“She really picks up a party, doesn’t she?”

We've arrived at the heart of the show

Welcome to week two of retrowatching Mary Tyler Moore! This week: Season 1, Disc 2, which includes episodes 8-16.

And with that, a programming note: Going forward, I will only be reviewing four episodes at a time. This is still in the experimental stage and lesson learned: eight is too many!

Before I get started, some people of note that I forgot to mention in the last blog:
– The show was co-created by James L. Brooks. He’s had just a little bit of success in television, creating such shows as Taxi and the Simpsons, as well as the MTM spinoffs Rhoda and Lou Grant. He was also a producer on The Tracy Ullman Show, and wrote and directed one of my favorite movies of all time, As Good As It Gets. The list goes on – a producer on another of my favorites, Say Anything, director of Broadcast News... guy has just a smidgen of talent.
– Many of these first episodes were directed by Jay Sandrich. That named seemed really familiar – turns out he went on to direct 100 episodes of The Cosby Show –  including this one and this one. As I’ve seen every episode of The Cosby Show at least three times, it’s no wonder his name was so familiar.
– Another name that stuck out to me: Lorenzo Music as a credited writer for several of the early episodes. It mostly stuck out as a fantastic name, but turns out this guy was ubiquitous in show business. Not only was he the voice of Garfield, he also played Peter Venkman in The Real Ghost Busters, a Saturday morning cartoon I remember well. Music had a steady career in voice over acting, played Carl the Doorman in Rhoda, wrote for the Smothers Brothers and Bob Newhart, and even composed the theme song to the Bob Newhart Show. What an interesting and varied career.

And now, onto the show!

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Turkey day

This has not been a good few months for keeping up with things here. Life has gotten in the way. However, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without me posting this, so: Happy Thanksgiving from President Bartlet and Charlie.


“That is so unfair. You know I can’t fly.”

A few weeks ago, LeVar Burton appeared on Community. Earlier on in the episode, it is established that Troy, ex-football player and current sophomore at Greendale Community College, loves LeVar. “I’d like to be bequeathed a drum kit or a signed photo of actor LeVar Burton,” he says. He tells the camera his third wish would be for a million more wishes, “But I’d just use them all on a million signed photos of actor LeVar Burton.”

After Pierce survives a drug overdose, he decides to give each member of the study group a gift (his way of fucking with them). He gives Annie a tiara, Britta a check to give to the charity of her choosing, and tells Jeff he’s found his long-lost father. But the best gift (for the viewer, anyway) is the one he gives to Troy: He gets LeVar Burton to show up at the hospital and talk to Troy. But the result isn’t exactly what LeVar was expecting:

Community has done a lot of great things thus far into its run. Paintball. Apollo 13. Zombies. Spot on Don Draper impressions. But this is by far my favorite. I was laughing for days after seeing this. And yes, it’s funny (Donald Glover is hilarious as a shell-shocked Troy), but I think the reason this resonated with me so much is because I totally get where Troy is coming from. There are several childhood/adolescent influences/idols I would never, EVER want to meet, no matter how much I still love them:
– Bono (obviously)
– Lauren Graham (no way do I want to wreck my love for Lorelai Gilmore)
– James Marsters (Fun fact: I actually DID meet him, sort of, at a convention back in college, and while I didn’t end up crying in the bathroom humming the theme from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I DID pretty much freak out. Ask my friend. He was there. He will tell you.)
– Dean Cain and/or Teri Hatcher

The last one requires an explanation, and is the topic of the rest of this post.

Young people reading this blog are probably asking themselves, “Who the hell is Dean Cain? And why is she afraid to meet Susan from Desperate Housewives?” Oh, youth. Y’all have no idea. Continue reading

Catching up on resolutions

Happy 2011! Hard to believe we’re halfway through January already, isn’t it?

So this is the time of year where people make resolutions for the new year. (Well, a few weeks ago anyway. But between moving, getting sick, and getting snowed in, I haven’t had a lot of free time.) Last year, instead of making a “best of the decade” list, I made a list of shows I wanted to watch in 2010.  So how did I do? Let’s see:

Freaks and Geeks
Sons of Anarchy
The Wire
Mad Men

Not watched:
Battlestar Galactica
Breaking Bad
The Sopranos

4/10. Not great as a goal, but as a general statistic, completing (or catching up on) 4 shows in a year is pretty good. Of course, I did get sidetracked by other shows – Community and Cougar Town both had one season under their belts when I got around to catching up.

So this year, I resolve to watch at least 4 more of these “best of the decade” shows. After all, if watching Mad Men gave me the beauty (in more ways than one) of Jon Hamm, and The Wire gave me Bubbles and Omar and Cuddy, who knows what Breaking Bad and Oz will bring? (Probably a lot of grief and angst.)

Any suggestions on other shows I should catch up on? They don’t have to be currently airing; in fact that might be better in the long run. There are only so many hours in the day, after all.

Video of the Day: Favorite TV relationship of 2010: Don and Peggy, y’all. Don and Peggy. Also, if Jon Hamm doesn’t get an Emmy for his work on season 4, there is no justice in the world.