Friday, February 02, 2007

I'm sorry, Cobie Smulders, you're actually not that bad. I recently watched a bunch of repeats of How I Met Your Mother featuring the back story on the Ted and Robin relationship, and she is actually fairly likeable. I think it was the part where she has about 15 dogs as pets that really sold me on her.

How I Met Your Mother actually is genius, for two reasons: 1. There was an entire episode on "Crazy Eye." My friend first told me about Crazy Eye several years ago. It's essentially the look of insanity/desperation in the eyes that reveals someone might be a bunny boiler. Many girls at business school have Crazy Eye. It's creepy. 2. There was a bit in one episode about the show on NY1 where the newscaster just reads the morning paper to the viewer. I can't really describe how amusing this is in words, but if you live in NYC you must check this out. The show did an excellent job of portraying the phenomenon accurately, and having hilarious commentary on it to boot.


Friday, December 29, 2006

To close out 2006, here's a list of some of my recent favorites in the world of television and other entertainment:

Veronica Mars: This is a really fun, gripping and intelligent show. I am constantly amazed at the ability of the series to deal with real issues in the context of high school and college (the last three seasons have featured: rape, teenage pregnancy, corporate scandal, infidelity, teenage athletes behaving badly, etc.) Veronica is one of the best female characters on television with her wit, charm and ability to dominate almost any situation despite her short stature. I don't know why she keeps dating such losers, but hopefully when the series returns we will see some progress in her love life. The transition to college was remarkably seamless, which is an impressive feat for a teen series. Veronica Mars replaces the newly terrible Gilmore Girls in my CW fav list.

The Office: It's simply the best sitcom on television. Hands down. I was recently able to watch the entire first season and most of the second season on DVD (my sister is a big fan as well and received season two for Christmas) and I am now completely convinced it is superior to the British original. Well, at least for the American sensibility. It's very American. There is a pretty good article about the show in the December 1st issue of the New Yorker.

The New Yorker: My new favorite magazine. Although it's embarrassing how much that immediately identifies me as a wannabe intellectual yuppie, they have me pegged and I love it. I don't care if Malcolm Gladwell's arguments may not be entirely legit, that the fiction is often boring, and that the calendar is New York-centric. I have even developed an appreciation for the comics. The endless ads for luxury goods suggest that I am a "starter" New Yorker demo member, but I'm sure I'll be interested in buying investment watches and jewelry soon enough.

Bankers Ball Blog: www.bankersball.com pure hilarity if you are a banker, went to school with a bunch of them, or read American Psycho or Liars Poker. They are definitely a unique culture, and this blog gives you the window into their interesting little post-frat boy minds.

Heroes: The standout series of the Fall 2006 Television season. One of the few new series that anyone seems to watch, and the obvious successor to Lost. Unlike Lost, Heroes is reliably entertaining, mysterious enough without being too mysterious, and won't lose you entirely if you aren't watching with 100% attention. This is quality television.

How I Met Your Mother: Though the Class is a complete disappointment, I am grateful to CBS for marketing it enough that it led me to catch it's neighbor sitcom, How I Met Your Mother. I never would have watched this show due to the really lame title, and now it is a close second to the Office in my sitcom favorites list. If The Office is the new Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother is the new Friends.

The Holiday: It's a chick flick, but a completely entertaining and adorable chick flick that actually makes you happy in the end. Kate Winslet is an excellent actress in any context, Jack Black is charming, and the old man is amazing. It has the secondary bonus of making you fall in love with Los Angeles. Cameron Diaz and Jude Law are a little painfully good looking, it's like looking at the sun with those two, and their story is pretty boring. See it for Kate. (See the Notebook if you want to cry for two hours)

I recently saw an episode of "Pants off Dance off" and it is exactly as bizarre as you might imagine. I also wonder if it's legal? They repeatedly throw viewers to the website, where they claim you can see video of the contestants dancing naked. I find that very hard to believe, especially for a network supposedly targeting young teens. If there were any viewers, I'm sure the FCC would be policing that one.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Is there a new "pants free" movement in entertainment? Check out the following two items recently reported:

From Cynopsis today:
Boomerang is going commando, so to speak, with the launch of No Undies Mondays launching Monday, October 9 at 4-5p. No Undies Mondays will highlight some of most popular animated characters that are, well, simply pant-less, beginning 10/9 with Yogi Bear, Peter Potamus and So So, Squiddly Diddly, Breezly and Sneezly and Huckleberry Hound. Subsequent weeks will include Top Cat, Kwicky Koala and Wilfred Wolf, and The Hair Bear Bunch as well as Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey, Augie Doggy and Doggy Daddy, Sherriff Ricochet Rabbit and his deputy, and Punkin Puss and Mushmouse among many other pant-less characters.

