Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Hey friends!

So, as those who have been following me may have gleaned by now, two of my favorite things in the whole wide world are music and television. When the two combine, I get a little giddy. Back in the day-day, that happened rarely; a musical episode of Buffy here, a musical episode of Scrubs there, Phoebe singing amazing original songs on Friends, etc. Lately, I have found myself in the midst of an embarrassment of riches; Idol’s 10th season was one of the best I’ve ever seen, Glee rocked out it’s second season with no sign of slump in sight, The Sing-Off keeps getting better and better, The Voice is tons of fun, I’m psyched out of my mind for the return of my girls Kat McPhee and Paula Abdul on Smash and The X Factor in the fall, but MOST OF ALL, I’m excited for this Monday and the premiere episode of PLATINUM HIT.

What is Platinum Hit, you ask? For shame, I say! It’s only the greatest reality competition show you’ve ever heard of. With Jewel at the helm and Kara DioGuardi at her side, 12 singer-songwriters will compete in SONGWRITING BATTLES until only one remains. SONGWRITING BATTLES! And one more time: SONGWRITING BATTLES!

As if that’s not awesome enough for ya, two of the contestants are none other than Jes Hudak and Jackie Tohn, aka Powerfox and Ponymane, whom we’ve already established beyond question to be totally awesome.

So, I’m kicking off a three day countdown to Platinum Hit. Each day I’ll post something awesome done by someone involved with Platinum Hit, such that we can get psyched together! We’ll start with the lady who started it all: Jewel. If you haven’t seen this Funny or Die masterpiece, or if you just haven’t watched it in a while, you must watch it now:

SHWABAM!

#11: Skins

Posted: January 25, 2011 in TV

Dear PTC, Taco Bell, GM, Wrigley, H&R Block, Subway and everyone else who wrote off MTV’s Skins without really watching it or after only watching the pilot,

Tea.

Love, Things that are Totally Awesome

So in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, there’s this new show called Skins that premiered on MTV last week and everyone and their mother (literally) decided to hate it before it even aired. Now, the haters can largely be divided into two groups; the purists and the Puritans. The Puritans are the PTC; who – before the first episode even aired mind you – declared Skins “the most dangerous program that has ever been foisted on your children!” and all those who listened to their nonsense, including the aforementioned corporations who allowed themselves to be bullied into pulling their advertisements from the program. The purists are those who loved the UK version and refuse to believe that an American version can measure up.

I can see why both parties are up in arms.

First to the purists: I get it, I watched the UK version and it’s phenomenal and yes, the first episode of the MTV series (which was practically a carbon copy of the UK pilot but with different actors and some small differences that felt glaring in comparison) hurt my heart a little. Eura is no Effy and Cady is no Cassie and Abbud is no Anwar, I get it, it’s trying to be the same as the show we love and it’s not. To you I say: Tea.

The one ray of sunshine in an otherwise disappointing pilot also happened to be the one completely original character. Coincidence? Not in the slightest. Last night’s episode surrounding Tea was completely original and it was everything we’ve come to expect from Skins; complicated and nuanced and layer upon layer of beautiful storytelling. Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain know what they’re doing, people, TRUST THEM! I don’t really understand why they chose to reuse the UK characters, but the thing is, they’re not the same, because of Tea. Not just because she’s so awesome – though WOW – but because we are all the product of the people in our lives, and if you change even one player, you change the whole game.

Now to the parents: I understand that there is a lot of filth on television today, that this world is an awfully scary place to raise a child, and you just want to protect your children. I get that. In the PTC’s original call to arms they talk about how other shows like Gossip Girl have also had things like sex and drugs, but not to the same extent, pointing out also that the Skins actors are younger, thus making their actions more disturbing. The same groups of people are crying child prostitution because of a nude scene in next week’s Chris episode, featuring 15 year old Jesse Carere. I get what it looks like on the surface, but to you as well I say: Tea.

