Tag Archives: television

TV Review – House of Cards – Season 6

As they say in Gaffney, all good things come to an end.

BQB here with a review of “House of Cards.”

You know, 3.5 readers.  There ought to be a rule.  Call it “The Spacey Rule.”  If you’re an actor about to take a role in a compelling TV series that hinges on that role, you should not have allegations of pervery against you.

Spacey’s character, Francis Underwood, a ruthless, cunning politician who bargained, bribed, bought, cajoled, sweet talked, murdered, screwed (literally and figuratively) and worse, convinced many of his victims to do themselves in, was crucial to the series.

Indeed, Claire (Robin Wright Penn) was his partner-in-crime and before Spacey’s alleged pervery was made public, it looked like the show was heading toward an eventual showdown where the President and First Lady would duke it out.

Thus, the writers were boxed in with this last season.  No season without Francis was going to feel satisfying and yet, to not provide some kind of ending would be a letdown as well.

At the beginning of this final season, Claire is in the first 100 days of her presidency.  Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear play a brother/sister team of wealthy business moguls who apparently were bankrolling the Underwoods and expecting favors in return, though this is the first we’ve heard of them.

Francis is dead, ostensibly due to an overdose of prescription medication, though true accidents without someone at fault rarely, if ever, happen on this show, unless some sort of nefarious evildoer wants it to seem that way.

Claire has learned the art of underhanded politics from the master himself and now free of her husband, she wants to make one last series of weaselly doings to secure her power, push out her enemies and, one might assume, make the world a better place?

Her foil is Doug Stamper, Francis’ longtime henchman.  Claire wants to throw Francis’ reputation under the bus to save herself.  Doug wants to save Francis’ legacy.

Claire, the bro/sis team and Doug go all in on a battle royale and indeed, there is a victor but I won’t spoil it for you.

Suffice to say, imagine if you were invited to a fancy dinner at a friend’s house.  You were promised that if you work your way through five courses, each more tasty than the last, you’d eventually get to that final sixth course that would make your toes curl and your taste buds scream out in orgasmic delight.

Then, alas, your friend comes out and says, “Hey, I’m so sorry, my head chef just got fired due to allegations of pervery so I’m not able to serve you that sixth course you long waited for but hey, here is a tasty bag of Funions.”

Sure, you’ll eat the Funions.  You’ll enjoy the Funions but…you’ll always wish that head chef had kept it in his pants so he could have stuck around to make that final filet mignon.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  The writers made the best out of a bad situation and ultimately, Spacey is the one to blame but it’s hard not to think about how satisfying a final Francis-centric season would have been and sigh a sad, defeated sigh.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Don’t Make a Breaking Bad Movie

I liked Breaking Bad but I don’t think they should continue it with a movie.

Oh, if you missed it, Bryan Cranston said in an interview that there would be a movie, or that he’d love to be in a movie or whatever.  Not sure exactly but it was hinted that there would be one.

I just think that series was wrapped up well and it is rare that happens, when all the threads pulled are tied up and viewers are left satisfied.  Let’s not spoil that.

Plus, what has it been, ten years since that show started?  Walter White would have to have the slowest moving cancer ever…on top of being shot in the finale.

Oh shut up you’ve had five years to see it.

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TV Review – Kidding (2018)

Do you ever think the people you cheer you up on TV might be the saddest of all?

BQB here with a review of “Kidding.”

I’m not sure what to make of this show.  It seems like I should be laughing but instead, I feel like crying.  I’m an adult, so I rarely, if ever, cry, but you know what I mean.

Jim Carrey returns to TV in this series about an icon of children’s television whose life has run off the rails.

To his fans, he’s Mr. Pickles, a Mr. Rogers-esque storyteller who lives in a world of make-believe, surrounded by puppet friends.  He’s a multi-millionaire dollar industry who has inspired books, toys, and merchandise and keeps PBS afloat.

