A chat with Sarah Chalke



By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

We will be seeing quite a bit of the always delightful Sarah Chalke in the next few days. She’ll guest star on Grey’s Anatomy tonight (read TV Line’s story about her appearance) and her new series How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) premieres next Wednesday, April 3. In the ABC comedy, she plays a single mom whose finances force her to move back home.

From playing the second Becky on Roseanne to Eliot on Scrubs, I’ve always been a fan of Chalke’s work. When I was in LA, I had the chance to talk to her about her new series.

TV Gal: Why did you want to play Polly in How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)?

Sarah Chalke: One of the reasons I loved the part and wanted to do it because I could relate to it more than any other part I’ve played. [Chalke is the mom to Charlie, age three.] I feel like Polly at the bottom of it she just wants to be a great mom. She’s trying to balance her work and living with her parents and trying to date again and do all this but she just wants to be the best mom possible and I feel like every working mom can relate to that. You’re trying to balance it all and find a way to somehow enjoy it and you just want the best for your kid.

TV Gal: Does it feel different launching this show than it did when you launched Scrubs?

Chalke: As an actor you always feel like getting a pilot, the pilot getting picked up and getting on the air and making it, it’s lightning in a bottle. I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. On Scrubs I got to stay with the same people for eight and a half years. When you do something like this and you have the same kind of chemistry and connection and just the enjoyment of the job at the end of the day that’s what matters to me. As soon as you become a mom, you realize what do I want for my kid? I want him to have a happy life. I don’t care what he wants to do. Just be happy. And you kind of realize, ‘Oh that’s all that actually matters in life. Just be happy.’ When you come across a thing like this where you have that rare situation, it just makes me that much more hopeful that it will go and that it will work. We had such a good time.

TV Gal: You are known for having finger toes. Will we see your toe dexterity on the show?

Chalke: We do an episode about my finger toes! I also date this one guy played by Reid Scott. His name is Hot Scott on the show. He ends up breaking up with me because of my obnoxious laugh so there were things about myself that definitely made it into the show.

TV Gal: You’ve been acting since you were a teenager. What keeps you in the business?

Chalke: I love that every day is different. I love working in comedy. I love working in dramatic stuff for shorter periods of time but as a job that could potentially go on for a long time I really just wanted to look at comedies because that’s for me the funnest way to go to work every day. I love getting to know different groups of people but more than that I love it when it continues and you actually get to really know them and stay with them for a while.

TV Gal: And you never thought about leaving the business and doing something else?

Chalke: I was 16 when I started working on the Roseanne show. It was the number one show at the time. I hadn’t really worked that much and I saw how private everyone’s lives had to be and how scrutinized they were and the paparazzi. It was this whole sort of world that I just didn’t know about and I thought, ‘Well if that’s the end goal if everyone just has to be driven in dark cars,’ it just seemed to me pretty terrifying as a 16 year old. That, of course, was balanced by it being the most amazing learning curve for comedy and the most incredibly experience to watch Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman and Roseanne and Sara Gilbert and Johnny Galecki that was an incredible gift to have that. The flip side of it was to see this other side of it and that was scary. I moved back to Canada after that experience. I thought, ‘I’m out. I’m going back to school. This is maybe not the direction I’ll go.’ But at the end of the day I just missed it.

TV Gal: How do you think J.D. and Eliot are doing?

Chalke: I hope they have a lot of babies. I hope they’re really happy. I think they are. Turk has probably moved in with them.

ls ‘Glee’ Out of Ideas? Should we trust Claire on ‘The Following’ and other TV questions

CR: Bob Mahoney/FOX

CR: Bob Mahoney/FOX

By Amy Amatangelo ®

Here are my biggest TV questions this week:

1. Is Claire Matthews secretly one of Joe Carroll’s followers on The Following?

The first season of 24 changed me as a viewer. I trust no one now. No one. And just as Nina was revealed to be a traitor in the first season finale of 24, I don’t think Claire is as innocent as she seems. She was married to Joe. How is it that she suspected nothing exactly? Clearly The Following loves surprising viewers (witness the little menage-a-followers in last night’s episode). Could this be the big surprise of the season? Was Claire’s relationship with Ryan merely a ruse to distract him? I’m doubling down on this one – Claire is not what she seems. Who’s with me?

