July 29, 2012

Random Thoughts-The Dark Knight Rises


Well, I finally got to see the new Batman movie yesterday and decided to share my two cents worth. This is a really hard movie to talk about, but will try to give it a shot. First, let me be clear about one thing. I did not hate this movie. It was not terrible. That being said, I did not love it either. I had problems with it. I saw Doug Walker’s review as everyone else has, and have to say I agree with most of what he said. If there is one word to describe my reaction to this movie it is this-underwhelmed. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I did not want to spend time comparing these to the old films, but there were two observations I just had to make. The first is that when Batman Returns came out one of the big complaints was that it seemed that Batman was hardly in the film. Compared to DKR he was in it almost too much! The other thing I wanted to say is that despite everything, I still enjoy the original (three) films more than these. I just liked the feel of those films more. That is not a slam on this trilogy at all, but those films will always be nearest and dearest to me. Oh, and I think Michelle Pfeifer was a better Catwoman but that takes nothing away from Anne Hathaway. Okay, let’s talk about this film and trilogy specifically. Of course, this is all opinion and if I repeat what others have already it’s unintentional.

I already talked about this, but briefly Batman Begins was ok. It was a little to realistic which was hard to get into. I did like how they showed Bruce training and getting his various gadgets ready. That is something that was missing from the old films. I liked the villains, when I thought of Scarecrow I always thought of the old Superfriends cartoon where he didn’t seem menacing at all but here they did a great job with him. Ra’s Al Ghul has never been a favorite but he worked in the film. The Dark Knight was good. It was also mired in realism as we dealt with a city under siege with crime and cops getting killed. But I loved what they did with The Joker and especially Two-Face.

So we get to this movie, and I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not. I will say one thing about this; it didn’t feel like three hours. It did keep me engaged enough. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have lots of problems with it. The first part of this movie was actually pretty good. Before I talked about the film let’s talk about what thse films are about.

These films are about Bruce Wayne more than Batman. Batman is just a tool Bruce uses to fight crime, and there is nothing wrong with that. Being the old comics nerd I am used to Batman being the real characters and Bruce the disguise, but Chris Nolan can do whatever he wants. That’s why while I don’t agree with these Batman movies, they are good. To me the idea that Batman went into hiding and all the crime in Gotham is gone is impossible. But because these movies are about Bruce I understand why Chris Nolan did what he did. This isn’t like the comics were Gotham needs constant protecting and Batman is always needed. In Chris Nolan’s universe that is not the case. These movies are about Bruce, and as noted Batman seems to be missing from many parts here. Fine, I get that and can just take these movies by themselves as they are.

It started kind of slow, but it got better. I liked Selina Kyle, she was a good enough character. In fact the scenes with her and Bruce/Batman were really cute, even bringing a smile to my face. Bane was very well done, such a better job than in that ludicrous Batman & Robin. I had serious doubts when I heard he was to be the villain but they really made it work. The voice was weird at first but I got used to it. I have to say I wound up being impressed with the first half. It’s hard to remember everything because it’s been a few hours now since I saw the film, but the first half was really decent. When Batman does finally return it was a cool, if underplayed, moment. Then we get to the fight with Bane, and I gotta say it was really well done. This is what Bane was supposed to do to Batman, break him physically and spiritually. So, up to this point I was feeling pretty good.

Too bad the movie didn’t end there. Ok, let me stop for a second because I glossed over a few things. First of all, great to see the batcave again! John Blake was a decent enough character. I don’t mind spoilers, so I knew where his characters was going, probably a good thing because I enjoyed it a little more. Speaking of that, I was spoiled about the true identity of Miranda Tate. I didn’t want to be, but some Facebook commenter’s apparently never heard of spoiler alerts. But you know, I’m kind of glad that I was spoiled on that. Honestly I think I paid more attention to her because of that and could appreciate the character more from the start. Why they decided to make this a big surprise ten minutes before the end is beyond me. When she gets killed in the end, we hardly care. I think we spent a total of twenty minutes with her, and very little of that as the villain, so who cares? I will have more to say on the end in a second. I was a little upset to see Commissioner Gordon spend most of the film in a hospital bed, but they made up for it in the end. The mayor certainly got an unceremonious send off. Finally, Anne Hathaway was really good. This was a unique take on Catwoman and for the most part I enjoyed her time on screen. Yeah, she didn’t have enough to do but that’s cool.  This was one time that they stuck pretty close to the  way the character is in the comics. One gribe might I would have liked to see her be more willing to join Bruce in the end we didn’t need conflict. But that is a small gripe. By the way, Batman’s voice didn’t bother me as much in this film. Maybe because Batman was hardly in it.

So what didn’t I like in the first act? The opening sequence was only ok. Honestly it felt like a cheap attempt to duplicate our introduction to The Joker, but didn’t have the same excitement to it. One thing I hated was the way much of the Dark Knight was just pushed away. Not forgotten, but pushed away. Commissioner Gordon’s family are conveniently out of the picture even though it was clear that his family was very important to him (the fact his wife left him is ludicrous!). I got annoyed in the previous film with the way the crime was out of control in the city and the killing of cops and all that, that didn’t feel like a comic book movie, but in this movie that’s all gone!  We’re supposed to believe that Gotham is a happy little paradise all of a sudden? Yeah, even with what I said in the beginning of this still not buying it. I would have liked a Joker mention somewhere in there.  Finally, I never agreed with the ending to The Dark Knight when Batman takes the blame for Dent. Watching this film you wonder if even Nolan realized that was dumb, because the characters are chastised for it. I was upset that the end was not really followed up on, and wondered why we open eight years later to a hobbled Bruce Wayne.

However the first act was still really strong, and then we get to the second act. This is where the movie goes down the drain for me. First of all, the prison did not work for me. I liked the prison stuff in Star Trek VI more believe it or not. I just didn’t feel for Bruce and what he was going through. The backstory about the prisoner who escaped went on forever. In fact that’s a complaint I have with this film, too much backstory!  This movie is definitely a sequel to Batman Begins, Liam Neeson even put in a cameo. The way Bruce is cured is lame and rushed. I am not sure if they made it clear Bane literally broke his back, but even if he didn’t the recovery seemed too easy. The stuff with Bane taking over went to long to, I just stopped caring, The stadium scene was trailer fodder, simple as that. It was pointless and unnecessary. A reviewer from another site made a great observation I totally agree with. He noted that we don’t see the people rise up and support Batman. In fact, we don’t see the people in the city at all. They all cower in their houses like wimps. At one point Catwoman says that they are not worth saving because they have never done anything for Batman. Believe it or not, I kind of agree with her! They try to have Bane “prove a point” the way the Joker did. But what the Joker did almost worked; here it doesn’t really go anywhere. The end they showed Gotham unveil a statue in Batman’s honor, there should have been more scenes of people using his images as a symbol earlier in the film it just would have had added more meaning.

