Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mary Mother of SYTYCD

Okay. I'm currently watching the New Orleans auditions on So You Think You Can Dance and can I just say that I love Mary Murphy. I'm a newcomer to SYTYCD and this summer was the first time I watched it. I thought Mary was annoying, plastic, and way too loud. But what really annoyed me was her lack of skills when it comes to judging auditions. I mean, she is definitely skilled at judging the dancing, but she clearly lets Nigel make all the decisions.

Well, tonight Nigel was MIA and Mary was totally on game. I love her! She actually disagreed with some of the judges....which is the first time I've ever seen her do it.

Tonight was entirely Mary focused...and I loved it.

Her rules of what not to do=so funny. MALE BOOTY SHAKING!!!

Please get rid of Nigel and let Mary run this show.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dear Ted,

I like your bad jokes.

And I too enjoy pointing out menu typos.

Just sayin'

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Thoroughly Entertaining Read

One of Entertainment Weekly's newest photo galleries is a run down of what they consider to be the 25 greatest episodes in the Whedonverse. And while I don't agree with every choice (how are "Waiting in the Wings", "Tabula Rasa" and "Spin the Bottle" not on this list?), they get it almost exactly right.

So, in honour of Dollhouse's 2nd season premiere this week, click here to read all about the best of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog and Dollhouse, you'll be amazed at the fact that you let yourself forget just how much of a genius the man really is.

Dollhouse Returns

Wait...Dollhouse premiered last night?

That was my reaction this morning when I read an article about last night's horrible ratings. So I immediately watched the episode (feeling horribly guilty that I too missed out on the premiere).

Tonight's episode has two great guest stars: Jamie Bamber (BSG!) plus Alexis Denisof! Amazing. But really Alexis was only in for about 10 seconds. Though, I look forward to his stint as a senator trying to bring down the Rossum company.

There were essentially two main plots happening in "Vows." One focused on Echo being the client for Ballard as he tries to bring down some bad guy (Bamber). Ballard as the client was an interesting turn of events for the episode, but it was entirely a means of setting him up as Echo's new handler. The best moment of this arc was when Ballard relies on Echo's early imprints to save the day and kick some serious butt. We finally got to see badass Echo resurface and Eliza is clearly best as a badass. This interchange also paved the way for the direction this season will be taking. It looks as though Echo and Ballard will be teaming up to try and bring back Caroline or at least help Echo remember who Caroline is.

Now a lot of people give Eliza Dushku crap for her acting, but I still think she's perfect for this role. When Echo started going through all her previous imprints, I didn't need the flashbacks to remind me who they were. And that's because she is a good you all can shove it.

The second, infinitely better plot focused on Dr. Saunders/Whiskey dealing with her recent discovery that she is a doll. The episode begins with Saunders essentially screwing around with Topher and trying to upset him. She puts mice in his closet to scare him and even attempts to seduce him at one point. It wasn't until Saunders confronted Topher that I was immediately hooked on to the series again. The interchange between the two was powerful, emotional, heartbreaking, and above all well written. Topher spends the entire time trying to convince Saunders that she is still human where she spends the time questioning him as to why he made her the most complex imprint yet. Topher essentially admits that in order to be a good doctor he had to force an imprint on her which would question him, but more importantly he says she deserved a complex, humane imprint. In the end, Saunders finally leaves the dollhouse. Now, I don't know how many episodes Amy Acker signed on for, but if this was her farewell it's bittersweet. She could not have had a better episode for her acting skills and her character development, but she's just too damn good to say goodbye to yet.

"I didn't make you hate me, you choose to"- Topher trying to convince Saunders of her humanity.

(Sidenote: more people need to watch this show. I fear Whedon is about to have another prematurely cancelled series. While Dollhouse is sort of a hit or miss show, it's off days are still better than most series currently on television)

And The First Loser of the Season Is...

The CW's uncreative but not totally boring look into the world of modeling is officially the first series of the season to get the proverbial axe from the network. After only 2 episodes, The Beautiful Life is saying goodbye. Can't say it wasn't predictable. Let's try something totally new next time CW; think outside of the pretty/privileged people box and start defying people's low expectations.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

CBS Announces Baby News

In a press release sent out today, CBS announced that

"This morning Charlie Moonves -- son of CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves and his wife, Early Show/ Big Brother host Julie Chen -- was born in Los Angeles at 9:40 am. Mother and child are doing well".

Congratulations Chenbot!


You have no idea how relieved I am to be typing this: I REALLY enjoyed tonight's Bones.

Don't get me wrong, it was by no means a perfect episode (the 007-ness was a bit hoaky for me), but it made me happy. The final Booth/Brennan scene almost made up for all of the push and pull of the coma, hallucinations, amnesia absurdity. I love the quiet sweetness of Booth and Brennan, which is why I found all the melodrama of last week's episode annoying.

But Brennan, putting her natural snobbishness aside in order to let Booth teach her plumbing, and then sharing such an intensly intimate yet true to both of them moment trying to fix Booth's plumbing... well... that's the perfect amount of relationship drama.

