an awesome way to watch TV

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hot Ham Water

"So watery...and with just a smack of ham." This post is dedicated to Alia Burdick, the only person other than myself and co-founder Katherine Bickford to studiously attend all four Motherboys. This bountiful image of Gob is for her.

** EDIT: after painstakingly picking the perfect pictures, the OP has decided that they should go away. Please be patient while I find new ones. **

I'm not really sure how it began. The idea started as a kernal; Kate was housesitting at a place where we could smoke weed inside, and we really just wanted to hang out and get high and drink cider and eat pizza and watch TV. And at that time, she hadn't seen all of the third season of Arrested Development.

If you have never seen Arrested Development, you should stop reading this blog and go get on Netflix or anywhere else on the goddamn internet and watch it ALL RIGHT NOW because (a) this is Motherboy season and (b) what the hell is wrong with you? Your life must be so empty.

To continue my tale, once Kate and I put our awesome brains together, we decided to make it into a gathering where all our friends could come and hang out and have the best Arrested Development marathon ever. A few days in between Christmas and New Year's were chosen as the perfect time, because everyone's sick of their family and needs some time to just chill before going out and raging on NYE. We bought a quarter and a 12 pack of hard cider and settled in with blankets and beanbag chairs.

Things had been going well; we were high, eating sourdough bread and spinach dip, flying through the first disc. Somewere around "My Mother, The Car" Arcata lost power for what would be days or weeks, depending on where you lived. Our New Year's Eve would be generator-powered with a Plaza full of chaotic dark mayhem. But that's another story; in this moment, the TV was out. What to do?

I opened my laptop and the marathon continued. When my battery died, a friend brought her's over, and another friend did the same. People brought blankets since the heat was out, and we continued on for two days. On the third - a Motherboy miracle! - the house regained power and we continued late into the night, lounging and smoking and drinking and eating and, most importantly, laughing together.

And that is the story of the first Motherboy, and how the laptop batteries and the spirit of Arrested Development brought us all a little joy during the great blackout of 2006.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wherein We Find Ourselves In Treatment

I was going to use this opportunity to write a Motherboy post (don't worry Alia, it's coming!) but I figured it'd be better if I wrote it at actual Motherboy time. So this post is going to be all about my TV therapist.
My mom, who is herself a therapist (and not a psychologist or an analyst, which I think has been greatly beneficial to my personal well-being), turned me on to In Treatment. I mean, I had obviously heard about it, but the whole concept sounded a little intense and not really something I could get into. But then, with the Netflix DVD laying around on Thanksgiving break, I watched the first few episodes and immediately moved on to the rest.

In Treatment is a fascinating character study. It's a telling testament to the immense skills of Gabriel Byrne that he is able to carry every single episode of this show on his back. Even when his patients lose my interest, I'm still invested in how Paul will be affected by them.

Let's back up a little. For those of you who don't know, In Treatment is about a psychologist, Paul Weston, who, when the series begins, is treating patients out of his home office in Baltimore, MD. Part of the fun of this show is getting a glimpse of something that is normally considered forbidden, even illegal to disclose: private therapy sessions. The first client we see is a trainwreck of a woman named Laura, who is clearly suffering from a terrible case of transference that Paul doesn't seem to know how to handle. From there we see that each of his following patients are reflective of a part of Paul's own life as he struggles to keep his family together and maintain some sanity for himself.

The last episode of each week is devoted to Paul's own therapy sessions, beginning with Gina (Dianne Weist) and, in the recently completed third season, moving on to Adele (played by the incomparable Amy Ryan). In these sessions we get to see Paul removed from the position of evaluative power that he usually assumes and put into a place of vulnerability. He clearly isn't very comfortable with such a position, and his relationships with Gina (who used to be his supervisor, which those familiar with the study of psychology will know is quite unusual and probably problematic) and Adele showcase that discomfort. The Paul who appears in his own therapy sessions is quite different from the capable Dr. Weston we usually see, easily helping his own patients.

And he is, in all honestly, quite a capable psychotherapist. He truly does connect with and help most of his patients, when he's not crossing boundaries or trying to solve his own problems through the treatment of others. As anyone who went to college or has spent any time studying psychology knows, psychologists are often just as crazy as any of their patients, and Paul is no different. But some of the most moving contrasts in the show are between the way he relates to his patients versus the way he relates to his friends and family. Especially since he does such a great job with all of his child/teenage patients (in fact, in each respective season, Sophie/Oliver/Jesse have all been my favorites) it is very tough to watch him try to carry on those skills and relate to his own children, because he simply doesn't know how to be a good dad without also being his childrens' therapist. Again, boundary issues arise.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Christmas-Themed Movie Snack

Oh Frabjous Day, calloo, callay! How I Met Your Mother is back in top form. Maybe not Hot-Sister-Carols form, but "False Positive" is pretty awesome nonetheless.

"That's exactly the element of whimsy this celebration of love needs!"

A Minor Derailment

Ah! Is what I said this morning when I found my accounts hacked and this blog deleted. Man, I was all set to write a long-ass post about In Treatment today, because I finally finished all three seasons, and then those Wikiassholes decided that hacking blogs was a fun game. But, hurrah! We're back in business. Come back soon - tonight's episode of How I Met Your Mother was a classic and I can't wait to write about it - hopefully I won't have to spend all morning at the mechanic.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Music and cookies and liquor and trees, that's what Christmas is for"

I know that three days is SO LATE in the internet game, but sorry internet, I have a life and right now it is CRAZY and it's been all I can do to maintain my sanity, much less write blog posts. But I took notes so that I could write something once things died down a little. SO.........

Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas review starts now! Well, a few paragraphs from now.

Let me begin by explaining a little about my family and our Christmas celebrations and my relationship to Christmas pop culture. My dad does not like Christmas, a fact that made known to me once he deemed me old enough, which was around my 10th birthday. My sister and mom were a little indifferent to the whole thing, and then there was me. I LOVE Christmas - well, I love MY version of Christmas. I love picking out the perfect gifts and hanging stockings and cooking with my family and singing carols and unwrapping presents and the rainy weather and lights and the smell of the tree and pretty much anything Christmas that doesn't have to do with Jesus. My sister celebrates Chanukah and my grandfather celebrates the solstice; this year, due to a fortuitous typo, we've decided to refer to our December 25th holiday celebration as Xams, so as to remove it as far from Christ as possible. Because my family are atheists and agnostics and one converted Jew, we tend to avoid stuff about angels and pageants and miracles and the weirdness of worshiping a baby, and focus on the good stuff: eating and giving. Carols were always one of my favorites because I love to sing, but they drove my dad crazy and I've had to find good, non-annoying versions of my favorite Christmas songs to fill up my awesome winter playlist.

But this meant that I didn't watch a lot of Christmas movies/specials when I was a kid, partly by choice and partly because my dad would not give the TV up for that stuff. Rudolph and The Nightmare Before Christmas creeped me out, Charlie Brown didn't really captivate me, Miracle On 34th St. was boring, and I still, to this day, have never seen It's A Wonderful Life. Oh, sure, I watched The Grinch and Home Alone, but the holiday movie I probably saw the most was the animated version of The Snowman (quiet and nondenominational and thus inoffensive to my dad). As I got a little older, I started watching Friends and their holiday episodes became some of my favorites - and some of the best, with moments I can still instantly recall. Friends handled the holidays awesomely by either making a classic bottle episode, or by putting the Friends into stressful, emotional, and/or drunk situations. Always pitch-perfect. As I got even older, I started making my own traditions and found my trio of current all-time favorite holiday movies: Die Hard. Lord Of The Rings. Elf.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"What're you lookin' at, Jessup?"

