Archive for July, 2009

Music: Telekinesis kiss awkwardly

Seattle-based power pop band Telekinesis is essentially just Michael Benjamin Lerner.  He played all the instruments and wrote all the songs on their self-titled debut. They’re pretty fun live, especially watching Lerner play intricate drum parts while handling all lead vocal duties.

But the vibe on the whole album is much more fun-loving than some sort of bedroom dirge-collection.  I tend to like the more straightforward rock tracks on the album (Foreign Room, Coast of Carolina), but they’ve made a video for one of the more mellow tracks on the album — the 50s-inspired, piano-driven “Awkward Kisser.”

The video is essentially an homage to Lars and the Real Girl (I’ll just say homage as opposed to clone), with Lerner strolling around the park with a euro-chic mannequin. It’s cute, as Lerner sort of seems like the nebbishy type who could try to pass off a plastic girlfriend.

July 29th, 2009

GLAAD: HBO is full of ‘mos, NBC is found wanting

The Gay rights group GLAAD — the one that tracks gay representation in the media — released its third annual Grand Sparkling Gay TV Survey. The results, of course, indicate that there is progress to be made, but they also point out that the premium cable channels is where all the man-on-man/lady-on-lady action is going on.

HBO and Showtime both have significant LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, for the non-activisty crowd) representation, including main characters on True Blood, The United States of Tara and Weeds.  And while I’ve realized this for a while, I’m still surprised that the Disney-owned ABC continues to set the pace for the networks (Callie on Grey’s Anatomy, those useless queens on Desperate Housewives, and I think everyone on Brothers and Sisters is gay).

Meanwhile NBC and CBS were severely lacking, along with cable networks Sci Fi, A&E and TBS. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the whole thing here.

1 comment July 27th, 2009

TVBC: So You Think You Can Dance, The State, The Beautiful Life

blog-coalition-graphic.jpgAfter watching the long-awaited DVD release of The State: The Complete Series, Marisa was pleasantly surprised to see how well the show stood the test of time. (TiFaux)

For us, the summer is all about SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. If you’re a fan, check out the latest SYTYCD Edition of The TV Talk Podcast with GMMR & Ducky. We talk performances, the 100th ep & why we love/hate Katie Holmes. (The TV Talk Podcast)

After Mischa Barton’s mental and physical issues, Matt is glad the CW working on a contingency plan for The Beautiful Life. (TV Fanatic)

It is the battle of the covers with American Idol‘s Brooke White, singing Kings of Leon’s Use Somebody, taking on newcomer Aimee Allen who puts her spin on Santeria by Sublime. (Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green)

Vance wanted no hate for the remaining Top 8 dancers, but he felt the Cancer Dance was a little manipulative on So You Think You Can Dance (Tapeworthy)

Follow the TV Addict as he braves 120,000 costumed crusaders at San Diego Comic Con 2009 (The TV Addict)

Buzz wondered if TV series reboots like 90210 and Melrose Place are better or worse off for bringing back old characters. (BuzzSugar)

July 26th, 2009

Marisa & Marisa Have Thoughts

So, I experienced a weird, personal collapse of the space-time continuum. I was watching a lot of The State (plug: I watched it for a PopMatters review ) right when Michael & Michael Have Issues debuted. 1995 collided with 2009, and I had the urge to dig out my old flannel again (though that happens every so often no matter what).

Can I just say that I’m amazed it took this long for The State to make it to DVD? I love that show, but up until last week I really only loved my memories of it. Even though the members of The State pop up in comedies all over the place–and there are 11 of them, so they can do a lot of damage when they divide and conquer–I guess MTV/Paramount didn’t think the show had a big enough audience to make a DVD set (and clearing all the music rights therein) worthwhile.

I’m glad they changed their minds. I was afraid when I got the DVDs that the humor wouldn’t hold up over time, but most of it does because the gags are more absurd than of-the-moment. I managed to locate my exact favorite episode–the first episode of the second season, the one with the talk show about monkey torture–and it’s still just as funny as I remember.

What I didn’t remember, though, is how high-energy the show is. It’s like they tried to smooth over their inexperience by being really frantic and moving really fast. Watching it now, the quickness just makes the series seem puppyish.

Now Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter are no longer puppies. Their new show is slowed down considerably, and I think they’ve learned that faster doesn’t necessarily equal funnier. They’ve also honed their personas in ways you can only see traces of in The State. Michael Ian Black, in particular, addresses the camera directly in a few of the sketches on The State, beginning his monologues with “Hi, I’m an on-air personality,” so you can see the roots of the “Michael Ian Black is a very famous celebrity” attitude that he still keeps up on Michael and Michael Have Issues. Since they’re sitting a little bit more in their comfort zones, and basing their comedy off of heightened versions of their own personalities, they’re missing some of the absurdity of The State or even Stella.

