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SERIES PREMIERE REVIEW: Are You There, Chelsea? “Pilot” S1 E1

Right now, I am 0-3 with liking new comedy pilots.  This is show is #3.  Are You There, Chelsea stars Laura Prepon as Chelsea and Chelsea Handler as her sister Sophie.  Chelsea seems to be a very self-centered, drunk, slut.  Which can make for some pretty good comedy!   She works in a bar and it’s the story of her relationships with her family and friends and a young woman trying to find herself and her place in the world.

I actually think this show has promise, I just think it’s horribly miscast.  I know people are going to set my house on fire with my next comment, but, I don’t find Laura Prepon funny or attractive.  She is one actress I just don’t get.  I don’t understand all the fuss about her.  I always thought she was the weakest person in That 70s Show.  I didn’t hate her as Nikki Heat on Castle.  To be fair, I thought she was pretty good.  But she wasn’t good on October Road.  She just always seems to be overshadowed by the usually funnier and stronger cast surrounding her.  The same could be said here.   And I think the biggest disservice to Prepon is having Chelsea Handler in the cast.

Handler is flipping hysterical.  Her delivery is spot on and she is ridiculously witty.  But every time she is on-screen, I’m reminded how so far out of her league Prepon is, comedically.  All I keep thinking is “Gosh, I wish Handler was playing herself because this show would be much better.”   Handler outshines Prepon with every scene she is in.  I understand why Handler isn’t playing herself, because a younger actress is better suited for the way this show was constructed.  But then, cast someone else other than Handler so we aren’t reminded each time she’s on-screen how much stronger the show would be if she was the lead.  Or, if you want a sitcom with Handler, do a show appropriate to her age so you can feature her and have Prepon in a supporting role.  For me, that is going to be the show’s biggest down fall.

My favorites so far have been Olivia (Ali Wong) and Dee Dee (Lauren Lapkus.)  Although, I can see Dee Dee really working your nerves if she’s on too much.  But in the pilot, she was used the perfect amount.  I think she’s subtly hilarious as Chelsea and Olivia’s new roommate.  I have to say, I like the fact that even though she is SOOOOOOO different from Chelsea and Olivia and incredibly dorky, they were never mean to her or nasty.  You can see them doing things to mess with her or talk down to her and they never did.  They give her some rolls of the eyes, which is understandable, but they seem to get along well, at least for now.  I also liked the bartender, Rick (Jake McDorman.)   He seemed the most down to the earth, but also a lot of fun.  There is a slight history (romantically) with him and Chelsea that hasn’t gone anywhere yet, but you can see it has potential.   Then there is her dad (Lenny Clarke.)  He was slightly annoying but I guess he could be ok.  My jury is still out on him.

I’m going to give this show a little more time.  I hope I can get past the Prepon/Handler issue, because the show has potential to be really funny and solid Wednesday comedy, but I don’t know if I can.  Time will tell.   What did you think?

DVRs: 2

 

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SERIES PREMIERE RECAP & REVIEW: Work It “Pilot” S1 E1

Oh boy.  The first new show I am going to review had to be a questionable one.  As I mentioned on my podcast, I was looking forward to checking out Work It because it reminded me of a show I loved as a kid….Bosom Buddies.   After watching Work It, I now realize why kids are dumb.

Work It follows the plight of Lee (played by Ben Koldyke) and Angel (played by Amaury Nolasco) who have been out of work for over a year and can’t find a job anywhere.  While getting slammed with a $900 bill from the doctor’s office (since his insurance ran out) he was trying to find another way to get a job.  At said doctor’s office, he overhears a woman talk about how her pharmaceutical firm is looking for sales people.  Unfortunately they are only looking for women.  Being a woman and knowing that there are still many instances where men get jobs over women and the pay scale still isn’t where it should be and there are still many “good old boys” out there, this is just out-of-bounds.  A firm who only wants attractive women because they believe that’s who the doctors want to sleep with?  Being in sales, I understand the doing anything to get the sale concept, but this is just wrong on MANY levels.

