Berg'spective

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Lights out for Friday Night

It is nice having the summers off for many reasons, but the 2 main reasons I love this perk of being an educator is: 1) I get to sleep in, and 2) I get to catch up on a lot of TV. A LOT.  What is even nicer about this summer in particular is, thanks to being done with grad school and Netflix instant, I have even been able to catch up on programming I missed several years ago.  For instance, I finally finished the 4th season of The Tudors (I mean I just really wasn’t sure how that one was going to end), I watched 3 seasons of 24 in a row…that was a pretty intense week, and this week I started watching Friday Night Lights.

This is a show that people have been telling me to watch for years because I love football, and well, obviously I love TV. So I added it to my instant queue, and when it started playing on Sunday afternoon, I was hooked.  I literally stayed up through the night watching the first season, and didn’t realize it was 6am until I heard my step dad leaving for work.  So I collapsed into bed with my laptop snuggled right next to me, slept for 5 hours, and then woke up to immediately start season 2.

Coincidentally, I have started this love affair with Friday Night Lights  the week before the series finale, and I am heartbroken.  This show is one of the most well written programs set in a high school that I have seen in a long, long, long time (and I am not showing any form of nepotism here just because it was adapted for TV by Peter Berg…no relation…that I know of), it is just that damn good.

The show, although critically acclaimed and just plain awesome, never really gained a large viewing audience, and I don’t’ know why.  It has everything the target demographic could ask for; great story lines, multi-faceted characters, drama, comedy, romance, sex, drugs, partying, fighting, small town politics, football (obviously) and to put the cherry on top, it has Tim Riggins.

Seriously.  This alone is enough to draw in the female viewer.  Tim Riggins is the bad boy screw up with a vulnerable side that plays like an animal on the field…and well off the field as well, if you know what I mean.  He does all the wrong things for the right reasons, and you can’t help but fall in love with him, his jeans and his cowboy boots.

Though, sadly Tim wasn’t enough to keep the show on the air, and the series is coming to a close.  BUT! Thanks to modern technology and the interwebs and what not, every drinking binge, fist fight, touchdown, and tear jerking inspirational moment can be enjoyed over and over again.  So if you are already a fan, enjoy the series finale (as I will if I can finish the rest of seasons 4 and 5 before tomorrow night), and if you aren’t yet a fan, you will be because, “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.”

Filed under television Friday Night Lights Tim Riggins

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Bitch Slap of the Week

 

I must admit, the Real Housewives of New York is a guilty pleasure of mine, but tonight’s episode gave me that feeling I get after eating an entire pan of brownies…I wanted to vomit.  These women are crass enough roaming the concrete streets of NYC, but at least they are confined to the minimal square millage of Manhattan.  So whose idea was it to let them loose in Morocco? 

These women, who see themselves as “classy” ladies, probably should have brushed up on Countess Luann’s book before boarding the plane, because they were just awful, especially crazy eyed pinot loving Ramona, and Sonya “I forget to wear pants” Morgan.  You don’t have to be well traveled to know how to behave in a country with a different culture, and hell, you don’t have to be well traveled to simply know how act like a decent human being.

To give you a brief rundown: Ramona e-mailed her personal rider ahead to make sure she had someone to help her unpack.  On the trip from the airport, she was shocked that the country defiled her precious line of vision with signs of poverty, and dust.  Sony freaked out that someone was going to steal her luggage from the van in the parking lot of their villa, and forced a guy to stand guard over her hats.  Both women were hammered drunk, and dressed like high class hookers in a relatively conservative country. Cindy freaked out about some hangers…seriously (Andy did a hanger word count on Watch What Happens Live, and in a 2 minute conversation the word hangers was said 33 times), and this was just episode one.  We all know Kelly has the tendency to go off the deep end on vacations (we already saw her eating a bag of jelly beans…an ominous omen if you ask me), and from the previews for the upcoming episodes, it looks like shit hits the fan, but with these socialite frenemies, when does it not? 

