Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What are YOU looking at?


OK so fall TV is back on track. I’m in the middle of figuring out what to watch and when, so here’s my own personal look at what’s on TV with a few reviews from Monday and Tuesday!

Monday

7:00-7:30: Of course I had to start with Arrested Development, the best sit-com on TV right now. It took the season premier a few minutes to get going, but the biting sarcasm and innuendo classics started hitting like gunfire relatively quickly. Still an A+ show!

7:30-8:00: Now we had a dilemma. Kitchen Confidential and How I Met Your Mother were on opposite each other, so we recorded Kitchen and watched Mother. Here are quick reviews.

How I Met Your Mother, CBS

Nothing like Doogie Howser getting back into TV. This show started with a narrator speaking to his pre-teen kids in the year 2025, explaining the night he met their mother; hence the title. The show is a flashback to 2005 and Marshall (Jason Segel) is asking his friend and roommate Ted (Josh Radnor – the narrator) how he should go about proposing to his girlfriend Lily (Alyson Hannigan). Ted decides to get out of the apartment and hang with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). On the phone, Barney tells him to meet at the bar and “suit up!” Ted gets to the bar and Barney is in a suit. Ted is not. Barney’s little joke about always wearing a suit wears a little thin in 22 minutes. Anyway, Barney listens to Ted whine about Marshall getting engaged – Ted feels he’ll never find the right woman. To get Ted to shut up, Barney keeps playing a game called, “Have you met Ted?” Basically, he grabs a girl, says that line, and throws Ted at them. The first girl ends up being the bartender’s girlfriend, but the next one is Robin (Cobie Smulders) and it’s love at first sight. She’s a small story journalist for a local news station and has to leave town in two days, so they set up a date for the next night. Unfortunately, she has run off in the middle of their date to do a breaking news story, and Ted didn’t kiss her. His friends jump all over him for it, so he finds himself back at her door in the middle of the night suited up with his pals waiting in the cab for him. Things are going great until he tells Robin he loves her, and she freaks. Nope, he never did kiss her.

The show wasn’t bad, but I didn’t love it. Apparently Robin is NOT their mother, so there is much more to come. The thing that killed this show was the canned audience. Either film before a live audience, or have no reaction to the jokes so we can make up our own mind what is funny or not. I’ll give it another chance, but it’s still up in the air.

3 out of 5!

Kitchen Confidential, FOX

Jack Bourdain (Bradley Cooper, “Wedding Crashers”) is recently out of prison and working in his girlfriend’s restaurant. He gets a call out of the blue to run the kitchen of a top NY restaurant. He convinces his old chef pals to join him so he can have the best kitchen in town. However, he didn’t realize that he’d be butting heads with Mimi (Bonnie Sommerville) the owner’s daughter. Of course opening night is chaotic, including one chef losing a finger in a critic’s food, but they somehow come out smelling like roses. However, the new gig costs Jack his girlfriend. Mimi wants Jack to fail to the point of sabotage, but not enough to ruin her father’s reputation.

The characters are relatively funny, but a bit thin. I’m not sure how far they can stretch the premise. I mean – they already used the “lost finger in food” gag in the pilot! Where do you go from there? Maybe I don’t want to know the answer to that. At least there was no fake audience!

3.5 out of 5!

8:00-9:00: Honestly, nothing here excites me. We ended up watching Family Guy I recorded last week. Las Vegas isn’t a horrible time waster for this hour, but I’d almost rather write and wait for the 9:00 hour.

9:00-10:00: I know Horatio is a cheese ball, but he’s an entertaining cheese ball. CSI: Miami it is!

Tuesday

7:00-8:00: Seriously, go for a walk or something. Bones sucks, The Biggest Loser and America’s Next Top Model are reality TV hell, NCIS is BORING, and According to Jim is just plain stupid. Maybe the Gilmore Girls, but it doesn’t do much for me. We actually spent this time watching CSI: Miami recorded from the night before. Hey, I was going on 3 hours of sleep and went to bed early on Monday!

8:00-9:00: OK, here’s another dilemma! You’ve got House on FOX (which I really like) and My Name is Earl followed by the Office on NBC. Solution – record House and watch the other 2!

House was as good as always. You love the guy and hate him at the same time. The Office was also pretty good, though it’s nothing close to the original. It’s different than the original, but it still is decent comedy!

