an awesome way to watch TV

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bob's Burgers Makes Delicious Word Play

Somebody who, unlike me, is able to take awesome screengrabs put together this collection of every burger "special" that Bob's Burgers has featured. I've actually been wanting to do this for a while, but I would also include captures of every failed next-door business (from the title sequence), because those are often just as funny. And much thanks to Videogum for the link and general blogging wonderfulness.

Moral of the story: you should stop complaining about how The Simpsons has gone downhill, and just watch more Bob's Burgers already. It requires no backstory or commitment, except a commitment to making yourself happier by laughing.

Happy Burger-th day! I am totally craving a Hit Me With Your Best Shallot burger now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Like that's any less gay"

Man, when Glee is good, it's very, very good. I mean we all know that when it's bad, it's horrid, but "Born This Way" really was a step up, even from last week. There was a lot of negative feedback from blogland for "A Night Of Neglect" (still the worst title ever), but not in these parts. Oh, sure, it wasn't the best, had too much Gwyneth and was kind of cobbled together, but I'm grading on a curve and it was a hell of a lot better than most of the episodes this season. Additionally, 1 Steven Tobolowsky + 1 Cheyenne Jackson = 0 Gwyneth Paltrows. Anyway, tonight managed to be even better.

CAVEAT: I am still profoundly angry and irritated the way the writers decided to ignore Santana's possibly bisexuality despite her many occasions of professed sexual attraction for men (go back and watch the Britney episode and tell me she's not hot for Dr. Carl). However, since this show is THE WORST at character consistency and has a proven history of biphobia, I'm just going to suck it up and accept that Santana is now a total 'mo, a full-on Kinsey 6, and hope that maybe they can discover some non-hateful nuance when it comes to Britttany ("I think I might be bi-curious"? ARRRRGH. Bi-sexual. If you like or have liked having sex/being in love with boys AND girls you are what is called bisexual. Just. Say. It.). Moving on to the parts that don't make me want to scream epithets at my computer.

Knock, Knock...

Who's at the door? Is it the Ska Boss?

No, you silly!

Friday, April 22, 2011


30 Rock, you have been surpassed.

I honestly can't understand why anyone at NBC would air that travesty of a flashback episode after the brilliant skewering of the concept that Community did earlier in the night. It was a painful 42 minutes to slog through, and more than once I glanced at the clock to see how much time was left. That's not to say that there weren't some bright spots, but for the most part it fell very, very flat.

Fat Southern Boss is threatening to cancel TGS (which 30 Rock pretty much admits is a terrible fictional show - and, I would argue, even worse than Studio 60) and then there is something with Michael Keaton (WTF? Why? I don't care. Go away, Michael Keaton.) and a gas leak and so people start hallucinating and occasionally there are flashbacks and then those stop for a while and return and in between people are hallucinating because that's what gas does to you, I guess? I know this is a call-back to an earlier episode, there were tons of them here, and none of them particularly successful.

And I suppose the main point of the episode, in between Tracy's credibility issue and Jenna's weird pregnancy whatever, was Liz and Jack wishing that they had never met or some such plotless nonsense. It was really just an excuse to fill time, bring back Dennis, and get Alec Baldwin to be four ridiculous Alec Baldwins. But since I did not buy any of the premises of the show whatsoever, I didn't care about the outcome. And other than a few giggles along the way, it felt like work to watch, and that is never a good thing. Certainly not up to their best (even the flashback scenes they chose were kind of mediocre), but 30 Rock has definitely had an uneven 5th season. However, if you compare the number of quotes from this episode to the multitude from "Bird Internet", the stark discrepancy becomes clear. While other people may mourn the impending end of this show, I celebrate it, because if it goes on for much longer it may just become irredeemably bad.

ALSO, that ending speech of Baldwin's about how no one respects television actors: boo fucking hoo, a-hole. That is the same attitude that put The Fucking Paul Reiser Show on the air. You have a bajillion freaking dollars and opportunities I can only dream of, so don't come bitching to me when your rich white a-hole actor friends laugh at you at the fucking Vanity Fair Oscar Party. CRY ME A GODDAMN RIVER, TIMBERLAKE; you don't get to whine about being an outsider when you are playing a role that has won you multiple awards. OR ARE A FAMOUS AND RICH AND SUCCESSFUL ACTOR. Also, everyone knows that there are plenty of ex-movie stars who are part of the quality resurgence of television; you should be glad you're not Gary Sinise. Just shut the fuck up RIGHT NOW and maybe us poor, struggling liberals won't have to beat you up for making us all seem like whiny twats.

The Saddest Notes & Quotes section ever:

"What if we had a child that was prettier than us? We'd have to leave it in the desert."

"That's a giraffe's name!"

