Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/20/21 — 6/26/21


This was a sad week, as far as television goes. Due to the PBS pledge drive, I didn’t get to watch any of my usual British sitcoms. Plus, Baywatch came to an end so now I have to find a new old show to binge.

202ONE U.S. Olympic Trials (Friday Night, NBC)

I watched the gymnastics trials on Friday night. Simone Biles is amazing. That said, I’m cringing at “202ONE.” Rethink this, NBC.

That said, I’m definitely looking forward to the Olympics this year. I am an Olympics fanatic and I make no apologies for it. (I do, however, prefer the winter games just because of the curling and the skating.) Especially when compared to some people, I managed to stay pretty positive last year but I did get pretty upset when they had to cancel the games.

The Bachelorette (Monday Night, ABC)

The Bachelorette was very emotional this week but, of course, The Bachelorette is emotional every week. Katie isn’t going to put up with any drama or fights this season but fights and drama are kind of the main reason for watching this show. Oh well. Thanks to all the brave internet sleuths out there, I already know how things are going to end. Personally, I think Katie made the right decision, assuming the spoilers I’ve seen are correct.

Bar Rescue (Monday Morning, Paramount)

John Taffer is helping bars survive the Corona Pandemic by yelling at their owners. I hope that strategy works. Watching the latest episode, it occurred to me that the show is currently in a strange place. The whole appeal of Bar Rescue has always been the chance to watch Taffer act like a dick. But it’s not as much fun to watch Taffer yell at people when those people are on the verge of losing their livelihood due to a pandemic. As a result, Taffer has been trying to balance being belligerent with being a nice guy. The end result, so far, has been kind of awkward.

Baywatch (Weekday Evening, H&I)

My Baywatch binge came to an end this week as H&I reached the end of the series and started over again from the start. Here’s my thoughts on how this oddly addictive show wrapped things up.

On Sunday, Mitch and the lifeguards went to Australia! Wait a minute, what? Yes, they actually did This is not a joke. It was a two-part episode called Baywatch: Down Under. After Jake, a lifeguard who had never previously appeared or been mentioned on the show, learned that he had a son in Australia, he went to meet him and Jake’s best friends — who, again, never before mentioned this Jake over the course of the previous 9 seasons of the show — accompanied him. The majority of the two episodes focused on Jake and a bunch of new Australian lifeguards. That’s because Baywatch: Down Under was actually a pilot for a Baywatch spin-off that didn’t happen. It was also kind of a wasted two parter, though the Australian scenery was lovely.

The first of Monday’s episodes featured Mitch and Cody rescuing a violinist who was being held prisoner on a boat. What’s odd is that the episode opened with Cody mentioning that he had broken up with his girlfriend Lani (who was played by Carmen Electra during the previous season). However, since Cody had already been seen flirting with and dating other women all through season 9, that would seem to suggest that either Cody and Lani were already broken up or Cody was just a no-good, dirty cheater. I’m going to guess that, for whatever reason, season 9’s episodes were shown out of production order. As if to prove my theory, the next episode featured Hobie living back at home with Mitch despite the fact that he had moved away to live with his mother earlier in the season. Did the Baywatch producers just not care about continuity? No wonder the show only lasted 11 seasons!

On Tuesday, the recently returned Neely Capshaw tried to 1) seduce Hobie, 2) get Mitch fired, and 3) drug Alex with sleeping pills. This would have all been fun if Gena Lee Nolin was still playing the role of Neely but, for Season 9, Baywatch replaced Nolin with another actress who just have didn’t the same skill when it came to making evil entertaining. Needless to say, Neely did not get away with it. The second episode featured George Hamilton playing himself and really, what more did you need? Well, how about Manny getting paralyzed as a result of a lifeguard accident? After it happened, Manny was bitter but, this being Baywatch, he eventually made peace with his new circumstances.

On Wednesday, season 9 ended not with a bang but with a whimper. The episode was split between Cody searching for a missing boat and Alex trying to figure out who was making elaborate sand castles on the beach. David Hasselhoff and Michael Newman, the two mainstays of the show, were barely featured. As Season 9 came to an end, so did H&I’s collection of Baywatch episodes. Seasons 10 and 11 were rebranded Baywatch Hawaii and, apparently, they were not included in the syndication package. So, the second of Wednesday’s episode was the first episode of season 1, which I really didn’t have much interest in rewatching.

So, I’m done with Baywatch for now. The two seasons of Baywatch: Hawaii are, of course, available on Prime but …. eh. Nine seasons in five months was enough for me, at least for now. Baywatch was an entertainingly dumb show and I’m sure I’ll occasionally catch an episode whenever I’m bored and I want to see some ocean scenery or maybe Cody in a speedo. For now, though, I’m ready to move on and binge another old show.

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

Plenty of drama in the court this week! Court Cam is such a ludicrous show but it’s also rather addictive. Between the showy but shallow editing and Dan Abrams’s breathless narration, it’s hard not to crack a smile while watching.

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, Monday Night)

The current season of Hell’s Kitchen feels like some sort of demented boomer fantasy. Take the most emotionally fragile 20 year-olds you can find and force them to work for the most abrasive man on television. I’m just waiting for one of the chefs to mention needing a trigger warning.

Anyway, both the red and the blue teams screwed up this week so Chef Ramsay sent two chefs home and then reorganized the teams. I hope it helps because the diners at Hell’s Kitchen deserve the best food possible.

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

As soon as Intervention started on Monday night, there was a loud boom of thunder outside, followed by lightning and then pouring rain. Looking around the house, I realized that I wasn’t sure where Doc was so, naturally, I assumed he was outside in the storm. Panicking, I ran out to the backyard and stood there, in my bathrobe, and yelled, “DOC! DOC!” There was no sign of Doc so I ran back inside, grabbed a flashlight, and ran back outside. Shining the light around the backyard, I continued to call for the cat even as I got more and more soaked.

Getting no response and fearing that my beloved cat had been swept away by the storm, I turned to reenter the house and that’s when I saw Doc, sitting inside on a kitchen counter, and watching me through the window with a somewhat bemused expression on his face. (Trust me, cats can be bemused!)

I stepped back inside and, once I finally dried off and changed clothes, Intervention was nearly over. However, the end title cards informed that me that both Nicholette and her father have been sober since 2018 so good for them.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

The Love Boat crew goes to Australia! Julie is getting married! Captain Stubing is on the verge of having an affair with Katharine Helmond! Gopher and Doc are competing to impress the new cruise director! Isaac is making drinks while Vicki sacrifices her childhood to essentially do slave labor on a cruise ship! Meanwhile, special guest star Jose Ferrer has captured the missing link and has chained him in a cage that’s been kept in the cargo bay …. wait a minute, what!? Yes, it was a strange episode. Australia looked great, though!

Mom (Friday afternoon, Paramount TV)

I watched four episodes of this long-running commercial for the recovery industry on Friday. Actually, I don’t know if I really watched them as much as I just had them on for background noise. This is probably one of my least favorite shows ever, a 30-minute exercise in 12-step propaganda. Every episode I see of this show, I just find myself wondering if the title characters have ever met anyone whose life isn’t a depressing hellsack. That said, it’s obvious that some people like this show because it’s been on for what feels like 40 years

The Office (Comedy Central, Friday Evening)

I watched the final four episodes of season 4 (Did I Stutter, Job Fair, and the two-part Goodbye Toby) and Season 5’s Weight Loss premiere. Out of that set, Job Fair was probably the weakest, just because it had an entire subplot involving Jim and Andy golfing with a potential client. Jim begging the guy for his business was just cringey and Andy — who was always the most inconsistently written character on the show — was portrayed as being such a cartoonish idiot that it was difficult to watch. Much better was Goodbye Toby (in which Andy was a much more likable character) and Weight Loss (featuring that iconic proposal scene). Did I Stutter is one of the best and most underrated episodes of The Office, with the final conversation between Michael and Stanley being one of the show’s strongest moments.

Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness (Wednesday and Thursday, Netflix)

I reviewed this Netflix docuseries here.

The Vow (HBO2, Saturday)

The Vow, which originally aired last year, was HBO’s lengthy docuseries about the NXIVM cult. This show started with great fanfare and acclaim, the majority of which tapered off as it became clear that The Vow was produced by a bunch of former cult members who were trying to make themselves look better and more innocent than they actually were. The Vow is famous for a scene in which former NXIVM dude Mark Vicente rages that anyone can get sucked into a cult. That may be true but, judging from The Vow, it helps to be intellectually shallow and emotionally needy. Since it doesn’t take much research to discover that Vicente was far higher-up in NXIVM than The Vow acknowledges and that he financially profited from the cult’s pyramid scheme-inspired structure, it’s hard not to feel that Vicente doesn’t really have the moral standing necessary to portray himself as being just another NXIVM victim.

Anyway, HBO2 aired the entire series on Saturday. I rewatched a few episodes and I have to say that I was kind of surprised to discover that Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmondson came across as even more unlikable and disingenuous that second time I watched than they did the first time. Supposedly, there’s a second season of The Vow on the way so I guess we’ll get even more chances to listen to Mark Vicente brag about co-directing What The Bleep Do We Know.

That’s it for this week! Next week, I’ll be selecting new shows to binge!

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/13/21 — 6/19/21


Yes, I did watch some television this week.  However, I didn’t actually take any notes about the shows that I watched so this edition of Lisa’s Week in Television might be lacking a little in detail.  Sorry about that!  To be honest, I spent most of this week adjusting to the arrival of summer temperatures and I ended up devoting most of my attention to the air conditioning.

Still, here’s a few thoughts about what I can remember about what I watched this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

It was a bit of a silly episode this week.  (I know, I know, they’re all silly.)  Rene had to fly a kite in order to make the new radio work.  (Don’t ask.)  Mimi, the new waitress, was disguised as a nun and she ended up getting twisted in the kite so she ended up as a flying nun.  It made no sense but, perhaps for that reason, it made me laugh.

The Bachelorette (Monday on ABC)

This week, Katie was stunned to discover that one of the bachelors might not have been there for the right reasons!  She sent Cody home because he was apparently only there to increase his profile.  Usually, it takes a few more episodes for The Bachelorette to reach the “He’s not here for the right reasons” stage.  The fact that this season got to it during the second episode worries me a little because this is a franchise that is always at its worse whenever it gets self-righteous.

(I always remember the episode of Burning Love, where the bachelors had to make sock puppets.  Adam Scott said, “This is so stupid.” Cut to Joe Lo Truglio: “And I was like — hey man, I’m here for my son.  Take this seriously!”)

In other news, Mike read a really awkward letter to his “future wife,” explaining why he waited until marriage to have sex.  Like I said, it was hella cringey but it pretty much guarantees that Mike will be the next Bachelor.

Bar Rescue (Sunday Night, Paramount)

It’s been a while since I watched this show.  Watching it on Sunday night, I discovered that John Taffer still apparently believes that not knowing how to run a bar is the worst crime known to man.  “YOU’RE OVERPOURING!  THAT’S MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN!”  Relax, John.  It’s just a bar.

Baywatch (Weekday evenings, H&I)

H&I has started in on the NINTH season of Baywatch and I have to say that I’m getting the feeling that, by the time this season rolled around, Baywatch was just repeating itself and going through the motions.  Every episode that I watched this week featured a storyline that had been done in a previous episode.  So, I guess if you’re wondering how many lifeguard stories there are, the answer is 8 seasons worth.

Let’s see how much I can remember about what I saw this week:

On the first of Sunday’s episodes, the Baywatch lifeguards had some competition from a private security company called — I kid you not — Bayguard!  Mitch and Cody had to prove that Baywatch was just as good as Bayguard, which they managed to do by rescuing a boy in a storm drain.  Mitch and Cody spent a lot of time rescuing people from storm drains.  The second episode was a sweet story about a little boy named Timmy who really liked dolphins.  Timmy also got trapped in a cave so Mitch and the lifeguards had to save him.  It was typical Baywatch stuff but David Hasselhoff always did his best work with the unabashedly sentimental storylines.

On Monday, a mysterious figure was roaming the beach and saving people from drowning!  Could it have been the klutzy new maintenance worker played Brooke Burns?  Since Burns was already featured in the opening credits wearing a Baywatch uniform, that was a pretty easy question to answer.  This was followed by an episode where April felt guilty about a swimmer dying, which was pretty much a remake of an earlier episode in which Caroline felt guilty about a swimmer dying.

On Tuesday, Hobie made his first appearance of the season.  Despite being Mitch’s son, Hobie had been missing in action for the previous few episodes.  (In real life, actor Jonathan Jackson was dealing with an addiction to cocaine that basically led to him being fired from the show.)  Hobie was arrested after a boat he was driving crashed.  However, it turned out that Hobie was not at fault!  Knowing that this episode was kind of meant to be a wake-up call to Jackson about his own behavior made the whole thing awkward to watch.  This was followed by an episode in which one of the lifeguards was selected for Jeopardy.  Unfortunately, she was later disqualified when it was discovered that she knew someone who worked on the show but Alex Trebek still made an appearance and was his usual charming self.

On Wednesday, the first episode featured Mitch having a mid-life crisis, which he previously had two seasons ago.  This was followed by an episode were Mitch befriend an orangutan.  Strangely, Mitch didn’t mention that — during season two — he befriended a chimpanzee.

