You all know I love me some great entertainment, and this week was an amazing week for television fans. It was truly epic and a lot of fun. Sunday- Lego … Continue reading Epic TV Week
Anyone who knows me knows I love television and yet I don’t think that has gotten quite the treatment on the blog that it deserves. I have written a lot about books and movies but not as much about TV.
The funny thing about me and TV is that neither of my parents watch it at all. There is not one show that my parents watch on a regular basis or have ever devotedly watched. Even the siblings I grew up with (Megan and Ben) are not huge TV people. Aside from the Simpsons there wasn’t anything we were big fans of (and yes I have like 12 seasons of the Simpsons on DVD. Not sure why that surprises people but it does).
Why do you think that is? Why would I be such a fan of TV from an early age when I had almost no exposure? I suppose part of it is my friends watched a lot of TV so I picked up some of it from them. I also have a bit of a lazy streak in me and I’ve always liked TV as a way to unwind. A movie is more of an investment where television is 30 minutes to 1 hour (less with the magic of DVR).
TV is also a longer commitment so you get to know the characters better and I’ve always been a lover of layered characters. Even silly shows like Boy Meets World provided relatable personalities that grew up with me (literally when I started high school Corey and Topanga did, college, etc).
Anyway, so I’ve watched a lot of the premiere’s and new shows for the Fall 2013 line up and here are my initial thoughts
New Shows (this seems to be the year of the return of the sitcom where last year was the ‘we want to be Mad Men dramas):
Mom- Anna Feris, Allison Janney are a mother daughter team of misfits. Kind of a recycle of Reba with a bit more bite. I thought the pilot was promising but the second episode not as much. We’ll see. Good casting. Love Janney in just about anything. Has lead in of How I Met Your Mother so that could help it. B
The Crazy One’s- Robin Williams, Sarah Michele Gellar- father, daughter ad executives (that seems to be the big fall back career for Hollywood when they need a blah job for its characters). Didn’t think it was funny and Gellar looks old and haggard. Whoever does her makeup isn’t doing her any favors. Robin Williams does the same schtick he has done since Mrs. Doubtfire. D
Dads- So bad. Corny. Nothing was funny. Sons and their competitive annoying Dads (seems to also be a theme this year child and obnoxious parents). F
Super Fun Night- Rebel Wilson stars as a buisnesswoman who has just gotten a big promotion, but parties with her girlfriends to keep her motivated at work. It is a cliched premise but I laughed a lot. It hasn’t gotten great reviews so probably won’t last long but I thought it was really funny. Dialogue is sharp. The banter between the girlfriends was natural. Watch it America A+
Back in the Game- James Caan is a former baseball player who’s daughter comes back to live with him and ends up coaching the little league baseball team of her son with her Dad’s help. Basically the same kind of banter that was in King of Queens or Everybody Loves Raymond. A real dud. It makes the crucial mistake of taking itself seriously. F
Devious Maids- Kind of entertaining for a soap opera. Good performances although some latina cliches (how many times can they say hot salsa or hot mama in one show?) Still, if you are in for some drama and can’t watch telenovelas without english subtitles check it out B-
Middle- Still my favorite show on TV. I think the writing is funny. I love the child actors. I love that it is about Indiana and they get the details right. I love that the couple aren’t constantly bickering. I love that there isn’t always a moral at the end of every episode (had enough of that with Modern Family). I just love it! A+
Modern Family- Speaking of the before mentioned show its back and returning to its boring, cliched ways. I’m so sick of the women on this show. They are all such types. Now Cam and Mitch are getting married which could be funny but everyone I know is over this show. It isn’t modern and worse it isn’t funny D
Simpsons- The premiere episode was a spoof on Homeland and as I’ve never seen Homeland I didn’t really get it. It still looks great and the even on a sub-par episode the nostalgia alone is enough to get some votes. 25 years I’ve been watching that show . 25 years! B-
Drop Dead Diva- (This was actually a summer season but I didn’t mention on the blog and it is a great show! I love the leads. I love the return of old Jane (Although they got rid of her way too fast). They need to bring Fred back . New angels have all been bad. Was totally on team Owen until he was a petty jerk all season. Go Grayson! The cases are so stupid but they are really just angles to get to the juicy developments with the characters. A
How I Met Your Mother- I was very skeptical of a 9th season for this show but it was renewed and I’m glad. The first couple of episodes have been really funny and sweet. I’m glad we get a whole season getting to know the mother and seeing how she meshes with Ted (although they haven’t met just yet). All the characters are returning to their original warmth and the plot has become simpler I think this entire season is focused on Barney and Robins wedding. We will see how it ends. A-
