Saturday, October 14, 2006
Since I’m well out of the MTV demographic I missed the premiere of the only show on its schedule that I actually still turn into, the Real World/Road Rules challenge. But this is MTV so it replayed ad nausea as well as being able to stream on their broadband channel Overdrive. This season, coming from Brazil, has been dubbed The Duel because it’s everyone for themselves this year with two members going at it in The Duel with the loser going home. The selection processes is somewhat complicated in itself with the winner of that day’s challenge picks a member of the opposite sex who then does the same until there is only one member of that day’s sex left (they alternate guy and girl duels). The last person then in turns picks anyone aside from that day’s winner to go in The Duel with them that night.
But the show really is more about the characters then the challenges themselves. One of the reasons I stopped watching The Real World circa Chicago is because they cast the same people lately. You got two frat boys with either a token gay or black dude while the girls basically are just there to fill out bikinis but rarely have anything that resembles a personality. But luckily there are plenty of screw balls from back when MTV actually cast real characters. Unfortunately some have gone MIA recently like Veronica, Rachel, Julie, and Abram. But in the challenge we have some old faithfuls like Tina, Beth and I’m sure once liquored up I’m sure Brad, Wes, Derrick, C.T. will make for good entertainment. Thankfully they brought some of the Fresh Meat from last season because Casey Cooper was easily the most entertaining reality star MTV has produced in year. Although most of that last season was thanks to how she reacted to her partner Wes so we will see if she is as entertaining without the antagonist.
The challenges this season should be interesting since it will be everyone for themselves. Surprisingly the first challenge the contestants ended up actually teaming up. Beth was the only smart one and went it alone (naturally) forcing the weaker “team” to go towards her almost giving her the win but Robin ended up taking it in the end. Then after the pick ‘em two newbies from Kew West went into The Duel. In what could be the lamest reality challenge ever where the two had to pick how many watermelons they could life, going back and forth until the other said, “do it.” Random Frat Boy ended up losing to Token Gay Guy.
The other challenge was much more interesting in that each person essentially got to choose which other contestants got eliminated by grabbing that person’s lifer preserver and one all their were gone they would be eliminated. Beth was the first one out for the girls (naturally). Fresh Meat/Cancer Survivor Diem ended up winning because no one wanted to be the heel that knocked out the cancer chick. But the real fireworks came afterwards when Beth and Tina threw down. It should be interesting how this plays out because if you look at the super-slow-mo, Tina barely grazes Beth’s forehead even though Beth acted like she got hit square in the jaw by Mike Tyson.
Verdict: The Real World/Road Rules Challenge are the crack and I’m the addict so I will be watching faithfully every week. The Duel airs on MTV Thursdays at 10:00. You can also check the show as well as The Aftershow (this week with special guest Tina) whenever you want on Overdrive.
Friday, October 13, 2006
There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.
My new favorite song that no one else is listening to (overtaking I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)). Just when you think Paris Hilton ruined faux-reggae music forever, here comes Lily Allen to make it entertaining again. And what makes this song great, in a time when Kelly Clarkson is content with getting made at an ex-boyfriend, Allen gets even. The best part is when the intruders trashed the LP’s, but them put them back in the case. Classic.
Okay so the song, a remake of the Violent Femmes song, is no Crazy which may sadly send them to one-hit wonder status, but the latest video by Gnarls Barkley may actually be more entertaining than the other one. Granted nothing beats their Star Wars performence at this year's MTV Movie Awards. But seriously, who doesn’t enjoy watching chick on bug lovin’? And what better message than there is no better hallucinogen then bug spray?
Where Gone Baby Gone video is a chuckler, the new Barenaked Ladies video is laugh out loud funny. As funny as Earl Hickey’s mustache is, this guy’s may actually be funnier. Plus the song includes possibly the best line from any song this year, “I was a baby when I learned to suck but you have raised it to an art form.” And as great as this video is, there are making one that may top it as the group is gathering fan submitted air-guitar videos to be included in a second version.
