Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Remembering Bea Arthur

For the past couple days, I have been thinking of how to compose a post that would do justice to Bea Arthur, she of the snarky comeback and proof positive that older people are intelligent, funny, and people just like any other.

Then it came to me! I wasn't the one who should be writing about Bea, my good friend Chris, who practically worshiped the ground she walked on, was the perfect choice. So here's a guest post from Chris on Bea:

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge Golden Girls fan, like most gay men I know. And I mean huge. I own all seven seasons, still watch it on TV, can quote most of it and, to the annoyance of my family, laugh at most of the punch lines before they're even uttered. This isn't a recent obsession. I watched the Girls when it was originally on the air on NBC. Picture me, just short of my twelfth birthday, sitting in a chair directly in front of the TV, crying at Dorothy leaving Blanche, Rose and Sophia to marry Blanche's Uncle Lucas. If that wasn't my parents' first clue I'm gay, seriously, what would it take?
But I digress. Most people our age know Bea as Dorothy from Golden Girls. Thanks to Lifetime (and now Hallmark Channel), the show's been running perpetually for over a decade. Our parents and grandparents probably know Bea as Maude, a character originally cast as the liberal feminist cousin of Edith Bunker on All in the Family. Maude was so popular a character that CBS spun off an entire series based on her, which ran for six seasons. The show hit some nerves, most notably with Maude deciding to have an abortion. Keep in mind, this episode aired before Roe v. Wade, meaning that in many parts of the country, abortion was still illegal in all circumstances. Bea earned the first of two acting Emmys in 1977 for her role as Maude. By the end, Bea (as she was apt to do), decided it was time to leave the show. This is how Golden Girls ended as well.
What most people probably don't know is that Maude was Bea's first television gig, at age 50. After her appearance on All in the Family, CBS executives famously asked "'Who is that girl? Let's give her her own series.'" Thus, Maude was born.

However, by this time, Bea was already a very successful actress on Broadway. From Wikipedia:

On stage, her roles included Lucy Brown in the 1954 Off-Broadway premiere of Marc Blitzstein's English-language adaptation of Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera, Yente the Matchmaker in the 1964 premiere of Fiddler on the Roof, and a 1966 portrayal of Vera Charles to Angela Lansbury's Mame, for which she won a Tony Award. She reprised the role in the 1974 film version opposite Lucille Ball. In 1981, she appeared in Woody Allen's The Floating Lightbulb.

But back to why I loved Bea: her witty humor on Golden Girls. I can picture my mom and I having a similar relationship when we get old. A sometimes testy friendship, but in the end willing to move mountains for each other. I mean, come on, who hasn't wanted to call their mom a "furry little gnome"? The chemistry of the show was perfect, and she will be sorely missed. I only wish I could have seen her one woman show when she was on tour.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in.

SPOILER ALERT! This post contains plot points from the Heroes season finale.


Heroes - when it's good, it's the best thing on television. Hiro Nakamura is basically my favorite character ever (Ando Masahashi takes a close second). Almost every episode has a truly gasp-worthy moment. And it's integration of classic themes from comic books not only made it truly original (and all the rarer for it). It made geekiness mainstream - dare I say, even cool?

Nerd is the new black.

At the same time, when it's bad, it's godawful. As much as I love (to look at) Mohinder, he continues to be the stupidest man on the planet. Every time I saw the wonder twins (Maya and Alejandro), I wished my eyes would turn black and kill things. Ooh, and remember Peter's acid trip to Ireland? Caitlin was probably glad that he abandoned her in the future.

Blame it on the writer's strike if you must, but I think we can all agree that Heroes first season = awesome while the second season = pathetic. At the beginning of this season, I was tried of the unbearable hope and constant disappointment. So I gave Heroes an ultimatum. "I can find something else to do with my Monday nights," I lied. "Shape up or ship out." Then I watched, with a jaded eye and one hand on the clicker.

Yesterday, they went and killed Nathan Petrelli.

Here's how it went down: with no forewarning whatsoever, Sylar slashes Nathan's throat. I scream, "OH MY GOD!" and pull my t-shirt up to my nose. I spend the next thirty seconds trying not to scream again. My neighbors consider calling the police. For the next twenty minutes, I'm glued to my television - I kind of needed to pee, but there would be time for that later! I'm not entirely sure I blinked until the start of Mohinder's closing voiceover.

You got me, Heroes. I'll see you in season four.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Screw Jared, I'm doing it for Chuck.

Got lunch or dinner plans today? If not, then head out to Subway and show some support for Chuck!

On his website, Zac Levi is asking Chuck fans to visit Subway today (Monday, April 27) and purchase a $5 footlong. While doing so, take the time to fill out a comment card noting that you are supporting Chuck, or mention it to manager.

