November 27, 2016

“A Christmas Carol”-Differences from Book to Adaptations




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I love A Christmas Carol, it’s a great novel and has made for some fantastic adaptations on stage and screen. But as you can imagine, the key word is “adaptation”. When anything is adapted from one medium to another, changes are inevitably made. Things are kept, others dropped, and some things expanded on. For better and for worst. For instance did you know that the house Scrooge lives in was Marley’s? Or that he has a cold? These are details that just aren’t important enough to be adapted over. Other times stuff will be added to fill out the story. Some changes seem so obvious that it amazes me that they aren’t in the book!



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So here are ten changes from book to adaptions, some changes for the better and others not so much. I am going over several of these versions but of course I can;t possibly mention all of them. Thank you YouTube! Just to be clear, by “Disney” version I am referring to the Jim Carey one from a  few years ago.




10.Adding Music
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Of course this was a novel, or novella, so there is no music in the book except for maybe the singing in teh church. And the Fezziwig scene of course. That doesn’t stop people from making it into a musical, and sometimes this helps. Sometimes not so much. For instance every musical version adds a song to the scene where Belle and Scrooge break up, making it go for an eternity! All the musical versions have songs in the opening which kinda hurts the mood (though The Muppets isn’t the worst). In the Albert Finney version a song makes Scooge’s walk home take forever, and he runs into all kinds of people he’ll encounter again in the finale. The Kelsey Grammar version one up’s that by having the ghosts foreshadowed when Scrooge runs into them in human form. A cute but unnecessary touch. The big difference between the Grammar version and the Finney version is that the songs in the Grammar version take the place of dialogue from the book. Give the Finney version credit, the songs don’t intrude on the dialogue! And these have big musical finale’s which I always think are to much, Scrooge is supposed to be happy but having him dancing down the street is hard to buy. Albert Finney’s finale is especially wayyyyyyyy to much. The best? Michael Cain in the Muppet Christmas Carol handles it a lot of class and that final act is my favorite.

November 21, 2016

Top 5 Favorite Canine Commercial Mascots

It’s easy to have an animated animal in a commercial, having a real live dog appear is a little hardly. Sure having a dog appear in your commercial seems to be a very popular idea since dogs are cute and trainable. Except for Morris you don’t see many big time cat icons because cats pretty much just, lie there (which is why established characters like Garfield are often used). But it still takes a special something for the mascot to become popular.  Even harder when they appear in ads for things other than dog food, though the chuck wagon dog is funny. Sometimes these ads are so popular and the characters do so well liked that they are merchandised and become as popular as any celebrity.



Here are five dogs that appeared in commercials who became so popular that they eclipsed the product they were advertising!




#5.Cottonelle Dog
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The one dog on this list who is here because he’s just cute. He doesn’t really have a gimmick, he’s just a Yellow Lab doing his thing. These ads aren’t the most remarkable, but they’re a lot better than those awful Charmin animated bear ads where they seem to be enjoying going to the bathroom WWAAAYYY to much!


November 19, 2016

A Look at Home Improvement Thanksgiving Episodes .

Three years in a row now I have celebrated Thanksgiving with a special review of a Thanksgiving episode or episodes. After doing The Cosby Show, Roseanne, and Frasier (and with my look at Everybody Loves Raymond coming next year) the last few years, the next logical choice was an easy one.

ABC--FILE PHOTO--HOME IMPROVEMENT-- Starring in the ABC Televison Network's hit comedy series, HOME IMPROVEMENT, are (top to bottom) Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Zachary Ty Bryan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Taran Smith. 