Listen, ladies( and I use that term VERY loosely) I get that the show’s success is fueled by your inane cattiness, but taking your social ignorance abroad, and offending every Moroccan you encounter is beyond forgivable.  Not to mention, you offended Americans as well, because we have to claim you as citizens, and let you back in the damn country.  So, Real Housewives of New York, as payment for your re-entrance, you are here by BITCH SLAPPED.   

Filed under Real Housewives of New York RHONY Television Bravo

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The Office Official: Season Finale

A few highlights from the 2 part season finale:

First, the opening with Creed throwing his keys to the non-existent valet, then speaking some non-existent language, then calling a non-existent team building meeting where he names 2 non-existent employees, Ted and Elroy.  Follow that up with his “BOBODY” acronym, where the “B” stands for “Bizznuss” (I am guessing that is how he was going to continue spelling that, no one can know for sure), and you have an knee-slapping, eye-pissing (Parks and Recs reference, anyone? Anyone?) pure Office opening. 

Second, the guest stars.  I am glad there was not a lot of emphasis put on these brief cameos, but they did raise some interesting questions.  What happened to James Spader?  Was that Warren Buffett?  Is Gob Bluth going to be the next Regional Manager?  They did have a scene with a puppet later on in the show, a coincidence, or a reference to Franklin?  I mean, how awesome would that be!  I think the hilarity section of my brain would fry from awesomeness.  Could you imagine the interactions between Gob and Dwight, or Gob and Kelly, or Gob and anyone?  Then, throw in a guest starring appearance by Buster, and George Michale and Maeby as interns.  Mind. Blown. …but I digress.

Third, we have some questions, and answers.  Ok, so Phyllis isn’t Erin’s mother, but is Gabe the Scranton Strangler, or not?  If he isn’t, then the dude is just a straight up whacko, and that actor could totally play a serial killer on Criminal Minds, and I would fuh-reak out!  Is anyone going to tell Angela she is marrying a gay guy?  And more importantly, who is going to get the Regional Manager job?

I think it should be someone from in house.  The Office does best when it is the core cast of characters, and can you imagine the Jim/Dwight interactions, if Jim is made Regional Manager?!  I thought Dwight would have made a good, albeit insane, manager, had he not shot off his gun in the last episode, like I said, insane.  I mean, the man lives and breathes Dunder Mifflin, and with him as manager we would be guaranteed more quotes like, “Bread is the paper of the food industry. You write your sandwich on it.”

Whoever ends up getting the job, (honestly I wouldn’t mind Creed) he/she has some mighty big shoes to fill.  Michael Scott, you were a character like no other.  You made us laugh, cry, and cringe on more occasions than I can count, but you definitely left your mark on our hearts, so in parting I would like to say, you will be missed (but luckily, owning every season on DVD, we can catch up any time).

And until next season, here are some words of wisdom from Dunder Mifflin’s finest Regional Manager since Ed Truck, who was decapitated, Michael Scott:

“Happy birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party is so lame!”

Humorously relevant: “If I had a gun, with two bullets, and I was in a room with Hitler, Bin Laden and Toby, I would shoot Toby twice.”

“You don’t call retarded people retards. It’s bad taste. You call your friends retards … when they’re acting retarded.”

And my personal favorite: “Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology. People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections.  And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake.”

Filed under The Office Television TV Michael Scott Dunder Mifflin Gob Bluth Arrested Development Creed Creed Bratton

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The Office Official

                  

For a while now, The Office seemed to be losing a bit of its comedic brilliance.  I was no longer laughing so hard I was crying.  Seriously.  I can just think of scenes from some of the first seasons (where Jim impersonates Dwight, “Bears, beats, Battlestar Galactica,”) and I will be rendered speechless, but as of late, it just hasn’t been doing it for me.             

