TV at its most extreme — HBO would have it no other way as it bid farewell to its Sunday summer tentpoles this weekend. Here's my take on each of them:
Extremely Bloody: That would be True Blood, which as usual wrapped its season with an orgy of extremely silly excess. The body (and bawdy) count was high as the episode reached more climaxes than the final reel of the last Lord of the Rings movie. When and how would it ever end? In a bloody mess, that's how. But I've loved most of this season specifically because of its wild overkill, so it seems churlish to complain now.
The main gripe, not unusual for this show, is the weak way the season's Big Bad (the witch Marnie, who possessed Lafayette in her final incarnation) was dispatched. After stabbing to death poor Jesus in a quest to possess his dark brujo magic, and then abruptly chaining a shirtless Bill and Eric to a stake to be burned, Marnie's reign of terror is thwarted by a gaggle of Halloween ghosts, led by Sookie's Gran (who yanks the bitch out of Lafayette's throat) and the return of Antonia, who jointly convince Marnie to release her rage and rest in peace. Gee, that was easy. Her revenge will now be to leave the vamps to their eternal life on the hell that is Earth. (And it will be hell for the boys, now that Sookie has opted to walk away from both of them. But not before she lets them get one last simultaneous feed in, while wearing hilarious matching robes.)
With the Marnie dilemma ponderously resolved, and Gran's Hallmark advice to Sookie ("Being alone... ain't nothin' to be afraid of") interrupted by Eric's droll "Excuse me, we're feeling a little crispy up here," there's still half an episode to go. And does it ever pile it on.
The headlines: The anti-vamp Rev. Steve Newlin comes knocking at Jason's door, and he flashes fangs! Alcide discovers an empty hole in the cement garage grave where Russell Edgington was entombed! (Yay!) Sam is confronted by a snarling wolf! The ghost of Rene spooks Arlene by telling her that Terry's war buddy Scott Foley is up to no good! Bill stakes Nan Flanagan (who's gone rebel as part of a vampire insurrection) and is covered in her gore, while Eric beheads her "gay storm troopers," all because Nan called them "(bleep)ing puppy dogs" for Sookie! (Which they are.) Debbie Pelt attacks Sookie, but her shotgun blast puts a hole in Tara's head instead, and Sookie blows Debbie to kingdom come, cradling Tara's lifeless body and weeping for help as the show fades to black!
It's like Tara said at the start of the episode: "What are we, like magnets for (bleep)ing craziness?" No kidding, sister, and given how this show works, I won't believe you're truly dead until you're six feet under. Even then, that's hardly a guarantee on True Blood.
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Curb Your Enthusiasm has been on fire the last few weeks, and the finale is no exception, as Larry David clashes repeatedly with upstairs neighbor Michael J. Fox (redefining the idea of good sport), accusing him of using his Parkinson's tics to harass and insult him. Each encounter escalates and backfires to the breaking point as Larry becomes a Manhattan pariah, banned by Mayor Bloomberg and fleeing with Leon to Paris to discover that bad parking knows no nationality and crossing the line breeds discontent in any language. Larry leaves behind a trail of hilarity, this time involving Hitler doodles and a sewing machine presented to his girlfriend's "pre-gay" 7-year-old son, a Project Runway devotee who sews a swastika (inspired by Larry's doodle, natch) onto Susie's pillow sham. This act somehow leads Jeff to step in front of a bike, taking a "bullet" for his wife, ultimately in the form of a suppository. Because you can always count on Larry being a pain in the you-know-what.
EXTREMELY SAPPY: That's the final episode of Entourage in a nutshell, a headlong rush to a happy ending, overflowing with over-the-top fantasy wish fulfillment, regardless of whether it makes any sense. As usual, the part that makes the least impact is Vince arranging an insta-marriage in Paris with his colorless (and largely unseen) Vanity Fair sweetheart, buying her a giant Rachel Zoe-approved rock. (Saving the worst cameo for last.) Turtle and Drama beg the lovely and pregnant Sloan to come along for the sake of Eric, who's already packing up his office to follow her to New York. Also calling it quits: Ari, who in Jeremy Piven's expert performance really does look defeated and depleted by his failing marriage to the lovely Melissa (we learned Mrs. Ari's first name earlier this season). In a grand operatic gesture accompanied by actual opera troupe Il Volo, Ari shucks his job and sweeps Mrs. Ari off her feet, promising her an endless Mediterranean vacation or some such. This is a fairy tale on private jet wings, as Vince and his buds (plus the Golds) fly off to Paris, while giving E his own plane to go wherever with Sloan. In the coda, reminding us this was really Ari's show all along, he gets a call in paradise from studio mogul Alan Dale, offering him his position at the reins of the entire studio. "You want to know what heaven really is, Ari? Try being God." But what to tell Mrs. God? How about: "The Entourage movie is the last thing I'd ever greenlight. Promise. Enough already."
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