This series didn’t do a Thanksgiving every single yar, but when they did they really did a nice job with it. Well, for the most part. As I looked over the episodes I realized that looking them over gives a nice overview of how this show was so good and then jumped the shark towards the end. Let me explain what I mean:



“A Frozen Moment” (1993)
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This is sort of a Christmas episode also, but only because the B story involves Tim going overboard with the family Christmas card. Which of course results in crazy costumes and Tim causing the snow machine to break the window of the house. All in all, tame stuff. And the Thanksgiving parts are really nice, you feel like you’re watching Thanksgiving dinner at a real families house. Yeah I’m sure there aren’t to many families who literally go around the table talking about what they’re thankful for, but it is a TV show.


November 16, 2016

Ten Great Christmas Scenes from Non-Christmas Movies

Back in July I talked about how a lot of movies will have a Christmas scene or two in them even though there is nothing at all Christmassy in the movie. But the funny thing, some of these scenes are wonderful Christmas scenes!



Sometimes the movie is set around Christmas but the holiday is basically ignored. Like in Gremlins…which I don’t talk about. . Of course Christmas appearing in movies that have nothing to do with the holiday is not new. Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, First Blood, Red..just to name a few! these were set at Christmas even though they are hardly festive. But then there those other times the movie isn’t set at Christmas at all..save for literally one scene.



So here are few examples of movies having nothing to do with Christmas giving us a scene that almost makes you forget it isn’t a Christmas movie! In no particular order.



10.Star Trek:Generations
So Picard enters the nexxus and experiences his hearts desire (or whatever) which happens to be Christmas morning surrounded by his loving family. Nice.




November 13, 2016

Five Misunderstood Star Trek Villains

Star Trek has had some epic villains over the years. From Khan to the Borg, they are just evil bastards who will do anything to achieve their own goals. No matter who they hurt along the way.



However, some villains really aren’t evil in my opinion anyway. Just because someone does something awful doesn’t always have to mean they are evil. Maybe they are just misguided or immature, or doing things which are potentially harmful because they feel there is some greater goal. Here are a few Star Trek villains which I just can’t bring myself to call “evil”. Do they do bad things? Oh my yes. But evil? Let’s discuss:



Romulan Commander (TOS-Balance of Terror)
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If you ever wondered why Mark Lenard got the role as Sarek, check out his first Trek role in “Balance of Terror”. Yes I know I trashed this episode earlier in the year, but to be fair it does have some great performances. It’s clear that the Romulan Commander (apparently Romulans in TOS don’t deserve names) is a good and honest person who is doing what he feels he has to do. You can see the torment he feels in his actions, thanks to Lenard’s fantastic portrayal. He’s a master tactician doing his job. In fact the end of the episode he even admits that he figures if things were different he and Kirk may have been friends.

November 9, 2016

Top 15 Favorite TV Maids/Housekeepers

Ok last one, call it a three part series on food servers, I guess.


Housekeepers are fixture in TV, it’s as simple as that! From Aunt Bee on Andy Griffith to Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons to Mrs.Featherbottom on Arrested Development, we have seen all kinds of housekeepers, male and female. I guess because these characters are always the fun characters. They have the great lines and quick often, and often manage to be smarter than anyone else on the show (even if no one else realizes that!).



So here are my fifteen favorites. Wait, 15???? Yeah there were way to many to limit this to ten. The only rule is these have to be regulars on the respective series, and not one shots.





#15.Florida from Maude
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Maude was a very strong willed woman, the kind of person that it would be hard to stand up to. Which is probably why people enjoyed the way Florida took none of that nonsense. She was so popular they spun her off to Good Times after two seasons.


November 7, 2016

Top 10 Favorite TV Restaurant Managers/Bartenders

Ok I wasn’t going to tackle this one so soon, but since I already thought about it I figured why the heck not?


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I discussed waitresses or food servers last time, but what about the managers of these places? Usually they are colorful characters in their own right, from Mr.Gaines on A Different World to Han Lee on 2 Broke Girls. Even when a show isn’t based around a eatery usually if the characters spend enough time there we get to know the staff. For example, on Coach they spent a lot of time at The Touchdown Club and we got to know that manager so well he returned for the series finale. Three’s Company had The Regal Beagle which was as much a part of that show as any other character. Seinfeld is a perfect example, as we became as familiar with the owner of Monk’s named Larry, the cashier Ruthie and several recurring waitress’s as well as any other character on this show. In fact Ruthie appears in more episodes than any other recurring character, though she only spoke in one episode.