2.  Is there a more cringing inducing story line that Tina lusting after Blaine on Glee?

Honestly is Glee completely out of ideas? Shows always suffer when they’ve exhausted every possible romantic permutation and start coming up with ridiculous pairings. Finn kisses Emma? Blaine has a crush on Sam? The worst offense is Tina lusting after Blaine.  I still shudder at the thought of Tina putting vapor rub on Blaine and crying while he slept. It wasn’t sad and poignant. It was creepy and unsettling. Where did this even come from? I’m all for the underused Jenna Ushkowitz getting more screen time but this is not the way. Plus it exposes one of Glee’s worst offenses. Characters are completely and irrationally inconsistent. Why would Tina fall for a guy she knows is gay? And what exactly did Blaine have to apologize for? For being gay and not liking Tina the way she likes him? Glee doesn’t make a lot of sense most of the time. But this story line makes no sense none of the time.

3.  Does Scandal need to go back to fixing other people’s problems?

You know I love how completely nuts Scandal is. The show is ridiculous in the best, most entertaining way.  But, even for me, last week’s episode was too much. The President is now a murderer? Sure everyone on Scandal pretty much exists in a gray area. Despite all the talk about Olivia and company being “gladiators in suits” and the good guys, we know that’s not completely true. They are the good guys only in the right context.  But I still don’t want the President to be a murderer.  And I didn’t quite believe that Abby would turn on David like that. It’s a dangerous game Scandal is playing – characters should be flawed, that’s what makes them interesting. But they shouldn’t be so flawed that we are unable to root for them anymore.  Scandal needs to take a break from all the conspiracy and the back stabbing and the murder. This week’s episode (Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC) skips ahead 10 months and begins Scott Foley’s guest star arc. The official press release for the episode says the team will be handling a new case. A few stand-alone episodes will do the show good.

4. Is there a more obvious story line than the doctors trying to buy the hospital on Grey’s Anatomy?

If it’s the settlement from the lawsuit that’s bankrupting the hospital, of course the doctors are going to try to buy it. Why did we have to spend three episodes getting to this obvious conclusion.  I’m finding Grey’s Anatomy positively tedious this season. Anyone who can name all the new interns without looking them up deserves some sort of prize. Because I call them Smash, Tina Majorino, the one I always forget about, annoying girl in love with Jackson and Lexie 2.0.

5. Is there a more annoying character on TV right now than Scarlett on Nashville?

She is so whiny and her accent is way over the top. I actually think I’m on Avery’s side which can’t be what the show intended.  Nashville is starting to become the show I hoped it would be but I always want to fast forward through the Scarlett scenes. Really the only time I want to listen to her is when she’s singing.

What do you think about what’s happening on The Following, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Nashville and Scandal? Talk about it below.

 Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Amy Hargreaves is Gail, the woman Tom hit with his car on The Carrie Diaries. She plays Carrie’s sister Maggie on Homeland.

Nazanin Boniadi was the public relations expert following Alex around on Grey’s Anatomy. We just saw her on Go On as Hannah, Carrie’s friend who went out with Ryan. She was, of course, Barney’s girlfriend Nora on How I Met Your Mother.

Abby Elliott is Ted’s new crazy girlfriend Jeanette on How I Met Your Mother. She was on Saturday Night Live for four seasons and, interesting fact, was the original Kate in Ben and Kate before the role was recast with Dakota Johnson.

Susan Misner is having a busy TV season. She plays Louis Canning’s wife Simone on The Good Wife.  Stan Beeman’s wife Sandra on The Americans. And she was on The Following last night as Ryan’s sister Jenny.  I also recognized her as Dan and Jenny’s mother Alison on Gossip Girl.

This one was bugging me for a while. Leah Pipes was the senior who wanted Rachel to be topless in her movie on Glee.  She was Katie in the short-lived CW series Life is Wild.

Quotes of the Week

“I’m like the Joan Cusack character in the romantic comedy of your life.” Mindy to Jamie on The Mindy Project.

“Little choke doesn’t like caramel and also he’s dead.” Laurie about why the Latin Kings didn’t accept her gang initiation cake on Cougar Town.

“Child stars go downhill no matter how good they are. They could star in a Spielberg movie and still end up playing the nutty mom in some sitcom,” Virginia to Sabrina on Raising Hope in a nice little shout out to The Goonies.

