Friday, October 22, 2010

A Little Television and A Lie: Reviews.

To finish up the week full of reviews, I'm going to cover the television I consumed over the weekend.  Some was recorded from TiVo, some from DVD, and some on Hulu.  Also, I actually did finish my book, so even though I quite sternly said no to a book review, I'm going to throw in a few lines.

How I Met Your Mother: Season Five.  The last disc of the season: I starting watching on Friday night, drifted off the sleep mid-way through, and finished it on Saturday morning.  The first two seasons of this show were great and I was dismayed that I hadn't watched them live.  The third season was pretty good.  The forth and fifth season exist.  The biggest problem with the show is the worst character, the one we could all do without, is Ted- the protagonist.  He's the jerkhole telling the whole story.  Without him, we lose the structure.  We would also roll our eyes at the screen a lot less. I've invested so much time into it by now that I have to see it through.  I still love Marshall and Lily; they may be world's best couple.  And Barney is awesome.  I would believe that NPH has his own writer.  And Robin is tolerable, she has her place.  I've noticed, however, that I laugh less and I notice the laugh track more.  That's bad news bears.  Also, soon, the math isn't going to work out.  The show continues to be successful, and since the premise is all about how Ted meets the mother of his children, we can't find out who the mother is until close to the end.  But trap: the kids are about 15-ish in the year 2030, which means they need to be born in about 2015- in 5 years.  And even though television time is a little more sped up than real people time, the show is signed on through 8 seasons, so 2013.  That's pretty much down to the wire.  And I have serious doubts that the show can get back to it's initial awesomeness and make me care who the mother actually is in two years.  Ted's a whiny bitch and I wouldn't be surprised if the mother were a test tube.

Grey's Anatomy. On Hulu.  It's not good, but it's not awful either.  And on a rainy Saturday morning, it's a nice excuse to stay in bed a little longer.  It happened to be a beautiful Saturday morning, but still, staying in bed is awesome.  The people are still pretty, but I won't care if the hospital blows up and *oh the irony* the only people who can save the wounded were all blown up with it.

Private Practice. On Hulu.  How did this get on my computer screen?  It must have been an auto-play setting or something.  It's not good.  Everyone whines about everything, all the time.

Melissa&Joey. On Hulu.  If I had cable, I would actually watch (or at least TiVo) this show. It's cute enough to hold my attention, and I give Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence credit for not giving up on acting and for apparently honoring whatever contract with the devil they signed to produce another ABC Family thing together.  It's not the sharpest of wit, but it has a few laugh-out-loud moments, and the writers seem to be paying attention to the episodes they've already written.  It wouldn't survive on network TV, but I'm glad it's out there.  It is kind of like a Who's The Boss remake, but Who's The Boss was awesome, so I don't see the problem.

The Good Guys.  TiVo.  I don't particularly fancy cop shows, but I've warmed up to this one, because it's more than just a cop show.  It's a comedy.  I hear it's running the risk of being canceled.  That figures.  I think Bradley Whitford as Detective Dan Stark is hilarious.  It's a part we're not used to seeing him in, and I enjoy the range.  His mustache is actually hilarious, especially when he introduces it to people: "I'm Detective Dan, this is my stache."  I also like how they use the word stupid as a superlative.  Also, the partnership between Detective Dan and Detective Jack (Colin Hanks) continues to grow.  In the early stages of the series, there was a feeling that Dan was kind of a screw-up and Jack was just a by-the-book straight-edge guy.  A lot of the conflict came from this.  However, as the show progresses the relationship builds and they start to see eye to eye.  Kind of like Mulder and Scully did, but funnier, and with fewer aliens.

Modern Family. TiVo.  This is one of the best written comedies on today.  Smart, cutting, and with a giant load of heart to boot.  This is a show I will actually pause in the middle of to soak up the joke a little more.  Or rewind that 2 seconds to watch the subtle look Julie Bowen shot to the camera.  There was fear the mock-umentary style was being over done, but I think it's just an accepted style now, and we should embrace it, because Modern Family does great things with it.

Cougar Town. TiVo.  It has its own special style that maybe if you think about too much you'll kinda go "wait, people can't behave that way for reals."  Luckily it's not for reals, so we can enjoy its awesomeness.  This show is packed full of heart.  The heart is what drives it, and the funny comes along for the ride.  Since I watched this almost a week ago, I'm struggling to recall my favorite bits of this episode.  But they come up with their own catch phrases ("Swallow the sword," both literally and figuratively) and games (Movie Mash Up!  How fun!), and I respect that.

Raising Hope. TiVo. It only kind of holds my attention.  It's new, so I've been giving it a chance.  It's not not funny, but it's not something I'm dying to watch every week either.  Sometimes I actually forget I even recorded it.  I usually remember when I'm rewatching Running Wilde and the end of Raising Hope is at the start.  Then I go back and watch it, and it delays the crappy part of the day a little longer, but I'd rather have it get canceled than all the shows I love that are apparently in jeopardy.

Community. TiVo.  Actually, I rewatched this.  That's how much I love this show.  They got stuck in a KFC space simulator that was being towed to a remote area by a rival community college.  Clearly, that deserves more than one viewing.

Juliet, Naked. Book.  It wasn't over the weekend, but I finished it this week.  Using the GoodReads rating system, I would give it 3 stars.  I liked it well enough to keep reading it, which doesn't always happen.  But I didn't like it so much I would tell others to immediately go out and get it.  There were douchey moments of the book.  Moments where the description of how great this one thing slash person was were so over the top there is no appropriate metaphor for just how over the top it was.  Hornby was attempting to validate his characters' obsession by telling his audience it was worth obsessing over, and why.  As a person who obsesses over things, I wanted to jump right in, I wanted to believe it.  But nothing has ever been as good as Hornby wants us to believe this made up thing could have been.  In the end I liked the protagonist a lot less than one should like a protagonists and I sided with the antagonist way more than one should.  This initial assessment led me to believe that perhaps this was intentional: maybe Hornby had actually delicately swapped their positions mid-narrative.  I would also like to believe this is true, because I don't want to not like anything Nick Hornby does. (Also, I simplified that explanation a bit; there isn't one true pro and one true ant in this story, such as the case with many modern stories, and life in general.  But it was the easiest way to sum it up.)  If you're already a Nick Hornby fan, I think it will be an enjoyable read.  The style is definitely there, and that's easy to get wrapped up in.  However, I wouldn't recommend cutting your Nick Hornby teeth on this one.

Someone told me I needed to get a hobby.  Clearly, I have a hobby and it's watching television and movies, and reading a little.  For a brief second and I noticed how long this post was, I felt guilty for all the viewing.  Then I quickly got over it because quite frankly, I love doing it.  Also, please note, this is not a list of everything I watch all the time, every week.  This is actually only what I watched on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; mostly on Saturday. (That might make it seem more pathetic. Conundrum!)  And then the book I finished on Tuesday.  It probably should have more specific for the week, but sometimes they run together and I just remember the general good feeling that covers my mind: like a brain blanket.

Yes, I'm trying to make that a thing people say.

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