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Friday, December 30, 2011

My Favorite Things

I have a problem with "Best Of" lists. I'm not very good at ranking things, and the end of the year always brings these lists where one thing is often ranked above or below a different, almost incomparable thing. Why must I decide which is my absolute favorite? I've been watching a lot of Arrested Development lately, as I am wont to do at this time of year, and I love it so much - but I can't say I love it more or less than something else...I have enough love to go around! Television and I have a polyamorous relationship. So here are my favorite shows, moments, people, and things from 2011, in absolutely no particular order.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

UGH, The Worst! 2011

These are the things that sucked. We hate them. They are all The Worst.

Project Runway

This year, my favorite reality show was effectively killed by the Real World producers. I know, I SAID I wasn't gonna watch any more after last year's Gretchen debacle, but I thought it might get better. It did not. It got worse. SO MUCH WORSE. Anya and Josh were waved through, winning challenges they never should have won, including the entire competition. There's no point in watching a talent show if they disregard all the people with talent. I'll be watching the All-Stars show because it's full of designers that I LOVE (and some that I hate - we'll all know the apocalypse has arrived if Kenley wins PR A-S), but after that I'm out for good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Oh my god, that was possibly the worst episode of Glee I've ever seen. I really think that this time I might be done for good.

Two weeks ago was the Santana debacle, which I can't even go into because it was SO BAD, and the student election BS, which was such an unbelievable plot manipulation that it doesn't even merit talking about because I can guarantee no one on this show will ever mention it again. Last week was sectionals, which was remarkably boring and predictable and the music was all my least favorite kind of Glee music, the note-for-note karaoke cover. Look, karaoke is great, I love it and it is totally the best. But watching professional singers do covers of songs that do not alter the arrangement in any way is flat-out boring. My favorite Glee songs are the ones they've put their own spin on - "Dancing With Myself", "Borderline/Open Your Heart", "Toxic", etc. - and if I do like a straight-up cover, it's because I haven't heard the original enough. But "I Will Survive" was a snooze, and even though I love me some MJ and I liked how everyone got a chance to shine in their medley, it was super dull. I know what "Man In The Mirror" sounds like! And it sounds better when Mark Salling keeps his mouth shut.

Anyway, that's all just to say that Glee has been losing me for a while now. Where are the jokes? Where is the edge? I wish this show had just died a quiet death at the end of Season 1. But sadly, it did not, and last night's episode still exists as a blight on the world.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Dick punch!"

Sometimes, like this morning, I have these dreams where I am hopelessly late for something and even though I try and try to make it right I can never make it there and it is SO STRESSFUL and then I wake up and realize that it is only 9 am and that outside of a dream it is much easier to use my phone.

Sometimes I mean to write a post for ages and ages but it is impossible to get out until I concretely determine that TODAY I WILL WRITE THAT POST. For The League, today is that day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Parenthood & Reality

No Glee recap this week - it was a pretty terrible episode, but not in the funny-terrible way, in the this-is-boring-and-makes-no-sense-like-Season-2 kind of way. Even though Puck is the most adorable and I could listen to him sing Melissa Etheridge and tell Quinn off any day, the rest of the episode was a return to the Season 2 strategy of shoehorning characters' actions in to fit the plot and I won't even talk about the Santana thing because it just didn't make enough sense to really care about.

Anyway, I was just watching last night's Parenthood and thinking again about how much I like that show! It really is just super-excellent. Well-acted, well-written, emotional without being's just great. And in last night's episode in particular I was struck by how realistic the characters are. There is absolutely NONE of that Glee bullshit (and bullshit used by countless other shows) where complex characterizations are thrown out the window in favor of some exciting plot. These are people with REAL reactions to REAL situations, and even though they're not always what we, as an audience, might hope for from the characters that we love, because we love them we are able to understand why they have those reactions. Take Crosby and Jasmine. Oh man I would love for Crosby and Jasmine to get together and be together forever and make more beautiful babies, but I also absolutely understand why that might not be the right thing for them right now. On a lesser show, their dalliance would have had huge dramatic repercussions, but on Parenthood, it is simply an opportunity to demonstrate the ways in which Crosby continues to mature.

I have two big issues with many television characters: (1) that they don't communicate in a normal, helpful way; and (2) that they often seem to have no capacity for forgiveness. TV can often be a world of black and white, where a thing is just WRONG and totally unforgivable. But that's not how the world works! People change, people have great capacity for contrition AND for forgiveness, and I really love that Parenthood shows this. It doesn't demonize characters simply because they make a wrong decision; in fact, almost all of the many characters on the show have made awful mistakes in the past. But the Bravermans, like a real family, are able to communicate and apologize and forgive and try to move forward from a better place. Watching Parenthood is like watching a reality show where the stars don't know they're being filmed - making it greatly superior, at least where authenticity is concerned, than those often boring, fake, narcissistic day-in-a-life reality shows.

If you're looking for a show that has drama but also humor and nuanced, relatable characters, than I can't recommend Parenthood highly enough. Plus, the cast really is phenomenal. How adorable was that scene with Mark and Sarah? SO ADORABLE. I hope that Parenthood has found a strong enough audience to be renewed for another year, because I can't think of another network drama that is as good as this one. Good watching for the holiday season if you need to be reminded that other families are just as crazy as your own. Go forth and watch!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"It tastes like feet!"

Happy Thanksgiving! I am celebrating by watching all the T-Day episodes of Friends, and by reading this excellent article by Emily Nussbaum about Whitney Cummings and the two atrocious shows she has on television right now. Oh, and by eating a ton of food. And by cracking open a bottle of wine once the National Dog Show starts at noon. And by watching this, over and over again:

I am thankful for all of you, and for everyone who reads, or has read, or laughed once at this blog. I am also thankful for Community. #sixseasonsandamovie

Enjoy your days of gluttony, however they might be spent!

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Lights, Camera, Dean!"

So I know that Dan Harmon totally acknowledged the obscure nature and unmarketability of last week's episode of Community. Coming on the heels of Almost The Worst News Ever, that Community will be going on hiatus in January (I'm still in denial about it), Documentary Filmmaking: Redux aptly demonstrated both what an incredible, brilliant show Community is and also how it is too smart for its own good. The shows that make it really big (your Two And A Half Mens, your Family Guys, your Big Bang Theories, your Modern Families) are shows that don't require thought or evaluation; shows that don't challenge the way the audience views television. Community, on the other hand, is all about challenging and evaluating the way the audience views (and thinks about, and writes about) television. One of the reasons it's such an internet darling is that there is so much to dig in to and dissect and really write about. Yes, it's a hilarious show. But it's also intelligent and subversive and character-driven and very, very meta and so the comedy doesn't always come from one-liners. Usually an episode of Community has more jokes than I can put in my Notes & Quotes section, but Documentary Filmmaking: Redux didn't really have very many of those at all. The comedy was either visual (I could watch Jeff be The Dean ALL DAY LONG), a delicately-handled long-term payoff (seeing Luis Guzman wandering the halls of Greendale and standing next to his own statue), or whatever The Dean's descent into insanity was (um, awesome?). Episodes like these are definite third season episodes, where all of the characters and their different capabilities for growth have been established, so they're all just let loose in a crazy situation and we get to see what happens. Episodes like these are proof that television CAN be an art form when given the time and support to explore new realms. TV doesn't just have to be 19 minutes of jokes about celebrities and reinforced gender roles. Documentary Filmmaking: Redux was one of the weirdest episodes of Community yet, and that's why I loved it so much. I know this show has an audience, somewhere out there in the ether - NBC just needs to figure out how to draw in more obsessive, television-loving weirdos like me.

Notes & Quotes

"Stop saying I'm different!"

"Some flies are too awesome for the wall."

"Will your story be yet another sad one about yet another man who just wanted to be happy, or will your story acknowledge the very nature of stories, and embrace the fact that just sharing the sad ones can sometimes make them happy?"
I want that on a poster on my wall, next to a big picture of Abed.

OMG Troy and Britta! I love how their relationship has been quietly, subtly building for almost a year now, and I can't wait to see how it pays off. I hate you, NBC.

Image via TVLine

Monday, November 14, 2011

Worse Than That Time On Cougarton Abbey

This is the worst news of all time. Today NBC announced that Community is being pulled from Thursdays with no set time to return. It is being replaced by 30 Rock, proud owners of one of the most disappointing and uneven seasons of comedy ever, whose star Tracy Morgan still remains an individual who believes it's ok to murder people as long as they are gay and also your children. Whitney, OF COURSE, remains safe for the time being, as it's being switched with Up All Night, which was always the obvious better match up for the Thursday night lineup. And why Community is being smothered when the death-rattling The Office remains in the prime timeslot is absolutely infuriating. Fuck it, this whole thing is infuriating. KEEP LIFE AWESOME! SAVE COMMUNITY!

