Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TV Round-up for Wednesday, September 30

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins -
A few words from returning champion Wes on why he decided to come back for another Challenge: "I saw the opportunity to be with two of the most important girls that have ever been in my life [Johanna, Kellyann]; to be there with someone I'd consider a hated enemy [Kenny]; to be there with other ex-boyfriends of my girls [Cohutta, the aforementioned Kenny, etc.]; to me was just too hard to pass up." This guy is a NUT JOB. Welcome back Wes! It's also good to see my boy Kenny, Bananas, sad Brad, crazy Katie, daddy Derrick, and 'roidy Evan. Even self-righteous annoying Evelyn made me smile. And Chet! It's an embarrassment of riches really.
But seriously when Derrick and Cohutta are consistently the voices of reason during the first hour you know something is messed up. Is it weird that I don't actually know where the Challenge is taking place? Thailand? Mexico? Fiji? Mars?

Glee -
I loved EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE. Tonight's episode was made of WIN! First were the awesome performance numbers; Fox has been teasing us for months with tiny seconds of "Somebody To Love", but getting to see the full piece was so much better than I could hope for. And gawd, I couldn't love Kristin Chenoweth anymore if you paid me. Her comedic timing is amazing. Oh and her Sally Bowles! Kurt Hummel and I shared a tear watching her sing "Maybe This Time". And her duet with Matthew Morrison on Heart's "Alone" is quickly going to become the most played song on my iPod. A keeper all-around.

Modern Family/Cougar Town -
Last week wasn't a fluke. Both of these new ABC shows had good second episodes. Keep up the good work guys.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

2009 TV season's first casuality

WOW, the CW wasted no time. After airing only two episodes, The CW announced that the Ashton Kutcher-produced series "The Beautiful Life," about a bunch of vapid NYC models was being pulled off the air. It was pretty bad; at least the first episode was. And it looks like I won't get to see anymore now. People just really hate Mischa Barton now huh?
I hope this means that the CW will air repeats of "Vampire Diaries," because I keep missing it and it seems fun and kitschy.
Speaking of network disappointments, supposedly FOX is really unhappy with the ratings thus far for fan favorite "So You Think You Can Dance." They're not going to cancel it of course especially before the competition even starts but its lackluster ratings will probably relegate it back to the summer schedule (I mean DUH Fox, the power of Cat Deely can't save everything!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thoughts on some of this week's TV premieres partie une

"Dancing With The Stars" - okay I didn't really watch either of the two-night season opener shows. Like for the past couple of seasons, this ABC juggernaut had 4 hours of programming devoted to 16 couples competing for the glitter disco ball trophy. The 8 men went first on Monday. I only got to see the two group dances for the guys at the end where 4 danced a salsa routine and the others danced the Viennese Waltz. Tom Delay (not John Ashcroft like I mistakenly thought) was SUPER creepy, and Donny Osmond and Aaron Carter were surprisingly good and both totally desperate for people to like them. Tuesday's was the girls' turn and I watched even less of them. I did get to see the ridiculously (emphasis on the ridiculous) great routine that my old boyfriend Dmitry Chaplin (from S2 of So You Think You Can Dance) choreographed for his partner, R&B singer Maya. I agreed with Len that the dance had very little to do with the Viennese Waltz; what with only 9 measures of dancing in hold, and the completely sheer and only buttoned at the navel shirt Dmitry was sporting. But whatever the routine was, it was beautiful.

"Bored To Death" - I couldn't love this show more if it gave me flowers and a million dollars. Seriously. Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson are amazing. Galafanakis funny as usual like it's his full time job. Brilliant writing and pacing. I want this show to have 25 amazing seasons sharing the antics of Johnathan, George, and New York. LOVE

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TV Round-up for the week of September 14

Glee -
This third episode (the 2nd since last week's return) was pretty polarizing among the folks I've talked to. For some of my friends "Acafella" was sort the last straw, the nail in the coffin for a show that they really wanted to like and just can't get into at all. For others like me, this week's episode was fantastic; providing character arcs and story progression that hints at wonders to come. And come on - how could you not love all of the Acafella stuff? The early 90s hip-hop; the cheesiness; the fact that the storyline created an opportunity to have Matthew Morrison and John Lloyd Young perform together, like Ryan Murphy has been poaching my dreams. It was all so great. I will admit that as happy as I was last week when this show returned to tv, and as much as I enjoyed it, that return episode didn't exactly live up to the pilot. But this week got the show back on track for me. Added bonus? Josh Groban playing himself as the drunk-cougar lady killer. Excellent!

