FBOTU TV: Bitches, Brits and Babysitting

It was a full weekend of television returns, premieres and reunions. And since one of my New Year’s resolutions was to spend more time watching TV, I consumed it all and still managed to squeeze in a guilty pleasure viewing of the new episode of iCarly. I was recently outed at a party as an iCarly viewer, much to the shock of everyone around me. I say “viewer” and not “fan,” because I have a very complicated relationship with the show and what it represents. But that’s an essay for another time! Let’s talk Supernatural.


It’s been almost three episodes since Sam’s been captured and tied up, so we were long overdue for more scenes of him as a helpless pawn. This time around, he’s captured by a couple of toothy monster babes who like to tie up their victims, keep them sedated and then feed on them for days. This, of course, is wildly different from a previous episode where Sam was drugged and tied to a bed, so Becky could pretend to be married to him. I’m not complaining. In fact, if every episode featured Sam being tied up and used in some way, I think we’d all be a lot happier.

However, there’s more going on than just a simple case of monster BDSM bloodlust. Weeks have passed since Bobby’s demise, and we’re shown the slow, sad progression the boys take from stunned paralysis to eventually picking up the pieces and attempting to move on. For Dean, that means tracking down the meaning of the numbers Bobby was working on before he died. For Sam, it’s helping Krissy, a girl who calls Bobby’s phone for help in finding her missing dad.

Dean tracks down crazy Frank who explains that the numbers are coordinates for a field in Wisconsin. Could the Leviathan gang be creating a race of killer cows? We don’t know yet. However, we do learn a little backstory about Frank, who’s in the hunter business for the same reasons as everyone else: tragic family losses. This actually ties in well with what’s going on with Sam’s side of the episode, which is all about family duty and loss. While he’s captured and tied up by the same monsters who grabbed Krissy’s dad, Dean arrives on the scene to track him down. Except, this time Krissy wants to tag along and won’t take “no” for an answer.

Seems the sweet, innocent little girl missing her dad is fully aware of dad’s occupation and has been training as a hunter herself. This is the second time this season that Dean’s been in an “odd couple” hunter pairing. The interaction between the kid who’s wise beyond her years and grumpy old Dean is priceless. While the episode is called “Adventures in Babysitting,” the actual time devoted to the Dean/Krissy pairing is brief. I wonder if an earlier draft focused more on their relationship. Still, in the short time they’re together, Dean manages to make an impact, and even convinces Krissy’s dad to give up the life. It’s a nice, subtle tribute to Bobby, Frank and all the people the boys have lost over the years. Still, I have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Krissy.


Before its winter/holiday hiatus, Once Upon a Time ripped our hearts out by ripping the heart out of poor Sheriff Graham, played by dreamy Jamie Dornan. Though his death is attributed to natural causes, we all know it’s really the work of one evil heart-collecting megabitch named Mayor Regina (aka Evil Queen). Hate her. HATE her.

“Desperate Souls” is all about Mr. Gold, though, and we learn the origin of Rumplestiltskin’s power, grudges and his sparkly jaundiced hue. Meanwhile, two weeks have passed since the Sheriff’s death, and by all rights Deputy Emma Swan should get the job. Of course, Regina isn’t going to let that happen without a fight, so we get a quick lesson in Storybrooke civics as Emma campaigns for the job in a special election and tries to set a good example for Henry in the process.

I do love this show, and I’ll try to explain why. First, it’s very female-centric, and the lady leads are all strong, well-written and well-acted. Having said that, they’re also not above being campy as hell. The escalating war between Emma and Regina is taking on Krystal/Alexis proportions. Emma taking a chainsaw to Regina’s beloved apple tree comes to mind. Then, in the episode before the break, we finally got actual fists thrown. Not slaps, mind you. Not hair pulling. Fists. It’s pretty fabulous. And Regina is fun to hate.

The other reason I love the show is similar to why I liked Terra Nova. A lot of you gave me grief for being a champion of Terra Nova, but I still stand by my assertion that it was good “family” TV. I feel the same about Once Upon a Time, though I do admit it’s darker and superior to Terra Nova in every way.

This is a show where the good guys make sacrifices for the sake of their loved ones, while the bad guys sacrifice loved ones for the sake of power. I think it would be a comforting sort of show for any kid to watch, especially gay kids, who may fear or question the limits of their parents’ love. Take Rumpelstiltskin, for example. He’s always trying to trick someone out of his or her offspring, but why? Turns out he didn’t do such a great job with his own. His desire to protect his son turned into an overwhelming desire for power, leading to the loss of his son’s love. Pretty heavy stuff for family hour, yet told in a fairytale setting, it feels right.

