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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

The Oscars Blow/2014

In Should I Even Be Talking About This?, Television on March 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Thoughts on The Oscars 2014: thank god it’s over. As usual, I didn’t watch, but feel subjected, regardless.  The Oscars (to me) are overblown, empty hype, the fawning over of a bunch of rich, privileged movie stars, who do none of the heavy lifting in their ‘vehicles’ (movies)

They (generally) don’t write the material, they don’t struggle to sell or finance said movies, and they aren’t the characters in these movies! They are paid insane amounts of money (as though they discovered the cure for cancer-except-oh wait- those people don’t really get paid…)

They aren’t even necessarily good people, or nice people, or people who would give any of their fans the time of day (though the fans can’t seem to compute that). Instead, people will sit there on this particular Sunday night, gazing dreamily at movie stars while they are congratulating the hell out of themselves- as if they haven’t already gotten enough praise to cover a million people’s allotment in the ‘real’ world. I just don’t get it.

This year- something fascinating happened. Believe it or not- and I don’t want you fainting or anything, so maybe sit down before you read this-evidently, the most popular of the popular kids (because if life mimics high school- and it does- the Oscars are the equivalent of not being invited to the prom, but watching the kids who were have the time of their lives as you sit home) -wait for it-………THEY TOOK A SELFIE!!! (*sponsored by Samsung*)

OH MY GOD!! I KNOW!! IT’S AMAZING! A SELFIE!  

I don’t know  how one wraps their head around this: famous people, who have been photographed non-stop for years, agree to act like- well- their fans…..and take a picture of their favorite subject, which is themselves!!! This sent the fans into a frenzy of disbelief- causing sheer Beatles-coming-to-America mania. Not surprisingly this precious selfie was the reason Twitter blew up (literally) as the stay-at-home peasants audience went crazy in a rush to be first responders on the scene at Twitter. 

Even if I could somehow tune out all of the next day yapping. I could have predicted some of the things that were bound to happen, as they do every year, even though I don’t even watch. The day-after coverage is brutal, the shrapnel impossible to avoid, like it’s being dropped from above by an army of drones.  Here are the things guaranteed to happen:

Jennifer Lawrence trips (it’s a tradition) and Jennifer Lawrence is hungry (never has an actress gotten more mileage out of admitting she eats, nor has anyone been able to stay as thin as she has considering what she claims to eat. Only Lorelei and Rory Gilmore have that magical eat-but-don’t gain ability- and they’re fictional!) One can only wait for her to someday gain some weight, and see how hilarious  and ‘down to earth’ it will all be then. Have fun with that, Jen.

Then, one of the blessed ‘stars’ will actually address a civilian in a civil way- and it will be interpreted as the sweetest, most amazing act of kindness ever in the history of the world. Isn’t it great when people who get their asses kissed all day, every day decide to acknowledge the peons for the cameras?

This year Will Smith RECOGNIZED a camera-man!- amidst excited commentary on Twitter like: “Will Smith recognized the camera-man!”- followed by blizzards of exclamation points. I can only imagine this is thrilling because the peasants-I mean, viewers believe (wrongly) that they, too, might someday be acknowledged by Will Smith. They will not.

Several of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors will show up to the Oscars with their mothers. At this point it’s a jaded stunt, but this too, will be gushed over as the sacrifice of the century- after all- they could have taken anyone! and they chose mom! Or maybe it’s the greatest  dating loophole in the history of Hollywood. A way to keep dating a slew of women without letting them become aware of each other, or  giving one of them too much power, or having to designate a single one as ‘special’ or an effective way to remain in the closet.

Speaking of gimmicks: this year’s gimmick was the selfie- but also the infamous pizza. There is something about seeing rich and famous people eat cheap food that sends viewers into a frenzy. It’s like that tabloid feature ‘Movie Stars: They’re Just Like Us’ come to life. I’m sure none of it was planned, as from what I hear it was totally off the cuff-and thank goodness the pizza place could hop to it for such a large order. And think of all the free advertising for the pizza joint. You just can’t plan stuff like that out. And America went to bed spent and happy after watching their ‘friends’ live on the edge like that. Look! They chew! They swallow! They recognize pizza! Just like me!

Then comes the God/ Dream speeches: We will hear all of the winners ad-nauseum speak of how, if you have a dream- you can and WILL achieve it. This will be told to you by people who have hit life’s lottery, but they leave out that these dreams will be realized for roughly as many people as actually win the lottery. (The Powerball!)

Of  course these stars believe in dreams and that God is looking out for them! Because it appears they are favored! They have  been awarded adulation, riches and often symmetrical, physical perfection. They will hold up their lives as examples of what you can achieve, rather than admit that the life they are living is a freak accident that even they can’t explain. And like: Phew! I could have just been average! The horrors!

If you’re gullible, you might measure yourself against them, rather than appreciate all you actually have.  Hopefully, you won’t recall these bastions of hot air during a hard time in your own ‘regular’ life, wondering what happened to your big break. Always remember: these people are not a reflection of you, they are a reflection of themselves. Period.

Along with having to listen to big stars ramble on incessantly- (Matthew McCONaughey claims the hands of God are on him every day-which must be why babies die of cancer-because even ‘God’ is busy hobnobbing with celebs on the red carpet! And despite having God’s magic balm being rubbed upon him daily by The Man himself, McConaughey reveals that his own true hero is….himself!) Could not one single person call this egomaniac out?

People were laying praise in heaps to the host of the show, Ellen Degeneres. It seems Ellen is the greatest hostess ever. (She is also ‘the greatest human to ever walk the earth’ according to one Twitter feed) Her ability to maintain that down- to- earth vibe,  mixed with the ‘I’m cute  and confused-as if just roused from a deep sleep’ schtick is admirable for someone who just bought a forty million dollar house.( It’s almost like she’s one of us!..psssst: she’s NOT!) 

All that being said, I imagine there are probably five people in the United States who don’t like/watch the Oscars. I am personally ‘so grateful to God!’ for making me one of them. Wait till you hear the speech I’m writing about it. Oh wait- I’m not famous, so I’d better not bother. You’ve already stopped reading.

They Might Be Hanging Out Without You

In Books, Television on August 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Right off the bat, I’ll make it clear that I am not a huge Mindy Kaling fan, though I  thought ‘The Office’ was well written. Mindy was co-executive producer of the show, and wrote many of the episodes (including ‘Niagra, a personal favorite) She was also a cast member, playing the insufferable Kelly Kapoor, a girl who just doesn’t get it! Therefore, I do respect for her career achievements, and I’ve fulfilled the ‘say something nice’ part of my opinion piece. haha.

I first really noticed Ms. Kaling   when I became aware of her book “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ which was heavily promoted even before it’s release, and had an avalanche of great press afterwards. I remember thinking: ‘This must be some book! Either that, or she knows a lot of heavy-hitters in the publishing industry!’ Although I found the character she played on ‘The Office’ extremely annoying (as she was written)- it wouldn’t be the first time someone ratcheted up my opinion of them based on their writing skills, and sense of humor.

i heart it

really?

In any event, I got my hands on the book, and settled in for an enjoyable, funny memoir, as I had no reason to suspect otherwise.  The book was high on all the non-fiction best-seller lists, and was selling up a storm. However,  from the get go, I got my back up, when Ms. Kaling casually compared her book to Chelsea Handler’s ‘Where Are You Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea’-a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and which stayed on the top of the best-seller lists for over a year. (Chelsea, though not a ‘writer’s’ writer, has several very readable books written in her deadpan delivery style and has been at the top of the New York Times bestseller list several times.. no mean feat!)

