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Archive for June, 2014

NUP_163440_2521 season 4 cast photo suits macht adams torres marke hoffman iliketowatchtvblogspot SThe more I watch Suits, the more I realize how small the cast is. While there are name-ish actors in meaty, multiple episode arc guest roles this season, the series is no longer all about Batman and Robin – Harvey the mentor and Mike the protégé. It’s become much more of an ensemble show, with the six series regulars – Harvey, Mike, Jessica, Louis, Rachel and Donna – sharing the stage, the drama, and the great clothes.

The episode begins with Rachel – who gets a lot of on-screen minutes this week – coming home in the morning after an all-nighter at the office as Mike is preparing to leave for work. Mike would obviously have known where she was (they may not want the Gillis takeover case to come between them but surely they would text each other about little details like where they’re sleeping at night). He asks her whether she was working or studying anyway as well as a few more questions, including whether she loved Logan Sanders back when she had the affair with him, and by the way, who ended it?

A tired Rachel admits via a crazy amount of close talking that she did love Logan then, but not anymore, and she ended it, so leave her alone, she needs to nap.

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Donna and Mike meet for coffee on a bench. Donna is trying to keep Mike and Harvey from being like Ali and Frazier (friends turned enemies) and mentions that Harvey has recently located the master tapes of his dead father’s jazz saxophone playing, also known as the Chekhov’s gun of this episode.

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Logan drops into Rachel’s office and wields his softened eye expression to tell Rachel that he’s no longer the wuss she knew who has petty things like emotions and he means to play dirty in the takeover battle with Mike. When she says she can take it, he hardens his eyes and face and goes to tell Harvey it’s time to shoot Mike, whom he scornfully refers to as Harvey’s “surrogate son” – ooh, burn – in the back, and hit him below the belt while he’s at it.

Sidenote: After I remarked last week that Brendan Hines, the actor who plays Logan, resembles Veep actor Reid Scott – see evidence here, that’s Reid on the left, and Brendan on the right:

reidscott                                   brendanhines

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brendan Hines tweeted that he attended Reid Scott’s wedding this past weekend! I called it first: they’re actually brothers. Maybe even twins who were separated at birth.

 

 

Back on Suits, Harvey decides to strong arm a banker into cutting off Gillis’s company over brussel sprouts, but Mike, wise to Harvey’s tactics, swoops in and threatens to have Harvey up before a grand jury since said strong arming is apparently not legal. Can anyone ID which Toronto restaurant this might be? I can’t.

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Logan next threatens to hire a private dick to uncover dirt on Mike which prompts Harvey to go to Walter Gillis and tell him Mike was once a drug dealer who did drugs. This upsets Gillis because his son’s death was drug-related, as Harvey knew, so Gillis later fires Mike but only after telling  Harvey he’s a piece of shit.

Mike and Harvey shout it out in Harvey’s office, where Harvey says he’s a saint for deflecting Logan from finding out about Mike’s whole lawyer-impersonation fraud thing with the (true) drug story. He also says he ‘made’ Mike, and “without me, you’re nothing.” As in the song “You’re Nothing Without Me” from the Broadway musical “City of Angels” sung here by my boy Santino Fontana with Greg Hildreth.

Mike says nyah-nyah–nyah-nyah-nyah  and tells Harvey he has Specter Sr.’s master tapes, so there. And he doesn’t care that Gillis fired him because he bought more stock and will save the company with or without Gillis being his client.

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After Donna, wearing a surprisingly flattering high-waisted skirt with a top that allowed for much distracting boob-bouncing when she walked, piles on and tells Harvey he’s an asshole, Harvey asks Rachel to convince Mike to give up the takeover bid. Before Rachel can bring up the subject though, Mike reveals he hired a P.I. to investigate Logan, and found out that Rachel lied for Logan when she testified in his divorce proceedings that he had dumped her after their affair. Rachel assures Mike that it was she who did the dumping, and the reason she turned down Logan’s marriage proposal (!) was because she didn’t want to spend her life with Logan, she wants to spend it with Mike. Awww.

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The next morning, Rachel goes over to Logan’s apartment, and has a flashback to a time when they were lovers and she dropped in and the wife was there and it was super-awkward. Luckily, the wife is not home in the present, and Rachel convinces Logan to back off on Mike because Logan owes her for that lie she told when he decided to try to get his wife back in the middle of his divorce proceedings, which like, huh? Whatever. Logan goes and apologizes to Mike and says he doesn’t want to “win dirty” but really he doesn’t want to hurt Rachel. Maybe he is still capable of feeling an emotion or two.

