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Month: April, 2011

The West Wing: Pilot.

The West Wing cast.

            Before my mass media class, I had never seen an episode of The West Wing. Because the show aired over 10 years ago I was hesitant as to whether or not I would enjoy the show. Although some might argue that all good shows are timeless, I don’t believe that is the case for every show. Sometimes shows become outdated and irrelevant depending on how long the time gap is from airing to re-watching. I have to say, that aside from outdated jokes (expected), I thought the show was still enjoyable years later from the kick off. This is the type of show that if I watched it during its original air date I wouldn’t have even liked it, forget understand it.

           Without knowing much about the show I had a small idea of what it would be about just because of the buzz circulating about it over the years. Just by the first episode I can’t sit here and say whether or not I would like something like this but I got a few first impressions. I thought the script was quick and funny for the most part. In my opinion, a script can be amazing but it won’t mean anything unless you have good actors involved. Fortunately for The West Wing, they are equipped with a number of talented actors who help the show move along at an enjoyable speed.

            When a show releases a pilot they have a lot of things to take into account. First impressions are important and it is vital to have your pilot hit certain levels in order to assure yourself the ratings and a fan following. The pilot of The West Wing, for me, was a success. I felt like they did a good job with giving the audience a foundation of what’s to come and who will be there to show us along the way. I thought the writers did a great job with introducing the setting and of course the characters. I like how it felt like we were somewhat a fly on the wall in what seemed like a typical day at the White House. I thought the idea of a minor conflict within this episode was a good route to take because it allowed us to see the characters live their regular lives without too much attention being focused elsewhere.

           I appreciate the flow of the story line and I tip my hat off to the writers because it comes off almost effortlessly. It takes real talent to SHOW the audience things instead of telling us and it also makes the show fun to watch for the viewer. I have experience in both acting and writing and I was thoroughly impressed with the dialogue. I give most of the credit to the writers but it takes a true actor to deliver and it seems the cast was made for their roles.

Overall, I was impressed by this “old” television show. My favorite part would have to be when the Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn spends the night with a call girl, and then accidentally tells the White House Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry’s daughter, Mallory O’Brien, about it not knowing whose daughter she was. I didn’t expect the show to be funny and have all of the elements of a great show but as they always say, expect the unexpected.

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Dexter, Episode 8: Shrink Wrap.

            Whoa. I’m in shock. After this episode, many of my questions have been answered. A couple of blogs back, I brought up the fact that Dexter and Rita haven’t had sex yet. It’s taken 8 episodes, but it FINALLY happened. Both characters have personal experiences within the episode that allow them to feel comfortable and ready to approach the next step in their relationship.

Let's Get It On..

            For Rita, it takes a day with her kids and ex-husband to remind her that the life she once had is no comparison for what she has built with Dexter. Once she comes to the realization that she is happy where she is in her life, with Dexter, she invites him over to spend the night. She confesses her feelings and soon gets rejected by our leading man, not realizing that he too needs to come to terms with certain things before doing the deed.

            Originally, Dexter made visits with Dr. Emmett Meridian because he happened to be linked in with 3 female suicide cases. But none of us, including Dexter, could have guessed that was not all he got out of his visits. Once Dex realized Rita was ready to have sex, he started to worry about whether or not he would be able to get through it. He turned to Dr. Meridian for answers and luckily found them and was able to come at Rita with confidence while allowing his guard down. And then, Wah-PAM! Sex happened. And for the first time I felt like I saw Dexter was actually enjoying himself.

Bye Bye Doc.

            What first seemed to be work related visits to a psychotherapist, soon turned into actual therapy sessions for Dexter. Even though Dr. Meridian helped him, it didn’t change the fact that the Doc was involved with the 3 female victims that took their own lives. Before killing Dr. Meridian for his help in driving the 3 successful women to their death, Dexter admits to his secret. We finally here the words come out of his mouth. I AM A SERIAL KILLER. It was fascinating to watch him feel relieved. He admitted to never saying that out loud and you can tell he feels liberated.

Debs.

          Dexter is not the only one in this episode to have sex and feel liberated. Debs has been falling harder and harder for her new boyfriend, the prosthetics Doctor. I happen to favor Debs out of mostly all of the characters for one reason or another, and I was thrilled to see her finally happy with someone. After having sex with her boyfriend she begins to cry and express how sex with him feels different. It is clear that she feels comfortable and loved, which seems to be an unusual feeling for her. As I watched the two of them speak intimately after their sexual encounter, I felt off balance. Something was up, but I didn’t know what. By the end of the episode, my intuition was backed up and I wish I could have seen my face when it all clicked for me. Dr. Prosthetics, Debs boyfriend, is the ICE TRUCK KILLER.