When Lee plans to sell his wife’s earrings to get the money for the doctor’s bill, he sees a dress hanging on her door and an idea comes to his head.   He dresses as a woman and goes for the job at the pharm firm.  He gets the job and immediately starts to make friends (kind of) with his new colleagues….Grace, the ultra competitive top sales person (played by Rebecca Mader), Kelly, the air head who likes to sleep with doctors (played by Kate Reinders) and Kristen the kook who, while really strange and out there, is very sweet and looking for a new book club buddy (played by Kirsten Eggers.)  Talk about stereotypical women in the work place…the bitch, the slut, and the ditz.  Boy this really does feel like watching a sitcom from the 80s.

Apparently, Lee and Angel made a deal that whoever got a job, would get the other job there as well.  And when Lee told Angel it wasn’t possible (but not why) Angel stormed away and told his friend is was basically a snob for not wanting him at his snobby pharm firm.  You have got to be kidding me.   You two have been out of work for over year.  The job market is atrocious.   So you are going to condemn your friend because he wasn’t able to get you a job (a job which you have no experience at)?   Last time I checked, Lee wasn’t in charge of hiring…Vanessa was.  So how can Angel make Lee feel bad?   Not to mention it was CLEAR that Lee was a sales person and has the experience and knowledge to win the job.  Angel doesn’t.  So how does Angel feel he is entitled to a job that he has no qualifications for in a competitive job market?   It was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen.

Eventually, Lee fessed up what he needed to do to land the job and Angel is all for doing the same thing.  He dresses up and interviews with Vanessa (played by Rochelle Aytes.)   He doesn’t get the job but because he is able to change Vanessa’s flat tire later on, she hires him.  I can’t even begin to tell you how insulting that is.   But whatever.  He gets the job, everyone celebrates (except Lee’s wife who seems like a real stick in the mud) and the premise for the series is set up.

This show is just one stereotype after another.  While I’m sure many people will be able to appreciate what the show is trying to do and can relate to the tough job market and the willingness to do whatever it takes to provide for your family, I think the majority of people out there, won’t like this show.  It’s so shallow on many levels.  I would have more sympathy for Lee’s family if his wife wasn’t so nasty to him and his daughter wasn’t a spoiled brat.   The only time we see her is when she is bitching about having to use a land line because she can’t have a cell phone anymore and then finally shows her dad some kindness when he gets her a phone back by the end of the episode.  Seems like Lee is the sole provider in the house so I find it a bit odd that the first thing he does after being out of work for a year is to make sure his brat of a daughter has a cell phone.   Surely there must be more pressing bills.

Having said all that, I will admit that there were times when I laughed.  When they all sat down to have lunch together and Lee breaks out a gut busting size hoagie while the other girls are eating salads, when his ace bandage came apart under his skirt and Lee tried to hold it together.  Nothing ground breaking but simple funny moments.  I think the hardest part to over come is how these two men look NOTHING like women.  At least they could have found someone maybe a little more slight in build and softer in features to be more believable as women.  And maybe that’s what the show runners want…two men who are so masculine and large that they think it makes it funnier.   I just think it makes all the characters around them less believable and less likable because it’s hard to believe anyone would be that dumb to buy Lee and Angel as women.

I might watch one or two more episodes to see if this show improves at all.  But it isn’t looking promising!

DVRs: 0

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: How I Met Your Mother “Symphony of Illumination” S7 E10

This is what I have always loved about this show.  The big sentimental moments always strike the perfect cord because I have fallen in love with these characters. And the actors knock it out of the park every time.   There are so many comedies that can’t pull off the serious episodes.   HIMYM has never been one of them because the cast is so terrific.  If you haven’t watched the episode yet, then stop reading now because you don’t want to be spoiled for this episode. But you better come back and finish reading the post!!!!!!

Just to quickly touch on the Marshall/Scott thing…it was funny and fine but since the other story in the show was so much bigger, I really don’t want to spend much time on this.  Marshall was looking to really decorate the new house (Clark Griswold style) and a kid in the neighbor came by to “help” him.  He trapped Marshall on the roof and used his house as his own personal party palace.  Nice little asshole.  It also led to a funny back and forth with Robin and Marshall about Manheim Steamroller vs. AC/DC for Christmas music!  But let’s get to what we really want to talk about, shall we?

