Lisa’s Week In Television: 3/28/21 — 4/3/21


Twonky

Welcome to the first ever edition of Lisa’s Week In Television!  Because of the holiday weekend, there’s a lot of streaming shows that I haven’t gotten a chance to watch yet.  And I will also admit that I watched a lot of old TV shows over the previous few days.  Then again, I always end up watching a lot of old shows, if just because I always enjoy seeing how people dressed and spoke in the past.

American Idol

American Idol (Sunday and Monday Night, ABC)

I was recently trying to remember when the last time was that I was emotionally invested in American Idol and I think it was way back in 2007.  That would be the sixth season.  I thought Blake Lewis was totally adorable and I was actually really upset when he lost to Jordin Sparks.  That’s nothing against Jordin.  At the time, I just had a weakness for beat boxers.

Ever since then, American Idol has mostly been background noise to me.  It’s one of those things that I watch out of habit and it’s rare that I ever pay that much attention to it while it’s on.  When the show started, it was always interesting to see how brutally frank Simon Cowell could be but, after Simon left, no one was willing to play the villain and the show’s gotten rather bland as a result.

Anyway, on Sunday and Monday’s episodes, the judges announced the top 24 singers.  I have no idea who any of these people are.  I just know that none of them will ever win my heart quite like Blake Lewis performing Time of the Season.

Baywatch

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

Yes, the show about lifeguards is now airing on H&I.  Hopefully, Baywatch Nights will eventually follow.  There’s always been a lot of debate about whether or not David Hasselhoff is self-aware in the style of William Shatner or if he actually took Baywatch seriously.  Having watched a few episodes of the show, I still have no idea.  On the one hand, Hasselhoff certainly seemed to be taking thing very seriously.  On the other hand, how could anyone actually take a show like Baywatch seriously?  I mean, you would have to have somewhat of a satricial spirit to just be involved with the show, wouldn’t you?

Speaking of taking Baywatch seriously, Tuesday’s episode featured Danny Trejo as the father of a gang member.  Trejo wanted his son to stay in the gang and was upset when Billy Warlock tried to recruit him into a lifeguard program instead.  However, when Trejo subsequently fell in the ocean just to be saved by his own son, everyone learned an important lesson.

City Confidential

City Confidential (Sunday Afternoon, CI)

This show, which originally aired on A&E 20 years ago, is actually two shows in one.  The first half of every episode always deals with the history and culture of an American city.  The 2nd half always deals with some crime that happened in that city and which, we’re told, changed that city forever.  Each episode was narrated by actor Paul Winfield, who always sounded somewhat amused no matter how heinous a crime he was describing.

I watched two episodes, one about Milwaukee and one about Carlsbad, New Mexico.  My family briefly lived in Carlsbad when I was growing up so I found that episode to be interesting.  What can I say?  I have a weakness for true crime shows hosted by sardonic narrators.

Distirct

The District (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

The District is a fairly predictable cop show that aired for four seasons at the start of the century.  I had totally forgotten about it until I stumbled across it on H&I during a bout of insomnia.  It’s about Jack Mannion (Craig T. Nelson), the hyperactive police commissioner for Washington D.C.  Pretty much the only interesting thing about the show was Craig T. Nelson’s frequently bizarre lead performance.  Nelson’s not exactly a low-key actor to begin with and The District cast him as a frequently married, show tune loving cop who enjoyed yelling at people.  The show’s producers basically gave Nelson a license to overact and he took full advantage of it.  With each episode, you think that Nelson can’t possibly go more over-the-top and, with each episode, he proves you wrong.

Tuesday’s episode featured him crashing a meeting of the Washington D.C, city council and, when he felt they weren’t paying attention to him, climbing up on a desk so that he could better yell at them.  Later, when Mannion had to interrogate a young child who had witnessed a crime, he got her to answer his question by having a tea party with her.  That’s Jack Mannion for ya!

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday night, FOX)

Even though I’m not really a huge fan of yelling at or insulting people, I’ve always liked Hell’s Kitchen.  Some of it is because of those moments (which usually happens towards the end of the season) when Gordon Ramsey reveals that he’s not quite as fearsome as he pretends to be.  (He actually does seem to get emotionally invested once there’s only 6 or 5 chefs left.)  Plus, since I can’t cook, I guess I find it interesting to watch people who actually can.  This latest season, which is drawing to a close, has been one of the better seasons.  Myself, I’m totally cheering on Mary Lou!  Go, Mary Lou!  You got this!

King of the HIll

King of the Hill (Hulu)

This is still the best and most authentic TV show ever made about Texas.  Watching it today, it’s also a nice alternative to the more mean-spirited programming of Seth MacFarlane.  Let it never be forgotten the Fox cancelled King of the Hill to make room for The Cleveland Show, of all thing.  Fortunately, King of the Hill can currently be watched at any time on Hulu.

Saturday morning, my sisters and I watched three episodes while we were preparing for the day — the episodes where Hank goes down Aisle 8A, where Hank goes to New Orleans, and where Dale thinks he’s rabid.  We agreed that Boomhauer is one of the greatest characters of all time.

law & Order

Law & Order: Organized Crime (Thursday Night, NBC)

I reviewed the first episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime here.

Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

I used to watch SVU religiously when I was in high school and college.  However, as I got older, I kind of lost interest. That said, I did watch it this week because Elliott Stabler (played by Chris Meloni) was making his first appearance on the show since leaving 8 seasons ago.  Thursday’s episode also served as a backdoor pilot, of sorts, for Law & Order: Organized Crime.