Victorious, Rachel tells Harvey she got Logan to back off , and returns the master tapes to him from Mike. Does this mean Harvey and Mike are friends again? Or only that people can take a brief break from telling Harvey he’s an asshole and a piece of shit?

In other news, a brief rundown of the Louis-Jeff Malone-Jessica story line this episode, which got significant minutes but was more comedic and less prone to exchanges of insults and true confessions than the Mike-Harvey-Rachel one: Louis makes friendly overtures to Jeff via tickets to the ballet. In an attempt to spend more time with Jessica, with whom he would like to have sex despite her insistence they keep their relationship strictly work-related, Jeff plays Louis on a variety of levels: he gets Louis to ask Jessica to work with Jeff on the SEC case, compliments Louis on his fit physique, and gives him an invasive shoulder/chest massage that leads Louis to believe Jeff is gay and in love with him.

 

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Jessica, in a gorgeous but impractical white suit, gets in a good line to Louis, that, “I’m glad you two are going to be walking to school together from now on,” refuses to work with Jeff at first, but ends up doing so when he turns serious and explains that he doesn’t delegate to associates since that one time he did, someone made a mistake and someone else got killed as a result (long story). Jessica and Jeff work well together, but she does not weaken on the no-sex rule even after he promises to make sure no one will ever know, because she knows there are no secrets on primetime drama.

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When Louis, wearing a nicer than usual for him purplish tie, figures out Jeff is not gay, is trying to get into Jessica’s pants, and was only pretending to befriend Louis to advance his own agenda, he is hurt and mad and vows never to let down his guard again. Poor Louis.

 

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We begin with Mike and Rachel at their apartment on a weekday discussing how working against each other on the takeover of this Gillis guy’s company mustn’t come between them and trying to set ground rules for how to deal with it. Rachel’s credibility is undermined by the wearing of a satin pajama button-up jacket/top (sans pants, of course) of a type last seen on Doris Day in the 1950’s (and on Debra Messing in Smash, don’t remind me). Their work/sex banter alludes to borders and the U.N. and leads to morning sex opening an episode for the 2nd straight week!

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Louis completes his transformation into the show’s sad puppy character by practicing a amusingly and ridiculously cheesy presentation (on Bristol board!) that he plans to make to Jessica to advance his case to be senior partner, only to discover that once again his ambitions and aspirations have been dashed: newcomer Jeff Malone has been given Louis’s case and a swanky corner office. Katrina does some nice work here as Louis’s comrade in light comedy, and her hair looks amazing from the back in this scene.

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Rachel flashes back to when she was necking in bars with a clean-shaven and married Logan Sanders (sorry about that terrible pic with the reflection of my window in the background, he moved in so fast on the kiss and the bar lighting was weird), and he claimed to be in love with her and didn’t care who knew it. He later makes misogynistic sexual remarks to Mike in reference to what he plans to do to the company he wants to take over, in an effort to prove whose cock is bigger because they’ve both had sex with Rachel, so we now dislike him more than ever. I looked up the actor (his name is Brendan Hines), and it turns out he’s 37, older than he looks. In some google image pics, when his hair was longer and wavier, he’s working a vibe that’s part Adam Brody, part Reid Scott (of Veep fame), and part a boy I ‘dated’ for 4 weeks when I was 14. But we can still dislike him.

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Harvey was trying to rush things in the takeover fight, Mike subpoenaed Harvey with a complaint about violating privilege or something, they end up in the chambers of a judge played by actress Amy Aquino, who I’ve always liked, she’s got a great smart, no-nonsense affect to her, and she allows Mike more time. This is the scene where my husband walked in the room and said that Gabriel Macht looks like he has no neck in those spread collared shirts.

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Rick Hoffman aces the wussy, self-pitying body language (check his heels raised behind him as he reclines on a couch, stomach down) in this scene while writing in what Katrina calls his ‘pussy diary’ when she sweeps in and urges him to man up against Jeff Malone.

Louis goes on to have a confrontation with Jeff that involves Louis repeating mindlessly that he eats cock for breakfast lunch and dinner, and we’re supposed to think he doesn’t realize what he’s saying, haha – no.

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Harvey yells at Rachel when she dares to suggest he didn’t want her to attend a meeting with her current and ex-lover present, but really he’s cranky because he prefers Mike to Logan Sanders too and having to side with Logan and listen to his stubbled, entitled attitude is making him edgy. If you ask me, Harvey could have taken the opportunity while he was being snappish to chide Rachel for wearing an inappropriate, if pretty, halter top to work with one of her trademark high-waisted pencil skirts.