And now I'm going to go sob into my washcloth, Tobias Funke-style.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Because of the layers?"

Per usual, we're gonna start with the musical numbers. One of the worst nights for music on Glee, y/y? Even if you actually enjoy West Side Story (and are able to ignore all the weird issues of race that the show creates) you have to admit that "America" was butchered all to hell. We'll get to that more in a minute, but first...I think I might have reached my full quota of Lea Michelle singing. As soon as she started with "Tonight, Tonight" I was reminded of back in first season where Tina was singing it and even though she effed up the high note it still sounded better than in this episode. As the episode wore on, I got more and more sick of just hearing her voice. It's not that she's not a technically great singer, obviously she is or we would not be in season 3 of this show, and it's not that I don't enjoy her singing SOMETIMES - but these West Side Story episodes have been very full of both musical theater numbers (which, unless they involve Gershwin or Grease, can often be ugh-inducing for me) and especially musical theater numbers sung by Lea Michelle. It's just boring. But the problem isn't even all with Michelle, it's with the song selection. For the record, The Warblers have never sung a song that I like, but the gag-inducing slaughter they did of "Uptown Girl" was one of the worst. You know who sung that song better? The Chipmunks. There have been five episodes so far and the only worthwhile songs have been Brittany's "Rule The World" and The Troubletone's "Candyman", and guess what, neither of those involved Lea Michelle. Even if you are one of the many, many people who watch this show and like musical theater more than me, you have to admit that the song selection so far this season has been pretty atrocious.


So last year, I posted a few posts about how disappointing How I Met Your Mother had gotten and how it had moved away from the edgy, interesting comedy that I had initially fallen in love with and more towards a traditional CBS sitcom style. There is this one post (you can read it here) in particular that for some reason people have been commenting on for months. Months! And they still are all irate that I said that a show that I love has been declining in quality. Mind you, I never said I hated the show - it's actually a very balanced post, and I am continually flabbergasted that people (a) care enough to comment on a post from MARCH and (b) obviously don't actually read the post because if they did they would know that I really love this show and these characters and what makes me sad is when it feels like they're not given enough to do or that they're not being written well. Ah, well, such is the internet. (Also, (c) I think it's hilarious that somebody commented to defend Ted's dumb house. Sorry, dude, even the other characters think that Ted buying a house was dumb and totally crazy. That is part of the joke.)

Anyway, as I've been watching this season, my thoughts on HIMYM change with every episode. Sometimes Barney makes two really cheap, pretty gross fat-girls-are-ugly-and-sexless jokes before the intro. Sometimes there is Nora (ugh). Last week's Slutty Pumpkin episode was remarkably disappointing (Katie Holmes should not ever try to do comedy). But the addition of Kal Penn has been wonderful, Marshall and Lily have been given more to do this season, and even Ted is more bearable for whatever reason (maybe because he's not the main character most of the time anymore?). And then sometimes there are episodes like "The Ducky Tie" that are so great (let's hear it for bottle episodes!) that it renews my hope for the series. "Disaster Averted" was one of those episodes.

"What's Tron?"

Ok, I know, I KNOW that it is now Wednesday and I promised this post forever ago but hey, sorry I can't be perfect at everything and instead of writing this post I did real-life-adult things like go to a bar and meet someone and then the next night I went to (gasp!) two bars, only one of which was cool and then I spent the next day resting so that I could get my swerve on on Monday. And now I am on the verge of being sick but am double-fisting fluids because damn this guy is hot and kind of looks like young Clint Eastwood crossed with Matthew Mcconaughey and I would like to tap that again right quick alright alright alright. So you're in luck, because this morning I am resting and am hoping to get at least three posts done before work, so here goes!

I really enjoyed "Advanced Gay", but that doesn't mean it didn't have its issues. Queerness has often been the Achille's Heel of my favorite show; it's like they want to be pro-gay but don't really know how to do that and still be funny. I did really enjoy the episode with Britta's lesbian confusion, but other than that the most visible gay character is the Dean, and he has always been presented as more of "pansexual imp" than as a traditional gay man. Which I like! Sexuality is weird and funny, and I do really like that they haven't put Dean Pelton into a stodgy, stereotypical box. There have been some criticisms of this episode that there weren't any "serious" gay characters represented, to which I say, are there any serious characters of any type represented on this show? No. Also, no, there weren't any lesbians, but that's because lesbians have no urgent need for the cleanliness brought about by Hawthorne Pride Wipes - that was the storyline, and it flowed with about as much sense as this show can manage. I also like that Abed, the most rational and least crazy of all, is neither grossed out by gay sex or weirded out by gay dudes (remember when Paul F. Tompkins was on? "I just really really like talking about Farscape" is one of my favorite lines ever. Substitute 'Community' for 'Farscape' and you could put that on my tombstone.). In fact, it's always been a matter of contrast to show the disconnect between Pierce and the others in the group when Pierce calls them all gay all the time. But I didn't think that this episode was Advanced Gay at all...more like Remedial Gay, I'd say. And it wasn't even Pierce's behavior that bothered me - it makes perfect sense that his narcissism and greed would help allow him to move beyond decades of entrenched homophobia, at least superficially - it was Shirley's. The Christian thing gets harder and harder to swallow (remember when her horror story was about THE RAPTURE? How can I relate or even like a character who believes in The Rapture? UGH.), and when she says things like "choose to be gay" or "They may live in defiance of the lord but I'll die before I let a woman touch my hair" it is just plain bothersome. I know it's part of the joke that she believes these stupid things, but I just don't like them being given any credence at all. I hope that one (or both!) of her sons turns out to be gay, and then Malcom Jamal Warner can come on the show and maybe Shirley can actually learn something for a goddamn change.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Where's all the faces?"

Ben Wyatt, stop breaking my heart.

Both Community and Parks & Recreation showed spectacular episodes last night, but we're going to start with Parks & Rec for the arbitrary reason that I had a dream last night that Leslie Knope kidnapped me and took me to a party where Britta was trying to make out with me but only so she could impress Jeff. It was a weird dream.

A few times every season in both Community and Parks & Rec, there will be an episode that is still hilarious, yes, but that also transcends hilarity to bring real emotional depth to the characters and serves to draw the audience deeper into the story purely on the basis of the connection the characters are making. "End Of The World" was one of those episodes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Glee

Glee is back! This season has been really interesting so far, because it has gotten both better and worse at the same time. Better because there are actual character arcs and storylines that carry through from week to week instead of plots just shoehorned in to whatever that episode's theme is; and worse because some of those storylines are kind of dull and the music selection has been mostly bleh. Sometimes it's not even the selection, but the execution - "It's Not Easy Being Green" is actually a beautiful, poignant song that I love, but putting the Irish kid in a bunch of ugly green shirts and then having him warble (not particularly well, I might add) along to a tinny backing track and totally, gruesomely murder my favorite line ("And green can be cool and friendly-like") is not the way to win me back after three weeks of an excess of musical theater numbers. In fact, I might as well be upfront and say that the only song worth anything (and the first song this season I've thought about downloading) was the Troubletones' "Candyman". That shit was fantastic, and I really like where that storyline is going. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wherein The Wire Crushes All Hope

Oh, jesus. This blog. I love it so much, but sometimes it's hard to decide what to put here. Television hasn't been that great in the past week - I mean, sure, Bored To Death has been fantastic, you should all watch Bored To Death. Boardwalk Empire is having a much better season, due entirely to the awesomeness of Sexy Richard Half-Face. I watched the first episode of Downton Abbey Season 2, which was beautiful and amazing and everything I wanted it to be and I will post on it very soon but I don't want to ruin it for those people who don't watch all their tv on the internet and actually wait for things to air on a regular television set. All I'll say is that the Dowager Countess does NOT disappoint. I was going to write about Up All Night and how it is definitely the best new comedy of the season but then time got away from me and all of a sudden it is Wednesday and I decided I can write about that tonight or tomorrow but just saw there's no new episode this week. Speaking of lack of newness, I finally decided I was gonna do Glee recaps and then stupid baseball happened and is still happening and hopefully there will be a new episode to make fun of very very soon. And then I WAS going to write about How I Met Your Mother but this week's episode was decidedly lack-luster and oh man do I hate Nora but I hate even more the implication that Robin and Ted might get back together because ugh, let's leave that dead horse to be dead on the ground without beating it any more, shall we? So - now you can imagine all the alternate timelines wherein I actually wrote about those things, and we'll move on from there in this, the best and most real timeline (the evil version of me definitely lives in the HIMYM one).