Big Bang Theory- In premiere episodes Leonard comes back from sea and hides from Sheldon to spend time with Penny. Very funny. Rajesh can now talk to girls so that should be funny and I’m going to make 2 predictions- Sheldon has long island iced teas and things progress with Amy and Bernadette gets pregnant. I think both of those would be really funny. Still, really funny start to season. A
Downton Abbey- And yes, I am watching the UK stream online and it is great! Matthew is gone, Mary is reeling, O’brien is also gone but a new hire has a previous connection to Mr. Branson now Lord Branson husband to the late Sybill. Edith is coverting with a married publisher. Lady Violette is keeping everyone honest and change is happening all around them. Fashion is noticeably different this season.. Love the addition of Lady Shackleton. She’s going to give Lady Violette a run for her money. B+
Mindy Project- Anytime Morgan is on screen I laugh and luckily he is on screen a lot. The cameo with James Franco was funny. Wish he could have been fulltime cast because it was good. Bummed Casey is getting the heave-ho so fast after Haiti but it had to happen. Clearly the producers want Danny and Mindy to get together but they will probably drag that out over 8 seasons. Still I laughed a lot at the first 2 episodes. A-
This is my favorite category this season
Survivor 27: Blood vs Water- I was very skeptical when I heard about the latest twist. 10 returning players and their family members are battling it out for a million dollars. I think its a little lame when they’ve had now 2 all star seasons in a row (well basically 2 fans vs favorites in a row). However, the family angle has proven to be better than I expected. What makes it interesting is that there is a new layer at tribal council. For instance, when the team voted out Rachel it wasn’t because of her strategy or her skill/lack of skill in challenges- it was because they wanted Tyson, her boyfriend, out of the other tribe.
What I don’t like about the new season is the return of redemption island. Didn’t Boston Rob’s epic season basically prove that was a dumb idea? It doesn’t work. The person who makes it back on redemption island will get voted off every time. Think about who would want to face a scrappy redemption island winner at the final tribal? Plus, it is anti-climactic to have people not really be leaving the game after tribal council.
My pick to win it all- I’m going with Tyson. He doesn’t have the burden of family early on, can be more strategic, he’s great at challenges and is likable guy that a jury will want to vote for.
Could you guys believe the whole Colton fiasco tongiht? What a wimp! I mean did he think survivor would be so different this go around? What on earth? He kind of pulled a Brandon Hantz and knew he was on the outs and quit. That is so lame and Probst said that he faked the appendectomy on One World. I guess the producers brought him back to create drama but please. Quitters are so lame.
Still, very entertaining season so far. A
The Voice- Christina and Ceelo return and I’ve lost interest for some reason. The contestants just aren’t doing it for me and I would rather watch HIMYM and Dancing with the stars on Monday, so I’m done with this show. Plus, I can’t remember a single name from last season. Clearly they didn’t make an impact. D
Amazing Race- new season started this Sunday and it is looking interesting. There honestly isn’t a team that I’m really pulling for. At first I thought the Afghans were going to do well but they’ve made some pretty dumbheaded mistakes. I couldn’t believe how many people didn’t read the clues all the way in Chili. Come on!
Boy girl teams usually have the best chance so I think Tim and Marie or Nichole and Travis could do very well. I love seeing the different cultures, challenges and characters. Still the show I would most like to be on. I think my brother and I would be a fun match up because we are so different. A+
Dancing with the stars- this season is pretty entertaining. Diverse stars from Bill Nye to snookie. Lots of high scores early on. Leaves little room for improvement. Only Monday episodes this season which is very smart A
Project Runway- An interesting and quite volatile cast (how many meltdowns can one cast have!). So far I haven’t been blown away by anyone but I think Braden will probably win. There hasn’t been a great season since Christian Siriano won. C
I guess those are the biggies. The Foodnetwork I give a C. The old shows like Chopped are still good but new shows like Cutthroat Kitchen have been lame. They are clearly running out of ideas. Nothing on Bravo has interested me for many years and I do not like much on premium cable. I am told the season finale of Dexter was a big disappointment but never watched the show. I did watch some of the season of Mad Men that just finished and it was depressing. Don Draper is just a despicable human being and so is everyone else on that show. I admit I’m curious to see how it ends but not that curious.
I also have tried to watch Breaking Bad 3 times and each time I get to episode 3 and start to squirm. Too violent and cynical for my tastes. So you all enjoy it and I’ll stick to my lighter fare.