Yes, the moment where Bruce escaped the prison is a big yawn, I was more impressed with the surrounding country. By the way, since when is Gotham an island? Love how they went from Chicago to New York to make the plot device of the bridges work. Of course the big gripe of this film, for good reason, is how did Bruce get back into the city? I would have settled for even having Selina ask only to have Bruce give a nod and smile but not an answer. Sure it would have been cheesy but at least that would have been acknowledging it! I mean, couldn’t they have shown something? You can’t be a realistic comic book movie and then for one scene pull the “well it’s a silly comic book movie so we don’t have to explain it” crap! Can’t have it both ways.

The last half hour of The Dark Knight, I was really invested. I loved Two-Face and what they did with that character really made that film for me. I wanted to see what happened, and believe it or not was a little sad it ended when it did.  While I would not say I was bored exactly, the ending of this one did nothing for me.  First of all, I was ready to yell at the screen “enough backstory!” I mean when Tate went on about her real identity I was like, whatever! Why didn’t they introduce that character sooner!  I read enough Batman to know who Talia is but my father sure had no clue. They establish she and Bane were friends way too late for me to give a crap. The villains did not have the same allure for me. Of course with Catwoman that is forgivable since we are not sure if we are supposed to love her or hate her. But Bane starts good but ends up being so generic that I just didn’t care. The build up to the final action scene went on forever, and then the whole action sequence was just dull. Sorry, I feel many people hating me but it just was. The situation was so generic I could have screamed! An atomic bomb is going to go off and the heroes only have so much time to stop it! Where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, more times than I care to remember! As usual in one scene they have days left and then suddenly it’s down to hours. They even did the tired cliché of having a clock ticking. I mean, really? Honest to god I may have walked out if I had been alone. How many times are we going to see this? It doesn’t add suspense to have a ticking clock because it has been done to death!!  I wish filmmakers would understand that already!

The climax was a letdown.  The plan is kind of weak but I can live with it. Yeah, I would love to see an original villain plan for once, but whatever. If the characters are strong it shouldn’t matter. The final battle just didn’t do anything for me; I almost missed where Tate’s vehicle crashed because I just didn’t care. By the way, that was how she died? In a car accident? Anticlimactic to say the least. In fact both villains die almost by accident, and Batman does nothing really to defeat them. I didn’t mind him being beaten the first time, in fact that was a very well done scene, but I expected better the second time. All we get is a fistfight (what is this, Rocky?) and then Catwoman saved the day. Hoorah. I really don’t understand why people are saying this is better than The Dark Knight, but that’s there right and I respect that. By the way I am not getting into the deaths caused by Batman in this film, but I did not like when he repeated Bane’s line about having permission to die. That is just not something Batman would say, unless maybe Frank Miller was writing him.

So let’s talk about the worst part of the film for me. The ending.    Again I am spoiling it so if you don’t want to know how it ends stop here. So Batman takes the bomb and flies out to the bay, where it explodes apparently killing him. First of all, wouldn’t the explosion still affect the city? I mean they said it had a six mile radius. Superman used to fly these things into space to get them as far away as possible. Then what happens next just lost me. There is a funeral for Bruce because Commissioner Gordon figured he was Batman. What a slap in the face to the comics that is, talk about violating rule #1! Alfred is beside himself because he failed. Kind of makes the scene where he leaves unnecessary. The bit about turning Wayne Manor into a home for orphaned children was laaammmmee. The scene it was calling back to was weak too. We see Blake discover the bat cave and apparently his name is Robin….what? He was cool in the film but what did he do that makes him the new Robin? Then we see Alfred in the café where he spies Bruce and Selina. I am going to ignore the fact that they hardly had a relationship and complain about the thing which really bugged me and this goes back to what I discussed in the beginning. These three movies were about Bruce as I mentioned, and how does the story end? With a half second appearance in a café, and that’s it. We don’t even know for sure if Alfred really sees him (although it’s safe to assume he does), but what then? Is he happy? Has he moved on? Will Batman ever return? How do you end a trilogy like this!  I thought I hated it in Return of the Jedi when the last we saw of our heroes was celebrating with teddy bears, but this was worst! We know this is the last film, so why not give this character a proper send off? This isn’t INCEPTION Chris Nolan!!!  Well, I hated that ending. I mean, really really hated it! What a letdown.

So, those are my thoughts on the new Batman film. I liked The Dark Knight much more. This was not the worst thing ever, but not great either. Before I wrap up I do have one comment I need to make. I respect anyone for having an opinion, if you loved this film that’s great. But at the same time people are allowed to hate it. Chris Nolan is not the be all end all of filmmaking and let’s be frank, this film has problems. If you enjoyed it, great, but don’t bash people because they “had the nerve” to hate it. I say this after reading some of the comments after Doug Walker did his review, and some of those comments were a bit strong. I don’t understand why the fans are so protective of this trilogy, the movies were well made and lots of work went into them, yes, but they are still movies and people are free to hate them as they please.

Ok, that’s it for me. Feel free to comment and let me know how you feel or if I got a detail wrong. Until next time!

July 28, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 9, Part 2)

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 9, Part 2)

An Analytical Episode Guide to:

Season 9, Part 2

Episode 7, Season 9
The Slicer
Plot Summary-Elaine’s neighbor leaves his alarm clock on. Kramer discovers new uses for his meat slicer. George realizes he had a run in with his new boss years ago. Jerry dates a dermatologist.
Best Quote-“Sadly that knowledge could have helped me”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Kramer exceeds his own thoughtlessness in this episode by using benzene on Jerry’s hand towel to wipe his slicer down. When Jerry tosses him the canister Kramer yells out that its toxic. Gee, funny how you knew that in that moment but couldn’t figure it out when you were using Jerry’s hand towel to clean the thing! I know Kramer is kind of a mooch but I would still expect him to be a little more considerate than that.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry tries the revenge date
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-George’s appearance in the flashback in this episode doesn’t quite match how he really looked back in 1989
Final Thoughts-Last week I noted that George gets real annoying in this season, yelling and screaming like a loon. However, there wasn’t too much of that in the episodes I discussed last week. Well, that changes in a big way with this episode. Before we get to that let’s talk about the rest of the episode. First of all, I love Elaine’s dream in the beginning. If you’ve only seen this in syndication and don’t know what I am talking about, check out the DVD. Not only is it a cute moment, but as a dream it’s so symbolic and accurate. Clever. Elaine’s story is pretty relatable but when the neighbor also a cat it starts to feel forced. If the neighbor leaves for days or weeks at a time why not board the cat or something? Kramer’s story is a pretty subdued one, but it still works out. Always fun to see Dr Van Nostrand again. It’s funny to see Jerry so sure that he has the means to get revenge on his date only to have it backfire. This is classic Jerry here. I didn’t like the aloe joke, there are dozens of acne and skin medicines out there. George’s story really isn’t bad. He’s actually pretty good inthis episode but we can see the seeds of where his character is going in the next few episodes. There are lots of callbacks in this episode including one to “The Revenge” which is really good. I am not sure airbrushing works quite the way it is portrayed in this episode, but that’s ok. And if you look closely at the end of the episode you can see George is still in the photo. I love his new boss, Mr. Kruger Is so daffy and quirky.
Grade=B+, decent episode especially for the 9th season

