Tele-Tuesday: Knowing How to Close

The last few weeks, I have been glued to the television.  Many may be asking how that’s any different from my usual TV-viewing love affair, and it’s not really, but this particular programming only comes around once every four years.

I love the summer Olympics.  Nothing against the winter games, but there is something about swimming, gymnastics, beach volleyball, and track and field that I can’t pull myself away from.  And this year was no different.

For one reason or another, I cried every night—every night for the past two weeks.  I especially choked up during Michael Phelps’ and Missy Franklin’s record-breaking swims, the women’s gymnastics performances that earned gold for only the second time ever, and Misty May-Treanor’s and Kerri Wallace Jennings’ fantastic partnership in the sand that brought home the third-straight gold medal to the United States.

I  honestly believed that once these events were over that I’d stop crying, but that didn’t happen.  Every time I saw any of the flashbacks, whether it be from any of the above mentioned performances, the 1992 Dream Team, or the 1996 Magnificent Seven, a lump formed in my throat and my eyes stung until I allowed the first tear to trickle down my nose. Then, I thought for sure that once the closing Olympic ceremonies wrapped, my water-works would dry up…

But they didn’t.  Why?

Because the series finale of The Closer aired last night.

Like its name,  The Closer knows how to close.  Everything came full-circle; no outstanding issues were left unresolved; and everyone watching knew exactly how each and every character felt toward one another—love.

I will miss Brenda and her classic, black bag…

But perhaps my favorite aspect of the series finale was the attention to detail and symbolism.  Without giving too much away, let’s just say Brenda Leigh ruined her purse.  Anyone that watches The Closer knows how attached she is to that little black bag.  She’s not the type of woman to switch out handbags to match her outfit; it’s always the same purse.  But ruining it couldn’t be avoided and she did not hesitate, which is why when her team replaced it as close as they possibly could, teardrops streamed down my face.

And it didn’t stop there.  What did her team fill her new purse with?  Ding-dongs—Brenda Leigh’s favorite escape from a stressful day.

I will miss Brenda Leigh and her candy drawer…

I will miss the drama of the Major Case Squad’s cases; I will miss the goofiness of Provenza and Flynn; I will miss the dry humor of Sanchez; I will miss the wittiness of Tao; I will miss Gabriel’s trying to keep everyone in line; I will miss Buzz and his electronic equipment;  I will miss Pope’s and Taylor’s tendencies to only cover their own butts; and, I will miss Brenda Leigh’s ability to close.  But more than anything else, I will miss Brenda Leigh and Fritzy—one of the best love affairs on television today.

And I will miss Brenda Leigh and Fritzy… The way Fritzy “gets” Brenda Leigh just melts my heart every time.

However, most of these characters and character’s traits weren’t missed for long…

Following the conclusion of Brenda Leigh’s story, Captain Raydor took the lead in Major Crimes.  For the past few seasons, we’ve tolerated Captain Raydor while she terrorized Brenda Leigh, leading all of the officer-involved investigations (kind of like Internal Affairs).  But we’ve also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who has stood by Brenda Leigh and has done everything in her power to protect the Deputy Chief.  How will Captain Raydor do leading Brenda Leigh’s team?  That’s right—almost the entire cast of The Closer returned for the new series which premiered last night.

I’ll save my thoughts on Major Crimes for another day, but I’ll close with this… My Monday nights will never be the same again; but for what it’s worth, TNT is softening the blow.  Raydor may not close like Brenda Leigh, no one ever will for that matter; but what Brenda mastered in closing a case and prying a confession out of her suspect, Raydor will match in her ability to settle the case– saving Los Angeles a ton of money.  How will our favorite group of detectives handle their new leader’s style?  We’ll just have to wait and see…

So, here’s to The Closer *lifts Champagne glass*.  We will miss you and will forever recommend you to our readers…

“Thank you, thank you so much.” ~Brenda Leigh Johnson

Are you a fan of The Closer?  What did you think of the series finale?  Did you stick around to watch Major Crimes?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Closing Cases with Southern Charm

This week, Amber West and I review two crime dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday—the BBC’s Luther and TNT’s The Closer. 

The Closer follows Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) and the Major Case Squad as they solve L.A.’s worst crimes, while her FBI-agent/husband (Fritzy or Fritz Howard, played by Jon Tenney) provides his and the Bureau’s expertise to her team.

Brenda Leigh hails from the south, if not already evident by her accent, and has a very hard time hiding her emotions.  When she’s having a really bad day, she opens her desk drawer full of chocolate and digs in.  She possesses that southern charm we’ve grown to love over the years, and having been born and raised in Texas, I can personally attest to what Brenda Leigh actually means when she says, “Thank you, thank you very much.”  Kyra Sedgwick perfects the sarcasm so many southerners use in our daily vocabulary.

