Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Series Rewatch: The X-Files S1E1 "Pilot"

Like I said before, part of the reason I wanted to watch The X-Files and Lois & Clark at the same time was to compare how two shows that had a lot in common--"nerd" shows, started almost simultaneously, sci-fi/fantasy/comic book genres--developed over the series. I've seen this pilot four or five times since the last time I saw the L&C pilot and I was really expecting this one to be the one that held up the best. And in most ways, it did. Plot, characterization, commitment to the concept of the series as a whole--in ALL of these things, I think that The X-Files pilot episode blew the doors off the joint. Oddly, where it fell apart most for me was, to some degree, visually. The special effects in both pilots were dreadful by today's standards. And I think that worked better on L&C because it is SO over-the-top camptastic that it kind of feels like it should have ludicrously awful special effects. Now, the "look" of The X-Files? Spot on. It is absolutely gorgeous. The first four years of the show were shot in Vancouver so there's this omnipresent grayness that hovers over the proceedings setting an impeccable tone for the stories they are telling. The other thing that made me gape in horror was something that, again, I thought would be more jarring in L&C is the wardrobe. And again, it's the cartoonish nature of L&C that is served by the costumes on the actors. I think guys are always easier anyway, but the very sleek and stylized, almost 1940s lines of everything Teri Hatcher wore in the pilot were silly, but they looked good. Which brings us to The X-Files, where the aforementioned idea that guys are just generally more generic fashion-wise when looked at through a lens of 20 years is painfully obvious. I don't know how much of it is that women's fashion circa 1993 was just plain godawful (and it was. I have picture galore from my freshman year of college that serve as proof) and how much of it is that obviously the wardrobe people had not the faintest, foggiest, ghost of a clue how to dress someone of Gillian Anderson's stature. Which by the way is TINY. She's not wispy skinny, but she's petite. It's entirely possible that every single suit worn by ladies under 5'4" in the early 90s was awful. It's also possible that they made her look dowdy on purpose--it fits into the idea of the character and I guess, in fairness, Special Agent Dana Scully, M.D. isn't going to look like a fashion plate. It was still distracting. Mainly because all I could think was that was exactly how I must have looked when I wore a suit in the 90s.

So, now that I got that out of my system...this pilot is AH-MAH-ZING. Okay, that may be too strong a word. But it just ticked every box of what the show would end up being. The plot is...well, hell, y'all...The X-Files (spoiler alert) is about ALIENS. Logical, scientific Special Agent Dana Scully, M.D is sent by the high ups at the FBI to provide scientific analysis of cases in a division referred to as the X-Files, which are cases that involve unexplained phenomena. The whole scene where she's assigned this task...so smart. It perfectly introduces her character, the central premise of the show, the X-Files as an entity AND (although we don't realize it) the central antagonist of the entire series. We proceed to her first meeting with her new partner, Special Agent Fox Mulder (So. So. Cute. I'm not kidding when I say that to this day, the first time we see Mulder with his floppy bangs and wire-rimmed glasses makes my girlish heart flutter. For that matter, Gillian Anderson is absolutely angelic, too. So attractive, these two.) which is also practically perfect. He's just far enough "out there" to be amusing and immediately trundles Scully off on their first case which involves the mysterious death of several young people, all of whom graduated from the local high school in the same year. There are things in this case that will be relevant in the larger myth-arc of the entire show. The case itself is re-visited in the Season 7 finale. Concepts are introduced that provide the groundwork for central plotlines for the 8th and 9th Seasons. It makes for very cool retrospective watching. Especially when you start seeing things like how a scene in the pilot--it's the one where Mulder tells Scully about his sister (ALSO a central and long-running plot point)--is directly mirrored in the final scene of the series finale, nine years later. There's shady government guys interfering in the case, disappearing evidence, Mulder seeing with his own eyes evidence of the existence EBEs while Scully juuuuuust misses it and no real answer at the end of the case. In other words, it's exactly what happens in pretty much ALL mytharc episodes.

OMGWTFBBQ Guest Stars--Strangely, none. The show will prove a goldmine of almost and used to be famous. But other than actors who later play the same character on the show--The Cigarette Smoking Man and Billy Miles are the two biggest--it's just a few character actor types that you've seen in other stuff.

