May 31, 2013

Look at Sitcom Cliches:TV Amnesia


Yeah, been awhile since I did one of these but this was one I had to talk about eventually. I loved this plot device when I was young, even though it is completely ridiculous. In real life Amnesia is memory loss due to a severe head injury, and can last for an unspecified amount of time.

On TV, not only does amnesia come about through simple bangs on the head but the amnesia can do all kinds of fun things. Sometimes it causes memory loss, but other times it can cause radical personality shifts so that people will think they are totally different person! I suppose it is a clever way to see a character in a different light, but it's used so inaccurately! The best part is that the solution is very often to bang the person on the head again. In real life I really don't see how that would do anything more than make the head injury worst. But in sitcoms, it's a cure all which instantly restored the persons memory and or original personality.

I will never forget being in a Psychology class and the instructor brought this up, and started to get so irrirtaed. I guess I can't blame him, not enough this is everywhere but it's almost always used wrong! 


Now before I list the sitcoms that have done this, I have to mention the other TV genre which really beat this to death. That of course is Soap Opera's! I mean amnesia is such a favorite plot device! I don't even have to list the shows, just name a soap opera and I will bet anything there was an amnesia strory line at some point. This goes for daytime and primtime soaps. Amnesia is used more than the evil twin plot device,which I could do another whole article on!

May 30, 2013

Five "WTF??" 80's Music Videos


I grew up in the 80's, and I loved my MTV! Remember when they played music videos on there? ALL DAY?? I would sit and watch. My  favorite VJ was Martha Quinn, whatever happened to her? Anyway, while I loved music videos I have to admit there were some which were freaky. Even scary, as young as I was back then. These are the videos I am talking about today. The ones that freaked me out and made me say "WTF???"


As you know I am not a major music fan, as you can tell since I have done three whole articles on music and only one was just about music that I like (this needs to be rectified!), so I may be missing more obvious ones. Also these are from when I was a kid and as I have discussed before, things that bug as a kid don't bother us the same was when we are grown up.



#5."You Might Think" by The Cars



This is an example of a cool WTF moment, because it never scared me but man was this video cool! The Cars may not have had to many great hits, but who doesn't love this video with, at the time, state of the art special effects. It's real hard to describe here but there are all kinds of weird images in this. It almost makes me forget that the video is about a guy stalking a girl.


May 28, 2013

Special TV-Saturday Morning Previews


 Ah, sweet memories!. Now if you're not familiar, you may wonder what the big deal is. A special previewing the new line up for Saturday mornings? What's so special about that? Well, some of these specials were really cool, even going above and beyond to get us excited for the brand new shows coming on the next morning.


They usually aired the Friday before the new cartoons were set to premiere (which as a kid was as exciting as Christmas!). In the 70's they were like variety shows with music and entertainment. In the 80's some networks got more creative to present these shows, even including a plot in many! So today I want to change my format a bit, and do a quick overview of some of these very memorable specials.


As I noted these began in the 70's but I was way too young to remember those. They seemed silly enough with specials hosted by The Osmonds,The Brady Kids, Lee Majors, and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  But I wanted to acknowledge these so I asked my good friend Les if he remembered anything special about these shows.

May 24, 2013

Top 5 Dumbest Cartoon Ideas


When I was a kid, I loved cartoons. I watched Superfriends and He-Man every afternoon, I just loved G.I.Joe , and you better believe I was up and parked in front of that TV every Saturday  morning. I still smile when I hear the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends Theme!I even liked the sillier shows, anyone remember Shirt Tales?

But as much as I loved cartoons, I have to admit that there were some things which were just lame. I mean what were the creators thinking? So here are my five dumbest cartoon ideas. Now since I didn’t watch cartoons much in the 90’s this list will be focused on the 80’s, although I could have talked about the awful prime time cartoons that came out in that period, Maybe another time I will discuss Capital Critters and Fish Police. As always this is just opinion.


#5. The Great Gazoo in The Flintstones

Talk about jumping the shark! What the heck was up with this? I mean there are bad ideas and then….there’s this! For those who don’t know when the Flintstones was in its sixth season, creators decided to shake things up. How do you shake up a series set in prehistoric times? You bring in a little green alien. Of course! Not only is Gazoo basically insulting to Fred and Barney, but he causes all sorts of trouble for them since, of course, only Fred and Barney are aware of him! Gazoo is sort of the Cousin Oliver for the Flintstones, coming in at the end of the series when creators were desperate.


