Sunday, December 29, 2002

Here's some 7th Heaven archives to chew on:

A Cry for Help, airdate 11.23.02

Hey Camdenites,

Sorry for the delay, and props to Skye for taping the episode AND watching it with me.

Usher, of Twix fame and singing semi-fame, guest-starred in this week's episode. Must I continue? OK, Eric takes a job at a campus radio call in show with Usher, and of course some suicidal guy calls in and can only be saved by the Reverend. Of course, no one dials *69, so a plot hole opens in the Earth, swallowing a fire hydrant and a bed of petunias. Eric and Usher (who wears a hooded sweatshirt, because he's "street" like that), find Suicide Carl and save him precisely 53 minutes into the episode.

Ben, Creepy Kevin's dull-as-mud brother, appears in Glenoak from Buffalo wanting to meet chicks. Didn't he have a girlfriend? Another plot hole opens, devouring a Dodge Caravan and most of a driveway. Simon and Neck-of-Steel Cecilia take him to an underage club, where 23-year-old Ben is admitted with a high school ID. The plot hole widens, and a golden retriever is sucked down whimpering. Ben dances with teenage girls and is kicked out of the club. Simon dances, and Gaydars across the land short-circuit.

Creepy Kevin's partner, Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard, demands that they not be partners anymore. Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard says it's because Lucy doesn't like her, not because, oh...Kevin kissed her and that's sexual harassment. Or because she suddenly got a backbone. Or because Kevin is a psycho pre-abuser. She insists that Kevin and Lucy come out with her that night, ignoring the fact that Lucy hates her. Because Rachel's single, and therefore a ho who throws herself at every man she sees. It's like watching a parakeet fly into a glass door over and over. Eventually, Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard will be knocked senseless and eaten by a passing housecat. Kevin threatens to dump Lucy if she doesn't go out with them, and, of course, she surrenders faster than France. Stupid Lucy, she's about 2 seasons away from "The Burning Bed."

Let's see, Ruthie dumps her boyfriend, the Poddlers cheat at Candyland, and Annie is really moody and I think needs to go back on the HRT.

Oh, and this episode was brought to you by Big Fun. Teenage Suiciiiiiiiide....Don't Do It!

No new episodes until January! How will we survive?

Intentional humor: 4 Unintentional humor: 7 Preachiness: 6 Emotional
trauma: 5 Histrionics: 9

Lost Souls, airdate November 18, 2002
Hey Camdenites,
Last night we witnessed the triumphant return of Eddie's Pool Hall (the Camdens had not left the house for months), who hosted Country-Western Week. The Bowling Montage of old has been replaced with a Line-Dance Montage. Simon went on his first date with Cecilia, whose head appears to move independently from her neck. Seriously. She bobs her head all the time, but her neck never appears to move. I was so focused on this that it took 30 minutes for me to yell at the TV, "French boyfriend? Where'd he go?" Oh, and Simon got a job as a janitor. Have I mentioned I miss the gigolo golden days?
Robbie wasn't even in this episode. He was studying for "midterms", although why would he have a midterm when the semester is almost over? But since Matt's midterms were in September, I'll believe anything. The Poddlers had minimal lines, and continued to finish each other's sentences in a creepy way. Ruthie was confined to Subplot Purgatory, something about boys and such.
Lucy saw Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard dancing with evil Kevin and left the pool hall in tears. On the way out, she conveniently runs into Reverend Chandler, who buys her dinner and they chat in the church about why they want to be ministers. Chandler: My parents hated the idea, and there are few professions where I can blink quite so often. Lucy: My parents loved the idea, but maybe I ought to just make out with boys. I'm good at that.
Of course, Kevin spends the whole episode looking for Lucy and insisting that everyone else does. Kevin eventually walks in on them, decides it's a "date" and swoops Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard in for a kiss that looks like he is trying to remove her tonsils with his teeth. Ick. It was the kiss equivalent of the pool scene in "Showgirls." Kevin tried to "act" in this episode, but instead struck hilarious male-model poses that made him look constipated.
The funniest plotline of all was the Reverend. He's decided to quit his job and spends most of the episode on the back porch, strumming his guitar and tormenting Ruthie. I could almost like him here. Annie assaults with the Cliche Brigade, about how the Bible (DRINK!) says forgive, and ask not what God (DRINK!) can do for you, but what you can do for God (DRINK!). Lucy comes up crying and the Reverend brushes her off. Ha!
Oh, and Kevin and Lucy dance at the end, and she says she forgiven him, and he says he hasn't forgiven her. What? Oh, I give up.
Next week: the Reverend becomes a DJ? And is that Usher? Oh, the Twix ad wasn't humiliating enough, was it?

