Archive for September, 2006

New show: Ugly Betty

I don't know if it's the marginally familiar world of magazine publishing, the refreshing focus on a minority family, the acknowledgment of actual class differences, the truly funny scenes, the still-too-fresh experience of a first job and a bad boss, the memory of bawling my eyes out during America Ferrera's scenes in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, or a combination of all of the above, but something about Ugly Betty really hit me the right way. 

uglybetty.jpg This is Betty. She lives in Queens, or a set that actually looks very much like Queens. She wants to work in magazine publishing.

She gets hired at Mode (like Vogue) so that the editor-in-chief won't sleep with her, as he does all the rest of his helpers. The scene where Betty learns this was very touching, and may be the greatest single reason I liked this show. That scene made Betty into a real person, relatable, not just a caricature with huge braces. 

The editor-in-chief, too, really came off well. He's a pretty boy, entitled, womanizing jerk, some of the time — but at other times he seems human. And he's clearly in way over his head. 

I'll be rooting for this one. 

3 comments September 29th, 2006

Night of Too Much TV

Last night Maggie and I found ourselves with a one-night TiFaux backlog, which until 2 weeks ago would have meant we missed an episode of The Daily Show. Instead we discovered a veritable avalanche of Television the like of which hadn't been seen on our TiFaux for several months. This is the first new season of TV we've had since we started TiFaux (the blog) and it gives us an excuse to watch the possibly terrible shows we might not watch otherwise because of our imaginary duty to our dozens of readers. So we dived right in.

gilmore_girls_s4e1_3.jpgFirst up was "The Gilmore Girls," a show that did not make my "is it worth downloading in Berlin" cut. So I'm a little behind. When I left, Luke had just found out he had a daughter. Since then it seems Lorelai and Luke were having some problems. Lorelai slept with Christopher. And Logan left for the UK. Ok, I'm caught up now. It does seem like the show was treading water while I was gone, but for me the joy of the show has never been the longterm storylines, it's the wacky residents of Stars Hollow and Yale, and of course the elder Gilmores, who keep me coming back. Love me the Emily and Richard. (Note to fellow Richard Gilmore fans: be sure to check out Michael Ian Black's upcoming movie The Pleasure of Your Company, in which Richard Herrmann touchingly gives his son the cock ring he wore during the war.) Now everything's back to square one. Lorelai is single—sort of. And Rory is not single—sort of. Maggie tells me this is the last season. I'll miss scenes like Luke yelling at Taylor about putting up a traffic light camera at an interesection that hasn't had an accident in 15 years, since I know that means there will be an accident at the intersection any minute, but please, it's time to put an end to the whole thing.

house1.jpgAfter "Gilmore Girls" we had one of my favorite recent additions to the "record this series" list, "House." House was treating an autistic kid and they really went after the whole "maybe House is autistic!" angle. They even pulled out Asperger Syndrome, which I'm sure my mom diagnosed him with months ago. But Wilson had to go and spoil everyone's fun, saying House wasn't autistic, he's just a jerk. If he was autistic it would give him an excuse for being such a jerk. Why is Wilson such a downer this season? Remember when he and House used to actually talk to each other? The highlight of the episode of course was House's relationship with a lovely underage stalker. It's too bad it turned into another brilliant diagnosis. House yelling to Cuddy "You can't stop our love" was "House" at its best, and when he quoted the end of Casablanca to his stalker, knowing she wouldn't recognize it, it was probably the best scene of the series so far.

Now comes the part I'm least happy about. I've been against "How I Met Your Mother" since the beginning although I've sat through a few episodes with my arms crossed, begrudgingly giving it a chance. I watched last season's finale and last week's premiere barely cracking a smile. Maybe it was the 1/2 bottle of wine consumed during "Gilmore Girls" and "House," but this week's episode was genuinely funny at several points. Well played, HIMYM. Well played.

Then there was "Heroes." It was OK. I'm giving it one more episode to turn around. Probably two more. Maggie already wrote about it in another post.

MichaelJeffrey.jpgAnd finally Project Runway. In case you weren't following closely, our system here at TiFaux is that we were assigned 4 designers at the beginning of the series and we write about an episode when one of our designers is eliminated. Well, in a shocking twist last night nobody was eliminated. I don't have a lot to say about the show. I agreed with everything though. Michael should have been kicked off if they were going to eliminate anyone, but it would have been a goddamn tragedy if he had been kicked off. And this way they avoid the mystifying old system where they have 4 designers show at Olympus Fashion Week ™ but one of them already knows he/she's been kicked off. This way everyone who shows at Olympus Fashion Week ™ actually has a chance of winning. Why it took this many seasons to figure out that system is beyond me. And how great was the product placement this week? They must have said Olympus Fashion Week ™ at least half a dozen times, and then they march around NYC with Olympus cameras, and finally print out their photos on adorable Olympus photo printers. (Olympus, you can send me my product samples any time now.)

