Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rosie Down a Tube; Teen with Twins

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Reviews & Commentaries for "unscripted" shows this week include: Pregnant in Heels and 16 and Pregnant.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Two Better with Yous; Read the Terms & Conditions

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Reviews & Commentaries for "scripted" shows this week include: The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Better with You, and South Park.
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Throwback: Stick Stickly

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Today's throwback is focused on a character who hosted afternoon cable television.

When I first got cable, afternoons in the summer found my siblings and I tuning into Nick in the Afternoon, which would feature random shows. The two-hour block was hosted by Stick Stickly, a popsicle stick with a few glued-on features. He'd don various costumes to go various places, and he met other sticks, like Holly B. Wood (his love interest, who was also a news anchor), Woodknot Stickly (his long-lost brother), and SuperStick (his super hero identity). Here's the story of Woodknot (note: you can tell this is kinda old, the World Trade Center is featured):

Stick Stickly would spin on a dial to figure out what show would play next. There was a segment called Stump Stick, where he'd be given a riddle to solve. There was Dip Stick, where Stick had to try and guess what he was being dunked into. Doesn't sound that exciting now, but it was amusing to us (pre)teens!
And, to completely date the entire thing (Stick went off the air in 1998), you didn't email him... you wrote to him. And, all true Stick fans will now sing the following jingle aloud... "Write to me, Stick Stickly, PO BOX 963, New York City, New York State, 10108!"  Now, the real question... did you send him a rubber band for his birthday like he asked? My mom wouldn't give me a stamp for such a thing, but I wanted to!

Did this bring it all back for you? Or were you one of those kids who played outside during the dog-day afternoons of summer? :-P
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Seinfeld List

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Sometimes the joy of doing lists is simply nitpicking someone else's! So I caught this article in December 2010, looking at what they consider to be the 10 best Seinfeld episodes. They didn't have the same qualifiers that I do, like no holiday episodes and only one per season, so of course it makes sense that their list differs from mine. I was interested, however, in just how different it was. And, today I plan to pick apart their list, keeping mine in mind.

10. The Puffy Shirt. I hate this episode. It's really dumb, and the low-talker thing wasn't very interesting, either. The only positive thing to come from it is the appearance of the shirt-designer in the series finale, where they can't hear her on the stand.

9. The Rye. This episode is okay, but not really a storyline worth remembering, since I don't care about the majority of the episode (anything but Jerry stealing the loaf!).

8. The Hamptons. Not a fan of this one, either. The only reason anyone likes that episode is because of George's "I was in a pool" comment regarding shrinkage. whatever.

7. The Pick. In the Seinfeld canon, this one is kinda classic, since it's really the epitome of random nothingness. However, I could do without Elaine's nipply Christmas card and Jerry's neurotic thinking about nose-picking.

6. The Doorman. Same basic idea as The Pick. Jerry deals with being a doorman for fifteen minutes, Kramer's got a hair-brain scheme cooking about a male bra, and Elaine is house-sitting for Mr. Pitt. A few funny moments, incredibly random overall, but on the whole I found it to be average.

5. The Parking Garage. Now, here's an episode I can stand behind! I had a difficult time not choosing it as my own favorite for Season 3. Great concept, great execution.

4. The Pen. I'm rather upset at the inclusion of this episode. It's pretty boring - Elaine has a bad back and can't stand the heat of Florida (can't blame her), and Jerry accepted a special pen that's causing commotion in his parents' community. No George or Kramer.

3. The Chinese Restaurant. After just complaining about there being no George or Kramer in an episode, I do need to state that you don't necessarily need all four of the characters to have a great episode. The Chinese Restaurant doesn't have Kramer, but is still pretty hilarious. I support it making their list.

2. The Soup Nazi. I'm not a big fan of The Soup Nazi, because the concept kind of irks me (though I do "get it." I've been to restaurants where being "in the know" helps you a great deal). And, Elaine giving away the recipes in the end is kind of unfair.

1. The Contest. I've never been a fan of "The Contest" because the mere fact that this group talks about such things grosses me out. End of story. To place it at the very top is ridiculous.

So, do you agree with their selections? How would you nitpick them? How would you nitpick mine?
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Slow News Week

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

ABCFamily will air a new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 tomorrow night during Happy Gilmore. That's 7-9pm (Eastern or Pacific). Or, I imagine it'll be all over the internet three hours later... in case you can't stand movies like that. I know I can't.

NBC canceled The Paul Reiser Show after just two episodes. I can't say I blame them.

TBS canceled House of Payne, though they green-lit another Tyler Perry Show, For Better or for Worse.

.... yeah. it's been a slow week. But, I anticipate more news than usual next week, since we're closing in on the deadline for renewals and cancellations!
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Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm Telling!!

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

When my brother and I would come home from school, we'd watch television. This is not uncommon by any stretch of the imagination. And, for a while, we'd often play along to I'm Telling, which we thought we should be on, since we were a brother-sister pair who were between 8 and 12 at the time (of course, we didn't realize it was taped years before, LoL). We'd also run around the living room, pretending to choose prizes. We were funny kids, I gotta say. 

Brief history: Basically, this was The Newlywed Game for siblings. You tried to know more about your sibling than someone else knew about theirs. There were only 26 episodes made (between 1987 and 1988), so it wasn't very popular. It originally ran on NBC on Saturday mornings, but I caught it on The Family Channel, from 1994-1996 (it also ran on that channel 1989-1990).