Community -
Speaking of unmet expectations, I wanted to LOVE the "Community" pilot and I just enjoyed it. I mean I'm still totally on board and I think it has a ton of potential but I guess I figured with my boyfriend Joel McHale and comedy legend Chevy Chase involved that I'd be doubled over clutching my sides with laughter. Not so much.

The Office - One of the better season premieres they've had. I loved all of the false rumors that Michael came up with and the opening involving Andy, Michael and Dwight with the Parkour stuff was GENIUS.

Big Brother 11 - So much (too much) has already been said about this disappointing finale. It was an hour too long, Julie looked ridiculous in her periwinkle silk rain poncho, fucking NataLIE won $50K, and Kevin was robbed. I didn't have a problem with Jordan winning actually; I'm just still mad that Natalie made it to the final 2. She should have gone home the week Lydia did and I blame Jordan for that. Oh well, until next summer BB, sayonara.

America's Next Top Model - What is wrong with me that I can't quit this horrible show? Tyra Banks is an idiotic egomaniac and this "season of the shortys" is even a bigger waste of time than usual. But here I am right there watching it each week. Gah!

Project Runway - What is up with the judging this season?! So far I haven't had a problem with any of the designers who've been "auf'ed" but for the last 3 weeks I've TOTALLY disagreed with the person they've chosen as the winner. And what is up with my boy Logan not getting the love? First there was his model client dress last week that I actually thought was really cute but which almost got him sent home, and then there was his newspaper dress this week that was so amazing and wasn't even in the top three!!? WTF?!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Like The Wind Through My Tree...

Patrick Swayze lost his battle with cancer this evening. By the time anybody reads this there will probably already be an oversaturation of memorials for him in the media, but I couldn't go to sleep without reminiscing about an actor that was in so many movies that shaped my teen years.

My Top 5 Swayze Moments
(in semi-chronological order):

1. Red Dawn (1984) - After "The Outsiders" gave me a little taste of Swayze as the strong older brother, I was excited to see him in a similar yet far larger role in this apocalyptic "the Russians are evil" film about a group of mid-western teens that try to fight the Soviet invaders. "Red Dawn" had a serious effect on me as a 13 yr old. I totally wanted to BE Leah Thompson or Jennifer Grey's characters, gun-toting, kick ass tomboys who are fighting for their country. It was so weird. It's disappointing to watch this today because the movie just does not hold up well at all. Oh well, I'll always have Patrick and his mullet.

2. Youngblood (1985) - The power of Swayze's mullet lived on in the hockey film he made the following year with Rob Lowe. I fawking loved this movie as an eighth grader. I loved boys (i.e. Rob Lowe, Keanu Reeves, Swayze), I loved hockey, I loved watching boys changing out of their hockey gear in sweaty locker rooms...this awful film awakened all kind of hormones. Sigh...

3. The North & South mini-series Books I and II (1985-1986) - Oh Orry Main, how I loved you. I think this was the first thing that Swayze had done where he really got to use his Southern accent to its full power. This mini-series trilogy that ran over a period of four years on CBS was based on some of my favorite historical fiction books by John Jakes. The mid 80s were the heyday of the mini-series and North & South was one of the best. Swayze really got to show off his acting chops.

4. Dirty Dancing (1987) - I still remember the night well. I was working the evening shift at Domino's and my friend Mandy Dramstad called to see if I wanted to catch a movie after my shift at the Tenleytown theaters that were a block away. Mandy met me at the 'No's and we walked to the theater. It was Friday night and we didn't have any idea what was out or what was opening. I don't remember what else was playing but as soon as we saw the poster for Dirty Dancing and the line of folks waiting to buy tickets for the opening night, we were sold. For two 11th graders the movie was of course - AMAZING - and I remember the two of us singing "Time of Our Lives" at the top of our lungs as I drove us home. Timeless classic for reals.

5. Point Break (1991) - Zen bankrobbing surfer dude who is so awesome even Keanu Reeves' FBI agent didn't want to put him in jail. The reason that Patrick was named by People Magazine as that year's Sexiest Man Alive, 'nuff said.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