Thus ended our Night of Too Much TV. Of course, it wasn't too much. It was just a lot. There's no such thing as too much good TV. This is the overwhelming lesson of the TiFaux. When you're not at the mercy of the Vice President of TV and Microwave Oven Programming, you don't have to watch "According to Jim" or "Yes Dear" or "Two and a Half Men." Just watch one of the 5 episodes of "The Colbert Report" you have saved up.

1 comment September 28th, 2006

The Funk: The Submarines

I'm way too lethargic to wax philosophical about anything, so how about a nice video set to music?  

Here's a band called The Submarines.  They're basically a boy and a girl who date and make music together.  Although boy parts and girl parts don't intermingle in other areas of my life, I tend to like it male/female vocals quite a bit in my music.

Hailing from Boston, the band's new single is called "Peace and Hate."  This video kind of reminds me of Smashing Pumpkins video for "Tonight Tonight," but only because it has a madcap sort of sense of adventure and intentionally fake-looking special effects.

Have a listen.

September 28th, 2006

New show: Heroes — Giving It a Chance

Heroes. It's about normal people, all tenuously connected, who may have superpowers. It's definitely different, and may be really good. Not as good as the show I had invented in my head all summer while waiting for the real one to air, but not horrible. I'm giving it a chance.

heroes.jpg

In case you missed it, here are the lucky (?) ones we've met so far. I really, really want one of them to turn out to be a supervillain (in addition to the creepy glasses man who's trying to track them all down), so I'm noting where they fall on the evil/good continuum.

Claire. Superpower: cells regenerate quickly. Demonstrates this by: totally grossing us all out by sticking her hand down the garbage disposal, pushing ribs back into her chest, and ruining her cheerleading outfit which was probably rented so way to go, Claire. Evil/Good: mostly good, but kind of a high school queen bee bitch, and has unclear motives and parentage.

Hiro (get it?). Superpower: can bend the space-time continuum; is a huge dork. Demonstrates this by: bending the space-time continuum to land himself in Times Square; closing his eyes very hard and talking about manga. Evil/Good: absolutely good. Love him.

Peter and Nathan. Superpower: Peter, none as of yet, unless "susceptible to gravity" is one. Nathan: not susceptible to gravity. Demonstrates this by: Nathan flies to save his brother Peter when he jumps off a building. Evil/Good: Peter is definitely good (he takes care of old people!), but Nathan is a politician and generally mean to Peter, so probably evil.

Niki. Superpower: has an alternate self that lives in mirrors??? Demonstrates this by: jumping out of a mirror and killing some people??? Evil/Good: killed some people, but the people were evil. So… ??? 

Isaac. Superpower: future-paints. Demonstrates this by: the name of his superpower really says it all; predicts the end of the world. Evil/Good: just an observer, but he's a moody drug addict, so probably bad on the outside and sweet on the inside. 

I'm not committing to anything yet, but so far this is more fun than I thought it would be, and sufficiently creepy to wonder what the hell's happening without completely alienating the audience. What do you think?

2 comments September 28th, 2006

Liar! Crumb bum!

Remember that post a while back where I said that Jason Sudeikis would be the new Tina Fey on Weekend Update?  And that a whole mess of people were getting the boot?

Turns out it was all balderdash .

You like it when I lie to you.  Dontcha?

Well, it wasn't all a load of hooey. Turns out that Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell are, in fact, out.  Plus, the powers that be decided to ditch Finesse Mitchell (they probably read my post).  Kenan Thompson and Darrell Hammond appear to be sticking around for the time being.  

The other news is that Jason Sudeikis is not taking over for Tina.  That honor will go to Seth Meyers — the show's head writer.  I'm guessing this will spell out a wackier Weekend Update when Meyers teams up with Amy Poehler.

September 27th, 2006

The Plague: Medical dramas’ new go-to tool

The Bubonic Plague?  Haven't I heard that one before?  The season premiere of Grey's Anatomy sounded familiar with the whole McDreamy and George are trapped in a quarantine because of the plague scenario. 

Here is a list of medical dramas that have done a variation on the quarantine/plague scenario. 

Plaguescities.gif
"We love(d) medical dramas!"

Grey's Anatomy – "Time Has Come Today"

Quarantines are to medical dramas as being trapped in an elevator (possibly with a very pregnant woman) is to sitcoms.  It's the opportunity for two or more characters to have forced heart-to-hearts and self-reflection.  This is precisely what happens in the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy. 

Chicago Hope – "White Rabbit"

Remember this show?  Alan Arkin's son played a doctor alongside Mandy Patinkin?  It was the more cerebral (and less popular) counterpart to ER when they both debuted.  In this episode, everyone's quarantined because of an outbreak of the Bubonic plague.  I'd tell you more, but I probably saw this episode when I was 15, so I wouldn't have even remembered it existed if Google hadn't reminded me.

