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Archive for the ‘Makes Me Wonder’ Category

I recently read a witty review on the premiere episode of the American spin-off  for the series, Skins. In the mostly spot-on review, it was made clear that one of the most charming, and more importantly, authentic characteristics of the high school set show is the use of age-appropriate actors and actresses. The show uses teens to play teens. Seems simple enough. Until the article lists, with no shame, the true ages of many actors and actresses playing teen-aged characters.

I’d be naive to presume adults weren’t hired for teenage roles. 20-somethings frequently play confused 16 year olds (see: every (!?) show on the CW). And sometimes that adult can really create something special with the character, regardless of their real-life familiarity with parachute pants.

But, it does say something, or at least surprises me to learn, when I watch a show on ABC Family about 16 year olds, I’m actually watching someone twice the age of her character. Am I duped by their skills or am I suspending my disbelief because it’s a silly television show? Do I prefer the glitz of someone pretty or the authenticity of someone true to their age?

It’s hard to say, but it’s definitely something to consider…

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I found myself enjoying Blue Bloods. Since I’m under the age of 60, this shocked and saddened me. Then, I figured out its obvious appeal.

Brothers & Sisters – All That Wine – A Small Business Going Under – Dead Father With Secrets  + Law & Order  – This Sound – Lawyers Making Long Boring Speeches +  A Grandpa + A Dead Brother With Secrets + Tom Selleck =

Blue Bloods.

They took out the shitty parts of both shows and smashed the good stuff together. Bravo CBS! I don’t know why none of the other networks figured this out. People love adult siblings and cop shows. Shove them together, throw in a few Sunday dinners and you have a winner.

I really hope another network follows CBS’ lead and does a mash-up of Glee and Grey’s Anatomy. What this country lacks is auto-tuned physicians.

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I went to a Vampire Weekend show last night. I could blame the weather, because it was an outdoor show, and the first chilly night of the year. I could blame the drugs, as I smelled marijuana 3 seconds into the opening act’s first song. Or I probably could rest the blame with the music itself, as it has weird syncopations that make things like this difficult. But when it comes down to it, I can only blame the awful dancing (myself included), on cartoon versions of Peanuts. When I looked around last night, this was truly all I saw.

See the guy in the orange? That was all me.

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Why is everyone trying to save Dennis Rodman?

Is he really sweet off camera? Are we all still hung up  on “reapeat-3-peat” memories?

I just don’t understand why we’re being brought to tears over a basketball player, who by all accounts, seems like kind of a douchebag.

End of diatribe.

Image: http://www.filmbug.com

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I spend my money on rent, food and TV on DVD. If I like a show, I like watching it over and over again. I enjoy behind the scenes features and most of all, I enjoy spending Sunday afternoons with the marathon of my choosing.

But there are some shows I just can’t bring myself to purchase. Here’s the short list:

  • Friday Night Lights: This is a seriously wonderful show. Personally, I’m sorry I didn’t get into it sooner. But I wonder if the re-watch value will be high enough. How many feel good, realistic family/high school moments can you watch before it becomes too much? I might change my tune if the show goes off the air or if it ever leaves Hulu.
  • Ugly Betty: Half the fun of this show are truly wacky, soapy moments we get every week. The murders, the betrayal, the spying, secrecy, etc. But here’s the thing about those moments: Once the secret’s out, the fun and whimsy goes with it. How fun can the first season be if you know who’s under the bandages the whole time? The mystery was what kept me coming back.
  • Studio 60: I’m still a little sad (okay, a lot sad) this show was prematurely canceled. Owning it would only remind me just how few episodes we were privileged to see.

What shows will never make it to your DVD shelf? Some critics will tell you TV on DVD is for suckers. Who pays for re-runs? Anyone in this camp? Let’s rumble.

Image: http://blogs.eveningsun.com

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I am a huge fan of ABC’s Life on Mars. One of the best parts is the great ’70s music they dig up for every episode. Some of it is warm and familiar and other songs are brand new to me. Either way, it ties the whole show together. Better than the unfortunate suits and period cars the music is the best thing about the show’s recreation of New York City in 1973.

