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.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

– 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.

In praise of Olive Snook

I love the fall. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. A part of this goes back being in school, and having the sense of a fresh start. I like the idea of leaves crunching underneath my feet. I like the idea of shopping for new clothes and getting out sweaters. I like the idea of Halloween. (Though, to be fair, I haven’t dressed up since being Vampire Willow in college. About three people at the party got it, but it was still fun to plan out a costume, wear leather pants and leather boots, dye my hair bright red, and go around saying, “Bored now” to people who didn’t know what to think.)

In addition to school and leaves and costumes, one of the biggest reasons I love fall is because it’s the start of a new TV season. These last two weeks have been a feast for the TV lover. New episodes of The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, Chuck, House, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters…the list goes on and on. (No I don’t watch ALL of those shows. I have a hard enough time just keeping up with Monday night TV.)

Tomorrow night marks the return of one of my favorite shows from last year – Pushing Daisies.

If you aren’t familiar with the show — and there is a good chance you may not be, as it only got in nine episodes before the strike sent it to Hiatusland — here’s a helpful video to catch you up:

(Thank goodness for that. Jim Dale is a much better recapper than me.)

A few weeks ago, season 1 came out on DVD, and I got a refresher course of my own. I remembered the show, and its most pertinent details, but had forgotten a lot of the episodic plot lines.

Here’s what I discovered: I still like the show a lot. It’s not in my top 10 yet, but I do really enjoy it. The best part of the show, for me, isn’t Ned the Piemaker, nor is it Chuck. (Who, quite frankly, grates. She’s just a little too precious and quirky, even for this show. I hope they fix that this year.) It isn’t even Emerson Cod’s love of knitting (though…awesome) or the Darling Mermaid Darlings increasing pie addiction. No, what makes the show for me is one Miss Olive Snook, played by the luminous Kristin Chenoweth.

What started out as a character with pretty much only one defining trait — she is in love with Ned — has turned into a multi-faceted, fascinating supporting role. Throughout the course of nine episodes, we learn that Olive used to be a jockey (a nod, I’m sure, to Chenoweth’s small stature). We learn that her pajamas match her bedspread. We learn she’s not as dumb as she may at first seem. We learn she’s very sweet — faithfully taking pies to Chuck’s aunts and trying to get them out of their house. Most important, we learn she is a good friend, even to Chuck, whom she should hate for stealing the affections of The Piemaker.

Kristin Chenoweth took what was a minor character in the pilot (Pie-lette) and turned Olive into a vital member of the cast. Pushing Daisies wouldn’t be Pushing Daisies now without Olive Snook. In fact, if Chenoweth ever leaves the show, I’ll probably stop watching.

Here’s hoping Olive will continue her friendships with Chuck, The Aunts and Emerson in season two. Watching her interact with the others truly makes the show for me.

Plus, you know, she sings.

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While reading reviews of yesterday’s HIMYM (That’s How I Met Your Mother for those not in the know) I was reminded of one of the great moments of the series – Barney’s Top 10 List, and NPH’s dead on impression of David Letterman, complete with, well I don’t want to ruin it for you, but listen for it at the end. So, to file under “Things that are awesome” (and I promise they won’t all feature NPH, this is just odd coincindence), here’s my Featured Video of the Day. Make sure you watch to the end, as after the initial bit, they do an additional bit that did not originally air.

Barney’s Top 10.

Happy (belated) new TV season!