Workaholics

Best new comedy show since The League, and similar in the sense that it is a buddy troupe of comedians filled with zany jokes coming from all angles. Workaholics is definitely not as clever because it isn’t going for any subtle humor that works on different levels- it mostly just comes down to dick and drug jokes. But the characters emphasize their emoting and quirky traits and the whole thing works real well. With only 3 characters and a narrow scope, I don’t know how much longevity a series like this could get, but it should be fresh enough to be the hit of the season.

Sesame Street

Sometimes I question the value of this particular program. I’m not saying Sesame Street had a negative impact on my childhood or that I wish I never watched it, but I submit this for consideration. I am a 34 year old man who still finds himself singing this tune on occasion.

Taco

The League is hands down one of the best new comedies on TV. It’s about fantasy football. It’s about a group of friends ragging on each other. It’s a guy show that stands out from the other guy shows by being unapologetic about being a guy show.

Of course, there are some legitimate complaints about The League. The show structure is a bit formulaic after seeing a few episodes and the writers try too hard to create lingo in scenes that are heavily ‘inspired’ by Seinfeld. But by far the biggest problem of the series is the character named Taco.

All of the guys on the show have their thing. Taco’s thing is more or less being Joey from Friends. He’s the dumb guy who puts himself in odd situations without knowing any better for cheap comedy relief. He’s an easy way out for the writers any time they need something completely off the wall to happen. Seriously, his shtick is playing an acoustic guitar and singing wacky songs not unlike Adam Sandler from SNL in the 80s. Or Phoebe from Friends in the 90s. For a mostly original sitcom I really wonder what went on behind the scenes to have this happen.

Punch Dub Days

There are very few reasons you are allowed to punch another man and not fear repercussions. It’s their birthday, they flinched, you see an old-school Volkswagen Beetle before they do. What you can not do, however, is punch someone because you see any Volkswagen at all. That, my friends, is grounds for a beatdown.

The new Volkswagen ad campaign is playing off the spirit of the old punch-buggy road game. Except the whole point was that VW Bugs were a dying breed and seeing one was a big deal, even several years ago. Is Volkswagen trying to tell us something about their future projections of success?

I don’t know why such a little thing makes me so upset but I can’t watch one of these commercials without hoping that one of the characters, upon being punched, loses it and starts flailing on the other screaming, “THAT’S NOT THE WAY YOU PLAY THE GAME!” Maybe it’s the way marketing campaigns insidiously try to become a part of pop culture. I just can’t wait for the Punch Dub Facebook game.

NFL TV Coverage

Ah, football – the greatest sport of all time. Americans love the violent collisions and acrobatic catches. And with HD, multiple camera angles, and replay, the game seems tailor-made for tv.

I can watch college football games multiple ways. Several major channels show games with some backing up others for local coverage. ESPN Gameplan can be gotten from several cable companies if you want to see a game that is not playing nationally. And streaming a game online with ESPN360- live or after the fact- is easy.

The NFL is a step up from the NCAA. It is la creme de la creme of talent and professionalism. The tv productions have had so many advances throughout the years. So why is it that I can’t watch the Miami Dolphins play whenever and where ever I want?

DirectTV monopolizes the NFL contract with the NFL Sunday Ticket and they charge exhorbitant prices because they show you ALL the NFL games. Guess what? I actually don’t want to watch ALL the games. I just want to see my team play even though I am not in the local market. How hard is that to do?

NFL is all about fantasy football. It has probably the largest fanbase of all online games if you consider it as such. And why is this so good for the League? Because fans have to care about every team, every player. Are you more likely to order the Sunday Ticket or call your cable company and demand they carry NFL Redzone now? Sure you are.

It’s not about making it more convenient for fans to watch the teams they like. It’s about making the NFL a complete culture, a complete Sunday commitment, and having you be happy you are making your wallet a lot lighter in the process.

Well, their strategy is having the opposite effect on me. I can’t watch my team play so I care less about the League. It starts with me not knowing who is playing, then not keeping up with who won the game, then not thinking about the team and not buying merchandise, until soon I don’t give a crap about the NFL. It’s really sad because I love the sport but they are screwing themselves out of fans like me. I wish more people felt the same way and would boycott the Sunday Ticket and stop paying a $350 premium to watch football.

Just let me watch my game online for 10 bucks. In this age of the internet it is amazing that I can’t do this. Until then, let me know if we make the playoffs.

V (2009)

V1983 was the era of Star Wars and tv execs responded with V, a two part miniseries about benevolent aliens coming to Earth. They offer a mutually beneficial trade – their scientific and medical knowledge for supplies of common elements that their dying planet desperately needs. The Visitors, as they come to be called, look human except their voices are slightly modulated and their eyes are sensitive to light, so they wear dark sunglasses a lot. As they slowly maneuver themselves in positions of power, their charismatic promises and military uniforms take a page from the Nazis as they turn the world’s countries into police states. Even worse, it turns out the Visitors are reptilian wearing fake skin – they eat humans and are stealing the Earth’s water.

Uniform

A four part miniseries, dubbed V: The Final Battle, took place a year later that ended the conflict. And a single season run of regular episodes soon followed, although they weren’t very good. Still, V had its place in science fiction history and it was fun for me to recently rewatch some of the episodes.

Reptile Face

I was excited to see that there was a reimagining of the series in the works. Of course I was concerned that it wouldn’t be very good, but it would be cool to see a modernized version of alien big brother. The first bad sign was when I found out that the 2009 episode run was supposed to start with 6 episodes but it had to be cut down to 4. On top of that, it would be near impossible to have the aliens visit, greet us as benefactors, then reveal their true nature all within an hour timeslot. So describing my mood as cautiously optimistic is being nice.