So why no word on a soundtrack yet? If NCIS can get a CD going, I think the folks at Life on Mars deserve a little love too.

What other shows warrant an album? I was going to suggest Gilmore Girls but they actually did have one. I’ll keep my thinking cap on for more ideas.

Photo: abc.com

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So I know I already made my New Year’s Blogolutions, however, I have a whole separate list I would like to bring to your attention: Shows I Want To Start Watching.

Yes, I watch a lot of television but there are some programs I just haven’t given enough time to. I just wrapped up watching the first three seasons of How I Met Your Mother and it was fab. I’d watched the show occasionally before I’m glad I finally devoted the time to catching up.

I think I can fit new programs in my schedule if I cut out some of the crap. Do I need to watch every episode of Gilmore Girls my Tivo records as a suggestion? Probably not. Why am I watching a Made/True Life hybrid episode right now? Beats me. Most of the shows on the list below have received some good reviews and for one reason or another I never got around to giving them a fair shake.

  • Friday Night Lights
  • Damages
  • Gossip Girl
  • The Wire – Yes, fine, I will try to finish the first season.

I think that’s a good start. Anyone else have any other suggestions/DVDs I can borrow? I may need to sign up for Netflix again, a small price to pay for finding my new favorites. I’ll keep all of you posted on the journey. And hey, easy on the spoilers folks.

Photo: http://www.gossipgirl.tv

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I Need My TV

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So as previously mentioned, this week has been wackadoodle. Between snowstorms and other freak events, my real life is seeping into my blog life. Double lame. I’ve been so caught up in the busy-ness of the last few days  that I haven’t been able to watch as much TV as I usually do. It sucks. Part of me feels a bit lost and distracted.

Also, I’ve had this song in my head since Sunday…on repeat.

It’s probably not a coincidence.

Thanks heavens I get a welcomed respite tonight. I plan on settling in early, eating pizza and watching Top Chef. Heavenly.

Image: http://www.eadon.com/

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It’s a recession era economy and even from her cashmere thrown, Oprah can tell the average American is feeling the pinch right now. With this in mind, Oprah is changing her “Favorite Things” episode a bit this year. Gone is the usual hour-of excess (last year she gave away a fridge/HDTV combo valued at over $3700) and in its place is Oprah is giving away gift-items her viewers can actually afford.

While it makes the program more accessible to the average person, and watching people get stuff for free is half the fun, I’m a little upset about the change. If watching surprised audience members get tons of free stuff is half the fun, isn’t the other half adding up the exorbitant sticker price for all of those items? It’s a cheap thrill to see how the other half lives for an hour. That’s why they call the episode, “Oprah’s Favorite Things” not “Oprah Helps You Find A $20 Gift For Your Grandma.”

Was anyone actually using the Favorite Things episode as a shopping guide in the first place? Yes, a lot of the smaller ticket items (cakes, slippers, etc) sell out immediately, but did anyone take a look at the HDTV-Fridge and think “Well I can scratch Dad off of my shopping list,”?

Cheaper items or no, I will be recording the episode when it airs tomorrow, if for nothing else than the inevitable screaming and hugging that occurs when a couple hundred ladies find out they are the envy of an entire nation.

Image: http://themakeupgirl.typepad.com

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I am sitting at my parents’ house watching one of my all time favorites, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Not that blasphemous Jim Carrey movie, but the old cartoon with the vocal stylings of Boris Karloff. The singing, the beady eyes, the little dog Max loaded down with gifts…all of it signals in my holiday season.

But here’s the rub; It’s November 16.

I consider myself a apart of the “Sooner The Better” camp. When I was younger, the build-up of the holiday season was to get to Christmas. Now, the fun is in the build-up itself. I can take or leave Christmas Day, but if you cut out my 4-6 weeks of carols, specials, cookies and theme parties, I will cut you.

Thanksgiving is historically the beginning of the Christmas season, but commercialism has pushed it up a little earlier. Four weeks wasn’t enough Saturdays for doorbusters, megasales and the like. So they jumped the shark and started the season right after Halloween. Can you blame them?

