Tag Archives: cbs

TV Trailer – Young Sheldon (CBS)

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

So on The Big Bang Theory, scientist Sheldon Cooper has often referred to his difficult upbringing in rural Texas, raised by a family that did not understand or particularly care for his brilliance.

CBS, in keeping with Hollywood’s trend of never being original, has devised a Big Bang spinoff, Young Sheldon, chronicling the life and times of Sheldon as a ten year old high school student in the late 1980s.

Gotta admit, the idea sounded terrible to me until I saw the trailer.  Then I found it really moving.  So perhaps, on occasion, a spinoff has the potential to be great.

For example, in the trailer above, Young Sheldon becomes a boy narc, ratting on every student he sees for trivial rule violations.  To Sheldon, this seems only logical.  People do something wrong, they should be called out on it.

However, Sheldon’s dad explains that he was once a football coach, and he saw some inappropriate activity and reported it.  Was he applauded?  No.  He was fired.

Thus, Sheldon learns a valuable lesson – that his father isn’t the failure that he thought he was and also, there’s logic and then there’s social etiquette.  Bottomline – pick your battles.  Suck up and look the other way on the petty stuff so that you’ll be prepared when the time comes where you really have to report a serious wrong.

Looks great.  I’m a little iffy on whether or not it will have any long lasting staying power, but it’s worth a try.

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2 Broke Girls Cancelled – Is this the End of Politically Incorrect Comedy?

Sigh.

Dry my tears, 3.5 readers.  Another one of my faves has been slapped onto the chopping block.

For the past six years, Max and Caroline (Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs) have been living a modern day Cinderella story, full of epic crudeness, disgusting-ness, all around raunchiness and epic debauchery.

The show was so bad that it was good.  I think the writers and cast even realized it.  The jokes weren’t just crowbarred in.  They were shoved down your throat with a plumber’s helper.

It was insensitive and super politically incorrect in a time when political correctness matters more than ever.

Gay people on the show weren’t just portrayed as gay but super flamboyant “Hey girl” lisping gay.

The girls’ boss, Asian diner owner Han Lee (Matthew Moy) was ridiculed about his height  (or lack thereof) by the girls to no end.

Hipsters were routinely dumped on.  Shameless trend followers were pooped on with reckless abandon.

In short, the show dove head first into every stereotype imaginable and yet, they managed to pull it off with a, “We’re sorry for doing this, but we really do love everyone and think everyone should get an equal shot at success in this crazy world” kind of vibe.

Comedy, and sitcoms especially,  unfortunately have a habit of reducing people to stereotypes.  It’s not always fair or even right but what else can you expect when there’s only twenty minutes (figuring for commercials) to tell a tale?

Max was born poor.  Caroline was born rich only to lose everything and for six years, Max served as Caroline’s friend and life coach, teaching her how to get by on nothing – literally nothing.

It’s a story young adults could jive with, especially in the post 2008 economy.  You thought you were going to get a big shot job and make a million dollars?  So did Caroline.  Sorry.  Those jobs don’t exist anymore.  Go grab an apron.  You’re a waitress now and no one cares if you have a fancy college degree.  It will look nice on your wall as you struggle to pay back the loan for it until the end of time.

And sure, all the characters on the show were stereotypical cookie cutter cartoon characters.  Oleg the cook was an unapologetic pervert.  Sophie the next door neighbor was built like a linebacker yet told the whole world she was hot and you were not.  Earl the cashier would occasionally pipe in with sassy jokes.

But the girls were cartoon characters too.  Max was a big boobed hustler who reviled in her ability to get men to do her bidding with the power of her boobs.  Caroline would walk around in her pearls as if this whole poverty thing was a setback and she’d be back to living the high life in no time.

I guess the point I’m making is that the girls lived in Brooklyn, a melting pot if there ever was one.  On there quest to become cupcake baking tycoons, they suffered all manner of mistreatment and setbacks but along the way, they made friends with people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds and walks of life.

