Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Settling Into Fall

     Finally, the heat wave seems to have broken, long sleeves and jackets are appropriate, and the sun is setting earlier and earlier.  Fall is here, and I have settled on my television viewing schedule.  I was going to go day-by-day, but I actually use the term schedule pretty loosely, and since I TiVo most everything, I don't usually watch when they actually air.  Therefore a day-by-day account would be an inaccurate representation of how I actually spend my time.

How I Met Your Mother.  It airs on Monday night, and I TiVo it.  I spent so much time catching up on all of the seasons, I now feel obligated to keep watching it.  This season is picking up, and I do find myself laughing at some of the jokes like I did in the earlier seasons.  I particularly enjoyed the "Later tonight, a New York architect gets punched in the throat." Cut to: Robin punching Ted in the throat.  That was a good joke.  I do, however, still find Ted to be the most insufferable character.  I still love Barney, though sometimes the sameness of his jokes gets to me.  It's as though he doesn't even believe in the things he's saying anymore, he's just saying them because he thinks a guy like him would say them.  Marshall and Lily are great; they're the real reason to watch actually.  So I'll keep watching so my massive DVD watching wasn't in vain.  Or until something better comes along.

Raising Hope.  Tuesday nights, a lead in to Running Wilde.  I'll watch this until something better comes along.  Again, it's not not funny, so it's worth the TiVo space, however, I don't save the episode once I've watched it.  It perhaps pokes fun at people who are deemed trashy, but it shows that trashy is more of a perception, or that it is at least relative.  The Halloween episode was pretty good, though not surprising.  Is it funny that Bert pretended to take Hope to the fire station drop off so he could fake retrieve her to get a good hug from his son?  Yes.  Did the audience figure out this is what was going to happen approximately two seconds after someone said "fire-station drop-off?"  Also yes.

Running Wilde.  I TiVo it and watch it live.  This is a show I often pause in the middle of to finish laughing.  And often I rewind it to hear (or see) the joke again.  The news on the wire is that it is in danger of cancellation.  I wrote a letter to Fox pleading to give it a chance.  It just needs to find an audience.  Perhaps it's too subtle for the average Neilson box-having television viewer.  Maybe without laugh tracks and zany stereo-types indicating and indicating, people just don't know what to think.  But this show is brilliant.  I love it. 

Parenthood.  Tuesday nights, TiVo.  I would love to watch it live, but I just can't stay up that late.  I truly love this show.  I love its subtleties, and how right it is, even when maybe the characters are doing the wrong thing.  I like how they talk about everything, except not really.  They start the argument and then end it, sometimes with a resolution and sometimes not, but it's always very real.  Worlds don't end every time there's a disagreement.  They learn and grow just a little bit, like people actually do, but often they resort back to their old behavior, like people actually do.  Peter Krause and Lauren Graham carry the show, but it is ultimately an ensemble.  That is to say that without everyone else, you couldn't just have the Peter and Lauren show.  Or if you did, it would be very different.  Mae Whitman is adorable, in that teenage angsty sort of way.  If you think back on all of Mae Whitman's roles, she has quite the range.  The characters aren't stereotypes, and it would be easy to make some of them be so, since there are so many of them.  And I love the houseboat- I want to live in Crosby's houseboat.

Modern Family.  This is one of the best written comedies on TV.  I'm quoting myself from a few weeks ago, but it's true.  It's sharp and funny.  It's great to see a second season come out swinging and not lose any of the brilliance from the first.  I also like that they didn't inappropriately age anyone [Lily] just to attack the cute kid angle.  Baby Lily is great the way she is.  Plus, it's not really about her.  And I think shows stopped doing that in the 80s.

Cougar Town. The show has been making fun of itself for its awful title.  Eh, I think it's being too hard on itself.  They should just say its ironic now.  This show is full of heart and great characters.  When people ask what it's about, I say the characters.  The sit in this sit-com is that they exist.  Sitcom is kind of a catch all phrase/dirty word now a days anyway.  But that's a discussion for a different time.  The point is I like this show.  It is funny.  It made the cut for fall viewing.

