Thursday, February 16, 2006

my two favorite shows this season...

It's funny, in general Jen and I tend to watch a lot of the same TV. Or at least we used to. Back in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell, Dawson's Creek [even if Jen was "not watching" it for chunks of time] days our most intense conversations would focus purely around TV. But if we were to make a list of all the shows we watch today, we might have maybe 40-50% overlap in shows and then our top 2 shows wouldn't even be shared.

My current top two are: Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill.

Both shows have managed to continue their wonderful character developments going on. Examining and re-examining relationships between characters, making it work or not work, but at least having good concrete reason for it. Brooke-Lucas are finally working. Nathan-Haley are making it work. Karen-Keith are *finally* together. McDreamy-Meredith are not together, but working so well not together (and going to get there eventually). Burke-Christina, in their own very odd ways, work super well together. You sorta root for Alex-Izzie, George-the nurse, but at the same time if they don't get there it's okay. You root for Peyton to find and keep love -- Ellie, Jake... So yeah, I love these shows! Then you throw in how much One Tree Hill has been working to continually develop the musical parts of their show. Yesterday's episode in particular was chockful of musical acts (and makes me really want to buy the CD).

Anywho, so why do these AWESOME awesome shows feel the need to do something of super duper shock value to piss me off to impress their audiences? Apparently, each show will be suffering a casualty of one of the main cast members. It's rumored that someone will be killed off this season on Grey's Anatomy and that in the upcoming episode of One Tree Hill, when a troubled teen takes the school hostage by gun, someone will die. EEEEEEESH. Gimme spoilers, NOW. I want to know who's kicking the bucket. BAH. But please please please keep my couples in tact.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Olympics coverage

I'm a pretty big fan of the Olympics in general, especially the winter ones because of figure skating and skiing but I have to say that television coverage of it pretty much always sucks. I hate how they always bounce between sports so you have to endure say, distance speed skating when all you're really interested in is pairs figure skating. Plus when there's stuff to watch on other channels, it just becomes a giant waste of time. Therefore I've taken my DVR-ing to an entire new level and I've taken to recording the entire primetime slot and only watching what I'm interested the day after. Yeah, watching recorded sports isn't that great but because of the time difference between the States and Italy we get everything late anyway.

One good thing though, is Olympic Ice, the daily figure skating wrap-up on USA. They replay a lot of the key performances and do interviews. Last night's Mary Carillo interview with Johnny Weir and his mother was hilarious. Jamie Salé and David Pelletier have been doing pairs coverage and while they're not the greatest commentators ever, I kind of like hearing them talk because Jamie has a ridiculously prominent Canadian accent and David's French-Canadian. =) (Yeah I have a thing for accents.)

I could probably talk figure skating for way too long, but here's who I'm rooting for:
Mens: Plushenko probably has it in the bag but I'd like Evan Lysacek and Jeffrey Buttle to do well. I'm not the biggest fan of Johnny Weir's skating but his personality is hilarious so hope he does well also.
Dance: Not too knowledgeable here but American Belbin & Agosto have been fun to watch.
Women: Sasha Cohen all the way. I know she's been known to choke and she comes off as bitchy but I love her skating. I also like Irina Slutskaya, who's been around probably as long as Michelle Kwan but oddly I don't hate her at all because she always looks like she's having fun.

Friday, February 10, 2006

And the cutest couple award goes to...

Way too many of my posts end up being lists, but in honor of Valentine's Day, here's my list of the cutest couples on TV! Yes, I am really susceptible to calling couples cute, but I'm a girl, I can't help it...

Not in any particular order:
1. Mac and Beaver on Veronica Mars! They've only been together for one episode really but they're so the perfect misfit couple. What can a say, I'm easily swayed.

2. Hannah and Bright on Everwood. It's kind of silly to pretend that Sarah Drew isn't attractive but it's one of those rare shy-geeky-girl-with-frat-boy couples that mixes things up. I kind of give Amy and Ephram a honorable mention because they're kind of just meant to be. It's unlikely that the show will be picked up for the new CW network, so enjoy it all while you can...

3. Marshall and Lily on How I Met Your Mother. I loved Alyson Hannigan as Willow on Buffy, or at least in the early seasons, but her true calling is definitely comedy, and I've been a fan of Jason Segal since Freaks and Geeks, so I might be a bit biased but they're just so funny. Last week's episode when they were making fun of Ted and Victoria was AWESOME.

4. Jim and Pam on The Office. Okay, they're not a couple yet and I'm hoping that they don't get together too soon because that'll probably kill the show, but their friendship and chemistry is just great.

5. Seth and Summer on The OC. I'm glad that they're not having a stupid relationship issue this year a la Zach. The college stuff this season is much more realistic and natural and I still love them even though the show in general is usually less than stellar.

6. Luke and Lorelai on Gilmore Girls. This one's tricky because truthfully most of the time they don't act like a couple. But the idea of them is really cute because they've been dancing around eachother for seasons. If they don't end up married I will be seriously upset.

Who am I missing?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

TV fans = sports fans??