So with early shopping comes early everything. My local radio station is already on 24/7 Christmas music, and the Saved By The Bell episode where they take-in the homeless girl came on earlier last week. This lead me to more Christmas specials which brought me here…to my parents’ house…watching The Grinch.

What do you think folks? When should these holiday shows start-up? Is Thanksgiving too late to start all the fun or is it absurd to be watching anything Santa prior to the carving of a turkey?

Image: http://www.alexross.com

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I am a geek about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love the pageantry and tradition of the whole thing. When I was little, I would sit down in front of the TV in the family room and write down every float that went by and rank my favorites. Now-a-days I’m more fascinated by the Broadway performances, as those 3 minute snippets are the closest I’ve been to the Great White Way. And who doesn’t love giant balloons and Santa Claus? It’s a really great way to spend a few hours on a cold and (hopefully) snowy morning.

But things have been on a downturn lately. The celebrities who used to make appearances are few and far between. I guess the heavyweights are less inclined to miss dinner at home with the fam. Instead, the viewing public is left with the dregs of Hollywood. In the line-up this year? David Archuleta, The Cheetah Girls, and Miley Cyrus. Thinking of it makes the throw-up in my mouth a little.

I know little kids are big parade watchers (hell, I was one) and most of the floats, balloons, etc., are targeted to their tastes, but I suppose it’s just depressing to see what the “kids these days” are going ga-ga for.

There are a few bright spots, but they probably won’t be singing live. Kristen Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies), James Taylor and Darius Rucker (better known as Hootie) are all signed on to perform.

Hopefully the marching bands will drown out Miley and David and James can do a long set with songs from his lovely new album. But then again, this is Thanksgiving and that would be a Christmas miracle.

Photo: http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/

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Daylight Savings Time ends overnight. Last year I pondered over which shows I’d watch if I had more time in my day. This year, I find myself thinking about the ever important flashback episode.

It’s a pretty common device. Almost every show, especially sitcoms, has had a flashback episode or two at one point or another. As we turn back the clocks tonight, I thought I’d make a list of some of my favorites, in no particular order.

  • The Simpsons, “Lisa’s First Word.” – To put it plainly, this episode is adorable while maintaining the irreverance and sharp quips that make this show what it is. This episode goes all the way back to the show’s 4th season and opens with the entire family trying to get Maggie to talk. The experience reminds Homer and Marge of Lisa’s first word, a touching tale of a jealous toddler Bart, and a pre-balding Homer. There are smiles, and laughs and at the heart of it, a really great family story. What keeps The Simpsons so timely and popular is that they never seem to lose sight of that.
  • Gilmore Girls, “Dear Emily & Richard” – This episode from the Gilmore Girls third season finally shared the untold story of Lorelai’s pregnancy and how the initial rift between mother and daughter began. Some flashback episodes can seem kind of out of place in the story arc but series creator and writer Amy Sherman-Palladino did a fantastic job marrying the past, present and future into a really complex and beautiful episode. In my opinion, it’s one of the best in the series.
  • The L Word, “Looking Back” – While on a weekend road trip to Palm Springs, the ladies decide to share their first love/coming out/first love lost stories. On a show that can be deathly serious, this episode was surprisingly light and one of the funnier ones of the first season. It also started a wonderful tradition of L Word travel episodes which are now notoriously good spirited and offer a nice break from the serious lady drama. (You can check out Alice’s coming out story here. And yes, they are singing Indigo Girls in the car. I don’t know why you expected anything less.)

There are so many more episodes I want to highlight but this post would go on forever. The short list includes that one episode of Prison Break where they show how everyone landed in the big house; my very favorite episode of Greek, ” Freshman Daze” where we see just what drove Cappie & Evan apart; and the episode of West Wing where when we learn how the gang got involved with the Bartlett campaign. Pure magic!

Anyone else have a favorite flashback episode? Let ‘er rip in the comments.

Image: http://home.flash.net/

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