Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Year in TV

Have I ever mentioned that I love TV?

Because I loooooove TV. Maybe it comes from growing up without it, but I am  a TV fiend. The first thing I do when I walk into  a room is turn on the TV. Fortunately, the Missus feels the same way. Anyway. . .

My favorite new show:


I don't know why they won't let Fred Armissen be this funny on SNL. Also I don't know why Carrie Brownstein hasn't been doing comedy before this, because she is amazing.

Three comedies I just started watching that turned out to be way funnier than I expected:

1. Party Down - Such a dumb name, and also we don't have STARZ (does anyone?), but I heard some of the cast members on "Doug Loves Movies" and they were all pretty funny, and then Netflix had it available for streaming, so I checked it out. Awesome! Also, a pleasant surprise, when Jane Lynch left, I had a sad

especially since she left to be a part of that piece of shit "GLEE,"

But then Megan Mullalley replaced her.

Epic Win 

and she's even better! She is really a terrific comic actress, she was easily the best part of Will & Grace. (We used to say that the only problems with Will & Grace  were Will and Grace)

2. Squidbillies - I don't know what ever possessed me to TIVO an episode of this ridiculous-looking cartoon, but after one episode, I was in love! 

Yes, with this! Don't judge!

3. Workaholics - It's not exactly brilliant or anything, but considering that the promos made it look pretty bad, it's just a lot funnier than I expected it to be.

Show with which I am currently most obsessed:

Breaking Bad.
I watched the first episode when it originally came on and I really liked it, but for some reason I never set TIVO to record it and then once I had missed a couple, I figured I was too far behind to catch up. So I've just started watching Season 1 on Netflix and now I'm totally hooked. I always liked Bryan Cranston as a comic actor, but who knew he could bring this kind of intensity to a dramatic role without ever feeling like he's chewing scenery. Brilliant!

Biggest Disappointment:

The season finale of American Horror Story. 

I thought they had done a really good job most of the year of building the suspense and mystery, although once we found out that Violet was dead, it kinda lost some steam. But still, the promos promised us that the "terrifying secret" would be revealed. Now, full disclosure we did have a brief power outage, so I missed about 5 minutes towards the end, but unless the reveal happened in those 5 minutes, I think they lied. Which would be fine if they were adding another layer to the mystery or whatever, but instead we got Ben and Vivien putting on this silly ghost show to scare off the new homeowners (and really, Ben, couldn't you scare the lady off without sexually assaulting her? That is not okay.) And sociopathic Tate suddenly having a hard time killing a guy if he's making eye contact, and he's only killing the guy so that the girl with whom he is in love can have a boyfriend? He doesn't even make a single attempt to win her back? That is an incredibly selfless act for a sociopath. Honestly, the whole episode just felt like a huge letdown.
Also, enough with the rubber suit.
Show that never gets old:

Project Runway
I'm a breeder, I have no interest in the world of fashion, and I generally don't care for reality shows, but I never miss an episode. Even though almost every year, someone I hate ends up winning. (not this year, I really liked Anya both as a person and a designer) 

Biggest Loss:

Law & Order.

How are we to live in a Universe in which there are no new episodes of Law and Order? I honestly can't remember a time when there was no Law & Order. And I know they're going to keep making SVU, but I can't imagine that show without Christopher Meloni.  

Funniest Show:

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

It's definitely not for everyone, certainly not for the easily offended, but the cast is terrific, the writing is sharp, and somehow a show about 5 un-lovable losers  just keeps bringing the laughs. I can't explain it, but if you haven't seen it, you're missing out.

Best Network that isn't HBO:


The network that gave us The Shield, Rescue Me, and 30 Days is still producing some of the best original content on TV: Louie, Archer, It's Always Sunny, Justified, Sons of Anarchy. . . the big four networks wish they had shows like these.

Two shows I need to start watching:

Community and Parks and Rec

I watched the first episode of Community with high hopes, being a big fan of Joel McHale, but I wasn't impressed. Since then, I keep hearing that it's the most creative, smart comedy on television, so I'm definitely going to have to give it another chance if it's not too late already. Same with Parks and Rec. I watched it a little bit when it first came on and it just seemed like a sad rip-off of the Office with a less-funny cast. But lately It's been getting so much good buzz that I'll have to check it out again.

Best Overall Show:


It has some of the cringe-inducing comedy of a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or "Extras," but that's really just the beginning. Some of the best stuff on Louie isn't even funny. (An entire episode last year about a traumatic incident in Catholic school). Louie is like a Woody Allen movie, dealing with issues like aging, depression, the futility of love, the terror of fatherhood while finding moment of laugh-out-loud funny in there somehow. Louie C.K. is brilliant.

