Posts Tagged ‘ABC Family’

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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It’s no secret that I jones hard for Pretty Little Liars. It doesn’t matter that I’ll be turning 24 this year or that PLL is an ABC Family (ugh) hit show. No sir. I defy conventions. Or rather, fall into them? Whatever. I like it and that’s that.

This week’s episode was especially superb. There are genuine reasons I love the show. And then, there are some less than genuine reasons, too. Tonight was all sorts of insincere.

Let me start by highlighting what worked for me that really shouldn’t have. 1) Hanna slapped a blind girl, then dissed her blindness. 2) The conflict with Aria and HER TEACHER remains to be how sad it is they must hide their love and NOT THE FACT THAT SHE BARELY HAS A LICENSE AND HE’S BEEN THROUGH COLLEGE. 3) Ian the likely murderer and deatheater-to-all-of-Spencer’s-happiness had a really stellar Got Milk? moment.

Now the things that worked and should work. 1) Emily’s still gay and getting play #doublewin. 2)Having realized Alison sucks, the girls are refocusing their emotions toward each other/ actual friendship.  3)the kid who needs a haircut left, putting an end, hopefully, to the awkwardly-addressed “foster child” situation.

ohhhh girrrrrrl STRUT

This show is good because it has its’ moments.

Obviously, it’s silly. In fact, I often find myself uncontrollably snorting through lengthy segments of teen angst. But, it also has moments of importance. It’s a show about girls and their lives. I can count on one hand how many others shows exist on-air today sharing that same agenda.

Furthermore, the characters have a singular focus that addresses a social issue. They’re brought together by the murder plot line, but it oft breaches subplot status in comparison to their personal struggles. Each girl has her one story and it gets time and attention. This is big when the story is about a lesbian or about a girl suffering from an eating disorder or about an overachiever struggling for parental attention. The issues are as real as the sizable age differences between the actresses IRL and their characters.

So tune in you h8rs… Monday Night aka Teen Angst Night (see: PLL, Gossip Girl and Skins).

PS if you watched tonights episode (3/8/11) then you also noticed Spencer playing the role of Le Petit Prince, Hanna auditioning for Hocus Pocus and Emily officially going butch. #wardrobemalfunctions

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Parks & Rec was superb. Southland left me breathless. But the best new episode of anything I watched last week? Greek. It was, dare I say, charming?

I found myself laughing, and smiling, and getting a little sad. We saw all the characters go through a little something but it didn’t feel rushed or forced. Plus we got to learn more about Beaver, which is something I didn’t know I wanted, but I’m glad they did it. (Did we know his name was Walter?)

Anyone still watching this little gem? It used to be the darling of ABC Family, but now that no ones getting pregnant or kidnapped, they hardly talk about it. In fact this may be the final season. Get it in folks. You’re missing out on some truly strong television about an oft-forgotten population, college kids we didn’t meet in high school.

(Next chance to watch? Tonight, 9/8 central on ABC Family)

PS: Before you mention it, I don’t get DirecTV and therefore did not see the FNL finale. I’m guessing it would win hands down.



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Here are all the links you need to map out when and where to look for your favorite Christmas specials. To my chosen friends out there, feel free to send me links to all of the calendars with the Hanukkah specials and I’ll link to those too. 🙂

  • USA Today’s website has a pretty neat interactive calendar. It’s not all inclusive but if you’re a Christmas Special traditionalist it should do the trick.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, CliqueClack has the most thorough Christmas Special Guide ever available on their site. Great if you want to see what’s happening on a particular day, kind of inefficient if you’re looking for a certain movie or show in particular.
  • And of course, no list is complete without our friends at ABC Family and the 25 Days of Christmas, though I still don’t really understand why Cars is seasonal. Call me old school.

Image: http://www.minyanville.com/

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Marry: Christmas Specials

I am already knee deep in Christmas movies and since it’s after Thanksgiving I no longer have to hide my enthusiasm. This weekend I watched Elf, The Santa Clause, The Santa Clause 2, This Christmas, White Christmas, the holiday episodes of Monk, Psych, two Christmas eps of Will & Grace and a shitty Lifetime movie called Moonlight & Mistletoe. I am a junkie for anything with sleigh bells, a tree and holiday mishaps. This season couldn’t come soon enough. Want to know when all of your favorites ( and the crappy cheesy movies) will be on? Check out ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas line-up.

Bop: No Award This Week

I have a bookmarks folder labeled “Bop” where I file away links to my nominees for this award every week.   For one reason or another, no one rose to the top this time. It’s not every week I feel like making love to my TV set or a cast of characters. Maybe the holiday season got to me…or there just wasn’t any grope-worthy television this week.

Kill: The Folks Pricing DVDs at Fox

24:Redemption is on DVD this week. Not surprising. What is shocking? The sticker price. The two-hour TV movie is retailing for $19.99. Are you kidding me? A full season of 24 retails at around $30 – $40 bucks and you can usually find it on sale for even cheaper. (All six seasons are currently $19.99 each on Amazon right now). So where do the folks at Fox get off selling an 88 minute movie for $20? Ridiculous!

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(Hey folks, glad you found this post. We’re having some moving problems. Thanks for staying with us during the switch.)

So it’s Saturday and I’m starting a new feature. That’s what new blogs are for folks.

This one’s been on my mind since a fateful episode of 30 Rock when the cast was playing everyone’s favorite game: Marry, Bop, or Kill. Bop of course being the delightful euphemism for that unsavory F-Word.