And although in the beginning I thought the 007 thing was DOA, it turned out pretty twisty turny and interesting, with a few classic-Bones gross out skeletons along the way. And I've always liked Wendell, the intern of the week, and I like what he brought out in all the rest of our cast. I also liked that there was a legitimate storyline for the rest of the cast that didn't involve commenting wrily on Booth and Brennan's feeble steps towards relationshipville.

I still don't like that the show feels the need to hit us over the head with B&B (example: the CIA girlfriend, "I guess it's not like the FBI. We're not just allowed to sleep with eachother." Brennan, "Is she talking about us?" Yes, Brennan, she, just like every other guest star for the past 18 episodes is picking up on the fact that you and Booth are in a relationship, even if you aren't), nor that they sometimes are more obsessed with goofy music breaks and commercial friendly one liners than with true character development. And the commercials with David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel all cuddly annoy the crap out of me.

But this was a well written episode, with very true, moving character moments, and that was something I sorely needed for all my patience with the show.

Put a Ring On It!

Glee may have just moved into the category of amazing.

The show still has some character problems and speedy plot writing which sort of takes away from the fun, but last night's episode really hooked me.

Why? Two words: "Single Ladies"

Every episode thus far has had a few musical numbers which really either add a bit of fun to the episode or wonderfully fit into the plot (like last weeks "Bust Your Windows" sung by good). Well this week did something a little different and focused on one song primarily and that song was of course Beyonce's dance phenomenon.

The episode begins with Kurt doing a rendition of the famous dance dressed in a leotard. His performance is cut short by the entrance of his father (Mike O'Malley in a guest starring role). What ensues is Kurt's cover-up of his homosexuality and his ultimate "casting" into the role of the footballer kicker (is that what you call them sports fans?). Kurt clearly is no skilled player without a little music so "Single Ladies" becomes his warm-up routine. In the most over-the-top-ridiculous moment Kurt and Finn convince the football team to break out in the "Single Ladies" dance to distract the opposing team and win the game. It worked.

There were other high points to this episode such as Quinn's pregnancy and Terri's evil plan to help her out by taking the baby. But aside from the aforementioned singing and dancing the next best thing was the ridiculous quips and dialogue. Everything seemed over dramatized. Everything seemed somewhat cliched. Everything seemed way too comic even during serious subjects. Everything seemed just like....Popular! Now I know that Ryan Murphy being behind this show is obviously going to make me think of his short-lived genius WB series, but the comparisons are uncanny. This show is Popular reimagined with less craziness and more singing...and if I can't have the real ring then I'll gladly settle for the knock-off.

ABC Hires My TV's Favourite Actors

Tonight played host to 3 different ABC premieres.

The highly lauded Modern Family stars My TV favourites Ty Burrell (as a scene-stealing "cool dad") and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (who I've liked since his days in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and is generally less interesting than it is reputed to be.

Cougar Town stars Courtney Cox (someone my FRIENDS loyalty dictates that I will always like) alongside Aliens in America's Dan Byrd (a sweet throwback to one of my favourite failed sitcoms). And though it's somewhat icky and far from great, Cougar Town's plethora of strong stars (which includes Dawson Creek's Busy Phillips, Felicity's Ian Gomez, Scrubs' Christa Miller and Brothers & Sisters' Josh Hopkins) makes for a somewhat engaging half hour.

Finally, Eastwick takes on the 10pm slot. I knew going into the episode that the show starred the man behind one of my all-time favourite characters, Paul Gross (the famed Canadian actor who is the genius behind Slings & Arrows' Geoffrey Tennant), but I didn't know that another old favourite would be showing up. Sara Rue, who I've loved since her Popular days, through her charming sitcom Less than Perfect, right up to last year's Big Bang Theory guest stint, plays a supporting role in Eastwick, what a pleasant surprise. Add in the always likable Rebecca Romjin and charming Class alumnus Jon Bernthal and I really really want to like this show.

Overall, none of the three shows were that captivating but I'm choosing to retain hope that the pilots just didn't do the series justice. I'd like it if ABC could find their way back to the top with their new Wednesday night slate, where they were a mere 2 seasons ago in their heyday of intelligent scripted drama.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is Hung Going Flacid?

About a week ago I sat down to watch the season finale of Hung and due to some distractions I missed the last 6 minutes. It's a bad sign that I was so uninterested in the finale that it took me until today to watch the end.

But I'm so glad I did....we'll get to why in a bit.

The last few episodes of the show have been very dull. Hung is clearly a slow paced show that does not rely on action to move the plot, but toward the end it just got so boring. The entire finale was pretty much like that too. Granted they did set up an interesting plot for next season: Lenore essentially inserted herself into the pimping business and now it looks like both she and Tanya will be in charge of the business. I like Lenore a lot. She is kind of a bitch, her sex scenes are far too...umm sexual..., she clearly only cares about herself, but that doesn't stop her from being an interesting character to watch. So I'm excited for the possibility of more intriguing plots next season.

