Saturday, June 19, 2010

Six Shows You Need to Watch


Ok now that most people have less to do (or have a full-time job but deliberately become lazier), I think it's a prime opportunity for my readers to find a new TV show to enjoy. Sure, you could be sitting outside and enjoying the nice weather, getting tan, catching up on reading a book...OR YOU COULD BE DESTROYING YOUR MIND GRAPES WITH DELICIOUS TV!!! It is my hope that you choose the last option. So, to get you started, here are my suggestions under various parameters.

Goal: Oh HAY what's a funny show I can watch with minimal brain commitment?

Well, my first recommendation is Better Off Ted. Why, you ask?

1. It's hilarious
2. It only lasted two short seasons, so you'll get through it quickly
3. Most people never watched it, so I'm guessing you didn't. Ergo, it will be new for you.
4. Portia de Rossi proves yet again that she has an impeccable sense of TV quality and a "John Goodman Stool Sample" sense of commercial viability. PS I don't know if John Goodman is still alive, but if he isn't then my bad because that last statement was in poor taste.

WATCH IT NOW. The first season is on Netflix streaming, so it's really easy to track down.

Goal: Kthnkx Riha, but I want something that is popular enough that I'll be able to talk about it in social settings.

Hmm, well then you'd better get on board with de Rossi's other sitcom: Arrested Development. It's one of the most critically acclaimed series of the last decade, yet it wasn't that popular during its brief, 2.5 season run. However, it has become quite popular on DVD and many people that didn't give a shit about it five years ago now praise it as genius. I know. I'm one of those people. The only downside is that fans of the show tend to be sort of pompous. I know. I'm one of those pompous fans.

"Hey look at me! I watched Arrested Development! It's a show that was very smart! And very funny! I watched it! So I am smart! And very funny! Yay me!"

If that annoys you, just pray two Arrested Development fans don't meet each other and get started on the subject. I won't even play out that conversation because I might trigger some Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in my readers.

If you're not bothered by your inevitable future as "that guy/girl/tranny who won't shut up about Arrested Development," go for it. But it's worth it, because the show is that smart and funny. Trust me. I watch it. And I'm that guy.

Goal: LOL OK Riha, but what about a show that is still on the air, is super funny, and I won't be a douche for liking?

Well, I already wrote a review that waxed poetic about Modern Family, so I won't belabor that hilarious, well written, Arrested Development-esque point. And I think 30 Rock is in the same vein of that high quality/self-congratulatory Arrested Development fandom as, know. Instead, I would steer your attention towards Parks and Recreation. Parks and Rec is a show that has blossomed, quite dramatically, in its second season. Sure, it wasn't that great starting off. But this season the writers have really gotten a strong sense of their characters and Amy Poehler is outstanding as the lovably awkward Leslie Knope. Give it a chance. I guess I'd recommend powering through the first season, but honestly you'd probably be ok just reading a plot synopsis and starting with season two. I said it.

Goal: Whoopdey Whoop, Riha! But now that my funny bone is tickled, what should I do? Are there any good dramas out thurrrr?

Well you may be surprised to learn this, BUT I LOVE DRAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! So I have some suggestions. First off, for those wanting a quick one season catch-up, I suggest The Good Wife. I know what you're thinking.

"Um The Good Wife is on CBS. Isn't that station for people who are over 65 and have terrible taste in television?"

Yes, it is usually, but The Good Wife (and How I Met Your Mother...and perhaps some other shows I don't watch because I sort of hate CBS) is an exception. It's a gripping legal drama, but also has family drama...and sexy political drama...and the chick from Mamma Mia who played the cougar. Yep, there's a lotta "ands" in that sentence. It's supremely well acted, and I can say that since it was a Tuesday night Tivo show, I frequently got around to watching it before I got around to watching Glee. THERE, EAT THAT.

Goal: Aiight, but is that really the best drama on TV? I mean you did say it was on CBS...

Ok, I admit. The Good Wife would not get my vote for the single best drama on TV. I've written about this show before, but since it doesn't have Modern Family's ratings, I will write again because I want this show to have an audience. Everyone ever should watch Friday Night Lights. I think I know why this show is struggling. It's premise seems designed for people who will struggle to receive a GED by age 35, yet in actuality it's a show so smart and heartfelt that it's really designed for people with a higher level of education. Luckily, most Friday Night Lights fans will never describe the show in such an arrogant fashion, so you don't have to worry about encountering tons of dbags who poop compliments talking about the show. You just have to worry about that with me.

Goal: Alright, well I'm willing to make a serious commitment to a classic show. What must I watch?

BUFFY. THE. VAMPIRE. SLAYER. It's on DVD. It's on Netflix Streaming. Sometimes I think about the show whenever You'll Be in My Heart comes on iTunes and pretend the show is singing to me. Yeah. That's how crazy I am. About the show, that is.

So heed my advice, then you can feel the way this nice lady does.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TV Review: Glee Season Finale/Season One

Ok, a few things to clear up.

