Friday, March 23, 2007

Exec by Day, Excess by Night


The Loop season 1

Since I have not watched anything on Fox since the series finale of Arrested Development, naturally I haven’t been up on the new shows that have debuted on the channel since. One such show is The Loop which I hadn’t heard of until someone was nice enough to send along a promotional copy of season one of the show. And since the first season only had seven episodes, it must be great because Fox doesn’t let quality shows get into the double digit number of episodes (see Firefly). The only problem with that is theory is on the package of DVD is a sticker saying the second season is coming soon. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will ever make to air as the network already cut the number of episodes and this is Fox so they could always burn the ones that have already been shot to run against the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.

The show centers around Bret Harrison (Grounded for Life) who is straddling the line between work, where he is the youngest executive at the twelfth largest airline, and his life at home with his three roommates are still reveling in their mid-twenties party lifestyle. This leads to two basically different shows, the zany workplace type show with quirky co-workers (see Night Court) and friends hanging out at their apartment and favorite watering hole (see, well, Friends) with one working much better than the other.

The part that works is the time at work thanks mostly to Phil Baker Hall (Ghostbusters II) as Harrison’s boss who isn’t afraid to say what he means and never fails to make you laugh as well as Joy Osmanski as Harrison’s jaded secretary who is quick to remind anyone about her fancy degree and the irony that they are the same name. The weak link at the office though is Mimi Rogers (the first Mrs. Tom Cruise) as the token cougar who for some reason goes in-between trying to hook up with Harrison and making gay jokes about him in every other episode.

The other part of the show is something we have seen before, not too mention done better currently on How I Met Your Mother and no one has done a better job in expressing the post college life than Wonderfalls, but of course Fox canceled it. But anyways. At home, Harrison lives with his older brother, played by Eric Christian Olsen (Dumb and Dumberer) who averages about a new job per episode including three in the Pilot. Also living college friend and Harrison crush that, of course doesn’t know he does, Amanda Loncar. Rounding out the roommates is the very serviceable token hot chick Sarah Mason (7th Heaven) who works at the bar the group patrons.

The episodes are pretty hit or miss that run the gambit from thoroughly funny to something only a Fox audience would find funny for instance in the Pilot having Harrison change from his work clothes to his party one while driving which ends up being part of the opening credits (don’t try that at home kids) and text on the screen that mentions that Olen’s mother smoked herb while pregnant. The text, that shows up occasionally really has no purpose as for the most part it states the obvious. Well this is from Fox whose viewers need a game show to figure out if they are smarter than a fifth grader.

Sadly another negative is Harrison himself who is the least interesting character on the show which wouldn’t be so bad as Ted is the least interesting on How I Met Your Mother as well as Will and Grace from their show, but what makes thing worse is Harrison for some reason ends every sentence by having his voice go up two octaves.

In the end, with only seven episodes, the show is a good way to kill a lazy afternoon especially at the low cost of the DVD or just throw it into you favorite movie rental queue. Just don’t expect much in the way of extras on the disk as it only feature a short featurette just has the cast members going over the premise of the show. Although the disk does start off with your usual, “The views expressed in the commentaries…” yet I couldn’t actually find any commentaries anywhere. But I implore any fifth grader to actually find them. For those just interested in the token hot chick, just go straight to Tiger Express where she decides to dance whenever someone buys a certain drink of course leading to someone taking advantage of the situation and Bear Drop Soup where I only have one word: hot tub.

The Loop 1.x gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.



Thursday, March 22, 2007

Don't Download These Videos vol. XII


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.

Trapped in the Drive-Thru - “Weird Al” Yankovic



The greatness that is R Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet is parody proof mainly because the opera is basically a parody upon itself so everyone who have tried to make a parody of it has failed. Well until now. Leave it up to the parody king “Weird Al” Yankovic to come up with the best try to date. Granted that doesn’t mean his version comes close to the original and could have done better job. First the narrator only takes on three different characters and he doesn’t split the song into chapters lie the original. But he does leave it on a cliffhanger so maybe we will get more someday. As for the video, it could have been much better had it been live action with Al playing all the different characters. That would have been classic.


Bump de Hump - Red Hot Chili Peppers



Seriously, how can you go wrong with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chris Rock? Well I guess only when you put the band in “ironic” grillz. The only thing that would be lamer is if they would have ironically claimed to be bringing SexyBack will wearing the grillz. Other than that this video is pretty cool with the Peppers playing Rock’s block party.


Say OK - Vanessa Hudgens



I just wanted to showcase this video to see if anyone can explain to me why Vanessa Hudgens is wearing one of the drive thru mikes along with a hand held mike. What makes that combo odder is I wouldn’t be all surprised if she’s pulling a Milli Vanilli. With that said, I actually find the song entertaining.


