Vlog #18 – 90′s TV Nostalgia

29 Aug

After taking a week off, I’m finally back with a new vlog this week!

I talk all about a bunch of the shows I loved when I was growing up in the 90s.

The topic came from a suggestion from my friend Candida (thanks!). After the video, I’ll have some quick thoughts on a few shows I left out for time.

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Emmy Live-ish Blog 2014

24 Aug

As promised, here’s a running log of my thoughts and reactions while watching the 2014 Emmys (on tape delay, so I may or may not have known the outcome of some things already).

9:54 PM: Two hours late, but here we go. Seth Meyers giving a very Seth Meyers-y opening monologue.

10:04 PM: Amy Poehler (introduced by Meyers as Beyoncé) looks incredible, as always.

10:05 PM: Best Supporting Actor goes to Ty Burrell. ANDRE BRAUGHER WAS ROBBED.

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Emmy Predictions 2014

23 Aug

emmy

Instead of the typical wrap-up post this week, I thought it would be fun to write up some Emmy predictions. The show snuck up on me this year – it’s so much earlier than it usually is, and on a Monday night, too!

I’ll be listing my picks for who/what should win, will win, and what I feel was the biggest snub in every category. Things get a little tricky in the movie/miniseries categories because I haven’t seen as much of that stuff, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. FOR SCIENCE!

I will probably have some sort of live-blog/reaction post up late Monday night or early Tuesday. I won’t be around for at least the early part of the actual show, so I’ll be a bit tape-delayed.

Let’s get to the predictions!

 

Best Comedy Series

Nominated: The Big Bang Theory, Louie,Modern Family, Orange Is the New Black,Silicon Valley, Veep

Should Win:Orange is the New Black. This is for season one – season two will fall under next year’s eligibility period – and, final season of Breaking Bad notwithstanding, those first 13 episodes were the best thing I watched on TV last year in any genre.

Will Win: Orange is the New Black. I get the sense the series and its cast could walk away with quite a few awards Monday night, including the big prize.

Snubbed: Parks and Recreation. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this show is going to sail off into the TV sunset without ever winning any awards, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it or understand it.

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What I Watched – August 16

16 Aug
© HBO

© HBO

Time for another weekly wrap-up!

Episode of the Week

The Leftovers – “Solace for Tired Feet”
I’ve mentioned a few times over on Twitter that I’ve vastly preferred the episodes of this series focused on a single character – I think seeing the devastation of the departures on that level is much more effective than some of the Garvey family drama and Wayne-related stuff they’ve done.

That said, I really liked this week’s episode.

One of the biggest reasons I enjoyed it was that Kevin Sr. is fascinating to watch. We know he’s lost his marbles and it’s clear he’s unstable. But he has these moments of calm, like when he’s with Jill at the house, where he seems like a pretty cool old man, very aware of everything happening around and to him, that makes him a really interesting character.

There was a pretty large amount of Tom and Christine this week, and while that’s for the most part been my least favorite plot thread, I appreciated that something actually happened to them this week. We get a little more insight into Wayne’s operation by finding out he’s got what is essentially Tom and Christine 2.0 hiding away as well. I have no idea what Wayne’s master plan is, but there are some serious shenanigans happening with these women, their ‘miracle’ babies, and the men Wayne put in charge of them, and I don’t blame Tom for smashing his phone at the end of the episode.

Nora continues to be my favorite character on this show. She’s now dating Kevin, which actually brought some levity to this episode in spots (what a concept!). She also had the world’s greatest reaction to the Guilty Remnant members hanging around outside her house – going after them with a hose. I APPROVE.

All in all, just a lot of good stuff in this episode. I was glad to see the show get renewed for season two this week.

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My Experience as a Studio Audience Member!

9 Aug
© Adult Swim

© Adult Swim

Instead of the usual weekly wrap up post today, I thought I’d write up a little recap of my experience as an audience member at the taping for Adult Swim’s new series The Jack and Triumph Show earlier this week. It was my first time attending a show taping and I thought it was both really fun and super fascinating to see the inner workings of a sitcom up close and personal.

The show stars Jack McBrayer (Kenneth from 30 Rock) and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (voiced by Robert Smigel, best known from old episodes of Conan). On the show, Jack (his character is Jack too) and Triumph starred on a children’s television show when Jack was a kid, then got into some trouble, so now Jack has left show business and lives with his old TV mom (played by JUNE SQUIBB! How did June Squibb wind up on an Adult Swim show?!). Triumph, of course, is still around to cause trouble. Adult Swim-style weirdness and shenanigans ensue. I’m not sure when the series premieres, but they got a straight to series 20 episode order (according to Smigel), so it will be on for a full season whenever it does air.

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What I Watched – August 3

3 Aug

garfunkelandoates

This week’s wrap-up is a day late so I could include my all-afternoon Saturday binge of season 4 of The Killing. As an aside: I don’t recommend watching that much of The Killing in one sitting. SO DEPRESSING.

Episode of the Week

Garfunkel and Oates – “Speechless”
This is perhaps a strange pick since it’s the early preview episode of Garfunkel and Oates that IFC put up on YouTube earlier this week – the series doesn’t actually premiere until August 8th – but I enjoyed it more than anything else I watched this week by a long shot.

Full disclosure, I totally adore the lovely ladies of Garfunkel and Oates, Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome. Their music is hilarious, and I think they are both very funny comic actresses as well. So I’m obviously pre-disposed to enjoy this series.

