27 September 2012

26 September 2012

The Mindy Project: Me Speechless

Wow, I watched The Mindy Project pilot last night and I'm floored. The episode barreled along at 800 mph, throwing Mindy in a pool and trapping her in an elevator and assisting her to deliver a baby and watching her watch When Harry Met Sally. I can't believe it was only 22 minutes. And the tone! I can't nail down the tone - was it a dark comedy? a single lady po-mo farce? a medical romp? - I have no idea, but I'm excited to find out. And the way Mindy and Danny (Chris Messina) go ugly to insult each other, yowza, what is even going on. I like this show. I can't wait for the next one. Mindy, WHAT ON EARTH!!!

Photo courtesy Fox.com

25 September 2012

How I Sat Real Close To Your Mother At A Train Station

Last night was -HOPEFULLY- the last season premiere How I Met Your Mother will ever have, and I write that with utmost affection. We picked back up at this neverending Barney wedding and ended the episode at the Farhampton train station, where a woman braves the rain with a familiar yellow umbrella. Looks like Ted's about to meet somebody's mother...and it's not Marvin's!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Marvin is the name of Lily and Marshall's baby. Speaking of the Eriksens, Lily and Marshall are zombies now because they're the sleepless parents of a newborn and they refuse to sleep when they get a chance. Sleep when the baby sleeps, that's what comic strips always told me. But I can see how that might not make for great television. What makes for great television? Having Lily and Marshall look at their friends through aquarium glasses to illustrate their exhaustion, I guess. Or at least that makes for heartily OK c-story television.

Barney TED (jeez Beck) ran off with Victoria at the end of last season and I'd completely forgotten. I honestly thought Victoria was just one in the long line of "Remember her from season 1? She's still not the mother" girls they brought in last year. Look, she was cool and everything, it's great she makes cupcakes, and clearly she's a complete nerdlington match for Ted. But is she worth spending more time with? Do they ever give her any jokes to deliver? Who is she really, and why am I even asking? The best thing about her is her 2-second mention during Barney's 1-minute recap of the entire series. She isn't even the first girl Ted wimps out on kissing. YIKES, TORI.

Meanwhile Barney and Quinn (also still around) are having relations in Marshall and Lily's doorless half-kitchen. A long time ago, when the writers put Barney and Robin together, they quickly broke them up because "None of us wanted to see Barney wearing a sweater-vest and going to bed-and-breakfasts," according to Carter Bays. Considering where our chess pieces are now poised, this statement must've come out as soon as the writers decided to have Barney and Robin (Swarkles) end up together. Since all great romantic comedies show that Guy Loses Girl must come before Guy Gets Girl Back, an immediate Swarkles Breakup was the only natural choice to get there. EXCEPT IT WASN'T!

I've had qualms with the Swarkles Breakup for a while now (clearly), and I think those qualms funnel straight into the discomfort I'm having with the Future Swarkles Wedding. The fun thing about Barney and Robin - as we learned in season ONE - is how compatible they are. They love scotch and cigars and haberdashery! They love independence and self-reliance and unabashedness! It's a match made in gentlemen's club heaven, but somehow it doesn't look that way when they're together. For the two seconds that Swarkles existed onscreen, they were forced into unhappiness. They dodged the sweater vests, but they completely abandoned the camaraderie. I don't think it had to be this way. I think we could've watched a totally different relationship unfold, and I think it still would've provided the dramatic plotlines the showrunners needed. It's like what I'm learning in improv: don't say no to a perfectly good situation. Be there and do it and see what it leads to. Otherwise, the audience will sit around asking why they wasted so much time watching a scene that ended up going nowhere. Ted and Barney's friendship went through the wringer to let Swarkles happen, and then it all went down the toilet in a grand, pointless ghost flush.