The game: There were three sibling pairs competing - almost always brothers and sisters. In the first round, the brothers were taken to a soundproof room, and the sisters answered three questions about the brothers. The questions would be about likes and dislikes, abilities, favorites, experiences, etc. The brothers came back, answered the questions, and got 25 points if the sisters got the first question right, 50 for the second, and 75 for the third. Then, the sisters went to a soundproof booth and the boys answered three questions about them. The girls came back, answered, and if the responses matched, got 50 points for the first, 75 points for the second, and 150 for the third. If one team was so far in the lead that the other two couldn't possibly catch up, they ended it before revealing all of the answers. The losing teams got bikes or something like that. The winning brother-sister pair then won a $1,000 savings bond and got to play Pick-a-Prize. There were 20 prizes - 10 for boys and 10 for girls (yes, the game was pretty sexist). The boy secretly chose the 6 prizes he thought that his sister would want, and she secretly chose the 6 she thought that he'd want. Then, the sister would run through the arcade, picking prizes for herself - if they matched what the brother chose for her, she won them. Then, he did the same. If they had 10 or more matches (out of 12), they won everything. Here's an entire episode, where the winning team gets a perfect score.

Notable changes to the way the game is played: none, really. it wasn't around long enough, LoL.
Special contestants: There was Brothers' Day and Sisters' Day a few times, to accommodate siblings of the same sex. There were also games where kids from other NBC shows would play with their real-life siblings. Giovanni Ribisi, Shannen Doherty, Sean Astin, Paul Walker, Ami Foster (from Punky Brewster), Benji Gregory (from ALF), and Lindsay Price were all on that show, some before they were in anything else. And, as a fun note, Astin beat Doherty.

Favorite Rounds: I actually preferred to watch the second round. The prizes round was kinda boring, since we didn't know the contestants well enough to guess. But watching the boys answer questions, then watch the girls to see if they matched was always amusing. I feel like those questions were much more fun than the ones where the girls played first. I also can't say that any particular episode stands out to me... but, I also didn't realize that there were any popular kids on that show (which means there's no way I saw the episode with Benji Gregory... I loved ALF!).

My take: When I was ten or eleven and my brother was eight or so, I think we would've done really well. I think we could totally have won the main game, and sweep the prize round (we spent a lot of time talking about toys, so I'd like to think we'd make smart toy decisions for the other). And, as adults, if the questions were about childhood, I'd still play with my brother. If the questions were more about everyday adult life, I'd have to say that I'd prefer my sister as a partner. I talk to her more often at this point, so I feel we'd have a better chance. Though, I don't know how that prize round would work, haha! Maybe instead of televisions and bicycles there would be concert tickets and spa certificates??

Did you ever watch I'm Telling? Would you want to partner with your sibling if the show was still on the air and you were competing? Would you prefer the questions be about childhood or current day events?
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Random Question: Sex in Disney

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Since I wrote about Song of the South last week, I thought it would be appropriate to get your thoughts on another Disney event that I came across recently. Now, if you're as old as I am or older, you probably remember the shenanigans about the phallus on the VHS cover of The Little Mermaid. And you probably remember the hullabaloo caused by the "SEX" vs. "SFX" controversy in the stars during The Lion King. But those are old news and have been beaten to death.

Have you heard about the alleged tangles of hair on Rapunzel? It has been asserted that Disney has once again hidden "SEX" on an animated advertisement. Check out this image for Tangled:
 Now, I should mention that I didn't discover this on my own. I wouldn't have seen it if someone hadn't pointed it out to me. And, while it could innocently be a mistake, it could just as easily haven been intentional. If you look at the hair that is acting as a rope, the end sort of resembles an "S" in a sideways shape. Then, there are several straight-across-the-torso loops that form an "E" when you use Flynn's arm as part of the vertical leg. Just below that, we can see the crossing strands near the bottom, forming an "X." And there you have it... or, more clearly, here you have it: 
What do you think? Someone reading too much into something again? Or is it possibly a legitimate claim? In Disney's defense, they were probably just looking to play with the hair a bit and not have every wrap straight. At the same time, there's no way you could argue for "SFX" (for "special effects") this time... it's just too clearly an "E" rather than an "F." Agree? 
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Just Kate, Rosie, and a Pregnant Teen this Week

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Reviews & Commentaries for unscripted shows this week include: Kate Plus Eight, Pregnant in Heels, and 16 and Pregnant.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Masters Leaves, Amy Proposes, Paul Kidnaps

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Reviews & Commentaries for scripted shows this week include: House, How I Met Your Mother, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Better with You, and The Paul Reiser Show
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Throwback: Chandler's Name

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Chandler Bing is an unusual name. And, when you remember that his middle name is Muriel, it's even stranger. I was watching old episodes of Friends the other day, and saw the episode where Phoebe is trying to pick a name for the third triplet, believed to be a boy. Joey and Chandler are both lobbying for her to pick their name, and Joey tells Chandler how his name isn't even word... it's close to "chandelier," but not really.

You can watch the episode in its entirety here. Less than five minutes of the entire episode is dedicated to this part of the storyline, but it is still very intriguing to watch. Here are the bits (that match to the specific video I linked to) about Chandler's name, and how Phoebe picks it in the end:

Have you ever met a person named Chandler? Would you consider it as a name for your offspring? I have a friend who named her dog Chandler, but I don't know any real people who share the name!
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top 10 Guest Stars who became Regulars

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Ever watch a show and realize that a character just comes along and steals the show... over and over? It happens, and while it's not incredibly common, it's far from a rare occurrence. Today I'm going to give some examples of this character type, and feel free to suggest others that I might not have thought of.  

10. Mimi on The Drew Carey Show. Although I have only seen a couple episodes of this show, I am familiar with the character Mimi. I think that she is kinda synonymous with the show, and I was amused to find out that she wasn't originally intended to be a main character.

9. Spock from Star Trek. He was the only character carried over from the first pilot to the second for the television shows, and ended up becoming one of the most-identifiable characters in all of the Star Trek saga.

