SUGAR AND SPICE; SNIPS AND SNAILS: A somewhat irritating YM Night at the CW. First -- spoiler alert -- despite the kind of moderately amusing ANTM that we expect from the early-season episodes, Tyra had to tie it up with the stuff that really bugs me about her. First, enough with the mugging during the judging panel. It's like she's auditioning for the Jenny McCarthy part in a Singled Out revival. Second, if I was asked to write a Tyra-parody speech before the season, it would include (but not be limited to) exactly what Tyra said in making the elimination: "It's not about me, it's really not about me, it's definitely not about me, but by the way, screw all these bitches, what I say goes." I suppose I was indifferent to the elimination -- either of the bottom two would have been fine, and I hope the other goes next week -- but the method was irritating. Speaking of irritating, while I appreciate Gossip Girl getting to the point and resolving last week's Dan-Serenavanderwoodson angst, I think the last 20 minutes of this travelingpantsy weeper -- which, frankly, neither of the actresses could pull off -- may have permanently damaged my testicles. And the hobbit-brother/Cindy Lou Who budding romance? Not buying it. At least the next-ons promise a return to the pillars of any good high-school drama: hedonism, debauchery, and fisticuffs.
Meanwhile, in the GameSpot Teen Male Fantasy competition (belated post), I just don't get why there was so much critical support for Reaper over Chuck. Reaper is plotted, paced, written, and shot like an average 90s-sitcom -- situations, beats, and gags ascendent; character development marginalized -- while Chuck at least feels current. Reaper's romantic angle (featuring a Missy Peregrym bleached of 99% of her saucy STICK IT-iveness and shape-shifting 'tude) is uncomplicated and pasted-on, while Chuck's (featuring Sarah Strzechowski, a kind of undervoweled, marginally less-anorexic Christine Taylor) is integral to the story. Zach Levi is good as a befuddled, put-upon anti-hero; Bret Harrison is unimpressive as a petulant wannabe-hero. Plus, Chuck gets a credit for employing pulchritudinous TNBC alum Sarah Lancaster, while Reaper gets a debit for its cheesy afterthought monster-of-the-week villains. You'd think a show in which the devil is a regular character wouldn't lack a consistent menacing presence, but it does -- a problem it shares with the first two Season 2 episodes of last year's fanboy darling, Heroes.