I'm almost certain that part of what has been causing my blogger's ennui is that I've been watching a lot of The Wire. It took me a really long time to actually want to watch the show, because I have issues with anxiety and depression and mostly The Wire looked like an incredibly dark and depressing show about drugs and corruption. And guess what? Turns out The Wire is an incredibly dark and depressing show about drugs and corruption. That's not to say it's not good. Obviously it's good. But I don't think it's so much for people like me who lovelovelove comedy and think that every great drama should include a little levity (remember when Ms. Blankenship died and they had to wheel her out of the office without the clients seeing and Harry is all "My mother made that afghan!"? That's what I'm talking about.), and those who are also just naturally anxious people. WARNING: do not read any further if you have not seen The Wire and think that you might someday want to, because I'm about to get all kinds of spoiler-y up in here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"It's a fancy party, Britta"

I've watched last week's episode of Community, "Remedial Chaos Theory", three times now. While it has been pretty much unanimously voted by The Internet as A Very Cool Thing, what I like most about it isn't necessarily the alternate timeline structure (though obviously that is awesome) but that this episode made clear the point that we're at with all of the characters. "Remedial Chaos Theory" wouldn't make much sense at all if it was one of the first episodes of Community that you'd seen, because each timeline is affected by the person being removed from the situation. And each timeline, even if only the seventh one really happened, reveals so much about the potential each character carries for the rest of the season.

It makes complete sense that the darkest timeline is the one where Troy leaves. Troy is a great stabilizing force for good, and should never be left behind.

So what did we learn? That even though Jeff and Annie have chemistry, they both feel weird about the age difference. That Pierce still struggles with being a horrible person, but occasionally the non-evil part of him wins. That Shirley still struggles with her identity because she is an un-hip mom baker, and thinks that the only way she'll fit in is if she plies everyone with food and disgusting pizza. That Abed is awesome (not so much a lesson as a reminder). That Annie really needs to find a new place and maybe Chezz Trobed is that place. That Britta is a stoner (duh-doy), that Troy is adorable and needs a girlfriend (DUH-DOY), and that Britta and Troy are totally gonna get together as I have been saying they would ever since that episode last season with the acting class I am a genius HUZZAH HUZZAH! And finally, that when Jeff isn't around to be too cool for school, fantastic dance parties happen and everyone is happy. Too cool for school only gets your arm cut off, Jeff. That is really the takeaway lesson here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

NEWSFLASH: New Tim Allen Sitcom Is Unfunny; Remarkably Offensive

Linda Holmes tells it like it is. Preach!

"Who ARE these people?"

Ok, let's see. With so much tv happening these days, I keep getting overwhelmed and putting off posts that I want to write until it's pretty much too late to write them. So I'm just gonna make a list of points and go down it, as I am wont to do.

- After re-watching last week's Community, I take back whatever I said about it in my last post. It was great. Everyone was great. The Chang part was a little weird, but I'm past it. Omar was great, like always. Danny Pudi's facial expressions and Donald Glover's line delivery were, like always, the best. Strike that and reverse it, and they're still The Best. "Second paintball."

- I have watched the first two episodes of House out of curiosity but man have they lost me now. I really just don't have time for the same old bullshit and House's hair is ugly and although I find Charlene Yi charming she is a terrible actress and not made for network tv and really that show is just SO BAD! So bad.

- How I Met Your Mother is actually getting better this season! I mean, it's still not up to Swarley par, but it's much better than last year. Bringing Kal Penn on was a great idea, and definitely brings some tension to the Barney's wedding plot point even though obviously Barney and Robin are getting married but also obviously they have to do something interesting to get us there. So. Good news! Also loving the Ducky Tie. That whole episode was great and boobariffic and would have been perfect had it not been for Victoria whom I despise.

Friday, October 7, 2011

"This seems to be going the usual amount of gross."

It is a goddamn travesty that I haven't written about Parks & Recreation yet. I actually started a post last weekend, but I was traveling and sleep-deprived and just couldn't find the time to finish it. But that doesn't mean that Cool Beans Ron and Pants! Pants Pants Pants Leslie weren't my favorite thing about last week, because they totally were. Because this show is the best.

In all seriousness, it is such a close call as to what I think the best current network comedy is, Parks & Rec or Community. Usually Community squeaks out on top, but Parks & Rec just fills me with such joy that I don't want to relegate it to second place. So let's say for the most part it's a tie. However - last night, Community wasn't bad, but it wasn't my favorite episode (a little too mean without enough self-deprecation), and Parks & Recreation was just GREAT so we're gonna talk about how great it was RIGHT NOW.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"You have to get on your knees to start it"

Am I going to write about the Arrested Development news? Of course I am.

Let me start by saying that of course this is incredible news and I am crazy excited and any situation that includes not only an Arrested Development movie but ALSO new episodes is pretty much my dream situation and I will freak the fuck out if that day ever arrives. BUT. Nothing is certain yet. They still have plenty of begging and pleading and bureaucratic hoops to jump through before all of that magical stuff can get made, and we all know that bureaucracy was designed to crush all that is good and wonderful in this world. I am holding out hope that everyone involved will see how many bazillions of dollars this much-anticipated project is worth, and just greenlight Mitch Hurwitz to create something amazing and dream-fulfilling and perfect and basically just make my brain explode with euphoria. But until I hear that they have started production, I'm keeping most of my excitement under wraps, because otherwise the disappointment of this NOT happening might crush me.

In other news, I think it might be time to resurrect Motherboy. It's been way too long since I spent two to three marvelously stoned and cozy days watching the entire series with my incredibly awesome friends. Arrested Development is so brilliant - I've watched all three seasons probably eight times at least - and it's a testament to the greatness of the show how well the comedy has held up. Universe, bring me more episodes, please. And at least one extended George Michael/Maeby/yay-we're-not-related make-out scene. I am not essing around.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"It's an awful waste of a lot of good tablecloths"

Man, so that was actually an awesome episode of Boardwalk Empire. I mean, this is what they did last year - started out strong and then quickly got slow and boring and kind of lame. But the premiere episode opened up a lot of promising new storylines, and I'm actually excited to see where they take us, which is a nice surprise.

Let's tackle them one by one, shall we?

Well, Omar AKA Chalky got hit by the KKK (I know a call a lot of things The Worst on here, but let's face it, the KKK is actually THE WORST hands down), which appears to be orchestrated by Jimmy's dad (The Commodore? The Commander? Something like that.) This is the one piece that doesn't sit well with me because Chalky is my all-time fave on this show and this development seems to hint towards less Chalky and less of the black perspective in general, which is not good. More Chalky! Let my Chalky go! Anyway, this is part of Jimmy's dad's plan with Eli and Jimmy to edge out Nucky and take back Atlantic City. Good luck old man. There was a real creepy scene in his game room where he talks about how the bear thought he didn't have to be afraid of him and then he shot him in the stomach. Not a big stretch to realize that Nucky is the bear.

Jimmy married his baby mama and they are living in a creepy Oedipal house with Jimmy's mom, who admitted that she used to kiss his "winky" when she changed his diaper. (A) Gross, and (B) GROOOSSSSSSSSSSS. Jimmy's wife (Amelia or something? I can never remember these people's names) is understandably skeeved. I am rooting for Sexy Half-Face and her to get together; that scene of him gluing the pictures of families, lovers, and children into the bible was my favorite scene of the whole episode - so poignantly tragic and beautiful. That actor, whoever he is, is incredible. More Sexy Half-Face! Meanwhile, Jimmy continues to reject Nucky for reasons that aren't entirely clear, possibly because I kind of stopped paying attention to this show halfway through last season. Did Nucky try to kill him? Or is it just because he wouldn't give him enough responsibility? I've not no idea, but it doesn't really matter. Nucky is hurt because he pretty much raised Jimmy and cares for him, but Jimmy is selfish and also clearly has HUGE parental issues being that his mom is a creepy whore who is only 13 years older than him and his dad is The Worst. So Jimmy puts Nucky's gift of the statue of the man and the boy bonding over a dead deer in the closet and symbolically turns out the light.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"We are trying to help you!"