Grade=C+, the gimmick, while very good, is all this episode has to offer except for the tag which is hilarious
Final Thoughts- The gimmick in this episode is really fun. They did a great job with the whole backward thing with little gags like Kramer’s lollipop.  However, if you look past that you realize this episode is missing something very important. Humor. Truth is if you take away the gimmick of having the episode start at the end and work backward, the show is really a dud. The worst part is Kramer’s story, what the heck was that about? I mean just because someone wishes you to drop dead doesn’t guarantee you will. That would be like having Newman wishing for a model on a birthday cake and inexplicably getting her….wait, they did that to! This episode is so dumb! Elaine’s story is ok, except since when did she drink like that? There was something unsettling about this unnecessary new character trait. I like the Schnapps’ reference it brought memories of Hennigans from way back. We get Sue Ellen Mischke one last time which is cool. Jerry and George actually have a good story, I really can’t complain about it except one thing, more overacting from George. His exasperated way of saying his lines is wearing very thin but at least it’s only for a small part of this one. The best part of this episode is the tag, where we go back two years and see Susan one last time. It was a nice surprise to see her. Then we go even further back, and see Jerry moving into his apartment. Jerry tells Kramer that they should share things since they are neighbors, and this little moment is just a brilliant one.
Episode Fun Fact-This episode is an allusion to Harold Pinter’s play Betrayal, and the character Pinter is obviously named after him
Deleted Scenes-George and Nina’a date, George trying to avoid going to the bathroom. Ever notice the balloons in the final (first?) coffee shop scene? There was a reason for that involving Kramer and a kids birthday party but it got cut
Seinfeldism of the episode-Elaine’s vault is useless because too many people know the combination (schnapps), Elaine calls Sue Ellen’s invitation an “unvitation”
Nitpick of the episode-Nina’s reason for going to India is one of flimsiest, weakest things I have ever heard in a sitcom or anything else. It was as if the writers just didn’t care. A free trip to India, that’s why she went? That doesn’t even make sense!! Oh, and why does George worry about going to the bathroom in India when it was Elaine who was advised against it by Pinter’s parents?
Best Quote-“You can stuff your sorries in a sack mister!”….George, and we learn he got that from Susan
Plot Summary-Elaine goes to a wedding in India to spite the bride. Jerry sets up George with an old acquaintance named Nina, and then has sex with her. Kramer tries to keep a friend’s wish from coming true.
The Betrayal
Episode 8, Season 9

(oh, you knew I was going to reverse that, didn’t you?)

Episode 9, Season 9
The Apology
Plot Summary-George demands an apology from an old friend who is a recovering alcoholic. Jerry dates a woman who does not wear clothes. Kramer tries to cut down his shower time. Elaine’s co-worker fears germs.
Best Quote-“The female body is a work of art. The male body is utilitarian, it’s for getting around. It’s like a jeep”…..Elaine
Nitpick of the episode-I get being a germophobe, but Peggy crosses the line into being a bitch. She can’t drink the water Elaine briefly touched, but can drink an almost empty bottle that the fellow next to her had just been drinking? Right. By the way, I am not one who worries about germs. I really don’t care for the most part. But if someone told me the food I had been eating was in the shower with them, I think I would also find that a little gross.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Good naked vs. bad naked, and yes there is such a thing
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-Of course Jerry’s girlfriend, or the actress, was covered when filming
Final Thoughts-This is actually a pretty good episode, except for George and is ranting. During the course of the episode George is brought to rage-a-holics, which makes sense in the context of the episode but where has this behavior been the last eight years? I can buy the story about him wanting an apology, but why does he have to be filled with rage? It almost felt like Jason Alexander forgot how to play the character or something. Jerry’s story isn’t bad, but it also doesn’t really amount to anything, It’s hard to have a whole story based on what is essentially a one joke gag. I am not sure how to feel about Kramer and the shower thing. I mean, for almost half the episode he is stuck in the shower, it gets kind of boring to be honest with you. Finally, I am totally on Elaine’s side in this one, if I were her I would have done far worst to Peggy. By the way, this is one episode I really like Puddy in.
Grade=B-, George dumbs the episode down

Episode 10, Season 9
The Strike
Plot Summary-Kramer goes back to work. George invents his own charity. Elaine gives out a fake phone number. Jerry dates a “two-faced”.
Best Quote-“She’s like a 3-D baseball card that changes depending on the angle”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-I can’t help but feel that everything Elaine does in this episode is just a huge waste of time
Seinfeldism of the episode-Festivus for the rest of us, Jerry’s girl is two-faced
Deleted Scenes-Jerry and Kruger discussing the charity money
Episode Fun Fact-The amazing thing is that Fesitvus has really taken off, it is literally celebrated and there are even companies which sell poles you can buy. Ben & Jerry’s also created and ice cream flavor called Festivus, which I sadly never tried
Final Thoughts-This is one of my favorite holiday episodes, I watch it every Christmas. Ever notice how there are four separate stories plus the Festivus story? Actually that kind of hurts the episode. There is a lot going on. Elaine’s story is the worst. Chasing a fake number just so she can get a lousy free sub? Dumb. Jerry’s story is kind of lame to, why does the woman’s face keep changing like that? If there was a reason for it than I may let it go, but as it is its just mean. George giving out fake Christmas gifts is funny. I wish I could say he was totally rage free in this episode but we still get a scene of him raging as he runs out of the room. Seems like every episode this season has to have at least one. Kramer is the star of the episode. Sure, the idea he has been on strike for ten years is a little hard to buy but watching him try to make bagels makes it worth it. As I noted the amazing thing is that the fake holiday in this episode is literally celebrated by people every December 23rd. That’s just a little scary.
Grade=A-­­, Elaine’s story is really lame but otherwise this is a classic

