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I expect better
This episode is cheap and tacky, looks low-budget with below-par special effects that you wouldn't expect from Doctor Who. Lily Cole's bizarre mermaid character is lame and looks extremely fake at her every appearance, and the plot is riddled with non-sensical plot holes and inconsistencies.
The most disappointing part of this episode however is the portrayal of pirates. Compared to the swashbuckling, double-crossing pirates of Pirates of the Caribbean for example, the pirates in this episode are slightly pathetic and campy, which makes for a rather disappointing Doctor Who outing. Their "piratey" behaviour is quickly overruled, leaving the audience feeling a bit cheated and disappointed by something that could have been a lot lot lot better.
Writers had better try harder to entertain us in future.
Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Some bits are so offensive I couldn't watch
I'm an English person of no religious faith at all, but the way this film treats Islamic culture is so deeply offensive I literally couldn't watch at points. The four characters we have learnt to love over the series are made to be characters I literally despise in this hideously misguided sequel. They come across as ignorant, brash and horrible tourists who flagrantly disregard Islamic modesty laws while on holiday in Abu Dhabi and show little respect or courtesy in a foreign land. The scene where Samantha goes insane and starts throwing condoms at braying men is particularly embarrassing, followed by the girls rescue by a group of women in burkhas who then whip them off to reveal designer clothes beneath. The film doesn't set to dispel any myths about Middle Eastern culture, instead it actively enforces these stereotypes and makes them seem laughable and stupid, and worse encourages them to be disregarded and mocked by Western audiences. We are never given a sense of what Aby Dhabi is actually like; like stupid American tourists the girls spend little time outside of their luxury five star hotel and when they do eventually leave the Moroccan souk they visit couldn't look more like a studio set if it tried. The girls walk around with bare arms and legs as if this would have no repercussions in an Islamic country; the sad reality is this behaviour would see them swamped with lecherous men as happened to my friends during a visit to Morocco.
What makes everything worse is the way the characters have been turned into grotesque parodies of their formers selves. Before the love of clothes of materialism was balanced by a sense of friendship; now the girls have simply become rich, ungrateful, moaning middle aged annoyances. Their gratuitous love of wealth is pathetic and stupid and the comparison of Carrie having to spend time away from Big when directly compared to an Indian hotel worker being forced to spend time away from his wife is insensitive. Charlotte struggling to look after two children when she is a stay at home mum with a full time nanny is also extremely insensitive seeing as she has it so easy.
A horrible film that ruined the heartfelt and intelligent series. Complete and utter horror was my only reaction.
Nip/Tuck: Manya Mabika (2004)
One of the best episodes EVER!
This episode stands out for me because it has one of the most interesting and groundbreaking patient subplots of any Nip/Tuck episode. The idea of a woman who suffered female circumcision having her clitoris reconstructed is brilliant, and I simply love the way it ties in with both Sean and Christian struggling with their individual lives. The highlight is the twist at the end; Christian cannot get Manya to orgasm by having sex with her, but on Liz's instruction Manya does reach orgasm through masturbation. Brilliant and inspired writing, plus the introduction of Ava Moore, someone we'll be seeing a lot more of as the season progresses
Nip/Tuck: Antonia Ramos (2003)
This is a really good episode, as it builds up to the finale and ramps up the tension for the end of the series. The episode brings back Escobar Gallardo, the villain from the pilot, who wants the surgeons to remove breast implants filled with heroin from mules who've carried them over the border on hollow promises of a better life. The scene where Escobar appears inside the McNamara house holding Annie's hand and threatens Julia and Matt with his menacing charm is particularly chilling.
The subplot with Julia and Sofia Lopez is also particularly interesting TV, and highlights a major social issue. Sofia (a transsexual) is not welcome at Julia's pilates class where Julia's annoying soccer-mom friend is threatening her with a petition. The episode highlights the stupidity and ignorance of those being discriminatory and hurtful towards the transgender community. I've been very impressed throughout the series with how the issue has been dealt with sensitively and with real courage from the producers to do something so daring... and pull it off so well
Nip/Tuck: Sofia Lopez (2003)
Tasteful and impressive handling of a controversial issue
This is one of the most impressive episodes of the season because of the way it handles a taboo subject in an incredibly tasteful and informative way. The issue of transexuality is one that is still by-and-large not understood by mainstream society and for a mainstream TV program line Nip/Tuck to send out such a positive message about transgenderism really impresses me. Hopefully this will have dispelled some myths and at least taught some people that transgender people are just like everybody else; they're not freaks to be laughed at and ridiculed. Until the fourth season Nip/Tuck will continue to sensitively handle and variety of issues and bring them to the forefront in a way no other show on TV does, before it descends into a farcical freak show in season 4.
This episode however is very impressive, and well worth a watch...
Angel: In the Dark (1999)
I refuse to be wooed just because Spike is in this episode...
