Thursday, March 24, 2011

Please Don’t Pee on Me

There are some noted differences between television and real life. For example, people go to a bar and order “a beer.” This usually results in me yelling at my TV screen: ‘WHAT KIND OF BEER?!?! Is this an exceptionally shitty bar that only serves one kind? You should probably stop going there.’

Possibly more annoying is the use of home pregnancy tests on television. While watching “Idol” last night, (yay, continuity!) there was an ad for “Private Practice.” In the promo, one of the characters was taking a home pregnancy test and came out of the bathroom clutching the test with BOTH HANDS on EITHER END OF THE STICK! Umm, lady, I hate to break it to you, but you just peed on that.

Another example - the opening scene of “Juno.” If you recall, the titular character downs a jug of OJ and takes a pregnancy test. She comes out of the bathroom and shakes the pee stick around in the hopes of garnering a different result, leading Rainn Wilson’s character to 'hilariously' quip, “That ain’t know etch-a-sketch. This is one doodle that can't be un-did, Homeskillet.”

What he should have said? “Wait, why are you waving that around? Oh, GOD, what the hell is that on my face? Why is it wet?”

Unless you’re R Kelly, what I’ve just described to you is pretty disgusting. While my dialogue lacks the “cutesy, adorable vibe” of Diablo Cody’s, I think it’s accurate, which is why I am calling bullshit on Hollywood.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


We’re already in Season 10 of “American Idol.” If that doesn’t make you feel old, chew on this: last week one of the contestants sang “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the theme was SONGS FROM THE YEAR YOU WERE BORN! Ugh. Anyway, I wouldn’t consider “Idol” one of my guilty pleasures as I can get behind its premise – young hopefuls vie for a recording contract and a potential career in the music industry. Like “The Bachelor,” most of these kids are fairly delusional and there is some blatant emotional manipulation on the part of the producers and the contestants (see: every sob story that has ever been trotted out, from dead wives to tourettes). But the basic idea behind the show involves a lot of heart.

While I don’t particularly enjoy the karaoke-ness of it all, there is some really amazing talent on the show. Even though I won’t be running out to purchase any of their albums, I still manage to get invested in these people’s lives for a good four months. Also, the current judging panel provides some very interesting entertainment – whether it’s Randy Jackson’s continued assault on the English language, Steven Tyler’s repeated use of women’s clothing and/or accessories, or the beautifully vacant Jennifer Lopez. Hey, I’ll take my entertainment any way I can get it.

The sweetest cherry on top has to be that New York Magazine online managed to get Paul F. Tompkins to recap the show twice a week. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Tompkins is an extremely funny standup who has one of the best comedy podcasts out there – the Pod F. Tompcast. Anyway, this fact alone is enough to get me to watch every episode of the season. If you don’t believe, here are some of the highlights:

…the Idols will each sing a song from the year he or she was born. Ah, but think of it, gentlemen: What if they sang a song from the year they will die? I put it to you that science can conquer time itself!

More than a few people expressed disappointment that I did not recap J.Lo's video last week. I'll tell you why I didn't. Nothing happened in it. It was a music video. J.Lo lip-synched and so did Pitbull. There was dancing. It took place in a club. What'd you think there would be? Oh, J.Lo and Pitbull were dressed like Diane Keaton and Warren Beatty from “Reds” and then the camera zoomed into Pitbull's eye and George Washington Carver married a peanut and their baby fast-forward grew up to be the next incarnation of the Buddha and the grown-up Buddha was played by a CGI Heath Ledger. I cried.

Clint went for it, lots of vocal runs and all that, very energetic onstage, but it seemed kinda sweaty overall. Like, I AM SINGING LIKE CRAZY UP HERE AND MOVING AROUND A LOT! LIKE, A LOT A LOT! YOU ARE PROBABLY IDOLIZING ME!

See?!?! Even if you don’t watch Idol, I still think you should read these recaps because it will probably be the funniest five minutes of your day. Yes, I am assuming your life is boring.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For Colored Girls

Guilty pleasures – we all have them. Mine happens to be the junk food of reality TV – “The Bachelor.” I got into “The Bachelor/ette” franchise (again) when my sister and I decided to start watching it together, even though we live 700 km apart – it started out as something to bond over and send snarky text messages about. However, a couple of seasons ago, my sister stopped watching. I continued on. I can’t really explain it, but there is something so delightful about watching 24 beautiful women self-destruct on national television. Ok, so maybe I can explain it.

One thing I have noticed lately is that there is a distinct lack of non-Caucasian bachelors and bachelorettes. Earlier seasons would sprinkle at least one or two “colored” contestants in for good measure, but these men and women would seldom make it past the top 15. This has always kind of bugged me until this recently published interview Entertainment Weekly online conducted with “Bachelor” producer Mike Fleiss:

EW: Will we ever see a bachelor or a bachelorette who is not white?

Mike Fleiss: ...We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty of tokenism. Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would.

I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE PROUD TO BE SOMEONE OF COLOUR IN MY LIFE! (Sorry, Obama). Look, while I love this show, it basically scrapes the bottom of humanity’s barrel in terms of casting. The women they find are either fame-seeking whores, delusional divorcees in their early twenties or desperate cat-ladies in their late thirties – as an added bonus, these women all seem to regress and behave like lovesick teens when forced to live together and vie for the affections of a man they know nothing about.