First, I've been MIA. Sorry about that. I was just south of the great white north for a wedding and decided to leave my computer at home. I WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN BECAUSE LIVING WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY IS MISERABLE. Anyway, that slightly hindered my ability to write an internet post, so I promise I will be extra productive in the next week or so.

Next, I realize I already reviewed Glee. However, it was a short review that touched on the first episode after Glee's long hiatus. After a whole season of this show, I want to give a thorough summary of my thoughts on this pop culture phenomenon.

Finally, there is an edit to the Sex and the City 2 review. Look for the word "edit" in bold.

Disclaimer: I might piss off some Glee fans with this review. Let me put a smile on your face before we begin.

Whee toilet humor!!! Let's get started!


Yes. I said it. It's out there. Let that sink in and if you start to feel rage, look at the poop picture.

Now, before I get angry comments--doubtful given my current comments record--let me say that the cap locks word vomit is actually a bit of a compliment. Glee frustrates me because it has the most insane potential--it combines comedy, drama, music, suspense, and sexy bodies--and could very easily be the best show on TV. However, for every really great episode of Glee there are two or three stinking turds. When the season started back in the fall, I greeted each new episode with this sort of enthusiasm:


As the season progressed, my Glee reaction turned into this:

Hmm. Have I seen this before? I feel like Rachel's quit Glee club at least twice. Also, how is Mr. Schu still unaware that his wife is pregnant when they live together? I would totally touch her baby bump while she's sleeping. Was it really worth springing for the right's to You're Having My Baby? This is sort of gross. Yeah, I know this is a musical so some suspension of disbelief is required, but I mean come on some of these characters are getting a bit unbelievable. Also, something about Matthew Morrison is starting to bug me. Oh well, society will shun me if I criticize Glee now. I'd better shut up and sit in my corner because friends are more important than free thinking.

Then, after the hiatus, I wrote my earlier review. I summarized my reaction with the photo of a vomiting rainbow. That is still accurate.

Now, I feel a sad sense of resignation. Glee will never be as great as I want it to be and I'm too addicted to stop watching. It's this terrible situation where I watch with the naive hope that I'll get a great episode and I frequently have my hopes dashed. Sure, it's still occasionally awesome but you have to admit there are still lots of flaws with the show. I'm stuck in a "Glee purgatory" from which there is no escape. I suppose if I had to put this into a picture, it would look like this:

Yeah. I'm starting to get this Lord of the Flies feeling from Glee fans and I do worry that speaking my mind could lead to my murder, or worse, another forced viewing of Sex and the City 2.

Here are my issues with Glee that I wish would be resolved in season two. Yes, I know that Glee has great ratings, and according to Perez Hilton, commercial success is a only indicator of it's very unlikely that any changes will be made. I guess the producers will employ a strict "if it ain't broke, don't fix it policy." I mean, sure, that's true. But my toilet still works and that doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit from a thorough cleaning. Ok, I've digressed. Here are my issues.


1. Cut back on the recycled stories and present new material. THIS IS PARAMOUNT given that the Glee club didn't make regionals and now must relive the same timeline as this past season. Please don't give us the same storylines. Dear God no. If Rachel quits the Glee club again I'm going to shit a brick. Or, more likely, one of those marble stones the Greeks used.

2. Glee still functions pretty well when people aren't singing. You don't need to have songs just for the sake of featuring music. Examples: Papa Don't Preach, You're Having My Baby, THE ENTIRE DURATION OF BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (which could have been cut to three minutes), most of the funk episode, Gold Digger, No Air, etc. Even worse: derailing the entire plot to include a specific song. I would be ok with this if all of these musical numbers were well done-a la The Safety Dance--but since they're not, I'd like stronger storytelling. K thanks.

3. Ok, generally Glee is gay friendly, which I like. But seriously don't perpetuate some unrealistic views of los homos. I mean sure, I can have a small crush on a straight guy every now and then. Obviously I don't think it's going anywhere and don't do anything about it, but I highly doubt I'll be so in love with a straightie that I will manipulate my dad into falling for his mom so we can live together in my basement room and I can seduce him. I guess this is a small gripe, but if I were one of the four straight guys that watch Glee I would leave feeling a little more uncomfortable about having gay friends. More generally, I hope season two gives Kurt and Mercedes more to do than be sassy in the background and then march to the forefront when the show wants to make an overly-preachy LOVE YOURSELF THE WAY YOU ARE message.

4. Be more selective with your stunt casting. I would suggest that guest stars serve three essential functions: One. They are talented actors. Two. They can sing. Three. Their role is essential to the plot. Is that too much to ask? To this end, I would say Idina Menzel is the most successful guest this season. Kristen Chenoweth and Jonathan Groff were pretty good, with Cheno slightly lacking in plot necessity and Groff slightly lacking in acting talent. Take Olivia Newton-John's cameo as the converse. She didn't act well, sounded pretty bad on Physical, and definitely had no real purpose. Her role could have easily been switched to another star. I feel like I can't imagine anyone else taking Idina's part.

5. I would not be opposed to a shirtless guy-on-guy make out session. Preferably between Puck and Finn. True Blood is learning to pander to its audience. Take note, Glee.