Outside of TV, he’s Jeff Piccirillo and here’s the rub of the show.  His family thinks he should be a normal guy who sins and swears in his personal life but Mr. Pickles isn’t an act.  Jeff is Mr. Pickles 24/7 and he displays the highest levels of courtesy and kindness to everyone, even his family who constantly dumps on him.

A year has passed since one of his two twin sons has died in a car accident.  His wife, Jill (Judy Greer) is so saddened by the loss that she can’t stomach Jeff’s nice guy persona anymore.  His surviving son, Will (Cole Allen) can’t take it either.

And thus, a great contrast is struck.  Millions of fans cheer for Mr. Pickles, sending constant thank you letters detailing how he has changed their lives for the better with his inspiring words of wisdom.

But the kindness that makes him universally loved by the world makes him despised at home.  When he tries to talk to Will about the grieving process, the boy calls his old man a pussy.  When he learns his wife is sleeping with another man, he, to her disappointment, doesn’t get mad but instead bakes her a pie and asks to discuss it in a polite, civilized manner.

Back at the studio, Mr. Pickles is a family business. His sister, Deirdre (Catherine Keener) is the show’s head puppeteer with problems of her own.  Her arc sort of mirrors Jeff’s.  While she doesn’t have that happy persona, she loves her job but isn’t happy with her home life.

Meanwhile, veteran dramatic actor Frank Langella steals the show as Jeff’s father, Sebastian.  “Seb” is cold, calculating, and cares only about the bottom line.

Jeff wants to test some limits on the show.  He wants to process his grief in the only way he knows how, by bringing his feelings onto the show.  He wants to do a show that teaches kids about how to deal with the death of a loved one, but Seb won’t agree, arguing that parents will just change the channel and Mr. Pickles’ bottom line will go bust.

When you watch the trailer, you might think that this show is just a parody of Mr. Rogers.  It is but then again, it isn’t.  Perhaps Mr. Rogers benefitted from the fact that he lived during a time when morals and values were upheld.  They weren’t followed by everyone but they weren’t openly mocked and scorned by public figures either.  People at least paid lip service to the idea of being a good doobie.

On the other hand, Mr. Pickles lives in a time when being kind is confused with weakness and being nice gets you called a pussy.

As a viewer, you end up wondering who is right.  Jeff processes his grief by being there for his family, even though they hate his guts.  He takes their abuse and comes back for more, being more concerned about his well-being than his dignity.  Most men insulted by their wives and kids too many times would just walk away but Jeff hangs in there.

Is Jill right for looking for solace in a new fling?  Is young Will right for smoking pot with a new group of dopey kids?  These bad behaviors are typical of people whose lives were destroyed and yet, these behaviors also get them nowhere.

Jeff is unusually, bizarrely kind and you begin to wonder if he is abnormal in his graciousness, or perhaps he’s the only sane one in a world full of cynical, miserable crazies.  Everyone is drinking and swearing and debasing themselves, descending into meaningless misery, despair and hedonism, lashing out at everyone.

Thus, maybe Jeff is the only one who is smart enough to walk a higher path.  He most likely is doing the right thing, though in his personal life, it gets him nowhere.

The crux of the show seems to be making us wait to see if Jeff will have a full on breakdown.  Will he grab his wife and give her a vigorous banging?  Will he tell his kid to shut the eff up and get off drugs?  Will he tell his father that on the show, it’s his way or the highway?

Or maybe he’ll flip out in some other unexpected way.  Will Mr. Pickles fly off the handle and do something awful that blows up the pickles world altogether?

If it’s a comedy, it’s a dark one.  You laugh at things you feel you shouldn’t and me, personally, I do root for Mr. Pickles.  There’s a part of me that wants to tell him to just start giving shit back to the people who are shitting on him but then there’s another part of me that thinks Jeff will score a victory by being nice to the bitter end.  His family will ultimately destroy him if he does, but at least he will have been right.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

 

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TV Review – Orange is the New Black – Season 6 Review (Spoilers Abound)

Hey 3.5 readers.

