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Capsule Reviews: GLEE Premiere, RAISING HOPE, RUNNING WILDE & CHASE

Submitted by on September 22, 2010 – 1:05 am 14 Comments

Though my butt is once again numb from too much couch time Tuesday night, I can’t say it was all time well spent. I enjoyed the Glee premiere but so far none of the new shows have wowed me. Here’s a quick rundown to help you spend your time more wisely.

**SPOILERS!**

Glee

Dot-Marie Jones, as the new football coach, Ms. Beiste, instantly made herself a welcome addition to the cast. Ms. Beiste is mean, vulnerable, unpredictable—someone only a skilled actress can pull off. Sue (Jane Lynch) now has a formidable opponent. The jury’s still out on Chord Overstreet as new kid Sam because I just can’t get past that “Bieber haircut,” as Finn calls it. Sam did a nice rendition of “Billionaire” but there’s nothing memorable about his voice.

Charice’s guest star turn as Sunshine was unnecessary since she doesn’t sing better than any of the girls in New Directions. I wish her solo moment could’ve been given to Mercedes (Amber Riley) or Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), incredible singers who don’t get showcased enough. Sunshine’s choosing to join Vocal Adrenaline was no big loss as far as I’m concerned. I did enjoy seeing Cheyenne Jackson as the new V.A. director and Charice’s line: “They gave my mom a condo and a green card!”

Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.) and Tina are adorable together. Who knew Mike had those abs?? Brittany’s (Heather Morris) attempt to accuse Ms. Beiste of molestation was so wrong but her confession of “I actually want to touch her boobs” was even more so. I felt bad for Finn being thrown off the football team. His dating Rachel, who was super bitchy this episode, can’t possibly help his self-esteem. Rachel’s solo rendition of “What I Did for Love” was lovely but I missed the big group number that usually closes the show.

Nerd verdict: A subdued but still-fun Glee

Raising Hope

This new FOX sitcom about a young man still living at home who becomes a dad from a one night stand is from My Name is Earl‘s creator, Greg Garcia. It resembles that other sitcom in several ways: the white trash family, the voiceover narration, an appearance by actor Gregg Binkley, who played Kenny on Earl. (A newscaster even mentioned Earl on TV, though not by name.) One way it differed was that it wasn’t funny. The confused and often topless grandma (Cloris Leachman) who kisses her grandson on the mouth makes me cringe. OK, there was one decent line—a prison guard, talking about a death-row inmate, says: “Her last meal requests are a McRib and a Shamrock Shake. That should buy her a few more months. Those things are never available at the same time.” Hope isn’t a terrible show; there’s just something off either in the comic timing or maybe the ensemble just hasn’t gelled.

Nerd verdict: My Hopes are low for this one

Running Wilde

This is an odd little show. Can’t really recommend it but it’s not without merits, one being that it’s odd. Not all of the eccentricities are funny but at least this isn’t a run-of-the-mill sitcom. Will Arnett plays a spoiled rich man, Steven Wilde, who’s trying to win over his childhood crush, Emmy (Keri Russell), an eco-activist who’s been living in the jungle for years. Arnett and Russell are both engaging actors but I can’t say I’m rooting for their characters to be together because there’s absolutely no romantic heat there. Heck, Arnett has more chemistry with his driver, Migo (Mel Rodriguez), who’s paid to be his friend. Young Stefania Owen, who plays Emmy’s daughter, Puddle, is also a winsome presence but in this instance, the sum is less than its parts.

Nerd verdict: Not Wilde about it

Chase

This is an NBC Monday night drama I only got around to watching last night. I’m not a big fan of Jerry Bruckheimer-produced television but this one’s fast pace kept my interest. The show about U.S. Marshals lives up to its title by providing quite a few chases, mostly on foot. The villain (Travis Fimmel) was a serial-killing bastard so watching the Marshals close him down was rather satisfying. Kelli Giddish, as team leader Annie Frost, has an athletic tomboy quality that makes her believable when she jumps from a helicopter or off a bridge to get the bad guy (the actors apparently do many of their own stunts). She chews some of her lines, though, trying a little too hard to act tough. She looks like she’s got the grit; if she relaxes a bit, she’d be even better.

Of her team, Amaury Nolasco is the one I’m most happy to see. I miss my Sucre from Prison Break. Can’t say the same for Jesse Metcalf, whom I couldn’t stand on Desperate Housewives and is now playing the dumbest Marshal ever. Admittedly, that’s not his fault; he’s given stupid lines. His character wouldn’t be qualified to fetch coffee for office staff, much less be a field deputy.

I was surprised I enjoyed this show on any level because the preview was terrible. Perhaps it made me feel a little safer to see the good guys prevail, something that doesn’t always happen in these uncertain times.

Nerd verdict: Action-packed Chase

What did you think of the Glee premiere? Did you watch anything else?

14 Comments »

  • Eddy says:

    We only watched NCIS last night. The DVR recorded Glee for us. We are only on the second disk of the Season 1 DVDs, so it will be a while before we get into Season 2.

    NCIS is consistently good. They wrapped up last season’s cliffhanger and started what I assume will be this year’s season-long thread with a brief shot of a cryptic text message at the end of the show. Note: Always good to see Ralph Waite in his recurring role as Gibbs’s dad and Muse Watson as Gibbs’s former partner and mentor.