For an episode that managed to give some moments to everyone (even the departed Josh), there was a huge Grizz-and-Dotcom sized hole that they didn't even come close to filling.


I'm disappointed, y'all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's a locomotive that runs on US!"

Man, there were so many jokes in tonight's Community, "Paradigms Of Human Memory", that I almost don't know where to begin.

Let's start with the concept of this episode, an obvious riff on the classic sitcom flashback trope. For decades this has been an easy way to get through an episode in the late season lull - you construct the loosest of plots, and then use it as an excuse to show clips. The disappointment felt as a viewer when one thinks they are sitting down to a new episode, only to discover it's shit they've already seen before, is something I am quite familiar with. Community, to my delight, made a flashback episode wherein the flashbacks are stories and incidents we've never seen before, like a trip to an old ghost town. So we're given these new glimpses into the the year these characters have had (like Pierce thinking that making an eagle sound will distract Abed enough that he can steal his fries); instead of tired reminders, we get insight. The characters all act true to themselves, but we catch glimpses, like Shirley's sneaky makeup sale, that enhance our perception of them even further.

That is not to say that there aren't references and call-backs galore. The entire "loose plot" revolves around Chang discovering Annie's Boobs' stash in the vents and then Abed is a computer and figures out that Jeff and Britta have been hooking up and the flashbacks begin. We don't only get new settings, we also get continuations of previously-seen scenes, like Halloween or Christmas (it was awesome to see Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas from the others' point of view). Community is one of my favorite kinds of show, the kind (like Arrested Development) that rewards the dedicated viewer while still providing a high level of enjoyment for those who may not have the time to watch every episode twice and pore over details.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Let me cut to the sexy chase"

Fuck yeah, Glee! I loved tonight's return to form. Oh, I know it won't last, and I'll be back to bitching about it in a week or two, but "A Night Of Neglect" (terrible title for anything) really was awesome.

Let's start with Mercedes FINALLY getting her due. It took goddamn long enough! But it was great how Zizes inspired her to demand the respect she deserved. More of Team Big Girls, please! But I thought that Rachel schooling Mercedes on Aretha was hella condescending and weird. However, WHO THE FUCK CARES because that rendition of "Ain't No Way" was fanfuckingtastic, one of the best songs the show has ever done, and really just straight up awesome. Although Glee can be infuriating and shitty, they do tend to listen to their audience for very short periods of time, and I know that it wasn't just me complaining about the lack of Mercedes this season. Hopefully she won't be allowed to fade away into the background again. The title of the episode (and benefit) was an interesting but obvious tie in to Mercedes herself being the neglected artist, and I think after that, the characters but also the show as a whole are going to have to give her the respect and recognition she deserves.

Seriously - that song. KILLED it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Fiddler, Please!"

I know it really shouldn't take me four days to write a recap, but I am only one person and sometimes even bloggers need a weekend. So! I know I should probably say something about Will Ferrell on The Office, but it wasn't my favorite episode; I'll talk about what's going on there more next week. 30 Rock wasn't the worst, but it wasn't the best, so we'll focus on the two comedies that WERE the best this week.


As we near the end of Community's second season, it's fun to look back and see how far the characters have come. Sure, Chang is still crazy...crazy-fun to have around! Annie and Jeff are still in the full throes of "I love you but you're a terrible person and I need to reconcile my love with your terribleness"; Abed is the guru's guru (beause, as we established last episode, Abed doesn't have any need to change); Pierce, cured of his drug addiction, is still an ass, but he's an ass with emotions! Pregnant Shirley is apparently Hilarious Shirley - even though she wasn't in this episode much she had some of the best lines. And then we get to Britta and Troy.

I have to admit I really didn't see their romance coming, but once it showed up I was immediately on board. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but Donald Glover is leading the pack of the new generation of comedians, and I know he's gonna be around for a long-ass time. He's just SO GOOD, and versatile, and HOT, and can do quiet, subtle one-liners just as well as he can do huge physical comedy. In Competetive Wine Tasting, all of these talents were on display. Anyway, romance. In a call-back to last season (I love this show's commitment to continuity!), Britta and Troy take an acting class at the suggestion of Ms. Geist, their dance teacher. Troy, when asked to access a difficult memory from his past, finds he doesn't have any - so he invents a story about his uncle trying "to put his finger in my no-no!" (I prefer "plop-plop", because if a butt is a no-no, what does that make "no-no juice"?!) Since Britta is damaged, she is attracted to broken men because fixing them takes the focus off of her own problems (we never hear what her big traumatic memory is, do we?), and so Troy immediately becomes her object of desire. Hijinx, proclamations, and kisses ensue, but at the end, when Troy apologizes for making up the story, you can see that he does really like Britta and that maybe this relationship would be healthy for both of them. Just like how Jeff and Annie balance out the immorality/prudishness in each other, Britta and Troy could supply each other with some damaged & crazy/undamaged & crazy balance of their own.