This being the case, I found it a little presumptuous of Mindy to just throw herself in the mix, like it’s something she thinks secretly, but probably shouldn’t say.  She also tries way too hard to assume a familiarity with the reader that she hasn’t earned. Similar to  when someone says ‘I know what you’re thinking’ and it’s not even close. But about half-way through the book,  I stopped reading, looked at the cover- just to be sure I had the right book, and thought ‘This is what all the hoopla is about?!’ Not only was it lacking in the ‘here are my interesting stories’ department, it also presented Mindy as a classic, high- school mean girl, very  clique-y and judgmental, and not all that nice. (Women don’t have to be ‘nice’- but there’s a certain self-effacing quality that I appreciate-the all important ‘down-to-earth’ quality)

In her book, Mindy trashes her friends in high-school- going as far as to say she hoped an equestrian loving ex-friend found a great horse to marry. I mean: Rrrearrr! She talks about how unpopular she was in high school (she wasn’t) and how high school doesn’t even matter- but she’s still really angry about not being the center of attention there. Which of course, happens to everyone on the planet, but famous people, I notice, are often very bitter about the first decade-and-three-quarters when they were treated like-God forbid!- everyone else!   When the world failed  to clamor around them, recognize how special they were, and shower them with adoration..  The bottom line is that I felt Mindy Kaling’s book was over-rated, and was disappointed because of it.  And it didn’t help that she seemed oblivious to the cattiness of her stories, like completely unaware.

People love this girl! I am clearly in the minority with my opinion. It’s to such a degree that I wonder if my initial impression is ‘off’. There are just too many good books rolling off the presses, for me to try hers again (and she has a new thing: a card game full of topics to talk about with your girlfriends. I can’t imagine needing to fish for topics, but I guess it beats another round of Monopoly) I will say,  that my initial review of ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me’ -wherein I point out how underwhelming this book is- has gotten way more ‘likes’ on a certain book reading site than the rest of my reviews combined- with a few ‘finally someone said it’ comments as well.

The above Flavorwire article about Ms. Kaling’s recent tv show (“The Mindy Project’ which I haven’t seen)  defends her personality based on the fact that she’s a woman- and says, in effect, that a man (who’s an asshole) would be applauded for the same things Kaling is criticized for. Alec Baldwin notwithstanding (they keep insisting he’s a pretentious bore and a jerk to boot- but I can’t stop loving him) I don’t think difficult men are revered- I think they are tolerated if they have creative powers. I believe people much prefer a John Ritter type (who I understood was a kind man) over a Charlie Sheen any day of the week. I don’t know the fate of Kaling’s show, but I do wonder if it is as overrated as her book.

I guess the point I’m making is that, according to the ‘Let Mindy Kaling Be An Asshole’ commentary, there is nothing obnoxious or arrogant  she can do or say that can’t be explained away by sexism. She’s got a license to do whatever she wants- like a foreign dignitary! That just because some successful men are pricks, women should be, too. Lean In and annihilate! Strap on your armor! Swing your big stick! Etcetera! But  I don’t buy it. As my mother used to say, in cliche-but-true mom-speak: Two wrongs, don’t make a right!….. And emulating the stereo-typical, brazen, self-serving jack-ass (think Donald Trump) does not seem the path to fulfillment! And it’s definitely not something to strive for.

Ladies-we’re better than that!

Bad Boys: *SIGH*

In Should I Even Be Talking About This?, Television on August 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm
'No thanks- i don't need a ride' said NO GIRL EVER!

‘No thanks- i don’t need a ride’ said NO GIRL EVER!

The subject of Bad Boys (and why some women like them) has been discussed ad nauseam, and yet I will throw my two cents in anyhow. I got to thinking about this after seeing a spot for ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ on FX ( a bad boy channel, if you will…along with SPIKE)  Jax Teller, the head of the SAMCRO affiliated biker gang, is my current ‘Bad Boy’ crush. This is a guy who’s killed over a case (at least) of people (and that was just last season)-and is a bonafide gangster, yet I swoon inside as I watch him. Even his walk is hot! But he’s a murderer! I know, it’s weird…..I usually frown on murdering. So what gives? 

*sigh*

*sigh*

Part of it began when the show first started, four seasons ago. Jax presented himself as ‘deep’…sitting atop a roof, reading his dead Dad’s letters, reflecting on his life. The way that he read those letters aloud- the fact that he could read- these were all pluses in a hot guy! He even kept a journal, which might mean he can even spell! Combine brains and brawn and I don’t know about you, but I’m over the moon! As the show progressed it became clear that he was truly in love with his girlfriend, Tara, and he has since married and stayed faithful to her (despite what I imagine are offers left and right to ‘get busy’-including an adult-entertainment side business and joint ownership of a brothel) A man who is true to his woman is a big turn-on to me. (A lot of us are self-serving like that.)

*swoon*

*swoon*

Amongst women, there is much discussion about men, and how they tend to be shallow- how the way a woman looks is so important to them, even though it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But ladies- please! Are we not the exact same way? When we are attracted to a guy, aren’t his looks a big part of it? The way his hair falls softly over his forehead, the Alaskan Husky blue eyes, that deep, scratchy voice even-maybe even- dat ass? Especially as young women, weren’t most of us attracted to the ‘babes?’ And so, as much as I like Jax’s monogamous ways, and soulful journaling- isn’t the fact that he’s scorching hot the reason I’m really attracted to him? After all, his buddies- who do exactly what Jax does- well, let’s just say they aren’t in my day dreams.

So what if I wrote this whole essay just so I could post these pics of Jax?

So what if I wrote this whole essay just so I could post these pics of Jax?

The first time I can remember being attracted to bad boys, was when I was a very young girl. My grandfather was watching the news and started railing at the television. I put down my Barbies and walked over to the tv to see what had made him so mad. There, on channel two, was Walter Cronkite reporting on Vietnam and the numerous protests going on around the country. One of the clips, from San Francisco- showed a bunch of teenagers and young adults in really cool clothes holding up signs. Then a sound bite from the cutest guy…with long hair, talking about ‘the war’. My heart did a few somersaults. My grandfather growled, the vein on his forehead throbbing: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Men with long hair! Like a bunch of girls! This country is going to hell in a handbasket!” His face was red.  Meanwhile,  CBS cut to another clip,but  I was hoping they’d go back to that first guy. I waited through the commercials (‘Chock Full Of Nuts is a heavenly coffee…) and even stuck it out through the weather and sports, but alas, the heartthrob never returned.( And that’s the way it was…)

But I knew he was out there somewhere, growing his hair, wearing beads and waving a sign. And from then on, anytime I heard the words ‘Vietnam'”War’ or ‘Protest’ on my grandparent’s tv, I would strategically loiter behind my grandfather’s chair,maybe rolling a matchbox car across the headrest of his chair as a decoy and watch for the ‘no-good hippies!’ (By the way, I also thought the ‘hippies’ were the nice ones- because they wanted to stop the war, and from the footage I saw of actual Vietnam, war seemed like something we should all be against. But I digress)

Mick Jagger invented cool

Mick Jagger invented cool

From there, it was easy to see my route veering towards Bad-Boy Ville. I preferred Mick Jagger by far over Paul McCartney (McCartney was okay, but I could sense those Wings songs blending inside him, like vanilla milkshakes). Mick Jagger was the kind of guy who did things at night. Stayed up and smoked cigarettes and called up his girlfriends who were wearing fur coats and nothing else.  I was a born night owl, and could rarely sleep before eleven at night even as a child. And Bad Boys roam the night.

