Category Archives: television

Midseason Premieres Round-Up

Kerry Washington, right, stars in the new ABC drama "Scandal."

So, I’ve been slacking, but staffing a magazine is a neverending job and when someone quits, I step in. We’re actually accepting summer interns, if anyone’s interested. This is our first summer! I hope to be so happy about it by the end that I start singing “Summer Nights” from “Grease” and actually hit that weird note John Travolta does in the end.

OK. I’ve been watching a lot of midseason premieres and I’ve kept my mouth shut. But now it’s time to open it a little. I’m not going to open wide and start spewing out the criticisms because I have to edit our stories for May, but I thought I’d pop in and predict the futures of some of these shows, with a little insight added.

Are You There, Chelsea? : I bet this looked really good on paper, but Laura Prepon was a terrible choice as a lead. She’s a background character actor; second to someone else’s polished fiddle. She should be playing the sister and Chelsea Handler should be somewhere with her feet propped up on all her money.
Prediction: No second season renewal

Napoleon Dynamite : I watched the film twice. The first time, I was angry for wasting my time on a film with no plot and the second time I was stuck on a coach bus with it. (I ended up falling asleep somewhere in the beginning.) I find the cartoon to be just as annoying as the film, but I feel bad for everyone in the town because cartoon teens never grow up. They’ll be stuck with these kids forever. At least Jon Heder’s getting work.
Prediction:
This will probably get at least three seasons and be watched by people who somehow think it’s funny. Then, it will live in cult classic infamy with the film.

Key & Peele : I’ve only seen two episodes, but this show was hilarious. It uses the live show/pre-recorded format popularized at Comedy Central by Dave Chapelle. But the show’s got a different dynamic, using two hosts and with a smaller crowd.
Prediction:
It’s been renewed for a second season. Unfortunately, I think it would get canceled halfway through the second season unless it can gain some serious buzz. Good news: the skits will definitely live on through YouTube forever.

Smash : NBC’s problem is usually that they don’t put enough work and preparation into a show before debuting it. Well, they did with this show and it’s a hit. I was worried it would be too much like Glee, but this show is for Broadway lovers who will occasionally dip their toe into the Top 40.
Prediction:
This will be on for at least four seasons, losing its way somewhere in the second season when they’ve gotten to big to fail.

Fashion Star : My wallet hates this show. It gets smaller after every episode. The clothes are good, the concept is great, but the execution is terrible. I’m not invested in any of the designers because I don’t know how they are. The editing is so bad and we get so little time to see the creative process that I don’t know who anyone is. I swear they slipped in a guy in this week because I’d never seen him before.
Prediction:
This will last until NBC gets tired of paying for it. And they will never improve the execution.

Scandal : There are no words to describe how much I love this show. All the TV elitists hate it, but I’m not a TV elitist. Just give me good characters, good acting and a novel concept. When you put Shonda Rhimes in the mix, I will automatically love it. Then, you give me Kerry Washington? This show was created with me in mind.
Prediction:
At least two seasons. If people stand behind it like they should, it’ll be on for five, but I can’t see Washington putting in seven seasons of work on TV when she could easily get film roles.

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 : I love shows like Dexter and films like American Psycho, where you go into the mind of sociopaths. I never thought about a female sociopath, and definitely didn’t she’d be featured in a comedy about roommates. But this show works. Probably because Krysten Ritter is perfect for the role.
Prediction:
Three seasons before America gets tired of it and the network kicks it the curb.

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The Rise of Awkward Girls

The NBC sitcom Whitney is cashing in on the popularity of awkward women on TV.

What I hate most about TV sometimes is how together a lot of characters seem in fall shows. These are usually the ones that don’t get picked up for a full season. Thank, God.

Instead of people with only one or two minor problems being passed off as issues, networks seem to be looking to cash in on women so awkward that they make you a little uncomfortable. Two shows definitely fit that bill: Whitney (NBC) and New Girl (FOX).

Whitney (Whitney Cummings) is somehow in a three-year relationship despite her awkardness and complete disregard for social norms. Her boyfriend, Alex (Chris D’Elia), apparently a multi-millionaire after selling an Internet company, puts up with her antics and even plays along with them. After deciding they aren’t having enough sex, Whitney buys a sexy nurse’s uniform and during the sexy role play she makes him fill out paperwork and even takes his insurance card. That doesn’t really scream sexy, does it? She gets even more awkward in the second episode, insisting that they go on the first date they never had and taking their roles to the extreme. She even has an awkward meeting with him by the elevator.

As for New Girl, it’s just as quirky as the previews made it seem. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) can never do anything without adding some kind of awkwardness to it. In the pilot, she makes an entrance in a LBD and right after her roommates compliment her, she does a terrifyingly quirky little dance move. The second episode shows her driving around in circles because she’s afraid to get her belongings from her former boyfriend’s house. She’s a complete quirky disaster in the third episode, trying to help her roommate make his ex jealous by pretending to be his girlfriend. All she does is make fake pregnancy allegations and plead to wear false buck teeth. If she weren’t odd enough, Jess also frequently sings her own theme song under her breath.

A few years ago, characters like this wouldn’t have made it past two episodes, but both have been picked up for a full season. Can you imagine if Carrie Bradshaw or Mary Tyler Moore had this many quirks in the first season? I think the success comes from the fact that women in their target age group are becoming more comfortable with being a little different.