So how does a southern belle from Atlanta score the lead of an all-male major crime squad in Los Angeles?  Of course, there’s the fact that she had an affair with her boss way back in the day (Chief Pope, played by J.K. Simmons), but I’d like to think it’s because of her skills in the interrogation room—tactics that have proven to be better than anyone else, but that have also gotten her into a bit of trouble here and there.

Speaking of trouble… a few seasons ago, the L.A.P.D. issued a new mandate written in Brenda Leigh’s honor called The Johnson Rule, which states that no witness or suspect can be released from police custody without the proper protection if it is believed that his or her life may be in danger.  This came after Major Case, specifically Brenda Leigh, dropped a gang member suspected of murdering a local business man off in front of his house.  Moments later, an angry mob of other gang members waiting on the street killed him.  The murder led to a lawsuit against Brenda Leigh and the City of Los Angeles, thus the creation of The Johnson Rule, and Brenda Leigh’s constant shadowing by Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell).

Regardless, Brenda Leigh has proven herself in case after case after case.  No one can convince a criminal to confess the way that Brenda Leigh can.

In addition to the drama, each show promises humor, and I find myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case.  Most of the fun centers on the interactions of her team: David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds), Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Buzz (Phillip P. Keene), and Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett).

So why are we reviewing and recommending a show that just aired the first of its final six episodes this week?  Because in the age of the digital world and specifically Netflix, The Closer is definitely worthy of a marathon-style viewing party.  And with what we’ve seen over the past seven seasons, I fully expect these closing shows to go out with a BANG!

Brenda Leigh has faced many a foe in the past, but only one has escaped her grasp—lawyer, Philip Stroh (played by Billy Burke).  She has already been ordered by Chief Pope to drop all investigations into the alleged rapist, but those of us who know Brenda Leigh know she’s not going to stop until she gets her man.  This may cost our favorite Deputy Chief her job—and with only five episodes left, maybe that’s exactly what will happen—but politics have never stopped her before… so why would they now?

Get him, Brenda!!

And let me just say the scenes between Burke and Sedgwick are intense—some of the best tension on television today.  I felt similar about the cat and mouse game between Sedgwick and Jason O’Mara (arsonist Bill Croelick) in seasons one and four.

Despite the fact The Closer will not be airing new episodes much longer, I can’t help but award the GTV rating to Brenda Leigh and her team—grill a filet; bake a potato; steam some veggies; and open a glass of Champagne—relish all of the flavors of your meal and The Closer characters at the same time.

I will miss the drama of the Major Case’s cases; I will miss the goofiness of Provenza and Flynn; I will miss the dry humor of Sanchez; I will miss the wittiness of Tao; I will miss Gabriel’s trying to keep everyone in line; I will miss Buzz and his electronic equipment;  I will miss Pope’s and Taylor’s tendencies to only cover their own butts; I will miss Brenda Leigh’s ability to close; and, lastly, I will miss Brenda Leigh and Fritzy—one of the best love affairs on television today.

The way Fritzy “gets” Brenda Leigh just melts my heart every time…

However, most of these characters and character’s traits won’t be missed for long…

Following the conclusion of Brenda Leigh’s story, Captain Raydor takes the lead in Major Crimes.  For the past few seasons, we’ve tolerated Captain Raydor while she terrorized Brenda Leigh, leading all of the officer-involved investigations (kind of like Internal Affairs).  But we’ve also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who has stood by Brenda Leigh and done everything in her power to protect the Deputy Chief.  How will Captain Raydor do leading Brenda Leigh’s team?  That’s right – almost the entire cast of The Closer returns for the new series, including Provenza, Flynn, Tao, Sanchez, Buzz, Taylor, and even Fritzy on occasion.

So, here’s to The Closer *lifts Champagne glass*.  We will miss you and will forever recommend you to our readers…

What do you think? Do you watch The Closer?  How would you rate it?  Who’s your favorite character?  Do you plan to watch the spin-off later this summer?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about the BBC’s Luther.  You know Amber loves her British television series…

Come back next week when Amber and I review something…  it’s summer time and the heat is taking a toll on our planning ahead.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: The Continuation of The Tamberny Awards

The Tamberny Awards are back!  Amber West and I didn’t like the idea of having the music play over our best banter or having some leggy model lead us off stage, so we stepped away for a bit to cut to the necessary commercial break.  Now, here we are, with the rest of our choices.

Isn’t it thrilling?  Can you feel the tension in the air?  

*****

First up, a category we can really get into… 

Lead Actor in a Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

A: As far as I can remember, good ol Hugh has been nominated but not won the Emmy for House.  I think he does a great job in the role; so after all this time, I’d like to see him recognized for it. 

However, tough table to keep here.  These are all great actors. 

T: Hugh Laurie – brilliant.  Timothy Olyphant – brilliant.  Who will win?  Ugh, it pains me to say, but the cable channels.  I’m taking Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire.

