January 30, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 2, Part 3)








Season 2 rolls on….



Season 2, Episode 11
The Letter

Plot Summary-After Marie ruins her party, Debra decides to writer her a letter.

Nitpick of the episode-NO NO NO NO!! You never put something like that in writing! I get Debra was angry, she had a right to be, but cool off first! If you put it in writing you can’t take it back (trust me I have some experience in this area). Ray says this but of course isn’t listened to. By the way, why didn’t she go to a friend’s house for the party? She could have avoided Marie and ray would have had the tv.

Best Line-“What in hell’s bathroom was that??”…Frank

Episode Fun Fact –First appearance of Gianni

Deleted Scenes-none for this episode

Syndication Edit- The teaser (shocker) establishing the Tupperware party

Best Character-Ray, poor guy does everything he can to prevent the letter from being read

Worst Character-Debra, sorry I can’t let you off the hook here. You brought this on yourself

Final Thoughts-I said last time that the series would basically become the family having arguments with each other. With no real structure or plot. This is the first time we see that, though it’s not to bad. Is Marie really such a baby that if Debra explained to her that she wanted to have a party with just her friends she would have a fit? Yeah she probably is, but still Debra had to know she would come over for one reason for another. Debra says only good can come from the letter, how? The last scene is great and the final conversation between Marie and Debra, though maybe the forgiveness is  a little fast. And why does she let Ray off the hook his friends ruined the party too? The best scene is Frank reading the letter, great moment. And we also see the first time despite his complaining Robert really cares for his family as he is moved to tears when Mare and Debra hug and make up. This will come up later.

Grade-A, quintessential episode



January 27, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 2, Part 2)








Let’s resume season 2 with some good episodes, well except one.




Season 2, Episode 6   
Anniversary

Plot Summary-At Marie and Frank’s anniversary Ray learns that the two almost got divorced when he was a kid.


Nitpick of the episode-How in the world did Ray not at least have some idea what was going on that year when his father left? Ok he was only six but still! Also it’s nice to see Amy, Robert has been dating her regularly but she’s hardly made appearances.

Best Line-“The next time you want to dance, give me notice so I can kill myself.”…Frank

Episode Fun Fact –Not sure but this could be the first use of Debra’s nickname for Ray, Idiot

Deleted Scenes-none for this episode

Syndication Edit-the teaser with Ray tying to sing the kids to sleep and then quite Debra

Best Character-Frank, I’m on his side; most salt lovers don’t wait to try the meat before reaching for the salt. Marie did overreact taking that way to personally! And I’m no salt lover by the way.

Worst Character-Ray, for the life of me I can’t understand why he had to nearly ruin the anniversary party just to hear the story of his parents almost splitting up. A story he should have known and was moot since they ended up staying together. Sometimes his selfishness astounds me.

Debra, Ok I gotta call a tie, rays and idiot for worrying if they’ll end up like his parents but later on Debra worries the same thing when her parents separate. Of course.

Final Thoughts-This is an interesting episode as it once again shows that while Marie and frank argue a lot, the truth is that they are comfortable in their situation. For whatever reason we see in the flashback Debra looked just like Marie and frank just like Ray. This is lame but let’s assume they didn’t feel like hiring actors for the roles so they came up with that as an excuse to explain it away. You gotta love the opening where ray and Robert try to plan the anniversary, it’s just like two guys to have no idea how to do it forcing Debra to step in. Of course she had fought against it.


Grade-A-


January 26, 2017

Top 10 Favorite Weird Al Songs

There are some music artists out there that I love so much, I can listen to their entire album and enjoy it. So maybe this year it’s time to go over some them, artists that I love and albums I adore. Today I wanted to start by discussing the master of song parody, Weird Al Yankovic






There aren’t to many artists out there I can say I loved as a kid and still love today. But we discovered Weird Al sometime in the 80’s, and I think my brother and I played that greatest hits album a million times. I just love how talented he is, and his parodies were great in the 80’s and are still great today. Ok I never saw UHF or anything, but some of my favorite songs are these silly parodies.


