Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oh, and One More Thing ...

One quick addendum to this afternoon's post and a few quick thoughts:

-- Oh man, okay, I don't care what anyone says, I have to say this: the last ten minutes or so of tonight's GILMORE GIRLS episode was an AMAZING PIECE OF TELEVISION! Wow, I mean it was just funny, powerful, emotional, witty, rapid-fire, and totally real, totally a perfect embodiment of the types of love-hate-love relationship that all fmaily members have for one another. And I know I'm not crazy on this one, because multiple people told me they felt the same way about this ep, which was just brilliantly written, acted, and executed. For this episode alone, Lauren Graham deserves a long-overdue Emmy. From what I understand, this ep was penned by series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, and this is really a magnum opus for her - this episode just oozed wit and wisdom - there was pop culture, politics, friendship, family, all weaved into a wonderful web of rapid-fire dialogue that bursts at the seams with energy and color. This was an AMAZING episode of a great series that you should be watching. My grade: A+

More quick thoughts:

On 24: Funny how people have long claimed that this show is so conservative-leaning, when this season we've already seen a major villain who's M.O. is that he is masterminding terrorist attacks from within the US government as a means of preserving our dependence on foreign oil, in what was a clear take off on neo-con extremism. Just goes to show that's it's often pointless to pigeonhole creative works to fit into particular political ideologies.

On The State of the Union: Blah blah blah. Bush once again speaks in broad strokes about good and evil, us and them, friends and enemies. In a way, his views may serve as a reassurance that he won't cave to negotiation with dangerous regimes in Iran and Palestine. On the other hand, it's hard to take Bush's claims that we are "addicted" to oil consumption very seriously when he's done jack to do anything about our oil consumption, and was quick to hand out huge contracts to US oil conglomerates immediately after the first military strikes in Iraq. Still, I think that the Dems' hostile reactions towards Bush doesn't exactly benefit them and only makes them look bullish and negative. Where are the Democratic leaders who, instead of simply pointing the finger at Bush will actually step up, take charge, and present a coherant and viable vision for the future of our country? Hillary is not the answer, and scowling disapprovingly as Bush tries to make a joke about he and Bill Clinton's advancing age won't help her likability factor any. Basically, tonight's State of the Union was a lot of the same old schtick out of Bush, and I can only hope that there is some substance to his plans that he has failed to communicate to the public - because otherwise we may be in for some trouble.

Two blog entries in one day? What's going on here?

I'm Not Paranoid, It's Just That Everyone Is Out to Get Me!

Oh man, the updates have been sparse lately in old blogland, but hey, what can I say, I'm a busy man.

The job search continues, and in the process many a dead end has been reached. Amazing how in this age of lightspeed communication and instantaneous exchange of ideas and information, hearing back from people can still be such a long, drawn-out process. Of course, I am now living on borrowed time so to speak, as my time as an NBC page is all but up and any further time I spend here at the 'Peacock is really like extra innings. Of course, when all is said and done, NBC has been very good to me, and in many ways I feel like I'm just getting started here. I finally feel more settled into my assignment, am finally meeting the newer page classes, and am more than used to the fact that I live so close to work, which for non-morning persons like myself is really, really key.

So yeah, it's mostly been dead ends in the job search for the most part. I can't help but feel like I'm sitting on a treasure trove of opportunity in my current assignment - everyday I interact with writers, agents, execs - who all have access to all types of info about staffing and hiring. The question is really how willing are they to help and how willing am I to press the issue. This is an industry where everyone and I mean everyone is thinking about what their next job will be, so few people are really willing to spill the beans if they have any inside info about hiring or job opportunities. Plus, a lot of it is luck - being in the right place at the right time, during the right season. So we'll see what happens, but as always whatever happens, it probably won't come easy.


Whoah, I am waaaay behind in my reviews, and there is just so much to say. Let's run down the list of the usual suspects:

24: AWESOME ep last night. Everything was very tightly scripted and the kickass moments were carefully woven into a tangled web of high drama, as a number of storylines came to a cresendo of resoultion with surprising speed. We've got Walt outed as a ultra-right-wing ideaologue, and then in an amazing display of pure Bauer-power intensity, we see him given the hardcore torture threat by Jack - RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE PRESIDENT. Wow, great moment, making one wonder if Jack was going to tell the FCC to go to hell and take out the man's right eye then and there. Good stuff with Mrs. Logan, and also even more good stuff with the Prez, who is doing a great job at being so slimey that you love to hate him. Of course, he seems like he's starting to come around, which will make his eventual, inevitable moment where he finally grows a spine all the more awesome. Good stuff at CTU, good use of all the players, and even the soap-y Audrey stuff was handled pretty well. I'm not really sure where the show goes from here, but hey, that's par for the course. My grade: A

