Tag Archives: netflix

TV Review – Mystery Science Theater: The Return (2017)

Lousy old time science fiction movies!  Snarky robots!

BQB here with a review of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.

Big time nostalgia factor for me here, 3.5 readers.  When the original MST3K film came out in the 1990s, my buddies and I watched it over and over again.  Oh, how we laughed and laughed.  We used to run around quoting lines like, “Science!  Men with screwdrivers!  Twisting things…and turning them!”

Ahh, you had to be sentient in the 1990s to get it.

Hmm…now I think I realize why I ended up as a lowly blog proprietor with only 3.5 readers.

Anyway, if you’ve never checked it out before, now’s your chance.  It’s back, this time with a series on Netflix.  Oh, Netflix.  Is there anything you won’t green light?

The premise is basically the same as the original.  A human is trapped in a space lair of some sort, forced by an evil villain to watch terrible old science-fiction movies for hours on end, supposedly as part of some study of how the brain operates while watching crappy movies.

The majority of the show is devoted to the human, Jonah Ray (Jonah Heston) and robot sidekicks Crow and Tom Servo, watching these horrendous films and busting on them with reckless abandon.  When you watch, you’ll see the film in your screen, with just three little shadows of the hecklers in the lower right hand side.

The movies are awful, old, poorly thrown together, devoid of any kind of decent plot, and usually suffer from a combination of laziness and a lack of special effects technology, because, you know, they were made a long time ago.  Also, they’re often foreign.  At any rate, there’s a strong chance that but for MST3K, you would have never have even heard of any of these films, that’s how bad they are.

The movie is broken up with Jonah and his bot buddies in various segments, doing interesting, wacky things.  Noted Internet nerds Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt star as Kinga Forrester and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (crazy name), the villains who are keeping Jonah and the bots captive.

The segments are produced with low quality, low budget effects, assumably to mock the films that are being watched, but more likely because the studio didn’t want to shell out the cash.

I can’t quite put my finger on it.  It may be that when I was younger, I had a less discerning sense of humor.  Or maybe the original movie was great and then other versions, i.e. the 1999 show, the web show, or this Netflix show, are just attempts to recreate the glory of one very awesome film.

Maybe the 1990s were just a happier time where people weren’t as jaded and thus they laughed easier.

Maybe the big joke behind the concept was original then, but now it’s sort of played out.

I’ve only watched part of the first episode, Reptilicus, thus far.  In this one, the boys heckle what is essentially the 1960’s Dutch version of Godzilla.  It’s about as 1960s as you can get, complete with male scientists being surprised that women might know anything about science.

Much to my surprise, Erin Gray, aka Kate Summers aka Ricky Schroeder’s step-mom on the 1980s sitcom Silver Spoons, has a cameo.  I know.  I am ashamed of myself for knowing who she was.  Still, for a broad in her late sixties, she looks pretty good.  I would watch shitty movies with her anytime.

Overall, it’s a fun distraction and something to put on when you want to be entertained but don’t want to expend a lot of brain power.  It’s also a fun exercise to see what movies used to be and how far along they have come.

Moreover, it’s a tribute to the olden days, a time when networks would actually try to keep you entertained between commercials.  Local TV stations would often run a movie, then have some kind of weird character introduce it and talk about it between the commercials.  I mean, so I’ve heard.  I’m not that frigging old.

At some point we learned that the movies should not suck of their own accord and that a host shouldn’t have to keep the movie interesting.

STATUS:  It’s fun.  One issue is that the movies are, you know, long movies, so the episodes often run like an hour and a half.  That’s a big time commitment but hey, in true Internet style, if you put it up there, someone will check it out.  3.5 someones in my case.

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Movie Review – Sandy Wexler (2017)

The 1990s are alive again!

BQB here with a review of Adam Sandler’s latest Netflix comedy.

 

It’s the last decade of the second millennium and Sandy Wexler (Adam Sandler) is the worst agent in all of Hollywood.  He’s a bumbling, incompetent boob with a wacky voice, big window pane glasses and all sorts of disgusting quirks.  He lies constantly, makes weird outbursts and can’t eat anything without getting it all over anyone in his vicinity.

His clients stink too, ranging from a stunt man who can’t stop destroying himself (Nick Swardson) to one of the creepiest ventriloquists of all time (Kevin James).

