The Office – Season 3, Episode 19 – Safety Training

April 13, 2007

Not my favourite episode this season but as with all Office episodes there’s something to learn.

Here’s what I learned from this week’s The Office:

  • Nothing says “I have a new attitude” like giving yourself a new name.
  • 3 years of shunning can be an appropriate punishment for misbehavers of all ages
  • It is not a good idea to try and set up a joke with the punchline “How’s it hanging”, particularly when it involves a ladder.
  • Between eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and circulation issues working in an office can be a dangerous place.  It’s nothing a 1/2 hour break every hour won’t cure though.
  • There is a connection between vomiting and boredom.
  • Depression can be scarier than a bailer especially when you use visual aids and props
  • If anyone give you 10,000 to 1 odds on anything, you take it
  • Jumping on a bouncy castle is the opposite of safety
  • You can bet money on anything.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B

Friday Night Lights – Episode 22 – State

April 13, 2007

Let me start by saying it’s a sad world when this amazing program gets beat in the ratings by garbage like ‘Til Death and ties with back to back episodes of George Lopez.

That being said I can’t see NBC walking away from a show of this quality no matter the ratings.  With so many perfect moments throughout the episode I defy any fan of the show to admit they didn’t get teary multiple times.

Beginning with Tami finding out she’s pregnant (with assistance from Smash’s mother) to the sense of awe perfectly conveyed by the entire cast when they walk into the stadium.  From Landry and his entourage’s hysterical car ride to the Tyra-Lyla confrontation.  From the team’s sense of betrayal over the coach leaving to Buddy’s uncharacteristic response to the news.  Throw in the coach’s response to his wife’s news and his speech after the losing first half (zooming in on all the characters we’ve come to enjoy watching week after week) backed up by “one of the greatest comebacks in Texas football”, Jason Street’s new found calling and finally Eric rediscovering his dream.

I’ve written about the greatness of this show so many times that I don’t feel the need to say anything else about it.  Friday Night Lights was not only the best new show of the season but maybe my favourite show this year, period.  As much as it pains me to say it even if there isn’t a second season, like Freaks & Geeks before it, Friday Night Lights will deservedly make my TV Hall of Fame and I know the best ensemble cast on TV will all go on to great things.

Still NBC it’s really not much to ask for another season, is it?

Avi’s Episode and Season Rating: A+

American Idol – April 10 – Top 8 Perform

April 11, 2007

I haven’t done a live blog on American Idol for a few weeks but tonight I’m back.   The special guest is JLo who in my estimation is probably one of the biggest stars the show has had in terms of modern mainstream appeal.  Without further ado here’s my 2  cents on tonight’s performances.

Melinda – I thought she was marginally better tonight in terms of demonstrating at least some ability to move beyond show tunes and torch songs.  Still, as much as I like her voice my opinion on her ability to produce a mainstream album hasn’t changed.  She won’t be able to.

LaKisha – Finally some personality from LaKisha.  Like Melinda she moved from her standards based self.  The first time in my opinion that she’s shown that she might actually have a little bit of an album in her.  Not sure why Paula and Simon are calling it safe the first time she does something slightly more upbeat and fun instead of showcasing her inner Broadway self.

Chris – A good performance but I thought his singing was off.  The voice lacked some edge or passion.

Haley – She really is hot and a good performer to boot.  Her voice isn’t as good as the others and I’m not sure she is going to be selling albums any time soon but she’s got personality and actually looks like she has fun up there.

Phil – I still don’t get how the judges even tolerate Phil.  This guy has a terrible voice.  He’s painful to listen to and I cringed with every high note.  How can they call Haley bad and give this guy a pass week after week.  He’s far, far, far, far worse.

Jordin – By far my favourite female in the competition.  Consistently great voice, great performances and she brings a cool, modern vibe that says “I will sell albums on an actual pop chart” unlike early favourites LaKisha and Melinda.

Blake – My favourite guy in the competition.  Same exact comments as I have about Jordin – great voice, great performance and a cool modern vibe that will sell records.

Sanjaya – Well he embraced the theme – good for him choosing to sing in Spanish.  His young girl fan base will love it.  He wasn’t as painful as usual because he didn’t really sing but rather spoke in a tune.  He’s not going anywhere this week.  I agree with Randy – he knows how to play the game.

After watching tonight’s episode, I have to say that I’m still shocked and dismayed that this is the best they could find in all of America out of tens of thousands of prospective singers.  Maybe it’s time for some new judges because these ones don’t seem to be able to sniff out talent any more.