Intentional humor: 4 Unintentional humor: 9 Preachiness: 3 Emotional trauma: 6 Histrionics: 8

Peer Pressure, Airdate November 11, 2002

Hey Camden Fans,
First, special thanks to Matt for donning his Boyfriend Halo and experiencing 7th Heaven with me.
Also, I realized something for the first time: in previous seasons, the credits consisted of various family members hugging one another. Now, it's people listening in doorways, and stomping around, and looking surprised. There are also, like, 87 people in the credits.
This week, the Reverend and in-law Rabbi Glass spy on the associate pastor. Yes, the Men Of God have forgotten about God, men, common sense and plot structure all in one fell swoop. Annie has six lines and no one misses her. Smarmy Sexpot smarms in a sexy way. Ruthie puts on makeup for the first time and slow-dances with a boy. Simon goes on a ride-along with Evil Kevin and Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard. Evil Kevin runs into a mysterious woman while giving out a speeding ticket.
Of course, the woman is his ex-wife. He finally explains it to Lucy (ok, ex-wives are usually disclosed BEFORE engagement rings are shopped for). The first thing Lucy wants to know is if the ex-wife is prettier than she is. How does a girl who protested the Taliban at 15 turn so dumb by 20? Turns out when Kevin was 18, his girlfriend thought she was pregnant so they got married. She THOUGHT she was pregnant? Couldn't she spend the $12 to pee on a stick? Heck, if she buys Target brand, she could probably have spent $8 to pee on a stick before spending $25 on a marriage license. (Side note: without saying why, I asked Matt if he knew how much marriage licenses cost. I WON'T be doing that again). Of course, the marriage broke up. And, according to Kevin, she now lives in New Zealand and has 3 kids. And she just happened to be passing through Glenoak. Oooh-kay. Though since Mary's airline has hubs in Glenoak, Ft. Lauderdale, and Buffalo, I'll believe just about anything. And this also means that the 7th Heaven universe recognizes 3 foreign nations, instead of just France and Canada.
In other news, people actually played with the twins, who remained seated the entire episode so snarky meanies like me would stop pointing out how one is a foot taller than the other. Those children creep me out. I don't know whether to call them the Children of the Corny, or the Poddlers. Matt thinks they were air-dropped from The Shining.
Intentional humor: 4 Unintentional humor: 8 Preachiness: 3 Emotional trauma: 6 Histrionics: 7
Y'all are getting an early recap, because by the time you read this, I will be at JURY DUTY. A fate worse than 7th Heaven.

"Gabrielle Come Blow Your Horn"
Airdate November 4, 2002

Hey Camdenites,

I'm suing 7th Heaven for false advertising. All bloody week long, they run promos where Annie slaps Deacon Lou (or Elder, or whatever religion they are), and everyone is "facing a problem they never faced before." Turns out the "problem" is Phyllis Diller, who plays an amusing chain-smoking housekeeper who pours wine into the family spaghetti sauce. Literally - that wasn't one of my weird attempts at symbolism.

New developments: Kevin takes Cop Rachel Blanchard (chortle) shopping for Lucy's ring, Lucy, Ruthie and Simon spy on Kevin shopping for a ring. They make that scene last 20 minutes, earning my eternal hatred. Also, the Stepford Twins learn to sing "Jesus Loves Me", which they do repeatedly, completely screwing me over in the 7th Heaven drinking game (drink every time they mention God or Jesus). Also, Jeremy London joins the cast as the new associate pastor, and he still does that annoying blinking thing he always did on Party of Five. The whole family is completely hostile to him: various children ask if he's "replacing Dad", and they wander off and leave him standing by himself in the living room. What incredibly rude, rude children. And don't churches generally have associate pastors, and aren't they a good thing? Annie, Deacon Lou, and the Reverend yell at each other in the basement, Annie love-taps Lou, and everyone reconciles at precisely 8:53 pm, just like they always do. The Camdens are so predictable I almost expect them to assemble into Voltron 22 minutes into the episode. Oh, and Simon loves Cecilia, but she has a French boyfriend, but no one's really cared about Simon's sub-par subplots since his gigolo golden days.