Grade: Solid A. Not The West Wing pilot good, but still pretty great.

The Good: Mulder's glasses, spook-factor, excellence as representative episode of the show as a whole, off-the-charts sexual tension between Mulder and Scully from the get-go, ESPECIALLY when she strips down to let him check her for alien implant marks (not a euphemism-he's ACTUALLY looking for alien implant marks--and if you think these two are hitting the sheets anytime soon. Well, I laugh at your optimism.); ability to make something that could be silly--like looking for aliens--decidedly UNsilly; intriguing enough to make someone want to watch more; beautifully introduces TONS of things that will be important to the show, both in general and specific to this thread of the alien/myth umbrella plot

The Bad: Hokey special effects, especially the Alien Light Tornado that carries away the abductees; tacky pilot sets for the stuff that happens at the FBI; couple of minor misses in the acting department from the supporting cast

The Ugly: The atrocity of a brown plaid suit jacket perpetrated upon Scully's person in her first scene.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Series Rewatch: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman S1E1 "Pilot"

It's been years since I watched this. I was a little leery. I remember mostly that it was over the top and cartoonish and I wasn't sure how it would hold up two decades down the line. And actually it was better than I expected. It was definitely still over the top and cartoonish, but I think that may actually have been WHY it still works. I've noticed that when you watch a show that's this old that one of the things that makes it seem dated is that the clothes are weird and the cars are weird and the technology is dated.

But here's the thing...a lot of what was going on here was so very stylized--Lois's clothes are very much evocative of the 40s and tend to be very fitted (I know that the hallmark of horrible early 90s fashion is that everyone wore everything approximately 9 sizes too large)--so you're less likely to be distracted. But at the time I was SO distracted. Distracted by how adorable I thought Dean Cain was and how I planned to marry him. Distracted by the perfection of Lois's ultra-shiny dark brown bob. Distracted by the (what I found to be at the time) witty dialogue.

As far as a pilot episode, it hit most of the marks. It set a tone for the series as a whole which they pretty much stuck to for the run. It's feature length so there's a lot of time to get a lot of information in there. But in actuality, there's not a lot to put out there. It's entertaining and fun, but the plot, as tended to be true of the show as a whole, was slightly silly. There are two things happening. The first is the human story. Specifically, Clark Kent arriving in Metropolis and trying to get a job at The Daily Planet while trying to decide what he's going to do about his powers. And here's the reason watching it FEELS silly: As much as Perry White hems and haws and turns Clark down at the initial interview, we, as a society,are so aware of the Superman mythos, that it's impossible for us to TRULY suspend our disbelief to the point that we actually have any kind of question about whether or not Clark will eventually work as a reporter at The Daily Planet. Just like he can dither about whether he's going to use his powers to help people and how he can make that a reality, but we are being completely disingenuous if we act like we don't know that before the end of the episode he's going to put on that red and blue suit and get down to the business of superheroing. Likewise, the whole action hero plot involves the crack investigative team of Lane and Kent trying to figure out who's sabotaging The Space Program's Space Research Station so they can replace the Program's station with their own for profit. Which...I guess could be suspenseful. If they hadn't mentioned Lex Luthor approximately ten thousand times in the course of the episode. (And then meeting him face to face for the first time at a party during a thunderstorm where there are huge crashes of thunder at opportune and suspenseful moments.) It's Superman, for Pete's sake. If there's bad-guying to be done, then Luthor is your man.

But this sounds like all complaints and really, I found it to be enjoyable. It moved. There was no lolly-gagging through useless scenes and it did seem at least somewhat in on the joke of revealing to us a bunch of stuff we obviously already know. The people in it are very, very pretty and not half-bad actors. It was clever enough (although not as clever as it would be later). K Callan and Eddie Jones as Martha and Jonathan Kent and Lane Smith as Perry White pretty much own ever scene they're in, outshining the younger crowd (although that may have to do with the fact that the nature of those characters gives them much better raw material with which to work.)

Good: The pretty. The willingness to commit to the ridiculous. It's very shiny to look at. The entire scene where Martha designs and makes the Superman costume (it's a montage set to "Holding Out for a Hero"). The tongue in cheek references to whether or not people are going to be fooled by the glasses. Gratuitous shirtless Dean Cain scene. Teri Hatcher's bob.

