Archive for November, 2007

The More You Know: Tchau edition

This was a chore to put together — there is nothing going on out there today. (I mean, hello, I wrote a freakin’ Max Headroom news item.) In any event, thanks for tolerating. Dan will return to the homestead on Monday. It’s been fun, kids. Mwah.

  • The Bionic Woman doesn’t look so indestructible now, does she? Heh heh heh …
  • This afternoon in MTV/VH1 dating shows: A Shot of Love‘s Tila Tequila might be a bisexual poser, and I Love New York 2‘s Buddha, also of Hell Date, has definitely been all over the television landscape looking for a mate.
  • Age has not been kind to Max Headroom.
  • Just in time for the gift-giving season! America’s sweetheart Marie Osmond debuts a line of her doll collection inspired by her Dancing with the Stars routines. Creepy.
  • Ever wonder what the ’08 presdential candidates Tivo? (I’m LOL-ing at John Edwards pick for “guilty pleasure.” And Hilary Clinton does actually seem like an Antiques Roadshow kinda gal.)
  • Well, the writers’ strike ain’t goin’ away anytime soon, so you might as well take a good look at this reality show-saturated winter TV schedule.
  • Speaking of the strike, I leave you with this, the one good thing (so far) to come out of it: Spider-Man‘s James Franco and That ’70s Show‘s Mila Kunis spoof The Hills. It’s hilarious, and I do believe I’ll spend my entire weekend looking for a Weird Al wig so I can perfectly replicate James’ bug-eyed horror that Mila agrees that you gotta do the rice with the fork at 0:24.

November 30th, 2007

The More You Know: Pot/kettle edition

Afternoon. Sorry I’m late. My eyes rolled right out of my head during the CNN/YouTube Republican debate yesterday, and it took me forever to find them.

  • Last night on NBC’s Christmas in Rockefeller Center special, some annoying blonde whose first name rhymes with “crapshley” was caught lipsyncing again. And no, it’s probably not the one you immediately thought of.
  • Here seven things you probably didn’t know about The Golden Girls, and Bea Arthur secretly having testes ain’t one of them.
  • Proving that even American Idol winners have increasingly little relevance once the season is over, Jordin Sparks’ album pretty much flops.
  • Today in Dancing with the Stars fallout: Maksim Chmerkovskiy quits! (Possibly.) A newly-single Helio Castroneves moves in on his Paso Doble partner! (Maybe.) Mark Ballas battles an injury sustained during the finale! (Definitely.) And Marie Osmond still sucks, but you already knew that.
  • AfterElton.com readers decide that Queer as Folk‘s Brian Kinney is the promiscuous, pill-popping patron saint of gay TV characters.
  • I’ve just gotta link to an interview with the terrific Jane Espenson, writer of Buffy, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. Also, I’ve just gotta remind you that a brand new Kathy Griffin comedy special airs tonight on Bravo.
  • Finally, just in time for everybody to sorta stop caring, promos for the delayed new season of Lost are headed for the big screen in January.

1 comment November 29th, 2007

I Can’t Believe I Forgot This

The Nanny credits. [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/zaFl6Y-vByE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

This is the greatest in the “sing-a-summary-of-the-show” genre of credit sequences, which also includes The Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan’s Island, Green Acres, and of course The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. These types of credits are out of fashion now, but they’re always, always awesome.

2 comments November 28th, 2007

Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor

So, guess what? I’ve been watching Cane.

hector.jpg
Cane is a show that is still on the air. You should watch it, maybe?

I’m an episode or two behind, but I have to say that for a show that has remarkably little buzz, it’s a pretty worthy show. Not something that’s going to inspire unending, Veronica Mars-ish devotion, but it’s something you would look forward to catching up on.

The show centers around the monied Duque family (they own a sugar empire in south Florida) and their sexy Cuban lives. Everything they do is passionate — they love passionately, they fight passionately, when they do the dishes or clip their fingernails they do it with all the zeal they can muster. So you may start watching Cane for the sweeping intergenerational drama, but you stay for all the sexy Cubans.

cane2.jpg
Rowr.

Here’s the run-down of the family — it’s super complicated, but I’ll give you the basics:

Pancho is the patriarch and is played by Hector Elizondo, who I always associate with his long tenure on Chicago Hope (remember that show?). He’s dying. I’m not sure how slow he’s going to die, because I figure they’ll want to keep him around for a season or two (assuming the show makes it multiple seasons). His wife is played by Rita Moreno. Yes, she’s Puerto Rican. The casting folks at Cane are kind of pulling a Memoirs of a Geisha by casting people of various Latin backgrounds rather than just sticking with Cubans. Not that I necessarily have a huge issue with that — I don’t — but some folks are grumbling.