I love how unexpected this show is. I love how in one episode we get an entire class on Who's The Boss, a racist Asian girlfriend for Pierce, and a romance that I really never saw coming but I bet, once I rewatch this season, I'll find there were clues all along. While we were all staring at Jeff and Annie, waiting for things to happen, something even better came along. I'm really excited to see where the Britta/Troy storyline goes, and if it can be sustained. Greendale FTW! It's interesting that the best show of the night is the one that airs first.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

OMG PROM!!!!!!1!!!!!

In the spirit of Pop Culture Happy Hour, what is making me happy RIGHT NOW are Taylor Berry's Prom Photos. Now, I am sorry, Taylor Berry, for taking your ridiculous prom photos and putting them on the internet, but you should have better Facebook privacy controls.

But seriously, you can't tag my cousin in an album that includes this photo:

and expect me not to say anything. Like, I went to high school with all of those guys, except it was eight years ago.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"I can feel my heartbeat in my eyes"

Yay for Modern Family! This is two episodes in a row that have really stepped it up. "The Musical Man" kept things ridiculous, and with a hearty helping of Luke I'm starting to forget some of the weaker spots of the season's second half. Dinosaur Arms!

Let's see: The Dunphy storyline was kind of about this creepy escort ad that Phil had shrink-wrapped onto their minivan that Haley and Clare were riding around in all day. It was also kind of about Clare feeling insecure as she is aging and wanting to be 19 again so she can go sledding on a stolen cafeteria tray (Been there, done that, it is awesome and you can do it anytime, but really sledding is better with a sled and that is one of the great things about being an adult is you can go buy one)? It was ok, plotwise, but really just a good excuse for some sly jokes and a little more insight into Clare's character. That conversation Phil had on the phone....

The Jay storyline was about his brother Donnie coming to visit and they fight and then there's a predictable illness storyline. But the acting and the actors' chemistry was so great that I pretty much was able to go along with the contrived plot and just enjoy the relationship unfolding. And Gloria got some fabulous lines in along the way. Also, limited Manny AND Manny getting something-blocked by Luke The Magnificent always makes for the best episodes of Modern Family.

But the other show-stealer tonight (besides Luke, who ALWAYS steals the show) was Mitchell (played as always to perfection by Jesse Tyler Ferguson), who had a number of brilliantly-delivered moments that made me laugh out loud and rewind to laugh at again. His GIGANTIC eye roll while Cam is playing his music in the early scene was a quiet but powerfully hilarious tidbit that I missed the first time around. Cam, too, had a number of great lines and faces (his reaction to "Wet dreams" being the most awesome), but tonight was really Mitchell's night. Mitchell has always seemed to have to suffer a lot of Cam's quirkier quirks (although we've seen it the other way 'round, too) but the scene where he bursts outside of the auditorium, unknowingly interrupting Jay and Donnie's bonding moment, and deals with his frustration by having an imaginary outburst at an imaginary Cam is just THE BEST. Sometimes in a relationship you just have to imaginary yell at them and get it out of your system. And then he composes himself. That's love, bitch. Also: "Brava!" Ahahahahaha YES.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blast From The Past! - Grown-up NKOTB edition

If I haven't made it clear enough here before, I am a child of the 90's. Oh, sure, I was born in 1985, but that meant that about the time I started making coherant memories, it was 1990. And by the time 2001 rolled around I was a modern-pop-culture-eschewing teenager, so I look back on the 90's with much nostalgic fondness. I'm starting this feature called Blast From The Past! (and who knows, we might even talk about the bizarro fluff that is the movie of the same name) so that I can occasionally discuss some wonderful and/or wonderfully terrible relic from this most fruitful of pop eras. Today we're going to begin at the end, in the mystical time known as 1999...

...It is a simpler time. The impeachment hearings are over, and nobody really believes that George W. Bush will ever be president. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is still a new sensation sweeping the nation. The air by the beach is warm, reminding you that summer is coming soon. In your friend's living room, you take a break from playing Nintendo 64 to watch today's TRL. "All Star" and "Summer Girls" have yet to drop, so today's top ten includes this gross display of grossness:

"That is so gross!" you say, and your friend giggles and agrees and you go back to playing Nintendo.

I'm not sure why I found Jordan Knight's ode to sexing people up disgusting while I revelled in (and still do; I've mastered the rap solo) 5ive's "Baby When The Lights Go Out", but I think it has to to with how earnestly sexual Knight's performance is - an unsurprising fact since he came out and we now know he's a total 'mo and he really doesn't want to give it to me at all. I do love how that entire video is just some bad dancing in a parking lot in front of a ferris wheel that nobody ever rides with a love interest who is sneering at people the entire time. Man, the 90's were so full of win.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Shut your ass!"