Psych does a Twin Peaks episode!

In the most recent episode of Psych, "Dual Spires", they do a playful and quirky take on the David Lynch show Twin Peaks. Gus and Shawn travel to a town so small it's labelled on the map in parentheses for a cinnamon festival they received an anonymous tip about. Once there, things seem weird ("Are you Frederick Douglass?" a little girl asks Gus), and get weirder once the body of a local teenage girl is found drowned and wrapped in plastic on the edge of the lake...the story goes from there.

Adding to the awesomeness of this homage is the cast - most of the people from the town are played by actors from Twin Peaks (and IMDB just made me realize that Sherilyn Fenn and Dana Ashbrook both played Pacey antagonizers on the same season of Dawson's Creek - crazy!). I wonder if they even shot some of it where Twin Peaks was shot since both shows are/were filmed in Vancouver and that lake vista looks eerily familiar. The show does a great job of capturing what can only be called the Lynchiness of the original series without losing the humorous edge that Psych balances so well. I'll admit that I'm not as familiar with Twin Peaks as I'd like, but I've seen enough to know that this take-off was done skillfully - going so far as to change the theme song to a high-pitched plinky piano cover of what is usually a boisterous interlude. Oh, and stick around for the last scene and the credits - true Lynch fans will definitely appreciate how completely Psych commits to their concept.

Just a few fun notes & quotes:

"You know I'm a sympathetic crier, Shawn. Just leave me be." And then he makes this face...!

"I'll get Deputy Frost to take you back in the rickshaw."
"The earth is soft and moist."

"My partner plus too much monkey bread equals tummy shame"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Because I'm a grown-up!"

Today is my 25th birthday. In honor of being a quarter-century old, below is one of my favorite birthday-centered episodes, "The One Where They All Turn Thirty". It does such an awesome and hilarious job of capturing the different ways birthday anxiety can manifest, from "Why, god, why?!?" to "Help me get my top off". I love birthdays and birthday episodes because they're usually bottle episodes - on TV and IRL, like tonight when I'm having a karaoke party and a lot of the important players in my life, from my boss to my childhood camp friend, will be there. Although I'm not as concerned with growing older as any of the characters, well...give it five years, and I'll probably be freaking out then. In the meantime, enjoy drunk Phoebe!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh, No You Did Not

It has been over a week since my last post, and for that, I am sorry. A lot happened last week in the realm of television, but a lot has happened in my own life, including tons of work, travel, holiday time with my family, and a most-likely excessive amount of romping with my dogs. That should mean that I've got a lot to say today, right?

Sigh. Not really. Other than a few odds and ends, last weeks TV is too far gone for me to do anything other than briefly comment on it. But I've got a few other notes, so we're gonna do this one bullet-style:

- Blitzgiving did not save HIMYM. I was SO EXCITED for Jorge Garcia's guest spot, but then Fucking Jennifer Morrison (I should just refer to her as FJM) showed up and sucked all of the magic right out of the show. The lame Lost jokes didn't help anything - we get it, he was Hurley. Now stop trying to pigeonhole him and make him go eat a "sandwich"! Anyway, FJM is slowly killing one of my favorite shows, and it makes me incredibly sad. Moving on.

- Glee was a big mixed bag of insanity this week - I loved the weddings, and Carol Burnett, but WTF was up with Finn singing Kurt a song (at his mom's wedding) that totally ignored the fact that Kurt is a flawed human being with tendencies towards being condescending, selfish, and narcissistic. Kurt's flaws keep him from being The Perfect Gay, and I think in this episode the writers pushed a little too hard in that direction. I know that everyone and their mom on the internet complains about Glee's lack of character consistency, but that's because it's a huge, serious problem with the show and one they're going to have to fix, pronto. And stop fucking Auto-Tuning things, you stupid assholes. People like this show because the actors can SING. Oh, and btw, Sam is officially my least favorite character, even after awful Mr. Schue. Fuck that guy, and fuck his stupid noise. Way to ruin all of the good will I'd built up for Quin, dude.

- I totally got my parents hooked on Community, which officially proves that it is the show that everyone will love. Trust me, if my mom likes it, no one CAN'T like it. Anyway, sadly that ruined my plan to finish watching and taking notes on all the commentaries, but I SWEAR cross my heart hope to die spit on the ground and turn around three times that a big-ass, deliciously awesome Community post will be coming, HOPEFULLY before the new year, but since I just found out I have to move by January 1st I make no promises. Regardless, I'll also be doing posts on Troy and Abed and each individual character in addition to evaluating the series as a whole. So go get caught up on Community, you philistines! I hope it doesn't awaken something in you... ;)

- In return, my parents got my to (finally) watch In Treatment, and I am currently engrossed in that. Expect copious notes after I finish the first season, but for now I'll just say that everything about the show is totally top-notch, but most especially the acting, since that's really what everything hinges on. Really, really good stuff.

At some point in the future when I have more time, I'm going to do some more comprehensive pieces about Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes, because they're some of my favorites. Considering current time restraints (it's not the writing I don't have time for, it's the hours of research and rewatching), why don't you guys go watch some of your favorites and share in the comments? Man, just thinking about The Holiday Armadillo makes me laugh.

I've missed you guys. I promise I won't abandon you like that again. Now I've got to go put away my laundry, but in the meantime, you should check out my new favorite time waster, the Tumblr "The Results Are In". Gifs and screenshots from Maury that have already proved indispensible...need I say more? Don't worry - you are NOT the father!

Images via Holy Maury Mother Of God, with all my thanks, appreciation, and awe

Monday, November 22, 2010

"How's the blog going?"

I spent a good portion of yesterday watching the BBC's Sherlock miniseries (I'm sorry, but three episodes does not a season make, even in Britain. I was annoyed but resigned to the fact that Kingdom was only six episodes and Skins only nine or ten, but three episodes totaling four hours of television is a miniseries if I ever saw one. So.) and was unsurprised to find it to be absolutely awesome.
This incarnation of Sherlock is set in the 21st century, where Watson (played with delicate brilliance by Martin Freeman) is still an army doctor, but his war was Afghanistan, and Sherlock (played deftly by Benedict Cumberbatch, whose name has Americans all in a titter over its mind-blowing Britishness) is a self-described "high-functioning sociopath". Their mutual love of danger, excitement, and puzzles draw them together after a chance encounter leads Watson to share the flat at 221B Baker Street.

And that's really all the background you need to get sucked in to this rollicking romp. Watson, who has been in therapy with a psychosomatic limp after returning from the war, was encouraged by his therapist to write a blog detailing his life. That expository scene ends with Watson saying, "But nothing ever happens to me." Enter: Holmes! Later we discover that Watson has been writing in his blog...all about his escapades with Sherlock. The artful way that the writers make Watson a modern-day narrator through his blog feels like an unforced and satisfyingly natural development, and leads to some comedy when characters like DI Lestrat begin reading it - "Did you really not know the earth goes around the sun?".