I don’t have time to give this season the in-depth review it deserves, so I’ll try to break it down quickly.

I felt the first couple seasons were an interesting look into prison life.  Hollywood tends to really ham up prison portrayals –  i.e. that classic scene where the main character enters the joint for the first time and the prisoners throw rain garbage and flaming pieces of whatever down upon him out of their cells.

While I’m sure violence is an ever present threat in prisons (and is portrayed a lot on this show) the show gave an aspect that other shows about the clink rarely showed, i.e., that it’s all one great big glorified high school for adults, complete with social cliques, winners, losers, a great big fishbowl where everyone is in everyone else’s business and the slightest bit of gossip can wreak all kinds of havoc.

I felt in later seasons, the show started to jump the shark as the more outrageous the shenanigans got.  At times, some of the tomfoolery seemed unlikely and increasingly far fetched.

But this last season really brought the series home.

Here, the OITNB girls, or a segment of them anyway, end up in the “max” prison, following a riot that goes bad.  Alas, they find themselves as pawns in the neverending war between two geriatric sisters with a longstanding grudge that has existed since the 1980s.

Lots of emotion, sadness, all sorts of bad things happen.

If the showrunners wanted to, they could probably end the series here.  Piper goes home and assumedly, like the real Piper she was based on, will write a book about her time in the can.

Vause looks like she will atone for her sin of putting Piper in prison in the first place – then again, maybe not as it looks like the boss she had to swear allegiance to in order to get Piper off the hook is no longer around.

Taystee goes down for a crime she didn’t commit but is the poster child for how the system swallows poor young African Americans up.

Black Cindy will forever want to do the right thing, be unable to do the right thing, but always feel guilty for not doing the right thing.

I could go on and on, there are so many characters that I dont think it’s possible for all of their storylines to be resolved (other than most of them will be in the slammer for a long time) I think overall, this season finale brought home a lot of stuff for the main members of the ensemble.

I’ve read that there will be a season 7.  I assume this will be where Piper the ex-inmate becomes Piper the author.  Perhaps the writers will figure out a way to get Taystee out of the fix she is in.

At times, the show goes overboard and over the top.  Sometimes I think it is too liberal as many of the women are portrayed as poor little birds who couldn’t help but be there.  Many of the back stories show people who started out somewhat ok, then just made one bad choice and ended up in jail.  Flaca, for example, sold colored pieces of paper, told kids it was acid to make a buck, only to be charged when a classmate was dumb enough to believe he was tripping when he wasn’t and kill himself.

But then at other times, the show will get real…sometimes too real…the backstory scene where we learn what the 1980s bitties did to get locked up is too scary for words.

Guards are often portrayed as roid addled, power tripping losers but then we also see how they suffer behind the scenes too.

The show could end here and be a rare show that ties up all the ends but it sounds like it has at least another season left.  The writers will have to keep towing that difficult to balance light between humor and abject horror, never going too far into one side or the other.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

 

 

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More Insight on the Buffy Reboot

Hey 3.5 readers.  So, Monica Owusu-Breen, the showrunner who is in charge of the new Buffy reboot, had this to say on Twitter:

“So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer…”

If that means, a whole new Slayer with a different name and different friends, then that’s awesome.

If you’re saying a new version of the same Buffy character, then stop toying with me.

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Andrew Lincoln to Leave the Walking Dead

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Sad news for “Walking Dead” fans, 3.5 readers.

My thoughts:

#1 – My initial hot take is you suck, Andrew Lincoln.  I hope this isn’t a ploy where you want more time to do movies because seriously, there is no movie that you could be in that people want to see more than a kick ass series finale to the show that made you a star.  Bryan Cranston realized that he had to juggle movies around his main bread and butter, namely sticking with “Breaking Bad” until the end.

