Category Archives: Critical Eye

Breaking my heart in more ways than one…

It feels like a lot of time has passed since I first wrote of my love for ‘Anyone But Me.’ This week, S2 finished and it left me and every other ABM fan around the world screaming probably two things: “OMG you can’t just end it there!” and of course, “When’s S3?!?!” I’m sure there were a lot of other things screamed too, mostly aimed at the devils incarnate (aka the writers) – Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward. Along with the screaming I am sure a few things were thrown and a few monitors destroyed. I’m a pro at this now, I know to remove all potentially dangerous objects from arm’s reach when watching ABM. I’ve taken to warning other people too. That such strong emotions can come from a show where most people’s only complaint (if you can call it that) is that the eps are too short only testifies to how outstandingly brilliant this show is. I find myself running out of superlatives to describe the show, its cast, and yes *groan* (because I still kind of hate them) its writers and director.

Everyone has an opinion on the S2 finale ‘Curtain’s Up‘. Some of us even took to voicing them when Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward very bravely decided to do a call-in show so soon after the finale had aired. If people had started to choose sides after Vivian’s faux-pas in ep8 the battle lines have very clearly been drawn now. Team Vivian. Team Aster. Or for those more hopeful that those two don’t stand in opposition to each other we have the Team VivSter supporters and yes as much as I shake my head as I write this, there are even Team Sophie and, even more disturbingly, Team Sophian supporters. This battle is going to be more epic than the whole Team Jolie/Team Aniston campaign of years gone by. T-shirts will be assigned accordingly.

As much as I love Vivian, and I do love her so very much, I am of course a Team VivSter supporter first and foremost, but if you asked me to pick a side I’m going to have to go Team Aster on this one. Vivian knows Aster, this season she has been making monumentally stupid mistakes with Aster in regard to anything Sophie related. I’m all for honesty, but Vivian needs to go away this summer and learn to think before she opens her mouth. Big time. As much as Aster acted completely irrationally in the finale this is what we’ve come to expect of Aster. If we know that she is impulsive and prone to strong emotions then Vivian for sure should know this. If you are by some horrible twist of fate caught in a kiss with your girlfriend stood watching you then you DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, linger in that kiss – especially when it’s with a girl you’ve admitted to having a crush on. You certainly do not put your arm around her and keep going! Vivian! No! No! No! I still can’t dwell on it too much for fear I might hurt some poor unsuspecting soul who happens to be in my vicinity.

Of course, the drama didn’t only come for my favourite duo. My other favourite ABM guy, Archibald, is also left at a bit of a loss. Mistaking the prescription drugs his lady-love, Elisabeth, is taking to be something more sinister he’s walked out and left her in total confusion. It took a lot – including still one of the most adorable scenes in which Elisabeth almost knocks herself out by walking into his locker door as well as an Aster-esque surprise trip to the city, for these two to get together. I can only hope that rather than write her off completely Archibald gives her the chance to explain exactly what’s going on. However, no one likes to be thought of a drugtaker so I’m sure that conversation isn’t going to go down very well for all parties involved.

This summer they promise not to leave us all hanging in ABM-limbo. I know that last year we got little titbits of info in the lead-up to S2 with many celebs, including Geek God Zachary Quinto, voicing what many fans already knew: ABM is an addiction that everyone should have. So I, along with everyone else, can only wait in eager anticipation for what that dastardly duo of Miller/Ward have in-store for us poor unsuspecting fans. I will, however, provide this warning – do not trust them to do anything but deliver absolute magnificence. By this I mean, they will deliberately try to bamboozle you into believing certain things are going to happen – remember the whole ‘Vivian gets to be happy‘ illusion, does she look happy in the picture to you? They will even go so far as to lie to your face without a blink of an eye. However, whatever it is they do, whatever trick it is they pull, whatever web of deceit they weave, it will ultimately be worth it. They can’t help themselves, they’re amazingly adept in breaking our hearts in a way that makes us come back begging for more. Like so many others, I no longer have the choice but to go on whatever ride they decide to take us and the characters and just hold on tightly and pray to God I survive!

There’ll be announcements made around S3 in the very near future I believe. For those of you who still need a regular fix of ABM then you can spend the summer re-watching the eps or even better, purchase the S1 DVD and watch it on the big screen. As much as they have broken my heart, I want to say thank you to Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward, as well as the complete cast and crew of ABM, for giving us all such a wonderful season. So much has happened for them – including Rachael Hip-Flores’ well deserved Streamy Award, and I can only imagine greater things in their future. I can honestly say, my life is all the better for having this show and these people in my life.

For the last time this season, here’s the Twitter-tary. Have at it…Ep 2.10 ‘Curtain’s Up

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Big Emotions – BIG Love for ABM!

