A world away from the grim grit of Red Riding - geographically, chronologically, and dramatically - is the leafy, gentle, genteel world of Lark Rise To Candleford. A drama guaranteed to lull you dreamily to the end of your weekend rather than sit you on the edge of your seat and douse you with cold water before cracking your head with a viciously swung pair of handcuffs. So it's with a sense of inner warmth that I greet the BBC's news today that a third series of Bill Gallagher's adaptation of Flora Thompson's memoir of her Oxfordshire childhood has been commissioned and will
I think I've been pretty good in not writing about reality shows this year ? this calendar year that is ? and believe me it's been pretty hard. I mean there's a part of me that has been dying to express my opinion about "Coach" on Survivor (a real blowhard), how the group that Ramsay himself says is the best bunch of contestants ever to appear on Hell's Kitchen still can't cook the bleeping risotto, how the great challenges on The Amazing Race are exceeded only by the colourful locals ? who frequently behave like they've been indulging in the local potables ? who smile and laugh at the crazy Americans, or how one of my favourite poker players ? Annie Duke ? has so annoyed Joan Rivers (and therefore endeared herself to us all in the process) that Rivers compared her to Mussolini. But until now I've been holding off, holding my fire for the really bad reality shows that are going to be filling the summer schedule. (Okay, so I'm going to have to make an exception for Chopping Block. The host ? Marco Pierre White ? was Ramsay's first boss and made Gordon f'ing Ransay cry! And he has the pictures ? in his autobiography ? to prove it! How can you not write about that!!) Still I can't let the spate of injuries that have plagued the cast of Dancing With The Stars pass without some notice.
Let's face it. You'd expect people to get hurt on a "macho" show like Survivor. They're out there, isolated in the wilderness fending for themselves and then competing in those competitions where people are running and grabbing at each other, so obviously they must be getting hurt. What could happen on a "girly" show like Dancing With The Stars beyond the occasional blister on your heel thanks to an ill-fitting dancing pump?
Ah, but you would be wrong my friends. Looking at the list of serious dance related injuries ? injuries that either involved broken bones, forced contestants (celebrities or pros) to leave the show before or during the competition or required them to have surgery after the show ? on Dancing With The Stars and you come up with an interesting list:
This doesn't include a number of other injuries that weren't serious enough to need surgery, illnesses, or events that injured participants outside of the context of the competition:
Compare that with serious injuries on Survivor (same definition as for Dancing With The Stars):
That's it. While seven people have either broken bones, been forced to withdraw or had to undergo surgery during their time on Dancing With The Stars as a direct result of events that took place on the show or in rehearsals for the show, only three people on Survivor have suffered injuries that were serious enough to get them taken off the show.
The big question is, "why is this happening?" The initial reaction was that the professional dancers were forcing their celebrity partners to practice too hard and for too many hours. According to the show's executive producer Conrad Green, speaking to People Magazine the truth may be quite the opposite: "This is now three fit women, if you include Misty May-Treanor from last season, who had to withdraw from the show. Perhaps people who are fitter throw themselves into it with more wild abandon. I really feel for them and we may need to take a look at [how hard people train] in the future." In other words it is the celebrities, and in particular the fittest of the celebrities, who are driving themselves to over-train for this competition.
There are other aspects at work however. Starting in the fourth season of the show, training time was reduced from six weeks to four. According to The Ballroom Dance Channel
blog the logical result of this is that with less time to learn the same number of steps and routines the celebrities ? in particular the most competitive ones, who are often also the fittest ? are going to drive themselves to do more, often at the risk of injury. The blog includes an interesting statement by amateur latin dancer and blogger Tonya Plank: "I mean, for the average serious beginner, you'd probably take two hours of intense private lessons per week, then about 10-15 hours of less intense, more social-dance-oriented group classes, and about three or four hours a week on your own. So, they are basically spending about a quarter of the time each day training that these DWTS competitors are." Plank also stated that to achieve the level that Dancing With The Stars wants from the celebrities ? what's known as "Open Gold" level ? usually takes two to four years for most people, and the celebrities on the show are required to achieve that sort of level in not one but two very different disciplines, which most dancers don't attempt.
Pro-am competitor Jerry Bowman explained his normal training routine involves 45 minute training sessions. There are two types of open ?choreographed ? competition. One of these involves groups and is what is normally seen on television. The other is a "showcase routine" which sounds very much like what is done on Dancing With The Stars: "This is danced with just you and the pro taking the whole floor and being judged on a graded scale with judges comments. This is a choreographed routine that usually has been put together for an exhibition show hosted by the local studio. It then gives an opportunity for the student and teacher to get feedback on the routine. Because these are done for an exhibition/recital type program and are usually more involved then about 20 sessions are used to prepare the routine." Bowman also mentioned that he personally usually spends as much time on his own practicing the routine, at least for the Open Routines (the group dances). He doesn't specifically mention the Showcase Routines, but assuming that he maintains the same routine for those that would mean roughly 30 hour in total spent training for a Showcase Routine, spread over a period of time. And he is an experienced dancer.
So what is the answer for Dancing With The Stars. While Conrad Green seems to suggest that limits should be imposed on the celebrities the editor at the Ballroom Dance Channel blog suggests that the answer might be to give participants more preparation time ? at least in terms of the number of weeks that are available for them to work in ? would certainly be helpful. In fact the two ideas could work together; an extended preparation period with limits on the total number of hours that could be spent preparing. On the othe hand this might work against the weaker competitors. I'm just guessing but I think that Steve Wozniak is in greater need of practice than Denise Richards or Ty Murray.
One thing is for sure, after the spate of injuries that Dancing With The Stars has had over the years the degree of fitness needed to do well on this show shouldn't be questioned. It's about more than fancy steps and hard-bodied women dressed a few strategically place feathers and sequins ? though Lord know, the latter is why I watch!
