It’s been a while since I’ve done a reality recap — hell, it’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to watch TV — but having been catching up on the DVR, I’ve also been itching to write a bit. So here I go.

I love America’s Best Dance Crew. I LOVE it. The ep I just watched wasn’t the best — all the crews had props, and most of them didn’t really do much with it. The ones who really got my attention were, of course, the two bottom crews: Supreme Soul and Super CR3W. As the judges mentioned, I think they were two of the best groups; they were certainly the most enjoyable tonight. What I really love about this show, though, is how the judges get into it. Although I didn’t like that they singled out the Boogie Bots as a group that should be at the bottom, I do like how adamantly the three of them spoke out in favor of the two groups that they had to choose between; I also like how they repeatedly assured the groups how good they actually are. I’d bet just about anything that at least one of those three will be working with at least some of those dancers at some point in the future.

One other thing that constantly surprises me is, despite the obvious competition between the groups, how much they seem to connect with each other. As they stood on the stage awaiting the decision, they seemed to be genuinely concerned about the other crew. And when Supreme Soul was declared as the losing group, the Super CR3W dancers seemed to be truly upset even though they were also obviously relieved.

I dunno; there’s just something about it all that seems refreshingly innocent and unrehearsed in a way that some of the other reality shows don’t.

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I filled up two whole lawn bags of clippings from the hedge. Woo-hoo! It was such an incredibly gorgeous day — mid 70s, blue skies with tufty clouds, and a nice cool breeze — that I ended up staying outside for two hours just clipping the branches into small enough pieces for the bags. Yes, so I left a least a bag’s worth on the ground, and I couldn’t do anything about the bigger branches, so Kelley will have some work cut out for him on Friday. But while he’s doing that, I’ll cut up the rest and then trim the hedges.

After that, I came in and did some more cleaning out of old emails. I didn’t manage to do much in the way of cleaning off my desk, but I did feel like some stuff got done. Why I’m incapable of sitting outside and reading a book? Not sure. I did get that first sentence written though.

That said, what with the gym time and the yard work, I’m quite tired! Not too tired to catch you up on some of my tv recaps…

Camp Rock: This was no High School Musical, let me tell you. The characters were largely annoying, the music wasn’t as catchy, and it wasn’t nearly as much fun. I do like the Jonas Brothers, and whichever one was the lead guy in this — Joe Jonas? — wasn’t awful, but it just wasn’t the same. I don’t think we’ll be watching this one again.

On the other hand, I do have to say that I’m looking forward to Cheetah Girls #3. (And I’m not overly sad that Raven isn’t in this one.) It certainly won’t be winning any awards, but it does have the fun factor. The music they’ve been playing in the previews is also good, albeit in the Disney pop way. One thing that did occur to me as I was watching the ‘making of’ feature that they showed was that there was only one white person in the entire thing. How often does that happen? I mean yes, it’s set in India, but still — if this were on one of the big networks, there would be a whole entourage of white folks there no matter how little sense it made. Not to say that they won’t be there once the movie is actually playing, but one thing I do have to say for the Disney behoemeth (how the heck do you spell that word?) — they do have a decent track record in terms of showing various racial and ethnic backgrounds, and not just in a token way. I wouldn’t say that they’ve achieved perfection, by any means, but I have been impressed that they have multiple characters of different backgrounds rather than just one or two. The Cheetah Girls movie is just one of the examples.

Army Wives: I suppose what they did was necessary. I mean, you can’t really have a show about the Army — in wartime, no less — and not have casualties. Did it have to be — SPOILER! SPOILER! SPOILER!!!!! — Amanda? I don’t do well when shows kill off kids, even when those kids are 18 or 19. And the whole train station thing? Quite overdone. The guy who plays the dad, though, Brian McNamara, did a pretty awesome job. You know me — I’m a sucker for the strong and solid yet emotional Army family guy type, especially when he’s a general (*cough*cough*) — and boy did McNamara nail that. From the previews of the next episode (that’s already aired about a billion times, but that I haven’t yet watched), I think it will continue. I also think they’re setting up an interesting abortion conversation. Well, at least I hope it will be interesting and not totally one-sided. Again, I haven’t seen it yet, but the preview does have Holden (McNamara) getting into a fairly heated discussion with Burton (Wendy Davis), who is pregnant, but isn’t sure about continuing her pregnancy for various reasons, but largely because of what it will do to her career in the Army. Where, by the way, she is the #2 to Holden, who has just lost his daughter. I probably should have realized that this show, which is I think playing to a fairly conservative audience, wouldn’t allow Burton to have an abortion. At the same time, I do hope that they won’t gloss over what the other issues are.