House – "Sleeping Dogs Lie"

I don't watch House regularly, but I actually caught this episode.  It's not your run of the mill plague episode because a) they don't know it's the plague until late in the episode b) there's no quarantine c) it's chock full of LESBIANS!  After Lesbian A gets sick at the beginning of the episode, they eventually find out that she got the plague from a flea on her dog and that she needs a risky partial liver transplant from Lesbian B.  However, this is dicey ethical territory because Lesbian A was secretly planning on dumping Lesbian B the whole time and the doctors can't make her tell Lesbian B.  In the end, though Lesbian B is all "I knew she was going to leave me, but now she'll feel too guilty.  She's going to keep her Melissa Etheridge-listening ass right here."  Shady, shady lesbians.

ER – "Lockdown"/"Chaos Theory"

These episodes don't have the plague, but they do have a quarantine, the CDC and a mystery African disease that might be smallpox. "Chaos Theory" features a two week quarantine for several cast members wherein they laugh, cry, share and bleach each others hair.  You'd think that ER would have had a plague outbreak, though, right?  It's been on long enough.

September 27th, 2006

My thoughts on the highly anticipated (by me) (highly meticipated, maybe?) Heroes premiere will have to wait

Because I haven't watched it yet.

I did watch the second episode of Studio 60, though, and the pure Aaron Sorkiness (that's pronounced Sorky-ness, I've decided) of the whole thing practically made my brain melt. This is not to say I didn't like it, I just nearly sprained a muscle from rolling my eyes.

I hope they have some self-awareness about the fact that they're treating the executive producer's office like the freaking Oval office, because they should know that it makes them seem like self-important windbags instead of charming and lovable rogues, which is what I desperately want them to be.

Things I liked: the anthropomorphized clock, Nate Corddry, and everything about the writer's room. 

Also, as predicted, the first-ever Matt-penned sketch for the show-within-a-show was not all that funny. Watch the whole episode to see for yourself.

Up tonight: the highly meticipated premiere of Gilmore Girls!  

gilmore-girls-060926.jpg
This picture is ridiculous. Also, wonderful.

4 comments September 26th, 2006

THE ANSWER: Dan’s celebrity encounter

Good guesses all around, but no one got the right one.  The TV gay was none other than….

george_takeitifaux.jpg

Star Trek's Sulu, aka George Takei!

Not necessarily someone who would be on the radar at TiFaux, but still famous nonetheless.

He got on the plane and I recognized him immediately, even though he was wearing some big aviator shades.  I don't think I would have even noticed him if I hadn't seen him on the William Shatner roast on Comedy Central a few weeks back. 

He got on the plane with a New York Times and the woman in back of him (this was a teeny tiny prop plane — I thought I was going to die) got him to sign the back of a photo of her grandkids.  He said "So these didn't fool you" pointing to his sunglasses. 

He was super nice, even when other people came up to ask for autographs.  So I say, George Takei: good man.

1 comment September 26th, 2006

Season premiere: The Office

I'm surprised no one written about it until now, but let's chat about the season premiere of The Office, shall we?  

In bullet form?  Certainly.  Some thoughts…

  • First off, Jim and Pam. We all knew it wouldn't work out, right?  That's for the series finale.  But how would it not work out? That was the question.  For the most part, I think they got it right.  The reaction of both of them admitting that they had wanted to kiss for a long time was exactly what they should have said.  Pam wussing out was predictable and in character.  But the abruptness of Jim leaving seemed unnatural — like he wasn't even game for a little bit of a fight.
  • The idea of having Jim start out at a new office full of wacky people is an ambitious, but exciting prospect.  Ed Helms is a promising addition to the cast.  And I don't know who the woman is, but I loved it when she mocked Jim's patented shrug to the camera.
  • Was it me or was this one of the roughest episodes to get through in terms of the Oscar storyline.  Just in terms of cringes per minute.  And the intensity of those cringes.  I guess I just got excessive cringe-age for obvious reasons.
  • In this episode a lot of the characters teetered on the verge of being horrible (Angela, Dwight, Kevin).  They've always been flawed and wildly eccentric, which is why they're funny, but even Kevin was acting like a jackass with his 5th grade giggling.
  • Oscar's hot.  That's all.

oscar.jpg

2 comments September 25th, 2006

CONTEST: Dan’s celebrity encounter

This past weekend I was in Burlington, Vermont, being the best man in my friend Matt's wedding.  My layover on the way back was in Laguardia (which, in case you didn't know, is basically as close to hell as you can get.  Unless you're counting the set of Tony Danza's talk show) and I had a brush with fame on the way there.

Here's the question: which famous TV gay was on my flight from Burlington, Vt. to NYC?  Guess in the comments.  The winner gets, eh, a shout out on TiFaux.

I'm not buying you something.

dont look here it wont help you.jpg

6 comments September 25th, 2006

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