One of the nice things about being an unemployed lout is that i can write about anything i want in this web log – sometimes my retarded stories, sometimes my keen observations about pop culture stuff or sports, maybe the occasional complaint about the inconsistencies of the Qdoba staff…but today i’ll fire off something so new, so unprecedented, that it’s probably only been done in about 25 million other blogs to date…brace yourself.
I’m going to discuss some shows you should be watching but probably aren’t – this is both earth-shattering and revolutionary. I will not bother you with further requests that you watch How I Met Your Mother (Friends with more comedy, drinking and sex) given its improved ratings. Also I will lay off The Wire (you definitely need to watch this, just get your hands on the DVDs or watch on HBO on Demand, it is like crack and i guarantee you will lose some sleep cranking out the eps) and Mad Men (like a love letter to sexual harassment, pocket squares and drinking scotch in the office at 10:00 AM) because they have been so critically lauded that if you don’t know it by now you’ll never know.
(I’m assuming most of you have DVRs – like wine/cheese pairings, some shows work better at particular times. Oh, editorial note: i figured out how to do the pictures better, but i’m not going back and redoing yesterday’s – this 2000 word opus took 3 hours! and isn’t that good! but i am sworn to writing something new every day – tomorrow will prob just be what i had for lunch. burrito. done.)
#5. Chelsea Lately, The Soup (nee Talk Soup) – CL is on Mon-Thur at 11:00 PM on E!, TS is on Monday at 10:00 PM and i think they are re-run like 25 times per week as well
This list was originally only 4 shows long, so i cheated a bit to add these 2 shows that we religiously record – they are basically the utility players in our TV-watching routine. They can nicely fill 15 minutes here and there or string a couple together for a little mental downtime. Either way you’ll be catching up on some of the idiotic shit that happens in the world that you wouldn’t normally be exposed to (unless, like me, you are regularly exposed to inane reality tv (like The Hills) and frequently find Us Weekly littering your shelves).
Both hosts are excellent – Chelsea Handler is a well-known comic who has written two popular books and likes to brag about how much she drinks and gets laid. She’s particularly fond of black guys so about 85% of the guests so far have been rappers. The guests are like a 45 second portion of the show – the real highlight is the roundtable, when she has 3 guest comics (warning: may include Carrot Top) go through the day’s pop culture headlines with her. They are viscious towards the news subjects and each other – very cringeworthy. Bonus points if you like midgets as they get a lot of play on this show.
The Soup is what they are now calling Talk Soup – the show that spawned some pretty successful careers (John Henson, not sure what happened to you, brother, but the world hasn’t really been kind to people with random white spots in their hair. Rasheed Wallace is the only exception that comes to mind). They have changed up their format were they don’t just skewer talk shows – they will rip reality shows (including ones you have never/will never heard of) and scripted series as well (although calling Grey’s Anatomy “scripted” is probably pushing it, seems just as likely to be a collection of words from the proverbial monkeys on typewriters, or maybe a simian Boggle tournament). Host Joel Mchale is genuinely hilarious – like Chelsea Handler he gets bonus points for a deadpan approach to some of the ridiculous topics and open mockery of the E! network.
Chelsea Lately and Talk Soup are best paired with late nights (a few cocktails before viewing really opens up the shows) or can easily accompany 15 minute burrito breaks mid-afternoon.
#4. Breaking Bad - Sundays at 10:00 PM on AMC
If you liked Bryan Cranston as the swinging Dentist on Seinfeld or the manic Dad on Malcom in the Middle, you will love him as the terminally ill crystal meth dealer on BB! Plot: Protagonist learns he has terminal cancer. He is a brilliant science teacher (just missed making billions on a biotech startup, too noble to take handout from his old partner who did cash in). He has no money. So he decides to deal some meth (with the help of a low level former student/drug dealer) to make some quick cash to set up his family before he meets his maker. It’s basically a ripoff of Everybody Loves Raymond, but you’ll get over it.
The show boasts great acting – Cranston is awesome, and not afraid to rock tightie-whities in about 75% of his scenes, strong (if somewhat far-fetched) writing with plenty of unforeseen twists and turns, and a fair amount of dark (very frickin dark) comedy. Lots of people getting their asses kicked too – lending further credibility to my theory that spending time with drug dealers results in a much higher likelihood of receiving a vicious beating.
Season 2 is just starting this week, bust out Season 1 on Netflix to catch up. You can probably also glide straight into season 2, as the above paragraph basically has you up to speed. Almost – i forgot that Cranston had no balls before he found out about the cancer and they are progressively growing as he gets seedier – now you’re up to speed. This show is best watched as part of a double feature – should be the first act, with something lighter to follow (see #s 1-3 below). Do not drink (or do meth) and watch this show, you will feel degenerate enough stone cold sober.
#3. Flight of the Conchords - Sundays at 10:00 PM on HBO (yeah – i noted you need a frickin DVR at the start of this, there are some conflicts)
This definitely didn’t seem like a show in my wheelhouse – two Kiwi (that means from New Zealand) folk singers struggle to make it in NYC. Couple of musical numbers per episode. WTF? But FoC really make it work, and work hilariously (sample song – The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room)). Rapid fire, fairly acerbic humor. Extremely strong supporting cast – one groupie, a buddy who owns a pawn shop, their manager who also works for the NZ consulate.