Episode 11, Season 9
The Dealership
Plot Summary-Jerry decides to buy a new car from Puddy. A starving George accuses a mechanic of stealing his candy bar. Elaine gets tired of Puddy’s new habit. Kramer takes a car out for a very long test drive.
Best Quote-“You must thing I’m pretty stupid?”….George
Nitpick of the episode-As Elaine points out, what was the point of George and that candy line up? It doesn’t make sense; even if the manager had recognized the Twix how does that prove anything? It makes so little sense it has be to be mentioned in the script! Where did he get the candy, the vending machine was out of them! Of course the real question is, if George had the money to buy the candy for the lineup then why didn’t he just buy the extra Twix in the first place! I know George can be cheap, but what he does in this episode is ridiculous and only topped off by his excessive rage.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Puddy and his high fives
Deleted Scenes-Kramer loading hay into the car
Episode Fun Fact-Jerry’s apartment once again does not appear in this episode
Final Thoughts-Well, this is where George finally hits bottom with his rage. But let’s hold that discussion off for a second. Elaine really doesn’t have much to do in this episode but break up with Puddy and then get back together with him because of Jerry. The scene where Elaine and Puddy discuss the terms of their getting back together like they were buying a new car is cute. Kramer gets a very odd story. For once he spends almost the entire episode away from the others, as he test drives a car with the salesman for hours it seems. I’m just not sure what to think of this one, it is funny I guess but not sure what the point of it is (aside from getting the salesman fired maybe). I did always wonder why Jerry never wondered at any point what became of his friend. At the end the three are leaving in a cab, did they forget that Kramer was with them when they arrived? Jerry’s story here is that he’s buying a car. That’s pretty much as it as he feeds George and Elaine’s story. Jerry and Elaine do a little overacting but nothing compared to what we get from George. Speaking of George, let’s talk about it. To be fair his story is relatable. Who hasn’t had their candy get stuck in the vending machine, or the classic crinkled dollar bill which the machine stubbornly refuses to accept? The problem is the story just spirals down and gets nutty, until it reaches the point that I am on the side of the people in the dealership not George! At least in “The Merv Griffin Show” the problem was a horrible story George was stuck in, and in “The Apology” his rage was part of the script. Here the story is pretty good; it’s George (or more accurately the way he is played) that makes it hard to watch. I know he’s hungry, got it, but does he need to act like a raving loon culminating in that scene where he just screams into the air like a mental patient? If George behaved like this the majority of the series I don’t we think we would have stuck around for nine years! It’s a shame to; he spoils an otherwise decent episode.
Grade=C+, George flat out ruins this one

Episode 12, Season 9
The Reverse Peephole
Plot Summary-Kramer and Newman reverse their peepholes, and Newman is almost evicted. Elaine is bothered by Puddy’s new jacket. Jerry abandons his wallet which George refuses to do despite its enormous size.
Best Quote-“Cheapness is not a sense”….Jerry in response to George saying he has a sixth sense
Nitpick of the episode-That Joe Mayo is incredibly annoying, why anyone would want to go to his party is beyond me, Elaine says he never dated Puddy in winter but she dated him during hockey season in “The Face Painter” which, I believe, is winter
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry goes on a successful pocket diet by ditching his wallet
Deleted Scenes-A longer ending about Puddy’s new jacket which includes Newman
Episode Fun Fact-Original title for this was “The Man Fur”,  this was the first episode to air after the announcement that this would in fact be the final season of Seinfeld
Final Thoughts-This is getting redundant. This episode is pretty good, except for George once again! Forgetting the fact we have seen George take out his wallet many times and it was never been overstuffed like that, once again we are treated to more manic behavior. True it’s not nearly as bad in this episode, but it’s still here. Aside from that we have Kramer reversing his peephole, which makes no sense but since its Kramer we accept it. The whole story of Newman dating the landlord’s wife is ok. This is another stand out Kramer episode, notice how he gets involved in all the stories? It is kind of funny watching Elaine comment on Puddy’s odd jacket, and who wears fur like that? Jerry’s story really isn’t a story he just gets involved in parts of the other story. I think the idea was to have him act like a woman by the end with the fur and the handbag, but it doesn’t quite land. As for George, his whole story is the wallet. He spends a large portion of the episode on the vibrating chair, that’s how important he is to this episode.  I love how everyone assumes Kramer will pitch in on the gift; even though Kramer has no reason to since he has never even heard of Joe Mayo. It’s a great example of how they were so used to functioning as a group it doesn’t occur to them that one is not involved in the situation for once.
Grade=B, solid, if goofy, episode

July 23, 2012

Sitcom Face Off = Fresh Prince vs. 3rd Rock From the Sun

Another sitcom face-off where I take two similar sitcoms and see which one is better. Have a real interesting one today, as I pair off two 90’s hits from NBC


What in the world unites these two very different sitcoms?They are both fish out of water stories. In Fresh Prince we have Will being taken from his home in Philadelphia and ending up in the rich, snooty world of Bel Air. 3rd Rock had aliens trying to live on Earth, and constantly trying to figure out all the little nuances of being human. However once you get past that you find these are both basically family sitcoms with families which were a bit different. Both of these shows had broad stories and silly gags.  Both of these shows were moderate hits which starred respected actors (Will Smith later, John Lithgow prior), but which show was better?

July 21, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 9, Part 1)

An Analytical Episode Guide to:

Season 9, Part 1

It was announced about mid way through season 9 that this would in fact be the final season of Seinfeld. To be honest with you, that didn’t disappoint me. The show had veered so far from what it once was. The jokes were broad, the stories were silly, and the characters almost parodies of themselves. We will talk about this more as we go, but the best example of this is George. He goes from being a likable neurotic to a total loon, full of rage and screaming like a nut all the time. Why did this have to happen? The finale was incredibly hyped, in fact I think only Cheers and maybe MASH could top it for the amount of attention it received. As a result, expectations were extraordinarily high. Everyone would be watching and wondering, could the final episode possibly live up to the hype even with the return of Larry David? Well, before we try to answer that let’s first talk about the episodes which came before it in this final season.

Episode 9, Season 1
The Butter Shave
Plot Summary-Kramer begins shaving with butter. George fakes a handicap to land a job. Jerry resent Bania for riding his coattails. Elaine has a flight from hell with Puddy who has returned to her life.
Best Quote-“Jerry let’s face it, I’ve always been handicapped. I’m just now getting the recognition for it”…George
Nitpick of the episode-Why is the man sitting next to Elaine dubbed vegetable lasagna? I never got that joke.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Bania is a “time slot hit”
Deleted Scenes-Bania rides Jerry’s coattails again at a deli
Episode Fun Fact-Julia Louis Dreyfuss has a story which involves her separate from the other cast and sitting for the majority of the episode because had just given birth and was on maternity leave.
Final Thoughts-One of the major trends for this season was bringing back recurring characters, we get Bania and Jenna (from The Pothole“) here, and almost every episode of the season brings back one or more characters. Then the finale brings back all of them, but we’ll get to that. As for the episode, Elaine is back in evil bitch mode again! It is really amazing in the last couple seasons how she switched back and forth. One episode she would be so nice, and then the next she would be so shrill you couldn’t stand her. We also get Puddy back. I never understood why they brought him back, but was ok with it. I guess the creators decided to finally give Elaine a long term relationship and making it with someone we’re already familiar with saves a lot of time. Her story aside, this is a decent episode. Jerry complaining about Bania is great parody of how the show made others popular by airing after it. Although the success rate of that is hard to gauge, does anyone remember Caroline in the City, Veronica’s Closet, or Madman of the People? I think Mad About You is the one show to start after Seinfeld and do well on its own merit. George pretending to be handicapped seems perfectly in character, so no problem with that. I like the way they acknowledge the previous season ender and then quickly push it away. Yeah, Kramer gets the silly story of the week but somehow it works for me. The opening to the episode had the guys sporting moustaches; glad that didn’t last past the opening credits.
Grade=C+, A decent enough start to the season

