Sunday, February 28, 2010

Closing thoughts on the 2010 Winter Olympics

Tonight (actually, right now) the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics are taking place. And HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS CANADA WON HOCKEY GOLD.

Sorry, for the all caps, but seriously, how awesome is that? I mean, I know that I should have been rooting for the US to take it, but silver is nothing to scoff at and it's such a great end of the story for the host country. And y'all know this isn't the first time I was rooting for Canada.

I think NBC's closing ceremonies might be my favorite part of the whole shibang. Not only are they showing the actual ceremony, but highlights and stories from throughout the entire Olympiad. So for someone like me who only had the time (and really desire) to watch the figure skating coverage, it provides the chance to see all the other incredible moments that I missed. And I don't have to wade through hours of aerial jumps, cross-country skiing, or half-pipe snowboarding. Or the endless commercials. Dear god, the commercials.

But with all this Olympic coverage, no matter how awesome it may be, the one burning question in my mind has not been answered.

Why are the medals this year so fugly? I mean, damn.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Sue For You

Hold on to your butts, Glee fans. Our guest-blogger Jason is back with some harsh words for our beloved show...but he also makes a good point. Check out his thoughts on the show in general, and everyone's favorite Cheerleading coach.

It’s probably going to get me shot to admit this, but I kind of can’t handle Glee. I know, I know. Everyone loves it. It’s about hope and joy and sunshine and tiny, tiny puppies. It just never grabbed me, despite its popularity and a clear yearning to be a dark comedy. So I tried to figure out why it is that I’m not a fan, aside from my usual contrarian tendencies.

It certainly has a lot going for it that I like – witty dialogue, smart characters, and it’s not another reality show, which I’m always in favor of. Somehow, though, I just haven’t been able to get into it. To borrow a phrase, there just isn’t a lot of there there. After much soul searching, however, I figured it out – the show has too much emphasis on the singing and not nearly enough Sue Sylvester.

I know I’m not alone in loving the show’s resident Big Fish/Small Pond power-control freak. And while I really don’t care about any of these kids with their jazz hands and hipster-chic show tune-y style pop numbers, I seriously want to see more characters on television like Jane Lynch’s masterful creation.

But the reason Sue Sylvester works so well isn’t because of how well the character is written or the brilliant acting behind it, it’s because she’s wisely used sparingly. Sue is at her most icily brilliant when she gets to let loose a couple of quick zingers dripping with disgust and then saunters off into the hallways to yell at some cheerleaders off-screen.

So how can people like me get more out of Glee than what the show’s creators are clearly able to give? Clearly it’s time for Ms. Lynch to star in a collection of webisodes called The More You Know with Sue Motherfucking Sylvester. Modeled after the public service announcements of the 1980s, those of us who are fans of the biting social commentary of the show but don’t want to have to sit through the music numbers could finally have our due.

Try opening an adult video store in Salt Lake City. That’s hard.

Think about it – any old star can give you unwanted advice in commercial form. It’s all rather drab and overdone to hear yet another Heroes cast member talking about being nice to each other and not sticking foreign objects into our bodies. Now lie to me and tell me that you wouldn’t give real money to listen to Sue Sylvester tell you about the hard-learned life lessons of bullying, anorexia, drug use and national security.

We can’t have an entire show about her, but damn if we can’t get a couple of two-minute manifestos starting with, “you think that’s hard?”

Because that’s how Sue sees it.

Big ups to Monkey Sri for inspiration.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Can they take my citizenship for this?

Like most Americans, I've been watching the Olympics. Unlike most Americans, I am very selective about what I watch. Specifically, I only watch figure skating. Apollo Ono is the most decorated winter Olympian ever? That's nice for him. US Curling team not doing so hot? Oh, well. Women's snowboard half pipe (or whatever) is on? Have fun with that!

Basically, I am only in it for the figure skating. I love it all: pairs, men's, women's, ice dancing...if it's on skates with toe picks I'm there*. The rest of my Olympic viewing consists of fast forwarding through all the other events in a valiant search to find the figure skating coverage. Because NBC ain't no fool, they know people want the figure skating so they allow tantalizing glimpses throughout the evening but make you wait until 11 o'clock through midnight for the good stuff. Thank god for DVR, because you know I can't stay up that late.

Last night was the conclusion of the ice dancing competition which has usually been my least favorite of all the figure skating events. But this year, things got more interesting. Maybe it's because the routines were better, or the costumes less crazy (although did you see those Russian aboriginal outfits?? Yikes.), but I was really into the ice dancing this year.

And I wasn't even rooting for the Americans. Actually, let me rephrase. I was of course rooting for the Americans. Davis and White were my top pics and I adored their Bollywood-inspired original dance so I was hoping for them to go all the way. But there was just something about the Canadian couple, Virtue and Moir, that had been cheering for them too. They were on their home ice, the crowd adored them, and they were both so darn attractive. Even though I didn't find their free skate as engaging as the Americans, I just wanted them to win. And they did!


