Hoping for a Home Run

Below Deck Mediterranean | Bravo | Season 5 Episode 14: Whole New Ballgame

Aesha Scott is back, so The Wellington has a new second stew, and it’s off to Ibiza! Sandy introduces Aesha to everyone, and in a confessional Aesha says she knows Hannah’s not there anymore but no one wants to discuss the situation. Probably better that way! Aesha has such a sunny attitude (about everything), and hugs everyone on the crew; she’s also excited that her first charter will be with the Damons.

Bugsy tells Aesha she loves her attitude then fills her in on what’s been going on. Aesha says she and Hannah are close so she’s heard about Bugsy, but she’ll make her own assessment. I forgot that Aesha and Jack were last season’s Rob and Jess! Aesha reports they’re not still together. #NotShocking.

After a tight squeeze into the dock (with a huge audience of people, by the way), Sandy tells Malia she did a great job; Tom says the same in their cabin. Malia, no matter what else, is extremely good at her job.

Johnny and Michelle Damon, along with their guests, arrive and Sandy ominously tells them they want to “make it up to them [especially] in the food department.” Be careful what you promise, there, Cap!

Adena, a drunk guest, falls over with her glass and gets cut; Malia comes over and gives her a Band Aid. Crisis averted! Apparently she does this kind of thing – the Damons tell Aesha that she broke some of their wedding wine glasses! Aesha also mentions Adena was on a charter last season, too, but with the Queen of Versailles. She apparently really likes the Med, and alcohol!

Bugsy says Aesha is already doing great and things are just working. Be careful what you say, there, Chief!

Tom says he ‘has to be perfect’, so… no pressure. His first meal goes really well, and the guests say the food is already better than last season, right off the bat. Tom says he knows nothing about baseball, but creates a baseball theme (complete with a baseball dessert), and the guests enjoy everything. Tom, no matter what else, is extremely good at his job (so far!).

In a confessional Rob says his ex-girlfriend reached out to him, and he doesn’t know how to tell Jess. He eventually tells Jess about it, and she says she doesn’t care. Later, Jess and Rob text and he asks her not to make “[the situation] about herself.” Alex tells Jess she should see both sides and try to be understanding; Jess doesn’t want to hear it, and says Rob should “block the bitch.” Logical, I guess? Jess tells Rob “Demon Jess” can emerge every so often, and in a confessional admits that she “destroyed [an ex’s] new house.” Something tells me she’s not speaking metaphorically; I can imagine Jess ramming a car into this dude’s living room.

Bugsy throws a funky neon dinner party, complete with colored tutus for the stews. Some of the guests wear neon, others put face paint on, and I really have no idea what this was supposed to be, honestly. Johnny tells Sandy his food wasn’t piping hot, and Sandy runs to Tom to make sure Johnny’s food is like magma. In the madness of trying to keep the food at volcano-levels of heat, Bugsy drops a cloche that was covering a plate to keep it like the surface of the sun. She, Malia and Sandy are all running around and Bugsy says “Tom will freak” if she brings it back, and in a confessional, Tom says he’ll freak if it comes back. Malia runs to tell Tom that Bugsy dropped a plate, and he goes into action to prepare another. The guests enjoy dinner, and Sandy says Tom recovered nicely.

The guests, Pete (remember him?) and Aesha go to an end of season party ashore, which Aesha describes as a “weird drunken circus.” She’s not wrong! In the meantime, Sandy tells the crew to play with the water toys while the guests are away, and they happily do. After jet-skiing, Jess says her heart’s beating really fast, and she sits on the swim platform to rest; Malia tends to her and calls Captain Sandy as the episode ends (she’s in the preview for the next episode, so I’m guessing she’s just fine).

Stray Thoughts

  • Jess, for some reason, is salty about not being promoted to second stew. Maybe it’s because she lets laundry pile up, hooks up with Rob all day and complains when people ask her to work?

  • The guests use the water toys, but are terrified of the 1 (?) jellyfish swimming somewhere (?) near the boat. No one gets stung, obviously. Nice try, editors.

  • Jess begrudgingly admits things have been easier since Bugsy took over as chief stew. Imagine!

  • On a jet-ski, Alex tells Bugsy he’s just happy she’s there. Aren’t we all?! M

An Exit Too Early

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 3

HoH & Nominations

The house is firmly against Janelle and Kaysar, and yet another new alliance, “The Slick Six” is formed; they are: Tyler, Enzo, Dani, Da’Vonne, Bayleigh, and Cody.

For the Have-Not transfer, Enzo and Cody volunteer to be have-nots; Christmas chooses Bayleigh and Nicole chooses Janelle (with a snide comment, much to everyone’s shock!).

Janelle and Kaysar ask Memphis if he wins Safety Suite he will save one of them, and he says he will… in the DR though he says he’s not trying to win, as to no anger his alliance.

Tyler tells his alliance he’s thinking Kaysar and Janelle; Dani and Cody agree. Da’Vonne asks her alliance members to give her the safety plus 1 if they win, getting them paranoid; she says she just wants the punishment, since she’s never had one.

In the last Safety Suite comp, the houseguests competing (Nicole, Memphis, Enzo, and Dani) had to get from one end of the room to the other while dodging “lasers” in order to “steal” a safety orb (giant ball). They then had to get back to the start with the ball, while dodging all the lasers. If they touched a laser, they’d have to start again.

Enzo wins with a very speedy 4 minutes, 41 seconds, and gives his plus 1 to Christmas; in the DR he says he’s trying to reel her in as an ally. Da’Vonne looks unhappy about not being chosen for the plus 1, which annoys Tyler, because he says she doesn’t trust him.

In the DR, Janelle says she knows Memphis threw the competition (he did), and that he’s the type of player who doesn’t want to make any moves. Janelle and Kaysar separately make their cases to Tyler, but ultimately he nominates them both for eviction.

Power of Veto

Tyler, Janelle and Kaysar pick Cody, Bayleigh and Memphis, respectively, to compete. Long story short, Kaysar and Janelle are eliminated in round 1, and Cody ultimately wins. In the DR, everyone thinks Memphis threw the competition (he didn’t).

