Monday, December 6, 2010

Notes on Pop Culture: 'Grey's' Goes Dark 'til 2011, 'Men of a Certain Age' S2 Premiere, Bieber/Brady Hair Spoof

Grey’s Goes Dark ‘Til 2011

Grey’s Anatomy is going on hiatus until January and had a strong close to 2010.

The latest episode – which I reviewed over on CliqueClack TV – was entertaining from beginning to end, from Callie spitting in McSteamy/Sleazey’s shower and trying to persuade Alex to become “the male me,” to Cristina’s inability to shut up during her fishing trip and Bailey’s flirtation with Eli (Daniel Sunjata from Rescue Me). The light moments were, as usual, accompanied by serious twists: Owen telling Meredith he doesn’t want her around the formerly bartending Cristina, Callie shutting the door in Arizona’s face and Teddy impulsively proposing marriage to Denny Duquette Redux (this could go well or could turn hellishly soap opera-ish).

While watching the last episode, it felt very reminiscent of the first and second seasons in its tone. And that’s a good thing. Given that the season seven premiere began in the aftermath of the Seattle Grace shooting that capped season six, how do you feel about the first half of the season? I think it’s been, for the most part, a solidly entertaining and thoughtful season that hasn't gone for the easy answers, at least not for the series regulars.

Men of a Certain Age Season 2 Premieres

Men of a Certain Age is one of those solid, quality shows that's on the quiet side but really ought to have a larger audience than it does.

Ray Romano is not Everybody Loves Raymond’s Ray Romano in this one-hour drama about three friends dealing with the disappointments, challenges and struggles that occur in middle age. Ray isn’t whiny or incompetent or pushed around by his mother or his wife. Instead, he’s Joe, the freshly separated dad of two, who owns a party supply shop (which is ironic because he’s so glum), whose gambling addiction led to the death of his marriage. In the freshman season, Joe was living in a hotel and by the finale he’d gone back to gambling in order to try to scrape together a deposit for a home he wanted so his children could come and stay with him.

Accompanying Romano’s raw and vulnerable Joe, are Scott Bakula’s Terry, a never-married actor who never got his big break and wears his disillusionment on his face, and the fabulous Andre Braugher’s Owen, a married father of three who spent most of the first season under his father’s thumb working at his dad’s auto dealership and stress eating.

It’s rare to see this kind of detailed portrayal of the day-to-day life of a group of guys who aren’t cops or doctors or lawyers or Hollywood agents or ad men from the 1960s. They’re regular guys, with regular problems that are expertly dramatized on the small screen in such a way that it makes Men of a Certain Age a pleasure to watch, if you like insightful dramas about the small moments that, when taken together, make up a life.

Its second season premieres on TNT tonight at 10.

Bieber/Brady Hair Spoof

Okay this thing with Tom Brady’s hair, it’s annoying. Sure, at the beginning of the football season, I was mildly curious as to what was up with the new shag do, but that’s about it. Months into the season, I could care less about Tom Brady’s stupid hair and chirpings coming from the little moppet Justin Bieber who sports a similar look.

Brady attempted to demonstrate that he’s a good sport about this contretemps by appearing in a Funny or Die video about it but, like with the entire Brady/Bieber Hair controversy, I’ve not deriving much amusement from it. You?

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