Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Marriage Ref and Parenthood

Is anyone else finding the new NBC 10 p.m. line-up to be great? Who am I kidding, you are all in grad school so none of you has time to obsess over TV like I do. It's ok, since you are all busy training to be lawyers and archivists I have taken it upon myself to watch enough TV for the four of us.

First off, I should clarify that there are really only two new NBC shows picked up as mid-season replacements for the Jay Leno show that I have actually felt compelled to watch. Parenthood is the first show, it is on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. and Ron Howard is a co-executive producer for the show. I for one really like Ron Howard for reasons such as Arrested Development, so I was kind of excited/intrigued when NBC started toting a new Ron Howard show. Don't expect Arrested Development, this show is a family drama, not a comedy. I could give reasons for why I like it, but the more shallow reason is that the series takes place in Berkeley, CA. Now, obvi it doesn't film there or if it does it films in places of Berkeley I never explored, but the set still very much gives a Berkeley feel that I so long for. It also has a pretty recognizable cast, including Laura Graham (Gilmore Girls) and Mae Whitman (Arrested Development, State of Grace). Those are just my two favorites, there are tons more but I care to highlight the two I most enjoy seeing back on TV. In a nutsehll, the show is about parenthood (zing) and I would liken it to a less comedic but still enjoyable Modern Family. It depicts several styles of parenting and follows a family of four adult siblings and each of their expereinces/struggles in parenting.

Next is the Marriage Ref, on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. after the NBC two hours of comedy block containing Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock (all worth viewing). This show is hilarious. It is a kind of reality talk show, basically married couples share a current argument they are inbattled in, and after hearing both sides celebrity judges wieght out the issue, but the Marriage Ref will determine who is in the right and who is in the wrong. The arguments are so ridiculous, and the celeb panel is great at making the arguments ridiculously funny. I can't even really adequately explain the show, but I suppose Ricky Gervais did a great job summing it up when he said: "I feel like someone's put crack in my drank! What is going on? This is the weirdest show I've ever been on."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Currently watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I have mixed reactions to it. On the one hand, I recognize that there are problems with what food is being served at school and that many Americans would benefit from having more healthy diets. On the other hand, I kind of don't really like Jamie Oliver's approach. I know he has good intentions, but he really hasn't tried to put himself in their shoes. It seems like he came to this city with a judgement already made and instead of listening and understanding the cafeteria workers and the school officials, he is gasping and telling them how ridiculous they are. He needs to work on his approach. At the end of this episode he starts crying because he is being misunderstood and they don't understand how great he is and how much he is helping them. It really sounds like he is doing this for him and not them, because he repeatedly talks about how great the work he is doing is.

I want this to be a show that opens people's eyes to how important a healthy diet is and how for healty food to become a priority at schools, so I hope Jamie Oliver becomes more likeable.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Guild

I hope everyone has seen Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, because this next show I'm about to recommend to you is written by and stars Felicia Day (Penny from Dr. Horrible) and Joss Whedan has actually credited The Guild as being the inspiration for Dr. Horrible. If that doesn't sell you on it, then let me share with you a little bit more. The Guild is an online sitcom (award winning) about a guild of gamers who, like all real gamers, spend a ridiculous amount of time in a role playing game. The Kinights of Good is the guild name and it is made up of a diverse range of people, none of them being the fat bald guy living in his parents basement usually associated with such an addiction.

Felicia Day is actually a gamer herself, in addition to being a professional violinist. She brings her knowledge and expereience to the show which had its first season partially funded by fans. During season 2, Microsoft signed an exclusive distribution deal with Felicia Day, so the episodes premiere on Xbox Live.

The first season begins when Zaboo mistakes Codex's online flirtation as being actual flirtation, and shows up at her doorstep to pursue their relationship. Zaboo doesn't seem to understand that Codex is not interested in him. It sounds creepy, but in this show it is more comedic than creepy. After this, Codex decides to call a guild meeting, in person, in hopes that the guild will be able to help her with her Zaboo problems.

The show has now completed 3 seasons, each consisting of around 12 episodes of 4-7 minutes. I started watching last night and I am already finished. I love it. The characters are all so fun, including the mom of three who leaves her kids in the car with the windows cracked while they meet. She is a nut, but a total lovable nut. Actually, she kind of reminds me of Steph S.

For more, check out the youtube page watchtheguild or the website. All the episodes are totally available online, plus they are super cheap to buy on DVD ($12.99).

And, if you need some persuasion, check out this music video.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

top shows

Despite my mild objections, my dad has decided to practice playing piano in the room where I have perched for the last three days writing a paper. So my show watching paper writing has been temporarily halted. "You know, I can't move the piano to another room" says my father, and in so stating this he is implying that I, on my laptop, are very much capable of taking my enjoyment elsewhere. Touché dad, but relocating temporarily would take too much work. I'd rather just do something else and wait for you to finish at 9pm when piano playing in the house is officially prohibited.