Since Sherlock is a mystery show (it's worth checking out PBS' Masterpiece Mystery if only for the fabulous Edward Gorey-animated intro), I don't want to give too much away about the plots. So let's talk a little about the characters.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

J'adore Jorge Garcia

I will watch this man do anything. I would watch him on Dancing With The Stars; I would watch him on that dutch oven show they talk about on The Soup. I would even watch him on Grey's Anatomy (sacrilege!). I will most fucking definitely watch him on one of my favorite shows that's been recently floundering. I don't take back any of my previous criticism, but OMG this will almost definitely save How I Met Your Mother Season 6 for me:

Good job, producers. You might just be able turn this whole thing around. And Jorge Garcia, you light up my life.

Image via

Two Beavers Are Better Than One...

...But three Robin Sparkles videos may be too many.

To begin with, I was wrong. Barney and Robin aren't getting married (this season), stupid Punchy is. LAME. No one cares about Punchy, the turnaround from him being a stupid jerk to being awesome was ridiculous, and did I mention that no one cares about Punchy?

Before I get to the main event, let me just say that this episode was one of the better ones this season (no Jennifer Morrison), but it still didn't live up to my high standards. There was so much shoved into one episode that the disparate storylines, even though they all had moments I enjoyed, felt stilted and forced. There wasn't enough room for the jokes to breathe or the plot to develop.

So, Glitter. Did the repeated use of Glitter make anyone think of Mariah Carey? Because when I hear Glitter as a name or a title, I think of Mariah Carey in an airbrushed shirt on TRL, making Carson Daly uncomfortable and handing out ice cream and generally having a mental breakdown in front of a live studio audience. I definitely don't think of a random girl with a terribly fake Canadian accent.

Let's go back a little. The original Robin Sparkles video, "Let's Go To The Mall", was hilarious in that it was actually a rather accurate parody of Tiffany and other similar pop stars. It was explained that "The 80's didn't come to Canada until 1992" and the song had great lines like "He's got hair like Gretzky and does jumps on his skateboard" and "I'm gonna rock your body 'til Canada Day". And, of course, "Let's Go To The Mall" originates the slap bet with its porniness.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Annie's Boobs Did It!

Let's check in on the week, shall we?

- The opening of this week's How I Met Your Mother made me groan out loud and actually mutter the words, "Oh, brother." I cannot fully express how much I abhor the casting of Jennifer Morrison (although Kyle McLaughlan was great in his guest spot) and the direction that Ted's storyline is heading. Even Marshall and Lily lost me this week. A shame that the rest of the cast are veering off in one direction as Barney and Robin head in an entirely different, hilarious, and captivating one. Barney knows who his dad is!!! And Robin is the only one who knows! They are SO getting married. But even that awesomeness or all the touching can't distract me from the lump of un-funny terribleness that is Jennifer Morrison.

- I just heard that Running Wilde is being taken off the air for the rest of November, which means it's almost certainly headed for cancellation. I can't say I'm surprised (It's gotten a kind of weak (Fa'ad is my favorite part) and the idea of a child narrator hasn't held up very well), but I am disappointed. I thought Mitchell Hurwitz would head into this new show with guns ablaze, but it feels like he's holding back. Of course, he probably shouldn't have gone back to Fox in the first place, seeing as they obviously don't know how to market his stuff.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wherein We Thank The Universe For Iman

I am officially a Fashion Show convert.

After years of letting Project Runway make me really, legitimately angry, our relationship is over. Done. Finito. I don't need them anymore, because I've got The Fashion Show.

Obviously, I just watched the first episode of the new season. I didn't watch more than one episode last season, because who gives a fuck about Kelly Rowland, Isaac Mizrahi was more of a bitch throwing shade than a mentor, and the production was really low-budg. But now - Iman! Thoughtful and helpful critiques from Isaac! Great production values! And IMAN!!!

I watched Project Runway Canada whenever I could, and preferred the show in many ways to its American originator. Iman is knowledgeable, experienced, well-spoken, funny, and simply, in every way, fabulous. Whoever had the idea of having her come on to The Fashion Show should be promoted. It gives the show a fashion industry legitimacy it lacked before; kind of like what Tyra is trying (and failing) to do with this season of ANTM. In addition, it seems like simply having her around elevates the performance of everyone else on the show. Let's break it down a little:

- The conceit of breaking the designers up into two season-long teams is a great one. It forces them to be original and collaborative at the same time, and pumps up the reality show drama without letting the drama overwhelm the fashion. I'm excited to see more clothes from some of the designers and more bitchfights from others.

- Isaac Mizrahi has thankfully learned how to be a good mentor and judge. His critiques were so thought-out and I really liked that he took each team aside to discuss their direction. My overall impression of him this episode was well-reasoned and kind, which is not what I was expecting.

- The judging was really quite good. Not only did the right person win (I've gotten so used to PR's cracktastic judging that this actually surprised me) but the right person went home, as well. And I can't express enough how much I LOVE that each designer/look received an individual critique - it was always disappointing on PR when a favorite garment was dismissed with no word from the panel. The judges explained clearly why the winning team won and the losing team lost, and the expanded "losers" judging panel did a great job of going over each look with a balanced and detailed eye. Not sure yet how I feel about that blonde (British?) lady, but honestly it doesn't matter as long as she keeps up the good judgments.

- IMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!! Seriously, the things that she says I want to needlepoint and frame and hang on my wall. Expect some amazing David Bowie anecdotes to come up as the season goes along.

To sum up: The Fashion Show FTW! I think Bravo may have finally got all the ingredients to make the Project Runway replacement recipe come out right. And after the disastrous and infuriating PR Season 8 finale, their timing couldn't be better to open their arms and welcome all us disillusioned viewers into the fold.

You can check out the first episode of The Fashion Show HERE.

Image via

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Politics Of Gore

Ok, this post has been a long time coming. Here goes.

I will not be watching The Walking Dead. Not because it doesn't look like a compelling character study (it does) or because I don't like zombies or apocalyptic survival stories (I do), but because of the gore.

I don't like watching gore and I never have. When I was in middle school and Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer and all those other slasher flicks were hella popular, I would have such problems at sleepovers. Either I had to watch something that disturbed and repulsed me, or I would be branded a lame wimp and asked, "What is wrong with you?" I didn't get it; I still don't. I don't want to watch people being disemboweled or eaten and there's something wrong with me? Violence and gore have become such an ingrained part of our culture that it's not even questioned anymore, and that sad fact sickens me a little.

A big part of my resistance to gore is that I have a very powerful visual memory. I can call up images from years before at whim and I have incredible facial recognition abilities; I also have generalized anxiety disorder and insomnia. If I'm trying to fall asleep and one of the disturbing images I've tried so hard to erase from my brain (like, let's say, Brad Pitt getting shot in the face in Burn After Reading) pops up, it's nigh impossible to erase. It doesn't have to be recent, either; I'm still haunted by things from years before that can all of a sudden be triggered and get stuck in my head like a song.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I've got a few half-formed posts saved, but I'm currently battling a pretty terrible cold and don't feel up to my usual sparkling wit. Check back in a few days for an avalanche of awesome. In the meantime, this is what's making me happy this week:

See you guys on the healthy side!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What's In A Title?

So last night, I was watching Fringe, and I realized I didn't know what the title of the episode was. And I really wanted to! Then it struck me: the evolution and availability of episode titles is one of the main factors in elevating the television experience to a higher form of art.

