Pop culture doldrums

 

Party Down, I miss you so much I still haven't watched the last two episodes.

I don’t know about you all, but this weather is really getting to me. Normally I don’t mind the summer – like Rory Gilmore I tend to run cold, so the summertime is one of the only times of the year I’m actually comfortable. Until now. 

Between the oppressive heat and about a month of being out of town or having house guests, I have been completely ignoring my duties as a pop culture/television junkie. When I’m home, I can’t be bothered to watch or read something new – instead it’s been trashy or adolescent books and TV on DVD.  

 

I’ve completely abandoned my fake news boys, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. It started innocently enough – miss a few episodes there, a few episodes there. Before I knew it, weeks had gone by and my DVR was backlogged with episodes. So then I started going through them, but listening to news 4 weeks old is, well, kind of pointless. And only made me feel worse about getting far behind. So I deleted them all and started fresh. And then didn’t watch for three more weeks, and now they’re on hiatus. 

I’ve also abandoned the last two episodes of Party Down  though I suspect that’s because I know they are truly the LAST TWO episodes. Stupid Starz. For those unaware of the brilliance of this show, check it out on Netflix instant queue. Just don’t tell me what happens at the end of season two. (Though I’ve heard rumblings of Constance returning, which can only be awesome.) 

Speaking of Netflix, forget it. I only just watched the Broadway documentary that had been sitting atop my DVD player for a month. The Informant! still sits there untouched. 

That thing he's holding is called a blasting rod. This never fails to make me giggle, because I am very immature.

Don’t get me started on books. Books, books, books, I have so many books to read! A few months ago, I made the huge commitment (and possible mistake) of buying all the books in the Harry Dresden series. Yeah, I know, but stay with me: It was a nostalgia thing. I used to read them in college, ok? And awhile back, I got an iTunes gift certificate, which I might have used to get the first two audiobooks. Which might have led to an expensive day at Barnes and Noble. So now, not only do I have 10 books to get through, I also have, you know, regular books sitting untouched on my bookshelf. Don’t worry guys, I’m coming! 

Pop culture ruts can be hard to break through. My problem is I get really stuck on one thing and have a difficult time getting unstuck. But it’s just like everything else in life: you don’t want to do it, but once you go through the motions, it’s not a big deal. And you’re glad you made the effort. 

Emmy nominees(!!) Kyle and Connie, aka Coach and Mrs. Coach

Once I get unstuck, what should I be looking at this summer? Besides Friday Night Lights, which I would never abandon because it’s AWESOME. (Speaking of which, can we all give a big internet cheer to Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler for their very, very VERY overdue Emmy nominations?) I haven’t been to see a movie since Alice in Wonderland. Any suggestions? I hear good things about The Kids are All Right. Anything else? 

Video of the Day: Farewell, Party Down. Here’s one of my favorite scenes from season 1. 

K-E-L-L-Y: The best musical moments on TV

Lists, lists, we got yer lists here!

I don’t know why I am constantly making up pointless lists about TV in my head. That’s just me.  And yes, I’ve done it again. After the Glee album was released a few weeks ago, I started thinking about my favorite Glee moments, which led to thinking about my favorite TV musical moments. That led to me making a list of said favorites, which brings us here.

Before I begin, a few things: First, I’ve not seen every show out there. These are just some of my favorite moments. I know, for instance, that Ally McBeal was chock-full of musical performances. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen it. Ditto for the first four seasons of American Idol. Second, by musical moments, I do not mean montages. I mean characters actually singing, or music being used effectively in a scene. (But there are a few exceptions for truly outstanding montages that could not be ignored.) Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a musical montage. But the list is long enough already; if I included every musical montage I loved, I’d be writing this entry forever.

Ready? Okay, here we go, in no particular order. Continue reading

Emmy Nominations: The Good, The Bad and The Snubbed

Well, folks, the 2009 Emmy nominations came out yesterday, and as usual, there’s the expected (30 Rock), the unexpected (Jim Parsons!), the ridiculously snubbed (FNL, and though I’ve never seen it, Battlestar) and the mercifully snubbed (suck it, Piven!)

Believe it or not, I’m mostly ok with this list. There are some egregious snubs, which I’ll get to in a sec, but there’s also some unexpected delights.

The bad:

– It is ludicrous that Connie Britton didn’t get an nomination – and after switching over to supporting actress, even! I know that FNL is an off-the-beaten-path kind of show that shoots in Texas and not in Hollywood, and it’s probably off the radar for a lot of voters. But after seeing episode 4 of this season, in which Tami and Eric debate buying a new house, I don’t know how she could possibly have been left off the list. (This clip is, maddeningly, not available online, so here’s another great scene from this season.

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– Also oddly snubbed? Amy Ryan for outstanding guest actress on The Office. I’ll give them the Tina Fey SNL nom, but Christine Baranski and Jennifer Aniston over Amy Ryan? I love them all, but Ryan was the clear pick, here. Anyone who can make Michael Scott a human being with feelings deserves some acclaim.