Bad: Some truly poor acting from the bit part crowd. The plot is evocative of the series...the more pedestrian episodes of the series, that is. It's not dreadful, but it's not a great moment in television. The jaw-droppingly 1993 nature of the special effects.

Ugly: Dean Cain's proto mullet when he's Clark.

OMGWTFBBQ Guest Star: This episode is filled with actors in guest spots who are the kind of actors you recognize as familiar but don't quite know why. Television Without Pity always called them, "Hey! It's that guy!" The one who was truly recognizable to me was Persis Khambatta who was Lieutenant Ilia (hot, bald alien chick) in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Overall Grade: I want to give it an A for effort, but really I hand it a solid B. Good enough that it could compel one to watch more episodes. Not in the Pilot Hall of Fame.

In which my television curse continues full throttle...

It's a long-running joke amongst my friends that I am a curse on television shows. If there's a new show that I see advertised and I think to myself, "Hey, that shoe looks really good. I'm gonna watch it." and then I watch it from the beginning, said show will be canceled after one season (maybe, two). I have killed Homefront, Pushing Daisies, Mr. Sunshine and most sadly (at least to me) Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. There are others. It's traumatic for me to discuss it at length.

And that is why I'm issuing an apology. Because y'all...I have killed Bunheads. It was saucy and sassy and it starred Sutton Foster and it was about ballet. Sometimes there were production numbers. It delighted the hell out of me for 18 episodes and then it was in this weird limbo place where ABC Family was trying to decide whether to cancel or renew and after keeping everyone waiting for the better part of the summer, they cancel it. (Actually, this shouldn't surprise me. Disney is doing their level-best to kill my soul this summer.)

I'm dead inside. I got that show. That show got ME. And now 'tis but a memory.

Partying like it's...1993

Last night, I started thinking how I haven't done a "re-watch" in a while. I mean, a legit start to finish on a show. I watch old shows all the time. I have an almost embarrassingly huge collection of television shows on DVD. Plus a few more newer ones on iTunes. And amongst those I have a few go-to episodes that I tend to watch over and over again. So what I actually decided to do was watch TWO things. It's weird, The X-Files has been EVERYWHERE on my social media for the last week and change because this fall is the 20th anniversary of its premiere and it was featured at Comic-Con. And I was really thinking about 20 years ago, because last weekend was also my high school 20th reunion. I didn't go to it, but I've REALLY been remembering 20 years ago because of it. As I walked to the shelves with the TV DVDs for some reason my eye was drawn to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. And I realized that is ALSO premiered 20 years ago (or thereabouts) and that it was, in fact, the OTHER show that I watched on Sunday nights in college. So, I'm going to watch both. It's an interesting juxtaposition. They were both huge nerd draws. The X-Files still very much is, I think. Lois & Clark ran for four seasons and a total of 87 episodes. It was fairly light-hearted and embraced the comic-y side of the Superman mythos. And by that I mean the old school comic-y side. It was almost cartoonish in moments and had a pretty loyal following although it was never a ratings boom. Even at its very most serious it wasn't particularly deep. Even though it dealt with a subject that was so ingrained in the public consciousness, it took it from a completely different angle. What I loved about it was that that the guiding premise (and I'm going to quote Clark Kent on the show here) was "Clark is who I am. Superman is what I do." Which was a sharp contrast to the Superman films that I had watched as a kid. Because it focused on Clark, I think it was a great way to shine a light on other characters--if it's always Superman, it's always Superman and the Big Bad--specifically, in this case, Clark and his relationship with his parents was so cute and fun and depth-filled. I have a hands-down favorite episode, "Tempus Fugitive" from the second season (which is probably the best season as well) and having so clear a favorite episode is weird for me. Sadly the show was never able to produce great ratings (although Teri Hatcher became one of the first internet phenomenons because of it. And being a smoking hot babe). It ended on a cliffhanger and then didn't get picked up for a fifth season. The X-Files was different. It was a phenomenon. It was HUGE. It ran for 9 seasons and a total of 202 episodes plus two feature films and two spin-off series. So many aspects--"I Want to Believe", "The Truth is out there.", the theme song, the characters themselves--became so hugely iconic (I can name off the top of my head it being explicitly referenced by both Bones and Castle) that it's sometimes hard to remember a time when it and references to it weren't a part of our cultural vernacular. Filmed for the first four seasons in dank, rainy Vancouver, it couldn't possibly be any visually different from L&C and while there were any number of stand-alone/Monster of the Week episodes that were just plain funny, they were also sophisticated and even if verging on the silly, very, very clever. The episodes that weren't the "comedy" episodes were dark. ALL of the mytharc episodes were dark and the stand-alones that were dark were freakishly dark and sometimes absolutely terrifying. Like L&C, it was part of the first wave of internet fandom although rather than a picture of Teri Hatcher rolling around scantily clad and wrapped in a Superman cape, with The X-Files it as EVERYTHING. Message boards full of speculation and episode discussion and fanfiction. This is a fandom who created the idea and terms of "shipping" and "shippers", for God's sake. The last two seasons were shaky--mainly because David Duchovny was absent from about half the episodes of the 8th season and all but the final episode of the 9th season--but they finished with at least a respectable amount of closure and enough ongoing interest for there to be a second movie and continued speculation about a third. I've watched both pilots. My thoughts to follow.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love In the Afternoon--Flashback to Awesome