We all know money talks, and since Subway is Chuck's main sponsor, this represents a great opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.

Also, subs = yummy. Everybody wins!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jim Beaver and his Fab Hats

It’s no secret that I love Jim Beaver. I first discovered him on Supernatural, but when I saw him in Deadwood, I really started to adore him. But now, with the rumors of a major death on Supernatural this season and his appearance as the Sheriff on Harper’s Island (where anyone could die at any minute), I live in constant fear that none of his characters will survive to the end of their shows.

TV Guide has a nice interview with Jim Beaver here, where he talks about his television shows and his new book, Life’s That Way, about his wife’s cancer.

See how great he looks in hats?

So, to sum up. He's a great actor, an author, and a nice person. And can rock a hat.

To the show-runners of Supernatural and Harper's Island: if you kill his characters, I might consider breaking up with you. You have been warned.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Unusually Good

I was flipping through the channels not too long ago, when I spotted the sweet smiling face of Amber Tamblyn. I hadn't seen her in anything really worthwhile since Joan of Arcadia, so I flipped back. Within minutes I was treated to Harold Perrineau (of Lost and The Matrix fame) and Adam Goldberg (loved him in The Hebrew Hammer). After watching for a few minutes, I realized I had stumbled on to the dynamite ensemble cast of The Unusuals.

"Shabbat shalom, motherfuckers!"

However, face recognition will only take you so far - even the best actors can't sell the viewer on wimpy characters. Also, police procedurals are notoriously formulaic, character-driven though they may be. There were so many ways for The Unusuals to actually be more of the same.

Happily, this is not the case. Several characters in The Unusuals are interesting twists on well-known tropes. The tough-as-nails cop is also the sexually voracious love interest (without, at least so far, compromising her professionalism). The brown-nose turns out to be quite a sympathetic character. The goody-two-shoes rookie is also the cop with a shady past. And the street-smart mentor/father figure Jason Walsh, played by Jeremy Renner, is actually one of the pair of protagonists (side note: if he dumps the tough-as-nails cop for the other protagonist (Amber Tamblyn), I will be very disappointed). This multitasking not only gives these typical throwaways more depth, it makes room in the ensemble for some truly original characters.

Amber Tamblyn plays Casey Shraeger, an up-and-coming cop who happened to up-and-come from a wealthy family. She doesn't want her co-workers to know, and often has to scramble to hide her connections. I know it sounds weak, but the interplay of her two worlds is really well done.

Furthermore, Harold Perrineau plays a cop who lives in constant fear of death or injury and whose partner, played by Adam Goldberg, seems to have a death wish. The cast is rounded out by some really strong support – the DA who went to school with Shraeger and must be blackmailed to keep her secret, Shraeger's handsome yet bumbling accountant, and the Sergeant who has asked Shraeger to spy on her partner.

As you can see, there's a lot going on with this show. But it all fits together well, with divergent story lines and motivations coming together to into a coherent plot. So check out The Unusuals, online or Wednesdays at 10pm on ABC.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Secret Boyfriend of the Week: Bobby!

A couple weeks ago I spotlighted the Return of My Boys and to reinforce my love for the show I want to spotlight My Secret Boyfriend of the week: BOBBY~Here are some Bobby Highlights!

Famous Sports Writer!

Gets along perfect with your friends!

Rich (Bobby's family has millions and a villa in Italy.....I repeat....VILLA IN ITALY)!

Great sense of humor!

And look at him....Ok, maybe I should have started there.

Catch My Boys tonight!

As a side note my spotlight is on Bobby....Kyle Howard (the actor who plays Bobby) is currently dating Lauren Conrad from the Hills....he loses all points for bad taste.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When fandoms collide!

CSI is a show that I catch when I can. Usually on Thursday nights at 9pm, my DVR is hard at work recording Supernatural and The Office/30 Rock, so unless I can remember to set the VCR, CSI loses out.

But this week, I'll be sure to catch it. There's been a lot of internet chatter about this week's geektastic CSI Star Trek Battlestar Gallactica mash-up.

Here's the official expla:
Hodges and Wendy run into one another at a science-fiction where a TV producer is murdered. The two help in the investigation which reveals that the producer was re-making a beloved sci-fi series and giving it an ultra-violent twist that upset many devout fans.
Oh, awesome. There are sure to be many shout-outs for sci-fi fans, especially fans of the newer incarnation of BSG who are familiar with the controversy and ire that erupted four years ago when the news broke of the BSG's remake. According to TV guide, the episode was written by former Star Trek and Battlestar writers and features BSG's Ellen Tigh and creator, Ronald D. Moore.

