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…

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Don Draper, Advertising, and Free Will

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s a little surprising that Mad Men hasn’t touched on one of the more famous campaigns in popular advertising: the Cola Wars. While most people over the age of 20 remember the Pepsi/Coca Cola rivalry as a phenomenon of the 1980s and ’90s, the two companies were battling it out for marketplace supremacy long before the Pepsi Challenge. Pepsi’s “For Those Who Think Young” campaign began in the early ’60s as a way of tapping into the appeal of a burgeoning counterculture that held youthfulness as its most valuable asset. Thomas Frank writes in The Conquest of Cool, “this new species of marketing is concerned with nothing other than the construction of consumer subjectivity, as manufacturers and advertisers attempt to call group identities into existence where before there had been nothing but inchoate feelings and common responses to pollsters’ questions.” The Cola Wars of the 1960s represented a new era of marketing aimed at the symbolism of a product as opposed to the product itself. As business historian Richard S. Tedlow notes, “There was no such thing as the Pepsi Generation until Pepsi created it.”

Tedlow may not exist in the world of Mad Men, but his ideas echo throughout the series. In the pilot episode, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” Don’s new client, Rachel, admits she’s never been in love. “What you call love,” he shoots back, “was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.” This line tells us two things about Don: he is profoundly cynical about love and he believes that advertising has the power to not only evoke but create the feelings that most people associate with love.  Read more…

Previously, On Childrens Hospital…

December 9, 2010 1 comment

Adult Swim recently announced they had picked up National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle, or NTSF:SD:SUV, the fake cop show that ran promotional ads between mini-episodes of Childrens Hospital. Soon 12 full episodes of Paul Scheer’s mock crime drama will replace the hole in my heart now that the second season of Childrens Hospital is finished.

Childrens Hospital, if your life hasn’t yet been transformed by it, is an Adult Swim series written and directed by former Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry. The show pokes fun at – or, I should say, mercilessly rips apart – popular medical dramas, most notably Grey’s Anatomy. From the cheesy indie pop background music to the faux-sincere voiceovers, Childrens Hospital is a top-notch parody in the truest sense of the word. Read more…

Friday Night Lights S05E05: Texas Forever. Forever

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

For the first time all season, I was really happy with Friday Night Lights this week. I think many factors contributed to my state of contentment. Firstly, Coach Taylor offered his team some pretty powerful speeches this week. “Success is not a goal, it’s a byproduct,” he tells the Lions who are hard at practice. That’s golden, right? While it’s nothing like his speech at the end of the pilot episode, I feel confident that coach is back. Not only is he back, but he is in it to win it.

This week saw the East Dillon Lions facing South King High, a team which they had forfeited a game to last season. Coach T wants to play fair, but the refs are making it difficult. The Lions get aggressive and they come out with a win thanks to the efforts of Vince and Luke who are both looking to go to TMU. Vince is being pressured by TMU recruits, but both he and his dad promise to let Coach take the reigns on Vince’s football and college future. However, after the win, Vince’s father seems to be getting caught up in his pride and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a verbal agreement without his son’s consent. This wouldn’t be cool, but hey, at least he’s off the drugs.

Not only is Coach back in top form as a team leader, but he and Tami also seemed to connect- from a distance- for a brief moment. Both of them were drunk, but if alcohol is what it takes to get these guys to realize how lucky they are to have one another, so be it. I miss the days when they would sit on their sofa, each with a glass of wine in hand as they discussed the mundane events of their respective days. Now we have to watch Tami whining to another teacher about how much she misses Julie. Yawn. At least this week we weren’t forced to watch Tami trying to save a student (been there done that). There was also no Becky! Even though I’m warming up to her, her absence was noted and appreciated.

Read more…

My Tuesday Night Dilemma

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

The Good Wife vs. Law and Order SVU. What’s a girl to do? Each Tuesday, the hours leading up to 10pm are spent sorting out my internal struggle over which show to watch on air, and which show to stream online later.

