Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Love & Marriage (41-50 of 55)

'When Love Is Not Enough' review: Alcoholics not anonymous, from Lois Wilson's point of view

Sometimes the glaze of sentiment that Hallmark Hall of Fame drizzles across the top of its productions does some artistic good. Sunday night’s When Love Is Not Enough, starring Winona Ryder and based on the life of Lois Wilson, wife of the man who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous, was READ FULL STORY

'Parenthood' review: Secrets and fibs and a rubber-band ball

Although I watch it every week, Parenthood isn’t a show I’ve written about a lot here, primarily because of the Tuesday night pileup of good shows I’ve mentioned frequently. When Justified and The Good Wife are competing in the same time-period for attention, Parenthood — a modest but artful series — can get lost. If it was READ FULL STORY

Kate Gosselin seduces Jay Leno: 'We'll be voting for you on 'Dancing With the Stars'!' Plus last night's jokes from Craig Ferguson and Chris Rock

“There are only three things certain in this world,” said Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show last night. “Death, taxes, and Jay Leno at 11:30 on NBC.”

Jay Leno was smitten by the working-mom charms of Kate Gosselin on last night’s Tonight Show. “People give you grief,” said Leno. “But READ FULL STORY

'Modern Family' last night: Has your companion ever embarrassed you in a social setting?

Typically terrific Modern Family last night, but the scenes in which Mitchell tried to impress a possible new boss (all praise to Justin Kirk), were almost too good — awfully squirm-inducing.

As Cam babbled nervously and bumped into the furniture, I could feel READ FULL STORY

'The Good Wife' recap: Fluffing and flirting

The Good Wife returned last night with a spicy episode that layered in character details like a well-prepared lasagna. Accordingly, one main ingredient was cheese: The central legal case, about a college student accused READ FULL STORY

Madonna, Larry David, Ricky Gervais on 'The Marriage Ref': 'This is the weirdest show I've ever been on'

‘Twas a far, far better edition of The Marriage Ref this week. That’s because the judge-panelists — Madonna, Larry David, and Ricky Gervais — used the ridiculous marital examples set before them (and us) as occasions to yell genially, at each other and the married couples.

Of a woman who kept her dead husband’s READ FULL STORY

'Big Love' season finale: 'We've gone off the track'

Big Love wrapped up its season last night not just overshadowed by the Oscar telecast, but by the season itself: It didn’t have the smoothest narrative flow, did it? I thought the season started strong and wobbled (the trips to Mexico; the hijacking of Adaleen to become J.J.’s latest wife; the whole Indian casino project), but finished pretty strong.

Specifically, I thought Sissy Spacek did terrific work as lobbyist Marilyn Densham, who proved less ruthless than remorseful. And I would defend the much-criticized READ FULL STORY

'Parenthood' premiere last night: Are you joining this family?

So did you watch Parenthood‘s debut last night?

I’m rooting for this multi-generational family show, even as I recognize that its mixture of drama and comedy might not appeal to folks who like their shows to fit one genre or the other. I thought the acting by Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Mae Whitman, and Craig T. Nelson was terrific.

Krause is better-cast here than he was as the angsty lawyer in Dirty Sexy Money. It’s easy to believe the uneasy relationship he has with his roaring, papa-lion father (Nelson excels at that sort of thing without going over the top). And the show’s prominent subplot – about the emotional difficulties of Krause’s young son Max (Max Birkholder) – is a potent heart-breaker.

Lauren Graham’s Sarah is forced by economic tough times to take her two kids (including Mae Whitman, who was superb in In Treatment) move back in with her parents. Graham captured the mixture of embarrassment and defiance Sarah needed to admit she requires some help while trying to build a new life for her (moody, trouble-prone) kids and herself.

I’m not sure that Dax Shepard’s character quite works: He’s a commitment-phobe slacker who’s also a super-sensitive guy who comes through when the chips are down? We’ll see how that works out over the next few weeks.

But I’ll be watching these next few weeks, certainly. I suspect for some people it’s going to be difficult deciding which show to watch in real-time and which to tape: The Good Wife or Parenthood.

What’s your Parenthood reaction?

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'The Marriage Ref' review: 'I'm ready to make the call': Funny or not?

I admit I came to The Marriage Ref, after seeing the commercials, kind of dreading it, thinking it was going to be a pre-fabricated affair, with funny lines fed to the celebrity judges by show creator Jerry Seinfeld and his staff. For all I know, that may be the case, but there was an undeniable spontaneity not only among the premiere’s guest judges — Alec Baldwin, Kelly Ripa, and Seinfeld — but also during the taped segments featuring the couples who provided the arguments. Granted, my defenses were weakened by the mind-blowing Olympics finale that included William Shatner spouting Dadaist poetry, but I thought The Marriage Ref was silly fun.

Hosted by Tom Papa, an excellent stand-up comic (he killed on a recent David Letterman), The Marriage Ref is just what you’ve seen in the ads. We and the judges watched tape of a couple’s outlandish argument, and Papa referees the dispute by concluding, “I’m ready to make the call!”

The two spats this week were READ FULL STORY

'Big Love' review: 'My uterus is unhappy' and so are we: what's happening to this season?

After a crisp, clever start, this season of Big Love has unfortunately become something like a pot dream Justin Kirk’s Andy might have in Weeds.

To pick just a few wacky plot-points from so many last night:

• Bill running for office but taking time out from the hotly contested campaign to drive down to Mexico to rescue his son from his bird-smuggling, gun-smuggling parents.

• Hollis Green conducting a ridiculous “trial” which includes his uni-sex wife Selma taking a Luger and killing a “guilty” bird-smuggler while poor Grace Zabriskie is forced to do more over-acting than she’s done since the second season of Twin Peaks.

• Margene marrying the boyfriend of Ana (just when I thought we’d gotten rid of the dolorous Ana from last season) while continuing with her dream: to become a QVC-style TV star, just what every secret polygamist hopes to transition into.

• Mary Kay Place forced to do more over-acting (her Adaleen lordng it over her daughter Nicki for getting pregnant more quickly than Nicki, prompting the latter’s immortal moan, “My uterus is unhappy!”) than Place ever had to do on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. And let me add, I love Mary Kay Place.

• The bloody severing of Hollis’ arm via a special effect that makes Plan 9 From Outer Space look as cutting-edge as Avatar.

I really enjoy Big Love, usually. I still have a lot of sympathy for Bill Paxton, both for his character and for the actor stuck in this can of nuts.

But I can’t help but think the season has become, again in the words of Nicki, “colossally bird-brained.”

Agree? Disagree?

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