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Goodbye, Friday Night Lights

July 20, 2011 Leave a comment

This blog probably wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for Friday Night Lights, our favourite show to recap and obsess over these past couple years. I’m ashamed to admit this but I haven’t seen the final episode of the series yet (I hate it when real life gets in the way of TV life, which is a far more fulfilling experience anyway so GET OFF MY BACK, MOM). But the end of a critically acclaimed—if under-watched—series means the inevitable torrent of essays, analyses and tributes to the characters that occupied so much space in our minds and hearts. On that note, I thought I’d link to a couple great FNL articles on the new Bill Simmons/Chuck Klosterman blog Grantland: “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Couldn’t Lose: An Oral History of Friday Night Lights” and “HIPSTER RUNOFF’s Carles on the lessons of Friday Night Lights.” Here’s a taste of the first article, a quote from series creator Peter Berg:

I remember I went to NBC, and there were about 10 people in the room. [Kevin Reilly] and I looked at each other, and he said, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I want to build up this all-American quarterback, this hero. This wonderful, beautiful kid with his entire future ahead of him. His biggest decision in life was whether he was going to take a full ride to UT or Notre Dame. He’s got the hot girlfriend. He’s got the loving parents. And he’s going to break his neck in the first game. We’re going to create this iconic American hero, and we’re going to demolish him.”

 

Enjoy!

Michael’s Last Dundies

April 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I haven’t written about NBC’s Thursday night line-up this year, but only out of laziness. I think it goes without saying that 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and, of course, The Office have been a consistent string of shows for the past few months, even the past year. Last night’s episodes of 30 Rock and The Office stood out to me in that they both tried to do the same thing – use a behind-the-scenes, real life event as a plot device – but only one show succeeded.

30 Rock‘s big milestone was their 100th episode, a day I’m sure many executives at NBC never saw coming. They celebrated with a one-hour special written by Tina Fey. Rather than choose between airing a clip show or writing new material, Fey did both, and the result was a disappointment. Ryan McGee at The A.V. Club admits he “was fairly burned out on meta-nostalgia by the end of 30 Rock’s hour-long episode,” and I have to agree. Flashbacks are one thing, but you can’t expect your audience to tag along for an hour’s worth of fairly lengthly clip sequences for every major character.

The episode centres on the 100th episode of TGS, which would have made for an eventful enough episode, and would have provided more than enough “meta-nostalgia” without all the tiresome clips. An awkward plot involving a gas leak does reach a reasonable conclusion, but it just feels like too much work. It’s kind of like watching kids put on a play: I’m sure they had a lot of fun making it, but don’t they realize how tedious it is for the adults? (Ed. note: I am not an adult. Just to be clear.) Read more…

Last Chance for Friday Nights Lights

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment

In case you missed it when it aired on DirecTV in the fall, the fifth and final season of Friday Night Lights premiered on NBC on Friday (April 15). Just a quick post to remind y’all to GET OFF YER ASSES AND WATCH IT! I AIN’T KIDDIN’ AROUND, SON! Just getting into the spirit of the show here. So watch! Friday nights at 8pm on NBC! Since it is the end of this wonderful if under-watched series,  and I’m getting a bit nostalgic, I leave you with the opening scene from the very first episode of the show. Enjoy:

Sports Show with Norm MacDonald

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Back in September I went to see Norm MacDonald perform stand-up at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. It was funny in the way most things that come out of his mouth are funny, but the show was a bit of a shapeless mess. It had that vaguely depressing Spinal-Tap-reunion-tour feeling of deflated expectations. So imagine my excitement (it looks something like this) when I finally got around to watching the premiere of Sports Show with Norm MacDonald, Norm’s news parody show on Comedy Central.