On Thursday, Cody started using performance-enhancing drugs to increase his chances of going to the Olympics, much as several other characters have done on previous episodes of Baywatch.  This was followed by a skydiving episode which was basically a remake of the skydiving episode from season six.  Of course, the previous episode turned out to be a dream whereas this episode was real.  MITCH CAN SEE THE FUTURE!

On Friday, Mitch adopted a new son named Tanner.  (Hobie, we were told, was now living with his mother.)  This was followed by an episode where April and Craig finally broke up, which seemed appropriate since April was like 19 and Craig was nearly 60.  Craig apparently is a hotshot defense attorney but he was nowhere to be seen in the episode where Hobie was in jail.  Craig is a bad friend.

On Saturday, Peter Barton co-starred as a race car driver who was officially sponsored by …. wait for it …. AOL!  As a result, the entire episode featured people talking about how much they loved AOL.  Mitch’s adopted son even checked his AOL account and got the “You have mail” prompt.  “Hey, pal,” Mitch said, “you got mail!”

When future historians research the 90s, they’ll just watch episodes of Baywatch.

Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)

Don’t talk back to the judge or Dan Abrams will put you on TV and make fun of you.

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

There was a lot of raw chicken being sent up to the pass this week.  The blue team lost again.  This seems to be the way that it goes every season, though.  The men start out losing, the women get overconfident, and eventually both teams kind of crash and burn.

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

The intervention didn’t work this week.  Kelsey went to rehab but relapsed.  It was sad for I’ll give Intervention some credit for admitting that these things don’t always have a happy ending.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Martin graduated from national school and attempted to make sure that his name would be remembered by future classes!  I remember, in high school, I was convinced the future students would never forget my graduating class.  In retrospect, I’m not sure why I thought that.  It’s not like Saved By The Bell, where the members of the New Class where still talking about the time Jessie got hooked on caffeine pills.  Time marches on.

The Office (Saturday Afternoon, Comedy Central)

Amy Adams just wanted to sell purses.  Michael bought her a $10,000 espresso machine. CRINGE!  Still, hilarious though.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

It was a typical episode of Open All Hours.  Arkwright abused Granville while Granville silently plotted his revenge.

The Powers of Matthew Star (Sunday Mornings, MeTV)

I was dealing with insomnia on Sunday so I did watch an episode of this old sci-fi series on MeTV.  (I used to set the DVR for it but, up until this week, I had kind of lost interest in it.)  Peter Barton — yes, the same Peter Barton who appeared on Baywatch this week — played an alien who was pretending to be a normal high school student.  In this week’s episode, Matthew Star traveled to the Bermuda Triangle and got a tragic message from his homeworld.  It was pretty silly but, as the title character, Peter Barton was sincere enough to nearly sell it.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

Screech got struck by lightning and suddenly had the power to see the future.  Zack tried to use Screech’s powers to cheat on the History midterm.  Unfortunately, Screech lost his powers and Zack got an “F minus …. for scamming!”

South Park (Wednesday Night, Comedy Central)

“Free Hat!  Free Hat!”  Actually, I don’t remember which episode it was that I watched but the Free Hat episode is always a good a default to go with.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Incredibly proud of his new play, Will Shakespeare is stunned to discover that the few women in his life are not as enamored of The Taming of the Shrew as he is.  Will simply cannot figure it out!  This was a funny episode, mostly because it was true.

 

 

 

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/6/21 — 6/12/21


Twonky

I’m a little bit late in posting my week in television.  That’s because it’s been a long week, both in television and out!  Here’s  some thought on what I watched:

allo-allo

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday’s episode, with Rene back at the café and Maria in Switzerland, a new waitress was hired.  Recommended by the Resistance, Mimi LaBonq was just as short as Maria and, it would appear, just as obsessed with Rene.  She was also just a bit more homicidal than Maria, attempting to poison Herr Flick and later beating up an Italian officer.  While Mimi was attempting to kill people (albeit bad people), LeClerc was delivering Rene’s new radio and Michelle of the Resistance was insisting that she would “only say this once.”  And, as always, it was all a hundred times funnier than it sounds.

Having watched enough episodes, I can now see that the humor of Allo Allo really does come down to the fact that everyone has such a bizarrely idealized view of Rene.  “This is the bravest man in France!” Michelle will announce while Rene scurries behind the bar and tries not to get spotted.  The absurd cluelessness of everyone involved is never less than fascinating.

bachelorette 2021

The Bachelorette 17 (Monday Night, ABC)

Yes, we’re doing this again.  Katie Thurston is the latest bachelorette and Chris Harrison is no longer the host.  While I can understand Katie’s decision not to keep the creepy RV guy around, I wish she had because, judging by last night’s episode, this show could really have used a dose of that weird energy.

Baywatch

Baywatch (Weekdays, H&I)

Life on the beach continues, though I do have to say that appears that, in its later seasons, Baywatch started to frequently repeat itself.  How many time can the exact same thing happen to the exact same lifeguards?

On Sunday, lawyer and former lifeguard Craig Pomeroy returned to Baywatch so he could defend the right of one of his clients to die on the beach.  Once his client did die, Craig was free to once again become a lifeguard so I guess it’s good that the old man hired probably the only lawyer in the world who was probably for the opportunity to switch careers and take a massive pay cut.  This was followed by an episode in which a woman disappeared into the ocean because Cody left his lifeguard tower early.  This would seem like a massive dereliction of duty but the show suggested it was no big deal because it was Cody as opposed to some random lifeguard.  Everyone loves Cody!

On Monday, Caroline returned to Baywatch and got held hostage by a criminal.  How many times has this happened to Caroline?  It used to happen frequently to her sister as well so I guess it’s a Holden family trait.  This was followed by an episode in which Craig and April got trapped in a sunken power station.  They survived and it looks like there might romance in the air, despite Craig being in his late 40s and April being 18.

The romance continued on Tuesday, when Manny broke up with April and Craig helped to capture a bunch of reckless jet skiers.  Though April asked Craig to take her to a charity dinner, Craig eventually convinced Manny to take her instead because, again, Craig is like nearly 100 and April is 18.  This was followed by an episode where Cody was trapped underwater and had to be rescued …. wait a minute, didn’t the exact same thing just happen to April and Craig!?  Neely also admitted that she was hooked on pain pills that the real reason she took a leave of absence from Baywatch was so she could have a baby.

On Wednesday, the first episode featured Lani losing her hearing.  Fortunately, she got it back at the end of the second episode because no problem ever lasts longer than two episodes.  During the first episode, Mitch met a woman who was riding a horse across the beach.  In the second episode, cop Garner Ellerbee returned to capture some drug dealers and he als rode a horse across the beach.

On Thursday …. well, who knows?  Cody made the mistake of betting Mitch’s new boat as a part of some silly competition, which is something that I’m pretty sure Logan did at some point during the show’s first two seasons.  During the second episode, Mitch rescued a swimmer who may been sick, which again is something that happened frequently in the past.  As a result, all of Baywatch had to be quarantined!  Only Newman could work the beach, which meant he got to save a bunch of models who were posing for the …. ahem …. new Barbara’s Boutique Catalogue.

Friday was a weird two-part episode.  As occasionally happens when an old show is airing on the retro channels, the show suddenly skipped over a handful of episodes and we jumped, without warning, into the future.  All new opening credits!  All new cast intros, with several regulars now missing!  Suddenly, Mitch was married to Neely and Neely was played by an entirely different actress!  Anyway, the marriage didn’t last because it turned out that Neely was lying about seeing her ex in Alaska (?).  I guess maybe it all would have made sense if the episodes had been shown in their proper order but …. oh well!  The main thing is that Neely and Mitch were no longer married at the end of it all and Neely was no longer a part of Baywatch.

On Saturday, Mitch was stalked and held hostage by a psycho babysitter.  Didn’t that happen to Mitch at least once a year?

brady buch hour

The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (YouTube)

I watched the first episode of this 1977 TV series.  The Brady Bunch sings!  Fake Jan turns out to be more likable than Real Jan!  Peter Brady conspires to replace his father with Tony Randall!  Donnie and Marie Osmond stopped by!  Clowns swam underwater!  The entire family and Alice the maid did the Hustle!  It was …. well, it was something.

cellmate secrets

Cellmate Secrets (Monday Night, A&E)

On this new Lifetime/A&E show, cellmates of infamous criminals talk about what it was like living with a temporary roommate.  This week, I learned that Casey Anthony was apparently manipulative and heartless.  Shocker!

Show Boxing

Championship Boxing — Wilder vs Fury (Showtime Extreme, Friday Morning)

This was a boxing match from 2018.  I’m not really a boxing fan, though I do like to see what everyone in the crowd is wearing.  The match was between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder and it ended in a draw.  Personally, I wish they both could have won.  I cringed every time I saw a punch land to the head.  That can’t be good!

At one point, during the fight, one of the announcers pointed out that “The Black Panther is in the crowd,” and the camera cut to Chadwick Boseman talking to Mario Lopez in the audience.

Cheaters

Cheaters (MTV2, Friday Morning)

I watched three episodes of Cheaters on Friday morning, from two to three-thirty.  Unfortunately, the guide didn’t list what year they were from but Joey Greco was hosting and, just from the fashion choices made by some of the cheaters, I’m going to guess the episodes were from 2009 or 2010.  Cheaters is, in many ways, a terrible show but it’s also a Dallas-based production so I’m happy it’s out there.  One of my favorite things about Cheaters is that the cheaters often get busted at places that I’ve actually been to.  I’m like, “I’ve been to that restaurant!”

Anyway, all three episodes featured cheaters who didn’t show enough contrition upon getting caught.  Joey Greco’s self-righteous commentary was hilariously overwrought.  All in all, this is a show for the entire family.

court-cam

Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)

The judges were all sarcastic.  The defendants were unrepentant.  To be honest, the main thing I remember was that someone in the gallery kept yelling at the accused criminals because he didn’t think their bail was high enough.

degrassi minis

Degrassi Minis (YouTube)

Degrassi Minis was a series of 5-minute short films about Degrassi!  They typically had titles like “What if Jimmy could walk?” or “What if Craig married Ashley?”  They presented an alternate reality to the show’s reality and they were often disturbing as Hell.  I watched “What if Jimmy hadn’t gotten shot?,” which featured Jimmy getting a basketball scholarship while a bitter Sean watched from his wheelchair.  So, I guess if Rick Murray hadn’t shot Jimmy, he would have shot Sean?  But, in the “real world,” it was pretty much established that the main reason Rick brought the gun to school was to specifically shoot Jimmy, whom he incorrectly believed has been behind the plot to bully him.  So, if he couldn’t shoot Jimmy, why would he then go after Sean, a character who he didn’t even know?  Why not go after the other people who he thought were in on the plot?

In short, this mini made no sense but both Daniel Clark and Stacey Farber gave good performances as Sean and the ever-loyal Ellie.  Seriously, even in the alternate timeline, Ellie didn’t get enough credit for putting up with everyone’s crap.

friends

Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33)

On Tuesday’s episode, Ross adapted a British accent while teaching and he didn’t both to let Rachel know that he hadn’t actually gotten their Vegas wedding annulled, which was kind of messed up to be honest.  On Wednesday, Joey agreed to keep an eye on someone’s Porsche.  Joey soon started to pretend that it was his Porsche.  It was kind of a stupid storyline but the criminally underrated Matt LeBlanc did a great job selling it.

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, Monday Night)

Chef Ramsay’s attempt to mentor Generation Z chefs hit a snag on Monday night when one of the chefs imitated Ramsay getting mad about a dish being undercooked.  The problem was that the dish was undercooked and the chef in question was one who had undercooked it.  Can you guess who ended up going home at the end of service?

intervention

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

As I’ve said previously, I always have more sympathy for the druggies than I do for the drunks.  On Monday night, Pam struggled with both drugs and alcohol so my feelings were mixed.  Still, she went to rehab and appeared to be doing better at the end of the show so good for her.

Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing (Sunday, Newsnation)

There are certain shows that just make perfect background entertainment.  These are the shows that you have on television while you’re doing something like cleaning the house or trying to organize your movies.  They keep you from getting overwhelmed by silence but, at the same time, they don’t really demand your attention.  Most of these shows tend to be sitcoms and rather old-fashioned sitcoms at that.  Last Man Standing is a perfect example.  Starring Tim Allen as the often-confused father of three daughters, Last Man Standing was one of the sitcoms that was always more popular with audiences than critics.  I can’t say that I have ever regularly watched it, though the few times I have both watched and paid attention to it, it seemed to be an inoffensive sitcom that, more often than not, worked because of its cast and despite some heavy-handed writing.

For whatever reason, Last Man Standing is one of those sitcoms that always seems to be airing somewhere.  On Sunday, it aired on Newsnation from early in the morning until late in the evening.  I had it playing in the background while I did some work around the house.  I can’t say that I really paid much attention to it.  Tim Allen was confused by his daughters.  His daughters were competing for his attention.  One of the daughter’s had a liberal husband, who was basically the world’s biggest wimp.  It felt more like a series from the late 90s than the 2010s.  But no matter.  It helped me focus on the work I was doing around the house and that was really all I needed.

moone_boy_title

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Martin became an altar boy and found out the truth about the Mass Mafia.  It was an enjoyable homage to Goodfellas, even if it did end with the Godfather theme playing over the end credits.  I especially like the fact that Martin’s confirmation name was also Martin.  “That will be easy to remember.”