I  often stood up for the under-dog,and went against the grain. I wanted to paint my room black (or deep purple) with a big rainbow on the wall when I was nine. This was immediately vetoed. My father bellowed: ‘It’s a bedroom, not a god damn art project!” I ended up with red roses decoupaged on my all- white furniture, with matching shams and spread on my canopy bed. I’m surprised little dwarves didn’t gather around me while I slept, while cartoon blue-birds swirled around my head. But my room decor didn’t stop ‘Honky-Tonk Woman or “She’s A Rainbow” from blasting out of my Realistic stereo.  

My mother jokingly gave me an orange 8-track by Alice Cooper (“It’s a guy!” she marveled “What a goonie bird!”) Little did she know, ‘Killer’ was right up my (dark) alley- and I couldn’t get enough of it. In fact, the whole glam scene- with its long hair, platforms, turquoise bracelets, silky bell-bottoms and guy-liner spoke to me. Add guitars and turn it up, and I discovered the meaning of being in my element. 

I also liked guys who rode harleys  (especially choppers) guys who worked on cars, and wore leather jackets. At thirteen, my uniform became hip-huggers and halter tops, and platform shoes in suede. I loved headbands and anything with fringe. I was sending out Bad-Boy smoke-signals whether I knew it or not. You really don’t find a lot of guys macho enough to wear bracelets and earrings on the high school football team. At least not during the day and in public.

So while a lot of girls were trying out for cheerleading, I was wandering the halls between classes looking at the back of boy’s heads, searching out guys whose hair grew past their collars, making sure that my notebook was positioned with my New York Dolls and Deep Purple stickers facing out. I fell in love with bad-boys in movies,  in books…(.most notably Ritchie, in The Wanderers) and  though I was rooting for the ‘good’ guys, Randall Flagg in ‘The Stand’ was far more interesting than any of the good-boy heroes.

Snake Plisken is another fine example of the North American Bad-Boy

Snake Plissken is another fine example of the North American Bad-Boy

There is however, a big difference between a bad boy and a jerk. A bad boy might be a man of few words, but he doesn’t lie. A jerk lies even when he doesn’t have to. A bad-boy might not coddle you 24/7, but he’ll never lay a finger on you- or any other woman. A jerk is on familiar terms with his inner Chris Brown. A bad-boy has a work ethic- and knows how to fix stuff. He does things the right way, even when it’s tedious. A jerk works sporadically (if at all) and can’t be bothered with pride or standing behind what he does or says. Shortcuts are his thing. His whole life is a game of Chutes and Ladders, always searching out the easy way. A bad-boy is loyal, to his girl and his family and friends while a jerk hurts, uses and deserts his girl, family and friends. A bad-boy is someone you hold hands with in public (subtly) and a jerk is the guy you lie about even dating (out of embarrassment) But, most importantly, a Bad-Boy can grow up to be a good man, but a jerk will never grow up, period. And trust me, someday you’ll want him to.

Michael Beck played my favorite Bad-Boy in "The Warriors"

Michael Beck played my favorite Bad-Boy in “The Warriors”

Of course, when you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Over the years I’ve had my fill of bad boys and jerks and I’ve had some tumultuous, crazy relationships because of it. I’ve had my heart smashed to smithereens, and I once cried from sundown straight through to the next morning, positive I would die without him. (I’m talking non-stop full-throttle balling! Turns out you can’t run out of tears)  I’ve written bad poetry the likes of which make me blush just by remembering. Though I must admit: I do have lots of stories.  

But when you choose a hot guy with a bad-boy streak who’s mysterious and as cool as dry ice, you can’t expect to be the only one who’s noticed. And if you’re looking for real passion, you can’t go in half-assed. Sure, it might not work out- but then- what if it does?  And the few times I tried to go against my type, and date someone a little more, um- suburban? I felt lost and lonely. Like I was in another country and didn’t speak the language. The truth was- I just couldn’t date the Richie Cunningham type, as nice as he might be. Because I can’t spend my life hovering behind chairs, waiting for the news to come on. The best I could do was sort the bad-boys from the jerks, and hope to get lucky for the long haul.

Sonny Crockett was a Bad-Boy. Plus, he had a pet alligator!

Sonny Crockett was a Bad-Boy. Plus, he had a pet alligator!

 

For the love of god-WHO CARES??!!

In Television on February 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm

It takes me forever to read my newspaper. I only receive it on the weekends, and still- I manage to put aside the Leisure and Travel sections, saving them for some unforeseen day when I’ll have nothing to do (and no book to read!) After a few weeks of piling up, I usually end up tossing them (thank you ‘Hoarders’ for scaring me neat!) 

Today I was placing a pile in my recycle bin, when the cover of the Travel section caught my eye. The subject of this New Years Day 2012 article was titled ‘The End’, and the tagline read: If the Mayan calendar means it’s over; here’s where celebs would head. Are you kidding me? We are now going to discuss (disgust?) where celebrities will pamper themselves, should our last days on earth seem inevitable?

 Do I even need to mention that the Mayan calendar bullsh**is not something I buy into, it’s just the latest ‘Save The Date’ for the wackos. But for the sake of laughs, I’ll entertain the thought. I can’t even  wrap my head around caring about anything a celebrity might do in general- let alone in a world-ending situation. And let’s not even get into the logistics, such as how anyone would know the day, how they’d manage to travel- you know: throw common sense out the window or your mind will get all tangled up!)

So, lets see what we have in terms of answers: (I will be paraphrasing to keep it compact) First up is Jewel. Now- I have nothing against Jewel- she is a truly talented singer (not ‘American Idol’ good- which I take to be ‘better than the other contestants’ – Jewel is GENUINELY talented) though she threw me for a loop (no pun intended) when she hooked up with that rodeo guy and again when she tried to tart herself up like a pop star to change her image. I liked the snaggle-toothed, unplugged Jewel just fine. She was endearing.

Since Jewel’s family stars on a survival show called ‘Alaska: The Last Frontier’ (on Discovery Network) where her father and brothers live off the land (I’ve never seen anyone go to such lengths to avoid getting real jobs! har har)  I figured she’d say Alaska, with actual survivalists that she knows and loves, but no.

Her answer: “I don’t want to go into the end-of-the-world part, but we’d probably go to the Bahamas. We like to go to the outer islands”

Well- to each her own, but that seems a little -I dunno-shallow for a ‘last days on earth’ location. I’m thinking end-of-the-world seems more like an overcast day kind of adventure!

The Bahamas? Really?

Tinsel Korey (some chick from Twilight, Breaking Dawn) (btw: Who names their kid Tinsel?)  says: “I would fly to Bora-Bora. Wearing a fluffy robe, drenched in lavender-eucalyptus (apocolyptic?) lotion, eating a cupcake, while I smiled at a Dolphin that would just happen to be swimming around near me. Got to go out in style right?” (this sounds- I kid you not- like a scene from the 1984 movie ‘The Night Of The Comet’. A movie so bad it’s good!) Anyway- it also sounds like the answer a My Little Pony would give, but whatever.

“It better not be Boring-Boring!”

Curt Menefee (Fox NFL Sunday) goes on and on about a town in Uruguay. He ends it by saying that once he’s there, staring out at the ocean,  ‘since he won’t have to get up the next day, a nice bottle of wine-and maybe even a shot of tequilla -wouldn’t be a bad way to say adios to it all” (What’s with the ‘maybe?’)

“and thank you for joining us for the last season of NFL, ever”

Finally we have Alexis Bellino from ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County’ (a show I have never seen, but have no problem imagining) She says: “I would fly my entire family to Bora Bora because we love the beautiful water and sand! (note: She does understand this isn’t going to be a picnic, right?!) ‘

‘We would throw the biggest best party ever and celebrate (note: celebrate?) with music, our favorite cocktail- margaritas in fancy (note: gotta have ‘fancy’ at the ‘we’re gonna die’ party, fer sure!)- and our favorite food- pizza!”