What shows do you like this year? What about returning shows? I am disappointed Bunheads doesn’t appear to have been renewed. I liked that show. Oh well. That’s Hollywood for ya!
Please share in the comments section what you think of reality tv, comedy or anything else. Also please share if there is something I missed which you enjoyed. I would love your feedback.
Thanks! (anyone seen Orange is the new Black? What do you think? I’m leary to try netflix again after what they did to my arrested development. Egads.)
I had an interesting experience today. There is a family in my ward who I had greeted but didn’t know very well (that’s true for most of the family’s in my ward!). Especially without a ward activity I don’t feel like I’ve had a chance to really get to know people. Last week being Easter a number of people asked me to their home for dinner because they wanted to make sure I had some place to go for the holiday. I had a lovely evening with one of those families but another one I said ‘please invite me over another time. I’d love it.’.
So this week I saw the Mom of the family and said ‘would you like to come to dinner tonight? We’d love to have you. It’s totally up to you’.
My immediate reaction was ‘I don’t want to be a bother. I have food at home. I don’t need to bother them.’ but then I reasoned ‘She is inviting me, so why not?’
With a shrug I said ‘sure. That’s so nice. Thank you.’
I offered to bring something, we chatted and then I joined them later for dinner. We had a wonderful meal with her in-laws and the whole family. It’s fun to go to someone’s house because I can have just a little bit of food I don’t normally indulge in because I can’t make a whole batch for myself. For example, she had rolls that were big and fluffy. I could never make a batch of rolls because I would eat too many on multiple days!
In the course of our conversation she said ‘I was pleasantly surprised when you said yes. I think that shows great determination to accept an invitation from a stranger who you don’t know very well’.
What I didn’t tell her is that I’d almost said no but living alone has taught me to take advantage of the social opportunities presented before me and gather with others when you have the chance. Its interesting to me that I would have held off from having a pleasant experience where I wasn’t a bit of a bother out of a fear of breaching some kind of social protocol. Do we fear that the offer is not really sincere? Kind of like when someone asks you how are you doing and you just expect a ‘fine’ in response even if their world is falling apart?
Do we worry that we really will be a bother even if they don’t think we are at the moment of the request? Or are we just too prideful to accept an offer when it is presented?
Why do we hold ourselves aloft from positive experiences because of a mysterious social fear? Have you noticed yourself doing this? Someone offers you help or says ‘I’d like to do _____ sometime’ but you never pursue their request out of an embarrassment or you outright refuse knowing it would be a good experience?
It’s a funny part of human nature that’s for sure. Why do we hold ourselves off from good experiences? Strange. I’m going to try and not do that any more. Take advantage of every good thing that comes my way. I’m not saying you have to accept every invitation offered to you but to not except out of some type of social protocol is ridiculous.
Anyway, just so you know I love getting invited to others homes and hopefully I’m helpful and can return the favor sometime. So all you friends out there invite away. I won’t be offended! 🙂 .
(Big Bang Theory on non-optional social conventions)
As I’ve mentioned before on my blog I love me some television and because I was sick last week I viewed even more TV than usual. Luckily it was premiere week and all my favorite shows started their seasons with a couple new shows thrown in the mix. I thought it would be fun to review these shows and give you an idea of what is worth checking out this season.