Christmas and her ‘babies’

Christmas’ punishment for being Enzo’s plus 1 is having to take care of a ‘baby’ plush toy for the week; this annoying cute plushy whines and cries and Christmas has to tend to it. The announcer lets Christmas know that another ‘baby’ is born, and another, and another, and ultimately Christmas has to care for 9 (!) crying plush toys. They joke that Enzo is the father, and Bayleigh jokes the Meow Meow needs to be spayed an neutered!

Janelle makes a case to Cody and says if she uses the veto she’ll vote with him for the next 2 weeks; she wants to take out floaters. In the DR, Cody ‘considers’ it, but he’s been gunning for Janelle since day 1.

In the least shocking move all season, Cody doesn’t use the veto, and the nominations stay the same.


In the DR Tyler says he’s re-thinking his moves because he’s getting rid of big targets and moving himself up the list. The Slick Six meets to decide who to evict; Bayleigh brings up the fact that if Janelle is evicted, this will be the third week a woman goes home.

Da’Vonne says she wants Janelle to stay because she’s in an alliance with a bunch of guys, and Janelle can take them out down the line. She tells Janelle to talk to Kevin to see if she can get his vote. Janelle tells Bayleigh she has some votes, and it might all boil down to Cody’s vote to keep her. Janelle talks to Cody and offers her wedding ring as “collateral”. Janelle is playing this game!

David thinks Da’Vonne tried to get him out of the house; David tells Da’Vonne that Tyler and Cody told him there was attempt to flip the votes from Nicole A (#RookieMistake). He then basically tells Tyler he’s in an alliance with Da’Vonne and Bayleigh. Tyler tells Cody what happened and they say they’re done with David.

In her nominee speech, Janelle says they’re the coolest bunch of people she’s played Big Brother with; Kaysar basically says he just wants to keep playing the game.

Dani surprisingly votes for Kaysar, which flusters Julie! Ultimately only Dani and Enzo vote to evict Kaysar, and Janelle becomes the third person evicted from the house.

In the exit interview, Julie spills the beans about the votes and the alliances; she tells Janelle that Memphis had a hand in her eviction, and that basically trusting Memphis was her mistake!

At the HOH competition, Julie lets the houseguests know the Safety Suite twist is done. By random draw Nicole, Da’Vonne, David, Ian, Enzo and David are chosen to compete first. They must roll 3 balls up a ramp and sink the balls in the holes at the top… HOH TBD!

So Janelle is officially out of the game, but you can’t say she didn’t try her best to stay! I understand why the rest of the house wanted to get her out, but it does sting that it’s only week 3. Janelle is such a strong player – physically, mentally, and socially – and it was so fun watching her play the game, even if only for 3 weeks. Can’t wait until she can come back in season 30 for All Stars 3! M

A Familiar Face in the Nick of Time

Below Deck Mediterranean | Bravo | Season 5 Episode 13: Welcome Back

Previously on Below Deck Med, Hannah got fired! That’s really all we need to know, right?

Picking up where we actually left off, Bugsy throws out some potatoes and Tom goes a little nuts. He’s very frustrated, cursing up a storm, as he prepares the rest of dinner, and of course, the cake that was thrust upon him. At least the guests seem to like the rest of the meal? Sandy finally seems happy with her chef, at least. Tom makes the cake, but complains about ‘being a circus monkey’ when they go sing happy birthday to one of the charter guests.

Rob and Jess talk about Bali, and they’re getting a little sickening. #NotJealous.

After dinner, Tom calms down and Malia tells him he was amazing, for having just been thrown into this situation. It’s true; he really did smash it with that cake, and things can only get better from here once he’s got a rhythm going…

The next day, Bugsy says she’s got a lot to handle with only a staff of one; Tom kills breakfast and the guests are really happy. Bugsy and Tom discuss the guests’ beach lunch. I personally hate eating outside and beaches, so this is my worst nightmare, and I can’t imagine how annoying it is to set things up – even after watching so many season of Below Deck.

Bugsy, Alex and Pete go setup the beach lunch; after a shrimp cocktail mishap, the crew gets Tom’s delicious-looking food over to the beach. The guests again seem happy. Some guests go back to the yacht, while others pose naked and take pictures on the rocks. Is this a normal thing to do? When in Spain, I guess.

Alex and Bugsy continue flirting, and they’re getting a little sickening. #StillNotJealous.

Malia’s having issues with the deck crew; they don’t seem to be listening to her and she’s getting fed up. She already seems to be spending a lot of time in the galley with Tom, trying to keep him from melting down. She calls the deck crew fu**ers because they didn’t listen to her; in the crew mess, Rob asks Malia why she’s angry with him, and tells her he’s upset she called him that name. Sandy is sitting there for this, and gives her 2 cents (insubordination isn’t cool); Rob moves on, but complains to Jess.

After a belly dancer performance, some guests are unhappy with their dinner; they say the chicken is pink and under cooked. Bugsy returns the chicken (which Tom says is fully cooked – it sure looks like it!), and Tom cooks it some more. Alex, at Bugsy’s request, joins the belly dancer for round 2; he gets shirtless and Bugsy drapes some fabric around him. He dances with the belly dancer to put on a show for the guests, and they seem to appreciate it.

The charter guests notice the interior crew seems to be down a person, and the crew does seemed to be stretched to its absolute limit. Right on cue, Sandy complains to Jess that laundry is piled up, and tells Bugsy “it should never be” like this. Not sure what she expects when the whole crew is helping run food and clean cabins, but okay!

On the last day of charter, Bugsy has never heard of huevos rancheros – the absolute best breakfast, anywhere, really – and mispronounces it a bunch of times (love those cheeky editors with their subtitles!). As the guests leave, they seem to be really happy with everything. They leave the crew $20,500 and Sandy seems happy with the team. She lets them know they are getting a second stew for the next charter, which will be in Ibiza (and the charter guest is a returning Johnny Damon)!

Jess gets her finger splint taken off, and while she’s off the boat the crew discusses Rob wanting to surprise her with the fact he’s changed his plans (and flight to Jess’ flight) to join her in Bali. Busgy comes up with an elaborate set of notes to lead Jess around the boat to end up on deck, where Rob is waiting.

After 5 (!) notes, Jess finally finds Rob and this is all now very sickening. #NotAtAllJealous.