Ahem: A few things here: Do you get the idea that she pictures this party being catered by the most super-conscientious cooks and servers in the world, who -even though the god-damned world is ENDING!, will serve the vapid housewife pseudo-celeb rather than be with their families?

Even the opening of this article admits that on the Earth’s last day ‘service might be be slow” Ya think? Do you suppose Ms. Bellino will invite Ms. Tinsel over as well, so they can have deep convos about Twilight and boys who sparkle? And, like me, don’t you kind of feel that if these are the last people being pampered on the earth during that crucial time,that it really is time for the world to end? 

“I’ll be more than happy to represent the human race, K?”

 

‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Unbelievably Good!

In Sons Of Anarchy, Television on November 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

By unbelievably good- I mean that a) The show is literally un-believable, there is nothing resembling reality happening anywhere in the show and b) I am addicted to it, and happy to suspend dis-belief! I don’t even know where to start, because pointing out all of the things that don’t ring true would take forever. But it’s ‘good-bad’ and I love it. Let me start with some-ahem!- ‘bullet’ points:

THE TOWN OF CHARMING: This town is like a ghost town in an old John Wayne movie. Sure- you see some extras here and there, but for the most part, it’s either Biker Gangs or The Law. There are heinous crimes going on constantly: Shoot-outs, stabbings, decapitations, drive-by’s, prison shankings, brawls in the hospital, police chases,white supremacists, Cartel ‘business’, explosions,The IRA, rapes, and kidnappings galore. Compton is Martha’s Vinyard compared to this place. So, why are ‘Developers’ so hot to build in this town? I’d love to see the Chamber of Commerce brochure!

THE SHOOT-OUTS: I have a silly habit of putting gold stars on my calendar, marking the days that I work-out at the gym. I wonder if maybe Jax has his own calendar, marking the days he’s involved in extreme shoot-outs? (Does Michael’s Crafts sell ‘machine gun’ stickers?) I’m pretty sure there is a shoot-out at least twice a week, and sometimes they involve military weapons. Last night for instance (the 90 min. special, 11/15) I felt I was watching ‘Sons of Apocalypse Now’. Jax literally ordered Military weaponry like a pizza (and acknowledged it as such)- but the only thing that ‘rang’ true was his first attempt at the call, after he discovered he had ‘lost service’ in the woods, during yet another gun battle. He borrowed the phone of an opposing gang member (will that come back to haunt him?) and called in ‘two rocket launchers, extra cheese’. But next time Jax, don’t go with Verizon. JAX: What a conundrum Mr. Jax is! When ‘Sons’ first began, he was sitting on the roof, underneath the stars, reading letters from his real father (now deceased-as far as we know!) all about how his ‘vision’ for the Club had gone awry with greed and crime. Jax-it seemed-was to hold himself to a higher standard. One wondered if he might be a new kind of biker gang dude, free of criminal mischief, standing for the right thing, and looking like a hot combination of Kurt Cobain and Brad Pitt- ala -that- vampire- movie. Now- three seasons later, Jax has killed about 50 people, but thinks he can ‘cash out and move away’ someday soon, with his old lady, Tara and their two young sons. Sitting in a rocking chair, on the front porch, gazing out at the white picket fence in ‘Faraway-ville.” “Come sit at my knee, sons. Let Daddy tell you how he filleted the guy who tried to cross him.” Somehow- I’m not seein’ it. TARA: Tara popped up out of Jax’s past (they dated at sixteen) In the interim, Tara has become a very accomplished surgeon. In fact, she is a surgical phenom. Yet, she begins dating gang-member Jax, and enters into the whole ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ culture without batting an eye. So much for ‘first, do no harm.’  (Being a doctor in a biker gang actually comes in handy. She can fix all of the gang members after the shoot-outs!) Though she never seems happy (what a puss she has on that face most of the time!) she’s magnetically drawn to her Bad Boy, Jax (well- he is freakin’ hot! Got-dayum!))…….which gets her kidnapped (twice) fired, (once) and now, she may lose the use of her hand (after the most recent kidnapping)-which would render her unable to be a doctor anymore- but she still thinks her and Jax will live happily ever after. As soon as they move away. Unless Clay (Jax’s Stepfather) kills her- because he has a hit out on her- you know: typical bickering family stuff, happens every year at Thanksgiving in most families, right?……But, no one can tell her anything, and she won’t stop defending her choices, so go figure. I get that she’s in love- but what about the safety of those kids?

The Official Hat of ‘Babies NOT In Gangs’

THOSE KIDS: Let’s talk about those kids, please. First off- I’m not buying that Gemma (Katey Sagal, Jax’s mother and the kids grandmother) is watching them all by herself, ever! Maybe 45 minutes, here and there- at the most. She’s fully dressed to the Club 9’s and made-up, no less! I know they have a (somewhat invisible) Nanny now- but I love how kids on tv are such a non-factor- always conveniently out of the way pretty much always! Have you ever watched an infant along with a less than two year old for even a few hours?  Well I have, and believe me, there’s not enough vodka in the world to erase that memory. Gemma would lose her mind!  Ditto Jax. And again- Jax- in season one, went on and on and on about he didn’t want his sons to be in ‘Sons’. So what does he do? Put them in ‘Sons’ beanies from birth. (Sure- they’re cute knit caps-in fact, I’m sure you can buy them in the ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Fan shop, but still.) And here’s another thing: I know this is nit-picky, but who’s in charge of  the sets on this show? There has been a picture of a cartoon sun hanging on Gemma and Clay’s refrigerator, that I think they are trying to imply was drawn by the older kid (he’s less than two) There is simply no way! that child did that picture, unless he’s the next coming of Rembrandt. Last night there was yet another piece of artwork in the kid’s room, and it was easily drawn at a six year old’s level. (Prob. drawn by an adult ‘pretending’ to draw like a kid)They even showed the kid trying to draw in a coloring book once, and that little sucker was pounding that crayon all over the page, like that piano dude in ‘Reefer Madness!’ He was scribbling at best! and had no concept whatsoever of staying within the lines! So- I’m tellin’ ya- that was no ‘Sun of Anarchy! I KNOW this is a crazy detail, but things like that drive my eagle-eye batshit. Let me design those sets- I will get it right!

‘Everything’s peachy!’

GEMMA: The main question I ponder with Gemma is: ‘What’s in it for her?’ Through the seasons we’ve seen her: kidnapped, gang-raped (while hanging from a rope! By Henry Rollins which is way worse than listening to his poems!), shot at, physically abused and constantly looking over her shoulder. She spouts off about ‘The Family’ (SAMCRO) and loyalty, but leaves out all of the messy stuff, like the bloody murders, the drugs, the guns, the jail time, her husband’s extracurricular bj’s, and a host of other ‘pesky’ situations present in her daily life. She doesn’t have a big fancy house, doesn’t seem to have money to speak of – and though none of those things even come close to being ‘worth’ the hassles, at least they’d give me something to point to. Gemma’s life is exciting (well- it’s not boring!) but I look at her and think: ‘How EXHAUSTING would it be, to have that sort of lifestyle in your late forties, early fifties?’ Poor Gemma can’t just kick back and relax, and that, to me, is a certain kind of hell. I’m also concerned that Gem has become very numb to her predicament. After a recent drive -by shooting in the Son’s parking lot, and  after seeing perhaps seven or eight people get their brains blown out, splattering blood all over the yard (which led to a special chili recipe, heads above the usual, and quite possibly the secret recipe from Wendy’s)) she looked at Clay- terror in her saucer eyes and screamed: “Oh, no! Tonight’s the Garden Party!” in a way that hinted she doesn’t manage priorities all that well. She says she doesn’t care what anybody thinks of her- but God forbid the snobs at the Garden Party step in puddles of mud and blood! From what I can see, her lifestyle has left her weather beaten and literally beaten, and success to her, is simply being alive at the end of the day! CLAY:

Don’t believe Clay! He’s Lion!