All that changes when Sandy discovers singer Courtney Clarke (Jennifer Hudson).  She quickly becomes Sandy’s first client with talent ever.  As her career blasts off, Sandy ends up going through the ringer of a town known for chewing people up and spitting them out.

This movie is a celebration of all things 90s.  The funky neon shirts, the cars, the popular products of the day, the styles, the pop culture, it’s all on full display, coming across as Adam Sandler’s love song to the decade that made him big.  Believe it or not but there was a scene that made me miss Fruitopia.  Mmm.  Fruitopia.  Do you remember Fruitopia?  It was actually pretty good.  I want one right now.

The whole story is narrated by a plethora of 1990s era celebrities.  Pauly Shore, Jewel, Lisa Loeb, Downtown Julie Brown, Arsenio Hall are just some of the big names of yesteryear that pop in, making me depressed that the decade I came of age in is so far gone now.

Oh well.  That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Jennifer Hudson’s beauty and singing skills are the best parts of the film, leaving me to wonder why she is so underutilized in Hollywood.  She makes the film great but there was a part of me that thought, “This poor, classy woman.  She’s so much better than this.  She should be headlining major films.”

Oh well.  Maybe Hollywood will get the message on J-Hud sooner or later.

There’s a divided verdict out there on Adam Sandler.  If you were born in the 80s or before, you probably love him.  If you were born in the 90s or after, you hate him.  All of his movies usually involve him embracing a zany character and then following through on the character’s quirks to an eventual conclusion.

Personally, I love Adam Sandler, but if I’m channeling my movie critic side, I’d have to say that his two best films were Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison.  He had one great comeback with Don’t Mess with the Zohan and then it has been choppy waters ever since.

Thus, I think Adam has found a good home on Netflix.  Streaming allows his fans like me to find him without drawing the ire of millennials who take a look at the Sandman without being completely baffled about what he’s up to.

Then again, sometimes I’m baffled about what Adam is up to.  Hell, I bet even Adam is baffled.

Why is this man funny?  The world may never know…but he is….sometimes.  He’s kind of like your home team.  He wins some.  He loses some.  You root for him because you have fond memories of when he won some and you’re waiting for him to win some again.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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TV Review – Louis CK 2017

Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie…

BQB here with a review of Louis CK’s Netflix comedy special, Louis CK 2017.

Louis CK’s still got it.  For some reason, he’s out of his standard black T-shirt and in a business suit.  I’m not sure why.  I noticed he was wearing a suit when he hosted SNL too.  Is he retiring the black shirt?  Is he becoming more square as he approaches fifty?  Who knows.  If he wants to wear a suit, let the dude wear a suit.

I don’t want to give too much away.  You want to hear Louis tell his jokes, not me.  Highlights include his take on abortion, the Christian calendar, and how he’d be gay if it didn’t require him to take a you know what up his you know where.

As usual, Louis has a unique ability to take the most cringeworthy subjects and make them uproariously funny.  Check him on out on Netflix.

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TV Review – Ali Wong: Baby Cobra

Sex, feminism and trapping a man.

BQB here with a review of Ali Wong’s stand-up comedy Netflix special, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra.

I consider myself a comedic historian and to the best of my knowledge, this special marks the first time that a comedian took to the stage while seven months pregnant.

With her baby bump on full display and not slowing her down a bit, Fresh off the Boat writer Ali Wong makes all manner of freaky sexual jokes that might offend your virgin ears, puts political correctness through a meat grinder, dishes on all the hilarious methods she used to “trap” her Harvard Business School graduate husband, and even sends up feminism (all women had to do was stay home and some bitch had to go and ruin it).

Her words (paraphrasing), not mine.  Different comedians are definitely able to say different types of things and get away with it in today’s politically correct age.

I’d never heard of Ali before and just watched her special on a lark but I was glad I did.  The one thing I notice is she speaks with almost a devilish charm, like she’s trying to come across as evil to make the jokes work yet you are also left with the impression that she isn’t half that evil off the stage.

Then again, how would I know?  I never asked her trapped husband.

 

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Movie Review – I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

Ridiculous amounts of cartoonish violence and ennui.

BQB here with a review of Netflix’s, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.

Ruth (Melanie Lynskey), a nursing assistant, is epically bummed.  Inconsiderate people surround her wherever she goes.  From the guy at the supermarket who always drops something on the floor then leaves it for someone else to pick up, to the dude with unnecessarily huge exhaust pipes on his truck belching smoke into the air, to whoever is allowing their dog to poop on her lawn everyday, there just seems to be an unmitigated lack of concern for others in this world.

