Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 9/11/22 — 9/17/22

Though I’ve been busy getting ready for October, I still found time to watch a few things!

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

Donald Glover’s wonderfully surreal series has returned for its fourth and final season.  The first two episodes aired on FX this week.

The first episode was strange, funny, and more than a little creepy.  Darius’s attempts to return a gift that he didn’t need led to him being pursued by a knife-wielding white woman in a wheelchair.  Al’s attempt to honor the memory of a recently deceased singer led him on a scavenger hunt and it also served as a rather moving meditation on just what exactly it means to be famous and whether or not anyone actually pays attention to the lyrics of the music to which they listen.  Finally, Earn and Van found themselves trapped in some weird section of Atlanta where they kept running into people that they had dated.  Along with letting everyone know that the show had returned from Europe, this episode was a perfect example of the show’s dream logic.

The second episode is one that I’m still processing.  The ending presents the viewer with a bit of a litmus test.  Who do you feel bad for, Earn or the woman whose life he ruined?  Is it possible to feel bad for both of them?  Even if it’s possible to do so, should you feel bad for both of them?  Reading the reactions online, I was reminded of something that Spike Lee pointed out about Do The Right Thing, in that black audiences were outraged that the police killed Radio Raheem while white audiences were usually more upset about Sal losing his business.  It was a thought-provoking episode.  It was also one that finally gave audiences a look into Earn’s mind, revealing not only why he dropped out of Princeton but also that he was the victim of childhood abuse.  (That might explain the nightmare that he had a the start of the third season.)  The episode ended with Earn celebrating his elaborate revenge while also realizing that he he needed to return to the therapy.

The Bachelorette (Tuesday Night, ABC)

So, after the end of the first part of the finale (seriously, of all the seasons to drag out, why this one?), Gabby is pretty much stuck with Erich and Rachel is stuck with Tino.  I don’t see any of this ending well.  To be honest, Erich has every right to be concerned about the idea of getting engaged on a reality show.  And Aden had every right to be worried about what his relationship with Rachel would be like once the show ended.  But, as many have pointed out, everyone knows what they’re getting into when they sign up to appear on this show.

So, in short, I have sympathy for no one but Meatball.

Big Brother 24 (24/7, CBS and Paramount Plus)

The season’s nearly over!  I’ve been writing about all of it at the Big Brother Blog!

The Challenge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The Challenge came to a two-hour conclusion this week.  Enzo and Tyson …. well, neither one of them was the winner.  It’s always strange when the people who dominate a reality show don’t end up winning.  Instead, Danny and Sarah won.  I was happy to see that two Survivors won the game but still, it’s kind of like who cares?

The Emmys (Monday Night, NBC)

Eh.  The Emmys never really do much for me and I have to admit that I largely had the show on for background noise.  (I was actually watching two movies — Flight 93 and then Seven — while occasionally checking in with the Emmys.)  I was happy that Amanda Seyfried won but Yellowjackets losing to Succession and Barry losing to Ted Lasso pretty much ruined the night for me.  As well, how did Bob Odenkirk not win an Emmy?

Jimmy Kimmel getting dragged for his stupid “passed out” routine was the most entertaining part of the night.  Many have correctly pointed out that he intruded on Quinta Brunson’s moment.  Technically, his joke would have intruded on any winner’s moment but the fact that it occurred while the first black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series attempted to give her acceptance speech definitely made matters worse.

Of course, some of this is the risk you take whenever you have a comedian serve as a presenter at an awards show.  That’s one reason why I cringe whenever I see a certain former SNL star presenting an Oscar or a Golden Globe because I automatically know that there’s no way he’s going to give up the spotlight without a fight.

Devil in Ohio (Netflix)

This miniseries is about a psychiatrist (in Ohio!) who allows a girl to live with her and her family after the girl escapes from a Satanic cult that is led by her father (in Oho!).  Emily Deschanel plays the psychiatrist and gives a performance that will really leave you wishing they had cast Zooey instead.