For your entertainment (no reference to Adam Lambert), I have decided to construct lists of shows I find worthy of your viewing. I have selected shows in many categories because, like the old jingle goes, "sometimes you feel like a nut, soemtimes you don't." So, you know, depending on your persuaions there is a show for you. I should note, that this list is incomplete and may be ammended and updated in days or years to come.

Comedy Series:
1)Arrested Development - a show killed too soon, as so many of the greats in this list. It does remain a very popular show and is available one season at a time on hulu
2)30 Rock - It has won an Emmy for outstanding comedy series the past three years, and in the fourth season it is obvious that the show still has it. As with all shows, I recommend starting from the beginning and seasons 1-3 are all available via instant queue on Netflix. Some fourth season episodes can be seen online at the NBC website or at Hulu.
3)How I Met Your Mother - it is not quite on the same caliber as the above two comedies, and at times it feels like it drags on unneccessairly (Ted has spent the last five seasons telling his kids the story of how he met their mother, yet we have never met her). Nevertheless, this show has a great cast and enough comedy to keep me coming back for more. I also love the detail, an offhand comment made in one episode, will be explained in a later episode-sometimes a season later, so there does appear to be a great deal of continuity. Recemt episodes can be viewed at cbs.com.
4)Pushing Daisies - a very different kind of comedy series, it is a Bryan Fuller masterpiece that had such a brief lifespan. A story of a pie-maker who can bring people back to life with one touch and put them back to death with a second, I can't believe I have not devoted an entire entry to this show yet. I will have to get working on that, until then the complete first season is currently availbale on thewb.com.
5) Wonderfalls - another Bryan Fuller work, this show was given even less life than his other work and it pains me becasue I love it so. Jay Tyler works at a Niagara Falls gift shop where she lives a mundane life until one day objects with faces begin to talk to her. Sounds silly, but it surprising works. This show is actually on youtube.
6) Dead Like Me- The final Bryan Fuller creation you shall see on this list, until he releases more which will hopefully come as soon as Fall 2010. The show is availble on netflix instant queue and imdb.
7) Friends - always a great show, it is a timeless comedy series that will live on in reruns for many decades to come. I'm sure you have a friend who has the show on DVD and if not then catch it on reruns every night. Sadly, the youtube acoount I was watching the series on has been suspended. I'm sure you can easily find more though.
8) The Office - This show I find is hit or miss at times, but predominately seems to hit the mark. Recent episodes are available on nbc and hulu.
9) Community - The newest comedy series to win me over. I started watching it because I love The Soup's Joal McHale, but I continued to watch it because it is funny. Maybe it is because I am currently experiencing community college life, but this show really hits close to home. Check it out on hulu.

Adult Drama
1) Dexter - it will have you wierdly addicted. Beware of the blood, it is a show about a serial killer, afterall.

1) Eureka - this is another show that I can't believe I haven't dedicated a post to yet. I only got introduced to it at the tail end of the last season which finished last summer. It was recommended by Angel who shares in my love for Bryan Fuller, Flight of The Conchords, and Glee, though I wouldn't compare Eureka to any of those. The new season starts this summer, and in anticipation I hope to work through the complete series so look for a post in the coming months.
2) Caprica A Battlestart Gallactica prequel, season one started in January 2010.

Animated series - Comedy
1) The Simpsons- the only show my family has regularly watched and quoted for 20 years. This show does not need me to convince you, chances are you have watched it at some point in your life and enjoyed it. I will say that I love how great it is at satire and how really smart it is. There are just too many great lines from this show. While I will admit that I find some of the older seasons better, I still truly love watching new episodes.
2)Phineas and Ferb I don't know where to find a good number of episodes online, occasionally Disney shares.
3) Invader ZIM - a Nickelodean show that died in its infancy. I recenlty listened to an episode because my video was messed up and laughed so hard. GIR is my favorite.

Musical comedy-
1) Glee - so good! I can't wait until the live concert on May 22nd with Angel

Look at that, it is already 9:36pm, daddy packed up his music book long ago. Time to get back to watching my shows while writing my paper.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Phineas and Ferb

This post was misplaced on another blog. Today, I bring it home to where it belongs.

Disney, you have some hold on me.

But seriously, ALL of you should check out Phineas and Ferb. This Disney cartoon is amazing. Like, once upon a time Nickelodeon was amazing (Rocko's Modern Life, Fairly Oddparents, Jimmy Neutron). Perry the platypus will have you all wishing you had a pet platypus. And the catchy songs will be stuck in your head for weeks. Case in point:

The voice actors include the cute little boy from Love Actually (voice: Ferb) who learns the drums in order to play in the winter show with the little girl who has this amazing voice (voice: Vanessa Doofenshmirtz). How cute is it that in Phineas and Ferb, Ferb has a crush on Vanessa? Other voices come from Disney darlings Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), Mitchell Musso (Hannah Montana), and Alyson Stoner (Cheaper by the Dozen, Camp Rock, and the unDisney Missy Elliot video). Oh, and Caroline Rhea (Hilda Spellman, Sabrina the Teenage Witch)does the voice of Phineas and Ferb's mother, former one hit wonder, Lindana.
Did I mention that the creators use to write for Rocko's Modern Life? Seriously, this show is amazing!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

bacon and swiss grilled sandwich

Meet my new love.