8. Elmo on Sesame Street. He was originally a background Muppet without a name, but has really become a mainstay fixture since the 90s. Who knew that a preschool speaks-in-the-third-person red monster would end up taking popularity from Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and the rest of the crowd?

7. Slimer from Ghostbusters. Yes, he's originally from the movie, but he was so popular in it that he became a major character in the television series. A one-hit ghost that even ended up with a flavor of HiC named for him... cool. Ecto Cool.

6. Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls. Originally, she was intended to be a supporting character... but tested so well that the writers included her as one of the main characters. Kinda funny when you think about how they eliminated Coco the housekeeper after a single episode... perhaps partially to give Sophia more of a role.

5. Butters Stotch from South Park. He fought so well with Cartman that he ended up a regular, and even got his own episode to give the audience more background on this nerdy, strives-to-please kid. Butters is unlike the other main characters in so many ways, yet he fits right in.

4. Carol Hathaway from ER. The well-known retcon that a suicide became just a coma. Carol went on to have an interesting run on the show, and everyone seemed to be rooting for her and Doug Ross (George Clooney's character) by the time she left the show. The final season revealing that they were still together was heartwarming.

3. Fonzie from Happy Days. Probably the best example of this idea, since they were considering renaming the show because of his popularity. Again, Fonzie was different from the main cast of characters on this show, but he managed to fit in and add a new angle on the retro show.

2. Maxwell Klinger on M*A*S*H. He was originally written just to get a laugh out of crowds at the crazy things that people did to try to get a Section 8 discharge from the armed forces. He ended up becoming a regular, continuing to fight for a discharge up until his time in the service was about over.

1. Urkel from Family Matters. This instance is my favorite. I can't really imagine how this show would've played out without Steve. And, when I was a kid, my family referred to this sitcom as "The Urkel Show." Oh, and were there toys made of any of the other characters? Because I had a friend who had that talking Urkel doll... and he was so dorky he was cool!  

so... who else fits this description?
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vacuum Boycott, New Minister in Cleveland, Name that Obstacle!

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

If you're interested in winning season 2 of Growing Pains or season 6 of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, head over to Things 90s Kids Realize and leave a comment!

Remember Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead? Christina Applegate played a teenager who convinced a fashion company that she was an adult, so they gave her a job. We saw this again on Arrested Development with Maeby convincing people that she was old enough to work at a movie studio. Well, ABCFamily is going to have a show focused on this concept next season: it's called Jane by Design, and Jane is a high-schooler who also happens to be a fashion assistant. 

Kelsey Grammer is producing a new reality show, based on the blog,, written by three single female twentysomethings.

In the ongoing Charlie Sheen drama, he claimed talks were happening to get him back on the show. Then, WB lawyers said that there have been no talks.  Then, Sheen's lawyers came back saying that yes, talks have been happening.

Doris Roberts has three upcoming guest roles, on The Middle, Grey's Anatomy, and Hot in Cleveland.

Soap operas One Life to Live and All My Children have been canceled. Hoover Vacuums is boycotting the cancellation and encouraging others to do so as well.

NICK renewed iCarly for a fifth season.

We just saw the episode of Teen Mom 2 where Leah and Corey got married, but apparently they've already filed for divorce

Hot in Cleveland is plotting a spin-off that would center around Cedric the Entertainer, who will play a minister. This intrigues me.

It's no surprise that FOX wants to burn off the remaining episodes of the canceled Running Wilde. However, it's going to burn them off on FX instead, which is different.

CBS has pulled Chaos after only three episodes. That's mighty fast!

You have the chance to help name a new obstacle on ABC's Wipeout!
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Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Time to Play...

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

...the Family Feud! I thought this game was a lot of fun to watch when I was a kid, mostly because the answers that people would say were just so funny sometimes! I've seen it in various renditions (both on television and through games), and, since it keeps pretty current, it's easy to enjoy through time. But, I think that I echo many viewers' questions when I say "where do they poll these people that they allegedly 'survey' ?!?!" 

Brief history: The show originally premiered on ABC in 1976, and was hosted by Richard Dawson. It was canceled in 1985, but CBS picked it up in 1988. Ray Combs hosted until 1994, then Dawson did another year, then the show stopped making new episodes until 1999. Over the past twelve years, Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, John O'Hurley, and Steve Harvey have all hosted. The show has had both primetime and daytime versions. In 2010, the taping moved, and it now takes place at universal Studios in Orlando (previously, all taping has taken place in California).

The game: The idea is that someone has polled 100 people (it's generally random, but sometimes it's specified to be "100 women" or 100 "mothers," etc.) on each question. The responses have been tabulated and it is the responsibility of the contestants to figure out what the most popular answers were. At least two people have to had said a particular answer in order for it to make the board. There are two teams of five (four people in the 1994-1995 season), made up of members of a family (immediate, extended, married, whatever). For a new question, one member from each team races to answer first. If the first person gets the top response, the other person doesn't get to try. If the first response isn't on the board, or appears in any slot but #1, the other player tries for a more popular response. Whoever has the most popular response chooses to "play" or "pass" that particular round. Then, each member of the family playing takes a turn in giving an answer. Right answers go on the board; wrong answers earn a "strike." Three strikes makes it the other team's turn, and they only get one try to name something on the board. If they do, they earn all of the points from the round. Otherwise, the original "playing" team gets the points. Later rounds can earn double or triple the amount of points. The winning team at the end gets to go on for Fast Money, nominating two players to go for it. One plays first, while the other is in a soundproof booth. They are given 20 seconds to answer five questions, hoping for #1 answers. Then, the other player gets the same questions, and has 25 seconds to name different answers - if you repeat an answer, you hear a buzzer and try again. You can pass, coming back to a specific question at the end. If the combined score is 200 points or higher, the family won the top prize (if not, they got $5 for each point).The winning family also got to come back and play again. There are also tournaments of champions.