I really didn’t plan on including two British chicks biting black music, but you got to love anyone who uses Tetris in their video. Granted the song by Jay-Z’s latest find, Lady Sovereign is mediocre at best. Really the only thing worse that white dudes rapping are which chicks rapping. Did she really start sing Phil Collins at the end of the song? So for those keeping at home, as a record executive, Jay-Z is batting .000. No wonder why he is getting back into rap.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Both Lost and Veronica Mars have had strong starts to their third seasons with VM squeaking out a victory last week. Now here is this week’s Toss Up:
Lost: Kate is the lone person in a summer dress
Veronica Mars: Veronica is one of many in a sea of summer dresses
Winner: Veronica Mars
Lost: Sun’s lover
Veronica Mars: Parker
Back for the First Time
Lost: Sayid, Sun, Jin
Veronica Mars: Sheriff Lamb (check out Tube Talk Girl’s interview with Lamb)
Winner: Veronica Mars
Lost: Locke, Desmond, Eko, Claire, Hurley, Charlie
Veronica Mars: Weevil
Veronica Mars: Chip Diller
Winner: Veronica Mars
Lost: Kate and Sawyer are forced to break and remove rocks
Veronica Mars: Logan and Horshack are forced to listen to The Piña Colada Song
Winner: Veronica Mars
Lost: It’s the Other favorite way to keep Sawyer and Kate in line and used it liberally
Veronica Mars: It’s Veronica favorite form of defense but wasn’t able to use Mr. Sparky when she wasn’t led to the naked room
Lost: Sun’s lover (and it’s safe to assume the random Other on the yacht is officially dead)
Veronica Mars: Cormac Fitzpatrick (and it’s safe to assume that Kendall is officially dead
Lost: It seems like Not-Henry has cameras all over the compound if the not the whole island
Veronica Mars: The den mother has cameras all over the Theta Beta house to keep her stash safe.
Lost: Sun’s father busts in on her in a compromising position
Veronica Mars: Parker’s berate her because she can’t think for herself
Lost: You taste like fish biscuits
Veronica Mars: Vomit, it’s the new mace
Winner: Veronica Mars
I Love the 90’s
Lost: Charlie Salinger
Veronica Mars: Shawn Hunter
Worst Kept Secret for Next Episode
Lost: Locke, Desmond, and Eko all survived the blast last season
Veronica Mars: Parker won’t be going home with her parents
Winner: Veronica Mars
A surprising early win for Lost this season and hopefully this is signs of things to come as the were unable to string along two good episodes in a row last season and already have two straight right out of the box this season. The big news this week was the return of Sayid, Sun, and Jin. And what’s bigger is that Sun actually killed someone. I though in the final flashback it would turn out that she was going to be the person that pushed out the bald dude out the window but oh well. But the real predictable part of the flashback was that Sun was getting busy with the bald dude, something everyone already assumed.
Elsewhere on the island, Not-Henry continues to get creepier and creepier. First we learn that he enjoys watching people on monitors. Then he offers Jack a chance to go home. It will be interesting what Jack has to do and if he would actually do it. Even though they have CD’s and Stephen King novels, both of which could be leftovers from the early nineties, I’m still not sold that the Others have contact with the outside world just because they have tape of the Red Sox world series victory, just that they have a satellite feed.
As for Veronica Mars, seriously what could be more entertaining than watching Ronnie lesbian dance? I have to say I was half hoping that Vee would end up joining the sorority in the end and take Dream Lily’s advice and experiment in college. Oh well. What’s much more surprising than her not joining the sorority was she left the paper too to work at the library which I assume will be the new girls’ bathroom. But this begs the question; why not continue to work at Java the Hut? It has to pay more (especially with tips) then a work study job.
Of course Ronnie went undercover to investigate the Parker rape and I already have my lead suspect picked out, the RA. This is mainly due to picking George Michael when the college episode last year but since he is unavailable, I still think they will be going with an RA. As for the rape victim herself, it’s pretty safe to assume that Parker once again won’t be able to make her own decision and stick around like Mac asked her. And on the hair front, I really hope they find her a better wig than the one she was sporting during the episode.
But I have to admit I was totally taken out of the Wallace/Logan storyline with the Shawn Hunter sighting. And what’s extremely disturbing is he looks exactly the same since I last saw him. But at least the casting director at Veronica Mars was nice enough help him postpone his inevitable sex tape. And the guest spots didn’t stop there with the geek from Freaks and Geeks (or was he a freak, I always forget which one was which), the token hot chick from Jack and Bobby, and Homer Simpson in the flesh. But with all the absurdity that went along with this storyline, the part that I had the hardest to believe that an intro sociology class would have to do a twenty page research paper. I took upper level courses and never had to do more than ten.
Now it’s time for my far out there theory of the season (or just this mini arc): The serial rapist is a chick. Remember when being questioned by Lamb, Ronnie mentioned when she walked in she heard buzzing and Lamb said what did it sound like and Ronnie said you know and gave him a look. Well I was thinking, what do girls use that buzz? So I think in the end it will turn out that one of the feminists had a bad experience at a Greek party and are trying to set them up to get them all kicked off campus. So there’s my current out-there theory.
Next week on Lost we finally learn the fate of the boys that were in the hatch and presumably Hurley makes it back to camp so it will be interesting how he deals with what he knows. Then Veronica meets the nasty Dean played by the dude with no eyebrows from Arrested Development. Keep in mind our good friend Chip Diller got three hundred points for nailing the Deans wife so it will be interesting to see if that comes back up.
