J on Why Laura Benanti’s Baroness Was the Best Character in The Sound of Music Live

I guess you could call me a purist.  Scratch that.  I am a purist.

I have nurtured a loyal and passionate love for The Sound of Music since I was four years old.

I’ve seen the stage play three times.  I’ve seen the film more times than I can count.  I’ve researched Rodgers and Hammerstein’s creation of the musical.  My copy of Charmian Carr’s memoir is dog-eared from repeat readings (she played Liesl in the movie, and almost didn’t get cast because her eyes were too blue).  I’ve been to the Sing-Along Sound of Music three times and counting.  So yeah, The Sound of Music is one of my favourite things.

Naturally I was both excited and skeptical when I heard about The Sound of Music Live event on NBC.  After watching it, I have a lot of thoughts.

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On Orphan Black, and Why It’s So Compelling

Hello, loyal readers and new viewers!  It’s been a while since we’ve posted anything here, but I wanted to break the silence to talk about Orphan Black, a show that has certainly grabbed our attention and interest here at The Viewing Party.  (Be warned: the following contains mild spoilers up to episode 1×09.)

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J Shares the Castle Love Forever and For “Always”: A Review of the Suspense, Revelations, and Grand Romance in the Season Finale 4×23

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Things happened. Big things. Things that are meaningful and irrevocable and wonderful. So let’s jump right in as I try, like so many fans out there, to make sense of my Castle/Beckett feelings.

We begin with Beckett clinging to the edge of a building, calling out for Castle as she loses her grip.  Just as all hope seems lost, we cut to three days earlier. Oh, season finales. After discovering what appears to be a gang-related murder in an alley, Beckett, Castle, and the boys soon discover a link to Montgomery’s home and the files he was trying to keep hidden. Drama, stolen glances, and intensity ensue, highlighting how much Castle, Ryan, and Esposito love Beckett in their own ways. Each of them will do pretty much anything to support Beckett and keep her safe, and we see this play out throughout the episode. Of course, Castle is keeping a secret about the files and the case, and we all know that it’s only a matter of time until it comes out.

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Castle and Beckett Resurrect Their Romance…and Some Zombies! J on Castle 4×22 “Undead Again”

We’re heading in the right direction, people.  I mean, sure, we’re celebrating the fact that Castle and Beckett are even talking to each other at all, let alone talking about their feelings, but after the last few episodes we’ll take what we can get.  It’s no secret that I was getting a little sick of the constant evading, concealing, and inability to communicate, and I was thoroughly fed up with Castle when he said this would be his last case working with Detective Beckett.  I knew it wasn’t going to prove true, but somehow that made it even more annoying.  Enough already!

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can comment on the actual episode.  I felt that “Undead Again” was all about one person knowing better than another and pulling the wool over their eyes.  This plays out in the zombie storyline, but also more significantly in Castle and Beckett’s relationship.  In terms of the zombies, we (or the characters) are fooled into believing that they might actually be the walking undead.  When that theory is debunked, we see the case of one “zombie” being manipulated into committing a crime against his will and without his knowledge.  See: pulling the wool over his eyes.  As for Castle and Beckett, they simply can’t keep up their charade any longer, and there are many layers of the charade: first and foremost is the fact that they’re in love with each other and not acting on it, second is Beckett hiding from Castle that she heard him say he loved her last year, third is Castle hiding his knowledge that she heard him, and fourth is Castle hiding info about Johanna Beckett’s murder and Kate’s shooting (which will most certainly come up in the finale next week).

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Like Mother Like Son – S on Castle 3×18 “One Life to Lose”

J, I loved your scholarly approach as you analyze the incredibly meta “One Life to Lose”. Castle manages to create an incredibly layered and “meta” world in each episode as it expands outside of the hour per week it’s on TV. In addition to the many features you mention in your review including the published “Naked Heat”, Richard Castle has his own twitter feed (Follow him @WriteRCastle). Nathan Fillion managed to subtly sneak in a reference the youtube sensation the double rainbow into “He’s Dead, She’s Dead”(3×02), but not before warning his 700,000+ twitter followers to look out for the reference in that night’s episode. Honestly I’m still waiting for a reference to “Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place” or did it already slide right past me?  (Yes I totally watched that show when it was on the air)

I love how Castle continues to dance along the fourth wall giving its ever loyal audience little Easter eggs for paying attention! Does it count as breaking the wall if you never directly address the audience? I’ll have to brush up on my Brecht.