Basically, I just want them to bring back the monkey torture.

2 comments July 23rd, 2009

Jen Kirkman: When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go

As of late, I’ve been spending my unemployment Googling videos of my favorite stand-up comedians. What can I say — at least it keeps me off the streets?

One of my new favorites is Jen Kirkman, a baby-faced comedian from LA with an adorable lisp and a huge dark side.  You may remember her from appearances on Chelsea Lately or perhaps Drunk History Vol. 3, where she was the narrator behind the Oney Judge escaped slave story.

Jen has great conversational style and, like Janeane Garofalo, tends to drop lots of small jokes instead of huge laugh lines. She tends to cover a lot of female-centric topics (baby showers, etc.) but she has a dark enough take on it that everyone can enjoy it (as long as they have a dark side too).

Here’s a clip of her talking about gay marriage and BMs.

Here’s another good clip of her discussing the sensitive and — to me — ever mysterious subject of female masturbation.  It’s actually very funny and not really blue at all.

4 comments July 22nd, 2009

SPORTS. In an inspiring way!

Friends, I would like to explain something. I was watching the Tour de France on Saturday morning, as I am wont to do lately, because it is exciting and involves lycra and fun, and there was this one commercial. It’s like two minutes long and I watched the whole damn thing to find out what they were selling. I can’t find the exact commercial; the only one I can show you is last year’s vintage. But you might like it, if you like sports or awesomeness or menz. The music you hear is courtesy of Explosions in the Sky, who you might recognize from Making Y’all Cry duty in episodes of Friday Night Lights, or, if you live in Austin, I assume they just pipe it into all public areas. So here’s the commercial. It’s for Versus, and I apologize for all the hunting, which isn’t a sport.

July 20th, 2009

TVBC: Torchwood, The Bachelor, Rescue Me, The Emmys

bluecoalition.jpgThis week, Jace had an advance review of the five-episode event Torchwood: Children of Earth, airing every night on BBC America this coming week, and had an exclusive interview with Torchwood executive producer Julie Garner. (Televisionary)

The TV Addict offers up his take on the 2009 Emmy Nods: The Good, The Bad and the Who Does BSG Have to Frak to Get Some Emmy Recognition! {The TV Addict)

During the summer doldrums, Sara has been catching up on Rescue Me. It’s a great show, but there’s one character who drives her nuts! (TiFaux)

Kate wondered which season of The Bachelor was the most boring. (TV Filter)

Matt is 29 years old and a male. But he’s seen the first episode of The Vampire Diaries and is a major fans. (TV Fanatic)

Buzz took a break from all the Emmy mania to check out the models who will appear on the Project Runway companion series, Models of the Runway. (BuzzSugar)

How much does Buster Bluth want you to watch his webseries CTRL, Scooter has a video of how much and why you should do what Buster says. (Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green)

It’s not TV related but Vance LOVED the movie (500) Days of Summer. Boy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt sure has grown up since 3rd Rock From The Sun. (Tapeworthy)

July 19th, 2009

I’m Sick of Your Shit: Sheila Keefe

I’ve been watching Rescue Me on DVD over the past few weeks, and thanks to the lovely people at FX publicity, I’m now caught up on season 5. And it’s a pretty great show, if we don’t talk about season 4. I enjoy the camaraderie of the firehouse, the ensemble cast does great work, the action scenes are incredible and heartbreaking, and yeah, Denis Leary is a moderately good actor who created a damn good show. And Daniel Sunjata is phenomenally good looking. Also Steven Pasquale. Damn. And John Scurti is just a funny, wonderful actor.

There’s just one thing. This one person. Who is DRIVING ME INSANE.

picture-2

The rest of this will give away a lot of plot, FYI. In case you were thinking of catching up, which I recommend. But seriously, skip season 4.

Sheila Keefe is the widow of Tommy’s cousin, Jimmy, who died on Sept. 11. In season 1, Tommy and Sheila had an affair and she got pregnant. In season 2, she had a miscarriage and started dating women, one of whom beat the ever-living shit out of her. That was unpleasant. In season 3, she bought a beach house on Long Island where she was convinced she and Tommy would retire and live happily ever after. When Tommy told her he wasn’t running away with her, she drugged him and burned the house down, nearly killing them both and kicking off a horrible insurance fraud storyline in season 4. Also in season 4 she tried to get Tommy to give her the baby that (stay with me here) Tommy’s wife, Janet, had with his brother Johnny. (But the baby might be Tommy’s. Janet was sleeping with both brothers.) Then she named the baby Elvis. Now, in season 5, her son, Damian, has become a probie (rookie) firefighter in the same house where Tommy works.

