Tuesday, March 30, 2010

greek in brief

Just watched the season finale of Greek. First off, sucks that I have to wait until the summer for new episodes!!! Life was better when I was seasons behind and had a bajillion episodes to watch before I was caught up. Secondly, noooooo I don't want Cappie-Casey broken up. Though I kinda liked the twist of Cappie getting offended and doing the actual dumping. Third, I'm really glad they decided to make it so that Casey didn't get into CRU Law. That would've been the easy way out and while I don't want her and Cappie to break up, I want them to figure it out the hard way, not have it easy. Fourth, yay for Ashley's job! Finally, yay for Evan and Rebecca! Ooh doubly lastly, yay for the ultimate revenge-- OX's president being a friendly and KT and OX burying the hatchet!

Okay that's it. What will I do to tide me over until the premier of Greek's final season?!?

- Posted with my iPod Touch.

Monday, March 29, 2010

sytycd season 7 changes!

After a few days of Nigel tweeting about changes in the upcoming season to include:
- Only ONE dancer leaves the show each week,
- Partners change every week,
- Season 7 will not have a Top 20,
- Dancers will not pick their dance genre...

... the final big change was announced today!
- Dancers will be paired up with "All-Stars" from Seasons 1-6 and dance in the genre of the "All-Stars."

Initially reaction -- Interesting... (Processing... Processing...) Wait, AWESOME! :) I think this could be really good because a) it gives us some more time with the dancers we loved so well in the earlier seasons, b) the dancers will be voted on individually as opposed to be voted on in pairs, and c) can't fault the partner for being the "weaker" dancer!

Additionally, the show was really a mess Season 6. Hosed up timing, no voting for the first few weeks, a finale with 6 dancers instead of 4... And though I love, love, love the show, having Seasons 5 and 6 so close together kind of made it feel less special somehow. Plus, WHY IS THERE NO TOUR FOR SEASON 6? Oh, oh! And, it made me sad because I think I actually liked the Season 6 dancers better as a whole than the Season 5 dancers!

In any case, here's my wish list of dancers I'd love to see come back in Season 7:
-- Russell (S6 winner, and I want him to work with Lil C as a choreographer!)
-- Katee (S4, loved, loved, loooooved her!)
-- Twitch (S4)
-- Chelsie Hightower (S4)
-- Janette (S5)
-- Jeanine (S5 winner)/Kayla (S5)
-- Joshua (S4 winner)
-- Anya (S3)
-- Dominic/Hok (S3)
-- Benji Schwimmer (S2 winner, lower on my list, but he was a very entertaining performer and swing would be fun to watch!)

I'm looking forward to a refreshing, new season! AND I WANT THE TOUR TO COME BACK!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

songs that make me change the radio station...

"Blah Blah Blah," Ke$ha -- I feel like I don't even need to explain myself for why this song is so annoying. Her voice is more than enough. Then, let's top it off with these stellar lyrics: "Stop ta-ta-talking that / Blah blah blah / Think you'll be getting this? / Nah nah nah / Not in the back of my /Ca-a-ar / If you keep talking that /Blah blah blah blah blah." Yet this song is ALWAYS on the radio.

"Heartbreak Warfare," John Mayer -- Truthfully, there's only been one song ever that I've liked by John Mayer, "No Such Thing." Everything else is just bleh! Somehow his voice creeps me out and this song just annoys me. I can't quite put a finger on why. *shrug*

"Rude Boy," Rihanna -- I know quite a few people who really don't like Rihanna. I actually usually like Rihanna's stuff. I really liked "Unfaithful," "Take a Bow," "Disturbia," and "Run this Town." Don't like "Umbrella" and now really dislike "Rude Boy." I'm also not quite sure why I dislike this song enough to change the radio station the instant I recognize it, but I do. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

cutting edge x4

This is the main reason I was thinking about the topic of remakes last week... A couple of weekends ago ABC Family (which apparently seems to be my new favorite channel) was playing a Cutting Edge marathon starting with the original 1992 version of Cutting Edge and leading to the premier of the brand new Cutting Edge 4: Fire & Ice or something like that. I don't actually remember what the sub-title for the movie was. In any case, as cheesy as every single movie was... I still enjoyed each one and watched them all in a two day span. So sad! Here's a rundown of the four...

Cutting Edge (The Original, 1992):
"Toe pick!" I've probably seen this movie a half dozen times at this point in my life. It's kinda funny seeing the mom from One Tree Hill so young. But in any case, I love this movie and obviously others did, too, because it warranted THREE movies 14, 16, and 18 years later. Story line: a spoiled female pairs figure skater (Moira Kelly) who had chased away all her "weak" partners and a promising male hockey player (D.B. Sweeney) who had his hockey career shortened by an eye injury pair up to go for Olympic gold.

Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold (2006):
The "Toe pick!" moments made it into all four movies, I think. And the skirt lift, booty showing skate away made it into most of the sequels as well. I really am not a big fan of Christy Carlson Romano -- somehow she always plays "perfect" characters. In this one she's the daughter of the pair from the first movie. (Additionally the timing doesn't make any sense at all because Christy plays an 18 year old or something and she's going for the 2006 Olympics and her parents won gold at the 1992 Olympics, so she couldn't be more than 14...) Anyway, SHE is a promising singles figure skater who gets injured in nationals and can no longer do triples. HE is an X-games rollerblader. They pair up to go for Olympic gold.

Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream (2008):
And it gets worse... (Yet I still watched! And I've now seen this and Cutting Edge 2 TWICE!) Anyway, the switcharoo is that this time it's a guy who needs a female partner. HE (played by Matt Lanter, better known as Liam from the new 90210) is a friend of Christy Carlson Roman's character (who hooked up with her partner in the last movie but they broke up/got divorced) and a pairs figure skater with a perfect female partner who gets injured. With nationals around the corner he needs to find a partner. In comes the girl. SHE (Francia Raisa from The Secret Life of the American Teenager) is a latina who plays ice hockey with her sibling and friends. They pair up and go for whatever they were going for.

Cutting Edge 4: Fire & Ice (2010):
The latest installment. SHE is still the same girl from the last movie, but her former HE got his gold and decided he was done with his career. So they amicably broke up and now she needs a new partner. HE (played by Brendan Fehr, Michael from Roswell) is a hotheaded speed skater who got banned from the sport for punching out a teammate. He still wants an Olympic gold so he pairs up with her and later once being reinstated in speed skating has to choose between going for gold in speed skating or pairs figure skating. Hmm, wonder what he decided?

In any case, they definitely have done everything to keep the story a little different each time. And truthfully, these are movies just meant to be enjoyed. In any case, since the last three movies have come out two years apart, we'll just have to see what new twist they come up with for 2012...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday Talk Week 12

J: Back in 2005, I wrote a post on my top 10 TV "ships" (relationships). Now that five(!) years have passed, I think it's time for an update. What are some of your favorite ships, past and present?

Jennifer: My original list was pretty complete at the time, so I'll add some from the last five years:
1. Pam/Jim on The Office- Like I've mentioned before, I'm not really that big a fan of them in the context of the rest of the show but on their own they've just had such a great love story.
2. Veronica/Logan on Veronica Mars - Epic! "I thought our story was epic, you know. You and me. Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined and blood shed. Epic."
3. Jaye/Eric on Wonderfalls - Jaye's one of my favorite TV characters ever and it was torture watching her keep screwing up things with Eric. But it all ended on a good note, so another fanwank happily ever after.
4. Matt/Julie on Friday Night Lights - Kind of the perfect high school romance.
5. Sid/Cassie on Skins - Both crazy and damaged but somehow they just fit.

Some current ones: Casey/Cappie on Greek (I think they bring out the best in eachother), Blair/Chuck on Gossip Girl (though lately they've been very old married couple), Kate/Sawyer on Lost (I'm still on season 5 so I suppose my opinion may change but they're hot together).

Mira: Ooh, fun! I'm a major shipper-- I pretty much will not watch any show without a ship for me to root for. And if it doesn't have one, then the show better be pretty *damn* awesome.
1. Luke/Loralie from Gilmore Girls: Hands down my favorite couple of all time. In fact the show was only really awesome when they were together in my opinion.
2. Pam/Jim from The Office:I've only watched Season 1, parts of Season 2 and the crucial Pam & Jim episodes. They're the only characters I care about and I love everything about them. Even if Pam was psycho when giving birth!
3. Cooper/Charlotte from Private Practice: I love, love, love them. Their personalities are so different but they work so well together. I love how they're so dysfunctionally perfect for each other.
4. Meredith/Derek a.k.a. MerDer from Grey's Anatomy: Basically I hate the show when there's MerDer drama. It's just a better and more interesting show when MerDer are happy and together and the story lines are elsewhere.
5. House/Cuddy from House: I actually stopped watching this show, but I still harbor a wish for the two of them to get together already and be dysfunctional together. I like dysfunctional couples, obviously.

Honorable mentions: Pacey/Joey from Dawson's Creek, Buffy/Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy/Spike from BtVS, Anya/Xander from BtVS, Lily/Marshall from How I Met Your Mother, Sydney/Vaughn from Alias... This list could go on and on and on! Eek!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

NBC Thursdays...the balance has shifted?

Sometime this season I came to a realization: I like Community and Parks and Recreation a lot better than its older and more acclaimed Thursday night companions, 30 Rock and The Office.

On first examination, the premise for Community seems a little too pat: take all the different stereotypes of people who go to community college, stick them in a Spanish study group, and they all become friends. But by hiring some really incredibly funny actors and combining the zany humor with a surprising amount of heart, the show somehow just really works. The Abed/Troy dynamic is hilarious and Alison Brie (Annie) has proven to be one of the funniest actresses around. (And how awesome that she's on 2 hit shows at the same time--she also recurs on Mad Men as Trudy, Pete's wife. There was a reference to Mad Men in an episode of Community a few weeks back that felt really meta.) I think part of the show's success is that it realizes how absurd some "everyday" things actually are and takes them to extremes. Like I love how Greendale's mascot is the "Human Being" in an effort to be totally, completely sensitive and correct. I sometimes do wonder if this is what community colleges are really like--I've always thought of them as more commuter campuses where people are more just in and out without dorms and events and sports teams, but I could be wrong?

While I was hooked on Community from the very beginning, Parks and Recreation took awhile longer for me to get into. At first there was some confusion about whether it was actually an Office spinoff or not and I felt like the similarity between Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope and Michael Scott was strange and I just wasn't that into the whole crusade about "the pit." But something changed in the second season and it just started to get a lot funnier. They incorporated Ann and Andy into the cast a little better, with Ann dating Mark and Andy becoming a shoe shiner at City Hall and flirting with April, and I think Leslie's been toned down a little. She's still a little crazy but it's much more believable that she's a government employee that's actually kind of good at her job. The supporting cast has been allowed to shine more too, especially Ron and Donna. And um, I really love Aziz Ansari. He kind of does the same sort of thing in every role I've seen him in but so far I'm totally okay with that.

My love for The Office has been waning for awhile now. The show has always been somewhat inconsistent...there are incredibly funny moments or occasionally whole episodes, but sometimes things just fall flat or go too far. Michael and Dwight are too often just stupid and preposterous and cringe-worthy and Pam and Jim have become kind of smug and annoying. They're still one of my favorite couples when it's just about them, but around everyone else they can be almost mean. I know that the rest of the Office characters are crazy but I don't like seeing Pam and Jim think and act like they're so much better than everyone else. I mean, there are still some high points: I still like Andy and Erin and I did like the Michael Scott Paper Company from last season. I'm still watching but I'm not laughing as much.

The situation with 30 Rock is a little less clear. It took me a little while to get into this show too...at first I didn't "get" it. But after hearing some good things, I caught up with the first season in a Netflix streaming marathon and I officially became a fan. Tina Fey is awesome and Alec Baldwin is doing the best work of his career but somehow I feel like the show has lost steam a little. There are still plenty of funny moments but I've been underwhelmed by the huge amount of guest casting (I cringe just thinking about Julianne Moore and that Boston accent...and I like Julianne Moore!) and I don't know, maybe this isn't the right expectation for a show like this but I sometimes wish there'd be a little more development in characters like Jenna and Tracy and Kenneth. I feel like they're still basically doing the same schtick as in the first season and maybe I'm getting a little tired of it.

So maybe it's just inevitable that after a few seasons things start to decline? I'm totally loving Parks and Recreation and Community now but perhaps that won't last either?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

T^2: Remake!

M: With the slew of old shows/movies revived in new, plasticky packages, if you could remake any TV show/movie what would it be? What changes would you make?

Jennifer: This is kind of a tough one because honestly, my knowledge of old TV shows and movies is kind of lacking and I generally don't like the idea of remaking things that are less than say, twenty years old. And really, sometimes it's better to leave a good thing alone. But there are some TV shows that kind of failed or never found an audience but that I thought had intriguing premises that I wouldn't mind seeing remade. Like Reunion, that mystery show with the high school friends 20 years later, or Kidnapped or The Nine. All of them were very serialized with somewhat complex plotting and large ensemble casts that I think would be good candidates for reworking but I guess there's a reason none of them finished out their first seasons. I mean, take Cupid...try to remake a failed show and you just end up with another failed show.

Mira: I was originally thinking of this question because when the Harry Potter movies first started coming out I was quite dismayed. I felt that something that could have been even more fantastic was shortchanged. Ultimately, I ended up really enjoying the actors chosen to play the parts and even the movies themselves. However, there is still a part of me that thinks the better venue for the books would've been a TV show; a season for each year. With all the little stories and intricacies of the books, I really think it has potential. Only thing is the production stage required might be too big of a budget for TV. I dunno. In any case, a show I would love to see redone is Sweet Valley High. I loved the books growing up, and if you think about the original series -- there were some edgy storylines in the book that were completely glossed over by the horrible TV show that did exist. Plus those two twins who played Jessica and Elizabeth? BLECH! They didn't look "good girl" enough for my image of them. I think that the series could just have been a much better show but they made Enid really annoying, Todd really stupid, the twins sexy, and uh, the dork, Watson?, almost borderline cool. BLEH! I think Sweet Valley High done right could be way better than Degrassi or 90210 or Saved by the Bell (Gasp! Yes, I said that!) or any of those other high school shows... :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday Talk Week 10

J: So another Oscars go by with even more movies I haven't seen that I have to add to my monstrous Netflix queue. So for this week, which famous/acclaimed movies have you never seen?