Worst Show:

30 Rock

Okay, sure there are worse shows than 30 Rock, but there isn't another show which started off with such high hopes and plunged so quickly into dreck. I can't even watch it anymore. They've managed to make Tracy Morgan completely un-funny and annoying. The best  episodes of the last couple years was when Tracy disappeared and Sherri Shepherd guest-starred as his estranged wife. It was great to see that the show was still capable of being funny. But even then, they insist on pushing Kenneth the page, the least funny, most irritating character to hit prime-time since the little girl robot on "Small Wonder," as a primary character. Does anyone actually like this character? Can anyone stand him? He's a horrible actor and just an absurdly unbelievable character. He's two one-dimensional to even qualify as a stereotype Southern hillbilly. (By the way, I have been to Stone Mountain, GA, where Kenneth supposedly hails from, and it is absolutely not a pig-farming backwater. It is a suburb of Atlanta, for fuck's sake) 

Dear Readers,

Y  U No  leave comments anymore?

Do you have any idea how fragile my little ego is?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Does Everyone Else Get These E-Mails?

Every Christmastime, some idiot will always forward one of these "fill-in-the-blank is really secret code for something Biblical" e-mails. Sort of a DaVinci Code Christmas special or something. They're all based on the odd notion that in pre-20th Century Europe, Christians had to worship in secret for fear of persecution or something. And of course, they're all nonsense.

During the years from 1558 until 1829, law did not permit Roman Catholics in England to practice their religious openly. Because of this, a song was written for young Catholics. This carol that we sing today has two levels of meaning, the meaning we all hear and understand but a hidden coded meaning for members of the church. This code was to help Catholic children remember the religious meaning.

The code was as follows:

  • The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Oh, that makes sense. Because what better representation of a man suffering a slow, painful death than a plump little bird sitting in a fruit tree? i know whenever I see birds alighting on the branches outside our window, what immediately springs to mind is the torturous execution methods of the Roman Empire! 
Oh, look! Here come some little birdies now!

  • Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments.
  • Three French hens stood for faith, hope, and love.
  • The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Ridiculous! Everyone knows that the three French hens stand for the trinity!

And it goes on and on like that. It's ridiculous, of course, but people apparently really believe it. I mean, you might as well say that "Nine Pound Hammer" is about the "nine fruits of the Holy Spirit"  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness. Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. Or that "One is the Loneliest Number" is about the one true God or something.

Although it's probably a bit less ridiculous than the true story of the candy cane:

The True Meaning of the Candy Cane
A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness for Jesus, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane.

Now, one might suppose that the candymaker might make, say a chocolate crucifix or a marzipan nativity scene or something, but no. That would be too obvious! The bad guys might catch on. You do NOT want to get caught practicing Christianity in Indiana!

. . .he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus Christ. 

Lovingly rendered in peppermint.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and sinless nature of Jesus. The hardness of the candy was used to to symbolize the Solid Rock, the Foundation of the Church and firmness of the promises of God.

Really? Is that really what anyone would think of when eating hard candy? Why, this candy is as hard as the rock-solid promises of God and oh, wait. It broke.

The candy maker made this candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It also represents the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which he reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs, who like all sheep have gone astray.
Great, except that it's not a "J." And if you turn it over so that it does look like a J, it's a lower-case j, which is not what one uses for a proper name, especially if that name is the name of the Lord God. 
Dude, not cool!

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the flogging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ at the cross so we could have the promise of eternal life.

Wouldn't they both be blood? Wouldn't the "stripes" from flogging be blood? Also, he decided to commemorate the blood of Christ because the candy looked a little plain? That seems like a pretty flippant reason to bring up the Blood of Christ. 

The bread just seemed a little plain by itself.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm starting to think that none of these people is serious about running.

Gingrich fails to qualify in US primary

Early Saturday morning the Virginia GOP announced that Newt Gingrich didn't secure enough signatures to be placed on their Super Tuesday primary ballot. Newt wasn't alone in this. It turns out that most of the GOP field failed to do this, leaving Va. Republican voters with a choice between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Seriously, Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann and Santorum could not get a mere 10,000 signatures to get their names placed on the ballot.  Are they even trying?

Of course, trust Newt to turn this embarrassing failure into an excuse for self-aggrandizement, via a statement from his campaign manager Micheal Krull:

“Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941,” campaign director Michael Krull wrote on the Gingrich Facebook page. “

December, 1941. 

I would say that Gingrich is really cheapening the memory of this tragedy, but he already did that:

And, never one to pass up the chance to play the whiny little victim, Newtie had this to say:

“Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot.  Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates.

Yes, clearly it is the system which has failed. Just like my high school math theacher was a total failure when I forgot to do my homework that time.
Now, this should be the depths of Newt's patheticness, but somehow it isn't. Because Newt goes on to say:

We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Which doesn't sound too pathetic, until you find out that: the Virginia state code does not permit write-in candidates in a primary election.

Thursday, December 22, 2011