Posts filed under 'Greek'

The Best of Everything: Maggie’s List of Things

2008 was a little rough for the tube. I’m hoping for good things in 2009 — the return of many favorites, and maybe even some new shows to get behind!

My Favorite Thing of the Year, and Also The Only Good New Thing

The writers’ strike was a depressing time for everyone: no work for writers, no TV for us. And it had long-term repercussions, including the current dearth of high-quality new programming. But the writers’ strike did bring us one amazing thing: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. With Neil Patrick Harris as a geeky singing evil-do-er, Nathan Fillion as a smarmy strongman, Felicia Day charming us all, and the funniest script of the year, Joss Whedon & Family have made the internet work the way it’s supposed to.

Let’s do the math: The entire musical (42 minutes, the length of your average one-hour TV show) is available online for free. I watch it repeatedly (free for me, indeterminate ad revenue for them). I buy it on iTunes to carry around on my iPhone ($5.99). I (maybe someday) buy the soundtrack on iTunes ($9.99). I get the DVD — featuring a WHOLE NEW musical commentary track, Commentary! The Musical — for Christmas ($14.99). One day I hope to buy Commentary! The Musical on iTunes, in which case they’ll get another $9.99 out of me. Basically, they hooked me with their awesome free entertainment, and subsequently I will buy whatever they want me to. Creatively and business-wise, excellent job all-around.

Also thank you for NPH’s delivery of the line “Emails!” which is how I say that word now.

Best Episode That Everyone Else Likes, Too

There’s not a lot of “event” TV any more; we’re all off in our little corners, watching TV on our laptops and twittering about facebook videos or something. So it was a rare feeling, watching Lost’s “The Constant,” and knowing in your gut that lots of other people saw it and liked it all at the same time. (You can watch it via ABC’s extremely annoying propriety video player here.) I like Lost episodes that play with the form (I admit to being a fan of the Nikki and Paolo episode), and this one played it up while finding an emotionally resonant story that built tension in the best possible way. It’s the only time this year that I was literally on the edge of my seat.

Best TV Show to Help You Deal With Your Crazy Family

The BBC America import Gavin and Stacey follows the courtship and marriage of geographically diverse Gavin and Stacey, but it’s really about their bizarre collection of relatives and friends. There’s the sincere to the point of madness Uncle Brin, the sensitive and emotional best friend Smithy, the panicked mother Pam, the dry and shock-proof best friend Nessa — this is a group of people that should not get along. They have absolutely nothing in common. And yet, for the sake of Gav and Stace, they willingly place themselves in the same room over and over again. And they end up having a pretty good time.

Diamond in the Rough Award

I’ve already talked a lot about how under-appreciated Greek is, but it’s worth saying again. This year, it was a show that I never felt hesitant about switching on — it was always going to be a treat. I don’t know if their writers aren’t in the union (it is on ABC Family, after all) or if it’s a quirk of scheduling, but they managed to put out great shows in even this year’s darkest strike-dimmed months. Yes, it is an hour-long dramedy about the running of fraternities and sororities at a fake college. But it’s also surprisingly funny and sweet. This is a show about young people that doesn’t take itself too seriously (cough-GOSSIP GIRL!-cough) and so manages to make us actually care about what happens to the characters.

Runner up: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I don’t think we need to apologize for this show. But I’ll do it anyway: sure, it’s sometimes a little on the nose, and I wish there weren’t such a steady stream of time-travelers (otherwise why not just overwhelm us with them?), but overall it’s weird and dramatic and I like it. So there.

The Wish-for-More-Wishes Award: Five Amazing Performances

And five words to sum them up.

Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother: Scheming sleaze hides sensitive heart.

Kristin Chenowith in Pushing Daisies: Itty Bitty has big voice.

Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock: Every line delivery absolutely perfect.

Stephen Colbert in The Colbert Report: Crazy person bends truth, reality.

Jennifer Carpenter in Dexter: Duped foul-mouth best sister ever.

1 comment January 8th, 2009

This Week’s Observations

I’ve noticed some things this week while watching TV. Not anything that’s worthy of its own post, but perhaps all laid out together they will amount to something. There’s a funny video at the end!

