As we get ready for the fall season on the networks you don't have to pay extra on the cable bill for, HBO wraps up a few more of its series with style. Both Entourage and The Comeback finished their seasons this week, and I was almost perfectly satisfied with both conclusions. I say "almost," because I thought the last two minutes of each show undermined a little of the darkness and discomfort that I have been loving in each series this season, but I understand why the "uplifting" endings were there.
I guess I have to avoid spoilers here, so I'll just say that I like the shifting focus of Entourage onto Ari's character (why do I feel like watching him claw his way back to the top next season will be a thousand times more interesting than seeing the ever-more-boring--and boorish--Vince's latest adventures?), and I'd offer two words to the writers: MORE LLOYD.
And I think The Comeback may go down as the most underappreciated show of the last several months. It got a lot of bad press for being so sadistic toward Lisa Kudrow's character on every episode, but as last night's finale really hammered home, Valerie Cherish is not exactly going out of her way to dodge those punches week after week. All in all, I really enjoyed the show's entire run--it took a little getting used to, but it provided a boatload of squirmy laughs and some seriously top-notch acting from Kudrow.
Oh, and as for Rome: I gave it two chances and fell asleep while watching it on both occasions (neither of which were even close to my bedtime). I'd call that a sign, y'all, and I immediately pulled it from my TiVo "To Do List."
I've been remiss in posting lately--school has started again, and all of my TV-watching is done in huge chunks with liberal doses of fast-forwarding on the TiVo thrown in. And in my downtime, I can't stop watching The King of Queens reruns. What's my deal?
Anyway, here's what I've been keeping up with lately--so many links will make for a wide range of comment-worthy material, but please chime in on any of these if you can.
Situation: Comedy-where has this show gone? Have the ratings been so awful that Bravo is just burying it under really random show times?
Starved-it's far too proud of its supposed "envelope-pushing" status, but any show about food and weight issues--protests be damned--is worth watching to me (a lot of stuff on there hits kind of close to home, so maybe that's part of the attraction).
Entourage-this season has been just great (better than the first), and unlike many critics, I feel like Mandy Moore has been a good addition to the cast, since she shows just what a lucky dumbass Vince really is. I hope he loses Aquaman because of her--I really want him to fail, and fail spectacularly. It's all about watching Johnny Drama, anyway.
The Comeback-everyone either loves it or hates it, right? I love it--it's not for everyone (especially if you hate watching characters get emotionally destroyed every week), but I think Lisa Kudrow is sneaking up on us with what will end up being seen as a rather gutsy and emotional performance over the course of the season. She manages to make you laugh and cringe at the same time every week--sometimes it really is almost too painful to watch.
Laguna Beach-dammit, sucked back in for another season. I think I love Kristin. And I definitely hate stupid Jessica.
I'm watching a few other shows (The Surreal Life, Celebrity Fit Club, the sporadically brilliant Being Bobby Brown, etc.) when I can, of course, but not as many as I'd like to. Plus, I have to catch up on all of those episodes of The King of Queens!
My Golden Globes mini fashion wrap-up can be found here.
Janet over at Snarkcake posted a great TV entry yesterday. Her comments aren't working lately, but I thought you fine people here at TMFT might want to discuss some of her thoughts on the latest shows.
TeeVee.org has listed their 2004 best of/worst of. Enjoy!
The New York WPIX Yule Log is going national! To me, nothing says Christmas like a continuous loop of a fireplace on television with crappy carols playing in the background. And I sincerely mean that.
So, we know that "Jump the Shark" refers to the moment that a television show peaks and starts going downhill, usually faster than the speed of light. So, what's it called when a show starts getting way better? I'd love to hear your suggestions for cleverly "terming" a show on the upswing.
Last night I treated myself to a mini-marathon of Popular. I'm on Disc 2 of Season 1, and watched Slumber Party Massacre, Truth or Consequences, and Queen B. My word, this show makes me laugh. When Carmen was getting ready for her slumber party, she was going over a grocery list and asked Lily what Ipecac was. Lily replied, "It's what you give little kids to make them throw up," and Carmen said, "That's funny. Mary Cherry said that's all she drinks." I think I laughed for ten minutes straight.
...half from laughing, half from sheer mortification. The already-infamous Ashlee Simpson SNL lip-sync debacle is the topic of choice over on one of the message boards dedicated to her "career." Some of the posts (many of which are vulgar--you've been warned) are angry at her for lip-syncing on the show, some are mad because she blamed her band instead of herself, and some are using every rationalization in the book to justify the whole mess (these would be the ones who'll be voting Republican when they turn 18, then). There are also plenty of links on the board to video clips of the incident--my TiVo will be holding onto it for a while, for sure.
Here's the backstory, in case you're not sure what's going on. And here's the typically funny Popjustice take on it--they not only provided the above link to the message board, but they also point out the real highlight of watching it occur on live TV: the satisfied look on the faces of the musicians as they realized what was happening and that lil' Ashlee was powerless to stop it.
A good friend of mine is making his primetime debut tonight on basic cable. A producer on McEnroe, he conceived, created and will perform as Josh Horowitz, obsequious correspondent. Well, he already is Josh Horowitz, but you get the idea. It's tonight at 10 p.m. on CNBC. He says he'll be in the first five minutes or so. Watch and cheer the boy on...
Reader S. John alerted me to a very fun website that discusses the addition of a cast member to a successful show, who then goes on to destroy the show. See: Oliver in The Brady Bunch. And, as I commented yesterday, Luke in Growing Pains. Can you think of any not listed?
Was it just me, or was Gilmore Girls kind of boring last night? Are any of the women on Starting Over even worth spending your time on? I vote for Sinae as "least crazy." If you're watching The Surreal Life, can you tell me why Jordan Knight is such a douchebag? And how I can find Ryan Starr so I can slap her around a bit? Is The Daily Show on vacation this week, or did my TiVo malfunction? Who invented liquid soap and why? (extra credit if you can tell me what movie that last quote is from.)