The idea fell into the recesses of my mind until Defamer began running a similar feature called Watch, Tivo, or Kill. I plan on doing them one better and sticking with the game’s original title.

Everyweek, I’ll provide the characters, episodes, shows, actors, or actresses, I want to Marry, Bop or Kill for the week. How do you make love to a television episode? I haven’t figured that out just yet. One step at a time.

Here’s this week’s results:

Marry: Seth Meyers of SNL

Meyers has been head writer for SNL since 2005 and now he’s finally getting the credit he so rightfully deserves. People are quick to champion his work on the political sketches this season, but the non-political stuff has been super under-rated. Mark Wahlberg talks to animals? The Boat Ride? There’s some solid work being lost in the shuffle.

Meyers is also taking home my first Marry title because I caught an old episode of SNL this week and he did a remarkable job as Anderson Cooper. Anyone who can pull off that faint, elitist accent gets a vote in my book.

Bop: This week’s episode of Greek, “The Popular Vote”

As I’ve mentioned previously, this show is very well-done and is one of the better teen/college comedies on television…ever. However, this week’s episode was surprising, witty, full of pop culture references and nothing if not slightly dramatic. I was watching it on my DVR and kept checking how much time was left because I seriously didn’t want it to end. If you’re not watching Greek get over yourself and give it a chance. The writing is getting sharper and sharper every week and I’ll be sad to see this cycle end on October 28.

Kill: Baseball & Political Debates

Two of my current favorites were pre-empted this week due to politcal debates and baseball playoffs. Are both important? I suppose so. Would I have rather watched Private Practice? Heck yes.

Photo: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/

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  • Don’t let your kids walk all over you
  • Steer clear of spitters
  • Don’t marry a douche-bag
  • If you’re a parent, chances are this whole thing is your fault.

These parenting tips are brought to you by my four-hour impromptu marathon of Nanny 911 during today’s “She-Nanny-Gans” weekend on ABC Family.

I really need some more hobbies.

Photo: http://media.movieweb.com/

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So I have a few TV tidbits on my mind. Let’s dish.

  • Despite the fact that the designers are more annoying than a giant tag on a t-shirt, it’s wretched timeslot and the fact that Bravo is trying to run it into the ground, the 5th season of Project Runway is boasting an 18% boost in total viewers compared to last season. WTF? Suede probably fucking loves this. How do I know? He told me: “Suede loves this news.” Third person is about as appealing as the Clap.
  • Yesterday I Tivoed the entire season of The Secret Life of An American Teenager. Before you take my DVR privileges away from me, hear me out. Okay, you know what, never mind. The show is pretty shitty. Unlike its network counterpart Greek, the show isn’t funny, the drama seems contrived, most of the acting sucks (newcomer Shailene Woodley is one of the exceptions). Why do I watch? The commercials look appealing and I am curious to see how ABC Family plays this. Will she keep the baby? Will she keep dating this do-gooder Ben? Will the baby always be the focus of the show? It’s like getting involved in Lost; if I’m not in on the ground floor I will never be able to catch up.

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It’s Greek To Me

My blog partner wrote about her odd fascination with Greek shortly after its premiere, but even with her ringing endorsement I didn’t tune in. Teen (and 20-something) dramedies require you to know the characters. It is not easy to come in without backstory.

But I finally watched the popular ABC Family show last night with the help of my friend Annie who caught me up on backstory as needed. It also helped that I watch a lot of ABC Family and see the commercials 5 or 6 times a day.

My first impressions? This show doesn’t get enough credit. It’s by no means extremely innovative and there were some bizzare casting choices (Geico Guy as Mr. Cartwright?) but it is entertaining, witty and the actors look age appropriate. That’s something few teen+ dramas can boast (cough, cough, Dawson’s Creek, cough, cough).

Few shows portray college well. It’s a fragile time with lots of juxtaposition. You want new friends but want to cling to your old ones, you want independence but it’s hard to deny funds from mom and pop, etc. Everyone is seeking this “perfect college experience,” but in most cases it doesn’t exist, and if it does, it’s impossible to define.

For some reason, TV writers and producers can’t seem to wrap there heads around the complex combination of emotion, material goods, alcohol, friends and family. While Greek isn’t perfect, it’s one of the better portrayals of this sentiment.

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There are a few cable stations that I try to avoid. I’m not big on Spike, not really emotionally in tune with Lifetime (however Oxygen has its wide array of acceptable programming…sort of), and I’m certainly not interested in the Sci-Fi channel. Among this list used to be ABC Family. I’m not 12, so that was obvious.

However, with the recent addition of “Greek” I’ve eased up and started tuning in. “Greek” is your typical sugar-coated show about college life, specifcally about Greek life on campus. It’s funny to me though, because there’s something different about Greek and I think it’s in the relationships. The stereotyping makes me woozy and definitely makes the show a little more ridiculous, and a little less worth watching. But, for some reason, when it’s on I watch it.

Here’s why:
– there are a number of funny, subtle references that are appealing
– the characters, albeit a little melodramatic tend to be pretty realistic and funny
– the plot progresses
– the representation of greek life is very humorous, and even more so when realistic
– the music’s really good
– there’s a kid who plays a hardcore southern, religious type… that’s always good for TV
– cappie’s pretty hot and a good character

I’m sure the other half of this blog will consider resigning when she reads this, but I’ve got to admit, if you’re interested in a little young adult love drama (shaking my head with each word), then check out Greek! Hey, the pilot’s free on iTunes!

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