glee

Six TV Deaths I Actually Mourned

I honestly cannot remember the last time that a tv show or a movie moved me to tears. And this is an accomplishment considering I feel like a whiny, needy mess inside. McDreamy’s death didn’t do it for me. Inside Out didn’t either. And Me and Earl and the Dying Girl failed to cue the waterworks. So, in order to prove that I, in fact, am not a complete robot, I thought I’d make a companion to “Three TV Deaths I Rather Enjoyed.”

Some of these bring out feelings off bitterness rather than sadness because they were completely unnecessary deaths that were simply put in for shock factor, but I’m still upset. And, yes, it’s been years. I can hold a serious grudge (I’m looking at you, Shonda Rhimes).

Allison_Argent

Allison Argent (Crystal Reed), Teen Wolf

I always appreciated that Allison wasn’t your typical female lead on a sci-fi show. She didn’t need saving. She completely held her own. She was bad-ass with a bow and arrow. She fought against her family and their werewolf hunter ways. She wasn’t just the girlfriend of the main protagonist. Allison Argent was her own character, which made her death even more unnecessary. Personally, I don’t think it moved the plot any further. I’m a fan of Kira and her relationship with Scott, but it shouldn’t have come at the expense of Allison.

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Lexie Grey + Mark Sloan (Chyler Leigh + Eric Dane),
Grey’s Anatomy

Hey, a double-whamy death that actually did make me cry. Mark and Lexie was the Grey’s couple for me (Sorry MerDer) and I’m still bitter that these deaths happened. Meredith lost yet another member of her family (don’t even get me started about this new sister that has popped up now). The deaths, again, weren’t necessary. Mark gave a speech of rom-com proportions only to have Lexie kick the bucket. And then he died of a literal broken heart. No thank you. You’re damn right that they deserved the hospital memorial.

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Sun + Jin Kwon (Yunjin Kim + Daniel Dae Kim), Lost

Another two-fer. You’d think that getting within an episode of the finale would mean that all the characters were safe…nope. Sun and Jin bit the dust right before the series finale. Sun and Jin were separated more than they were together throughout the whole of LOST and their reunion scenes all pulled at these tough heartstrings. Add in the fact that Jin probably could have lived if he pulled a Rose, and you’ve got a sad Kate. Shame on you, Man in Black, shame on you.

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Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), Glee

This one might be cheating a little since his death wasn’t planned, but I’m going with it. Coming at a time when Glee’s quality of episodes was pretty crappy, this episode (“The Quarterback”) is a definite standout. The songs didn’t feel contrived, the song selection was on point, and the acting seemed natural because everyone was in actual mourning. It even made me feel for Finchel, and that pairing was typically the bane of my existence. I wasn’t even bothered that we weren’t given a reason for his death either. Life imitated art and the episode was heart-wrenching in the best/worst possible way.

That’s a Wrap: Glee Edition

When Glee first premiered I forced myself to not watch it. The show choir kids at my high school were loud, boisterous, and annoying, and I absolutely refused to get sucked into that world. The very first episode that I watched was 1.06 “Vitamin D,” and after the “It’s My Life/Confessions III” mash-up I was hooked. This was large in part to Cory Monteith and how adorably eager he played Finn. Thank you, Cory, for getting me to watch Glee.

As the curtains close tomorrow (finally), I am equal parts relieved that the trainwreck is finally over and grief over what a quality program Glee used to be. The first thirteen episodes of the show deserved every single award and nomination that it got. It was a heartfelt, witty show that I actually looked forward to watching every single week. Glee is a prime example of how fame and listening to fan expectations can completely ruin a show. I stopped tuning in because I actually cared about the storylines and/or characters. I only wanted to see what amazing clothes Quinn was wearing and if another great song had been Kidz Bop-ified. Not to say there hasn’t been the odd amazing episode or well-done cover over the past five seasons, but the caliber of those first thirteen episodes haven’t been reached in years. And that’s so sad to me.

So I give you some random thoughts I (still) have as the show comes to a close. Excuse my usage of the couple portmanteaus, it’s easier to write.

Thank you costume department for reviving my love of Anthropologie dresses and JCrew prep. I now own several replica Quinn outfits and they’re my favorite. My closet is forever in your debt.