May 22, 2013

My All-Time Favorite Characters (2 of 2)


Ok let’s get right back to the list. These are characters I don't just love, but admire so much I would like to be just like them. The cream of the crop:


#10. LADY JAYE (G.I.Joe)
SIGH! You can keep April O'Neil and Rogue from The X-Men,this was the animated female I loved! Lady Jaye was freaking awesome, and I loved every second she was on the screen. Granted she was getting knocked out a lot, but so what she kicked ass! She could use all sorts of weapons including her signature weapon, a variety of specialized throwing javelins. I also liked her relationship with Flint which was hinted at often. Not much else to say here, I always like strong women and she may have been one of my first exposures to one especially in a cartoon. And yes I know she was a main character in the latest G.I.Joe movie, played by Adrienne Palicki. I haven’t seen it yet but saw some clips and she looked cool!



May 21, 2013

My All-Time Favorite Characters (1 of 2)


Yep, decided to jump on the bandwagon and list my favorite characters. This list is sort of in order, but to be honest I could change the order easily.

Oh, and I tried; I really did, to keep it under ten choices and only one article. That didn’t work out, instead its 20 choices and two articles. So let's not waste any more time, let's get right into it.



#20.Linkara (AT4W)
Yeah this one may seem odd and I know he isn’t a TV or movie character. But I had to include him, let me try to explain why I like this character enough to put him on here. When I was a kid I loved to make up stories, and even act them out. So when I see Linkara in his story lines it brings back memories of those days. But more than that, Linkara is a very human character.It would be easy for Lewis Lovhaug to make Linkara a tyrant who always wins. But we see plenty of humanity in him. He has been beaten, depressed, and even emotional before fighting the entity. His latest story line was all about how he was starting to lose that very important part of his personality, and thathe needs to be careful not to be get carried away. Simply put, I really relate to that character and enjoy watching him on AT4W.


May 20, 2013

Analytical Episode Guide-Friends (Season 10, Part 3)


Analytical Episode Guide
Season 10, Part 3

Season 10, Episode 13
The One Where Joey Speaks French
 
Plot Summary-Joey asks Phoebe to teach him French, Erica visits Monica and Chandler,Rachel needs Ross’s support after her father has a heart attack

Funniest Line-“ Well, it turns out that Erica didn't pay much attention in sex ed class,because the thing she did with that prison guy... it'd be pretty hard to make a baby that way.”….Monica

Nitpick of the episode-Yeah, as cute as Phoebe and Joey are together the French stuff is lame. How could Joey not be able to repeat back what Phoebe said? Joey can remember lines for TV and plays, and isn’t that sort of the same thing? Sometimes the creators got a little carried away making Joey stupid.

Standout Character-Ross, I love the way he handles things here even if Rachel does not
 
Syndication Edit-Scene Extensions

Final Thoughts-Believe it or not, this is a hard one to rate. For instance, the stuff with Rachel and Ross is pretty well done but, is there a point to it? Ross doesn’t want to take advantage of Rachel, and she’s mad at him the next day? It feels like a last minute attempt to make us believe the two will never get together again, but it’s lame.  It is nice to see Dr. Green one last time. Why couldn’t they just have Erica visit without that lame detour about who the father of the baby may be? And then you have the Joey story which I’m really not sure how to feel about. It’s stupid,but Joey and Phoebe are funny and in many ways it feels like a throw back to an earlier point in the series. But the whole retarded thing at the end is borderline offensive. So let’s just say an average episode as the series starts to round that final turn.

Grade=C

May 17, 2013

Random Thoughts-Sitcom Stereotypes-Stop the Hate!!


Its soapbox time again! This is a tough subject; in fact I originally discarded this idea because I was afraid of offending people. But then I decided that it's something I really wanted to address. As always, this is all my opinion and all comments are welcome. I mean no offense to anyone. For the purpose of this discussion I am only talking about sitcoms. 

What I wanted to discuss today is a certain reason some people hate some shows. Some people assume that a show is meant to accurately portray a specific group or culture, and if they feel it doesn’t match up with their view they are up in arms about it!  I mean folks, sitcoms are not documentaries. They're sitcoms! It doesn’t have to be an "accurate" portrayal. Now don't misunderstand me, and I want to make this clear, if you hate a show that's fine. I have hated lots of shows in my time. But I never hated a show because I felt it was portraying me or my group (whether it be ethnic or social) in a certain context. I hate a show because the writing sucks or it's a premise I just can't get into. Even the shows that do get a little more controversial, like All in the Family, are still just TV shows.  But some shows get lots of heat that is really unfair. In fact some people will go so far as to hate people who like the shows, and that is beyond wrong.