This is gonna be one huge post wherein we discuss the four new shows I managed to watch this week. If I was Zooey Deschanel's character on New Girl, I would probably take this space to sing an annoying little song going all *it's gonna be awesome* in a random squeaky voice. Thankfully, I am not. I am me. So we will proceed with dignity.

New Girl

I did not come to this show expecting it to be anything other than an obnoxious vehicle for Zooey Deschanel's particular Etsy-store-non-brand of obnoxiousness. And it definitely did not disappoint. I mean, even that cast photo just screams, "I AM THE MOST ANNOYING!" I will admit that I found myself laughing a couple times (though I can't remember those times and I didn't take notes and lo siento, I'm not going back to watch it again). But I'm pretty sure those times were all in the first five minutes. From then on it was just your average look-at-the-differences-between-men-and-women-isn't-that-hilarious bullshit. Not even the presence of Hot Cop Leo from Veronica Mars could forgive how dumb and tired this show is. And the singing! OH DEAR LORD STOP SINGING. I don't care if you like her band, the fucking little "I'm awkward" songs are not cute stop singing this show is turning into a Mandy Moore movie circa 2004 except with worse singing just STOP. Also I know exactly where it is going because clearly she's going to fall for the romantic one and then sleep with the sexy one and eff it up and the black one will yell but never really be a romantic interest because it seems like Fox and CBS are reluctant to do interracial relationships, at least between black people and the vast hoardes of white people that populate their scripted shows (Tell me I'm wrong. Mercedes and Sam the white boy were together for about half a second before he had to leave so she could date a big, fat, black dude (nothing against those types of dudes, I am actually really into them, call me, Ruben Studdard!) because we should all only date our own kind. I am literally begging someone to tell me I'm wrong about this). And along the way there will be so much bad singing and so many terrible girls-in-glasses jokes. So, I gave this show a chance and now I am done because heterosexism and racism and just yuck. It really does prove to me how dumb Zooey Deschanel must be IRL because I can't believe she would read this pilot script and be like, "This is definitely going to be my next career move and it will be the best career move anyone has ever made." To sum up: this show should not exist, and you can blame Zooey Deschanel for the fact that it does.

Okay, fine, one Quote

"Boobies Johnson. Two Boobs Johnson. ....Tiger Boobs!"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Classic Schmosby!"

Ok, before I start getting into the specifics of How I Met Your Mother's first two episodes, I want to mention the two-episode premiere fad that swept the networks this fall. Not to be confused with actual hour-long episodes, a format that I usually love because it allows comedies to stretch their legs a little, these are two disparate episode shown back to back. However, only one is technically the premiere. The second is, by the rules of logic, the second episode of the season. It is therefore, with no exceptions, a sad let-down after the momentum-carrying excitement of the first episode. The first episode sets the stage and is designed to push us towards the new and hopefully captivating themes of the unfolding season. But it needs to be allowed to unfold, and given room to push. Unfailing, from HIMYM to Modern Family to The Big Bang Theory, these double premieres guaranteed ratings, but also negative comparisons from critics. It's not that the second episodes were all that bad (though they kind of were), but the juxtaposition couldn't help but reflect poorly on them, like a mediocre comic who is made to follow Louis CK.

ANYway, How I Met Your Mother didn't have a great night over-all, even if you average it out. The wedding episode (and can I just say DUH-DOY BARNEY AND ROBIN ARE GETTING MARRIED I called that a year ago and drawing it out to be some sort of mystery is dumb) was not great. Other than drunk Marshall (who is fabulous) and occasional bits of Barney, it was pretty lame. And TWO fat-women-are-ugly jokes before the intro? Gross. Just real gross and lazy, writers. I mean, Robin was great except her TERRIBLE dress was super distracting. But remember that momentum I was talking about before that a premiere is supposed to provide for the forthcoming season? Yeah, this didn't really have it. Oh sure, pregnancy, and Barney and Robin not getting together and then totally getting together, and Ted and - we'll get to that.


In case you couldn't tell, these premiere posts are coming in no particular order whatsoever - just the order that I get around to watching them twice to take notes.

So The Office wasn't bad, was it? I mean, it wasn't the best, but it was pretty consistently The Office-like and that is never a terrible move. But I'm unsure how it bodes for this coming season, particularly the moment where Pam breaks down about how she's become older and, let's face it, a little boring. Either she's stick stolidly to this new role she's been growing into, or she will take on Robert California (great name)'s challenge to prove him wrong. I'm hoping real hard for the latter.

In terms of everything else, I'll just break it down. I think they made the right call with Andy as boss, as he is the natural successor to Michael Scott and kind of the anti-Ryan (an untalented salesman with potential as a manager but for good, not for evil). There was not enough Dwight in this episode, but the perfect amount of Kevin. I'm not a fan of Stanley's catchphrase. Jim is always great, ditto for Oscar and Phyllis and Toby. But oh man, no more weepy Pam, ok? Now, James Spader I have yet to make a firm decision on. He is just SO CREEPY, you know? And only sort of funny sometimes and so I'm waiting to rule as to his capabilities as a dramatic foil to the employees. We'll see - and in the meantime, I have a feeling that I won't mind the wait.

Notes & Quotes

"Don't know, super care."

"Apt. Apt analysis, Robert."

The look on everyone's face as Pam haz a sad.

"Okay, not to point out the glaringly obvious, but does the fact that I'm in this group make everyone feel just a little bit better? ..........Ow, that crust is sharp!"

"But now it is my job, and my prob!"

"I did not know about the sales figures."

"And just to show you that I'm being fair, you had Gabe in the "loser" column...I think that is...astute. Good call."

Image via Daemon'sTV

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"So this is the year we all die."

The difficult thing with writing about Community is that there is simultaneously too much and not enough to say. On one hand I want to talk about everything that happens ever, but to break the show down too much kind of spoils the fun. On the other hand it gets a little tiresome if I just keep saying OMG this show is so awesome I love it so much all the time. Moving forward I will try to find a balance between the two.

OMG this show is so awesome I love it so much! Just, wow. I thought the fantasy opening musical number was a great way to address the viewers in the way that Community is so practiced at, and I really liked that they didn't waste too much time trying to explain why Pierce wants back in the group - of course he wants back in the group, duh doy. There were some important revelations in Jeff's world, when his subconscious finally made the connection that him and Pierce are basically the same guy. After Jeff tries to destroy the table because of its magical powers, Jeff and Pierce have to join forces to bring everyone back together. I know a lot of people were put off by Pierce's terribleness and treachery last season, and I thought this was a very smart way to explain that and let the viewers know that things will be different moving forward.

Oh, and did I mention Omar? My love for Michael Kenneth Williams is well-established, and this show just keeps adding the best actors to its cast. Did you guys know Martin Starr is gonna be showing up sometime soon? And he is obviously fantastic and marvelous and I love him. I literally cannot wait for this season to unfold.

The Abed/Britta/Cougarton Abbey storyline was pretty much perfect, Danny Pudi is The Best and I really want to start watching Cougar Town now. Also, did you know you can find links to the new season of Downton Abbey at Project Free TV? I haven't watched any of it yet because of, you know, my life having to be lived and all, but am very excited to check it out.

And then there's the introduction of John Goodman as the Vice-Dean of the Air Conditioning Repair School And Annex, which I shouldn't have to tell you is just awesome all around. John Goodman is great. Jim Rash is a genius. More Jim Rash is never a bad thing (and I totally called it about him becoming a regular cast member!). The introduction of that plot line, and of the Chang-as-security-guard solution to the Chang problem (Chang is around, Chang wants into the group, but Chang is insane), make for a very promising season.

So hurrah! Community is just the best and my very favorite show. Six seasons and a movie, please.

Notes & Quotes

Chang's money suit!

"We're gonna have more fun and be less weird than the first two years combined"

"We have plenty of linens...we mainly want the things"

" magically keeps our books from falling on the floor" *gasp*

"Don't tell the monkey I'm living here."

Abed's horrified-disbelief re: Cougar Town noise.

"I seen 'Milk'!"

I'm very curious as to what Dalmations are made of.

"I heard about your prescription socks!"

"You are the opposite of Batman!"

Sadly, chapstick cannot un-chap one's soul.

"Can it, Boobs!"


