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Archive for the ‘Parks & Recreation’ Category

5.  30 Rock – NBC Thursdays 9:30/8:30

4.  Cougar Town – ABC Wednesdays 9:30/8:30

3.  Nurse Jackie – Showtime Mondays (Premiers March 22) 10:00/9:00


2.  Parks and Recreation – NBC Thursdays 8:30/7:30

1.  United States of Tara – Showtime Mondays (Premiers March 22) 9:30/8:30


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So. There’s good news and there’s bad news. The GOOD news is that there are some fantastical, magical, should-be-riding-on-unicorns shows on television in 2010. Some of those babies are so adored and beloved that their safety is secure. The bad news is that because of your neglect (yes, you. It’s your fault. I have a TV blog, I watch enough to cause social services to take my kids away.) some of them may very well be canceled before 2010 is out.

Fact: Earthquakes suck. FACT: Being financially stable enough to help people is awesome. Fact: Good TV can be saved too. Let’s do this.

5.  Better Off Ted (Tuedays 8:30/7:30pm, ABC)


Ah, yes. My panicked warbling about ABC’s (dare I say it?) quirkiest show continues. Great, snug writing, fantastically weird and likable characters, a setting that is just bursting with possible story ideas, Better Off Ted is a dream of a workplace comedy, capable of cheerfully zinging the ridiculousness of massive conglomerates in the same beat that a crazily-coiffed magician named Mordor the Unforgivable gets shot with a harpoon gun. Even this show on its worst day is far-and-away better than the middling sitcom fare you’ll find on CBS these days. At least tell Charlie Sheen to take a hike for God’s sake. Clear up some programming time for Ted instead (see what I did there? Classic Lemon).

4. Parks and Recreation (Thursdays 8:30/7:30pm, NBC)

One of the all-time best turnaround stories for a network comedy. When Parks and Rec first aired last year, I made it through two episodes before I had to stop watching. Despite my love for Amy Poehler, watching her grating, Tracy Flick-esque Leslie Knope stumble, crash and burn amongst coworkers and townspeople who seemed to despise her was too much for me. (That episode where she’s flagellated in a town hall meeting in front of her mother? Just painful.) And then… and then someone (probably Beal) told me to take another look at the show when season 2 came around. So I did. A few weeks back, I sat down and caught up on Parks and Rec. And then I proceeded to watch every episode back to back in the span of three days.

What’s different? Leslie Knope is now completely lovable. Sure, she’s still got her high-falutin’ ambitions but it’s tempered with a lot more self-awareness, a healthy dose of idealism and hard work. Instead of her begging for Anne’s friendship, you can tell Anne adores her. And Louis C. K as her boyfriend-cop? Adorable. The episode with Megan Mulally as a slutty, malicious bureaucrat for the library? Fantastic. And that damned Christmas episode made me tear up.

3. Friday Night Lights (Fridays 8:00/7:00pm, NBC)


Here’s how good this show is and I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a wall when I bring it up. My dad, holed up for weeks after surgery, got the first season of FNL thanks to his third and doting daughter’s recommendation. Cut to three weeks later. My mother, who is incapable of staying up past ten minutes of any show (something about the lull of the voices, the softness of the couch? Or maybe the fact that she gets up at 5am every day) is rabidly asking me when the show is coming back on NBC (DirectTV has shouldered the production costs with NBC, so it gets the new episodes first. I love you, DirectTV). My dad reports that she is obsessed. He even caught her sneaking upstairs to watch an episode while he napped and rested. When I brought up the scene where Smash learns he’s going to college, she choked up. And my father is just as hooked.

Returns to NBC on April 30th. Rent the first three seasons on Netflix. Email me a nice thank-you card when you’re done.

2. Lost (Tuesdays 8:00/7:00pm, ABC)


If you’ve been watching this show, then I don’t need to convince you to do anything. You’ll watch. You might shake your fist at Obama’s State of the Union if it pre-empts it too. Lost for us TV geeks is the very definition of appointment television (and there is far too little appointment television these days.)

For those of you who haven’t watched it- look, don’t be turned off by the “mysteries” and the “clues” and the “LEXICON.” It’s a show. A damned good show. The acting is good, the twists are great and when Lost is good? It’s very, very, very good. I could personally give a damn about what the polar bear symbolizes. To me, this is a twisted, funky show about a whacked out, magical island and the very flawed people stuck on it. The end. Watch it because it’s fun. And because I think this whole plan to map out the story and end it this year was a brilliant one (and something serial dramas should always do. Hello, shows-that-spin-out-of-control-toward-the-end-because-they-have-no-direction! Yes, Alias. I am talking to you.)

This is a big year for Lost. The last season. And there’s still time! Hole up for a few weekends, catch up and don’t get bogged down in all the extra stuff.

Returns to ABC on February 2nd.

1. The Tonight Show with CONAN O’BRIEN (Mon-Fri 11:30/10:30, NBC)

I have seen every single episode of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show, which would be a laudable feat if it had lasted the usual tenure of 10-15 years on air. It looks as if Coco’s run, however, will be capped at a measly 7 months. Catch up on the whole story here, just in case you’ve been on Mars for the last week and missed it.