I hated Finchel. As one of the few who stayed loyal on Team Fuinn, I absolutely could not stand this main couple. However, I was accepting from the beginning that this is where the show was going and how it was most likely going to end. Now that that ending will never be (RIP Cory, seriously you’re missed), I have to admit that Ryan Murphy’s proposed ending of Rachel coming back to McKinley and to Finn sounds pretty perfect.

Sam, who had originally been cast as Kurt’s boyf anyways, would have had the arc of discovering himself and finally accepting that he had feelings for Kurt and then they could ride off into the sunset together. “Duets” is still one of my favorite episodes. There was so much potential in this pairing. And yet, it was wasted on Fabrevans. This also brings me to Blaine. I’m also in the minority of Gleeks (that made me shudder) who hated the gel freak with a burning passion.

Dalton Academy never needed an introduction. The Troubletones storyline was dumb. We were here to watch the stories of the New Directions.

Quinn deserved better. Tina deserved better. As a matter of fact, all of the female characters deserved better. When the girls weren’t cheating on their boyfriends or being annoyingly clingy or that girl that we all despise, they were being used as props to make their male counterparts look better. The character of Sue was comic gold and then turned into a complete caricature.

“True Colors” is my most-played cover from the cast and still gives me chills.

I have no expectations for tonight. I assume the new cast of characters will take up the time that could have been given to the originals. I like Cheerios guy with the good voice and hot football guy. I have absolutely no idea that their names are. The show will end is some sort of stereotypical way. I’m thinking some sort of “lights out” in the choir room or Rachel in New York and a dedication to Cory. All I can hope for is that there is closure and that the original cast members get their due. I’d love to see Tina and Artie reunite.

Sayonara Glee. Please don’t pull a 7th Heaven.

SOME OTHER GLEE POSTS OF MINE:

Oh Look, It’s Another Glee Rant!

Can we talk about Glee for a second? There are many topics to consider here: How the departing seniors basically got mini-me twins; how there’s no conceivable way Kurt, Rachel, and Santana are living in that huge loft in New York with no income; and apparently teachers can leave for extended periods and hand-off their duties to a recent high school grad not currently pursuing higher education. But today it’s their recent and not-so recent handling of emotionally triggering subjects.

Now, I’m always up for a little controversial humor as long as it doesn’t cross the line into completely unnecessary and offensive. And I would even say I have a relatively high tolerance for that sort of thing, but lately this show has been making me cringe more than an episode of Catfish. The second-hand embarrassment I felt from Tina’s ill-advised crush on Blaine forced me to mute pretty much all of their scenes.

It’s upsetting how the writers have to take the glee clubbers completely out of character to drive the message home. Sam and Artie would never congratulate Ryder for being molested as a kid because a teenage girl had prematurely touched his junk. And Ryder would never demand that Unique to pick a bathroom because her gender fluidity confused him. Will is probably the worst teacher in the history of the profession. Don’t even get me started about the school-shooting episode, which handled a sensitive topic horribly and copped out without any real resolution. Am I the only one who would actually fight against having to do these types of scenes? There’s no way that presenting topics in this matter is actually helping to build tolerance and acceptance.

It’s getting more and more difficult to convince people that for roughly thirteen episodes, aka the first thirteen episodes of the series, Glee was genuinely a quality program. Because it was. There was little to no deliberate fan-service, songs were relevant to the storylines, the female characters weren’t treated like complete shit, and things weren’t presented solely for shock factor. This show has deteriorated faster than Heroes, (a feat unto itself) which at least had a great first season in its entirety. And I’m not saying there’s occasionally an episode that’s reminiscent of its glory days. As much as I despise all three of the core couples, “The Break-Up” was easily one of the best episodes of this craptastic season.

Insert the “I wish I knew how to quit you” line because I wish with all my tv-loving heart that I could officially cut this program out of my life. Sam and the occasional appearance by Quinn are seriously the only reasons I still have this show in my Hulu queue. Open letter to Glee writers: You have an amazing platform to which millions of teens are paying attention. If you’re going to tackle a pressing and serious issue, at least follow through completely. Don’t cop out with a trivial resolution or try to make light of the situation. It’s not funny nor helping in the long run.

