Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Someone to Fall Back On


I've been failing as a theatre addict lately, though Ive seen a couple shows nothing has inspired me... until JRB came along.

A couple weeks ago, thanks to my favourite blogs at the addict.com network, I found out about a Jason Robert Brown concert in Toronto. This was a once in a longtime deal. So I invited my musically enlightened friend Chris and we went to see the new Sondheim perform in person.

He was wonderful. Take my breath away, out of body experience- type WONDERFUL. Warm fuzzies and cold shivers were abundant throughout the show. Glenn Gould Studio was filled to the brim with musical theatre lovers, complete nerds and other phenomenal people of the sort who swoon at sung poetry.

The magic of the encore can't be described. Someone to fall back on sums up my Donna mentality (TV reference to be explained in a latter post). Lets just say, I'm obsessed.

With all my love, I send you to jasonrobertbrown.com to listen to the recording.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Jim and Pam

Has anyone seen a cuter couple since Ross and Rachel? Jim and Pam's chemistry is one of the greatest things about the amazing sitcom that is The Office. Their kiss at the end of last season was breathtaking and an entire continent held their breath until its resolution this September. Though the writers decided not to put them together and to have Jim start at a new office, viewers still have a sense of hope since Pam didn't marry Roy either. This past Thursday Jim and Pam spoke for the first time since the season began. He called the Scranton branch to talk to Kevin and she answered. The next few minutes were enough to make us all hopeful that they may be together yet. They reverted back to the witty banter of their close friendship. That exact dynamic has not only been missing from the show, you can tell the characters have missed it from their lives. If you ask me, its just a matter of time until Jim is back: the unfunny Stamford characters can't possibly keep him away long. Though shows tend to lose a little magic when the couple finally gets together (Ross & Rachel, Tony and Angela, Luke and Lorelai) just having Jim and Pam in the same room makes the show soo much better.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dear Aaron Sorkin, I love you

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. That's all I have to say about the current state of television. There are all the reasons in the world to lose faith in television as an art form. Deal or no Deal has somehow replaced jeopardy, The OC and One Tree Hill are the only remains of Dawson's Creek and every other show is about lawyers or doctors. For years, one of the last true commendations for television legitimacy was Aaron Sorkin's drama The West Wing. Now that its done, in its place we are left with the brilliant yet struggling Studio 60. Television is still alive AND artistically legitimate; its simply a matter of watching the smart stuff. If the millions of viewers who complain about the lack of intelligent programming had been tuned in to the intelligent programming on NBC at 10 on Mondays they would have seen Jordan Mcdeer (Amanda Peet) fighting for great programming. If no one watches the great stuff, no one is entitled to complain when it's gone. As for Aaron, when the public doesn't come through for him I sincerely hope he writes anyway and continues his attempts at force feeding the American public what they need to be watching. We've already lost Jack and Bobby, American Dreams, Joan of Arcadia and Everwood to cheap, stale and unstimulating mush, don't let us lose Studio 60 as well.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Happened to The Reign of Sitcoms?

Once upon a time there was a multitude of great television encapsulated into succinct 23 minute installments. This was when sitcoms ruled the airways... not in syndication.

My TV obsession came in the age of FRIENDS, Will & Grace, Frasier, Sex and the City, That 70s Show and Seinfeld. These days there are only 3 sitcoms that make me laugh even a fraction as much as any of these did- How I Met Your Mother and The Office and Weeds.

It is a truth pretty much universally acknowledged that Jim and Pam are the new Ross and Rachel but the old energy just isn't there.

This past Monday, Canadian Thanksgiving, The Women's Network aired a FRIENDS marathon of Thanksgiving episodes. Viewers got to experience gems such as the Thanksgiving football game, Chandler telling Monica he loves her while she's shimmying with a turkey on her head, Joey eating an entire turkey on his own, Phoebe pretending to like the Green Bay Packers to escape helping make dinner, Rachel sticking a marshmallow up Monica's nose, Judy and Jack Gellar's bizarre antics, Michael Vartan as Richard Burk's hot son, Brad Pitt and the I Hate Rachel Green Club, Chandler in the box, Phoebe's WWI Thanksgiving memory, Fat Monica, Chandler's Thanksgiving aversion, Monica and the toe, Rachel's schwooping, Monica's neurosis, Mocolate, potatoes with peas and carrots, tater tots, mashed potatoes WITH the lumps and grilled cheese sandwiches.