WHYYYY!!??? Poor Debs. It just keeps getting juicer.

Debs boyfriend/Ice Truck Killer.

            When I first started watching the season, my main purpose was to watch and write this blog for my Media class. I would take breaks and look for reasons to do anything but sit and watch the show. I must say, I no longer find myself looking for a reason to take a break or distract myself… I’ve held back from rating an episode to be a perfect 5 because I’ve never really felt 100% AMAZED or THRILLED by any of them thus far. But guess what? The dry spell is over, and I’m finally honoring an episode with a solid 5! I thought it was perfect with its ups and downs and many ironic moments, not to mention the genius title, “Shrink Wrap”.

Now, a new question arises. Can they KEEP it interesting? Stay tuned…I know I will.

Dexter, Episode 7: Circle of Friends.

             Finally, we have answers!!! Or do we? As “Circle of Friends” is about to end, we are left with a bomb exploding with shock. Throughout this entire episode we are under the impression that we’ve finally caught the man who has been “playing” with Dexter. To our surprise, at the very last second of the show, we are in for a whole new surprise.

                Ok. Before I go on, let me refresh your memory. A couple of episodes back we were introduced to the Ice Truck Killer. This particular killer was responsible for all of the killings with no blood, and clean cuts to their limbs. The Ice Truck Killer was responsible for Tucci’s injuries, who by the way, has been recovering just fine in the hospital. (Thankfully, Tucci has been given a prosthetic hand and foot provided from the hospital, with the help of Debs new love interest, the prosthetic doctor.) There have been leads for a number of different suspects but with time each one has fallen short of the full description of the killer. Aside from killing innocent people, the murderer was beginning to challenge our very own Dexter. As each victim would appear, another memory from Dexter’s past would surface.

On the Job.

  We were all under the impression that the killings were linked to the man who was onto Dexter, but we were wrong. When Neil Perry was arrested for the Ice Truck Killings it was clear that Dexter was somewhat disappointed. He didn’t want to believe that the man who was in on his secret could be the odd, geek looking Perry. When Dexter first discovers The Ice Truck Killers victims he is almost aroused by them. As a killer himself, he finds the ITK’s work to be fascinating and well done. As he and the rest of the squad watch Lieutenant LaGuerta question Perry, you can tell that he is not satisfied.

Neil Perry.

Neil Perry.

                Luckily for Dexter, Neil Perry can’t be the Ice Truck Killer. We know this because when both men are face to face, Perry has no clue who Dexter is. If he were the real ITK, he would know exactly who Dex was from all of the research the ITK did on him in order to know things from his past.One of the best moments of the episode is the smile that Dexter lets out when he finds out that Neil Perry is not the Ice Truck Killer.

                Another case was cracked involving the Jeremy Downs from a few episodes back. Downs, the young boy who had killed the man who raped him, got off the hook the first time Dexter got him because of his reasoning behind his killing. But this time around, it wasn’t just Dexter he had to remain innocent to, but instead Sergeant Doakes and his team. There is a brief interaction between the young knife killer and Dexter, where the two males bond over feeling nothing. For the first time Dexter is seen empathizing with someone, and actually conversing with someone because he is interested in what they have to say. He wants to know what the boy is feeling and why he killed. Before Dexter could go back to give Jeremy advice, he finds him dead in his cell, after a successful attempt at suicide.

                In my last blog I added that I would like something new to spice up the show. I definitely got what I asked for, and just in time. I was about to wave the white flag and assume I would never become a Dexter fan, but after this episode, I’m in. This episode was the last thing from predictable and it left me wanting to continue watching to find out what happens next. Those are signs of a good show, in my opinion. I rate this episode a solid 4.5.

Dexter, Episode 6: Return to Sender.

                Is the storm really on its way? Just when we think Dexter makes a mistake and could possibly get caught for a killing, he nervously, but successfully, covers his tracks. This was the first time in the entire series where Dexter was in danger of being revealed as a serial killer. All throughout this episode we are left wondering whether or not the jig was up.

                While watching this episode, I was torn between what I wanted the outcome to be. I’ve become a fan of who Dexter is and what he does, in an odd way, but I was having an inner conflict about the whole situation. The Ice Truck killer is toying with Dexter by going after the body of one of his latest victims and bringing her back to the crime scene. I was pissed off at first because I have become a fan of how clean Dexter gets in and out of these planned murders. He makes every move according to plan with little, to no room, for a mess up. When it was revealed that there was a suspect who would identify someone from the crime scene, I freaked, and I wasn’t the only one.