#2 – But after calming down for a minute, maybe he doesn’t suck.  Lincoln is from England and he points out that the show has kept him from seeing his family for a long time.  AMC may be the network that a show about a meth cooking teacher built, but it is also the network that zombies kept afloat and in sticky cash.  AMC does not want to ditch those zombies any time soon.  It’s a great formula.  Hire dummies to run around the woods pretending to fight zombies.  Plot = humans need something in a place where zombies are.  Fight zombies.  Get sad a human dies.  Occasionally move to a new place that seems like it is run by nice people at first but then the people are bad.  Cut.  Print.  Repeat.

In that case, you can’t blame Andrew Lincoln for not wanting to stay FOREVER.  If AMC is going to keep the zombies coming until the end of time, then I suppose we can’t begrudge Andrew for not wanting to fight the zombies for the rest of his life.

“Law and Order” for example, found a winning formula and it has been on for decades now.  Sure, Mariska Hargitay stuck with it but that’s her choice.  Other actors haven’t stuck around.  I’m not even sure all the actors that were on it in the beginning are still alive.

I think we all have been waiting for that epic series finale that explains all but I have a feeling that AMC will keep “Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” and possible other spin offs going forever, just bands of humans fighting zombies until the end of time.

If they pull it off, more power to them.  My gut tells me they won’t and once Rick Grimes leaves, that will be it for the viewership.  Maybe not.  Maybe they’ll pull it off but that rarely happens when the main star leaves.

Examples I can think of – “That 70s Show” kept going without Topher Grace as his movie career kicked off.  I don’t blame the cast and crew for wanting to keep it going but I stopped watching after that and I think most people did because it was cancelled not long after Grace left.  Replacing him with a cousin didn’t help.

It’s not impossible to keep a show running without the main character, just unlikely.

#3 – So if Andrew doesn’t want to be Rick until the end of time and AMC wants the zombies forever, I can understand why he wants to exit but even so, we at least need a kickass ending arc to Rick’s character.  That will be like a finale for those of us who have stuck with the show from the beginning.  Maybe we’ll dump the show after Rick leaves.  Maybe we’ll stick around if the writers figure out a great Rick replacement.  But at least give us some closure with Rick.  I fear that won’t happen but we’ll see.

#4 – Andrew leaving should have been kept quiet.  We are now going into the new season with a spoiler.  We know Rick will either die or go off on his own or something.  If they could have kept Andrew’s leaving quiet, then an unexpected Rick death would have suprised the shit out of all of us.

#5 – We’ll see how it goes but I think Andrew and AMC owed us viewers a good resolution to Rick’s character and to the show itself, because I do have a hard time believing the show can carry on without Rick but we’ll see.  We viewers built your network with our support for your show, AMC.  We didn’t let you down when “Walking Dead” needed word of mouth and people hyping the show up on social media, so don’t let us down by giving us a lame ending to a show we’ve been watching nearly a decade now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Pride in Work is Dead

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Not to get into specifics because you never know when the Yeti might be listening, but recently, I upgraded BQB HQ and that required the purchase of a number of new appliances.

You take them out of the box, set them up, everything is right as rain, right?

Wrong.  You have no idea how much time I’ve spent on the phone with tech support and customer assistance the past few months.

I got a vacuum cleaner that wouldn’t suck and ironically, its inability to suck made it suck.  It was cheap so I thought I got a bargain but apparently it was cheap for a reason.  After multiple go arounds with customer service, I junked it and forked out the cash for a Dyson.  The Dyson works great and ironically, had I just bought a Dyson in the first place I could have afforded a better Dyson.

I bought a desk.  It came in a box.  I had to screw all the parts together.  It was missing parts.  I consulted with others who looked at it just to make sure I wasn’t crazy.  I wasn’t.  It was missing parts.  After a long tango with customer service I, you guessed it, junked it.  It was 100 bucks, which I guess is cheap for a desk but that was all I needed.  I gave up and just got a 20 dollar folding card table.  That’s my desk now.  WTF.

Yeah, in hindsight had I not spent so much on book covers for books I’ll never get published I probably could have bought a really fabulous desk but anyway….the lesson seems to be don’t buy cheap things because they are cheap for a reason.  I’ll buy a top of the line desk when I can afford it.  Until then, I might as well have saved the 100 and gotten the 20 dollar card table up front.

