Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

As we bid farewell to 2008 (which for personal reasons I cannot wait to see the tail end of), I wanted to take a moment from all of us here at TV Sluts to wish you much health and happiness in the coming year.

I don't know about you, but I intend to spend all day tomorrow continuing my The West Wing Season 1 Marathon. Ah, the good old days. When Aaron Sorkin was still on coke and the world was good.

Happy New Year!

"In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want." --Irish Toast

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called "Opportunity" and its first chapter is New Year's Day." --Edith Lovejoy Pierce

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man." --Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

True Blood

Sadly, I don't have HBO. This means that I miss out on a lot of great shows the first time around and have to catch them on DVD. Shows like Rome, Deadwood, and Big Love. So I had resigned myself to having to wait months, or maybe years, to catch up on the much buzzed-about True Blood. But, fate intervened! Thanks to my awesome friend Rachel (shout out!) and her on-demand capabilities, last weekend my group of vampire-loving friends got together for a 12 hour balls to the wall full first season marathon of True Blood.

Do you think it's easy watching 12 hours of television in a row? It's not. You have to make sure you move around occasionally to avoid blood clots. The more you know!

First, let me say that True Blood is awesome. Ok, that's the short review. Here's the longer one: what makes the show so great is, like most HBO shows, you can enjoy it on many different levels. Ostensibly, it's a show about a girl and a vampire who fall in lurv, two flawed people (he's a vampire, she reads minds), that find in each other what they've been looking for. So you can love it for that part of it. But you can also love it as a study of how people deal with the unknown and the different.

Vampires in the show clearly stand as metaphors for any marginalized group of people: gays, racial minorities, etc. And while the comparison is obvious, the parallels are drawn in a smart and interesting way. The show is concerned with the characters different reactions to this new marginalized group. And I would say 50% of what makes the show so interesting comes from it's setting in a small Louisiana town and the weird blend of culture that exists in that area of the country. The ingrained hypocrisies of the area influence people's decisions and lives. Just watch the opening credits of True Blood and you'll see what I mean.

In case you aren't aware of the particulars of the plot, here's a brief description from the HBO website:
Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test.
Season 1 focuses on Sookie's relationship to Bill (who calls her "Suckie," because of the accent, which I find completely lame), and also the mystery of who is running around town murdering women who have connections to vampires.

True Blood is anchored by the main character Sookie, the mind-reading waitress who falls for vampire Bill. I can't think of a show from recent memory where I was so enamored by the main character. I guess I should have known better, since we're dealing with HBO here, but I was constantly surprised by how much I loved her. She's brave, smart, spunky, funny, and is able to maintain a naivete and joy about her life that is surprising, considering she lives in a swamp and is surrounded by mostly stupid people. Her reactions to events feels real, and she doesn't let Bill get away with shit. Which I like, because sometimes he does things that piss me off.

Perfect example of why I love Sookie. When Bill is sweet-talking her by discussing her juicy femoral artery, she responds with, "hey, you just shut your nasty mouth, mister! You might be a vampire, but when you talk to me, you will talk to me like the lady that I am." Sassy!

My only real quibble with the show centers on its balancing of plots. As a viewer, I was really involved in the serial killer plot, especially since some characters I like were killed. But the other characters didn't actually seem concerned about finding out who was running around town killing people, and it felt like the entire subplot was shoved to the backburner for much of the season to allow for some lameass hijinks from Sookie's brother, Jason.

Sidenote: let me just say, I don't think I have ever encountered a character as dumb or whom I wanted to see get his comeuppance as much as Jason. And when I say he's dumb, I don't mean ditzy, or flaky, but that he is literally the most foolish, borderline non-functioning, easily manipulated person on television. While he sometimes gets in some comic relief and I really like the actor, he is hands-down my least favorite character on the show and spending time with him makes my brain want to leak out of my ears. End sidenote.

Jason: hot, but not the sharpest tool in the shed. Actually, scratch that. He's more like a tool that's been left out in the yard for years and has completely rusted over. Ugh.

I have a feeling that the balancing of subplots will improve with season 2, and it didn't lessen my enjoyment of the show. And it's probably the kind of thing that doesn't get noticed when watching week to week; it's only some crazy person who sits there for 12 hours in a row that would catch it.

So, yeah, True Blood is awesome. And I might have to actually break down and get HBO. Dammit.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Die Hard FTW!

I thought I would take a brief moment on this holiday week Monday (ugh, why am I not still in bed?) to give a Colbert-esque "tip of the hat" to Chuck, who had perhaps the most awesome shout-out homage ever.

In last week's episode, Chuck vs. Santa Claus, the folks at the Buy More found themselves in a hostage situation. One of the police officers on the scene outside the store was Big Mike's cousin, Sgt. Al Powell. Now, those of you who are huge geeks (like me) surely recognized the actor, Reginald VelJohnson, from the movie Die Hard (and Die Hard 2) where he played a cop by the name of, you guessed it, Al Powell! In fact, it was the same character, and he still has a love for twinkies! At least he's given up the pretense of claiming they are for his pregnant wife.

I have to confess, I might have teared up a little when at the end of the episode when Big Mike and Al were reunited and ran together and hugged, all to the tune of Ode to Joy (which is also used in Die Hard).

And yeah, I know Reginald Veljohnson was also in Family Matters as Carl Winslow, but come on, it's all about Die Hard!

Chuck writers/producers/etc., from one nerd to another, I salute you!

Reginald rulz.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hey, guess what has two thumbs and still gives a crap?

Bob Kelso Monkey Sri! I think we've met.

Sorry for the blog silence! Real life is always getting in the way, you know? Anyhoo, word on the street has is that everyone's favorite Doctor Drama is moving to ABC. Scrubs has been in syndication for so long, it won't be too weird to watch it on another station (see also: Comedy Central, Fox, TV Land and WGN America). You know what is weird?

1. JD's facial hair in the new season. A literal beard to replace is figurative beard, Baby Mama and Mary Sue extraordinaire Dr. Kim Briggs? You're not fooling anyone, guy.

JD loves his Chocolate Bear.

2. Elliot doing underwear commercials. Though Sarah Chalke does bring a certain comedic je ne sais quoi to picking a wedge. Observe:

3. Pur water filtration systems ... a la JD. Zach Braff is lending his power of voice over to Pur for their latest ad campaign. What's up, Braff? Have you been burning your money?

Maybe I'm been too harsh. Maybe he just loves water.