            For the first time Dexter feels something and boy does he feel it. You can see the fear in his eyes and a sense of defeat. Up until this episode we have seen a flawless murderer who never leaves a trace behind… until now. When he killed Mr. and Mrs. Castillo, he didn’t cover all of his bases. He admits for the first time he didn’t go along with his plan because during his “play time” of killing Castillo, his wife shows up. This then leads him to revise his plan and add Mrs. Castillo to his victims list because like her husband, she too is responsible for holding people captive at the junk yard of cars.

Is that fear in Dexter's eyes?

            Although the witness is a young, traumatized boy, we are left in fear wondering whether or not he got a good look at Dexter the night of the crime. Throughout the entire episode we wait to see if the boy “outs” our main man. Just like the viewers, Dexter is also left waiting to see who this boy remembers seeing. With Debs becoming a better detective, she has a hunch on who the killer is but what she doesn’t realize is that her finger is slowly pointing to her own Brother. Before all of the evidence could be looked over and put on file, Dexter leaves no time to tamper with things to throw off any leads that could possibly point to him taking part in of it.

              At the end of the episode the sketch of the man at the crime scene is revealed and to our surprise, it is not Dexter. To everyone’s surprise, it is Jesus. Yes, Jesus Christ himself. I’m guessing this isn’t the end of this little boy being a part of the show. Not only because of his God like vision but also because he and Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta have shared a special bond.

               Overall, I liked how we finally got to see Dexter have emotion but I didn’t feel like it was such a great episode. I’d have to rate it an iffy 3. Hopefully, something new spices things up within the next couple of episodes. We shall see!

Dexter, Episode 5: Love American Style.

              Do you have a dream? When I really think about this question, I wonder, don’t we all have dreams? Don’t we all work for/toward something, or at least long for something? At some point, we all sit back and wonder where we will be in the future. We wonder if what we are doing today will help or hurt tomorrow, but what if you are someone who doesn’t care about what tomorrow brings? These questions all entered my head as the credits rolled during this last episode of Dexter.

                To continue my Dexter blog, I wanted to set myself up the way I had watched the previous episodes. I felt like it worked for me the last time, with the only difference being that I had my dog, Max, accompanying me while I tuned in. Ironically enough, it was perfect for me to have a companion nearby because this episode was focused on relationships in hindsight.

                 “Love American Style” featured Dexter exploring love and pretty much showing an interest in at least understanding what it is all about. The flashbacks that are provided between he and his father help paint the picture that Dexter is completely unaware of what real love is. And I’m not talking about the average guy who might not understand or care about love. Dexter was somehow made to not feel feelings. He doesn’t calculate life the way a “normal” person would and it is becoming harder for him to blend in with everyone else because of his lack of emotions. His time spent with Angel Batista is funny (Girl in club: How can you not dance to this? Dexter: It’s a gift.) and very informative for the audience to really get a grasp on how little Dexter understands the way humanity works. Batista seems to be friendlier with him but what he doesn’t seem to understand is why?  When Batista confided in him the last episode, we can see that to be a bonding session, but Dexter doesn’t even comprehend what that is. It is clear that he has gone throughout his life alone and is seemly happy that way.

Rita.

Rita.

            We are slowly seeing a more “normal” side of him with the help of hearing his inner voice during certain moments of his day.  By no means is he an average “normal” person, but for who he is, we are seeing progress. As he searches through Jorge Castillo’s boat for evidence he finds a picture of his future victims, Jorge and his wife.  He takes a quick second to stare at the picture and then thinks back to Rita. The more time he spends with Rita, the more he seems to be interested in finding out what a “normal” life is all about.

             My favorite part of the episode would have to be when Dexter is standing over The Castillo’s, right before he is about to kill them, and asks them for relationship advice. I found this part to be hilarious, but so fitting. As Dexter watches his married victims stare at one another he is surprised to hear them exchange “I love you” on their death beds.  Before putting an end to their lives he asks in a very serious tone what that means and is left with the knowledge that sometimes it works to have someone in your life as a companion, as long as they want the same things as you do.

            I felt like this episode took a sluggish start but picked up maybe ten minutes in. Once I realized what the episode was aiming for, I quickly perked up and became interested. I found it fascinating to watch Dexter, a man who has no idea about love, try to explore it. Over all I rate a solid 4.