I was hoping that Will Ferrell’s 4 episode arc would spark some life back into the show.  How could it not?  I mean these are 2 things I love; the genius of the man who brought our generation such memorable characters as Frank the Tank, Buddy the Elf, Ron Burgundy, Ricky Bobby, and Brennan Huff. Not to mention the countless skits and characters Will made famous on SNL, “More cowbell,” is pretty much all need to say about that. Then there is his viral video sensation as “the renter,” in The Landlord, and lest we forget his unaccredited performance as the funeral crashing Chazz Reinhold.  So how could a guy who can do all this, mixed with a show like The Office, disappoint?

                            

Well, I guess sometimes mixing two of your favorite things just doesn’t work.  Listen, I love mustard, and I love vodka, but a mustard flavored cocktail is just something I DO NOT want to explore…or do I?  So, Will was a little disappointing, and I was losing hope that The Office would ever regain its original footing.  That is, until last week when Dwight K. Schrute became Acting Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin.

First, there was the change in the office décor.  The Kim Jong Il-esque picture of Dwight hanging in the entrance (did he just happen to have that laying around the beat farm, and did Mose paint it)? Then there was his office, “The gun is a Beaumont-Adams. Jo collects them.  The piranha is a rescue.  The desk is a replica of Uday Hussein’s desk.  I saw a picture in Newsweek.” Classic Dwight.  I did not think this episode could be any more classic.  Jim was back to his Dwight antagonizing antics, with his formation of “The Fist,” and Erin was told to no longer use answering machines because, “Dwight doesn’t trust robots to give us our messages.”  Seriously.  Could it get any more classic?

Well my friends, it could, and did.  To put the cherry on your sundae, the sprinkle on your cupcake, and the mustard in your cocktail, Dwight, “Went on a shooting spree and shot Andy in the head.”  Ok. Well that was according to Kelly.  So what really happened was, Dwight accidently misfired his weapon, which he was carrying around the office in a holster, and the misfire was really close to Andy, causing him to lose the ability to “find perfect C.”  

Needless to say Dwight was relieved of his duties as Acting Regional Manager, and at the end of the episode we learn the next person in charge will be the resident senior, Creed “I was in an iron-lung as a teenager”  Bratton. 

                                           

So, hopefully this is the start of an up-swing for a show that crossed the pond, broke down the fourth wall, and popularized the always witty and mature response to almost every statement in the English language, “THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!”

Filed under The Office Television Will Ferrell Dwight Dunder Mifflin Creed Bratton

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Gleekin’

There is an old adage that says you should never talk to your friends about politics, or religion because people have strong feelings about where they stand on these issues, and they are unlikely to change their minds.  I would like to add a third item to the list: Glee.

Glee seems to be one of those polarizing shows, you either love it or you hate it.  And no matter which side of the fence you stand on, fans and haters feel the need to loudly, and adamantly vocalize their opinion.  I have several problems with this:

First, if you hate the show, fine.  Then DON’T watch it.  For some reason the haters feel the need to chug their haterade and spew it all over the place.  There are just those people, you know the ones I am talking about, that feel the need to hate on anything that is pop-culture, or mainstream because they see it as beneath their level of sophistication.  Give.Me.A.Break.

There are many pop-culture phenomena that I am not particularly fond of, Ke$ha for instance (see also Rebecca Black), is beyond irritating in my opinion.  But that’s just it, it is my opinion, and unless the musical talents of Ke$ha come up in a casual conversation, I keep my thoughts to myself.  Although, I will admit I often find myself wondering what it would be like to “brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack.”

So a word to all the haters, or more like four letters…STFU.  I get it you don’t like Glee, but honestly, I don’t care.

Secondly, there are those that absolutely love the show, and think it is the greatest thing since auto tune.  But again, these people feel the need to shout (maybe sing) there love from the rooftops.  Fans, or “Gleeks,” really want to religiously convert the haters because they cannot fathom a world where someone actually has a different opinion about their beloved Glee.