Smallville 100th Episode -- Well, they had everyone going there for a minute. We all thought that, contrary to all established Superman mythos, Lana Lang was a goner. And even though I am somewhat of a Superman purist ... you know what, it would have worked, and been very effective storytelling, within the framework that Smallville has set up. Why? They've made Lana into a completely unlikable character ... one who whines and complains at every chance, and who we begin to think is untrustworthy, and, well, kinda a bitch. So killing her off would have been a good move - it would have rid the show of its most annoying character and given a lot of advancement to Clark's own arc. But no, WB must have deemed that all the Superman franchise's stars allign, and Clark's deux-ex-machina comes in the form of Jor El suddenly giving him the ability to turn back time ala the first Donner movie, save Lana, but then in the process lead events so that ol' Pa Kent bites it, from a heart attack no less - just like in the first movie. My verdict? LAME. This episode had a good thing going in the beginning, but soon it lost all momentum and became a tired variation on Groundhog Day. In the past, Smallville has always come through in the big episodes, even when the season ahs been bad in general. This season has been good in general, even great. But this ep was a HUGE disappointment. It was everything that is BAD about Smallville. Plots so cheesy they'd make Schuster and Siegel cringe, characters that act out of character (Clark is going to save Lana KNOWING that someone else will die in her place? No WAY, not even close), and lack of satisfying resolutions to any plotlines. Just to drive home my second point, there was a controversial issue of the Superman comics in the mid 90's in which the Joker has poisoned Lois Lane. He hides the antidote in his bloodstream, and has engineered it so that the only way it will become viable is if he is dead. Thus, the only way Superman can save Lois is by killing the Joker. And you know what? He REFUSES. Why? Because Superman does not kill. Ever. No matter what. Now sure, this was an extreme example designed as a a kind of moral what if?, but it makes a point that you'd have to be kind of, not Super, to sacrifice one person's life for another. Anyway, I'm rambling, but this plot point really bothered me. In any case, this was not that great of an episode, and at this point who cares about Lana and Clark's forever on again off again romance? What worked? Lex's continual downfall is great, as always. Lionel's villainy is fun to watch week after week. The cinematography, as always, was great and epic and sweeping as well. And hey, kudos to Jon Shneider who was really the heart and sould of this show for 5 years - it will be sad to see him go. My grade: C

Veronica Mars -- Shocking turn of events in this week's ep, and it was an interesting ride, for sure. But while this show usually has me amazed at how well all the pieces fit together as its mysteriesare revealed, I have to say this past week's ep really had me scratching my head and wondering what was going on. Maybe one of my fellow Mars fans out there can clarify? Ie, who was the blonde girl at the end of the episode? And, did this episode jump in time from the last new episode? I don't know, something just seemed off. And while they've always done a good job of making Veronica a teen prodigy yet still fallible, this ep really pushed things to the extreme, with Ms. Mars outsmarting not just the local authorities, but the FBI as well. Stretching things just a bit there ... Still, can't beat this show for character, dialogue, wit, and atmosphere, and even a somewhat outlandish ep like this one was decent quality. My grade: B -

The OC: Well, looks like I can't quite write this show off yet, as some interesting plot developments this past week shook things up just enough to pique my curiosity. Okay, so this show is still a shell of its former self, but at least the return of Kaitlin Cooper, now all grown up so to speak, is somthing we haven't quite seen before. The Seth Cohen as pot-smoker plotline was a bit melodramatic, but hey, at least they are doing SOMETHING with Seth, who it is hard to believe was once by far the show's breakout character. Oh, and Johnny is easily one of the worst and most horribly acted characters ever on this show, and that's saying a lot. My grade: B -

The Office -- Hilarious stuff once again this past week. Michael and Dwight "raiding" their officemates was funny stuff, and while he's no Finchy, Todd Packer is in and of himself a pretty good character. My grade: A-

Family Guy: Sunday's ep was pretty damn funny ... Stewie going all Joe Pesci, repeatedly, on Brian was great, and the whole, um, shower scene with NE Patriots star Tom Brady was just wrong, but hilarious. My grade: B+

Moving on ...



Saw this one on Friday and I must say that I really enjoyed it. Would I call it a candidate for movie of the year? No, I wouldn't put it in the top tier of 2005 movies like Munich or A History of Violence. But this was a smart, entertaining, tense, and yes I'll use the word -- taut -- take on the thriller that kept me pretty glued to the screen even though I was crazy tired while watching it. For one thing, the acting is all-around great. John Rhys-Myers is very good as the fiendish lead character, and Scarlett Johanson does Woody Allen meets Marylin Monroe, if you can picture that, extremely well. Yeah, I know, quite an image I just put forth there. Now even though this is a Woody Allen movie, it doesn't quite feel like what you might expect from him, as aside from hints of himself in of all people Scarlett J, there is no Woody Allen character in this movie, and the man himself is nowhere to be seen. There's hints of comedy, but they are small, and the movie is mostly played straight, in a very old-school, classical way that almost reminded me of some of the old film noirs like Double Indemnity and whatnot, because the whole focus of the movie becomes: Man falls for unattainable woman, and will go to any lengths to be with her .... so the question is -- will he or won't he get caught? In fact, that is really the theme of the film - will the plan work or won't it? Will he get away with it or not? In film noir, the answer is always no. Here, Woody Allen poses the question (kind of SPOILER warnings I guess) ... what if it's not set in stone that the plan is going to fail? What if it really does just come down to luck, a flip of the coin, and what if the leading man could really get away with it, how would THAT work? So yeah, Allen poses some interesting questions here. And in between the big scenes we get all the hallmarks of a Woody Allen film -- awkward conversations in restaurants, even more awkward double dates, serious parental issues, uncertainty about one's future, women who drive men crazy, and people who are fish out of water in a big city. So there's lots of interesting little moments, social observations, etc. that make the movie very enjoyable - as always in a Woody Allen movie, each character becomes a fascinating psychological profile, seemingly begging to be put in a psycho-analysts's chair and thoroughly analyzed. As a movie, as a whole, is it a masterpiece? No, wouldn't go that far. But some excellent performances and lots of cool little moments make this a very, very good movie. My grade: B+

NBA Stuff:

Man, pity the Boston Celtics, who cannot make a trade that will actually help them to save their lives. So in a deal with Minnesota, they trade a bunch of supporting players and one pretty good role player - Ricky Davis - and get basically the exact same thing in return. Sure, they may benefit from Wally Sczerbiak's long range prowess, but ultimately they are still in the same lower-tier as a team that they've been stuck in for years now. The Celtics need to make the move and trade Paul Pierce, who has worn himself out from endless failed playoff runs and lack of good teammates. Get a fresh star for your team, and start over beginning with your best player.

