Category Archives: TV

Open Letter

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Dear Netflix,

Thank you. Thank you so much. Gilmore Girls was the first show I ever binge watched. I would rent the DVDs, one disc at a time from each season, and watch them on the tiny TV in my childhood bedroom. I feel no shame in saying Rory and Lorelei felt like family (like cool distant cousins you see at weddings and funerals, but still family). Now I can watch again with a simple click.

THANK YOU.

Love,

Megan

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Fall TV

On a list of the MANY things I like about fall (really, there are so many, I’m very mainstream), the return on Fall TV is near the top. The Glorious Summer of No Work meant I had lots of time to catch up and binge on shows from last season, so I’m feeling very prepared. Here is a list of what I will be watching.

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Returning Shows I’m Still Watching

New Girl

The Mindy Project

Scandal

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Homeland

Saturday Night Live

New Shows I’ll Try

Red Band Society

How to Get Away With Murder

Jane the Virgin

The Affair

The Flash

Black-ish

And let’s be honest, I’ll probably end up watching all those throw-away half-hour comedies like A-Z, Selfie, and even Bad Judge. They make for great “think of nothing when you get home from work” entertainment. I also eagerly await the return of Parks and Recreation‘s final season. So sad it’s ending.

I would love to come back in the spring and tell you what I stuck with and what wasn’t worth the time. Here’s to enjoying hours in front of my television in the name of pop culture consciousness!

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Shows

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{Broad City. Great show, and this moment is the story of my life.}

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American Idol Season 12 – Top 3 Recap

No, I haven’t recapped American Idol all season, and you know what gems my recaps were last year. You’ve really been missing out, huh? A couple of reasons I haven’t put in my two cents until now:

1. The Top 10 were very lackluster–I really wasn’t fully committed to this season until Top 6, and even then I zoned out through maybe 50% of each episode.

2. I’ve been reading three excellent recaps every week–here, and here, and here–and reading so much about AI and then recapping it myself seemed excessive.

But this week we went into the hometown visits, and if you were with me last year you know how these hometown episodes in particular TEAR. ME. UP. I figured instead of rehashing the entire season, I could just give my general thoughts about this episode and the season as a whole. Continue reading if you feel so inclined!

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The contestants each sang 3 songs- a pick from Jimmy Iovine, one from the judges, and the last from the “production”. I’ll review each contestant in turn.

Candice

Can I start by saying I’m one of those people who has loved Candice since that moment in Season 11, when she received that totally undeserved dismissal? I actually converted a copy of this video to mp3 soon after it premiered and still listen to it regularly.

UGH, so good! [Sidenote: I wish Jessica Sanchez had been on this season instead of the last, so Nicki Minaj could have given her some good, constructive advice on how to be a current artist. Last season’s judges did NOTHING for her.]

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So anyway, Jimmy’s choice for Candice was “One” by U2 (but really the version with Mary J. Blige). I love this song, and I love her singing it. I didn’t love the arrangement. There’s a moment in the song where the music swells to the “love is temple, love is higher law” section, and instead of letting the song naturally get there, they cut out a big chunk of the middle portion (for time’s sake, I guess), and she sort of went into this incredibly emotional moment with no buildup. Let her sing the whole song, “production”!

The hometown visits always get me. It’s the contestants’ jobs to make me cry as much as possible during these montages, and Candice delivered more than anyone else.

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Candice’s mom: “When she rolled up in the limo, that did something to me.”

ME TOO, Candice’s mom! It was touching to see how affected Candice was by going home and feeling the love and support of her community. The judges’ pick was “Next to Me” by Emeli Sande, which I have on repeat at this exact moment. It’s great. Nicki can barely speak because she is trying not to show that she is a human with real human tears, and I’m crying and Candice is crying and we are all just a MESS by how proud we are of Candice. Randy congratulates the judges on a job well done, and then I punch Randy in the face. Also, Mariah comments on how she can’t believe Candice was once a Travel Agent instead of a singer, because we all know that to be a supahstah singer is the ULTIMATE and having a desk job when you are a kind and talented person is just a waste. Ugh.

