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.
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).
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?
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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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Last Man Standing: Columbus Day

A Columbus Day episode is a rarity on television... in fact, I can't think of ANY. Normally, I don't think I'd care about the holiday not getting much attention, but this year I think it needs some emphasis. Tonight, at the gym, the manager wasn't in, but I was told she'd be available on Monday. As that's a holiday, I double-checked that the woman would be in, and the employee said "oh, that's right, it's Columbia's Day on Monday." At first I thought I misheard, but the gentleman said it two more times, prompting my husband and I to laugh in horror as soon as we got to the parking lot! Similarly, last May I was teaching a fifth grade theatre class and used Columbus as an example, but was met with a lot of "deer-in-headlights" looks. I glanced at their teacher, who said the students know who he is, but when it didn't seem to click, I changed the example for the other classes. I still remember the song I learned in kindergarten about the explorer, but apparently he needs more acknowledgement! Granted, Last Man Standing might not have been the ideal vehicle for that, but I’m appreciative just the same.
Last Man Standing "Rediscover America" (S04E03): Eve playing for the football team is now making the local newspaper. However, she’s not thrilled that she's always referred to as "the female kicker," though Vanessa and Kristin point out that she's opening doors for young girls. [does nobody remember that Rudy played football on The Cosby Show in the eighties? However, once Eve misses a field goal and costs her team the game, Kristin is upset at how the newspaper depicts Eve as female. [I hate Kristin.] Eve begins to feel the burden of being expected to represent all women, increasing the pressure on her during games.

Ed's girlfriend is bothered that Mike is the face of Outdoor Man in a regional magazine, which prompts Ed to cancel Mike's Columbus Day sale, despite the fact that he knows Mike's marketing mind has done wonders for them over the years. [pride can be a nuisance.] However, Mike goes ahead with making a Columbus Day vlog, only to make Ed the star, comparing the older man to Leif Ericson, who beat Columbus to "discovering America," but doesn't get the credit. [I thought that this might have been a little mushy for Mike’s character.]
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Fun Friday: The Girl Meets World Theme Song

I have a bad habit of not really listening to lyrics. No, seriously... I bought a lot of CDs in the late 90s because I'd like a song on MTV or the radio, and then I'd listen to it over and over and learn the words and sing along. But, 15 years later, I'm often only now understanding what the songs are about... and there are several instances where I was 180 degrees off, which is rather embarrassing! I've been trying to be better in recent years, so I don't declare songs as favorites without actually knowing what they're about, but sometimes I'm still swept away by how catchy they seem.

When Girl Meets World premiered, I was among the many skeptics from the start, as the theme song didn't resemble that of its predecessor, Boy Meets World. But, as I've been mentioning in my weekly remarks about the series, the spin-off needs to be judged on its own merit. So, in listening to the theme song without comparing it to anything else, I determined that I like it. It's upbeat and motivational and memorable. Give it a listen:

Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter sing about being unsure but confident, and it's pretty empowering. I'm hoping that the tweens, pre-teens, and teens watching the series are getting as much out of this message as I am! Although I encourage you to really think about the lyrics (only the first part of the song is seen on the Disney Channel, it actually keeps going!), here are a few excerpts from my favorite parts...

face to face with changes
what's it all about?
life is crazy
but I know I can work it out
'cause I got you to live it with me

I feel alright
I'm gonna take on the world

I've got a ticket to the top of the sky
I'm comin' up, I'm on the ride of my life

flyin' high
I won't look down
let my fears fall to the ground

what's your favorite part of the theme song?
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