Last week, we were left with a pretty big cliffhanger…Robin told Barney she was pregnant.  At first, I wasn’t’ thrilled about this turn of events.  But this will teach me to never doubt the writers of the show again.   Because this storyline is sooooo much better than I could have expected, even if it is much sadder.   There were many bombs dropped in the episode.  The first being that if Robin is pregnant (she hadn’t taken a test or seen the doctor…she was just late and she’s never late, which is a point of pride for her) the baby is Barney’s because she and Kevin hadn’t slept together yet.  Barney was pretty happy about this and pretty supportive.  But they agreed to keep it quiet until they knew for sure.

They go to the doctor and they get the news they were hoping for….Robin is not pregnant and a hugely funny dance ensues.  Later we see Robin celebrating with scotch and a cigar when the doctor calls and asks her to come back in.  At this point, I thought they were going to tell her they made a mistake and she really was pregnant, but a bigger twist happened….Robin was told she could never have children.  What was an even BIGGER twist, was Robin’s reaction.  She was devastated.  She decided not to tell anyone because of how they would treat her and react to the situation (and it was hilarious and so true at the same time!)  So Robin instead told them that she couldn’t be a pole vaulter and that’s why she is so upset.

When going with Lily to the baby store, Lily knows there is really something wrong with Robin and asks her again what has her so upset.  Robin proceeds to tell her about how she never wanted to be a pole vaulter, ever.  But now being told you don’t have the choice, you can’t be a pole vaulter vs. making the conscious choice to not be a pole vaulter is very different.  At least when it’s your choice, you can always change it should you want to.  When it’s not an option, the choice is taken away.  It was very emotional to watch because I’ve had so many friends either have issues with getting pregnant or told they can never have children.  It’s brutal.

Back at her apartment, Ted can also tell that something real is upsetting Robin and it has nothing to do with pole vaulting, but Robin refuses to tell him.  Ted tries to offer to have her go back to Cleveland with him for Christmas but she wants to be in New York.  He keeps pushing and she wants to know why and he tells her because it’s his job to make her feel better.  It’s moments like this I remember why I liked Ted after all (even if he has been a royal douche the last few seasons.)  It’s because that guy is a really good friend when it counts.  He is always there when one of them really needs him and I really respect that about his character.  When Robin thinks she’s all by herself for Christmas and comes back to the apartment, she can’t turn on the lights.  That’s because all the lights are tied into Christmas lights all over the apartment and all over a big tree with AC/DC blasting to the pattern of the blinking lights!  Ted comes out from the kitchen and tells Robin, he doesn’t need to know what’s wrong.  He just knows she needs to feel better and that will always be his job no matter what.  He will always take care of her.  She bursts into tears (as do I) and hugs him.

While all this was going on, Robin was talking to her future children (like future Ted does every episode.)  And she refers to Barney as their father the entire time she is talking to them…..interesting!!!   But what was even more telling (and sad) was that in the end, they were just a mirage.  They don’t exist.  Now I don’t know if that is foreshadowing on both fronts but it broke my heart.  You see Robin sitting by herself in a park staring off at a picture of a family that she will never have. On a side note, where the hell was Kevin?  In her voice over, you hear her talking about being alone at Christmas in NYC.  Why?   Shouldn’t Kevin have been with her?  It didn’t make any sense.

So what do you make of all this?  I still think that it means that Robin and Barney end up together.  But now I’m starting to think that is more my wishful thinking.   It’s also very possible that Robin doesn’t end up with anyone.  At the end of episode when future Ted is telling his kids about Robin, he talks about her professional accomplishments and how she travelled the world and even became a bull fighter (can’t wait to hear that story.)  But he never mentions a husband or family.  Does that mean Robin lives up to what she has always said?   That she doesn’t want to be married or have kids?  It’s very possible.   The writers have always made a point to make sure that we as an audience are reminded of that fact.  You can take it one of two ways….that it’s true and that’s what happens for Robin or she has never wanted it but she changes her mind and it happens anyway.  I’m not sure.  Now just because Ted didn’t mention a husband or family doesn’t mean that’s not how Robin’s life turns out.   I just found it interesting that it was not mentioned in his description of how her life is in the future.   I could be reading WAAAAY too much into it.  But this episode really gave us a lot to think about.  And I would like to give kudos to Josh Radnor and Colbie Smulders for amazing performances in this episode.