But even with sell-out stars and questionable personal grooming, Scrubs remains one of the most enjoyable things on television. So you know I'll be making the transition to Tuesday at 9pm (we get hour-long double eps for a couple of weeks before switching to half an hour starting a 9:30) on - say it with me now - ABC.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Best/Worst Show You Aren't Watching

Sunday on HBO has become a dumping ground for the WEIRDEST and most entertaining shows. I previously blogged about the Life and Times of Tim that was on HBO (though the season has ended). HBO is currently showing Summer Heights High our newest import from New Zealand. This show perplexes the mind.

It is about a high school and the central story revolves around three characters: Ja'mie (not Jamie), Jonah and Mr. G. Ja'mie is my favorite character, she is a Junior in High School and is a complete stuck up snob. Last weeks episode she pretended to be a lesbian so she is the center of attention. Jonah is a freshman who is a "poly." Apparently that's a normal way to refer to a polynesian boy. Finally, Mr. G is an over the top drama school teacher. The quirk is all three characters are played by Chris Lilley, a 34 year old Comedian originally from Sydney. Lilley is also the write and director of the show.

The show is weird, but INCREDIBLY addictive. Overall it is a comedy and I really enjoy it. Keep in mind it isn't deep. You will not be moved or learn anything, however, I enjoy Lilley's commentary on these age groups and characters.

Check it out 11pm on HBO.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Hiatus Blues

I remember when I used to look forward to winter hiatus, mostly because it gave me a chance to catch up on my DVR backlog. But now that the DVR has dropped below 30% (I refuse to delete this season's episodes of Pushing Daisies and Supernatural) and I'm not recording hardly anything anymore...I find myself getting kinda sad. And kinda twitchy.

I miss the anticipation of the latest episode of my favorite shows! And the hustle and bustle of trying to keep up with the latest happenings. It's like how excited you are the night before a big event: your birthday, Christmas, a vacation, etc. etc. etc. And then you wake up the day after and realize it's all over and you have nothing else on the horizon to look forward to. And then you get depressed.

So I guess I have winter hiatus depression. With nothing but weeks and weeks ahead of repeats to look forward to, what am I going to do to fill my time? Read? Interact with people? In the words of Emerson Cod, "oh, hells no."

No new episodes makes Maggie a sad snowman. *cries*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What happened to my DVDs?

So in May I moved to VA with my wife. And one of the perks for us was being close to her family. One of the perks of the family was my DVD collection. While in college people constantly raided my VHS movie collection, well, now it's movies and TV shows. Having arrived I found Veronica Mars, West Wing and others constantly being raided. Then in Sept my sis-in-law took off for Boston and somehow some DVDs disappeared, including Sports Night.

I feel in love with that show during its second and last season, and was thrilled first when it reran in its entirety on Comedy Central and later when it came out on DVD. Recently I noticed they released a new version, the 10th Anniversary DVD with commentaries, special features, and interviews. I'm not sure why, but I soon forgot all about the show. But then two weeks ago I started really wanting to watch it. Don't get me wrong, when I want an Aaron Sorkin fix West Wing is my choice but I was a little burnt out on the the political angle and I wanted to relax in the embrace of wit, charm and a never-ending parade of words that characterized Sorkin's first real TV show. And what's not to love about Krause before Six Feet Under and Huffman before Desperate Housewives and Charles before In Treatment and Malina before West Wing? But of course, I could not watch this behind-the-scenes show because my DVDs were gone. So I settled for Studio Sixty.

I don't mean to denegrate Studio Sixty because when the show was on I loved it. And I could never understand why the critics were so critical of it. Sure it premiered around the same time as 30 Rock and I freely admit the sketch portions of the Studio were never as funny as but the show was never the show. It was about the people behind the show. And being aware as I am of the inside-baseball I knew that Danny and Matt were stand-ins for Tommy Schlamme and Sorkin I sometimes found the shows a little too apologetic. But it was good. It was funny. At least it's on DVD, but it makes me miss Sports Night even more.

I only hope that for Christmas instead of getting my old DVDs back I have something new to check out. And maybe wish that when Sorkin stated recently that he would snatch up Krause and Huffman for another season that it might actually happen. Well, TV can make us all dream.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Golden Globes

The Hollywood Foreign Press announced the nominations for Golden Globes this morning, and as usual all I can say "really?!" followed by a "meh." Usually the Golden Globes come closer to the mark than the Emmys, but really, they both seem so out of touch that all you really do is shrug you shoulders and carry on with life.

The only thing that really got my goat this time was the lack of a nomination for Pushing Daisies (and Kristin Chenoweth). The nominations for best television show comedy or musical are 30 Rock, Californication, Entourage, The Office, and Weeds. Really? Entourage? By all accounts that show is breathing its last, and while I enjoy Californication and Weeds, I wouldn't say they're the BEST. But to not include Pushing Daisies really pisses me off. I understand that the show is not for everyone, but COME ON. And don't even get me started on the lack of a nomination for Kristin Chenoweth (although I get that all the actresses get lumped into one category--there's no supporting category like with the Emmys).

As for best drama nominations there was one surprise. HBO's In Treatment (which I have barely heard of and never seen) got a nod, as did Dexter, House, Mad Men, and True Blood. That makes only one nominated non-cable network drama. Shocking! Or not. With the glut of crime procedurals on network tv right now, it's hard to distinguish them. Especially NCIS and CSI. Get some new letters, people!

I would like to say "yay!" to nominating January Jones for her work as Betty on Mad Men. I think she is really under-appreciated, but does a fantastic job.

Anyway, here's the complete list of nominations if you care. If not, you can tune in like me and watch for the pretty dresses.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Secret Girlfriend of the Week: Tina Fey

This season I finally got into 30 Rock. I remember when it premiered; I watched the first few episodes, but wasn't impressed. But after it's run at the Emmy's this past year, I decided to give it another shot. And I have been pleasantly surprised.

The wacky characters, who seemed jarring and disjointed when I first watched the show, have gelled, and the show has settled into a good rhythm. While the comedic highlight of the show is still Alec Baldwin, who can make my knees turn to jelly with the timbre of his voice, it's Tina Fey's Liz Lemon, who sits at the eye of the storm, that I have really connected with this year.

Liz Lemon is the lone voice of reason in the mayhem, but she is also flawed. And that's what I love. She uses her sharp wit as a weapon, is desperate for approval from almost everyone she meets, and really needs to work on her social graces, but you know what? That's what makes her real. If she was just some typical middle-management woman running around, throwing her arms up at the circus around her, and giving the audience a wink everytime she got embroiled in a wacky plot, that would get boring. We root for Liz, but we also know that in her own way she is just as crazy as everyone else around her. And I kind of feel that's how Tina Fey is in real life.