Five hours before the next charter, the new second stew arrives, and it’s Aesha Scott from season 4! Now that they have a full crew, what could possibly go wrong?! From the preview of next week, lots!

Stray Thoughts

  • Jess complains that whenever she and Rob are together they get interrupted. It’s almost like they’re not getting paid to hook up… weird!

  • Having Tom on the boat is definitely pulling Malia’s focus; she seems extra annoyed at everything. Rob did the right thing confronting her about her management style – if my boss called me that I’d be upset and want to discuss it, too – but ultimately she can’t manage her team and help Tom for every meal.

  • I liked Aesha last season and think she’ll bring a great energy to the interior team. Bugsy is hyper and Jess is the polar opposite of hyper, so if Aesha can take some work from both of them, they’ll hopefully calm down a bit. M

Searching for Paradise

Lovecraft Country | HBO Max | S1 E2: Whitey’s on the Moon

Inside the mansion, Leti and George enjoy themselves; Leti tries on a bunch of clothes, while George reads a bunch of books, but Tic can’t shake the monsters they just encountered. The trio hears an alarm bell, and are led to lunch by William (Jordan Patrick Smith), the man who first greeted them. William tells them Montrose left for Boston to see a lawyer with “Ms. Braithwhite” two days prior with no mention of when they would return. When George asks about them being expected, William says she left instructions to look after them and treat them like family while they wait.

William, being welcoming

William explains a man named Titus Braithwhite built the house and founded Ardham, Massachusetts; he says Titus was notoriously kind to his employees, and made his money in “shipping.” William also explains the current lodge is a replica of the house that burned down in 1833. He says it was an unfortunate accident that killed Titus and ‘almost’ everyone else inside.

William lets them know Mr. Braithwhite has called a gathering of lodge members for a celebratory dinner, and until then they have the run of the lodge. Tic says he wants to go into town, and William says it’s fine as long as he’s back by dinner. He tells them if they need anything, the butler will get it for them; when Leti says she thought he was the butler, William says he’s just a close friend of Christina Braithwhite.

Tic is suspicious of everything, and George says they want to keep them there. Leti sits down to eat, ringing the butler for some salt, and Tic asks her how she can eat after what happened. She looks confused and says she doesn’t remember what happened; she doesn’t remember being attacked by monsters, and George doesn’t either. They go to find George’s car, which is seemingly restored from its night of ramming into the cabin in the woods. William appears and gives George the keys; he says he found it and drove it up to the lodge. He says there was quite a bit of blood in the front seat but he had the butler wash it out.

Tic, George and Leti head out, and while Tic goes on ahead, Leti and George discuss Tic and Leti wonders if he’s delusional from coming back from the war. Tic says it makes no sense that they came to a mansion that has clothes that perfectly fit Leti and a bookshelf of George’s favorite books. A whistle sounds, and Tic says it’s the same whistle that called off the monsters the previous night. He runs towards it and sees a woman blowing the whistle; she’s also holding 2 ferocious dogs in front of a huge stone silo. She makes a not-so-thinly-veiled racist comment and shows them the inside of the silo, where they keep pig parts to protect them from bears. George says the silo is most definitely a prison…

The group makes their way through the woods when George remembers something Tic’s mother told him. She had an ancestor named Hannah who escaped her master’s house after a fire. They realize Titus must have gotten her pregnant, and that’s Tic’s ‘birthright’. As they are discussing things, they see burrowing in the ground towards them, and one of the vampire monsters pops out in front of them and another behind them. They hear the whistle, and a woman on horseback comes riding up, blowing on the instrument around her neck; the monsters retreat. The woman with the dogs is with her, and the woman on horseback instructs her to escort Tic to her father’s lab and make sure the guests stay in their rooms. George and Leti instantly forget what they’ve just seen, as they make their way back to the house.

George does some light reading

George paces back and forth in his room, trying to remember what happened; he then finds a secret passage when he pulls a book from the bookshelf. He ends up in a big library and on a table finds a book: Bylaws & Precepts of the Order of the Ancient Dawn.

In the lab, Tic finds a hooded man performing surgery on another man – removing something internal from him while he screams in pain – while the woman who was on horseback has a drink. The man on the table gets up after being stitched, and we learn the woman is Christina Braithwhite (Abbey Lee) and the man is her father, Samuel (Tony Goldwin). As they discuss the Biblical book of Genesis and how Adam named all the animals, Tic asks Samuel if he’s God in this scenario; Samuel says he is Adam, and he’s worked a very long time trying to get back to paradise. He says Christina thinks Tic can help him, but that he doesn’t want to see him until “the ceremony” at dawn.

Christina tries to be “friendly”

Christina tells Tic her father and his friends can be very dangerous and they should become friends; she also mentions there is a sort of spell that affects those who come in contact with their “guard dogs” and live to tell the tale. Tic says if they are friends she’ll remove the spell from Leti and George; as Christina says “done”, Tic tries to walk through his open door but is prevented by a barrier; he hears Leti screaming she can’t get out, either. Just then a young boy runs up to Christina and tells her “it’s time”; she runs to where a cow is giving birth, and helps deliver one of the vampire monsters. She tells the farmhands it’s her first time doing so.

Leti is trying to escape, and Tic comes into her room; she apologizes, and tells him she remembers everything and they need to escape but Tic says they’re trapped. They sit and Tic recites part of Psalms 23; Leti remembers the verse from Sunday School and recalls how she said the verse like a prayer when her mother abandoned her. Tic tells her he’ll never abandon her, and they kiss.

Things are not as they seem though, as we learn at the other side of the lodge, Tic is still in his room; he uses Morse Code to tap out the word “Wizards” to George, when suddenly Tic gets shot at; we see an Asian woman in an army uniform jump out of a wardrobe, and they struggle. George hears this and tries to the use secret passage in his room, but turns to see a woman he calls “Dora”, and says it can’t be possible because she’s dead. Tic is stabbed by the woman as George dances with Dora and Leti and Not-Tic begin to undress. Dora tells George of a memory of him and Montrose, but he pulls away and says she’s not real. As Not-Tic undoes his pants, a snake appears and they struggle; Tic subdues and kills the Asian woman. In the hallway, we see Christina and the lodge members watching Tic, Leti and George deal with their situations, which are clearly just illusions.