The episode was …. okay.  The mob stuff was predictable but it was nice to see that Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay still had their old chemistry.  That said, Stabler seemed to be even more tightly wound than he did during his time as a regular on SVU and that’s really saying something as Stabler always seemed like the cop mostly likely to beat a suspect to death during interrogation.  (Of course, Stabler’s wife was injured by a car bomb and later died during the episode so Stabler had good reason for being wound up.)

A lot of people on twitter freaked out over the fact that no one on the show was wearing a mask.  Calm down, people, it’s a TV show.

Love Boat

The Love Boat (Weekday Evenings, Decades TV)

Ah, The Love Boat.  If there’s any show from the 70s and 80s that deserves a revival, it’s probably this one.  Movie and television veterans play the passengers of a weekly cruise, falling in love and taking part in other hi-jinks.  Every episode that I’ve ever seen of The Love Boat has been charmingly silly and, quite frankly, I think that’s what we need more of in the world.  Add to that, the cruise ship industry took a hit with the pandemic.  A Love Boat revival might help revive it.

Monday’s episode featured Zsa Zsa Gabor and a bunch of people who I didn’t recognize but who all appeared to be having a great time on the boat.  Zsa Zsa was determined to win back her ex, even though he was planning on marrying someone else.  The other stories dealt with a kleptomaniac who kept accidentally stealing stuff and a TV actor who feared that he would never be able to live up to his heroic image.  In the end, for all the passengers and crew, love won.

Wednesday’s episode was a Christmas episode from 1980.  Dorothy Lamour was one of the passengers.  Father and son entertainers ran into each on the boat after having not spoken to each other for years.  A stowaway pretended to be the child of a wannabe womanizer.  In the end, for all the passengers and crew, love won.

My Evil Sister

My Evil Sister (Sunday Afternnon, CI)

I watched this on Crime and Investigation on Sunday morning.  As the youngest of four sisters, it’s hard for me not to be intrigued by the fact that there’s so many evil sisters out there that they could actually produce an entire TV series about them.  The episode I saw featured two stories, one about a sister who killed her lazy sister and then tried to frame local drug dealers and the other about a girl who shot her adopted sister because she felt her sister was keeping her from being popular in high school.  Scary stuff!  I’m glad my family likes me!  (I say this as I nervously glance over my shoulder.)

The Office

The Office (Comedy Central)

I watched a few episodes of The Office on Thursday and Friday.  I always feel like I’m taking a risk whenever I watch The Office on Comedy Central because there’s always a chance that they’ll be showing episodes from Seasons 8 or 9.  Fortunately, on Thursday and Friday, they were showing episodes from Season 5.  Jim and Pam hadn’t gotten unbearably smug yet.  Andy and Angela weren’t quite as cartoonish as they would later become.  Best of all, Michael was still on the show so I got to watch him once again fall in love with Holly Flax.  Though The Office was pretty uneven after the third season, the few episodes of season 5 were all gems.

parking_wars

Parking Wars (Monday Morning on A&E)

I wrote about this annoyingly addictive show a few years ago.  I watched two episodes of the show on Monday morning, as I was getting ready for my day.  Even though I mostly had it on for background noise, I still couldn’t help but think about how this show, which aired its last original episode nearly ten years ago, feels like the perfect show for the current era.  A bunch of self-righteous bureaucrats make life difficult for their fellow citizens and, whenever they’re challenged on it, they respond with a bunch of “If you had followed the rules” bullshit.  Watching this show always makes me want to park in front of an expired meter and then rip up the ticket.

The Rookies

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

The Rookies is a cop show that aired from 1972 to 1976.  H&I just recently started showing the show.  It airs on Sunday morning at 2 in the morning.  I decided to set the DVR to record the show, just because it was a show that I’d never heard of.  I’m like a cat when it comes to being curious about stuff.

Anyway, The Rookies is about three cops who are …. can you guess it? …. rookies!  One is black.  Two are white.  One has a wife, the other two single.  Whenever they drive their car around the city, 70s wah wah music plays in the background.  From what I’ve seen so far, it’s pretty much a standard cop show.  One of the cops is played by Michael Ontkean, so it’s possible to view the show as being a prequel to Twin Peaks, if you’re so inclined.

I watched Sunday’s episode off of the DVR.  The first episode featured a criminal turning into an informant and putting his life at risk.  In the 2nd episode, Ontkean was shot in the back and had to undergo an experimental surgery to regain the ability to walk.  The stories were, in no way, surprising but it was a chance to experience how people talked and dressed in 1972.

Rome Chariot

Rome’s Chariot Superstar (Monday Morning, Smithsonian Channel)

This docuseries took a look at the ancient Roman chariot races.  It was actually pretty entertaining.  I enjoyed the descriptions of life in ancient Rome and, even better, they showed how to build and steer a chariot!  As I’ve said many times on the site, I’m a history nerd.  I love stuff like this.

sbtb

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

Ah, Saved By The Bell, the oddly popular and incredibly dated high school sitcom from the early 90s.  Don’t ask me to explain why Saved By The Bell remains so watchable, despite being terrible in almost every way.  It’s just a part of the culture and, perhaps more importantly, there’s never been an extended period of time when it hasn’t been on TV somewhere.  One of the many places where it can currently be found is as a part of MeTV’s Sunday morning lineup.  I always seem to end up watching it, even though the show makes me cringe in so many ways.

