Thursday, November 26, 2009

TV Sort of Quarterly Report - Part II

Happy Thanksgiving!!

As I prepared this column a week ago, I was about to write about how aside from the last season of Monk on Fridays, there are only 2 good nights of TV – but last Wednesday as I got ready to watch Law and Order SVU – I saw a promo on ABC for the new show Modern Family that featured an appearance by Elizabeth Banks! Well homina homina homina.. I have been a fan of hers since she was in The 40 Year Old Virgin hot tub scene. I decided to skip L and O and watch Banks instead, so now I guess I will slightly amend my opinion about TV only having 2 good nights.

After stumbling into the Elizabeth Banks episode – I actually liked Modern Family. Since I am new to the show I am not as familiar with the characters like the tv columnists who have press releases to held id the different characters on these ensemble shows. The Banks character was friends with 2 gay guys who recently adopted a baby. The show is about a big extended family and I have no idea who these people are just yet, except the patriarch is Ed O’Neill from Married With Children and he apparently married a much younger woman. (I only saw 2 episodes folks). He is quite sharp and easily prevents his teenage granddaughters attempts to leave a family dinner to hang out with her boyfriend. Another character who I think was Ed’s daughter gets her husband a “thoughtful” birthday present when she gets a personalized performance from a member of her husband’s favorite 80s band… Spandau Ballet. Only it turns out the husband never liked Spandau Ballet and didn't even know any of their songs. While watching the episode, I thought it really was the guy from SB... but I later found out it was actually actor Ed Norton.

The other new show is the much hyped Cougar Town. That show was ok but one of the episodes featured a woman played by Rachael Harris playing exactly the same kind of character she played in The Hangover.. the bitchy wife! The characters have different names.. but they are exactly the same!! It seems like the actress is getting typecast… Its too early to tell if I will stay with this one.. again there are a lot of characters and I’m still trying to figure out who’s who.

This season I seem to have stopped watching longtime favorites Heroes and Desperate Housewives and have replaced them with a comedy heavy lineup. I also like that new Shark Tank show but it seems to be off the air now, replaced by V which I watched religiously when it was on NBC in the 80s.. but I have not caught the new version yet.


Hands down the funniest night on Television.. and actually it might be TOO funny.

Sundays with Seth – What the heck is in Seth MacFarlane’s DNA and what made him so brilliant?

2 weeks ago it was hour after hour of Seth. Not only his triple header of Cleveland Show, Family Guy and American Dad but he also had a variety show one night that was quite funny too. Clips of Family Guy were worked into the show and it was quite odd to see the show with a laugh track as the variety show’s audience was laughing with delight. The bit about Marlee Martlin’s voice was pretty tacky but then again is that really such a shock that a Seth MacFarlane production would be tacky?

I really can only handle 2 episodes of Sundays with Seth in one setting because I still need to save some yuks for Curb Your Enthusiasm. Therefore, I haven’t really started to watch Cleveland, but even a glance here and there is getting me hooked. The Thanksgiving episode with Auntie Mama last week was hilarious and made me realize that the transvestite character modeled after Mama on What’s Happening is part of Seth’s motivation to create this show. He grew up watching all the black sitcoms and really had no forum to spoof them on his other cartoon shows. So he did what everyone else does who has 2 cartoons. He created a 3rd. He also had a funny episode a couple of weeks ago when his step daughter was supposed to take a chastity vow.. but his son did so instead which greatly upset Cleveland and pointed out the hypocrisy that sexually active teenage boys and girls have a double standard. Maybe Adam Lambert is on to something.

Family Guy and American Dad continue to roll around with typical hysterics. The concept of Stuie cloning himself and calling his clone Bitch Stuie was priceless… including his little homoerotic bathtub time with his over-eager-to-please clone. After awhile the episodes get all mixed up in my brain and I would probably have to consult tvsquad to remember what last week’s episode was about. Cant they just alternate American Dad with Cleveland Show to prevent Seth overload? Then again, some nights AD is the best of the 3 shows. Last week’s show with Stan falling in love with a band (which I later found out was a real band - after Spandau Ballet, I thought it was all fake!) was quite amusing as he swooned over them like a lovestruck teen.

Oh that’s right, the episode showed Quagmire fessing up to Brian about why he doesn’t like him… it sounded like something from Festivus.

And speaking of which…

Curb Your Enthusiasm… possibly the best show on TV this season, and Larry David has a chance to give the person who created Twilight a run for the money for Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year.

The season picked up where last year’s left off… as Larry (the man who inspired George on Seinfeld) hooked up with Loretta Black at the end of last season. The new season starts, and Black has cancer, and Larry wants out.. so he figures out a way to get her out of his house and decides to try to win his ex wife Cheryl back which became the theme of the season. And when Cheryl mentioned that she was happy when Larry worked on the Seinfeld show because he had “something to do”…. The wheels started turning and the Seinfeld reunion concept was born!

The show hit the jackpot the last 2 weeks with the final 2 episodes of the season and possibly the series. All 4 regulars returned to shoot the “reunion special” along with a few side characters such as Newman .. Incidentally, this reunion storyline has motivated me to start watching the Channel 5 reruns again.

