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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Groove Tube #73: Nashville's Chris Carmack can sing to me anytime

Welcome to The Groove Tube, a weekly recap of the highlights (and lowlights) of some of the scripted TV shows I'm watching (in order of preference):

TV Series of the Week: Mad Men
"The Better Half" (Episode 74/May 26, 2013)

Most Surprising Kiss of the Week: Soap opera actress Arlene kissed her co-star Megan (Arlene's portrayer Joanna Going played Victoria Winters on the 1991 NBC series, Dark Shadows).

Best Sex of the Week: I wasn't expecting Don and Betty to hook up during a visit to Bobby's summer camp.

Best Break-Up of the Week: Abe broke up with his girlfriend Peggy after she accidentally stabbed him (I'd rather see her with Ted).

Best Return of the Week Runner-Up: Head hunter Duck Phillips (Mark Moses), whom Pete met with.

Grooviest Music of the Week: Lou Johnson's "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" played during the closing credits.

Grade: A+ (now this is more like it - my favorite episode so far this season)

2) Nashville
"I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive" (Episode 21/May 22, 2013)

Hottest Hunk of the Week: 32-year-old Chris Carmack as Will.

Hottest Drunk of the Week: Deacon always looks nice shirtless, but he fell off the wagon after learning that 13-year-old Maddie was his daughter.

Most Confused Character of the Week: Will, whom Gunnar was surprised to discover in bed with a girl.

Best Musical Number: Rayna and Brad Paisley's duet of "Bitter Memory".

Most Surprising Plot Twist of the Week: Teddy learned that Peggy is pregnant!

Best Marriage Proposal of the Week: Gunnar proposed to Scarlett, but we'll have to wait until fall to find out her answer.

Best Cliffhanger of the Week: Rayna and Deacon were involved in a bad car accident - but I have a feeling they will both survive.

Grade: A

Overall Season Grade: A (I'm not even a country music fan, but I fell in love with this soapy and very addictive drama, which features one of the best ensemble casts on television. Also, kudos to creator Callie Khouri and her writing team for adding a gay character to the show. I'm looking forward to Season 2!)

3) Bates Motel
"Midnight" (Episode 10/May 20, 2013)

Best Line: "Screw off, shithead!" - Norma to a rude guy

Most Surprising Plot Twist of the Week Runner-Up: I wasn't expecting Sheriff Romero to shoot and kill the creepy Jake Abernathy.

Best Cliffhanger of the Week Runner-Up: Norman's teacher, Miss Watson, ended up with her throat slashed. Did he kill her - or did someone else?

Grade: A

Overall Season Grade: A (I really enjoyed this dark and twisted prequel to the 1960 Hitchcock film, Psycho - and I hope that the Emmys will honor both Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore with nominations for their outstanding performances. The series will return for a second season in 2014)

4) Modern Family
"Goodnight Gracie" (Episode 96/May 22, 2013)

Grooviest Guest Star of the Week: Anita Gillette as Annie, the woman Phil's late mother wanted Phil's father to be set up with after her death (the actress previously played Liz Lemon's mother on 30 Rock, appeared on the daytime soap, Search for Tomorrow, and Norman Lear's 1977 sitcom, All That Glitters, and starred on Broadway in the musicals, All American, Mr. President and Jimmy, as well as the Neil Simon play, Chapter Two, for which she was nominated for a 1978 Tony Award)

Grooviest Guest Star of the Week Runner-Up: Ann Magnuson as Shelley, who worked at the Leisure Park retirement community (the actress appeared on the 1989-92 sitcom, Anything But Love, with Jamie Lee Curtis).

Best Line Runner-Up: "I was shipping off to Vietnam, you had the ass of a young Ann-Margaret" - Jay to Charlotte, the woman he lost his virginity to.

Best Line: "Turns out she sent more men off to war than Lyndon Johnson" - Jay about Charlotte

Grade: A (a very amusing season finale)

Overall Season Grade: A- (it still remains one of the best sitcoms on television)

5) Smash
"The Nominations" (Episode 31/May 26, 2013)
"The Tonys" (Episode 32/May 26, 2013)

Best New Character of the Week: Brothers & Sisters' Luke Macfarlane as actor Patrick Dillon (too bad they didn't introduce him sooner as a possible love interest for Tom).

Drinking Game of the Week: Take a drink every time Karen says, "Oh, Jimmy."

Best Cameo Appearance of the Week: Cheyenne Jackson and Christine Ebersole, who announced the Tony Award nominations.

Best Cameo Appearance of the Week Runners-Up: Marin Mazzie and Lillias White were Tony Award presenters.

Best Return of the Week: Eileen was reunited with Nick (Thorsten Kaye), who was released from prison.

Worst Return of the Week: Julia's estranged husband Frank (Brian D'Arcy James).

Most Surprising Return of the Week: Julia showed up at her ex-lover Michael Swift's door (I wasn't expecting to see him again).

Broadway Revival I Would Like to See: Kate Baldwin in Seesaw.

Toughest Tony Award Category: Ivy beat Karen, Sutton Foster (in Oliver!) and Audra McDonald (in House of Flowers) for Best Lead Actress in a Musical.

Most Deserving Tony Award: Bombshell beat Hit List for Best Musical.

Least Deserving Tony Award: Hit List's Daisy won Best Featured Actress in a Musical - Ivy's mother Leigh (Bernadette Peters) was robbed for her performance as Marilyn's mother in Bombshell.

Best Kiss of the Week: Tom kissed Patrick, who asked if he and Julia would be interested in working on a movie musical in L.A.

Most Bizarre Plot Twist of the Week: Jimmy faced a possible jail sentence of 6-18 months for distribution of a controlled substance. Was this a way to write him out of the series if there was a third season?

Most Disappointing Non-Scene of the Week: We never got to see Ivy tell Derek that she was pregnant - but at least they were reconciled at the end.

Best Musical Number Runner-Up: At the beginning of "The Tonys", the entire cast - even Eileen and Derek - sang "Under Pressure", a 1981 song recorded by Queen and David Bowie.

Best Musical Number: Karen and Ivy's performance of "Big Finish" at the Tony Awards.

Grade: A (at least the series ended well for the most part - and it made me want to see a third season)

Overall Season Grade: B-

Last Words: So what didn't I like about this season? Jimmy (nice to look at and listen to sing, but he was such an unpleasant asshole most of the time), pointless guest stars (especially the lame storyline for Sean Hayes), nice Ivy (there was very little conflict between her and Karen this season, which hurt the show - she was more fun as a bitch), and Kyle's death (it just reminded me too much of Rent composer Jonathan Larson - and I liked the character). But Smash was still an enjoyable (but often frustrating) series to watch during its 32-episode run with many memorable musical numbers, some groovy guest stars (Bernadette, Liza) and an excellent ensemble cast. I will miss Ivy and Tom and the rest of the gang.

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