an awesome way to watch TV

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.