  • Why does Pushing Daisies keep putting Chuck in those hideous high-waisted pants? She belongs in adorable full-skirted dresses with matching scarves. No to high-waisted pants! No!
  • John Corzine on the Daily Show? More like John BORE-zine. (Genius.)
  • Why is House so upset about Cuddy’s adopting? Is he jealous? Lonely? Does he wish he could’ve made her pregnant himself?
  • Everyone’s been saying this, but How I Met Your Mother could really slow things down a bit. I feel like Ted got engaged yesterday, and now everything’s status quo. At least Barney is taking his redemption at a reasonable pace (one step forward, two steps back).
  • Has anyone besides me and Kyle been watching Gavin and Stacey on BBC America? It is delightful. Sometimes, either due to accent or UK-ishness, I don’t understand what’s going on, but that’s part of the fun. However, none of the characters seem to think ahead about anything. If you get married and move, you will not be able to live in your old house and keep your old crap, too. Stacey’s the worst at this. But whatever. It’s the Nessa and Pam and Bryn show as far as I’m concerned. Also: Move out of your parents’ house, you crazy kids.
  • My love affair with Life on Mars may have ended yesterday, after only three episodes. Pull it together, Life on Mars! I liked it with the good music and the crazy clothes and the anachronisms. I don’t like the speechiness.
  • At least if you’re dating Michael Scott you’ll totally know if/when he’s lying to you, and he’ll be extremely up front about his intentions/expectations. I suppose that’s a benefit to having no filter.
  • Don’t read the next sentence if you don’t want to see one joke from next week’s 30 Rock. My personal favorite, mostly thanks to Alec Baldwin’s amazing delivery: “I worked the day shift at the graveyard and the graveyard shift at the Day’s Inn.”
  • Still love: Greek. On the fence: Dirty Sexy Money. Probably dropping: Heroes.
  • And here’s your video, via Videogum:

1 comment October 24th, 2008

Cute Overload Friday

Have you been watching Greek? I certainly hope so, because it’s one of the best shows around. If you haven’t, I recommend following this protocol immediately:

  1. Rent or buy (only $20!*) the first season.
  2. Watch it immediately.

Update your protocols, people. Then come back to me when you’ve finished.

This season has done an excellent job with a couple of very tricky things, namely:

  1. Making us believe that even though Cappie is so much fun and sweet and smart, he may still be a pretty shitty boyfriend/mentor to Rebecca/Rusty, respectively.
  2. Getting us to care about Rebecca, and to a lesser extent, Franny. (Though now that Franny and Evan have formed an evil league of evil they’re off the radar — I assume until they concoct a hugely evil scheme to end the season.)
  3. Consistently feeling like actual college, even for those of us who didn’t have a Greek system.
  4. Staying hilarious.
  5. Introducing a great new love interest for Casey, the sensitive nerd Max.

That last point is huge. I didn’t think they’d be able to cast someone able to overtake the appeal of Cappie, but Max nails it. (And I just discovered he was Costas in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Apparently if you change your hair and drop your fake accent I am incapable of recognizing you — I would be a terrible spy.) He’s charmingly off-center, never saying just what he should or what you might expect, which keeps Casey off-center, too. His kookiness masked his Sad Secret for a while, allowing us to get used to him without immediately suspecting Something’s Wrong.

Max is my new TV Boyfriend. It’s refreshing to have a TV Boyfriend who isn’t a total jerk because of his pain — Max is just troubled and smart and interesting. He’s totally unlike Evan or Cappie or even Rusty, making him a strange and surprising addition to the Greek family.

Have I gushed enough? Will you watch it? I know you most likely won’t, but you’re missing out. Don’t waste your time with the boring 90210 and the cheesily written Fringe! Come to Greek, where the plots are peppy, the boys are sensitive, and there’s always lots of alcohol!

*I think that DVD is actually just the first HALF season. They seem to do little mini seasons in 12-episode batches.

4 comments September 19th, 2008

It’s been years

Humorous Pictures

All right, maybe not years. But it’s been a while.

I write now as the TV season winds to its conclusion, with one purpose only: to praise Greek. I know I’ve done it before, but this time I mean it. In these tumultuous times, there’s so little to count on, and Greek has become a beacon of dependability in a sea of disappointment.

(I may have become embittered in my absence from this space.)

So, why watch Greek, besides the fact that nothing else is on? I’ve prepared a few talking points for judgmental roommates and your own doubting consciences.

  • Cappie. An episode cannot pass without Scott M. Foster, who plays the president of the Kappa Taus, completely nailing the timing on a surprisingly witty joke. His charm alone is worth an hour of your time.
  • Other cast members. Spencer “daughter of Kelsey” Grammer’s line readings are not always completely confident, but she’s likable in a key role. Clark Duke has serious comedy cred because he’s friends with Michael Cera. Ashleigh’s bubbly, Calvin’s not a stereotype as the gay frat boy, Rebecca shifts from insane megabitch to vulnerable freshman in seconds, and Evan even gives the rich preppy boy some layers.
  • You can reminisce about college — but there’s enough shitty/awkward stuff to make you glad you’ve gotten out of that place, too.
  • Have I mentioned that Cappie is funny? The whole show doesn’t take itself too seriously, like Gossip Girl or the O.C. This is not larger-than-life absurd melodrama — it’s regular-sized people drama, with a healthy sense of humor.
  • Aha! Remember when I thought I saw Dave Franco? IMDB confirms: I totally did.
  • There’s nothing else on. Seriously. This is a legitimate excuse. What, you’d rather watch Living Lohan or a repeat of CSI? That’s on your head, then.