Other then Lenore's new position the only other good part of the show happened right at the end (in those final 6 minutes I missed). After spending time with Lenore, Jessica takes her advice and schedules an appointment with the happiness consultant. I expected Ray to walk into the bedroom and awkwardness would ensue. Instead, the writers did something much better: they had Ray see Jessica walk into the hotel. Ray calls Jessica on the phone and the two have a quick conversation with an incredibly endearing and heartbreaking moment. Ray begins to hold back tears as he thanks his ex for answering the call...something she never used to do. This is the first time in the season in which Ray really has shown his love for Jessica and the fact that he may still want to be with her. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Anne Heche and Thomas Jane carries this show.

Going into the finale I was ready to quit Hung for good, but because of these two amazing actors and their brief phone conversation I'll definitely be tuning in next season.

Season Finale Grade: C- (would have been a D if not for those last few moments)
Season One Grade: B (enjoyed it...great acting...semi-decent plot)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Best Idea of the Week

On tonight's One Tree Hill, Brooke Davis had to get rid of the disaster she hired as a spokesperson. So her bright idea was to start speaking Spanish until the girl got so confused that she just left.

That's the best comically bad idea I've heard since Friar Lawrence killed Romeo and Juliet!

Drop Dead Divas Abound

In one of the best episodes of the series so far, Drop Dead Diva went guest star crazy this week- in a completely non-annoying way.

First there was Rosie O'Donnell, reprising her oddly endearing role as a tough judge who's also one of Jane's closest friends.

Then came the doozy of a guest stint: Liza Minelli and Delta Burke as psychic sisters and clients of Kim and Grayson.

And to top it all off, my beloved Ben Feldman returned as my favourite character Fred (whom I thought had disappeared forever when he lost his job as Jane's guardian angel).

I love this show so much!

Picture List: stealing my heart this week

Ben Foster of Accidentally on Purpose, SNL Weekend Update anchor/head writer Seth Meyers, Ben Feldman of Drop Dead Diva and How I Met Your Mother's perfect new couple Robin and Barney.

Monday, September 21, 2009

How I Met Your Mother

My never ending love for How I Met Your Mother not withstanding, I was actually surprised by the physical relief and nostalgia I felt the second I heard those familiar chords. HIMYM is home to me, and the season premier didn't disappoint in bringing me back there.
Every time Barney and Robin did their little talking at the same time thing, I don't know why, but my heart melted*. It's a nice gag that also belies how right for each other these two emotionally retarded people are. Neil Patrick Harris and Coby Smulders are so good at playing these characters it's almost ridiculous. I like that the show isn't backing away from what they're doing with these two, but at the same time are still being honest with who these characters are, because no matter where they go with us, I'm pretty sure the only way it could disappoint me is if they wimp out. Or if Robin got pregnant.
On top of that, I love evil manipulative Lily. The image of Alyson Hannigan, looking amazing post-baby by the by, lounging in her chair, holding the broken doorknob, is enough to cure any sort of blues. And I like when Marshall has to back her up on her evil schemes ("Hi guys." was one of the most brilliant line readings of all time).

Professor Ted (yes, Ted, I spell-checked it. It is one "f") was both spot-on and hilarious. I like that they integrated him into the A-story about Barney and Robin (and that he and Barney have tuxedo nights), while still letting the mother-related plotline breath on its own. And wow Ted's douchey professor act was one of my favorite douchey ted moments of all time. And not just because it sort of reminded me of my life.

Random greatness:

  • They bought Ted a hat and a whip to start teaching, where are my good friends to buy me a hat and whip? On second thought... maybe it's a good thing I don't have a weapon in school with me.

  • "Just once I wish you guys would call me on tuxedo night." (Marshall, who mostly played comic one-line-guy in this episode)

  • "I'm always punching guys. Girls. I'll punch a baby, I don't care." (Barney, on why punching Brad was no big deal.)

  • "Unless I say fluggelhorn, you haven't gone too far." (Robin, on her and Barney's safe word)

  • "We're Barnman and Robin." (I like to think Robin came up with this, but it was just on one of the notes passed under the door)

  • "T-dawg, you're in the wrong room bro."

  • "Hey Ted, door five!"

  • "Didn't we meet on a yacht?" (Marshall in his tuxedo)

*SIDE NOTE TO PRODUCERS OF GOSSIP GIRL: Although I enjoyed my return to the world of bitchy NYC last week, THIS is how you do the conclusion of a "will they or wont they relationship that powered most of last season, even in episodes that shouldn't have been as good as they are." Not with creepy kinky sex stuff. Although that's okay too.

Kelly and Tim Watch The Emmys

and here is what they thought:

The PreShow:
- Carrie Ann Inaba is dumber than we thought she was. Boo.
- Chris Harrison is still pretty awesome though.
- Chandra Wilson looks amazing! What a pretty dress.
- John Krasinski= love.
- Love also for Kaley Cuoco, YunJin Kim and Kathy Griffin (among others)
- How awkward; a rushed threesome interview with perhaps the most prestigious women on the whole red carpet: Glenn Close, Holly Hunter and Marcia Gay Harden

The Host:
- There may have been cheering and chanting as Neil Patrick Harris took the stage, and not just at the Nokia Theatre in Hollywood.
- Love, Love, Love, Love, Love
- Dear Hugh Jackman, THAT'S how you do a song/dance opening number. You just got served.
- Slightly lame jokes made awesome by self-deprecating humour: good save.
- Loses the Emmy inexplicably to the guy from Pretty in Pink. The world of people who don't understand why Two and a Half Men is still on the air weeps as NPH keeps his cool.
- Many a presenter and winner congratulate NPH on being an awesome host (including super-host Jon Stewart as well as always classy Jeff Probst who failed epically as one of last year's hosts) .
- A little disappointed with the lack of magic tricks but super excited to see Dr. Horrible interrupt the accountants talking about the voting process.
- He truly is the coolest man on earth (in that he is so cool that all the uncool things he does suddenly become cool because he does them): see this week's Entertainment Weekly for proof.