Let me try to clarify my point with a few examples and my arguments against these complaints. I am not saying that you can’t hate these shows, just that the reasons for hating them that I discuss below seem a bit, Idon’t know, silly. Of course there are shows which go out of their way to be offensive, and that’s one thing. But what about the shows that don’t intend to be offensive and yet people are up in arms anyway? Here are some examples:

May 15, 2013

Analytical Episode Guide-Friends (Season 10, Part 2)


Season 10, Episode 7
The One with the Home Study
 
Plot Summary-Phoebe and Mike donate their wedding to a charity and then want it back, Monica and Chandler are approved for adoption but there may be a snag concerning Joey. Ross discovers Rachel’s irrational fair of swings.

Funniest Line-“Like I said I was thinking of taking Emma to the museum of knives and fire.”….Ross

Nitpick of the episode-Yeah, about that swing story. No, I just don’t buy it. Rachel is afraid of swings?  

Standout Character-Joey, just love the way he saves the day with the adoption worker

Syndication Edit-Scene Extensions

Final Thoughts-This episode is pretty funny. Yeah the stuff with Rachel is a little silly but considering how shallow she was I guess I can believe anything happening to her hair would be considered a traumatic event. As I said Joey saves the day with the adoption worker which is great and we get more Phoebe and Mike antics. Average stuff but worth watching.

Grade=C+


May 14, 2013

Six Pointless Star Trek Movie Moments


It's been awhile since I did a Star Trek article. Let's rectify that, especially since Into Darkness is premiering this weekend.

I love the Star Trek movies, even the ones that suck (well,not the last one but let’s not get into that)  but I have noticed many scenes that are not necessarily bad but serve no real purpose to the story aside from making the movie longer.  It’s true that every scene in a movie has a point to it, of course it does or it wouldn't be there. But some scenes just seem to exist to, well, exist. Nothing happens in them that isever followed up on, and the scene is just forgotten a few minutes later. These are the moments I am talking about today, scenes that if they were deleted would not have hurt the story at all. This is just opinion so if I am incorrect or you disagree as always all comments are welcome.


#6.Scotty and Uhura’s sick-bay romance from The FinalFrontier
Man this movie was terrible. I mean, what went wrong here? I remember after Star Trek IV I was so excited at the prospect of a fifth movie.The worst thing isn’t the lame comedy or weak script; it’s what William Shatner did to the supporting characters. Sulu and Chekov become idiots, and Uhura and Scotty….well, let’s get to the scene which is totally pointless. It happens after Scotty bangs his head into the bulkhead. He awakens in sick-bay to find Uhura pawing at him, professing all these feelings that came from nowhere. Yes there was a scene in the beginning of the movie which kind of built up to that,but it is real flimsy and of course when the scene is over it is never spoken of again in this or any other movie. It was a lousy way of trying to add somecharacter development by suggesting a romance between the two, but when has there ever been a thing between Scotty and Uhura? They respected each other asprofessionals and friends, that’s all. 

May 13, 2013

Analytical Episode Guide-Friends (Season 10, Part 1)


Analytical Episode Guide:
Season 10, Part 1

Season 10, Episode 1
The One After Joey and Rachel Kiss
 
Plot Summary-Monica, Chandler, and Phoebe eavesdrop on Joey & Rachel and Ross& Charlie making out, Joey and Rachel decide to slow down until Ross is informed of what is going on, Monica’s hair is out of control

Funniest Line-“What is this? Well, let's see, we kissed for 10 minutes and now we'retalking to our friends about it. So, I guess this is sixth grade!”….Rachel

Nitpick of the episode-I am so happy! That gag with Monica’s hair was soooo hilarious in the last episode and didn’t get old fast at all!  I am thrilled they followed up on it to make it a hilarious story in this one that isn’t stupid or pointless in any way!(and yes, that was sarcasm)

Standout Character-Phoebe, it’s funny that it’s two episodes later we follow up on how fast Mike came back and the fact he did, in fact, have a girlfriend. Phoebe handles it, well, like Phoebe especially when she meets at her at Mike’s place