25 Favorite Television Characters

My intense love for certain fictional characters generally stems from four reasons:

  1. I wish they were real so I could marry them,
  2. I wish they were real so they could be my best friend,
  3. We’re the same exact person except they have a significantly better wardrobe and a hot boyfriend,
  4. Their life is so shitty that all I want to do is reach through the screen and give them a hug.

There’s also a line between characters I genuinely like as characters and not because their portrayer was obviously created on a day that God was channeling The CW Network. Is Ian Somerhalder good looking? Uh yeah. Do I worship the altar of Damon Salvatore? No. Stefan5eva. And it goes both ways. So, taking in no (or as little as I could) consideration of how much I love/hate the actor or their face, these are my favorite television characters: In alphabetical order…

Andie McPhee
“Don’t play dumb. When dumb people play dumb, it’s very disconcerting.”

You’re going to see a lot of Type A personalities on this list, because I have a great love for the straitlaced constantly stressed workaholic who is always on the precipice of a complete mental breakdown. Enter Andie, the future Harvard medical school grad who finally cracked under the pressure of being a severe perfectionist and started hallucinating her dead brother, Tim.

Annie Edison
I’ve been worried about how uptight I am and how I’m no fun. And then I was worried I wouldn’t fit in here or be able to hang out with you guys. But you know what? Why don’t you ever ask yourselves whether you can hang with me? Why am I always the one who has to adapt?

Forced to attend community college after suffering from a nervous breakdown and narcotics addiction, book-smart Annie has always been my favorite member of the Greendale 7.

Caroline Forbes
“So youre saying that now I’m basically an insecure, neurotic, control freak on crack?”

Prior to joining the League of the Undead, Caroline Forbes was my least favorite character on TVD. Seemingly shallow yet overwhelmingly insecure, the future vamp was not my cup of tea. Since being turned into kick-ass Vampire Barbie, that title has been passed on (congratulations, Bonnie!) and Caroline has become my favorite. Who knew all it took was becoming a night-walker to make me like you…

Cassie Ainsworth
I stopped eating, and then everyone had to do what I said. That was powerful. I think it was the happiest time of my life.

Generation 1 of Skins will always be my favorite, thanks in large part to the eccentric but lovably innocent, Cassie.

Chandler Bing
I’m not great at the advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?

Each Friends character is amazing in their own right, but Chandler is hands-down my favorite. I’d never want to date a Chandler, but as my BFF4LYFE? Hell. Yes.

Chuck Bass
“So you’re finally learning there are upsides to pissing off your family?”

Chuck Bass is an ass. He sold his girlfriend for a hotel. He wears purple sparkly suits. Worst of all, he bumped uglies with Jenny Humphrey. And I could seriously care less.

Cristina Yang
“I have an MD and a PhD. I’m a freaking cardiothoracic surgeon. I’m supposed to be studying for my boards, the most important exam of my life. And I’m locked in the bathroom crying because of a boy!”

It took three seasons for me to appreciate Cristina Yang. I was a big fan of her and Burke, but after he left her at the altar and she was so happy to finally be free, that moment made me a Cristina fan. Yes, she can be callous, emotionless, and, well, a bitch, but she always means well.

Debra Morgan
“We can play who’s the better asshole. But I guarantee you I’ll win.”

Deb is a character that grows on you. Her dropping an F-bomb every five seconds was initially annoying as all hell and her bitchy, cold demeanor seemed impenetrable. But I guess falling for a serial killer aka your adopted bro’s real bro and then almost becoming a victim of his tends to soften people up…spoilers?

Hannah Rogers
“I’m not beautiful. And that’s okay, because I’ve got other stuff. And eventually I will remember what that other stuff is and why it’s more important. It’s just taking longer than I thought.”

As much as I wanted to like Amy, the lead female character of Everwood, I never found her particularly relatable. Her “nerdy,” deer-in-the-headlights bestie on the other hand? Instant favorite.

Jack Shephard
“But if we can’t live together, we’re going to die alone.”

I have a tendency to like characters who are hated by the general viewing population. And it pains me that Jack is one of them. The Man of Science turned Man of Faith had one of the most compelling arcs on LOST and if his ultimate sacrifice didn’t make you cry the Pacific Ocean, we can’t be friends.

Jason Stackhouse
“Sometimes you need to destroy something to save it. That’s in the Bible or the Constitution.”