Don't waste another minute on your cryin'! Reader Emily emailed me today with the ultra-thrilling news that Growing Pains is doing (another) reunion movie. Was the world really clamoring for more time with the Seavers? I admit, I liked the show during its heyday, and what other show can claim it actually jumped the shark with the cast addition of Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio? I fell for this GP nostalgia back in 2000 with the other one. I made it through about 20 minutes before my heart stopped beating from sheer boredom. I guess Tracey Gold needs to clean up her image a bit. And don't even get me started on Kirk Cameron.
Just thought I'd post since none of us have lately. Oops! I guess there hasn't been much on. Let's use this thread to discuss your favorite shows that aren't usually covered here. Are you addicted to VH1 like I am? Syndicated episodes of A Different World? Anything new on the sci-fi front? Go for it.
I know that Yahoo! does those ratings recaps every week, but I thought there were some interesting tidbits in the latest report:
*Joey keeps dropping down the chart
*Lost premiered in 9th place (happiness!)
*The Bachelor and my beloved Fear Factor (shut up) are losing viewers very quickly
*Awful "comedies" Still Standing and Listen Up are inexplicably doing well
FOX, of course, is stinking like fresh poo. Do you think they ever regret getting the rights to those stupid baseball games, since it forces them to wait until late October/early November for lots of their premieres?
Yeah. Today is an exciting day for series-to-DVD releases. Make sure you're first in line for Popular � The Complete First Season. This show is pure brilliance with a particular shout out to Leslie Grossman's outrageous Mary Cherry. It's so funny, you totally pee a little, and, there are some great heartfelt moments. Also, my favorite college chick, Felicity, releases her Junior Year Collection today. It's been on my Netflix list for months now.
I've got to admit that I really enjoyed last night's Emmy broadcast. I thought it was funny (the Duchovny cameo was genius), it didn't drag, and I thought the right people won. I do have a major, MAJOR critique, though, and that's the way the orchestra was playing people off so quickly. Really obnoxious, rude, and how come Pacino gets to talk as much as he wants? Whatever. And does anyone know what James Gandolfini was trying to say before they CUT OFF HIS MIKE? Soooo wrong.
Here's my Emmy Fashion Portion of the Show. When did Bonnie Hunt get so hot? How wonderful was it to see this? I thought Glenn Close looked fabulous. Oh, for crying out loud. Love her. Thank God he will finally stop winning. Helen Mirren appears to be wearing her hotel bedspread. Oh, and shut up already. I adore Edie Falco, but not so much the dress. I'm hungry. This was adorable. My favorite moment of the night.
My favorite issue of Entertainment Weekly every year is the Fall TV Preview issue. Great pictures, helpful program grids, lots of insider info--the works. It's one that I keep around the house for several weeks and check often, as the new shows are rolled out over the fall season (some shows have already premiered; others won't be here until November). If you don't subscribe, it's worth picking this one up off the magazine rack at the store.
As a sort of companion piece to our picks for the best new shows coming up, here are the three that EW was most enthusiastic about:
*Best New Drama: Lost
*Best New Comedy: Joey
*Most Promising Reality Show: Wife Swap
Of those three, two had already appeared on our lists here, so it's nice to get a little validation.
I hate to admit this, but I'm so loving the Today Show from Athens. Each day this week, I've been late to work, unable to pull myself away from the interviews with athletes and the behind-the-scene views. The festive spirit of the games is making Matt and Katie seem pretty entertaining, too, when compared to their stuffy studio-based personalities. However, regardless of location, I will never like Al Roker.
So, if you watched the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics this Friday night, were you like me? That is, did you want to kill Bob Costas and Katie Couric by hour number 2* (or at least tell them to just shut their effing mouths and let me watch the floating people and bad outfits)? If you live in Canada (or close enough to warrant getting CBC on your cable system), it sounds like you have a Bob-and-Katie-free option that I would love to take advantage of.
*Okay, I'm making an argument here, so I shouldn't admit that I actually watched it all on TiVo and it took less than an hour. But still, it's the principle of the thing, and the inane chatter was grating even on TiVo-mode.
I'm so not watching television this summer. Nothing seems to be pumping my substantial entertainment nads. This is bad when you write for a group TV blog. I can't get all excited about Big Brother. Not surprising, since I never make it through Survivor once they vote off the hot guy. The Amazing Race barely keeps my attention, but I am watching, even if it's the Saturday repeat. Is it another failed mission on Road Rules? *yawn* I hope to be better by fall.
Since, I don't have a life, however, the TV is still on. Instead, I've been viewing departed shows now on DVD. Here's what I've been watching:
Felicity: I've already discussed my new-found love for this show. Just finished with the second season. I hate Noel even more, and am starting to see why Felicity is drawn to Ben. I so hope Julie doesn't come back for season three. So weak! Meghan is a revelation! During season two, I screamed at my TV in shock five times. I won't bore you with the breakdown of when and why. I just need to sing the amazing praises of Keri Russell, who is just too incredible for words. Oh, and the storyline involving Felicity's parents hit very close to home. Pretty real stuff. I so can't wait until Sept. for season three to come out on DVD.
Firefly: I'm through the first three episodes, and I'm not sure what I think. So far, I hate Captain Mal for his moral ambiguity. He just seems, well, like an ass. First officer, played by the solid Gina Torres, seems crazy in love with him (not her husband). If these two are the main players, I'm not optimistic. However, I really enjoy the rest of the cast, particularly the infectiously-joyous Kaylee and the young Doctor Simon. Not impressed with the Jayne character, but I appreciate the hunkish eye candy. I hope I develop some love for the show before the movie is released.
Good news for Family Guy fans! FOX is bringing it back, and will be running a marathon to celebrate. This show absolutely slays me. Every time I watch an episode, I see a new sight gag. LOVES IT.
Just some brief comments. Who's keeping up with Celebrity Poker? I haven't watched last night's episode yet, so don't spoil me, but I did see the one with Penn Jillette and could he BE any more of an asshole? I had to leave the room at one point because I couldn't listen to his fat mouth any more. Starting Over trudges on and on...at this point I'm tired of all of them. I hope they move on to more interesting casts after this one. We're still watching The 4400, and still enjoying it. It was so fun to see Steve from Sex & The City on the last episode, although he didn't meet with the most pleasant ending. Are YOU watching anything interesting lately?