If you aren’t watching Once Upon a Time, you should. It won’t be hard to catch up, and you can watch full episodes for free at


I debated whether or not to include the US premiere of season two of Downton Abbey here. It doesn’t really fall into any of our usual categories (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, comics, etc.). Yet I went to a Downton Abbey viewing party Sunday night and was surrounded by some seriously hardcore Masterpiece Classic fans. Plus, Maggie Smith is in it, so there.

I put off watching the first series for a while, until none other than Long-Suffering Boyfriend suggested I watch it. Keep in mind, I have to drag LSB, kicking and screaming, to any sort of Jane Austen/Thomas Hardy/Brontë Sisters film and bribe him with promises to watch Scarface or Godfather in exchange. So, the fact that he fell in love with this show is pretty telling. I finally gave it a try and was immediately hooked.

In the two-hour premiere, we’re re-introduced to the Crawley clan, a wealthy, aristocratic family living in the palatial country home of Downton Abbey. It’s 1916 and WWI is in full swing, threatening the peaceful lives of everyone in the house, from the head of the household to the lowly footman.

The war, naturally, threatens everyone, especially Cousin Matthew, who is on the front lines. Bisexual supervillain Thomas is also in the thick of battle, but soon devises a scheme to remove himself from harm’s way. He and O’Brien still make a deliciously twisted set of big bads in a show full of naïve, easily manipulated rich people. The Crawley sisters are all finding new opportunities, thanks to the war. Sybil devotes herself to nursing; Edith gives driving and farmwork a try; and Mary…well, Mary is still looking for a husband and trying to get over Matthew. Matthew’s gotten over Mary, it seems, since he shows up with a fiancé. But you just know those two kids/cousins are destined to be together.

The real ‘ship in this tangled web of servants and masters is Mr. John Bates the valet and Anna the maid, or Janna, as my fellow Downton Abbey fans were calling the couple last night. For a few minutes, it seems like love will conquer all, including John’s marriage to a crazy woman. But said crazy woman shows up at Downton Abbey with a pretty lucid blackmail scheme, thus eliciting the only misstep of the night. Would a man in 1916 really call a woman a “bitch” in the same way we use that word today? I need a cunning linguist to help us out with that one.

There were enough longing, meaningful glances and fabulous dresses to satisfy all the queens and wannabe aristocrats in the audience, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode. Granted, I could probably watch them all online or via DVD, since they’ve already aired in the UK. But the weekly PBS airings will be a nice winter ritual for the next couple of months. Any other DA fans out there? Anyone else hoping Thomas will meet a nice boy and blackmail or threaten him into a happily ever after courtship?


The final big show of the weekend is also a British import. Like the rest of the world, I watched the new Absolutely Fabulous episode online shortly after its premiere on Christmas in the UK. The first episode, “Identity” premiered in the US on Logo and BBC America Sunday night.

I’m thrilled to have Patsy and Edina back, in any sort of incarnation. Both Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley are perfect and seemingly ageless in their iconic roles. And as both have mentioned in interviews, they could conceivably go on for years to come.

When last we left the Monsoon house, Saffy had thrown Eddy and Patsy out, thus making an important stand, divorcing herself from her mother’s insanity once and for all. Funny how things work out, isn’t it? As “Identity” begins, everything seems to have gone back to normal, except, where’s Saffy and Baby Jane?

Now…I rarely question Jennifer Saunders, but throwing Saffy in prison seems like such an odd choice, especially given the circumstances of her conviction. If Saffy had somehow taken the fall for one of Edina’s schemes, I could probably get behind that. But Saffy is just too smart to get involved in some illegal scheme on her own. This is the girl who was going to be a scientist, before devolving into the hapless, harried mess she became in later seasons. 

But how do you solve a problem like Saffy? She should have escaped her mother’s tentacles long ago, but then, there’d be no show. So, you have to find reasons for her to keep getting drawn back into the madness. I’m just not sure the prison development feels like an authentic move. I guess we’ll see as the story goes along.

That minor complaint aside, I’m happy to see that the girls still have it. It’s like catching up with old friends. It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the premiere of the show. Some of our site members have grown up with AbFab. I can still remember the first time I saw it. It unapologetically broke all the rules of traditional American family sitcoms, and I’d never seen anything like it.

While entertainment and viewers alike have become more sophisticated over the years, I’m glad to see that AbFab manages to retain its own sharp edges and outrageous behavior.  I’m definitely looking forward to more.

So, what did you watch this weekend? Anything stand out? Did you love the returning shows? Swoon over Cousin Matthew? Open a bottle of Bolly to celebrate AbFab’s return? Cringe over Freddy’s “Unfunny Robot” sketch on iCarly?

Let us know!