To be honest this episode is pretty rubbish, even with Spike in it. Apart from anything else Spike doesn't do anything! He waltzes in and demands some stupid ring, which should never have been allowed to have exists in the Buffyverse anyway as it's such a poor plot device, and then, for some bizarre reason hires someone to torture Angel for him for the information, rather than do it himself. How out of character! The fact that the torturer man even exists is simply a plot device so that someone can steal the ring and create a finale. Oz is also totally underused; he does little to further the plot at all and simply stands around as if to say "look at me. I'm also in Buffy. Isn't that cool. This is totally a crossover!" To make things even more ridiculous when the torture man steals the ring Angel and the gang know exactly where to find him; they head straight for a random pier and there he just happens to be. Well isn't that fortunate! My favourite moment of the episode. Spike says "to use a phrase I learnt in Sunnydale: DUH!"
Extreme highs and extreme lows
For me this episode has some extremely good moments and also some extremely poor ones. This mainly works out as first three quarters = bad, last quarter = good.
As a character, Andrew provides some quality one liners and good comic relief but a whole episode focused on him just goes WAY too far. Buffy works best in it's darker moments that include some moments of humour, and not entire episodes set out for humour that include some darker moments. The entire video taping thing is just annoying, and takes ages to go anywhere. For the first ten minutes I got incredibly bored watching him just filming anything and everything, and the 'Andrew's imagination' sequences are cheesy and frankly just bad. Spike playing up to the camera is also a hideous moment for me that doesn't reflect Spike's actual character - he would NEVER have done that.
On the more positive side, once all the silly childish humour and annoying bits are over we're treated to a truly brilliant sequence. Buffy threatening to stab Andrew so that he'll admit what he really did and cry onto the seal to... er... seal it is one of my high points of the series. I didn't realise what was happening and was very sceptical of this dark moment until i realised the overall plan.
My episode highlight is Anya saying to Andrew: "why don't you just come in here to masturbate like everyone else"
God, Dawn can be annoying
Dawn can be an amazing asset and a good character, like a Buffy in training, in some episodes, and sometimes she makes me so angry I want to cry. She's just selfish and whiny and throws irritating tantrums every five seconds, as if the characters don't have enough on their plate already.
This episode is a classic for irritating Dawn moments. When she discovers she's a slayer she sneaks out of the house for no reason, putting herself in massive danger and risking everyone else's lives to come and help her at the same time. Then she coincidentally runs into a girl who, coincidentally, turns out to be a potential slayer. How coincidental. In another thoroughly tired plot device, Dawn sneaking out and generally being selfish and annoying leads to her near death but she comes around at the last minute to do something vaguely heroic, which then leads to her being given a heart-rending speech instead of someone telling her to stop being such an immature little child.
This is definitely the weakest episode of the season, and totally skippable. For one of the first times ever in Buffy I actually found myself getting bored... mainly because the potentials are so annoying and the British one's accent is so goddamn awful.
The potentials have the WORST English accents ever...
Their accents are literally unbearably bad. It's like they're doing imitations of what a really bad English accent might sound like if you held your nose and started speaking through a rolled up cardboard tube. As an English person, and human being, I'm offended. Anthony Stewart Head (Giles) must have been livid. Are there no English people in America who could have been cast in the role instead. The appallingness of their accents is only made worse by the fact that Giles is standing next to them, speaking properly.
Elocution lessons please!
Otherwise it's a good episode...
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Him (2002)
Could the scenes of Dawn trying to impress RJ be the most painful thing ever committed to the screen?
Oh god, Dawn's "flirting" with RJ is painful. So embarrassing was it that i found it almost unbearable to watch, and it was just too slapstick and awkward to be amusing. And then we have to wait what feels like a gazillion years before anything else ever remotely interesting happens.
All in all the episode was an unnecessary rehash of of season two's "Bewitched, Bewigged and Bewildered", only much less funny. As if the comparison wasn't obvious enough, the producers felt us necessary to batter us around the head with a clip from that episode just to remind us how lazy the writing was. And while some people find the scenes where the four bewitched girls go their separate ways to try and win RJ over amusing, I found them too slapstick and stupid, with no real content. It could have been written by a five year old.
And how poorly filmed was the scene where Buffy rescued Dawn from under the train? She jumps off the side of the train, then somehow manages to run faster than it so that she can over-take it and pull Dawn from the tracks. How ridiculous.
There are two, and only two, good moments of the entire episode. Firstly, when they are at RJ's brother's house I find it interesting that Spike begins turning the angel statuettes to face away from him. I assume it's a subtle allusion to the fact that he doesn't want to face God in the light of his recent guilt brought on by his acquisition of a soul, although it could be purely his dislike of Angel himself.
The second good point is in the final scene, as they're burning the enchanted jacket. Buffy says to Xander, "weren't you at least tempted to try it on?" to which Xander replies, "I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it didn't fit"