Watch Tea’s episode and tell me that this is the most dangerous show for your children to be watching. In the episode you’ll see Tea drinking, having sex, masturbating and doing drugs and you will see that IT’S NOT ABOUT THAT AT ALL. It’s about a very real, very complex teenage girl who is trying to figure out very real, very complex teenage things like who she is and what love is. And anyone who bothered to watch Chris’ episode would know that the nude scene could not be farther from sexual; it’s about a teenage boy who is ill-equipped to deal with the very frightening reality he’s facing. Gossip Girl, The OC, 90210 and all of these other teen shows may be less explicit in their use of sex and drugs, but those shows are both written and acted by adults, and the sex and the drugs are used for the purposes of titillation and intrigue, resulting in a glorification of those behaviors. Starting with the UK series and continuing into the American version Skins has been adamant about including real teenagers and their stories in the writing process as well as casting actual teenagers to play the teenagers on the show (I know, CRAAAZY, right?). This results in a show that is ridiculously true, and the explicit stuff, rather than being glorified vaguely from behind a mask is shoved in your face with all of its crudeness and grit for you to struggle with. And as creator Bryan Elsley said in his recent reply to the controversy, maybe the truth is painful and scary, but NEWSFLASH, your kids are living in this world, and if you can’t talk to them about the painful, scary stuff they’re facing, someone should, and Skins does it quite well.

I know this is a bit more serious than I usually get here, but through the UK series I’ve come to have a lot of respect for the creators of Skins, and I’ve been sitting around for weeks now reading about everyone attacking them and the new version and then last night I watched Tea, and it was truly one of the most compelling hours of television I’ve seen in a long time. It’s really easy to hate blindly, but if you just took a minute to really look at the thing you’re hating, you might discover that you’re hating the wrong thing, or that you don’t hate it at all. You might realize that what you’re hating is Tea; lovely little Tea, who is neither derivative nor a menace, but rather poised to be one of the greatest teen characters ever to grace American television.

So to everyone involved in Skins who have been thrown into this shit storm they don’t deserve I want to say, keep doing what you’re doing because

Skins is TOTALLY AWESOME!

Shwabam!

#9: The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness

Posted: January 22, 2011 in TV

In honor of the LOOOOOONG awaited return of Parks and Recreation, I am dedicating this highly-coveted, final single digit spot on the TAT list to the Man himself; Mr. Ron Swanson, played by the incomparable Mr. Nick Offerman. If you don’t watch Parks and Recreation, you are missing out on the funniest show on television. Period.

The sheer total awesomeness of Ron Swanson is one of those things that’s easier shown than told, so:

Not yet convinced?

FACT: Ron Swanson has two ex-wives, both named Tammy:

FACT: Ron Swanson’s ringtone is a gunshot:

FACT: Ron Swanson is Socialism’s worst nightmare:

FACT: By night, Ron Swanson goes by Duke Silver, and is a smooth jazz legend:

Now to business. In this past week’s episode, Ron introduced us to the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness:

The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, in Ron Swanson’s own words, is “a perfectly calibrated recipe for maximum personal achievement.” In case you can’t read the small print or don’t feel like it (both legit) I’ve taken the liberty of enlarging my favorites and creating motivational posters out of them:

Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness ladies and gents: file it under TOTALLY AWESOME.

ShwaBAM!

#5: Nerdy Girls

Posted: December 10, 2010 in Misc. Awesomeness, TV

Warning: I’m about to get a lil bit serious up in herr.

I was just reading this article about a 7-year old girl from Evanston, IL – just a couple towns over from my own hometown – who was being picked on for liking Star Wars, then her mother blogged about it and nerds everywhere responded in force, sending her nerdy gifts and letters encouraging her to be proud of who she is. The whole thing made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and so, from the very depths of this nerdy girl’s heart, I want to give an official Things that are Totally Awesome shout-out to all those who responded and to all the nerdy girls out there who endure all sorts of social pressure and emotional and physical harassment on a regular basis and still find the strength to be their TOTALLY AWESOME nerdy girl selves.

In honor of all the nerdy girls out there, I’ve compiled this list of some of the greatest nerdy girls I know. And by know I mean watched on television back in my own nerdy girlhood. So without further ado I present:

Things that are Totally Awesome’s Top 5 TV Girl Nerds!

5. Cindy “Mac” Makenzie – Veronica Mars (played by Tina Majorino)

“Look, I’m happy to be the “Q” to your Bond, but crime pays. Technologically assisted mystery solving costs. If you wanna play “Find the Crappy Radio Broadcast,” Mama’s gonna need a few things from Radio Shack.”