The season finale is tonight, and I’m hoping for a resolution of my most burning question: What is up with the “reformed” Frannie? Is she still evil, or is she genuinely in to Evan and apologetic to Casey? Also, will Cappie break Rebecca’s steel heart? Excitement!

After this, I will retreat to my cave to wallow in my bitterness, so this is the last thing I’ll ask of you for a long time — watch it, please!

June 9th, 2008

Last Night’s TV

I don’t know about you guys, but last night’s TV really brought it. Please be prepared for some spoilers ahead (though the biggest I’ll put after the jump).

I’ve decided to approach the evening chronologically. Not in the order that the episodes aired, but in the age of the characters portrayed.

High School

In the second episode of The Paper, we learned a little more about my new favorite newspaper teen: Alex. Alex went to Hebrew school with Amanda. Alex considered Amanda a friend before junior year, then he started hanging out with the Adam/Trevor/Gianna axis of evil and grew apart from Amanda. Alex had a crush on Amanda in ninth grade! We are witnessing Alex’s transformation from shy dork to life of the party. It’s great.

I don’t have the energy to mount my Amanda defense, but I think as stubbornly odd as she is, you can see that she just doesn’t know how to relate to people. I don’t think she’s a bad person and I’d like to see her succeed — but she does have trouble letting loose, as is clear from her post-its and the “fun” of the ice cream social.

College

rivalry.jpg

I’ve been hoping for a Greek flashback episode for a long time now, and this one delivered. It not only gave us a glimpse of the kids way back when (2 years ago), it also did the impossible: It turned Evan into the hero! Cappie’s phenomenal charisma has always been a problem for the show: Why on earth would Casey ever break up with him? Especially for suit-wearing, soul-crushing Evan? This episode paints the picture beautifully. Cappie is the life of the party, but that’s his priority, not Casey. Evan is the quiet, conflicted best friend who doesn’t know where to belong. Cappie has never had a problem fitting in. Seeing Evan’s problems makes him infinitely more likeable. And seeing how Cappie has grown since his relationship with Casey — he really comes through for Rebecca — makes him, if possible, even more sympathetic (not that he needed it).

Mid to late 20s

How I Met Your Mother has been on fire this season. This episode was no exception. And the ending! I will discuss more after the jump.

Click to continue reading “Last Night’s TV”

7 comments April 22nd, 2008

Questions for the Universe

Was that Dave Franco as one of Rusty’s pledge brothers in last night’s Greek?

It definitely was this guy as Cappie’s Big Brother. Even though IMDB tries to deny it. [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/VhmTh8V0kSw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Right? Or am I losing my mind?

April 8th, 2008

Meta Monday

I’m sure you all noticed last night’s two lovely in-joke moments, but I’ll happily point them out again because they made me smile. These are the nerd moments, and if we, as nerds, don’t talk about them, who else is going to take the time to appreciate the care and love that went into the gags?

First there was Barney typing up his blog as if he were a 16-year-old doctor with his own show in the early 90s (it’s the last scene of the episode). It seems like the writers of HIMYM may have discovered this delightful Hulu treasure trove as well.

And then, on Greek, which came out with a great episode all-round, Alan Ruck, who plays the dean, got cornered by Ashley at the Great Gatsby party. She talks awkwardly. We cut away, some other stuff happens. When we cut back to Ashley and the dean, she pulls a great Espenson (that’s what I’m calling it now — thanks, Jane!): “And so in conclusion, that’s why I think that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the Great Gatsby of our generation.” I don’t agree with Ashley’s logic, but I like Alan Ruck’s face in response.

In conclusion, I have now fulfilled my nerd obligations, and so will you once you comment on these winking nods to the real world.

5 comments April 1st, 2008

Greek, new tonight!

Hey everybody, just a quick note. I wanted to non-ironically implore you to watch the second season premiere of Greek tonight on ABC Family. This show not only exceeds the (very low) expectations of the ABC Family network, it absolutely destroys them with wit and genuine good feeling.

greek-cast02.jpg

I know I sound like an ABC Family intern right now, but I’m serious. Shows about college are hard, because college kids are a self-absorbed, lazy lot (come on, admit it), but this one manages to nail it. And I’ve never even been to an actual frat or sorority house.

1 comment March 24th, 2008


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