MacGyver: Cigar Cutter – “If You Die, You’re Fired” (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

This episode of MacGyver “Cigar Cutter” brings everything together in terms of the team and the now not so new leader Matty Webber. With her threat to Bozer, “If you die, you’re fired,” and her handy take down of “Dr. Zito: Webber has proven to be as full of compassion as she is Queen of the bad arse’s.

David Dastmalchian returns as Murdoc and he turns out to be a partner of “Mr. Organization” (the splendid William Mapother). The two men have a third member in their little team, a mercenary type who fakes his way in with a prosthetic mask. (Played by busy English actor Mark Sheppard, the role is pretty impressive considering he does not have that much screen time.)

The flashback sequence at the start mentions Patricia Thornton (Sandrine Holt) yet again and it is looking more and more like she will be popping up in a future episode, if not this season, then the next. Sidenote: MacGyver has already been given the green light for a second season. Fans are, no doubt, overjoyed, although the original MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson, who nixed appearing on the reboot, will be less than impressed…

Regardless of the little things that still annoy (For example, the titles that have no apparent connection to the episodes…Did anyone else struggle and fail to spot a “cigar cutter?” Answers in the comment section below, please and thank you.) the show does keep getting better in terms of character dynamics.

Another annoying aspect of the show’s plot line is that Tony Stark robot with AI and a very similar English accent to the “metal man Friday” who became a “real boy” in the films….

Matty Webber has taken on the mantle of Phoenix big boss capably and this episode shows why she was hired. Tough, caring, and a damned good shot, Webber is now firmly in the status of regular, and beloved, cast member in the new re-imaging of the ’80’s favorite. Dalton keeps his end up with enough comedic soft shoe movements and Riley, now that that horrid hairdo is gone, is the official heart throb of the show.

Bozer, in this episode, finally gets some sign that Riley cares about him. Of course that only happens after the fake Dr. Zito stabs Wilt in the stomach but it is clear that MacGyver’s bestie’s heart still throbs for Riley.

Dalton managest to “do a MacGyver” (almost) and, with a little help from Riley, makes some and Mac, makes a bomb that blows up the wall to the servers.

Along side the main plot of Murdoc teaching an evil mercenary new tricks in order to kill off all of Phoenix, there is the “Mac’s dad is missing” storyline. It would be beyond cool if the original MacGyver (Anderson) appeared  as Poppa MacGyver but Anderson has pretty much stated that he will have nothing to do with the new show…

Leaving aside the idea of a cameo by the first Mac, this episode proved that Till has grown into the shoes worn by the first hero of the series and that fans love it almost, if not as much, as the original.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Tune an and see what you think about this new “Mac.”

Cast:

Dr Ken: Clark’s Big Surprise – Snowball (Review)

 KEN JEONG, JONATHAN SLAVIN, STEPHEN GUARINO

Love is all around in Dr. Ken “Clark’s Big Surprise.” It starts off with just Clark and Connor working to secretly tie the know but the show’s amore factor snowballs quickly and soon every couple are feeling the point of cupid’s bow.

This season has seen a rounding up of a few relationships.  Pat and Damona are now officially a couple (both express their love for the other in this episode) and Clark and Connor prove their love by inviting all of Welltopia to a Vegan barbecue so they can get married.

Another thing that snowballs is the lie that Ken tells in order to get a maximum turnout to Connor and Clark’s little surprise.  Dr. Ken overhears Clark’s secret, he is taking a nap on a couch where Clark spills the beans about the real reason for the barbecue.

Clark makes Ken promise to talk everyone into coming to the event.

Meanwhile, Allison manages to snag tickets to the stage version of “The Bodyguard” and the entire Park family are meant to attend. D.K. invites himself along as well and it will be a real family get together. Pat and Damona have planned a non-refundable romantic weekend at Catalina and Ken must talk them out of going.

The receptionist almost guesses that Clark and Connor are going to exchange vows and Ken lets her believe that he and Allison are going to re-exchange their own vows. Damona then tells Allison what she believes Ken will be doing at the barbecue.

Ken’s lie has taken on a life of its own and Allison is overjoyed at her husband’s romantic gesture.

SUZY NAKAMURA, PATRICK MONAHAN, JERRY BECKER, JONATHAN SLAVIN, STEPHEN GUARINO, MEAGEN FAY
Allison and Clark in gushing mode.

At the party, Allison gushes over Clark, and vice versa, while things go slightly askew as the ordained minister cannot perform the ceremony. Ken takes an online course and marries the two men instead.  Allison is sad to learn that they are not going to renew their vows but she is overwhelmed when Ken explains how complete she makes him.

Pat and Damona both fight to get their non-refundable hotel deposit back and later give the honeymoon suite to Connor and Clark.  After the barbecue the Park’s return home and Ken does renew his vows with Allison after all. D.K. has taken the same online course and he will perform the ceremony. (He also took less time than Ken to complete the course.)