Except the buy top of the line doesn’t work either.  I treated myself to a fantastic TV.  TV is my life so I might as well have a good one.  I take it out of the box and…WTF…there’s a base that screws into the television but the screw holes in the back of the TV are nowhere close to where the screw holes in the base are.

After an hour of having a physics and engineering discussion with tech support, the guy said he’d send me a new part and I told him up front please like actually work on this because I already know you’re just going to grab the same part and mail it to me and I’m going to have a meltdown, not an angry meltdown but just an utter collapse of hope in the overall abilities of society and mankind.

Seriously, if I get the wrong part in the mail, that will be it.  It will be a sign that we have turned a corner in the world, pride in work is dead, and I will retreat to a corner and rock back and forth in the fetal position until it is my time to go.

Also, I hear they don’t make blogs as good as they used to.  I wouldn’t know.  This blog is superior to all blogs.  You laugh, but you’ve never logged on here, found the wrong post, and had me be all like, “Oh sorry, I’ll send you the right post in 7-10 business days but it will probably still be the wrong post.”

By the way, did I mention that earlier this year, I got a new laptop?  It was great and still as laptops go it is fine, but occasionally it overheats to the point where it is hotter than the surface of the sun.  It got so hot that rubber pieces attached to it melted off.  After many tangos with customer service I finally decided that it only overheats once in awhile and a laptop that occasionally burns me that I can’t leave plugged in while I’m gone for fear it will burn down BQB HQ is, as the quality of most products go, a freaking win, because at least it is, more or less, operational, and somewhere there is a guy whose laptop grows a leg and kicks him in the balls who would love an occasionally hot laptop.

Do you have a customer service nightmare you’d like to share?  Discuss in the comments.

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Women Think Everything is the Handmaid’s Tale Now

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

I have never seen “The Handmaid’s Tale” – a) because I don’t have Hulu and b) because I have a penis.

However, my understanding based on the shrill harpy cries I hear on TV is that it takes place in a future where women are subjugated to male rule, kept as slaves, forced to wear red dresses and white bonnets and do the man’s bidding.  Apparently, fertile females are rare so they are owned by men who procreate with them and keep them locked up or something.

Also, apparently there’s an old woman named Aunt Lydia who keeps the handmaids in line.

So, I’ve never seen this show.  Tell me if it is worth a Hulu subscription but again I won’t think so because I have a penis.  All I know is these are some real life scenes that are happening all over the world thanks to this show.  Basically, if you ask a woman to do anything at all now they reach for the red dress and white bonnet.

SCENE #1 – The Remote Control

MAN:  Honey, can you pass the remote?

WOMAN:  Ah, fi on thee, cruel world, for though hast forced me into a life of handmaidenry!  Damned to do the bidding of my cruel master!  I shall toil away for life and never find any peace as I…

MAN: Oh, nevermind.  It was right next to me the whole time.

SCENE #2 – Sandwich

MAN: Honey, while you’re in the kitchen, can you make me a sandwich?

WOMAN:  Cursed villainy! I shall now dawn the red dress and white bonnet of the handmaid, for shuffle I will through life like a cursed wretch!

MAN: Whoa!  A 2 for 1 pizza coupon in my pocket!  Babe!  Nevermind!  I’m going to call Luigi’s!

SCENE #3 – At Work

MALE BOSS:  Sarah, the figures in your report is all wrong.  I’ll need you to stay late and re-do it.

FEMALE EMPLOYEE:  Oh, vicious agony!  To the chamber I will retire to work my fingers to the bone!

SCENE #4 – Kids

HUSBAND: Babe, I was thinking, should we have a baby?

WIFE:  Bah!  Oh woe unto me, for I have been forced into the unenviable life of a brood mare, damned to whelp your spawn at my breast for all eternity.