Fun fact of the week: Remember Matt's hard-luck bad-daddy girlfriend Shawna? Maureen Flannigan's first role was as Evie on Out of This World. Remember, the half-alien girl who could freeze time by putting her fingers together? Snicker...chortle...choke...eeep! She's now doing a PAX TV movie with Wil Wheaton. Truth is stranger than fiction, heck, truth is stranger than my parents.

Next week: Lucy finds out something terrible about Kevin. My money's on, "He can't act."

Intentional humor: 6 (props to Phyllis Diller) Unintentional humor: 8 Preachiness: 4 Emotional trauma: 6 Histrionics: 9

Regarding Eric”, airdate 10/21/02
Hey Camden Fans,

I apologize for the delay in sending this out, last night's episode was so vapid I needed all day to remember what happened. So keep your pants on, folks (more about pants later). I'll even give you an extra-long recap today.

This week on 7th Heaven: Lucy helps this week's Never-Before-Seen-"Friend"-in-Need. This time, it's a guy who wants to join a blacklight puppet troupe for the developmentally disabled. See, they would throw in the "disabled" part so I couldn't mock the "blacklight" and "puppet" parts. Evil! And Lucy doesn't yell at anyone for the entire episode. Are we in Bizarro Glenoak?

The Reverend feels useless because he is useless. Oh, and recovering from last week's Elvis Heart Surgery and can't help anybody. Some love-drama action occurs with Robbie, Kevin the Cop, Lucy, and the miscast cop Rachel Blanchard. You know, that never ceases being funny. They even gave her bad hair (bangs! and a ponytail! Good God!) and an extra 15 pounds to make her a cop. Still doesn't work. Simon has a boring subplot where he is in love with Cecilia. Because she's breakin' his heart, shakin' his confidence daily. Ruthie wears a yellow striped t-shirt and coordinating crochet hat in a shout-out to the Blind Melon Bee Girl. She also tells the Reverend a friend of hers is being abused so the Reverend will have something to worry about. The Reverend calls the cop(s), and Rachel Blanchard is totally nice and doesn't bust Ruthie for essentially filing a fake police report. Then Rachel Blanchard (I really can't call her Roxanne) puts greasy Robbie in a much-deserved headlock. I take it back! All is forgiven!
Oh, and the Reverend TAKES HIS PANTS OFF and hangs out in a button-down shirt and boxer shorts. I feel so much better about my dad hanging out in wife-beaters when my friends came over during high school. At least Dad wore pants.

Intentional humor: 2 Unintentional humor: 5 Preachiness: 5 Emotional trauma: 9 Histrionics: 6

Airdate October 14, 2002

Last night on 7th Heaven:

There is a school of thought in television writing that you can always wring drama (and ratings) out of illness. Sometimes it works: amnesia scores big on the soaps, and Buffy's mom dying of brain cancer worked well. Sometimes it fails: like the extravaganza of suck brought to us by the "Amanda has cancer" plotline on Melrose Place. Heather Locklear kept her hair AND her miniskirts for the wretched 6 episodes it took to cure her of lymphoma. And sometimes, like on 7th Heaven, an illness plotline is just plain weird.

Longtime fans of my recaps will recall that Annie smoked pot in high school, until her friend got high and died in a car crash. (A more accurate scare story would be, "I had this friend in high school who smoked pot...and he now works at Blockbuster!").

What we didn't know, apparently, is that the Reverend tried the brown acid. Unless, of course, Elvis is the Reverend's anti-drug. The Reverend undergoes double-bypass surgery, the whole time he hallucinates that he's Elvis. Big hair and all.

