Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 5/12/09

GOSSIP GIRL unleashed its “backdoor pilot” for a spin-off that centers on Lily’s adventures as a teen back in the 1980s. It was framed as a flashback in which the current Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford) recalled the first time she was arrested, when she was played by Brittany Snow (ex-Daisy, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Meg, AMERICAN DREAMS). Lily got herself kicked out of boarding school and went to Los Angeles to move in with her father — portrayed by ’80s teen icon Andrew McCarthy (Pretty in Pink) — and ran afoul of her booze-loving mother Cece, played by Cynthia Watros (ex-Annie, GL; ex-Libby, LOST). Of course, straight-arrow Lily had a wild-child sister, Carol (Krysten Ritter; Jane, BREAKING BAD), who wanted to be an actress. Lily was starting to stray from the well-planned, monied path that her parents had mapped out for her.

In other words, the characters are just cardboard clichés (I didn’t tell you that Dad is a workaholic, but did I really have to?), and what passes for a plot is mostly just an excuse to showcase period fashions (one imagines the target audience squealing and rolling their eyes during Lily’s fashion show) and music. Ska band No Doubt appeared onstage as a band called Snowed Out (Get it?) and performed a cover of Adam and the Ants’ “Stand and Deliver.” The dialogue was not better than the plot and characterization, with painfully on-the-nose lines like, “Is this the moment where you fall in love with me?” delivered at precisely the moment that viewers know the “bad boy” (Is there currently any other kind of romantic hero?) has fallen for the “good girl.” Yeesh.

All of this was in service of the age-old theme that we all become our parents once we become parents ourselves. I suppose that can be interpreted as a pro-parent message; anyone who doesn’t understand just hasn’t had a kid yet. But I prefer to think of it as lazy storytelling. The modern storyline was much more interesting, even if it did deal with prom hijinks. Chuck engineered the perfect prom for Blair, based on a scrapbook she’d been keeping since childhood. (I’ve decided that instead of Chuck becoming a wuss-bunny around Blair, it’s more like what happens when Superman is around kryptonite; he can’t help becoming weak as a kitten, no matter how much he doesn’t like it.) How ironic that Blair realized she was growing up in the very same episode that the series went juvenile in the ersatz ’80s.

In the season finale of HOUSE, M.D. (That’s really what it’s called, you know…) House realized that he has secretly been taking Vicodan for months, and he didn’t really sleep with Cuddy. So Wilson brought him to an asylum, where he was committed. How’s that for a bromance move?

Yes, Kim is back on 24, and that means she’s in danger. Worse, it means she’s a danger to others; specifically her father, Jack. I actually feel sorry for Elisha Cuthbert, who gamely keeps returning to this cursed character. It seems there’s literally nothing Kim can do that won’t get her pilloried by fandom. She’s just an odious character who can do nothing right. So once again she’s doing what she does best: causing Jack agita as a pawn of the baddies. Yup, that was Karim Prince (ex-Stan, GENERAL HOSPITAL) as the EMT whom Jack prevented from administering morphine so he could torture the bad guy with the gushing neck wound. You gotta love Jack putting the squeeze on a bleeding man — and using his patented sleeper hold on Tony. Then, when Tony woke up, Jack beat the snot (and blood) out of him! Nobody commits like Jack. (Well, maybe House, now, eh?)

I just wanted to point out that in THE AMAZING RACE 14 finale, siblings Tammy and Victor won the $1 million, just as I predicted/hoped. Jaime and Cara came in second place. What could possibly suck more than finishing second for $1 million? The gals had a great attitude, but c’mon! Luke and Margie completed the top three. It’s always great the way the previously eliminated teams are all there, cheering on the winners. I’ll let Phil sum it up: “You ran an amazing race.”

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Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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