Alex and Frank are Pancho’s sons. Alex is the CEO of the sugar kingdom (get it — Cane?) and is a bit of a, very roughly speaking, latin Tony Soprano. Switch the manicotti with tamales, waste management with rum and sugar production and you’ll have a similar feel. He’s a family man at heart, but there’s a distinct separation between the dirty work of the business and the moneyed extravagance of the home life. He’s played by Jimmy Smits (Puerto Rican, not that I’m keeping count). Alex is also married to Pancho’s daughter which is sort of sweet once you reconcile to yourself that it’s not incest.

Frank hates Alex because Alex is actually an adoptive son. It’s a whole thing — I won’t get into it. But Frank (played by hottie-in-chief Nestor Carbonell — who I also associate with a silly nineties series, this time Suddenly Susan) is secretly banging the daughter of the rival Samuels’ family, Ellis. Ellis is played by a woman named Polly. Polly often slips into an English accent. Pretend not to notice.

There’s also a Duque brother named Henry, but he’s off on his own most of the time running his dance club. Henry’s the least interesting part of the series.

The brothers are all different, but united by their flat abs and those incredible V hip bones. It’s Miami — there’s a lot of shirtlessness. There’s a whole lot more to the series: a murder cover-up, corporate warfare, token female characters, etc. It’s basically a classy soap, but it adds an interesting dimension with the Cuban angle and all of the complications that arise because of the business. It’s nice to see a drama that produces conflict based on factors other than hairpin changes of emotion (Grey’s Anatomy).

6 comments November 28th, 2007

The More You Know: “Who’s Sorry Now?” edition

Daddy, I want a coveted Mirrorball Trophy!

  • This morning, it’s a virtual Dancing with the Stars news buffet! The rundown: Helio wins! Mel B. finishes second! The American viewing public loses! And what of Marie Osmond? Tscha, everybody hates that phony. Even Mo Rocca.
  • Over at America’s Next Top Model, Twiggy’s out, and Paulina Porizkova’s in. I’ve already started a petition to replace the utterly frightening Jay Manuel with considerably less scary Ric Ocasek. I’ll forward it to you on my lunch break.
  • Bam! The Food Network cancels Emeril Live. Reaction runs the gamut from utter euphoria to complete indifference.
  • Here’s a fun little rundown of recognizable cartoon-character vocalists. Since this is TiFaux, and since the list encompasses both film and TV, I expect you to pay attention to only the latter.
  • Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali are doubling up on the revamped American Gladiators, which NBC just announced would premiere in January, and Sarah Jessica Parker probably won’t be revisiting Project Runway anytime soon. I’m combining these two items because I think it’d be neat if Hogan guest-judged a PR challenge to make lycra bodysuits that look fashionable and flirty for a day in the wrestling arena or a night out on the town.
  • Without his staff of writers to make him funny and/or palatable as his late-night talk show returns, Carson Daly wants you — yes, YOU! — to help him tell jokes. I don’t know any good ones, but I will gladly assist him on breaking up his run-on sentences. Meanwhile, NBC is airing Tonight Show reruns from Jay Leno’s vintage years. Ah, 1992. Nice bouquet.

3 comments November 28th, 2007

Retro Credits Mania

After the great comments on my credits post of yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to talk about credit sequences of yore. In that post, I had tried to stick to shows currently on the air. But the greatness of the Freaks and Geeks credit sequence just can’t be denied. [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/CAoXs4Veuog" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I’m also quite fond of the original Veronica Mars credits, mostly for the awesome song. I didn’t even mind too much when they changed it for the third season, though I know that was a controversial move. Arrested Development, too, packed backstory and narration into a fun and funny little bit.

Before the aughts, credits were not nearly as diverse and creative as they are now. They were often too long, full of standard, cheesy montages, and mostly tedious. For fun, and to see what I mean, check out the credits to LA Law. A lot like Full House. And Perfect Strangers. And many, many other shows. Even ER — and, by the way, I was horrified to hear that they’d changed the theme song recently — doesn’t exactly rock the world of credit sequences.

Of course, I have a lot less personal experience with older shows, so I probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Older people, what am I missing? Was there a notoriously great/bad credit sequence that rocked/sucked in the 70s or 80s?