And don't forget to check out Tube Talk Girl's interview with Sheriff Lamb. My favorite part is that Lamb watches my favorite TV show, Pardon the Interuption and the question on who he would like to be "on the Lamb" this season.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Of the two backstage at a Saturday Night Live type skit show, 30 Rock was the one that got the less press even though it is the only one that touted actual talent from SNL, and I use the word talent lightly because Tracy Morgan is one of them. The other though is Tina Fey whose Weekend Update was one of the bright spots of the show in recent years. But then again she was the head writer of the show during an era of the show was at its least funny.
Fey also handles the responsibly for the writing for 30 Rock as well as being the producer of the fake The Girlie Show. No seriously, that’s what the fake show is called. I’m not sure if that’s a step up or down from the previously considered Friday Night Bites. The star of The Girlie Show is Jane Krakowski who recently bumped Rachel Dratch from the role because, well she looks like Jane Krakowski and Rachel Dratch looks like Rachel Dratch. But feel too bad for Dratch as she didn’t get completely dropped from the show because she shows up the cat lady in the first episode.
Much like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, 30 Rock starts with a shake up in upper management. Here, Alec Baldwin has been brought in save an already successful show and plans to be hands on during the process and hopes to sell some oven in the process. First on his agenda, recruit loose cannon Morgan for the fake show. Oddly it was never brought up that he was recruited to star in a show called The Girlie Show. Seeing Morgan here reminds me of someone who recently said, “SNL hasn’t had a funny black man in years yet the fake one was able to find one.” The other actor on the fake show is Lonny Ross who is obviously playing Jimmy Fallon in that he is ambiguously gay and not at all funny.
Backstage there is the hugging guy from Dave Matthews Band’s video Stay as, um, well, I’m not entirely sure what he does but I’ll guess a writer. Another presumed writer in the black nerd played by Keith Powell, basically Carlton all grown up. And to fill in the token hot chick quota is lazy secretary Katie Bowden who actually has “mean girl” in a Fall Out Boy video on her résumé. So you have the dude from the Dave Matthews Band video and the chick from the Fall Out Video; really, what more can you ask for. Well maybe some laughs, but I’m just nitpicking here.
Verdict: There were some funny moments throughout the first episode, but nothing laugh out load funny. What’s sad is that the Tracy Morgan led show may actually last longer than Studio 60. 30 Rock airs tonight at 8:00 on NBC.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Everyday I watch a lot of ESPN with Jim Rome Is Burning, Pardon the Interruption, and a good chunk of Sportcenter surround my dinner every night. I even subscribe to the ESPN Radio postcast and no matter how bad it is, I’ll still sit and watch the Browns every Sunday and my life completely shuts down the third weekend in every March. With that said, I rarely watch sports movies. Before you point to the name of this blog, let me go ahead and defend it by saying 1) Happy Gilmore is a comedy first, sports movie second, 2) golf isn’t a sport, it’s a leisure activity like bowling and darts.
Now one of the reasons I stay away from sports movies even though I’m a huge spots fan is simple, no one could ever write a story as great as Gibson’s home run, the ending of Cal vs. Stanford, or Red Sox coming from 3-0 down to beat the Yankees. And as someone who has lived his whole life in northeast Ohio, no one can write something as heartbreaking as The Drive, The Fumble, or Jordan over Ehlo. Of the few sports movies I have seen, Friday Night Lights is not one of them because, well, they didn’t have any cheerleaders in whip-cream bikinis.
I planned on continuing my moratorium on sports movies into television with the serialized version of Friday Night Lights, but after a week of glowing reviews from the few that actually watched the show, with one newspaper even calling it the best pilot they ever saw, I decided to check it out on the NBC website (where you can still see for yourself at least for now). The best pilot ever? Um, no. The best pilot this season? Not really. The best pilot of a new show this season on Tuesdays? Totally (although that may change after the debut of whatever ABC is calling Let’s Rob Mick Jagger this week).
The show follows a football team and their new coach in Texas, a state that has a disturbing obsession with high school football. And it’s not just any old team; it’s the preseason number one team in the state. Don’t ask me how a team with a new coach gets to be number one out of all the teams in Texas. Maybe it’s the Notre Dame recruited star quarterback and maybe it’s the Longhorn courted black running back who just so happens doesn’t get along too well with his white fullback. Oh, the racism, you know, just like Remember the Titans.
