Monday, June 18, 2007

Pirate Master

Is it just me or do you not believe Pirate Master?

I think this one is much more managed than Survivor. And edited to an extreme. I think Joe Don, the first captain, was instructed by the producers to screw over everyone in the crew and act like a jerk. We never got confessionals from him explaining what he was doing. We never hear he or his officers discussing the dissatisfaction of the crew. It just didn't strike me as real at all. And then captain number two is Azymuth, who is exactly opposite - the giving captain who divides everything evenly. (And also suddenly adopts a terrible English accent.) I just don't believe these are real choices these people are making without helpful "suggestions". I'm still watching, but where is the truth? The real emotions that we get with Survivor? This just seems all cardboardy, more Big Brother than Survivor.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

24 Woes

I think I’ve put my finger on what is bothering me about 24 this year.

In any season, 24 episodes are divided up between “Jack Stuff” and “Non-Jack Stuff.” The “Jack Stuff” is, and always should be, more interesting than the “Non-Jack Stuff.” But in past seasons, the “Non-Jack Stuff” has at least been entertaining. Not so this season. This season, the show grinds to a complete halt during the “Non-Jack Stuff.”

Why is this? I think it’s because the show has repeatedly gotten rid of almost all of the supporting characters we, the audience, gave a damn about. No David Palmer, no Sherry Palmer, no Mike Novick, no Secret Security Agent Aaron Whatshisname, no Charles Logan, no Martha Logan, no Nina, no Tony, no Michelle, no Curtis. All we have left is Chloe and Bill Buchanan, and Bill got kicked to the curb this last episode. (Kicked to the curb in an almost identical manner and identical point in the season as last year, I feel compelled to point out.) And so, when we cut away from “Jack Stuff” (which we have to do at some point, because there are times Jack is doing stuff that just isn’t that interesting, although at this point, I think Jack stopping to get a bite to eat would be more interesting than yet another cut away to a White House scene). I’m not sure what can be done at this point – bringing any of the dead back to life would be contrary to the realism the show has established (though there was always something more than a little suspicious about Tony’s death – I think you could construct a scenario where he hadn’t really died) but creating new characters hasn’t really helped either.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Watching TV- Rituals

No, I'm not talking about blood-letting into a pint of Ben and Jerry's while watching Dr. Phil, though I could understand why one would. I'm talking about the rituals some of us have when watching certain TV shows. Most of us have had at least one, maybe it was waking up before the crack of dawn on Saturdays to grab a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and watch Bugs Bunny while our parents tried to sleep in. And we wonder why our moms were so cranky at the grocery store later in the day. I definitely had that ritual, and the post-grocery store spankings to prove it.

When I was a bit older, but still young, I would go to my grandmother's apartment on Fridays to spend the night. Grandma and I would watch "The Dukes of Hazzard", "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest", and she'd let me eat all the junk food I wanted. We'd burn up the calories laughing in bed at her crazy jokes. Then I started getting into football, and would watch the games on Sunday with my dad explaining the rules and my mom asking how many goals the teams had. I'm totally serious, she still does this. I blame it on my brother's soccer playing.

It would be much later when my next TV ritual began. My freshman year of college, "Beverly Hills 90210" premiered, and "Melrose Place" not too long after. A bunch of us would gather up at my friend Suzi's apartment, make dinner, and watch the shows. Suzi was so serious about these shows, she would keep a spray bottle of water clutched in her hands, and if you talked, you got spritzed. Like a cat. To this day, if I unfortunately happen upon one of those shows in syndication, I have to fight the urge to grab my umbrella.

Then "Survivor" hit the boob tube, and with it, a new ritual. I'd watch it over a big bowl of angel hair with vodka sauce, get sauced on vodka tonics, then meet fellow drunks in a "Survivor" chat room after the show. Shortly after, and continuing to this day, is the "American Idol" ritual, with my mom calling me at every break to dish and bitch about the performances and judges. It's way safer than the ritual drinking games involving Paula and what meds she is on each week.

