Friday, December 12, 2014

Fun Friday: It's Tough to Beat Aaron Sorkin

I tend to have no ability to notice directing or writing similarities between movies or television shows. I have friends who can see one episode of a show and realize immediately that it must have been the same writer as another episode because of how they're written. Similarly, a colleague in grad school was obsessed with seeing movies by certain directors because he really liked their styles. While I have no doubt that I probably have my own writing and (theatrical) directing style, I'm oblivious to those of others.
Aaron Sorkin

HOWEVER, I am a big fan of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and an above-average fan of The Newsroom and Sports Night, which are three of Aaron Sorkin's four television dramas. (The fourth being West Wing, which I don't enjoy.) I don't know that I would have put certain trends together stylistically, but once I watch this parody, I can pick out mechanics that I've seen before in this series.

Did you notice these things as Sorkinisms before, or are you putting them together now like I am?
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Orange and Black-ish Halloween

Who seriously leaves a handwritten note in this day and age? That would have been unbelievable to the point that I would have known something was up. Having a security camera in the house being the tip-off, however, was a perfect fit for this series and its ideal that you just get so spoiled you don't appreciate what it took to get where you are. I've never really thought of Halloween as a particularly big prank holiday, but I remember Roseanne having related pranks, so I guess it might be a regional or generational trend. I am happy, however, that they had a family-themed costume, as I feel like that's something we never see on television anymore.
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Black-ish "The Prank King" (S01E06): Andre decorates the house for Halloween, but the bigger deal is the family pranking one another. These jokes include fake spiders, super gluing items, and wetting someone else's beds... [that last one is gross but was actually pretty funny - a classic example of how younger family members don't totally understand how to participate in a tradition.]

Andre is proud of Zoe's past feats and looks forward to her stuff this year, but she thinks she's outgrown pranking. Andre tries to inspire her by pranking Junior in front of her, but it fails. [I loved the chair gag!] But, little does Dre know, the family works together to prank him into thinking someone is breaking in. But, Dre was wise to it all and played along, and had Josh come scare the family. [Bo punches him in his broken nose - ouch! I was also sad that Josh was punched on purpose at work, too.] And, despite that some of the family doesn't seem to be in the Halloween spirit, they do all dress as the Jackson 5 + Janet. [which is much better than The Beatles!]

The end of the episode played on the old joke that all black people know one another. 
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Try It Out: Fake Off & Friends of the People

It's a big week for TruTV, with two new series premiering on Monday and Tuesday. If you haven't come across the network before, you might have just not noticed - 91 million households in America receive it, though it was formerly Court TV (pre-2008). The channel is designed for reality programming, though it also carries some sports games, particularly NCAA basketball. But, the new series coming are both reality-based, with Monday's 10pm Fake Off being reality competition, and Tuesday's 10:30pm Friends of the People being sketch comedy.
ANNETTE BROWN
Fake Off promises to be visually stunning (and from what I've seen, it truly is), and promotes a hot type of performance these days - Faking. It's a mix of theatre, improvisation, illusion, and other factors, and will have troupes competing to "re-imagine iconic moments in pop culture." It'll start with ten teams doing 90-second routines, and eliminations would happen one at a time until only America's Fake-Off Champions remain. Judges include Chili (of the music group TLC), Michael Curry (puppet designer for Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Theatrical, 1996 & 2002 Olympics Opening Ceremonies, and more), and Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike Chang on Glee).
ALI GOLDSTEIN
Friends of the People is set up much like other sketch comedy series, with a bunch of comedians/improvisation artists who also serve as writers and executive producers on the series. There will be recurring characters, they will poke fun at pop culture, and there is inspiration from earlier similar series, like In Living Color. From the bits I have seen, I think that it actually will have a different take than and be more genuine than something like Saturday Night Live. And, yes, you have seen those twins (left in the image above) before - Keith and Kenny Lucas were on 22 Jump Street as residence hall neighbors for the guys.

Fake Off: Monday, October 27th at 10pm.
Friends of the People: Tuesday, October 28th at 10:30pm on TruTV. 

TruTV is on Comcast 65/841, DirecTV 246, DISH 242/9430, FiOS 183/683.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Fun Friday: Friends Quotes by a Kid

I never thought I'd be taken with Friends. I've said before that I only saw two episodes live during the original run, and I just didn't "get it." I later watched the entire series because my husband had become a fan, and found it to be a good show. However, I don't re-watch it in any way... not late at night, not as background noise, not to catch more continuity issues (there are many). But, I know lots of people who watch it all the time, and I even went to a Friends-themed party last year. All of that said, I think the series has many memorable moments, and somebody has captured their preschooler reciting some of those imprinted lines. Take a look at 20 of them...

My favorite was "Look at me, I'm Chandler. Could I be wearing any more clothes?" because that was such a funny scene!
"That is brand new information," "paper... snow... a ghost!" and "he's her lobster" were also particularly adorable. Were there any that you particularly loved?
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Monday, October 13, 2014

RETURNING: The Goldbergs: Recording the Radio

Pops wanting a fake ID so that a fellow senior would see him as a few years younger was precious! In fact, I really enjoyed the whole B-story much more than Adam’s failure at progressing his relationship with Dana. However, it was fun to have some more 80s music references on the show, and I also really like it airing after The Middle, so I have high hopes for a great season. I do, however, think that a few changes are going to have to be made… I think one thing that would help the show would be additional settings. Last season the bulk of the series seemed to take place in the Goldberg home. Now, that’s not a bad thing, but going to the schools, Murray’sstore, local hangouts, etc. would be more fun. I understand it’s tough to do with a period show (laser light locale isn’t as tough as a vintage arcade, for instance), but I think it would spice it up a bit, don’t you?
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The Goldbergs "Love Is a Mix Tape" (S02E01): It’s September 4th, 1980something, and Adam makes a mixtape for Dana, but Beverly thinks it's for her. [that’s the most awkward thing ever!!] She makes it clear that Adam is her favorite child, so he can't come clean… until Beverly plays the tape when Dana is in the car. But it only gets worse from there! Adam makes a "sorry" tape, but neither Dana nor Beverly accept it. [why doesn’t Adam turn to Pops at this point?!?] Pops helps Bev understand that Adam is growing up, and she helps Adam with Dana by breaking into the control booth at the local laser lights show and altering the images to include the names "Adam" and "Dana" on a heart. [um, I’m not 100% sure, but I think that those things took a long time to input back in those days, so that never would’ve worked.]

When Barry learns that Erica has a fake ID, he demands one, only to brag about it too much at school and get it confiscated, moments after promising a senior he'll pick up ten cases of beer for a party. [I really loved that Barry didn’t know how much beer that was!!] Barry tries to get Murray to help him out, then resorts to taking his father’s ID, not knowing that the cashier knows his father. [ha! Isn’t that like rule #1 of having a fake ID – use it out of town??] Barry blows the beer money on sandwiches, hoping to be seen as a "hero," but Murray shows up and pretends to take beer away from him so he can save a little face. [yay, Murray!]
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