Syndication Edit-The guys boarding the plane home

Final Thoughts-Well to be fair this is a satisfying follow up to the last episode,and they did a nice job incorporating Chandler, Monica and Phoebe in at the beginning (which is very funny by the way). I guess it’s good that they didn’t just drop the Joey/Rachel stuff instantly. They opened that can of worms they may as well explore it more before abandoning it. As for Ross and Charlie, we all know that isn’t going to last so I just can’t get invested in it. Monica’s hair story is so stupid that I’m not even going to discuss it. And as I mentioned we get more on the Phoebe/Mike stuff which as we will see is really going to move forward. But we’ll talk about that as it comes. As for that finalmoment when Ross walks in on Joey and Rachel…perfect!

Grade-B

May 10, 2013

Sitcom Face Off-NewsRadio vs Just Shoot Me!


Welcom back to Sitcom Face Off! Today we will be taking two similar workplace comedies which aired on the same network at the same time (more or less) during the late 90’s.They both started as mid-season replacements and went on to be strong hit shows for NBC.
  VS
During the 90's NBC came out with these two workplace comedies which felt so similar almost like they were both created by the same people. But they weren't, Steve Levitan created Just Shoot me while Paul Simms was responsible for Newsradio. They were both zany work place comedies centered around a unique group of people. But which was better?
   

May 8, 2013

Analytical Episode Guide-Friends (Season 9, Part 4)


Analytical Episode Guide:
Season 9, Part 4

Season 9, Episode 19
The One with Rachel’s Dream
 
Plot Summary-Rachel has a hot dream about Joey, Chandler has to share a romantic weekend getaway with Ross, and Phoebe drives customers away from Monica’s restaurant by singing

Funniest Line-“I think these people have seen me before. They were requesting some of mysongs. "You suck" and "Shut up and go home".”….Phoebe

Nitpick of the episode-Regarding the whole Rachel story-WHY???

Standout Character-Phoebe, nice to get a new Phoebe song, they had kind of faded from the show

Syndication Edit-Monica getting complimented in the restaurant

Final Thoughts-I really don’t get it. The whole Joey/Rachel thing was dead and buried. Why revisit the well? The only part I liked was how it ended, but we have several episodes to get through before that one. It boils down to one thing-Rachel having feelings for Joey makes no sense!! The Chandler/Ross stuff sucks to; the gag about Ross and hotels has already been done. Monica and Phoebe are adorable together and while the story is silly, it’s also the only fun thing in the episode.

Grade=B-


May 7, 2013

Random Thoughts-Iron Man 3

Hey there folks! It's been awhile since I talked about a movie I had seen in theatres. As you know I don't go often. But I did see this one and I wanted to tell you what I thought. I promise, no drawn out plot breakdown. Short, sweet, and spolier free (I hope).

First let's go back a bit. First, I was never a loyal Iron Man fan in the comics. I did see the first  movie and ended up enjoying it much to my surprise. I missed the second movie, but I saw The Avengers and Tony Stark was easily my favorite character in that film. I am not a hardcore Iron Man fan, I am going in as an average movie goer. So, what did I think about Iron Man 3? It was really good!


First of all, I liked how the movie doesn't ignore The Avengers movie. In fact when the movie begins Tony Stark is dealing with issues directly as a result of that film. Very nice touch. As I said I missed the second film but I never felt particularly lost with this one. I was able to catch up and learn what I needed to pretty easily. This movie seemed to have a bit of a dark tone to it, which is ok but honestly I would have liked something a little more comic book-ish, like The Avengers was.


May 6, 2013

Analytical Episode Guide-Friends (Season 9, Part 3)


Analytical Episode Guide:
Season 9, Part 3

Season 9, Episode 13
The One Where Monica Sings
 
Plot Summary-Monica gives a revealing performance at a karaoke bar, Joey has problems getting his eyebrows waxed, and Ross and Rachel have it out over their living situation

Funniest Line-“There is a thin line between love and hate, and it turns out that line is a scarf”….Rachel

Nitpickof the episode-I try so hard not to judge Ross and the way he uses that strange girl in this one. I try, but it’s not easy. Why would you play games with someone who is so clearly damaged?