Whew! I'm suddenly very glad that I stopped watching Six Feet Under a couple of seasons ago (see the post below). But since we're on the HBO Sunday tip, what about the rest of the lineup last night: Da Ali G Show and Entourage?
Ali G was brilliant as always--too many hysterical/ squirmworthy moments to count, but I think I laughed the hardest when Bruno was listing certain qualities and activities and asking the Exodus-Ministries-type idiot if those things were gay or not. From watching Will & Grace to eating "lots of chocolate things" to simply "being fabulous," a lot of questions were finally cleared up for all of us. What a relief!
(The Village Voice ran a too-short collection of some of Ali's finest interview moments from season one.)
Entourage seems like it might be a winner, even though it's still early. I don't like all (or even most) of the characters, but I don't think I'm supposed to. Jeremy Piven's agent character is especially hiss-worthy (he's really good at playing slimy, isn't he?), and Kevin Dillon's pathetic hanger-on brother was just the right mixture of sad and loathsome. Am I too enthusiastic, too soon? What did you guys think?
We don't discuss any of the C.S.I. franchises here, but I watch the show every now and then, so I was surprised to see that two of the stars just got fired for breach of contract. It seems that Jorja "Nobody Really Spells It That Way" Fox and George "The HOTTness" Eads tried the old "not show up" trick in order to get more money. Needless to say, it didn't work. Let's be honest here--the successful spinoffs of the show (Miami last season, NYC this fall) show that people tune in more for the mystery and gimmicks, not the supporting casts.
The Emmy Award nominees are out! And I know that you all were probably up the entire night, wondering, "What does Freakgirl think about this?" It's your lucky day. Here are the main awards, with THE FREAKGIRL STAMP OF APPROVAL in boldface and FREAKGIRL SNOTTY REMARKS in italics.
BEST COMEDY SERIES - "Sex and the City," "Arrested Development," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Will & Grace."
It makes me nearly weep with joy to see "Arrested Development" get recognized, finally.
BEST DRAMA - "The Sopranos, " "CSI," "Joan of Arcadia," "24" and "The West Wing."
Don't make me choose...I'd love to see "Joan" win, actually, so more people will watch it and see Amber Tamblyn's amazing talent.
BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA - James Gandolfini ("The Sopranos"), Anthony LaPaglia ("Without a Trace"), James Spader ("The Practice"), Martin Sheen ("The West Wing") and Kiefer Sutherland ("24").
I imagine some of you will go for James Spader for this one, but I've never seen his show.
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA - Jennifer Garner ("Alias"), Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: SVU"), Amber Tamblyn ("Joan of Arcadia"), Alison Janney ("The West Wing") and Edie Falco ("The Sopranos").
Both Amber and Edie deserve it; Edie will most likely win it.
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY - Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier"), Matt LeBlanc ("Friends"), John Ritter ("8 Simple Rules") and Tony Shalhoub ("Monk").
I can't believe they waited for John Ritter to die before nominating him. How rude. I love the Joey Tribbiani character and think that even when the writing on "Friends" got bad, he didn't.
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY - Jane Kaczmarek ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Jennifer Aniston ("Friends"), Bonnie Hunt ("Life with Bonnie"), Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond") and Sarah Jessica Parker ("Sex and the City").
Sarah Jessica Parker? Ew. No.
Full list here (pdf and word formats). I can't find a straight text list yet. Share your opinions in the comments!
Hey there. Just wanted to give a shameless plug for McEnroe, the new prime-time talk show with John McEnroe. My friend Josh is on the production team and the show's been his life for sometime now. It debuted last week on CNBC. It's got a great energy so far, so check it out. On its first night, Will Farrell ambushed the Power Lunch team. Sue Herara is a funny chick.
I've been meaning to post this here for days, but kept forgetting: Over at The Excitement Machine, kmel has raised an interesting question (and one that we all may be able to answer): How old were the roomies on Three's Company supposed to be? There are some good guesses in her comments section, but you can also leave your theories here.
Things to think about:
1. So how old was Larry, then? He had to be a middle-aged perv.
2. What about that crazed nympho Lana? This makes her constant advances toward Jack even more gross. And now that I think about it, wasn't Flo on Alice pretty damn old? That was one major sex-having granny!
3. Mr. Ferley...come on. Total queen, right? I mean, all of those kerchiefs and ascots!
(Okay, that last bit has nothing to do with the question, but it has always bothered me.)
Because I lack a social life, I've spent the last few Saturday nights watching the N, a tween-version of the Noggin network.
I find the new Degrassi very hardcore. In the few episodes I've watched, there have been quasi-compelling storylines about cutters, cognitive behavioral therapy, relationship violence, undercover reporting, breakup-fueled revenge and cancer. It's overwhelming! One episode was a total Breakfast Club ripoff, which makes me wonder if today's youth would even be aware of it. The cast is interesting, but Daniel Clark's eyebrows scare me ever second they have screen time.
Of course, repeats of My So-called Life are the real reason to watch the N. I loved this show when it was on heavy rotation on MTV (having missed the ABC run). Every episode was perfection. So many of them had me in tears (the Our Town episode comes to mind). It's been a few years since I've watched, and I'm stunned again by Jordan Catalano's hella pretty factor. His lashes are AMAZING. I'm also surprised by Ricky's self-loathing and shame, which just seems realistic for the situation and the time. Of course, a few weeks ago, I caught my favorite episode: the school dance, where Ricky busts a move! It made me happy.
TV Tattle has so many good links today, you should just go read over there instead. The item about TLC made me throw up a little in my mouth.
Okay, TV watchers--you get to pick one male anchor that you'd actually refer to as "sexy" without being embarrassed. Who do you pick? (Follow the link to see your choices.)
Um, Andy Rooney is on there as a joke, right? I mean, age aside, he has bushy ear hair!