Dr. Ken has moved to bring all the couples in the show closer together. This episode also brought things “up to date,” as it were, on the series’ nod to Ken Jeong’s real life. In “Clark’s Big Surprise” Ken is tired from his late night spent doing stand-up.

He is overly tired at the start, where he reminds everyone he “killed it” at the comedy club and later he is napping on a couch; where he overhears Clark’s secret plans. Clearly the show is imitating Ken’s life even more now.

It would not be at all surprising to see Dr. Ken “become” the real Dr. Ken at  the end of this season. Although that would be disappointing as it could mean the end of the show as we know it.

Kudos to Dana Lee for once again grabbing the comedy by the horns and killing it at the barbecue. His dour off the cuff remark about the lack of meat was priceless. (As was his preoccupation with seeing “The Bodyguard.)

Pat and Damona professing their love for one another was touching, cute and funny. Allison and Ken’s romantic renewing of their wedding vows was also touching and it reminded us of just how perfect these two are for one another.

The highlight of the show was, of course, the marriage of Clark and Connor. With the family Park watching on and the vows exchanged being done with the right amount of comedy and care, it was a splendid moment.

KRISTA MARIE YU, SUZY NAKAMURA, ALBERT TSAI
Molly, Allison and Dave are enthralled at the ceremony.

The message of this episode was simple: Love knows no bounds. It also proved that, as the old saying goes, ” the world loves a lover.” Dr. Ken “Clark’s Big Surprise” also makes a valid point, with its loving nod to a LGBT wedding, there is room for everyone at the altar and that all love is accepted.

It is also lovely to see that the “ebony and ivory” relationship between Pat and Damona has solidified to more than just to opposites attracting.

Suzy Nakamura continues to show off those impressive skills that make her an irreplaceable member of this cast. Her range of emotions throughout the episode helped to make this one of the funnier bits of the season.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Tune in to this brilliant slice of comedy and stay awhile.

Cast:

Chelsea: Netflix, Anna Kendrick and Disney Princesses (Review)

Chelsea Handler

After having forgiven the show’s producer (Chelsea Handler) for having Ariana Huffington on as a guest, it was time to watch her Netflix talkshow again. This week was Anna Kendrick, Adam Devine (Who?), an English relationship guru and Disney princesses. Handler is funny and outside the box more often than not. Episode 21 and 22 proved this with the choices of eclectic “out of studio” segments on offer.

A voice coach who helps transexuals learn how to sound more feminine and a meditative adult coloring session. (Emphasis on the “adult” as the book Chelsea had was apparently the Kama Sutra.) She also had the former financial advisor for President Obama on to speak about Brexit.

(Not being funny but would it have not made more sense to have a Brit on to speak about a British issue? And not being funny but how clever is a former anything, let alone a former financial expert…)

Kendrick’s turned out to be quite funny in the little “skit” in the green room where she bashes Chelsea about for not being able to sing  on the show.   Anna dragging a fake Chelsea “dummy” in from off camera to pummel thing was amusing. So too was the real host crawling back in to grab an apple from the coffee table.

Chelsea manages to have an eclectic choice of guests. The show also interviews more of the less “main-stream” performers. Jim Gaffigan falls into this category. Another stand-up comic, like Devine and Chelsea,  I had never heard of him till those “Jim Gaffigan Show” advertisements (that take up about 10 seconds) showed up on the telly. After his spot on Chelsea and learning of a network called TV Land, this can now be rectified.

Adam Devine is another one that was only discovered on a television advert.  In touting Allstate via “Spa Day” the performer  was amusing and vaguely reminiscent of actor Robert Morse sans gap. Obviously missing Perfect Pitch at the cinema meant that Devine was, for all intents and purposes, unknown.

The guest list this week included another stand-up comic with her own Netflix show; Maria Bamford. Another “never heard of” performer who comes across as rather too wide eyed to be natural but with an offbeat humor that was catchy. Maria’s show is titled Lady Dynamite and her show, like Gaffigan’s, is “F**king funny.”  At least according to Chelsea Handler they are and she knows funny. 

It is still quite hard to understand the allure of Ms. Handler.  The woman is amusing and so she should be.  After all this is what she does for a living. But,  for as many things that make her irresistible there are others that annoy, puzzle and often irritate.

Part of what makes the entertainer addictive is her dry sarcasm and caustic wit, intermingled with the coarseness of a fishmonger’s wife. Is this an act or the real woman masquerading as un-educated commoner with a thirst for odd knowledge. Do we care? Of course not because Handler works her act well.