“I’m a squirrel. You’re a nut. Winter’s coming and I’m going to store you in my cheek girl.” Schmidt to CeCe on New Girl.

“That’s for cancelling My Name Is Earl,” Burt as he kicked the NBC executive on Raising Hope.

“I want painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love. Don’t you want that too?”Olivia to Edison on Scandal. Oh Olivia, my dear, sweet Olivia, you need SO much therapy.

“Do you think she’ll still like me now that I’m dead?” Chris after suffering food poisoning on Parks & Recreation. 

“I think you should stay and I think we should fight.” Pam to Jim on The Office.

“Rayna, I’m done talking.” Deacon to Rayna before kissing her in the elevator on Nashville.

“Not everyone in here looks like they are on the CW. Some of us are more PBS.” Artie on Glee.

What do you think about what’s happening on The Following, Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Nashville? Talk about it below. If you’ve seen a familiar face or heard a great quote, let me know through my comment page. And don’t forget to follow my blog by entering your email in the upper right hand corner. That way you’ll always know when I have a new post up.

TV Throwdowns

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

As TV viewers, we must make tough choices. In that vein, I present to you my current TV throwdowns.

New Glee Students vs. New Grey’s Anatomy Interns: Glee had an obligation to add new students. It is, after all, a show about a high school Glee Club. It would be impractical to keep the actors high school students forever especially since many of them looked as if they passed the exit to high school long before the show started. But, we didn’t really need new interns on Grey’s. We have enough doctors to keep up with as it is. On top of that, while the Glee students may be knock-offs of the originals (in the grand tradition of Valerie becoming the new Brenda and Gina becoming the new Valerie on 90210), they have made an impact. I may not like Kitty, but at least I know who she is. While watching Grey’s last week, I did not even recognize Leah (Tessa Ferrer). When she talked about having slept with Alex, I thought, “Is this girl hallucinating? She’s never been on the show before.” Turns out she’s been on the show twice before. Who knew? The rest of the interns I refer to as the crying one, Smash and Tina Majorino. Winner: The new Glee students.

Marvin “Wait For It” Erickson (How I Met Your Mother) vs. Carl Porter (Revenge): I know it’s hard to have a real baby on a TV set. If my daughter had been on any TV show as a baby, you would not have been able to hear any of the dialogue over her screaming, but I digress. Last week when Marshall was wearing a doll in a baby carrier, it was as if How I Met Your Mother wasn’t even trying.  The scene was ridiculous. Say the baby is sleeping or out for a walk or whatever, just don’t show us a lifeless baby doll. It was disturbing Baby Carl may be the easiest, most well behaved baby on the planet but at least he’s usually played by an actual baby. Winner: Carl Porter.

Nellie Bertram (The Office) vs. BJ (Ben and Kate): Who is the better saucy British sidekick? The Office has done a lot of work to make Nellie a more tolerable character this season. The smartest move the show made was to make her one of the gang. Now she’s the one colluding with Jim and Pam to play a trick on Dwight instead of the antagonist. They’ve also attempted to give Nellie a personal life to try to humanize her character. But despite her character rehabilitation, too much damage was done last season. I still prefer Lucy Punch’s absolutely outrageous BJ. Winner: BJ

The technology on Scandal vs. The technology on The Killing: Both shows seem, at times, to be stuck in the early 2000 technology wise. Rumors spread a few weeks ago that Netflix might pick up The Killing for a third season. In addition to the fact that this might not be the best idea creatively (the show struggled so in its second season), I wondered if the characters on The Killing even know what Netflix is or that’s it’s possible to watch a TV show via the Internet. This is, after all, the show that has a police detective using a flip phone and driving a car with no automatic locks. But over on Scandal, Olivia still receives photos via fax machine (I honestly thought my mother was the only person who still used a fax machine so at least she’s in good company) and Cyrus’s husband is excited about being on the front page of a newspaper (wouldn’t he be more excited about being the featured story on the paper’s website or getting his own blog for a political website?).  Meanwhile the show has Huck who can hack into anything at any time. At least The Killing was consistent with its archaic technology. Tough call but winner: Scandal.

Stockard Channing as Alicia’s mom (The Good Wife) /Adrienne Barbeau as Victoria’s mom (Revenge): Which mom am I most looking forward to meeting this Sunday? Well I already love Alicia’s brother and I’ve missed having the Former First Lady on TV. Except for the Storyline That Shall Not Be Named, The Good Wife does an excellent job with its guest stars. Revenge, however, wasted Jennifer Jason Leigh. WASTED HER. I’m not even sure of the reason for having Leigh on the show.  Winner: Stockard Channing.