Speaking of the NBA, who else misses the glory days of the dunk contest? Looks like this year we will once again be treated to a lineup of C-list aerialists competing for the crown, and not the Kobes, Carters, and LeBrons going at it, which is what everyone wants to see. Come on, at one time Jordan and Dominique were going at it every year in the dunk-off, why should it now be relegated to a showcase for not-ready-for-primetime players?


Well not gonna go on a huge rant on this now, but suffice to say it is a sad state of affairs when the "democratically elected" government of the Palestinian people turns out to be terrorists who advocate the destruction of Israel. How did we let it come to this? Luckily most world governments seem opposed to holding any kind of diplomacy with Hamas, but now this notoriously violent and fanatical group holds some form of political legitimacy? That is downright scary. Hopefully Bush will address this and pledge to take an active involvement in regulating this new regime in its early stages. I'm writing this before the State of the Union, so we'll see what Bush has to say. Hopefully he will get his head in the game and start establishing a positive international presence, because between this and the whole Iran going nuclear fiasco we have a lot to worry about. Let's hope W has his head in the game.

Alright, on that note it is time to sign off once again, until the time comes when the blogging gods will once again summon me to spread my great wisdome to you, the loyal readers. Until then, heed the words of the great one: Train, Say Your Prayers, and Kick Some Ass.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"We Can Dress Real Neat From Our Hats To Our Feet ..."

The Blog is back. And yes, the name is different. What do you think?

Yes, it's the New Adventures of Danny Baram. Deal with it. Will it stick? Only time will tell.

And what a day it's been. Got back a few hours ago from an interview to PA at G-4-TV's cult favorite program Attack of the Show. In many ways, this would be a job I was born to have. The show covers things like games, comics, pop-culture, movies, and has ample helpings of sketch comedy. Check, check, check, check, and ... check. Now, there are some downsides if I were to be hired for this job, but too early to really think about that yet. Of course, it'd be nice to have options, but these job searches never really work out like that, do they? Dammit, just hire me as a writer's assistant on Veronica Mars already! Gosh!

Speaking of shich, holy crap, huge news day today for the world of entertainment. I feel like both of today's major events will ultimately prove pretty beneficial for the public and for the companies involved. Let's look, shall we?

Disney Buys Pixar:

This could be GREAT for Disney, and for all people who fondly remember a time before Disney was the company that abandoned its animated division, made crappy direct to video sequels ad nauseum of all its movies, and basically lost its smile. Now you've got a visionary in Steve Jobs as majority shareholder, and suddenly the sky seems to be the limit. Sure, this goes way beyond just movies, potentially, but ... the first thing that comes to mind is: could this shift help usher in a new golden age of Disney feature films? Also, one get the feeling that with Job's knack for technology and innovation, and Disney's dormant rep for imagination / innovation (um, imagineering, right?), it definitely seems to be a match made in heaven. Still though, Cars looks pretty lame.

The WB and UPN Combine to Form CW:

Okay, this one seemed pretty out of left field. But it makes sense, kind of, I think. I mean, really, are the WB and UPN THAT different? Both cater towards the youth market, and both are struggling to compete with the Big Four. So combining them makes sense, and a network that has a stable of near-breakout hits like Smallville, Gilmore Girls, Top Model, Everybody Hates Chris, and Veronica Mars could be a force. Or it could just be like someone mashed up UPN and the WB and got some weird Frankenstein thing where Girlfriends follows Gilmore Girls and people go insane when they turn on the TV and can't figure out if that brainy blonde teen detective on their TV is Chloe Sullivan from Smallville or Veronica Mars ... It could happen, folks! Seriously though, I think it's an interesting move that will help jack up ratings and give some under the radar shows like Everybody Hates Chris and Veronica Mars a wider audience, and for once these shows will actually have decent lead-ins! Pair Veronica Mars with Smallville, or Everybody Hates Chris with Beauty and the Geek, or WWE Smackdown with Everwood! Okay, scrap that last one, but you get the picture. Now, this deal sucks for anyone who is losing their jobs because of it, and as one currently embroiled in the showbiz jobsearch, anything that leads to less opportunity is not good, from one perspective. But in terms of creating a true, strong, fifth network to compete with the big boys, this seems to be a great step in the right direction.

- Dammit, no new Gilmore tonight! WTF? It just came back from hiatus last week! Could this be some crazy residual effect of the CW announcement?!?! I must see the further adventures of Luke and his illegitimate daughter, dammit all. I think I need professional help ...