Oh, wait! That’s not Clay, is it? Let me try that again:

‘Skip a Shoot-out again, and you’re GROUNDED!”

CLAY: Ah, Clay! What can one say? Your  average, run-of-the-mill monster? Much like Ron Pearlman’s other character, HELLBOY…..Clay seems to have been spurned in the flames of Hell. But unlike the red-faced Hellboy, Clay Morrow is nobody’s hero. Though there have been some tender moments with Clay- his arthritis flaring up, the pressures of the Club, some loving moments with Gemma- all of that has been cancelled out this season, starting when he killed his good friend Piney, continuing when he put a hit out on Jax’s old lady Tara, and then he ‘iced the cake’ by beating the living daylights out of Gemma. And that was all before breakfast! He has also incorporated the Cartel and their drugs into the Club, and lied his ass off about pretty much everything. Whatever loyalty or respect anyone may have felt for him in the previous seasons, has vanished. I can’t even imagine that he will survive this season, while at the same time, I can’t picture the show without him. He’s the kind of guy, who if you shook his hand would say- “Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my Name”

The 70’s called. It wants it’s jacket back!

THE LAW: I have to give props to whoever casts the “Law” in this show, particularly the past two seasons. This Lincoln Potter dude makes me want to jump over the interrogation table and punch him directly in his wise-ass mouth, even if it violates my probation! That smirk! That stare! Everything about him makes my skin crawl, from his smug way of speaking, to his inherent arrogance. What. A. Dick. He’s the kind of guy you can’t help fantasizing about…..Fantasizing about how he’ll be killed, that is. After last season, and a certain Agent June Stahl (or ‘Agent Crooked Mouth’ as I called her) tossed her silky hair all over the place, while planting evidence, black-mailing, and murdering her own girlfriend (not to mention, framing Gemma!) I can honestly say I had rarely been so excited and happy to imagine seeing someone’s brains splattered all over a windshield! I have a feeling I am in for exuberance of similar proportions come Mr. Potter’s final day. To which I wholeheartedly say: “Adios, Motherfucker!”

THE REST OF THE GANG: It’s quite the Motley Crew we have going here. But lest this overview take on ‘War & Peace’ proportions, I’m going to keep it short, with a few quick observations:

BOBBY MUNSON: I have to hand it to Bobby with the ‘most authentic’ Biker look. Absolutely the most believable. He’s got it going on, that way.

I’m ‘Evil Ritchie Blackmore’. And my Rainbow’s Rising!

TIG TRAGER: I’ll never completely forgive him for murdering those prostitutes in the first season (seemingly ‘for kicks’) but I’ve come to somehow like his character. Him and Gemma’s ‘bond’, his doll phobia, and watching him trip on mushrooms, have given me some laughs. He’s the quintessential freak. OPIE WINSTON: This guy is just plain scary, and I think it’s coz he has a ‘Taliban’ vibe of some sort. Maybe it’s the cap, but it plays into the climate of the times we live in, fair or not. His marriage to a porn star (sex-film actress-are they really all ‘stars?’) seems a bit forced…I just don’t see Opie taking lightly anyone else ‘up in there’ -but much like the porn companies filming in the background of many of the SOA scenes, it’s all a good excuse to zero in on porno-chicks and their firm, half-naked asses. Something for the boys. So why not?

‘I’m breakin’ the Chains’ Of Conformity.

JUICE ORTIZ: Juice is living proof that the SOA can kill anyone except themselves. He’s been wired by the cops  stolen a brick of cocaine, killed an innocent man in order to frame him with the crime and failed at a suicide attempt (though I was glad to see he actually had a conscience) But after all- he’s grown up without a dad, so what do you expect? (har.de. har har) I couldn’t stand this guy through most of the seasons, but lately I am warming up to him (somewhat) Now-  if only he’d get rid of that skid-mark on his head! (and how does he keep that up so well, anyway? It’s meticulous!)

FINAL WORD: Despite all of the drama, the things that make no sense, the outlandishness-I truly love watching this show- and I’m willing to go wherever they take me. It’s ‘appointment’ TV!!

‘Sons Of Guns’- ‘Television Tough Guys’

In Should I Even Be Talking About This?, Television on October 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm

(Note from 2020: I wrote this a year or two before the show was cancelled because of some heinous accusations, look it up. Uggh.)

Some of the men in my life are watching a show called ‘Sons Of Guns’ on a weekly basis. Being as that I will not watch-and am not interested in a show about guns- I can only comment on what I’ve gleaned from walking through the living room while said show is on tv. If I have it wrong- good!– that means I’m paying even less attention to it than I think.

I believe this show is about a group of redneck types who own a gun shop, and spend their spare time inventing ‘gun-hybrids’ and then testing them out in open fields, the woods, and off of boats. Some of these people are related (?) and  a father and a daughter work in the gun shop together. (Are the others his sons?) Anyway, this girl, who appears to be in her early twenties, is extremely ‘turned on’ by all things ‘guns’…. she gushes when certain certain guys (well known in the ‘Gun World’) come to her shop, and make  requests  to ‘fire  grenade launchers’ or when her co-workers suggest joining three M-16’s in a triangular configuration’ to shoot off in the desert.  “I can’t believe So-and So came into our shop!’ she swoons. (I can’t  imagine  my world, if it focused on firearms, but to each his own)

In another show, the local sheriff comes by to ask the shop to convert a semi-automatic into a fully automatic. Makes one wonder what plans the Sheriff has for the near future.  (Love the Mayberry -like references: ‘The local Sheriff”- Like he’s holed up in a ghost town, watching over Otis The Drunk and waiting on a saloon fight) In another show, the boys decide to create a combination Taser/shotgun for the police department. And no! that’s not an accident waiting to happen, silly! You’re  over-thinking it! The show features a lot of random gunfire, as the good old boys gather around to test their hybrids and fire guns, cannons and god knows what else into (hopefully) human and animal free open spaces. Country music stars are invited to come by. I think Ted Nugent showed up one day, though if I’m wrong, I’m pretty sure he will at some point.I think it’s the law.

If you’re a southern Redneck type, you seem to have carte blanche when it comes to guns and gun-play, though I’m not quite sure why. Having lived in the south for some years (I’m not referring to Florida, which is it’s own kind of animal, but to Virginia, where I spent four years in the Bible belt) There, I ‘enjoyed’ being baby-sat by the local government and the religious right. Never was it more helpful  than when they bleeped George Jefferson saying ‘Damn, Weezy!’on The Jeffersons and banned us from entering a Bon Jovi concert until my boyfriend removed his dangerous black leather wristband. Evidently, the flat, silver studs might incite a heavy-metal riot with them there long-hairs!) There were a lot of  ‘My Truck is protected by Smith & Wesson’ bumper stickers in Virginia Beach,(I remember thinking: calm down! No one wants your shitty truck!) along with Rebel Flags in the rear window- but I couldn’t understand then- nor can I now- why is was laughable that a big-bellied, tattooed, Nascar- loving beer drinker had a gun stashed under his front seat. It never struck me as funny.