I've never been much of a sports fan, except for girly stuff like figure skating and gymnastics, but after moving to Philly and enduring endless football conversations going on around me, I think I've come to a realization: sports fans aren't really too different from TV fans.

I was thinking about how, in the case of shows like Gilmore Girls, I can't just stop watching because the show is bad. It's been awhile since I really considered the show to be great, but I continue to subject myself to week after week of frustration and Rory-hateage. This isn't too unlike being a sports fan. Loyalty to your team means that you stick with them, whether they're on top or sucking royally. You follow their games, analyze and criticize their players, pity yourself for being a fan, but you can't just give up! Even when things are at their worst, you still have hope that things will turn around. And if they don't, well, there's always next season.

Haha, yeah, I've been having some random thoughts lately...

Geek Culture

As evidenced by the existence of this blog, I'd probably consider myself to be one of the more entertainment/media obsessed people on the planet but I'm really also a geek. And over the years I think I've come to some conclusions about geek culture. In college I even took a class in 20th century pop culture and wrote my term paper on the science fiction fan communities of Star Trek, the X-files, and Buffy. That was definitely the most fun I'd ever had writing a paper. You could say that geek culture is always evolving, but here are my top geek culture indicators, probably most accurate for people currently in the twenties.

1. You love Office Space and unintentionally make references to it (i.e. TPS reports, flair, red staplers, Lumbergh).

2. Your favorite book (or at least one of your favorite books) is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

3. You watched and loved Star Trek: the Next Generation. Jean-Luc Picard, man. Patrick Stewart was my high school English teacher's father-in-law. How cool is that??

4. You're familiar with Homestarrunner and you think Strongbad is hilarious.

5. You play a geek game of some sort, like Go, Settlers of Catan, or Warcraft.

Are you a geek?

another one bites the dust

What is with this season and letting good shows go off air before they fully play out? ie, Reunion. Kitchen Confidential. And the newest loser: Love Monkey. *sigh*

What's the point in trying out new shows anyway? They'll get cancelled mid-season anyway. Stupid suits.

Monday, February 06, 2006

the most irritating

I haven't posted in a while. I just haven't felt the motivation to. But after a long hiatus, I am back! Anyway, Friday afternoon I saw some almost-crappy movies. They weren't completely terrible, but they weren't all that great either. The first of these was Jersey Girl. Yeah, I know, I know. That's definitely a "why would you think to waste your life away watching that?" movie. But Kevin Smith, so I watched. And it left me with a desire to write...

The Most Irritating Celebrities List
(I'm starting it, Jenn feel free to add on to it both with comments and suggestions)
(in no particular order)
1. Ben Affleck -- Ohmigoodness. To think he was my celebrity crush after Good Will Hunting. Anyway, I've decided that this man is not a very good actor, and he has a dorkiness-trying-to-be-cool aspect of him that is simply, well, irritating. He was the inspiration for this list. (Jenn: I liked him in Chasing Amy but otherwise I agree that he sucks.)
2. Barbara Streisand -- I feel incredibly mean, but she just looks irritating. I adore Robert Redford. I think that for an old man he is quite sexy and in his prime he was even sexier. So what does he have to do with her? Well I tried watching their film 'Til There Was You, and even Robert Redford's sexiness did not help me to get to the end of this film. Her nose (sorry, I feel terrible. It's people like me that lead to celebrity nose jobs) is just BLECH!
3. Julia Stiles -- This lady cannot act. Ohmigosh she is such a stilted actress. Not just in speech, but also in movement, facial expressions, etc. The best example of this can be seen in Mona Lisa Smile where she gives her speech about "fah-mil-li." Oy. Not a fan.
4. Rory Gilmore -- This is not so much an attack on Alexis Bledel as it is an attack on the character she places in Gilmore Girls. I HATE HATE HATE Rory. And as I'm sure our readers are familiar with, so does Jenn. Why do they need to make her so damn PERFECT? Perhaps I'm just jealous. :-)
5. Ryan Seacrest -- At the core of it, he's just got a crappy job. Or maybe he just does a crappy job of MCing American Idol. But lordy, this man needs to get off tv. Actually, there is one role on tv that I think would be perfectly suited for him. Take over for the Wheel of Fortune man. (Jenn: Yeah, he's irritating but dude's a mogul. He has American Idol, two radio shows, a contract with E!, and is taking over Dick Clark's New Year's Eve show. )
6. Tom Green -- He's simply not funny to me in any way.
7. Kevin Federline -- omg.
8. Jessica Simpson -- SHE should've married K-Fed.

There are for sure more celebs I'd want on this list, but these are all I could come up with off the top of my head. :-)

(Jenn's adds)
9. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise -- No elaboration needed. They've toned it down as of late but they're still pretty gross.
10. Dakota Fanning -- I've mentioned her before, but seriously, can you get any more annoyingly precocious?
11. Michelle Kwan -- Haha I may be alone in this but I can't stand her. I was a fan back in the day, when she should have won the Olympic gold in '98 over Tara Lipinski, but she's stuck around WAY too long and watching her same old boring style year after year after year just makes me want to heave. I almost want her to win in Torino just so she'll just GO AWAY.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Caterina in the Big City

I've always been curious about what it's like growing up in places other than where I grew up. In the 4th grade I had pen pals from French Canada, a dairy farm in Wisconsin, and sunny California, among others, and I was always pretty fascinated by how different their lives were, and also how similar.

