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One Big Happy Family

Episode Recap Something NewThere are some remarks only family can get away with saying Mom you slut is one of them While these are words that would never come out of my mouth they barely raise an eyebrow in the Walker household Truth be told their being uttered during a family discussion recalling what music was playing when they each lost their virginity took the sting out of such a declaration but it also goes to show the comfort level in this family This week we were in full wedding preparation mode with Kitty feeling that all planned elements for her big day were recycled From her dress to her first dance with Robert who of course had done this before She had a point so were happy that she found a perfect dress to wear instead of Noras outdated and oversized hand-me-down This also was a perfect moment for ABC to subtly remind viewers of the upcoming Dancing with the Stars finale by featuring a ballroom dancing sequence In read more

Critic's Notebook: Strike — and Life — Goes On

Calista Flockhart, Dave Annable and Sally Field in Brothers & Sisters by Craig Sjodin/ABC

How’s this for irony? All last week, trying not to get too depressed about what a protracted writers’ strike might mean for the TV season and the industry at large, I was secretly looking forward to a weekend getaway: catching former Alias star Jennifer Garner’s Broadway debut in a revival of Cyrano, opposite Kevin Kline and Rescue Me’s Daniel Sunjata. Unfortunately, my tickets were for Saturday night, by which time the stagehands’ union had initiated their own sudden walkout and work stoppage.At this rate, I might actually finish the book I’ve been reading since mid-October.(Thankfully, I was lucky enough to catch Aaron Sorkin's new play, The Farnsworth Invention, before the strike. It was scheduled to have its official opening night later this week, but when it reopens, I predict a healthy run for this fascinating, entertaining play recounting the birth of television.)While consumers of TV, movies and even theater wait for unions and producers to reac... read more

I love your column. It is ...

Question: I love your column. It is refreshing to hear the way you dissect television art, and I'd like to discuss Brothers & Sisters. I'm so glad I tuned in, despite the early problems. Not only was my perception of Calista Flockhart as annoying totally shattered, especially in the Sept. 11 episode, but the players I had no preconceived notions about, like Matthew Rhys and Dave Annable, showed me how strong the show really is. And last week's episode with Justin's return was pure brilliance, from the beginning with Kevin and Sarah talking on their respective cell phones all the way to the beautiful scene where Justin clings to his mother Nora, played brilliantly by Sally Field. I immediately thought of my mother through the tears this scene brought to my eyes, and remembered trying times in my life when a long hug made me feel better. This show has opened my eyes to the power of storytelling and reinvigorated my desire to crack into this business as a writer. I think this hour of ... read more

Walker On By: Brothers & Sisters Season 2 Preview

Emily Van Camp, Matthew Rhys and Dave Annable, Brothers and Sisters

The Brothers & Sisters ensemble (sans the actors who play Nora, Robert, Kitty and Sarah) recently walked a red carpet outside the San Antonio Winery (where the show has filmed on occasion) in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the release of the prime-time serial drama's Season 1 DVD release. TVGuide.com was on the scene to get the scoop on that as well as Season 2, which debuts on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 10 pm/ET, on ABC. Arguably, the biggest shock twist at the end of the show's freshman year was Uncle Saul possibly being gay. (Those longing looks with guest star Michael Nouri sure implied it, didn't they?) Does Ron Rifkin (Saul) know anyone who dealt with their sexual preferences later in life? "Are you kidding?" he responds rhetorically to TVGuide.com. "All of us [know someone like Saul]." That is, if Nora's brother read more

You can tell me your ...

Emily VanCamp and Dave Annable, Brothers & Sisters

Question: You can tell me your hush-hush Brothers & Sisters news. I can keep a secret.


Answer: OK, but I have to be a little cryptic about it, so dust off your thinking cap. (Spoiler alert) According to extremely reliable sources, there is a huge story coming up this season involving half siblings Rebecca and Justin. Coincidentally, I hear producers are well aware that there is palpable chemistry between Emily VanCamp and David Annable. Them's the dots. Get busy connecting 'em.

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As a big fan of Brothers & ...

