Mad Men is not long for this world. To add insult to injury, it will be an entire year before you get to see the end of the final season. But if you're a fan of the mega-hit about 1960s advertisers, you are bound to have seen promos for AMC’s new series Halt and Catch Fire. This recent addition to the network seems like the perfect fit to fill the void. It follows the bad boys of the early 1980s computer industry. It offers the same blend of businessmen with mysterious motives, dark self-destructive tendencies, and nostalgia, all without feeling like a cheap carbon copy. Plus, the cast is pretty awesome.
Lee Pace: The New Don Draper
Pace plays Joe MacMillan, a former IBM employee with a secret. He comes to Texas with a mission and a bunch of ideas. He’s the driving force behind a plan to reverse engineer an IBM computer. Pace was memorable as the lovable pie-maker in Pushing Daisies. He’s also been a part of quite a few recent franchises including Twilight, The Hobbit films, as well as the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. His enigmatic character is sexy, smart, and has that same dark Draper vibe.
More Depressed than Pete Campbell
Scoot McNairy plays Gordon Clarke, a family man whose wife is doing better in the computing game than he is. The couple is licking their wounds after trying to build their own machine. Like Mad Men’s Pete Campbell, Gordon is struggling to make his mark in the industry while providing for his family. However, the 1980s brings the added pressure of having a wife as a potential competitor. He's an ambitious idealist and a depressive pushover. McNairy is nearly unrecognizable with his geek makeover. He's recently starred in Non-Stop and Argo.
Post-Modern Punky Peggy Olsen
Mackenzie Davis plays androgynous engineering prodigy Cameron Howe. She and Joe have a will they/won’t they chemistry. Like Peggy, she butts heads with Joe and challenges his authority, and in true punk style, all authority. She’s a fish out of water at the Cardiff Electric but she is everyone’s only hope. She also seamlessly enters the "boy's club." She played Chelsea, Miles Teller's love interest in That Awkward Moment.
The nice thing about the series is it isn’t just a re-skinned version of Mad Men. It definitely has the potential to provide the same tune-in appeal with a completely new take on the pretty dry world of computers. And yet, given its impact on our society the computer was a major source of contention, innovation, and success. The series also has elements of the heist film genre. Joe is either a major mastermind or completely insane. He seems to have elaborate plans or no sense of self-preservation. There is also a lot of elements inherent to the 1980s that can be explored over the course of the series, including the hardcore push of capitalism, the rise in cocaine use, and the rampant bed-hopping before the AIDS crisis. Either way, the show looks primed to deliver something very special. You can catch the first episode early on the AMC Tumblr Page.
Facebook/RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul’s Drag Race crowned a winner but it also proved that the show has some major legs. In six seasons, the series has seemed to grow exponentially. It’s found an audience outside the LGBTQ community. It also seems to be conquering pop culture, social media, and the world at large. RuPaul has used his stardom to provide a platform for drag and transgendered performers to find mainstream success. Here are some of the best moments from the finale.
10. Production Values, Hunty! There’s elaborate choreographed dance and singing numbers in a huge arena. This is a huge departure from a show that started in a tiny little studio. It has evolved into a phenomenon that took over the Internet with a huge social media presence. Not only did the finale get filmed in a huge elaborate ceremony, there was an additional ceremony to crown the winner the day of. Everyone knows they film all three queens winning to avoid spoilers. This year, there was an elaborate coronation ceremony for winner Bianca Del Rio hosted by Shangela.
9. Back Rolls?! RuPaul had a corny “We Are the World” type song as a set up for one of the best callbacks, ever. It’s to reference Alyssa Edwards’ back-rolls from last season. Luckily, Edwards has a sense of humor about it. She did an elaborate musical number to some of her most quotable lines. Who thought Alyssa’s Secret was that she’s such an amazing dancer? Check out her warming up the crowd:
8. Ornacia Heads. There were four dancers doing elaborate dance breaks. The best one had to be dancing with Ornacia heads and even voguing.
7. The Fake Housetears of Drag Race. Adore Delano and Laganja Estranja have a tearful heart-to-heart while watching their fight on Untucked.
6. Michelle Visage Is Unimpressed. Michelle was caught looking unimpressed in the audience. It became the meme that stole our hearts on the LogoTV Tumblr.
5. The Coronation of Miss Congeniality. Ivy Winters came out on stilts to give BenDeLaCreme the award! Dela did earn it… she stole the show with her effervescent personality.