That said, the show was exactly what I hoped it would be. This episode (which is technically episode three of the series) focused on the girls trying a dating experiment – not speaking at all and seeing how long they could go before the guys they were going out with would notice. It was a lot longer than either of them expected, and the experiment played for a lot of laughs. Riki and her date (played by the very funny TJ Miller, who has killed it whenever he pops up on TV lately) get through two full dates and part of another evening before Riki finally cracks and speaks – and everything quickly falls apart. Kate’s date ultimately thought she had some sort of developmental delay (which, upon a quick flashback montage, she realizes was totally fair). Really, really fun stuff.

The only minor complaint I had about the episode was that the song felt a bit shoehorned in. I fully expected that Garfunkel and Oates’ music would be incorporated into the series in some way, I just hope in future episodes it feels a little more natural.

In any case, I strongly recommend checking out the preview episode, and if you get IFC, tuning in for the premiere this Thursday at 10PM!
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Vlog #17: Thoughts on Series Finales

1 Aug

Time for another vlog!

I finished watching Chuck recently, and the finale REALLY irritated me. So this week, I decided to make a video talking about series finales – what works, what doesn’t, and some of my favorites and least favorites. Below the video, there’s a more complete list of thoughts about some specific finales I didn’t get to talk about.

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What I Watched – July 19

19 Jul
© HBO

© HBO

Time for another weekly wrap-up!

Episode of the Week

The Leftovers – “Two Boats and a Helicopter”
I wasn’t 100% sold on The Leftovers after the first two episodes – it was doing a lot of things really well (despite how bleak everything is), but hadn’t entirely clicked for me yet.

It clicked this week.

Sunday’s episode made the bold (and terrific) decision to shift the focus away from the Garvey family, and instead spend some time with one of the smaller side characters – local priest Matt Jamison. While the struggles of the Garveys have been compelling thus far, I think the premise works so much better when we get to see the various and drastic ways people have coped with “the departures” up close and personal. This was a terrific example of that.

Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal of Matt was amazing throughout the episode. We got to see the many consequences the departures had on him personally – his wife’s serious injury in the car accident we saw in the series’ opening moments, his church congregation dwindling, and his relationship with his sister Nora (who lost her husband and children) strained. He comes across as trying to be righteous, but simultaneously does a lot of things to hurt those around him (like telling Nora her husband was having an affair out of spite while they were arguing). Eccleston hit the nuances of the character perfectly and was extremely compelling to watch.

One of my favorite sequences of the episode was Matt’s moment of glory at the casino. After watching him struggle with various things through most of the episode, to see him suddenly have this epiphany on how to save his church – and succeed, however briefly, was very rewarding. The tense build-up to his last big gamble and win was filmed really well.

Of course, the moment of victory was short-lived, as seems to be the case for most happy moments in Mapleton. He’s nearly robbed of his winnings – and may or may not have murdered a guy to make sure he kept his money. On his way to give the money to the bank so he could keep his church, he stopped to help some members of the Guilty Remnant who were being attacked – another example of his more righteous tendencies shining through – and earned himself a rock to the face for his trouble.

When he came to, he rushed to the bank to make his payment only to find out he’d lost two days and was too late. And just to rub salt in the wound, it was none other than the Guilty Remnant that had purchased the church from the bank. The episode closed on Matt watching angrily as the GR paint his church white. My notes from those last moments read: “And the motherfucking GR bought the church because of course they did”. It was the only way things could turn out for poor Matt.

This was an absolutely terrific hour of television, and I’m hoping The Leftovers can deliver similar episodes in the coming weeks.

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Vlog #16 – 2014 Emmy Nominations

18 Jul

The 2014 Emmy nominations were released late last week, and rather than do my usual write-up of reactions, I decided to use that as this week’s vlog topic! I talk about the snubs that bummed me out as well as a few nominations that made me really happy.

What did you guys think of these years nominations? Anything in particular stand out to you? Let me know in the comments here or over on YouTube!

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What I Watched – July 11

12 Jul
© Comedy Central

© Comedy Central

As mentioned in my last post, given the lack of new stuff on TV on a weekly basis, I’m going to start including some of the stuff I’m watching on Netflix and the like in these weekly posts for the rest of the summer!

Episode Show of the Week

Broad City
I watched basically all of the first season of Broad City in one sitting earlier this week, so I’d be hard pressed to name one episode in particular I enjoyed more than the rest, but I am completely in love with this show. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobsen are HILARIOUS – I’d seen people stumping for Emmy love for this show online, and I totally get why now.

It is so rare to see good, female-centric comedy on TV that this show was a really pleasant surprise (shout out to the delightful Playing House on USA for being similarly awesome). I think it’s especially rare to see a show focused on two women in this particular demographic – Abbi and Ilana are in their early twenties. There’s a lot of good side characters on TV in that age bracket – I’m looking at you April Ludgate and Britta Perry – but most shows about twenty-somethings are very ensemble or dude-heavy. It was a blast to watch these ladies portray the life of someone in my general age bracket in such a funny way.

I also really enjoyed the fact that the show takes place in New York City. I’ve been living here for a year, and I feel like I wouldn’t have enjoyed it NEARLY as much without the context of my experiences over the past year. The show really captures the sometimes awesome but occasionally terrible-ness that is living in NYC perfectly.

If you haven’t seen Broad City yet, I highly recommend checking it out – unfortunately all of season one just expired off of Comedy Central’s website, but I’m sure it’s floating around out there somewhere. It’s only 10 episodes and well worth the time!

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