When I bought my first Friends dvd, I was blown away by the fact that the episodes all had titles. "What is the point," I asked myself, "When no one gets to see what the titles are until they buy the dvds?" I mean, I assumed it would be useful to the writers and producers, but the titles seemed more amusing and meant for general consumption.

These days, with DVR and the internet, a title is generally the first thing you experience about an episode. They can be funny (Epidemiology 101 = Community's rabies/zombies episode; Psych's Meat is Murder...But Murder Is Also Murder; HIMYM's The Sexless Inkeeper; I could keep going...), artful (basically all of Mad Men), or simply informative (South Park's Mysterion Rises kept me from watching this week because I didn't have a lot of time and that storyline loses my interest)...or, of course, all three at once.

Great art comes with a title (oh, sure, you can leave your piece untitled, but that says more about the artist than about the art), and now that titles for TV are easily available, it has elevated the viewing experience. This is not to say that a show is good because it's got a clever heading, but for many shows that are already producing great content, a smart title can enhance and supplement the material in the show itself. And man, it sure makes blogging about TV a hell of a lot easier.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"It's elementary, my dear Scherbatson"

I really hate writing this post. But it simply has to be done.

How I Met Your Mother isn't going so well. I mean, there are still occasionally some great lines, but the stories this season just haven't been nearly as interesting as say, Community (big Community post is coming!), and there's been way too much focus on Ted and his stupid new love-interest, who I hate. There have been some definite bright points in the episodes from Season 6, but "Canning Randy" may be one of the worst HIMYM episodes ever.

To begin with, I don't think Will Forte is funny, and even the awesomeness of Bob Odenkirk can't balance him out (the best scenes in this ep are with Marshall and Arthur). To begin again with, that Walk Of Shame joke at the beginning was really lame (also, why can't we call it the Walk Of I Got Some, Booyah? There's nothing shameful about getting laid.) - it would've been slightly better if they'd had a guy thrown in the mix. HIMYM has always been ha-ha sexist, but they're moving quickly towards for-reals sexist. Who cares about some random dude Robin did or didn't sleep with? I might have forgiven the boring Robin plotline if the payoff had been anything good. And god, that car alarm joke is SO OLD it was simply painful to watch over and over again. Ditto the horse's head. And seriously, "Where's the poop?" is the worst catchphrase ever. Continuing on in the bad jokes, Wharmpuss doesn't sound enough like "warm piss" to make the joke land until you actually see the label. All in all, it was some of the weakest and most unoriginal comedy I've seen in a while.

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Look at my teeth, they're like cars!"

I miss Parks And Recreation. When is NBC gonna realize everybody hates Outsourced and bring back my Pawnee crew? I need more Ron Swanson in my life!

Thankfully, I just discovered these clips that the cast has released online. Check 'em out HERE, and get excited for the return of a solid block of Thursday comedy.

For the record, I think that Outsourced has a few very talented and funny comedians. I just think it's a shame that the material they have to work with is so bad and, frankly, offensive. Cancel it and find them other roles on your network, NBC! But I seriously need more of my favorite mustachioed man. In the words of Becky, "Give me some Ron Swanson or I will cut you."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This Is One Fucked-Up Mundo We Live In, Mondo

I was going to write a post about the BEYOND INFURIATING Project Runway finale outcome, but in all honesty, I haven't actually watched it. I had an inkling that Mondo might not win, and I didn't feel like ruining a perfectly good night by yelling at my screen.

Turns out my instincts are right. I know that editing was supposed to make it easy to hate Gretchen, but I can hate everything about her all on my own. I hate her when she's being nice. I hate her when she's being an asshole. I despise her fucking it's-cool-because-it's-ugly haircut. I think her clothes belong in a garbage bag that is dipped in shit and then set on fire.

It makes me legitimately sad that she won with her sad, barfy, psuedocoolugly clothes.

The comments section over at TLo is ablaze, but this one, from an anonymous commenter, is the best at saying what I feel:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Save Charlie Sheen - Boycott Two And A Half Men!

Maybe I haven't expressed my disdain for Two And A Half Men on here before. It's a pedantic, sexist, moral vortex of a show that stars a pedantic, sexist, moral vortex of a human being. I can understand why ignorant people watch it, but I really don't understand the awards it's been given over the years. It sucks, basically, but both the show and its star have been given a pass for their repeatedly awful behavior because they make people money.

Charlie Sheen is clearly in need of a serious wake-up call, which he's not going to get when surrounded by enablers who are solely interested in having his warm, famous body available for filming. Someone needs to stand up and put the show on hiatus and get that dude some really, really intensive therapy.

EDIT: The president of the network won't do it, so it's up to us, folks.

You heard it here first: Boycott Two And A Half Men (not that you were watching it anyway, but it's the thought - and emails to CBS - that count) and save Charlie Sheen. As an added bonus, TAAHM will fade from our screens like the sounds of a siren coming to haul your violent, drug-addled naked body from the room with a prostitute that is next to the room where your children are sleeping, yet somehow, you do not get arrested. Enablers.

I like when doing the right thing coincides with doing the right thing for my TV.

"Give me some chocolate or I will cut you."

Okay, so maybe my post about the dearth of Halloween episodes was premature.

Last night's episodes of Glee and Raising Hope were pretty awesome & thematically appropriate. Raising Hope is seriously getting better and better - Cloris Leachman is a fucking genius, and I love Jimmy's friends, especially Javier ("Baby food? What a waste. This is delicioso - it's like meat pudding"). The show manages to be fucked-up and heartwarming all at once, much like scaring your child so he'll hug you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Tweetie

After years of naysaying and resisting, I am now on Twitter. I realized that it's such a good way to network and I can get all the little fleeting opinions and thoughts I have out without having to write a whole post on here. You can follow me @girlglowsgreen, or leave suggestions for people for me to follow, too!

For your edification and enjoyment, here's my Tweet-warming present to you:

dun dun dun dun dun DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN

So, you know, it was a slow week this week. After the grandiosity of the Mad Men finale, everything else just sort of seemed to pale in comparison. How I Met Your Mother was good, but not groundbreaking. Running Wilde is getting better and better. Community's "Messianic Myths" episode was so awesome I watched it twice, but I don't really have much to say other than I have never seen a show handle religion as well as Community does.

But straight up the best show this week was South Park, with their brilliant episode "Insheeption". If you've seen Inception, you've got to watch it, so go NOW! I won't ruin anything for you. And if you have seen it then the title of this post might make sense.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"I'm gonna miss you, you know."

So, Tomorrowland. Wow. This episode blew me away. This is what we've been waiting four long years see Don Draper absolutely, authentically happy. At the beginning of this season, I wrote that "I doubt Don Draper has ever asked himself what he really wants." Thankfully, since this ended up being the season of "what I want versus what's expected of me", we got Don Draper asking himself that question and, miracle of miracles, finding the right answer.

It is a testament to Jon Hamm's superb acting abilities that I was able to actually watch Don fall in love with Megan and realize that love for himself. He acts differently around her than with any of his other women; he is a bit timid, respectful yet desirous, and, at first, obviously "scared". Maybe it's accentuated by the fact that I'm going through a bit of romantic confusion myself at the moment, but I felt all of the characters' emotions so strongly and effortlessly last night. When that scene with the milkshake where it really clicks for Don fades into the scene in his apartment where The Sad Man Cave is drenched in the so much sunlight it becomes almost was clear that things are looking up. By trying to be a better man, Don has become one.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"I'm committing mentacide. My brain is attacking itself."