- 24: Niiiiiiiiiiiiice. While the plotlines spiral at an alarming rate into the swirling vortex of CRAZY IMPLAUSIBILITY, I hardly find myself caring because this show keeps me entertained. This ep had a nice slow build and then, BAM, it hit you over the head with NETWORK-SANCTIONED ULTRAVIOLENCE, as Jack plunged a pair of surgical scissors into a would-be assassin's jugular, and I jumped up and down as my inner 13 year old boy screamed "Cool!" To counteract all this coolness though, we had another mole, ridiculous lack of security or personell screening at CTU, and a whacked out government where the President gets all his advice from one guy who happens to be EVIL~! Oy ... Still, ya gotta love it! Oh yeah, some of the side characters are beginning to really kick some ass ... I'm looking at you, Buchanan and guy played by Sean Astin! My grade: A -

- Oh yeah, I must say that it's sad to hear confirmation of the inevitable - Malcolm and the Middle and That 70's Show are on the way out. For 70's, I think this really was one of the modern classic sitcoms. Sure, it was formulaic, but its formula was consistently funny for years, and it had a great cast that really carried the show. Why they extended it in the absence of Topher Grace I don't know, but still ... this is one of those shows that may never have achieved greatness, per se, but was always amusing and will live on in eminently rewatchable syndication for years. Malcolm, on the other hand, did achieve greatness, and was a revolutionary show that has somehow lost its luster in the eyes of critics and fans in recent years, even though it's always been funny year after year, and had spectacular comedic performances from its stars and guest stars, including the criminally underrated Bryan Cranston. Even though it's been great over the years, I will say that the first few years of the show were just insanely funny and well-made, and set a new standard for sitcoms that shows like Arrested Development, The Office, and My Name Is Earl all owe a debt to. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy the last episodes of Malcolm, now thankfully back on Sundays - and you should too if you're a fan of good comedy.

Nerd Stuff:

Infinite Crisis 4: So the crisis continues, and I'll give Geoff Johns this - he is crafting one hell of a ride, with more holy $#%@ moments per page than any recent story I can remember. The problem with this style of writing is that many of the sequences seem kinda rushed, and random as well, as Johns is cramming A TON of stuff into each issue, esp. with this one, so much so that artist Phil Jiminez, with his ultra-detailed, ultra-compressed style, is forced to get some help on the art chores this ish. Although, when your help is a legend like George Perez, who can really complain? So yeah, some of the cinematic moments just plain kick ass and had my jaw left a-hanging. Take Superboy Prime's violent rampage, where the Boy of Steel RIPS OFF RED STAR'S ARM, and DECAPITATES PANTHA! Damn! Johns nailed this whole sequence and Superboy vs. Superboy has to go down as a comic book smackdown for the ages. Other sequences that kicked ass: Gotham PD Crispus Allen inheriting the mantle of The Spectre from beyond the grave, Booster Gold and SKEETS hunting down the Blue Beetle's scarab, and Alex Luthor revealing his master plan. On the other hand, the Perez-pencilled sequence involving The Flash felt kinda, well, rushed, ironically, as there was no real dramatic buildup and no real resolution. Overall though, this is the current must-read even of 2006, and despite some minor problems I can't wait until issue 5. Plus, the art by Jiminez continues to be spectacular. My grade: A -

More quick comic picks from this week:

Planetary: finally, a new issue! I barely remember what the hell is going on at this point, but John Cassady's art is as stunning as ever and Warren Ellis as always writes the hell out of this comic, that is, when it actually comes out. My grade: A -

Batgirl: Holy shocking endings, Batman! Out of left field comes one of the craziest comic book cliffhangers I've seen in a while, as young Cassandra Cain, aka the mute master of martial arts known as Batgirl, meets a shocking fate. Wish the art could have been a bit better though. My grade: B+

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy - The legendary Joe Jubert returns to one of his most famous characters, and what we get here is an amazing looking book that shows why even now, Joe Kubert is a true master of his craft. Story wise though, some good stuff but seems to be a bit stretched out, like there's not gonna be enough story to last a full 6 issues. Check it out for a gritty WWII war story with classic characters and awesome art by a legend. My grade: A-

Ex Machina: Damn, this comic is amazing. Brian K Vaughn, between this comic and the amazing Y: The Last Man, is one of my favorite writers right now - he writes with such an intelligence and understanding of character, plus you always learn something new from reading his stuff. The story of Mitchell Hundred, the mayor of New York City with a strange ability to communicate with machines, is an awesome mix of politics, adventure, and social commentary. And the artwork by Tony Harris is friggin' incredible. My grade: A

Alright, peeps. I'm out -- sooo tired from today, and not feeling ready to do it all again tommorow. As MC Hammer once said: " I got to pray (pray!) just to make it through the day!"

Let the adventures continue ...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Non-Spontaneous Combustion

Can you say: burning out?

This week has been nuts, and all I want to do is take a day, never get out of bed, and forget all about copying, collating, moving boxes, and printer problems.

This assignment is my freakin' life lately, and I honestly don't know how people do it full-time.

But speaking of full-time, the job-search continues, and the never-ending, desperate visits to various job websites, perusing the UTA job list, and trying to think of any potential contacts ... well, like I said, it never seems to end ... and yet little progress has been made.

Worse, I get home to my apartment today and it smells like burnt rubber or something. The bathroom light is out, I think that may have something to do with it.

Oh yeah, it was really cold and windy today, at least by LA standards. Almost felt like Boston for a bit. Okay, it wasn't quite THAT bad.

Oh man, as I type this the Lakers-Kings game is in overtime and what a game it is! Brad Miller of all people with a three to send the Kings into overtime! Been a while since I've seen a great NBA game with this type of big-time feel (even if both teams are a shadow of their former, grater selves from a few years back).