I watched the first episode on Monday morning and it felt almost like a parody of a typical Netflix show, right down to the middling performances, the unnecessary filler, and the performative wokeness.  A good deal of the show dealt with Deschanel’s daughter starting a new year in high school.  She has a crush on the editor of the school newspaper and I have to admit that I laughed out loud when he approached her and he just happened to be wearing a “Notorious RBG” t-shirt.  I’m sure that’s really a hot seller in rural Ohio.

As for the show itself, I was pretty bored and I doubt I’m going to watch more of it.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Aunt Becky finally had the twins!  For some reason, the birth was broadcast on Good Morning, San Francisco.  Why would Aunt Becky agree to this?  Anyway, I guess Uncle Jesse’s going to have to give up his silly dreams of rock stardom and become an adult now, right?

Inspector Lewis (YouTube)

Lewis and Hobson are a cute couple but there are still murders to be solved.  And Hathaway is still struggling with all the evil in the world.  The episode that I watched this week featured an elderly professor getting run over by a car.  I hate to admit it but I watched the episode on Tuesday and, as I type of this review on Saturday, I can’t remember who the murderer was.  I just know that Lewis didn’t seem to be as a depressed as usual and that’s good thing.

The Love Boat (Paramount+)

On the one hand, this show makes me want to go on a cruise.  But, on the other hand, I specifically want to go on a cruise in 1977 and I want all of the passengers to be a mix of television actors and retired movie stars.  I need a time machine.

Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head (Paramount+)

Old Beavis and Butt-Head kind of freak me out but it was still fun to watch them serve on a jury.  That said, I was still relieved when the younger and more hopeful versions of the characters appeared in the episode’s second story.  The Freaky Friday twist was nice.  I liked how the dude waited for his girlfriend to go into the 7-11 before he smashed Beavis and Butt-Head’s heads together for a second time.  That was considerate of him.

Monarch (Tuesday Night, FOX)

This is the latest attempt at a guilty pleasure soap from a network that specializes in them.  Trace Adkins and Susan Sarandon play Albie and Dottie Roman, the King and Queen of Country Music.  Judging from the first episode, it looks like it could be fun.  Albie is known as being “the Texas truth teller” but has a history of infidelity.  Dottie is dying and has frequent visions of a burning barn.  All of the children are angry with each other for one reason or another.  Like I said, fun.

If nothing else, you have to appreciate the bizarre pairing of the unapologetically conservative Trace Adkins with outspoken Sanders supporter Susan Sarandon.  It’s fun to imagine the set of the show, with Adkins having a beer and talking about his new truck while Sarandon harangues everyone to read Das Kapital.  Anyway, this show seems like it could be melodramatic enough to hold my interest.  I’ll give it a chance.

The premiere episode ended, in true cliffhanger fashion, with Dottie apparently dying.  We’ll see if she’s actually dead or not next week, I guess.  If she is dead, will Sarandon appear in flashbacks or as a ghost?  I’m hoping as a ghost.

Retro Television Review: California Dreams 1.5 “The First Gig” and 1.6 “Friends First”

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Saturdays, I will be reviewing California Dreams, which ran on NBC from 1992 to 1996.  The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!

The saga of California’s blandest garage band continues.

Is anyone reading this a surf dude with attitude?

Actually, wait a minute.  Didn’t I use the exact same introduction last week?  Eh. It’s the first season of California Dreams, a show that was constructed out of unused story ideas for Saved By The Bell.  A little bit of deja vu is understandable.

Episode 1.5 “The First Gig”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, Originally aired on October 10th, 1992)

Wimpy California dude Matt Garrison has formed a band called the California Dreams.  Matt plays guitar and sings.  Matt’s sister, Jenny, plays keyboards and sings.  Tony Wickes plays drums and works at Sharkey’s, the most popular restaurant on the beach.  Tiffani plays bass and surfs.  Matt’s best friend, Sly, wants to manage the band and he even gets them their first gig!  Sly arranges for them to play Randi-Jo’s birthday party.  Matt totally has a crush on Randi-Jo….