(For the record, my confirmation name was Sofia.)

The Office

The Office (Comedy Central, All The Time)

On Sunday morning, I watched Safety Training and Product Recall, two classics from season 3. Safety Training featured Michael thinking that he could safely jump off the building and onto a bouncy castle. Product Recall featured Andy dating a 16 year-old high school student. Funny episodes but what the Hell was going on in Scranton!?

Actually, my favorite part of Product Recall was Michael calling the press to let them know about the offensive watermark because, otherwise, how were they going to find out?

open-all-hours

Open All Hours (Monday Morning, PBS)

Poor Granville.  His entire life revolves around that morning milk delivery.  Some morning, the delivery’s going to be delayed and Granville’s going to snap.  It won’t be pretty.

parking_wars

Parking Wars (Monday Morning, A&E)

“I love South Philly but if you’re parked in the wrong place on one of my streets, you’re getting a ticket.”  Oh, shut up.

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Seinfeld (Weekday Night, Channel 33)

I watched four episodes of this 90s sitcom, two on Tuesday and two on Wednesday.  Two of the episodes dealt with the production of a pilot that was written by Jerry and George.  I’ve always like the episodes with The Pilot, if just because of the way that Jerry Seinfeld poked fun at his own acting limitations.  (“Because he’s my butler!”)  George’s obsession over the box of raisins was another classic, cringey moment.

As for the other two episodes, one dealt with George trying to hire a secretary to which he wouldn’t be sexually attracted (it did not work) and the other was one of my favorites, in which Jerry and George try to figure out how to perfect the roommate switch.  (“I’m not sure of the exact pronunciation but I think it’s called …. ménage a trois?”  “Oh, that’s wild.”  And, of course, later: “I’m not an orgy guy!”)  Really, putting George in any position of authority just seems like the ultimate HR nightmare.

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Storage Wars (All Day Tuesday, A&E)

I watched several episodes on Tuesday and, as tends to happen with A&E all-day marathons, they all blended together.  But no matter!  The good thing was that the majority of the episode were from the first three seasons, when the whole show was about Dave getting on people’s nerves and Barry acting all eccentric and somehow managing to injure himself every time he tried to clean out a locker.  To be honest, I don’t think the show has ever really recovered from losing Barry as a regular.

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Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Realizing that his new play, Twelfth Night, just isn’t working, Shakespeare comes up with the brilliant idea to turn it into a jukebox miracle!  Everyone loves the play once the music of Thomas Morley is added but then Morley himself refuses to sign over the rights to his music.  Oh, Shakespeare, will you ever learn?

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Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/30/21 — 6/5/21


Between Memorial Day and spending a lot of time deep in thought, I didn’t really watch much television this week. That’s probably a good thing! Here’s a few thoughts on what I did watch:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Rene and almost everyone else managed to escape the POW camp and they made their way back to the cafe, just in time to open up for the day. Unfortunately, Maria got mailed to Switzerland, which is unfortunate since Maria was the character to whom I always related. Oh well, that’s how it goes when you’re watching a British comedy that might be older than you are. Anyway, the important thing is that life goes on! Of course, the British Airmen are still stranded in France, Rene is still just trying to carry on his affair with Yvette without getting caught, and the British spy pretending to be a French policeman still hadn’t figured out how to properly say “Good morning.”

Baywatch (Weekday evenings, H&I)

The first of Sunday’s two episodes featured Cody and CJ breaking up a nude beach while Caroline, Neely, Samantha, and Mitch prevented a terrorist from poisoning Malibu’s water supply …. wait a minute, what? Every episode of Baywatch is like a weird mix of lifeguard humor and melodramatic action. It’s like 24, if Jack Bauer has spent his spare time running around in a speedo and pulling people out of the water. This was followed by an episode in which Caroline was sued by the mother of someone who died during the previous season. On the one hand, it was realistic to have something like that brought back up after a year. On the other hand, it was hard not to feel that this episode was mostly just an excuse for a clip show.

On Monday, the episode started off with the Baywatch lifeguards transporting an injured sea lion to Sea World. This led to an hour-long commercial for Sea World. The Baywatch lifeguards even designed a new water show for Sea World. The second episode took a jump into Baywatch’s future, as it was a Memorial Day episode from a later season. Suddenly, there were new lifeguards and new opening credits and the entire show revolved around Carmen Electra and Kelly Packard, the former bass player for California Dreams. This episode featured the lifeguards finding a drowned veteran and trying to give his spirit the peace that it deserved by retrieving his dog togs from the bottom of the ocean. Of course, it also featured a lot of slo-mo shots of the team running on the beach. As with most episodes of Baywatch, it was an odd mix of sincerity and exploitation.

The first of Tuesday’s episodes featured Neely and Cody looking for a bipolar surfer who was having a manic episode. It was well-intentioned but, from the point of view of this reviewer who happens to be bipolar, also extremely cringey. It promoted the idea that the only thing you have to do is take your meds and suddenly, you’re magically okay and you don’t have a care in the world. That’s really not the case but let’s move on. The next episode was a bit more fun, as it featured CJ getting kidnapped by a disfigured phantom of the beach type. He may have lived under a pier but he really wasn’t that bad of a guy. It was incredibly silly but kind of fun.

Remember how I mentioned that the Memorial Day episode appeared to be broadcasting from the future? Well, the future began on Wednesday with a new season of Baywatch! The opening credits were slightly different. CJ and Caroline were gone! Both of Wednesday’s episodes attempted to generate some suspense over who would make it through rookie school but, since the opening credits already included Kelly Packard and Carmen Electra as being the new lifeguards, there really wasn’t much suspense to be found. Along with rookie school, the first episode featured Electra being kidnapped by her ex while the second featured Manny becoming a lifeguard despite only having 20/40 vision. Mitch accepted a promotion to captain, presumably so David Hasselhoff would have time to make more movies like Gridlock. In the end, everything worked out for the best. Yay!

Thursday’s episodes were both pretty good. The first one featured Mitch having to pick an new lieutenant. Should he pick JD, an old friend, or should he pick Taylor, who had red hair just like me? The obvious choice was Taylor but JD, who looked almost as good as Cody in a speedo, was given a position with Baywatch as well. The second episode was about a boy named Charlie who was dying of cancer and who spent his last days at Baywatch. It was cheesy but it was also the type of unapologetically sentimental episode that Baywatch usually excelled at. It was the perfect mix of sincerity and schmaltz, made all the more effective by the fact that the episode was inspired by an actual Baywatch fan who passed away shortly before it aired. If you watch the “Charlie” episode and you don’t tear up during the final scenes, regardless of what you may think of Baywatch as a whole, then I would be concerned about your soul,

The first of Friday’s episodes featured the return of Caroline Holden. She came back to Baywatch after spending a few months in New York as a struggling actress. Since she was still listed as a special guest star in the credits, it was easy to guess that she would eventually return to New York, which is what she did at the end of the second episode. Other than Caroline’s return, the first episode also featured some jackass who flew around in a helicopter and shared all the latest gossip about the Baywatch lifeguards. The second episode featured Mitch pressuring Jordan to track down her birth mother. It wasn’t much of a storyline but at least Traci Bingham, who played Jordan, got to deliver more than four lines for once.

On Saturday’s episode, the beach was attacked by yet another sea monster. This time, it was a giant electric eel. Agck! The beach is scary. Manny nearly died but, as always happens on Baywatch, he was brought back to life by a combination of CPR and defibrillators. Yay!

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

Chef Ramsay’s back for the 20th season of Hell’s Kitchen! (20th!?) This time, all the chefs are in their very early 20s, which should lead to a lot of emotional meltdowns as Gordon tells them that they’re going to kill someone if they don’t learn how to make a proper risotto. I’m looking forward to it!

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

For me, Hill Street Blues came to an end this week. The final episode of both season 7 and the entire series aired on Friday. Though H&I is now re-showing the entire series from the beginning, I don’t particularly feel the need to go back and re-experience any of it, at least not yet. I will say that, if you want to see a good, retro cop show, Hill Street Blues is available on Hulu, as well as on H&I. The first four seasons are gritty and well-acted and hold up surprisingly well. The final three are increasingly uneven.

Tuesday morning’s episodes were pretty typical of Hill Street Blues in its final season. Neither one of them made much of an impression. For once, neither one of these episodes centered on Norman Buntz. Instead, they increasingly centered on Patrick Flaherty, a patrolman who was added to the cast during the final season and who, in his way, was an even more annoying character than Buntz. Flaherty was always trying to either get laid or getting angry about some minor issue. It didn’t particularly make him an interesting character to watch. Anyway, the first episode also featured Henry Goldblume trying to turn yet another former gang member into an informant. The second episode featured yet another controversial police shooting and it ended with Detective Belker getting shot. I guess that makes sense when you consider that Belker was the only member of the show’s ensemble who, at that point, hadn’t been shot at least once. (Neal Washington, on the other hand, got shot at least three times that I can remember.)

On the first episode of Wednesday morning, there was some fear that Belker might be paralyzed but then it turned out that he wasn’t. The majority of the episode centered on Buntz trying to catch the guy who shot Belker. In other words, one of the show’s longest-running characters got shot and the show made it all about Buntz. The second episode was a silly one about a radio station doing a contest to see who, in the city, could pull off the most outrageous stunt. During the morning roll call, Detective LaRue asked if the police were eligible to win the contest. Patrick Flaherty continued to be the most annoying character on the show by shouting, “Real stunt …. not a sex stunt, DETECTIVE!” Like, seriously, Flaherty, shut the fuck up. Who are you exactly? Why are you taking so much screen time away from the characters that I actually like? Anyway, this was a dumb episode but it did feature brief, before-they-were-stars appearances from Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Don Cheadle.

On Thursday morning, things got started with an episode in which a star football player was arrested for soliciting a prostitute but was then left off the hook because he was a celebrity. Meanwhile, Buntz nearly won the department’s marksmanship contest but, in a rare example of the show admitting that Buntz had flaws, he ended up losing by two points. Meanwhile, newly reinstated Lt. Howard Hunter ended up trapped in a collapsed room and Capt. Furillo made peace with his brother by helping him get a loan. It wasn’t really a terrible episode, though it wasn’t particularly memorable either. The morning’s second episode was a uneven mix of the good and the bad. On the good side, Howard Hunter was rescued after being buried alive for 11 days (he later admitted to honoring a pact that he had made with a friend that the first one of them to die would be eaten by the other), J.D. LaRue survived a near-death experience, and Henry Goldblume finally published a short story. All of these storylines gave underappreciated cast members James B. Sikking, Kiel Martin, and Joe Spano a chance to shine. Unfortunately, they all had to compete for screen time with yet another storyline about Bunt being framed and also the return of the incredibly annoying Grace Gardner. The top it all off, Jesus Martinez returned to the show for his sister’s wedding. The end result was an overstuffed episode that had some good moments but which never quite came together.

On Friday morning, we finally reached the final episode of Hill Street Blues. On the one hand, it felt strange that — after hundreds of episodes — the final episode began and ended with Norman Buntz, a character who wasn’t even on the show when it first started. The storyline of Buntz attempting to prove that he wasn’t a dirty cop was nothing special, largely because every Buntz storyline seemed to involve him having to prove he wasn’t a dirty cop. That said, the finale did get one thing right. By including scenes of LaRue pulling another stupid prank, Bobby and Renko dealing with another fighting family, and Belker finally going through his mother’s belongings, the finale showed that, even though the show was over, life on Hill Street would go on. Crimes would be committed. Life would continue to be a struggle. But, at the same time, there would still be moments of grace and times when people came together to do the right thing. Life goes on, the finale said, even though the faces may change. It was a decent ending for the show, one that did it justice despite the uneven quality of the last two seasons.

Lost In Space (Netflix)

At Case’s suggestion, I finally watched the first episode of this Netflix show. (Only three years late!) The Robinson family was pretty annoying but I liked the robot and I cheered a little when Parker Posey showed up. I imagine I’ll check out the rest of the series eventually.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Martin’s uncle comes home with stories about being a traveling musician in Europe and working as a roadie for U2. (“Edge would see a really heavy piece of equipment and he’d say, ‘Let Bono get that.'”) Eventually, it turns out that Martin’s uncle has actually been working part-time at a factory for the last few years but Martin’s Dad allows Martin to believe that his uncle had to leave town because U2 was going on tour again. It was a sweet episode.

NASCAR Cup Series (Sunday Night, Fox)

I’m enough of a Southern girl that I can enjoy watching NASCAR. My family loves it and you better believe that we watched the race on Sunday night. One of the drivers was even named Bowman!

Open All Hours (Sunday night, PBS)

I didn’t really pay much attention to Sunday’s episode, as I watched it later during the week off the DVR and the show was having to compete with the cat for my attention. I did notice that Granville looked pretty miserable.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

The evil Robert Greene tricked Shakespeare into writing Titus Adronicus when his client wanted a comedy! Fortunately, Kate and Marlowe fell briefly in love and inspired Shakespeare to write The Two Gentlemen of Verona instead. Yay! Kate did tell Shakespeare that she doubted the play would be remembered as one of his better plays. “Nonsense!” Shakespeare responded.