4. Darienne Lake Reunited. Darienne was a bit outspoken with a bit of a Bitter Betty vibe. However, she was a sweetheart and got everyone crying when RuPaul reunited her with her estranged parents.
3. Josyln Fox’s Wedding. Fox was proposed to on the show. With RuPaul an ordained minister it certainly was possible. However, there was not a dry eye in the house. Even their mothers were in the house for the special moment.
2. Bianca Del Rio Crowned. Bianca Del Rio, Full of Hate, Congratulations to thee. Jinkx Monsoon crowned Bianca and then Bianca gave such a heartfelt acceptance speech. There was even a random appearance by Judge Judy to congratulate Bianca.
1. The Future. This show proves the legitimacy, not only of drag, but of a show that targets the LGBTQ community. Jinkx Monsoon found success on Broadway after the show. Bianca is planning to make a film Hurricane Bianca and Adore and Courtney Act have both recently released songs.
It’s ironic for a show with such a great format, amazing challenges, and a generally insane season to have a finale that feels like a chore. This season of Ink Master was epic. Scott Marshall was a trash-talking mercenary set on winning the seasonal competition. He enlisted Matti Hixson in an attempt to get Sausage eliminated, but instead Sausage made it to the top two. He was talented, quiet, and a generally nice guy. Frontrunner Halo got eliminated despite being sure he’d make it to the finals. Three people had breakdowns. Returning contestant, Kyle Dunbar trashed a fellow artist for freaking out then physically attacked judge, Chris Nunez. All that, and there was a freaking appearance by Hugh Jackman. But this finale felt crammed with so much wasted time.
After years as a rock star, Dave Navarro is not afraid of anything. Especially cutting people off on a reality show. This season finale didn’t opt for juicy reality TV moments. Whenever things would get really tense, Navarro would cut everyone off. They took time to read real tweets including one that accused the judges of favoritism in the Scott vs. Sausage beef. Given the large number of boos from the audience, this may be the case. They also were pretty short when they talked to past contestants. Halo was cut off despite having a debate with another contestant about how he “played the game.” He was one of four former contestants who even said anything.
We were also robbed of the whole point we were there. This is a competitive reality show. We didn’t get a chance to see any elapsed footage of the elaborate 35-hour back pieces getting done. Instead we saw them as sketches and saw them completed. Viewers were asked to vote before even getting the chance to really look over these pieces or hear the judges critiques. Plus, anyone anxiously awaiting the return of Kyle Dunbar to see what he had to say it was cut off. He was a favorite to win but was a bit all over the place all season. Rather than hear what he had to say for himself he got cut off.
Instead of hearing from the former contestants, seeing the current participants working, or even hearing what the judges had to say we got to watch Season 3 winner Joey Hamilton live-tattooing. But honestly, by the time he’s in the studio and they’re filming he’s just adding details. The tattoo doesn’t look particularly different at any point that the show cuts to him. Also, there was more time discussing the format for Season 5 than spending any time with the cast. Season 5 will revolve around rivals and bring back Season 3 rivals Joshua Hibbard and Jason Clay Dunn. We didn’t really need a reel of them fighting to add any excitement to this finale.
In the end, Scott wins amid boos from the audience. It isn’t clear why he won and from Twitter it seemed like Sausage was a favorite. But it’s pretty funny that they did close to the same tattoo. It was a great season and the final pieces really were of equal intensity. However, this finale was overly saturated with product placement, had undefined relationship lines, and seemed both rushed and too long.
This week's episode of Real Housewives of New York is all about communication, or lack thereof. Everyone is on the outs with Ramona Singer, a.k.a. Eyelander, last living original housewife. She left the Berkshires under the pretense of having a repressed memory episode of hysterics. Instead, she went to a party held by Molly Sims, who hadn’t been mentioned on television this much in years. Ramona is a big fan of communi-hating — it’s like communicating, except you just yell at people and don’t listen to what they have to say. She seems to have a screw loose. Even with the occasional pretense, everyone on New York seems authentic, without pushing for a “storyline.” Instead, they just seems to be acting like themselves.
Nothing tops off a night of binge-drinking better than early morning yoga. After drunkenly plotting revenge against Ramona, all the ladies are looking a little rough. Sonja Morgan, a.k.a. In-the-Red Sonja, Warrior of Booze, laughs as she has trouble doing yoga without passing wind. Meanwhile, Kristen Taekman is the only one who is halfway functional. Is it her youth or is her liver the most effective at removing toxins from her body?