In other news, a melancholy happy trails to Calvert DeForrest, better known as Larry “Bud” Melman. I have been a long time Letterman fan and it was always great whenever Bud would show up. My favorite was whenever Letterman would hype for the first part of the show a big A-lister like George Clooney would be reading the Top 10, only for Bud to come out. Below is a classic appearance:



Wednesday, March 21, 2007

She Hides in the Melody


Introducing Joss Stone - Joss Stone

What better way for a teenage girl to reintroduce herself than with a soliloquy from footballer Vinnie Jones. Um, yeah, okay. Of course we Americans would call him a soccer player best known for his hilarious turn in Eurotrip. Joss Sone named her latest album the Introducing of Joss Stone because as she says the album is the first that is “truly her,” granted I though she was saying pretty much the same thing about her last album after debuting with an album of cover songs. But anyways.

Even though the album is supposed to reintroduce us to Joss Stone, the album doesn’t sound that different from her past album with Joss goring through neo-soul and Motown era R&B tracks with Aretha Franklin type vocal gymnastics. The biggest changes happened behind the scene. First, unlike her last album that sported seven different producers, there are only two credited on the latest outing, Stone and Raphael Saadiq.

With Saadiq being a master of neo-soul (some credit him as starting the trend), the blame most likely fall on the shoulders of Stone herself as the songs tend too far into the hip-hop genre making the songs sound like all the other bland pop songs littering the radio these days. Maybe a little worse as some of the song fall flat in places. The hip-hop flavor is sometime saved by masters of the genre like Common on Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now and Lauryn Hill even comes out of hiding for Music, giving a much more inspired verse than the much ignored Fugees reunion song.

The other big change is that Joss took complete reigns of writing the songs, which in this case is not a good thing. Joss is an incredible singer but much like the karaokers on American Idol, her strength is not creating melodies on her own and does a much better job when she has a template to work off of. So much like post-Idol albums where the karaokers have to sing their own songs, Introducing Joss Stone fall flat, albeit Joss’s voice does save thing a little unlike the karaokers who are unable to get a record contract without appearing on a reality show. Maybe it time too think about hooking up with ?uestlove for a second Soul Session.

Song to Download - Arms of My Baby

Introducing Joss Stone gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Coming Home


Today marks the fourth anniversary of combat in Iraq and I’m sure everyone has seen the numbers so I won’t reprint them here, and if you haven’t seen the numbers, it’s time to trade in your subscription to US Weekly for Newsweek. I really don’t want to get into the debate over troop withdrawal and troop surge. I’m sure no matter what side of the political spectrum you lie on, you are hoping that all are troops return home safely. Recently I have been listening a lot to John Legend’s latest album, Once Again, and stuck at the end, after almost an hour of love songs, is the moving song Coming Home about a soldier stuck in the middle of the war. I did a YouTube search and there were a couple of tributes to the troops using the song as a backdrop. Here was the first one on the list and I would like to send it out to all the troops in harms way; hopefully you’ll be coming home safe:



Monday, March 19, 2007

I Ain't No Hood, No Crook, No Robber


Luvanmusiq - Musiq Soulchild

Back in 2000, Musiq Soulchild rode the wave of neo-soul with the likes of Jill Scott, D’Angelo but straddled the line between old and new with songs like Just Friends (Sunny) where you could play at any house party, Love which could have fit in well with heyday of soul in the seventies, and Halfcrazy, a song they you just want to put on when you are all alone with the repeat on when going through relationship problems. But after releasing three albums in just over three years, Musiq went on hiatus for four year, in the interim; he brought back the Souldchild surname which dropped for his third album.

Musiq is back not a moment too soon as the R&B genre has been overtaken by raunchy lyrics and over exaggerated hip hop beats. His fourth album Luvanmusiq is much like his predecessors where the singer effortlessly goes between new and old school. As for the new there is B.u.d.d.y. which may be this first song from Musiq that could fit in at a club as it has a very danceable feel to it. But the highlight of the newer sound is Betterman (not a Pearl Jam cover) produced by Raphael Saadiq with it’s driving bass line that will make you either bob your head or clap along, possibly both, and heartfelt lyrics from Musiq himself, who wrote all the album aside from a co-writing credit from Ne-Yo on Ms.philadelphia.

For those who like to kick it old school, head towards the end of the album with Lullaby and Greatestlove along with Thequestions earlier in the album. These two songs that you will want to put on when you are with your special love whether it is in front of the fireplace in the winter or underneath the stars on your porch in the summer. With the return of Musiq, and the rise of John Legend and Anthany Hamilton, hopefully we are on the verge of another neo-soul era that will make the radio safe for those that prefer romantic songs over the sleazy ones.

Song to Download - Betterman

Luvanmusiq gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.



Sunday, March 18, 2007

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. XI


Quote of the Week: People ask, are we ready for a black president.? Why not, we just had a retarded one. (Chris Rock, Late Night with Conan O’Brien)

Song of the Week: You Could Be Happy - Snow Patrol (Smallville)

Big News of the Week: Look at all these rumors, surrounding me everyday, I just need some time, some time to get away. It seems like every year the “who will get another season and who won’t” discussion starts earlier and earlier. It got into full swing this week as someone posted that Veronica Mars was canceled. That was then retracted minutes later but that didn’t stop people from thinking the show wasn’t coming back for a fourth season.