Now- just for a minute, let’s play ‘what-if’….As in: What if they did this exact show, but instead of good ole’ boys, they had black guys?! What would the reaction to this show be, if a bunch of black guys got together to build bigger and badder weapons for ‘fun’ and entertainment? I thought we might get a glimpse when I overheard, during one show- that they were going to give an AR-15  (?) to Super Bowl Champion Garret Hartley. It turned out that Garret Hartley was white, so I couldn’t gauge any different reactions after all. But in all fairness – it’s the NFL, and where are you going to find a black guy there? I guess what I’m saying is that, if you populated a ‘fun gun’ show with law-abiding, southern gentlemen who just happened to be black- you would probably have a certain portion of the audience ‘up in arms’- and not in a pro-gun kind of way. Just food for thought.

‘What do you mean it’s not so ‘funny’ now?!’

‘Whitney”…..All Bathwater, No Baby….

In Television on October 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm

‘Correct me if I’m wrong-but it’s like you’re batshit crazy!’

I watched the first three episodes of this show in deference to the Whitney Cummings I knew from the Howard Stern Show, Chelsea Lately, and various Comedy Central Roasts.

Unfortunately- I could find only traces of that  Whitney in her very formula-tic new show.  I envisioned the sit-down meetings that Whitney must have had with the NBC ‘suits’ while the show was still in negotiation.. the ‘suits’ suggesting every sitcom cliche they had in their overflowing briefcases, and Whitney, doubting her better judgement and first instincts, afraid of offending them (and losing the ‘deal’)  instead saying ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ to most of them. Sitting still  while they trimmed the very ‘edge’ off her comedy, and molded it into the cookie-cutter sitcom that it is. Anxious to cash that fat check and be somebody! Unfortunately, well behaved women rarely make history- or good comedy.

The first thing that struck me as a thumbs-down, was the awful canned laughter. I don’t care what anyone from the show says- that is not a studio audience. There may be a studio audience-technically-but the laughter we’re hearing is as canned as Hank Williams, Jr. after a Hitler reference. I think this is why Whitney says: ‘Whitney is filmed before a studio audience-ya heard me!’-before each show- because she knows, we know, she’s twisting the truth. The fake laughter is applied with a heavy hand, and only punctuates how lame and warmed-over the shows jokes are.

Most of the cast  appear to be in their very late 20’s (I’m being generous) to mid-thirties, yet- they have the sensibilities of kids in  junior high. In one of the shows, Whitney decides she wants to have a ‘real’ first date (since her and her boyfriend hooked up on a drunken one night stand… ooh! Risque!) thus she orchestrates this ridiculous ‘plan’- wherein her boyfriend must ‘woo’ her with a date- a date where they will ‘pretend’ not to know each other.

Not only is this a weak premise-but somehow her boyfriend and all of HIS  friends become completely wrapped up in this bullshiz-discussing it incessantly and taking it way too seriously. In fact, the men in this series sit around and cluck like hens- all they do is talk about their girlfriends, and the odd behaviors of women in general 24/7! They yap like it’s 11am and they’re on the View! I find myself saying  (out-loud!) ‘Man Up!! For God Sakes! Have you ever heard of football, worked on a car or even been around other men?’

The ‘First Date’ plot progresses to the point where Whitney is now ‘single for the night’ barring her mate from sleeping in his own home that evening. (Who does this? Who even has the time? What adults are running around like adolescent girls, ‘testing’ their relationships with embarrassingly immature head games of this nature?)

I found myself plotting back angrily: ‘OK- if we’re going there-then how about this: Whitney’s boyfriend, banned from his own house for not presenting Whitney with a satisfying, ‘fake’ first date- spends the night in a casino, where he gets shiz-faced drunk, bets away their joint savings and sleeps with a hooker who gifts him with an STD, which he later accidentally gifts Whitney with when he’s finally let back in. Mean? Yes! But I am insulted that this show thinks I’m an idiot! (and by the way: my premise is way more ‘Whitney’ than Whitney’s own show is! Listen to her stand-up, or watch her roast someone if you doubt me!)

“If you really loved me, you’d play my never-ending, little-girl head games!”

There is a scene in another episode where Whitney decides to ‘dress sexy’ to try and win over the man she already lives with (*sigh*) so she proceeds to don a tight shirt and some shorts, along with – inexplicably!- roller skates. She then ‘rolls’ down to her building’s lobby (where her boyfriend just happens to be) and tries to ‘sensuously’ skate to her mail-box. In a ‘bet -you- can’t- guess’ turn of events,  clumsiness ensues, and there  she is- pretzel- twisted into unflattering poses, while her man (and the camera) zeros in to Whit’s dismay. Yuk,yuk, yuk!. I can only wonder how far this I-Love-Lucy schtick-ness is going to go? How long before she mails herself to someone, or starts schilling Vita-Vita Vegamin?  If this is supposed to be funny, then Whitney’s got some ‘splainin to do!

Whitney’s also supposed to be a photographer, from what I can tell from the photog’s umbrella and camera equipment strewn about the couple’s apartment. (Though no one is ever at work, of course) I don’t know what kind of photographer Whitney is, but I’ll take a crack at it. Perhaps a wedding photographer- the kind who incorporates scrabble tiles and candy hearts to spell out ‘save-the-date?’ Or maybe she specializes in black and white ‘glamour’ shots featuring pregnant women’s bellies, due date scrawled in (non-toxic) magic marker across the stretched skin, clasped on either side by Daddy’s ‘man-hands’. Facebook’s own of syrup of ipecac.

I’m two-million percent sure we are not dealing with a serious photo-journalist here.

Other episode themes include: Dressing up in a nurse’s outfit for sex in order to ‘spice things up’ in which they end up at the emergency room via slapstick hi- jinx (YAWN!) and the staging of another all-out attack on cuckolded boyfriend because he glances at-gasp! another woman!- in Starbucks (for less than two seconds!) I mean- is the guy supposed to walk around with his eyes closed?  Is Whitney that insecure that her boyfriend simply ‘seeing’ another female walking the planet earth is a threat?! This two-second glance constitutes an entire episode! Again- Whitney, all of her friends and all of the men become completely immersed in Whitney’s insecurity, discussing it ad-nauseam!

The only thing no one discusses (but should) is that Whitney’s tv character is completely neurotic, unbearably annoying , and  batshit crazy!- which, sadly, cancels out any charisma or sex-appeal she might have if she wasn’t all those things! It’s as if she is the Tin Man in the Emerald City and has yet to put in for a brain. Or maybe she has one, but it resembles one of a Twilight-loving tween, who dots her i’s with hearts and lists her religion as ‘shoes’. In fact, the whole show feels like eavesdropping on two twelve- year olds on the phone, projecting into the imagined future, where the girls are girls and so are the guys.

It’s too bad, because the real Whitney Cummings-the comedian, is edgy and funny. In such a way that didn’t apologize to anyone, and was straight-out ballsy. But now that she’s towing the NBC company line, she really does need to apologize. Not to NBC- to us.

Suburgatory: ‘I Choose Hell’

In Television on September 30, 2011 at 11:45 pm

“When did the Tri-State area turn into Beverly Hills?”

I  go into new comedies with a positive attitude, hope I will be impressed with the cast,  writers, sets-and that I’ll get a few laughs. But oftentimes I  get side-tracked with the ‘wtf?’ aspects of the show, especially when they snowball, as they did in the first episode of Suburgatory.