Yeah, it’s a good show, but really?  Again, unless it comes up in casual conversation, perhaps with someone you know who likes the show, is there a need to start off every conversation with, “OMG, don’t you love Glee?  Plus, this just gives the hipster-haters the chance to hop on their little soap box, and we must avoid that at all costs.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, there are those people who started out loving the show, and now absolutely, and resolutely hate it. And again, they feel the need to tell you, and again, I ask why?

These people might annoy me the most.  It is almost like they were in a relationship with Glee.  It was something new, exciting, experimental, but then they expected too much, and were disappointed when it didn’t live up to their expectations, so now they have sworn off Glee for all eternity. 

A lot of these viewers see Glee as a vehicle to transform the world, and the way we view, well everyone.  Because it is such a hit show, with a wide viewing audience of teens and adults alike, these people feel that the show, and creator Ryan Murphy, have a responsibility to hit on every controversial and hot-topic issue, and take a stance, provide and outlet, and shed a broadway-esque spotlight on it, and when they are not satisfied, they jump ship.

It is a television show people.  It cannot change judgmental, misogynistic, and gay bashing ignoramuses  by Wednesday morning.  Plus, these people probably aren’t watching the show anyways, so why should it be responsible for the gallons of vile haterade they’re chugging?

The show is good, I like it.  Sometimes it is mindless, and campy, and songs are a bit off, but sometimes it is powerful, and poignant.  Watching the show I have noticed that it has a self-deprecating sense of humor, and often addresses the things that bloggers, and commenters dislike about the show, like how is there always a guy there ready to play piano when the characters feel the need to break into song?  On several instances the characters have specifically made references to this, “oh he’s just a prop,” and it makes me laugh.  Glee obviously does not take itself TOO seriously, so you, haters, lovers, and ship jumpers alike, shouldn’t either.  Just sit back and enjoy Mr. Schue singing a sexually explicit song to his students, or change the channel. I don’t care.

Filed under Glee television

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In Defense of Cougar Town

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
 By any other name would smell as sweet;”

 Good ol’ Mr. Shakespeare wrote these words, and the ever beautiful Romeo (beautiful, because when I think of this play I think of Leonardo Dicaprio) spouts them off when he realizes that Juliet is the daughter of his family’s arch nemesis…The Capulets. Oh no!  But Juliet is still gorgeous and sweet, and Romeo’s one true love (or at least he thinks so, but he is only 14, and he probably should have given it a little time), so why should her last name stand in the way of fated bliss.

I feel the same way about Cougar Town.  Unfortunately this show debuted when the generational meme, describing older women preying on younger men, began to lose its luster, so audiences of Montagues were not tuning in because they couldn’t get over the fact that the show was a Capulet.

Well I am here to tell you this show is a gem, a hilarious sparkly gem.  The original premise was supposed to follow Courtney Cox, of Friends fame, as she made her way through the dating world as a woman in her 40’s.  But along the way the show took a turn for the better, Jules (Courtney Cox)comes to her senses, hops out of the kiddy pool, and turns to her friends in the “Cul de sac Crew” for solace, and thus Cougar Town found its footing as more of an ensemble show.

The characters are complex, quirky and lovable, but at times loathsome, which in a sense just makes them human.  So, let me give you the run down: 

Jules Cobb

 Name: Jules Cobb          

 Age: 42

 Children: Travis Cobb

 Job: Real Estate Agent

  Relationships: Currently dating Grayson, who lives  across the street; was married to Bobby Cobb.

She loves drinking wine, massive quantities of it, and at any time of the day.  She often over mothers her only son Travis, and she is the center spoke for the crazy wheel that is the “Cul de sac Crew.”

  Name:Ellie Torres Ellie Torres

 Age:40’s

 Children: Stan Torres

 Job: N/A

 Relationships: Best friend and confidante to Jules, married to  Andy, and bully to Jules’s assistant, Laurie,  and well bully to pretty much everyone, but in a funny sarcastic way.