If you feel so inclined, please share your own TV show-watching rituals!


Monday, April 2, 2007

Elimination Station

Need a bit more of an Amazing Race fix each week? Head to Elimination Station. Losing racers are being sequestered at a resort in Acapulco, an each week a new short video clip airs showing the arrival of a new team or, in the event of a non-elimination, the eliminated racers hanging out and having fun. It’s pretty cool to watch.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

You Know What's Weird

You know what’s weird? Turning on MSNBC just before Countdown comes on, during the last few minutes of Hardball, and seeing a guy you went to law school with talking to Chris Matthews. Actually, “went to law school with” doesn’t go anywhere near far enough – there are plenty of people I went to law school with I never spoke with or knew personally. So let’s make that seeing a guy you went to law school with, a guy who was in your accelerated program class, a guy you went out drinking with fairly regularly, a guy who quarterbacked the flag football team you played on, a guy who came up with the idea of going to your ex-girlfriend’s house the night you broke up and demanding that she give the flowers you gave her to try to smooth things over back or at least reimburse you the cost of the flowers and was convincing enough about it that a bunch of you got in a car to go over and do it before deciding it was a bad idea after all, to see that guy, who is now, apparently, a fairly famous Democratic consultant, talking with Chris Matthews. That’s weird.

Cross-posted at Corn'O'Copia.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Plot Of Every Single Episode Of According To Jim

1. Jim is confronted with a situation that makes him uncomfortable, usually because it is threatening to his masculinity/status as head of household.

2. Jim has to take part in situation.

3. Allegedly hilarious hijinks ensue.

4. Jim begrudgingly accepts situation in a manner that will be forgotten by the time the next episode airs.

5. Somewhere, John Belushi silently weeps.


Monday, March 5, 2007

“Shows We Miss” and “Done Too Soon”

We’re going to be starting up a couple more recurring features here. I wanted to set up a couple of them, because while they seem self-explanatory, they also seem identical. But they aren’t. There’s a very key difference between them.

“Shows We Miss” will be a discussion of shows no longer airing that we miss watching. “Done Too Soon” can best be described as a subset of “Shows We Miss” but with the added factor that, as far as we are concerned, the show ended before it’s time. Here’s a couple of examples.

I miss The X-Files. It was one of my favorite shows. I started watching near the end of the first season, and continued watching through to the bitter end. But while I miss The X-Files, I would be hard pressed to make the argument that it ended before it’s time. If anything, The X-Files lasted much longer than it should have lasted. Or take a show like Buffy, another show I miss but which I think ended perfectly. On the other hand, there’s Angel, a show that could have easily gone on a couple more years.

So there you have it – “Shows We Miss” and “Done Too Soon”. Two more recurring features, coming to you from DTV.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Idol - Top Ten Women

Well, it was really nice of the women to come out and suck so badly this week, thus taking some pressure off the men.

Gina Glocksen – Alone You, Gina Glocksen, are no Carrie Underwood.

Alaina Alexander – Not Ready To Make Nice Wow. Just wow. Incredibly bad.

LaKisha Jones – Midnight Train To Georgia One of my very favorite songs, ever since I was a kid. When it was new. Did I mention I was old? Anyway, a favorite song, but an incredibly lackluster performance.

Melinda Doolittle – My Funny Valentine Remember how Constantine was on the verge of running away with Season Four after his version of this and Bohemian Rhapsody? If only he had sung more songs like this, or at least as well as he sung this. It would also be nice if Melinda had sung this as well as Constantine sang it. But she didn’t. It’s probably the best performance of the night, but that’s not saying much.

Antonella Barba – Because You Loved Me Well, as the events of the past week has shown, singing is nowhere near the best thing she does with her mouth.

Jordin Sparks – Reflections Wake me when it gets interesting.

Stephanie Edwards – Dangerously In Love Still not interesting.

Leslie Hunt – Feeling Good I didn’t enjoy this song last night when AJ did it. I don’t enjoy it now, either.