All these bad vibes culminate when her house is robbed.  Rather than go the usual route of being content to file a police report that goes nowhere, she snaps and sets out on a mission to hunt the house robbers down.

She finds a sidekick in her neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood), a martial arts enthusiast who is more likely to nunchuck himself than actually do anything useful.

At first, I thought this was going to be a dark comedy, almost a parody of the 1993 film Falling Down, in which frustrated office worker Michael Douglas snaps and lashes out at all the flaws in society, even going so far as to pull a gun on the fast food worker who refuses to make him breakfast after 11 am.

But no.  Instead, as Ruth and Tony delve deeper into the criminal underworld to which the home invaders belong, the violence gets bigger, badder, bolder, and frankly, ends up being absurd, comical and a gonzo-esque attempt to freak out the viewer.

I’m not sure how to describe it.  It wants to be a dark comedy but it isn’t that funny.  Or, if that was the intention, someone behind the film mistook shock for comedy.  At any rate, the body count piles up and Elijah Wood delivers the few laughs of the film.

STATUS:  Bordeling shelf-worthy.  It starts well then loses its way.  But if you’ve got Netflix and nothing else to do, check it out.

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TV Review: American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson

Murder.  Courtroom theatrics.  A car chase involving an infamous white Ford Bronco.

VGRF here with a review of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Even after being told by all sorts of people that this series was worth a look see, I avoided it.  After all, I was alive in the 1990s and if you were too, then this case was splashed on every TV channel all day, everyday.  Though I was in high school at the time, like every other human on the planet, I gained a working knowledge of details, workings, and controversies behind the case, simply because it was impossible not to, given that the whole country was captivated by it.

In other words, I just didn’t think a new TV show about it could tell me much I didn’t already know but I was wrong.  After giving the first episode on a shot on Netflix, I was instantly hooked.

If you’re a youngster, here’s my best attempt at a quick rehash.  At one time, O.J. Simpson was a beloved American icon.  He was a football star dubbed, “The Juice,” known for his incredible speed and pulling off amazing moves on the field.  After his athletic career ended, he found a second calling in TV commercials for Hertz rental cars.  Further, he played the lovable Nordberg in The Naked Gun, taking all manner of comic abuse from incompetent Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen).

In 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were gruesomely stabbed to death.  Incredibly damning pieces of evidence against O.J. were found, ranging from O.J.’s blood being found at the crime scene to Brown’s blood being found at O.J.’s home property.

Seemed like an open and shut case of a jealous ex-husband seeking the ultimate revenge against his ex-wife and a man she was either seeing or was just unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Perhaps people with better memories can remind me but as far as I recall, it sounded like Nicole and Ron were considered to be an item largely due to the fact that he was at Nicole’s home to return a pair of sunglasses left at the restaurant he worked at and restaurant workers are unlikely to do that sort of thing without some kind of romantic intentions.

Alas, the case didn’t turn out that easy.  DNA evidence was relatively new at the time.  People were having a hard time grasping the concept that science could be used to match blood to the person who bled it.  Prior to DNA evidence, blood found at a crime scene could have belonged to anyone as far as the police knew.

On top of that, LA had been devastated by massive, widespread riots over the result of the Rodney King beating case verdict, i.e. police officers were caught on top beating a suspect, were let off the hook, and the community was none too pleased, to say the least.

Against that backdrop, the O.J. case became a microcosm of varying points of view against the different groups that comprised America:

  • Many African Americans saw the case as an example of a poor black man who pulled himself up, found fame and fortune, and was being railroaded by a system that didn’t want to see black people get ahead.
  • Others saw the case of celebrity status run amuck.  To paraphrase comedian Chris Rock’s take on the case, had O.J. been a bus driver, he’d of been “Orenthal the bus driving murderer.”  In other words, had O.J. not possessed the star power needed to dazzle the public along with the financial resources to dole out a fortune to a “Dream Team” of the country’s most famous attorneys, he most likely would have been found guilty.  Thus, many didn’t see this as a racial case so much as a case of how the rich and famous are able to game the system and get away with crimes the poor and obscure never could.
  • Some even saw it as an example of the struggles of battered women.  There had been a long history of Nicole being beaten by OJ running up to the murders yet nothing happened.
  • Ultimately, the case was the first courtroom battle to be broadcast round the clock on twenty four hour news stations.  It was sensationalized to the max, and everyone and their uncle came out of the woodwork to cash in on the O.J. case.

