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Spoofing ‘Homeland,’ missing ‘Smash’

Morgan Saylor as Dana Brody (front), Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, and Damian Lewis as Nicholas “Nick” Brody in Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Kent Smith/Showtime

Morgan Saylor as Dana Brody (front), Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, and Damian Lewis as Nicholas “Nick” Brody in Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert chatted with readers last Friday on Boston.com. Here are excerpts.

Q. I’m loving “Homeland,” but ever since “Saturday Night Live” spoofed it, I find the daughter impossible to take seriously!

A. I know. The Fey-Palin effect. Poor Dana is always skulking around on “Homeland,” just as she did on “SNL.” Also, it’s hard to watch Claire Danes cry after that sketch.

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Q. Where is “Smash”?

A. Smash Williams? (Sorry: “Friday Night Lights” reference.) “Smash” will be back on Feb. 5. It has a new showrunner, which is good news. I loved the pilot of the series, but the first season turned out to be a disappointment. The story lines were boilerplate, and Anjelica Huston was annoyingly repetitive. So much potential there. Backstage stories can be juicy, but it’s time to throw out the old cliched plots from 1940s movies and freshen up the genre.

Q. I know you are down on “Law & Order: SVU,” but I thought last week’s episode was one the better ones in a long time. Patricia Arquette was excellent.

A. It’s funny how that show has become such a desirable place for big guest stars. It’s like “The Love Boat.” A really ugly, dark “Love Boat.” I can hear agents telling their star clients, “Go on ‘SVU.’ You’ll get a guest Emmy nod for sure.”

Q. Well, I hung on as long as I could, but I finally had to end it with “How I Met Your Mother.” I will check back in for the last few episodes of the series (hopefully next year).

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A. Where’s your loyalty? Kidding. There isn’t enough time in our lives for us to read books we don’t like and watch shows we don’t enjoy. (Unless you’re getting paid for it!)

Q. Can you tell me who is the actress that plays Scarlett on “Nashville.” She has such a beautiful voice.

A. That is Clare Bowen, and that name will always make me think of Julie Bowen, who plays Claire on “Modern Family.” Believe it or not, Clare Bowen is Australian.

Q. I’m curious as to how “The Mentalist” is doing this year in its Sunday spot. I tried DVR-ing it early on, but it always seemed to start/end late and I gave up on it. It’s also not available on demand or online.

A. I’m not sure why CBS is not putting it on demand. They may be trying to boost the on-air ratings, or the rerun ratings, but at the cost of alienating viewers. The sports coverage on CBS has really thrown a kink in the Sunday times of “The Good Wife” and “The Mentalist.” “The Mentalist” has not benefited from the Sunday perch. The ratings have been down to series lows this fall, never a good sign.

Q. I have begun to watch and enjoy “Chicago Fire.” Formulaic but engaging.

A. I know what you mean. It’s very familiar territory, very “Third Watch.” But still, if you don’t expect more, it can be diverting.

Q. Surprisingly, MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show” is entertaining. Who knew there were that many people out there in online relationships that lasted years without meeting the other?

A. When you think about human nature, it makes sense. It’s like having a pen pal, where everything is so perfect on paper; you’re afraid to meet that person because you fear disappointment and the inevitable imperfections. So you keep it in the “potential” phase. Of course, some of those episodes may be staged, right? That’s always a possibility when we’re talking about reality TV.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Matthew
Gilbert
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