"Sorry, Starface"

"Buffalo Phil...worth the wait"

For all that I complain about Modern Family winning awards and all of that, I do admit that it can be a really great show. The first two episodes (WTF is up will all of the double season premieres? It's like they knew how busy I was and just wanted me to have to suffer through two episodes of The Big Bang Theory) were pretty great, but the first, "Dude Ranch" beat the second hands-down and demonstrated quite clearly the strengths and weaknesses of Modern Family. Namely, the first episode featured pleeeenty of Phil (as well as an exploding birdhouse) and gave all of the characters something to do, except Manny - which is just how I like it. The second episode featured way too much of Clare, my least favorite character, being just obnoxious and terrible and even though that was part of the joke it doesn't matter because ugh. Clare. Go away. Anyway, I thought "Dude Ranch" was funny, snappy, and made me glad to see the show back on. Maybe if they hadn't immediately followed it with a very standard, not-especially-great episode than I would have forgotten about my annoyance at the show trumping Parks & Recreation and Community at the Emmys. But who care about any of this because I am about to watch those shows RIGHT NOW. Let's meet back here with big smiles and lots of opinions in an hour. Sound good?

Notes & Quotes

"In might say that in private."

Lily speaks! Thank god, I was getting worried.

"Just so you know there's a fan in my cabin that sounds like someone crying"

"For what it's worth, my second wife was in high school"

"My french-braiding is 'sloppy'"

"This is a lot nicer than the attic I lived in when we met"

"A childhood without tumbling?!?!?!"

Image via Babble

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Yes I Can!"

So I actually don't have that much to say about Glee. It was inoffensive, not especially funny, but wrapped up some of the loose ends from last season and introduced the themes for this one. The problem is I couldn't sum up the energy to care about most of them. My favorite characters were mostly in the background, even Finn. I don't even know why they're trying to get us scared about Sue shutting down the arts or whatever because that is such an unbelievable plot point it is just ridiculous. I get that it's probably supposed to be hyperbolic political satire, but it just isn't really working. So, you know. Quin has pink hair. Santana is already Big Lesbian Bitch (called it). Tina is a junior. Blaine wears dumb sunglasses. Rachel and Kurt are not as great as they thought they were. Bieste is the best. But tragically, Zizes is gone! It was just a so-so episode that even the fun ending of "You Can't Stop The Beat" couldn't inject with any real passion. I mean seriously, you can't do a Hairspray number and stick the fat girl in an ugly-ass t-shirt and motherfucking jeans. I guess I should just not expect too much from this show, then I won't be as disappointed when it inevitably sucks.

Notes & Quotes

"Pithy banter like "Why does the T-Rex eat the Jew?"

"Me And My Hag"

"What about toast? Bread's already been baked, I don't see why you have to cook it again." (BTW I am firmly pro-toast, it is delicious sometimes I eat too much of it covered in blackberry jam.)

"My erotic tattoo of Ryan Seacrest"

"Sue just passed 'Undecided' and 'Anyone White' in the polls"

That flame at the end of "Anything Goes" and Kurt's little yelp

"Gay high-5"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Don't grow up too much, okay?"

Seriously, guys, I think Castle needs some help. What happened to the fun, quirky, light-hearted crime procedural that mixes a handsome raconteur, a Pantene commercial, and a healthy dose of flirting with wacky murder cases? I wasn't a fan of last season's finale, and I am even less a fan of what seems to be going on here. Whereas before the "my mother was murdered I am the avenger blah blah blah" storyline was merely a side note, now I guess they kind of solved that murder but now there is a secret group of people that are going to kill Kate if they keep investigating the sniper shooting or REALLY THIS IS THE WORST PLOTLINE EVER. I have no idea what's going on and I don't care. Like I said before, I would guess that 98 percent of people who watch this show have continued watching because all they want is for Beckett and Castle to make out. Well this episode was just a big fuck you to the fanbase, because that shit ain't goin' down for a loooooooooooooooong time. Castle is now in its fourth motherfucking season, and really it is just bad writing and production that have it heading in the direction it is now obviously heading - away from Whimsical Flirty Town and towards Painfully Drawn-Out Psychological Dullsville.

Now, I would be able to write this show like gangbusters. Let's go back to last season, forget all that BS with Captain Montgomery and instead just solve the mom's murder simply and with finality. Have Castle be the one who almost gets killed and Kate the one who has to address her feelings for him head on. Then: love, epic make-out scene, preface to fucking, cutaway, and then - oh no, how will they do their jobs and continue to solve crime now that they're banging their faces off all the time? Wait until next season to find out! And then now, we would find out. And it would be adorable and hijinx-y and true to everything Castle has purported to be for three seasons. Instead, Beckett is being a cunty, unprofessional liar who has let this need for solving the crimes related to her life take it over instead of just allowing this BEAUTIFUL MAN to be kind and generous and loving with her. I mean, she's never been a perfect heroine - she's a hard-ass and a straight-up bitch with a cold demeanor and a cruel streak, but the fun was watching Castle break through that and loosen her up. Now that we know just how effing terrible she's been to him and that even though he told her he loved her while she was maybe dying and after he just probably saved her life she has decided to IGNORE THAT and NOT EVEN DEAL WITH IT and seriously what a bastard. This show is so goddamn dark now and that is not what I signed up for and what happened to their writing staff/producers? Were they all fired? Did they all get addicted to heroin? Because I don't know how to explain how crappy and depressing Castle has gotten. Even SVU tends to be more fun than these last two episodes of Castle, and that is a show about, like, the most horrific crimes ever.

F+, Castle. And that's only because Nathan Fillion is still as smoldering and handsome and just the most charming man as ever. Remember when your show's tagline was "Solving murder has never been so much fun?"? BRING BACK THE FUN.

Image via this dumb interview

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In 2011, The Emmys Happened.

For the 63rd time. Here is what came from that happening (and my Twitter feed and YouTube):

- I liked the opening. Jane Lynch is the best. Ron Swanson is The Best. Mad Men is awesome (omg I just remembered I have some great Jon Hamm gossip but that I should not put it on the Internets because that could get the person who blessed my life with this totally adorable and enviable gossip FIRED and then I would feel like the worst because I would totally actually be The Worst. So: if you know me, then ask me about it. But only if you promise not to post it in your blog.). The Big Bang Theory poked fun at their laugh track, but it wasn't enough to make me forget how terrible laugh tracks are and how much better their show would be without one. The Sue Sylvester split-screen was awkward all around. But it ended on a good note, and made me wish I could have watched more of her on-stage banter.

Emmys, Premieres, And One Blogger's Eternal Struggle

The Emmys are tonight, and Monday marks the real return of real television (The CW's fall season minus Gossip Girl started this week, but we don't count that). This means that, in addition to working, studying, and having a life that involves life-size, tangible people, I've got a shit-ton of shows to watch, recap, and opinionate on. Don't get me wrong; I'm super-excited. But just to give you a sense of what I'm up against here, these are the new shows that are showing up on my Sidereel schedule this week:

How I Met Your Mother
Raising Hope
Up All Night
Modern Family
CSI (on Wednesdays???)
Person Of Interest
The Big Bang Theory
The Office
Parks & Recreation
A Gifted Man

And that doesn't even count the summer shows I'm still watching like The Big C and Project Runway, or the shows that decided to do TWO premiere episodes like the effing Big Bang Theory (it's never the ones you hope for), or the shows that already premiered that I haven't watched yet, like Up All Night and Parenthood. So, you can see that it's gonna take me a little while to get through it all, and that posts will, by necessity, hopefully be somewhat abbreviated. It's actually kind of a good thing that the brand new shows mostly look like crap, because otherwise I'd be completely bogged down. I will do my best to watch everything and post in a timely fashion, but some shows' fall evaluations may have to wait until next week.

Now on to The Emmys. I won't say too much about it because most of my frustrations with the whole Emmy system are expressed in this post, but I will say this: The Emmys are broken. I do not, as of yet, have a solution to the problem of how to get Emmy voters to watch more than one or two episodes of a series, but I'm working on it. The system wherein shows submit their favorite episodes for consideration completely ignores the painstaking and incredible continuity work that goes into a show like Community, and instead rewards those shows who display a complete LACK and DISREGARD for continuity, aka Glee. I'm not surprised Glee got an Emmy nom; there were a couple good episodes this past season (if you ignore the rampant biphobia and absolutely awful and nonsensical character arcs for EVERYONE and focus instead on that one time Gwyneth Paltrow sang a Cee-Lo song), but there is no way it was a better over-all season than Community. Or Episodes. Or Archer. Or any number of fantastic shows that did not receive a nomination. This system of selecting single shows for judgment also totally dis-favors shows like Fringe and Lost that have season- or even series-long plotlines. Now, I know it's silly to rail against something as ultimately meaningless as The Emmys, but it really does make me sad when I see programs and actors that I know are great and deserving because I have watched ALL of their episodes lose to programs and actors that I know are equally undeserving because I have suffered through all or most of their episodes (ugh The Big Bang Theory UGHHH). So here's hoping that tonight will be all about Mad Men (The Best), Parks & Recreation (The Best next to the infuriatingly ROBBED Community), and Louie (also just The Best). Down with Boardwalk Empire (unless the Emmy is for set direction), Glee, and The Big Bang Theory! Give the rightly deserving all that they rightly deserve.