Here's a cute interview with the guy who plays Hodges on the episode and how his character may finally act on his crush on fellow lab-rat, Wendy.

Well, well. It's always the quiet ones.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Can a company be bitchy?"

I am pleased to report that my computer, Babs, has finally returned from her trip to the Mac home world. She now boasts a replaced gizmo and a shiny new thingamabob, the combination of which allows me to actually turn her on. Yay! We celebrated by cuddling on the couch and watching streaming video all weekend long. I am pleased to report that I have caught up on (almost) all of the shows I want to watch. This in turn heralds a massive influx of TV blog posts ... i.e. hopefully more than one. So, without further ado, my review of Better Off Ted.

This is the story of Ted Crisp, the head of R&D at the Veridian corporation, a faceless monolith with its finger in every pie. From scratchy office chairs that improve productivity to organic vegetables chock-full of antidepressants, Veridian does it all! And while it doesn't necessary mean to be evil... well, you get the picture.

They put one of their scientists in a cryogenic chamber,
without knowing that they would be able to reanimate him.
That's cold.

After watching the first episode, I started searching my office for surveillance equipment. Even though the situations are farcical, the characters and relationships could have been lifted from my life. Ted has to constantly walk the line between basic human decency (embodied by his daughter, Rose) and the absurdities that arise when powerful people become completely detached from reality (see his boss, Veronica, played by Portia de Rossi). I get that.

Best line of the first episode goes to Rose:
"Do grown-ups even care about right and wrong?"

It doesn't hurt that the cast is filled out with great, quirky characters. Linda is the disgruntled employee stealing creamer as an act of rebellion. Phil and Lem are the sweet, harmless scientists who often need protection from the company - and themselves. And the writing is so great that Ted's monologuing, delivered directly to the camera and shattering the fourth wall into a million tiny pieces, is not annoying in the slightest. My advice - cancel your two o'clock and get caught up with Better Off Ted online, and catch it on the air Wednesdays, 8:30 on ABC.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In related news...

As a response to Maggie's previous post, I just wanted to mention that the "Save the Dollhouse" movement started early. Like, before the show aired. You know why? Because while hope springs eternal in the human breast, Joss Whedon fans (Maggie Cats and myself included) were not born yesterday. Don't believe me that the campaign (technically to "hype" the show) started before a single episode was seen? Check it:

Save the Dollhouse, save the world!

BTW, recommendations include:
1. Catching up on Hulu (Check!)
2. Getting in touch with Fox (Wait, via Twit-ter? Oh, hells no.)
3. Pre-ordering the DVD on Amazon (That, I might do.)

Death Watch

It's that time of year again...when fans of "on-the-bubble" television shows take a collective intake of breath until May when the networks announce their next season line-up at the up fronts. What shows will come back and what shows will get the axe? And don't forget about the inevitable fan campaigns, when we all come together in a desperate attempt to save certain shows.

So far, I've heard rumors of cancellations for the following shows that I like:

Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles





Now if I had to choose just one (as Kristin over at E! asks you to do in her Save One Show poll), I would probably have to choose Terminator. Now, I know I can hear Jeff gasping from here and preparing to yell at me ("how could you not choose Chuck!?") but hear me out.

These past few weeks Terminator has upped the ante. Killing off a major character, moving other characters into the future, exposing secret benign motivations for characters we thought were villains...every episode of this show has left me with an OMG moment and wanting to immediately talk to someone else who watches it. Which means I call my brother in Michigan since he is the only other person I know who actually does watch it. And therein lies the problem. Nobody is watching the show. Sigh.

Dollhouse has also been on a role lately and has had it share of twists, but I just haven't gotten as invested. And Chuck is certainly entertaining, but if I can put off watching a new episode for more than a week without thinking twice, then the passion just isn't there.

I think it's telling that the second show I watched after my return from Nebraska for work (meh) was Terminator. After Friday Night Lights of course.

So is there a chance in hell Terminator will come back next fall? Probably not. But hope springs eternal. And hey, stranger things have happened. Friday Night Lights just got picked up for 2 more miracles are possible!

It's wrong to ship a teenager and a cyborg, isn't it?


Friday, April 10, 2009

Harper's Island

Last night CBS premiered a new 13 part "mini-series" called Harper's Island: think of it as a long murder mystery/slasher movie.

A group of people gather on Harper's Island (97 miles off the coast of Seattle) for the wedding of Henry (Christopher Gorham of Ugly Betty adorableness) and Trish (formerly Ruby of Supernatural.).

7 years ago on Harper's Island a man by the name of John Wakefield went crazy and murdered 7 people by burning, decapitation, and hanging. One of the people killed was the wife of the hometown Sheriff and mother of his daughter, Abby, who hasn't been back to the island since her mother's death.