Standout Character-Ross, he is really incensed at the start of the episode and I can understand why. However he is also in the wrong later when the subject of the phone message he never gave Rachel comes up

Syndication Edit-Longer opening (by the way, the opening scene is fantastic!), more with the strange girl

Final Thoughts-The Monica story falls flat. It isn’t funny when we have to be told what is happening. Granted Chandler’s reaction is pretty good. The Joey story is, well, weird. I have no idea what that was all about. Sight gags never hurt anyone I guess. Once again the real focus here is Ross and Rachel. In order to get through the episode Ross fails to flirt with girls. Then comes along the creepy girl Ross hooks up with for no reason. This is all to lead to the final conversation between him and Rachel where they realize that living together suddenly may not be such a good idea. It’s one of their most intense discussions in awhile. So Rachel ends up moving back with Joey, which really does make more sense. This is the final move of the series, thankfully. So what happened with Gavin anyway? He vanishes after this episode; apparently he was just here as a plot device.

Grade=B-

May 4, 2013

Sitcom Graveyard-Must See TV Failures

In the 80's and 90's, NBC Must See TV was king! If you were watching TV on Thursday night, chances are you were probably watching NBC.Unless you were over 60 than you would be watching CBS. Just kidding...anyways,the shows that aired are classics, Cheers, Cosby Show, Seinfeld, Friends, and so on.

Well, not all the shows are classics. There was a dark side to Must See TV, in that the show had to be really special to make an impact.Some shows struggled for a season or two before being moved to a different timeslot and quietly fading away. Anyone remember The Single Guy, Caroline in the City, or Veronica’s Closet? Others were just bombs, gone so fast many don't even remember them. How could a show fail in that time slot? Well, let's take a look at a few that did.

Grand-This one is cheating because it did manage to get a full season of episodes out. But it sure didn't rise to the popularity of the show it was after, Cheers. Actually the post Cheers spot was a tough one.Night Court worked well there, but Wings and Dear John did not. Seinfeld was the show that really took off at that time slot. Grand was like Soap from the 70's, a soap opera parody which satirized rich people and their quirky ways.

May 2, 2013

Five "WTF??" TV Shows From When I Was Young


When you're a kid, things seem odd. Not necessarily scary, but just strange. You don't have the experience necessary to process certain things correctly. So they stay in your head until you reach the age when you can look back and say, "Oh, that's what that was!" For example, for years I remember being fascinated with the opening to The Electric Company which showed the characters disolving into the actors who played them. When I watch today I realize it's a simple camera trick. Remember the classic Electric Company? Ah,  the good old days.



Here are five of my biggest WTF moments when I was growing up, five shows and or episodes which just seemed....weird...and never left my head!




#5."Pinwheel"


Ah, classic Nickelodeon where have you gone? I have mentioned this before but it deserves another mention. This little show was on for six straight hours during the week when I was a kid, when you're a kid, a show being on all afternoon was a looong time, and I had no idea what I was looking at whenever I watched it. It had strange puppets and weird animation, it was just freaky. In reality it was a decent show and they just re-aired episodes back to back. I did like the closing theme to this show, it will never go away! and was always happy when it ended at 2pm and Today's Special finally came on.

May 1, 2013

Analytical Episode Guide-Friends (Season 9. Part 2)


Analytical Episode Guide:
Season 9, Part 2

Season 9, Episode 7
The One with Ross’s Inappropriate Song
Plot Summary-Ross sings a very questionable song to Emma, Joey and Chandler find  a sex tape in Richard’s apartment with Monica’s name on it, Phoebe meets Mike’s parents

Funniest Line-“And that's why, no matter what mommy says, we really were on a break. Yes we were! Yes we were!”….Ross, keeping that gag alive and well!

Nitpick of the episode-I thought it was a big mistake making mention of Richard, not only is it beating a dead horse but the episode really hurts the character by making him out to be a real loser. Isn’t Chandler over Richard yet?

Standout Character-Ross, I don’t know how the writers do it but once again whats should have been a stupid story is made really funny

Syndication Edit-Phoebe arriving at Mike’s parents

Final Thoughts-Amazingly enough, this episode works. Well parts of it work anyway. I usually love some good old fashioned Chandler and Joey hijinks but the Richard stuff is so two seasons ago. I just don’t know what possessed the creators to revisit that well.  The stuff with Ross and Rachel singing rap songs to Emma is surprisingly funny. The main drive of this episode is Phoebe meeting Mike’s parents who are stuck up snobs. This story is very well done, and even includes the reveal that Mike loves Phoebe. I know I have said this, but it is so nice to see Phoebe’s character finally evolve.

Grade=C+