LuAnn & Carole: Sisters in Drag
Carole Radziwill is being photographed for a magazine. She is getting deluxe make-up contouring on her face which is pretty intense for a biological woman. She calls her pal LuAnn "Desperate" Lesseps to join her because she has a piece about manners she hasn’t written. Once again, a cool girl (Carole dated George Clooney) takes advantage of an outcast. Is it okay for a writer to take ideas from a fellow author? Also, she weirdly reads out her own by-line. Meanwhile, didn’t she get miffed when LuAnn asked her friend to borrow a dress? LuAnn and her boyfriend Jacques fix up Carole with actor Nick Gregory. You might remember him from… something? But sadly, Carole acts awkwardly and asks inappropriate questions embarrassing this attractive guy in a TV credit for his reel. She asks his age, tells him she’s going to play matchmaker, and then talks about him like he isn’t there.
The Ramona Coaster Off the Rails
Heather Thomson masterminds a confrontation with Ramona. This is after taking a second to randomly grab Kristen’s son’s ice cream cone to take a lick. The girls decide to sit in a circular table to keep Ramona from escaping. LuAnn, well versed in Passive Aggressive English, broaches the topic heavy-handedly. Everyone starts yelling at once in a cacophony of wailing. No, they are not trying to lure the Hydra from his lair, they just want Ramona to understand she’s rude. But Ramona has been rewarded for rudeness since her first day on television. In the end, Sonja is making no sense and Carole is making genius barbs under her breath.
Kristen vs. Her Husband Josh
Kristen and Josh Taekman get into a passive aggressive fight during their daughter Kingsley’s physical therapy. The sad part is that they clearly don’t listen to each other. Their daughter is struggling with an inability to walk and they are fighting in front of the woman trying to help her. Little do they know, their physical therapist had to hug her cat Kitty Ruxpin all night while swearing off all men just to get to sleep. Josh is insensitive by taking calls and emails the whole time. Kristen, meanwhile, is needlessly aggressive in front of a stranger, and all of America. She also doesn’t understand the demands of his job. They need a mediator, stat.
Ramona vs. Kristen: Round Deux
Ramona is suddenly repentant about what happened with Kristen… to everyone but Kristen. She has a work out complete with a bottle of wine. Her husband, Mario Singer shows up to discuss the drama. Do they not realize this seems so staged? She invites Kristen to tea to apologize. However, Kristen is justifiably angry. Not pressing charges or fighting back left Kristen with some displaced anger. She’s wants an answer for “Why?” Ramona seems subdued and not as hopped up as she normally is. Kristen asks Ramona if it’s an alcohol or anger management issue. These strike a nerve and Ramona tries to make an exit. Then, like no one before her, Kristen points out how crazy Ramona acts and how she’s always in a rush.
Real Houselines of New York
"Oh God! Her face is banged up." – Sonja upon seeing LuAnn in the morning
"I had a leash on and you were whipping me last night." – Sonja possibly reporting what happened
"I don’t want to be cut. I’d rather be cut with my body than cut with a knife." – Ramona unaware there’s other choices
"I chose to sit to the right of Ramona because I’m like a linebacker from the 49ers. There was no way she was getting up." – LuAnn about her size?
"Who gives a s**t about Molly Sims?" – Ramona
"You need as Swiss team of doctors." – Carole on Ramona’s therapy needs
"To a woman who wrote The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating. You’d think she’d be better at this." – LuAnn on Carole
If you’ve been curious if misogyny is still alive in Atlanta, how much producers can squeeze from Atlanta footage, and what Bar One looks like full of patrons, your questions get answered in this week's “episode” of Real Housewives of Atlanta. What better way to close out a season full of fights than with four of the husbands getting sloshed and hawking Ciroc vodka? They seem way more forthcoming with the truth and don’t really worry about embarrassing their wives. After a lot of unnecessarily formal footage of the men “arriving” at Bar One aka For Lease, they all grab some drinks and start dishing.
Apollo Nida: Head of the Dog House
Poor Apollo. He’s deadling with charges of bank fraud and his future is still up in the air... with his wife. Apollo shares intimate details of his marriage including a night he was slapped awake by Phaedra Parks. Apparently, she chose the middle of the night to rehash all of the issues they’ve faced all season. He also admitted they’re in counseling. He was pretty forthcoming about his problems with the relationship. It can be hard to enter a marriage when you aren’t on equal footing. The special does put him in a different light. He seems sympathetic. He’s just a simple guy who is hot as hell. The producers also air some shots of him coming home and trying to be lovey dovey with his wife but dealing with drama.How is he as a husband? He’s not perfect and the jury is still out on whether he and Kenya Moore had something going on but he does seem like a good husband.