6. If it weren't for the great talents of Jessalyn Gilsig and Jamya Mays, I would advocate eliminating Will Schuster's entire personal life from the show. The fake pregnancy/divorce/Emma love storylines have all been really oddly paced--going from really drawn out to super rushed, which makes those plots seem like time fillers. Furthermore, the only time I've really empathized with Will was when he was dealing with his students. I have a long laundry list of issues with Matthew Morrison which make me personally hate Will Schuster, but I will try to leave those out of this since I'm just focusing on the show. I would never use this blog as a place to slander celebrities. I would never be so crass as to say that when Matthew Morrison was singing Tell Me Something Good to Jane Lynch, I wanted her to spit into his open mouth. That would be rude.

7. I like Finn as a character on the show, but boy needs to step up his singing game. Or sing less. Hint hint. Same with Quinn. If I ever hear her sing James Brown again I'm going to vomit.

8. Considering how one note Sue has been most of the season, I like the direction she went in the finale. Keep that up in season two. I like seeing the softer side of Sue, as long as it isn't her being in love with Will. Where the Hell did that come from? Oh right, she's successful and single so according to Glee a woman like that will take any attention from a man because she's obviously desperate. This isn't the first time the writers have made Sue seem man crazy. Remember when she wore the suit after dating the newscaster? Yeah, thought so.

9. If you're feeling particularly masochistic, have a "Terrible Twos" movie marathon. Feature Transformers 2 and Sex and the City 2. This has nothing to do with Glee, but the name popped into my head and I had to write it down. Drink suggestions: shots of Everclear. You'll need them.

10. Less Will and more Santana/Britney/dancing Asian/black dancer who talked for the first time in the finale/Artie/Tina/Kurt/Mercedes/Finn/Quinn/Puck/Rachel. I wrote it out like this to emphasize just how many characters there are that could be explored instead of Will. We all know he's a soppy v that cries whenever his students make the smallest accomplishment. How about focusing on those achievements instead of close-ups of his face? We'll infer the soppy tears.

Alright, that's all for the subject of Glee. Here's to hoping that the writers ship up next season. I don't want to give up on this show completely, but if things don't change, I might.

Rating: I don't want to write it here, because I might get murdered/SATC2ed. Jesus I hated that movie. Anyway, here's a progressive grade for Glee:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Movie Review: MacGruber

Ok, after seeing Sex and the City 2 I needed to have a good laugh. Since I have a weakness for poop/dick jokes, I figured MacGruber would be a good catharsis. Sure, it's been out for about two weeks and its box office performance is abysmal, but since it was mathematically impossible to be worse than SATC2, I went. Yes. Mathematically impossible. I learned that in math major class.

I think MacGruber has a very specific brand of humor, so therefore only certain groups of people will enjoy the film. Personally, I had a good time. I didn't have a great time, but I laughed at a lot of jokes that will certainly offend many others. If you're considering the film, I'm going to describe some of people that I think will enjoy the film and those that will not. Pay close attention and try to discern if this film is right for you.

People who should avoid MacGruber:

1. Anyone who reads The New Yorker regularly. I read one of their movie reviews and the first sentence included the word "munificence." I'd imagine someone that enjoys that probably wouldn't enjoy a movie that includes the term "face vagina." Casual reading of the occasional New Yorker article still renders you eligible, but you should drink first. Munificently. Thanks, Google dictionary!

2. People over the age of 40. There was a lone man in the theater who was around 40 years old. It was frightening--much scarier that the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, but not as scary as Sarah Jessica Parker's face in SATC2. Anyway, if you're over 40 chances are you won't get/appreciate the subtle word play of this cinematic triumph.

3. The main villain's name is Cunth. If you had to reread that to get the joke, then you should just go away now. If you thought it was funny before getting to the second sentence of this section, then there's hope for you.

4. At any point in your life, have you dressed like this?

If so, MacGruber isn't for you, because this came from a Google image search for "lame nerd."

5. Anyone that owns a poodle. That's science.

People who will enjoy MacGruber:

1. Have you ever taken a poop and wanted to photograph it and show it off? Obviously you didn't because you have some social grace, but the thought crossed you mind. See MacGruber.

2. If I said there were a gag that involved celery being place in someone's anus, how would you feel? Not terrible? See MacGruber.

3. Does this picture make you smile at all? If yes, see MacGruber.

4. I really have no evidence to support this, but I suspect if you've had Taco Bell in the last two weeks, you are apt to enjoy MacGruber. Again, just a hunch. A LUNCH HUNCH?!? Ugh I'm already sorry for typing that, but find it easier to just keep typing than to go back and erase it.

5. If you've ever actually said the phrase "sucking dick" aloud, I highly recommend this film.

So in conclusion, this movie is silly fun. Not earth shattering, but you might walk around with the image of Kristin Wiig's ridiculous MacGruber fetal position coffee house scene in your head. And if that last sentence isn't a great sales pitch for the film, I don't know what is.

Rating: 3/5 stars