Though not groundbreaking compared to newer shows, I find that I’m kind of enjoying the Miami Vice credits. See if you agree. [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/U6BBXOCAww4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

6 comments November 28th, 2007

Whatever Happened to Predictability?

My bad. The last item in yesterday’s news briefs should’ve been researched with a little more scrutiny: “Our Very First Telethon” — Full House episode 3.24 — is actually readily available on YouTube. As a hellish mea culpa, I’ve decided to review the episode in real time. I have now leared my lesson. Trust me, this won’t happen again.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/wuA_W7GTLXU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

  • 00:03 — “Telethion”? Oh dear. This is not starting out so well.
  • 00:08 — Tee-hee. I was just imaging what a TV-MA episode of Full House would be like. Lots of cussing and full-frontal Bob Saget.
  • 00:22 — That’s some righteous hair, John Stamos. The early inspiration for Amy Winehouse, no doubt.
  • 00:29 — I’ve always wondered what Dave Coulier is gesturing about here. Seriously. I like to pretend he’s in the midst of a heated commentary on Great Britain’s naval eminence following the Battle of Trafalgar.
  • 00:33 — JODIE SWEETIN IS LOOKING AT ME. Weird: How come she’s the only cast member of the cast to directly break the fourth wall on their opening-credits introduction? (Lori Loughlin might also be guilty; the video quality is too poor to see in what direction those eyes are pointed.)
  • 01:00 — Hey, Roseanne! Full House is stealing your harmonica licks!
  • 01:03 — Oh my God. I hate clowns.
  • 01:40 — Seriously? They have Michelle answering phones at the telethion? This show’s credibility just got tossed out the window.
  • 01:58 — “If you need me, I’m ready to ride!” Too easy.
  • 02:08 — A little-known Jerry Fallwell stab at comedy.
  • 02:37 — What kinda badass guitar pose was that, Stamos?
  • 02:49 — Is it just me, or did anyone else think for a split-second that somebody just dressed Mama’s Family‘s Iola Lucille Boyland in a tux and pushed her out on stage?
  • 02:52 — I feel like somebody stole these floral arrangements from a funeral home.
  • 03:24 — I thought Jodie Sweetin didn’t start doing the meth until many years later.
  • 03:48 — What the hell is on his sweater? Are those sneakers? Spores? Paramecium? I kinda want it.
  • 03:56 — My new hero(ine): the lady on the far right in the second row. “Let’s hear it for this band, huh? Ladies and gentlemen?” She is having none of it. She’s not even happy to be there.
  • 04:11 — OH MY GOD! THAT IS SO FUNNY! THAT IS SO TRUE!
  • 04:29 — THAT IS SO TRUE! THAT IS SO FUNNY! OH MY GOD!
  • 04:30 — I dig the severe ’90s-ish-ness of the gal in the center of the front row. I also dig how the lady to the right of her looks ready to evacuate the moment any big shit goes down.
  • 04:38 — And this is the dude Alanis wrote “You Oughta Know” about? Sad.
  • 04:49 — Gosh, I’m tired.
  • 05:00 — I know it’s the perspective, but the legs of the woman painted on the Cabinet of Mystery look weird.
  • 05:10 — I like to provide my own comic screamy noises when she tosses her shoes off-stage.
  • 05:12 — Ditto.
  • 06:52 — Whoa. Sorry. Fell asleep there.
  • 07:10 — The goal of this telethion is to, like, raise $1,000,000, right? Which would mean they want people to tune in, yes? So why on earth are they letting Danny Tanner sing “Kiss Today Goodbye”?
  • 07:41 — GAH! When that leg came up, I totally thought Danny was gonna hump the Cabinet of Mystery.
  • 07:56 — Fun fact: A lot of people don’t know this, but this moment is actually a clever industry inside joke — Dave Coulier was Jennifer Beals’ wedling double in Flashdance.
  • 08:12 — Sigh.
  • 08:28 — Oh, I’m making a big-ass vegan taco salad for dinner tomorrow if anyone wants to come over.
  • 08:42 — God, I wish I wasn’t a teetotaler.
  • 08:56 — They’re totally dueting on a fierce cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” you know.
  • 08:57 — If Jack had lived and moved to San Francisco with Ennis …
  • 09:07 — This is the Lakers Girls’ dance interpretation of race relations in Los Angeles two years before the riots. Not many people give Full House credit for being so aware of cultural zeitgeist.
  • 09:10 — At least “coming” was misspelled in the most innocent way possible.

Click to continue reading “Whatever Happened to Predictability?”