14 Reasons Why the New "Melrose Place" Sucks

  1. Shaun Sipos (David) acts with his furrowed brow and not much else.
  2. Ashlee Simpson's (sorry, Ashlee Simpson Wentz's) acting style seems to involve looking "aloof" and/or constantly thinking about her nose job.
  3. Katie Cassidy wants to be Heather Locklear so badly it's not funny. I don't know if this bad knock-off performance was the producers idea or her own motivation but she needs to quit it. Now.
  4. Katie Cassidy's character Ella is shocker of shockers a LESBIAN. Ooooh edgy.
  5. Michael Rady is no Andrew Shue. (Small favors - at least he's not inflicting a horrible "Greek" accent on us like he did in the Traveling Pants movies)
  6. Stephanie Jacobsen is one of the few English/Aussie actors that can't do a convincing American accent.
  7. Speaking of Jacobsen, her character had one of the most ridiculous B stories on tonight's premier: She plays a doctor? Who's still in medical school and can't afford the tuition so I guess she isn't a doctor yet? But she works in a hospital and not only isn't supervised by any resident or attending but also has heart patients that she diagnoses and treats? And if they wanted to do this whole money problem stuff why couldn't she just be struggling with student loans like every other new doctor? And then to have a perfectly decent seeming character, who is nice, smart, and incredibly good-looking offer this chick $5K to sleep with him? The hell? And she does it?! Such poor writing.
  8. Why would someone automatically think that a square red leather box, just lying on their friend's dining room table, contained an engagement ring? Nothing about the box screamed I HAVE A DIAMOND RING IN HERE. Once again really clumsy writing.
  9. The clunky exposition fairy that graced the scene between Ashley Simpson-Wentz's character and Colin Egglesfield's Auggie that went something like this - "We met at church." "Oh, are you very religious?" "No. We met in the basement, you know, AA meeting." "She was the first one to encourage me to be a chef." WORST. Writing. Ever.
  10. David blacks out? And is an art thief?
  11. This whole season is going to revolve around the plot of who killed Sydney Andrews?
  12. Your landlady is murdered that morning, and at the impromptu memorial service that you have that evening at the site of her murder you act as if she just moved away to New Mexico instead of being stabbed to death by an unknown assailant who is still on the loose.
  13. They fill the pool with a garden hose?!
  14. Not enough Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton in full-effect evil Mrs. Roper style).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nigel & Co.'s Top SYTYCD couple routines

I'll preface by saying that any SYTYCD that Fox, Nigel and Co. want to give me I'll gladly take. And while I get that "favorite" = subjective, there were some glaring misses tonight.
The show started out with promise replaying routines that had somewhat faded in my memory like "Black Mambo" but then it got kind of predictable towards the end.
But seriously, out of all of the Brandette brilliance, 'effin DISCO? It was fab but hello, Ruby Blue and Argentine Tango were better.

Also, talking about Season 1 and NOT showing any routine with Blake McGrath is a damn crime. Although it was nice to see Nick and Melody's "All That Jazz", I forgot how fun it was.
Anyway, it was a pleasant way to spend an hour.

SYTYCD - Top Couple Routines S1-S5

Tonight as a preview to Season 6 starting in a couple of weeks, So You Think You Can Dance is doing a special presentation of what they consider the top routines from supposedly all 5 of the seasons so far. In honor of this I put together my own list of faves from the first 5 seasons. I've already talked about my favorite group routines but now I'll present my top couple routines. **WARNING** The following videos are from YouTube which is notious for yanking SYTYCD clips off their site so I apologize in advance if by the time you read this the video isn't working.

A little word about the much forgotten first season of this show. I'll never forget the first night I caught an episode of SYTYCD; it was the night that Artem and Ashley danced the following to one of my favorite songs of all time. The 90 seconds that they danced brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't believe how moved I was. Two weeks later Blake and Destiny performed the same routine by Mia Michaels and it was just as beautiful in a totally different way. (Editor's note: I cannot remember for the life of me why in Season 1 dance routines were often recycled? Right down to the costumes. Was it to show the difference in ability between the dancers? Lazy choreographers? No clue.)

S1 - Ashley & Artem Lyrical "Song for You" by Mia Michaels (The following two pieces of video do not have audio - you don't need Donny Hathaway singing - just watch the gorgeous dancing.

S1 - Destiny & Blake Lyrical "Song for You" by Mia Michaels

The famous "Bench Dance":
S2 - Heidi & Travis Contemporary "Calling You" by Mia Michaels

"Table Dance":
S3 - Sabra & Neil Contemporary "Sweet Dreams" by Mandy Moore

S3 Lauren & Pasha Hip-Hop "Fuego" by Shane Sparks

S3 - Sara & Pasha West Coast Swing - "Rockafeller Skank" by Benji Schwimmer

S4 - Katee & Joshua Hip-Hop "No Air" by Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo

A routine that gets eclipsed by all of the other stand-outs from the 4th season, this surprising partnership between Court and Will was one of my favorite moments:
S4 - Courtney & Will Hip-Hop "Like You'll Never See Me Again" by Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo

S4 - Chelsie & Mark Lyrical Hip-Hop "Bleeding Love" by Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo

S5 - Janette & Brandon Jazz "Ruby Blue" by Wade Robson

S5 - Melissa & Ade Rumba "Emotions" by Tony Meredith and Melanie LePatin