She's definitely willing to make fun of herself, which is always attractive, and she is the creator and head writer of 30 Rock. Which is actually really badass. She's a woman in charge! In all her interviews, she comes across as witty, self-deprecating, and smart. Also, I think she's really pretty.

See? Funny and smokin.

There's also an air of mystery about her; I'm sure you noticed the scar on the left side of her face. She never talked about in interviews until recently (basically saying she didn't like thinking about it and it's nobody's business so STFU nosy people), so it lent this whole aura of secrecy. Like maybe she used to work as a government assassin and she got in a fight with a ninja and went through a plate glass window...or maybe I need to not watch Grosse Pointe Blank while writing blog entries. There is even a whole blog devoted to that scar!

In any event, Tina Fey rocks my world, I have definitely developed a girl crush on her, and she is therefore the Secret Girlfriend of the Week.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, Monkey!

Ah, the joys of growing older. Here at tv sluts we are celebrating the birthday of one of our contributers, Miss. Monkey Sri. I won't say how old she is, because I value my life, but I am sure you can all join me in saying, Happy Birthday!

Here is a TARDIS cake, all for you, Sri! Maybe there is a cute, lonely, 900 year old Time Lord inside. Hey, at least you would know there is someone out there older than you. Hahaha...ha?

And you can check out other fun cakes (with lots of tv themes) at the Coolest Birthday Cakes website.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Boston Legal: Breaking Down Walls

Last night, ABC surprised us with a rather entertaining episode of Boston Legal. I will admit that Boston Legal is not one of my shows. Its one of my husbands rare shows. However, I was thoroughly entertained by last night's episode. Boston Legal not only mocked the ABC but Television as a whole.

A section of last night's show included an elderly woman (played by DARLING Betty White) suing the network broadcasting companies for not providing entertainment for people of 50. Though to quote my lawyer husband the "lawsuit was Ridiculous" the premise wasn't. I may only be 26, but ever so slowly the shows I can tolerate are lessening in numbers. Reality and brainless television are winning the ratings wars and shows with genuine plot and witty banter are falling by the wayside.
The episode of Boston Legal last night came out and said the only show with a prominent cast over fifty was "Boston Legal." Though to more accurately quote David Arquette he said "B...well that would be breaking down the wall." His, well the character's but you get the drift, argument continued to state that the over 50s make up half of the retail market and half of the television watching community. So where are the shows for the Blue Hairs? There hasn't been a REAL show about people over 50 since Golden Girls (which I have several friends who remain devoted fans, thought they are in their late 20s and gay, beside the point). Where are the shows about growing older? I feel today, at 26, I am older than most of the characters on television.

Boston Legal continued to poke fun at ABC by stating that "we don't get any advertising." Which when I thought about true.

Try to catch last night's episode on It will make you think!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Distraction TV

As the holidays creep inevitably closer, the amount of work around the house seems to get exponentially higher. Decorating, baking, cleaning, wrapping gifts; all these things need to get done, and like most people, I have my go-to shows for just such occasions.

You know what I mean, something that will keep you entertained, but that you can keep one (or both) eyes off the television and still know what is going on. The obvious choice is something you have seen a million times, like your favorite Buffy episodes, reruns of a sitcom, etc. But when the DVR is stacked up above 80% and you just need to get it cleared, these are the shows I have found do not require 100% of your attention.

Law and Order (SVU): I have a strong preference for SVU, but any of the Law and Orders will do. The acting isn't really subtle, you can pretty much understand what is going on by just listening, and there aren't any real exciting fight scenes or anything you need to run into the room to see. Actually, the same thing applies to the CSIs. And then you don't have to actually see the gratuitous gore and violence against women.

How I Met Your Mother: Maybe it's because a lot of the humor from this show comes from the zingers, but I don't need to give it my full attention.

Fringe: This is a show that I probably should be watching closely (it is J.J. Abrams after all), but I just can't being myself to do it. In fact, I usually end up emailing, playing online bridge, etc. while it's on. I get the gist...the Dad acts crazy, Pacey is adorable, Olivia is robotic, yadda yadda. I do like trying to spot the weird bald guy though. But still, I tend to wander around the house when Fringe is on.

Any awesomely bad Sci-Fi Channel movie. The parts you watch = awesomely bad. The parts you don't watch = awesomely bad. It's a win win!

So, what shows do you all put on when you need to get some chores done! Comment away!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bromance is the new Black

So a few weeks ago I was watching House (a show I admit, once upon a time was huge turn off to me because he is such a jerk). For all of you following the show (which should be everyone because Hugh Laurie is phenomenal), the House-Wilson friendship took a HUGE hit last season and there was no reason to see that changing in the nearby future. And then House's dad died, and the ensuing trip to the funeral sparked a friendassance (thank you Joey and Phoebe for that word!). While great for the show, what struck me was the publicity the show got and how suddenly I was seeing the word bromance everywhere. Now House is certainly not unique in this regard with two male leads who act and at times are a de facto married couple. But bromance seems to be on the rise in shows, and many shows are embracing this fact.

Perhaps one of the more popular examples in recent history has been Joey and Chandler. I mean, who really would argue that Monica knew Chandler better than Joey. Certainly not me. Since Friends went off the air I can think of only two good examples, other than House and Wilson (although I'm sure there are more out there and I encourage any and all of you to provide some additional examples): Alas Shore and Denny Crane in Boston Legal ('nuff said) and my personal favorit JD and Turk in Scrubs (I've been missing this show so much I've started watching it on DVD; I'm only up to season 4). And I would argue that the JD-Turk bromance is the ultimate example in modern TV. Season 4 begins with this chasing each other all over the hospital as Turk returns from his honeymoon. Carla speaks to their daughter, describing JD as the man who will compete for her father's love and let us not forget the season 6 musical episode where they express their "Guy Love."

Bromance is in the air. But what about 'womance'?

Friday, November 21, 2008

RIP Daisies & Stone

Dearly Beloved,

We have gathered here to pay our greatest respects to two shows, who despite valiant effort, have been victims to the ABC show axe. Our beloved Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone were axed this week. This is all due to the fact both shows ratings plummeted this season. It is possible that due to the writer's strike that the high ratings of these two shows last season may have been artificial.

Pushing Daisies was born October 3 2007 and in its brief lifetime was nominated for 10 Emmy awards.

Eli stone was a mid season replacement in 2008 and its first season is currently out on DVD.

I know I will miss these shows a lot.