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Jeff & Louis inadvertently make a good team in a fast-paced, lively, well-written and acted scene during which they interrogate a germaphobe who is somehow connected to the SEC investigation. Jeff’s suit, shirt and tie combo are pretty sharp here too.

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After counseling Louis to be more compassionate (or something) about people like the germaphobe, Donna the busybody tells Jessica she really ought to give Louis the corner office for all of his loyalty and time served to date, and perhaps because Donna and Jessica are both wearing beautiful and beautifully fitted dresses made out of textured fabric that are wildly impractical for the office, or for doing anything strenuous, like sitting, Jessica agrees and makes Louis’s week/month/year.

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Under threat of being fired from his new job, Mike compromises his principles, goes back on his word, and faces up to the cold, hard ways that business is done in this wicked world. He does this by suggesting Gillis use his $500 million “Asian expansion” war chest money (wait, isn’t this a DVD rental business? 2nd episode of the season and already I’m not following what’s going on, business-wise) to fund his employees’ union pension plan in order to stave off the takeover bid coming from Logan Sanders, whom we dislike, and from Harvey, who’s still one of our heroes, despite looking neckless lately. Mike gets Gillis to agree but only after much yelling back and forth, including the part where Mike blurts out that Gillis is “a naive old man having a tantrum.” Old man? Michael Gross is only 66!

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The food:

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The story:

My new food-centric novel The Oakdale Dinner Club is now available, where books and ebooks are sold!

As part of my half-baked fun-filled campaign to promote it, I’m Writer-in-Residence this month at Open Book Toronto where there is an almost embarrassing amount of content on me: an interview that lists 12 things most people don’t know about me (or do they?), some book recommendations, and several blog posts about my writing life.

At the end of my launch week, I went to see the movie Chef, and was so taken by the food-porn-to-the-max grilled cheese sandwich made by the chef character in the movie for his 10-year-old son that I tried to recreate it in my kitchen the next day, with very tasty (if fattening) results that I blogged about over at Open Book Toronto.

After the end credits of the film, a short sequence shows famed L.A. chef Roy Choi, who was a producer and food consultant on the movie, instructing actor/writer/director Jon Favreau on how to make the grilled cheese sandwich. Or so I’m told, because I did not know this before I went to see the movie and didn’t stay in the theatre past the end credits! This, even though, I put in a past-the-end-credits type teaser, for fun, at the end of The Oakdale Dinner Club!

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Fevered internet sleuthing – one review mentioned which cheeses were used in the film sandwich, and that olive oil was a factor in the pan, random best grilled cheese recipes elsewhere suggested grating the cheeses for faster melting – led to my very own recipe for how to make a gorgeous grilled cheese sandwich in the manner of Chef the film, a movie I highly recommend if you like food, eating, and feel-good movies about food and eating.

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Gorgeous Grilled Cheese in the Manner of Chef the Film

Ingredients:
– 2 not too thick, not too thin slices of good quality, airy white bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta
– 1/2 cup to 1 cup – depending where you fit on the risk aversion/thrill-seeking continuum – of grated cheese, made up of 1 part Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 part extra old cheddar (white or orange) and 2 parts Swiss Gruyere
– generous amount of unsalted butter
– a drizzle of olive oil for the frying pan

Method:

– Butter generously one side of each slice of bread
– Heat small amount of olive oil in frying pan until hot and swirled over surface of pan
– Place one slice bread, buttered side down, in pan, turn heat down to medium
– Pile up grated cheeses on bread, as much as you can handle
– Place second slice of bread on top of cheese, buttered side up
– Cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until bottom slice is golden
– Flip sandwich over and cook until other side is golden
– Press down on the sandwich with a spatula if you wish to compress it a little
– If cheese is not melted when both sides of bread are golden, turn heat down to low and cover frying pan, let cook for another few minutes until cheese is melted to your satisfaction but top and bottom are still crunchy
– Slide sandwich out of pan onto cutting board and cut with big, sharp, impressive-looking chef’s knife
– Slide two halves of sandwich onto plate and arrange one on top of the other at an angle (see photo) to look more arty, appetizing and well, gorgeous
– If you’re me, gild this lily with a little sea salt sprinkled over top
– Eat while still hot, with or without your condiment of choice (chutney, ketchup)

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