Where do you weigh in on some of these TV throwdowns? Talk about it below. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Heard a great quote? Email me and let me know.  And remember to sign up to follow my blog if you want to be part of my December TV Swag giveaway. Coming soon, my open love letter to Parenthood, Part 2.

‘Once,’ ‘Glee,’ ‘Grey’s’ & ‘Up All Night’ – Has a Change Done Them Good?

Photo by: Gavin Bond/NBC

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

TV shows must evolve. Stay in one place too long and the show will exasperate viewers (see How I Met Your Mother), change too much and viewers feel as if they’re tuning into a completely different show (see Heroes).

A look at how four shows that underwent big changes this season are faring:

Up All Night (Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on NBC): It’s never a good sign when a show completely reinvents itself in its second season. I take it as an implicit confession. “Um you know all that stuff we did last year? It didn’t really work and we know it.” So Up All Night took away Ava’s (Maya Rudolph) talk show, put Chris (Will Arnett) back to work, had Reagan (Christina Applegate) become a stay-at-home mom and introduced the character of Reagan’s brother. None of the changes really stuck. I miss Ava and Reagan’s work environment (especially the dear, departed Missy) and Ava is stranded with no real reason for being on Up All Night except that she’s played by Maya Rudolph. (It’s a bit of a circular problem for the series since last season’s focus on Ava’s talk show stemmed from Rudolph’s Bridesmaid’s success). Now, all of Ava’s story lines are ungracefully wedged in. (Really, do we need to see Ava’s version of a haunted house?  Maybe she and Sean Hayes can spin-off into their own show. ) Without Ava’s show, it’s hard to understand why Ava and Reagan are friends. But we can’t spend any more time talking about this because Up All Night will air two more episodes this fall before returning in the spring in yet another incarnation.  This time the single camera comedy is changing to a multi-camera show  (As a point of reference, New Girl is single camera, The Big Bang Theory is multi-camera).That means a live audience and a more limited, static stage (the days of Reagan and Chris taking walks with baby Ava outside are probably over). I wouldn’t be surprised if more things changed between now and then (the show is shutting down production to redo the stage). If you want my truly fearless prediction, I’m ready to double down that the show won’t come back at all. I adore Arnett and Applegate. As a parent of a toddler, this show is made for me. However, Up All Night has always had flashes of smart humor but it’s never quite come together. And I’m not convinced the third iteration will be the charm. I am trying to think of when a show reinvented itself and it worked and the only example I could come up with was when These Friends of Mine became Ellen after one season.

Once Upon a Time (Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC): The drama took a gamble when it blew its original premise away in the first season finale. Certainly it could have wrung a few more seasons out of everyone in Storybrooke not realizing they are actually fairytale characters. In the second season premiere, the show transported its two lead characters back to fairytale land. Now the show has three worlds – Storybrooke, the fairytale world that was and the fairytale world of the present.  That’s a lot of different worlds for viewers to keep up with in 42 minutes.  And it’s doubled the amount of special effects which I’ve always found problematic. The fairytale world looks like the characters are stuck in a video game. I now rate all special effects on a scale of 1 to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s boat scene in the Ringer series premiere (with obviously the Ringer scene being the worst.) On that scale, I would put the Once Upon a Time special effects at about a five. That combined with the idea that Jennifer Morrison can take a Clark Kent approach to looking younger (give her a pair of glasses and she’s 17 again!) often takes me out of the show. I’m nervous about the amount of characters the show continues to introduce – again it’s a lot for viewers to keep up with. But I really do appreciate that Once didn’t go the traditional route with its narrative. I love the introduction of Michael Raymond-James as Emma’s ex-boyfriend and Henry’s father. (In my world of denial, Raymond-James is on the show as part of an elaborate and belated Terriers crossover).  And putting Emma and Snow together with the mutual mission of being able to return home is a great way to quickly bond mother and daughter.  But in general my advice to the show would be the same my father used to give me when I was little and talking really fast – slow down.  We don’t need to meet every possible fairytale character this year.  Every episode does not have to take place in three worlds. Let’s leave something for season three.