Here's the thing: A soap opera is on five days a week, 52 weeks a year. For argument's sake, let's say that there are going to be about ten days a year--some holidays and a handful of days where it's preempted by national news coverage--where on a weekday there isn't a new episode. In any event, a good average would be about 250 episodes a year (General Hospital's 10,000th episode came two weeks after the 39th anniversary of the show, which allowing for a little error for those two weeks, averages to just about 256 episodes a year). So with that in mind, and knowing that I've watched GH since I was in preschool, taking into account there were times when I watched it sporadically at best, but also times when I watched it with an almost religious fervor, I think I can safely say that if you added up all the hours of primetime television I've ever watched in my life, I've still dedicated more hours to GH. Which is why what I'm about to say is so huge: Of all those days that I spent the 3/2 p.m. CST hour in front of a television, I can tell you WITHOUT A DOUBT what my favorite was. One episode out of the THOUSANDS I've seen. There have been some other great days on GH. There have been other days where I squealed and clapped or cried my eyes out or thought, "Finally! It's happening!!", whatever "it" may have been. There have even been other Valentine's Days that were memorable. But not like this. It's not just that they are my favorite couple or that I had waited so long for it to happen or that it was the hottest thing I'd ever seen on television at that point in my life. It was all of those things and more. It was saucy and sexy and funny and...well, you'll see. So, in honor of the day...my favorite day in soap opera history. Robert and Anna and the Valentine's Day Massacre Aaaaand.... This happened. It happened before 9 p.m. It happened in 1991. And it was amazing.

Lest you think I only watch a soap opera...