Personally, I don't see how this can come out any other way than an Anderson Cooper vs. Bill Hemmer fight to the finish (with my third-place vote going to Keith Olbermann...hey, quit laughing--he's a looker despite that jacked-up grill, and he's so smart and funny he has to finish in the top five at least).
I've gotta know who you all would pick (even straight guys should just put aside those locker-room-trauma fears and vote already)--hit up the comments!
Color me stunned, but I think my respect for the nauseatingly nasal Pat O'Brien actually went up a notch or two after I read about his nasty farewell email to fellow correspondent Shaun Robinson. I like anybody who will call other folks out on their assy behavior, even if it is done as a parting shot like this.
Ooh, I could spend all day at this site: TVgasm's Hottie or Nottie. It's just like "Am I Hot or Not?" but with TV stars (reality shows and a few more traditional ones as well). It's hard to keep my personal feelings from interfering with my scores (Road Rules Laterrian [sp?] is a good-looking guy, but I also think he's a grade-A a**hole, so I want to dock him a lot of points), but I'm trying to be as fair and shallow as possible. Go vote!
If you go to this post at the "Reviewing Entertainment Weekly" blog, a link will lead you to a survey about the "What to Watch" section in each week's Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Surely they're not going to get rid of it or change it drastically? I haven't been really happy with the recent re-jiggerings of the page layouts and article lengths (it's been seriously dumbed down, and that's saying a lot for an entertainment magazine), and "What to Watch" is one of the few sections that I enjoy reading. Call me stupid, but I kinda like Dalton Ross' humor. If they take the section away from him, he better get some other kind of regular writing gig for the magazine.
Would you get rid of "What to Watch"? What else irks you about EW? Feel free to vent in the comments.
Just think--if he had done this a year ago, we probably would have gotten to see 60% less Jimmy Fallon on SNL last season. Oh, for the joys that might have been.
But here's the kicker--he's being replaced by Billy Bush. And you thought it couldn't get worse than ol' Pat. Luckily I don't watch the show--after watching my daily episode of Celebrity Justice (I'm so ashamed, but I can't stop--I'm addicted to CJ!), my soul just can't take any more celebrity "journalism" for another 24 hours.
I'm not convinced that the shows deserve separate posts (or if I can write more than a few sentences about each), so here's my take on the FOX prime time offerings last night:
The Simple Life (warning--link has sound): God help me, this show still makes me laugh. God help me again, I think Nicole Richie (who is probably an absolutely horrid person in real life, let's be honest) and her willingness to say anything for shock value are the best things about it. This season, the show seems to be making no secret about how utterly contrived it all it (it goes ahead and puts "reality" in quotes for us, you might say), so you can just sit back and watch the somewhat mean-spirited fun. (What was with that family who cooked breakfast in the trailer park for Paris & Nicole? Did they say they had been living there a month? That was really kind of sad.)
Quintuplets: I gotta be honest--I told myself I would watch this show (out of love for Andy Richter) if I could find one positive--or even sort of positive--review of it before it aired. Needless to say, I didn't watch the show. (And I looked at a lot of reviews, y'all.)
Method & Red: The weird, half-buried laugh track on this kind of ruined it for me. Well, that and the fact that a lot of the jokes weren't actually that funny and you could see them coming a mile away. I think Method Man has some genuine acting/comedic talent, though--maybe he'll get a role on another show after this one tanks.
Well. That was, um, kind of boring. Wow. Nothing surprising really happened, or anything very interesting, either. The musical performances were great, though. I loved D12 and their rock star show; but I've always been obsessed with Eminem. I am probably the last person on earth to realize this, but the melody of their single is a total rip of the theme from The Godfather. Heh. Anyway. My comments follow, and please let me know if the links go bad - Yahoo has a habit of doing that. I was promised after the Oscars, I would see no more hobbits on my television. I still like Jack Black. Paris Hilton is an idiot. She can barely speak. She makes me angry. And I think she and Sharon Stone were wearing the exact same dress, in different colors. Not caring, go away. This was a genuine laugh-out-loud moment for me. Congratulations to Tom Cruise on the End of His Career, heralded by his appearance in a buddy movie with a black comedic actor. I didn't even understand this. This set was amazing. I couldn't believe it was in the same place as the rest of the show. Ack. Obviously, no one at MTV loves me, because I think they cut this moment. Uma has never looked better. Props to the shorts by Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan. Funny stuff.
That's right: SLAP! (Sorry, Dave Chappelle.)
Seriously, though--watching this dude on the morning shows today as he tried to shill for his albums made me want to reach into my TV and start cutting people. Well, cutting him, anyway. It's bad enough that the guy is a smarmy toothpick (eat a sandwich!) who can't keep it in his pants for more than a few months at a time, but to see him go on interview shows and come off as nauseatingly disingenuous was just a little too much. I mean, he actually bumped Star Jones off the top of the "Annoying People on The View" list for a few minutes. (Star--we all get it--you are thrilled to be getting married and you and your big gay husband are going to have a wonderful life together. NOW SHUT UP.) So Marc, just be the freaking publicity whore that you know you are (take some lessons from that new wife of yours) and we'll all like you a lot better. Or at least won't hate you quite as much.
Alex Kingston has been dropped from ER, and she's not bitter at all.
One of my favorite guilty pleasures has always been WE's Single in the City. Using a documentary-style approach, the series follows a group of singles through a summer of dating's hits and misses. I'll confess that WE's website sucks, so not a lot of links for you guys. My favorite editions of the series were the originals: Single in [New York] City and Single in the Hamptons One. Both installments seemed to focus on a small handful of individuals, which allowed for more connection between viewer and single. For many of the singles, particularly the women of NYC, I became very invested in their dates and their extravagant lifestyles (particularly of the professional party girl). I also loved the narration, which basically made the NY dating scene seem like warfare. Were our ladies tough enough?