Peter Thomas: Poster Child for Misogyny
As if yelling at his wife like he is going to hit her isn’t enough of a clue, Peter Thomas tries to prove he’s a misogynist. He spends the entire episode talking about how much of a man he is, what it means to be a man, and man this man that. The only thing he doesn’t seem capable of saying is the letter “S.” It must stand for sloshed because he’s a generally well-spoken man but definitely has trouble speaking. He doesn’t reveal much new information. He addresses how he is entitled to speak out and be opinionated which is yet another poke at the "Peter is a b**ch" debate.How is he as a husband? Despite his issues with money, he’s also really full of himself and obsessed with being macho. His bravado kills a lot of his appeal.
Todd Tucker: Will They Do It on a Boat? Will They do It with a Coat?
If you had any doubts that Todd Tucker and Kandi Burruss like to get it on, they were quelled by this episode. They do it in the car, in restaurants, with toys. Todd also seems really suited for Kandi. He’s got the same amount of savvy, humor, and honesty. He throws out a lot of questions to the guys and feels like the host, which feels forced. He definitely bows his head to the married gentlemen and takes their advice.How is he as a husband? He seems real and authentic. He shares not wearing a Rolex Kandi gave him because he was hesitant. He seems like he’s genuinely in love and a good guy.
Gregg Leakes: I’m Gonna Repeat Everything
Gregg does reveal a fair amount of charm this episode. He generally a quiet guy which makes sense given how outspoken NeNe Leakes can be. He gives a couple of funny lines and responses to everyone. He seems like an attentive husband. However, given NeNe’s questionable behavior lately and rumors of her firing what will become of Gregg. He talks but doesn’t really say much of note other than how much he takes care of NeNe.How is he as a husband? Gregg didn’t do much this episode but he does seem like a great fit for NeNe. He’s the yin to her very vocal, outspoken yang. He also seems like an attentive househusband.
Real Houselines of Atlanta
"Can we get some chicken fingers up in here?" – Gregg
"All our wife is independent woman, all our wife feel they could exist without us. So if you don’t establish that I’m the man right out the gate, like he’s saying, and it comes later it’s a problem." – Peter butchering feminism... and the English language.
"I’m Geoffrey." – Gregg reminding us of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
"I can cook... when it comes time to put a log on the fire I can go all night." – Gregg
"I’m gonna send your ass a box of moon pies the day you go. But you ain’t going nowhere." – Gregg
"I could find a bum broad on the street and buy her a f**king Kia for eight grand and she would be pleased." – Apollo
"Let me tell you how hard I had your back. I was making love last Saturday night and I was thinking about you." – Gregg about his friendship with Peter
The premiere of Penny Dreadful was a little all over the place, but this week's episode has enough "Oh s**t!" moments to match wits with Sunday must-see shows like Game of Thrones and Mad Men. This episode introduces Doctor Who alum Billie Piper as Brona Croft. She’s like Lora Croft: Tomb Raider, if her powers included a thick Irish accent and consumption. Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), of the classic Oscar Wilde story, also joins the mix. The show is also establishing characters better and creating the right blend of mystery and the occult, though there still is a little too much pageantry when they introduce a literary figure
The Cold (Literally) Opening
This episode begins with a woman alone in a park in the freezing cold. She may or may not be a prostitute, and one with a taste for apples that have been wrapped with the front pages of newspapers. We catch glimpse of a headline about Jack the Ripper. Then, boom — she gets killed. It looks like each episode might begin with a murder. It also looks like Jack the Ripper may be supernatural and part of the show.
“I Never f**ked a Dying Creature Before…”
Brona Croft meets a drunken Ethan Chandler at the bar. He’s drunk because he just witnessed the fact that there’s an entire world of man-eating creatures that exist. She lives above the bar and charms him with her anti-industrial take on the world. After he buys her breakfast, she leaves in search of money. Where does that take her? She heads right into the lair of Dorian Gray. He’s taking photos of her for no clear reason. But he does have an affliction of a portrait that keeps him young and beautiful but is his only weakness. He seduces Brona out of her clothes and then they have sex…but he finds out she has consumption. Then he says, “I never f**ked a dying creature before…” Classy! Brona resumes being bosom buddies with Ethan Chandler and they seem to be becoming fast friends. Meanwhile, Ethan gets a letter from a mysterious father. So he must be rich and in Penny Dreadful, England to escape something major that happened in the States.