The Production:
- The show was divided into 5 sections of awards: comedy, reality, miniseries/movie, variety and drama (with the awards for best comedy and best drama being given out at the end). It worked, it was an interesting way to honour each genre and allowed for a montage at the beginning of each section (who doesn't love a good montage?!). My TV votes YAY on the new format.
- Pretty moving video panels, a stellar orchestra to play TV theme music, a couple tech slip-ups here and there (mostly mic issues): an altogether well run show.
- The comedy montage was amazing... but left out Weeds completely.
- The drama montage spent too much time with Grey's Anatomy, barely acknowledged Brothers & Sisters and Friday Night Lights and completely skipped the CW's existence.
- In Memoriam was beautiful: Sarah McLachlan sang "I Will Remember You" as one of the most poignantly high death tolls in recent TV history reeled by (Bea Arthur, Patrick Swayze, Ed McMahon, Larry Gelbert, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and the voice of Snoopy, topped off with TV icon Walter Cronkite)

The Presenters:
- Some were random (do we really need to hear from the Jennifer Love Hewitt and Blake Lively?)
- Some talked too much (Ricky Gervais, Bob Newhart)
- Some were well matched (past and present TV vampires Stephen Moyer and David Boreanaz, the delightful cast of Big Bang Theory, the NPH cheering section aka HIMYM cast)
- Some were mismatched (Kate Walsh stood a full head above tiny Chandra Wilson in her heels)
- Most were inconsequential but non-offensive and nice to see even if they weren't nominees

The Winners:
- Kristin Chenoweth as Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy! Let's call her the dark horse winner of the night. No one, including she, saw it coming, which made the victory all the sweeter. A nice final tribute to Pushing Daisies, as a crying Kristin capped off her excellent second/final season with a charming and funny speech in which she requested to appear on Mad Men now that she's unemployed.
- Jon Cryer beats Neil Patrick Harris to the Comedy Supporting Actor trophy. BOO. With Jeremy Piven left out this was supposed to be the year NPH finally got what he deserves.
- My TV favourite Jim Parsons loses out to a deserving (if predictable) Alec Baldwin but Toni Collette takes Tina's trophy in an exciting win as Best Actress in a Comedy for the superb United States of Tara (then confuses people with a show reference in her speech).
- 30 Rock takes the writing Emmy for their best episode of the year "Reunion" but The Office takes the directing statue home.
- Reality awards go to predictable but deserving repeat winners Jeff Probst and The Amazing Race. Sure they're great but I think it's time for Top Chef and Project Runway to get some credit.
- Nothing interesting happens in Miniseries/Movies (obviously): Grey Gardens wins the big prize alongside Little Dorrit; Ian McKellen looses out but Jessica Lange takes a win.
- Variety's big prizes go to The Daily Show (writing and best series), a fate we can live with happily, while the only small prize we cared about (original song) went to the least deserving nominee: the Oscars opening number. Sorry Justin, you'll have to settle for just one win this year.
- Aaron Paul is robbed by a boring Michael Emerson who wins for the second time in 4 years.
- Mad Men's winning writer is wearing what could be our favourite dress of the night, and is adorable in general.
- Best actor and actress in a drama go to last year's winners Glenn Close and Bryan Cranston (both good, but where is the Michael C Hall love? The Emmys are so predictable...)
- ... and they stay predictable long enough for shoe-ins 30 Rock and Mad Men to win best series.

Overall, a standard night filled with met high expectations (thank you Neil Patrick Harris), some good changes (formatting), some annoying familiarity (30 Rock and Mad Men, really?!?) and some wonderful surprises (Kristin, Toni).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Questionable Reality TV Decisions

1) I love Ellen but don't you think that an American Idol permanent judge should know at least something about the music industry? The recent announcement that Ellen will be taking Paula Abdul's spot at the judging table already annoys me- and I don't even watch the show.

2) What I do watch, however, is So You Think You Can Dance, where they seem to be following up one bad decision with another. Not only is the show airing a sixth season almost immediately after the fifth and thus putting all their fans on dance overdrive that's going to lead to fewer viewers (in all fairness, that was a FOX decision, and they're not good decision makers over at FOX), but now they've announced that fan favourite Adam Shankman will be taking over as the permanent third judge with Nigel and Mary. Ok, so out of all the judges they could have picked, I'm glad they went with Shankman, he's really grown on me over the last couple seasons and become one of my favourites, and since he doesn't often choreograph for the show, having him on the panel doesn't diminish the quality of the dance the way it does when Mia is judging and thus can't choreograph. That said, I always really liked that SYTYCD had a rotating judging table; because the choreographers both worked with the dancers and judged them on different weeks they had a knowledge and understanding of them as people that helped their judging. It also kept me from getting tired of the third judge's comments (like I am of Nigel and Mary at this point). While I'm happy that we're getting more Adam, I sure will miss Mia, Tabitha, Napoleon, Tyce and even Lil C (not so much pretentious Debbie Allen or that woman who always talks about being from "the street" though).