Back to the show: The choices of “off studio” guests (versus the ones who get to share stage time with Chunk) are funny mixed with strange. The quirky elocution instructor was completely off the wall and quite evocative of the fringe types that hover around the edges of Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

The meditation group, that Chelsea and Laker’s player Metta World Peace visit were “low key” funny.  All the practitioners of the “coloring” segment were full of earnest sincerity and focus.  The juxtaposition of Handler with her  “not taking this seriously” attitude provided the comedic outcome of the experience.

Regardless of the guests, Handler is the real draw here.  Her laid back delivery, that is mixed with a slightly antagonist attitude, make her fascinating as a host and a woman. Even without the nude and topless Instagram shots in support of “whatever” Chelsea Handler is an addictive performer.

The two episodes per week on Netflix works well. It keeps us from being inundated with too much Chelsea.

Chelsea airs Thursdays and Fridays on Netflix.  Fans should head over right now and watch this quirky performer.  Pay attention to the Disney princess gag where it is claimed that these heroines are giving young women body issues.  Like most of the bits on the show it is oddly funny.

SNL Fred Armisen, Courtney Barnett – Saving the Best for Last (Review)

 Saturday Night Live - Season 41

SNL saved the best for last with a golden hosting job by alumnus Fred Armisen and Aussie singer, songwriter Courtney Barnett. The cold open was not bad either with a Hilary/Bernie tete a tete that turned into to a Fred and Ginger moment. While not overly amusing there were some moments that stood out and the entire cast (with Pete Davidson leaping up, using Lesley Jones as a push off point) gathering for the final dance and all shouting “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

Armisen killed it with his opening monologue. His “one man show” about being accepting into the SNL world was truly funny and could be one of the best monologues ever on the series. To show how good Fred was, over and above the video below, it has to be noted that not one current member of the cast came out during the monologue. (There was no need.)

“Is this a dream? Is this a dream? Is this a d…”

The first sketch has Aidy Bryant as a teacher inviting the local acting troupe who reenact the Lewis Clark expedition. All about the sexual urges of the trio (including Cecily Strong’s Sacagawea) and the class’s reaction to it. Pete Davidson is excellent at the end of the skit, all bulging eyes and tremors as he states he is finally engaged in education.

The music video, was performed by @Connor4Real (Andy Samberg) and Lonely Island. The song was an extended parody of ‘Finest Girl’ and this slated to go stupid viral. Catchy, funny, clever and toe-tapping this is an example of what comedy should do.

The next memorable sketch was the “New Girlfriend” (a ‘la http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082405/?ref_=nv_sr_1) where Armisen is the new girlfriend; all jet black hair, glasses and snotty attitude, whom turns her nose up at everything her fella’s friends have to offer. Throughout the entire sketch the boyfriend “show’s off” his new gal’s reactions to things like neck kissing, ear blowing and so on.

This was hysterical, all the more so because of the cast’s reactions. Aidy Bryant kept corpsing and then using every bit of willpower she had to control her laughter. Vanessa Bayer trying to control her laughter while saying her line and Bryant’s (and Armisen’s) reaction to it. Just brilliant, as was the guacamole bit.

While the SNL digital short has the award for best SNL music video parody ever, the dead poet sketch was a 41 episode high. Not even back in the halcyon days of Chase, Ackroyd, Belushi, et al, has there been a moment so unexpected and funny that it never gets old. Repeated viewing still results in the same level of reaction; laughing wildly.

Pete Davidson (again) standing up in the scene was done brilliantly. Evoking enough “real” emotion that what happens next is truly a surprise (The best “Never saw that coming” moment in the history of SNL.) and hysterically funny.

Next up was Weekend Update with Jost and Che and for once it was not the highlight of the episode. The Theatre student sketch, a regular motif on the show was next and was easily the least funny thing about the finale.

Kudos to the two other SNL alumni who appeared in the finale: Jason Sudeikis for great turn in the “new girlfriend” sketch and Maya Rudolph who was the best bit of the update.

The final sketch, musical in nature, was headed by Armisen and was a song about Fayetteville, Arkansas. In keeping with the topical nature of SNL this can only mean the writers caught the “best place” to live in America title given the southern city in polls this year.

SNL had a season that was very uneven and had some of the worst choices of hosts in the history of the show. This season’s finale was SNL as it should be. Shocked and surprised laughter, skits that do not quite work but are still darned amusing (The Theatre skit, for example.) and each sketch being better than the one before (except, once again, the theatre skit).

The reality seems to be that, to paraphrase guest star Christopher Walken, the show needs more Fred Armisen. Courtney Barnett was raw, real rock and a delightful discovery, more please.

The season finale of SNL was an all time high of comedy and bringing it to the audience. Like the old days but better. Armisen was the key here and perhaps should become a part of the next season? (Come back Fred, come back…) The quality was top notch, for the first time in ages, and everyone loves comedy that cracks up the comics.

