Now, don't get me wrong -- Joss Whedon has a way with words. Every other word out of his characters' mouths has me rolling on the floor in hysterics. But his true genius -- the talent of his that really, truly caves in my skull, as if with a large rock -- is his ability to deliver the funny dialogue right up to the point where he decides that you are no longer allowed to laugh. That's when he sticks the knife in you, or throws you the curveball, or drives your tour bus off a cliff, whichever "shock and awe" metaphor floats your metaphorical watercraft.
The new A&E show Wahlburgers brands itself as a "real life reality series," but it's really just one long commercial and/or recruitment video for the restaurant that bears the same name. It's not a terrible show per se, and the Wahlberg family matriarch Alma with her thick Boston accent ("I BEG YA PAH-DON, " "That's MAHK when he was doin' The Perfect Staaaahm) and lovingly no-nonsense demeanor is certainly a delight to watch, but this is as glossy (quite literally, as the camera looks like it was doused in Vaseline), low stakes and carefully produced and edited as a reality show can be.
If you're a fan of The Sound of Music (the film and/or the stage production) you no doubt went into last night's live recreation on NBC starring Carrie Underwood (huh?) and Stephen Moyer (huh??) with apprehension. And while it didn't quite hit train wreck proportions most of us expected, it certainly didn't do the original justice, instead making viewers desperately yearn for Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. At least, that seemed to be the consensus on Twitter, where just about everyone watched and hilariously snarked together.
It's almost too convenient that Kirstie -- which appears on a network dedicated to older shows and stars a trio of classic sitcom stars -- feels like it's out of a time warp. It feels like a broad, run-of-the mill sitcom (heck, it even announces it's taped in front of a live studio audience, if that doesn't fill you with nostalgia) that would have aired alongside the likes of Cheers or Seinfeld but no one would have watched because they were tuning in to Cheers or Seinfeld. Everything from the jokes to the aesthetics to the entire concept of the show feel like they are from another time completely. But Kirstie, which premiered last night on TV Land, doesn't feel like wistful nostalgia to reunite with old friends, rather a strange time capsule dropped into a television landscape that's moved on without it.
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.
It's taken a few episodes, but we think we've finally figured out the secret to ABC's '80s-era sitcom, The Goldbergs: the titular clan are time-travelers. How else to explain the fact that, while the pilot set the show down in 1985, subsequent episodes have jumped back and forth in time without the clan aging? The third episode, for example, found little Adam Goldberg and his grandpa Albert taking in a showing of 1982's Poltergeist under the pretense that they would be seeing 1986's The Great Mouse Detective. And while it's possible that Tobe Hooper's scary movie was in the midst of a re-release (back in the pre-DVD era when the movie studios actually did that sort of thing), that doesn't explain what happened on this week's installment, where Adam wooed a crush with his favorite Hollywood romance, Say Anything… a movie that hit theaters in 1989. Given that any chance of a linear timeline is now at the window, here are the momentous (for us, anyway) '80s pop culture events we hope the Goldbergs time-jump to over the course of the remaining episodes.
What a delightfully enjoyable hour of television. With part of the Pawnee gang heading to London (hence the premiere title "London, Part 1 and 2"), I was a little concerned that the stateside storylines would falter in the process. And while I'm pretty much over anything Mona-Lisa related, she was used in a remarkably sparingly way that actually didn't make me want to claw my eyes out. I was so overwhelmed by this show that I was momentarily paralyzed with all my emotions.
Special shout-out to Josh from Off Pitch who wins ugly cry of the week hands down. Especially considering how over dramatic he was being about possibly not getting into the Grand River Singers. He was worse than a failed American Idol contestant.
The new Flash Gordon wasn't such a miracle.
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