Amazing Race 19- 19 seasons and still my favorite reality competition show. Entertaining cast, great first challenge in Taiwan and I couldn’t believe the girls that lost their passport about an hour into the race! A few new touches like the hazard penalty and a double elimination round next week keep the race exciting. If I could be on any show it would be the Amazing Race. A+
Extreme Makeover Home Edition- There is no show that lays on the inspirational cheese more than this one but I still enjoy it. Its kind of like the TV equivalent of a cup of hot cocoa. Sweet and comforting. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times it makes me cry in spite of my best efforts! This season started with a bang, bringing the First Lady in as a guest to help a home for female veterans. How can you not like that? B+
Pan Am- New show trying to ride the 60’s wave of Mad Men. Looks very promising with a slick, attractive cast. You could really see the budget spent on the pilot. Cinematography, sets, fashion were all top-notch. Not as edgy as Mad Men but I actually think that’s a good thing. I love Mad Men’s style but it has become too R rated for my taste with almost every character being a philanderer or cheat (plus a few of the plot strings have become ridiculous). A-
Dancing with the Stars- new season has stretched the meaning of ‘star’ to the point where some of the pro dancers are more famous than the stars. For instance, does dating George Clooney really make you a star? That said, still immensely entertaining. I especially enjoy watching it with my DVR so I can fast forward all the fluffy montages and rehearsal scenes. I just like to watch the dancing! B
How I Met Your Mother- this show has been weak for the last 3 seasons, especially last season. The once funny Barney gags are tired and the entire cast (and writers) seem bored. Hope they can revitalize it but I think this season it might be time to finally meet the mother and end the show. C
The Sing Off- Despite it being the 3rd season had never seen the show but the draw of Sara Bareilles as a judge and a team from my alumni BYU called Vocal Point was too much to resist. I enjoyed this acapella competition; although, I think all 3 judges are far too nice. They need a Simon Cowell to be a little tough on the teams! A
Two and a Half Men- Never seen the appeal of this show but I had to watch out of curiosity. If anything I think Ashton Kutcher was better than Charlie Sheen. Still, not that funny. C
Two Broke Girls- Terrible, cliched comedy. I thought every laugh was tired and predictable. F
Glee- I was into this show for about 6 months. It had a strong pilot and you know I loved the music at the beginning. Unfortunately the plot lines got ridiculous really fast and the kids stopped behaving like high school students and more like 30 year olds. Plus, I think they are dipping really deep to find new songs and to work those songs into a coherent plot (they didn’t have a song in this weeks episode until about 20 minutes into the show so they are becoming more sparse in their song offerings) . Nothing new this season has excited me but it is nice to see Idina Menzel as a full time cast member. Almost makes me tempted to watch. C-
New Girl- Only new show I watched on Tuesday (aside from results night of Dancing with the Stars). This is a strange little show that I can’t say I recommend but I also think it has potential. Zoey Deschanel plays a girl who is dumped by her boyfriend and moves in as a roommate with a group of guys. The pilot had good moments but its tone was also all over the place. I couldn’t decide whether it was a slapstick comedy or a drama. Second episode also mixed. Still, I see some potential (Btw the producers were so smart to get this show out on itunes for free download weeks ago. I don’t know why more shows don’t do that. It creates such buzz). C+
Survivor: South Pacific- Another guilty pleasure of mine. Repeating the gimmick from last season the producers have brought back 2 veterans; although, I don’t think either Coach or Ozzy will be able to put on the Survivor school that Boston Rob displayed last season. They also have Russel Hantz’s nephew to see if villainy runs in the family. Could do without the Redemption Island gimmick but no favorites so far. A
The Middle- The funniest show on television that people don’t seem to be watching. Glad ABC hasn’t given up on it. Hilarious opening episode on the perils of camping with a family. Watch this show!! The kid actors are also the best in television. A+
Modern Family- I hate to say it but I think this show peaked in its first season. Last season I felt was basically a repeat of the same gags from season 1. The premiere for season 3 didn’t make me laugh. I didn’t think the Lilly jokes were funny and the kids on the show are not very good. Especially Manny is so wooden. I feel like you can see him thinking of his lines before he says them. C
Up All Night- This is the show I am most excited to tell people about. I don’t know when I’ve laughed harder at a pilot. Hopefully the rest of the show will live up to it but the first 2 episodes were hilarious. It is about a couple who give up their partying ways when they have a baby- a situation that could be ripe with cliches but it all works. There is a scene where they are changing the baby’s diaper which made me laugh my head off. The pilot is a free download on itunes right now so check it out! I want this show to last! A+
X Factor- American Idol all over again and I’m done with that show why would I tune into this? Nice to see Simon and Paula back together but really I agree with David Spade who said ‘all the good singers have been found’. They really seem to be digging deep for this show. D
Project Runway- The new season technically started a month or so ago but I thought I’d mention it. This season may be the jumping the shark moment for the show. Last week’s episode where they had to make outfits for a band was terrible. It looked like a tacky 70’s party. Maybe all the good designers have been found. I don’t think they’ve had a really strong season since Christian Seriano won. D
Big Bang Theory- Another show that peaked in its first season. The last season was low on laughs and too focused on sexual humor. I think they need to get back to the ensemble gags that used to work so well. Its become too Sheldon based. C+
I didn’t watch any premieres Friday or Saturday so that’s it. I know its a ridiculous amount of television for one human being to watch but I was sick! If I could only recommend 3 shows it would be Up All Night, the Middle and the Amazing Race.
Today I have a bit of an upset stomach so I am not going to the gym but never fear I will be right back at it tomorrow! The last 2 weeks have been some of my most consistent and hard working during this fitness quest. It really helps to have a goal and getting ready for this open water swim is a huge challenge. At least I read yesterday that the water is warmer than usual-70 degrees, oh la la!