In the past year or so, the series has lost its way, focusing less on the individuals and more on the drama. Single in LA was impossible to watch, because all of the women were obvious gold diggers. Yesterday, I caught the Single in the Hamptons Two marathon. Can't find a link, sorry. Anyway, it didn't hold my interest very much. Since people are really focused on hooking up for the night, and not really a relationship, the show remained at a really superficial level. Of course, I still watched it from start to finish.
So, what's next? Look for Single in South Beach coming soon...
Back to my "Felicty" watching. Just finished the third DVD from the first season. Loving this show. I know it's billed as a drama, but it's incredibly funny. The humor continues to surprise me. I still find myself unable to watch certain scenes, because Felicity's humiliation factor is just too high, but these episodes seem to be lessening. I completely adored the "Thanksgiving" episode. I love how the group all comes together at the end, even Elena's dad (which totally had me weeping like the sappy bitch that I am). I love how Knoll's girlfriend turns to the PC, signifying the rift in their relationship. I love everything about Javier, particularly his frustration about how these college kids dress for dinner. This is an amazing episode. Of course, it's followed by the equally brilliant (but less emotional) "Finally." Oh, Knoll on beat poweder is brilliant. Never trust anything Meghan gives you, people.
Caught up on some random TiVo stuff last night. The new season of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has started. I enjoyed the episode; those guys were real meatheads. But I do have to say that the show is still a bit stale - I actually find myself getting pissed that the straight guys are getting such expensive product-placed stuff. Thom still slays me, though, wandering out the front door muttering, "I can't help these people." I also want to throw out some belated props to VH1's Best Week Ever; always a fun thing to watch on a Saturday morning. And, we've Season Passed Pink Lady & Jeff for Trio's Flop Week. Last, and most embarassing, I have a sick addiction to Viva La Bam. I love and loathe these guys all at the same time. And I want to go out for coffee with April. Ape, call me!
Thank you, MTV, for showing us that there really is a level of fame below "rock bottom." Case in point. (Note: I'm totally going to watch this show, of course.)
Sorry I haven't had too much to say lately. With many shows wrapping up, and our TiVo on the blink, there's not too much going on, eh? I did start watching Bravo's TV Revolution. I'm not learning anything new, really, but I do find it interesting television, and I like the commentary by industry people. I've grown so accustomed to the snark of Best Week Ever that I forget there are actual people out there with actual opinions and stories to tell. We're also enjoying VH1's ILLustrated - it's all very silly and disrespectful. And I'll save my Starting Over vitriol for tomorrow after the episode.
Arrested Development has been renewed! As has Tru Calling, which will light a fire under the geekboy's butt to watch all the episodes he has sitting on the TiVo. He has commitment issues with FOX after what they did to Wonderfalls, so he didn't want to fall in love with a show that would just end up leaving him, like so many others. [via tv tattle]
I just finished watching this remarkable documentary on HBO - the story of Susan Tom and the eleven special needs children she's adopted. It's tough to watch, but astounding at the same time. These kids are almost always smiling; that's the part that I couldn't get over. If everyone in the world gave a 1/4 of what Susan Tom gives everyday, it would be a more beautiful place to live. If you would like to help Susan's kids with their educational expenses, visit here.
I know I'm kind of a late arrival to this particular party, but I just feel a real need right now to declare my undying love for all things Kelly Ripa. Seeriously, I just freaking adore this woman. Her enthusiasm, her work ethic, her zaniness, her willingness to laugh at herself, her somewhat frightening fertility...it's all astounding!
My question for TMFT readers is this: Does this make me a bit of a freak? Because I am sort of new to the cult of Ripa (and I understand that there is one), I worry that I have somehow missed out on a general cultural attitude that I should at least be tuned into, even if I don't agree with it. Does the discriminating TV viewer dislike her? Is she and example of what's wrong with American TV culture or is she the embodiment of everything that's right about it? I honestly value your opinions--what's your take on the whole Kelly Ripa thing?
First, let me start by saying, I adore you all. If you're a Too Much Free Time reader, than I consider you a close friend. Of course, I have boundary issues, so that really isn't saying a lot. Regardless, I'm adding you all to my holiday card list.
Okay, so, I'm shocked by my recent television obsessions: American Chopper: The Series and Pimp My Ride. I promise you, I won't become a NASCAR fan, but I will watch professional wrestling for the outfits.
American Chopper: It was a boring Friday night. I was flipping channels. I saw this really mean old guy yelling at a kinda hot young guy. I stopped to watch. I instantly became hooked. Basically, the show centers around a family-run motorcycle shop that makes theme bikes. In between the fabrication and the paint job, there's a lot of fighting with Paul Sr. treating Paul Jr. like a good-for-nothing slob. It's drama! I'll admit, I find Paul Jr. very handsome (Vinnie, sometimes, too), but he's got no personality, unless he's fighting with his pop. It's kind of hypnotic to watch Junior's confessionals, because he's got this very robotic intonation. He's so not a natural in front of the camera. For some reason, that's kind of appealing. As far as the bikes, they all seem really ridiculous to me. Regardless, I love to watch the Orange County Choppers crew.
Pimp My Ride: TMFT readers recommended this show, and I'm so glad they did. The charm of this show is Xzibit, who's got some charisma working for him. Here's the deal, MTV takes a beat up car from a young person, and tricks it out nice. Sometimes with flame throwers, the new essential. My favorite part of each show is at the end, when some friend of the car owner says the improved ride will "change their lives for the better." People, it's a car with a DVD monitor, chill the fuck out. To me, a car is just a tool for getting around, so I love to see the enthusiasm people have for their vehicles. Regardless of the silliness, it's still a great way to spend a half hour.
The good news is that CBS is making a movie about the wonderful, wonderful book Riding the Bus With My Sister.
The bad news is the casting announcement on who will be playing the mentally retarded sister. Although physically, she does resemble the way Beth is described in the book, I just can't imagine Rosie having the chops to pull something like this off. I have a bad feeling about this, which is a bummer, because the story is so lovely and uplifting.
E! Online honors the best and worst of this year's reality tv programming. Go through til the end and take the "Which Reality-TV Mouthpiece Are You Most Like?" quiz. I'm Jessica Simpson, so apparently the entire quiz is flawed and wrong.