And so we're left with the final storyline of the season opener: Robin's continued unspoken adoration of Barney. Which was what all of last season was. And the episode ends with Barney giving her a key to a storage facility, where it turns out he's keeping all his Swarkles Merch. Guys? We know already. We know Robin wants to marry Barney or whatever. From their relationship, it's unclear WHY she does - perhaps a more tangible breakup would've given this arc more weight* - but she's stuck on him just the same (even though apparently she's dating some chump right now?). 
*Right now all I can remember from their breakup is that they were going through their first rough patch and just said screw it.

Here is my dream of where this season goes from here:

-Barney and Quinn break up AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in order to make room for more ACTUAL GROWTH between Swarkles. It wouldn't make sense for two can't-tie-me-downers to jump into a quickie wedding, even if it's for some cute sitcom reason of "if we don't do it now, we never will!!!" I want to see how they finally really do finagle their wants and needs into a workable relationship. I HAVE SPENT SEVEN YEARS ON THESE CHARACTERS. DON'T SEND ME OUT ON "OH, WHAT THE HECK, LET'S GET HITCHED"

-Ted putters around as harmlessly as possible for as long as it takes to get him to that stupid Farhampton train station. Have him take Marvin out to the playground and pick up a one-episode girlfriend while pretending to be a single father. Have him accidentally kill The Captain. Have him find Bryan Cranston's character and slap his face. Have him stumble into a roomful of women he's dated and make him sit them down one by one to explain why they weren't The One. Build a cupcake bakery for Victoria but don't waste any more time dating her for God's sake.

-Marshall and Lily can't stray too far into the Exploring Parenthood sphere because How I Met Your Mother is solidly in the Exploring Adulthood sphere. Maybe they try to rig something where they can enjoy themselves like childless people where there are lots of pulleys and axles and the crib lifts up and down? I don't know. I'm still working out ideas.

I say all of this and spend my time thinking about this because I truly adore this show. As soon as I started watching, I fell in love with its intricacy and playfulness. It felt like each callback was just for me. I respected the characters' wants and needs because they all made sense in a genuinely satisfying way. I just want to feel that way again forever. Can-do's-ville, babydoll?

All photos courtesy CBS.com

24 September 2012

Chevy Chase Fulfills My Prophecy

What do you know, NY Mag posted today about Chevy's recent interview with Huffington Post UK. Guess what? He still hates everything!

See previous:

21 September 2012

TV Is Coming Back, OR Finally, A Reason To Live Again

TV came back last night, THANK GOD. We're back.

NBC premiered new seasons of Up All Night, The Office, and Parks & Rec after a Thursday night installment of "Weekend Update." Here is what I thought of all of them, followed by a list of other tv shows I'm excited to start watching again:

Up All Night:
I've heard such great things about this show, but somehow I only watched 2 or 3 episodes of its first season. That baby's real cute. Maya Rudolph is funny but her character continues to waver between Oprah and Someone Less Powerful. Will Arnett looks thin, possibly from the stress of his then-crumbling marriage. Writing that makes me want to stop writing right now and go to my bed to listen to Carole King and let the rain pour down outside my window. This might be all I can handle. But let me quickly say that I like the addition of the brother, played by Luka Jones of the ill-fated Best Friends Forever, which I was really getting used to and which I still miss.

PS My roommate Colin just reminded me that the funniest part of the episode was Maya Rudolph kissing all those babies on the playground. I forgot and I agree wholeheartedly!!

The Office:
Kelly & Ryan are gone, and Clark Duke & some dude named Plop have taken their place. Clark (Dwight Jr) is working out well for me. I'm pleased with the idea that Jim might leave the company for a better career. I don't understand why Catherine Tate couldn't sue the company for establishing such a hostile work environment. They surround her with recycling bins, and apparently they purchase extra recycling bins to make a full line around her. There are like 6 of them.

I can't believe Parks & Rec is back!!! It might be time to ask myself if this is my favorite show. Well? Is it? Is it, Miss Beck? Whatcha thinkin? STOP CODDLING ME IT'S MY FAVORITE SHOW AND I ADMIT IT FREELY! I love all of them! This morning I was listening to Girl on Guy, the Aisha Tyler podcast, and she was interviewing Retta (ie Donna ie TREAT Yoself ie MY BENZ!!!). I love everything about this show. The cast is amazing, the setting feels like home, and the storylines are usually effortless.