2 comments November 27th, 2007

The Funk: Great Lake Swimmers

This isn’t a new discovery by any means, but I’ve been listening to “Your Rocky Spine” by Great Lake Swimmers lately and I quite like it. It kind of came back into my consciousness when I heard it at the conclusion of an episode of Weeds.

If you watch Weeds, you know that the show has a singular ability to end every episode on a huge cliffhanger. This episode, in particular, had a pretty huge cliffhanger in that *spoilerish alert* a major recurring character got killed off in the final moments. And while it wasn’t a sad moment, necessarily, this song can make any moment bittersweet.

As a bit of background, Great Lake Swimmers are from Ontario and this is from their third album, Ongiara. Their singer’s voice is super warbly and, to me, super affecting. [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/HC-bpXxrcdE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

November 27th, 2007

Credits Mania

This is an inauspicious way to return to blogging, but I just can’t help grinning every time I watch the credits to Chuck. [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/1azgd809aIY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Even as the show itself declines in my esteem, the brilliant credit sequence only rises. It’s so… expensive. And elaborate. And catchy. Set to Cake’s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket,” which is a fun song to begin with, it animates its way into my heart despite everything that comes before or after.

It is by far the best credit sequence out there now. Some of my other favorites include House (old-fashioned imagery and a slightly spooky tune), 30 Rock (perfectly captures the zany tone, and the shot of Alec Baldwin makes me laugh every time), and The Wire (same song sung by a different person/group every season, it’s overly long like all HBO credits and the imagery is pretty standard, but it’s a great song).

The worst credit sequence offenses are perpetrated by ABC. They’ve all but done away with credits, and the atrocities that the Lost “credit sequence” unleashed on the world with imitators like Heroes and Reaper can’t be underestimated. Ugly Betty is a cute concept but annoying after one or two viewings. Pushing Daisies, a show flawless in every other regard, has no credit sequence to speak of, only that silly animation. Grey’s Anatomy has all but given up on their doctors-getting-it-on credit sequence in favor of a Lost-ish GREY’S ANATOMY fading into white while a single sequence of notes plinks suggestively.

Then there are the credit sequences that are either brilliant or demented. I’m thinking primarily of the sequence for Weeds, which makes me want to stab my own eyes out. Stop singing that song! ENOUGH! How I Met Your Mother has a fun, brief song that I like most of the time — but once in a while it’s just too much and I can’t handle the chipper friendliness any more. And the less said about the absolutely embarrassing “You know you love me… X O X O” credit sequence for Gossip Girl, the better. Poor, poor Veronica.

Am I missing any brilliant sequences? What are your bests and worsts?

15 comments November 27th, 2007

The More You Know: Lean cuisine edition

Oh, I’m getting the hang of it now. More bullet points, less verbiage.

  • Better late than never: Project Runway cast-off and 40-year-old Ragged Dick Marion Lee probably won’t be picking up Steve & Barry’s gift certificates for his girlfriends anytime soon.
  • All hail the Hypnotoad! Futurama returns today via a brand new DVD movie. Here is some love:

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0_BD_WBg9aA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

  • OC creator Josh Schwartz agrees: That whole Johnny-falling-off-a-cliff deal in season three was stupid. Me, I thought everything related to Johnny was stupid, but I’ll take what I can get.
  • Shocking: Celebrities do drugs. Sometimes on camera. I know, I know. Your head just exploded, right? (My apologies for linking to Fox News.)
  • One of the Real Housewives of Orange County is getting her very own spin-off dating show. I have little to say about this because I can’t type my tears.
  • Going into the season finale, Dancing with the Stars‘ Maksim Chmerkovskiy shakes his fist at Marie Osmond: “Yeah, I think she represents a lot of women out there with all their problems.” What a charmer!
  • The only former Bachelor to stick with the lady he picked on the series, Byron Velvick got decked by showmance Mary Delgado over the weekend, and he kinda/sorta looks like he had it coming. So … we’re now 0-7?
  • This morning in the God-I-hop-it’s-true rumor mill, Perez Hilton crapped himself on a treadmill while filming the new season of Celebrity Fit Club. Fun idea: Post your own punchline in the comments section.
  • Warning: geek humor to follow. Tom Cruise might be hopping on the first TARDIS out of Xenu. He’s reportedly being lined up to guest on the new series of Doctor Who. He’ll play an annoying little martian. Or, if you prefer, himself.
  • Showgirls survivor Elizabeth Berkley will soon be rubbing up against inert poles on CSI: Miami. By that, I mean that she’s been cast as David Caruso’s ex-wife.

2 comments November 27th, 2007

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