For instance, on Sunday morning, I watched three separate episodes.  First off, I watched the infamous Running Zack.  This is the incredibly problematic episode where the blonde, blue-eyed, and very pale Zack Morris discovers that he’s a direct descendant of the Native American Chief Joseph and he responds to this news by putting on an elaborate headdress and then giving a speech to his class.  It’s really …. not good.  Zack, however, does subsequently win the big track meet.  If I remember correct, his Native American heritage was never again mentioned on the show.

Running Zack was followed by a far more entertaining episode, Jessie’s Song.  This is the “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so scared” episode, in which Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills.  Everyone always laughs about the scene where Jessie freaks out but I think the extremely 80s music video is even more memorably weird.

Jessie’s Song was followed by The Fabulous Belding Boys, in which Mr. Belding’s supercool brother, Rod, showed up as a new substitute teacher at Bayside.  After getting all of his students excited about going rafting for the senior class trip, Rod ditched them all for two stewardesses.  Fortunately, Mr. Belding stepped up and took Rod’s place, showing Zack what being a hero is all about.  This is actually one of the few episodes of Saved By The Bell that actually works as something more than camp, with the normally underappreciated Dennis Haskins getting a chance to show what he could actually do with some halfway decent dialogue.

YesMinister

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning on PBS)

This is a BBC series, which originally aired back in the 80s.  It’s about a government minister named Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) and two civil servants, Sir Humphrey (Nigel Hawthorne) and Bernard (Derek Fowlds), and their efforts to help Hacker run his department while also making sure that Hacker doesn’t actually accomplish anything.  It’s a hilarious show, one that Jeff recently introduced me to.  Even though the show is very British and 40+ years old, it’s still easy to see parallels between the show’s portrayal of the British government and the realities of Washington, D.C.  I guess bureaucracy is universal.

This show airs on Monday, usually at midnight.  I always set the DVR for it, though I’ve lately been staying up to watch it just because PBS is so inconsistent about keeping to their posted start and stop times.  Back in February, when Texas got hit by that winter storm, an episode of Yes, Minister was the last thing that I watched before the rolling blackouts began.

This week’s episode found Jim Hacker going to a farm for a photo op and essentially screwing everything up.  The show is at its best when it pokes fun at Hacker’s self-righteousness by revealing him to be just another clueless politician and this episode did just that.  (In all fairness, though, Hacker also consistently means well and, occasional pompousness aside, actually is the type of person you would want in office.)  Though the show may be an old one, it’s kind of what we need right now in the Age of Big Government.

Watched But Not Reviewed:

  1. ‘Allo ‘Allo (Sunday Night on PBS)
  2. America’s Most Wanted (Monday Night on Fox)
  3. Fear Thy Neighbor (Saturday Afternoon on ID)
  4. Hill Street Blues (Weekend Morning on H&I)
  5. The Killer Beside Me (Saturday afternoon on ID)
  6. The Masked Singer (Tuesday and Wednesday on Fox)
  7. Open All Hours (Sunday Night on PBS)
  8. Temptation Island (Tuesday Night on USA)
  9. Tough as Nails (Wednesday Night on CBS)
  10. The Voice (Monday Night on NBC)
  11. Your Worst Nightmare (Saturday afternoon on ID)

Lisa Marie’s 8 Top Non-Fiction Books of 2020


I have to admit that I’m a little bit disappointed in myself.  Considering that I pretty much spent 9 months on lockdown, I didn’t read anywhere near as much as I should have in 2020.

Certainly, when I was first told that I’d be working from home, I thought to myself, “Finally!  I can work my way through my library!”  I thought I was going to read a book a day and watch 100 movies every week.  It didn’t work out that way.  To be honest, I got so frustrated with the whole endless lockdown thing that I often couldn’t focus enough to do anything productive with my time.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

That said, I may not have read as much as I was hoping to read but I still read some very good books.  So, without further ado, here are my top eight non-fiction books of 2020!

  1. Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas by Glenn KennyGoodfellas is one of the best films of all time and Glenn Kenny’s examination of both the movie and it’s place in pop culture is perhaps one of the best film books of all time.  Kenny not only details the true story behind Goodfellas but he also examines the film scene-by-scene.  This book is full of unexpected insight and behind-the-scenes trivia.  It’s everything you could want from a film book.
  2. Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused by Melissa Maerz — This is a frequently fascinating oral history about one of the greatest Texas films of all time, Dazed and Confused.  Maerz was able to interview almost everyone involved with the film and the end result is funny, touching, and thought-provoking look at a classic film.  This is worth it just for the chapters on Shawn Andrews.
  3. Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! Deep Inside Valley of the Dolls, the Most Beloved Bad Book and Movie of All Time by Stephen Rebello — This fun book details everything you could possibly want to know about the film version of Valley of the Dolls.  Especially interesting are the chapters that deal with the actresses and actors who were considered for the film.  There are indeed some surprising names to found.
  4. Taking Shape II: The Lost Halloween Sequel by Dustin McNeill and Travis Mullins — Probably the only thing I like more than a good book about the production of a film is a good book about a film that didn’t go into production.  Taking Shape II is an exhaustive look at all of the sequels that have been proposed for Halloween over the years.  The book not only details what each film could have been but also why they ultimately weren’t produced.  If you’re a horror fan, this is essential reading.
  5. Cinema ’62: The Greatest Year at the Movies by Michael McClellan and Stephen Farber — Was 1962 the greatest year in film?  This book makes a good case that it may have been.
  6. The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood by Sam Wasson — This is another fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a classic film.  The Big Goodbye not only tells you everything you could want to know about Chinatown but it also places it in its correct cultural and historical context.
  7. The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene — This oral history of my favorite sitcom is both a funny tribute to a great show and also a rather sad look at how The Office was often screwed over by NBC.  The only thing keeping this book from being ranked higher is the lack of fresh interviews with Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and some of the other principles.  Indeed, much of the “oral history” is lifted from various DVD commentaries.  Still, Greene does a good job of organizing the information and the book will definitely make you want to sit down and rewatch the show.
  8. Gone at Midnight: The Tragic True Story Behind the Unsolved Internet Sensation by Jake Anderson — This is a thought-provoking examination of the mysterious death of Elisa Lam and the internet culture that sprung up around the video of her final hours.

 

TSL Looks Back at 2020:

  1. Lisa Marie’s 20 Favorite Songs of 2020 (Lisa Marie Bowman)
  2. Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2020 (Lisa Marie Bowman)
  3. My Top 20 Albums of 2020 (Necromoonyeti)
  4. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems That I Saw In 2020 (Valerie Troutman)
  5. Top 10 Vintage Collections (Ryan C)
  6. Top 10 Contemporary Collections (Ryan C)
  7. Top 10 Original Graphic Novels (Ryan C)
  8. Top 10 Ongoing Series (Ryan C.)
  9. Top 10 Special Mentions (Ryan C.)
  10. Top Ten Single Issues (Ryan C)

Music Video Of The Day: Unemployment Line by Creed Bratton (2013, dir by Zach Mann)


Yes, this is the same Creed who we all know and love from playing a version of himself on The Office.  While everyone knows that Creed was a musician before he became an actor, it seems to be less well-known that he continued to record music while appearing on the show and after the final episode.

This is a heartfelt song and, if you go over to YouTube, you can read Creed’s story about what inspired this song and why he recorded it.  As Creed writes in the video’s description: See the GOOD in people, the value of our connection to one another, and realize that the ailments of an unemployed society are not a result of laziness, they are a product of loneliness.

So, from Creed Bratton, here is Unemployment Line.

 

People of Earth – Pilot, Season 1, Episode 1 – Review by


people-of-earth

People of Earth is the amazingly quick-witted and fast paced comedy show that you better watch or ALL of the unicorns will die… especially the cute baby unicorns- they’ll die first!

I was primed to like this show more than a 50% discount on Blue Jays tickets.  The comedy cast is overflowing with known national treasures: Wyatt Cynac, Ana Gasteyer, Brian Huskey, and Oscar Nunez, but is blessed with new talent who have quick comedic timing that matches perfectly with the snappy dialogue.  In short, this is NOT a show to knit to, tweet during, or otherwise be distracted by when watching; so, take your adderall and focus because this show is NO SHIT LEGIT!  SIDE NOTE: I’m seriously thinking about getting on the adderall bandwagon; weight loss inducing intellectual steroids sound pretty fucking awesome to me!

The pilot begins with Ozzie (Wyatt Cynac) having a nightmare about hitting a deer in Beacon, New York with a deer behind him saying, “Don’t get weird, but you’re about to hit a deer” and he wakes in a sweat.  He’s on assignment to Beacon to investigate a UFO Abductee support group.

At the support group, we learn that there are three types of Aliens: Reptilians, Whites (who look like Lord of the Rings Elf People), and Greys (who look like scrotums).  Also, we learn that the jokes fly fast.  The group therapy scenes are the heart of the sitcom.  The jokes play off of one another brilliantly!

Ozzie finishes his alien support group article and goes to his boss Jonathan Walsh (Michael Cassidy) in New York City who basically runs a Buzzfeedish clickbait listicle mill.  His boss doesn’t get humor and speaks in business school-ease at all times like a young Mitt Romney.  Jonathan wants Ozzie to return Upstate to Beacon and learn more about the people in the support group.

Upon returning to Beacon, Ozzie discovers that the abductees all have boring jobs or don’t work.  Ozzie learns about the abductions and that their stories are similar.  However, there are two people who don’t share abduction stories: the group leader Gina and Gerry who has never made contact with an alien, but wishes that he did.  There have been some reviewers who think this points to these two or either being aliens, but I don’t know or care because their delivery is fucking great and I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.  Ozzie realizes that his nightmares match the stories that he is hearing.

Ozzie believes that HE was abducted.  Ozzie becomes furious when he discovers that his boss published his draft article about the group with their REAL names, causing Ozzie to quit his job with Buzzfeedish.  He decides to explore his abduction memories and takes a job in Beacon at the local paper.

The show ends with us learning that Jonathan is a Reptilian – DUN DUN DUN.

ROLL HILARIOUS CREDITS!

There are aliens on the mothership above earth being hysterical.  The funniest and snarkiest alien is the scrotum looking whom I shall call Scroty on the show he’s named Jeff, but Scroty is more apt.

This show is THE funniest show on television.  Period.  Remember, if you don’t watch, ALL the unicorns will die!

unicorny

20 Good Things That I Saw On Television in 2013


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Someday, I want to have my own tv network.  I’ll call it Lisa Marie Television (or LMTV for short) and it’ll be like Lifetime but with the Lisa Marie difference.  What’s the Lisa Marie difference?  Sweetheart, if you have to ask, you’ll never know.

Anyway, as I wait for that day to come, I’m going to continue my series of posts on my favorites of 2013 by telling you about some of the best things that I saw on television over the course of the previous year.  Here they are, in random order:

1) The series finale of Breaking Bad

Perfection.