Currently I am working on the most boring project for work. It involves looking at a spreadsheet with 27,000 items and identifying what branch the item belongs to. Sometimes this requires my looking up the monument or national park to see what area it is in. (On the plus side, I am now somewhat of an expert on the national parks, even obscure ones!).
To keep from falling asleep I have a movie on as background noise. Today I’m watching Brigadoon with Gene Kelly and and Cyd Cherise. Its not the greatest musical but I enjoy it. It has beautiful dancing and a few of the songs are catchy.
The thing that shocked me while watching is how insanely skinny Cherise is. In fact, all the women are uber-skinny- made more so by restrictive corsets. It reminds me of the famous scene from Gone with the Wind when Scarlet is upset over not being able to corset her waist at 18 inches after having a baby!
Does anyone else think she looks ridiculous with such a tiny waist and large bust? Maybe that seems like the cliched response of a fat girl but honestly! The only thing I can think in her defense is that she was a ballet dancer and they are always very skinny.
The sad part is we still set such insane standards. For instance, the other day I was watching Big Bang Theory and Kaley Cuoco’s character Penny is upset when Sheldon guesses that she weighs 120 lbs. Let’s say she is 5 ft 7, 120 would still be well under the body mass index produced by the insurance industry.
By all competent medical diagnosis 120 should be considered skinny, even underweight, but on the show she is horrified to be labeled as a fat 120. I even read some articles that listed Kaley as a ‘curvy’ member of Hollywood young. Please! If she is curvy than no wonder so many people are turning to eating disorders. What do we all have to be below 100 lbs to be considered skinny? Crazy!
To see the clip go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ2pG8fNH9s. They won’t let me embed it.
The problem with words like ‘skinny’ is they have no real diagnostic value. They can mean whatever you want and so using such a vague term as a goal for change is dangerous. If skinny is your goal it will literally never be good enough. You will never be skinny enough.
I would love to say that the images and skinny messaging promoted by Hollywood doesn’t affect me- that I am strong and know it is garbage. I do see the flaws but I am not invulnerable to the feelings of longing for a body I will never have and an image that will never happen. I don’t know anybody that is perfectly confident all the time and doesn’t on occasion wish for a seemingly better, more attractive body. When those moments come, the images sent out by Hollywood can do damage to my self-esteem and confidence. I am not immune to such feelings. Are you? Luckily, I am wise enough and strong enough to pick myself up and start telling myself the right kind of messages.
Perhaps I am thinking of this topic because I have been exercising like a maniac and yet my bi-weekly weigh-in yesterday I had lost no weight. Obviously this was a disappointment but I know that I have become healthier in the last 20 days. My swim times are faster, my weight repetitions and amounts are more, and I feel enthusiastic and happy. The skinniness may not come along but I have to remember that being skinny is a mirage of a goal. Being healthy is real. Finishing my race on the 13th is a real goal, and I know I can do it- skinny or not!
What do you think about the illusion of getting skinny? What are your goals for fitness and weight loss and how does the images presented by Hollywood or fashion impact you?
After several thoughtful posts in a row I just want to spread the word about one of my favorite shows on television. This year I have cut my tv viewing by about 2/3rds including only watching 2 scripted shows- the Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. I was into Glee but I realized I only like the music not the stories. The Big Bang Theory is about a group of theoretical physicists that perform their research at a university similar to Cal Tech. The four main characters are Leonard (cute nerd), Sheldon (crazy brilliant nerd), Howard (uberconfident nerd who lives with his mother- only one with a masters degree), and Rajesh (an astrophysicist from India who can’t talk to women unless he is drunk). This band of nerd misfits is accompanied by their “normal” neighbor Penny who longs to become an actress but works at the Cheesecake Factory as a waitress.
The best thing about the Big Bang Theory is the writing. Anyone who is or has spent time with a nerd will relate to the way these guys interact and behave. Even if you have merely been to college you will relate to this show. Let’s put it this way- it is the only show on network television that has a physicist on staff to collaborate on all of the scientific dialogue! In the opening episode Sheldon has a formula on a board that is evidently a real “joke” on some actual equation. That said- you don’t have to be a science geek or even a nerd to enjoy the show. You need only to like funny, well written dialogue with characters that are selfish and exasperating yet still endearing. It also doesn’t really make fun of nerds. In some ways it actually glories in its “nerdvanna”. If you haven’t seen it check it out Monday nights CBS at 8:30 (at least that’s mountain time). Here are some of my favorite clips: