Borgia Bulletin 3×4 (Banquet of SPOILERS)

This is like the happy hour of Borgia episodes.  There’s plenty of dark, alcohol-type, feelings and nefarious shenanigans about, but nothing goes too far, the plotlines are focused in tidy little dishes that aren’t really full entrees yet, and everyone knows these are the lighter ploys before someone really throws all their money on the table.

 

Dear Costume Department: The lighter fabric covering bosoms before leading up to a little collar is interesting.  It makes me want to talk about how to cover their emotions, the Borgias are creating walls around themselves, but walls that are so explicitly tied to their emotions that it’s impossible for anyone to miss the connection and therefore it doesn’t really hide anything.  I may be reading a lot into that, but it’s what I got-particularly when Lucrezia’s being congratulated in that dress on her gratifying wedding night.

Dear Jeremy Irons: You are talking to your daughter about how great her sex was, which can in no way be construed as checking she’s okay after her wedding night because everyone knows she’s not a virgin, and chortling at discovering her sex life was transformed, and still somehow-SOMEHOW, you sold me on being touchingly paternal in this scene.  HOW??  Also, your flabbergasted yelling when you find out about her lack of sex cracked me up.

Dear Alfonso: Okay, I do feel sorry for you now.  Exhibitionist sex is bad enough, without it being a) the only way you can get your wife to have sex with you and b) your first time.  Frankly, I was impressed that you managed so easily, considering your virgin status.  On the other hand, she did help you and a cousin watching is faar from the situation she was in.  I think you really just mellowed me out with your awkward talk about her liking sex “the usual way.”  Also, “Like brother and sister”?  Wow, you’re great for setting other people up to force awkward things.

Dear Cesare: French Ambassador guy seems cool.  Maybe you can subtly suggest to him that you’d like a French princess who looks exactly like your sister.  I bet he’d manage it-hey, it’s no skin off his back and it’ll give him more pointed things to say over wine.  In fact, you two could have a wonderful time trading pointed (but not barbed, he’s not a threat) remarks over snacks.

Dear Lucrezia: Please, please, please draw blood for the exhibitionism.  What I’ve been missing since Juan died is for you to have an enemy to deal with.

Dear Versucci: Smart man!  If you’re really going to hide your stolen money from the Pope, the best thing to do IS give it to the poor!  They’ll never think of that.  I do wonder how you navigate around in fields and rocks so well.  I thought you’d been living well at the Vatican for years-did you also steal maps?  Did you tour around a lot in youth and have a great memory?  Do you ask directions at every stop to the next place?

Dear Vatican Librarian: I’m so glad you are back!  So-did you “enjoy that”, as the Pope thought you would?

Dear Giulia: I didn’t expect you to be such a…presence in your night.  Couldn’t trust anyone else to be the auctioneer?  I’m glad you finally did your inevitable duty, but this storyline didn’t do much for you as the solution to getting leverage over all Cardinals in this Vatican was obvious.

Dear Cardinal Farnese: Poor, overwhelmed boy.  You had a very interesting look on your face at the end-were you just shocked at the others’ behaviour or were you a little sad you missed out on the fun?  Cause it kindof seemed more like the latter to me.  What do you think?

Dear Other New Cardinals: This is how we know you’re new-you paid no attention to the man behind the partition!  On the other hand, you know it’s dangerous to refuse Borgia invitations and you did know the Pope wanted money for the Crusades, so one can see how you might have felt that so long as you did spend the money for the right cause you’d be okay.

Dear Sforza Stealth Man: You reminded me of those weight guessers at carnivals, only with guessing the exact moment sex begins.  Is this a special talent of yours?

 

 

Arrested Development 4×4, “The B Team”

Attested Development: Imagine SPOILERS.

 

This episode just felt like weak tea with no honey to me.  Firstly, it’s back on Michael, who I don’t find funny in this format.  Second, this almost feels more like Ron Howard’s episode than his even, and while Ron Howard’s a nice guy, he’s not Arrested Development funny as an actual character.  Also, it made things slower to get all his stuff in and half the episode felt unneeded.  Plus, the narration just feels forced- “get this” indeed.  Third, the main story’s just about bringing in other people who aren’t as funny as the other cast members we want to see.  Isla Fisher was cute, but again-not really at all funny.  Fourth, all the main plotpoints and setup are things that can be seen coming a mile away.  I feel like I could have this on the background while doing something else and not really miss anything which is the equivalent of blasphemy for this show.  Fifth, the whole talk about a movie and it’s hard to get started doesn’t feel like the clever meta jokes that peppered third season, it feels like a failed joke that’s poking fun at the audience’s joy at finally getting a new season, instead.  Sixth, I don’t know about anyone else, but I was very frustrated from the start to be going back to Michael (or anyone else really, even if it’d been a funnier character) when I’d barely seen so many other people.  Throws off the pacing of the series at large, to me.  So, basically-a B is ambition for this episode.

 

OTHER THOUGHTS:

1. Is there any basis at all for calling google car drivers ostriches?  Or are they trying to make it just stick like ‘pop-pop’ as euphemism?

2. Speaking of which, shouldn’t someone have tried to use ostrich imagery as a euphemism by now?  Or definitely in this season?