2) The series finale of The Office

After a rough couple of seasons, The Office redeemed itself with a perfect conclusion.  How can you do any better than Jim and Pam moving to Texas?

3) Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim

Without a doubt, the funniest 15 minutes on television.

4) Burning Love on E!

E! broadcast episodes of the hilarious, Bachelor-parodying web series in 2013 and gave everyone a chance to follow Julie as she pined for Blaze and asked lucky bachelors, “Will you hold my box?”

5) SyFy Saturdays

This year, my Saturday night ritual was to gather online with the Snarkalecs and watch an original movie on SyFy.  And while all of the Normals (as we refer to the rest of the world) were going crazy over Sharknado, the Snarkalecs knew that End of the World was a hundred times better.

6) The only likable team won The Amazing Race 23

I can’t remember their names but I can remember that I liked them more than Tim & Marie, Nicole & Travis, and Leo & Jamal.

7) Bonnie and Clyde

Broadcast on three different networks and over two separate nights, Bonnie and Clyde was big, silly, over-the-top, glamorous, and full of style.  It made me want to go out and rob a bank while looking good doing it.

8) Orange is the New Black

We lost a lot of good shows in 2013 but, fortunately, we also gained a few new ones.

9) South Park satirizes Obama and Game of Thrones

I like one of those targets and dislike the other (guess which is which) but the important thing is that both of them have reached a point where they deserve to be satirized.  Not surprisingly, South Park continues to be one of the few show to have the guts to ridicule the topics that other shows are too cowardly to touch.

10) Bates Motel

Bates Motel was frequently uneven but it was always worth watching for Vera Farmiga and Max Thieriot.

11) The Space Kitten

That little space kitten that was singing Wrecking Ball at the American Music Awards?  Adorable!

12) Jimmy Kimmel

Whether he was causing Kanye West to have a meltdown or posting fake videos on YouTube, 2013 was the year of Kimmel.

13) The Talking Dead

Look, we all know that The Walking Dead is great but, for me, The Talking Dead is usually the highlight of AMC on Sunday night.  Chris Hardwick is adorable to begin with but the moment he choked up while discussing the death of Herschel confirmed that he’s not just a host.  He’s a true fan as well.

14) Miley Cyrus at the VMAs

It was tacky, it was shocking, it was disturbing, it got people talking and overreacting, and it was everything that television should be.  (That said, I would like to point out that — despite what some members of the media seem to believe — twerking existed long before Miley Cyrus decided to make it a part of her act.  I was twerking back when Miley was still Hannah Montana.)

15) That episode of Girls with Patrick Wilson

One of the best 25 minutes of television ever, and not just because Patrick Wilson is super hot.

16) The Herstory of Dance and Intro to Felt Surrogacy episodes of Community

Without the guiding vision of Dan Harmon, Community‘s fourth season was undeniably rough.  However, these two episodes reminded us that Community still had something to offer.  (That said, I’m glad Dan Harmon’s back for season 5…)

17) Colton walks off Survivor …. again

Colton Cumbie is one of the most loathsome people to ever show up on a reality TV show so it was satisfying to see him utterly fail to win Survivor not once but twice.

18) The Big Brother Blog got a new writer named Lisa Marie

This year, Bill Lage asked me to write episode recaps for the Big Brother Blog.  Of course, I said yes and, for three months, I had a lot of fun keeping people updated with what all of the loathsome people in the Big Brother house were up to.  I made a lot of new friends and I even made a persistent enemy named Maggie Long, a poor little internet troll who just couldn’t handle the fact that I encouraged my readers to “Stay supple!”  It was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it all over again in 2014.

19) Winter Storm Cleon caused the local news people to freak out!

Yes, we did get some snow and ice down here in December.  Unlike you folks up North, those of us in Texas only see snow and ice every other year so, whenever it does show up, you can be sure that all of the local newspeople are going to panic.  That’s exactly what happened this year and it was fun to watch.

20) Degrassi!

My favorite Canadian show came back!

Degrassi_Season_13_title_card

Tomorrow, we take a look at ten of my favorite books of 2013.

Other Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2013:

  1. 10 0f Lisa Marie’s Favorite Songs of 2013
  2. Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2013
  3. Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013
  4. Things That Dork Geekus Dug In 2013
  5. Lisa Marie’s Best of 2o13 SyFy

 

12 Random Things That I Am Thankful For In 2013


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Traditionally here in the States, Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday that sits between Halloween and Christmas.  This is the time of year that those of us in the States are supposed to think about what we are thankful for.  According to the people in Washington, this year we’re also supposed to talk to all of the members of our family about politics.  They’ve even made talking points available, just in case you have a relative who isn’t crazy about your personal ideology.  To me, though, that seems kind of foolish.  Why would you ruin a perfectly good Thanksgiving with politics when you could spend your time thinking, talking, and arguing about movies and television?

After all, Presidents are only around for, at the most, eight years.  Movies are forever.

With that in mind, here are twelve random things that I am thankful for in 2013.

1) I’m thankful that there are still visionaries like Shane Carruth who can make films like Upstream Color.

2) I’m thankful for actors, like Robert Downey, Jr., who are capable of making mainstream films, like Iron Man 3, memorable.

3) I’m thankful that a show like Breaking Bad got a chance to remind us of just how good television can be.

4) I’m thankful for Blue Is The Warmest Color.

5) I’m thankful that at least some people understand that The Counselor is one of the best films of 2013.

6) I’m thankful that this October was this site’s most succesful horror month yet!