In lieu of flowers please send letters of disappointment to ABC!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Private Practice should never have gone public

I should have known. When I saw my very first episode of Grey's Anatomy, I spent the entire hour yelling at the TV. My friend Emily, who is a fan of the show, spent the entire hour hating my guts. I can't help it - when medical dramas don't even attempt accuracy, it makes my blood boil. Especially when they use genetics purely for dramatic effect. During Grey's, my breaking point was when McDreamy called the BRCA1 gene "braca." During Private Practice last night, it was when Addison "diagnosed" a fetus with a 22q11 deletion after a five second ultrasound.

I hate you and everything you stand for.

I won't get into how bass-ackwards the writers got this situation - frankly, I don't have the time. See me later if you want the full diatribe. Needless to say, within ten minutes I was severely pissed. And it just got worse from there. There was unprofessional conduct, irrationality and schmaltz as far as the eye could see.

The problem is that everyone on this show is just so damn pretty. The doctors are pretty, and they wear fabulous outfits. The receptionist is played by Chris Lowell, of Veronica Mars fame. For crying out loud, they've got Taye Diggs running around the place! No wonder everyone is too distracted to practice medicine.

Piz - What happened to you, man? You used to be cool.

And yes, I know it's all part of the fantasy. Tons of medical professionals love these shows (witness my friend Emily, one of the smartest people I know). I'm sure it's largely because they are pure fluff that is completely detached from a somewhat depressing reality. But to me it just feels dishonest and so very, very wrong.

On the other hand ... maybe I can just watch it on "mute."

Crossovers of quirky fantasy shows make me want to say "squee!"

Pushing Daisies. Wonderfalls. Both whimsical, fantasy-based television shows that have struggled to find an audience but have been embraced fully by a small percentage of television viewers. And now fans of both are getting a treat!


Mary Ann Marie Bettle, played by Beth Grant in the Wonderfalls episode, Muffin Buffalo, will appear as a character on Pushing Daisies. Beth Grant is a total, "hey, it's that girl!" so I'm sure you've seen her around, but having a shout-out to Bryan Fuller and Lee Pace's other fun, albeit short-lived series, will be neat.

Plus think of all the wacky trouble she can cause around the Pie Hole with her muffins!

This show is seriously conspiring to ruin my "get healthy" campaign. Why all the baked goods, show? Friends are supposed to help each other out, not tempt!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Comfort tv

It's come to my attention that certain people have had a crappy past couple of days. Make that a crappy past couple weeks. I've been struggling to think of ways to help them, suggestions to offer, etc., and so the best I can come up with is a list of my comfort shows. You know, the ones that you return to when you need to feel uplifted, or simply don't want to think.

So, unnamed people who have had crappy weeks, this one's for you! And feel free to name some of your favorite comfort tv shows in the comments.

1. Firefly: Joss Whedon's sci-fi show is ostensibly an adventure space western. But what it's really about is family. And when I'm feeling down, sick, or just not able to be with my family, I can sit down with 13 episodes of one of the best television shows ever made. It's got everything: action, romance, comedy, escapes, swordfights, pirates (that's a Princess Bride reference, but it really does have escapes, swordfights, and pirates). But the show is really about how families are created and how you don't have to be related by blood to care about a group of people.

2. The West Wing: sometimes you just want to be inspired, and Aaron Sorkin's political drama is the best way to restore my faith in humanity, and in the system, when I'm running on faith fumes. Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world. Because it's the only thing that ever has.

3. America's Next Top Model: there are times when I just don't want to think. When what I want is pure mindless entertainment. For my money, ANTM is the best bet. Seek out a marathon on VH-1 and you will understand.

4. My So Called Life: you think your life is angsty? Try Angela Chase's. Remember, things could always be worse. You could still be in high school.

5. Veronica Mars: Veronica is someone who doesn't take crap from anyone and can save her own ass (except for when she needs Logan, but hey, I'm not gonna begrudge girlfriend getting rescued by Jason Dohring once in a while). When I'm feeling blue or powerless to control events in my life, it's nice to see a heroine who fights back, always gets revenge, and can save the day using her brain, especially her powers of deductive reasoning.

One more thing. Below is quite possibly the most powerful vignette ever told in the history of television, and it comes from John Spencer, as Leo McGarry. It never fails to make me tear up, but it also never fails to remind me that no matter how bad things are, I can always count on my friends.
This guy's walkin' down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, "Hey you! Can you help me out?" The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, "Father, I'm down in this hole; can you help me out?" The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. "Hey, Joe, it's me. Can ya help me out?" And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, "Are ya stupid? Now we're both down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Astrophysicists do it with heavenly bodies

A friend of mine recommended The Big Bang Theory to me some time ago. This show combines two of my favorite things - science humor and cute nerds - into one adorkable package. But I was hesitant to get involved with Big Bang. I assumed that something that seemed so perfect for me was unlikely to tickle the fancy of anyone else. Honestly, I didn't want to fall in love and have my heart broken by a mid-season cancellation.

Now, with Big Bang in it's second season and going strong, I finally felt safe enough to start watching. And it's everything I dreamed and more. Big Bang concerns itself with the lives of two roommates (Leonard and Sheldon), their fellow post-doc buddies (Howard and Koothrappali - homeboy represent!) and their across-the-hall neighbor (Penny). You may recognize Leonard as Johnny Galecki, who played Darlene's shiftless boyfriend David on Rosanne and Howard as Simon Helberg, who played Moist on Dr. Horrible.

The basic conceit of the show is the difference between Book Smarts and Street Smarts. Each character pairs academic brillance with total incompetence when it comes to basic human interaction (or in Penny's case, vice versa). As such, it is chock-a-block with nerd humor (see: Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock), awkward moments, and geniuses making fools of themselves.

Have I piqued your scientific interest? You can catch The Big Bang Theory Monday at 8pm on CBS, or online at the official website.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Maybe I should start watching SNL again...

I know SNL has been in the headlines a lot recently (with all the election parodies, especially Tina Fey's Sarah Palin), but I haven't been watching. I was just getting sick of the election anyway (it was kind of "OMG would Obama hurry up and win, already?" kind of mentality).

But if they are going to have sketches like this, I am so there.

Justin Timberlake in Spanx people. If he keeps this up, he is going to rank up there with Alec Baldwin as one of the best guests EVER. And props to Beyonce for making such a kickass song and video and being willing to be a part of the joke.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

As I have mentioned before, I come home after a hard day at work really looking for some comfort television. Lately I've been curling up under a fuzzy blankie with a hot cup of cocoa and the good people of the 4077. That's right ... thirty-odd years later, and I'm still watching (and blogging about) M*A*S*H.