Bones Comes Back

I wish I could say that the Bones premier erased all my doubts about that damn finale. I really wanted it to. I feel like all I do of late is hate on this show, which is sad, because it's probably the show that I am the most invested in.

I think my number one problem with this show can be referred to as Moonlighting syndrome. Maybe you don't remember the tv show moonlight, but chances are if you're a big enough tv dork to read this site you've at least heard of it. Moonlighting was an 80s tv show starring Bruce Willis and Cybil Shephard about detectives, and it was very much so based on the sparkling chemistry and will-they-or-wont they of its leads. When they finally did, the steam let out and the show fizzled.

Maybe you don't remember Moonlighting, but the people who work at Bones sure do. The problem is, the past two seasons I feel like they haven't been very good, or very convincing, at keeping their leads apart. That's why the finale frustrated me so much. And the whole "what if Booth loving Brennan is just a coma side effect" thing feels forced. Anyone who has been around the two of them for the past five seasons knows exactly what Booth's feelings for Brennan are and vice versa. So it felt untrue to me that Sweets of all people (who spent so much of last season realizing the depth of the duo's feelings for each other) would try and dissuade Booth with the argument that he doesn't really love Brennan, it's just a coma side-effect. Much more convincing was Cam's acceptance of it, but caution to Booth to think about how world-rocking making a move would be.

I just wish I felt like the show had a master plan, or a sense of where all of this is going. It seems like they're just content to drag out the relationship, and lack the plotting skills and the confidence to actually let them change their dynamic. They so subtly and brilliantly built to this moment, right here, in season five, where Booth has no choice but to acknowledge, out loud, that he is in love with Brennan, that to see all of that growth thrown away for a hokey clown metaphor was frustrating.

I guess that's why I find Bones blatant commercialism and poor over-arching plotting so annoying; there's so much on this show that is well done and smart, that it seems like an insult to all I've bought into when things just feel so contrived. The last ten minutes of this week's Bones legitimately made me snort because they seemed so hokey.

I can accept that Booth and Brennan aren't going to get together for awhile, but then I want to see them doing what they do best, verbally sparring and solving cases, not have to sit through endless metaphorical scenes about Booth's feelings and Brennan's vulnerability. I don't want to have to watch Cyndi Lauper (no matter how brilliant a cameo, given Brennan's penchant for the singer) explain for what feels like the four thousandth time how the pair are "intertwined." Lauper basically played the part of omniscient narrator, whose psychic powers giving her license to spell out the plot to those of us not subtle enough to pick up on all the anvil sized clues. I know all this. Stop telling me. Go back to showing me.

None the less, I still love Bones. It's still a cast of fine, talented actors, who have such good chemistry one's tempted to forget how manipulative it all is. And the murders of the week are normally much more intriguing than this week's lame psychic, cult ridiculousness, especially because they normally have more heft than as a device to talk about the relationships. This isn't Grey's Anatomy. The cases are supposed to try, test and prod our heroes, but not in this straight forward a manner.

So that's my Bones rant, and I hope that future reviews will be tempered with more love than vitriol.

Thursday Night Hilarity

The Office

Sometimes, The Office is just so pitch-perfect that it shocks me. Tonight's premier episode comfortably, brilliantly straddled the line between Michael's awkward neediness, Jim and Pam's happiness, and the rest of the cast's quirks in a way that at once re-introduced us to our friends at Dunder Mifflin and made us wonder how we survive all summer without them. It wasn't a particularly huge episode (although it did include some surprising character growth amongst all the irreverence), nor was it the most quotable, but it took a well-worn Office trope (Michael's ridiculousness causes chaos, he tries to fix things, makes things worse. The office, specifically Jim and Pam, have to step in and fix things) and did it so well that I am feeling more confident than ever that this show can succesfully carry through on all the promises it has given out over the years.

I love how far The US Office has come from its UK cousin. Don't get me wrong, I loved Ricky Gervais' masterpiece way before Michael Scott was even a gleem in some tv producer's eye, but I like that our Office as its own flavor. It's not afraid of happiness. It started as a caustic workplace satire, but really, now it's a celebration of the tiny happiness of the average american. It's way too good natured to really be considered a satire, although it has satirical elements, and it's way too funny to just be schmaltz. But at the end of the day, this is a show that chose to end last season with two people with whom we've grown to love over five seasons more deliriously happy than I think we've ever seen a couple on television. And then they started this season with a witty, funny episode that deconstructed Michael Scott's neurosis without the malice that occasionally creeps into that discussion. It's a truly unique creation, and the best argument for The Colonies rebelling from their British Overlords since all that tea got dumped into the Boston Bay.