So this morning, while putting on my coat to walk out the door to catch the bus, I saw the Canadians stand in the center of the medal podium, the judges put gold medals around their necks, and the crowd went crazy. And when the Canadian national anthem started playing...I got a little teary-eyed.

How can you not love them? Look how adorable they are!

Does this make me a bad American? I was still really happy we got the silver medal. As with most things in life, I think the appropriate response is just to blame Canada.


* Tooooooooooooooooooooe pick!

Addendum: I know there has been some kerfluffle about a few Canadian announcers making homophobic remarks against my secret boyfriend Johnny Weir, but they have apparently apologized and I refuse to let the nastiness of a few taint my view of a whole. Everyone knows Canadians are, with a few minor exceptions, some of the nicest people in the world. So we'll just move on and pretend this whole gross thing never happened.

Really? Ugh.

Just popping by to share a link from the LA Times - The Kardashian phenomenon. Click for a lengthy article about how the Kardashians became idols for the cult of celebrity without having any skills or talents whatsoever.

Depressing quote:
"There's an aspirational quality to somebody who has become a celebrity for -- and I don't say this in an offensive way -- but for not doing anything celebrity-worthy," said Matt Delzell, an executive at Davie Brown Entertainment, a company that helps corporations choose celebrity endorsers. The young women to whom the Kardashians appeal, he said, "tend to think that's pretty cool. That's something I might be able to achieve."
Is it just me, or is this guys saying that Khloe, Kim, and Kourtney are role models? Shoot me in the face.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sophie's Choice

If you haven't been watching Make It Or Break It over on ABC Family, you've been missing out. Of course, you would probably only agree that you are missing out if you are a girl who once dreamed of becoming a gymnast. And enjoys stories of high school aged girls and the drama that follows them around.

Drama, like a love triangle!

You see, our young heroine, Emily, has found herself in the middle of a classic dilemma. She is trapped between two adorable boys and doesn't know which to choose! It's a standard plot of every television show, book, and movie aimed at a female teenage audience. And the reason why it's a standard plot is because it works. All you have to do is look at rabid fans arguing about Team Edward and Team Jacob to get an idea of how seriously people take this shit.

But let's come back to Emily. She's an independent smart girl, with a bit of an attitude. She might even be a little bit too independent since she's kind of the wild card at the gym. She's a great gymnast...when she can focus and listen to the her coach, but she's often inconsistent and then flies off the handle when she doesn't succeed. She's also seen her Mom date a near constant stream of losers who have abandoned them so she has definite trust issues.

There are two guys vying for Emily's affections. The situation is further complicated because the two guys are best friends. Awkward!

In this the red corner is Razor.

Pros: Lead singer of a band. Smart. Adorable. Goofy.

Cons: Terrible name. Bad hair. We're talking "Egon on the animated Ghostbusters" type of bad hair. Also possessive. He made his initial attraction to Emily clear, but then left town telling his best friend to "keep an eye on her." When he came back and found out they had begun dating, he was majorly pissed. It was like he had peed on her and marked her as his own or some macho crap.

And in the blue corner is Damon.

Pros: Lead guitarist of a band. Aspiring songwriter. Badboy vibe. Sexy. Pouty lips.
Cons: Whiny. Low self-esteem and needs constant reassurance of own self-worth. He also needs to grow a backbone; he has no problem playing the guitar and writing songs, but gets paralyzing stage fright if he has to sing in front of people. Seriously dude, just get yourself to a bar with karaoke and work it out. Also questionable loyalty. He made a move on his best friend's crush and then lied to Emily about his lack of success when he ran off to LA to "make a name for himself."

So there you have it. Neither guy is perfect. And they tend to fall into the classic good guy vs. rebel cliche. And yet...I'm hooked. There's just something about the love triangle that draws us in. Will Kate choose Jack or Sawyer? Is Guinevere a giant slut for sleeping with Lancelot when she's married to and also loves Arthur? Should Joey have ended up Dawson or Pacey? Who is right for Lorelai: Luke or Chris? Was Andi right to choose Blane over Duckie? Chances are you know who all these people are and have an opinion as to who was the "right" choice. And dare I say it...Edward or Jacob?

So who will Emily end up with? Tune in on Mondays at 9 pm on ABC Family to find out! And you get a bonus Kaylie/Carter/Lauren love triangle for good measure. Although that one is far less interesting because Carter kind of sucks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blood, Sweat, T-Shirts & Bratty English Kids

Planet Green, in their attempt to enlighten us to the conditions in the garment sector of India, has begun airing Blood, Sweat & Tshirts. Originally produced by BBC, Planet Green is currently airing on Monday nights.