The “production” picked “Somewhere” from West Side Story for Candice’s final number. I am confused by this, but she of course sings the h*ll out of it, so I don’t care. If the winner of American Idol should be based on talent and not on how much money Nigel Lythgoe thinks he can make off of you, then Candice should easily win.

Kree

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Jimmy’s pick for Kree was “Perfect” by Pink, which didn’t really make sense to me. Kree sort of lazily walked around the stage, smiling and interacting with the front-row crowd. When Pink sings this song, you can imagine her singing it to someone who is really broken, and she’s practically demanding them to see that they are more than their insecurities. It’s really a powerful song that was sort of bubblegummed (not a word)-down for the radio, and Kree sings that sort of pop-feel-good version. It’s vocally very nice, but underwhelming.

My one compliant about Kree has always been this bored, lack-of-enthusiasm she carries around every week. Don’t get me wrong, she seems like a genuinely nice person, but she also seems like she doesn’t really want to be there anymore, and has definitely had trouble creating emotional or meaningful performances (in my opinion. Duh, it’s all my opinion on here). So I was glad to see her go home to Texas, because I was reminded that this is a girl who has been through so much, losing both of her parents and having to find a strength to go on. No wonder she seems to have trouble letting her guard down–she’s probably had to build it up pretty high to remain strong after all of that. It is good to be reminded that, in the midst of one of the most overly-produced, hokey shows on television, these are real people.

Kree Hometown; Kree and Laci in front of the house where they grew up.

The judges chose Rascal Flatt’s “Here Come’s Goodbye,” during which she hits a lot of bum notes, but the judges love it and at this point, so do I.

The productions’ choice for Kree was “Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry. I thought maybe I was just being overly sensitive (it happens) when I was APPALLED by their choice of this song for her after the whole hometown video about her two deceased parents, but it turns out everyone else noticed how tasteless this choice was. It was sabotage, I tell you, because it was so not her style either.

Angie

I have a real love/hate with Angie. I like her voice, I like that she writes her own music. It freaks me out that she looks just like Miley Cyrus. I do think she’s the smartest contestant of the bunch when it comes to picking songs and marketing herself. She’s just so…ugh, how do I say this without sounding like the pessimist I really am? She just so cheery. She’s a teenager. So it’s understandable, but my heart is made of stone and she’s just too peppy!

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Jimmy chose “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” by Elton John. The judges are all confused as to why she’s not playing the piano, and I like that she’s honest and admits it seemed too difficult and too short a time to learn the vocals and the piano and be able to do it well in a week, along with all the other junk they force these kids to do. I preferred that she wasn’t at the piano. She seemed less rehearsed than usual, and I was able to notice some of the really beautiful qualities in her voice that might not have come out if she had been focused on trying to do Elton John justice on the piano.

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Angie is from Beverly, Massachusetts, which is relatively close to Boston, so a good portion of her hometown visit focuses on that. I was reminded while watching this package how young Angie is. I think she’s someone who will only get better with time, and has a lot of potential. The judges chose “Try” by Pink, and I’m not sure why they are making these girls sing Pink. None of them are really “in” that genre, and this turns out to be a bit shout-y. She does seem very comfortable “working the stage” (I hate that I just typed that). I felt that she was relaxed and enjoying it, which made me enjoy it, too.

The productions’ pick was “Maybe” by Emeli Sande, which I had never heard. It actually sounds like a song Angie might record, but I am distracted by the fact that she is sitting behind the piano, but not really doing much actual playing of the piano. I just wish the judges would stop associating her name with the word piano!

Ultimately, I think Kree will be going home and it will be an Angie/Candice finale, which I would actually look forward to. Who am I kidding, we all know the real winner of this season (and last) is hot guitar guy. Check in later for a results update.