A dinner bell sounds, and Tic, George and Leti each open their room doors. William appears and tells them dinner is black-tie and men only, so Leti will dine on the veranda. George tells Tic and Leti to be strong and not let these people get to them.

Samuel, getting ready for dinner

William leads Tic and George to the dining room; he tells them to not mind the others, and just because they don’t want them there, doesn’t mean they’re not supposed to be [there]. Samuel comes in and gives a speech about giving (and giving of himself). Waiters come in and serve the rest of the men; on the plates is clearly pieces of the thing that was removed from Samuel earlier.

From reading the book earlier, George tells the group he knows that any direct descendants of Titus Braithwhite (a “Son Among Sons”) hold special powers and can order the other lodge members around; Tic orders all the men except Samuel to get out of the dining room. After they leave, Tic orders Samuel to return his father to him; Samuel says while Tic may be useful, he’s not indispensable, and leaves.

Tic and George run to the silo looking for Montrose, and find Mostrose’s flask in the basement. The woman with the dogs catches them, but Leti knocks her unconscious. George mentions Montrose’s favorite book and examines the wall; he removes a stone from the wall and they see a tunnel…

We see Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams) stick his head up out of the ground and when he’s fully out, the trio find him. Montrose isn’t happy to see them, but they take a car and George explains the group is called the “Sons of Adam” and they’re obsessed with figuring out immortality; the first attempt is what burned down the house years earlier. As they try to escape, they cross a covered bridge but hit an invisible barrier at the end.

Samuel and Christina arrive and as Tic, Montrose, and Leti stumble out of the car, Samuel shoots Leti; Tic yells for Christina to help him, but Leti dies in front of him. Samuel says because Tic is a Son Among Sons, he’ll give him a choice of who lives, but turns and shoots George.

Back at the lodge, Tic is naked and being hand washed, while Christina tells him Samuel will attempt to open a door to the garden of Eden to gain immortality. Tic gets a robe, and he and Christina watch a doorway; in another room, they see Montrose tend to George while Leti, lying on a sofa, wakes up! Christina tells him her father will heal his uncle too, if Tic cooperates in the ceremony.

Leti goes to the bathroom and looks at where the bullet wound should be but there is nothing there; she tries to wash her clothes and starts crying. Meanwhile George and Montrose speak, and we learn George may actually be Tic’s father.

A second failed experiment

Tic goes to the ceremony, and as Samuel starts some machinery, electricity goes through Tic, and a portal opens in front of him. As Tic screams, a garden seemingly comes through the portal. Tic sees a pregnant woman inside the portal as the lodge begins to shake. Tic screams and releases a burst of energy, turning the lodge members to stone, as the pregnant woman turns and leaves; she leads Tic out of the lodge as the entire place crumbles behind him.

Leti calls out to him, and in the back of George’s car, Montrose is holding a dead George. Tic cries and says he’s sorry to his uncle.

Stray Thoughts

  • Lots going on in this episode! Will this mythology come back later? Probably not, since all the members are seemingly dead?
  • Are they dead? Where are Christina and William?
  • Seems as if Dora was Tic’s mother? (Have they mentioned her by name?)
  • I didn’t see the father twist coming, because there was seemingly no setup at all – until the dancing with a not-really-there Dora – or I just missed this completely.
  • I liked the Hannah bit coming back at the end, showing the parallels in the story as well as guiding Tic to safety.
  • Is this the last of Uncle George? Say it ain’t so! M

It’s Hard to Make a Hit, Man

But actually, women.

Hitmen | Peacock | 6 Episodes Available Now

Jamie and Fran (Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, aka Mel and Sue, comediennes and former hosts of The Great British Bake Off) are not great at their jobs. Jamie is a bit of ditz, and Fran is a bit stone cold. What do they do? Well, they kill people for money; no mystery there!

The ladies work for the mysterious Mr. K, with whom they only communicate via phone; they drive around in a cleaning van to pull off their various hits. Most episodes use the in media res trope of dropping the viewer into the action mid-job, with the women’s target already acquired, but before the actual ‘job’ is done. As you might expect, things never go smoothly, and the comedy comes from Jamie and Fran trying to keep a target, fix something that’s gone horribly wrong, or be professional long enough to actually carry out their task.

Tonally, while a comedy, the show is a bit uneven; sometimes it’s straight up comedy but there are also action sequences, gun fights, and legitimate dramatic moments. These women are hitmen, after all, so they do end up actually killing people. The stories are a bit predictable; after the first few episodes, you have a feel of what to expect. I never laughed out loud, but found myself chuckling at the consistent banter and the way Mel and Sue play off each other; Jamie and Fran’s friendship is so natural, you can tell the characters (and actresses) have been friends for ages, and they look to be having a blast playing these parts.

While some of the comedy is physical, the majority of the comedic moments comes from the way Jamie and Fran speak: to each other, about each other, to their target, about their target, about a job, about the other’s personal life (or lack thereof). They’re just best mates just trying to make a living, even if that living comes from killing people.

Jamie and Fran getting advice from a target

Jamie is a bit softer than rigid Fran; in the first episode she cuts out eye and mouth holes in the bag over her target’s head so that he can play charades with the ladies. In another episode, she amuses herself by playing pranks on Fran with a joy buzzer, a rubber fried egg, and a whoopee cushion.

Fran is generally much more no-nonsense, but does break down, makeup running down her face, when discussing her husband Joao: a never-seen-on-screen gay Brazilian man who she married so he could get a green card, and how he takes advantage of her. Fran does have a soft spot for dogs, as it turns out, to her detriment.

The two complement each other very well; likewise, the supporting cast does a nice job. There’s a ‘target of the episode’ – a person who usually doesn’t even have a name, just a title: The DJ, The Bouncer, The Accountant (Fleabag‘s Sian Clifford, easily the most memorable and funniest of the targets), etc. I have to assume the writers didn’t give the targets names simply to downplay the fact these are human beings that are being snuffed out, in this… comedy… moving on

There is also Mr. K’s ‘A-Team’, Liz (Tonya Cornelisse) and Charlie (Asim Chaudhry), who Jamie and Fran sometimes call upon to help them out, even though they’re rivals. Liz = Fran and Charlie = Jamie; that basically sums that up! Liz gets in some funny lines when making fun of Fran and Jamie, but except for 1 episode, they don’t have much to do, unfortunately.