Rosewood: Season one, Episode 21: The Suit of Calvin (Review)

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The penultimate episode of Rosewood borrowed a leaf from a real life crime event from the 1969 kidnapping of Muriel McKay whose body was disposed of by  pigs kept at the farm owned by the Hosein brothers. (The two brothers were convicted of the crime in 1970 even though a body was never found.)  In this episode, borrowing from crime history was also evident in the murderer caught at the end of the episode who was a variation on Ed Gein. Only in this instance, the killer made a Calvin suit (Of sorts.) rather than one of female parts.

The episode this week features an old flame of Rosie’s; Dr. Aubrey Joseph (Played by the stunning and talented Stitchers regular Salli Richardson-Whitfield) who has a patient go missing. She calls Rosewood for help who then asks Villa to take a look. The missing man turns up as a badly used corpse in a pig farm. 

Captain Hornstock’s date with Daisie (Lisa Vidal) goes south when she does not turn up.

Rosie and the team, sans Mitchie, inspect the corpse and while there is a gathering of the Rosewood women (past and present) Villa learns that the dead man withdrew money that morning. The only problem is  Calvin Spitz has been dead for three days. Annalise also learns that, according to Pippy and TMI, she is a “Rosewood woman.”

As they investigate, Rosewood works out that the millionaire’s killer made a “Calvin” suit; hair, teeth, and an encyclopedic knowledge of his victim.  In essence the murderer has become Spitz and is fixing things in his life. Visiting his ex-wife, estranged daughter and twin brother after the real Calvin was put in the pig farm.

Daisie shows up at Hornstock’s office and he tells her to leave. Before going out the door, Villa’s mother explains why she did not show up on their romantic weekend; she was afraid. Turns out she has real feelings for her daughter’s boss and the two reconcile.

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Villa and Rosie trace the fake Spitz’ visits to Calvin’s family members and eventually track the man down to the dead millionaire’s former business partner’s home. The killer listened in on Calvin’s sessions with Aubrey (he was a patient of another doctor in the same building) and felt he could live the dead man’s life better than he could.

In a twist, it appears the the killer Gene (Michael William Freeman) had some sort of connection with Villa and her dead husband. The man is shot by a sniper in mid-taunt.

In terms of surprise twists; after the attempt to kiss TMI last week, Mitchie (Sam Huntington) make a connection and this time they do kiss, as Pippy watches from above the lab. When she observes this apparent physical attraction between her fiancee and Mitchie, Pippy walks away. 

Villa and Rosie are drinking tea and teasing one another when Erica (Joy Bryant) turns up to propose. Having observed the two laughing and joking together, she changes her mind and break sup with Rosewood instead. She realizes that Rosewood’s heart belongs to Villa.

Contemplative Interlude:

As good as the crimes are in ‘Rosewood’ it is the relationships that move the show and are the core of each episode. In some ways this rich and successful Miami pathologist is the ethereal twin of John D. MacDonald’s ‘Travis McGee.’ Not implicitly so, Rosie is no adventure seeking “beach bum”  who searches out the “wounded birds” around his moored boat slip in Fort Lauderdale, but his taste in women and his relationships follow a McGee-like  pattern.

McGee’s MO was to “heal” the wounded bird’s he encountered with lots of Plymouth gin and a saucy lifestyle that included lots of sex, sand and sea.  Once the traumatized women were cured of whatever affliction they had endured, Trav moved on. McGee was, in many ways a sensualist who wanted to live his life alone.

(Although in many ways McGee was that bit less damaged than Rosie.  He did meet the love of his life Gretchen who is murdered in one book and avenged in another; “The Green Ripper.”

Rosewood does live life fully, with his heart condition he feel compelled to, and he is drawn to those women he cannot have on permanent basis. These relationships he builds and fosters are all doomed because each woman he focusses on is actually damaged in some way, as he himself is.

The reason he and Villa work so well together is that, despite his need/want to pursue her as a relationship, Rosewood knows that if they ever do commit, this one will work and be permanent. Due to his heart condition, Rosie hesitates each and every time he almost makes the choice, even when Villa makes it difficult to say no, because he feels it would not be fair on Annalise.

The two have a brilliant give and take and their teasing/flirting manner with one another makes it obvious that they should be a couple.  Rosewood will not commit and may never do so.

Coming back to the episode, Mitchie, who has been an awkward fit at the lab may end up leaving after all.

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Pippy, who had pretty much accepted Mitchie’s intrusion into the world of Rosewood will definitely not be so welcoming now. There will be tears in this uncomfortable three-some and one can expect things between TMI and her fiancee to cool considerably after the initial fireworks. Mendelson could well be an early casualty of this war.

Next week sees the season one finale of ‘Rosewood’ (it airs Wednesdays on Fox) and happily for fans, the show has been picked up for a second season by the network.  This is a fun and interesting show with some of the most talented and beautiful women on the planet as guest stars and regulars. Miss this show and miss out.