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Entries in Television (11)


A One Woman Review of Duets

The other night, I watched the new singing competition show Duets. Honestly, I was expecting a serialized version of the first time Gwyneth Paltrow insisted we take her seriously as a singer. It’s been over a decade and I still haven’t given up hope.

The show opened with a flashy opening number by the four celeb judges: Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, and Robin Thicke. As the four sang a rousing song asking if we the audience would allow them to entertain us, two thoughts occurred to me. First, where is the dancing monkey and elephant on a unicycle? That’s instant entertainment.

But also, that these are probably four of the most agreeable people in the music idustry: Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Nettles are both from the South and have that Southern twang to prove it; John Legend was home-schooled by his seamstress mother in Ohio; and Robin Thicke is half-Canadian (need I say more?). Basically, these are the nicest kids in town. I’ve never watched American Idol or The Voice, but I’m pretty sure that the talent of the contestants is only barely equal in importance to the inter-judge sniping. Simon and Paula? Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera? That gets the ratings and sells the tabloids.

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DVR and the Death of Traditional Television

The invention of the DVR has really screwed up television.

Not to be an old man here, but back in the day, the way I discovered new shows was usually through, what people in the business call, a “lead-in.”  See a lead-in is when a popular show that draws millions of viewers leads into a show that the network would like the masses to get behind.  The lead-in boosts ratings of everything around it.  It’s like the cleanup hitter of television.

But, with the invention of the DVR, lead-ins are meaningless.  I rarely ever watch a show at its regularly scheduled time.  I record and then watch at my own convenience. The show I’m watching never leads me into anything because it’s recorded and when the shows over, I move onto something else.

Because of this, I miss out on a lot of great shows.

Like a little sitcom on ABC called Happy Endings.

I’ve recently picked up on the show through hearing about it on the blogosphere.  I’m sure Happy Endings has a great lead-in on whatever night of the week it’s on TV, but I would never know.

You know why I would never know?  Because I DVR everything and I never watch commercials.  If networks are promoting their shows, I’m not aware of it.  I find out about new shows or season premiers through the internet, not the lead-ins or the promos. 

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Topher Grace is a Tool

I’ll admit it.  I sat in front of my couch for over 2 hours on Sunday night and watched the self-glorification that was the 25th Anniversary Special for the Fox network.  It was actually pretty entertaining.

Amidst all the clips and Ryan Seacrest monologues were some cast reunions of classic Fox shows.  They were all brief and really didn’t provide much, but it was nice to see some of the actors reminiscing.

Except there was one person that was missing.

During the That 70’s Show reunion, Topher Grace was a no-show.  This wasn’t surprising.  Since Topher left the show he has tried to act like he was never in fact on the show.

People like Topher make Hollywood look bad.  I never understand actors who act like some of their work is below them now that they have matured.  It’s the same feeling of confusion I have toward singers who refuse to play a hit because it’s from the past. Topher not embracing That 70’s Show is like Kansas shunning Carry On Our Wayward Son.  Nonsense.

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In Defense of Britta

Have you met Britta Perry from Community? She's the worst.

Community started off with a totally generic sitcom conceit. Self-involved narcissist Jeff (Joel Mchale) pretends to be a Spanish tutor in order to cozy up to Britta (Gillian Jacobs), the blonde bombshell, which to his dismay results in the formation of a ragtag study group. That's, like, a breath away from the premise of Joey, and we all know how well that went (hint: it took Matt LeBlanc 6 years to bounce back).


And then something awesome happened: at the same time that the study group bonded as a weird little family unit, Britta turned out to be absolutely insufferable. It is a Community-universally accepted truth that proves itself each and every episode as the series blossoms from the weird alien baby that it is into…a snotty, smug alien teenager?

Britta is an absurd, self-absorbed hypocritical crazy face who has railed against various Big Issues like intolerance, conformity, and, most recently, marriage and stereotypic gender roles (“Weddings are like little girls’ tea parties except the women are the stuffed animals, the men are making them talk and they’re not drinking tea, they’re drinking antiquated gender roles”). And goddamn it, she’s the MVP of Season 3.

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Let the Madness Begin

Like most people in this country (for the moment) you have a job.  You’re a 9 to 5 grinder who sits back to back with other cubicle dwellers as you tap away at your keyboard, counting down til’ quitting time.

Most days, working from 9 to 5 doesn’t interfere with your quest to be a red-blooded American.  That is, your ability to drink beer, watch sports, and talk amongst friends.  That’s because, typically, the sports/drinking/friends day doesn’t start until after your day at the office comes to end.

Except for in March, when your daily routine gets interrupted by a little madness.  Madness of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament variety. 

No longer does your sports schedule wait for you to come home from a hard day.  Nay. Your sports day starts (for us West Coasters) as soon as you sit down at your desk. Noon games on the East.  Games at 9 am on the West.  Truly madness. 

So how do you get the full March Madness experience while still appearing to be productive at work? Here’s how.

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