Would it be nice to see more non-white faces on TV? Of course. Does it need to be on a trashy reality television show? No.
Yes, I am as stupid as I look.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why Superman will never be Cool

I don’t claim to be any sort of comic book fangirl; however, I do have a pretty decent knowledge having grown up watching Saturday morning cartoons, hanging out with geeks in high school and dating a huge nerd for over two years. So this morning when I checked out Entertainment Weekly online, I noticed that Jeff Jensen had written a very interesting essay on how to make the new Superman franchise relevant. While I enjoyed the essay (and the discussions going on in the comments section), I would disagree with Jensen completely, citing the fact that the whole reboot is pointless. Here are some reasons why I feel another Superman movie is a very bad idea:

1. Superman is always going to look like an idiot. There is no getting around it. This is not a good look for anyone (not even Henry Cavill):

2. Superman is just too perfect. All of the (successful) franchise reboots of late have centered on the fact that these “superheroes” have a lot of personal shit to deal with (see: Spiderman, Iron Man and especially, Batman). Superman is no fun because he has no humanly faults (admittedly, he is not human). He’s a giant blue boy scout with all of the power in the world and yet we’re supposed to sympathize and relate with him? No.

3. The franchise doesn’t have a great track record. The 1978 movie, while loved by many, is still pretty fucking terrible – the plot involves Lex Luthor trying to sink California and Superman flying in the opposite direction of the Earth in order to turn back time by changing the planet’s rotation…two through four weren’t much better…I won’t even touch the awful Singer adaptation.

4. He doesn’t fit into contemporary society. Superman was conceived during the 1930s as a fantastical response to the very real problems of that era. While these problems are still relevant, I can’t see Superman handling these matters in a way that wouldn’t cause loud guffaws from the viewing audience. Can you just imagine what Superman would have done given last week’s horrific events? Freeze the tsunami with his super-breath? Use his super-strength to drill into the earth’s crust and physically stop the tectonic plates from crashing into one another? It’s a nice idea, but it would never happen. Superman just doesn’t belong in the 21st century.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Should I be Gleeful?

There has been much love and then much backlash doled out towards Fox’s “Glee.” I can understand where most people are coming from when they criticize the show as I hold the same sentiments: the characters are inconsistent; the songs are overproduced and auto-tuned to death; the tone veers wildly; etc. Despite my better judgment, I have continued to watch this show, hoping for a glimpse of the series I fell in love with during the first half of its first season.

So, going into last night’s “Original Song” episode, I was very skeptical. The show has taken a lot of criticism over their ubiquitous cover songs (they’ve even managed to steal the record for most number one singles away from The Beatles), so I was interested to see what they would come up with. All in all, the originals weren’t half bad. I thought Santana’s “Trouty Mouth” about her boyfriend/beard’s gigantic pie-hole was hilariously written and pretty well-sung (though, most people around the blogosphere seemed to dislike it); Puck’s “Big Ass Heart” was a charming love song about his overweight paramour; and Mercedes’ “Hell to the No” was one of the night’s weaker offerings which was saved by Amber Riley’s huge, yet underused voice (like most of the characters on the show, the writers don’t really know what to do with her).

But for the night’s biggest numbers, Lea Michelle belted out “Get it Right” and dueted with Corey Monteith on “Loser like Me” which were clearly the originals we were meant to pay attention to (I’m really hoping that people prove me wrong and make “Trouty Mouth” number one on iTunes). Personally, I don’t think these songs are going to be smash hits as the writers played it pretty safe – nothing really set these originals apart from the generic pop songs that this show chooses to cover from week to week (in all honesty, half the time I have no fucking clue what songs rival glee club, The Warblers are singing).

Anyway, this episode could have been pretty great – we had some emotional pay-offs with the Rachel, Finn, Quinn love triangle and the much awaited romantic pairing of Kurt and Blaine; however, between the original songs and the covers, the episode felt overstuffed. More importantly, as Todd VanDerWerff of the A.V.Club notes, the whole original songwriting plot could have been stretched out over three episodes instead of crammed into one (for the record, he is much more eloquent than I am and you should check out his review of the episode here). But possibly the worst part of this episode was the bizarre Kathy Griffin cameo as a Sarah Palin/Christine O’Donnell type character. The impression wasn’t very funny and pretty much resorted to saying offensive things explained away by the fact that the character was a Republican. As you guys know, I’m a fan of structure, but the writers of this episode failed to construct a single joke for Griffin (who as a comedienne should have done something about this). The final act of the show threw me off so completely that I ended up hating what should have been a pretty good episode, proving that one bad apple does in fact spoil the bunch.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Pond Apart

So I’ve taken quite a long hiatus – take that New Year’s resolution! I squashed you like the annoying gnat that you are. ANYWAY, the reason for my extended vacation from the blogosphere was due to an actual vacation – I traveled the UK for a couple of weeks. Just a bit of history before I proceed – growing up I was a huge anglophile. I would watch Britcoms on PBS, had an unhealthy affinity for Hugh Grant, (we’re talking getting-BJs-from-prostitutes-era Grant) and always dreamt I would grow up to marry Prince Harry (like most children, I was delusional and had no concept of my place in the world…I also didn’t know this was coming:)

However, when I first traveled to London some four years ago, I was severely disappointed – London was grey, soggy and full of smarmy, unfriendly people. But, I was determined to give the early love of my life a second chance. This time around, London was very good to me. And now, on to the small screen.

While in the UK, I watched a fair amount of television. One show that I managed to catch quite a few episodes of was “Harry Hill’s TV Burp” which is basically the British version of “The Soup.” I am a huge fan of “The Soup” – it’s pretty much the only watchable thing on E! and Joel McHale does an amazing job. “TV Burp” tries to do essentially the same thing; however, there are some notable differences – namely, that weird slap-sticky comedy that the Brits are so fond of. Take a look:

Now, I’m not saying that every bit on “The Soup” is a hit; however, I applaud the fact that they tell actual jokes. I don’t really know why I’m such a stickler for form and structure (especially when it comes to joke telling), but I just can’t get behind being silly for the sake of being silly. I guess I’ll just consider it something lost between the great cultural divide.

We get it; you are hilarious.