Yes, Minister (Monday morning, PBS)

When the Prime Minister shocks everyone by announcing his retirement, everyone scrambles to find a replacement who is free of scandal and who, most importantly, won’t actually do anything once he’s in office. Hello, Jim Hacker! Yay! This charming one-hour episode was apparently the last episode of Yes, Minister before the show became Yes, Prime Minister. I don’t know if PBS is going to show Yes, Prime Minister or not. It’s not currently scheduled but that could just be because the big pledge drive is coming up. Still, regardless of what PBS does, this was a perfect episode and honestly, I got a bit teary-eyed at the end when Sir Humphrey announced that the Party had selected Hacker to be their leader. It was a great moment.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/23/21 — 5/29/21


I didn’t watch much television this week. I was too busy watching movies! However, here’s some thoughts on what I did see:

Allo Alllo (PBS, Sunday Night)

Everyone’s trapped in a POW camp and having to pretend to be British airmen, incuding Yvette! However will they escape? At the end of Sunday’s episode, they were all still in the camp but I’m sure they’ll find a way out. This is one of the strangest shows that I’ve ever watched but, at the same time, I am eager to see how it all (eventually) works out.

American Idol (ABC, Sunday Night)

Yes, I watched all three hours of the finale on Sunday night. I’m not sure why because to say that I felt absolutely no emotional connection to this season of American Idol would be an understatement. Words cannot begin to express how little I cared about anything that happened over those three hours. Why was I watching? Was it nostalgia for a time when American Idol was a big deal? Was it just laziness on my part? Maybe I just wanted to see if I was correct in my prediction that Chayce Beckham would win because of the whole country music thing. I imagine all of those reasons are correct. I’m not going to think too much about it, to be honest. I was tired on Sunday night.

Anyway, Chayce Beckham did win so congratulations to him and congratulations to me for my above average predictive abilities. Yay!

Baywatch (Weekday evenings, H&I)

On Sunday, Baywatch started off with an episode in which a woman purchased a date with Mitch. Mitch took her sailing and, long story short, they ended up trapped on a deserted island. Fortunately, they were rescued by the end of the episode and they even found time to all in love. Yay! (By the way, Baywatch, Lina Wertmuller would like a word.) This was followed by an episode in which, due to a heat wave, the beaches were extra crowded and the lifeguards were extra busy. Complicating things was the President of the United States, who wanted to go jogging on the beach. Since this show was from the 90s, that means that the president was Bill Clinton. Yikes! Get that beach cleared!

Monday started off with an episode in which CJ’s mom came to visit the Baywatch crew and it turned out that she was being pursued by a murderous gambler. It was actually one of the silliest episodes of this show that I’ve ever seen. This was followed by a much better episode that featured all of the lifeguards competing for a chance to take part in an Ironman competition. Once again, the main goal was to defeat a group of arrogant Australians. What did Baywatch have against Australia? The episode ended with all of the lifeguards — American and Australian — diving underwater and lifting up a submerged car, which they then pushed out of the ocean and back onto the beach! It was just ludicrous enough to be brilliant.

Tuesday started off with yet another earthquake episode, along with a storyline about one of the new lifeguards posing for Playboy, which I assume was only included to help promote an issue of Playboy featuring that particular actress. It was dumb. This was followed by an episode in which lifeguards trained to become firefighters and firefighters trained to become lifeguard and …. well, sad to say, it was pretty dumb too. However, Mitch did spend sometime dealing with a man who thought he was a vampire. Way to give Baywatch Nights a shout out!

On Wednesday, the first episode featured Mitch nearly dying after swimming through polluted water. Fortunately, he survived and, in the second episode, he was named Bachelor of the Month and got to pose with a bunch of models. Meanwhile, Stephanie got married and Caroline and Logan realized that they were never, ever getting back together.

On Thursday, the recently married Stephanie died while trying to sail a boat through a sudden ocean storm. It was shamelessly melodramatic and yet, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t emotionally effective as well. Whatever else you may say about David Hasselhoff on this show, he could deliver even the cheesiest of lines with a surprising sincerity. Of course, the episode featuring Stephanie’s death and funeral was followed by an episode where Mitch was invited to appear on a television talk show and it also featured Jay Leno as a guest star. That’s Baywatch in a nutshell, tragedy followed by Jay Leno.

On Friday, the first episode featured a ghost helping Caroline save a drowning child. The second episode featured a bunch of rival gang members setting aside their differences to learn CPR. Both episodes were as clumsily handled as they sound.

Finally, on Saturday, there was an episode that mixed a teen suicide storyline with an unrelated plot concerning CJ and Cody discovering a mermaid. Yes, a real mermaid. “Finally!” Cody exclaimed, “we can prove that mermaids are real!” “No,” CJ said, “that wouldn’t be fair to the mermaids!” In the end, everything worked out and, in its weird way, it was classic Baywatch.

Gangs of London (Sunday, AMC)

Nine episodes of this, I’ve watched so far, and I still don’t have the slightest idea what’s going on. But I do appreciate it as an exercise in pure style and Colm Meaney is convincingly intimidating whenever he shows up in flashbacks.

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

Oh, Hill Street. It’s amazing how quickly this show went downhill during its final days.

On Tuesday morning, the two episodes that aired seemed to share a common thread — i.e., no one at the Hill Street precinct was particularly good at their job. The first episode featured a mob boss getting held hostage while the Hill Street cops stood around and smirked. And believe me, I get it. He’s a bad guy. He’s a mob boss. But still, he was under police protection when he got grabbed so maybe instead of smirking about it, why not give some thought to how you totally screwed up a simple assignment? The second episode featured Norman Buntz getting his finger chopped off by a loan shark. I enjoyed that, mostly because Buntz is such an annoying character. “My shy’s got a soda connection,” he told Capt. Furillo at one point during the second episode. I nearly threw a show at the TV.

At the start of Wednesday’s episodes, Buntz had gotten his finger reattached. He arrested the loan shark who was responsible for doing the chopping but, Buntz being Buntz, he still ended up shooting the guy. While this was going on, Grace Gardner — an incredibly annoying character from an earlier season — was debating whether or not to become a nun and Patrolman Patrick Flaherty, a new character, was chasing after her with an annoying grin on his face. To be honest, the first episode of the morning was a bit of a mess. Fortunately, the second episode was much better. Capt. Furillo struggled to come to terms with his father’s suicide while Detective Belker had nightmares about the apocalypse. It was all surprisingly well-handled.

Thursday morning brought two frustratingly uneven episodes. The first found the precinct’s cops on the verge of a race war after a white cop shot his black partner. It turned out that it was all linked to a bigger corruption scandal. Sam McMurray played the white shooter. It was an interesting story but, as usual, things got bogged with an unrelated Lt. Buntz plotline and, in the end, it was hard not to feel that the show had handled the topics of systemic racism and police corruption far more effectively in the past. The second episode featured Joyce getting held hostage by a criminal and, as I’ve said before, I always find hostage episodes to be a bit of drag. As well, there was an unrelated plotline about Patrick Flaherty trying to recover a stolen radio, which would have been interesting if not for the fact that Flaherty’s a remarkably uninteresting character.

On Friday morning, the first episode featured several of the policemen going on a hunting trip and …. well, that was about it. The second episode featured a few of the cops having to work as garbagemen while Sgt. Howard Hunter had to deal with his former second-in-command, Jack Ballentine, who had gone crazy and was shooting at people from an upstairs window. As usual, both episodes had their moments but got bogged down with unrelated Norman Buntz action.

Saturday morning’s episodes hit a nadir for me, as far as this show is concerned. The first episode featured a wacky misunderstanding plot, as Buntz got it into his head that Joyce was cheating on Captain Furillo. The second episode found Buntz in charge of the precinct for the day and encouraging all of his officers to basically violate the civil rights of anyone who might be carrying even the most miniscule amount of weed. By the end of these two episodes, I found myself wondering if the writers during the final two seasons were getting paid based on the number of lines they gave to Norman Buntz because it’s hard to deny that the show went from being an ensemble show to being all about him.

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

I watched two episodes on Monday night. The first episode was about an alcoholic. The second one was about a woman addicted to fentanyl and cocaine. As I’ve stated in the past, I never have as much sympathy for the alcoholics as I do for the drug addicts. The first episode was about a former hockey player named Dan whose catch phrase was “Oh golly golly.” Good to have a catch phrase when you’re putting your family through Hell, I guess. The second episode was about Elizabeth, who had all sorts of family tragedies to blame for her addictions. Hopefully, they’re both doing better now.

King of the Hill (Hulu)

On Thursday night, I watched two episodes of the greatest show ever made at Texas. In the first episode, the Hills celebrated the millennium. In the second episode, Peggy wrote Bobby’s flag essay for him. These were two classic episodes from a classic show.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Desperate to find a way to get to school quicker without having to cut into any of his precious sleeping time, Martin Moone tears down the shoddily constructed wall in his family’s backyard. He’s briefly a school hero, until Liam and Debra notice all of the students walking through their backyard. It was a funny episode. I especially enjoyed the scene where Martin’s imaginary friend, Sean Caution Murphy, explained that Martin created him because Martin himself is cautious and doesn’t like to take risks.

“And what did you name me?”

“Sean Murphy, the most common name in Ireland!”

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Granville attempted to change his image by dressing up like some sort of weird mix of punk rocker and 70s disco king. He also ended up nearly hanging himself when his medallion got tangled up with the store’s singing. “Don’t just be hanging about!” Arkwright snapped at him. Granville survived, meaning that he could continue to spend many more miserable days working for his uncle and dreaming of freedom.

Seriously, Granville’s going to snap some day and it won’t be pretty.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Despite everyone telling him that Henry V is a much better subject, Shakespeare heads home to Stratford-Upon-Avon to work on a play about Henry VIII. Unfortunately, upon arriving, he discovers that his fearsome former school master is a Catholic! When Robert Greene and Kit Marlowe show up, Shakespeare has to figure out how to allow his teacher to conduct midnight mass without anyone noticing, Fortunately, Marlowe helps out by hiring a prostitute. It’s all a bit convoluted by funny. I’m Catholic and I laughed, largely because most of the jokes were at the expense of the Church of England.

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

Jim Hacker’s attempts to subsidize his local football club run afoul Sir Humphrey’s attempts to continue to subsidize the constituency’s little-visited art museum. I’ve often written about how Yes, Minister was a show that could appreciated by anyone because bureaucracy is a universal reality but all it takes is one episode centered around a football club to remind us that this is, at heart, a very British show. And, needless to say, a very funny one! Sir Humphrey, as usual, won the battle of the wills but Hacker still got some good publicity out of it. That’s the important thing.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/16/21 — 5/22/21


It was a busy week and yet, I still found time to watch what was probably too much television. Here are my thoughts for this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Trying to explain what happened on Sunday’s episode will not be easy but here goes. Having faked their deaths in the previous episode, the two British airmen were attempting to tunnel their way into a German POW camp. However, their tunnel ends up colliding with the tunnel of two other British airmen, who are attempting to dig their way out of the camp. In typical Allo Allo fashion, nearly every character on the show, whether British, German, or French, eventually ended up in the tunnel at the same time. When the tunnel collapses, everyone finds themselves in the POW camp. It was odd but funny, an enjoyably chaotic parody of movies like The Great Escape.

American Idol (Sunday Night, ABC)

I watched this week’s Final Four episode on the DVR and I have to admit that I fast forwarded through most of it. I just wanted to see who would make it into the top 3. Chayce, Willie, and Grace made it to the finale. Casey Bishop was eliminated. Because of the show’s weirdly rushed format, Casey didn’t get to say anything or even sing a goodbye song after being told that she had been rejected by America. Instead, the credits quickly flashed across the screen. It just didn’t feel right.

Of the final three …. well, I have no idea. In the past, it seems like Chayce would have won easily because of the whole country music thing but who knows? The judges seemed to really want the voters to pick Willie. Then again, the judges really just seemed to be going through the motions this season. There’s a real fear of being too negative. It’s not like the way it used to be when Simon hated everything and the other judges always seemed to be coming down from a coke binge.

Anyway, the finale is next week. I’m going to go ahead and predict that Chayce will win. I don’t know if I’m going to watch the finale or not. It’ll probably depend on what else is on at the time. (I refuse to set the DVR for the finale of a show that I know I’m going to forget about in two weeks.) It’s been a while since winning American Idol was really a big deal, to be honest. Maybe it would help if the show’s producers weren’t so determined to force everyone to sing sappy ballads.

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

The week in Baywatch got off to an extremely strange start on Sunday. The first episode featured Neely and Caroline competing for a modeling gig while Cody, Mitch, and Logan descended into the sewers to search for a mutant alligator. Neely got the gig and Mitch got the alligator. One thing that I did like about this episode is that the alligator was taken alive and donated to a zoo. The second episode featured a mysterious man trying to kill Logan, which led to Caroline wondering what it would be like if Charlie’s Angels were called in to save Logan’s life. Next thing you know, Caroline, Stephanie, and CJ were wearing wigs and bell bottoms and trying to solve the mystery of who was trying to kill Logan. Eventually, it was all revealed to be a dream. This was one of those meta episodes that Baywatch occasionally tried to do. Unfortunately, the show often struggled whenever it tried to be deliberately funny.