Grey’s Anatomy (Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC): My favorite part of this whole season has been Cristina’s budding relationship with Mr. Feeny, I mean Dr. Thomas. Much like he did for Cory and Topanga, Dr. Thomas is full of sage wisdom for Cristina. He’s also softening her character and helping her realize she still has a lot to learn about being a doctor. Plus it just makes sense that Cristina would move on and leave Seattle Grace. I never truly believed Cristina and Owen as some grand star-crossed couple so I’m okay with them being apart. The biggest problem I see the show facing is what to do now. I’m fine with Cristina working and living far away but is that a sustainable model? My other big gripe with the season is the Arizona story line. I’m simply not believing that Arizona, an informed, educated doctor who has made a career out of making difficult medical decisions, would blame Callie. Yes I understand that she’s mad at what happened to her and yes Callie is the easiest person to take her anger out on but I’m still not buying it. It’s a perfectly believable reaction of someone who went through this level of trauma, but it’s not working for me. Perhaps it’s because the show spent so many seasons building Arizona up as this perpetually cheery character.

Glee (Thursdays at 9 p.m. on FOX):  This fantasy version of New York City is a bit ridiculous. Suddenly Rachel’s waking up in the morning with hair extensions, full make up and false eyelashes. Everything that was grating about Rachel Berry has become exacerbated in New York.  But that’s nothing compared to the Kurt storyline. I could go along with the fact that he gets a job at Vogue.com based on his charm and edgy style. But that Sarah Jessica Parker’s Isabelle Wright would confide in him? That one’s little hard to believe. And her fairy godmother act isn’t that interesting. I keep waiting for her to steal one of Kurt’s ideas and claim it as her own.  Back at McKinley High, all the new students have edged out the adult characters. Sue Sylvester, who was a defining part of putting the show on the pop culture radar, has barely been seen this season. And Will has nothing to do. He’s to this season of Glee what Cindy and Jim Walsh were to 90210 once Brenda and Brandon graduated. Glee needs to find better, more relevant storylines for Mr. Schu and find a way to better balance its multiple characters and multiple locations.

How do you think Once, Glee, Grey’s and Up All Night are doing? What other shows do you think have undergone major changes this season and how do you think they’re doing? Talk about it below. On Thursday, I’ll have this week’s best quotes and familiar faces, so if you’ve heard a great quote or seen a familiar face email me and let me know about it.

Where Have I Seen Them Before and Quotes of the Week for October 25, 2012

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Skyler Day was the teen who wanted to keep sailing even though she might lose her foot on Grey’s Anatomy. She was Amy, Drew’s girlfriend, on Parenthood. Meeghan Holaway was the lawyer for Derek, Cristina, Meredith and Arizona. She played Amanda Burke, the lawyer Kathryn and John had on Switched at Birth before they hired Craig (Sam Page).  Ned Vaughn was the lawyer for the airlines. We just saw him in an episode of The Newsroom, where he played a representative for Halliburton who came on Will’s show.

Patrick Fischler was Artie Hornbacher, the NSA employee who tricked Olivia on Scandal. Fischler has been on so many things but I remember him most as Jimmy Barrett, the comic who did the Utz Potato Chip commercials on Mad Men and Phil, a DHARMA Initiative employee on Lost. Wendy Davis was Kimberly Mitchell, the talk show host. She’s Joan on Army Wives. Steven W. Bailey, who played the bartender Joe on Grey’s Anatomy, was the medical examiner. Brian Letscher is Tom, the secret service agent. I wanted to point him out because he’s the brother of Matt Letscher, who played the evil Billy Chambers last season on Scandal. So Shonda Rhimes hire within her TV family and within real families as well.

Adam J. Harrington was the robot like Congressman on Parks and Recreation. He was Ethan last season on The Secret Circle and Agent Walker on Dexter.

Rosa Salazar was Molly, Kate’s wild high school friend on Ben & Kate. She played Zoe, the woman who changed her mind and kept her baby last season on Parenthood.

Yancey Arias was the father of the missing girl on Elementary. He played Senator Tom Kingsley last season on Revenge but I’ll always remember him as Miguel on Kingpin.

Matthew Del Negro was Kent, Penny’s physical therapist on Happy Endings. We just saw him in the season premiere of The Good Wife as the police officer who pulled over Zach. He’s lodged in my memory as Brian Cammarata on The Sopranos.