The pilot episode was some of the worst writing I have ever seen.

First of all, they took away the few distinctions that made the Visitors different. No dark sunglasses, no cool voice, no uniforms. People like seeing these nuances. It is what makes alien movies cool. Instead, we are treated to a pilot episode where we basically only see one alien, the leader, who came from the ship above New York. There is nothing special or different about her except that she comes off as mildly retarded because she likes to smile and stare a lot.

Hot To Not

And I’m sorry, the business power suit is not a cool look for an alien.

Of course, there is a reason that the writers want the Visitors to look and sound exactly like humans, and that is because they are introducing a new plot element to the series. Many Visitors have been here for years masquerading as humans and causing strife on our planet. They are hinted as causing JFK’s assassination and 9/11. In fact, an FBI agent in the pilot is killed and revealed as one of them. Now, I could sit here and nitpick about how unrealistic it is for reptiles wearing cloned human skin to live on Earth undetected for 50 years. A single car accident would foil that plot. I could also blame the writers for taking the easy way out and always using the reveal that someone was really a Visitor whenever they are in need of a plot twist.

But instead, I am shocked that the writers didn’t realize that this plot crutch completely negates another major story element- that the Visitors recruit humans into service as helpers and informers. They convince a news reporter to, “not ask questions that would paint them in a negative light.” If the aliens have been here for 50 years and can pass for human, then why do they need a human news reporter to be their spokesperson? If they wanted to control the media, they didn’t do a very good job of seeding the planet.

Some may argue that story inconsistencies are unimportant as long as the show is entertaining. I am not going to get into the awful dialog. Or the fact that the aliens refer to themselves as ‘Visitors’. Or that the new slang is the ‘Vees’. It was a horrible experience watching this thing. But I watched it to the end, hoping that even with as big of a hole as the writers dug themselves into, that something decent could climb out.

One of the final scenes shows a ragtag band of humans forming a resistance at a secret meeting. They are attacked by Visitors, and even though the good guys have no weapons, for some reason the aliens disappear after everybody but the main characters are dead. It’s as if the writers just wanted to start the next scene without bothering to finish the previous one. FBI lady kills her partner and finds out he is a reptile alien, and she walks away with another human as they wonder how they are going to build a resistance against the Visitors who are winning everyone over with charm.

Well, let’s see, how about showing everyone the dead reptile body? Better yet – there is a Visitor sympathizer on Earth who wants to help the humans. Why not just walk to the nearest news station or post a video on youtube? The secret of their reptile nature would be exposed immediately. If, of course, all the characters on the show were not complete idiots. And how am I supposed to like these characters when they are all morons? And how am I suppose to like the show if I don’t like the characters?

The 1983 show wasn’t without its faults. It was pretty cheesy but the original concept stayed focused on the theme of charismatic leaders turning the nation into a police state. The new show is just all over the place, and so are the plotholes.

Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle received newfound fame when she appeared on Britain’s got Talent, but the crap tv show is not what I hate. Some things are not even worth knowing enough about in order to properly hate them. I didn’t even know this show existed. Consequently, what I blame is the internet for shoving this trash in my face.

Yahoo! devoted no less than 4 full days of front page banners to Susan Boyle coverage. “Oh wow! Look at this internet sensation! An ugly person actually knows how to sing! The fact that somebody SO ugly can sing SO good is a heartwarming success story!” Really guys, just drop it.

Nothing is as transparent as marketers saying what they are pushing is in high demand. I would say this whole fiasco is insulting to the woman but she is playing a part as a character on tv for the publicity. Does a clown necessarily have less dignity than any other entertainer? Well actually, now that I think about it… Yes.

24

24Jack Bauer, how I love thee. Non-stop action and plotting wrapped up into a single day of real-time moments. Sure, I’ll suspend my disbelief a bit and pretend it only takes a commercial break to get anywhere in LA traffic. Sure, Jack is always involved and the terrorists always base their attacks in the same city. But in a full 24 hours doesn’t anyone eat anything? Seriously, just once I would like to see a character take a dump.

It may surprise 24 enthusiasts that once upon a time this show was actually innovative. The first season enforced the real-time framework and the pacing, scene changes, and characters/ locations all were carefully organized to comply. The result was a damn good show that was very different from what tv viewers were used to and a hit was born.

Jack Bauer

It didn’t take very long for things to break down. When you start the second season and Jack is good friends with the president it doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for him to believably fight the system. Wait, there’s ANOTHER terrorist who knows him? His daughter is in trouble AGAIN? Different became formulaic. The need for a cliffhanger before commercials every 6 minutes of real-time became melodramatic. I still vividly remember when 24 jumped the shark- Jack’s daughter was wandering outside somewhere and got caught in a bear trap while being stalked by a mountain lion. That’s not a joke.

I don’t know why, but I think the writers just gave up. Around ‘Day 5′ I remember seeing a hype “news” story about how the new season of 24 was going to be different because Jack’s misdeeds were catching up with his conscience and he wasn’t just a cold-blooded soldier anymore. The lasting effect this “subplot” had throughout the season was a few added scenes where Jack was shaking as if about to cry. That’s that, folks, good job!

The truth is, every single season of 24 after the first is the same exact story with some new characters and terrorist threats.

List of 24 Cliches

1 – plot inside the white house
2 – Jack punks a fellow agent
3 – Jack goes ‘dark’
4 – someone from Jack’s past makes it personal
5 – someone in CTU is suspected of or is a mole
6 – CTU management change-up (“I’m taking over!”)
7 – bad guy escapes from a building surrounded by police
8 – CTU gets attacked
9 – someone “will only talk to Jack Bauer”

I’m quite pleased to see that, just a few episodes into the current season, over half of these commandments are already fulfilled. And a new drinking game is born.