Monday was even stranger as the first episode opened with a bunch of lifeguard dragging a lifeless Hulk Hogan out of the ocean. Fortunately, they were able to bring Hogan back to life and, in order to thank them, Hogan and a bunch of wrestlers fought each other for charity. While that was going on, Stephanie was waiting to discover whether or not she had skin cancer. So, on the one hand, you had a very serious storyline about cancer and, on the other hand, you had a bunch of pro wrestlers yelling at each other on the beach. Fortunately, while Stephanie’s ultimate fate was left up in the air, the wrestlers raised enough money. Monday’s second episode featured Mitch sky-diving and this, of course, led to a lot of flashbacks to previous episodes, with some of the clips featured a totally different actor playing Mitch’s son because Baywatch was just like that. There were also some really weird green screen shots of David Hasselhoff with a bunch of fake clouds behind him. It also led to a lot of Hasselhoff voice over acting: “But if I’m unconscious, how can I know what’s happening? Am I dead?” (I may be remembering incorrectly but I thought this show already did a Mitch nearly dies while skydiving episode.) Fortunately, it turned out that Mitch’s death, much like the Charlie’s Angels episode, was just a dream.

On Tuesday, the first episode opened with Mitch trying to adopt a little girl who had never been on the show before. Eventually, I figured out that the episode was continuing a storyline that started on Baywatch Nights. In the end, Mitch did not go through the with the adoption and the little girl was sent to live with her grandparents in Iowa or Kansas or wherever it is that saintly grandparents tend to live. The second episode featured Mitch and Caroline trying to reunite a Vietnamese immigrant with her father. While they did that, CJ and Cody designed a special wheelchair so that a disabled friend would be able to roll across the sandy beach and experience the ocean firsthand. This led to a lot of shots of a sweaty, shirtless, and sexy David Chokachi handling a welding torch. Yum!

On Wednesday, the 1995 Baywatch “film,” Forbidden Paradise, was aired as a two-part episode. I reviewed it here.

Thursday started off with an odd episode, in which Stephanie discovered that she was cancer-free but, at the exact same moment she was getting her good news, a professional surfer was drowning and Logan was cheating on Caroline. It was a strangely philosophical episode but it did feature a surprisingly exciting rescue sequence. I think what made it work is that Michael Newman, who was an actual lifeguard, was the one doing the rescuing and you could tell that he actually knew what he was doing. The second episode featured Cody searching for Spanish gold and Newman, Logan, and Neely searching for a rat that was living in Baywatch headquarters.

Friday’s first episode started off with a new opening credits sequence that featured not only a bunch of new lifeguards but also the promotion of real-life lifeguard Michael Newman to the main cast. Yay, Newmie! The episode that followed featured Logan trying to make a movie about a killer shark and basically endangering everyone by filming with a real shark! At the end of the episode, Logan left Baywatch to become a director. Considering the number of people that Logan almost got killed during his time on the beach, I imagine the lifeguard were happy to see him go. The second episode found Mitch judging a beauty contest and having to deal with a new boss, Samantha Thomas (Nancy Valen).

Saturday’s episode featured an eccentric old man leaving CJ 4 millions dollars in his will and Hobie debating whether or not to get a tattoo. I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to it as I was preparing to host Saturday’s #ScarySocial live tweet.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MTV)

I had this show playing in the background while I was cleaning around the house. I needed background noise to help me focus but I also needed something that I knew I would be in no danger of getting emotionally invested in. The adventures of America’s most annoying family fit the bill!

City Confidential (Thursday Night, Crime and Investigation)

The episode that I watched on Thursday night was about Boston and it told the story of a white man who claimed that two black carjackers had murdered his wife but who, it quickly became apparent, had actually committed the murder himself. With the city on the verge of a riot, he jumped off a bridge. It was a disturbing story and a far too common one.

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

A&E’s stupidest reality show (and that’s saying something!) basically runs nonstop on Wednesdays. I watched two episodes on Wednesday afternoon and it was the typical collection of jocular judges, rude defendants, and teary-eyed victim statements, all breathlessly narrated by Dan Abrams. This show is basically like the 2021 version of those old “Totally Shocking Video” shows.

Fear Thy Neighbor (Saturday Afternoon, ID)

Fear Thy Neighbor is a true crime show that tells stories about neighbors who end up killing each other. On the one hand, it’s just as exploitive as it sounds. On the other hand, it does make you appreciate the neighbors who don’t try to kill each other. Whenever my neighbor gets on my nerves, I remind myself that at least he’s not one of the Fear Thy Neighbor neighbors.

Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33)

I watched Monday night’s episode. Monica was annoyed by Chandler’s fake laugh. Ross slept with the very annoying Janice. Chandler’s boss was played by the always-funny Sam McMurray. It was an okay episode, though I doubt it’s one they’ll discuss during the HBOMax reunion.

Gangs of London (Sunday nights, AMC)

I got caught up on Gangs of London this week, watching the three latest episodes (or, at least, the three latest episodes to be broadcast in the United States). I still struggle to follow the show and to keep track of who is working with who. That’s probably more due to me not watching on a regular basis than anything else. After watching the last three episodes, I’ve decided that Gangs of London works best as a parody of ultra-violent gangster epics. It’s all so over the top that it’s hard to believe that it was ever meant to be taken all that seriously.

One thing I did learn from watching the show is that Denmark apparently has a fearsome army. Who would have guessed?

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

On Tuesday, the first episode of Hill Street Blues dealt with the aftermath of the murder of Officer Joe Coffey. Played by Ed Marinaro, Coffey had been a part of the show’s cast of characters since the first season and was at the center of many storylines. As such, you would think that the death of his character would be a big deal. Unfortunately, since Coffey had the misfortune of dying during the show’s sixth season, his death was mostly just an excuse for Lt. Norman Buntz to beat up a suspect and try to manipulate Coffey’s long-time partner into making an identification that she wasn’t sure about. The second of Tuesday’s episode featured more Norman Buntz drama as he found himself potentially being framed for the murder of another cop. Lindsay Crouse also joined the cast as a new police officer named Kate McBride who, in her first episode, got more screen time than people who had been there since the show began.

Wednesday’s first episode continued the trend of shining the spotlight on new characters as opposed to the old ones. Norman Buntz continued to threaten everyone he met. Kate McBride was accused of sexually harassing a prostitute and, though it turned out that the prostitute was lying, McBride did tell her partner, Lucy, that she was a lesbian. (The scene was so awkwardly handled that I was surprised McBride’s announcement wasn’t followed by a dramatic music cue.) Meanwhile, another new cop (played by a very young Chris Noth) tried to talk a man out of jumping off the ledge of a building. “Go ahead and jump but I don’t think you want to,” Noth said, right before the man jumped to his death. Whoops! The second episode of the morning found Detective Mick Belker reuniting with a former informant, Eddie, who died of AIDS at the end of the hour. The Belker/Eddie storyline was actually pretty effective and very well-acted by Bruce Weitz and Charles Levin. Unfortunately, it had to compete with space for scenes of Norman Buntz once again beating up suspects and Captain Furillo trying to decide whether or not to run for mayor. (The chief of police running for mayor makes sense and happens fairly frequently. But the captain of the city’s most notorious and troubled police precinct? It seems a bit less likely.)

The first of Thursday’s episodes featured Paul McCrane, who was suitable creepy as a serial killer who was captured by a group of angry citizens. This was also the last episode of season 6, as became obvious when the morning’s second episode featured completely different opening credits. (Jeff has warned me that Season 7 was even more Buntz-centric than Season 6. They probably should have renamed the show Hill Street Buntz.) The second episode featured an airplane crashing into the city, a briefcase full of cocaine getting stolen, and Buntz being held hostage. Buntz, it would seem, got held hostage quite frequently.

On Friday, the first episode featured Lt. Howard Hunter shooting a thief with a non-Department issued gun and being investigated by Internal Affairs as a result. As well, the public defenders office went on a work slow down to try to get better terms in a contract negotiation with the city. This led to Joyce Davenport getting into a physical altercation with a judge played by Jeffrey Tambor. It was actually a good episode, featuring a wonderful performance from James B. Sikking in the role of Hunter. The second episode, however, was a bit of a mess with the public defenders now on strike, Lucy introducing two new cops to life on the Hill, and Lt. Henry Goldblume abruptly going from being a bleeding heart liberal to being the type of cop who smirks while drawing a gun on a drug dealer. (The episode suggested that this was due to Buntz’s influence but Norman Buntz is exactly the type of cop that Goldblume hated just a few episodes ago. The real culprit was inconsistent writing.)

Finally, on Saturday, the first episode was another mixed bag. On the one hand, the episode featured a compelling storyline in which Capt. Furillio discovered that his recently-promoted, former second-in-command, Capt. Calletano, was struggling with running his new precinct. There was also a rather sweet moment where Assistant D.A. Irwin Bernstein admitted that he had a crush on Public Defender Joyce Davenport. However, there was also an incredibly icky storyline in which a new character, Officer Tina Russo, confessed that she had slept with a criminal (played by a youngish Chazz Palmenteri) while working undercover. And, of course, there was yet another largely pointless Norman Buntz storyline. The second episode was a mess. An old friend of Henry Goldblume’s got killed. (Doesn’t this happen every other episode?) Buntz glowered at everyone. Russo tried to defend her reputation even while the camera leered at her.

All in all, this show still has its moment but I’m glad that I’m nearly done with it.

Intervention (Mondays, A&E)

The first episode that I watched on Monday was a really old one, one that seems to get repeated rather frequently. Leslie is a soccer mom-turned-alcoholic whose children beg her to get help. As someone who grew up with an alcoholic parent, I have to admit that, whenever I see this episode, I have absolutely zero sympathy for Leslie. The episode aired in 2007 so her children are all adults now and I can only hope that they’ve managed to deal with the trauma that she put them through. Leslie did agree to go to rehab, though the show’s epilogue states that she relapsed a few times after getting treatment.

Leslie’s episode was followed by the story of Jason and Joy. Jason was a cocaine addict. His younger sister, Joy, was an alcoholic. As usual, I had more sympathy for the cocaine addict than I did for the alcoholic, which I guess suggests that I’m just biased against drunks. Fortunately, according to the episode’s epilogue, both Jason and Joy are now sober.

The third episode deal with hairstylist-turned-drug-addict Casey. To be honest, I cringed a bit when I saw that Ken Seeley was going to run her intervention because his interventions always seem to end in disaster. But, Casey actually agreed to get help for her addiction so yay! But the she left treatment early so boo! But then apparently, she got clean on her own so yay! As you can tell, the final three title cards were a real roller coater ride.

Later that night, I watched the two latest episodes of Intervention. Tim was a former MMA fighter turned addict. Shandra was an aspiring nurse turned addict. Both of them went to treatment, though Tim got kicked out after getting into a physical altercation with another patient. Let’s hope the best for them.

The Jetsons (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I had this old cartoon playing in the background while I was cleaning the house on Sunday. George Jetson really was a whiny prick, wasn’t he?

Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (Weekdays, Channel 33)

I watched two episodes on Tuesday because I’m a terrible person. Both episodes featured fairly trashy people so it was hard for me to really care about whether or not they stayed together.

Nobody drags out the relatively simple process of reading the results of a DNA test like Judge Lake.

Judge Lake: “Tell me about when you first got married….”

Actually, Judge Lake, why don’t you just open up the damn envelope and read the piece of paper inside?

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Sunday’s episode of Moone Boy centered around the Irish presidential election. It was nice to see that insane elections aren’t limited to the United States. At the end of the episode, Ireland elected it’s first woman president and Liam Moone helped to bathe the local fish monger. It’s a complicated story but the important thing is that everything worked out for the best.

The Office (All the Time, Comedy Central)

Product recall! Seriously, one of my favorite episodes ever. Michael calling that press conference is a classic Office moment. Angela’s inability to apologize is another great moment. I knew exactly what she was going through. I watched this episode of Thursday. It’s probably the 100th time I’ve seen this episode but I still laughed the whole time. It’s a classic.

On Friday, I watched three classic two-parters — Dunder Mifflin Infinity, Launch Party (“Lanch Party!?”), and Money. The scenes of Jim and Pam spending the weekend at Shrute Farms are some of my favorites from the entire series. (“Does Mose often have nightmares?” “Oh yes. Ever since …. the storm.”)

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday night’s episode, Arkwright was concerned that an old school chum named Chalky White was going to steal away Nurse Gladys Emmanuel. Arkwright’s worries turned out to be unfounded. He should have been more concerned about the fact that Granville is obviously only a few more insults away from snapping and blowing up the store.

Philly D.A. (Tuesday Night, PBS)

On Tuesday, I watched two episodes of the PBS docuseries, Philly D.A. This is a series that follows Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner over the course of his first term. The blandly smug Krasner is a progressive who is determined to reform the culture of Philadelphia law enforcement. The series follows not only him but also his critics and the prisoners he’s released and the families who have been effected by the crime of those prisoners. Like Parking Wars, this is a series whose main message seems to be, “For the Love of God, stay out of Philadelphia.”

And really, it should be interesting but the series is so extremely one-sided that it comes across as being propaganda. It’s so obvious that the series is on Krasner’s side that you never feel like you can trust it to give you the whole story and I say this as someone who strong believes that the criminal justice system does need to be reformed. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, seeing as how this is a PBS production. Let’s just say that you’ll never see a similarly uncritical docuseries following the first term of a politician on the opposite side of the political divide.