A: Too much brilliant (and did we mention pretty?) in one category.  Steve Buscemi may get it for being brilliant AND not looking like a cover of GQ.  However, I’m still rooting for Hugh.  I got a weakness for a British funny man.  

T: As far as acting, I’m going to jump on the Hugh Laurie bandwagon real fast.  Did you see the episode this season where he performed surgery on himself in the bathtub to remove the tumors he gave himself by taking the unapproved meds from the rat lab?

 

A: YES.  Also, I should have preempted your comment with spoiler alert for those watching, but this is LIVE, baby.  Note: this is not live

Lead Actress in a Drama
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law

A: For my same underdog reasons as earlier, Julianna all the way.  If not her, Elisabeth Moss. 

T: I don’t really care for these nominations – where is Kyra Sedgwick?  I pick Kyra.

A: Maybe that means I should watch the show Kyra is in. *ducks*   

I’m still pushing for Julianna.  This category is lacking.  I blame that on poorly written roles for leading ladies.  Come on, women’s lib, catch up! 

T: Lucky for you, I’m tall and you ducked just in time!  I have season 1 of The Closer on DVD; do I need to send it to you?

A: Not yet. I still have about 100 episodes of Bones to watch because of you.  Then I’ll watch another one of your recommendations.  See you all when I’m 80. 

 

T: Back to the nominations at hand, I do Agree 1000% – this category is lacking.  Women’s roles are lacking.  Where the heck is Kyra?  Rose Byrne? Glenn Close?

A: I’ll send you some math videos when I get your episodes of The Closer.  Glenn Close for the win.  I’m writing the Emmy peeps now. 

Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family

A: I love the entire cast of Modern Family.  This show always makes me laugh, so I’d be happy with any of them.  Having said that, my views rarely reflect the majority, so it will probably go to Jon Cryer. 

Please don’t give it to Chris Colfer.  No offense, kid.  I just don’t think Glee is funny enough to be fighting in this category. 

T: Because the entire cast of Modern Family was nominated, and because of what he had to deal with this season, I’m picking Jon Cryer – 100%.  Not to mention, his comedic timing is perfect.

Oh, Ducky….

 

A: Ahem.  Remember my earlier mention of Chuck Lorre? So you can see why I’m not going with Jon Cryer.  Although, I like HIM and I’m sure he is great in that show that I have never and will never watch.  

T: Not even with the addition of Mr. Kutcher? Not even a peek?

A: Sweet Jeebus, no.  A thousand times no. 

I have to now quote something I heard in an interview involving Mr. Kutcher: 

“Ashton Kutcher should know every thought that goes through his head.  If he doesn’t, he’s liable to drop something, he can cut his feet, he won’t realize he’s been talking to a tree for an hour.   He needs to be aware of what he’s thinking.” 

T: Boooo, Amber!  Where did you hear that?  You realize that Ashton Kutcher is actually really smart, don’t you?  He studied biochemical engineering for crying out loud.

A:  I’m not listening.  Lalalalalala. 

Supporting Actor in a Drama
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Walton Goggins, Justified
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

A: I’m remaining loyal to The Good Wife.  Mostly to ensure that the network doesn’t get any bright ideas and try to cancel the show.  Although, using that logic, give the award to Andre Braugher so another network will grow a brain and pick up Men of a Certain Age

T: Walton Goggins!  He plays the best antagonist on TV. Without Boyd Crowder, Justified just wouldn’t the same.  And, I do love Timothy Olyphant.

A: Haven’t watched Justified!  Guess I need to try.  But I still stick with The Good Wife boys.  Josh Charles and Alan Cumming are perfect in their roles.   

T: You haven’t watched Justified?  You know that FX has some of the best programming on TV, right?

A: Meh.  Also, I now have the urge to yell “Walton Goggins” randomly when engaged in boring conversation.  

T: WALTON GOGGONS.  I yelled it, but not because we’re engaged in a boring conversation.  I may have a crush on Boyd….

Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

A: I’m kinda burnt out on Betty White.  Yes, I said that.  Sofia Vergara gets it since she has made me laugh more than the others in this category. 

T: Who will win? Probably Jane Lynch….that darn Glee.

Regardless, I am voting for Kristen Wiig here – talk about an underdog!  She is involved in almost every skit on SNL, and she makes me CRY sometimes.  Cry, good; not bad.

A: Jane Lynch IS funny.  BUT, I still don’t find Glee funny enough to be in this category.  It would be nice for an SNL person to get it, but I think it is unlikely as well.  I probably just voted for Sofia ’cause she is curvy and Latin.  Gotta represent for da’ peoples. 

T: I may let you win this one….If Modern Family wins anything, I bet it’s the hot Latin lady.