Jennifer: I've never seen a single James Bond movie. I haven't seen any of the Terminators or : I've never seen a single James Bond movie. I haven't seen any of the Terminators or Aliens. I've never watched Braveheart or Gladiator or Gone With the Wind the whole way through. I don't think I've ever really watched a Western or any Woody Allen movies. Of recent Best Picture winners, I haven't seen The Hurt Locker, No Country for Old Men, the Departed, Million Dollar Baby, the Silence of the Lambs, Dance with Wolves...ok this is getting embarrassing!

Mira: I haven't seen Casablanca, Schindler's List, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Braveheart, The Dark Knight. Of the last decade of Best Picture winners, I haven't seen: Hurt Locker, No Country for Old Men, Million Dollar Baby.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

T^2: Award

M: If you could win any media/entertainment-related award, what would it be and why?

Jennifer: This one's easy. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be a novelist and win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I think that's still my pick, although maybe it could be the Newbery Award for a children's book. In reality, I doubt I'll ever actually write a book, never mind get it published and win an award. But I can dream though, right?

Mira: Haha, I've always wanted to write, too. But I've also been obsessed with the entire creative process of bringing a story to life. So for me, I'd love to win an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, based on a book that I wrote. :)

Monday, March 01, 2010

A few recommended reads

Since Mira has been trying to post more about the "and books and movies and music too" part of our blog, I figured I might as well contribute as well. So here are a couple of books I've read and enjoyed lately. (Although, I rarely finish books that I don't like. So basically every book I've read outside of an English class is one that I've enjoyed on some level....)

In the Woods by Tana French - I don't read very many mystery novels--maybe due to the same reason I don't watch police procedurals--but every once in awhile I find one that makes me think I should read more. In the Woods is a pretty classic police murder mystery but I thought everything about it was just extremely well done. The first-person narrator, Rob Ryan, is a police detective assigned to his first big case: a murdered 12-year-old girl found in the woods outside of Dublin. The twist is that, in a unsolved case from twenty years earlier, two children disappeared in the very same woods. A third child was found, his sneakers filled with blood and unable to remember anything about what happened to his two friends. Rob Ryan was that third child. He and his partner/best friend, Cassie Maddox, investigate the new murder while trying to keep Rob's identity a secret, even as details start to tie the two cases together. The author does a great job developing all the characters and building up suspense all while keeping the readers guessing. There's a sequel of sorts, this time featuring Cassie Maddox, called "The Likeness" that's next up on my reading list.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz - Some books make me realize how little I know about the history of countries outside of the US and maybe Europe and some parts of Asia. This book is about a Dominican family living in New Jersey but also delves into some modern history of the Dominican Republic, namely the reign of the dictator Rafael Trujillo, who I have to admit I'd never even heard of before. This is definitely not a dry, serious novel though. The writing is super colorful, with tons of science-fiction and comic book references, a lot of Spanish slang thrown in, and cheeky footnotes containing relevant historical details. The story is split up into several sections, weaving Oscar's story with that of his sister, mother, and grandfather, set in both America and the Dominican Republic, and the world the author creates just feels so full and layered. There's a lot to take in, culture and history and politics and romance and family--but all wrapped up in a really funny and page-turning package. Highly recommended!

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - It seems that with this second novel (the first being The Time Traveler's Wife) Niffenegger is kind of carving out a little niche for herself--novels that are based around some science fiction or supernatural element but are really not in the science fiction or supernatural genres. In the Time Traveler's Wife it was obviously time travel; in this novel, it's ghosts. The story is set in and around Highgate Cemetary in London, and revolves around two sets of twins, Julia and Valentina, and their mother, Edie and her twin Elspeth. (Like I've mentioned before, I'm pretty fascinated by twins so I totally loved that aspect of this book.) Somehow the author just has this knack for giving a modern setting a kind of old-fashioned feel and then shaking it up with a supernatural storyline and making it all work together. Well, in this case, for at least for the first half of the book. The story takes some surprising turns in the second half and the characters started doing things that were just plainly BAD IDEAS and the way it all turned off was pretty bizarre and I thought, unsettling. (Though perhaps that was the intent?) But I still really like Niffenegger's writing and originality and am looking forward to what she does next.