I’ve kinda had a soft spot for Liza Weil ever since she declared, ‘I want my ABM!‘ Seeing her this season as Aster’s therapist, Dr Glass, has only confirmed my belief that ‘Anyone But Me‘ has some serious talent involved in every part of it. I’ve never been a big believer in therapy, this coming from someone with a Psych degree, but Dr Glass is pretty damn cool in my books.

If the ABM love wasn’t enough she’s married to one of my current favourite TV doctors, Paul Adelstein – aka Coop in Private Practice, and he shares my addiction! I want my ABM all the time too. During the ABM hiatus I’m definitely going to have to search out what else Liza Weil’s been in. IMDB tells me her resume includes the ‘West Wing’ and, like ABM, I never need an excuse to watch that show.

I’m so glad she came back in the new ep and I’m really hoping she makes an appearance in S3. I’ve got a gut feeling that Aster’s going to need someone to talk her to her senses. As much as the season finale of S1 left me with the biggest grin I fear the writers won’t be so kind this time around. I would happily be wrong on this though if the ABM gods (Susan Miller/Tina Cesa Ward I’m talking to you) feel the same way.

Anyway, enough of me – have at it…Ep2. 9 – ‘Private Rooms and Public Spaces

***WRN SPOILERS ABOUND!!!***

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Oh Vivian I can call you a few things right now!

I’m a BIG Tweeter. Really big tweeter. It’s probably a big part of why I love Anyone But Me so much. On any given day you can be sure I’ll tweet something either about ABM or to an ABMer. So I thought I’d marry my big love with my big compulsion and do my Twitter-tary of today’s ep of ABM. Those who’ve read my ABM blogs before are familiar with them, but those of you who haven’t I hope you enjoy. There will be a S1 Twitter-tary retrospective as soon as my schedule allows but most definitely before the end of S2 so keep an eye out.

Without any further ado… Ep2.8 – ‘Naming Things

***WRN: SPOILERS ABOUND!!!***

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Pick A Team

Some time this morning, or was it still last night? These past few weeks between Streamy Awards and 2am podcasts I lose track. Anyway, at some point in the last 24hrs Anyone But Me came back into my life, not like it ever really left but it officially came back. The last run of eps before what I’m sure will be a shout-at-your-screen-wake-up-everyone-in-the-house type season finale. If you want the short version then the Twitter-tary is as always at the bottom of the post, otherwise keep reading…

First thing’s first. I have to say a BIG BIG congrats to Rachael Hip-Flores on her Streamy Award for Best Actress in a Drama. I have nothing but love for this girl, and I have written several times on how talented I believe she is so when they called her name I was not surprised at all. Over the moon, yes. Jumping around like an idiot at 3am, yes. Waking everyone I know up with the news, yes. But certainly not surprised. Heartfelt congratulations to her, and also to Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward on their nominations. You guys will get them next year!

ABM's ladies - Susan Miller, Nicole Pacent, Rachael Hip-Flores, & Tina Cesa Ward

Anyway, onto ep7 – ‘Date Night‘. I don’t know why but that title struck fear into me the moment I heard it, possibly because it has connotations of drama. As much as I have loved seeing Vivian and Aster happy this season I have seen too much television to know that when your characters are most happy this is when you have to be most afraid. As Nicole Pacent said in her recent podcast, ‘The sh*t is going to hit the fan.’ Damn it!

It’s nice to see the other characters getting more screen time, especially Archibald. I admit that after Vivian and Aster he’s definitely my favourite character. What can I say? He rescued Vivian her first day in school and he loves comics. He’s a good friend to have in your corner. That’s a point actually, I miss Breck. I know we haven’t really been in NYC this season but it’d be nice for him to go and visit Viv in Westchester too. Anyway, I like seeing Archibald so hopefully he’ll be around some more for the rest of the season as he and Elizabeth finally seem to be on some good ground.

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Something to talk about…

I’ve made a conscious effort not to count how long it’s been since the last episode of Anyone But Me. I also try not to count how long it is until the next episode, or how many more episodes we have until the end of the season. I try not to do any kind of counting at all to do with ABM because it just gets kind of painful. So if you ask me when the last ep aired, I’d have to look it up. I know that since then I did this though. Anyway, despite my policy of not counting, as I went to sleep last night I still managed to count that there were only 6hrs until I’d be able to watch ep4 of ABM.

Of course, it wasn’t 6hrs of uninterrupted sleep because at 3am I saw a tweet from Susan Miller and I was torn between getting out of bed or waiting at least a few hours for a more decent hour. The sleepier more responsible side decided I should stay in bed, and a good thing too because I’d celebrated a bit too early and the ep hadn’t actually gone live yet. See, some part of my brain is working to do the sensible thing. Eventually it was over-ridden and I simply couldn’t stay in bed anymore. So, with confirmation from all my twitter sources that the ep was indeed live, it was time to get out of bed (NB. Twitter-tary (i.e. the short version) – is at the end of the post).