Haley Scarnato – Queen Of The Night More like handmaid of the night.

Sabrina Sloan – All The Man That I Need Well, at least the night ended on a boring note. No reason to change things this far into it.


Save Leslie!

It's actually too late to "save" Leslie. The votes are in and if she's going home, she's going home. But I would like to write about why I think we need her in the competition.

There are excellent female singers in the competition this year. Melinda, in particular, shined last night with My Funny Valentine. Then there's LaKisha (I hate a capital letter in the middle of a first name. Ugh.) who is clearly a frontrunner, but like I said last week she could run out of steam before the season ends. I like Gina and Jordin as well. Sabrina and Stephanie can belt the songs, too. But here's the thing - no one is coming across as unique. We've seen great belters before. One just won an Academy award. We've seen the punk chick before. Remember Nikki from season one? And then there's the cannon fodder we get every season. This season it's Amy-Antonella-Alaina attempting songs that are way out of their league.

Leslie is different. Her voice is unique. It's not a powerhouse, but it has a great tone. And she's willing to choose different sorts of songs, like this week's Feeling Good by Nina Simone and Micheal Buble. I had never heard of it, but it was catchy and interesting and so unlike anyone else's choices. Throw a little scatting in the middle and you have the makings of a really interesting contestant. I'm anxious to see what she might do next week.

However, I am terribly afraid we won't get the chance to find out. And that would be a real shame.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Idol - Top Ten Men (And Another Site We Love) is a must for Idol fans, though for one and only one reason. Shortly after each broadcast, he has clips (either video or mp3s) of all the performances. Idol is one of the few shows that doesn’t do a Web rebroadcast – they aren’t even posting performance clips on the Idol site, though they do have exclusive video interviews. So if you want to watch or rewatch the performances, you have to either search You Tube and hope someone posted them or go straight to The drawback is that he doesn’t usually include the judges comments. On the other hand, considering the songs run less than 2 minutes a piece, it means you can watch all the performances in under a half-hour. So is a site we love.

And now on to the Top Ten men.

Phil Stacey – Missing You If he was voted out of the competition, and weeks later someone asked me how I felt about it, I would say “I ain’t missing him at all.” Lame cover of a lame original song.

Jared Cotter – Let’s Get It On It’s funny. Every year we have a female singer attempt a song by a distinctive artist (Aretha jumps to mind) and they get criticized for choosing something by an artist so memorable that it invites unfavorable comparisons. You almost never hear this criticism of the male singers. (They say it about singers doing Stevie songs, but it’s the song, not the performance they talk about.) But Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On certainly has to be the male equivalent of that. This wasn’t a bad performance, but it certainly was not Marvin Gaye.

AJ Tabaldo – Feeling Good I think it was good, but I’m not sure – it almost put me to sleep.

Sanjaya – Steppin’ Out With My Baby I didn’t watch any of the auditions. Was there really no one better than this kid to have sent to the round of 24? This is awful, god awful.

Chris Sligh – Trouble I can’t get by his looking like a Jack Osborne clone. Sorry. Can’t do it. He’s a good singer, but he is in dire need of a makeover.

Nick Pedro – Fever Great song, crappy performance. I bet he’s gone.

Blake Lewis – Virtual Insanity Not bad, but pretty damn forgettable. Lose the hat, dude. Lose the hat.

Brandon Rogers – Time After Time Boring. There’s really nothing else to say. Boring.

Chris Richardson – Geek In The Pink I love it when an Idol singer performs a song I’ve never heard before and I like it so much I rush out to buy the record of the original performer. That happened last season when Katherine McPhee sang Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. I went out the next day and got K.T Tunstall’s Eye to the Telescope. I’m not rushing out to buy any Jason Mraz today, but I did like the song and the performance a lot. A lot.

Sundance – Mustang Sally I always think of the movie The Commitments when I hear this song. Although the band in that movie is a fake band, they are still a great band that does a great version of Mustang Sally. This version isn’t as good as that one, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.