Some Tuesdays, the decision is easier than others. When it’s been a rough day, I like to watch Law and Order SVU. I make this decision not just to be reminded that my life’s woes pale in comparison to those of the victims in each episode, but also so that I can be comforted by my two favourite detectives, Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson. Now in its 11th season, the show is so formulaic that it can’t go wrong. Sure some episodes are better than others, and at times the show can feel like it’s becoming repetitive, but more often than not, I feel satisfied by 11pm. The other reason I used to opt to watch SVU over The Good Wife, was because the commercial breaks during SVU offer the audience some time to ponder and predict possible outcomes.

However, this season, The Good Wife has stepped up and become more intriguing and suspenseful, making the usually dreaded commercial breaks almost necessary. With each passing week, we are slowly and subtly finding out more about the characters. There have also been some great additions to the cast and some phenomenal guest appearances. Scott Porter of Friday Night Lights, has joined the show as a corrupt investigator working for the law firm, which has created great tension for the owners of the firm and the other investigator, Kalinda. My favourite guest appearance on any TV show this season has to be Michael J. Fox’s portrayal of a conniving lawyer who attempted to use his disability to win over the jury. Fox’s decision to take on this role says something about the greatness of the show since he rarely takes on acting gigs any more. And word is that he’ll be back later on in the season to stick it to Alicia since she won their last court room battle. Read more…

Friday Night Lights S05E04 Part 2: Start a War

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I'm over you, Vince. Where's # 88 at?

I’m about ready to start a war of my own if the writers don’t bring #88 to the forefront. Seriously, what is the point of introducing such a stud- or any new characters for that matter- if they aren’t going to be used? Cough, J.D., cough.

I’d especially like to see Grey Damon get some screen time since I’m still not feeling Vince. His storyline is too similar to Smash’s and Smash was the best. As well, the way Vince is treating Jess is getting old. I know he’s going through some stuff, but must he always be so selfish? Jess’ parents aren’t around, but he rarely checks in with her to ask how her dinner or day was like she always seems to with him. I like Jess these days, and I’m glad she keeps sticking up for herself, but sooner or later Vince is going to have to stop being so stubborn, or she is going to need to end things. Enter Hastings Ruckle, (the aforementioned #88) who will treat her the way she deserves to be treated. Unless the rumours that he was brought on to the show so the writers could explore a gay football player storyline are true. If this is the case, that’s fine by me. It will make good television. But let’s see it unfold already.

And if he isn’t gay, then perhaps he should learn how to make Jess swoon by taking some pointers from Luke Cafferty. His face is pretty perfect. Two moments in this episode stuck out to me in particular. Firstly, when he looked Becky in the eyes and told her he was coming for her, and secondly, when he stood on the TMU field- in a suit- looking like he belonged, and like he was on top of the world. But just when we think it is Luke’s moment, we see Vince being pulled aside and taken to meet the Head Coach. Perhaps a war will start between Luke and Vince. Their friendship can’t last forever if they are both competing for attention from good colleges. Read more…

Zack Morris Meets Dawson Leery

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Zack the Dreamboat

Dawson the sad sack

I don’t think I need to elaborate on this. Best. News. Ever. Every girl who grew up in the 90s is dying with anticipation to see these two on screen together. The only thing that could make my childhood dream coming true any better, is if they were both set to star in the re-vamped Saved by the Bell series as opposed to this new show, which, quite frankly, sounds like it will get cancelled pretty quickly. What ever happened to Jimmy Fallon’s attempts to reunite the cast of Saved by the Bell?

Since I don’t have TNT, which is where this meeting will occur, I will have to witness the encounter online after it airs. However, I could be enticed to order TNT if Zack and Dawson met in the good old Creek. Zack would realize that Pacey is the cool one and he’d drop Dawson. Then there could be a juicy new love triangle consisting of Pacey, Joey, and Zack. Now that, I’d pay to see, because unlike Dawson, Zack (who can do better than the heartbreaker, Kelly) may actually be a worthy opponent for the seemingly perfect Pacey. Maybe.