Yes, everyone was reduced to being a cartoon character because that’s all the sitcom style allows for, but Max and Caroline, for all of their faults, stuck up for people.  Yes they made fun of people, but the people they made fun of would often turn the tables on them.

The moral of the story was that these girls were two wide-eyed dreamers who thought the world should go their way…and sometimes they’d crap on people in their way…and sometimes it would be fun to watch as the crapped on people crapped back on them…these were often people who had suffered more than they had and were willing to let them know that the world isn’t designed to go their way.

Yes, they ridiculed Han without mercy…but yes, they’d also bitch slap you if YOU made fun of him.  Han was like their brother.  They teased them out of love.

Although yeah, at times, I suppose it did come across as just two super hot, stuck up bitches dumping all over an Asian immigrant who was just trying to make a living.

At any rate, when the girls would get out of line, they would be reigned in.  Han used his wits to give them their comeuppance many, many times, often with hilarious results.

To be honest, I have no idea why this show was cancelled.  Maybe it was ratings.  Maybe it was business.

All I know is I invested six years into this show, wondering if the girls would ever become un-broke.  The show would always end with a running tally of how much the girls had saved on their quest to not be broke anymore.  They need to come up with some sort of resolution, as I deserve to know whether or not they become un-broke.

Recently, I also lamented the cancellation of Last Man Standing, another show that, while much, much, much more reserved than 2 Broke Girls, did not fit the PC mold.

Political correctness and comedy.  Comedy and political correctness.  They go together like oil and water.

No one wants to hurt another’s feelings but at the same time, if we all continue to walk around on pins and needles, we may never laugh again.  

2 Broke Girls offered a different approach.  If the stuck up former rich girl makes fun of you, make fun of her back!  Sometimes the most satisfying part of the show came when Caroline thought she’d gotten away with a diss on Han only for Han to turn around and say something in a completely cool, collected manner that would totally wreck her day.

Yes, we should always be nice to each other and not assume the worst of people based on whatever group they are in.  But at the same time, laughter is important and if we keep taking the bite out of laughter, then comedy is going to quickly go out of style.

I’m convinced that by 2050, the world will have become so politically correct that SNL will be nothing but an improv troupe coming out on the stage every week to recite the “Why did the chicken cross the road?” joke a hundred times, followed by a half-hour apology to chickens everywhere and people who are offended by chicken jokes.

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TV Review – 2 Broke Girls (2011 – Present)

They’re broke.  They’re girls.  They’re 2 broke girls.

BQB here with a…wait for it…review of two broke girls.

2011 was an up and down year for comedian Whitney Cummings.  The show she starred in, Whitney, premiered and it was ultra awful.  Even so, NBC kept it going long after they should have pulled the blog.

I don’t even know how to explain it.  The best I can do is that it was a show that was supposed to be funny and yet, everyone on the show was beautiful, they all made a lot of money doing jobs like “blogger” and they all complained about their problems.  Ultimately, characters with Manhattan problems just don’t play in Poughkeepsie.  Jerry Seinfeld was the last comic to make that schtick work.

Yet, that year, the show Whitney created, 2 Broke Girls, premiered and it’s been going on strong on CBS ever since.  As the show’s title suggests, Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) are two broke girls, struggling as poorly paid waitresses and living as roommates in a run down apartment.

They toil away at a diner, where they endlessly harass their diminutive boss Han (Matthew Moy) with one stereotypically Asian joke after another, mostly revolving around Han’s height, or lack thereof.

Max and Caroline are the female version of The Odd Couple.  Max has been poor and boorish her whole life, whereas Caroline was raised in wealth and luxury, only to fall to the bottom of the heap when her father is arrested and sent to prison for running a Bernie Madoff type scam.  Thus, Max teaches Caroline how to slum it, and Caroline makes an effort to give Max some class, though those efforts are rarely successful.

Overall, no one ever speaks normally but rather, the dialogue has jokes crowbarred in from every last angle.  Most of those jokes never land but rather, are of the so bad they’re good variety.