The premise of the show is something that really appealed to me. Having read "Travels of a T-shirt in a Global Economy" by Pietra Rivoli, I am quite familiar with the conditions and lifestyles that people endure in order to bring me my cheap tshirt. However, seeing it first hand and getting to experience it along side twenty somethings like myself, really caught my attention. Unfortunately, the show is more about 6 BRATTY SELF INVOLVED British kids "coping" with living in these atmospheres.

In the first episode the kids had to sew in a REALLY NICE sweat shop. Within hours, one had quit, and another had had a mini temper tantrum. I was so embarrassed to have been a Caucasian watching these kids openly mock the workers and their lifestyles.

Now, if you are interested in how a tshirt in India is made, the show is somewhat informative. The kids are living in conditions similar to the workers and are trying to get by on the working wage. Additionally, you do get to see the cotton mills, and sewing shops. However, I just watched 5 young adults argue over who was going to clean the squat toilet they stopped up, so my spirits are low.

If you are interested check out the listings on Planet Green for Blood, Sweat and Tshirts....

Reincarnation... you're doing it wrong

Past Life stars Kelli Giddish as Dr. Kate McGinn, an expert in past life regression, who teams up with former police detective Price Whatley (Nicholas Bishop) to solve crime. As soon as I heard that, my eyes started rolling around in my head. Memories "recovered" under hypnosis have proven specious time and time again. From my POV (admittedly biased by being Hindu), past life regression is nothing more than a ruse designed to prey on the emotionally vulnerable. But then I figured I shouldn't dismiss the show out of hand, and decided to give it a shot.

... in the face.

From the start, an essential weakness in the plot becomes apparent. "Regressions," in which Dr. McGinn's client has flashbacks to their former life, would never be accepted as evidence in a court of law or the basis of a criminal investigation. And it wouldn't be enough that they find, for example, a bloody knife with the suspect's fingerprints on it. Because they can't prove chain of custody, and the lawyers out there can correct me if I'm wrong, anything like that would be inadmissible. So "regressions" have to uncover something that, in and of itself, proves the killer's guilt/the victim's innocence. In the episode I watched, a girl's memories lead them to the video testimony of an eyewitness, recorded hours before he met an untimely end. That's great an all, but how many different ways can you find incontrovertible evidence like that?

Furthermore, Dr. McGinn comes across to me as what fangirls would call a "Mary Sue." This is a character so perfect that even her flaws are flawless. She's beautiful enough to seduce information out of a man half her age, she's feisty enough to kick in doors, and she's caring enough to cry when her patient's crying. She does wildly inappropriate things, like yelling at her patients and taking steam baths with them, but no one bats an eyelash. Basically, it seems like she can do no wrong - and if the hero's always right the story gets to be hella boring. It's mentioned in passing that, instead of being in a relationship, she lives with her mother. Really? That's the best you can come up with?

If we were talking about a show where a plucky con-woman used her skills in observation to help the police solve crime (a la Psych or The Mentalist), I might have been able to stomach it. As it is, too many things in this show ring false to me. The presence of the beloved Richard Schiff from The West Wing and my homeboy Ravi Patel (apparently he was on Scrubs?) notwithstanding, I think I'll give Past Life a pass.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Last week, once again, we were snowed in. This has been a record-breaking winter for snowfall in the DC area, but luckily I had something to keep me occupied! Specifically, watching Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Now, Monkey Sri covered this show extremely well in a cartoon round-up about a year and a half ago. You can find it here. If you want a great discussion of the show's themes and hilarious commentary, I'll refer you to her post. All I really want to add to the conversation is this:

The Last Airbender is completely badass.

Other than reading Sri's post, it was never really on my radar until recently when I saw the trailer for the live action version coming out in July (and directed by one of my favorite people, M. Night Shyamalan) and thought "that looks awesome." I then mentioned it to a couple of friends who were fans of the cartoon and they recommended I watch it. A quick check of Netflix revealed that the first season (or "book") was available for instant viewing. And from that point on, my fate was sealed. In the sense that I was hooked and spent the next 2 days watching all 20 episodes of the first season.

But seriously, you guys, this show rocks. It's got amazing action and fight scenes, is really funny, and, as noted by Sri, is surprisingly deep for a children's show. It's got something for everyone, most importantly of all, it has a ten-ton, six-legged, giant flying bison with an arrrow on its head.

His name is Appa and I love him. He might possibly be my favorite part of the whole show.

I cannot recommend Avatar: The Last Airbender more and I really hope all of you get a chance to check it out. The live action movie also looks completely amazing, but please note that it simply called The Last Airbender to avoid confusion with the recent James Cameron movie. Here's the trailer (with cutie pie Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionare) and although he's not in the trailer, the movie has Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show! But what's up with them casting an American kid as Ang? I guess they just figured they can shave his head and call it a day. Of course, his mad kung-fu skills might have something to do with it...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What have they done to Chuck?