Rachel Shelley was Milah, Rumplestiltskin’s wife on Once Upon a Time. She was Helena Peabody on The L Word

Quotes of the Week

“I loved you . . . if only the circumstances had been wildly different. You’re a disgrace to your nation Sergeant Nicholas Brody. You’re a traitor and a terrorist. And now it’s time to pay for that.” Carrie to Brody on Homeland.

“You’ll never be done.” Amanda to Emily on Revenge.

“I’ll wait until I hear them all sing and then I’ll text in my choice.” Axl on which Presidential candidate he’ll cast his vote for on The Middle.

“You gave me cookie. I got you cookie.” Nick to Schmidt on New Girl. This is definitely one of those quotes that makes no sense out of context but I loved it so much I had to include it this week.

“There are no bad ideas Lemon. Only great ideas that go horribly wrong.” Jack to Liz on 30 Rock.

“You see her again, I’ll blow you away. And I’m an excellent shot, remember?” the First Lady to the President on Scandal.

“Christopher, this is no time to be petulant.” Tim to Christopher on Project Runway when he won’t stop sewing when his time is up.

“I’m proud of you but also a bit fearful that we’re verging on what I call feelings territory so let’s stare at the fire in silence.” Ron to Tom on Parks and Recreation.

“It’s going to be old school – guitars and great songs. Just a show for people who love actual music.” Rayna to Juliette about her new tour on Nashville. Rayna could rival Victoria Grayson for biting one liners.

“Now I don’t feel like pie. Wait. No. It’s back.” Kevin on The Office.

“He won the election. Honey, our son is the new president of Cedar Knoll Middle School. God help us all.” Adam to Kristina on Parenthood.

“I will always come find you.” Emmett to Bay on Switched at Birth. Thanks to Diane for the quote.

Best Exchange of the Week

“Who’s your favorite rapper?” Nick to Schmidt in a flashback to their college days on New Girl.

“Brian Austin Green.” Schmidt’s response. I would watch a whole show about Nick and Schmidt in college. Can we make that happen?

Have you seen a familiar face or heard a great quote? Email me through my contact page and let me know about it. And remember to follow my blog (enter your email in the upper right hand corner) so you’ll always know when I have a new post.

The TV Gal Character Relocation Program

Photo by: Timothy White/NBC

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

We are a few weeks into the new television season and I believe it is time to activate the TV Gal Character Relocation Program (CRP). In the CRP, I sweep in and pluck good characters from bad shows and relocate them to a new series where their talents will be put to the best use. Really, it’s a public service.

Here are the current candidates:

Shania (Bebe Wood) on The New Normal to Glee:  The New Normal makes an Aaron Sorkin show look subtle. But aside from all the pontificating,  my main problem with the show is that it’s not funny. And, you know, I like my comedies to be funny. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I missed something and the The New Normal is actually supposed to be a half-hour drama.  But Wood is fabulous. Her impersonation of Little Edie from Grey Gardens was one of the best things I have seen on TV this year.  Let’s send Shania to Glee, another Ryan Murphy show which sure is uneven in quality but at least when it’s good, it’s very, very good. Shania could be a child prodigy who becomes the newest member of New Directions. Sure that’s a bit of an outlandish plot but is it anymore outlandish than Kurt landing a job with Vogue.com? I don’t think so.

Louis (Michael Urie) on Partners to New Girl:  Urie is trying his best with material he’s given. But honestly if you close your eyes and just listen to the show, it’s as if you’re watching a really bad version of Will & Grace. Same set-up (My analogy: Ali is to the jewelry design business as Grace was to the interior design business). Same jokes. Same elevator, even. Just a lot less charm. Louis could move into the apartment on The New Girl. He could talk fashion and, more specifically belts, with Schmidt while Nick and Winston could convince him to take his shtick down a notch or two. Now I would love to save Wyatt (Brandon Routh) too but, unfortunately, the CRP only allows me to save one character per show.

Miles (Billy Burke) on Revolution to Homeland: I’m exhausted by the fact that Revolution has been picked up for a full season.  I was really hoping the show would just go quietly to that great TV season pass manager in the sky. But no, now I’m going to have to keep up with its gaping plot inconsistencies and bad acting. Bill Burke is a great actor who has done a number of wonderful guest arcs (most recently as the nefarious Phillip Stroh on The Closer). The man deserves to be on an Emmy winning drama. On Homeland he could play a CIA agent who believes Carrie and helps bring Brody down. And then he could win an Emmy for his performance. See how well this could work out?