Bored To Death is a comedy about three men living in New York City. They smoke a lot of pot, which I like, and are unapologetically homoerotic, which I also like. There's something to do with failing at being a writer and a fake private detective agency. It takes place mostly in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and I'm sure is exploiting the area's hipster popularity as well as its opportunities for comedy. Bored To Death is like a well-regarded novel that centers entirely on masturbation: it's self-aware, mildly pretentious, and overall it is very, very funny.

Save Our Shows!

I've been wanting to talk for a while about ratings, and the system that determines what shows get to stay on the air. It's a fucked-up, broken system and it's really clear to me that something needs to change.

We're living in a time now when almost everything is connected digitally. We can tell our friends instantly about the songs we just purchased on iTunes (argh, I hate Ping, especially the fact that I can't turn it off) and Tweet in realtime about whatever is happening in our lives. So why is it that we're still living in the archaic age of Nielson ratings? People watch TV differently today than they did even five years ago. Many people, including the majority of young people, watch their favorite shows online - on Hulu or the network websites or they do some minor internet sleuthing and find them for free, like I often do. Many other people don't have time for live TV and record it on their DVR. However, TV ratings do not reflect these numbers, and if they do, it's inefficient.

Television is in a golden age right now; some of the best shows that have ever been made are currently on the air, and it's getting more respect as a medium than it ever has before. So why can't we adjust the technology used to measure the true popularity of a show? I'm sure there's something complicated with advertising budgets and whatever, but I'm also positive there are vast informational improvements to be made. Nielson ratings work using a statistical model, but with the amazing technological networks that we have today, why not set up a system where the viewer can digitally submit a record of what they've been watching? Can we set up Hulu so that I know my many viewings of Psych and Castle aren't going unnoticed by the networks? I don't like to feel that I'm betraying a struggling show because I watch it online.

I can already hear the argument against this system: invasion of privacy, Big Brother, yadda yadda yadda. But honestly, do you really care if a robot or a pencil-pusher know that you just spent the weekend watching a Hoarders marathon? I think we're long past the point where you should be embarrassed for watching crap television, once the Real Housewives and Toddlers & Tiaras started to take over our pop culture consciousness. Honestly, I miss the wholesome motives of Rock Of Love - at least they were there for Bret. And imagine the shows that could have been saved (Arrested Development! Firefly! Huge!) if the networks were getting a real count of the people watching.

But I digress. My point is that the system is outdated and in need of some serious redesigning. The American people like to feel that they have a voice, and right now that voice is not being adequately heard. I know that television ratings could be far more accurate...maybe if we fix it than some worthwhile shows will be rescued.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"I'm mad at you. You're still so hot."

Guys, I'm really sorry that it's been so long since my last post. But a long weekend at my parent's house and a necessity to spend the following mornings unpacking and rearranging my room ate up my time. Plus, I've still got to watch all the TV that I love to write about on here and man, that takes some serious dedication. So, for this post we're going to do it bullet-style so I can get out all the random thoughts I've been having - and then get back to watching Community commentary because I'm hoping to have my in-depth Community posts done by Halloween (there is commentary on every episode! Seriously, if you're thinking about a DVD to buy, Community is definitely the most awesome for your buck.). Okay, let's start the show.

- Glee is back - for realsies! After three poorly organized episodes with some very weak (or just plain obnoxious) song choices, they finally brought it this week in "Duets". OMG I love Brittany and Santana and their queerness. I love Kurt and his awesome "Faith Hill" voice rocking the cock out of "Le Jazz Hot". The songs this week were (mostly) perfection - I am already over Sam's aww-shucks Jack Johnson/Mrazziness, but other than that...I actually downloaded some new songs yesterday. I really, really wanted to hear Artie and Brittany sing together, but I also like how they developed their storyline because it made perfect sense for both of their characters. Glee has a problem with consistency of motive and emotion - it can be kind of like Gossip Girl in that regard. But thankfully in "Duets" the writers snapped out of it, realized that no one, on the show or IRL, wants to watch Rachel Berry belt a self-involved ballad at the end of every fucking episode (and OMG, how amazing was that Kurt/Rachel/Judy/Barbra number? Blew my gay little mind.). Taking the focus off of Rachel and Finn a little and making the show more of a true ensemble is a step in the right direction and I hope the writers continue this way. But, let's be honest, they probably won't.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Think I can't steer left better than you?"

When South Park returns to TV, it's like opening up the cabinet and realizing that your roommate bought you some on-sale Lucky Charms: a wonderful surprise that reminds you that there is good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for.

I've never been a big cartoon person; I'll expand on this more when I start talking about kid's TV shows, but for now I'll just say that I've always tended to prefer live-action television. I mean, I looooove The Simpsons, but it took me a while to warm to South Park. I was only 11 when the show premiered and I really just didn't get it and the graphic stuff squicked me out. But when I was 15 and got high for the first time we watched the South Park movie and I really started to enjoy it. I wasn't a regular viewer until I began having weekly TV-watching get-togethers at my friends' house, and now I am a full-on fan.

Here's why: South Park is the most egalitarian and unbiased show on television. It doesn't have any agenda other than to make people laugh and think a little and then laugh some more. I mean, on last night's episode they managed to make fun of: Nascar, Nascar fans, people who think all Nascar fans are stupid rednecks, the fact that Vagisil exists, people who think Vagisil is necessary/useful in any way, men who believe that love is about control, and Butters. That is all just from one episode, but it's indicative of just about any of them. The writers manage to take opposing viewpoints and make both sides look wrong, and they do it in a clever, current, and unexpected way.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

god and Glee

All through "Grilled Cheesus" I kept going back and forth: Worst episode ever? Best episode ever? Worst? Best? And I think I settled somewhere on the upside of good.

As soon as Finn came into glee and said he wanted to sing songs celebrating Jesus, I had a flashback to Millie singing "Jesus is just alright with me" in "Beers and Weirs" ("Friday night - always a good night for some Sabbath" I will take any excuse to quote that joke). And I will say that the song selection was spotty. "Only The Good Die Young"? Pretty sweet. Whatever Mercedes sang next? Preachy and bleh. That song from Yentl? Meh, although obviously Lea Michelle killed it. "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" cover that sounded exactly like the version from Across The Universe? Fucking What The Fuck. Why would you waste your money on a Beatles song that is weirdly inappropriate and totally sucks all of the authentic emotion you've been building out of the room? It's like they just wanted an excuse to sing that song (and yes, I get all of the hand holding references in the plot, but it all just felt forced). I will say, though, that the kid they got to play Kurt in his flashbacks looked exactly like him. Chris Colfer's little brother? Anyway, that REM song ("Losing My Religion"? I'm too lazy to look it up right now.) was perfect for Finn's voice, I totally dug it. Ditto "Bridge Over Troubled Water", but what's up with the covers of covers? Mercedes eventually found her own way to separate from Aretha's version, but the song clearly borrowed heavily from it. I definitely started to cry when that lady took Kurt's hand, and then the Sue scene really broke me down. Thanks for listening to my plea for More Sue, Less Schue, writers.

For Realsies: SAVE HUGE!

Huge has been cancelled. Give me a moment here.