Caterina in the Big City is set in Italy and is about a small-town girl who moves with her family to Rome. I'm not sure where I heard of it, but I rented it through Netflix and I really loved it. Caterina is suddenly thrown into a school that's very politically divided and her father has his own issues with their socioeconomic situations. It's weird to see kids that are so passionate about politics but in a lot of ways this is a classic new-girl-at-school story.

Caterina is the sweet, impressionable girl that both factions want to adopt in their cliques, and not knowing any better, she goes along with it. First she falls in with the moody, somewhat Goth Marguerita, who is the daughter of a famous leftist writer, but after a falling out, soon gets caught up in the glam world of the daughter of a right-wing politician. It's a really fun ride, and Caterina is surprising easy to relate to, even if she is Italian and living in a completely different world.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The more I think back on this book, the more I think I loved it. This is the kind of book that I wanted to write back when I had delusions of actually being a writer. Compared to a lot of other books I've read by young authors, The History of Love seems almost old-fashioned. There's no dating or crime or drugs or sex and the main characters are children and old men. The writing style is very quiet but speaks volumes of emotion and the overall effect is really surprisingly moving. The beginning of the book is somewhat confusing, as chapters alternate between several characters and I wasn't sure how they all related but once I started to piece together the mystery and understand what was going on I got incredibly eager to get to the ending that I knew was going to happen. I raced through the last couple of pages practically breathless. The story manages to be both simple and complex and the narration keeps it from getting too saccharine.The author is 30 years old but she managed to write equally convincing and distinct voices for both 14-year-old Alma and old man Leo.

There were some things I didn't like though...I didn't think the writing was pretentious but I thought that some of the formatting decisions were. All of Alma's chapters were partitioned into numbered sections, and the last 30 pages switch off between Alma and Leo, with sometimes only a single sentence on a page. There's also a book-within-a-book going on and I thought those passages were pretty boring. A couple of chapters feature Alma's little brother, Bird, and I found those to be almost unreadable also. And I do have to mention that the book is centered around all Jewish characters and not being Jewish myself or terribly familiar with Jewish themes in general, I felt a little out of the loop for some sections.

Overall though, one of the best books I've read in recent memory. And Alfonso Cuarón is reportedly directing the movie version, which is really perfect. I can't wait.

Gilmore Girls, uneven as ever...

So last night's Gilmore Girls was interesting in that it managed to remind of both the very best and very worst aspects of the show...

The good:
Friday night dinner. The best dynamic on Gilmore Girls has always been in the family. The camera work was a little distracting at first, but it was definitely different and kind of refreshing. I loved that Lorelai, of all people, was the one who realized that the four of them just really needed to have it out. I loved that they really dug in and yelled and laughed and argued about everything from Lorelai's leaving home eons ago to Emily's attempt to buy a plane to Logan's mother to the DAR. I'm especially glad that Emily pointed out how spoiled Rory was, although coming from Emily, it probably won't make much of an impact. Actually, I doubt any of this is going to make an impact. Next week things will probably go right back to the way things were last season before Rory stole the stupid boat and dropped out of school. The dialogue and acting was just all top notch, though...

Also good, I kind of liked Logan again. My hatred for Rory sort of fueled my hatred of Logan because I couldn't stand how hard he was trying to get her back because she sucks. I liked him a lot better when he wanted to be casual and Rory didn't. But I liked how he stepped it up at the paper, even if it probably was for Rory in the end.

The bad:
On the other hand, I still don't really get why first Lorealai, and now Rory, are suddenly so forgiving of Logan. I'm not saying that his actions were completely unforgivable, but I want some explanation, man. What the heck was in that letter that Lorelai wrote Rory a few episodes ago? As a viewer I don't enjoy being left in the dark about things that completely change a character's behavior.

WHY have they killed Paris as a character? She's always been crazy but I, at least, found her kind of loveable, even at the beginning of the season when she and Doyle were doing all that funny self-defense stuff. But to make her completely sabotage the paper in order to get Rory into the editor-in-chief position? WHY?? No wonder Rory has a huge sense of entitlement...she keeps getting whatever the heck she wants without even really trying.

As always, Rory being...Rory. Her refusing to tell her grandparents about Christopher paying for college was irritating beyond words. Oh, and have I mentioned that Christopher suddenly coming into money was another plot point I hated? It is kind of believable since Christopher also comes from wealth but geez, what a conflict, deciding which of your rich relatives will pay for your education...

And then there's Luke and Lorelai's whole situation. I realize that shows tend to be uninteresting and go downhill when couples are happy and together but this Luke's-daughter thing is just awful. Luke is making me cringe because his actions are just so predictable. Being too eager to postpone the wedding, excluding Lorelai from everything involving I really wanted this to be the last season of Gilmore Girls so that Luke and Lorelai could just get married and then live happily ever after. But it looks likely that we'll have to endure another whole season of this preposterous crap because damnit I can't stop watching.