Norm (we’re on a first-name basis, sorry ladies) sets the tone with his signature deadpan sarcasm in the show’s cold open, starting off with a joke about Cameron Diaz wanting boyfriend Alex Rodriguez to star in her new movie: “You can read my review for the flim in “Norm MacDonald’s Suicide Notes.” Wild applause! Roll credits! Next he moved into a Weekend Update-style segment, taking shots at Barry Bonds and Masters Tournament winner Charles Schwartzel. “After the win, Charles Schwartzel said, ‘Charles Schwartzel? Who the hell is Charles Schwartzel?'” It’s the perfect example of a joke that would fall flat on its face if anyone else tried to deliver it.  Read more…

Seriously Weird Show

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

When I heard about Heidi Klum’s new Kids Say the Darndest Things-rip-off Seriously Funny Kids, I made a note to watch the premiere. Eight o’clock on Tuesday, February 15, however, found me in my neutral position: on the couch watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on my laptop despite the Rogers cable box staring at me from on top of the TV promising hundreds of channels to suit any mood. At around 9:30 I realized I had missed the show. (Maybe I should come up with a better system than writing things down on scraps of paper and shoving them in my bag. I guess that system’s called an iPhone but I’m fiercely and irrationally loyal to my red-and-black Samsung flip phone; we’re about to celebrate our third anniversary together.) ANYWAY, last night I caught a few minutes of the show during a Sunday evening lull and I was surprisingly repelled. I didn’t expect to particularly like the show; I think it’s safe to say I’m not exactly the its target audience. But I also didn’t expect to react with such visceral disgust.

I saw four segments before I reached my threshold. First, I watched a close-up of a boy, maybe four years old (although I”ll be the first to admit my estimates re: age may be wildly off the mark) with a huge booger hanging off his right nostril. I think the booger eventually popped but I can’t be sure exactly how this transpired because my roommate and I instantly shielded our eyes the moment the child’s mucous overtook about two-thirds of the TV screen. This went on for an agonizing period of time (probably only about a minute but it seemed like hours) before the poor kid was put out of his misery. Read more…

Norm MacDonald Presents: Oscar Night 2011

February 28, 2011 1 comment

This year I watched the Oscars with a theatre full of people, possibly the first time I’ve made it all the way through with other people there to witness the feat. Except this year I didn’t feel the need to congratulate myself, because it wasn’t really much of a feat. The 2011 Academy Awards weren’t just watchable; they were actually enjoyable.

This year was also the first time I followed the Oscars on Twitter alongside the actual broadcast and the experience was the final push I needed to get over my seething hatred of 140-characters-or-less. Let’s just get this out there: the real winner of the Oscars wasn’t Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, or Tom Hooper: it was Norm MacDonald. Last night was the closest I’ll ever get to hanging out with Norm MacDonald (dear god I hope that’s not true) and it was every bit as magical as I would expect. I think the best way to revisit the ceremonies is to work our way through the vast and complex terrain of Norm’s Twitter feed. A selection (in chronological order): Read more…

Fact: Doctors Look Better in Shorts

January 13, 2011 1 comment

Eager viewers, the time has come. Hold your breath no more: Shonda Rhimes has finally figured out a way to create a medical drama where the doctors can wear shorts and show off their six-packs. Off the Map is the latest atrocity from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes*, who’s decided to raise the stakes by setting the show in a clinic in South America, the only one of its kind within 200 miles. “Forget what you saw in residency,” a doctor warns the three newcomers. The message is pretty clear. Forget what you saw on ER, Grey’s Anatomy and the like: Off the Map likes its drama spicy! This ain’t no Seattle; you’re in the jungle, baby! We just turned up da HEAT so if you don’t like it get outta the kitchen, muthafuckas!

Off the Map is so formulaic it’s not even fair. First, we’re introduced to the clinic’s main doctors. There’s Dr. Zita Alvarez, the sassy, tough local with a heart of gold. We know she has a heart of gold because Dr. Otis Cole (the token black doctor; we know this because HIS NAME IS OTIS COLE) literally tells her, out loud, that she has a heart of gold. Zita ain’t too happy about the newcomers: “Just what we need, more cocky imperialist doctors”;
“Goody, another American, saved by the great white hope,” she whines. Aren’t you a grown woman with an extremely high level of education? Then why do you sound like a first-year undergraduate poly-sci student? Oh, that’s right, because you were created by Shonda Rhimes. Finally there’s Dr. Ben Keeton, the ruggedly handsome rogue whose methods are just crazy enough to work. Case in point: when they run out of blood during surgery, he grabs a fellow doctor and sets off to hunt down coconuts in the wild because coconut juice is pretty much the same as blood, no doy. Read more…