“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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Hollywood’s biggest night: A delayed live blog

I don’t have the technology (i.e. a laptop) for a live blog, but I did jot down some thoughts…ok, a LOT of thoughts, last night while watching the Oscars. Just pretend you’re reading this on Sunday night.

  • OMG! NPH!
  • Wow, Alex and Steve are actually funny. I can’t believe I’m laughing out loud.
  • George Clooney + long hair = HOT.
  • T- Bone Burnett looks pretty badass.
  • Aw, Coraline should have won best animated film. It kicked ass.
  • Tina Fey looks beautiful!
  • Why are all the men wearing sunglasses?
  • Why is Molly Ringwald at the Oscars? Oh. John Hughes tribute. This is going to be sad.
  • Yep, totally made me cry. His films are so much more than they seem to be. But why no clips from Uncle Buck?
  • Very cool to have successful feature directors talk about their short films. Better way to get the audience to care than nominating 10 for best picture.
  • Nick Park! I love Wallace and Gromit!
  • Why did that woman interrupt the director of the best short doc winner? Worst. Speech. Ever. (Update: You can find out why here. Stay classy, Elinor Burkett.)
  • Why does Ben Stiller always make an ass of himself at award shows? Just say no, Ben.
  • I really wanted to see A Serious Man, but I think it was in theaters for like, a week.
  • Up in the Air is the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. I bet it wins adapted screenplay, but I’d like to see it win best picture.
  • Ooh – it went to Precious. Maybe there’s hope for Up in the Air after all.
  • Morgan Freeman looks underwhelmed to be there.
  • I don’t understand the world’s obsession with Penelope Cruz. She just bugs.
  • Sigourney Weaver has been eaten by her dress.
  • I am SO NOT interested in seeing Precious. There, I said it.
  • Is Edward Scissorhands a horror film?
  • I don’t know enough about sound in film, but it seems like if you win for sound editing, you should also win for mixing. Looks like the academy agrees. The Hurt Locker – 3; Avatar – 1. (Update: At this point in the night, I started rooting for The Hurt Locker to take it.)
  • Elizabeth Banks, I love your dress! Tim Gunn would approve.
  • Damn, The Hurt Locker – 3; Avatar -2.
  • Oh, In Memoriam, my fave. I hope they don’t fuck it up like last year.
  • No, this way isn’t very good either. Too fast and too much info on the screen.
  • Aw, Natasha Richardson.
  • A Commercial for Happy Town. The only reason I’m interested in watching that is for the amazing Amy Acker.
  • These dancers are a lot better than the ones on the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies.
  • Why isn’t the audience on their feet? That was amazing!
  • Avatar gains again. But it is for visual effects, so I’ll give it that. You win this time, Cameron.
  • Ooh! Modern Family commercial just for the Oscars! If anyone hasn’t seen this show, you’re really missing out.
  • Matt Damon was 27 when he won that Oscar? Damn. Now I feel inadequate. About to turn 29, and no Oscar.
  • I know I should see Food, Inc., but then I’d never eat again.
  • Fisher Stevens? What??
  • Woo! The Hurt Locker pulls ahead again in editing.  HL – 4; Avatar – 3.
  • I know it’s going to Jeff Bridges, but I’d love to see George Clooney or Jeremy Renner take home best actor.
  • Nice idea, but these pre-actor speeches are WAY too long.
  • Oh, God. Oprah. We’ll be here forever.
  • Michael Sheen! I love him more than anyone.
  • I really want Meryl Streep to win. She broke my heart in Julie and Julia.
  • I’m still not over Sean Penn beating Mickey Rourke last year.
  • Seriously, who the fuck calls themself Sapphire? Ugh.
  • KATHRYN BIGALOW – WOO! Suck it, Cameron! (But seriously – so deserved – The Hurt Locker is amazing.)
  • There is never a time I’m not happy to see Tom Hanks.
  • Holy crap! The Hurt Locker takes it all! Woooo!!
  • Man, I’m glad I saw The Hurt Locker last night. Good timing, self.
  • Thank you and good night!

It’s gonna a LEGENDARY Tony Awards!

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Have you heard the news? Have you????

Television’s resident ladies man – and my personal TV Boyfriend, Neil Patrick Harris is hosting the Tony Awards!

Seriously?? Two of my most favorite things – Broadway and NPH – together? (I know, I know, he’s been on Broadway, but I’ve never seen him live, so this is the next best thing.)

Okay, I’ll admit it – I only started watching the Tony Awards last year. But in the middle of it, I thought to myself, “Why have I – who loves all things award show and all things theater – NEVER watched this?” I vowed then and there to never miss another Tony Awards, if I could help it.

The Broadway Universe must be rewarding me in some way for my increased theater love this year.

Thank you, Broadway.

The Tony Awards, with HOST Neil Patrick Harris (did I mention NPH is hosting this year?) are June 7th, and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8-11. Don’t miss it!

Video of the Day: Here’s a taste of NPH on Broadway, as the Emcee in my favorite show, Cabaret.

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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!

Testing, testing

Dear reader,

Welcome! Thanks for reading. If you are, I assume that you either know me, or came here accidentally by quoting Kelly Kapoor. Either way, rock on.

So this blog is meant to be a replacement. I blogged for a certain web site for about a year, and, after a lot of thought, decided to start my own. Reasons, if you want them are:

1.) The blog was in conjunction with a paper, and therefore, my content was limited. If I wanted to talk about a TV show or movie, I had to think “Is this family friendly?” This cut out a lot of clips, quotes, and links I would have otherwise used. And on that, I had to make sure my clips were legal. This wasn’t really a big deal. Last, I had to clean up my language. Again, not a huge deal, but sometimes, my reaction warranted an expletive. Example: “Holy shit! Lila just blew up Sergeant Doakes! How the hell will Dexter get to the cabin in time? What’s gonna happen? Fuck!” (If you got that reference, congratulations. You belong here.)

2.) When I started the blog, I was one of about five. Over the year, more and more blogs came trickling in, until I was one of about thirty. I understand that this site wants to expand, and applaud that. However, my ego is much too big to compete with all those folks.  Well, okay not really, but I did feel like I got somewhat lost in the shuffle. Hopefully, readers of the old blog will shuffle over here.

Now that we have that worked out, here’s what you should expect when you visit retrowatching.wordpress.com:

– You won’t hear (read?) about my everyday life. I’ve got another place for that, and really, how many people care about that? I went to the new Harris Teeter today! Tomorrow at work, I’m going to sort through some grant files. Fascinating! Not what you’ll get here.

– This is going to be a blog about pop culture. Television, movies, music, theater, celebrity boyfriends (of which there are many), etc. So, you know, basically anything that’s awesome, according to me. Why should you care? I dunno. Maybe you’ll find something you like. I have been told I have an impeccable taste in pop culture. How’s that for persuasion? Really, this is just another in a long line of pop culture blogs. It’s not anything special. But what can I say, I like telling an audience, however small it may be, what I like, what I dislike, and what I think about what I like and dislike. K?

If that’s cool with you, stick with me. I’ll take you places. Well, on your computer. I’ll show you things…you know what, never mind. You get it. I know you do. Otherwise you wouldn’t still be reading. (To those still reading: Hello! I always liked you best. Don’t tell the others.)

So, in keeping with things that are awesome, I give you something I think is quite awesome: A performance from Cabaret, that’s, well, more than a little bit raunchy. Sometimes, when I’m at work, doing something that requires little concentration, I’ll listen to this on repeat. Is that weird?

If you recognize who’s playing the Emcee, then you REALLY belong here. Oh yeah, and expect lots of clips. Embedding is my new best friend.