This is a show that consistently makes me laugh and makes me cry ... often within the same episode. It will always be topical, because it captured something essential about the human reaction to the horrors of war. Set in a medical unit close to the front lines, M*A*S*H shows us that the real enemy in any conflict is Death. And in the end, he always wins. Some people crack under the pressure. Some people just crack wise.

The hero of this series, Benjamin "Hawkeye" Pierce, is one of my favorite characters of all time. He paved the way for sarcastic sawbones everywhere. Every smart ass M.D. from Perry Cox (Scrubs) to Gregory House (House, M.D.) owes a debt of gratitude to old Hawkeye.

You know who else I love? Maxwell Q. Klinger. He was one of the first Arab Americans on television, as well as one of the first cross-dressers. Basically, every character on this show would become an icon in his or her own right. It's a classic, an American in-joke we all understand. M*A*S*H shows us what television can be - no less than life-altering.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Legend of the Seeker

Whenever someone mentions "syndicated tv shows," the first examples that spring to my mind are The Lost World (yay), Xena (meh), and Hercules (ick). The later two were created by Spiderman director, Sam Raimi, who has basically cornered the market on first-run broadcast syndication television.

Unfortunately, first-run syndication has kind of fallen by the wayside for the past couple years. There have not been any new dramatic first-run syndicated series since the show She Spies debuted six years ago, and I think we all know how that one ended up. You've never heard of it? My point exactly.

But things are changing! Sam Raimi has brought us a new dramatic first-run syndicated television series based on Terry Goodkind's fantasy book series, The Sword of Truth, called Legend of the Seeker. It premiered two weeks ago, but I can't tell you when or where since you have to "check local listings" to determine when it plays in your tv market.

Ah, the plight of the syndicated series fan...having to search through newspaper tv grids to find a show. Or you could use the show's website. Whichever.

I blogged briefly about Legend of the Seeker back in April, and I have been waiting eagerly for it to premiere. Three episodes (counting the two hour premiere as two episodes) have aired and so far, I've enjoyed it. Saying it exceeded my expectations might be praising it a bit too highly, since my standards for syndicated series are not that high, but it's clear they have put a lot of time and money into the show and it certainly looks good. The acting's not bad, the scenery is gorgeous (what up, New Zealand?), the people are pretty, and as a fan of the books, I don't have any major quibbles with its treatment of the story.

You say you want a brief plot summary? Fine. So there's this dude Richard.

Hi, Richard! *waves*

He lives in a land called Westland, which is separated from this other place called the Midlands by a boundary that prevents the magic in the Midlands from getting to Westland. Richard is a woodsguide and a normal guy. One day, he comes across this hot chick in a white dress being attacked by a group of burly guys and he comes to her aid. Although she's pretty badass and ends up saving him.

Hot chick, white dress, any other show she would totally be monster chow.

Richard discovers that the hot chick, named Kahlan, had crossed the boundary from the Midlands, and was searching for him because he is The Seeker. The Seeker carries a magic sword, called The Sword of Truth, and is, according to prophecy, the only person who can defeat the Main Villain with a British Accent, named Darken Rahl. Richard's best friend growing up, Zedd, is actually a super powerful wizard who knew all along he was the Seeker, but wanted him to live a normal life for as long as possible. So the three of them, Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd, embark on a quest to defeat Darkan Rahl and save the world.

Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd will save the world! And look hot doing it.

I'm already psyched that Ted Raimi has put in his obligatory guest appearance (the creator is his brother after all), and I hold out hope that Bruce Campbell is not far behind! Every show can be better with a little more squared-jaw in it.

My only concern is that the show will have difficulty balancing its overall arc vs. plot of the week. Last week, when there was a little side adventure rather than anything epic like in the premiere, was kind of boring, and we still have 19 episodes to go. But I'm a big fan of the books, the guy playing Richard is hot, and there is the lure of a possible Bruce Campbell appearance, so I'm on board, at least for now. And if you are a fan of the whole sword and sworcery genre, I definitely recommend you check it out. Your best bet for finding it is to check your local CW affiliate on a Saturday afternoon/evening.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fox hates the Whedonverse

So, remember how everyone and her sister were getting all keyed up over Fox's new Joss-Whedon-helmed series Dollhouse? Like, even though it stars Eliza Dushku and had to go through extensive re-writes because Joss didn't think the pilot was strong enough? Remember how you were all so excited because our televisionary overlord Joss would lead us all to the happy place again?

Yeah. Don't hold your breath.

According to the official Fox website, Dollhouse finally has a premiere date: set your TiVos for February 13, 2009. Which, as you may notice, is a Friday. Its lead-in? Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. This show, although well-loved, was earlier this season rumored to be on the chopping block itself.

As you may know, Terminator: TSCC features one Summer Glau, who we all loved as River Tam on Firefly. Which was epically mangled by Fox and prematurely yanked from its primetime lineup. Its timeslot? Friday, 9pm.

Why you gotta hate the Whedonites, Fox?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still Behind

Maybe I was naive. Or more likely, just plain dumb. But for some reason I thought that going out of town for 3 weeks in September during fall-launch season and for a week in November during sweeps would not impact my tv-viewing too much. I would just catch up on what I missed, right?


Here we are, the middle of November and my DVR remains at 85% capacity. Some shows have already been sacrificed to the alter of time management (see you in reruns, Numb3rs!), and some have just been languishing on the DVR back-burner (Crusoe and Stylista, I'm sorry!), but in any event, I am behind. Way behind.

Times like these really highlight your priorities. I thought I was tired of Heroes, and yet I have managed to stay up to date. And while I thought I loved Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles I find myself avoiding the most recent episode. Same with Chuck. I'll get around to it eventually....but I don't seem in too much of a rush.

Anyway, I'm back to my normal schedule now and I promise many excellent tv-related blog posts this week including some notes on the election night coverage and the new fantasy series Legend of the Seeker from Hercules and Xena creator (and Spiderman director), Sam Raimi.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Life and Times of Tim

The time slot after Entourage has been the BLACK PIT of time slots for the past five years. Looking back, I have given every show in the slot a solid chance. If you recall, Lisa Kudrow's show"The Comeback" lived there in 2005. Though it was mildly entertaining there was no lasting power. In 2007, we were graced with "Lucky Louie", which had a following but not enough to remain in the slot. Too many folks felt the blue collar/ poverty stricken cast were merely crass and not funny. This year HBO gives us "The Life and Times of Tim."First of all, I have seen little to no advertisement for this show HBO is airing. I have only caught it at random times while watching TV in bed, however, I truly enjoy this show. Unlike this season of Entourage, I actually hear myself laughing out loud. This show is Dilbert meets the dry humor reminiscent of Paul Rudd. The basic premise is that "Tim" works in an everyday office and has the everyday girlfriends and he gets put in the these random yet entertaining and plausible situations. Though the plot lines are not stimulating at all the one liners that come out of the show make it worth it. Last night I found myself laughing about one line in the show for over an hour.Now, no, I do not think this show will last. Especially since Entourage itself is spiralling into oblivion, however, if nothing else is on, give "The Life and Times of Tim" a try.

