July 27, 2014

Look at Sitcom Cliche's:The Break-Up

Sitcoms, and other TV shows, always seem to hate it when characters are happy in relationships. You may have noticed that relationships follow three criteria:

1. Unrequited love which I have talked a lot about. This is when a character loves another, but the other is oblivious

2. Happy relationship. This is when the creators decide that they want a character to have a relationship so they let it develop. Think Jesse and Rebecca on Full Hour or Howard and Bernadette on Big Bang Theory.

3. And this one, which is today’s subject. When the creators want the character to have a relationship but do not want it to last. They just want the character to have the story arc, often going so far as to get them engaged to be married and in some instances married, and it always ends with a break up. And very often, the reason for the break-up is lame!

Why does it always end in a break up? We will talk more about it as we go but essentially it’s to maintain the status quo. So that the characters don’t change so much that fans lose interest. One classic example was Moonlighting. The show was based around the sexual tension around the two leads and once they hooked up the show got dull. Of course, once in a while there is an off screen reason for this as you will see in the examples below. But usually this was the plan from day one, let the character be happy until they have used up all the story they can (or they no longer have the actor available) then do the break-up which of course crushes the character. Good story telling engine or lame cliché? You be the judge!

Now let me specify I am not talking about single episodes where we discover a character is dating someone and then some goofy thing breaks them up by the end of the show. These are long term relationships which had the new character coming back several times in arcs that would go three episode or much longer so that we could get to know them and feel the main character’s pain when the relationship falls apart. Also, no discussion of relationships that ended with a sudden death because I have already gone over that.

There are several romance tropes these fall into including True Love is Boring and Off-Screen Breakup. Here are some examples:

July 26, 2014


Moviefan12: Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney World. Today and all this week, we are turning our attention to television as we take a look at the various ways, Disney World has appeared on ABC. Now, I’m sure most of you are familiar with the ’90s sitcoms, this was an idea from Eisner to promote the park and as much as I may bash him, this is a good idea. But I wish to also talk a about one recent commercial featuring Regina from Once Upon A Time. Joining me today for the first time on A Look at Disney is richb. The expert on all things, TV here at Manic Expression.


richb: A pleasure my friend. Disney and sitcoms have had a unique history, In fact they have done more than some may realize under their Buena Vista and Touchstone Pictures brand. Not to mention the shows which did an episode set in Disney, which was huge when ABC was bought by them in the 90’s. And then there are parade’s not to mention countless specials…Disney has been a big part of TV almost since the beginning!

July 20, 2014

Underrated Trek:Far Beyond The Stars (DS9)

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. Today I want to do something a little different. This episode is probably more well liked than the episodes I have covered here and may not not be "underrated" at all. But I want to talk about it so we're going to. This is:

This episode came along in the middle of Season 6. This is a very unique episode of Deep Space Nine and I could understand how it could be hated. But we'll get to that in a bit.

July 15, 2014

Top 5 Worst Comic Book Villain Film Adaptations

I talked the other day about how some DC superhero adapations just totally miss the mark. The character created may have the same name, and possibly some other things carried over like secret identity, but overall the character is a separate creation totally separate from the comic book character supposedly being portrayed.

Well my friends the villains can have it bad also. Sometimes a director will decide that the villain needs to be shaken up. And that would be ok, but at the same time they will either change to much and lose the essence of the character, or bascially dumb the character down to the point it's even sillier than they appear in the comic books.

Here now are my top 5 worst attempts at adatping a classic comics book villain for either movie or TV. I have opened this up to include Marvel, for a very obvious reason which you will soon see (if you haven't guessed). And remember this is all opinion so feel free to disagree.

#5.Lex Luthor (Superman Returns)

Oh Kevin Spacey, where did it go so wrong? I really got the feeling Spacey cared about the role and wanted to have fun with it. Maybe he was the victim of a bad script. While I have slammed Brandon Routh as Superman it really isn't the worst performance in the movie. What in the world was Spacey doing in this movie? I mean, besides a Gene Hackman impression. That's basically what it boils down to. Rather than try to give a spin on Luthor all his own he tried to recapture what Hackman did. However, Hackman's charm is what sold that role while Spacey just comes off like a big bully. Luthor is supposed to be brilliant and cunning, and I don't get that here. And to make matters worst, the plan Luthor has in the movie is D-U-M-B. The worst Luthor ever, no question.

July 13, 2014

Top 5 Wost DC Comics Character Adaptations

For some reason, DC Comics doesn't have the luck that Marvel has had with their live action movies. While I likes Green Lantern, most did not. Sure the Dark Knight was great but The Dark Knight Returns was more lukewarm. And then there's really crappy things like Jonah Hex

But somethings are more than just bad movies. They don't even come close to honoring the original character. Why make an adaptation if you're going to alienate the fans?  Here are five adaptations of DC comics characters that were so bad, that people are still talking about how bad they were.

These are from TV and movies, but only released productions. So no mention of that god awful Wonder Woman pilot from a few years back. Of course this is all opinion.

#5.Birds of Prey

This is a case of close, but no cigar. This TV series came along and was supposed to be based on the classic Gail Simone run on the comic of the same name. But they took to many liberties. Like what? Catwoman was killed by the Joker before the series began. Batman vanished and hasn't been heard from. Huntress and Oracle are joined by a woman named Dinah who...is kind of boring. There was only one good episode which featured Black Canary and was pretty good. Sadly, that didn't last and the series quietly went away.

July 10, 2014

Top 5 Favorite Captain Kirk Bluff's

Part one of my five part series talking about how awesome the captain's of Star Trek are. Today we start with the main man himself!