From the blind items at the end of this week's "La Dolce Musto": "Which former reality-show star constantly blabs about how devoted he is to his boy-friend, but when he's on the road doing college appearances, he hits on any dude who isn't nailed down?"
I don't know about you, but I think this screams Real World: New Orleans alum Danny. And to be honest, if this is true, then I'm glad. Danny was always a little too cloyingly poster-boy perfect for my taste, anyway.
The Curse of the Ziering...what happens to your career when your hit tv show is over?
There's just too much information to process at once in the wrap-up of the TV pilots that might find a home on your TiVo this fall (or sooner...or later...or never). Feel free to comment on any and all prospects as you work your way through the whole thing.
[link via brigita]
Jasiecakes (my dearest friend, for TMFT readers who are unaware) loves odd television shows. More annoyingly, he loves to quote and mimic characters. During the Strangers with Candy era, I was subjected to hours of him channeling Jerry Blanks over lunch. It put me off sandwich meat, and more importantly, the show. Out of spite, I refused to watch it.
A few weeks ago, Jasiecakes developed new obsession: the Australian Kath & Kim, which was featured on Trio recently. I quickly became suspicious when he answered everything in a thick Outback accent and talked about his "preverbials." Instinctively, I tried to run away, but thank god he forced me to watch the show. It's brilliant.
The show centers around Kath Day, a woman who prides herself on her foxy appearance. In the first season, she's engaged to Kel Knight, a purveyor of fine meats. Kel adores Kath, and the chemistry is brilliant. She's planning a fairytale wedding, including a pumpkin carriage and Bo Peep wedding dress. Unfortunately, Kath's daughter, Kim, a self-declared hornbag, is having marital issues, and leaves her estranged husband Brian. During their separation, she suspects him of sleeping with the Bolton sisters: Kylie and Danni. Adding to the clan is accident prone Sharon, Kim's sport-loving second best friend. Character bios are here.
This series also has the BEST theme song ever for a sitcom. Lots of love for anyone with a copy of it.
An interview with the incomparable Mark Burnett.
I'm really not a fan of HGTV, since TLC typically has the better home makeover shows (though, can anyone compete with ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition?). However, I have to admit a slight addiction for Debbie Travis' facelift. It's like While You Were Out, because they surprise an unsuspecting homeowner with a makeover, but it's much more real, because Debbie actually shows the insane number of crew members who work on the project. It's not hidden. I mean, you see actual shifts of crew members coming in and out during the multi-day makeover. Sure, too many people to keep track of, but it gives the show an energy and excitement that the TLC shows lack. And, I actually think Debbie is entertaining as a host.
Thanks for everyone's suggestions on shows that I should be watching. Here are the clear winners (in no order, but with several endorsements each):
1. Joan of Arcadia (CBS)
2. Pimp My Ride (MTV)
3. Arrested Development (FOX)
4. Six Feet Under (HBO)
5. The O.C. (FOX)
6. StarGate SG1 (SCIFI)
7. Scrubs (NBC)
8. Nip/Tuck (FX)
9. Touching Evil (USA)
10. Everwood (WB)
11. Charmed (WB)
Thanks for your suggestions. I'll dedicate myself to watching these programs (though, I'll admit to already loving Charmed and Touching Evil. We'll have lots of TMFT discussion about them all. Though, to be honest, I'm not thrilled with the idea of watching Scrubs (sorry, Jeff M.), but I'll do it for the readers.
I also need to give a shout out to Alexandra, a TMFT reader. We went to college together and have kept in sporadic contact, which is all my fault. Thankfully, The O.C. gave us a reason to connect last week, and we had a lovely chat. As I become addicted to The O.C., I'm sure we'll have many more. Adore you!
Did anyone catch this week's South Park - The Passion of the Jew? Remarkable television, folks, containing what should be nominated as Line of the Year - Stan, after viewing The Passion of the Christ, tells the ticket guy, "That wasn't a movie. That was a snuff film." Classic. Cartman carrying out Mel Gibson's message of hate, Kyle having guilt about killing Christ, Mel Gibson running around in his underwear....good times. Catch it this weekend if you missed it, m'kay?
Thank god the site was actually down yesterday. My PowerBook (named Willow Rosenberg) is experiencing kernel panic, and I'm irrationally blaming it for taking down the Internet to spite me.
So, I think I have television fatigue, which is a bad thing when you contribute to a television site as fabulous as this (partnering with the two best names in the business). A few years ago, when Buffy was in full swing, I decided that I'd maxed out my capacity for more television addictions, so I avoided The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. And, I gleefully avoided American Idol because Ryan Seacrest is the devil.
So, last night at dinner, I was taken to task for my moratoriam on new quality television, because, let's face it, Buffy's gone, Angel's dead, the West Wing fell, Sex went dry and I'm not jumping on The O.C. bandwagon. So, to be honest, I'm not sure what I'm watching anymore, besides the fabulous Barefoot Contessa. That bitch is glamour by the sea.
So, I want some appointment television to schedule my lack of a social life around. So far, I only have The Apprentice and Alias. These are the shows I must watch. So, if you had to pick just one must watch show right now, what would it be. I promise to watch whatever shows are featured in the first 10 comments. So, don't be cruel and pick The Gaurdian.
Seems the site was down yesterday; sorry about that. I'm gone til tomorrow night, so feel free to discuss whatever here. How about Sunday's Sopranos? Excellent episode. Or Shane the puking loser on the RW/RR Inferno? Or the latest episode of Wonderfalls and why the hell they're moving it up against The Apprentice? Have at it.
Ever wonder what your old friends from the famous zip code are doing lately? Here's something to make you pop an extra Geritol - Ian "Steve Sanders" Ziering turns 40 next week. Ooof. [via tv tattle]
Did anyone catch Kathy Griffin on Bravo last night? Let's just put the whole creepazoid plastic surgery thing behind us for a moment. I love this woman. I've seen her live before, and it's like talking with your funny friend who gets to go to all the cool parties. Calling Britney "our new Liza," talking about eating Sharon Stone's poop, being on Hollywood Squares with Anna Nicole, all so funny. Very enjoyable.