From MultiChannel News yesterday:

Fuse Takes Pants-Off Again

The second season of Pants-Off Dance-Off will debut on Fuse Tuesday at 10 p.m. (EST).

Hosted by Jodie Sweetin (Full House), the new season will add face-to-face competition and live audience participation, including allowing the audience to use their cellular phones and vote live.

Season one debuted in April.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Yay, it is the start of the new network television season. And there are a million shows I want to check out, which is new and exciting. I don't remember ever anticipating the new season this much. I am attempting to DVR essentially every new show, but so far have only watched a few.

I was planning to watch The Class (only caught about 5 minutes so I have no idea how it was) and The New Adventures of Old Christine, and in the middle I accidentally caught How I Met Your Mother. It's good! I was very surprised. Jason Segel (Of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared fame) plays Marshall and is awesome, as usual. And I saw him at a restaurant the other night and was caught doing the celebrity stare at him. So embarrassing. The other characters are well cast and engaging, with the exception of the horrendous Robin (Cobie Smulders, what a terrible name!) who I also saw at the restaurant, but she was wearing about a million pounds of makeup and was not awesome. I have to admit she was strikingly pretty in real life. And Neil Patrick Harris as Barney is a stroke of genius. He's actually funny. I just looked at Cobie Smulder's IMDB page (how else would I have any idea what her name is?) and the first line was: "Amazingly, newcomer Cobie Smulders never gave much thought to acting" Ha, not amazing at all. We can tell.

The New Adventures of Old Christine was average. That show had promise, and then they decided it was funnier to make Christine a loser who can't actually keep a relationship or understand herself, instead of making the difficult choice to have character progression on a sitcom. It's kind of sad, a real waste of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' talents.

The Office was awesome as usual. Brilliance. I love that Pam and Jim didn't work it out, even though you know they will down the road. I like more sexual tension rather than less. Adding the new office that Jim works at into the mix is also fun.

My Name is Earl was mediocre, and is getting very boring to me. Bring in some new characters or something!

The only real new show I watched so far was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and I wasn't terribly impressed. It has a lot of buzz because of the West Wing producer aspect, but I think a serious, very dramatic and actorly treatment of the White House is appropriate, while a serious, very dramatic and actorly treatment of Hollywood, and specially a show about a sketch comedy show, is completely inappropriate. I mean, you imagine comedians are occasionally funny in real life, right? Well, they often aren't, but at least they are self-depreciating in real life. Amanda Peet is nails on the chalkboard. Her acting is abysmal, and I can't imagine what casting misstep gave her that role. Is she supposed to be Jaime Tarses? I have always liked Matthew Perry, even in his dumbest Friends moment, so he is a breath of fresh air, and it's nice to see him in a dramatic role. This show may come off my DVR list if it doesn't lighten up a bit. I mean, the promos make it look funny, must be based on something...

Grey's Anatomy continues on the road set last season. It's still over dramatic and manipulates the emotions, plus makes doctors look like high schoolers, which they don't appreciate. I enjoyed the self-referential line when Callie says "it's basically high school with scalpels." So true. And I love it. I cannot get enough of that show. The music is great as well. I've noticed an overall trend towards better music in TV shows, which is good to see.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Check out a very cool use of the web: http://www.wefeelfine.org/


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My car is in the bodyshop, where it has been for several weeks. Some lady just backed right into me in a parking lot, clearly not even bothering to look in her rearview mirror. I'm sure her insurance company is thrilled to be paying basically the entire value of my mid 90s Honda on the repair of the minor dent and my rental car. It seems like a waste of valuable resources somehow, but it does seem like cars are essentially one big drag on resources. Which is why my next car will be a VW TDI and I will use biodiesel for fuel.

Driving is everyone's biggest issue with LA (by "everyone" I mean all of my friends who don't live here). While I concur that you do have to drive everywhere, I can't say I find it too painful. I have a manageable and generally traffic free commute to work, which is the crucial part of LA happiness as far as I can tell. Also, I live at the beach, which means most people are driving the opposite direction than me at all times, since they live in really hot valleys somewhere. I also enjoy driving to some extent. Yeah, sometimes it's stressful and you do have to pay attention. People in LA are also notoriously aggressive and bad drivers, and they keep running into me through no fault of my own. That's all somewhat bad. The cool thing about driving is that you can listen to the radio, of which LA has some stellar examples, most notably Indie 103.1. Generally you can just control your own environment. Temperature is under your control, radio, volume of radio, choosing to stop for a mcmuffin on the way to work - it's all under your control and it's all about you. As a selfish and picky person I find it much nicer than being squashed against some creepy guy on the subway as I am subjected to inane upper east side chatter, the smell of someone's fried chicken dinner and the capricious nature of the subway schedule.