Captain Kirk was known for being awesome! Well ok he was known for other things. Like being a horn dog. And the way he would lecture computers until they blew up. But today I want to talk something else awesome about him. One of his best character traits was the way he would outthink his way out of a situation. He never believed in a no win scenario, and it shows. Some of his bluff's and con's are just classic. Only James Kirk could pull these things off. Snatching victory away just when it appeared all was lost.

So today I am looking at my five favorite moments when Kirk tricked his way out of a hopeless situation by outthinking the villain.

#5.The Corbomite Manuever

The first and best Kirk bluff. This set a standard which defined his character. It was so clever it was even used again in "The Deadly Years". The set up is pretty straight forward. The alien ship Fesarius is threatening to destroy the Enterprise in ten minutes. Kirk then messages the ship informing them that the Enterprise has a corbomite device installed. If Balok destroys them their ship will be cripples. It's really a brilliant bluf. Then they wait what seemed like an eternity to see if Balok bought it......
Check it out HERE. This is a link to the whole episode just an fyi.

July 8, 2014

Five Movies With All-Star Casts....THAT SUCKED!

You would think that an all-star cast would guarantee a hit movie. I mean if you have a lot of talent that should make the product ten times better. And sometimes, it really does. For example Ocean's Eleven had an all star cast including George Clooney and Brad Pitt and was AWESOME. I loved it!! How about The Expendables? Man what a cast and it was a hit! Want a comedy? One of the best comedies I ever saw was Clue and that had an all star cast including Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd.

But this isn't always the case. A few weeks ago I talked about this film :

Noises off is a movie based on the play. While the play is brilliant I felt it just didn't translate to a good movie, despite the stellar all star cast which included Michael Cain, Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeve, Julie Hagarty. and John Ritter. It seems I may be alone thinking that, but I did not like the movie. But there are others which are even worst, and that's what I want to go over today.

As always this is just my opinion feel free to disagree. Here are five other movies which had a fantastic all star cast, and yet was AWFUL


Oh you knew this one had to be on here! In 1994 this was supposed to be the hit of the summer. And why not? Rob Reiner directed and starring Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood, Dan Aykroyd, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis Dreyfuss, Kathy Bates, John Ritter..and that's just for starters! Then the movie came out...and it was really bad. Full of racial stereotypes and humor that just wasn't funny. We were going to see it but were discouraged by the same Siskel & Ebert review that Doug Walker saw. If you don't know this was so reviled, I direct you to one of my favorite Nostalgia Critic review on the subject. Still would like to know how Reiner thought this even had a chance.

July 4, 2014

A Look at Memorable Sitcom ChildBirth Episodes

Just a over a year ago I did an article talking about memorable moments involving the death of a sitcom character, usually sudden and unexpected. And more recently I did an article on surgeries on sitcoms, but left one very large surgery that virtually every sitcom has done.

Today I decided to look at when out favorite shows present birth episodes. Oh, you know the one's. There are a million cliche's surrounding this TV trope. Having the baby in an odd place (back of cab, etc). Having members of the family absent. Baby delivered by character with NO qualifications or training. The birth is quick and results in a clean baby. On and on. Even other stuff like the baby shower and Lamaze Class has been done to death but that's another list my friends.

I am going to try to focus on the birth episodes involving a major character, if I focus on minor characters or one shot episodes we could literally be here all day. So for once, no Seinfeld on this list. Anyway lets's go over some of my favorites.

All in the Family

I am starting with this one for the simple reason that it really is the first one. The birth of Gloria and Mike's baby was televisions' firs birth. I never understood why networks were so nervous about showing these things, I mean their natural part of life. So while I was no fan of this show I respect for the ground it broke, this included. We get cliche stuff like Gloria getting stuck in a phone booth calling the hospital, and Archie dressed in black face (long story). The birth scene is pretty realistic (for the 70's anyway) and in the end baby Joey was born.

Happy Days

Ah, why should the fact that Ron Howard wasn't on the series anymore keep them from doing a touching episode about Richie's baby being born? How did this work? Fonzie. I honestly don't remember the episode and could find very little about it.

July 1, 2014

Five Things I Liked in "Independence Day"

Independence Day is one of those movies which I should hate. It is silly, corny, and makes no sense. People love to nitpick it. However it's been a guilty pleasure of many for years. The movie is just fun with great explosions and quotable lines. So today since it is nearly the 4th, I wanted to talk about five things in this movie I love.

#5.The Cable Guy

Yeah, it never bothered me that Jeff Goldblum was the hero even though he was "just a cable guy". I mean the movie establishes that he is a genius who could have done amazing things, he just had no motivation. In fact I love the character arc he goes through because he finally gets ambitious. That's not so far fetched. But here is my question, how come NO ONE ELSE could pick up the alien code that David did? I mean I can buy that he figured out the code, no problem, but NO ONE ELSE did? Even the experts who spent decades analyzing and studying this technology? C'mon! Anyway griping aside this little nitpick never bothered me. And this is one Jeff Goldblum role I kind of liked. Especially that speech comparing the aliens activities to playing chess. Nice moment. Checkmate!!

#4."Today we celebrate our Indepenence Day!"

Maybe I am alone in this but I loved the speech President Whitmore gives toward the end. Bill Pullman does a great job with it and he really feels presidential in that scene, which is the completion of his character arc. When the film starts we see he is a wimpy commander in chief. By this point he is much stronger. It's one of my favorite movie speeches ever. Was it stupid he then took off with the pilots? yes, very much so. But the speech still rocks.