... and that's off the top of my head. I taped the marathon, I didn't even watch it yet. If I can remember that many Thanksgiving years after the finale- clearly Bright-Kauffman-Crane got something right. With the failure of Marta Kauffman's show on the WB and the lack of funny that IS David Crane's The Class, the terribleness of Joey, the horrendous 2 and a Half Men still trudging along and The New Adventures of Old Christine mediocrely breaking the Seinfeld curse, the future of the sitcom is fading fast.

Hopefully HIMYM, Weeds and The Office will be around for at least a couple more years and perhaps sometime soon the general public might sit up and realize that by allowing networks to entertain us with cheap and easy reality TV, they are killing what used to be a paragon of entertainment.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Look Back at Television Revolution

All my intellectually snobbish friends look down their noses at me when I talk about the show that I watch every afternoon at 3pm. Well, of course I don't actually watch it then (I don't watch anything in its own time slot), I PVR it and watch it when I get home each night. This show is Beverly Hills 90210. Of course I watch the show with a pound of salt and am completely aware of the stereotypes and the unrealistic characters in it. However, my argument against the snide remarks is always the same: a real tv-aholic simply cannot ignore the shows that, though perhaps not of phenomenal artistic merit, made television what it is today.

The adventures of Brenda, Brandon, Kelly, Dylan, Steve, Donna and David are in many ways responsible for hits like Dawson's Creek, The O.C. and One Tree Hill. Even cult shows like Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer owe a little to the gang at the Peach Pit. The first major show to be completely centered on the trials and tribulation of a group of high school kids, 90210 spoke to troubles facing teenagers through their own eyes and didn't talk down to them. The teenagers were intelligent and capable but still made mistakes. The show was about teenagers, they were not simply tools to allow the parent characters to teach their lessons.

Though the writing was contrived, the story lines over dramatic and unbelievable and the characters stereotypical and idealistic, Beverly Hills 90210 laid the ground work for what was later improved upon and became one of the most popular genres in television. 90210 never won a prestigious award, was never critically acclaimed and was never heralded as "good television", however it was the most watched show of its time and ran for 10 seasons. The young stars were catapulted, at least for a while, to extreme stardom.

Its legacy is undeniable. Beverly Hills 90210, if missed the first time around, is worth watching in syndication on TVTropolis, if only to fully understand the evolution of the teenage drama genre. A true TV fan would be amiss if uneducated on the shows that shaped TV.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Battle of the Gilmore Guys

Last night was the second episode of the year of the only show I've been faithful to since the beginning. This year, it's 7th, is the last year of the wonderful show that is Gilmore Girls. Every other show I watch is either less than 3 years old or I picked up after it began. Many shows I gave up on and returned to. All the shows I ever watched faithfully have gone off the air in the past 4 years. Gilmore Girls is the exception. With a new show runner, a final season and a big mess to clean up after last year's finale, the show is coping quite well as of yet.

Last night's episode had some shocking developments (Lane's pregnancy), some great repartee (Rory and Lane on celebrity baby names) and it's fair share of heartbreak (The saga of Luke and Lorelai). I must admit, with the exception of the 5th season, I have always liked Christopher. I like him and Lorelai together, he's a lovely, caring and witty character. Trouble is: Lorelai loves Luke and Luke loves her back and that's all that should really matter.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Being a Canadian girl the age I am ensured two things. 1) I love Victor Garber for many reasons (Daddy Warbucks, the king in Cinderella, Jack Bristow, etc...) and 2) I was, in my time, a Dawson's Creek fan.

These two factors ensured that I tuned in to the new law drama Justice starring the one and only Victor Garber and Dawson's Kerr Smith.

There are far too many shows about lawyers, detectives, doctors and criminals out there but this one is pretty enjoyable. It's witty and interesting and I can never figure out the mystery before I'm meant to.

Trouble is that it's been pulled off the air a week before scheduled to make room for the baseball world series break. This I see as not a great sign- here's hoping it comes back after the final pitch.