Ok, I'm back. Feeling angry, sad, and prescient, but I'm here. Seriously though, the bastards cancelled it, just like I said they would. But thank the Lorde, Jezebel has started a petition to save it. You can sign it here, and even if you haven't had a chance to watch the show yet or don't really care, you should really just sign it because Huge is, no joke, one of the best shows on TV. Plus, you don't even have to enter your email! It'll take you three seconds.

You guys are the best. Much cooler than those idiots (Dwight-voice) running ABC Family.

Image via

"I always wanted to be buried with my banjo - and snacks"

I want to talk a little about Weeds.

I started watching Weeds shortly after it premiered; my friends had a giant TV named Biggie, one of those old fashioned stand-alone sets that was, like, 6 feet wide. We were in college, and on the weekends after a long night we would spend the day ensconced on the massive couch, smoking pot and watching Biggie. Does it come as any surprised that Weeds immediately became a favorite?

Nearly everyone can agree that Weeds was great for the first three seasons. It was after all the little boxes burned to the ground and Nancy got way more hardcore that people began to doubt. Not me. In fact, I think the 4th season may be my favorite, what with No Man Is Pudding and the ayahuasca trip and Ignacio and Celia doing drogas. It's kind of like when your favorite band changes up their sound: not everyone will stay fans, but true believers will adapt and appreciate the new direction.

That being said, I think 5th season is probably the weakest. I mean sure, there are bright spots (Cesar and Isabel come to mind), but when you think about it the whole season is basically just "Is Nancy gonna die?" when we all know she won't. Because, c'mon. If she was gonna die she would've died back when U-Turn was around and she was fucking with Armenians and whatnot. I think it's pretty clear that Nancy is immortal when it comes to Weeds.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Not that I expected anything more...

CSI has officially devolved into a simple series of puns. And, apparently, Shark Week references.

If you're having a slow day, you can watch it here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Boardwalk Empire: the show you're supposed to love

Boardwalk Empire is hard to want to write about. This is because it's obviously one of those lauded, "good" shows...but I am not even close to obsessing about it. The actors are great, totally solid - although in period dress Michael Pitt's resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic grows tenfold - and the directing and set design and beautiful, but I have not found myself forming connections to any of the characters. Maybe it's just all the exposition that's necessary in the first two episodes, but I've now seen over two hours of Boardwalk Empire without feeling any emotional connection - and that just doesn't feel right.

"I'm not your dead husband, Maw Maw"

I thought I would have more to say after the second episode of Raising Hope, but I don't, really. It's a good comedy - nothing earth-shattering, but original and funny. It's created by Greg Garcia, the dude who created My Name Is Earl, and Raising Hope has a very similar quirky white trash family vibe. My Name Is Earl definitely lost steam (and charm) after the first two seasons, and I could see this show taking a similar trajectory. However, it's enjoyable, it made me laugh, and it's got Cloris Leachman being awesome and hilarious.

And that's it. That's all I've got. I've been hearing and reading a lot of stuff about how awful the new pilot season is, and while I don't completely agree (Running Wilde is steadily improving, por supuesto), for the most part, it is pretty lackluster. Raising Hope has a chance of getting good, but it's going to have to find its audience.

Image via buddytv

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"I'm fine! Just staying at home...chillaxing."

Now for the dramatic equivalent of a rundown.


If you're not watching Fringe, and you like SciFi...why are you not watching Fringe? It's really developed into a great, compelling show after the first part of the first season started off a little weak and slow. Now in its third season, Fringe has found an audience and a pacing and a story that works quite well, in addition to some truly unexpected twists and turns. I'm not going to say anything else here in fear of ruining it for you, but suffice to say it's awesome, entertaining, and sexy. You should really be watching it.
Bonus: Hot Joshua Jackson is Hot.

"Surf, sun, and..." "Sandwiches?"

Alright, bitches. I've gotten way behind and there are some shows about which I don't have much to say, so we're gonna knock a few out of the way right now.

The Big Bang Theory

You know, everyone talks about how smart this show is, but just because they make references to science and Star Trek doesn't really make it smart. In reality it's just a basic, formulaic CBS-style sitcom with jokes written to appeal to nerds. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't like the show; I do. The problem is I only really like one part of the show and that is Sheldon Cooper. He's so strange and Asbergers-y and "Bazinga" is a catch phrase that cracks me up like no other catch phrase because Jim Parsons' timing and delivery are incredible. Last week I was talking about how Geoffrey Arend's talents were being wasted on Body Of Proof; and here we've got another Garden State scene-stealer who just won an Emmy (which I actually think he deserved!) for being funny. Parsons really is great on The Big Bang Theory; I just wish that everyone else on the show was as good.

The problem is that the rest of the cast are either abhorrent, obnoxious, pathetic, or just a sad clump of stereotypes smooshed together into a person-shape. I can't stand Howard Wolowitz (See: The Emily Valentine Problem), which is sad, because I loved Simon Helberg in Studio 60 and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. So, you know, I'll watch the show but it's probably never going to be one of my favorites - the premiere was alright, but compared with all the other comedy I watched last week, it was near the bottom of the list. In fact, all you really ever need to see is right here.

PS: CBS changed their schedule and are trying to use TBBT to kill Community. This shall not stand!

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Turn off the Chumbawumba and scram, twerp!"

Dude, I love how surly and free with her body Meredith is - even when she's dancing on Kevin.

The Office is one of those shows that has consistently gotten better and better. I'm not of the mind that Jim and Pam getting together ruined anything about the show - they couldn't have gone on the way they were, and now they're like this awesome team and they are still hilarious together, just like always. Jim and Pam make the perfect foils to Mr. Dwight K. Schrute, and I love how their relationships have developed - sometimes they're friends, mostly they're adversaries, and their relationship is always dynamic and believable. And I think it's great to have pranks being pulled that wouldn't be possible in an office that isn't this office - it gives the audience a nice voyeuristic fantasy. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

The opening of the premiere was a great chance for everyone in the office to have a moment - which is part of what makes this show great, mining the comedy potential of all these diverse characters. People are saying that The Office couldn't go on without Steve Carell, but those people obviously haven't seen the webisodes, which are great without most of the lead actors.

However, just because he's leaving doesn't mean that Steve Carell isn't still amazing at playing Michael Scott:

"Do you think they should have had open auditions for the band Hanson? What if no one named Hanson showed up? That wouldn't even make sense. Or what if they just hired the littlest kid...and a 50-year-old guy...who was a murderer.....really safe."

"I don't understand - is this you being meta?"

It is really hard for me to express how much I love Community. It's self-referential without being obnoxious or oblique, loves and celebrates the things I love, and is based in reality enough that when it gets ridiculous it simply enhances the world that's already been created. And it has Abed.

Betty White aside (I'm starting to tire of her schtick, I must admit), this was a great, classic Community episode. Everyone gets a chance to shine on this show (even Starburns), it's a true ensemble, and each character is now fleshed out enough so we get to have lots of fun with their interaction.

I'm tempted to just post a bunch of my favorite quotes, but I won't ruin it all for you. Everyone was good, but Alison Brie (Annie) was incredibly solid throughout (her reaction shots alone are just amazing), and Troy had some of the best lines. The kiss between Britta and Jeff - I actually rewound to watch it again, it was that perfect.