Short list of other stuff I've been watching. You know...stuff that isn't General Hospital: Castle--Before this time last year, I had seen MAYBE one episode of Castle. Then, there was all this hoopla about them doing a noir episode. It probably also helped that this was about the time last year that I got really, REALLY started watching GH again in 'real time' so I started seeing a lot of commercials for it. Anyway...I fell in LOVE. And I'm so very glad. Last year's season finale was SUPERB. This season has had a couple of fantastic episodes and, I'm sorry to say, a bunch that have been mediocre at best, but they've done a pretty good job of avoiding the "Moonlighting Curse" and on the whole it's still pretty fun to watch. Smash--Dear God. I had this weekend at home alone this summer where I THOUGHT I had plans and then I didn't have those plans and instead I watched the entire first season of Smash. There are plenty of things that I enjoy about it. I think Megan Hilty is a goddess and supremely talented and I can vouch that she's utterly charming in real life and when I met her we were wearing the exact same shirt, so she's obviously got excellent taste. The thing is, I felt the whole time that they were trying to make her character, Ivy, just impossibly vile, because it was the only way they could make me sympathetic towards Katharine McPhee's character, Karen, in comparison. The problem is that it kind of didn't work. I mean, yeah, there was an episode near the beginning where I felt a smidgen of sympathy for Karen, but then...nothing. And most of the time, it was just a contest to be the character that I DIDN'T want to punch in the face. Only one episode has aired so far and it may be that they've compounded the problem by bringing on Jennifer Hudson who's playing a character I like to call, "Another Person Who Can Sing Rings Around McPhee." Seriously...find a clip of Megan Hilty singing "Second-Hand White Baby Grand". I'm telling you...goddess. Bunheads--I am now confess that I am the one person on the planet of my particular demographic who didn't watch and worship every single episode of The Gilmore Girls. I watched it here and there because my mom and sister both LOVE it and sometimes they'd have it on when I was around. So I didn't watch the first episode of Bunheads because I was an Amy Sherman-Palladino disciple. I watched because it managed to hit some theater geek trifecta with Kelly Bishop, Sutton Foster AND a plot that centers around a dance school. It can be silly and way to self-aware of how adorable it is and some of the acting is less than award-winning, but it's super easy and fun. Law & Order: SVU--I have come to accept that I will never, ever be able to quit you. We are Ennis and Jack and we must accept this. The Carrie Diaries--This is where I have to confess that I was really excited about this one because I had already read the books and LOVED them. And boy did it not disappoint. Anna-Sophia Robb as a teenage Carrie Bradshaw is just fantastic and charming as hell to boot. It's got tons of fun 80s fashion and the music is really incredible. And it's really neat (and different) to see an in-depth look at the background of such an iconic character. Two EXTREMELY enthusiastic thumbs up. The Americans--Okay, so I watched the first episode on Hulu the day after it aired. And the reason is because I was reading an article about it and in the comments, someone said, "It's like Jack and Irina from Alias if Jack had been a Soviet deep-cover agent, too." At which point I almost broke my fingers trying to type hulu.com into the address bar because--OMG JACK AND IRINA!!! Also, I was fascinated by Keri Russell playing a spy, because JJ Abrams said that the way he came up with the idea for Alias is that he had this thought of, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if Felicity was a spy?". I've only seen the first episode--I haven't watched this week's yet--and I'm completely hooked.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love in the Afternoon--February 11, 2013