Surprisingly, the show revolves around a lot of stereotype humor.  In addition to endless jokes about Han’s Asian heritage, the girls are also friends with a duo of Polish immigrants, Oleg and Sofie (Jonathan Kite and Jennifer Coolidge aka Stiffler’s Mom from American Pie).  Oleg and Sofie are portrayed as as being exceptionally dumb (i.e. the worst of all Polish stereotypes) and yet in many ways they often ending up providing the girls with sage like advice, often on accident.

Garret Morris, an alum from SNL’s golden age,  rounds out the cast as Earl, the plucky diner cashier who shouts out a joke or a dig at random from time to time.

You know, I’m no prude when it comes to humor.  In fact, I’ve often opined on this fine site that people need to lighten up and chill out if we’re all going to ever get along in this great big melting pot that is America.  Even so, I avoid ethnic/stereotypical humor like the plague because I don’t want to offend people and/or have a picket line outside BQB HQ, so I’m surprised Whitney doesn’t have a similar picket line outside Whitney HQ.

I mean, it’s a funny show and I don’t see any intent on the part of the writers to emotionally wound anyone, but literally every episode there’s someone being made fun of their ethnicity, or there are gay dudes talking with a flamboyant lisp or something.  Whitney has somehow unbolted the magic formula to allow her to make these jokes and not get run out of Hollywood on a rail.  (FYI I’m not saying that I’m some sort of evil person that wants that formula).

Ultimately,  I enjoy the show, but I tend to take it or leave it.  Its the one show that I watch if I need something mindless to preoccupy my time, but I never watched it from the beginning and I often can go like ten episodes before checking back in and jump right back in without feeling like I need to go back and watch those ten episodes.  You can jump right in too, it’s not like you’re going to miss any great plot points.  Just Max making jokes about her boobs.

STATUS: Moderately shelf-worthy, though to the show’s credit, it may never “Jump the Shark” because the show has had a “We’re funny because we jump the shark every episode” kind of a feel.

 

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TV Review – The Big Bang Theory

Nerds.  So many nerds.

BQB here with a review of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory.  SPOILERS ABOUND.

Now in it’s tenth (my God, time moves so fast) season, this show follows the shenanigans of Cal Tech scientists Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj (Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, respectively).

Oh, and all but Raj have significant others.  As of the tenth season, Leonard is married to hot next door neighbor babe/non-nerd struggling actress turned pharmaceutical rep Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Howard is married to short, sweet sounding yet gets angry often Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), and Sheldon is currently dating Amy (Mayim Bialik in her best role since Blossom.)  Alas, Raj remains single and strikes out with the ladies on a regular basis.

The one thing I notice when I talk to people about this show is that they either love it or hate it, but there’s little room for opinions that are in-between.  People who hate it feel this is a show that gives you a stereotypical view of a nerd, i.e. that all nerds are scientists and love comic books and so on.  My usual reply is, “Yeah.  Nerds are nerds and nerds do nerd things.”

In the show’s defense, it would be one thing if all the actors/actresses weren’t nerds in real life.  One thing I hate is the Hollywood version of a nerd, i.e. where they take a hunk or a babe and just whip a pair of glasses on him/her.  That’s essentially engaging in “nerd face” if you will.

I get the impression that all of the actors/actresses are nerds in real life, save Kaley Cuoco who is not a nerd and that is fine because she plays the hot neighbor girl that Leonard drools over.  Jim Parsons, in particular, strikes me as a super deluxe mega nerd, so much so that I’m not sure if his career as an actor would have ever taken off had he not landed the role of Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

By the way, don’t we all know a Sheldon Cooper of sorts?  Perhaps not to such a Sheldony degree, but surely we all know someone who we wish would show more empathy, someone who is super smart when it comes to book learning but incredibly dumb when it comes to human interaction.  FYI if you don’t know anyone like that then you might be that person.