Notable changes to the way the game is played: There was a minimum of three answers until 1992, when the minimum became four. From 1988 to 1995, there was no option to "pass or play" ... the team with the best answer first got control of the board. For the 1992-1994 and 2009-2010 seasons, there was a bullseye/bankroll component where, one by one, the members of each team would compete against one another. Only the #1 response earned money for the team. Also, before 1994, the Fast Money round only gave 15 and 20 seconds (respectively) to the players. Since 2009, if a family won five times, they got a car (to share, LoL) and "retired."

Special contestants: There were themed weeks, like exes (divorced families), college students, and policemen. There have also been numerous celebrity editions, including American Idol contestants, NBA stars (and their mothers!), Playboy Playmates, Survivor contestants, and WWE stars.

Favorite Rounds: This is harder than usual to answer, since every episode is so different... and there aren't even categories or anything. I can say, however, that I enjoy the Fast Money round better than the general boards. Here's an example of Fast Money...

My take: I'd compete! I used to have a hand-held game that was a lot of fun, though it was multiple-choice, since there was no keyboard. I also used to play the facebook game every day, but that got old after a while. I'd bring my brother and sister, my husband, and my brother's girlfriend to be on my team. I think that we'd cover a good range of opinions and be able to come up with some great responses. What about you? What family members would you choose? Or do you think you'd prefer to just watch at home?

Did you ever watch Family Feud? How many of the hosts have you seen? (I don't think I've ever seen an episode with Louie Anderson hosting!)
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Random Thoughts: Song of the South

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I don't want to open a can of worms, and I know that Disney certainly has a reputation for its practices in many areas, but at the same time, I just have to address some news I've learned of lately. Song of the South will remain unavailable on DVD (or blu-ray for that matter) for who knows how much longer. Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, said at The Walt Disney Company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders that, "sometimes you have to make financial sacrifices in order to do what's right. So remember Song of the South for what it was and don't expect to see it again anytime."

I'm adamantly against the re-writing of Huckleberry Finn because, in removing words that are deemed "offensive," you're screwing with the author's intentions. What's wrong with adding in footnotes to explain the words and phrases? A ton of the renditions of Shakespeare's plays have them to explain the original meanings of his words. Why not do the same? I can see why that might not work in Fantasia... it's more difficult to explain purely visual sequences than it is to explain words. So, while cutting part of the animation from "The Pastoral Symphony" wasn't necessarily right (it would be hard to deny that the "servants" in that sequence are anything other than of African descent), it might have been the best way to address the concern. But we're not talking about ten or fifteen seconds of material in Song of the South. Regardless, there are plenty of other areas in Disney "masterpieces" that contain questionable material!

There is going to be a 70th anniversary edition of Dumbo soon, which is another 40s-era Disney film that has some racist moments (one of the crows is named "Jim Crow" for starters). And, if you're familiar with other older Disney cartoons, you'll find stereotypes of Jews, Nazi propaganda, and some ridiculous depictions of Asians. Oh, and of course, let's not forget the "red men" in Peter Pan. And it's not just antiquated images... Pocahontas and Tarzan are a few of the newer Disney features that deal with indigenous peoples in ways that aren't 100% perfect. But, you can only do so much. Yes, you could try harder in some instances. But, just because children might get the wrong impressions (which is a specific reason as to why Song of the South remains in the "vault"), why remove a learning tool that exhibits a historical example of the way things were seventy years ago? The actor who played "Uncle Remus" in the film couldn't even attend the premiere, because it showed at a "whites only" theatre in Atlanta (though he did receive AN OSCAR for his performance). Why not add in an "extra" or even an introduction to the DVD that explains the time? Put it in a historical context, folks. 

No, I haven't seen Song of the South. I want to see it (and not some bootlegged copy. I want to be able to see it free and clear). And, if I lived in another country, I could... there have been non-US releases multiple times (yeah. our country is being censored, but others aren't.). Many other people might want to see it, too, who have no idea what spawned the cute ditty, "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah," or that the film is the basis for the hit theme park attraction, Splash Mountain. And so, I leave you today not with an invitation to argue the issues in Disney film-making, but rather a smaller question: How do you think Song of the South should be released?
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mauro does Morocco; Kate with a Koala

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Reviews & Commentaries for unscripted shows this week include: Cake Boss, Kate Plus Eight, Teen Mom 2, Pregnant in Heels, and Wipeout.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Writing Errors in House & How I Met Your Mother; New Paul Reiser

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Reviews & Commentaries for scripted shows this week include: The Simpsons, House, How I Met Your Mother, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Better with You, and The Paul Reiser Show
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Throwback: Saved by the Bell

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Something short and fun for today's throwback. One of my friends posted a link to a Jimmy Fallon interview (that's almost two years old already), but since I'm not a big fan of late-night talk shows, I didn't really feel like clicking. BUT, then I read her comment about the fact that he was interviewing Zack Morris. Not Mark-Paul Gosselaar, but Zack Morris himself. So, I decided to give it a look, and it was pretty funny. They make a lot of jokes about things that took place on the classic teen hit Saved by the Bell, and I only caught one factual error: Zack and Jessie like each other when they're doing the play Snow White, not Sleeping Beauty. Otherwise, it's really rather funny for an old-school SBTB fan like myself. And, before you ask, YES, Zack does bust out his cell phone AND he does one of his famous time-outs! Oh, and if you were a fan of the song, "Friends Forever," make sure you watch til the end!

The best clip is on Hulu, which doesn't offer blog embedding, so click here to check it out. 