Best episode of The Big Bang Theory this season definitely. Maybe of all time. And I'm gonna say that it is all because of Mayim Bialik and her hilarious portrayal of Amy Farrah Fowler. Amy has breathed new life into Sheldon, and their relationship has consistently been the best part of a particularly weak and sputtering season. "The Herb Garden Germination" put them at the center of all the action, but still allowed space for every character (even Priya, who is a snooze) to be at the top of their game.

"Follow the gossip" is a sitcom trope that has been around for a long time - I'm thinking most notably here of Ross trying to keep Rachel from finding out about the girl from the copy place. But the way TBBT approached it was unique, and truly something that only this particular show could have pulled off. Of course Sheldon and Amy look at gossip from a sociological point of view, and the idea for an experiment was brilliant. At the beginning of the episode, we follow the gossip about Bernadette and Howard from person to person, getting each of their individual responses to it. Then, we follow the scientifically-planted Sheldon and Amy gossip, again from person to person. This culminates in first the scene with Sheldon and Amy in the kitchen, and finally the proposal. The kitchen scene is what makes this episode the best - I'm gonna transcribe it here in full, but you really should go watch it for yourself:

"Bernadette just asked about my sexual encounter with you. The meme has reached full penetration."
"Pun intended?"
"No. Happy accident."
"This is remarkable. Less than 24 hours!"
"I should let you know that she asked for details about our daliance."
"Interesting. So it went beyond the mere fact of coitus to a blow-by-blow, as it were."
"Pun intended?"
"I'm sorry, what pun?"
"Not important. I described your lovemaking as aloof but effective."
"Now I wish you hadn't done that! That's going to make me a chick magnet, and I'm so busy as it is!"

A laugh-out-loud scene delivered with incredible comedic timing by two actors with a great rapport.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

RuPaul's Drag Race...Chanté You Stay (In My Heart, Forever)

On my way home today, while walking to get a burrito for dinner, I couldn't get the RuPaul's Drag Race theme song out of my head. The episode was calling to me, but more than that, I was calling out for the episode. RuPaul's Drag Race is the only thing that takes my Tuesdays from ok to !Echa pa lante!, and I often feel physically better inside after watching it. It makes me laugh, and puts a smile on my face, and mostly improves my outlook on the world in general. We'll get to this week's awesomefest, "Jocks In Frocks", in a minute, but I want to expand on RPDR first.

Let's go way back for a minute. I was a young child, 7 or 8, and I had taken to watching some show with the most incredible, inspiring performer. But I was so confused and confounded by it! Finally, I asked my mom: how does that black lady have such amazing, blonde hair? After explaining that it was a wig, she began to teach me about drag queens. When she told me that RuPaul was a man, I didn't connect it with being gay or weird or whatever, I was just jaw-droppingly astonished in that wondrous way only a child could be. I continued to watch RuPaul's show, searching for any hint that she wasn't a biological woman and finding none. I wanted to be RuPaul SO HARD and to magically transform myself into a tall, leggy, black woman with a huge head of curly blonde hair. It is fair to say that I wanted to be RuPaul when I grew up, and that many of my life choices my have been affected by that desire, something that I am just realizing RIGHT NOW. Writing = therapy.

I also watched To Wong Foo about a thousand times in, like, 5th grade, and I was OBSESSED with Noxema's fringe dress, so...yeah. Me and drag queens. We go way back.

I wish I had scanned a copy of the photo I took when I was 15 and visited Madame Tussaud's in New York. The first room is the "celebrity room" and it's supposed to be like, some weird Hollywood party where Patrick Stewart and Martin Short and Goldie Hawn are all talking in a group by a column. But OBVIOUSLY the best part is the first thing you see when you walk in the room which is RuPaul in a sparkly lavender bikini, dripping with rhinestones, wearing a Vegas-dancer feather headdress. Oh, and standing ON TOP OF A HUGE FUCKING FOUNTAIN. Clearly she has continued to make an impression.

Anyway, what all of this backstory tells you is that when you let drag queens into your heart, they become like real-life fairies. They have the magical power to lift your spirits and soothe your soul and turn a bad day into a fierce one. They can teach you about pride and loving yourself and loving others and the power of self-expression. Not to mention what they can teach you about dancing, makeup, lip synching, walking in heels, working it, reading a bitch, and the perfect combination of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent. RuPaul's Drag Race is, at heart, a joyful show, unlike so much of the reality tv garbage that is just terrible people pulling out each other's weaves and whatnot.