Now I fully understand that Veronica Mars is definitely on the bubble, but I have a hard time believing someone who writes in the “gossip” section of an internet site. Making me believe even less was the “Exclusive!” tag in front of the post. Whenever I see exclusive anywhere, I usually take it to mean, “I wanted to be the first even though it may not be true.”

There in lies what is wrong with all these gossip writers, they care more about being first than being right. This individual gossiper is one of the worst as they have been wrong when it comes to executive decisions than right yet there is no accountability. Nor do we ever know who the “sources” are. C’mon, this isn’t Deep Throat or Scooter Libby. Not only do we not know who the sources are, we don’t even know why they are reliable. Of course this begs the question how some that is wrong so many times have “reliable” sources.

Now onto a rumor that I actually hope is true. Word from a just as unreliable source as the one who “broke” the Veronica Mars story is that Knights of Prosperity may actually get a second season despite being unceremoniously pulled from the schedule two weeks ago. This unreliable source says the head honcho over at ABC loves the show so much they will give the show a second chance hoping that it will pick up viewers in the second much like The Office. Keep in mind this is from a completely unreliable source, but if this is true, ABC should keep in mind that in that second season, The Office has the hilarious My Name Is Earl as a lead in so they better have something great in the pipe to help the Knights of Prosperity find an audience and I’m not talking about the proposed Caveman show and definitely keep it away from In Case of Emergency, According to Jim and the George Lopez Show. Even though it is still currently off the air, you can still stream every episode of Knights of Prosperity over at ABC.com.

Lost: A surprisingly solid episode this week considering I figured the “shocking connection” a year ago and hate the whole Desmond seeing into the future storyline. Like I predicted, Claire and Jack share the same father, leading to yet another castaway with daddy. But Claire was disturbingly attractive with the dark hair. And back on the island, Charlie lives another day. Yippee. But once again, the best part of the episode happened away from the beach as Locke is back to his ambiguous ways. Not entirely sure what his motive is with bring the C4. But more intriguing was that Eye Patch Man let it slip that Not-Herny isn’t “Him.” I’m still putting my money on Penny’s dad being the “Him” behind everything along with all the other daddies of the castaways leading back to the whole daddy issue thing. Check out the latest episode over at ABC.com.

Lost on iTunes


Smallville: I’m totally surpised that the wedding went off as planned, I never thought Lana would go threw with it ever since they got engaged. But it was nice to see evil Lionel back in full force. I always thought that Lana wouldn’t actually come to term, but now I’m not so sure. But I am beginning to think that the big mystery behind her pregnancy is that she is a test subject for a biologically engineered meteor freak.

Promo of the Week: With Veronica Mars in trouble I thought I’d break out a promo that floated around the internet last summer. So if you have never watched the show, just take three minutes to watch this promo and if you enjoy what you see, give an episode a try when the show comes back May 1st or you can check out season three on iTunes:





Pick of the Week: Bring it On: All or Nothing, Sunday, 8:00, ABCFamily: Okay so it is a slow week, but I got a press release along with some pictures for the movie which is apparently the third in the franchise, granted I totally missed the second. Those Heroes fans that like the show but are disappointed that Claire’s cheerleading team got disbanded and since stopped wearing her cheerleading outfit, this movie is for you as it stars Hayden Hayden Panettiere as, of course, a cheerleader. Also along for the ride is Beyoncé’s sister, Solonge Knowles as her rival. And for all of those missing Claire in her cheerleading outfit, below is a picture to tie you over (over at my sister site, Scooter McGavin Takes Pictures, you can view all the promo pictures I have including one I posted today that is most likely to get you visit from Chris Hansen) along with the press release:

Hayden Panettiere back in the cheerleader outfit



BEFORE SHE HAD TO SAVE THE WORLD, TV’S HEROIC CHEERLEADER HAYDEN PANETTIERE HAD TO
“BRING IT ON: ALL OR NOTHING”

SMASH HIT DVD MAKES ITS BROADCAST DEBUT ON ABC FAMILY MARCH 25th

The Film Also Stars Solange Knowles-Smith (“Johnson Family Vacation”)


Burbank, CA (February 26, 2007) — In the third film of the “Bring It On” series, the sassy yet spirited cheerleaders bust out with hotter moves, hotter music and hotter dance sequences when “Bring It On: All or Nothing” airs Sunday, March 25 (8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT).

Life is good for Britney Allen (Hayden Panettiere), making her the envy of all girls at Pacific Vista High School. She’s beautiful, captain of the cheer squad, has the perfect boyfriend and is the front runner for homecoming queen. All comes to a halt when her father’s job moves them out of their posh neighborhood forcing Britney to join the squad of her rival, Crenshaw Heights High School. Despite Crenshaw Heights’ tough head cheerleader Camille (Solange Knowles-Smith), Britney proves to be a force to reckon with and secures a spot on the squad. Britney and her new squad work vehemently together to prepare their routine to audition for an opportunity to perform on television with pop star Rihanna (as herself). In a heated competition, Britney finds herself in a cheer-off between her new squad and old -- but only one can be #1!