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Sunday, June 16, 2013

"THIS IS THE END" Of My Complacency

First, go read this.  It's not very long, and it's information you'll be glad you have.  Linda Holmes really rocks it sometimes.

And now we're going to talk about This Is The End.  I guess I'll say that there might be spoilers? Insofar as a movie like This Is The End can have spoilers, since it's not really about anything and other than the world ending, nothing really happens.  And that's in the title.  Anyway, I'll be talking about the movie as someone who has seen the movie, so if that bothers you don't click the jump.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Because You Asked What I Think About...Dan Harmon Returning To Community


When companies like Sony realize that quality programming can be more lucrative than shitty programming, it's a step forward for all of us.  We're living in the future, and I guess that means sometimes good things happen and the right decisions are made! And Dan Harmon is wonderful and should be making as much television as possible and I can't wait for Abed to be Abed again.

Try not to speculate too much.  Just let it be whatever it will be.  Have faith.

Because You Asked What I Think About...Family Tree

Family Tree is the new HBO show created by Christopher Guest (of This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show, For Your Consideration, etc) and starring Chris O'Dowd (of The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids, and general adorableness) as a man who starts searching out bits of his family history.  It's quirky in a delightfully non-hipster way, and like all of Guest's work it's imbued with his unique charm while still being entirely its own piece of work.  The half-hour television structure is working well, and the actors we've seen so far (some familiar Guest faces like Michael McKean, some new ones) are flat-out superb and quietly hilarious.  O'Dowd's sister Bea (Nina Conti) and Monkey are some of my favorite new characters in recent memory.  Suffice to say, if you've enjoyed any of Christopher Guest's work in the past, you'll adore this, and if you're new to him than this is a lovely entry-point.  Funny, self-effacing, weird, and relatable, it's my favorite new show of the year.  The opposite of a disappointment.  Family Tree!  Go watch and tell your friends and make sure it doesn't get Enlightened.

Image via LATimes

Because You Asked What I Think About...The Office Series Finale

It wasn't perfect, you know.  But it was pretty damn close.  I really think the last three episodes should be considered the finale, because they did such a wonderful job of closing the characters' stories in appropriate and satisfying ways.  Was there a bit of wish fulfillment going on?  Obviously.  But I think it was earned.

The character of Andy has been so fucked with that any real redemption for him was impossible, but at least the Baby Wawa thing was hilarious.  I really, really love how Dwight matured in a perfectly Dwight way so that he finally was the right man for the job.  I thought all of the work done with Jim and Pam was pretty beautiful.  It was awesome how Angela basically became Meredith for a couple episodes there.  I liked all of it, really.  And there was definitely some commentary on television and on The Office as a show going on in the writing of the finale, but I mostly didn't mind it.  At its best, The Office was hilarious and smart and heartfelt and a little uncomfortable, and all of that came through in these final episodes.  Do I wish Season 8 didn't exist?  Yes.  But Season 9 did an excellent job of closing out the story arcs for these characters that we've come to care so much about in one way or another, from Darrell to Kelly to Creed.  And the finale left me satisfied and smiling.

"I just want to lie on the beach and eat hot dogs.  It's all I've ever wanted."
- Kevin Mallone

Because You Asked What I Think About...Arrested Development Season Four

There's been a lot of wonderful shit going on in the realm of television lately, and I've been asked repeatedly to share my opinions about a number of them.  So I'm going to write these little mini (for me) posts to try to write about everything in one fell swoop.

Arrested Development Season Four was, I thought, pretty awesome.  I have a long and storied relationship with the show - I can say with certainty that I have seen it more than you.  Probably watched the entire series at least 15 times, if not more.  And I'm still finding jokes that I missed the first time around!  It's great.  Going into it, I tried not to have too many expectations - I didn't even watch the trailer, though I did watch the teaser scene with Lucille and Buster smoking, which, UGH, so perfect.  And once I got to the fourth episode and the jokes really started to build, I was totally in, but the first three episodes were a little rough.  The first one with Michael and George Michael was very exposition-heavy and had a kind of sad, negative tone.  The George Sr. one was just confusing and a little dull.  And then there was Portia de Rossi's face.  But once the exposition was out of the way and we got to the meatier Lucille, Gob, Tobias, Maeby, Buster, George Michael was just plain delightful.  The new form of storytelling that Mitchell Hurwitz experimented with here worked quite well for the most part, and after some fits and starts the whole thing really came together.  My absolute number one complaint is with the Kristen Wiig/Seth Rogan flashbacks.  In the past, Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter played themselves in the flashbacks, often in a funny wig.  Breaking with that tradition ruffles my feathers, but what I really can't stand is Wiig's over-the-top, utterly cartoonish Lucille impression.  Rogan is more low-key and behaves like an actual human being and I don't mind him as much, but Wiig's purposeful, winking scenery-chewing takes me out of the show and puts me in a place of anger and ire where I start using words like "sacrilege".  The entire season would be better served if those flashbacks were just removed entirely.

I won't get into what jokes I liked or what callbacks I noticed because that just drains all the fun out of them.  Suffice to say, most of it, although I thought Ron Howard inserted himself into the plot a little (maybe a lot) more than was necessary or enjoyable.  I wanted more Buster, more Maeby, and MORE GOB, though I am hopeful for a movie or possibly even more seasons.  Jessica Walter is magnificent.

And yes, I liked the ending.