Anyway, enough of the backstory.  What captivated me about this series is that I was treated to something I didn’t see in the 1990s, i.e. what happened behind the scenes.  That turmoil is best expressed via the individual experiences of the key players:

  • Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer) – O.J.’s best friend who serves as an attorney on the Dream Team.  This is some of the best acting I’ve seen coming out of Schwimmer, as he makes me believe that he truly loves O.J. and that love keeps him blind to the possibility that O.J. could have been behind these murders.  Also, he was the father of the Kardashian clan, aka Kim Kardashian, as well as Khloe, Kourtney, and Rob, not to mention ex-husband of Kris.  There’s a scene where Robert lectures his young children that values like friendship, loyalty, hard work and so on are much more important than fame and glamour, but something tells me the kids weren’t listening.
  • Robert Shapiro (John Travolta) – Also some of the best acting I’ve seen out of Travolta, who portrays Shapiro as a sleaze who is overly concerned with his reputation and what the public thinks about him.  Known as a celebrity plea bargainer, i.e. an attorney who helps celebrity defendants get the best possible deal rather than taking the cases to trial.
  • Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) – Tough lead prosecutor who starts out thinking the case is a slam dunk only to have it consume her life when it becomes more than she bargained for.  Hard as nails as she wants to see justice done for the victims.  Victim of a sexist media that routinely comments on her physical appearance, clothes, and hair style.  Her family life suffers as she has to hire babysitters to watch her kids all the time, leaving her ex-husband to challenge custody.  Vastly outnumbered against O.J.’s team of the best lawyers money can buy.
  • Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance) – Was often parodied as a flashy charlatan at the time of trial as he wore loud suits and spoke in rhyme (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”)  This series gives his reputation gets a bit of an upgrade as we see Cochran’s past work in representing African American defendants and families of victims of alleged police brutality.
  • Chris Darden (Sterling K. Brown) – In a widespread, star studded cast, probably has the most compelling story.  He is a co-prosecutor on the case, yet family and friends from his old neighborhood view him as a sellout because they feel O.J. has been falsely accused and is being railroaded by the man.  Ironically, having worked in a dead end position in the LA DA’s office in which he investigates allegations against police officers that never go anywhere due to a system that prevents this from happening, he is aware that the LAPD is not without its share of problems.  Yet, he also believes what’s right is right, what’s wrong is wrong and in this particular case, feels strongly in O.J.’s guilt and that letting a murderer go free isn’t the way to fix a broken system.

Last but not least, Cuba Gooding Jr. reminds us why he won an Oscar in his portrayal of Simpson.  This had to have been a difficult character to play.  Even behind the scenes, Cuba as O.J. maintains his innocence.  At no time are you given a proverbial smoking gun, so if you think he’s guilty, you are free to interpret O.J.’s actions/outbursts/odd activities as those of a guilty man, or if you think he’s innocent, you are free to chalk it all up to the stress of a falsely accused man being railroad.

Although, let’s be honest, holy shit, O.J. was totally guilty.  I’m not sure if there was ever any kind of poll but as far as I know, everyone thinks he did it and the evidence is pretty undeniable, even though the jury denied it at the time.  The family of Ronald Goldman was able to win a civil judgment against the Juice.  What clinches it for me (among many things that clinched it) was that years later, OJ released a disturbing If I Did It book, explaining how he would have done it – not exactly something that a person “falsely accused” of murdering an ex-wife he claimed to love would do, IMO.

Ironically, years later, O.J. ended up going to jail after a failed burglary meant to steal pieces of his sports memorabilia.  One would think that a man who so miraculously beat a murder rap would have kept his nose clean from then on, oh that wacky O.J.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Binge watch it on Netflix today.

 

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Stranger Things Season 2 Trailer

Hey 3.5 readers.

Video Game Rack Fighter here.  BQB continues to live a life in exile at the Random Motel.

Did you miss the Stranger Things 2 trailer during the Super Bowl?  Here it is.  Good news?  Eggos and Ghostbusters.  Bad news?  It’s not back until October!

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TV Review – Santa Clarita Diet

Zombies!  Murder!  Mayhem!  Sitcom stupidity.

Video Game Rack Fighter here with a review of Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet.  Meanwhile, enjoy your BQB free diet because that nerd will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever write on this blog ever again, ever.

