Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Love & Marriage (31-40 of 55)

Two hours of 'Kate Plus 8': I watched them so you didn't have to

The two back-to-back editions of the new specials Kate Plus Eight could have used a combo-title: The Horror, The Horror.

In the first, which TLC called “6th Birthday Surprise,” the Jon-less Kate Gosselin took her eight kids to READ FULL STORY

'Friday Night Lights' recap: Hunting, bars, and death

Friday Night Lights had some heavy moments last night, but everything was trumped by the sight of Tim Riggins in that hunting cap he wore with intentional ironic goofiness while on a hunting trip with Matt Saracen. (The number written on Tim’s deerstalker cap, “33,” was his football jersey number.) This was superb.

The hour started out exceptionally well. I liked the way READ FULL STORY

'The Good Wife' season finale recap: 'Running'

It was couples-night on the season finale of The Good Wife: Not just Alicia and Peter and Alicia and Will, but also Will and law-student Giada, Diane and Gary Cole’s McVeigh, Kalinda and FBI agent Lana, and even Eli Gold and READ FULL STORY

'Parenthood' season finale review: 'Lost and Found'

Few shows this season premiered as more of an underdog than Parenthood. An ensemble family drama arriving just after shows in that genre had peaked (I’m [not] looking at you, Brothers & Sisters), the series had to do a crucial bit of re-casting, with Lauren Graham replacing Maura Tierney, who had to leave for health reasons.* And while we know families can be diverse, would it be possible to believe in a series in which Craig T. Nelson is the father of Dax Shepard?

As it turned out, Parenthood steadily developed into one of the most engrossing, adventurous family dramas in years. Credit creator Jason Katims, who’s worked on good stuff ranging from My So-Called Life to Friday Night Lights, with knowing how to juggle multiple story lines while keeping the big cast evolving emotionally.

Last night’s finale was a good example of everything Parenthood does right. Adam and Kristina (Peter Krause and Monica Potter) had their hands full and their eyes bugging out as their “good girl” daughter, Haddie (Sarah Ramos), dyed her hair black and smeared on black lipstick in an adolescent reaction to her “bad girl” cousin, Amber (Mae Whitman) making time with Haddie’s ex-boyfriend. The ever-less-unlikely duo of dad Zeek (Nelson) and Crosby (Shepard) got drunk together and commiserated over their women-problems.

Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger) tried to help Zeek out of the financial hole he’s in with his bad real-estate investment. Julia did what Julia usually does — tried and failed to avoid being judgmental about everyone around her. (Christensen has the trickiest role in Parenthood, in many ways, and nearly always pulls it off in a manner that only leaves you wanting to throw a pie in her face every other week, which I assume it how Katims wants you to think about Julia.)

The family secret that has set Zeek’s wife, Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), finally engaged in a juicy subplot), off on a middle-aged-angry art career — i.e., Zeek had an affair years ago — is now common knowledge among all the adult siblings. Sarah (Graham) had a lovely awkward moment when she gave her mother what must have sounded like Sarah as sage advice — “You don’t need an invitation to your own life” — only to hear it curdle into unintentional smugness even as it left her mouth. (Lauren Graham is great at playing abashed compulsiveness.)

If the drama that gave the hour action was the search for runaway Amber, Parenthood proved that it doesn’t need a lot of action to be excellent. The dialogue, the unexpected mixtures of one sibling with another (I found the tension between Sarah and Kristina especially choice) combine to give the show a richness that’s going to make it one of the show’s I most look forward to seeing again in the fall.

So what did you think of Crosby’s impulsive decision to move to New York to follow Jasmine and Jabar? How about the brief return of Jason Ritter to offer soft-spoken advice and pull at Sarah’s heartstrings one more time? Can we agree that if there’s another marriage in trouble next season, it’ll probably be that of Adam (the guy tries so hard to be laid-back, he gets tense) and Kristina (she’s not just tense, she’s wound-tight to the breaking-point)? And for any baby-boomer women out there: Could you possibly be won over by a man serenading you with a Herman’s Hermits song played on a ukulele?

And what do you think, in general, of Parenthood?

*(The encouraging news there is that Tierney is reportedly in good health, has appeared in a play in New York, and will return in the upcoming season of Rescue Me in her recurring guest role.)

Follow: @kentucker

'The Good Wife' recap: Killing the dog, too

There are few sights more unappealing than Dylan Baker in a silk robe, his foot cuffed to the hand of a bloody, dead woman… which made for a great way to start an episode of The Good Wife last night.

Baker played Colin Sweeney, a major client of Lockhart, Gardner. Alicia had been sent READ FULL STORY

At the Fox upfront: 'Glee'-full laughs, Spielberg crosses 'Battlestar Galactica' with 'Jurassic Park'

The cast of Glee got a work-out at Fox’s unveiling of its new fall and mid-season line-up. Jane Lynch, dressed in full Sue Sylvester track-suit with bullhorn regalia, began by introducing Fox exec Kevin Reilly, chiding his “local weatherman good looks.” And the kids sang Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” to close out the presentation.

In between, clips were shown from fall and mid-season shows. The standard disclaimer obtains: opinions solely based on clips; shows could get better or worse once entire episodes are seen.

Lonestar: Reilly called it “a modern-day Dallas” and it features READ FULL STORY

At the NBC upfront: Trying to make you forget 2009 ever existed, mostly with 'sex-pionage'

What does it mean that I was more entertained by the pre-taped Alec Baldwin/Jack Donaghy monologue that began NBC’s up-front presentation today than I was by almost any of the shows from which the network showed clips? Having Baldwin’s Donaghy bad-mouth other shows while staying true to his 30 Rock persona — as when he dismissed Fox’s House by saying, “[Hugh Laurie] is faking being from this country, like our President” — was better than all of Baldwin’s recent SNL hosting gig.

NBC is working hard to give the impression that things are moving right along in its prime-time hit-factory, thereby avoiding the fact that it’s had no hits and a lot of Jay Leno to deal with over the past year. But that’s all changed! They’re opening their wallets and their READ FULL STORY

'The Good Wife' recap: Alicia vs. Cary: We have a winner!

The Good Wife had a fascinating legal case about a rock star who went into a coma after… oh, come on: What we really cared about last night was, who was going to be named to the junior associate position, Julianna Margulies’ Alicia or Matt Czuchry’s Cary? That, and what was Vernon Jordan READ FULL STORY

'The Good Wife' recap: Alarming delays in the stuff we really care about

What an oddly shaped version of The Good Wife we got last night. The cliffhanger from last week had Chris Noth’s Peter setting off his house-arrest ankle-bracelet alarm to punch the hall elevator button, hoping to catch Julianna Margulies’ Alicia before she went off to dinner (or is that “dinner”?) with Josh Charles’ Will.

But what felt last week like a pivotal point in the series was READ FULL STORY

'The Good Wife' recap: Exceeding 'South Park' with a Prophet Muhammad subplot. Plus, Alicia to Peter: 'It's over'

The Good Wife came roaring back last night with another plot-packed hour. The courtroom case involved a settlement for the death of a newspaper editor who died in an explosion supposedly set by a militant group protesting the paper’s publication of a cartoon depicting READ FULL STORY

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