Community.  I don't make plans for Thursday nights because of Community and 30 Rock.  I also TiVo them, and save all of the episodes.  I pop a big bowl of popcorn and settle in for Thursday nights.  Community is great.  It's sharp and funny and has heart.  Also, it gets ruined when you hear others talking about it the next day, so it's best to watch it live.  The same second season props from Modern Family are applicable to Community.  I started to worry about how they would continue the show with the same characters since its a community college and things like that end.  They solved that problem nicely at the end of season one by all taking Anthropology together.  I hope there are enough basic requirement classes left in Greendale's curriculum to keep the show going for a  few more years.  I don't think they're on the semester system since one semester took 9 months.  But who's to say- I never went to community college.  Maybe that's how they roll.

30 Rock.  I have a hard time expressing in words just how much I love this show.  As mentioned above, I clear my Thursday nights.  I watch this live and TiVo it.  I use the special "do not delete this EVER" feature.  At 9, when it's over, I watch it again.  I tend to take it personally if people don't like it.  I think it's smart and funny.  I think this season so far is amazing.  They don't abuse their guest stars too much, and they get some really good ones.  Paul Giamatti?  Brilliant.  Kelsey Grammer as Kelsey Grammer?  Awesome.  Their live episode was a lovely treat for loyal fans; I've been singing the new words to the theme song for weeks.  A few critics had said last season was a little off, and even though I disagree, if it were true, season five is definitely its call for redemption.  Thursday nights are special.  Don't call me, I won't answer.

The Whole Truth. I don't usually watch legal dramas, or procedurals.  So much so that I'm not sure exactly what genre this show is.  I think it's on Wednesdays.  It's one I TiVo and watch later, usually on Saturday mornings with eggs and coffee.  I like Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow.  They're fun to watch.  I read the show was on the chopping blocks.  That's unfortunate, but mostly just because I would like to see Maura Tierney do well, not because it would be a blow to television or American culture.  It's only about 5 episodes in now, and it's already getting into dangerous "how crazy and twisted can this shit be" territory.  It's the thing I don't generally like about dramas.  The audience has to continually be shocked by how horrific things are, and dramas just pile it on.  But I digress.  My point is I watch it.  If it gets canceled, I won't.  I also won't look for a legal procedural to fill the hole.

The Good Guys.  It's on Friday nights, so occasionally, I do watch it live, because I'm cool like that.  Last weeks episode was lack-luster, but I have hope it will regain its shineyness this week.  This is a show that often sits in my TiVo for a while before being watched though.  I like it enough to give it space, but it's not the first thing resting on my mindgrapes.

Detroit 1-8-7.  Initially, this show lost the time slot battle with Parenthood (for me, not according to ratings, or anything official).  I still stand by my actions, and I will continue to record Parenthood.  However, upon urging from a friend, I decided to watch this on Hulu.  I had read the recap and wasn't impressed; it's amazing how much just can't come through in a recap.  I was wrong.  This is a great show.  I watched all five episodes on Hulu.  And even though I won't give up the TiVo space, I now make an appointment with Hulu to watch this show.

That is approximately seven and a half hours worth of television.  Other than Saturday Night Live, I don't watch things that air on the weekend.  I used to be all about Fox's Sunday night line up, but I got bored with it, and lost the patience to squeeze it into my week.  Recently I took a survey that asked how much TV I watch per week.  I thought I watched a lot, but when looking at the choices, I realized maybe it wasn't all that much.  The top option was "over 20 hours" followed by "18 - 20 hours."  Mathematically, I can see how it would work out: 3 hours of prime time per weeknight, plus a football game or tennis match.  But good god, when would we eat?  Oh right, while watching TV.  Hm.  Well, perhaps I'm abnormal then.  Again, a discussion for a whole other day.

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