Further criticism might come from the fact that Leonard lusts after Penny rather than, say, a nerd girl in his league.  My reply is that a) in earlier seasons Leonard, finding it impossible to gain any ground with Penny, does give nerd girls a try and they treat him just as shabbily.  In my personal experience, sometimes when it comes to the dating world, nerds can be worse to fellow nerds than non-nerds and b) at times, the show has flipped the script and made it out as though Penny is the one at a disadvantage, i.e. having never gone to college yet dating a scientist with a doctorate.

Ultimately, there’s a give and take, back and forth between Leonard and Penny that’s fun to watch.  We male nerds tend to chase after hot non-nerd babes like dogs chase after cars.  In this show, Leonard basically shows us the hilarity that ensues when a nerd actually catches a hot babe, i.e. he’s that dog who catches the car and now needs to figure out what to do.

Throw in creepy weirdo Howard and perpetually single Raj and you’ve got a sitcom.

Count me in as one of the people who like the show.  Admittedly, I did not watch it for years, but only because for years it was up against the NBC Thursday mega block that featured The Office, Parks and Recreation, Thirty Rock and Community.

Once that block ended, I started binge watching Big Bang and now I’m all caught up.  And yes, there are nerds who have tried to tell me that Community was the better nerd show.  To that, I just wonder why the nerd shows just can’t get along.  The more nerd shows, the merrier.

I’m impressed by the show’s ability to make jokes about incredibly complicated scientific concepts.  Sheldon and Leonard will be working on an experiment and say something complicated yet funny.  I won’t understand the complications but oddly, I’ll still understand why the joke is funny.  There are also little things, like the way Sheldon rips on Howard for being an engineer.  I never knew scientists dumped on engineers.

Ironically, it is possible to be a geek and not a nerd.  Nerds are super smart and love comics and fantasy.  Geeks also love comics and fantasy, yet aren’t necessarily super smart.  That’s why I’d say Community was more of a geek show than a nerd show, but again, geeks and nerds must learn to love one another, largely because we’re so nerdy and geeky that no one cool will have us.

To the show’s credit, there’s even a geek.  Stuart (Kevin Sussman) regularly appears as the gang’s not that bright but super geeky pal/comic book store owner.

Also, the girlfriends make the show.  The early seasons, where Leonard, Howard, and Raj are single sad-sacks are a tad depressing.  Sheldon is single in those days too but he’s sort of beyond human emotion and doesn’t seem to notice or care.  While Penny is Leonard’s love interest from the beginning, things get funnier when Bernadette and Amy are brought into the mix.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  My one complaint is I feel like it has been ages since Penny put Sheldon to sleep with a rousing ballad of “Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur..”

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Chewbacca Mom Video

In case you haven’t seen it, random lady Candace Payne now dubbed “Chewbacca Mom” made a video of herself trying on her brand new Chewbacca mask and laughed so uncontrollably that it became an instant viral video sensation:

Come on. That mask is cool. It is a marvel of modern engineering that we have masks now that can make you sound like Chewbacca.

I watched this video and my naturally skeptic self wondered, “Hmm.  Is she really that happy? Did she really find this that funny?  Was all that laughing just to up the video’s silliness factor?”

No.  Not at all. Clearly she really is that happy and I now envy her as I’m one of those people who can’t find that much joy in the smallest of things.

And she even ended up on the Late Late Show with James Corden and met JJ Abrams:

So here’s to you, Chewbacca Mom.

Your nerdyness inspires us all, and that’s saying a lot, seeing as how this is a blog run by a nerd for 3.5 readers.

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#OscarsSoPretty – Snubbed Actor – Geoffrey Arend

Hey 3.5 readers.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with continuing coverage of my one man campaign to get the Academy to welcome more ugly people into the fold.

I’ve been tweeting my support for various ugly actors who I feel have been passed over for Oscar consideration just because of their looks.  I’m not sure they appreciate it.  They probably think I’m calling them ugly like its a bad thing.  There’s nothing wrong with being ugly.  Embrace how God made you, I say.