I was more eager than usual to see the new ep of ABM – yes I can actually get more excited about ABM eps than I have previously, because of the guest star that was making her appearance, Liza Weil. I’m not familiar with her work, Gilmore Girls was never really a big thing over here and she’s been in stuff that I’ve seen before, and even own, like The West Wing, Grey’s Anatomy, and CSI, but not in anything I would’ve immediately recognised her from. However, I have it on good authority from a trusted source – even though they have blatantly lied to me in the past, that she is an amazing actress. Plus, she’s married to Paul Adelstein and I love him on Peak Practice, so that’s enough to spark an interest.

In my quasi-Batman guise I’d guessed that the guest star would play Aster’s mum. I thought that would be an interesting relationship to explore, could you imagine it? I pictured lots of slammed doors and denial about how similar they really were. Having Aster’s shrink though opens up a whole world of possibilities, because let’s face it – how many people’s parents really have any clue who you are when you’re that age? How many people even know who they are at that age? Aster seems suspicious of her at the moment, but I think she’s that way with most adult figures until they prove they deserve to be thought of otherwise, but I think she wants to be able to talk to someone, and the Shrink seems pretty cool. I think this could be very good indeed. As the lady said herself, “I’m pretty awesome at being pregnant and doing things.”

Eventually Aster divulges why she’s in therapy, her parents are separating. Makes me wonder if that has anything to do with them keeping “human hours” lately. I don’t know, maybe it’s an American thing. As a Psych graduate I suppose I should be more of an advocate for this type of therapy, but I’m really not. I think we as a species managed just fine before psychoanalysis. Perhaps there were much more violent means of expression but then there was also art and music and writing, and I’ve always thought those were very therapeutic pursuits. I suppose I’m old school in that I believe if you need someone to talk to, that’s what your friends are for. That said, I’m very blessed in that department so I appreciate sometimes you need the impartiality of someone who is outside of the situation, although with money exchanging hands I don’t know how impartial they can be. But back to my point, and I do usually have one…

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“Crisis”…I don’t know when the next ep is!

Anyone But Me is turning me into a quasi-insomniac. Oh I sleep. I sleep particularly when I know that the tomorrow on the other side of it brings a new episode of ABM. However, it is not at all restful. I’m not sure how many times I woke up in the early hours of Tuesday to check whether it was morning yet. Well, not so much to see if it was morning. I reached out to the Crackberry and focussed enough to see whether the, ‘New episode of @AnyoneButMe up now!!!’ tweet had been posted. At 4.45am it hadn’t. I was beginning to worry.

By about 6.30am – significantly earlier than my usual wakeup call, I had woken myself up for perhaps the 8th time. This is not a restful night’s sleep by anyone’s definition. Still no tweet. So I thought let’s check the website. One thing I will say about the Crack, it’s proper speedy with the surfing of the internets. Somehow navigating to the S2 link I count, one episode, two episodes, three episodes…THREE episodes! That’s my cue to go bang into my door again. However, I’m getting better and I managed to avoid the door. I didn’t quite manage to avoid the rather large box that’s in my hallway though. D’oh.

I saw a tweet the other day from @RevRunWisdom, ‘You are who you are when nobody’s watching.’ That’s currently resonating with me a little too much for a multitude of reasons, but as I write this I’m thinking that in terms of ABM, when no one’s watching – I probably look like a maniac. If it wasn’t for the fact that I watch ABM at 7am I’m sure some of my friends would be quite amused by the sight.

I am by no means a morning person, the synapses in my brain must have to gear themselves up in the space between eps to prepare. A dozen thoughts are normally going through my head when I’m watching, especially on first viewing. Not least of all is my internal whatever telling me to keep the volume down so I don’t wake everyone up.

I text. I tweet. I post on Facebook. I now also BBM thanks to the Crack to let people know a new ep has been posted just so I have someone else to talk to about it. As much as I want to tweet through the episode as I watch it – normally on the second viewing, I am very aware of spoiler issues. I recently had the ending to a mini-series called ‘The Mist‘ spoiled by reading a ‘Best of’ list. I was not amused. So I avoid tweeting. However, if you want my twitter-tary then scroll to the bottom. If you want the long version…

I don’t think we’ve seen Vivian’s dad – Gabe (Dan Via), or Aunt Jodie (Barbara Pitts) since ep7 if I’m correct, I could check but I’m pretty certain that’s the last time we saw them. Gabe’s story has always been one of the one’s I’ve been more interested in. So much of who we are is defined, whether we like it or not, by the job that we do.  Perhaps less in some occupations I know, but Gabe was a firefighter. This man went into flaming buildings to save lives. He was there at 9/11 – it’s the very reason they had to move to Westchester.