I’ll have to admit, there were a few chill scenes throughout the first episode like in practice like the guy that fumbled the ball who had to go in front of the tackling squad. But the show is brought down by the same reason I don’t watch sports movies, it is filled with too many cliché. The worst being (MAJOR SPOILER if you haven’t seen the first episode) the quarterback predictably going down, I knew this was going to happen the moment the backup quarterback came on screen. Then they had the backup comeback from not just a touchdown deficit, but two in the final six minutes to win the game. You know, just like Varsity Blues. (END SPOILERS)
And it’s not just the actually show that hurts Friday Night Lights. First, there is already way too much real football on television right now I’m not sure many people want to put fake football on the schedule. Not to mention the poor planning having the show debut against the start of the baseball playoffs. The show may have been better off as a midseason replacement, go from the coach getting hired and spring practices, then come back in the fall with fans already hooked that they would continue watching even with the football overload. This would have also help with introducing the players, it’s hard enough to get to know a character on a show as is, but it’s impossible when they are wear helmets half the pilot. Then much like MTV’s Laguna Beach took some steam off the fictionalized The OC, the reality of Two-a-Days takes away some allure off of Friday Night Lights.
Verdict: NBC has two new football programs this year, but I have a feeling Friday Night Lights will be off the air before Sunday Night Football plays its last game of the season. Friday Night Lights airs at 8:00 on NBC and the latest episode can be streamed at its website the day after it airs.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Celebrity children have gotten a bad rap lately thanks to the reality exploits from the likes of Nicole Richie and the Osborne children. Most seem content on living off their parent names as opposed to making a name of their own on their own talents. Then there is Robin Thicke who not only didn’t use his dad Allen’s name (you may know better as Dr. Jason Seaver) to get famous, he even picked music over acting like his father, well after a few guest spots on his dad’s show as well as The Wonder Years. Thicke stuck out his first time around back in 2002 despite the catchy, Mozart sampling When I Get You Alone. But don’t feel to bad for him, he does have a Grammy for songwriting and has written songs for Christina Aguilera and Usher. But now he’s back with a new look, a new label (Pharrell’s Star Trak), and a new album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke.
The album sounds like a history of soul music as Thicke draws on some the best. Got 2 Be Down is his Marvin Gaye song; Complicated is his take on Smokey Robinson; 2 the Sky is could be a Donny Hathaway song; Cocaine would have fit well on Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly Soundtrack; Lonely World could have been from Stevie Wonder’s 70’era. And Thicke turning “to” into “2” and “you” into “U” in his songs is straight out of Prince’s playbook. With all the decent blue-eyed soul, you have to imagine Justin Timberlake is listening to the album wishing he wrote songs like Would That Make U Love Me and Can U Believe because this is album JT wishes he could make.
Faith Evans helps elevate the fun opening track Got to B Down, but the other guest spots don’t fair as well. One of the worst rapper in recent years, Lil Wayne, who goes by the even cheesier moniker Weezy, brings down the worst being All Night Long. Shooter, which is a reworking of a song on Thicke’s debut for Weezy’s Tha Cater, vol. 2 album which is somewhat catchy, but still not a good as the original. Pharrell continues his lackluster year with the production on the formulaic Wanna Love U Girl and throws in an anemic rap for good measure. Length is also an issue at over seventy minutes, had Thicke trimmed some of the fat, you may have been able to listen through the whole album without skipping a song.
Song to Download - Lonely World
The Evolution of Robin Thicke gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
In the late eighteenth century the British made claims to Australia and turned it into penal colony for their lawfully impaired. That could explained why the country has been exporting beer soaked bands for years most notable AC/DC. The latest band to follow in their footsteps is Jet who exploded on the scene in 2003 with ruckus bar brawl starters such as Are You Gonna Be My Girl and Cold Hard (Expletive Deleted). They even threw in the creepy balled Look What You’ve Done for good measure.
Now three years after the release of Get Born is the ban’s follow up Shine On. The album teeters between the alcohol anthems of their last album and a new sound and nowhere is that more prevalent than on the lead single Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. The verses are downed by falsetto that you would expect on a Justin Timberlake album if he brought in a real rhythm section complete with cowbell, but the chorus is when the band gets back to basis when lead singer Nic Cester breaks out his trademark whiskey drowned voice that catapulted the band onto rock radio in the first place.
The newer sound seems to come from listening to the Beatles, there’s even a song about a girl named Eleanor although we don’t learn her last name. But the songs with the Beatles influence end up sounding like the Beatles threw an Oasis filter. Not so coincidentally the producer on the album, Dave Sardy, also produced Oasis’ last album. Oddly enough, for a band whose came to prominence with bombast anthems, some of the best songs on this set are the balled. Kings Horses shuffles along like something of Oasis’ first album. Shine On builds and falls much like Look What You’ve Done but without the bitterness. But for my money I’ll stick with the beer-soaked songs that I’d expect from the band like Holiday, That’s All Lies, and Rip it Up. And a word of advice for Cester, make sure you include more whiskey in your diet before you record the next album.
Song to Download - Holiday
Shine On gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.