So You Think You Can Dance: I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this one. I do like watching the dances, although I find that the ones I tend to like are the ones that the judges hate. I am a fan of Twitch, as everyone else appears to be, but I don’t think that Joshua and Katee walk on water the way Nigel and Co. do. I mean, yes, I’ve liked their routines so far, but how was their dance #2 so much better than, say, Matt and Kourtni (yes, that’s how she spells it). Who, by the way, were completely panned by the judges. I mean, for the style that they danced — the whole Gene Kelley-type thing, I thought they were pretty awesome. But no, Mary was ‘disappointed,’ and Nigel thought it was ‘fake.’ Now the dancers out there might say that I’m totally off base. When the judges, however, are praising others because of their entertainment value, well, if you’re going to put Foxtrot up against Hip Hop, then yeah, the Foxtrot is going to come off in a completely different way. Just my humble opinion, of course.

Supernanny: Is it just me or did the dad in the Schumacker family
look almost exactly like James Marsters? All I could think of while I was watching it was, Spike is a dad?

That’s it. I haven’t really been doing that much in the way of TV watching, so not much beyond the above. Oh, other than to say — yay, Stephanie! I’m all on board for her as Top Chef. (Although, for the record, I do want to say that I think Lisa got a bit of a raw deal. Not that I found her to be the most pleasant person as she was portrayed in the show, but I think there was plenty of opportunity for others to come off just as badly — I mean, Dale punched a locker, for Heaven’s sake — but that’s not how it got edited.) And not so much on The Middleman. It’s a little too much for me.

I’m tired, and I’m trying to get through the email that came in today on my vacation day with Will. (Trying really hard not to devote to much time as, well, note that it was a vacation day, but instead to just get the quick stuff taken care of and the rest into a folder to deal with on Monday.)

Anyway, some things that are just in my head and I need to get them out…

* My TV habit has been to switch to Top Chef (as opposed to yet another CSI or Dexter or even Bones) once I hit 10:30 or 11 so as not to freak myself out. I’m noticing, however, that it is not helpful for the diet. My mouth is literally watering as I watch them cook the steaks. Oh, goodness.

* The “Best of Craigslist” is freakin’ hilarious.

* The Will story of the day:

This morning, we hung out at Dunkin Donuts for awhile, me drinking my coffee while he drank his strawberry milk (he refused both a donut and munchkins — I once again ask where he actually came from) and played with his cars. An acquaintance walked in just as he announced he had to go to the bathroom. (Yes, this is a bathroom related post. You know it’s gonna be good or else I would so not be posting it.) With all our stuff on the table and him saying “Now!” it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t sure what to do. Olive said she would watch our things while I took him.

Thanking her, I said, “It will be quick.”

Will, donut-resisting-abilities-notwithstanding, does tend to take after me in the sense that talking about bathroom activities is done in private. He waited until we were safely locked away in the bathroom to say, “I have to poop, Mommy.”

“O.k.,” I said, not thinking much of it.

He looked at me with what can only be described as an expression of ‘You idiot.’ What he actually said, though, was, “It won’t be quick.”

Oh. Well, right. Luckily, Olive is a daycare provider and not unaware of the intricacies of taking kids to the bathroom. I am not worried. I am, however, apologetic. “I’m sorry, Will. I think it will be o.k.”

He gave me the Ammirati look. (Yay, he really is related to me.)

“Are you mad?” I asked, wondering if more apologies were necessary.