He’s pretty. He’s dumb. He’s pretty dumb. And it’s one of the many reasons why I love him. A serial ladies’ man with a heart of gold, Jason always has the best of intentions even when he eventually effs everything up.

Jesse Pinkman
“For what it’s worth, getting the shit kicked out of you? Not to say you get used to it, but you do kind of get used to it.”

I’ve never wished happiness for a character more than for Jesse. Poor guy has had it rough. Yeah, he’s a murderer, a drug dealer, and an addict, but he’s also been playing the role of Walter White’s bitch for far too long.

Jim Halpert
“A lot of people told me I was crazy to wait this long for a date with a girl I work with. But I think even then I knew that I was waiting for my wife.”


Oh Jim Halpert. You have set the bar for my future husband so impossibly high. I would brave the Dunder-Mifflin offices to work alongside Jim.

Matt Saracen
“You don’t care about me. You left me for a better job. Your daughter left me for a better guy. Carlotta left me for Guatemala. My dad left me for a damn war. Everybody leaves me. What’s wrong with me?”

Thrust into the spotlight after the first string quarterback is paralyzed during a game, Matt Saracen overcame all odds to become the starting QB the small, football-loving town of Dillon, Texas, needed. He navigated thru the perils of wooing Coach’s daughter and the arrival of his MIA parents. And he was a good friend to the ever-annoying Landry, and that more than anything makes him a hero.

Michael Scofield
“Preparation will only take you so far. After that you got to take a few leaps of faith.”

He may hold a serious grudge and talk like a serial killer, but the guy’s kind of a bamf seeing as he broke out of two prisons, successfully broke his wife out of a third, and helped clear his brother of a murder charge.

Nathan Young
“We had it all. We fucked up bigger and better than any generation that came before us. We were so beautiful!”

A smart-ass with an even smarter mouth, vulgar-mouthed Nathan was my favorite Misfit from the start. Let’s hope he wiggles his way out of prison soon so he can return with all his immortal glory.

Phil Dunphy
“I’m the cool dad. That’s my thing. I’m hip. I surf the Web. I text. LOL: laughing out loud. OMG: Oh my God. WTF: Why the face? Um you know, I know all the dances to High School Musical.”

He knows all the dances to High School Musical. ‘Nuff said.

Quinn Fabray
“I may not look like the head cheerleader anymore, but I’m still her on the inside.”

I get the hate that Quinn gets, the former HBIC of McKinley was needlessly cruel at first to pretty much every member of glee club. But Quinn hasn’t been season 1 Quinn since well….season 1. At her core, Quinn is someone who was dealt a super shitty hand and just wants someone there at the end of the day. And I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

Ron Swanson
“I’m not big on charities. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man. Fishing’s not that hard.”

Ron Swanson is my best friend. But seriously. If my best friend worked for the city government and grew a mustache (amongst other things) she’d be Ron Swanson.

Schmidt
“Schmidt happens.”

Douche-bag characters are often one-dimensional and they remain only douche-bags for the entirety of the series. Luckily for Schmidt, douchey as he may be, the New Girl writers took a trip to the Wizard and blessed him with a brain, heart, and courage.

Seth Cohen
“Dude. You’re a Cohen now. Welcome to a life of insecurity and paralyzing self-doubt.”

Unabashedly nerdy and self-deprecating,  leave it to Orange County to make the tousled-hair, pop-culture enthusiast the laughing stock of the Harbor School.

“Stiles” Stilinski
“I’m 146 pounds of pale skin and fragile bone, okay? Sarcasm is my only defense.”


Stiles may be one of the only true “humans” left on Teen Wolf, but he has the super-human power of sarcasm to get him thru the day. And it’s not like every other word I say is sarcastic…not at all. Clearly, we were not meant to be bffs.

Summer Roberts
“Ew. But I like it.”

As Marissa started get more and more annoying with her drug and drinking problems, Summer got more and more endearing by falling for the nerd and showing off her geeky side (Princess Sparkle, helloooo). A tiny whirlwind of shopping bags and boho dresses, Summer, thankfully, easily overcame her rich bitch trope to become the best female character on The O.C.

Veronica Mars
“Congratulations, you’ve been named World’s Biggest Cockroach. This award is given in recognition of your unparalleled lack of humanity. Bravo. You’re going to die friendless and alone.”