I really want to hear from you about this episode, so please inundate my comments section with your thoughts!

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in CBS, Recaps and Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: How I Met Your Mother “The Rebound Girl” S7 E11

I’m not sure how I feel about this.  But I will say, I soooooooooooooo did not see that coming.  Usually I can see it coming from a mile away.   But not this time.  And there were so many clues that I feel like a real idiot that I didn’t think of it before she said it….”I’m Pregnant.”   My husband, who’s usually better than I am at seeing this stuff, was as surprised as I was!   But am I happy with this storyline?   I don’t know.

On one hand, I think it’s great because here is the girl who never wanted to get married, never wanted to have children, now pregnant.  And it’s the classic, who’s the daddy (which we all know, it’s going to Barney’s.)   On the other hand, what a clichéd storyline…who’s the daddy and the unexpected pregnancy.  Not to mention, our resident couple Marshmellow and Lily Pad have been trying to have a baby for a while, I wish they could just have the pregnancy and birth without something like this hanging over it.  So I’m a little disappointed the writers went down this path.

I think most HIMYM fans want this to be Barney’s kid (at least from most of the comment sections I am reading on other sites seem to indicate that) and I would have to be in agreement.  I’ve said this before that I really like Kevin and Kal Penn on the show.  But ultimately, I think Robin and Barney are soul mates.  I thought it since their first bro night together.  So that’s where I’m hoping they’re headed.

There was a comment Carter Bays made that made me raise an eyebrow especially when in conjunction with an episode earlier in the season.  In an interview with EW.com, he said:

“I would say the wheels of fate are not done turning for these characters, and it’s definitely a big surprise, but there’s more to come,” Bays teases. “This little story isn’t over yet. I almost feel weird commenting on anything just yet because there are more revelations in store.” For one, says Bays, the question of the baby’s paternity will be “settled pretty quickly,” but there will also be developments that give way to “a bigger story.”

“New questions will arise and I feel like, this story, we are using this device a little bit to set the stage for a bigger story that is setting up the events of the rest of the series which, I guess we do a lot,” he says. “It’s a pretty tumultuous show. This in particular is going to lead to kind of a reshuffling of the group. Not necessarily in this next episode, but this episode will set things in motion for that.”

A reshuffling of the group?  What does that mean?  And remember when Ted and Victoria had their last hurrah and Victoria talked about his connection with Robin and how Ted, Robin, and Barney all hanging out together just isn’t healthy in a lot of ways?   Finally, there was the Bob Saget voice over saying how that would come to be true?   I’m not going to lie, I’m a little concerned.   What does all that mean?  Is the gang breaking up?  Is this season a set up for next (which could be the final season) and Marshall and Lily and Ted and his wife remain friends but Robin and Barney (whether together or apart) go their separate ways?   Because I can’t imagine a world where he gang isn’t together from now until the end of time!!!  I seriously don’t know what to think about all this and where this is going.   So I really want to hear from you and what you think this means.

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Happy Endings S1 E1-3

Again, this will be quick so I can catch up.

Another couple show has premiered staring Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Casey Wilson, Damon Waynes Jr, Zachary Knighton, and Adam Pally.   I wasn’t sure if I was even going to give this a chance but since it has a bunch of Scrubs connections, I decided to watch it.

I’m glad I did because it was pretty entertaining.  I think these shows are always a little rough in the beginning because they are spending a lot of time setting up the characters and having you get to know them, that it usually takes several episodes before you can really get into the funny storytelling.  It wasn’t Scrubs funny but it wasn’t Running Wilde awful either.  I laughed a few times and found the cast to be solid and their chemistry to be decent for it being early in the show.  Although someone really needs to tell Casey Wilson to stop saying the word ‘amazing’ in the bizarre way she keeps saying it.  It looks like she’s trying too hard for a shtick and she’s too funny to try that hard.  I think there a few times she needed to tone it down but hopefully that will come with time.  And my favorites right now are Jane (Eliza Coupe), Brad (Damon Waynes Jr) and Max (Adam Pally.)   Hilarious.