Its on at 10:30 on Sunday evenings on HBO.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MSCR: Total Drama Island

It's time once again for Monkey Sri's Cartoon Round-Up! Today I'll be blogging about Total Drama Island, a cartoon parody of Survivor-type reality shows. It details the adventures of eighteen teenagers at Camp Wawanakwa, the summer camp from hell. Every episode the campers are faced with a new challenge - often something reminiscent of Fear Factor.

The theme song, "I Wanna Be Famous," is nothing short of inspired.

There are a couple of things that make this show way better than actual reality TV. For one, creators don't have to worry about safety issues. And neither do we - it's easier to enjoy death-defying stunts when it's not a real person on the line. Secondly, the online content is pretty impressive. Website visitors can create their own avatar and play games based on each week's episode. At the end of the season the top twenty-two scorers will be entered into a drawing, and their avatar will be edited into the season finale. Lastly, the characters on TDI are about a thousand times more likable than any reality show star. Even the bitchy ones.

Still, Heather better not win.

Fair warning, the show originally aired in Canada, so internet spoilers abound. On the upside, a sequel is already slated for Spring 2009: Total Drama Action. Fifteen campers will return, and this time the battleground will be a deserted studio lot. It will be interesting to see how that show shapes up. Until then, you can enjoy TDI Thursdays at 9pm on Cartoon Network.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What, too soon?

When I was in high school, SNL was what all the cool kids were watching. Nowadays, college students proudly proclaim they get their news from the Daily Show. And there isn't a twenty-something alive in the US that hasn't seen at least one full episode of the Colbert Report. So when the big names in topical comedy both promised live election coverage, you can bet the young voters turned out in droves ... myself included.

But was I the only one who found SNL's Election Coverage and Comedy Central's Indecision 2008: America's Choice less than hilarious? SNL's primetime coverage was largely a clip show - while funny, it didn't have nearly enough new material for me. In contrast, Comedy Central paired up Colbert and Stewart for a night of witty banter - it was new material, but a lot of it flopped.
Stewart: Yes, the Bradley effect ... named after Milton Bradley, whose popular board game "Poll Tax" entertained and disenfranchised millions.
Audience: *cricket chirps*
I think the gravity of the situation dampened the comedic effect of these shows. Everyone was on edge - if the formula for comedy is tragedy plus distance, on Tuesday we were way too close to potential tragedy to enjoy ourselves. Maybe now that the election is over, we can catch the reruns (or the online content) and have a proper laugh.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

We come in peace! (Shoot to kill.)

It happened on a twenty-hour, transatlantic flight. I had read every book I brought with me (twice) and my mother was too busy playing Sodoku to chat. I turned to the in-flight entertainment - happily, I was on one of those planes with personal consoles on the back of the seat in front of you. Browsing through the selection of television and movies, I stumbled upon Life on Mars. I had heard tell of this series from the Doctor Who fandom (John Simms, who plays The Master in the new series, stars in the British version of Life on Mars). So I gave the show (specifically, the 1st episode of the 2nd season) a try.

I am so glad I did.

It makes sense that Life on Mars originated in the UK. We just don't get creative plot lines like this in the US anymore. Sam Tyler is a modern-day cop who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. Is it time travel? Is he dead? Is it a dream? Sam (and by extension, the audience) doesn't know. This uncertainty creates a dramatic tension that is more psychological than situational. Sam must navigate this new world without the benefit of knowing what is real and what is not. This strips him down to the very essential elements of his nature - he can't be certain of the consequences (if any) of his actions on the world around him, so he must focus on their effect on him as a man. In this way, his alien surroundings help him become more like himself than ever before.

Confused yet? I certainly was.

This goes back to what I was saying before, about giving "strange" shows a chance. I find the American version to be quite as delightfully quirky as its British predecessor - possibly moreso with the addition of Sam's neighbor, hippie love-child Windy ("I don't believe in coincidence. I believe in the curlicue whimsy of Fate."). So keep an open mind about Life on Mars - it may surprise you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Zack and Miri make an Excellent Movie

Though this is primarily a TV Blog, last night I got to attend a sneak preview of Zack and Miri Make a Porno. This movie initially caught a buzz due to its original NC-17 rating and the "come back" of the beloved Kevin Smith. Personally I really adored the movie. Below I will not include any spoilers, but I will share my opinion.First of all, and I feel most importantly, the script was great. It was literally a combination of the witty banter we have seen from Seth Rogan in Superbad and Knocked Up combined with the brilliant Kevin Smith dialogue reminiscent of Clerks (the first one). The dialogue was witty and you were constantly laughing. Elizabeth Banks held her own as well. I was concerned at first that opposite Seth Rogan for an entire movie she would get out acted and out laughed, but it wasn't the case at all. Her character was entertaining and well rounded. I was impressed.

On top of it the cast was brilliant. My husband and I debated if the cast was a more Kevin Smith clan or a more Seth Rogan crew. To be honest it was a nice combination of both. We had Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson from the Kevin Smith world (Jay and Randall), as well as, a nice bit part for Kevin's wife (who I still find REPULISVE). In addition, Seth brought in Justin Long (as a Gay porn star..a step up from a MAC), the Indian gentleman from 40 year old virgin and Craig Robinson. The motley crew worked really well together, of course with porn stars Katie Morgan and Tracy Lourdes mixed in.
((From Left to Right) Jason Mewes, Ricky Mabe, Jeff Anderson, Tracy Lourdes, Craig Robinsn, Katie Morgan

The plot was good. The idea of broke roommates breaking down and making porn was great. The romance story behind it was slightly obvious and you felt at moments the scenes were dragging. The story was very suggestive of Chasing Amy and the chemistry between the actors was definetly there. And for the die hard Kevin fan there was a nice tribute to Star Wars and Superman built into it.

I highly recommend this movie!!! (even though Jeff Anderson did not do the Randall).

To bring it back to the television genre (and related note) Entertainment Weekly had a really good "where are they now" for Freaks and Geeks....oh the early Seth Rogan years. Check it out!