Dr. Brett Robinson (Zach Gilford) on The Mob Doctor to Grey’s Anatomy:  Seattle Grace needs a few new doctors and, given The Mob Doctor’s ratings, Dr. Robinson could be available very soon. Here at TV Gal, we leave no one from Friday Night Lights behind.

Marny (Tempestt Bledsoe) on Guys with Kids to The MiddleI’m delighted to have Vanessa Huxtable back on TV again. Now let’s get her on a show that’s actually funny. Marny could be one of the Heck’s new neighbors. She and Frankie could become friends. Maybe she could even help Frankie find a new job.

Which characters would you enter into the CRP and where would you relocate him or her? Talk about it below.

Grey’s Anatomy and Revenge

Last week, two shows totally tried to fake out viewers. On Revenge, the nighttime soap tried to convince viewers that Victoria Grayson was dead. While I believed there was no way that the series would kill off a character as great as Victoria, it was a very nice touch to not list Madeleine Stowe in the opening credits. It didn’t fool me, but I appreciated the effort and attention to detail.

I’m kind of disappointed that the alliance between Victoria and Emily was so short-lived. I loved the idea of the two former frenemies being in cahoots together. I do want everyone to know that Revenge is currently in my “Could So Easily Go Off the Rails” file. Revenge is great because of its over-the-top line delivery and plot twists. The show is so much fun. But I’m concerned it could start racing through plot twists and character reveals. (We’ve seen this happen before on many shows including Heroes). If Daniel is going to be evil, let him be evil. And please find some way to make Ashley useful to the plot. The show hasn’t seemed to know what to do with her since the beginning.

On Grey’s Anatomy, the show spent the entire hour trying to convince us that Arizona was dead but we’ve all watched TV long enough to know that unless there’s a funeral, he/she is probably not dead. (Unless, of course, you’re a show like Revenge when they can say you’re dead,hold a memorial services and you’re still not dead).  I knew we were going to see Arizona in the closing seconds of the episode. I holding out judgement of the Arizona as an amputee story line until I see tonight’s episode. The premiere didn’t really work for me for three main reasons:

  1. I simply can’t get too worked up about Mark Sloane dying. I never really bought Mark and Lexie as some great star-crossed couple and I’m really not that sad that McSteamy is gone.
  2. It’s annoying that now Meredith is the one terrorizing the interns. Medusa? Really? Another sign that it’s time for a show to end is when they pull an old plot line out of the bin and try to recycle it.
  3. I’m saddened by what’s become of Miranda Bailey. I’m glad she now knows that her nickname is Booty Call Bailey but the Miranda I knew would never have let it get to this point.

That’s all for today. Make sure to follow my blog so you know every time I have a new post.  And if you see a familiar face or hear a great quote of the week, definitely email me about it through my contact page.

ABC Thursday Night! ‘Last Resort,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Scandal’


By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

I’m usually willing to suspend quite a bit of disbelief while watching TV. Honestly, I don’t require a lot of pragmatism in my TV shows. Jack Bauer can make it across Los Angeles in ten minutes and never hit traffic. No problem.  Detective Kate Beckett can chase the bad guy in high heels and long, flowing hair when I can’t even cook dinner unless my hair is in a ponytail and my shoes are off. Sure, why not? It’s probably why I was never really that angry with The Newsroom. I didn’t expect it to actually show me how a real newsroom is run.

But I’ve had all summer and I still cannot get over what was the tiniest detail in the Grey’s Anatomy season finale. Another hospital was expecting a team of doctors to arrive by plane and all they do when the doctors don’t show up is leave a message for Owen? Really? We can’t, oh I don’t know, call the central switchboard and demand that Owen be paged since a WHOLE DAY has gone by and the doctors haven’t arrived. Obviously, this was done for dramatic effect so the other doctors could go about their day in the hospital not knowing that their friends were in peril but I’m simply unable to get past this leap in logic. The final shot of Owen finally listening to his voice mail was ridiculous. I actually threw something at my TV it was so ridiculous. (Thankfully sports isn’t my forte so the TV was safe.)