What Did She Just Séance?
Sir Malcolm Murray and Vanessa Ives are still trying to solve the mystery of his missing daughter Mina and what the hell is the creature they killed last episode. Sir Malcolm stops by to help the police with a set of brutal murders but only secures a chance to peek at the next crime scene. Sir Malcolm and Vanessa attend a séance held by their friend Ferdinand Lyle, the Egyptian expert who looks like he belongs in The Hunger Games. Vanessa and Dorian Gray strike up a conversation and he flashes his love of rings. The medium Madame Kali (Helen McRory) bears a striking resemblance to Narcissa Malfoy. She doesn’t seem too connected to the spirit realm but really does connect with a spirit. And then, that spirit seems to possess Vanessa. She starts spilling major secrets about Sir Malcolm. It’s unclear if its Mina or if Malcolm lost another child. She also drops the C-word a good seven or eight times. Then she runs from the party and uses the strangest pick up line ever. She rubs blood on a guy's face and they have sex. Stranger things have worked, and lets face it, she’s Eva Green. Ferdinand does make some headway in the hieroglyphs and realizes that this creature is an undead creature that feeds on others and it may be after Vanessa.
Of Mice and Reanimated Men
Victor Frankenstein and his new reanimated friend start bonding. He is teaching him how to live again and even helps him pick a name. They scroll through Shakespeare classics and choose Proteus. It’s really sweet watching them bond and its unclear whether Victor reanimated him to be his lover, friend, or if he’s part of his family. Over the course of the episode Proteus starts singing and resembling a real person. A really scarred person. Their relationship is really sweet and so Victor takes him out. They happen upon Ethan and Brona. They arrive home and really connect in their friendship…until a hand rips through Proteus. Is it because he used undead parts? Nope. The huge reveal is Victor Frankenstein’s first monster is back and he’s pissed.
Things are getting juicy. What is Ethan hiding and will he date Brona? What’s Dorian Gray’s role in this story? What happened to Frankenstein's first monster? What the hell is Vanessa Ives?
This season on Million Dollar Listing, Ryan Serhant has proved he will do anything to get the word out on his listings. The latest high-profile property he's aiming to sell is a James Bond villain-style secret lair, complete with a car elevator (that’s an elevator to take your car up to the unit) and a huge indoor vault so you can hide your uranium, gold bullion, or nude selfies. What better way to get the word out than to take it to the Internet? You’ve heard of “It Gets Better” videos? Well, apparently this is that Something Better. Fans of the show have seen construction on this mega-apartment, and have watched Serhant pitch multiple helicopters, aerial shots, and a bit of a crackpot view of the film industry. Well, we have a new glimpse of the swanky listing here in all its glory before it gets its first proper showcasing on the program.
The video is a mysterious one: is it a commercial for a show? An apartment? Jewelry? Cars? Manhattan? Despite some confusion, it definitely sells luxury. Even though we see no sign of five helicopters or epic explosions, or Serhant for that matter, the video does offer some great visuals, and totally sells the appeal of striking it filthy rich and moving to New York City... if that's possible.
Aviva Drescher did not appear in this week's episode of Real Housewives of New York, but her words haunted these ladies like the thought of their Botox administer skipping town (Dr. Pendergast really is the best with the T-zone so here’s hoping he doesn’t leave New York City). Like in Return of the Jedi Aviva’s astral form hung around whispering “You’re both white trash, quite frankly,” over and over again. This is mostly because Ramona Singer, a.k.a. Eyelander, and In-the-Red Sonja Morgan were kind of acting like white trash. Violence, emotional outbursts, and crying about your father... this feels like an episode of Maury.
