Happy Endings - "The St. Valentine's Day Maxssacre" Review
"Put on some D'Angelo and whip out my Pe'Angelo"
That quote was one of many funny lines and moments from last night's hilarious episode of Happy Endings entitled The St. Valentine's Day Maxssacre. First, before I go any further with my review of this episode, I have to say that I have jumped on the Happy Endings bandwagon a little late in the game. Granted, I did know about the show and the fact that Damon Wayans son was part of the ensemble cast and I made mental notes to watch the series, but for whatever reason I never did. I finally had a weekend of down time and went through the first season in record time. I am happy to say that Happy Endings is one of the smartest and funniest comedies on television today if not the past 5 years.
Last night's episode obviously focused on the theme of Valentine's Day. I was very curious to see how the dynamic of that sometimes stressful day would play out with the gang. Penny wanted to break up with a guy she called the winker but had to wait a week or what she called the 'break up window'. It turns out he dumped her first because she abbreviates or "abbrevs" many of her words. Dave started to play in to the notion that he was in the break up window zone because his girlfriend cancelled on two dates they had planned. That led to him missing out on a threesome with his girlfriend and her female friend who was in town for that specific event. Alex, who normally is the ditz in the group had a strange fascination and knowledge about the history of Valentine's Day which I though was ah-mah-zing! She thought she would find her true love at a V-Day party which turned out to be in a sleazy part of town. While dressed somewhat like a prostitute, she is mistaken for one and arrested. Max had a dislike of the holiday and we soon find out why, but the highlight of the episode was the Brad and Jane story.
We learn within the first 5 minutes of the episode that you can't surprise Jane. They flashback to the gang waiting for her to enter her apartment to surprise her on her birthday. She enters the apartment, they yell surprise and she maces all of them. I found myself on the floor laughing. Meanwhile, Brad is planning a romantic evening for the two of them,but first, he must go get his teeth cleaned at the dentist. Here is where the brilliance starts. The scene of Brad dancing into the dentist's office with Frank Sinatra's "How Lucky Can One Guy Be" was the highlight of the show. If Damon Wayans Jr. doesn't receive an Emmy nod for Best Supporting actor in a comedy, it would be a crime. His talking with the little kid in the office while slobber is falling out of his mouth was priceless!
Throughout the episode, Alex believes that someone is going to find love that night. Out of all the obvious possibilities, it turns out Max is the one who finds love. After picking up Alex from the police station, he has one more pickup. Turns out it's his ex and the last time he saw him was when he was dumped on Valentine's Day. Max ends up reconnecting with his former flame, played by guest star James Wolk and Alex can once again believe in the story of St. Valentine's Day.
As I said earlier, this episode was filled with great lines and moments. From the high school jock nod to Brad being high and dumping his face into a bowl of chocolate trying to find the strawberry he dropped. One important thing happened as well. There are obviously going to be comparisons between Happy Endings and Friends because they share the sort of group dynamic, but Happy Endings has its own vibe and feel which is different from Friends, dare I say a bit more risqué! But, the fact that high Brad can jump into the limo and call each of his pals one of the characters from the hit NBC show was hilarious and dead on.
Happy Endings flew under the radar most of its first season, but critics and fans are starting to catch on to the show and I for one can't wait to see what the new "gang" does next. What did you guys think of the episode?
No more 'House' callsI am sure many of the cast and crew saw the writing on the wall, but FOX announced Wednesday that its long running medical drama House would not be returning for a 9th season. High production costs and low ratings are part of the reason the show will not be returning. In its heyday, House was averaging 20 million viewers an episode. Fast forward to 2012, and the show is averaging around 9 million viewers. Both FOX and the producers of the show made the announcement official on Wednesday ending any speculation for the show's return. There were rumblings that since NBC Universal produced the show that the series would move to NBC, but after 8 seasons and 177 episodes in the can, the show would not be moving to NBC. Hugh Laurie who played Dr. Gregory House was nominated for six Emmys and the show itself was nominated for 4 Emmys.
SyFy brings Sharks to Jersey ShoreIn a move that will probably make many people scratch their heads, the SyFy channel has given the green light to a television movie entitled Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Now, I know many of you are thinking, probably hoping that the entire cast from the MTV reality hit are going to be involved, but such is not the case except for VINNY GAUDAGNINO. Other cast confirmed for the television movie are JOEY FATONE, PAUL SORVINO, TONY SIRICO and JACK SCALIA. Needless to say this television film is going to make Jersey Shore party goers think twice about swimming while at the shore. Go here to read the official press release from SyFy. The movie is set to debut in June.
I'm in TV Hell!What in the world is going on with television these days? Hell, what's been happening the last 10-15 years? Today, NBC released it's midseason schedule and there were some surprises. Among them, Community was shelved. Yes, it wasn't a huge ratings show, but it was an intelligent, well acted show that had a small, yet loyal fan base. Prime Suspect has pretty much been cancelled and 30 Rock was given another season and moved once again to a different time slot. Let's start with 30 Rock. This show has never been a huge hit for the network but has won many awards during it's run. NBC for some reason really sticks with this show even though it has lost a step or two or three. Prime Suspect was a very interesting police drama that just never was given a chance to build its audience. It's star would have been a better draw for the coveted 18-49 year old demographic that the suits from all the networks so cherish, yet you give Harry's Law another season with an actress who I am sorry to say, looks like she's from the civil war era? Let me just say that I am no expert on the inner workings of a television network, but I am someone who admittedly watches a good deal of television. I am one of the geeky TV watchers that follow the Nielsen ratings, follow the numbers for the age demographics and always gets pumped up around pilot season. With all these years of watching television and following the industry, I think I have picked up on some things and learned a few of the tricks that are used in the TV industry. If you want to look at what's wrong with the industry, just take a gander at what has happened to NBC. Once the darling of the networks, NBC was on top of the world in the 80's and 90's with a string of successful dramas and comedies. I like to call the 80's period of NBC domination the Cosby years. That's when the Cosby show aired and became this huge juggernaut for the network. With shows like the Cosby Show, Family Ties, The A Team, Cheers among others, the network could do no wrong. Then the 90's rolled in, hits like Friends, Seinfeld, Mad About You, Frasier and ER. NBC once again was on a roll. But as the year 200o approached, things started to change for the network. Not only were some of its big hits either gone or on their last legs, something else had been brewing for several years and it started in my opinion with MTV when they debuted the first major reality show, The Real World. MTV loved the show because a) it was cheap to produce and b) it brought in huge ratings for the network and the coveted 18-49 demographic. With this reality bug starting to spread, CBS brought in the reality series Survivor to go up against the NBC Thursday Must See lineup which for years was unbeatable. We all know the story here, Survivor became a monster of a hit and all but left the must see shows in the dust. Jeff Zucker took over as President of NBC Universal television in 2004, by then most of the networks had caught the reality bug. NBC was now in the distance compared to the other networks as far as ratings were concerned and remain there to this day. Why am I picking on NBC? I just it was an easy quick avenue to take to see what can happen when a network makes the wrong choices. No network is perfect, but the fall of NBC has been a big one and with the decisions made today, it's no wonder. Now, there is also another reason besides reality television that hurt NBC and to some extent, the other networks..cable television. In 2011, the average viewer is inundated with over 200 channels to watch any program at any given time. That's alot of shows trying to get your attention to keep the channel locked. With the rise of HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, FX, USA, TNT, AMC and channels like that, they are proving you can make quality television, attract viewers and still not have to cater to the lowest denominator to keep viewers. I find myself rarely tuning into the big 3 these days for television shows. Don't get me wrong, there are a few shows that have been or are fantastic. NCIS is still going strong in it's 9th season. Supernatural on the CW network is another favorite of mine. Modern Family, Rules of Engagement, Lost, Grimm and House are some examples of shows that have kept me tuning in to regular television. It's the cable networks that I am really impressed with today. They are taking risks and gambles on shows that would never be seen on regular televisions and I find it extremely refreshing. Some of my all time favorite shows have come from cable networks. The Shield, Rescue Me, Homeland, Dexter, American Horror Story, True Blood and The Killing are shows that are willing to push the envelope and because they air on these cable stations, they are able to get away with it. Maybe some of the suits at the big 3 networks need to take a chance and push the envelope. Better yet, give a show a chance to grow its audience. If it's not a hit right out of the gate, chances are a show will not survive on a regular network past a season or two. Look at the gamble FOX took with Terra Nova. From various reports, the pilot was one of if not the most expensive pilot ever made. Big names attached to the project and a ton of money spent of special effects. FOX put the hype machine into overdrive for the series and when it debuted...it debuted to modest ratings for the pilot. Since then several episodes have aired and it consistently ends up in 3rd place for its time slot. The overall ratings are somewhere around 8 million viewers per episode and it pulls in around a 2.7 for the 18-49 demographic. Does FOX order another season of this expensive series? Or does it take the hit and cancel the show because of poor ratings? That is a decision for the suits to make. Obviously, the bottom line here is money. The networks want to have shows on their schedule that will make money. The 18-49 demographic keeps coming up over and over in this post because it is so important to the networks. Another important aspect is syndication. A network can make a ton of money when one of its series is sold into syndication. In the early days, a show would need to last at least 5 seasons to go into syndication, from what I understand now, it's 80 aired episodes. It's a shame that the dollar bill is determining the fates of some great shows that never got the chance to fully blossom. You can go to any of the major networks and just see a graveyard of shows that never got a chance. Many of them deserved to be cancelled because they were just rip offs or just plain bad, but there are always some in there that deserved a better shot then they received. As I learn more and more about the television industry, I am learning that it is a tough world and you have to have thick skin to survive. Again, these observations are from a TV fan looking in from the outside who has no true idea of the inner workings of network television. I can safely say that there have been several series that were cancelled either before they had a chance to get started or before they had a chance to finish. Two off the top of my head are Brimstone and Millennium, both from FOX. Although, Millennium did get 3 uneven, yet enjoyable seasons, Brimstone only lasted 13 episodes before the plug was pulled during production of the 14th episode. There are hundreds of stories like Brimstone over the years of network television, maybe one day the small guy will get a victory. For every Brimstone, there is a Jericho, so there is hope. I know for certain that with all the drama and chaos that comes with the television industry, it's one that still keeps me in front of my television. Allowing me to escape for just a little while and that's something that is needed from time to time. Don't you think?
A Peaceful Journey....As I am sure most of you know by now, rapper Heavy D (real name Dwight Errington Myers) died after complaining of flu-like symptoms at the age of 44. It's a huge loss for the hip hop community because Heavy D was not your typical rapper. He was able to be influential with his music without falling into the traps of the rap game. He didn't rap alot about being a playa, having tons of money or using foul language on his records. He did what he did because he loved hip hop and wanted to make a lasting contribution. From 1987 through 2008, Heavy D released eight albums...many of them going gold and/or platinum. He had the respect of many in the hip hop community for his accomplishments in the rap game, but Heavy was much more than a rapper. He built an impressive resume of film and television acting credits. From TV shows like Roc, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Boston Public, Bones and most recently Law & Order: SVU. He also appeared in such films as Life, The Cider House Rules, Step Up and his final role in the recently released Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller comedy Tower Heist. Speaking from a personal perspective, I was a big fan of Heavy D and truly respected the work that he did. Knowing he didn't have to follow the same type of path that many rappers did to become successful. Heavy D never let the fact that he was an overweight man stop him from doing what he loved. Hell, you can watch many of his videos from the past and he's dancing right along with the other people in the video with no problems. Wherever you are Heavy, we thank you for your contributions to the entertainment industry. You were a definite role model for many and you will be missed. I hope you have a peaceful journey....
Sometimes You Need a DIRTY MINDAs I sit here and listen to Prince's 26th studio album Planet Earth, it makes me realize why I have been a fan of his for almost 3 decades now. The man is just dripping with talent, sometimes too much to comprehend. Some people think he is no longer relevant in today's music industry of one hit wonders, boy bands and manufactured music, but I say that is total nonsense. He may not have the radio play and albums sales of the 80's, but no one can touch him as far as stage performance goes..no one. This brings me to the topic of this blog, Dirty Mind. I was a mere lad when I came across this album at the local record store where I grew up. The album cover alone was bad enough to were my mother said I couldn't get it. But, I went ahead on my own and purchased it, but never told her that I did. Realize, this album came out in 1981 and was the very first cd in the music industry to receive a Parental Advisory sticker. I played it several times and although I did enjoy it, I didn't actually realize what I was listening to....a groundbreaking masterpiece. Flash forward years later and several Prince albums later, I was home one night and decided to dust off the cd and play it again. It had been a while since I had listened to the entire cd. I was completely floored at what I heard coming from my speakers. How could this album be from 1980? It was truly groundbreaking, it had elements of funk, new wave, rock and pop. But how could an album that was only 8 tracks and 30 minutes long accomplish this? One word, Prince. Every instrument, every vocal and every lyric was Prince, unprecedented at the time. His touring band was made up of different races and women, another first for that time period. As I continued to listen to this album, I thought to myself, I can't be the only one realizing the greatness of this album. So, I searched the web and found many critics agreed with my opinion. Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the 500 best albums of all time. Here is a review from AllMusic.com that pretty much sums up this album:
That review right there sums it up. To give you even a better taste of this album, here is the video of the title cut:Neither For You nor Prince was adequate preparation for the full-blown masterpiece of Prince's third album, Dirty Mind. Recorded in his home studio, with Prince playing nearly every instrument, Dirty Mind is a stunning, audacious amalgam of funk, new wave, R&B, and pop, fueled by grinningly salacious sex and the desire to shock. Where other pop musicians suggested sex in lewd double-entendres, Prince left nothing to hide — before its release, no other rock or funk record was ever quite as explicit as Dirty Mind, with its gleeful tales of oral sex, threesomes, and even incest. Certainly, it opened the doors for countless sexually explicit albums, but to reduce its impact to mere profanity is too reductive — the music of Dirty Mind is as shocking as its graphic language, bending styles and breaking rules with little regard for fixed genres. Basing the album on a harder, rock-oriented beat more than before, Prince tries everything — there's pure new wave pop ("When You Were Mine"), soulful crooning ("Gotta Broken Heart Again"), robotic funk ("Dirty Mind"), rock & roll ("Sister"), sultry funk ("Head," "Do It All Night"), and relentless dance jams ("Uptown," "Partyup"), all in the space of half an hour. It's a breathtaking, visionary album, and its fusion of synthesizers, rock rhythms, and funk set the style for much of the urban soul and funk of the early '80s.