Scandal’s Olivia Pope Ethers Internet Commenters in 4 GIFs
So far this season Scandal has been largely focused on one, well, scandal: Olivia Pope and President Fitzgerald Grant’s relationship (affair?) finally being out in the open. Yes, the fling that started it all—and has been tensely bubbling under the surface since Season 1—is finally out in the open. That move, of course, has now placed Liv (Kerry Washington) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) under the scrutiny of the entire world—and, more specifically, the internet. Naturally, because the internet, that means Olivia is now the subject of all manner of grief from online commenters. Any person who has spent any amount of time online, especially if they’re a public or even semi-public figure, knew this would come. Just ask any of the targets of Gamergate. That’s why, when Liv laid out this very succinct reaction to reading about herself online, a weary nation collectively nodded its head in agreement—or (probably) took to the comments section of the nearest blog to call her an idiot.
Last night’s Empire went topical once again, with Cookie getting hauled off by the police and shouting, “If I die in police custody, I did not commit suicide!” #IfIDieInPoliceCustody became a trending conversation after Sandra Bland, a black woman, was arrested this summer and found dead in her cell before being able to post bail. The cause of death was deemed to be suicide, and in response many black men and women took to social media posting their own #IfIDie pre-emptive posthumous notes explaining what they did not do while being held by police. Some viewers have denounced the reference for being in poor taste while others celebrated it for putting an important topic on the primetime stage. Regardless of where you come down on the issue, Empire keeps reminding us it won’t shy away from difficult conversation pieces, even if you disagree with its methods, and that Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) isn’t just here for the jokes and the ass slaps.
After a shaky outing last week, The Muppets bounced back with an episode that brought large groups of characters together in ways that made their adult lives seem actually plausible and appropriate. Nobody was clamoring to see a production meeting full of hungover Muppets, but with a bunch of songs and guest star Ed Helms, it all actually tied together pleasantly without having to single out characters to make fun of them. (Except Sam the Eagle, who was a giant creep about Janis.) Let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings.
If you don’t like watching Kermit “manipulate with the best” in order to keep Up Late with Miss Piggy afloat, then The Muppets isn’t the series for you. But just as he intervened when Piggy’s relationship with Josh Groban was changing her in ways she couldn’t see, he does the same this week to end Piggy keeping the crew out till all hours, which would derail the show’s production schedule. Yes, he’s being a jerk, but he’s keeping the ship upright. It’s also probably a good thing that his new girlfriend hasn’t shown up since the pilot.
4. Ed Helms
Considering how important musical performance has been to the film and television success of the Muppets for decades, it’s a wonder that karaoke didn’t show up sooner than this episode. Ed Helms is a noted music enthusiast—singing in The Office and appearing in the video for Mumford & Sons’ “Hopeless Wanderer.” He’s great here as an incredibly petty version of himself who Piggy remembers from holding his birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s just so he could get back at his niece for not inviting him to a party there.
3. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker
It’s possible for these two characters to have great moments separately, but this week their best moments were together. First, for Bunsen telling Beaker to do his Miss Piggy impression (“Me, me, me, me, me!”), and second for showing up to the morning meeting wearing each other’s clothes.
We had to know it was a long con all along, but because this is a more adult Muppets program that delves into emotional content, there was a sliver of possibility that Statler was trying to connect with Fozzie in his loneliness. But the B-plot of Fozzie accidentally nailing Statler with an errant t-shirt gun shot does lead to the above GIF when the bear visits the hospital, and the hilarious, in-character deception that leaves Fozzie feeling like Charlie Brown trying to kick that football.
1. Swedish Chef
Anytime this beloved Muppet does the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” for karaoke, he will undoubtedly own the top spot on this list.
The world is an uncertain place, but there are at least two things we know for sure: No one puts Baby in a corner, and no one puts Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) behind bars. On last night’s episode of Scream Queens, Oberlin got hauled out of her math class and tossed into the big house on suspicion of murdering Kappa Kappa Tau’s cleaning lady, Ms. Bean (Jan Hoag). Of course, Chanel did murder Ms. Bean by burning her to death in a deep fryer, but no one’s supposed to know that! Kappa’s president doesn’t spend much time in jail before getting bailed out by Chanel #3’s dad, putting her on the war path towards whoever ratted her out. (And in case you were wondering why Chanel #1’s own “gross rich” father couldn’t post bail, it’s because he’s backing Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and can’t be seen sliding money to an alleged murderer. Naturally.) And as she sets out for revenge, Chanel’s jailhouse runway strut is so fire even the security guard can’t help but send her off with a flourish! Wallace College might have a serial killer cutting a bloody swath through campus, but it’s also got one seriously pissed off Chanel. We’ll take our chances with the Red Devil … and make sure to scream real loud so Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) of Secure Enforcement Solutions can come a-runnin’ and protect us!