Malice: Threw the Looking Glass 2: The Jabberwonky Eye
Post glass-throwing, Ramona storms off with Sonja to head back to Heather’s house to fix her hair. Meanwhile, Kristen Taekman is drenched in pond water with microorganisms slowly crawling into a cut on her face. The ladies try to calm her down and she is a very good sport about this. Hitting someone in the face with an object and drawing blood sounds a little like assault. It doesn’t take Phaedra Parks to solve this mystery, Ramona drew blood. Had it been Kenya Moore that she hit, Ramona would have been arrested. The ladies prep for dinner and both talk a ton of smack. Ramona tells Sonja she feels like her father. Sonja has a breakdown and starts crying and yelling at her about it. #repressedmemory It sort of seems like Ramona is manipulating Sonja’s issues with her parents. Heather Thomson tries to play hostess and mend fences. She also tries to laugh the whole thing off. However, Kristen is justifiably outraged. She’s a good sport because she just wants to know why it all happened. Ramona stumbles over to Kristen yells a ton about getting wet and gives her the most disingenuous apology in Housewives history. Before things bubble over, Heather surprises the ladies with an Elvis impersonator. Kristen gets too distracted and forgets about Ramona and her wine.
Wilted Flowers in the Attic
Ramona realizes she’s persona non grata. To get away before someone mentions the word assault Ramona packs her bags and calls a pilot friend. Dressed in her most dowdy mom drag she joins the ladies for a hike. While in the woods, Ramona sees some trees that remind her of her back yard. Apparently, she lived in the Cabin in the Woods. Also, her childhood must have been like Flowers in the Attic… at least in her current story. Apparently, not mentioned until she needs to make a hasty getaway, she had an abusive father. It’s probably true but it’s shameless to dust off old wounds to get out of a girl’s trip. She convinces Carole Radziwill to drive her to the airport. Ramona’s hot pilot friend shows up. An attractive man flies to come pick up Ramona while she’s away for the weekend and her husband thinks she’s on vacation. You do the math. As Ramona flies away into the sunset, Carole stands on her rented car. She wonders if she’ll get her deposit back if the rental company sees her walking on the hood on TV. Then she remembers she’s painfully thin and the car may have dented her... plus Bravo paid for the car. Meanwhile, Sonja loses it again and yells at Kristen for not understanding abuse. Apparently, Sonja is accessing some pretty heavy memories and projecting them on this light situation. Throwing anything at someone’s face crosses a line.
I’ll Show You My Pontoon
Heather plans a boat trip with two of Sonja’s favorite things: booze and men under 21. She’s starting to really resemble Ramona Singer... scratch that, we mean Bryan Singer. Sonja sloppily hits on a 20-year old pontoon captain. Sonja is a stunningly beautiful woman but she really shouldn’t get this sloppy on camera. Given her emotional outbursts, she may need a hug or a Care Bear stare.
Ramona Caught Wine Handed
Heather plans an elaborate dinner to close the weekend. Everyone brings up the glass incident for the umpteenth time. But suddenly, LuAnn desperate Lesseps gets a text. It’s a picture of Ramona partying at Molly Sims’ latest party. And with that, Sims gets mentioned more than she has since Las Vegas was canceled. They even get a picture. This confirms everyone’s suspicions that Ramona made shameless use of her “abuse” to leave like a thief in the night. Sonja ponders if Ramona has been manipulating her and how much wine she had that day. The other ladies have decided they will “get even” with Ramona. If they plan to destroy her they will have to find the horcruxes Ramona hid at Jill Zarin’s fabric store and Alex McCord’s Brooklyn brownstone.
The Duchess of Put-Downs
LuAnn may have been downgraded to a “friend” of the housewives but she has sharpened her wit. She gets some of the best lines of the night:
"If we’re gonna talk about vocabulary, 'provoking' isn’t an adjective, it’s a verb. Just sayin'." – giving Heather a vocabulary lesson
"Ramona would never, ever, ever go to therapy. She claims she’s in perfect mental health." – on Ramona’s mental state
"Sonja doesn’t exactly live in the real world, so getting hit in the face with reality must hurt." – a well crafted Sonja burn
Real Houselines of New York City
"I think we’ve got a non sequitur here: shotgun recoil on one side, a psycho b**ch throwing a wine glass at your face on the other. Are they the same thing? I don’t think so." – Heather
"Her hair looks like s**t." – Kristen on Ramona's ruined blow-out
"What are you the wicked witch of the Hamptons? You gonna melt?" – Kristen on getting Ramona wet
"Who are you to get me wet?" – Ramona doesn’t know what entendre means
"Of course the only option for white wine is Ramona Pinot Grigio. Hope she doesn’t throw the bottle at my face... b**ch." – Kristen
"That was some act. I mean, not Oscar worthy. But definitely People’s Choice… or Daytime Emmy." – Carole on Ramona’s meltdown
"Do you go to Christian Mingle online? I tried it, but I was unmatchable." – Sloppy Sonja flirting
"I’ve had experiences with women, just not with you." – Sonja repeating what Carole told her
Penny Dreadful is in a unique position. On the one hand, it’s chock full of great visuals, fun occult subject matter, and two Bond movie alums: Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. On the other hand, it asks questions and establishes mysteries before it introduces the characters or the rules of the world. You won’t know what the hell is happening for the first 20 minutes of the premiere episode. The series relies on the viewer's knowledge of a variety of subject matter, and patience. This might be where it gets its namesake. Penny Dreadfuls were British serial stories, purchased for a penny, that featured lurid and sensational stories occasionally Gothic in nature. It is definitely going for a pulpy and occult, but feels like a very pretentious version of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman.