And throughout all these delightful developments, Sheila has been a screaming, crying, drinking, cursing, lying, cheating, miserable harpy. All of which I could handle if she was entertaining. She’s not. She’s just loud and mean and repetitive. She’s been screaming the same five things at Tommy the entire show, and now she’s transferred all of her neurosis onto screaming because her only son is a firefighter, the occupation that (let’s not forget) killed her husband. While I can understand where she’s coming from with all of this, I’m not enjoying it. She’s just a manic pain in the ass and every scene she’s in makes me want to scratch my eyes out with broken glass.

When she’s not screaming for justifiable reasons, she’s screaming for unjustifiable ones. In the course of the show, she has twice drugged Tommy with roofies and Viagra and proceeded to rape him, then told him the next morning that he got drunk and blacked out. He’s an alcoholic, and was sober at the time, so it’s really a dick move. And then there was the part where she convinced Tommy to give her Janet’s baby. I’m more inclined to chalk that up to desperate writers and a lousy plot twist, but it’s easier to blame it on Sheila being horrible.

In the extra features on one of the DVDs, Peter Tolan, who created the show with Leary, slyly said that, well, it is a show about people with really dangerous jobs, so the cast had better stay in line or someone might be getting burned up. I wish they would set Sheila on fire and then never talk about her again. And Damian too. God, he’s fucking annoying.

5 comments July 16th, 2009

Leverage: They’re back! They’re still quippy!

Hey, remember Leverage? Yeah, it’s fun. The ensemble heist show on TNT begins its second season this evening, and you should check it out. Come on, there’s nothing else on.

We get paid more this year!

We get paid more this year!

So Leverage really grew on me last season. Timothy Hutton is a whole lot of actor for basic cable, and he plays a dissolute, depressed man very well. He’s surrounded by a pretty amusing ensemble, which got even stronger as the season went on, even though the episodes were aired out of the order in which they were written and shot, so some references were choppy and nonsensical (same thing is happening over on Royal Pains; Mark Feuerstein went on a date with the hospital administrator lady in the second episode, and then in the third introduced himself to her as if they’d only met once), but hopefully that won’t happen this time around.

The problem character for me, at the beginning, was bendy thief Parker, played by Beth Riesgraf. They gave her some sort of troubled childhood involving explosives and orphanages, and at the beginning I found her performance shallow and unimpressive. But she got a lot better as the season went on. And the unheralded genius in all this is Aldis Hodge, who plays the team’s computer guru, Hardison. Hodge played the Hurricane Katrina transplant quarterback Ray “Voodoo” Tatum on the first season of Friday Night Lights, and he spent that entire stint glowering menacingly at Matt Saracen. Which he was good at. Here, he’s sprightly and funny and deftly deadpan. He’s a much hipper version of Marshall from Alias, with the ability to go in the field when needed. Basically, he’s my favorite character going into the new season.

When we left our ingenious team at the end of season 1, they had conned Ford’s former employers, the villainous insurance company IYS, and then the five went their separate ways. So this season has to start with some sort of putting the crew back together motif. Then, I’m not sure where they’ll go. But it’ll be quippy. And fun.

Also, if you’re bored this week, make sure to catch the rerun of No Reservations, the season premiere with Tony in Chile. It’s awesome. It’ll make you ravenous.

ETA: If you’re the type who likes a little behind the scenes with your quips and heists, check out creator John Rogers’s blog, Kung Fu Monkey.

1 comment July 15th, 2009

Giveaway: To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants

spongebobI have a special place in my heart for Spongebob Squarepants. Not only did I watch a ridiculous amount of him during my lonely year in Boston after I graduated from college, but my whole family (of which I am the youngest) went to go see the movie on Christmas Day a few years ago.

What do I like about it? Something about the lovable absurdity. The fact that I have a sneaking suspicion that if the guys who made it weren’t making cartoons, they’d probably be working for NASA. The fact that it’s both gentle and surprisingly subversive.

On that note, we’ve got another giveaway — this time for the DVD “SpongeBob SquarePants: To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants.” The DVD includes several episodes of the series including “The Splinter,” “The Slumber Party” and “Grooming Gary.”

If you want it, e-mail tifaux -at- gmail -dot- com with the subject line “Bikini Bottom.”

July 14th, 2009

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