Category Archives: TV

Save Amanda!

The greatest thing about our culture is that we’re totally obsessed with celebrities! I’m only sort of kidding. If we didn’t have rich, famous, beautiful people to obsess over, we might have to focus on our actual lives, which, let’s be honest, are totally boring most of the time. Regular people are all like, blah blah I got a promotion! Oh look, I gave birth to a human and now I will dedicate my life toward posting Facebook pictures of it! Help me, I’m trapped under my hoard of old newspapers and Beanie Babies! So boring, right? Not like celebrities, who are always DRUNK and having affairs with their COSTARS and wearing DESIGNER LABELS while DRINKING and then going to REHAB. Ugh, so glamorous.

Clearly celebrities are way better than us, but thanks to social media and gossip blogs, we also get to see them at their lowest lows. It’s important that we put them on a pedestal only to knock them down when they mess up. Again, this makes us feel better about ourselves. If someone better than us can fail, how bad can our stupid problems possibly be? Usually it’s a great system, but there are a few rare celebrities who actually seem kind of likeable in addition to being fabulous, and in those rare cases, their inevitable breakdown is actually pretty sad. Anyway, this is all just a really long way of saying I’m concerned about Amanda Bynes.

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Amanda, back in the good old days.

You remember Amanda Bynes! She was the star of the Nickelodeon series The Amanda Show, and then she was in a series of teen movies – What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man, Sydney White. I’m the same age as her, and I was inexplicably into her movies, even though I was in university when they came out, and was probably way too old to be excited about a film that’s loosely based on the plot of Snow White for some reason. I don’t know, Amanda Bynes was always funny and kind of offbeat but weirdly relatable.

And then things got weird. A couple years ago she started deleting and undeleting her Twitter, announcing her retirement and return to acting. So that was weird, but around that time she appeared in Easy A, which was actually pretty great, and Amanda plays the Mandy Moore to Emma Stone’s Jenna Malone. Bet you didn’t expect a Saved reference, did you!? Basically she plays a bitchy religious girl and it’s awesome.

But then things got REALLY weird, because last year Amanda dyed her hair lilac, got some DUIs, had a series of car accidents, lost her licence, drove without her licence  and…tweeted at Barack Obama to fire a cop who arrested her? Oh, and then there were the times she locked herself in a changing room for two hours, locked herself in a cupcake store bathroom and maybe walked around a tanning salon naked. Also, she got kicked out of her apartment building for smoking weed or something.

OK, so none of these things are good, but it’s her recent tweets combined with her recent Instagram pictures that are troubling. Yes, I follow Amanda Bynes on Twitter and Instagram, OBVIOUSLY. Check this out:

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She is posting vague sentiments about love, and if my Facebook friends have taught me anything, that is ALWAYS a sign of impending disaster. And then there’s this:

But whyyyy?

But whyyyy?

Yep. That is Amanda Bynes! That is what she looks like now. Clearly things have gone too far. Girl is wearing a dehydrated wig and some kind of plastic nails. I’m not even going to address her pierced cheeks. I’ve made it clear that I’m all for a good celebrity breakdown, but not like this! Amanda never did anything to make me hate her, so I just want to help! So far I’ve just been replying to a lot of her tweets. I don’t think it’s helping. I think I’m going to plan an intervention, or at least an awareness campaign. Everyone loves a good awareness campaign! Remember that time when we failed to Free Katie back in 2006? Don’t you want to make up for it? Yeah, that’s right. I’m working on Save Amanda t-shirts right now. It’s the right thing to do.

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Super accurate Oscar prediction time

I have some important information, everyone. I don’t think the Oscars are necessarily an accurate prediction of which movies are actually, like, the best. I mean, now that they’re nominating up to 10 films for Best Picture, basically anything that is a movie can be nominated. Last year two of the nominees were The Help and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which…well, I know The Help solved racism or something (no) but I think we can all admit that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was awful. Right!? It was sentimental schlock that capitalized on 9-11, just like all the worst movies do. See also: that one with Robert Pattinson. Oh wait, that’s a surprise 9-11 movie, so if you haven’t seen it, I just ruined an unnamed Robert Pattinson film. OH WAIT AGAIN it was called Remember Me. Haha, I forgot the name of a movie called Remember Me and then I spoiled it. I’m the worst. Sorry I’m not sorry!

So, the Oscars are pretty dumb and this year they’re being hosted by the perpetually smug Seth MacFarlane, which means they’re going to be smug AND irrelevant. I mean, I don’t really think any of these awards shows mean much of anything, but at least at the Golden Globes everyone is drunk. Basically no one is visibly drunk at the Oscars, and it’s a total bummer. Despite all of that junk, I will obviously be watching the 85th annual Academy Awards from start to finish when they air on Sunday. Why? I don’t know. I watch it every year, and there’s always the very tiny chance Anne Hathaway will lose and she will rip off her skin and it will turn out she was Rachel Berry from Glee all along (not Lea Michele – Rachel Berry) and no one will be very surprised.

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Anyway, the point of this pointless preamble about this pointless awards show is that I’ve decided to make some pointless predictions based on poor information! I have seen all the Best Picture nominees besides Amour, but I don’t actually, like, know what I’m talking about. On the bright side, I think I can find a way to use these guesses to create a solo drinking game! Alex of the Future is going to be so relieved I did this.

Cinematography. Cinematography is such a weird award. It’s literally just about which film looks the best. I am definitely picking Life of Pi. Did you see Life of Pi? It looked amazing. I even liked the 3D and I really hate 3D.

Costume Design. I have a bad feeling that they could throw this one to one of those terrible Snow White movies, but I can’t decide which one, so I’m just going to guess Anna Karenina (which I didn’t see, but the costumes looked nice in the previews) instead.

Documentary Feature. I haven’t seen any of these, but I have HEARD of Searching for Sugar Man, so I will pick that one. What informed decisions I’m making!

Documentary Short. Damn, I haven’t even heard of one of these, so I will guess Mondays at Racine for literally no reason.

Film Editing. You know, I thought Argo was edited well in that it had basically no boring scenes, which…is that what good editing is? I think so, maybe!

Foreign Language Film. I don’t really think Amour is going to win Best Picture (again, keep in mind I have not seen it) so I think it’s going to win this award instead.

Makeup and Hairstyling. I mean, The Hobbit had to make humans look like mythical creatures, so shouldn’t it automatically win this one? It certainly shouldn’t win anything else, but let’s give it Makeup and Hairstyling at least.

Music – Original Score. Well, I still remember the music from Life of Pi, so  therefore it must have been pretty good, probably.

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Music – Original Song. Adele had better win for Skyfall because she will give a super cute acceptance speech, and also I actually like that song!

Production Design. Is this like, how the sets look and junk? I don’t know. I’m just going to guess Life of Pi.

Short Film – Animated. I mean, I saw that Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” thing, but I thought it was just OK, so I will guess Paperman, which sounds intriguing! 

Short Film – Live Action. Never heard of these. Buzkashi Boys? Sounds…sexy.

Sound Editing. I assumed Les Mis would be nominated for all sound-related awards, and I was going to guess that even though I hated that movie, but apparently I was wrong. Um…Skyfall? I felt like the sounds in that film sounded like sounds or whatever.

Sound Mixing. I literally don’t understand what this is at all. What is sound mixing? How do you judge which film mixed sounds the best? I’ll just pick Les Mis. I really hated Les Mis, by the way, have I mentioned that?

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Visual Effects. I’m once again guessing Life of Pi. Can you tell I liked how that movie looked? I really, really did.

Writing – Adapted Screenplay. Silver Linings Playbook, I hope! I feel like this might also go to Argo though, I’m just not sure.

Writing – Original Screenplay. I personally think Moonrise Kingdom should win, but I don’t think that will happen. So my prediction is…Zero Dark Thirty.

Directing. David O. Russell should win for Silver Linings Playbook. I don’t know if he will, but he should.

Animated Feature Film. I think Pirates! Band of Misfits should definitely win this one, because it had the greatest animation and plot of them all. It just did. Brave was OK, but not even close to Pixar’s best, I found Frankenweenie and ParaNorman disappointing (although most people seemed to love ParaNorman) and Wreck-It Ralph was great, but not as great as Pirates.

Actor in a Supporting Role. I didn’t especially love or even really like The Master, but I have to admit that Philip Seymour Hoffman was absolutely amazing in it, so I have to guess him.

Actress in a Supporting Role. I mean, Anne Hathaway is going to win this. She just is. It’s going to be super duper annoying.

Actor in a Leading Role. I don’t see how Daniel Day Lewis could not win this. I was totally bored by Lincoln, but I did think Lewis was excellent in it, so he probably deserves it.

Actress in a Leading Role. I think Jennifer Lawrence totally deserves it, but I don’t know…I feel like Jessica Chastain might win it. Which would be fine I guess, she was good…but Jennifer Lawrence was better.

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Best Picture. My personal vote is absolutely for Silver Linings Playbook, which I think was by far the best film of the whole year. It was definitely my favourite, in any case. I just don’t know, though. I have a feeling it could go to Argo. Honestly, as long as Les Mis doesn’t win, I’ll immediately get over it and move on. I really just can’t wait until a few months from now when we can all forget Les Mis ever existed. Yep. The not-so-distant future is gonna be the best.

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Why aren’t you watching Enlightened?

You’re not watching Enlightened. I know you aren’t, because basically no one is. Seriously, I checked the ratings for the latest episode, and I don’t understand ratings, but 0.217 million Americans watched it and, considering an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo that aired the same night had 1.804 million viewers, I think that’s pretty bad. I also think it’s a good indicator that you probably didn’t watch it.

To be fair, there’s a reasonably good chance you haven’t even heard of this incredible TV show, even though it airs on HBO right after Girls, which literally no one can stop talking about because Lena Dunham’s boobs are the most divisive character to ever appear on a television screen. Based on some in-depth research (I told a bunch of my friends to watch it, and they were like, what even is that?) basically no one has heard of Enlightened. Even didn’t know about it right away, and TV is basically my only hobby. Fortunately my friend Peter told me about it when the first season was almost over, and I immediately devoured every episode. Now it’s in the midst of the second season, and it just gets better and better all the time.

OK, so I should probably explain why I think Enlightened is one of the best shows that’s currently airing. It started with Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) having a total breakdown over an office affair gone mad. Amy was filled with rage and hate, but after a stint in a Hawaiian rehabilitation centre type place, she finds inner peace. She comes home a changed woman.

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Except, not really. Amy wants to change; she certainly thinks she has changed. But as she moves in with her mother, Helen (Diane Ladd), tries to help her addict ex-husband, Levi (Luke Wilson) and befriends her coworker, Tyler (Mike White) it becomes clear she’s still incredibly self-involved. Amy does get rehired by Abaddonn, the company she worked for before her breakdown, but she’s relegated to a shitty data processing position. She strives for some kind of meaning in her life, and finds it when she learns that Abaddonn is up to some practices that could be described as ethically unsound. Of course, this is a giant corporation, and that news comes as a surprise to no one…except Amy.

Amy can be a very unlikable and difficult character. Her intentions are good, mostly, but she obliviously uses the people in her life to get the things she wants. She sees them as pawns or accessories in the whistle blowing drama she’s created. Sometimes her lack of knowledge of how the world works, combined with her often abrasive approach to social interactions, can be off-putting, to say the least. But there’s also something admirable about Amy’s desire to reinvent herself and to affect real change in the world. She’s naive, and probably more than a little crazy, but she’s trying to be better, she really is.

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Enlightened is interesting because it feels so intimate – it lets us into Amy’s often distorted worldview, slowly revealing more about her past, and why she is the way she is. It’s also done an excellent job of fleshing out the supporting characters – one of the best episodes from the first season focused completely on Helen, and this season has included episodes from Levi and Tyler’s perspectives. The most recent one was the Tyler episode, and it was one of my favourites, showing the rich inner life of a lonely introvert who didn’t think he was capable of opening himself to human contact.

This might seem like a weird compliment, but Enlightened feels more cohesive than almost any other show I’ve ever seen. This is probably because, in addition to co-starring, Mike White has written every episode, and also directs some of them. This makes all the characters feel so real, with relatable flaws and strengths. And of course, the acting is superb. The whole thing is just a joy to watch, and it’s by far the show I look forward to watching the most every week. Yes, even more so than Girls, which I also really love.

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The thing is, Enlightened is unlike any other show on television, and I guess I have to admit that MAYBE it isn’t for everyone. But I do think everyone should give it a shot and watch the first three or four episodes. It’s quiet and weird, but I swear it’s also incredibly compelling. I think at some point, perhaps long after it’s been cancelled, Enlightened is going to gain a much bigger following, and people are going to wonder how they never heard of it before. So jump on the bandwagon now, is what I’m saying, so you can smugly announce you’ve been watching it all along.

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Stop cancelling my stories!

One of the most important things about me is that I watch a lot of TV. OK, maybe that’s not an important thing about me, but it is definitely a thing about me. In addition to watching a lot of TV, I read a lot about TV, so I wasn’t exactly surprised last week when Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and Ben and Kate were cancelled. Still, though, I was totally bummed.

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Don’t Trust the B—- is one of the worst named shows currently on television, but it’s also one of the funniest. Unfortunately, it was never really given a chance. In its second and (sadly) last season, ABC aired it on Tuesdays at the same time as The Mindy Project and some junk on NBC that I think a lot of people watch for some reason (The New Normal, I think). It followed Happy Endings (which is another awesome, funny show, but also no one watches it). Plus, they aired episodes out of order, and ended up burning through episodes by airing it two days a week for a couple weeks. When I say they aired episodes out of order, I mean they aired episodes that had been pulled from the first season because they weren’t really the strongest, followed by second season episodes. This was clearly a terrible way to gain new viewers, since there were totally conflicting plots and character changes from one week to the next, and also the second season was significantly funnier than the rejected first season episodes (I mean, duh).

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This is a total bummer because even when it wasn’t at its best, this show was so, so funny. The eponymous bitch, Chloe, is essentially a sociopath who occasionally remembers other people exist, but is mostly completely selfish, and isn’t afraid to attack people with a tranq gun or set up hidden cameras to get her way. She once walked into People magazine and pretended she worked there for a week to get her bff James Van Der Beek named the Sexiest Man Alive. And James Van Der Beek, who plays a single, celebrity-obsessed, narcissistic version of himself is so excellent. He tries to convince Frankie Muniz to do a reunion show with him, and later Mark Paul Gosselar talks some sense into him. That is an actual episode! June, Chloe’s roommate, can be grating with her whole sunny attitude, but it’s fun to watch Chloes take advantage of her, and she sometimes ends up stooping to Chloe’s level, which is also pretty great.

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There is one last episode of the show airing tonight. Apparently ABC has eight more episodes, but there’s no word yet on whether they’re going to air them at some point. So this is sad. how could anyone resist that hot, hot jam?

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And then there’s Ben and Kate. I didn’t know if I loved this one when it first started in the fall, but it grew on me quickly. It’s a pretty simple premise – Kate is raising her daughter, Maddie, and then her wacky brother Ben moves in with her, and he helps/gets in the way as a co-parent. They also get into shenanigans with their friends, the hilarious BJ, and Tommy, who is kind of just obsessed with both Ben and Kate but in a sweet way.

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BJ is the clear frontrunner for funniest character, since she gets to be all British and nuts and talks to six-year-old Maddie like she’s a grown-up person. But Kate’s constant awkwardness and Ben’s harebrained schemes are pretty great aspects too. Plus, the show just has a lot of heart, and they seem like a real family without being totally corny. So yep, I’m sad to see this one go, too. Apparently Fox is still saying they’re going to air the rest of the episodes at some point down the road, but they shut down production before they finished filming all the episodes. So, you know, that sucks.

Ultimately both these shows got cancelled because no one watched them, but I still feel like they deserved better. I just feel sad sometimes when I remember that we live in a world where The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men will air until the end of eternity, but shows that are actually good and, really, pretty accessible, aren’t given much of a chance. I should probably just stick to watching things on HBO, Showtime, FX and AMC if I want to avoid getting my heart broken.

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The Golden Globes

So, the Golden Globes aired on Sunday, and even though they don’t really, like, mean anything, they’re always pretty entertaining and there was a lot going on this year. This is really the only awards show I ever watch besides the Oscars, but the Golden Globes are infinitely funnier and weirder because it’s basically a bunch of celebrities hanging out and getting drunk and looking really coked up during acceptance speeches. What’s not to love about that? Maybe it’s just me, but the thing that stood out for me this year was that there were a lot of women doing awesome things. HEAR THEM ROAR!

First of all, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were as amazing as everyone expected to be. They dissed James Cameron, they were resentful toward Lena Dunham and they had super great advice for Taylor Swift re: staying away from Michael J. Fox’s son. My only complaint is that I wish there had been more of them! Here is their monologue. If funny ladies aren’t a thing you’re interested in (for some strange reason) watch it for Tina’s ass. I feel weird about noticing Tina Fey’s ass, but it happened, I did that.

I was SO excited that Lena Dunham won for Best Actress in a Comedy AND her show, Girls won Best Comedy Series. I was glad because people hate her and her show so much, and I feel like this was at least some small validation, even if it is just from the Golden Globes and she’s awesome and her show is awesome. I’m not going on a whole spiel about what I love about Girls right now (though, btw, the second season premiered on Sunday too, and it was great). Lena winning just felt like a fuck you to all the idiotic criticisms against her for being a woman and looking like a regular person and being privileged, etc., etc., etc. She was also really gracious and cute and gave a shout out to Chad Lowe . Obviously I’m biased in that I love her, but I was very excited.

"Girls" creator and actress Lena Dunham poses with the award "Girls" won for Best Televison Series, Comedy or Musical at the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills

I was ALSO very excited Jennifer Lawrence won, because – have you seen Silver Linings Playbook? I just saw it on the weekend and I immediately fell in love with it. I mean, it’s basically a romantic comedy, really, except that it’s so good and so funny and so sad and so…inspiring? It really was! I have to say, Bradley Cooper really stole that film for me, because I had no idea he was capable of anything in the realm of that performance, but Jennifer Lawrence was phenomenal too. And she was pretty great at the Golden Globes, too, kind of awkward and super funny and I felt a pang of sadness that I’ll never be her best friend (probably). Oh, and she made a reference to First Wives Club in her acceptance speech, what a weird but entirely appropriate reference!

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Other things…most of the presenters were boring or fine, but Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell’s fake and completely inaccurate summaries of the nominated films were hilarious, and made me hope they go on to host something together at some point. Adele seemed really charming and Taylor Swift seemed like she is currently writing a revenge ballad about her. Glenn Close looked like a fun (fake?) drunk! Anne Hathaway’s acceptance speech and faux humble thing was very annoying, and reinforced my opinion that Anne Hathaway is kind of insufferable.

OH YEAH AND THEN JODIE FOSTER CAME OUT!

I mean, I think she did. I felt like her long and somewhat rambling speech was nice, but also…weird. It was basically an extensive diatribe about how she wants privacy, but also everyone she knows in real life knows who she is, and she’s not Honey Boo Boo, and she’s lonely and she’s friends with Mel Gibson for some insane reason. There is something about multi-millionare actors demanding privacy that bugs me. I don’t think Jodie Foster should be forced to come out, I think she should just live her life and talk about it or not talk about it or whatever it is that she wants to do. This just seemed like she felt obligated to say something, but she didn’t want to completely give in to whatever pressure she felt she was under or something. I don’t know! It was weird. Here’s the speech:

Overall, it was a pretty eventful show! I just hope this isn’t in any way a sign that Les Miserables will win an Oscar. I mean, Anne Hathaway will win an Oscar, probably, but that movie does not deserve an Academy Award, I don’t care what you musical fanatics think.

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