Note on Indie 103.1: someone told me that it's owned by the evil Clearchannel corporation, which is disappointing. Also when I googled Joe Escalante who is my favorite morning show host I discovered that he is an evil member of the Vandals who tried to cheat all of his bandmates out of money and fame (well, according to Wikipedia at least.) I also find Jonesy's Jukebox kind of irritating despite the novelty of listening to Steve Jones philosophize.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

I saw Kiefer Sutherland at a concert the other night, and people were acting crazy!! They were surrounding him. I doubt he could even breathe. That behavior is one of the huge differences between NYC and LA. NYC people would just walk on by...

Here are the differences I have observed in my three months here:

1. People just don't care about your pedigreed education. I really don't mind (unless it's a job interview) because it saves me the embarrassment when someone goes "oh my god, that's like, the best school, like ever, right?!?!" And I have to say, "yeah, pretty much." Status in the east coast sense is not a high priority. I think there are other measures of status, like a brand new Mercedes, but a name brand education is not one of them.
2. There is a lot more physical activity. People are running. People are biking. People are perfectly comfortable wearing work out clothes anywhere. It's pretty cool.
3. People are more pleasant, but also less likely to just tell you things about themselves openly. Again, not a bad thing, because sometimes you just don't want to hear personal things about someone the minute you meet them.

Let me elaborate on my week at Creative Artists Agency. You may be wondering why an MBA from one of the best business schools in the world (yes, that's me shouting out to my alma mater and being super arrogant) would decide that it would be a good idea to register with an entertainment temp agency. Well, I'm easily bored. And I was getting very broke. And I thought the temp agency was so incredibly amusing (especially the part where the woman had no idea what an MBA was, and definitely no idea what Wharton is) that I couldn't help agreeing when they called and told me I had this amazing opportunity to work at CAA. Of course, the minute I accepted I regreted the decision deeply. But, I have always been curious about the allure of the agency life. We visited William Morris during a career trek, and they told us that even MBAs had to start in the mailroom. Everyone thought that was insane, and I doubt there is anyone would would even consider such a stupid idea. They had an argument around "learning the business and the players" and I have to say I was curious to see this bizarro world system in action.

You walk into these places and it's just a long hallway of twenty somethings sitting in front of offices. They are terrified. They are wearing headsets. It's either creepily silent, or someone is yelling something incredibly innapropriate. The job of an assistant at an agency is to help their agent develop a massive ego that will dominate any other agent. This is accomplished by: listening in on all of their phone calls so they don't have to actually ask for anything, handling all of their personal dinner reservations, doctor appointments, and lunch plans, telling them when they have a meeting to go to, and never leaving the desk when they need you. It's the devil wears prada, basically. I found it shocking that anyone has a job like this, because in corporate america executives (with the exception of very high level people) are generally expected to schedule their own meetings in outlook, call people themselves, and know where they are supposed to be at any given time. I can't imagine what cognitive disability has caused agents to lose all capabilities of a normal adult, and expect someone who makes about 10% of what they do to handle the most boring aspects of their job and life.

Pinky nice juice is back. Check it out: http://www.pokeythedog.com/pinkynicejuice/blog.html

Josh is now traveling the world and writing about it, so hopefully his link still works. I'm too lazy to check right now.

I am now gainfully employed, which is fabulous. I have my own office. My commute is not bad at all. And I get to look out the window onto some Fed Ex planes. I'm still in TV, because honestly I can't imagine there is another product I like more (well, perhaps my Apple computer, but I already tried to work for those geniuses without any luck.) I'm no longer on the "creative" side in any way, instead I help sell DIRECTV. Though I was trying to work in one of the studios here in fabulous Los Angeles, I think this is actually about a million times better. First of all, because I am so obsessed with my television I actually know quite a lot about all of the user interface parts of it (refer back to my many discussions about the various benefits of each DVR, interface, remote etc earlier in this blog.) And, this company has none of the horrible parts of entertainment which involve plastic surgery, stupidity, and massive egos. Well, not that you can entirely avoid massive egos anywhere people congregate, but I can say for sure that the contrast between working here and spending the worst week of my life at Creative Artists Agency is quite dramatic.


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