Lost sucks. Yesterday's episode was complete B.S., and was just totally emblematic of everything that has been weighing down the show this season. I still feel that Lost has the best premise of any show on the air, possibly the best cast, and some of the best established characters in recent TV history. But over the course of this season, the PLOTTING has been utter crap. And even though the Lost apologists claim that this is a show about characters, it was set up from the beginning to be a plot-driven show. The early mysteries posed by the show - what is the Monster? What's with the island? Who are the Others? - all of these were posed with a clear implication that the plot would be advanced and these mysteries addressed. This wasn't set up like a David Lynch movie or something where it's all about interpretation and deliberate vaguness. The show SEEMS to want to reveal the answers to it's mysteries - but just comes up limping when it should be having it's big moments. Look at this week's ep - finally, we get the big confrontation between our heroes and The Others. Is ANY pertinent information revealed in this meeting? NO! It's just more vague back and forth dialougue that means nothing and answers nothing. This whole episode was completely pointless! We learned nothing new, there was no big development, and it was, as always , just treading water. And even the flashbacks this week, usually the most reliably well-done part of Lost, were totally redundant and boring. We GET IT - Jack is obsessed with saving people to the point of alienating those close to him. Did we need yet another flashback to illustrate this? And what did these flashbacks have to do wit hthe main plot? Once again, they just seemed like filler to pad the episode, which was totally thin on actual events. On a better show (say, Lost Season 1 ...), I would have had chills when Jack tells Ana Lucia that he wants to train an army to fight the Others. But by this point, my second of fanboy excitement quickly vanished with the knowledge that the whole scenario makes no sense and probably won't be executed well anyways. When top writer/producers like David Fury left Lost after Season 1, I guess it really did signal the beginning of the end. Now you can see the talent of Fury at work on 24, a show that continually brings the dramatic goods week after week, and never slows down for a second. Lost meanwhile, is totally lost. My grade: C -


The Superman franchise is in trouble. The new movie is shaping up to be a giant letdown. We've got an effeminate Superman, a terible-looking costume, a stubborn insistence on following the continuity of the Donner movies, and a plot that looks to toss the Superman mythos to hell. But every week, the little Superman show that could reminds us how to really capture the spirit of the Superman mythology. Tonight's ep was a pretty entertaining chapter i nwhat has been a great season for the show, though it was marred by the increasingly annoying tension between Clark and Lana, which is exascerbated by the somewhat stilted acting of Kristen Kreuk as Lana. Also, not sure why they chose to use DC Comics staple Victor Stone, aka Cyborg, as a quasi-villain here, when he is a longstanding hero in the pages of the comics. Anyways, the stage was set nicely for next week's huge 100th episode - where supposedly at least one main character will die. Who should die? Chloe - her usefulness to the show has expired and her death would serve as a good catalyst for the show. Yes, they have already "killed" her only to bring her back, but this is the best choice. Who WILL die? My guess is Jonathan Kent. eeing as how their seems to be a mandate by WB to follow the Donner movie continuity, and we all know that Pa Kent bites it in the first one, it seems clear that Jon Schneider is doomed. I hope not though, as the Kents being alive and kicking is one of the better changes that John Bryne brought about in his 1986 reboot of the Superman comic book universe. Another potential victim? The ycould go for the swerve and have Martha Kent be the one to go rather than her husband. Also, whoever else meets their maker, it's a good bet that Lionel Luthor, nefarious father to Lex, may finally be toast as well. As for tonight's ep ... well, the soap opera stuff was a bit grating, but as always - Lex, Jonathan, and the heroics of Clark made this a really fun ride. Oh, and a very nice death scene for Smallville's sheriff. My grade: B

Quick Hits:

My Name is Earl: Funny episode. Ethan Suplee rules it again. Some good lines. B

The Office: Hilarious stuff with Michael at Hooters. Dwight spying on Oscar was very funny. A -

Last Week's OC - Terrible episode. This week better turn things around, cuz the show's reached a new low point of just plain blandness. D

Gilmore Girls - The Logan stuff is getting pretty annoying, but I have actually been enjoying the Luke and his daughter stuff, and the dialougue is sharp as always. B+

24 Premiere Part 2 - One giant action scene, but lots of tension, kickass action, and even more new twists and turns. Enter Sean Astin as a CTU prodigy. Still not sure what to make of his character, but there's one thing you can always count on -- Jack Bauer brining the pain. Looking forward to seeing how the season pans out. Even if this show can just be totally absurd at times (see Jack repeating the same phrase over and over to indicate he was under duress, and the terrorists never cathing on ...), whatever ... I'm along for the ride. A -

Way too much good TV on Thursdays now. Smallville, The OC, Office, Earl, Beauty and the Geek, the NBA on TNT ...


Other than the same old stuff at the assignment, Monday was crazy as I worked a special, EIGHT HOUR taping of ELLEN. For the Golden Globes, Ellen had all it's audience members come dressed to impress in evening gowns and tuxes, and it was pretty weird to actually feel underdressed in my page uniform. The whole riffraff room was converted into a banquet hall, and the audience dined on dinner as they watched a live feed of the awards. Paula Abdul and Common were on the show live, and Ellen did remote interviews from the Globes' red carpet. It would have been good times if a.) we actually go to eat the catered food that the audience got, and b.) if it wasn't EIGHT HOURS.


- Flashbacks this week to childhood trips to Disneyworld, dining out at The Ground Round, and endless birthday parties. Why? My parents' old pal Jackie was in town from CT along with the mustacheoed man known affectionately by my brother and I as the man, the myth, the legend, the LOU. Jackie and Lou and I enjoyed a fine dinner at Micelli's restaurant, and they also enjoyed VIP status at Tuesday's taping of The Tonight Show. Hey, I gotta be nice to Jackie - afterall, she has known me since I was born and has probably seen me at my worst at various family vacation of yore. Oh, the stories she could tell you about me ...