So, Netflix has taken the iZombie idea of a zombie who can still basically function as a human who speaks normally and Dexter, where the protagonist murders bad people, except here she does it for food.

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star as suburban California realtors Joel and Sheila Hammond, just another boring couple living a quiet life with daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) on an idyllic cul-de-sac where all the houses look the same.

In the first episode, Sheila inexplicably dies and yet, does not die.  SPOILER ALERT: there’s a lot of vomit involved.

Sheila’s heart beat stops, she can be injured without being hurt, she loses control of her base desires and just wants to have sex with her previously sex deprived husband all the time.  Clearly, there’s been a big change.

Rather than, you know, consult a doctor, the family brings in a nerd, creepy next-door neighbor kid Eric (Skyler Gisondo).  He diagnoses Sheila as a zombie because, you know, he reads comic books and shit so apparently he’s an expert.  It’s all presented tongue in cheek and the audience is winked at to just go with it.

There are parts that are funny and parts that are just gross.  I feel sad for Timothy Olyphant.  I got so used to watching him play the tough cowboy in Justified that it seems depressing to watch him become the stereotypical pussy sitcom dad, completely impotent and unable to get any respect from his wife or kid and left to write sternly worded letters to the company that failed to design his toaster oven properly.

The main rule that all good writers must follow is, “Show, don’t tell.”  Viewers prefer to see things happen rather than be told that things happened and yet, at least in the first episode, we are told that things happened rather than shown that things happened.

I almost wondered if that might be a result of the episodes only being a half hour long.  With only a half hour, the show comes across as a zany sitcom.  With an hour, the characters could be developed more without the characters just blurting out the details of scenes we missed.

The verdict is still out on this show.  The first episode had its ups and downs but it was interesting enough to get me to come back for more.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, and I hope BQB enjoys spooning with Leo McCoy in the Randomtown Motel because he will never be allowed to Netflix and chill with me in BQB HQ ever again.

Also, as a grammar issue, I think the show should be called, “The Santa Clarita Diet.”

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They Ruined Last Man Standing

OK.  I’m about five years late with this complaint, but I guess that’s what happens when shows are preserved forever on Netflix and you can watch them whenever you want.

For the most part, I hate it when there are cast changes on a TV show.  If a group of actors/actresses wowed everyone in the first season then every effort should be made to keep the band together.

You don’t change your socks in the bottom of the ninth.  To change an actress is to change the character altogether.

In the first season, Last Man Standing was basically Tim Allen taking his winning Home Improvement formula and applying it to modern times.

On Home Improvement, Tim Taylor lusted after power tools, was kept in check by intelligent wife/psychology student Jill, and was a father to three wacky boys.  From time to time, he’d seek advice from his TV show co-star Al or his mysterious neighbor, Wilson.  During his Tool Time TV show, he’d regale the studio audience with a rant about some subject related to a problem he was experiencing with his family.

On Last Man Standing, the three boys are traded in for three girls.  Mike Baxter lusts after crossbows, shotguns and assorted pieces of hunting equipment.  He’s kept in check by intelligent wife/geologist Vanessa.  He seeks advice from his boss/confidant Ed.  In a modern twist, he regales the Outdoor Man website visitors with rants related to some problem he is experiencing with his family.

Symmetry.  Gotta love it.  Then they ruined it.

In the first season, Mike’s eldest daughter Kristin is played by Alexandra Krosney.  Her backstory is that she got pregnant during her senior year of high school, thus destroying all of her college hopes and dreams while leaving Mike with his only male ally in a house full of girls, his little grandson Boyd.

There was definitely a subtle lesson behind that character.  The message to young people who have kids way too young is, ok, you made a mistake.  But life isn’t over.  Kristin gets up everyday, works at a rancid diner, takes care of her son and occasionally takes a college class when she can fit it into her schedule.  Mom, Dad and younger sisters pitch in to help Kristin out.

Happy family.  Gotta love it.  You’re left with a hope that as long as Kristin keeps plugging away, she will eventually get her long awaited award.  She’ll get her education and she won’t have to work at a stank ass diner anymore.

Alas, in Season Two, Krosney is replaced by Amanda Fuller.  I don’t mean to knock Fuller.  She’s playing the character she was hired to play but, this version of Kristin stinks.