“Who the f**k are you people?”
The episode begins with a girl sneaking out of her bed opening a door and screaming her head off. Then we cut to an older woman (Green) who is frantically praying as spiders, presumably not radioactive, crawl from a crucifix to her arm. Then without warning we cut to Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) a.k.a. Wyatt Twerp, a charming sharpshooter in a Wild West Show... in England. Despite poor career choices, he (or Hartnett’s butt double) does well with the ladies. Without much of an introduction Green’s character tries to convince him to work with her, and we understand that she must be some sort of witch. After all, Green played similar characters in The Golden Compass, Dark Shadows, and Camelot. At this point, the show is getting precariously close to going up its own rear with pretension. Is it above exposition? Great visuals and creepy mysteries are great but even better if we know who the hell the characters are.
Despite all human logic, Wyatt Twerp meets Green’s character without knowing her name or what she wants at a seedy opium den. Enter Sir Malcolm (Dalton), he tells Ethan to join him in a creepy basement... and he does. Then he proceeds to talk to a bunch of men in a weird language, maybe Elvish or ancient Sumerian. Who knows? All we know is they are vampires because they have fangs. Then they attack and they kill them all. Ethan, is unfazed until they enter a room full of dead bodies and get attacked by a snake creature. They are able to fight him because Green’s character stares him down. They take the dead body to some weird lab where people are dissecting bodies. A doctor cuts open the creature they killed and it has hieroglyphs written all over its skin. Then after 20 minutes where the audience doesn’t know what the hell is going on, Wyatt Twerp who, up until know, has been entirely stoic, says, “Who the f**k are you people?” Their response: come to yet another undisclosed location.
Let the Magic Begin
Ethan shows up at the house and, surprise, he gets to learn Green’s character’s name, Vanessa Ives. She’s creepy and gives him an awkward card reading and then explains what’s going on. Sir Malcolm’s daughter is the girl who disappeared and they are looking for her. Sir Malcolm and Vanessa take the hieroglyphs to an eccentric Ancient Egyptian expert who looks like an extra in The Hunger Games. It turns out the writings are fromthe Egyptian book of the Dead.
Remember that doctor that cut open the creature. He’s an important character apparently and gets invited to Sir Malcolm’s home, The Explorer’s Club. He, like Wyatt Twerp, is getting drafted for some sort of secret undertaking. This is starting to become the origin story of a Victorian England version of The Avengers, only without the luxury of any exposition. Suddenly, Malcolm sees his daughter. Only she’s not a child, she’s a creepy monster teen. He and Vanessa have a strange connection. It’s unclear yet if she is responsible for his daughter’s condition, or if they’re trying to cure her. But who cares? Because...
That Doctor who is so vital to the team? The one whose name we never learn? That’s for a big ol' reveal. On his way home from dinner, on a rainy night, he decides to raise the dead. He pulls a tarp to reveal a corpse sewn together and then he reanimates it because he is none other than Dr. Viktor Frankenstein. His monster flashes his peen for a few minutes and they share a tender moment of new life.
It’s unclear where the show is going as the next episode is primed to introduce more characters. It seems engaging, has a pretty terrific cast, and some great production value. However, mystery for mystery’s sake can be sloppy storytelling. It seems like we won’t know for sure if this is a worthwhile watch until the next episode.
We’re entering hour 60 of the Real Housewives of Atlanta hostage crisis. Apparently, Andy Cohen intends to squeeze every drop of drama of the franchise. After the entire crazy fight from the first reunion episode, the ladies had to sit there for at least four more hours to film content for two more one-hour reunion segments and this episode that features unseen footage. It’s mostly B-roll material, including a few dropped storylines and what seems like contractual obligations to show certain moments. The one thing it does do is cement Kenya Moore’s place as the center of the show. She’s not the most forthcoming but she does seem to be the only one having fun at this point. She also continues to give some of the best lines on the show.