- Still need a job. Keep looking for me!

- Oh, Inside the NBA - funniest show on TV.

- I hear some people have been itching to post a comment on my blog. Well hey, NOW is the time. With close to 7,000 hits, this blog is a uniting force, a pop-cultural juggernaut, the modern day equivalent of the town square. Okay, only myself and three other people read it. Or do they ...? Are you a closeted reader of ye olde blog? Out with you - admit your fandom now, true belivers - get on the bandwagon before it runs off without you!

- Let the burn out continue.

- I recently burned a CD of all classic, 1970's era hard rock. It's got ELO, Deep Purple, Foreigner, The Who, Cream, Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks, and more. It rocks.

- Chrck yo'self ... before you wreck yo'self. Worrrrrrrrrrrrrd.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Praised be Jack - 24 is back, and every wannabe bad-ass drama take note - THIS is how you do good TV, baby.

Oh man, tonight's EPIC premiere was just too awesome, and next year when the inevitable wave of 24 imitators finally come along ... well, they are going to have to work very hard to even come CLOSE to measuring up.

Pacing, tension, pure, over-the-top action, adrenaline, character, speed, and unpredictability. These are the tenets on which the mighty 24 is built, and this premiere took it all to newfound extremeties of goodness.


Holy Crap!

Okay, so in retrospect it seems a logical choice for our beloved President Palmer to bite it, seeing as how he's going off to star in, well, um, The Unit, of all things (Worst. TV Show Name. Ever!), but DAMN, who knew he'd get the axe that suddenly? RIP President Palmer - you were the best President, real or fictional, of the last five years. Your steely resolve, your unwavering moral character, and the fact that if need be, you could whup some terrorist ass all by your lonesome, made you one bad-ass prez of the US of A, and everytime we see you shilling for Allstate, we'll remember that once, you were The Man. You survived Naked Mandy's poison handshake of doom, your psycho wife Sherry, and all manner of threats, but in the end it took but one sniper-fired bullet to bring ya down. Goodbye President Palmer, may your death be avenged by Jack Bauer. Oh wait, it already was.

They brought back Presidential brother and one bad brotha Wayne!

OH MY GOD, WHY? Michelle is dead! Tony is, once again, in critical and unable to kick the proper amount of ass like he should be, and worst of all he was caught in the debilitating explosion before he could even utter his trademark monotone "yeah ..." - as Jack Bauer would say ... "Dammit!" But oh Michelle, why did the 24 gods take you from us? Just when you and Tony were ready to settle down? Michelle, who saved America from a deadly virus, who could throw a kung fu kick with the best of em, and who always had those two little curly strands of hair dangling over your forehead ... WHY must yo so cruelly and violently be taken from us? RIP Michelle Dessler, CTU won't be the same.

So yeah, what a friggin' way to kick off season 5! We've got the Nixon-esque President Logan back and possibly involved in shady dealings, CTU regulars Bill Buchanan, Edgar (lusting as ever for ...) Chloe, who by this point you kind of just have to love. And in the whitehouse we have good old Mike Novac fretting as ever, and a new shady secret service dude who at this episode's end was revealed as being .... PURE EVIL! Guess we don't have to wait long to find out who the mole is THIS time.

And still to come we have:

ROBOCOP himself, Peter Weller, coming as the inevitably kickass former mentor of Jack. Who knows, maybe he'll donate a robotic cyber suit to Tony so he can be ROBO TONY and AVENGE HIS DEAD WIFE Officer Murphy Style!

SAM GAMGEE himself, Sean Astin, to rule CTU with an iron fist hobbit-style and maybe present Jack with a magic inviso-cloak?

And the return of KIM BAUER! Will Chase return as the one armed man with the master plan? Will the COUGAR OF DOOM be far behind? What will she be wearing?

Oh yeah, Jack Bauer is of course ruling as usual. "Take me to a hospital" "Yeah" "BANG." Nice ... Oh man, the intensity of Kiefer is off the charts.

There is good TV, and it's called 24. Let the 24 hours of the Jack Bauer Power Hour commence.

My grade: A


LOST - Forgot to review it earlier in the week. Actually a pretty good episode, though it once again resorted to using cheesy, pointless set-to-music montages in place of actual story advancement. Still, the Mr. Eko backstory was good to decent - in theory it was actually a really cool idea for a backstory, though the pacing and story beats seemed kinda off in the actual telling. The Charlie-Claire stuff was okay but a little overdone, though the Monster reveal as an ominous cloud of mind-reading black nanobot smoke of some kind was kinda cool, if not baffling. A fun backstory for Mr. Eko, plus the intriguing nature of the Walt-Michael father-son mysterious online conversations, made me forget for a bit about my overall frustration with the show - and in the end thhis turned out to be possibly one of the two or three best eps so far this season. My grade: B


Man, what seemed like it was gonna be an easy MLK day is now turning out to be a bit ridiculous. I was supposed to be working at Ellen from 1:30 to 5:30 - but now it's set to go until 9 pm! What the ...? We were given practically NO warning about this, and this is seriousl going to throw off my 24-centric Monday night plans! Once again, as Jack Bauer might say ... "Dammit!"

Yep, still need a job. Help me find one, won't you? Unfortunately this weekend turned out to be pretty busy with various things and not much progress was made on the job-search front. Must ... get some actual interviews ... soon!