What do you think? Amusing? Are you excited about the reunion... if it ever happens?
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Top 10 TV Character Adoption Stories

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Quite some time ago I was flipping through the channels late at night and caught the episode of The Flintstones where Fred and Wilma have Pebbles. It really is hilarious if you haven't seen it. I saved it to my DVR and later showed a friend. He asked if the same thing happens when Bamm-Bamm is born, and I pointed out that Bamm-Bamm was adopted. He didn't know that, and I think that many people probably don't. So, I wanted to take some time to draw attention to some of the great adopted characters on television. I'm specifically looking at adopted characters whose stories are told or addressed in the show.  

10. George Camden from 7th Heaven. Although not a major character, George is adopted by Eric's parents, the Colonel and Ruth. In the same episode, Eric and Annie also consider adopting the child, which would have been interesting since the Camden kids did not particularly take to him. His real father shows up later in the series, and after some strife, gets along with everyone.
9. Arnold Jackson (and Willis) from Diff'rent Strokes. Mr. Drummond's housekeeper was the boys' mother, and after she died, he took them in. It's a real rags-to-riches story, and while the fact that the boys weren't Drummond's biological children popped up from time to time, it wasn't a big issue for arcs at a time.

8. Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls. I didn't know that Rose was adopted until I had seen thirty or forty episodes of the show. Turns out, her mother died in childbirth and her father was a monk who chose to return to the monastery (weird, huh?). She lived in an orphanage until she was 8, then was adopted by St. Olaf's favorite dairy-farming couple, the Lindstroms. There's an amusing storyline about Rose thinking that Bob Hope was her biological father, too. 

7. Natalie Green, from The Facts of Life. She grew up knowing that she was adopted, and while she was at the boarding school she decided that she wanted to meet her birthmother. Blair (who had the money and the connections) tracked down the woman, but Natalie ended up not showing to meet her, deciding that she was grateful for the parents who raised her. Later in the series she does meet her birthmom, but ultimately decides that she's very thankful for her adoptive parents. 

6. Skippy Handleman from Family Ties. Skippy accidentally found out he was adopted when he saw the papers in his mother's drawer. Skippy is determined to meet his birthmother, and brings Alex to see her. Skippy and his mother have a lot in common, and Skippy is excited to being a long-lasting relationship... only to have his mother tell him that she doesn't think that they should see one another again, and that he reminds her of a painful past. Skippy returns home to his loving parents, who have been heartbroken about the whole matter at the Keatons' home.

5. Alvin, Simon, and Theodore Seville; Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor Miller from Alvin & the Chipmunks. Going off of the cartoon stories of the chipmunks' & chipettes' origin, the guys were placed in a basket and their mother left them on Dave's doorstop. Dave struggled with them at first, but as soon as they got him a job with their recording of "Witch Doctor," all was well. The Chipettes, on the other hand, came from an orphanage in Australia, where they were a pet of a girl named Olivia. When Olivia was adopted, the chipettes were about to be exploited by the woman running the orphanage, but they ran away in a kangaroo's pouch, then stowed away on a ship to America. They lived in the park and worked in a restaurant, then rode a bus to California and got a singing job. They moved into a treehouse, but when they went to school, the school was upset that they had no guardian... so Dave's neighbor, Mrs. Miller, adopts the girls.

4. Steve Sanders from Beverly Hills, 90210. So this is a tricky one. He doesn't know he's adopted until the end of the first season. He went crazy trying to find his "real" parents, only to find just his mother's father, as his birthmother had died. Later we find out that his adoptive dad is his real dad as well, and only his mother, actress Samantha Sanders, was not actually a blood relative.

3. Punky Brewster from Punky Brewster. Her father abandons the family, then her mom leaves Punky and her dog (Brandon) at a shopping mall, never to return. Punky takes shelter in an empty apartment, but is found by the building's manager, who ends up jumping through a lot of hoops to adopt her. He fosters her for a while, she gets sent to an orphanage, but eventually the two live happily, and his curmudgeon ways disappear.

2. Bamm Bamm Rubble, from The Flintstones was the very first adopted child on television. He was left in a basket (as an orphan) at the Rubble's house, with a note revealing his unique name. Betty and Barney Rubble want to adopt him,and head to the Child Welfare office to make it official... only to discover they have to wait a week while their application is processed. They end up being denied, since someone was ahead of them on the waiting list. Betty and Barney take the other couple (rich folks) to court. Turns out, the woman from the other couple is pregnant, so they let the Rubbles have Bamm-Bamm.  In case you've never seen this one, I've added a couple clips:
cropped with SnipSnip

1. Albert Ingalls, from Little House on the Prairie. Charles wanted a son so badly, but a biological one just wasn't in the works (the only son Caroline birthed, died). They find Albert living on the streets when they live in Dakota Territory, and he comes back to Walnut Grove in the end. His biological father does come back into the picture for a short time, but it is ultimately the Ingalls who love the boy despite his faults... like burning down the school for the blind with his niece inside, getting addicted to morphine, having the town believe that he was an illegitimate father, and ultimately dying of cancer before he could achieve his dream of becoming a doctor.

I know I'm missing another dozen or so adopted characters, but I really enjoy these stories (I mean, wasn't Webster just a copy of Diff'rent Strokes, LoL?). What adoption stories come to your mind? 
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Katie, Meredith, Jill all Quit; Some Renewals & Cancellations

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Katie Couric is going to stop hosting the CBS Evening News to host a daytime talk show.

Similarly, Meredith Vieira will be leaving Today to care for her ill husband.

My So-Called Life will be appearing on The Sundance Channel. It will start April 25th at 11pm.

Bob's Burgers got renewed, which surprises me. This means that FOX has five shows for "Animation Domination" next season... this should lead to a rotating schedule... not a great thing for anyone!

MTV has announced that they're going to have two spin-offs from Jersey Shore. One will focus on Snooki and JWoww. The other will focus on DJ Pauly D.