A: *dances to salsa and drinks inexcusably sweet black coffee to celebrate* 

T: Amber, stop dancing your little salsa.  We have a show to finish here!

Supporting Actress in a Drama
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified

A: What? I didn’t pick The Good Wife?  I know.  But, I think Christina Hendricks is perfect in her Mad Men role.  Go, curvy lady. 

T: Did I see a cable channel nomination?  Yep –  Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly McDonald takes it.

But, since you keep talking about underdogs, Amber, how about Michelle Forbes?  The Killing made a killing this season, but I’m not sure it will get any award love.  I’m sure they’ll say, “It was just an honor to be nominated….”

A: Again, I gotta stick with the shows I’ve actually seen. 🙂  

T: I’m just really not a fan of these nominations….

A: Not thrilled with this category either.  Again, I think that goes back to the lack of well composed female characters.  *Sigh* 

Mini-series or Made-for-Television Movie
Cinema Verite
Downton Abbey
The Kennedys
Mildred Pierce
The Pillars Of The Earth
Too Big To Fail

A: The only one I’ve seen is the one I am picking.  But, I DO love it –  Downton Abbey.  It makes me swoon.  I adore some of the characters, and others are so deliciously evil I can’t stand it. 

T: This one is up in the air – Downton Abbey has received great reviews, The Kennedys was controversial and axed from its original channel, and HBO (yep, again) rocked out with Too Big To Fail.  I have to go with it.

A: ..Downton…Downton…have you watched it YET?  How ’bout now?  

T: Not yet….it’s a period piece.  I’m not even sure our TV plays period pieces in our house.

A: Deliciously evil.  Come on.  You have to be curious? 

T: Curious, yes.  Curious enough to watch it now because I think it has a chance to beat Too Big To Fail?  No.

Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
Conan
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

A: Please, please, please, PLEASE, for the love of funny, give it to Stephen this year.  Thanks.  But I won’t cry if Conan gets it. 

T: Colbert deserves this.

A: *nods in agreement*  Stephen we love you!  

T: Should we start an “Emmy for Stephen” website?

Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or movie
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Idris Elba, Luther
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail

A: Haven’t seen ANY of these, so I’m going with Idris Elba.  That’s a pretty sweet name, and he is pretty. 

T: I’d like to see Barry Pepper win, but mainly because I like to look at him.  But, I bet you anything, William Hurt takes it for HBO’s Too Big to Fail.  He was great in Damages too.

A: *silence*  

T: Silence?  Really, Amber?

A: I am bored.  Moving on. 

Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or movie
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs

A: Downton all the way! 

T: I’m going with the underdog of all underdogs here – Taraji P. Henson.  Why?  Because almost everyone else has a BIG Hollywood name, and this movie is based on a true story.

A: I think I’ve been clear on how I feel about Downton.  🙂  

T: Really?  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow
Deadliest Catch
Hoarders
Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List
MythBusters
Undercover Boss
 

A: I don’t really like any of these.  But I do occasionally watch Hoarders in absolute horror.  And then I scrub my tub and cry. 

T: YUCK.  Do I have to pick one?  Undercover Boss.

A: Maybe we should just go with “let’s replace these shows with ones that have real writers”?  I mean, Men of a Certain Age was CANCELLED and this crap is getting nominated!?  Bah.  

T: I’m speechless.  I know my mom is writing this date down right now…I’m not speechless often.

Reality Competition
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef

A: Top Chef, but only because I’m a foodie.  I am not a huge fan of reality competitions. 

T: SurvivorBig Brother.  Oh, they’re not nominated?  The Amazing Race.  Although, I have seen some of  So You Think You Can Dance in the gym, and they’ve got talent.  But, I’m still voting for The Amazing Race. Traveling the world, experiencing new cultures and traditions, all while competing against others – great show.

A: I have heard great things about The Amazing Race.  So, I change my vote.  The Amazing Race, with a side of Top Chef.  

T: Not jumping off The Amazing Race trip here, but where’s Hell’s Kitchen?  DONKEY!

 

A: Hee.  I reluctantly admit that I watch that.  I reluctantly admit to watching any reality TV.  I kind of wish the category weren’t even here.  Having said that, at least I don’t see any “Housewives of Some Rich Place I Don’t Care About” shows nominated.  Small favors. 

T: Oh, and thank Heavens for no Jersey Shore!

A: *raises a glass* 

T: Cheers!

Host of a Reality Program or Competition
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Jeff Probst, Survivor

A: I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about Jeff that I like. 

T: Probst.  The Probster.

A: He’s so pretty. 

T: Our tribe has spoken.

*****

Well, there you have it.  Tune in to FOX September 18th for the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards to see who takes home the little statue.

 

How did your favorite show, actors, and actresses do? If not listed, write it in!  Tell us who you think should win! We’d love to hear from you.

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