I’ve tweeted and Facebooked and languished over every bit of news and every awkward and hilarious and awful and painful late night segment about the debacle since it all started with Heir Zucker’s announcement to move Jay Leno back to 11:30pm. I am, quite frankly, too sick at heart to talk about it for much longer. Suffice it to say, my perspective of the situation is merely one of a devoted fan. Like so many others, I’ve been watching Conan O’Brien for years and years, for so long that when he saw his dream of hosting The Tonight Show realized, I was beyond thrilled for him. He’s talented, he’s paid his dues and he deserved it. To see it taken from him just hurts.

I don’t care to dissect the reasons or the secret reasons behind the lineup changes or why we hate Jay and love Conan and what it means for comedy and for NBC. It’s all been said to death. Suffice it to say, Conan did not have enough time to secure his legacy with The Tonight Show or to prove himself in the ratings. We’ll miss him and we hurt for him. And wherever he goes, we’ll go. Simple as that.

The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien could very well end on Friday Jan. 22nd. Watch it until the fat lady sings or I will stab you in the face.

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by Beal

Leslie KnopeShow: Parks and Recreation (2009 – Present) NBC Thursdays 8:30 p.m.

Character: Leslie Knope

Actor: Amy Poehler

Fundamentals: Leslie Knope is “a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana.” She’s somewhat of a poor man’s Michael Scott, in that she’s completely graceless and uncomfortable, yet, comedically, she definitely holds her own. She clings desperately to her values (until she’s drunk) and staunchly believes that her work in local government will make a real difference in the lives of the community, so much so that she might one day become the first woman POTUS. We learn early on that her belief in changing the world through dedicated civil service is unique; a notion every other government employee abandons after a few months “in office.” Her current obsession is turning a giant local eyesore into a park. If only she can get through all the red tape.

Pitiful Yet Lovable: Maybe it’s because she is so earnest that you can’t help but love Ms. Knope. She’s like that lady at work, that no matter how much you ridicule her behind her back (or right to her face) you still love working with her, and actually don’t mind spending time with her outside of work, because despite her dedication to her [pathetic] career, she’s a bit of a lush. She’s cute, gets pop culture references, can throw out sick insults and witty one-liners and can drink like a fish, yet, she somehow remains socially retarded at all times. She is hilarious.

Faves: Early on in the series, I’m talking first or second episode, Leslie falls into the shit hole she is attempting to turn into a community park. The following day she arrives at work, and takes a meeting with her superior, IN A TRAVEL PILLOW WITH DUCT TAPE and I was sold. Sure it’s trivial, but I rewound (rewinded?) the scene at least three times. “Is that a travel pillow around your neck?” This is a grown ass, semi-intelligent woman, trying to pass an inflatable pillow held on by duct tape as a medically approved neck stabilizing device. Like I said, she’s socially retarded. I also love any time she goes out “for a drink” and ends up doing shots and humiliating herself, which happens pretty much on the reg. And let’s not forget about when her boss came in in the initial moments of season two and said, “Ok. Here’s the situation,” providing Leslie the PERFECT opening to rap half of The Fresh Prince’s “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand” before learning that her boss came in to inform her that someone was on fire. Gold I tell you. Gold.

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Why NBC, you’ve done it again! I had lost all hope in you when your Thursday night lineup slummed to Joey, Will & Grace, The Apprentice and ER. It was like, just because Friends and Seinfeld had played out, you didn’t have to give up completely, but you did. I believe it was your shit Thursday that singlehandedly took your network to #4 in the ratings. Up to that point, I had always flipped to NBC when I had nothing in particular to watch during prime time, because your programming was generally better than any other network.

But then, you put Law & Order “spin-offs” [read: exactly the same show with a new tagline] (and what the hell was that one with Bebe Neuwirth?) on every single night, in every single time slot, and I had to let you go. It was a sad era for television, and I, along with the masses, said to hell with network and began obsessions with HBO and cable programming. 

Which brings me to last night. NBC, you’ve won me back!!

You have created a “Must See TV” lineup like no other, and I thank you for it. I submit that it’s better than its last heyday(s)The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Hill Street Blues—Wings, Seinfeld, Frasier, L.A. Law—and later—Friends, Seinfeld, ER.  [Yes, I intentionally didn’t mention the shitty shows that appeared amongst these gems: Boston Common, Mad About You, etc.

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Last night, I laughed OUT LOUD, alone, during each of the situation comedies you featured. Parks & Recreation was as funny as I could have hoped for, which obviously means it’s going to be cancelled, but I say please, please give this one a fair chance. Amy Poehler was the only reason I continued to watch SNL once it turned terrible, so I thank you for putting her in prime time. Her character is hilarious. When she rolled in in the duck taped travel pillow, pretending it was a neck brace from a fall she had endured into a pit, I peed a little. So so funny. And The Office can be totally hit or miss, but it’s funny more often than it’s not, and Michael Scott only forces me to change the channel sometimes. 30 Rock, hilarious, hilarious, hilarious. I won’t say any more. 

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As for Southland, I plan on giving it a fair chance and reporting back. My Name is Earl is a throw away show that’s essentially a bad skit gone on far too long. But that I can accept. Your new lineup with it’s new name COMEDY NIGHT DONE RIGHT, is no longer a lie. You win.

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