By Arturo R. García, Joseph Lamour, and Kendra James
You might notice a slight title change this week as we change the format of the weekly roundup ever so slightly. Instead of just television, we’ll expanding into the broader definition of entertainment–music, movies, theatre, and TV. Because sometimes you just need a place to devote a paragraph or two to Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Or maybe that’s just Kendra.)
Psy, Hammer Style: At some point you had to wonder not only when the “Gangnam Style” craze would be put to bed, but whether Psy himself, who accidentally horsey-stepped his way into YouTube history, would get the last word on his meme like Rick Astley did three Thanksgiving Day Parades ago. And then this happened at the American Music Awards last Sunday:
Even if Psy ends up relegated to the dustbins of history alongside like Ricky Martin — who, let’s not forget, was also supposed to usher in a wave of International Pop yet hasn’t had a platinum album on the U.S. charts in more than a decade — it was a nice moment to see him get his due and to see him being able to keep up with the likes of MC Hammer. (As far as we could tell, anyway; ABC seemingly thought it was more compelling to watch us people reacting to two people of color headlining the event than to watch the actual performance they were enjoying.)
Of course, it wasn’t such a good moment for the Great Unwashed of Twitter, who got verklempt at his mere presence while presumably not having a problem with Canadian-born Justin Bieber winning a bunch of awards.
Now, as to what happens next for both Psy and K-Pop…when is Rain’s military service up again?–AG
Bones: In last week’s episode of Bones, intern Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat) relays an interesting speech about separating 9/11 from the Muslim religion as a whole.–JL
The Mindy Project: Had a pretty funny exchange where Mindy gets annoyed with a stunning girl, Geeta (played by Richa Shulka) that a previous beau, Dennis (played by Ed Helms), is now dating:
Geeta: If you don’t mind me asking, are you Indian?
Mindy: Yeah, big time.
Geeta:. Love to see other brown girls.
Mindy: Not that hard, there are literally billions of us.
Thank you Mindy, for reminding America of that fact.
P.S.: Is there only one stylist in Hollywood? Mindy and Ivy wear the same Rebecca Taylor Sequined Dress. Who wore it better, mmm?–JL
SNL: I’m told that comedian Katt Williams was involved in some kind of dust up at a comedy club last week? That’s too bad–and the past three years haven’t been particularly good to Mr. Williams. But, as with many things, there is at least a comedic silver lining:
Like Williams’ comedy specials (am I the only one who voluntarily watched The Pimp Chronicles: I, Pimpadelic, American Hustle and It’s Pimpin’ Pimpin’? Yes? Okay), the novelty of the sketch wears after the first half. That said, attention should be paid to the flawlessness of Jay Pharoah’s impression. When you have two men on cast handling the impersonations of every Black pop culture reference in the world, it would be impressive if they succeeded only 50% of the time. Yet, Pharoah (along with Keenan Thompson) manage to stay funny week after week.–KJ
The Vampire Diaries: Okay, so far this season we’ve left one of the most poorly used tropes–The Civil War–behind. Unfortunately, that hasn’t helped Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham). We’ve talked about her precarious situation on TVD before, so here’s a quick update on where she stands now:
We still don’t know who’s taking care of this poor kid. At one point, in the beginning of the season, she’s shown sitting alone in her house, still traumatised over the events from last season with no guardian to speak of.
Her (white) friends are gaining all kinds of power left and right (and angsting over it), while Bonnie has seemingly sacrificed the use of her witchy abilities after using them to save Elena and company over and over again. (Remember, last season her mother was turned into a vampire, also because of Elena.) What’s more, she keeps making sacrifices, big and small, for this group of–frankly horrible–friends. I just about died when Elena and Damon announced that they were crashing Bonnie’s trip to collect her dead grandmother’s possessions for their own personal needs and finally fell out when I realised that no one had asked Bonnie once how she was feeling throughout the whole trip. The trip that was supposed to be focused around her dead grandmother.
That plotline did lead to a potential romantic entangle for Bonnie that I wanted to be excited about (since, because Bonnie’s life just bites, none of her romantic interests ever work out), until it was revealed that the character (a college professor) is most likely some kind of evil. Bonnie Bennett, eternal sacrificial Black Best Friend and Magical Negro, cannot catch a break.
We’ll tackle Connor, the angriest and most violent Black man Mystic Falls, Virginia’s seen since 1865, in another post.–KJ
Once Upon a Time: I just wanted to point out that a week after I noted how swiftly OUAT is offing their characters of color, another one was re-introduced and killed within the span of an episode.
RIP Billy, a.k.a Gus the Mouse from Cinderella. You withstood over 50 years of being locked away in the Disney Vault, only to have network television do you in. You deserved better.–KJ
666 Park Avenue: Unfortunately, Vanessa Williams’ new show has been cancelled by ABC (along with Andre Bauer’s Last Resort). They’re not having much luck in the Sunday night lineup department, as this cancellation follows last year’s mid-season cutoffs of Pan Am and GCBs. The show was on the bubble before Hurricane Sandy heavily damaged their NYC sets, and it looks as if ABC decided to cut their losses rather than invest even more into the show.
An optimist might point out that Vanessa Williams and co star Terry O’Quinn are network favorites, so they’ll likely be back on the air soon. Still, it’s sad to see yet another fun Sunday night soap opera fizz out before having the chance to find its legs.–KJ
Major spoilers for this next item. You have been warned.
Misfits: Around halfway thru this season’s fourth episode, I wanted to write something about the quiet equity the show had come around to granting both PoC characters. And then the episode finished.
See, by this point it was nice to see that, while the show had added Jess (Karla Crome) to the ensemble (with a particularly snarky write-off for Kelly), she was neither set against nor linked to Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) upon her arrival. With the habitually laconic Curtis tending bar and embarking on a bad romance with the mysterious “Lola,” Jess’ immersion in the show’s universe had her facing her own tests, from old traumas (via a run-in with Rudy’s literal Bad Self) and new connections (Finn and Alex, positioned at seemingly the opposite ends of cis-hetero gender performance). With the group lacking a de facto leader (who listens to Rudy, anyway?), I was looking forward to seeing this play out.
And then…well, goodbye, Curtis. It’s fitting that, just as his first spotlight episode was the one that announced Misfits as more than “Skins with superpowers”–and probably set it on its course to a BAFTA win for Best Drama over the likes of Doctor Who–that his death in a “zombie noir” tightrope of an episode was this season’s best, as well. It showed off both his best qualities (his core morality and loyalty) and some of his worst (his stubbornness and inability to stop thinking with the other head) in a tale that didn’t let you see all the cards until it was too late to turn back. Even if you were driven away from the show at one point, this one’s worth returning to watch.–AG