How I Met Your Mother – Season 3, Episode 1 – Wait for it….

September 25, 2007

I love this show.  As my regular readers know I generally don’t watch traditional sitcoms but this one has something unique.  In addition to having one of the best ensemble casts on TV, it’s one of the few shows that is able to make me laugh out loud one minute and give me the “warm and fuzzies” little tear in my eye, the next.

Picking up right from last season we are treated to Barney’s attempts (“Cirque de so-laid”) to pull Ted out of his post-Robin funk while his beard grows.  Of course, it just takes Robin’s return from Argentina with new boyfriend Gael or Gail, played perfectly by Enrique Iglesias, discussing the joys of windsurfing to compel Ted to try and win the breakup war.

And don’t think just because Lily and Marshall are married that we aren’t going to like them anymore.  Between Lily’s quick recovery from her comment on how the girl “never marries the hot guy” to their double date with Robin and Gael where both end up falling for him, we find new ways to love this great couple.

Meanwhile, who is Ted’s rebound girl – Mandy Moore – who I have had new appreciation for since her work on Entourage a couple of seasons ago.  Here she’s a tattooed throwback (1994 Courtney Love) who calls Barney a nerd and verbally spars with him throughout the episode.  I really wonder how this show gets some of the jokes through the censors at 8PM.

The show concludes with one of the great apologies of all time from Barney and a reminder of why Robin is so cool as she makes Ted feel better about his comparison to Gael.

As I’ve said many times, this show is just like welcoming back old Friends (in the first few seasons).   Lastly as much as I like Ari Gold I have to say that Neil Patrick Harris was robbed.

Avi’s Episode Rating: A

What I Watched on my Summer Vacation – Part II – The Summer TV Season

September 6, 2007

It truly is incredible how much TV was on this summer and even more incredible is how good a lot of it was. With so many shows to cover I’m only going to write short blurbs to get across my 2 cents on each. I’m going to start with the truly horrible and move progressively up from there.

John From Cincinnati – After the heartpounding and slightly mystifying (yes, I rewound my PVR many times) conclusion to one of the greatest shows ever, HBO unloaded this piece of garbage on a still numb public. It took me, someone who is willing to give the benefit of at least 3 episodes to all kinds of shows, one episode to conclude that I didn’t want to watch this show. Clearly I wasn’t alone given HBO’s decision to cancel it after just one season.

Avi’s Series Rating: N/A

Californication – 3 episodes in and I just don’t care. Still nothing compelling to bring me back week after week. As much as I like David Duchovny generally his character is just not likable and I don’t buy the “every woman he meets wants to sleep with him” approach they’re taking with his character. The 16 year old with the right hook affair isn’t working for me either. I think I’m done.

Avi’s Series Rating (to date) – C-

Big Brother 8 – I don’t know what it is about this train wreck of a show but despite every TV loving bone in my body telling me to run the other way I still watch it 3 times a week. From Kail the racist to Amber the anti-semite to Jen the Teflon amazon to Dick the dick to Jameka the Chosen One to America’s loser Eric to Danielle the one true player to basically anonymous Jessica and Zach I must see what happens. I’m still pretty sure that if this was on during the regular season I wouldn’t watch and I stay far away from the feeds but still 3 times a week I’m there watching. Danielle is the clear favourite to win at this point.

Avi’s Season Rating – B-

Canadian Idol – I generally find the talent on Canadian Idol to be far superior than on its US counterpart not to mention the actually constructive and relatively articulate judges. This year unfortunately many of the candidates haven’t been that memorable. Still until last night I held out hope that the lovely and unique talent Carly Rae would win but nope we’re down to the one trick pony but cute if you’re under 14, Jaydee Bixby with his bad Elvis imitation and the decent singing but kind of bland Brian Melo (who still gets extra points for his selection of Radiohead, The Watchmen and Live). You can probably guess which I’m pulling for.

Avi’s Season Rating – B-

Rescue Me: Season 4 – I’m still a few episodes behind but this season I’m just not feeling it. I like the show and I love Dennis Leary and the rest of the crew (sad about Jerry though compounded by the way he went out) but it’s just seeming too repetitive. The plotline with Tommy/ Johnny’s no name son is just silly (and not in a good way) and even worse I’m a little bored. It might pick up in the back half of the season but for now the best I can do is give it:

Avi’s Season Rating (so far) – B

The 4400: Season 4 – Another show I’m pretty far behind in. I like this show a lot and find the stories pretty interesting and the characters very likable from week to week despite pretty poor acting almost across the board. My only problem is that as much as I enjoy individual episodes, I’m not convinced the writers know where the story is going. It just seems like a loose collection of plot devices without direction. I’m still hopeful though and will continue to watch to see where it goes.

Avi’s Season Rating (so far) – B

Entourage: Season 4 – I know there’s been some backlash at the boys this summer but not from me. Entourage is like the best snack foods – tastes great going down, easily digestible and in generally forgettable after it’s gone. If the show was a full hour I too might feel that the increasingly silly stories they get involved with may be too much. However, at 25 minutes the show is always entertaining, the characters (including the fabulous Mrs. Ari) are a pleasure to watch and the “adversities” they have to overcome always fun. Glad to see that Medellin was the bust it looked like it was destined to be and that the boys don’t win ’em all.

Avi’s Season Rating – B+

Big Love: Season 2 – This show really hit its stride in the second season. At least twice in every episode I turn to my wife and let her know how happy I am that there is only one of her. Bill’s life sure doesn’t make polygamy look appealing and that’s not even taking into consideration the prospect of a 4th wife or Horace Green or treacherous Alby. The wives are amazing actresses and each one stepped it up this year carving out their roles in the family. Can’t wait for season 3.

Avi’s Season Rating – A-

Mad Men – I’m finally caught up and have to say that this show has taken the premise of ad men in the 50’s, mixed in some great character actors and put together a show that may not be fast paced but is brilliant in its execution. I’m not really sure what direction the show is moving in with the mysterious Don Draper but I’m on board to find out.

Avi’s Season Rating (So far) – A-

Damages – No question Glenn Close is a little over the top in her portrayal of Patty Hewes the aggressive lawyer pursuing corporate thief Arthur Frobisher (the meatiest role for a certain actor since an ex-baseball player ran a bar) but in true FX fashion, one can’t turn away. On top of the core plot you layer in murder and bloody book ends and you have the best new show in a long time. Who watching this show can possibly say that the serial drama is dead!

Avi’s Season Rating (So far) – A

Greek – I left this one for last and had trouble categorizing it as a comedy or drama. I stuck it in comedy but probably could be swayed either way. After a bit of a drought I now have my 90210/ Dawson’s Creek/ OC replacement which deftly blends humor, great characters, snappy dialogue and fine acting to provide me with my surprise pick of the summer. Each new episode is more fun than the last and what started out as basically a collection of stereotypical characters has led to the development of some truly interesting people who are a pleasure to spend time with each week.

Avi’s Season Rating (so far) – A

That’s it for part II of my return to blogging for Fall Season 2007-2008. Tomorrow is part III which will review all the big TV news I missed over the summer.

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+