Episode 9, Season 2
The Voice
Plot Summary-Jerry enjoys his imitating the voice he pretends his girlfriend’s stomach makes. Kramer hires an intern. Play Now tries to force George out. Elaine bet Jerry that she can Puddy are not getting back together
Best Quote-“Braking up is like knocking over a coke machine. You can’t do it one push. You have to rock it back and forth a few times and then it goes over”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-I think George should have taken the offer of six months pay and ran. Why push his luck? Well, I’m sure he wishes he did that in the end. Why did the intern get in trouble for what happened with the ball of oil but Kramer didn’t?
Seinfeldism of the episode-Saying Hello! In that odd voice, Elaine backslides with Puddy
Deleted Scenes-A callback to the opening conversation from the previous episode
Episode Fun Fact-Kramerica is references here for the first time since the second episode of the series!
Final Thoughts-This is one of the few episodes in this season to almost feel like a classic Seinfeld episode. The only downside is that it is clear they are desperately trying to make the voice a catchphrase. You’d think they would realize that it doesn’t work when they force it. It works when it happens by accident. I just like all the stories in this episode, and enjoy the way they all connect in the end. It’s nice to see Jerry win some money for once, as Elaine continues to backslide with Puddy. George is classic here and the lengths the company goes to get rid of him is hilarious. Kramer is great being the mentor so to speak. Jerry is also classic, deciding he likes the voice over the girl. I like how they had everyone else tire of it but him, for once Jerry comes off as the immature one in the group. Not much else to say, just a solid episode.
Grade=B+, One of my favorites from this season

Episode 9, Season 3
The Serenity Now
Plot Summary-George competes with Lloyd Braun at selling computers. Kramer installs a screen door on his apartment door. Jerry gets in touch with his feelings. Elaine is suddenly desirable to Jewish men.
Best Quote-“Kramer I am so sick of you coming in here and eating all my food. Now shut that door and get the hell out of here!”….Jerry proving he can get angry  
Nitpick of the episode-While it’s true Jerry isn’t the warmest person, since when is he unable to get angry? Sorry not buying that one.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Serenity Now!! Elaine is a shiksa
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-Mr.Lippman, The Rabbi, and Lloyd Braun are our recurring characters of the week
Final Thoughts-Before George starts screaming like a nut in every episode, we see Frank and Estelle doing it. When they were yelling at each other in earlier episodes it was funny, here they are just yelling and it is annoying. The story doesn’t even really make sense, why would Frank want to sell computers? Just a lame excuse to bring Lloyd Braun back. However, that is not the worst thing in this episode. We have Kramer setting up a screen door and then yelling at kids as if they lived in a neighborhood and they were across the street throwing things at his house. It wasn’t funny when Cheri Oteri did it on Saturday Night Live, why would it be funny here? It isn’t, because it requires a little too much suspension of disbelief. Then he destroys 20 computers in a fit of anger…Ok. Elaine’s story isn’t so bad though it doesn’t really go anywhere. As for Jerry’s story, I am not sure what to think about that. It is a good idea to have Jerry get in touch with his feelings, but the result is he is really not very interesting anymore. That kind of hurts the episode in a strange way. And what was the point of having him propose to Elaine? It isn’t bad but I am glad we get the old Jerry back in the end.
Grade=B-, not bad, except for the screaming

Episode 4, Season 9
The Blood
Plot Summary-Kramer stores his blood in Jerry’s freezer. George tries to combine food and sex. Jerry’s parents hire him a personal trainer. Elaine gets stuck babysitting for a friend’s kid.
Best Quote-“I can feel his blood inside me, borrowing things from my blood”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Can a car run on blood? Did I really just type that? What are the odds that Jerry, Kramer, and Newman all have the same blood type? If the knife hit his jugular he is lucky to be alive, even someone who doesn’t know much about anatomy knows how dangerous that is. But I never understood how the whole scenario worked, did Kramer actually transfer his stored blood to Jerry in the kitchen? How would that work? Did he perform surgery or something too? And shouldn’t the kitchen be a bloody mess (literally)? This episode has so many plot holes it’s giving me a headache.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer is Jerry’s blood brother
Deleted Scenes-Jerry and Newman trying to be friends, Jerry at the blood bank
Episode Fun Fact-Final television appearance for Lloyd Bridges
Final Thoughts-Why would they bring back Izzy, one of the worst creations this show ever came up with? To be fair, he is better here than he was in “The English Patient”. In fact, believe it or not, he is one of the good things in this horrible episode. The whole story about Kramer and his blood in not only a bit disturbing, but it’s also pointless. It just doesn’t really go anywhere. We have Elaine worrying about why her friend doesn’t want her babysitting, and then regretting it when she is welcome and even trying to get out of it. Yeah, that made sense and was well thought out. George’s attempt to combine food and sex is disturbing to, why would you want to do that? The bit with the pudding skins is so dumb it makes the muffin tops seem inspired. Then there’s that scene where Newman and Kramer are making sausage after watching an instructional video on how to make sausage….wtf??? There is just something about this episode that never sat well with me. Jerry’s story isn’t funny. First he is lucky he doesn’t get killed by the X-Acto knife (hilarious), then he whines about Kramer’s blood inside of him (dude, he saved your life!), and then to finish the episode we get the hysterical ending where Jerry is being dragged by the car which happens to be leaking blood. Someone please tell me what is funny here?  Oh, and last but not least we get the tag where Newman has donated his blood to Jerry. They all scream as if they had just read the script for the first time.
 Grade=D+, just disturbing and far fetched

Episode 5, Season 9
The Junk Mail
Plot Summary-Kramer tries to cancel his mail. An old friend gives Jerry a van. George is cut loose by his parents. Elaine meets the man of her dreams, so she thinks
Best Quote-“As much as I hate the idea of being a van guy, it’s much better than hanging out here with the nocturnal dirty people”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Why does Kramer go to such lengths to get Jerry’s van, couldn’t he have just asked to borrow it? I certainly wouldn’t want to hurt Fragile Frankie’s feelings, but giving Jerry a van was beyond stupid. It hardly makes sense to drive a car in Manhattan.
Seinfeldism of the episode-where there’s Chinese food, there’s leftovers
Deleted Scenes-Elaine going behind the counter of the coffee shop (in an idiotic moment I am glad they cut), Elaine riding with the Wiz mascot in full costume
Episode Fun Fact-I used to see commercials for “Nobody Beats the Wiz” all the time when I was in college so this episode brings back some nice memories, but I don’t recall an annoying spokesman. Never heard of it? Look them up; they were big in the New York area.
Final Thoughts-Watching this episode right after the last is odd, it’s like this episode things are back to normal after the horribleness of the last. For some reason I really like the Kramer story in this episode. It’s funny, back in season 5 I commented that in almost every episode that Kramer had little to do or his story was lame, but season 9 he usually had a strong story and was often the best part of the episode. This is a good example; I guess the creators realized who the big draw was. Kramer was the one character who stayed in character, right to the end. Ok, getting off track. I like the story here and the Wilfred Brimley cameo. Who doesn’t get tired of the endless catalogue’s we get every day? Elaine’s story isn’t bad either. But is it ever resolved? (actually yes, in a deleted scene). Jerry’s story is lame because the character of Fragile Frankie is just bad. He digs a hole in the woods when he is upset? Why? And why is Jerry so worried about protecting his feelings? George’s story is good in the start but kind of goes nowhere. At least Frank and Estelle are over their manic yelling from their previous episode, they are much  more likable here. The whole thing about George dating his cousin is ultimately pointless. This episode was a tad ahead of its time, since mail is even more obsolete these days.
 Grade=B-, good stories which go nowhere, except Kramer’s