Episode 2: A superhero challenge is anything but comic relief as tension grows on Team Athena and the rift grows on Team Kotu. In the end, PM Scott's soft leadership falls to Tom's clever machinations.
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Pop star Ashlee Simpson-Wentz is preparing to return to the small screen with a part on the Melrose Place remake, according to a new report.[...] Read more!
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Season 5, Episode 16: ?Blood Drive?
Our first Office episode in a while. The show came back with a touching and funny episode; really one of the series best I think. Easily one of my Top 3 favorites of the season. Why? Because it was Michael based and I even liked the Jim and Pam storyline for the episode although I think them eating some of Phyllis? and Bob?s food was not cute; it was actually really gross. Although considering what Bob and Phyllis did at the restaurant, Jim and Pam?s actions seem extremely mild.
I loved the opening to the episode so much. It gives a great example about the fact that Michael will go along with anything as long as he is being included. AAAAYYYYYYYYYY!
So everyone came together for Valentine?s Day in the office to celebrate (or not rather) being single. There is also a blood drive and Michael meets a woman who he has some playful banter with before he passes out and wakes up to find that she is gone but has left her glove behind accidently essentially leaving him with his own glass slipper. At least that is how he takes it. Michael and Holly are my favorite couple (well ex couple : ( ) on any show that I watch currently on TV. But if they were going to give Michael someone else to interact with for the episode I could not have been happier with who or what they came up with. Talk. About. Adorable.
I also really loved how everyone showed support for Michael at the end by sticking it out with him (yes, even Stanley) and walking him to his car. I thought it was really touching and goes to show that the office workers know to treat Michael differently than they would a normal person. I just really like how everyone came together for him. I really found the end and Michael?s optimism quite touching.
My other favorite part of the episode was Kevin and Lynn (?) I think that was her name. Soooo adorable. I really hope they keep with the story or at least allude to it because it is too cute to let go to waste.
Ok I do not care how stupid and redundant this review is. This was a really solid episode.
-Oscar telling Michael about his breakup and Michael mistaking it for having a happy ending.
- Girl at Blood Drive to Michael: ?You?re cute?
- Michael: ?These people have to be protected from having love shoved into their faces?
- Kelly and Meredith bonding over ripping up the hearts and plastering the pieces on the wall. Meredith also ripping the Cupid?s wings off and saying ?Now it?s just a stupid baby?
- The entire scene with the Blood Drive woman and Michael.
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1.4 ?Grey Hour?
So we still have not broken the high point of the series so far which was Episode 2. This episode was a decline for me. There were definitely aspects of it that I liked. I actually really like Eliza Dushku?s acting when Echo is tabula rasa. Yes I can tell she is acting but it is in a stylized way which actually works for me in this aspect.
I did not get AT ALL about the midwife thing at the beginning. I have no idea why anyone would pay that much money for a midwife when they could just hire one. Also I thought that the main plot got old after a while. I enjoyed the idea of her being wiped mid engagement but honestly I felt like we were kind of watching the same scene over and over. I did really like seeing Adele and Topher try to figure out what was going on but I hate hate HATE HATE HATE Topher so I can really only enjoy that storyline so much. Of course it was Alpha you nimrod. Secondly right when we actually get to the interesting part of the episode (?I?ll tell you everything I know about Alpha?) the episode ends?uuuggghhh.
What I liked:
-Echo in tabula rasa state.
- Sierra as Taffy also. Ok this is an example of why they should have cast in unknown in the states actress like Dichan to play Echo (even though this was always Eliza?s project from the start); because her personalities are more interesting and believable. This episode provides great example of that.
- While Taffy was essentially a bit of a rehash of Faith I thought that Taffy was her own character so I give Eliza props for hitting some of the same notes but doing something different with them.
- I liked that Echo trying to drill the door did not work. It was realistic. It was probably my favorite scene in the episode.
- Yeah that?s about it for this episode. I thought it was a bit all over the place and could not hold my interest for 50 minutes which is how long the episodes are with limited commercial interruption.
Did not Like:
- I have no idea what is going on with Ballard, what he is trying to do, what Adele is trying to do with Victor in place as Lubov and I am honestly totally confused about motivations for this entire story from all perspectives.
- Topher. Did I mention I hate Topher?
- No Amy Acker
- The sloppiness of the episode.
- So the climax was Echo running or slumping through a smoky hall? Yeah because that really would have happened. Uuuggghhh.
- Also what?s with all of the violence against women on this show? Every episode I swear Echo has been hit by a man. Joss you are a self proclaimed feminist and I absolutely worship you for that and for your commitment and awareness of in imbalance in society but I do not get what the point of it is because it?s so consistent and its happening next week too.
I really enjoy it for many reasons mainly in that I see potential and because I just love Joss so much that I?m so happy to have new Joss even if it?s very subpar Joss. But I hope next week is better. I know it?s supposed to get much better soon but it looks like they basically gave away the entire plotline for this next episode coming up. Nice job FOX; way to entice people to watch your show. Imbeciles.
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Crime Doesn't Pay: ...But it does give Orson the opportunity to make a stolen salt shaker talk in a funny Italian accent. Maybe crime does pay! Also: Someone we don't care about dies.
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Taking Sides: You can be sure Tommy's going to jail at some point soon, if not for the embezzlement, for the crime of being the biggest jerk in the whole wide world. At least his mother remembered to slap him.
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South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season Uncensored comes out on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, March 10th. Too Much Free Time has a copy of the DVD to give away to one lucky reader. Tell us who your favorite South Park character is and why. Next week I’ll pick a comment at random. Details about the [...]
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