HUSBAND:  Yeah.  Plus babies smell bad and they cost a lot of money.  You know what, let’s just get a puppy.

WIFE: I love puppies!

SCENE #5 – The Date

MAN:  Pardon me, ma’am.  I don’t mean to be rude.  My name is Fred and I’m never usually this forward but well, you intrigue me and I wonder if you’d like to get coffee sometime so I could get to know you better.

WOMAN:  Blasted fate!  I shall have no choice but to take the name “Of Fred” and live in your broom closet where Aunt Lydia will whip me and chain me up and …

MAN: Whoa, geeze.  You know, I just remembered I’m allergic to coffee so, have a nice day.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Miss America Cancels Swimsuit Competition

What a strange new world, 3.5 readers.

Gotta be honest, I was outraged for 3.5 seconds until I realized the Miss America pageant was basically spanking material for lonely men in a time when there wasn’t any Internet porn.  Now that there’s Internet porn, there’s no reason to watch it.

I mean, really, when was the last time you watched it?  I haven’t watched it in many moons.

Ehh, let’s be honest though.  It’s not like they’re going to remove the swimsuit portion and then suddenly give it to some smart scientist woman who has a big brain but looks like Rosie O’Donnell or something.

They’ll just give it to the hottest chick in the evening wear competition.

I actually wonder if they’re doing this because Trump is president now and wasn’t he the big beauty pageant mogul for awhile?  I don’t remember exactly if he had any sway over Miss America but maybe when he was working in entertainment, casinos, the hot chick model industry, he might have been able to put his two cents in and put the kibosh on this tomfoolery.  Giving up power over the hot babe modeling industry to become the leader of the free world.  Sheesh.  Way to prioritize, Donald.

What say you, 3.5 readers?  My feeling is either it’s an antiquated contest where women compete like cattle at the county fair livestock auction and should be retired or otherwise keep it, but let’s not pretend it’s like a great competition of intelligence and talent when the hottest chick is just going to win anyway.

Americans really do love their BS.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Roseanne Destroys Her Show with a Tweet

Sigh, 3.5 readers.

If you ever wanted a lesson in how to ruin your career and/or lifetime legacy in less than 24 hours, today was the day.

I was really enjoying the “Roseanne” reboot.  I enjoyed the show as a kid and to see it back again was like seeing long lost friends come home.  Roseanne and Dan, Becky, Darlene and DJ, their kids, Aunt Jackie, all the extended friends and family that would stop by.

There have been so many attempts at rebooting old shows that have fallen flat (IMO) but this one was a winner.  I think Roseanne had cemented herself as the comeback kid and probably could have kept her show going for several years.

Alas, imagine my sadness when I heard the news that Roseanne referred to former Obama advisor (not sure of her official title) Valerie Jarrett as “Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes have a baby.”

Oh God, Roseanne.  Why?  Why???  So wrong on so many levels.

Roseanne has a history of writing controversial tweets but this was one that couldn’t be ignored.  Aside from sadness that this thought was in her mind and that’s bad enough, but that she didn’t have any kind of self restraint to hold herself back.  How she thought she could post that and still have a show by the end of the day is mind boggling.

I feel bad for the cast members.  Goodman has been the most successful over the years, though Laurie Metcalf was recently nominated for an Academy Award.  Sara Gilbert was (is?) on a View-esque talk show.  That girl who plays Becky and Michael Fishman (DJ), this was probably their big break so to see it go for them is sad.

So, a lesson learned, 3.5 readers.  First, if you are thinking such thoughts, cleanse your mind and your soul.  Second, develop a filter, an internal control that keeps you from releasing unfiltered thoughts into the atmosphere.

This is so ridiculous that there is a part of me that wonders if Roseanne did this on purpose….maybe she didn’t want to do the show anymore and wanted to go out with a bang.    I don’t think she did. She lost too much money.   I think she just rattled off a tweet without thinking but then again, she’s been in show business so long that it amazes me she didn’t realize this was a career killing tweet.

What say you, 3.5?

 

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