My Name is Earl, NBC

What can I say – I’m a sucker for Jaime Presley as trailer trash! Earl (Jason Lee) is a loser criminal married to Joy (Jaime Presley). The marriage occurred after a night of drinking and a trip to Vegas. Joy was actually 6 months pregnant by another man, but Earl was too drunk to notice until the next morning. He stuck to his word, and they had another kid who came out as black as coal. It seems Joy spread, uh, joy to many men other than Earl. Earl, Joy and Earl’s brother Randy (Ethan Suplee) hang out at the crab shack, owned by Darnell (Eddie Steeples), who is black ironically! One day Earl wins $100K in a lotto scratcher! He dances in the street and is immediately hit by a car. He loses the ticket, but ends up in the hospital. Joy walks in with Darnell in tow and hands Earl papers to sign. Earl unknowingly signs divorce papers and Joy walks out with Darnell, the youngest kids father. Earl takes the news surprisingly well, still saying, “See ya crab man!”

As he sits in the hospital, Earl finds wisdom in the immortal words of Carson Daly. Carson claims his own success is due to being a good person. “What goes around comes around.” Earl has a revelation that bad things happen to bad people so he must change immediately! He makes a list of all the bad things he’s done in his life and decides to attack them one by one. There are over 200 items on the list. As he is picking up trash in the motel parking lot (he used to litter a lot – its on the list), Earl’s lotto ticket finds its way back into his hands. He knows this thing called karma that Carson Daly invented is real!

The first item on the list he decides to attack is to be nice to a kid he bullied growing up. How hard can that be anyway? Find the guy, apologize, and tell him you want to help him. Earl finds the geek Kenny (Gregg Binkley) and observes him for a few days. Earl realizes that Kenny has no friends and no girlfriend, so he wants to find him a companion. Actually, he thinks he needs to get Kenny laid. Earl finds his favorite trashy hooker and has her visit Kenny. She walks out 10 minutes later because Kenny wouldn’t bite, “I even pulled out my good boob near the end there,” she explains. Followed by Randy, Earl storms into Kenny’s house, bringing back horrible memories for Kenny. As Earl confronts Kenny, Randy stumbles upon gay porn in the nightstand drawer. No wonder Kenny didn’t bite on the good boob! Earl and Randy slowly back out and run away; they have never been “face to face with a gay before.”

Earl says special circumstances are his way out of helping Kenny. He gets back to the motel, and Joy is there to hit him over the head with a phone. She saw the article about Earl winning $100K and she wants half. This is just another epiphany for Earl to realize he MUST help Kenny! As soon as he decided not to, something bad happened. So Earl goes back to Kenny’s and ends up taking him to a gay bar. Earl has restored Kenny’s confidence, and Kenny tells him that he can be scratched off the list.

OK, I expected a lot of this show and it delivered pretty well. Funny lines and goofy characters abound, but I’m not sure if it can stand the test of time. Rolling Stone magazine gave it a quick and crappy review claiming comedies about people trying to go straight simply don’t work. Well, it worked for me. Sure 200+ episodes (assuming they do an episode for every item on the list) is lofty, but episode one produced some classic quotes. I can’t even tell you how many times I’m going to use the “good boob” line! Reminds me of Beth quoting Tardy Turtle as she was in the hospital to have a baby, “my bed has rails!” Classic lines are hard to find, so I will certainly watch again! However, since my brother and I are married, we can’t call “dibs” when we see a hottie.

4 out of 5!

9:00-10:00: Nothing to see here really. We’ll be using this hour to watch whatever we recorded during the 8:00 hour.

Gimme a few days and I’ll write up Wednesday and Thursday!

3 comments:

Heather said...

I work on Moday & Tuesday nights so I never see anything on those nights. Plus I don' have a VCR. I'm so sad!!

Bill Purdy said...

As you know, I pledged to watch several new shows this season -- for the first time in years. Accordingly, we've seen Bones (horrid, but Beth will keep watching it because she loves Kathy Reichs), Reunion (equally horrid, with 80's costumes that look as if they were designed by someone born in 1986 who saw some pictures of their parents that year), My Name Is Earl (funny -- the best new comedy so far), and How I Met Your Mother (you neglected to mention the narrator is none other than filthy comic Bob Saget; it's not too bad for a "traditional" laugh track comedy). Also caught The Office (which required a few minutes' adjustment, but which by the end of the show had me howling), and Arrested Development (which is just as seriously twisted as anything on TV -- love it). Kitchen Confidential is still on the DVR, and I'm looking forward to about a half dozen others in the next week.

Derek Knight said...

AWW CRAP! I forgot to watch the Earl show...

Everything you ever wanted to know about Pat Angello - sorry!