SPECIAL BONUS FEATURE! If you didn’t waste enough of your life reading my recap, let’s waste a little more by judging the judges. While I think Jennifer Lopez is maybe the most beautiful woman on the planet, I do not miss her or Steven Tyler on the panel. I wish they had taken Randy Jackson with them. This year, we have a fresh perspective–

Keith Urban – I was raised in Kentucky, so I’m allowed to admit I like country music without you hating me! Fun fact–I saw Keith Urban as an opening act in concert once. And I really love him as a judge. He seems to be genuinely focused on giving actual advice which is (sadly) just incredible on American Idol. It’s so rare. I’ve found myself weirdly attracted to him over the season. My sister says it’s because he wears open-collar shirts and lets his tattoo peek out just a little bit, which makes viewers want to see more. Oh man, she might be right. And he’s always calling contestants “baby,” but not in a creepy way, which I really enjoy.

Nicki Minaj – I am legitimately a fan of Nicki’s music (the Pink Friday album, at least). I enjoy Nicki in this platform; she, like Keith, seems to be really intent on actually giving the contestants advice and honest opinions. I appreciate that, I really do.

Randy Jackson – Just leave, Randy! PLEASE!

Mariah Carey – I had high hopes for Mariah, because we all know she can sing. Unfortunately, she’s not the most well-spoken of the bunch. She tends to ramble in a very robotic way, and barely moves her body in her seat, which makes me think she is, in fact, a ROBOT! It would explain so much.

{photos via americanidol.com}

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Game Night

This speaks to me.

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Glee Recap: I Don’t

I’m finally up-to-date on my Glee episodes, and fortunately for me the show doesn’t come back until March 7th! So although this recap is going up more than a week after the original airing of the episode, it’s basically still current.

Glee has a knack for having a few episodes that confuse and enrage me, followed by an episode that I at least somewhat enjoy. This episode, “I Do,” was mostly the latter. There were some truly funny bits, and while I didn’t consider any of the music download-worthy, it had enough actual plot to keep my interest.

As the title suggests, the episode was centered around Will and Emma’s wedding.

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Finn and Rachel meet up at the Lima Bean to chat, which is, I suppose, actually something two former high school sweethearts might do. Finn tells Rachel about the kiss with Emma, and he also informs her he could care less about her boyfriend (whom she is living with only months after ending their engagement). Finn then says the first of two lines which I would love to say to Lea Michele/Rachel Berry: “Not everything has to do with you.” I genuinely thank you, Finn. Rachel explains to Finn that it is still his responsibility to be a good friend to Will, and a good best man. “You always wanted to be an actor, right?” she says. “So here’s your chance to play the role of supportive best man.” Actually, I’m pretty sure he only had that dream because he wanted to be in New York with you, so…yeah. She’s basically telling him to keep following the dream she had for him.

Back at McKinley, Emma, who is planning the reception seating chart, has another great line: “All of you Glee kids have dated so incestuously that I can’t even remember who can tolerate who anymore.” 

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Meanwhile, Will is back from D.C.! And he’s still being a total jerk to his fiance and completely pushing aside her mental disorder! And Finn (who he doesn’t know kissed said-fiance) is still his best man, despite the fact that Finn is a teenage former-student! Glee at its finest.

Jake is stressing out about what to get Marley for Valentine’s Day, and Puck has some great brotherly advice, suggesting he buy her lingerie: “Have her put on a fashion show. Chicks love fashion.”

Instead of taking this spot-on advice, Jake enlists Ryder’s help. I was confused as to why Ryder would help Jake impress the girl he likes, but it turns out it’s one of those “I like her so much that I’m going to help my friend impress her” situations that only happen on TV and never in real life.

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Jake, with the help of the other male Glee-clubbers (Glee-people?), serenades Marley in class. This is something that I’ve dreamed of/horrifies me in real life. I simultaneously desperately wish it had happened to me in high school, and thank the universe it didn’t. It would have been a great waster of class-time, though.

