WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: SHONDA RHIMES EDITION

scandal-recap

Alright, I am back with the second edition of Watch This, Not That.  Today, we tackle two Shonda Rhimes creations.  Both shows have been around for awhile and both shows have generated buzz over the years.  But, with so many new shows beginning, especially this fall, I think it may be time to vote one of these shows off the island.  So here we go:  Grey’s Anatomy v. Scandal.  Let the games begin.

Grey’s Anatomy (Thursdays, 9pm, ABC) – I will admit that I have only watched the season premiere of Grey’s.  (I simply did not have the time to watch the second episode last night).  But, I seriously doubt that episode number 2 is going to change my impression.  Let’s be honest.  The season premiere of Grey’s was a mess.  An utter mess.  It seems like they decided to throw every storyline into the first 2 hours.  The Chief is electrocuted and then so is Brooks.  Callie and Arizona breakup and Callie moves in with Meredith and Derek and refuses to let Arizona see the baby.  And, like in every other Grey’s season there is a terrifying natural disaster…this time it’s a storm and a landslide or mudslide (honestly, I can’t remember exactly).  What kills me about Grey’s is that, we are getting the same story over and over again.  It’s now been 9 full seasons (season 10 just started) and it’s the same old stuff.  A lowly intern dies (remember when George died), a couple breaks-up, and a bunch of people are injured by a huge catastrophe.  I am over it Grey’s, over it.  Please just call it quits.

Scandal (Thursdays, 10pm, ABC) – Scandal picks up in it’s season premiere right where it left off.  We see an incredibly intense showdown between Olivia and her father that makes you wonder where in the heck did Olivia come from.  The entire episode centers around the main love triangle in this show–Olivia, Fitz, and Mellie–and how to overcome the fact that Olivia has now been revealed as the President’s mistress.  It’s situations like these that bring out what we love most in these characters:  Mellie and Cyrus turn into the monsters that they are, the Gladiators stay strong and support Olivia, and Fitz becomes the sometimes weak, sometimes strong, man that is always less intelligent than the two women that are the center of his life.  In addition to the scene between Olivia and her father, I thought the scenes between the VP and the President were particularly strong and showed another layer Sally Langston.  All in all, a very strong premiere.

The similarities:  Obviously both shows are Shonda Rhimes creations and are airing on the same network.  Further, both shows star a female lead with a difficult and complicated love life (well, at least Meredith Grey used to have one) and a troubled upbringing.  Further, there are several actors who have played characters on both shows:  Jeff Perry, Scott Foley, Katie Lowes, Josh Malina, Bellamy Young, Kate Burton, George Newberm, Kurt Fuller, Gregg Henry, Debra Mooney, Mark Harelik, Tom Amandes…you get my point.

The verdict:  You can’t argue that Scandal isn’t the better show at this point.  I mean come on.  We all realize that Grey’s has become this old, tired drama that everyone is secretly hoping will announce its cancellation so that we can stop watching (oh, maybe that is only me).  In contrast, Scandal has proven itself to be exciting, interesting, creative, and unpredictable.  Those are hard things to accomplish.  And while admittedly, Scandal had a little rough start, it has now found its groove.  This could not have been any more evident than by the premiere of Season 3–an hour of television that I did not want to end.  So, jump on the Olivia Pope train and let’s try and remember the good years of Grey’s before the life had been sucked out of it.

-LJ

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WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: 2013 FALL “MOM” SHOWS

ALBERT TSAI, NATALIE MORALES, GIANNA LEPERA, RYAN SCOTT LEE, MALIN AKERMAN, BRADLEY WHITFORD, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, MICHAELA WATKINS

This is the first of what I hope is several posts comparing a variety of different shows.  The comparisons might be between shows of a similar premise or shows that run in the same time slot.  The possibilities seem endless.  Also, because there are few shows that warrant week to week reviews, this is our attempt to provide a brief guide into what we are at least watching.  First up:  Mom v. Trophy Wife.  Let the games begin. (yes, I said that in a Bane voice).

Mom (Mondays, 9:30pm, CBS) –  In this comedy, Anna Farris stars as a recovering alcoholic single mom who blames her shortcomings as a mother on her own recovering alcoholic single mom, played by Allison Janney.  Thoughts:  The pilot was a little all over the place and did not flow.  Allison Janney was definitely the funniest part of the first episode.  Anna Farris had her moments.  But the supporting characters all seemed like characachers, especially the employees at the restaurant.  The worst thing about the pilot was the laugh-track.  I had forgotten that shows even used those anymore.

Trophy Wife (Tuesdays, 9:30pm, ABC) – Here, Malin Akerman plays a former party-girl turned wife and step-mother to three kids.  Bradley Whitford plays her new husband.  Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins play the two ex-wives.  Natalie Morales places Akerman’s best friend.  Thoughts:  A lot was packed into this pilot.  Afterall, we had to learn Akerman’s backstory and then had to have her deal with her first parenting fiasco all in 30 mins.  Akerman was charming and I honestly thought the little Asian kid was pretty funny.  Enough goodness to make me tune in for another week.

The similarities:  Both shows center around two very blond young mothers attempting to navigate the field of parenthood.  Both shows star West Wing alumni.  Neither show had a particularly amazing pilot.

The verdict:  Trophy Wife wins by a land-slide.  Akerman was incredibly charming and the supporting cast around her was much much stronger than those characters on Mom.  I also didn’t excessively notice a laugh-track in the background while watching Trophy Wife, which means I was actually paying attention to the story being told.  Plus, as much as this will pain CJ to see, Josh > Claudia Jean, in my eyes.

-LJ