Wait, this doesn’t make any sense.  First gig?  The California Dreams have had plenty of gigs!  They’ve even got a fanbase.  Sly already is the band’s manager.  And Matt’s been dating Randi-Jo since the show began.  What the Hell!?

Well, it turns out that the fifth episode aired of California Dreams was actually the first episode filmed.  The First Gig also served as a pilot for the show but, when the show went into production, the pilot was shown during the middle of the season as opposed to the beginning.  This, of course, led to a mess of continuity errors….

Of course, that’s not a surprise to anyone who has watched any of the shows that Peter Engel produced as a part of TNBC.  Maintaining continuity or, for that matter, any sort of consistency was never a huge concern.  And they got away with it because it was the 90s and its not as if the people watching the show could have jumped on twitter and complained about how it didn’t make any sense.

As for the pilot itself …. eh.  I can understand why this pilot would have led to a show, as the cast was good-looking in a very nonthreatening way.  But good Lord, is the music ever dull!  Fortunately, the music would improve sometime around the start of the third season but, while watching the pilot, I found myself wondering why a group of teenagers would want to start a band to play the type of music that their parents probably listened to on the easy listening station.  Judging from the pilot, the Dreams were the only teenagers in 90s America who had never heard of Nirvana.

Episode 1.6 “Friends First”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, Originally aired on October 17th, 1992)

Continuity continues to go out the window as this episode opens with Sly trying to convince Sharkey to hire the Dreams to play at his restaurant, despite the fact that we’ve already seen the Dreams playing Sharkey’s several times over the past few episodes.

While Sly tries to make money, Matt’s friend from music camp comes to visit and both Jenny and Tiffani fall for him after discovering that he’s lost over 200 pounds since his music camp days.  It leads to a typical TNBC situation in which Jenny and Tiffani learn to not let liking the same boy ruin their friendship.  To be honest, my main reaction to this episode was a strange sense of annoyance with Matt.  Seriously, he was exactly the type of kid who would go to music camp and come back as a huge music snob.  One can just imagine Matt ruthlessly critiquing every other band in the world.  “I didn’t care much for that bridge …. the pitch is not perfect …. here’s where you need to drop the chorus….”  Shut up, Matt.  It’s supposed to be about the feelings and the emotions!

AMV of the Day: The Boxer (Midori no Hibi)

How about an AMV of the Day, one featuring The Chemical Brothers? That sound like a good idea to me.

Anime: Midori no Hibi

Song: The Boxer (by The Chemical Brothers)

Creator: Blanxii (please subscribe to this creator’s channel)

Past AMVs of the Day

Live Tweet Alert: Watch Mikey with #ScarySocial

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #ScarySocial, I will be hosting 1992’s Mikey!

Mikey is the heart-warming story of a 9 year-old with a crush.  Mikey also has amazing skills with a bow and arrow.  Not only that but he also knows how electricity works.  As his foster father put it, “Mikey’s perfect!”  If only the people around Mikey would stop dying….

If you want to join us on Saturday night, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 9 pm et, and use the #ScarySocial hashtag!  The film is available on Prime and a few other streaming sites.  I’ll be there co-hosting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.

Music Video of the Day: Human by The Human League (1986, directed by Andy Morahan)

In this song, The Human League takes on themes of human infidelity and forgiveness.  The video was filmed in London and it was stylized to present the band with a constant blue hue, as if they were being viewed through water.

Andy Morohan has been a busy commercial and music video director from the 80s onward.  He’s directed videos for everyone from Kim Wilde, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Pet Shop Boys, to Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, and Meat Loaf.  Looking over his list of credits, it is hard not to wonder what it was like going from the The Human League and George Michael to Axl Rose and Slash.