A sure sign that it’s time for a show to end is when the amount of things that have happened would mean that all of the characters would be in a straitjacket, staring at a wall and rocking back and forth. Given the bombing, the shooting and the catastrophes, they all should have had a complete nervous breakdowns by now or at least have switched jobs. Cristina is the only one who seems to realize this since she at least tried to change careers and announced “I don’t understand how this keeps happening” after the crash.

ABC didn’t make tonight’s premiere (9 p.m. on ABC) available, but here are my hopes/thoughts about the ninth season opener:

  1. Please don’t kill off Arizona (Jessica Capshaw). Let Alex (Justin Chambers) have guilt because she gets injured not because she’s dead.  Callie has already lost one spouse. She doesn’t need to lose another.  Since Eric Dane is leaving the series, you can go ahead and kill off McSteamy though. I’m totally okay with that.
  2. Please don’t put Cristina and Owen back together. They are the definition of dysfunction and I’ve never particularly cared for them as a couple anyway. Let them move on with other people.
  3. I love seeing a happy Bailey. But no more of Bailey sneaking off to the supply room for a little hanky panky or acting ridiculous in the OR. We all love Bailey because often she’s the only sane and professional doctor around. Let’s keep it that way.

Are you excited for the Grey’s premiere or are you fed up with the show? Do you think the show should end after this season? Talk about it below.


Last Resort

A pilot shouldn’t be that complicated to follow. It’s the time to invite viewers into the world you created and get them invested in your characters and your plot lines. Tonight’s premiere of Last Resort (8 p.m. on ABC) doesn’t really do that until the final moments. The drama takes a circuitous and convoluted route to the main plot. Submarine Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) receives orders to fire nuclear weapons on Pakistan. The orders don’t come through the regular channel which would mean that Washington, D.C. has become totally incapacitated. However, when the Captain turns on the TV, he finds nothing but daytime talk shows and Hannah Montana reruns.  So , you know, the country clearly isn’t in crisis.

When Marcus questions the orders, he’s relieved of his duty and his second-in-command XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) is put in charge. Only Sam isn’t so quick with the trigger finger either. This all leads to the entire crew seeking refuge on a remote island where things probably won’t go smoothly between the natives and the crew.

Along the way, there’s a positively ridiculous character introduction to Autumn Reeser’s Kylie Sinclair. Worst. Character. Introduction. Ever.  You get to see Max Adler (Dave Karofsky on Glee) again. And there’s the requisite girl back home pining away for Sam (Jessy Schram).

Braugher is fantastic in anything he does. He’s in my “I’d watch him read the phone book” file and, as I mentioned in my story on Scott Speedman, it’s really great to have him back on TV again. The duo have a terrific on-screen rapport of mentor/student (or father/son) that should propel the series forward. I’m invested in their relationship.

TV has been searching for another Lost since Lost began. Last Resort is clearly going after that viewership by launching a central mystery immediately  (why were they being told to attack Pakistan?) and also establishing the central characters as outlaws trying to forge a new life in a foreign land. The show films in Hawaii so, like me, you may be on the lookout for the smoke monster.

But I had quite a few issues with the pilot – from its convoluted storytelling to its often hokey dialogue. Shawn Ryan, the man behind The Shield and Terriers (which I adored), is at the helm here so that alone makes me believe the show will sort out its problems and could potentially become a great series, but right now it’s just an okay one.

(As a side note, Last Resort is the latest in many show titles that I want to put a “the” in front of as in The Last Resort.  I also sometimes want to say The New Girl. But I only wanted to write Mob Doctor instead of The Mob Doctor. I’m vexed by the “thes” this season. Just had to share.)



Scandal returns tonight (10 p.m. on ABC) and there’s almost nothing I can tell you without ruining the great plot twists the show has in store. This was one of my favorite new series from last season and if you are not watching Scandal, you should be. Kerry Washington is fantastic as fixer extraordinaire Olivia Pope. Washington manages to make Olivia simultaneously fierce and vulnerable.   The show is over-the-top but in a highly entertaining and enjoyable way.

Okay that’s all for today. Don’t forget to watch Elementary tonight  (10 p.m. on CBS) which was my pick for one of the best new shows of the season.  And remember I’m bringing back quotes of the week and where have I seen them before so send me your favorite quotes and familiar faces through my contact page. And don’t forget to follow my blog so you’ll know every time I have a new post.