Seriously, though, you do not want to be in my house if Mad Men doesn't win best drama for their spectacular fourth season, because it is an indisputable FACT that everything about that show is meticulously awesome and even Friday Night Lights (which I have heard is great and is the only other nominated drama I will even slightly concede to) doesn't have the total package of top-notch writing and acting and directing and costumes and set direction and lighting and cinematography and EVERYTHING that Mad Men has.

My Glee issues do not extend to Jane Lynch, whom I LOVE, and who I am very excited to see host tonight. I love how the major awards shows just get gayer and gayer every year. Here's hoping for some excellent pantsuits.

Ok, I'm off to get some sun and live some semblance of a life before the season of opinions officially begins. Expect outraged commentary in the morning!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Went To Yosemite, Maybe You Saw Me There?

I was the one riding a mule in lime green leggings.

Anyway, that is why I've been absent for eons...well, that, and the fact that I am now working three jobs AND attempting to study for the GRE in a few weeks AND supposedly also applying to grad school even though I haven't really started on any applications yet because of jobs and hiking and studying and all of that. But I'm going to, I promise. Additionally, there hasn't really been any significant tv to talk about, and I know I'm gonna have crazy work ahead of me real soon what with it being premiere season and all, so some slack is gonna have to be cut. Don't think I don't wish I could just write in here all day about what a dick Gay Ryan Reynolds is being on Project Runway, because that's the dream, friends.

(A terrible, tiny, total dick, in case you were wondering.)

I will try my best to keep writing about what interests me, and doing recaps for whatever shows I decide to recap, but I'll warn you right now: there are almost no new shows on the networks' fall schedules that interest me very much. That Ben Linus show. Alcatraz. POSSIBLY that show with Kat Dennings or that show with Will Arnett. And that's it. I'll be keeping my ear to the ground to try and find something that's any good, but I'm afraid that the disparity between quality television and terrible television is following the same exponential growth pattern as the wealth gap. I know that nobody else misses Mr. Sunshine because nobody else watched it, but it was great and I miss it a lot and can only imagine how much better it would have fared with a fall premiere instead of a shitty mid-season horn-in. Anyway, I'll still be watching all my shows from last year, and I can't wait for the new seasons of Parks & Recreation and Community. The Office....ehhhhhh, not so much, but we'll talk about that when we get to it. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the finales of Wilfred and Louie (I did, but not as much as I enjoyed other episodes from earlier in both seasons) and that, like me, you are using this much-needed television lull to FINALLY start watching The Wire (which is pretty awesome and very cynical and while not yet as perfect as some might have led me to believe, still very entertaining and smart). Despite my busy schedule, I am here to stay, do not worry! I know you were SO worried.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

GGG Is Officially Team "The Hunger Games"

So I feel like I should let you guys know that I am officially a huge Hunger Games nerd. This week I read Catching Fire and then Mockingjay in literally a day and a half. I mean, finally there's a young person trend I can get with! Something that involves archery and political dystopian sci-fi instead of vampires! And a heroine who has a personality and is interesting and complicated and deals with actual scary problems instead of just a mopey sullen generic blob with too many boyfriends.

Seriously though, the books are well-written, gripping, and, unlike some other YA trilogies I could mention (cough His Dark Materials cough), the series ends on an entirely satisfactory and well-earned note. For those of you who, like me, are feeling the Harry Potter void now that the last part of the last movie of the last book is finally out, you should start reading The Hunger Games RIGHT NOW because OMG you will instantly feel much less empty and your nerdy sadness will start to dissipate. Weirdly, I don't know anyone else who has read the books (or at least anybody who's mentioned them to me), and my friends are, aside from 14-year-olds, definitely the key demographic here (politically-disillusioned twentysomethings trying to evade the grasp of real adulthood for as long as possible). So for starters, that's my recommendation. Go read the books! I already want to read them again but will have to get back into the MASSIVE hold lines at the library.

Secondly, and I know I am RATHER late to the game but whatever, I am poor and get books from the library and that entitles me to belated opinion posts, but the casting for the movie looks great, y/y? I have never seen Jennifer Lawrence in anything but she is hot and bad-ass and looks the part in the pictures I've seen. Josh Hutchinson is great, adorable, and very Peeta. Thor (with the muscles toned down so as to account for a starvation-based economy) as Gale, yes, great. Donald Sutherland as President Snow, of course, obviously. At first I was like, Woody Harrelson? But then realized he looked exactly like the Haymitch in my head, albeit a little taller. Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, yes, yes, yes. The only name that really made me go HUH? was Lenny Kravitz. I mean, I know he's coming off his breathtaking turn as The Only Attractive And Nice Man in Precious, but I feel like Cinna is a key role that has a lot of unspoken feeling and nuance to it and I hope the pretty boy is up to the challenge. Lenny Kravitz. Ha.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why I'm Quitting Weed(s)

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh Nancy. I just can't do it anymore (is what I wish Andy was saying in this picture).

I have tried, really I have, to recap these past two episodes. But I just don't have it in me any more. Nancy has always been a character with a lot of flaws and things to dislike about her, but over the seasons she has maintained an aura of charisma that helps the audience to understand why people keep doing things for her, keep falling in love with her, and why, against all rationality, she has not yet been murdered. That charisma or whatever it was is now gone. In its place is the human embodiment of selfishness walking around on two skinny little legs.

All Nancy does is bring bad shit to those around her. It has been so sad to watch Andy with his dreams of legitimacy and of establishing a life for himself outside of Nancy's sphere of control just get completely fucked over. I'm tired of her being able to fuck her way out of any situation. I'm tired of her being, as my friend Michaela put it, just "a doe-eyed vagina". She treats everyone in her life terribly, using them for personal gain at every opportunity, and there's no redeeming aspect left to her. Sure, her sister is awful, but is the audience really supposed to want Nancy to get her third kid back when she continues to use and abuse the two she already has? When Weeds started out, yes, she was doing something bad and yes, there were unlikable aspects of her character, but she was fighting against the white suburban system of privilege or whatever and she had a dead husband and kids to feed and it was easy to root for her. Since they left Agrestic her motivation for dealing has become her addiction to danger and dangerous men and that is just UGH. Andy, who is The Best and who singlehandedly saved season 4, is just sad to watch now. Weeds missed an opportunity to get them together and have it be passionate and hilarious, and now the only thing I want for Andy is for him to successfully extricate himself from Nancy's life forever.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"You weren't even in Time Bandits!"

I've been hearing some rumblings lately about how Ricky Gervais has lost his game. Now, Gervais has always walked a somewhat tenuous line with me - it took a few years' time and a second viewing of The Office for me to really come around - but I don't think you can deny that the man can be hilarious, even if his Simon Cowell uniform is quite laughable in a different way. Additionally, I think he's been really smart about the way he's handled things since Extras ended - after making smart choices like casting Louis C.K. in The Invention Of Lying, Gervais has let the spotlight shine on smaller characters, and used his forceful personality to drive the comedy from these supporting roles.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Larry Sanders, Late-Night, & The Greatness Of Rip Torn

I know everyone has been waiting with baited anticipation for my post on The Larry Sanders Show (haha, just kidding, I think I know like one other person who has even seen any of it), so here goes! Wait no longer, friend.

The Larry Sanders Show starred Garry Shandling as a late-night talk show host, and ran from 1992-1998 (yes, my Wikipedia bookmark works!). It covered the filming of the show but was mostly about backstage details and Larry's life. He has a sidekick, Hank, played to creepy D-list perfection by Jeffrey Tambor, and a producer/hetero life partner named Artie, played by the brilliant and inimitable Rip Torn. The celebrities that show up on Larry Sanders are too vast to mention, but the regular cast includes plenty of familiar faces (Janeane Garofolo, Jeremy Piven, Wallace Langham, Mary Lynn Rajskub). The Larry Sanders Show was also where a lot of big behind-the-scenes names built their resumes, including Judd Apatow and Steve Levitan. This is just to show you that in terms of comedy quality, this show isn't essing around.