Meanwhile, in Glenoak, Simon whines about the "baby in the phone booth" crisis, Lucy decides she wants to get married (she's an old maid at 20, after all), Matt's wife drops in, Ruthie lets go of her anger thanks to a Tertiary Character with a Story to Tell, no one notices the Robotwins, and, gosh, I'm still stuck on the Elvis thing. And the fact that Kevin treats Lucy like she's a hysterical idiot. Which she is, but really, is that a good example for the kids? "Hey, marry young to a guy who talks down to you! It's the Glenoak way!"

Elvis. Christ, that was WEIRD.

Intentional humor: 3

Unintentional humor: 6

Preachiness: 4

Emotional trauma: 7 (Having a Star Trek survivor sing your songs is far worse than dying on a toilet. Poor Elvis).

Histrionics: 7

"Bowling For Eric", Airdate Oct 7, 2002

So, the Camdens fought. And then they bowled. There was a bowling montage. Lord help me if I must ever type that phrase again. And then they fought. The end.

Actually, here is what happened: the Reverend was told he had to have double-bypass open heart surgery. He immediately began the "I'm gonna die" histrionics, which is funny considering I got my appendix hacked out of me when I was six, and I was WAY more mature about the surgery thing than the Reverend. When I was six. And it's not like I'm noted for my maturity even now, guys.

So, instead of telling his family about the surgery, he takes everyone bowling. And I mean everyone - there were Camden kids I didn't even recognize. What a fecund tribe. I guess he decided that if he's gonna die, he better torment his family so they won't miss him when he's gone. Everyone starts, bowling, and fighting. Lucy is angry (when is she not?) because her 25-year-old cop boyfriend won't say if he's a virgin or not. I guess the Camdens don't have any 25-year-old virgins because they marry at 20. Robbie, the Smarmy Sexpot, is angry because said cop boyfriend won't fix his traffic ticket. Simon, who now sports TWO earrings (Bible Brit Pop!), tells his dad that it's rough to be a minister's son. Ruthie continues her streak of looking nothing like the rest of the Camdens and acting perfect. New theory! She's a robot kid, like Small Wonder. I'm now waiting for the Very Special Episode where we find out she's a robot. Also, we got to watch the cop boyfriend lift weights shirtless. Aaargh! Religious hairless man-boobs! Oh, and the episode ends with the Reverend telling his wife that he has to get open-heart surgery. She cares, which is fortunate because I myself no longer care.

In the strangest development of all, the Toddler Twins got actual screen time. Wow. I thought they were stashed in the basement.

Intentional humor: 4 Unintentional humor: 7 Preachiness: 6 Emotional trauma: 8 (Bible Man-Boobs!) NEW CATEGORY: Histrionics: 9

PS - "Bowling Montage" would be a great album title.

Airdate September 7, 2002

Last night on 7th Heaven:

This week's theme: You have to let your children make their own decisions, especially if they are over 20 and still haven't moved out.

Mary is still in Fort Lauderdale, while her dad-aged boyfriend's dad (say that 3 times fast) Pat Boone meddled in the whole leathery affair as the Villian of the Week Who Sees the Light role. Mary Mary Mary's Ben (the hunky firefighter) went back to Buffalo, Robbie the Greasy Heartthrob whined, Ruthie was called a "Monkey Lover" by a classmate, and Rachel Blanchard (Cher in the Clueless TV series) played a cop. With extra lipstick. Laugh all you want, I certainly did. The Theme Mallet was wielded with the subtlety of RuPaul.

In weirder developments, Simon helped a girl who had been hiding a pregnancy (sounds fishy to me, when I was a teenager I didn't have the wherewithal to hide a hickey, let alone a pregnancy). He picks up the baby at a phone booth and delivers it to an emergency room. He even cries more than the baby, who is quite clean for a newborn delivered in a phone booth.

Also, Kevin and Lucy's relationship kept getting weirder. Ben read Lucy's diary, and Kevin merely laughed at her when she became angry about it. I'm liking Kevin less and less - granted, Lucy is an irritating hag with Attack Hair, but he doesn't have to talk down to her and control her every single episode. "Taming of the Shrew" was a few centuries ago, guys. Let's at least move into the Victorian era with the rest of the cast! In other developments, Lucy was astounded to find out that her 25-year-old studmuffin cop boyfriend may not be a virgin. Oh My Gawd.