Here are some episode highlights, to get a feel for the show:

  • Jamie convinces Fran to celebrate her birthday with a target in the back of the van (while waiting for Mr. K’s instructions); this includes party hats, noisemakers and McDonalds’ McFlurries from a drive-thru.
  • When The Accountant has an allergic reaction to soup, and Fran and Jamie don’t know what to do, Jamie consults YouTube. #ValidStrategy?
  • An escaped target leads the ladies around the woods while Jamie, who’s thinking of becoming a mother, tries to care for a hard boiled egg (who she’s named Pip) to show Fran she’s responsible. Meanwhile, Fran stumbles across a Brownie troupe and starts a sing along of ‘Kum Ba Yah.’

  • The ladies, dressed as Simon and Garfunkel, nab a DJ from a wedding.
  • A Russian hitman named Nikhil joins Jamie and Fran on an assignment; as the women are deciding who should be the one to give the other a ‘leg up’ over the wall, Nikhil comes back with a body.

This British import’s first season consists of 6 episodes, all under 30 minutes, and is a quick and easy binge. While I didn’t think it was hilariously funny, it definitely had its moments, and I liked it. The last episode clearly sets up a potential season 2, and I think if they do get to make another season it would change the show’s format a bit, and actually make it funnier. If for whatever reason you have a Peacock subscription, turn on those captions and give it a go! M

Long Live the Queen

Big Brother All-Stars | Week 2 | CBS

Back for another week of Big Brother! Current HOH Memphis nominated Nicole A and David for eviction, giving… reasons. Apparently they’re not ‘all-starry’ enough, being from the most recent season. I guess I can see that argument for David, as he was the first person evicted, but Nicole A put in some work for her all-star status. Is she on par with Janelle, or even other Nicole? Not even close, but David isn’t even on the same game board.

We’ve seen a lot of Memphis and his crew talking this week, and it’s clear that his alliance members aren’t on board with his tactics. Cody and Tyler both want to backdoor someone, namely Janelle or Kaysar. Memphis says it’s way too early to take a shot at them because if he shoots and misses, “he’s f*****.” While it’s only week 2, and I see the point, this is Big Brother! All-Stars! If Memphis is as good a player as he thinks he is, he should be able to make a big move and come out on top. He should also be able to convince the other houseguests to evict the ‘Queen of Big Brother‘ (as Dani calls her); not that I want to see Janelle evicted, but with his alliance, Memphis should easily have the votes. #JustSaying.

Speaking of Janelle, she tells Memphis there’s an alliance of 4, but isn’t aware Memphis is also in that alliance with Cody and crew; Janelle suggests Memphis backdoor Nicole F. Memphis tells Nicole F “he’s heard talk” about backdooring her. I was confused at this, because if someone won POV and took down a nominee, ultimately Memphis would have to choose a replacement; if Nicole F is in his alliance, why would he put her up, and why was she so upset? Just the mention of being backdoored? This is Big Brother! All-Stars! Nicole F, I guess rightfully, is paranoid about Janelle. In the DR she says Janelle hasn’t talked to her and she’s not sure why Janelle doesn’t like her. Did something happen when they competed against each other on season 31 of The Amazing Race? Who remembers?! In any case, Nicole F could easily just ask Janelle what’s up, but where’s the fun in that?

The players for the POV are chosen by random draw: Memphis chooses Ian (the irony!), Nicole A chooses Tyler, and David chooses Nicole F. The competition is an endurance comp, where the houseguests have to balance a ball on a board. It was kind of a snooze. Nicole A, Nicole F, and Ian go down in order; shortly David and Tyler follow, and Memphis wins the veto. More Conversations With Memphis TM go on, but ultimately he decides not to use the POV.

Both sides of the house are annoyed that Memphis didn’t use the veto to backdoor anyone; Memphis wants to “stay neutral”, but this probably puts a bigger target on his back.

Nicole A goes campaigning to Da’Vonne; Da’Vonne tells her she won’t vote for David. Later, though, Da’Vonne tries to warn David that people are saying he’s in an alliance, but for whatever reason he does’t want to hear it… Separately, Kaysar goes to Da’Vonne and tells her about the alliance of 4 that he and Janelle know about, trying to sway her to his side.

Janelle and Kaysar tell Nicole A they can rally the votes to keep her, while the rest of the house tells her not to trust Janelle. Nicole A listens, and turns on Janelle and Kaysar, for some reason? She tells Cody she “want’s [Janelle’s] head on a stick”, so Cody wonders if it may be worth keeping her around…

On eviction night, in her nominee speech, Nicole A says she wants to play “All-Stars”, not “All-Scared” and calls out Memphis for nominating her. #ShotsFired! In the end, Nicole A is evicted with 10 votes; only Kevin and Enzo vote for David. In her exit interview, Julie tells Nicole A about the six person alliance and that Janelle really did have her back; Nicole says she owes Janelle apologies all around.

The HOH competition involves the houseguests sliding beer mugs down lanes for points. Ian gets a score of 10 (and does a little dance!), but Tyler gets a score of 12 and knocks him out. The rest of the houseguests can’t beat Tyler, and he becomes the new HOH.

So it seems Memphis might be safe this week, since his alliance-mate is HOH. I suspect Janelle and Kaysar will be his targets, but lots can happen in the Big Brother house in a few days… The Safety Suite twist is coming to an end next week (didn’t that go super fast, unlike most BB twists?), so hopefully this will shake things up a bit. Kaysar and Janelle may have enough support to weather the storm, but if Tyler is smart, he’ll backdoor his target to make some moves and get this game going! M

Wrong Couldn’t Be More Right

The Goes Wrong Show | Amazon Prime Video | 6 Episodes Now Available

So very, horribly right

I had the great fortune to see The Play That Goes Wrong at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City in the summer of 2017. I read a brief description of the play, but couldn’t be prepared for what I was about to see. When the play began, I started laughing and didn’t stop until it was over. The premise was simple: a theater company was putting on a murder mystery, but at every turn set pieces broke, actors forgot lines, props didn’t work, hammy actors addressed the audience, and anything that could go wrong did. It was absolutely brilliant, and unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

Because I seem to have the British slapstick gene – think Mr. Bean and Benny Hill – this play was ‘right up my street.’ Mischief Theatre, the folks behind The Play That Goes Wrong has translated this formula to The Goes Wrong Show, a BBC production acquired by Amazon Prime Video. Each of the episodes is a stand-alone play put on by the Cornley Drams Society, and each goes… less than perfectly.