The problem is, I don’t think this show is going to have the chance to see if it can work because the ratings aren’t great.  I have said this before and I will say it again, doing a “mid-season premiere” at the end of April is too late.  Either premiere it in Jan-Feb or wait until summer or next fall.  Waiting this late in the network season (where some shows are having season finales either already or coming up soon) is a detriment to the show.   You are setting it up for failure.  People already have their viewing schedules set at this point.  So I think it’s a real challenge for shows like that to get up and running.  It helps that Cougar Town is back (thank God) to give it a better lead in but I don’t know if that will be enough.  It’s brutal for me because I am already behind on all my shows (poor Chuck has been siting on my DVR for months now) and the networks keep premiering new ones.  Knock it off people!!!

I suggest checking the show out and enjoy it during its run because I fear it won’t be around long.

 
 

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REVIEW: Perfect Couples “Pilot” S1 E1

This was not a bad as I thought it was going to be.  I pleasantly surprised that I didn’t hate.   Sounds like a ringing endorsement huh?   I wouldn’t walk away saying I loved Perfect Couples but it was entertaining enough that I will watch again.  Some parts worked well and other didn’t but overall, not too bad.

Dave and Julia

Of all the couples, they were my favorite and the most realistic.  Dave and Julia (played by the very funny Kyle Bornheimer and Christine Woods) are a normal couple who are trying to celebrate their wedding anniversary with some alone time.   Unfortunately their friends don’t really want that to be the case.   Having friends just like that, I completely empathize with Dave and Julia.  Right away I believed in this couple.  You can tell they genuinely care about each other and would do anything for each other as long as their friends didn’t screw it up.  Case in point, they finally have some alone time and Vance calls because he locked himself into their secretary’s bathroom and he needs Dave’s help to get out.  He refuses because he doesn’t want to upset Julia and Julia knows, with Dave being the loyal friend that he is, that it will kill him to not help Vance.  Instead, while she offers to take their dog out, she goes and gets Vance and brings him back to the house.  Dave can’t believe it and while they begin to argue, the creepy friends show up with Vance’s girlfriend and everyone is shouting.  Dave and Julia argue about how she always tries to be the cool wife and he usually plays dumb to when she is really upset.  The scary thing is, it sounded just like an argument my husband and I have had!   She’s pissed at him and he knows just the way to get her to release the anger.   The go to demo a house that a demo team was supposed to do for DAve and Vance’s firm but never did.  So they bash up cabinets and staircases with sledgehammers and bust through dry wall and look to have a really good time.   Two thumbs up on Dave and Julia.

Rex and Leigh

Two thumbs down here.  I didn’t find them funny or charming or even quirky.  I found them to be annoying.  How are these people friends?   I think Rex may be Julia’s brother but I’m not 100% sure.  These 2 are very cult like with their chanting of relationship jargon when they have a conflict.  The one thing that did make me laugh about them was how they always have to be doing something like game night or a wine/dinner cruise.  Again, we have friends just like that but they aren’t as bizarre and Stepford as Rex and Leigh.  I hope they tone it down a bit and luckily they aren’t soooo bad that they take away from the show….yet.

Vance and Amy

As crazy as these two were, they cracked me up.  Their scene during game night where they fought her voice being too awful for American Idol and him crushing her dreams was great!   I guess these two will be the fight-like-cats-and-dogs-but-have-mad-crazy-sex-afterwards-to-make-up couple.   Amy is hysterical.  Vance is fine.  Sometimes he can be over the top (like when he was wearing Julia’s dead mother’s robe and when he was trapped in Isabella’s bathroom) but then he can really funny (the game night scene and the scene where he is heartbroken over Dave choosing Julia over him.)

I will definitely watch the show again.  I wasn’t the funniest 30 minutes of TV but it did make me laugh out loud a few times and certainly wasn’t as bad as Running Wilde.  So I say check it out and see what you think.

 

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Mid Season, NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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