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      I don’t watch NCIS but think Ralph Waite is amazing. That’s very cool he recurs on there. He played Booth’s dad on a Bones episode last year and kicked butt as usual.

      Did you record Raising Hope by any chance? I thought of you because I know how much you liked Earl.

      • Eddy says:

        Nope to Hope. (See what I did there?) I didn’t even know about it. I have my Earl DVDs to fall back on.

        Slightly off topic…. but not really since Season 17 debuts on Sunday… we just finished watching Season 1 of the The Amazing Race (from 2001). I’ve always wanted to watch the first season since I didn’t start watching until Season 5. What is amazing (see, I did it again) is how much the show has improved. You really can see how they have tightened up the editing and made the challenges …. well challenging. The drama is much higher in the more recent seasons. I like Phil Keoghan a lot and he was really under utilized in the first season.

        By the way PCN, I think that with the right partner, you would totally kick ass on The Amazing Race.

  • Pop Culture Nerd says:

    I don’t watch reality except for American Idol and Project Runway but did watch one episode of Race when I heard they went to Vietnam. I was disappointed because I didn’t get to see as much of the cities as I wanted. I was amused, though, by a challenge that had the players try to unscramble a message but it was written in Vietnamese and they had no clue. I think they had to ask random passersby for help. I was shouting at my TV: “I know what it says! I know what it says!”

    I don’t really understand how the game is played so I have no idea if I’d be good or not but I thank you for the compliment (assuming it is one).

  • Paulette says:

    Yes, Eddy! YES! Elyse would be amazing on the Amazing Race! I taped (yes, I am the only person on planet still using VCR) Glee and watched it right after NCIS which is still one of my favorite shows. Agree with all you said about Glee, PCN. I did not catch Chase, but my husband said it was just okay, but he will give it another go.

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      I still have a VCR somewhere in my closet. I save it because I have home videos that haven’t been transferred to DVDs.

      I’d watch Chase again, too, but wouldn’t feel bad if I miss it or forget to record it.

  • jenn says:

    I just finished watching Glee and came straight here.

    Rachel was beyond annoying, and I have to say, the loss of 15 or 20 pounds on Lea Michele is not good. I hate when that happens. She wasn’t big before; she was normal. What I liked about the show last season was some of the normalcy that is high school.

    It felt off tonight, and I agree – I don’t know who Charice is, but I wasn’t altogether impressed. I expected a bit more for a premiere, but it was still fun.

  • jenn says:

    Ok – thought about it and realized how judgmental I sounded. I guess I was just disappointed. It was nice to see an average-sized girl in a leading role. I thought the weight loss was VERY obvious. But, of course, I don’t know the circumstances. Sorry for the tone.

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      Wow, thanks for coming straight here!

      It’s funny—I noticed Michele’s weight loss at awards shows but it wasn’t obvious to me last night (the bangs jumped out at me more). Maybe I’ve gotten used to seeing her skinny the past several months. But I agree that she looked normal before and didn’t need to lose all that weight.

      Charice is a singer from the Philippines who was a YouTube sensation, which led to her being on Oprah. The thing I found alarming was her getting Botox because she wanted to look “fresh” for her Glee debut. She’s 18!

  • Poncho says:

    I actually enjoyed the Glee premiere very much. I loved the fact that the songs were a little bit more current, though I do love when they re-invent a standard.

    I absolutely loved Beiste. I think she’s the better thought new addition to the cast, and Dot Jones did a wonderful job creating a character that seemed real. And her interaction with both Schue and Sue was stellar!

    I liked Charice. And I liked that Rachel turned in her diva mode on her -though I don’t sympathise with her behaving like that, I think that’s when she acts the better IMHO-, and the fact that she went over to VA was a nice twist, since they’ll be lacking Jesse this year (he was a senior, wasn’t he?).

    As for Sam. I’m still waiting to see what they do with him. His voice is nice, and I loved “Billionaire”, but I still can’t see where that character is going (as far as what’s been aired, and leaving gossips and spoilers behind).

    I’m liking that Mike is beginning to come forward on screen, as he was one of those characters which I would’ve liked to meet further last season. By the way, I don’t just want to dance like him… I want those abs! Like right now!

    As far as I’m concerned, this season premiere seemed better written than the last 9 eps of the last one, and most storylines look like they have some heading. So let’s see where they go! I’m psyched that next ep is centered on my favourite airhead!

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      It looks to me like Sam is set up to be a frenemy to Finn because he just took over Finn’s quarterback position. Sam will probably be the new popular stud in school is Finn is not going to like it.

      What did you think about Santana getting a boob job? I know she’s your future wife.

      Looking forward to next week’s episode, too!

      • Poncho says:

        I dumped Santana for Brittany. I’m with Sue on it: she lacks the self-esteem, ’nuff said.

        Its quite obvious to me that Sam’s gonna be Finn’s frenemy, but my question is: “Is that all?”. Again, I don’t want to give the gossip much credit.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed Glee’s return. I love the Ms Beiste character inclusion and Dot-Marie Jones knocks the part out of the park. As for the rest, I was glad Sunshine was promptly whisked off to VA, as I’d love to see some of the other Glee cast members featured more. Thanks for the great wraps, PCN, as usual!

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