She lives next door to Jules, and loves drinking just as much, and though it may be hard to see through her hard exterior, she loves her husband, her family and her friends.  She only has 7 minutes during the day when she is actually sweet, and she kicks ass at Penny Can.

Laurie Keller Name: Laurie Keller

 Age: 30’s

 Children: N/A

 Job: Jules’s Assistant

 Relationship: Laurie is known for her promiscuity, but after long term relationship with Smith (which ended), she seems to be over that phase (emphasis on “seems”).  She considers herself to be Jules’s best friend, which leads to run-ins with Ellie who is a bit jealous of Laurie and Jules’s friendship.  There have also been allusions to the fact that Laurie and Travis (Jules’s son) may “hook-up” in future episodes.

Laurie is the humor to Ellie’s sarcasm.  She is more light hearted and fun-loving, and adds a nice balance to the Jules/Elli duo.  At times ditzy, and lost in love, there has definitely been growth in her character, and she is always there for her friends which makes you root for her.  She also has interesting fashion choices.

Bobby Cobb  Name: Bobby Cobb

  Age: 40’s

  Children: Travis Cobb

  Job: Giving golf lessons, and now attempting to make his comeback in the profession, although he was never really successful before.

 Relationships: Was married to Jules, but has really had no lasting love interests to note. Although he did hook up with Lisa Kudrow when she had a recurring guest spot on the show. Andy is his best friend, and he has a great relationship with his son.

Bobby is technically homeless.  He lives on a boat in a parking lot, and he drives around town in a beat up golf cart.  He sounds like a loser, but he is a lovable one, and he often balances out Jules’ overbearing mothering.  He is also the inventor of Penny Can, which makes him a winner in my book.

andy torres Name: Andy Torres

 Age: 40’s

 Children: Stan Torres

 Job: Not actually sure…lawyer, I think? He works in an office, and is successful.

Relationships: Married to Ellie, best friend to Bobby, and pretty much worships the ground he walks on, and all in all a lovable guy.

Andy balances out Ellie’s harshness.  He is a friend to everyone, including Laurie (there was a recent episode where he actually was her wingman), and he loves hanging and chatting with the girls as much as he loves following Bobby around in whatever hare-brained scheme he is cooking up.

Grayson Name: Grayson Ellis

 Age: 40’s

 Children: None, but he wanted to have kids with his ex-wife, but she did not. In the most recent episode he makes it evident that he still wants children, but this is not an idea that appeals to Jules, and may lead to problems in the future.

Job: Owns a bar where the crew hangs out and drinks…a lot.

Relationships: He is recently divorced, like Jules, and like her he used to date younger people.  Jules and Grayson finally admitted there attraction to each other, and after a brief trial of “friends with benefits,” they decided they wanted more, and they are now a couple.

Grayson lives across the street from Jules, and he is the newest member to this misfit bunch.  He often acts as the voice of reason, and gives a logical perspective to the group, but he is outnumbered, and is slowly realizing that it is just better to go along with the crazy.

Travis Name: Travis Cobb

 Age: 19

 Children: Jules hopes not.

 Job: College Student

Relationships: He had a girlfriend in high school, but now in college he is dating a Grad student who is older than him (which might have something to do with the relationships he has with the older women in his life Jules/Ellie/Laurie).

Travis, although in college, still spends a lot of time at home.  He has a great relationship with his mom and dad, and he may hate to admit it, but he loves taking part in the antics these characters get themselves in to.

In conclusion, I would just like to say that this show is great, so don’t judge it by its title (this has also become a running joke on the show; during opening credits when the title appears there are now additions above the name Cougar Town, like “still,” and “we are beginning to embrace it”). It has just enough wit and sarcasm, perfectly mixed with humor, great characters, wine, and Penny Can (Penny Can is a game where….you guessed it, you shoot pennies into a paint can).  So, if you are at home on a Wednesday night at 9:30 est. then tune in!

Filed under television Cougar Town Penny Can