Whenever The Walking Dead has needed a kick in the pants it has always come through with the same sure-fire win: more zombies. (OK, sometimes the death of a major character will do that too, but whatever.) Last night’s Season 6 premiere turned that up to 11 with one of the largest zombie showdowns in the show’s history. In an effort to protect their enclave at Alexandria, the crew—fronted by Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green)—lead a massive pack of zombies into (hopefully) a trap. “I know this sounds insane, but this is an insane world,” Rick (Andrew Lincoln) said. “We have to come for them before they come for us. It’s that simple.” (Truth.) We’ll have to wait for next week (or later) to find out how well it worked, but in the meantime, enjoy this zombie humorously attempting to free itself from farm equipment.
Another week of Empire, another chance for Taraji P. Henson to prove she is the Sun around which all other the people and plot developments revolve. Without Cookie, Empire is a song with no hook. You’d be kind of into it, but you might never intentionally put it on, and it would never get stuck in your head. And on last night’s episode she reminded the whole Lyon family—once again—that they’re just a bunch of featured players and she is the chorus you can’t stop singing. It was family dinner night at Chez Lucious (Terrence Howard) and while Andre (Trai Byers) tugged at his dad’s pant leg and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) continued his transformation into Dumbest Character On The Show, Cookie just sat and let all of Lucious’ Messianic complex mess roll off her shoulders. (Bryshere Y. Gray’s Hakeem, obviously, was just chilling, because no one can rain on his hustle parade.) While he talks about learning from the few months he spent in prison, she knows her 17 years locked away taught her infinitely more about survival and resilience than he’ll ever understand. Thankfully for us, Lucious will always underestimate Cookie’s ability to thrive in spite of him, because it means we’ll keep getting more iconic lines like this.
The beginning of iZombie’s second season sees Olivia Moore (Rose McIver) adjust to a new status quo. Her best friend Peyton (Aly Michalka) has abandoned their apartment; her ex-fiancé-turned-zombie-hunter Major (Robert Buckley) isn’t speaking to her; and her mother and brother—the latter of whom survived the Meat Cute explosion with tons of shrapnel—aren’t speaking to her over Liv’s refusal to give blood in a time of desperate need lest she be discovered as a medical anomaly. But in changing the parameters of the relationships introduced in the first season, show creator Rob Thomas has begun to focus in on a manageable number of characters and plot lines. Liv still investigates crimes with Clive (Malcolm Goodwin), and works on a cure with Ravi (Rahul Kohli) in the morgue. But the Max Rager subplot with Steven Weber now ties in much more closely with Liv’s investigation. Her new roommate is an undercover Max Rager spy, who helps to blackmail Major—functioning as a human zombie detector in his post-zombie cure malaise—into taking a list of potential zombies and killing them all to destroy evidence the evil energy drink company created a zombie problem in the first place. Sure, there’s still going to be a case-of-the-week, which provides some great one-liners as Liv’s personality changes along with the brains she consumes (such as the one in the GIF above). But whereas the first season struggled to balance world-building and a season-long arc to rival Thomas’ previous mystery series Veronica Mars, it looks like this time around there’s enough narrative cohesion to draw everyone together without any thread getting lost.
Not every episode of The Muppet Show was a winner, nor has every Muppet film been a rousing success. Last night, The Muppets joined the franchise’s proud history of misfires with an installment that, while it contained a few good gags, mostly just highlighted the show’s emphasis on how working in the entertainment business has hardened the sweet, beloved Muppet characters into jaded, vindictive veterans. Nevertheless, here are the power rankings:
5. Sam the Eagle
This week’s A-plot focuses on the Kermit/Fozzie friendship, and the well-worn sitcom plot of a friend not wanting to hurt another friend’s feelings by telling the truth. Fozzie leaves Up Late to pursue a screenwriting career after Kermit lies about the strength of a comedy sketch he doesn’t want to air on the show—and Sam the Eagle, in his role as Standards & Practices rep, praises Fozzie’s clean act while also deriding its lack of laughs.