The actors do their best to soldier on despite the carnage around them; their visible frustration and looks to the camera when things fail are just hilarious. No matter what happens, the show must go on, so the actors do their best to get their lines out while dealing with all the mini catastrophes around them.

Here’s what to expect from the first season:

Episode 1: Christmas Special
Father Christmas (that’s Santa Claus) tries to cheer up a little girl on Christmas Eve. Props go wrong, an elf gets stuck in a chimney, and a Frosty-like snowman ends up only in underpants. It’s an unforgettable Christmas scene.

Episode 2: The Pilot Episode (Not the Pilot Episode)
In WWII, the English try to decode German messages to change the tide of the war. Hitler shows up, maps swap places, foreign phrases go horribly wrong, the telegraph machine can’t seem to get it right, and there’s no upstairs. Mon Dieu!

Episode 3: A Trial to Watch
A man is on trial for murdering his brother; their fight is seen in flashback. A tiny courtroom set, malfunctioning mismatched flashback sets, a bloody prop and dodgy dialogue all make for a hilarious time – my personal favorite!

Episode 4: The Lodge
A couple and their daughter scope out a spooky house in 1960’s England. An inaccessible kitchen, chair lift shenanigans, a mom who can’t quite keep her baby bump, and an unpredictable storm keep everyone on their toes.

Episode 5: Harper’s Locket
A young lady is engaged to a lord, but is secretly in love with the stable boy. A dangerous ceiling fan, self-playing piano, difficult doors, cats and horses interfere with the atmosphere. Pride and Prejudice this is not.

Episode 6: 90 Degrees
In the American South, siblings come home to see their ailing father and fight over the family business. Let’s just say ’90 degrees’ doesn’t just refer to the weather! Things literally go sideways, the dog doesn’t quite behave, and a twist ending will keep you guessing and laughing until the end.

The Goes Wrong Show has been renewed by the BBC for a second season, so we can hopefully expect the hijinks to continue on Amazon Prime when they’re ready to go. Having breezed through the first season, I can’t wait to see more plays and how they go so very right. M

Maritime Law

Below Deck Mediterranean | Season 5 Episode 12: There’s No Place Like Home

Picking up right where we left off, Sandy confronts Hannah about her drug possession: a prescription for Valium and a pot pen.

Sandy shows her the incriminating picture and asks Hannah to bring the drugs to her. Hannah tells Sandy she hasn’t taken Valium since she’s been on board, but we are shown footage of Hannah very clearly picking up the Valium package and going into her bathroom (sneaky editors!).

Hannah goes back to her cabin and Sandy follows her “to make sure it’s not being destroyed”; Sandy takes the drugs. Back in Sandy’s office, Hannah asks her what she should do. Sandy tells her with everything going on, she can’t go to sea with Hannah, and she’s going to finish the season [without Hannah]. Sandy says she doesn’t want to take any risks with her reputation and the law; Hannah asks for her Valium back, thanks Sandy and tells her she’ll go pack her things.

Sandy explains that due to maritime law, there’s no tolerance for this type of behavior, and what Hannah has done is illegal. If something were to happen, Sandy could be arrested, the boat incarcerated, and she could lose her license. Malia later echoes this, saying “it’s maritime law,” and they have to protect themselves from potential lawsuits if anything were to happen and Hannah wasn’t able to fulfill her duty as chief stew (or fails a drug test). #Understandable, but the situation is still a little gross, all around.

Hannah goes out to the dock and calls her boyfriend; Sandy goes out to talk to her. She says her hands are tied, legally, and she doesn’t want to go out to sea with Hannah the way she’s been – referring to Hannah’s anxiety attacks. Hannah says that’s bull****, and when Sandy tells her she cares about Hannah, Hannah doesn’t believe her. Sandy tells her she could have fired her years ago, and gets very annoyed that Hannah thinks she doesn’t care about her. She tells Hannah “Now, officially, I don’t f****** care” and tells her to pack her things and get off the boat.

In a confessional, Hannah calls Malia a snake for reporting her; when she tells Jess what happened, she says the industry is ‘dog-eat-dog’. Hannah packs her stuff and bumps into Bugsy and Malia; she tells Bugsy what happened, and says “apparently you can get fired for having anxiety attacks.” Hannah tells Malia what Sandy told her; Malia asks if her drugs were registered with the boat and Hannah tells her she doesn’t remember.

Hannah says her goodbyes, 2 hours before the next charter is to begin, and leaves the boat. “This is how it ends?!” she asks as she sits on the dock, smoking a cigarette. She says she’s very aware of maritime laws, and she should have registered the drugs; ultimately it was just a mistake on her part. We see a montage of Hannah’s time on the show – the good, bad and ugly. She says she’s sad to be leaving yachting, but the next chapter will be so much better. Thank you for your service, Hannah! It’s been a wild ride.

The crew says they can’t lose anyone else – 2nd stew, chef, and now chief stew – it has to be a new record! Sandy asks Bugsy to take over as chief stew, and Bugsy agrees. Bugsy says she’ll do whatever she can to carry on; she scrambles to come up with a game plan. She is very hands on with Jess; she shows her how to make drinks and makes lots of lists for her. Bugsy says too many times chief stews expect their stewardesses to just know how to do things. I think given the resources, Bugsy will be an excellent chief stew; it’s been clear for a while Hannah’s heart wasn’t really in it anymore…

Sandy and Malia say they’ll probably see a change in everyone after this incident, and Malia explains she had to get special permission to take Benedryl for an allergic reaction, let alone a controlled substance. Sandy says an entire boat was seized because one weed joint (!) was found. Maritime law is serious! Sandy has a meeting with the crew and explains what’s been going on. The guests finally arrive and the charter gets underway!