Episode 6, Season 9
The Merv Griffin Show
Plot Summary-Kramer recreates the set to The Merv Griffin Show in his apartment. Jerry drugs a woman so he can play with her amazing toy collection. Elaine deals with an annoying co-worker. George is forced to care for a squirrel he hit with his car.
Best Quote-“One minute Elliot Gould’s sitting on you the next thing your yesterday’s trash”….Kramer regarding the set
Nitpick of the episode-I will talk more about this in a second, but why does George tolerate the situation in this episode? The girl isn’t giving him anything, why not just dump her? Why take care of a squirrel? Oh, don’t get me started…….
Seinfeldism of the episode-Elaine’s co-worker likes to “sidle up”
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-Jerry’s apartment does not appear; it had to be taken down to make room for the talk show set
Final Thoughts-Amazing that any part of this episode works. The whole idea of the Merv Griffin show is really way out there, but it is funny. But where did this idea come from? This is Seinfeld, the show about the little things in life everyone deals with, right? But somehow Kramer makes it work. Seeing Jim Fowler was funny. Jerry’s story is pretty good, it’s really a story about date rape, the toys take the place of, well, you know what. This was a very good way to approach a sensitive topic, and I give the show credit for how it was handled. Elaine’s story is filler, but since I loved tic tac’s I can’t help but find it amusing. Well, that’s it for this episode and it was pretty good…….sigh, I have to talk about the George story, don’t I? Can’t we just call it a day?  Ok, let’s talk about George’s story which is so stupid, so lame, and so not funny that I could rant all day about it. What in the world were the writers on when they wrote this? I mean, Jerry Seinfeld saw the script about a bionic squirrel that George has to take care of and thought it was funny? Really?? I do like how even George seems aware that the story is ridiculous, but this is just so bad! It starts as story about pigeons refusing to get out of George’s way, and that isn’t all bad. But when it diverges into the insanity with the squirrel….it just gets dumber and dumber. I think you get the idea, so will stop here.
Grade=C, George’s story really hurts this one which is way out there as it is

July 15, 2012

Top 5 Kick Ass Transformation Sequences

One of the coolest part of some cartoons is when the hero appears in a cool transformation sequence. Some shows just have the heroes mobilize in a cool way, but others will have a character who is not so amazing transform into the cool hero in a flashy sequence which usually has the coolest animation and is obviously where the money went to. Here are my favorite of these. These are the kick ass moments that we lived for, we waited for these moments and loved every second of them.
#5.Captain Planet
Yeah, this show was lame. It was preachy and a bit contrived. But the scene where Captain Planet is summoned is a favorite, and is the one cool thing this show generated. Let our powers combine!

#4. Sailor Moon

Not to familiar with this one, but had to include it. A little long, but awesome!
#3. Power Rangers
GO GO POWER RANGERS! No this isn't a cartoon but this animation is the thing that makes this show famous. I know it by heart even though I was never a fan of the show. Why? It's awesome!
Hell yeah! When the lions all merged together to form the robot Voltron, you stood up and cheered! This little 80's cartoon hasn't really stood the test of time, but damn it was awesome! I liked the action figure more than the cartoon, but still that transformation sequence is awesome.
#1. He-Man and She-RA
The gold standard, this is the transformation which set the tone for the other four and any others I missed on here. Prince Adam turning into He-Man was the coolest moment of any episode of Master of the Universe, it was a great transformation because it was cool and awesome, but not so long and dragged out you got bored watching it every episode. It was done just right so every time you say him say "By The Power of Greyskull" you got excited. She-Ra was pretty cool to, but a copy can't beat an original.
That's it, thanks for reading

Top 5 Movies I Expected to be Hilarious....but Were Actually Depressing

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Top 5 Movies I Expected to be Hilarious....but Were Actually Depressing

Marketing is one of the essential tools of film making. You need to get your movie out there, and this is done with posters, previews, and endless talk show appearances by the stars. Sometimes in order to get people interested, the trailers have to get creative and exaggerate, maybe even lie, about the tone of the film to not scare the audience away. Today I am looking at five movies which were marketed as comedies, but really they were pretty serious drama's with comedy bits far and between. The movies may have been good, but they sure weren't as advertised.

I guess I can understand why having a comedian as the star of a movie would compel the studio to market a film as a comedy. But it’s so misleading. Case in point, In 1989 Ron Howard directed Steve Martin, among many others, in this family film. I mean family film because that’s what it was about, a family. The trailer had Steve Martin desperately trying to get a picture of the family with a timer on his camera, but failing causing many laughs. Well, Steve Martin is in it so it has to be a comedy. Right? Well, no. You see this was just before people started taking Steve Martin seriously as an actor. This film is what started to change people’s minds, and then the next year Father of the Bride came out and people realized he could actually do serious. By the way, I loved Father of the Bride. I actually liked Parenthood too, but man is there some serious, adult stuff in here. Yes, there are funny bits too no argument but if you go expecting a straight comedy you will be a little surprised, as I was.

#4.The Family Man
What if they took a bunch of classic Christmas films and blended then together? You'd have this snooze fest. The reason I included this one is because on the video/DVD box for the film is the word HILARIOUS! in big letters. Really? Hilarious? Man that critic must have been easy to please. Sweet and sentimental? Ok. Corny and cliché? Better believe it. But Hilarious? I don't think so. Except for one or two moments anyway this movie is a drama, and not a very interested one at that. The real problem with this film, as has been noted elsewhere, is that the main character Jack is not exactly suffering a horrible life. This movie would have you believe no matter how successful you are, you are a loser if you don’t have a couple kids and a house in the suburbs. That’s wonderful if you do, but not having it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.  Bottom line, this movie isn’t funny at all unless you like laughing at tired gags which have been done to death.

#3. Good Morning, Vietnam
This is considered one of Robin Williams better movies. And you know what, it probably is. But it sure isn't funny; in fact it gets downright depressing. Oh sure some of the bits with Robin Williams as the DJ are pretty lighthearted, but then this movie takes such a sad turn. I know, what was I expected from a Vietnam movie?  I was kind of young when I saw this and was taken aback by the tone of the movie. For years I wondered if I was just naive, until I pulled a trailer up on YouTube. The trailer does make it look like a comedy romp, showing none of the sad moments in the film. They briefly show an explosion but that’s it. And believe me, there are sad moments in this film. Just because Robin Williams is in a movie doesn’t mean it’s going to be funny, or did no one see “Awakenings”? For the record, this is a really good movie and I recommend seeing it. Just expect more tears than laughter. By the way there is another Robin Williams film I could mention called Toys which wasn’t funny despite the hype, it was just plain bad.