After watching the previews for Community, I'm not sure I was ready for the angry, mysanthropic Joel McHale character of "Jeff." I had expected something more "wacky and good natured" than "college-faking and cheating." That being said, despite my surprise at its tone, I think I'm grooving at its promise, for a pilot.
I love Aved (the Arab, previously Sanjay on Greek ), who talks crazy fast and says things like "this is getting more like the breakfast club" and then does the Bender monologue with hilariously gleeful perfection, and who may or may not have aspbergers (although what great television protagonist doesn't, Sheldon?). John Oliver as the befuddled, morally-compromised, some-times-drunk-driving dean is all lovely British dry wit. And the surprise in the bunch is Britta, the love-interest for McHale, who is shockingly well realized and witty and cool in her own right. Or, as McHale's Jeff puts it, "how was I supposed to know you'd turn out to be smart and cool? You look like Elizabeth Shue."

The strength or weakness of this show will rest on how well integrated McHale's bullshit (which he does brilliantly) is with the rest of the show, and how much they make us believe in the man beneath it all. McHale is amazing to watch, and he's funny, and I'm only sort of distracted by how overly styled his hair is. The show is leaning in the right direction, but basing a show around a not-so-nice main character is always a tricky proposition, and I hope they can continue to get the balance right. You have to let the amoral dick that is at the center of your show grow and breathe without losing what makes the show funny to begin with.

And damn if this show doesn't have some quotable dialogue:

"As if there's a dinner on Earth that could make me forget you are a shallow douche bag."

"We are the only species on Earth that observes Shark Week."

"Do you think astronauts go to the moon because they hate oxygen? No. They're trying to impress their highschool prom kings."

"If it's so serious, why don't they call it meningitis?"

And never before has a show so succintly summed up my life and current woes: "The funny thing about being smart is that you can get through most of life without ever having to do any work. So I don't really know how to do that..."

A New and Intriguing Hollywood Couple

So the age difference is a little startling and I wouldn't have set them up in a million years but it seems that two of my favourite TV actors are a couple, and even Ausiello didn't know about it.

Adrianne Palicki (age 26) aka one of the best things about the spectacular and sadly underrated series Friday Night Lights and Alan "Wash/Alpha" Tudyk (age 38) shocked EW's Michael Ausiello (and, subsequently, My TV) last night when they showed up at a party as a couple (something they have apparently been for quite a while).

Both amazing supporting actors have everyone waiting to hear when they will be returning to FNL and Dollhouse this season, but in the meantime they're keeping fans of quality TV happy with their unexpected matchup. Who knew Firefly and Friday Night Lights fit together so nicely?!

Friday, September 18, 2009

In Preparation for Sunday Night: a re-posting of MyTV's Emmy Nominee coverage

The 61
st Primetime Emmy Award Nominations were announced by the amazing team of Chandra “Bailey” Wilson and Jim “Sheldon” Parsons, who both acted suitably humble when their own names were called. The complete list of nominations is available online at The following are what I consider to be the highlights and curiosities of the list (my ideal winners are in red).

  • Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer and Dan Castellaneta get nominations for voice-over performance for Family Guy, Robot Chicken and The Simpsons.
  • Outstanding Animated Program nominations go to American Dad, Robot Chicken, The Simpsons and South Park but no Family Guy.
  • The Art Direction Award should go to Damages but it’s not even nominated in that category, neither is Dexter, another high art direction achiever. Instead, Bones, Heroes, Mad Men, Pushing Daisies, True Blood and The Tudors get the nom for the more challenging single-camera style while multi-camera art direction becomes one of How I Met Your Mother’s few nominations.
  • Outstanding Casting nominations go to Californication, The Office, 30 Rock, United States of Tara, Weeds, Damages, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, True Blood and The Tudors. 30 Rock books the best guest stars, United States of Tara established a perfect new ensemble this season and Friday Night Lights is brilliantly handling the gradual transition from an old cast to a new one- it’s a tough call.
  • Choreography nominations go to that terrible musical tribute at the Oscars, a random Dancing with the Stars number that was choreographed by the lovely Hough siblings and a staggering 4 nominations for the choreographic showcase that is So You Think You Can Dance: Tabatha & Napoleon’s “Bleeding Love”, Mia’s door routine, Tyce’s Adam and Eve contemporary and an unmemorable tango from ballroom genius Dmitry.
  • Cinematography- same question as Art Direction: where are Damages and Dexter? I’ll pick Weeds and Breaking Bad for the wins though.
  • Outstanding Commercial- I’m rooting for the genius of the Hulu “we’re aliens” marketing team on this one. Though I prefer the Seth MacFarlane version, the superbowl ad with Alec Baldwin got the nomination.
  • Costume nominations go to Mad Men, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Pushing Daisies, The Tudors and Ugly Betty. Ok, I’m just going to say it, I want Gossip Girl on this list next year! And what about So You Think You Can Dance? They cover more genres of dress than anything else in a single week.
  • Directing: 3 nominations for 30 Rock and one each for Entourage, Flight of the Conchords and The Office, making me wonder what’s so impressive about those series over other sitcoms directing-wise? On the other side of the genre coin, Damages finally gets a aesthetic nomination, Battlestar Galactica picks up a rare nod, Boston Legal and ER get recognized for the direction of their swan songs and Mad Men makes the cut yet again (are they nominated for everything?)
  • Is it too much to hope that How I Met Your Mother might pick up a trophy for editing if it’s up against 30 Rock and 3 Office episodes?
  • I will never completely understand why Outstanding Hairstyling is a category, especially when some of the nominees have a pretty “shampoo and blow dry”- looking style (*cough* Desperate Housewives *cough*). But period and genre pieces like Mad Men, The Tudors and Pushing Daisies I suppose would present some styling challenges. Multi-Camera Series nominees make a bit more sense (Dancing with the Stars, MADtv and SNL- they have to do crazy things with limited time) but what’s with Two and a Half Men? Aren’t they all men? Again, where’s So You Think You Can Dance on this one?
  • Outstanding Main Title Design- the field is getting pretty thin on this one since everyone’s opting out of a good old fashioned credit sequence these days. Luckily, Lie to Me, Storymakers, Taking Chances, True Blood and United States of Tara recognize the value of an iconic opener (the fact that I’ve never heard of some of them gives this view less credence).
  • As for Outstanding Makeup, I say give it to Grey’s Anatomy for the bloodiness/hot people in need of eyeliner combo. Obviously the prosthetics and non-prosthetics categories for made-for-TV movies will go to Grey’s Gardens and their aging makeup. Though YAY on the inclusions of SYTYCD and SNL.
  • Justin Timberlake hits it big in the Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics category for his “I Love Sports” number at the ESPYS and for “Motherlover” on SNL. Hugh Jackman at the Oscars (overrated), A Colbert Christmas, A Muppets Christmas and Flight of the Conchords are his competition.
  • Getting down to the interesting stuff, Lead Comedy Actor nominees are Jim Parsons (YAY), Jermaine Clement (seriously? Ok, he’s great), Tony Shalhoub (GO AWAY MONK!), Steve Carell (in his best season in years), Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men is NOT funny) and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock is).
  • In possibly the toughest category this year, super-geniuses Bryan Cranston, Michael C Hall, Hugh Laurie, Gabriel Byrne, Jon Hamm and Simon Baker will battle it out for the Top Lead Actor in a Drama spot. (Anyone else noticing the conspicuous absence of former winner James Spader after Boston Legal’s final season?!)
  • While I don’t usually care about Miniseries or Movie nominations, the theatre geek in me loves the fact that Kevin Kline and Ian McKellen’s “Great Performances” of Cyrano de Bergerac and King Lear got nominations.
  • The Lead Comedy Actress category is another tough one with seriously funny ladies Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Christina Applegate, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman (seriously? Awesome!), Mary Louise Parker and Toni Collette as this year’s nominees.
  • Once again, this year’s Lead Dramatic Actress nominees are not at all interesting. I don’t watch it myself but isn't there a Battlestar Galactica actress to put on this list? Or how about Elizabeth Mitchell and Evangeline Lily? Or the entire female cast of Big Love. Or CONNIE BRITTON for crying out loud! Instead, the pretentious Emmys chose to honour the predictable choices Sally Field, Kyra Sedgwick, Glenn Close, Mariska Hargitay, Elisabeth Moss and Holly Hunter; all good actresses, but I would argue not all the best on TV.
  • I really think this is Neil Patrick Harris’ year to finally (not only host) but win the Emmy for Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. I say this because he’s up against a pretty random crew (that doesn't include Jeremy Piven): Kevin Dillon, Rainn Wilson, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer (really? Come on!) and Jon Cryer. WHERE IS MICHAEL URIE’S NOMINATION!?! COME ON PEOPLE!
  • But here is where we celebrate: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama. First of all, can I get a “hell yeah!” on behalf of the freaking fantastic Aaron Paul and his nomination for Breaking Bad! Then let’s feel the love for Christian Clemenson (as well as a sort of nostalgic fondness for his co-star William Shatner as their series comes to an end). Finally, the category is topped off by solid performers like William Hurt, Michael Emerson and John Slattery. My only issue would be the heartbreaking lack of Michael Rhys, Justin Chambers and Enver Gjokaj on this list.