As is a hot topic right now, House has not yet been renewed. If an agreement isn't reached by the 15th, it may end up on NBC instead of FOX. And, Robert Sean Leonard, who plays James Wilson on the show, may not sign a new contract if it is renewed. He's preparing to open a new show on Broadway (he was a Great White Way Vet long before House) which would interfere with the start of next season, at least.

Burn Notice will be back on Thursday, June 23rd, at 9pm. 

The Discovery Channel started a twitter contest yesterday, requiring contestants to post specific types of photos.

CMT's Working Class has been canceled. It's not looking too good for Better With You, although there is still a chance for it to be renewed.

Hulk Hogan has a six-episode show coming to TruTv... about Micro Champion Wrestling... for little people.

Jill Wagner has decided to leave Wipeout after this summer... the show is already looking for a replacement.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

You Have a Minute to Win It!

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Since I decided to stop watching Minute to Win It, I thought that featuring it in my Game Shows series might help to better explain the changes that the show has undergone, making it no longer interesting for me. The show is still pretty popular, and new games are showing up all the time, so if you're new to the competition, this should also give you a bit of background.

Brief history: Minute to Win It is fairly new, only just over a year old. Guy Fieri hosts, and the game has become pretty popular... versions of a board game, a card game, a Wii game, and even a DS game are available. Versions of the game are seen in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, Romania, Sweden, and very recently Finland (there are probably other countries as well). To date, nobody has won $1,000,000... though there have been two groups that won the $500,000 (one before that was a "bankable" spot... so they walked away without playing for the million).

The game: Contestants play a series of 60-second games, trying to get to and beat the 10th game without losing 3 times. If you fail to beat a certain game, you can try again, as long as you do not lose a total of 3 times. The games vary widely, but are always physical challenges of some sort. For each level that you complete, you earn a certain amount of money. Before being shown the "blueprint" for the next game, you can choose to walk away with the amount earned so far, or keep playing for more. When you lose your third game, you go home with a "banked" amount, which happens after the first game ($1,000), the fifth game ($50,000), and the final few games ($250,000 at level 8; $500,000 at level 9). If a team is playing instead of a single person, each player may only try 3 games in a row, after that the other player must give it a shot. Additionally, some games require both players to participate, either simultaneously or one after the other. When the show originated, there were a finite number of games that could be assigned to you... now more than 120 games have been featured on the show - making it more and more difficult for those at home to try to practice every game. The official website does a nice job of summarizing the challenges for each episode (and includes blueprints for the games seen up until now). And, in case you were wondering, there is only one Level 10 challenge that we've seen. It's called "Supercoin" and it really a souped-up version of Quarters. Contestants must bounce quarters off a table, trying to get them to go into a 5-gallon jug (with a mouth of just 1.75 inches) that's 15 feet away.

Notable changes to the way the game is played: When the game first debuted, the only "bank" was $50,000... otherwise there were no guarantees. The $1,000 and $250,000 banks were added within the first season, but the $500,000 bank didn't come into play until after the second season began. During the Christmas episodes, there were 12 possible games (for "The 12 Days of Christmas"), with the final two being worth $2M and $3M, respectively. In my opinion, this is when the show began to jump the shark, since they also initiated the "holiday bonus" which was a prize that the contestant/team would get for completing certain games. It is usually an extra life or an extra 10 seconds (which could either add ten second to give you more time to complete a task, or take away ten seconds if it's a task where you have to do something for a full minute). It could also be a real prize, but that only appears in the holiday episodes, whereas the other bonuses continue showing up in regular episodes (now called "blueprint bonuses"). Another new addition are "head-to-head competitions," where two individuals or pairs would start the game, competing against one another rather than a clock. The first person or team to win three games sent the other one packing, and they were then able to continue toward the million.

Special contestants: When celebrities play for charities, there is no reason not to keep going, as they will win the amount equivalent to the last level they make it to - every level is a "bank," per se. Celebrity contestants have included Kevin Jonas (of The Jonas Brothers), Amber Wright (49ers cheerleader), several former Miss USA and Miss Universe contestants, Bernard Berrian (Vikings player), Pierre Thomas (Saints player), Aron Ralston (the guy who inspired 127 Hours), Derek Fisher (Lakers player), and Shannon Brown (Lakers player). Steve-O and Ryan Dunn (of Jackass) will be seen in an episode next month.

Favorite Rounds: I can't really think of any contestants in particular that stood out to me, but there are several games in particular that I like to see. "Spoon Tune" is my favorite, where contestants have to link spoons against water-filled glasses to re-order them to play a specific song (like "Old MacDonald had a Farm" or "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"). "High Roller" is a fun one to watch... you have to spin dice in a turned-over cup, hoping that they make a stack when you lift up the cup. You have to do it with 3, 4, and 5 dice. I have no idea how to do this one, and that's part of the intrigue. I also like "Candy Elevator" ... you create a pulley of strings over your ears to lift three M&Ms on a platform to your mouth and eat them. Although the crumbs on my face would bother me, "Face the Cookie" is fun to watch. You put an Oreo on your forehead and get it into your mouth, twice. I also like to watch "Blind Ball" although it always makes me angry. In that game, you get blindfolded and spun around twice, then you have to locate two of four balls that are sitting on wrapping paper tubes at different heights around the circle. If you don't find two, or you knock over three, you lose. 

My take: I'd prefer to pass on this one in favor of competing on a different show. I'm a bit clumsy, and I don't have a steady hand, which would cause me problems in many of the games. However, I have tried to get people I know to try-out, including both my brother and my sister, who I think would be much better than I at the challenges overall.

Do you watch Minute to Win It? Did you when it started? Would you compete? What game would you dread having to try?
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Random Question: Stylish Characters

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

This is the first post in a new Sunday series, which will feature a random thought that I had about something television-related, or a question I want to pose to the readers.