(Interestingly enough, while I was watching this on Tuesday, Kraser was easily defeating a credible challenger in the city’s Democratic primary.)

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (Sunday, Fuse)

Sabrina! Listen, I know that a lot of people enjoyed that Netflix series more than Case and I did but for me, the only true Sabrina is Melissa Joan Hart and the only true Salem is the one who could actually talk. I watched four episodes of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch on Sunday and they were all fun and, as opposed to the Netflix series, brightly lit.

Saved By The Bell (IFC, Monday Morning)

On Monday, I caught the infamous “All in the Mall” episode of Saved By The Bell. This is the episode in which the gang goes to the mall to buy tickets for the big U2 (?) concert but, because they’re stupid enough to trust Screech to be able to buy the tickets, everything gets screwed up. However, they do find a bag full of money. Unfortunately, two criminals want the money too! Or do they? It turns out that it’s all a set up for Totally Candid Video! The gang’s reward for appearing on the show? Tickets to the big U2 concert! Personally, I would have rather had the money.

Seinfeld (Channel 33, Weeknights)

On Monday’s episode, Elaine tried to put a clothing store out of business, Newman and Kramer competed to throw the bet millennium party (this episode was from the 90s, remember), and Jerry’s girlfriend of the week was played by Lauren Graham. It was a funny episode.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Alas poor William Shakespeare. All Shakespeare wants is a family coat of arms so that he and his father can be “posh” but the man who is in charge of handing out such honors is Robert Greene, who has always disliked the Shakespeares. Perhaps if Shakespeare can throw a successful dinner party for Kit Marlowe’s new best friend, a Moorish prince named Othello, he’ll be able to convince Greene that he deserves to be a gentleman. However, when Greene discovers that Othello has fallen in love with Kate, Greene plots to trick Othello into murdering (or, at the very least, attacking) Shakespeare. It’s all rather complicated (and, as usual, rather funny). Hopefully, someone will write a play about it.

Favorite moment from Sunday’s episode: Greene tricks Othello into thinking that Shakespeare has the handkerchief that Othello originally gave to Kate. Othello starts to lose his temper.

Greene: “Ah, the green-eyed monster….”

Othello: “Perhaps you’re right. Don’t want to jump to any conclusions.”

In the end, it’s revealed that Othello stole all of his amazing stories from Sir Walter Raleigh’s latest book and Kate breaks up with him. All’s well that ends well.

Yes, Minister (Sunday Night, PBS)

Even by the standards of Yes, Minster, Sunday’s episode was a dark and cynical one. Don’t get me wrong. It was funny but the laughter was somewhat uneasy. Jim Hacker discovered two things over the course of the episode. Number one, British-made weapons were being sold to Italian terrorists. Number two, there was nothing he could do about it. As Sir Humphrey explained it, telling the Prime Minister would lead to an inquiry and an inquiry would lead to the discovery of all sorts of government scandals and the end result would be the government falling, Jim losing his position, and the terrorists still receiving their weapons. In the end, even Jim decided that his career was more important than doing the right thing. At least in Jim’s case, he didn’t seem to be happy about it.

Halfway through this melancholy episode, Bernard asked Sir Humphrey if Jim was right about the civil service being amoral. Humphrey explained that, of course, Jim was right. The role of the civil service, Humphrey explained, was not to worry about right or wrong. The role of the civil service was to support whichever government happened to be in power. Having personal beliefs went against that. As I said, it was all pretty cynical but it was also definitely more believable than any of the good government propaganda that we tend to get here in the United States. Aaron Sorkin wishes he could have written something as effective as Sunday’s episode of Yes, Minister.

Zombie House Flipping (Saturday Morning, A&E)

No zombies. Not since The Floor is Lava have a I felt so deceived.

What Lisa Watched Tonight #215: Baywatch The Movie: Forbidden Paradise (dir by Douglas Schwartz)


Earlier tonight, I watched the 1995 film Baywatch The Movie: Forbidden Paradise.

Why Was I Watching It?

The H&I network has been airing Baywatch every weekday at 5 and 6. I’ve been watching because the pure, unapologetic silliness of the show is a good way to unwind from whatever stress or annoyance I may have had to deal with during the day. Today, they aired Forbidden Paradise, which was originally released theatrically in Europe and straight-to-video in the United States. (To quote John Redcorn, “We are already straight-to-video. There is nowhere else left to go.”) A few months after its theatrical release, Forbidden Paradise was broadcast as a two-part episode of Baywatch, even though it featured characters who had since left the show. I imagine that was a bit confusing for some viewers.

(Or maybe it wasn’t. I doubt the majority Baywatch’s audience was particularly concerned with continuity.)

What Was It About?

The Baywatch team goes to Hawaii! Well, not all of them. Actually, it’s just Mitch (David Hasselhoff), CJ (Pamela Anderson), Stephanie (Alexandra Paul), Caroline (Yasmine Bleeth), Logan (Jaason Simmons), and Matt (David Charvet). They’re supposed to be taking part in a lifeguard exchange program but, as usual, it turns out that Stephanie is the only one who actually gives a damn about doing her job.

Instead, CJ considered whether or not she wants to model for a dorky photographer. Logan becomes obsessed with winning a surfing competition while Caroline obsesses on why Logan is always obsessing on stuff. Mitch and Matt end up getting lost in the jungle and briefly taken prisoner by a bunch of native villagers. It all leads to a chase through the jungle and an engagement on the beach. Stephanie helps that Hawaiian lifeguards save someone from drowning. At least Stephanie takes her job seriously.

What Worked?

Baywatch The Movie: Forbidden Paradise was actually filmed on location in Hawaii so the scenery was gorgeous. It was also apparently shot in approximately the same location as Lost so, whenever I got bored with the plot, I could think about Sawyer and the Others. This was especially true while David Hasselhoff and David Charvet were being chased through the jungle by all of the angry villagers. I felt like the Smoke Monster was going to pop out at any moment.

As with anything involving Baywatch, it could be argued that the whole film was so ludicrous that it worked as a self-parody. I’m certainly tempted to make that argument but I’m not really sure if any of the self-parody was intentional. That’s the great mystery when it comes to Baywatch.

What Did Not Work?

If you consider this movie to be a self-aware parody, than it all worked.

If you consider it to be an actual movie, with a plot and characters that you’re supposed to care about and interesting dialogue, than none of it worked. I mean, it’s Baywatch. It’s the adult version of Saved By The Bell. It’s entertainingly shallow but it’s never exactly good.

Probably the film’s biggest flaw is that the pacing is totally off. It seems to take forever for the film’s plot to actually get started and then, once it does, it keeps going off on these strange detours. For some reason, a lot of screen time is devoted to a model named Holly (Hedi Mark) and a remarkably unlucky photographer named Carlton Edwards (Ricky Dean Logan).

Myself, I was disappointed that David Chokachi (who played Cody, the lifeguard best-known for wearing a speedo in the opening credits) wasn’t even in the film.

“Oh my God! Just like me!” Moments

I’ve been to Hawaii! Seriously, I had a great time and I look forward to returning soon.

Lessons Learned

I refuse to learn anything from Baywatch.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/9/21 — 5/15/21


As you can tell by looking below, I didn’t really watch a lot of television this week. That’s because I was busy watching movies and cleaning the house and organizing my books and my DVDs and my Blu-rays and then working on compiling my lists of all the movies that I’ve watched since 2007, which is a project that’s going to take at least a few months to complete. (Letterboxd is seriously addictive.) So, I watched far less television than usual and I guess that’s a good thing. I have to admit that I really didn’t miss it. To be honest, there was actually something liberating about not caring about it. That said, I’ll probably watch way too much TV next week. That’s just the way these things seem to go.

I also didn’t take a lot of notes about what I did watch. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have time to do so this week. So, my thoughts below are largely based on memory and, as you’ll see, some shows were more memorable than others.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

“Listen carefully, I shall say this only once.”

The British airmen are still stuck in occupied France, the Germans are still trying to find the painting, and Rene is still just trying to find some time to focus on cheating on his wife. For reasons that are way too complicated to explain, the airmen had to fake their deaths this week. Apparently, people faking their deaths is something that happened pretty regularly on this show.

Anyway, this show continues to amuse me with its combination of humor both clever and low. For whatever reason, British sitcoms have always done better at portraying the humor of chaos than American sitcoms.

American Idol (Sunday Night, CBS)

Admittedly, it’s been like three years since I regularly watched this show so you’re going to have to excuse me for being annoyed about stuff that everyone else is probably already used to. Such as, it’s weird to me that there’s only one episode a week and that all of the voting is apparently done and over with in two hours. It definitely moves things along at a quicker pace than back in the old days but it still seems like whoever sings last is going to get screwed just by the fact that their supporters are going to have less time to vote. Of course, I’m foolishly assuming that people are actually casting their votes based on the night’s songs as opposed to who they’ve wanted to win since the show began.

I watched on Sunday. I felt bad for Arthur Gunn, who I felt should not have been eliminated. Later in the week, one of the people who did make it to the top 5 dropped out of the competition because of video that surface of him wearing a sheet when he was 13 years old. It was felt that he looked like he was pretending to be a member of the KKK, though his mother says that he was just pretending to be one of the killers from The Strangers: Prey By Night. So, I guess we’re down to the Top 4 now and American Idol will be ending a week early? Or will one of the previous eliminated singers get a second chance? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!

I miss Vote for the Worst. They always provided such clarity in confusing times.

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

This week on reruns of Baywatch, the fifth season ended and the sixth season begun. David Charvet left the show and was replaced by David Chokachi, playing a swimmer-turned-lifeguard named Cody who my sister and I nicknamed “The Bulge” as soon as we saw him in the revised opening credits. Gena Lee Nolin also joined the cast, playing a bad girl lifeguard named Neely.

Though the cast may have changed, it’s still the same old Baywatch. The main theme of this show seems to be that no one should go to the beach because the beach is a seriously dangerous place. Every episode also features at least one drowning victim spitting up water after being revived by a lifeguard.

Season 6 did start with Mitch telling Stephanie that he was thinking of becoming a private investigator. Hello Baywatch Nights! Here’s hoping that H&I airs that show at some point in the future as well.

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

As I mentioned last week, Jeff warned me that there was a massive drop-off in quality at the start of the 6th season of Hill Street Blues and my God, was he ever right. None of the episodes that I watched this week — all of which were from the sixth season — were particularly memorable. Some of them were actually rather regrettable. For some reason, it appears that, during season 6, the writers decided to abandon all of the established characters and instead devote their time to detailing the violent and sleazy adventures of Lt. Norman Buntz (played by Dennis Franz). Buntz is the type of fascistic cop who, in previous seasons, would have been portrayed as being a menace or an aberration. As such, it’s strange to see him now portrayed as being the center of the show. I’ve already spent a few months watching over a hundred episodes of this show and I’d like to see it all the way through to the end but I have to admit that the Norman Buntz Show doesn’t hold much appeal for me.

Intervention (Mondays, A&E)

On Monday afternoon, I watched two episodes of this A&E mainstay. In both cases, the interventions worked. One thing I noticed is that no one bothered to dress up for any of the interventions. One guy didn’t even bother to take off his backwards baseball cap. I’m just going to say right now that if anyone ever does any sort of intervention for me, they better make some sort of effort to look good. Don’t come to my intervention looking like it’s laundry day or something.

The Last Drive-In (Friday Nights, Shudder)

I caught the second half of this week’s Last Drive-In. (During the first half, I was hanging out with the #FridayNightFlix crew and watching Joe Don Baker in Mitchell.) The movie was an entertainingly gruesome film from 1981 called Dead & Buried. As always, Joe Bob Briggs was the perfect host.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

The Old Guys wrapped up last week so, in its place, PBS is now airing this sweet and funny Irish sitcom, which aired from 2012 to 2015. Chris O’Dowd plays Sean, who is the imaginary friend of 12 year-old Martin Moone, an imaginative boy whose drawings often come to life (or, at least, they do in his mind). In the first episode, Martin’s bike was stolen by two bullies and Martin’s father ended up bonding with the father of the two miscreants. It was a funny episode, well-acted by O’Dowd and, in the role of Martin, David Rawle.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, both Granville and Arkwright were miserable and lonely but, again, they avoided killing each other. Granville, however, did appear to give it some serious thought. In the end, he just left a small explosive device in the store. “Where does that boy go at night?” Arkwright wondered before nearly blowing his hand off.

The Rookies (Sunday Mornings, H&I)

Another Sunday, another two episodes of this old 70s cop show. I’m not sure why I’m still watching these episodes, beyond the fact that I’ve gotten into the habit. The opening credits are stylish and it’s always interesting to see how people dressed in 1973 but, for the most part, this is not a particularly interesting show.