Everyday heroes like Gabe are a different breed, mostly because they carry themselves with a humility that shames so many “heroes”. Being that person defines you. As much as we are preoccupied with how Vivian is trying to define herself in this new town, I think Gabe is having just as much trouble trying to figure out who he is now. That’s not something I’ve seen often on screen, and I think it’s a story that would be told very well and I would like to see more of Gabe. Also, I  think that in terms of the back story with Vivian’s mum as well as the fact that Aunt Jodie had a crush on him (and possibly still does) when she was younger, there is a lot that could be done.

I like the dynamic between the two adults in Vivian’s life, with each other and with Vivian. I really enjoyed the scene between Gabe and Aunt Jodie. Finding a job is difficult at any age, and the way Aunt Jodie encourages him because this is what he needs to do is so supportive and you see why he’s chosen this person to be an influence on Vivian’s life. May I also say that I think sliding down a fire pole is an excellent way to decide whether or not to hire someone. I remember once we were deciding on two applicants who had near identical resumes – down to the fact that they had the same name. They were also both dancers so of course the only fair way to decide who got the job was to have a dance off. Unfortunately one of them couldn’t make the interview so the other one kind of got it by default. Fire pole though, that’s gonna separate the wheat from the chaff.

I think it’s sweet how Aunt Jodie tried to get to know Vivian throughout S1 and I think the two of them have had to do a lot of adjusting. I’m guessing awkwardness is a family trait. We still have the whole issue of Vivian coming out to her aunt  to see as well so that’ll certainly be interesting. I love that Gabe trusts Vivian, I think that it allows her a certain freedom but she’s not reckless with it because she wouldn’t want to disappoint him. I think who she is has a lot to do with the person he has raised her to be. So yeah, I’d like to see more of them.

Gabe & Aunt Jodie

I am aware that I am asking a lot from a show that kills most of its viewers with the length of the eps, but I touched on that last time so people know what they have to do. I have faith that this show is going to be around for a while. The talent pool is ridiculous, the stories are relevant, and quite simply, it’s too important not to be. So we have time.

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“Quickly, to the Exits”…Not THAT Quickly!!!

It’s becoming my Tuesday morning ritual to reach out and grab the Crackberry and through blurry eyes search through my twitter feed for that one tweet I’ve been waiting for: “AnyoneButMe Episode 2! Watch it now! http://tiny.cc/2m3nG“. Up I get. Seriously, I’m not even like this on Christmas morning, any morning for that matter. Given that I’d just had four days away from the job and the sun hadn’t even thought it was a decent enough hour to rise my getting out of bed without hitting the ‘snooze’ button five times is a feat nothing else could manage. Thankfully this morning I managed to do it without banging into the door. I’m improving.

Okay, so when last we left our favourite couple our heroine Vivian was hanging perilously from the edge of a cliff as Aster raced through the forest to try and rescue her. Her trusted sidekick Archibald enchanted by a magic spell cast by the lovely Elisabeth. Oops sorry, completely wrong story. Too much ‘Enchanted’ for me this Christmas. Writers of ABM – completely disregard the Vivian in peril remark. That is NOT a good idea!

So really, when last we left my favourite couple they were in a very good place. Thankfully (I do beg the powers-that-be to keep it this way), this is how we find them at the beginning of ep2. Of course, in the last episode written and directed solely by Tina Cesa Ward (S1 ep4 – Vivian and Aster) we also found them very happy, unfortunately that’s not how they ended the episode. However, this time they stay happy. With Vivian making weekday trips up to the city to visit Aster it looks like things are really going well with them. I tremble as I write that because if years of watching dramas has taught me anything it’s that when your favourite people are the most happy – this is when writer’s like to rip your heart out! For now though I’ll just exist in this happy place. I like the happy place writers!

I’m curious to see what part Aster’s parents are going to play this season. As in Tina Cesa Ward’s previous episode, Aster’s parents are mentioned although we never get to see them. Now that they’re coming home at “human hours” we might actually meet them. From what I recall in the Writers on the Lam bit, we could be in store for some recognisable faces. Heck, they got Sylar to say he’s addicted to it I’m sure there’s a bunch of people wanting to be a part of this show.

There are definitely some parental issues there and as much as I love seeing Nicole Pacent and Rachael Hip-Flores on screen together, it’d be nice to see Aster have some proper screen time away from Vivian just so we can get to understand her more. I imagine they could be some pretty heartbreaking scenes because the writing is first class and Nicole Pacent is generally amazing. Plus, if Aster’s upset then you know she just might have to go spend some time with Vivian in Westchester. Again, happy place!

What's in store for Sophie (Jessy Hodges)?

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