If the voice inside my head manifested into a person, it would be Veronica Mars. Shamelessly snarky and unbeatably honest, it’s easy to see why she was either revered or abhorred by her peers. The teen sleuth had her character flaws: she was easy to piss-off, meddled in everything, held grudges like whoa, and served payback like a bitch. But in tandem, she was fiercely loyal to those who upheld the Mars Code of Ethical Behavior and was never afraid to put it all on the line for a friend.

Wes Mitchell
“I am way too hungry to be mature about something like this.”

I started planning my nonexistent wedding to Wes immediately after the pilot of Common Law aired. A former lawyer who swapped depositions for an LAPD badge after sending an innocent man to prison, Wes is a classic OCD-level perfectionist. He constantly clashes and bickers with his partner and (arguably) best friend, Travis, because of his laid-back stance on life. And while I feel like the show presents Travis as the guy we’re supposed to immediately root for, Wes’ personality is much more to my druthers. It also doesn’t hurt that he likes flashy cars and dresses like a GQ fashion spread, either.

Battle of the Boys: Who is the Right Guy for Quinn Fabray?

Glee’s second season was mostly a hot mess. But there was one line in particular that bothered me. In last season’s finale, a distraught Quinn tearfully said to pals, Brittany and Santana, “I just want someone to love me.” Um, I’m pretty sure Quinn has had the most “serious” relationships out of all the gleeks and has had not one, not two, but three guys admit that they love her in the past two years. And they were all popular football players. She’s clearly a jersey-chaser that Quinn.

My two cents? I personally don’t think she could go wrong with either of the three. I will forever be a Fuinn fan first, although I have accepted the fact that they will never be endgame. But with RIB calling the shots, we never know what the hell is going to happen. However, there is something just so oddly sweet about Quick and since I cannot have my Fuinn, I am fully supportive of a Quick reunion [which seems highly likely this year]. On the other hand, I also loved how sickingly sweet Fabrevans was.

Well, let’s pretend that Chord never got the boot and Sam was for sure returning to McKinley High. Which of these lovely gentlemen is the one for Miss Fabray? 

Finn Hudson

Pros:

  • Fireworks. ‘Nuff said.
  • Finn’s the only one of three who has explicitly said that he loved her.
  • He didn’t care about her past as “Lucy Caboosy” (though, granted, we really didn’t get to see the reactions from the other two)
  • He defends her against other glee club members, mostly Rachel and Puck.

Cons:

  • Quinn cheated on him.
  • Finn’s clearly in love with Rachel, too.
  • Whether it was the pregnancy hormones or not, Quinn was kind of a bitch to him.

Puck

Pros:

  • They have a baby, remember? No? It’s okay, no one does these days anyways.
  • “We’re baking!”
  • Rewatch “Beth” in “Theatricality.”

Cons:

  • Their baby was conceived out of a one-night-stand. And Quinn told Finn that she made a mistake with Puck and he should’ve been her first.
  • They [seemingly] have barely talked for a year

Sam Evans

Pros:

  • He gave one of the cutest speeches ever when he presented her with the promise ring. It may have been a tad premature, seeing as they had only been dating for a few weeks, but sweet nonetheless.
  • Sam was probably the best boyfriend to Quinn out of the three.
  • Quinn supported him and his family after they lost their home.

Cons:

  • Quinn cheated on him.

REVIEW: 2010-2011 Television Season

I have always watched a crap-ton of tv, but this year seemed particularly heavy. I had at least two shows per day Monday thru Thursday and I discovered the brilliance of British television. It’s been a busy television season and on the whole, I’m satisfied with the finales we got.

Shows That Premiered This  Season…

After watching the pilot episode, I stuck with only four shows this year: Being Human, Shameless, Happy Endings and The Walking Dead. I always bitch about how much I hate American remakes of British tv shows…and yet two of them made the list. However, unlike Skins, these remakes are actually good. People have been listing Happy Endings on their comedy Emmy wishlists, and while I think that is a wee bit of a stretch, this show surprised me. Any sitcom revolving around a group of friends is immediately likened to, well, Friends. I found the overall premise of Happy Endings to be relatively weak, but the show definitely improved over the course of its short season.