According to the show’s (far-fetched) premise, The Altmans -Dad, George (Jeremy Sisto,who played ‘Billy’ on’ Six Feet Under’) and his daughter, Tessa (Jane Levy, ‘Shameless’) – have  relocated from New York City to the tri-state area which  I’m  guessing is Connecticut from the cartoon map in the opening. (Full disclosure: I grew up in Connecticut)

This, after Dad finds a box of condoms in Tessa’s dresser drawer.

Right off, this strikes me as an extreme overreaction for a hip guy who lives in New York City- but what really didn’t make sense was that the town he has chosen is,  inexplicably,  a weird mash-up of Wisteria Lane and Beverly Hills! It’s filled with ‘Barbie-Doll’ moms drinking sugar-free Red Bulls and doing spot exercises in the driveways of their million-dollar homes with their lookalike daughters.

One would assume that this ‘concerned’ Dad would have investigated said town (especially since it’s only an hour’s drive away) and that anyone with half-a-brain and five minutes of free time would conclude that this was a town awash in condom-filled dresser drawers, and rampant in rich-girls with fake boobs who aren’t waiting for marriage, or possibly even a second date. (Not judging the gals….because George Altman, had he been the father of a son, would probably have been proud to find those condoms!)

Curiously, Dad and daughter ( we’re only told that mom ‘took off’ when Tess was young) are savvy enough to make a life in New York City, so it makes you wonder why Dad is  buying into an over-the-top geographical ‘solution’ because his daughter might-or might not be-having sex in the first place. New York City was not the birthplace of Sodom and Gomorrah, but Beverly Hills might be. Just sayin.

One can tell that Tess-with her ‘Daria’ like attitude and dry delivery- is obviously the most grounded of the characters, and clearly doesn’t need to be blindfolded,  mugged and dragged away from her home based on a box of prophylactics and Dad’s sneaky suspicions.

What is it with dads and daughters anyway? The men engage in sex, and yet the thought of their precious female offspring engaging in natural sexual activity freaks them out! (They don’t seem to mind it when they’re banging someone else’s daughter! Because: new flash: that’s what your girlfriends and wives are!)

And yet:  their daughters being a part of the natural life cycle freaks them out enough to, say- impulsively move out of state! As if sex doesn’t exist in other locales!  Hardly anyone says to a 16 year old: ‘Hey-Go For it, Sexy!’ but doesn’t anyone have faith in their kid’s basic morals and that maybe they know what’s right for them? Maybe talk to them? Nor does having sex-or not- define a ‘good girl’ bad-girl’ despite the propaganda.

I can only conclude that a father’s insane discomfort must have something to do with his own ‘guilty conscience’ concerning the way he treated girls back in the day (or still treats them!) Which might mean that the more Dad freaks out, the bigger Cad he was- and that payback’s a bitch and karma is real? I don’t know- I’m just throwing it out there.

It is interesting how so many men are fine with their own desires except when it comes to a relative, particularly their own daughters. Narcissism is out there in great supplies. And –hey fella- contrary to popular belief, daughters are not your property.

Anyhoo-having grown up in Fairfield County, Connecticut, there were a lot of extremely wealthy people (my own family was middle class) but never once did it resemble Beverly Hills-aesthetically or otherwise  so I have no idea where the writers are coming from, ‘location authenticity’ wise in this sitcom.

Wealthy people in Connecticut are notably low-key. They tend to wear J.Crew sweaters and boat shoes,  drive expensive but subtle cars, play golf and tennis and put a premium on being refined. In fact, the longer you can hold a stick in your buttcheeks without flinching, the wealthier you are. The town in ‘Suburgatory’ is closer to ‘The Hills’ -which is quite a stretch, not unlike Taylor Lautner as the lead in a shoot ’em up’ movie.

Cheryl Hines ( ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’) plays a ‘Hollywood Wives’ type named Dallas Royce (really? Is Jackie Collins on the writing staff?) who, quite frankly, would be much better suited to- say-I dunno- Dallas? (The show or the place!) Somehow (?)- she hires Mr. Altman (an architect) to re-design her daughter’s elaborate ‘Clueless’ style closet system, and the chase is on. George being the pork-chop to Dallas’s wolf.

When  George visits the local country club, he steps into a scene straight out of the Playboy Mansion (and it’s just as dated- all that’s missing is the Grotto and Pauly Shore!) Gorgeous, bikini clad women, rife with saline and plastic, recline seductively in lounge chair after lounge chair (an 80’s MTV video staple), all eyes following him like the man-meat he is assigned to be, but- as tv characters tend to do, George pays no mind.  (By the way, what season is this, exactly? The kids are in school, so it can’t be summer, and that is the only time people can sunbathe in the north-east!  I  could swear I spotted a palm tree over by the the fresh towel station! Where is the order, people? What’s next? Dogs and cats living together?!..Mass hysteria?)

George is at the club to meet up with a male  friend -someone he knew from the past- who brags to George about his newly gotten Jersey Shore tan and blond highlights (again, this is the northeast! Possibly in the Fall!) and tries to convince George that ‘this place is paradise!’ The waitress actually offers up herself  as the only other menu item besides ‘the shrimp’ -and since George chooses the shrimp- we are to understand that George is ‘deep’ and definitely not interested in getting laid – much like he wants his daughter to be! He’s a sitcom dad of deep, upstanding character, perhaps serving penance for a myriad of teenage transgressions.

“TheTwins in ‘The Shining’ taught me to ’emote’…”

In the end, it  is the ‘shopping at the mall’ scene that pushes me over the edge.  George, Tess, Dallas and her vapid daughter, Dahlia (the poison flower?) somehow end up driving  to the mall together in Dallas’s fancy automobile.  Predictably, the teen girls  hate each other, hissing like cats under their breath -my advice to Dallas and George: Next time bring a spray bottle! Two firm squirts and watch the claws retract! (I wouldn’t actually do this to a cat, but a teenager? Possibly)

The store depicted is obviously ‘Abercrombie & Fitch’ (or whatever ‘Swear at your Mother and Hi-Jack Her Wallet’ store is presently all the rage with the kids these days) where George plays the ‘I’m outta place’ card like a champ. Whining about the bad lighting, high prices and loud music (According to the article ‘How Retailers Trick You’ on my Yahoo Homepage: they do it on purpose! Shocker!) George is not a happy daddy.

Luckily, Dallas thinks quick on her Louboutin’s and quickly regales him to the ‘Dad’s couch’ because she is a professional shopper, evidently once had a man, and knows these things. Somewhere along the line, the evil Dahlia convinces Tessa to try on the identical outfit she’s picked out-something I-as a member of the female species- have never seen done in any dressing room, at any age-ever) and their get-ups include silly pink swim goggles (no doubt, at least forty-eight bucks a pair!) as a wild and inexplicably hip accessory (haha-fashion is so stupid, huh?! The things we do for our kids!)

“After this we’re going to strip down to our undies and have a pillow fight”

Since the writers are aiming to portray ‘Tess’ as the teen who has it more together, it’s ludicrous to think that she would try on this outfit at all. Ever. Not even at matching pink water-pistol  gunpoint.

And note to the writers: In real life, when someone moves from New York City-The Big Apple! to suburbia- it is they who school the suburbanites on ‘edgy’ and ‘cool’ not the other way around!  This show needs a major overhaul, or it’s not going to be around for the long one!!! And if this is ‘Suburban Purgatory’ please believe me when I say: ‘I choose Hell!’- if not for real, then just to get the ball rolling one way or the other….

I give it a ‘D’ for believability but an ‘A++” for mock-ability.

‘Up All Night’

In Television on September 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm
'Now that WE'RE parents, the rest of the world needs to change!'

‘Now that WE’RE parents, the rest of the world needs to change!’