7) I’m thankful that, in 2013, we can still watch movies like The Passion of Joan of Arc.

8) I’m thankful that I actually saw Tyler Perry’s Temptation because, otherwise, I would not believe that such an inept and deeply offensive film could have been made.

9) I am thankful for Icona Pop’s I Love It, which is currently my favorite song to play while I’m dancing around the house in my underwear.

10) I am thankful that the series finale of The Office was everything that it should have been.

11) I am thankful that Dexter finally ended because, seriously, the show was getting so bad that it was running the risk of overshadowing how good the first few seasons actually were.

12) Finally, and most importantly, I am thankful for our readers and for our subscribers.  Y’all are the ones who make all of this worthwhile.  Thank you!

10 Good Things That Lisa Marie Saw On TV In 2012


Someday, I want to have my own tv network.  I’ll call it Lisa Marie Television (or LMTV for short) and it’ll be like Lifetime but with the Lisa Marie difference.  What’s the Lisa Marie difference?  Sweetheart, if you have to ask, you’ll never know.  El. Oh. El.

Anyway, as I wait for that day to come, I’m going to continue my series of posts on my favorites of 2012 by telling you about some of the best things that I saw on television over the course of the previous year:

1) SyFy Movies On Saturday

For me, one of the highlights of 2012 has been meeting and getting to know the Snarkalecs on twitter.  Who are the Snarkalecs?  We’re just a group of very witty people who are capable of appreciating films like Two-Headed Shark Attack and Arachnoquake.  Every Saturday night, we watch and live tweet whatever’s playing on the SyFy network.  It’s the perfect way to end the week.  My favorite SyFy film of 2012?  Jersey Shore Shark Attack.

2) The Basic Lupine Urology episode of Community

A great crime has occurred at Greendale Community College.  A yam has been callously destroyed and the study group is going to find out who was responsible and make sure the perpetrator is punished to the full extent of the law.  This spot-on perfect parody of Law and Order was one of the highlights of Community’s third season.  Donald Glover and Danny Pudi were simply adorable playing good cop/bad cop.

3) Joe Manganiello and Alexander Skarsgard on True Blood

The latest season of True Blood may have been uneven but whenever Alexander Skarsgard or Joe Manganiello showed up on-screen, the show was perfect (especially if they happened to be naked at the time).

4) South Park

As always.  This year highlights have included the classic anti-bullying episode and the annual Halloween episode.

5) Survivor: Philippines

The previous season of Survivor was one of the best, featuring truly interesting competitors like Jonathan Penner, Lisa Whelchel, Abi-Marie, and Malcolm.  Perhaps best of all, the season ended with the most deserving survivor winning the million bucks.

6) Clint Eastwood’s Chair Speech

A lot of very snide comments have been made about Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention but, personally, I think it was brilliant political theater.  Even better, his two main points — that the President is essentially an empty suit and the Vice President is a jackass — are looking more and more true with each passing day.

7) The Joe Biden/Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Debate

Speaking of great political theater…. The 2012 Presidential election was dominated by debates but there’s only one that was truly memorable and it was the Vice Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.  While Paul Ryan talked about disaster in his overly serious grad student way, Joe Biden grinned like an aging serial killer deep in the throes of senility.  This was less a political debate and more a case of performance art.

8) The London Olympics

I loved watching the London Olympics this year and not just because of the Fab Five, either.  The Danny Boyle-directed opening ceremonies were amazing to watch and I had fun going on twitter to ridicule NBC’s hilariously bad coverage of the games.

9) Liz & Dick on Lifetime

Oh, c’mon — it was fun!

10) The Office Made A Comeback…Sorta

After one of the worst seasons in the history of primetime television, The Office has redeemed itself slightly with its current (and final) season.  Even Catherine Tate has become tolerable.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at the past year with a list of my 10 favorite novels of 2012.

12 Random Things That I Am Thankful For In 2012


So many things to be thankful for!

Today is the day that I (and perhaps a few others) look over the past year and ask myself, “What am I thankful for?”  I am happy to say that I have a lot to be thankful for right now.  I’m thankful for my family, for my friends, for my readers, and for my love.

Believe it or not, I’m even thankful that I’m now 27 years old!  When my family gathered together earlier today, I actually got to hang out with the grown ups!  Seriously, being an adult was a lot more fun than I was expecting.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is also the day when I do a post entitled “10 Things That I Am Thankful For.”  So, here we go.  As I stated previously, I’m thankful for a lot of things in 2012.  Here, in no specific order, is twelve of them:

1) I’m thankful that The Cabin In The Woods and Sinister reminded me of why I love horror films in the first place.

2) I’m thankful for the Snarkalecs on twitter, the best group of people that a girl could hope to watch a SyFy movie with.

3) I’m thankful that this current season of Survivor is one of the best yet.

4) I’m thankful that someday, when I do have a daughter, I’ll be able to watch films like Brave and The Hunger Games with her.

5) I’m thankful that Richard Linklater directed Bernie and let the true citizens of Texas speak for themselves.

6) I’m thankful that Sarah Polley wrote and directed Take This Waltz.

7) I’m thankful for the TCMParty on twitter, the best group of people that a girl could hope to watch a classic film on TCM with.

8) I’m thankful that the final season of The Office is turning out to be a good one.

9) I’m thankful that Skyfall reminded us of why we all love James Bond in the first place.

10) I’m thankful that Branded eventually ended.  Seriously, I was worried that film was never going to come to a close.

11) I’m thankful that The Avengers turned out to be a lot more fun than even I was expecting.