Jordan Masterson is brought in to play Boyd’s dad, Ryan, who in the first season had been played by Nick Jonas in a one time guest spot.

New Kristin and Ryan become liberal foils to conservative Mike.  What used to be a sweet, funny show about a happy family descends into a weekly political debate show where everyone comes across as though they want to slap the crap out of each other over the latest political happenings of the day.

I have a hunch what the network was trying to do.  They essentially moved from modern Home Improvement to modern All in the Family.

If you missed All in the Family, it had the same vibe.  Die hard conservative Archie Bunker would go toe to toe with his super liberal daughter Gloria and son-in-law Mike aka Meathead.

People tend to forget that as much of a hard ass Archie Bunker was, Mike and Gloria were, at times, unbearable in their own ways.

Archie had his pros, namely, he was a good provider and the only one in the household with the brains needed to earn a dollar or get any work done.  He also had his cons in that he was brutish and harsh, stubborn and set in his ways, though occasionally a heart of gold peeked through.

Mike and Gloria had their pros.  They cared about people and the world and were happy go lucky flower children.  But they had their cons, namely, neither one of them could work their way out of a wet paper bag and by the end of the show they had ended up a pair of forty year olds dependent on their elderly father/father-in-law because they were too free spirited to figure out how to earn a living on their own.

In short, the show runners, in my opinion anyway, were trying to say, “Hey, look, both sides have some good ideas, and bad ideas, no one has a complete lock on right and wrong and sometimes when people on opposing sides lock horns, all reason is thrown out the window.”

Apparently, the “new and improved” Kristin and Ryan worked enough to keep the show going for years but personally, I liked the first season better.  I get they are going for modern day Archie vs. Meathead and Gloria in the form of Mike vs. New Kristin and Ryan, but to me, it just comes across as this once adorable, happy family now hates each other.

Mike, like Archie, is a bit of a hard ass, though nowhere near as hard as Archie.  His conservative beliefs clash with New Kristin and Ryan’s liberalism, and the trio spend at least half of every show duking it out in a war of ideology.

Like Archie, Mike is a good provider, but he does try to foist his beliefs on his kids.  Like Meathead and Gloria, New Kristin and Ryan believe their way is the best to help people, but they do come off as ungrateful brats who boinked one night in high school and now they expect their father/father-in-law to raise and pay for their kid for them but they still want to lecture him on how to do it and tell him that he’s doing a shitty job when they should be thanking him for being there for them.

All I know is I just end up missing the happy family that loved each other in season one.

Plus, the bitter political divide the country suffers from can be seen everywhere.  Did we really need to see it on this show too?

Anyway.  Thanks for listening to my five year old complaint, America.  Bring back Alexandra Krosney.

Blah.  I don’t know if I’ll even bother to keep watching it.

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TV Review – One Day at a Time (2017)

A single mom, two kids and a hot eighty-five year old reboot the Norman Lear classic sitcom, exclusively on Netflix.

BQB here with a review of One Day at a Time.

As a Gen X-er (I swear we exist), I have vague memories of the original One Day at a Time.  Single mom Bonnie Franklin balanced raising two daughters, a job and a friendship with a wacky landlord during a time when TV viewers were just starting to accept seeing divorced characters in lead roles on TV.

I recall the show being mildly interesting but it wasn’t, say Facts of Life or Family Ties or one of those 1980s shows that has been handed down through the ages.  It was one of those shows that you’d watch while you were waiting for one of those other big shows to watch.  I can’t remember much from it other than it introduced the world to Valerie Bertinelli.

The show’s been rebooted with a modern flair with a Cuban-American family.  Justina Machado stars as single mother/Afghanistan war veteran/nurse Penelope.  She juggles her day job, raising two kids, her “I’ve made a deal with the devil to keep looking this young” mother Rita Moreno and a friendship with wacky landlord Schneider, who has been given a hipster makeover for modern times.

It has all of the sitcom cheesiness: canned laughter, silly jokes, formulaic plots and so on.  The family faces millennial problems that Bonnie Franklin couldn’t have dreamed of, i.e. daughter Isabella refuses to have a quinceanara because she thinks it is an outdated, misogynistic ritual, for example.

At any rate, the show is a good example of a reboot done right.  It takes a show that was popular back in the day but didn’t really develop a long lasting, post-run fan base, capitalizes on the name and the plot formula, yet makes it fresh and new.

And besides, Schneider was a hipster before hipsters even existed.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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