Question: As a big fan of Brothers & Sisters, I have to wonder what's going to happen to the show next year with Justin in Iraq. Will Dave Annable still be on the show? And if Justin is kept in Iraq, how will that play out? I think the show's best moments are when the whole family is together. Will that be missing with one of the fan favorites on another continent? Answer: By all accounts, Dave Annable will still be on the show next season. At this point I'd be concerned if you weren't concerned about what it means for Justin to go off to Iraq. But I'm not the spoiler expert on this site, and I'd just as soon not know what Justin's fate will be until I see how it plays out for myself. I think it's safe to assume he'll still be interacting with many of his Walker relatives in the months to come, but beyond that I'm happy for now for this to be one of many mysteries keeping us thinking about our favorite shows between seasons ... read more

May 20, 2007: Goodbye

After it was resolved that Justin's deployment to Iraq would be delayed to allow him to work on his recovery, much of his story line has centered on his struggle to shake his addiction. But Justin's fears about going back to war were always there in the background. And tonight those fears became a reality in the worst way, as Justin found out at the last minute that his departure date was earlier than planned. At first I liked the way Justin handled his goodbyes individually — until, like Nora, I realized that he was saying goodbye for real, in case he wouldn’t be coming back. Even though I can see, rationally, how it doesn’t matter whether or not the word “goodbye” is actually said, I can understand how Nora felt that avoiding a formal goodbye would bring Justin back to her, as if not saying goodbye would make it impossible for him to die. Justin’s early departure coincided, unfortunately, with Kitty’s engagement party. He’d already said his ... read more

May 13, 2007: Matriarchy

The birth of Tommy and Julia’s twins has been anticipated by the Walkers all season long. Sadly, what should have been the happiest moment in Tommy and Julia’s lives turned out to be one of the most difficult. I can’t imagine how awful they must have felt, trying to decide whether or not their daughter should be a kidney donor for their son. Although he’s usually not a very emotional person, you could really see Tommy’s anguish when he told Nora that he was afraid when he saw his daughter that he wouldn’t be able to ask her to give her kidney, especially knowing how much she had been through. And although we haven’t seen much of Julia this season, Sarah Jane Morris really shone tonight in her portrayal of a mother saying goodbye to her son. I thought it was especially sad when the doctor asked Tommy and Julia if there were any final things they wanted to do, and Julia said she wanted to hold the baby.The other central story line tonight involved th... read more

May 6, 2007: Grapes of Wrath

The wine tasting at Tommy and Holly’s new vineyard put Tommy at the center of tonight’s episode. The "center" of course being a place Tommy isn’t normally accustomed to being. He handled everything well, and he definitely came across as the voice of reason among the extended Walker family. Not that that was hard to do, what with the Walker siblings missing the point of the wine tasting and doing a fair amount of wine drinking. But Tommy’s toast was a nice tribute to his dad, managing to be both honest about his father's flaws and respectful of all he taught them. Unfortunately the episode didn’t end on a good note for Tommy. Hopefully the twins will be OK.Holly, on the other hand, didn’t exactly play the gracious host to the Walker family. In the beginning of the episode I actually felt sort of bad for her, which is unusual because Holly’s generally not the sort of character who generates a lot of sympathy. I don’t think Nora was really under ... read more

April 29, 2007: Bad News

It occurred to me that not being able to actually see what happened between Joe and Rebecca for so long gave us, as viewers, the chance to react the same way the Walkers did: based on what we heard. I know when Rebecca initially told Justin that Joe had kissed her (at the end of the “Game Night” episode) I totally believed her. She’s new to the family and trying to fit in — why would she want to do something that could jeopardize that?But then I read everyone’s comments and I realized that Rebecca might not be as innocent as she seemed. Could she be getting back at Sarah? Could she think, in some way, that making an accusation like this would help her gain the support of her new family?The “good” Rebecca and the “ulterior motives” Rebecca were both running through my head as I watched tonight’s episode, and, I have to say, I really wanted to believe that Rebecca was being honest. It wasn’t hard to think that, too, since Joe wasn... read more

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