The first episode featured Michael Ontkean having to prove that yet another shooting was justified. This is the third episode in which Ontkean’s character has had to justify shooting someone. Considering that he hasn’t even been a cop for more than a year (hence the title of the show), that’s somewhat disturbing. The second episode was something about the rookies trying to get the community to accept the presence of a camp for troubled and disturbed teenagers. It all worked out in the end. Ontkean didn’t have to shoot anyone for once.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Will got his theater but it nearly cost him a pound of flesh. Kate finally got a chance to act but failed to convince everyone that she was actually a man when she made the mistake of getting a vegetarian lunch. It all led to a courtroom drama and, fortunately, things worked out for the best. Will even got a new play out of all the drama. Upstart Crow continues to be a truly delightful discovery. (I should perhaps clarify that it’s a discovery for me. The show itself first aired in 2016 and had a dedicated fan base long before I came across it on PBS.)

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

On this week’s episode, Jim was placed in charge of transportation policy and quickly discovered that, as Sir Humphrey has often pointed out, it’s never good to be put in charge of anything. This seemed like a funny episode, if just because it was hard not to compare Jim’s distaste for transportation policy to the dorky (and kind of weird) enthusiasm that some people here in America currently have for debating infrastructure policy. Unfortunately, because the episode got off to a late start, my DVR did not record the last five minutes or so. I was not happy about that. Hopefully, Jim managed to push all of the transportation duties off on to someone else.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/2/21 — 5/8/21


Another week, another list of television programming. Here’s a few thoughts on what I watched this week:

9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star (Monday Night, FOX)

I watched both of these shows this week and yet, I don’t remember a damn thing about them. If you don’t remember a show, did it actually air?

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, the latest daring plan to get the British airmen out of France came to naught. The plan was to use a lawn mower motor to power an antique airplane. Rene said it wouldn’t work and, not surprisingly, it didn’t. I will admit that I laughed so hard at the end of this rather frantic episode that I nearly fell off the living room couch.

Baywatch (Weekdays, H&I)

Life on the beach continues!

On the first of Sunday’s two episodes, Kathleen Kinmont played an FBI agent who went undercover as a lifeguard. Unfortunately, despite the fact that she was supposed to be keeping an eye on the girlfriend of an escaped convict, she was also expected to do lifeguard stuff. This led to some conflict with Mitch. For the record, Mitch was right in that it made absolutely no sense for an FBI agent to pretend to be a lifeguard. The second episode of the night featured a phony treasure hunt, one that attracted real crooks and brought chaos to the beach! Jeff Garlin appeared as a radio DJ who fell in love with CJ. Both episodes were thoroughly silly, though the one with the FBI agent was a smidgen less silly because Kathleen Kinmont appeared to be taking her role more seriously than Jeff Garlin took his.

Monday’s first episode was an odd one. Apparently, there was some sort of weird “red dust wind” blowing over the California coast and, as a result, everyone on the beach was a little bit stranger than usual. Geraldo Rivera guest-starred as a man whose fiancé was secretly in love with Mitch. (In order to get her to fall out of love with him, Mitch took her on a date and acted like a dorky jackass. It didn’t work.) Meanwhile, John O’Hurley (of Seinfeld, Family Feud, and Dancing With Stars fame) played desperate father who was searching for his daughter. This was followed by an episode the featured jet ski training and plenty of beach volleyball action. I’ve noticed that every season of Baywatch featured at least one episode that featured someone getting jet ski training.

Tuesday brought us a Christmas-themed two-parter. Santa’s elves took a vacation on the beach. Hobie befriended yet another homeless girl. Mitch tried to help a homesick lifeguard. And Pamela Anderson fell in love with a priest but sadly, his commitment to God came first. “Y’know,” he told her, “we’re in the same business, saving lives.”

On Wednesday, Logan married a rich widow so that he could get his green card and then, during the second episode, Stephanie was held hostage by an environmental terrorist. It’s amazing how often the lifeguards ended up getting held hostage. I would probably be so traumatized after being held hostage just once that I would look for a new job. These lifeguards somehow manage to handle it happening on a twice-a-month basis.

On Thursday, Mitch asked Tracy to marry him, just to discover that she only had two weeks to live. He spent those weeks trying to make her as happy as possible. The second episode dealt with Mitch trying to recover from Tracy’s death. These episodes were surprisingly effective. Baywatch‘s total lack of irony and willingness to embrace the melodrama really paid off.

The first of Friday’s episodes found Mitch coming to terms with having never lived up to the expectations of his dead father. This was followed by an episode in which Logan needed Stephanie’s help to keep him from being deported back to Australia. In the end, it all worked out and everyone had fun. That’s the important thing.

On Saturday, CJ’s blind ex-boyfriend showed up and help Mitch break up yet another crime ring. This time the master criminal was played by Richard Lynch, who appeared to be having fun. Again, that’s the most important thing!

Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)

Dan Abrams’s replacement for Live PD continued the A&E reality show tradition of exploiting people’s misery. I had the show on while I was cleaning the house on Wednesday and I still feel awful about it.

Friends (Weekdays, Channel 33 and HBOMax)

During the episode that I watched on Tuesday night, Rachel and Monica got new jobs while Ross, Chandler, and Joey spent a night hitting the clubs and discovered that they weren’t young anymore. If I remember correctly, it seems like this was something that happened rather frequently on Friends. That said, I enjoyed this episode more than the one I watched a few weeks ago because Matthew Perry looked much healthier.

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

Tuesday morning’s episodes of Hill Street Blues started with Public Defender Chapman (played by future 3-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand) getting fired from her job when it was discovered that she was hooked on cocaine. Meanwhile, Gina (played by future Oscar nominee Jennifer Tilly) was gunned down in a restaurant while having dinner with her boyfriend, Lt. Henry Goldblume (Joe Spano). The episode that followed that found Goldblume going a bit off the deep end as he obsessively investigated Gina’s murder. It’s was all very well-acted by Joe Spano, even if you do have to wonder if there anyone who worked on the Hill who did not, at some point during their service, see a friend or a loved one gunned down in front of them. Judging from what I’ve seen of the show, it was apparently a fairly regular occurrence.

Wednesday morning started off with an episode in which massive police corruption was uncovered, Henry finally started to properly grieve for Gina, and Captain Furillo admitted that he had started drinking again. It also featured an appearance from James Cromwell, speaking in an exaggerated Irish accent, in the role of an animal trainer. The second episode, however, had an entirely new credits sequence, one that featured some new faces in the cast, and — even more importantly — no longer featured half of the cast from the previous episode. In other words, a new season had begun! According to Jeff, I’ve now entered season 6 of Hill Street Blues, which is when the show starts to go downhill. So, we’ll see how long I stick with it, I guess. Anyway, the second episode took place at night and featured a now fully recovered Henry getting held hostage by a militant cult leader, who was played by Yaphet Kotto.

Thursday morning saw two episodes dealing with the death of Officer Harry Garibaldi. Played by Ken Olin, Harry was a regular during the pervious season but his disappearance from the opening credits left little doubt that he would not survive being stabbed by a bookie. Of course, the show still milked the question of whether or not Harry would die for all the drama that it could. (The main problem, of course, is that Harry was never a particularly likable character to begin with.) Kiel Martin, who was consistently one of the best actors on the show, had an amazing scene after Harry died, in which his character, recovering alcoholic J.D. LaRue, had a complete meltdown.

When I watched Friday morning’s episodes of Hill Street Blues, I came to understand what Jeff meant about this season being the beginning of the end. The first episode featured the arrest of Harry Garibaldi’s murderer. The suspect, who only confessed because he had suckered Furillo into giving him an immunity deal, was then gunned down by Harry’s father. So, yes, the murderer was dead but unfortunately, Harry’s father was going to prison for life. In previous episodes, this would have led to some serious reflection on the part of the characters. However, this time,, everyone just shrugged off the fate of Harry’s father. The bad guy was dead and nothing else mattered. The second episode featured a mentally ill man who thought he was the movie character Rambo. It was all fun and games until he tragically died at the end of the episode. Again, this is a trick that Hill Street Blues played so often that, from the minute the guy showed up, I knew what was going to eventually happen to him. If you’re quirky during the first half of an episode of Hill Street Blues, you’ll be dead by the end of the second half.

Things continued to go downhill during the first of Saturday’s episodes as a new character, Lt. Norman Buntz (played by Dennis Franz), went on a personal vendetta against a petty thief. Buntz eventually ended up executing the thief during a liquor store robbery. Previously, Hill Street Blues would have held a character like Buntz in contempt but, during this new season, apparently the show’s moral compass was reset. The first episode of the morning also featured Detective Neal Washington getting shot for what seemed to be the 100th time. I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to the second episode, beyond noting that Michael Richards (a.k.a. Karmer from Seinfeld) was playing a crook. Otherwise, life on the Hill suddenly felt far less interesting than it did at the start of this week.

Judge Jerry (Weekdays, Syndication)

Jerry Springer is a TV judge now! Nobody in the courtroom fights or yells. In fact, due to COVID, the gallery is empty and all of the cases are “virtual.” Somehow, Jerry comes across as being even more sleazy when he’s being respectable than he did when he was hosting his circus of a talk show.

The Office (All the Time, Comedy Central)

On Tuesday, I watched several episodes from season 4. I started with Dinner Party and I ended with Goodbye Toby. As a result, I had both Hunter’s song and Michael’s rendition Goodbye Toby stuck in my head for several hours. I’ve also spent this week telling random people, in my best Holly Flax voice, “Kevin, I’m really proud of you!”

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, Tom’s daughter nearly married Sally’s son. It didn’t work out, naturally. The main theme of this episode seemed to be that old people are clueless about new technology but that young people are just stupid in general. As with the previous episodes that I’ve seen, the jokes weren’t extremely clever but they were very well-delivered by Jane Asher, Clive Swift, and Roger Lloyd-Pack. Apparently, this was also the last episode of The Old Guys and, starting this Sunday night, PBS will be airing a different British sitcom in its place.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

On this week’s episode, Arkwright continued to abuse Granville and Granville continued to hate every moment of his existence. This is one bleak show.

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

H&I aired two episodes of this old 70s cop show on Sunday morning. I watched both but I only remember one. It dealt with an older cop being driven crazy by the stress of the job and the feeling of being underappreciated. The Rookies were able to talk him down.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I watched two episodes of this classic show on Sunday morning. The first episode featured Zack skipping school because he was apparently too exhausted after the summer to handle class. It was his mother’s idea. On the one hand, I could full sympathize with skipping school but, on the other hand, who asks for permission beforehand? I guess that’s what happens when you’re making a show about high school in which the lead character is expected to be both a rebel and a role model. Anyway, the various members of the Saved By The Bell cast came by to visit Zack and they thought about everything that happened over the summer. Is there anything more creatively bankrupt than a clip show?

The second episode was the one where Zack and Slater get into a physical brawl in the school hallway because they both like the same girl. This episode is a personal favorite of mine. If Belding hadn’t intervened, Slater would have totally kicked Zack’s ass.

Seinfeld (Weeknights, Channel 33 and Hulu)

I watched an episode on Tuesday night. Elaine was confused by her new boyfriend’s love for the song Desperado. George was confused the fact that the local cult was willing to brainwash everyone but him. Jerry destroyed a valuable chest of drawers and Kramer nearly killed some tourists. It made me laugh. That said, at the end of the episode, it was kind of implied that Elaine’s boyfriend died because the ER doctor was distracted by the song Witchy Woman. That was dark!

Storage Wars (Tuesday Night, A&E)

To be honest, the only reason I watched the two latest episodes was to see if there was any new Brandi/Jarrod developments. There were not. In fact, Jarrod was not in any either of the episodes and Brandi was only in one. Unfortunately, neither of the episodes were that interesting. With the exception of Ivy, I’ve never cared much for any of the replacement buyers who have shown up on the show over the years. I like the old crew — Barry, Hester, Darryl, and Bradi & Jarrod. Oh well. The past is the past.

Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix)

On Wednesday, Case, Leonard, and I watched an episode about a group of people from the same Massachusetts town who all say that they were abducted by aliens in 1969. As a passionate skeptic when it come to all things paranormal, my theory is that hippies spiked the town’s drinking water with LSD.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

While traveling back to Stratford, Shakespeare and his friends run into three witches who provide him with three cryptic prophecies. Later, Shakespeare fears that he may have accidentally killed his neighbor, a Scotsman named MacBuff. Haunted by guilt and what he mistakenly believes is a ghost, Shakespeare is relieved to eventually to discover that MacBuff did not die. Shakespeare resolves to write a comedy about the whole thing. This was another brilliantly funny episode.

The Voice (Monday Night, NBC)

On Monday night, the show took a look back at the “road to lives.” I didn’t pay that much attention but still, I wish everyone the best of luck. (Come to think of it, I also didn’t pay much attention to 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star when I watched them on Monday. What was going on at the start of the week that had me so distracted? Hopefully, whatever it was, I resolved it.)

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

This week’s episode was brilliant. After finding out that a defense contract had been rewarded as a result of bribery, Jim was determined to reveal the truth regardless of the consequences. Then, he discovered that his wife had accepted a very expensive present from the same contractor and he quickly changed his mind. Last week featured Jim getting the better of Humphrey. This week, things got back to normal as Humphrey and Bernard got the better of Jim (even though it was kind of Bernard’s fault that Jim’s wife received the potentially problematic present in the first place). Paul Eddington’s performance in this week’s episode, alternating between self-righteous pomposity and desperate sputtering, was a work of comedic genius. Despite the fact that this show is older than I am, Yes, Minister is definitely my favorite of the shows that I currently watch on a regular basis.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 4/25/21 — 5/1/21


And what a week it was! This week was dominated by both the Oscars and the subsequently fallout. For myself, I’ll just say that I’ve never been so bored mentally and emotionally exhausted in my life. As I so often do while trying to process a fiasco, I distracted myself a bit with television. Here’s some thoughts on what I watched this week:

9-1-1 (Monday Night, FOX)

Why exactly I watch 9-1-1, I’m not sure. It’s a bit of a generic show. That said, I also get the feeling that it might secretly be a parody of the genre. Add to that, Jennifer Love Hewitt is in it and she will always be the ghost whisperer to me. Anyway, the show’s back. This week’s episode featured someone impaled to a house. Fortunately, they survived.