FAVORITE NEW SHOW: Being Human, hands down. The show just gives such a fresh spin on the whole vamp-werewolf dynamic and it totally holds its own against the U.K. counterpart. Although, it’s official, I can’t stand the Josh/George character aka the werewolf in either version.

Discovered shows already on air…

This year, I discovered so many wonderful programs that are already on air. I love this, because then I have oodles of episodes to watch without an annoying hiatus. Thanks to blogs and mostly Tumblr, I had heard only high praises for the British shows, Misfits and Skins. Misfits is by far one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen and I kind of have a crush on Robert Sheehan. I also randomly stumbled upon The Big Bang Theory bloopers on YouTube and even those made me crack up, which gave me the incentive to blindly purchase the dvds. And it’s amazing. I am making it my mission to attend a taping before I leave LA.

While I am still making my way through Parks and Recreation & 30 Rock, I have to say, I love NBC’s Thursday night comedy line-up. I know I am so late to The Office party, it’s not even funny. Within a course of 4 days, I watched every single episode on Hulu. What can I say? It was a boring finals week. And unlike other fans, I don’t think the show has necessarily lost its mojo, I for one, loved season 6. I caught the last few episodes of season 7 on air and while I do agree that it will be a different program, I think the show has potential to be great without Michael Scott / Steve Carell. One of my roomies always sang the praises of Chuck, so I gave that a try, too. It’s a great dramedy and I kind of have a crush on Zachary Levi, too.

FAVORITE NEW SHOW ALREADY ON AIR: This is such a tough decision because I love each and every one of the programs shown above. But it has to be Community. If Glee gets an Emmy nod and Community doesn’t, there’s officially no justice in the world. Even Community‘s “weaker” episodes are better than most shows’ best. And it’s two-parter paintball season finale was damn near flawless. Community‘s comedic style is exactly my cup of tea and I am officially the biggest Jeff & Annie fan ever. I would normally find a relationship between a 20-year-old girl and a guy who is nearly 40 to be disgusting, but they are absolutely adorbs. And to think I only discovered this gem because it was on sale at Target…I have so much love for Target.

Returning shows…

FAVORITE RETURNING SHOW / BEST OVERALL SEASON: This was really not a tough call, as a lot of these shows had lackluster seasons, The Vampire Diaries. Now, I am not one of those crazy TVD fans who stakes out polls on Entertainment Weekly until TVD reigns supreme, but this season was very strong overall. I am such a fan of Tyler & Caroline and I cannot wait to see where the writers take this storyline. We finally saw some progression in the Stefan / Elena / Damon triangle and Jeremy finally got some lovin’ and a relationship I approve of. No sophomore slump here.

ONE TREE HILL: Much like Glee becoming the Kurt Show at times, One Tree Hill morphed into the Brooke & Julian Show. And I love Brooke and Julian, but it was overkill with the babies. If the network would have let Mark Schwahn & crew do the abortion storyline intended for Brooke in season 4, it would have added another dimension to the fact that she is unable to have children. It just seemed too easy to have Brooke get magically pregnant, with twins no less. I love me some Stephen Colletti, but I think the fact that he is now a series regular says enough. We all know that One Tree Hill should have ended after season 6, if not season 4. Although OTH never racked up high numbers, as a long-time fan, it’s horrible to see how its fallen not only in ratings but in quality.

LIGHTS OUT: I won’t divulge too much because it hasn’t aired on NBC yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the finale. It was the perfect end to a nearly-perfect show. Can we get some Emmy love, pwease?

I generally enjoyed 90210‘s season 3. I think the first half of the season why stronger, but it overall was exponentially better than Gossip Girl. The only thing I really liked about Glee season 2 was the return of Fuinn and we all know how that ended. As for Grey’s, hopefully this season will be its last and it can go out on a high note. It’s already losing its magic, I don’t buy any article that claims Grey’s is having a comeback. Just limit the Calzona, give Alex a substantial love interest, bring back Addison and reunite Mark & Lexie and you’ll be back on track.

So what’s going to be my summer obsession? Well, So You Think You Can Dance, obvi, but I also started watching Six Feet Under today and I’m loving it so far. I am also planning to spend this summer checking out Fringe, Parenthood, Modern Family and The Good Wife.  All I can say is, thank God for Netflix.