Tag Archives: TV

Measuring Community – Counting what really counts

Season 4 of Community premieres Thursday. To make sure you’re ready, here’s a look at the first three seasons:

preview | go big on zoom.it

As the old adage goes: you can’t save from cancellation what you don’t measure.

UPDATE 2/7:
Got some requests for a printed version. Head to Zazzle if you want to pick one up for your wall. Also, thanks to Redditors for the comments and votes. Happy October 19th!

Olympic coverage that pushed the envelope

With the London Olympics coming to a close, we can all look forward to the end of the refrain of complaints about NBC’s coverage of the games.

The Closing Ceremonies also free Mary Carillo from her nightly gig hosting “Late Night at the Olympics” on the peacock network.  This nightcap for NBC’s coverage featured a hodgepodge of less-than-mainstream events (whitewater kayaking! table tennis!), a wrap-up of all of the big moments of the day (montage!), and a brief fluff segment/sign-off (puns!).

Wait – puns?  Yes, Mary Carillo bid the country adieu each night with content varying from an explanation for why she is not on Twitter to a sprint through several bad puns while keeping a straight face.

Lest these bits of personality be forgotten, here’s one such segment from coverage on Friday, August 3… See if you can count how may puns she slips in to the story.

Take note, kids – you won’t see gems like this on the live stream of events online.

Like bad TV? Catch The Cape before it’s gone

Did you think Plan 9 from Outer Space was hilarious?  Make it through all 22 chapters of Trapped in the Closet?  Disappointed R Kelly has yet to finish his hip-hopra?  Then you should definitely be watching The Cape on NBC (Hulu).  Before it gets cancelled.

You see, The Cape started on a Monday night about a month ago, and it’s terrible – in the best way possible.image

In a city where the police are on the brink of privatization, a good cop gets framed as a criminal mastermind/serial killer by the head of the very security company (ARK) trying to take over the force.  Naturally, the head of ARK is himself the mastermind.  He frames the cop (Vince), stages Vince’s death in a dramatic chase scene, and wins the city police contract.  Everything is in place for him to crush Palm City in his tyrannical grasp, pillaging and killing freely (and he’s the Law!).  Except he forgot to have his people make sure Vince was actually dead.  Small oversight.

Instead, Vince ends up in the criminal underbelly of Palm City and meets some circus people who sideline as petty thieves (consistently the best characters on the show, actually).  Their ringleader, Max Malini, provides Vince with a super cape that helps him disappear in a flash and snatch objects across the room.  Lo and behold, the world’s-silliest-superhero-who-takes-himself-this-seriously is born.

Some choice quotes to give you a feel:

Max: A fortune cookie once told me our fate is fixed. It’s our destiny that must be seized.

Max: Either you wear the cape, or the cape wears you.

Vince: They say the cream always rises to the top, but in my experience, it’s always the scum.

Max: You give me your soul, Vince Faraday, and I’ll make you the greatest circus act that ever lived.

But for all of its over-the-top, straight-face gravity, the best parts come when it can’t help but smirk.  At least once during each episode so far, something so ridiculous happens, the show has to be in on how bad it is.  Something like when Max dies near the end of the first episode, only to open his eyes again a beat later and blurt out “Damn it, I thought that was it! And I wasted that great speech”.  It’s as if some writer jumped to her feet in disbelief that NBC would pay to put this show in front of a national audience and wondered aloud, “What else can we do to it?”

The Onion’s AV Club has an entertaining series of reviews that deals with the painful flashbacks to Vince’s idyllic familial past, the dubious “disguise hoodie” that obscures Vince’s identity (even to close family and friends) despite being a hoodie, and the utter disregard Vince displays toward his son’s mental condition and development by frequenting his son’s bedroom window for a quick heart-to-heart in super-hero form.  I recommend reading the reviews as you savor each episode – watch a chapter, read the commentary, and know you’re witnessing one of the best bad TV shows of our time before it goes off the air.

Apparently tonight’s episode included the line: “I see who wears the cape in this relationship.”  To the DVR-mobile!

“The Mayolution will Not be Televised” – Colbert responds on behalf of mayonnaise everywhere

Late last week the Colbert Report showed a pitch-perfect parody of Miracle Whip’s new campaign.  Though Colbert lightheartedly attacks the campaign, the brand comes out ahead.  Miracle Whip was thrilled about their “special appearance” the next morning on Facebook.

And rightfully so.  The campaign didn’t just warrant a mention, but Colbert included a full thirty-second spot in the program.  Nobody’s ever watched a Miracle Whip commercial so intently.  Not to mention that appearing on Colbert grants the Colbert bump, just the kind of credibility Miracle Whip was looking for in the target (which Colbert identifies as 18-34 year old males in his spoof).  Nearly a perfect placement.  The only thing left to wonder is if Kraft paid for that kind of exposure…

Either way, it’s funny television.  Enjoy:

Modern Family is the new Arrested Development?

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The October 12th issue of TIME Magazine featured an article about the triumphant comeback of the sitcom this fall.  I’m glad to see new, quality sitcoms on the air, but one callout in particular caught my eye.  TIME noted that if you like Arrested Development (I do!), Modern Family (part of ABC’s Comedy Wednesday) is worth a look.

So I watched the pilot on Hulu and the show is hilarious.  A few more episodes later and I’m hooked.  The show follows three branches of an extended family in a mockumentary style reminiscent of The Office.  Jay, the patriarch has remarried a (much) younger woman, Gloria, and together they’re raising Gloria’s son from a previous marriage, Manny.  Jay’s son Mitchell and his partner Cameron have just adopted an Asian baby.  And Jay’s daughter Claire and her husband of 16 years Phil are attempting to raise their three kids (see the family tree for a visual representation).  While each nuclear family is funny in its own right, the show really shines when the plot line brings the three groups together.

In this clip from the third episode, “Come Fly with Me,” Phil tries to get closer to his father-in-law of 16 years, Jay, by hanging out with him for an afternoon flying a model plane (one of Jay’s hobbies).

So it’s funny.  But it’s not quite Arrested Development.  While Modern Family does have a big cast of well-developed characters in an oddball family, they’re not as unpredictable as the Bluths (though the BB gun in Episode 1 comes close).  For instance, in the fourth episode, “The Incident,” though Dylan’s intervention is unexpected, the contents of his song were too predictable.   That’s not to say it wasn’t funny, just not surprisingly so.

Nonetheless, the show is worth watching.  Sure, it doesn’t offer a replacement for Gob performing illusions or for Buster who’s lost his hand to a shark, but it starts to fill the void (and thanks to the upcoming movie, they’re not actually gone).  So it’s not quite Arrested Development, but it’s still very much worth the time to watch.