So without further ado, my picks for bottom 2 are Phil and Haley with Phil most deserving to go home.  I’m done picking Sanjaya.

My choice for the final 2 are Jordin and Blake.

Andy Barker PI Canceled

April 11, 2007

With only 4 episodes hitting the air, according to Variety, NBC has canceled Andy Barker PI.  The remaining 2 episodes will air on a Saturday night.

Personally I watched the first 3 episodes but just never got into it.  It just didn’t have enough of a hook to make it must see TV for me.  The episodes sat on my PVR until I had nothing else to watch.  This is in definite contrast to the return of 30 Rock this past week which I watched immediately after it aired.

It was better than the traditional sitcoms which I don’t watch but not in the same league as The Office, Scrubs, Earl, How I Met Your Mother or 30 Rock.

Friday Night Lights Renewal News

April 11, 2007

It’s not official yet but TV Guide today had an exclusive report that NBC has ordered six more Friday Night Lights scripts. I guess they want to see what direction the writers are planning on taking the show next season before they commit to a new season.

Hopefully as TV Guide guesses, this really is just a precursor to the formal announcement that Friday Night Lights will be renewed despite ratings that for a lesser show would mean it was being canceled.

As a huge fan of what is one of the top 3 or 4 shows currently on the air, I applaud NBC for sticking with a quality show. Don’t miss tomorrow night’s finale. Looks like a great hour of TV.

Entourage – Season 3, Episode 13 – Less than 30

April 9, 2007

To prepare for the return of Entourage, I watched Keeping Up With the Steins this afternoon.

I know the critics hated it and it didn’t last too long in the theatres but I actually liked it. There are so many movies out there that teach the real meaning of Christmas or some other holiday that as a Jew it’s nice to see a movie about the meaning behind a bar mitzvah. The sad thing is that the movie isn’t too far off the truth these days. I’ve heard all sorts of stories about bar mitzvah party oneupmanship that I’m already nervous about when my sons’ days come, and it’s not for almost a decade. A movie that celebrates the importance of the ritual over the party was a nice message to hear and Jeremy Piven is always great even though he was essentially Ari Gold.

Now on to the review of tonight’s Entourage. First let me give a warm welcome to the always gorgeous Carla Gugino. I’ve had a crush on her since back in her Spin City days and it has carried on to Karen Sisco and of course Sin City. Well, now she’s Vince’s new agent and she’s using a different approach than Ari – making him to read scripts, consider Edith Wharton plays and even answer his own phone.

But don’t count Ari out. After a whole lot of back and forth (and many relationship metaphors) while Vince and Ari consider whether they can just be friends, Ari holds out Medellin as a lure to bring Vince back into his fold. It may not really be available but it’s enough to make Vince second guess Carla’s movie pick.

Meanwhile Turtle has to get creative in funding Vince’s birthday bash and let’s just say I laughed out loud when I saw the banner on the side of Vince’s booze cruise boat.

My one complaint with Entourage is that it’s always over way too quickly.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B+

The Sopranos – Season 6, Episode 13 – Soprano Home Movies

April 9, 2007

The beginning of the end.  So says all the promotional material for the last 9 episodes of what may be one of the most influential shows to ever air.  At the very least it made a network.

Well this episode sure isn’t going to satisfy everyone who complained that last year’s shows moved too slow.   Except for a couple of scenes it didn’t really advance any of the plots or give any indication that the show is headed for the end.  (Tony being arrested on a gun charge stemming from his running from Johnny Sack in the season 5 finale being the exception.)

But that is the beauty of The Sopranos.  It isn’t a plot driven mob drama but a detailed character study of a man and his two families.  Tonight’s episode had Tony and Carmela celebrating his 47th birthday with a trip up to Bobby and Janice’s lake house.  After some deep conversations about the paths that lie before someone in Tony’s business (dead or in prison), the foursome partake in a drunken game of Monopoly that leads to a knock-down fight between Tony and Bobby.

Chase uses the aftermath of the fight to remind us that Tony is still the flawed character he always was despite all the talk of his changing after being shot.  Carmela may say he isn’t vindictive but you can’t call what he did to Bobby anything but.

Maybe my expectations are just higher in these last remaining episodes but despite my enjoying the episode and the character moments I would have liked to see a little more plot momentum.

8 more to go.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B+