Checking in on Thursday

For the past few years, Thursday night in prime time has been the most watched night of television. Is this because people are so tired from the work week that they stay at home? Is it because the networks know people don't watch a lot of tv on Friday and Saturday nights, so they treat Thursday as their last gasp of the week? Who knows. That's just the way it is.

Because so many people watch tv on Thursdays, the networks put their big players out on that night. There was a lot of hoopla when ABC decided to move Grey's Anatomy to Thursday at 9 to go head-to-head with CSI, and people all over the country bitched about the conflict. Now things have gotten even harder, with NBC putting The Office and 30 Rock into play at the 9 o'clock hour. As things heat up heading into sweeps into November, here's my big plan for upcoming Thursdays at 9.

Supernatural: Call me a dork, but this is my Thursday night highlight. I've got a season pass programmed on the DVR, and I usually watch it live (well, 15 minutes late so I can fast forward through the commercials). And this week's episode is a special Halloween episode, which means hijinks will ensue! And Jensen is hot. The end.

CSI: I'm a very casual CSI viewer. If the other shows are reruns and I don't have anything waiting from Netflix, I'll check it out. And of course, Spike TV has the show's syndicated episode on a constant loop. But I'll have to record it on my VCR starting next week (how's that for old school?) because my favorite guest-star from all time will be on. Melinda Clarke (a.k.a. Lady Heather). You may know her from appearances on Firefly and Chuck, but Melinda Clarke is just made of awesomeness and Lady Heather episodes of CSI are always creeptastic in that way all great CSI episodes are. Remember last year when they showed Lady Heather's daughter having to chew through her own wrist to escape handcuffs to avoid being tortured by some creepy Nazi guy? That was awesome. And disgusting. But Melinda Clarke makes it all good. So I'll be giving CSI a whirl in November.

Oh, and if you want to be filled in on the Grissom/Lady Heather backstory, check this out.

She will eat you up and spit you out. Love her!

The Office: I'm a loyal The Office viewer, but I DVR it and watch it the next morning while getting ready for work. I just can't justify staying up past 10 to watch tv when I have to get up at 5:30 the next morning.

30 Rock: I checked out 30 Rock when the first season aired and thought it was ok. Alec Baldwin was funny (as always), but other than that it didn't really do anything for me. But since it won the Emmy for best comedy and has been getting a ton of buzz, I figured it was time to check it out again. Also, Oprah will be on, and everyone loves Oprah!

Grey's Anatomy: You're kidding right? I do not watch this show.

Kitchen Nightmares: Meh. I prefer the British version on BBC America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How the Mighty Have Fallen?

So I know all the blogs are loaded down with what is the demise of our once faithful Heroes. I was trying to give it a chance. One last "please be the old Heroes". However, this week cinched the deal. I am done! I quit!

Generally, I can keep up with all television. I mocked those who said West Wing was too fast paced and a scoffed at the idea that 24 was too complicated. However, when it comes to Heroes I am THOROUGHLY confused. I have lost track of who is a "Hero" and who is a "Villain." Not to mention the fact which Heroes are secretly working for Villains and which Villains are secretly working for Heroes. I read the entertainment weekly article on "how to fix heroes." Their simple formula (for all those who do not want to read the article) was as follows:
Some of the above points are valid. Clearly there are too many plot twists and if the characters were not so quick to judge, they might have less plot twists. So the "Make the heroes smarter" I totally agree with. In addition, I believe getting back to the roots was key. In the begninng Heroes was al about the character, the people, not as much about the plot. Now the show is focused on "formulas." Also like LOST, Heroes needs a clear cut goal and they need to progress toward it.

I disagree that some heros need retiring. Though the idea of no more new ones is IMPORTANT. The only character this season I hate is Tracy, the triplet of Nikki. Stupid and dumb plot line. But I am glad they stole Iceman's power. The other key difference not addressed above between this year and last is there is a lot more jumping. We did not see what was going on with ALL the characters all the time like we do in this episdoe. We would go weeks without seeing some of the heroes. I miss those times.

Finally my final issues: 1) Where is claire's bf? Did he die and I have blocked that out? 2) When did Maya learn English?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Must See TV?

So I started a new job this week. And while to very few people in this world, that really matters, the main thing is its starting to impact my TV watching. I'll be working early mornings and periodically overnights. While TiVo is the best thing that's happened for my TV viewing (when I get past the compatibility issues with the Dish in this household), it's made Must See TV both easier and more difficult. With TiVo I can record almost anything and when I get around to it I'll watch it. But it takes away the near sacredness of watching a show. Before I had to be around to watch it, now I don't even have to know when it starts or stops or what day its on.

At the beginning of each new TV season I load up my TiVo with the new shows I want to see. Last year it was Chuck, Life, Journeyman and Pushing Daisies (Eli Stone came later). PLUS, I had discovered how much I actually loved House and Bones. Obviously Journeyman didn't make it past their first season, and somewhere in there I stopped watching it (I heard it got really interesting after I stopped and now I just have to wait for DVD or find it somewhere online). And as I've mentioned before my love affair with Pushing Daisies dipped off significantly. This season I added True Blood, Fringe and Life on Mars. I stopped caring about True Blood half way through the first episode but I keep TiVoing it because my wife likes it. Her problem is she's never around so my TiVo is cluttered with old eps (and my TiVo is old by industry standards so 5 eps is clutter and then I have to watch my space for new shows). The verdict is still out on Life on Mars, but this week I deleted Fringe without even watching it. I love almost everything else JJ has created or co-created (I was more interested in Felicity than Fringe) but alas my interested in this show is gone. It certainly is not Must See for me and at this point, and given how DVDs are working now, why bother investing time throughout this season, I'll just wait for the season 1 DVD.

This same kinda of feeling is creeping into my interested in Smallville. I've loved this show from the beginning, and while I tend to find it more interesting than some of my fellow friends, even I'm starting to care less and less. I actually was more excited about the possiblity of a Justice League spin-off (the character of Green Arrow is way more interesting but that maybe because so many of us have grown to re-love Batman). They are talking about doing The Graysons a show about Robin before he was Robin. I have mixed feelings but if it happens I know I'll be watching, but as I type I'm torn about deleting Smallville from my Season Pass. I'm 7 seasons in, do I really want to quit now?

The surprise for me is how I've added Grey's Anatomy. I'll say one name: Kevin McKidd. If you don't know who I mean, well.... check him out.

Well, I suppose I shall give Smallville another shot. But who knows after this week?

Move over Tila Tequila...

