an awesome way to watch TV

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.