God, I can't believe how late it is right now. Where does the day GO? Luckily I have a late start time tommorow, so I'll be okay, even though I'll likely be totally out of it Tuesday due to the fact that now have to watch a taped 2-hour 24 when the actual ep finishes at 10! Dammit! I know, I know, I have it really tough.

Well, at least I have a job.

For now.

(For now being, like, four more weeks!)

Well, if anything will put me in a good mood, it's eight straight hours of working at Ellen!

.... "Dammit!"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Now Taking Applications for the J.O.B. Squad

Well it's been an interesting week in the hallowed halls of NBC.

If any of you guys have been following news in the world of entertainment, then you know what I'm talking about. For the rest of you, I'll summarize - this week it was out with the old, in with the new at NBC, and execs who were once on top of the world soon found themselves given the boot - swiftly and without warning. While I will always feel terrible for anyone who loses their job, I have to admit that it's been a very interesting process to witness up close and personal, and it has certainly taught me a lot about the unforgiving ways of the corporate world, and of the entertainment industry in particular. But from another perspective, it's not all THAT unforgiving, as being an exec seems to be a lot like being, well, an NBA coach. Even when one team doesn't want you, if you've earned yourself a certain status, then you can rest assured that one team's loss will soon be another's gain. And in this case, that team is NBC, and I'm sure that those who now find themselves as proverbial free agents will soon enough find themselves courted by our competitors.

For me, it's odd timing to be in the midst of a regime change, as, barring any unforseen assignment extensions, my time in Primetime is winding down. Still, I can't help but feel like I survived a trainwreck or something and lived to tell the tale after this past week. On the other hand, the house cleaning won't even be as bad as originally thought, as luckily for them, a number of assistants who thought they had, by default, lost their jobs, actually managed to stay on with new bosses in new positions.

But yeah, of course this is the way of things - just when everything is winding down is when you begin to feel most comfortable in your surroundings. Actually, it's crazy - technically, my time as an NBC Page is just about over. In about a week from now, I will have been a page for a full year. It's nuts. So while I've been given, very generously, a little bit of leeway to stay a part of the Page Program in the short term, I can't escape the fact that the clock is ticking - really ticking - and I need to find a job ASAP.

Today I met the new class of pages that just started this week - and it really was surreal in a way. It's like meeting the new freshman class when you're an outgoing senior, or something - you're just coming from different worlds.

So I've just been applying to different jobs, putting my name and resume out there. But just like a ton of current and former pages, I'm seeing that the entertainment industry is one tough nut to crack. Oh well - keep the dream alive!

All I can say is - if they really wanted to turn the network around, they shoulda put me in charge. There'd be bagels every Wednesday, casual Fridays, and Gilbert Godfried with his own show.



SMALLVILLE: Tonight's back-from-hiatus ep was pretty damn entertaining, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Sure, it was crazy over the top, but in a fun, comic booky way that was actually original and interesting enough to work. They introduced a crazy new villain, had some great Lex moments, and and built up the story well. The Clark-Lana stuff was a bit much (Do we REALLY need to delve into the classic Man of Steel / Woman of Kleenex discussion on an episode of Smallville? I think not). But, overall, this was yet another qualirty episode in what has been one giant comeback of a season. My grade: A -

MY NAME IS EARL: Well, I couldn't help but flipping back and forth between this and Beurty and the Geek, which is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. But Earl did bring the comedic goods tonight, and delivered some good laughs, especially from Ethan Suplee, who is really stealing this show lately. One great line: "Please tell me Mr. Smith is your brother. - "I hope not. What with all the things I let him do to me." (or something like that). Still, something just feels slightly off about this show to me, like it wants to be a smart show pretending to be dumb (see: Beavis and Butthead, Wayne's World) when in fact it's simply a kinda dumb show. Funny, but not quite as clever as it thinks. My grade: B

The Office: I still don't like Jim. He just comes off as too much of a jerk, and the writers just make him act kind of slimy at inapproopriate moments. Like when he lustily smiles while calling Pam even as he waits to hear about the condition of Dwight, who he's with in the hospital. The British office worked so well because it mostly stuck to mocking the little things, then occasionally pulling back and showing how all the little quirks of these ppl fit into the larger picture of their lives, which was actually kind of tragic and profound. This Office just doesn't tread that line as skillfully. But, putting that aside - this episode was, mostly, freaking hilarious. Dwight's coma-induced behavior was funny as hell. My grade: A-

- Still gotta watch tonight's oh so scandalous ep of The OC, where they resort to the classic plot device of bringing back a forgotten younger sibling character as a rapidly aged vixen. It's just like when Cory Matthews little sister Morgan suddenly came back as a voluptuous riot grrrl on Boy Meets World. Oh wait, that didn't happen.

Ultra Quick Sunday Night Reviews:

The Simpsons was surprisingly decent - had an actual plot and a few big laughs, ie :"Your father is actually [name of guy]." "Who?" "THAT guy!" "Woohoo!" Hahahahaha. My grade: B+

Family Guy was pretty funny as well, though nothing too special. Meg as a faux-lesbian was good for a few laughs, and the musical numbers with Frank Sinatra Jr. were pretty quality. My grade: B

- Saw an old Inside the Actor's Studio with Mike Myers. What a friggin' comedy genious. His interview segments in character as Linda Richman were amazing. Oy!