I'm currently waiting for the first season to arrive on dvd, so expect a more in-depth analysis of Community at a later date. But, like I've been reiterating, good comedy effortlessly combines the hilarity with heart-felt honesty. I'm not sure anything illustrates this rule better than these two lines:

Abed: "I can tell life from TV, Jeff. TV has structure; it has logic, rules...and likeable leading men. In life, we have this. We have you."

(Silence as Abed leaves the room.)

George Clooney Impersonator: "I'm on the clock for another hour if you want me to do some Batman lines."
Ahahahahahahahaha oh man that joke KILLS me. Over and over again. Just like Abed breaking my heart.

OMG, just go watch it now - and if you haven't seen first season, obviously need to watch that, too:

"Dogs used to eat me but now they bring the paper in"

Images via,, and

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Get me mounted!"

Man, it's so nice to have Mitchell Hurwitz making stuff for my TV again.

Running Wilde was quite good. It was strong for a pilot, where the task of introducing the characters and premise can often take away from the funny. It was irreverent and topical and there is a child named Puddle, which I love. Will it has taken this long for him to get his own show is beyond me, but I suspect he was holding out to work with Mitchell Hurwitz. He is SO goddamn hilarious - but you all know that. And who knew that Keri Russell was funny? I like that they aren't afraid to make fun of her eco-groovy self-righteousness: "But if I were the type of person who needed to feel superior I would say, 'I feel sorry for that shallow rich guy...but good for that deep poor girl for not judging him.'"

Just some of my favorite bits:

"Attention Earth rappers - "
"Rapers. Rapers. Rapers!"

The piano that Steve is not playing.

"His breath is so milky"

"Nothing worse than a wide-awake drunk"

"Well, on the other hand, you smell pretty good...what the hell"

"I saved a horse today!...I'm going to. I know where I left it."

Ok, I'm not going to ruin it all for you. Suffice to say, if you are a fan of laughing you should definitely be watching this show.

"And for the nothing. Mostly you do it for the nothing."

"He really IS ruggedly handsome!"

The premiere of Castle was handled so well, there isn't much to bitch about. I hate it when shows lack consistency from season to season, but Castle had zero problem with that. By making Castle a constant suspect, Beckett was able to vent her frustration, but it's very, very clear that they both still have feelings for each other and that there will be consistency in handling that in the future.

Ryan and Esposito are hilarious; j'adore entertaining sidekicks.

I find it interesting that Castle and Lie To Me premiered around the same time and star very similar main characters: egomaniac single dads who happen to be quite good at solving crimes. Their methods are completely different, which keeps the shows dissimilar enough, but the comparison really applies to their home lives. Interestingly enough, the teenagers on both these shows I pretty much like. The girl on Lie To Me is a better actor, but the girl on Castle is actually funny. Anyway, I like both these shows, and I think it's interesting that they've both managed to do something so similar so well.

So yay Castle! I love how fun (and funny) this show is; the eye candy doesn't hurt either.

"People thought I went on vacation but actually I spent the summer lost in the sewers."

When Glee started last night with "Jew Fro" interviewing glee club members and asking questions that the blogosphere and critics have all been asking, I was so excited. "Finally," I said to myself, "They really are going to address the criticisms and make the show stronger." And it did start out that way.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ABC Fall Lineup - *sad trombone*

Wherein I get lost without Lost.

ABC is such a hit-or-miss network. Lost, Castle, The Unusuals, and Pushing Daisies? Very yes. Anything else that ABC's done for the past 8 years? Very meh. They try so hard to be family-oriented that the comedy (and writing) suffers because it ends up being about the same shit over and over. Anyway, besides Mr. Sunshine (which doesn't premiere until later in the season) I'm not super excited for any of these shows, but I'll check them out because, well, that's what we do here.

"What lightweight outfit, pink or white, makes the front of my slacks abnormally tight?"

OMG Barney and Robin are totes gonna get married!

"It's a sundress, by the way."

How I Met Your Mother's premiere episode last night, "Big Days", was familiar and tender and hilarious and right at the highly developed level of comedy I've come to expect from the show. Remember when I was talking about Friends' ability to effortlessly combine the tears with the laughter? HIMYM does it, too, but rarely enough that when you tear up, it's about something big. Of course, Marshall and Lily are just Chandler and Monica 2.0,'s not too unexpected.

OMG Barney and Robin! As soon as she came down in that sundress and the way that he looked at her - I knew it was on. If I'm wrong about this it might just destroy me, but I can't be wrong. Who else would Ted be best man for? I mean, it might be his dad or something, but I'm on the Barney and Robin getting married train and I'm not getting off until somebody makes me.

Overall, I'm obviously glad to have the show back. I am not so excited for the addition of Jennifer Morrison to the cast (as The Mother, I'm assuming) because I've never seen her be funny ever, but until they find a way to make everything all about Ted again, I'm loving every minute of it.

OMG Barney and Robin! I knew Robin could never end up with someone named Don.

Monday, September 20, 2010

FOX Fall Lineup - Getting Warmer...

Wherein we travel through the Tunnel of Love, Indubitably.

Well, after slogging through the $hit at CBS, coming around to Fox is a nice change. Fox is a network that I often forget my favorite shows are on; Fringe especially often feels a little too well-put-together for Fox. But I should give them a break, because three out of four is the best record I've seen all week.

Let's get the bad 'un out of the way.

Lone Star
What is it with all the shows about Texas this season? Texas never interested me before and it sure as hell doesn't interest me now. Con men who aren't James Ford? Pass. Jon Voight? Pass. Add in a generic and lackluster leading man and it looks like a snooze-fest. It's being billed as "one of the most provocative dramas FOX has ever had", but to me it looks less provocative and more like a lame retread of a bunch of other shit.

CBS Fall Lineup - Hulk Smash!

Wherein I bitch about competing scheduling.

Before I start, I'd like to state for the record that I'm not a fan of CBS as a network. While they produce How I Met Your Mother (premieres tonight!), their shows tend to be some of the shows I hate most (Everybody Loves Raymond; A Man, An Ugly Teenager, And A Douchnozzle, etc). Now, CBS knows how to turn out a crime procedural like nobody's business - and I will freely admit my love for OG CSI, Numb3rs, Cold Case, and Without a Trace - but they have traditionally been a more old-school, conservative network. Their fall schedule looks neither new nor especially exciting. But, you know...let's take a closer look!

$#*! My Dad Says

You know, everyone's been saying that this looks horrible, but the preview doesn't look that bad (maybe I just love Will Sasso). I think the ultimate problem this show is gonna have is that CBS cut off its balls. I never read the Twitter account, but I believe that it was full of hilarious profanity. I mean, the fact that you can't say "shit" on TV is already ridiculous; now you have a TV show that emphasizes broadcasting censorship. FAIL.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

NBC Fall Lineup Smackdown!

Wherein I weep for the future of network television.

Seriously, I don't really get it. You would think that with cable networks producing some of the best TV since forever (Mad Men, Damages, Huge...and even shows that I don't watch, like Breaking Bad and Sons Of Anarchy, or haven't gotten around to watching, like Rubicon), that the networks would have to step it up. Well, it appears that some of them have and some simply haven't. NBC cancelled Law & Order, yet now we have Law & Order: LA, which appears to be like, three other crime shows rolled into one. I'm not going to review it; you know it exists and I think that's all you need to know. In fact, none of these are meant to be summaries - you can watch the preview for that - they're simply a guide to what looks good and what looks...less than good. Anyway, here's a rundown of the scripted shows that NBC has premiering this fall, ranked in order from godawful to possibly awesome.