9-1-1: Lone Star (Monday Night, FOX)

Unlike it’s companion show, there’s no secret about whether or not 9-1-1: Lone Star is meant to be a parody. It definitely is. It was also apparently made by people who have never spent more than a few hours in Texas. That said, I’ll watch the show just in case another volcano erupts in Austin. This week, some dumbass blew up his apartment.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

The search for the painting continued as everyone tried to get it out of the general’s chateau before he accidentally ate it. No, it didn’t make much sense but, as I’ve said before, that’s kind of the charm of this show.

Baywatch (Weeknights, H&I)

On Sunday, I watched two episodes as I prepared for the Oscars. It was a two-parter, which was certainly convenient. That said, with my mind obsessed with the upcoming Academy Awards, I didn’t really pay that much attention to them. I think half of the lifeguards were at Sea World and Pamela Anderson was trying to communicate with a dolphin. Meanwhile, back on the beach, Mitch was trying to teach an old friend about responsibility. Meanwhile, Summer and Matt investigated a haunting or something like that. A lot was going on but I’d be lying if I said any of it made much of an impression.

On Monday, the first episode featured special guest star Carrie-Anne Moss as a woman with dissociative identity disorder who ended up drugging Mitch and holding him hostage. Not initially realizing that the woman he was dealing with had two personalities, Mitch originally assumed that she just had a twin sister. Mitch wasn’t that smart this episode. While Mitch was dealing with all of that, Matt was dealing with shark-related nightmares. Summer thought that the nightmares was indicative of larger concerns but personally, I think it makes sense that a lifeguard would be scared of sharks. The second episode featured Mitch falling for a woman who turned out to be a poisoner. Again, it was hard not to feel that Mitch might not be very smart.

On Tuesday, the first episode was a weird meta episode where a sleazy TV producer tried to make a show based on the lives of the Baywatch lifeguards. Of course, the show was turned down because the network execs didn’t think anyone would ever want to watch a show about lifeguards. They used the same joke in the No Hope With Dope episode of Saved By The Bell. The second episode featured a lot of country music so I didn’t really pay much attention to it.

On Wednesday, the first episode featured the lifeguards standing up to a bunch of bureaucrats who wanted to cut Baywatch’s budget! Needless to say, it was time for everyone to have a meeting on the beach and offer up testimonials about all the lives they had saved. This led to that most dreaded of all episodes …. a clip show! After several flashbacks to previous episodes, the bureaucrats decided not to cute funding so no one lost their job. In the second episode, Stephanie had to put a cocky members of the Coast Guard in his place.

On Thursday, this first episode of the night featured yet another Baywatch hostage situation, though this time it was Matt who was stupid enough to fall for a con artist while Mitch was the one who got to save the day and pretend like the exact same thing hadn’t happened to him just four episodes ago. The 2nd episode was apparently the start of a new season for Baywatch because Alexandra Paul chopped her hair, Nicole Eggert and Kelly Slater were suddenly no longer on the show, and Yasmine Bleeth and Jaason Simmons were the newest members of the Baywatch team. This episode featured Mitch nearly getting back together with his ex-wife. This is something that seemed to happen every few episodes or so. Needless to say, things did not work out.

Friday brought us two episodes that didn’t add up too much, even by Baywatch standards. First off, one of the old Baywatch lifeguards came back and …. well, that’s pretty much it. He hung out and he talked to Mitch and he apparently let CJ know that it was okay to date Matt. It was a weird episode. The second episode of the night featured Mitch and Stephanie talking about their relationship. It featured flashbacks to the previous episode where they discussed their relationship.

Finally, on Saturday, it was time for yet another rookie class to graduate. Conceited Logan was assigned to work at Baywatch, despite the fact that he broke Caroline’s heart. Caroline was so upset that she nearly let a little girl drown. Fortunately, since Caroline is Stephanie’s younger sister, there were no consequences. I guess the message here is that it’s always good to be related to the boss.

Flight of the Conchords (HBOMax)

Both seasons of Flight of the Conchords are available on HBOMax! (I’ve also got both of them on DVD, thanks to a friend who sent them to me as a gift a few years ago.) On Wednesday, I watched three episodes, two before the Biden talk-a-thon and then one after. From Season 1, I watched the touring episode, the new fans episode, and — my personal favorite — the actor episode. Though it’s been a good 12 years since Flight of the Conchords aired its final episode, the show’s humor holds up brilliantly. How can you not love Bret, Jermaine, and Murray? Mel, girl, I know exactly what you were going through.

The Floor is Lava (Netflix)

I watched a few more episodes. The floor never actually became lava.

Gangs of London (Sunday Nights, AMC)

I watched episodes 3 and 4 of Gangs of London on Wednesday night. I still have no idea what’s exactly going on, beyond the fact that the series follows a bunch of gangs in London who always seem to be shooting at each other. That said, this show is so stylish that you really don’t have to understand everything that’s happening for it to hold your attention. I know one character is an undercover cop. I know that the gangs are in turmoil because someone murdered the longtime head of the British mob and his sociopathic son has taken over his operations. And I know that everyone is basically trying to kill everyone else. It’s brutal and disturbing but, at the same time, compulsively watchable.

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Morning, H&I)

I missed ten episodes while I was up at the lake. I rejoined the series this week and I discovered that it didn’t really matter. There’s a few new detectives. There’s a new roll call sergeant. But otherwise, life on Hill Street never changes. Gangs, crimes, and dark humor abound.

The first of Tuesday’s episodes featured an uptick in a gang activity. Somewhat hilariously, the Hill is home to a gang of Irish hooligans who call themselves The Shamrocks and, even though gangs was obviously a serious problem in the 80s and it’s still a serious one today, it’s just hard not to laugh when you hear sentences like, “The Shamrocks aren’t going to stand for that.” There was also a subplot about one of the new detectives trying to help a young prostitute and veteran Detective Belker taking his anger over his relationship troubles out on an informant. The second episode featured a rapist who pretended that he couldn’t speak English. At the end of the episode, Detective Patsy Mayo went undercover, got him to speak in English, and the shot him in the dick when he tried to run away. That was cool and well-deserved.

Wednesday’s first episode featured an interesting story about a police officer who rescued several people from a burning apartment building. Only after he had been lionized by the press and the police chief was it discovered that he was actually the one responsible for setting the fire! This episode also featured the show’s public defender accepting a job with the D.A.’s office. During Wednesday’s second episode we met her replacement …. FRANCES MCDORMAND! That’s right, future three-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand had an early role on this show. The episode in which she first appeared aired on January 24th of 1985, which was about a week after Blood Simple opened in theaters. (Because of the whims of the independent film world, Blood Simple was filmed in 1982 but it didn’t actually get a theatrical release until two and a half years later.)

McDormand wasn’t the only future Oscar nominee to appear this week in reruns of Hill Street Blues. The first of Thursday’s two episodes featured a brief appearance from Jennifer Tilly as a mob widow-turned-singer named Gina. The majority of the first episode dealt with former public defender Joyce Davenport struggling to adjust to working in the DA’s office and discovering that her job is now to ruthlessly prosecute the poor as opposed to defending them. It was a theme that was handled well overall, even if Joyce’s shock at being expected to do her job did seem bizarrely naïve. The second of Thursday’s episodes dealt with the sleazy chief of police sexually harassing Detective Patsy Mayo. Mayo is a new character, one who I assume was introduced while I was on vacation. I can’t help but notice that nearly every storyline that’s involved her this week has dealt with her being sexually harassed and ended with her graciously accepting what seems like a rather weak apology from her harasser. Of course, these episodes originally aired in 1985.

The first of Friday’s episode found public defender Frances McDormand manipulating the system in order to allow an abusive boyfriend back out on the streets. Meanwhile, Jennifer Tilly helped the detectives take out a mobster and she started a romantic relationship with Lt. Henry Goldblume, much to the irritation of Detective Harry Garibaldi. The second episode discovered Henry totally in love while Harry continued to throw a fit and bitch to anyone who would listen about how Jennifer Tilly should have been calling him up for afternoon hotel sex. The second episode featured an interesting subplot in which the sleazy chief of police and his precinct captains attended a group therapy session to work on their working relationship. Needless to say, things did not go well. Meanwhile, Lt. Howard Hunter dealt with a hostage situation and patrolmen Andy Renko and Bobby Hill attempted to go about their duties despite accidentally getting stoned beforehand. The second episode was directed by Mark Frost, who later went on to collaborate with David Lynch on Twin Peaks.

Finally, on Saturday morning, we had two episodes, both of which were jam-packed with guest stars. Along with Frances McDormand and Jennifer Tilly, the first of Saturday’s episodes featured Brent Spiner as a porno director and the great character actor Nicholas Pryor as an anti-abortion activist. Both of Saturday’s episodes centered around the character played by Frances McDormand being lousy at her job. McDormand did a great job in the role, offering up little clues that her character’s issues had more to do with cocaine than just incompetence.

And that’s life on the Hill!

House Hunters (Tuesday Night, HGTV)

She really, really wanted to live in the city. He really, really wanted to live in the suburbs. In the end they went with …. the house that cost the least. For all the drama of “I want a big back yard” and “I want to be able to walk downtown,” everyone ultimately goes for the house that costs the least.

House Hunters International (Tuesday Night, HGTV)

It was the exact same situation as in House Hunters except, this time, they were looking for a house in Mexico. They found a nice one, which was good.

The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)

On Tuesday night, Comedy Central was showing post-Steve Carell episodes of The Office. The episode I watched was a weird one where Pam framed Meredith for having head lice and where Darryl went from being his usual confident self to being someone who couldn’t even handle being in the same room with Val, the new warehouse manager. Like most of the episodes from the post-Carell era, It was odd and weird and felt not at all right.

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, Sally went to the hospital to get knee surgery and the old guys competed to see who could be the best visitor. Of course, neither was a very good visitor though they did end up befriending an old man named Norris. Norris asked them to take him to a friend’s funeral. Of course, they ended up at the wrong funeral, which is something they discovered after propping up the corpse in the casket so that the wheelchair-bound Norris could get one last look at his “friend.” (“That’s not Mack!”) It was funny but kind of sad. Watching this episode, I realized that I’ll probably have to get surgery on my ankle in another 40 years or so.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

On this week’s episode, Granville continued to try to suppress his crippling depression while Arkwright continued to cheat his customers. I honestly thought this might be the episode in which Granville snapped and went on a killing spree but, fortunately, he managed to hold it together.

The Oscars (Sunday Night, ABC)

I reviewed The Oscar ceremony here.

The Presidential Address (Wednesday Night, Fox)

I watched it but there’s no way in Hell that I’m going to review it.

Storage Wars (Tuesday Night, A&E)

Being on vacation last week, I totally missed the 13th season premiere of Storage Wars. So, you can imagine my shock when I watched the first of this week’s new episodes and I discovered that Brandi and Jarrod had split up! Well, actually, I don’t know if I would say I was really shocked. To be honest, it always seemed like there was a lot of passive aggressive anger in that relationship. So, Brandi has a new friends to shop for storage lockers with and I guess Jarrod will return in a few episodes as a special guest villain. Who knows? I also noticed that Dave Hester is apparently no longer with the show. I’ll miss the sound of “Yuuuuuuup!”

I wrote the paragraph above while watching the 1st episode of the night. In the second episode of the night, Jarrod showed up but Brandi did not. Of the two of them, Brandi works better as a solo act than Jarrod does.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, Will wrote and published his final sonnets, just to discover that his wife did not appreciate him writing poetry about the dark lady and that the local authorities considered his words about the fair youth to be illegal and blasphemous. Fortunately, Kit Marlowe was able to get Shakespeare off the hook (or, at the very least, off the rack) by pointing out that it was probable that no one would ever voluntarily read any of Will’s poetry.

The Voice (Monday Night, NBC)

As I watched the show this week, I found myself thinking about how funny it would be if one of the singers got possessed by the demon from The Exorcist. “How do you like my voice now!?”

Yes, Minister (Sunday Night, PBS)

A typical episode of Yes, Minister ends with Sir Humphrey getting the better of Jim so it’s always fun to see an episode in which the opposite happens and Jim actually gets the better of Sir Humphrey. Last night’s episode started with Humphrey browbeating Jim over condemning a constituency that, though well-run, had failed to fill out all of the required paperwork at the right time and it ended with Sir Humphrey sheepishly admitting that, as a junior civil servant, he was responsible for a mistake the subsequently cost the government 30 million pounds. As usual, it was all wonderfully performed by Nigel Hawthorne, Paul Eddington, and Derek Fowlds. Though the show is older than me, it’s still the perfect antidote for today’s big government era.