Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 4/22/08

New shows! This is the week when programming produced after the writers’ strike really hits it stride. Thus, the strike is now officially over…. 

GOSSIP GIRL: Spotted: a viewer who’s definitely not in the teenager demographic, perched on his couch, eagerly devouring the newest episode of GG. Okay, so it’s hard to quantify the appeal of this show to me; there’s just something deliciously decadent about it. Borderline depraved, in fact. And, yes, it could be because GG has the best-looking cast on TV. Last night was Jenny’s episode — she was engaged in open warfare with former “Queen B” Blair. “Little J” made some big mistakes (like stealing a designer dress out of the closet of a “friend”), but she showed conniving skills way beyond her years, thinking through her tears and exploit Penelope’s weakness (in this case, for Nate) to wriggle out of real jail time. Little J is becoming quite the silver-tongued little devil (emphasis on devil). Chuck came dangerously close to becoming annoying again, but his self-loathing is fun to watch. I would still like to see some rich characters who are nicer people, but hey, when they are this entertaining, who cares? Michelle Trachtenberg (ex-Dawn, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) comes aboard next week as Serena’s frenemy Georgina. Should be a catfighting blast. XOXO 

ONE TREE HILL: I enjoyed the way the show opened by depicting the first thoughts of each character upon awakening in the morning. None of them was surprising — least of all Brooke, whose first thought was “Brooke.” Although apparently now she is obsessed with babies — a mania that came completely out of the blue. How can she be surprised that Owen the bartender was a little freaked out? It’s not like she broached the subject casually and then built toward it. But I guess that is symptomatic of the “new” OTH. It has been a different (much better) program since it was relaunched with a jump four years forward in time. It is now one of the soapiest shows on TV. I used to complain because the scripts were always so “on the nose,” but the unsubtle writing seems fitting now. When Peyton and Lucas were arguing about their non-marriage, it helped to move things along when the characters were saying exactly what they are thinking instead of playing games. Last night, Nathan sure didn’t bring his “A” game to his “comeback” bid against Quentin. His weak attempt at free-throw shooting and lame one-on-one were perfectly pathetic — the younger dude should have mopped up the floor with him. And Nathan’s quick surrender seemed like an appropriate response from such a hard-luck character. How much do you want to bet Nathan returns to the practice court, say, just about the time Q’s cast comes off? An even better question is, how exactly did Haley word her “Nanny Wanted” ad to ensure that only hot 20-year-olds responded? (She could retire if she gave courses to men in writing such ads!) Again, subtlety is not a strength of this show. 

And you won’t find a subtle show anywhere within a continent’s reach on THE BACHELOR: LONDON CALLING. It was time for Matt to visit the families of the final four bachelorettes, so I decided to pay my first visit to the show in several seasons. Yep, it’s still pretty much what I expected. However, allow me to vent about the promos for this episode, which teased the series finale in such a way as to mislead me into thinking it was last night. Congratulations, ABC, your bait-and-switch worked — once. I won’t fall for the ol’ finale fakeout again. Anyway, last night Shayne, the actress, brought English bachelor Matt to Los Angeles to visit her “broken” family, including famous father Lorenzo, her mother and sisters. My impression: Shayne was too mannered; she appeared to be “performing” the whole time.
Next up: hyper-emotional Chelsea, who claimed, “I don’t speak British.” But she discussed her feelings with her father — whose advice was, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” When it was time to go, Matt explained, “The goodbye was great with Chelsea,” while the clip showed the two of them sucking face. 
Then he visited Noelle, who felt so simpatico with Matt that she suggested, “Together, we make one brain.” Her family seemed the most levelheaded and engaged. Her dad, Larry, wondered what kind of man goes on a TV show looking for love. And her mother and sister dragged the Englishman out onto the porch to give him the third degree.BR> Incredibly, Amanda R. hired actors to pretend to be her family, and when the over-the-top performance was over, Matt said, “I was speechless for a few seconds.” Turned out he’s really into practical jokes.
In the end, Matt let Noelle go — which means he kept the Joker. What a mistake. Noelle was “genuine and modest”; she was the least like a TV character, so naturally she wasn’t a good fit for the kind of showboater who thinks people want to watch him go on dates.
Noelle, it may be hard to accept right now, but you really dodged a bullet.

But there’s no reason for you to dodge the next Night Shift…coming soon. 

EDIT: Okay, I’m typing this from under my desk because my life was just threatened. My colleague Mala warns she’s going to wring my neck for not blogging about GREEK and HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. I explained the whole GREEK/GOSSIP GIRL/HIMYM conflict and that I don’t really watch HIMYM, but she is unimpressed. (Even though she herself blew off GG!) Mala is furious that I missed the “best” HIMYM ever! So I will let her four-star recommendation stand for that sitcom, and promise to watch my tape ASAP and write about GREEK tomorrow.

Originally posted on Soap Opera

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