Although, I love Whitney, I remain on the fence about New Girl. Jess crosses the line between quirky and just unrelatably insane way too much. I’m also not crazy about Winston, a roommate added in the second episode. I preferred Damon Wayans Jr.’s coach character because he was awkward in all the right ways. Winston just seems lost. It’s a trait he shares with the story line.

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First Glance: The New Fall Season

I know it’s been a while, but you didn’t think I would really sit out the Fall 2011 TV season, did you? Not a chance.

I don’t want to judge anything before I give it at least two episodes, but I’ve seen a few pilots and these are my initial thoughts as I viewed them.

New Girl: If Zooey Deschanel tries any harder to make her character quirky and individualistic, I will throw my television out the window and thank God I won’t even have the possibility of flipping through channels and accidentally seeing a second of this. (Since I love Zooey’s music and some of her films, I’m going to give it one more chance. Pray for my TV’s well-being.)

The Playboy Club: Did she really just kill a mobster with her high heels? And now a lawyer is helping her load the body in a trunk and dump it in a river. Wait, is that Hugh Hefner narrating? Why is the narration so spaced out and awkward? It’s like a thought you keep trying to push away, but it comes up again at the most random—

There it is again! Go away, Hef!

Free Agents: There’s nothing like a grown man crying after sex in the opening scene of a show. Oh, actually, there’s nothing like a discussion about his sex life during staff meetings. Is she really listening to “Fernando” by Abba to get over her husband’s death? Isn’t that about a war? Hilarious! I can’t believe they actually cleared up the background of “Fernando.” This is going to be one of my go-to Hulu shows every week for a good chuckle.

Up All Night: They just cursed at their baby! That is something about transitioning from life without kids that I never considered. That made my day! Maya Rudolph playing a TV host? This is officially my favorite show of the new season and I don’t have any kids or a full-time grown-up job.

I’m gearing up for Charlie’s Angels, Pan Am and maybe Revenge. I’d watch the new shows on The CW, but they’re not on Hulu and I’m not available most week nights. I hate the video player on The CW site, but I will find a way to watch those shows. Maybe I’ll bum off of a friend’s DVR.

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Nicki Minaj Gets ‘Bossed Up’

Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed Nicki Minaj "The New Queen of Hip Hop"

Last week, Nicki Minaj’s MTV Documentary, entitled “My Time Now,” premiered and fans all over sat in front of the TV to get to know the hip hop artist a little better. Personally, I was watching “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” but I flipped to the documentary on commercial breaks. After RHOA went off, I went to MTV.com and watched the entire documentary.

Nicki has lived through a lot of struggles, like being raised by her grandmother in Trinidad while her parents made a life for them in the U.S., having a crack-addicted father and a string of bad jobs. Now, it’s her time and she’s taking it seriously.

I liked Nicki before, but after seeing this episode, I started to like her even more. She’s not just an artist, she’s a businesswoman. She’s not stupid like Lil’ Kim (her Black Friday diss was awful; my mom was listening to it with me and she fell asleep a minute into the song) because she knows her time won’t last forever. I think that’s were a lot of artists mess up. They think we’ll always love them, but people are fickle with music.

My favorite part of the documentary was when she discussed the double standard between women and men. Although at the end of the rant, she asked them not to run it because she thought it made her look stupid, I’m glad they did. She made some really great points and looked anything but stupid.

Here’s the clip where she discusses being a “bitch” v. “bossed up”:

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Matt LeBlanc Returns to TV

Just when you’d gotten over the bad taste in your mouth that was caused by bad fall premieres (Anyone catch an episode of Undercovers before they pulled the plug?), it’s time for winter premieres. I’ve heard some whispers around the water cooler about the fall season, which will be packed with remakes and shows based on archetypes instead of actually creating complex characters (The critic in me is excited, but the TV-watcher side is sad.), which is the downfall of network television. So, I’m looking to winter for some shows that may be able to give me a little satisfaction before the remake invasion.

Enter, Episodes. The return of Matt LeBlanc, aka Joey from Friends and from the short-lived sitcom named after the same character. Episodes has the quality of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm by portraying a well-known person in the entertainment industry who is playing a version of himself. Basically, Matt LeBlanc is playing Matt LeBlanc. I’m not fond of the narrator in the trailer because it makes it sound a little outdated. (It actually reminds me of the trailer for Breakfast at Tiffany’s). But the show looks promising. I like the idea of British actors and American actors together, but it’s probably going to be a challenge if they plan on meshing the two genres of humor because they’re so different. Comedy usually doesn’t travel well across the Atlantic.

Could this be the return of Matt LeBlanc? Or, more importantly, the catch phrase, “How you doing?”

The show premieres in January of next year.

Be sure to check out what to expect from other television shows next year courtesy of New York Magazine. (I’m obsessed with them.) Of course, I will be putting in my two cents on some of them after they premiere.

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Abraham Lincoln liked to wrestle

I just spent an ungodly amount of money on the sunglasses referenced in my last post and a few 80s throwbacks that aren’t too juvenile looking. I came home, much poorer, and I was watching the American Idol results show when this commercial came on. I thought it was pretty funny!

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Operacion Repo

When I’m home, my family and I watch this show about people who repo cars. It’s amazing the kinds of things people will do just to keep a car they haven’t been paying for. It’s also amazing with the lies these repo-ers use to find out where a car is hidden on the property.

It comes on TruTV. There’s actually a marathon on right now!

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