Preachiness: 7 Intentional humor: 4 Unintentional humor: 6 Emotional trauma: 8 (the parents sang, not to mention frequent use of the phrase "Monkey Lover")

Hey Camden fans,
First off, special thanks to Mike West for watching 7th Heaven, and extra special thanks for watching girls club with me. You know, the reviews don't do girls club justice: it's even worse than I'd heard. It may be the worst show I'd ever seen. And I watched all 6 episodes of Dead Last. Contrived zaniness, overdone hair, and lots of yelling. Even the explicit Gretchen Mol sex scene was boring. Sex hasn't been so boring since The Blue Lagoon.
Last night's 7th Heaven posed a unique challenge for me: it was a rebroadcast of the post-9/11 episode, dedicated to Staff Sargeant Dwight J. Morgan, killed in Afghanistan. Then, I realized this episode had some of the worst writing I had ever seen. (I watched the entire 3-month run of Swans Crossing AND the 4-episode run of DC, so I know from bad writing). And then I realized: if I don't make fun of this episode, the terrorists will have won. Or at least gotten jobs as television writers to destroy American society from the inside.
Ruthie becomes pen pals with Dwight J. Morgan, who then dies in a helicopter crash. However, even though an actual human being dies, nothing actually happens in this episode: Simon and Robbie pontificate about 9/11 (classic line: "And what about those people in Washington? There's a HOLE in the PENTAGON". Thanks for the shout-out, Smarmy Sexpot). CeCe Winans sings "God Bless America." The Reverend gives his shoes to a homeless person. Flowers are everywhere and people wear American flag t-shirts. Because demonstrative, self-righteous flag waving makes America a better place. Oh, and Ruthie sings "I Won't Back Down", TWICE, because nothing says patriotism like Tom Petty. Sheesh.
When I die, please promise me that there will be a 7th Heaven in my honor. In this episode, Simon and Robbie will de-grease their hair and declare their love for one another, Ruthie will finally find out she is adopted, and Mary will work for an airline with more realistic hubs (what the heck kind of airline has hubs in Buffalo, Glenoak and Ft. Lauderdale?), Lucy will become a mute, Rachel Blanchard will cease to be a cop, and Kevin will put on a shirt every once in a while.
Intentional humor: 0 Unintentional humor: 3 Preachiness: 87.6 Emotional trauma: 5 (to mock or not to mock?) Histrionics: 14

"Monkey Business, Part 2"
AIRDATE 9/23/03

Last night on 7th Heaven:

Clarification: According to our resident Alabaman, Matt, it is not appropriate in Alabama to marry your 20-year-old children off to people you barely know. Instead, you are supposed to marry them off to your relatives. Thanks, Matt!

Let's see...Mary's mystery "career" is identified (stewardess), which explains why she is dating a pilot. Who, incidentally, is named Jack. Captain Jack will get you high tonight...Ha. She gets in a huge fight with Dad about her cradle-robbing boyfriend, and attempts to prove her maturity by getting in a shouting match in the driveway. Bear in mind she is supposed to be 21 by now, by which time you should no longer be shouting at your parents. Of course, you should also be out of the house and supporting
yourself, and your parents shouldn't be telling you who to date. At the end of the episode, she decides to move to Fort Lauderdale with Captain Jack.
Considering she has 2 episodes left in her contract, I bet she returns to Buffalo to marry firefighter Ben. Call it a hunch.

Let's see, Lucy and Kevin did some more adorable bickering, then she impaled him on her Farrah hair and he died horribly. No, wait, that was the migraine
talking. He kissed her to shut her up, which is very Rhett and Scarlett...not to mention sexist and annoying.

Also, Simon becomes a gigolo - girls start paying him to be their date for weddings and parties and such. He's such a heartthrob now - tight shirts,
earring, gelled hair. Sort of bargain-basement Britpop. I will not dignify the escort storyline with a synopsis.

None of the other characters seemed to do anything this episode... Ruthie looked as adopted as ever, Robbie is still in love with Mary, Mom and Dad
were rightfully concerned about their marriage-obsessed kids, and the twins behaved themselves and stayed quiet. I swear they are the easiest toddlers

Preachiness: 5 Intentional humor: 6 Unintentional humor: 8 Misogyny:9 Emotional trauma: 7 (mostly caused by Simon's crusty hair).