12) I’m thankful that even a generally disappointing film year can still see the release of films like Life of Pi and The Master.

What do you think, Trailer Kitties?

Don’t worry, kitties!  Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers will return next week!

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Reasons Why I Hated Season 8 Of The Office


(Note: This post originally appeared on my new TV-related blog, What Is Lisa Marie Watching Tonight?)

This has been a truly depressing television season for me and it all comes down to one show.  For seven season, I loved the Office.  Even when it wasn’t at it best, it was still the show that I based my Thursday nights around.  And yet, as I watched the finale of eighth season of The Office last night, I breathed a sigh of relief once it was finally over.  Why?  Because season 8 was not only the worst season of the Office so far but it was also one of the worst seasons of television that I’ve ever sat through. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I knew that this season of The Office (the first without Steve Carell’s iconic Michael Scott) would be a rough one.  However, nothing could have prepared me for just how bad season 8 would become.  Looking back over season 8, it’s a struggle to remember one memorable line or moment that made me laugh out loud.  Instead, most of my memories center around being annoyed that the show that I loved could have possibly become so …. bad.

In the future, I’m going to write a post detailing how I would have handled the first post-Carell season of The Office.  But before I write that post up, I want to take a few moments to highlight 10 reasons why I hated season 8 of the Office.

(And, believe me, it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to just ten…)

1) Andy Bernard

I have to admit that my heart sank a little bit when, during the Season 8 premiere, it was revealed that the show would now center around the character of Andy Bernard.  Even before Steve Carell left the show, I always dreaded any episode that revolved around Andy.  Andy, who started out as such a perfectly annoying villain in season 3, had developed into a rather pathetic and needy character and Andy-centric episodes were usually the weakest of their respective seasons.  It didn’t help that Ed Helms — who is a great character actor — has a tendency to go overboard whenever cast in a lead role.

So, I knew from the start of the season that I wouldn’t be totally happy with Andy Bernard as manager but I had no way of guessing just how much I would eventually come to despise the character.  Whether he was weakly pursuing Erin or cruelly dumping his previous girlfriend twice in one day or failing to sue Robert California for giving his job away to Nellie, Andy proved himself to be just as stupid as Michael Scott but also a hundred times more pathetic.  It was impossible to root for Andy because so many of his problems were of his own creation.  As needy as Andy was as a character, Ed Helms was just as needy as a performer and every time he showed up on-screen, I felt like he was begging me to love him as opposed to giving me a reason to do so.  It didn’t help that the show’s writers devoted three or four episodes to having everyone in the Office basically spend half an hour tellings us that Andy was a great manager and we really should love him.

At the end of last night’s finale, Andy — after being unemployed for the last few episodes — got his job back in the least plausible way imaginable.  Instead of firing Nellie, he gave her a new job and then he flashed that big, toothy grin of his.

Fortunately, for the first time during season 8, he resisted the temptation to break out into song.

2) Nellie

Nellie showed up during the second half of the season and essentially appointed herself as the new manager of the office.  It was a plot development that made no sense and it was hard not to feel like the show’s producers were trying to force the audience to love Tate as much as they did.   

Yes, the writers of The Office love Catherine Tate and maybe the audience would love her to if  Nellie, the character she was playing, had any real reason for existing beyond the fact that the writers wanted to work with Catherine Tate. 

Since Tate had no real reason to be on the show, it was hard not to resent the amount of screentime that was devoted to her.  It’s also hard to look forward to the fact that it appears that she’ll be an even more prominent character during season 9.

3) Robert California

At the start of Season 8, we were informed that Robert California (played by James Spader) had somehow managed to talk his way into being named CEO of Sabre.  We were told that he was a mysterious, charismatic figure who might be a genius.

Instead, he turned out to be just another inconsistent character whose personality changed from episode to episode until finally, he was revealed to be so pathetic that he couldn’t even handle Nellie declaring herself to be the new regional manager.  In his first few appearances, James Spader brought his trademark quirkiness to the role but then, once it became apparent that show’s writers couldn’t be bothered to figure out who Robert California actually was, Spader pretty much gave up on giving a performance.  Instead, he just became a name actor getting paid a lot of money to do not much of anything.

And yet the writers still insisted on trying to convince us that Robert California was an interesting character.  The first half of the season was largely devoted to the character.  We went to his mansion, we met his soon-to-be ex-wife, and we continually found ourselves wondering why the CEO of a Florida-based corporation was spending all of his time in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Robert California (and James Spader) will not be back for Season 9.  In the final episode, Robert California announced that his latest business venture would involve young women from Eastern Europe.  It was an unfunny end to an unfunny character.

4) Kevin and Erin: Just How Dumb Are They?

This has been an issue for a while but it really became obvious (and annoying) as things got more and more cartoonish during Season 8.  Erin and Kevin both seem to be stupid when the plot calls for it and just dumb when the plot doesn’t.  It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if not for the fact that there’s no logic to their occasional stupidity.  It’s never been firmly established just how stupid either one of them is and, as a result, their inability to understand the simplest of things feels more like lazy writing than anything else.

With Erin, this is an issue because this season was largely built around Andy pursuing her.  For a plot like that to be effective, you have to care about the characters and to care about the characters, you have to see some sort of vague reality in them even when they’re threatening to go over the top.

As for Kevin — well, where to begin?  Remember how, in the earlier seasons, Kevin seemed like he actually had the most active life out of the office of any of the people working there?  He would show up with a jaunty little hat on his head and he would drop hints about being addicted to gambling.  He was even the drummer in not one but two cover bands!