Anyway, I had a brief Twitter conversation with Geoffrey Arend.

WHO?!

Yeah, when I started thinking of less than handsome thespians to tweet my support for, “That nerdy guy who is married to Christina Hendricks” came to mind but I couldn’t recall his name, even though he’s starred in a lot of stuff and you’d totally recognize him if you saw him.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not knocking the guy in any way whatsoever.  He’s been my hero forever on account of the fact that, let me repeat, a) even though he’s a nerd b) he married Christina Hendricks.

Christina Hendricks played super 1960’s hottie Joan on Mad Men for those readers who aren’t hip to the TV scene.

So, let me be clear, no one should take what Geoffrey says below as support for the #OscarsSoPretty movement, which to date, only really consists of me.  I don’t want to put words in the guy’s mouth or anything.

He’s a cool dude who was a good sport and traded funny, snarky comments with me.  Since this is a blog for nerds, I wanted to ask his advice on how nerds can romance and marry super hot chicks, but I figured that would probably be pressing my luck.

But all you lonely nerds out there, cheer up, for it is possible.  Just look to Geoffrey Arend for hope and inspiration.

Much appreciated, Mr. Arend.  Readers, you might remember this actor from Devil or Garden State. Currently, you can see him as Matt Mahoney on CBS’ Madam Secretary.

Personally, my favorite role of his was as that stoned kid who ate all the shrooms in Super Troopers.

 

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True Nerd Heroes -James Corden – May 2015

Super Geeks.  Fabulous nerds.  Dynamite dweebs.  In search of the perfect poindexter, I’m scouring the globe to find dorks who have cast aside society’s inherent anti-nerd bias and made their way to the top.

Thus, my first “True Nerd Hero” is British comedian James Corden, who recently succeeded Craig Ferguson as host on CBS’ The Late Late Show.

The Late Late Show with James Corden – CBS – Arnold and other celebs put James on the path to talk show host glory.

He’s chubby.  He’s an infrequent shaver.  And no offense to this talented funny man but he kind of reminds you of that kid in high school who really shines in drama club but everyone feels the need to warn him to find another career because Hollywood doesn’t accept people who look like he does.

That’s less of a knock on normal, average looking people than it is on a movie industry that at some point decided that everyone in a film, from the main star to the extra waiter who’s on camera for five seconds to deliver the star a meal needs to look like a supermodel.

Alas,  the average person doesn’t have the time to work on their body 24/7 so to see a dude on TV who looks like he’d join us for a beer and some hot wings after the show is refreshing.

Corden is an inspiration to every nerd who, in his mind has said, “I want to sing!  I want to dance!  I want to act!” only to look in the mirror, sigh, and say, “But darn it, no one will want to see me do any of those things so I guess I’d better be an accountant.”

Hell, breaking into Hollywood isn’t easy for a Matt Damon look alike seeing as how there’s a limited number of paying acting gigs vs. an unlimited supply of perfect hair having, shiny teeth sporting, six pac ab having sons of bitches lined up to compete for them.

God bless you James, for clawing your way over all of them to become a true nerd hero.

Goddamn it man, you had a lead role in 2014’s Into the Woods, a movie where you sang opposite Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick.  That’s true geek greatness.  You could have stopped right there and been a legendary geek but no, now you have your own TV show.

You hob nob with the uber rich and ultra successful and these people have accepted you as one of their own.  Moreover, you’ve fully embraced the concept of the late night talk show revolution, one where people care less about staying up late to watch some vapid celebrity drone on but rather engage them by performing some bit or game with them in an Internet clip we can watch whenever we want.

You’re a true nerd hero, James Corden.  You’ve convinced a new generation of nerds to follow their dreams.

Who should be BQB’s True Nerd Hero for June?  Nominate a nerd who has inspired you in the comments on bookshelfbattle.com or tweet it to @bookshelfbattle #truenerdheroes

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