Criminal Minds: "Amplification"

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We've noted before that Lt. Columbo is better at breaking the killer's alibi than at finding solid proof of a killer's guilt. Even watching this episode, when Columbo asked Franklin why he drove back to the city instead of flying back to console Mrs. Ferris, I thought of an obvious answer: Because he didn't want to leave his car behind!

But asking the question rattled our oh-so-smooth killer, and got inside his head. Over the course of the episode, his demeanor changed from being condescending toward Columbo to being irritated that he wouldn't go away, having to come up with an explanation for every query Columbo came up with. 

I often thought the killers in Columbo stories try too hard to answer every one of his questions. Sometimes, they should have said, "I don't know" instead of showing off how smart (they think) they are.

I've also noticed that the killers in the Columbo stories try too hard to help him, which makes Columbo suspicious of them if he isn't already.

If they don't sign confessions, some of the solutions are so convoluted that there would be a lot of hung juries.

...1940s British historical melodrama. THE WICKED LADY, with Margaret Rutherford. On TCM.

...Margaret LOCKWOOD, not Rutherford.

These days I'm watching the Death Note anime for the first time.

Synchronicity at work:

Friday afternoon on the train, I was trolling YouTube for something to watch and ran across the 1st episode of Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyers Cut), a 6-part documentary I caught part of a couple of years ago. Watched Episode 1 and part of Episode 2 – neither of which I’d seen before – but couldn’t find the rest.

But that led me to a video of Eric Idle interviewing John Cleese from a few years ago, which I had seen – but not recently, and I knew I liked it, so I watched that, too.

All of which reminded me that (1) I haven’t watched Python in ages, (2) The Lad is old enough now that I can corrupt him with introduce him to Python and (3) Cleese may well be my favorite living comic actor, writer and raconteur (with Idle a very, very close second). Almost impossible to overestimate the impact of Python on my comic sensibilities.

CUT TO: I get home, sit down to watch some TV with The Lovely and Talented, she cues up the new episode of Speechless … and there’s Cleese playing Minnie Driver’s Dad.

CUT TO: I make my regular Saturday morning visit to my favorite used book (and video) store … and there’s a copy of Almost the Truth AND an anniversary set Fawlty Towers with Cleese commentary on every episode.

I’m a happy man.

Somebody around here, I think it was Doc Beechler, once said that on hospital shows, there's usually 10 doctors to every nurse, whereas in a real hospital, it's more like 10 nurses to every doctor. 

So I'm watching this week's Grey's Anatomy, and there are more nurses in this one episode than we've seen in the entire run of the show. I've seen them all, so I am not exaggerating.

The lead story is about a nurse who is Dr. Webber's old friend -- the kind of old friend, like Tommy Elliot in the Batman "Hush" storyline, whom we've never seen before who supposedly was there all along. She's very, very pregnant, and she collapses in the hall, and all the nurses rally around her, and she refuses care because she's always wanted a baby and spent all her money on in vitro, and this his her last chance and you know where this is going, don't you? 

 photo spoiler-1.gif

Yep. It goes right there. They save the baby but lose the mother. Previously, Dr. Webber has been in a funk because his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor died, so he hasn't been going to meetings. After the death, he goes for the first time in months ... and walks out. And goes to a bar.

Webber presents the bartender with his sobriety chip ... and the bartender puts it in a bowl full of others. "Eight years," he says. "Impressive. I had five years once." Then he asks, "What's your poison?"

"Vodka," Webber answers.

So the bartender fills 10 shot glasses and leaves him. Webber takes back the sobriety chip ...

... and then he goes behind the bar, grabs a baseball bat and starts smashing the liquor bottles. The episode ends with him calling Dr. Grey and telling her he's been arrested and please help me and please don't tell my wife. 

I caught the first three episodes of New Girl, because I hadn't seen them before. (I frequently find I start following shows in the second season.)

Like a modern-day Mary Richards (of The Mary Tyler Moore Show), our heroine, Jess Day, is fleeing a breakup. The pilot opens with her relating her tale of woe: She came home early one day to offer her live-in boyfriend a sexy surprise, and met him and his other girlfriend. *sob*

We see that Jess is telling this story to the three guys who live in a loft who placed a Craigslist ad looking for a roommate: Schmidt, Coach, and Nick. Rounding out the group is Jess's BFF, CeCe, who is so insanely beautiful they made her character a model.

No surprise that Jess moves in with the guys by episode's end. Big surprise that in the second episode, Coach has moved out and Winston is moving in.* 

Nick also is a wounded bird recovering from a breakup, and the producers are already planting the seeds for he and Jess to become a couple. I wish they hadn't but they did. But there's a nice moment in episode 2, showing the group bonding. Jess has been putting off going back to the now-ex boyfriend's place and getting her stuff back; one time she tries and winds up taking him and his other girlfriend a ride to the airport. But the guys make her do it when she breaks Winston's TV. Not just because she has a TV at the ex's place; as Nick points out, if she gets her stuff back then it's really over, and she didn't want to face that. Well done.

*Behind the scenes, Damon Wayans Jr. did the New Girl pilot and some other pilot around the same time, and the other pilot got picked up first, so he went to that other show. When that other show got canceled, he rejoined New Girl for a season.

ELVIS’ 1968 COMEBACK SPECIAL: To be perfectly honest, I was going to give the one a pass (don’t tell my wife), but Tracy surprised me with it last week. When told her I was content with my dubbed VHS version, she said it nearly broke her heart.

...I am watching the Midnight Mass in Rome (Well, hardly " watching " now:-!!). It would be, what, 10:16 there now? The Pope is giving his homily.
Jeff, is this version of the Comeback Special that I saw theatrically some months ago, with present-day int+/outros from Pricilla and Steve Bi deer and a " Having Fun ' bonus reel? As far as Elvis specials with added .ondern stuff goes, I recall a late-70s rerun of two Elvis specials of a total of 2&1/2 hours in length that was expanded to 3 hours by Ann-Margret hosting both.

"Jeff, is this version of the Comeback Special that I saw theatrically some months ago...?"

Doesn't sound like it. The first DVD is simply a cleaned up version of the original special as is. There is a second DVD featuring rehearsal sessions, but I haven't even watched that one yet. The set also includes several audio CDs, including the original album, the entire first and second "sit-down" shows and the entire first and second "stand-up" shows. (He performed  two sessions of each back-to-back on a single night, and the best performances were cherry-picked for TV).

We are heading into a snowstorm late tonight into all day tomorrow until Sunday morning, so tonight I have watched...

Big Bang Theory: The last two episodes have been lots of fun, with kind of a focus on the end of the series. Raj is continuing to develop his arranged marriage, Stuart and his girlfriend are becoming a bigger thing too late in the series (spinoff?), and the rest of the gang are being the awesome characters that they have become over the past several years. Great series. I know that's controversial around the geek world, but I love it.

The Orville: Watched two episodes of this too. Loved it. I commented on it in another thread.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The first episode on NBC kept the exact same feel as it did on Fox. The chemistry of the cast is so well-developed and has been since the start somehow. Brilliant, fast-paced writing and fantastic performances by the ensemble.

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