Now the members of the wedding party and guests are being picked off one by one in gruesome ways; well, gruesome by network television standards.

Are the current murders related to the island's past horror? Only time will tell...

I liked the show, I intend to watch it and enjoy the ride. But then again, I love scary movies, even the cheesy slasher ones. The first hour had a lot of information to provide: the cast is pretty large (since there are need to be enough characters for one or two to die every episode) and we needed to know people's backstories, and the mythos of the island needed to be established.

Overall, the show was enjoyable and creepy. With just the right touch of slasher movie cheese!

The main reason I think I'll stick with it is to see who survives of the characters and actors I really like. Christopher Gorham and Katie Cassidy I already mentioned, but there was also Harry Hamlin (Aaron Echols!) and best of all, Jim Beaver as the Sheriff and father of Abby. If you've ever seen Supernatural or Deadwood you know Jim Beaver is the bomb and I really hope he doesn't get killed.

There are a bunch of secondary and tertiary characters, but come on, we know they're canon fodder, right? Here's hoping the annoying Chloe and Cal bite it pretty quick. Jesus, somebody shut them up.

To add to the fun, CBS has created an online game of sorts over at Harper's Globe, where viewers can get clues to the mystery from webisodes and participate in forum discussions. And Wiki has a pretty awesome death chart going where you can track who gets it, when, and in what way.

So many pretty potential corpses....but hands off Jim Beaver!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Avoiding Spoilers

Noticed I haven't been around lately? It's because I've been sent to Nebraska for a week for work. Lucky for you, my work-load is light today so I thought I would pop-by and have a little rant...

Something big happened on House on Monday. I won't tell you what, in case you haven't seen it yet, which is kind of my point. Since I'm on central time this week, House aired early for me and I was still at dinner and missed it. Actually, I wasn't making much of an effort to see it since I was trusting in my DVR.

Come Tuesday morning, I'd settled down to my hotel breakfast and was perusing the Life section when there's an article about Kal Penn. Thinking, "oh, I like Kal Penn!" I started reading. And guess what? The very first sentence of the article contains a big huge honking spoiler for House the previous night. I was so mad I slammed down the paper and started bitching to my travel companion that I had read a spoiler.

But here's the thing. Is it really a spoiler? I mean, the show had aired. But with the prevalence of DVRs and online viewing, is it fair to post something so huge the very morning after a show has aired? It seems we have moved into a "if the show has aired it's fair game" attitude, but is that right? It's certainly easier...but I can't be the only person who has experienced something like this.

So when is a spoiler a spoiler? For my money, I've pretty much developed an ask first policy. If I'm going to talk about something on a show, I make sure the person has seen it first. Same with my blog posts, lots of warning go up for those even is an episode has already aired. But is that overkill?

The world may never know.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

FINALLY. Project Runway Returns!

It's about damn time.

Season 6 of Project Runway will be airing on Lifetime this summer!

Can Tim Gunn get any cuter? Will Heidi find more dresses that fall into Nina's dreaded "short, tight, and shiny" trifecta? Will Michael get even more orange??

All these questions and more to be answered in a few short months!

They're back, bitches!

The Return of My Boys

Two years ago I fell in love with My Boys. It was very close to an obsession for me. When it first aired the writing was witty, the jokes were great and the characters were pretty real.
For those of you not glued to the TBS comedy, it stars Jordana Spiro (who hasn’t done much but this show) who plays PJ, a tomboy who surrounds herself with her 4 male best friends. Each guy is of course quirky and fun. PJs friends include Brandon ( a former disc jockey and extremely hot played), Mike (the oddball), Kenny (the geek you have to love) and Bobby (the handsome millionaire played by Kyle Howard who for those of you who keep up with celebrity gossip dates that girl from the Hills).

The first reason I tuned in was the hotties. But I stayed for the writing/ laughs. I found myself laughing out loud a lot, which is rare for a 30 minute sitcom these days. Oh and Jim Gaffigan! Anyone a fan of Gaffigan’s stand up with LOVE him on My Boys.

Last night the season premier aired. TBS, realizing the amount of ladies and obsessed folks who are tuning into this show, slammed us with three 2 minute commercial breaks, which were difficult to get through, but they made up for it. Two words…mustache contest.

**SPOILER ALERT. For those of you who do watch my boys I was surprised by the uniting of the couple we all were dying to see together in the season premier. As I said to my husband, I doubt they will stay happily together the entire season. But I was filled with warm and fuzzy feelings.

Give My Boys a chance. You can check out new episodes on Tuesdays at 10:30 (odd time) or see the old ones at