Rather than discuss the songs in that, admittedly old, album I wanted to cover the ten songs I love from any era. Here are my ten favorite:




#10.Everything You Know is Wrong
I can’t lie, I hadn’t really heard this song until it started being used by Nostalgia Critic and Linkara. I also put it here because he has done a lot of original songs, and so I needed one. There doesn’t seem to be an official video so enjoy the below.




January 23, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 2, Part 1)


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Welcome to season 2 which featured a big adjustment to the series. And not just with the stories, which became less about Ray as a jerk. The set's were revamped a bit and the show was finally evolving into the one we would love. Let’s get started:





Season 2, Episode 1
Ray’s on TV
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Plot Summary-Ray is mortified to find out his family has been lying to him his whole life.

Nitpick of the episode-Real easy one, Ray’s first time on TV was such a mess why in the world was he invited back for that second time? And has this show never heard of doing a rehearsal before going live!

Best Line-“I could’ve eaten a box of Alpha-Bits and crapped a better interview.”…Frank

Episode Fun Fact –We get some changes for the second season. The new opening (which is lame), and the living room has been given new wallpaper which is much brighter. Also the window near the door was adjusted, possibly to more closely reflect the house in the establishing shots. And Robert is the character we would love for the rest of the season, they say it’s because he lost weight but I get the feeling he got some notes during the summer. Finally Robert can enjoy himself once in awhile and stop acting, well, creepy.

Deleted Scenes-none for this episode

Syndication Edit-few second of teaser with ray saying goodbye to his parents

Best Character-Debra, she actually come off supportive  here!

Worst Character-Ray, because he’s Ray

Final Thoughts-This episode is such a relief after watching that first season. This is the show I love! Ok I’m not going to pretend this is the best episode ever. In fact it’s a little one sided with no B story at all. But it was a season premiere. The main premise of the episode is that parents always lie to their kids for their own good. I am not sure if the episodes really hits that as good as it could have, but watching ray accept his quirks is always fun. Though while I can forgive him for mispronouncing words not scratching the mic or talking after the show has started should have been common sense.

Grade-B+

January 19, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 1, Part 4)

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Got a couple extra episode this time around as we finish up the first season.




Season 1, Episode 16
Diamonds
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Plot Summary-Ray panics to get Debra a new diamond ring after he discovers the one he bought was a fake.

Nitpick of the episode-You gotta love retcon’s! So Debra explains that she replaced the diamond Ray gave her with her grandmother’s because she couldn’t show her mother the real diamond. However in the wedding episode Debra gets the ring and seconds later shows it to her mother. Debra also ray proposed on Valentine’s Day which isn’t done in the other episode. There were so many other ways to rid this, how about ray just buy her a new ring as a gift?  Or why didn’t ray just tell Debra about the ring,  it was franks fault!

Best Line-“Hey. Wanna play baker in the mineshaft?”..Ray

Episode Fun Fact –

Deleted Scenes-none for this episode

Syndication Edit-teaser with a cameo from Barry Bonds

Best Character-Ray, give him points for trying to fix the mistake and it isn’t his fault Debra made it worst

Worst Character-Debra, pretty terrible to not only replace the diamond but not tell ray

Final Thoughts-I brought up weepy Debra before and man do we get it here. Compared to later in the series you’d swear it was a different character. Patricia Heaton made her character angry the same way Julia Louis Dreyfus did with Elaine on Seinfeld. The difference in this case is the change will be an improvement, mostly. This episode feels out of place in this series, it feels more like a Cosby episode. And while Robert was getting better in terms of being weird, he still lacked common sense. Hence giving Amy an Iguana as a gift in this episode.

Grade-D+


January 17, 2017

700th Blog Special:TV Shows That Could Have Been

About a year ago when I marked 600 blogs, I ended the article by commenting that I wasn’t sure what else I would discuss. But thankfully Star Trek’s 50th anniversary took my attention and I did a bunch of Trek articles. So the result is that we are here at 700 blogs this year. Which, if you’ll forgive me, is quite an accomplishment. Especially for a little blog series about silly things like TV Shows and Comic Books. But here we are so it seemed only fair to honor my tradition and do something special.


Then the question became, what should I talk about? And at first I wasn’t sure. Then I remembered an article I had done last year about Star Trek concepts that never went anywhere, including the pilot episode “The Cage”. That episode was very different as it featured Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike and a Spock that was not quite the character we would love.


the cage_the bridge




Even the second pilot was not quite the Trek we would love. Of course Star Trek isn’t the only show that experienced growing pains before it made it to air. The Cosby Show had a very different set in the pilot than we would see in the series. On Roseanne’s pilot D.J is played by a different kid. The Golden Girls pilot featured a gay cook in the house who thankfully disappeared real fast. Home Improvement was supposed to have a different assistant for Tim, but when the actor fell through Al came aboard. And Patricia Heston was sot the first choice for Jill. The first pilot of Just Shoot Me had some minor differences, most notably that David Space was not in the cast. Apparently Maya was a bit more grunge and the set looked vastly different, including a large staircase that served no real purpose.


And sometimes the changes are startling! We all remember Empty Nest as the Richard Mulligan vehicle about his daughters coming hone to live with him. But in the original pilot (a backdoor pilot in a Golden Girls episode) the premise involved a married couple dealing with their daughter going to college. Totally different concept, totally different cast (except David Leisure who was a different character entirely). In fact the only thing to survive was the set!!


Whether it’s just swapping an actor or everything is overhauled right down to the premise,  looking back at original concepts for TV shows that were scrapped can be really fascinating. What if they hadn’t changed it, would the series have still been such a hit?


So, here are some great shows that everyone loves..and how different they could have been! Most of these pilot’s never aired.


The Honeymooners
Wait, what? Yep I discovered this during a visit to yhe Museum of TV and Radio in New York City. The Honeymooners began as a sketch on a show Cavalcade of Stars and Audrey Meadows was not the first to play Alice. Pert Kelton played for a couple episodes. Unaired pilots have been around as long as TV, I Love Lucy even had one.



January 16, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 1, Part 3)


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Season 1, Episode 11
Captain Nemo
Screenshot_captainnemo


Plot Summary-Ray and Robert compete over who should be the captain of the basketball team.


Nitpick of the episode-This is a cheap nit since the episode actually addresses it, but why would Ray want to waste his time playing Basketball when he has a beautiful family at home?


Best Line–“To my first-born son. A leader of men. And to my second son. A loyal follower”. Frank

Episode Fun Fact –First of appearance of Ray’s friends Kevin and Andy. And another jerk who thankfully we never see again. And thankful the obnoxiousness will be toned down in later episodes.


Deleted Scenes-none for this episode


Syndication Edit-the teaser with ray loading the dishwasher before going to the game with Robert


Best Character-Debra, for once she makes her point without having to be a witch about it


Worst Character-Robert, why he had to be a jerk when he became captain I’ll never know


Final Thoughts-Well we finally find out that Ray has friends. Course Andy would be around on and off while Kevin would eventually disappear (when Kevin James went off to King of Queens of course). There is a third friend who is such a jerk I’m wont dignify him by referring to his name. That’s pretty much the gist of the episode, and in the end Ray finally quits Basketball to be with his family. We also get competition between him and Robert over who will be captain which is pretty boring. Though it is nice to see Robert finally developing a personality.


Grade-C, Kinda dull


January 13, 2017

Underrated Trek:Man of the People (TNG)

Welcome back to Underrated Trek, where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I love…which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. Sometimes an episode is delayed, causing another episode to be rushed to fill the slot. What we end up with is a less then stellar episode that is more a miss than a hit. This is:


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Maybe if this episode made a little sense it would have been better. Poor early season six TNG, I feel so bad for you! I talked about another less than thrilling episode back in review of “Rascals”. Here’s another which aired a few weeks earlier. Is it that bad? Let’s discuss :


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January 12, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 1, Part 2)

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Season 1, Episode 6
Frank, the Writer
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Plot Summary-Frank thinks he can be a writer and tries writing or Reader’s Digest.

Nitpick of the episode-Robert worrying that the baby doesn’t like him anymore is pretty lame especially when we see in the end he can’t even tell the twins apart.

Best Line-“ Hey Ray did you know that Mark Twain had a son who was a writer? His name was Choo-choo. Choo-choo Twain”…Frank

Episode Fun Fact-Starting in this episode we see a lot sports celebrities cameoing in the opening teasers. This was CBS’s way to get the suffering show some attention. The creators agreed knowing full well they could edit the cameos out later when the series went to syndication.

Deleted Scenes-Teaser with Kareem Abdul Jabaar.

Syndication Edit-Ally watching TV with Debra

Best Character-Ray, I like the way he handles Frank in this one


Worst Character-Robert, he’s just annoying in this one


Final Thoughts-Another early episode and it shows. The whole premise seems so crazy, that Frank would want to be a writer. Where did this idea even come from? He gets so full of himself he even thinks he can write for Ray’s paper. Ray convinces him that is a bad idea in a way that makes sense. And what is the big deal about Readers Digest? And then we have Robert worrying that Michael doesn’t like him anymore. This is stupid for many reason, Robert doesn’t worry like Ray does and the fact Michael is, you know, a baby!


Grade-C-, the idea is farfetched but the characters are at least on key


January 9, 2017

Analytical Episode Guide:Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 1, Part 1)

 Back in October I talked about how I was returning Analytical Episode Guide after the first of the year. Well, we’re a week into January so here we go! I explained the focus but in case you missed that article, for the next several months I will be looking over:





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So, why this show? I could say that it was because it isn’t that old and I think is more familiar than other stuff. But the real reason is because this show fascinates me! It isn’t that remarkable, and yet got critical praise and tons of awards when it was on. I should hate it, these characters are awful, and yet I love the show. Why? I have talked about how much I hate Debra, but a lot of women I know roll their eyes at Ray and call him an idiot. Which he is. I think this show is popular because we recognize these characters, whether we want to admit or not, and these situations. I have a lot to say about this and despite attempts in other articles I still have never covered the series as well as I’d like. Here I intend to discuss less on story and more character analysis. In most cases, the stories aren’t really that remarkable. Oh sure they’re well written but still. It’s these characters that interest me. Why is Marie so bossy? Why is Frank so angry? Is Robert really second banana or does he just like playing the victim?  Is Debra really a witch, or is she entitled to be moody living with an idiot like Ray? Why is Ray so damn horny??


Like with the Friends guide I will review all the episode on each DVD at a time. Also I’ll try to release these two a week so that this doesn’t go on until September. The only change will be that unlike Friends and Seinfeld the DVD are split into five rather than four. So one article will probably end one season and start another. We’ll see as we proceed. I was hoping to say I was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the show’s premiere, but I guess I’m a year late to that party. One last note, if you remember my Halloween article I said I was going to dedicate a part every episode to pick on Debra. I decided not to do that, since to be fair there are plenty of episodes where she is likable. Oh I’ll pick on her when she deserves it, but I don’t see the need to bully her.




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Everybody Loves Raymond premiered on Sep. 13, 1996 and was not an instant hit. Watching the first season it isn’t hard to see why.

January 5, 2017

Top 5 Star Trek Pilot Episodes

Happy 2017!!  And don’t worry my friends I promise while the Trek articles will continue they will not be as many as I did last year. 🙂  So as we enter a new year I thought it would be fun to rate the pilot episodes of each Trek series, which holds up the best? And I am not including The Cage, yeah that was the very first Star Trek pilot but it also didn’t sell the series. I am also not counting the animated series because, well, why would I?




A good pilot episode has to introduce the premise, establish the characters, and introduce the elements which will drive the stories. Usually a pilot is less than perfect, with some hardly resembling the final series at all aside from the familiar faces. Others get so close that the pilot’s will often feel like just another episode. Trek has had five pilots, which did it best? Let’s see:




#5
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In order to do this list justice, I did something I have never done. I sat down and watched the whole pilot episode, beginning to end. When this first came around in 1995 I hated it, and turned it off! Though I did see the ending there was always a large chunk in the middle I missed. It says something that I missed part of the episode but caught on with no trouble when I tuned back in! So I watched it and……it’s convoluted and boring. As if they tried to mesh three different ideas into one story. But the one big flaw with this is that while the episode does a fantastic job setting up the premise of the series regarding the conflict between the Marquis and Starfleet officers not to mention being out lost in space, the fact the series could do nothing with that premise hurts it. But it’s #5 because I hated this episode so much I didn’t watch most of the first season because of it. And that is not the mark of a good pilot.  And here’s a bonus, I finally got to see the scene of Neelix taking a bath! Yech.60151030