E: Have I mentioned that the music on Memphis Beat is fantastic? First off, it’s not as Elvisy as I feared. There’s rich, gorgeous, well made stuff. And the credits? Seriously, I think they’ve got the best credit sequence in the biz. Alfre Woodard written on a coaster? Abraham Benrubi’s name scrawled on the back of a classic car? That’s some seriously good stuff.
The show itself is pretty good, too. This week’s episode features Juliette Lewis (which would have been a draw back in the past, but instead turned out to be a bonus), lies, lies and more lies. And our hero sees through them all. I’ve been hoping for a fun scripted summer series, and this is looking like it.
M: In the second episode of this season of Top Chef we quickly moved from the challenges being centered around introducing the contestants, to our usual Top Chef challenges incorporating the host city, and some neat twists. In the quickfire challenge it was once again confirmed who the early favorites are, while in the elimination challenge it was VERY clearly defined who the season’s villain is.
E: Well, that’s not how I thought that was going to go.
It’s not looking good for the girls this season, is it? And okay, I know the male contestants generally have done better (winning 4 out of 6 seasons) and that in this season’s crop the buzz about the finalists has been very clearly male. But when the contestants who performed the best end up in the bottom three, you have to ask yourself. Can the carnage end? Perky-cute Ashley and Lauren escape the bottom once more, but that’s all that can be said for the ladies.
E: I find that the second performance show is always a bit of a disappointment. The first week, even though they claim that the styles are chosen randomly, they usually make sure people end up somewhere they can shine. They ease everyone in. But in the second week, eh, not so much with the easing. And that’s when we had partnerships to invest in. So was this season’s lack luster second performance episode a case of the typical second week let down, or is it something more, like a failure of the All Star system? I don’t know.
What I do know is this. Nobody knocked my socks off this week, and I’m kind of used to these dancers knocking my socks off.
We started off with a montage of baby pictures (wee Alex had pinch-me cheeks!) and Cat in a white sheath with feathers at the hem and neck. I’m also extremely happy to report that we get to see the dancers entire bodies during their solos. There’s no switching of angles every 2 seconds; we get a moment from the waist up, then a full body shot. It’s a delight and a relief. I’d say they listened to all the criticism from last week, but I’m sure all they really had to do was watch the show back. Speaking of differences from last week, we also get to see the dancers pick their partner’s name out of a hat. Boys pull out a pink card, girls blue, and the All Star they choose tells them their style. Hmmm. Some of these are going to be easy, and some of them will be hard. But this time we can essentially see that there was a hat and that people did pick out of it.
E: Amber liquid sloshes in a highball glass. Dark hair slicks back over a forehead. Golden light flickers over speakers, a guitar, a stage. The blues wail. How many music cliches can we get in the first 15 seconds of a show? Quite a few, it seems. During the opening shots of Memphis Beat, the show worked overtime to give us a bluesy Memphis vibe. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce Jason Lee, on stage for perhaps the first time since Almost Famous.
The scene shifts abruptly from gold to blue as the singer – Detective Dwight Hendricks – strides through a rain-slicked parking lot into a ramshackle minimart. There’s blue slushy slipped on a white floor, splashed next to the blood of the dead cashier. He’s not just a singer, folks; he can also take to task hayseed cop Sutton (DJ Qualls), who’s been tracking slushy all over the store and mistaking it for evidence. And he can locate the murderer, a tiny tattooed dude in a wifebeater hiding inside a cabinet, as if by magic.
To begin with, I wasn’t sure if I liked Dwight Hendricks or Memphis Beat – both of them seemed a little too convicted of their own cleverness – but you know, I think by the end they sold me.
M: June 22, 2010 marks the one-year anniversary of our first post, and we thought that we’d celebrate. We decided to follow the lead of one of our favorite ice cream makers, Ben and Jerry’s, who give out free ice cream on the company’s birthday. So today, all content on the site is completely free!!!
OK, so the whole site’s free… but hey, we’re doing what we can. We did consider what to do for the anniversary, and decided to share some things with you that we’ve found interesting over the past year. You see, one of the services WordPress provides is allowing us to see what search engine terms have led people to our blog. Most of these search phrases are very straightforward and make perfect sense, like “relatively entertaining, ” “quibbling siblings” or something we’ve reviewed, like “you can’t take it with you” or “the good wife.” However, there are some searches that stand out, and make us wonder either how that term led to us, why the person searching for it clicked on our link, or what the hell they were actually looking for.
E: Throughout the year, M has kept track of the searches that amused him. Now we present to you a list of our favorite head-scratchers, oddities, and goofball ways people have found us in the last year.
And no, I’m not talking about something else that went on in L.A. last night. I am resolutely not talking about that. I mean, this elimination, come on!
I guessed only one of the three people in the bottom three – although I’m not at all surprised by the gender distribution. I figured at most there might be one guy. But most of the people I thought were in danger turned out not to be, and someone I like a ton went home. I guess that’s what interesting about the start of the season, though, and about this new format. People don’t just stay in because they’re good. People don’t end up in the bottom just because the judges have – justly or unjustly – called them out.