Friday, February 20, 2015

NEW SHOW: The Odd Couple

I have to start out by admitting that I've never seen an episode of the original Odd Couple series. However, I am familiar with its popularity, and after watching this re-make pilot, I wonder if the concept is dated. Mismatched roommates and divorcees living together are not innovative ideas for television. Granted, this is the pilot so part of the storyline has to be dedicated to setting up the characters, but it didn't really lure me in much at all - or maybe I'm just not the target audience. Still, as I mentioned last June, I think that the casting may hold promise, so I'll stick around for a few episodes.
Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Odd Couple "Pilot" (S01E01): Oscar is a sports radio host who works from home. [really? you can do that sort of thing from home now? on a real radio station?] His assistant, Dani, helps him with tasks both business and personal. [I guess she exists so there's a female character?] His agent, Teddy, is also a friend. [odd to see that actor last year being Michael J. Fox's boss and now a buddy of Matthew Perry, LoL.] He hits on his neighbors, and his latest target is Casey. Things with her go awry, however, when Oscar's old friend, Felix, shows up, heartbroken. Despite having been in couples therapy for eight years, Felix's wife, Ashley, has called it quits, so also-newly-single Oscar (divorced from wife Gabby) invites his friend to crash at his place. Felix promptly cleans the apartment, but again manages to throw a wrench in Oscar's dating plans, this time with Casey and her sister, Emily. [awesome living room! a sports ticker that even tells you what you're out of around the house?!?]
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Black-ish: Valentine's Day 2015

Blackish just had an interesting holiday episode for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so I wasn't expecting something for Valentine's Day. But, this was a welcome surprise, as the format was a little different, and we were able to get adults/kids storylines which is a breakdown we don't seem to get often on this series. I definitely agree that the more important the day, the more likely it is that big things will go wrong. I was taken aback, though, at the idea that Diane is mean to everyone... I guess I hadn't noticed? Part of me kinda wants to go back and watch earlier episodes to see if it's been a trending trait that I ignored...

Black-ish "Big Night, Big Fight" (S01E13): Dre and Bow tend to have a fight every Valentine's Day, but Dre thinks that he'll be able to make it a perfect holiday this year. He forgets to make a reservation, takes forever ordering and Bow isn't able to get her preferred entree, and winds up putting his foot in his mouth more than once. [loved the guys hanging out in the restroom!]
It's not the ideal romantic holiday, but probably on the memorable side if nothing else!

Meanwhile, at home, the kids try to teach Diane how to give compliments after she's upset that Jack got more valentines than she did. [when I was in elementary school you had to give one to every classmate, so I never experienced feeling left out. In middle school, some kids got carnations and others didn't but my friends and I would send them to one another so there was no real sad point there, either.] However, it turns out creepy and Bow and Dre tell the kids to "fix Diane" so that she's back to her usual, "mean" self. [if you're a parent, shouldn't you want your child to be a nice person??]
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black-ish: Martin Luther King Day 2015

It makes perfect sense that Dre would use MLK Day as a chance to demonstrate his kids' lack of knowledge regarding Black History, but I still didn't see it coming! I smiled at the idea of using the three-day weekend to go skiing - when I was a senior in high school my youth group went up to West Virginia that weekend to do that, and it was awesome. This episode fell a bit short of awesome, but was pretty interesting... Dre being determined to show Junior that racism is alive and well, only for the teen to wind up taking a stand for something completely different: snowboarding! Of course, his spiel on a bus still wasn't as funny as Dre's sit-in in the lodge lobby!
Black-ish "Martin Luther Skiing Day" (S01E12): The Johnsons take part in "black ski weekend" during MLK Day every year. [here in California, everyone takes President's Day weekend to go skiing... but maybe I just don't know enough black people here?] One of Junior's (white) friends is coming along, so Dre decides that he needs to beef up the family's knowledge of the cultural icon whom the weekend honors. [Dre isn't at a new company, so why is it that he's only now finding out that the corporation doesn't seem to recognize the national holiday? "it's a holiday for you two, so feel free to take the day off," sounds more like something you say for Yom Kippur, but I grew up with a Jewish superintendent, so we had all the Jewish holidays off anyway. as far as "black holidays" go, I am now curious as to how many people celebrate "Obama's inauguration" and "OJ getting off" as such...]

Dre invites Charlie to come, and then the two of them ride with Junior and his friend while Bow has the twins and Zoe in the SUV. [thoughts on "we raised a bad black person" ??] When the guys get pulled over, Dre begins to act like they're in trouble just for being black, but it was really for expired tags. [ha!] Dre then begins to look for prejudice everywhere, and makes mountains out of molehills, even throwing a fit over not getting adjoining rooms. [well, in all fairness, this sounds like a big deal when you're traveling with five kids!] But, the next day, when it's time to hit the slopes, Junior makes a scene on the bus over snowboarders having to ride in the back, and Dre is temporarily proud of his son.
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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Something New: Discovery Life Channel

Do you know what happens next Thursday? Discovery Fit & Health will become Discovery Life Channel (DLC) to the 47 million households getting the network! Programming is designed to look at ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and it will explore the full landscape of human emotions, with triumphs, troubles, and transformations.

In the 8 o'clock hour each night, we'll see Medical Mysteries, followed by Trauma Drama, followed by Medical Incredible. Other series planned to air include such titles as Tales from the Maternity Ward, Married to the ER, I Saved Myself, Medical Detectives, Mystery Diagnosis, Untold Stories of the ER, Families on the Brink, and Ripped Kids. I'm a bit skeptical about that last one, but a few of the others seem like they'd do well with the target crowd: adults 25-34, particularly women.

Re-branding channels is nothing new (Discovery just made The Military Channel into American Heroes Channel last year), but you always have to wonder what sort of research goes into figuring out whether it's a good idea or not. American Heroes allowed Military Channel to branch out into series like Gunslingers, and feature Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday as characters, even though they're not military folks, but the switch from "Fit & Health" to "Life" seems a little more nuanced.
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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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