  • Supporting Comedy Actress honours Amy Poehler (sure the Palin rap was pretty great but she did less than half a season, I think maybe this is a little ridiculous). But it also honours Kristin Wiig, who (in Poehler’s absence) has been holding her own brilliantly as the only female member of the principle cast of SNL. Adorable Kristin Chenoweth who had a particularly great season, Jane Krakowski who had a pretty typical season, Vanessa Williams (likewise) and the brilliant Elizabeth Perkins round out the bunch. Here’s where I put forward the idea that maybe it’s about time to create a category for the likes of Poehler and Wiig (as well as their male counterparts and their MADtv rivals) instead of throwing them in with the supporting actresses and taking away nominations from deserving primetime gals like Portia de Rossi, Jennifer Esposito, Cobie Smulders, Rosemarie Dewitt and Angela Kinsey.
  • Supporting Dramatic Actress has lots of love for Grey’s Anatomy (Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson- even though it was very clearly a Katherine Heigl season) as well as In Treatment (Hope Davis and Dianne Wiest). Rose Byrne and Cherry Jones bring up the back of an uninteresting group (that ridiculously doesn’t contain any Walker siblings, Leighton Meester, Dichen Lachman, Amanda Seyfried, Louanne Stephens, Grace Zabriskie or Adrienne Palicki).
  • Guest Actor in a Comedy: YAY for Beau Bridges, SUPER YAY for Justin Timberlake, YAY for Jon Hamm and Alan Alda, a slightly less excited but still sincere YAY for Steve Martin. An annoyed grunt over 3/5 nominations all being 30 Rock.
  • The Guest Actor in a Drama category is boring but I love Michael J Fox enough to mention that he was nominated for Rescue Me, even though I never saw his performance.
  • Guest Actress in a Comedy: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? NO AMY RYAN? THAT’S CRAP! I like Christine Baranski, I like Betty White, I like Jennifer Aniston, Elaine Stritch is always funny and Gena Rowlands is there too. Obviously Tina Fey is going to win for her Palin impersonation but she shouldn’t (even though I love her) because this trophy belongs to the un-nominated Amy Ryan!
  • Guest Actress in a Drama is Law & Order mania with 3 nominations: Ellen Burstyn, Brenda Blethyn and Carol Burnett (who I’d put my money on to win). CCH Pounder is there too but I’m rooting for Sharon Lawrence’s stirring performance as Izzie’s mom on Grey’s Anatomy.
  • They may have improved on last year with the additions of Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi and (not really a host) Tom Colicchio, but the Emmys have gotten the Reality Host category wrong again by including dull Tom Bergeron and omni-absent Phil Keoghan alongside decent hosts Ryan Seacrest, Jeff Probst and Heidi Klum while ignoring the best host on TV, Cat Deeley.
  • Outstanding Comedy Series: THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED TO FAMILY GUY! Apparently it transcended it’s genre to get a nomination for best comedy instead of best animated series. Entourage, The Office, 30 Rock and Weeds show up again in this category, alongside suprising dark horse Flight of the Conchords and FINALLY a nomination for the uber-deserving How I Met Your Mother. Sadly, no United States of Tara or Better off Ted.
  • Outstanding Drama hits it right on the head with Big Love, Breaking Bad, Damages, Dexter, House, Lost and Mad Men. My only gripe would be the complete exclusion of genre shows like Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse as well as the traditional snubbing of the genius of Friday Night Lights.
  • Variety, Music or Comedy Series sees rewards going to the few shows that haven’t changed hosts this year (Letterman, Colbert Report, Daily Show and Real Time) as well as SNL, which is sure to win for their fall election coverage and receive a pardon for that mediocre second half.
  • Some random “special class” category decides to honour Battlestar and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, among others. I decide I like the “special class” category, even if I don’t understand it.
  • There’s a Children’s Program Category? Great, another awards show that can guarantee Miley Cyrus’ attendance.
  • Since when is Antiques Roadshow considered an Outstanding Reality Program? For that matter, since when is Dirty Jobs, Dog Whisperer, MythBusters or Intervention? Yay for Kathy Griffin though!
  • Reality Competition once again goes for wide appeal (Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars) and niche trendiness (Project Runway, Top Chef), completely missing the show that caters to both (So You Think You Can Dance)
  • Visual Effects nominations go to otherwise ignored series like Battlestar Galactica, Fringe, Heroes, Ghost Whisperer and Sanctuary. My advice to producers of genre TV: take your kicks where you can get ‘em.
  • Stunt Co-ordination is a category? GO CHUCK! I get Burn Notice, Chuck, Criminal Minds and 24, but why is My Name is Earl nominated for this?
  • Writing for a Comedy is ridiculous! No way Flight of the Conchords gets nominated alongside FOUR 30 Rock episodes. That’s ridiculous. Especially since “Reunion”, “Apollo, Apollo”, “Mamma Mia” and “Kidney, Now!” weren’t even written by the Emmys’ beloved Tina. What about all the other fantastically written comedy shows out there? What about United States of Tara that’s written by Oscar winning scribe Diablo Cody? Or the underappreciated but heavily-quoted How I Met Your Mother guys? Time to share the love. 30 Rock is good but it’s not the only good thing out there.
  • WHAT THE HECK! The same thing happened with drama (an even bigger issue!) Lost gets one nomination (thankfully, it’s for an episode that was actually written by the showrunners) and all the other nominations are for Mad Men (4 in total). Big Love was freaking amazing this year! What about Damages’ intricate suspense building or Brothers & Sisters’ incomparable character development? I’m not even going to get started on the hundreds of things that the Friday Night Lights writers do right every week.
  • Variety, Music or Comedy writing saves it with their standard nominations for The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live. As much as I love my daily dose of Jon Stewart, I’m going to have to go with my beloved Seth Meyers on this one and give it to him (SNL head writer) and his gigantic team of satirists.
Congratulations! You made it to the end of the commentary. Post in the comments section to tell us what you think of the Emmy nominees and snubbings.