But what was with Ron Swanson ruining this employee appreciation picnic? Is this the Ron we know and love? The one who won a burger contest by slapping plain ground beef on a grill? Why would he buy frozen meat and then threaten to season it for 5 hours? What's this pig about? Wouldn't he love picnics because there's meat and you don't have to go into the office? Also, why is Chris Traeger telling him how to run the Parks & Rec office? Was Ron not running the department for the previous 4 seasons? Why are Ann and Tom living together? Why has that lasted for more than one season? Where's Kathryn Hahn???

(all above photos courtesy of NBC.com)

It was a great night, everybody. And now for the rest of the shows I'm looking forward to this fall:

Revolution (NBC Mondays at 10pm): I guess it already started this week and it's been on Hulu for a while. Also I guess I'm not really that excited about it. JJ, I love you because you are my uncle and because of the first two seasons of Lost. But by now I know better than to jump into a new show of yours. I'll be wading into this one.


2 Broke Girls (hahahahahahahahah JK! It sucks so much!!! haha!)

New Girl (Fox Tues 9/25 at 8pm): The more time I spend away from it, the more I'm unsure about its enjoyment factor. Is it too frou-frou? Don't I still wish Damon Wayans Jr were on it? Is it all just Schmidt in a fat suit? Becky, cut it out. You know you enjoyed it last season. You even wrote a You-Should-Watch article about it. You like it. Just wait 'til Tuesday. You'll see.


The Mindy Project (Fox Tues 9/25 at 9:30pm): Same deal as Revolution but with less suspicion. But I really want Mindy Kaling to succeed as a writer and a fashion plate and a household name so clearly we've got a lot riding on this.

Modern Family (ABC Weds 9/26 at 9pm): What a great show. I wrote a spec for it a few years ago called "Luke the Ladies' Man." I think it would have gone over very well.

UPDATE: I FORGOT KEY & PEELE! (Comedy Central Weds 9/26 at 10:30pm) Key & Peele surprised me so much last year. I went from "Oh, 2 dudes from MadTV? Neat." to "OH, KEY AND PEELE! You make me laugh I love you!!!" Man they're great. One half-Jew watching two half-black guys? Match made in heaven.

Bob's Burgers (Fox Sun 9/30 at 8:30pm): FINALLY! I've watched every episode from season 1 like 90 times now and Hulu's being kind of greedy with the Plus episodes. I just want to watch more of this all the time.
courtesy SeriousEats.com
Dexter (Showtime Sun 9/30 9pm): Kill Deb! Or make her start killing people!


30 Rock (NBC Thurs 10/4 8pm): How will they wrap up the many loves of Liz Lemon? All my days I've been waiting for you to come back home in the moonlight of New York City!

Gossip Girl (CW Mon 10/9 at 9pm): How will they wrap up the many incestuous teenage affairs of the insanely ├╝ber-rich? Marry one of them off to Ryan Reynolds I guess. The rest lose everything in one last Carter Baizen poker game. Truly a lost weekend, indeed.


American Horror Story: Asylum (FX Weds 10/17 at 10pm): I can't wait to see all the new freaky deaky stuff. It's going to be weird. But I read somewhere that maybe we shouldn't be demonizing the mentally ill so much anymore, and I agree.

Community (NBC Thurs 10/19 at 8:30pm): FINALLY! What will the show look like without Dan Harmon? Well one thing's for sure, now Chevy Chase has no reason to complain about anything. Ha-ha he will complain.

Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 (ABC Tues 10/23 at 9:30pm): We are cruising toward a Dawson's Creek reunion, and BONUS, now that I've seen season 2 of Breaking Bad I feel like I know Krysten Ritter even better. The great thing about this show is that intertextuality really enriches it. The bad thing about this show is that Dreama Walker's eyes are distractingly huge. Costume Department Quick Fix: slap some glasses on it.


courtesy eonline.com