– While I love Rainn Wilson, I would have rather seen The Office nomination go to John Krasinski. Or better yet, skip The Office all together and give it to Jason Segal for HIMYM. If you must include Rainn Wilson, fine, but what’s up with Kevin Dillon? Granted, I haven’t watched Entourage in years, but from everything I’ve read, the show is a distant memory of its former self. While we’re on HIMYM, no love for Cobie Smulders or Alyson Hannigan? Really?

– I kind of can’t believe the Beau Bridges nomination. It was a nice episode (yes, I watch Desperate Housewives. Shut up.) but not Emmy-worthy. Ditto with Steve Martin. If it’s protocol to honor guest stars from 30 Rock, why not give a shout out to Dean Winters, who plays the always  hilarious “Beeper King” Dennis Duffy? All together now, “Sub-way He-ro!”

– I have no real gripes about the drama nominations, mostly because I don’t watch many of the nominated shows. However, I was definitely bummed the supporting cast of Dexter didn’t get any recognition. Sure, Michael C. Hall is the best part of the show, but it has an extraordinary supporting cast. Were I in charge, I would have recognized Julie Benz as Rita and Lauren Velez as Lt. Laguerta.

The good:
– NPH! And no Piven to upset! This is his year, right? RIGHT?

– Jim Parsons! I only discovered The Big Bang Theory this year, but Sheldon is by far my favorite character. Dude makes the show.

Dr. Horrible! Wait, what? Yes, it’s true. They made up some new category, and I don’t fully understand the title (“Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs”….what?) but I’m thrilled the little Internet TV Sensation That Could is getting some major recognition. That’s good for Joss, for the Internet, AND for all the filmmakers out there who are trying to make it without studio backing.

HIMYM for best comedy! Even if it doesn’t win (and we all know it’ll go to 30 Rock) I’m glad it’s being recognized, because it truly is outstanding.

– All the Grey Gardens nominations. They were inevitable, but still, SO deserved. I don’t know how the academy will pick between Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. Hopefully, if they can’t decide, both ladies will take home a statue, instead of canceling each other out. I tried to find some clips for those who didn’t catch the film, but nothing really gave it justice. It’s out on DVD now; go rent it. If you get through the ending without crying buckets, you’re as soulless as Dexter Morgan.

My picks for the major nominations.

BEST DRAMA SERIES
Big Love
Damages
Dexter
House
Lost
Mad Men
Dexter, all the way. Granted, I don’t watch the other shows, so I am biased. But Dexter has been captivating from episode 1. Any show that can turn a killer’s confession into a marriage proposal (see below) is top notch in my book.

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Laurie, House
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Simon Baker, The Mentalist
Again, I’m going with Dexter, though I realize Michael C. Hall probably won’t win. I’ve heard great things about all these guys. But it takes a lot of skill to turn a serial killer into a lovable, even funny, character, while still being scary as hell. And Hall gets extra props this year for dealing treading the line between “family man” and “psychopath.” (Though he is at his most fun when he returns to his crazy killing roots.)

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
I don’t watch any of these shows, and have no opinion.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Rose Byrne, Damages
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
Hope Davis, In Treatment
Cherry Jones, 24
Ditto – though I did just see Cherry Jones on a theater panel, where she was wonderful. But again, I don’t watch these shows.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Rainn Wilson, The Office
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
Well, duh. NPH! I tried to find some of his best stuff from season 4, but HIMYM is also noticeably absent from YouTube. However, I think this pretty much says it all:

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
William Shatner, Boston Legal
Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
William Hurt, Damages
Michael Emerson, Lost
John Slattery, Mad Men
Again, no opinion.

BEST COMEDY SERIES
Entourage
Family Guy
Flight Of The Conchords

How I Met Your Mother
The Office
30 Rock
This is a tough one. The Office saw a resurgence this year with the Michael Scott Paper Company plot line and Amy Ryan. 30 Rock is always amazing, and lest we forget, they had a Mamma Mia this year! However, I’m going to go with HIMYM, because it’s been deserving of a nomination since season 1, and 30 Rock and The Office have had their days in the sun.

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Jemaine Clement, Flight Of The Conchords
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Charlie Sheen, Two And A Half Men
I love Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell. But I’m going with Jim Parsons, because, as I said before, he makes the show. But really, I’d be happy if any of those 3 men won. Just as long as it’s not Tony Shaloub or Charlie Sheen.