I wasn’t too thrilled about the premise of this show-(new parents, adjusting to baby) and I wouldn’t have watched if a) They hadn’t repeated the show at 8pm on Friday night, and I  happened to have the tv on that channel, and b) I could have found the remote. But- ok- I’ll give the show a chance- the cast list is surprisingly good. Christina Applegate (I always think of her newswoman role in Anchorman), Will Arnett (Arrested Development, married to Amy Poehler- instant points right there!) and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Bridesmaids) A very likeable cast with plenty of talent.

The theme of this (second) episode is ‘Cool Neighbors’. The new parents, Reagan and Chris Brinkley (Applegate and Arnett) happen to notice a hip, young couple moving in across the street.  NBC’s interpretation of  ‘hipster’ is…. knit caps, english accents and interracial marriage. I would love to be a fly on the wall during that the casting call, just to see who they whittled it down to. A bunch of suits discussing skinny jeans and ironic reading glasses. I bet it was a treasure trove of unintentional comedy gold….

In any event, Reagan and Chris decide they must prove to the neighbors (to themselves, really) how cool they are (even with a baby! which is evidently unheard of…) They then proceed to mention the band ‘Train’ and cancel out any such hope that they are, in fact, cool at all.  They decide to bring the neighbors a bottle of tequila as a housewarming present (an unopened bottle they already have on hand for such an occasion) which seems presumptuous in this day and age- what with ‘Intervention’ and ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and the whole ‘hide your vice’ thing we have going on in recent times…I’m thinking hipsters might prefer fair-trade coffee, some artisan pickles and a hemp shopping tote–but maybe they didn’t have such items in their stash. (To be clear: I certainly would have liked to get the tequila!)

Luckily, the hipsters welcomed the gift, so much so that they invite Reagan and Chris to their housewarming party-which starts at 10:30 pm (horrors!) Reagan and Chris, upon hearing the scary start time, blurt out that they will be at a Radiohead concert that night, ‘backstage as usual’. Now, allow me to nitpick here, but a) Do Radiohead represent hip anymore (I don’t know…that’s why I’m asking) and b) If they do, wouldn’t the ‘hipsters’ be aware of this concert and couldn’t they find out with a flip of their phones to a Ticketmaster schedule? Or was Radiohead actually playing?

I’m teetering at this point, but still on-board.

Later we see the couple in their living room at almost midnight- crying baby in hand, and hear the raucous sounds of a loud party across the street. A discussion is had about calling the police. (Calling the Police?! Really? You have a new baby, were just recently ‘hip’ and are already calling the police on your neighbors?  I get that it’s a little loud, but who, that consider themselves ‘cool’- would call the freakin’ police for a minor disturbance?) We’re in goody-two shoes land!

Before I can even process this- they actually call the police!!  Not only is this couple not cool- they are obvious douche bags! (This affects my further judgement of these two, spoiler freakin’ alert)

Soapbox: Parents who think that the whole world should shut down, gather at the feet of their child and adjust accordingly, make me sick! There shall be no more noise! Ever! Hail Baby!! How could this couple have ever been cool? The obvious answer? They couldn’t have been! (Yes! I’ve had a baby! I can speak on it!)

Like the true masterminds they are (and because their life is part slapstick comedy- just like new parents in real life!) Reagan and Chris decide to go to the party to assuage any possible suspicion that they are the ones who called the police, which would prove they are in fact, the worst and most intolerant of all of the neighbors, even though they are exactly that.

Miraculously,  they procure  a babysitter- on the fly-at midnight-in the form of Nick Cannon (pickings are slim after midnite) who is somehow not only willing to sit, but appears immediately. The baby instantly falls asleep in his arms- but it occurs to no one to maybe rescind the cop call, as ‘problem solved’…(and the problem appeared to be the couple themselves and not the party music) but never mind, we have a story arc to follow here. Chop! Chop!

The Brinkleys walk across the street to join the party, lying incessantly about a concert they never attended (this couple has some character, huh?) until the police arrive on cue a short while later. The hipsters and hipster extras (fake sleeve tats, shoe-leather black hair dye, jewelry ala Hot Topic) go the extra mile with their ‘grimacing at the cops’ (such rebels!) but the party host manages to bleat out an important question before he wets his pants in fear:

‘Can we still stay if we turn down the music?’  Mr. Beck-Lite pleads, like a fourteen year old bargaining with his parents during ‘homework’ time. What a bad-boy!

‘Well, let me check!’ asks the officer, who not only has the Brinkley’s home phone number and permission to ‘negotiate’ with them directly, but speed dials! Chris’s cell phone number.

Chris’s way-too-tight (hurl!) skinny jeans pocket begins to light up intermittently and play an annoying ringtone (guess who? the subversive, underground band Train!) for all to hear.

(Insert the ‘Price Is Right’ you Lose! tuba in the background)

Caught in the act, Reagan and Chris  casually confess to calling the police, but miraculously, are instantly forgiven, as the hipster couple announce that they too are having a baby and will no doubt soon be as miserable and uncool as the Brinkleys. (This  couldn’t have been more predictable, as the sour-puss that is Mrs. Hipster makes the grand announcement at the front door to the Brinkleys that she’s not drinking tonight like it’s shocking, front page, world news)

Reagan and Chris have absolutely no remorse about being kill-joys, are not at all embarrassed at being caught in the act of narcing out their neighbors and proceed to casually leave the party-cracking rapid-fire jokes back and forth like seasoned toastmasters at a Don Rickles roast.

But-  rather than go home to their baby (who is their life, remember?) and relieve their emergency sitter, Mr. Cannon (whose own kids may be in some peril, having presumably been left home alone with Mariah Carey who theoretically may be in the hot tub fully dressed and forgotten she  has kids and is not 12 years old…) they decide to sit out in  front of their house reveling in the fact that they are grade A A-holes. Could some bitter-but-honest party goers walk by at this point, give them the (blurred out) finger, or hurl some expletives their way, since Reagan and Chris are sitting right across from the party they single-handedly ruined as the guests filter out?

The couple are positively gleeful, as they laughingly reminisce about their douche-baggery- enjoying every minute of it. ‘We suck, don’t we?’ they seem to be saying, clearly unaffected for a couple who was hell-bent only hours earlier, on proving their (non-existent) street cred.

Moments later they begin ridiculing  the ‘even less cool than us’ neighbors who live to their left (judging them by their mailbox, because-I don’t know about you, but it’s the first place I look to get a read on someone..) trying to persuade us that it’s all such a funny and insignificant pecking-order anyway!-haha!  At this point they predictably get caught talking shit by said dorky neighbors (who are out walking their dog at one am)- but –who cares? they’re not cool!’ The mailbox never lies!

The moral of this episode seems to be: ‘Look at us alienate the neighbors on both sides of the street! And if you (the viewers) are dicks, too-so what? It comes with having kids! Just go with it!” I’m here with a plea: Please don’t! Being an asshat is just as bad after kids as it is before. Just because you’re done with noise and fun, doesn’t mean everyone else is. Deal with your kid yourself, leave the rest of us alone.

It's true! Why should anyone else have fun if we can't?

It’s true! Why should anyone else have fun if we can’t?

In conclusion, what we have here is a typical sitcom, with a better than average cast who speak ‘dum-dum’ to the masses. It will probably be popular with people who watch American Idol, drive mini-vans and don’t like ‘thinky’ jokes. Maya Rudolph’s character, a take-off on ‘Oprah’… has potential by spoofing the talk show Queen, but so far she is only lukewarm.  The storyline in this episode was ridiculous.  I give it a ‘C-‘ with tons of room to improve.

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