I know it's shameful to talk about, but I haven't been watching that much television lately. I'm just kind of busy. However, I have caught the first three episodes of Bravo's Significant Others. It's totally brilliant. If you like to be entertained, and I'm sure you do, it's the place to be. I swear, NBC is turning Bravo into one of the best channels out there.
So, the show: couples at different stages in their relationships go to therapy. Surprisingly, there is no therapist, they just talk into the camera. Very improvised and hilarious. We also see our couples outside the counseling setting, though it's never as satisfying as the sessions, which really show some of the warped thinking involved in relationships.
I'll apologize now, because this post isn't really about television, which is our raison d'etre at Too Much Free Time. However, this morning, in the moments before waking, I had a TV-themed dream. I was at a party at some urban pad, just sitting on a couch, chatting it up with folks, vodka tonic in hand. I turned to my left, and I'm face to face with Ally Hilfiger. She was so adorable in a simple white sun dress. Her hair is longer, too. We exchanged pleasantries and discussed her father's new H Hilfiger line and my desire to paint my living room walls to match the colorful strips on some of her father's dress shirts (even if it's so 2003). We gaze into each others eyes, and I plead for another season of Rich Girls. She tells me that it's definate. She shares that Jaime Gleicher recently had surgery to end her cronic bitchface, making her picture perfect for another season. She's also lost weight and has spent her spring watching fashion shows. Ally and I exchanged mobile numbers, but then my alarm clock went off, sending Ally away...
I guess I really liked that show. Though, in fact, I think I just sang the theme song to myself all day on Sunday, which must have inspired the dream.
South Park kicks off a new season tonight with an episode entitled "The Passion of the Easter Bunny." I cannot even imagine what they will do, but I can't wait.
As much as I hate to say it, I was a little disappointed in last night's Curb Your Enthusiasm finale. I know that nothing can match the comic genius of last season's finale, but this one felt a little flat to me. I liked how we found out why Larry had been hired--against all good judgment--for The Producers, and I can appreciate the fact that Larry continues to screw everything up even when he does something right (for once), but I just wasn't bowled over like I wanted to be (sadly, I can say the same for most--but not all--of this season). The number-one problem with this season? Not enough of the wonderful Cheryl Hines.
Anyone agree with me, or--even better--think I'm way off base?
Did anyone catch Celeste in the City last night? Because I live without Tivo, I had to switch over to Alias half-way through, so I missed most of it. It seemed pretty lame, but Nicholas Brendon did a nice enough job. Though, Deborah Gibson (everyone's teen dream) can't act to save her life. She's like a brick in a pool, sinking ever scene she was in.
We just got great news in the mail. Our cable company is dropping the Lifetime Movie Network (no big deal for me; Janet's the only one who ever watched it) in favor of Trio. Joy! Joy! Joy!
Well, I'm back from Florida and have made some progress on my TiVo backlog. I'm late to the party, but here are my VERY brief reviews of shows past. My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancee finale - surprisingly touching, and even made me forget how much I couldn't stand Randi. Actually a very well-done finish - it took a nasty premise and added heart and soul. Shocking. Sex & The City finale - a little too "gift-wrapped" for my taste, but finales are usually like that. Did NOT understand "the slap" and found it totally unnecessary. LOVED that we found out Big's real name. Survivor - The King is dead, long live the King. Can't wait for Sue's freakout this week. The Apprentice - Bill is looking like a winner. I still don't know the women's names, aside from Heidi and Omarosa. Being obnoxious gets you noticed, I guess.
I'm also feeling slightly dirty for finding Kendall and The Miz on The Inferno totally adorable. What is wrong with me? Glad to see Jeremy gone; he made me nervous with all that constant jumping around. I want to slap Katie.
Well, just so we'll have total closure on this all-SATC day here at Too Much Free Time, I suppose it would be appropriate music-nerd behavior for me to let you know that the song played over the closing scenes of last night's finale was "You Got the Love (Now Voyager Mix)" by The Source featuring Candi Staton. (Unless my ears are really deceiving me--someone let me know if they are.)
Okay, fine--you can go here and get it if you'd like. Hey--look at me being generous! :-)
(It's a fabulous song, whether you're a SATC fan or not. There are lots of remixes out there as well, if you feel like hunting them down.)
I guess this is SATC post day, honoring last night's finale. In the "farewell" episodes last night, they commented on how so many people (well, women and gay men) think that they're Carrie. So, my group discussed it as well.
So, I'll just admit it. I'm so early Miranda that it hurts. I am rigid, opinionated, loyal and freakishly sarcastic/harsh. My roomie Kate, is so clearly Carrie, with her own Big issues, that it's not even funny.
I know it's lame, but let's start the discussion regardless. Which of the four characters best reflects who you are? And why?
I've been resisting it for weeks, but I finally faced reality and accepted the end of Sex and the City. For years, especially as a single person without many family connections, I've been fascinated by the power of Sex's coffee klatch, the creation of a group that celebrated each other as individuals, but came together to support each other as a nurturing community. As the "farewell" specials said, Sex wasn't about outrageous sexual exploits, it was about connecting, friendship and soul mates. For that aspect, I'll miss it greatly.
So, about the episode: pretty amazing, considering the incredible expectations placed on it. Just to get it out of the way, here's what I didn't like:
1. We spent too much time focusing on Carrie being unhappy in Paris. Let's face it, we all knew Alexander wasn't the right man for our ex-columnist. Did we really need to waste valuable time underlining the obvious?
2. Because so much time was spent on The Russian, the writers rushed us through the other storylines of the other characters. The last four minutes contained more than the entire episode. I wish more had been given to these amazing characters and actors.
3. I'm sure people will think me heartless, but I'd hoped Charlotte wouldn't get her baby in the end. This is such a heartbreaking issue for so many families, I wanted her to find peace with her life. Also, it just seemed "too perfect" of an ending for our favorite new Jew.