It's kind of...poignant, I guess, that I'm posting for the first time in eons. Because last year, right at this time, I was busy working myself into a cautiously optimistic frenzy over General Hospital. Frenzy, because of returning characters-specifically, Anna, who came back on Valentine's Day-and cautious, because, well, let's face it...the show had been so awful for so long, it was on the verge of cancellation, and it was really hard to hold out much hope that it could dig itself out of its, well...pit of despair. What a difference a year makes. It is kind of awesome. And not in a "I'm watching this because it's such a horrible train wreck" kind of way. It's really, really good. Silly sometimes? Yep. Campy? Oh, you better believe it. Does it still have moments where it stumbles? Of course. But the almost unprecedented 180-degree turn is mind-blowing. Of course, if any show was going to do it, it had to be GH. Because, in the stuff of soap opera legend, this was not the first time that GH had teetered on the brink. Thirty-five years ago the show was months from cancellation when the Luke and Laura storyline caught the fancy of pretty much everyone. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that THIRTY MILLION people watched their wedding. That's bigger than the audience for the most popular primetime shows now. For perspective, it's less than watch a Super Bowl, more than watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. The new head writer, Ron Carlivati, and the new EP, Frank Valentini, so obviously get the genre and the audience, and what's more, they are willing to make it happen. In one year, they have gotten rid of a bunch of characters and stories that no one really cared about. They have brought back, at first in a trickle, and now, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the show, a deluge of veteran characters and actors. Even better, other than one kind of big screw up with the character of Robert, they have used the returning characters, if not perfectly, then at least in a way consistent with what we have known and loved about the characters for years. And even the flub of the Robert return last spring, can be forgiven, because of the pure excellence of his return in November and December--if you don't watch you only need to know that he revealed that his ex-wife's other ex-husband was actually Robert's former Eastern Bloc spy arch nemesis in a latex mask and he did this by melting off the mask with a pot of fondue. Seriously? It was one of the greatest things that has ever happened in the history of television. Is it perfect? Of course not. The introduction of some of the characters from One Life to Live has been awkward and really, in my opinion, only one actually dovetailed nicely into GH. Either because of the way they now film in blocks or because they are spreading out the scenes they have from the returning vets, we sometimes get a HUGE reveal (for example, last week Frisco saw Maxie at the end of an episode and it was for the first time since she was SIX and then that story was left dangling for three days. And when it DID get picked back up, they skipped over the actual reunion and we got aftermath) and then the story is put on ice for a few days. The pacing can be erratic. The November sweeps story involving Anna, Robert, Robin, Duke and Faison was jam-packed with awesome and action only to end very abruptly, with no real resolution (we left Robert's life in the balance for DAYS) and had to slog through several weeks of other story lines before we got something approaching an answer. There are still some characters that need to go. There's a fairly awful recast. And some of the newbies are either excruciatingly awful OR being used in an excruciatingly awful way. The only new pairing that's even shown a hint of sparkle is really just fortuitous because it involves two actors who were a wildly popular pairing on another show. The rest of the new couples range from just okay (Starr and Michael) to wrong place at the wrong time with a side of that could have been amazing (Todd and Carly) to meh (Alexis and Shawn) to OMG STAHP (Luke and Anna). But really...there are no fatal flaws. Yes, there are plenty of scenes where I'll take a bathroom break or swap the clothes from the washer to the dryer, but mostly I'm watching. And since I just spent a lot of time complaining about what's wrong, here's the far more important list of Top Five Things GH is Getting Right: 5. Doing what needs to be done to keep it under budget--The reason that the other soaps are gone is that the network knows that soaps, and really ANY scripted show, are expensive. It's tempting to replace them with much cheaper reality, talk or game shows. GH was very, very lucky. It's ratings were BAD. Worse, at times, than the other two ABC soaps, but because it IS GH and the flagship soap of the network and the most name-recognized soap to non-watchers, it got a pass. At least temporarily. There was also a rumor that Katie Couric, whose took GH's traditional timeslot lobbied for it when she realized the havoc the former AMC and especially, OLTL caused for the ratings of the replacement shows. So, yeah, LUCKY. That said, the spiraling costs coupled with declining ratings were a death sentence. I don't understand all of the intricacies of the way it's filmed now, but it has something to do with filming huge blocks of a single story at a time--so they don't have to keep changing out sets--and scrupulously sticking to the number of days each actor is supposed to shoot according to their contract. 4. Integrating the Storylines and Characters--I don't mean racially, although that wouldn't hurt them either. What I mean is that for YEARS the storylines existed in these weird little bubbles. Very, very occasionally there would be a big story with most of the cast. But it was a single story. And it wasn't that their stories were woven into it. It's that their story stopped while something like, a big fire at the PC Hotel happened, and then everyone went back to their business. Characters are TALKING to each other (not just to the others in their particular story and SOnny or Jason, may he rest) when their storylines don't necessitate it. Characters are involved in SEVERAL STORIES AT ONCE. 3. Refocusing the Show--Nowadays, GH is about the hospital and cops and ELQ with a taste of mob. Which is awesome, because for years it had been about people in the mob and...other people in the mob. The hospital was used primarily as a building where mobsters went when the got shot by other mobsters. Part, if not all of this, has to do with my number two reason. But the decision to centralize the show on Anna is brills. First of all, it's a proven thing. Anna was the show's main character for YEARS. Second, Finola Hughes is damn good. She's damn good for anything, actually. For soaps, she's AMAZING. Third, it's very, very, very easy to connect Anna to pretty much any storyline you can get going--she's the police commissioner, she has a history with the mob stuff (via Duke), she's friends with the Qs, she's connected to the hospital (via Robin and Patrick). Also...let's face it...Anna's just awesome. 2. Returning Vets--Obviously the coup is Finola Hughes as Anna and Genie Francis as Laura, but at this point we also have/had (albeit some of them briefly) Robert, Holly, Faison, Duke, Felicia, Frisco, AJ, Kevin, Lucy, with Scotty still to come. And not a character, but the Nurses' Ball! All of this tied into the approaching 50th anniversary of the show on April 1. 1. That This Happened--Luke contacted Robert from a Turkish prison to let him know something was hinky with Duke's return. The viewers and Robin find out that "Duke" is Faison IN A DUKE MASK (that Faison sometimes puts on a table and has conversation with). Robert came to Port Charles to investigate only to discover through one of Olivia's LSD-induced psychic visions that Faison was impersonating Duke. Robert unveils "Duke" who's attempting to seduce Anna by pouring hot fondue on him and melting that mask. That shit really happened, y'all. And I cannot stress enough how amazing it was. So get watching people! I'm kind of intrigued by what insanity they can come up with next.