"Monkey Business, Part 1"
AIRDATE 9/16/02
Well, the event we've been waiting for all summer has finally occurred: Our dear friend 7th Heaven has returned to beguile and delight us.

Last night's episode: I had no freakin' clue what was going on - and I'd only missed the last 3 or 4 episodes of last season. I didn't recognize half the people in the credits. Who are they, and why are they all blond? Apparently, Matt married a Jewish chick (how liberating), and left the show (even more liberating). Mary and Lucy fell in love with a set of brothers in Buffalo and Mary promptly broke up with hers while Lucy's moved to Glen Oak, and Mary has a "career" which is mentioned twice in the premiere. However, tells us what this career is. Last night's episode: Mary dates a ridiculously ancient airline pilot, Lucy's boyfriend wants to get married (WHY is it ok for this family to marry their kids off at 20 to people they barely know? WHY? I thought Glen Oak was in California, not Alabama (sorry Matt).), Simon's friend Cecilia uses him to make her boyfriend jealous, Robbie pines for ex-girlfriend Joy (who had been the suckiest guest star EVER, even worse than Lance Bass), Sam and David have two lines each and mostly drool (they are the most low-maintenance toddlers in TV history), Ruthie adopts a chimpanzee and the mom goes off hormone replacement therapy and gets randier with every scene. The Reverend is of course overwhelmed by all this and spends most of the episode with his head in his hands. As did I.

The most dramatic improvement the show has made has been in hairstyles: Mary returned to brunette and Lucy got a new sassy flip to go with her new more-strident-than-ever personality. Every season, at least three men fall in love with her, but she's jealous, controlling, high-strung and irritating. She flies into a rage at least four times an episode. I suppose she is "feisty". I don't get it.

No ratings today. Modern art confuses me and I am unable to offer an informed critique. Much can be said for the premiere of 7th Heaven.


Last night on 7th Heaven: Wow, this episode sucked. Some self-righteous WB twerp decided to write a "message" episode "ripped from the headlines" but
apparently only had 10 minutes to do so. Ruthie's Muslim friend Yasmine is picked on by local boys because of her religion. Yasmine is trying to get
into Ruthie's school, The Eleanor Roosevelt School. However, school parents block her admission in an effort to "avoid controversy". Yasmine's parents
come by, and of course they are terrifically serene and sweet. Oddly, no one calls a lawyer. Matt and Simon try to defend racial tolerance by seeking out and beating up the "Muslim-haters", Lucy and Mary circulate a petition, and Ruthie gives a pitch-perfect speech about how Eleanor Roosevelt would have
stood up for Yasmine, and then Ruthie quits the school. In a "yeah, that could happen" moment, Ruthie's principal and teacher come by to tell Ruthie
that they quit the school too. Then everyone gathers together for a tolerance march. Ugh. Today's moral: Racism isn't peachy-keen Intentional humor: 0 Unintentional humor: 0 Preachiness: 89.

Today on 7th Heaven: Today's theme was the Evils of Sexism. Lucy protested gender aparteid in Afghanistan, Ruthie joined the football team, Simon took
Home Ec and Matt, well, he has a girly-man hairstyle so we'll let that count. The trippiest part was the mom kept visualizing burqas on everyone she saw after someone wearing a burqa handed her a flier about the Taliban. I know you can get flashbacks from acid, I never thought you could get them
from pot. Apparently I smoked the, strike that. The Reverend did pre-marital counseling for an adorable couple named Ryan and Jessica. Ryan
did all the talking, Jessica did all the nodding and smiling, and Jessica was thrilled to cook and clean and not work. Or, at least, that's what Ryan
said. Jessica backed out of the wedding after Ryan's mom told her to. In other words, Jessica proved her independence by obeying her future mother-in-law. And Ryan came to the Reverend's house, and said he wanted to change the way he views women. Yeah, chauvinist pigs are that agreeable. Preachiness: 4 (since I actually agree with the episode's message) Intentional humor: 3 Unintentional humor:10 (Mary wearing a burqa! Can't beat that with a stick!) Emotional trauma: 4 (Very tame scene of the parents in bed talking - and no bathtubs whatsoever!)

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