketball at family reunions and you really want him badly, but he's still family. You're not related by blood but there's something so familiar about him that the thought of actually getting naked together seems like it might get you sent to the slammer. Just look at this cover. Yes, it's a little ridiculous — what celebrity keeps his shirt on while posing for Men's Fitness? (It's like the Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition featuring a burqini.) But it's all sex. Our Zac-y is trying to tell you he's a big man with a man's body and he is going to throw you down and ravage you like a man. He might even have chest hair to wax now! That is the problem with Zac. When most of you first saw him he was the blandly asexual kid twirling through High School Musical. You dreamed about marrying him, you added Efron after your first names and wrote them a million times in your Trapper Keepers as if it was a magic spell that could make it come true. You did not, however, imagine, you know, actually doing it. But now the time has come and Zac isn't that boy with the proto-Bieber haircut and a sly kiss on the cheek. He's the romantic lead who wants you to fall in love with him and then carry his babies and everything that comes in between. (Mostly the in between stuff.) Still, you can't help looking at him like he's your younger brother's best friend who you used to tease in high school but never thought of like that until he went through his growth spurt and his skin cleared up. But that's exactly what Zac Efron is: He's everyone's younger brother's hot best friend who is putting his beefcake on the buffet. We just feel bad about taking it. He's all grown up, but we're still seeing the little boy, not the man. Either that or it is his questionable taste in selecting projects. That might have something to do with it. Still if he's going to keep putting that body out there, we're going to keep looking. We're all only human. More: Zac Efron Shows Off Arm Muscles in 'The Lucky One' Trailer Zac Efron Drops a Condom on the Red Carpet