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures Of Old Christine
Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Show
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Toni Collette, United States Of Tara
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Sorry haters, I’ve gotta go with Tina Fey. I hear MLP is amazing, I love Toni Collette, and Christina Applegate was hilarious as Rachel’s sister on Friends. But Tina Fey makes me laugh week after week. Also, what single gal my age doesn’t want to be Liz Lemon, just a little? In celebration of awkward, nerdy girls everywhere, here’s the best of Liz Lemon, as stated by…some person on YouTube with lots of time.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

I have no real favorite here, but it’d be nice to see Kristin Chenoweth win for Pushing Daisies. I liked the show a lot – not as much as some fans, but a lot. However, for me it wasn’t Ned and Chuck. I was all about Olive Snook. (And also, the idea of Olive and Ned. Shh. Tell no one.)

The only thing I’ll say about the reality categories is I hope American Idol wins. Just because…look at the impact it has every year. I love Project Runway as much as the next person, (and would be thrilled if it won) but I think AI deserves some Emmy love.

And in terms of Variety or Talk Show…I am torn between Colbert and Stewart. Jon Stewart had Hall and Oats. But Colbert had Cookie Monster. Decisions, decisions.

So what are your thoughts? Did I get anything wrong? Are there any shows I don’t watch that I should? (Besides Mad Men. I already know. Oh, and Lost, because the reality is, I’m never going to watch that show. Sorry, Internet.)

For a full list of nominations, including best title sequence (do they still have those), best cinematography for a single camera show, and best lackey, go here.

Two for two

This is old news by now, but I’d like to jump on the bandwagon and say: YAY! NPH is hosting the Emmys! Also, it appears I am quite predictable. On the day this was announced, I got not one but TWO texts from people delivering the news. What can I say? I am what I am…. That’s Popeye. (Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference.)

I’m excited about this, but I also hope it doesn’t hurt his chances of a nomination and/or a win. Anyone who watches HIMYM knows he’s at least worthy of a nomination. And IMO, a win, but so far the Emmy people haven’t agreed. But what do they know? They give Jeremy Piven awards just for breathing. And Martin Sheen didn’t win in all the 7 years The West Wing was on the air. And have they never watched Dexter? Why diss Michael C. Hall ever year, and not even recognize Dexter‘s amazing supporting cast? And don’t even get me STARTED on Friday Night Lights.

Even so, I love the show and watch ever year. (And every year, I’m disappointed.) At least this year will have a good host.

Video of the Day:

In honor of the news, here’s one of my favorite NPH clips. Makes me laugh every time.

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts…..

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I didn’t want to say anything in yesterday’s post, partly because I wasn’t sure if it was official and partly out of respect for Andy Hallett but – Friday Night Lights fans, rejoice! It’s now official – the show has been renewed for two more seasons!

I spent part of this weekend catching up on the latest slew of episodes. I really had to steel myself to watch Jason Street’s departure again. That episode is now my favorite one of the whole series – but the first time I watched it, I cried for about fifteen minutes afterward. Sobbing, heaving, sloppy crying, not just little tears. Between Jason’s tearful plea, Matt’s impromptu try out for wide receiver,  and Coach Taylor’s heartfelt speech to his wife about not being able to buy her dream home, I was a mess. Not to mention everything Tim Riggins says and does the whole episode.

But I pushed my way through, and am now caught up again and ready for the last two episodes of the season.  Man are they good.

(And by the way, without giving anything away – if the series had ended with the season three finale, I would have been very upset. It’s an ending, but also a beginning, and well..that’s all I’ll say. I’ll tell you whether or not I liked it in two weeks.)

The most recent one, “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, is one of my favorites of the season. Everything about it is so perfectly executed. The mounting tension between JD and his father finally comes to a head, and what results is pretty darn scary. I have to give major props to D.W. Moffet, who is giving the performance of a lifetime in Joe McCoy. I hate him – mostly because Moffett plays the part so realistically. I have no idea what’s going to happen with the McCoy family next season, or if they will even be in the show at all. I hope so – not only because I like seeing Maggie O’Connell Janine Turner working, but because  Joe McCoy is such a great villain, for both the town of Dillion and for Coach Taylor. (He’s also, seriously, really scary. I know parents like him exist – not only in football, but in any competitive activity – but still. Watching him makes me feel like Julie did after going to Matt’s house for the first time in season one. “You guys are the best parents in the world,” she told Tami and Eric. “I love you.”)

Video of the Day: It’s a toss up for my favorite scene in “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.” I love the one with Riggins and Lyla after the game, when he kicks her ass in the sweetest way possible. But in the end, this one really gets me. Tyra Collette has always been one of my favorite characters, but she’s really fantastic this season. Her journey reminds me of Pam Beesly’s journey in season three of The Office.

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Sacked

Don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned the FNL countdown. I’ve been stuck in bed with a bad cold since Tuesday and have done little else than blow my nose, drink cold soda and watch Cheers and the first two episodes of American Idol.

I’m still sick at home, but will try to do something for the countdown today. If not today, then a big ole’ post tomorrow.

In the meantime, they finally put the digital short from NPH’s SNL on Hulu. If you didn’t get to catch it before they took it off Youtube, check it out below.

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