I am counting as managers anyone who runs the place even if they also cook and tend bar at the same time. Also no one timers. They have to be regulars who appeared several times in the series (sorry Soup Nazi). Finally, they do have to work in a restaurant or bar. So no housekeepers and sorry but Hawkeye serving Martini’s on MASH doesn’t count.


#10.Ike Johnson from Love & War
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Yeah oh this one is even more obscure than my “It’s a Living” choice on the last list. But I put it here for two reasons. One is that I always liked the actor, John Hancock, who sadly died just a few episodes into the series. The other reason is, I thought he was good on the show! He was the tough but lovable bartender and probably the best character on that show. This is so obscure I couldn’t even find a picture to put here (hence the cast photo above). After Hancock died the role was filled by Charlie Robinson who filled those shoes very admirably.



November 5, 2016

Top 10 Favrorite TV Waitresses

There are lots of professions in TV that are popular for writers and creators. Teachers is a big one, not to mention doctors of all sorts.  Another has to be the waitress. Not sure why that is, but maybe it’s because we’ve all had experiences with waitress’s. Whether they’re sassy and smart, ditzy and dumb, or just really attractive we can all relate to these professionals. So today, I wanted to list my ten favorite waitress’s from TV shows over the last several years.



Couple rules, one is that this list is only women. Yes I know men can be waiters and I’m sure they are fantastic but let’s be honest on TV it’s the waitress’s that keep us interested. I want to limit this to regular cast members but there is at least one who is more of recurring character. So let’s say they have to appear more than a few times. Also, the character has to be have been a waitress for more than a single episode. Though not necessarily the run of the series. Many shows will throw a character into a waiter role for a gag (they did it with Marion on Happy Days when she worked at Arnold’s for instance, or the two episodes Laverne and Shirley worked as waitresses at a diner and hi jinks ensued. Whitley on A Different World was a waitress for a whole day. Buffy was also. And yes Monica on Friends worked as a waitress at a 50’s dimer but only for a few episodes and it was dropped and forgotten very quickly). Finally, the waitress has to work at an eating establishment such a bar or restaurant, no housekeepers or the like who work out of homes. That’s a whole other list.




#10.Max Black and Caroline Channing from 2 Broke Girls
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This show has some good points and some very bad points. In fact I dare say it has one of the worst supporting casts I’ve ever seen in a TV show. They’re all unlikable stereotypes!  So why is this show a hit then? Because the chemistry between Max and Caroline is irresistible. They just play so well of each other. They are total opposites but somehow it works,  they’re true friends. I also like how in this show the girls have a dream and have actively been pursuing it. Some shows a character will have a dream and do next to nothing to achieve it for the bulk of the series, until one day when the writers remember to do something with it. But while they work for that dream they work at Williamsburg Diner in Brooklyn.


November 2, 2016

Ten “Underrated Trek” Articles I Will Never Do

For a couple years now I have been doing a regular series called Underrated Trek, where I discuss episodes which, while not that popular if not hated outright, I like for some reason. But there are some episodes that even I can’t defend, they’re just bad for one reason or another. Not the worst ever, but bad enough that I can’t even find something positive in them. So as we wind up the year I decided it was time to give these episodes a little attention.




Here are ten episodes that I just can’t get behind.



The Omega Glory
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I briefly mentioned this back on the 4th of July for its forced Patriotism.  But the truth is, the episode is just bad. This was one of Gene Roddenberry’s proposals for a pilot idea. Of course they went with “Where No Man..” Which was a good call because this episode is just boring. It’s all over the place and the American parallels are to much. So much that for once the parallel Earth setup fails, it just feels silly.