#2.Mr.Saturday Night
I felt betrayed by this movie. Honestly. This came out when Billy Crystal was at the top of his game. Still riding high from the success of City Slickers, he actually directed this film about an aging standup comedian trying to recapture the magic he’d had in his youth. It is so draggy and boring, not to mention depressing. I don’t remember how it was advertised, but if I had know it was about a comedian whining because he wasn’t famous anymore I think I would have skipped it. Sure, the flashbacks to when the comedian was young were kind of fun and full of energy. But those flashbacks are far and between. There is a good story in this film, the acting is pretty decent, and I always remembered it for being my first exposure to Helen Hunt, but a comedy romp? Hardly. This movie is very sad. I wonder if that was Billy Crystal’s intention or did he misdirect the film?  Bad directing can really hurt a movie, and man do I a perfect example for that next!

This is Robin Williams bashing day I guess. I don’t think I have ever been as pleased to see Nostalgia Critic review something as I was when he reviewed this nightmare. Unlike the other four films on this list which were good stories with occasional laughs, this movie left me with nothing. Beyond nothing, I hated this movie. While Francis Ford Copola deserves the blame for the directing, I can’t let Robin Williams off the hook. He just doesn’t even seem to be trying, which is one the things that may have hurt this film. The plot is all over the place, and the funny stuff isn’t funny at all.  I know some may wonder why Patch Adams isn’t on here. I wasn’t disappointed by that film; the funny stuff was balanced pretty well by the drama. That movie isn’t bad until you realize how untrue this “true story” is. That kind of kills the fun, and the main problem with that film is Robin Williams was the wrong choice as the lead. I am going to stop here because as I noted Nostalgia Critic did a great job reviewing both these films, so rather than repeat everything he said you can watch his reviews of them if you’d like. But Jack was a huge disappointment, one of the worst films I have ever seen.

This movie is an honorable mention because for the first half or so, it’s exactly as advertised. An Adam Sandler comedy with a unique concept. I loved the idea of the remote control which can control the world around you, who wouldn’t? But then about a third of the way in, the movie takes a sharp turn into dark and damn serious. It’s really amazing to watch the film go from a silly comedy to something very depressing and philosophical. I remember almost feeling uncomfortable in the theatre as this happened, what a drastic shift to do to your audience. It’s like watching a news report on a cuddly kitten and then cutting to war footage the next second, a bit jarring. Just when you’re wondering if maybe you skipped into another movie and you’re getting ready to walk out, Adam Sandler’s character wakes up and discovers it was a dream. Then the silly comedy comes back! I actually liked the last five minutes, it’s like that moment after a car accident when you realize you’re fine. Well, if that’s what he was going for than kudos. I think that part toward the end got way to dark, especially the stuff about the father which I will not even attempt to explain or analyze here, and it’s too bad because it ruined what could have been a nice little comedy film.  

That’s my list of movies which I expected to be funny but instead were darn depressing. Did I miss any?

July 14, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 8, Part 4)

An Analytical Episode Guide to:
Season  8, Part 4

Episode 18, Season 8
The Nap
Plot Summary-George discovers a way to sleep at work. Jerry hires a handyman who has trouble making simple decisions. Kramer takes up swimming in the East River. Elaine’s boyfriend gives her a mattress.
Best Quote-“Fitted hat day? That’s what you asked Steinbrenner for?”….George
Nitpick of the episode-Man, that handyman is so annoying; I would have fired him the first day. For pete’s sake, make a decision!
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer funks up Elaine’s mattress
Deleted Scenes-Elaine returning the funked up mattress, the scene with George and Steinbrenner talking to the terrorist bomber was longer
Episode Fun Fact-The first time Larry David came back to do Steinbrenner
Final Thoughts-This is actually a pretty good episode, but I guess after The English Patient the bar is pretty low. The opening scene in the coffee shop is one of the worst paced scenes in any episode; the exposition dump feels so forced when Jerry explains about his handyman. The scene with Jerry’s new kitchen configuration is cute; it’s funny to see how the arrangement throws off the normal flow of the group. I love what happens to George after his little nap area is created, he really suffer for that one. The scene with Steinbrenner in his office is a classic. Sure, having Jerry call in a bomb threat is weak (and today a bit taboo) but that’s ok. Kramer and Elaine’s stories kind of wind around each other as Elaine’s boyfriend believes they had a prior relationship. The worst thing may be the corny ending we get. The site gag of George napping in the cupboard followed by Jerry’s cheesy one liner. This is another example of how the show had lost focus and entered the realm of more silly, broad comedy. I prefer it the way it was, when it was supposed be about the stuff in real life people deal with everyday. I wish they’d bring back Larry David to write, I mean it’s not like if he came back he would do a half-ass, insulting episode worst than anything this season had to offer. Right??
Grade=B-, much improved but still has its flaws

Episode 19, Season 8
The Yadda Yadda
Plot Summary-George’s girlfriend is fond of the phrase Yadda Yadda. Jerry is suspicious when Tim Whatley converts to Judaism. Kramer and Micky go on a double date. Elaine botches a friends chances at adopting a baby.
Best Quote-“No it offends me as a comedian”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Ok, there is something about this episode that always baffled me. Here are the events: Jerry has offended dentists all over and starts dating Beth, Kramer is mad at Jerry for hating dentists, and Elaine is dating the social worker to make sure Beth and Arnie get their baby. Then we jump a week to Mickey’s wedding. Wait a minute, A WHOLE WEEK AND NOTHING HAS CHANGED??? What did these guys do that week? Kramer is still mad at Jerry, Elaine has no idea Beth and Arnie broke up…did they all just avoid each other for a week or something? You may able to get away with that on another show, but not this one.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Yadda Yadda Yadda, anti-dentite never caught on thank goodness
Deleted Scenes-George talking to his girlfriend
Episode Fun Fact-Three recurring characters for the price of one
Final Thoughts-I’ll never forget when I first saw this episode, the very next morning Al Roker used the phrase Yadda Yadda on the Today Show, and I realized how big this show was now. Anyway this episode had lots of potential to be a great episode, but it just doesn’t quite make it. True, there are lots of good things in it. The Yadda Yadda, and the whole competition between Kramer and Mickey. Jerry in the confessional is hilarious. George doesn’t really get much to do here as we ponder what his girlfriend is glossing over. We get Beth again but this time Jerry isn’t set to evil like he was in “The Wait Out”. This feels like the Jerry we’re supposed to get, caring about her not just “pretending” to. So what spoils this episode? Two things, the first is Elaine and what she does to ensure Arnie and Beth get a baby. She basically prostitutes herself. Way over the top. The second is the whole anti-dentite thing which is so lame. Comparing the plight of dentists to the plight of the Jewish people? Really? I am not Jewish and almost find that insulting. The writer himself admitted this was a botched attempt to start a catch phrase, and is just lame. Jerry’s a comedian for goodness sake, why would people take a little joke he made so seriously??? Anyway, as I said it’s not a totally bad episode and Elaine has the best line of the episode regarding the time she Yadda Yadda’d after sex. If you’re a fan I’m sure you’ve heard. If not, check it out it’s one of her best lines.
Grade=B-, just average