Today's question stems from an article I read about Stylish TV Characters, which featured Carrie Brashaw from Sex and the City, Denise Huxtable from The Cosby Show, Lucy from I Love Lucy, and a few other lovely ladies. While I don't necessarily agree with the choice to put one-outfit-wardrobe Lisa Simpson on the list, I think that the article makes some excellent points regarding style and fashion sense. It reminds me of a post I did about what characters' closets I'd raid.

That said, I think I'd choose Carrie Heffernan from King of Queens as the ultimate stylish character. She seemed to have just the right outfit for every occasion... and I think that the multiple episodes devoted to her shopping and spending habits enforce her sophisticated style. What about you... who do you think fits best?
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pregnant in Heels Begins; Teen Mom 2 about Over; Kate in Australia

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

These posts are changing format just a little. Instead of just commentaries, I'm going to do a synopsis and then put my thoughts in brackets as I go along. Unscripted shows this week include: Cake Boss, Kate Plus Eight, Teen Mom 2, and Pregnant in Heels.
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Everyone Wants to Skip School; Roman Confronts Crystal

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

These posts are changing format just a little. Instead of just commentaries, I'm going to do a synopsis and then put my thoughts in brackets as I go along. Scripted shows this week include: The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Mr. Sunshine
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Throwback: All in the Family Clip

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

So now we're starting up something new. Not favorite episodes or anything like that, but clips that I've come across, or reruns I've caught recently, or memorable moments I've been reminded of. Throwback Thursdays was something that I thought of back in January when I found the clip I'm going to include today. And, since I watch a lot of reruns (especially before bed), I figured that it's an area that I shouldn't have trouble coming up with ideas for!

All in the Family first hit the airwaves more than forty years ago! I had no idea it had been that long until I stopped to do the math. A lot of controversy came out of the comedy, and it certainly had a great deal of non-politically-correct moments. The (anti)feminist segments stand out quite a bit to me, much more than the racially-charged or sexually-infused scenes and storylines.

I haven't seen a ton of episodes of this show, perhaps only a dozen or so. The eight minutes I've included below are some of the funniest jam-packed minutes I've seen in a long time. This is the middle part of an episode where Archie might have consumed mushrooms that were contaminated with botulism. Prepare to laugh!

well, what did you think?
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

10 Strange Ideas for Animated Shows

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Last Christmas I received a Punky Brewster DVD set. I haven't opened it, which is atypical of me. I generally spend a good chunk of January (and sometimes part of February) watching TV-on-DVD sets that I acquire of the holidays. And, while I did watch Punky Brewster a lot when I was in middle school, I'm not a giant fan of the live show. However, I always adored the animated show! It was a Saturday morning fixture when I was very young, and I had Punky Brewster sneakers when I was in kindergarten. In fact, I wasn't aware that the cartoon was a spin-off of the sitcom for a good decade. And, that's what sparked today's post... what other live-action shows have tried animated spin-offs... but more particularly, what strange ideas have there been?

In looking into this, I discovered that there have been a lot of primetime shows that tried to go the cartoon route. I found a lot that made some sense to me (The Addams Family or the Sabrina the Teenage Witch incarnations, for instance), but others seem so unlikely that I thought I'd share. I'm especially interested to find out if anyone has ever seen any of these wacky incarnations (which I haven't really ordered, though I do believe that I might have saved the best for last!)!

- I knew that ALF had ALF Tales. And I had a coloring book to reflect the latter. However, apparently that was the second animation attempt... the first was Alf: The Animated Series. Who knew? It looks kinda like your typical late 80s/early 90s cartoon, though.

- When you think of family shows, none really come to my mind as screaming for an animated trial. However, The Brady Kids is out there. Looks like they sang. and had sidekicks... two panda bears and a bird! here's a clip

- I didn't know Gilligan's Island had any animated spin-offs, but apparently they had TWO! One in the 1970s (The New Adventures of Gilligan) and one in the 1980s (Gilligan's Planet). (Links give you the theme songs to each.)

- Bewitched had Tabitha & Adam and the Clown Family. really. Apparently, Darren's sister is a clown, and her whole family is in the circus. This cartoon has Tabitha & Adam hanging out with their cousins and stuff. I could only find a single clip, in which Tabitha and Adam do not seem to appear.

- Apparently The Dukes of Hazzard had The Dukes, not only is that really old, I also don't really care for that show. It amuses me particularly because I didn't feel that the original was aimed at children... so is the cartoon supposed to?

- Who here has heard of The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang? Not me, that's for sure. This one actually sounds particularly interesting because of the focus it places on the Fonz. But, as the theme song states, the premise is that they're in a spaceship traveling through time. o.O

- Speaking of the Fonz, apparently there was also a Laverne & Shirley with the Fonz. Um, what??!?!? Similarly, there's also a Laverne & Shirley in the Army, which was before the other cartoon. (Okay, upon a tiny bit of research, it appears that Laverne & Shirley was a spin-off from Happy Days to begin with, so now the Fonzie thing makes sense, LoL.) This proves it was real. LoL.

- Apparently, Lassie made a go of the animation world as well. No offense to the dog, but I think that Chip and Dale made better "Rescue Rangers" than Lassie.

- I Dream of Jeannie had Jeannie, which, although I didn't know about, completely makes sense, given the opening to the original. However, after I saw the opening, I'm not convinced that this was anything other than completely ridiculous!

- Um. This one makes me laugh. Partridge Family 2200 AD. hmmm... odd. that's the best word I have for that. And, it seems awfulllllllllly close to The Jetsons, LoL.