“No,” he said, finally releasing me from his piercing gaze. He looked at the toilet paper roll. “I’m disappointed.”

Did I just hear that right? “Disappointed?”

He raised his eyebrows and shrugged his yes.

Oh, my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness… I literally had to turn to the wall, shaking with laughter. What kind of five-year-old says that?

My five-year-old. Hell, yeah.

For reasons I won’t bother to go into at the moment, tonight’s TV viewing has been reality-based. I am quite new to the reality genre — scripted TV is definitely much more up my alley. However, I do also happen to like all that singing and dancing stuff, so when Dance Wars with Bruno and Carrie Anne debuted, I thought it might be something that I could actually enjoy watching with Lucy and Will. And, although I certainly understand that all the good-parenting people say that TV and kids shouldn’t go hand in hand, I do have some quite happy memories of the three of us gathering on the couch with popcorn to watch that week’s new episode. (Or, more specifically, of Will standing on the couch with his fists pumping in the air yelling, “Elisabeth! Elisabeth!” for his favorite performer.) At about the same time, I was introduced to Project Runway. It was, well, fierce, I do have to say.

From there, I moved on to America’s Best Dance Crew. That was surprisingly enjoyable! Another one that was mostly dependable in terms of ok kid viewing, plus it was real dancing. Not ballroom, of course, but Jabberwockeez (or however you spell it) was pretty amazing. Status Quo, Kabba Modern, Great Skate (yes, I’m butchering all these names — sorry), weren’t exactly what you’d call bad.

With those being the first foray into reality territory, I felt ready to venture further. Thus I come to tonight’s DVR line-up. First, Dancing with the Stars. Lucy’s liking it, and there are elements I don’t dislike. For example, I kind of like Sheryl Crow. I definitely like the “All I want to do is have some fun” song. What I could really have done without was the two couples dancing to it with both costumes and dance moves that, essentially, were what the Bada Bing girls do (did) in the Sopranos. I mean, are their budgets tight? Can they not afford costumes that cover more of a woman’s body? Do they not understand that less isn’t always more? And the dance itself — it was actually obscene. Give me the street crews from ABDC any day. Sheryl Crow looked a bit stunned as she sang. I didn’t blame her.

The other disturbing thing was the kids doing the ballroom dancing. Much more appropriately, thank God, but still a bit off-putting to see these eight-year-olds as pseudo-adults. Part of it was the costumes, part of it the way they came off in the interviews. Now, I have a precocious eight-year-old of sorts, so I’m more than happy to allow for some of that; the whole stagey-precocious thing is a bit much for me, though.

The second show of the night was Top Chef – the Elements episode. I haven’t taken to Top Chef in the same way as I had to Project Runway. Maybe it’s the people, maybe it’s the show itself. (Although, I do have this overwhelming urge to cook up some of those fancy dishes. Not that you’d know it from our repertoire of macaroni and cheese and McDonald’s.) Tonight, though, I was actually moved.

[SPOILER ALERT – If you don’t want to know who got eliminated, don’t keep reading until you find it out somewhere else.]

I have to admit, I’ve been kind of annoyed by the Jen/Zoi relationship. Well, not the relationship itself, but the way it gets played into the drama of it all. However — the look on Jen’s face when Zoi was eliminated, the quick embrace and kiss, the hugs all around as everyone said good-bye to Zoi, and then the final Jen/Zoi hug and kiss — clinging but not clingy, incredibly touching… It turned me around, I do have to say. I’m going to miss seeing more of them together.

Well, we’re now into American Idol — my first season of it, if you can believe it — with the bottom three in front of me. I usually don’t watch the ‘elimination’ show (speaking of manufactured drama), although I do tend to like seeing them all perform together. … O.k. As I typed that, there was actual drama. A surprise good-bye. I stand (slightly) corrected. Sorry to see you go, Michael. As, clearly, are many others.

Wait – do they always make them sing the song they lost on? Really?

Oh, good. 30 Rock is up next. Accordingly, they’ve got their own reality thing going on in this ep, and, from the little I’ve seen so far, it is Hi-larious. “We no longer want to hit that,” indeed.