Recently in Irrational Exuberance Category
If I counted up the hours I regularly spent watching cooking shows, I'd probably give myself indigestion. And lately, even my favorite shows have been underwhelming. Hell's Kitchen is just a blur of profanity, Top Chef is insanely talented people who have all blended together in a competent James Beard Award-winning way and the Food Network stuff always tends to be quickly forgotten. I particularly thought I'd reached my limit of Gordon Ramsay programming (even though I continue tuning in to Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef out of habit), and yet my daughter convinced me to watch MasterChef Junior with her and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did this show reinvigorate my adoration of Ramsay as a TV personality but also renewed me hope that we could see more kid-based reality shows that doesn't involve them singing or dancing on America's Got Talent or focus on their parents like Dance Moms. Here are the best things I've learned this season watching MasterChef Junior.
Rather than write a second long piece in praise of 30 Rock, add yet another blog post to the world about how Tina Fey changed television (though, she did) or try to convince you how much the series transformed TV while glazing over the fact that the show was almost unwatchable for two seasons, let's just focus on the finale... the very satisfying and heartfelt finale.
"More Like Stanksgiving" might have been the funniest Thanksgiving TV feast we've seen since that time Monica on Friends got a turkey stuck on her head. And not just because of the food and Dave's Navajo sojurn, or the references to the writer-filled band the Rock Bottom Remainders, but also for introducing the fantastic, previously unseen season of The Real World: Sacramento. Please let there be more episodes of this hidden gem out there. In the meantime, here's the true story of what happened when six not-so strangers were picked to have Thanksgiving together in a sex swing:
After an excellent sophomore season, the third installment of Louis C.K.'s Louie begins tonight. If you haven't jumped on the Louis C.K. bandwagon yet, now is the time. FX sent out press screeners of the first five episodes of Season 3, and while this evening's episode, "Something Is Wrong," is by no means a series highlight, it's a great introduction to the universe of Louie. What's better is that there's no continuity left over from last season -- though that will be a letdown to Pamela fans, I'm sure -- making it easy to jump right in. Here's what you'll learn from watching the premiere, and what you'll see if you stick around to watch more Louie:
I know I should probably be stressing out over Parks and Recreation still being in limbo for a Season 5 (at least as of this writing) while deciding whether "Win, Lose, or Draw" was better than last year's Season 3 finale, "Li'l Sebastian," but honestly, all I want to do right now is sit in a high-quality leather chair and reflect on a season of television that made me happy.
Did anyone else feel that the initial few minutes of "Live Ammo" were like being back at the first day of school after a long summer filled with boring family vacations and a broken leg that prevented you from even going to camp? Leslie in sneak-around clothes! Tom's crazy apartment! The Jabba the Hut theme song! It might have something to do with a slightly disappointing few weeks of Community episodes, but other shows aside, Parks and Recreation makes me happy, and "Live Ammo" was a great episode. Everyone was in their element, the pairings were fun, the main plot was satisfying, the side plots were funny and, once again, my notes are basically the entire script. Maybe others found this episode to be full of more of the same "Isn't Tom wacky?" and "That Ron sure loves meat!" shtick, but unlike Ringer, the hiatus made what might have been a little stale feel extremely fun. Let's grade the Pawnee gang and spread the word for Knope 2012.
Matthew Weiner has been extremely hush-hush about the upcoming Season 5 of Mad Men, to say the least. While we haven't even seen a teaser trailer with any new content, we feel confident that we know a few things that won't happen on the critically acclaimed drama. Here are all of the things we can be certain we won't see from the extended Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce gang this year.
This show is weird, sentimental, insane and sitcomy, but somehow when thrown together with a liberally poured glass of wine, it works really well for us. While we were initially inclined to write it off in its early days, it completely charmed us over time and we missed it so much during its nine-month (!) hiatus. Maybe not as much as Abed has, but a lot nonetheless. Still, since we are skeptical about everything, we were more than a little concerned that the show might have lost its magic during its long time away. Fortunately, we need not have worried. Here are our favorite parts from last night's season premiere:
Before we get to the commercials, we have to give credit to Madonna for putting on a well-executed half-time show -- much to our surprise. She's got quite a bit of energy for her age (or, our age) and manages to lip-sync successfully. Bonus kudos to the tech guys who made the Vogue covers dance on the ground. And the performance was filled with an eclectic group of guests from Nicki Minaj (in a somewhat toned down cheerleader outfit), Cee Lo (dressed like a giant sparkly monk) and LMFAO (as their normal dirty selves). If only MIA hadn't been so... MIA, what with flipping the bird at a cameraman and all, it would have been a smoothly run eight minutes that was memorable for the right reasons. Wish we could say the same about all of the commercials.
When I'm asked what my favorite competitive reality shows are, I always rattle off a bunch of usual suspects: So You Think You Can Dance, The Amazing Race, Top Chef, Survivor, The Challenge and RuPaul's Drag Race. But one that I've recently added to my must-see list is Top Shot. I don't watch a ton of History Channel, so I missed most of the first season in its original airing (I've since caught up), but I'm grateful that I saw a commercial during Pawn Stars and checked this series out. While it is a bit off the beaten track and doesn't get a lot of buzz, it is really fantastic and I hope that as its third season begins tonight, more people give Top Shot, well, a shot. Here are some reasons, in case you need persuading.
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