Tom gives his lunch menu to Bugsy and they seem to quickly work well together. The deck crew pitches in with running food; the guests seem happy… but Jess lets it slip that Tom is new, and the guests ask Sandy if she’s eaten his food yet. They complain about being served veal, but ultimately praise his food – disaster averted! The guests do ALL the water sports at once, seemingly stressing out Malia; one jet ski tips over but it’s all good.

The guests tell Bugsy they want to do a birthday party that night, off from their original schedule. Tom rolls with this, but gets annoyed at having to make a last minute cake; he complains to Malia in their cabin. Tom has a few issues with food prep and oysters; he continues to be flustered in a very British sort of way, but carries on.

At dinner, the guests mention the oysters all have grit and shells in them. Bugsy tells Tom about the shells, but the guests just want to move on to the next course. It’s lobster, which the guests say is raw; Bugsy brings them back to Tom, who pan fries the pieces of lobster, but gets angry and says he has “too much self respect for this.” Seems like Tom is off to a rough start, but just needs to find his groove. We’ll see how it goes!

After the episode, a trailer for the rest of the season was shown that includes:
Sandy telling the crew that insubordination won’t be tolerated, Johnny Damon is back, belly dancers, jellyfish, Ibiza, trouble in paradise for Rob and Jess, Tom saying he’s ‘done’, difficult docking, Malia chastising Rob, Sandy telling Malia to stay out of the galley, Sandy yelling at Tom, and Tom getting very angry. #RoughWatersAhead

Stray Thoughts

  • Sandy calls her headhunter Norma, again, and tells her she need another second stew! The Wellington is single-handedly keeping Norma in business.

  • Rob says his relationship with Jess has only gotten stronger and he’s considering going to Bali with her after the charter season.

  • There’s a sex toy that somehow makes the rounds around the guest cabins – the less said about that the better, I think. But Alex did get a kick out of it.

  • [Spoiler Alert] It’s a Below Deck Med mashup, as the new second stew is reportedly Aesha, from last season! Here’s hoping she, Bugsy and Jess are able to work together with no drama… M

Strange Country

Lovecraft Country S1 E1: Sundown

Our heroes have been through it. And it’s only episode 1!

Is Lovecraft Country HBO’s answer to Stranger Things? After watching Sunday’s premiere, a case could be made: both have a story set in the past, other-wordly monsters, and a larger over-arching mystery/conspiracy. But where Stranger Things is an homage to 80’s sci-fi, Lovecraft will most likely directly borrow from the eponymous author for its stories, monsters and themes.

The story opens in a black and white film reel in which our hero Atticus ‘Tic’ Freeman (Jonathan Majors) is a soldier at war; he runs around a battlefield until the camera pans out and we see flying saucers, War of the Worlds-type alien machines with lasers, and all sorts of creatures running around attacking everything in sight. As the picture is colorized, we see a beautiful alien woman with red skin come down from a UFO and hug our hero – until Lovecraft big bad Cthulu appears behind him. As he’s about to be devoured by the winged, many-toothed, tentacled monstrocity, the beast is torn in two by a baseball bat-wielding Jackie Robinson. Still with me? Cthulu re-forms, and as #42 goes in for another whack, Tic wakes up; he was just dreaming.

In reality, veteran soldier Tic is on a bus from Kentucky to Chicago in 1950’s America. The racism is palpable from the start; when the bus breaks down, Tic and another black woman are forced to walk to the next town, while the white people are driven by a local in a truck. While walking he tells the woman about his love of pulp-fiction novels and why he’s on his way to Chicago – his father, Montrose, is missing.

In Chicago, Tic meets up with his uncle George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance), who tells him Montrose has been missing for 2 weeks. Tic tells him his father sent him a letter about his late mother’s family, and a ‘sacred, secret birthright’ that’s been kept from him. Montrose writes that his wife’s family is from “Ardham”, Massachusetts, and that he wants Tic to go with him to check them out.

At a neighborhood block party, we meet Ruby Baptiste (Wunmi Mosaku), who is singing and entertaining the crowd. Her sister, Letitia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett), a childhood friend of Tic’s, shows up and joins her on stage; Leti tells Ruby she needs a place to stay and Ruby agrees to 2 days. When Tic tells his uncle he’s going to find Ardham, George says he’ll join him; George is writing a guide for safe travel for black people, and he says the trip will make a good addition. That night, Tic calls South Korea, and a voice on the other end says “You went home; you shouldn’t have.” Spooky! Leti joins George and and Tic – she’s hitching a ride to her brother’s house – and after George says his goodbyes to his wife and daughter, the trio sets out.

Along the way, they encounter racism at every turn, using George’s guide to navigate the Midwest. For trying to eat lunch at a diner, they are chased out of a town in their car and are followed and shot at while trying to escape. They do narrowly escape, thanks to another car that cuts off the racists and ends up flipping their truck. We see a white woman get out of the car and look at Tic as they race off to continue to Ardham. They stop off at Leti’s brother’s house, and he ends up kicking her out for not attending their mother’s funeral (a fact Ruby also brought up); it seems Leti isn’t exactly the most responsible person… our heroes then continue on their way.

As they get closer to their destination, they come across a racist sheriff, who asks them if they know what ‘sundown laws’ are; basically black people can be arrested for being out after sundown. Tic and crew manage to make it across the county line before sundown, but are ambushed by the local cops and the racist sheriff on the other side. They bring Tic, Leti and George to the middle of the woods and are trying to pin a series of recent crimes on them, when one of the cops is attacked and his arm chopped off – flashlight still in hand.

Creatures that look like giant rats with a bunch of teeth and eyes on the outside of their skin are all around them, running through the woods. The sheriff gets a chunk of his shoulder bitten off as the sheriff, another cop, Tic and Leti manage to find a cabin in the woods. George makes his way to the cabin with the fallen cop’s flashlight, and they figure out the creatures attacking them don’t like light. Leti goes back to the car to grab flares for extra light while the guys in the cabin realize the sheriff is turning into one of the monsters, like a vampire. The sheriff kills the other cop and is about to attack Tic and George when Leti rams the car into the cabin, killing him.