Larry Sanders was the original Entourage. In fact, it's a lot like Entourage except without the homophobia and the boobs and the terribleness and the (mostly useless unless adorable counts as useful) Turtle. You've got Vince (Larry), E (Artie), and Drama (Hank). There's even a perfect asshole Ari-ish agent played by Bob Odenkirk. What I mean by this is that the show deals very heavily with the showbiz machine (and television and handling the networks in particular), what it's like being a celebrity and having relationships (be they work or friend or romantic, with regular people and with other celebrities), and with the immense amount of ego coddling that can go into being the person who does the least amount of work with the most amount of benefit. Entourage has covered all of these topics (substitute "network" for "movie studio"), but the problem with that show is that, even when it was good, it felt too much like an inside joke. Also, sometimes the entire plot hinges on "Will someone get some really special, expensive thing/vacation/pussy?" and that is boring and no, not aspirational. I would rather see a celebrity pretend to have been to rehab in order to get out of being embarrassed and then develop an actual addiction and have to be guided through detox by Roseanne any day.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Sometimes goodness attracts its own temptations"

At first I thought Luther was a show about Martin Luther, in the vein of The Tudors or The Borgias (Man, I watched an episode and a half of The Borgias, that shit was AWFUL. No offense, Jeremy Irons, but you are terrible in pretty much everything except The Lion King. Actually, offense.). So how pleasantly surprised was I to learn that it is nothing of the sort, but instead an incredibly intense but awesome crime procedural starring Idris Elba as a mentally unstable DCI named John Luther? Quite pleasantly, I can assure you. Now Luther quite clearly owes a lot to Vincent D'Onofrio's Detective Bobby Goran on Law & Order: Criminal Intent (which sadly just ended its 10-season-long run with quiet, understated elegance and some great guest stars); they both have mental health and anger issues and they both have a strange, quasi-sexual relationship with female sociopaths. But since Luther is Luther and Bobby's story was part of a Law & Order franchise, much more weight is given to John Luther's personal life and motivations.

The series opens with Luther allowing a serial killer and pedophile to fall to his death. However, he doesn't die, and his coma hangs like a threat over the show. Seven months pass and soon we learn that Luther's part in the fall has been seriously questioned but found to be ok or by the book or whatever, and that he is estranged from his wife, whom he loves passionately. And that's all I'm going to give away. This is a show that builds, sometimes delicately and sometimes quickly and furiously, but there is always an emotional payoff, even if it isn't quite where you think it'll be.

The crimes they work on are usually incredibly violent and gory. The first episode has about five scenes where we are shown a dog with its face shot off, which is five scenes over my threshold for seeing murdered dogs; but the violence isn't gratuitous, it is used carefully to provoke your emotions or to further the story. Yes, sometimes I have to hide my face in my hands, but the rest of the show makes it totally worth it. The crimes take unexpected turns, and often say more about the detectives solving them than about the criminals themselves. And we are constantly reminded of Luther's own murderous impulse and left to guess as to what his exact capacity for violence is. However, even when beating a door to splinters in his ex-wife's home, Luther remains a sympathetic character.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Involuntary dumb-assery?"

It's so nice to remember that Weeds does have a memory, and a pretty good one at that. I didn't do last week's recap because it was basically blah blah Wall Street bullshit blah blah HEYLIA! So there you go, recap managed. This week opened right where last week left off, with Heylia shooting at Nancy and Silas who have managed to obtain a detailed map of where her Humboldt pot farm is? From Conrad? On Facebook? Yup. Ok. Good luck with that but you probably won't need it because I'm sure that in real life it is super easy to navigate the complex and dangerous not to mention completely off-grid and backwoods-folk-riddled areas of Humboldt where people grow massive amounts of weed. Just kidding that is absolutely not true have fun dying because people will shoot at you even if you aren't the white bitch who drove them out of town. ANYways, then Dean is there, and there is something romantic and then there isn't and then there IS, with some adorable hand-holding at the end, but mostly Dean is just there because he is the Turtle and so he does some Turtley, Deany-type things, but first somehow he gets Heylia to put down the gun (and hatchet) and invite the crazy white people in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lauren On Conan

So Monday I went on my grand Conan adventure.

I picked up my friend Matt, a comedian and USC grad who writes this awesome blog which you should all be reading, and we headed over to the Warner Bros studio in Burbank. We parked and then went down to the check-in area, which was on the ground floor of the parking structure. "That sucks," you might be saying, but it was shady, with cold water to drink and bathrooms and benches and even a smoking area out back for those so inclined. When we arrived we were given a number (18), so we didn't have to stay in a line or anything and Matt and I, after a failed attempt to walk to Forest Lawn Cemetary, hung out and shot the shit talking television and comedy and LA life for a few hours until it was time to go to the studio.

As we lined up in order and started walking two-by-two, the pages kept calling out "Team Coco, stay to the right!", which I thought was a fun touch. We weren't just there to fill seats and applaud when prompted or to be on Lopez Tonight, we were on a team and we were fighting for something! What were we fighting for? I'm not sure. Conan's right to be awesome and hilarious, perhaps? Sure. Let's go with that. Anyway, Team Coco was herded past a bunch of Star Waggons (that is how it is spelled) and into another waiting pen, where we chilled for about 15 minutes before being led past the stage where The Big Bang Theory is filmed and into stage 20-something. The first thing I noticed, besides a giant, upside-down Quaker Oats canister, was the security guard who looked like Andy Richter crossed with the crazy Quaid brother (...Randy?). I don't know if he's Andy's brother or if they hired him because it'd be funny, but either was funny. Then we were led into the studio.

Friday, July 22, 2011

!Feliz Cumpleaños A Mi!

Today is the one year anniversary of girl glows green. I really should be getting to bed soon, because unlike last summer when I was spending all day getting stoned in my sublet and watching 21 Jumpstreet and had ample time to write blog posts, this summer I actually have what one might call "a life", as well as "a job", and "vacation time". Which basically translates to "I've been having an awesome summer", but that doesn't mean that I don't wish I had the time to write everything I've been wanting to write whenever I'm inspired to.

Am I supposed to say something meaningful to mark this occasion? Sure, why not. I have watched a lot of television over the year. Below you'll find the updated version of The List, a comprehensive catalog of every TV show I've watched the entirety of (not every show I've only seen once or twice, that list would be insanely long and equally boring). But I love doing it. Of course, not every show is The Best, but usually moments of brilliance can be found in anything, even if it's as pedantic as Wings or The Big Bang Theory or Ice Loves Coco. And as much as I love watching television, I love writing about it almost as much. This blog has inspired me to finally get off my ass and figure out what I want to do about grad school, and it turns out what I want to do is get a Masters in Critical Media Studies. Hopefully I can also take some classes that will teach me how to do more on the internet then just stream videos and read celebrity fashion blogs, because if you haven't noticed I'm not so great at anything besides the actual writing of these posts. If there are lots of pictures or video involved, it can take me hours. Anyway, I make no money from this, but derive lots of joy from helping people discover new shows, inspiring critical discussions, and from making you laugh. If you read this blog, even if you've only glanced at it once or twice, I really appreciate your support. And, as always, if you want my perspective on something, just leave a comment or find me on Twitter - I am usually happy write specific posts by request. It's a family operation here at girl glows green, and by that I mean it's just me, and my bed, and my pair of Troy & Abed In The Morning mugs. I hope you guys will stick with me through the summer vacation drought, because I'll be coming back in the fall full-force, with plenty of opinions about EVERYTHING.