Kenya vs. Porsha: Revisited
Time flies in the realm of housewives. In the week since Porsha Williams (fmr Stewart) gave her on-one-one interview with Andy, footage has been released of her giving a sermon with homophobic remarks. Porsha has since apologized. That’s most likely because she’s releasing her single “Flatline.” The gay community is one of the few actual “audiences” for Housewife songs. Meanwhile, this episode features fun and kooky moments with Kenya. She gives the best lines on the show and her props may be provocative but they’re funny. For example, she and Miss Lawrence Washington gab about Phaedra Parks. Kenya decides to give her a tiara and Lawrence gives the best Phaedra impression.
The Best Parts
The best parts of these clip shows are usually funny slice of life moments that remind us that these are real people and not drama machines. Phaedra Parks and Apollo Nida celebrate their birth of their son. Phaedra says they should have a naming ceremony because they are very popular in Africa and Nigeria… and The Lion King. If only, Dwight Eubanks did a theme party where they held up Mr. President! Kenya has a bizarre photoshoot for her own calendar. It features mostly half nude photos including the shocking booty shot from the opening credits. Who was her artistic director? Cynthia Bailey and The Bailey Agency despite Kenya’s ban after her “coochie crack” comments. There’s also a scene of NeNe Leakes and Kenya gossiping about boys in the car. It’s nice to see NeNe as an actual person. She really evolved, or devolved, into this shell spouting trite wannabe catch phrases. She seems to have had a scowl on her face all season.
It seems like the bulk of the footage has to do with things that must appear in the season. For example, for no apparent reason, Naya Rivera of Glee stops by to have a conversation with NeNe Leakes. She flashes her engagement ring and they don’t say much of note and it feels pretty wooden like an acting exercise rather than a real lunch. It’s pretty clear she wouldn’t agree to be on the show and then have Bravo not air the footage. Also unnecessarily added is a segment about Porsha’s friendship with Kandi Burruss. It’s a pretty blatant plug for all the products Porsha’s working on including a hair line, teeth whitening treatment, and her music career.
Let It Die
This episode featured a few extra moments from some of the most dramatic and boring storylines on the show. Cynthia’s daughter Noelle has a birthday party and introduces her boyfriend, Arthur, to her father Leon Robinson. Did you fall asleep? Natalie Macklin confronts Cynthia after the pajama party that turned into a brawl with sleepwear. Natalie accuses Cynthia of starting trouble because she is the one who used the word opportunist. And with that, she joined the roster of forgotten potential housewives including Kim G from New Jersey and Jennifer Gilbert from New York City.
There is also extra footage from the now overwrought beef between various cast members. Momma Joyce gets a few more digs at Todd Tucker during their dinner and guilt trips her daughter during therapy. There are more misogynistic statements from Chuck Smith to Phaedra as about their past relationship. He had already said enough horrible things when he said she was “part of the team.” Then he manages to be smug and disparage Apollo’s character while also telling Phaedra that he was mentoring her. These scenes just feel like they’re just pouring salt on old wounds.
Kenya: Behind the Props
Kenya stops by for a one-on-one with Andy. She proves she’s eloquent and savvy about her presence on the show. She definitely seems cagey about her African prince and some aspects of her personal life, but given the number of people who have lost relationships on Bravo it may be for the best. She brings up some valid points about her fight with Porsha. Porsha was the first one to throw out threats, the first one to stand up, and generally unapologetic. Also, she was accused for starting the pajama brawl for standing up but Porsha did the same thing. Regardless of how annoying Kenya can be, Andy is as much an instigator as she is during the reunions. Also, no one deserves to be hit no matter how much they are provoked.
Real Houselines of Atlanta
"I never thought I was a lesbian but Kenya is looking oh so sexy." – Cynthia
"I’m trying to be nice. I am trying to buy some of this woman’s beads so she can afford a hotel room at the Holiday Inn." – Kenya after her fight with Malorie Massie
"When your man lives many continents away you have to learn how to keep it fresh. And you might have to open up your computer screen and uncross your legs sometimes." – Kenya on Skype
"I must remain a lady at all times and I do not kiss and tell. But what I can say? If I do kiss something, it is not small." – Kenya
"He’s gonna need a wax." – Phaedra on her baby’s hair