But onto “One Life to Lose”. J you really covered a lot of what I loved in this episode, the endless conversations conducted with just looks and eye rolls, Esplainie and the jaunt down to Temptation Lane where the soap is soapy and the actors are trashy and someone is an axe wielding murderer.

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Casualties of War & Bad Timing – S on Castle 3×17 “Countdown”

J covered a lot of the back and forth of Castle & Beckett’s relationship in her review (here!) so I will try not to linger on that too long, and hopefully bring something new to the conversation. “Set Up” was fantastic (read what I thought here) but would have been nothing without this action heavy second half.  There are major developments in the Castle/Beckett saga as well as the major developments in the terror storyline plus a resolution for Fallon.

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Chilling Blues, Heartfelt Conversations & Volumes of Uncertainty – S on Castle 3×16 “Setup”

Last week J wrote that she was on the edge of her seat watching “Setup” read her review here.

As in many of the “intense” Castle episodes like “Knockdown” this year and the two-parter last season the entire show changes tone for these occasions. It’s not enough to bring in a high-stakes storyline if the rest of the production doesn’t match, as always Castle brings it all to the table.

From the beginning the show through us into the action with no context – fantastic way to setup (pun not intended) the rest of the episode. So much of this two-parter “Set Up “and “Countdown” is about terrifying uncertainty.

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Love will Tear us Apart…or can Walter bring us Together? – S on Fringe 3×14 “6B”

H did a great job covering 6B in her recap here so much so that I don’t have a whole lot to add. I absolutely agree that feelings are so much at the heart of this show. They fuel the complex relationships, and fearlessness with which Olivia approaches her job that make this show great. H, you are so spot on when you describe Peter and Olivia’s relationship as about being there for each other, and agree that Peter & Altlivia have far more chemistry and that it would be far more confusing if not for the amazing actors that fill these roles.

I loved the way Fringe incorporated the theme of Valentine’s Day in the perfect Fringetastic way – of course it’s love that will tear the universe apart. [Which also resulted in this song being stuck in my head all week]. I did really like this week’s episode, it was wacky, weird and emotionally poignent, and as the TV announcer said in the previews “Peter and Olivia made progress”.

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Every Girl Deserves Candy on Valentine’s Day – S on Castle 3×15 “The Final Nail”

J, I agree with you that this was another episode on the heavy side certainly when we deal with difficult parts of our character’s pasts we come into some serious territory. Although I didn’t find “The Final Nail” to be as similar in tone to “Knockdown” as you did. As you mention in your recap Castle is brilliant at inserting wit into serious situations in a very natural (and funny!) way. With that said, I found “The Final Nail” to be less of a “very serious episode” but instead a case-of-the-week in which we discover, as you put to eloquently many truths about our characters.

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S Reconnects with the Characters in Castle 3×14 “Lucky Stiff”

J was thrown back to vintage Castle while enjoying plot progression in Lucky Stiff – read her review here.

I really liked “Lucky Stiff”. It was a great change of pace from the incredibly heavy “Knockdown” from a couple weeks back. It was nice to have an interesting case of the week (The butler did it, seriously!) in a relatively stand alone episode so soon after an episode that was so long-plot driven. It’s getting difficult to write this review because J already touched on so much of what I wanted to say about the episode. I loved the fast and flashy NYC flare we got in the music, the opening shots and in Beckett screeching down the street in a Ferrari to a hot nightclub.

Now that I sit back and think about what happened in this episode, it was actually fantastic for reintroducing our characters to a first time viewer through the “What would you do if you won the lottery” thread through the episode. It allowed the show to communicate subtly with us long term viewers while having the same scenes be enjoyable for a first time viewer.

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