Okay, so here's what J.Go loved:
1. While I hated the time spent on Alexander, I loved it when Carrie defined herself to him. She's looking for love, that once-in-a-lifetime love that is romantic, consuming and real. For me, it was the perfect way to summarize the past six years.
2. When Charlotte said, "We're Jews, honey, we've been through worse than this," to Harry. Too funny.
3. When Miranda and Steve were at Mary's apartment, and Miranda said they could look after her. The look on Steve's face made me totally tear up.
4. When Magda kissed Miranda on the forehead. It was such a nurturing and loving moment, it showed how much Miranda had let people into her life.
5. Samantha, who still hasn't said the "L" word to Smith, finally acknowledged how meaningful their relationship is to her. I also loved how her final scene was all about the sex.
6. Big! I've always adored his charm. I also never felt he was a bastard, because he always seemed honest about his inability to be with Carrie, for whatever reason. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I think he's the man for her, and I hope they can work it out.
So, in addition to Carrie declaring her search for love, I was reminded of two other statements that defined the show for me.
1. After Carrie's failed 35th-birthday party, at which no one showed, she meets the girls at the coffee shop, and she acknowledged how alone she felt without a man. And, Charlotte, proposed that they could be each other's soul mates. I cried.
2. In the second to last episode, when Big acknowledged that the three girls were the loves of Carrie's life, and any guy should be happy with fourth.
So, tell the TMFT crew what you thought...
Since J. Go has the deepest emotional attachment to those Sex and the City girls (I'm sort of glad it's over, though I'll miss Samantha's raunch), I'm going to let him write the major post on last night's finale, spoilers and all.
That said, I'll go ahead and throw in my two (non-spoilered) cents while I'm here: I thought the final episode was quite nice. My friend Kevin said, "Good God--they're going to have four conclusions--this is like Return of the King!" Of the four (actually five, since I count the "group" resolution as a separate one), I thought the Samantha/ Smith one was the most touching, and it was the only one that made me get a little misty-eyed. Charlotte's was predictable but sweet, Miranda's was nice and appropriate, and Carrie's seemed just about right--and I don't think it was insulting to women, single or coupled. The cell-phone reveal at the last second was a nice touch and a sweet bone to throw out to the fans. All in all, it was a well-done finale that had its flaws, but surely didn't leave anyone enraged. Like I said, I'm leaving the serious detail work here to J.Go.
(Oh, and Christina Aguilera's impersonation of Samantha on SNL was too perfect. Xtina may be a bit of a ho-bag, but she totally deserved the applause she got from the audience when she freaking nailed the voice and mannerisms.)
My latest TV addiction is The Brini Maxwell Show on the Style network. It's a tongue-in-cheek (but pitch-perfect) parody of other lifestyle shows, and there's definitely a whole lotta Martha wrapped up in Brini's polite-but-detached screen presence. Each show has some real tips about household matters (under the brilliant title "Why Didn't You Think of That?"), but it's fun to tune in and just look at Brini's great clothes and hear her sly double entendres.
Naturally, Brini has her own website as well. She's the creation of a guy named Ben Sander, but Sander apparently doesn't do interviews as himself, sticking 100% to the Brini persona. It's flawless, and highly entertaining.
(At the other end of the spectrum is New York Nick, quite possibly the most annoying--or at least the most abrasive--show on TV right now. Take a group of loudmouthed, brash, grammar-challenged family members and put them in a room together--then turn up the volume times ten. That's what it's like to watch this show. These are the people who sit next to you in restaurants, on planes, or in the movies and make your life hell with their obnoxiousness. Why would I want advice from any of them unless I was looking for helpful hints about how to achieve a pushy, steroid-bloated, wifebeater-wearing look?)
Lately, I'm all about the cheese. I can't watch anything to disturbing lately, so I've fixed my sites on the happy romantic comedies of ABC Family. This past weekend, I watched "See Jane Date" for the fifth time. An adorable little flick with my beloved Charisma Carpenter (Buffy's Cordelia Chase) as Jane, who must find love before her cousin's weddding, or be humiliated by the masses. Charisma does a spectacular job playing the low-key Jane. For some reason, there's an odd subplot with a Hollywood tart, played unconvincingly by Holly Marie Combs, who I've admired since Picket Fences. If it repeats again, make sure you check it out. It's got some great pop culture references, too. Yeah, go love.
On the reverse tip is the upcoming "Celeste in the City," which features another Buffy actor, Nicholas Brendon, who plays a gay man who reinvents his country-fine cousin into a metropolitan beauty. I don't hold high hopes, because it seems stereotypical, a dumbed down version of Queer Eye for a frumpy teen. Regardess, I'm so glad that Nicholas is acting, particulary, since his sitcom pilot wasn't picked up last year.
I need to support these actors. Won't you do the same?
I finally caught the latest Sex and the City yesterday. First off, I am just annoyed that the producers had to break up the group for the final episodes. The show is at its best when they're together, and these seperate storylines are annoying. Okay, back to the actual content: I really hated Carrie. I realize, Big is never good for her, but it's not always his fault, honey. I couldn't believe how vengeful she was with him. And, again, I'm pissed off that she's leaving Samantha during her battle with cancer. Also, what did she thing would happen in Paris, not having a job or language skills? I mean, her man ignored her in New York for his art, did she think it would be different in another time zone? Okay, enough with the Carrie hating.
Big props to Kristin Davis, who I tend to forget next to the amazing Cynthia Nixon. She gives Charlotte this total compassion, not to mention a sense of the romantic that never seems insincere. When she was looking at Big in the diner, you could see she understood everything he felt.
I don't know what's more amazing--that seemingly perpetually-single Star Jones got engaged over the weekend (they announced it this morning on the live telecast of The View) or that ABC didn't devote the entire hour of today's show to that fact. I mean, this woman has talked about this moment for years and years--I expected fireworks, parades, the whole shebang.
Still, despite my disappointment at the lack of hullabaloo, I'm happy for ol' Star. Now for the big question: will she be wearing Payless pumps at the wedding?