Nerd cred: If this were a list of the greatest big screen nerdettes, Tina Majorino would be number one with an astrisk for her genius portrayal of Deb in Napolean Dynamite. Here she doesn’t quite make it that high, but still no question top 5. Those who have seen V Mars know that Veronica herself is a pretty big nerd, so when they brought in Mac in the middle of the first season to be her even nerdier sidekick it seemed almost too good to be true. But it wasn’t; Mac was everything we wanted her to be and more. In a show where every character was a suspect at some point or another, Mac’s sarcastic, self deprecating computer wiz was not merely a source of information and tech support; she was a welcome breath of fresh air.

4. Chloe Sullivan – Smallville (played by Allison Mack)

“It was just internet interception… that ended up having a vicious ninja lady attached to it who chased me on to the roof and then almost beheaded me and went rappelling over the side of the building. Which I’ve got to admit, was really smoking cool. “

Nerd cred: Chloe is the only one on this list whose story is still going, and in fact, hers is the longest running nerdy girl story I know of. When we first met Chloe, she was Clark Kent’s best friend, the editor of the school paper who constantly makes obscure references to smart things no one else understands and gets a lot of crap from the rest of the kids at school for her geeky obsession with “the strange and unexplained.” Today, nearly 10 years later, she is Watchtower; queen of the superheroes. The evolution of her character from adolescence to full-fledged adulthood has sometimes been empowering and sometimes heartbreaking but always really compelling. Here’s hoping the writers don’t do something stupid like kill her off before we get to the end!

3. Daria Morgendorffer – Daria (voiced by Tracy Grandstaff)

“So Cinderella skipped the ball and asked her fairy Godmother to make her the first woman president. Realizing that the monarchy was becoming obsolete, the prince opened a video store.”

Nerd cred: Oh, Daria. The really great thing about Daria is that it actually shows the world through the eyes of the nerdy girl. Who among us has not known, to some extent, what it feels like to be Daria? To everyone around her – her parents, her sister, her sister’s friends, the kids at school, the teachers at school – she is this total weirdo, yet we know better. We can see that it really is everyone else in the world who are idiots and Daria is the sane one. When no one else got her wonderfully witty humor, not even Jane, we did. And it was totally awesome.

2. Millie Kentner – Freaks and Geeks (played by Sarah Hagan)

“I know what high people look like. I went to a Seals and Crofts concert last summer.”

Nerd cred: Lindsay Weir may not have given a damn about her bad reputation, but her former bestie Millie certainly cared enough for the both of them. Millie was the greatest, because even when her best friend dropped her to go hang out with the cool kids and then joined in with the rest of the kids in giving her a hard time for being a straight-edge mathlete who eats Lik-M-Aid at 7:30 in the morning to make her spit taste like fruit juice, she didn’t let it get her down. Not only did she refuse to stop being her dorky self, she refused to give up on Lindsay, continuing to be a good friend to her throughout the series no matter what crazy shenanigans she got into.

1. Willow Rosenberg – Buffy (played by Alyson Hannigan)

“We can come by between classes. Usually I use that time to copy over my class notes with a system of different colored pens. But it’s been pointed out to me that that’s, you know, insane.”

Nerd cred: 1997 was a banner year for the nerdy girl. Within a matter of months we got two of the greatest nerdy girl sidekicks of all time; Hermione Granger and Willow Rosenberg. Willow was perhaps the first truly multidimensional nerd girl to be introduced to the television canon, not to mention the most lovable. When she’s happy you can’t help being happy with her, when she’s sad it’s like the saddest thing ever, and when she’s in danger… oh lord is it terrifying. But most importantly, she gave hope to nerdy girls everywhere that we too could be the best friends of bad-ass vampire slayers, date genius werewolf rock stars, and eventually grow into lesbian witches with the power to destroy the world.

Bottom line: nerdy girls are the best. And here’s a little secret for all you nerdy girls out there: All the most amazing women in the world were once nerdy girls like you. So keep truckin’ and keep being nerdy because

NERDY = TOTALLY AWESOME!

Shwabam.