A week ago Sunday “The Table Read” episode proved to be the funniest episode of a TV show since the last Newhart. A side story involving “Michael Richard”s concerns about the fictitious Groats Disease put Larry in a quandary. “Richards” worries were affecting his acting, so Larry decides to have an acquaintance, Groats survivor Danny Duberstein talk to him to calm him down. Only it turns out that unbeknownst to David, Duberstein died of the disease two months earlier. So who does he turn to? Leon. And as part of the plot Leon… a black man about to meet “Michael Richards” after the real Richards racist rant at a comedy club… was forced to impersonate Jewish accountant Danny Duberstein.

And while all of us were licking our chops about Leon confronting “Richards”… Leon while watching on the set points out how totally clueless he is about the Seinfeld characters and when Newman walks in to the angry “Hello Newman”, Leon looks at Larry offstage and says…”Who is that funny fat bastard?”

And the “Richards – Fake Duberstein” confrontation… turns out to be not about black anger towards Richards rant.. but instead was a showcase for JB Smoove to earn the Best Comedy Actor Emmy. The improvised scene between the 2 was absolutely hysterical with Duberstein announcing he had 3 bar mitzvahs because he has to recharge it every 13 years.

The only drawback to the episode was when Marty Funkhouser meets Jerry Seinfeld and proceeds to tell him a funny joke that was really not in character to him… but is exactly what Super Dave Osborne would have done. Both characters are played by the same actor, but it seemed out of place. Kind of like when Ted Knight appeared on The Love Boat… he didn’t ask Captain Stubing how Mary and Lou were doing??

And even though the finale was not quite as funny, it was still pretty pretty good with Larry almost sabotaging his entire show when he and “Jason Alexander” get into a bit of a snit. Jason quits and Larry decides to play George which means he was playing himself – sort of. “Jerry” was also funny and fired off a few classic zingers… almost as if he knew that he had to go the extra mile because JB Smoove was not appearing in this episode.

Ultimately the season wraps up with a satisfying ending and personally, I can’t wait for the DVD to come out.. I think the last 2 shows looped together would make a hysterical episode..


CBS tweaked its lineup this season… How I Met Your Mother is now on at 8pm and it continues to try to be the follow up ensemble to the Seinfeld/Friends generation. Two and a Half Men may be a one joke sitcom, but it continues to chug along. But by far the best comedy of the night – The Big Bang Theory. Now that certain types of social awkwardness are referred to as Assbergers… it seems that Sheldon is not just goofy.. but has been diagnosed. His roommate Leonard might be bizarrely dating the beautiful neighbor Penny, but the Sheldon - Penny acting chemistry is quite remarkable,

Last season the seeds were planted – no pun intended – when she got Sheldon a napkin used by Leonard Nimoy. Geek heaven! But the episode a week ago was classic when she fell in the shower and needed Sheldon to pull her out naked and get her to a hospital. There are not a lot of comedy teams out there that are as funny as these two, and I never realized Kaley Cuoco had the potential to be such a great straight man.

Many might question if Sheldon is straight after that episode although he admitted to peeking when she made him put her clothes on with his eyes closed so he could take her to the hospital to treat her injured arm. She also asked him not to put her panties on… and instead went commando in skimpy shorts which didn’t seem to phase Sheldon as it would the average heterosexual man in that situation. Instead, he lectured her on the importance of wearing clean underwear just in case she was in an accident and needed to go to the Emergency Room.... even though she was actually on her way to the Emergency Room!

PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK- Pumpy is under .500 after last weeks loss and is now 5-6. This week in honor of Thanksgiving we go to New England where the Patriots are on the road against the unbeaten Saints which could be a very exciting Monday Night Game. The Saints are 3 point faves. Sayeth The Pump:

“Lets' take the saints, because I'm a big Louis Armstrong fan and I like his rendition of "When The Saints Go Marching In"


Not too thrilled with the Thanksgiving Game and the early blogging schedule. Last week the hot streak continued at 2-1 for a season to date record of 17-16.

DENVER 6 ½ doggies over The Giants – I know the Broncos have played crummy lately but has anyone seen the Giants lately? And Nets announcer (0-15 already this young season) Chris Carrino is calling the game on the radio and I predict he will call his first and only win for 2009! But they won’t cover.

Raiders 13 ½ doggies over DALLAS – Huge spread that the Cowboys will not cover. I was more interested in today's early game but it kicks off just one hour after my 11:30 posting.. so lets take the late game instead. If both Dallas and Denver win, the Giants division hopes will be finished.

Washington 9 doggies over THE EAGLES – The Skins have been somewhat decent these last few weeks.

1 comment:

Jake said...

I agree completely about Seth McFarlane...Sundays keep me rolling but not a fan of AD...As for Elizabeth Banks...I think she's cute but I've also noticed she's sorta flat-chested UNTIL I saw the commerical for Modern Family whereby she's pushing those puppies up and together...I was shocked they did that in a commercial but now I'm getting a better appreciation for banks...sadly, have not watched a single episode of the show, busy w/Heroes-Mon, V-Tues(+Warehouse 13), CSI+Flash Foward-Thurs, SG-U-Fri...yikes