Now, he’s just another moron in the corner.

5) Angela and the Senator

Yes, we get it.  The senator’s gay.  It was funny the first four times that various characters went, “The senator’s gay!” but now, it just feels like a lazy punchline. 

Wouldn’t it have been fun to see Angela and the Senator’s wedding?  Seriously, this is a show that had a tradition of funny wedding episodes but, when given the perfect opputunity,  the show’s writers ignored a chance to showcase one of the strongest members of the original supporting cast.  Instead, Angela (and so many others) were just pushed off to the side so that we could spend more time with Robert California.    

6) What Does Jim Have To Smirk About?

Seriously, the man’s stuck in a rut.

7) When Did Pam Give Up On Being An Artist?

Whenever I watch reruns of The Office, I’m surprised by how much I relate to Pam.  That’s mostly because the Pam of the first few seasons seems to have very little in common with the  Pam of the 7th and 8th seasons.  Do you remember when Pam was an artist and, even more importantly, do you remember how great it was to watch as she finally started standing up for herself and following her dream during the first four seasons?

As I watched this last season, I thought about that wonderfully sweet scene from seasons past when Jim showed Pam the “artist’s studio” that he had set up in the garage.  And I wondered if that art studio was still sitting in the garage, untouched since Pam has apparently decided to give up on her dreams and just spend all of her time obsessing on the people that she works with.

8) What do Ryan and Gabe do all day?

Like seriously. 

9) Val (and others)

Seriously, what was the point of Val’s character this season?  If you’ve watched the entire season, do you know anything about Val beyond the fact that Darryl developed a crush on her?  I didn’t even catch that her name was Val until around her fifth appearance.  Obviously, the show’s writers expected us to take some sort of emotional stake in Darryl’s attempts to woo her but they never bothered to figure out just who exactly Val was meant to be.   

The same can be said, of course, of just about every new character on The Office this season.  Can you remember the name of the woman who Andy dumped so he could (finally) be with Erin?  How about Cathy, the girl who, out of nowhere, tried to seduce Jim and then mysteriously vanished from the show? 

Admittedly, this problem didn’t start with season 8.  Starting back in season 5, the Office developed a bad habit of carefully introducing and then randomly abandoning characters and plotlines.  (Remember Danny, the superhot traveling salesman played by Timothy Olyphant?)   However, it’s never bothered me in the past quite as much as it did during season 8.  Past seasons at least had someone there to anchor the show even when the writers seemed to get distracted.

And that leads me to the tenth reason why I hated season 8 of The Office

 10) No Michael Scott

That, I think, pretty much says it all.

Ten Good Things That Lisa Marie Saw on TV in 2011


Someday, I want to have my own tv network.  I’ll call it Lisa Marie Television (or LMTV for short) and it’ll be like Lifetime but with the Lisa Marie difference.  What’s the Lisa Marie difference?  Sweetheart, if you have to ask, you’ll never know.  El. Oh. El.

Anyway, as I wait for that day to come, I’m going to continue my series of posts on my favorites of 2011 by telling you about some of the best things that I saw on television over the course of the previous year:

1) The Goodbye, Michael episode of The Office:

So, this year, I’ve been kind of depressed because my former favorite show of all time — The Office — has been just awful!  Seriously, don’t even get me started on why it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever that Jim Halpert would have recommended that Andy Bernard be put in charge of the office.  Don’t get me started on how the show is now wasting some of the brightest comic talents available.  And certainly, don’t ask me what I think about this newest subplot where Darryl is somehow suddenly incapable of talking to the new girl in the Warehouse.  Seriously, I want to cry every Thursday night because when I watch The Office, it’s like looking in the mirror and finding a new wrinkle.  However, The Office did have one genuinely great episode this year and that was, fittingly enough, Steve Carell’s final episode.  “Goodbye, Michael” was a reminder of what made people like me fall in love with The Office in the first place and, as much as I hate to say it, it would have made a perfect finale for the entire series.

2) Sophia Shows Up On The Walking Dead..

and Rick does what he has to do.

3) Nedd Stark loses his head in Game of Thrones.

Much as Sophia had to ultimately be in that barn, Nedd had to lose his head.

4) The Pouting Little Princess at the Royal Wedding

All together now: “Awwwwwwwww!”  Actually, that would have been me if I was a member of the Royal Family.

5) Joel McHale as host of The Soup.

Seriously, Chris Hardwicke is cute in a funny, nerdy sorta way and Daniel Tosh is like the frat boy that you turn to when you’re drunk and depressed but Joel McHale is still the best.

6) South Park goes there…

…again.

7) The broadview security commercial featuring A.J. the homicidal lunatic

Okay, so this is actually about 2 or 3 years old and I don’t think I actually saw this on TV during 2011 but I don’t care.  I love this commercial and A.J. is freaking hot!  Plus, I love how everyone’s all like, “Who’s that?” and she’s all like, “I don’t know, just some random guy who showed up in my house…heh heh heh.”  All together now: “A.J?  A.J?”

8 ) Homeland

With Dexter giving us a truly awful season this time around, Homeland was the best modern-day drama on television.  Claire Danes deserves every award there is for her performance.

9) The Amazing Race

Hands down, the best reality show on television.

10) Community

Dear NBC, if you fail to bring back Community, we’re done.  I will leave you, I will cut you out of my life, and I hope you’ll be very happy with Whitney Cummings.

 

Give this man his own show!

Coming tomorrow: Lisa Marie’s top ten books of 2011.