“Homeland” veering dangerously close to a soap opera. Colbert spoofs Fox News beautifully. And a father won’t let his son play team sports

Episode 306

My apologies on not writing about “Homeland” last week; honestly I didn’t see the episode until Thursday and figured I’d waited too long to write about it.

Which is too bad, because I loved (most of) last week’s episode, as Saul and Carrie began to set a trap for Iranian evil-doer Javadi, and mercifully we got an end to Dana Brody’s wild and crazy car trip across the country with scary boyfriend Leo.

This week’s episode (SPOILER ALERT, STOP HERE AND GO TO THE VIDEO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET), though, scared me. And I don’t mean scared as in, “when Javadi killed his ex-wife by stabbing her in the neck with a bottle 10 times” kind of scared.

I mean, this whole Carrie pregnancy thing is veering awfully close to soap opera land. It’s so easy to see where the writers can take this: The baby is Brody’s, and Carrie ends up in Venezuela, finds Brody, and their whole relationship goes back into play, and cue the soft music, and … ugh. “Homeland” is SO much better than that, having Carrie and Brody as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet or some crap like that. (Plus, when the hell did Carrie have time to take all those pregnancy tests? She’s been in the hospital for a long time, no?)

Because while the show isn’t anywhere close to what it was in Season 1, it’s still really strong. The Saul-Javadi dynamic is fascinating, I still have no idea what Peter Quinn is really up to, and when it focuses on terrorism-related storylines, “Homeland” is at its best.

So please, Alex Gansa and other “Homeland” writers, don’t turn this show into “Days of Our Lives.” There’s too much other good stuff in this world you’ve created.

Couple other quick “Homeland” thoughts:
— Let’s hope Dana Brody running away from home means we won’t have to watch the Brody family dynamics for a while. I’m sick of them and they add nothing much to the show.
— How great was the scene when Carrie turned the tables on Javadi while he was interrogating her? The way his face changes, from being in total control to suddenly being fearful, was perfect.
— Finally, I care not at all about Saul’s wife maybe having an affair. I hope they don’t make that a big part of the show going forward.

**Next up today, Stephen Colbert and his writing staff have a wicked sense of humor, of course. So when they found out that Fox News paid staffers to create and prop up fake Twitter accounts to combat any negative comments about the “Fair and Balanced” (ha!) network, he and his evil geniuses went to work.

They decided to create a Twitter account called #RealHumanPraise and, well, just watch what they did. Brilliant.

organized-youth-sports

**Finally, my friend Jeff Pearlman has a 7-year-old son who’s just getting into sports, so naturally the temptation is to have the lad join all kinds of different youth teams.

But Jeff isn’t letting his boy do that, thanks to the negative and sometimes spirit-crushing experiences that those teams can cause kids.  I’m pretty divided on this; when I was a kid I had some awful coaches who made me, and other players who weren’t that skilled, feel like garbage.
But in playing and watching team sports my whole life, I’ve also seen how wonderful they can be for some kids’ self-confidence, and how sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork are life lessons they’ll take with them forever.

Anyway, Jeff wrote a piece on this for the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, and his take on this is a strong and well-argued one. I highly recommend it.

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