Monthly Archives: November 2011

Birthday girl

It’s Cote de Pablo’s 32nd birthday today. ¡Feliz cumpleaños!


For the first time I have investigated why she calls herself Cote, so at least I now have an explanation to Ziva’s many names. I used to think it was a xenophobic studio decision, but it’s just because people can’t say María José… (On the other hand, I’ve never quite understood why men and women both are named Mary Joseph, apart from purely Christian reasons.)

(Photo © CBS)


NCIS season 9 – so far. It’s all in the family…

The funny thing is that I’ve been meaning to comment on the episodes we’ve seen so far this autumn, and despite the delays I’ve suffered, the topic doesn’t need changing. In fact, it’s been reinforced by the peculiar antics of the scriptwriters.

It’s television, so doesn’t have to be realistic. That’s why we accept and even welcome the inclusion of family members and others close to the team. We don’t bat more than one eyelid, and generally only briefly, over the fact that the team can investigate their own families.

But every week? OK, first we had Kate’s sister analysing DiNozzo. Then there was no personal connection in episode two, but it was certainly about families. Third is McGee’s grandmother, who also manages to be a little young. And she goes on a date with Ducky.

Next week it’s Abby in a right state over kidney donations and discovering her family background probably isn’t what she’s always believed.* Fine. But that tearful ending demanded a continuation, somehow, and six months later is too late! Now. But no, next week she’s as right as rain, and people are busy finding a girlfriend for Gibbs. And his ‘surprise’ reaction to that is out of character.

Three weeks after Ducky’s date with ‘granny’, he has an on-going romance with another woman. Fine with a love life, but when did he fit it in?

Last week Fornell was back. Yay! We have accepted by now that he shared an ex-wife with Gibbs, despite them never even having met in the first ever episode. Artistic license. But to have the reviled ex-wife turn up, be investigated by both the FBI and NCIS? And they are rude about her, only for Gibbs to go all soft and loving at the end. She knew about Shannon? No one else did. Before, anyway.

First half of Engaged Gibbs starts off in bed with the dead Shannon. Then he’s presented with a living red-head. And then we have Sean Harmon back as young Gibbs. Fine. Except he doesn’t look like a young Gibbs because he looks like his (real) mother. Handsome, but the wrong handsome. And this young Gibbs makes eyes at a woman who isn’t Shannon. Honestly!

There are discrepancies and there are plain silly things. Silly we can cope with, in moderation. But the (unnecessary) discrepancies. Have the scriptwriters not watched old episodes? Because the fans have, and we remember our facts.

We used to have threads, both obvious and more hidden ones, that could carry through a whole season. That requires not only some overall planning, but each writer ought to check how they did things before them, and what they did. Not just plough on as though they are the first.

I agree with Daughter, who says NCIS: Los Angeles is better written these days. It is. She looks forward to L A more. I don’t, but only because I love the NCIS characters the best. Maybe L A could lend them some writers?

(*Could deaf people adopt babies in those days? But Daniel Louis Rivas was the most fantastic match for Abby as far as looks are concerned. Well done!)

Another end to Downton Abbey

Well, I thought Matthew looked like a sad vampire at the end, but apparently Daughter didn’t. His colouring suggested he was next to come down with the Spanish flu. The only thing about this killing off of characters is that while you can work out who will be needed in the next series, you know they will live. And that doctor is rather easy with his patients’ futures.

Who’d have thought I’d feel even a little bit sorry for Thomas? I know. I will regret this as soon as we return.

I’m also about to join Sam Wollaston in the Guardian with my dislike for Mr Bates. Not the fictional character, just the actor. They are either toying with us and Mr Bates will prove to be a truly awful man. Or, this lovely character is being portrayed by someone quite fishy looking. Poor Mrs Bates II.

What happened to Patrick? There was no mention of him, even in a pejorative way. Has he been forgotten already, or will he make claim to Downton again at some point?

And why do I keep asking you questions? Does anyone know?

I love Granny. ‘I do hope I’m interrupting something.’

Leading cows to slaughter

Vegetarian it is not. The film about Temple Grandin, by the same name, is about one woman’s struggle to do something with her life, and also to make the slaughter of cattle more humane. And I know that doesn’t sound like much of a subject for a film, but believe me, it is.

Temple Grandin is one of the most famous autistic persons in the world. She was diagnosed sixty years ago, which was very early, and back in those days it was always the mother’s fault. Luckily for Temple, her mother fought back and helped her daughter go to school and later to university, and now Temple is a professor. She works and she lectures, both on cattle and on autism.

This is a fantastic film. It might be full of cows, and it has some pretty dreadful chauvinist cowboys, but above all it’s got Claire Danes as the most believable Temple Grandin you could imagine. You can literally feel her love for the cows.

She’s also extremely keen on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and loves Ilya. She’s not alone in that. And speaking of ‘literally’, the film deals with the literalness of Temple’s interpretations in a most amusing way. Whenever someone says something odd, such as animal husbandry, a scene flashes, showing exactly what goes through Temple’s mind when she hears it.

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin, with David Strathairn

She was laughed at a lot, and she was ignored and bullied. But with the help and support of her aunt and a teacher from school, as well as by people she encountered by chance, Temple grows and learns, and eventually SHE SHOWS THEM.

There is the worst rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone that I have ever heard in my life, but possibly also the most powerful one. Temple’s famous squeeze box features a lot, but apart from that it’s mainly cows. And unpleasant and unhelpful people.

But Temple learns to open doors for herself.