And, theoretically, Muppet Babies may have seemed like a strange direction for The Muppet Show to head toward, but I thought it was fabulous and not peculiar at all... so while it might deserve to be placed under the heading of "strange idea for an animated show," I am going to refrain from doing so. But what are your thoughts? Where would you place that cartoon spin-off, or others for that matter? And have you seen any episodes of the shows I mentioned above? Or are you just as shocked as I am to find out that they're out there?!?
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Showtime on Netflix; Futurama Renewed; New Betty White

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Tyra Banks is going to Harvard, if you didn't know. And, the business school there requires you to live on-campus... so if you're interested, hear Tyra talk about it for a minute or so here

Clarissa Now. Ever heard of it? It was meant to be a sequel to Clarissa Explains it All, but it never made it past the pilot. You can see the pilot now.

Retired at 35 got renewed, Hot in Cleveland's next season got extended, and TVLand picked up two MORE sitcoms. Getting busy over at that network!

Netflix and Showtime will no longer have an agreement, as Showtime wants people to subscribe to their network in order to see their shows.

Futurama got renewed for a 26-episode seventh season. The episodes will air in two batches of 13 each, one set in 2012 and one in 2013. 

The Paul Reiser Show will replace Perfect Couples starting Thursday, April 14th, at 8:30pm.

Elizabeth Taylor died of congestive heart failure at the age of 79.

The new ThunderCats has another video available if you're interested. 

In light of the nuclear problems in Japan, several countries have pulled episodes of The Simpsons that make jokes of nuclear meltdowns.

Wipeout Canada films in Argentina, along with a bunch of other countries' versions. You can read a little more about it here.

We're in the middle of CBS' "tweet week."

Betty White has another new show. This time she'll be pulling pranks on people. Look for it on NBC.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Figure it Out

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Alrite, folks. We're back for your blog-reading enjoyment. The new plan is to have:
Mondays: Series Posts (currently doing Game Shows)
Tuesdays: News (a collection of spoilers, news, and gossip)
Wednesdays: Lists!
Thursdays: Throwback Thursdays (featuring an old episode or clip I've come across)
Fridays: Reviews & Commentaries (Scripted Shows)
Saturdays: Reviews & Commentaries (Unscripted Shows)
Sundays: Random Thoughts & Questions

Now, let's continue...

Since I wrote about Legends of the Hidden Temple last time, I thought I'd do another Nickelodeon game show. I chose Figure it Out because I actually tried to get on this one... even though I didn't succeed. It's another gameshow that was filmed in Orlando and was aimed at a child audience. I thought I was a shoo-in, although my "talent" was kinda simple.... I can say the alphabet backwards really fast. Like, faster backwards than forwards. And every letter is distinguishable. I've had friends time me. I entered a talent competition my senior year of college and came in second place (to a double-jointed girl... ain't that always the way?!?). But, apparently it wasn't enough to impress the big wigs over at Figure It Out...

Brief history:
They managed to get in four seasons between the summer of 1997 and Christmas 1999. The concept isn't entirely original, though the execution is clearly Nickelodeon. It greatly resembles other game shows like To Tell the Truth and I've Got a Secret. After the show was canceled on NICK, it aired on NICK GAS (Nickelodeon Games and Sports) right up until that network disbanded in 2007.  

The game: There was a kid with a unique talent. There were four panel members, usually actors from the Nickelodeon shows, and sometimes guests from other shows or celebrities in another manner. Summer Sanders was the host. The kid would have a talent, and there was a pre-determined phrase that described said talent. The panelists would get to take turns asking yes or no questions (there were three 1-minute rounds), and then they'd try to guess the overall answer. There were also clues given via charades, or something that they could hear, touch, taste, see, or hear. There was also a "secret slime word or gesture," and if one of the panelists said it or did it, they'd get slimed. Many people believe that it was slightly rigged, since Lori Beth would often figure out the answer at the last second. Regardless of whether or not anyone guessed correctly, the kid would demonstrate the skill or collection or whatever at the end.

Notable changes to the way the game is played: The secret slime action wasn't always triggered, though in the later seasons it seems that they made it almost inevitable more often than not. Season 3 started featuring family pairs, like siblings or parent-kid (these tended to be pretty dumb - like "rollerskates through dad's legs" or "bags groceries the fastest"). The final season focused on animal talents, and was even renamed: Figure It Out: Wild Style.

Special contestants: The panel of guessers often included Danny Tamberelli (young Pete on Pete & Pete), Amanda Bynes (then of All That, more recently of Hairspray), and Lori Beth Denberg (of All That). BUT, non-NICK people, like Taran Noah Smith (Home Improvement), Steve from Blue's Clues, and Chris Jericho (the wrestler) were also panelists at one point or another. I saw Kenan Thompson a few times (of Kenan & Kel), and Michelle Trachtenberg (remember Harriet the Spy??) was on there, too. It wasn't just television celebrities, either... Tara Lipinski (the Olympic skater), Coolio (the rapper), and Shannon Miller (the Olympic gymnast) all made appearances.

Favorite Rounds: The kid who could play any tune on the piano after hearing it once was impressive. The kid who could squirt milk out of the eye gland was creepy.

My take: Well, I tried to be a kid on it. On the flip side, I think that I'd make a pretty lousy panelist. I'm not very good at guessing really random things. The only type of "20 Questions" that I'm good at is guessing famous people, LoL. So, I'd pass. I'd totally be an audience member tho... get a chance to win a prize, maybe take part in a clue, etc.

What about you? Did you ever watch Figure It Out? Did you try to get on it? What would you have used as your talent? Do you think you would've been a good panelist? What was the best talent you saw on the show?
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fashion Cakes; Leah's Married; Jenelle Jailed

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Unscripted commentaries this week include: Cake Boss19 Kids and Counting, Teen Mom 2, and Wipeout.
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Simpsons Parodies Push; New Counselor on Secret Life

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Commentaries of scripted shows this week include: The Simpsons, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and Mr. Sunshine
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