PS: Have you forgotten that I'm seeing Conan on Monday? No? You're on the edge of your seat, aren't you? Look, I know it is pretty much not a big deal, but that does not mean that it is not going to be AWESOME. Write-up will be posted no later than Wednesday, I promise! XOXO girl glows green

The List

(Series with at least 60% viewed multiple times will be marked with an *; series still making new episodes get a +)

30 Rock+
The Adventures Of Pete & Pete*
Ally McBeal
Arrested Development* (at least 6x)
The Big Bang Theory+
The Big C+
Boardwalk Empire+
Bob's Burgers+
Bored To Death+
Britain's Next Top Model+
Cold Case+
Dawson's Creek* (at least 5x)
Dead Like Me
Detroit 1-8-7
Downton Abbey+
Flight of the Conchords*
Freaks & Geeks*
Gossip Girl+
Head Case
How I Met Your Mother*+
In Treatment
The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret
The Larry Sanders Show
Law & Order
Law & Order: SVU*+
Law & Order: CI*
Lie To Me
Mad Men*+
Modern Family+
Mr. Sunshine
News Radio
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Northern Exposure
The Office*+
Parks & Recreation+
Party Down*
Persons Unknown+
Project Runway+
Project Runway Canada+
Pushing Daisies
Queer As Folk
Raising Hope+
The Riches
Rock of Love
Royal Pains+
RuPaul's Drag Race+
Scrubs (Although I stopped watching before they switched to ABC, I still think it counts. That shit got awful.)
Sex & The City
Six Feet Under
Skins (UK)
The Sopranos (technically - I skipped the last few episodes because I stopped caring.)
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip*
Ugly Betty
The Unusuals*
Veronica Mars*
The West Wing

PPS: Congratulations, you made it to the end of the post! You deserve to know that I AM still doing Weeds recaps but I had a Google-induced calamity on Monday night so hopefully I'll get something together before the next episode...but don't hold me to it, I'm going to Disneyland on Sunday and turkey legs and princess hats and rollercoasters take precedence over Nancy Botwin's silly antics.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Lifetime of deceit, and so forth"

So, Weeds recaps. I guess this is happening. Get excited!

I came to Weeds for the weed. It was a fun show to get high and watch. But there's more of a reason for why I've stuck with it through everything, defending the show through good times and bad. This new season isn't off to a perfect start, but the characters are interesting, the acting is great, and I've been suspending my disbelief while watching Weeds for so long that it's second nature by now.

This third episode starts with Nancy in drug class (unfortunately, not a place where they teach you about all the best drugs) as a result of her impulsive stoning last week. I can really see how prison has changed her - not just because of shit like that, but in the difference in the way she moves, and the looks in her eyes. Nancy certainly hasn't come out of prison much improved in terms of likability; she still fucks her way into getting what she wants (even if what she wants is just fucking) and is still attracted to terrible, dangerous men. Honestly, would we be in all this mess if she had just gone onto the internet and found herself a dom? Probs not! ANYway, she is taking notes in drug class IN A MOST OBVIOUS FASHION WTF oh yes sorry, I forgot - disbelief is suspended - because we know she wants to start dealing and the best way to do that is to get a pound of weed (yes, a single pound) and then corner the market that the only two drug dealers in New York City (AHAHAHAHAHA) have left vacant. !Buena suerte! !Ten divertido con todo el chingado!

Ok, we are not even 30 seconds into this episode and already it's absurd so I'm just going to keep making fun of it and try to intersperse some insightful commentary along the way.

Remember how Silas' dead dad (that guy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan who looks like RJD) isn't actually his dad? And his dad is a dude named Lars (at least it's not Hans or Franz, giggle)? So Silas is still mad at Nancy, and everyone else is still kinda wtf about it, too, but they're willing to let it slide because, you know, eyebrows and hugs.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Discussion Points!

So it turns out that summer isn't a great time for writing lots of blog posts when you're traveling and have family visiting and are otherwise working full-time. And since Psych is the best show on USA it's not coming back until the fall, and so I haven't had those recaps to write. I should really stop apologizing at the top of every post for my sporadic behavior, but REALLY I should just stop being a slacker and write about the things that I want to write about. So here's a mish-mash of what's been on my mind and my screen lately.

Ice Loves Coco

This is it, guys. We have reached the pinnacle of reality television programming. I'm not really sure what it is about Ice Loves Coco that has me so enthralled, but I do know one thing: Ice sure does love Coco. I mean, if there is one person in this world who loves somebody the most that you can love somebody, it is Ice loving Coco. And the great part is that this isn't some gross Hugh Hefner shit - Coco also loves Ice. That she chooses to express her love by being quite "traditional" and "domestic" is 100% her business, especially since in return she gets all the shoes she can fuck. Maybe it's because Ice-T is awesome, maybe it's because Coco is mesmerizing, but I am certain that this is the best example of the "follow a minor celebrity around their daily life" type of show. That reminds me, I need to go buy my dog a doppelganger coat for her interview with the dog agent to get all the Hollywood dog jobs and whatnot. Good thing I didn't forget, I've always dreamed of my dog having an agent. HAHAHA just kidding famous people are weird and not like me at all even if they do eat hamburgers and wear pants (I don't wear pants).


Louie is back!!! You should watch it. Louis C.K. said on The Daily Show, "You don't have to be smart to laugh at a fart joke, but you have to be stupid not to." I said, just now out loud to myself, "You don't have to be smart to watch Louie, but if you don't I will call you terrible names." So I watch because I don't like to be mean but I also don't make empty threats. Also, because it is awesome. Thursdays at 10 on FX and I only take the time to look up the air times of shows I really think you should be watching SO don't make the 20 seconds it took me to find that out worthless and just watch a great half-hour of comedy, please.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

For Your Reference

Sometimes people ask me, "Do you watch "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia"?" and I have to say no and then they ask me why, and while a small fraction of my answer has to do with my ex-boyfriend, mostly it has to do with shit like this*: "Rob McElhenney had gained 50 pounds just because playing Mac as a fat guy would be funny"

Nope. Go back to satirical television school and take a class from Trey Parker & Matt Stone, please. You lose.

*Also, the first episode I watched dealt quite offensively with the issue of a transgendered woman, and I just couldn't stomach it. No judgment, it's just not for me.

Let's Hear It For The Gays!

Happy Pride, everyone! And happy gay-marriage-is-legal-in-NY! I'm so gonna be dancing my face off tonight. To celebrate, I thought I'd talk about some of my favorite gay television characters. We've still got a long fucking way to go in terms of media portrayal, and I am purposefully ignoring Glee completely on this list - you can go back and read some of my Glee posts if that's what you're interested in, but their characters are so poorly maintained that while I love first season Kurt I kind of hate a lot of second season Kurt and we won't even get into their TERRIBLE track record of biphobia. So. Let's start with a good one.

Alastair/Athena, "Huge"

I have been trying to get everyone I know to watch Huge with me and everyone says, "Yeah, that sounds great," and then we never do. But it is THE BEST, you've just got to start watching and you'll be hooked. Now, not to give too much away, but Alastair is an incredible character. He's super awkward and weird and no one really gets him and he's totally open about finding power in the name Athena and wanting that to be his nickname or whatever and when the jock kid calls him that out of kindness and acceptance you will CRY and if you don't you are made of permafrost. Anyway, what's great about Alastair is that he is pretty much the embodiment of "Questioning". He's totally queer but is still figuring out what that means and even though he may have curiosity about guys he's got it about girls, too and is really just trying to be himself and find the best way to do that. He's not afraid to be genderqueer and embody the feminine along with the masculine and most of all he doesn't want people making assumptions about him based on what they see or hear. Alastair is one of the main reasons why Huge is so great, and probably one of the main reasons it was cancelled, lest teenagers realize it's ok to be whoever they want to be or some other TERRIBLE lesson like that.

I should just end this list now, because it just can't get any better than that.

The Cast Of Will & Grace (minus Grace)

Will & Grace is one of those shows that doesn't really get talked about anymore. I don't think I've mentioned it once in almost a year of this blog. But it really was, for at least the first few seasons, revolutionary, brilliant, and hilarious queer comedy. Sure, there were some issues with stereotypes, but Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes are such great actors that they dealt with those unavoidable roadblocks with grace and dignity. Megan Mullally's pansexual Karen is one of the greatest television characters of all time; they should have ended the show before Harry Connick, Jr came on to ruin everything and created a spin-off called Jack & Karen, because who wouldn't watch that? I remember seeing two men kiss on primetime TV, and how powerful that was for me as a little baby queer with an uncle about to get gay married. I love, love, love Sean Hayes (if you haven't seen Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss, do it NOW) and think he deserves tons of credit for making flamboyance into something more than a limp-wristed caricature and for showing the world that it's ok to be stereotypically & effeminately gay, but that that doesn't mean that's ALL you are. I think it's safe to say that the television world would not be what it is today without Will & Grace.

Chandler & Phoebe, "Friends"

Both totally bi. Like, so bi I've considered writing a dissertation about how bi they are. Really the argument could be made for all of the so-called heteros on Friends, but Chandler and Phoebe are the most obvious about it. I love when Phoebe slips in a sly reference for her love for the ladies and it is totally NBD and that Chandler's queerness just subtly becomes part of who he is.