Grilled cheese has been a favorite for many years. Kraft American cheese with a slice of ham on Holsum bread, that is what my childhood was made of. Ok, actually Holsum bread was a treat that only existed in my house after a trip to Arizona or my aunt Holly had visited, but it set the grilled cheese standard pretty high in my mind.

Over the years, however, my eyes have been opened to a world of many flavors of bread and cheese, and different parts of a pig, so I've developed new cravings. This newest craving consists of sourdough bread (reflection of my love for San Francisco), Swiss cheese (because the Swiss are pretty awesome, and really close to Italy), and bacon (because bacon is good in all situations).

And it is so easy to make. I am not above eating precooked bacon, so all greasy mess is avoided. Sure it doesn't offer the same bacony goodness as fresh cooked bacon, but for someone as lazy as me it offers a delicious lunch requiring little fuss.

I'm also not above muffin mix, and I have recently discovred Fiber One Muffin Mix. Nothing like some dietary fiber to wash my insides after some bacon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gnomeo and Juliet

This movies release date is 2011, how lame. I'm going to a preview of it tonight. I probably will not be allowed to write about it, and what I see tonight will likely be different from what hits theatres in a year, but yay for me previewing a movie tonight!

Gnomeo and Juliet is an animated rendition of Romeo and Juliet involving gnomes. IMDB tells no lies, and was updated within the last week. Emily Blunt and James McAvoy provide their voices to the lead gnomes, and Elton John loans his musical genius to the soundtrack. So, besides that plot of gnomes sounding silly, I think this movie could actually be good if Elton John is onboard. Remember how much you love The Lion King?

This movie is strongly recommended for your viewing pleasure. That is once the animation is complete. I was not expecting it to be so funny. Reminds me of Shrek or Ice Age in that it has a greater appeal to adults than most Disney movies, yet it still is enjoyable for children. I will definitely be paying money to see the final product in 2011.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I never watched Battlestar Galactica, and I have never considered myself a fan of science fiction, yet I find myself watching and enjoying the new Syfy series Caprica. I saw many commercials advertising it, read about it several times in Entertainment Weekly, and saw a segment about it on The Soup, so yesterday I started watching the series on Syfy.com.

The show is a prequel to Battlestar Galactica, so anyone who liked that show should love this show. However, whereas Battlestar Galactica developed a large male fan base, this series is formatted in a way that hopes to reach a larger demographic. For people like me who haven't seen Battlestar, Caprica holds its own so we can enjoy the show without feeling like we are somehow missing information.

I really like the show. It is interesting how it takes place in a futuristic world that is far more technologically advanced than we currently are, yet the city of Caprica appears to be a 1950's America town. The cars and wardrobe are throwbacks to the 1950's, so in spite of the advancements in technology the show almost seems like it is from the past.

I guess when I think of science fiction, I think of people in space in funny costumes and using weird devices. Basically, I imagine a storyline and characters that are too far out there to be real. How can you relate to that? Well, I am wrong. Between Eureka and Caprica I am realizing that Syfy is actually a very approachable genre that is fun and entertaining.

The show is still new, so you can watch the whole series online (except the pilot which was released Spring of 2009). Check it out on hulu or syfy.

Sorry for the lack of plot details, but I really think it is a show that explains itself best.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dead Like Me: Life After Death

The final thirty minutes bring some redemption when Roxy hits Cameron and handcuffs him. Gah, complete douche.

I will say, I did actually like the Reggie-George dynamic. Total bummer though when George reveals herself to Reggie and then has to reap Reggie's love.

Dead Like Me: Life After Death

After finishing the television series Dead Like Me, I went into the movie with some reluctance. Everything I loved about the show (read here), the originality, the characters, the actors who play the characters, and Bryan Fuller's imagination, have all been thrown out the window. The movie picks up five years after George has died (four years after the series was sadly killed), the beloved leader of the pack Rube has finally seen his lights and a new leader replaces him. This new leader is younger, much wealthier, is all about technology (the beloved post-its are no more). Now I hate this guy from the beginning. Of course the only reason he is brought on is because Mandy Patinkin is off doing post-Dead Like Me stuff. Along with him being absent, the other notable changes are that they brought in a new actress to play Daisy and Der Waffle Haus is burned to a crisp. With all these changes, I can't expect this movie to be anything like the series I loved, and it's not.
None of the characters are even the same, even the ones that are played by the same actors. Apparently, the writers thought it'd be OK to just leave everything from the show out of the movie. The new leader is so carefree and manipulative that the group decides to throw out all the rules Rube had them follow. I can't even begin to explain how disappointed I am in this movie, which I'm only halfway through so maybe the second half will have some redemptive quality.

I'm crossing my fingers, but not holding my breath.