4. Nick Offerman
Taking over for departing sidekick Fozzie at the last minute is Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman, whose demands for a favor in return for filling in escalate from a fancy cappuccino machine to a boat. (“It’s not a big boat. I’m not greedy.”)
3. Bobo the Bear
Bobo: “Yeah, Fozzie and I shared a pretty strong bond.”
Scooter: “That’s right, you were the only two bears working here.”
Bobo: “Oh … I was thinking it was because he’s my swim buddy at the Y. But yeah, I guess we’re both bears. I never really thought about that…”
The B-plot, involving Piggy’s attempts to get back at Christina Applegate for an embarrassing video clip, is the worst part of the episode. But the C-plot, where Gonzo needs Liam Hemsworth’s help to smooth over some half-truths in an online dating profile has some great one-liners. Hemsworth, disappointed that he’s not at a pre-interview for Miss Piggy’s show, is on the receiving end of a great Rizzo observation about how to get on a talk show: “Tonight? No. Eventually? Well that’s up to you and the projects you choose.”
1. Kermit the Frog
Fozzie may be the archetype of a terrible standup comedian, but he’s nothing if not a loyal and encouraging friend. The Muppets is currently faltering by creating contrived situations for its characters to act too mean, which is how Kermit starts out. But eventually he gets it, and goes after Fozzie, lost in the woods and struck by a park ranger tranquilizer dart. Thankfully, after the two friends make up, Kermit delivers the line of the episode (above) to answer Fozzie’s question about whether he’s ever been woozy because of a foreign substance.
About halfway through the life of Glee, the reliability with which the show would run “message episodes” became something of an inside joke among viewers. All manner of hot topics got dedicated storylines, and people who tuned in for the Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk/Ian Brennan brand of dark humor felt the show got too saccharine when it was doing the Good Work. But to hell with the cynics, because awareness is necessary, and last night on Scream Queens Fox Force Murphy pulled its big righteous message sword back out to do some cutting. In a scene that started with a gaggle of Kappa Kappa Tau sisters eating cotton balls to stay thin, a painfully archetypal frat bro approaches the girls and asks which one he will be wearing as a Halloween costume this year. Naturally, the Chanels are having none of this and do not let him get away without paying for his disrespect. In a rare turn, Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) chooses sisters over misters and starts lining out the bro for reducing her and her friends to a bunch of sex dolls. Once his buddy weighs in to ask why they can’t just be chill girls with senses of humor, their fates become sealed as Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele) delivers a swift blow to misogyny and his manhood, inciting an ass-whooping from the ruling elite of KKT. Be warned, dudes. These girls might have drama behind walk-in closet doors, but when they’re out in the world they take care of their own.
— Scream Queens (@ScreamQueens) October 7, 2015
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for last night’s episode of Gotham.
Well, we didn’t see that coming. Shortly after Gotham introduced Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) last season—and almost immediately after he let out his first laugh—people began speculating that this guy might be the show’s Joker. (Just look at that face and try to say they were wrong for thinking that.) That theory got completely ethered last night when Jerome, after taking over a children’s hospital fundraiser for some Bad Guy Gun Play Theater (above), got stabbed in the neck by villain-posing-as-hero Theo Galavan (James Frain). Sorry Jerome, looks like you’re not going to be a maniacal supervillian after all.
The first season of Rick and Morty sneakily had two finales: one that broke the fourth wall and referenced the end of the season, and another one that teased a larger part of the multiverse within the show that co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon never intended to revisit. Which is why it’s hard to pin down last night’s second season finale “The Wedding Squanchers.” Over the course of this second batch of 10 episodes, Rick (Roiland) has attempted suicide in the wake of romantic rejection, begged his grandson to shoot him, and now abandoned his family to turn himself in as a space prisoner after his best friend is gunned down by his wife-turned-government-agent (see above). Is this the new status quo that will pick up, as Mr. Poopybutthole states in the post-credits scene, “in like a year and a half, or longer” when the show returns? Rick and Morty has a slippery relationship to its own continuity, and it’s not a serialized story beyond a few recurring characters—like Bird Person (also above), who first appeared in last year’s finale—so it’s not quite clear whether this will get waved off at the start of next season, or if it will be a part of the ongoing story. There’s a cliffhanger in terms of Rick’s fate and another about what will happen to the Smiths now that Earth is a part of this Galactic Federation. All that could heavily influence what happens in Season 3, but—as that post-credits scene demonstrates—when it comes to fan expectations or narrative demands of the genre, Roiland and Harmon just don’t give a squanch. And that’s what makes R&M great.
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