So this weekend amidst the Blizzard of 2010 and its sequel, I caught up on back episodes of Chuck. Unfortunately they lined Chuck up against House this season and for me there is no contest. Though I thoroughly enjoyed Chuck's past seasons, the wit of Levy is no match for House. Additionally, since I am not technology inept I am tivoing HIMYM on CBS while watching House. And we KNOW the cast of Chuck can't compare the with Cast of How I Met Your Mother.

That's the beauty that is the Internet. I have spent some time catching up and....I would like my time back. The premise of this show was nerd thrown into spy world. I know characters have to grow and blah blah blah, but they have worked it so its just another spy show. The pizazz of Chuck is gone. It is boring and I am fighting to get through each episode.

I give it one more season max. It can't hold its own in the time slot AND its slipping fast...

Poor chuck :(

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Secret Boyfriend of the Week: I am Spartacus!

Look, I never said I wasn't shallow.

Look at the pretty!

I sat in at the Spartacus: Blood and Sand panel at Comic Con and was really looking forward to the show. And I believe I made it clear that the reason I was looking forward to it was the violence and nakedness. And on that front, it definitely delivers.

The show is basically a retread of 300 with more gratuitous sex and violence (if that's possible), and it's not going to win any awards for acting. Or writing. Or direction. Or anything, really, but you know what?

It has the pretty!

Now boys, don't fight over me.

I caught the pilot episode on Netflix which apparently has some special deal going with Starz, so you can find it there or by other, shall we say less legal means, if you wanted to look around. I would recommend it, but don't expect great art. I'll say it's fun and leave it at that. And Andy Whitfield (who plays Spartacus) is nothing to sneeze at. He has some scraggly looking hair in the first episode, but based on these pics, I would say it gets cut pretty soon and it definitely ups his stock. And those abs go a long way towards making up for any hair issues.

See? Shallow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This seems kinda familiar...

Here we are again, gentle readers. Another day, another snowstorm. While I was able to escape the first storm this month by fleeing north to Atlantic City (who flees north to escape snow?), I got back in plenty of time for round two and am now firmly dug in to my condo to wait out the blizzard-like weather.

And as before, I have spent my time sitting on the ass watching tv or reading, but mostly watching tv. A little Lost, Human Target, Gilmore Girls, What Not to Wear, House, Chuck, and anything else languishing on my DVR is up for grabs.

While I have not succumbed to cabin fever yet, I can pretty much guarantee that the government will be closed tomorrow and day 3 of being trapped inside could be the breaking point. But as long as the cable works, I should be able to stave off the worst of the effects. And there is always the car waiting to be shoveled out. Sigh. Have car, will shovel.

Anyone found a more exciting way to spend the snowpocalypse?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lost: The Sixth Season

Or as ABC is calling it, "Lost: The Final Chapter." Dramatic much, eh?

But it is dramatic. For Lost fans, this is the season that has promised to answer many questions(though surely not all of them), and bring our favorite characters stories to an end. And last night was definitely a step in the right direction. Although, as with anything Lost, it posed new questions for each one that was answered.

First off, here's some stats for the sixth season premiere:

Number of times I said WTF: 5

Number of times I said, "I have no idea what is going on": 3

Departed characters that returned: Rose and Bernard, Boone, Charlie (!), Greg Grunberg as the Oceanic Pilot (!!!), and the flight attendant whose name escapes me. My eagle eyes also spied the John Lennon-esque guy from the Temple (whom I recognized from Deadwood) sleeping under a blanket on the Oceanic 815 flight.

And holy crap you guys, the Man In Black is the smoke monster! Which as soon as I figured out made so much sense I wanted to kick myself for not figuring it out sooner. And I'd just like to say what a pleasure it is to watch Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn play against one another in scenes. My how the tables have turned; Locke (or the guy walking around as Locke) is the one manipulating everyone for his own use while Ben is left feeling like a pawn of fate. Love it!

But of course it wouldn't be Lost if there still weren't 1,000 lingering questions. Mainly, what is going on with time? The Losties are still on the island and got blasted back in the present, so why are they still on Oceanic Flight 815 never having landed on the island? And why can Jacob still appear and talk to peeps when he got stabbed and then burnt and is, in his own words, dead? And who are the people who live in the temple and were also on Flight 815? Have they been on the island this entire time but we just never saw hide nor hair of them? What is the Man in Black's plan now? And why the hell bring Juliet back just to kill her again two hours later? I mean, really. It's not like Elizabeth Mitchell just sits around hoping the producers give her a call.

There may be a ton of questions for the coming season, but that's really what makes Lost. If everything was answered it wouldn't be any fun, would it? I for one could not be more excited for this season and it's clear the show is off to an awesome start. So bring it on, show, I'm ready!