Leti and Tic take the flares and set them in front of the cabin; as a dozen creatures are moving in on them, they hear a whistling sound and the creatures scatter. Tic, Leti and George start walking and as the sun comes up, they arrive at a mansion; bloodied and tired, Tic goes to knock on the door, but it is opened by a man who welcomes them and says they’ve been expecting Tic…

So after a somewhat slow start, the first episode ratcheted up the horror, ended with a bang, and left us with plenty of questions. Where is Montrose? What is Tic’s ‘secret birthright’? What happened to Tic’s mother? Where did those nightmarish creatures come from, and where did they go? Lovecraft Country seems like it can go literally anywhere, and I’m on board for the ride! It definitely fills the mystery/horror void left by Stranger Things, and from the season trailer it looks like it will only get weirder – which is the only way a sci-fi show should be. M

Expecting the Unexpected

Big Brother All-Stars Week 1

Season 22!

Big Brother is back! CBS’s reality show behemoth debuted last week for its 22nd season, and brought back 16 all-star players to battle it out for $500,000. Surprisingly, this is only the second all-stars season in the show’s 20 years on the air – the first was way back in season 7 (2006) – and is very much overdue. Once again in the hosting chair is the Chenbot herself, Julie Chen-Moonves.

What’s interesting is the majority of players are from season 8 onward, with only Kaysar and Janelle returning from season 6 (though they both competed in the first all-stars season) and no one from before season 6. This works out well for me, as I only started watching BB in season 8, so I’m familiar with every houseguests except Kaysar. Big Brother icon Janelle competed in season 14, and I watched her and fellow BB alum Britney run The Amazing Race, so just like the rest of America, I know and love Janelle.

The rest of the all-stars are, with their original season(s): Dani (8 and 13), Memphis (10), Keesha (10), Kevin (11), Enzo (12), Ian (14), Cody (16), Nicole F (16 and 18), Da’Vonne (17 and 18), Christmas (19), Tyler (20), Bayleigh (20), David (21), and Nicole A (21).

The only person who’s not an all-star is David, who was evicted first last season after failing a competition. It’s a nice gesture to let him come back, but we barely got to learn his name before he was evicted, so he doesn’t really qualify for all-star status, does he?

Because of the COVID-19 of it all, the season was delayed, and for some reason CBS decided to air the houseguests moving in live in the 2-hour premiere. It was a bit of a mess, as you might expect. Some highlights:

  • Even though they’ve reportedly been in quarantine with COVID testing, the houseguests (4 at a time) wore masks on stage before entering the house. They were told they could remove their masks when they entered the house. Mmmkay. Why?

  • The houseguests didn’t know who else would be in the house, so when they saw each other for the first time they were understandably excited. Julie tried to corral them into the living room, but they weren’t listening or possibly couldn’t hear her. Julie’s joke of ‘whoever sits down last gets evicted’ didn’t land either time she said it.

  • The week’s Have-Nots couldn’t get into the Have-Not bedroom. The door is a small one they have to crawl through, but ultimately it wouldn’t open (and we haven’t seen the room since – only shots of it, unoccupied, as far as I remember).

  • The first competition, played in rounds of 4 people, was a difficult mess. The houseguests had to get a ball through a hole of a labyrinth-table, and no one could easily do it.

In the first Head of Household competition, the houseguests had to jump on stumps to make their way across the backyard; but some of the stumps were fake and wobbly and if they fell off they had to start again. Cody beat the challenge in about 22 seconds, easily smoking the competition; he became the first HOH and nominated Keesha and Kevin for eviction. In the Power of Veto, Enzo came out on top, and the Meow Meow decided not to use the veto. I didn’t like either of these comps – the veto was rocking back and forth on a giant banana to earn time to stack plastic fruit; most pieces of fruit won. It was very boring.

Slightly less boring is this season’s first gimmick: the Safety Suite! Each houseguest was given a pass to the Suite; they can use the pass to compete in a challenge only once this season. If they win the challenge, they are safe for the week and get to choose another person to be safe; however, that other person has to endure a punishment. Kaysar and Janelle competed in a competition to recreate a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star remix (yup), and Kaysar won. He obviously chose Janelle to be safe, and she was given her first punishment (!) in the BB house: a star costume (complete with lights!) to wear for the week.

In the lead up to the eviction, there were so many alliances formed, or talks of alliances, I couldn’t keep them straight. Cody seems to have deals with Enzo, Memphis, Nicole F, and Da’Vonne. Da’Vonne has a Black Girl Magic alliance with Bayleigh; Tyler and Bayleigh seem to also be working together. Ian and Nicole F, the only former winners, seem to be cooking something up. Kevin and Nicole A talked about teaming up; Janelle and Kaysar are already close, and who knows what Memphis’ proposed super alliance will ultimately look like.

On eviction night, the house unanimously evicts Keesha. Couldn’t tell you why; it just wasn’t that interesting, as first evictions usually aren’t. Julie tells Keesha she has to put on her mask, then exit the house; she does and takes a seat way across the stage from Julie for her exit interview. (Again, why?! It seems like BB said “How can we acknowledge this pandemic in the dumbest way possible?”) Keesha sees her goodbye messages and is upset to go out first but happy to have been back.

The second HOH competition was one in which the houseguests had to watch videos of a ‘comedian’ doing very bad voices and characters, then answer Julie’s true or false questions with the notorious Big Brother blocks that have to be ‘reset’.*

*Really, can we get a better system? Maybe touch screens that reset themselves? Hearing Julie constantly say ‘Please reset’ at this point is extremely annoying. Am I the only one? Bueller? On a related note, can we do away with the Diary Room voting system? Why not have all the contestants go into a room, separate from each other, and ALL VOTE AT THE SAME TIME (again, using screens)? It is way too time consuming for people to get to the DR just to say one person’s name and walk out, never mind all the shout outs to friends and family. /rant.

In the end, Memphis came out on top and was crowned the new HOH. I’m not sure who he’ll be gunning for; I’d guess Ian and Nicole F are safe bets but I’ve watched this show long enough to expect the unexpected.

With much of television production still on hiatus, I’m really happy CBS figured out how to get BB on the air and that its crazy three-nights-a-week schedule is intact. Because what’s better than watching full grown adults hurl themselves around, make and break deals, and play silly games for money?! Goofy fun wins out for me, every time. M