Episode 20, Season 8
The Millennium
Plot Summary-Kramer and Newman have competing New Year’s parties. Jerry discovers her girlfriends speed dial is like a rating meter. George tries and fails at getting fired. Elaine tries to run a Putumayo store out of business.
Best Quote-“Those aren’t for New Years. Those are my everyday balloons”….Kramer
Nitpick of the episode-I think someone messed up Jerry’s final speech to Newman at the end of the episode. Not sure if it was written wrong or if Jerry may have messed it up, but what he says is incorrect. Since there was no year zero the new Millennium didn’t begin until 2001, making Newman’s party a year EARLY. It would have been lame to, except the big celebration for the Millennium happened on the year 2000 anyway so not only is Jerry inaccurate with his fact, but if this were the real world his attempt to spoil Newman’s party wouldn’t have worked.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Newmanium and Kramanium
Deleted Scenes-Elaine showing off her purchased items to the Putumayo store
Episode Fun Fact-Kramer gets to play Pennypacker once again
Final Thoughts-Ladies and gentlemen, the king of the dated episodes! I have pointed out different things as we have gone which are dated today, but this one definitely takes the cake. It’s been twelve years now since the Millennium! Anyway, this is a pretty good episode. I sympathize with Elaine’s plight in this one, if I had a sales woman treat me the way the sales woman treats Elaine in the beginning I wouldn’t be amused either. It is kind of funny to see George fail at getting fired, isn’t that something which should come naturally? The lame story is the one about Jerry and the speed dial. It kind of starts out ok with the speed dial acting as a relationship barometer, but the story gets real silly real fast. I know I made fun of Kramer’s story being dated, but it really is pretty good as he and Newman compete over parties. My favorite bit in this one is after Kramer brings some folding chairs into Jerry’s apartment; George and Elaine sit in them as if they have always been there.
Grade=B, another average episode

Episode 21, Season 8
The Muffin Tops
Plot Summary-Mr.Lipman steals Elaine’s idea for muffin tops. George pretends to be a tourist. Jerry accidentally shaves his chest and can’t stop. Kramer starts a Peterman reality bus tour.
Best Quote-“Well I’ll tell you what I’ll pick you up a sundress and a pair of thongs you can just sachet your pretty little self around the town square”….Kramer  
Nitpick of the episode-Why in the world did Kramer and Elaine have so much trouble disposing of that trash? I could go on about Jerry shaving his chest hair, but I think I will spare everyone that rant
Seinfeldism of the episode-Top of the Muffin to you!
Deleted Scenes-George pretending to be a dumb tourist
Episode Fun Fact-Yes, there is such a thing as muffin tops and you can even purchase special pans which will make them. Of course Kramer’s Peterman Reality Tour is a spoof on Kenny Kramer’s Reality Tour. Finally, the chicken company was supposed to by Tyson. But Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t acquire the rights so it became Tyler instead.
Final Thoughts-Yet another episode which is just plain bad. Especially Jerry’s story. I said in another episode that I don’t like it when Jerry goes out of character and that is what he does here. He is just plain annoying in this episode. Why does he shave his chest hair? And the final werewolf gag is just plain dumb. George’s story isn’t so bad but why he goes to such lengths to pretend to be a tourist is a little hard to swallow. He ends up getting fired from the Yankees, I’m surprised he held that job as long as he did. The one highlight in the episode is the Kramer story, mostly because we know full well what the story is a parody of which makes it really funny. Then of course we have the whole thing with the muffin tops. I am not even sure what to say about that, so I will just say the story was laughable and not in a good way. At least Elaine is bearable in this one. And the Pulp Fiction parody in the end was kind of funny.
 Grade= D, probably Jerry’s worst story of the series

Episode 22, Season 8
The Summer of George
Plot Summary-George severance package from the Yankees allows him to take the summer off. Jerry dates a woman who is high maintenance. Elaine is harassed by a co-worker who does not swing her arms when she walks. Kramer works as a seat filler at the Tony Awards.
Best Quote-“Because men think if women are grabbing and clawing at each other, there's a chance they might somehow kiss”….Jerry on why men like catfights
Nitpick of the episode-I kind of get the cat fight stuff, but when Elaine plays the tape with Molly Shannon’s character threatening her suddenly it isn’t very funny. If Raquel Welch’s dancing is so bad how did her show manage to win a Tony?
Seinfeldism of the episode-A good old fashioned cat fight!
Deleted Scenes-Elaine trying to give it back to her co-workers who called her catty
Episode Fun Fact-Raquel Welch enjoyed playing a parody of herself in this episode
Final Thoughts-Why did they feel the needed to end this season with a callback to the last season’s final episode? The scene is so awful at the end, it feels like the show is basically doing a parody of itself! Before we get to that lame moment, the episode that precedes it really isn’t that bad. Raquel Welch is really funny in this episode, and since we don’t see her actually fight Elaine and Kramer we can laugh. The story of Jerry and the woman who needs another dude because she is so high maintenance is clever. I love how Kramer gets swept up with the whole Tony Award euphoria, even though he didn’t technically win a thing. George’s story is lame, all set up for that last scene which, as I said, I hated. It just wasn’t funny and felt like the show had run out of ideas. Maybe it’s no big surprise the next season would be the last one.
Grade=C, That last scene truly ruins the episode for me

Seeason 8 wasn’t all bad, but there were lots of bad episodes toward the end. How would Season nine go, would it stay the course or improve? Join me next week as we begin our look at the final season.

July 10, 2012

Sitcom Face Off = Full House vs Family Matters

It's time once again for a sitcom face off, where I take two similar shows and compare them to see which is better. Today I have two silly,corny family comedies in a TGIF grudge match!
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Full House came along in 1987 and was just a sweet little show which didn’t hurt anyone. Was it realistic? Heck no, but at least it was fun to watch and even funny at times. Full House was a Friday staple, so much ABC designed TGIF to be led by this family show. Then Family Matters came along. Created by the same production company, but a different producer, this Perfect Strangers spin off became a quiet Friday night hit. This was another corny family comedy, and this show quickly became the anchor for TGIF while Full House moved to Tuesday’s.TGIF was created around Full House but it was perfected around Family Matters. Both shows are sweet and corny, but which was better?
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I had to change the categories for this one a bit due to the nature of the shows, but you’ll get the idea. Which catchphrase would you prefer, “You got it dude!” or “Did I do that???”