There's a new Worst Thing Imaginable on television. It's name: Paris Hilton's My New BFF. Had I not seen her kick some ass on Chuck last week, I would worry about Nicole Richie's reaction to the news that Paris was friend-shopping. If she was at all upset, I would advise her to sit down and watch about five minutes of this (sur)reality show. That was all it took for me to move from confusion, to revulsion, to pity and back to revulsion again.

She's a horrible, horrible woman.

For a long time I believed that Paris Hilton's ability to maintain a friendship started in kindergarten was her one redeeming quality. That, and perhaps a latent sense of humor. Otherwise, she represents the pinnacle of the materialistic appearance-obsessed entertainment culture. She's the queen of the party girls - she has no real skills or abilities, but because of her famous name, stick-thin body and "beautiful" face, she's an international celebrity. In short, she is what's wrong with America today. Now, she has even managed to denigrate the act of friendship, using it to feed her insatiable hunger for limelight. Thus, My New BFF - a reality show where eighteen star chasers all compete for a spot at Hilton's feet.

But who will win the real prize of escaping with her dignity intact?
Spoiler alert: no one.

When someone gains immunity after a challenge, they become Hilton's "pet." When someone is eliminated, she tells them, "TTYN." Either way, I vomit a little in my mouth. One small mercy - this show won't last very long. Paris, in her constant fit of pique, eliminated four contestants in the first episode. With one or two contestants leaving every time I give My New BFF about twelve episodes - fifteen, tops. Which will free Paris up for her new show, My New BBF - British best friend, set in London and due to air January 2009.

You said a mouthful, whoever you are.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

OMG!!! SQUEE!!!1!

The big day has finally arrived.

High School Musical 3 opens tomorrow (with showings beginning on Thursday at midnight). And here we have the eternal question. To see it in the theater or not see it in the theater?

And I have threatened to go see it in the theaters before.

There are pros and cons on both sides. Pro: Zac Efron is undeniably hot. Pro: It will probably be entertaining, and hopefully have fewer songs that make me want to gouge my eyes out. Pro: That's about all I can come up with.

Con: Do I really want to be seen at an event that has been marked on tweens' calendars for months by a big red heart? Con: Movies are expensive now, yo. Con: Yeah, still fixated on the whole humiliation factor. Con: I'm still not entirely sure I like these movies.

High School Musical as a pop-culture phenomenon is undeniable, but High School Musical as actual entertainment is still up in the air, at least for me. While it is like crack, in that once you pop, you can't stop, if you asked me if I actually liked it, I would have to pause and think about the question. So....I'm not sure it's worth spending $10 on something I'm not even sure I like. So I guess the verdict is a big old negatory on the actual movie theater viewing experience.

Sorry guys, looks like you are on your own. See you on Netflix!

Monday, October 20, 2008

When do Writers Go Too Far?

First I want to preface this by saying, I support Barack OBama. I fully intend on voting for him and he is aligned with everything I believe in. However, there is supporting a candidate and then there is pushing your agenda on a unsuspecting world. I am referring to last night's Family Guy. As a whole the episode was good. Nothing overly entertaining by Family Guy Standards. For those of you who did not watch Stewie created a time machine. Mort, the token Jew, got sent back in time to WWII and Brian and Stewie had to "fetch" him.

During their pursuits to save Mort and return home the three needed to dress up as Nazis. Now, I want to preface this by saying, I don't support Nazis. I am a Jew and anti semitism does slightly bother me.
While "suiting" up as Nazi's, Stewie adds a political "McCain-Palin" button to his outfit.

Now I HATE Sarah Palin, but I do not under any circumstances believe the two of them are Nazis. I think Family Guy, known to push Buttons, may have gone too far. Seth McFarland, I respect your personal views but I think you may have angered and upset more people then you entertained. I can take a joke. I actively laugh at Joe and the other down right awful jokes made on this show. But what is the Difference between Republicans calling Obama a terrorist (which we all are ashamed of) and Seth McFarland calling McCain a Nazi.

Primarily I think it was unnecessary and I was a little ashamed Family Guy is a regular show in my house. Comment away.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

DAG, yo

In the olden days of comedy, racial humor was as common and as controversial as knock-knock jokes. Entertainers didn't have to worry about offending anyone, because no one who might be offended was allowed into the theater. Following the Civil Rights movement and subsequent raising of our national self-awareness, racial humor died an ignoble death on the battleground of Political Correctness. Then, in the 90's, it was revived by an unlikely ally - minority comedians, who wanted to poke fun at their own life experiences. While "insider humor" is fundamentally different than "outsider humor," it's inception effectively put race and ethnicity back on the table for comedians everywhere. Nowadays comedians feel free to make racial jokes - and the only litmus test for offensiveness seems to be whether we find the joke funny or not.

"Yes, Sri. But what the hell does that have to do with TV?"

I was just getting to that.

Last week saw the premiere of Chocolate News, David Allen Grier's new sketch comedy show. As the title implies, it consists of fake news items involving African Americans. Black people. Er, persons of - well, you know what I mean. Think Chappelle Show meets The Colbert Report ... and assume for a moment that Chappelle wouldn't immediately kick Colbert's ass.

Dave is not Stephen's Black Friend

So far, this show passes my personal litmus test - funny moments outnumber offense ones. Maya Angelou's poem for McCain's inauguration ("President Elect John McCain... ain't this a bitch?") - hilarious. Negotiation of the N-word Peace Treaty - more uncomfortable than offensive. Education department PSA as performed by "Phat Man," ("Yeah, ho! Yeah, bitch! Let me see how yo' coochie twitch! Doncha leave no child behind!") - I just don't know what to say about that. But with any subjective measure, I'm sure my perception of this show's acceptability will wax and wane. And maybe that's the point - in forcing us to traverse the funny/offensive border, Grier helps put a spotlight on racial humor in America today.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Star Trek sneak peek

Those scamps over at Entertainment Weekly have a great preview of next May's new Star Trek film, brought to you by Lost mastermind, J.J. Abrams.

There are some plot spoilers, but they are clearly marked, and I avoided them with ease.

To me, the most interesting part of the article, other than the description of how Zachary Quinto had to shave his eyebrows to play Spock, is the author's discussion how the box office for the film might be positively influenced by our country's current economic woes. It makes sense--Star Trek was always one of the most optimistic sci-fi series, focusing on how mankind's love for exploration and the human capacity for kindness towards all could take us as far as the stars. This is just the kind of positivity we need as our economy goes further down the drain. Plus, never underestimate the power of escapism in movies.

Here's a little peek at some of the pics associated with the article:

That guy really does look like DeForest Kelly, right? And yay, Simon Pegg!

At least I know from Heroes they have grown back.