Before we know it–IT’S WEDDING TIME! The ceremony and reception feature high-schoolers singing, a backdrop that reminds me of a McKinley High dance, and at least TWO women wearing fur shawls. Very classy.

Jake gifts Marley with her favorite flowers (peonies), because, as Ryder noticed, she once mentioned in the choir room that they were her favorites. Let me just say, I have casually mentioned my favorite flowers (peonies) about a hundred times to my boyfriend, and have yet to ever receive them as a gift. So thanks a lot, Ryder, for giving girls everywhere high expectations!

Emma is having serious second thoughts. Luckily, Sue is there to provide commentary and “support.” No sisters or cousins or friends, just Sue.

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“Well, of course it isn’t going to work. You’re a weird bird lady with a hollow pelvis and OCD. And Will Schuester is a weepy man-child whose greatest joy in life is singing with children. And his best friend? 19.”

Emma, Will, and the Glee kids then sing “(Not) Getting Married Today” from Company. It’s sort of campy in the best way possible (like “Let’s Have a Kiki” in the Thanksgiving episode), which I, of course, love.

And while weddings being planned and then never happening is a strange recurring theme on Glee, I can see why Emma would choose not to marry Will. She’s one of the few characters on the show that I actually find endearing, and I think she deserves better.

Mr. Schuester goes to find Emma, but the reception will still go on! (Because there are performances planned, and the Glee kids will not be silenced!)

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There is, obviously, a great deal of singing and dancing and hooking-up. Finn extends a pretty advanced metaphor for love about gardens, and he and Rachel spend the night together.

flowerHe also delivers my second favorite “line I wish I could deliver to Lea Michele/Rachel Berry”: “I think you’re lying to yourself.” Of course she is.

Also spending the night together are Artie and Emma’s niece Betty; Marley and Jake (who don’t actually sleep together); Quinn and Santana; and KURT AND BLAINE.

I should devote time to mentioning all the other couples, but I want to focus on Kurt and Blaine because I HAVE MISSED THEM SO MUCH. They have some really great moments in this episode dealing with the Tina/Blaine storyline (“You vapo-raped my ex-boyfriend?!”), and while Kurt keeps insisting they aren’t back together, I, like Blaine, want to believe that they are.

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The cliffhanger is that Rachel may or may not be PREGNANT. I don’t even want to think about how horribly Glee might handle this storyline, so let’s think about Klaine instead, okay?

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Incidental Shows

This post should be titled: “Shows I Started Watching Only Because They Were on Netflix Instant, But Ended Up Really Liking,” but that seemed like a bit much for a header. When I moved to Madison, I downgraded from Dish Network to basic local channels to save money. The one exception to my budget was Netflix Instant, which I re-subscribed  to and now use regularly. I started watching the following shows, as I said before, simply because they were readily available for viewing whenever I so pleased, and I ended up becoming a real fan of each.

Downton-Abbey-Series-3Are you kidding me? I was feeling like the last person in all of America and the UK who wasn’t watching Downton Abbey, and I have no idea why it took me so long. I finished the first season in a couple of days and the second in about a week, but I am taking a little breather before the third. No spoilers, please!

The_League_image_FX_network-3bit different from Downton–but still very entertaining–is The League. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it, but now I’m hooked. What drew me in was my love of Chicago-based sports comedies (i.e. My Boys), and my even greater love of Mark Duplass.

louie2I had heard so many good things about Louie, and it was worth all the hype. Honestly, the first time I saw Louis C.K. perform on anything was as Leslie Knope’s love interest on Parks & Recreation. He was great there, but he’s amazing here.

The next show I start from the beginning will probably be Breaking Bad, which I’ve been meaning to watch for a while. Any other suggestions?

{Downton image viaLeague image viaLouie image via}

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