Is about a guy who has to go to India to run a call center for an American novelty toy company. Do I really need to say anything else? Unfunny and culturally offensive - not to mention outdated (as call center jobs are currently returning to the US in droves)...all of these sound like great show descriptors, don't they? I refuse to post a preview.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

the Friendsaissance

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Linda Holmes was talking about how she started watching Friends from the beginning again and she had forgotten how funny it was blah blah blah and now is about the time that the backlash has subsided and people can start watching Friends again. Which is great, but Bitch, Please! Some of us never stopped.

I've loved Friends ever since I started watching in about 6th grade. I own seasons 3-10 on DVD (I started at 3, eventually I'll get around to buying the first two seasons but they're not my favorites anyhow). I have watched countless reruns. And here's the thing: I never watched it for the hype, or because Jennifer Aniston was popular, or even because I love Matthew Perry (which I do). I watched it then, and continue to now, because it's fucking funny. It is! And I know people with all sorts of different tastes - yes, including many men - who love Friends, and who have continued to love Friends even when it was uncool to do so.

So, Linda Holmes, even though I like your podcast, I scoff at your johnny-come-lately-ness. Those of us who are real fans of the show never wavered, even through Joey and The Break-Up and Cougar Town. We loved Run, Fatboy, Run (directed by David Schwimmer) and gobbled down Studio 60. We are excited for Episodes and Mr. Sunshine (Allison Janney! Dillon Killington!) and everything that Lisa Kudrow does. We also watch How I Met Your Mother, which is just Friends post-2005 with the bonus of NPH.

I could post tons of clips here showing how hilarious Friends is, but I don't think I need to. You've all seen the show - and if you haven't, what is wrong with you? (asked Angry Padma-style) Yes, it's a sitcom. Yes, it's very white, for the most part. Yes, some of the lesbian jokes fall flat. But, you know, that's television. Those things could be said for almost any sitcom on today, and most of them are nowhere near as funny as Friends (get off my screen, Two Men & An Ugly Teenager). Plus, in addition to being consistently smart and funny, Friends manages to be touching and deeply emotional at times, while balancing that out with the humor. Just watch The One The Morning After from season 3, or The One With The Proposal from season 6, and tell me you're not laughing through the tears.

I mean, whatever. If you're not into by now, you may never be. But if Friends is going to become cool and awesome again, I want it on the record that, for me, it never stopped being so. All comedy can feel dated at times, but Friends has, for the most part, stayed fresh and lol-worthy - unlike, as Holmes notes, the comedy of Seinfeld, which often doesn't age as well. The Friendsaissance is upon us, so now is the perfect time get back into the show if you abandoned it to be a hipster, or if you were simply too close-minded to give it a chance before. Open your mind and let the jokes on in, and stop worrying so much about being cool.

So I've just got one clip to show you - of possibly my favorite Friends moment. Even if you've seen it before, watch it again - you'll enjoy those endorphins you get from laughing. And if you're too hard-hearted not to laugh, well...this whole argument has just been a moo point.

Friends forever! And speaking of Friends Forever, Saved By The Bell forever! My original favorite teen sitcom will definitely be addressed at some point in the future. Goddamnit, now that's stuck in my head. Might as well be in yours, too:

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

The Thing About Parenthood

I watched the premiere of Parenthood (NBC, Tuesdays @ 10pm) and was pleasantly surprised. That's pretty much what this show is: pleasant. Now, I've never seen Parenthood The Movie, so I don't have any need to to compare the two, but the show does an excellent job of showcasing a multigenerational family - better and more authentic than Modern Family, I must say. And, even though it's a drama, it's often funnier, too (Skype sex, anyone?). Just watch this clip where Julia and Joel try to explain to their borderline-genius child about the birds and the bees. That's how precocious is done, kids.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

THIS is why I watch Gossip Girl

Richard Lawson on Gawker does the most brilliantly hilarious recaps ever. Read the most recent one here.

Oh, man, I am seriously still chuckling to myself.

"She wants to have doing it with Dan."

It's like a poem.

and Fall TV Premiere season is upon us...

Just a heads up: I am going to try to write posts relating to as many of the season premieres (of shows that I watch) as possible, so if you're afraid of spoilers you should wait to check back until you've gone through your DVR/Sidereel schedule/Hulu queue and gotten caught up. I am especially excited for Glee, Community, Castle, The Office (more Michael and Holly??!!), Parenthood, How I Met Your Mother, and the premieres of Boardwalk Empire and Running Wilde.

If there are any other new shows premiering that I should check out, let me know - I've seen most of the previews and it mostly looks like a whole lotta awful (fucking Outsourced, anyone?), but I'm open-minded and have learned that the networks rarely know how to effectively market a good show.

It's a little ridiculous how excited I get for TV premiere season. Hopefully you'll find it infectious. Happy watching!

OMG, it's Gossip G-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Seriously, Gossip Girl is so boring. How is it possible that a show with so many dramatic events - Babies! Shootings! Fountain-pushings! - could be so goddamn dull?

I started watching Gossip Girl because I was home sick for a weekend and had nothing else to watch. The first season did not impress me. The second season got me hooked on Chuck Bass. And now I'm left with no other way to get my CB fix than on Gossip Girl...and now I don't even get to hear him say, "I'm Chuck Bass" anymore? Fail.

I watch Gossip Girl now because it's the beginning of premiere season and I've got my mornings free - and, you know, it's mildly entertaining. But it's seriously a terrible fucking show with terrible fucking boring characters and I really wouldn't recommend that anyone else waste their time with it. And if you're suffering from symptoms of Chuck Bass withdrawal, go watch something with Cillian Murphy or Jonathan Rhys Meyers and get your British dandy needs fulfilled elsewhere.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Ups And Downs Of Modern Family

I just spent the last two days blazing through the first season of Modern Family. You know, this is a good opportunity for me to point out that advertising on television has gotten so ubiquitous and out-of-control that "half hour" shows are actually never more than 22 minutes long (and often closer to 20). This abbreviated format forces shows like this, and The Office, Community, et cetera lose important parts of plot lines and some of the moments that make the show what it is. It's a damn shame, especially since most people fast-forward through commercials or watch TV online these days.

Anyhow, I liked Modern Family, more than I was expecting to from the few episodes I'd seen. However, I'm still not completely sold on it, and I certainly think the Emmy should have gone to Community or Glee or The Office or 30 Rock. But first, let's talk about what I enjoyed.

Obviously, the initial appeal is the multi-generational blended family. The inclusion of a gay male couple with their adopted daughter is really a step in the right direction in terms of visibility of that sort - and the characters are multi-dimensional and do not simply fall into stereotypes (although they do sometimes, just like people in real life). The rest of the family fall pretty easily into traditional sitcom character roles - the perfectionist mom, the cantankerous-yet-endearing grandfather, the dumb and pretty teenage girl, the preternaturally romantic boy - and while it occasionally feels a little tired, the writing keeps these characters fresh. There really is something engaging about modern mixed families like this, and it can be fun to see them through their trials and tribulations.

On the surface, it's enjoyable. But watching the episodes one after another reveals pretty quickly the cracks in the show - something I've never experienced with most of the other comedies I love (see above).