- I know I said in my Best of 2005 posts that I was disappointed with the new DARKNESS album. I gotta say, I've changed my mind. After listening to it over and over the last few days, it has really grown on me, and even though its a lot different from Permission to Land, it is plenty kickass in its own, slightly more subdued way. It's like expecting to hear "We Will Rock You" and getting "Seven Seas of Rye." Still, certain songs, like "One Way Ticket To Hell And Back" and "Bald" rock like mad, while others are a little less in yo' face but still quality. My new, reconsidered opinion of this album: it rates a solid A-.

Alright, bring on the weekend!

And find me a job! Seriously, if you have any connections, hook me up!

And remember, you heard it here first.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

You Will Believe ... That A Man Can Blog.

Well, now that you've all had time to soak in my Best of 2005 picks, I figured it's about time to hit ya all up with yet another round of verbal goodness.

This past week was just totally draining. I worked until nearly 8 pm every day, including Tuesday when I went to work, changed into the page uniform to work Leno, changed back, and ended up staying i nthe office until almost 10 freakin' pm. Not fun, and that day just totally sucked all energy out of me for the rest of the week. On one hand, I understand that it's a tough job and everyone is suffering for it together. On the other hand, it's difficult to balance such long hours when one only has a few weeks left before the assignment is over, and I'm all but jobless. I need money, health insurance, and at least a little bit of job security, and fast. Many of my fellow pages are now in the same boat, but I am getting close to being the longest tenured NBC page, and since I started in late January 2005, my year of pagedom is quickly running out.

Forget a new job, just give me a vacation.

- I think I hate the digital camera craze. Now any time a bunch of people go out, half the time is spent snapping away with the cameras. Sure, people have always been phot-happ, but now with digital cameras, every event, no matter how um, uneventful, becomes a photo op. I mean, how many pictures do I need to see of a bunch of girls posing at some party? (Note: rhetorical question, that was). But you get the point. All I'm saying is ... I think that digital photography may be contributing to the downfall of society.

- On a related note, and I know I'm not alone in this - I hate when people feel like everyone needs to see their pictures. Now friends, coworkers, and people you just met can't resist showing you a conveniently accessible picture of their dog, their cousin's new baby, or their trip to Ecuador. Ugh, when will people learn? Not everyone cares about your digital pictures, your home movies, your daily bulletins on myspace.com, etc. (btw, those things are getting WAY out of hand). So yeah, keep the 5,000 new pictures of your nephew's recital PUT AWAY. But, if you're one of those people who has pictures of events where I was in attendance and still ahven't sent me the pics ... GET ON IT ALREADY! (kidding, well not really, I was serious). Now ... insightful, provacative, life-altering blogs - that one is free to persuse on their own time and consumes like they would a nutritional snack ... well, duh, there' s nothing wrong with those.

- A few quick hits:

GOODBYE ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT: RIP (probably) to one of the best comedies ever, which likely ended its brilliantly funny run last Monday. On the other hand, if the show had to go out, it went out with one hell of a bang. Last week's awesome finale was hilarious, smart, and one giant, thinly-veiled F-U to everyone who criticized the show, including the suits at FOX. That was an insta-classic episode, and will go down with the best of 'em. So long Michael, Gob, Tobias, George Michael, Lucille, Buster, George, Maybe, Bob Loblaw, and all the rest. Thank you to this show's talented creative staff, its amazing cast, and to the people who stuck with it. And remember: never use a one-armed man to teach a lesson.

- And by the way, so now FOX is talking about bringing back Futurama? The thing is, I guarantee the show would have been a much bigger hit if properly marketed and scheduled. For years, Futurama was left to die in a terrible 7 pm Sunday timeslot, where it was constantly preempted by football. And tragically, the show was consistently smart and hilarious even as The Simpsons was beginning its slide into mediocrity. And just like with Family Guy, the DVD sales and reurun ratings show the type of hit this show could have been. And yet again, FOX screwed it when it had the chance to push it. Just like with Family Guy's first run, just like with Andy Richter, Undeclared, and now Arrested Development. But I guess one can't deny the almighty dollar ... in any case though, if FOX brings back Futurama, puts it on at 8:30 or 9:30 on Sundays .. well, that would kick shiny metal ass.

- I'm currently trying to get into Frank Zappa, but I don't think I fully "get" him yet. What are some of his best songs? I will say though, "Dynamo Hum" is hilarious, if you can stomach it.

- I just can't get into the NBA as much this year. Partly because I keep missing all the games, but partly because there just seems to be a lack of quality teams. Almost every big gun team from last year remaisn intact, which leaves San Antonio and Detroit once again alone at the top, unless Miami, Pheonix, or a wild card like Cleveland can pull a big upset. I'm not a fan of either Detroit or San Antonio, and I just can't find many teams or personalities to really get behind and root for.

- And speaking of sports -- man, I felt like I was in a foreign country this past week, with all the craziness surrounding the Rose Bowl. This is definitely a West Coast / Midwest thing, because I never knew of ANYONE who was that into college football in CT, and growing up I associated the Rose Bowl only with some lame parade, and never gave a second thought as to wh o was playing in the games. But here, dayum, it turns out that 99% of the population is either from Texas or went to USC, because seemingly everyone I work with was talking about nothing but this game, and doing so with crazy enthusiasm. Well, congrats to Texas, I guess.

- Alright, sorry for this somewhat lame edition of my blog. I really need to go to sleep now, as unbelievably, another week of work is mere hours away from beginning. Will this be my final run at NBC? Will my blog soon be coming to you Live ... From OfficeMax, in Simsbury, CT? Stay tuned.