FoC consists of two members – Jemaine Clement (taller, dumb looking one) and Brett Mckenzie (shorter, hairier one – played an elf in Lord of the Rings!). Their situation is pretty appropriate for the times – they are so broke that they have to share a fucking coffee cup. They are unlucky with the ladies. But they have pretty sweet rap alter egos (The Rhymnocerous and the Hiphop0potamus). Murray (their hapless manager) and Dave (pawnshop owner who is profane enough to make even me blush occasionally) are perfectly incorporated, hilarious and have exactly the amount of screen time they deserve.
Although this looks like typical hipster fare it’s really non-ironic, in my opinion, and is one of the few unabashedly happy/optimistic shows you’ll find in a world which increasingly values angsty bullshit. F0C is pretty good to watch any time – pair it with a glass of syrah from NZ! Not shiraz, that shit is from australia and as the show accurately depicts, there is bloodlust between kiwis and aussies. So give the yellowtail a break when F0C is on. This show convinced me that i could tell the difference between NZ and Australizan accents. I went to Australia for work last year. i in fact could not tell the difference – you can’t really understand any of those guys down under, even though it’s allegedly the same language.
#2. Friday Night Lights - Fridays at 9:00 PM on NBC
I’m actually going to try and not spend too much time on this one – i’m fairly certain that almost everyone has been subjected to threats of “WATCH THIS FUCKING SHOW OR I’LL PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE!” by some rabid fan. Unfortunately the rabidity is inversely proportional to the total number of viewers – people who watch are pretty desperate to harvest more viewers so that FNL lives to see Season 4. Seeing some of the other drivel on TV – not to harp on Grey’s Anatomy again, but fucking a ghost? Really? – it’s shocking to me that quality programming like FNL has to sweat it out every year.
FNL is essentially the story of Texas high school football coach Eric Taylor, his family and the players on his team. The strongest aspect of the show is probably its seemingly realistic depiction of their relationship; his wife also works at the school which leads to some conflicts. Why is this a great show? Because there’s really something for everyone – strong show for couples to watch. Serious eye candy abounds (for all genders and orientations). Girls like the relationship stuff, guys dig the football stuff (every game ends with an 85 yards in-the-air hail mary pass! not really). Superb casting and acting (bunch of no names who seem perfect for their roles). One downside is that one of the females stars is having relations with Derek Jeter – i fucking hate the Yankees. There is also, i’m pretty sure, an albino cast member. Where have all the albinos gone? There were 2 in my elementary school. One was an african american albino girl. that is an unfortunate genetic combination – the melanin gods work in mysterious ways. Anyway, WATCH THIS FUCKING SHOW!
I find that FNL is better when you have a couple three eps you can watch together. one just isnt enough, you’ll be left wanting more. suggest toward the end of like a thursday night – might want to drink like a Coors or Bud if you are going to imbibe – keep it consistent with what they drink on the show. Although the mom does drink some wine…hmm… Keep it sober so you don’t miss any nuance.
#1. America’s Best Dance Crew - Thursdays at 10:00 PM on MTV (HURRY SEASON FINALE IS THURSDAY!)
I suspect i am in danger of losing some of my hard-earned credibility here. This seems stupid, I know. But i defy anyone to watch an episode of this and not get into it. Have you ever seen dance crews working for tips at like Central Park or the Met? But they actually don’t do shit because they spend like 45 minutes building up anticipation? Tis not the case here – these are some of the most athletic, creative groups you will ever see. Apparently breakdancing has evolved quite a bit since the moonwalk and your standard lockin & poppin. You have likely seen the Jabbawockeez – the breakout winners of the first season who have gone on to appear in Gatorade commercials and dance with Shaq at the NBA All Star game. There are other groups who i believe would trounce those guys – Season 2 winners Super Crew, this seasons finalists Quest Crew (unreal) and Beat Freaks. I am seriously going to learn how to do air flairs once i find a nice flat piece of cardboard and about 1200 more square feet. (given that a 3 mile run has me hobbling around like Willis Reed, this may not be such a great idea.)
Music selection is generally pretty good and if you’re an old ass like me this will be one of your few chances to hear some of those newfangled songs they play on the internets. The judges are also phenomenal – the wisdom espoused by Lil Mama (in some strange combination of English, Ebonics and i think Latin) should be preserved for future generations. Shit i almost forgot: AC Slater is the host! Mario Lopez really has carved out a niche for himself basically holding a microphone and reading hokey lines off of cue cards. I don’t have much more to say – check it out and if you honestly think it sucks and i’m an idiot i will give you your money back (haha – i’ve seen that joke used before in like 150 other internet columns and now i’m using it! that’s hilarious!)
ABDC best paired with a good mood and following a session with a few of your favorite cocktails. you’d think a 40 would be appropriate for this show given the b-boy vibe, but it is actually ruled by Asians! Who knew asians were better dancers than black people? and white people, for that matter? Maybe we really are growing as a society, our prejudices and predispositions falling by the wayside…except for that one about asians not being well endowed – i think that’s still accurate….maybe that explains why they are able to do insane shit like a backflip from sitting indian style (while not using hands!)…this clip won’t do it justice, but you’ll get the idea of the insane athleticism involved – the storylines and competition are also pretty compelling…seriously…